Wine Picks LCBO Vintages Release June 9, 2018

There is so much going on in the LCBO Vintages Release June 9, 2018 it is hard to know where to start, or stop for that matter. First and foremost the Milestone features provides an excellent opportunity to explore the bench mark wines for many varietals.  So if you want to explore or systematically expand your palate this release is for you.  I will highlight some highly rated ones  that fit in to my target of wines under $35.  I will also highlight some of the other best-value-wines for-your-dollar from this release.

Here are 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.

Benchmark Wines Under $35 

The LCBO feature already seems to be highlighting a reasonably priced option along with a high end option. In some cases very high end….here are some stand outs in the Under $35 Snack Bracket.

Traditional method, AC, Languedoc, France

557645 (D) 750 mL $19.95
Vintages Panel Notes: ‘Limoux makes a claim as the world’s original birthplace of sparkling wine, with the first bubbles produced here in 1544. This bright, elegant, zippy sparkler blends 66% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, 10% Mauzac and 4% Pinot Noir and evokes apricot, orange zest, apple crumble and spring flowers. It’ll make a lovely summer sipper with grilled shrimp or picnic
nibbles.’   Medium-bodied & Flavourful


197202   (S)      Score: 90      $19.95
Robert Parker also awarded this wine a rating of 90 points. (, Feb. 26, 2014)
Kim Marcus of describes ‘A fruity style, with luscious plum, raspberry and cherry flavors that are deep and rich. Asian spice and dark chocolate notes linger on the fresh, minerally finish. Drink now through 2025’.

HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2016 (Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench,
Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada)

068825 (XD)    Score 90          $29.95

Fumé Blanc is an oaked Sauvignon Blanc.  The term Fume Blanc is used in Canada and the US while the French appellation is Pouilly Fumé from the Loire Valley in France. This example has scored consistently highly among various wine critics.

Rick VanSickleof  says ‘This is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc sourced from younger vines with oak aging in mostly neutral barrels … expressive gooseberry, grapefruit, herbs and spice. There is freshness on the palate and notes of grapefruit, lemon, tropical fruits,
minerals and integrated spice notes. Will be drinking perfectly when released this spring. Aromatic & Flavourful


012724 (XD)   Score 93        $29.95

Note that wines labelled Vouvray from the Vouvray appellation are typically 100% Chenin Blanc.

Tim Atkin, MW of regarding the Bellingham ‘….. Pastry, pear, creamy lees and scented oak combine winningly on the palate.’  Full-bodied & Rich


165811 (XD)     Score 91     $23.95
Sam Kim of  says ‘Beautifully styled and composed, the complex bouquet shows
blackcurrant, cranberry, thyme and cedar characters, leading to a succulent palate that is brightly fruited and gently weighted. The wine offers fruit intensity as well as elegance, well supported by fine, chalky tannins. Harmonious and attractive.’  Full-bodied & Firm

MAHI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

063941 (XD)  90   Score  $20.95

Stephen Tanzer of says ‘ (Fermented partly with wild yeasts, with 10% done in barrels)
Bright, light yellow. Musky aromas and flavors of lemon-lime, pepper and herbs, plus a subtle suggestion of ripe peach. Plush and broad but with harmonious spicy, grapefruity acidity giving the wine lift and firming the fruit. Rather bracing but fully ripe and nicely tactile, even plush, and long
on the aftertaste. A superb, concentrated entry-level wine with a strong impression
of extract and no finishing tartness. This wine is a blend of seven vineyards.’ Aromatic & Flavourful



Other White Wines


538421  (XD)  Score 92    $22.95

Anne Krebiehl, MW, of Wine Enthusiast  describes ‘Heady notes of peony and carnation enter into the citrus equation of this dry, focused Riesling. Wet stone and lemon zest seem like markers
on a road that leads to endless refreshment. This is delicious now, and beautifully dry, but it certainly has the stuffing to mature.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

BLUE MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2016 (BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada)

350108  (XD)     Score 92      $28.95
David Lawrason of says ‘This such a lovely, bright, fresh yet substantial chardonnay … From 27 year old vines, it is showing impressive depth and complexity for the money. Oak is nicely woven here, 70% aged in old, almost neutral French barrels. Expect generous, complex aromas of yellow pear, cream, lemon blossom, grapefruit, toast, sage and stone. It is mid-weight, fairly taut, lemony and firm, with sage and lemon on the finish. The length is excellent to outstanding.’   Full-bodied and Rich


541532   (D)   Score 92      $30.95

Compare this Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) with the BELLINGHAM THE BERNARD SERIES OLD VINE CHENIN BLANC 2016 above to compare South African style Chenin Blanc to French style Chenin Blanc.

James Molesworth of describes ‘Lovely yellow and red apple notes mingle with enticing ginger and dried quince accents, all backed by a pure, mineral-driven finish that leaves a mouthwatering echo. Drink now.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

Other Red Wines

PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN SHIRAZ 2015 (Barossa, South Australia)

522235   (XD)               Score 92-95    $21.95
MaryAnn Worobiec of  describes ‘Dense, with sink-your-teeth-into-them tannins and fleshy notes of spiced plum and wild blackberry. Tobacco, espresso and nutmeg details add aromatic interest, but the focus and purity of the fruit flavors is most powerful on the long finish. Drink now through 2029. Smart Buys.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

KAIKEN ULTRA LAS ROCAS MALBEC 2015 (Mendoza, Argentina)

050849  (XD)   Score 93   $19.95

(James Suckling of describes ‘Beautiful aromas of roses, plums and blueberries. Subtle. Medium to full body, very fine tannins and a clean finish. Wonderful finesse and polish. Shows the elegance of the vintage in a very positive way. Drink or hold.’  Full-bodied & Smooth


444448  (XD)    Score 90-92    $22.95

Bruce Sanderson of says ‘The cherry and earth flavors are accented by hints of chocolate, leather, tobacco and spice, allied to a round profile. This is fluid, yet shows a firm structure. Finishes long. Drink now.’  Full-bodied & Firm

QUADRUS RED 2013 (DOC Douro, Portugal)

440305 (XD)       Score 90    $22.95

‘ Previous vintages of this wine have demonstrated considerable refinement, confidently straddling the line between elegant sophistication and assertive muscle. The Douro’s remarkable catalogue of
varieties – including the Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Sousão that compose this blend – allows for wines that consistently strike the high end of the value-and-quality scale. Expect deep dark fruit with clove and mineral tones. If you’ve never learned how to braise beef, now’s the time.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

Cellar Suggestions

CHÂTEAU HYOT 2014 (AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon, France)

063537  (XD)   Score 91    $17.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘This is a ripe, fruity wine with its black-currant fruit and balanced sweet tannins. It has a fine elegant texture and juicy acidity. All these elements promise a wine that will be delicious to drink from 2019.  Editors’ Choice.’   Medium-bodied & Fruity

TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 (Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia)

117945 (XD)   Score 94    $17.95
James Halliday of describes ‘Racy and mineral with honeysuckle,
beeswax and lemon. Vibrant and long. A wine that will evolve for another 12 years.’
Aromatic & Flavourful


There is so much going on in the June 9th LCBO Vintages Release it is hard to know where to start, or stop for that matter. The Milestone features provides an excellent opportunity to explore the bench mark wines for many varietals. 

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