The Best and The Rest Vintages Release December 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.

The majority of these wines are available on Dec 7th. Some wines will be released throughout the month of December. The Dec 7th release has lots of good Sparkling wines. There is sure to be one that will fit your taste and budget.

The Best and The Rest

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.

Dec 7th, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release

The Best


Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Estate Blanc de Blanc 2014

Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  315200  $49.95

Bake shop pastries with hints of nutmeg float up in the glass.  The palate has very nice structure and balance.  It is a bit more savoury than the nose might suggest with ginger and juicy, ripe red apple. This has nice weight and would pair nicely with party food or main courses.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019  91

Desiderius Pongrácz Brut Cap Classique Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir

Western Cape, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  404111  $16.95

This has generous toasty bread notes on the nose and palate.  Quite lively and a little bit spicy with great tension and acidity.  Remember this one for your holiday oyster pairing! For that matter make it your Holiday house sparkling at this price! Very good value.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019  90


La Crema Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2017

California, USA VINTAGES#:  67231 $39.95

This Chardonnay is  a real treat – rich and buttery,  sultry and smoky. Full-bodied with lemon tones supported by nice acidity.  Lots of oaky notes and texture on the palate as well.  Silky, smooth with just enough restraint to qualify for elegant.  Serve with your holiday turkey or stuffed rolled ribs. Tasted Nov 22, 2019   91

Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018

Stellenbosch, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  231282  $17.95

How fortunate are we that this rich Chenin Blanc, with its oaky, smoky nose is available at such a reasonable price. Full-bodied and silky smooth with lemon tones on the palate.   Satisfying in every way with a respectable finish.  Very good value.  Pair with chicken dishes or creamy pastas.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019   90

Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2017

Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  302083  $24.95

A lovely nose of lemon tones floating on oak and some floral tones not usually associated with Chardonnay add interest.  Toasty oak leads on the palate and melts to a rich seam of lemon.  Rich and well balanced. This will stand up to your savoury holiday meal or a range of festive appetizers.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019    90

Red Wines

Dirty Laundry Merlot 2016   (Dec 21st)

British Columbia, Canada VINTAGES#:  366179  $29.95

What a wonderful Merlot to cozy up with on a cold night.  Lots of depth and concentration here. It  opens with ripe, red plum on the nose that carries to the palate where it is joined by cassis and a bit of leather.  Smooth and approachable it could be enjoyed on its own or with wine braised beef. Tasted Nov 22, 2019.  90

Paringa Peninsula Shiraz 2016

Victoria,  Australia   VINTAGES#:  10581   $32.95

A fruit driven and rather refreshing Shiraz. The  co-fermentation with 5% Viognier is giving it a bit of a lift.   With generous red plum on the palate, it is well balanced and elegant leaning toward the old world style.  Would be wonderful with rack of lamb.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019     93


Elderton Ode To Lorraine Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot 2015

Barossa Valley, Australia  VINTAGES#:  976423  $39.95

This outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot blend leads with the Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of bramble and cedar. On the palate it is rich in red and dark fruit, offset with savoury notes.  Reminiscent of a Bordeaux blend but fruitier, more approachable and frankly – more fun.  The label says this ‘Ode to Lorraine’ is a tribute to their mother Lorraine who is so instrumental in the success of Elderton.  This tribute has certainly hit its mark.  This is so versatile it would be fun on its own, with burgers or pizza or your finest roast.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019.       93

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

California, USA  VINTAGES#:  708982  $89.95

Delightful light tones of mint and garrigue greet you on the nose and move to concentrated bramble and black berry notes on the palate. Nicely balanced, smooth with a long, delicious finish.  All around elegant and delightful.  Enjoy in its own or serve with rich stews.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019    93

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Western Australia, Australia  VINTAGES#:  433045  $39.95

Lovely earthy, minty, peppery notes on the nose here that carry to the palate.  Layers of black plum and currant on the palate. This will be stunning after 2-3 more years in the cellar, then enjoy with prime rib.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019  93

Burrowing Owl Meritage 2016

British Columbia, Canada  VINTAGES#:  343038  $57.95

This opens with lovely aromas of bramble, dried herbs and a touch of sweet hay. Generous red plum, currants and savoury notes on the palate.  Nice ripe fruit and ripe tannins.  This is a complex wine that evolves nicely in the glass to offer up its charms layer after layer.  This one begs for beef tenderloin.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019 92

Bachelder les Villages Pinot Noir Reserve 2016

Ontario, Canada   VINTAGES#:  11582  $29.95  (Dec 21st)

The reference to ‘Les Villages’ seems to be a nod to this Pinot Noir’s  old world style.  It opens  with beautiful aromas of  barnyard and mushrooms.  Elegant with light cherry tones on the palate.  Harmonious and balanced in every way.  Pair with duck breast.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019   92

Duckhorn Merlot 2016

California, USA  VINTAGES#:  992529  $69.95

Enticing notes of raspberry and violets on the nose here. Dark fruits and cherry on the palate.  Rich and supple and smooth.  A very satisfying pour, sure to have wide appeal.  Pair with short ribs or duck.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019  91

Lange Classique Pinot Noir 2016

Oregon, USA  VINTAGES#:  367359  $39.95

Welcoming aromas of smoke and leather lead on the nose.  The palate is quite vibrant with generous red cherry  and currant.  Smooth and approachable with a long, slightly hot finish. Very enjoyable. Serve with cassoulet or duck confit.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019     91

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

South Australia, Australia  VINTAGES#:  12331  $21.95

This Shiraz opens with enticing, fresh aromas of peppery raspberry and currants.  Fruit driven with generous red fruit and cassis on the palate. This highly approachable, well balanced wine will be a crowd pleaser.  Serve with pepper steak. Good value.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019 91

