LCBO Vintages release – February 19, 2011

This weekend was the occasion of another Vintages release – two weeks just flies by, doesn’t it?

The feature wines this weekend were made with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.  We also saw wines for Passover and gold medal winners made in Ontario.  It was quite a diverse selection of features but it was a little light on quality and value.  This fact, aside, there were some nuggets amongst the rubble and I give you my picks, below…

Despite my comment about this release being light on quality and value,  we still have a reasonably solid set of fine wines to choose from in this release, many of them good values.  As a result, once again I have my A-list selections and a short list of B – wines that almost equal the A’s for quality and value.

First the A’s…

British Columbia, Okanagan Valley – VQA Okanagan Valley Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Shiraz 2006

This is a single parcel wine from the Osoyoos Lake Bench with 12 months of oak aging on its resume. The colour is deep, brooding ruby and the nose has some wonderful elements of spice, black cherry and violet.  The palate is concentrated and balanced with juicy fruit, medium acid and dry, dusty tannins.  Flavours of black cherry, stewed plum and vanilla dominate.  Match with a beef stew loaded with root vegetables.  I’m pleased to report his wine is priced by Vintages at $2.00 less than its BC price.

Extra dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle

Germany, Franken – QmP, Würzburger Innere Leiste Bürgerspital Silvaner Kabinett Trocken 2009

Here we have a correct Silvaner in every way – an intense floral, fruit-forward nose; a palate with  bright acid and ripe stone fruit; a long finish.  There are white flower, honey, ripe melon, lime and ginger notes on the nose and palate, a backbone of stony minerals and a very slight spritz. This wine is distinctive and memorable – a classic for the varietal. Look for the flagon-shaped bottle (known as a Bocksbeutel).  Very food-friendly, this wine.  Serve with charcuterie or grilled veal chop.

Dry, white wine – $18.95 per bottle

New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough – Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Spy Valley is a source of sound, well-made, value wines. This Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect example of the type. The nose and palate are intense and pungent: citrus, grass, gooseberry, white pepper – a great, complex combo.  The acid is crisp and juicy, the minerals are sleek and the finish is long and clean.  This is a very good wine for summer barbecue planning, at a very good price.

Extra dry, white wine- $15.95 per bottle

Italy, Tuscany – IGT Toscana Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni 2008

The only feature wine on my A-list, this is a concentrated blend of Bordeaux grapes with a small portion of Sangiovese.  The colour is deep ruby, the nose has red cherry, herb and plum.  The palate is medium-bodied with flavours of plum, black currant and leather.  The mouth feel is juicy with medium acidity, and grainy, concentrated tannins.  This is a well-structured wine which will accompany grilled red meats to a “T”. Excellent value.

Extra dry, red wine – $21.95 per bottle (Cabernet Sauvignon feature wine)

California, Carneros – Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs 2005

This wine is a cool-climate stunner and is the first run-don’t–walk wine in a long while. I don’t know where to start so I’ll just throw out words that describe the pleasure: concentrated, biscuit, medium-full weight, citrus, chalky minerals, creamy mousse, juicy, intense, long finish…you get the drift.  This is an exceptional value and is a buy-the-case selection.  Celebrate with this wine on its own or serve at special family meals.  It will go with anything.

Extra dry, sparkling white wine – $24.95 per bottle

This week’s B-list (almost A’s…):

Ontario, Prince Edward County – VQA Prince Edward County Rosehall Run Cuvée County Pinot Noir 2008

One of the better wineries in PEC, Rosehall Run makes some very fine Cuvée County wines.  This is a light P-N with a red fruit-forward nose and spice, cherry, cranberry and earth on the palate. Well-balanced and elegant.  Ontario feature wine (Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle.)

Austria, Lagnereserve – Leth Vineyards Steinagrund Grüner Veltliner 2009

Citrus, lemon and white flowers abound on the nose and palate. This is a delicate, spicy, juicy and peppery wine – all true to the expectations of any Gruvee fan. (Dry, white wine – $16.95 per bottle.)

France, Southern Rhône– AOC  Côtes du Rhône-Villages Rasteau Château Goudray Cuvée Excellence 2009

Rasteau is a reliable appellation for round fruit and herbal aroma and palate expression.  This one delivers, from an excellent vintage. I suggest cellaring for a year or two.  (Dry, red wine – $15.95 per bottle).

The next Vintages release will be out on March 5, 2011.  At that time wines from Argentina and Chile will be featured along with wines from northern Italy.  We’ll see you then.

à bientôt…

Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2011.

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Author: John Switzer

I am wine writer, educator and tour guide. From 2005 to June 2014 I published a bi-weekly newsletter, the Winesights Vintages Newsletter (WVN). This Newsletter was closed in July 2014 when the Government of Canada put in place the onerous administrative requirements of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. The legacy of WVN continues on this blog spot where I post wine-related articles as well as reviews of a small selection of best-value wines from each bi-weekly LCBO Vintages release. I hold the WSET Diploma, I am a WSET Certified Educator, I teach in the WSET program at the Independent Wine Education Guild in Toronto where I am the past Director of the WSET Diploma program. Since 2010 I have been a judge at Decanter World Wine Awards on the Rhône panel and I am a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

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