Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release June 26 2021

I am so excited about the LCBO Vintages Release June 26 2021. It is full of great summer sippers as well as light pairing opportunities.

Sparkling Wines

A good selection of casual bubblies in this release!

Vilarnau Barcelona Reserva Brut Cava   VINTAGES#:  515254 $15.95 Penedès, Spain. Cava is always a good bet for a casual sipper. This one is scoring 89-90 and is dry and ‘weighty’ according to Bob Campbell or therealreview.com. He describes hints of nuts and stone fruits along with some autolysis (the desirable bread-y, yeasty notes). Pretty good for this price!

Brilla Extra Dry Prosecco    VINTAGES#:  13836 $16.95 Don’t confuse Extra Dry with Extra Brut. Extra Dry can have up to 17 grams of sugar per liter. This one is logging 13 gram so I would expect it to have some noticeable sweetness despite the way the category sounds. This is light and crisp with apple, pear and peach tones. This would be a good choice for Sunday Brunch or breakfast pastries on the deck or dock.

Note: Luca Maroni has a rating scale unique to him that he calls a ‘pleasantness index’ so his ratings, often in 90-99 range do not compare at all with the Robert Parker 100 point wine scoring system that most reviewers use, some with modest differences. For that reason I never quote his rating/reviews.

Vineland Estates Frienzy Sparkling Rosé  VINTAGES#:  20162 $19.95 Ontario, Canada gets a 91 from Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com. He describes quite a range of aromas from floral to red berry, orange blossom and citrus. The palate is ‘dazzling’ with red currant, blood orange and grapefruit tempered somewhat by strawberry/raspberry jelly. High praise continues for the balance, mouthfeel and and overall good tasting experience. Enjoy with light appetizers.

Specialty Wines

Can’t miss pointing out one of my favourite Canadian fruit wines- Southbrook Canadian Framboise    VINTAGES#:  341024 Ontario, Canada. Fresh with amazing raspberry purity – It tastes more raspberry-y than fresh raspberries if that is possible, due to the concentration of flavours here. It is sweet and note a 375 mL bottle -but a little goes a long way. Sara D’Amato of winealign gives it a 90 and recommends matching with ripe, runny cheeses. I have an annual tradition of serving it with this Frozen Raspberry Torte– a match made in heaven INMHO!

Rosé Wines

Italy’s Rosé this release is Albino Armani Rosé   VINTAGES#:  19852 $14.95 Strawberry/cherry notes dominate the palate followed by citrus notes and some minerality. Dry and pleasant by all accounts! Enjoy with salmon, chicken or seafood.

Casas del Bosque Pinot Noir Rosé 2019  VINTAGES#:  15277 $15.95 Casablanca Valley, Chile. 100% Pinot Noir from granitic soils, Patricio Tapia gives it a 93 and notes it is very light bodied, juicy with red fruit. Sounds refreshing for a hot summer day. Enjoy on its own or with seafood.

California fans may enjoy Submission Rosé   VINTAGES#:  19536 $19.95 USA. Dry, fresh and zesty with orange, red fruit, honey and mineral. Submission is on a mission to offer crowd pleasing wines at a pleasing price point.

White Wines

We have a $13.95 wine scored 90 by Anna Lee C. Iijima of Wine Enthusiast in Paul Jaboulet Aîné Ventoux Les Traverses  VINTAGES#:  18615 $13.95 France. This is a full-bodied, rich Grenache/Bourboulenc/Clairette blend. Fruity with a saline finish. This one will be perfect with chicken or pork on the BBQ.

Maria Papoila Loureiro/Alvarinho 2019   VINTAGES#:  408146 $16.95 Vinho Verde, Portugal. Loureiro and Alvarinho (Albarino in Spain) are probably the most popular white varietals in Portgual. They have far more substance and character than some of the basic, spritzy Vinho Verde wines. This one has earned a 91 from David Lawrason ofwinealign.com who describes a ‘moderately intense nose’ with soft fruit aromas and a suggestion of clover honey. Light to medium bodied with some fruit and texture on the palate leading to a dry ‘almost stony’ finish. It also has ‘excellent length’ going for it! You won’t be sorry if you stock up on this one!

I sound like a broken record but one of my favourite wines is on offer this release. I will be stocking up on Le Fils des Gras Moutons Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine 2019  VINTAGES#:  363150 $16.95 Loire, France. Lively, from vines averaging 35 years old with ‘zesty apple and citrus with an underlying stone’. Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine wines (Melon Blanc grape) are some of the best value going. They pair well with quiche, seafood, chicken, creamy pasta.

