LCBO Vintages release – January 9, 2016 (WVN 228)

Happy New Year!

This new year has started off with a crash – global stock markets are down, the Canadian dollar continues its downward trend, the price of oil slips daily, and to top it off…there is an early sign mortgage rates may start to ease upward. If we thought 2015 was a tough one, 2016 is not off to an encouraging start.

The outlook for the coming months is one of weak economic performance. This is the time when value wine comes to the fore, if it weren’t already in the forefront. The timing couldn’t be more fitting: the first Vintages release of the new year always has a value/smart buy theme.

The WVN selections this weekend come from two places: France and Argentina (more specifically, Mendoza). This may be an unusual combination, considering that wines from Argentina do not figure prominently in my selections – style is the main reason for this routine omission. In any case, the wines below are fine wines and represent great value.

France, Bordeaux – AOC Bordeaux Château d’Argadens Blanc 2014

Simple, crisp, refreshing and good value – this is how I think of white AOC Bordeaux wine. This wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and shows somewhat more herbaceous notes than are often found in this blend from the region. Its is bone dry with brilliant acid, flinty minerals and bright stone fruit and some tropical fruit notes. This is a great start to the new year!

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle

France, Burgundy – AOC Morgon Domaine Dupré Vignes de 1935 2012

Morgon is one of the Crus – that is, named villages – in the hierarchy of the Beaujolais classification. The wines from this place are more deep, full-bodied, complex and age-able than wines from the everyday Beaujolais Villages category. This wine is rich with ripe berry fruit, crisp acid, modest tannins and a long finish. It is medium in weight and shows some minerality and savoury notes which add to the structure and character of the wine. Very fine.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

France, Southwest – AOC Madiran Aydie L’Origine 2012

This is the first run, don’t walk wine of 2016! It is a blend of Tannat – the noble grape full of firm, heart-healthy, life-giving tannins – and Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. For the price this wine has amazing depth of flavour, complexity and structure. It has oodles of black fruit – plum, blackberry, cassis – earth notes, spice and some savoury elements. The acid is juicy, the tannins are firm and assertive and the finish is very long. This is a big, hearty wine that calls for roasted meats, cassoulet or stew. Drink now or put in the cellar for the next few years.

Extra dry, red wine – $14.95 per bottle

Argentina, Mendoza – Trapiche Gran Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

This is a fine Cab made in a modest, Bordeaux-style with complexity and structure but without the full-throttle sweet character of many New World Cabs. It shows some early-stage development with earth and leather notes which sit on top of the blackberry and black currant fruit. Modest oak treatment is evident but in a way that complements – not overpowers – the fruit. The finish is long with some lingering spice. Drink now but there is further development potential for those willing to wait a few years.

Extra dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle

Argentina, Mendoza – Zuccardi Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Especial 2008

This is an exceptional wine – surprising at the price. It is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, grown at some 1300m altitude in the Tupangato zone of the Uco Valley in Mendoza. It was aged in bottle on the lees for almost five years so it shows plenty of yeasty brioche in the glass. This is a complex wine with assertive lemon citrus, honey, brown apple and toast on the palate. The acid is full of zesty life and the mousse is creamy and persistent. The finish is very long, crisp and clean. This is a great buy!

Extra dry, sparkling wine – $19.95 per bottle

à bientôt…
Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2016.

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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