LCBO Vintages release – September 17, 2016 (WVN 246)

Prices for this weekend’s selections are higher than normal but from time to time we find exceptional values priced above my informal $20.00 per bottle value-ceiling.  I firmly believe you don’t need to spend a lot of money to find good value and yet when a higher-priced wine demonstrates true value I will not let it pass.  Read on…

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Beamsville Bench Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2013

This is one of the finest versions of the classic Estate Chardonnay I have encountered since HB started its journey.  It has the elements that are hallmarks for the estate: concentrated fruit, taut acid and a firm mineral backbone.  The palate is rich with lemon, apple and modest spice with notes of the measured oak treatment: smoke, vanilla and hazelnut. This is a balanced, well-structured wine with a long, crisp and ripe finish.  The 2013 is an exceptional value and it will stand up to Burgundy whites costing much more. Buy several bottles and cellar as long as you can: I have recently enjoyed some bottles from the 2007 and 2008 vintages and they have evolved to become wonderful examplars of the potential for premium Niagara wines.

Extra dry, white wine – $28.95 per bottle

France, Bordeaux – AOP Médoc Château Pierre de Montignac 2009

Here we have yet another example of the possibilities of low-priced Bordeaux wines.  Bordeaux is known best for the expensive wines from the Classified Growth châteaux, the wines few buyers are able or willing to purchase, because of the stratospheric prices they fetch.  Despite the sensational press given to the prices of the Classified Growths, 90% of the wines made in the region are modestly priced.  These mortal wines vary dramatically in quality however and it takes a keen buyer to find nuggets of quality in this segment of the Bordeaux market. The LCBO Vintages buyers are on a good run and for the past year or so we have seen many great value Bordeaux reds on the Vintages shelves.  Here is another one. The is a blend dominated by Merlot character: stewed plum fruit, some earth and dried fruit notes.  The acid is bright, the tannins are assertive and well-integrated, the body is medium weight and the finish is long with lingering dark fruit. Serve with roasted red meats.

Extra dry, red wine – $23.95 per bottle

France, Champagne – AOC Champagne Moutard Grande Cuvée Brut NV

Yes, dear reader there is such a thing as a good- value Champagne and here we have a perfect example.  This wine comes from the remote Côtes des Bar zone in the southern reaches of Champagne country and is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. It has bread dough notes on the nose and palate and has elevated crisp, clean acid and bright lemon and green apple flavours. The finish is surprisingly long and clean. While this is not a particularly complex wine it shows fine structure and character for the price.

Dry, sparkling wine – $39.95 per bottle

Italy, Piedmont – DOC Langhe Rosso Fontanafredda Eremo 2012

This wine is made from a grape blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera and has exceptional character for its price. It is full-bodied with intense and ripe aromas and flavours: red currant, black cherry and cranberry with some earthy and violet notes. The acid is bright and slightly sour, the tannins are dry and grainy and the finish is long and tart.  This is a great wine to match with winter roasted meats.

Extra dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle

Italy, Umbria – IGP Umbria Falesco Tellus Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This is a brilliant fruit forward delight with oodles of concentrated red and berry-cherry-plum on the nose and palate. There are savoury and earth notes to add complexity along with spice, round tannins and modest acid. The finish is medium long.  This is a pleasing wine that will be great in the middle of the week, served with leftovers.

Extra dry, red wine – $15.95 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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