Buyer’s Guide to VINTAGES September 10 Release

A Surge of New Releases Re-Energizes VINTAGES

By David Lawrason with notes from John Szabo, MS, Michael Godel, Sara d’Amato and Megha Jandhyala

VINTAGES Sept 10 release landed with the largest number of products to descend on the province in one fell swoop that I can ever remember: 175, if my pen nib tally in the print catalogue is accurate. We aren’t able to taste every wine, of course, since media tastings at the LCBO ceased with Covid. But thanks to participating agencies and wineries who believe in this process enough to supply samples, we tasted almost half over two days tasting at WineAlign World HQ in Etobicoke. We also had our first full complement of five critics on hand since the spring.

One VINTAGES product consultant I know was delighted by the influx of so many new wines, feeling like the energy was back. She was also busy re-starting in-store tastings dormant since Covid hit. 

Certainly, the energy had waned in the past four months as VINTAGES went to one instore release per month and one online release, bumped up to 40 to 50 usually more expensive items. No one seemed very happy about this, including product consultants [PCs] I talked to in several stores who had less stock to sell. The agents were not happy either, faced with smaller orders per SKU and lower consumer take-up. We at WineAlign were not happy as the online process delayed our ability to taste, review and recommend online wines until almost ten days after they were posted. 


The only bright spot was that in August, VINTAGES also released its online wines in its ten flagship stores, a process we hope continues. We have included some in our picks below, assuming stock is still available.

Back to the September 10 release, there are very many worthy wines to recommend at different price points. Before getting to them individually, some general comments on the strong spots. The cover theme of VINTAGES Catalogue is ‘Find Your Local Love” and there is indeed a very good selection of 20 Ontario wines featuring leading producers like Bachelder, Le Clos Jordanne, Closson Chase, Thirty Bench, Organized Crime and 13th Street (the No 1 Ontario winery at the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada). For further coverage of Ontario don’t miss Michael Godel’s just published article presenting a very detailed recap of the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (I4C) held in Niagara in June.

France weighs in with more than 40 whites, red, rosés and sparklers. I draw your attention to very strong selections of mineral-driven yet ripe whites from the upper Loire Valley and Chablis, and value reds from the Southern Rhone, Languedoc and Roussillon. Spain is very well represented too with more than 20 wines, including classics from Rioja and some jammy juicy numbers from the garnacha- and monastrell-based appellations along the eastern Mediterranean seaboard. Italy chimes in with 26 moderately priced selections from regions spread across the peninsula.

So, here’s what we strongly recommend this time out.

Sparkling, White & Rosé

Nicolas Gueusquin Brut 1er Cru 2015, Champagne, France
$48.95 Du Chasse Wines & Spirits
David Lawrason – Very good value in vintage Champagne. It is fine boned, tender and lively that is all about subtlety and complexity. Dried apple/pear fruit, macaroon and gentle hazelnut crossed my mind. It is light bodied, refined and balanced on a pinhead. Almost exquisite.

There are 28 other VINTAGES Release recommendations this week that are currently only available to our premium members. This complete article will be free and visible to all members 30 days after publication. We invite you to subscribe today to unlock our top picks and other Premium benefits

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And that’s a wrap for this edition.  Vintages is back to twice monthly releases so will see you in two weeks time with recommendations from the Sept 24 Release.   And welcome back to Miho Yamamoto, our tasting coordinator, after a Labour Day weekend bout with Covid. It isn’t over, but the sense of normalcy and re-energizing out there is palpable.

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.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Lawrason’s Take
Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Selections
Megha’s Picks

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