The April 15 2023 LCBO Vintages Release is heavy on the red wine spectrum for value this release.
Having said that there a couple of summer-ready wines you may want to be sure you have on hand as well.
Warre’s Warrior Finest Reserve Port Portugal $23.95 VINTAGES#: 197202 This is a non-vintage Reserve that is a straightforward, fruity style. Full-bodied and rich with lots of red and black fruit, chocolate and coffee notes. Drink now through 2024 with charcuterie.
Winner of the cheap and cheerful category this release is Curvos Loureiro 2022 Vinho Verde, Portugal $14.95 VINTAGES#: 471284 A crisp, clean and lively wine in true Vihno Verde style, this is a refreshing citrusy summer sipper. Enjoy with Swedish shrimp salad or calamari.
Joseph Cattin Gewurztraminer 2021 Alsace, France $18.95 VINTAGES#: 224626 This won Gold at Palmarès du Concours Général Agricole, 2022. This is firmly in the off-dry category with 18 grams residual sugar per Liter. Look for a balanced and focused wine showing honeydew melon, lychee, rose petal and a delicate touch of spice. Lively acidity with undertones of minerality sound like classic Alsace. This would be fun to sip in the sun with cream cheese sandwiches or Asian food.
Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Marlborough, NZ $20.95 VINTAGES#: 919514 Wither Hills is a perennial favourite. A classic Marlborough SB it is racy and expressive with tangy apple and lime notes and the signature Marlborough herbaceousness. Enjoy with flavoured cheeses or Seafood salad.
Pieropan Soave Classico 2020 Veneto, Italy $21.95 VINTAGES#: 946848 This gets a 94 from Kerin O’Keefe of Wine Enthusiast who describes it as ‘incredible value’. Look for a dry, delicious palate with bright acidity, white peach, grapefruit and a saline note. Enjoy with Pork Scaloppini with Prosciutto, Sage and Caramelized Lemon.
I have a soft spot for Alentejo wines and Trinca Bolotas in particular so I am looking forward to Herdade Peso Trinca Bolotas Tinto 2020 Alentejo, Portugal $16.95 VINTAGES#: 431064. Variations of this were my house red in the Azores! Look for juicy, black fruit with delicate spice and tannins. Oh soooo drinkable….. Enjoy with pizza or Pork Osso Buco.
Marynissen Cabernet Franc 2020 Niagara Peninsula On Canada $18.95 VINTAGES#: 23973 This gets a 91 from Sara d’Amato of winealign.com who describes a ‘ peppery cabernet franc (that) features a solid core of acidity and tannin.’ Cab Franc is one of the up and coming stars of Niagara region so this is your chance to try a great example. Look for plum and tart cherry and a bit of herbality on the very good length finish. Enjoy with ribs or Brisket with Leeks and Onion.
Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Mendoza, Argentina $21.95 VINTAGES#: 568865 This gets a 93 from James Suckling who describes aromas of black and blue fruits, dark cherries, chocolate and toasted spices and bay leaves. Tannins are velvety, the palate is round with a core of dark fruit and there is chocolate and mint on the finish. If that one is not available Mi Terruno Reserve Malbec 2018 $19.95 VINTAGES#: 28077 (Score 92 from James Suckling) is another good bet with similar characteristics.
Bisquertt Family Vineyards Crazy Rows Carignan 2020 Valle del Maule, Chile $16.95 VINTAGES#: 30217. This gets a 97 from Decanter World Wine Awards (which means it is high scoring against other Carignans in this price range). This got a Best in Show for Value Wines. At this price you can explore with very little to lose. Carignan (Cariñena) is more associated with Spain but Chile has produced a deep concentrated example with fruity, herbal aromas and a charming, approachable palate. Plan to enjoy with grilled vegetables or Basil Pesto Pizza.
3 Rings Shiraz 2020 Barossa Valley, Australia $17.95 VINTAGES#: 15495 Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com gives this a 93 and describes it as Exceptional Value. He describes black raspberry and black currant on the nose and palate; juicy and lively with savoury herbs and spices. Good structure, balance with a decent finish. The ‘laser-like line of tang and pizzazz’ he describes suggests enjoying with food like ribs or osso buco. If that is not available look for Robert Oatley Signature Series Shiraz 2019 McLaren Vale, Australia $20.95 VINTAGES#: 327387, also showing dark ripe fruit and cigar box spices. Enjoy either with Tuscan Ribs With Balsamic Glaze.
Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Margaret River, Western Australia $24.95 VINTAGES#: 489906. Margaret River is perhaps best know for its Bordeaux style blends and this one is said to be punching above its weight. According to Angus Hughson of winepilot.com look for a palate that ‘has genuine impact thanks to juicy acidity, ripe dark fruits and dried herb flavours with just enough sinewy tannins and French oak to bring it all together into an elegant package, topped off by an extended finish.’ Enjoy with Marinated steak or roast beef.
Bel Echo Pinot Noir 2018 Marlborough, NZ $29.95 VINTAGES#: 159137 Sara d’Amato of winealign.com gives this a 92 and describes is as notably complex with elegant, well defined notes of clay, cherry, toast, and smoky plum. Well integrated with blance and poise. Calling out for spring lamb here!
Clos Bel-Air 2016 Montange-Saint-Emilion, France $23.95 VINTAGES#: 633040 David Lawrason of winealign.com gives this Merlot dominant Bordeaux blend a 90. He describes plum and blackberry notes with chocolaty oak and cedary spice. Medium-bodied with fairly plush fruit and firm tannins. Plan to enjoy with Boursin, Beet and Butternut Squash Tart .
In the mood for a GSM? Look no further than André Brunel Cuvée Sabrine Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2019 Rhone, France $18.95 VINTAGES#: 538496. Rod Phillips gives this a 92 and describes ‘robust flavours perfectly balanced with clean acidity.’ Aged in concrete vats, it maintains its flavour intensity. Enjoy with Venetian Duck Ragu.
Elle de Landaluce Rioja Alavesa 2019 Rioja, Spain $25.95 VINTAGES#: 30202 This gets a 91 from David Lawrason of winealign.com who describes Generous strawberry/cherry notes with cedar and vanilla. Medium weight and fruity with noticeable tannins and very good length. Plan to enjoy with tapas.