The Best and The Rest – LCBO Vintages Release Aug 3, 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 3rd, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release

This release includes a variety of accessible Bordeaux wines covering a wide price range.  If you  are a fan of the dry, mildly fruity Provençal  style of rosé then you will find a good selection to choose from.  In the Sparkling category there is a chance to pick up a 1er Cru Champagne that won’t break the bank.

The Best


Gaston Chiquet Tradition 1er Cru Brut Champagne  Champagne, France

VINTAGES#:  665851  $54.95

Light and effervescent, this is elegance in a glass. Bakery aromas mingle with apple notes.  Dry and nicely balanced with a fine mousse and hints of citrusy grapefruit on the palate. Vibrant, long finish. This is a rather rare chance to buy into a Premier Cru Champagne without breaking the bank.  Consider it for an upcoming special occasion.  Tasted July 2019.       91



Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay 2017    California, USA, VINTAGES #:  441089 $64.95

This is an archetypal California Chardonnay with a buttery, oaky nose just restrained enough to allow for an underlying citrus note.  It is rich and silky smooth with oak evident on the palate.  Long  finish.  If you are a fan of bold California Chardonnays this one is for you.  Serve with herbed chicken or turkey.  Tasted July 2019.  91


Cederberg Chenin Blanc 2018  Cederberg, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  651711 $18.95

What a treat this South African Chenin Blanc is.  Smoky, pineapple on the nose.  A vibrant palate with ginger and grapefruit.  Crunchy and refreshing.  Impressive finish.  Pair with scallops or calamari. Good value. Tasted July 2019.  90


Huntaway Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017  Marlborough, New Zealand, VINTAGES#:  536276  $19.95

This is very bold example of the characteristic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc style.   Pronounced herbal, grassy nose. Palate is highly savoury with gooseberry, guava and  minerality.  Long finish.  Bold but well balanced. Try with savoury cheesecake. Tasted July 2019   90


Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2016   California, USA  VINTAGES#: 220343  $24.95

If the name hadn’t stated unoaked I may have assumed otherwise. This is a rich, full bodied Chardonnay with generous ripe fruit and a slightly textured palate. The ripe apple and creamy notes on the nose have spicy sandalwood highlights. The palate shows the same ripe fruit along with some underlying lemon. Nice balance and a long finish.  Good value.  Pair with grilled shrimp dishes.  Tasted July 2019.   90

Red Wines

Château Beauséjour 2015  Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  644708  $37.95

This 70%  Merlot/30% Cab Franc blend has a fresh nose of subtle black fruit with a hint of mint and violet. Subtle dried raspberries on the palate.  Tannins are still firm.   Treat yourself to this after a couple more years in the cellar. Pair with steak or beef bourguignon. Tasted July 2019.   91

 Brotte Domaine Barville Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016   Rhône, France 

VINTAGES#:  148841   $55.95

The nose here is tight but eventually offered up raspberry notes.   Subtle fruit on the palate with dried thyme and chocolate hints. Smooth and rich with very fine tannins and a satisfying, long finish.  Pair with beef tenderloin or rack of lamb.   Tasted July 2019.   91

 Amastuola Primitivo 2015  Puglia, Italy  VINTAGES#:  300004  $15.95

Field berry confiture on the nose offset by hints of warm hay. Raspberry fruit on the palate.  Smooth with very fine tannins. Nicely balanced and structured.  Very pleasant pour.  Would pair with pizza to eggplant parmigiana. Excellent value.  Tasted July 2019.   90

 Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2017   Tuscany, Italy   VINTAGES#:  964221  $29.95

A hot, dry year has produced very concentrated dried raspberry and black cherry on the nose and palate. Silky, smooth mouthfeel with fine tannins on the finish.  Well balanced.  Enjoy with rich short ribs or ragu.  Tasted July 2019.    90

 Silvio Nardi Brunello di Montalcino 2013   Tuscany, Italy  VINTAGES#: 922054  $50.95

This  classic Brunello offers up inviting dried cherries on the palate. Nicely structured and balanced with tannins coming under control.   A wine to savour with veal parmigiana.  Tasted July 2019.   90


Joel Gott Rosé 2018   California, USA   VINTAGES#:  668368 $24.95

This almost clear, pale salmon pour with a delicate nose is very much a Provence style rosé. It is dry and slightly textured with light, lively strawberry notes.  Light-bodied and elegant with a respectable finish. This is a lovely, versatile  wine that would be great for lunch, sipping, picnics.  Tasted July 2019.   90

