The Wine Lover’s Picks LCBO Vintages Release Nov 10, 2018

The LCBO Vintages Release for Nov 10, 2018 follows the trend  toward pricey luxurious premium wines.  The next few editions of my wine picks might be the most important of the year as I suggest reasonably priced examples that may score well above ‘branded’ wines for a fraction of the cost.  Read on for lots of gift and holiday stock suggestions.

Use this link to check out availability of wines closest to you – LCBO store locator. Just enter the product number in the search field in the upper right corner. When the product page comes up click on the Select Store button on the right margin.  A dialogue box will come up. Add your postal code to get a list of stores closest to you that have it in stock.

Or you can now order LCBO products on-line  .  Of late LCBO have indicated all release wines are available for on-line  ordering.

Here are my picks for some of the best value wines under $35 in this release.

Dessert Wines

TWLK-Note the following 2 recommended wines are 375 ml bottles which is typical of dessert wines because a little goes a long way.  Here is a chance to get a fine Sauterne wine without breaking the bank.  Sauternes typically start in the mid $30 range and can easily hit $50 or $60 .  The second botrytis affected semillon from Australia is the new world version of a Sauterne and the description suggests equal enjoyment.  Try these with a strong cheese platter complemented with dried figs, nuts and/or a rich paté.  These would make welcome gifts for any foodie or wine lover on your list.

CHÂTEAU LAPINESSE 2014 (AC Sauternes, France)

570762  (S)  375 ml         Score: 91   $24.95

James Molesworth, winespectator.com says ‘A rather racy version, with  pineapple and quinine threads enlivening the core of white peach, tangerine and pineapple flavors. Bright mirabelle plum notes add length on the finish. Very pretty. Drink now through 2025- 2017’
Full-bodied & Rich

DE BORTOLI NOBLE ONE BOTRYTIS SEMILLON 2016
(New South Wales, Australia)

917252              375 mL (S)      $29.95

Noble One is the benchmark for botrytis-affected Semillon from Australia. First produced in 1982, it embodies some of the finest winemaking in the world. The honeyed fruit, lemon citrus, vanilla and spice tones make it a refined dessert wine. Balanced and flavour-packed, this is a luxurious gift.
Lusciously Sweet

Sparkling Wines

FERRARI BRUT Traditional method ( DOC Trento, Italy)

352153   750 mL (XD)   Score 92    $24.95

James Suckling of  jamessuckling.com says ‘This is an attractive sparkling wine with praline, cooked apple and honey aromas and flavors as well as peaches and dried mangoes. Full body, layers of fruit and dry, tight bubbles. Edgy and energetic. Disgorged in 2017. Drink now. ‘
Medium-bodied & Flavourful

PIERRE SPARR BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT D’ALSACE, Traditional method, (AC Alsace, France)

039016   750 mL (D)     Score 90    $19.95

A Gold Medal winner at the 2018 Palmares du Concours Général Agricole  competition, this wine is made in a consistent style year after year.

wineandspiritsmagazine.com notes: ‘This possesses uncommon subtlety and finesse, showing delicate strawberry aromas and a fine silken texture. The  wine’s creaminess is held firmly in place by prominent acidity. ‘
Medium-bodied & Flavourful

White Wines

TAWSE LIMESTONE RIDGE-NORTH ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2016
(VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ont, Canada)

431593        750 mL (M)   Score  93     $23.95

Gold Medal winner at the 2018 National Wine Awards of Canada.
Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com says ‘ … killer Riesling. The nose lights up with salinity, lime, grapefruit and racy wet-stone minerality. It’s steely and taut on the palate despite 32 g/l of RS and shows vivid citrus, fresh-squeezed lime, lemon zest and it all balanced on a razor’s edge. Such incredible definition and freshness through the finish. Beautiful.’
Off-dry & Fruity

SANTA EMA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2016 (DO Leyda Valley, Chile)

542365    750 mL (XD)   Score 92   $16.95

James Suckling of  james suckling.com describes ‘ Some cooked apple with vanilla and lightly toasted almond character. Full-bodied, round and flavorful. Tangy finish. Generous chardonnay. Drink or hold.’
Full-bodied & Rich

GADAIS VIEILLES VIGNES MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2015
Sur lie, ( AC Loire, France)

444406       750 mL (XD)   Score 91    $17.95

TWLK:  This would make a great dinner wine over the holidays (or anytime).  It should go equally well with a holiday turkey meal or New Years seafood affair.

