Buy the Case – April 2021 #1

*NEW SERVICE* Great wines to buy by the case

These are not 97 point wines.

With the recent proliferation of online wine sales, our inboxes, like yours, are overflowing with offers that look too good to be true. It’s tempting to click and purchase. But if you’ve lost all confidence in hyper-inflated scores and florid descriptions, we can’t blame you. In fact, we agree with you. A few wines are worth it. Many are not.

But we have a solution to buying wines by the case with confidence.

WineAlign was established a dozen years ago to help consumers make better, more informed wine purchases at the LCBO. Then we introduced the WineAlign Exchange, our curated wine subscription service of mixed private imports. Now, we’re going one logical step further: making the best of the best private import wines available to you to buy by the full case. The WineAlign crü tastes hundreds of wines each month to find a small handful on which they all align; they’re a demanding bunch. That’s why you trust them. And these ‘aligned wines’ are what we can now offer to you by the case. 

We’re delighted to introduce this service to help you drink better wine with the convenience of home delivery, while eliminating the hazards of the unknown. From the hundreds (thousands) of wines imported into Ontario each month, the WineAlign crü tastes and cherry-picks the best. To make the cut, we require unanimous consensus (rather rare!). Many of these wines already make it into the WineAlign Exchange subscription service. But some we find some good enough to buy by the full case. These are the wines we’d like to offer you from time to time.

Wines are sold in 12 bottle cases unless otherwise indicated. Click on the [Buy A Case Now] button to purchase a case and have it delivered directly to your door.

Disclaimers: Don’t expect 97 point scores, or daily offers. We don’t import wines and have no inventory to move. We have no exclusive allegiances. We are the most dreaded cherry-pickers. We apply the same rigour to this selection process that we do for everything else published on WineAlign. When we find the wines that are worth it, we’ll let you know. Otherwise, we’ll be one less sensational headline in your inbox.

Featured Wines:

Domäne Wachau Weissenkirchen Grüner Veltliner Federspiel 2019, Wachau, Austria
($28.44/bottle, Noble Estates Wines & Spirits)

Domäne Wachau, a quality-oriented cooperative led by Roman Horvath MW and Heinz Frischengruber, has developed into one of the top wineries in Austria, with an excellent range of Wachau wines that beautifully reflect origin. The small vineyard plots in the steep terraces along the Danube river are cultivated by vintner families – the true heroes of the winery – through their intensive manual work. Craftsmanship, sustainability, and the unique biodiversity are the pillars of the vineyards that Domäne Wachau manages.

Work in the vineyard is based on sustainable and, increasingly, organic principles, without the use of insecticides or herbicides, and grapes are hand-harvested. The grapes are carefully selected and then processed in a pneumatic tank press, with the must then fermented under controlled temperature and aged on their fine lees in stainless steel tanks.

The Wachau Valley, with its dramatic landscape, is located northwest of Vienna and hugs the Danube River. It is one of Austria’s most famous and respected wine regions.

The term Federspiel you see on the label of this wine is one of a three-tiered classification that was developed to communicate the style of the wine beyond just the region and grape variety. Steinfeder wines are the lightest with a maximum of 11.5 % ABV, then comes Federspiel in the middleweight category (11.5% – 12.5% ABV), and lastly Smaragd which are the richest and fullest-bodied with a minimum of 12% ABV.

Review – When is this not a classic representation of Federspiel, that is the question? The Wachau “villages” grüner is from Joching, Wösendorf and St. Michael, of vineyards wrapping the commune of Weissenkirchen; Achleiten, Klaus, Kollmütz and Weitenberg. Superb acids in 2019 and a concentration of lime-melon-sweet basil conjunction. Notable white pepper jolt, fluid, liquid, right. Piques and pricks, pleases and surprises.  91 points – Michael Godel (See more WineAlign reviews here.)

Food Pairings: try with the traditional Austrian wiener schnitzel, as well as poultry, smoked or raw fish, and vegetables (even white asparagus!)

