by Bernard Stramwasser for Le Sommelier, a ‘Certified Good Food Fighter’

Le Sommelier logo

The LCBO Vintages program currently features two of Le Sommelier’s fantastic reds to enjoy with friends, and a great value Ruby Port! I’m really excited about the 2006 Barbaresco from Cantina del Pino. It’s not a huge wine, au contraire, it’s an elegant, medium bodied red, with bright strawberries and fresh red fruit, with firm, chalky tannins. The Peju Cabernet Sauvignon is everything you would expect in a Napa Cabernet: rich in fruit, powerful and lush. The Ruby Port is a great wine to be enjoyed with dessert, especially anything chocolate, or enjoy it as dessert, with good conversation.

2006 Cantino Del Pino Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Alcohol: 14.0%

Review: “Sweet perfumed cherries, flowers and spices emerge from this mid-weight, firm Barbaresco. The wine offers exceptional elegance and class, with delicate Pinot-like notes that linger on the finish. Today the tannins come across as decidedly youthful, so a few years of cellaring seems wise. This is an exceptional 2006 Barbaresco. The Barbaresco is made from parcels in Ovello, Albesani and Starderi. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021.” 91 pts, Antonio Galloni,

$38.95 per bottle

Available by the bottle at LCBO Vintages through the March 5, 2011 release. To purchase your wine click here to check store availability. LCBO #922880.

2006 Peju Persephone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napan, California

Varietals: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 7% Merlot

Aging: 18 months, 45% New French Oak, 55% American Oak, 40% New

Alcohol: 14.1%

Aging Potential: 3 – 8 years

The 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from hand-selected fruit sourced from small vineyard blocks found in the two Peju Napa Valley vineyards. After harvest, the fruit spent extended maceration time on the skins for deeper color and complex flavor components.

Tasting Notes: This vintage reveals a lovely nose of brambleberries, caramelized brown sugar, mocha and baking spice with a slight hint of violet. This dark garnet wine is rich and concentrated on the palate with layers of cassis, blackberry and a hint of chocolate-covered cherries that lead into a velvety, sexy finish that lingers long after the glass is empty.

Review: “If hedonism is what you like in a Cab, you’ll love this lush bottling from Peju. It’s softly delicious, offering waves of complex blackberries, blueberries, currants, sandalwood and sweet milk chocolate. Outstanding, and easy to find, with 10,000 cases produced.” 93 pts, Wine Enthusiast

Silver Medal, National Women’s Wine Competition 2010

$64.95 per bottle

Available by the bottle as an LCBO Vintages In-Store Discovery in the March 5, 2011 release. Click here for store locations. LCBO #147314

Quinta do Castelinho Ruby Port (NV), Douro, Portugal

Quinta do Castelinho is one of the oldest quintas of the Douro Region. This wine comes from the best vineyards of the Douro Region and is made according to the traditional vinification methods. It is young, red and a fruity Port Wine, obtained from a blending of recent wines. Its red colour resembles the precious stones with the same name. Deep ruby red

Varietals: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca

Alcohol: 19.0%

Tasting notes: Deep ruby red in the glass. Expect plenty of floral, woodspice, smoke, cedar and ripe dark fruit on the nose. Medium bodied and very spicy on the palate, with more rich black fruits and complex wood notes. The finish is medium-long, spicy and rich. Perfect for berry-laden desserts – especially those coated in chocolate. Solid value. (VINTAGES panel, May 2010)

$15.95 per bottle

Available by the bottle through March 5, 2011 LCBO Vintages release. To purchase your wine click here to check store availability. LCBO #198945