April 1 2023 LCBO Vintages Release -Wine Picks <$40

The April 1 2023 LCBO Vintages Release has some Sparkling and Rosé for Spring and a dozen 90+ wines under $20.


PONDVIEW GOLD SERIES VIDAL ICEWINE 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario Vintages #390351 $19.95. Note this is a 200 mL bottle, which is normal for ice wine because a little goes a long way. This gets a 93 from Natalie Maclean of nataliemaclean.com. Look for orange, peachy, honey notes and enjoy with either or charcuterie of dried apricots, nuts and blue cheese or after dinner with Burnt Basque cheesecake or dark chocolate. (Just make sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert). Drink now through 2030. (S – 231 g/L)

Sparkling Wines

L’ORMARINS BRUT ROSÉ CAP CLASSIQUE SPARKLING 2016 Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa Vintages # 28586 $25.95 This got a 96 from Platter’s South African Wine Guide, 2022. This is 70/30% Pinot Noir/Chardonnay mix so look for raspberry and citrus with a creamy mousse. It is rich from 2 years on the lees with good length. Enjoy with a Monte Cristo Sandwich or pastry appetizers or . (XD – 9 g/L)

SANT’ANNA EXTRA DRY PROSECCO , Italy Vintages #31462 $19.95 This one is scoring high 80s-90. Look is lively with red apple and hints of floral. Off-dry, enjoy with Italian Easter Pie or Strawberry Cream Cheese Bites.(XD – 17 g/L)


MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2021 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, ON Vintages #498535 $19.95. Although in theory you can drink rosé year round, my thoughts don’t go there until Easter time. This one Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com gives this a 93 and calls it ‘lip-smacking delicious from twist top to last drop.’ Lots of strawberry and red cherry notes with some tart rhubarb and citrus. If you are cooking a turkey or Cornish Hens for Easter this would be perfect with Orange Cranberry Pecan Dressing (XD – 2 g/L)

White Wines

GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER 2021 IGP Pays d’Oc, France Vintages #147975 $16.95. Natalie Maclean of nataliemaclean.com gives this a 90 and calls it amazing value at this price. Look for concentrated peach, tropical fruit with zesty citrus and ginger spice. Elegant and bright, enjoy with Chicken in Vinegar Sauce or Pork Chops in Mustard Caper Sauce. (XD – 2 g/L)

DOMAINE JACKY MARTEAU SAUVIGNON TOURAINE 2021 Loire, France Vintages #745349 $16.95. If you like the elegance of French Sauvignon Blanc without the Sancerre price tag- then this wine’s for you! It had skin contact on 60% of this wine, adding depth and intensity to it. Look for green herbal notes with zesty citrus. Try it with Poached Salmon With Dill Sauce. (XD – 4 g/L)

RADFORD DALE VINUM CHENIN BLANC 2021, WO Stellenbosch, South Africa Vintages #13338 $19.95 This is one of South Africa’s signature whites and it gets a 93 from Jamie Goode of wineanorak.com who describes it as ‘bright and citrussy’ with a real acid backgone (in a good way). Look for concentrated peach and pear with fresh minerality and mandarin and citrus peel on the finish. Enjoy with Salmon in Puff Pastry (XD – 2 g/L)

PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2020 Alsace, France Vintages #983395 $21.95 . This is scoring 89 according to Layla Schlack of Wine Enthusiast. If you are a fan of off dry then you will want to stock up on this one. She calls it fun and easy to drink with honeysuckle, pear and slightly sweet notes. Enjoy on its own or with Spicy Thai Noodle Salad . (D – 15 g/L)

LOIMER GRÜNER VELTLINER 2021, DAC Kamptal, Austria Vintages #142240 $24.95 Kamptal is steadily gaining recognition as a leading producer of concentrated Gruner Veltliner wines and 2021 was one of the best years on record. Look for great fruit purity with fresh acidity and fine balance. Also showing the characteristic spicy notes. Fans of Gruner should try this with Italian Milk Braised Pork With Fennel or Schnitzel. (XD – 2 g/L)

HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2019, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, ON Vintages #183491 $24.95. Ontario does a great job of Riesling with lots of tension and energy and this one fall in to that category in spades. Look for lime, green apple and hints of white peach to keep it from being austere. Sara d’Amato of winealign.com gives it a 91 and says it is ‘Exceptionally well-balanced with great length.’ add it is ‘barely off-dry’. Enjoy with Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Custard or Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Asparagus and Hazelnuts (M – 21 g/L)

EL ENEMIGO CHARDONNAY 2020, Mendoza, Argentina Vintages #482984 $27.95. This ranked # 5 on James Suckling’s Top Value Wines <$40 of 2022. He calls it ‘fantastic value’ and gives it a 96. Look for a creamy, round texture with ripe fruit, toasty pastry notes and biright acidity followed by a ‘delicious finish’. Enjoy with Lobster Bisque or Leftover Turkey in Puff Pastry with Marsala Gravy. (XD – 2 g/L)

LE CLOS JORDANNE JORDAN VILLAGE CHARDONNAY 2020, VQA Niagara Peninsula ON Vintages #20455 $29.95. Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com gives this a 92 and describes it as ‘a smart buy for quality at this price point’. A rich nose with saline, pear, apple and spicy freshness leads to a generous palate with dense stone fruits, citrus, well integrated spiced and a ‘finessed’, lengthy finish. Drink now thourh 2028 and enjoy with Herb Crusted Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce. (XD – 5 g/L

Red Wines

DOMAINE FOND CROZE LE SERRE DE LA GARDE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2020, Rhone, France Vintages #28545 $16.95 This Grenache/Syrah blend gets a 92 from Anna Lee C. Iijima, Wine Enthusiast notes candied violet and blueberry cordial on the nose with fresh pure, rasberry and blueberry on the palate. Mild tannins and a hint of minerality on the finish. Enjoy with Ribs With Spicy Blackberry Sauce.(XD – 3 g/L)

DOMAINE DE LA MADONE LE PERRÉON BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2021, Beaujolais, France Vintages #981175 $18.95. This gets a 91 from William Kelley of robertparker.com. Medium to full-bodied with red berries, citrus and spice on the nose along with hints of smoke. Expressive of its high altitude granite slopes with supple tannins and a saline finish. Enjoy with Red Wine Braised Beef. (XD – 2 g/L)

PERIQUITA RESERVA 2020 Vinho Regional Península de Setúbal, Portugal Vintages #488007 $18.95 Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast give this 90. Periquita is popular at any time and the Reserva version just amps up the pleasure. Look for dense dark fruit with a smoky aftertaste. (D – 10 g/L)

SISTER’S RUN EPIPHANY SHIRAZ 2020, McLaren Vale, South Australia Vintages #269464 $19.95 Sister’s Run is always a good bet for your money. This one gets a 94 from Sam Kim, wineorbit.co.nz who describes it as rich and aromatic on the nose and showing intense dark fruit, cedar and spice on the palate. Wonderful and powerful. Enjoy with Pistachio, Black Olive Crusted Beef Steak. (XD – 4 g/L)

MENGUANTE SELECCIÓN GARNACHA 2017 Cariñena, Spain Vintages #313833 $19.95 James Suckling gives this a 90 and describes ‘Impressive depth and some quite complex aromas of sweet, spiced fruit-bread, leading into plums and dark berries.’ Look for supple, rich tannins and a bright long, finish. Try it with charcuterie or Tomato Pesto Pizza. (XD – 2 g/L)

MURIEL RESERVA 2017 Rioja, Spain Vintages #276030 $19.95 Mike DeSimone of Wine Enthusiast gives this a 92 and desribes dark plums and forest floor. A spicy palate with notes of eucalyptus and clove accompanied by flavors of black currant, blackberry, cacao and tobacco leaf. Tannins are ‘tenacious’. This would go best with a robust meal like Beef Pot Roast. (XD – 2 g/L)

PENLEY PHOENIX CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Coonawarra, South Australia Vintages #639575 $19.95 MaryAnn Worobiec of winespectator.com gives this a 93 and describes it as a Smart Buy. Look for firm earthy notes along with cigar box spiciness, backed by a touch of Dutch cocoa powder. Thevelvety palate is showing spiced plum, cassis and kirsch flavors and a long finish. (XD – 3 g/L)

