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Wine Picks July 5, 2018

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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

Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2012, Similkameen, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: This is an absolutely stunning BC red wine! Wow, right out of the gate: depth, concentration, length and finesse. Towering structure. This is a blend of estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France and Merlot grapes. The wine is aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Finishes with leather, espresso and wild blackberry. Highly recommended. Meritage food pairings: grilled venison, rib-eye steak, flat iron steak, other full-flavoured dishes. Drink: 2016 - 2021 14.2% D 750 mL $31.22 Score: 95/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Marchesi de Frescobaldi Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Rufina 2013, Tuscany Doc, Italy: A full-bodied Tuscan red wine made from the classic Chianti grape Sangiovese. Racy acidity and mouth-watering aromas and flavours of dark red berries and spice. Pair with tangy tomato sauce. Drink: 2014 - 2020 107276 13% XD 750 mL $21.75 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Anciano 7 Year Gran Reserva Tempranillo 2008, Valdepenas, Spain: Dark chocolate, mocha and toasty oak on the nose of this full-bodied Spanish red wine made from the Tempranillo grape. Pair with lamb and rosemary. This wine is aged for at least 18 months in oak barrels to add vanilla spice notes. Drink: 2010 - 2018 464214 13% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A stunning vintage for one of Canada's greatest wines. Oculus delivers superb breadth, depth and length. Seductive aromas of fleshy ripe dark fruit, violets, spices and smoke. The 2013 vintage is a blend of Merlot (51%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Cabernet Franc (22%), and Petit Verdot (4%). It was aged for 16.5 months in French oak, 63% of which was new. Surprisingly supple and almost smooth on the palate: this will increase and deepen with cellar time. It will also benefit form 1-2 hours decanting. Pair with a rare filet mignon. Drink: 2018 - 2027 9316 14% D 750 mL $125.00 Score: 97/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cassini Cellars The Godfather 2012, Osoyoos, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous BC red wine blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, 17% Merlot and 8% Syrah grapes. Supple, full-bodied and generously layered with a long finish. Aromas of fleshy ripe blackberries and plums with smoke and toasty oak. Only 150 cases were made. Decant 1 hour. Pair with prime rib. Drink: 2018 - 2025 14% D 750 mL $70.00 Score: 94/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pentage Winery Gamay Noir 2015, Penticton, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A delightfully peppery, spicy BC Gamay Noir with a supple, plush texture and a medium body. Aromas of dark fleshy black plums and spice. Pair with veal. Drink: 2018 - 2021 13% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vanessa Vineyard Meritage 2013, Similkameen, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A blockbuster BC red wine blend of estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. The wine is aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels. Aromas of dried herbs, leather, coffee and black currant. Pair with prime rib. Needs cellar time. Highly recommended. Meritage food pairings: grilled venison, rib-eye steak, flat iron steak, other full-flavoured dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2024 14% D 750 mL $39.99 Score: 94/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Altos Ibéricos Crianza Tempranillo 2014, Rioja D.O.C.A., Spain: A superb Spanish red wine, especially at this price point! Full-bodied, rich and layered with aromas of black fruit, dark spice, earth and toast. This robust Spanish red wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, the country's flagship red wine varietal. The wine was matured for 12 months in oak barrels followed by prolonged bottle aging before being released from the winery. Pair with game meats. Serve at 17-18 degrees Celsius. Tempranillo food pairings: grilled, smoked meats, slow-braised brisket. Drink: 2016 - 2019 527291 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wayne Gretzky Estates Baco Noir 2016, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A rich, juicy full-bodied Niagara Baco Noir with aromas of ripe black plums, dark berries and toasty oak. Pair with barbecued ribs. Drink: 2018 - 2020 426528 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

La Vieille Ferme 2016, Cotes Du Ventoux, Rhone A.O.C., France: A full-bodied, rustic, robust southern French red wine blend. Aromas of black fruit, cedar brush and spice. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2022 263640 13% D 750 mL $12.45 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Nk'Mip Cellars Mer'r'iym Meritage 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A beautiful BC red wine blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 16% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. Lovely balance, complexity, depth and length. Aromas of black fleshy ripe plums, dark spice and pepper. Full-bodied and supple. Pair with a pepper steak. Drink: 2018 - 2023 14.5% D 750 mL $50.00 Score: 93/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Old Vines Baco Noir 2017, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A rich, full-bodied, luscious Baco Noir made from old vines, which concentrate the flavour and depth of the wine. Aromas of fleshy ripe black plums, blackberries and smoke. Perfect for grilled meats. Baco Noir food pairings: venison, lamb or steak, spicy pasta dishes with rich tomato sauces. Drink: 2018 - 2022 459966 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

