Wine Picks LCBO Release Nov 25, 2017

This release is a perfect time to stock up for the holidays.  Check out the South African Sparkling that you will want for your holiday house wine!

This release might cost me a lot of money!  There is something for everyone in every price range.  This release happens to have a good concentration of good quality Malbecs from Argentina  and Zinfandels from California.

Use this link to the LCBO Product Search site and enter the product # below the name of the wine and your postal code to find the stores nearest to you that have the wine in stock. Note that the stock does not appear until the actual Vintage release date.



(WOWestern Cape, South Africa)

404111 Scores 88-90  @$16.95

This is getting great reviews by various wine experts as a ‘Best Buy’. Stock up for the holidays!

Decanter World Wine Awards, 2016 Notes : 60%Chardonnay, 40%Pinot Noir. Honeyed shortbread, toast and focused citrus aromas,while the palate is braced with zippy, crisp green apple,zesty lime and a zingy, refreshing acidity.


517870  Score 90  $19.95

 Kerin O’Keefe of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘Delicate aromas of white flowers, stone fruit and pear lead the way. On the palate, a core of green apple and citrus is carried by vibrant, fresh acidity. Small, lively bubbles lend finesse. Best Buy. Best of Year 2016.

VILARNAU BRUT RESERVA CAVA Traditional method, (DO, Spain)

515254  Score 88  $14.95

Spanish Cavas are typically very good value for sipping or mixing. Vintage panel describe ‘impressive green apple and pear notes,with fine baked bread tones. Dry and long with amazing presence. Very good value.’

Dessert Wines

SCHMITT SÖHNE BEERENAUSLESE 2015 Qualitätswein (Germany)

523837 Not Rated  $21.95

Beerenauslese is a category in the ‘superior wine’ designation that is charted by sugar content.  Beerenauslese is higher on the scale than auslese and under icewine.  The name means ‘select berry harvest’ which in practical terms means that specific grapes are selected and hand picked from the cluster. The grapes are over-ripe and often affected by botrytis or ‘noble rot’. All this makes for a rich, full-bodied wine experience.  A little goes a long way so the 500 mL at $21.95 is still very good value for this type of wine. This late harvest wine from a respected producer is described by Vintage Panel as being ‘rich, ripe and tasty with notes of dried apricots, vanilla and honey. This has superb concentration and acidity, and is very well priced for such a treat.’

White Wines

Here is a chance to compare two outstanding Rieslings – one Canadian and one Alsation.  A perfect opportunity to compare the difference in  terrroir and technique!

CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2015  (Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Canada)

566026  Score 95  $29.95

This wine is among the top rated for this release, nestled between the $60 and $90 bottles. So… that $29.95 is looking pretty good now isn’t it? Critics agree this is one of Ontario’s finest Rieslings from some of Cave Springs oldest vines (40 years old) . Complexity, depth, balance, concentration, richness and excellent length are the hallmarks of this vibrant wine.  Critics agree that it is excellent value and can be enjoyed now or will hold another 10 years or so. This would be a good one to buy a few and sample every couple of years!



061176  Score 93  $27.95

 Stephan Reinhardt of  says ‘The 2014 Riesling Grand Cru Kessler opens with a very clear, mineral and herbal bouquet of ripe and dried white fruits in the background. From marl and sandstone soils this is a pure, finessed and very elegant Riesling of great elegance. It reveals a very long, finessed and salty finish with a tight mineral structure and a really warm soul in its fruit flavors. The salinity is fascinating here and lingers for minutes. Great purity here. Drink Date: 2017-2030.

ROBERT OATLEY SIGNATURE SERIES CHARDONNAY 2016 (Margaret River, Western Australia)

350900  Score 91  $19.95

Margaret River Chardonnays are known for their complexity and expressively elaborate flavours. This one from Robert Oatley has won a considerable following among Vintages customers, who are delighted by its sophistication and approachability. It’s always an intense, rich, perfectly balanced wine that suggests ripe peach, pear, apple and grapefruit citrus notes.

Red Wines

CALLEJÓN DEL CRIMEN GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2014 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

357467   Score 95  $23.95

Tasting Notes from Decanter World Wine Awards 2016 call this ‘A big, bold, concentrated style with bright plums, raspberries, violets and a spicy hint. Medium to full bodied, with a good minerality underpinning the lavish dark fruits, firm tannins and well-integrated oak, making for perfect poise. Great length of flavours, a wine for the cellar.’

