1.Chateau des Charmes Rose Cuvee d'Andree 2014 VQA NOTL, $14.95 Vintages +333260: this fresh and vibrant rose continues to please year over year as I have said before. It is still 100% pinot noir, dry "old style" as in Europe, but loaded with Ontario cranberry and red fruit strawberry tones from the hot summer, coming in at 12.5% ABV. Stainless steel fermentation of course, and twist top. Refreshing, just bottled. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2013 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $13.95, +81653 LCBO: a consistent wine, year in and year out, my fave chardonnay at this price level. But 2013 was a warmer year, so more smoke, fewer minerals, less underbrush, apples, tropical fruits and lemons. But longer finish. Cork closure, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Tapestry [BG & V] Shiraz 2012 McLaren Vale, +247155, $19.95: with a new label and a slight re-naming, Tapestry is back (formerly 2009). This time it is 14.5% ABV, but it still has the MVC shiraz characteristics of bright and dark black fruit, plummy, and expressive heat on the mid-palate. Some Euro-complexity with a smooth finish. Expect some cassis and mocha tones, along with black olive nuances and some vanilla via the oak, truly weaving a tapestry of flavours. Great BBQ wine for summer. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.ST. DONATUS IRSAI OLIVÉR BALATONLELLEI Garamvári Vineyard 2013 Hungary, +12070 Vintages, $14.95: 11.5% ABV. Irsai Olivér is a cross between the Pozsony and Pearl of Csaba grapes. Floral, Muscat-y and mint-scented, somewhat reminiscent also of spicy Gewurztraminer. Useful on its own, or with Asiatic dishes. Perhaps best in the summer, so buy some soon. Last vintage available in Ontario was 2009, $12.95, 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Don Sebastiani & Sons Aquinas Pinot Noir 2012 Napa Valley, +277657, $18.95: this is the only Napa AVA pinot in the category at the LCBO. It's a typical pinot, with cherries, mint, mocha, mushrooms and earth. Some red fruit on the finish, with enough acid for food (as well as for basic patios/decks). Nice easy drinking for a BBQ (maybe some salmon too?), 13.5% ABV. 7 g/L is technically off-dry. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Bodegas Atamisque Serbal Assemblage 2012 Tupungato Uco Argentina, +415331 Vintages October 2015 $18.95: a blend of cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and malbec – well within the range of Bordeaux allowances. Shows a lot of red fruit, especially when opened for a time. Good aging potential despite only six months in stainless steel and the remainder in bottle. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Bodegas Atamisque Malbec 2011 Uco Argentina, +415208 Vintages November 2015, $28.95: a very serious wine, made from 80-year old malbec vines. On the nose, black fruits and light plums, but over time this becomes raisinated with dried figs and blackberry (mures) jam. 14 months in new French oak, 15% ABV. Could be kept for awhile; indeed, more enjoyable five years down the road. Cellar-worthy indeed. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.