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Food & Drink

Holiday Wine Guide: The LCBO’s best reds

Whether for pairing, popping or giving, these reds are ripe for the holiday season

By David Lawrason| Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
Holiday Wine Guide: The LCBO's best reds

Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2017 Shiraz Cabernet South Australia, $19.95
1 This wine from one of Australia’s most enduring brands is rich yet restrained, with a lovely, well-woven nose of mulberry, eucalyptus, vague pepper and oak vanilla. Great value in a prime Aussie red for casual holiday get-togethers. LCBO 285544

Beringer 2016 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
California, $44.95
2 There’s great aromatic intensity in this bright, rich cabernet from the tiny Knights Valley, located between Napa and Sonoma. The nose blasts heady cassis and blueberry fruit, cedar bough, chocolate mint and herbs. A bit tannic, but aerate for an hour and enjoy with roast lamb. Vintages Essentials 352583

BonPas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Bonus Passus
France, $34.95
3 The king of southern Rhone reds often needs up to five years of cellaring, but this youngster brims with plummy, blackberry fruit plus hallmark pepper, licorice and spice. It’s a rounded, warming winter red, ideal after a day on the slopes. Aerate one hour. LCBO 621862

Stags’ Leap Winery 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon California, $59.95
4 Consistently good value in this big-ticket category. Prototypical cabernet, including firm tannin and classic aromas of blackcurrant with subtle herbals, oak resin, spice and vanillin. Solid yet elegant, ripe and even mineral. A smart gift for collectors. Vintages Essentials 996405

Muga 2015 Reserva Spain, $26.95
5 A ripe vintage and classic wood-elevated Rioja winemaking create a rich, almost svelte red. It is deep and brooding with dark dried cherry and prune-like fruit, swaddled in coconut, vanillin and cedary American oak. Great with prime rib and gravy. Vintages Essentials 177345

Ruffino 2016 Modus Italy, $29.95
6 From one of Tuscany’s oldest firms comes a deeply coloured and dense new-wave red that blends local sangiovese with merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Expect fetching, fragrant blackcurrant, cedar, herbs, new oak and vanillin aromas. An affordable gift for new collectors. Vintages Essentials 912956

La Crema 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir California, $34.95
7 This is an easygoing and simply delicious pinot, especially with the holiday bird. Oak toast, spice and vanilla are generous, as is the rich core of red cran-cherry fruit. Mid-weight and smooth. Chill slightly. Vintages Essentials 719435

Masi 2013 Costasera Amarone Classico Italy, $45
8 Made by fermenting partially raisined grapes, amarone is one of Italy’s great powerhouse reds. The 2013 vintage produced wines with more acidity and tannin, so this will age a long time. Earmark as a cellaring gift, or aerate for two hours before enjoying it with a savoury winter stew. LCBO 317057

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Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi 2016 Tenuta Di Castiglioni Italy, $21.95
9 Great value from the Frescobaldi family’s 700-year-old estate in the Florentine hills. It’s a deeply coloured, medium-weight, streamlined and balanced blend of sangiovese, cabernet and merlot, with generous currant fruit, spice and vanilla. Aerate one hour and enjoy with savoury roasts or pastas. Vintages Essentials 145920

Latour 2017 Pinot Noir France, $23.95
10 Burgundy rarely offers value, but this basic “Bourgogne” is surprisingly good and priced to afford two or three bottles with your turkey dinner, or leftovers on Boxing Day. It’s mid-weight with classic pinot cran-cherry fruit aromas. LCBO 69914

Hidden Bench 2017 Estate Organic Pinot Noir Niagara, $31.95
11 Hidden Bench was the top winery in Ontario at the 2019 National Wine Awards, with this poised pinot taking a gold medal. So elegant, refined and focused, with a lovely nose of cran-raspberry fruit, forest floor and toasty notes. For lighter holiday plates. Vintages Essentials 274753

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