Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release January 9 2021

The January 9 2021 LCBO Vintages Release is full of good value wines! Stock up if you can!

The wine gods always give us a break in January with well selected good value wines to offset the excesses of the holidays.

I will highlight my picks by country this time. There are no Sparklings or Fortified wines featured in this release.

If you were lucky enough to receive a gift card for Christmas you may want stock up on some of these for future reference!


Marynissen Cabernet/Merlot Vintages #16713, $17.95 Niagara Peninsula is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot with juicy cherry, plum, vanilla and earth. Sounds inviting however it is not showing up on LCBO site. So-not sure if it is still included in the release.


Several wines featured this month from tried and true American producers. You can expect these to be smooth and approachable in a style meant to please a broad audience.

If you are in the mood for a big, bold, creamy, buttery California Chardonnays then this one is for you!

Tom Gore Chardonnay 20187  VINTAGES#:  458810 $19.95 California, USA

Ironstone is always a reliable bet and this Cab Sauv from Lodi is a good bet with descriptors of ‘rich cassis, vanilla and chocolate notes’. Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2018  VINTAGES#:  537597 $17.95 California, USA.

Paso Robles is one of my go-to regions of California so I was excited about this J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot 2017 VINTAGES#:  10459 $13.95 California, USA until I realized it is for a 375 mL bottle. (I should have known it was too good to be true!) It scored 92 from Meridith May of So.. if you want to enjoy a glass or 2 without having to spring for the full bottle knock yourself out!

Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon 2018   VINTAGES#:  254458 $19.95 California, USA is a full 750 mL bottle. 2018 was an excellent year so this one with dark fruit, oak and cocoa seems like a good bet.

Beauty in Chaos Cabernet Sauvignon 2017    VINTAGES#:  15839 $15.95 Washington, USA is from respected Chateau Ste. Michelle. I would expect it to be straightforward but the red berry, vanilla, floral, juicy and balanced descriptors sound promising.


Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2016    VINTAGES#:  568865 $17.00 Mendoza, Argentina gets a 91 score from James Suckling who describes currants, walnuts, hazelnuts and herbs; firm with silky tannins.

For $16.95 Desquiciado Malbec 2017   VINTAGES#:  631820 Mendoza, Argentina gets a 90 score from Luis Guttierrez of Attention to detail here produces an ‘aromatic and elegant’ wine with a ‘spicy twist’.


Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018   VINTAGES#: 18721 $17.95 Maipo Valley, Chile gets a 93 score from who describe a classic cabernet sauvignon with herb and spice, with fruit in the background.


This one is described as Special Value and sounds like a real treat for $16.95. Yalumba Organic Viognier 2019   VINTAGES#:  288217 $16.95 South Australia, Australia. This gets a 91 from Ned Goodwin of who describes gentle orange blossom and apricots scents with a light and lively acidity. A lighter example of Viognier that would go well with seafood or mild cheeses.

All of the Australian reds on offer are good value. Colab and Bloom Shiraz 2018  VINTAGES#:  16043 $19.95 South Australia, Australia appears to be the most complex with blackberry, chocolate, nutmeg, violets. Vintages panel describe big and intense flavours yet elegant and structured.

At the other end of the spectrum in the cheap and cheerful is Heartland Stickleback Red 2018    VINTAGES#:  116574 $14.95 South Australia, Australia described as spicy with dark berry fruit and balanced. A burger or pizza wine.

New Zealand

1 red, 1 white both from Mount Riley Marlborough, South Island. Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc 2019   VINTAGES#:  981670 $17.95 Marlborough, New Zealand gets a 93 from Sam Kim or who describes a fruity melon, apple lemon profile with refreshing acidity. Mount Riley Pinot Noir 2019  VINTAGES#:  60137 $19.95 Marlborough, New Zealand also gets a 93 from Sam Kim. This seems to be a classic NZ Pinot Noir with dark cherry and floral, almond notes. ‘Gorgeously composed’ and soothing’. Not bad for under $20.


France is making an excellent showing this release. All four whites have received high praise. The Burgundian Chardonnay and Loir Sauvignon Blanc stand out as a classics at a reasonable price.

Vignerons de Buxy Buissonnier Montagny 2017  VINTAGES#:  382879 $19.95 Burgundy, France

J. de Villebois Sauvignon Blanc 2018    VINTAGES#:  15774 $16.95 Loire, France

On the red spectrum Cairanne AP has 2 on offer. Very close to Chateauneuf du Pape you can get quality approaching CdP at a much better price. Entre Restanques et Garrigues 2016   VINTAGES#:  15449 $19.95 has ‘herbal-floral notes with raspberry, strawberries and a long velvety finish according to Joe Czerwinski or who gives it a 92.


Italy has a few offerings that cover the spectrum. Zaccagnini Tralcetto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018   VINTAGES#:  396382 $16.95 is described as deeply flavourful by the Vintages panel with plum, dark cherry, mocha, leather and smoke. Bring on the ossobuco! Pietra Pura Mandus Primitivo di Manduria 2018  VINTAGES#:  216457 $18.95 with its oaked vanilla, ripe red fruit, plum and licorice. Spicy pepper and tea add to the complexity according to Vintage notes. Big enough to pair with a steak. And.. how about a Riserva Chianti Classico for $23.95 with a score of 94 from James Suckling. Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Riserva Chianti Classico 2015  VINTAGES#:  643205 $23.95 Tuscany, Italy has dark plums and cherries with nuts, vanilla and baking spices. Palate has structured tannins and forthrigh acidity.


Surprisingly there is only one Portuguese wine on offer in this release considering the amazing values coming regularly. Be that as it may Quinta do Espírito Santo 2017    VINTAGES#:  488015 $14.95 Lisboa, Portugal got Best in Show and a Gold Medal from 2019 Mundus Vini Spring Tasting. Vintage notes call it balanced and complex with berry, raspberry, dried fruit and firm but round tannins with touches of coffee and chocolate. Not bad for $14.95


Two noteworthy reds from Spain Trago Largo Monastrell 2018 |   VINTAGES#:  16579 $14.95 gets a 90+ from Luis Gutierrez of who describes it as fruit driven and juicy and unoaked.

Ramirez de la Piscina Crianza 2015    VINTAGES#:  383018 $17.95 Rioja, Spain gets a 91 from Josh Raynolds of who describes smoke-accented cherry, tobacco, vanilla and floral scent along with an energetic palate of bitter cherry, redcurrant, vanilla. Long finish echoes the cherry and floral notes. Drink 2020-2027.

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release January 9 2021

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