The LCBO Vintages Release April 17 2021 offers you a tour of the world through a selection of classic wines!
I am going to divide my suggestions between a Classics section which are classic grapes from classic wine areas. An excellent chance to explore the benchmark of certain varietals and styles. Then I will add a Value section where the wines will be reliable sippers from reliable producers that have a great value for price ratio.
Don Zoilo Pedro Ximénez 12-Year-Old Sherry VINTAGES#: 18295 $24.95 Jerez, Spain James Molesworth of winespectator.com gave this a 93 and describes, Espresso, chocolate, fig, walnut and prune. Be warned – Pedro Ximénez fall into the sweetest wine categroy in the world. At 432 grams of sugar/liter it is double the high end of the icewine range. So be prepared to pair it with ice cream with caramel sauce or intense chocolate!
Some good value Sparkling Wines in this release so consider stocking up for summer. One is Ontario’s answer to the Prosecco style, a Sparkling Riesling and there is n Extra Dry Prosecco in this release as well. The Ontario version has 12% alcohol and more residual sugar. The Prosecco is 11% ABV and drier.
Serenity Sparkling Riesling VINTAGES#: 19897 $19.95 Ontario, Canada
Prevedello Extra Dry Asolo Superiore Prosecco 20207 VINTAGES#: 262881 $17.95 Veneto, Italy
Check out the Santa Margherita Brut Sparkling Rosé VINTAGES#: 302752 $19.95 Italy- what makes this one interesting is that it is 45 % Glera -the grape of Prosecco mixed with Chardonnay and 5% Malbec. Natalie Macleans of nataliemaclean.com gives it a 91. This would be interesting to compare to the Prevedello above.
A classic Sparkling made in the traditional method, Dopff au Moulin G Point Brut Crémant d’Alsace VINTAGES#: 19029 $17.95 Alsace, France
Classic Wine Suggestions
Let’s start with Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc- the benchmark for New World Sauvignon Blanc.
Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VINTAGES#: 224428 $19.95 Marlborough, New Zealand. Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz gives this a 94 and describes the classic grapefruit and lime aromas along with apple and nectarine. Excellent fruit concentration and vibrant acidity with a long finish. Can’t ask for more than that!
Alsace is offering one of its signature wines in Cleebourg Gewurztraminer 2017 VINTAGES#: 18560 $17.95 Alsace, France. If you are a fan of the aromatic, fruity, floral Gewurztraminer grape this will be a treat. It won Gold at the 2018 Concours Général de Paris. Nose is fresh, floral rose with a rich palate of citrus, spice, zest and elegance.
Burgundy is also offering an entry level Chardonnay that will nevertheless express the elegance of Burgundian whites. Cuvée Joseph Talmard Mâcon Chardonnay 2019 VINTAGES#: 392712 $20.95 Burgundy, France. This Chardonnay is described as well-balanced and integrated (hence the ‘elegance’). Expect pear, citrus, peach with toast, vanilla and spices.
Piedmont has 2 of its signature white grapes on offer this release.
La Giustiniana Terre Antiche Gavi di Gavi 2019 VINTAGES#: 17658 $18.95 Piedmont, Italy. 100% Cortese grapes this will be light and crisp with good acidity, floral and citrus notes and an undertone of minerality. Pair with seafood, calamari, fish etc.
Tenuta Fratelli Povero Terre del Conte Roero Arneis 2019 750 mL can | VINTAGES#: 436915 $17.95 Piedmont, Italy. The Arneis grape has been brought back from the brink of extinction. This one will be medium bodied having spent some time on the lees. Expect stone fruits, apples, pear and a hint of nuttiness. Think creamy pasta, chicken or fish with this one.
And finally if you are in the mood for a classic California Chardonnay check out the Noble Vines Collection 446 Chardonnay 2018 VINTAGES#: 458687 $18.95 California, USA, described as complex, fruit forward with citrus, orchard and tropical fruit.
South Africa’s Chenin Blanc offering this release is Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc 2018 VINTAGES#: 13338 $18.95 Stellenbosch, South Africa which gets a 93 from Jim Budd of decanter.com. He describes mouth filling ripe apricots, good weight and a ‘seductive’ texture and a long vibrant finish.
And, last but not least – Riesling is one of Ontario’s signature grapes and Charles Baker B-Side Riesling 2018 VINTAGES#: 523845 $21.95 Ontario, Canada gets a 90 from John Szabo of winealign.com and calls it excellent value. He has many descriptors including citrus, green apple and Golden Delicious, jasmine and lilies with honey and waxy notes. Just off-dry with ‘crunchy acidity’. Sounds like Ontario Riesling at its best!
Argentina always has Malbecs in the releases. Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2018 Mendoza, Argentina gets a 93 from James Suckling who calls it reserved, polished with blackerberries, smoke and sesame with a delicious, soft finish.
Burgundy has an entry level classic Pinot Noir in Domaine des Verchères Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018, Burgundy, France VINTAGES#: 18674 $23.95. Medium bodied, fresh and pure with bight red fruit and earth tones.
You don’t often see a Pomerol Bordeaux in a release so this is a chance to try and entry level Pomerol, Merlot dominated blend. Basic Pomerols are in the $50 range and can easily go into the hundreds and thousands. James Suckling gives Châteaux Vieux Chevrol 2016 VINTAGES#: 525931 $31.95 a 90 and describes a red with plum, berry and cherry character with a juicy finish.
Italy’s Abruzzo DOC has Castorani Amorino Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2013 VINTAGES#: 366732 $24.95 Abruzzo, Italy on offer. It got 3 out of 3 glasses from Gambero Rosso Italian Wines, 2018. Expect cherries and wild mushrooms, spice, tobacco and hints of leather.
Another Riesling offer from Ontario– Rosewood Riesling AF 2018 VINTAGES#: 11947 $15.95 Ontario, Canada. The ‘AF’ stands for Arrested Fermentation so a little more resideual sugar. 17 grams/liter compared to 14 grams for the previously mentioned Charles Baker. Aged on the lees in stainless adds depth while resulting in ‘a wine bursting with juicy pear, apple and grapefruit.
Chile is starting to hit the radar for its Sauvignon Blanc. I am going to bet on TerraPura Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019 San Antonio Valley, Chile, VINTAGES#: 17618 $13.95. Described as having intense aromatics and distinct minerality and a purity of fruit expression. Not bad for $13.95!
New Zealand’s Sidewood Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VINTAGES#: 518357 $18.95 South Australia, Australia gets a 95 from Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz. He calls it beautifully fruited and lively with melon, nectarine, lime and florals on the nose. The palate has excellent fruit purity and fine texture.
Another winner from Chile – Primus The Blend 2016 VINTAGES#: 712463 $19.95 Colchagua Valley, Chile, gets a 95 from Decanter World Wine Awards 2020. Cab Sauv, Carmenère and Petit Verdot. Described as deep and expressive with blackberry, oak and herbs on the nose. A rich and fruity palate with lively acidity. Plan to enjoy it with a grilled steak.
Château Rousset-Caillau 2016 VINTAGES#: 18778 $14.95 , a Merlot dominated Bordeaux blend gets a 93 from Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2018. From 30+ year old vines and a good vintage.
Two value wines from Spain: Cune Crianza 2017 Rioja, VINTAGES#: 39925 $16.95 is always good value. Polished with blueberries, mushrooms and dried flowers. Can drink or hold. Escondido Tempranillo 2017, Ribera del Duero VINTAGES#: 132597 $16.95 has ‘meaty oak and psice’ with ripe dark cherries and plumes. Smooth palate with a succulent finish. Got a 93 from James Suckling.
Demazet Réserve des Armoiries Tradition Côtes du Rhône 2018 VINTAGES#: 494690 $15.95 Rhône, France gets 2/3 goblets from Guide Hachette, 2020 and is called stunning value. Structured, balanced with dark and red fruit, herbs and spice. Try it now or cellar 3-5 years.
Domaine de Beyssac Initial 2016 VINTAGES#: 18367 $20.95 Southwest, France gets a 90 from John Szabo of winealign.com. A Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Abourriou blend that is clean and pure with a rustic, savoury edge- good length and depth. Cellar 1-2 years. this wine is unfined and unfilitered so decanting will be in order when you try it. Best enjoyed with a sturdy stew or steak.
Château Clairac 2018, Vintages #487041 $17.95 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux, France will benefit from a couple of years in the cellar and then offer a full bodied, smooth pour with hints of smoke and black-plum. Score of 91 from Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast.