The Best & The Rest- LCBO Vintages Release May 11, 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 May 11, 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.

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The Best


Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France   750 mL (D) $23.95 183764

This is a lovely pale gold in the glass with a smattering of very fine bubbles. Green apple and warm baguette dance on  the nose. Some stone fruit on the  lively, bone dry palate. Nice balance and tension. Very pleasant long finish. Perfect for toasting on its own or serve with  pastry hors d’oeuvres. Good value. Tasted April 2019.   91

ROGER & DIDIER RAIMBAULT SANCERRE 2017 AC Loire, France 750 mL (XD) $31.95 082255

This gem opens with a subtle but complex nose of sweet papaya, herbs and wafts of mint. Mouth- watering and juicy -the palate is silky and all herbs.  Beautiful balance. This is like a velvet hammer – subtle and restrained but ultimately powerful from nose to finish.  I would love to try it with leg of lamb with mint sauce!  Tasted April 201993

OHH POITOU SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 AP Haut-Poitou, Loire, France  750 mL (XD) $16.95  635854

This is the little sister of the Roger & Didier Raimbault Sancerre 2017 also on offer in this release.  A slightly more subdued version but nonetheless an elegant and refined Loire Sauvignon Blanc. It has a restrained herbal, grassy nose. Silky and round in the mouth. The herbal palate is crisp and mildly flinty.  Nicely balanced.  This wine  tastes like you paid twice as much. Excellent value. Serve with salads, light fish, scallops, oysters.  Tasted April 2019. 91

POMAR JUNCTION SIDETRACK WHITE 2017 Paso Robles, California  750 mL (D) $19.95  644492

Gold in the glass with an aromatic nose of candied tropical fruit and white flowers.  Pineapple, peach and lychee burst onto the palate that is silky, round and rich.  The freshness of this wine screams summer decks and docks, although it is by no means a lightweight with 14.5% alcohol.  Medium bodied with a long finish it will stand up to summer salads and turkey or salmon burgers.  Nicely balanced and easy to take. Tasted  April 2019. 90

VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 Marlborough, South Island   750 mL (XD) $29.95 2 447474

This is a delight from start to finish.  A combination of sweet and savoury with subtle hints of candied tropical fruit underneath a grassy, herbal nose. Palate gives up grass, asparagus and salinity.  Beautifully balanced.  Excellent length. Consistent herbal minerality from the first sniff to the last long lingering note on the palate. Pair with herbed roasted chicken, salmon, garlicky shrimp or scallops.  Tasted April 2019.  93

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 Marlborough, South Island   750 mL (XD) $19.95  009167

Pale, almost clear  lemon in the glass. An enticing nose, full of promise- salinity, asparagus and garrigue. The palate delivers with herbal, grassy notes. Acidity is zesty but balanced.  Long, lingering finish. Everything you would want from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Great Value. Pair with oysters, scallops, feta cheese.  92

LE PARVIS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 AC Rhone, France 750 mL (XD) $53.95  638551

Rich dark cherry colour.  The nose is like you are surrounded by sweet hay a warm summer day. The palate is silky but striking with racy raspberry and cherry tones. Tannins on the finish are fine and gripping. Medium to long finish. This wine deserves Chateaubriand with the tenderloin and all its trappings! Tasted April 2019.  90

MASSERIA ALTEMURA SASSEO PRIMITIVO 2016 IGT  Salento, Italy  750 mL (D) $16.95 366955

Interesting ‘meaty’ nose that moves on to dried raspberry.  Lots of restrained fruit on the palate.  Nicely balanced. Silky start finishes with fine tannins. I used to prefer the California style Zinfandel over the Italian Primitivo but this wine has me rethinking that! It makes me want Italian pasta with wild boar ragu!  Failing that try it with anything from grilled burgers to eggplant parmigiana.  Excellent Value.  Tasted April 2019. 91

ALCHYMIA PRIMITIVO 2015 IGT Puglia, Italy  750 mL (XD)  $19.95  636613

Deep garnet colour. Light fruit and spice on the nose.  Full bodied with dark, brambleberry fruit on the palate. Lovely, smooth and round mouth feel.  Tannins are very fine. Nicely structured with good length.  Very satisfying pour!  Try with anything from pizza to pasta to lamb burgers. Good Value. Tasted April 2019.  90 

LATIUM MORINI SOAVE 2017 DOC Veneto, Italy  750 mL (XD) $14.95  631697

This little gem has an enticing spicy, floral nose. Subtle notes of sandalwood and cinnamon. The spiciness carries over to the palate. There is a lot going on here while still feeling silky and light to medium weight.  Long, lingering finish with a hint of cinnamon. Serve with spicy, creamy pastas or spiced Cornish hen. An intriguing wine with lots of interest and no harsh elements. A good bet to stock up on for summer. Excellent value. Tasted April 2019.  90


The Rest


LOUIS DE SACY ORIGINEL BRUT CHAMPAGNE  (AC Champagne, France)  750 mL (XD) $49.95  624809

This blend is 52% Pinot Noir, 46% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier. Light gold colour with lots of effervescence in the glass and a ring of fine mousse.  With classic bright, yeasty notes it is mouth watering, juicy and racy. Medium  finish.   Tasted April 2019.   88

LACHETEAU BRUT CRÉMANT DE LOIRE Traditional method, AP, Loire, France  750 mL (XD) $18.95 624742

Pale  almost clear in the glass and effervescent. Bright notes of green apple and hints peach and pear carry over to the palate.  Lean and dry with a fine mousse, there is a hint of bitterness on the finish.  Pair with savoury hors d’oeuvres. Tasted April 2019.  89


