LCBO Vintages release – May 14, 2016 (WVN 237)

This weekend’s WVN selection is different in a couple of ways.

First, it is an all-French selection.  There is no purposeful  reason for this other than the five wines I have selected are far and away the best values in the May 14 Vintages release.  This is a reflection of the high quality/price ratio I think mid-price France is best known for.

The second noteworthy aspect of my selection: for the first time I have selected two wines made by one maker.  The maker is Cyril Marès of the Mas de Bressades property in the Costières de Nîmes appellation. Cyril makes fine wines that are a reference standard for the appellation and the two wines on the list below are perfect for the upcoming spring/summer season.

France, Southern Rhône – AOP Costières de Nîmes Mas de Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2015

This is blend of four white grapes of the southern Rhône: Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Marsanne. It has a perfumed tropical fruit nose with aromas of ripe peach.  The palate is ripe with a fullish unctuous texture, bright acid and brown apple, ripe peach, herbs, spice and stony minerals. This is an exceptional value white which will match well with salads, and grilled chicken or pork chops.

Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOP Costières de Nîmes Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Rosé 2015

Simple, bright and pleasing: these are the headlines for this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. The colour is brilliant, deep red berry, the nose is ripe strawberry and the palate is full of red berries with crisp acid and some stony minerals. This is the perfect wine for sipping or patio lunches.

Extra dry, rosé wine – $17.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Gigondas Pierre Amadieu Romane-Machotte 2013

Pierre Amadieu is the family house with the largest vineyard holdings in the Gigondas appellation. The wines made here are traditional in style with little winemaker intervention. Romane-Marchotte is a blend if Grenache and Syrah with power, elegance and complexity.  It is intense with red and black berry fruit, juicy acid, firm tannins – all of which deliver structure and ageing potential.  This is a classy wine at a price that is very attractive – especially when you consider many recent Gigondas cuvées have approached the $30 per bottle price level.  Buy lots and lay down for a couple of years.

Extra dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle

France, Burgundy –   AOC Crémant de Bourgogne Bailly Lapierre Méthode Traditionnelle Réserve Brut NV

Made with the Pinot Noir grape this is a surprising wine from an appellation that doesn’t always deliver.  It is crisp and tart with complex aromas and flavours of brioche, grapefruit, green apple and hazelnut. The mousse is soft, creamy and persistent, the texture is lean and the finish is long and clean.  This will be a summertime aperitif that will please everyone.

Extra dry, sparkling wine – $19.95 per bottle

France, Bordeaux – AOC Médoc Château de Panigon Cru Bourgeois 2010

A Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend with a touch of Petit Verdot, this wine is hitting its stride as I write. It is concentrated with stewed plum, cassis, spice, vanilla and earth notes. There is amazing structure with juicy acid and firm tannins to complement the intense fruit. This wine has a few more years to go before its full potential is reached but you can enjoy it now – it will open up nicely in your glass over a slow dinner with friends.

Dry, red 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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