Friday, March 18, 2011

LCBO / Vintages - March 19, 2011 Release

In the upcoming March 19th release there are over 65 wines rated at 88 and higher of these 26 are under $20. With so many great wines to choose from, it can be difficult to select just ten or twelve, so this week I will select a few more wines than normal, including some big price tag items, that would be fabulous for a special occasion or to share with your wine loving friends.

Great Wines - Top of Class / High Rating / High Price

The top California wineries feature some of their best products on this release. Caymus, Opus One and Robert Mondavi all have wines rated at 92+ that sell in a range of $120 to $180 per bottle. I remember buying the Mondavi reserve in the mid-90’s for $50/bottle. It was a truly great wine and was even better after it was aged for an additional 10 years. Unfortunately, I drank the last bottle over a year ago L. I have had the Opus One on several occasions and I fondly remember touring the winery 15 years ago and enjoying several glasses after the tour. Opus is truly unique in that they employ the most advanced scientific techniques and equipment to produce a wine that is similar from vintage to vintage regardless of the climate changes within those years. While some oenophiles may think this is a tad boring, I would never turn down a glass or two.

All that aside, if I were to select just one from this outstanding list, what would I suggest?

Mission Hill Quatrain 2006, VQA Okanagan Valley; British Columbia, Canada
#218636; Rating – 92; $44.95

This is a blend of 41% Syrah, 32% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon that is dark in colour, full bodied and with excellent to outstanding finish. Wine writer David Lawrason states that this wine compares equally well with the big California reds from Mondavi, Opus and Caymus …and at a fraction of the price. Decant now and serve with Lamb or age and wait another two or three years.

Value Wines – Under $30

Château Preuillac 2006, Ac Médoc; Bordeaux, France
# 713925; Rating – 89; $29.95

A wonderful left bank Bordeaux from the 2006 vintage. A medium-full bodied wine that you can drink now or age for another 1 to 5 years. A good value from Bordeaux.

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2009, Hemel En Aarde Valley, Do Walker Bay; South Africa
#931006; Rating – 91; $29.95

A clean, classy, elegant and refined style in an old world style. Terrific complexity, medium-full bodied and long finish that will age gracefully. This is typically $10 more than I would pay for a good chardonnay, but try a bottle and cellar it for a few years. It’s good value and similar California wines sell for 50% more. Serve with free range roast chicken or grilled salmon. Make sure to compare it with your favourite $15 chardonnay to see the difference.

Domaine De Riaux Pouilly Fumé 2009, Ac; Loire, France
#200063; Rating – 90; $22.95

Pouilly Fumé is derived from the sauvignon blanc grape. This is great value compared to its neighbour in Sancerre. It’s mid-weight, complex and with excellent finish. Try it with lightly spiced shrimp or calamari with a dash of lemon.

Sparkling under $20

Domaine Roger Luquet Blanc De Blancs Crémant De Bourgogne, Ac; Burgundy, France
#957894; Rating – 88; $19.95

Above average complexity and good value for the price. From Burgundy made in the Champagne style.

Rosé – It’s worth a try!

Prieuré De Montezargues Tavel Rosé 2009, Ac; Rhone, France
#216390; Rating – 90; $19.95

This is not the Rose that your Grandmother would drink …this is the real McCoy! Great depth of flavour and full body. Fruity but not sweet. Great value. A must for warm patio days, try it on its own well chilled or with smoked salmon or cold lamb salad.

Value Reds under $20

Cistus Reserva 2007, Doc Douro; Portugal
#145052; Rating – 89; $18.95

This is a big, generous full bodied red made from a blend of classic port grapes. Nice balance and length. This would pair nicely with a robust beef stew or aged cheese.

Beringer Founders' Estate Shiraz 2009; California, USA
#919654; Rating – 89; $19.95

Wonderful concentrated flavours made in the style of French Syrah. Very good length and good value. Serve with a slow cooked roast of beef.

D'arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mclaren Vale, South Australia
#943456; Rating – 88; $19.95

Nicely complex, medium-full bodied with good to excellent length.

Rocca Di Castagnoli Tenuta Di Capraia Chianti Classico 2007, Docg; Tuscany, Italy
#135277; Rating 88; $18.95

This is classic Chianti Classico. Dry, full bodied with decent length. Serve with a nice Italian meat dish.

Montebuena 2009, Doca Rioja; Spain
#211029; Rating – 88; $12.95

100% Tempranilla with dark colour and outstanding concentration. A sneak preview of the 2009 Vintage in Rioja. Great value and will drink well for 6 – 8 years.

Cave De Monterail Côtes Du Rhône Villages Séguret 2009, Ac; Rhone, France
#195065; Rating – 88; $13.95

A medium bodied Rhone, dry with nice layering. The finish is full, rich and long. Great value. Pick up a few bottles for summer quaffing.

Villa Ponciago Beaujolais Villages 2009, Ac; Beaujolais, France
#207449; Rating – 88; $15.95

Fragrant, flavourful Gamay from Beaujolais with medium body, balanced acidity. Very good length. Serve with a slight chill with steak frites.

Value White Wines under $20

Studert Prüm Riesling Kabinett 2009, Qmp, Wehlener Sonnenuhr; Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
#970129; Rating – 90; $18.95

A fine German Riesling. Beautifully balanced, light fruit flavours and excellent length.

Varanda Do Conde Alvarinho/Trajadura Vinho Verde 2009, Doc, Sub Região Monção E Melgaço; Portugal
#966663; Rating – 89; $13.95

A fine, complex and zesty young white. Grapefruit flavours, good length and great value.

Morgan Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Monterey California, USA
#411488; Rating – 89; $18.95

Medium light, attractive, floral. Highly recommended.

Famille Bougrier Grande Réserve Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Ac; Loire, France
#196733; Rating – 88; $14.95

This region is home to some of the world’s finest sauvignon blanc, and this is no exception. Fresh. Lively and very good length. Great value. Try with pan seared scallops and grilled asparagus.

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