Not that it’s super difficult on our part. Being lovers of tradition, planning and routine, our October 31 celebrations are pretty much down to a spooky science:
We dress up in our finest witch haberdashery, whip up a most excellent steak tartare, pour a huge glass of red wine and sit on the porch handing out sure-to-rot-your-teeth junk to the neighbourhood ghouls and goblins, whilst we merrily munch away.
If you like the sounds of that, this weekend Vintages releases some hauntingly good wines, at such terrific prices you’d turn in your grave.
But your on you’re own for the tartare.
Featherstone “Black Sheep” Riesling, VQA Niagara Peninsula, ON 2015
$16.95 Vintages 80234
We always really enjoy the Black Sheep Riesling for it’s easy drinking and delicious style. Named for the sheep that roam Featherstone’s property helping to organically manage the vineyard. Pink grapefruit, lime peel and apple sauce all come through on the nose. The palate is medium bodied with a lovely oily texture and flavours of mixed citrus and orchard fruit. Off-dry in style the sweetness is freshened by lip smacking acidity for terrific balance. With a low, 9% alcohol, this is a refreshing option for afternoon cheese plates or to kick start a dinner party. 90 points.
Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, ON 2013
$18.95 Vintages 286278
One day, Flat Rock is going to catch on and start charging what this spectacular Chard is worth. Delicious toasty notes of yellow apple, creamy vanilla and toasted nut on both the palate and nose, the oak is there but held in wonderful restraint, with a fresh backbone of acidity. Elegant and balanced, this is en excellent wine that provides unbelievable value. It could easily sell for $10 more – but don’t tell the winery that. 91 points.
Château Canteloup, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2010
$17.97 Vintages 466565
Coming from the esteemed 2010 vintage, this value-driven Bordeaux is generous with aromas of ripe red cherry, kirsch, a touch of sun-dried tomato and soy sauce. Smooth yet dense on the palate with fine-firm tannin and fresh acid, this is a terrific party wine. 88 points.
Château du Bois Chantant “Cuvée Laurence H.”, Bordeaux Supérieur, France 2012
$18.95 Vintages 421206
Bordeaux Supérieur is often a fertile stomping ground for treasure hunting, giving savvy wine lovers great insight to Bordeaux at a tiny fraction of the price. Here we have a savoury nose of smoke, tobacco, fresh cigar, cured meat and crème brûlée topping which follow through to the palate with the addition of ripe black fruit flavours. Smooth and rich with firm, grippy tannins this is a nice companion for braised beef on a chilly fall night. 88 points.
Chateau La Caussade, Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2010
$19.95 Vintages 177014
A superb wine with an herbal nose of fresh mint, rosemary and sage running overtop of aromas fresh black asphalt and red cherry. Full bodied with grippy tannins and lovely concentrated flavours of black cherry, black berry, licorice and slate. Terrific value – don’t miss this wine. 90 points.
Sassoregale Sangiovese, Tuscany, Italy 2014
$15.95 Vintages 251785
An easy drinking and crowd friendly Sangiovese (the main red grape of Chianti) hailing from the warm Maremma region, look for dried mushroom, red cherry and red plum on the nose. Medium bodied and smooth on the palate with bright acidity and juicy fruit, this is a ringer for pizza night.
Trapiche Reserve Merlot, Mendoza, Argentina 2015
$11.95 LCBO 454843
Juicy with generous flavours of red cherry, light spice and vanilla extract. Smooth and fresh on the palate with fine tannin and bright, vibrant acid. 88 Points.
Marius Rouge by Michael Chapoutier, Pays d’Oc, France 2015
$12.95 LCBO 470096
Legendary Rhone winemaker Michel Chapoutier named this value-driven tier of wines after his great-, great-, great- grandfather, Marius, a visionary winemaker in his own right, and the man who started the famed Chapoutier wine business. A blend of Syrah and Grenache coming from the warm, dry Mediterranean climate of southern France, this wine shows incredible grip and power with notes of blackberry, wild, bramble herb and black pepper spice. Full bodied with firm tannins, there’s a lot of value here. 89 points.