LCBO Vintages release – July 23, 2011

This week’s release features 22 Italian wines made from indigenous grapes grown in a cross section of Italy’s wine regions.  Many of these grapes have emerged from obscurity in recent years: Primitivo, Aglianico and Nero d’Avola are examples; while others are still to be discovered widely, Greco Bianco and Arneis are good examples in this release. Some good values will be found in the Italian selection, making this release an excellent opportunity to explore Italy outside the safe and popular wine zones.

There are nine wines in the release featured from the wines to be presented at the Cool-Climate Chardonnay event this weekend and a small selection of wines from the Twenty Mile Bench VQA zone in Niagara round out the features.

If this seems like a wide selection of features, it is.  In fact this is a big release, with some 130 wines offered.

Despite the large size of this release it was surprisingly hard to come up with a set of value recommendations that met the WVN quality test. Nonetheless I persisted and the result is a selection dominated by whites, all of which will be excellent food wines. These will help us as we seek cool comfort from the intense heat we are currently experiencing.

Ontario, Niagara   – VQA Four Mile Creek Coyote’s Run Black Paw Chardonnay 2009

Coyote’s Run is a winery which is blessed with a unique glacial lake bed terroir and an experienced and talented winemaker, David Sheppard.  For a newish winery (2003) the wines of Coyote’s Run have performed above their weight in competitions.  The wine list is wide and attractively priced, especially considering the consistent quality. Befitting its cool-climate origins this wine shows delightful citrus aromas and flavours with light oak and toast adding structure and complexity. This will be a great match for roasted white meats.

Extra dry, white wine – $21.95 per bottle (Cool-climate Chardonnay feature wine)

Italy, Campania – DOCG Greco di Tufo Terredora Loggia della Serra 2009

This wine is made with the Greco Bianco grape, a grape which some believe originated in Greece.  Greco Bianco is known for is spice, intense floral aromatics, a complex salad of ripe tree fruit and tropical fruit and medium-term ageing potential. The Terradora Greco di Tufo delivers in all departments.  If you enjoy wines made with the Viognier grape, then I suggest you try this wine as an alternate.  Serve with grilled Mediterranean fish.

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle (Italy feature wine)

 Italy, Südtirol – Alto Adige – DOC Südtirol – Alto Adige Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2010

Pinot Grigio is the most widely-planted white grape in this northern-most, high-altitude region of Italy.  This is a fine example of well-made cool-zone Pinot Grigio: light floral nose, intense apple and citrus on the palate, zesty acid and a sleek mouth feel, a long and crisp finish. This is a versatile wine – serve as an aperitif or with food. It is a very fine value and will sell quickly.

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle (Italy feature wine)

 Austria, Südsteiermark, – Sattlerhof Sterische Klassik Morillon 2009

If you are not familiar with the wines of southern Austria you will not be aware that Morillon is the local name in Styria for the noble grape, Chardonnay.  Wines from this small zone, on the border with Slovakia, are known for their precision and delicate character.  This wine is a pale straw colour in the glass.  It has a slight leesy character on a nose that is otherwise dominated by aromas of apple, melon and lemon.  The medium-bodied palate shows regional correctness with bright acidity, pure citrus fruit expression (no wood ageing here), and delicate minerals.  The finish is long and clean.  This is a very elegant wine that will match well with grilled shellfish.

Extra dry, white wine – $22.95 per bottle (Cool-Climate Chardonnay feature wine)

 Chile, Limari Valley – Tabalí Reserva Especial Syrah 2008

This wine comes from the northernmost wine area in Chile, a zone that is cool due to the influence of ocean breezes. It shows its cooler climate pedigree in its elegance and exceptional structure.  The nose and palate have lots of black fruit, accompanied by the black pepper and the smoked meat character of old world Syrah.  This is a complex wine with a refined mouth feel, even though it has good heft. Juicy acid and still-edgy tannins make this a wine that should be cellared for a few years to allow it to grow up. Serve with roasted rack of lamb.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 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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