The LCBO Vintages Release Nov 14 2020 has 136 products on tap. And many of them are great value so Buckle Up! France, Australia make a particularly good showing but there are gems from all over the world.
The Nov 14 2020 release is focused on gift giving. I had to get to page 17 to the ‘Affordably Luxe’ article for the purposes of these recommendations! But we have not been forgotten!
There are many classic good value French wines on offer this release and some specialty wines that are treat. And….there is no point my reproducing the Vintages magazine here but note that EVERY wine on offer from Australia this release gets very high marks for quality and value. So… if you are in a hurry or in doubt – just go to the Australia section and pick your grape and price range and you will be assured of good value.
Gift alert! The Burmester 10-Year-Old Tawny Port VINTAGES# 223958 $29.95 Douro, Portugal gets a 95 rating from Decanter World Wine Awards. Any port lover on your list would be happy with a snifter of this in front of a holiday fire!
I am pretty sure I recommend Southbrook Canadian Framboise VINTAGES#: 341024 $19.95 Canada every time it hits the LCBO. This is one of Canada’s unique gems IMHO. How Southbrook manages to capture the bright, freshness of raspberries so intensely is commendable. It has become my tradition to serve it beside this Frozen Raspberry Torte in summer and my Meringue Christmas Tree at Christmas. (Look at me- making my own version of ‘Food and Drink’!!)
There are 3 Sparklings in the affordable category that deserve mention – Graham Beck Brut Sparkling VINTAGES#: 593483 $18.95 Western Cape, South Africa always gets special mention for its value-for-money quality. Complex and creamy-think turkey dinner or savoury pastry appetizers.
Oyster Bay Brut Sparkling Cuvée VINTAGES#: 163634 $22.95 Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand is a Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend described as ‘decadent without being overly sweet or fruity.’ (Stephen Wong from Sydney International Wine Competition).
Onaya Brut Cava VINTAGES#: 16620 $14.95 Penedès, Spain
You will want to stock up on this one for casual party pouring, toasting, Mimosas etc. It seems to be trying to tick all the boxes – food friendly with citrus, honey, herbal and some minerality.
Viognier is a very versatile wine and Tahbilk Viognier 2019 VINTAGES#: 271387 $18.95 Victoria, Australia is describe as ripe and intense with hints of floral, stone fruit and spice. Aromatic and flavourful.
If you are in the mood for the elegance of a classic French Chardonnay Domaine de Rochebin Chardonnay Mâcon-Azé 2018 VINTAGES#: 156943 $19.95 Burgundy, France will definitely fit the bill. Full-bodied and rich, expect apple, pear, citrus, mineral and light oak. PS… gift alert!
Jules Taylor Chardonnay 2018 VINTAGES#: 14566 $19.95 Marlborough, New Zealand is getting good reviews and is described as well structured with ‘excellent fruit and weight’ by Sam Kim or wineorbit.com. He describes complex peach, melon, hazelnut and brioche and oak infusion. Sounds to me like a lot going on for the price!
VINTAGES#: 447516 $19.95 Marlborough, New Zealand was the first Pinot Gris to catch my attention. Lovely stone fruits notes with some herbality and beautiful minerality here. Alsace wears the crown for classic Pinot Gris style but unfortunately this release is only showcasing Alsatian Gewurztraminer and Riesling.
Having said that you could treat someone on your list to an Alsatian tasting with Joseph Cattin Riesling 2018 VINTAGES#: 259788 $16.95 Alsace, France (which won Gold at the Concours International de Lyon) and/or Muré Orchidées Sauvages Gewurztraminer 2018 VINTAGES#: 15378 $22.95 Alsace, France and/or Pierre Sparr Grande Réserve Gewurztraminer 2018 VINTAGES#: 747600$19.95 Alsace, France.
Another French classic on offer is Bernard Reverdy & Fils Sancerre 2018 VINTAGES#: 200055 $33.95 Loire, France. A classic Sancerre from the Loire Valley. Expect good acidity and elegant structure with some citrus and minerality. Wine Enthusiast gave it a 90 score. (I expect this will make the pronounced, assertive Marlborough style look like a wild cousin.)
