Wine Picks LCBO Vintage Release March 17, 2018

Break away from the green beer long enough to explore the good value in the LCBO Vintages Release for March 17, 2018! Some interesting grapes and blends from other-than-traditional-regions.

This release is a perfect opportunity to explore and compare  the versatile Merlot varietal from various countries. Check here for  Merlot Wine Tasting recommendations from this release.

Dessert Wine

(PDO Tokaj, Hungary)

539650 500 mL (S) $29.95
Can’t afford  Sauterne?  Me either! You could serve this sweet wine with Foie gras and Roquefort as suggested or as a dessert wine with figs, cheeses, dried apricots and almonds.

Vintage notes say ‘This is made from mainly Furmint and Hárslevelu grapes with some Zéta, Kabar and Kövérszolo. The 2013 vintage yielded some particularly high-quality aszú berries that the producer poetically describes as “completely interwoven by botrytis.” A gorgeous honeyed nose preludes flavours of dried peach, apricot, orange and spice. Delicious, complex and long, with perfectly balanced acidity. Sip this alongside Roquefort or foie gras (or both).’
Full-bodied & Rich


(VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada)

333260    Score: 90   $15.95
Brad Royale of says ‘For under $16 a bottle this is a delight of a rosé. Full of a mélange of red berries and  soft rose petal. This is dry and balanced and perfect for the case purchase to crush over the summer months. Great stuff.’   Easygoing & Fruity

White Wines


(Colchagua Valley, Chile)

287995  (XD)       Score: 93     $18.95

James Suckling of says ‘This is very intense with loads of toasted oak, lemon rind and vanilla. Full-bodied and round textured. Oily texture but remains energetic. Contrasty white. 20% concrete eggs with the rest full-Burgundy treatment.
Full-bodied & Rich

(AC Loire, France)
Gold Medal winner at the 2017 Concours Général Agricole in Paris.

534404 (XD)  Gold Winner  $20.95

Vintages tasting notes: ‘This wine is a unique blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Tressallier (a.k.a. Sacy) and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. It offers lovely stone fruit and a suggestion of flowers on the nose, and the palate is clean and crisp. Try it with pan-fried fish.’ Light & Crisp

TRIUS BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2016  (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ont, Canada)

251470 (XD) $19.95

Vintages Notes: Always a pleasure vintage after vintage, this Chardonnay is sheer luxury in a bottle (without a hefty price tag). Styled by winemaker Craig McDonald, (whose expertise has been honed over nearly three decades in the biz, it’s a smooth, round, vibrant, mouthfilling wine brimming with suggestions of baked apple, toffee and cream. Savour with pork chops and butter-braised squash.’
Full-bodied & Rich

NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 446 CHARDONNAY 2015  (Monterey, California, USA)

458687 (XD)  Score   90           $18.95
Michael Franz of says ‘It is not easy to find an all-the-bellsand-whistles bottling of Chardonnay in this price category that stays on the rails all the way through its finish, which makes this wine especially impressive. There’s plenty of vanilla and oak toast in the aromas, followed by full-bodied fruit and a finish that shows some sweetness, though that sweetness is quite welcome in tandem with the smoky, oak char note. Good luck beating this for the money in its style category. A Double Gold award winner at the 2017 Toast of the Coast Wine Competition.’  Full-bodied & Rich

A TO Z PINOT GRIS 2016 (Oregon, USA)

258145 (XD)  Score: 90    $19.95
Paul Gregutt of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘Sometimes less is more, and sometimes more is more, as in this 68,000-case offering from A to Z. It’s a leesy, pretty, highly gulpable wine, loaded with apple, pear and melon fruit. Hints of cucumber and stone add freshness to the lingering aftertaste. Best Buy.’  Aromatic & Flavourful

Red wines

BAIGORRI CRIANZA 2014  (DOCa Rioja, Spain)

376376    (XD) Score: 95      $22.95

Decanter World Wine Awards, 2017 notes: ‘Warm, cinnamon-spiced nose, strawberry and raspberry notes over toasty vanilla oak. Complex palate, spicy brambly fruit, crisp tannins and a
lovely, crunchy long cherry raspberry finish.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

MONTERRA FLEURIEU PENINSULA NERO D’AVOLA 2016 (Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia) Platinum Award winner at the 2017 San Diego Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition

534743  (XD)      Score: 93       $18.95

Rich Cook of says ‘Nero D’Avola is finding new homes outside of Italy, and this unexpected locale shows itself suitable, showing a light bodied, full flavored expression that delights with red and blue fruit, soft spice and mild pepper. The blossoming finish is fully  integrated and lingers long. You can expect to see more of this grape in marine influenced climates
worldwide thanks to this bottling.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity


542407 (XD)     Score: 91       $24.95
James Suckling OF describes ‘Lots of chocolate and berry character. Round and silky tannins with plenty of fruit. Fresh finish. Drink now.’  Fullbodied & Smooth


528018 (XD) Score 91     $25.95

James Suckling of describes ‘Bright and fruity with strawberry and orange-peel aromas that follow through to a medium body, bright acidity and a clean finish. Crisp and clean. Excellent Bourgogne red.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

ANDREZA RESERVA 2014 (DOC Douro, Portugal)

385849  (XD)     Score: 90   $16.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘A smooth, rich wine whose fruit is ripe, full of blackberry flavors and perfumed acidity. It also has weight, concentration and a tight mineral
edge that gives it extra complexity. The wine is fruity and ready to drink.’ Full-bodied & Smooth


040964  (XD)    Score   90      $19.95

Jeb Dunnuck of says ‘Made from 65% Grenache, and the rest Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan, the 2015 Costières de Nîmes Vieilles Vignes is a darker, richer effort that offers lots of black fruits, dark chocolate, smoked herbs and spice in a mouth-filling, concentrated,
balanced style. It will drink nicely right out of the gate.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

CORIOLE SANGIOVESE/SHIRAZ 2016 (McLaren Vale, South Australia)
Gold Medal winner at the 2017 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show.

534610   (XD) $17.95
Vintages panel notes: If you’ve never tried an Australian blend of Sangiovese and Shiraz, you’re not alone– but here’s your chance! It’s juicy and spicy with redcurrant, cherry, plum, dark chocolate and licorice. Pour with chicken or rabbit alla cacciatora.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

BEYRA VINHOS DE ALTITUDE RED 2015 (DOC Beira Interior, Portugal)
408120  (XD) $12.95

This wine is being recognized as very good value among critics. Vintages notes: Rui Roboredo Madeira is one of the most energetic, dynamic winemakers in Portugal and is a leading
voice in the new wave of quality-driven craftsmanship that has utterly redefined the country in the last 10 years. This blend of Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Nacional is grown at an elevation of 700 metres. It will have lots of ripe red fruit and supple tannins and will be an approachable crowd-pleaser.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity


536748   (D) $18.95
This one caught my eye because I don’t think I have every seen a thin Ripasso.  So when one comes up that is recognized as outstanding – I’m in!  Vintages panel notes: The Wine Advocate rated the 2015 vintage in Veneto as outstanding, and this Ripasso backs up that assessment. It shows good structure and excellent balance, with big flavours of fresh fruit and the characteristic richness and intensity that comes from the ripasso process of a second fermentation on Amarone skins. Pair with spaghetti bolognese or mushroom risotto.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity


Cellar Suggestions

TOHU SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

536177  (XD)     Score: 96    $21.95

Cameron Douglas, MS or Decanter is more enthhusiastic about this wine than many other reviewers but it did crack into the 90s with others. Cameron Douglas says ‘This has a pure and pristine bouquet with a delicious, layered frame on the palate. Mineral, stony, fresh and pure flavours are bursting through. This is a lovely example of balance, length and complexity that will build over time. Drinking Window:2017-2023.’  Aromatic & Flavourful

LA GITANA GOLD LABEL 2014 (DOCa Rioja, Spain)

547216  (XD)     Score: 92     $24.95

Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘Vanilla, oak spice, tea, berry, olive and herb aromas signal a classic Rioja. Its crisp palate and choppy tannins form the canvas for spicy
berry and cassis flavors. More spice powers the finish, which has the fruit to absorb and support the high level of oak. Drink through 2025.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

CHÂTEAU PECH REDON L’ÉPERVIER LA CLAPE 2014 (AC Coteaux du Languedoc, France)

129965  (XD)   Score 88-90    $22.95
(Jeb Dunnuck of says ‘Another excellent 2014 from Chateau Pech Redon, the 2014 Languedoc-La Clape l’Epervier (60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Carignan) is a full-bodied, ripe, beautifully textured 2014 that gives up lots of ripe black and blue fruits, crushed herbs and licorice. It will see 18 months in a mix of foudre and tank before being bottled, and has outstanding potential.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

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