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Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so while you plan the menu and send out the invitations, please allow us to help you with your wine selections. I have selected fourteen delicious wines that are sure to please the casual imbibers as well as the wine aficionados in the family.
Our catalogue has over 300 wines available at all times! Sometimes we have small parcels of large format wines and we always have Ontario’s best selection of half-bottles. As well, we’re continually adding new suppliers, so check back often!
Please visit us on the web for all of our news, reviews, producers and catalogues, or call me directly to “talk wine”.
The Calatayud region of north-east central Spain is a landscape dotted with endless, very old, family farmed, often bush-vine style vineyards.
Here Cruz de Piedra’s fruit is sourced from multiple family growers, and without the need to farm their own wines, the winery’s cost savings is passed on to you.
Macabeo is a full bodied white, more famous as “Viura” in Rioja. When fermented simply in stainless steel, with a little lees contact, the resulting wine is rich, clean and dry, and the fruit falls into a spectrum of melon and florals.
On the palate, the wine is well-balanced, gentle, and fresh, with a subtle flinty bass note. It is a really excellent all-around “food wine”.
During the 1980’s Tenuta Cocci Grifoni resurrected what was basically a forgotten, ancient white varietal. Pecorino had all but disappeared from Le Marche region, which is located on Italy’s eastern coast and is probably best known as the land of Verdicchio. Pecorino is a low-yielding vine that was displaced by more commercially viable grapes.
The name may seem familiar, reminding you of the cheese but they actually have little in common. Pecorino translates to “little sheep”, and these grapes were a favourite snack of the grazing ungulates. Pecorino is any sheep’s milk cheese, but of the four DOP protected Pecorinos, none of them come from Le Marche. It is no surprise though that this crisp, weighty wine and salty Pecorino cheese do go really well together.
This wine is made of hand-harvested Pecorino grown in the clay-sand soil of the Tarà estate vineyard. The fruit is gently pressed then fermented in stainless steel, where it rests for three months prior to bottling. Straw yellow in colour with a shimmer of green, the nose is fresh, spicy, and green. Notes of grapefruit peel, aromatic herbs, white acacia flowers, and white peach are complemented by mineral notes and almond on the finish.
It seems weird to think of wine from southern California as “cool climate”, but when your vineyards neighbour the Pacific Ocean, you’d better believe it gets downright chilly! The plump fruitiness delivered by endless sunshine, balanced by the nervy acidity created by the Pacific’s influence grows a delicious, complex and all around fun Chardonnay.
This classic Santa Barbara County Chardonnay was sourced from all three valleys in Santa Barbara County: Los Alamos, Santa Maria, and Santa Rita Hills in Santa Ynez. It represents the diversity of the terroir and macro climates of Santa Barbara County.
The grapes were whole-cluster pressed, then 53% was fermented in stainless steel and 47% in older oak barrels which then was allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation. Then this portion was aged “sur lie” with notable stirring. The resulting combination of these wines play together in lovely harmony.
“One of the original bottlings from the region, this is always a reliable and classic coastal Chardonnay. Tangy aromas of grapefruit, orange and chalk lead into a tense palate where racy acidity frames apple rind and lime flavours.” 90 points and “Editor’s Choice”, Wine Enthusiast, Nov 2018
Les Sétilles (the family garden) is a blend of Chardonnay from Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, almost in equal proportions. Numerous vineyards contribute fruit, which allows winemaker Franck Grux to blend a fairly consistent wine each year regardless of vintage variations, which we all know is always a concern in Burgundy.
This is one of our most popular wines and you’ll agree that it is an incomparable value in the French wine category, whether you’re new to it or if you’re an uncompromising Burgundy-phile.
Roughly 60% of the 2016 was aged in Allier oak, only 10% of which was new. The remaining 40% of the wine is aged in stainless steel.
“A tangy and fresh white with sliced lemons and hints of dried tea leaves and flowers. Medium body, bright acidity and a long, flavorful finish. Drink now.”
Imported with Thanksgiving in mind, this Rosé of Pinot Noir is sourced from the estate’s Sea View Ridge vineyard as well as a number of nearby family owned vineyards which farmed specifically to produce this rosé. The elevation of this property and the proximity to the Pacific provides the minerality and high natural acidity that Flowers’ wines are known for.
