It’s never too early to pre­pare for the hol­i­days

It’s only Oc­to­ber, but fes­tive se­lec­tions have al­ready hit the shelves at the LCBO

Ottawa Citizen - - HOME LIFE - CHRISTO­PHER WA­TERS Wa­ters & Wine Christo­pher Wa­ters is the co-founder and ed­i­tor of Vines, a na­tional con­sumer wine mag­a­zine.

It’s not yet Hal­loween, but most stores are se­ri­ously gear­ing up for the De­cem­ber hol­i­days. That’s cer­tainly the case with the new crop of re­leases at the LCBO’s Vin­tages out­lets, which fea­ture se­ri­ous splurge-wor­thy la­bels to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tions of tro­phy hunters or any­one get­ting a jump on their shop­ping lists.

The new re­lease of­fers sat­is­fy­ingly ro­bust Caber­net Sau­vi­gnons from well-known Cal­i­for­nia pro­duc­ers Cliff Lede, Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola and Sil­ver Oak, which boast im­pec­ca­ble cre­den­tials.

Lesser known, but nonethe­less wor­thy of your time and at­ten­tion, is the thought­ful se­lec­tion of highly touted reds from Ar­gentina and Chile.

Montes 2015 Pur­ple An­gel ($62.95, Vin­tages# 62364) is al­ways one of the most ex­cit­ing reds from Chile’s Colch­agua Val­ley, while Achá­val Fer­rer Mal­bec 2015 ($29.95, Vin­tages# 24737) and Zuc­cardi Polí­gonos 2015 ($29.95, Vin­tages# 568915) show two wildly dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to mak­ing Mal­bec in the Men­doza re­gion.

The Fer­rer is fra­grant and ripe, with a core of con­cen­trated dark fruit and oak spice. The Zuc­cardi

is lighter and brighter in style, de­signed to cap­ture the fi­nesse and el­e­gance of the grape va­ri­ety, with­out any per­for­mance en­hanc­ing oak ag­ing.

My head loves what the Zuc­cardi fam­ily is do­ing to pro­duce pure and re­fresh­ing wines. My heart loves the he­do­nis­tic plea­sure from the con­cen­trated char­ac­ter of the Fer­rer bot­tling. Taste them side by side at a din­ner party and you’ll no doubt learn a lot about which style of red wine you most en­joy.

An­other new re­lease to seek out is the Pala­cios Re­mondo La Mon­tesa Cri­anza 2015 ($25.95, Vin­tages# 674572) from Rioja, Spain.

Whether you’re shop­ping for wine lovers on your list, hosthost­ess presents or sim­ply look­ing for a nice red wine to en­joy, La Mon­tesa is al­ways a safe bet. It’s geeky enough to ap­peal to col­lec­tors and tasty for any­one who sim­ply likes to sip a pleas­ant wine.

It’s an ap­peal­ing red that’s ready to drink now but has the stuff­ing to make it a wor­thy can­di­date for a cou­ple more years in the cel­lar or wine fridge.

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