If I Could Buy Only One – Oct 28th, 2017 VINTAGES Release

As part of our VINTAGES recap, we asked our critics: “If you could buy only one wine from this release – which one would it be and why?”

Our picks from the October 28th VINTAGES release:

David Lawrason: It is a bit late in life to be admitting this, but I am becoming a big fan of Blanc de Blanc sparkling wines. Interestingly that appreciation has grown out of increasing exposure to very good examples from Canada (Nova Scotia, Ontario and British Columbia). When I encountered …this beauty, the 2009 Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs from Champagne, I immediately thought of my Canadian experiences, and most recently a glass of Cave Spring’s 2009 Blanc de Blanc. The Les Mesnil, however has extra finesse. It has matured to pale gold colour. The nose is generous, sweet and appealing with baked apple, honey nougat, barley sugar and a wisp of underlying earthy oxidation. It is mid-weight, lively yet tender with very fine acidity and full fruit on the palate. Excellent flavour intensity and length. When I had finished tasting the wine and looked at the price I was totally hooked. I was expecting something closer to $100. So now I am thinking of grabbing some for the upcoming Holiday Season.

Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Champagne 2009

Michael Godel: Hamilton Russell 2009 Ashbourne is a 25 barrel cuvée and the outlier in the Hamilton Russell pinot noir-chardonnay stable. With more than enough time behind at eight years on it is essentially evolved and resolved, now a downy blanket of Bordeaux fibres woven, seamless and soft. The fruit dries a bit but like all great aging South African reds the candidly curated acidity is years from relinquishing its grip. Ashbourne is not a matter to blow one’s mind but it teaches some vinous life lessons about Hemel-en-Aarde and the greater good of aged South African reds. It can be enjoyed right now and left for another decade. Like Meerlust’s Rubicon it’s an easy on the pocketbook gift in kind to Ontario from proprietors Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell.

Hamilton Russell Ashbourne 2009

Sara d’Amato: Invigorating colombard and fragrant viognier meet in this lyrical off-dry blend from the southern Rhône. Michel Gassier’s insistence on organic production and devotion to pure expression of varietal character are thoughtfully exemplified in this 2016 A Cappella Blanc – a flavoursome curio find. Its intensity and viscosity are best suited to pairing at aperitif hour with pungent soft cheeses, cured meats and pâtés but would find equal harmony alongside festive turkey spreads.

Michel Gassier A Cappella Blanc 2016

John Szabo, MS: Considering the steep hills, arid conditions, old vines and low yields, one wonders how red table wines from the Douro can be sold for anything less than a mint and still be profitable. The answer is, they can’t. The port wine industry subsidizes the table wine business. Yet given the dwindling market for port, the situation is unsustainable, so I suggest enjoying these superb values while you can, like the 2014 R De Romaneira. It’s the ‘entry’ level red from this excellent estate in the heart of the Douro, crafted in a very fruity-floral style, soft and plush, immediately appealing. There’s a lot of wine here for the money to be sure without sacrificing regional character.

R De Romaneira 2014

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
Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Sommelier Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview


Taylor Fladgate 325th Anniversary limited Edition Tawny Port