The LCBO Vintages Release May 25, 2019 has lots of sparkling and rosé on offer. If you have never treated yourself to Ontario’s own Southbrook Framboise dessert wine now is your chance!
I am now able to review and rate wines from a curated sample of some 60 + wines from each LCBO Vintages release. Subscribers to The Wine Lover’s Kitchen newsletter will get my personal reviews and ratings, in all price ranges a few days before the release date. Not on the mailing list yet? You can sign up here to receive your advance reviews!
Full reviews will also be available to members of nataliemaclean.com in advance of the release date.
I will continue to highlight the best value wines under $35 as usual prior to the release date and my personal highlights will be available to all on-line a week after the release date.
Use this link to check out availability of wines closest to you – LCBO store locator. Just enter the product number in the search field in the upper right corner. When the product page comes up click on the Select Store button on the right margin. A dialogue box will come up. Add 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.
Here are my picks for some of the best value wines under $35 in this release.
W. & J. GRAHAM’S THE TAWNY MATURE RESERVE TAWNY PORT, DOC Portugal
Vintage Panel notes: Graham’s ages this Tawny for 7-9 years in seasoned oak casks. The result is a complex, floral wine that is fresh yet evolved and features notes of dried plum, raisin, spice and mineral. Gorgeous integration, acidity and length. Chill it a little and serve as an aperitif or with a range of canapés.
Southbrook Framboise Ontario (375 mL) #341024 $19.95
What a treat this Framboise is! Beautiful candied, cherry pink in the glass. Fresh raspberries literally jump out of the glass. And the palate does not disappoint. Raspberry, raspberry, raspberry through and through, both sweet and tart. It starts off sweet but then the alcohol and acidity balance out the sweetness on the finish. It would be great with chocolate or pastries and whipped cream but if you don’t have dessert – don’t despair. This treat is dessert enough on its own! Tasted May 2019 93 TWLK
Andrea Biasiotto Extra Dry Millesimato Prosecco 2017 516559 $17.95
Effervescent and almost clear in the glass. Lots of tropical fruit-pineapple and coconut- and white flowers on the nose. It is fruity, zesty and refreshing. This would make a fun sipper on its own or serve with light cheeses. At this price this fun sparkling deserves to be at all your spring celebrations and festivities. Excellent value. Tasted May 2019. www.thewineloverskitchen.com 90 TWLK
Valldosera Brut Nature Cava, Traditional method, DO, Spain
#311738 Score 89 $19.95
Michael Godel of winealign.com says ‘…The Brut Nature ideology is well-suited to Cava and here closer to excellent. Aromas deliver rusticity, wild ginger, wet stone and concrete. Stone fruit (as a departure) indicates ripeness and then what matters, matters most and that is texture. Lovely Cava worth setting one or two aside to see what might happen. Drink 20172020. ‘ Medium-bodied and Flavourful
Santa Margherita Stilrose 2018 Lombardy, Italy
659565 Score 90 $24.95
The beautiful salmon colour sets the stage. A clean nose that eventually gives up lovely rose notes. It is on the heavier end of light bodied. The palate is silky and dry, just short of savoury. A pleasant medium length finish. Try it with chicken or seafood. Tasted May 2019. TWLK
The Lane Vineyard Block 1A Chardonnay 2017, South Australia
#429233 Score 92 $19.95
Christina Pickard of Wine Enthusiast says ‘This is a bright, pure, fruit-driven wine that offers aromas of peach, melon and papaya yet there’s nothing overripe or heavy. The palate brings bright fruit complemented by crunchy, lifted acidity and well-integrated oak. Editors’ Choice.’ Full-bodied and Rich
Southbrook Heather’s Home Vineyard Riesling 2017 Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A. #650135 $22.95
This opens with delightful light notes of petrol and diesel-just enough to announce itself as a Riesling. Hints of petrol carry over to the palate that then offers up lime and citrus. It starts off silky on the palate and then texture takes hold to grab your attention. It is nicely structured and balanced with a touch of perceived sweetness mid palate. Good length. An Ontario Riesling to be proud of. This is a delight on its own but also would stand up to a schnitzel or breaded fish. May 2019. 91 TWLK
