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Saturday March 21, 2020 - Vintages Release Report

19 Mar 2020

 

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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 … Classic Euro Regions (CER) & Okanagan & Annapolis (O&A)

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 …

53 wines were NOT offered for tasting –
plus 11 (all) “Flagship Exclusives” (aka. In Store Discoveries)

The Skinny … As we are all stuck indoors and in need of a distraction, the LCBO has remained steadfastly open (thankfully) though they have also limited their hours and the amount of people allowed in store at any one time … have no fear I don’t see the booze store closing for good any time soon as the country needs alcohol to stay calm. This report will be the last for the next few months as the LCBO has limited media access to their building. All that said and done, there are some really nice values in this release, which has been sorely missing from previous releases – check out my Best Values at the bottom of the report.

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Argentina …
Catena Zapata 2017 Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay ($19.95 - #10964) – a wine that is just this side of too oaky but still with nice vanilla, apple, apricot and caramel.  (*** ½+)

Australia …
Wakefield 2018 Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay ($16.95 - #711556) – subtle butterscotch with good acidity, apple, pear and pretty peach.  (*** ½+)

Canada (British Columbia) …
Burrowing Owl 2016 Merlot ($39.95 - #585737) – leather, blueberry, cedar and pepper.  (*** ½) … O&A
Canada (Ontario) … click on wine name for full review
Casa-Dea 2016 Reserve Chardonnay ($26.95 - #546812) - ****
Fogolar 2015 Picone Vineyard Cabernet Franc ($43.95 - #11961) - *** ½+

France (Bordeaux) …
Charme d’Alienor Brut Cremant de Bordeaux ($17.95 - #483008) – this Semillon based traditional method bubble also has 10% Cabernet Franc in it – lovely acidity with tangerine freshness with some floral and ginger ale notes.  (****)
Chateau Vieux Chaigneau 2015 ($34.95 - #11831) – a not too expensive, age-able Bordeaux that has smoky, mocha and dark fruit coming at you from all sides.  (****) … CER
France (Burgundy) …
Domaine Chevallier 2018 Chablis ($25.95 - #112227) – nice mouthfeel, subtle buttery notes, mac apple and lemon.  (*** ½+) … CER
Domaine Mazilly Pere & Fils 2017 Clos du Bois Prevot Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes de Beaune ($28.95 - #11904) – simple and easy with cran-cherry and herbal enotes.  (*** ½) … CER
Louis Bouillot 2015 Perle Rare Brut Cremant de Bourgogne ($21.95 - #178137) – plain bubble but it has the prerequisite biscuit and toasty notes.  (*** ½)
France (Lauguedoc) …
Domaine de la Baume 2017 Les Thermes Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.95 - #12993) – earthy and smoky with dark fruit, black cherry and chocolate; it has a lovely sweet fruit finish that will have you sipping all night long.  (****+)
France (Loire) …
Guy Saget 2018 Sancerre ($29.95 - #10626) – slightly bitter on the finish with notes of asparagus, herbal and lemon zest.  (*** ½) … CER
France (Rhone) …
Domaine Autrand 2017 Cotes du Rhone-Villages ($15.95 - #200030) – see full review here.  (****+) … CER
Xavier 2016 Vieilles Vignes Cotes du Rhone ($20.95 - #12987) – peppery, coffee, mocha and dark fruit.  (*** ½) … CER

Germany …
Dr. Loosen 2017 Erdender Treppchen Riesling Kabinett ($29.95 - #393181) – nice acid and mineral notes with apple and pear fruit.  (*** ½+) … CER

Greece …
Mega Spileo 2018 Cuvee III White ($17.95 - #14186) – refreshing white with lime, peach and apricot.  (*** ½)

Italy (Piedmont) …
Vite Colte 2013 Essenze del Comune di Serralunga D’Alba Barolo ($47.95 - #576801) – sour cherry, herbal and anise with a real lengthy finish.  (*** ½) … CER
Italy (Tuscany) …
Marchesi Mazzei 2016 Belguardo Tirrenico ($29.95 - #12093) – nice silky palate with a mix of red and dark fruit plus a little mocha on the finish.  (****) … CER
Rocca delle Macie 2016 Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico ($24.95 - #930966) – smoky, mocha, black cherry with cocoa and cedar on the finish.  (*** ½+) … CER
Italy (Veneto) …
Pagus Bisano 2017 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore ($19.95 - #536748) – a nice balance of juicy blue and black fruit with notes of chocolate, cherry and savory notes on the finish.  (****) … CER

Portugal …
Guarda Rios 2017 Signature Red ($14.95 - #11151) – fruit driven red with plum, cherry and floral; very drinkable.  (*** ½+)
Jose Maria Fonseca 2012 Moscatel de Setubal ($16.95 - #14047) – a whimsical sweetie that’s full of peach, apricot and honeyed orange peel, plus a little note of black tea to confuse the mind and please the palate.  (****)
Noval Black Reserve Port ($22.95 - #235689) – gotta love slick ports like this one, good acid backbone with loads of plum, black cherry and mocha – it’s one part fresh and one part full bodied.  (****) … CER

South Africa …
Le Riche 2016 Richesse ($23.95 - #13320) – smoky, mocha, black cherry and earthy.  (*** ½)

Spain …
Valdelacierva 2014 Reserva ($24.95 - #13627) – cedar, mocha, black fruit and a plummy finish.  (*** ½) … CER

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If You Can Afford It:  wines worth their high price …
Michele Castellani 2015 Cinque Stelle Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Italy ($53.95 - #75127) - *** ½ … CER
Piper-Heidsieck 2012 Brut Champagne, France ($79.95 - #409326) - **** … CER


Best Values in this Release - (March 21, 2020) …
Charme d’Alienor Brut Cremant de Bordeaux ($17.95 - #483008) – France
Domaine Autrand 2017 Cotes du Rhone-Villages ($15.95 - #200030) – France
Domaine de la Baume 2017 Les Thermes Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.95 - #12993) – France
Pagus Bisano 2017 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore ($19.95 - #536748) – Italy

 

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