Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES January 5th Part Two

New year hangovers, solar radiation and high altitude Argentina, value under $25, and the good stuff

by Michael Godel

Happy New Year to all WineAlign readers and may your 2019 be filled with top drops, moderation and most importantly, great health. I was browsing the triple “W” in search of synonyms for the word hangover and was surprised to note that though the lexical web for drunkenness numbers in the thousands, the entry for “hangover” ironically came up virtually dry. I thought the phrase delerium tremens might suffice but it’s two or three days too long an equivalent and quite frankly a little harsh. And so I’ve settled on “wood mouth,” or as it is derived from the French, gueule de bois. The Spanish might say reasca and the Italians, postumi di sbornia, or “aftereffects of drunkenness.” An Italian in such a state would shout (albeit quietly) non berrò mai più! “I will never drink again!”

Niagara Icewine Festival

Funnily enough most will forget the discomforts of December revelry and once again find themselves standing in the VINTAGES section of the LCBO looking to refill those empty January shelves and wine fridges. While the extended holidays and New Year’s festivities may indeed serve to put a dent and a curb into spending, the undeniable urge to seek out values is mixed and matched by a commitment to staying a new year’s frugal course. The powers that be know their audience all too well and oblige by serving up more sub-$20 wines than at any other time of year. WineAlign covered the first half of the monopoly’s recurring redundancy of inventiveness last week with John Szabo’s VINTAGES Preview – Jan 5, 2019, Smart Buys under $17. Part Two goes at the next echelon of wines falling somewhere inside the vaguely specific $17 and $25 zone and then returns to wine buying reality by also exulting some pretty smart, higher end buys.

#tastingroom writing #tastingnotes @bodegadiamandes ~ #valledeuco #cdnsinarg @winesofarg

Godello in the Bodega DiamAndes, Uco Valley tasting room beneath the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains in Argentina

Before we roll out the January 5th Buyers’ Guide Part, first a note on my recent trip to Argentina. It was only seven weeks ago that I had the favourable and fortuitous opportunity to travel around with the team at Wines of Argentina. I did not make Lionel Messi’s acquaintance but did experience first hand in Caminito and at the Buenos Aires Aeroparque Jorge Newbery the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final. I can only begin to explain the cacophony of roars when goals were scored during the intense rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate. The November trip took in Buenos Aires (including Recoleta Cemetery), Mendoza City, Luján de Cuyo (Agrelo), the Uco Valley (Gualtallary and Tupungato) and Salta Province (Cafayate and Calchaqui Valley). The journey will always be considered as a masterclass across Argentina because that is precisely what it was. Visits to Mendoza and Salta helped to gain a deeper understanding of solar radiation and its effect on high altitude wines. Please click on to read my full report. I tasted upwards of 150 wines in my week spent in Argentina. This report covers 37 wines from 37 producers. These are the 37 that struck me as being exceptional, ahead of the curve or simply the perfect sort of examples to speak about climate, soil and of course, altitude.

Related – A masterclass across Argentina 

Now onto our next set of recommendations for the January 5th release.


Graffigna Vesparo Malbec 2017, Calchaqui Valley, Salta, Argentina ($18.95)
Michael Godel – Up to the northern clime of Calchaqui Valley, Salta we go for desert aridity, saltiness and a mineral streak through sun-ripened malbec. Here the temperature fluctuations between day and night seal in dark fruit and high acidity for the great solar radiated dichotomy. The Vesparo is a perfectly commercial poster child for the ideal. …

There are 16 VINTAGES Release recommendations this week that are currently only available to our premium members. This complete article will be 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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Thanks for reading and if you’ve not yet had a chance to slide over to my article on Argentina, here is that link. David and John will return over the next two weeks with previews for the VINTAGES January 19th release.

Good to go!


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
Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Sommelier Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview