One of the sure signs of spring is when California rolls into town for their annual Wine Fair. Always a date on the wine event calendar, this year they are stopping in at Ottawa on April 10 and Toronto on April 13. Aligned with their arrival, the LCBO stocks some extra special California wines in Vintages with the latest release.
I was away on holidays (unfortunately not California!) so Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins did the hard job of tasting the wines before they hit the store shelves. Here are her wine tips that will put a spring in your step and some smooth reds – from California and further afield – that will keep you warm on those days when winter seems that it will never ever leave.
Here is our shopping list…if I only had $100 to spend at Vintages this week.
If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages
March 21, 2015
AC Côtes du Rhône
$18.95 (Vintages #290296) 13.5% alcohol
Consistently and reliably tasty, this versatile white wine is wonderfully aromatic – spring time notions of white flowers, scents of peach, citrus and tropical notes drift from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, it’s smooth and ripe, notes of spice and a replay of luscious stone fruit bathing the palate. Well balanced, with a pleasing touch of bitterness on the finish, this is a great value. Enjoy with roasted spring chicken stuffed with lemon & herbs.
$13.95 (Vintages #354134) 14.5% alcohol
This is an unbelievable price! Made primarily from Negrette grapes (an unusual grape variety), then blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, this red wine has an earthy note—reminiscent of freshly pulled beets—that drifts over the aromas of berry and plum, licorice and spice. Dry, full bodied, the concentrated dark fruit flavours wash across the palate, tinged with a replay of licorice and spice, while that that earthy note persists. Firm in structure, clean in texture, the wine offers a long-lasting and fruit-filled finish. Serve with duck confit and be wowed, or splash some into your glass with leftovers.
$16.95 (Vintages #325407) 14.5% alcohol
This Syrah is an excellent value red wine – period. Good complexity, a well-defined structure and great depth of fruit. On the nose, there are lifted aromas of spice and pepper, dark berries and cherry, with just a whiff of dried herbs. Dry, full bodied, it’s plush and warm, loaded with powerful fruit flavours, notes of chocolate and toast, and a warm, fruity finish. Want me to go on anymore? For this price, serve this as your house red while the snow melts.
$21.95 (Vintages #396499) 14.5% alcohol
How to warm up on a chilly night? Look no further for this plush wine with great concentration of fruit flavours. On the nose, cherry, berry, kirsch, spice and vanilla burst through. Dry, medium-full bodied, the intense berry fruit is balanced by a certain freshness to the texture and firm ripe tannins. Tasty, spicy and smooth, get into the habit of firing up the BBQ and enjoy this red wine anything off the grill.
I have a confession to make…
Being on a budget of $100, I wanted to make sure that there was some money in the bank to add a California wine to this shopping list. No matter how hard I try, I sill came over budget by $8. Hopefully you will forgive me and return enough empty wine bottles to make up the overage!
$35.95 (Vintages #652875) 14.2% alcohol
Principally Zinfandel, this blend is of both grape varieties and terroirs to showcase great depth and intensity of aromas and flavours. Opulent fruit is showcased—dark berry and black cherry—mingling with sweet notes of spice and vanilla, with a dash of cracked black pepper. Dry, big and bold, this red wine has polished tannins and plush texture that make it dreamy. Finishing long and warm, it will be a great match for barbequed ribs.