The Feb 4 2023 LCBO Vintages Release has a good selection of Sauvignon Blancs. Bordeaux and Tuscany are also well represented.
SANTA MARGHERITA BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ Italy Vintages # 302752 $19.95 This is a Chardonnay/Glera (traditional Prosecco grape) blend with a touch of Malbec (50/45/5). So – slightly more substantial than a traditional Prosecco. Natalie Maclean gives it a 91 and describes it as fresh and lively with hints of field berries and toast. Serve with Balsamic Pear tarts or Rolled Tea Sandwiches (D – 11 g/L)
HENRI CHAMPLIAU BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France Vintages #20945 $25.95 This 75% is a Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Gamay blend that gets a 95 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2019. Look for pink grapefruit and red berry aromas with complex flavours of brioche, hibiscus and lime. A creamy mousse and an elegant, saline finish. (XD – 15 g/L). This sounds intriguing and I would serve it at an elegant Afternoon tea or Salmon in Puff Pastry.
THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 Loire, France Vintages #391847 $16.95 We are so lucky to be able to stock up on this quality of wine for less than $20! David Lawrason of winealign.com gives it a 90 and calls it expressive and intense with aromas of green apple, lime, kiwi and green pepper. Light to medium bodied, with zesty, mouthwatering acidity and excellent length. Stocking up….(XD – 5 g/L)
Two Chardonnays of note. David Lawrason is a more discerning scorer than James Suckling so I certainly wouldn’t let the extra dollar steer me away from the Nederburg below.
VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY 2021 Mendoza, Argentina Vintages# 119099 $19.95 From the renown Paul Hobbs, this gets a 93 from James Suckling. Look for apple, lemon and cream on the nose and palate. Medium-bodied with a ‘bright, steely finish.’ Enjoy with Seared Scallops with Fennel Cream. (XD – 2 g/L) 750mL $19.95 DH
NEDERBURG MANOR HOUSE CHARDONNAY 2020 WO Paarl, South Africa Vintage #26667 $20.95 David Lawrason of winealign.com gives it a 90 and calls it ‘ a solid, well balanced, well priced chardonnay that manages to capture good complexity.’ Look for tropical fruit, toast,y nuts and spice on the nose with lemon on the palate. Length is ‘very good to excellent.’ (XD – 0 g/L)
PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD RIESLING 2019 VQA Niagara Escarpment, ON, Canada Vintages #31651 $18.95 This is the estate’s first single-vineyard Riesling and gets a 90 from Michaela Morris of decanter.com. She describes it as floral to start, evolving to lime leaf, grapefruit and apple. Dry, pert, edgy and energetic. Drinking window: 2021-2025. (XD – 7 g/L) Enjoy with Orange Roughy with Mango Lime Salsa.
KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC WO Stellenbosch, South Africa Vintages #231282 $18.95 This is a perennial high scoring favourite among critics. From 40 year old vines – ‘ bone-dry, floral and rich, generouse honeyed stone fruit, citrus, good acidity, and underlying minerality. XD – 5 g/L) Enjoy with Juicy Grilled Pork Chops.
DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RESERVE VALRÉAS CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES BLANC 2021, Rhone, France Vintages # 14037 $18.95. A Viognier Marsanne mix that James Suckling scored 91. Look for green apples, lees and some white almond on the nose and palate. Good acidity. Enjoy with Chicken in White Wine Crepes.
SUGAR LOAF SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Marlborough, New Zealand Vintages # 410001 $21.95 Sam Kim of wineorbitz.co.nz gives this a 93. Look for ripe peach, crunchy apple and citrus peel aromas, a powerfully fruity palate. ‘Gorgeously expressed’. (XD – 4 g/L)
ASTROLABE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Marlborough, NZ Vintages #10421 $26.95 Bob Campbell, MW of therealreview.com gives this a 94 and calls it concentrated and luscious. Look for passionfruit, guava and pink grapefruit flavours with tangy acidity and an impeccable sweet-and-sour balance. (XD – 2 g/L) Enjoy with Greek Chicken with Roasted Lemon, Olives and Capers.
GLENELLY GLASS COLLECTION MERLOT 2018 WO Stellenbosch South Africa Vintages #26669 $16.95 Tim Atkin calls this ‘One of the two best reds in the Glass Collection range in 2018’. He gives it a 92 and describes as appealing with red berry and cut grass aromas, vanilla spice from new oak, balance, complexity and good structure. Enjoy with Brisket with Leeks and Onions. (XD – 2 g/L)
Ontario has 2 offerings of particular note- both Cab Franc/Cab Sauv blends.
