Canada’s Largest Fine-Wine Auction

Canada’s Largest Fine-Wine Auction

Wine of the WeekChateau La Lagune 1982 Third Growth Bordeaux (97 points)This grand cru classé Bordeaux was perhaps the best value among over 60 legendary wines tasted Thursday in advance of the LCBO’s Fine Wine Auction running from October 12 to 15 in Toronto. At 25 years old, it is not so much a fountain of youth as it is an incredibly well-toned, lean and fit, middle-aged long-distance runner. Amazing energy, vibrancy and balance. Likely to live another decade or more. Read on for other awesome auction wines still very much alive and on the block this weekend.

The auction itself, which features over 2,700 lots, is being held at Ritchies Auctioneers at 380 King Street East and starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 12; 10 a.m. on October 13 and 14; and 6 p.m. on October 15, and lasts each day until bidding closes.

The notes and ratings below are not from Robert Parker or other U.S. critics who may have encountered them years ago and projected their longevity. I tasted all of them Thursday evening at the Pre-Auction Gala Tasting attended by about 200 people, who each paid $300 to dabble among some of the world’s legendary wines. I have selected those that are still in the best shape for drinking and further cellaring. Several of the 45 wines I managed to taste in two hours were indeed past their best, although they will retain value as trading wines as long as you never open them.

For estimated prices please refer to the auction catalogue, which can be viewed online at Vintages or Ritchies.

Lawrason’s Highlights

Chave 1990 Hermitage, Rhone Valley (98 points)Peak maturity, unbelievably complex, spicy, fragrant nose. Firm, poised and still very much alive, with fine tannin. Outstanding length. Drink now to 2020.

Château de Beaucastel 2000 Hommage a Jacques Perrin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (98 points) Amazing complexity, poise and elegance. Finish never dies. Best now to 2020 and beyond.

Château Rieussec 1990 First Growth Sauternes (97 points) A great Sauternes vintage that has been drinking well from the beginning. Lush, poised and creamy; dripping with dried apricot and honey flavours. Drink now to 2020 and beyond.

E. Guigal 1995 La Turque, Côte-Rôtie (97 points) Supremely elegant, even-handed supple and rich, with classic syrah character at peak. Now to 2020.

Château Mouton Rothschild 1989 First Growth Bordeaux (97 points)Rich, supple, powerful and ripe, with classic Pauillac character and poise. Best now to beyond 2020.

Clos des Papes 2003, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (96 points)Poured from double magnum. Deep, powerful, robust, with wild berry fruit and leather. Meaty stuff. Best 2015 to 2025 and beyond.

Chateau Léoville Las Cases 1996 Second Growth Bordeaux (96 points)Powerful, masculine, still firm, packed with fruit and complexity. Miles to go. Best 2012 to beyond 2025.

Domaine de Pegau 2000, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (96 points)Perhaps the most elegant, fine toothed, complete yet restrained Châteauneuf in my experience. Wonderful harmony. Best 2010 to 2025 (double magnum).

E. Guigal 1995 La Landonne, Côte-Rôtie (95 points)Classic syrah nose, hitting peak with olive, smoked meat, cherry and chocolate. Other Guigal single-vineyard Côte-Rôties are more supple now; this has nerve and concentration.

Vega Sicilia 1990 Unico Reserva, Spain (95 points) Incredibly fragrant, exotic bouquet. Very vibrant, taut and balanced. Such a flavour cascade! Best now to 2020.

Gaja 1997 Sori San Lorenzo Barbaresco, Italy (95 points)Just slightly more polished than Gaja single-vineyard stable mates. Very complex, deep yet graceful. Best 2010 to 2025.

Chateau Haut-Brion 1982, First Growth Bordeaux (94 points) Fabulous, distinctive leathery Haut-Brion nose; superb poise and depth. Drink now to 2020.

Château La Mondotte 1998 Saint Emilion Bordeaux (94 points) A fine vintage on the right bank. Still loads of plummy, black cherry merlot fruit, cedar and cream. A bit chewy; very harmonious. Best 2012 to 2025.

Château Cos d’Estournel 1982 Second Growth Bordeaux (94 points) A touch of cork in one bottle but an awesome wine. Very sensuous, lifted aromatics; dense, elegant and powerful. Drink now to 2015.

Château Le Bon Pasteur 1982 Pomerol, Bordeaux (94 points)Amazingly youthful blackberry, cedar and leather bouquet. Dense, elegant, ripe and rich. Best now to 2015.

Robert Mondavi 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley (93 points) Mondavi’s French leanings show in this fine, poised very lively high-toned cabernet. Drink now to 2015.

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1988 Romanée Saint-Vivant, Burgundy (93 points) Aromatic fireworks, classic pinot noir, with some heft and firmness. Best now to 2015.

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia 1994 Bolgheri, Tuscany (93 points)Lovely, charming fruit, complexity and poise. Quite supple and elegant. Best now to 2015.

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 1969 Échézeaux, Burgundy (91 points) Fully mature amber colour. Very smooth; still has lingering cherry fruit amid smoky, nutty, leathery flavours. Drink now to 2012.