The Best and The Rest – LCBO Vintages Release July 6, 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 6, 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!

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The Best


SPERLING BRUT RESERVE 2011  BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada $48.95 # 635144

This lively sparkling has sour dough and golden apple notes on the nose that carry to the palate.  This one demands your attention right from the slightly tart start through the pronounced but fine effervescence to the tart apple tones on the palate.    This would be a great pour with pastry based canapés. Tasted June 2019.   90



QUEENSTON MILE CHARDONNAY 2016  VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada  $35.00 # 010137

Lovely lightly oaked nose with delicate buttery notes that carry over to the palate.  Silky, smooth with a long and luxurious finish.  If you are a Chardonnay lover you may want to enjoy this on its own. If not this one deserves buttery lobster.  Tasted June 2019.  92


BLACK STALLION ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 Napa Valley, California USA $29.95 # 639609

This Sauvignon Blanc leans toward the tropical fruit profile with hints of guava and lemon on the nose and palate.  It is round and smooth with a nice tension that keeps it interesting. Medium plus finish.  Try it with scallops or shrimp.  Tasted June 2019.   90



$39.95 # 48469

This Premier Cru Chablis dutifully displays its terroir with lots of minerality and a slight herbal note on the nose. Clean and crisp on the palate with hints of tart green apple. Elegant and well integrated. Serve with chicken in white wine sauce. Tasted June 2019.    90



THE DOCTORS’ ROSÉ 2018 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand  $19.95 # 498428

This refreshing rosé  is an interesting blend of Pinot Noir and a white Italian grape, Arneis.  Lots of ripe red fruit on the palate.  It is nicely balanced with an impressive finish. Quite lovely on its own or try it with strawberries and cream cheese.  Tasted June 2019.  90


MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2018 AP Côtes de Provence, France  $20.95  # 452573

This is restrained elegance in a glass.  No candy or florals here. It is clean and dry with restrained red fruit on the silky, silky palate.  Very enjoyable. Try it with grilled salmon.  Good value.   Tasted June 2019.   90


Red Wines

SECRET INDULGENCE SECRET BLEND 2015 Napa Valley, California, USA  $95.95 # 927731

Deep garnet in the glass, this ‘secret blend’ opens with a complex nose. It starts with ripe, warm black fruits. Then hints of light mint are followed by a waft of earthy barnyard and then a breath of fresh salinity. Lots of luscious fruit on the silky, smooth palate. The fruit continues right through the long, expressive finish. Grill up your best steak for this one.  Tasted June 2019.  94


GEYSER PEAK WINERY WALKING TREE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, USA    $29.95 # 161323

Geyser Peak is always a reliable choice and this Cab Sauv is no exception. Dark fruit and cassis with hints of mint on the nose.  Nicely balanced with noticeable fruit on the palate. Just a touch of earthiness on the palate as well. Tannins are still very much in play.  This rather bold, California style Cab Sauv is begging for a steak on the side.  Very good value. Tasted June 2019.    93

CADIS AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2015 DOCG  Veneto, Italy  $39.95  # 096750

Hints of dried straw on the nose (or is that the power of suggestion?) Concentrated fruit on the palate.  Smooth mouthfeel with well tamed tannins.  Extra long finish. Overall very elegant.  Rack of lamb with lots of rosemary would seem appropriate here. Tasted June 2019.    91

GIRAUD TRADITION CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 AC Rhone, France $59.95 # 182899

Subtle nose of black currant with just a hint of earthiness. Generous black fruit on the palate which is silky and  smooth with very fine tannins.  A long and lingering finish. This one deserves Chateaubriand!  Tasted June 2019.   91

SAINT-GERMAIN VIEILLES VIGNES PINOT NOIR 2015 AC Bourgogne, France $22.95 # 648543

If you are a Pinot Noir lover this one’s for you. Relatively simple but true to form. Light cherry notes  and just a hint of barnyard on the nose.  The palate is surprisingly fruity showing generous cherry notes. Nicely balanced and overall an elegant wine.  Very fine tannins on the finish. Try it with tenderloin. Very good value. Tasted June 2019.    90


BRITISH COLUMBIA PERSEUS MERLOT 2016  BC VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada   $29.95  # 648907

Deep garnet in the glass. A delightful peppery nose.  Lots of bramble fruit on the palate.  Soft, chalky tannins on a long finish.  This one is easy to love!  Try it with BBQ pizza or spicy pasta dishes. Tasted June 2019.  90

