Wine Picks LCBO Vintages Release April 14, 2018

The LCBO Vintages Release April 14, 2018 is a fun one.  The feature Grapes Gone Global highlights an old world example and a new world example of various grapes.  This makes for a perfect opportunity to explore a given varietal and different wine making styles.

Much as I would love to be able to try each and every one of these -the reality is I can’t!  So if you decide to try one or some please come back and tell us about it in the comments!

Explore Old World vs New World Wine Making  Styles

You might be surprised at how different styles of winemaking in different countries can make the same grape variety almost unrecognizable.

One of the best examples I can think of is Chardonnay.

  • A  French Chardonnay will typically be unoaked;  have high acidity with flinty minerality;  clean and crisp and elegant;  light to medium bodied.
  • An Italian Chardonnay may be similar to the French style but it is typically very light bodied and may be, in my experience, almost indistinguishable from Pinot Grigio.
  • The other end of the spectrum is the notorious California Chardonnay treatment –  oaked, buttery, rich, full bodied.

So the Vintages panel have put together a great set of recommendations to explore old world vs new world  Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Viognier and Zinfandel.   This is a great opportunity for wine tasting clubs or wine enthusiasts to explore specific grapes.  There is no point to my repeating the information in the article so if you want to learn more then check out the Vintages New Release Circular.

In the meantime, I will highlight some of the Best Value wines in this release under $35.00.  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.

Value Highlights of LCBO Vintages Release April 14, 2018



402362   (D)     Score 92   $24.95

Lisa Isabelle of says ‘This traditional-method sparkling wine from southern Burgundy entices the nose with caramel apple, lemon zest and toasty biscuit notes from time spent on its lees in the bottle. It has a generous palate of zesty citrus, ripe apple and
brioche leading to a long, full and frothy finish. A good value Crémant, it’s well balanced with lively
acidity and a delicate effervescence. ‘ Medium-bodied & Flavourful


514521 Score 91   (XD) $18.95

James Suckling of describes ‘A creamy and delicious Prosecco with pear-skin and apple character. Medium body, a creamy texture and a fruity finish. Drink now.
Medium-bodied & Flavourful


White Wines


722413  (MS)  Score: 92      $19.95

Anna Lee Iijima of Wine Enthusiast says ‘A shower of crushed minerals lends transparency to this fleshy dry Riesling. It’s bold in body and alcohol, heaving lusciously with ripe tangerine, peach and nectarine flavors, but zesty acidity adds levity. The finish is warm and smoky but long and languorous.  Aromatic & Flavourful

ASTROLABE PROVINCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

010421  (XD)    Score: 92      $24.95

MaryAnn Worobiec of  notes ‘Complex, with succulent peach, pear and melon flavors that mingle effortlessly with honeysuckle, spice and matcha green tea notes. Powerful and juicy. Drink now. Smart Buy. Aromatic & Flavourful


231282 (XD) Score   91  $17.95

Neal Martin of says ‘The 2016 Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc actually comes from 35-year-old vines and is partially barrel fermented. It has a very refined bouquet, touches of white peach, apricot and walnut, a hint of smoke emerging with time. The palate is well balanced
with melon, grapefruit, saline notes with fine depth and slightly chalky on the finish. This is much better than the 2014 I tasted on my last trip. Drink Date:2018-2026.’ Full-bodied & Rich

CLINE VIOGNIER 2016 |(North Coast, California, USA)

128421 (XD)      Score 91       $18.95  Ranked #82 on Wine Enthusiast’s 2017 Best Buys list.

Notes from ‘ Yellow straw color. Fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of peach cobbler and creme Anglaise with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, stimulating, medium-long spiced yellow apple, nougat, and nectarine skin finish with fine, fruit tannins and a suggestion of oak. A very tasty, round and satisfying Viognier pleaser. Gold Medal. Exceptional. Best Buy.’
Aromatic & Flavourful

MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SÉMILLON 2017 (Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia)

493338   (XD)  Score 91  $19.95

Vintages panel notes: ‘This wine was grown on vines planted in the 1960s. It’s got groovy notes of nectarine, pear, citrus, freshly picked corn and spring flowers in a sleek, flavourful wine with mouthwatering acidity and a tangy finish. Drink through 2025 with barbecued pork and corn on the cob.’ Light & Crisp

Red Wines


541524     (XD)     Score 95  $19.95

Decanter World Wine Award notes from 2017: ‘100% Sangiovese. A really charming nose with great purity of fruit, with hints of cherry tart and pomegranate, the palate has delicious sweet rounded fruit, savoury herbs and exotic spice on the long satisfying finish. Platinum winner. Best in Show:
Best Value Red Italian Varietals.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

ENCHANTED TREE SHIRAZ 2014 (South Australia)

