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Food & WineSummer Sipping: LCBO's Latest Release

Summer Sipping: LCBO's Latest Release

Summer Sipping: LCBO's Latest Release

Canada Day has come and gone but you can continue the celebration with the latest LCBO release of some of our country’s finest vintages – well, according to the LCBO anyway. I have to admit that I don’t always agree with what the LCBO considers to be “our finest” wines (most of which can only be found on the winery’s shelves), but they did pull off a tri-fecta of nice wines starting with the Jackson-Triggs 2006 Entourage Silver Series Brut Methode Classique ($22.95 - #0234161) a nice Canadian bubbly that actually tastes like real bubbly. There’s a toastiness here with some hazelnut, apple and mineral notes that should make for a great party starter or night closer (****+). Inniskillin has an Icewine that really makes the grade: Inniskillin 2006 Canadian Oak Aged Riesling Icewine ($79.95 – #020359) it’s pricey but oh so worth it. I know many of us give icewine as a gift, but this one is for your own consumption (*****). Now how about something for those light meat nights, the Featherstone 2009 Cabernet Franc ($16.95 – #0064618) is just what the doctor ordered with lots of fresh tobacco on the nose while the palate delivers raspberry-tobacco with a shake of white pepper. This is not a heavy red, in fact it can be chilled for added enjoyment (****).

Those looking for a BBQ-ready wine will be looking towards the US for a robust Zinfandel (I just love these wines with ribs slathered in sauce). The Howling Moon 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel ($18.95 – #0057356) is worthy of your next cookout. It has lots of vanilla, cherry and plum that’s lush and smooth, delivering big taste and flavour to match with your grilled product (****+). I can also recommend my own guilty pleasure: Marquis Philips 2008 Shiraz ($15.00 - #0017475), down almost $5 in price from the last time it was in, this wine delivers rich flavour with an alcoholic punch (16%), sweet red and black berry fruit that jumps out of the glass and lands smack dab in the middle of your mouth, and the finish is raspberry with chocolate notes ... now how can one resist that? (**** 1/2)

On July 9th, the Liquor monopoly featured sparkling wines, from all over the world, and wines that have scored 90-plus points from a variety of wine critics around the globe. The thing about high scoring wines is that they usually come with a high price tag — though there are some that don't – here are some of the wines in this release that are incredible good and should not be overlooked.

The Dandelion Sister’s Run 2008 God’s Hill Shiraz ($15.95 – #0222018) from Australia is not your typical Shiraz - it’s full of raspberries that remain from first sip to the last swallow, then comes a touch of white pepper on the finish ... tasty has a new name, and it’s Sister’s Run. (****+).

I have long been telling people not to count France out — just when we’re ready to sound the death knell, I taste another fine and well-priced product and I’m back on side. The Domaine Boudau 2009 Le Clos ($16.95 - #0149989) from the Midi region delivers good black fruit and chocolate cream that’s light on spice but full on flavour. A great bbq ready offering. (****)

Spain is one of those countries that is criminally overlooked by consumers, but some of your best wine values are coming from there. I direct your attention to Arrocal 2008 ($16.95 - #0067868), this is one of those 90-plus wines in the release and it sure does deserve the accolades. Flavours of black cherry, vanilla, plum and loads of cherry fruit which just keep piling up sip after delicious sip. (****+)

From Veneto, Italy, one of my very favourite regions in the world, comes Zenato 2007 Cormi ($17.95 - #0108282). The name tells you nothing about what the wine is made from. It is Corvina (a local grape) and Merlot (an international one) - the blend of these two creates a smooth, luscious and easy-drinking wine that has chocolate and strawberry nuances. (****)

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you in the direction of a wine style rarely seen in these parts - it’s German sparkling wine made from Riesling called Sekt. The Josef Drathen 2009 Rielsing Sekt ($13.95 – #0226258) is outstanding value at under $14 and a delicious bubbly to kick off any party. Remember it’s Riesling so there's plenty of mineral, apple and touches of lemon with brisk acidity and a lovely linger on the finish (****).

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