The Oct 22 2022 LCBO Vintages Release has Riesling and Chardonnay opportunities in particular.
But it doesn’t stop there. Some bubbly, dessert wine and a variety of reds from Italy, France, Australia and Spain are showing well.
Cave Spring Select Late Harvest Riesling 2017 Ontario, Canada $24.95 LCBO#: 415901. This is a 375 ml bottle but it’s a great chance to experience an amazing dessert wine. Not quite in the Ice Wine camp, the grapes are left to dry on the vine to increase the sugar content. This is scoring 93-95 among critics who all cite peach, apricot and honey tones. Pair with a flan or Peach Crisp with Caramel and Almonds for a dessert experience. But this would also pair with a charcuterie of dried apricots, nuts, foie gras, blue cheese, pecorino drizzled with honey etc. Give yourself a treat this Christmas!
Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut Cava Penedès, Spain $24.95 LCBO#: 392548 This is the premium offering of the Freixnet line and a perennial favourite. It scores 89-92 year after year. Well balanced with good length, look for citrus, bready notes and some subtle minerality. Enjoy as a welcome cocktail or with pastry appetizers.
Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Écusson Brut Sparkling Luxembourg, $25.95 LCBO#: 21863. Luxembourg, in case you never thought about it before, is a great source of dry white or sparkling wines. It will be fresh and light with citrus and ripe apple tones. It is well balanced and scoring 90 consistently. It is in a gift pack though so -if you are in the market for a couple of Sparkling wine glasses along with your bubbly or a respectable gift you are good to go here!
Bougrier Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2020 Loire, France $15.95 LCBO#: 24610 At the risk of sounding like the Melon de Bourgogne marketing board – I am always happy to see a Muscadet–Sevre et Maine in the line up. Won’t knock your socks off or win Golds but if you are looking for a well made, well balanced light to medium bodied white to go with lunch or afternoon appetizers it is hard to go wrong here. Look for citrus and pear with underlying salinity and vibrant acidity. Enjoy it with Creamy Shrimp Tarte or Apple Cheddar tarts.
Zenato San Benedetto Lugana 2021 Veneto, Italy $19.95 LCBO#: 707158. Turbiana is an underated varietal IMHO. This one is scoring in the 89/90 range. Round and fruity with good weight it makes a delicious lunch partner with creamy pasta, seafood or poultry. Look for white flower and citrus aromatics and ripe apple, pear, hebs and minerality on the palate.
Charles Baker Riesling 2019 Ontario, Canada $19.95 LCBO#: 20373 This off-dry Riesling gets a 91 from Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast, who describe ‘ripe flavors of peach and other stone fruits, with a slightly grainy texture’. This would be a great candidate for a charcuterie board of soft cheeses, apricots and almonds or a Thai shrimp entrée.
Contrast that with Organized Crime Wild Ferment Riesling 2019 Ontario, Canada $20.95 LCBO#: 11952 that scored 92 and won Gold at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada. The wild ferment and aging in large cask oak gives this some atypical Riesling characteristics but ultimately results in unexpected complexity and quality. Look for stone fruits, apple, pear, hints of coconut and saliva-inducing acidity. Crisp and concentrated, with great tension all agree this is great value at the price.
Soho Stella Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Marlborough, New Zealand $22.95 LCBO#: 554311 is getting high praise among critics. All note refreshing acidity, citrus and exotic fruit and floral notes. Concentrated with a ‘Super long and delicious’ finish. Enjoy with Orange Roughy with Mango Lime Salsa.
Burgundian Chardonnays to suit every budget on offer this release:
Mallory & Benjamin Talmard Mâcon-Uchizy 2021 $18.95 LCBO#: 733956. ‘… classically styled, gorgeously crafted’ ; this is an unoaked Chardonnay expessing ripe and pure fruit, with citrus, spice, and finely expressed minerality. Try it with your holiday turkey or Ginger Crusted Roast Pork with Maple Mustard Sauce.
William Fèvre Champs Royaux Chablis 2019 $32.95 LCBO#: 461640. This is scoring in the 90-92 range. A Classic Chablis with green pear, lemon and tangerine over a seam of minerality. Dry, medium bodied with a long, herbal chalky finish. Enjoy with oysters on the half shell.
