Just this week I read an article in Quench, the Canadian wine magazine, about Pinot wines, and then had a chance to taste a terrific Pinot Grigio.
I thought it would be a good topic for this column, only to learn that the Pinot Grigio in question, the Ruffino Il Ducale 2017 from Friuli hasn’t made it to our shelves yet. Drat.
Instead, as it is the beginning of a new period of Limited Time Offers, I will pick up where I left off last column.
First off, ideal for campers, is the on-line offer of Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon. In stores, the 3 litre box retails for $42.25. An earlier vintage was described by the Wine Spectator as “a solid, chunky, extracted effort, centred on rich dark berry, mocha, savoury herb and light cedar notes. Well-focused and persistent on the finish, ending chewy.” It scored 88, a very respectable score for wines in this category.Purchase this on-line, however, and it comes with a free cooler/grill package, all for the same price. Delivery to a store of your choice is free, and arrival would probably take less than two weeks. Visit lcbo.com to make your purchase.
In spite of our next week being cooler than we have been experiencing, there is more warm weather on the way, and Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice for the patio or deck.
Until August 1, Matua Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay is $3.50 off at $14.45. Expect citrus and tropical fruit, along with a scent of new-mown grass. (The company’s “Marborough” version made the “top 100 best buy” lists last year.)
Now for the LTOs in play until August 19.
Masi Masicanco Pinot Grigio & Verduzzo IGT from the Veneto is $2 at $15.10. Of the 2015, Decanter wrote, “This fruity little number is full of personality. It's mainly Pinot Grigio, which gives freshness with a fruit profile of peach, pineapple and apple, while the local grape Verduzzo, picked slightly overripe, adds texture, complexity and body. -90.
Inniskillin Riesling/Pinot Grigio from Ontario is $2 off at $12.45 at both the LCBO and Wine Rack stores. Refreshing and just off dry (11g/l of sugar), this is easy to take, combining lemon-lime and stone fruit flavours.
Black Tower Rivaner from Germany, $11.90 ($2 off) is made from Muller-Thurgau, a Riesling hybrid. With 27g/l of sugar, it is medium dry, but the acidity pulls it together on the finish. Yet another wine to simply enjoy, no “dissertation” required.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay, is $3 off at $14.45. Of the 2016 version of this Californian, Natalie MacLean wrote, “a lovely, luxuriously layered, full-bodied Californian Chardonnay with aromas of toffee, butterscotch, golden apple and pear.” – 90.Francois Lurton Fumées Blanches Sauvignon Blanc Vd France, $11.20 (-$2) may get lost on our shelves, but it has been the top-selling white in Sweden. Writer Wilhelm Arnör describes it thus: “the nose is fresh, fruity and vigorous, with a fine acidity and lovely hints of gooseberry, lime, and some exotic fruits such as passion fruit and pineapple. The palate is medium-bodied with vigorous long acidity on which one can chew a little bit extra. Thus, a truly well-made wine.”
Here are some decent reds to consider.
Cusumano Syrah IGT $2 off at $11.90, from Sicily, offers plum and blackberry fruit with good but smooth tannins and good grip.
South Africa’s Cathedral Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, $2.50 off at $14.45. Of the 2015, winemag.com writes “the medium-weight palate offers bold blackberry, cassis and boysenberry flavors, framed by firm yet well-integrated tannins that provide a crushed-velvet texture. Notes of berry compote, dried fynbos [a South African herblike bush], green peppercorn and roast beef all unfold on the lingering, layered finish. -91.
Majella The Musician Cabernet/Shiraz, $2 off at $17.95, is a Vintages Essential from Australia. It has good aromatics – dark berry and mint – and ample fruit on the palate with moderate tannins and a tinge of oak. A very popular red.
August 4 Vintages Release
There are many good values to be found once more on this release, from reds to whites, sparkling wines to rosés.
RoséSan Marzano Tramari Rosé di Primitivo 2017, $14.95, is one you might have to order in, but we don’t see very many like this from Puglia, and it is good. It has ample flavours of raspberries, strawberries and peaches, with an uplifting tangy character as well. An almond note may be detected on the finish.
Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017, $19.95, is an excellent example from Niagara. winealign.com identifies a Provençal style and tart red berry and citrus in the flavour profile; it goes on to say that “acids are terrifically bright and lively on a mid-weight, crunchy frame.” – 91.
Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $29.95, from Niagara, is not the only sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, but it is in rare company. Most sparkling wines are made with Pinot Noir or Chardonnay or a blend thereof, and Spain has its own native grapes that it uses, and so this is “something else” indeed. It is given the complete traditional treatment, including extended time on lees, and the result is excellent, though it may differ from your expectations. The grape brings tropical character to the wine, though the common traits of gooseberry and grapefruit are softened here. The mousse (bubbles!) is ample, and the impact in all very satisfying. One reviewer suggested serving it with grilled prosciutto-wrapped asparagus – and I agree!
Murviedro Luna Organic Brut Cava, $17.95, from Spain, is an example of a sparkler made with traditional Spanish grapes, in this case Macebeo. With a gold medal from the 2017 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (Brussels) it has, according to Vintages, “a complex interplay of apple, citrus, peach and apricot juxtaposed against a toasty lees character.” Note: you may need to order this in, so speak with your wine consultant by Monday.
Boya Chardonnay 2016, $14.95, is an un-oaked example from Chile; however lees contact and wild yeast fermentation add to the complexity providing texture to the pear and citrus fruit- timatkin.com -90
Indomito Falanghina Del Beneventano 2016, $14.95, from Italy’s Campania offers “wonderful crisp acidity… as well as soft peach, pear, apple and minerality,” according to the Vintages panel. Alongside this, try Campania’s Donnachiara Montefalcione Fiano di Avellino 2015, $18.95. robertparker.com says “this excellent value wine opens to sharp lines with citrus, white peach, Golden Delicious apple and crushed flint” leading to a smooth finish.- 91+
Farina Valpolicella 2016, $14.95, is a fine example of a “textbook” young Valpolicella – “typical cherry fruit, herbs and woodsy notes…medium weight, balanced and gentle, with soft tannins and just a touch sour-edged.” -winealign.com – 88.
Man family Wines Ou Kalant Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, $14.95. Having just enjoyed a bottle of this company’s Shiraz, I would readily pick up a bottle of its Cab. Made from dryland vines, it will show ”dense but supple black fruit” if it is like the 2015 described in the Platter South African guide, along with “spice, wisps of smoke, and a touch of earth adding complexity” writes the Vintages panel.Chateau Larroque 2015, $16.95, is a Bordeaux Supérieur gem. “An attractive nose of oak overlaying seductive dark red fruits with hints of blackcurrant leads into a complex palate with silky tannins. Soft, earthy flavours of dark cherry and currant matches silky tannins to finish. Score - 95. (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2017)
The release is awash with good, reasonable wines that should fit most budgets. Check with your product consultants this coming week and plot your course to a whole lot of enjoyment.