Wine Picks LCBO Vintages Release July 23, 2018

There are so many good value wines in the LCBO Vintages Release July 21, 2018 that I feel like a kid in a candy shop! Check out the Cellar Suggestions -they all scored 93, are reasonably priced and are Drink or you can enjoy them now and stock up for future.

The magazine is thinner than some so I thought it might be a quick job to assess the best values.  Boy was I wrong!  Lots to choose from here for everyone. The focus is wines to go with Grilling so there are lots of reasonably priced wines that are cheap and cheerful, if not award winning.  I will highlight some of the highest scoring and  best value ones in the Under $35 range.

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.

Or you can now order LCBO products on-line  .  Of late LCBO have indicated all release wines are available for on-line  ordering.


(AC, Loire, France)

168963     (D)   $19.95     Score: 92
Roger Voss of  Wine Enthusiast says “‘The beautiful apple aromas lead to a delicious wine. It has honey, creamed apple and spice flavors, cut through with acidity as well as almonds. The wine is ripe, balancing its crisp texture with richer fruits. Drink this wine now.  Medium-bodied & Flavourful


641423 (D) 375 mL $11.95
991562 (D) 750 mL $19.95         91 points
Wine Enthusiast notes:  Rich and ripe with apple, citrus, mineral and toast. Zesty and refreshing with great verve, this will have tremendous versatility with food. The earthy note will match nicely with the mushroom flavours. Medium-bodied & Flavourful



360248   Sweet   Score: 93   $16.95

Note this is 375 ml.  Very highly rated among various wine critics.  For more info on Vermouth and levels of sweetness check here.  Sweet Vermouth tends to be used most often in cocktails like Manhattans.

Michael Vaughan of describes ‘Light amber colour with a yellow edge.
Intense, herbal, caramel, Seville orange marmalade nose with some bitter orange rind notes. Sweet, medium bodied, quite well structured, very spicy, Seville orange marmalade flavours with a lingering, fairly bitter, harmonious finish. Recommended.’

White Wines

RAPAURA SPRINGS RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

388421  (XD)     Score: 95        $23.95

Bob Campbell, MW of says  ‘Always a high-performer, this pungently fruity wine retains its position with the front-runners even in a difficult vintage like 2017. Passionfruit and guava dominate more herbal flavours. An ethereal texture and perfectly pitched balance complete the picture. Drink 2017-2020.’  Aromatic & Flavourful

GÉNETIN POUILLY-FUMÉ 2015 (AP Loire, France)

653154  (XD)     Score 92  $28.95

Decanter World Wine Awards, 2016 notes: 100% Sauvignon Blanc. A floral nose with some aromas of stone fruit, yellow grapefruit and lime. The palate is elegant and round with complex flavours of mandarin skin, apricots and almonds, and a refreshing minerality to finish.’  Aromatic & Flavourful


265090   (XD)      Score: 91           $34.95

Here is a chance to experience a Premier Cru Chardonnay without breaking the bank. Premier Cru is the designation below Burgundy’s highest quality designation, Grand Cru.  Only about 10% of the appellations in Burgundy have been designated as Premier Cru.

The Chablis style for chardonnay is  often describes as crisp, lean and light, flinty, green with some salinity and  a mineral back bone.  (Very different from the oaky, creamy buttery style). Sampling this one will give you a chance to expand your wine  palate and knowledge with an excellent benchmark for Chablisienne chardonnay.

Stephen Brook of describes ‘Broad, rich and quite powerful on the palate, it shows
concentrated fruit with nutty notes, followed by a slightly austere mineral finish. A wine that  shows personality. Drinking Window: 2018-2026.’  Light & Crisp


169474  (D)          Score 90           $19.95

This is another chance to experience the epitome of Gewurztraminer. Note Gewurzt is a very specific grape -typically very aromatic, often off dry, floral.

