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Wine Picks October 16, 2014

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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

Les Montgolfiers Reserve Syrah 2012, Southern Midi I.G.T., France: An incredibly juicy, delicious, smooth, full-bodied French red wine for the money! Wow. This Syrah comes from southern France and celebrates winemaker's Thierry Boudinaud's ancestors who were pioneering aviators Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier. Intense and concentrated aromas and flavours of dark berries, black raspberry and cherry with a lovely whiff of smoke. Drink: 2013 - 2016 341479 12.5% XD 750 mL $11.50 Score: 89/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vignamaggio Monna Lisa Chianti Classico 2011, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: Full-bodied, rich, full-bodied red wine especially for Chianti which tends to be a little leaner than this in style. Great acidity for rich meaty dishes with tomato sauce. Good layering and finish. Drink: 2011 - 2016 378133 14% XD 750 mL $19.85 Score: 88/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Haury Petite Edition Grenache 2011, France: A gorgeously rich and smooth red wine from southern France made from a traditional grape of the Rhone Valley red wine blends: Grenache. Supple and full-bodied with aromas of dark plums and smoke. Perfect for parties and hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2012 - 2016 361709 14% XD 750 mL $12.70 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Luccarelli Primitivo 2013, Puglia I.G.T., Italy: Straight-forward pleasure at a great price. This robust, ultra-smooth Italian red wine is perfect for parties and large gatherings. Drink: 2013 - 2015 253856 14% XD 750 mL $10.95 Score: 85/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Villa Annaberta Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2011, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: Fantastic! This Appassimento style robust Italian red wine delivers superb value and taste for the money. Aromas of fleshy black cherry, black raspberry and some smoke. Drink: 2014 - 2018 378091 14.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 91/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Valpantena Valpolicella 2012, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: A simple, robust, rustic red wine with lots of acidity and tart black cherry notes. Nice quaffer for the price. Drink: 2013 - 2015 377556 13% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 85/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Caparzo Sangiovese Toscana 2011, Tuscany I.G.T., Italy: A pleasant, full-bodied Italian red wine with aromas of red plums and berries on the nose and palate. Good acidity and flavour. Pair with cheese pizza. Drink: 2012 - 2015 361022 13% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Zonin Velluto 2011, Veneto I.G.T., Italy: Loaded with sweet, juicy purple plums and blueberries on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and smooth. Reminds me very much of Primitivo (aka Zinfandel) in style though the grapes aren't indicated on the label. Drink: 2012 - 2015 380881 13.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 85/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Era Biologica Organic Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2013, Veneto I.G.T., Italy: A terrific organic red wine for the price. Rustic, tannic and robust, this Italian red wine made from Merlot grapes has a big tannic grip on the palate. Decant for 1 hour at least and pair with organic beef. Drink: 2013 - 2015 255844 12.5% XD 750 mL $9.95 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hacienda Del Carche Monastrell Cabernet 2009, Jumilla, Spain: A rustic, tannic, towering big Spanish wine that's a blend of Monastrell and Cabernet grapes. Big tannic grip on the palate: decant 2 hours. Black fruit, tar and toasty oak. Drink: 2014 - 2017 378075 15.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tons De Duorum 2011, Douro D.O.C., Portugal: Lots of dark chocolate, mocha, coffee and espresso on the nose and palate from very, very generous oak aging. Some black fruit peeks out from underneath. Full-bodied and smooth. Drink: 2013 - 2015 369629 13.5% D 750 mL $12.30 Score: 86/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tinto Figuero 4 Tempranillo 2012, Ribera Del Duero D.O.C., Spain: A modern style Spanish red wine made from a tradition native grape Tempranillo. Fleshy ripe and juicy aromas and flavours of black and purple plums waft up from the glass and spread across the palate. Perfect for pizza night. Drink: 2013 - 2016 375014 14% XD 750 mL $17.75 Score: 88/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Flagstone Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: An incredibly delicious and robust South African red wine for the