Buyers Guide to VINTAGES – July 21st, 2018

Casual Wines for the Summer BBQ
By David Lawrason, with notes from John Szabo and Michael Godel

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

Thousands, perhaps millions, of us will be barbecuing this weekend. I will be joining hundreds in Niagara at two huge outdoor grill-fuelled events Friday and Saturday evenings at the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (I4C) – for which last minute tickets remain.

We Canadians have refined the art of BBQing. We take to it with passion, reverence and intensity. It is not the flavour nuances of BBQ that matter so much as the fact that we are eating outdoors during our precious summer months, or riskier shoulder seasons, or even the dead of winter as some boast of doing. It is a culture of dining outdoors, and the casualness of it all that brings us to the table. We can make any recipes work within. And thus, any wines as well.

Perhaps that is what lies behind VINTAGES diverse selection of wines in a promotion called Grill Factor – 18 Must Try BBQ Wines. The selection includes Chablis matched to fine herbed chicken; a Madiran and a Douro red matched to striploin and smoky chimichurri; St. Emilion matched to back ribs with chili rub; Niagara riesling alongside teriyaki salmon skewers and French rosé paired with grilled veggies.

Are any of these perfectly matched? Probably not. Do we really care? Nope.

About the only “rule” I would suggest is not opening your most expensive bottles where some of their complexity and nuance might be blown about by the breezes and layered with smoke.

If you are a diehard red meat eater, ready to chow down on umami-laden steaks, burgers and ribs slathered in sweet, smoky BBQ sauces have a look at the small selection of reds from California’s Lodi region that are also featured this release. The wines from this hot Central Valley sub-appellation inland from the Bay Area are quite thick and hot and can be rather sweet and soupy. But those sticky BBQ sauces will actually dial back their excess. There is one slightly more refined Lodi red below that we particularly like.

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Alejandro Pesquera Crianza 2014

Elsewhere we found several very good buys, most of them what I would call casual wines, in lower price brackets, that might be purchased in quantity for larger BBQ gatherings.

Buyers Guide to VINTAGES July 21st

Whites and Rosé

Santa Ema 2017 Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley, Chile ($15.95)
David Lawrason – This is a nicely polished, fresh and balanced sauvignon with pleasantly understated but correct and clean aromas of green apple, fresh tarragon and cut grass. It is medium weight, crisp and precise on the palate, with very good length. Summer salads.…


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And that’s it for this edition. Keep on grillin’ and sippin’.

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.

Lawrason’s Take
Szabo’s Smart Buys
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview


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