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!
Hope Estate Verdelho '06
Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
048520 (v) $16.55
Verdelho is an underrated native workhorse of a white grape
from Portugal (Verdejo in Spain) that does well in Australia, generally unoaked
for better freshness and racy lime-lemon acidity, with a tropical-fruit spectrum
of flavors, floral, grass and stone notes. Quite dry and very food friendly.
Kanu Chenin Blanc '06 85
WO Stellenbosch, S Africa
907089 (v) $11.55
Kanu, as in 'paddle your own' is a wine S Africa does well,
and inexpensively: pear, melon with a citrus core. The signature white grape
of the Cape with a spritz of Sauvignon and Chardonnay, has a creamy, fresh
and lightly fruity tang that's hard to dislike. Great value!
Pinot Gris '06 87
061317 (v) $16.85
Tropical, floral aromas with an attractive light smoky-resin
note which all echo on the palate with a creamy, full-bodied texture. A bigger
style of PG than Italy's Pinot Grigio that can handle white-fleshed fish, feathered
game, risotto and cream- or cheese-sauced dishes.
Bottega Vinaia Pinot Grigio
DOC Trentino, Italy
051623 (v) $15.85
Fresh, racy PG with lime-lemon panache, mineral
highlights and dry, refreshing acidity to marry with moules marinières,
grilled fish, veal and roast chicken.
Borgo Conventi Pinot Grigio
DOC Isonzo del
Friuli, Fiori del Borgo, Italy
013276 (v) $16.85
Steely pear-peach and white flower aromas segue into a creamy,
slightly tropical range of fruit flavors for a quite elegant, balanced and
upscale PG at a great price. Ready to party or serve at the wedding feast!
Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco
DOC Alto Adige,
07691 (v) $20.85
Ripe Granny Smith, white grapefruit and white pepper on the
nose, rich, succulent and tropical on the palate, with a mineral, stone fruit
undertone and good concentration of flavors. From the cool-climate home region
of great Pinot Grigio. Think sunny spring days on the patio in the near future!
W. Gisselbrecht Pinot Blanc
AC Alsace, France
955872 (v) $12.75
Vanilla, pear and spiced apple perfumes with a silvery,
racy acidity make this an amazing $13 sipper from Willy G, elegant and yet
undemanding, from a fine producer at the top of his game. Food friendly,
Joseph Balland-Chapuis Le
Chatillet '06 86
061432 (v) $22.85
Sauvignon-based white expresses subtle grassy grapefruit,
mineral and herbaceous notes but the distinctive tone is fresh spearmint! Sip,
serve with green salads and herbed roast chicken.
Château Jolys Jurançon Sec '05 86
Jurançon , Terrae Escencia, France,
061614 (v) $15.85
Rarely seen (in this market) from the almost
unheard of Gros and Petit Manseng grapes grown on clay-based soils within
sight of the Pyrenees in SW France by the Jolys family, and vinified in steel
tanks, unlike their Moelleux (sweet) whites that you could mistake for Sauternes,
which enjoy some barrel time. Just off-dry with wildflower, mineral, smoke
and spicy peach compôte-kiwi-melon
characters. Well-priced, well made, and food friendly - now.
Weingut Pfeffingen Scheurebe
QmP Ungsteiner Herrenberg, Pfalz, Germany
014837 (v) $19.85
Full-bodied, fruity white from the lovely and somewhat rare
grape variety created by Georg Scheu from Silvaner and Riesling: lush, full-on
flavors of black currants, melon and tangerines with richness and finesse.
Great with Asian and spicy fare or as an aperitif.
Armand Riesling Kabinett
QmP Pfalz, Germany,
Reichsrat Von Buhl
060905 (v) $16.85
Off-dry with luscious grapefruit-mineral and lime zest attack,
fuller, more tropical fruits on the palate and an elegant lanolin-petrol component
that's truly Riesling. Good now, better 2009-2011.
Henschke Julius Riesling
Eden Valley, S Australia
945055 (v) $36.75
Terrific stuff! Lovely fruity lime-lemon and melon attack
and classic oily, lanolin, petrol texture in the mouth, stone-slate mineral
underpinning and zesty finish. Very good value.
