The Wine Lover’s Picks LCBO Vintages Release Feb 16, 2019

The Feb 16, 2019 LCBO Vintages Release is full of amazing value wine, many from the featured Australian regions.  You won’t believe how many mid 90 ratings are under $20!! There are also a Grand Cru Bordeaux  and a Pouilly Fuissé  for your cellar in the  $35 range, which is  a rare treat!

I can’t say enough about this release.  There are so many consistently high rated wines in this release you will want to stock up.  This is also a great opportunity to sample the highly rated wines to learn what the gold standard of that varietal should be.

Use this link to check out availability of wines closest to you – LCBO store locator. Just enter the product number in the search field in the upper right corner. When the product page comes up click on the Select Store button on the right margin.  A dialogue box will come up. Add your postal code to get a list of stores closest to you that have it in stock.

Or you can now order LCBO products on-line  .  Of late LCBO have indicated all release wines are available for on-line  ordering.

Here are my picks for some of the best value wines under $35 in this release.

Fortified Wines

DO (Spain)

035204(S)   Score: 94      $18.95

Frank Baldock of says ‘an exquisite melange of dried fruits,
roasted nuts, honey, toffee, mocha and truffly forest floor notes. And that’s just the bouquet! On the palate it’s medium sweet with clove, walnut oil, espresso, raisins and orange zest. Here’s a lovely sipper of immense length and subtlety to enjoy by the fire … And it’ll keep, with the cork back in, for weeks. Serve all by itself or with cheese, fruit and nuts.’

White Wines


SIDEWOOD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 (Adelaide Hills, South Australia)

518357 (XD)     Score 95-99     $17.95

James Halliday,  says ‘Quite an achievement winning a gold medal in the bastion of sauvignon blanc, the Perth Wine Show … Perfectly ripened fruit midway between citrus and tropical are neatly balanced by acidity. Drink [now].’   Score 95
Also awarded Best of Varietal, Best of Class and Double Gold.  Score: 99
New World International Wine Competition, 2018
Aromatic & Flavourful


632349     (XD) Score: 95      $17.95

TWLK: I was astounded recently after tasting Validivieso’s 2015  Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley. It would hold its own in a lineup of premium New Zealand Sauvingnon Blancs.  This rating and review for this one suggest it might do as well!

International Wine Challenge, 2018 notes: Very understated, mineral style of Sauvignon, with aromas of gooseberries and herbs. Opens up on palate with lovely gooseberry dominant fruit, but also lemon zest and herby notes. Beautifully poised with subtlety and balance.
Aromatic & Flavourful

(Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

492272 (XD)     Score 93     $21.95

Bob Campbell, MW, of  describes ‘Attractive, moderately concentrated sauvignon blanc with typical Awatere tomato leaf, green capsicum, gooseberry and lime zest flavours plus a suggestion of wet stone mineral character. A weighty, textural wine. Drink 2017 to 2020.’
Aromatic & Flavourful

(DO Maipo Valley, Chile)

406991 (XD)    Score 92       $16.95

James Suckling, says ‘The nose seems a little simplistic because this is so young, but on the palate there is real depth and drive. Some stone at the long, complex finish. Probably better from 2019.’
Full-bodied & Rich


631051 (XD)   Score 92     $21.95

Kerin O’Keefe of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘Fragrant spring blossom, white stone-fruit and citrus aromas mingle together on this elegant white. On the fresh savory palate, a white almond note accompanies creamy yellow apple,nectarine and lemon zest.’
Full-bodied & Rich


HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2017 (VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ont, Canada)

557165 (D)  Score   91     $19.95

Michael Godel of ‘The vintage was a different one, more than most in Niagara and riesling might be the white grape affected most. The heat of September and October made for some long developed riesling ripeness and flavours. It really shows in this Pelham Estate rendition and who knows what sugar munched petrol will develop as a result. The year 2017 will be remembered for great riesling variance which is just what we should want from the great chameleon. This is lovely in its sweet herbal fragrance and limepowered flavour. The great Short Hills Bench length tells us to seek out more and continue to learn. Drink: 2019-2024.’
Aromatic & Flavourful

OYSTER BAY PINOT NOIR 2017 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

590414 (XD)    Score: 91    $20.95

Natalie MacLean of  says’ Oyster Bay’s Pinot Noir 2017 is a supple, smooth, medium-bodied red wine. Featuring aromas of black  cherries, plum, dried herbs and dark spice. Racy acidity makes this wine mouth-watering and zesty. A lovely, long finish. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2018-2022.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY 2016 (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ont, Canada)

578864   (XD)       Score 91     $22.95

David Lawrason of says’  Great value here. It’s barrel fermented then aged in stainless. It is an elegant, creamy yet firm and dry chardonnay with a quite complex nose of peat smoke, butter cream, almond, spice and quite topical yellow peach fruit. It is full bodied, smooth, elegant and rich with lovely balance and excellent length.’
Full-bodied & Rich


MOMO ORGANIC PINOT GRIS 2017 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

163535 (D)    Score 90     $19.95

Vic Harradine of says ‘The huge nose of floral notes and tropical fruit is portend of the gusher of nectarine and pear intertwined with piquant spice and lovely honeyed notes on the full-bodied, fully textured
palate. It finishes with a blaze of lemon pie filling on the finish and aftertaste. This is a perfect dance partner for baked, glazed ham dotted with cloves alongside mashed potatoes and corn.’
Full-bodied & Rich

