Jane’s Gems: 90 Point Wines in LCBO Vintages August 8

view of vineyards naramata penticton okanagan british columbia canada

By Jane Staples

The LCBO Vintages August 8 Release offers an exciting collection of wines from the Pacific Northwest, namely British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

All three regions have undergone dramatic changes over the past five years, making great stride in both quality and diversity of the wines they produce.

Yet the three regions are also vastly different, despite the fact they’re often grouped together geographically in the wine world.

Oregon winemaking has its roots in the 1970s, and has since taken the silky, medium-bodied red wine, Pinot Nookanagan valley vineyards penticton british columbia canadair, to great heights. Now it also produces a zesty white wine companion in Pinot Gris. Both thrive in the region’s cool climate that’s moderated by the Pacific Ocean. Today, Oregon grows and produces more than 40 different grape varieties.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley now has almost 400 wineries, the largest concentration of producers in the state. However, fine wines can also be found in the Dundee Hills region with its volcanic soils, as well as in the Rouge Valley, the most southern wine region in Oregon.

Wine has been made in Washington since the 1860s, but like Oregon, it’s only been since the 1970s since fine wine became the focus, aided with the development of vineyard drip irrigation in such a warm and arid region.

Today, Washington is second only to California in the production of wine in the U.S. Prime regions include Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley and Horse Heaven Hills.

The state is known for its zesty Rieslings and rich, full-bodied Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, though it also produces good examples of Chardonnay and Semillon.

British Columbia is also a shining examples of the Pacific Northwest. It, too, has a similar back story of early attempts in the 1860s, but refinements starting in the 1970s.

BC’s Okanagan Valley is actually a glacial trench that’s about 160 kilometres long. There are many different microclimates that allow winemakers to grow and make wines from more than 60 grape varieties.

Most notably, in 2014 the Golden Mile Bench became the Okanagan Valley’s first DVA which allows it to mention its own appellation without also having to note the Okanagan Valley on the label. Primary grapes include Merlot, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.

The Similkameen Valley is an arid, warm region that’s able to produce full-bodied red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet
Franc and Merlot.

Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay are also specialties of BC winemakers, and we are fortunate to have a number of them in this release.

Here are my 90 point wines in the LCBO Vintages Release for August 8:


Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2011Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2011
Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, United States

From Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, a light garnet red dry Pinot Noir with a delicious nose of ripe red cherries, vanilla and mocha. The palate shows same with baking spice touches of cloves, cinnamon, licorice and forest floor. Finely balanced silky mouthfeel and a long ripe berry finish.

Alcohol:  12.5%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
750 ml
Drink: 2015-2019
Price: $34.95
Score: 92/100


Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013   Penfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
South Australia, Australia

From South Australia, a deep garnet red Cab Sauv with viscous legs and a lovely ripe strawberry & blackberry nose. The palate shows ripe dark berries, vegetal elements, spice, mint and dark chocolate with a smooth, well-balanced mouth-feel and dark berry finish.

Alcohol:  14.5%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
750 ml
Drink: 2016-2019
Price: $23.95
Score: 90/100


Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2013Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2013
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada

A Pinot Noir from Okanagan Valley, BC, garnet red with ripe strawberries, blackberries, red currants and milk chocolate on the yummy nose. A delicious palate repeats with earth and forest floor touches. Silky dry mouth-feel, exquisitely balanced with taught acidity and a long delicious harmonious finish.

Alcohol:  14.5%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
750 ml
Drink: 2015-2019
Price: $40.95
Score: 92/100


Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2013   Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2013
Columbia Valley, Washington, United States

From Columbia Valley, Washington, USA. This Riesling has a delicate nose with peach, touches of lemon and minerality. The delicious palate gives apricot, slight lemon, wet stone, and a touch of honey. It’s off-dry with good acidity, making it very versatile with food. Long apricot finish. Super value!

Alcohol:  11.5%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
750 ml
Drink: 2014-2018
Price:  $16.95
Score: 92/100


Cedar Creek Riesling 2013   Cedar Creek Riesling 2013
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada

From BC’s Okanagan Valley, this mouth-watering Riesling has a nose of minerality, peach and a touch of honey. The delicious palate gives tart apricot, lemon and subtle minerality. It’s very dry with a long apricot finish.

Alcohol:  9.9%
Sweetness: Extra Dry
750 ml
Drink: 2014-2020
Price: $18.95
Score: 91/100




Jane Staples 1

Jane Staples
Wine Columnist

Jane graduated from Algonquin College’s Sommelier Program with the Gold Medal in Food and Wine Pairing and a score of 94.5% in the final exam.

She completed courses in Winetasting, Grape Varieties, Food and Wine Pairing, Old World Wines, New World Wines, Vinification and Advanced Sommelier Techniques. She also has a BA from the University of Toronto.

Jane is a principal wine columnist for nataliemaclean.com, with this regular column, as well as for her own site, bellovino.ca. Jane is also the regular wine columnist for Ottawa Wedding Magazine and also writes for Alive Magazine.

Jane provides sommelier services and tastings for private functions, and is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Italian.







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