Summers Cabernet Sauvignon, Fantino Barolo, Buller Victoria Tawny: Best Cellar Wines in LCBO Vintages Release July 21

By Gaby Israel

Here’s my best cellar wines list for this release as a shopping list that you can print.

Wines for up to $20:

France – Midi – Le Cirque Carignan/Mourvedre/Syrah 2010 – $14.95

With such review by RP (90) and for such a beautiful blend and for only $15, that’s one of the wines at the top of the buying list from this release. This is a great example that demonstrates that treasures can be found in the Vin-de-Pays “entry level” classification.

France – Loire – Domaine Des Ouches Igoranda Cabernet Franc Bourgueil 2009 – $15.95

Cab Franc from the Loire that gets 90 by WS and costs $16. Really? Do you still need my advice?

France – Loire (White) – Comte Leloup Du Chateau De Chasseloir Cuvee Des Ceps Centenairs – $18.95

A Muscadet with raving review from RP (gave it 92) and under $20 – John M, just your ‘cup on wine’, my friend.

Portugal (White) – Morgadio Da Torre Alvarinho Vinho Verde 2011 – $17.95

This is the Portuguese version to the Spanish Albarino (here Alvarinho). Perfect summer wine with a nice creamy sea food dish.

Australia – Victoria – Buller Victoria Tawny – $18.95

I had the Buller Muscat for several years now, but never had the Tawny version and it is/was outstanding. Expect a wonderful sweet-sophisticated dessert wine. My friend Rudy, used the Buller Muscat once to create a chocolate reductions for beef (yep, it’s as good as it sounds). Goes well with aged cheeses. An excellent affordable replacement for Tawny port. I’d buy 2-12 bottles. They will cellar well.

United States – Washington Estate (White) – Kung Fu Riesling 2010 – $18.95

Besides the high rating by WS (90), the affordable price and the fact that I haven’t tried a Riesling from this region, what got my attention was the name. I would be very curious to try it side by side with a German, Canadian, French (Alsace) and Australian Riesling and see the wine-making style differences and the terroir impact.

Uruguay – Pisano Rio De Los Pajaros Reserve Merlot/Tannat 2008 – $15.95

This one is for you Herman. Try it and let me know if it reminds you of the incredible Tannat you had in one of your recent trips (was it in Montreal?). Tannat – Although it’s originally from France, Uruguay has taken over this grape. Tannat is for Uruguay like Shiraz is for Australia. What I like about Tannat (here blended with Merlot) is that it’s different – it doesn’t taste like other grapes.

Wines between $20-$30:

Australia – Victoria – Rutherglen Estates Single Vineyard Petite Sirah 2008 – $20.95

Rutherglen Estate bears the name of one of the oldest and most recognized wine regions in Australia. The Petite Sirah or Durif as they sometimes refer it in Australia, was brought to this region in 1908. As you may have seen in previous recommendations and/or wine reviews, Petite Sirah is one of my favorite grapes and Victoria is known for doing it well. RP gave it 91 indicating short term cellaring (until 2016).

United States – California – Michael David Petite Petit 2009 – $24.95

A blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot. Two amazing powerful grapes in one bottle. Don’t want to miss this one. It will be interesting to compare this blend with the Rutherglen Petite Sirah.

United States – California – Summers Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – $29.95

There aren’t many Cab Sauvs from Napa that get 91 by RP, that carry the right adjectives in the review (Thick, Rich etc.), can be cellared until 2021 and cost $30. Most wines at that level will usually start at the $60 price range. $30 isn’t cheap, but with its cellaring potential and if you’re a Cab Sauv lover, this is a good buy.

Argentina – Uco Valley – Altocedro Reserva Malbec 2009 – $24.95

Mmmmm… yeah… a nice full Malbec from the Uco Valley. A concentrated Malbec with long term cellaring is my kind of wine. Its GPCi  is very favorable. RP gave it a remarkable 92 and indicated that it can be cellared until 2021. I’d buy 2-6 bottles.

Italy – Tuscany – Canonica a Cerreto Sandiavolo 2006 – $24.95

A typical IGT blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv and Sangiovese. Received an extremely impressive high score of 93 by WS. The very successful 2006 vintage in Tuscany allows most of the good wines to gracefully age; therefore, I believe this wine can be cellared for 5-10 years –I’d buy 2-6 bottles.

For deeper pockets:

If you have developed a respectable cellar and you are looking for a nice Italian representation, you have to include some excellent 2004 Barolo Riserva and 2006 Brunellos. Here are a two opportunities from this release:

Italy – Piedmont – Fantino Cascina Dardi Bussia Barolo Riserva 2004 – $48.95

Fantino is managed by two brothers Alessandro and Gian Natale (hey Lou, is this a relative of yours?). The grapes are hand-picked and carried out in oak barrels for 4 years (!). WS gave it 94+ indicating 2014-2024 as a drinking window. If you like Barolo and never tried Barolo Riserva, you should try this one.

Italy – Tuscany – Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 – $47.95

The Sassetti family has been working the land and making wine for a century. Livio Sassetti inherited this tradition but was displeased with the quality of fruit from the family vineyards, so in the early 1970’s he followed his ambition to Montalcino. Here he purchased land in Montosoli and established the Pertimali estate, named for a cottage on the property, from which he produced this Brunello. This is a serious Brunello with long term aging potential: WS gave it 93 and indicated a drinking window of 2014-2027. I’d buy 2-4 bottles.


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.



Leave a Reply