District 7 Chardonnay 201   VINTAGES#:  458844 $18.95 California, USA. Decanter.com gave this a 93 citing slight butteriness and ‘cooked orange’ with delicate stone fruit flavour, mango, guava with some saline texture and a ‘long succulent quite pithy finish’. Full bodied and rich, enjoy with pastry appetizers, rich cheeses, creamy pasta, chicken or pork.

Novellum Chardonnay 2018    VINTAGES#:  390781 $18.95 consistently falls in the good value wine category. Chardonnay aged on Viognier lees adds complexity with peach, apricot and citrus notes. ‘Big and bold with a satiny texture’. Enjoy this full-bodied, rich wine with pastry appetizers, chicken, pasta or on its own with a creamy cheese side.

Another consistent good value is Maison Roche de Bellene Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne Chardonnay 2017  VINTAGES#:  299867 $23.95 Burgundy, France. Search Roche de Bellene on the LCBO site and the whole first page returned is well into the 3 digit price range. So I am grateful that Maison Roche de Bellene makes an accessible wine from their old vines in Burgundy with their decades of winemaking expertise for us. David Lawrason of winealign.com gives this a 91 and suggests if tasted blind he would have though it more expensive. He describes generous notes of bread, cream, hazelnut, peach and some vague smoke among other descriptors. Excellent length albeit he found some ‘heat and bitterness’ on the finish. This one has excellent length, a hallmark of better wines.

Leaning Post is a highly regarded Ontario winery. John Szabo or winealign.com gives Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2018   VINTAGES#:  578864 $22.95 Ontario, Canada a 91 and describes ‘marvelous verve and energy’…’mostly juicy acids and flinty-stony flavours on a long acidulated finish.’ ‘Superbly drinkable’ so enjoy now with lightly breaded calamari, pork stroganoff or even German Meatballs (Konigsberger Klopse). You can also cellar short term.

Tenuta Roveglia Vigne di Catullo Lugana Riserva 2016  VINTAGES#:  437004 $28.95 Lombardy, Italy. Another wine I have a soft spot in my heart for this wine!  The 2012 was voted the preferred white wine that paired best with my Veal Marsala Shells  (the first recipe I ever published on this blog!) and the Melon and Crispy Prosciutto Salad that went with it.

This wine scores consistently well above 90 points year after year.  It is from  an area south of Lake Garda and 100% Trebbiano di Lugana grapes. The 2016 gets a 94 from Kerin O’Keefe of Wine Enthusiast who describes an enticing nose of white flower, white stone fruit and botanical herb. A creamy, polished palate, fresh with juicy honeydew, white peach and citrus; almond and mineral on the finish.

Red Wines

Consider Roma Rosso 2018 |   VINTAGES#:  638726 $16.95 Lazio, Italy if you are looking for a simple but flavourful red wine for your next BBQ or pizza night. Expect dark berries and cherries and some tannins, and a flavourful finish according to James Suckling who gives it a 91.

Mi Terruño Expresión Cabernet Franc 2016    VINTAGES#:  22007 $17.95 Mendoza, Argentina is getting solid reviews in the high 80s-low 90s. Cab Franc has traditionally been an important blending component of Bordeaux blends adding fruit to Cab Sauvignon and spice to Merlot. It is also a significant component of Italy’s Super Tuscans. Of late it is gaining in reputation as a single varietal. Cool climate such as the Loire and Ontario (!) produce high acid and tart fruit while warm climate accentuates strawberry and raspberry. One of the hallmarks of Cab Franc though are notes of green bell pepper (from “pyrazines” that are found naturally in the vine). This Argentinian example has red currant and herbs and spice on the nose and fresh fruit and juicy tannins on the palate according to James Suckling who gives it a 93. Full-bodied and smooth, if you are looking to expand your palate this would be a good place to start. Enjoy with spicy tomato sauced dishes or vinegar based sauces- its acidity will stand up to them.

Sebastiani is a label I will choose without hesitation. Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon 2018  VINTAGES#:  13186 $19.95 California, USA is a solid California Cab with ripe blackberry fruit, dense with spice, cocoa and black tea undertones. Stacy Slinkard of decanter.com gives it a 90. I am going to try it with these Ribs with Spicy Blackberry Sauce.

