available in Ontario from June 24, 2017
In this first set of recommendations from the June 24 release, I have found three sparkling wines, five rosés and five red wines, all offering interest and fair value. A fine selection of white wines will follow in a second article.
Heading the list is the non-vintage Louis Roederer Premier Brut Champagne, presented in a 375 ml bottle. This is an excellent wine, at a very premium price for sure, but the small format bottle makes it more affordable for a special evening for two. The other two sparkling wines are a new release of the Graham Beck Brut Rosé Méthode Cap Classique from South Africa and the 2013 Sumarroca Brut Reserva Cava. At just $19.95 and $14.95 respectively, these are tremendous absolute values as well as quite delicious wines.
While I’ve generally been a little disappointed with Canadian rosés this year, one of the very best from anywhere is a local product, the 2016 Hidden Bench Locust Lane Rosé from the Beamsville Bench. Three fine French rosés are the 2016 Château de la Négly La Natice Rosé from the Côteaux du Languedoc, and two wines from the Côtes de Provence, the 2016 Mimi En Provence Grande Réserve Rosé and the 2016 Badet Clement La Promenade. The final rosé is from Tuscany, the 2016 Carpineto Dogajolo Rosato.
While I tend to gravitate towards lighter reds for summer — my main seasonal bias — sometimes bigger, juicier, tannic wines can work with those savoury barbequed steaks and burgers. Here are five examples that I am looking forward to enjoying around the outdoor table. Three from France are the 2014 Famille Perrin Peyre Blanche Cairanne Côtes Du Rhône-Villages, the 2013 Laplace Madiran, and the 2014 Saint-Roch Vieilles Vignes Syrah/Grenache from the Côtes du Roussillon. Two Italian wines are the 2013 Donnachiara Irpinia Aglianico from Campania and the 2014 Sassoregale Sangiovese from Maremma in Tuscany.
LOUIS ROEDERER PREMIER BRUT CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #93054 • $39.95 • 375ml. • 92/100The wine is pale straw with glints of yellow. The nose is lush and honeyed, suggesting red apples, lemon and ripe melon, with notes of toast, caramel and white chocolate. The wine is dryish, with a hint of residual sugar that adds breadth and substance rather than overt sweetness. Vivid acidity contrasts with the rich, creamy texture, and the finish is crisp, toasty and lingering. An excellent and complex wine — by no means inexpensive, but a great half-bottle for two.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSÉ , Méthode Cap Classique, WO Western Cape, South Africa
Vintages #175588 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This new release was disgorged in January of 2017. The wine is light salmon with coppery highlights. Toasty, floral, lemon, strawberry and red apple aromas fill the nose. Crisp acidity and a creamy mousse define the palate, a lemony edge adds firmness, and the fruit and toasty notes linger on the lengthy finish. This continues to be an excellent value for a Cap Classique (traditional method) sparkler.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SUMARROCA BRUT RESERVA CAVA 2013, Traditional method, DO, Spain
Vintages #482661 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine is pale straw with glints of yellow. The nose is fresh and light, with delicate lemon and floral notes, and hints of yeast and toast. Quite dry, with bright acidity, the palate is simple and direct, with lemon, apple and melon fruit leading to a crisp and stony finish. A value-laden Cava that's full of life.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2016, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment
Vintages #68833 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is the finest Canadian rosé that I've tasted this year to date. The wine is moderate salmon in colour with just a hint of copper. Aromas centre on strawberry, raspberry, red apple and grapefruit, with a hint of green herbs. While this is a saignée from Pinot Noir destined to be red table wine (a portion is "bled" or removed before much colour has been obtained in the maceration), the high acidity and modest alcohol of the underlying Pinot gives an excellent structure for this bone-dry rosé. The palate jumps with the acidity, and a lightly bitter dusting of tannins firms the mid-palate and the stony, saline finish. Full-flavoured, without being rich and heavy, this is a vivid and elegant wine.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHÂTEAU DE LA NÉGLY LA NATICE ROSÉ 2016, AOP Côteaux du Languedoc
Vintages #492199 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 89.5/100This Mourvèdre blend, with 15% Syrah and 15% Cinsault, is a saignée rosé from vineyards in the region of La Clape on the Mediterranean coast of the Languedoc. A lighter salmon-pink in colour, the nose shows strawberry, raspberry and red apple aromas, with a stony-mineral undertone. It is dry, with lively acidity, some weight and tension on the palate with a firm streak of citrus, and a drying, mineral-laden finish. A very compelling rosé.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2016, AP Côtes de Provence
