The Wine Lover’s Picks LCBO Vintages Release Jan 19, 2019

One of the features in the LCBO Jan 19, 2019 release highlights wines to go with comfort foods so lots of ‘meaty’wines on offer.  The real bonus though are the Cellar Suggestions.  Here is a chance to stock up your cellar with 90+ rated wines. 

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.

Sparkling

JEAN GEILER BRUT CRÉMANT D’ALSACE, Traditional method,
(AC, Alsace, France)

624783 (XD)      $21.95
Score: Gold Medal (Concours Général Paris, 2017)

Vintage Panel notes: Notes of red apple, bitter lime, brioche and mineral. Racy  acidity drives a crisp finish. Medium-bodied & Flavourful

Rosé Wines

CHÂTEAU DE L’AUMÉRADE CUVÉE MARIE-CHRISTINE ROSÉ 2017
(AC Provence, France)

562785  (XD)  Score: 90       $19.95

Decanter World Wine Awards notes: 42% Cinsault, 34% Grenache,
24% Syrah. Juicy vibrant strawberry fruit aromas. Good berry fruit flavours and a lovely texture. Very appealing, creamy and complex on the finish. Easygoing & Fruity

White Wines

BLIND RIVER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017
(Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

141499  (XD)       Score 94       $21.95
Blue-Gold Medal winner (judged with food) at the 2018 Sydney International Wine Competition.

Sam Kim of  wineorbit.co.nz  says: ‘ From the Awatere Valley, this gorgeous sauvignon includes 10% barrel-fermented portion (with indigenous yeasts). The intensely aromatic nose shows feijoa, green rockmelon, lemongrass and kaffir lime characters. It is powerful and succulent on the palate, and offers mouth wateringly delicious flavours with bright acidity, finishing superbly long and attractive. At its best: now to 2020.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

DE WETSHOF BON VALLON UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2017
(WO Robertson, South Africa)

403675 (XD)    Score: 92             $22.95

Neal Martin of vinous.com says ‘ … comes from gravelly soils and saw
no wood contact. It has an attractive bouquet with scents of white peach, guava and yellow flowers. The palate is well balanced with a fresh citrus opening and very fine tension and penetration. Green apple, grapefruit and light peachy notes appear toward the focused finish. Excellent. Drinking window: 2019-2029. ‘ Full-bodied & Rich

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TWLK:  Note the two Riesling below are  categorized as Medium Sweet which translates to ‘noticeably sweet’ with 42-45 grams of residual sugar per litre.  For comparison Dry is 8-15 grams and a Port wine typically runs in the 90s. So if you enjoy old German style riesling these are right up your alley.  If you actively avoid sweet wines they may not be for you.

BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN
RIESLING KABINETT 2016

(Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany)

629998 (MS)   Score: 92       $25.95

Anna Lee Iijima of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘ Rich, ripe passion fruit, berry and guava tones resound from nose to finish in this unabashedly tropical Riesling. While medium-sweet in style, it’s refreshingly composed, marked by spine-tingling acidity. A sugary lace meanders long on the finish. It’s approachable already, but structured enough to cellar through 2028’.
Aromatic & Flavourful

SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN ESTATE RIESLING 2012

(Qualitätswein, Rheingau, Germany)

653535 (MS) Score 90   $18.95

Vintage panel notes: This is an astonishing value from one of the pre-eminent producers in the Rheingau. There is plenty of fruit flavour, vibrancy and depth as well as a hint of the petrol note so desirable in maturing Riesling, but it’s the wine’s stony core that stands out. Gorgeous. The sweetness here is perfectly balanced by the spine of firm acidity. Top-flight in every way. Try this with smoked fish, salty cheeses, or spicy Asian dishes. Aromatic & Flavourful

ESTERHÁZY ESTORAS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2016
(Burgenland, Austria)

568543 (XD)     Score 91      $17.95

Anne Krebiehl, MW of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘A hint of lemon and yeast leads the nose of this wine. Its light-footed palate brings in more yeasty savoriness and texture before ample lemon zest flavors kick in with appetizing freshness. This has concentration and light-heartedness in equal and abundant measure.’  Aromatic & Flavourful

ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017
(Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

225557 (XD)     Score   91    $19.95
Gold Medal winner (judged with food) at the 2018 Sydney International Wine Competition.

