Saturday July 20, 2019 - Vintages Release Report

18 Jul 2019

 

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Key to the 5-star rating system:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good

Wine colour indicators - Red, Whites, etc.

The Foci … 20 Under 20 (2U2) and Fresh Italian Whites (FIW)

The New Normal … The LCBO has curbed our tasting of Vintages releases by almost half – they are “curating” what we taste, so instead of finding those gems from the full list of wines being released the LCBO is telling us what they want us to taste and then we are to pick the gems out of those wines …

45 wines were NOT offered for tasting –
plus 18 “Flagship Exclusives” (aka. In Store Discoveries)

The Skinny … Seems like a repeat of the "Best Buys" release that the LCBO does on the first release of the year in January - but wait, there are actually a few good wines to be had in this "under $20" go around, plus there’s a handful of nice Italian whites - sadly the LCBO is still blocking the media from tasting everything, which makes me ask: What are they trying to hide? Or is this just another way to squeeze as much money out of their monopoly status and improve the bottom line so that privatization doesn't look as appealing to our current provincial government? Either way it is a travesty. In the end it is you, the consumer, who suffers – but why should the LCBO care about that.

Argentina …
The Owl & The Dust Devil 2015 ($29.95 - #646695) – Red blend with a big hit of spice, cassis undertones, smoky, black cherry and some bittersweet cocoa on the finish.  (****)

Australia …
Thomas Goss 2016 Shiraz ($16.95 - #927723) – lots of awards and high scores, but that’s a little misleading, it’s a good wine though: meaty bacon fat, smoky blackberry and peppery.  (*** ½+) – 2U2

Canada (British Columbia) …
Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Merlot ($29.95 - #553313) – click here for full review … ****
Canada (Ontario) … click on wine name for full review
Featherstone 2018 Rosé ($15.95 - #117861) … *** ½+

France (Burgundy) …
Bouchard Pere & Fils 2015 Les Deux Loups Rouge ($15.95 - #648493) – playful cran-cherry, nice white pepper, slightly earthy, good structure.  (****)
France (Lauguedoc) …
Gerard Bertrand 2016 Minervois Syrah/Carignan ($17.95 - #952804) - it has a silky smooth mouthfeel with lots of dark fruit and a slight meaty note with hints of pepper.  (****) – 2U2  
France (Loire) …
Thierry Delaunay 2018 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc ($16.95 - #391847) – toned down from any New Zealand version you’ve tried with an almost creamy grapefruit and grassy finish.  (*** ½)
France (Rhone) …
Xavier Vignon 2017 Ventoux ($16.95 - #413211) – pretty with its floral, cherry, raspberry and cocoa-mocha finish.  (****) – 2U2
France (Roussillon) …
Gerard  Bertrand 2016 Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache ($19.95 - #413245) - cassis, plum, and mocha notes; this one is soft and supple, very BBQ-ready with lots of dark fruit and plumy-ness to spare, good accompaniment with a meal or on its own.  (*** ½+) – 2U2  

Germany …
Max Ferd, Richter 2016 Elisenberger Kabinett Riesling ($24.95 - #665984) – sweet but with mineral/stony backing and pleasant apple fruit.  (*** ½)

Greece …
Cavino Muscat ($12.95 / 500ml - #113092) – floral, pineapple with subtle notes of honey.  (*** ½)

Italy (Abruzzo) …
Citra 2017 Ferzo Abruzzo Pecorino Superiore ($17.95 - #573683) – lively green apple, stony-mineraility and lanolin, well-priced and easy to drink.  (*** ½) – FIW
Italy (Campania) …
Lava 2017 Greco di Tufo ($19.95 - #631739) – lime, honey, mineral with a grapefruit pith finish; also, the packaging on this one is fun.  (*** ½+) – FIW
Terre Stregate Svelato 2016 Falanghina del Sannio ($18.95 - #486076) – lanolin, lemon and notes of citrus pith.  (*** ½+) – FIW  
Italy (Piedmont) …
Banfi 2018 Principessa Gavia Gavi ($19.95 - #250696) – click here for full review. (*** ½) – FIW
Italy (Veneto) …
Sergio Zenato2016 Riserva Lugana ($39.95 - #928218) – very very toasty, this Lugana grape is treated like Chardonnay with oaky, peachy, smoky and spicy notes.  (*** ½+) – FIW

New Zealand …
Thornbury 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ($18.95 - #734798) – gooseberry, grapefruit and grassy in spades, this wine has plenty of New Zealand Savvy typicity.  (*** ½) – 2U2

Portugal …
Casa Santos Lima 2016 Colossal Reserva ($15.95 - #548867) – friendly and fun, easy drinking with big fruit forward nature.  (*** ½) – 2U2

South Africa …
Bellingham 2017 Homestead Shiraz ($18.95 - #698290) – smoky, earthy, black fruit and tar.  (***+)
Rustenberg 2018Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc ($14.95 - #698274) – nice lanolin and baked apple, crisp and clean, drinks well.  (*** ½) – 2U2

Spain …
Balbas 2015 Barrica 5 Meses Old Vines Tempranillo ($15.95 - #543710) – smoky raspberry, meaty and peppery; this is great value.  (****) – 2U2
Finca Bacara 2017 Time Waits for No One Monastrell ($18.95 - #648196) – big on raspberry and vanilla.  (*** ½) – 2U2

United States (California) …
Bieler 2016 Born to Run Cabernet Sauvignon ($21.95 - #137034) – leathery, smoky, toasty, along with mocha black cherry; label is homage to BS: Bruce Springsteen.  (*** ½+)
For a Song 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #666057) – blue and black fruit with hints of vanilla, cherry with a cedar finish.  (*** ½+)
Simi 2018 Sonoma County Dry Rosé ($19.95 - #668467) – notes of strawberry, lime and apricot.  (***+)
United States (Oregon) …
Foris 2017 Chardonnay ($23.95 - #665943) – Cali-sunshine type white, but from Oregon, with pineapple, pear, melon, touch of stone; there’s a creaminess to the middle and nice acidity on the finish.  (*** ½+)
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Other Stuff That’s Fine, But It’s Not Wine …
Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($98.95 - #677047) … ****

Best Values in this Release - (July 20, 2019) …
Balbas 2015 Barrica 5 Meses Old Vines Tempranillo ($15.95 - #543710) – Spain
Bouchard Pere & Fils 2015 Les Deux Loups Rouge ($15.95 - #648493) – France
Xavier Vignon 2017 Ventoux ($16.95 - #413211) – France

 

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