LCBO Vintages release – April 2, 2011

The main feature of this week’s Vintages release is wines of Burgundy.

Some wines from South Africa are also featured in this week’s catalogue but nothing in the South Africa selection made my value list.

The following wines are the best values wines in this week’s release…

Germany, Mosel – QmP Ürziger Würzgarten Dr. Hermann Riesling Spätlese 2006

I have recently taught a couple of classes on German Rieslings and my students seem to be catching on to the elegance and diversity of these wines.  This is one I would have loved to have had earlier this week to demonstrate the blissful charms of Mosel Spätlese: full of life, balanced sugar and acid, complex citrus fruit flavours, honey, a slight grassy character, spice and stony minerals. The mouth feel is full but not unctuous. The finish is long and delicate.  There’s a lot going on with this wine!

Medium, white wine – $22.95 per bottle

France, Burgundy – AOC Chablis 1er Cru Alain Geoffroy Beauroy 2008

I have recommended this wine from earlier vintages and it keeps coming back.  Very reliable is Alain Geoffroy! This is a lean wine, what you would expect from this appellation, with plenty of acid, flinty minerals, citrus fruit – lemon and grapefruit – spice, and a reasonably long finish.  Wonderful structure and complexity for the price.

Extra dry, white wine – $24.95 per bottle (Feature wine)

France, Burgundy– AOC  Pouilly-Fuissé Château-Fuissé Tête de Cru 2008

This maker was once a regular in early Classics catalogue days when Lloyd Evans scoured the back roads of France for discoveries to bring back to Vintages HQ.  Well, Lloyd is no more and Vintages has never been the same since he left (but he’s not completely gone: he was at the Burgundy event with some beautiful lesser-appellation wines from his agency portfolio).  I still have some of this wines from late 1900’s vintages in my cellar and they are drinking better than ever, now. The 2008 is a big wine with a lot of citrus and tree fruits, nuts, smoke, spices and toffee on the nose and palate.  This is a wine to demonstrate there’s more to Burgundy than Chablis and the Côte d’Or!

Dry, white wine- $29.95 per bottle (Feature wine)

France, Burgundy – AOC Côtes de Nuit-Villages Domaine Gille 2008

Here we have a classic Old World Pinot Noir at a New World price.  This is an intense wine with a nose rich with aromas of red cherry, raspberry and newly-tilled wet earth.  The palate is juicy with lean tannins and a medium body.  Flavours of ripe apple, red cherry, raspberry, light smoke and spice dominate the palate.  The finish is long.  Give this wine two years in your cellar and enjoy for the following 5 – 7 years. This wine is a stunning value.  It punches above its weight and will sell out quickly on Saturday morning

Dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle (Feature wine)

Italy, Puglia – DOC Castel del Monte Rivera Cappellaccio Riserva Aglianico 2005

Apulian wines don’t usually make the grade on my lists: too much ripe fruit, not enough structure. This wine is an exception and thus it makes this week’s short list. It is rustic with a savoury, earthy nose.  Ripe, black fruit aromas are followed by a complex, concentrated and full-bodied palate: black cherry, smoke, herbs, smoked meat and fruit compote.  The tannins are lean and the acids are juicy – this will be an excellent wine for a veal roast dinner next winter.  Exceptional value and structure for the price.

Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 per bottle

Two wines that didn’t make the short list should also be considered:  Australia, McLaren Vale – Pirramimma Petit Verdot 2006 (Extra dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle) and Umbria, Italy – DOC Rosso Conero Umani Ronchi San Lorenzo 2007 (Extra dry, red wine – $15.95 per bottle)

Because there were many Burgundy wines in this release that fall outside the price/quality boundaries I generally try to stay within, I will start this week with a new category: Collectors Item – note use of the singular: Item.

The purpose of this category is to acknowledge collectors among my readership who may wish to spend some extra money as they build their cellar.  I will periodically select worthy wines that collectors should seek out.  Herewith, the first…

Collectors Item

France, Burgundy –AOC Puligny-Montrachet Les Chalumeaux 1er Cru Château de Puligny-Montrachet 2007

Well-structured with intense ripe apple, earth, custard, lemon, light toast and honey notes on the nose and palate.  It is full-bodied, elegant and displays taut minerality.  The finish is long.  This is a wine to place in your cellar and let it grow up for the next 4 or 5 years.  It will deliver pleasure after that for at least another 5 to 7 years.

Extra dry, white wine – $84.95 per bottle

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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