The Best and The Rest – LCBO Vintages Release Oct 26th, 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.

Oct 26th, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release

 Some interesting Icewine, including a Sparkling Icewine of interest.  Reds definitely dominate this release with France and Italy being featured.

The Best



Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2018   Ontario, Canada

 375 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  560367  $79.95

Sparkling and Icewine… together…does it get any better than this? Rich, lemon and honey on the nose but light and fresh at the same time. The palate is a burst of fine, lively honey and peachy stone fruits.  Nicely balanced, there is a fine seam of acidity that keeps the sweetness from being cloying. This would make a truly unique gift for any wine lover.  Enjoy the long, luxurious finish with dried fruits, blue cheese and salty nuts. Tasted October 2019.   93

Louis Bouillot Perle d’Ivoire Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant de Bourgogne

Burgundy, France 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  48801  $19.95

This lively 100% Chardonnay Crémant would be welcome at any celebration, brunch or lunch with its bright notes of green apple, blossom and toasty undertones. It is nicely structured and the green apple notes represent on the palate.  A creamy and satisfying finish.  Excellent value.  Would be welcome at any festivities for toasting or serve with  oysters or canapes.  Tasted October 2019.  90



Pondview Gold Series Vidal Icewine 2015  Ontario, Canada

200 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  390351 $19.95

This Vidal Icewine piques your interest  right away with its nose of honey, lemon and cardamom. The citrus notes float over the luscious, honeyed  palate making a nice balance of flavours.   Delicate spices linger on the honeyed finish.  Quite delightful. Tasted October 2019.  91




Warre’s Quinta da Cavadinha Vintage Port 2006   Douro, Portugal

750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  189605   $54.95

This Ports has a fairly tight nose still that eventually offers up aromas of cherry and fig. The palate is still fresh and rich with raisin, fig and cloves.  Rich and smooth and a delight from the start through the long, impressive, spicy finish.  Good structure, good balance. Tasted October 2019.   93


Cuatro Rayas 61 Dorado Vermouth Rueda, Spain

750 mL bottle  |   VINTAGES#:  10895  $23.95

 Pronounced orange peel and spicy cloves with black pepper accents waft up in the glass. Spice and citrus define the palate with hints of clove and caramel.  Nice balance of sweet and savoury here.  The citrus and spice carry all the way through the long finish. There is a lot of bang for your buck here!  Serve on ice over an orange slice with a platter of dried apricots, roasted nuts, caramel chocolate.  Tasted October 2019.  90



Russian Jack Sauvignon Blanc 2018  Marlborough, New Zealand

 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  149328 $19.95

This Sauvignon ticks all the boxes for an herbal New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc.  The nose shows typical grassy notes with some undertones of tropical fruit.  The palate is savoury and smooth with tangy grapefruit and grassiness. Nice tension keeps it lively and interesting.  Excellent value. Serve with marinated, herbed goat cheese. Tasted October 2019  91

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2018

 Marlborough, New Zealand  750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  974527 $21.95

Villa Maria is always a reliable choice and this Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. Classic grassiness and herbaceous notes on the nose and palate here without being over the top. Underlying tropical fruit notes balance the savoury nicely.  Smooth with a nice acid backbone. Herbal notes linger on the long finish. Serve with herbed quiche. Good value. Tasted October 2019.   90



Red Wines

Masi Campolongo di Torbe Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012 Veneto, Italy  750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  548677  $129.95

This Amarone opens with an enticing nose of warm, dried fruit and hints of sweet hay. Fairly restrained with light earthy notes and subtle baked fruit on the palate. Grippy tannins still in play. Winds up with a long, pleasant finish.   Would go well with peppery stews, mushroom risotto, lamb shanks, short ribs.  Tasted October 2019.   92

Potente 2016   Montsant, Spain

750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  10682  $18.95

Red licorice and red fruit on the nose.  The palate is fruity and smooth. Full bodied with very fine tannins and a decent finish.  This wine will appeal to a broad audience.  Clean, fruity, substantial with no rough edges. Excellent value. Serve with lamb, duck or grilled vegetables. Tasted October 2019.   91


