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.



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.