Joe Czerwinski of robertparker.com says ‘I love the intensity and freshness of the Eradus 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. It’s got hints of Awatere green to its aromas and flavors, offering notes of crushed tomato stalk, passion fruit and lime, but it balances those with some creaminess on the palate and plenty of lingering citrus on the finish. Drink this medium-bodied wine over the next year or two. Drink Date: 2018-2019.’
Aromatic & Flavourful

Red Wines

SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2016 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

640854 (XD)    Score  93      $17.95

James Suckling of jamessuckling.com describes ‘ Blueberry and blackberry aromas and flavors with some hints of flowers. Full body, layered and rich. A red with structure and depth. Drink now.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

 

CICCHITTI GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2012 (Mendoza, Argentina)

155713 (D)   Score 93     $27.95

Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast  says ‘A combination of char, licorice, blackberry and cassis aromas is about as complete and pleasing as it gets for Malbec. This doesn’t lose it in the mouth, where things are firm and true, with solid tannins. Charred flavors carry onto the flavor profile along with blackberry and hickory smoke, while the finish is toasty, chocolaty and spicy. Drink through 2021. Editors’ Choice.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

XAVIER VIGNON LIRAC 2016 (AP Rhone, France)

636183 (XD)  Score  92     $22.95

Joe Czerwinski of  robert parker.com says ‘One of Vignon’s better efforts, the 2016 Lirac showcases ripe fruit, ranging from raspberries and cherries to hints of stone fruit. Yet, it’s not over the top or simply fruity. This full-bodied wine adds hints of leather, garrigue and licorice along the way, evolving from creamy to velvety on the palate and through the lasting finish. Drink Date:
2017-2025. ‘ Full-bodied & Smooth

MONTES LIMITED SELECTION PINOT NOIR 2016
(DO Casablanca Valley, Chile)

037937 (XD)   Score 91     $14.95

James Suckling of jamessuckling.com says ‘A pretty pinot with dried strawberry and rose petal aromas. Hints of cedar. Medium body, bright acidity and a fresh finish. Excellent value. Drink now.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

MOJO SHIRAZ 2017 (South Australia)
327767 (XD)    Score 91      $19.95

Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz says ‘A fabulous juicy attack of black/
blueberries and plums with fragrant spice, mint and roasted almond on the nose. The palate is bright, supple and flavoursome, delivering pristine fruit flavours together with silky texture and polished tannins. Youthfully charming and immediately appealing. At its best: now to 2021’.  Full-bodied & Smooth

 

MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE RESERVE MERITAGE 2016
(BC VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada)

633628 (XD)    Score 91  $29.95

Christopher Waters of watersandwine.com says ‘… 34 percent Cabernet Franc, 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 29 percent Merlot and seven percent Petit Verdot, aged for 15 months in French and American oak. The finished wine boasts a ripe core of blackberry and blueberry enhanced by malted and cocoa notes from the barrel aging. That small but significant percentage of Petit Verdot really shows itself on the finish – with an earthy element that leaves a lasting impression. Remarkable complexity, texture and length make for a winning combination of elegance and power.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

GABARDA SELECCIÓN 2015 (DO Cariñena, Spain)

629139 (XD)    Score: 90       $19.95

Luis Gutiérrez of robertparker.com says ‘The youthful and lively 2015
Selección is a blend of Cariñena [and] 15% Garnacha from vines in the village of Aguarón. The destemmed grapes fermented in stainless steel in this first vintage and the wine matured in oak barrels for ten months. It has great character and a floral nose intermixed with rustic touches, very elegant and subtle. The oak is very nicely integrated and folded into the fruit, with great freshness – that’s the beauty of Cariñena, the grape! It has great balance and lively, combining power and elegance. Drink Date: 2017-2019.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

 

OUTLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014
(Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, USA)

633537 (XD)     Score 90   $29.95

Virginie Boone of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘Stainless-steel fermented, this is a  red that’s ready to drink, blended with small amounts of Syrah and Pinot Noir. Thick, leathery, structured black fruit stars alongside dried herb and earth before a long, juicy finish.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

Cellar Suggestions

 

DIAMANDES PERLITA MALBEC/SYRAH 2016
(Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

480749(XD)    Score 93     $18.95

James Suckling of jamessuckling.com: describes ‘A fresh and fruity red with plum and berry character. Medium to full body, refined tannins and a crisp finish. A blend of malbec and syrah. Needs a year or two to come around. Solid. Fantastic value.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

CHÂTEAU CORBIN 2015
(AC Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France)

630020 (XD)     Score 93     $26.95

Jeb Dunnuck of jebdunnuck.com says ‘From a 13-hectare estate located
north and slightly west of the village of Saint-Emilion, the 2015 Château Corbin is mostly Merlot blended with 17% Cabernet Franc, all of which comes from sandier, clay soils. It offers ample notes of ripe cherries, strawberries, dried herbs and bouquet garni, with a beautiful floral quality developing with time in the glass. Ripe, undeniably sexy and polished on the palate, with full-bodied richness and ultra-fine tannin, give bottles a few years and drink over the following 10-15. Maturity: 2018-2033.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

LUA CHEIA EM VINHAS VELHAS RESERVA ESPECIAL TINTO 2015
(DOC Douro, Portugal)

