April 2022 - November 2021 Vintages Releases + Other Wines

24 Jun 2022

Since there are no Vintages tastings at the LCBO head office these days, I must rely on what comes to the door for my tasting notes … below you will find a number of different sources for wines: agents, general list, wines not available at present, etc. but all-in-all these are the bottles I recommend that were released, from April 2022 all the way back to November 2021 ... plus the other stuff.

 

June 2022

Kim Crawford Extra Dry Prosecco DOCCrawford Prosecco
$22.95 – Italy – LCBO #25374
Yes, that New Zealand Kim Crawford, but now they are headed to Europe to try their hand at the Italian staples sparkling. It starts off a little vegetal, but soon that blows off and delivers on white fruits of pear and green apple with hints of nectarine. It's well balanced and pleasant – and I am pleasantly surprised.  (*** ½+)

 

April 2022

MassardBernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Écusson Brut Sparkling
$20.95 – Luxembourg – LCBO #970970
A traditional-method sparkling wine from Luxembourg. Nice hints of bread crust along with apple, bosc pear, melon and a fun little earthy finish that leans apple and pear skin. A great sparkling find.  (****+)

Château Le Grand Retour 2019 Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône-Villages
$16.95 – France – LCBO #224592
This Grenache (70%), Syrah (20%) and Mourvèdre (the rest of it) blend is brimming with juicy black currant aromas and rich fruit flavours match on the nose. It’s an affordable wine that would benefit from a few years in the cellar, but no judgement if you decide to drink it now.  (****+)

Idi di Marzo 2019, Montepulciano d’AbruzzoIdi di Marzo
$13.95 - Italy – LCBO #23862
A red fruit nose leads to a palate of red and black licorice, plus some smooth and silky raspberry across the tongue ... It's well balanced and claims a 13% alcohol on the label (maybe that’s accurate, but I doubt it). The plastic cork indicates a drink now wine – so do that.  (*** ½+)

Kim Crawford, 2019 Pinot Gris
$19.95 – New Zealand – LCBO #25374
This hit me like a hammer, so I let a few other people try it, and no one guessed it to be Pinot Gris, which at times can be a good thing. Peach, baked apple, and a little citrus pith note that keeps things interesting and a finish with good length. It's a complex Gris, which is not often said about wines from this grape. Perfect patio sipper.  (****)


January 2022

Buti 2019 Nages Rouge
$16.95 – France – LCBO #20637
Tasty Southern France red: blueberry, cassis, smoke cherry and Smoky-raspberry with a little coffee bean on the finish.  (*** ½)

Buti 2020 Nages White
$16.95 – France _ LCBO #20906
A very citrus dominated white with grapefruit leading the charge, doling out both its pith and zest ... Fresh and lively, interesting and fun.  (*** ½+)


December 2021 …

Lungarotti 2018 Rubesco Rosso Di Torgiano
$19.95 – Italy – LCBO #368548
This cherry and red berry–forward Umbrian wine is a blend of the Sangiovese and Colorino grapes, fermented in stainless steel before being barrel-aged for 12 months prior to bottling. To bring out its best qualities, decant it for a bit before drinking.  (****)


November 2021 …

Trapiche 2017 Gran Medalla Malbec
$28.95 – Argentina – LCBO #467977
A great collection starter, this bottle needs a few years in the cellar (or at least a proper decanting) before it’s ready to drink, but the reward seems promising. It’s full bodied, with juicy blueberry and blackberry notes.  (****)

UnanimeLa Mascota 2017 Unánime Gran Vino Tinto
$29.95 – Argentina – LCBO #466938
This rich, red blend is made from hand-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, and aged in French oak barrels for 20 months. The tannin is soft and well-integrated, making this wine easy to drink now, but can be left in the cellar for 10 to 15 years.  (****+)


Vintages Essential …

Chateau Ste Michelle 2020 Chardonnay
$19.95 – Washington – LCBO #232439
This wine checks all the boxes if you’re big on chardonnay. Warm-climate notes on the nose with tangerine? Check. Orchard fruit flavours with a bit of baking spice? Check and check. It’s broad on the back palate with nice texture, but bright acidity keeps this wine perfectly balanced.  (****)

