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Rich, ripe red wines, fresh whites highlight Niagara wine releases at Vintages Saturday; plus an Okanagan superstar


The Saturday LCBO/Vintages release features some dynamic Niagara red wines, fresh whites, a superstar from the Okanagan Valley and a couple of good value wines from the rest of the world.

Here’s what I can highly recommend:

13th Street Cabernet Merlot 2012 ($20, 90 points) — The hot, near-perfect growing season of 2012 provided the backdrop for some very fine Bordeaux-style red blends in Ontario. 13th Street has done just that and they have done it an attractive price. The nose shows rich black currants, black cherry, ripe plums, bramble bush undertones and an array of spices. It possesses lovely texture on the palate with chewy tannins, rich, opulent fruit that’s highly extracted to go with layers of spices, a hint of licorice and a fairly long finish. Can age this nicely for a few years.


Domaine Queylus Reserve Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 ($40, 90 points) — This is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc that shows dark, ripe fruit, toasty barrel spices and a floral note on the nose. It’s big, bold and structured on the palate with the stuffing to age for a few years in the cellar.

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013 ($22, 88 points) — From sourced organic fruit with a nose of crushed herbs, raspberry, bramble bush and spice in a lean style. The red fruits on the palate are joined by herbs, toasted spices and bright acidity.

afeather-sauv-500x335Featherstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($18, 91 points) — The star of the vintage at Featherstone, with a gorgeous and expressive nose of lime, grapefruit, kiwi, grass and sweet herbs. It is perfectly balanced on the palate with vibrant, ripe fruit and refreshing zesty notes on the finish.

13th Street White Palette 2012 ($16, 88 points) — This white blend consists of 53% Riesling, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Gewurztraminer, 9% Sauvignon Blanc and 3% Pinot Gris. It’s highly aromatic with notes of sweet citrus, white flowers, tropical fruit, peach and pineapple. It’s honied on the palate with grapefruit and loaded with ripe orchard fruits. A tasty wine moderated by zesty acidity.

Calamus Steely Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 ($15, 87 points) — This is made with no oak but there is partial malo for added texture. It has lovely aromatics of fresh apple, pear, some melon and citrus. It’s all about the fruit-forward flavours on the palate with a crisp, clean finish.

Other Niagara wines released but not reviewed:

  • Malivoire Musque Spritz 2014 ($20)
  • Vieni Foch Vintage Reserve 2012 ($20)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Rose 2014 ($22)

A superstar from the Okanagan
part of Saturday Vintages release


Culmina Hypothesis 2012, Okanagan ($40, 93 points) — This is only the second vintage of this top red blend from Donald Triggs’ Okanagan project that combines Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. And what a beauty! Dark and rich in the glass with opulent aromas of black currants, concentrated blackberries, red plums, an array of oak-enriched spices and a touch of eucalypt. It’s big and powerful on the palate and highlights persistent dark fruits, plush tannins, and spices all delivered on a long, lush finish. Such depth of flavour yet finessed and polished.

Two international picks from the release

La Cadierenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé 2012 ($20, 88 points) — An impressive, fairly dry Rosé with pretty aromas of violets, watermelon, raspberries and rhubarb-strawberry pie. Nicely balanced on the palate between sweet fruit and freshness with plenty of length through the finish.

Montebuena Cuvee KPF Rioja 2012 ($16, 90 points) — This 100% Tempranillo from Spain’s Rioja region shows a lovely nose of plums, currants, cherries and toasted spices notes. It’s juicy on the palate with a range of currants, cherries and plums with earthy-spicy-vanilla undertones all lifted by bright acidity. Good value wine.