LCBO Vintages release – May 16, 2015 (WVN 216)

I am now back home from an intense week of tasting at DWWA. It may be age, it may be the wines, it may be the fact we are in the final stages of packing for a big move; in any case I am still recovering from my trip.

Perhaps this slow recovery explains why this weekend’s TWR selections are exclusively white in the glass. This may have happened in the past but it’s a long while since I had a set of recommendations so monochrome. The wines I have selected are delights: expressive fruit, modest alcohol, wonderful structure, bright and clean acid and great potential at the table.

British Columbia, Okanagan Valley – VQA Okanagan Valley See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Gris 2013

See Ya Later Ranch is a storied property in the south Okanagan a place which was once known as Hawthorn Mountain Vineyards before it was re-named following acquisition of the property by Vincor (now Constellation Brands). The site is one of the highest vineyards in the Okanagan meaning the growing conditions are somewhat cooler than normally found in the area with wide diurnal (day-night) temperature variation. This slows ripening and encourages development of enhanced aromatic properties. This Pinot Gris demonstrates the pedigree of its place with green apple, citrus, honey and spice notes on the nose. The palate is ripe and concentrated with some oak, bright acid, chalky minerals and honey. This is a perfect wine for a veal roast.

Extra dry, White wine – $19.95 per bottle

France, Burgundy – AOC Saint-Bris William Fèvre 2013

Saint-Bris is a small appellation in Burgundy, known as the only place in the region able to vinify Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The wines of Saint-Bris are unlike those from Marlborough in New Zealand – they are laden with green apple, citrus, stony minerals and the lightest grassiness. This is a well-structured pleasing wine which shows tart acid, some spice, medium body and a long finish. Serve with roast crown of pork or fried white fish.

Extra dry, white wine – $20.95 per bottle

Australia, New South Wales, Hunter Valley – Tyrrell’s Brookdale Semillon 2013

This is a young, fruit-forward Semillon that has great potential. It is bright, complex and beautifully structured with zesty acid, flinty minerals, citrus fruit, spice and honey. It is precise in its definition but has a fleshiness on the palate that is inviting. I suggest you buy a few bottles and put them away for a few years – you will be rewarded for your patience with a wine that will be even more complex and interesting than it is today. This is a wine that hankers for shellfish.

Dry, white wine – $24.95 per bottle

South Africa, Western Cape – WO Western Cape Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Cap Classique 2012

Cap Classique is the name given to sparkling wines made in South Africa by the traditional method (hat is, wines which undergo a second fermentation in the bottle they are sold in). This is a very fine value with exceptional biscuit aromas and immense crisp acid on the palate. It is a blend of the three main grape varieties used in Champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and some Pinot Meunier, and thus shows sound complexity. The finish is long, crisp and clean. This isn’t Champagne but it is pretty close in its fine character – your guests will be surprised when they see the label.

Dry, sparkling wine – $22.95 per bottle

South Africa, Stellenbosch – Rustenberg Chardonnay 2013

South Africa has been punching well above its weight lately and here we have another fine wine to support this thesis. This is a brilliant effort with intense fruit, modest oak which lends complexity on the nose and palate, elevated acid, stony minerals and a long finish. This is a wine that can be enjoyed now but it has the bones to evolve further in the cellar for the next 4 – 6 years. Amazing value!

Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 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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