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Wine Picks December 7, 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.

Dessert Wine

Henry of Pelham Winery Riesling Icewine 2017, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A stunning Riesling Icewine from Henry of Pelham. Aromas of apricot and peach preserves. Luscious and lovely. Pair with a fruit flan or cobbler. Riesling Icewine food pairings: strong blue cheeses or seared foie gras, for dessert with fresh fruit. Drink: 2018 - 2023 430561 9.5% S 375 mL $49.95 Score: 93/100. December 2018. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château La Varière Chenin Blanc 2016, Loire A.C., France: A lovely, luscious, elegant dessert wine that hails from the Loire Valley. Aromas of apricot and peach. Perfect for a fruit flan. Chenin Blanc food pairings: foie gras, blue cheeses, roast Peking duck. Drink: 2018 - 2023 559930 11.8% S 750 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. December 2018. Top Rated Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Andis Zinfandel 2014, Amador County, California, United States: A juicy, delicious Californian Zinfandel with aromas of smoke and black plums. Pair with grilled meats. Zinfandel food pairings: gourmet burgers, barbeque pork ribs, Moroccan lamb curry. Drink: 2018 - 2022 571257 15.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Luigi Bosca Terroir Los Miradores Malbec 2014, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: A full-bodied, supple, smooth Argentine red wine made from the country's classic Malbec grape grown in Villa Seca in the Tunuyán district of Valle de Uco. Some of the 2014 vintage of the Terroir Los Miradores is matured in French oak barrels for 1 year. Aromas of dark fruit, spice and smoke. Pair with grilled meats. Malbec food pairings: duck breast with celeriac purée, breaded veal cutlets, grilled herbed chicken breasts. Drink: 2018 - 2022 568899 14.5% D 750 mL $32.95 Score: 91/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cathedral Cellar Kwv Triptych Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: This WO-designated wine is smooth, smoky and delicious with full-bodied layers of fleshy black plums. Amazingly great price for the quality. This wine is a blend that leads with cabernet sauvignon, but also includes shiraz and merlot grapes. Just enough toasty oak aging to bring this whole delicious package together. Good finish. Try it tonight with meat lovers pizza. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: roast beef, porchetta, slow-cooked venison ribs. Drink: 2016 - 2019 53124 14% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 91/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Rita Gran Hacienda Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Central Valley Do, Chile: A generous, smoky, delicious Chilean red wine - amazing for the price! Aromas of fleshy ripe black plums and toasty oak. Perfect for grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2021 514885 13% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2011, Rioja D.O.C.A., Spain: This Spanish red wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Red Grenache and 5% Mazuelo grapes for the 2011 vintage. The wine was aged for 24 months in American white oak barrels. Aromas of dried dark fruit and herbs on the nose and palate. Dried fruit and cigar box on the palate. Finishes with spices and dusty earth. Pair with lamb. This wine produced by Bodegas Franco-Españolas. Pair with prime rib. Food pairings: roast leg of lamb, hard cheese, veal piccata, grilled steak. Drink: 2017 - 2021 194753 13.5% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 88/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Montes Outer Limits Wild Slopes 2016, Colchagua Valley, Chile: A juicy, full-bodied Chilean Pinot Noir with aromas of fleshy black cherry and dark spice. Smooth and supple. Pair with veal. Food pairings: grilled rib steak, fricassee rabbit, baked quail stuffed with wild mushrooms. Drink: 2017 - 2021 541136 14% XD 750 mL $27.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Meritage 2015, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This terrific, 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 hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2017 - 2021 149005 14% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trapiche Pure Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Mendoza, Argentina: This 100% unoaked Argentine red wine is made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Aromas of cassis and blackberry. Robust and supple. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2021 572172 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alta Vista Premium Cabernet Franc 2016, Mendoza, Argentina: Aromas of tanned leather and cigar box on the nose and palate of this full-bodied, balanced, smooth Argentine Cabernet Franc. Perfect for lamb with rosemary. Cabernet Franc food pairings: grilled game sausage, roast Cornish hens, herbed and tomato flatbread. Drink: 2018 - 2022 609081 13.9% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ghost Pines Winemakers Blend Merlot 2015, Napa, Sonoma, California, United States: A supple, smooth, full-bodied Californian Merlot with attractive aromas of fleshy ripe black plum and toasty oak. Pair with a rare steak. Merlot food pairings: grilled meats and poultry, hearty tomato-based pastas, pork chops. Drink: 2018 - 2022 454876 14.5% XD 750 mL $20.