High on Wine: Argentina and Chile Magic Mountain LCBO Vintages May 10

May 10 2014 Vintages CatalogueThe wines of Argentina and Chile hit the spotlight in the May 10 LCBO Vintages Release. The premium wine region for Argentina is Mendoza, 650 miles southwest of Buenos Aires.

Many of us have only a vague notion of this South American country that’s five times the size of Spain. It spans more than a million square miles from the sub-tropical jungles and parrots in the north, near the equatorial Tropic of Capricorn, to the Antarctic ice fields and penguins of Patagonia in the south.

To the east, lie the expansive cattle-grazing grass-fields of the pampas; to the west, the country rises to the crescendo peaks of the Andes.

We know even less about the country’s wines, often lumping them together with next-door neighbor Chile’s vino. Both countries hug the Andes—the mountain range that runs down the spine of South America, with valleys and plains thrown to either side as though Bacchus had cleaned out his topography drawer.

Both have evolved from dictatorships to democracies. Both are Spanish-speaking with Latino flair.

Both countries also produce wines that are incredibly well-priced for the quality. The reason is that they share some natural advantages: a warm climate that produces consistently ripe wines so there’s less crop loss as well as cheap land and labor costs. This translates into wines that are often less than a quarter of the price of those from Napa, Tuscany and Bordeaux.

While Chile and Argentina are terrific bargains, stylistically, the wines are quite different. Chile lies to the west of the mountains beside the Pacific Ocean and so has a cooler, more humid climate than Argentina on the eastern side.

Therefore, the wines there tend to be more herbal, like their grassy-great Sauvignon Blanc, and more restrained style of Cabernet Sauvignon. The signature red wine is Carmenere, which has a long and storied history with Merlot.

The Andes block the cooling Pacific breezes and trap rain clouds on their snowy peaks, making Argentina’s climate dry and hot, producing blockbuster red wines, including the country’s flagship Malbec and robust cabernet. The signature white wine is Torrontes.

This is just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. You can access the 75 wines that I reviewed for May 10 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores.

You can also see my wine reviews for April 26. You can also add my wine picks to their custom shopping list with one click and access that list on their smartphone. This is one of the benefits of becoming a Paid Member. Inventory stock numbers are usually posted online a day or two before the release based on the LCBO doing so.

Purple AngelMontes Purple Angel Carmenere 2011
Colchagua Valley, Chile

Purple Angel will make you feel as though you’ve gone to heaven aloft a cloud of sensory pleasure. Can one wine pack more flavour into the bottle? I’m skeptical. If you love… Montes Purple Angel Carmenere Review and Rating.

Anselmann 2Anselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Siegerrebe Spätlese 2012
Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany

This attractive dessert wine is made from the little known grape Siegerrebe and offers aromas of honeyed apricots and lime-lemon drops. Terrific value for the money. Try it with fruit-based… Anselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Siegerrebe Spätlese Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Marchand Tawse 3Marchand-Tawse Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011
Burgundy A.C., France

A delightful, medium-bodied satin-smooth pinot noir that’s produced by a partnership between one of Niagara’s best wineries, Tawse, and this Burgundian domaine. Lovely tart cherry notes… Marchand-Tawse Bourgogne Pinot Noir Review and Rating.

Oscars 4Oscar’s Estate Vineyard Shiraz Viognier 2011
Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

This could be the ultimate hamburger wine! Full-bodied, generous, juicy and crowd-pleasing: it’s ready to get on… Oscar’s Estate Vineyard Shiraz Viognier Review and Rating.

Jean-Max 5Jean-Max Roger Cuvée G.C. Sancerre 2012
Loire A.C., France

Liquid happiness in a glass! This lemon bright Sauvignon Blanc is classic Old World style. Cool refreshing on the palate and with the snap on the finish. So versatile for… Jean-Max Roger Cuvée G.C. Sancerre Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Remo 6Farina Le Pezze Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2011
Veneto D.O.C.G., Italy

A concentrated, powerhouse Amarone with luxurious layers of black fruit, anise, mocha and vanilla smoke. This DOC wine offers extraordinary value for the price. It’s a cellar keeper but… Farina Le Pezze Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Chandon 7Chandon Blanc De Noirs Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling Wine
California, United States

This Californian sparkling wine producer is owned by one of Champagne’s most revered wineries, Moët & Chandon, the same house that makes top-of-the-line Dom Pérignon. Chandon is actually no newcomer to the scene having been founded in the 1970s, and the first winery to make sparkling wine using the traditional Champagne method. This bubbly offers… Chandon Blanc De Noirs Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling Wine Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Santa Barbara 8Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay 2012
Santa Barbara County, California, United States

Santa Barbara is a glorious southern Californian wine making region to explore both in the glass and on vacation. This chardonnay is full-bodied with ripe tree fruit and toasty oak aromas, brought forth under the masterful hand of winemaker Bruce McGuire. Try it with… Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Anselmann 2 and 9Anselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Siegerrebe Spätlese 2012
Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany

This attractive dessert wine is made from the little known grape Siegerrebe and offers aromas of honeyed apricots and lime-lemon drops. Terrific value for the money. Try it with fruit-based… Anselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Siegerrebe Spätlese Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Decoy 10Decoy Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Sonoma County, California, United States

This robust Californian Cabernet is almost chiseled in structure. Loaded with dark fruit aromas and flavours, it delivers. Generous character with… Decoy Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Review and Rating.

May 10 2014 Kings Ridge 11Kings Ridge Union Wine Pinot Noir 2012
Willamette Valley, Oregon, United States

Oregon Pinot Noir is a different wine than Pinots from other regions: it’s edgier, mouth-watering and acidic in a great way that can handle many dishes from planked salmon to roast chicken. I love this style far more than the fleshy, sweet berry ripe Pinots. This wine also sports… Kings Ridge Union Wine Pinot Noir Review and Rating.

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