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Archive for ‘If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages’

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintage

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 15th, 2015
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The merry month of May, didn’t someone write a song about that? Regardless, the features this month are bound to make anyone merry…talk about something to look forward to! Australia, fresh whites and sake line this release and I can hardly wait. Not to mention, we’re finally getting some patio weather to enjoy these mouth-watering wines outdoors.

LCBO Vintages Magazine May 16If you have a wedding or anniversary or very special occasion there is an Armand De Brigand Brut Gold Champagne out that comes in a lacquered box right from France. According to LCBO Vintages it was the #1 holiday gift last year and sometimes referred to as the Ace of Spades. (Vintages # 220244, $299.95 a bottle)

Whatever is on the rest of your May’s agenda, I hope you pickup a bottle or two of the release to watch the flowers grow.

Cheers
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday May 16, 2015

 

Howard Park Flint Rock ChardonnayHoward Park Flint Rock Chardonnay 2012

Great Southern, Australia
$22.95 (LCBO Vintage #410027) 13% alcohol

Aromas of tropical fruit in this white wine that carry forth on the palate. A little butter coating the mouthfeel but does not take away from the banana,and apricot flavours that waltz on the palate when you savour this white wine. Very smooth with a clean seam of acidity and a long flinty finish. A first class choice to accompany some garlic mussels in a wine sauce.

 

Eradus Sauvignon BlancEradus Sauavignon Blanc

Aware Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
$18.95 (Vintage #225557) 13% alcohol

Marlborough is located in the north east corner of the south island in New Zealand and is considered by many wine critics to produce the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc. Remember that commercial about the car with “zoom, zoom”? This is how I would describe this Sauv. Medium bodied, fresh lemon lime flavours, tangy and crisp, smooth and elegant. It won the gold at the International Wine Competition this year, need I say more? A white wine that’s delicious on its own or with a wide variety of summer fare; there’s lots of backbone and flavour.

 

Finca El Origen Reserva TorrontesFinca El Origen Reserva Torrontés 2014

Salta, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #262089) 13.5 % alcohol

The Torrontés Riojano varietal always produces wines that are crisp and interesting and this is no exception. Pale golden in colour with a slight greenish hue, aromas of tangerines and pineapple, slightly floral. There’s citrus on the palate of this white wine combined with a melange of other fruit flavours. Balanced acidity and light bodied, it makes a fabulous not just summer wine. I’d pair this with spicy tacos or seafood or just on its own. There’s lots of pizzazz here.

 

Howard Park Miamup Cabernet SauvignonHoward Park Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Margaret River, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #410019) 14% alcohol

Deep brickish ruby red in colour, the wine spent 18 months in French oak barriques. Lots of blackberries and plums with savoury notes of rosemary and thyme on the palate. The tannins are soft and the finish is fruity on this red wine. A very approachable Cab. for roasted meats and grilled veggies.

 

 

Megalomaniac Pink Slip RoseMegalomaniac Pink Slip Pinot Noir Rosé 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #85126) 14% alcohol

I would love a dress in this bright cranberry colour, not to mention how beautiful this rose wine looks in a tall stemmed glass. Aromas of summer, ripe red berries, strawberry and rhubarb on the palate, one medium bodied delicious mouthfeel, it’s a classy rosé with a crisp aftertaste that sends you back for more.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 95.75

 

If I had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 1st, 2015
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The LCBO Vintages release on May 2nd focuses on New Zealand, Germany and rosé wines (High time for the latter). If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting “greenland” down under, you will know that the region is famous for the crisp LCBO Vintages new arrivals magazine May 2Sauvignon Blanc’s and Pinot Noir’s. New Zealand even has an official Sauvignon Blanc day in April; how’s that for promoting the varietal?

Although New Zealand only produces less than 1% of the world’s wine, there is an impressive array of varieties and styles.

Rosés just never go out of style and are a fabulous accompaniment to many foods. This release will display all kinds of pink on the shelves so I hope you pick up one or three and think “pink”. Here’s to warm weather and the patio!

 

Cheers,
Julie

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
May 2, 2015

 

Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc

Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$24.95 (Vintages # 411603) 13% alcohol

Gooseberry and grassy aromas support the fleshy backbone of stone fruit. Flavours of ripe peach, the citrus has some spicy notes but this white wine is smooth as silk. It’s harmonious and gave me the impression of a well made wine. Balanced with an aftertaste of sweet pink grapefruit pith. A great sipper or with some fish tacos or salmon salad.

 

 

Frogpond Organic ChardonnayFrogpond Organic Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara on the Lake
$15.00 (Vintages # 203547) 12.2% alcohol

A fresh and lively new Chard. from the Niagara region. The winemaking philosophy behind Frogpond is “harmony in nature is the prerequisite for truly authentic wine”. I was not disappointed and more than amazed at the price point of this white wine.

It’s lively with some tropical fruit, green grass and apple, light bodied but very satisfying on the palate with a respectable fruity finish.

