Spring 2007

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

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!

Le Clos Jordanne
VQA Niagara Peninsula
The very first LCJs, the pride of Vincor and Boisset of Burgundy, are now being released at Vintages: The very top level is the Le Grand Clos range and then the LCJ Vineyard wines. Slightly confusing but not to be missed! Le Grand Clos Chardonnay and Le Grand Clos Pinot Noir '04, $55 and $60, are collectibles, the finest "Burgundies" ever grown in Canada. The LCJ Vineyard Pinot Noir and LCJ Chardonnay 2004 are stunning and not to be missed, $35. The Village Reserve Chardonnay and Pinot Noir 2004 are $25 and gorgeous. The La Petite Vineyard Pinot Noir and the Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir, $35, will also all fly off the shelves, so get a wiggle on! Vincor President Jay Wright explains that Jordanne's four vineyards of 130 acres "enjoy similar soil and climate to the Côte d'Or." High-density vine planting provides highly concentrated wines, crafted by hand, organically, and using only gravity. Ecocert Canada was received in 2005.

Dry Whites:

Schistes de Goulaine Vallet Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine '04    89
Domaine Michel David, AC, Le Clos du Ferré, Loire
016824 (v) $17.95
Zesty-crisp and dry as a bone yet ripely fruity, too. Melon, pear, grapefruit and a hint of black tea leaf make for an elegant aperitif and superb accompaniment to shellfish, seafood and clear soups. To enjoy now.

La Vis Ritratti Pinot Grigio '05    88
DOC Trentino, Italy
020958 (v) $18.95
High quality PG with a reasonable wow factor to start your next party: creamy yet crisp, with a hint of lemon curd, fresh lemon and apple-ginger. By contrast, Le Meridiane Pinot Grigio '05, also from Trentino, 627042 (v) $14.95, is more Granny Smith, gun flint with a hint of oak aging (88). Both good value.

Lingenfelder Riesling Bird Label '05    91
QbA Pfalz, Estate Bottled, Germany
568634 (v) $14.95
Richly elegant sipper with seamless apple, pear, melon layers and a welcome silkiness of lanolin oiliness to flatter Asian dishes, warm salads and grilled white fish. From one of southern Germany's most respected winemakers. Also from the Pfalz, the Fitz-Ritter Riesling Kabinett '04 from Dürkheim, 028498 (v) $15.95, shows more of a fruit leather, peach and citrus quality, also excellent value (87).

Vineland Sauvignon Blanc 2005   
VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 at the winery or through home delivery, 1-888-846-3526.
A warm vintage Sauvignon Blanc with intense concentration, elegance and length, one of Canada's most sophisticated efforts so far with this aromatic Loire/Bordeaux grape variety. Drinkable for the next 3-5 years and ready now. About 300 cases left.

Quincy '05    89
Jean-Paul Godinat, Loire
017616 (v) $17.95
A richer than usual Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, with tropical pineapple and durian notes and a hint of tarte Tatin. Ready now for barbecued duck, stuffed veal roast or Welsh rarebit.

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc '05    88
Beacon Hill, Marlborough, New Zealand
010421 (v) $20.95
Nicely concentrated example of the iconic Kiwi style of gooseberry/rhubarb and citrus Sauvignon underpinned with a graceful mineral and cedar structure. You won't need an astrolabe to discover this little star tonight.

Gravitas Sauvignon Blanc '05    90
Marlborough, New Zealand
020727 (v) $20.95
Another new arrival from the South Island, but racier, flintier, smokier and sporting more lime-citrus intensity as well as the required "goose-barb" trademark and a hint of creme brulee on the finish. Now to 2010.

Pernand-Vergelesses Blanc '04    91
P. Dubreuil-Fontaine, Burgundy
016816 (v) $29.95
Grilled toast, brioche, green apples, smoke and hazelnuts make this crisp and delicious Chardonnay a must-buy. Finely structured with a mineral core and purity of fruit, it's very good value to enjoy now until 2012. Serve with lake trout, lobster, poached salmon or on its own.

