Wine Picks LCBO Vintages Release Sept 1, 2018

The Sept 1 LCBO Vintages Release is a great chance to pick up some really good value wines.  There are a dozen in my picks that score 90+ for under $20.  Lots of good value cellar suggestions as well.

This is the time to stock up.   You may not be thinking about Christmas yet but in my experiences the releases in the fall building up to the holiday season feature  progressively more expensive wines.   Think ahead to your holiday entertaining and stock up now!

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.



(AC Provence, France)

119453 (XD)    Score 90  $22.95

This is crafted from Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault. Bandol rosés are  tremendously popular, and this is always a classic example of this complex style. Expect the region’s telltale spice, herb and earth tones to be artfully interwoven with suggestions of strawberry, peach, citrus and mineral. This will prove a superb option for grilled seafood such as salmon and will also shine alongside smoked ham. Medium-bodied & Dry


VOYAGER SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON 2016 (Margaret River, Western Australia)

570770 (XD)   Score: 94       $19.95
James Halliday of says ‘Estate-grown, night-harvested, matured for 2 months in oak … Right in the mainstream of Margaret River style, and of high quality. The fragrant bouquet has lemon myrtle and herb aromas, the long palate with perfect acidity to freshen the finish and after-taste. Drink By: 2020. Special Value.   Aromatic & Flavourful



577676 (XD)    Score 93  $22.95

This is getting high praise consistently from wine critics around the world.   Some are suggesting that it will also cellar nicely until after 2020.

Kerin O’Keefe of  Wine Enthusiast says ‘A few swirls of the glass release
this white’s heady stone fruit, Spanish broom and Mediterranean brush aromas. Mirroring the nose, the vibrant palate delivers green apple, lemon, tangerine and white peach flavors framed by crisp acidity. It has nice length and a hint of ginger that caps the finish. Ranked #60 on the 2017 Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 list.  Aromatic & Flavourful

FEATHERSTONE FOUR FEATHERS 2017 (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

341586 (D)      Score 91    $14.95

Natalie MacLean of describes ‘A lovely, medium-bodied Niagara white wine blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer,
Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Floral, aromatic and off-dry, this is a terrific aperitif or companion to fresh seafood. Finishes with apple blossom. Pair with medium curries and spices as well. Great price. Drink: 2018-2022.
Aromatic & Flavourful


548859 (XD)  Score 90   $13.95

This wine is being heralded as extrememly  good value…  score 90 for under $14!!

Roger Voss of  Wine Enthusiast  says’ With creamy Encruzado and perfumed Malvasia in the blend, this is a deliciously full-bodied wine. There is a smoky character as well as a creamy texture. The wine is young and fruity but ready to drink, although it will be better from 2018. Ranked #19 in the 2017 Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Best Buys.  Full-bodied & Rich


556555  (M)   N/R     $17.95

Vintages panel notes:  Chenin Blanc is one versatile grape, capable of producing high-quality wines across the sweetness spectrum. This one is medium sweet, with a light spice note adding a nicely layered complexity
with the fruit. The secret to Chenin Blanc’s multifaceted winemaking capability lies in its acidity, which here helps keep the sweetness from being excessive. Try this with a spicy crab dish.  Full-bodied & Rich



TRAPICHE MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

547869    (XD)  Score 95    $17.00

Decanter World Wine Awards, 2017 notes:  100% Malbec. Exuberant and youthful with notes of dark fruits and violets. Excellent structure with sophisticated tannins, fresh acidity and an attractive savoury complexity. Full and rounded finish. Very moreish. Full-bodied & Firm

YALUMBA THE STRAPPER GSM 2015 (Barossa Valley, South Australia)

295873 (XD)        Score 93      $19.95
Sam Kim of  says ‘The grenache influence is clear and attractive in this perfumed red filled with raspberries, dark plums, violet, cocoa and roasted nuts. It is juicy and silky with a flowing mouthfeel, backed by pristine fruit flavours and elegant spicy nuances. At its best:
now to 2021. ‘   Medium-bodied & Fruity

DUORUM TINTO 2015 (DOP Douro, Portugal)

215699   ( XD)      Score  92    $18.95

Decanter World Wine Awards notes : 40% Touriga Franca, 40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Roriz. Distinctive, intense aromas on nose of rich fruit, blueberry, damson and plum with vanilla notes. Great fruit concentration
on palate. Full-bodied & Firm


652313 (D)  Score   92      $19.95

Jeb Dunnuck of says ‘A smoking good 2015 that readers should snatch up is the 2015 Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee des Terrasses, which is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah that’s aged in a combination of twoto
four-year-old barrels and foudres. Medium to full-bodied, polished, silky and with no hard edges, it has classic Southern Rhone notes of Provencal spices, garrigue, licorice and ripe black raspberries. Buy a case and drink bottles over the coming 5-6 years.’  Medium-bodied & Fruity

LES DARONS 2015 (AP Languedoc, France)

448464 (XD)    Score  91-93   $16.95

Jeb Dunnuck of  says ‘What looks like another great
vintage here … 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Carignan; grapes were completely destemmed, and fermented and aged all in concrete tanks. It sees
absolutely no oak whatsoever. This medium to fullbodied, plump, rounded, downright sexy 2015 has lots of blueberry, violets, and jammy black cherry
aromas and flavors; it has terrific purity of fruit, good acidity and an overriding sense of elegance. If it came from a more prestigious appellation in the
southern Rhone, it would go for three times the price.’   Medium-bodied & Fruity

