The Dec 3 2022 LCBO Vintages Release is dominated by good value red wines with a couple of good premium choices.
The Sparkling Wines are up in the stratosphere this release as we get closer to the holiday season but there is a very good selection of good value reds, particularly from France. On the premium end, yet affordable is a Super Tuscan and a high scoring Ontario Pinot Noir.
Burmester 10-Year-Old Tawny Port Portugal $29.95 VINTAGES#: 223958 This gets a 95 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2019. Not sure what to do with Port? Check out all you need to know about buying and serving Port here.
Louis Bouillot Perle d’Or Brut Crémant de Bourgogne 2012 Burgundy, France $27.95 VINTAGES#: 51565 This gets a 92 and high praise from Anne Krebiehl of Wine Enthusiast. Look for citrus and ginger bread. Fresh and rich with a long finish. Enjoy with holiday appetizers or Roast Turkey With Fig, Balsamic, Orange Glaze.
Cave du Roi Dagobert Racines et Terroirs Riesling 2019 Alsace, France $18.95 VINTAGES#: 15383 Anne Krebiehl of Wine Enthusias gives this a 90 and describes fresh lemon, green apple and mandarin. Spritzy and lively on the palate it is light and and lemony with a ‘refreshing dry finish’.
Two Sauvignon Blancs from Chile that merit some attention.
Casas del Bosque La Cantera Botanic Series Sauvignon Blanc 2021 $19.95 VINTAGES#: 28583 (score 92 from Joaquín Hidalgo, vinous.com) has lime and passion fruit on the nose with some herbalness. ‘Expressive but delicate’ with a long citrus finish. Montes Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2021 $15.95 VINTAGES#: 32060 (score 91 from Patricio Tapias of guiadescorchados.cl) is fresh and crisp with ctirus and herbal notes as well. Enjoy with seafood or a plate of calamari.
Maria Papoila Loureiro/Alvarinho 2021 Vinho Verde, Portugal $17.95 VINTAGES#: 408146. This gets a 90 from David Lawrason of winealign.com who calls it ‘huge value’ and a ‘serious Vinho Verde. So more gravitas than the light and lively summer sipper you may think of initially. It is still light-bodied and lively but has some complexity in the form of apple, lemon and peach notes with good acidity and minerality and a long finish. If you have seafood on your holiday menu this would be a great pairing. Check out Company’s Coming Seafood Pie or Lobster Seafood Chowder.
Westcott Estate Chardonnay 2020 Niagara Escarpment, Ontario $29.95 VINTAGES#: 424507. This gets a 92 from Janet Dorozynski of winealign.com. It also won Gold at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada. Look for apple, vanilla and toast on the nose. The palate is concentrated and complex with pear and a floral finish.
Château Courac 2019 Rhone France $16.95 VINTAGES#: 25109 I am going to put this in the ‘cheap and cheerful’ category. It got a 91 from Decanter World Wine Awards which means it scores very well for wines in this price range. It is hard to go wrong with a Grenache/Syrah/Carignan Rhone blend though. Tasting notes indicate very ripe black berry and black current with a hint of violet and a ‘luxurious textural element to the palate’. Enjoy with burgers, pizza, spaghettie or roast beef.
Two Bordeaux worth a look this release.
Château Recougne 2019 $16.95 VINTAGES#: 368167 gets a 91 from Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast who calls it a rich, generous wine. Fully integrated tannins with ripe structure and black plum fruit and hints of smoke. Château Hauchat 2019 $18.95 VINTAGES#: 123489 is back in this release. Sara d’Amato of winealign.com gives it a 90 and calls it ‘impressive value’. Abundant red and black fruit, flint, light oak- all well integrated make it a ‘polished’ and refreshing pour. Take your pick – burgers, roast of steak!
Kaiken Indómito Malbec 2019 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina $18.95 VINTAGES#: 24879 Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021 scored this a 96. Look for violets and roses on the nose with dark fruit and spice. Fresh, juicy and elegant. This might be the best value in this whole release…
Crasto 2019 Douro, Portugal $18.95 VINTAGES#: 81588 I stocked up on this last time it appeared and I will again! It gets a 90 from Mark Squires of robertparker.com who calls it ‘Simple gorgeous’ and ‘understated and impeccably balanced’. Look for concentrated fruit and a mouthwatering flavourful finish. Enjoy now through 2030. See? I told you to stock up!!
Château de Ségure Vieilles Vignes Fitou 2020 Midi, France $19.95 VINTAGES#: 370254 I have to admit I have a soft spot for the wines of Fitou. This one won Gold Berliner Wein Trophy, 2022. A Carignan, Grenache, Syrah blend with dark fruit and spicy herbal notes. Go regional and enjoy this with a delicious Cassoulet!
Knappstein Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 $19.95 VINTAGES#: 23905 South Australia, Australia James Suckling gives this a 93 and describes bright cassis, dark cherries with some leafy notes along with a complete and polished palate.
Château de Nages Heritage Costières de Nîmes 2020 Rhone France $20.95 VINTAGES#: 40964 Another easy-drinking GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blend with ‘rocking levels of black and blue fruit’ and some floral notes according to Jeb Dunnuck who score it 92-94.
Another Old World Syrah – François Villard L’appel des Sereines Syrah 2019 France $20.95 VINTAGES#: 12978 James Molesworth of winespectator.com gives this a 91 and describes a violet nose and a fresh stream of black cherry ‘flecked with white pepper and savory notes’.
Errázuriz Syrah 2018 Aconcagua Valley, Chile $21.95 LCBO#: 387910 gets a 95 from jamessuckling.com who describes it as ‘complex and intriguing’ with a nose of blackberries, black pepper, tar and grilled meat. Full-bodied, tight with a delicious finish. Enjoy with Spicy Black Pepper Beef.
El Enemigo Syrah/Viognier 2018 Mendoza, Argentina Joaquín Hidalgo of vinous.com gives this a 94 and describes Old World style dark fruit, spice and pepper with some smoky notes. Full of flavour with a bit of chalky texture. He says it is ‘surprisingly rewarding’.
Klinker Brick Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Lodi, California $27.95 VINTAGES#: 575464. This gets a 90 from Wine Enthusiast who describe ‘gorgeous ripe fruit’ and velvety texture. Look for plum, black cherry, chocolate and vanilla flavours.
Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato 2020 Bolgheri, Italy $29.95 VINTAGES#: 674135 from the home of the Super Tuscans, this Bordeaux style blend (Cab/Merlot/Syrah) is scoring consistently in the 93 range among various dcitics. Look for concentrated fruit, rich texture, toasted spice and some mineral notes. Enjoy with Classic French Short Ribs.
Seghesio Zinfandel 2020 Sonoma County, California $29.95 VINTAGES#: 942151. Zin fans are in for a treat here. John Szabo of winealign.com gives this a 91, calling it robust and well balanced. Lots of dark fruit and gentle oak spice. Serve with Steak with Peppercorn Sauce.
Westcott Estate Pinot Noir 2018 Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $31.95 VINTAGES#: 427500
Michael Godel of winelalign.cm gives this a 91 and describes it as having ‘markedly Bourguignons effect’. Aromatics include tar, roses, tea and forest notes. Well balanced, harmonious and ‘enticing’. This would be perfect for Beef Bourguignon.