FEATHERSTONE RED TAIL MERLOT 2020 , VQA Niagara Peninsula, ON Vintages #131540 $19.95 Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com gives this a 92 and says ‘It’s hard not to get too excited about a Niagara red at this price point that is this good and will improve further with aging.’ Look for cherries, dark fruit and integrated spices over a ripe, complex, concentrated palate of red berries, cocoa and spice. Smooth with a long, vibrant finish. Drink now through 2027. Try it with Osso Buco. (XD – 3 g/L)

CHÂTEAU TANESSE 2018, Côtes de Bordeaux – Cadillac, France Vintages #666628 $21.95 Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast gives this a 92. He describes it as ‘ripe, wood-aged with rich toasty spicy notes, packed with dark berry flavours. Balanced fruit and bright acidity on the finish. This one deserves Chateaubriand! (XD – 2 g/L)

SOPHENIA KARMA MALBEC 2020, Valle de Uco, Mendoza Vintages #28085 $21.95 James Suckling gives this a 94 and describes notes of blueberry, blackberry and spice on the nose. Firm tannins and structure with a long, racy finish. Best enjoyed with food after 2024 to 2030. (XD – 2 g/L)

FIRRIATO SANTAGOSTINO BAGLIO SORÌA 2015, IGT Terre Siciliane, Italy Vintages #291369 $21.95 James Suckling gives this a 92. This is a blend of nero d’avola and syrah. He describes it as a full-bodied, meaty red with blackberries, and notes of pomegranate and candied orange. Velvety tannins create an ‘appealing texture’ and a long finish. This would pair nicely with Meatloaf with Italian Sausage. (XD – 3 g/L)

TARAPACÁ BIODIVERSITY EDITION ORGANIC GRAN RESERVA RED BLEND 2020,Valle del Maipo, Chile Vintages #28598 $22.95 James Suckling gives this a 93. This is a blend of 58% carmenere, 29% cabernet sauvignon, 11% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc. If you are curious about carmenere – this is a good place to start exploring. Look for aromas of ripe blackberries and black cherries with hints of tobacco, walnuts and spices, firm tannins with bright acidity. Juicy and polished texture, enjoy with Nutty Baked Mushrooms and lamb. (XD – 4 g/L)

CASTELLO DI RADDA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2019, Tuscany, Italy Vintages #16448 $23.95. This get 97 from decanter.com. Decanter notes call it a refined wine. Ripe Sangiovese provides silky finesse and the clay soil make for mouth-watering wines with vibrant sour cherry fruit, really crisp and well-shaped tannins. Sounds like a match for Crispy Duck with Cherry Port Sauce. (XD – 2 g/L)

THIRTY BENCH WINEMAKER’S BLEND RED 2020, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, ON Vintages #320986 $24.95 Rhys Pender, MW of winealign.com gives this a 92 and describes it as an elegant red ‘showing fresh notes of sage, dried herbs, plum, juicy red fruits, raspberry and some nice, complex, graphite minerality.’ (XD – 2 g/L)

RAPAURA SPRINGS PINOT NOIR 2020 Marlborough, South Island, NZ Vintages #156869 $24.95 Sam Kim gives this 91 and describes it as ‘charming and delightfully fragrant with ripe cherry, thyme, subtle spice and mushroom aromas’ Look for a beautifully rounded palate with fine polished tannins. Easy drinking – enjoy with Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette. (XD – 4 g/L)

DOMAINE BRUNELY VACQUEYRAS 2020 Vacqueyras, France Vintages #20629 $25.95 I haven’t seen a Vacqueyras under $28 for years so I double checked this price, especially in light of rising wine prices in general. The Chateauneuf du Pape style blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre has splashes of Cinsault and Carignan. Aged in concrete to preserve the fruit and floral, look for juicy red berries, rose notes and a hint of spice. Tannins are ‘palate-puckering’ so plan to hold for a while or enjoy with rich food such as Classic French Short Ribs. (XD – 3 g/L)

April 1  2023 LCBO Vintages Release -Wine Picks <$40April 1  2023 LCBO Vintages Release -Wine Picks <$40

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