There’s a trick to watering a crowd that you need to know about. It will save you money, make you cooler by impressing your friends and less stressed by taking guesswork out of which bottle to open next.
The trick: Serve a magnum. It’s the equivalent of two standard 750mL bottles and just what you need for your next party. Only question is which bottle to buy. Here are six stellar options at very reasonable prices, starting with a Spanish red that’s on special now.
The 2018 Bodegas Piqueras Castillo Almansa Reserva DO Almansa (LCBO $21.20/1.5L till Nov. 26, reg. $23.20/1.5L) is from organic, old-vine Monastrell, Garnacha and Tempranillo grapes. Each sip draws you in with the slow, languid fragrance of roasted black plums, toasted tobacco and warm vanilla. Then, it rolls in with red and black fruit etched with Brazil nut, moist earth and charcoal. Full-bodied and dry, this serious-tasting, layered red is decidedly Old World, yet its ripe fruit lends broad appeal. Great buy. Score: 94
A velvety Cabernet Sauvignon always holds broad appeal. And a textbook expression of that style is widely available at the LCBO — in a magnum. It’s the 2020 Bread & Butter Cabernet Sauvignon from California (LCBO $34.95/1.5L). Generous aromas of cassis and cherries jubilee entice the senses and lead to a sun-drenched crush of red and black cherries. That rush of lush fruit soon shifts to reveal melted chocolate, vanilla cream and a drizzle of blackcurrant liqueur. Bang on what you’d expect for its style. Ripe, smooth and full of fruit. Score: 93
For something white and shimmeringly crisp, trust the 2021 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio delle Venezie DOC from Italy (LCBO $25.95/1.5L). This is a mountain wine, grown in and around the foothills of Dolomite Alps. And it smells and tastes of fresh mountain air — cool, crystalline, dry and brisk. Allusions of stone and salt imbue each sip while the vinosity rips in with tightly wound intensity before leaving the palate seasoned with bitter lime and sea salt. Impressive — especially in a magnum. Score: 92
Sauvignon Blanc lovers can count on the 2022 The Beachhouse Sauvignon Blanc from the Western Cape of South Africa (LCBO $20.95). The gift of this wine is its swirling scent of sliced green apples, cut grass and pineapple — such purity here. Then, it streams in silky smooth and quenching — a round, bright burst of gooseberry goodness laced with tropical fruit. It’s not a long wine — but it finishes clean and dry. And it’s easy demeanour and immediate appeal keeps you sipping. Delicious. Total crowd-pleaser. Score: 91
For a magnum that looks like it was dipped in gold, pour the NV Bottega Gold Prosecco Brut DOC from the Veneto region of Italy (Vintages $59.95/1.5L). A step up from many Proseccos, this bottle is so much more than simple pear-scented fruit shot through with effervescence. You’ll find sliced pear, yes, as well as quiet suggestions of almond paste, ruby grapefruit, white flowers and a subtle note of dried herb. This is a quality wine with much delicacy and finesse. Score: 93
All the above are excellent choices for a gathering. But nothing gets a party started like popping a magnum of Champagne. So snap up a bottle of the newly released NV Laurent Perrier La Cuvee Champagne from France (Vintages $149.95/1.5L). But do so now because these beauties will not last.
Each glassful is shot through with tiny bubbles that rise through the centre and burst on the surface releasing lemon cream, marzipan and baked apple pie aromas. The attack is elegant and the entry, expressive, sophisticated yet easy to enjoy. Flavours flit from fruit, to nuts, to stone to brioche and lemon meringue as tiny bubbles thread the centre, add a creamy mousse and lend structure. Long. Score: 92
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