1.La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2013, [2014 is now at Vintages, +962886, $29.95, but a new Vintages release of the 2013 will be in August 2016; it is now available only by consignment via Jackson Family Wines]. It is a fairly consistent wine from year to year, with bottle aging being the main difference. Cool climate (as much as California would allow) from the coast in the evening and the early morning. Expect a combo of lemons, toast and orchard fruit tones, with a smooth finish from secondary malolactic fermentation. One of my really fave Cali chards. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2013, +719435, $31.95 Vintages, [also as 375mL +732040, $17.95; 2014 is expected at Vintages over the winter of 2016/17, God willing and the crick don't rise]. This is wine is cool climate (as much as California would allow) from the cool coast in the evening and the early morning. Expect a combo of cherry-berry, underbrush, balanced but low oaking, some mocha, spices. I had it with salmon; it went very well. Not a heavy pinot noir (only seven months and a bit in barrel), unlike many others from California. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Chateau des Charmes Riesling "Old Vines" 2013 Estate Bottled VQA NOTL, +277228, $16.95 Vintages: Made from vines largely planted in 1978, now a mature vineyard.
12.1% ABV. Succulence like you would not believe, but off-dry Alsatian character (citric tones, spices), with now two years plus of aging. A beaut. Twist top. Price has been held steady at this level for years with no compromise for quality levels. Quality/price rating 90 points by Dean Tudor.
4.Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Franc 2013 VQA NOTL, +162602 LCBO, $13.95: it has been many years since I tasted the entry level Cab Franc from Chateau des Charmes (I usually have access to their St David's Bench Vineyard Franc wines, costing twice as much), and they have another winner. Made in a warmer-than-usual Fall, it has some over-the-top full-bodied black fruit (cassis, blackberries, black cherries) while still retaining some Ontario cranberries and bell peppers. Reminds me of their 2007 Cab Franc. Aged for 9 months in French oak with some toast. Price has not changed in years. Sip or with first course food. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Baron de Hoen Riesling Reserve 2014 Alsace, +446427, $14.95 Vintages: a classic straight-up Alsatian Riesling in the MVC dry mode, 12% ABV, twist top, fairly priced. Orchard fruit dominates, with a nice lemony citric finish meant for fish. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Chateau Haut Philippon 2014 Entre-Deux-Mers, +445171, $14.95 Vintages: yet another classic and affordable white wine from France. Here it is the classic blend of white Bordeaux – 70% sauvignon blanc, 20% semillon, and 10% muscadelle – which leads to a savouriness perfectly suitable to fish or seafood. Lemony nose, some grass, citric finish tempered by aging on lees for several months. 11.5% ABV, cork finish. Gold medalist.
Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Waterkloof Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc 2014 WO Stellenbosch, +443382, $16.95 Vintages: from a biodynamic producer, here emphasizing the cool climate nature of dry chenin blanc as found in the Loire. 40 year old vines, with plenty of orchard fruit bouquets, citric finish, cork closure. Best with white meats (13.5% ABV).
Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir La Clape Syrah/Carignan/Mourvedre 2011 Coteaux du Languedoc, +370262, $18.95 Vintages: the bargains continue at the LCBO with this southern Rhone clone emphasizing aromatic red fruit and garrigue. Nice long finish for that heavy meat dish. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Torres Salmos 2012 Priorat, +450734, $30.95 Vintages: a delicious red fruit concoction like Chateauneuf-du-Pape with its carinena, garnacha and syrah blend. 14.5% ABV. Expect meatiness and berries, and extremely long finish. Aged in French oak for 14 – 16 months. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.