Posted by DebbieFriday, January 9th, 2015
I can hardly believe that I am writing 2015! And what better way to start the new year but with “The Smart Buys Issue” from Vintages. This makes my homework really easy when there are so many tried & true great value wines. I am also happy to report that the several new wines to LCBO`s Vintages do not break the bank.
Vintages magazine states, “The definition of value is the quality of something compared to the price paid for it”. Many times I have written about finding an outstanding wine at a popular price point. It really feels like a bargain although I’m never sure of the price you can put on real quality. After all there are some quality wines at $15 and also at $20. So in this release, I challenge you to find your smart buys, albeit I‘ll help with a few suggestions in this shopping list below.
This Smart Buys issue also celebrates the 256th birthday of Robbie Burns and while I didn’t get around to tasting the Bunnahabhain 18-year old Islay Single Malt at $179.95 (Vintages #247049), I’ll bet you for those malt fans out there, it would not disappoint.
So let’s start our new year out right with some “smart buys” and we’ll just go from there.
If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday January 10, 2015
VQA Okanagan, British Columbia
$17.95 (Vintages # 126912) 13% alcohol
With the highest elevation vineyard in the Okanagan Valley this lovely Chardonnay is an example of what British Columbia grapes can produce. Pale in colour, fruity, crisp, light and smooth, with tastes of soft apricots and almonds on the palate. It is a delicate Chardonnay with a soft buttery finish and a little lime zest. This white wine is wonderful on its own or try this with some Mac n’ Cheese – Monday night dinners will never be the same.
Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages # 388363) 13% alcohol
You just have to love a wine called “Haha” and I’m not sure if the winemaker was wanting to play a trick, but there was nothing tricky about this fabulous Sauvignon Blanc. Looking into it further, Hãhã is a Mãori word which means savoury and luscious. I`ll buy that! The usual culprits descriptors for Sauvignon Blanc spring to mind: grapefruit and lime citrus, a little gooseberry (also known as cat’s pee – strangely, this is a good thing!). This white wine is lively with a little pithiness on the finish and lots of fresh pizzazz. Your taste buds burst with saliva which makes it a fabulous appertif. With some fig and hazelnut Raincoast crackers and soft cheese in an endive leaf it would be divine. A lovely new Sauvignon Blanc at a very nice price point.
Brown Brothers, Tasmania
$23.95 (Vintages # 317966) 14% alcohol
On the east coast in Tasmania’s Tamar river valley lies the Devil’s Corner Vineyard. No doubt named on account of a treacherous bend in the river the winery has become a sanctuary for growing several award winning varietals entrenched deep with family history. Soft aromas of cherries with herbs, a little forest floor and ripe plums on the palate to give this medium bodied, silky gem a delicious mouthfeel. Fine tannins and refreshing acidity make it an attractive companion with everything from charcuterie to rabbit.
DO Carinena, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages # 166579) 13% alcohol
A beautiful deep ruby red wine with a heady blend of Grenache, Carignan and Tempranillo grapes, all being aged in either American or French oak for approximately 12 months. Rich ripe fruits in the aromas; black ripe plums and cherries spring to mind that carry through on the palate with a little vegetal, peppery taste that adds interest to the melange of flavours. There’s little sweet spice on the long finish that makes this a lovely wine to sip on its own or with any grilled meats or strong cheese. There’s also enough fruit that I would say you could cellar for a couple of years.
IGP Cotes Catalanes, Roussillon, France
$14.95 (Vintages # 395236) 14% alcohol
After tasting some wines I have to go back and look at the price point, just to confirm I hadn’t mistaken it for more than its actual price tag. This is one of those wines that tastes like it is $10 more! Bright ruby and garnet with rich ripe currants and blackberries in the aromas and tastes. It’s full bodied and fruity with sweet spices lingering through the soft tannins in the aftertaste. It would be wonderful with any wintery roast with all the trimmings.
Grand Total: $ 89.75 (look what I’ve saved you already!)