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Wine Picks November 15, 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.

Dessert Wine

Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008, Douro Valley, Portugal: Stunningly great for the money, wow! Rich blackberry jam and anise with layers of complexity and depth. Pair with Black Forest Cake. Drink: 2013 - 2020 191239 20% S 750 mL $17.25 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Fortified Vintage Foch 2012, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely dessert wine that's not overly sweet. Very viscuous and unctuous (love that word). Layers of black plum and blackberry preserves. Pair with brambleberry pie. Foch food pairings: salted caramel ice cream or a cheese platter with artisanal crackers. Drink: 2013 - 2019 638148 18% S 500 mL $25.00 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cockburn's Quinta Dos Canais Vintage Port 2000, Douro, Portugal: Superb quality, depth, complexity and richness in this dessert wine. Classic port in all its best ways, yet incredibly well-priced too. Aromas of blackberry jam and smoke. Pair with chocolate cheesecake. Drink: 2012 - 2020 362251 20% S 750 mL $39.95 Score: 91/100. November 2014. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2011, Douro, Portugal: This is the half bottle size of this port. Minty blackberry on the nose of this Portuguese fortified dessert wine. Aromas of blackberry jam, black raspberry and smoke. Needs cellar time. Drink: 2015 - 2020 362301 20% S 375 mL $75.00 Score: 95/100. November 2014. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2011, Douro, Portugal: Minty blackberry on the nose of this Portuguese fortified dessert wine. Aromas of blackberry jam, black raspberry and smoke. Needs cellar time. Drink: 2015 - 2022 362319 20% S 750 mL $130.00 Score: 95/100. November 2014. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fonseca Porto Vintage Port 2011, Douro, Portugal: Divine dessert wine with classic lines of port: blackberry, cassis preserves and smoke. Needs cellar time but what a fantastic wine. Drink: 2015 - 2025 362244 20% S 750 mL $130.00 Score: 96/100. November 2014. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Croft Vintage Port 2011, Douro, Portugal: Sublime port! Wow, this has everything: layers of black fruit, smoke, tar, anise with incredible depth and concentration. Long finish. This will do well in the cellar. Drink: 2014 - 2025 362343 20% S 750 mL $120.00 Score: 95/100. November 2014. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Croft Vintage Port 2011, Douro, Portugal: This is the half bottle size of this sublime port! Wow, this has everything: layers of black fruit, smoke, tar, anise with incredible depth and concentration. Long finish. This will do well in the cellar. Drink: 2014 - 2020 362350 20% S 375 mL $70.00 Score: 95/100. November 2014. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Miguel Torres Coronas Tempranillo 2011, Catalunya, Spain: Wow, what an amazing wine for the price! Juicy, full-bodied, mouth-filling with layers of delicious fleshy dark fruit and some smoke. Great depth and length. Tempranillo is such an amazing grape with done in this style of Spanish wine. Tempranillo food pairings: red meats, creamy cheeses, traditional paellas. Drink: 2013 - 2018 29728 13% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Fleshy ripe cherry and berry aromas and flavours. Medium-bodied, very smooth, round and supple. Perfect for roast chicken or turkey. This is a consistently great Niagara producer of pinot noir year after year. Pinot Noir food pairings: BBQ smoked pulled pork. Drink: 2013 - 2018 1545 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Lots of sweet berry fruit on the nose of the Cabernet Sauvignon along with vanilla spice from toasty oak aging. Mouth-watering and juicy. Pair with hamburgers and all the fixins. Drink: 2013 - 2017 63657033128 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burning Kiln Winery Cabernet Franc 2012, Niagara, Ontario, Canada: This robust Niagara red wine uses a variation on the appassimento method traditionally used in northern Italy for Ripasso and Amarone style wines. The grapes for the wine are first dried in a tobacco kiln before being fermented to add richness, colour, flavour and depth to the wine. Drink: 2013 - 2018 310268 14.4% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Borsao Garnacha 2012, Borja, Spain: Extraordinary value for the price! Wow. Full-bodied, supple, smooth with gloriously ripe aromas of black plum and blackberry. Perfect for hearty meat dishes and large parties. Drink: 2012 - 2016 386961 14.5% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Savoury and meaty with black cherry liqueur on the nose and palate of this dry, robust red wine. Needs to decant for an hour. Pair with rare filet mignon. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: steak, barbecued ribs. Drink: 2014 - 2018 336149 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Meritage 2012, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Balanced, elegant and full-bodied: a beautiful blend of Cabernet and Merlot from this Niagara winery. Pair with gourmet hamburgers. Drink: 2014 - 2018 149005 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tasca D'almerita Cygnus Nero D'avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Sicily, Italy: Minty blackberry on the nose, with black roasted fruit on the palate. Full-bodied and smooth. Very black and foreboding. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2013 - 2016 909911 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

