The Dec 17 2022 LCBO Vintages Release is dominated by good value red wines with a couple of good Sparkling choices as well.
The Holiday release is full of ‘super’ premium wines (read expensive!) but there is still something for everyone. A few good Sparkling choices, a variety in the white category and quite a few good value reds.
ANDREA BIASIOTTO EXTRA DRY MILLESIMATO PROSECCO 2021 Italy $18.95 Vintages #: 516559 This is scoring low 90s for every vintage. Look for ‘peach, apple, tropical, and snappy citrus notes.’ Well-made, mouth-watering, and a great deal of fun. (D – 11 g/L) Sip on its own or with appetizers.
CYGNUS SADOR ORGANIC BRUT NATURE CAVA Penedès, Spain $20.95 Vintages #: 352856 This gets a 91 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021
Look for ‘intense pineapple and white currant nose, very energetic mousse and some pear, peach and toasty flavours. Long, yeasty finish”. (XD – 4 g/L)
WOLFBERGER BRUT CRÉMANT D’ALSACE Alsace, France $22.95 Vintages #: 460832
Traditional method, it is lively, aromatic and approachable. Look for apple, pear, citrus, light bread notes and a creamy texture. This could go with appetizers or take you through your entire meal. (D – 11 g/L)
OYSTER BAY SPARKLING CUVÉE ROSÉ New Zealand $24.95 Vintages #: 280172 Charmat method, this bubbly scored 90 in the International Wine Challenge, 2021. Look for wild strawberries and cream with a lively mousse and a lifted finish. (D – 8 g/L)
PELEE ISLAND EMPRESS SPARKLING 2019 Ontario, Canada $29.95 Vintages #30671 This won Silver Medal winner at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada. It is a tad more expensive than I would like to pay for a Silver Medal winner. Chardonnay and with five per cent Pinot Noir, it has acidity to balance a hint of sweetness. Light and crisp with orchard apples, lemon and some toasty bread notes.
FOGOLAR HUGHES VINEYARD RIESLING 2019 Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $19.95 Vintages #: 30664 Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com gives this a 91 and says ‘Fermentation was stopped at 26 g/l of RS with only 9% abv. This is much more primary fruit laden with riper notes of peach, apple, citrus, nectarine and ginger. It’s juicy on the palate with sweet peach, Mandarin orange, ripe apple, lemon, ginger and nicely
balanced between sweet and tart fruit. ” So this is medium sweet. Enjoy with shrimp or scallops or sip on its own.
AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 Marlborough, South Island New Zealand $21.95 Vintages #: 663286 This gets a 95 from Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz. He describes passionfruit, kiwifruit, feijoa and kaffir lime on the nose and a concentrated palate delivering terrific fruit purity and persistency. (XD – 3 g/L)
MATAWHERO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 Gisborne, North Island New Zealand $21.95 Vintages #: 422428 This gets a 94 from camdouglasms.com. Look for aromas of fresh gooseberry and peach, plenty of citrus then crisp apple and fresh herbs. ‘Vibrant and very expressive on the palate with flavours of citrus and stone fruits, herbs and silty dry stone soils.’ Great balance and structure make this one a real winner. (D – 9 g/L)
JEAN-MARC BROCARD SAINTE CLAIRE CHABLIS 2020 Burgundy, France $28.95 Vintages # 356634. On the premium spectrum, this gets 91 from Anna Lee C. Iijima of Wine Enthusiast. She describes a smoky, flinty nose with some subdued fruit followed by a fresh palate with cutting lime and lemon. A ‘long, delightfully chalky finish’ rounds it out. 30 year old vines, organic viticulture techniques all add to the elegance. Enjoy now through 2027. (XD – 2 g/L)
TENUTA FRATELLI POVERO TERRE DEL CONTE ROERO ARNEIS 2021 Piedmont, Italy $17.95 Vintages #: 436915 This gets 91 from David Lawrason of winealign.com. He describes notes of lime leaf and green banana and mint on a fresh palate. Light to medium bodied with excellent length. Enjoy this with Scallops with Fennel Cream Sauce. (XD – 4 g/L)
MORGADO DE SILGUEIROS VINHO TINTO 2019 Dão, Portugal $12.95 Vintages #: 166439 Leave it to Portugal to give our wallets some relief. Check out this ripe, silky blend with dark fruit and herbs. Vintages notes call it a ‘real delight’.(D – 4 g/L)
LA POSTA PIZZELLA FAMILY MALBEC 2021 Mendoza, Argentina $17.95 Vintages #: 166298 A classic Malbec with blueberries, cherries and walnuts. Medium bodied with firm tannins and good tension and focus. James Suckling gives it a 93. (XD – 3 g/L)
