LCBO Vintages release – November 28, 2015 (WVN 226)

This weekend we see the big Vintages release of the year, if not the millennium. There are some 140+ wines offered this weekend at an average price per bottle that must be a new record high (my calculator may not have enough digits to handle the calculation…!).

In this climate the bargain hunter has to hunt but once again we have bagged a few trophies for your consideration.

The sparkling wine selection in this release is paltry but, fear not, there will be some good ones in the next release, including a very fine, reasonably-priced DOCG Franciacorta. Stand by…

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape Coudoulet de Beaucastel Blanc 2014

Here is the white you may wish to serve with your Christmas turkey – a special wine for a special meal. It is one of my favourite whites for its elegance, character and value. It is a blend of classic Rhône white varieties: Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne and Viognier which means it has white flowers, tree fruits (peach and pear), spice, almond, melon and honey. There is a firm mineral backbone that adds structure without diminishing the fruit. The texture is slightly viscous and the body is medium weight. The finish is long with some pleasing citrus notes.

Dry, white wine – $33.95 per bottle

Australia, South Australia – Wynn’s Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2012

This is a rarity – a South Australia Shiraz on my list. I find these wines typically too assertive, ripe  and heavy for my palate and often overpowering for most food matching situations. As a general rule I find the balance and finesse of a Rhône Syrah more easy to recommend. This said, here we have a wine more understated than the everyday S.A. Shiraz and for this reason it makes this week’s value listing. There is plenty of dark fruit, pepper spice, black olive and savoury notes on the nose and palate. The alcohol is low for the place at 13.5%. The body is medium weight, the acid is bright and the tannins lend structure. This is a refined wine that will please.

Extra dry, red wine – $22.95 per bottle

South Africa, Stellenbosch – WO Stellenbosch Delheim Family Chenin Blanc 2014

This Chenin Blanc is round and ripe with an exceptionally appealing texture. It is full of tropical fruit aromas and flavours with juicy citrus and floral notes which add to the complexity of the wine. The palate lacks some acidity but the result is a wine that could be a fine sipper tp serve to your drop-in guests and open house parties over the coming weeks.

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle

Italy, Umbria – DOC Rosso di Torgiano Lungarotti Rubesco Sangiovese/Coloino 2012

This is an old standby comfort wine, a wine that was a staple of the LCBO General List for many years. It is a Sangiovese blend with a modest amount of Colorino, a grape of unknown pedigree that is grown in Tuscany and Umbria where it is most often used to add colour to blends. There is ripe red cherry and berry fruit on the nose and palate, round tannins, modest juicy acid, medium body and a very long finish for the price. It is well-balanced and structured. This is a great wine for winter meals – grilled meats or pasta in tomato sauce will delight.

Extra dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle

Portugal, Douro – DOC Douro Prazo de Roriz Tinto 2011

There are many adjectives I can use to describe this delightful wine: fruit-forward, concentrated, complex, juicy, harmonious, supple, refined, etc. I think you get my drift: this a very fine wine for the money and a wine that punches above it price for structure and character. This could be a very fine candidate as the red wine for your Christmas turkey – I always like to have both a red and a white on the table. Enjoy!

Extra dry, red 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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