Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES October 3rd, 2020

Thanksgiving Blues Yet Some Good News
by David Lawrason with recommendations from John, Sara and Michael

On the eve of Thanksgiving 2020 in Ontario, with COVID on the loose and calls to limit indoor celebrations to those in your bubble, there seems not much to give thanks about. But then there is always wine.

There is a T-Shirt doing the rounds that reads “Wine. The only thing getting us through the 2020 shit show”, or words to that effect.  I have no doubt that thousands of WineAlign readers heartily agree.  I have loved and consumed wine daily all my adult life, but this year it is bringing even more joy and solace.  Come six o’clock the opening of a bottle of wine, turning off the news, turning on the music and making dinner has become the highlight of my day.

These days we really do need these doses of well being, and not just the alcohol effect. More importantly it is the physical and psychological connection to pleasure, comfort, familiarity and companionship, even if the head count around the Thanksgiving table may be reduced.

Our job at WineAlign is to find you good news and good value wine, and now it is more important than ever.

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The good news that broke this week is that Ontario is going to permanently allow licensed establishments to sell wine and liquor with take-out and delivery meals.  This will be so very welcomed by restaurants but is even better news for Ontario consumers.  It is the back door to privatization, the breaking of the monopoly on selection that no one saw coming seven months ago. We are discussing how best to manage and report on this very important new development, and we encourage you to support your local establishments in this regard.

Meanwhile, VINTAGES October 3 release has many worthwhile options. We have reviews on a COVID record 75 wines, a significantly higher number than the LCBO allowed us to taste when they invited us to the tasting lab at HQ. The majority of Ontario’s import agencies are on board with sending us samples, or agreeing to reimburse WineAlign for the purchase of selected samples when they hit the shelves.  (If there are agencies or wineries out there who want to know why we are not reviewing their wines, please email me at [email protected]).

Before getting to our picks at large, I have asked each critic to pick wines they would match with a Thanksgiving turkey dinner. It is a time-honoured tradition of wine writing in Ontario to recommend turkey wines, and as new wine lovers join the fold cooking their first turkey this weekend, there is no reason to abandon the ritual.

The Thanksgiving Turkey Wines

Mathilde Chapoutier 2017 Sélection AP Languedoc, France
$14.95, Terroir Wine Imports
John Szabo – For the Thanksgiving table, there’s nothing more versatile than a supple Mediterranean red blend (grenache-syrah) that satisfies both in terms of flavour – savoury and fruity in this case – and price, so it can be served generously throughout the meal without pomp or circumstance. This is a cracking value.
David Lawrason – Here’s a great $15 buy in an authentic southern France wine from the new selection by Mathilde Chapoutier.  It is deeply coloured, with a ripe nose of prune, licorice and pepper. Sturdy and dense with some tannic grit. The length is very good and on stride for $15.
Michael Godel – Straight to market syrah and grenache, simply divided fruit, part fleshy and part grippy but added together they spell success. Can’t go wrong for $15. A no-brainer no matter how you spill it or split it up


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And that is a wrap for this time. Please note that VINTAGES has cancelled its October 17 release, saying that all the wines scheduled will still be meted into the system at some point this fall. This has never happened before. Hmmm.

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.

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

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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