LCBO Vintages release – March 19, 2016 (WVN 233)

The Vintages release this weekend is one of the most disappointing releases – for the value buyer – we have seen in a while. There are plenty of great wines in the $35.00 – plus range but unless I am buying for a special occasion these don’t get much attention from me. In any case I have assembled a selection that will appeal to all buyers, value-focused or otherwise.

Here’s the best of a small bunch…

British Columbia, Okanagan Valley – VQA Okanagan Valley Culmina Decora Riesling 2014

Culmina is the legacy project undertaken over the past seven years by Donald Triggs (of Jackson-Triggs and, more importantly, the man who built Vincor). Donald has built this winegrowing site on the highest plot in the south Okanagan and has invested a goodly sum to determine what grapes to plant on his land and how to plant them to achieve optimal exposure. His wines are now starting to come on stream and so far he is delivering results that demonstrate his money was well-spent. This wine is bone dry, zesty, intense and complex with the potential to be an exceptional wine with some time in bottle. It has bright lime aromas and flavours, green apple, stony minerality and a long, clean finish.

Extra dry, white wine – $24.95 per bottle

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Niagara Peninsula Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2013

Here we have another beauty from Cave Spring, this time a sweet Riesling. This wine is made from grapes that were left on the vine through the fall harvest season and picked once the first hard frost had arrived. The raisined grapes were carefully hand-picked and were crushed in the frozen state. This is a sweet wine but one that has plenty of acid to balance the sugar, producing a mouth feel that is crisp, not syrupy. There are aromas and flavours of orange peel and marmalade, honey, apricot, ripe pear and spice. This is a complex and delightful wine to serve with cheese or foie gras. If you don’t care for Icewine you should try this – it’s a great buy!

Sweet, white wine – $24.95 per bottle (375 ml)

Italy, Campani – DOCG Greco di Tufo Terradora di Paolo Loggia Della Serra 2014

Greco is the most important white grape of the south of Italy and in Campania it delivers its best performance. This is a grape of intense expression, crisp acid, firm minerals and a long, clean finish. You will find lemon, honey, herbs, spice and a slight smoky character in the glass. This is wine with fine character and a great match for roast chicken and lighter spring fare.

Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages Séguret Le Gravillas 2014

Séguret is one 18 villages in the southern Rhône permitted to attach its name to wine made from fruit grown in its designated vineyards. This wine is made and bottled by the cave cooperative in another village, the nearby town of Sablet (another one of the 18…). Now that you are thoroughly confused we will turn to the wine. It is a delightful blend of Grenache and Syrah which shows berry, floral, herbal and spice notes that are the classic markers of the south. It is concentrated and supple with juicy texture and tannins that are soft and velvety. This is a good wine at a great price.

Dry, red wine – $16.95 per bottle

France, Southwest – AOC Cahors Cèdre Héritage Malbec 2012

I always enjoy wines from Cahors as they have intense dark fruit flavours and a rustic character that calls for hearty stews and roasted meats. This wine is appealing in its intense ripe fruit-forward character with no wood treatment to speak of. The tannins are firm and dry, which is what you expect in Malbec from the southwest part of France. This is a wine of fine balance with bright acid, modest alcohol (13% abv) and a long, crisp finish.

Extra dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle

à bientôt…

Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2016.

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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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