 The Rest


Argento Reserva Cabernet Franc 2015   Mendoza, Argentina  VINTAGES#:  668335 $14.95

White pepper and mint float on the nose of this 100% Cabernet Franc. The palate is slightly herbal with a touch sourness  on the finish.  Fine tannins. Medium plus finish. Actually a rather robust pour for the price.  Try it with herbed lamb dishes.  Tasted July 2019.     88


Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2018   Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  498535 $19.95

This 100% Pinot Noir Rosé has a slightly floral nose with fruity dried strawberries.  Tart strawberries on the palate and dry.  Medium plus finish.  This rose is robust enough to stand up to a meal of BBQ  chicken or pork tenderloin. Tasted July 2019.      89


Château Vermont Prestige Blanc 2017  Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  668848 $14.95

This white Bordeaux blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Gris is a refreshing pour. There is grapefruit and pineapple on the nose and the palate leans to the grassy, savoury Sauvignon Blanc style. Round and smooth.  All nicely balanced.  There is a lot going on here for the price.  Very good value. Try it with creamy pasta or grilled fish. Tasted July 2019.   89

Perle de Roseline Rosé 2018   Provence, France  VINTAGES#:  667345  $19.95

This is a lovely rosé with hints of strawberry on the nose and palate. Dry with a nice round, smooth mouthfeel. Overall light and fruity…perfect for picnic fare or sipping on its own. Tasted July 2019.    89

 Joseph Drouhin Mâcon-Villages 2017   Burgundy, France  VINTAGES#:  356956 $22.95

This Burgundy Chardonnay is more aromatic than many. It opens with pronounced buttery, caramel popcorn on the nose then settles to subtle spices.  Plenty of ripe fruit and citrus on the palate.  Medium finish. Nicely balanced.  Good value.  Pair it with creamy pasta dishes. Tasted July 2019.   89


Château Pigoudet Classic Rosé 2018 Provence, France   VINTAGES#:  668434  $24.95

Classic Provence style rose.  Bone dry with subtle notes of dried fruit on the nose and palate.  Beautifully balanced. Pair with salmon. Tasted July 2019.    89

 Château La Picherie 2016   Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  666602  $26.95

This is a nicely integrated Right Bank Bordeaux blend.  The palate is clean with dried raspberry and a medium plus finish.  Tannins are still in play. Try it with charcuterie or firm cheeses.  Tasted July 2019.  89


Vvines RRosé 2018  Provence, France  VINTAGES#:  10557  $26.95

R Wines is a no bricks and mortar winery preferring to source the  best fruits from various sources and concentrate on winemaking. Hints of sweet fruit and white flowers on the nose here with strawberries on the palate.  Slightly textured palate. Fruit lingers on the finish.  Dry, nice balance. Tasted July 2019.    89


Château Nodeau 2016  Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  667238  $14.95

Clean fresh nose with lifted mint and dried red fruit.  Subtle fruit carries to the palate and through the finish.  Mature tannins. Well integrated with a pleasant finish. Serve with grilled steak or short ribs. Excellent value. Tasted July 2019.     88

Le Cirque Grenache Noir/Carignan/Syrah 2015  Roussillon, France VINTAGES#:  277079 $16.95

 This 60% Grenache, 20% Carignan and 20% Syrah opens with raspberry and blackberry on the nose.  Generous plummy dark fruit on the palate just bordering on jammy.  It is medium-bodied and smooth with fine chalky tannins on the finish.  A very approachable and overall enjoyable pour.   Good value.  Pair with burgers or ribs. Tasted July 2019.     88

 Château de Montguéret 2017   Loire, France   VINTAGES#:  667527  $17.95

This is a clean and smooth Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Juicy tart green apples are prominent on the nose and palate with bracing acidity on the finish.  This wine demands your attention and is probably best enjoyed with food.  Serve with seared tuna steaks or goat cheese salad. Tasted July 2019.    88

Château la Tour de l’Évêque Rosé 2018    Provence, France VINTAGES#:  319392 $19.95

Don’t let the pastel peach colour of this popular rosé mislead you – it is a rather robust pour at 13.5 % ABV. Slightly hot  mineral tones on the nose but smooth and round on the palate with subtle tart cherries. Medium finish.  Would go well with paté and mild cheeses.  Tasted July 2019.   88


