Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release January 23 2021

The January 23 2021 LCBO Vintages Release focuses on Chile and BC. It is good chance to explore some British Columbia wines that we don’t see very often in Ontario. France is also making a particularly good showing this release.


Emiliana Organic Brut Sparkling  VINTAGES#:  536607 $19.95 Casablanca Valley, Chile

Chile makes great sparkling wines and this one gets a 92 from James Suckling who describes a creamy mousse with pear on the nose and ripe fruit on the palate.

From the region most respected for its Prosecco, Collalbrigo Conegliano Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore   VINTAGES#:  16603 $16.95 Veneto, Italy gets a 90 score from Decanter. Described as crisp with citrus, peach and pear; a fine mousse; and a persistent finish. It doesn’t get much better than this for $16.95!

White Wines

Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay750 mL  bottle   |   VINTAGES#:  545004$24.95 British Columbia, Canada. Vintage notes describe this ‘ a striking example’ of BC’s Okanagan Valley wines with juicy pear, melon and creamy toffee.

Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling 2019   VINTAGES#:  308312 $19.95 This scored 90 from who describes citrus, apple, stone fruit and a lemon lift.

Mt. Boucherie Pinot Gris 2019 VINTAGES#:  17864 $19.95 BC VQA Similkameen Valley. Rick VanSickle of, gave this a 90 and calls it highly aromatic with peach, melon, grapefruit on the nose and ripe peach, pink grapefruit, apricot, nectarine and spice on the palate. All that with a juicy, vibrant finish too!

Ontario Chardonnay shines here in Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay  VINTAGES#:  268342 $21.95 Ontario, Canada. Vintages describe ‘bold, ripe fruit, with vanilla, smoke,
buttered toast and a creamy, long mouthfeel.’


Domaine Fernand Engel Heritage Riesling 2017    VINTAGES#:  17891 $20.95 Alsace, France – expect floral, peach, pineapple, beeswax and minerality. Sounds like a classic Alsatian Riesling.

Another classic if you are a fan of Gewurtztraminer- this won Gold at the Concours Mondial des Féminalise Paris, 2019 and promises exotic fruit, white flowers, citrus fruit and spice. Pair with Thai or mild curry or Chinese food.


Three great values from the Loire Valley in:

Antoine Simoneau Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VINTAGES#:  15755 $16.95 Loire, France that promises lime, guava, quince and apple notes. Approachable and refined, this should be a treat at this price.

Muscadet Sèvre et Maine is definitley one of my favourite value wines and this seems to be an excellent example. Domaine la Bazillère Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2019 VINTAGES #:  12009 $13.95 Loire, France is fresh, fleshy, rich and balanced on the palate with fruity aromas and exotic fruits according to Vintage notes.

Domaine Vieux Vauvert Vouvray Sec 2019   VINTAGES#:  377747 $18.95 Loire, France – dry with ripe peach, apple and pear per the Vintage notes.

And.. I can’t get away from France without highlighting this White Grenache blend that Jeb Dunnuck scored 92 saying ‘Crushed citrus, honeyed minerality, licorice, and a touch of quince all give way to a layered, ripe, polished white that has loads to love’.

Red Wines

La Posta Pizzella Family Malbec 2018  VINTAGES#:  166298 $16.95 Mendoza, Argentina This is going to be hard to beat- a complex, well structured Malbec that James Suckling gives a 93 citing chocolate, smoke and forest berries.

Ravanal Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2017    VINTAGES#:  542183 $15.95 Colchagua Valley, Chile. From James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of Chile of 2019 (#91) and scoring 93, you can’t ask for much more than the ‘juicy array of ripe dark plums, blackberries and raspberries, framed in plenty of cedary oak….and impressive volume and concentration on the palate and the oak is assertive yet well matched.’

Primus Carmenère 2018   VINTAGES#:  439356 $19.95 Colchagua Valley, Chile. Carmenère can be a love it or hate it kind of affair. Tim Atkins describes this one as approachable with violets, bramble and green herbs, giving it a 93. If you want to explore Chile’s signature grapes this full bodied and smooth one is a good place to start.

Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon 2017  VINTAGES#  489906 $24.95 Western Australia, Australia James Halliday of is calling this a Special Value with a 94 score. He describes ‘a luscious medium-bodied style oozing with blackcurrant/cassis fruit’ and a great example of the union between fruit and region.

Yalumba The Strapper GSM 2016  VINTAGES#:  295873 $19.95 South Australia, Australia David Lawrason of gives this 90 score describing a complex nose with cran-cherry fruit, eucalyptus… fine oak spicing.. good balance and good to excellent length.

Here is a great choice for pairing with delicate dishes that call for a light red or full bodied white (such as chicken, duck, salmon or pasta) Cellier des Saint-Étienne Les Crêtes Beaujolais-Villages 2019  VINTAGES#:  18386 $16.95 Beaujolais, France. Notes suggest drinking by 2022 to ‘experience the freshness of the red berries (wild strawberries and cranberries) and delicately framed sweet spices’.

Château Bellevue Figeac 2015 VINTAGES#:  496661 $27.95 Bordeaux, France is getting consistent mid 90’s scores from various critics, citing lots of Merlot fruit with good depth and concentration. Chateau Bellevue is situated on the slope opposite the Premier grand cru classé (A) estate Château Angélus which bodes well for it. James Suckling gave it 94 describing ‘ Aromas of orange peel and dark berries with fresh tea and some bark. Full-bodied, focused and fruity with firm tannins and a long, linear finish. ‘

Some good value wines have been appearing on our shelves from Vinsobres (used to be part Cotes du Rhone Villages and must contain at least 50% Grenache and 25% Syrah or Mourvedre). Cellier des Dauphins Vinsobres 2017 VINTAGES#:  15448 $19.95 Rhône, France is being hyped as a special value, ‘ powerful, vivid and remarkably drinkable’ and gets a 90 from Decanter.

Romio Primitivo del Salento 2018   VINTAGES#:  17407 $14.95 Puglia, Italy. I have recently become enthusiastic about Primitivo so I am looking forward to trying this one. Vintages notes describe excellent balance and integration between oak and fruit. Aromatic and lifted on the nose, it has lots of black fruit, with touches of spice and earth.’

Tenuta di Vignole Chianti Classico 20167   VINTAGES#:  17404 $19.95 Tuscany, Italy Sara D’Amato of gives this classic Tuscan Sangiovese a 91 and describes ‘Flavours of cherry skin, a hint of cherry blossom, red plum, new leather and a significant tannic presence provide a firm grip on the palate.’

Valpantena Torre del Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso 2018   VINTAGES#:  642421 $18.95 Veneto, Italy gets hig marks for its ‘consistently generous dark fruit tones wrapped in spice, leather and tobacco’. A classic Corvina blend from Veneto.

Laya 2018  VINTAGES#:  132605 $17.95 Almansa, Spain gets 90+ from several reviewers. James Suckling gives it 92 and describes “Blueberry and blackberry aromas and flavors. Hints of black tea. Full body. Layered and very rich.’

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release January 23 2021Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release January 23 2021

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