available in Ontario on July 8, 2017
I am excited to be able to highlight three not-to-be-missed fortified wines from Spain. The first is a delightful sherry-based sweet vermouth composed of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez, the second is a fine Oloroso also sweetened with Pedro Ximénez, and the third is an exceptional aged Fino sherry.
- La Copa Vermouth Jerez, Spain
- Lustau East India Solera Sherry
- Valdespino Fino Inocente Sherry
The five reds I am featuring include a cooler climate Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley in Australia, a Syrah-based blend from Saint-Chinian and a Gamay from Juliénas, and two Italian reds, a Chianti Classico and a Barbera D’Alba.
- 2015 Giant Steps Pinot Noir Yarra Valley
- 2015 Cave De Roquebrun La Grange Des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun AC
- 2015 Laurent Perrachon Roche Bleue Juliénas
- 2014 Ricasoli Brolio Chianti Classico
- 2015 Fontanafredda Raimonda Barbera D’Alba
Finally, I am pleased to add three more wines to the collection of recommended rosés that have been available this summer. They hail from Bandol, Tavel, and the Niagara Peninsula.
- 2016 La Cadiérenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé
- 2016 Famille Perrin Tavel
- 2016 Kacaba Summer Series Rebecca Rosé, Niagara Peninsula
LA COPA VERMOUTH , Jerez, Spain
Vintages #491712 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 93/100An exciting take on vermouth from Gonzales Byass, this brand was launched in 2016 as a revival of an old recipe that dates from 1896. It is a blend of eight-year-old Oloroso Sherry, sweetened by Pedro Ximénez, and macerated with spices and botanicals such as wormwood, clove, orange peel, nutmeg, angelica and quinine. It is medium-depth coppery brown, with a dynamic and intense nose suggesting raisins, dates and nuts, with bright orange zest and confected creamsickle, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves ... and so much more. The wine is sweet, rich, spicy and full of life. I'm sure that a cocktail wizard would find lots of ways to use this, but I want to relax and sip this over ice. A terrific value.
Tasted June 23, 2017 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LUSTAU EAST INDIA SOLERA SHERRY DO
Vintages #342931 • $23.95 • 500ml. • 92/100A cream sherry composed of 80% Oloroso sweetened by Pedro Ximénez, the wines spend 12 years in independent soleras, and then another three years in cask after blending, for a total average age of 15 years. The wine is a darker mahogany colour, with glints of coppery amber on the rim. The nose is so complex: it suggests toasted walnuts, raisins, chocolate, caramel, orange zest and marmalade, with a hint of volatility. It is certainly sweet, and the alcohol is high and warm, but acidity and a streak of soy-like bitterness stiffen the spine, and the glorious raisin, date and nutty palate maintains an underlying firmness. Very lovely indeed — and in its various forms, Sherry remains one of the most compelling values available today.
Tasted July 4, 2017 • JOHN HANNA & SONS LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
VALDESPINO FINO INOCENTE SHERRY DO
Vintages #489609 • $25.95 • 750ml. • 92/100This is an iconic Fino sherry. With grapes exclusively from the famous Macharnudo Alto vineyard, the wine is fermented in barrel using indigenous yeasts, and spends an extraordinary 10 years in solera under flor. The wine is medium-depth straw-yellow. It smells of sea wrack and salt, acetaldehyde of course, showing as lightly toasted almonds, iodine and crushed shells, with hints of dried herbs and lemon. It is bone dry, with a gentle warmth from the alcohol balanced by firm acidity. Perhaps a little more lemon shows on the palate, but mostly the salty, seashell and seaweed tones drive into the finish. This is a tour de force: another amazing sherry and an incredible value.
Tasted July 4, 2017 • AZUREAU WINE AGENCY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
GIANT STEPS PINOT NOIR 2015, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Vintages #219725 • $30.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a good example of Australian Pinot Noir from a moderate climate. The wine is more than medium-depth red, with some translucence. Hints of underbrush and oak spice surround a core of ripe cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, with a whisper of green herbs. Crisp acidity drives the palate, where the bright fruit has an herbal and savoury edge. Very much a new world Pinot — while there is very little earthy character, it is filled with the life and brightness that is so pleasurable.
Tasted June 23, 2017 • VON TERRA ENTERPRISES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN -ROQUEBRUN AC 2015
Vintages #155804 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 89.5/100This Saint-Chinian is a Syrah-based blend, with 30% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre. The wine is a rather deep ruby-purple, with a pretty, floral nose that displays ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit, fresh herbs, pepper and spice. Firm acidity balances both the warmth and weight from the alcohol and the grippy tannins, together providing a dynamic frame for the fruit and spice. Great complexity in a wine for less than $20!
Tasted June 23, 2017 • EUROVINTAGE INTERNATIONAL INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LAURENT PERRACHON ROCHE BLEUE JULIÉNAS AC 2015
Vintages #487165 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is deep purple in colour, with an earthy and savoury nose that shows ripe cherry, blackberry and plum fruit. On the palate, the fruit is much brighter, with fresh acidity, fine tannins, and hints of spice and pepper. Perhaps it has a little more extraction than I think is ideal, but it is still a balanced and focused wine. Very well priced.
Tasted July 4, 2017 • HERITAGE CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
RICASOLI BROLIO CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2014
Vintages #3962 • $22.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a pleasant, nicely structured but lighter bodied Chianti Classico. It is darker cherry-red in colour, with some clarity and translucence. On the nose, pretty red cherry, raspberry and blackberry aromas are complemented by a sprinkling of spice, cedar, vanilla and an undertone of black olives. Crisp acidity and fine, lightly persistent tannins define the palate, and the finish is fresh and stony. Clean and modern, but restrained and elegant.
Tasted July 4, 2017 • CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FONTANAFREDDA RAIMONDA BARBERA D'ALBA DOC 2015
Vintages #23135 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This pleasant, simple Barbera fits the profile, with its high acidity and modest, fine tannins. It is a deepish ruby-red, with aromas of bright cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, slightly spicy, with a note of underbrush and just a hint of volatility. The pleasant, fruity palate is full of life and charm — a fine value to enjoy with lighter summer fare.
Tasted July 4, 2017 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ AP 2016
Vintages #119453 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is medium-depth salmon in colour, with bright aromas suggesting cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit, some lemon zest, spice and green herbs. It is very dry, with elevated alcohol and a firm, mid-to-full-weight body, with enough acidity to stay focused and crisp, and just a note of tannic bitterness on the finish. This is a robust rosé that will work well with heavier and richer summer fare.
Tasted June 23, 2017 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FAMILLE PERRIN TAVEL AC 2016
Vintages #680801 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This dependable blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre is medium-depth cherry-pink. Aromas of strawberries, raspberries, cherries and ripe red apples are accompanied by a citrussy tang and a dusting of fresh herbs. Dry, with bright acidity, the palate is clean, crisp and firm, with a light burr of tannins on the focused and stony finish. Very classy.
Tasted June 23, 2017 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
KACABA SUMMER SERIES REBECCA ROSÉ 2016, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #227025 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This Gamay blend is light to medium salmon-pink in colour, with a pretty nose suggesting green herbs, red cherries, strawberries, raspberries and lemon. The wine is dry, with just a whisper of sweetness that is balanced by the firm, crisp acidity. There is a pleasant bitter note underneath the bright fruit, and a savoury undertone. Quite sophisticated and focused.
Tasted June 23, 2017 • KACABA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation