Wine Picks LCBO Vintages Release Oct 13, 2018

The Oct 13th LCBO Vintages Release has something for everyone but Pinot Noir lovers will be particularly pleased with the variety of Pinots that are offered this release.


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.

Here are my picks for some of the best value wines under $35 in this release.



582932   (S)   N/R      $34.95

Vintages Panel tasting note:  Established in 1913 by Manuel de Almeida, this Port house celebrated its 105th anniversary this year. The single-harvest 2005 Tawny shows lovely apricot and tea notes with awesome
oxidative complexity. It’ll make a contemplative sipper with roasted nuts and blue cheeses.

White Wines

TE PA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)

450668   (XD)   Score   93    $19.95

Sam Kim of says ‘This is wonderfully fragrant on the nose showing passionfruit, green rockmelon, musk, lime zest and subtle herbaceous notes. The palate is impressively weighted and focused, and displays excellent fruit vibrancy and intensity, leading to a superbly long delicious finish. At its best: now to 2020.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

DAVIS BYNUM RIVER WEST VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 (Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA)

205815   (XD)   Score  92      $29.95

Virginie Boone of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘From an estate site alongside
Westside Road, this impressive white shines in full-bodied nutty oak and a slight element of reduction that adds rather than detracts. Exotic in salty
tangerine, peach and stone, it lingers in lasting oak spice.
Full-bodied & Rich


Red Wines

SERAFINO SHIRAZ 2015 (McLaren Vale, South Australia)

407718   (XD) Score 96    $34.95
James Halliday of says ‘The bouquet and medium to
full-bodied palate sing loud and clear, with blackberry and plum fruit skillfully enshrined in fine, ripe tannins, plus a nudge of oak. There is a harmony,
a completeness, to the wine that means it is totally open-ended, its drinking window without borders.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

ONDARRE RESERVA 2017 (DOCa Rioja, Spain)

723452  (XD)    Score 95     $17.95

Decanter Asia Wine Awards, 2017 notes: Platinum Medal: Best Red Rioja
Reserva. 85% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 10% Graciano. A first-rate example with a bevy of fleshy red fruit flavours of strawberry, cherry, and plum
accompanied by spice, a lovely lick of vanilla-peppery oak, and exemplary tannins, which are sufficient for extended cellaring. A benchmark example – fine, supple and harmonious. An excellent wine for gastronomy.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

ZUCCARDI POLÍGONOS 2015 (San Pablo, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

568915  (XD)  Score 93-96   $29.95

Descorchados awarded this wine 96 points. awarded this wine 93 points.

Luis Gutiérrez of  robert says ‘ … pure Malbec fermented and
matured in cement vats from a very young vineyard the Zuccardi family planted in 2012. They are searching for no concentration, but elegance and finesse, and this cooler zone produces wines that are very aromatic, as this one with a tantalizing mixture of violets, blood orange and wild herbs. The palate is sharp, with laser cut precision, chiseled and long, with citric acidity and great length. This is a completely new zone, close to getting the IG (appellation) status. I simply loved the nose of this wine. Drink Date: 2017-2021’  Full-bodied & Smooth

SISTER’S RUN EPIPHANY SHIRAZ 2016 (Epiphany Vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia)

269464   (XD)   Score 94     $16.95

Sam Kim of describes ‘Intensely coloured and deeply
delicious, this gorgeous shiraz displays dark berry, plum jelly, chocolate brownie and toasty oak aromas on the nose, leading to a powerfully expressed palate that is plump and fleshy. The wine offers terrific fruit concentration and generosity, wonderfully framed by plush tannins. At its best: now to 2024. ‘
Full-bodied & Smooth

PRIMUS THE BLEND 2015 (DO Colchagua Valley, Chile)

712463 (XD)  Score 94      $19.95

Tim Atkin, MW of says ‘This superb Bordeaux blend is a
cuvée of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Merlot with a little Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot for company. Elegant, seamless and smooth,
with textured tannins, aromatic oak and layers of grassy, dark berry fruit. Drink Date: 2018-2027.’   Full-bodied & Firm


399907   (XD)  Score 93    $18.95

James Suckling of describes ‘A solid Chianti Classico with
blackberry and blueberry character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh finish. Gorgeous, minerally red firmness. Drink or hold.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity

WIRRA WIRRA CATAPULT SHIRAZ 2016 (McLaren Vale, South Australia)

278564  (XD)     Score 93     $19.95
James Halliday of says ‘,Pretty much as the essence of McLaren Vale shiraz as you are likely to find at this price. Black and purple fruits, choc-mint notes, soft tannins, and some suggestion of oak. Still has years of improvement around the corner.’   Full-bodied & Smooth

CLOS DE LOS SIETE 2014 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

622571    (XD)  Score 93    $23.95

Tim Atkin, MW of says ‘  Every bit as good as the stellar 2009,
this is an outstanding release from Michel Rolland’s Vista Flores project. Combining Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a dash of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it’s nuanced, refreshing and harmonious, with subtle oak integration, very fine tannins and bright, aromatic fruit. Drink Date: 2017-24.’  Full-bodied & Smooth

SCHUG PINOT NOIR 2015 (Sonoma Coast, California, USA)

577221   (XD)   Score 93    $31.95
James Suckling of says ‘Plenty of blue fruits and flower
character here with medium body, dense and integrated tannins. Very complex. Fantastic value. Drink or hold.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

KADABRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016(Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)
568873   (XD)    Score    92    $15.95

James Suckling, james describes ‘A  juicy and rich wine with round and juicy tannins. Currant and blackberry character. Chocolate undertones. Medium to full body. Drink now or hold.’ Full-bodied & Firm


286344   (XD)   Score   92       $20.95

Joe Czerwinski of  says ‘ A terrific effort, the 2016 Cotes
du Rhone Villages Sainte-Cecile Cuvee Philippine is a blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 10% Carignan. Picked at yields resembling those of
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (35 hectoliters per hectare), this full-bodied, opulent wine equals some of its more famous brethren. Exhilarating black cherry fruit
cascades across the palate, bringing with it hints  serene, silky finish. It should drink well for at least 5-6 years. Drink Date: 2017-2023’.
Full-bodied & Smooth


674572 (XD)   Score 92     $25.95

Tim Matthews of describes ‘Silky and polished, this red is
graceful and lively, with cherry, raspberry and orange peel flavors mingling with clove, toast and mineral notes. Lively and energetic, showing purity and
balance. Drink now through 2027. Smart Buys.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity


LUIS CAÑAS CRIANZA 2015 (DOCa Rioja, Spain)

336719  (XD)   Score: 91+   $18.95

Luis Gutiérrez of  says ‘The young and creamy 2015 Crianza
is mostly Tempranillo with 5% Garnacha, matured in French and American oak barrels for 12 to 14 months. It’s ripe with moderate acidity and lactic aromas
intermixed with cherries and vanilla. The palate is soft with juicy fruit and lush tannins. A crowd-pleaser and a great vintage. Great value too. Drink Date: 2018-2021.’   Full-bodied & Smooth


398933     (XD)  Score 90   $16.95
James Suckling of describes ‘Some ripe blackberry and brambly raspberry leaf nuances here. This syrah delivers a peppermint-laced blackberry palate, and smooth and easy tannins. Drink now.’ Full-bodied & Smooth

LEANING POST PINOT NOIR 2015 (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

523183  (XD)      Score 90    $29.95

Michael Godel of says ‘ Ilya Senchuk’s small lot (220 case)
2015 pinot noir is actually a new wine set to be released this spring. It’s a blend of fruit drawn from both McNally and Lowrey vineyards, two exceptional
cru that have been the focus of previous Leaning Post single-vineyard pinot noir. The most notable difference here is how all the tension and vaporous
tones melt away to create this fluid, fleecy and ductile wine … It is here that the house style reads as a lithe Peninsula pinot noir manifesto with clarity and
transparency to set up and introduce the estate’s next vintage, recently planted young vine pinot noir. Drink 2018-2021.’   Medium-bodied & Fruity

MORAINE PINOT NOIR 2016 (BC VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada)

