LCBO Vintages September 12, 2009

THE LOW DOWN: 6 REALLY GOOD LOCALS, especially the reds. Thirteen Street Gamay and Lailey’s Pinot Noir are too good to be missed. What a joy to experience local wine of this quality level. Other reds worth considering are an authentic Beaujolais, a Tuscan, and a winter warmer from the Port region. A novel Portuguese white completes my recommendations.

The LCBO catalogue has many good things to say about the local 2007 vintage. All true, BUT remember that some wineries make poor wine even in so-called great vintages. NEVER, NEVER ever think that a wine is going to be good just because of a good vintage. The opposite is also true ““ Niagara’s best winemakers excelled in the so-called poor 2006 vintage. Follow winemakers, not vintages.

WILDASS 07 Riesling, VQA Niagara 129700 $17.95
style: fresh white
Mineral freshness and coldness, but fuller than most local Rieslings. Has an herbal quality that reminds me of the best Greek whites, so think Mediterranean ““ seafood appetizers at sunset. Wildass wines are produced Stratus winery.

santavitCASA de SANTA VITORIA 08 White, Alentejano, Portugal 132431 $13.95
style: richish white
An interesting mix of lemony tartness and richess. Yin Yang for sure. Something different to kick off your evening. Would partner well with white meats.

13th STREET WINERY 07 Gamay Noir, VQA Niagara 130195 $18.00
style: lively red
A lively, lovely example of Gamay’s bright fruit and exuberance. A joy to drink. Red wine with the refreshing nature of white ““ for Fall picnics, casual meals, or whenever the mood is light-hearted. I love the pure quality in this wine – local expression at its best.

beaujoDOM de SAINT-ENNEMOND ‘Clos Reyssier’ 07 Beaujolais-Villages, France 128694 $14.95
style: rustic red
Beaujolais with tons of lovely berry flavours and a rustic underbelly. Tart and a little challenging. Lots of pucker to get the palate going. Very bistro and not recommended for Shiraz drinkers.

POGGIO MORINO 07 Morellino di Scansano, Tuscany, Italy 123760 $19.95
style: rustic red
Similar to Chianti in its frank fruitiness and vitality. Very refreshing, very natural and very good at stimulating the appetite. Pair with rustic and hearty foods and the mood to be at a Tuscan farmhouse. Morellino is another name for Sangiovese ““ the Chianti grape.

malivoiregamayMALIVOIRE 07 Gamay, VQA Niagara 591313 $17.95
style: rich red
A huge, huge earthy and gutsy Gamay with some of the he-man wildness of Baco. A little over-the-top and challenging, but would be heavenly on a chilly fall evening with braised shanks. And a log fire.

laileyLAILEY 07 Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara River 591404 $24.95
style: rich red
Niagara does Pinot in the Burgundian style. I love how it captures the earthy, mysterious character of traditional red wines. More of a product of the soil than fancy barrels and tricks in the cellar. One of my favourite ever local Pinots. And the price is reasonable. Thanks Lailey! Buy lots and enjoy with simply grilled meats ““ and friends who share a fondness for traditional-style red wines.

closLE CLOS JORDANNE ‘Talon Ridge’ 07 Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara 143545 $37.00
style: rich red
A fuller, richer, more lush experience than the Lailey above. Very seductive and impressive ““ the Clos Jordanne style. Another excellent local Pinot that would be a much appreciated gift.

30benchTHIRTY BENCH 07 Red, VQA Beamsville Bench 53389 $24.20
style: rich red
A big, hefty red. Rock solid. Thirty Bench’s edition of red Bordeaux (Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot) that will delight fans of blockbuster reds. Age a year or two if you enjoy this wine style.

douroQUINTA de VENTOZELO 05 Touriga Nacional, Douro, Portugal 657452 $19.95
style: rich red
Port-like richness and flavours. (Same grape, same region.) But crafted dry. Wine for the cheese course or for fireside sipping. Awfully good stuff for the winter season.

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