Canada 150

Thirst Impressions

Thirst Impressions

Every second Saturday the LCBO's Vintages section releases over one hundred wines into the Ontario market. With such choices, you may be asking what is the best bang for the buck?

Vintages has an array of wines at many price points, but I'm always hunting for those value wines (under $20) that put simply, over deliver.  Here are some recent examples of such wines (all reviews are out of 5 stars).

Here's a grape we are starting to see more and more of, Viognier, and this 2009 Cline version from California ($14.95 - #0128421) is a good place to start to get to know it.  Peaches and cloves on the nose, which follow into the mouth with a real hit of tropicality on the palate (****+).  With summer ahead you'll want some reds to complement the barbeque, that's why the La Posta 2008 Pizzella Family Vineyard Malbec ($15.00 - #0166298) from Argentina is such a bargain.  Juicy black fruit with a warming 13.9% alcohol.  Nice balance (**** 1/2).  If you can't find that then look no further than the La Posta 2008 Cocina Blend ($12.95 - #199513) an even better value. Cocina means kitchen in Spanish and it refers to the old saying of "everything but the kitchen sink".  A blend of Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah that delivers lots of black fruit in an easy drinking style.  A new listing on the general list is the Thorn-Clarke 2009 Terra Barossa Merlot ($15.00 - #218826), chocolate, blackberry, spice-blueberry, vanilla and a delicious BBQ-friendly smokiness  (**** 1/2).

Those who prefer white can look at wines from that long thin country, Chile (4300km by 177km). The Emiliana Novas 2009 Limited Selection Chardonnay ($14.95 - #0004515) has some real spring to its lively step, lovely tropical-citrus notes, plus it's organic (****).  If you want a Chilean red snap up a bottle of Ninquen Antu 2008 Syrah ($17.95 - #0675371) very Aussie in style with its jammy and juicy black fruit, though it is balanced off by a slight earthiness and some grippy tannins (**** 1/2).  Finally, for those who like pulling out a port and a cigar on the terrace checkout the Messias 2005 Late Bottled Vintage Port ($16.95 - #0140863), raisin, dark chocolate and plum with a hint of sweet spice that keeps the fruit in check (****).