Autumn 2014

(Hint: click on labels and photos for even more information!)

Value for money is what counts. You won’t find any wines here that aren’t worth buying. Feel free to scroll through this list and see everything we’ve been sampling but, if you’re in a hurry (or very thirsty), you can just click on any of the following words to be whisked electronically to the category of your choice:

Dry White Wines

Dry Red Wines

Sparkling Gems

Just Desserts

Everything WINE EXPRESS recommends is in the regular LCBO stores, unless marked (v) for Vintages stores, Boutiques, and Corners, or (c) Consignment, available by the case through the importing agent.

Call the LCBO’s Infoline 416-365-5900 or go to for the store near you that has the wine. If your store doesn’t have it, the manager will order in the wine at no cost and notify you.

Oh, and by the way, if you need a refresher on our rating system (the ratings are in red), just flip back to the main Wine Picks main page for a quick refresher – in helping you choose a refresher quickly!

Dry Whites:

Clos les Montys Vieilles Vignes 2013                93
AC Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie, Loire, France
297911 (v) $14.95
Intensely dry, austere and elegant, packed with stony citrus acidity, here’s a crisp aperitif and seafood shellfish wine to cherish and share with friends over a bouillabaisse, oysters or clam pasta.

Paco & Lola Albarino 2013Paco & Lola Albarino 2013                90
DO Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain
350041 (v) $18.95
Like a bone-dry German Riesling with stony citrus, gunflint, lime zest, white grapefruit and no oak to speak of – very fruit forward. From cool wet NW Spain and geared to seafood and shellfish, right now.

Klumpp Pinot Gris 2013               89
Qualitatswein, Baden, Germany
394155 (v) $23.95
Clean, crisp and packed with apricot, persimmon, citrus nuances with a fresh, clean mouth feel and finishing touches of lemon-peach and white flowers. Now to 2018 with light, white fare.

Montalto Pinot Grigio 2012               88
Barone Montalto, Sicily IGT, Italy
73148 LCBO $8.95
Light, crisp and floral in the exciting new Sicilian style, fresh and appealing. Subtle pear, apple and lemon aromas, rounded on the palate with a clean citrus finish. Perfect aperitif or to pair with white meats, seafood and salads.

Humberto Canale Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013               90
Alto Valle del Rio Negro, Patagonia, Chile
384321 (v) $14.95
Restrained elegance on a shoestring budget. From the dry, windy Patagonian plateau, a cool climate SB with vibrant acidity that’s food versatile and great as an aperitif. Ready to enjoy tonight.

Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013               90
Casablanca Valley, Chile
974717 (v) $13.95
From a warm vintage that bestowed an exotic tropical fruit blast, balancing pea pod acidity and minerality, saltiness and herbal grace notes on this amazingly inexpensive offering. Huge value.

13th Street June’s Vineyard Riesling 2012               89
VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
147512 (v) $19.95
Could be taken for a fine Rheingau in any German Riesling blind tasting. Oily texture, whiffs of lanolin and gasoline (in a good way) and riffs of lush white peach, honeyed pear and crisp apple. Gorgeous. Very enjoyable now.

Schieferkopf Riesling 2011               90
AC Alsace, M. Chapoutier, France
390609 (v) $22.95
From the top left corner of France, just across the Rhine from Baden, Riesling is king in Alsace. A fruit medley of persimmon, carambola, papaya and Calvados. Refined and finely textured with a long, tantalizing finish.

Salomon-Undhof Alte Reben Gruner Veltliner 2012Salomon-Undhof Alte Reben Gruner Veltliner 2012               91
DAC Kremstal, Austria
392332 (v) $21.95
Racy, lovely GrooVee, one of the great undiscovered dry whites, has power, finesse and an incredible razor acidity that’s so balanced as to be imperceptible. This one is rich, with yellow plum, lemon zest, dried hay and pear fruitiness and a soupçon of toasted almonds.

Alain Geoffroy Beauroy 2012               91
AC Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy, France
733501 (v) $29.95
Deliciously minimalist, i.e. elegant and austere, from its chalky minerality to its exquisite citrus acidity – the perfect partner for mussels, oysters, or grilled seafood.

Domaine de Fussiacus Vieilles Vignes 2012               92
AC Pouilly-Fuisse, Jean-Paul Paquet, Loire, France
276444 (v) $27.95
An old-vines Chardonnay with gravitas and freshness at the same time. Toast, vanilla and leesiness from barrel aging and fine acidity from perfectly ripe fruit handled with TLC.

Gerard Talmard Chardonnay 2012               89
AC Macon, Burgundy, France
392712 (v) $16.95
Dry, crisp, stony and edgy in a no-oak way, fruit-driven with a hint of brioche and toasted bread, golden apple, white peach and Bosc pear on the mid-palate. On a rising curve of maturity – now to 2020.

