The Jan 7 2023 LCBO Vintages Release is focused on Smart Buys. There are a few ‘stunning value’ reds under $20!
VITESE GRILLO 2020 DOC Sicilia, Italy #645770 $14.95 This is not going to walk away with world top awards but if you are looking for a salty, herbaceous white to go with a seafood meal like Herb Crusted Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce– try this one. (D – 7 g/L) Score – 90 (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021)
WILLIAM FÈVRE ESPINO RESERVA ESPECIAL CHARDONNAY 2021 DO Valle del Maipo, Chile Vintages #: 350058 $15.95 William Fèvre’ is the ‘godfather’ of Burgundian Chablis. If you are curious to see what he can do in Chilean soil – check this out. The fruit is grown in the foothills of the Andes on rootstock imported by Fèvre himself 25 years ago. Unoaked – look for ripe nectarine and apricot, tropical coconut, almond and a touch of honey. Enjoy with creamy white pasta like Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Asparagus and Hazelnuts or seafood. (XD – 2 g/L) This Smart Buy is scoring low 90s around the web. Full-bodied & Rich
Both NZ Sauvignon Blancs are good value and just a dollar apart. THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 #734798 $18.95 is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc loaded with fresh gooseberry, passion fruit, and an evocative grassy note. Balanced and lifted, with a long finish. (XD – 7 g/L)
SOHO WHITE COLLECTION PEGGY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 #144386 $19.95 is fruity with green apple, lemon/lime zest and floral aromas. Vibrant and refreshing. Score – 93 (Sam Kim, wineorbit.co.nz, Aug. 2021) (XD – 2 g/L)
Both of these would go nicely with a lunch including Asparagus with Olive Gremolata.
DEMAZET RÉSERVE DES ARMOIRIES TRADITION CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2020 #494690 $14.95. Guide Hachet calls this blend of Carignan, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah a stunning value. Structured and balanced, with a lively array of dark and red fruit, herbs and spice. (XD – 4 g/L) Enjoy with Creamy Mushroom Lasagna With Ground Beef.
FIRRIATO CHIARAMONTE NERO D’AVOLA 2018 Sicilia, Italy #121145 $15.95 This ranked #24 in James Suckling’s Top 100 Value Wines of 2021. He says ‘ Tons of red and black plums, plus delicate chocolate character make this full-bodied and silky nero d’avola very appealing. Quite some concentration, but in an undemonstrative form. Long, plush finish that I just want to sink into.’ Drink or hold. Score – 94 (XD – 3 g/L) Enjoy with charcuterie or … dark chocolate!
LUA CHEIA OLD VINES RED 2020 Douro, Portugal #266882 $15.95 Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast gives this a 90 and a ‘Best Buy’ label. Powerful, with dark tannins and rich fruits, it offers ‘plenty of firm minerality and ripe blackberry fruits’ . Drink from 2024. (XD – 2 g/L)
CHÂTEAU BELLEVUE LA FORÊT 2020 AP Fronton Southwest France #35413 $15.95 This is always a pleasant pour from a lesser known local grape Négrette, blended with Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to produce a floral wine with dark fruit, earth, herbs and spice. Enjoy with a hearty stew or Cassoulet. Score – 90 (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2022) (XD – 2 g/L)
VIÑA SIEGEL GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2019 Valle de Colchagua, Chile # 25639 $15.96 If you are a fan of the green bell pepper, herbal nature of Carmenere then check out this special value. Vintages notes say intense, layered, highly aromatic wine, with lifted red floral tones, black and red fruit, dark chocolate, savoury herbs, clove, and a hint of black pepper. Score – 91 (timatkin.com, Chile Special Report 2021) (XD – 0 g/L). Enjoy with Steak with Peppercorn Sauce.
VIÑA PEDROSA AVES DEL SUR RESERVA SYRAH 2018 Valle del Maule, Chile #27196 $16.95 While it doesn’t sound like a classic Syrah – it does sound interesting! James Suckling gives this a 93 and describes ‘ Plum and sweet green-tobacco undertones with some rust on the nose. Medium-bodied with medium juicy tannins and a fascinating aftertaste of dried fruit, Indian spices and earth. Score – 93 (XD – 0 g/L). Try it with Shepherd’s Pie with Curry.
RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA 2019 Rioja, Spain # 471854 $16.95 James Suckling gives this a 90 and describes peppercorns, plums and dark cherries on the nose, complemented by a hint of cream and vanilla. He calls it an elegant Rioja with juicy, plummy fruit, creamy tannins and a lengthy finish. (XD – 2 g/L) Serve with Tapas!
SIDEWOOD STABLEMATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 Adelaide Hills, South Australia #26926 $17.90 Sidewood is always a reliable choice. Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz calls it immediately appealing, showing blackcurrant and sweet cherry with thyme, almond and floral notes on the nose and a ‘succulent palate’ fruity with fine texture and polished tannins. ‘Fabulously drinkable’! Drink now to 2029 so stock up! Score – 91
SISTER’S RUN EPIPHANY SHIRAZ 2019 McLaren Vale, South Australia #269464 $19.95 Sister’s Run.. another perennial good value. This one gets a 94 from Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz, calling it wonderfully ripe and fragrant with dark fruit, warm spice, cedar and chocolate on the nose. A concentrated, substantive and persistent palate. At its best now to 2031 so again – stock up ! Score – 94 (XD – 6 g/L)
BONNY DOON LE CIGARE VOLANT 2020 California, USA #18516 $19.95 42% Grenache, 31% Cinsault, 24% Syrah, 2% Petite Sirah and 1% Counoise this starts with aromas of cherry, grenadine, spice and barrel toast that carry to the palate alongside dark-raspberry, boysenberry, roasted fennel and anise flavors. Editors’ Choice. Score – 92 (Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast, April 1, 2022) (XD – 4 g/L) Enjoy with Lamb Shanks in Guinness.
IVORY & BURT OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2019 California, USA #479303 $19.95 Fantastic value from Lodi with lush black fruit, American oak, herbs, baking spices and pepper. Smooth and robust, enjoy with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Ribs or steak or sip on its own. Score – Double Gold (New York International Wine Competition, 2022) (D – 10 g/L)
BORGO SCOPETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2019 Tuscany, Italy # 23325 $19.95 Bruce Sanderson of winespectator.com gives this a 90 and describes bright cherry, strawberry, floral and earth aromas and flavors. Drink now through 2028 with pizza or Spaghetti and meatballs.
PAOLO CONTERNO BRICCO BARBERA D’ASTI 2020 Piedmont, Italy # 517847 $21.95 I am have a soft spot for the easy drinking, silky style of a nice Barbera. This one is scoring 90ish among critics and comes from a single vineyard planted with 25-year-old vines. It is elegant awith notions of juicy cherry, cranberry, and baking spices. (XD – 3 g/L) Medium-bodied & fruity enjoy with Eggplant Parmigiana, duck or lamb.
PIEDRA NEGRA RESERVA MALBEC 2019 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina #483909 $21.95 James Suckling says ‘this is a powerful, rich red with lots of tannic structure, yet the fresh blackberries back up the wine nicely. Full-bodied, racy and focused. ‘ Score – 94 (, April 2, 2020) (XD – 5 g/L) Try this one with Ribs With Spicy Blackberry Sauce.
MONTEMAJOR QUATTRONOTTI APPASSIMENTO NIGHT HARVEST SPECIAL EDITION NEGROAMARO 2020 Puglia, Italy #: 28128 $21.95 The Negroamaro grape is a specialty of Puglia. The name of this wine could be a parody of a wine spoof movie – Harvested by hand over 4 nights in Autumn and dried to concentrate sugar and flavour (and all that is just from the title!) But – this is not a joke… it is more a testament to the attention to detail in the winemaking here This is scoring 90ish on the traditional 100 point scale (that Luca Maroni does not use BTW, hence his 98 scores that abound). Look for jammy blackfruit, sweet spices and piercing mint. Winecollective.ca describe secondary notes of licorice, white pepper and hints of leather. Acidity and tannin are in check, creating an enveloping mouthfeel and a finish that doesn’t quit. Enjoy with Red Wine Braised Beef.
PAOLO CONTERNO BRICCO BARBERA D’ASTI 2020 Piedmont, Italy #517847 $22.95 Bruce Sanderson of winespectator.com gives this a 92 and describes it as ‘pure, elegant and vibrant, featuring black currant, blackberry, violet, licorice and graphite flavors. Sleek and focused from beginning to end, with a long aftertaste.’ (XD – 3 g/L) Enjoy with Braciole or pepper steak.
HEIRLOOM BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2019 Barossa, South Australia #26924 $24.95 This is a standout among classic Barossa Shiraz -Ken Gargett of winepilot.com gives it a 94 and lots of high praise. He describes plums, mulberries, chocolate, black fruits, warm earth along with well integrated oak, melting into the fruit – all finely balanced. Creamy texture, serious length and balance throughout. It hasn’t left any quality wine descriptors unticked! ‘… easily competes with many wines twice the price.’ Drink: 2021-2031. (XD – 0 g/L)
BORDÓN GRAN RESERVA 2011 Rioja, Spain # 114454 $29.95 On the premium end – this got a 94 from Decanter Panel meaning you would be hard pressed to find a much better Gran Reserva Rioja at any price. Benefit from the ‘elegance of long ageing’ and the ripe and concentrated fruit. ‘Very long, with a most promising potential for future development in bottle. Enjoy with steak and mushrooms now or through 2031. (XD – 9 g/L)
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