The Sept 24 2022 LCBO Vintages Release is dominated by good value red wines.
Good value white wines were somewhat scarce. Many Chardonnays are priced in the stratosphere and those in the $25-$35 range will be solid but scoring 88/89 ish- so the value quotient is questionable.
I am going to issue my annual reminder that as of now the Vintages Release will start to feature more and more premium wines as we approach Christmas and New Year. Good news for collectors and aficionados! However – it is smart to start thinking ahead and stocking up on good value wines that you will be thankful to have on hand when you are entertaining of celebrating over the next few months.
Labouré-Gontard Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne Burgundy, France $21.95 LCBO#: 460816. Made in the traditional method of Champagne this will be a well crafted rosé. The red fruit, savoury herbs and bread-y notes make it a good candidate for pairing with your Thanksgiving meal, pastry appetizers or salmon on the menu.
Miguel Torres Ándica Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Valle de Curicó, Chile $16.95 LCBO#: 25641. Chile has ideal conditions for Sauvignon Blanc so add in the Torres winemaking expertise and you won’t be disappointed. This is on the milder, gooseberry end of the Sauv Blanc spectrum but well balanced. It gets a 90 from Michael Godel of winealign.com. Could be a contender for your holiday turkey.
Fabrègues Sélection Picpoul de Pinet 2021 Languedoc, France $16.95 LCBO#: 18794 If you are a fan of the Loire’s Muscadet or Portugal’s Vinho Verde then this may be an option for you. The 2020 scored 90ish among respected critics who described it as a zesty, citrusy pour, well made with good length. Hopefully 2021 will follow suit. Enjoy with Creamy Seafood Pasta or light chicken dishes.
Kew Marsanne/Viognier 2018 Ontario, Canada $19.95 LCBO#: 485334 This Ontario blend consistently scores 90 and is recognized as good value. Look for pear, and white flowers with hints of underlying butterscotch. Good acidity, length and depth. Try it with homemade Chicken Pot Pie.
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2021 Rhone, France $19.95 VINTAGES#: 290296 This Viognier (60%), Roussanne, Marsanne blend is getting solid reviews among various critics. Look for stone fruits, mineral notes and floral hints. This will be another contender for turkey, seafood or pork.
Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2019 Ontario, Canada $24.95 LCBO#: 183491. This has scored low 90s the two previous vintages. Look for stone fruit, honeysuckle and underlying minerality. Off-dry the residual sugar is nicely balanced with crisp acidity. Another turkey contender….
Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir 2020 Aconcagua Costa, Chile $15.95 LCBO#: 37937 is getting respectable high 80s/low 90 scores. Notes call is fresh with red fruit with smokey oak underpinnings. Good value and approachable.
Domaine Forca Real Schistes Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2018, Midi, France $16.95 VINTAGES#: 494161. This little GSM blend gets a 91 from Gillian Sciaretta of winespectator.com. She describes it as concentrated and graceful with ripe currant and cherry aromas. A savoury palate with baking spice and some minerality. Enjoy with burgers or Montreal Spice Lamb Chops.
Domaine de La Madone Le Perréon Beaujolais-Villages 2020 Beaujolais, France $17.95 VINTAGES#: 981175. This gets a 92 from William Keller of robertparker.com who describes aromas of pure cherry, raspberry, plums and peonies. A medium to full -bodied pour with core fruit and supple tannins. This would be great with Duck Breast with Cherry Port Sauce.
Viberti La Gemella Barbera d’Alba 2019 Alba, Italy $18.95 VINTAGES#: 632372 gets a 90 from Bruce Sanderson of winespectator.com. He describes it as fresh with cherry, plum and tamarind and a long finish. A Smart Buy… enjoy with Eggplant Parmigiana or roasted portabellos.
Two good bets from Argentina, both from Uco Valley – Sophenia Estate Reserva Malbec 2019 $19.95 VINTAGES#: 66837 gets a 95 from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2021, who describe it as complex with rich black cherry, smokey oak and a lengthy finish. Susana Balbo Críos Malbec 2020 $16.95 VINTAGES#: 162529 gets a 92 from James Suckling who describes it as ‘delightful’ with cherry and tar with light tannins and a ‘fruity’ finish.
Two good value Chianti Classico choices this release- both scoring 92. Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico 2016 $21.95 VINTAGES#: 85209 is ‘loaded with personality’ according to Antonio Galloni of vinous.com. He calls it nuanced and describes silky tannins and bright acidity as part of its appeal. Vignole Chianti Classico 2018 $19.95 LCBO#: 17404 is expressive with sour cherry, cocoa and black tea aromas. A juicy palate with good acidity and ripe red fruit winds up with an ‘elegant’ finish according to Othmar Kiem & Simon Staffler of falstaff.com.
Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Clare Valley, Australia $19.95 LCBO#: 744235. A perrennial favourite, this one gets a 94 from tasting.com who call it a Best Buy and cite accolades from Top 10 under $20 lists and World Value Wine Challenge. Look for herbal aromas with a complex meaty palate of black cherry, olive and herbs. Big wine, big tannins – plan to enjoy with food such as steak, stews or charcuterie.
Three of Hearts Pinot Noir 2020 Niagara Peninsula, Canada $21.95 LCBO#: 26109. This gets a 90 from Rick VanSickle of winesinniagara.com. He describes earthy dark fruit -raspberry plum, cherry on the nose and earthy red berries and some savoury anise and spice on the palate. This could be the Thanksgiving wine for red lovers.
Licenciado Reserva 2016 Rioja, Spain $22.95 VINTAGES#: 370023 gets a 95 from Decanter.com. Sarah Jane Evans says it is ‘distinctly pure’ and precise with well balanced oak. Pierre Mansour calls it ‘classy’ and ‘effortless’ ; round and generous with spicy black fruit. I might be stocking up on this one…..
Cune Reserva 2017 Rioja, Spain $21.95 VINTAGES#: 417659. Enjoy this one 2023-2028. James Suckling gives it 93 and describes aromas of blackberries, cherries and orange peel. The palate is layered and powerful with intense chewy tannins. Look forward to it with steak or stew or old cheeses.