Perfect for a summer luncheon, salad fare or a wonderful sipper on its own.

 

Carpineto Dogajolo RosatoCarpineto Dogajolo Rosato 2014

IGT Toscana, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #699934) 12.5% alcohol

Pale salmon in colour, floral and fruity aromas. Tart cherry and apple flavours, great acidity and soft in the mouthfeel. It’s light bodied, soft and juicy with a light fruity finish. A beautiful summer rose. I have served this with everything from fish to chicken and someone always ends up checking the beautiful label on the bottle, not (as we know) that that makes the wine! I recently found a recipe for crispy cod taco with a smoked pineapple sauce – this will be my summer match!

 

Wirra Wirra Church BlockWirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet/Shiraz/Merlot 2012

McLaren Vale, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #24034) 14.5 % alcohol

There is lots going on here with 49% Cabernet, 35% Shiraz and 16% Merlot, not a bit of wonder this masterful red wine blend brings on aromas and flavours of dense, velvety, rich fruit. Impressive structure with soft tannins, lots of backbone! It is a rich wine that would stand up to anything grilled or just on its own – almost approaching nirvana. This is really yum.

 

Lenz Moser TrockenbeerenausleseLenz Moser Prestige Trockenbeerenauslese 2012

Prädikatswein, Burgenland, Austria
$20.95 (Vintages #729657) 10% alcohol

Deep golden yellow the flavours in this desert wine are absolutely delectable. Sweet luscious honeysuckle flavours of baked apple raisin compote with toasted almonds. Creamy deluxe with a seam of acidity that sends you back for more. Absolutely mouth coating and a perfect end to a dinner regardless of the season. Balanced and outstanding, it’s desert on its own but with a strong cheese, your tastebuds are pretty close to heaven.

 

Grand Total: $ 95.80

 

If I had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, March 20th, 2015
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One of the sure signs of spring is when California rolls into town for their annual Wine Fair. Always a date on the wine event calendar, this year they are stopping in at Ottawa on April 10 and Toronto on April 13. Aligned with their arrival, the LCBO stocks some extra special California wines in Vintages with the latest release.

March 21 Vintages catalogueI was away on holidays (unfortunately not California!) so Savvy Sommelier Susan Desjardins did the hard job of tasting the wines before they hit the store shelves. Here are her wine tips that will put a spring in your step and some smooth reds – from California and further afield – that will keep you warm on those days when winter seems that it will never ever leave.

Here is our shopping list…if I only had $100 to spend at Vintages this week.

Cheers!
-Debbie

 

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages
March 21, 2015

 

March 21 Cotes du RhoneGuigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2013, France

AC Côtes du Rhône
$18.95 (Vintages #290296) 13.5% alcohol

Consistently and reliably tasty, this versatile white wine is wonderfully aromatic – spring time notions of white flowers, scents of peach, citrus and tropical notes drift from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, it’s smooth and ripe, notes of spice and a replay of luscious stone fruit bathing the palate. Well balanced, with a pleasing touch of bitterness on the finish, this is a great value. Enjoy with roasted spring chicken stuffed with lemon & herbs.

 

March 21 Chateau BellevueChâteau Bellevue la Forêt 2011, France

AC Fronton
$13.95 (Vintages #354134) 14.5% alcohol

This is an unbelievable price! Made primarily from Negrette grapes (an unusual grape variety), then blended with the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, this red wine has an earthy note—reminiscent of freshly pulled beets—that drifts over the aromas of berry and plum, licorice and spice. Dry, full bodied, the concentrated dark fruit flavours wash across the palate, tinged with a replay of licorice and spice, while that that earthy note persists. Firm in structure, clean in texture, the wine offers a long-lasting and fruit-filled finish. Serve with duck confit and be wowed, or splash some into your glass with leftovers.

 

 

March 21 JoyaBisquertt ‘La Joya Gran Reserva’ Syrah 2012, Chile

Colchagua Valley
$16.95 (Vintages #325407) 14.5% alcohol

This Syrah is an excellent value red wine – period. Good complexity, a well-defined structure and great depth of fruit. On the nose, there are lifted aromas of spice and pepper, dark berries and cherry, with just a whiff of dried herbs. Dry, full bodied, it’s plush and warm, loaded with powerful fruit flavours, notes of chocolate and toast, and a warm, fruity finish. Want me to go on anymore? For this price, serve this as your house red while the snow melts.

 

March 21 YalumbaYalumba ‘The Guardian’ Shiraz/Viognier 2010, Australia

Eden Valley
$21.95 (Vintages #396499) 14.5% alcohol

How to warm up on a chilly night? Look no further for this plush wine with great concentration of fruit flavours. On the nose, cherry, berry, kirsch, spice and vanilla burst through. Dry, medium-full bodied, the intense berry fruit is balanced by a certain freshness to the texture and firm ripe tannins. Tasty, spicy and smooth, get into the habit of firing up the BBQ and enjoy this red wine anything off the grill.

