LCBO Vintages release – September 19, 2015 (WVN 223)

I’m late this weekend and regret any inconvenience this may cause my intrepid bargain-hunter readers.

I have been occupied for the past few days as Chief Judge of the Ontario VQA Wine Competition for this years’ Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. I will report more on the results of this event in an upcoming issue of WVN.

This release is a ramp-up in size as we approach the big holiday season buying cycle – the time of the year when the LCBO sells more product than any other time.

Typical to this ramp-up is an upward trend in prices as well with over one quarter of the wines in the release selling at over $30 per bottle.

There are high-quality bargains in the selection and once again I found them.

Ontario, Niagara – VQA St. David’s Bench Château des Charmes St. David’s Bench Gamay Noir Droit 2012

Gamay Noir Droit is a clone of Gamay Noir – the grape best known for its success in the Beaujolais zone of France – that is unique to Château des Charmes where it was discovered. This is a very fine and fresh wine with plenty of aromatics, bright fruit, rich, ripe texture and soft tannins. It has black berry, cherry, herbs, smoke and spice, juicy acid and a long finish. To their credit the Bosc family do not mature this cuvée in oak. This is a beauty and will remind wine lovers of a Beaujolais Cru.

Extra dry, red wine – $16.95 per bottle

Australia, Barossa Valley – Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz/Mataro 2013

Mataro is the name attached to the Mourvèdre grape by the Australian grape growing community. This is a hefty blend that shows the best of its components: intense black fruit with black pepper spice and blueberry fruit with firm and assertive tannins. The Mataro gives character to this wine in ways that I find lacking in so many renderings of Barossa Shiraz – hence it made this selection. The finish is long and juicy. This is a well-priced wine for one of such depth and ageing potential.

Dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle

New Zealand, North Island, Hawkes Bay – Trinity Hill Syrah 2013

Hawkes Bay is warm zone where Syrah prospers to deliver Old World style wines with plenty of character. This is a balanced wine with bright fruit – only modestly oaked – on a medium-weight body with fresh, tangy acid and medium, finely-grained tannins. There is juicy blackberry fruit, black pepper spice, some modest smoked meat character and a soupçon of oak. The alcohol is a modest 12.6% – reflecting the elegant understatement of this wine. Well done!

Extra dry, red wine – $22.95 per bottle (Flagship stores only – check for locations)

Italy, Umbria – DOC Montefalco Rosso Scacciadiavoli 2011

This wine is a blend of Sangiovese and Sagrantino meaning it has wonderful bright red cherry fruit along with a rustic, tannic character.  It has an aromatic nose, ripe fruit, juicy acid, elevated alcohol and a long finish. This is a wine to enjoy now but it will benefit from a few years in bottle to help throttle down the tannins – the wait will be worthwhile.  This is a rugged wine that will be a great match for grilled meats, stews and roasts.

Dry, red wine – $20.95 per bottle

Portugal, Däo – Quinta dos Roques Vinho Tinto 2012

This weekend’s WVN selection seems to be dominated by wines which are fruit-forward with juicy acid and modest wood treatment – this wine closes the show in just this fashion. This wine is reasonably complex and is full of fresh and intense ripe red and black berry-cherry fruit, spice, velvety tannins and a long finish. The structure of this wine is refined and it will be a perfect match for a rack of pork roast. This wine has the bones to evolve nicely over the next 3 – 5 years.

Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 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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