John Szabo’s Vintage’s Preview February 16th: A Smart Dozen

February 16th Buyer’s Guide – A Smart Dozen

By John Szabo MS, with notes from Michael Godel

This week, while David was throwing another fundraising Canadian Kitchen Party in BC, and Sara was in the thick of the 2015 Amarone preview tasting in Verona, Michael and I worked our way through the Vintages February 16th release. I kick it off today with my smart dozen, a broad round up of twelve wines from six countries, including a quartet of terrific, ‘cool’ (literally) Aussie wines, the feature of the release. A red trio from Italy highlights the kinship of style from Barolo (nebbiolo), Chianti Classico (sangiovese) and Etna (nerello mascalese), which would make for a superb tasting.

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

And speaking of cool, Northern Rhône syrah lovers dejected by current prices should explore a highly recommended Chilean example from the far out Leyda Valley, a vineyard I visited a couple of weeks ago a stone’s throw from the Pacific where syrah ripens on a knife’s edge, and cold onshore winds chill even in the dead of summer. Also wind-influenced, New Zealand provides a particularly serious and satisfying Central Loire-esque sauvignon (no offense intended) from the windswept Awatere Valley next door to Marlborough proper, and an unusual but delicious, fruit-backward pinot gris. A fabulous old vines red Douro blend and a crackingly good Niagara chardonnay priced well below its quality level round out the picks. Michael will share his take on the release next week.

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February 16th Buyer’s Guide

 Local Talent

Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2016, VQA Ontario, Canada ($22.95) John Szabo – There’s an exceptional amount of wine here for $23, with quality equaling many chardonnays at twice the price. It hails from Leaning Post’s home vineyard, whose young vines appear to be coming into form. Generous but balanced, and medium-full-bodied, it’s complete with plenty of wet stone, mineral oil and truffle character to keep the punters happy, while fresh orchard fruit broadens the appeal. Very good to excellent length.
Michael Godel –  Labeled as such to note the even split between the first, meaning barrel fermenting and then the second, aging in lees for nine months in stainless steel. The name pays homage to the 50 settlement in Winona, 50 miles from the American border and home to the winery. Must be the beautiful 2016 summer and fall talking because this is nothing if not a deliciously spicy chardonnay.

Leaning Post The Fifty Chardonnay 2016


There are eleven other 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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That’s all for this report. See you around the next bottle.

John Szabo, MS

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

New Release and VINTAGES Preview


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