Red Wines


LA REGOLA 2011 (IGT Toscana, Italy)

420653 (D)   Score 93    $28.95

Antonio Galloni of  says ‘ … dark, powerful and explosive. Black cherries, blackberry jam, cloves, leather and graphite all jump out in a flashy, exuberant wine that captures the personality of the year. Drink this ample, opulent Cabernet-based blend over the next 5-7 years. The blend is 85% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Drinking window: 2015-2023.’  Full-bodied & Smooth


TOM GORE FIELD BLEND 2014 (Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA)

639724 (XD)     Score 92  $29.95

Ultimate Wine Challenge, 2017 notes:   Decadent like a warm blueberry pie on the nose with undertones of wet clay, pomegranate seeds, and vanilla. A spiced palate rife with dark plum, blueberry, and toasted oak flavors hints at the long, warm finish that ensues. Excellent. Highly Recommended.’

Full-bodied & Smooth


DOMAINE NATURALISTE DISCOVERY SYRAH 2014 (Margaret River, Western Australia)

632596 (XD) 750 mL   Score 95     $24.95

James Halliday of says ‘95% syrah, 3% viognier and 2% malbec, destemmed/whole berries cool-fermented to create partial carbonic maceration. Clear crimson-purple, it has that intangible savoury freshness that can only be achieved with grapes picked around 13 degrees baume, not 15 degrees, in a climate that produces fruit ripeness at the lower level. This has it in spades, with a starlight scatter of spices, fruit flavours, neither predominantly black or red, tannins positively adding to the result. Drink By: 2039.’
Full-bodied & Firm

(Adelaide Hills, South Australia)

470591 (XD) Score 95   $29.95

Campbell Mattinson of says ‘10% whole bunch. It’s a floral, lifted, spicy shiraz with beautiful, fluid fruit running sweetly  throughout. It’s medium in weight but it feels generous, an infusion of  bacony/toasty oak adding positively to the impression. Tip top. Drink By: 2030.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

SISTER’S RUN EPIPHANY SHIRAZ 2017 (Epiphany Vineyard, McLaren Vale,
South Australia)

269464 (XD)     Score 94    $17.95

Shiraz is one of McLaren Vale’s leading red varietals. The Epiphany Shiraz is notably, reliably intense and generously flavoured, with soft, ripe tannins and impressive dark fruit. [The Sommelier Challenge did not include a tasting note.], 2018
Full-bodied & Smooth



PATRICK LESEC CAIRANNE 2016 (AP  Rhone, France) 

636217 (XD)    Score 91       $19.95

Joe Czerwinski of says ‘Lesec’s 2016 Cairanne is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and old-vines Carignan, matured almost entirely in tank. Enticing raspberry and cola notes carry a bit of cracked pepper as well, and this medium to full-bodied wine is juicy and mouthwatering on the long finish. It should drink well for at least 5-6 years. Drink Date: 2017-2022’
Full-bodied & Smooth

CHÂTEAU BLAIGNAN 2014 (Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, France)

633032     (XD)   Score 90     $23.95

This Cru Bourgeois is drinking beautifully now and will continue to delight for another 3+ years.

James Suckling of says ‘Very attractive fresh cassis nose, then a nice balance between ripeness and moderately dry tannins makes this a classic Medoc on a subtle scale. Drink in 2018.’
Full-bodied & Smooth


Cellar Suggestions


632604 (XD) Score 96  $33.95

James Halliday of says ‘Separate parcels fermented and matured in French barriques (40% new) for 12 months, thereafter a barrel selection. Puppet master Bruce Dukes has assembled the components on a string, with blackcurrant fruit, French oak and rippling tannins all dancing to his tune. A cabernet that offers much now, notwithstanding its cellaring capacity. Drink By: 2030.’
Full-bodied & Firm



632703 (XD)   Score 94    $19.95

Tim Atkin MW of  says’  Coastal Syrah is one of the joys of the current Chilean wine industry. This comes from the granite soils of Maitén and is serious, grippy and deeply coloured with anchovy and black olive flavours and layers of savoury tannins. Drink Date: 2020-2028′
Full-bodied & Smooth

2016 (AP Burgundy, France)

637850 (XD)    Score 91       $34.95

Allen Meadows of describes ‘… honeyed and exotic elements
present on the slightly fresher aromas of citrus, acacia, passion fruit and essence of pear … There is evident underlying tension to the beautifully well-delineated flavors that aren’t quite as dense but there is better complexity and notably better length on the more refined finale. Lovely stuff and worth your interest. Drink: 2021+. Outstanding.’
Full-bodied & Rich

CHÂTEAU CANTENAC 2014 AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru (AC Bordeaux, France)

024430 (D) Score 90  $34.95

Sara d’Amato of  says ‘A pure, firm and typical expression of right bank Bordeaux with well integrated wood spice and both red and black fruit represented. Offering impressive tannic structure and still somewhat austere. There is an old world dustiness to the palate as well as notable acidity. Complexity is above the mean for the price and length is very good. Hold another 2-3 years for best expression.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity


Leave a Reply

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