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  • Date publishedWednesday, February 5, 2020

February 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Sun, Soil & Soaring Heights

LCBO Wine Picks: February 8, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release is yet another mono-thematic Release, but this time focuses on the exciting topic of how the Sun, Soil, and Soaring Heights shapes the wines we love and enjoy. All the wines from the theme, as well as of the rest of the Release will be on shelves by this .

The first concept from the theme is the topic of elevation and how it affects the grapes. Planting vineyards at higher altitudes allows the grapes to grow at cooler temperatures with increased diurnal variation, and provides excellent drainage. Cooler temperatures and high diurnal variation allows the grapes to slow down the ripening process and preserve it's natural acidity - which in turn provides freshness in wines. There are five wines featured as part of this concept and three are included among my top wine picks. The Riserva Chianti Classico is a blend of mostly Sangiovese that was grown at 300 metres altitude. From 360 to 540 metres elevation, the Douro red is a blend 70% Touriga Nacional and 30% Aragonez/Tinta Roriz. Lastly, the Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio off the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna is grown at 550 to 700 metres above sea level.

Tornatore Nerello Mascalese/Nerello Cappuccio 2017 (91 pts)Carpineto Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)

Casca Mountain Vineyards 1808 Reserva 2016 (89 pts)

The second concept looks at the proximity of a vineyard to a bodies of water. Warm climates such as those found in South Africa and Chile, among other places, can grow high-quality cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Syrah due to the cooling breezes and fog generated by the nearby oceans. Rivers can help moderate temperatures by reflecting sunlight back into the vineyard, which in turn increases sun exposure and helps with the grape ripening process. Of the five wines listed as part of this concept, a couple of fine examples include a Syrah from Chile and a Chardonnay from South Africa.

Casa Silva Lolol Gran Terroir de la Costa Syrah 2016 (90 pts)Le Riche Chardonnay 2017 (89 pts)

For the third concept, the focus is on exposure to the sun - the driving force behind grape growing. Too much sun, and wines can become overripe, while too little sun and the grapes lack flavour, among other things. Vineyards grown on mountains, hillsides, and valleys create dynamic mesoclimates, resulting in some grapes getting more sun exposure than others. Winemakers can then use grapes from various locations - obtaining fruit characters from one location and blending with the power and concentration from another location. Two of the five wines from this concept are among my wine recommendations - a lovely Gigondas which is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, and 15% Syrah, and a medium sweet Riesling from Niagara.

Pierre Amadieu Domaine Grand Romane Cuvée Prestige Vieilles Vignes Gigondas 2017 (92 pts)Palatine Hills Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

The fourth and final concept looks at how dirt affects the wines. The makeup of the vineyard soil is critical to the flavour and quality of the wine. Depth, fertility (the poorer the better), drainage, texture, and composition are just some of the many facets of soil and how it impacts wine growing. One of the most important aspects of the soil is how difficult a vine's roots need to work through the soil to get nutrients and water - the harder it needs to work, the higher the quality of the wine. The concept of minerality also comes in to play here. Two of the four wines featured here are recommended - a lovely Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) from silex soils, and a nice Chablis (Chardonnay) from Kimmeridgian limestone soils.

Château de Fontaine-Audon Sancerre 2018 (90 pts)François Martenot Les Marouettes Chablis 2018 (89 pts)

Top red wine picks from the rest of the Release include a pair of lovely Malbec wines that would be great to compare and taste side-by-side. From Languedoc there are a pair of Grenache-Syrah blends - the Puech-Haut is a blend of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah, while the Domaine des Vals is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah that was raised entirely in concrete tanks. Lastly, if you want to go off the beaten path, try the Cirò wine from Calabria that is made with the Gagliappo varietal.

Catena Lunlunta Old Vines Appellation Malbec 2017 (91 pts)TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec 2015 (89 pts)

Puech-Haut Prestige Saint-Drézéry 2017 (90 pts)Domaine des Vals Corbières 2017 (88 pts)

Tenuta Iuzzolini Cirò Rosso Classico 2017 (87 pts)

Among my sparkling wine picks, the Champagne is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, while the Brut Rosé is a blend of 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir.

13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE DES VALS CORBIÈRES 2017 - AP, Languedoc, France (#012981) (XD) - $14.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CASCA MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS 1808 RESERVA 2016 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#011149) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TENUTA IUZZOLINI CIRÒ ROSSO CLASSICO 2017 - DOC, Calabria, Italy (#013034) (D) - $17.95  87 pts  wine review
  • CASTEL DEL LAGO VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO SUPERIORE 2017 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#012411) (D) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TINTONEGRO LIMESTONE BLOCK MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#404137) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TRAPICHE MEDALLA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#568865) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CASA SILVA LOLOL GRAN TERROIR DE LA COSTA SYRAH 2016 - Certified sustainable, DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#010806) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)Castel del Lago Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2017 (89 pts)

  • CATENA LUNLUNTA OLD VINES APPELLATION MALBEC 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#11769) (XD) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review
  • TORNATORE NERELLO MASCALESE/NERELLO CAPPUCCIO 2017 - DOC Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy (#487090) (XD) - $23.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CARPINETO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#047118) (XD) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • PUECH-HAUT PRESTIGE SAINT-DRÉZÉRY 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#012986) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • PIERRE AMADIEU DOMAINE GRAND ROMANE CUVÉE PRESTIGE VIEILLES VIGNES GIGONDAS 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#968693) (XD) - $32.95  92 pts  wine review
  • SOUTHERN RIGHT PINOTAGE 2018 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#486167) (XD) - $34.95  FE

White Wine:

  • FRANÇOIS MARTENOT L'OR DE LA TERRE BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2018 - AP, Burgundy, France (#011912) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • UMANI RONCHI VELLODORO PECORINO 2018 - IGT Terre di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy (#289553) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PALATINE HILLS RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#520395) (M) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#225557) (XD) - $19.95
  • LE RICHE CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#012431) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SOHO WHITE COLLECTION PINOT GRIS 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#536169) (XD) - $19.95
  • FRANÇOIS MARTENOT LES MAROUETTES CHABLIS 2018 - AP, Burgundy, France (#011913) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TUPARI BOULDER ROWS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#012008) (XD) - $31.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE FONTAINE-AUDON SANCERRE 2018 - AP, Loire, France (#745893) (XD) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review
Tupari Boulder Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (90 pts)François Martenot L'Or de La Terre Bourgogne Aligoté 2018 (88 pts)

Umani Ronchi Vellodoro Pecorino 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • 13TH STREET CUVÉE BRUT ROSÉ - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147504) (XD) - $29.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VILMART & CIE GRAND CELLIER 1ER CRU BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#065110) (D) - $92.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES VIDAL ICEWINE 2017 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#565861) (S) (200 mL) - $28.95  90+ pts  wine review
Château des Charmes Vidal Icewine 2017 (90+ pts)


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