VINTAGES Buyers’ Guide – May 11th

Local Finds, Springtime Rosés, New Zealand Best Buys and Global Gems

By Sara d’Amato with notes from Michael Godel

It is under wet and windy skies just outside of Lisbon I find myself reflecting upon this week’s VINTAGES release. Michael Godel is, at present, among sunnier skies in Sicily. Over 3,000 kilometres separate us, yet we are on virtually the same latitude. Although the sun rises and sets at about the same time, soil types, maritime influences, wildly different indigenous grape varieties and cultural disparity make for extremely different wine cultures. These and many more incongruities cause infinite permutations in wine and frankly, make us giddy about the topic. We hope to translate this to you in every review we write (or at least for the good ones) and wish this instigates similar fervor in you.

Last week we collectively tasted the majority of wines coming to VINTAGES this Saturday and we singled out the best global finds. Themes to watch for are: home-grown Niagara finds and New Zealand which we have highlighted below. Toronto will be awash with Kiwi wines as the New Zealand wine fair comes to town this week. Stay tuned for a more detailed report on the country’s diverse regions and wineries to watch.

Argentina Masterclass-in-a-box 

Whites & Rosé:

Roger & Didier Raimbault 2017 Sancerre, Loire, France, ($31.95)
Sara d’Amato – A classic Sancerre brimming with chalky minerality, lemon oil and a hint of petrol. Although zesty, it has substance and impressive depth.

Miraval 2018 Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France ($24.95)
Sara d’Amato – It has arrived! This best-selling Provencale rosé is no longer the most expensive pale pink at the LCBO as prices continue to rise. Managed by the Famille Perrin, Miraval was once a coveted recording studio for some of the world’s most successful bands. Despite its rockin’ pedigree, this rosé demonstrates delicious austerity behind its wild aromatics. Warm weather ready, yet be careful not to chill it to extremes.

Chateau Saint Roch 2018 Le Rosé, Côtes du Roussillon, Midi, France ($17.95)
Sara d’Amato – A notably tasty rosé with very little residual sugar, a stylish pale colour and a great balance of savory and sweet. Pleasantly complex with notes of bergamot and pink peppercorn with a fruity abundance of plum and rose.

Roger & Didier Raimbault Sancerre 2017, Ac   Miraval Rosé 2018, Ap Côtes De Provence   Château Saint Roch Le Rosé 2018, Ap Côtes Du Roussillon


Alpha Box & Dice Tarot 2017 Grenache, McLaren Vale, Australia ($21.95)
Michael Godel – Lighter style McLaren Vale grenache to “chuck in the fridge and drink it.” What all natural-esque wines should aspire to be.
Sara dAmato – This stylized grenache has terrific presence offering a wealth of satisfying, sweet red fruit flavours balanced by hint of spicy oak. A clean, naturally made wine best enjoyed with a slight chill.

Montirius 2015 La Muse Papilles, Côtes-du-Rhône, Rhône, France ($23.95)
Michael Godel – “Muse for the taste buds,” in a sense. This organic and biodynamic red blend is and does just that. Lovely and drinkable red from the Rhône.
Sara d’Amato – “100% oak free”, this wild and fleshy wine from one of the southern Rhône’s most notably controversial producers had us all in agreement on its quality this week in the lab. Wild and delectably authentic, this biodynamic and vegan find will please and pleasurably challenge just about everyone’s palate.

Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenache 2017, Mclaren Vale, South Australia   Montirius La Muse Papilles Côtes Du Rhône 2015

Spadafora 2012 Schietto Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy ($29.95)
Sara d’Amato – This zesty, spicy nero d’avola had me thinking of volcanic soils yet it is produced in sandy terroir (more common with this variety). A mouthwatering barbecue find.

Edgebaston 2017 Chardonnay, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($15.95)
Michael Godel –  From Walter and David Finlayson and a lineage of winemaking royalty in South Africa. This brings the generosity of Stellenbosch fruit to the table for a song. Toasty, fresh and intense. What else could you want for 16 bones?

Podere La Corte 2016 Le Due Lune Monferrato Rosso, Piedmont, Italy ($16.95)
Michael Godel – An easy-drinking red from the Piemontese hills known for barbera but also for grignolino and freisa. Sharp blend and great value.

Spadafora Schietto Nero D'avola 2012   Edgebaston Chardonnay 2017, Wo Stellenbosch   Podere La Corte Le Due Lune Monferrato Rosso 2016

Local Favourites

Henry of Pelham 2018 Speck Family Reserve Riesling, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario ($24.95)
Michael Godel – A stunner of a riesling with fruit coming at you in waves but so do the succulence of vital acids. Long life ahead for this Short Hills Bench beauty.

Creekside 2017 Gamay, Niagara, Canada ($18.95)
Sara d’Amato – A pure gamay with very little adulteration, this spicy find is lightly reductive, earthy and offers a wealth of black cherry fruit. A touch smoky with a refreshing acidity makes it another fab bbq find.

Henry Of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2018   Creekside Gamay 2017, VQA Niagara Peninsula

New Zealand

Paddy Borthwick 2017 Chardonnay, Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand ($25.95)
Sara d’Amato – Located in one of the most picturesque regions of New Zealand (and that is saying a great deal). Wairarapa feels like the end of the earth until the skies part and you see the South Island in the distance. Borthwick has 27 acres of vines planted on the edge of the Ruammahuga River on Sony, free draining soils that are coveted for Burgundian grape varieties. This incarnation is on the super stylish, reductive side, peppery and delicately toasty with plenty of freshness.

Paddy Borthwick 2017 Riesling, Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand ($19.95)
Sara d’Amato Riesling lovers take note, sourced from a stony river terrace, this taught, goosebump-inducing find is the driest of off-dry. Give yourself a wake up call with a rarely imported Kiwi riesling.

Tohu 2016 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand ($34.95)
Sara d’Amato This delicately evolved Pinot noir is perfectly ready-to-drink with wild aromas of laurel, red cherry, sweet grass, anise and tilled earth. Tohu is one of the first Maori owned wineries and are dedicated to upholding a legacy of sustainability.

Rapaura Springs 2017 Reserve Pinot Noir, Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand ($24.95)
Michael Godel – If you are looking to acquire some affordable, high acid, notably tense, very drinkable Central Otago pinot noir as your cup of New Zealand tea than come right to this bottle.

Paddy Borthwick Chardonnay 2017, Wairarapa, North Island   Paddy Borthwick Riesling 2017, Wairarapa, North Island   Tohu Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016, Marlborough, South Island   Rapaura Springs Reserve Pinot Noir 2017, Central Otago, South Island

That’s all for this week. Drink well and salut!


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.

Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Sommelier Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview