====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
WHITE -McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2007 Hunter Valley NSW, +724492, $19.95: a bargain at this price level, 11% ABV, aged nicely for 7.5 years, twist top, gold medalist. It is that Hunter Valley Semillon with bone dryness. Snap it up, the company's Lovedale 2007 was in Classics at $59 a bottle.
RED -Darling Cellars Kroon Premium Shiraz 2008 WO Darling South Africa, +704486, $16.95: lots of Rhone syrah flavours, not shiraz at all, with an emphasis on brett components of leather and game. Dense with a finish for food here. 7 years old, 14.5% ABV. Cork closure. QPR: 91.
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *OVER* $20
Brezza Sarmassa Barolo 2009, +999730, $49.95.
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
1.Pondview Bella Terra Chardonnay 2011 Barrel Fermented VQA Four Mile Creek Niagara, +347922, $24.95. QPR: 90.
2.Casa del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Casablanca Valley, +974717, $13.95: there are a bunch of Chilean savvies at this pricepoint. Here, though, there is good passion in the grip. Twist top. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Lagoon Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Martinborough NZ, +388389, $18.95: a kiwi savvy worthy of consideration, concentrated in California style, 13.5% ABV. Twist top. QPR: 88.
4.Gerald Talmard Cuvee Joseph Talmard Macon Chardonnay 2012, +392712, $16.95: pretty basic MVC chardonnay at a great price. Cork closure, some evidence of aging. 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
5.Saint-Roch Vieille Vignes Cotes du Roussillon Blanc 2013, +175232, $15.95: another concentrated floral and pretty wine, good balance on palate, 13% ABV, twist top, modest character but longer length. Hand picked and low yield. QPR: 88.
6.Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino Bianco 2013 Tuscany, +65086, $19.95: makes its annual appearance as a blend of chardonnay and pinot bianco. Orchard fruit all the way, and offered with zest. QPR: 89.
7.Paco & Lola Albarino 2013 DO Rias Baixas, +350041, $18.95: light but fragrant, unoaked floral character, refreshing acidity on finish for food. 12.5%ABV. Twist top. QPR: 88.
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
1.Chateau Rahoul 2010 Graves, +226043, $31.95. QPR: 90.
2.Nostre Pais Costieres de Nimes 2012, +295410, $21.95. QPR: 90.
3.M.Chapoutier Petite Ruche Crozes-Hermitage 2012, +264655, $24.95. QPR: 90.
4.Cusumano Noa 2011 IGT Sicilia, +109512, $22.95, QPR: 90.
5.Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2010, +930966, $21.95. QPR: 90.
6.Villa Mora Montefalco Sagrantino 2008, +342394, $21.95. QPR: 90.
7.Tilenus Crianza Mencia 2006 Bierzo, +383992, $23.95.
8.Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Wahluke Slope Washington State, +360222, $19.95: juicy enough to be Cali style, lots of black fruit, 14% ABV, with a tart enough finish for food. Cork closure. QPR: 89.
9.Bodega Volcanes de Chile Tectonia Red 2011 Central Valley, +389668, $17.95: very succulent, mocha vanilla tones, made from grenache (45%), petite sirah (38%) and mourvedre (17%). 14.5% ABV power. QPR: 89.
10.Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, +275594, $17.95: very much in the bordeaux-style of lean flesh with leaves, cedar, black fruit showing. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
11.Chateau de Segure Fitou 2012 Eleve en Futs de Chene, +370254, $16.95: very decent little blended number, full bore heavy duty red, 14% ABV done up in oak with lashings of fruits. QPR: 89.
12.Domaine de la Croisette Cotes du Rhone 2011, +155465, $15.95: a blend of grenache, syrah and carignan, reflecting a papery grenache Rhone taste. Good price value. Twist top, 13.5% ABV. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
13.Santa Duc Les Vieilles Vignes Cotes du Rhone 2009, +101543, $14.95: good value for a vieilles vignes wine from the Rhone, now 5 years old in the bottle. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
14.Tenuta Stefano Farina Le Brume Langhe 2009, +360073, $16.95: priced okay for tasty nebbiolo, reflecting some sour cherries and age-worthy tar components. Food wine despite 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
15.Tenuta Sant'Antonio Monti Garbi Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2011, +29850, $17.95:
apparently this is the LCBO Ripasso of the Month (I say). QPR: 89.
16.Barahonda Sin Madera Monastrell 2011 Yecla, +366823, $15.95: ripe and fruity, no oaking, dense and intense, long finish. Whopping 15% ABV. QPR: 89.
17.Finca el Encinal Crianza 2010 Ribera del Duero, +355081, $17.95: voluptuous fruit, oak, and 14% ABV. Complex black fruit tones. QPR: 89.