The warm weather’s quintessential barbeques and summer salads deserve special wines to match. Here are some of our favourites.
By Natalie MacLean
Kistler McCrea Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, Sonoma Mountain, California, USA (LCBO #353706, $120.95): A full-bodied Californian white wine with classic Chardonnay aromas of green apple, peach, butterscotch and smoke. Layered and complex. Kistler is known for producing benchmark Californian Chardonnay and it shows in this example. The 2013 vintage was bottled unfiltered and unfined, and therefore may leave a natural sediment in the bottle. Pair with grilled citrus-herbed chicken. Chardonnay food pairings: Lobster with melted butter, barbecued pork, quail or Cornish hen. Alcohol: 14.1%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: Now–2022. Score: 94/100.
Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore 2012, Tuscany DOC, Italy (LCBO #722470, $195.95): Feral with underbrush and wild mushroom and truffle notes. Earthy, dark and complex. Needs cellar time. Pair with truffle-accented risotto and wild boar while you’re lounging in Piedmont. Alcohol: 14.5%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: 2018–2026. Score: 93/100.
Taittinger Millesime Champagne 2008, Champagne AC, France (LCBO #989905, $79.75): A benchmark Champagne and an interesting example of how this sparkling wine ages gracefully and to great complexity. Aromas of green apple, freshly baked bread and pear. A long, satisfying finish. Great core of minerality. Pair with fresh shellfish. Champagne food pairings: Pasta with cheese-based sauce, caviar, shellfish, seafood risotto. Alcohol: 12.5%. Sweetness: Extra Dry. 750 ml. Drink: Now–2021. Score: 95/100.
La Crema Chardonnay 2014, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (LCBO #67231, $39.95): A full-bodied, well-rounded, buttery wine with lovely balancing acidity and citrus fruit notes. Finishes with nuances of fresh golden apple, pear and crème brûlée. Ideal for lobster in butter or cucumber and watercress sandwiches. Alcohol: 14.5%. Sweetness: Dry. 750 ml. Drink: Now-2018. Score: 91/100.
Natalie MacLean is the editor of Ontario’s largest wine review web site and mobile apps at nataliemaclean.com.