The Oct 7 2023 LCBO Vintages Release a few interesting choices, including a Super Tuscan <$40.
I am not sure what is going on at the LCBO... the reds far outweigh the whites again in this release. To make it worse, the wines of the Classic European Regions being featured are hardly the best they have to offer. Many price tags clock in at well over $50 for a featured wine. Nice if you are in that snack bracket...
There are only 35 whites in the release period, 30 under $40. Of the 30 some are from obscure regions, German whites are over-represented and how many of the remaining are good value? The number gets smaller and smaller. Even the reasonably priced regional suggestions are only scoring 88 ish.
There are still some worthy of consideration. If you see something you like -stock up because as Christmas New Year's approach the good value category gets even more restricted.
VITO CURATOLO ARINI 5 ANNI SUPERIORE DOLCE MARSALA Sicily, Italy Vintages # 553990 $27.95 I am going to be picking one of these up. In a glass it is like an aged Sherry or sweet wine. I confess I use it mostly in cooking. This is getting a 92 from David Lawrason of winealign.com. He describes aromas of apricot jam, honey, almond/pistachio with an earthy 'burlap' note. It is 18% alcohol, creamy and smooth with excellent length. Serve lightly chilled with a charcuterie of dried apricots and strong cheeses and chocolate. Or put it to work in Mushroom Marsala Risotto or Make Ahead Turkey Marsala Gravy. (S - 112 g/L)
CAVE SPRING SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2017 Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada Vintages # 415901 $24.95 (375 mL) You could serve this with the charcuterie board mentioned above or serve it for dessert with Peach Pie. It gets a 93 from Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast who describes ' Peach, apricot and ripe nectarine fruit flavors
abound, with a drip of honey.' (S - 96 g/L)
ZONIN BRUT ROSÉ PROSECCO Italy Vintages #34533 $17.95 This Rosé Prosecco is made from Glera and Pinot Noir and is a good ambassador for the new Rosé style introduced in 2020. Look for lively floral and fruity notes. The palate is showing red berry, apple, strawberry and a touch of almond. (XD - 13 g/L)
CAVE DE LUGNY CUVÉE MILLÉSIMÉE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE 2017 Vintages #183764 $28.95 Burgundy, France. I gave the 2014 of this a 91 and I would expect this vintage to be of similar quality. An 80:20 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from old vines vines; Vintages notes say it is rich and vibrant. Some floral notes with apple, pear a hints of nut on the palate. Serve it with your turkey or appetizers like Apple Cheddar Tarts.(D - 11 g/L)
DONATIEN BAHUAUD SECRET DES VIGNES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 Val de Loire, France Vintages #29816 $18.95 This is as close to a Sancerre as I am going to get right now! I will be stocking up on this one! Vintages notes say it has an aromatic nose with excellent balance and freshness. Look for 'bold' citrus and tropical notes over herbal notes. Character, depth, and minerality. Can't ask for much more than that in an SB! (XD - 0 g/L)
ME BY MATAHIWI ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Wairarapa, North Island, NZ Vintages #32550 $18.95 This gets a 92 from Cameron Douglas, MS of camdouglasms.com. Look for fresh apple, citrus and hints of white fleshed stone fruits on the nose. It is crisp and dry with a delicate savoury herbs and gentle spice on the finish. (XD - 2 g/L)
COLIO RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2020 Niagara Peninsula, ON Canada Vintages #32024 $19.95 This scored Double Gold at the All Canadian Wine Championships, 2022 , tasted blind. This was a warm vintange and it shows here. It is rich showing vanilla, honey, apple, pear and creamy notes. Try it with this rich Brioche Stuffing in your turkey. (XD - 3 g/L)
PETER DRAYTON WILDSTREAK CHARDONNAY 2022 Hunter Valley, New South Wales Australia Vintages #33748 $24.95 Another rich Chardonnay with aromas of ripe apricot, fig, nougat, brioche and roasted cashew . The palate has excellent weight and is showing rich fruit flavours with a long, elegant finish. 'Composed and harmonious'. Score - 94 Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz,.(XD - 8 g/L)
NIVARIUS LIMITED EDITION BLANCO 2018 Rioja, Spain Vintages #15591 $27.95 This
