Buyer’s Guide to VINTAGES June 18 Release

A Quick Tour of the Best Buys

By David Lawrason with notes from Michael Godel and Sara d’Amato

Greetings from the 2022 National Wine Awards of Canada in Niagara. It is the day before 21 judges sit down to peruse over 1900 wines from across Canada. Two dozen volunteers have already been working three days on the set up – in fact the overall preparation takes longer than the actual judging itself. You will be reading all about the event and the results over the next few weeks, and it promises to be fascinating.

Meantime, the Awards have forced this rapid assessment of VINTAGES June 18 InStore release.  Many of the offerings are tightly focused around the $16 to $25 range – call it $20 – with the more expensive offerings relegated to less accessible OnLine releases, which we can expect as the reality going forward (the next one is July 2).

WineAlign members receive $10 off regular ticket price.

The feature this month is Southern Hemisphere, a very broad theme linked as much to this price parameter as geography.  Wines from the South are habitually, almost institutionally less expensive than wines of comparative quality from the North.  This is partially linked to lower cost of land and labour, and partially to historical perceptions of quality.  But the viticultural and winemaking of the Southern Hemisphere is in no way less developed than in the north – for which I can vouch having been across the equator 13 times between 2010 and 2018 – before COVID.  All I can say is that if you are still thinking South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand are somehow delivering lesser quality, you are mistaken.  As warmer regions they are delivering riper, softer New World wines – as a generalization – but the quality is no less – and the value is greater.

But our picks below do not necessarily cluster in the Southern Hemisphere. We also single out best buys from California and Niagara in the Northern Hemisphere, plus some interesting, relatively inexpensive white and orange wines from Europe, plus a couple of classic Euro reds.  We have further posted tasting notes on about half the wines in the release, so please browse further by clicking on the links to each of our critics (here).


Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2020

Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2020, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$22.95, Leaning Post Wines
David Lawrason – Leaning Post’s least expensive chardonnay is great value and seems just as complex and detailed as its peers. It is medium weight, quite intense and powerful with elevated acidity and alcohol. Lacking some finesse perhaps, but the length is excellent.
Michael Godel – This chardonnay is remarkably precise, takes nothing for granted and delivers a layered experience in which more than one vineyard and sub-appellation contribute to the greater good. Might very well be the best one made of the six to date.
Sara d’Amato – A quality bargain at under 25, Leaning Post’s The Fifty chardonnay is at once creamy and refreshing. Lemon, almond and egg custard linger on the lively finish of good length.

There are 13 other VINTAGES Release recommendations this week that are currently only available to our premium members. This complete article will be free and visible to all members 30 days after publication. We invite you to subscribe today to unlock our top picks and other Premium benefits

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And that’s a wrap for this edition. The WineAlign office will be closed next week, reopening June 27, and we will back to tasting for the July releases plus other upcoming WineAlign features on South Africa and Beaujolais. Have a great weekend and week ahead.

David Lawrason

VP of Wine

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Selections
Michael’s Mix

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