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Rick Baroncelli lives in Waterloo and is the local agent for The Case For Wine, a business that has been importing wine for over 20 years.
Founded in 1998, The Case For Wine (C4W) sells its products through an assortment of channels including LCBO Vintages, LCBO General Products, the Consignment channel and to private collectors. Home base for C4W is Pickering, Ontario, but Baroncelli says good wine is for everyone, no matter where they live.
“The business of wine is ultimately about people,” Baroncelli said. “I value our long-term relationships and have been blessed to work with wineries, customers and contemporaries for a long time.”
Baroncelli adds that C4W has a portfolio curated over the years and is “rich in heritage and quality,” and includes some of the world’s most sought-after wines.
“So here are a few ideas for the Valentines recommendations,” said Baroncelli. “With Valentine’s, I guess the themes can be romance, a nice quiet dinner, chocolates, candy, and roses. Or all of them.”
He notes that the wines listed below — which may be perfect for your Valentine’s Day sipping — are not specifically available in the LCBO. They are available for delivery and could be part of a mixed case (12 pack) along with other great wines.
Baroncelli recommends the following and offers these notes:
Botter Prosecco ($15.95)
Start off a nice romantic meal with a toast. If Champagne isn’t in the budget, then a beautiful dry Botter Prosecco does the trick. Botter is located in Venice and has produced wine since 1928. Well established, Botter produces many different wines from many of Italy’s diverse wine regions. It’s very dry and is only 11% alcohol by volume (ABV), so it makes a perfect base of bubbly for adding any juice to it, whether a romantic Valentines pomegranate syrup, rose syrup, or orange juice to make a Mimosa. Ideal as an aperitif, it is a perfect combination to hors-d’oeuvres and delicate first courses. Also wonderful with sushi, fish and shellfish.
2019 Botter Appassimento ($16.95)
This wine is delicious for the main course, whether beef, game, or a rich pasta. What makes this wine unique is that it comes from Puglia, which is the heel of the boot in Italy. In mid-September, the perfect ripeness of the grapes is reached and the wine-making process starts.
“The grapes are withered on the vine for 15-20 days after being cut from the vine. During this period the 50 percent of their weight vaporizes, giving the wines the typical notes of ripe fruits, such as plums and raisins. The hand-picked grapes are pressed and the fermentation starts. The drying of the grapes process is common to Amarone Della Valpolicella but comes with an expensive price tag.
The Botter Appassimento is a fraction of the cost and the result is a rich, juicy wine that has tastes of ripe fruits, figs, spice and vanilla. This wine is a blend of Negroamaro Lambrusco and Merlot grapes. Also unique about the Botter Appassimento is the paper wrapper in which the bottle”is wrapped.
2018 Brolio Chianti Classico Ricasoli 1141 ($29.95)
Ricasoli 1141 is the oldest winery in Italy and the fourth oldest family business in the world. This Chianti is named after the famous Brolio Castle in Gaiole, Tuscany.
Ricasoli has specialized in Chianti for centuries and are the masters of Sangiovese. This Chianti Classico is also great to have with a romantic meal. Different than the juicy Appassimento that was mentioned above, this is dry and features a taste of red fruit with red fruit-aromas and those of irises and violets. Have with steak, a rich pasta, or pork. It gets 92 points from James Suckling.
2017 Château Rieussec ” Carmes de Rieussec” 1er Cru Sauternes ($29.95; 375ml)
What better way to finish off a delicious meal then a lovely sweet Sauternes? There are many options in this category of sweet wines from port, ice wine, and Tokay, but Sauternes is a classic favourite.
With chocolate, it is delicious as it boasts flavours of peaches, kumquats and honey. It is perfect for chocolate mousse or truffles. A blend 94 percent Sémillon, 3 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 3 percent Muscadelle, this wine is rated at 92 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
Baroncelli also points out that there are producers which are available at the LCBO and have a significant presence, of which he recommends:
Botter OGGI Moscato (#239517) “a sweet bubbly;”
Botter Primitivo Dopio Passo (#255190);
Ricasoli Chianti Classico (#943613).
Regardless of their source, these are some delicious wines to enjoy, added Baroncelli.
“They are perfect for a Valentine’s weekend, whether you choose bubbly, sweet or one that is rich and juicy with deep red-fruit flavours and aromas.”