This release features high end Italian wines Barolos, Amarones, Brunellos with price tags to match. Lots of triple digit wines in this release that fall outside my target range. But there are always some good value offerings as well. Here are my picks.
Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne (Burgundy, France)
991562 Score 90 $19.95
Mark my words… from now til through New Year’s the LCBO featured offerings will get pricier and pricier. So you could stock up on this reasonable offering now if you like! Michael Godel of winealign.com calls this an ‘easy on the nose, mouth and eyes Bourgogne fizz…Terrific comfortably tart chardonnay with the type of personality to act as a long, smooth finisher.
Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2011 (Portugal)
87551 Score 92 $18.95
Port to me is one of the best values. They are many good quality ports reasonably priced. They deliver substance and can be sipped quite enjoyably at a very reasonable price per glass. Mark Squires of robertparker.com says ‘Rather gorgeous, this fresh tight and pwerful Fonseca is pefectly focused, extracted and tightly wound, finishing with intesnity of flavor laced with some herbes and a hint of garrigue.’ Drinking window is now through 2027 which would also make it a great Cellar Selection.
Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2014 (Niagara Peninsula, Canada)
415901 Score 92 $24.95
This is a bit pricey for 375 mL but a little goes a long way. This is getting rave reviews around the web. John Szabo of winealign.com says it offers caramelized peach and apricot, honeyed flavours with saffron and quince. He suspects a tough or botrytis in the vintage. He goes on to call it complex and intense stuff.
Rustenberg Chardonnay 2015 (South Africa)
598631 Score 95 $19.95
Scores on this one range from 91-95. Decanter tasting notes describe a ‘complex, leesy character…smoke and flint notes..aromas of buttery lemons, biscuits and honeydew melon that translate well to the palate. Power, restraint, richness, acidity, expertly handled oak….the flavour and aroma characteristics last a lifetime in the mouth.’ I’m in!
Ruppertsberger Gewurztraminer Hofstuck Spatlese 2016 (Pfalz, Germany)
Gewurz is a very specific wine-semi- sweet, not for all- but it is the perfect wine for Asian foods and sauces, sushi, ginger etc. Vintage notes describe ‘flavours of lychee syrup, rosewater, citrus peel and candied ginger. ..a delight to sip, nicely chilled.’
Castello di Querceto Riserva Chianti Classico 2013 (Tuscany, Italy)
650754 Score 91 $28.95
James Suckling of jamessuckling.com describes this as ‘Soft and silky for the vintage with light chocolate, berry and spice. Medium body, lightly chewy tannins.’ John Szabo of winealign.com calls it ‘a very classy bottle of wine for the money, in an elegant and sophisticated style. Best 2017-2025.’
There are 3 Zinfandels in this release that score in the 90s. Zinfandel is one of the signature grapes of California – big, high alcohol, fruit forward and spicy. Pair with protein…sausage and steak.
Ravenswood Old Vine Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2014 #289777 Score 91 $36.95 (note it is 1 1/2 liter bottle)
Ravenswood Besieged 20114 #414136 Score 4 1/2 stars/5 $24.95
Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel 2015 #942151 Score 90 $29.95
13th Street Gamay Noir 2016 (Niagara Peninsula, Canada)
177824 Score 90 $19.95
This one a Gold Medal at the National Wine Awards of Canada 2017. Gamay Noir is the same grape as Beaujolias. Medium bodied and fruity. David Lawrason of winealign.com calls this ‘quite lovely, combining ripe candied gamay fruit with complex pepper, herbal and slightly meaty notes…good to excellent length.’