The Best and The Rest Jan 25, 2020 LCBO Vintages Release

Here are the highlights of the wines that I sampled at the media tasting for this LCBO Vintages Release.  This is based on the sub-set of wines Vintages put on offer for review.  The Best are the highest scoring based on my tasting experience. The Rest are the remaining wines I happened to review and include wines of interest and value.

France and Italy tend to be the stars of this release but there are some seriously good value wines from Australia and a number of wines under $20 that just missed the 90 point mark.

Jan 25th, 2020  LCBO Vintages Release

The Best


Château Vitallis Vieilles Vignes Pouilly-Fuissé 2010

VINTAGES#:  360495      $31.95  Burgundy, France

Admittedly I have a soft spot for Pouilly-Fuissé and this is a perfect example of why.  This old vine Pouilly-Fuissé is elegance in a glass from the rich, light smoky, oaky nose to the creamy, rich palate.   Beautiful balance and structure with a long delicious finish.   This is one to linger over.  Pair with lobster or prawns. Worth every penny at this price.   Tasted Jan 2020.   94

Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis 2017

VINTAGES#:  289371 $28.95 Burgundy, France This is more generous than some of the leaner  Chablis examples. Creamy lemon notes on the nose carry to the palate which is  fresh and lively.  All elements are in balance here – fruit, acid, weight adding up to an elegant, enjoyable Chardonnay. However it is the freshness on the palate that sets this wine apart and commands your attention.  Pair with lightly sauced chicken.    Tasted Jan 2020.    93

 Red Wines

Les Cailloux Châteauneuf-du-Pape

VINTAGES#:  12982  $65.95  France

The 2016 vintage in Châteauneuf du Pape is being compared to the ‘legendary’ 2010 and 1998 vintages thanks to optimal growing conditions allowing for concentration and depth of flavour. Les Cailloux is a beautifully balanced, elegant CdP example to be sure.  It is rich with aromas leaning toward the raisin, prune, fig end of the spectrum. The fruit on the palate is still fresh with delicious raspberry and spice notes.  Outstanding fruit, balance and structure make for a memorable pour.  Linger with this one over Chateaubriand for two.  Tasted Jan 2020.  93

Le Bignele Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

VINTAGES#:  11860 $48.95  Italy

This is an excellent Amarone example with generous dried fruit, smoke, and hints of meatiness on the nose.  Ample cherry and raspberry fruit on the palate with hits of spice add to the richness of the experience.  All things in harmony here makes for a highly enjoyable experience nose to lingering finish. Will pair nicely  with anything from  charcuterie to  ribs to chocolate.  Tasted Jan 2020.  93

Sidewood Stablemate Shiraz

VINTAGES#:  12846   $16.95  Australia

Smoke, leather and meat make for a big nose here. Full bodied and powerful at 14.5% ABV.  The palate is juicy,  fruity and balanced. Pleasing and approachable with a medium plus finish.  Pair with lamb shanks or ragu.   Excellent value. Tasted Jan 2020.   92

Quarisa Mrs. Q Cabernet Sauvignon

 VINTAGES#:  12844   $18.95  Coonawarra, South Australia

This Cab Sauv has a beautiful nose with layers of  mint, violet, red plum and cedar. The promise of the nose delivers nicely on the palate with more cedar-y mint notes over rich cassis and  bramble fruit.  Clean and nicely balanced with velvety tannins. Medium plus finish. Excellent value.  Pair with lamb, lamb and more lamb!   Tasted Jan 2020.  92

Luis Felipe Edwards Selección de Familia Gran Reserva Carmenère

VINTAGES#:  13431  $17.95 Colchagua Valley, Chile

I find  100%  Carmenère can sometimes be green and a bit harsh but  this Gran Reserva has hit the perfect balance of fruit, herbalness, structure and body. The distinctive green pepper notes of Carmenère float on the nose here over some meaty dried fruit notes. The palate is silky, spicy and smooth with juicy red plum very much in play.    A delight from start to finish.  Pair with duck confit or ragu.  Very good value.  Tasted Jan 2020.  91

St. Huberts The Stag Cabernet Sauvignon

VIINTAGES#:  13691  $24.95  North Coast, California, USA

This California North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon will appeal to a wide audience with its rich profile of black plum and spices. Nice balance and structure make it go down very easily! Dark fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg linger on the long finish. This is drinking beautifully at the moment.  Pair with beef bourguignon or pepper steak. Tasted Jan 2020.


Chatelain Les Charmes Pouilly-Fumé 2013

VINTAGES#:  727990  $27.95   Loire, France

Elegant and restrained, this Sauvignon Blanc delivers on the classic herbal minerality you want in a Sauvignon Blanc while stopping short of any excesses. A hint of oak treatment lends some body without overpowering any of the freshness. Nicely balanced with an impressive finish.  Pair with seafood, chicken or pork.  Tasted Jan 2020.  90

Oak Bay Gewürztraminer

VINTAGES#:  11814  $17.95  British Columbia, Canada

Well done St. Hubertus!  This grabs your attention right away with a delightfully aromatic nose that reminds you of spring violets, lilacs and apple blossoms. The palate is rich with slightly perfumed peachy tones, apple, lemon and hint of ginger. Quite a rich, complex pour.  Pair with Asian cuisine or soft cheeses.   Excellent value. Tasted Jan 2020.  90

La Mascota Extra Brut Rosé Sparkling

VINTAGES#:  11806  $19.95  Argentina

Welcome Argentina to world of sparkling wine!  This 100% Pinot Noir, made in the traditional method, is enticing with its pale, pink salmon colour, its lovely biscuit notes on the nose, its fine, effervescent mousse and the subtle  orchard apple on the palate.  Dry, nicely balanced and structured it ticks all the boxes.  It will please a wide audience and suit the most formal to most casual occasions.  Try with poached salmon or pastry appetizers.   Very good value. Tasted Jan 2020.  90

