There is something for everyone in the Oct 8 2022 LCBO Vintages Release.
Good News! The LCBO appears to have abandoned its on-line only, bi-monthly release that was almost exclusively premium wines at premium+ prices. We are back to 100+ wines covering a broad spectrum of quality and price. There is something for everyone in this release be it – Sparkling, White or Red in all prices ranges.
Offley 10-Year-Old Tawny Port $26.95 VINTAGES#: 297788 You don’t see a Tawny Port in every release and in-store selection at any given time might be sparse. Decanter.com rated an earlier release of this 90 points and since Ports are made to be consistent year over year you could expect similar quality here. At this price, it is cheaper than many of lesser quality I saw in Portugal itself! It has all the classic Tawny characteristics – fig, date, raisin leading to a rich, caramel-toned finish. Decanter review says ‘Not especially complex, but pleasurable and uniform. Port lovers take heed.
PS- great gift opportunity!
Le Contesse Brut Prosecco Italy $16.95 LCBO#: 516583 Vic Harradine of winecurrent says this over-delivers with nectarine, pear and apple notes along with citrus to give it some ‘tang’. Fine mousse for a nice mouthfeel rounds it out. Enjoy this exceptional value with brunch or appetizers. It could also be a contender for your holiday turkey.
Améthyste Brut Crémant de Bordeaux France $16.95 LCBO#: 19031 This is a Cab Franc/Merlot blend that Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast rated 90 in a previous release. Again non-vintage Sparkling wines are designed to remain consistent from year to year. He described it as ‘ripe and fruity, with a creamy character … ( and) richness and depth of flavor. ‘ If you are a fan of red sparkling this would be a good bet.
Domaine Allimant-Laugner Brut Crémant d’Alsace France $23.95 LCBO#: 30593 Traditionalists will want to look for this one that Anne Krebiehl, MW, of Wine Enthusiast gives 91. She describes lots of red apple tones with some citrus for tang, lovely and elegant with enough depth to take you through appetizers or dinner. Another party or holiday dinner contender!
Siegel Special Reserve Viognier 2021 Chile $16.95 VINTAGES#: 13429 This is getting scores ranging from 88-91 among critics. Look for aromas of apricots, oranges and roasted nuts. This is medium to full-bodied with a round texture along with some spice. If you are looking for an alternative to Chardonnay this would work. Probably best with food. Try it with Chicken in Vinegar Sauce.
Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2021 $16.95 LCBO#: 394759 Washington, USA Fans of off-dry Riesling will appreciate this. This is an easy drinking crowd pleaser that seems to have quite an on-line fan base. Look for fairly intense aromatics of citrus, some petrol and spice. Palate has good acidity and balance. Enjoy on its own or with Asian dishes, shrimp or Brie.
Pfaff Cuvée Jupiter Riesling 2020 Alsace, France $18.95 VINTAGES#: 25384 Every vintage of this gets solid ratings in the 90-92 range. Anne Krebiehl, MW, of Wine Enthusiast gives this a 90 and describes a vivid palate with subtle apple, citrus highlights and a clean, dry finish. Sounds like classic Aslace. Enjoy with Oktoberfest Schnitzel or poultry.
Thelema Sauvignon Blanc 2020 $16.95 LCBO#: 24245 This is getting enthusiastic reviews around the web! It rated Silver in Platter’s South African Wine Guide, 2021. They describe citrus with a mineral core, tangy acidity, ‘focus & startling length’. South Africa has all the right conditions for Sauvignon Blanc- lucky for us! Enjoy with Warm Goat Cheese Salad.
LaCheteau Les Cimes Haut Poitou Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Loire, France $17.95 LCBO#: 10632. Full disclosure – I have a soft spot for Haut Poitou Sauvignon Blancs. The climate has ocean influences but is a bit drier and cooler than nearby Touraine. The wines are well balanced and well integrated. Look for interplay of grapefruit, subtle white flowers, vegetal notes and minerality in classic French style. Enjoy with white fish or soft cheeses.
Mission Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Marlborough, NZ $19.95 LCBO#: 17586 If you are looking for the typical more agressive NZ style SB then consider this one. James Suckling gives it a 90 and describes green and citrus aromas with that carry to the palate along with some slate/stone characteristics.
Schreckbichl Colterenzio Pinot Grigio 2020 Alto Adige, Italy $19.95 LCBO#: 293399 Pinot Grigio fans looking for ‘a cut above’ will be interested in this. Monica Larner of robertparker.com gives it a 90 and describes lime, kiwi and a hint of sweet straw with a ‘touch of extra complexity and tonic freshness that comes easily to the high-altitude wines of the Italian Dolomites.’ Enjoy with Firecracker Shrimp Canapés or Garlic Goat Cheese Soufflé.
Pierre Sparr Grande Réserve Gewurztraminer 2020 Alsace, France $20.95 LCBO#: 747600 This is scoring 89-92 among respected reviewers who seem to agree every vintage is a home run. All the aromatics expected of a Gewurtz – honey, lychee, peach, flowers present and they carry over to an elegant (off-dry) palate. Enjoy with Thai Shrimp Bisque or curries.
Chardonnay fans have a couple to choose from:
Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2019 Niagara Peninsula, Canada $24.95 LCBO#: 149302 gets a 92 from Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. He describes a nose of apple, pear and caramel. The palate has baked apple and baking spices; is balanced with good acidity and persistence. Another turkey dinner candidate or serve with Cheddar Apple Tart appetizers.
Borne of Fire Chardonnay 2019 North Coast, California USA $24.95 LCBO#: 26511 Steve Thurlow of winealign.com gives this a 91 and describes a delicate nose with apple, melon and mild oak spice above a rich, juicy palate. It is elegant and focused with excellent length. Enjoy with Ginger Crusted Roast Pork with Maple Mustard Sauce.
Matané Primitivo 2020 Puglia, Italy $15.95 VINTAGES#: 434290 Great value here for the price. Easy drinking yet substantial. Look for lots of red fruit, hints of oak and chocolate and hints of earthiness. Enjoy with Eggplant Parmigiana or charcuterie.
Château Le Grand Retour Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2019 Rhône, France $16.95 LCBO#: 224592 Another great value in an easy drinking yet substantial wine. Scores range from 89-92. Look for plush, generous red fruit on the nose and palate along with notes of earthy pepper and spice. Enjoy it now or over the next couple of years with Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff.
Saint-Roch Vieilles Vignes Syrah/Grenache 2019 Roussillon, France $16.95 LCBO#: 195107 Jeb Dunnock gives this a 92 and describes it as ‘sexy on the palate’ with blackcurrants, smoked herbs, licorice. Enjoy with Pepper Steak.
Château de Tréviac Corbières 2019 Languedoc, France $17.95 LCBO#: 670505 This wine has consistently scored 90-92 in the past 5 years. Wine and Spirits Magazine call it a Best Buy and describe it as an ‘earthy wine’ with black cherry, raspberry and Mexican spices and chocolate. Enjoy this with a hearty stew.
El Pedrosal Crianza 2016 Ribera del Duero, Spain $18.95 LCBO#: 540070 This is getting consistent low 90s scores. It is described as elegant and well-balanced. Look for classic dark red fruits – black raspberry, cherry. Smooth with a persistent finish. Enjoy with Tapas.
Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2019 Mendoza, Argentina $19.95 LCBO#: 50849 Kaiken is always good value but when it’s Kaiken Ultra, well, you’re in for a real treat! This gets a 94 from James Suckling who describes it as ‘gorgeous’ with generous blue fruit on the nose and palate. Lots of structure here with firm but powdery tannins. This one is crying out for a good steak!
Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2019 Mendoza, Argentina $22.95 VINTAGES#: 450106 Cab Franc is often called the ‘next up and coming darling’ of red wines. It is a blending workhorse that lends fruit, spice and structure to mix. On its own it can have knee-buckling rich aromatics and a fruity medium-bodied palate. Look for raspberry, some vegetal bell pepper notes and some minerality. Tannins and acid tend toward the high end. Luis Gutiérrez of robertparker.com gives this one a 93 and says ‘It’s vibrant and lively, velvety and focused.’ Enjoy with food -charcuterie, stew, steak etc now through the next 4-5 years.
Miguel Torres Cordillera de los Andes Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Maipo Valley, Chile LCBO#: 541169 This is getting consistent mid 90 scores. Look for red berries, some herbal notes and hints of mint with notable tannins. You can enjoy this now but it will continue to evolve with a few years in the cellar. Try it with charcuterie or Wine Braised Oxtail Stew.
Famille Perrin Les Christins Vacqueyras 2019 Rhône, France $24.95 LCBO#: 973453 This classic Grenache/Syrah (75/25) blend is scoring highly among critics- low 90s – and bonus for us – this on the low end of the Vacqueyras price range! Look for blue and red fruit, hints of smoke and peppery spice finished off with a note chocolate. Enjoy with Beef Bourguignon.
Rapaura Springs Rohe Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2018 Marlborough, New Zealand $26.95 VINTAGES#: 25804 This is scoring mid 90s consistently among critics. This is on the lighter weight end of the Pinot Noir Spectrum. Look for classic cherry and roses on the nose and palate. Throw in a hint of forest floor earthiness for the full Pinot Noir experience. Enjoy with Montreal Spice Marinated Lamb Chops.
Carpineto Riserva Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2017 Tuscany, Italy $32.95 LCBO#: 368910. Here is a good place to consider spending your premiuim wine dollars. Scoring 92-95 among respected critics, this Sangiovese/Canaiolo 90/10 blend is powerful with excellent depth and length. Some suggestions that its complexity surpasses that of many Brunellos at much higher prices. Look for tart cherry on the nose and palate with peppery notes and enticing oak spice. Medium bodied with fine tannins. Decant for a couple of hours if drinking this year or next. Enjoy now through the next 10 years. (Great cellar opportunity to follow its evolution!) Consider lamb, beef or any classic Italian dish with tomato sauce.
Château Vincens Prestige Malbec/Merlot 2018 Cahors, France $18.95 LCBO#: 272427 This Malbec/Merlot blend 80/20 is scoring consistently 93/94 but it needs a few years to fully develop its charm. Described as rich with plum and raspberry and spicy oak and dense tannins. Drink from 2025 and enjoy with French Short Ribs.
Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2019 Tuscany, Italy $24.95 LCBO#: 288530 This is a great price for Chianti scoring in the low-mid 90s! This is a well-balanced, medium-bodied wine showing rich, dark ripe fruit with hints of oak and vanilla. Cellar for a couple of year and enjoy 2024- 2030 with steak or Braciole.