LCBO Vintages release – April 30, 2016 (WVN 236)

If there is one piece of good news I can report out of this weekend’s release it is spring has arrived! Or, at least, the first Rosé wines of the season have arrived. The LCBO has never been too keen to be too far ahead of the seasons – except, of course, when it comes to the Christmas buying season. The reason is simple: when weather can be uncooperative it is not a good thing to have wines ahead of their best time, as they won’t move and the inventory turnover targets that govern the LCBO profitability model go completely awry.

One of the Rosés from the wide selection offered this weekend makes the list – at a good price that should help eager buyers stock up for the next few months of enjoyment.

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Tavel Domaine Maby La Forcadière 2015

This is a brilliant, bright, deep strawberry-coloured wine – very inviting to see in the glass. The palate is rich with ripe strawberry fruit and firm mineral backbone which give it both shape and texture. The fruit is intense and fresh. The finish is long and clean. I often complain about the elevated prices we generally see when Tavel hits the shelves; this wine is well-priced and for those who enjoy Rosé throughout the year (like me), this is a good one to stock up on.

Extra dry, rosé wine – $18.95 per bottle

France, Bordeaux – AOC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon Château des Demoiselles 2011

Castillon is one of the fringe zones of Bordeaux, that is, speaking geographically, if not from a prestige and image point of view. This of course is what value buyers seek: wines that come from the edges of storied places. This approach to buying requires care as not all such wines are well-made. Rest assured, this wine is a value-buyer prize. A blend of Merlot (70%) and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is an inviting wine with deep colour, intense plum, blackcurrant and spice on the nose and palate and surprising structure. The tannins are soft, the acid is crisp and the finish is long. Thus is a very-fine buy.

Extra dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle

France, Champagne – AOC Champagne Tarlant Zero Brut Nature NV

The zero in the name of this cuvee refers to the absence of any sugars in the dosage added to the bottle when the final cork is placed. The brut zero classification is bone dry and this wine delivers on the promise. Tarlant is one of the old names of Champagne and dates from the late 17th century. In fact, Tarlant is still run by descendants of the founding family. This wine is a blend of the three main grapes of Champagne and is concentrated, elegant and complex. It has brilliant acid, wonderful aromas and flavours of brioche, honey and lemon and has a very long, clean finish. It is an exceptional value when compared with the much less interesting big house blends. Stock up!

Extra dry, sparkling wine – $57.95 per bottle

Australia, South Australia – Yalumba Organic Viognier 2015

This is a fine Viognier with the classic aromatic and flavor profile that has made this grape the rebounder of the past twenty years. It shows perfumed floral and tree fruit aromas followed by a rich, fleshy palate of tree fruits, mango and pineapple with modest honey notes. The alcohol is elevated at 14.5% but it isn’t out of balance with the fullish texture and assertive and complex palate profile. Very fine.

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle

Chile, Limari Valley – Tabali Reserva Especial Syrah 2012

This Syrah is more assertive than many found in Chile: it is intense, ripe and sleek with the classic bright black fruit, black pepper and savory elements we associate with Syrah. It is well-structured with juicy acid and well-integrated tannins and has a long finish. Serve at late spring barbecues with grilled red meats.

Extra dry red wine – $17.95 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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