Wine Picks LCBO Release March 3, 2018

This LCBO release or March 3, 2018 features wines of the Southern Hemisphere. I don’t find it noticeably different  than most since there is always a heavy emphasis on Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile in the offerings every release.  There are however, lots of good value wine on offer.  Be sure to check out the $20 Chianti Classico that out-scored $50 Brunellos in a blind tasting!

Use this link to check out availability of wines closest to you – LCBO store locator. Just enter the product number and your postal code to get a list of stores closest to you that have it in stock.



GRAHAM BECK BRUT ZERO 2011 Traditional method, (WO Western Cape, South Africa)

435453 (XD) Score 91  $23.95

Stephen Tanzer of describes ‘Pale straw-yellow with a strong, fine mousse. Sexy musky perfume of peach, nutmeg, truffle and brioche, plus a touch of orange blossom. Strong frothy, penetrating wine with an impression of firm acidity owing to its dryness. Delivers lovely citrussy grip and penetration in a rather weightless, airy package. Drinking window: 2018-2023.’ Medium-bodied & Flavourful



437467 (S)    Score 4/5 stars    $13.95

Vic Harradine of says ‘What a treat, what a bargain. Dark amber with tinges of green on the edges; the aromas are divine – Oloroso means ‘scented’ in Spanish – with dark raisin, caramel and fig predominant. Warm and sweet on the palate, look for the aromas to follow through to flavours plus some lovely spice and nutty notes. The long sweet finish of this dessert
wine cries out for spiced nut cake or ginger snaps. Exceptional-value wine.’   Sweet


White Wines

TABALÍ TALINAY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 (Coastal, Limarí Valley, Chile)

542241 (XD)        Score 96         $23.95

Patricio Tapia awarded this wine a rating of 96 points, describing it as “So unctuous
you could bite into it and with acidity that refreshes and asks for more. A haute couture
sauvignon.” (Descorchados, 2017)
Luis Gutierrez of says ‘Sharp and focused with both power and balance. Enjoy with shrimp empanadas. Aromatic & Flavourful

CAROL SHELTON COQUILLE BLANC 2015 (Paso Robles, Calfornia, USA)

545681 (XD)  Score 95   $29.95

TASTING NOTE: Another star over multiple vintages for Carol Shelton. The ’15 is fully fleshed out a bit earlier than previous vintages, and it’s likely in short supply with the lighter harvest that year. Get some right away and be dazzled by the complex array of flavors, from spiced peach to quince paste, that hit my creamy and crisp style button perfectly. She’s a rock star! A Platinum Award winner at the 2017 Monterey International Wine Competition.
Aromatic & Flavourful


(Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)
384339 (XD)     Score 93-94    $19.95

Tim Atkin awarded this wine a rating of 94 points and called it a “… refined, elegant,
complex expression of a grape that doesn’t always get the praise it deserves …”
(Argentina 2017 Special Report).

Luis Gutierrez of says it  ‘showed bay leaf and fennel aromas, with notes that made me think of a Sauvignon Blanc….It fermented in second use oak barrels, yet the oak is absolutely impossible to detect. This has the profile of a white from the Loire. Drink 2016-2022.
Aromatic & Flavourful

THE LANE VINEYARD BLOCK 10 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 (Adelaide Hills, South Australia)

534735  (XD)       Score: 92     $19.95

Jane Faulkner of says ‘Oh hello summer in a glass. Of course there’s tropical fruit here a neat mix of star fruit, passionfruit and pith yet really lemony/zesty so it’s punchy and revitalising. Bright acidity and refreshing. Drink it fresh. Drink it now. Drink By: 2019. Special Value. Aromatic & Flavourful


523555 (XD)   Score 91    $16.95
Kim Marcus of says ‘This white really sings, with crisp, well-structured flavors of fresh-cut Gala apple, tangerine and pear that are layered with light smoke and luscious creamy notes. Shows finesse on the finish, with accents of dried mint and lemongrass. Drink now through 2020.  Aromatic & Flavourful

GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

164228  Score 91   (XD) $24.95
Joe Czerwinski of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘Veteran Kevin Judd has turned out another fine effort. Passion fruit and pea tendril aromas impart a welcome green edge that’s never overwhelming, picking up layers of white grapefruit on the plump, medium-bodied palate. The finish is intense,
long and citrusy. Editors’ Choice.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

