Sparklings, dinner wines, party sippers and gift wines – they are all here in the LCBO Vintages Release Nov 27 2021. And there are a number of gems tucked in among the 3 digit luxury wines on offer.
For Port lovers Burmester 10-Year-Old Tawny Port VINTAGES#: 223958 $29.95 Portgual will be welcome to sip or gift. Decanter World Wine Awards gave this a 95 score and describe carob, some vegetal and ctirus notes with silky tannins.
Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Sparkling VINTAGES#: 557637 $19.95 Washington, USA gets a 90 from wineandspiritsmagazine.com who are calling this a ‘steal’. Clean but edgy with chalky minerality you may not want to use it for toasting but it would stand up nicely to holiday appetizers, roast bird or seafood pasta.
Taltarni Taché Brut Sparkling 2013 VINTAGES#: 967398 $26.95 Australia has toasty notes and apple/peach and honey on the palate. ‘Aromatic and inviting’ according to Campbell Mattinson of winecompanion.com.au who gives it 93 and calls it ‘special value’.
Canada’s own Kew Vineyards Estate Winery has an impressive line up of Sparkling wines. Kew Vineyards Blanc de Noirs 2017 VINTAGES#: 380030 $29.95 Ontario, Canada gets a 92 from David Lawrason of winealign.com who calls it quite refined with pretty notes of cherry, almond and pastry; well balanced and lively with excellent length. Treat yourself and bolster the local economy anyone?
Graham Beck Brut Sparkling VINTAGES#: 593483 $22.95 Western Cape, South Africa also gets a 90 from David Lawrason of winealign.com. Classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the traditional method, it has generous tropical fruit along with bready notes and wet stone. While this one may not be the pinnacle of their Sparkling line there is ‘lots here for the money’. He also notes good acidity with some sourness.
If you are expecting a crowd for holiday dinner you may have found your turkey wine in Gérard Bertrand Réserve Spéciale Viognier 2020 VINTAGES#: 147975 $14.95 South of France, France. Previous years scored in the 89/90 range and the profile is quite consistent with citrus and floral aromatics. Concentrated citrus and apricot make for a rich palate balanced by good acidity. Consistently reliable and good value for – $14.95!
Enjoy a rich Chenin Blanc with your upcoming holiday meals, in Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc 2019 VINTAGES#: 13338 $18.95 Stellenbosch, South Africa. Tim Atkin, of timatkin.com gives it a 92 and highlights it is a chance to get in on an entry level wine from one of South Africa’s highly respected producers. Expect lots of autolytic notes (yeasty, bready), hints of oak spice yet a crisp citrus and green apple core with good tension. Another perfect rich holiday table wine but also a candidate for pastry appetizers or pork roast.
I had the privilege of enjoying some of Kamptal and Kremstal’s best Gruner Veltliners during a tour of Austria. I am happy to see we seem to be getting wines wth a bit more of the spicy, aromatic character in our LCBO. While fans of Gruner Veltliner will appreciate either on offer, the Stadt Krems Grüner Veltliner 2019 VINTAGES#: 295626 $18.95 is the winner in the quality/price ratio. Anne Krebiehl of Wine Enthusiast gives it a 92 and describes it as substantial with yellow apple and stone fruit and baking spices with good structure and balance.
Enjoy a classic cool climate Chardonnay in Elgin Vintners Chardonnay 2019 VINTAGES#: 21156 $19.95 Elgin, South Africa. It got a 93 from Decanter World Wine Awards and 92 from Tim Atkin, of timatkin.com. Expect fresh pear and lemon with hint of creaminess and oak spices. Enjoy with roast turkey, creamy pasta or calamari with a creamy dipping sauce.
Now might be the time to splurge a little on Westcott Estate Chardonnay 2020 VINTAGES#: 424507 $29.95 Ontario, Canada. 2020 is going down as one of the best, if not the best vintage in the past 20 years. All grape varieties were able to attain maximum ripeness without losing acidity. While all vintages of Wescott Chardonnay have scored highly, it is suggested this is the best yet. John Szabo of winealign.com gives it a 90 and describes it as having the finest of Ontario fruit – ‘ripe and peachy, with a firm streak of stony character and really well integrated barrel spice.’ All the sought after elements of texture, balance and excellent length are here. If you are looking for a gift to impress…look no further!
Treat yourself or a wine lover on your list to the elegance of a Sancerre. Domaine Laporte Le Rochoy Sancerre Blanc 2019 (Sauvignon Blanc) VINTAGES#: 22282 $34.95 gets a 93 from Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast who describes it as ‘packed with fruit and elegantly structured’. Rich yet fresh; dense yet poised and bright.
I hope the price for Cuvée Sabrine Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2017 VINTAGES#: 538496 $15.95 Rhône, France is not a mistake….. André Brunel of Châteauneuf du Pape fame has turned out a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre blend from the Côtes du Rhône AOC. (His Brunel 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Centenaire got a rare 100 points from Robert Parker). Critics around the web (and around the world) are awarding high marks and praise to this one. According to Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com, who gives it a 90, you can expect aromas of dark berry, plum and vanilla; a ‘gorgeous’ mouthfeel with more plum, cherry and ‘tangy red fruit’. Perfectly balanced and exceptional value. So not a 100 pointer but you can bet it will be a better than average Côtes du Rhône – especially for the price! This full-bodied and smooth red will be very verstatile and pair with lamb, steak, sausage or hearty pasta. (Keeping my fingers crossed the price isn’t a misprint!)
Here is another real bargain that could be the life of your party or dinner table. Enrique Mendoza La Tremenda Monastrell 2018 Monastrell (Mourvèdre) VINTAGES#: 490011 $16.95 Alicante Spain is consistently scoring 90 -92 around the web. On the lighter end of the Monastrell spectrum Luis Gutiérrez of robertparker.com says it is fruit driven, well balance with complexity and depth. Approachable and impressive. Wow… all that for $16.95!
Quinta do Penedo Reserva 2013 VINTAGES#: 21809 $19.95 Dão, Portugal is only made in top vintage years and earns a 93 from Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast. He says it is fully mature and showing a nice blend of fruit, spice and tannins. Editor’s Choice. Drink now through 2023 with hearty stews, braised beef or feijoada.
Collina Serragrilli Serraia Barbera d’Alba 20187 VINTAGES#: 22149 $19.95 Piedmont, Italy gets a 93 from James Suckling who cites blackcurrant, blackberry and spices with well balanced fruit and oak. He calls it a ‘Very refined barbera that’s delicious now but will conintue age well in the bottle.’ If you are a fan of medium bodied, smooth, fruity reds (with a long finish BTW) then you might just consider stocking up on this one. Very versatile food-wise from roast beef to pasta to pizza.
Nardelli Salice Salentino 2018 VINTAGES#: 22127 $23.95 Puglia, Italy. Negroamaro is one of Italy’s best kept secrets in my opinion. If Italy has a version of a fruit bomb (in a good way) Negroamaro would be it. Expect cherry and blackberry here, well balanced with fine tannins. This would make a robust but approachable sipper or pair with pizza, beef or ribs.
Like Châteauneuf du Pape? Don’t like the price? Jeb Dunnock puts Michel Gassier Nostre Païs 2018 VINTAGES#: 295410 $23.95 Rhône, France in the 91-93 range and compares it to an entry level Châteauneuf du Pape without the price tag. Look for finesse and elegance with red and black fruits, garrigue for interest, candied violets and ground pepper. Enjoy with rack of lamb, duck or Chateaubriand.
There are a few promising Bordeaux in our snack bracket this release.
The Château Breillan 2018 (Merlot/Cabernet Franc) VINTAGES#: 21093 $19.95 is scoring high 80’s around the web. It is intersting because it is a Right Bank blend produced on the Left Bank, described as easy and enjoyable with concentrated dark fruit and oak spice.
For a few dollars more …
Clos Bel-Air 2016 VINTAGES#: 633040 $22.95 Bordeaux, France you will get a more sophisticated pour. David Lawrason of winealign.com, among others, is putting this solidly in the 90 point range. Expect ripe dark fruit, some chocolate notes and classic cedary spice. Tannins were still firm when tasted in 2020 but another year will have softened them somewhat and a further year might also see some evolvement. Enjoy with tenderloin, beef bourguignon or mature cheeses.
For a few dollars more…
For a treat compare the Clos Bel-Air, from a satellite Saint- Emilion appelation, to the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Château Capet Duverger 2016 VINTAGES#: 21084 $32.95. It would be fairer to compare Saint-Emilion Grand Cru to a Saint-Emilion (not a satellite site) but… it is still a good chance to experience the difference in quality and price.
Expect Château Capet Duverger 2016 to be a dense wine with firm tannins, black fruit and well balanced acidity, according to Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast who gives it a 91. (Gift alert!)
Want to experience a semblance of the magic associated with famed Caymus winemaking family? While not in the iconic stratosphere, you can still benefit from the winemaking expertise with the Sea Sun Pinot Noir 2019 VINTAGES#: 16027 $ 24.95. Scoring in the 90 point range you can expect vibrant, crisp berry fruit with earthy complexity. Enjoy with lamb, roast beef or Parmesan French Toast With Mushroom Fricasée.
Want an iconic Canadian wine for your cellar or gift list? Henry Of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2019 VINTAGES#: 657874 $34.95 Ontario- Canadian critics are giving this a solid 90-92s, along with a 90 from National Wine Awards of Canada 2021 and Decanter World Wine Awards – with the admonition to give some cellar time. Try it in now but expect it to evolve for the next couple of years in the cellar. Expect generous wild berries, cherries, spice and tangy cranberry and the promise of finesse on a long finish.