MontGras ANTU Ninquén Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Very nicely balanced, smooth, full-bodied Chilean Cabernet. Aromas of dark fruit and toasty oak. Great campfire wine, or pair with grilled meats. Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenère food pairings: beef ribs, lamb burgers. Drink: 2013 - 2017 59329 14.3% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

George Wyndham Founder's Reserve Shiraz 2012, Langhorne Creek, Australia: A gloriously rich and full-bodied Australian Shiraz with aromas of black fruit, violets, toasty oak and dried herbs. Such a pleasant balance here with a naturally pleasing bite for food. Layered and complex and deep. Yes please! Pair with meat lovers' or pepperoni pizza. Drink: 2013 - 2018 107904 14.9% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: This is what elegance and restraint tastes like from Australia: French grammar school, Australian graduate studies by the consummate gentleman winemaker Peter Gago. This wine was matured for a year in French oak, 26% of which was new. Lovely aromas of mint, cassis, blackcurrant and blackberry with just enough toasty warmth from the oak. Shiraz food pairings: rich game dishes, roast beef, hard cheese, pizza, grilled or spice-rubbed chicken. Drink: 2013 - 2019 509919 14% D 750 mL $34.95 Score: 94/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Sonoma County, California, United States: Balanced, complex and distinguished: this full-bodied Californian Cabernet hails from the cool climate of Sonoma. The dramatic difference in day and nighttime temperatures (diurnal) makes for ripe wines that have underlying balance. Finishes with cassis, smoke, anise and dried tobacco. Drink: 2014 - 2018 977173 13.8% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 92/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Horsepower Proprietary Red Blend 2009, Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington State, United States: A full-bodied, robust, rustic red wine blend ok labelf 43% Syrah, 35% Barbera, 9% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot and 4% Mourvedre. Aromas of black fruit and toasty oak. According to the back label, one horsepower equals 745.699872 watts. Now you know. Drink: 2013 - 2017 387001 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos Du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, North Coast California, United States: A robust Californian red wine with classic aromas of cassis, blackcurrant and wild blackberry. Supple and mouth-filling. Finishes with some mocha and dark spice. Perfect for hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2013 - 2016 308304 13.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos Du Bois Rouge 2012, California, United States: An incredibly great Californian red wine for the price point! Smooth, supple and full-bodied, this sunshine state wine is a blend of red grapes. It offers seductive aromas and flavours of fleshy dark red fruit, a lick of spice and some toasty oak. Pair with a romantic dinner date and a no-mercy red dress (or tie). Food pairings: steak, grilled pork chops. Drink: 2013 - 2016 394809 13.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Reserve Baco Noir 2012, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Henry of Pelham does Baco Noir right: this is best of class. Brooding aromas of black and purple plum, blackberries and blueberries wrapped in smoke. Supple and full-bodied. The 2012 vintage was another strong one for Ontario producers, and especially this winery. Could this be the ultimate hamburger wine? I think so as this wine won the beef category for The Great Canadian Wine Match people's choice awards this year. Well-structured with a solid finish. Try it tonight. Baco Noir food pairings: blackened, smoked beef dishes, grilled radicchio, hamburgers. Drink: 2014 - 2018 461699 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Caliterra Tributo Single Vineyard Carmenère 2011, Colchagua Valley, Chile: A toasty, oaky, full-bodied red wine with big black fruit and juicy mouth-filling flavours that's bound to stand out in any comparison tasting. However, on its own it's wanting for a little more nuance. Nonetheless, it's a great don't-analyze-it-just-quaff-it kind of wine. Pair with hamburgers. Drink: 2013 - 2016 56630 14.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pirramimma Katunga Gts 2012, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: Juicy and vibrant with black and purple liqueur aromas and flavours. Full-bodied and ultra-smooth. Deeply concentrated and rich with layered complexity through the palate. Lots of toasty, smoky oak that's in balance with the luscious fruit. This wine cries out for hearty meat dishes, and for you to top up your glass. Stunning complexity, depth and finish in this towering Australian red wine. Food pairings: meat dishes. Drink: 2013 - 2018 203174 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 93/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stags' Leap Winery Petite Sirah 2011, Napa Valley, California, United States: A full-bodied and savoury Californian red wine, with a different flavour profile derived from the lesser-known grape Petite Sirah. Spicy exotic black fruit aromas and flavours play across the palate. Complex and tasty: here's a red wine to get you out of your Cabernet rut (if you're in one). Try it with grilled pork chops. Petite Sirah food pairings: beef, game. Drink: 2013 - 2018 590356 14.3% D 750 mL $59.95 Score: 92/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvèdre 2012, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia: A full-bodied Australian red wine blend of Shiraz (about 90%) and Mourvèdre (about 10%) grapes with terrific structure and depth. Judicious use of oak wraps around blackberries and some dark spice notes. A pleasantly long, dry finish. Another classic red from Australia. Perfect for grilled meats: smooth yet robust. finishes with dark fruits, pepper and spice. Shiraz Mourvèdre food pairings: veal, roast chicken, planked salmon. Drink: 2013 - 2018 468629 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 91/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Joseph Drouhin 2011, Cote De Beaune-Villages Burgundy Aoc, France: A mouth-watering Old World Pinot Noir with lots of acidity for roast chicken or turkey. Aromas and flavours of tart cherry and earth. Food pairings: roasted poultry, soft cheeses, smoke salmon. Drink: 2013 - 2017 518191 13% D 750 mL $23.95 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cline Cellars Zinfandel 2013, California, United States: Love this Californian Zinfandel! Smells and tastes sweet in a juicy ripe fruit way, not cloying ... it is a dry wine. The grapes were picked super ripe for this supple, juicy red. I can't image a better wine for Hawaiian pizza. Drink: 2013 - 2017 489278 14% XD 750 mL $14.10 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

J.Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Paso Robles, California, United States: Toasty and full-bodied with attractive mocha, dark chocolate on the nose. Ripe dark berries on the palate. Very smooth. Pair with grilled pork chops. Drink: 2013 - 2017 656561 13.5% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cloudline Pinot Noir 2012, Oregon, United States: Black cherry on the nose of this Oregonian red wine made from the state's best known red wine grape, pinot noir. Good acidity for food. Some notes of reduction on the mid-palate and finish. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast turkey or chicken. Drink: 2012 - 2018 159970 13.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Boeri Barbara D'asti Superiore 2012, Italy, Italy: Nice price for the smooth almost full-bodied Italian red wine. Aromas of sour cherry and some smoke. Pair with spicy sausages. Drink: 2013 - 2015 375113 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.40 Score: 86/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wolf Blass Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: Minty blackberry on the nose of this attractive Australian Cabernet. Full-bodied yet very supple and smooth. Complex and balanced, definitely not a fruit bomb. The grapes are sources from Coonawarra, a cool region in Australia. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: gourmet hamburgers, rare steak. Drink: 2013 - 2018 606939 14% XD 750 mL $26.95 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Merlot 2012, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada: Juicy, delicious, robust and complex: spectacular Merlot! Aromas of fleshy black plums, dark berries and smoke. Get over your notions of Merlot being bring with this Niagara red wine. Decant 1 hour and enjoy with grilled pork chops. Yum! Merlot food pairings: lamb and vegetable ratatouille. Drink: 2014 - 2020 935676 13% XD 750 mL $25.95 Score: 91/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Sangre De Toro 2013, Catalonia, Spain: Staggeringly great for the price! Rich and mouth-filling, yet smooth and supple. Full-bodied weight. Aromas of black cherry and smoke. Perfect for charcuterie and hard cheeses. Food pairings: roasts, casseroles, game and traditional Spanish meat dishes. Drink: 2014 - 2017 6585 13.5% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kacaba Vineyards Meritage 2013, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Savoury, meaty and juicy: this full-bodied Niagara blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah creates a full-throttle Meritage style. decant 1 hour and enjoy with meat lovers' pizza. Drink: 2014 - 2018 101477 12.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kacaba Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A full-bodied, rustic Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of cassis and blackcurrant. Firm tannic grip on the palate. Decant 1 hour and pair with a juicy steak. Drink: 2014 - 2018 326496 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A supple, almost full-bodied red wine blend of Cabernet and Merlot grapes from Niagara. Attractive aromas of dark berries and plums and some toasty oak. Pair with grilled chicken. Drink: 2013 - 2016 627166 13.