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waters on wine

Pinot noir grapes at the Trigny winery, in north-eastern France, on Sept. 13. While the weather during the summer months helps to shape the quality of the wine we receive in bottle, the final stages of the growing cycle, how healthy the crop is and how those grapes are handled really dictate its success.FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP/Getty Images

Laurent Delaunay, the fifth generation of a winemaking family based in Burgundy, recalls customers visiting his grandfather in the cellar in spring and summer months would often ask what to expect from the coming vintage.

His reply was always the same: “I’ll know in September.”

While the weather during the summer months helps to shape the quality of the wine we receive in bottle, the final stages of the growing cycle, how healthy the crop is and how those grapes are handled really dictate its success. The success of the wines overall helps to determine the quality of any vintage.

As a tribute to his grandfather, Delaunay named his largest production wines Septembre. A chardonnay and a pinot noir produced with grapes grown throughout Burgundy, the two wines are helping to reintroduce consumers to the wines of Edouard Delaunay, which was established in 1893.

Laurent Delaunay sold the domaine and its vineyards in the 1990s and turned his attention to making wines in the south of France. International success with wine brands, including Les Jamelles and Abbott and Delaunay, put him in a position in 1997 to buy back the family’s brand and cellar.

The latest release of Septembre will be available to Ontario consumers as part of the LCBO’s Sept. 18 Vintages Release. It’s a vibrant and modern style red wine that showcases the fruit and freshness of the pinot noir grape, which makes it appealing to drink now as well as a solid option to stock away in the cellar for later. It’s recommended with other reds and whites – and one age-worthy rosé – that are worth stocking up on.

Château d’Aquéria Tavel 2020 (France), $24.95

Rating:90 /100

A consistent performer from Tavel, an appellation in the south of France that only produces rosé, d’Aquéria is a great introduction the region’s full-bodied take on pink wines. A blend of grenache and a mix of other regional grapes, this is a fresh and enjoyable wine to enjoy with a meal in the coming months. Drink now to 2023. Available in Ontario at the above price, $31.99 in British Columbia, $23.85 in Quebec.

Church & State Wines Cabernet Franc 2017 (Canada), $36.79

Rating:90 /100

Church & State has attracted attention from red wine lovers for many years, largely on the strength of its syrah and red blends. This cabernet franc is made in a ripe and rich style, with lots of savoury and cedar notes adding interest to the core of dark fruit flavours. Decant before serving for best enjoyment. Drink now to 2027. Available direct through churchandstatewines.com.

Cusumano Noà 2016 (Italy), $31.95

Rating:90 /100

Inspired by the so-called Super Tuscan reds, which blended the native sangiovese grape with international varieties such as cabernet and merlot to the delight of critics and connoisseurs, Cusumano has produced a full-bodied red wine in Sicily. Noà is a blend of nero d’avola with merlot and cabernet, which results in a ripe and complex wine that offers attractive spice and savoury notes. Drink now to 2024. Available in Ontario.

Edouard Delaunay Septembre Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2019 (France), $25.95

Rating:88 /100

An enjoyable expression of pinot noir from Burgundy, this red wine is produced from grapes that come from vineyards in the celebrated Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits regions as well as farther south (in the Côte Chalonnaise) for added freshness. A mix of bright and ripe fruit flavours dominates the aroma and flavour and works to effectively showcase the vibrant and juicy character of pinot noir. Drink now to 2025. Available at the above price in Ontario, $32.99 in New Brunswick.

Moon Curser Roussane Marsanne 2020 (Canada), $27.99

Rating:89 /100

Located in Osoyoos, B.C., Moon Curser produces a dizzying array of red and white wines from a diverse range of grape varieties each vintage. This rich and rewarding dry white blend stands out from the current releases thanks to its concentrated and honeyed character. Made in a full-bodied style, with peach and toast notes backed by citrus, this is a flavourful white that promises to develop more richness and complexity over the next three to five years. Vegan friendly. Available direct through mooncurser.com.

Orofino Vineyards Gamay 2020 (Canada), $21.65

Rating:90 /100

Based in the Similkameen, the family-owned Orofino winery produces a range of expressive and enjoyable reds and whites. This gamay is always a standout. The new vintage is bright and juicy, offering the red fruit and peppery spice essence that make the gamay grape so appealing. Drink now to 2023. Available direct through orofinovineyards.com.

Terravista Vineyards Viognier 2020 (Canada), $24

Rating:90 /100

Terravista focuses its efforts on producing aromatic and enticing white wines from the Okanagan. The portfolio has expanded recently to include this fragrant expression of viognier. The grapes come from vineyards located in Osoyoos and Naramata. Fermentation and aging took place in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fruity intensity. Drink now to 2023. Available direct through terravistavineyards.com.

Tenuta Guado al Tasso Cont’Ugo 2018 (Italy), $56.95

Rating:92 /100

Produced at Antinori’s Guado al Tasso in Bolgheri, this stylish red is produced strictly from merlot. A red with terrific cedar and spice fragrance and ripe personality, this is bright and nicely layered. It’s approachable now but has structure and lively acidity to mature gracefully. Drink now to 2030. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta, $54.25 in Quebec.

Waterkloof Circle of Life Chenin Blanc/Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (South Africa), $21.95

Rating:88 /100

Winemakers in South Africa have taken to blending other grapes with chenin blanc to produce white wines with more fragrance, intensity and complexity. This appealing example looks to sauvignon blanc to add some zesty citrus flavours to the richer and more honeyed notes commonly found in chenin. Released as a four-year-old wine, this is showing remarkable freshness and intensity, with herbal and citrus flavours that carry through to a lingering finish. Drink now to 2026. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in Alberta.

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