price! Made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape, this wine offers lots of gorgeous toasty, smoky oak, coffee and black fruit on the nose and palate. On the palate it actually lifts up with berry ripe flavours. Perfect for hamburgers. Drink: 2013 - 2016 358754 14% XD 750 mL $10.95 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Leyda Reserva Pinot Noir 2012, Leyda Valley, Chile: A sweet cherry-berry Pinot at a nice price. Smooth and supple and medium-bodied. It sure doesn't taste like 14.5% alcohol, which is high for Pinot Noir though not for Chile. Finishes a little swampy but that can be forgiven for the price. Drink: 2013 - 2015 358929 14.5% D 750 mL $12.50 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Luis Felipe Edwards Reserva Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Mocha and dark chocolate with coffee espresso underlays on the nose from generous oak aging. Opens on the palate with fleshy black plum and berries. Full-bodied and smooth. Needs a steak. Drink: 2012 - 2015 308189 14% D 750 mL $13.90 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2012, Australia: Wow, a juicy gorgeously rich and dark-fruited Shiraz from an iconic Australian wine producer. Layers of pleasure here in the glass. Drink: 2012 - 2017 284091 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. October 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vintage Ink Mark Of Passion Merlot Cabernet 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Lots of mocha, smoke and coffee-espresso on the nose from very generous oak aging. Black tarry fruit underneath. Full-bodied and fairly smooth, though decanting for 1 hour will help. Drink: 2013 - 2016 250209 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Apothic Dark 2013, California, United States: Liquid fudge, coffee dark roast: a very sweet wine that could almost be consumed for dessert. Highly confected; this reminds me of a marketing-driven "concept wine" that makes a bridge to wine for Coca Cola drinkers. Drink: 2013 - 2015 392654 13.5% M 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pirramimma Stock's Hill Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012, Australia: Fantastic! Rich, deep, layered, savoury. Wow squared. Layers of rich dark fruit and toasty oak, but not too much. This winery is consistently a great producer vintage after vintage. Drink: 2012 - 2016 352252 14.9% XD 750 mL $17.60 Score: 90/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wente Vineyards Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Livermore Valley, California, United States: Elegant, balanced and complex. Great price for classic Californian Cabernet. Cool-climate influences at play here. Drink: 2013 - 2017 301507 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Small Gully The Formula Robert's Shiraz 2010, South Australia, Australia: A rich, full-throttle Australian red wine that weighs in at a staggering 15.9% (why not round up?) Nonetheless it doesn't taste hot or out of balance as it has the fruit and structure to support that alcohol. Here's your go-to red when you want the most "bang" for your buck. Beats vodka by a long shot. Drink: 2012 - 2017 142935 15.9% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

L.A Cetto Petite Sirah 2012, Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, Mexico: A favourite of wine cheapskates everywhere: you can't get much better in decent taste for this price point in wine. Straight-forward pleasure with dark fruit and some oak. Fairly smooth and full-bodied. Drink: 2012 - 2015 983742 13.5% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 86/100. October 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Tractor Pinot Noir 2012, St. David's Bench, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: The Pinot Noir grapes for this vibrant red wine are sourced from the Queenston Road Vineyard. This medium-bodied, smooth Pinot features aromas of ripe and tart cherry and spice. The wine was aged for 9 months in seasoned French oak barrels. Pinot Noir food pairings: Prosciutto, Mushroom risotto, Gruyere cheese, Roasted salmon, Duck confit. Drink: 2014 - 2018 741 13% D 750 mL $24.99 Score: 89/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Poplar Grove Winery Syrah 2011, Okanagan Valley, BC V.Q.A., Canada: This voluptuous, supple, full-bodied red wine is mostly Syrah, although it was co-fermented with 4% Viognier grapes to add lift to the mid-palate, just as they do in the Rhone Valley. Loaded with attractive aromas of black pepper, plush, fleshy black plum and berries and toasty oak. This wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels. Decant 1-2 hours and enjoy with hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2014 - 2019 626990151425 14.4% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 92/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vinyasa Red 