LCBO Vintages Saturday March 3, 2012

THE LOW DOWN: I’ve always said that white wine is more diversified than red and it’s getting even more so. There’s some unwritten wine law that says “it’s OK to play with whites, but not reds. Don’t mess with steak”.

You’ll find wonderful diversity in my five white picks below. The Gewurztraminers are a MUST for the hedonist, the Chardonnay is a STEAL and Aussie Viognier is just too GOOD to pass up. A stylish Douro and a jazzy Sauvignon complete the line ip. Spain and Chile are the sources of my reds. Both of which embrace richness ““ the dominant style in red wines. Not much diversity here.

wine-style: Fresh White
PLANALTO RESERVA 10 Douro, Portugal 586420 $14.95
The seriously dry and stony/mineral character in this wine reminded me of $25 Chablis. A classy, pure feeling that makes a wonderful aperitif, or partner for seafood. Great value in this style.

wine-style: Fresh White
CLIFFORD BAY 10 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 734095 $17.95
Chile is my go-to for Sauvignon these days, but this guy has a specialness that’s difficult to ignore. Expect the New Zealand zingy dry, wild-as-the-wind character along with intense flavours and some richness. Not just high volume, but really rocking. Steely Dan in a glass.

wine-style: Rich White
YALUMBA 11 Viognier “˜The Y Series’, Australia 624502 $15.95
I love just about everything from Yalumba. One of the last privately owned big wineries in OZ. Forget the pretty/peachy style of Viognier, this has limited the grapes’s perfume to a tease, combining it with earthy, tangy dryness along the lines of Rhones and other Mediterranean whites. Almost old-fashioned ““ feels real ““ and great with food. Cannot wait for summer events with this.

wine-style: Rich White
MARIMAR ESTATE 07 Chardonnay, “˜Don Miguel Vineyard’, Russian River, Sonoma, California 270090 $19.95
When I first saw this in the catalog I thought there was a mistake with the price ““ previous vintages have been in the $40 range! Or maybe it’s no good and they’re dumping it! I was wrong on both counts. Fans of bold, tangy, raunchy Burgundian-style Chardonnay should already be in the car (most stores put out vintages wines on the Friday). Even if you’re not a Chardonnay fan I recommend you experience this wine just to see what the fuss is about. Put some raunchy in your life! Drink with well-seasoned grilled meats. Or in the “˜raunch hour’.

wine-style: Rich Whites
ORGANIZED CRIME 09 Gewurztraminer, VQA Niagara 271833 $22.20
Gewurztraminer’s appeal is its over-the-top flavours and richness so imagine the results if the winemaker ferments and ages the wine in oak? Excess on top of excess. A must-have wine for the hedonist. Sip with an almond cake. Or for nightcap.

CAVA de TURCKHEIM, 07 Gewurztraminer, Hengst, Alsace, France 259705 $24.95
Yes, a second Gewurztraminer! Because we seldom get really good ones. Huge spicy flavours here too ““ but just when you think it’s going to kill your taste buds, a tangy bite saves the day. Refreshing meets exotic. Another exciting nightcap. A glass-a-night should hit the spot.



wine-style: Rich Red
BODEGAS PALACIOS REMONDO 10 Rioja, “˜La Vendimia’, Spain 674564 $14.95
Rich, spicy, smooth ““ all of today’s popular traits in red wine. But there’s also a solid, traditional red wine feeling. The best of both world’s. Not at all typical of Rioja.
wine-style: Rich Red
ERRAZURIZ 09 Carmenere “˜Single Vineyard’, Chile 273300 $18.95
Carmenere is supposed to be Chile’s flagship red grape. Maybe one day, but for now there’s not enough good examples to be had. More wines like this will help. I like how it combines vigour with the richness and density. Bring on the steaks.


Parker fans are sure to enjoy the jammy, plummy sweet, lush, New World-style DOMAINE THUNEVIN-CALVET 08 “˜Cuvee Constance’, Cotes du Roussillon-Villages, France (168690 $18.95). French wine crafted for the North American palate. And if you’d like to know why it scored 90 points, read the Parker associate’s notes on P.15 of the catalog. Priceless, gobbledygook wine speak.

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  • I haven’t tried the Errazuriz ‘Single Vineyard’ Carmenere but I have been really enjoying their Estate Carmenere. It’s the first Carmenere I have ever purchased multiple times.

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