Le Sommelier has a classic Austrian Grüner, a Chicago-made craft whiskey and a top rated Vino Nobile de Montepulciano from Tuscany.

stairs leading up from Loimer’s century-old wine cellar in the Kamptal region of Austria.

In the March 4 VINTAGES release, LCBO is brought back a perennial favourite of ours, and for many across Ontario… the 2015 Loimer Grüner Veltliner Langenlois from the Kamptal region. A certified organic and biodynamically farmed, dry white from Austria, the hand harvested grapes for this wine come from old vineyards in the Kamptal, an area north west of Vienna known for this aromatic grape. The wines from the 2015 vintage are very exciting; look for refreshingly crispy, crunchy and classic Grüner notes of green apple, stone fruit and white pepper. 

Although Austria grows many other varietals with distinctive purity and expression, Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s signature varietal, offering this country a unique identity in a sea of varietal similitude. Critics from all across North America seem to agree this is a textbook example, check out the 90-91 point reviews below.

KOVAL is back again this month (their Bourbon was released last month), this time with their single barrel Oat Whiskey. Expect primary notes of caramel and oats with a rich, creamy finish. It is made from 100% oat, sourced from an organic farmer collective in the Midwest, and was aged in new American oak from Minnesota. Only the “heart cut” of the distillate was used, no “heads” or “tails.”

KOVAL’s products are certified organic and certified kosher, handcrafted, small batch, “single barrel” unfiltered expressions, aged in 30 gallon charred barrels. This insures that the distillate, made up solely of the heart cut, is able to develop its flavor with the purest grain notes and luscious flavor. The term “single barrel” refers to the fact that the bottles come from specific barrels and are numbered accordingly. All KOVAL spirits can be traced back to their barrel, and in fact, the specific shipments of raw materials can be also be traced to their organic farmers. Some serious integrity of production has lead to heaps of good press for all of their products.

In this month’s March CLASSICS catalogue, you will find a gem of a wine from the highly respected, and top rated Montepulciano producer, Cantine Dei. The 2010 Dei Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Bossona Riserva was awarded 93+ points by Antonio Galloni, where he writes “there is a lot to like here.” review below. In a past Vino Nobile report, wine writer James Suckling wrote, “Dei seems to be the best Vino Nobile producer at the moment.” The wine went on sale online Thursday morning, and it seems that 1/3 had already sold by the next day. Don’t miss out! 


Bernard Stramwasser

Le Sommelier
Twitter: @LeSommelierWine
Instagram: @LeSommelierWine

Loimer Grüner Veltliner Langenlois 2015


“Crafted in the lean and pure, sharply-chiselled Loimer style, this generous 2015 delivers on multiple levels. There’s ample ripe citrus and peach-apricot orchard fruit, yet also a refreshing herbal note and sizzling underlying acids. Great length, too. A very fine example, especially at this price. And to think we’re still at the entry-level here from Loimer. Tasted February 2017. Value Rating: ***” – Score: 90, John Szabo  MS, WineAlign.com, Feb 2017

”Pear and savory soy notes take turns to shine. The palate is invigorated by a zesty lime freshness and has a slight touch of fizz. The herbal soy spice adds even more interest to this refreshing, clean-cut wine.” – Score: 90 Anne Krebiehl MW, Wine Enthusiast, Sept 2016

”Loimer’s Langenlois just carries that uncanny ability to express grüner veltliner in its purest and clearest form. Bright, vibrant and yet fully felt of fine texture, this is exactly what I want to see in grüner. There is no doubt that 2015 will be a defining vintage and should you have the inkling to enter the varietal market, I can’t think of a better place to start. Do it right here with a gift from Fred Loimer aboard the Langenlois citrus express. Drink 2017-2020. Tasted February 2017.” – Score: 90, Michael Godel, WineAlign.com, Feb 2017

“Crisp and fresh with terrific vibrant lime acidity. Medium-bodied. Pair with fresh seafood.  Gruner Veltliner food pairings: linguini with rose sauce, creamy green herb risotto, asparagus with fried egg. Drink 2015-2019.” – Score: 91,  Natalie MacLean, nataliemaclean.com, Mar 2016

Varietal: 100% Grüner Veltliner

Region: Kamptal, Austria

Price: $21.95 (per bottle)

LCBO#: 142240

Koval Single Barrel Oat Whiskey

Tasting note: An innovative industry leader, Koval is the only distillery currently producing 100% millet whiskey and one of only a handful that produces a 100% oat whisky like this one. Aromatic and floral on the nose, this is unique, delicious and complex in the mouth. Smooth and silky with suggestions of maple syrup, honey and black pepper with caramel, vanilla, mocha, apple and toasty oatmeal tones in a flavourful package. Far more than a curiosity, this is just really nice. (VINTAGES panel, Aug. 2016)

Certified organic and Kosher

Region: Chicago, Illinois
Price: $99.95 (per bottle)
LCBO#: 488783

Cantine Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Bossona Riserva 2010

Review: “The 2010 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Bossona shows what Dei is capable of in a top vintage. Super ripe red cherries, plums, smoke, rose petals and spices form a super-appealing fabric of aromas and flavors. The style is bold and flamboyant, yet all the elements are in the right place. There is a lot to like here. The 2010 spent two years in Slavonian oak casks. Drink 2016-2025.” – Score: 93+, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Mar 2016

Varietal: 100% Sangiovese
Region: Tuscany, Italy
Price: $65.00 (per bottle)
LCBO#: 490193

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