HILL-SMITH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015 Wild ferment (Eden Valley, South Australia)

361584 (XD) Score 91 $21.95

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW of describes ‘The 2015 Chardonnay has provocative white peach, pink grapefruit and brioche notes with hints of honeysuckle and orange blossoms. Medium-bodied with a gorgeous satiny texture, it has great poise with plenty of peachy fruit and a long, refreshing finish. Drink Date: 2017-2021’  Full-bodied & Rich

CAVESPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2015 (Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

246579 (D) Score 90    $16.95

Note the reference to ‘off-dry here. Musque is a term used to identify a clone of a specific grape – in this case chardonnay.  The term musque suggest aromatic  (often sweetish, flowery notes).  So – don’t confuse this with a dry chardonnay.

David Lawrason of says ‘Great value in a very fine example of musque, with the florality of this chardonnay clone nicely contained and layered. It’s mid-weight, balanced, just barely off-dry. Love the restrained vanillin, green banana, peachy fruit. This [is] very elegant wine, with very good to excellent length.’ Aromatic & Flavourful


KIM CRAWFORD PINOT GRIS 2017   (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

369850  (XD) Not rated    $19.95

This one caught my eye because, as you may know my budding love affair with Pinot Gris started with a Whitehaven Pinot Gris from New Zealand.  So this New Zealand example in the Alsace style from a reliable source like Kim Crawford seems like a pretty good bet to me!

Vintage notes: ‘Pinot Gris loves the cool, which is why it produces such characterful expressions in New Zealand. As winemakers here begin to branch out beyond their mainstays of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, more and more intriguing wines such as this Pinot Gris will begin to hold the attention of wine lovers the world over. New Zealand Pinot Gris displays an Alsace-like complexity and richness, and to add to that, this one is made with minimal skin contact, using cold fermentation and no oak to ensure the purest possible expression of the grape is achieved. You will find this to be a fresh, crisp wine with complex notes of lime, apple, pear and tropical fruit with jasmine, spice and honey.’ Light & Crisp

Red Wines

(Coonawarra, South Australia)

333229  (XD)  Score 95      $22.95

James Halliday of  describes ‘Crimson-purple colour; the perfumed bouquet has a striking lavender note, most obvious when the glass is swirled and held some distance away from your nose; the medium-bodied palate has been fashioned with great dexterity, placing the main emphasis on the blackcurrant fruit, but allowing the tannins to reassure you of the potential of the wine if you decide to cellar some. Drink By: 2030. Special Value.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

(AP Côtes du Roussillon, France)

320499 (XD)    Score 94   $19.95

Jeb Dunnuck of  says ‘This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide  Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California’s Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 [USD] Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It’s a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It’s a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years. Drink Date:
2017-2021’ Full-bodied & Smooth

CASA-DEA PINOT NOIR 2013  (VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada)

296210 (XD) Gold Medal (InterVin International Wine Awards, 2017)  $21.95

Yeah for Ontario! Vintages tasting note: ‘The heartbreak grape stole the hearts of judges in this light-bodied red with its tart red fruit, including cranberry and stewed strawberries, earthy mushrooms and lively acidity. Firm tannins and nice complexity will allow it to continue aging nicely.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity


261867 (XD) Score 90-93   $17.00

Luis Gutierrez of robert awarded this wine a rating of 90 points, saying “… The house style is quite elegant, with polished tannins and a soft texture …” and calling it a “… Classical Vistalba Malbec. Very good value” Drink 2016-2019.
Patricio Tapia of Descorchados  score 93 points and describes ‘Polished and soft with dark berry and licorice notes. A great match for roasted pork ribs.’  Full-bodied & Smooth


542183 (XD) Score 92   $15.95

James Suckling of describes ‘Juicy berry fruit with chocolate and
coffee undertones. Perfect with grilled peppercorn steak.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

048884 (XD) 7Score 92  $29.95

Joe Czerwinski of says ‘Perennially one of the best Côtes du Rhône on the market, the Perrins have hit the mark again with their 2015 Cotes du Rhone Coudoulet de Beaucastel. So complex, lush and rich, it can compete with many producers’ Châteauneufs, this vintage reveals dark fruit, hints of cola, cinnamon and allspice and a long, slightly warm finish.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

