Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release March 20 2021

Bubblies, Rosés, French Classics! There is something for every one in the LCBO Vintages Release March 20 2021.

Ontario’s Rieslings shine, French and Italian classic regions offer good value. Some gems from Spain as well. Here are my picks for good value wines under $35 from this release.

If you try any of these wines leave a comment below to let others know how you liked it! Or if you have found another gem in the LCBO share that too!

Fortified Wines

As you may know by now, I think Port is one of the best values out there. I have never tasty a ‘wimpy’ Port. Some are fruitier or more complex than others but even a basic port has a lot of charm! 2015 was not widely declared a vintage year but this Cockburn’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015  VINTAGES#:  88278 $19.95 Douro, Portugal will still be a satisfying casual pour with its cherry, spice and chocolate tones.

Sparkling Wines

Three bubblies getting 90 + scores among critics. All are traditional method.

Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Organic Brut Sparkling Riesling VINTAGES #:  370361 $20.95 Ontario, Canada is being described as ‘amazing value’ with racy and zesty green apple and lemon tones. A perfect pairing for oysters or other seafood.

Chevalier Monopole Dry Rosé Sparkling   VINTAGES#:  485920 $16.95 Burgundy, France is described as off-dry with strawberry and cranberry flavours. Sounds like a great Spring sipper for an afternoon tea with cream cheese sandwiches and strawberries.

Domaine Allimant-Laugner Brut Crémant d’Alsace   VINTAGES#:  30593 $24.95 Alsace, France is tangy and citrus-y, dry, fruity, elegant with a long, tart finish according Anne Krebiehl of Wine Enthusiast.

Rosé Wines

Come the first deck-worthy day we’ll be looking for Rosés again! There are 2 of particular interest in this release.

Breca Rosé 2020    VINTAGES#:  18771 $16.95, Calatayud, Aragon , Spain is 100% Grenache, aged on the leese to add a bit of character. Described as elegant with strawberry and raspberry notes. Extra dry.

Königschaffhauser Vulkanfelsen Trocken Pinot Noir Rosé 2019   VINTAGES#:  168237 $15.95 Baden, Germany is Extra dry and lighter in alcohol at 11.8% ABV. Also described as elegant, juicy and tangy with rosehips, red cherry, apple, grapefruit and plum notes.

White Wines

O: TU Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2019   VINTAGES#:  17548 $19.95 Marlborough, New Zealand gets high praise from Sam Kim or who gives it a 95 and describes passionfruit, kiwi, lime notes with a concentrated palate, with ‘excellent fruit purity and vibrancy.’ Long powerful finish,

Two Ontario Rieslings have hit the ‘good value’ radar,  perhaps not surprisingly since Riesling is one of the things Ontario does best.

Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2019  VINTAGES#:  557165 $19.95 Ontario, Canada gets a 90 from the discerning John Szabo of Wine Align. He describes it as ‘classic stuff’, ‘perfectly balanced’ with green apple acids, lime notes and impressive length.

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling  VINTAGES#:  89029 $15.95 (was $18.95 so you can save $3.00 till March 28th) Ontario, Canada. It is describes as fruity with stone fruits, spices and well balanced acidity and minerality.

South Africa is offering a good value Chenin Blanc, their signature white grape in The Winery of Good Hope Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2019   VINTAGES#:  18685 $13.95 Stellenbosch, South Africa. This is not going to impress with rewards but it does offer good value in a casual sipper for party time or house wine. Citrus and honeysuckle, well balanced with mineral undertones.

France has some classic whites on offer this release – a Loire Vouvray, classic Rhone, and a classic Mâconnais Chardonnay.

Manciat-Poncet Les Chênes Mâcon-Charnay 2019 VINTAGES#:  556472 $26.95 Burgundy, France. Expect tropical fruit, apple, grapefruit, spice, vanilla, minerality and good acidity.

Donatien Bahuaud Les Grands Mortiers Vouvray 2019  VINTAGES#:  140889 $22.95 Loire, France. Expect peach and pear notes, honeycomb and candle wax, ‘refined minerality’ with good balancing acidity.

Gabriel Meffre Saint-Vincent Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2019   VINTAGES#:  17890 $16.95 Rhône, France. Classic Grenache Blanc and Viognier blend with pear and almond notes. Full-boded and rich.

Red Wines

Zinfandel lovers will want to know about Ironstone Old Vine Zinfandel 2018   VINTAGES#:  951889 $17.95 California, USA. 40-60 year old vines produce a juicy wine with plum, dark berry and dark cherry notes. Some baking spices and smoky toasty oak tones noted by Natalie Maclean who gives it a 90.

Kaiken Ultra Las Rocas Malbec 2018   VINTAGES#:  50849 $19.95 Mendoza, Argentina is consistently scoring 90 and above among critics. James Suckling describes it as juicy and delicious with blackberry, chocolate and hazelnut. Smooth, round tannins.

France has some classic reds on offer as well this release.

Two Bordeaux Merlot dominated blends Score 90 in the ‘cheap and cheerful’ category. Sara d’Amato of Wine Align calls Château Baracan 2015 VINTAGES#:  629980 $17.95, Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, France very good value and describes it ample, fleshy and potent with rip fruit, firm tannins and great concentration.

Château Biré 2016   VINTAGES#:  18488 $15.95 Bordeaux Supérieur France is described with attractive brambly red-berry and cherry aromas with a fresh, lithe palate. Smooth tannins.

Vaucher Père & Fils Fleurie 2018   VINTAGES#:  534339 $17.95 Beaujolais, France gets a 91 from David Lawrason of Wine Aling who describes cherry, violets and pepper on the nose. Overall a balanced wine, elegant with ‘very good length’. Château de Tréviac Corbières 2017   VINTAGES#:  670505 $18.95 Languedoc, France gets a 90 from Joe Czerwinski of who describes a fruity nose and ripe, creamy palate. Easy drinking and fruit with savory mocha and black olives on the finish.

Louis Bernard Louis Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2019   VINTAGES#:  561290 $16.95 Rhône, France gets a 91 from Jeb Dunnock for this Grenache/Syrah blend. He calls it a beautiful, elegant Cotes du Rhone with cassis and blackberry and pepper on the nose. Medium-bodied, rich with good length. He suggests you stock up for the next 5-7 years.

Italy has a Smart Buy according to Bruce Sanderson of Wine Spectator in Fontanafredda Barbera d’Alba 2017    VINTAGES#:  17530 $17.95 Piedmont, Italy. He calls it supple and elegant with roe, blackberry and black cherry on the nose. Palate has bright fruit with earth tone. Get enought to see you through 2024.

I think Italian Primitivo is great value so I am betting on Villa Diana Primitivo di Salento 2018   VINTAGES#:  17531 $15.95 Puglia, Italy. Vintage panel describe an unoaked, lively, juicy easy-drinking wine with red fruit, black tea, licorice and chocolate.

Covila Rioja Alavesa Crianza 2016   VINTAGES#:  16704 $16.95 Rioja, Spain gets a 92 from James Suckling who calls it well balanced and ‘dialed in’ with notes of rapsberry,citrus, vanilla, cumin and sandalwood.

Carignan is a speciality in Montsant, Spain (and we don’t see wines from Montsant often in the LCBO) so fans can look forward to Solà Fred 2019   VINTAGES#:  636258 $16.95 Montsant, Spain. Vintage notes say it was aged in stainless steel to preserve the fruity, floral tones and deliver ‘outstanding purity’. Expect ripe black cherry, herbs and pepper with leathery complexity. Food friendly so plan to serve with tapas, sausages or charcuterie.

Cellar Suggestions

If Chianti appeals to you Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2017    VINTAGES#:  288530 $23.95 Tuscany, Italy gets a 95 from James Suckling who describes complex aromas of cherries, truffles, lavender and rose petals. Still tightly wound with chewy tannins, expect a refined energetic and focused wine in 2022 with mushroo ad walnut notes.

Marqués de Cáceres Reserva 2015  VINTAGES#:  702761 $24.95 Rioja, Spain gets a 95 from Guia Proensa. 85% Tempranillo with Garnacha and Craciano. It is fresh and sophisticated with ripe grapes, spicy notes and some tobacco. Drink 2024-2025

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release March 20  2021

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