Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release April 18th, 2020

The April 18th LCBO Vintages Release will have you thinking ahead to summer.

Though our celebrations might be virtual for the next few months there are a couple of good value Sparklings that you may want to stock up on. There are also some opportunities in this release to expand your palate and compare and contrast some interesting grapes.

Media tasting for the LCBO releases have been discontinued until further notice so the recommendations for today’s release are based on a combination of tried and true producers and other wine writer previous reviews.

Here is my ‘wish list’ from this release!


Cà di Rajo Extra Dry Prosecco VINTAGES#:  13830 $16.95 Treviso, Italy

I am partial to Extra Dry Prosecco. This one comes highly recommended and scored a 93 in the 2019 Ultimate Wine Challenge. Expect ripe apple, melon stone fruit with balanced acidity.

Marquès de la Concordia MM Reserva de Familia Rosé Cava 2016  VINTAGES#:  14616 $16.95 Penedès, Spain

A Pinot Noir/Monastrell blend showing strawberry and citrus and creaminess. It won Gold at Selections Mondiales des Vins Canada, 2019.


These two Rosés will have you thinking ahead to deck drinking and summer. Both are dry with red fruit and herbal undertones.

Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Rosé 2019   VINTAGES#:  950576 $16.95 Rhône, France

Stemmari Rosé 2019   VINTAGES#:  14708 $13.95 Sicily, Italy

White Wines

Some very interesting whites in this release. I am going to offer up a few pairs of wines that will allow you to compare and contrast.

Pinot Gris

Check out this Pinot Gris from Alsace, where many of the most prestigious Pinot Gris come from, and compare it to a New Zealand Pinot Gris.

Cave Vinicole de Cleebourg Pinot Gris 2017 VINTAGES#:  108530 $17.95 Alsace, France


Sugar Loaf Pinot Gris 2018  VINTAGES#:  417469 $21.95 Marlborough, New Zealand


Here is a chance to indulge in a couple of highly respected regions and producers of White Burgundy.

Maison Roche de Bellene Vieilles Vignes Saint-Véran 2016   VINTAGES#:  11906 $27.95 Burgundy, France


Louis Latour les Genièvres Mâcon-Lugny 2017    VINTAGES#:  673137 $21.95 Burgundy, France

Sauvignon Blanc

Here is a chance to compare an iconic elegant oaked Sauvignon Blanc of the Loire to perhaps Canada’s best example of oaked Sauvignon Blanc inspired by the Pouilly-Fumé of the Loire.

Château Favray Pouilly-Fumé 2018  VINTAGES#:  323642 $23.95 Loire, France


Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc 2018     VINTAGES#:  68825 $29.95 Ontario, Canada

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc also known as Vouvray comes in many styles – sparkling, sweet, dry, oaked, unoaked. The Loire is home to Vouvray. Expect refreshing peachy acidity and a little more complexity in the Savennières.

Domaine du Margalleau Vouvray Sec 2017   VINTAGES#:  12113 $18.95 Loire, France


Domaine du Petit Métris Clos de la Marche Savennières 2017    VINTAGES#:  250571 $26.95 Loire, France

Whites for the Adventurous

If you have visited Santorini or done a cruise of the Greek Isles, chances are you may have already tried Assyrtiko. Expect aromatic and flavourful, floral, lemon, minerality and bright acidity. Pair with seafood.

Lyrarakis Vóila Assyrtiko 2018
   VINTAGES#:  14420 $16.95 Crete, Greece

Update: I tasted the Assyrtiko July, 2020. What a treat! Nice balance, overt notes of citrus-y lime and nice subtle notes of herbs and grass. Bone dry with pleasant minerality. Quite an elegant wine overall. I paired with Pickled Shrimp appetizer and it was a great match!

I have recently discovered Sicily and Sardinia produce some interesting fruity whites with nicely balanced acidity. Here are 2 that you can try without breaking the bank, scoring 92 and 91 respectively.

Terre Bianche Alghero Torbato 2018    VINTAGES#:  968537 $18.95 Sardinia, Italy


Cusumano Insolia 2018  VINTAGES#:  173336 $12.95 Sicily, Italy

Update July 14, 2020 – I paired this with a seafood pasta. It is definitely aromatic and floral. Good balance and crisp. Might try again and pair with creamy Brie-type appetizers.

Red Wines

Here are few mainstream, high scoring tried and true recommendations.

Château Saint-Roch Chimères 2017   VINTAGES#:  119354 $19.95 Midi, France

Grenache, Carignan, Syrah blend – rich with dark fruit and beautifully balanced.

Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2018    VINTAGES#:  219725 $29.95 Victoria, Australia

Penny’s Hill Cracking Black Shiraz 2016    VINTAGES#:  396473 $22.95 South Australia, Australia

Good Value for the Adventurous

Lirica Primitivo di Manduria 2015 |   VINTAGES#:  326710 $17.95 Puglia, Italy

Easy drinking, dried strawberries, redcurrants. Full, round and ripe. (Zinfandel)

Monte del Frà Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2017 VINTAGES#:  165662 $24 95 Veneto, Italy

Poor man’s Amarone, fragrant, expressive, beautiful.

Evel Tinto 2016
VINTAGES#: 190694 $14.95 Douro, Portugal

Great value out of Portugal as usual- berry, plum, pepper and mineral.

Wine Picks <$35 from LCBO Vintages Release April 18th, 2020

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