Posted by SusanWednesday, March 16th, 2011
If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 19, 2011
The wines of the Iberian peninsula are featured in the March 19 LCBO Vintages release, including wines from Portugal’s Douro, Ribatejo and Alentejo appellations, the well-known Rioja of Spain, as well as less familiar Spanish regions such as Rías Baixas and Toro. I found that there are some intense flavourful value-laden wines from both countries. Iconic wines of California are also featured, including such legends as Opus One, Dominus, and Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon – wines to contemplate and to cellar. A personal favorite is Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon – I had the opportunity to hear him speak about his philosophy of winemaking, and appreciate his focus on varietal character and terroir.
The main release includes a couple of fine wines from Ontario’s great 2007 vintage, some tasty Shiraz from Australia, a great Cabernet/Carmenère blend from Chile, as well as a very flavourful Perrin & Fils from the Rhône. I couldn’t resist adding an optional wine from B.C., Mission Hill’s Quatrain. An embarrassment of riches, but we’ve stayed within (just) our self-imposed limit of $100. I hope you enjoy my wine recommendations.
Cistus Reserva 2007
DOC Douro, Portugal
$18.95 (Vintages #145052) 14.5% alcohol
Aged 15 months in French, American and Hungarian oak, this is an old-vines blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. Enjoy lifted aromas of sun-ripened berries, plums and notes of toffee and licorice. Approachable yet structured, harmonious and flavourful, this is a dry, delectable, medium-bodied wine displaying sweet ripe berry fruit, spice box and vanilla. Delightful notes of sweet cocoa and toast ripple through the fruity finish. To be savoured with hard cheeses or with robust meat dishes.
Leira Albariño 2009
DO Rías Baixas, Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #115816) 13.0% alcohol
A pale golden-green gem, this varietal of the Spanish northwest displays lovely fragrance—floral, citrus, mineral, and nuances of sweet stone fruit. Sweet stone fruit and citrus predominate on entry, the soft silky texture in counterpoint to lively acidity. Dry, medium bodied and tangy, the lasting finish offers a faint refreshing note of pithy citrus rind. Enjoy it with paella.
East Dell Sauvignon Blanc ‘Reserve’2009
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #222174) 12.5% alcohol
Here’s an appealing, fresh, vibrant wine, offering lifted aromas of citrus, tree fruit, tropical notes and a whiff of nettle. Smooth in texture and sweetly fruity on entry, it’s an invigorating mouthful of tangy acidity and clean citrus, gooseberry and tree fruit flavours, wrapping up in a lengthy lively finish. A great choice with smoked fish or a salad garnished with goat cheese.
Inniskillin ‘Winemaker’s Series Montague Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2007
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$24.95 (Vintages #997353) 13.0% alcohol
Cherry red, this is an impressive well-crafted wine with impact on the nose and palate, a fine expression of the 2007 vintage. The aromas are alluring and complex—earth, spice and ripe cherry/berry fruit. Dry, medium bodied, and smooth in texture, the tannins are ripe, the acidity lively. The intense fruit replays and persists through the dry finish with notes of sweet spice and toast, the earthiness a subtle presence. Savour a glass on its own, pair it with mushroom risotto, or cellar short term.
The Watcher 2008
Barossa Valley, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #219196) 14.5% alcohol
This is a dense inky Shiraz, dry yet fruity, loaded with spice and dark berry fruit– blueberry and blackberry. Mid-weight, soft in texture and generous, the flavours are reminiscent of favorite jams—blackberry, cassis and raspberry—yet it displays good balance. There’s a dollop of pepper and toast layered on the rich fruity finish.
Grand Total: $99.75
Wine worth the splurge:
Mission Hill Quatrain 2006
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$44.95 (Vintages #218636) 13.0% alcohol
Named due to its blend of four varietals—Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon—this is a dry powerful full bodied wine, the grapes hand picked and sorted, then fermented and aged in French oak. Almost black, it’s so dense, there’s great depth and complexity of aroma and flavour—cassis, blackberry, plum, sweet spice. It all comes together with subtlety and finesse, well integrated tannins, subtle acidity balancing the intense fruit, a smooth and velvety texture. Enjoy the persistent aftertaste, savoury notes of dark toast and chocolate complementing the deeply flavourful fruit. Beautiful now and a candidate for medium-term cellaring.
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!