Belle Glos Las Alturas Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016

California, USA  VINTAGES#:  212076  $59.95

This opens with aromas of somewhat candied black cherry notes and has pronounced juicy, black cherry and vanilla on the palate.  Rich and full-bodied, this would be marvelous with spicy lamb dishes.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019    90

Brittan Vineyards Basalt Block Pinot Noir 2014

Oregon, USA  VINTAGES#:  11252  $39.95

Light cherry and raspberry define the nose and palate. As it opens it offers up earthy tones as well.   Medium bodied and elegant.   This is all in good balance and a delight from start to finish.  Serve with rack of lamb or roast duck.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019 www.thewineloverskitchen. 90

Z. Alexander Brown Uncaged Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

California, USA  VINTAGES#:  478628  $21.95

Cedar and dried herbs open on the nose on this one.  Fairly vibrant fruit on the palate, more than the nose suggests.  Good concentration.  Silky,smooth with good balance.  This is well structured and drinks like a wine far more expensive than this.  Very good value.  Pair with burgers, pasta with meat sauce.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019     90

Murphy-Goode Merlot 2015

California, USA  VINTAGES#:  59295  $22.95

This fruity Merlot is showing ripe black plum and smooth, ripe tannins. Highly approachable and highly quaffable. Good concentration and balance.  Pair with ribs or pizza.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019  90

Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2017

Mendoza, Argentina    VINTAGES#:  29280  $19.95

This is a robust, meaty wine with earthy tones of wet forest floor.  Concentrated black plum on the palate.  Silky, smooth, with very fine tannins.  Very enjoyable with excellent length.  Serve with  grilled sausage or beef. Very good value.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019   90

The Rest


HJ Fabre Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2016

Mendoza, Argentina  VINTAGES#:  122861   $18.95

This Malbec/Cab Franc blend is a medley of black fruit, chocolate, eucalyptus.  Lots of interest in the glass here.  It is smooth with fine ripe tannins.  Pair with prime rib.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019   89


Zonte’s Footstep Chocolate Factory Shiraz 2017

South Australia, Australia    VINTAGES#:  396481   $19.95

If you are looking for big, bold, dense, chewy in your wine then this wine’s for you! Lots of dense dark fruit on the palate with nods toward chocolate .  Pair with hearty stews or charcuterie platters.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019     89

Pirramimma Petit Verdot 2016

South Australia, Australia  VINTAGES#:  986752  $28.95

If Petit Verdot is used in small doses to add interest then this 100% Petit Verdot promises to be very interesting! Interesting dusty, chalky, vegetal aromas lead on the nose. The palate is herbal and peppery with hints of  graphite and blueberry. A food friendly wine that would go well with braised meats and vegetables.  Tasted Nov 22, 2019     89


 Wayne Gretzky Whisky Oak Aged Red 2018

Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  617738  $19.95

This Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend’s claim to fame is the fact that after the traditional oak barrel aging 25% of it went on to further aging  in whisky barrels. In addition to the field berries and a touch of cedar on the nose, the slightly hot, sweet added dimension is presumably from the whisky barrel aging. A nice blend of red and black fruit on the palate with fine, chalky tannins.   Tasted Nov 22, 2019      89

Flat Rock Riddled Sparkling 2017

Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  383315  $34.95

This sparkling opens with aromas of rich, ripe orchard apples. Lively with creamy, gingery toast on the palate.  Nice balance. Would be a pleasure to sip on its own  or serve with brunch or lunch.    Tasted 22 November, 2019.  89

     Featherstone Joy Premium Cuvée Sparkling 2013

Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  310334    $34.95

Toasty notes of sourdough waft up in the glass. It has a lovely fine mousse and wonderful tension.  Hints of lemon and mild ginger on the palate. Wonderful for toasting or with appetizers.    Tasted 22 November, 2019.   89

Featherstone Four Feathers 2018

Ontario, Canada  VINTAGES#:  341586   $14.95

This is an aromatic blend of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and a touch of Chardonnay. Riesling lends peach and Gewurzt  white flowers to the nose.  Rich tropical pineapple and lemon shine on the off-dry the palate.  Smooth and round it will make a wonderful party white or pair with Chinese take-out.    Tasted 22 November, 2019.   88

South Africa

Morgenster Lourens River Valley 2011

Stellenbosch W.O. VINTAGES#:  709303  $33.95

 This blend includes the familiar Bordeaux grapes but the emphasis is on Cabernet Franc at 59%,  Merlot at 30%  with the difference split between Cab Sauv and Petit Verdot.  The result is a focus on green bell pepper and herbalness. It is still fresh 8 years in.  Enjoy this food friendly wine with spaghetti sauce with thyme or savoury dishes.  Tasted 22 November, 2019.     89

Nederburg Manor House Shiraz 2015

Western Cape, South Africa  VINTAGES#:  68775  $16.95

Smoky mocha notes on the nose here with dried fruit and herbs on the palate.  Nice structure and restraint.  This would be a great wine with Christmas tourtière, roast beef or beef bourguignon.  Very good value.   Tasted 22 November, 2019.     89

United States

Chandon Sparkling Rosé

California, USA  VINTAGES#:  405555   $34.95

This lovely sparkling is all about delicate – delicate floral aromas, delicate salmon colour, delicate, mousse.  And then it explodes on the tongue with strawberry and ginger. Fun and fruity and feminine… a great celebratory choice for a shower or tea.   Tasted 22 November, 2019.    89

Subscribers to my newsletter will receive my reviews a few days prior to the release.  My reviews will be published on-line a week after the release date.  If you want to receive my standouts from the tasting in your basket before the release date  you can sign up here.

The Best and The Rest Vintages Release December 2019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *