Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release May 15 2021

A good selection of Sparkling, Rosés and Whites in the May 15 2021 LCBO Vintages Release. You can tell we are on Summer’s doorstep!

The Bordeaux offerings this release span several good to excellent vintages. I did a bit of a deep dive on them and my initial enthusiasm slowly waned .. you can see my summary below at the bottom.

Sparkling Wines

Vuelà Pinot Gris Brut Nature Sparkling Rosé  VINTAGES#:  18565 $15.95 Mendoza, Argentina gets a 91 from James Suckling who describes stone fruits, citrus, strawberries and cream. Well made, light bodied with good acidity. Enjoy with strawberries and brie or creamy shrimp.

Ferrari Brut Sparkling VINTAGES#:  352153 $24.95 Alto Adige-Trentino, Italy- there is high praise for this terrific value sparkling from around the web. Chardonnay with citrus, white peach and pastry notes. Underlying hints of minerality. Balanced with good length.

Rosé Wines

Aaah… Rosés….Despite marketing efforts to entice us to enjoy Rosés year round they still mean Spring and Summer to me. Probably because their weight is best matched to lighter fare than the comfort foods we gravitate toward in Winter.

While a good quality Rosé can have layers of fruit and spice aromas and flavours, good balance, depth and length I don’t hold out for outstanding when it comes to Rosés. Is blasphemous to admit that Cheap and Cheerful (within reason) in the Rosé category does it for me?

There are 4 Rosés that warrant the high quality category:

Ott By.Ott Rosé 2020  VINTAGES#:  490896 $30.95 Provence, France is in the 92-94 scoring range and M de Minuty Rosé 2020    VINTAGES#:  575316 $26.95 Provence, France is in the 92 area. Expect classic Provence style, dry, red fruit and some herbal, minerality.

Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel Rosé 2020    VINTAGES#:  701318 $21.95 Rhône, France is another classic scoring in the 92 range. Tavel AOC only produces Rosés so no surprise the set a good standard. This Grenache dominated blend is a bit bigger and bolder than the Provence style.

Angels & Cowboys Rosé 2020   VINTAGES#:  493155 $23.95 California, USA comes with an impressive pedigree from the makers of the highly esteemed Cannonball wines. The 2019 vintage scored 91 to win Gold at the Sommelier’s Choice Awards 2020 which makes me expect good things from the 2020 vintage. Grenache based with mandarin, apricot , berries and floral notes. Racy acidity on the palate and dry. Pair with salmon, seafood or salad

The rest on offer fall into the 85-89 score range (regardless of price). My choices for good value easygoing, dock/deck sipper choices would be:

Medeiros Rosé 2020  VINTAGES#:  451385 $13.95 Alentejo, Portugal (86-89)- vibrant, fruity, tangy and crisp.

Fabre Montmayou Rosé 2020  VINTAGES#: 668418 $15.95 Mendoza, Argentina (85-87)- red berries and citrus profile.

Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose 2020   VINTAGES#:  20012 $16.95 Languedoc, France (mid 80s) refreshing, wild strawberry and citrus tones.

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White Wines

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2018   VINTAGES#:  566026 $29.95 Ontario, Canada. Cave Spring is among the royalty of Ontario Riesling and Chardonnay producers. This example of old vine Riesling benefits from years of experience and attention to detail in the making. John Szabo of Wine Align gives this a 94 and believe he gives out every point sparingly, so his score alone is enough to commend this wine to me as something a cut well above the ordinary. He describes excellent depth, concentration and length and good balance. If you are Riesling fan -find a reason to treat yourself to this one.

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling   VINTAGES#:  80234 $18.95 Ontario, Canada gets a 94 and Value rating from Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. He describes floral notes with hints of minerality and petrol on the nose. The palate is off-dry with citrus notes and ‘lip-smacking and mouth-watering variations’. His advice- stock up on the ‘quality’ Riesling.

Vic Harradine also has high praise for Featherstone Phoenix 2020    VINTAGES#:  519025 $18.95 Ontario, Canada. He gives this Gewurztraminer a 92 and describes rosewater, lychee and citrus (in much more profuse terms!) Pair with ham, scallops or Asian food. #PairitForward

Arca Nova Vinho Verde 2019  VINTAGES#:  292029 $13.95 Vinho Verde, Portugal. This gets full marks for cheap and cheerful in a good way! This is in my regular rotation for a light and lively, crisp summer wine. Great for sipping or with a light meal. Green apple profile with a hint of minerality.

Another of my favourite wines -Melon de Bourgogne! Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu 2018  VINTAGES#:  426619 $19.95 Loire, France. This got a 95 from Decanter World Wine Awards 2019. ‘The palate is packed with stone fruit flavours and kept fresh with lemony acidity and a persistent, salty-nutty finish. Delicious and very classic.’ This one has my name on it for sure!

Two Rivers Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2019   VINTAGES#:  27770 $19.95 Marlborough, New Zealand gets a 95 from Bob Campbell of therealreview.com. He calls it pungently aromatic. ‘Taut, high-energy’ and ‘deliciously ripe, fruity acidity driving a a lengthy finish.

d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier/Marsanne 2018  VINTAGES#: 662775 $17.95 South Australia, Australia gets a 93 from James Suckling who describes delicious density and freshness, lemon-curd-pear and apple. Flavourful finish.

Red Wines

Concannon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017   VINTAGES#:  10039 $21.95 California, USA. In the mood for a full bodied, smooth California Cab? Expect fruity cherry, plum and currant notes with cocoa, vanilla and spice with this one. Score tracking around 91.

La Posta Angel Paulucci Vineyard Malbec 2018   VINTAGES#:  75515 $17.95 Mendoza, Argentina. Patricio Tapia of guiadescorchados.cl gives this a 93. Old vines in a good vintage rewards with juicy cherry, ‘great vigor and brilliance’.

Bleasdale Broad-Side Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2018    VINTAGES#:  632091 $19.95 South Australia, Australia is scoring consistently in the low 90s.Sam Kim describes fruity cherry plum, thyme and cedar on the nose, a fruity palate, excellent weight and a long silky finish.

Zonte’s Footstep Chocolate Factory Shiraz 2018   VINTAGES#:  396481 $19.95 South Australia, Australia gets 95 from Australian Wine Showcase 2019. Rich, ripe and balanced.

Les Darons 2017 VINTAGES#:  448464 $16.95 Languedoc, France. An old vine Grenache, Syrah and Carignan replete with aromas of blueberries, blackberries, licorice, pepper and earth. ‘Beautiful concentration and long finish. ‘killer value’ per Jeb Dunnuck.

Vintages have had a good value Beaujolais in a number of recent releases. This Release has Domaine de La Madone Le Perréon Beaujolais-Villages 2019    VINTAGES#: 981175 $17.95 Beaujolais, France which William Kelley of robertparker.com gives a 92. This is at the weightier end of the Beaujolais scale -medium bodied with a ‘deep core of succulent fruit’. Sounds like a good candidate for BBQ salmon dinner.

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017   VINTAGES#:  413211 $17.95 Rhône, France- Xavier Vignon wines are always carefully crafted and represent good value. This one gets a 90 from Jeb Dunnock calls it elegant and describes red fruits, garrigue, pepper and cedar.

Cellar Suggestions

Contino Reserva 2016 Vintages #672923 $29.95 Rioja, Spain is scoring consistently in the 93-94 range from the likes of Robert Parker and a 97 from James Suckling. Powerful, intense with crushed berries, walnut and cedar. Great tension and richness. Give another year in your cellar.

Lua Cheia Old Vines Red 20197   VINTAGES#:  266882 $15.95 Douro, Portugal is scoring high 80s and gets full marks for value-for-money. Concentrated, lively with dark fruit. Will benefit from 2-4 years cellaring and then enjoy with a hearty steak.

Bordeaux Summary

The Bordeaux offerings this release are an interesting (read odd) bunch. They straddle 2010 – 2016 which were good to excellent years for Bordeaux. 2014 was a bit sketchy where success was often dependent how the soil type handled the grey, wet summer. All the listings sport 90+ scores but the reviews published were a few years old if not 5 years old. So that got my spidey senses tingling…. If you try any of them please let me know what you think!

Recommended

Château d’Arcie 2016    VINTAGES#:  18551 $31.95 Bordeaux, France This Cab dominated Bordeaux blend is getting consistent recent rating in the 89-91 range.. Guide Hachette called this a ‘very successful wine’ in their 2020 edition citing a complex nose of myrtle, black currant, subtle spice and licorice. The palate is expressive, elegant with a long finish and well integrated tannins. They recommend a drinking window of 2021-2026.

Other

If you are a Bordeaux fan and just want a simple wine with some typicity keep reading. The average recent scores are commensurate with the price tag here.

Château Hourtou 2015    VINTAGES#:  630038 $19.95 Bordeaux, France- 2015 was an excellent vintage for Bordeaux, the Right Bank in particular. This one is most recently scoring in the 88-89 range with comments on generous fruit, woodsy forest floor and cedar. Suggestions are it may have peaked in 2020.

Château Tour de Sarrail 2010 Bordeaux  VINTAGES#:  448829 $19.95– I had high hopes for this one because 2010 was an excellent vintage however recent reviews suggest it peaked around 2016 and even then ratings were high 80s.

Château Tour de Sarrail 2010 Bordeaux  VINTAGES#:  448829 $19.95– I had high hopes for this one because 2010 was an excellent vintage however recent reviews suggest it peaked around 2016 and even then ratings were only upper 80s.

Château L’Espérance 2014 Merlot Blend VINTAGES#:  487868 $15.95 – consensus seems to be okay for the price. Average rating is in the mid 80’s.

Château Vrai Caillou 2016    VINTAGES#:  348292 $16.95 Bordeaux, France. 2016 was a good year for the Right Bank. Current reviews are quite erratic though on this one ranging from 86-90.

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release May 15 2021

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