Hello fellow wine lovers!
As you will recall, a few weeks ago I blogged about an LCBO article listing its 2015 Customer Favourites. I ran out and bought 3 of the 4 most-bought wines to see what all the fuss was about. In the blog post I reviewed the Beronia Tempranillo, and last weekend I brought the 2 remaining customer favourites to dinner at my sister-in-law’s place. All in all, I think Ontario and I have different tastes, but I can see the appeal of both the wines I tried.
Let’s break it down!
Open Smooth White VQA (Ontario)
Pale-medium yellow, with a very strong aroma including citrus, floral aspects, a bit of tropical fruit and lot of plastic/vinyl, that telltale characteristic of a riesling (in this case blended with vidal). Nice round, lush body. More peachy notes on the palate, as well as lemon, and still that riesling vinyl taste. I found this wine opened up a lot more as it warmed up a bit (our bottle had been left in the car overnight and so was extremely chilled when we first opened it). An easy-drinking wine on its own or with appetizers like paté and crackers.
I probably wouldn’t buy it again, but it’s $11.95 and an extra dollar off until the end of the month, so if you’re thinking of trying it, go get a bottle soon!
Ok, so after trying the Open and the Beronia, I’m starting to think that I may actually be a wine snob since that’s two strikes for me against the good wine-buying people of Ontario. I had heard good things about the next one so my fingers were crossed that I would like it!
The Wanted Zin 2014 (Puglia, Italy)
Intense ruby red, lots of dark cherry, dark fruit, raisin and plum on the nose. Smells delicious. On the palate, more of the same: black cherry, clove, sweet spice, vanilla and lots of dried fruit. Medium body, fairly low on tannins. Old World meets New World in this American-style Italian primitivo. Primitivo and zinfandel are genetically the same grape. And with zinfandel gaining popularity, this Italian wine probably wanted to benefit from that, so has been made in a similar style to the California zinfandels, likely specifically for sale on this side of the pond.
This one was ok! Actually, it was perfect for the pulled pork we were eating, and would work with anything smoked or grilled. Out of the 3 customer favourites I tried, this one I might buy again. It’s a pretty good price ($13.95, $1 off until the end of January) and is cheaper than my go-to zinfandel (Ravenswood). So I will keep this one in my back pocket for the next bbq I go to. And although that will likely not be for a while, the days are getting longer, folks, so that in itself is something to raise a glass to!
Beronia Rioja Reserva 2010 (Spain)
As I mentioned, last week I tried the Beronia Tempranillo, which was one of the 2015 LCBO Customer Favourites, but not necessarily one of mine. However, I also picked up the above rioja by the same producer. This one is a blend of tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo grapes. The “reserva” indicates that it has been aged in a barrel for at least a year (if you’re a wine nerd like me, you’ll want to check out the diagram below for more info on rioja classifications). According to the bottle, this wine spent 18+ months on oak, then was aged for 20 months in the bottle.
I much preferred this one to last week’s experimental tempranillo. It was dark ruby red, bordering on opaque. On the nose, aromatic black cherry and other dark fruit, as well as tobacco, cedar and sweet spice. At first sip, holy tannins! Let this one breathe for at least an hour. It is very grippy with equally high acidity, for a simultaneous drying yet mouthwatering sensation (how is that even possible?). This full-bodied red boasts red cherry and berries, clove, herbs, cedar and some minerality on the palate. I quite enjoyed drinking this rioja with (yet another) beef stew, but think it would go very nicely with any grilled red meat. It could also stand to be aged for a few more years, which would help take that tannin-y edge off and bring out more of the fruit.
Unlike the customer favourites, this wine is in the $15+ category, coming in at $19.95, with no special discount (alas). However, I am adding it to my list of wines to drink with steak! Also, you will notice that in the diagram, it says reserva riojas are generally $25+, so this one is a steal!
I am still on the lookout for the fourth LCBO customer favourite, the Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz, but it looks like the last bottles left are in Deep River and Timmins. And I love wine, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
Have you tried any of the LCBO Customer Favourites? What did you think? Are your wine tastes in line with the rest of Ontario’s?
Happy wining, friends!