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2016, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: From the Short Hills Bench, Henry Of Pelham's Speck Family Reserve 2016 Pinot Noir is a smooth, lush Pinot Noir with grapes hand-harvested from the oldest estate vineyards, planted in 1988. This vintage is showing flavours of ripe dark cherry, crushed black raspberry, earthy violets and sweet oak spice on the palate. Beautifully balanced, finishes long with velvety tannins. Buy it by the case. Pair with rack of lamb. Pinot Noir food pairings: smoked salmon, grilled pork chops, coq au vin, beef bourguignon. Drink: 2018 - 2024 657874 13.5% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 93/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Southbrook Vineyards Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, luscious, organic Niagara red wine made from the seductive Pinot Noir grape, of which 40% was whole cluster pressed and hand harvested. Glinting ruby gems in the glass. Medium-bodied, supple and smooth with aromas ripe dark cherry, fresh-turned earth and some spice. Long, satisfying finish. Pair with veal cutlets or roast turkey or chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2023 533281 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 93/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Suertes del Marquès Tenerife 7 Fuentes 2016, Valle De La Orortava, Tenerife, Canary Islands Do, Spain: An intriguing wine with aromas of tanned leather and cherry bubblegum. Full-bodied and smooth. Pair with pork chops. Drink: 2018 - 2022 496801 14% XD 750 mL $22.10 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Pinot Noir 2015, California, United States: A lovely, supple, smooth Californian Pinot Noir from a much-respected producer. Aromas of fleshy ripe black cherry and spice. Pair with veal or roast turkey. Drink: 2018 - 2022 954834 14% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hester Creek Estate Winery Syrah Viognier 2016, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada: Hester Creek’s 2016 Syrah-Viognier is a gorgeous, full-bodied BC red wine blend. The Syrah is co-fermented with a a splash of Viognier to lift the mid-palate with some florals. Aromas of wild violets, smoke, vanilla spice and fleshy black cherry. The wine is aged for 15 months in 60% American and 40% French oak barrels. Pair it with roast beef or lamb. Drink: 2018 - 2023 14% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 91/100. December 2018. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Casillero Del Diablo Privada Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Maipo Valley, Chile: A full-bodied, savoury, juicy Chilean red wine made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Aromas of cassis and blackberry with toasty oak. Pair with a rare steak. Great value. Drink: 2018 - 2022 570754 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Miguel Torres Las Mulas Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Central Valley, Chile: A terrific organic Chilean red wine for the price! Classic Cabernet with rich, deep layers of flavour: black plum, blackberry and cedar smoke. Some spice on the finish. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2018 - 2021 407494 14% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cecchi Chianti 2016, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy: A full-bodied Chianti at a nice price. Firm tannins with aromas of sour cherry. It's a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo and Colorino grapes. This is the fourth largest winery in Tuscany. Decant 1 hour and pair with rare meats. Drink: 2018 - 2022 490144 13% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Featherstone Winery Joy Premium Cuvée Sparkling Rosé 2016, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Featherstone's Joy Premium Cuvée is a medium-weight sparkler made in the traditional method from 100% Pinot Noir wine grapes hand-harvested from the Niagara Peninsula wine region. Wine grapes were whole-clustered pressed and the cuvée rested on its lees for 12 months prior to disgorgement. Flavours of wild strawberry, raspberry fairly dance across the palate in a gentle, frothy mousse and finishes long and zesty on the palate. Sparkling Rosé food pairings: pasta, lightly spiced curry dishes, lamb stew, white turkey meat. Drink: 2018 - 2021 450700 12.5% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 91/100. December 2018. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Joseph Cattin Brut Méthode Traditionelle Rosé, Alsace A.C., France: A refreshing, come-alive Crémant with great displays of white pear and green apple crispness. This is an amazing price for this sparkling wine. In 2010, this bubbly won a gold medal at the prestigious competition, Concours des Vins d’Alsace. Great aperitif. Rosé food pairings: shellfish. Drink: 2014 - 2018 264572 12% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gérard Bertrand Crémant De Limoux 2016, Languedoc A.P., France: A lime-fresh sparkling Cremant de Limoux from the south of France, with aromas of green apple and freshly baked brioche. Persistent fine beaded bubbles. Mouth-watering acidity for creamy cheeses, roast chicken and potato chips. Crémant De Limoux food pairings: quiche Florentine, planked salmon, light curry dishes, tacos. Drink: 2018 - 2022 438838 12% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Mastroberardino Falanghina Del Sannio 2016, Campania D.O.C., Italy: A crisp, fresh, mouth-watering Italian white wine from the Mastroberardino family made from the regional indigenous grape Falanghina, first made by the ancient Romans. Aromas of lime zest and white grapefruit. Pair with shellfish. Falanghina Del Sannio food pairings: grilled seafood, calamari, linguini vongole. Drink: 2018 - 2022 562173 12.