Stella Bella Semillon/Sauvignon
Blanc '06 85
River, W Australia
048546 (v) $18.85
Very grassy, herbaceous, gooseberry style with a creamy mouth
feel and elegantly balanced acidity. However, the bottle I tasted had a faint
mustiness, surprising under a screwcap, that brought its score down. Versatile
food wine and aperitif. The Stella Shiraz '05, 048553 (v) $21.85, rates a delicious
Grand Reserve Meritage 90
marriage of Sauvignon Blanc (87%) and Semillon (13%) with grape skin contact
with the pressed juice for 6 hours, cold fermentation with selected yeasts,
and two months of French barrel aging. The result: succulent pear, melon, grapefruit,
and pineapple notes, nicely balanced in a creamy-textured elegant Bordeaux-style
white. Great with shellfish, seafood, bacon wrapped scallops and lobster.
Sterling Sauvignon Blanc
Napa Valley, California
056325 (v) $19.75
Very tropical fruit impression of Key limes, citrus and muskmelon,
with silky, slightly hot mouth feel from a robust 13.5% alcohol, crisp acidity
and very California! Food friendly.
Martin Ray Chardonnay '05 91
Russian River Valley,
057067 (v) $23.75
For the hyper-oak crowd: barrel-fermented and barrel-aged
and it shows: full-flavored, too, with melon, limes and sweet apples, herbaceous
grace notes and crisp, refreshing acidity. Serve with food as you would with
a light red wine.
Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay
hills, S Australia
057315 (v) $18.75
Lip-smacking good, fruity Chard with enough toasty oakiness
to satisfy the most demanding fan of barrel-fermented wines: the flavor core
is apple-pear with buttery notes and a touch of pineapple. Drinking well now
and best within three years, with herb-roasted chicken, planked salmon and
Dry Red Wines:
Alamos Pinot Noir '06 90
The Wines of Catena
507822 (v) $14.25
In the value division of Pinots, Alamos delivers a surprisingly
elegant and classy example: the requisite cassis, blackberry, black cherry
and strawberry flavor components in fine style, slightly floral with
supple tannins and a whiff of good French oak. By the case!
Clos Henri Pinot Noir
S Island, new Zealand
056556 (v) $37.85
Bone dry but with the sweetness that comes only from
perfectly ripe fruit picked at its best: cassis, blackberry, raspberry
and fragrant spiciness, concentrated and finely poised with moderate
tannins and a hint of oak. Now but will peak in 2012. Owned by Henri
Bourgeois of Sancerre.
Henry of Pelham Reserve
Pinot Noir '06 90
Short Hills Bench, Niagara
268391 (v) $24.75
Classic light red color with complex and concentrated
Pinot power: violets, cassis, beets and blackberries in the glass, light
youthful tannins, a dusting of vanilla notes from new oak, and a good
future ahead. Now to 2013, will develop beautifully.
Eric Lois Sancerre
Rouge '06 87
066613 (v) $22.85
A lighter, slightly chalkier style of Pinot so typical
of the Loire, with a charming bouquet of Asian spices, violets and fresh
raspberries, fine-grained tannins and food-friendly acidity. Ready now.
Lieu-Dit Les Poyeux
AC Saumur Champigny,
Cave de Saumur
052639 (v) $16.85
A very fine take on Cabernet Franc, not coincidentally
the best red wine grape in Ontario's cool climate, and a super value
for black cherry, black plum, red currant and tobacco leaf notes, black
olives and cocoa. Midweight and right for roast chicken, veal and grilled
Casa La Ermita Crianza
956334 (v) $18.55
From a fast-rising wine region of Spain, broad-shouldered,
muscular and ready to do the heavy lifting with major red meats and furry
game, yet polished and not overblown, showing black cherry, red plum,
blackberry and vanilla-oak complexity. Ageable 10 years.
Cyan 12 Meses '03 90
066936 (v) $16.75
Striking package, striking wine for
a fair price: lots of barnyard and smoky bacon aromas with smoky blueberry
liqueur, supple tannins and refined toasty oakiness. Another example
of Spain's ascendency into the foremost ranks of high calibre reds - without
too much oak. Will improve with 2-4 years of cellaring.
Château Jean Voisin '01 90
Grand Cru, Bordeaux
061804 (v) $31.85
Right Bank claret with understated elegance and years
of life ahead. Showing typical cedar-graphite lead pencil nuances, nicely
chewy tannins, here's a good example of a petit chateau red. Fine-tuned
for a porterhouse or striploin, now to 2015.
Château Puy Castéra '03 90
Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois, M.M. Marès
972463 (v) $19.55
Toasty oak with cocoa and mocha notes, small red berry
fruits and nicely cedary-oaky mid-palate. Supple tannins and muted acidity
give structure and finesse. Very good value.
