WEIGHTY WINES TO COSY UP WITH
I’ve rounded up five stylish pours for fall from the highest scoring wines I’ve recommended in the past six months. These wines all offer a weight that suits the season. Chillier evenings, after all, call for a bit more body — the vinous equivalent of a c
NV Osborne Santa Maria Cream Sherry, Jerez, Spain (LCBO 31120 $13.95 in stores and online)
Though the price has gone up 85 cents since I recommended this wine in April, it still offers stellar value for money and remains my favourite general list cream sherry. It shines a beautiful mahogany hue and cascades with sweet, smooth flavours of warm toffee, spiced praline, orange marmalade, cherry pound cake, almond paste, dried fig and dates. It’s the perfect finish to a meal, especially served chilled with a handful of nuts or a nibble of blue cheese such as Gorgonzola dolce.
2014 Château Fongaban, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, France (LCBO 479832 $16.96 in stores and online)
This Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend from the Cotes de Castillon on the right bank of Bordeaux (just east of St-Émilion) brims with cashmere flavours of blackberry and cherry imbued with inflections of smoke, tobacco, cigar box, violet, baking spices and plum pudding. The saturated centre gives way to an earthy undertow of forest floor and a granite finish. But be sure to grab the 2014 not the 2015 of this wine now starting to appear on shelves. It’s a far better bottle. Terrific with steak. Score: 92
2016 Henry of Pelham Baco Noir, Old Vines, VQA Ontario, (LCBO 459966 $19.95 in stores and online)
The other week, I recommended pairing this wine with Harvest cheddar sun chips for a giddy taste sensation — a duo that merited 93 points. Without the chips, this wine scores a firm 92 for its silky, mouth-coating hit of super-ripe mixed berries, stewed damson plums and cracked black peppercorn. It’s a bold yet elegant local expression with weight and intensity, balance and finesse. Other than said chips, it’s also delicious with poutine for a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs meal.
2016 The Ned Sauvignon Blanc, Waihopai River, Marlborough, New Zealand (LCBO 470070 $16.75 in stores and online)
While some crisp whites scream summer, the weight and power of zesty New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc keeps it relevant for all seasons. So if you’re a fan of the style, try this incredible-value thriller. Dry and crisp with full-throttle flavours of damp herbs, cucumber and lime, it’s a deeply satisfying drop that goes with all sorts of things, but particularly with phyllo-wrapped goat cheese served warm from the oven — maybe with a side of steamed, buttered green beans. Score: 94+
2014 Monte Zovo Sa’Solin Valpolicella Ripasso, Veneto, Italy (Vintages Essential 650713 $18.95 in stores and online)
In February, I scored the 2013 vintage of this wine 94 and the 2014 is delicious too, so it certainly deserves a position in this roundup. I docked it a point because it’s not quite as complex as the past vintage, but that will come with time in the bottle. Still, the wine is drinking well now with rich flavours of macerated red and black berries on the nose and palate, a plush mouth feel, and dried plums and warm figs on the finish. Love sipping it with antipasto.