2011 Benjamin Bridge Brut Sparkling Wine – Vintages 381533 – $49.95 – ****+ – This winery from Nova Scotia has been generating significant buzz for quite some time. This bottle is definitely one of the reasons why. With aromas that are nice and toasty with applesauce and citrus that climb out of the glass. This bottle is punching above it’s weight class if you were to pour this side by side with Champagne that is double the price. I realize that (almost)fifty dollars makes it difficult to see how this is value, but trust me, this is well worth the price of admission. The depth of the fruit on the palate is remarkable with citrus and orchard fruit, but there is a nice white flower note that will raise an eyebrow.
2015 Wildass Merlot – Vintages 376822 – $16.95 – ****+ – This may be the best priced bottle of Merlot from Ontario to ever hit the LCBO shelves. Immediately this wine presents a dilemma. It is so well priced there is no reason to not pick up a couple to enjoy. But do you save that second bottle for later in the summer, or do you stow it away in a cellar for 5-7 years? This wine could easily sit in a cellar to develop over 5-7 years but it is so easy drinking now. This wine is very rich and concentrated with red cherry and strawberry on the nose. The flavours of this wine are perfectly ripe without being jammy. Smoke and cocoa notes help round out the package and give this wine some depth. The Wildass wines from Stratus always over-deliver on their price point, but this has moved the very high for any future releases and there is no reason to expect them not to deliver.