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  • Date publishedMonday, July 6, 2015

July 11 VINTAGES Release: Spain + Cool-Climate Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks from July 11, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming . The main theme of this release features 18 food-friendly wines from Spain, including quite a few that are new to VINTAGES. The mini-theme coincides with the upcoming Cool-Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4c) in Niagara and highlights 10 "cool" Chardonnays from around the globe.

From the 18 wines in the Spain thematic, 5 wines made my list of wine picks. We'll begin with a pair of Cava (Spanish sparkling wines). The first is a blend of local varietals Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada from Juvé & Camps. The second Cava is from the producer Gramona, aged 5 years in cork and is a blend of 70% Xarel-lo and 30% Macabeo; at 9 years old, this is a mature Cava. Both of these Cavas are off-dry and will show some sweetness - my types of sparkling wines.

Also from the Spain feature is the Cune Reserva that is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha (Grenache), 5% Mazuelo (Carignan), and 5% Graciano. A common theme among Spanish wines is that you can buy them pre-aged, as is the Heretat Mont-Rubi - a wine that is now 11 years old and blended with 30% Sumoll, 20% Cariñena (Carignan), 20% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and 10% Merlot. In white wines from Spain, there is an organic Verdejo.

I suppose the Torres Floralis Moscatel is not very food-friendly because it was not included as part of the Spanish feature. Regardless, it's an excellent fortified wine and one that I will likely add to my collection this time around.

Gramona Iii Lustros Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2006 from DO Cava, Penedès, Spain (92 pts)Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2013 from WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa (91 pts)

The collection of 10 Cool Chardonnays is quite good, with nearly half of these white wines making my wine picks. The four I've chosen are the locally made Chardonnays from Cave Spring and Pearl Morissette, as well as an Oregon Chardonnay and a South African Chardonnay. All have seen some time with oak.

From the rest of the release, the Creekside's Laura's Red is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 3% Syrah, 2% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot, while the Chianti actually contains 3% Canaiolo and 2% Malvasia/Trebbiano (the balance is, of course, Sangiovese). The two Montalcino wines are also 100% Sangiovese. Lastly, the rosé wine pick from this release is dry and consists of 60% Cinsault and 40% Grenache.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE / GRENACHE 2011 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#413245) (XD) - $18.95
  • CASTELGREVE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#344416) (XD) - $19.95
  • CREEKSIDE ESTATE LAURA’S RED 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#117960) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • HERETAT MONT-RUBI DURONA TINTO 2004 - Vino de Mesa, Spain (#143255) (D) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE TOURNON MATHILDA SHIRAZ 2012 - Victoria, Australia (#327395) (XD) - $19.95
  • CUNE RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#417659) (XD) - $23.95
  • BUENA VISTA PINOT NOIR 2011 - Carneros, California, USA (#304105) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • UCCELLIERA ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2012 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#414581) (XD) - $31.95  FSE
  • LA VELONA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#181321) (XD) - $39.95
  • DOMAINE D’ARDHUY ALOXE-CORTON LES CHAILLOTS 1 ER CRU 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#413112) (XD) - $67.95
Creekside Estate Laura's Red 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Buena Vista Pinot Noir 2011 - Carneros, California, USA (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • FINCA LAS CARABALLAS VERDEJO 2013 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, Spain (#418699) (XD) - $16.95
  • WILLY GISSELBRECHT TRADITION GEWURZTRAMINER 2012 - AC Alsace, France (#928390) (M) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2013 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $18.95
  • ROBERT OATLEY SIGNATURE SERIES CHARDONNAY 2013 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#350900) (XD) - $18.95
  • REINHOLD HAART HAART TO HEART PIESPORT RIESLING 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (#672683) (M) - $19.95
  • JEAN-PIERRE BAILLY POUILLY-FUMÉ 2013 - AC, Loire, France (#408815) (XD) - $22.95
  • GEROVASSILIOU MALAGOUSIA 2014 - Vieilles Vignes, IGP Epanomi, Greece (#416792) (XD) - $23.95
  • BACHELDER OREGON CHARDONNAY 2012 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#273334) (XD) - $29.95
  • PEARL MORISSETTE CUVÉE DIX-NEUVIÈME CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#303602) (XD) - $35.20
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL CHARDONNAY 2013 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa (#931006) (XD) - $38.95  reviewed here

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DE BERNE TERRES DE BERNE ROSÉ 2013 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#278861) (XD) - $17.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • JUVÉ & CAMPS CINTA PURPURA RESERVA BRUT CAVA 2011 - DO Cava, Catalunya, Spain (#352864) (D) - $18.95
  • GRAMONA III LUSTROS GRAN RESERVA BRUT NATURE CAVA 2006 - DO Cava, Penedès, Spain (#413963) (D) - $49.95  reviewed here


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


  1. I've missed commenting on the last few releases... alas.

    Anyway, I'm always excited when Spain is the main feature, and for the first time in a few releases I was actually quite excited by what I saw -- the last few were pretty pedestrian even by LCBO standards. There are some old names (e.g., CVNE), but I like at least the minimal attempt to highlight lesser-known regions and lesser-known grapes. As Lawrason suggested, though, this is really just the tip of the iceberg, and all it does is strengthen the case for at least partial privatization. I want to go into a store where I can choose from among several Mencias, for example, where appellations like Conca de Barbera have more than a single representative, where there I don't have to have the LCBO telling me what Spanish wine I'm allowed to buy. Or what any wine I'm allowed to buy.

    In any event, the Heretat certainly looks interesting, as do the Quatro Pagos and the Tomas Cusine Llebre (even if Szabo dumped all over that one). Most of the rest seem mediocre, unfortunately. On the white side, I agree with you about the Caraballas.

    Otherwise, I can't say I much care for Chardonnay -- or, rather, I rarely seek it out. But others of interest to me in this release include the Gerard Bertrand (I've been disappointed with some of his stuff lately, but his Grand Terroirs are generally quite strong), the Gerovassiliou Malagousia (yet another intriguing Green white!), the Reinhold Haart (even if it's a silly name), and the Chateau La Tour de Bessan. Regarding that last one, what do you think? It's a pretty good price for a Margaux, which could be good or bad.

    Anyway, not exactly a spectacular Vintages release, but one can make do with a few good reds and whites.

    1. No worries, Michael. However, I was wondering if you hadn't commented because I had revamped my site since your last comment. Anyway... it's all good! Welcome back!

      Same here - love it when Spain is featured because there are always a few good buys. There are a few good ones in this release, but I think it could've been better. And yes, as David suggested - a release focused on specific Spanish wine region would be a welcome sight!

      I do like my Chardonnay's, hence the inclusion of quite a few in this release. :)

      The Bessan was on the short list, but I eventually pulled it out mostly because of price point.

      Your last statement is spot on!


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