Le Sommelier 585

In this Saturday’s VINTAGES release, there are two wines about which I’m really juiced! Now that the sun has finally decided to come out, I’m excited to wake up to birds chirping, seeing the yellow leaves push out on the forsythia, and watching small, green buds popping out on trees. Spring has sprung here in Ontario, and very soon (read NOW!) Rosé season will be upon us. Enjoy this dry, aperitif version from France’s Loire valley. Made from 100% Cabernet Franc, the 2013 JM Raffault Chinon Rosé is a delicious way to bring in the spring!

For those of you looking for something bigger, there’s a moderately priced Napa Cabernet with your name on it! Made from estate fruit grown around the winery in the heart of California’s Cab country in Rutherford, as well as fruit from the Pope Valley in Northern Napa, the 2011 Peju Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is a solid choice. As one of the reviews which we’ve listed below reads, the Peju Cab is a “textbook old school Napa cab that will be great at the table.” Although the wine will certainly age gracefully over the next five years, why wait? Enjoy it now. For best results, throw it in a decanter for a half hour or so beforehand to really bring out the fruit.

Surprise Mom by serving both of these tasty treats on Mother’s Day!

Bernard Stramwasser

Le Sommelier



Varietal: 100% Cabernet Franc

Soil type: Siliceous sand and Loire’s gravel

Alcohol: 12.5%

Tasting note:

“Aromas of orange bell pepper, tangerine and clementine. Zippy and loaded with orange citrus tones on the palate. The acidity is bright and fun and makes this a superbly refreshing wine. All of the orange notes will make it a brilliant sipper and perfect for an outdoor brunch featuring chicken and veggie kebabs.” (VINTAGES panel, March 2014)


“This is a lean, sharp, bone dry and fruity example of Chinon rose (cabernet-franc based), pure and simple with light apple-oxidative aromatics alongside red berry fruit. I appreciate both the purity and the dryness on offer, making this a fine sipping, aperitif style. It’s a far cry from the sweetened commercial roses that are popular today, even if some will pine for some more flesh on the palate. Tasted April 2014. Value Rating:**” 87 points (John Szabo, MS, WineAlign.com, April 2014)

“Resonant tangy notes of clementine and orange zest and roses on the nose and palate of this value-priced sparkling wine. Dry and mouth-watering acidity. Medium-bodied.  Rosé food pairings: chicken and veggie kebabs.” 87 points (Natalie Maclean, nataliemaclean.com, May 2014)

$16.95 retail per bottle

Available by the bottle through the May 10, 2014 LCBO VINTAGES release . To purchase your wine, click here for store availability. LCBO# 119963.


Varietals: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc

Aging: 18 months, 45% French oak, 55% American oak, 40% new


Grapes were sourced from two estate vineyards, the organically farmed Rutherford vineyard, and the sustainably farmed Persephone vineyard in the northeast corner of the Napa Valley (Pope Valley). After harvest, the fruit spent extended maceration time on the skins for deeper color and complex flavor components, then aged 18 months in French & American oak, where 40% was new.

2011 was a difficult but rewarding year for the Napa Valley. Cooler than average temperatures along with more rainfall than normal presented myriad challenges to the vineyard team, but we finished with a successful harvest after several warm weeks in late October. This vintage ultimately yielded small quantities of beautifully balanced and intricate wines with lower alcohol levels. The Cabernet from 2011 was blended using all five red Bordeaux varietals to create an immensely satisfying and multi-dimensional wine.

Tasting Note:

An elegant and enjoyable Cabernet that showcases light thyme and sage, vanilla, red fruits, and anise on the nose. Juicy plums and sweet oak come through on the palate with remarkably soft tannins from start to finish.


“Deep garnet color. Mellow aromas of cassis pie a la mode, cedar, cocoa, and spice with a silky, dry-yet fruity medium body and a tangy, berry, nutty oak and mineral driven finish. Textbook old school Napa cab that will be great at the table.” 93 points(tastings.com, Aug. 19, 2013)

“A beautiful Cabernet for drinking now, this has softly luscious tannins framing flavors of ripe, elegant blackberry, cherry jam and mocha. There’s an enticing herbal richness and the finish is sweetly oaky.” 90 points, (S.H., Wine Enthusiast, March 2014)

$64.95per bottle

Click here for store availability. LCBO# 147314.

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