LCBO Vintages Release Nov 11 2021 is full of great choices for holiday meals, gift giving and everyday sipping.
Pinot Noir lovers can choose between good value New World and Old World wines, or what the heck – get both!
Ontario is showing well in the whites this month with some standout you might consider putting on your wish list or gifting a wine-loving friend.
And there are lots of gems in general to suit any taste.
Port lovers have a some good choices this release.
In the ready-to-drink category – Noval Black Reserve Port VINTAGES#: 235689 $22.95 Douro, Portugal gets a 90 from Mark Squires, calling it ‘elegant in the mid-palate’…with plenty of of finesse and lift to the fruit. Very good quality to price ratio. You may want to stock up on this one as one of your go-to Ports now through 2026.
Ferreira Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015 VINTAGES#: 675751 $26.95 Douro, Portugal Mark Squires of robertparker.com gives this a 91 and says it is a ‘traditional and well-made LBV’ that will age well (unfiltered LBV). Aromatics currently top the palate but he expects a few years of cellaring will see it evolve. Drink by 2037.
And, even though it is just outside our focus snack bracket – I can’t help but mention – Mark Squires gives a 92 to Poças Colheita Port 2008 VINTAGES#: 21813 $36.95 Douro, Portugal saying it has more power and complexitythan you see in a 10-year old Tawny. Drink now through 2040.
Prosecco officially established a Rosé DOC category in 2020. It must contain a minimum of 85% of the traditional Glera grape and only Pinot Noir is allowed to make up the ‘red’ component. There have been rosé Proseccos produced in the past but they were unregulated so quality and grape content could vary. If you are interested in sampling or gifting an interesting twist to Prosecco – check out this ‘fresh and floral’ with a hint of almond on the finish. Zonin 1821 Rosé Prosecco 2020 VINTAGES#: 21050 $18.95 Prosecco, Italy.
Argentina is offering value in La Mascota Extra Brut Sparkling Rosé VINTAGES#: 11806 $19.95 Mendoza, Argentina. 100% Pinot Noir made in the traditional method, James Suckling gives it a 91 citing attractive ‘cooked apple, toast and brioche character’. Stock up if you are thinking ahead to Holiday appetizers and turkey dinners.
Canada’s own Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut Sparkling 2016 VINTAGES#: 234161 $29.95 Ontario gets a 93 from Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com. His enthusiasm comes through in his description of a ‘beguiling’ nose with lemon, apple, brioche and creamy pear that carry over to the palate. Toasted vanilla, and almond notes on the ‘luxurious’ finish with a persistent mousse no doubt contributed to the score and enthusiasm!
2027 Cellars do an outstanding job on any of the wines the produce and the 2019 Chardonnay is no exception. 2027 Cellars Wismer Vineyard Foxcroft Block Chardonnay 2019 VINTAGES#: 421362 $24.95 Ontario, Canada gets a 93 from Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com. He describes pear, lemon blossom, crushed stones apple almonds and oak notes, ‘elegant and subtle spices’ with electric acidity. And a long and finessed finish to boot. Drink now or through 2026. This will stand up to pastry appetizers, rich turkey dinners, duck or creamy pastas.
Another Ontario Chardonnay gets a 92 from Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. He describes Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2019 VINTAGES#: 149302 $22.95 Ontario, Canada as ‘medium-bodied with good mouthfeel and persistent purity of fruit, good balance and plenty of pizzazz’. Look for green apple , ripe pear and caramel aromas with baked apple and baking spices on the palate.
Another Ontario standout- Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2018 VINTAGES#: 566026 $29.95 Ontario, Canada gets a whopping 94 from John Szabo of winealign.com. That alone would be enough to make me buy it even before he describes the excellent depth and concentration as well as excellent length. From old vines planted late 1970s.
Argentina is offering a robust Chardonnay in Santa Ana La Mascota Chardonnay 2020 VINTAGES#: 126870 $16.95 Mendoza, Argentina. Vintage notes describe ‘sumptuous’ aromas of tropical fruit, vanilla and buttery toast. Creamy texture and good balance will make this a good pairing for roast chicken, cheese platters and even lobster.
Pinot Gris fans might want to check out Rock Point Pinot Gris 2019 VINTAGES#: 22497 $16.95 Oregon, USA. Oregon is becoming known for its Pinot Gris plantings and treatment. Expect pear and peach notes with good weight and texture. Drink now with seafood, chicken, salads and light cheeses.
Kahurangi Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VINTAGES#: 14567 $19.95 Nelson, New Zealand would be my pick of the New Zeland Sauvignon Blancs on offer this release. You can’t go too far wrong with any NZ Sauvignon Blanc but this one seems to have a bit of an edge on the quality to price ratio. It gets a 92 from camdouglasms.com who describes pungent fresh herb, citrus, wet stone minerality and some steely tropical fruit that carry over to the palate. Crunchy, refreshing and dry – sounds like classic NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Think strong cheeses or smoked salmon with tangy sour cream and capers or brined pork chops.
Loimer Grüner Veltliner 2019 VINTAGES#: 142240 $22.95, from the very respectable Kamptal region, Austria gets a 92 from Sylvia Wu of decanter.com. She cites stone fruit, yellow apple and ripe peach with ginger notes on the nose. Some herbality on the nose and palate join the apple/apricot notes. 4 months on the lees are adding to the complexity and texure here. I think this Gruner Veltliner stands a head taller than many we see on offer in Canada.
