WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR DECEMBER 12, 2015
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing firstname.lastname@example.org. Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here.
NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting. It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Maipo, +18721, $17.95: rich and savoury, aged a year in both French and US oak, Euro styled with lean finish, 14.5% ABV, needs food. QPR: 90.
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
1.Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2013 VQA Niagara, +149302, $21.95. QPR: 90.
2.Concha y Toro Trio Premium Blend Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Casablanca/Rapel/Limari, +678656, $14.95: an extremely useful savvy with a sauvignon blanc kick of zest broadened by some fruit on the mid-palate, finishing as both a sipper or food wine. QPR: 88.
3.Domaine Chatelain Les Chailloux Silex Pouilly-Fume 2014, +428367, $21.95. QPR: 89.
4.Ruppertsberger Linsenbusch Gewurztraminer Spatlese 2014 Pfalz, +320473, $17.95: a fairly robust off-sweet MVC gewurz that needs your attention, possibly best with sourish soups and cheeses. 11% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
5.Zenato San Benedetto Lugana 2014 Veneto, +707158, $16.95: taste this blindfolded at room temperature and its like an engaging red wine brimming with all kinds of full and creamy overtones. Chilled, its floral marmalade nature is revealed. Concentrated. 12.5% ABV, cork closure. QPR: 90.
6.Ontanon Vetiver Viura 2013 Rioja, +437707, $15.95: some wood tones lend interest to this dryish white rioja with an off-dry mid-palate. Well worth trying. 13% ABV. QPR: 88.
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
1.Stratus Evergreen Red 2008 VQA NOTL, +437434, $24.95. QPR: 89.
2.Sur de Los Andes Premium Blend Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Mendoza, +411298 $16.95: despite the note from Wine Enthusiast, the label says that it is a 50-50 split; merlot was not added. Aged well, juicy but some tannins to preserve it in your cellar, 14% ABV. QPR: 88.
3.Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2013 Maipo, +437947, $15.95: an organic blend, cherry-mocha style with cassis, cork closure, 14.5%, value priced. QPR: 89.
4.Bod. Bilbainas Vina Pomal Reserva 2010 Rioja, +960781, $21.95. QPR: 91.
5.Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2013 Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, +377036, $24.95. QPR: 90.
6.Balbas Crianza 2011 Ribera del Duero, +437673, $18.95: a bargain Ribera, juicy and good stuffing on the mid-palate for under twenty bucks. Exceptionally pleasing finish, 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
7.Baron de Ley Varietales Graciano 2011, +397166, $21.95. QPR: 90.
8.Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Reserva 2009 Rioja, +114306, $21.95. QPR: 90.
9.Murua Reserva 2007 Rioja, +439836, $21.95. QPR: 89.
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
1.Hidden Bench Fume Blanc 2013 Rosomel Vineyard VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara, +68825, $27.95 retail.
2.Domaine de Chalet Pouilly Pouilly-Fuisse 2013, +295717, $34.95.
3.Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Red Blend 2012, +421081, $25.95
4.Versado Malbec 2013 Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza, +317008, $25.95
5.Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Shiraz 2008, +971705, $39.95
6.Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz 2012 South Australia, +309625, $59.95 [baby grange]
7.Chateau La Croix du Casse 2010 Pomerol, +436097, $59.95
8.Chateau L'Hermitage 2003 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, +431692, $39.95.
9.Ruffino Ducale Oro Riserva Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2010, +353201, $46.95.