The Vintages Release for Oct 31 2020 is starting to offer the premium wine selections for the upcoming Holiday season with lots of 3 digit prices. But I will take you on a ‘road’ trip to France, Italy and South Africa in particular to find good value Holiday wines and gifts.
In a departure from the wine focus I will give a shout out to Dillon’s Vermouth, made right here in Ontario. Dillon’s Vermouth VINTAGES#: 571133 $19.95. It is citrusy and bright- perfect on a slice or orange with an ice cube. Refreshing for you and would be a welcome gift I am sure.
I include this 375 ml Sauternes Château d’Armajan des Ormes 2016 VINTAGES#: 695833 $28.95 Bordeaux, France because this is the standard size for Sauternes. You can’t decide on any given day of the week to buy a Sauternes in many areas of Ontario so aficionados need to snap it up when it is available. This one displays the typical luscious citrus, peach, honey and complexity that these wines are renown for.
VINTAGES#: 175588 $19.95 Western Cape, South Africa. You might want to think about stocking up on this one for the upcoming festive season. This traditionally made sparkling consistently gets reviews in the the 90+ and offers up lots of red fruit and mousse. Great for sipping, toasting and pairing.
This could well be one of the best values of this release – Maria Papoila Loureiro/Alvarinho 2019 VINTAGES#: 408146 $16.95 Vinho Verde, Portugal. David Lawrason of winealign.com give is a 91 and describes light to medium body with soft quince, avocado and lover aromas, fruit and flesh on the palate with a stony finish and excellent length. Vinho Verde is known for light, lively wines and this one seems to on the weightier end of the scale.
Chardonnay lovers are in for a treat with|:
Santa Alicia Gran Reserva de Los Andes Chardonnay 2019 VINTAGES#: 406991 $16.95 Maipo Valley, Chile which is described as full-bodied and rich with oak top notes but white fruit and florals undertones. Descorchados gives it a 91.
VINTAGES#: 15985 $14.95 Western Cape, South Africa gets an 89 from John Szabo of winealign.com. John is a very discerning reviewer so his 89 score still signifies good value to me at a $14.95 price tag. He describes ripe round fruit, good structure, creamy texture. At 13.5% declared alcohol think about this one gracing your holiday table.
Another South African value – Rustenberg Chardonnay 2019 VINTAGES#: 598631 $19.95 Stellenbosch, South Africa. Full-bodied and rich with citrus, apple and oak. Another holiday party or meal choice.
Expand your palette with this Bersano Gavi di Gavi 2019 VINTAGES#: 999979 $18.95 Piedmont, Italy that Jame Suckling gave a 91. A classic white grom Piedmont with citrus, mineral and stone fruits. Sip on its own or pair with shrimp, calamari or poultry.
Vintages #: 544312 $19.95 Oregon, USA is one of few US offerings in this release that fit in the <$35 focus of these recommendations. Oregon does a fine job of Pinot Gris. Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘honeysuckle, lemongrass and fresh spring herbs’ with impressive balance, length, texture and harmony. Best Buy.
Our own Cave Spring is getting high praise from reviewers Paul Gregutt of Wine Enthusiast gives Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2017 VINTAGES#: 566026 $29.95 a 94 score and describes ripe tree fruits -peach, citrus, melon and papaya. From 45 year old vines, it also displays the minerality from the limestone soils.
Here is a chance to enjoy a Classic from the Loire Valley in this Nicholas Gaudry Pouilly-Fumé 2018 VINTAGES#: 15612 $28.95 Gold Loire, France. It won Gold at the Concours International de Lyon. Expect elegance, citrus and round fruit flavours along with the trademark smoky flintiness.
VINTAGES#: 79798 $20.95 Mendoza, Argentina gets a 93 from James Suckling of jamessuckling.com who describes layers of complexity with red, black and blue berries plus chocolate and nuttiness on the finish. A premium wine from a prime area (Uco Valley) and a premium producer.
It is rare that we see the wines of Priorat (Spain’s only other DOCa region besides Rioja) inthe LCBO so when there is one I would be looking to snap it up. Clos de Tafall 2017 VINTAGES#:74616 $20.95 Priorat, Spain gets a 92 from James Suckling and is an entry level Priorat at this price. Expect concentration and quality nonetheless. Suckling describes red and dark berries and earthiness on the nose with a rich textured palate and chocolate and plums on the finish.
France is making a good showing this release. Jeb Dunnock gives Michel Gassier Nostre Païs 2017 VINTAGES#: 295410 $23.95 Rhône, France a 93 score and describes a spicy, fruity GSM blend that is concentrated and layered and could easily compare to wines 2 or 3 times the price. This should go high up on your list for drinking or gifting.
Joe Czerwinski or robertparker.com is marveling at how Caramany Sous la Montagne Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2017 VINTAGES#: 15169 $20.95 Roussillon, France delivers a spicy, raspberry, blueberry, herbal and well structured granite-base Syrah for this price. (91 Score).
Bordeaux is making a mark this release with :
VINTAGES#: 17183 $19.95 Bordeaux, France scoring 91 from James Suckling who describes blackberries, blueberries, lavender and spice, silky tanins and a fresh finish.
In the ‘Missed It By That Much’ Category- It would be a shame not to point out Château Bel Orme Tronquoy-De-Lalande 2016 | VINTAGES#: 512111 $38.95 Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux. Owned by the prestigious Chateau Rauzon-Gassies of Margaux fame. For just a couple of bucks over the $35 margin I normally focus on- this prestigious wine got a 97 from Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2019. They describe musky, jammy black fruit, dark plums, grippy, ripe tannins and breezy acidity. Sounds like it would be very interesting after a couple of years in the cellar!
Another Cellar Selection from Bordeaux- Château Pey La Tour Réserve du Château 2016 VINTAGES#: 349308 $21.95 Bordeaux, France, gets a 91 from Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast who describes dark and dense, blackberry, plum and impressive structure. Cellar till at least 2022 and could age several years beyond that.