Well – a big thank you to the LCBO for offering a wide variety of value priced wines to soothe our pocketbooks after the holiday season! There are plenty of good value wines in this release with special features on Argentina and Portugal. I didn’t pick any Portugal wines specifically. There are a number of them in the release in the $13-$15 range. Any one of them would make an easy everyday sipper. There are, however, a few very interesting ‘gems’ from Italy that I feel need special mention.
Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (New Zealand)
465989 Score 93 $18.95
Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz describes this as ‘richly fruited and intensely flavoured…a fabulously good drinking sauvignon filled with passionfriut, peach and feijoa characters with a hint of herbaceous lift…finishing superbly long and juicy’.
Spy Valley Chardonnay 2014 (New Zealand)
057737 Score 91 $22.95
Bob Campbell of bobcampbell.nz describes this as a ‘crisp, tangy chardonnay with apple, white peach and tinned pineapple flavours plus a seasoning of toasted nut and bran biscuit characters. A fruit-focused wine in a subtle, elelgant style.’
Loosen Bros, Dr. L Riesling 2015 (Germany)
I have never had a Loosen wine that I didn’t like and they usually cost half this much again. This one is described by S. Irene Virbila of latimes.com as ‘a great buy..slightly sweet, it has the tartness and minerality so characteristic of wines from steep Mosel vineyards.’ Think Chinese New Year’s wine…
In order of intrigue…
Corte Medicea Athos 2014 (Italy- Tuscany)
475996 Score 99 $29.95
You read that score right…99. Luca Maroni is a highly regarded Italian wine writer, taster, critic etc. The notes say he scored this wine 99 but did not provide accompanying notes. This is a Super Tuscan – wines that were introduced 40 years ago by innovative wine makers that did not want to be bound by the geographic or vintification regulations of the Chianti or other DOC regions. They needed to distinguish themselves from the lower quality ‘vina da tavola’ and the term Super Tuscan was born. They had a huge impact among wine lovers and often retail north of $100. So.. this one looks very intriguing. Vintage panel describes it as full bodied and firm with intense notes of cherry, plum, black prunes and oak, in a structured and balanced package that wows at every turn. I’ll take two!
Banfi Rosso di Montalcino 2014 (Italy)
The appeal for this one is that it is to Brunello what Ripasso is to Amarone – the poor man’s version! I read good value into that. Vintage notes call it Medium bodied and fruity.
La Pieve Barolo 2012
213132 Score 91 $34.95
This is an entry level price for Barolos so it is nice to see it rated highly. Natalie Maclean describes it as a ‘full-bodied red offering enticing aromas of bitter dark fruit, tar, toast and spice. The tannins are huge with plenty of fruit to balance. Black cherry resistance and some dark spices.’ This is a BIG wine…probably best enjoyed with food.
Zuccardi Q Malbec 2013 (Argentina- Uco Valley)
723478 Score 91 $19.95
Luis Gutierrez of roberteparker.com says there are ‘plenty of aromas of violets and blueberries with some aromatic herbs, all fruit…a lively palate with good acidity. This is really tasty with a fine, chalky tannin and just plain great.’ To me… the Uco Vally provenance is the seal of approval.
Casa de Cambres Reserva Red 2009 (Portugal)
470377 Score 90 $13.95
This is a blend of classic Portuguese grapes. Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘this is structured with a dry core and big black fruits that will soften and come together. Drink this solid, ripe wine from 2017.
Jean-Max Roger Cuvée C.M. Sancerre Blanc 2014 (France)
196667 Score 93 $27.95
Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘this is an amalgam of ripe fruit and tense mineral texture. Together these two styles give a complex, impressive wine that has great concentration as well as aging potential. Drink from 2018. Editors’ Choice’.