wine is creating a buzz around the world! Especially after Sarah Jane Evans, MW of decanter.com gave it a 95! Everyone has it pegged in the low 90s at least. This is a blend featuring 70% of Rioja's signature white Viura grape from 80 year old vines ! Sarahs note: "It has an attractively fresh, dancing palate with a fine mineral character beneath it. Very long." (XD - 2 g/L)
The cheap and cheerful red selection this release is:
MICHELE CHIARLO LE ORME BARBERA D'ASTI 2020 Italy Vintages #265413 $15.95 While the 94 rating is an outlier this is a perennial favourite for Best Buy fans. Look for aromas of wild berries and fresh herbs on the nose and red berries framed by 'elegant and fine taninns' on the palate. Drink now through 2026. BTW - I am stocking up on this one! (XD - 4 g/L)
VALCARLOS FORTIUS RESERVA 2016 Navarra, Spain Vintages # 30230 $17.95 This blend of 90% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is scoring low 90s across the board! Look for cassis and wood spice on the nose. Subtle fruit on the palate with well integrated oak and moderate tannins. A 'beautiful wine with a long, silky finish'. Score - 95 (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021) (XD - 3 g/L)
THE VELVET DEVIL MERLOT 2021 Washington, USA Vintages # 394742 $19.95 This is a crowd pleaser with plush dark fruit, herb, cedar and oak spice. I bet some of you won't be able to resist serving this at Hallowe'en (with burgers or pizza!) (XD - 6 g/L)
WAPISA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 San Javier, Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina Vintages #10970 $19.95 This is being well received among critics. James Suckling gives it a 94 and describes aromas of cassis with a bit of tobacco, pine and nuts. It is velvety with dense fruit and a long finish. (XD - 3 g/L)
CHAKANA FINCA LOS CEDROS MALBEC 2020 Paraje Altamira, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina Vintages #32142 $20.95 This is scoring consistently in the low 90s. The 'Paraje' designation above means a specific parcel of a wine region has been recognized for its own terroir etc. So a sign of quality in general. This one is ' Floral, detailed and well-balanced, with granular tannins, vanilla and coffee bean, oak and focused dark berry fruit ' according to timatkin.com who gives it a 93. (XD - 0 g/L) If you can't find this one look for CATENA PARAJE ALTAMIRA MALBEC 2021 Vintages # 492413 $22.95.
THE HEDONIST SHIRAZ 2018 McLaren Vale, South Australia Vintages # 90191 $22.95 Decanter World Wine Awards, 2020 gives this a 95 and describes it as inky with eucalyptus, liquorice and blueberry on the nose leading to a palate showing earthy dried herb, rich chocolate and graceful tannins. (XD - 3 g/L)
CHÂTEAU BOURDIEU NO.1 2019 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux, France Vintages # 18691 $22.95 This gets a 95 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2020 who describe it as 'lovely stuff'. Look for pure plum with underlying vanilla and oak. 'Deep and long, the palate reveals a cascade of fleshy black fruits over ripe, fine-grained tannins and fruit-bonded acidity.' (XD - 3 g/L)
J. LOHR HILLTOP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Paso Robles, California USA Vintages #20757 $25.95 This is turning out to be a crowd pleaser among critics, scoring low 90s consistently. Bold and smooth look for cassis with hints of chocolate and some herbs.
(XD - 2 g/L)
If you are in the mood for a classic NZ Pinot Noir (and aren't we all sometime?) Check out :
ASTROLABE MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR 2019 Marlborough, South Island, NZ Vintages # 538918 $31.95 This gets a 94 from Cameron Douglas, MS of camdouglasms.com. He describes a fruity bouquet with dark cherry and plum with hints of spice and vanilla. Medium bodied and fruity, look for more dark berries, wood spices and some toasty barrel. This could be your turkey wine for red wine lovers. (XD - 2 g/L)
GUADO AL TASSO IL BRUCIATO 2021 Bolgheri , Tuscany, Italy Vintages #674135 $39.95 From the home of the 'Super Tuscans', critics are raving about this one. You won't see many chances to experience a high scoring Bolgheri at this price... look for red and black cherry on the nose with oak, vanilla and some salty red liquorice. The palate is silky with intense cherry cassis, cedar and spice. Enjoy now through 2033. Score - 94