Heredad de Baroja, Bellaria Assunto, Clos de Gat Best Cellar Wines in LCBO Vintages Release May 12

By Gaby Israel

The repeating question is what to do with so many wines and a limited budget. Here’s my best cellar wines list for this release as a shopping list that you can print and these are my recommendations in order of preference for an up-to $100 release budget:

Spain – 2001 Heredad de Baroja Gran Reserva – $21.95

Bodegas Heredad de Barojas (named after a famous Spanish writer) started to produce wines in 1964. For me, nothing beats an 11 year old Gran Reserva wine from the spectacular 2001 vintage for $22.00. With the given budget, if you decide on only one type of wine, I’d buy 4 bottles of this fine Rioja.

Italy – 2006 Bellaria Assunto Brunello di Montacino – $36.95

The facts – 2006 in Tuscany is the vintage from which to collect wines. This Brunello was highly rated by wine critics (between 91 to 95). A price of $37.00 for such a highly rated Brunello, is a bargain. This wine can be probably cellared for 8-15 years which makes it a GPCi worthy.  I’d buy 2-3 bottles (stretching lightly my $100 budget).

Israel – 2007 Clos de Gat Ayalon Valley  – $47.95

This release is introducing a few of the better wines Israel has to offer. Although they are costly (which annoys me!), there is one in particular worth mentioning – Clos de Gat. This winery is situated in the foothills of the Judean Mountains (not far from Jerusalem).

The word Gat (means winepress in Hebrew) was chosen due to the fact that there is a 3000-year-old winepress in the heart of the winery.

I was introduced to their wines at the Tel- Aviv airport a few years ago (strange, eh?) on my way back to Toronto.  If you have the budget this month, I’d recommend trying the  2007 Clos de Gat Ayalon Valley ($47.95) – I’ve had it and I’m sure you will be amazed by the level of quality of this wine offers. If you have had any doubts re the Israeli wines, this wine will settle it for sure. This blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot and Petite Verdot is  world class blend. Daniel Rogov (who unfortunately, passed away recently) gave this wine 94. Getting this rate from Rogov is a huge achievement and a true testament to what’s waiting for you in the bottle.

United States – 2010 Seghesio Sonoma Zindfandel – $29.95

Last but definitely not least, is my choice from the extensive and expensive variety of American wines this release has graciously offered. I have had Seghesio Zin in the past 5-6 years and for me it was always one of the Zins’ benchmark. It’s relatively expensive to other wines in general and to Zin in particular, but it’s very rewarding.

Bottom line, for up to a $100 budget you can buy 1 bottle from the 2001 Heredad de Baroja Gran Resreva, 1 bottle from the 2006 Bellaria Assunto Brunello and 1 bottle from the 2010 Seghesio Zin and you are still left with $10. Go wild!

Happy shopping!

Gaby Israel has been providing wine tasting notes and buying recommendations for several years now.

The name WineGPCi (pronounced Wine Gypsy) was given by his friends. GPCi stands for Gaby’s Potential Cellaring Index. While searching for “treasures for the cellar” without going to the bank, the GPCi was initially used to calculate the ratio between the price of the wine and the number of years it can potentially be cellared for; trying to find the wines that had the smallest index/ratio possible.

Any good wine that had a GPCi of 3.5 and under, was worth buying (mainly if you were planning to develop a cellar). Many years and “750 bottles in the cellar” after, his knowledge, experience and passion continued to grow. He continues to focus on helping the consumer finding “logical” ways of buying wines and planning the budget for it.

His great passion for wine revolves around old-world wines such as Spain, France and Italy while experimenting the new world exciting regions of Chile, Argentina, Australia, Canada, the United States and others.



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