LCBO Vintages release – April 14, 2012

This weekend’s Vintages release features wines from Argentina as a lead up to Malbec World Day next Tuesday, April 17.

Give me a break. Is this the next thing in marketing?  Will each grape variety soon have its own day just as the Holy Saints now do?  I can hardly wait.

Wines of Argentina is the global marketing organization for the wines of that country and I know first-hand they are putting on a major sales push worldwide to support continued double-digit year-over-year growth in exports. Exports are need to support an important industry in a country where domestic consumption of wine has been in free-fall for the past 3o years (per capita consumption of Argentinean wine

When you are known for fine wines across all price points made with a distinctive grape, Malbec, you will do everything to further strengthen your brand.  This sometimes means things like claiming a day for your grape, ahead of the Sauvignon Blanc growers in New Zealand or the Cabernet Sauvignon growers in Chile.

So, let’s celebrate Malbec Day this coming week.

For the first time in a while most of my recommendations come in at prices just under $20.00, with a largely New-World character to my selections.  Enjoy!

Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley – Tyrrell’s Brookdale Semillon 2011

Tyrrell’s is a family operation located in the Lower Hunter Valley.  Best known for its diverse portfolio of single-vineyard Semillons this maker has been in operation since the late 1850’s. Consider Brookdale to be an entry-level wine Semillon but don’t let that dissuade you from buying a bottle or two of this eminently age-able beauty. The wine is closed presently but shows a complex nose and palate of citrus, herbs, honey and melon.  This wine was matured in stainless tanks so it has only fruit, no wood. There is bright acidity on a medium-bodied frame.  As is typical of Hunter Valley Semillon the alcohol is low at 11%.  Buy and put in the cellar for the next 5-7 years.  You will be rewarded for your patience, trust me.

Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 per bottle

 California, Los Carneros – Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay 2008

This is one of my favorite recommendations from releases past – at a price notably lower from the last time offered – and it continues to show the best that the cool zone of Los Carneros can deliver. The palate is rich with stone fruit and citrus flavours, accompanied by a balanced toasty, vanilla, almond dimension. There is plenty of juicy acid making this a perfect wine to serve with grilled pork chops or a smoked turkey breast.

Extra dry, white wine – $23.95 per bottle

Argentina, Mendoza– Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

I like to drink out of the box and thus I select a Cabernet Sauvignon – not a Malbec -as my choice from the Argentina release this weekend. The Kaiken is stylish with cassis, spice, chocolate, cedar and mocha on the nose and palate.  The acid level is fairly high and the body is medium and supple.  This is not a big wine but refined and elegant until you reach a rather rustic finish.  Give the Kaiken a year or two in the bottle to reach its best drinking stage. By the way if you missed by vain attempt at a pun, this wine comes in a bottle, not a box.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

Portugal, Douro – DOC Douro Passadouro Vinho Tinto 2008

This is a concentrated, well-structured, balanced and nicely-evolved wine that shows how the Douro is maturing to become an important region for serious still table wines. This is a blend of indigenous grapes of the Douro with plenty of ripe blackberry, cherry and stewed plum fruit on the nose and palate. While the fruit in this wine is concentrated and intense, the texture is supple with solid tannins and bright acid.  The finish is long.  Serve with grilled red meats on the patio this summer.

Extra dry, red wine – $21.95 per bottle

South Africa, Coastal Region – WO Coastal Region Spier Creative Block 3 2008

Here we have northern Rhône-style blend of Syrah and Viognier with some Mourvèdre thrown into the mix for some backbone.  The aroma and flavor profile of this wine is complex with black fruit, savoury, herbal elements and toast – coffee and chocolate with a bit of charred wood –on the body and finish. The colour is deep ruby and the wine is full-bodied and intense.  The finish is long.  Serve with game or stews next winter and for the next 3 – 5 years.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

à bientôt…

Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2012.

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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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