If I Could Buy Only One – September 4th VINTAGES Release

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

Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2019

($29.95, Mark Anthony Group)
John Szabo – I really have to say, that from the September 4th release, my easy only one would be the Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2019. Ontario 2019 is shaping up to be a glorious chardonnay (and pinot) vintage in Ontario, the cooler conditions lending a steely, minerally edge to the wines. This example is rendered by Hidden Bench into a chiseled wine with terrific relief and depth; I love the precision, the perfectly integrated wood influence, the genuine depth and complexity. In an international context, this is one exceptional value chardonnay, easily equal, or superior to, wines at twice the price from more name-brand regions. Chapeau bas to the Hidden Bench team, also for their dedication to organic farming and low carbon footprint ethos. Best 2022-2030.

Michele Chiarlo Le Orme 16 Months Barbera D'asti 2018

($15.95, Univins)

Michele Chiarlo Reyna Barbaresco 2016

($36.95, Univins)
Michael Godel – My only one pick this time around is actually two, but from the same producer. Michele Chiarlo Le Orme 16 Months Barbera D’asti DOCG 2018, Piedmont, Italy is an Asti exemplar and mainstay from a triad of terroirs to produce a barbera cuvée cemented in consistency and perpetuity. The sites are Castelnuovo Calcea, Montaldo Scarampi and Agliano Terme and this turns away from 2017’s dusty aridity towards concentration and structure. Always the energetic barbera with Asti acidity, high, lifted and without fail. Juicy wine in 2018, getable and pleasing. An educated guess would suggest the name Reyna to mean “queen” for Michele Chiarlo Reyna Barbaresco 2016, Piedmont, Italy, as in Barbaresco being the queen of nebbiolo, in contrast to Barolo being known as the king. The stereotype or old-school branding notwithstanding this is indeed a very pretty nebbiolo, fulsome by a ripe and structured vintage, caressing in mouthfeel and beautifully balanced throughout. Truly an ideal mid-term cellar worthy one. Takes all roads that lead to Barbaresco and teaches about place with great leadership. A portal of sorts to discover these regal wines no matter how one chooses to exult them by epithet or distinction.

Bachelder Wismer Wingfield Ouest Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

($44.95, Bachelder Wines)
David Lawrason – There are three very high calibre Niagara chardonnays on the Sept 4 release – The Hidden Bench 2019 mentioned in our Sept 10 review, an impressive, layered debut from On Seven, plus this clarion effort: Bachelder Wismer Wingfield Ouest Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 from Thomas Bachelder. From a higher elevation, later ripening parcel within the Wismer Vineyard, this is pretty, classic Niagara Bench chardonnay, nodding left and right to well structured Burgundy. It has a complex nose with all kinds of fine minerality, spice, subtle apple/pear fruit, lemon, hay, toast and hazelnut. The palate is medium bodied, solid and firm yet still quite delicate. The focus and length are excellent, with fine pine nut bitterness on the finish, among many other things including minerality.

La Fralluca Costa Toscana Bianco 2017

($21.95, Nicholas Pearce Wines)
Sara d’Amato – On the more inventive and idiosyncratic wines in this VINTAGES release, La Fralluca Costa Toscana Bianco 2017’s extended skin contact blend of vermentino and viognier that has no shortage of personality. If you’re curious about skin-contact wines or love chardonnay and want to expand your horizons, you’ll want to look out for this well-made and well-priced Tuscan find grown on limestone soils in the midst of Mediterranean scrubland.


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 Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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