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
Fashion is fickle, even in wine. There are occasional stampedes toward trendy brands: Argentina’s Fuzion and Australia’s Yellow Tail went the oenological equivalent of viral. And then there are deeper changes in taste over time. Two such seismic shifts have occurred over the last few years. The first is an acceptance of blends. The word is freighted with negativity because the cheapest wines are often thrown-together blends. However, some of Europe’s best wines have always been blends, and vintners elsewhere are starting to craft new fusions. The second change is a taste for lesser-known appellations. Languedoc in France and Sicily in Italy are challenging the market supremacy of overpriced wines from Bordeaux and Tuscany. In the New World, regions like Paso Robles in California and Leyda in Chile are taking on icons like Napa Valley and Maipo—and the newcomers are often more affordable. I’ve sifted through the LCBO’s massive fall infusion for the best of both trends.
$15.95 | Aconcagua Valley | 90 points For the past five years, Chile has been chasing New Zealand’s reputation for intense, pristine sauvignon blanc, largely by moving production closer to the Pacific Ocean, where cooler climes preserve acidity and fruit purity. This brilliant sauvignon—new at the LCBO—is sourced from a single, hillside vineyard near the mouth of the Aconcagua Valley, 12 kilometres from the sea.
Some of the province’s most exciting bottles aren’t always available at the LCBO Photography by John Cullen
Creekside 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve $27 | Creek Shores, Niagara | 91 points Creekside makes award-winning one-off wines. This one took best sauvignon blanc at Ontario’s 2011 Cuvée Awards. It has a powerful nose of cedar, persimmon and kiwi. It’s medium-full, rich yet poised. www.creeksidewine.com