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Wine Picks December 16, 2019

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Note: This batch of wine reviews is not part of the bi-weekly Vintages Releases. Instead, it's a collection of wines outside the Vintages section in store (general list) or wines sent to me directly from wineries that may not yet be available in liquor stores. Click on the Winery or Wine Agency link to get more info.

Dessert Wine

Fonseca Porto White Port, Douro, Portugal: I was surprised at this port mostly because I haven't tried many of the white variety. (I love tawny!) Makes a lovely after-dinner drink to sip on its own or with biscotti or fruit-based desserts. White Port food pairings: aperitif, over ice with tonic and mint, almonds. Drink: 2016 - 2024 276816 20% MS 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. December 2019. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Henry of Pelham Winery Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2017, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgegous Niagara Pinot Noir with a satin texture. Aromas of ripe and tart dark cherries, spice and cranberry. Medium-bodied and supple. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled pork chops, coq au vin, beef bourguignon.. Drink: 2019 - 2024 657874 13.5% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Speck Family Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2016, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, succulent Cabernet-Merlot blend is about a 50/50 split, with a splash of Cabernet Franc. The grapes are hand-picked from the oldest Speck Family Estate vineyards, with low-yielding vines, which concentrated the flavours. The wine was aged 20 months in French oak barrels. Aromas of blackberry, spice and smoke. Pair with grilled meats. Cabernet Merlot food pairings: braised lamb shanks with rosemary and roasted garlic accents, good quality chocolate. Drink: 2018 - 2025 616433 14% D 750 mL $39.95 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rust Wine Co. Cabernet Franc 2017, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Lip-smacking deicious BC Cabernet Franc! Aromas of cedar brush, wild blackberry and smoke. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2019 - 2023 13.2% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel 2016, Lodi, California, United States: A full-bodied, blockbuster Californian Zinfandel with aromas of blackberry, black plum, dark spice and smoke. Supple and smooth. Perfect for barbecused meats. Zinfandel food pairings: spaghetti Bolognaise, aged cheddar, grilled lamb loin, grilled duck breast, Italian sausage burgers. Drink: 2018 - 2023 59311 15% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 93/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Paso Robles, California, United States: A robust, juicy Californian Cabernet from the Paso Robles region. Aromas of dark, rich berries and smoke. Pair with pepperoni pizza. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: tourtière, bison burgers, braised beef ribs. Drink: 2019 - 2022 10039 13.1% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lovico Gamza 2015, Suhindol A.O.C., Bulgaria: A terrific, full-bodied, richly flavoured Bulgarian wine. Aromas of dark berries and smoke. Pair with grilled meats. Great price! Gamza food pairings: meat lover's pizza, grilled hanger steak, roast chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2022 10877 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pepper Tree Merlot 2016, Wrattonbully, South Australia, Australia: Lovely Australian Shiraz with minty coolness on the nose and blackberry richness on the palate. Full-bodied and supple. Pair with hamburgers. Merlot food pairings: pork roast, smoky ribs, roast duck. Drink: 2019 - 2022 520528 14.8% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Buil & Giné Giné Giné 2016, Priorat D.O.C.A., Spain: A juicy, mouth-watering Spanish red wine with aromas of dark red tart cherries and smoke. Full-bodied. Decant 1 hour and enjoy with grilled lamb. Food pairings: stuffed flank steak, slow-braised beef brisket, grilled game sausages. Drink: 2019 - 2024 67843 14% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino 2016, Tuscany D.O.C., Italy: A smooth and silky, big-boned Brunello with juicy cherry, raspberry, earthy and meaty flavours on the palate. Vibrant acidity for food. Pair with spaghetti and meatballs. Rosso Di Montalcino food pairings: hard cheeses, cheese pizza, meat lasagna. Drink: 2019 - 2022 297928 13% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grillesino Battiferro Morellino Di Scansano 2017, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: A full-bodied Italian red wine with vibrant acidity and attractive tart cherry notes. Some soke on the finish. Pair with tomato sauce and turkey dinner. Battiferro Morellino Di Scansano food pairings: tomato sauce and pasta, vegetarian lasagna with rich tomato sauce, veal parmesan. Drink: 2019 - 2020 329318 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia: A juicy, full-bodied Australian Cabernet Sauvignon bursting with aromas of fleshy ripe plums and berries with some toasty oak. Pair with hamburgers. