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Wine Picks June 7, 2020

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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.

Red Wine

Big House Winery Cardinal Zin Zinfandel, California, United States: Cedar campfire and hickory smoke aromas on this Califonia Zinfandel in a small format can. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2019 - 2023 444760 13.5% D 250 mL $4.25 Score: 87/100. June 2020. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grizzli Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada: Toasty oak and black fruit on the nose of this robust BC Cabernet. Blackberry liqueur on the palate with smoke and spice. Pair with a juicy steak. Drink: 2018 - 2022 14% XD 750 mL $38.14 Score: 88/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely cool-climate Cabernet from Niagara. This wine underwent a long barrel fermentation of about 2 weeks on the skins. This Reserve Cab was then aged 18 months in French and Hungarian oak barrels. Aromas of fleshy ripe blackberry, dark spice, leather and smoke. Smooth and supple. Perfect for grilled meats. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled burgers, Margherita pizza, hamburger. Drink: 2019 - 2023 304162 13.5% XD 750 mL $35.00 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Winery Terroir Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A juicy, succulent Niagara Cabernet Sauvignon with fleshy ripe aromas of blackberry and dark plum. Full-bodied supple. Decant for 1 hour and enjoy with a rare steak. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: seared duck breast with red wine cherry reduction, beef stroganoff with wild mushrooms on parley noodles, beef wellington with mushroom duxelle. Drink: 2019 - 2026 92014 13.9% D 750 mL $44.00 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grizzli Winery Meritage 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A robust BC red wine blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot grapes. Aromas of toasty oak, mocha, coffee, dark chocolate and dark fruit on the nose and palate. Vibrant acidity makes this a good match for tangy meat and tomato sauces. Meritage food pairings: red meat, lamb, pâté, or portobello mushrooms. Drink: 2018 - 2023 14.5% D 750 mL $40.00 Score: 88/100. June 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grizzli Winery Reserve Cabernet Franc 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, blockbuster BC red wine made from the Cabernet Franc grapes. Savoury, juicy and layered. Aromas of fleshy ripe black plums, dark spice and smoke. Pair with grilled meats. Cabernet Franc food pairings: roasted pork, pâté, goat cheese. Drink: 2018 - 2022 14.8% D 750 mL $79.91 Score: 93/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gérard Bertrand Réserve Spéciale Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Southern France, Pays D'oc, France: A terrific, robust southern French red wine made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Lots of ripe blackberries and cassis. Incredible value for the price point. Aromas of dark fruit, smoke and some dark spice. Perfect for grilled meats or steak. Drink: 2018 - 2022 234815 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. June 2020. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Luigi Bosca Winery Familia Arizu Malbec 2017, Mendoza, Argentina: A robust, richly-layered Argentine red wine made from the country's classic Malbec grape. Smoky with lots of toasty oak on the nose and palate. Aromas of dark berries and plums. The grapes are grown in the Finca La Linda and Vistalba vineyards in Mendoza. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2023 452672 13.7% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Meritage 2017, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This concentarted, robust Niagara red wine blend over-delivers against its price point. Balanced, elegant and full-bodied: a beautiful blend of Cabernet and Merlot from this Niagara winery. Decant 1-2 hours. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2019 - 2025 149005 14% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Winery Terroir Cabernet Franc 2016, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous cool-climate Cabernet Franc with aromas of dark plums and berries wrapped in a little weave of smoke. Full-bodied and supple. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2024 13% D 750 mL $42.00 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Les Vignerons De Buzet Sans Sulfites Ajoutés 2018, Buzet, Southwest A.C., France: A full-bodied southern French red wine from the region of Buzet. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Cabernet Franc (40%) and Merlot (20%). Aromas of blackcurrant and tart, wild blackberry with smoke. Good value for the price. Pair with grilled meats. Food pairings: roasted root vegetables, lentil stew, Salisbury steak. Drink: 2020 - 2022 13398 13.9% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. June 2020. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