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2012               90
WO Stellenbosch, Winery of Good Hope, South Africa
739995 (v) $15.95
South Africa’s signature white Chenin, known locally as Steen, delivers this stylish peachy, apricot-tinged white with a nuance of baby powder, toast and yellow plum. Would flatter any pork or Asian dish.

McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2007               88
Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
724492 (v) $19.95
Bordeaux’s Semillon grape turns into a different animal in the Hunter. Yielding a deliciously oily, sleek, hefty white instead of a floral French middleweight. This one is a pile-driver, in a nice way! Citrus, dried herbs, oakiness and fresh hay take centre stage. Serve with food as you would a light red wine!

Dry Red Wines:

Domaine de l’Herminette Grand Cras 2013               89
AC Morgon, Beaujolais, France
390476 (v) $19.95
From one of the stellar Beaujolais villages that do Gamay grapes so well: earthy, smoky, floral, packed with red berry fruit and gentle tannins. Perfect with couscous, casseroles, confit and cheesies.

Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012              91
VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
382283 (v) $27.95
Aged in casks and hand bottled after 12 months, highly concentrated and still a baby! Needs time to show off its ultra-Burgundian elegance. Raspberries, toasty oak and fresh herbs now, its youthful tartness will mellow to perfection. From Southbrook’s star winemaker, Ann Sperling.

Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2011              91
Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
919829 (v) $29.95
Smoky, funky, sweetly ripe with haunting notes of cherry and raspberry, subtle and charming rather than overpowering. A superb food wine with elegance and complexity to partner mushroom risotto, foie gras or herbed chicken.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2012              91
Coonawarra, South Australia
433060 (v) $22.95
Lush and lovely yet quite intense and full of velvety nuances of floral, violets, red plums, mulberry and vanilla bean. From a well-regarded winery with a solid track record for ageable reds.

Osborne Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet 2012              88
Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
610188 LCBO $11.45
Strawberry compote, road tar, wood smoke and black plum aromas with plum and black currant flavors and soft, pleasant tannins.

Chateau Timberlay 2009              89
Bordeaux Superieur, France
30072 LCBO $15.95
Merlot driven with Cabernet Sauvignon support: deep ruby/garnet with a rich bouquet of figs, prunes, capsicum, cedar and smoky notes. Nicely balanced, persistent finish and solid tannin structure. Good grip, as the Brits say. From the huge operation of Robert Giraud whose wines sell a bottle every 5 seconds somewhere around the globe, apparently.

Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot Carmenere 2012              89
Las Pataguas, Rapel, Chile
30957 LCBO $18.95
A pleasure to taste Carmenere treated like a lady as opposed to the volumes of overcropped, underripe versions of this lovely grape that we often see. Lovely fruit – blueberry, black plum and dark chocolate take centre stage. Sweetly ripe tannins, toasty oak and a velvety mouth feel make this a huge value to enjoy with grilled meats, hard cheeses and winter stews. Delivers a lot for the money!

Chateau Gramond 2010Chateau Gramond 2010              89
AC Haut-Medoc, Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux
388322 (v) $29.95
From a powerhouse Bordeaux producer, a super vintage with crushed black pepper, cedar, fruitcake, and wild berries. Really needs a little cellaring but would be great now with a rare roast, if you must!

Chateau Lilian Ladouys 2010              92
AC Saint-Estephe, Bordeaux
257931 (v) $31.85
A thoroughbred on top form: still a baby but showing power and finesse. Oaky notes, not overdone, and intense black berry fruit couched in supple tannins. Perfect in 3-5 year and will hold for a decade or more. With lamb, game or hard cheeses.

Chateau Rahoul 2010              90
AC Graves, Alain Thienot, Bordeaux
226043 (v) $31.95
Forget the movie Eating Raoul! This claret may be for carnivores, but it’s a pussycat, cuddly and full of subtle fruit and tannin riffs to enjoy over the next ten years.

Nostre Pais 2012              90
AC Costieres de Nimes, Michel Gassier, France
295410 (v) $21.95
Smooth, rich, hefty red from the Languedoc, close to the azure Mediterranean. Shows savory floral garrigue notes of lavender, thyme and rosemary with a whiff of white pepper and cassis. Quite delightful and very good value.

Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Telegramme ’12              93
AC Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
292722 (v) $49.95
This is Telegramme, second wine of the fabulous Telegraphe, one of the greatest Ch-neufs of all and it’s a big beauty, 14.8% alcohol and intense strawberry, herbal, floral, gamey Rhone-ness! Collectable but enjoyable now with rare roast or steak or casserole.

Aydie l’Origine 2011              91
AC Madiran, Famille Laplace, SW France
343566 (v) $15.95
A savory, silky, potent Cab Franc-Tannat red with dusty tannins, red fruit compote and immense length on the palate. Needs rich food to excel and will improve for 10 years in your cellar.