Australian reds this release are for the most part fairly solid choices . The standout is Rolf Binder Halliwell Shiraz/Grenache 2017  VINTAGES#:  27318 $21.95 South Australia, Australia. This wine scores consistently in the low 90s vintage after vintage. Sam Kim calls it ‘seductively fragrant’ with …. plum, cherry, charcuterie, mushroom and nuts. A fruity palate with ‘succulent mouthfeel’, silky tannins and a ‘superbly long and delectable’ finish.

Dandelion Vineyards Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2018  VINTAGES#:  35747 5 $20.95 South Australia, Australia and Sister’s Run Epiphany Shiraz 2018  VINTAGES#:  269464 $17.95 South Australia, Australia are both recognized as perennial customer favourites, full bodied and smooth, offering lots of dark fruit and crafted to appeal broadly.

Château de Nervers Brouilly 2019   VINTAGES#:  18583 $19.95 Beaujolais, France. Brouilly is one of the 10 ‘Cru’ designations within the Beaujolais region and produces wine on the somewhat weightier end of the Beaujolais spectrum. Still medium-bodied though, this fruity wine is complemented by aromas of rose hip, dried cranberry, mushroom, apple and citrus according to James Suckling who gives it a 93. Beaujolais fans are lucky to have this quality of wine available at such a reasonable price. A great wine for summer – serve lightly chilled with lamb, duck, even pizza.

One of my favourite Italian wines – Barbera D’asti is in this release. La Luna e I Falò Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2017   VINTAGES#:  627901 $19.95 Piedmont, Italy is getting high praise among reviewers. Stepehen Brook of decanter.com gives it a 94. Jon Thorsen of Reverse Wine Snob says ‘It only takes one sip to know that this is juicy, delicious stuff. Full of rich, bright, concentrated fruit this smooth, full-bodied, balanced and delicious wine is a wonderful match with all kinds of Italian dishes. Silky yet firm tannins lead into the dry, very long finish. Excellent!’ Drink now through 2026. Stock up and enjoy with spicy ragu or meaty, stone-baked pizza.

Hidalgo La Gitana Gold Reserva 2015    VINTAGES#:  18934 $20.95 Rioja, Spain is an Editor’s Choice pick per Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast who gives it a 94. Very reasonable for a Reserva, this one promises smoky, toasty oak on the nose. The palate seems forceful, even though they are calling it medium-bodied, with descriptors of ‘strong barrel notes’ salt, dried red fruit and cocoa. He goes on to call it ‘complex, ageworthy and high in quality’. Drink now through 2030 and enjoy with substantial tapas like Sherried Meatballs, Patatas Brava or smoky BBQ ribs or even short ribs.

Lavau Rasteau 20177   VINTAGES#:  394650 $21.95 Rhône, France is scoring low 90s. This is a perennially reliable wine; a 50/50 Grenache/ Syrah blend that promises ‘luscious blackberry and cassis flavors’ according to Anna Lee C. Iijima of Wine Enthusiast. Some crushed stone and mushroom lend complexity. Balanced and pleasant. Drink now through 2027. Enjoy with steak or play off the blackberry with these Ribs with Spicy Blackberry Sauce.

Matetic Corralillo Syrah 2016  VINTAGES#:  146407 $21.95 San Antonio Valley, Chile is well received around the world and the web. Expect the peppery nature of Syrah to shine here along with ‘lustrous fruit’ according to James Suckling who gives it a 94. Red and black fruit on the palate with ‘nice, chalky tannins’

On the ritzy end of our snack bracket consider Marchand-Tawse Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018   VINTAGES#:  285601 $32.95 Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France. Côte d’Or is generally considered to be the most important region in Burgundy. Sara D’Amato of winealign.com gives this a 92 along with the her observation that this rich, rather ripe Pinot Noir ‘has the intensity of Pommard and the aromatics of Volnay.’ Pommard is known for powerful wines and Volnay is known for elegance and aromatics. The ones available in our LCBO easily fall in the $60-$200 range. So – if you want to enjoy some of the elegance and expertise of Burgundy consider this wine that Sara calls’ well-structured and deftly crafted with very good length’.

Cellar Suggestions

Lagar de Codegua Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018   VINTAGES#:  19248 $19.95 Cachapoal Valley, Chile is scoring low 90s. Austere at the moment but showing currants, black tea and thyme with chewy tannins and intense fruit. Sounds like the classic desirable features of a Cabernet Sauvignon to me. Give it a couple of years in the cellar and then enjoy with steak or aged, hard cheeses and charcuterie.

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release June 26 2021

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