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Merlot 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: A Merlot with great finesse, balance and complexity from a terrific vintage for Niagara. Notes of black plum and blackberry. Long finish. Very supple and smooth and almost full-bodied. Drink: 2013 - 2018 063657030585 14% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Okanagan Valley, BC V.Q.A., Canada: Elegant and complex with a seductive nose of fleshy blackberry and cassis. This BC red wine draws you in head first to the glass, and all your senses quickly follow. Love the layering and complexity on the mid-palate followed by a long finish. Decant 1 hour and enjoy with a pepper steak. Drink: 2013 - 2018 553321 13% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. November 2014. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Terre Di San Venanzio Fortunato Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore 2012, Veneto, Italy: Robust, crisp and refreshing with great notes of green apple. Excellent aperitif or pair with creamy cheeses. Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore food pairings: appetizers. Drink: 2013 - 2016 359638 11.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Okanagan Valley, Bc, Canada: Robust and round with toasty oak and golden apple aromas and flavours. Nicely balanced. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2014 - 2018 545004 13.5% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 89/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Chardonnay 2012, Okanagan Valley, BC V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied and generous Chardonnay with layers of ripe peach and green apple flavour. Some attractive toasted almond on the finish of this BC classic white wine. The finish is scented with melon and vanilla smoke. Lovely! Chardonnay food pairings: turkey burgers, crab cakes, chicken breast, lobster in butter sauce, cheese. Drink: 2013 - 2018 377770 14% D 750 mL $20.95 Score: 92/100. November 2014. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

O'leary Chardonnay Unoaked 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Naked Chardonnay in all its green apple glory. Crisp, dry and refreshing. Works as an aperitif or companion to seafood, shellfish and field greens. Drink: 2013 - 2015 307751 12% XD 750 mL $14.96 Score: 87/100. November 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Okanagan Valley, Bc, Canada: Very opulent and luxurious Chardonnay! Mouth-filling and viscous with a rich, mouth-coating opulence. Aromas of golden apple, buttered freshly baked bread and almond. Long finish. Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken salad or poached salmon with a caper butter sauce. Drink: 2014 - 2019 639641 13% XD 750 mL $32.95 Score: 93/100. November 2014. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay 2014, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: Buttery and rich, yet balanced Australian Chardonnay. Toasted almond and hazelnut mid-palate and finish. Crisp apple and peach aromas and flavours. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Chardonnay food pairings: basil pesto, prawn bisque, cheese fondue, stuffed chicken breast. Drink: 2013 - 2017 468728 13% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Reserve Gewürztraminer 2012, Niagara River, Ontario, Canada: Round and viscous with attractive aromas of lychee, rose petal and baking spices. Perfect for light to medium curries. Gewürztraminer food pairings: mild curries and spices. Drink: 2013 - 2016 127985 13% MD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery The Empress Chardonnay 2013, Niagara River, Ontario, Canada: A buttery, rich, round Chardonnay with lovely aromas and flavours of golden apple and pear. Very balanced. Great wine for holiday turkey dinner. Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken or braised pork, mussels, oysters and pan fried scallops or as a counterbalance to cut through rich dishes like gnocchi or pasta in cream sauce. Drink: 2013 - 2017 346791 13% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. November 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château St. Jean Treasury Wine Estates Fumé Blanc 2012, Sonoma County, California, United States: Soft like evening twilight with yellow shafts of sunlight and peach flavour. Not loads of acidity: smoky but not buttery like chardonnay. Fumé Blanc food pairings: poached salmon with a cream egg sauce, steamed shellfish. Drink: 2013 - 2017 537639 13.6% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. November 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Hanging Man Kerner Nouveau 2014, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Youthful and vibrant nouveau white wine from Niagara! Bottled soon after the grapes were harvested in time for beaujolais nouveau celebrations. Off-dry allows it to pair extra dry holiday holiday turkey and side dishes. Drink: 2014 - 2014 408013 10% MD 750 mL $13.00 Score: 86/100. November 2014. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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