393827 (XD)    Score 90    $31.95

Anthony Gismondi of  says ‘ … The single-site, clone 777 pinot is juicy and bright. It seems to float out of the glass on a bed of black cherry fruit, dried herbs, and earthy forest floor. Cool, delicate, persistent, balanced and delicious; this is real wine with a genuine pinot ethos
and finesse at a mere 13.3 percent alcohol. A bit of ageing will add that final note of complexity to take it to another level. Impressive. It’s 100 percent
oak-aged for 19 months but only 25 percent of the barriques are new. ‘
Medium-bodied & Fruity

THUNEVIN-CALVET CUVÉE CONSTANCE 2015(AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France)

168690 (D)   Score    91       $18.95

Jeb Dunnuck of says’The entry-level red from this estate
is the 2015 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Cuvee Constance, and it’s a beauty to buy by the case. Black raspberry, cassis, pepper and wood smoke all emerge from this total charmer that has ample fruit and texture, and a great finish. The blend is 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 20% Carignan aged all in concrete tanks. Drink Date: 2017-2020′. Medium-bodied & Fruity

16 MILE CELLAR REBEL PINOT NOIR 2014 (Unfiltered, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

520783(XD    Score 4 1/2 stars/5   $22.95

André Proulx, says ‘ … ripe fruit and earth … nice acidity …
ripe cherry with some violet … nice weight and texture – the floral note from the nose moves to centre stage and is joined with a subtle vanilla note … The tannin is smooth and this wine is dangerously easy to drink. There is some cellaring potential here if you have more patience or restraint than I, you can keep some bottles around for 3-6 years.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity


557173  (XD)    Score 90     $16.95

Josh Raynolds of says ‘Brilliant ruby. A highly fragrant bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, and floral pastille and succulent herb nuances build in the glass. In a suave, fruit-driven style, offering juicy black raspberry and boysenberry flavors given spine by tangy acidity. Finishes sappy and precise, displaying persistent lavender and allspice notes and just a hint of
fine-grained tannins. Drinking window: 2018-2022.’ Light-bodied & Fruity


451336  (XD)   Score 90    $19.95

Natalie MacLean of  nataliemaclean.comdescribes ‘Enticing aromas of cedar, blackberry and smoke on the nose. Beautifully balanced and well structured
Californian Cabernet. Juicy and mouthwatering with seductive aromas of cassis and fleshy blackberry. Pair with a rare steak.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity




047118    (XD)   Score 92   $29.95

Bruce Sanderson of  wine says ‘Smoky aromas introduce this
succulent red, with flavors of black cherry, leather, earth and tar that show concentration and play off the vibrant structure. Drink now through 2028.
Smart Buys’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

(IGT Toscana, Italy)

068510  (XD)   Score 91   $15.95

James Suckling of describes ‘A fresh and clean wine for the vintage with dark berry, orange peel and light walnut aromas and flavors. Medium body, fine tannins. Drink now.’   Medium-bodied & Fruity

Cellar Suggestions

CHÂTEAU BEL AIR 2011 (Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc, France)

416172   (D)  Score 92   $27.95
Gold Medal winner at the 2014 Concours de Bordeaux.

Roger Voss of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘In this rich, full wine, impressive
fruits and structure work together. It feels weighty, concentrated and tannic while also having layers of juicy ripe black currant fruits. Give this solid wine
several years and don’t drink before 2018. Editors’ Choice’
Full-bodied & Firm

BABU RESERVA 2016 (Fiuza, Portugal)

617175  (XD)    Score 90       $13.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says ‘This firm and generous blend of
Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet is powerful, with great black fruits and layers of firm tannins. Its structure and concentration are made for aging.
Drink this wine from 2020’  Full-bodied & Firm

HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2017 (VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada)

557165     (XD)  $19.95

Vintage Panel notes:  ‘This is sourced exclusively from Pelham’s older vines, which date to over 30 years of age. Floral and vibrant, this Riesling offers excellent concentration of lime, white peach and apple, with a dash of tropical fruit and mineral oil adding complexity. Perfect balance and a nicely articulated minerality seal the deal here. Enjoy with grilled pork chops, turkey dinner or fish, or cellar it and follow its evolution for another 5-7 years. ‘
Aromatic & Flavourful

