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
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 www.lcbo.com
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!
Arguëso San León
Manzanilla Clásica 94
Manzanilla, Jerez, Spain
070066 (v) $14.95
Stunningly dry, crisp and refreshing Sherry aged on the coast
with typical fresh-mown hay, sea salt, camomile and dried apple notes: a brilliant
aperitif or match with soups, bouillon, shellfish, seafood, roasted almonds
Alvarinho Deu La Deu Vinho
Verde '06 86
de Monçao, DOC Sub-Regiao de Monçao,
0040642 (v) $18.95
Lightly spritzy white from the grape called
in Spain grown in cool, hilly northern Portugal. Very dry Riesling in character
with earth, wet stone, mineral and faint olive notes framing citrus-grapefruit
and faint peach notes. Super dry and crisp as a palate cleanser or shellfish,
Muralhas de Monçao Vinho Verde '07 87
Regional de Monçao, DOC Sub-Regiao de Monçao,
From the warmer '07 vintage, showing more
tangerine peach aromas and flavors but still the racy acidity and slight
effervescence you'd expect, equally food versatile and refreshing. Drink
soon as you like, on the dock, deck, patio.
Lucien Albrecht Riesling Reserve
0745000 (v) $19.95
For the crustacean fanciers in the crowd, here's a dry, crisp,
fruity companion white with nuances of peach, white grapefruit-lime zest, white
flowers and stony minerals. Cleansing acidity bodes well for lobster, crayfish,
oysters or grilled shrimp. The Albrechts have been doing this meticulously
Attems Pinot Grigio '07 90
0707950 (v) $19.95
Multi-layered PG with nods to pink grapefruit, banana, peach,
Golden apple and vanilla, fruit-driven yet elegant and stylish with a crisp,
dry finish. Serve with warm salads, white meats, seafood or shellfish.
Bortoluzzi Pinot Grigio '06 87
Borgo Tintor, IGT
0717330 (v) $19.95
Slightly more austere than the Attems yet distinctive and
elegant with a stony-citrus core, herbal-mineral and tree-fruit notes and tons
of character, again from the heartland of great PGs in Italy's northeast. Equally
food versatile and delicious.
Castello Montauto Vernacccia
di San Gimignano '07 92
Villa Cerna, DOCG Tuscany
0070847 (v) $15.95
Vernaccia is a native Italian grape that makes a wonderful
crisp, dry summer wine. This handmade example is barrel-fermented and complex
with scented, floral notes, creamy on the tongue and ripe lemon-melony with
soft, spicy grace notes. Seafood, freshwater fish or aperitif.
St Supery Sauvignon Blanc '06 92
Napa Valley, California
0339663 (v) $24.95
Delicate and lacy with heady aromatics of pink grapefruit
canteloupe and fresh herbs, zesty and fresh with tropical notes of pineapple,
nectarine, lemon grass, ripe rhubarb, pineapple and lime-lemon, ready to go
with light, healthy summer cuisine.
Mahi Sauvignon Blanc '07 88
Marlborough, S Island,
0063941 (v) $19.95
In contrast, here's a classic Kiwi Sauv, with a dusty mineral,
white grapefruit, fresh-cut grass persona, citrus to the fore and a hint of
toasty French oak astern. More austere and less tropical as you'd expect, great
with white fish, herb-roasted chicken and summer salads.
Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino
DOC Pomino Bianco,
0065086 (v) $18.95
Lightly toasty with vanilla and balsam fragrances, oaky again
on the palate along with peachy, pear, apple flavors, and finishing on an oak-toast
note. Treat it like a light red for food matching, especially with grilled
white meats, planked salmon or smoked fish.
Flat Rock Cellars The Rusty
Shed Chardonnay '06 91
Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
0001552 (v) $24.95
No rust notes but a complex and harmonic fusion of barrel-fermented
and -aged wine with integrated vanillin oak, concentrated tropical pear, melon
and apple fruit and fine citric acidity and an afterthought of cedary smoke.
