LCBO Vintages release – August 22, 2015 (WVN 221)

This weekend features one of the smallest releases in recent Vintages history. This modest release must reflect the late summer doldrums that set in as August winds its course and as many consumers take a late vacation – witness the low volumes of traffic on the streets and roads this past week.

There are several iconically-priced wines in this release but there are some very fine inexpensive wines which deliver well-above their price points. Read on…

Germany, Pfalz – QmP Pfalz Reichstrat von Buhl Armand Rielsing Kabinett 2012

This is a fine-value Riesling from one of my favourite regions of Germany. It has a balance of tropical, citrus, stone fruit and honey aromas and flavours with zesty acid which offsets the residual sugar (47 g/L). The texture has a fleshy character and there is a very light spritz. The alcohol is light so this is a wonderful wine to serve as an aperitif.

Medium-sweet, white wine – $18.95 per bottle

Italy, Tuscany – DOCG Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Castellani Filicheto 2011

This is an amazing value from Tuscany. It is made from a blend dominated by Sangiovese so is it rich with bright red and black cherry fruit. The fruit is fresh and bright and it is accompanied by herbs, light oak and savoury notes. There is fine structure with modest weight, the classic dusty tannins of Sangiovese and crisp, lean acid. The finish is very long. Enjoy now or cellar for a couple of years.

Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 per bottle

South Africa, Coastal Region – WO Coastal Region Man Vintners Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc 2014

Chenin Blanc has been the workhouse white grape of South Africa for centuries. Known locally as Steen, Chenin Blanc is the most widely-planted grape variety in South Africa but plantings are in decline as growers migrate to more popular international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is a delightful fresh and aromatic value with oodles of green apple, honey and citrus flavours. There is much more complexity in this wine than would be expected at the price. The texture is supple and there is bright acid throughout the palate. Serve with grilled shell fish.

Extra dry, white wine – $13.95 per bottle

Spain, Galacia – DO Rias Baixas Paco & Lola Albariño 2013

Here we have another great-value white, made with the appealing grape, Albariño. This grape is an aromatic grape which displays, floral notes, stone fruit, lemon zest and minerality, when allowed to fully ripen. It is also the grape known as Alvarinho when grown in Portugal and picked barely ripe to make Vinho Verde. This Albariño is an intense, fresh and finely-structured edition with plenty of pineapple, honey, lemon and peach. There is bright acid and stony minerality along with a long finish; this is a very bright and fresh wine. Serve with grilled white-fleshed fish.

Extra dry, white wine – $18.95 per bottle

Portugal, Alentejano – Vinho Regional Alentejano Herdade do Rocim Red 2011

The Alentajo is a large inland wine growing region in the southern part of Portugal, far enough from the sea to be hot. The region makes both red and white wines using largely indigenous Portuguese grapes. Wines that do not fall into one of the local DOC categories are labelled Vinho Regional Alentejano and this is one such wine. It is blend of three local varieties with Syrah and the result is a concentrated well-structured wine that will astound. It is complex with flavours of black berry and cherry fruit, herbs, modest oak, spice and savoury notes. It is medium-bodied and shows ripe, round tannins and juicy acid. The finish is long. Serve with grilled or roasted red meats. Drink now or cellar for the next five years.

Dry, red wine – $17.95 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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