Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES May 21 Release

Michael’s VINTAGES Review May 21: Critics’ picks, VINTAGES Online Exclusives for May 14 and Forever in Chianti Classico

By Michael Godel with notes from and Sara d’Amato and Megha Jandhyala (David and John are away)

Coming out of the May 2-4 long weekend is like waking up from a most vivid dream in which so much happened so fast you have to write it down with haste, before it’s all forgotten. Yet another 2022 climate apogee is experienced in the guise of Saturday morning’s humidity and heat quickly wiped away by a fast and violent storm during which felled trees lay prone across the GTA. This immediately followed by a cold air front rolling in and with it rain to soak a city to the bone. This is apparently a weather phenomenon known as a Derecho. It’s a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Exceedingly rare for Canada. All the extreme changes in weather are absently inconsequential if likely unknown to our intrepid travelling critics David Lawrason and John Szabo, in southern Italy and Austria respectively. This report for VINTAGES May 21 and VINTAGES Online Exclusives May 14 brings you picks from myself along with Sara d’Amato and our impressive and talented “critic understudy” Megha Jandhyala.

This past week Sara penned a fascinating study of New York wines in her article “Discover the Wines of New York State.” Sara reports on the “iconic nervy rieslings of the Finger Lakes, the merlot-based blends of the North Fork of Long Island, the dry rosés of the South Fork, the aromatic whites of the Hudson River Valley and the curated grapes vinified in urban centres.” WineAlign readers should be aware of the new release of wines only available for purchase in online format. The wines can be ordered and delivered to the store of your choice or to your doorstep. In addition, there are also a few NY wines available now in VINTAGES.

Partnering with this month’s Buyers’ Guide is my lengthy (450 tasting notes and 50,000 words, give or take) report on the wines of Chianti Classico. In the article I recount The story of two hats, a prodigal ambasciatore‘s return, end of season reaction to the April 2021 frost, the significance of canaiolo and concepts of new agriculture. Over the course of four trips to the region in October, November, February and March I visited 37 estates, played chaperone to 10 top Canadian sommeliers (Scott Zebarth, Paige McIntyre, Kristi Linneboe, Joris Garcia, Caroline Beaulieu, Natalie Pope and Hannah Egan-Lee, along with WineAlign judges John Szabo MS and Nadia Fournier) and attended the 2022 Chianti Classico Collection. During this six month stretch I also filmed four videos for the LCBO, discussed the details of the territory’s newly minted 11 UGAs, taught 10 continuing education seminars and next week Toronto will welcome 30 producers along with the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico for two days of Masterclasses, trade and consumer tastings. Click here for details.

VINTAGES Online Exclusives for May 14

As part of the LCBO and VINTAGES shift to a greater focus in the realm of online sales there were 41 items on the list for the May 14 virtual release. As mentioned in past Buyers’ Guides, the spring and summer months are only seeing one full VINTAGES in store release each time out but the WinAlign crü is tasting through as many VOEs (VINTAGES Online Exclusives) as our agency partners are willing to support. The offers from May 14 were an impressive lot and more than worthy of attention because the value quotient found therein for a set of wines is in the predominantly $25-45 range. These are not a precious bunch but mid-priced stunners, some perfectly positioned for immediate consumption while others will serve a consumer’s cellar for mid, if not long-term timing. Sara, Megha and I have amassed six from May 14 that act admirably on both accounts. 

Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES May 21

The current release “explores a collection that shows off rosé’s myriad styles and uses” and the critics took note of two polar opposite if equally important choices. There are 16 VQA wines available, a small number that represents just 17 per cent of the total and yet more than a third are worthy of your hard earned cash. We expand on three of them for your perusal. The rest of the breakdown falls into place as follows: United States (17), Italy (16), Australia (7), Chile (6), Portugal (6), Argentina (3), Spain (2), South Africa (1), New Zealand (1) and Mexico (1). The French contingent is particularly strong, more than half of the Italians are from Tuscany and the fact that the United States has more representation than Canada is an issue we all need to take notice and where possible, speak out.

VINTAGES Buyer’s Guide Online Exclusives May 14: White

Creekside Iconoclast Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2018

Creekside Iconoclast Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon 2018, Niagara Peninsula
$23.00, Trajectory Beverage Partners
Megha Jandhyala – This is a flinty, slightly reductive blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon with flavours of green pears and limes, and subtle tropical and herbaceous notes. Given its zesty acidity and fresh fruit flavours, it pairs well with light vegetarian South Asian fare like baingan bharta (smoked eggplant, cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices).
Sara d’Amato – Sourced from two vineyards – Fruithaven for an abundant crop of sémillon and the Backyard Block for the tight clusters of sauvignon blanc. A very bright and juicy, expression of the Iconoclast white that is salty, brimming with lime and passion fruit. Stylishly reductive with nerviness and intensity.
Michael Godel – As barrel flinty, reductive and scintillating as ever. Forget old world comparisons because this sémillon and sauvignon blanc joint speaks for itself, knows from whence and how far it has come, captures the midlands between water and benches with great cause and effect. Delivers blows and punches, intensities and tropical fruit cup juices. 

There are 17 other VINTAGES Release recommendations this week that are currently only available to our premium members. This complete article will be free and visible to all members 30 days after publication. We invite you to subscribe today to unlock our top picks and other Premium benefits

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Megha’s Mega Picks
Sara’s Selections
Michael’s Mix

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