LCBO Vintages release – November 12, 2016 (WVN 249)

There are some special wines on this weekend’s list, so the prices are a bit higher than the TWR norm. No apologies will be given – these are wines for occasions so buy a few bottles and put them aside.  They will prosper with time.

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Beamsville Bench Hidden Bench Terroir Cache 2012

This is a serious Bordeaux blend which has had some time in bottle before release.  It will develop further but can be enjoyed now (with a couple hours in a decanter before serving – if you are so inclined). As is the case with all wines from Hidden Bench this is a concentrated wine with fine structure and character. Ripe berry fruit dominates on the nose and palate and while there has been extended time in oak – the barrels were a combination of new and old – the wood adds complexity without diminishing the intense fruit.  The acidity is high, the tannins are firm and assertive and the body is full.  The finish is long.  I encourage ageing for at least three years so the tannins and wood become more fully integrated.  This is an exceptional value.

Extra dry, red wine – $38.00 per bottle

Australia, Western Australia, Margaret River – Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay 2014

This is a cool-zone Chardonnay with oodles of fruit and crisp acid.  Citrus, tree fruit and tropical fruits abound, along with flinty minerals, spice and modest oak. The body is medium weight and the alcohol comes in at 13% – very finely balanced.  The finish is long and clean.  This is a pleasing, understated wine that will go well with roast turkey.

Extra dry, white wine – $22.95 per bottle

France, Southern Rhône – AOC Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2014

Coudoulet seems to be a regular offering at this time each year. It is one of my favourite reds and while it is designated as a Côtes du Rhône it routinely punches well above the weight of the appellation.  This is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault, showing great fruit expression with red and black berries and some savoury notes, garrigue and spice. The acid is bright and juicy and the tannins are modest but lend texture and shape on the palate.  The finish is long and bright. Buy a few bottles and enjoy over the next 3 -5 years.

Extra dry, red wine – $29.95 per bottle

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

Barbera is a widely-planted Italian grape and is known for its bright, fresh fruit, low tannins and elevated acidity.  These wines are not known for their complexity but have great appeal. These characteristics make wines made with this grape wonderful companions for food.  The Paolo Conterno Bricco delivers and at a very good value price.  Serve with pastas or grilled pork.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

Italy, Sardinia – DOC Torbato Sella & Mosca Terre Bianche Alghero 2014

Torbato is a little-known grape variety, native to Sardinia, that almost reached extinction until resurrected by the maker of this wine, Sella & Mosca.  It is related to Malvoisie, a grape used in the Roussillon zone of France for blending in sweet wines known as vins doux naturels.  This is an aromatic wine with pear and apple on the nose and palate and a flinty mineral backbone. There is fine complexity on the palate with honey, light oak and pineapple and mango, accompanied by light acid and fleshy texture.  This is an unusual wine made only by Sella & Mosca.

Extra dry, white wine – $16.95 per bottle

There is one additional wine on offer this weekend that I write about every time it appears: VQA Beamsville Bench Cave Spring CSV Riesling.  It is from the 2014 vintage and sells at $29.95 per bottle. For my palate this is the best Riesling made in Ontario. It is stunning and shows wonderful sugar/acid balance.

 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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