The Hess Collection 19 Block Mountain Cuvée 2016, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, United States (LCBO: 18879, $54.95). A terrific, juicy Californian red wine blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot grapes from vines planted at 2,000 feet above sea level in the winery’s estate vineyards on the steep slopes of Mount Veeder. Deep purple in the glass with liquid dark cherry, black raspberries, blackberries, dark chocolate, cracked pepper, savoury and toasty oak spice flavours vibrant on the palate. Food pairings: Grilled meats, meat lover’s pizza, meaty stews. Alcohol: 14.5%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020– 2030. Score: 92/100.
Ségla 2010, Margaux, Bordeaux A.C., France (LCBO: 359810, $69.95). Juicy and mouth-watering with aromas of tart dark fruit. The 2010 vintage was a strong one for Bordeaux and Seglas is a much-respected winery. I expected more depth and richness of fruit from this vintage and producer. However, this is still a solid wine. Food pairings: Game burgers, beef steak, rack of lamb. Alcohol: 13.5%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2012– 2024. Score: 90/100.
Stags’ Leap Winery Wine Cellars Merlot 2016, Napa Valley, California, United States (LCBO: 655399, $49.95). Love this Merlot from Stags’ Leap Winery, full-bodied and rich with dark cherry, black plum, cocoa, olive, minty and spiced red berry flavours finishing long and smooth. Drink or hold. Food pairings: Brazilian-style flank steak with chimichurri sauce, rack of BBQ ribs, veal Porterhouse, grilled lamb, Tandoori-flavored dishes. Alcohol: 14.1%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020– 2024. Score: 91/100.
Tommasi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2015, Veneto D.O.C.G., Italy (LCBO: 356220, $49.95). Made in the apassimento style of drying the grapes on mats before fermentation to concentrate flavour and body, this Amarone is a classic with crushed violets, cherry liqueur and smoky on the nose. Full-bodied with concentrate flavours of juicy blackberries, spiced plum, underbrush, mocha and baking spice flavours on the palate. Finishes long and luxurious. Pair with mature cheeses or dark chocolate. Food pairings: Osso Bucco, Tuscan rabbit, meat lover’s pizza, roast pork. Alcohol: 15%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2019–2024. Score: 95/100.
Poggio San Polo Brunello di Montalcino 2015, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy (LCBO: 650812, $75.95). An elegant and juicy Brunello Di Montalcino fragrant with pink florals, wild red berry and meaty aromas on the nose, lush with dark plum, cherry, juicy red berries, meaty and spicy finishing long and vibrant on the palate. Good now, better in 2023. Needs some time to marry and mellow. Food pairings: Rib steak, slow-braised beef ribs, roast of boar. Alcohol: 14.5%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2023–2038. Score: 94/100.
Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States (LCBO: 943472, $126.95). This is a rich and plushy Cabernet Sauvignon-based red wine blend with a smattering of Merlot from Sonoma County, Full-bodied with layers of dark fruit, savoury herbs, cedar and smoky, toasty oak spice flavours on the palate. Food pairings: Grilled red meats, Prime rib, grilled pork, roast chicken. Alcohol: 13.9%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020–2025. Score: 92/100.
Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2015, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy (LCBO: 713719, $54.95). A full-bodied, big and juicy Brunello Di Montalcino with layers of ripe black fruits, dried fig, plum, anise, ginger, white pepper, cedar spice, orange zest flavours finishing long on the palate. Tannins are chewy and there is great acidity for food on this big Italian red. Good now, better in a couple of years. Food pairings: Sun-dried tomato and fresh basil sauce over fusilli, ratatouille and shell pasta with tomato sauce, linguini marinara. Alcohol: 13.9%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2022– 2025. Score: 93/100.
Ferraton Père & Fils Le Parvis Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017, Rhône A.C., France (LCBO: 63855, $56.95). A blockbuster Chateauneuf-du-Pape from the heart of the Rhone. Ripe and juicy with raspberry compote, liquid cherry, dark plum, and baking spice flavours on the palate. Nicely put together. Supple, rich and finishing long and luxurious. Enjoy now and for the next 15 years. Food pairings: Grilled ribeye steak, lamb kebabs, gourmet burgers. Alcohol: 15%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020–2030. Score: 93/100.
Hedges Family Estate Red 2016, Red Mountain, Yakima Valley, Washington, United
States (LCBO: 1594, $42.95). A medium- plus-bodied red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc wine grapes aged for 12 months in mostly American oak barrels. Look for ripe black currant, spiced plum, earthy herbs and meaty flavours on the palate. Great acidity for food. Drink or hold. Food pairings: Lamburgers, gourmet burgers, bobotie. Alcohol: 13.5%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2020–2025. Score: 92/100.