2013, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A surprisingly rich and full-bodied red wine for one that's marketed as low-calorie (80 calories per 125 ml glass) and has only 10.3% alcohol. This is Canada's only VQA designated low-cal wine. This is a blend of a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. Pair with meeting your goals at Weight Watchers. Drink: 2013 - 2015 10.3% MD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Tsarine Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Champagne 2006, Champagne A.O.C., France: Toasty, crisp and completely refreshing. Well-styled and structured Champagne at a reasonable price, especially for vintage-dated. This actually tastes so fresh: you'd never guess it was a 2006 which I'd expect more nuttiness and mature aromas. Drink: 2013 - 2018 369637 12% 750 mL $59.95 Score: 91/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Tawse Winery Inc. Quarry Road Gewurztraminer 2011, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, floral, spicy white wine with notes of lychee and rose petal. Medium-bodied and luscious with some sweetness that's nicely balanced with acidity. Try with curried dishes and medium spices. Gewurztraminer food pairings: Thai curries, roasted pork, Indian dishes. Drink: 2012 - 2013 670459001257 12.5% MD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Tractor Riesling 2013, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Vibrant, zesty, tart and saucy: this Riesling will make your mouth water for more. The Riesling grapes for this Niagara white wine were sourced from the Fox Croft. Pair with salads and shellfish. The wine was fermented at cool temperatures with minimal intervention to preserve fruit freshness. Riesling food pairings: Thai, Soft Cheeses, Grilled Chicken. Drink: 2014 - 2018 685 11.5% D 750 mL $16.99 Score: 89/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Tractor Chardonnay 2012, St. David's Bench, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: The grapes for this opulent, full-bodied Niagara Chardonnay were sourced from the Queenston Road Vineyard. This luscious white wine offers aromas of butterscotch and white fleshy peach on the nose and palate. The wine was fermented and aged on the lees in French oak barrels. The 2012 vintage was spectacular for Niagara and it shows in the glass here. Chardonnay food pairings: Hard Cheeses, Root Vegetable Soups, Fish and Cream Based Dishes. Drink: 2014 - 2017 564 13% XD 750 mL $19.99 Score: 90/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Tractor Riesling Gewurztraminer 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Viscous, rich and mouth-filling, this gorgeous blend of Riesling and Gewurztraminer is highly aromatic and intriguing. Aromas of baking spices, rose petal, lychee and lime blossom. Given the richness and texture of this wine, it's hard to believe that it's only 11.5% alcohol (yay). Pair with medium curries and spices. Riesling Gewurztraminer food pairings: soft cheeses, seafood, lighter meats, Asian and spicy foods.. Drink: 2014 - 2017 12% MD 750 mL $12.99 Score: 89/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosehall Run The Righteous Dude Riesling 2013, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This single vineyard County Riesling offers lots of pleasure in the glass. Aromas of lime, flint and white stone fruit. There's a deep core of minerality here. Extremely versatile with food, from fresh white fish to pasta in cream sauce. Riesling food pairings: lightly spiced Asian cuisine, gracefully complementing its spiciness and sweetness. Drink: 2013 - 2019 834328002718 9.2% MD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosehall Run Hungry Point Unoaked Chardonnay 2013, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, fresh unoaked Chardonnay from the County. Aromas of white melon and lemon zest. Pair with roast chicken. Medium-bodied with crisp. Chardonnay food pairings: seafood like black pepper skewered shrimps or grilled calamari. Drink: 2013 - 2016 401208 12.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Masi Soave Classico 2012, Verona I.G.T., Italy: An acidic, mouth-watering Italian white wine that's typical of the Soave region and wine style. Lime, lemon and white grapefruit, no oak. Great with salads, fresh seafood and vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2012 - 2015 539295 12% XD 750 mL $15.00 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tavernello Collezione Sauvignon, Friuli Grave D.O.C., Italy: A very pleasant Sauvignon Blanc from northern Italy. Zesty, clean and fresh with lime, citrus lift. Perfectly balanced acidity for seafood and quiche. Not vintage dated. Great value. Drink: 2013 - 2015 361477 12% XD 750 mL $12.75 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concilio Pinot Grigio 2013, Trentino D.O.C., Italy: Fresh and clean with classic Pinot Grigio clean lines of lime, lemon and grapefruit, no