Wine Picks LCBO Vintages Release Sept 15, 2018

The September 15th LCBO Vintages Release features a number of good value sparklings  so now is the time to stock up for the holidays. This release also features some highly rated Pinot Gris  including a Grand Cru from Alsace and an excellent example from Ontario.   

As I keep telling you – every release now through December tends to feature higher and higher priced wines which don’t necessarily mean better value!  So  think ahead to your holiday party needs!

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.


13TH STREET PREMIER CUVÉE 2012  Traditional method (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada)

142679    (D)      Score: 95    $34.95

This Ontario sparkling is scoring 90-95 depending on the critic. A sparkling we can be proud of nonetheless!
Decanter World Wine Awards  2018 Notes : ‘50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. A rich and leesy nose with hints of caramelised apple. The palate is elegantly crisp showing grapefruit, citrus and elements of salt.  Medium-bodied & Flavourful

DOMAINE LUQUET CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE  (Traditional method, AP, Burgundy, France)

957894 (D)  Score: 91  $24.95

Beppi Crosariol of the Globe and Mail  says ‘The best sparkling wines are made according to the Champagne method, by adding yeast and sugar to still wine and allowing it to referment in bottle under pressure to generate fine bubbles. That’s the process used in this affordable “crémant,” the French term for quality bubblies that come from outside the Champagne region. It’s
100-per-cent chardonnay, also a key grape of Champagne. Bone-dry, it smells wonderfully of fresh-baked bread and displays a creamy texture that carries flavours suggestive of lemon curd on toasted baguette.  Medium-bodied & Flavourful

GRAHAM BECK MÉTHODE CAP CLASSIQUE BRUT ROSÉ Traditional method (WO Western Cape, South Africa) 

175588  (D)  Score 90    $19.95

(Platter’s South African Wine Guide, 2018 notes ‘Svelte NV from pinot noir (54%) & chardonnay packed with berry fruit, creamy mousse from year+ on lees lifted by zesty citrus, softened by a dash more sugar than vintage-dated sibling.’ Medium-bodied & Flavourful

JOSEPH CATTIN BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT D’ALSACE Traditional method (AC, Alsace, France)

264572   (XD)  Score  90    $18.95

Beppi Crosariol of The Globe and Mail  says’The colour is pale salmon, like a sexy Provençal still rosé. The wine hails from farther north, though, in Alsace. Light bodied, with suggestions of sweet strawberries and raspberries freshened up by tart green apples and zesty lemon.’ Medium-bodied & Flavourful


White Wines

Arthur Metz Steinklotz Pinot Gris 2013

557819 (Off-Dry)  Score 92   $24.95

Grand Cru alert! Here is a chance to try an an outstanding example of Pinot Gris without breaking the bank!

Vintage Panel notes: ‘First mentioned by Gregory of Tours in 589, the Steinklotz Grand Cru is among the oldest recorded (vineyard sites in Alsace. This Pinot Gris is highly aromatic, with impressive honey, apricot, apple, pear, mineral and spice tones. Big and complex with excellent weight and presence. Off-dry, but so balanced it teases dry. Enjoy this with spiced grilled pork.’  Aromatic and Flavourful

VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada)

469445 (XD) Score 92  $22.95

Vic Harradine says ‘ … a luscious balanced and beautiful gusher of racy lemon curd and pineapple interwoven with tingly spice on the palate and a dry, lip-smacking finish. This is medium weight and unoaked with plenty of creamy-smooth mouthfeel and mouth-watering, mineral-laced aftertaste; it’s crisp, clean and refreshing. Pour with prawn ceviche or mussels steamed in white wine and leeks.’ Aromatic & Flavourful


983395  (D) N/R   $18.95

Vintage Panel notes: ‘This is typically a rich, robust style of Pinot Gris that bears virtually no resemblance to the less textured and weighty versions from Italy. You will find this to be smooth, generous, intensely flavoured and dry – though nudging the edge of off-dry. Elegant, vibrant and fresh with a wonderfully textured mouth-feel, it will be a great pairing for grilled shrimp with a mildly spiced dipping sauce.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

Red Wines


702761 (XD)  Score: 93    $24.95

Thomas Matthews of says’Black cherry, currant and floral notes are expressive and alluring, balanced by loamy earth, tobacco and mineral elements that add a savory quality. Firm, well-integrated tannins give
support to the polished texture, while orange peel acidity fuels the fresh finish. Drink now through 2027. Smart Buys. Ranked #19 in Wine Spectator’s
Top 100 list for 2017.’ Full-bodied & Firm

DONA PAULA 1350 RED TERROIR BLEND 2015 (Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina)

568956  (XD)  Score    91  $22.95

Vintages panel notes: The 1350 in the name refers to the altitude at which these grapes are grown. This Cab Franc/Malbec blend includes a dash of Casavecchia. Virtually unheard of outside its native Campania (where it’s still extremely rare), Casavecchia is an aromatic variety that introduces notes of dried herbs, black fruit, leather, earth and tannin to wines. This red blend has a great floral component, superb depth and complexity and suggestions of cherry, mulberry, plum, smoke and vanilla. It’s easy-drinking, with just the right tautness to the tannins. Try it with grilled lamb or pepper steak.’ Full-bodied & Firm


485474   (XD)    Score 91    $19.95

Tim Atkin, MW, of, Chile Special Report 2018 says ‘This attractive varietal Cabernet comes from the granite soils of the Trinidad Vineyard in the coastal part of the Maipo Valley. Polished, youthful and aromatic, it has notes of mint, cedarwood and dried herbs. Drink Date: 2019-2025.’ Full-bodied & Smooth


462077 (XD)  Score 90     $29.95

Luis Gutiérrez of says’  The 2014 Marge is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 40% between Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and 10% Cariñena from their vineyards in Porrera fermented in stainless steel (including malolactic) and matured in 50/50 American and French oak barrels for one year. It showed good freshness and fruit-forward aromas of ripe berries with moderate influence from the oak. The palate revealed ripe flavors and a fine texture provided by the tannins. Quite approachable within the house style. Drink Date: 2016-2019′ Full-bodied & Smooth

574608 (XD)           Score 90+          $18.95

Luis Gutiérrez of says ‘I liked the rustic character of the
2016 Viñademoya, which is an old vine cuvée of a Mencía-based field blend that also includes small percentages of Garnacha Tintorera and even some
white vines, such as Doña Blanca and Palomino. The nose had a mixture of peat, graphite, soil, ripe black fruit and smoke, with some flowers, too.
The palate is medium to full-bodied with some dusty tannins and good overall balance. Drink Date: 2017-2020. ‘ Medium-bodied & Fruity

Cellar Suggestions

HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2016 (VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada)

183491 (D)  Score: 91    $24.95

John Szabo, MS, says ‘Tightly wound, pure and driving, with terrific acids sharp and tart, and loads of mid-palate density. Length is very good to excellent. Dusty-talcy texture with real grip. A superb estate riesling here from Hidden Bench, best after 2019.’ Aromatic & Flavourful

2016  (AP Languedoc, France)

568444  (XD)  Score 89-91   $18.95

Jeb Dunnuck of says ‘ … a textbook red from this region and estate. Made from 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache and 30% Syrah, aged in tanks, it gives up loads of ripe black raspberry and blackberry fruits, peppery herbs and garrigue to go with a mouth-filling, sexy, downright textured style on the palate. Buy a case and enjoy over the coming 3-4 years (I’m sure it will keep longer as well).’  Full-bodied & Smooth


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