LCBO Vintages release – July 9, 2016 (WVN 241)

This weekend’s Vintages release anticipates the upcoming International Cool-Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) with a number of Chardonnays from around the world on offer.  One, from Niagara, makes my list.

For details on i4C go to

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Twenty Mile Bench Flat Rock Cellars The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2013

This wine is a bit more pricey than the TWR norm but rest assured, this is a value winner.  It is a bright, solid, food-friendly wine with fine balance and character that punches well above its price.  It shows concentrated apple, lemon, pear fruit with a modest amount of smoke and oak to lend complexity without diminishing the bright, assertive fruit. The acid is crisp and tart with a slight spicy edge and firm minerality on the mid palate. This is star and it will move quickly this weekend.

Extra dry, white wine – $24.95 per bottle

Ontario, Niagara – VQA Niagara Peninsula Tawse Gamay Noir 2014

This is the first of two wines made with the Gamay Noir grape – unusual for TWR perhaps, but both are worthy of your attention. Gamay is another variety that does well in Niagara, along with the more visible Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. This is a fine rendition with cherry-berry fruit flavours and aromas, light-weight, soft tannins, crisp acid and a long finish. This is a serious Gamay with modest oak treatment that barely shows. This is a fine wine for grilled salmon or chicken.  Serve at your patio lunch on a hot weekend afternoon – lightly chill for best results.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.20 per bottle

France, Burgundy – AOC Morgon Georges Deboeuf Domaine Mont Chavy 2013

Morgon is one of the most notable crus in the Beaujolais appellation, known for the fullness and age ability of its wines. This is the second wine in this weekend’s selection made from Gamay Noir and it shows the characteristic profile of the appellation: aromatic, ripe black cherry and plum flavours,  intense, tannic, savoury, spicy and crisp. This wine will soften over the next couple of years but can be enjoyed now.  Buy this wine along with the Tawse (above) and do an A-B comparison…

Extra dry, red wine – $21.95 per bottle

Italy, Alto Adige – DOC Valle Isarco Alto Adige Abbazia di Novacella Müller Thurgau 2014

Müller Thurgau is a grape from the species vitis vinifera that has a spotty reputation largely for its role as the main grape of the now-infamous sweet Liebfraumilch wines such as Blue Nun and Black Tower – the wines we boomer wine lovers cut our baby teeth on.  It is a variety that grows easily in a variety of soil and climate conditions and has an assertive fruit expression.  This wine has notable aromatics, the signature assertive fruit and more acidity and mineral expression than the norm due to its provenance in the cool Dolomite region of northern Italy. Lemon, spice, pear and apple combine for an inviting complex palate.  This is a delightful wine for summer meals.

Extra dry, white wine – $19.95 per bottle

Italy, Tuscany – DOCG Chianti Classico Villa del Cigliano 2013

Here we have an exceptional value summer-weight Chianti Classico with all the elements we seek in this denominazione: bright red cherry-cranberry fruit, assertive crisp acid, dusty tannins, medium body, juicy texture and modest alcohol.  This is a well-balanced and finely-structured wine for a very good price.  Serve (lightly chilled) with grilled red meats.

Extra dry, red wine – $19.95 per bottle

à bientôt…

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