The satire for this posting is a piece penned by the master. TheHoseMaster of Wine gives you his unique view on the topic of Christmas giving. Enjoy his funny observations by clicking here.
From the 24 November release, the $35 Villa Cafaggio Cortaccio 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon—VINTAGES#: 20966 is a ripe, balanced, and complex wine that is highly enjoyable. The posted tasting notes might confuse you and were a poor choice by the LCBO. If you like “super Tuscan” wines (or want to try one) the Cortaccio is the place to start. While there is value for the money in the $35 price (so much so that I bought more than a case), I am pissed at this year’s $10 per bottle price increase. I have enjoyed previous vintages of this wine and paid $25 a bottle for the pleasure. I can only hope that my extra cash is going to the hard workers at the winery and is not a blatant tax grab by the LCBO and the government of the People’s Republic of Ontario. Shouldn’t monopolies, including government-owned monopolies, have to justify their price increases to their customers?
Are you curious about aged wine from Bordeaux and do not want to pay an arm-and-a-leg to experience one? If so, then try to $21 Château L’Espérance 2010 Merlot Blend—VINTAGES#: 487868. Yep, for about twenty bucks you can source an 8-year-old Bordeaux that it drinking really nicely now. I bought a case. This wine retails for about the same price in the USA.
Continuing on the topic of aged wines of value, the 12 years old $24 Balbás Reserva 2006 Tempranillo Blend—VINTAGES#: 85183 is another potential case buy. The posting tasting notes are accurate. Be aware the Balbás Crianza 2013 ($21.95 VINTAGES#:437673) was part of the November 24 Vintages release, may be on the shelves near the Reserva, and you may put that wine into your shopping cart by mistake. I have not tasted the Crianza and it may be a good wine too.
Wines to consider
Are you looking for a decent sparkling wine that will not break the bank? Then consider the $20 Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne—VINTAGES#: 991562. A pleasant sipper, brunch, reception wine. Simply put, it’s a decent wine for the price. It’s a little high in residual sugar, a feature that will appeal to most people, and the wine has sufficient acidity to pull it off.
From the November 24 release, consider the $25 Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot—VINTAGES#: 930966 as your Italian table wine. This is a decent, ready to drink Sangiovese based wine that works on its own or with food. This wine retails for the equivalent of $20CAD in Italy and our friends in the Excited States pay about the same price as we do in the People’s Republic of Ontario.
Lovers of Oregon Pinot Noir will be pleased with the $49 Aberrant Cellars Gran Moraine Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014—VINTAGES#: 609156. The posted tasting notes are embarrassing laughable. I hope someone exercises basic human mercy and euthanizes me if I ever use the expression “Sumatra coffee beans” in a tasting note. In the glass, you will find a classic fruit-forward, complex, spicey, earthy Oregon Pinot Noir. I think that the wine needs a bit of time to come together and would love to taste this one in 5 or so years from now. You may balk at the price tag but, if you like good Oregon Pinot Noir, $50 is the price that you often have to pay. In comparison, the price in the good old USA is $10CAD more. You are getting a bargain.
Fans of bold-extracted Australia Cab blends will find the $40 Elderton Ode To Lorraine Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot 2015—VINTAGES#: 976423 appealing. Again, the tasting notes are ridiculous and laughable. Displaying “sagacious tannins” implies that the wine may require psychological counseling and a “phalanx of fruit” are show off words. I mean seriously, who in his or her right mind writes this shit? The Elderton is not a wine that suits my taste but if you are a fan the dark-fruit style of the Barossa Valley and willing to age this wine for a decade or so then you likely will be happy with the outcome.
Fans of wine from Chablis will be pleased sipping on the $41 Maison Olivier Tricon Montmains Chablis 1er Cru 2014 Chardonnay—VINTAGES#: 557694. With flavors of apples, pears, and lemons with nice acidity and minerality this wine is drinking well presently. You probably are not happy with the price but this amount is typical for a nice wine from the Chablis region. The wine retails for about the same price in the UK, making the price charged by the LCBO reasonable.
Are you looking for a different style of Chardonnay? Are you a fan of the oxidized style of winemaking? Then consider the $20 Marcel Cabelier Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay 2014—VINTAGES#: 485839. This is a wine for wine geeks and not all of them will like it.
Wines to avoid
I keep embarrassing myself in my quest to find a value wine from Argentina that contains the Cabernet Franc grape. I am nearly prepared to admit that one does not exist as the $15 La Celia Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2015—VINTAGES#: 618280 is a fruit bomb. This may be a style that appeals to you but, for me, not so much.
My quest to find decent value Cab Franc is not just confined to the country of Argentina. This grape found a home in the Loire Valley in France so I had high hopes from the $21 J.M. Raffault Les Picasses Chinon 2015 Cabernet Franc—VINTAGES#: 367011. I found this wine overly fruity and confusing. Just not a fan.
If you are a fan of oaky Chardonnay then the $19 Robert Oatley Signature Series Chardonnay 2016—VINTAGES#: 350900 will appeal to you. To me, the wood is out of balance with the rest of the wine and I can enjoy one glass only of this wine made in this style.
I think that the $20 Villa Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico 2015 Sangiovese—VINTAGES#: 573501 is trying hard to be something that it is not. Tasted blind, no one in our group thought the contents in the glass was from the Sangiovese grape. Apart from the aggressive tannins, the wine is enjoyable. I am avoiding the wine simply because I did not find it typical to what I expect from Sangiovese grapes. Note that the content of the catalog lists the vintage as the 2012. The website correctly lists the vintage as 2015.