VINTAGES Buyers’ Guide – July 6th, 2019

Cool All Over Again

By David Lawrason, with notes from Michael Godel

It’s annually ironic that the word cool gets bandied and batted about ad nauseum in Ontario during the hottest days of the year. It is all because of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (I4C) coming up July 19 -21 in Niagara, which John Szabo and team will tackle in a separate newsletter next week. I have sweltered through several I4Cs.

But Vintages has jumped aboard the cool train with this release too, its magazine blaring Super Cool on the cover, and its feature pages actually explaining what cool climate means in the New World of wine (where the majority of climates are hot and getting hotter).


As a wine educator with Fine Vintage Ltd, and teacher of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) curriculum, I would like to congratulate VINTAGES for the job they have done on this piece. They have cutely explained the various “Chill Factors” (water, altitude, aspect, latitude) that make it possible to make fine wine in hot places. And on page 12 of the magazine they have provided a chart that describes the differences between four common grape varieties grown in cool climates and warm climates, although it could have been a longer list.

Very useful stuff, and it only leaves the consumer the task of understanding wine geography enough to complete the landscape. A tidy list of cool and coolish climate regions in the New World would have helped. So, allow me:

In terms of VINTAGES selection for the Cool theme and the rest of the release, there are the usual number of hits and misses. And what has become the norm since March of this year, less than half the products (65 of 142) were presented for preview tasting by the media. There have been discussions around rallying the wine trade to provide samples of the missing wines, but nothing seems to be happening en masse, and well, summer is here and you know….time to chill.

Michael and I present our non-chardonnay picks below, and will add our chardonnay picks to John’s guide next week. All however are currently posted to WineAlign.

Vintage’s Buyer’s Guide July 6th

White and Sparkling:

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand ($26.95)
David Lawrason – This leading producer has developed a local fan club with it is brisk, nervy and mouth-watering style, and intense flavours crammed with wild herbs, grapefruit and distinctive flinty reduction.
Michael Godel – The expressive nature of this very special and particular sauvignon blanc simply covers the scene. The fruit quality is equal to the energy and few Sauvignon Blancs will age like this one can and will. …

Paid ContentThere are 11 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.

Unlock our Top Picks

Please take a moment to understand why we charge for this service.

“For the cost of a good bottle of wine we’ll help you discover hundreds of great ones.”

Paid Content

And that’s a wrap for this week. John returns next week with bucket load of chardonnays that will be poured at I4C.

My chardonnay future also includes I4C, and perhaps I will see you at the dinner on July 17 for Domaine LaRoche of Chablis, which I had the pleasure of visiting in France just last Sunday. In the weeks ahead I will be writing more on Chablis in general, as well as Alsace. I spent all last week hiking in Alsace and have some observations to share, as well as great photos by photographer Ben Champoux.

On July 18, there is a dinner with Lucio Matricardi, winemaker for Italy’s Mezzacorona, Stemmari and Rotari wines.

(NOTE: Premium members receive 24 hours advance notice for winemakers’ dinners. Both these events were sold out before we could send invitations to our regular members. Premium membership has its privileges.)

And on July 22, watch this space as we begin to announce results of the 2019 WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, category by category, ending with the announcement of Best Performing Small Winery of the Year on August 1 and Winery of the Year on August 2.

Until next time,


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.

Lawrason’s Take
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview