available in Ontario from February 3, 2018
This eclectic group of red wines includes five wines from Italy and one from Portugal, but it is headlined by Shiraz/Syrah from Australia and New Zealand, and by Pinot Noir from New Zealand and Burgundy.
The Australian Shiraz is the rather refined 2015 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz, a nice counterpoint to the excellent 2016 Mount Riley Syrah from Marlborough. And a Marlborough Pinot, the 2015 Vidal Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, provides an interesting new world foil for the compelling 2014 Chanson Père & Fils Marsannay.
The Italian and Portuguese wines provide an array of appealing, food-friendly drinking options, all priced at twenty dollars and below. The list begins with the bright and pretty 2016 Farina Valpolicella, followed by two attractive basic Chiantis, the 2015 Badia a Coltibuono Cetamura Chianti and the 2014 Casa al Vento Aria Chianti Classico, with the second showing just a little bottle evolution. The remaining three wines have a little more weight: the 2015 Feudo Maccari Noto Nero D’Avola from Sicily, the 2014 Guicciardini Strozzi Momi from Maremma on the Tuscan coast, and the 2015 Lua Cheia Old Vines Red, from the Douro in Portugal.
WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2015, Coonawarra, South Australia
Vintages #433060 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100Here's a very stylish Aussie Shiraz from Coonawarra. It is deep, dark purple in colour, with vibrant aromas of black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit, a waft of black pepper, and nuanced vanilla and oak spice underneath. Crisp acidity, balanced alcohol and fine tannins frame the ripe (but not over-ripe) fruit on the palate. It's juicy, full of life, and the oaky backdrop is constrained, giving the wine a sense of depth without overly obtrusive flavouring. The acidity will allow this to evolve nicely in the cellar. While I wouldn't place this within the true cool climate ethos that is becoming more common in Australia, it is a lovely, balanced and quite elegant wine. And it's a fine value that won't disappoint.
Tasted Jan 30, 2018 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
MOUNT RILEY SYRAH 2016, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #535856 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100I'm always interested in trying New Zealand Syrah when I find it, and my limited experience suggests that this wine is a spot-on example of the style that they are developing. Be clear: it is properly described as Syrah rather than Shiraz. The nose suggests fresh but ripe blueberries and blackberries, with a floral-violet lift and a dusting of dried herbs and black pepper. I love the bright, juicy acidity, the underlying fine tannins that gently persist, and the balanced alcohol — a framework complemented by restrained oak that gives a light, resinous undertone and adds a breadth to the expressive fruit. Beneath that lovely fruit you may find a subtle, earthy and slightly meaty essence, and on the finish the firm acidity and subtle tannins linger with the fruit. What a great value this is!
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • KIRKWOOD DIAMOND CANADA PARTNERSHIP (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
VIDAL ESTATE RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2015, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #538900 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a juicy, fresh-smelling Marlborough Pinot. Ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit with a delicate note of violets jump forward on the nose, framed by subtle oak and vanilla, and with a hint of earthy Pinot depth. Acids are balanced, the fruit on the palate seems a little riper and very dark-timbred, and the undertones of damp earth and forest floor are a little more apparent. Tannins are light, and linger pleasantly on the finish. Very attractive and well made.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • HOBBS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CHANSON PÈRE & FILS MARSANNAY AC 2014
Vintages #527903 • $37.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100A real mouthful here: bright acids define the palate, balanced by fine chalky tannins. Fruit is ripe but fresh — mostly cherry, raspberry and blackberry — with forest floor and damp earth undertones. It's lively, nicely textured, and balanced with an edge towards acidity and freshness, and so very enticing now. But it has lots of potential to evolve with cellar time, so enjoy one now, and then follow up in the next three to five years and enjoy the changes.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • JOHN HANNA & SONS LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
FARINA VALPOLICELLA DOC 2016
Vintages #492561 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a bright, cheerful Valpolicella: ruby-red in colour, with pretty, fresh red cherry and blackberry fruit aromas complemented by a sprinkling of dried herbs. Crisp acidity and fine tannins frame the attractive fruit on the palate, and a pleasant earthy depth adds a little complexity. It's light, crisp, and quite delicious — perfect with lighter fare.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • MAJESTIC WINE CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
BADIA A COLTIBUONO CETAMURA CHIANTI DOCG 2015
Vintages #541268 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100A very well-priced entry-level Chianti. Restrained but ripe cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose is already showing a lightly savoury, celery salt edge. The palate is nicely balanced, with firm acidity and fine, juicy tannins. While the fruit on the palate is certainly quite ripe and retains a core of freshness, you can sense the beginnings of evolution. Such a great value at this price.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CASA AL VENTO ARIA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2014
Vintages #378026 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is an attractive Chianti Classico that is beginning to show a little bottle age. First, notice that the wine is garnet on the rim, fading from its cherry-red core, and then the very ripe cherry and berry fruit on the palate has a leathery edge, with an undertone of damp earth. But the balance is still towards freshness, as the firm acidity centres the palate, nicely backed by the fine, lingering tannins. I'd definitely drink this in the next year or two for maximum enjoyment, although the structure will allow it to age a little longer than that.
Tasted Jan 19, 2018 • LIBERTY WINES INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
GUICCIARDINI STROZZI MOMI 2014, DOP Maremma Toscana Rosso
Vintages #535336 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a Sangiovese blend from Maremma, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. The wine is deep, dark red in colour, with very ripe blackberry, black cherry and black currant fruit, some vanilla and wood spice, a floral lift, and an undertone of forest floor. There is just a touch of heat, with slightly astringent tannins but lots of juicy fruit. Overall very pleasant and appealing — I'm thinking that this will warm you up nicely if you are cooking steaks on the barbecue this winter.
Tasted Jan 30, 2018 • LE SOMMELIER INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
FEUDO MACCARI NOTO NERO D'AVOLA 2015, IGP Terre Siciliane
Vintages #339101 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Nero d'Avola is still Sicily's most widely planted red grape. I think of wines made from it as being high alcohol, dense and weighty, but this is a lighter, more accessible example. Rather deep, dark red in colour, you'll find ripe blackberry and plum fruit on the nose, with an herbal and floral edge. Fine tannins and firm acidity frame the juicy, appealing palate, with no overt wood treatment. Fruit is very ripe, but there is still a balanced lightness that surprised me. All-in-all, it's ripe, juicy, and very appealing.
Tasted Jan 30, 2018 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
LUA CHEIA OLD VINES RED 2015, DOC Douro
Vintages #266882 • $13.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Here's an intriguing wine for the money. Deep purple in colour, it shows a youthful violet on the rim. Dense, ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit aromas are backed by an earthy undertone. The wine is dry, with nicely balanced acidity and alcohol, and fine, slightly squeaky tannins. There is no obvious oak apart from the merest hint of vanilla and spice. The fruit replays on the palate, and the savoury-earthy element emerges towards the finish. Another excellent value from the Douro.
Tasted Jan 23, 2018 • THE VINE AGENCY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review