Dowie Doole Chenin Blanc '05    87
McLaren Vale, S. Australia
709246 (v) $15.95
Grassy, waxy, melony and silky with overtones of pear, lime, apple skin and eucalyptus. Nicely dry and chewy. One of the best so far from the Howdy Doodies! Now to 2010.

Dry Reds:

Mike Weir Pinot Noir '05   90
VQA Niagara Peninsula
000075 (v) $21.95
A most impressive Pinot, elegantly Burgundian, with even a hint of classic barnyard and nuances of raspberry-strawberry on the nose, silky mouth feel and remarkable length of flavor. A sign of good things to come from Mike Weir and his wine making partners at Creekside Estates. Serve now with roast chicken, veal and mild cheeses, and will improve with cellaring.

Trinchero Family Pinot Noir '05  87
Napa Valley, California
025155 (v) $20.95
Sweetly ripe cassis with beet and cherry riffs, fresh and lively with a hit of toasty oak. Well priced for a Napa wine and great with salmon on the barbie. Ready now.

Yering Station Pinot Noir Rosé '05  91
Extra Dry, Yarra Valley, Victoria
015545 (v) $15.95
Rare and intriguing, very food friendly with hints of tea leaf, roses, plum, cherry, apple compote and strawberry, this elegant pink wine is indeed very dry, complex and endearing. Very good value.

Vineland Cabernet Franc 2005   
VQA Niagara Peninsula
594127 LCBO $12.95
Rich layers of chocolate, raspberry, sweet tobacco and cassis play on the nose and echo on the palate as this delicious red, one of the most successful varieties in Ontario's cool-climate conditions, struts its excellent stuff. 1,000 cases left.

Christian Moueix Merlot    89
AC Bordeaux
961227 (v) $14.95
From the master: finesse all the way with this elegant, raspberry-scented beauty delivering sweet ripe cherry, cedar cassis and just a touch of oak. Ready to enjoy now with pepper steak, portobello mushrooms and sweet potatoes, veal Marengo or lamb chops.

Château Moulin de Curat '03    89
AC Puisséguin Saint-Emilion
653162 (v) $18.95
Intensely ripe fruit (from a very warm vintage) with supple tannins, mellow oak, old leather and a bouquet of mulberry, boysenberry and cassis on the palate. Starting to drink well now but will improve with a year or so of aging. Serve with beef bordelais, of course, or a rack of lamb.

Château Cantenac '03    91
AC Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
024430 (v) $31.95
Merlot central, of a good (warm) year, more California than Bordeaux, elegant and supple with hints of new leather, sweet ripe cherries and blueberries. Starting to show but a keeper for 5-8 years.

Domaine des Aspes Merlot '03    87
Vignobles Roger, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Meaty wine with a red fruit core and hints of cocoa, ripe plums, blackberries and road tar. Sounds and is delicious! BBQ perfect or good with a hearty winter stew.

Domaine de Berlande Merlot '05    86
Jacques & Franˆßois Lurton, Vin de Pays d'Oc
027979 (v) $13.95
Raisiny with a spine of sour cherries, plum tart and raspberry jam, bursting with fruit flavors. Ready now for barbie, pizza, pasta.

Ferrari-Carano Merlot '03    90
Sonoma County, California
325597 (v) $39.95
Lifted fruit, roasted meat flavors, fleshy tannins and spicy floral-raspberry notes with a hint of oak and vanilla. Nicely concentrated and needs a little time to blossom. Will be a goody. Has a little Cab Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah for good measure. Serve with a elegant roast or prime rib.

Sterling Merlot   90
Napa Valley, California
330241 (v) $29.95
Silky, spicy and sweetly ripe with blueberry, fresh toast, spice and cassis. Midweight and full-flavored to partner with a herb-roast chicken, veal Cordon Bleu or lamb cutlets.

Apex II Merlot '03    90
Apex Cellars, Yakima Valley, Washington
025239 (v) $22.95
Cassis, new leather, oak and silky tannins kick off this well made Merlot, ripe with bing cherries, oak, vanilla, anise and mocha. Now to 2010 and better if aged a year or so. Easter lamb would be a happy food match.

