The Best and The Rest March 7th, 2020 LCBO Vintages Release

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The whites win hands down in the Burgundy bargains featured in the March 7th 2020 Vintages Release.  If you are a Chablis fan you will find a few delightful ones at reasonable prices. There are also a few standouts from the featured California wines.

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.

March 7th, 2020  LCBO Vintages Release


JM Gobillard & Fils Brut Grande Réserve 1er Cru Champagne

VINTAGES#:  13829  $46.95  Champagne, France

This traditional Champagne of 50% Chardonnay, 25 % Pinot Noir and 25% Petit Meunier opens with lovely brioche autolytics and hints of  steely minerality on the nose.  Ripe orchard apples dominate the nose and palate.  Structure seems a bit on the soft side but it has a fine mousse, nice balance and a long finish. Overall a delightful pour.  Perfect for elegant pastries or toasting. Tasted February 2020.    92

 Flat Rock Twisted Sparkling

VINTAGES#:  14421  $24.95  Ontario, Canada

This Sparkling from a classic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir has an interesting spicy and floral nose. It is bright and lively with rich peach and stone fruit tones.  This would be great for toasting or pair with a platter of soft cheeses, dried fruit and almonds.  Tasted February 2020.    91


Joseph Drouhin Montagny

VINTAGES#:  11903  $32.95 Burgundy, France

This is a lovely white Burgundy.  It is elegant with all aspects in harmony. There is good balance between the light lemon and subtle oak and some underlying wet stones add interest to the nose and the slightly textured palate.  Pair with seared scallops or grilled squid. Tasted February 2020..    92

La Chablisienne Vaillons Chablis 1er Cru

VINTAGES#:  11900   $27.95  Burgundy, France

This is elegance in a glass. It offers up soft lemon entwined with wet stones and beautifully integrated oak. Dry with a nice acid backbone.  All very subtle and harmonious and worth every penny at this price. Serve with sea bass or orange roughy.  Tasted February 2020.   91

Simi Chardonnay 2018

VINTAGES#:  673806  $19.95  California, USA

If you a fan of California Chardonnay this one’s for you – rich, lemony and fairly bold without being overpowering.  Nice balance and a long finish. Pair with creamy pasta or turkey with all the trimmings. A substantial pour for the price.  Tasted February 2020.  90

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016

375 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  728352  $16.95  California, USA

A  fairly rich Chardonnay here with some interesting oak, mushroom and salinity on the nose.  The palate is somewhat dominated by the oak.  Rich with a long finish. Pair with buttery shrimp or chicken.  Tasted February 2020.    90

Louis Jadot Chablis

VINTAGES#:  11905  $30.95  Burgundy,  France

A classic Chablis showing well balanced citrus, some fresh apple and a mineral vein.  Clean and light to medium bodied with nice tension and a respectable finish. Pair with veal or chicken piccata..  Tasted  February 2020.    90

 Red Wines

Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

VINTAGES#:  45476 $149.95 California, USA

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon has an enticing nose redolent with black fruit, hints of mint and cedar. This is a dense and chewy wine with generous black fruit and firm, grippy tannins. A couple of years in the cellar will reward your patience. Drink 2021-2030. Pair with pepper steak. Tasted February 2020.  91

Peninsula Ridge Estates Falcon’s Nest Pinot Noir

VINTAGES#:  12714  $19.95  Ontario, Canada

This Niagara Pinot Noir has a nice combination of dried cherry, cinnamon and sandalwood on the nose and palate.   Good fruit concentration, balance and structure.  Pair with duck confit. Very good value.. Tasted February 2020.   91

Bollina Zenas Primitivo

VINTAGES#:  13629             $17.00  Puglia,  Italy

Sit back and enjoy the dusty nose of dried fruit and hints of thyme. Medium bodied and unassuming but well balanced with nice fruit concentration. Easy drinking and good value to enjoy with pizza or grilled anything. Tasted February 2020.  90

El Enemigo Cabernet Franc

VINTAGES#:  11813  $23.95  Mendoza, Argentina

This is a wonderful 100% Cabernet Franc.  It has the distinctive green bell pepper tones balanced nicely with generous  black fruit and surprisingly a bit of a floral edge. Smooth drinking and fairly fresh with fruit and restrained herbalness in good balance. This is begging for shish kebab and grilled vegetables.  Drink now or hold for a couple of years.   Tasted February 2020.   90

Obsidian Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

VINTAGES#:  544940  $49.95  California, USA

This is big and bold with complex layers of black fruit, black licorice and hints of cedar . Rich with generous sweet fruit and a long finish but needs time to integrate.  Best from 2022-2030.  Tasted February 2020.     90

Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel 2015

VINTAGES#:  473744  $27.95  California, USA

Pedroncelli has crafted an classic Zinfandel here. Ample black fruit under hits of meat, sausage and smoke. Nice balance, fruity with grippy tannins and a long finish. This is a big wine to enjoy with spicy ribs, steaks or spicy pasta. . Tasted  February 2020.  90

The Rest


Reverend V Mount Barker Syrah

VINTAGES#:  13175  $21.95  Western Australia

This substantial Syrah is falling pretty much in the middle between the big, fruity Australian Shiraz and the more restrained cooler climate Syrah styles.  Smooth with ample black fruit. Some subtle smoke and pepper add interest.  Pair with peppercorn steak.  Tasted February 2020.    89


Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay Musqué

VINTAGES#:  246579  $17.95  Ontario, Canada

If Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer had a baby -this would be it!  It has a Chardonnay body but add in pronounced aromatics of white flowers and lychee. Off-dry, slightly floral and medium-bodied this would pair with Asian food or cream cheese appetizers.  Tasted February 2020.  89

Southbrook Triomphe Organic Chardonnay

VINTAGES#:  172338  $24.95  Ontario, Canada

This is not your typical Ontario Chardonnay, being earthier and rounder on the palate. It has nice weight and an enjoyable citrus and stone fruit theme with some underlying barnyard on a medium plus finish.  Embrace the earthy theme of this organic and vegan offering  and pair with something like goat cheese soufflé or mushroom risotto.  Tasted February 2020.  89

Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir

VINTAGES#:  274753  $34.95  Ontario, Canada

This medium bodied Ontario Pinot Noir is showing off its ‘terroir’ in a lovely combination of dried cherry, mushroom and forest floor.  Nice fruit concentration on the palate. Pair with duck confit or smoked salmon.   Tasted February 2020.     89


Nuiton-Beaunoy Beaune 2017

VINTAGES#:  447573  $36.95  Burgundy, France

This medium plus bodied Pinot Noir is showing subtle cherry and raspberry on the nose.  It has nice structure  with fine tannins lending  weight. Medium  finish. Pair with hard cheeses or rack of lamb.    Tasted February 2020.    89

Charles Montserat Bourgogne Aligoté

VINTAGES#:  12026  $16.95  Burgundy, France

This is a clean and crisp Chardonnay  with a nice balance of citrus and salinity.  Good structure and balance.  Drink now with cream cheese tea sandwiches or seafood appetizers. Tasted February 2020.    88

Cave des Vignerons de Buxy Buissonnier Bourgogne Pinot Noir

VINTAGES#:  11901   $19.95  Burgundy, France

This opens with a promising nose with hints of barnyard and smoke over underlying dried cherry. The palate is more earthy than fruity with a bit of  heat on the medium finish. Enjoy with light game like rabbit or pheasant. Tasted February 2020.    88

Maison Valdesday Bourgogne Pinot Noir

VINTAGES#:  12176  $20.95  Burgundy, France

This medium bodied Pinot Noir is showing cherry and hint of floral with soft tannins.  Palate is rather restrained with a medium finish. Pair with smoked salmon. Tasted February 2020.    86


Masso Antico Fiano del Salento

VINTAGES#:  12735  $16.95  Puglia, Italy

This light to medium bodied Fiano has enticing floral and saline aromatics.  It is dry, soft and round with stone fruits on the palate.  This one is begging for calamari or crab cakes! Good Value.  Tasted February 2020.    89

Santa Margherita Lison Pramaggiore Cabernet Sauvignon

VINTAGES#:  13620  $19.95 Veneto, Italy

If you tend to be overwhelmed by big tannic Cabernet Sauvignons this might the ticket to get in on this varietal. Medium bodied with dried red fruit and roses on the nose. It is smooth drinking with restrained fruit and tannins very much under control. Perfect burger and pizza wine.   Tasted February 2020.    88


Quinta das Carvalhas Red Blend

VINTAGES#:  11150   $13.95  Douro, Portugal

This could be your house red for March.  As we have come to expect,  Portugal is delivering a smooth drinking, well balanced, fruity red blend.  This one has good structure and character with fine tannins.   Good value. Pair with stew or cassoulet.  Tasted February 2020.  88

Campelo Terras de Viriato Reserva

VINTAGES#:  12712     $14.95    Dao, Portugal

Portugal is offering another robust, easy drinking blend. The combination of fresh and dried red fruit and a smooth palate makes this a very approachable and substantial pour. This good value sipper will have wide appeal.  Pair with charcuterie, steak or stew.  Tasted  February 2020.  87


El Gorú Monastrell/Syrah/Petit Verdot 2018

VINTAGES#:  443945   $13.95   Jumilla, Spain

This is a robust, fruity blend with a hint of mint on the nose and vibrant fruit on the palate.  Tannins are decidedly firm and grippy.  Enjoy now with food or hold for another 1-5 years. Tasted  February 2020.  88

United States

Bonterra Zinfandel 2016

VINTAGES#:  530139  $21.95  California, USA

This is a fun wine with lots going on in the glass.  Lots of red licorice and red fruit  wafting up in the glass. Juicy and fruit, you almost don’t realize it is weighing in at 14.5% alcohol. Rich vanilla  and soft tannins on a long finish round out the palate. Enjoy this with smoked ribs or spicy BBQ.  Tasted February  2020.    89

Murphy-Goode Merlot 2015

VINTAGES#:  59295  $24.95  California, USA

This lush Merlot will appeal to a wide audience with generous black plum, a  hint of spice an ever so light floral note on the edge.  Smooth and highly quaffable!  Enjoy with burgers or charcuterie. Tasted February 2020.  89

Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir 2014

VINTAGES#:  91025 $35.95  California, USA

Frei Brother’s Reserve Pinot Noir is weighing in on the heavier end of the Pinot Noir spectrum with lots of black cherry palate and a hint of smoky, spice.  This smooth and rich Pinot will go beautifully with grilled  lamb or beef tenderloin. Tasted February 2020.  89


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The Best and The Rest March 7th, 2020 LCBO Vintages Release

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