540286   (XD)  Score 94  $17.95

Sam Kim of says ‘A hugely appealing shiraz, the intensely aromatic bouquet shows blackberry, cherry pie, dark chocolate, spice and vanilla characters. The palate is equally impressive and attractive, and displays excellent fruit concentration and rich mouthfeel, wonderfully enhanced by velvety texture and supple tannins. The wine offers outstanding value. At its best: now to 2020.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

PIRATHON BY KALLESKE SHIRAZ 2013 (Barossa Valley, South Australia)

130278   (XD)  Score 94 $29.95

James Halliday of says ‘The Gods of Value have big smiles on their faces. This is in the sweet spot for value, quality and style. It’s dark fruited and amply so, but its savoury edges give it a wider appeal. Soft, modestly/appropriately oaked, tidy with tannin and perhaps most importantly, moreish. Drink By: 2021.’  Full-bodied & Smooth


483321  (D)     Score 93     $19.95

(Meridith May, The Tasting Panel Magazine describes ‘Aromatic treasures of blackberry spice and espresso are accented by a dot of earthiness. The smooth, silky palate offers up plum compote and a touch of peppered saddle leather. Fruit-forward, it continues to open up with blueberries, green tea and a dusty tannin finish. Delicious.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

SÃO MIGUEL ESCOLHA DOS ENOLOGOS 2015 (Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal)

445122 (XD)     Score   93        $22.95 notes: ‘An archetypal Alentejo red, with dark, juicy fruit jumping out of the glass.  Generous, glossy and fruit-forward, therein lying the pleasure – powerful and opulent but not at all heavy. Drinking Window: 2017-2024.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

299917 (XD)    Score:  92            $19.95

This is one of the wines featured in the Grapes Goen Global so consider comapring this Beaujolais to the Canadian Gamay below.

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘ With the same winemaking team as Bouchard Père et Fils in Burgundy, this wine is rich and generous. It has great red fruits and hints of the toast from the wood aging of part of the wine. It is a generous wine that will age well over the next year,
so drink from late 2017. Editors’ Choice.’  Light-bodied & Fruity


642496  (XD    Score 91 $29.95 2

Luis Gutiérrez of says ‘A step up in quality and depth is the 2010 Gran Reserva, a classic, balsamic and generously oaked red produced with 85% Tempranillo and the rest Graciano from Rioja Alta in a very good vintage. The wine matured for two years in French and American oak barrels and acquired aromas of cigar box, tobacco leaves, incense, cloves, black pepper and
a thin patina of sweet spices. The palate is round and soft, with polished tannins and good acidity. It’s very balanced and feels really easy to drink, with complexity, clean flavors and a long aftertaste. It combines typicity with affordability and availability. Drink: 2016-2020.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity


999946  (D)   Score 90   $18.95

The Remo Farina Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore is a regular feature on Vintages helves. It’s a characterful, reliable, smooth and easy-to enjoy expression of the style that seeks to deliver
consistent notes of rich dark cherry, pepper and clove, with touches of tobacco. Pair with a grilled
eggplant burger.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

MALIVOIRE GAMAY 2016 (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

591313 (D)     Score 90   $17.95  Gold Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine
Awards of Canada.

This is one of the wines featured in Grapes Gone Global so consider comparing it to the Beaujolais above.

John Szabo, MS of says ‘Here’s a juicy, fullish, succulent gamay with a fine measure of typical red berry fruit, if riper than the mean for Ontario. Indeed alcohol is a touch warming, but this remains balanced and fresh. An excellent example.’ Light-bodied & Fruity

MAZZEI ZISOLA 2015 (DOC Sicilia Noto Rosso, Italy)

303925     (XD)  Score 90     $19.95

Ian D’Agata of says ‘Bright red. Perfumed aromas of quinine, sweet spices and herbs complicate red cherry notes. Fresh and juicy with youthful, chewy tannins and a peppery bite on the long finish. Ages 10 months in small oak barrels. A nice wine. Drinking window: 2017-2020.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

Cellar Suggestions

462374 (XD)    Score 93      $25.95   Ranked #27 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines 2016.

Roger Voss of  Wine Enthusiast  says ‘This is a powerful wine, full of dark fruits and dense dry tannins. Even at four years old, it is still young. It is impressive in its concentration with fine
acidity and black-plum flavors mingling with the tannins. Drink this serious wine from 2018. Editors’ Choice.’  Full-bodied & Firm

BURGO VIEJO CRIANZA 2014 (DOCa Rioja, Spain) 

168815  (XD)  Score 90   $16.95

Josh Raynolds of  describes ‘Deep ruby. Aromas of cherry pit, licorice and vanilla, along with a smoky nuance in the background. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering oak-accented bitter cherry and cassis flavors that become livelier with aeration. A floral note appears on the long, smoke-tinged finish, which is given shape and grip by dusty, fine-grained tannins. Drinking Window: 2019-2024.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

The LCBO Vintages Release for April 14th, 2018 is a fun one.  The feature Grapes Gone Global
 makes for a perfect opportunity to explore a given varietal and different wine making styles.

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