Monte Del Fra Valpolicella, Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras, Marziano Abbona Barolo Best Cellar Wines in LCBO Vintages Release April 28

By Gaby Israel

Here are the top 5 wines that would be hard to resist. Most of them have at least 2 of the 3 triple “winning elements” – Price, quality and cellaring potential:

2009 Montebuena – $12.95

This $13, 100% Tempranillo from Rioja received 90 by WS and RP. Natalie MacLean gave it 86. Worth trying and seeing which score better represents your palate. The Tempranillo grapes for this wine were hand harvested. Expect the typical Tempranillo  in a flavored concentrated package. Potentially, a great house-wine for day-to-day consumption. Here is something untraditional – try it chilled – I was served a chilled Tempranillo wine at Logrono, Spain and to my surprise, it was delicious.

2008 Monte Del Frá Tenuta Lena Di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore – $15.95

A good Valpolicella that received 92 by WS and can be cellared until 2023 and costs $16. One word Yes! Two words: Oh Yes!

2007 Canonica A Cerreto Chianti Classico Riserva – $17

Another bargain from the very successful 2007 vintage in Chianti. Parker rated this wine with 92 and recommended a cellaring window of 2014-2027. And if this doesn’t make you smile, it costs only $17. This is a very food friendly wine that goes almost with anything. If you like the Chianti wine style, just buy a case.

2009 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha – $19.95

I had previous vintages of Tres Picos Garnacha (means “three peaks” in Spanish) and enjoyed it. They extract the best of one of my favourite grapes – Garnacha/Grenache. It is yet another highly rated/fairly priced wine by Parker (gave it 92) and International Wine Cellar (gave it 91) that can be cellared for another 9 years (until 2021). I’d recommend buying 2-6 bottles.

2009 Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras – $19.95

I don’t think we have ever had the pleasure to buy a Vacqueyras for as low as $20 at the LCBO. It usually costs between $23-$28. So that’s a good start…  In addition, IWC rated the wine with 90-92 and WS was very close with a respectful 89 rating. While researching this wine, it was difficult to determine its exact blend and the ratio between the various grapes. This wine seems to be a blend of 65% Grenache , 30% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre or very close to these numbers.

GPCi Picks for Deeper Pockets

2008 Saltram Mamre Brook Cabernet Sauvignon – $24.95

I have had the pleasure to try the wines from Saltram since their 2001 vintage (they had a different label back then). Both their Shiraz and Cab Sauv are immensely enjoyable. Only yesterday I had the 2005 Saltram Cab Sauv and it was, as usual, outstanding. These wines age effortlessly for 8-12+ years, so from a GPCi perspective it’s a “strong buy” recommendation. Expect Barossa at its best – lots of layers and complexity of flavours. A beautiful combination of power and elegance.

2008 Farina Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico – $34.95

I have tried different vintages from Farina Amarone since their 1999 vintage, and I truly believe it’s one of the most consistent producers that deliver quality for a relatively reasonable price (for an Amarone). Expect a full body wine, full of great Corvina grape flavours. I found the Farina Amarone to easily age for 5-10 years. So on the verge of a GPCi worthy…

2006 Marziano Abbona Terlo Ravera Barolo – $42.95

A few interesting facts about this Nebbiolo based Barolo (taken from the Abbona website): The wine was aged for 12 months in 500 L Tonneaux and then 24 months in 30 HL oaken barrels. Then it was refined in bottle for 12 months. Natalie MacLean rewarded this wine with an amazing 94 and WS “went even further” and gave it 96 (!), both indicating that this wine needs time and can be probably cellared from 2014 until 2030, which gives it a supportive GPCi for buy (GPCi=~2.3!). If you have the budget this month buy 2-6 bottles and wait for the games to begin.


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 US and others.



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