Rocca Sveva Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2013  Veneto, Italy VINTAGES#:  668483 $24.95

Generous ripe fruit on the nose and palate just short of jammy.  Black currant tones on the palate as well. Full bodied with a long finish.  Would go great with hearty spaghetti or lasagna. Tasted July 2019.   89

San Silvestro Patres Barolo 2014 Piedmont, Italy VINTAGES#:  377986 $35.95

 Red brick colour in the glass.  Notes of warm hay on a slightly medicinal nose.  Black cherry on the fairly  vibrant palate.   Medium tannins. Medium plus finish.  Not bad considering 2014 was a challenging year for Barolos.  Serve with Saltimbocca.  Tasted July 2019.    89

 Vitese Grillo 2017   Sicily, Italy 7VINTAGES#:  645770 $14.95

Grillo is Sicily’s primary indigenous white grape and a major component of Marsala. It has an interesting, aromatic, sweet nose with a hint of cloves- so aromatic it is reminiscent of vermouth.   Clean, smooth and medium bodied with refreshing grapefruit on the palate.  If you are looking for something different as a summer wine you have nothing to lose in trying this one at this price.  Good value. Would pair well with seafood risotto or Fettuccine Alfredo. Tasted July 2019.     88

Prevedello Asolo Superiore Extra Dry Prosecco 2018    Veneto, Italy VINTAGES#:  262881  $16.95

The Extra Dry designation on this is a bit of a misnomer with 20 grams of residual sugar declared and every gram of it is apparent on the palate.  Sweetness aside, it has a candied pineapple, aromatic nose.  It has a fine mousse and pleasant mouthfeel.  It would be good for toasting on its own.  Tasted July 2019.   88

 Canti Estate Moscato d’Asti 2018   Piedmont, Italy  VINTAGES#:  644831 $14.95

Light peach and anise on the nose with a few spicy notes here and there as well.  Sweet, lively and gingery on the palate.  This is a fun dessert wine, could be served with tea sandwiches or served for toasting  on its own. 5.5% alcohol. Aromatic, light and fun. Tasted July 2019.  87


Herdade São Miguel Colheita Seleccionada Tinto 2017  Alentejo, Portugal  VINTAGES#:  70730 $17.95

There is a fair bit of depth and interest offered up in this Portuguese blend of 50% Alicante Bouschet and 30% Touriga National supplemented with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There is an interesting hint earthiness on the nose that reminds you of fresh from the garden carrots or beets. Smooth palate with some perceived vegetal sweetness like candied beets.  Interesting wine with good body and balance.  Rather delicious!  Pair with ratatouille, spaghetti or polvo.  Good value.   Tasted July 2019.      89

Almeida Garrett Entre Serras 2015  Beiras, Portugal VINTAGES#:  646919  $12.95

Another good value Portuguese blend.  This one is smooth, leaning toward red fruits on the palate.  Very approachable and pleasant.  Pair with burgers and stews. Tasted July 2019.  88

South Africa  

Strandveld First Sighting Shiraz 2016  Coastal Region, South Africa

  VINTAGES#:  652693 $14.95

Distinct smoke and leather on the nose and generous dark fruit on the palate. This is a bold, substantial wine, fairly high in alcohol, that will appeal to many especially in this price range.  Fire up the BBQ for lamb sausage and steaks. Tasted July 2019.  87

De Wetshof Lesca Estate Chardonnay 2018  Robertson, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  355438  $24.95

This  Chardonnay is light-bodied, fruity and citrusy with pineapple and lychee on the nose and lemon on the palate.  Soft, medium plus finish.  Pair it with white fish or scallops. Tasted July 2019.       87

Spier 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
  Stellenbosch, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  651810  $39.95

This is a straightforward Cabernet Sauvignon with ripe dark plums  on the palate. It is smooth and approachable with a medium plus finish. Serve with prime rib. Tasted July 2019.      87

House of Mandela Phumla Pinotage 2017  Western Cape, South Africa

VINTAGES#:  652867 $21.95

This Pinotage has the characteristic plum and black fruit on the nose and palate with a distinctly waxy nose.  Full-bodied with grippy tannins. Medium plus finish.  Pair with burgers or pulled pork.   Tasted July 2019.      87


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