The Best and The Rest – LCBO Vintages Release Aug 31, 2019

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 31st, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release

France is the star of this release in general. If you are a fan of French wine and Bordeaux wines in particular you are in for a treat with this release.  There are several good value Bordeaux blends on offer- some to drink now and a few to cellar.

The Best


Domaine de Congy Pouilly-Fumé 2017Loire, France  

 VINTAGES#:  667501  $32.95

This Sauvignon Blanc has all the elegance and balance you would expect of a Gold Medal winner at the 2018 Mondial des Vins Concours Féminalise Paris. Rich, sweet grass notes greet you in the glass. It is clean and dry and refreshing with savoury, herbal notes on the palate.   All the elements are there but not over the top-in-your face.  Good length extends the experience.  Serve with grilled white fish.  Tasted August 2019.   92

Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay 2017, California, USA

375 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  10866  $12.95

If you are a fan of bold Chardonnay it will be hard to beat this one. It opens with pronounced oak and  butter on the nose, then offers up some interesting underlying  ginger, sweet clove and cinnamon tones.  All the promise of the nose carries over to the palate.  Rich, buttery and  spicy with a long finish.   Serve with rich, caramelized onion tartes.  At. 12.95 for 375 ml it is excellent value.  Tasted Aug 2019.   92


Deux Roches Vieilles Vignes Pouilly-Fuissé 2016Burgundy, France

VINTAGES#:  488825   $41.95

Pouilly Fuissé is an experience I look forward to and this one opens with a lovely buttery, lightly oaked nose.  The oak is nicely integrated on the palate.  This is elegant and smooth with a long, delicious finish. Balanced, not overly rich but a very satisfying pour.  Sip on its own or serve with chicken.  Tasted August 2019.   91

Red Wines

Château la Fleur Peyrabon 2014Bordeaux, France VINTAGES#:  648063  $49.95

The grapes for this Château La Fleur Peyrabon blend come from 7 hectares in Pauillac situated between Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton-Rothschild so it is in very good company.  It opens with a subtle but beautiful nose of dark fruit.  It is highly approachable at this point  with gentle dark fruit showing on the silky, smooth palate.  Nice balance and fine tannins.  This one deserves Chateaubriand.    Tasted Aug 2019.    93

Domaine du Grapillon d’Or Gigondas 2016, Rhône, France  VINTAGES#:  981787  $34.95

Lovely raspberry  aromas float on top of a darker fruit medley on the nose.  Bright fruit carries over to the palate with some perceived sweetness.  Very fine tannins on the long, rich  finish.  Well balanced and structured.  Fruitier than many French wines.  Serve with duck.   Tasted Aug 2019.  92


Gabriel Meffre Laurus Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015,  Rhône, France

VINTAGES#:  699074  $55.95

 This Châteauneuf-Du-Pape opens with inviting dried raspberry on the nose and a  rich, silky, smooth palate.  Dried fruit carries over and it winds up  with grippy tannins on the finish.  A bit hot on the nose and palate but otherwise full-bodied and smooth. This will star beside a rack of lamb or beef tenderloin.  Tasted Aug 2019.    92

Rhonea Roaix Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2016
,   Rhône, France

VINTAGES#:  699025  $17.95

 This opens with a generous nose of smoke and dried fruit.  It has a beautiful silky, smooth mouthfeel with bright fruit. A long, rich finish makes it a very satisfying pour.  Serve with light pasta, beef dishes.  Excellent value.  Tasted Aug 2019.    91

Château Loumelat Cuvée J.J. Lesgourgues 2015,   Bordeaux, France

VINTAGES#:  550293  $17.95

While the term Grand Vin de Bordeaux is not regulated and is assigned by the Château to signal their best wine in their opinion, this one wears the title well. It opens with an enticing nose marked by warm, dried field berries. It has a silky smooth palate with subtle fruit and good balance. Tannins are still very much in play on the finish although they are relatively fine. Medium to full bodied. Medium plus finish.   Give it another year or two and it will be an elegant wine to pour with tenderloin.  Excellent value.  Tasted August 2019.      91


Marqués de Cáceres Reserva 2014
Rioja, Spain 

VINTAGES#:  702761  $24.95

Subtle oak and smoke on the nose here. The palate is still bright with hints of cherry. Fine tannins on the finish. Full bodied and firm. This one leans toward the elegant end of the Rioja scale.  All nicely integrated.  Enjoy with cured meat or beef stew. Good value.   Tasted August 2019.   91


Château Tanesse 2015
Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  666628  $19.95

Your patience will be rewarded with this Merlot dominant Bordeaux if you can cellar it for a couple of years yet. The nose is  refined and elegant showing subtle red fruit and is pleasingly fresh.   Subtle fruit shows on the silky palate but the tannins are still quite firm. Treat yourself to a few at this price and  enjoy with cured meats and cheeses or earthy stew.  Very good value.  Tasted Aug 2019.    90

Château la Pirouette 2016
,   Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  644799  $23.95

This Cru Bourgeois is  a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.   The nose is enjoyably smoky with subtle dried strawberry notes. The dried fruit carries over to the palate. Hints of cedar emerge as well.  Nice balance and structure.  Serve with lamb, beef dishes.  Very good value.  Tasted August 2019.    90


Rizzi Barbaresco 2015,   Piedmont, Italy  VINTAGES#:  478958  $42.95

Raspberry leads on the nose and subtly carries to the palate.  Rich and refreshing  but with firm, grippy tannins that take hold on the finish. Medium to full -bodied.  Cellar until 2021 or so and then serve with spicy pasta or osso bucco.  Tasted August 2019.    90