See Ya Later Ranch Major’s Block Red Blend

VINTAGES#:  11815  $22.95   BC Okanagan Valley, Canada

Inky purple in the glass with cassis and black cherry on the nose. This is a substantial pour dominated by dark fruit.  Tannins and wood are well integrated. Lingering finish extends the pleasantness.   Pair with hearty stews or mushroom fricasée.  Tasted Jan 2020.  90

Lazzeretti Brunello di Montalcino 2012

VINTAGES#:  318352 $46.95  Tuscany, Italy

Warm hay with perfume notes on the nose. The palate is vibrant  with generous, dusty cherries. Silky, smooth albeit a bit hot on the palate. A perfect partner for saltimbocca. Tasted Jan 2020.  90

Tedeschi Valpolicella Superiore 2017

 VINTAGES#:  12726 $17.95   Italy

This Ripasso is rich and smoky with a good concentration of fruit.  Well balanced, this wine drinks like a wine far above its price point.  Very good value. Serve with duck spaghetti or charcuterie. Tasted Jan 2020.  90

The Rest


Angove Family Crest Shiraz

VINTAGES#:  12842  $19.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia

Aromas of black fruit and pepper float up from the glass with a hint of medicinal black cherry. Good fruit concentration on the palate with very fine chalky tannins. It is not overly complex but has  all the essential elements of a pleasing pour.  Serve with charcuterie or grilled flat bread.  Tasted Jan 2020.  89


Nomad Wanderlust 2013

VINTAGES#:  451328  $19.95   Ontario, Canada

This has an enticing nose of black plum and cedar with a hint of smoky leather. Medium bodied with dried plum on the palate. Tannins are very fine.  Quite approachable. Pair with short ribs or stew.  Tasted Jan 2020.  89

Chateau Changyu Moser XV Helan Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

VINTAGES#:  12462  $22.95   Ningxia, China

My first Chinese wine! This Cabernet Sauvignon is a product of a joint venture between China’s Chateau Changyu–Moser XV  and  Laurenz Maria Moser V  of Lenz Moser, Austria.  The nose is pleasantly fruity with fresh raspberry and underlying smoke and leather.  Medium bodied,  unoaked and low in tannins make it very approachable but the promise of the nose didn’t quite carry to the palate where the fruit was more of a cooked nature. I have no doubt though that China and Ningxia region in particular is one to watch.  Try this one with Korean ribs.   Tasted Jan 2020.  87


Domaine Jacky Marteau Sauvignon Touraine 2017

VINTAGES#:  745349  $15.95  Loire, France

The nose here is quite fresh with tinges of floral and greenery. It then offers up notes of sweetness in the form of ripe orchard apples.  The palate is clean with good citrus notes, acidity and minerality. This will stand up nicely to poultry, seafood or pork.  It has no rough edges and enough interest to please a wide audience.   Tasted  Jan 2020. 89

Louis Latour Les Pierres Dorées Pinot Noir

VINTAGES#:  11898  $26.95  Burgundy, France

An elegant, classic Old World  Pinot Noir with delicate cherry licorice on the nose and palate.  Nicely balanced with a hint of cranberry on the finish. Pair with rack of lamb or duck breast. Tasted Jan 2020.  89

Château Camplong Grande Réserve Corbières

VINTAGES#:  12990  $13.95 Languedoc, France

This blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan with a touch of Mourvedre offers up a fruity, minty nose.  Full bodied with generous red fruit on the palate.  It is robust yet not coarse. The palate is rather silky and the finish is respectable.  Very good value. Pair with duck sausage or the regional cassoulet dish. Tasted Jan 2020.  89

Famille Sichel Les Hauts de Bel Air Sauvignon Blanc

VINTAGES#:  12098  $14.95  Bordeaux, France

Surprisingly pronounced chalky, white flowers abound on the nose of this Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux. The palate however is another story,  rather austere and  bone dry finishing with subtle green herbalness.   Pair this food friendly Sauvignon Blanc with pork or veal.   Tasted Jan 2020.  87


Piccini Sasso al Poggio 2012

VINTAGES#:  134809  $23.95  Tuscany, Italy

This Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet blend is well integrated with a nice balance of dried fruit and hints of mushroom and forest. Silky smooth with a decent finish. Pair with Braciole.    Tasted Jan 2020.  89

Barbanera Special Selection Da Uve Leggermente Appassite

VINTAGES#:  10963    $15.95  Tuscany, Italy

This fun Tuscan IGT Rosso delivers a fruity, smooth, well balanced pour.  A portion of partially dried grapes adds a bit of depth and concentration.  Some perceived sweetness here.  Would pair well with pizza or pasta or burgers.   Tasted Jan 2020.  87

New Zealand

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017

VINTAGES#:  663286  $21.95  Marlborough, New Zealand

Signature Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc here.  Grassy, mineral notes on the nose and pronounced lemon grass and wet stones on the palate.  Soft and silky mouthfeel. Fans of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will not be disappointed.  Pair with white fish or veal.   Tasted Jan 2020.  89

Cuatro Rayas 4R Verdejo

VINTAGES#:  10969  $13.95  Rueda,Spain

This unassuming Verdejo has a slightly floral nose and a fresh fruity palate leaning toward the stone fruit spectrum.  Nice balance. It would be pleasant to sip on its own or serve with scallops, shrimp or calamari.  Tasted Jan 2020.  87

The Best and The Rest  Jan 25, 2020 LCBO Vintages Release

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