CALAMUS BALL’S FALLS RED VQA Ontario, Canada Vintages #10527 $17.95 This gets a 91 from Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. He describes generous dark fruit and chocolate aromas with cherry and ripe fruit on the palate. Good acidity, spice and a long, flavourful finish add to the charm. Medium bodied and fruity, plan to enjoy with burgers, pizza or charcuterie. (XD – 2 g/L)
VINELAND CABERNET FRANC/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment Vintages #25237 $19.95. This one gets a 93 from Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. Similar to above -generous fruit and chocolate on the nose along with some graphite notes. Flavourful palate with cassis, cherry and coffee that extends through a long finish. Another candidate to enjoy with burgers or marinated steaks. (D – 7 g/L)
Need a Rioja fix? VIÑA REAL CRIANZA 2019 Rioja, Spain Vintages #657411 $19.95 This gets a 93 from James Suckling who describes floral aromas with orange peel and crushed blackberries, Tight, chewy tannins, serious length and focus. ‘Very drinkable now, but even better in 2024. Enjoy with food. (XD – 2 g/L)
MOUNTADAM 550 SHIRAZ 2019 Barossa, South Australia Vintages #13001 $19.95 Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 93 and descirbes wonderful ripe darkberries with violet, clove and spicy oak on the nose. A ‘beautifully weighted palate’ with texture and silky tannins add to the appeal. Enjoy with Montreal Spice Marinated Lamb Chops. (XD – 2 g/L)
For a classic Chianti consider LORNANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2017 Tuscany, Italy Vintages #211599 $20.95 This gets a 92 from James Suckling who describes cherries and berries on the nose and palate with some earthy mushroom tones. (XD – 2 g/L)
PÉREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Valle del Maipo, Chile Vitages #431015 $21.95. Perez Cruz is always a reliable choice. This one gets a 92 from Joaquín Hidalgo of vinous.com, who describes a fruity profile of black currant with hints of ripe sour cherry, pepper and mint. Palate is fresh and fruity with silky tannins. (XD – 3 g/L)
OTU MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR 2020 Marlborough, South Island Vintages #25803 $22.95 Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 91 and describes an ‘inviting bouquet’ of plum, raspberry with floral and spicy hintes. A juicy, fruity palate with silky tannins. Enjoy with Crispy Duck with Cherry Port Sauce. (XD – 0 g/L)
NICOSIA LENZA DI MUNTI 2018 Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy Vintages # 28129 $23.95 3 Glasses or Tre Bicchieri (out of 3) is Gambero Rosso Italian Wines highest scoring category. They do an annual Tre Bicchieri trade show in Toronto and I can’t say there was any wine I tasted there that didn’t live up to the category. So – I have high hopes for this one! It is a complex and deep wine with sweet aromas of peach (huh?), violet and medicinal herbs. A soft, elegant palate with a hint of minerality from those volcanic soils. Enjoy with classic Spaghetti. (XD – 2 g/L)
BRANCAIA TRE 2020 Tuscany, Italy Vintages #164715 $24.95 This Sangiovese/ Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend gets a 93 from James Suckling who describes ‘Raspberry, cherry and orange-peel aromas with hints of cedar’. Look for firm polished tannins. The wine is focused and lovely now but will also improve with age. (XD – 2 g/L) 750mL
CHÂTEAU BELLEVUE FIGEAC 2018 AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, France Vintages #496661 $29.95 You don’t get to try a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru every day so this will be a treat for Bordeaux lovers. 2018 was a near perfect year for the Right Bank. This is a blend of Cab Franc and Merlot with a splash of Cab Sauv. Look for ‘ample complexity and depth’ – black fruit, oak, chocolate, leather spice and some graphite tones. Enjoy with Beef Tenderloin. (XD – 5 g/L)
CHÂTEAU DU GAZIN 2018 AP Canon Fronsac, France Vintages #26303 $25.95 James Suckling gives this 92 and describes aromas of raspberries, light vanilla and violets. The palate has ‘lovely fruit’ and a ‘fine finish’. Drink after 2023. (XD – 3 g/L)
EL ESTECO 1946 OLD VINES MALBEC 2021 Valles Calchaquíes, Argentina Vintages #19391 $25.95 What makes this interesting, along with the 94 score from Tim Atkin’s Argentina Special Report 2022, is that it is unoaked. Old Vines and no oak will showcase the fruit and spice. Tim describes it as fresh and perfumed with plum, mixed berries, clove and pepper; ‘racy’ acidity (ie enjoy with food) and fine tannins. Enjoy from 2024-2030 with Spicy Black Pepper Beef. (XD – 3 g/L)
Alternatively FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA MALBEC 2020 Mendoza, Argentina Vintages #261867 $19.95 gets 92 from James Suckling who describes ripe dark fruit, chocolate, licorice and toasted oak. Finish is rich and nutty. drink from 2023. (XD – 3 g/L)