Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release July 24 2021

The LCBO Vintages Release July 24, 2021 focuses on high scoring wines and a nod to the great value wines of South Africa -lucky us! There is also a great opportunity to explore lesser known Italian white wines.

Fortified

Another great value Vermouth from Spain here in BioMIO Organic Red Vermouth   VINTAGES#:  18529 $17.95 Aragón, Spain. Forget the ubiquitous Italian vermouths for a moment – (they have their place in mixed drinks and cooking and perhaps doctored with spritzy water for refreshing sippers), expect spicy, citrusy, fruity, sweet but not cloying .. serve over an orange slice with ice.

Sparkling Wines

The South African Cap Classique method is what the traditional method is in France or other parts of the world. A source of reasonable, good quality Sparklings. Haute Cabrière Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose Brut Sparkling  VINTAGES#:  18569 $19.95 Western Cape, South Africa is solidly recognized as good value among wine writers. 100% Pinot Noir, expect aniseed, wild strawberry and toasty notes according to Tim Atkin of timatkin.com. Fresh and approachable. Enjoy on its own or with a cheese and fruit board.

Sparkling Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) is a French classic Sparkling after Champagne and along with some of the Crémants. Raimbault Bel-Air Sparkling Vouvray 2018  VINTAGES#:  205468 $22.95 Loire, France delivers balanced, honeyed and toasty notes. Perfect for cream cheese or chicken tea sandwiches, light pastries or light creamy cheeses.

Rosé Wines

Portugal always has an entry in the ‘good value category’ and Casal de Ventozela Espadeiro Rosé 2020   VINTAGES#:  450841 $14.95 Vinho Verde, Portugal is no exception. LCBO notes say to expect a bit of spice, citrus and herbal notes. Serve with grilled peppers, salmon or veggies and herbed dip.

South Africa’s Rosé offering this release falls into the ‘cheap and cheerful’ bucket. Rustenberg Petit Verdot Rosé 2020   VINTAGES#:  451773 $14.95 Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, South Africa is recognized to make a substantial every day sipper with some texture and weight, fruity with depth of flavour.

Delas Saint-Esprit Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2020    VINTAGES#:  224964 $16.95 Rhône, France is another good value Grenache/Syrah/Cinsault blend delivering ripe raspberry, pomegranate and pear on the nose and palate according to LCBO Vintages notes.

White Wines

The July 24 LCBO Vintages release happens to have a very interesting array of good value Italian White Wines. If you are in the mood to explore and expand your palate check out Explore Lesser Known Italian White Wines.

Spier Seaward Sauvignon Blanc 2020 |   VINTAGES#:  20922 $15.95 Western Cape, South Africa is recognized widely as good value, showing grassiness, green apple and tropical fruit. Lots of juicy acidity, character and value here. Think grilled fish with citrus squeezes of fresh salad with citrus vinaigrette.

Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay 2019   VINTAGES#:  355552 $19.95 Mendoza, Argentina is creamy and textured with ripe white fruits and toasty oak according to Patricio Tapia of guiadescorchados.cl. Kaiken is always reliable and Kaiken Ultra promises a bit of extra oomph. Enjoy with salmon, grilled fish or roasted chicken.

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2020    VINTAGES#:  663286 $21.95 Marlborough, New Zealand is getting solid mid 90 scores around the web. Sam Kim describes rock melon, passions fruit, lime aromas with a concentrated, textured palate. Lively acidity and an impressive finish.

Red Wines

I am a fan of Fitou wines, which must be at least 40 % Carignan and often are blended with Grenache, Mourvedre or Syrah. Typically raised in stainless steel they make a reliable medium-bodied, fruity easy pour. With Foncalieu Prestige Fitou 2019    VINTAGES#:  20760 $12.95 Languedoc, France, expect lively berry and pepper. Great with pizza, sausage, burgers, grilled vegetables.

If you are not familiar with the Nero d’Avola grape – treat yourself to Fina Nero d’Avola 2017   VINTAGES#:  17679 $16.95 Sicily, Italy. James Suckling give is a 90 and describes fruity blackberry and dark cherry notes. Treat it as you would a light, easy going Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah and enjoy it with charcuterie or grilled burgers or savoury pizza.

Paringa Shiraz 2017   VINTAGES#:  632083 $15.95 is sitting firmly in the 90 point range among wine writers. Not bad for $15.95! Expect cherry/berry, licorice and tar aromas with a flavourful palate of plum, black raspberry, chocolate, black licorice and baking spice. That is a lot going on in a glass. Now add in good balance and complexity to add up to exceptional value. Stock up and drink now through the next few years. I’ll be firing up the ‘Barbie’ for some spicy ribs with this!

Not to be outdone in the value race Alamos Selección Malbec 2018   VINTAGES#:  322800 16.95 Mendoza, Argentina is scoring consistently in the low 90s. Ripe berries and plums on the nose with a fleshy, rich, succulent palate according to James Suckling.

Okay… I can’t believe that we get to try Glenelly Glass Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018   VINTAGES#:  13316 $17.95 Stellenbosch, South Africa for under $20. Genelly is now owned by Pauillac royalty May-Elaine de Lencquesaing, former owner and manager of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . You will be hard pressed to find a Pauillac Bordeaux under $100 and most easily exceed the 4 digit mark. I am trying this wine based on its pedigree alone. Let alone that Christian Eedes of decanter.com gives it a 93 and says it ‘over-delivers big-time for the price’. He cites a floral nose with dried herbs, red and black berries; an elegant palate ‘understated with pure fruit and fine tannins’. Sounds like French elegance is now firmly ensconced in Glenelly! You may want to stock up since the drinking window is now through 2027. Enjoy with fine French cheeses or beef tenderloin.

More reliable good value in Château Saint-Roch Chimères Grenache/Syrah/Carignan 2018  VINTAGES#:  119354 $19.95 Midi, France. Joe Czerwinski of robertparker.com gives it a 91 and says it ‘over-delivers for the price’. Look for blueberry, cherry and stone fruit with wood spice and black olives. Full-bodied, concentrated but supple. Pair with any heaty beef dish summer or winter, or a substantial charcuterie with sausage and old cheeses.

A Reserva Rioja that has mellowed out is a real treat. From a good vintage, Hidalgo Tradición H Reserva 2015    VINTAGES#:  18933 $19.95 Rioja, Spain gets a 92 from Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast. He describes classic Rioja aromas of dried fruit, baking spice and tobacco, with spiced plum, cassis and tabacco on the palate. Good weith and substance.

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release July 24  2021

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