Cusumano Noa 2011              90
IGT Sicilia, Presti e Pegni, Italy
109512 (v) $22.95
From the signature red grape of Sicily, Nero d’Avola, blended with 30/30 Merlot and Cabernet, aged in barrique, comes this velvety charmer from vineyards just west of Palermo in Alcamo/Monreale. The plush bouquet exudes cake spices, wet earth, new leather and ripe plums. The palate is silky with blackberry-black olive richness – another of the brilliant emerging new wines of Sicily.

Casa de Santar 2011              89
DOC Dao, Portugal
190710 (v) $16.95
A soft, cuddly and delicious red that’s rich, fruity, refreshing and fun. Very drinkable now with stews, pizza, KFC chicken and finger food. No furrowed brows here!

Finca Constancia Altos de la Finca 2011              90
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain
383984 (v) $21.95
Blend of Petit Verdot and Syrah grown in the ancient heart of Spain, matured in new French oak and a serious overachiever. Layered nuances of violets, crushed black pepper, shoe leather, cherry and blueberry with a hint of anise. Best with prime rib roast, venison or boar.

Monna Lisa Chianti Classico 2011Monna Lisa Chianti Classico 2011              90
Villa Vignamaggio, Tuscany, Italy
378133 LCBO $19.95
A ripe, medium-bodied and delicious chewy Sangiovese with nuances of red cherries, new leather, licorice, black fruits and spices. Serve with cheese or tomato-based dishes, beef, sausage or pizza. Grown on this beautiful estate just outside Greve in Chianti Classico where Mona Lisa (Gherardini) was born in 1474 and became the model for Leonardo’s fabulous portrait – the eyes do follow you everywhere!

Chateau La Bourree 2009              88
ACz Cotes de Bordeaux-Castillon, Bordeaux, France
138800 (v) $19.95
A blast of ripe blackberry, smoky savory herbal and mineral aromas leads into a gently fruity mulberry, plum and blackberry tour de force on the palate. A rough and ready charmer to enjoy soon with red meat.

Vincent Sauvestre Clos de la Platiere 2012              92
AC Pommard, Burgundy, France
390534 (v) $59.95
Wood smoke and white flowers, mocha and Asian spices greet the nose, followed by a smooth rainbow of red berries and forest floor subtleties. Of course, beef bourguignon but don’t forget cheeses and herbed chicken dishes.

Chateau de Nages JT 2012              88
AC Costieres de Nimes, Languedoc, France
736876 (v) $24.95
Cheery cherry, Kirsch and black pepper on the nose, blackberry, cassis and licorice on the tongue. Delicious with lamb, beef, turkey and cheese dishes. To enjoy now or over the next decade or so.

Sparkling Gems:

Mionetto ProseccoMionetto Prosecco              89
DOC Treviso, Veneto, Italy
266023 LCBO $17.95
A richly fruity sparkler from Valdobbiadene in Veneto in northern Italy. Refreshing effervescence of golden apple, pear, melon, honey and vanilla to thrill anyone who enjoys an elegant, fun fizz. A perfect aperitif that doubles as a versatile food wine. Priced to be a hit at weddings, too!

Laurent-Perrier Brut Millesime 2004              92
AC Champagne, France
983874 (v) $84.95
An aristo of the Champers world with zesty citrus aromas alongside buttered toast, iodine and pear compote. The palate is complex, lemony yet full of pear, honey and baked fruit with a stony-smoky aftertaste. Ageable 15 years.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Vintage Brut Rosé ’04              93
AC Champagne, France
588475 (v) $99.95
Zesty aromas with a whiff of wood smoke and Key lime leading into a palate of red and black fruit compote, mineral notes and a coda of grapefruit-lemon citrus. Fine, elegant and definitely in the pink!

Tawse Spark Brut Sparkling 2012              89
VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
404568 (v) $14.95
Light lemon and nectarine with a whack of Granny Smith apple on the attack. Chalky mineral, dried hay and white grapefruit as the tiny bubbles tickle your taste buds. Great value fizz!

Ferrari Brut Methode Traditionelle              90
DOC Trento, Alto Adige, Italy
352153 (v) $25.95
Savory, leesy and nuanced from Chardonnay aged two years in bottle during the second fermentation showing hints of Golden Delicious apple and fresh brioche with a touch of gunflint. Classy and very well priced.

Just Desserts:

Inniskillin Vidal Icewine 2012              92
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Wine Rack, LCBO and winery, 375 ml $49.95
Longtime standout Icewine from Inniskillin, the Vidal is a mosaic of vibrant tropical aromas – papaya, pineapple, apricot, and honey ushering in flavors of white peach and brown sugar. Luscious yet crisp and fresh.

Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Sparkling Icewine ’12              94
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario and winery, 375 ml $119.50
First released last year, this is that rare creature, a red, as in crimson, Icewine that tastes of the essence of wild strawberries, rich and bubbly, and truly festive. Online or at the winery only.

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