LCBO Vintages release – February 4, 2017 (WVN 255)

This weekend’s Vintages release is arguably the overall best-value release we have seen in a long time.  There are plenty of exceptional wines across all price points but the coverage in my sweet spot (under $25 per bottle) is particularly noteworthy. We also have a run don’t walk wine.  The first in a while…

British Columbia, Okanagan Valley – Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling NV

Consider this wine as a great value sparkler for your Valentine’s Day dinner.  It is a made in the traditional method with 24 months of lees ageing in the bottle before disgorgement and shows fine complexity and character for the price. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris and it has a refined mouth feel with citrus and apple fruit, firm minerals and crisp acid.

Dry, sparkling wine – $28.95 per bottle

France, Loire Valley – AOP Bourgueil Domaine les Pins Cuvée Les Rochettes 2014

I think the red wines of the Loire Valley are the most under-rated value wines on the face of the planet. The best wines are made with Cabernet Franc, a grape that is usually blended with other varieties and is rarely vinified and bottled on its own, except in one other place where it prospers – Niagara.  These reds are bright and fresh with expressive fruit, brilliant acid, sleek, elegant tannins, modest alcohol and a WOW factor that usually elicits gasps of pleasant surprise. Les Rochettes is a Cabernet Franc classic with the elements we seek, along with a light green herbal character which is often found in wines from this cool zone. Excellent value and a fine match for roast rack of pork.

Dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle

Italy, Piedmont – DOC Monferrato Rosso Prunotto Mompertone 2014

Monferrato is a lesser denominazione in the Piedmont zone which is perfect for the value seeker:  good regional pedigree, not overly-appreciated by the serious collector and appealing character in the glass. This wine is a blend of Barbera and Syrah – curious, but it works. This is a wine to enjoy now and over the next year or two – it has ripe red and black fruit, a slight oaky character and a mouth feel that is round and easy with light, tart acid and soft tannins. The Mompertone is great value and will be a fine wine for late spring outdoor entertaining.

Extra dry, red wine – $18.95 per bottle

South Africa, Paarl – WO Paarl Avondale Jonty’s Ducks Pekin White 2015

South Africa is home to many wines that stand on their own as single-variety champions.  It is also a place know for blends that you will rarely find anywhere else.  Consider the Pekin White: it is a blend of Chenin Blanc combined with Rousanne, Muscat de Frontignac, Viognier and Semillon.  The wine has been vinified in a combination of stainless steel and oak with extended lees contact in both cases.  The result is a complex wine of surprising character at a price that makes Pekin White the first run don’t walk wine in a while. This is an aromatic delight with immense flavour complexity, fine structure and a fleshy texture that will please.  For the story of Jonty’s ducks check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgpnv1Df_OA&feature=youtu.be.

Dry, white wine – $15.95 per bottle

South Africa, Stellenbosch – WO Stellenbosch Rustenberg RM Nicholson 2014

We had a Rustenberg Merlot in the last release; this time around we have a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the same maker. There is black fruit, herbs, mint and spice on the nose and palate along with round tannins and bright, juicy acid.  The finish is long. This is a fruit-forward, full-bodied, intense wine with a structure that will support ageing for the next 5 to 7 years. This wine is made in a style that will appeal to lovers of Old World wines.

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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