First image of this post
  • Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mar. 7 LCBO Wine Picks: Tuscany + B.C. + Israel + St. Patrick's Day

LCBO Wine Picks from March 7, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next batch of wines will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario on .

The major theme of this release is titled "Tuscan Renaissance" and goes through some of the projects that were undertaken over the last 50+ years to modernize and improve the wines from Tuscany. However, of the 14 wines featured, just two made my list of wine picks - and both were quite traditional in nature with a Chianti Classico and a Brunello di Montalcino. Both of these wines are made using Italy's most popular grape - Sangiovese.

This release also has 3 mini-features - wines from British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, modern wines from Israel, and some Whiskies to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Of the 6 wines from B.C., the medium sweet Pinot Gris from Gray Monk is recommended. For an interesting side-by-side comparison, there are drier (i.e. less sweet) versions of Pinot Gris from Oregon and Ontario also available.

From the rest of the release, there are plenty of good value red wines coming from Chile and Argentina. Included among them is an organic Syrah/Mourvèdre blend (85/15) from Emiliana. Also recommended are both "Wines of the Month" - the Kaiken Malbec and Château Saint-Roch Chimères (Grenache / Carignan / Syrah blend) - a rarity for me.

In white wine, the Château de Cruzeau is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, the Tawse Riesling and the aforementioned Gray Monk Pinot Gris are worth your attention. Less sweet are the Malivoire Pinot Gris and the German Riesling.

That's all for this release. Enjoy my wine recommendations. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • EMILIANA NOVAS GRAN RESERVA SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2012 - Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#399360) (XD) - $15.95
  • ZUCCARDI SERIE A BONARDA 2012 - Santa Rosa, Mendoza, Argentina (#355560) (D) - $16.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#057513) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2010 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2012 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Midi, France (#119354) (D) - $18.95
  • KAIKEN ULTRA MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#050849) (XD) - $19.95
  • PENFOLDS BIN 28 KALIMNA SHIRAZ 2011 - South Australia (#422782) (XD) - $34.95
  • JOHN’S BLEND INDIVIDUAL SELECTION NO. 36 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#927640) (XD) - $39.95
  • TERRE NERE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#208462) (XD) - $42.95
  • CUVELIER LOS ANDES GRAND MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#368514) (D) - $61.95

White Wine:
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $17.95
  • GRAY MONK PINOT GRIS 2013 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#118638) (M) - $19.95
  • DUCK POND CELLARS PINOT GRIS 2013 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#333286) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE PINOT GRIS 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#591305) (D) - $19.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. BÜRKLIN-WOLF RUPPERTSBERGER RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Pfalz, Germany (#394148) (D) - $22.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE CRUZEAU BLANC 2009 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#966010) (XD) - $31.95
  • BACHELDER WISMER VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#345819) (D) - $44.95  Flagship Store Exclusive  reviewed here

  • EL MAESTRO SIERRA 15-YEAR-OLD OLOROSO SHERRY - DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Spain (#330571) (D) (375 mL) - $13.95

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


  1. Once again, it's good to see that your recommendations closely match the wines I have on my own list, reinforcing my expectations.

    It's really too bad, but this appears to be yet another disappointing main feature for Vintages. I find them interesting to peruse, and they can be educational, but generally they just haven't been worth it beyond that, whether the Tuscan one this time, or Australia 2012, or whatever. The real "finds" are buried deeper in the release. And this time, those three Chileans and one Argentinian you have as your first four are the four at the top of my list, and I was able to pick up the Emiliana today -- what astonishing value.

    The Cuvelier could be the wine of the release, but at that price it's a luxury, and I'll be staying away from it.

    I had the 2011 Saint-Roch Chimeres a couple of months ago and found it quite good but hardly exceptional -- nice fruit and mineral notes, but syrupy and lacking structure. It's another disappointment that the LCBO picks this yet again as a featured wine -- wasn't it also Wine of the Month last year? Seriously, there's so much out there, so much to explore. Why go back to the same well again and again?

    Finally, a question: Have you tasted the Rocca Di Frassinello Le Sughere Di Frassinello from Maremma Toscana? It divided Szabo and Lawrason, but it seems like it might be worth checking out.

  2. I've noticed for quite some time now that many of the real "finds" are buried in the release and not part of the major theme. You will find quality in the major themes, but they are generally at higher price points. I think we will continue to find very nice, reasonably priced wines from Chile, Argentina and Spain throughout the year. I would expect Portugal to be on this list as well, but it's possible they don't make enough cases.

    If you look at my history closely, you'll find that I rarely recommend the Wine of the Month. This time was an exception. You're right - it was the Wine of the Month last July 19th.

    Nope - have not tasted the Frassinello.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

May 30, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Australia

Blog Archive

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget

  The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition


BOTW Blogs - Vintages Wine Picks and Reviews
My Zimbio
Blogarama - Drinks & Beverages Blogs
Top Wine Sites
Wine blog
RSSChomp Blog Directory