The Aug 19 2023 LCBO Vintages Release has something for everyone and a Gran Reserva 'masterpiece' under $20.
LABOURÉ-GONTARD BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE Burgundy, France Vintages #401018 $21.95 This is scoring low 90s. Tasting notes suggest it is balanced and refreshing with peach, apple and bread-y notes. Look for a long, nutty finish and enjoy with
Salmon in Puff Pastry. (D - 10 g/L)
ÉMILIE LAURANCE BRUT CRÉMANT DE LOIRE Loire, France Vintages # 30237 $21.95 Score - 92 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021. 62% Chenin Blanc, 19% Chardonnay, 14% Cabernet Franc. Look for light floral aromas, ripe fruit and hints of crushed rock. Soft and bright with almonds and light spice. Sip on its own or savour with tea sandwiches.
(D - 12 g/L)
GIUSTI BRUT ASOLO PROSECCO SUPERIORE Veneto, Italy Vintages # 16555 $19.95 James Suckling gives this a 90 and describes ripe autumnal fruits with persistent mousse, gentle acidity and an attractive delicacy. Very dry, tight and savoury... 'very good drinking'! Enjoy with Balsamic Pear Tartlets. (D - 6 g/L)
MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2022 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, ON Canada, Vintages # 498535 $19.95 This is a fan favourite year after year. It scored 90 at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada. Elegant and refined, look for citrus, strawberry, and hints of minerality. Enjoy with Almond Poached Chicken Salad With Champagne Vinegar Aioli. (XD - 2 g/L)
CARTE NOIRE HÉRITAGE ROSÉ Côtes de Provence, France Vintages #319384 $19.95 A popular blend of Grenache and Cinsault , look an attractive floral aroma, redcurrant fruit, fresh grass and Provençal garrigue tones. Dry and elelgant with a long finish. Pair with Tarragon Cured Salmon. (XD - 2 g/L) 750mL
LOCUST LANE BARREL SELECT CHARDONNAY 2018 Niagara Peninsula, ON Canada Vintages #33185 $15.95 By all accounts this is a well crafted, lightly oaked Chardonnay. Look for creamy pear, apple and vanilla with a respectable finish. Enjoy on its own or with grilled chicken. (XD - 0 g/L)
WILLIAM HILL CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY 2021 California, USA Vintages #288555
$ 19.95 James Suckling gives this a 90 and describes a rich, medium bodied Chardonnay with buttered brioche, fruity cooked apple and hints of lemon. (XD - 5 g/L)
OTU MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Marlborough, South Island, NZ Vintages #17549 $19.95 Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 94 and describes it as 'superbly fruited and aromatic'. Look for notes of passionfruit, kiwifruit, lime zest leading to a succulent palate with excellent concentration and persistency. Enjoy with Seafood Risotto. (XD - 5 g/L)
MUGA BARREL FERMENTED WHITE 2021 Rioja, Spain Vintages #958736 $19.95
A white Rioja can be a thing of beauty! James Suckling gives this a 92. Look for lemon and
white grapefruit with some 'beautiful' salty minerality. Fresh with a 'vivid' finish. Enjoy with Chilled Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo). (XD - 2 g/L)
CHARLES BAKER B-SIDE RIESLING 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula ON Canada Vintages # 523845 $24.95 This is scoring low 90s consistently among critics. It is a classic, complex Riesling with pear, lemon, minerality. Zesty acidity with a long, dry finish. This is probably best enoyed with food such as Vermouth Seared Scallops on Fennel. (D - 13 g/L)
Your cheap and cheerful choices this release are:
CABRIZ COLHEITA SELECIONADA 2020 DOC Dão, Portugal Vintages #247973 $14.95
This wine is a blend of 40% Alfrocheiro, 40% Aragonez and 20% Touriga Nacional. Fruit-forward, ripe and bold. The oak adds intersting spice and toasty notes. Enjoy with burgers or pizza. (D - 7 g/L)
D'ARENBERG THE STUMP JUMP GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVÈDRE 2019 McLaren Vale, South Australia Vintages # 173294 $17.95. Look for raspberry and cherry with some earthy, herbal notes. Enjoy with The Ooh-la-la Burger. (XD - 3 g/L) $17.95
CHÂTEAU BELAIR-COUBET 2019 Côtes de Bourg, France Vintages # 30138 $19.95
This is scoring 90 consistently. From 40 year old vines look for rich red and black fruit, 'forest floor, oak spice and earth atop great structure and broad tannins.' (XD - 2 g/L)
SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES GRENACHE/SYRAH/CARIGNAN 2020 Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France Vintages # 119354 $19.95. Saint -Roch is always good value. This gets a 92 from James Suckling. Loof for plum, spice, licorice and chocolate on the nose. Lots of ripe fruit on the palate with polished, velvety tannins.(XD - 3 g/L)
There are 3 Malbecs on offer this release scoring 90+ for under $20. Any one of them is a good bet.
