Perfect to crack open once the weather starts to cool
By Natalie MacLean
Jacquart Mosaique Millesime Brut Champagne 2008.
Champagne A.C., France. (LCBO: 19359, $69.95). Jacquart Mosaique Millesime 2008 Brut Champagne is produced from equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and aged on its lees for six years! Beautifully balanced and toasty with layers of ripe apple, hazelnut, almond, mineral and zesty citrus flavours on a vibrant mousse. Rich, elegant and great now. Food pairings: Veggies and dip, seafood hors d’oeuvres, creamy cheeses. Alcohol: 12.5%. Sweetness: Dry 750 ml. Drink: 2022–2025. 92/100.
Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.
Napa Valley, California, United States. (LCBO: 232371, $44.95 ).A stunning, complex Californian Cabernet with aromas of cassis and blackberry. Beautifully crafted. Food pairings: Game dishes or filet mignon. Decant 1 hour. Alcohol: 14.4%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020–2027. 93/100.
Lakeview Cellars Grand Reserve Red 2017.
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada. (Purchase at Lakeview Cellars, $39.95). A superbly crafted Niagara red wine blend of 40% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 24% Syrah grapes. Aromas of cassis, blackberry and smoke. Full-bodied and complex. Decant 1-2 hours. Food pairings: Game meats and grilled steaks. Order from at the winery at www.lakeviewwineco.com. Alcohol: 13%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2019–2025. 92/100.
Lange Three Hills Cuvée Chardonnay 2019.
Willamette Valley, Oregon, United States. (LCBO: 23665, $66.95). From Willamette Valley wine region, Lange Three Hills 2019 Chardonnay is an elegant, fresh and expressive Chardonnay produced from parcels of grapes across the valley. The grapes were fermented in French oak barrels, concrete as well as stainless steel tanks! Look for fresh white stone fruit, pear, lemon meringue, nutty and subtle spice flavours fresh on the palate. Food pairings: Grilled chicken breasts, crab cakes, pork tenderloin. Alcohol: 13.4%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2022–2024. 91/100.
Pichler-Krutzler Ried Loibenberg Wachau Riesling 2019.
Wachau D.A.C., Austria. (LCBO: 25719, $69.95). From the Wachau wine region, Pichler-Krutzler Ried Loibenberg 2019 Riesling is fresh and lithe with liquid lemon, orange blossoms, steely and stony mineral flavours mouth-watering with food-friendly acidity. Food pairings: Traditional Austrian Hänchen-Schnitzel (Chicken Schnitzel), pork chops from the grill, lox and cream cheese on baguette, baked ham. Alcohol: 13.5%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2025–2045. 97/100.
Donnafugata Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Rosé 2021.
Sicily D.O.C., Italy. (LCBO: 25860, $47.95). From Donnafugata, Dolce & Gabbana Rosa 2021 is a pretty rosé with aromas of exotic florals, rose petals and juicy red berry fruit. The wine is dry, fresh and juicy with bright red berry, strawberry, ripe stone fruit, citrus zest and briny mineral notes on the palate. Chill and enjoy with charcuterie or seafood canapes. Food pairings: Charcuterie, creamy cheeses, pasta Primavera, seafood canapes. Alcohol: 12.7%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2022–2023.
Conundrum Red 2020.
California, United States. (LCBO 294298, $24.95). A terrific, full-bodied, smooth red wine with aromas of fleshy ripe dark berries, spice and mocha. Food pairings: Hearty meat dishes, beef vindaloo, pork chops, barbecued ribs. Alcohol: 14%. Sweetness: Medium Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2022–2026. 92/100.
Imagery Estate Winery Chardonnay 2019.
California, United States. (LCBO: 15000, $29.95). Imagery 2019 is produced from sustainably-grown grapes and is a dry, full-bodied Chardonnay-driven white blend from California with 10% Chenin blanc, 3% Viognier and 2% Muscat added to the mix. Fragrant with ripe apple, pear, honeyed melon, exotic florals, ginger spice, caramel flavours creamy and elegant on the palate. Food pairings: Seafood chowder, veal chops, pork schnitzel, pan-fried veggie cutlets. Alcohol: 13.5%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2022–2025. 91/100.
Emiliana Coyam 2018.
Rapel Valley, Chile. (LCBO: 63891, $29.95). This gorgeous, full-bodied Chilean red wine blend is made from organically grown grapes, mostly Syrah and Carmenère but also Cabernet, Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot. The wine is named in honour of the oak forests in Colchagua. Aromas of dark spice and fleshy ripe black fruit. Food pairings: Grilled meats, roast leg of venison with sautéed mushrooms and sweet onions, roast pheasant, fried wild rabbit on toast. Alcohol: 14.5%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020–2029. 94/100.
Natalie MacLean offers Ontario’s most popular online wine and food pairing courses, tasting classes, expert reviews and mobile apps at nataliemaclean.com.