LCBO Vintages release – April 2, 2016 (WVN 234)

This week we have an interesting cross section of diverse regional representation.  All the wines I select are well-balanced wines at excellent prices – in fact, this may be one of the best group of wines I have selected in some 200+ newsletters!  Read on…

Australia, South Australia – D’Arenberg The Hermit Crab McLaren Vale Viognier/Marsanne 2014

This is a fine Rhône-style white blend with Viognier dominating.  It is a bright, zesty wine with wonderful aromatics and texture that is round and fattish on the palate.  Don’t be deterred: there is plenty of acid to balance the unctuous mouth-feel. The palate is laden with fresh peach and apricot fruit, herbs and spice.  The finish is clean and spicy.  Exceptional – buy several bottles for the spring and summer.

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle

Australia, Victoria – Drake Heathcote Shiraz 2013

Here we have an old world style Shiraz from a small zone in north-central Victoria – Heathcote – known for its fresh, powerful, balanced reds. This wine is a brilliant example of a Heathcote red: intense, fresh, wonderful crisp acid, firm and well-integrated tannins and a full body.  Oodles of juicy blackberry fruit are accompanied by herbs, black currants, smoke and savoury notes. This is an amazing value, full-fruit-forward with modest oak.  Run, don’t walk… now!

Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOP Côtes du Rhône Villages Dauvergne Ranvier Grand Vin 2013

Dauvergne Ranvier is a micro-negoçiant formed by two wine lovers who previously worked for large firms – in Bordeaux and elsewhere in France – before partnering on this venture. Don’t be seduced by the Grand Vin moniker: this is an everyday CdR Villages with a slightly rustic, tannic character.  That’s OK, as it will please your palate when matched with grilled meats as the barbecue season starts.  It has plenty of ripe red and black berry fruit, herbs, savoury notes and juicy acid.  The body is full and the oak is evident but is well-balanced by dense fruit.

Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 per bottle

South Africa, Stellenbosch – WO Stellenbosch Stellenrust Timeless 2011

Timeless is a complex Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This is a wine that punches above its price and will appeal to all – especially at a price under $20 per bottle. The nose and palate are intense with ripe fruit, pepper, herbs, modest oak, wet loam and some developing leather notes.  The structure is very fine with bright acid, a full body and solid but well-integrated tannins. The finish is long. A comparably-priced wine from Bordeaux would have big trouble competing with this wine!

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

Italy, Piedmont – DOC Barbera d’Alba Paolo Conterno Bricco 2014

This is a fine wine from a fine Piedmont house. Made from 100% Barbera grapes this is a concentrated, tart beauty that seeks food – try it with al dente pasta in tomato sauce. The robe is deep and dark, the nose is full of red and black cherry/berry fruit and the palate is bright with more fruit, spice, herbal and savoury notes.  The acid is taut and the tannins are dry and finely-grained. This is a delicate wine to savour with food.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 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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