CLAYMORE LONDON CALLING CABERNET/MALBEC 2019 Clare Valley, South Australia $19.95 Vintages #: 522110 This got a 95 from International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2021 . Vintages notes call it complex with clean black fruit, coffee and chocolate undertones. An overall ‘excellent’ wine. (XD – 2 g/L)
SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES GRENACHE/SYRAH/CARIGNAN 2019
Midi, France $19.95 Vintages #: 119354 This gets a 93 from Decanter Panel who describe rich, ripe fruit, a weighty appealing texture that is fresh and has a persistent, spicy finish. (XD – 4 g/L)
EMILIANA SALVAJE SYRAH/ROUSSANNE 2021 Valle Casablanca, Chile $19.95 Vintages #: 19246 This gets a 93 from James Suckling who calls it ‘delicious’ and ‘super-drinkable’. Look for floral red notes, blueberries, spice and some tropical fruit. (XD – 2 g/L)
HALOS DE JUPITER CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2020 Rhône, France $19.95 Vintages #: 276956 Another Grenache dominant blend, look for blue fruit, violets and pepper with ripe tannins and a pure vibrant style. 90-92 score from Jeb Dunnuck. (XD – 5 g/L)
SISTER’S RUN CALVARY HILL SHIRAZ 2019 Barossa Valley, South Australia $19.95 Vintages #: 222018 Sister’s Run is always good value. Look for ginger, ripe red and dark plum fruit with chocolate notes. Dave Brookes of winecompanion.com.au gives it a 91 calling it Special Value. A fruity ‘exhuberant’ palate has spice, earth and oak notes. (XD – 5 g/L)
MASSERIA BORGO DEI TRULLI PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2020 Puglia, Italy $19.95 Vintages #: 26259 From low-yielding vines 25-35 years old. Look for dark, rich blackberry and currants with some savoury notes. Great with beef, turkey or charcuterie. (D – 11 g/L)
FONTANAFREDDA LANGHE NEBBIOLO 2020 Piedmont, Italy $20.95 Vintages #: 638312 From the same grape as Barolo this is grown in lime-stone rich vineyards and matured in oak for eight months. It’s solidly structured, balanced and quite elegant, with plenty of tangy red fruit character. Serve with Spaghetti Bolognese. (XD – 2 g/L)
MATCHBOOK ESTATE BOTTLED RED GRAVEL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 California, United States $21.95 Vintages #: 478743 This gets a 93 from Jim Gordon of Wine Enthusiast who calls it a potent and compact wine with velvety tannins, blueberries, dark chocolate and tobacco. It needs a year or 2 in the cellar so enjoy from 2024-2030.
(XD – 4 g/L)
CHÂTEAU ROMBEAU L’ÉLEVÉ CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2018 Midi, France $21.95 Vintages #: 28411 This 60% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache blend gets a 96 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021. Look for dark fruit and smoke,with a bit of leather. ‘Immensely’ powerful with a long spicy finish. (XD – 4 g/L)
PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 Barossa Valley, South Australia $21.95 Vintages #: 12331 Sam Kim gives this a 93 and calls it a classic cab with dark fruit, cedar, vanilla violets and tobacco. Good weight and intensity and a long, tasty finish. (D – 5 g/L)
JEAN DE TRIMOULET 2014 Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, France $22.95 Vintages #: 26300
Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast gives this a 92 and describes rich chocolate and layers of dense black fruits giving the wine a sense of power and concentration. Drink now over next 2 years. (XD – 0 g/L)
THE SPECIALYST ZINFANDEL 2019 Lodi, California, USA $23.95 Vintages # 27033
This is a big but well balanced wine with rich plum, berry and beef flavors and some spicy, herbal notes, according Jim Gordon of Wine Enthusiast. Enjoy with Montreal Spice Lamb Chops. (XD – 0 g/L)
BAROSSA VALLEY GRAVEL TRACK GRENACHE/SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2019 Barossa Valley, South Australia $24.95 Vintages #: 26877 This scored 95 at Australian Wine Showcase, June 2021. ‘Look for intense red cherry, plum, licorice and vanilla on the way to a silky yet persistent finish, and pour with pork roast.’ (XD – 0 g/L)
MUD HOUSE PINOT NOIR 2020 Central Otago, South Island, NZ $24.95 Vintages #: 12630 Sam Kim gives this a 93 and says it is ‘gorgeously fruited’ with plum,violets and thyme on the nose. A hint of mushroom adds complexity. The palate is supple, fruity, silky and ‘fabulous’!(XD – 4 g/L)
WESTMOUNT PINOT NOIR 2019 Willamette Valley, Oregon $29.95 Vintages # 10704 This gets 91 from John Szabo of winealign.com who describes aromas of roses, fruit and herb leading to a bright, firm, fresh palate. A ‘solid’ wine for the money. (XD – 2 g/L)