Domaine Les Vieux Murs Pouilly-Fuissé 2020 $33.95 LCBO#: 241117 is scoring 89-92 range. Lower on the Pouilly-Fuissé complexity scale than some but nonetheless it is recognized as a concentrated and elegant wine and ultimately good value. Look for an intense mineral and citrus character with nutty, buttery flavours. This is my favourite turkey wine!
Château Moulin des Richards Signature Côtes de Bourg 2018 Bordeaux, France $18.95 LCBO#: 26291. This gets a 92 from Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast who calls it dense and layered with rich fruit. Still a bit young, drink from 2022-2026. Perfect for Sirloin Top Roast With Bordelaise Sauce.
Famille Perrin Les Cornuds Vinsobres 2019 Rhône, France $18.95 LCBO#: 566844. Vinsobres was elevated to cru status from one of the 16 named villages in the AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages in 2006. James Molesworth of winespectator.com gives this a 92 and describes it as ‘Ripe, silky and refined’. Look for black cherry and blackberry puree flavors with some minerality on the finish. Enjoy with Crispy Duck with Cherry Port Sauce now and over the next 3-4 years.
Tezza Ma Roat Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2019 Veneto, Italy $18.95 LCBO#: 84053. Lots of cherry and vanilla being reported on this one along with some black pepper and licorice flavours. LCBO notes indicate good balance and presence. It’s hard to go wrong with a Ripasso, having passed over the remains of the dried Amarone grapes for extra depth and flavour. Enjoy with Baking Steel Pizza.
If you can’t find the above, Pagus Bisano Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2018 $19.95 LCBO#: 536748 will be of similar character and quality.
Schild Estate Grenache/Mourvèdre/Shiraz 2018 South Australia, Australia $19.95 LCBO# 108183. Schild is a proven winner for consistent quality. This gets a 93 from tastingpanelmag.com who describe a chocolate-cherry nose with ripe cherry, plum and hits of white pepper on the palate.
Kilikanoon Killerman’s Run Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 South Australia, Australia $19.95 LCBO#: 675223. Another perennial Australian favourite. Jeni Port of winecompanion.com.au gives it a 93 and calls it without pretense but all pleasure.
Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2019 Mendoza, Argentina $21.95 LCBO#: 79798. This Malbec is fresh, fruity and silky with dark berries, plum, spice and smoky vanilla flavours on the palate. Scoring firmly in the 92-94 range among critics. Enjoy with Lamb Ragù .
If you can ‘t find the above, La Luz Callejon del Crimen Gran Reserva Malbec 2017 $23.95 LCBO#: 24859 is scoring 91-92 and will be another good choice.
Balbás 18 Crianza 2016 Ribera del Duero, Spain $22.95 LCBO#: 437673. This old vine Tempranillo s scoring 92-93 consistently. Look for cherry, leather, cocoa and a hint of smoke. A classic!
Conde Valdemar Reserva 2015 Rioja, Spain $23.95 LCBO#: 947309. A little higher on the Rioja scale, Reservas are aged a minimum of 3 years before release, adding complexity over the Crianzas. This one is solidly in the low 90s now and will continue to evolve over the next few years. Look for smoke and oak to dominate with dark fruit and hints of savoury balsamic underneath.
Thirty Bench Winemaker’s Blend Cabernet Franc 2020 Ontario, Canada $24.95 LCBO#: 30073. Decanter World Wine Awards, 2022 give this a 91 and describe ‘ Savoury aromas of pencil shavings, herb and vanilla lead to a palate of seamless tannins and defined red fruit. An Ontario specialty to enjoy with Sweet and Sour Braised Short Ribs.
Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria 2019 Puglia, Italy $57.95 LCBO#: 27974. Another gift-type offering at 1500 ml. This is a great, smooth drinking, substantial wine. Look for lots of fruit and spicy notes. Alessandra Piubello of decanter.com gives it a 90 and describes ‘rich, voluptuous palate with good length.’ So – if you are a fan or looking for party quantities this is a good bet.