St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
  California, USA

750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  671164  $34.95

An  earthy nose with savoury hints eventually giving way to raspberries.  Rich, fruity palate with soft, supple tannins.  Nicely balanced with a long finish.  Serve with steak or rich cheeses. Tasted October 2019.    91


Montecillo Gran Reserva 2009
  Rioja, Spain

750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  239277 $29.95

This Rioja is commendably fresh and clean ten years in with fresh cherry and raspberry fruit on the nose.  Fruitis  still showing on the palate that is well integrated and silky at this point.  Very fine tannins and a long finish.  This is a delight in the glass from start to finish (particularly since we are often guilty of drinking our Riojas too early).  Good value.  Serve with patatas bravas, or charcuterie.  Tasted October 2019.  91

Girard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016  California, USA

750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  231712   $44.95

Notes of raspberry and  bramble lead on the nose with hints of savoury cedar.  The fruit carries to the palate that has supple tannins.   Perfect for beef tenderloin or lamb.  Tasted October 2019.    90


Xavier Vignon Cuvée Anonyme Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

Rhône, France 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  393421  $59.95

This Chateauneuf-du-Pape opens with a fresh nose with hints of warm, sweet barnyard hay.   Warm earthiness carries to the palate. It has chalky tannins on a long, slightly hot finish. Drink now but a couple more years in the cellar will reward your patience. Serve with  beef stew or lamb shanks.   Tasted October 2019.  90


Remo Farina Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016

Veneto, Italy  750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  995910  $42.95

The restrained nose here eventually opens to figs and spicy chocolate. Fairly bright fruit on the palate with a long finish that ends with chocolate notes … just like a fine dinner.  It is silky, smooth with tannins well in check.  Enjoy with short ribs or boar ragu. Tasted October 2019.  90


The Rest



Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Gris 2018

Bío Bío Valley, Chile 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  10770  $15.95


An interesting Pinot Gris from Chile. The nose has hints of petrol on top of some delicate rose notes. Smooth and round on the palate but aromatics and delicate fruit are somewhat overwhelmed by the alcohol.  Pair it with light chicken dishes.  Tasted October  87



Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut Champagne

Champagne, France 1500 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  490482  $191.95

Lively peach and  light petrol on the nose here while apple and ginger play on the palate. Some perceived sweetness.  Tasty, however the mousse is noticeably subdued.    Calls for canapés.  Tasted October 2019.    89


Domaine la Bazillère Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2018

Loire, France  750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  12009  $13.95

This offering is an interesting departure from the typical clean, crisp wines of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine with its pronounced floral nose accented by hints of white peaches and tropical fruit. Silky and round on the palate and richer than your average Muscadet. Try it with shrimp or Asian food. Tasted October 2019.  88


Willm Réserve Pinot Blanc 2017  Alsace, France

 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  667774  $17.95

Citrus with subtle but fresh salinity dominates the nose. The palate is citrusy, silky, smooth and clean.  Nice balance.  Clean and refreshing.  Try with scallops or crab. Tasted October 2019.  88

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017

Rhône, France 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  297317  $16.95

A satisfying,  if fairly straightforward,  Rhone blend. Fruity, medium plus body, smooth and approachable. Highly quaffable especially at this price. Sip on its own or try it with pizza, lasagna, burgers. Tasted October 2019.  88



Lunae Colli di Luni Vermentino 2018 Colli di Luni, Italy

  750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  317065  $24.95

Attractive aromas of lemon and lychee here.  The nose hints of creaminess but the palate is fresh with a distinct citrus seam. Nicely balanced. Perfect for grilled fish or creamy pasta. Tasted October 2019.     89

South Africa

Campbell Kind Wine Syrah 2018   South Africa

 750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  10522  $15.95

Pronounced smoke and earthiness greet the nose.  Smooth on the palate with lots of ripe fruit. Medium finish.  Overall a pleasant fairly straightforward  pour and quite a bit of depth for the price. Pair with burgers, pizza or sip on its own. Tasted October 2019.    88


United States

Elouan Pinot Noir 2016
  Oregon, USA

750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  420760  $29.95

Cherry all around here – colour, aromas and on a hint of spice on the palate. Black cherry leaning toward the jammy end of the spectrum. Medium body, medium finish.  Tasted October 2019.   88





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The Best and The Rest -  LCBO Vintages Release Oct 26th, 2019

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