Ageable and up to handling char-grilled fish and white meats.
Château des Charmes Viognier 2006 90
St David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula
432948 LCBO $25.95
With the warm weather and a thirst for fresh,
intriguing white wines, you could confidently start with this intriguing
with its subtle melon, citrus, dried apricot and white peach aromatics and
fine racy acidity for food friendliness (1,530 cases made). Another superbly
aromatic white from the Château is Chardonnay Musqué '06, LCBO
322016, $16.95 from Clone 809 pioneered in Canada by Paul Bosc that
fuses unoaked Chardonnay elegance with the exotic nuances of spicy honeysuckle,
apricot and subtle muscat flavors and fragrances (91).
Silver at the Ontario Wine Awards (486 cases made). Taking Gold at that event,
Riesling '06 Estate Bottled, LCBO 277228, $16.95 is a showstopper
handmade, it expresses the mineral elegance of its terroir in a concentrated
lime-lemon style with hints of Delicious apple and steely acidity. The Château's
Sauvignon Blanc Estate Bottled '06, LCBO 453423,
$15.95, is an elegant aperitif,
or soulmate for white meat or grilled fish (89).
Gassier Les Piliers Viognier '07 89
Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
0669531 (v) $18.95
For a more exotic, tropical take on Viognier, from the
Midi with a touch of French oak, here's a good value crisp, slightly peach-muscatty
version with nectarine, apricot and hints of vanilla in the mix. Quite dry,
creamy on the palate, and food friendly.
Batasiolo Bosc dla Rei Moscato
d'Asti '07 94
0028175 (v) $19.95
Speaking of Musqué... here's a low-alcohol
sparkling Muscat that's patio-perfect and just a medium-sweet charmer from
Serralunga d'Alba. Orange blossom, rose petals and floral with an overripe
fruit and slightly fizzy character, delicious with fresh fruit or not-so-sweet
dessert. Drink very well chilled now, only 5.5% alc!
Dry Red Wines:
Rodney Strong Merlot '04 90
Napa Valley, California
0497933 (v) $24.95
Beautifully crafted Merlot from this consistent producer's
own estate, rich in black fruits like plums, blueberry and cassis, with
spicy red licorice and hints of creamy vanilla finishing in a whiff of
toasty oak. Forget Sideways... it's delicious!
Casa Silva Reserva Syrah '05 85
0014456 (v) $14.95
An easy-drinking, undemanding but pleasurable quaffer
for burgers off the barbie, has some spicy aromas and raspberry-blackberry
complexity in a crowd-pleasing style.
Château Pech-Latt '06 88
0076513 (v) $17.95 Organic
Pech-Latt's first vines were planted around
780 AD by monks from nearby Lagrasse Abbey, founded by Charlemagne, and
today's Grenache, Syrah and Carignan varieties, tended by Philippe Mathias,
are farmed organically. Light on the planet, rich on the palate, the
spicy, smoky red is blueberry-blackberry fruit-forward with herbes de
Provence notes and enough heft for char-broiled red meats, robust casseroles
and Mediterranean cuisine. It's $25 in BC!
Hecht & Bannier Minervois '05 87
0017764 (v) $21.95
From a small but reliable négociant-éléveur,
here's a tasty cranberry-redcurrant and cherry mini-Rhône style
of red with gentle tannins and elegant poise, from a good vintage. Great
with herb-roasted poultry, poached salmon.
Domaine Jaume Altitude
420 '05 89
0073924 (v) $19.95
Lovely Rhône from a recently created appellation
grown at 420 metres above the Med and packed with peppery, spicy red
fruit flavors, cedar and graphite, with coffee and tobacco leaf notes,
nicely tannic and fleshy. With pissaladière, pizza and lamb
now and to 2012.
