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  • Monday, March 10, 2014

Mar. 15 LCBO Wine Picks: Cali Classics + Handcrafted Wines

LCBO Wine Picks from March 15, 2014 Vintages Release
The next LCBO Vintages release will be on . The major theme of this release is titled "Cali Classics" and highlights some iconic wines from some of the biggest and best names in California, while the secondary theme is titled "Labour of Love" and focuses on artisanal wines from around the globe.

We'll begin with the Cali Classics section, where nearly all of the 12 wines featured are very good and I would be happy to add many of them to my cellar. However, I've selected three in particular that I would cherish the most.

First up is the 2010 Dominus that is composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. It's not too often we see a Parker-rated 100-point wine on LCBO shelves, and while I doubt many other critics would also score this red wine 100 points, I am certain it's very, very good. It's a big wine that can be decanted and enjoyed now, or cellared for at least 20 years. At $170.95, you may want to go in with one or two close friends and open it on a very special occasion.

Also from Napa is the CADE Cabernet Sauvignon - a relatively new winery at 9 years old and making its debut in Ontario this month. The 2010 is 90% Cab and 10% Merlot from the Howell Mountain AVA (which is a sub-AVA of Napa Valley) and aged in 100% French Oak (80% new).

The Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the best value of the bunch. The 2010 edition is a blend of 80% Cab Sauv, 17% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc and can also be decanted and enjoyed now or cellared for up to 10 years. And yes, even though it says Cabernet Sauvignon in big letters on the label, they are allowed to blend a certain percentage (at most 25% according to U.S. federal law) of other grapes and still be allowed call it by it's primary grape. It's great they included the full blend in smaller letters right on the label!

From the second feature of this release on handcrafted wines, we have the Castello di Ama Chianti (80% Sangiovese, 20% Malvasia Nera and Merlot), Thomas Bachelder's Pinot Noir from Burgundy. And finally, from Loire is a wine on the sweeter side - a Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) from Domaine Bourillon-Dorléans. The winemakers at all three wineries were involved at every stage of making these wines - from picking and pruning the grapes, all the way to the final stages of blending and marketing. Also, both Thomas Bachelder and Frédéric Bourillon focus on terroir-driven wines, with as little intervention as possible.

From the rest of the release, returning to Vintages (and $2 higher) is the 2009 Mas d'Auzierès les Éclats 2009 which I purchased and reviewed 2 years ago, while the Cahors is a blend of Malbec and Merlot. From Spain, the Odipus Old Vines Grenache amazingly comes from 100+-year-old vines, while the Lacrimus Crianza is a blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha (Grenache). Also from Spain is the Señorío de los Baldíos that is 100% Tempranillo. There's also an interesting Piedmont blend from Tenuta Stefano Farina that consists of 40% Barbera, 40% Nebbiolo and 20% Merlot.

Once again, it was slim pickings among white wines. The Henry of Pelham Chardonnay was barrel fermented, while the Quails' Gate version was 50% barrel fermented and 50% tank fermented. The Saint-Roch is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Marsanne from 50-year-old vines.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • ODIPUS OLD VINES GRENACHE 2008 - Unfiltered, DO Navarra, Spain (#366401) (XD) - $15.95
  • TENUTA STEFANO FARINA LE BRUME LANGHE 2009 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#360073) (XD) - $17.95
  • CLOS LA COUTALE CAHORS 2011 - AC, Southwest, France (#286385) (XD) - $17.95
  • MAS D’AUZIERÈS LES ÉCLATS 2009 - AC Côteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#271742) (XD) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • LACRIMUS CRIANZA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#359968) (XD) - $18.95
  • YALUMBA SHIRAZ 2012 - South Australia (#280883) (XD) - $19.95
  • SEÑORIO DE LOS BALDÍOS 2009 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#366393) (XD) - $19.95
  • ALJIBES CABERNET FRANC 2007 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain (#358788) (XD) - $24.95
  • CASTELLO DI AMA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#039768) (XD) - $35.95
  • BACHELDER LA PETITE CHARMOTTE NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#357228) (XD) - $49.95
  • RIDGE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#089284) (D) - $61.95
  • CADE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California (#325027) (XD) - $99.95
  • DOMINUS 2010 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#212381) (XD) - $170.95

White Wine:
  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES GRENACHE BLANC/MARSANNE 2012 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $15.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#268342) (XD) - $19.95
  • QUAILS’ GATE CHARDONNAY 2012 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, USA (#377770) (XD) - $21.95
  • BOURILLON-DORLÉANS LA BOURDONNERIE DEMI-SEC VOUVRAY 2012 - AC, Loire, France (#357244) (M) - $21.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • DOMAINE DE VAUGONDY BRUT VOUVRAY - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Loire Valley, France (#154567) (D) - $15.95
  • BARON-FUENTÉ GRAND MILLÉSIME BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, Champagne, France (#155119) (D) - $53.95

The rest of the wines from this Vintages release can be found here.


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