House Wine Co. Cabernet Shiraz 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied, juicy, tasty Niagara red wine blend of Cabernet and Shiraz grapes. Supple and smooth. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2021 219030 13% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Unsworth Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016, Cowichan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied, deeply flavoured BC Pinot Noir with aromas of black cherry and smoke. Smooth and supple. Perfect for grilled chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2022 13.6% XD 750 mL $35.00 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hester Creek Estate Winery The Judge Golden Mile Bench 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A blockbuster BC red wine with fairly firm tannins that will smooth out with cellar time, then decant 1-2 hours. Aromas of black fruit, smoke and toasty oak. Winemaker Robert Summers makes this wine from some of the oldest vines in the Okanagan for this wine on the Golden Mile Bench. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. This is stunning: Bordeaux elegance, BC power. Pair with a rare steak or lamb. Drink: 2018 - 2026 14.6% XD 750 mL $55.00 Score: 95/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Howling Bluff Estate Winery Century Block Pinot Noir 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, supple BC Pinot Noir with fruit sourced from the Century Block, so named for the 100 different species of apples that were once planted where 1,200 vines are today.The wine was aged in new French oak for 12 months. Aromas of fleshy ripe black cherry and plums ith spice and smoke. Medium-bodied and smooth. Pair with veal. Drink: 2018 - 2023 13.5% D 750 mL $27.00 Score: 93/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tightrope Winery Syrah 2015, Naramata, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Luscious dark plums and black pepper aromas on the nose and palate. Full-bodied yet velvet smooth. Layered and delicious. Pair with grilled lamb. Drink: 2018 - 2023 14.4% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 91/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Road 13 Vineyards Seventy-Four K 2016, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A luscious BC red wine that's a blend of Merlot and Syrah grapes. Aromas of fleshy ripe sweet black plums and blackberries. Supple, smooth and full-bodied. Perfect for roast beef. Drink: 2018 - 2022 14.5% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sandbanks Estate Winery Baco Noir 2017, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Fleshy ripe purple plums and mocha from oak aging on the nose and palate of this Prince Edward Country red wine made from the Baco Noir grape. Sweet blackberries on the palate. Pair with hamburgers and relish. Drink: 2018 - 2020 110049 12.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2014, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: A vibrant, full-bodied Tuscan red wine from Ruffino made form the classic Chianti grape Sangiovese. Full-bodied and savoury with juicy, mouth-watering aromas and flavours of dark red berries and spice. Pair with tangy tomato sauce. Drink: 2018 - 2023 45195 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Leonardo Fiasco Chianti 2015, Tuscany, Italy: A full-bodied Tuscan red wine made from the classic Chianti grape Sangiovese. Savoury with juicy, mouth-watering aromas and flavours of dark red berries and spice. Pair with spicy sausages. Drink: 2018 - 2021 372391 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pentage Winery Syrah 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, peppery BC Syrah with aromas of ripe black plums and dark spice. Supple and smooth with full-bodied weight. Pair with grilled lamb. Drink: 2017 - 2022 14.5% D 750 mL Score: 92/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Baron Philippe De Rothschild Languedoc-Roussillon Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Pays D'oc V.D.P., France: A full-bodied, somewhat tannic red wine with aromas of black fruit, tar, and toasty oak. Good price. Decant 1-2 hours. Pair with hearty meat dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: red meats, cheeses. Drink: 2018 - 2021 407551 13% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 86/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wayne Gretzky Estates Cabernet Merlot 2016, Niagara Pensinsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Lots of toasty oak, red currant, tart berries. Pair with grilled meats. Yes this is the namesake of The Great One, hockey player. No he doesn't pick the grapes or make the wine ;) Drink: 2018 - 2022 75689 12.8% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Carolina Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Chile: Full-bodied Chilean Cabernet, with a medium tannins on the palate. Decant 1 hour. Aromas of blackened fruit and toasty oak and smoke. The grapes for this wine grow on old vines in the winery's Miraflores Estate vineyard. Finishes with cedar and cigar box. Pair with a bolognese sauce. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled steak, back ribs, brisket, roast beef. Drink: 2018 - 2022 275925 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Pinot Noir 2016, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Cranberry juicy on the nose and palate. Could there be a better wine for Thanksgiving turkey? Medium-bodied and smooth with lots of racy acidity. Great value. Pinot Noir food pairings: traditional clove studded baked ham, split pea soup, roast turkey, grilled salmon. Drink: 2018 - 2022 261099 12.2% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Bernard 2016, Cotes Du Rhone, France: A solid performer, year after year. This robust red offers tasty notes of dark red fruit, cedar and some smoke. Great party wine. Drink: 2018 - 2022 581645 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.15 Score: 88/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Sangre De Toro Garnacha 2016, Catalonia, Spain: A beautiful, juicy, delicious wine, especially for this price point! Aromas of fleshy ripe dark plums and spice. Perfect for grilled lamb. Garnacha food pairings: roasts, casseroles, game and traditional Spanish meat dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2022 6585 13.5% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Finca Flichman Misterio Malbec 2016, Mendoza, Argentina: An exceptionally well-priced, full-bodied red wine from Argentine. Aromas of dark plums and toasty oak. Pair with hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2021 28803 13.5% XD 750 mL $10.35 Score: 87/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2017, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: Lots of attractive toasty oak and fleshy blackberry on the nose of this full-bodied South African red wine, which also delivers on the palate. This juicy, full-bodied red wonder is pretty darn incredible for the price. Pair it with roast beef or prime rib. Drink: 2018 - 2022 292557 14.5% D 750 mL $14.30 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2016, Columbia Valley, Washington State, United States: A full-bodied, luxuriously layered Washington state red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. Aromas of black plum and smoke. Great value. Pair with grilled meats. Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah food pairings: steak frites, grilled gourmet sausages. Drink: 2018 - 2022 363838 13.9% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Privato Vineyard and Winery Pinot Noir 2016, Thompson-Okanagan, Bc, Canada: A rich, full-bodied BC Pinot Noir with a velvet texture and luxurious mouth-feel. Aromas of fleshy black plum and dark cherry. Smooth, supple and delicious. Pair with veal or grilled chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2023 13.7% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 92/100. July 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Averill Creek Vineyard Brut Pinot blend 2010, Vancouver Island, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A beautiful, crisp, frothy sparkling wine from Vancouver Island. Toasty and refreshing. Perfect as an aperitif or companion to seafood. Drink: 2017 - 2021 11.5% D 750 mL $49.08 Score: 92/100. July 2018. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Penedes, Spain: Superb value! Toasty, earthy, dry and refreshing sparkling wine that's a fraction of the cost of Champagne. Lovely yeasty notes on the nose with some toasted apple and almond on the finish. Stock up for your parties and weddings now. Drink: 2017 - 2021 216960 12% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Champagne, Champagne A.C., France: This classic, well-known Champagne is a traditional blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. Lime zest, green apple and freshly baked bread aromas on the nose, with a terrific persistence of bubbles on the palate. Try the ultra-shabby chic combo here between French Champagne and a bucket of KFC chicken. Why wait for New Year’s or a wedding before you pop open bubbly when it’s so tasty? The bonus is that it’s just about the best partner for fried food on the planet: it’s mouth-watering acidity and bubbles wash away the fat, making you want more of course. Champagne food pairings: potato chips, fried food, sushi, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2017 - 2022 563338 12% D 750 mL $70.60 Score: 92/100. July 2018. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Margherita Brut Valdobbiadene Superiore Prosecco, Veneto D.O.C.G., Italy: White melon and white peach aromas and flavours on this crisp Italian sparkling wine, with good acidity and yet also a creamy softness. Pair with soft cheeses. Prosecco food pairings: calamari or other seafood in a citrus cream sauce, salad. Drink: 2017 - 2020 687582 11.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. July 2018. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Pinot Grigio 2016, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Clean and crisp Niagara Pinot Grigio with notes of lemongrass and chives. medium-bodied with racy acidity for seafood. Pinot Grigio food pairings: fresh cucumber salad with ricotta or mozzarella cheese; mild white fish like pan seared pickerel with orange butter; pasta al olio (olive oil, chili, garlic). Drink: 2017 - 2019 348979 12.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Megalomaniac Wines Homegrown Riesling 2014, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A off-dry aromatic white with lots of juicy acidity for seafood. Also try with dishes that have some sweetness like glazed ham. Drink: 2016 - 2021 183061 10.5% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alsace Willm Gewürztraminer Reserve 2016, Alscae, France: Rich and viscous with apricot preserves and honeysuckle loveliness. Medium bodied. Perfect for mild to medium curries and spices. Drink: 2018 - 2022 269852 12.5% MD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Angels Gate Winery Gewurztraminer 2016, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely medium-bodied gewurztraminer with delicate notes of white field flowers, peach and a faint whiff of lychee. Not spicy. Terrific aperitif! Perfect for mild to medium curries and spices. Gewurztraminer food pairings: mild to medium curries, Asian dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2022 58594 12.3% D 750 mL $15.10 Score: 89/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Toasted Head Chardonnay 2016, California, United States: Lots of campfire smoke and toasty oak on the nose with more on the palate and finish from oak aging. The barrels are toasted: not just the staves on the sides but also the ends or heads, thus the wine's name. Full-bodied with some apple on the palate, but mostly wood. Pair with smoked meats. Chardonnay food pairings: scallops with a sesame ginger dressing, grilled seafood, spinach and pepper jack stuffed chicken, beef bourguignon. Drink: 2018 - 2021 594341 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cave Spring Cellars Chardonnay 2016, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Full-bodied and balanced cool-climate Niagara chardonnay with nicely calibrated oak and golden apple notes. Pair with roasted chicken. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled or poached salmon with cream sauce; pan-fried shellfish; chicken pot pie; cheese casseroles; stuffed Cornish hen; lemon-roasted chicken; pork with apples.. Drink: 2018 - 2022 228551 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Another gorgeous wine from winemaker Ann Sperling. The Riesling grapes for this BC white wine grow on old vines that were panted in 1978. The depth and concentration shows in the wine. Aromas of peach, apricot and wet stone. Pair with seafood and shellfish. Drink: 2017 - 2024 361204 11.5% D 750 mL $34.00 Score: 95/100. July 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Alive Organic White 2017, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, vibrant, mouth-watering white wine from BC. Bonus is that's also vegan friendly. Aromas of lime zest. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2020 11% D 750 mL $15.00 Score: 90/100. July 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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