In the light-and-lively-perfect-for-lunch category -there are a few ‘cheap and cheerful whites worth checking out.
Umani Ronchi Vellodoro Pecorino 2020 VINTAGES#: 289553 $16.95 Abruzzo, Italy gets a 92 from James Suckling. Look for fresh, lemon, lime and touch of savoury dried-herb character. Medium bodied and racy. Perfect for quiche, salads, light seafood accented pasta.
Loureiro is a mainstay of Vinho Verde wines but we most often see it as a blend. Once in a while we see a pure Loureiro as in the case of Curvos Loureiro 2020 VINTAGES#: 471284 $13.95 Vinho Verde, Portugal. Light, lively, citrus-y with a touch of floral. Sip it with queso fresco, calamari, oysters, brunch or salad-y lunches.
Pinot Noir lovers – look in the Pinot section below for good value in both New World and Old World styles.
A couple of gems from Jeb Dunnock’s reviews that French wine lovers will not want to miss out on.
He gives Tessellae Old Vines Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre 2018 VINTAGES#: 343517 $19.95 Midi, France a 93 and compares this Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre blend to some of the better Châteauneuf du Papes. Expect berries, flowers and peppery garrigue along with balance, elegance and a great finish.
He says Louis Bernard Louis Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2019 VINTAGES#: 561290 $16.95 Rhône, France is terrific with ‘a wonderful sense of elegance, medium-bodied richness, a great mid-palate and plenty of length on the finish. Look for cassis, peppery spice and some meaty notes.
Before we leave France there is a fine Bordeaux Merlot (not a blend) that Dean Tudor of gothicepicures.com gives a 90. He describes Chombart & Speck Cave Mystère Merlot 2018 VINTAGES#: 17232 $19.95 Bordeaux, France as a meeting of ‘New World flash, Old World elegance’. He calls it on ‘the lighter side of medium-bodied’ so consider the cherry-berry and mocha notes to go with lamb or duck.
In the ‘cheap and cheerful category’ is Argentina’s 2nd most planted grape…
La Posta Estela Armando Bonarda 2020 VINTAGES#: 261586 $15.95 and Valle Las Acequias Bonarda 2016 VINTAGES#: 668731 $17.95 get a 92 nd 93 respectively from James Suckling. He describes La Posta as juicy and racy with elegant tannins. Valle Las Acequias has citrus, cinnamon and raspberry cheesecake notes with structured tannins and a long finish. Both are ready to drink and enjoy with a hearty stew, burgers or charcuterie.
Talk about cheap and cheerful! Príncipe de Viana Reserva 2014 VINTAGES#: 22439 $14.95, Navarra, Spain gets a 90 from Thomas Matthews of winespectator.com. Look for ripe kirsch, blackberry jam and vanilla in this 100% Tempranillo. Fruity with well-integrated tannins and acidity.
If you would like to enjoy the cherry, tobacco and leather attributes of a Brunello without waiting for a special occasion – check out Banfi Rosso di Montalcino 2019 VINTAGES#: 681262 $23.95 Tuscany, Italy. It is being described as a ‘baby’ Brunello, more appraochable in its youth and pricepoint! Look for cherry, violet and licorice aromas with hints of leather, tobacco and refined tannins. Enjoy with your favourite spaghetti, pizza or braciole.
Still hanging out in Tuscany, check out San Vincenti Chianti Classico 2017 VINTAGES#: 399907 $19.95 for more Sangiovese goodness. James Suckling gives it a 93 and describes crushed cherried, blackberries, minerals and stone. Full-bodied with refined tannins. Enjoy with pasta, osso buco, beef or lamb ragu.
Quadrus Red 2015 VINTAGES#: 440305 $22.95 Douro, Portugal ges a 91 from John Szabo of winealign.com who descibes a nose with ‘a riot of ripe black and blue fruit with marked violet florality. A broad, balanced palate with pure clean dark fruit and great structure make this one a standout. Approachable now but may evolve more complexity with a couple more years in the cellar.
Satellite Pinot Noir 2018 VINTAGES#: 12627 $22.95 Marlborough, New Zealand gets 90 from Sam Kim or wineorbit.co.nz. He cites spiced cherry, vanilla and earthy mushroom notes over a round, smooth palate. Elegant with a lengthy silky finish.
Evolution Pinot Noir 2018 VINTAGES#: 529081 $26.95 Oregon, USA gets 92 from James Suckling who describes impressive richness and ripe cherries with sturdy tannins.
Representing Old World Burgundy’s Cave des Vignerons de Buxy Buissonnier Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018 VINTAGES#: 11901 $20.95 Burgundy, France is ‘exceptionally well-priced’ with ripe juicy fruite, licorice and forest floor adding to the complexity.
Roche de Bellene Cuvée Réserve Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2019 VINTAGES#: 299859 $22.95 Burgundy, France gets 91 from Michael Godel of winealign.com saying this is a great price for one of Burgundy’s finest producers with vines up to 80 years old. Medium-bodied with good concentration and texture.