DOMAINE CHANTE-PERDRIX CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 AC Rhone, France  $45.95  # 121723

Lots of dark cherry fruit on the nose and palate on this one. It is silky, smooth with cassis and a suggestion of earthiness. It is rich and powerful but risks being overpowered by the 15.5% declared alcohol.  Would be great with beef bourguignon. Tasted June 2019.  90


TRIANON DE LARIGAUDIÈRE 2015 AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France  $43.95 # 633883

From a well respected AC in Haut Médoc this wine reflects well on its pedigree.  Elegant and restrained, it is well integrated.  Subtle fruit on the palate. Very fine tannins and a medium plus finish.  Enjoy with prime rib. Tasted June 2019.  90

The Rest


CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BLANC DE BLANCS 2015  Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada $34.95 # 423111

Toasty pastry notes on the nose. There is a touch of anise amid the lively mousse on the palate. Light and lively and slightly racy. Try it with light cheeses.  Tasted June 2019.  89

FERN WALK ROSÉ 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada $16.95 # 010125

Rosé is always so pretty to look at and this one fits the bill being a pale, pale delicate salmon colour. The delicacy continues with the light, sweet strawberry notes on the nose. It is considerably drier on the palate than the nose would suggest with hints of dried strawberry. Silky, smooth-this deserves a place at many summer lunches or brunches. Tasted June   88

BRICKLAYER’S REWARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017   VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 # 644757

Opens with pronounced grassy notes on the nose. The palate is rather racy with its mouth puckering tartness. Lots of savoury notes eventually emerge. Try bold,  food friendly wine with savoury cheesecake. Tasted June 2019.     88


MEGALOMANIAC PINK SLIP ROSÉ 2018   VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada $19.95  # 085126

This one is still rather tight but eventually it offers up subtle, savoury notes of dried thyme on the nose and dried strawberry on the palate.  It has more body than many rosés.  Slightly tart on the medium  finish.  Try it with smoked trout or arctic char. Tasted June 2019.  www.thewineloverskitchen.com88

LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY 2017  VQA Niagara Peninsula $21.95 # 578864

One of Ontario’s contributions to ‘Cool Climate Chardonnays’, this is clean and crisp with a firm acid seam. Stone fruit and a touch of minerality on thepalate.  Enjoy with calamari.  Tasted June 2019.  www.thewineloverskitchen.com88


ECHEVERRÍA RST CHARDONNAY 2017 DO Litueche, Colchagua Valley $19.95 # 571067

This cool climate Chardonnay come  from the coastal single-vineyard ‘Ucuquer’.  Showing light oak on the nose and palate, it is otherwise clean and bone dry. Medium body, medium finish.  Try it with grilled chicken.  Tasted June 2019.www.thewineloverskitchen.com88



MOILLARD CHABLIS 2018 AC Burgundy, France $24.95 # 010380

This is a departure from the lean, savoury Chablis profile. This one has a light, fruity nose of lychee and candied pineapple.  Light bodied and mildly fruity. Well balanced and elegant.  Serve with soufflé. Tasted June 89

LES HAUTS DE LA GAFFELIÈRE 2016 AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru $26.95 # 648923

This is a classic Saint-Émilion blend. It has a somewhat dusty, restrained nose with a few fleeting hints of cedar. Well integrated with slightly chalky tannins on the finish.  Pair with short ribs or rich stews. Tasted June 2019.   89

GÉRARD BERTRAND HAMPTON WATER ROSÉ 2018 AP Languedoc ,  France $29.95   # 667337

This rosé is designed for summer living from the fresh, juicy style to the Southern France diver on the label. There are delicate strawberry notes on the nose with just a savoury hint. Restrained strawberries on the palate.  Nice balance.  Medium finish. Try it with cucumber sandwiches. Tasted June 2019.   89

CHÂTEAU HYOT 2015 AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon $16.95 #063537

2015 was a good year for Merlot and Cab Franc for Right Bank Bordeaux. We have that to thank for this simple but classic Right Bank Bordeaux blend that won’t break the bank. Fresh fruit on the nose and palate with hints of barnyard.  Tannins are starting to be tamed.  Decant for an hour or so. Try it with rich stews or roast beef. Tasted June 2019.   88


RESSI RHEIN RIESLING 2017 RHEINHESSEN, Germany  $17.95 # 666008

This Riesling has an interesting mineral nose with a  touch of green apple.  Not as sweet as you might expect from a German Riesling it is actually rather tart on the palate. Crisp and dry, try this food friendly wine with summer salads with goat cheese.  Tasted June 2019.    88



LUCIANO ARDUINI BACAN ROSSO VERONESE 2015 IGT, Veneto, Italy    $14.95 # 010126

A typical Valpolicella blend this one has hints of warm hay and roses on the nose. Generous fruit on the palate with a hint of rosehip.  Full bodied and smooth. Substantial but not complicated-this one is easy to love. Excellent value. This could be your summer house wine red. Sip on its own or enjoy with pasta and pizza. Tasted June 2019.   89


This opens with lots of leathery notes on the nose and then offers up a hint of candied cherry.  Nicely balanced and very approachable with a silky, smooth mouthfeel and dusty tannins on the finish .  Try it with lamb shanks or osso bucco.  Tasted June 2019.  89

VILLA POGGIO SALVI TOSCO 2016 IGT Toscana Rosso  $17.95 # 644955

This is an unassuming, clean and approachable Sangiovese.  No rough edges here. Nicely balanced and highly quaffable.  Would go great with classic spaghetti or pizza.   Tasted June 2019.   87


New Zealand

SNAPPER ROCK MARLBOROUGH PINOT GRIS 2017 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand $16.95   #536185

The nose on this transports you to a field full of clover on a warm summer day. Despite the sweet smelling nose there is no perceived sweetness on the palate.  Clean and dry with some stone fruit on the palate. Nicely balanced. Medium finish. Try it with grilled white fish. Good value. Tasted June 2019.   89

South Africa

KARA TARA PINOT NOIR 2017 WO Elgin, South Africa  $29.95 # 653048

A fairly simple and straightforward example of Pinot Noir. Very light notes of earthy forest floor on the nose and light cherry notes on the palate.  Some fine tannins lend weight. Try it with veal or roast chicken.  Tasted June 2019.   87



ALCEÑO PREMIUM 50 BARRICAS 2016   DO Jumilla. Spain   $16.95 # 398933

This 85 % Syrah/15% Monastrell is an interesting blend, Monastrell lending weight to the Syrah.  Dark cherries on the palate with a touch of earthiness.  Medium finish. Overall a very pleasant uncomplicated pour. Try it with burgers or kebabs.  Tasted June 2019.  89

LA MALDITA GARNACHA 2017 DOCa Rioja   $14.95  # 645051

This 100% Grenache is fun and fruity. Bright raspberries on the nose with a hint of damp clay.  Generous raspberry tones on the palate.  It is juicy, delicious and highly quaffable.  Good Value.  Try it with summer salads or anything BBQ.  Tasted June 2019.  88


VILLA CONCHI BRUT ROSÉ CAVA Traditional method, DO, Spain $17.95 # 632265

This is an eminently quaffable sparkling, off-dry, lightly fruity and will hold wide appeal.  Perfect for picnics or summer celebrations.  Tasted June 2019.  88


HAHN MONTEREY CHARDONNAY 2017 Monterey County, California, USA  $21.95 # 234393

Warm, tropical fruits and pineapple with a hint of sandalwood on the nose.   Fruity  textured palate with light oak. Smooth but slightly hot on the finish.   Serve with grilled shrimp or scallops. Tasted June 2019.   89

WINE BY JOE PINOT NOIR 2015 Oregon, USA   $26.95 # 060467

This expressive Pinot Noir is on the weightier end of the Pinot Noir scale. A deep black cherry colour in the glass. Black Cherry on the nose with a hint of scorched earth. Earthy cherries on the palate. Light tannins extend the finish.  Try it with duck sausage.  Tasted June 2019. 89

MEIOMI ROSÉ 2018 California, USA $27.95 # 557611

This is a rather robust rosé.  There is some initial perceived sweetness on the palate and then the slightly tart, dried strawberries emerge. Zest and refreshing.  This would go well with grilled salmon or trout. Tasted June 2019.   89

SOLÉNA CELLARS PINOT GRIS 2017 Willamette Valley USA $24.95 # 665877

This is an aromatic Pinot Gris with apple blossoms and salinity on the nose.  Some perceived sweetness on the silky and round palate. Ripe fruit on the palate, this is an easy and straightforward summer sipper. Enjoy on its own or with shrimp cocktail.  Tasted June 2019. 88

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