Wines from Tuscany are featured this weekend at Vintages outlets.
Italy – and more specifically, Tuscany – is a favourite for LCBO Vintages buyers. Wines from this part of the world are very attractive – food friendly, full of flavour and structure and popular across all consumer segments. They sell well.
This said, the selection of wines is not particularly interesting for the value seeker and only one feature makes my list.
Ontario, Niagara – VQA Niagara Peninsula Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2013
This local Riesling has become established as an approachable, correct, go-to wine for many consumers who in the past might have avoided Riesling wines. Why is this? It has enough residual sugar to balance the otherwise too taut acid and deliver an appealing fruit-forward, high-value wine. Look for bright citrus and green apple fruit and a light flinty mineral backbone. The acid is bright and juicy, making this wine a great match for roast pork or chicken.
Medium-dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle
Australia, Victoria– M. Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda White 2013
Here we have another fine Old World-style wine from one of the most reliable cool zones in Australia. This is a blend of Rhône varieties – Viognier and a small proportion of Marsanne – with no wood exposure during fermentation or maturation. The result is an aromatic beauty with intense fruit expression on the nose and palate, dominated by ripe peach and lemon. This is not a complex wine but it has sound structure and weight: it hankers for a grilled, bone-in pork chop.
Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 per bottle
Australia, South Australia – Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2011
Call this a baby Grange if you wish. This is a big Shiraz with plenty of concentrated black fruit, hefty weight and elevated alcohol – all in fine balance. For readers who don’t appreciate the ripe, sweet, flabby Shiraz of many entry-level labels your will find in this bottle a finely-made wine with character and complexity (the fruit is sourced across several zones of South Australia, warm and cool, both). The fruit shows early signs of development, including savoury notes, modest leather and cocoa. This wine can be enjoyed now but will be at its best after another 7 – 10 years in the cellar.
Extra dry, red wine – $34.95 per bottle
France, Midi– AOP Côtes du Roussillon Villages Domaine Lafage Château Saint-Roch Chimères 2012
As long as the cold winter weather continues we will need comfort wines such as this. This is a classic Midi blend (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan) with plenty of ripe fruit, bright, juicy acid and soft tannins. Fresh and bright this is an approachable wine with sound balance and a long finish. Match with a beef stew, chili or my favourite south of France comfort food, cassoulet. For my cassoulet recipe see my TWR posting of September 11, 2011.
Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 per bottle
Italy, Tuscany – DOCG Chianti Classico Castelli dei Grevepasa Panzano Chianti Classico 2008
This is an excellent demonstration of classic Classico. It has bright red cherry fruit, flaky/dusty tannins, crisp and taut acid, modest weight and a long finish. There are signs of early development but there is still some time to go before the tannins soften and this wine peaks.
Extra dry, red wine – $23.95 per bottle (Tuscan Renaissance feature wine)
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