Pillar Box Red '05 88
Henry's Drive Vignerons,
Padthaway, S Australia
685941 (v) $17.40
Only about two steps away from Ruby Port in alcoholic
strength, Pillar weights in at 15%! Not a lunchtime Shiraz, Cab, Merlot
red... (A Parker fave, naturally). But, for the price, it's silky and
packs a pile of red fruits, spice and minerals. Sip over the next 2-4
years with large steaks.
Château de Sérame Reserve du Château
651125 (v) $22.85
Big, rich, smoky contender from the Deep South of France,
black cherry, kirsch and elderberry up front with mocha and chocolate
on the finish. Very good value and food friendly, now to 2014.
Goats Do Roam In Villages
Region, S Africa
566851 (v) $15.75
Another impudent finger in the eye for
along with The Goatfather '05, 011072, same price. Two more deliciously
inexpensive faux-French reds with enough berry, cocoa and smoky character
to pass muster. Imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery...
Domaine de l'Ameillaud
Cairanne '06 88
du Rhône-Villages, France
660605 (v) $14.75
The Real Thing: Brit Nick Thompson's
been making terrific wine in the southern Rhône for 15 years, producing blends of luscious
concentration. The fruit is from 40 to 60-year-old Grenache, Shiraz and
Mourvèdre, fermented in concrete tanks and there's not an oak
barrel to be found on the estate!
Perrin et Fils Les
Christins '05 92
973453 (v) $23.85
From vineyards at the feet of the Dentelles
de Montmirail in the Rhône, this Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre beauty
is a potent warm-climate flavor fusion of morello cherries, licorice
and wildflowers, silky and elegant with plenty of grip and complexity.
Try now until 2011 with rabbit, tournedos, strong cheeses.
Domaine de Cristia
AC Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Alain & Baptiste
067878 (v) $42.75
Organic and inspired by Rudolf Steiner, this family
property borders superstar Rayas and is made from 90% Grenache and
a dash of Syrah. Black pepper, smoky bacon and barnyard notes complement
the raspberry and black fruit driven flavor palette. The tannins are
soft, and there's a nice cedar-oak component. Good for a decade.
Château Leoville Poyferré '04 91
St-Julien, 2nd Cru Bordeaux
664144 (v) $69.00
A Super-Second in a good vintage is always
good to find: black cherry, mulberry, smoky raspberry and mocha with
sturdy tannins for long life and the pursuit of happiness. Elegant,
full-bodied and collectable. Needs 2-3 years to meld and then watch out!
Piping Shrike Shiraz
K Cicky & Son,
barossa Valley, S Australia
048504 (v) $19.75
Blueberry, vanilla and cloves roar through
the aromatics and the tongue discovers milk chocolate, spice box, cedar
and smoky, tarry raspberryness. Very good value indeed. Enjoy over
4-5 years with 'roo tail - or any grilled red meats.
Glen Eldon Dry Bore
Shiraz '04 92
054197 (v) $27.75
What a name! Perhaps inspired by some especially pompous
wine snob... But boring it's not: lovely chocolate, raspberry, vanilla,
black pepper and blackberry notes greet the nose, chewy mouth filling
echoes flatter the palate. Big and beautiful, now to 2014 with robust
Possums Willunga Shiraz
017517 (v) $18.85
Light, bright, juicy and delicious - especially
with a rib-eye or toad in the hole. A touch of barnyard, bacon fat,
wood smoke and tarry summer roads doesn't hurt. You, too, can play
Lirica Primitivo di
Manduria '04 91
669580 (v) $15.75
From Italy's southern tip, one of the best Primitivos I've ever tasted:
would put its offspring California Zinfandels to shame in a blind tasting.
A wonderful blast of spicy, smoky magnificent Mediterranean red fruit flavors
for that early spring BBQ time.
Emilio Lustau Fino
del Puerto 94
DO Jerez, Spain,
solera-matured by Jose Luis Gonzalez Obregón
048157 (v) $12.85
Stunningly light, fresh, ultra-sophisticated,
bone-dry fino fuses saltiness, minerals, steel, green olives and herbes
de Provence complexity. The world's greatest aperitif or shellfish
wine. Superb. The medium-sweet Lustau Deluxe Cream Capataz Andres Solera
Reserva, 048132, $9.90 has walnut skin, vanilla and cream with figs,
dates, prunes and fruitcake notes. A stunning après sipper (94).
W & J Graham Six Grapes Reserve
DO Oporto, Portugal
208405 (v) $22.75
Chalky and not over the top sweet, a high end Ruby with
class, with bitter chocolate, plums, figs and cassis. In France this
would be an aperitif. Graham's Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage 1998, 066795,
$52.75, from Graham's finest vineyard, is elegant with graphite, spice
and fine tannins to ensure a long and happy life (90).
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