Lealtanza Reserva, Di Majo Norante Ramitello, Ridge Lytton Springs Best Cellar Wines in LCBO Vintages Release May 26

By Gaby Israel

This is an extremely challenging release – what do you do when most of the wines offered in this release are rated “outstanding to classic” (90+) by wine critics but you’ve already taken a second mortgage? 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:

Top recommendation for up to $20:

Italy – Di Majo Norante Ramitello 2009 ­ $15.95

Named after the region’s largest river. Biferno is situated in the small wine region of Molise, in the southern part of central Italy. It’s a blend of 80% Montepulciano and 20% Aglianico. No doubt, this is the number 1 on my shopping list – the reviews (RP=91) its cellaring potential (2015-2025) and the price are a killer combination. Buy one bottle, see if you like this type of wine. If you do, buy a case or two.

Spain – Rioja – Lealtanza Reserva 2005 – $19.95

If you have followed my notes, you know that I have a weakness towards 2005 Riojas. So here we go again… The 2005 Lealtanza Reserva follows the Spanish tradition of producing Rioja wines – 18 months in French oak casks and 36 months in the bottle (4.5 years before it hit the shelves). RP rewarded this wine with a 91+ and indicated its long term cellaring potential of 2016-2025, which makes it top recommended buy as well. Buy 2-12 bottles.

France – Coteaux du Languedoc – Midi – Mas d’Auzieres Sympathie Pour Les Stones 2009 – $19.95

Excellent vintage in that region. A supportive review from RP (92-93), only 5000 bottles made and for such price, it’s yet another “what else do you need before you try me” wine from this release.

Agrentina – Urraca, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – $19.95

Last but not least from the “up to $20 category”. A family owned winery – Langley. The winery located in Mendoza region at the foot of the Andes Mountains at 950 m above sea level. This is a 100% Cab Sauv aged for 12 months in new American and French barrels. RP gave this wine 90 and indicated that it can be cellared until 2020.

For deeper pockets:

Italy – Tuscany – Castello Di Ama Chianti Classico – $33.95

RP has generously given this wine a 93 and indicated a long term cellaring of 2015-2027. I have had this wine (it’s 2001 version) the first time in Tuscany in 2006. I believe I still have one bottle left in my cellar. When it comes from great vintages like 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2007, this is Chianti Classico at its best. The fact that it can further age for 15 years makes it an excellent ‘investment’ (GPCi of 2.26!). If you have enough money for this release and you like good, full flavor Tuscan wines, buy 2-6 bottles.

Canada – Ontario – Closson Chase K.J. Waston Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 – $34.95

A very supportive review by Sara d’Amato from WineAlign who gave this wine 92. I had this wine about a month ago at the vineyard (bought a few bottles) and I truly believe it’s one of the best Chardonnay Ontario (if not Canada) has to offer. Closson Chase Chardonnay usually age effortlessly for 5-10 years, so although it’s a relatively expensive Chardonnay, it’s worth it.

United States – California – Sonoma County – Ridge Lytton Springs 2009 – $46.95

I didn’t have too many wines from California (find them too expensive), but I had a few Ridge Lytton Springs and they always delivered! According to RP, who rated it with an unusual 95, this is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane. It seems to have a long cellaring potential (2013-2029) which, once again, makes it a good investment (GPCi=2.76 – remember, anything under 3.5 is great).



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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