The best new bottles at the LCBO in February

The best new bottles at the LCBO in February

Toronto Life Wine Club

The LCBO is constantly adding new products to its shelves. We tasted our way through the new releases and put together a guide to the best new booze of the month. Here’s what to look for on store shelves in February.

Spirits

Iwai Mars Whisky

$59.95 | Japan
Japanese whiskies are rare at the LCBO, and this one is rarer still because it is aged in bourbon barrels. It’s surprisingly smooth with more than a little spiced caramel on the tongue. Vintages 634527

Canadian Club Chronicles 41 Year Old

$299.95 | Canada
This whiskey walks a fine line between intensity and elegance, with spice, molasses and caramel notes. Crucially, everything is perfectly balanced. LCBO 620914

Timorous Beastie Highland Malt 10 Year Old

$59.90 | Scotland
A great value bottle with notes of citrus, pear and peach. The finish is satisfying and notes of grain poke through. LCBO 578336

Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 7

$119.95 | Scotland
There’s nothing subtle about this whiskey, which clocks in at nearly 58 per cent ABV. Adding an ice cube can help get past the heat and bring out the rich toffee and spice. LCBO 582551

Sparkling wine

Deutz Brut Rose Champagne

$79.95 | France
A refreshing and highly quaffable bottle with notes of biscuit, almond and a floral bouquet, with hints of strawberry to match the colour of the wine. Vintages 92833

Fortified wine

2013 Feuerheerd’s LBV Port

$21.95 | Portugal
Late Bottled Vintage port is said to be best consumed while it’s young, but they age well too, as this expression shows. Here there’s acid and spice along with red fruit, bittersweet chocolate and spiced cherry. Vintages 582999

Red wine

2016 Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Reserve Merlot

$19.95 | Ontario
Dark berries meet mocha, spice and hints of coffee on the finish in this wonderful bottling from Ontario’s great 2016 vintage. Vintages 257311

2016 Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc

$19.95 | Argentina
Yes, Ontario makes great cabernet franc, and the Loire Valley in France is where the grape originated. But Argentina gives both a run for their money: this is a single vineyard, single appellation franc that shows sweet tobacco, cherry, mocha, strawberry and delicate spice. Vintages 450106

2014 El Enemigo Single Vineyard Bonarda La Esperanza

$21.95 | Argentina
Is bonarda a complex grape? No, but for fans of Argentine wine, it’s a wonderful change of pace from malbec. This one has juicy blueberry and cherry with some licorice and spice, and some unexpected depth. Vintages 629782

2014 Trapiche Terroir Series Finca Ambrosia Single Vineyard Malbec

$42.95 | Argentina
This is a serious malbec for connoisseurs of the grape, with a real concentration of black and red fruit, spice and mineral character. Vintages 402941

2016 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone

$29.95 | France
There is plenty to be said for a Chateauneuf-du-Pape under $30. This one is rich and ripe with plum, blackberry and spice—lots and lots of spice. Vintages 48884

2015 Three By Wade

$57.95 | California
This five-grape blend from basketball star Dwyane Wade’s Wade Cellars is not some ego-boosting side project. It’s serious and inspired by the folks who make Napa’s acclaimed Pahlmeyer wines, with plenty of licorice, smoked cherry and a peppery finish. Vintages 631788

2016 Plaisir de Merle Petit Plaisir

$16.95 | South Africa
There’s more than a little pleasure in this blend of cabernet, shiraz and merlot, aged in both French and American oak barrels. It delivers spice, mocha, cherry and earthy notes, and even some smoked plum. Vintages 631556

2016 Pierre Lurton Bordeaux

$19.95 | France
This merlot-based Bordeaux blend combines a silky-smooth mouthfeel, dark fruit, mocha-cherry and a smoked-pepper finish at a multi-purchase price. Drink now, or age until 2025. Vintages 632984

2017 Domaine Baron de L’Ecluse Vieille Vignes

$20.95 | France
Beaujolais is one of the great unsung wines, and this one delivers floral, ripe cherry and blueberry notes. It’s best served lightly chilled. Vintages 637306

2016 Patrick Lesec Cairanne

$19.95 | France
This tank-matured red from the Rhone Valley is a ready-to-drink wine that shows up-front raspberry and cherry fruit, with just the faintest hint of smoke and pepper on the finish. Vintages 636217

2015 Ama Chianti Classico

$34.95 | Italy
This standout chianti has up-front black cherry and blueberry fruit, with a hint of smoked meat on the finish. Vintages 515759

2015 Valpantena Amarone della Valpolicella

$38.95 | Italy
This rich and full-bodied amarone hits all the right notes: well-concentrated and focused with chocolate, mocha, plum, cherry and delicate spices. Vintages 981316

2014 Mount Peak Sentinel Cabernet Sauvignon

$79.95 | California
This heavy bottle can be used as a doorstop once it’s empty. Before that happens, there’s dark-blue fruit, plum, subtle smoke and spice, with lots of oomph on both the nose and palate. Vintages 635136