The Best and The Rest LCBO Vintages Release Aug 17, 2019

The Best and The Rest

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.


Aug 17th, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release

This release  includes a stand out Sparkling Crémant de Bordeaux for only $16.95 and an aged Riesling for  $19.95 that I thought would be twice as much. There is also a high scoring Bordeaux for $34.95 and an amazing Zinfandel  for $29.95.

The Best


La Fleur de François Brut Crémant de Bordeaux, 

Bordeaux, France VINTAGES#:  648170  $16.95

This sparkling is a delight with a clean, fresh nose and a hint of white flowers. No discernable mousse  but it dances on the tongue with refreshing hints of citrus.  Beautiful balance and good length.  Serve on its own or with seafood canapés.  Excellent value.  This would be a very versatile sparkling so at this price – you may want to stock up.  Tasted August 2019.   92


Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Brut Rosé Champagne

Champagne, France       VINTAGES#:  665836   $69.95

Typical sour dough notes on the nose here. Elegant, dry and nicely balanced with a fine, fine mousse. Delightful on its own or with salad or seafood.   Tasted August 2019.    90


Dr. Siemens Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese Feinherb 2009

Mosel, Germany      VINTAGES#:  665992  $19.95

This Riesling Spätlese opens with an inviting nose that is remarkably fresh 10 years in with lavender and clover notes.  Mature, silky and honeyed on the palate.  If you are a fan of older, off dry Rieslings this will be a delight.  Server with an after dinner platter of mango stilton, dried apricots, almonds and figs.  Excellent value. Tasted August 2019.  91


Jean Bouchard Petit-Chablis 2017Burgundy, France

VINTAGES#:  649855  $23.95

By definition Petit Chablis  is the most straightforward example from the Chablis categories.  True to type,  this one is clean and elegant, silky smooth and bone dry.  Nicely integrated with a medium plus finish.  Serve with scallops or quiche.  Tasted August 2019.   90


Lundy Manor Chardonnay 2016  Ontario, Canada

VINTAGES#:  644732   $25.95

This Twenty Mile Bench Chardonnay opens with a vibrant, buttery nose.  This is a  big wine, creamy and silky smooth with light oak on the palate. This rich and substantial pour would star at your  Thanksgiving table or along side herbed grilled Cornish hen.  Tasted August 2019.    90

Red Wines

Château Pontet-Fumet 2015  Bordeaux, France , VINTAGES#:  647974 $34.95

This Bordeaux blend has a knee-buckling nose – elegant and earthy. The palate is beautifully smooth with  just a subtle suggestion of fruit.  Mature tannins on the long finish.  Refined and classic.  Serve with prime rib. Tasted August 2019.     93


Ancient Peaks Santa Margarita Ranch Zinfandel 2017 California, USA VINTAGES#:  10469 $29.95

A complex nose of thyme, mint and cedar. The savoury notes also float on top of a rich fruity palate. It’s like being in a field of warm clover and garrigue.  This is a big interesting pour, nothing subtle here.  A rich, complex glass to enjoy with lamb or steak or spicy red sauces. Good value.  Tasted August 2019.   93

Destino Fifth Empire Red Blend 2015 Douro, Portugal

VINTAGES#:  646901 $22.95

This Portuguese blend opens with toasted caramel nose.  Generous dark fruit and cassis on the palate.  Respectable finish. Nicely balanced, full-bodied and smooth. Enjoy with prime rib, BBQ ribs or burgers.  Good value.   Tasted August 2019.  90

Ca’ Momi Heartcraft North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 California, USA     VINTAGES#:  10356 $19.95

Juicy, dark fruit on the nose with a hint of earthiness. Ample fruit carries to the palate.  Nicely integrated, full bodied and smooth. Good value.  Serve with lamb, short ribs or rich stews.  Tasted August 2019.    90


Provolo Tenuta Ca’Nove Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2014

 Veneto, Italy        VINTAGES#:  122002  $17.95

A lovely deep garnet colour in the glass. Cassis on the nose floats on warm hay. The palate is rich with dark cherry and hints of spice. Nicely balanced with a long finish.  Serve with rich stew, spicy pasta. Excellent value. Tasted August 2019.    90

Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2016,

Roussillon, France    VINTAGES#:  272575    $19.95

Roussillon wines and Gerard Bertrand wines in particular are always good bets for good value. This  Syrah/Grenache/Carignan blend is no exception. It makes a substantial pour with dark fruit on the nose and palate. Full bodied and smooth. Fine tannins on the finish. Pleasant long finish.  Pair with smoked duck sausage or cassoulet. All in good balance. Good value.   Tasted August 2019.   90