Domaine de Beaurenard '05 90
Paul Coulon & Fils, AC Châteauneuf-du-Pape,
0324822 (v) $46.95
That's the going rate for these thoroughbreds: a terrific
vintage with immense concentration of sunbaked herbs, warm earth, cherries,
raspberries, leather, black pepper, mocha and chocolate, best cellared
3-4 years and good for another 10-15. Serve at your anniversary or for
a romantic dinner.
Cavas y Almas del Amancay Malbec '03 88
Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina
0661439 (v) $21.95
Chunky, broad-shouldered but friendly dry red sporting
dark-fruit, herbal, spicy tobacco and tar notes with fine tannins.
Grown a long way west of its Cahors, France homeland, this is an athletic
Malbec that carnivores adore. Fire up the grill!
Finca Sophenia Reserve
Malbec '06 88
0066837 (v) $16.95
Big, chewy, berry-rich and fruity with
a smooth touch of Michel Rolland, France's roving über-consultant,
inky black with black cherry and blackberry notes and a hint of new
Navarro Correas Gran
Reserva Malbec '05 92
0028928 (v) $18.95
Perhaps the best of this big Malbec release and terrific
value, rich, sweetly ripe and lush with black fruit and wild berries,
cedary-coffee aromas and satisfying herbal-leather nuances. A complex
and finely crafted red from a wine family dating back to 1798.
Domaine Laougué Le Clos Camy '05 87
0078733 (v) $17.95
Tarry tannins give away the voluptuous Tannat grape
component, softened with Cabernet grown at the foot of the Pyrenees in
SW France that offers a succulent, spicy, very ripe black fruit, raisin-tobacco
note and excellent acid balance. Ageable and ready to take on the most
robust casseroles, roasted meats in wine sauce, duck, cassoulet, lamb,
Hacienda Araucano Reserva
Carmenère '05 86
Valley, Chile, Jacques & François
0061325 (v) $12.95
From the rare old Bordeaux grape Carmenère,
also known as Grande Vidure, grown widely in Chile by the likes of
the well-regarded Lurtons (of Bordeaux) who know plenty about good
reds. Always a slightly vegetal (green bean) and earthy wine, this
dark red has a herby-jammy character with a smoky tar note. Very good
value and food friendly.
Cremaschi Furlotti Ltd.
Ed. Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Carmenère '04 86
Maule Valley, Chile
0014183 (v) $15.95
A mouthful already! A smoky spicy blend with a hint
of tar and green bean, earth and leather, quite full-bodied and tailor-made
for anything red and grilled, or with strong, tangy cheeses.
Amadio Cabernet Sauvignon '05 90
Vale, S Australia
0063784 (v) $24.95
Herbaceous, fresh and clean from cool vineyards that
lend a crisp refreshing acidity, here's a fine Cab with plum, berry,
cassis, chocolate and eucalyptus aromas and flavors to pair with finer
cuts of beef, furry game and ribs.
Château des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon '05 92
St David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula
935957 LCBO $25.95
BBQ-ready with an attractive dark chocolate,
spicy raspberry and cassis flavor profile, medium weight and with a
lovely fresh berry core. Midweight and food friendly at 13% alcohol
and only 491 cases produced, like all the Bosc wines, using sustainable
agricultural methods "to let
the wines shine through in the glass", as they say.
Ebenezer Cabernet Sauvignon '03 89
Valley, S Australia
0039537 (v) $39.95
Well-structured and elegant Cab from a consistent,
quality-oriented growers' co-op around the village of Ebenezer in the
north Barossa. Midweight with cassis, mulberry and chocolate notes, should
get even better with some cellar time.
Château le Raz Cuvée Grand
Chêne '05 89
Vignobles Barde, AC Côtes de
0718932 (v) $18.95
You don't need a nose like Cyrano to appreciate this
Bordeaux-style beauty, made of Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec. Ageable
with black cherry, pipe tobacco, blueberry and new leather notes framed
by mild tannins and a subtle toasty oak. Serve any time soon with mushroom
dishes or anything truffled.
adegaborba.pt Reserva '04 90
de Borba, DOC Alentejo, Portugal
0080606 (v) $20.95
Another reason modern Portuguese wines
are so vastly improved: from a quality co-op that makes wines from
native and international grapes. In this case, the website/wine name
(adegaborba.pt) says Aragônes
(alias Tempranillo in Spain) and Cabernet Sauvignon from chalky clay
and schist sites. This huge winery has 89 fermenters and NASA-like technology.