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 91/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Riesling 2017, Wachau D.A.C., Austria: From Austria's Wachau wine region, The Riesling wine grapes for Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel 2017 are sourced from steeply terraced and select vineyards; temperatures in the Wachau are moderated by both the Danube River and cool Atlantic Ocean breezes. Wachau wines have three classification levels for Wachau wines: Steinfeder for wines up to 11.5% alcohol level; Federspiel for wines between 11.5–12.5% and Smaragd that must have a minimum of 12.5% alcohol level. This wine was made in the Federspiel style to an alcohol level between 11.5 and 12.5% abv. Look for ripe pear and peach flavours accompanied by crisp acidity on the palate. Riesling food pairings: pork knuckles and sauerkraut, pork roast, mild curries. Drink: 2018 - 2022 491902 11% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Miguel Torres Las Mulas Las Mulas Chardonnay Reserva Organic 2018, Central Valley, Chile: A full-bodied, buttery Chilean Chardonnay with aromas of green apple and toasty oak. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2019 - 2021 572362 13% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trapiche Pure Chardonnay 2017, Mendoza, Argentina: This vibrant, fresh Argentine Chardonnay is 100% unoaked to preserve the freshness of its fruit. Aromas of green apple and lime. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2021 572198 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. December 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trail Estate Winery Wertsch Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2016, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This stunning Niagara Gewurztraminer had 13 days skin contact, meaning the grape skins were in contact with the juice during fermentation for 13 days (which is a lot for a white wine). This lends extra flavour and depth and richness to the wine which has a viscous and unctuous mouth-coating texture. Pair with Asian dishes. Gewurztraminer food pairings: baby greens salad, pork tenderloin, turkey breast, foie gras. Drink: 2017 - 2022 13.3% MD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alpha Crucis Fiano 2017, South Australia, Australia: A lemony, crisp Australian white wine with lots of acidity. Medium-bodied. Pair with shellfish. Drink: 2018 - 2020 571158 13% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery King's Ransom Chardonnay 2014, Okanagan Falls, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous BC Chardonnay with toasted hazelnut, butter cream and golden apple on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, layered and luscious. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2017 - 2022 14.6% XD 750 mL $49.99 Score: 93/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Chardonnay 2016, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Southbrook Triomphe (2016) is a full-bodied Niagara white wine made from organically grown Chardonnay grapes and is ideal for vegans and vegetarians. Dry, creamy and clean finish with lightly buttered toast on the finish. Drink now and for the next three years. Chardonnay food pairings: scallops with a sesame ginger dressing, grilled seafood, spinach and pepper jack stuffed chicken. Drink: 2018 - 2021 172338 12% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Adamo Estate Winery Lore Vineyard Sogno Chardonnay 2017, Four-Mile-Creek, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A fresh, clean unoaked Chardonnay with attractive aromas of melon and white peach. Medium-bodied with juicy acidity for fresh seafood. Drink: 2018 - 2024 577015 13% XD 750 mL $17.45 Score: 90/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Semillon 2016, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A crisp, lemon-fresh Niagara white wine made from the Semillon grape. Medium-bodied with juicy acidity for shellfish and seafood. Drink: 2018 - 2021 644591 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Miguel Torres Chile Las Mulas Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Central Valley, Chile: This crisp, fresh Chilean white wine hails from the Central Valley, between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountain range. This organically certified, zesty Sauvignon Blanc features aromas of green apple, lemongrass and chives. Great on its own as an aperitif or pair it with fresh seafood. Serve chilled. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: baked or griddled fish or fish dishes with delicate sauces. Drink: 2018 - 2020 272609 13% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. December 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Casal Thaulero Pinot Grigio 2017, Chieti Igt, Italy: Clean and crisp with notes of lime and white melon. Serve chilled as an aperitif or companion to seafood and suishi. Pinot Grigio food pairings: white meats, boiled or roasted fish, sushi. Drink: 2018 - 2020 73163 13% D 750 mL $7.95 Score: 86/100. December 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Southbrook Vineyards Heather's Home Vineyard Riesling 2017, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This lovely, organic Niagara white wine is made from the nervy Riesling grape. So aromatic and complex, yet so deft and light in alcohol. Aromas of lemongrass, lanolin, dried herbs and white peach. Deep core of minerality. Pair with grilled seafood, roast turkey or chicken. Riesling food pairings: smoked whitefish and salmon cakes, smoked salmon pizza, spicy crab cakes. Drink: 2018 - 2024 581603 11.2% M 750 mL $22.95 Score: 93/100. December 2018. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lenz Moser Prestige Grüner Veltliner 2016, Niederösterreich, Austria: Lenz Moser Prestige 2016 is a vibrant Gruner Veltliner from the Niederösterreich in Austria. Lots of juicy, mouth-watering acidity to pair with fresh seafood and shellfish. Look for tropical aromas and flavors of pineapple, passion fruit, and honeydew melon with a satiny, vibrant finish. Chill and enjoy now with grilled seafood. Grüner Veltliner food pairings: lentil soup, smoked salmon, boiled ham, salads, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2018 - 2021 71233 12.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 91/100. December 2018. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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