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled steak, beef bourgignon, grilled lamb chops. Drink: 2019 - 2030 487777 14% XD 750 mL $28.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cusumano Syrah 2017, Sicily Igt, Italy: A robust, smooth, richly textured red wine from southern Italy. This Sicilian Syrah punches well above its weight. Pair with a rare steak. Drink: 2018 - 2022 145490 14% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ferrer Bobet Vinyes Velles Priorat 2015, Priorat, Spain: A gorgeous wine of great depth, length and complexity. Aroas of dark fruit, leather and violets. Pair with kobe beef. Drink: 2018 - 2026 579896 14% XD 750 mL $70.00 Score: 94/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Erath Pinot Noir 2017, Dundee, Oregon, United States: A lovely, medium-bodied Oregon Pinot Noir with aromas of tart cherry and fresh earth. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2023 394718 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Motto Wines Unabashed Zinfandel 2015, California, United States: Juicy purple and black plum aromas with dark spice and smoke. Full-bodied, but not heavy. This smooth, robust Californian red wine is made from the state's iconic grape Zinfandel. Some terrific notes of cherry and blackberry on the finish. Pair with roast turkey and grilled meats. Zinfandel food pairings: meat lovers' pizza, chicken wings, grilled burgers, sausages. Drink: 2016 - 2019 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kilikanoon Wines Killerman's Run Shiraz 2017, South Australia, Australia: A generous, full-bodied Australia red wine made from the class Shiraz grape. Aromas of smoke and black fruit. Pair with grilled meats. Shiraz food pairings: lamb cutlets, hamburgers, espresso and cocoa-rubbed flank steak, black bean soup, cheese. Drink: 2018 - 2023 925453 14.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Penedès, Spain: Gorgeous complexity and concentration of flavour on this blockbuster Spanish red wine made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape! The grapes for this lusciously ripe Cabernet grow on vines planted on the belvedere of the Mas la Palana estate. Aromas of blackberry jam, dark spice and some pepper. Pair with a rare steak. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: lamb Bolognese, grilled New York strip loin, hard cheese, braised pork shanks, veal chops. Drink: 2017 - 2024 36483 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Benziger Family Winery Pinot Noir 2018, Monterey County, California, United States: Lovely, fleshy ripe cherries and red field berries on the nose and palate of this terrific Californian Pinot Noir. Smooth and supple and medium-bodied. Pair with roast turkey or chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2024 144444 14.5% D 750 mL $39.95 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Imagery Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, California, United States: A juicy, full-bodied California Cabernet with aromas of dark plums and toasty oak. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2020 - 2025 14369 13.5% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery Cardinal Zin Zinfandel 2016, California, United States: A big juicy, mouth-watering Californian Zinfandel with aromas of black plums and smoke. Pair with grilled meats and barbecued ribs. Zinfandel food pairings: hamburgers, prime rib. Drink: 2018 - 2023 272401 14% XD 750 mL $9.85 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cusumano Terre Siciliane Nero D'Avola 2018, Sicily, Italy: This Italian red wine is made from the Nero d'Avola grape, the iconic red grape of the island of Sicily. Layers of fleshy black (nero) fruit and pepper spice. The Cusumano family has been making wine for more than 60 years on the southern Italian island of Sicily. Their expertise and craft shows in the glass of this exceptional red wine. Such terrific value! Pair with gourmet hamburgers and meat lovers' pizza. Drink: 2019 - 2022 143164 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Sonoma County, California, United States: A robust, balanced Californian red wine made from the classic Cabernet grape from a well-respected producer. Aromas of cassis and blackcurrant and toast. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2019 - 2023 292151 14% XD 750 mL $23.