LCBO Vintages Release – January 21, 2017 (WVN 254)

After stumbling out of the gate into 2017 a couple of weeks ago, the Vintages team has hit its stride this weekend with an attractive release that has many wines to please the value buyer. Here is my selection, a pretty good one, if you want my humble opinion.

Ontario, Niagara – VQA St. David’s Bench Château des Charmes Gamay Droit 2015

This wine was recommended when it last appeared in September 2016 and I still think it is a worthy value so here it is again. This unique Gamay clone yields a ripe, juicy medium-bodied wine, meant to be enjoyed now and over the next few years. The fruit is rich and round with cherry, plum and raspberry accompanied by some light herbs and bright, juicy acid. The tannins are soft and light in weight. The finish long. This is a wine to buy now for barbecue season.

Extra dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle

Argentina, Salta – Colomé Calcahaquí Valley Torrontés 2015

Torrontés is a grape that can yield highly variable results, especially in the hands of the wrong winemaker. The poor versions are often flat and soapy, while the best Torrontés wines exhibit expressive aromatic and floral character that delights the senses. This wine is one of those delights. It comes from vines grown at some of the highest elevations in the mountainous Salta region. These cool-zone conditions deliver bright fruit, brilliant aromatics and zesty acid. There is plenty of citrus fruit on nose and palate, firm minerals and an elegant mouth feel. The finish is long with lingering minerals. Exceptional value!

Extra dry, White wine – $15.95 per bottle

Argentina, Mendoza – Viña Cobos Felino Malbec 2015

Here we have an intense, full-bodied, well-structured Malbec that will appeal to all. It is loaded with concentrated, ripe fruit – plum, blueberry and black currant, along with some modest oak character, spice and earth notes. The structure is notable with assertive acid and finely-grained tannins. This a great wine for stews and roasted red meats.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

France, South West – AOC Madiran Château Peyros 2011

For the second release in a row we have a Madiran, this time made in the modern style. Modern in this case means the winemaker has intervened to tame the rustic tannins and thus soften the wine so it is ready for early consumption. This wine is an appealing blend of Tannat with Cabernet Franc, a combination that delivers bright, juicy texture along with expressive red and black berry fruit, garrigue and herb notes. This is an amazing-good value wine.

Extra dry, red wine – $16.95 per bottle

South Africa, Stellenbosch – WO Simonseg-Stellenbosch Rustenberg Merlot 2014

Ever since the entertaining movie, Sideways, many wine lovers – including me – stutter over Merlot when they think of Miles and his extreme distaste for the grape. This said, I believe the Rustenberg should erase any doubts: Merlot makes a fine wine when the fruit is carefully nurtured and the winemaker lets the fruit speak, unadorned. In fact, I think Stellenbosch does Merlot as well as any region in the world, Old or New. The fruit is intense, the acid is juicy, the tannins are round, the body is medium-plus in weight and the finish is long. Structure, balance, brilliant palate expression: this wine has a lot going for it!

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

 à bientôt…

Copyright © W. John Switzer 2003 – 2017

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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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