If I Could Buy Only One – April 17th VINTAGES Release

We asked our writers, “If you could buy only one wine from this release, which one would it be and why?”

David Lawrason – Barrel aged sauvignon blanc/semillon blends – aka premium white Bordeaux whites – top my list of favourite richer white styles. If that is not obvious in the course of my reviews and recommendations it is partially because we see so few excellent examples coming through the LCBO. Hidden Bench and a handful of other Niagara producers are proving this genre can be produced in Ontario very well. There are not more of them because perhaps growers are shy of this grape’s weaker winter resistance. There are few older vine sites, like the Rosomel Vineyard, which has both sauvignon and semillon, among other varieties. It was planted over 40 years ago and converted to organic viticulture in 2010. The 2019 vintage of Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc is a classic – not heavily wooded with a lovely nose of juniper, caper, lime blossom, guava and fresh fig. Exotic, different and compelling. It is medium-full bodied, fleshy yet just firm enough, complex and showing excellent length. Should age well through 2030. And by the way, fans of Hidden Bench in western Toronto can now find a modest range at a new bottle shop teamed up with Bello Pizza and Hot Black Coffee at 2196 Bloor West, just east of Runnymede.

($29.95, Mark Anthony Wines & Spirits, Winery direct)

Michael Godel – Not only does the Franschhoek estate of Anthonij Rupert Wyne rarely miss making great wines, they do in fact sometimes produce mind altering ones. Such is the case with the Cape of Good Hope Serruria Chardonnay 2017. From the wine of origin location that is Elandskloof, southeast of Stellenbosch, an isolated valley north of Villiersdorp where steep topography is the game. Here chardonnay is raised at impressive elevation, in and around 700m on mountain sites between 600 and 900m. Mark van Buuren is the winemaker for this incredibly elegant chardonnay, reductive, flinty and in hypnotic smoulder. This is indeed one of South Africa’s great secrets, a wine of fulsome richness and substance, controlled excitement, but mostly a delicate set of flavours without and within. Not to be missed.

($27.95, Vinexx)

Sara d’Amato – Really good, inexpensive and from Burgundy – that’s a rare trifecta that needs to be acted upon. The Domaine des Verchères Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2018 is ethereal, bright and crunchy, modern yet still with a sense of place.  Clean with dusty tannins and a pleasantly musky aromatic profile. Authentic, effortlessly drinkable and what I hope to be enjoying over the weekend.

($23.95, Noble Estates Wines & Spirits Inc.)

John Szabo, MS – Since this feature is all about sustainability, my only one has to be the Benziger Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.  The wine appeals on several levels: for one, it’s made by the Benziger family, one of California’s early pioneers of sustainable farming, before sustainability was a thing. Here, they walk the walk of biodiversity and integrated farming as a matter of course, in a time when sustainability matters more than ever before. And secondly, and importantly, the wine is honest and delicious. It’s balanced, dry, flavourful, full of the dark berry fruit expected of the variety, without excessive oak flavours. This for me is the model of sub-$30 California cabernet, and also far superior to many more expensive versions, too. Chapeau bas..

($27.95, Corby Spirit and 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.

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

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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