The September 3rd release is featuring Chilean wines and Burgundy Region. I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed by the offerings, perhaps due to my personal taste preferences. But I did find lots of other great value wines from other areas!
Many of the Chilean whites are blends or Sauvignon Blanc, and the reds are biased toward Carmenere or blends.
The Burgundian Chardonnay descriptions talked more about the producers and regional characteristics as a whole. So... even though I am a 'Chardonnay girl' I wasn't getting excited about the promise of all that taut, green, minerality.
There were a couple that stand out that I will list but having said that I did find many others I would consider to be gems outside of the featured wines!
Exceptional Value Reds
Wits End Shiraz
Score 90 Sara d'Amato, Winealign, 92 James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2017
Sara's tasting notes indicate a complex nose of violet, black cherry, black pepper and black tea...a touch of smoky cedar and bacon. She describes it with Southern Rhone-like flare and drinking beautifully now to 2020. YES!!
Update Sept 18, 2016- I tasted this wine on the weekend and it is very smooth. My first impression was that it was a bit jammy and I was a bit concerned it would become cloying but it didn't. Nice, flavourful and fruity. I am glad I have another bottle in the cellar!
The Hedonist Shiraz 2013
#090191 Score 94 $21.95
Campbell Mattinson, winecompanion.com.au describes blackberry, coffee-cream and red cherry flavours. Enjoyable to drink now through 2023.
Tasting Note: these 2 Shiraz' are both from McLaren Vale, South Australia so it is an interesting opportunity to compare the same grape from the same region from 2 different years, 2 different winemakers.
J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2014
The reason I was attracted to this wine (besides the LCBO suggestion that it will be an incredibly expressive wine delivering smoky dark fruit, raspberry, spice chocolate tones in an approachable soft package!) is because I have never had a wine from Paso Robles that I didn't find to be amazing. They are often in the $35-$50 range here in Canada so this one appears to be, as the LCBO notes indicate 'one of the greatest values out there.'
Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
#706077 Score 90 $12.95
Update 3 Sept 2016: This is a 500ml bottle (half bottle) which explains the price. (My bad... changes the value proposition... but still good value.
Nope - that is not a typo! Rating is from James Laube, winespectator.com, tasted June 15, 2016. I am coming to realize I am a sucker for the 'Full-bodied and Smooth' descriptor category. Tasting notes say it is easy drinking yet has substance and depth. Notes of tender plum, currant and blackberry with shades of licorice, light earth and oak. Drinking now through 2022. Seems like a case would be a good idea on this one!
Durigutti Blend 2012
#450171 Score 92 $19.95
Michael Schachner's tasting notes describe inky aromas of black fruits, caramel and pencil eraser. It was the caramel note that got my attention. Sometimes you get a toasty oak note aka caramel note that I find sublime.. and I am hoping I am going to get it here Saturday! Drink now. Best Buy. 'Nuff said.
Update Sept 18, 2016 - Tasted this with a steak dinner this weekend. It is a BIG wine. I didn't get any caramel toastiness, rather huge leather and tobacco on the nose and palate. If you like that flavour profile -this wine is for you and a bargain at that. If leather,tobacco is not for you, you will likely find it overpowering.
Akarua Rua Pinot Noir 2015
#295592 Score 95 $27.95
This wine won a Gold Medal in the highly respected Decanter World Wine Awards. New Zealand does a more than respectable job on Pinot Noirs. Tasting notes call it positively impressive with dark red raspberry, violet, red cherry, toasty oak and wild thyme on the nose. A silken thread of oak and fine tannins provide complexity and structure. How often can you get a wine scoring 95 for less than what you would pay in a roadhouse restaurant for a mediocre bottle of wine??
Descendientes de J. Palacios Petalos 2013
#446484 Score 91 $24.95
This Spanish wine ranked #53 in 2015 Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines. Compare this at $24.95 to the Rodney Strong Rockaway Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (also in this release) which ranked # 59 on the same Top 100 list... selling for $100.95. Thomas Matthews of winespectator.com says 'Expressive black cherry, currant, licorice, mineral and smoke flavors mingle in this focused red.' Drink now though 2023.
Exceptional Value Whites
Bourgogne Chardonnay 2013
Vintage panel describes this as over-delivering with intense ripe apple, plum and a hint of vanilla on the nose, lots of flavour with depth, presence and a lovely mouth feel.
Vignerons de Buxy Buissonnier Montagny 2014
This appellation is a chalky, chardonnay based region. This is a chance to experience a highly respected great-value region of Burgundy. The wine notes suggest this will age and evolve for 5 or more years to come. That is a lot going on in a white! The region's white wines are noted for touches of hazelnut and fern, was well as a flinty quality.
Domaine du Vieux Chai Sur Lie Muscadet Sevre & Maine 2014
Gold Medal winner from Concours des Vins du Val De Loire. Tasting notes describe this wine as superb with aromas of white flower with sweet citrus and a palate offering fleshy body balanced with refreshing acidity. Notes of pear and pink grapefruit persist in a lively finish.
Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer 2013
#302059 Score 91 $17.95
David Lawrason of Winealign suggests this might be the best gewruz Ontario has produced yet. That says a lot to me because we produce a lot of good gewurz! He describes a 'fragrant and flamboyant nose packed with exotic lychee, orange marmalade, honey mustard and ginger. It's medium weight, fleshy, warm and dense on the palate.'
Burmester 10 Yr Old Tawny Port
#223958 Score 94 18.95
David Lawrason of Winealign describes this as huge value for port lovers with an incredible nose of fig/raspberry jam, aged hone, hickory, leather and touch of burlap. On the palate he describes it as full, sweet, nutty with velvety/marbled texture and an excellent to outstanding length.
Link to LCBO Product Search