The July 22 2023 LCBO Vintages Release has some interesting Chardonnays and lots of good value reds.
GRAHAM BECK BRUT SPARKLING Vintages # 593483 $24.95 WO Western Cape, South Africa This traditional method always scores 90+ and makes a great sparkling for sipping or with meals. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, look for a tropical peach/mango nose with some wet stone and bread notes. Generous fruit on the palate with excellent length. Good acidity and a touch of sourness keep it from being cloying. (XD - 7 g/L)
I am going for the cheap and cheerful in the Rosé category. Full disclosure - I find the higher end Rosés of Provence are about the only ones that introduce any complexity to a Rosé - so I lean toward a cheap and cheerful sipper such as these.
SKOURAS CUVÉE PRESTIGE AGIORGITIKO/MOSCHOFILERO ROSÉ 2022 Vintages # 25745 $15.95 PGI Peloponnese, Greece. Decanter called this wonderfully scented and alluring.... A blend of 70% Agiorgitiko (a red wine grape) and 30% Moschofilero (a pink-skinned white wine grape). This rosé is zippy with suggestions of ripe cherry, raspberry, fresh herbs and wildflowers. Score - Gold (Mundus Vini, 2023) Enjoy with Rolled Tea Sandwiches or Strawberry Cream Cheese Bites. (XD - 4 g/L)
TESSELLAE ROSÉ 2022 Vintages #450817 $16.95 IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon, France. It is scoring consistently in the 88 range and is recognized as good value for the price. It is ripe and flavourful with abundant red berry fruit and a dash of savoury spice. Plan to enjoy with strawberries and Brie or Swedish Shrimp Sandwich. (XD - 3 g/L)
SANTA MARGHERITA ROSÉ 2022 Vintages #25752 $17.95 IGT Trevenezie, Veneto Italy. Reviews suggest this wine has broad appeal and offers tangy red fruit and delicate florals. Pair with Beet and Burrata Salad. (XD - 3 g/L)
THIRTY BENCH WINEMAKER'S ROSÉ 2021 Vintages #27024 $22.95 VQA Niagara Peninsula, On Canada. Score - 90 National Wine Awards of Canada, 2022. It is scoring consistently in the low 90s among critics. Vintages notes says this has bright acidity with lifted cherry, strawberry, melon andspice. Good structure and would pair well with Salmon and Shrimp Sandwich Cake.(XD - 4 g/L)
E. GUIGAL CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2022 Vintages #225003 $22.95 AC Rhone, France Made in stainless steel from Grenache with Cinsault and Syrah this lively rosé offers up sunny aromas and flavours of watermelon, apple and cherry. A versatile food wine so plan to enjoy with Salmon with Citrus Cream on Angel Hair Pasta. (XD - 3 g/L)
FEUDO MACCARI OLLI GRILLO 2021 Vintages #477877 $16.95 DOP Sicilia Italy. I know a few Italian households that stock up on this for their house white. James Suckling gives it a 92. Look for aromas of peach and flowers. Medium-bodied with bright citrus and stone fruits on the palate. Fresh with some minerality that addes depth. Enjoy with Company’s Coming Seafood Pie or chicken. (XD - 2 g/L)
LA GRIFFE BERNARD CHÉREAU SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2022 Vintages # 948182 $17.95 Loire, France. This is a ' perennially charming wine' that is perfect for dinner or charcuterie on the patio with its hints floral blossoms, citrus, crunchy apple, and marine stones. Enjoy with calamari or soft cheeses. (XD - 2 g/L)
PANDOLFI PRICE LARKÜN CHARDONNAY 2018 Vintages #30829 $19.95 Valle del Itata, Chile. James Suckling gives this a 93 and describes lemon and peach aromas that carry to the palate. Juicy and fruty with a salty hit on the finish. Enjoy with Almond Poached Chicken Salad. (XD - 2 g/L)
D'ARENBERG THE HERMIT CRAB VIOGNIER/MARSANNE 2022 Vintages # 662775 $19.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia. This is a blend of Viognier and Marsanne that offers touches of peach and pear with a spicy undertone. Always scores 90 ish..... Perfect pairing for Asian food - enjoy with Szechuan Green Beans. (XD - 4 g/L)
MATAHIWI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Vintages #402677 $19.95 Wairarapa, North Island, NZ Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 92 and describes green apple, kiwi and apricot on the nose with intensity fruit and vibrancy on the palate. Enjoy with Poached Salmon With Dill Sauce. (XD - 4 g/L)
CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES CHARDONNAY 2021 Vintages # 918805 $22.95 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina This gets a 92 from James Suckling who describes peaches, apples and apricot pie aromas. Medium-bodied and fresh, creamy and succulent. Sounds rich and luxurious - enjoy with Champagne Chicken. (XD - 2 g/L)
LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY 2020 Vintages #578864 $24.95 The Fifty ferments in barrel but then ends up on lees in stainless steel. Michael Godel of winealign.com gives it a 92 and says it might be the best of their 6 Chardonnay vintages to date. It is precise with layers and nuances that add up to complexity. Enjoy with Chicken Marsala. ( XD - 3 g/L)
WESTCOTT ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2020 Vintages # 424507 $29.95 VQA Niagara Escarpment, On Canada. Another award winning Ontario Chardonnay - this was a Gold Medal winner at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada. Janet Dorozynski, DipWSET, Ph.D. of winealign.com gives it a 92 and describes a' lovely chalky, apple nose and palate with hints of vanilla and toast'. Good texture, concentration and complexity with a long floral finish make this a real treat. Enjoy with Chicken Saltimbocca With Lemon Sauce. (XD - 5 g/L)
PASCUAL TOSO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2021 Vintages # 24874 $17.95 Mendoza, Argentina James Suckling gives this a 92 and describes a complex nose with blackcurrants and blackberries, and hints of tobacco, walnuts and graphite. The palate is medium to full bodied with ripe fruit, bright acidity, firm tannins. Chocolate notes on the long finish. Enjoy with Sour Cherry Glazed Ribs. (XD - 3 g/L)
GÉRARD BERTRAND AN 990 FITOU GRENACHE/CARIGNAN 2020 Vintages # 403683 $17.95 AP Midi, France . I have a soft spot for the wines of Fitou! Vintages describe this one as a blend of Carignan (fermented separately using carbonic maceration) and Grenache. 12 months oak aging creates a plush, dark- fruity wine. Pair with Beer Can Stuffed Burgers. (XD - 4 g/L)
MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS RESERVA GARNACHA/TEMPRANILLO/CARIÑENA 2018 Vintages # 166579 $17.95 DO Cariñena, Spain This is always a good value substantial pour. James Suckling gives it a 92. Look for licorice, spices and plums with chalky tannins and bright cherry flavours. Garnacha, Tempranillo, Carinena and Cabernet Sauvignon. (XD - 3 g/L)
There are 3 Malbecs of note this release, all within a few dollars of each other.
FINCA EL ORIGEN RESERVA ESTATE MALBEC 2021 Vintages # 65664 $17.95 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina. Look for blackberries, blueberry pie, chocolate orange and sweet spices on the nose. It is Medium- to full-bodied with creamy tannins. Chalky, with a juicy, fruity, focused finish. Score Score - 92 James Suckling. Enjoy with Ribs With Spicy Blackberry Sauce. (XD - 4 g/L)
Or, for a few dollars more, look for HECTOR DURIGUTTI HD OLD VINES MALBEC 2021 Vintages #31975 $19.95 Single vineyard, Paraje Altamira, Valle de Uco, Mendoza. Score - 92-Joaquín Hidalgo, vinous.com. He describes aromas of violets and herbs over notes of fresh red fruit, plum and cherry with an intense juicy palate and lingering finish. (XD - 3 g/L)
SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE MALBEC 2020 Vintages # 79798 $22.95 Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina. Score - 94 Joaquín Hidalgo, vinous.com. A dash of Cab Franc and some new oak barrels add interest here. Look for aromas of plum, jam and herbs with oak and cedar. The palate is creamy, juicy and bold with a long finish. (XD - 3 g/L)
PIEKENIERSKLOOF SHIRAZ 2020 Vintages # 31091 $18.95 WO Piekenierskloof, South Africa. Piekenierskloof region is known for Grenache, but the region is well-suited to Shiraz as well. Tim Atkins gives this a 92. Look for aromas of pine and sage, subtle new oak and a bright, tangy, white pepper, bramble and pomegranate palate. Enjoy with Double Bourbon Bacon Burgers (XD - 4 g/L)