Drink: 2021 – 2025

Quantity: SOLD OUT

Ciù Ciù Bacchus Rosso 2019, D.O.P. Piceno, Italy
($21.61/bottle, Le Sommelier)

Ciù Ciù was founded in 1970 by Natalino Bartolomei and Anna Maria Iobbi, just a few kilometers from the legendary medieval town of Offida. Today, brothers Massimiliano and Walter Bartolomei continue their father Natalino’s fascinating work, instilled with his experience and wisdom.

The estate, which contains 130 hectares of vineyard, is situated in the middle of the production area of Rosso Piceno Superiore. The rolling hills of Offida provide both picturesque vistas and multiple slopes and microclimates. Fresh sea breezes from the east flow through the vineyards, keeping vines clean, and wines fresh. Wines are certified organic & certified vegan.

The Bacchus Rosso is equal parts Montepulciano and Sangiovese, grown in mixed clay soils 300m on the Marches hills surrounding the towns of Offida and Acquaviva Picena, in Ascoli Piceno province. This unoaked red is meant to be enjoyed in youth.

Review – Here’s a generously ripe and spicy, wildly herbal and fragrant, rosemary and thyme, lavender and sage brush-scented montepulciano-sangiovese blend, full of character and intrigue at the price. The palate is equally plush and generous, a genuine chewy mouthful of dark fruit, with broad but ripe-supple tannins and balanced acids. I must say, there’s a lot of wine here for the money; this is hugely satisfying.  91 points – John Szabo (See more reviews here.)

Food Pairings:  try with beef brisket, hamburgers, pasta with bolognese or ragu sauce, or meat pizza.

Drink: 2021 – 2023

Quantity: SOLD OUT

Château La Roque La Cupa 2018, A.O.P. Pic Saint Loup
($51.65/bottle, Burgundy Direct)

The estate, which is located in the commune of Fontanès, around 20 kilometres north of Montpellier, is one of the gems of the famous appellation of Pic Saint-Loup. It consists of a single piece of land of 80 hectares, including 32 hectares of vines. On a terroir of clay and limestone scree, the terraced vineyard, with a southerly/south-easterly aspect, forms an amphitheatre composed of different plots carved out of the scrubland. Here, nature is everywhere. The place is amazingly unspoiled, offering a unique interaction between rocks, plants, vines and woods. The remains of a feudal château proudly testifies to a rich history linked to an exceptional site, at the crossroads of numerous roads travelled by man since the dawn of time.

Château La Roque produces white, rosé and red wines from vines which have been cultivated biodynamically for many years. La Roque wines are appreciated throughout the world, and the “La Cupa” cuvée is regularly acclaimed. The red and rosé wines are made from Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache grapes, while the grape varieties grown for the white wines are Viognier, Rolle (or Vermentino) white Grenache, Roussanne and Marsanne. Sylviane and Bertrand Barascud fell for the charm of this magical place. They have owned the estate since the summer of 2015, and with their team are striving to write a new page in the vineyard’s history. They are very involved on an everyday basis, endeavouring to express the terroir and produce wines which are the most honest and successful reflection of it.

Review – This is the flagship wine of this estate, a blend of syrah and mourvedre grown in the terraced clay limestone soils at the base of the dramatic Pic Saint Loup mountain that dominates the landscape of the namesake appellation. It is very elegant, rich and compelling red with classic aromas of blackberry, violet, some fine shrubby garrigue, pepper and subtle wood spice. It is not as heavy as I expected, the texture is nicely smooth with some warmth. Excellent length with great minerality on the finish. 93 points – David Lawrason (See more reviews here.)

This wine will also be included in our Exchange Black September case.

Food Pairings:  enjoy with barbecued spareribs, braised beef or lamb.

Drink: 2021 – 2029

Quantity: 7 cases

Sponsored Toronto Wine Storage - Fine Wine Reserve

The Fine Wine Reserve provides discerning collectors with the highest standards of fine wine storage in Toronto. Their facilities are purpose-built and specifically engineered to protect your fine wines. With two locations in the GTA, The Fine Wine Reserve offers the widest range of storage options and styles in Canada - allowing them to serve the unique and evolving needs of novice and expert collectors alike.