Nicholas Pearce has four new, top-rated wines at LCBO Vintages.

Domaine André Aubert “Visan” Crus Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2014
VINTAGES#: 224915  |  750 ml bottle  |  $14.95
“The 2014 vintage in the Rhône was relatively cooler than recent years, a fact that has brought many of the more nuanced elements of each appellation to the fore, creating what Rhône guru Michel Chapoutier described as ‘… one of the most mineral vintages …’ (, July 28, 2015). This example from André Aubert is from Visan, a village already noted for elegance and finesse – factors magnified in 2014. Approachable and fruity with impressive floral and, of course, minerality. Enjoy with a hearty stew or grilled meats. (VINTAGES panel, June 2016)” Simple, fresh, juicy, balanced Rhône red here, full of immediate pleasure. To crack and enjoy without excessive fanfare, during those flavourful country-rustic meals. Tasted December 2016. Value Rating: ** John Szabo MS Winealigne

Del Rio Vineyards – Rock Point Pinot Noir 2013 Rogue Valley Oregon – $25.95
VINTAGES#: 463018 | 750 ml bottle | $25.95
This Pinot from Rock Point is from the 2013 vintage, which was warmer than recent years &  promoted great fruit ripeness. This is an earthy wine, with smoke & cinnamon spice notes beautifully interwoven with the bold and impressive raspberry and red cherry tones. Crafted in a style that bridges Californian & Oregon Pinot it will be intriguing and rewarding to fans of both. (VINTAGES panel, Feb. 2016) “A rare find from southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA made up of high elevation hillside sites over three adjacent river valleys. Distinctly earthy with some old world funk & reductiveness on the nose. Medium-bodied, typically pale in colour with great density & a slight tannic drip. Impressive concentration of flavours with notes of cherry, earth & barnyard along with red apple skin & leather. Best now to 2020. Tasted December 2016. Sara D’Amato

Ca’ del Monte Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2011
VINTAGES#: 475624 | 750 mL bottle  |  $19.95
90 Points Michael Godel
“Umberto and Giuseppe Zanconte. The brothers oversee roughly 50 acres of hillside vineyards with south and southwest aspects. Their 2011 effort is a complex and impressive wine with cherry, plum, fig, anise & dried herb (think oregano) notes. Crafted in a popular & very food-friendly style. (VINTAGES panel, May 2016)” 
“From the valley of Negrar this Ripasso comes from a most excellent vintage and spent more than its fair share of evolving time in oak (18 months) plus an additional six in bottle before release. Freshness is left behind in favour of that sort of salumi cure and developed wisdom only certain wines can secure. The fruit is decidedly dried, leathery and variegated. Good dark chocolate is all over the finish. In the Ripasso realm this is the real deal, neither old school nor fresh and getable. It lies in the nether region in between where wisdom meets avant-garde by nature. Represents the new dichotomy for Valpolicella.” MG

Roche de Bellène Cuvée Réserve Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2014
VINTAGES#: 299859 | 750 mL bottle  | $21.95
90 Points Winealigne – Sara D’Amato
“A hugely complex pinot noir, medium-bodied offering an intricate and riveting array of flavours. A touch of peppery syrah character is unexpected but welcome. There is power to this pinot but it remains respectful of place and style. Just polished enough to let a little wild shine through. Notes of wildberry, dried thyme, black pepper, tomato leaf, black olive, new leather and both black and red cherry. Highly compelling. Excellent value. Tasted December 2016.” This is a wine that, year in and year out, successfully delivers a definitively Burgundian experience at a tremendous price. As an introduction to the wines of Burgundy, this is a rock-solid starting point and very hard to beat. For fans of the region, it will deliver the elegance and refinement of Burgundy with the requisite cherry, beet and earth tones. A fine choice for beef stew.

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