La Crema 2020 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
$30.00 - California – LCBO #962886
Creamy, smooth entry and mid-palate; the vanilla oak note rides a wave of pineapple, mango and papaya. The acidity is subtle and the spice gentle. A pretty bottle of Cali-Chard, not the best from La Crema, but good and one fan should enjoy.  (*** ½+)

Kendall Jackson, 2020 Chardonnay, Vintner's Reserve Kendall Jackson
$21.95 - California – LCBO #369686
Kendall-Jackson just makes very pleasing Chardonnay for the Cali Chardonnay loving crowd: here it’s vanilla, pineapple with subtle acidity - there's also peach and mango with a creamy middle that leads to a long finish.  (****)

Robert Mondavi 2018 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
$54.95 – California – LCBO #255513
Strong aromas of cassis, blueberry, blackberry and hints of cedar and smoke. This wine needs a bit of patience: be ready to decant for several hours to tame the firm tannins; or better yet: stash it away for five years.  (****)


General List …

Boekenhoutskloof 2020 Wolftrap
$14.50 - South Africa – LCBO #292557
The smokiness on the nose makes way for juicy cherry and blackberry notes on the palate. And for a wine that’s rated as bone-dry, the fruity flavours explode on the palate and the finish.  (*** ½+)

Chapoutier 2020 Belleruche Cote Du Rhône Blanc
$17.55 – France – LCBO #245340
Honey and lanolin with some apple and apricot get this party started; then there’s a turn towards notes of citrus (pith and zest) with a pleasing note of minerality on the finish. The 2019 version of this wine is also quite tasty too.  (****)

Chateau de Montgueret Crémant de Loire Brut
$20.95 – France – LCBO #217760
Grabbing a bottle of crémant is a great way to get wine made in a Champagne style without the Champagne price tag. This bone-dry bubbly opens up with aromas of lime zest, granny smith apple and mineral. The mouthfeel is bright, light and crisp, with hints of apple that linger on the finish.  (*** ½+)

Citra Montepulciano D’Abruzzo
$10.00 – Italy – LCBO #446633
A solidly enjoyable wine with hints of smoke layered over ripe blueberry and cherry flavours. It’s dry, but with a hint of sweetness, the lingering finish helps enlivens the fruit.  (*** ½)

MaxErrazuriz 2018 Max
$20.00 – Chile – LCBO #335174
Widely considered one of the best vintages to come out of Chile in recent years, which is saying something for a country that consistently produces outstanding vintages. This truly might be the best Max tried to date. It’s dominated by dark fruit (plus floral and cocoa notes play supporting roles). Nice complexity and a long finish.  (****+)

Georges Duboeuf 2020 Beaujolais Brouilly
$20.10 – France – LCBO #213934
Brouilly is the southernmost and largest of the Beaujolais crus. This particular wine is a medium-bodied wine that offers up dense notes of cherry and plum. The silky tannin makes for an elegant finish, but the structure of this wine will evolve even further in a cellar over the next 3 years.  (****)

Lisbon by Night 2018 Red Blend Lisboa
$10.05 – Portugal – LCBO #18998
This is lovely and chuggable wine with plenty of character. Flavours of cocoa and mocha are followed by black cherry and plum, and the tannins are soft and supple. The Starry Night–inspired label is a nice treat.  (*** ½+)

Masi 2018 Campofiorin Masi campo
$22.95 - Italy – LCBO #155051
Rated as a five-star vintage by Masi themselves, probably one of the toughest ratings to get; they then proudly display this rating above the vintage date. This wine does not disappoint. Lots of plum and black cherry lead things off as the aromas and palate are very fruit forward, and the balance is there, as the wine is listed at 13%. There's subtle herbal and great spice notes - and the acidity is totally on point. Will only get better with age, but is drinking very well right now.  (**** ½)

Peljesac 2019 Red
$15.00 - Croatia – LCBO #460873
Ever heard of Plavac Mali? There’s a decent chance you haven’t. This bottle is a great introduction. This Croatian grape is versatile and can be found in wines both light and full-bodied. This bottle belongs to the former camp, offering up elegant notes of cherry and hints of spice on the finish.  (****)