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Winery Three Terroir 2015, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A juicy, full-bodied NIagara red wine blend with aromas dark fruit and toast. Decant for 1 hours and pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2023 468918 13.4% XD 750 mL $46.00 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Winery LIMITED Home Farm Cabernets 2015, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous Niagara Cabernet blend with aromas of smoke, dark fruit and tanned leather. Full-bodied and supple. Pair with grilled lamb. This wine is available exclusively through Strewn's wine club at www.strewnwinery.com/Wine-Club Cabernets food pairings: roasted eggplant, fajitas, seafood risotto, roast pork tenderloin.. Drink: 2018 - 2025 13.3% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 93/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Imagery Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2018, California, United States: A lovely, ripe cherry-berry Californian Pinot Noir. Supple, smooth and medium-bodied. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2019 - 2024 13.5% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery First Growth Merlot 2016, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A stunning Niagara Merlot that's richly textured and beautifully textured. Aromas of fleshy ripe dark plums and smoke. Pair with grilled pork chops. Drink: 2020 - 2027 149013 14.5% D 750 mL $60.00 Score: 93/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery First Growth Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A blockbuster Niagara Cabernet Sauvignon that needs more cellar time. Aromas of black plum and black cherry liqueur with a seducative weave of smoke. Supple. Decant 1-2 hours and pair with a rare steak. Drink: 2020 - 2027 43869 14.5% D 750 mL $50.00 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Township 7 Vineyards & Winery Merlot 2017, Okanagan Valley, British BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, savoury, richly layered BC Merlot with aromas of mocha, smoke, cedar brush and black plum. Pair with grilled meats. Decant 1 hour. Merlot food pairings: robust meat dishes, dark chocolate. Drink: 2019 - 2023 160135 13% D 750 mL $24.99 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Township 7 Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, Full-bodied and savoury BC red wine made from classic Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Aromas of cedar brush and tart blackberry and cassis. Give this wine the cellar time it deserves. Pair with a juicy rare steak. Decant 2 hours. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: ribeye steak, strong cheeses. Drink: 2019 - 2026 34694 14% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rust Wine Co. Cabernet Franc 2018, Similkameen Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada Drink: 2019 - 2023 13.2% XD 750 mL $25.00 December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Township 7 Vineyards & Winery Merlot 2018, Okanagan Valley, British BC V.Q.A., Canada Merlot food pairings: robust meat dishes, dark chocolate. Drink: 2019 - 2023 160135 13% D 750 mL $24.99 December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Erath Pinot Noir 2019, Dundee, Oregon, United States Drink: 2019 - 2023 394718 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 December 2019. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2018, South Australia, Australia Shiraz food pairings: lamb cutlets, hamburgers, espresso and cocoa-rubbed flank steak, black bean soup, cheese. Drink: 2018 - 2023 925453 14.5% D 750 mL $19.95 December 2019. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Chloe Wines Rosé 2018, California, United States: A strawberry-ripe California Rose with lovely berry and strawberry notes. Medium-bodied and dry, Pair to roast chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2021 13% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Best Value Rosé Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ashley Mary Limited Edition M de Minuty Rosé 2018, Côtes De Provence, Provence A.P., France: A lovely, light-bodied, ephermeral rose with notes of small field strawberries. Perfect on its own or with seafood. Rosé food pairings: grilled turkey legs, smoked salmon and goat cheese flatbread, herbed quiches. Drink: 2019 - 2021 575316 12.6% XD 750 mL $26.95 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated Rosé Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: A lovely, mouth-watering Italian sparkling wine, at a great price! Aromas of apricot and peach. This Prosecco is perfect as an aperitif or companion to seafood. Drink: 2019 - 2022 11% MD 750 mL $15.00 Score: 89/100. December 2019. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Reserve Brut R.D. 2011, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A spectacular, toasty, full-bodied BC sparkling wine with aromas of freshly baked bread, golden apple and Asian pear. This is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. It was aged on the lees for 6.5 years to enhance its creamy texture and rich taste. Pair with shellfish. Drink: 2019 - 2027 12.5% XD 750 mL $55.00 Score: 94/100. December 2019. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chloe Wines Prosecco, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: A terrific, zesty, vibrant DOC Prosecco with aromas of golden apple, Asian pear and white peach. Perfect as a sipper on its own or pair with shellfish. Drink: 2019 - 2022 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Slow Press Chardonnay 2017, Monterey County, California, United States: This lovely cool-climate Californian Chardonnay from Monterey County offers aromas of freshly baked bread and golden apple on the nose. Slow Press Chardonnay is matured in American Oak barrels for 12 months to add extra richness and texture. Pair with pasta in cream sauce. Drink: 2019 - 2024 13.5% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery The Birdman Pinot Grigio 2018, California, United States: A zesty, refreshing with white florals, peach and grapefruit on the nose. Perfect for mild and medium curries and spices. Drink: 2019 - 2021 237271 12.5% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. December 2019. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay 2017, California, United States: A full-bodied, crowd-pleasing Californian Chardonnay with toasty oak, toffee and butterscotch notes. Pair with grilled chicken. Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, corn dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2021 230821 13.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. December 2019. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Winery Distinctive Small Lot Divergent Gewurztraminer 2018, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario,V.Q.A., Canada: A rich, viscous, full-bodied Niagara Gewurztraminer with aromas of lychee, rose petal and peach. Alcohol is 14.9% but it's balanced and doesn't taste warm. Perfect for medium curries and spices. Drink: 2019 - 2025 14.9% D 750 mL $22.00 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chloe Wines Chardonnay 2017, California, United States: A buttery, rich, full-bodied Californian Chardonnay with notes of golden apple and toasted almond. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2022 392597 14.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Imagery Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2017, California, United States: A juicy, mouth-watering California with aromas of lemon, passionfruit and guava. Lovely, not grassy. Pair with seafood. Drink: 2018 - 2021 12.5% XD 750 mL $18.00 Score: 91/100. December 2019. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alvear Medium Dry Montilla-Moriles Amontillado, Montilla Moriles, Andalusia, Spain: Superb Amontillado that features clementine and tangerine notes on the nose and palate then finishes almost dry with pleasant burnt almond note. Lovely! Drink: 2016 - 2025 112789 17% MD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alvear Fino, Montilla-Moriles D.O., Spain: Love, love, love this dry Fino! It's not a Sherry because it's made in the region of Montilla-Moriles, not Jerez, but this has so much elegance and finesse. Toasted almond and a briny ocean note. Pair with roasted nuts and hard cheeses. Drink: 2016 - 2025 112771 15% XD 750 mL $18.00 Score: 92/100. December 2019. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Westcott Vineyards Lillias Chardonnay 2017, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, vibrant Niagara Chardonnay. Pure fruit and minerality with aromas of honey blossom, toasted almond, golden apple. Viscous but not heavy. Racy acidity for halibut or sole. Chardonnay food pairings: pan fired scallops, spinach and pepper jack stuffed chicken, beef bourguignon, pork tenderloin, toasted ravioli served with Alfredo sauce. Drink: 2018 - 2021 425322 12.9% XD 750 mL $20.00 Score: 89/100. December 2019. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Max Ferd. Richter Elisenberger Riesling 2016, Mosel Prädikatswein, Germany Riesling food pairings: curries, pad Thai, spicy Asian dishes. Drink: 2019 - 2030 463611 8.9% S 750 mL $24.95 December 2019. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Benito Ferrara Terra d'Uva Greco di Tufo 2017, Campania D.O.C.G., Italy Greco Di Tufo food pairings: grilled fish, shellfish mixed grill, salads. Drink: 2019 - 2020 10094 13% D 750 mL $29.95 December 2019. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chloe Wines Chardonnay 2018, California, United States Drink: 2019 - 2022 392597 14.5% D 750 mL $17.95 December 2019. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay 2019, California, United States Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, corn dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2021 230821 13.5% D 750 mL $14.95 December 2019. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Slow Press Chardonnay 2016, Monterey County, California, United States Drink: 2019 - 2024 13.5% D 750 mL $35.00 December 2019. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, medium-bodied, richly textured Niagara Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas of lemongrass, chives, passionfruit, melon and guava. Pair with shellfish. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: scallop ravioli, breaded chicken with lemon beurre blanc. Drink: 2018 - 2021 13% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2019. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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