LCBO Vintages release – May 28, 2016 (WVN 238)

This weekend’s value selections are more geographically diverse than the last time around. I hope you will agree that there is a fine summer wines character to the selection, wines which will please.

There is one wine that I always recommend when it appears at Vintages: VQA Beamsville Bench Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2013 (Dry, white wine – $29.95 per bottle).  CSV appears at Vintages once a year and it is found in this weekend’s release. This time I decided simply to mention its availability as opposed to writing a tasting note so I had space to accommodate some new names.  This Riesling is a bench mark for the variety and I recommend you buy a few bottles and cellar them for the next few years.

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Twenty Mile Bench Flat Rock Unplugged Chardonnay 2014

This is an unoaked Chardonnay which is full fruit-forward on both nose and palate. It has assertive green apple, honey, lemon and pineapple aromas with the palate showing a flavour profile which matches the nose.  It has a stony minerality on the mid palate accompanied by a zesty acidity.  The texture is lightly viscous, the body is medium weight and the finish is long. Serve as an aperitif or with summer salads.

Extra dry, white wine – $16.95 per bottle

South Africa, Stellenbosch – WO Stellenbosch Rustenberg Chardonnay 2014

If you like your Chardonnay with some oak – but not too much – then this will be the bottle for you.  This wine has just enough wood treatment to make it interesting without taking away from the pleasure of the fruit.  It has been barrel-fermented and aged for 12 months in barrels ranging from brand new to 4 vintages old. The fruit is assertive, the acid is bracing and the character of this wine is much more than one would expect in a $20 bottle of wine.  Well-made, complex and well-structured – this is a beauty.

Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 per bottle

Australia, Margaret River, Western Australia – Vasse Felix Filius Cabernet/Merlot 2013

Vasse Felix is the oldest winery in this temperate western zone of Australia.  This property is known for high-quality wines across its wide range and this wine is a testament to its well-earned reputation. This wine is an elegant blend with a bright and juicy texture, varietal correctness and appealing complexity.  There is a modest amount of Malbec in the blend which adds some weight but otherwise this blend is unmistakeably dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with cassis, herbal notes and tannins that are finely-grained but which need time to soften.  Hold for the next three years and enjoy until 2022.

Extra dry, red wine – $24.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Côtes du Rhône Château Pegau Cuvée Maclura 2013

This wine is made by one of the storied makers in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, Domaine Pegau.  It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault so it has fine character and structure.  The fruit is bright and fresh the acid is juicy, Provençal herbs are on display and the tannins are firm and a bit drying but are starting to soften.  This is a very fine wine at a very fine price. Serve with grilled meats at your next barbecue party.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

Portugal. Alentejo – DO Alentejo Herdade da Pimenta Alentejano 2013

Alentejo is a large regional in the south of Portugal which is the source of some of Portugal’s finest red wines. This is a blend of two indigenous grape varieties along with some Syrah – unusual for Portugal.  In any case it is an intense wine with assertive black fruit on the nose and palate.  It has a full body, round, ripe tannins, elevated alcohol and a long finish.  This does not sound like a wine I would recommend but it is harmonious in every way and will be a summer barbecue crowd-pleaser.

Extra dry, red wine – $16.95 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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