The wine is sleek, berry-fruit forward with a hint of oak and fine tannins.
Enjoy with boar, venison, lamb, spicy sausage and a hunk of broa bread.
Two more Alentejo wines to try are: Herdade de São Miguel
Colheita Seleccionada '06, 0070703, $16.95, sweetly
ripe spicy cherry, leather and earthy minerals (86)
do Perdigao Vinha do Almo '05, 0081752
(v) $18.95, more complex with elderberry, plum and spicy oak napped
with silky tannins (89). From the Dão
region comes Cabriz Reserva '04 made by Dão Sul, 0021410,
$18.95, using the traditional Port
grapes (without brandy fortification, of course) to achieve a black cherry,
blackberry-plum, wild berry, forest-floor earthiness that will enhance
a fine roast (87).
Beronia Tempranillo Elaboración Especial '06 88
0723643 (v) $18.95
Barrel fermentation in American oak has added a fine
coconut-vanilla dimension to the lovely berry character of this classic
grape variety, with nuances of smoky toastiness, cedar, spicy plum and
star anise. Think mushroom risotto, paella, Mediterranean cuisine and
Dominio Basconcillos '04 90
DO Ribera del
0067371 (v) $21.95 Organic
From this fine emerging region beside the river
that becomes Portugal's Douro, here's a finely balanced, almost sulphur-free
red that has gentle breeding and tastes sexy. Black fruit, pencil-lead
graphite, vanilla, mineral and spicy toasty oak aromas come in waves,
it's food friendly and good for 8-10 more years.
D'Angelo Aglianico del
Vulture '04 91
09071689 (v) $20.95
Pronounced Allianico, predating the founding of Rome
by 1,000 years and loving the volcanic slopes of Mount Vulture, this
is a historic grape of Greek origin. Grab a glass at your local prosciutteria
and it'll have hints of herbs, chocolate, licorice, cinnamon, black cherries
and mocha with plump tannins to welcome smoked or grilled meats and tangy
Ceravolo Sangiovese '06 86
0058123 (v) $16.95
Friendly quaffer with the cherry-leather typical of
this grape, the backbone of Chianti. Not the greatest of Sangiovese's
many clones but clean, fruity and refreshing, especially with tomato-sauced
pasta, pizza or BBQ ribs.
Argiano Non Confunditur '05 91
0072397 (v) $26.95
A blend of 40% cassis-toned Cabernet and 20% each of
earthy Sangiovese, sweetly ripe Merlot and fruity Syrah, all vinified
separately, of course this fails to meet the appellation requirements
for Chianti! No problem: a New World style for early to midterm drinking,
with mild tannins, fresh plum-cherry and licorice on the nose, and smoky,
mocha-strawberry-vanilla on the tongue, with a backdrop of toasty oak.
Calls for Steak Fiorentina.
Saggio Chianti Governato '06 90
DOCG Chianti, Toscana, Italy
0073460 (v) $18.95
Very much a proper Chianti, made by the ancient Governo
method of adding the sweet juice from a sun-dried portion of the harvest
to the fermenting wine, softening and enriching the result, dry, complex
and voluptuous with new leather and cherry top notes. Well priced.
Château Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz '05 90
Vale, S Australia
0510628 (v) $34.95
Upscale Shiraz, made to improve with age, from carefully
selected fruit, gently pressed and aged 18 months in French and American
oak, brimming with smoky berry fruit notes, tar, earth, spice and cigar
leaf. For your best filet and prime ribs until 2015.