CUDDY BY TAWSE CHARDONNAY 2013  VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ont.  750 mL (XD) $25.95 469023

Golden in the glass. Clean, bright oak defines the nose and palate.  Big and bold but silky smooth. Reminiscent of California Chardonnay without the butteriness. A bit hot on the finish which is long and satisfying.  Serve with smoked cheeses or turkey dinner with all the fixin’s.  Tasted April 2019.  89

HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY TREE WHITE 2016 6 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ont. 750 mL (XD) $17.95 1 251116

Almost clear with a clean, light but lively  floral nose. The palate is surprisingly herbal  and crisp after the aromatic nose. Medium to long  finish. Sip on its own or with light crab salad.  Tasted April 2019.  88


WITS END LUNA SHIRAZ 2017 McLaren Vale, South Australia 750 mL (XD) $17.95  311258

Inky purple in the glass. The nose is reminiscent of a field berry crumble with lots of warm, sweet, ripe fruit. This will be a crowd pleaser as a fruity smooth sipper. It is  well balanced and goes down easy. Try it with BBQ anything, lamb burgers, flavoured cheeses.  Tasted April 2019.  89

ALPHA BOX & DICE TAROT GRENACHE 2017 McLaren Vale, South Australia  750 mL (XD) $21.95  632612

This is a lighter styled red, almost like a Pinot Noir with sweet, spicy, peppery sausage on the nose. The palate is herbal and savoury with very fine tannins. Slightly astringent on the finish. Serve it with grilled salmon or pork chops.  Tasted April 2019. 87

New Zealand

RAPAURA SPRINGS RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2017  Central Otago, South Island  750 mL (XD) $24.95  645184

Deep cherry colour with a subtle nose of woodsy cherry. This is on the heavier end of the Pinot Noir profile with a vibrant palate of cherry and dried herbs.  Chalky tannins dominate the finish.  Nothing subtle about this wine but the nose!  Serve with short ribs, prime rib or lamb. Tasted April 2019.  88


TOHU SINGLE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 Marlborough, South Island   750 mL (XD) $34.95  645242

The cherry colour is taking on some bricking on the rim.  It has a slightly hot nose with hints of warm hay. Subtle stewed fruit on the palate. Silky on the palate with mature tannins on the finish. Drink now with veal osso bucco or beef tenderloin.  Tasted April 2019.  88

PADDY BORTHWICK CHARDONNAY 2017  Wairarapa, North Island 750 mL (XD) $25.95  507517

Delicate, soft nose of candied  lychee and apple blossoms. Fruit and floral carry to the palate.  Soft and round on the palate. This will make an aromatic,  fruity sipper for the summer. Drink now Serve with shrimp, scallops, chicken. 88

MIDDLE EARTH PINOT GRIS 2017 Nelson, South Island  750 mL (D) $19.95  645366

Pale lemon in the glass with a hint of oiliness on the surface.  Soft candied nose that eventually gives up a hint of petrol. Round mouth feel. Some perceived sweetness on the palate but finishes with a mild show of acidity and minerality. Soft but nicely balanced.  If you prefer a fruity Pinot Gris style vs racy, mineral Pinot Gris this one is for you. Would pair nicely with chicken, mild fish.  89


KUTJEVO GRASEVINA 2017 Danube-Kutjevo Vineyard, Slavonia  750 mL (XD) $14.95 647396

Lemon coloured and clean in the glass. Pronounced petrol dominates the nose.  Palate is has some salinity and minerality. A smooth mouth feel with good acidity and a mouth puckering long finish.  It makes me think of Greece so pair with Greek salad, Chicken souvlak.  Tasted April 2019.  88


VIGNERONS DE BEL AIR BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR 2017 AC Burgundy  750 mL (XD) $22.95  648519

Lovely almost opaque dark cherry colour.  Generous nose with hints of spicy, cherry and wet woods. Very subtle cherry carries over to the palate with a finish that is dominated by grippy tannins. This would be a match for beef or mushroom ragu.  Tasted April 2019. 89

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 AP Rhone  750 mL (XD) $18.95  251645

Cherry coloured in the glass. This GSM opens with a mild barnyard nose. The cherry and raspberry on the palate are followed up by a big, alcoholic, tannic finish.  Serve with rib eye steaks, shepherd’s pie, rack of lamb.  Tasted April 2019. 89



Dried fruit, slightly perfumy nose.  Fruit on the palate carries from the start through the medium finish.  Nicely balanced & structured.  On the lighter,feminine end of the Ripasso spectrum.  Try it with pasta with spicy sauce.  Tasted April 2019. 89

TEDESCHI CAPITEL NICALÒ VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2016 DOC Veneto  Medium-bodied & Fruity 750 mL (XD) $17.95  984997

Inky, purple in the glass. Black cherry and pepper on the nose that carry to the palate. Nicely integrated. The finish is slightly hot with fine tannins. Overall a satisfying pour. This would be quite versatile and go with grilled burgers or grilled portabellas, pizza, pasta or stew.  Tasted April 2019.  88



BURGO VIEJO CRIANZA 2014 DOCa Rioja  750 mL (XD) $16.95  168815

For a 2014 this is still very much a big wine! The nose is pleasantly tarry. The fruit has receded somewhat and the palate is primarily smoky oak. Chalky tannins leave you with a long lingering finish.  This is a lot of wine for the price. Best enjoyed with food like old cheddar or manchego, jamon Iberico, or spicy meatballs.  88




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