Vintage Panel Notes:  Hunawihr, established in 1954, was the first cooperative in Alsace. Winemaking is overseen by Nicolas Garde, born in Alsace and trained in Burgundy and New Zealand. This Gewurz serves  pretty rose petal and citrus fruit with a nice, long finish. Chill and sip or pair with spicy pork sausages. Aromatic & Flavourful

Red Wine

EMILIANA COYAM 2014 (Los Robles Estate, DO Colchagua Valley, Chile)

063891     (XD)       Score: 95           $29.95

Tim Atkin, MW of says ‘ This brilliant six-variety blend of mostly Syrah and Carmenère with lesser amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Malbec and Petit Verdot is one of Chile’s greatest reds. Smooth, subtle and savoury, it’s much more than the sum of its parts, with Asian spices, red and dark berry fruit and fine tannins. Drink Date: 2019-2026. ;  Full-bodied & Smooth

CHÂTEAU TOURANS 2014 (AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France)

550459   (XD)      Score: 95    $34.95

Decanter World Wine Awards, 2017 notes: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. Compelling deep smoky aromas overlay intense cassis, tobacco and leather notes. Sleek, elegant palate has smoky, juicy dark fruit, herbal background and grippy tannic finish.  Medium-bodied & Fruity



561324  (XD)       Score: 93              $20.95

(James Halliday of says ‘ … includes 4% co-fermented viognier, matured for 20 months in oak (15% new). Excellent depth and hue to the colour, due in part to the co-fermentation; the bouquet and medium to fullbodied palate reflect the dominant Frankland River
component with dark savoury fruits, its bounteous flesh assisted by the other components. Bargain. Special Value. Drink By: 2029.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

2027 CELLARS EDGEROCK VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 6(VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, On, Canada)

561035   (XD)            Score: 91                        $24.95

Rick Van Sickle of  says ‘… The nose on this fine Pinot is fresh and delicate with strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, subtle toasted vanilla and oak. Turns more complex on the palate with obvious tannins to bring complexity and structure into the equation to go with savoury red fruits, underbrush and well-integrated spice notes. A personable Pinot that will have you scratching head
at the quality to price ratio.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity


575480    (D)       Score 90      $24.95

Vintage Panel notes: Certified sustainable and aged for 18 months in oak, this wine is made by fifth-generation winegrowers the Lange family. It’s deep and rich with dark fruit, dark chocolate, strawberry jam and maraschino cherry notes with smoky mesquite, spice and vanilla shading. Pour it with steak fajitas or barbecued ribs.  Full-bodied & Smooth

13TH STREET GAMAY 2016 (VQA Niagara Peninsula, On, Canada)
Gold Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada.

177824 (XD)     Score 90    $19.95

If you like Beaujolais this is Canada’s version of it.. same grape! David Lawrason of says  ‘This is quite lovely, combining ripe candied gamay fruit with complex pepper, herbal and slightly meaty notes. It is smooth yet juicy with fresh tart-edged acidity, a touch of sourness and very good to excellent length.  Medium-bodied & Fruity

Cellar Suggestions

FINCA EL ORIGEN RESERVA ESTATE MALBEC 2016 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)
(Bodegas y Viñedos La Esperanza)

065664    (XD)    Score 93 $15.95
James Suckling of describes ‘Complex aromas of orange peel, dark berries and hints of spices. A full-bodied, lovely and crafted wine with a long and caressing texture. A beauty already. Big improvement in quality with this wine. Drink or hold.’  Full-bodied & Firm

D.V. CATENA HISTORIC RED BLEND 2015 (Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina)
(Catena Zapata)

555466  (XD)    Score: 93                $19.95
James Suckling of describes ‘Aromas of mushroom, dark fruit. Hints of dark chocolate. Full and lightly chewy with a lovely texture and a ripe fruit finish. Juicy and delicious. I like the tea and bark at the finish. Malbec and petit verdot. Drink or hold it.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

PENNY’S HILL CRACKING BLACK SHIRAZ 2015 (McLaren Vale, South Australia)

396473     (XD)           Score: 93       $22.95
Steven Creber of wine says ‘Sourced from the estate Malpas Road vineyard, growing on infertile, grey-black cracking soil. 20% new French oak. Blackberry and licorice call the tune on the bouquet, with a whisper of sweet and aromatic oak playing second fiddle. Generous of flavour, but well defined, the juicy black fruits bounded by firm but finely-grained tannin. Drink now or cellar – your choice. Special Value. Drink by: 2030.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

There are so many good value wines in the LCBO Vintages Release July 23, 2018 that I feel like a kid in a candy shop! Check out the Cellar Suggestions -they all scored 93, are reasonably priced and are Drink or you can enjoy them now and stock up for future.

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