Vintages #452573 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a typical Côtes de Provence blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. It is bright pale pink in colour, with a light, airy nose suggesting fresh strawberries, raspberries, red apples, lemon and apple blossoms. The wine is dry and the palate is firm, slim and focused. The crisp acidity takes on a stony-lemony character, drying with very light tannins on the lingering finish. An excellent example.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BADET CLEMENT LA PROMENADE 2016, AC Côtes de Provence
Vintages #490946 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah (with small amounts of other varieties) is pale salmon in colour. The nose is lightly floral, with subtle strawberry, raspberry and cherry aromas, and a suggestion of herbs and twigs. It is dry, with crisp acidity, moderate alcohol and a light to medium body — firm, balanced and subtle.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CARPINETO DOGAJOLO ROSATO 2016, IGT Toscano
Vintages #699934 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This Sangiovese blend is medium-depth salmon-pink in colour. Gentle aromas of strawberry and raspberry fruit are accompanied by hints of violets and green herbs. Dry, crisp with a whisper of tannins, there is some weight and texture here despite the very modest alcohol. This will work with slightly heavier summer fare.
Tasted June 9, 2017 • UNIVINS AND SPIRITS CANADA INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FAMILLE PERRIN PEYRE BLANCHE CAIRANNE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES AC 2014
Vintages #650960 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100The wine is a deepish purple-red. The nose suggests dense, ripe and jammy black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit, with hints of dried herbs and spices. Dry, with bright acidity, there is a touch of heat and the tannins are ripe but firm. Oak doesn't have a major flavour impact, and there is a pleasant, juicy freshness on the palate, despite a little too much extraction for elegance. Bring on the barbequed meats, and this will provide lots of pleasure.
Tasted June 21, 2017 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LAPLACE MADIRAN AP 2013
Vintages #103705 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100Madiran is based on Tannat, in this case supplemented by Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The wine is deep, dense ruby-purple. Notes of tobacco leaf and spice underpin aromas of plum, blackberry and black currant fruit, with a lovely floral top note. Elevated, grippy tannins and firm acidity define the palate, where the juicy and surprisingly fresh fruit peeks through the dense structure. It is big, bold and edgy, and should be a perfect match with beef and lamb. A fine value too.
Tasted June 21, 2017 • ROUGE ET BLANC LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2014, AP Côtes du Roussillon
Vintages #195107 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Deep purple in colour, the nose presents bright, pretty aromas of cherry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry fruit, with a floral lift. The wine is dry, with firm acidity and fine tannins. Just a little heat underlies the focused, pleasant and very ripe fruit on the palate, with just a hint of menthol. Very attractive, accessible wine, and a fine value.
Tasted June 21, 2017 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DONNACHIARA IRPINIA AGLIANICO DOC 2013
Vintages #262956 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This Aglianico from Irpinia in Campania is deep ruby-purple in colour. Aromas suggesting concentrated black cherry, black currant and plum fruit are supported by hints of cedary resin and chocolate. Bright acidity and chewy, mouthcoating tannins define the palate, where the bright and surprisingly fresh fruit bursts through the dense tannic structure. This should work well with barbequed meats and vegetables.
Tasted June 21, 2017 • THE CASE FOR WINE (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SASSOREGALE SANGIOVESE 2014, DOC Maremma Toscana
Vintages #251785 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100The wine is medium-deep ruby-red, with a lighter red rim. Ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit aromas are backed by notes of black olives and cedary resin. The palate is nicely balanced, with firm acidity and fine-grained tannins that still have a little chewy concentration, while the fruit is bright and pleasant. Very nicely structured, and an excellent value.
Tasted June 21, 2017 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation