Buckle up! The Nov 5 2022 LCBO Vintages Release is full of fun things!
Vito Curatolo Arini 5 Anni Superiore Dolce Marsala Sicily, Italy $18.95 VINTAGES#: 553990. If you are a fan of sweet wines like Vin Santo or Tawny Port then this Marsala will be of interest to you. This is not your cooking wine. Look for dried fruit, toffee, and roasted almonds. Enjoy with nuts, dried apricots or Cannolis.
Southbrook Canadian Framboise Ontario Canada $19.95 VINTAGES#: 341024. This is like summer in a glass! It won Silver at the 2019 National Wine Awards of Canada. Pure raspberrry in a glass! For a match made in heaven serve it with this Meringue Christmas Tree with Raspberry Coulis.
Undurraga Titillum Blanc de Noirs 2015 Valley de Leyda, Chile $19.95 VINTAGES#: 23451. You may not think of Chile and Sparkling wine but they have a surprisingly long history of producing good Sparkling wine. This Pinot Noir is traditional method, fermented in barrels and spent 45 months on the lees. It gets a 95 from Tim Atkin of timatkin.com. Fresh, rich, savoury and complex- look for wild strawberrry and toast.
Albino Armani Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore $18.95 VINTAGES#: 16602. This gets a 91 from Othmar Kiem & Simon Staffler of falstaff.com. Look for a floral nose with a fruity palate, rose tones and a lovely mouthfeel. Fine, persistent mousse are another nod to quality here.
Graham Beck Brut Sparkling $22.95 VINTAGES#: 593483. South Africa does traditional method very well and this is no exception. This Chard/Pinot blend gets a 90 from David Lawrason of winealign.com. He describes tropical peach, wet stones and yeasty autolytics. While not the most complex it is well made with good acidity and good length. Enjoy with holiday appetizers or brunch.
The last time Cattin Pinot Gris 2019 Alsace, France $14.95 VINTAGES#: 25369 (off dry) came to market I wish I had stock piled more. It was surprisingly vibrant and well made for the price. I am hoping this vintage will be the same. Look for aromatic white fruit, orange blossom and licorice. It won Gold at the Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge, 2020 who praise its ‘beautiful freshness, sweetness and persistence.’
I’ll be stocking up on Domaine la Bazillère Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2020 Loire, France $14.95 VINTAGES#: 12009 to go with holiday meals of turkey or lobster or scallops. Notes from Concours des Vins du Val de Loire, 2021 (where it won Gold) cite ‘Fresh on the entry, the wine offers a fleshy mouthfeel, good volume and a seductive silkiness, all balanced by freshness, as well as flavours of lemon, eucalyptus and honey that linger through the long and crunchy finish. A superb Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie.’
Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2021 Stellenbosch, South Africa $15.95 VINTAGES#: 698274. South Africa’s signature white grape here gets a 90 from Alison Napjus of winespectator.com. She describes honeysuckle, green almond, passion fruit and blood orange notes. Mouthwatering with a salty finish. Enjoy with calamari or white fish.
Another Loire great value wine is J. de Villebois Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2020 $16.95 VINTAGES#: 24609. It gets a 94 from Rod Phillips who describes it as ‘elegant and delicious’. It is slightly textured, fruity with fresh, clean acidity. It’s a Sancerre wannabe at a fraction of the price.
Trius Distinction Barrel Fermented Chardonnay $19.95 LCBO#: 251470 Treat yourself to this Gold Medal winner from the All Canadian Wine Championships 2022. What a great price to to be able to access an award winning Ontario Chardonnay. According to Rick Van Sickle of Wines in Niagara, ‘mouthfeel is slightly rich and round with refreshing acidity and flavours of tropical fruit, melon, pear, spice, oak, and butter. The lingering finish shows notes of grilled lemon, lime, green apple, and toasty oak.’ Enjoy with your holiday turkey or Ginger Crusted Roast Pork with Maple Mustard Sauce.
Mohua Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Marlborough, New Zealand $19.95 VINTAGES#: 536219. A classic NZ Sauvignon Blanc here with pink grapefruit, citrus, flowers and fresh herbs. It gets a 92 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2022.
Miguel Torres Andica Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 $17.00 VINTAGES#: 25933. For a solid sipper… look no further. This is a ‘robust, balanced red … with integrated red and black fruit, herbs, spice and characteristic power of the vintage.’ Enjoy with stew or roast beef.
Enrique Mendoza La Tremenda Monastrell 2018 Alicante, Spain $17.95 VINTAGES#: 490011 gets a 92 from Luis Gutiérrez of robertparker.com who says ‘very good freshness, with less concentration but terrific balance and definition, quite fruit-driven but with complexity and depth. It’s approachable, really good for an entry level and amazing for the price. ‘
Perez Cruz Grenache 2020 $17.95 VINTAGES#: 25645. Perez Cruz is another reliable producer from Chile. This Grenache dominant blend has Syrah and Mourvedre shoring it up. Look for easy-drinking, fresh, fun with juicy red cherry. Enjoy with burgers or pizza.
Château Mayne-Vieil 2016 Bordeaux, France $19.95 VINTAGES#: 14469 gets 90 from John Szabo of winealign.com. 100% Merlot. He calls it Exceptional Value and says ‘It offers exceptional depth and density of dark fruit, with small yields evident in the sheer extract and concentration. I love the generous, mouth filling texture allied to abundant, ripe tannins, thick and velvety, containing the dark fruit. Very good to excellent length.’ Enjoy with roast beef with Bordelaise Sauce.
Breca Old Vines Garnacha 2019 Calatayud, Spain $19.95 VINTAGES#: 329086 gets 93 from Jeb Dunnuck who describes it as ‘loaded with spicy red and black fruits as well as sandalwood, dried flowers, herbes de Provence and some chalky mineral-like nuances. ‘Beautiful on the palate… elegant, balanced and straight-up gorgeous’. Go back and check that $19.95 price again… and stock up!
Knappstein Clare Valley Shiraz 2019 Clare Valley South Australia, $19.95 VINTAGES#: 24980. This is a generous ‘approachable’ Shiraz with lots of floral dark fruit and spicy notes. Silky and smooth – you can enjoy this now or over the next 5 years. Pair with a juicy steak.
Invivo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2020 Central Otago, NZ $27.95 VINTAGES#: 466029. When anyone on the Wine Align team hands out a score in the mid 90s I sit up and pay attention! This gets a 94 from David Lawrason who describes it is as ‘exuberant’ with great complexity, red fruit, forest berry and Asian spice. Generous and juicy, ‘awash with fruit’ and with excellent length. When you consider the price of a mediocre wine on a restaurant menu – grab a couple of these for date night at home!
Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Margaret River, Western Australia $27.95 VINTAGES#: 559872 This gets a 95 from James Halliday of winecompanion.com.au who praises the ultra-fragrant bouquet and juicy palate. The structure is of note as is, the finish. In his Top 100 Wines of 2021. Enjoy with roast beef or flank steak.
Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2017 Tuscany, Italy $29.95 VINTAGES#: 47118 gets a 90 from Bruce Sanderson of winespectator.com. He describes smoky raspberry, rosemary and tar flavours and a persistent finish. Enjoy with Osso Buco.
Bachelder les Villages Bench Pinot Noir 2020 $34.95 VINTAGES#: 11582 This is getting high praise from many quarters, including a 92 from Sara d’Amato of winealign.com. She calls it a ‘poised, balanced and very complete pinot noir with elegant fruit-derived spice and ballerina-esque poise and grace. Features fine-grained tannins and great length. ‘ Enjoy with rack of lamb or duck.