The Best and The Rest – LCBO Vintages Release July 20, 2019

Here are the highlights of the wines that I  tasted and reviewed from a sub-set of wines Vintages put on offer for review from the  July 20, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release.  The Best are the highest scoring  based on my tasting  experience.  The Rest are the remaining wines reviewed and include wines of interest and value.

If you try any of these please leave a comment and let everyone know what you thought of it.  Feel free to share recommendations or comments on any other wines you have tried as well!

July 20, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release

This release is featuring wines under $20.  Only a few outstanding  wines in my samples but there are many decent, approachable wines at reasonable prices.   Look to Italy for some fine food wines outside the North American mainstream.

The Best


Framingham Sauvignon Blanc 2017  Marlborough, New Zealand # 606848    $21.95

Gentle notes of fresh grass and minerality on the nose. This is an elegant, beautifully balanced Sauvignon Blanc with just the right notes of savoury, citrus and salinity on the nose and palate.  Finishes up with a delightful, lingering finish.  Would pair well with grilled white fish. Tasted July 2019.   92

Bouchard Père & Fils Les Deux Loups Blanc 2015    Burgundy,  #:424911 $17.95

This opens with interesting grilled pineapple on the nose.  The palate is crisp and clean and showing tropical fruit along with mild citrus and grapefruit. Nicely balanced  with good acidity.  This would pair well with seafood or white meats. Elegant from start to finish.  Excellent value.  Tasted July 2019.     91

Foris Chardonnay 2017  Oregon, USA #:  665943  $23.95

2017 was a cooler vintage than previous years in Rogue Valley lending this Chardonnay some nice acidity and tension.  Light oak showing on the nose and palate.  Aging on the lees adds a bit of texture.  Quite bold at 14% ABV with a respectable finish.  Pair with grilled chicken.  Tasted July 2019.  90

Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Chardonnay 2016 Ontario, Canada    #381715     $45.20

Toasted caramel  and brioche on the nose and palate. It is clean with nicely integrated oak and beautiful  tension.  Silky with an extra long finish. Try it with a snacking selection of nuts and cheeses. Tasted July 2019.    90

Red Wines

Flavs Amarone della Valpolicella 2015  Veneto,  Italy  #10204   $39.95

An Amarone like you hope for! This one has notes of warm hay on the nose with luscious raspberry and currant fruit on the silky palate.  Nicely structured with lots of vitality in the glass. A long, satisfying finish wraps up this rich and round beauty.  This deserves osso bucco or short ribs.  Good value.  Tasted July 2019.    93

 The Rest


Heartland Stickleback Red 2015  South Australia  #116574  $14.95

This is a fun, straightforward Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  Some interesting aromas of eucalyptus and mint and lots of ripe fruit on the palate. Juicy with a satisfying finish.  This easy-to-love blend will appeal to a wide group. Excellent value.  Try it with BBQ prime rib.  Tasted July 2019.  89

Thomas Goss Shiraz 2016 South Australia    # 927723  $16.95

This opens with a fruity nose of dark plums and bramble berry. Jammy and juicy on the palate with an underlying earthiness to keep it from being cloying.  Medium finish. Try it with spicy pizza or pasta.  Tasted July 2019.   88


Calamus Estate Winery Meritage 2016  Ontario,   # 10530  $19.95

This 50/50 Cab Sauv/Cab Franc has a predominantly fruity nose with a hint of cedar.  Raspberry on the nose and palate.  Fine chalky tannins.  Medium bodied with a decent finish.  This would pair well with BBQ ribs. Good value.  Tasted July 2019.    89

Bricklayer’s Reward Riesling 2017 Ontario, # 644765     $18.95

This opens with a lovely  nose of delicate petrol and a hint of smokiness. Soft, slightly savoury and round on the palate it would pour nicely with quiche. Tasted July 2019.    88

Peninsula Ridge Wismer Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Ontario Canada #155580  $19.95

This Sauvignon Blanc has the New Zealand style green grass and cat pee going on- on steroids. The palate is savoury, grassy and tart. Silky, smooth and bold, this would pair well with toasted goat cheese on green salad. Tasted July 2019.  88


Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017,  Rhone #413211  $16.95

A respected wine ‘Consultant to the Stars’ now producing his own wines, Xavier Vignon’s wines are always a reliable choice. This GSM has an elegant nose of raspberry and cherry that carries over to the palate. Well balanced with grippy tannins on the finish.  Good value. Try it with kebabs.  Tasted July 2019.  89

Bouchard Père & Fils Les Deux Loups Rouge 2015  Burgundy  #:  648493 $15.95

This is an unassuming Pinot Noir/Gamay blend, relatively light and fruity. Some fine tannins lend a bit of weight. Nicely balanced and a great choice for weeknight sipping. Would go with beef or turkey burgers. Tasted July 2019.  87


Max Ferd. Richter Elisenberger Kabinett Riesling 2016 Mosel  #  665984   $24.95

Noticeably sweet with peach and  apricot on the palate.  If you a fan of sweeter Rieslings this one is for you.  Would be highly quaffable on its own or pair with Asian  crab or shrimp dishes. Tasted July 2019.   88


Le Monde Brut Prosecco  Friuli, Italy  #  634121      $18.95

 This Prosecco is racy with a lovely, lively mousse.  There are little hints of citrus an anise on the palate but overall a clean crisp sipper.  Would go well on its own or with cucumber sandwiches. Tasted July 2019.  89

