Buy the Case – December 2021

Great wines to buy by the case

These are not 97 point wines (but one is pretty close!).

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 provide 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 wines that are worth it, we’ll let you know. Otherwise, we’ll be one less sensational headline in your inbox.

Featured Wine:

This wine was meant to be in our December Black case but because of logistical issues due to Covid, it did not get here in time. It has now arrived and we are pleased to offer it as a special bonus. If you order by the end of this weekend you will receive it in time for Christmas (depending on where you live).

Frederico Curtaz Il Purgatorio 2017, D.O.C. Etna Rosso, Italy
($59.97/bottle, $360/6-bottle case, Mondo Vino)

About Frederico Curtaz:Federico Curtaz Il Purgatorio 2017 Federico Curtaz was born in Val d’Aosta but has lived most of his life in Piedmonte where his mother’s family had a farm with cattle and vineyards. He graduated as an agronomist in Asti where he later taught. In 1983 he met Angelo Gaja with whom he collaborated for 15 years as an agronomist. After various consulting gigs around the world he fell in love with Sicily and its history, culture and wines. He started a joint project with a new winery on the Etna, where a true renaissance was just underway. In 2015 he parted ways from the project in order to start his own namesake winery. He rents and manages 3 separate small vineyards, near Noto for his Nero d’Avola grapes; on the eastern slopes of the Etna, near Milo, for his Carricante grapes, and on the southern slopes, near Biancavilla for his Nerello Mascalese. 2015 was the first vintage to be bottled by Federico. The total production now hovers around 10,000 bottles. Purgatorio is the name of the contrada (parish) in Biancavilla on the south of the mountain where this wine is grown. The Purgatorio is aged 18 months in 300 and 500 litre barrels.

Review: “The level of purity, god honest truth and settling palate texture beats the Etna drum, slowly, purposefully and hypnotically. You will get lost in this Rosso, if you are so inclined and allow for that kind of succumbing, even if to do so is not in your nature. Let go and let it happen. Trust is everything and Il Purgatorio can be trusted.” 95 points, Michael Godel

Review: “There’s more than a nod to nebbiolo in this refined and elegant, highly perfumed example of nerello mascalese, so much so that anyone less than intimately familiar with Etna would be hard pressed to place this wine in Sicily were it tasted blind – Piedmont would be a much better guess. Yet there’s ample evidence of its volcanic origins in the marked iron-sanguine-ferruginous character – the “rust” of Etna is on full display, next to typical wild red berry fruit, wild strawberry in particular. The palate is medium-full, svelte but tightly structured, with highly grippy tannins abetted by succulent, vibrant acids. Length and depth are exceptional. I’d recommend cellaring for another 2-3 years minimum to polish the texture and bring out the inherent underlying complexity – this will be a real beauty, savoury, finessed Etna Rosso in due time.” 94 points, John Szabo, MS

(See more reviews here.)

Food Pairings: pair with Pasta Alla Norma (great for vegetarians and eggplant lovers), baked pasta dishes like lasagna, and flavourful cheeses like provolone, gruyere, and ricotta.

Drink: 2023 – 2032

This wine is sold in 6-bottle cases.

Quantity: 75 (6-bottle) cases

Featured Wine:

This wine was meant to be in our December Discovery All Red case but because of logistical issues due to Covid, it did not get here in time. It has now arrived and we are pleased to offer it as a special bonus. If you order by the end of this weekend you will receive it in time for Christmas (depending on where you live).

La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018, D.O.C. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy
($26.98/bottle, $324/12-bottle case, Mondo Vino)

About Fattoria La Valentina:  La Valentina was born in 1990 on the hills overlooking Spoltore,La Valentina Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2018 which is near Pescara in Central Italy. The owners, Sabatino, Roberto and Andrea Di Properzio, have been running the company ever since, putting their development project into action in 1994. After the first few years spent studying the Santa Teresa vineyard, their continuous efforts to keep improving quality and to achieve recognition for the high-quality D.O.C. wines from the Abruzzo region have become the principal goals in the company philosophy. They have learned to understand their land more fully by respecting and tending it. Each year they have had healthier wines of more and more authentic quality. Moved by their conviction that improvement comes only through respect for natural equilibriums, they do not permit the unrestrained use of technology and chemicals.

Review: “Lovely, clean, ripe, fragrant, nicely composed montepulciano from La Valentina, showing gently evolving, spiced red and black fruit character, neither over nor underripe, and no evident wood influence. I like the silky-soft texture framed by supple tannins and balanced acidity. Quite classy and sophisticated all in all, drinking well now, though no rush. Lovely stuff.” 91 points, John Szabo, MS

(See more reviews here.)

Food Pairings: pair with beef brisket, hamburgers, beef ragu, or cheeses such as aged cheddar, asiago, or parmesan.

Drink: 2022 – 2026

This wine is sold in 12-bottle cases.

Quantity: 40 (12-bottle) cases

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