Roger Vos of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘This is impressively rich and ripe within the light, poised character of classic Muscadet. It balances floral apple and pear fruit with a tight, mineral texture that gives the wine a young character. The extended lees aging has added notes of almonds and spice to this ripe wine. Drink from 2017. Editors’ ‘
Aromatic & Flavourful

KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017
(WO Stellenbosch, South Africa)

231282    750 mL (XD)  Score 90   $17.95

James Suckling of  james suckling.com says ‘A pleasing white with lots of
character, from dried apples to peaches, following through to a medium body. A fruity and juicy finish. Drink now.

Full-bodied & Rich

FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2016 (VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ont, Canada)

286278  750 mL (XD)   Score 90   $19.95

David Lawrason of winealign.com says ‘This has a fine, well integrated nose of baked apple, vanilla/butterscotch, spice, wood smoke and some butteriness. It is medium bodied, a touch sweet and very smooth yet underpinned by fine Niagara acidity and a touch of minerality. The length is very good to excellent. ‘
Light & Crisp

 

Red Wines

SUBMISSION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016  (California, USA)
(689 Cellars)

628230    750 mL (D)   Score 89- 96   $17.00

Note :  Other reviews suggest this wine is styled to please the average consumer, scoring in the high  80’s.  At $17.00 it will at the very least be a pleasurable quaff if not and exemplary cabernet sauvignon.

Carolyn Evans Hammond of The Toronto Star says ‘You know those bottles that bring you to your knees? This is one of them. Backstory: One of the better wine agencies in Toronto, Halpern Enterprises, went to California to scout a $20 Cab that kills it – and they came back with this very serious find. With a crushed velvet mouth feel – all polished on top and plush underneath – this wine draws you in with flavours of ripe mixed berries, café latte, smoked plum, milk chocolate, toasted tobacco and vanilla cream. Elegant yet slightly brooding, this wine is a steal.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

UNÁNIME GRAN VINO TINTO 2014 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)
(Mascota Vineyards)

466938  750 mL (XD)   Score   93-95    $29.95

Ranked #52 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Best of Year 2017 with a score of 93 points and designated as an Editors’ Choice. (Michael Schachner Wine Enthusiast, Oct. 1, 2017)
Tim Atkin, MW of timatkin.com  notes: ‘ Who says Argentina is all about varietal wines? This delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with 25% Malbec and 15% Cabernet Franc, all of it from the southern end of the Uco  Valley, is savoury, complex, dense and made to last. Perfumed, elegant and refined, with a chalky flourish. Drink Date: 2018-28′.

Full-bodied & Firm

ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA ALTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
(DO Aconcagua Valley, Chile)

203364  750 mL (XD)  Score 94    $21.95

James Suckling of jamessuckling.com says ‘ An undeniably rich cabernet with
hint of chocolate. Still very youthful with real delicacy. Concentrated powdery dry tannins and a very long, fresh finish with some minerality. Drink or hold.’
Full-bodied & Firm

FEUDO MONTONI LAGNUSA NERO D’AVOLA 2015
(DOC Sicilia, Italy)

523738    750 mL (XD)   Score 94    $23.95

Antonio Galloni of vinous.com describes ‘Bright red-ruby. Perfumed nose of
violets and plum. Then silky tannins nicely frame the ripe, suave red and blue fruit flavors which showcase lovely inner-mouth perfume. Closes very long with outstanding delineation, delightful acid-fruit-tannin balance, and penetrating violet nuances. A knockout Vigna Lagnusa, one of the best vintages of this wine ever. Drinking window: 2017-2024.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

THE LANE VINEYARD BLOCK 5 SHIRAZ 2016
(Adelaide Hills, South Australia)

462515   750 mL (XD)   Score 93    $19.95

Gary Walsh of winefront.com.au says ‘Looking back over the last few
vintages, this Block 5 has been an excellent performer in the affordable cool climate Shiraz stakes. Cracked pepper, red and black fruits, meat and dried herb, a little aniseed perfume wafting in there too. Medium bodied, savoury and spicy, grainy tannin, even acidity, and a vibrant finish of excellent length, boysenberry and cracked black pepper in its wake. Sophistication and class at a very fair price. Drink: 2018-2026.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

WINES OF SUBSTANCE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016
(Columbia Valley, Washington, USA)

419770    750 mL (XD)    Score 93    $23.95

Jeb Dunnuck of jebdunnuck.com says ‘ … Aged 13 months in barrels, its vibrant purple color is followed by a terrific bouquet of blueberries, cassis, scorched earth, and spice. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and beautifully balanced, this is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s a no-brainer purchase. Just pretend you paid three times the price. Drink Date: 2018-2025.’
Full-bodied & Firm

CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2015 (AC Rhone, France)