oak. Perfect as an aperitif or seafood match. Drink: 2013 - 2015 637595 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Laroche De La Chevaliere Viognier 2013, Pays D'oc Igt, France: Smokin for the price. No perceptible sweetness. Truly complex. Delicate white florals and lychee with rose petal and almond on the finish. Classic French Viognier. Perfect for mild to medium curries and spices. Lovely. Drink: 2013 - 2016 377622 13% XD 750 mL $12.70 Score: 88/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jp Azeitao Branco 2013, Bacalhoa, Portugal: A very light, soft Portuguese white wine with almost no apparent acidity. Pleasant aperitif. Drink: 2013 - 2015 377101 13% XD 750 mL $8.95 Score: 83/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fonseca Porto White 2013, Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal: A lovely, light Portuguese white wine with attractive lime and lemon notes and just enough acidity to be refreshing. No apparent oak. Pair with seafood and salads. Drink: 2013 - 2015 377127 12.5% XD 750 mL $8.80 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wachau Durnstein Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2013, Austria: A green, acidic, classic Gruner Veltliner for those who are fans of this zesty Austrian white wine. Pure mouth-watering white grapefruit aromas and flavours. Drink: 2013 - 2015 375089 12.5% XD 750 mL $15.40 Score: 85/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Esquinas De Argento Pinot Grigio 2013, Argentina: Mouth-watering and tasting with bright lime and lemon notes. Stunningly great price for such a crisp, fresh Argentine white wine. Drink: 2013 - 2015 365494 13% XD 750 mL $11.85 Score: 86/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bundeena Bay Vineyard Series Pinot Grigio 2013, Australia: A lovely soft, white floral pinot Grigio with just a deft touch of acidity to keep it interesting. Perfect as an aperitif or companion to light seafood dishes. Drink: 2013 - 2015 358978 13% XD 750 mL $13.70 Score: 86/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Veramonte Reserva Chardonnay 2013, Casablanca Valley, Chile: Cracking great for the money! Full-bodied, blousy, buttery, bootiful Chilean Chardonnay. Layered and luscious. Drink: 2013 - 2015 320788 14% XD 750 mL $11.45 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Megalomaniac Wines Local Squeeze White 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Love it! Juicy blend of white wine grapes that has to include the aromatic Riesling (grapes aren't listed on the bottle). Mouth-watering with just the right amount acidity and slight sweetness, beautifully balanced. There isn't a better wine for glazed ham, or medium curries. Drink: 2012 - 2016 357418 11.1% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vinyasa White 2013, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: They lower the calorie count by lower the alcohol percentage which in turn means not allowing most of the natural grape sugars to convert to alcohol. Therefore you get an off-dry slightly sweet tasting white wine (both sugar and alcohol contribute calories to wine). Soft aromas of white melon. Made by Mike Weir. Interesting concept that appears to me as totally marketing driven. Drink: 2013 - 2015 379131 9.5% MD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 84/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sebastiani Chardonnay 2011, Sonoma County, California, United States: Totally toffee, caramel and butterscotch from extremely generous oak aging. Buttered apples and white pear dipped in caramel. Full-bodied and smooth. Drink: 2013 - 2016 364497 13.5% D 750 mL $19.80 Score: 87/100. October 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Astrolabe Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand: Lime glorious! I love this New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc every year: it's never let me know. Grassy, herbal with lime citrus brightness emanating from its core. Drink: 2013 - 2016 10421 13% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 91/100. October 2014. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mer Soleil Chardonnay Oaked 2012, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, California, United States: Mer Soliel translates to sea and sun in Californian surfer dud speak (I'm fluent). A rich and full-bodied white wine with lovely layers of golden apple and butterscotch from oak aging. Drink: 2013 - 2018 958975 14.5% D 750 mL $34.95 Score: 93/100. October 2014. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alsace Willm Gew├╝rztraminer Reserve 2012, Alscae, France: Rich and viscous with apricot preserves and honeysuckle loveliness. Drink: 2013 - 2016 269852 12.5% MD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 91/100. October 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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