TARIMA HILL MONASTRELL 2015 Old vines  (DO Alicante, Spain)
310169   (XD)  Score 92    $23.95

Thomas Matthews of says ‘This red shows grace and depth. Black cherry, plum, mineral and smoke flavors mingle harmoniously over well-integrated tannins, while lively acidity keeps this focused. Not showy,
but all the pieces fit together. Balanced, in the modern style. Monastrell. Drink now through 2025. Smart Buys. Ranked #17 in the 2017 Wine
Spectator’s Top 100.’ Full-bodied & Smooth


357335     (XD)       Score 89-93     $19.95

Anthony Gismondi of says “… this rioja is beginning to show its stuff. Still a touch youthful with juicy rich red fruit with spicy, clean,
plummy flavours. The tannins are dense but light and the acidity keeps it fresh and helps to reveal a touch of minerality in the back end. A snappy mix of mostly tempranillo with bits of graciano, and garnacha. Drink now with lamb or pork or cellar for five years. Good value. Score: 89 points.”
Score: 93 (, 2017) Medium-bodied & Fruity


270272  (XD) $18.95

Vintage panel notes: You may recognize Cannonau by its French title: Grenache. Yes, that deliciously food-friendly grape that thrives in warm climates. This will be a big, impressively structured wine with generous fruit and tones of earth, leather and dried herbs. Give this a go with grilled lamb or veal. Medium-bodied & Fruity

BASTIDE SOBIRANA LIEU DIT LA COLOMINE 2015 (AP Côtes du Roussillon, France)
561217   (XD)   Score 91     $18.95

Jeb Dunnuck of says ‘: … crazy value … 50% Grenache,
30% Syrah and 20% Carignan … all in concrete tanks. Creamy, polished and sexy, with classy notes of violets, crushed berry fruits, licorice and toasted
spice, this straight up fruit bomb will put a smile on anyone’s face over the coming 2-3 years. Drink Date: 2016-2019. ‘ Medium-bodied & Fruity


Cellar Suggestions

PORTAL LBV PORT 2011 DOP (Porto, Portugal)

473041 (S)  Score 93   $32.95
Mark Squires of says ‘ … 35% Touriga Nacional, 35% Tinta
Roriz and 30% Touriga Franca, bottled in 2015. It comes in at 108 grams per liter of residual sugar … big fruit and big flavor and a nuanced finish with plums,
rhubarb and herbs. (It reminded me a bit of a recent Auru.) There’s a hint of a high-toned note, but it folds into the whole readily and disappears. The tannins are there, too, but well integrated. Add nice concentration in the mid-palate and this LBV is built to age and develop … It doesn’t have as much power and it is further along – but it will certainly be better in five years than it is today.

13TH STREET CABERNET/MERLOT 2016 (VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

056598 (D)    Score 93     $19.95

Dave Isaacs of says ‘ A blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon/
45% merlot, this is attractively priced. It’s still in its youth, as indicated by the purple edges on the otherwise opaque black plum colour and the perceptible,
almost fully integrated tannins. The nose is wonderfully complex with notes of tobacco, strawberry jam, toasted walnuts and nutmeg aromas. It’s full bodied
on the palate with juicy tang and flavours of blueberry, cherry, and spice. Keep in the cellar until 2024 or enjoy now with a medium-rare, grilled steak.’
Medium-bodied & Fruity


019042    (XD)   Score 92          $21.95

Tim Atkin, MW of says ‘ For my money, this is the best of the Casa Concha reds in 2016, picked before the heavy rains in the Quinta de Maipo vineyard. Liquorice, bramble and raspberry notes segue into a spicy,
nuanced finish. Drink Date: 2019-2023.’ Full-bodied & Firm

CHÂTEAU CAILLETEAU BERGERON PRESTIGE 2014 (AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Blaye, France)

550285 (XD)   Score   90   $21.95

Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast says  This wine from Blaye sister-brother
team of Marie-Pierre et Pierre-Charles Dartier is perfumed, ripe with black fruits and with a generous smooth texture. With the hint of tannin from the
wood aging and the black-plum fruits, it will be a rich, generous wine. Drink from 2018. Cellar Selection.’
Full-bodied & Firm


160671   (XD)   Score 89-91  $20.95

Anna Lee Iijima of  Wine Enthusiast Hints of honey and caramel lend warmth to this ripe, unusually robust kabinett. Voluptuous body and [v]aulting acidity augment its bold, expansive mouthfeel. A fringe of astringency lends some structure to the finish.’ Aromatic & Flavourful


403683(XD)      N/R        $16.95

Vintage panel notes:   Gérard Bertrand has virtually spearheaded the drive for terroir-based expressions from the South of France. The wines of Fitou are typically excellent value, generous and robust with spice and clove tones
mixed in with the fruit. They can age well and often need 3+ years after vintage to show their very best. Full-bodied & Smooth

The Sept 1 LCBO Vintages Release is a great chance to pick up some really good value wines.  There are a dozen in my picks that score 90+ for under $20.  Lots of good value cellar suggestions as well.

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