The Rest


Valle Las Acequias Bonarda 2016

Mendoza, Argentina  VINTAGES#:  668731   $16.95

This 100% Bonarda opens with a pronounced smoky, nose. The fruit on the palate was lighter and brighter than the nose suggested. Smooth with fine tannins and a respectable finish. Pour with pizza or burgers. Tasted August 2019.    88

Trapiche Costa & Pampa Pinot Noir 2017

Buenos Aires, Argentina     VINTAGES#:  668749    $23.95

This is a pleasant blend of blend of garnacha, mourvedre and syrah.  Ample cassis and black cherry on the nose and palate.  Fruity, full bodied and smooth.  Try with burgers, pizza or pasta. Tasted August 2019.   88

Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016

Mendoza, Argentina  VINTAGES#:  688077      $20.95

This is a light-bodied chardonnay where light oak defines the nose and palate. A crisp accompaniment for grilled chicken, creamy pasta or white pizza. Tasted August 2019.    88



De Bortoli Rosé Rosé 2018

Victoria,  Australia    VINTAGES#:  668343     $17.95

Pale in colour  à la Provençal, this 100% Sangiovese rosé opens with a  bit of flinty nose eventually offering up gentle, sweet fruity notes. Medium bodied it is smooth and round on the palate with notes of dried cherry and a hint of thyme.  Well balanced  with nice acid tension. Medium finish.  Pleasant on its own or serve with brunch or light fare. Tasted August 2019.   89


Mountadam Eden Valley Chardonnay 2017

South Australia, Australia   VINTAGES#:  10411      $19.95

This is a smooth, light-bodied Chardonnay. It has a lightly oaked nose and a subtle lemony palate. It is quite lean as Australian Chardonnays go.   Serve well chilled for a refreshing pour.  Serve with light cheeses, chicken or seafood.   Tasted August 2019.    88



Winzer Krems Grüner Veltliner 2017

Kremstal, Austria     VINTAGES#:  647735     $15.95

This is a subtle, straightforward example of Gruner Veltliner. Hints of white flowers on the nose and stone fruit on the fairly perfumed palate.  Not quite as crisp as you might expect in a Gruner Veltliner.  Try with grilled white fish.  Tasted August 2019.     87




  Leaning Post Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling 2016

Ontario, Canada     VINTAGES#:  644740     $24.95

Petrol greets you on  the nose with notes of honey.  Despite the honeyed aromatics it is dry, with some savoury notes on the palate and well balanced. Serve with pecorino cheese drizzled with honey.   Tasted August 2019.     89

 Cooper’s Hawk North Block Sparkling 2016

Ontario, Canada     VINTAGES#:  644773     $23.95

 This Chardonnay and Chardonnay Musqué has a gentle nose with bakery notes and a hint of petrol.  It has nice tension and balance. Would be good for sipping on its own or serve with canapés. Tasted August 2019.    88



Emiliana Signos de Origen La Cantera Garnacha/Mourvèdre/Syrah 2015

Colchagua Valley, Chile   VINTAGES#:  10435    $19.95

This is a pleasant blend of blend of garnacha, mourvedre and syrah.  Ample cassis and black cherry on the nose and palate.  Fruity, full bodied and smooth.  Try with burgers, pizza or pasta. Tasted August 2019.      88


Undurraga Rosé Royal Brut Sparkling

Leyda Valley, Chile      VINTAGES#:  10580    $16.95

This 100% Pinot Noir rosé is a lively sparkling wine with tart fruit on the palate.  It would be a perfect wine to serve with quiche or grilled salmon. Tasted August 2019.    87




Marquis de Goulaine Vouvray 2017

Loire, France    VINTAGES#:  667766    $19.95

This off-dry Chenin Blanc opens with a hint of petrol on the nose and ripe fruit on the palate.  Soft and round, this medium bodied Vouvray  would go well with light chicken salad or brunch fare. Tasted August 2019.      88

Fleurs de Prairie Rosé 2018

Provence, France      VINTAGES#:  667329    $23.95

This traditional Provençal rosé has an interesting nose with field berries and hints of clover.  Palate walks the line between dry and just off dry with enough tart fruit to keep it from being cloying.  Nice balance.  Try it with smoked salmon. Tasted August 2019.   87