Like all the Flowers wines, the wine making was done with minimal intervention – hand harvesting, naturally occuring yeast and stainless steel fermentation. There is no oak used for this wine. Pure Pinot Noir!
The wine is elegant and distinct with aromas of strawberry, grapefruit and subtle hints of mint. Bursts of fresh citrus colourfully drive the palate and are delicately balanced with flavours of nectarine and stone fruit. A silky entrance coupled with fresh and uplifting acidity leaves you with our signature coastal expressiveness.
The “Red Shoulder Ranch” is 68 rolling acres in Carneros named for the Red Shouldered Hawks and other raptors who lend their hunting prowess to the sustainable agriculture practiced here.
The 100% Chardonnay is whole-cluster pressed, fermented in 25% stainless steel barrels and 75% in neutral oak barrels. The wine is non-malolactic, meaning the naturally high acidity remains in the wine, which balances the richness of fruit – creating an elegant and impressive Chardonnay.
“The 2017 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch is a very beautiful wine. The warm vintage produced a Chardonnay that is a bit richer and more generous than has become the norm here in recent years, but the style of the wine is unchanged in its citrus and floral driven profile.”
When grapes are grown at high altitude as in Mendoza, Argentina, they produce very thick skins to protect the fruit from the intense UV rays, which can cause damage in the seeds. To a winemaker this means tons of colour compounds and tons of flavour compounds. All the good stuff!
Are you looking for an “everyday” Cabernet that over-delivers? This is one from Paul Hobbs is an exceptional value!
Its aromatics are very fresh and lifted, like dark berries and freshly chopped herbs. It presents a rich mouthfeel, plummy cassis fruit with tobacco, cinnamon and cedar and has a fresh finish. It is effortlessly delicious!
“A red with sweet tobacco, plum and chocolate character. Medium to full body, savoury finish. Delicious at the end. Drink now.”
You may be aware that 2016 (and 2015) are legendary vintages in Tuscany. What an opportunity to enjoy “baby Brunello” from arguably the best Brunello di Montalcino producer of all.
I love this wine. My first sniff made me say “oh yes, we have to import cases for the fall”. Decant 30 minutes prior to serving, and serve with braised meats, pastas, really anything that may end up on a Thanksgiving table.
“Red cherries, redcurrants and cinnamon. Medium body, fine tannins that still manage to somewhat cling to the mouth and a juicy finish. Drink now.”
“The Altesino 2016 Rosso di Montalcino offers a smooth and steady ride with plenty of primary fruit at the front. Bright cherry, cassis and blueberry aromas rise to the top, followed by mild tones of grilled spice and pressed rose petal. This is a compact red wine that cleans the palate thanks to its tonic acidity and fresh berry flavours. Some 40,000 bottles were produced. 2019 – 2024.”
90+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Jan 2019
Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix was established in 1937 and is a Bordeaux negociant (distributor), grape supplier and Chateaux owner, most famous for its ownership and exclusive representation on the “right bank” of Bordeaux, which is home to Pomerol and Saint-Émilion.
Their properties include Château Bélair-Monange, Château Trotanoy, Château La Fleur-Pétrus and Château Hosanna.They are experts par excellence in the region.
This village-level Saint-Émilion is about as good as you’ll find for the price in this very, very good vintage. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc is sourced from small properties that don’t bottle estate wines under their own label, but which meet the exacting farming specifications for Moueix, as well it incorporates extra fruit from ‘grander’ properties. Imagine Grand Cru Classé fruit in a village-level bottle!
Merlot and Cabernet Franc in perfect balance, fruit forward, supple and long. What a wine for a big family dinner!
“The pretty chocolate, cherry and flower character is so enticing. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a bright and focused finish. Shows intensity and style. Saint-Émilion through and through. Drink now.”
If you enjoy the medium-bodied, gentle, spicey suppleness of Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo or cool climate Syrah, the wines of Mount Etna in Sicily should be on your radar.
Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio are indigenous varietals that best display the complex soils of this volcanic island in a rustically elegant presentation. Mascalese adds gentle fruit and moderate structure to the blend, while Cappuccio brings the colour, body and deep fruit flavours. A 90/10 blend results in a aromatic and harmonious red for everyday and special occasions.