CAP ROYAL ROUGE 2020 Vintages # 486761 $19.95 AC Bordeaux Supérieur, France. James Suckling gives this a 92 and describes dark fruit, sweet spices, tree bark, walnut, nutmeg and dry earth. Medium- to full-bodied with fine-grained tannins. Enjoy with Sirloin Top Roast With Bordelaise Sauce. (XD - 3 g/L)
TINAZZI FEUDO DI SANTA CROCE LXXIV PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2019 Vintages # 434217 $19.95 DOP Puglia, Italy. 100% Primitivo. Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021 scored this 95 and describe a lovely nose of bramble, raspberry coulis, blackberry and subtle chocolate notes. The palate is rich and velvety, concentrated yet elegant. Enjoy with Pasta alla Zozzona – Dirty Roman Pasta . (D - 9 g/L)
JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ 2021 Vintages #673897 $19.95 Padthaway, South Australia. This is scoring consistently in the low 90s. Sam Kim, wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 93 and describes it as 'Richly fruited and fragrant with black/blueberry, subtle spice, rich floral and roasted hazelnut aromas' The palate is succulent and plump with excellent fruit intensity backed by silky texture and fine tannins - 'terrific drinking'. Drink now to 2030. Score - 93 (XD - 5 g/L)
THOMAS GOSS MERLOT 2018 Vintages #920959 $19.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia. Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 93 and describes dark berry, vanilla, roasted nut and mixed spice aromas with a supple, rich, textured palate. Powerful, persistency with polished tannins. Enjoy with charcuterie or Basil Pesto Tomato Pizza. (XD - 3 g/L)
WAKEFIELD ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Vintages #744235 $19.95 Limestone Coast/Clare Valley, South Australia. Wakefield is always a reliable good value choice. In fact Ken Gargett of winepilot.com gives it a 92 and wonders at Wakefield 'making wines of this quality at giveaway prices.' He describes it as 'chock full of flavour' with cassis, chocolate, licorice, dry herbs and mulberries. The palate is rich, ripe and plush with good acidity, balance, length and finishing with firm tannins. Drink now through 2031 (XD - 4 g/L)
ZONTE'S FOOTSTEP SPLITTING HARES TEMPRANILLO/GRENACHE 2021 Vintages # 30847 $21.95 Fleurieu, South Australia. Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 93 and calls it smooth and comfortingly delicious. Look for aromas of dark berry, assorted nut, clove and game. The palate has juicy fruit intensity and spicy nuances.(XD - 3 g/L)
FLAVS VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO SUPERIORE 2018 Vintages #13446 $23.95DOC Veneto, Italy James Suckling gives this a 92 and describes aromas of dark fruit, cinnamon and tomato leaf. Full-bodied with firm tannins; rich, juicy and textured with some herb and coffee notes. look for a balanced, flavorful finish. Enjoy with Eggplant Parmigiana.
(D - 7 g/L) 750mL D
CHÂTEAU DE BELCIER 2009 Vintages #18672 $25.95 AC Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, France. Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast gave this a 90 back in 2016 suggesting it would continue to develop to 2024. So.. your aging has been done for you here! He called it an opulent, ripe wine, full of black fruits and firm tannins. Dense and concentrated. (XD - 3 g/L)
UNSHACKLED RED BLEND 2019 Vintages # 22597 $29.95 California, USA This gets a 92 from Matt Steeves of quercusvino.ca. The blend of Zinfandel, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Tannat, and Tempranillo produces a very complex and attractive wine, he says.
It is 'bold and beautiful',with smoky dark fruit, field berries, and a super creamy and smooth finish. Enjoy with Slow Cooker Brisket in Guinness. (D - 7 g/L)
CASTELLO D'ALBA RESERVA 2019 Vintages #31183 $17.95
Dry farming, DOP Douro Portugal. Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast gives this a 93. It ranked #22 in Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Best Buys of 2022. It is a fine fine, full-bodied and structured wine. Look for black fruits, firm tannins and concentration. Enjoy from 2024 through 2030. (XD - 6 g/L)