De Bortoli DB Selection
Petite Sirah '06 86
0694802 (v) $14.95
For immediate pleasure with burgers, dogs and ribs
right off the grill! A quite long-lived and deep-colored distant relative
of Shiraz (alias Syrah), simpler and less intense with a kirsch, Bing
cherry, cola profile, mild tannins and hints of vanilla and oak. Very
Devil's Lair Red '03 92
Margaret River, W
0543454 (v) $49.95
Pricey but interesting Cab Sauvignon/Franc and Merlot
from the bottom left of Oz, cool-climate and all. Quite elegant and subtle
with dark chocolate, vanilla and wild strawberry/forest floor notes,
eucalyptus and cassis. Now to 2015 with roast duck, quail and venison.
Sebastiani Zinfandel '06 86
0672667 (v) $18.95
Party-perfect, fruit forward and easy to love: wild
strawberry-blueberry-black plum core with a frame of mild, chewy tannins
and balancing acidity, a hint of raisin pie and blueberries on the
finish. Tasty value with ribs, beef and barbie.
Batasiolo Barolo Vigneto
Boscareto '00 94
0073932 (v) $65.95
Very good value! Boscareto, one of the Dogliani family's
nine vineyards, at 420 metres, overlooks Serralunga village, and its
wines are rich, layered, and show the rose petal and violets signature
of great Barolos, ageable, complex, nuanced with truffle and black plum
notes. Truly a keeper!
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de
Blancs '04 90
0914648 (v) $26.95
Cool-climate sparking dry white made like Champagne
from 100% Chardonnay that's elegant, light and refreshing in a floral,
steely, mineral style with riffs of green apples and citrus, designed
for crab, lobster, calamari off the grill. Good value.
Allimant-Laugner Crémant d'Alsace
Hubert Laugner, AC Alsace, France
Fresh, creamy, floral and a lovely pale-gold
hue, this classy fizz offers racy vanilla, ripe pear, melon and citrus
perked up with a fine mousse and zippy acidity for food friendliness.
From the famed Haut Koenigsbourg hill in France's picturesque northern
wine region. Mostly Pinot Blanc with Riesling and Pinot Gris.
Cave Spring Riesling
Icewine '06 92
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
447441 (v) $59.65, 375mL
Thoroughbred tropical fruit-driven Icewine
that's elegant, with fresh, clean acidity, and luscious. Pair this
with foie gras, fresh figs or white chocolate or enjoy as dessert in
a glass by itself. More elegant than Vidal grape versions. Drink now
or keep for up to 5 years.
Quinta de Ventozelo
LBV Port '98 91
660159 (v) $21.95
Spice cake aromas and ripe fruit
and dried fruit flavors – cherry,
plum, mulberry and fig – herald the arrival of this delicious, ready
to drink Port. Four years in oak barrel and 6 in bottle have mellowed
the tannins and polished the profile of this ethereal sweetie picked
in '98, bottled in '02. Great with chocolate desserts.
Quinta do Noval Tawny
Reserve Port 92
687608 (v) $19.95
Much more nutty and creamy from six years in barrel,
this amber-colored, wood-aged Port shows forest floor, fig, Bing
cherry, roasted hazelnut and vanilla character and, like the LBV,
does not need decanting. High quality.
Bacalhôa Moscatel de Setúbal '01 90
0996181 (v) $11.95
A generous medium-sweet dessert sipper from this
lovely sea-girt peninsula 40k from Lisbon, a fortified Muscat equivalent
to Port and Madeira, aromatic and subtle with nuances of roasted
nuts, honeycomb, and honeyed apricot for a giveaway price! With fine
blue cheeses or sabayon.
The Macallan Amber
0001974 (v) $49.95
Intriguing new single malt liqueur
made with maple syrup and pecan, showing strong vanilla, toasted
nut and Sherry notes, smooth and not too sweet. Sacrilege in a
glass, maybe, but a great mixer base or dessert pacifier or over
ice cream! Nothing like the Scotch! Whatever happened to Lochan
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the page, please!