LCBO Vintages release – February 18, 2012

There is yet another Vintages release this Saturday.

This release has several features: 22 customer favourites are included in the Popular Front feature; a handful of wines from the New- and Old World have been selected for a Taste of Terroir feature, and several wines certified Kosher are offered for Passover.

My list of recommendations is shorter than normal: there simply weren’t enough value wines for me to recommend.  The wines that did make the list warrant your consideration.

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Niagara Peninsula Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay 2009

The Sketches range is a value offering in the growing portfolio now offered by Tawse and this particular cuvée won a Gold medal at the 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. This wine is well-balanced with judicious use of older barrels ensuring that fruit expression dominates. What this wine lacks in concentration it makes up with wonderful complexity on both nose and palate.  It has a keen taut mouth feel, lots of delicate tree and stone fruit, crisp acid and stony minerals with light oak for character, not flavor.  The finish is long and clean. Buy a case and keep for spring and summer enjoyment.

Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 per bottle

Portugal, Sub-Região Monção e Melgaço – DOC Varanda do Conde Alvarinho/Trajadura Vinho Verde 2010

Here we have a classic Vinho Verde, with bright acid, citrus fruit and a slight spritz on the side of the glass and on the palate. The nose and palate show lots of delicate lemon and lime, a slight floral character and a zesty mouth feel.  This wine will be a perfect match with calamari salad or grilled shrimp.  Excellent!

Extra dry, white wine – $13.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Gigondas Santa Duc Les Garancières 2009

Santa Duc is a small domaine owned by a Rhône original, Yves Gras, who has been making wines on this family estate since the mid-1980’s.  The wines are concentrated and made with no intervention from organically-grown fruit, reflecting the best the complex soils in this small appellation can deliver.  This wine is intense and concentrated, with ripe black fruit, herbes de provence on the nose, pepper spice and firm tannins.  The finish is long.  Serve with roasted game.

Extra dry, red wine – $27.95 per bottle

The Collector’s Item this week is a beauty:

California, Santa Cruz Mountains – Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Cabernet/Merlot 2007

The Santa Cruz Mountain AVA is located south of San Francisco, north of Monterey Bay.  While not as well-known as the Napa and Sonoma regions, this small region is the source of many fine wines from long-established makers such as Ridge. Ridge is one of the most consistent wineries in all of California and is well-regarded for its wines for both their concentration and restraint accompanied by modest levels of alcohol.  These characteristics are the result of challenging ripening conditions and careful winemaking, making for wines that are New World, but not Napa-like, in style.  This wine is a complex and profound wine – ripe black fruit, bright, juicy acid, sleek, finely-grained tannins and a very long finish.  This wine will evolve for the next 3 to 5 years and will drink well for another 3 to 5 years after that. Exceptional value.

Extra dry, red wine – $49.95 per bottle

à bientôt…

Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2012.


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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