The Wine Times
The Wine Times

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

In a bit of a pickle

May 24, 2019

Hey guys,

I dunno if it’s me or what (probs me), but the Vintages releases have been mega boring lately and that leaves me in a bit of a pickle (aka I don’t have a helluva lot to say here). So, uncharacteristically, imma shut up.

Here are my picks:

BENAJMIN [sic] BRIDGE BRUT
Gaspereau Valley, NS
$32.95

Nova Scotia is doing some cool shit and this guy is leading the way. From off-dry to pet-nat, all his sparkling wines are worth a go. This one is dry and particularly good…nice mousse, good depth, acid on point. The LCBO released this wine several months ago and I made fun of them for misspelling the winemaker’s name. CLEARLY they’re not reading my trash rag as the typo prevails…it’s BENJAMIN GODDAMNIT.

LABRUSCA LINI 910 LAMBRUSCO ROSSO
Emilia-Romagna, Italy
$17.95

I have successfully converted a few of you to Lambrusco and for this I am proud. Here’s a brand spanking new one at the ol’ LC. It’s a little more “serious” than many of its counterparts (by that I mean it’s not all fruit and fun times…it’s got some earthy notes and more interesting stuff going on). But that doesn’t mean it’s too good for pizza. NOTHING IS TOO GOOD FOR PIZZA.

BULGARIANA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 
 Thracian Valley, Bulgaria
$15.95

Despite its Eastern-Block-Chic label, this wine wasn’t gonna make the cut until I noticed it ranked #18 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Best Buys of 2018. That ain’t nothing. Probs worth checking out.

STÉPHANE AVIRON MORGON CÔTE DU PY 2014
Beaujolais, France
$23.95

Last year, I ranted and raved about how much I love cru Beaujolais. Don’t worry, that shit’s outta my system, but this is the winemaker who started that romance. Côte de Py (which is a particular slope in the village of Morgon) is known for making some of the biggest Beaujos and Aviron’s example shows that Py’s got some moves. Loved this stuff so much, served it at my wedding.

MOULIN DE GASSAC CLASSIC 2018
Languedoc, Hérault, France
$12.95

This wine piqued my interest because it’s made from a grape called Terret Blanc…Terret Blanc piqued my interest because I’ve never heard of it (and I JUST finished drinking my way through this part of France). So I did the googling and found that Terret Blanc is a mega ancient varietal that was used to make Vermouth back in the day, but fell outta fashion when Vermouth sales took a beating. These days, it’s making a bit of a comeback…they say it produces light, crisp, floral wines…seemingly great for “pique-niques” (aka drinking in public parks). Also, if you’re broke, this is your ticket to fun times.

SOUTHBROOK HEATHER’S HOME VINEYARD RIESLING 2017
Niagara, ON
$22.95

Every year, the LCBO does a feature on women winemakers (I mean, I could complain about this…”they should do one every week” etc… but baby steps are still steps so I’ll save my belligerence for a more fitting time). Sadly, many of the wines featured this year were pretty meh…(probs a question of nepotism/politics…god bless our monopoly). BUT this wine is great AND local. Southbrook, under the direction of Ann Sperling, is doing great things (moving towards all organic and biodynamic practices etc.) and this Riesling is one of ‘em. Heather’s Home is named after Heather Laundry, the woman Ann buys her grapes from…women supporting women=high fives. For those of you who care, this wine is organic AND vegan, but more importantly, it’s delicious;  quintessential dry Ontario Riesling at a reasonable price. ALSO if you’re into orange wine, Southbrook’s is super delicious. 

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