If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages...
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 5, 2011
If you’d like to discover the wines of lesser known regions, the March 5 LCBO Vintages release is for you. There are two features, the first a double. It highlights wines of Argentina, shining a light on such areas as Neuquén, in Patagonia, Salta, in the country’s far north, and San Juan, the second-largest wine-producing region in the country; and wines of Chile, offering examples from hilly Leyda and the Limarí Valley. The second feature moves to Italy’s lesser-known northern wine regions, such Trentino/Alto Adige, Friuli, Lombardia and Liguria. A difficult climate and mountainous landscape challenge the skills and creativity of local winemakers.
Among the wines in the main release are several from ‘virtual’ Ontario wineries, a fabulous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and some nice values from southern France. Such a challenge to remain within the budget, but I hope you’ll enjoy the selection below.
Bodegas Callia ‘Magna’ Shiraz 2008
Tulum Valley, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #218818) 14.0% alcohol
This is a dense powerfully flavourful wine that captivates with aromas of dark fruit, licorice and sweet spice. Warm and peppery on the palate, it’s awash with ripe spicy berry fruit—blackberry and cassis to the fore—carried on a framework of firms tannins and balanced with fresh acidity. Well crafted, it offers attractive notes of dark toast on a lengthy finish. It will cellar for a few years, but you’ll probably want to enjoy it right now!
Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio 2009
Südtirol, DOC Alto Adige, Italy
$18.95 (Vintages #681429) 13.0% alcohol
From a member of the reputed Grandi Marchi, this is a delightful wine that proffers a bouquet of lightly spiced flowers and a basket of orchard fruit. A backbone of vibrant acidity carries the tasty flavours of sweet stone and tree fruit through a scrumptious finely balanced finish. Enjoy it now with pan-fried sole or a warm grilled chicken salad.
Nyarai Cellars ‘Veritas’ 2007
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$24.95 (Vintages #222794) 13.0% alcohol
A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, this ruby gem offers complexity and harmony. Fruity on the nose and the palate, there are aromatic nuances of cedar, red licorice and a spicy floral note. Replay on the palate – sweetly fruity, with some nuances of herb & toast. Dry, medium bodied, with well integrated tannins and fine acidity, the wine offers lovely balance and an intensely flavourful finish, redolent of ripe fruit, sweet spice and cocoa. Approachable & enjoyable now, it will cellar medium term.
Domaine des Mascarons Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2009
AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France
$15.95 (Vintages #142174) 15.0% alcohol
This value-packed blend of Grenache & Syrah displays attractive aromas of sweet berry fruit, spiced vanilla and some earthy notes. On the palate, it’s dry, medium bodied, and that fresh, vibrant, fruit—raspberry, blackberry—is nicely balanced with equally fresh acidity and ripe tannins. Persistent earthiness and spicy toasty notes add complexity. There’s some peppery warmth on the finish as well as lovely notes of dark toast and a trace of dark chocolate. This is an excellent value and would be well matched with pepper steak.
Terre di Rubinoro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006
DOCG Montepulciano, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #206862) 13.5% alcohol
Fragrant with vivid red berry fruit, spice, cedar and hints of leather add complexity. Dry, medium bodied, and silky in texture, the wine offers the harmony of fine tannins, fruity acidity, tangy berry fruit—raspberry blueberry pie comes to mind—and subtle spiciness. Such a lovely balance, refreshing texture and finish draw you back for just another sip. Another excellent value that will cellar mid term – don’t pass it up.
Grand Total: $93.75
More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion?
I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.
Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages. Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine. And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more. Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!
Tags: Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio 2009, Bodegas Callia ‘Magna’ Shiraz 2008, Domaine des Mascarons Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2009, good value wines, If I had $100, March 5 2011 LCBO Vintages release, Metro Ottawa, Nyarai Cellars ‘Veritas’ 2007, Savvy Company, Susan Desjardins, Terre di Rubinoro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2006, wine recommendations by accredited Sommelier