Summer 2009

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:

Peller Estates Private Reserve Riesling ’07    89
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
641969 (v) $15.95

Fine acidity and a core of white grapefruit zest propel a shy peachy-melon persona into centre stage. Partner this with pork cutlets, veal parmigiana, classic roast chicken or pasta and cream sauce.

Napa Cellars Sauvignon Blanc ’07    91
Napa Valley, California
127027 (v) $19.95
If you like the New World fruit-forward tropical style of Sauvignon, this is definitely for you. If you prefer the crisp, grapefruit green herbal style, skip to Momo from New Zealand. Their difference illustrates the effect of microclimate on the same grape variety in different growing regions. Napa’s big, round floral melony offering is fruit-forward with a creamy mouth feel. Easy drinking, non-challenging.

Momo Sauvignon Blanc ’08    92
Marlborough, New Zealand, S Island
9167 (v) $18.95
Vibrant, racy, dancing on the tongue, this tangerine, grapefruit style with its fresh citrus finish is like a fencer, all flash and dash, exciting and challenging at the same time. The difference is the higher acidity and lower alcohol level, lighter and zippier. Your choice.... En garde!

Jardin Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay ’08    90
WO Stellenbosch, S Africa
663336 (v) $18.95
From the Jordan family, Gary and Kathy, who can’t use their name in N America because of trademarks, here’s a fresh balanced Chard with good fruit, nice acidity and a perfect soupçon of toasty oak. Creamy and refreshing, versatile with seafood, lobster and white meats.

Man Vintners Chenin Blanc ’08    87
WO Coastal Region, S Africa
126847 (v) $13.95
Good everyday quaffer from the workhorse grape of the Cape, native to France’s Loire Valley, dry, crisp, floral with hints of honeyed apple-pear and a kick of light citrus. Easy to consume and enjoy.

Domaine Gobelsburg Gruner Veltliner ’07    90
Kamptal, Austria
965368 (v) $14.95
Austria’s native grape – known as Gru-V – is livelier and more pungent here with herbal, hay, creamy apricot and a pleasant nuance of watercress and white pepper. Super summer sipping.

Markus Molitor Riesling Kabinett ’07    92
QmP Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Mosel, Germany
115634 (v) $24.95
One of four new 2007 single-vineyard releases from the slatey, steep Sundial of Wehlen slopes of the Mosel, German Riesling at its best: the Molitor is complex, rich and impressive, showing ripe peach-melon and violet notes and superb acid balance, just off-dry. The Max Ferd. Richter Kabinett, 998120, $24.95, is fuller and riper still with creamy, juicy nectarine and pineapple character (90). The Selbach-Oster Kabinett, 114793, $22.95, is intensely flavored, poised and elegant with classic petrol, Vaseline aromatics and honeyed peach perfumes with white grapefruit raciness (92). The Studert-Prüm Spätlese, 114777, $24.95, comes from a family that has grown vines on site since 1581, many of the plants on their original rootstock. The wine is typically low in alcohol, fresh and elegant with great depth, lime-grapefruit acidity and refinement (91). An interesting opportunity to buy an instant or future horizontal tasting for your collection. As the cheerful German proverb says: Do as the sundial does – only show your sunny side!

Pfeffingen Scheurebe Spatlese ’07    89
QmP Ungsteiner Herrenberg, Pfalz, Germany
14837 (v) $23.95
From the sunnier southerly Pfalz, made from the Riesling hybrid Scheu grape, somewhat less mineral and more fruit-driven, with hints of cassis and red grapefruit, fresh nettles and lime zest acidity. Moderately sweet.

Duca di Quadri Catemario Pinot Grigio ’07    90
DOC Friuli, Grave, Italy
120782 (v) $14.95
Quite a mouthful for the money if you include its subtitle Collezione Privata! Key words are Pinot Grigio, floral, zippy, melon, honey and freshness, slightly bitter finish. A versatile sipper/food wine with light dishes, fish, chicken, veal, for early consumption.

Forchir Glére Traminer Aromatico ’07    87
IGT delle Venezie, Italy
117135 (v) $17.95
That’s Gewurztraminer to you and a ripe, lychee and white pepper-rose petal version with a savory finish. Hints of sulphur that blow off quickly if you decant vigorously into a carafe. Great with oriental cuisine.

Vinosia Essenza di Malvasia ’07    89
IGT Salento, Puglia, Italy
122341 (v) $15.95
From the shape-shifting Malvasia grape of Greek origin now found in many forms around the Mediterranean, the happy base for everything from vin santo to Malmsey from Madeira and oceans of dry whites and reds in between. This one has a Muscat and white pepper, peach profile, pleasing freshness and a hint of melon. Party pleaser.

Pala Sálnico Nuragus ’07    92
DOC Sardegna Nuragus di Cagliari, Sardinia
120998 (v) $14.95
A pretty wine from the Sardinian Nuragus grape variety, floral, with a nectarine-mango and citrus core, some minerality and a herbaceous stone fruit finish. Very good value for everyday sipping.