Catena Chardonnay 2017 Argentina #918805 $19.95
Oaky, buttery, creamy tones on the nose. Smooth with light oak on the palate. Approaching the California big, bold & buttery style but restrains itself just in time to avoid being overpowering. Long, pleasant finish. Pair it with strong cheeses or caramelized onion flat breads. Tasted May 2019. 90 TWLK
Portlandia Pinot Gris 2017 Oregon #633735 $24.95
The nose starts with hints of petrol. Smooth and round mouthfeel with good acidity. Lots of citrus from start to the long, lingering finish. This would easily cut through a Caesar salad or goat cheese souffle.Tasted May 2019. 90TWLK
Trimbach Riesling 2016 , Alsace , France
#734517 Score 90 $25.95
Lovely minerality on the nose with some underlying hints of tobacco. Initial hint of sweetness on the front palate quickly gives way to a tangy, textured mouthfeel. Acids are well balanced. Nice lemon and citrus on the finish. Try it with quiche or Montecristo. Tasted May 2019. TWLK
CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 Rioja, Spain
#39925 Score 92 $16.95
James Suckling of jamessuckling.com says ‘Very pretty plum, cherry and hints of cedar. Medium body, with soft tannins and a delicious finish. Shows the real Rioja character. Delicious always. Drink now. ‘Medium-bodied and Fruity
Famille Perrin Les Cornuds Vinsobres 2016, Rhone, France
#566844 Score 90 $17.95
Jeb Dunnuck of jebdunnuck.com says ‘A smoking value, the 2016 Vinsobres Les Cornuds is a spicy, cedary, and peppery effort that has classic garrigue and saddle leather notes, medium body, ripe tannin, and a good finish. It’s a terrific wine that sells for a great price.’ Full-bodied and Smooth.
Château Gaumaran 2014 AC Médoc # 634014 $17.95
This 60% Merlot 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon blend has an interesting ‘meaty’, slightly smoky nose. Palate is savoury with grippy tannins. This is a perfect accompaniment to the busiest charcuterie platter you can dream up with dry cured sausage, old cheeses, paté – you get the picture! There is a lot going on here at this price. Excellent value. Tasted May 2019. 90 TWLK
Stéphane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Morgon Côte Du Py 2014 Beaujolais #424804 $23.95
The edges are starting to show some aging. Mild smoke on the nose initially but opens to raspberries and light red fruits. Raspberry defines the palate. Smooth with a bit of dusty tannin on the finish. Drink now with lamb spiedini or tenderloin. Tasted May 2019. www. 90 TWLK
Susana Balbo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Uco Valley, Argentina
#260919 Score 94 $19.95
James Suckling of jamessuckling.com describes ‘Plum liqueur, redcurrants, crushed stones, oyster shell, creme de cassis, some subtle resin, roasted herbs and peppers. This is so polished and focused on the palate with tightly-wound but generous tannins, a vibrant line of acidity and a long, chewy finish. Drink in 2021’. Full-bodied and Smooth
Ravanal Gran Reserva Carmenère 2017 Colchagua Valley #638429 $15.96
Dark cherry coloured. There is a pronounced herbaceous nose with bell pepper and earth tones that opens up to mildly oaky caramel. Deliciously smooth and juicy with soft, soft tannins and medium length. This is very pleasant to sip on its own or serve it with burgers, pizza, or pasta. Good value. Tasted May 2019. 89 TWLK
Casa Monte Pío Albariño 2016 Rías Baixas D.O. #629824 $18.95
This lovely clear, pale gold wine offers up golden apples on the nose. It has a nice silky, smooth, round mouth feel with just enough acid to keep it interesting. This would be refreshing summer wine for docks and decks or as a base for white sangria. Tasted May 2019 89 TWLK
Feudo Antico Biologico Pecorino 2017, Abruzzo, Italy
Vintage panel notes: If you’re looking for favourite go-to summer whites, this is one you should short-list for sure. It’s bright, lifted and zesty, with lip-smacking lemon and lime citrus and sharply defined pear and apple. Vibrant enough to work as a sipper, it will also be great with seafood, or tomato-based sauces.
Creekside Iconoclast Syrah 2016 St. David’s Bench, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A. #444034 $25.00
Bright plum colour in the glass. It has an enticing, complex nose of smoke and leather. Dark fruits are smooth on the palate and then it winds up with a firm, tannic finish. This will happily spend a year or two in the cellar. Enjoy now or later with steak or braised short ribs. Tasted May 2019. 89 TWLK