El Esteco Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Calchaquí Valley, Argentina: A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with wine grapes sourced from the Calchaquí Valley and produced by the El Esteco winery team. Love the sweet red plum, blackberry, violets and cracked pepper aromas on the nose. Dry with ripe dark fruit, cherry and dried herbal and grassy flavours on the palate. Tannins are fine. Enjoy now and for the next five years with grilled sirloin steaks. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: roast duck, barbeque pork ribs, slow-braised veal shanks in red wine sauce. Drink: 2020 - 2025 568907 14% D 750 mL $22.95 Score: 92/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clooney Ridge Winery Devil's Kiss Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, California, United States: A terrific, full-bodied Californian Cabernet with aromas of dark fruit, smoke and spice. Pair with grilled meats or steak. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: beef, duck, lamb, wild game, heavily spiced dishes, or salads topped with beef or red meats. Drink: 2020 - 2023 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Old Vines Foch Reserve 2017, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada: One of the best Foch-based wines in the country! Full-bodied and rich with great depth of flavour. Aromas of black fruit and smoke. Pair with a pepper steak. Foch Reserve food pairings: lamb kebab or moussaka. Drink: 2019 - 2026 13.5% D 750 mL $29.99 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, full-bodied BC Cabernet with aromas of dark fruit and smoke. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2019 - 2024 13.5% D 750 mL $29.99 Score: 92/100. June 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards Terroir Series Kékfrankos 2016, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada: A terrific, juicy NS red wine made from the Austro-Hungarian grape Kékfrankos, also known as Blaufränkisch. Aromas of red and blackberries and dark spice. Perfect for grilled meats. Drink: 2019 - 2022 11.5% D 750 mL $30.00 Score: 89/100. June 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose Methode Cap Classique, South Africa: A lovely rose sparkling wine from South Africa. Aromas of field strawberries. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2025 12% D 750 mL $29.99 Score: 89/100. June 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Casello Bondoni Azienda Agricola Spumante Brut, Brescia, Italy: A crisp, refreshing Italian sparkling wine with notes of lemon zest and lime. Perfect for shellfish. Great price. Drink: 2019 - 2022 12.5% MD 750 mL $19.99 Score: 89/100. June 2020. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs R.D. 2010, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A delicious, creamy, mouth-watering BC sparkling wine from one of the country's top producers. This blanc des blancs (white from white grapes) is made from 100% estate grown Chardonnay. It's made in the traditional champagne method, and aged sur lie for 5 and half years for extra creaminess and richness. Aromas of green and golden apples with freshly baked bread. Pair with roast chicken or oysters. Drink: 2019 - 2025 17693 12.5% XD 750 mL $48.00 Score: 94/100. June 2020. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Blanc de Noirs 2008, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A mature, gorgeous BC sparkling wine made from 100% organically grown Pinot Noir grapes. Aromas of Asian pear and golden apple. Drink: 2012 - 2023 12.9% XD 750 mL $44.00 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Blanc De Blanc 2012, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Absolutely top-notch, premium sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, thus blanc de blanc (white wine of white grapes). Toasty, creamy, rich and refreshing. Aromas of freshly baked bread and golden apples. Perfect as a chilled aperitif or companion to shellfish, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Highly recommended. Drink: 2014 - 2022 12% D 750 mL $50.00 Score: 94/100. June 2020. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Bouillot Perle Noire, Nuit-St-Georges, Burgundy, France: A terrific value for this French bubbly! Aromas of lemongrass and lime. Pair with field greens and seafood. Drink: 2015 - 2022 464776 11.5% MD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. June 2020. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Privato Vineyard & Winery Woodward Collection Chardonnay 2015, Thompson Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, full-bodied, beautifully balanced BC Chardonnay. Aromas of golden apple and smoke. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2023 13.9% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery The Birdman Pinot Grigio, California, United States: A zesty white wine from Californian made from Pinot Grigio grapes and comes in a small format can. Serve chilled as an aperitif or with light seafood. Drink: 2019 - 2021 444778 12.5% D 250 mL $4.25 Score: 87/100. June 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Family Tree 2016, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: So vibrant, pretty and floral! This Niagara white wine blend of Viognier 40%, Chardonnay 30%, Gewurztraminer 15% and Chardonnay Musque 15% grapes delivers way beyond it's modest price point. Perfect for mild to medium curries and spices as well as a chilled aperitif. Food pairings: roast chicken, spicy pasta dishes, shrimp tempura, grilled salmon. Drink: 2018 - 2019 251116 13% M 750 mL $13.75 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Gewürztraminer 2017, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, aromatic Niagara Gewurztraminer with attractive notes of white florals, peach, Asian pear and lychee on the palate. Very Alsatian in style and elegance. Long finish. Pair with medium spices and curries. Gewürztraminer food pairings: baked ham, panko crusted chicken, light flavoured seafood dishes, pork tenderloin.. Drink: 2018 - 2025 360255 13% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Yalumba Samuel's Garden Collection Chardonnay 2016, Eden Valley, South Australia, Australia: A gorgeous Australian Viognier from a master of the genre. Aromas of peach and apricot preserves. Good acidity for seafood. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled pork chops, roast chicken, grilled seafood. Drink: 2018 - 2022 39271 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Winery Terroir Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A zesty, vibrant and mouth-watering Niagara Sauvignon Blanc with classic Sauvignon lime, lemongrass and herbal notes. Clean and fresh. A terrific match for vegetarian dishes, including grilled vegetables as well as seafood. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: Thai green curry fish, chicken and sage skewers, fresh tomato and basil salad, fresh oysters on the half shell, seafood salad. Drink: 2019 - 2021 343897 12.9% XD 750 mL $24.00 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand: A terrific, zesty, vibrant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at an amazingly great price! Aromas of lime, chives and lemon. So refreshing. Pair with shellfish. Drink: 2019 - 2021 610972 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2016, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, robust Niagara Chardonnay with aromas of golden apple and toasty oak. Lots of layers. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Chardonnay food pairings: steamed mahi mahi, cheese, stuffed chicken roasted. Drink: 2019 - 2023 728022 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Moselland Max Mann Riesling 2018, Rheinhessen, Germany: A gorgeous German Riesling with aromas of fresh white peach and apricot. Medium-bodied with racy acidity for field greens and seafood. Drink: 2019 - 2023 11.5% D 750 mL $15.00 Score: 90/100. June 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Pinot Blanc 2017, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely Pinot Blanc from BC. This estate bottling of this zesty Pinot Blanc is crisp, clean and refreshing with attractive notes of lime and white melon. Perfect for fresh seafood and shellfish. Drink: 2019 - 2022 329441 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.90 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A mouth-brightening, medium-bodied, juicy BC Sauvignon Blanc produced by Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars in the Okanagan Valley, overlooking Vaseux Lake. Aromas of lime zest, lemongrass and other racy citrus fruit. Winemaking husband-and-wife team of Mavetys deliver vintage after vintage. Pair with seafood. Drink: 2019 - 2022 132571 12% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Pinot Gris 2018, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A mouth-watering BC Pinot Gris! Rich texture and a long finish. Aromas of peach, Asian pear and lime. The Pinot Gris is 60% fermented and aged for six months, in stainless steel, and the remaining 40% fermented and aged in two and three year old French oak barrels. Match with seafood and shellfish. Drink: 2019 - 2022 329458 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mega Spileo Cuvée III White Malagousia Assyrtiko Chardonnay 2017, Achaia, Peloponnese P.G.I., Greece: A bright, zesty Greek white wine made from the native grapes Malagousia and Assyrtiko along with Chardonnay. The vines are planted in soils of sand, clay and gravel providing excellent drainage. Aromas of lime, tangerine and lemon zest. Pair with fresh seafood or shellfish. Malagousia Assyrtiko Chardonnay food pairings: turkey burgers, crab cakes, chicken breast, grilled whitefish. Drink: 2020 - 2022 14186 13% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. June 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Dilemma Chardonnay 2015, Margaret's Bench, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied, generous BC white wine made from the class Chardonnay grape. Aromas of toasty oak, butterscotch, golden apple and toffee. Pair with roast chicken. Chardonnay food pairings: roast turkey, duck confit and small roasted potatoes, onion tarte. Drink: 2019 - 2022 568204 14% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 91/100. June 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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