Luciano Arduini Fontana del Fongo Valpolicella Classico 2017  

 Veneto, Italy      VINTAGES#:  121731  $15.95

Fun and fruity, there is nothing not to like here. Bright cherry on the nose that carries to the palate. Fruitier than usual, light-medium bodied.  Medium plus finish.  Very pleasant, fruity sipper. Pleasant on its own or serve with pizza, light charcuterie fare. Excellent value. Tasted August 2019.     89

Valpanera Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2016

Friulii, Italy     VINTAGES#:  10080    $15.95

Warm hay greets you on the nose.  Smooth with dried fruit on the palate.  Restrained yet substantial.  Would pair well with ‘anything’ parmigiana. Good value. Tasted August 2019.   89


Di Majo Norante Sangiovese 2017

 Molise, Italy       VINTAGES#:  591974      $17.95

Some fresh salinity on the nose and ample cherry on the palate.  Full-bodied and smooth with no rough edges.  This is on the simpler end of the Sangiovese scale and would be perfect with spaghetti or lamb shank wine. Good value. Tasted August 2019.    89


 Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

Veneto, Italy         VINTAGES#:  648733    $19.95

Tropical fruit and candied pineapple on the nose with a hint of licorice.   Fine effervescence with a touch of sweet anise and a hint of ginger on the palate.  Pleasant and balanced. Serve with Asian appetizers.   Tasted August 2019.    89


Vesevo Beneventano Falanghina 2017

Campania, Italy   VINTAGES#:  289538    $16.95

 This is a light, aromatic white with a floral nose and notes of candied tropical fruit. The palate is slightly perfumed with subtle stone fruits.  Serve really cold on its own or with cream cheese and strawberries.   Tasted August 2019.   87


Carmim Terra Lenta Premium Reguengos 2016

Alentejo, Portugal    VINTAGES#:  646083  $13.95

This is a harmonious blend of 45% Trincadeira, 35% Aragonez and 20% Alicante Bouschet.  Decant for an hour  so  you can enjoy the dark fruits on the nose and palate. Chalky tannins on the finish.  Try it with hearty stews or casseroles. Tasted August 2019.    89


Monasterio de las Viñas Special Selection Old Vine Garnacha 2016

Cariñena, Spain        VINTAGES#:  10635       $16.95

This old vine Grenache has a bit of an earthy, spicy nose and bright cherry on the palate. It is smooth with fine, fine tannins on the finish. Straightforward, rich  and satisfying.  Try it with burgers, pizza or pasta. Tasted August 2019.   89


Viña Esmeralda 2017

Catalunya, Spain     VINTAGES#:  113696    $14.95

This is always a pleasant, fun wine.  It has an aromatic, floral nose with hint of honey and clover. It is just off-dry with a clean, round palate. Melon and ripe peach notes dominate on the palate. Highly quaffable!   Pair with Thai food, shrimp or crab.  Tasted August 2019.    87

Edetària Via Terra Garnatxa Blanca 2017

Terra Alta, Spain    VINTAGES#:  105908    $16.95

This 100% White Grenache is simple and straightforward. Mouth feel is silky and round  with a  hint of guava on the palate. Moderate acidity.  Try it with cream cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches.  Tasted August 2019.    87

United States

Westmount Pinot Noir 2015

California, USA      VINTAGES#:  10704      $19.95

This New World Pinot Noir is cherry coloured in the glass with ripe fruit on the nose and dried cherry notes on the palate.  Medium bodied. Serve with rack of lamb.  Tasted August 2019.   89

Sagelands Merlot 2016

Washington, USA     VINTAGES#:  107102   $19.95

Earthy notes lead on the nose of this Merlot and are followed by spicy dark plum and a vegetal hint.  Plum and cherry mingle on the palate. It finishes with dusty tannins on the medium plus finish.  Serve with ribs or shepherd’s pie.  Tasted August 2019.      89

Usual Red 2015

California, USA        Note:    187 mL bottle  |   VINTAGES#:  10840      $9.95

This Zinfandel/Cabernet Sauvignon blend opens with refreshing notes of plum.  Cherry and red fruits dominate the palate. It is smooth and highly quaffable. This will appeal to a wide audience looking for a pleasant sipper on its own or to pair with grilled vegetables or flatbreads.  Tasted August 2019.     89

Usual Rosé 2018

California, USA   Note:    187 mL bottle     VINTAGES#:  10839     $9.95

This 187 mil rosé is served up in a campy carafe, single serving size. It has a slightly sweet, candied nose. Some perceived sweetness on the palate is offset by a dry medley of red fruit. Medium finish.  Serve with salad topped with candied nuts. Tasted August 2019.  88

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