Buyer’s Guide to VINTAGES June 12th, 2021

Chile Strong, Pink Pantheon and Other Great Buys

By David Lawrason with notes from John Szabo, Sara d’Amato and Michael Godel

One step forward, one step back.  In May we attempted to move the publication of this review ahead by three days by purchasing VINTAGES samples earlier.  We just got that going when the LCBO said that VINTAGES release shipments to stores were going to be temporarily delayed each release due to a change in shipping logistics. We will certainly let you know if and when we can try again.  Meanwhile, there are many interesting wines and good value wines now on the shelves.


Chile Strong, The Long and Short of It

Did you know that if you could take vertically positioned Chile and lay it out horizontally across Canada it would stretch from Vancouver to Moncton, New Brunswick (4,270Kms). Wine growing is bunched within 1,000 kms in the moderate clime centre of the country in various river valleys that tumble out the Andes Mountains. But that band is widening from the Atacama Desert in the north to the cooler southern valleys like Malleco in the south, and this release spans the entire length. As well, vineyards are climbing higher up the slopes of the foothills and coastal hills into more interesting soiled-based terroirs. Most plantings remain the top international varieties, led by cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc, but Chilean wine is becoming more interesting, diverse and accomplished every year, while prices remain modest. In this release VINTAGES has done a very good job of packing the diversity of ten regions and eight varieties/styles into one neat baker’s dozen case of thirteen wines, many of them at least 90pt quality. If you wanted to conduct your own Chilean masterclass and buy one bottle of each, it would only cost you $244. Or you can read on and use our critics’ picks as a guide. We were all genuinely impressed with the selection. To quote Michael Godel when he sent his picks along – “Chile is really strong”.  We even had a rare four-critic “alignment” on the first wine below.

VINTAGES Buyer’s Guide June 12th:


Emiliana Vigno Vignadores de Carignan 2017, Maule Valley, Chile
$19.95, PMA Canada

Emiliana Vigno Vignadores De Carignan 2017

Sara d’Amato – Dry farmed carignan is a real treat and a specialty of the Maule Valley, whose efforts are being protected by this collaborative project known as VIGNO. This authentic carignan is dry with rather supple but volume-adding tannins and both fresh and dried black fruit. Certified organic, non-GMO and Vegan-friendly.
Michael Godel – VIGNO (Vignadores de Carignan) is a movement launched in 2010 bringing together 12 producers bent on safeguarding old, bush-trained vines. Emiliana’s is one of cool sensibility, lushness and smoothness to bely the dryness of the hot vintage.
John Szabo – A terrific old vines carignan here from Emiliana, bearing a large range of earth-friendly certifications to add feel-good to the deliciousness of the wine. It’s a big and satisfying mouthful for the money; drink or hold 2-4 years.
David Lawrason  – This is an organically produced carignan from dry-farmed vineyards the coastal hills of the Maule region. It is a deeply coloured, full bodied and fairly dense and sturdy wine with generous aromas of blueberry pie, gentle cedary spice and vanilla.

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And that is a wrap for this edition. We are in the glory days of a Canadian summer and the COVID veil is lifting, so grab a sunny spot, or a shady spot, open some fine bottles, and enjoy yourself. We have all earned it.  John will return in two weeks with a review of the June 26th release.


David Lawrason,

VP of Wine

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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