If I Could Buy Only One – October 22 VINTAGES Release

We asked our writers, “If you could buy only one wine from this release, which one would it be and why?”

Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend Cabernet Franc 2020

($24.95, Andrew Pellar Limited)
Sara d’Amato – A gold medal winner at this year’s National Wine Awards of Canada, this Thirty Bench Winemaker’s Blend Cabernet Franc 2020 is a lively and perfumed cabernet franc with serious depth epitomizes why we have so much affection for this grape variety in Niagara. The 2020 vintage was objectively excellent yet went somewhat under the radar due to its timing as a “lockdown vintage”. There’s no better time to drink local and as the holidays approach, I like to stock up on wines such as these to show off our regional talent and natural gifts to the most skeptical of guests.

Castello Della Paneretta Riserva Chianti Classico 2018

($32.95, Halpern Enterprises)
Michael Godel – As with the upcoming thorough and thoughtful 2019 Annata there is a next level depth of craft and understanding intuited by way of Castello Della Paneretta Chianti Classico Riserva 2018. The fruit seems so well timed, picked late in the season, developed and yet braced in the moment, frozen in time. Feels cured and dried by cellar air, the vintage captured and preserved. This will live a long life, that much is sure and always drink up on the ridge, with the image of San Donato in Poggio demure in the distance. Just a perfect snapshot of village, UGA, commune and territory to drink through to the end of the decade.

Fontodi Chianti Classico 2019

($39.95, Rogers & Company)
John Szabo – This week my only one has to be a wine that ticks all the boxes: premium red at a relatively bargain price, made to exacting standards from organically farmed vineyards, dripping with modern tradition from an historic area, from a vintage that will be counted among the decade’s best: Fontodi Chianti Classico 2019. Giovanni Manetti and his team have delivered a clearly ripe and generous, pure sangiovese, with a terrific set of aromatics, ruit-rich, balanced, round and yet also acid rich on the palate, with a strong mineral signature. Classic Panzano; drink or hold late into the ‘20s.

Hahn Winery G.S.M 2020

($21.95, Andrew Peller Import Agency)
David Lawrason – If I were not out to buy a more expensive gifting wine from this release, but just wanting a delicious, easy drinking red for a fall evening I would head straight to this, great value Hahn Winery G.S.M 2020 blend, patterned after the reds of the southern Rhone Valley in France, but showing a modest extra measure of California sweetness. I really don’t understand why California is not doing more wines like this.  It has  ripe plummy/strawberry jam fruit typical of grenache, lilac, pepper and other spices. It is medium-full bodied with some warmth (14.5%) and mild tannin.  And the length is very good.

R. López De Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva 2010

($64.95, John Hanna and Sons)
Megha Jandhyala – Once again, here is a relatively well-priced Rioja that gives us an opportunity to experience the harmony, complexity, and refinement that age bestows on special wines. Steeped in tradition, this R. López De Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva 2010 is a riveting reserva from an iconic producer, established in Rioja since the 1870s. The years have given without taking; tannins, tempered by time into a fine grain, and taut acids support a concentrated palate suffused with still vibrant fruit accompanying dried cherries, redcurrants, and figs. Beautifully assimilated flavours of nutmeg, cloves, dill, and desiccated coconut and nuances of balsamic vinegar and leather contribute even more character to the already intricate fabric of this 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
Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Selections
Megha’s Picks

New Release and VINTAGES Preview