The Wine Times
The Wine Times

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

This week’s release is only slightly less me

Mar 16, 2019

Hey guys,

I didn’t write about the last release because it was pretty meh. Turns out, this week’s release is only slightly less meh. So this here diatribe is a combo of the March 2nd and 16th releases. To the parents of children under 18, apologies for not writing a pre-March break edition. I hear y’all like to give yer livers a run for their money this time of year. 

Also, if you live/work in the King and Spadina area, the crappy lcbo there has started to bring in cool/random stuff from around the province. Bought a bottle of bubs from the uk there the other day. WHEN MY 100 DAYS OF SOBRIETY ARE UP, I’ll let you know how it is. 

Here are my picks:

ANTECH EXPRESSION  CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2015 
Langued’oc, France
$19.95

I always buy Cremant de Limoux when I see it (not often). It generally offers great value, will impress wine nerds, and it has a great back story: once upon a time, a fat monk called Dom Perignon said he invented sparkling wine. And the fatties in Limoux were like “naw, we invented that shit”. And they’re still arguing about it. God bless the French. 

CHATEAU CASTIGNO SECRET DES DIEUX SAINT CHINIAN 2012
Langued’oc, France
$21.95

I’m super selective when I buy reds from this part of the South of France (Langued’oc / Roussillon). Here’s why: sometime in the 90s, the winemakers/marketers/powers that be discovered that North American palates had a penchant for Southern French wines…that’s when shit went pete tong. Everyone started making mega extracted, low lying fruit bombs to appeal to us (aka degenerates). Thankfully, that has started to change for the better and I taste that change most often in the wines of St. Chinian. This lil guy has some age on him (which helps mellow out any over extraction) and a nice set of tannins that bark but don’t bite. Fruit is still present, but balanced with other tasty shit (spice and delicious dirt). A good buy.

ALAIN JAUME CLOS DE SIXTE LIRAC 2015 
S. Rhone, France
$26.95

If you like Chateauneuf du Pape, quit wasting yer money and buy Lirac (from a good producer) instead. Jaume is fantastic…so was 2015. Be warned, this guy is a bit of a beast.

PIEROPAN SOAVE CLASSICO 2016
Veneto, Italy
$19.95

If you are trying to impress a wine nerd (as you should), show up with this. Wine nerds have historically been into anything from the Savoie region (probably bc it still seems “undiscovered” eventho it’s been there for a bazillion yrs). Altesse is the grape here (aka Roussette). V interesting varietal with a bunch of nut-driven notes (almond/hazelnut) and some great acidity – being alpine, that’s no surprise. If you’re looking to try something different but not altogether weird, do this.

LUNGAROTTI RUBESCO SANGIOVESE/ COLORINO 2015
Umbria, Italy
$19.95

DurIng my tenure in the restaurant business, I poured this down the gullets of many discerning (read: obnoxious) Yorkville diners. Very few of them spat it back in my face.

TÚZKO KÉKFRANKOS 2015 
 Bátaapáti (???), Hungary
$18.95

Here’s the most interesting wine of the past 2 releases (imo). Reasons why it’s interesting: 1) it’s Hungarian, 2) it’s made by a bunch of Italians,. 3) the Italians in question, Antinori, know what the eff they’re doing. If you’ve had more than 2 Italian wines in your life, you’ve probably had an Antinori wine. They’re massive and well respected. I guess they reckon Kekfrankos, the grape at play here, has some potential (they’re not alone…It seems like this area/grape is getting some attention these days). In my limited experience, Kekfrankos drinks kinda like a more deeply coloured Pinot Noir (herbaceous, red fruit, some stank n spice). Am pumped to try an expression from such an iconic producer.

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