Concha y Toro Marqués de Casa Concha Merlot '04    88
DO Peumo, Rapel Valley, Chile
938827 (v) $19.95
Minerals, red fruit, cassis, molasses and chocolate with berries. Yum! Great value from the rapidly improving Rapel Valley. Pork roasts, pasta primavera, pizza or roast duck.

Montes Alpha Merlot '04    90
DO Colchagua Valley, Apalta Vineyard, Chile
022228 (v) $23.95
Fruit forward, raspberry/cherry/blackberry with a dollop of vanilla and toasty oak, herbal notes and a little mocha sprinkle on the aftertaste. Delish! Sip alone or with a simple roast chicken, rabbit or pork chops.

Weinert Merlot '02    90
Mendoza, Argentina
656371 (v) $15.95
From of the most respected producers in Argentina, source of many new and wonderful imports: Leather, plums, vanilla, smoked meats and a whiff of attractive barnyard aroma. Already well matured in bottle and silky smooth, earthy and complex, ready to enjoy tonight with anything a true carnivore would enjoy!

Elderton Merlot '02    86
Barossa, S. Australia
020693 (v) $29.95
Smoky cherries, currants and raspberry jam on the initial attack with an earthy roasted pepper note. Cellarable to 2010 and good with stews, casseroles and 'roo steak.

Kim Crawford SP Te Awanga Vineyard Merlot '04    89
Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand
990887 (v) $27.95
In your face cassis, fresh black cherries, coconut, cedar and new leather. Small Parcels (SP) for better selection and higher quality from NZ's prime Merlot region. Nice quality and already pleasant drinking, to 2010. With roast New Zealand lamb, of course.

Silvio Nardi Merlot '05    88
DOC Sant'Antimo, Tuscany, Italy
022906 (v) $24.95
Lively fruit-forward cherry-plum and blueberry pie character, easy drinking and pleasant, well priced and versatile with casseroles, stews, tomato-based pastas and pizza.

Villa Sardi Merlot '04    87
DOC Piave, Italy
123390 (v) $14.95
Bing cherry, small red berries and fresh plum signature with a hint of rose hip jam and black pepper. Midweight and a great lunch wine with quiche, warm salad, spaghetti carbonara or meatballs.

Rosell Mir Merlot '04    87
DO Penedès, Subirats, Spain
120547 (v) $18.95
Ripe, Port-like with green bean, currant, tobacco and capsicum notes, perfect with a juicy herbed lamb or veal roast. Now to 2010.

Souverˆ§ner Malteser Ritterorden Merlot '03    86
Lenz Moser, Mailberg '03, Niederosterreich, Austria
024513 (v) $17.95
Dried fruits, ripe cherries, raspberries, Kirsch, mild tannins, tobacco and saddle leather highlight this rarely seen Austrian entry to our shores. Midweight and ready to waltz with a juicy steak.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon '03    90
Alto Jahuel, Valle del Maipo, Chile
275594 (v) $19.95
Velvety, luscious and inviting with a ripe red and black fruit core and layers of chocolate, road tar, leather, vanilla, eucalyptus and toasty oak. Well made and well priced, from this long-established winery (1880). Ripe, complex and deeply satisfying. Now and improving to 2012. Barbecue perfect.

Just Desserts:

Caruso Grappa di Chardonnay    93
Distillato da Selezionata, Vinaccia di Monovitigno, Italy
019406 (v) $35.95
Quite a mouthful, even for Caruso! And the elegant Chardonnay grape character really does come through, refined, aromatic with echos of pear, apple and melon.

Dalva Colheita Port 1985    94
Btld 2006, C. da Silva, Oporto, Portugal
012054 (v) $42.95
Wood-aged Port of a single vintage, ethereal and gorgeous as aromas of roasted hazelnuts, vanilla and dried fruits melt into subtle and tantalizing nuances of truffle, leather, oak and berries. Serve with mascarpone, roasted nuts or walnuts.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise '05    89
AC Le Chant de Griolles, France
227124 (v) $19.95
Medium-sweet in the uniquely aromatic manner of Muscat, in this case the most elegant sub-variety, called white Muscat with small grapes.

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