INFINITO WINEMAKER'S SELECTION MALBEC 2018, Vintages #10971 $16.95 gets 92 from Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast. Reviews speak of 'massive' blackberry and cassis on the nose. Red fruit on the palate with firm acidity and noticeable tannins. Plan to enjoy with charcuterie or burgers. (XD - 3 g/L)
For a few dollars more consider WAPISA MALBEC 2020 Vintages #631879 $19.95 James Suckling gives this a 95. It is scoring consistently mid 90s. Look for a mixture of red, blue and black fruit with some herbal notes. Full bodied with velvety tannins and a chocolate seam. 'Juicy and delicious' with a long, rich finish. Enjoy with Back Ribs with Bourbon Rhubarb BBQ Sauce. (XD - 3 g/L)
DOMAINE LES GRANDS BOIS CUVÉE PHILIPPINE SAINTE-CÉCILE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2021 'France Vintages #86344 $22.95. This is a Châteauneuf-du-Pape wannabe at a significantly lower price. All critics agree it is powerful with concentrated fruit, dried herbs, and black pepper spice. Enjoy with Steak with Peppercorn Sauce. Score - Gold (Concours Général Paris, 2022) (XD - 3 g/L)
THE LANE SHIRAZ 2020 Adelaide Hills, South Australia Vintages #462515 $22.95 James Halliday of winecompanion.com.au gives this a 95 and calls it Special Value. He confirms the label description of 'Aromas of forest fruits and clove followed by flavours of plum, black pepper and charcuterie with a silky texture and fine tannins' to be spot on. (XD - 2 g/L)
CHAPEL HILL THE PARSON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2021 McLaren Vale, South Australia Vintages #446716 $22.95 This spicy cab gets a 92 from James Suckling. Look for paprika, black currant and some herbal notes. The palate is juicy and balanced with silky tannins. (XD - 3 g/L).
If that is not available CHÂTEAU TANUNDA GRAND BAROSSA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2021 Barossa, South Australia Vintages #357517 $24.95 is also a good bet with blackberry and violet aromas and a firm, fleshy palate. Enjoy now through 2035.
UNDERWOOD PINOT NOIR 2021 Oregon, USA Vintages # 421198 $23.95 This Oregon Pinot is being touted as great value. It scored 90 from Michael Alberty of Wine Enthusiast. Look for raspberry and a hint of dried herbs on the nose. The palate is crisp with balanced acid and tannins, and is showing some jammy strawberry, beeswax and chocolate. (XD - 2 g/L) .
If you are in the mood for a classic NZ Pinot Noir consider MUD HOUSE PINOT NOIR 2020 Central Otago, South Island Vintages #12630 $24.95. Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives it 93 and describes dark plum violet and nutty aromas. A hint of mushroom on top of a supple, silky palate. Food fruit intensity and 'fabulously drinkable'. (XD - 6 g/L)
TRASQUA FANATICO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 Tuscany, Italy Vintages #283861 $25.95 James Suckling gives this 93 and describes aromas of plums, currants, dried blueberries, walnuts and licorice Medium-bodied with firm tannins. Structured, polished and delicious. Enjoy with Pasta alla Zozzona . XD - 3 g/L)
Spain has 3 wines this release for notable value.
PUELLES RESERVA 2014 DOCa Rioja, Spain Vintages #10720 $19.95. This is scoring low 90s and seems to have wide appeal. Look for aromas of graphite, leather and earthy dried fig. The palate is showing dark cherry, blackberry and some herbal peppery note. The finish is the long and chalky and delicious. Plan to enjoy with tapas or charcuterie. (XD - 2 g/L)
There are also 2 highly rated Gran Reservas for great value.
OLARRA CLÁSICO GRAN RESERVA 2015 Rioja, Vintages # 30225 $19.95 Score - 95 International Wine Challenge, 2021, Gran Reserva Trophy winner. Look for 'intense' mocha, leather spice and cassis with pronounced oak and vanilla on the palate. Tannins are fine; Competition notes call if a 'masterpiece'. (XD - 3 g/L) And all that for under $20!!
PUELLES GRAN RESERVA 2008 Rioja, Vintages #30222 $26.95. This is scoring low to mid 90s among critics who are impressed with its silky, balance and fully incorporated tannins. Fruit is subtle but 'holding' even after 14 years! Rod Phillips gives it 96 and calls it 'an astonishingly attractive and impressive blend'. Plan to enjoy with food over the next couple of years. (XD - 3 g/L)
SAN PEDRO 1865 TAYÚ PINOT NOIR 2020 DO Valle del Malleco, Chile Vintages # 16628 $23.95 The third vintage of this cooperative project is generating excited commentary from various respected critics. It gets low to mid 90 scores with a high of 95 coming in from Patricio Tapia of guiadescorchados.cl. Look for ripe fruit (cherry) with some earthy forest floor and spicy notes adding interest. Tannins are under control. Serve lightly chilled. This appears to be a robustPinot version so plan to enjoy now through 2028 with food such as Montreal Spice Marinated Lamb Chops. (XD - 2 g/L)
EL ENEMIGO SYRAH/VIOGNIER 2019 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina, Vintages #19390 $28.95 El Enimigo is showing up as a consistent winner in many of the world's prestigious wine competitions. This one is scoring mid 90s consistently among critics. A hint of Viognier adds some brightness to the Syrah. Look for violets and plum on the nose. The palate is silky and fruity with very fine tannins. According to Joaquín Hidalgo of vinous.com it 'delivers'. He gave it a 95 score and suggest drink now or through 2035. Enjoy with Balsamic Marinated Sirloin Steak. (XD - 3 g/L)