LCBO Vintages release – May 2, 2015 (WVN 215)

I write this week from London where I am participating in the annual Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) as a member of the Rhône panel.

There is one worthy value wine from the Rhône on this week’s value list, a wine I don’t believe we have seen this week (so far we have judged no AOC Côtes du Rhône whites …).

The world of wine seems to be buoyant if DWWA is an indicator: we have some 240 judges present this week, covering over 16,000 wines from all over the world.

More on DWWA when the results are made public this summer.

New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough – Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Te Whare Ra (TWR) is a small family operation, committed to biodynamic viticulture (to the point TWR is fully integrated with animals to contribute to the biodynamic preparations). Fruit is grown on one of the older plots in Marlborough and TWR now makes estate wines since the second generation of the Flowerday family decided to make wine from its own fruit. TWR specializes in low intervention wines that display exceptional fruit and aromatics. This Sauvignon Blanc is not your usual Marlborough S-B: it has brilliant citrus fruit, modest grassy herbaceousness, stone fruit and flinty minerals. It is bone dry and brightly acidic. Taut and bright, this is a beauty.

Extra dry, white wine – $24.95 per bottle

Germany, Mosel– Qualitatswein Markus Molitor Haus Klosterberg Riesling 2013

This is an intense, distinctive Riesling from a highly-regarded, independently-minded maker. It has bright citrus character: lemon and lime. Along with the citrus fruit you will find, honey, green apple, green peach and light spice. The alcohol is typically low and the texture is taut with low sugar and high acid. This is a wine for roast chicken or grilled pork loin.

Dry, white wine – $20.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2013

I spoke with a London wine buyer this week who indicated Coudoulet red is now being allocated on a reserve basis, even to long-standing, big house buyers – it has replaced Ch de Beaucastel as the go-to wine from the Perrin family stable. This sounds like a bit of a stretch and while I don’t think the white is there yet, there is extremely limited availability this weekend in Ontario (49 cases of this wine were purchased for this release). This is a hefty wine with white floral notes, honey, ripe pear, melon and flinty minerals. It is bright and serious at the same time with a long finish. Serve with roasted white meats.

Extra dry, white wine – $33.95 per bottle (Flagship stores only – check for availability)

France, Bordeaux – AOC Médoc Château Tour Saint-Vincent 2010

The Vintages team does a very fine job finding very good value wines from lesser appellations in Bordeaux – this wine being yet another good case in that point. This wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend and has concentrated fruit expression, herbs, spice, juicy texture and very fine structure. Tour Saint-Vinent can be enjoyed now but will benefit from at least two years in your cellar. This will allow the tannins to soften and better integrate. Serve with roasted meats.

Extra dry, red wine – $23.95 per bottle

New Zealand, Hawkes Bay, North Island – Elephant Hill Red Label Syrah 2013

We recommended another Hawkes Bay Syrah from the last release and now we have another. This region is distinctly hot and thus is conducive to proper ripening of Syrah grapes. In fact one of the two best Syrahs I tasted when I was last in New Zealand came from Hawkes Bay (it wasn’t Elephant Hill as it wasn’t open at the time). In any case this wine is European in style: blackberry fruit, savoury notes, black pepper spice, juicy acid and just enough oak to add complexity without taking away from the fruit. Beautiful!

Extra-dry, red wine – $22.95 per bottle

à bientôt…

Copyright © W. John Switzer 2003 – 2015


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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