ANIELLO 006 RIVERSIDE  ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2016 (Río Negro Valley, Patagonia, Argentina)

542092 (XD) Score 91  $17.95

Tim Atkin, MW, of describes ‘ This is only the second vintage of this pale, ethereal Pinot Noir, even though some of the vines date back to the early 1980s. Perfumed, elegant and refined, with cinnamon spice, raspberry and red cherry flavours and the merest whisper of oak.
Drink 2017-2020.’   Medium-bodied & Fruity

INVIVO CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR 2016 (Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand)

466029   (XD)  Score 90/91  $24.95

This one is scoring consistently high among critics. Vintage tasting notes: ‘Central Otago is the southernmost winemaking region in the world and home to some of the most exciting versions of Pinot Noir anywhere. This one offers good value and is loaded with juicy red fruit – think cherry, raspberry and red plums – with smoke, coffee and toast notes. Enjoy with roast pork or beef.’   Medium-bodied & Fruity


356048 (XD) Score 90    $19.95

This little gem deserves special mention because it held its own admirably in a blind tasting against $50 Brunellos, even outscoring some of them.  So stock up on this one if you want a solid Tuscan offering in  your cellar!

Bruce Sanderson of describes ‘Expressive aromas of cherry, leather
and tobacco start things off, while a mineral element chimes in on the palate. Elegant, firm and balanced, with a pure cherry note lingering on the finish. Best from 2018 through 2028.  Medium-bodied & Fruity


276477 (XD) Score 90  $19.95

If you are a fan of Beaujolais here is another Morgon at a very reasonable price.

Neal Martin of says ‘… It has a precise red cherry and bergamot-scented nose that unfurls in the glass. The palate is juicy and quite dense – thick tannin shrouded in lightly spiced redcurrant and blackcurrant fruit that lead to a sharp, nicely focused finish that demonstrates fine backbone. This is probably the best from Georges Duboeuf this year. Very fine. Drink Date: 2016-2025.’  Light-bodied & Fruity

ABRAS MALBEC 2015 (Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina)

542043 (XD) Score 90    $24.95

Luis Gutierrez of says ‘This sleek, silky, polished Malbec with its notions of spice and fresh blackberry is grown amidst the Andes at an incredible altitude of 1,700 metres.
Full-bodied & Firm

PASO CREEK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 (Paso Robles, California, USA)

161141 (XD)   Not rated      $19.95

This one made the list because I love anything from Paso Robles and typically the prices start in the mid $40 and go up from there.  So here is a chance to sample a well made example from Paso Robles without breaking the bank!

Vintage panel notes: When making high-quality wine, balance is key. Striking that fine line and crafting a wine that has impressive fruit ripeness and also freshness and clarity is no easy feat. The cool nights and warm, sunny days in Paso Robles help winemakers hit just the right note, and this Cabernet faithfully expresses this characteristic vintage after vintage. Look for great balance and structure, with ripe black fruit, vanilla, pepper spice and chocolate. A great option for grilled steak.
Full-bodied & Smooth

Cellar Suggestions


GLORIA RESERVA 2015 (DOC Douro, Portugal)
146522 (XD) Score 91  $16.95

Roger Voss of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘Vicente Faria delivers a densely ripe wine made from selected vineyards. Wood aged, with rich black, tarry fruit and dark chocolate aromas, it’s an impressive blend that will need to age. Drink from 2019. ‘ Medium-bodied & Fruity

(VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada)

431593 (M)  Score 91   $24.25
Michael Godel of says ‘ … I am terribly fond of the palate, how it oscillates between tart and sweet, sour and ripe, sucking the life but doling out great energy. Improves the more you spend time. Built upon a solid foundation of acidity and structure. The Ontario (Escarpment) stylistic seems a given and a blessing. Drink 2019-2023. Tasted blind at #NWAC17’
Off-dry & Fruity

(McLaren Vale, South Australia)

530097 (XD)   Score 90   $19.95

Vintages panel notes: ‘A blend of 57% Shiraz and 43% Grenache, aged in barrique, hogshead and
large-format French oak. Ripe and structured, with lifted cherry tones atop refined earth and
leather notes. Quite Rhône-like, exhibiting excellent richness and character. Great tonight
with grilled lamb or barbecued pork shoulder, this is also a good candidate for the cellar; it will
continue to evolve for another 8+ years.’ Full-bodied & Smooth


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