Perrier-Jouët NV Grand Brut Champagne
$76.05  – France – LCBO #155341
A super-yummy bottle of Champagne; the rich mouthfeel has a Wonder Bread quality to its smoothness, but by the time you get to the finish, the acidity has taken over and all you get is apple, lime, almond and even a buttery croissant-like note to the finish.  (**** ½)

Robertson Winery 2021 Chenin Blanc
$10.50 - South Africa – LCBO #495507
If you’ve never tried South African Chenin, here’s a great place to start without breaking the bank. It starts and finishes with some seemingly sweet notes—but it’s the fruit that’s sweet, not sugar addition. Delicious apple and pear with just a touch of lemon drop for balance. Drink it now.  (*** ½+)

Slow Press 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
$19.00 – California – LCBO #15760
The fruit-forward this well-balanced bottle was sourced from three key growing regions in California: Paso Robles, San Lucas and Lake County. It spent six months sucking in American and French oak barrels, taking from them just a hint of vanilla. It’s listed as bone-dry, but fruit-juicy.  (*** ½+)

Te Awa 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, Left Field
$22.95 - New Zealand – LCBO #487496
It's been a few years since I've seen Left Field on shelves, so it's good to see an old friend back: this vintage has lots of peach, passionfruit and grapefruit; the acidity is a little muted, but it’s still a tasty bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  (*** ½+)

Villa Sandi NV Prosecco
$16.95 – Italy – LCBO #394387
Prosecco generally feels like great value when you’re craving bubbles, and this bargain-priced bottle even more so. With complex aromas and flavours of white flour, melon and apple, you might think twice about dumping this into a mimosa.  (*** ½)

Wold BlassWolf Blass 2020 Yellow Label Shiraz
$18.00 – Australia – LCBO #506691
Textbook Australian Shiraz with jammy notes, bursting through with plum and cassis. There’s also smoke and vanilla that adds some complexity to all that juicy fruit flavours. It’s a super-smooth, well-balanced sip.  (****)


Agent Only …

Bocale 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino
$52.00 - Italy – Apparition (agent)
Plenty of dark fruit and cedar notes greet both the nose and tongue. Mid-palate is smoky- tobacco and cigar ash-esque with notes of cocoa, red currant and white smoke bringing up the rear. A solidly good wine, that has tannin grip, but it’s not the usual mouth ripper from this region.  (****)

Bocale 2018 Rosso Sagrantino Bocale
$32.00 - Italy – Apparition (agent)
Wow ... Simply wow ... This Rosso is a beauty with its juicy red fruit, cassis, tobacco, lovely spice notes and good acidity to keep it fresh and lively on the palate. I kept sipping and sipping until I looked at the alcohol: 15%, then I slowed down. Still a beauty bottle for sipping or for dinner, just keep that alcohol in mind.  (****+)


Coming Soon / Already Gone (Look for next release) …

Cono Sur 2019 Carmenere, Le Rinconada - Single Vineyard Number 28
Chile – No date of distribution
Nice to see someone who knows their way around the finicky Carmenere grape. There's some earthy nuances here, plus some smoky and herbal characteristics. The fruit hits in the cassis realm and there's also coffee bean and spice all wrapped in a medium length finish. It's a lovely Carmenere from a grape that doesn’t see enough love and get enough respect.  (****)

Cono Sur 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Suelo de Piedras - Single Vineyard Number 18
Chile – No date of distribution
Super cherry-mocha and spiced-red plum start, and it just keeps getting better from there as it opens up in steps: subtle oak, cinnamon, more spiced plum, this time it's of the darker variety and some strawberry – cherry finishes it all off and lingers a long time. This fine bottle of Chilean Cab hits all the right notes, all that's missing is the mint, maybe it just needs time.  (****+)

Gancia Prosecco Brut
Italy – No date of distribution
Bright orange label make it easy to find on shelves, because you'll want to experience this bubble with its pineapple, peach and melon; an easy drinking Italian fizz.  (*** ½)

Kendall-Jackson, 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
California – No date of distribution
First thing I noticed here is the impressive acidity in this California Cab, then came the plum, tobacco, cassis and long finish. Impressive indeed.  (****)

 

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