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Best Wines: Five special-occasion bottles to impress even the most discerning host

5 Gift Wines
Masi 2008 Costasera Amarone
Masi 2008 Costasera Amarone
$40 | Venetia | 92 points
A classic host gift full of freshness and poise, with a perfume that’s quite different from the usually thick and raisiny amarone. Expect lovely mulberry fruit, spice and marzipan flavours. It’s full-bodied, dense and warm, with terrific tautness. LCBO 317057


Osoyoos Larose 2008
Osoyoos Larose 2008
$46 | Okanagan Valley, B.C. | 91 points
Here’s an iconic and substantial B.C. red, based on merlot and cabernet sauvignon, blended with other native Bordeaux varieties. It has a ripe, complex nose of well-integrated chocolate, fig, berry and leather. Vintages. LCBO 626325

Cloudy Bay 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
Cloudy Bay 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
$30 | Marlborough | 91 points
While past years have missed the mark, this vintage is excellent, featuring a ripe nose with complex guava, lime and fresh ginger. It’s vibrant, yet delicate, with a fine sense of balance, juiciness and excellent length. Vintages. LCBO 304469

Castelgiocondo 2006 Brunello di Montalcino
Castelgiocondo 2006 Brunello di Montalcino
$50 | Tuscany | 91 points
Brunello is the kingpin of Tuscan reds, and this long-barrel-aged vintage is hitting prime time. It’s medium-bodied and deep with nicely integrated sweet chestnut purée, dried berry, leather and anise flavours. Vintages. LCBO 650432

Stags’ Leap 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Stags’ Leap 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
$50 | Napa Valley | 92 points
This is a deep, sturdy yet refined cabernet with a piercing nose of blackcurrant, sage, evergreen, coffee and a wisp of tobacco smoke. It’s full-bodied and smooth, yet feisty. The focus and length are excellent. Vintages. LCBO 996405