MANIFESTO ZINFANDEL 201 (Lodi, California, USA)

472472  Score 93  $$20.95

Vic Harradine of says ‘ Mixed spice, chocolate and wisps of red licorice aromas waft easily from this  medium-full bodied, generously textured, fruit-filled Zin. It envelops the palate with sweet fruit – cherry and raspberry – decorated with cherry cordial nicely balanced with delectable tang from racy passionfruit flavour. It’s value-packed and finishes with replays and plenty of charm. You’ll find plenty of takers when served with grilled meat, especially ribs mopped with spicy barbecue sauce.’

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2015  (Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, South Australia)

377036  Score 95 $24.95

Reviews on this wine are mixed with scores ranging from  80s to this mid 90s.  Main criticism is jamminess. However there were more high scoring reviews than critical ones so I have included it as a recommendation. notes: ‘ Opaque color. Aromas and flavors of ripe mulberries and blackberry cream, planked oak, black pepper, and turned earth with a crisp, dry full body and a compelling, swift finish with earthy, woody tannins and moderate oak. An excellent example. Gold Medal. Exceptional.’

MULDERBOSCH FAITHFUL HOUND 2014 (WOWestern Cape, South Africa)

922443  Score 92 $20.95

Stephen Tanzer of says ‘(30% new oak): Bright ruby-red. Sexy spicy oak lifts aromas of currant, mulberry, menthol and chocolate. Plush, fine-grained and sweet, combining an almost chocolatey ripeness with perfectly integrated acidity and lovely dried herb lift. Savory, structured and subtly intense; balanced already but built for a slow and graceful evolution in bottle. A wonderfully pure and delineated blend with a sophisticated seamless texture, terrific complexity and lovely floral lift.’

CHÂTEAU L’HOSPITALET LA RÉSERVE ROUGE 2014 (La Clape, AC Coteaux du Languedoc, France)

682492  Score 90  $$28.95

 Gillian Sciaretta of describes ‘Full-bodied but supple, this red shows dried blackberry, plum and dark chocolate notes, flanked by herb and licorice aromas. Offers a chewy, smoky finish. Drink now through 2022.’

CHÂTEAU VIEUX CHEVROL 2010 (AC Lalande-de-Pomerol, France)

525931  Score 90    $28.95

Vintage panel notes say ‘Like the great wines of the neighbouring Pomerol, the wines of Lalande-de-Pomerol are Merlot based. They can present tremendous value, and the best of them can offer tantalizing hints at the concentration and refinement found in Pomerol. You can expect this one, from the superb 2010 vintage, to offer suggestions of tobacco, leather and cocoa alongside the maturing red fruit. Enjoy this tonight with lamb stew or drink by 2020+.’

GRILOS RESERVA RED 2014 (DOC Dão, Portugal)

523597  Score 90   $16.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘A concentrated blend of Touriga Nacional, Jaén and Tinta Roriz, this is a rich wine, spicy and densely textured. It has concentration to balance the broad black fruits and acidity. Age this wine for a year and drink from 2017. Best Buy.’

Cellar Suggestions

HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015 (VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Canada)

068817  Score 92  $29.95

Michael Godel of says ‘ Really nice demure and tentativeness, shy and beautiful. Perhaps a note of tinned fruit but be patient. Just what I thought. Tight grains of wood working this way and that with orchard fruit green, cutting and biting. Proper bitters and sumptuousness, then length. Tons of tannin. A perfectly broad expression of chardonnay, at a junction of time, people and place. Drink: 2018-2022.’

LAGOALVA RESERVA 2015 (Vinho Regional Tejo, Portugal)

523613  Score 90  $25.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘This is a serious blend of Alfrocheiro, Syrah and Touriga Nacional from the Lagoalva estate. Spice and wood go with dark tannins and firm red fruits. It is still a young wine with fine potential. Drink from 2019.’


526301  Score 94   $29.95

Jeb Dunnuck or says ‘There are two slightly eccentric wines from this estate that merit serious attention. Almost 100% Mourvèdre from a parcel close to Vinsobres, the sensational 2015 Vin de France Arcane XV Le Diable had a three-week maceration (Xavier prefers to get as much extraction as possible before alcoholic fermentation), and was aged mostly in small oak tanks and concrete. Blueberries, blackberries, peppery herbs and spice all flow from this layered, full-bodied beauty that has awesome purity, integrated acidity and plenty of structure. Give bottles 2-3 years and drink over the following 10-15 years. Drink date: 2018-2033.’

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