Anzivino Gattinara 2012,  Piedmont, Italy  VINTAGES#:  534909  $29.95

Initial lovely smoke and leather on the nose, and then the lavender and lilac notes waft up. Medium bodied, it is rather mellow seven years in but still has good structure and no rough edges.  Very pleasant pour. Try it with spaghetti or eggplant parmigiana. Tasted August 2019.  90

 The Rest


Lundy Manor Riesling 2017
,  Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  644724  $24.95

This Ontario Riesling is sure to appeal to a wide audience with a nose of white flowers and peaches and a hint of petrol. It has a  smooth and round mouthfeel with some perceived sweetness.  Stone fruits on the palate. Medium bodied. Medium finish.  This is an easy going sipper  and would also go well with seafood or creamy cheeses.  Tasted August 2019.      89


Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling,   Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  80234  $18.95

This Ontario Riesling opens with pronounced petrol on the nose. It is smooth and round with some perceived sweetness.    Green apple characteristics keep it on the crisp side. Highly quaffable. Sip on its own or serve with scallops and shrimp. Tasted Aug 2019.    89


Featherstone Cabernet Franc,  Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  64618 $19.95


This 100% Cabernet Franc is a bright cherry colour in the glass and leads with an enticing nose of brambleberry  and subtle dark fruit that carry over to the palate. It is silky smooth on the palate, nicely  balanced with fine tannins.  Serve with Chateaubriand.  Tasted Aug 2019.   88



Duluc de Branaire-Ducru 2015,  Bordeaux, France  VINTAGES#:  10143 


This Bordeaux blend of  Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot opens with just a hint of spice and cedar  on top of the subtle fruit on the nose.  It is full-bodied and bone dry with chalky tannins.  Serve with steak.   Tasted Aug 2019.  89

Courtois La Source Côtes du Rhône 2017Rhône, France  VINTAGES#:  526640 


Hints of dried strawberry and a bit of alcohol on the nose. Palate is smooth and fruity with soft tannins on the long finish.  Full-bodied and smooth. Overall a satisfying pour. Good value.  Serve with smoky, grilled vegetables.  Tasted Aug 2019.   89

René Geoffroy Empreinte Brut 1er Cru Champagne 2012 Champagne, France  VINTAGES#:  665844  $69.95

The nose here is elegant and somewhat restrained with mild aromatics of jasmine and white flowers. On the palate it is lively, dry and  slightly gingery with a fine, fine mousse. I would have welcomed a bit more of a lingering finish.  Suitable for toasting on its own or serve with light appetizers.  Tasted August 2019.   89


Blason de Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune Rouge 2017Burgundy, France  VINTAGES#:  648444  $22.95

The promise of a spicy nose with subtle hints of leather and black cherry unfortunately doesn’t carry over to the palate which is a bit tart and out of balance.  Medium finish.  Tasted Aug 2019.    86



New Zealand

Thornbury Chardonnay 2017,  Gisborne, New Zealand  VINTAGES#:  149336   $18.95

That New Zealand terroir is coming through on the nose of this one, lending it the grassy, herbal notes more typical of Sauvignon Blanc  than Chardonnay. Eventually some smoky charcoal and oak float notes float up.  Palate is smooth with charred lemon aspects.  Not your typical Chardonnay profile per se but nonetheless and enjoyable sipper. Medium plus finish. Serve with seafood with buttery, lemon sauce.  Tasted August 2019.  88


South Africa


Rascallion 33 1/3 RPM White Blend 2017Western Cape, South Africa 

VINTAGES#:  914390  $18.95

This is a rich blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.  Ripe fruit adds stone fruit complexity to the nose and palate.  Nicely structured, slightly textured. Medium bodied, medium finish. No rough edges.  Serve with white pizza, shrimp tacos.  Tasted August 2019.  89

Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2018
,  Stellenbosch, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  610907  $13.95

Extreme drought presented a challenge for the 2018 vintage but did result in smaller, intensely flavoured grapes. Ripe fruit here offers up spices and sweet stone fruits on the nose and a slightly texured palate. Nicely structured and refreshing albeit with a hint of bitterness on the finish. Medium bodied, medium finish. Good value.   Serve with lightly breaded calamari and lemon aioli. Tasted August 2019.    89



Parés Baltà Brut CavaPenedès, Spain  VINTAGES#:  650648  $17.95

This Cava has a clean and refreshing nose with notes of sweet bakery goods and golden apple.  Lively, slightly savoury with good acidity. Finish medium plus.  Perfect for toasting or oysters. Tasted August 2019.  89


Puelles Reserva 2009
Rioja, Spain  VINTAGES#:  10720  $19.95

Time has been kind to this Rioja for the most part. The fruit has receded to the background leaving a silky, smooth and still well- structured pour. Fine tannins on the long  finish. It is a lovely, straightforward,  approachable pour at this point.  Serve with pan con tomate or other tapas.   Tasted August 2019.   89



United States

Tenshen Red 2017,  California, USA  VINTAGES#:  10318  $29.95

This has a fruity nose of strawberries and field berries that carry to the palate.  Straightforward and designed to appeal to a broad spectrum.  This could easily serve as a red party wine on its own or serve with burgers and light beef dishes.  Tasted August 2019.    88


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The Best and The Rest -  LCBO Vintages Release Aug 31, 2019

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