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David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a serious California Zinfandel

Weekly Wine PickSeghesio 2010 Sonoma Zinfandel

$29.95 | Sonoma County, California | 91 points
Californians like to think of fruity, rich zinfandel as their signature wine, but few pay it real respect. Many zins nowadays are too sweet, too chocolatey and too soupy. The Seghesio family specializes in serious and structured zinfandel, and sells a range of bottles from single vineyards, anchored by this larger-production Sonoma County wine.

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Nine wines to build an unbeatable cellar, chosen by our critic David Lawrason

I recently spent an evening with my cousin pouring over-the-hill wine down the sink, about 10 bottles in all. We tasted each one first. The New World reds were cooked into a raisiny, composty glop. The higher-acid Euro and Canadian wines, including a cheap 1981 Bordeaux, were dried out. I pronounced them all deceased. The cull cleared my cousin’s wine rack of special occasion bottles she’d been given over the years. Being sentimental, she couldn’t bear to drink them, even though most were under $20 and never meant to age. There is no sure-fire formula for selecting age-worthy wines. However, buying more expensive and concentrated wines will help—the more full bodied a wine, the longer it will keep. That means caber­net sauvignon and its Bordeaux-style blends, syrah and its Rhône family and many native varieties from Italy, Spain and Portugal are good bets. Your job is to be adventurous and willing to open them. Wine is made to be enjoyed, not hoarded.

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David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a great gamay noir for less than $20

Weekly Wine PickJean-Paul Brun 2010 Terres Dorées Côte De Brouilly

$18.95 | Beaujolais, France | 89 points
Lately, it’s been a gamay summer, partially thanks to researching it for my Toronto Life column in the September issue. The grape has seen something of a resurgence in Beaujolais, especially with the excellent 2009 and 2010 seasons. This bottle is from a very highly regarded producer in Charnay, a village in southern Beaujolais.

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Coming Up Rosés: nine great bottles of the ultimate summer dinner party wine

(Illustration: Jack Dylan)

I recently hosted a dinner devoted entirely to rosé. It was on a terrace in Crillon-le-Brave, a small town in Provence, and I was joined by a group of Canadians who were there for a gastro-cycling adventure in Mont Ventoux, the site of the toughest leg of the Tour de France. Most of them were skeptical about pink wine, having only drunk cheap Mateus in their college days. But I was determined to convince them. We were, after all, in the heartland of dry rosé— the grenache, syrah, mourvèdre and carignan vines planted in the arid, stony soils of southern France produce fresh yet rich lavender- and anise-scented pinks. Our aperitif was a zesty Côtes du Ventoux, followed by a delicate, pale Côtes de Provence to go with the shellfish. With grilled pork and ratatouille we ramped up into richer, creamier Tavel. By the time the sun set, the sky matched the colour in our glasses and the doubters were silenced. Here, my favourite rosés for the summer. They won’t cost you a trip to Provence, or your reputation.

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David Lawrason’s Weekly Wine Pick: a rarely seen Nova Scotia sparkler

Weekly Wine PickBenjamin Bridge Nova 7

$25 | Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia | 89 Points
Benjamin Bridge is a new Nova Scotia sparkling winery that’s been drawing raves for its Champagne method bubblies that are fermented and aged in-bottle. But quantities are so tiny it remains essentially unavailable. Nova 7 is a less expensive, higher volume, tank-fermented edition from local Nova Scotia varieties, and it returns to the LCBO, in limited quantities, this Saturday.

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Gift Wines: 10 sure-fire picks that are suitable for any special occasion

Choosing the right bottle for the right event can lead to hours of indecision. Here, we save you the angst

Ten Gift Wines WHITE
No. 1
Conundrum 2009
$24 | California, U.S. | 88 points Guessing the secret composition of this white makes for a fun party game. Look for barrel-aged muscat, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and viognier. Citrus, lavender, spice and butterscotch flavours are set in a rich, silky, slightly sweet framework. Vintages. LCBO 694653

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Eight Ontario wines that are worth ordering straight from the winery

Some of the province’s most exciting bottles aren’t always available at the LCBO

Eight Ontario Wines WHITE
No. 1
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

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