The Wine Times
The Wine Times

A former sommelier’s opinions/rants about the LCBO’s new vintages releases

So ya. I went on vacation and left you all to yer own devices

Feb 2, 2019

Hey guys,

So ya. I went on vacation and left you all to yer own devices. Hopefully none of you drowned in swill during my absence. In worse news, I solemnly vowed to 100 days sans booze (pray for me), so I’ll be drinking vicariously through y’all. MAKE ME PROUD GODDAMNIT.

Here’s some stuff I’d drink if I weren’t so PIOUS.

TAPIZ EXTRA BRUT SPARKLING TORRONTÉS
Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95

This caught my eye bc I’ve never had it or anything like it. I’ve written about still Torrontes in the past–it’s hit/miss in my books–but this guy is sparkling and I don’t think I’ve ever seen these kinda bubbles in our marketplace (granted, I generally avoid the Argentine sections of LCBOs bc Malbec is the devil’s juice). I’d expect this to have a pretty aromatic floral/fruity nose…could be pretty interesting…if it sucks, throw some OJ in there and call it breakfast.A while back, I wrote ad nauseam about the crémants of France (their non-Champagne sparkling wines) but I never wrote about Crémant d’Alsace or Crémant de Bordeaux. Why? Because I never really liked either…the ones from Alsace are often too acidic for my delicate little stomach lining and the ones from Bordeaux are often just shitty…the people in Bordeaux are too busy making shit loads of money off their still wines to care about the sparkling stuff. BUUUUTTT, this Crémant de Bordeaux caught my eye because the reviews are pretty great. So, I’m gonna give these folks a coupla bucks and see what happens.

NORMAN HARDIE SANS BARRIQUE CHARDONNAY 2017
$35.20!!!!!!!!!

Don’t buy this.

TODOROFF BOUTIQUE MAVRUD 2016
Dunno, Bulgaria
$15.95

So this might be absolute shit but I’m intrigued bc this Mavrud (the grape) is unoaked (apparently the leitmotif of this email). Eastern block kinda places have a penchant for using fake oak (yes, it’s a thing…oak chips, oak “essence”, all sorts of weird shit to give wines the impression of oak ageing without having to pay for the barrels…which are shockingly expensive). Also, Mavrud, native to Bulgaria, is kinda endangered…it’s being replaced with more “sellable” varietals (Cab, Merlot…probably stupid Malbec)…so I feel the need to support this grape, WHICH by all accounts has great potential (good tannic structure, nice acidity, stewed fruit/herbal stuff on the nose).

CONDE DE HARO BRUT CAVA 2015
Rioja, Spain
$19.95

If the above isn’t your bag…here’s a solid bottle of bubs from a solid producer. 

SCHROEDER ALPATACO CHARDONNAY 2017
Patagonia, Argentina
$16.95

Buy this instead of Hardie…as far as I know, it wasn’t made by a sexual predator and it’s also an unoaked Chardonnay (altho you’ll notice, this particular producer didn’t feel the need to label the wine “sans barrique”…likely bc s/he isn’t a giant d-satchel). 

VILA NOVA LOUREIRO 2016
Vinho Verde, Portugal
$13.95

I rarely drink Portuguese wines. To be honest, I don’t have a shit ton of experience with them…and the experiences I have had with them weren’t all that great (lacklustre/forgettable). BUT there is a soft spot in my cold, black heart for Vinho Verde. VV is usually a blend of a bunch of different grapes…but this one is made strictly with Loureiro…this trend toward monovarietal VV is gaining in popularity. This wine is gonna be pretty aromatic (floral w some citrus) and pretty easssssy to drink.
Also great if yer broke.

BROCARD KIMMERIDGIEN CHARDONNAY 2017
Burgundy, France
$19.95

Oh wow…another non-pervy unoaked Chard. How delightful. This is actually a good buy for those of you who like Chablis. These grapes were grown just outside the limits of the Chablis region, on the same type of soil (called Kimmeridgian soil). Brocard isn’t effing around either…great producer offering great value.

COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 AC 
Rhone, Fance
$29.95

So my cousin sent me an article about Chateauneuf-du-Pape the other day (thanks cuz!). The writer went on about how Southern Rhone wines quickly became “Parkerized” (winemakers started bottling big fruit bombs to appease Robert Parker’s *American* palate/100 point scoring system) and how the pendulum is starting to swing back in the right direction. This wine is obviously not a Chateauneuf but it’s made by one of the most famous Chateauneuf producers who is trying to go back to a more *French* style. 2016 was also a mega good vintage round these parts.

VINOSIA TAURASI SANTANDREA 2013 DOCG
Campania, Italy
$27.95

Taurasi should be more popular in N America than it is. It’s bigger in body, got good fruit, and usually has an inoffensive bit of stank going on. I guess it’s the price point that deters us? Or maybe we just prefer trash-wine? I dunno. But Taurasi (made from a grape called Aglianico in the Campania region of Italy) is delicious and worth the $. This guy is actually on the cheaper side and has had a few yrs in the btl to mellow out. A solid buy.

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