Banfi Principessa Gavia  Piedmont   #  250696 $19.95

Tropical fruit and candied pineapple on the nose with a hint of underlying licorice. Silky, smooth with a savoury grip on the palate. Medium plus body.  This would stand up to grilled octopus or make a great both and accompaniment for mussels. Tasted July 2019.   89


Sergio Zenato Riserva Lugana 2016    Veneto   #  928218    $39.95

Slight smoke on the nose with a seam of minerality. A hint of golden apple on the nose and palate. The medium-bodied  palate is dry and slightly firm. Rich with a lot of presence, this would pair well with lobster or pasta with rich, creamy sauce.  Tasted July 2019.  89

Villa Puccini Toscana 2014  Tuscany  #  540930   $14.95

Lots of dried raspberry on the nose and palate in this Sangiovese/Merlot blend. Very approachable and smooth. Medium weight, medium finish.  Try this with mussels or squid. A decent pour for the price. Tasted July 2019.    88

Terra d’Aligi Tatone Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2014  Abruzzo    #:  994616  $15.95

Dark, earthy fruit on the nose and palate.  Very smooth with a grippy, medium plus finish. A substantial wine, especially at this price.  Pair it with bold, spicy spaghetti or boar ragu.  Tasted July 2019.  88

Ca’ Rugate San Michele Soave Classico 2017  Veneto  #:  103259  $15.95

This simple and slightly aromatic white has a lovely fresh nose with just hints of white flowers. Palate is smooth and slightly floral with some perceived sweetness. Try it with white pizza. Tasted July 2019.  87

Janare Fiano 2017 Fiano   Campania   #:  528786 $16.95

Pronounced tropical fruit greet you immediately on the nose and carry to the palate.  Lemony citrus notes and nice acidity keeps it lively and refreshing. This would pair well with white pizza, or picnic fare.  Tasted July 2019.   88



Quinta da Aveleda Colheita Selecionada Loureiro 2017 Vinho Verde #  646067   $13.95

This Loureiro leans toward the savoury Sauvignon Blanc profile. Clean and crisp, it is refreshing and approachable. A hit of lemon on the finish is a nice final note. Great value here for a summer sipper or a seafood lunch wine.  Tasted July 2019.   88

Casa Santos Lima Colossal Reserva 2016   Lisboa  #:  548867  $15.95

This Portuguese blend offers up hints of roses and raspberries on the nose. Smooth and fruity this is a substantial wine for the money. Full-bodied with a medum finish.  This would pair well with ribs or burgers.  Good value. Tasted July 2019.  88

South Africa  

Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2018   Stellenbosch, South Africa       # 698274  $14.95

If you are looking for something a little different as a summer wine try this fruity but not sweet  Chenin Blanc with its enticing nose of peachy, white flowers.  Pineapple and citrus notes on the crisp palate. Refreshing and silky, smooth this is a good dock or deck sipper with appetizers. Good value.  Tasted July 2019.   88


Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado 2018 Rosé   Rioja   #  450775  $13.95

A lovely pale salmon in the glass. The palate has hints of tart, dried strawberries.  Medium bodied with a respectable finish.  Seems like a perfect fit for pan con tomate.  Good value.  Tasted July 2019.   88

Família Oliveda Jove Brut Cava  Catalunya   #  647883  $15.95

Hints of apple pie on the nose and palate. Nicely balanced with just enough effervescence. Medium finish. This would pair well with chicken salad with a side of Waldorf salad.   Tasted July 2019.    88

Balbás Barrica 5 Meses Old Vines Tempranillo 2015  Ribera del Duero  # 543710  $15.95

Gentle smoke and leather on the nose. Still some subtle fruit on the grippy palate. Full-bodied with a medium finish.  A satisfying pour with steak or tapas. Tasted July 2019.   88

Cimal Garnacha 2015 La Mancha   #  646836 $15.95

Four years in this 100% Grenache is full-bodied, grippy and chalky – quite a mouthful.  Big and bold it is probably best enjoyed with food. Lamb or beef would be good bets. Tasted July 2019.   87

Finca Bacara Time Waits For No One Monastrell 2017  # 648196  $18.95

This 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre) is showing some green pepper on the nose and lots of dark fruit on the palate. Big, bold and tannic at this point.  Give it time or enjoy with  tapas. Tasted July 2019.  87



Bieler Born to Run Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  USA  # 137034  $21.95

Born to Run is all about the fruit – a blend of California and Washington Cabernet Sauvignon.  Lots of raspberry on the nose and palate. It is smooth and nicely structured with polished tannins. This will hold wide appeal as an easy sipper.  Medium plus finish. Good value. Steak or grilled portabella called for here.   Tasted July 2019.     89

Chateau Ste. Michelle Rosé 2018 Rosé  Washington    # 568212    $18.95

Tart cherry on the nose and palate.  Nice tension and  silky and smooth.  This is a lovely summer sipper on its own or pair with strawberries and cream cheese. Tasted July 2019.     88

Simi Sonoma County Dry Rosé 2018   California    # 668467   $19.95

Tart red fruit on the nose. Bone dry with notes of dried red fruits on the palate. Silky, smooth mouthfeel.  This would disappear quickly at picnic!  Try it with cold roast beef.  Tasted July 2019.  88

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The Best and The Rest -  LCBO Vintages Release July 20, 2019

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