“Perfumed aromas of strawberries, flowers and cherries follow through to a medium to full body, firm and dusty tannins and a persistent, flavourful finish.”
Few wineries can boast that their vineyard is an appellation unto itself, but that’s what we have in the southernmost corner of Paso Robles, the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA.
The Ranch boasts five soil types; alluvial, calcareous, granitic, shale and volcanic, woven throughout the land. Planting each varietal in many soil types brings to the winemaker’s pallet combinations of texture, flavour and structure from which to build the wines. This Cabernet is full bodied, supple yet chalkily tactile and juicy yet terroir driven. I think it is excellent quality for the price. Drink it now, or over the next 4-5 years.
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a terrific value and is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, and the rest Petite Sirah. It has a Bordeaux-ish bouquet of new saddle leather, cedarwood, tobacco leaf, and smoky black fruits as well as medium body, plenty of fruit, sweet tannins, and a good finish. It’s not going to make old bones, but it has serious character, and I’d happily drink bottles over the coming 4-6 years.”
“Floral aromas of violet and cherry blossom drop into rich black-cherry and cocoa tones on the nose of this widely available bottling. The palate is juicy in black cherry and blackberry flavours, with accents of oak and cracked pepper, all framed by a chalky texture.”
Martin Ray winery is located in Sonoma County, and celebrates the great sub-appellations of Napa Valley and Sonoma County. You may have tasted one of their mountain Cabernets from Napa, or their high-end blend Synthesis?
The same skill is applied to their Napa Valley Cabernet, which is sourced heavily from the Coombsville and Rutherford AVAs and blended with carefully selected pieces from some of the most revered Napa Valley vineyard sites.
A rich and supple Napa Cabernet displaying red and black currants, coffee, cocoa, kirsch, and plums. Full bodied and lush on entry with a super silky mouthfeel and toasty, pie crust barrel notes. This is an extremely “modern” version of Napa Cabernet that never feels confected. An undisputed crowd pleaser.
While the 2016 has yet to be reviewed, the 2015 received:
“Aromas of currants, crushed stones, cedar, hazelnuts, and hints of ripe berries. Full body, round and soft tannins and a juicy finish. Chewy and rich. A little old-school. Drink or hold.”
Andy Erickson is one of Napa’s most acclaimed “cult wine” makers. Formerly of Screaming Eagle, Leviathan is his own personal project born to create one distinctly Californian red blend, drawn from some of the best vineyards in Northern California.
The 2015 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot is full-bodied with concentrated deep black cherry, cedar and earthy notes. An uplifting acidity is present on the palate with a beautiful toasted cacao finish.
“I was able to taste two vintages of the Leviathan cuvée, both of which are brilliant wines as well as smoking values. The 2015 Leviathan is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah that was brought up mostly in used barrels. It’s loaded with dark fruits, barbecue smoke, lavender, and savoury herb-like aromas and flavours and is complex, full-bodied, and one serious mouthful of fruit.”
A Chimera (kye-mare-ah) is a mythical beast comprised of three animals (a lion, an eagle and a snake). This Chimera is comprised of 6 outstanding vineyard terroirs.
Ninety percent of this vintage came from the Russian River Valley (30% Starscape Vineyard, 30% Sale Vineyard, 20% Widdoes Vineyard, 10% Starscape Vineyard, (Old Vine). The balance of 10% is from three of California’s most famed – 5% from Wilson Vineyard, 3% Garys’ Vineyard, 2% Pisoni Vineyard.
The wine aged in French oak barriques, only 15% of which were new. The wine is complex, supple, rich and captivating. For a Thanksgiving table with all the trimmings, this may be the perfect wine!
“I was deeply impressed with Sean Capiaux’s 2017s. The wines show just how compelling the vintage is for Pinot Noir. As always, Capiaux’s Pinots are texturally rich, but also highly nuanced and distinctive. Moreover, there is a sense of immediacy and allure to these wines that I find compelling. The 2017 Pinot Noir Chimera is gorgeous. Dark, deeply spiced and pliant, the 2017 possesses terrific balance and plenty of appeal. In this vintage, the Chimera is a bit more generous than it usually is, but that is not at all a bad thing for a wine that is meant to be enjoyed upon release.”