040964     750 mL (XD)      Score 92      $19.95

Jeb Dunnuck of jebdunnuck.com says ‘The 2015 Costières de Nîmes Vieilles Vignes reminds me of a top Côtes du Rhône from the likes of Janasse with its currants, black raspberry, spice, and licorice aromas and flavors. Rich, weighty, layered and even sexy on the palate, it has classic Grenache character, loads of fruit and a great finish. It’s just another incredible wine – and value – from this estate.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

 

HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2016 
VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ont, Canada)

657874     750 mL (XD)     Score 92    $34.95

Rick VanSickle of wines inniagara.com describes ‘ … fantastic concentration of dark cherries, cassis, wild raspberry and currants with earthy/brambly notes, violets and elegant oak spices on the nose. It’s all about the integrated red and dark fruits, even at this early stage, that are juicy yet poised and polished and meld perfectly with the oak spices. It’s all delivered on a bed of silky smooth tannins through a long finish. Lovely Pinot that will be ready to rock when released.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

 

CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2016 (AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, Midi, France)

119354     750 mL (D)   Score 91     $17.00

Joe Czerwinski, robertparker.com says ‘From yields as low as 15 hectoliters per hectare (less than half of the maximum allowed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape), the 2016 Chimeres is 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, half aged in demi-muids, the other half in concrete tanks. The wine showcases red fruit (cherries and raspberries), which accent it with
dried spices and a hint of dark chocolate. It’s full-bodied and supple, with just the slightest suggestion of warmth on the finish. It’s another great value from proprietor winemaker Jean-Marc Lafage to drink over the next
few years. Drink Date: 2018-2021.’ )
Full-bodied & Smooth

Cellar Suggestions

CASTELLO DI MELETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015
(DOCG  Tuscany, Italy)

332114   750 mL (XD)    Score 92   $18.95

Bruce Sanderson of winespectator.com describes it as ‘Elegant and tense,  evoking rose, cherry, strawberry and spice flavors, with refined tannins holding court as this winds down on the finish. Shows fine harmony, but needs a few years to really hit its stride. Best from 2019 through 2027.
Smart Buys’.
Medium-bodied & Fruity

CHÂTEAU CÔNE-TAILLASSON SABOURIN 2015
(AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Blaye, France)

7624973   50 mL (XD)     Score 91      $17.95

Roger Voss of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘This ripe, juicy wine is already attractive and perfumed. Its tannins and wood-aging flavors give weight to its fruit. Spicy and full of black cherry and berry flavors, it’s bold and will be ready to
drink from 2019.’ Score: 91
Medium-bodied & Fruity

Good Bets

The wines highlighted below may not have been rated by critics but are wines that come from consistently high quality producers or regions that epitomize the characteristics of a certain varietal or style. In other words… good value wines that I would gravitate to without hesitation!

XAVIER VIGNON 100% CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015
(AP Rhone, France)

437079 750 mL (XD) $17.95

TWLK-  This wine scores from high 80s to 90 here. Xavier wines are consistently pleasing and reliable.  For the price you are guaranteed a pleasurable wine experience.

Joe Czerwinski ofrobertparker.com says ‘ … Black cherries are joined by more
savory notes of dark chocolate, leather and spice on the palate, which is full-bodied yet supported by softly dusty tannins. There’s just a trace of warmth
on the silky-textured finish. Enjoy this lush beauty’s ample charms over the next few years. Drink Date: 2017-2020.
Full-bodied & Smooth

CAVE DU CHÂTEAU DE CHÉNAS CRU CHÉNAS 2016
(AC Beaujolais, France)

559898   750 mL (XD) $18.95

TWLK:   Note that this one of 10 Cru designation in the Beaujolais region  and is known for making one of the heaviest styled beaujolais wines.

Vintages panel notes: Château de Chénas was built in 1821 by the De la Hante family on the former site of an old stronghold. Their 2016 Cru Chénas is floral
and elegant with cherry, raspberry, blackberry, anise and earthy notes. Sip with spiced ham and parsnip salad, or ham-and-cheese sandwiches.
Light-bodied & Fruity

LE GRAVILLAS SABLET CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2015
(AC Rhone, France)

TWLK-   This is a Chateauneuf du Pape ‘wannabe’ so if you want something reminiscent of a Chateauneuf du Pape at a fraction of the price…try this.

This wine won a Gold Medal at the 2016 Concours des Vins à Orange. Expect a big, robust wine overflowing with peppery-spiced dark fruit, and pair it with
burgers or steaks slathered in peppercorn gravy.
Full-bodied & Smooth
750 mL (D) $16.95
078790

 

The LCBO Vintages Release for Nov 10, 2018 follows the trend  toward pricey luxurious premium wines.  The next few editions of my wine picks might be the most important of the year as I suggest reasonably priced examples that may score well above 'branded' wines for a fraction of the cost.  Read on for lots of gift and holiday stock suggestions.

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