Santadi Villa Solais Vermentino ’07    88
DOC Vermentino di Sardegna, Italy
121129 (v) $15.95
Clean, simple, fresh, nicely aromatic, from a grape that’s another Malvasia cousin, usually early picked for freshness, showing white peach, nectarine and floral notes. Enjoy this afternoon!

Duca di Castelmonte Gibele Zibibbo Secco ’08    87
IGT Sicilia, Italy
121103 (v) $16.95
Carlo Pellegrino has worked some magic on Zibibbo (alias the noble Muscat of Alexandria) and made a bone-dry, fragrant subtly aromatic summer white with hints of fresh pineapple and apricots. Delicious now and food versatile.

Morgadio da Torre Alvarinho Vinho Verde ’07    87
DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal, Sogrape Vinhos
960955 (v) $17.95
Lively and tongue-tingling with its slight spritz, a grapefruity white to chill down and savor the refreshing green apple-Bosc pear and stone fruit minerality. Same grape as the steely Albariño of Galicia just over the border in Spain.

Gramona Gessamí ’07    89
DO Penedès, Spain
115782 (v) $19.95
Pungent and exotic fruit salad of a wine from über-aromatic Muscat, Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer grown on the coast just west of Barcelona. Lavender, jasmine, five spice powder and nectarine lead the charge, supported by citrus flankers and papaya in the rear. Sensuous and seductive.


Wildass Rosé ’07    92
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
717712 (v) $19.95
Simply delicious, refreshing, dry and fruity and you’d swear it was Pinot Noir (it’s Cab, Merlot, Syrah, apparently) from the Stratus stable. Think vanilla strawberry, cherry and cranberry cheesecake in a glass but with enough oomph and tannin to go hoof-to-hoof with whatever’s on the grill. Elegant and charming.

Cave de Turckheim Pinot Noir Rosé ’08    87
AC Alsace, France
117333 (v) $16.95
Actual Pinot Noir here! Strawberry-raspberry profile with a savoury-beefy herbal riff, too. Salmon on the barbie sounds good.

Mas de Bressades Cuvée Tradition Rosé ’08    87
AC Côstieres de Nîmes, Cyril Marès Vigneron
Consistently good producer, excellent spicy, lightly fruity dry wine, like a red in training. Hints of pencil lead and mineral underpinnings from the Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault grapes and a whiff of thyme and lavender. Moules marinières perhaps?

Dry Red Wines:

Beringer Third Century Cabernet Sauvignon ’05    92
North Coast, California
47704 (v) $23.95
Totally fruit-forward and seductive with spicy cassis, blackberry, licorice, sweet tobacco and cherry notes, an accomplished wine to mark the long experience behind the winemaking at cobwebby old Beringer! Food friendly and affordable.

Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir ’07    89
101824 (v) $22.95
Very Burgundian style Pinot Noir with structure and elegance They’re using the right grape clones and plenty of smarts to bring in this lovely dry red with its raspberry-strawberry and fine tannin character. Pair with your favorite steak.

Leaping Lizard Merlot ’05    88
Napa Valley, California
127001 (v) $21.95
A nicely spicy take on Merlot, harnessing its blueberry-juicy persona with a cedary, minty, oak toasty makeover – lovely! Some black cherry and blackberry notes and a fine acidity. Food friendly.

Gracia de Chile Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon ’07    87
Crowd pleaser! Well made and refined Cab with grace notes of mint and lead pencil to extend its blackcurrant and blackberry theme. Black fruits are the backdrop for a delicious and well priced dry red for BBQ or fine steaks.

Katnook Founder’s Block Shiraz ’05    89
Coonawarra, S Australia
108167 (v) $17.95
It’s got that old tar, smoke, black raspberry, cedar and post-Nascar range of aromatics with a stimulus package of red and black berries to get your economy going! Well priced and BBQ friendly.

Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon ’03    90
Coonawarra, S Australia
107979 (v) $29.95
Superb Cab with an Aussie twist: graphite and sour cherry add the top notes to this big luscious red, replete with ripe blackberry, mulberry and elderberry accompaniments. French oak fills in the margins and the package is complete.

Pirramimma Old Bush Vine Grenache ’04    91
McLaren Vale, S Australia
108068 (v) $19.95
Spicy, medium bodied and seductive with a rounded fruit-forward style full of blackberry, cassis and peppery cherry notes, followed by a chocolatey-fruity finish that lasts and lasts. Very good value.

Schild Old Bush Vine Grenache/Mataró/Shiraz ’07    92
Barossa, S Australia
108183 (v) $18.95
From a tried and true Aussie blend of these grapes (Mataró alias Mourvèdre), with some production coming from very old vines, hence a nicely concentrated, voluptuous, spicy mid-weight red with a cornucopia of berry and black fruit flavors.

Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Shiraz ’06    90
Heathcote, Victoria, Australia
91488 (v) $19.95
Gold medalist in Oz value red under screwcap (good!). With sour cherry and sun-dried tomato nuances to its fine tannins, black cherry, toasty oak and plummy fruitiness.

Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon ’05    89
WO Stellenbosch, S Africa
107391 (v) $19.95
High-value Cab with a polished, easy-drinking style: elderberry-mulberry aromas and sweet tobacco, on the palate black cherry, cocoa and cedar cigar box with hints of dried figs. For early enjoyment with beef or lamb.

Château Côte Montpezat ’03    88
AC Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, Vignobles Bessineau
45658 (v) $21.95
From a Petit Château just outside St-Emilion, here comes a fine red with Merlot-driven elegance showing aromas of ripe blueberry, blackberry, oak and black licorice. On the palate, black olives, new leather and roast beef notes. There’s a hint of wood smoke and a velvety mouth feel. Serve with Châteaubriand.

Haut de Poujeaux ’05    88
AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux
125542 (v) $26.95
Cabernet-driven as you’d expect on the Médoc side of the river, showing grippy tannins framing herbal, red cherry, plum and cassis fruitiness. There’s a hint of shoe polish and discreet oakiness on the finish. The Château’s second wine from a 4ha plot close by.

Domaine de la Sauveuse Cuvée Carolle ’07    90
AC Côtes de Provence, France
433174 (v) $19.95 Organic
Leather, licorice raspberry and black fruit scents spill from the glass while spicy fresh ground black pepper and tapenade flavors attest to the Midi location of this eco-friendly seaside vineyard. The Syrah, Cabernet, Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes are vinified separately before the wine is assembled. Once farmed by the Romans, Sauveuse (Saviour) is named for the Alpine spring that brings pure water.

Domaine du Vieux Lazaret ’06    92
AC Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vignobles Jérôme Quiot
983650 (v) $34.95
Fresh black pepper, Kirsch and raspberry liqueur hit your nose, tempting an exploration of plush elderberry, flowers and redcurrant flavors on the palate. Succulent and luscious with sublime acidity and a kiss of oak. Grown amid the huge pebbles (galettes) covering sandy limestone. Now to 2019.

Domaine Grand Veneur Les Champauvins ’07    90
AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, Alain Jaune & Fils
76331 (v) $19.95
Love the name “field of wine” and it’s certainly doing its job: spicy, herbal, peppery garrigue aromas usher in meatier, raspberry-scented, warm earth, licorice and black fruit characters. Now to 2015. Great value.

Domaine de Poujo ’05    88
AC Madiran, France, Claude Lanux Prop.-Récolt.
Bit of a rarity in our neck of the woods, unfortunately, but a Tannat-driven red with a smidge of Cabernet to tame the delicious leathery, black plum and tannin thrust of this meaty heavyweight. BBQ perfect and no wimp!

Odoardi Savuto ’04    89
DOC Calabria, Italy
121004 (v) $18.95
There are 27 (!) syllables in the six grapes used in this unique blend, mostly the Gaglioppo, Barolo-ish, and from the toe of Italy. They all translate to an intriguing gamey, bacony, red fruit, mixed berries, dried fruit, Kirsch and shoe polish wine experience. Think light Barolo thoughts and red meats, cured sausages and BBQ.

Telesi Donnici Riserva ’03    91
DOC Calabria, Italy, Cantina Spadafora
123539 (v) $24.95
Lovely ripe Kirsch and red fruit flavors, dried figs, leather and beeswax take centre stage in this high-value red from the hill vines of Donnici, silky tannins and all.

Sparkling Gems:

Gekkeikan Zipang Sparkling Saké    88
125971 (v) $8.95 250mL
Not your average saké, with it’s sparkling Champers approach, a naturally carbonated take on this ancient beverage. All yeasty, hay and wild flowers, dry and fruity. Surprise your guests with this delicious rice beverage, only 7% alcohol, too.

Codorníu Pinot Noir Rosé Brut Cava    90
Traditional Method, Spain
665372 (v) $16.95
Light, elegant fizz to enjoy with popcorn and your best home movies! Raspberry-strawberry and citrus nuances behind a fresh, vibrant sparkle that can start or finish a casual summer meal in style.

Just Desserts:

Frazzitta Zibibbo Vino Liquoroso    88
ICT Sicilia, Italy
990895 (v) $14.95
Muscat of Alexandria is the finest Muscat grape in the world and this is fermented and then fortified with grape brandy in the same way as Port: sweet, floral, full of subtle dried fruit elements and spicy marzipan and toasted nut flavors. Sweet!

Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro    90
642173 (v) $16.45 500mL
Intense Muscat character in a complex sweetie with huge tropical fruit, candied citrus, dried apricot, white peach and a beautifully Spanish take on this classic grape variety.

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