29838    (XD)       $34.95

Vintages panel notes: This wine was wild-yeast fermented, then matured in French oak. It’s toasty and vanilla tinged with complex suggestions of hayloft, forest, roasted nuts, yellow apple, pear, pineapple and peach. The mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy. Savour through 2025 with pork chops and new potatoes.
Full-bodied & Rich

Good Bets


XAVIER VENTOUX 2016 (AP Rhone, France)

413211  (D) $15.95

Vintages panel notes:  The Ventoux appellation sits in the southeastern section of the Rhône wine region of France, along the lower slopes of the Ventoux Mountain and at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains, and is known for red wines showing spicy black fruit. This one doesn’t disappoint, brimming as it is with dark berry fruit and spiced plum. Pour with pork sausages.’
Full-bodied & Smooth

Sur lie, (AP Loire, France)

948182      (XD)     $17.95
Vintages panel notes:  This perennially charming wine has earned a special
place in the hearts of Vintages customers who admire its notes of floral blossoms, citrus, crunchy apple and marine stones. The classic pairing for
Muscadet is mussels, which would work wonderfully here. Served chilled, it will also go nicely with a salad of grilled fiddleheads and artichokes.; Light & Crisp

CAVE SPRING ESTATE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2015 ( VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada)

302059  (D) $18.95

Vintages panel notes: This is sourced from stony soils with clay loam and rich limestone over shale and sandstone. It delivers crisp notes of apple, lychee, peach and spice with that great Gewürztraminer rosewater note. Excellent texture and vibrancy. Always a top-notch example from one of Ontario’s best producers.’  Aromatic & Flavourful

AC Bourgogne, France)

556373  (XD) $22.95
Vintage Panel notes: Here’s a great value in Chardonnay from Burgundy. Aromas of applesauce, lemon curd and peach set the stage for a bright, sleek, delicately creamy wine packed with flavours of yellow apple ripe peach and lemon zest. Pair with pork pot pie or lemon chicken.’ Light & Crisp


650440  375 mL (S) $11.95

‘Moscato d’Asti is a sweet, lightly fizzy wine traditionally enjoyed chilled as an aperitif, with creamy cheeses or other appetizers, or alongside fresh fruit at dessert. According to winemaker Stefano Chiarlo, the 2017 vintage in Asti was “characterized by a long, dry summer where precipitation was scarce … Nivole from this vintage is rich in aromas and taste with a moderate acidity, maintaining its renowned freshness and elegance.” (
Aromatic & Flavourful




719294     (XD) $21.95
Vintages panel notes:  Tedeschi makes this Ripasso with complexity in  mind, which is why they blend Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes with the rare Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara and Dindarella varieties. This wine spent six months in Slavonian oak barrels and a further six months in bottle before release. Expect layer upon layer of fresh and dried cherry, plum and
spices, and pair the wine with pancetta risotto.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

(AC Burgundy, France)

299859  (XD) $22.95
Vintages panel notes:  ‘ This is a wine that, year in and year out, successfully
delivers a definitively Burgundian experience at a tremendous price. As an introduction to the wines of Burgundy, this is a rock-solid starting point and very hard to beat. For fans of the region, it will deliver the elegance and refinement of Burgundy with the requisite cherry, beet and earth tones. A fine choice for beef stew.’ Medium-bodied & Fruity

ELK COVE PINOT GRIS 2017 (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)

955906    (XD) $26.95
Vintages panel notes:   Pinot Gris is one of Oregon’s great gifts to wine
lovers and is a focus for Elk Cove. The estate has vines dating to 1985 – among the oldest in Oregon. This one is hand-harvested from hillside vineyards situated in the north of the Willamette Valley. You can
expect a long, balanced wine with juicy melon, pear, apple, tangerine and a refined minerality. It will be great with scallops.’ Aromatic & Flavourful


(AC Burgundy, France)

681056    (XD) $30.95

The natural rock formation that surrounds Pouilly Fuissé creates an almost perfect suntrap that helps the grapes to ripen, giving more fullness and intensity to the wine. Wines from this appellation are popular in Parisian bistros and cafés and pair beautifully with a wide range of foods. The producer suggests pairing this one with sausages, shellfish, quiche, or grilled chicken or pork.’  Full-bodied & Rich


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