Want to try something a bit different? Sicilian wines can be quite intriguing and usually present good value. Feudo Maccari Olli Grillo 2019 VINTAGES#: 477877 $15.95 Sicily, Italy gets a 90 score from James Suckling who describes full-bodied, pear, melon and lemon undertones. This would go with seafood or turkey and anything in between!
VINTAGES#: 261586 $15.95 Mendoza, Argentina. Some of you may be aware of my relatively recent intrigue in Bonarda, the second most planted grape in Argentina. It is a juicy, fruity wine but still a relatively ‘big’ wine. There can be an earthy, leathery, smoky undertone that lends a bit of serious weight to it. I would suggest this one is food friendly and would go well with winter stews etc.
Santa Julia has an interesting red blend from Uco Valley in Santa Julia Magna 2017 VINTAGES#: 93799 $15.95 Mendoza, Argentina. 50% Cab Sauv, 50% Malbec and 10% Syrah. The Descorchados guide gave it a 93 and describes it as fruit forward, lively, refreshing and juicy.
This Grenache from old vines was crafted for approachability. Vicente Gandía El Miracle by Mariscal Garnacha 2017 VINTAGES#: 461418 $17.95 Valencia, Spain. Vintages describe fresh balance with cherry, plum, mocha, vanilla and spices. Sound like something to warm up to with a rich stew on a cold winter night.
This Syrah and old vine Grenache blend got a 93 from Jeb Dunnuck. Bastide Miraflors Syrah/Vieilles Vignes Grenache 2017 VINTAGES#: 320499 $19.95 Roussillon, France over-delivers according to him with perfect balance kirsch, raspberry, wild fennel, white pepper and black licorice on a medium to full-bodied, silky palate.
Here is a chance to pick up a Cru Beaujolais for $20.95! Cave du Château de Chénas Cru Chénas 2018 VINTAGES#: 559898 $20.95 Beaujolais, France. The wines of Chénas are some of the weightiest produced in Beaujolais so this one with its bright red fruit, vanilla, earth and structured tannins (Vintages notes) would be perfect with a Holiday roast or tourtière.
Fans of Château-du-Pape might enjoy this ‘wannabe’ from one of the Rhône’s most prestigious producers. Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône 2017 VINTAGES#: 48884 $29.95 Rhône, France – Joe Czerwinski or robertparker.com scored this 90-92 from the barrel describing plenty of garrigue, dried spice and cherry. Full-bodied and silky with a long finish.
Sister’s Run Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 VINTAGES#: 478271 $17.95 South Australia, Australia is getting high praise from MaryAnn Worobiec of winespectator.com. She describes complexity and concentration here showing sage, bay leaf with concentrated blackberry. Espresso, spice mahogany and white pepper on the finish. Wow… that is a lot going on for $17.95. She is suggesting it will drink nicely for a decade so stock up!
Another on the value scale Coutada Velha Signature Red 2018 an Aragonés (Tempranillo) Blend VINTAGES#: 11152 $15.95 got a 90 from Wine Enthusiast. Also known as Tinta Roriz in the Dão and Douro regions it is indispensable in the making of Port. I am a fan of the Alentejo style which if find often to be fresher and silkier than other regions. This one is firm and fruity if drinking now but will soften with a few years in the cellar. At this price get a few and watch the evolution of it aging!
Another good one for the cellar is this Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico 2015 VINTAGES#: 85209 $19.95 Tuscany, Italy. It gets a 92 score from the highly respected Wine Spectator. Bruce Sanderson describes ‘immediate appeal’, harmony and a vibrant structure. With cherry, leather , earthiness and solid tannins. Drink now through 2035.
You could call this Nebbiolo ‘a poor man’s Barolo’ because it is made from the same grape from houses that also produce Barolo and therefore often thought of as great value from the Piedmont region. Beni di Batasiolo Nebbiolo 2018 VINTAGES#: 908079 $17.95 Piedmont, Italy. Vintages says to expect excellent structure, raspberry, herbs, apple, earth and oak. Food friendly – think beef, lamb, stew. Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.