Torres Celeste Crianza, Santa Rita Medalla, E. Guigal Gigondas: Best Cellar Wines in LCBO Vintages Release July 7

By Gaby Israel

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

This time I have arranged my recommendations based on preference. The value-for-money and GPCi are still, as always, my guide.

Chile – Maipo Valley – Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – $17.95

One of my favourites in this release. I have had this wine before and have recommended it several times. One of the best Cab Sauv you`ll find for $18. Expect full flavours Cab and enjoy it with a good juicy steak. Wine Enthusiast rewarded it with a very respectful 91. I’d buy 2-12 bottles. It can be drunk now and in the next 2-6 years.

Spain – Rioja – Marqués de Murrieta Finca Ygay Reserva 2005 – $24.95

Another favourite from the release and one of my favourite in Rioja. I have visited the winery in 2007. It’s a traditional Rioja Bodega that shows how maintaining the tradition can sometimes be a good thing.

The 2005, as reviewed in the past, is an outstanding vintage especially when it comes from such a great producer. IWC rewarded this wine with an unsurprising 91. These Reserva wines can easily age for another 7-10+ years which makes their GPCi favourable. I’d buy 2-6 bottles.

Spain – Ribera Del Duero – Torres Celeste Crianza 2009 – $21.95

I’ve just returned from a family vacation in Italy (yep, great fun!). I tried this wine – it’s a very good Torres. Interestingly enough, this wine was also offered in a few of the duty free airports we’ve visited for 20 Euro (about $25) – so well done LCBO for getting this wine for us for less. Also RP gave this wine 90-93 and indicated that it can be cellared until 2021, which, once again, makes it a good/smart buy.

Spain – Calatayud – Real de Aragon Centenaria Garnacha 2008 – $14.95

This tiny region in Spain (near the city of Saragossa – south-east of Madrid), produces some really great values wines. When I visited this region in 2007, I saw some of the old vines Garnacha, planted during the WW2 at 1,000 meters above sea level with no irrigation – what a view.

RP rated the wine 91 and indicated a short-medium term cellaring until 2018. I’d buy 2-6 bottles.

Italy – Tuscany – Argiano Nc Non Confunditur 2009 – $24.95

When I’ve visited Argiano in 2007, I fell in love. There is something very special in the taste of their wines. It’s a combination of tradition and modern style wines – they took the best from both worlds. 2009 has produced excellent wines in that region, so when it comes from Argiano, expect Tuscany at its best. Although the NC series isn’t their top one, for $25 you get a taste of what a great producer is. WS rewarded this wine with a high 92, indicating it can be cellared until 2021.

France – Rhone South – E. Guigal Gigondas 2009 – $29.95

Gemini, my close and dear friend, was the first one to introduce me to this wine with its exceptional 2000 vintage – if I recall correctly it was ranked #1 in WS Top 100 in about 7-10 years ago. The Gigondas from E.Guigal are not cheap but are very rewarding. They easily age for 8-12 years which makes the $30 price tag a fair one.

Italy – Tuscany – Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007 – $25.95

Another great wine that was introduced to me by Gemini (thanks Gem!). I have tried the 1999, 2000 and 2001. This wine ages gracefully. It’s a typical Tuscan wine from one of the beautiful places Tuscan has to offer (saw it again a week ago J). RP rated it 90.

Italy – Veneto – I Castei  Amarone Della Valpolicella  Classico 2007 – $39.95

iCastei is one of the top Amarone producers. Very much respected in the Veneto region. I’ve been collecting these Amarone since their truly amazing 1997 vintage. If it’s the first time for you with Amarone, you need to know a few facts – $40 is a bargain for top Amarone (most of the good ones cost $60+). The good Amarone wines, like this one, are full-body, intense, concentrated with in-your-face flavours. It contains hih level of alcohol – usually 15%-16.5% (compared to 13%-14% in most other type of wines). Most of the Amarone wines age beautifully between 7-20+ years (depending on the producers and the vintage). This 2007 iCastei Amarone got 93 (!) by WS with a long cellaring window – until 2030. I’d buy 2-6 bottles.

France – South Rhone – Cave de Rasteau La Domeliére Rasteau 2009 – $15.00

A consistently good, day-to-day wine from the south part of the Rhone valley. For $15 you get a ripe fruit full of flavours typical to the region blend. WS rewarded it with 90. Goes perfectly well with BBQ.

Canada – Ontario – Malivoire Chardonnay 2010 – $19.95

One of my favourite wineries in Ontario (love their Marechal Foch). Affordable price. Very refreshing. This can serve as a beautiful first wine of the evening Chardonnay. Pair it with scallops or shrimps. David Lawrason rated this wine 90.

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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