610287 (XD)        Score 92    $21.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘ Produced from a field blend of old vines (Vinhas Velhas), this rich wine is powerfully structured. It has dark tannins and great concentration, balancing rich plum flavors and acidity with
firm structure. This is a wine for serious aging, don’t drink before 2020. Cellar Selection.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015
(AP Côtes du Roussillon, France)

195107 (XD)    Score: 90        $16.95

Jeb Dunnuck of robertparker.com says ‘… close to an even split of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan that was brought up all in concrete tanks. Ripe, sexy, sweetly fruited and medium to full-bodied, it offers irresistible notes of blackberry jam, spice and hints of licorice. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years. Drink Date: 2017-2021.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

BORGO SCOPETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015
(DOCG   Tuscany, Italy)

023325 (XD)  Score 90     $16.95

Bruce Sanderson of winespectator describes ‘Bright cherry, strawberry, floral and earth aromas and flavors are the hallmarks of this elegant red. Firm and balanced, persistent on the finish. Give this a year to integrate. Drink now through 2028’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

JOHNNY Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014
(Coonawarra, South Australia)
530121 (XD)   $16.95

Score: Gold New Zealand International Wine Show, 2017

Vintages panel notes:  The aromatic properties of this still-youthful wine come to life with some air. It’s densely structured with superb intensity, juicy ripe black fruit, cassis, smoke and spice in abundance. A big, burly wine with great balance and integration that punches well above its price point. Enjoy this
with steak.  Full-bodied & Firm

Good Bets

The wines highlighted below may not have been rated by critics but are wines that come from consistently high quality producers or regions that epitomize the characteristics of a certain varietal or style. In other words… good value wines that I would gravitate to without hesitation!

TWLK:  This wine is scoring between high 80s and mid 90s (due to the fact that Decanter scores are based on the quality of the wine in its price range – not against the gold standard of the varietal).  The wine below is however uniformly recognized as good value and complexity for the money.

LEEUWENKUIL GRENACHE NOIR 2016 (WO Swartland, South Africa)

630871 (XD)  Score: varies from 89 – 95        $19.95

Decanter World Wine Awards notes : 100% Grenache. Sappy, stalky nose, with bramble berry fruits, peppery spice, marzipan and a dash of oak. The fruit fills the well-structured palate, and there’s a nice lick of spice and sweet red cherry confit length. A refreshing, seamless style.   Full-bodied & Smooth

PEPPER TREE ESTATE GROWN SEMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017
(Hunter Valley/Orange, New South Wales)

632067 (XD)    Score varies between 89-93   $19.95

James Halliday of winecompanion.com.au says ‘The blend works well, the contribution of the varieties complementing each other. Lime and lemon citrus notes create the melody, gently tropical fruits providing the rhythm. Overall, it has excellent drive and life-giving acidity. Drink By: 2022. ‘
Aromatic & Flavourful

KILIKANOON KILLERMAN’S RUN GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MATARO 2016
(Clare Valley, South Australia)

412189 (XD)    $19.95
Gold Medal winner at the Mundus Vini Spring Tasting 2018 competition.

Decanter World Wine Awards notes ‘ 94.5% Grenache, 3.5% Shiraz, 2% Mataro. Intense dark cherry and redcurrant aromas, herbaceous spicy vanilla notes. Bright cherry, dark winter berry palate, spicebox on lingering finish.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER 2016
IGP Pays d’Oc, Roussillon, France)

147975(XD)    $14.95

Vintage panel notes: This is a perennial favourite from a top-flight producer. It always offers tremendous value and delivers its orange citrus, peach, herb and floral tones in a concentrated, creamy, yet vibrant package with superb balance. Aromatic & Flavourful

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TWLK:  It is unusual to find a Pinot Gris under the $18 mark so with the high praise that accompanies this one I would definitely try this if you are a Pinot Gris lover.

VILLA WOLF PINOT GRIS 2017
(Qualitätswein, Pfalz, Germany)

988592 (XD) $14.95

Vintages panel notes: It was in the Pfalz region, back in the 19th century, that Pinot Gris was first identified as an individual variety and vinified separately. This stunning example is floral and elegant with crisp citrus, apple and stone fruit from start to long, dry finish. A lovely match for pork sausages or crab
cakes.  Aromatic & Flavourful

SEAGLASS PINOT NOIR 2016

(Santa Barbara County, California, USA)

539163 (XD) $21.95

Vintages panel notes: The name SeaGlass refers to the beautiful wind- and wave-polished shards of glass that can be found washed up on beaches. This 2016 Pinot Noir offers lush red fruit, plum, cherry, herbs, delicate smoke notes and a vibrant, crisp acidity. This complex, youthful, sophisticated wine is an excellent value. Enjoy with salmon and a dill cucumber salad.
Medium-bodied & Fruity

 

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