 

I have a confession to make…

Being on a budget of $100, I wanted to make sure that there was some money in the bank to add a California wine to this shopping list.  No matter how hard I try, I sill came over budget by $8.  Hopefully you will forgive me and return enough empty wine bottles to make up the overage!

 

March 21 RidgeRidge Three Valleys 2012, California

Sonoma County
$35.95 (Vintages #652875) 14.2% alcohol

Principally Zinfandel, this blend is of both grape varieties and terroirs to showcase great depth and intensity of aromas and flavours. Opulent fruit is showcased—dark berry and black cherry—mingling with sweet notes of spice and vanilla, with a dash of cracked black pepper. Dry, big and bold, this red wine has polished tannins and plush texture that make it dreamy. Finishing long and warm, it will be a great match for barbequed ribs.

 

GRAND TOTAL: $107.75

If I had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 6th, 2015
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OK wine shoppers, the wait is over!  There are amazing wines in the latest release at LCBO Vintages at INCREDIBLE prices.  Yes you heard me correctly, here are 6 wines that should in fact be double their price tag.

LCBO Vintages magazine March 7When I taste wine, I never consider the price until the end.  I sample the wine for its quality, guess to the price, then flip through the catalogue to seek out the actual cost.  The 6 wines I selected in this shopping list, I am baffled why the winemaker is ‘giving them away’.

You will see the shelves are well stocked with wines from British Columbia (yeah!) and Israel (give one a try – you’ll be amazed – guaranteed).  To remind us that St Patricks Day is in a few weeks, there are three different bottles of Irish whiskey on the store shelves.

“Start the car!” and get ready to fill your trunk with these gems.

 

Cheers!
Debbie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
March 7, 2015

 

Bisol Jeio ProseccoJeio Colmei Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Italy

Veneto, Italy DOCG
$16.95 (Vintages #30601) 11.5% alcohol

Grab three bottles (you will thank me) and be prepared to come back for more wine after you popped the cork on bottle #1.  Warning, once this sparkling wine is gone, it’s gone for good!  Aromas of fruit salad, crunchy apples, freshly grated ginger with a lime finish…and lively bubbles that are never ending. Chill, sip & repeat. 

 

 

Tinhorn Creek GewurztraminerTinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer VQA 2013, British Columbia

Okanagan, BC
$19.95 (Vintages #904185) 13% alcohol

A classic Gewurz with elegant aromas of green melon, lychee fruit and candied ginger.  Refreshing acidity with a long lingering finish makes this white wine beautiful & simply delicious. A classic match is spicy foods – Chicken Phad Thai, Morroccan Tangine  or a Asian Red Curry with coconut milk will be delicious.

 

 

Puklus Takaji Yellow MuscatPuklus Pincé Tokaji Yellow Muscat, Hungary

Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary
$15.95 (Vintages #46508) 13.5% alcohol

I am always on the lookout for hidden gems.  Knowing little about this particular wine, I thought I would give this wine a whirl (errr swirl). I was immediately impressed! Aromas of cantaloupe, honeydew melon and peach jump out of the glass.

Full bodied white wine with refreshing acidity that enhances the fruit – apple, mango, lime – flavours. A great white wine to serve with brunch, appetizers, Indian curry, or pork tenderloin with mango chutney.

“The volcanic/clay soils and hills of northeastern Hungary are to Muscat as Paris is to love or orange is to the new black.” – LCBO Vintages tasting notes

 

Olivares Altos de la HoyaOlivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell

DO Jumilla, Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #163154) 14% alcohol

This red wine completely caught me off guard.  Everyone at the tasting was talking about the ‘Altos’ wine.  With one sip, I too have been talking about this wine ever since.  Deep ruby colour. Rich aromas, full bodied with predominant red and black fruits in each sip.  A long smoky finish with super smooth tannins.  I am sticker shocked that it is less than $15!

 

 

BenMarco MalbecBenMarco Malbec

Uco Valley, Mendoza Argentine
$18.95 (Vintages # 657601)

I have to confess, I chose this one because of its stunning label. This is a topnotch Malbec  loaded with fruit – pomegranate, boysenberry, ripe & juicy blackberries.  This red wine that is medium to full bodied with a long dark chocolate and coffee finish can be enjoyed with the full range from meatloaf to prime rib.

 

 

Emiliana Novas Grran Reserva Syrah MourvedreEmiliana Novas Gran Reserva Syrah/Mouvédre

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages # 399360)

I have always been a fan of this organic winery.  This red wine blend of Syrah & Mouvédre  grape varieties (more common to French Côtes du Rhone) certainly WOWed me again.  Dark opaque in colour, it is concentrated with red fruit, dark chocolate, warm spices & pencil shavings with lots of tannins that will mellow out over time (cellar for 5 to 7 years) or when enjoyed with rich foods.   A rich wine that seems to last forever.  Fire up the BBQ for steak or get ready for a roast beef feast. An amazing price!

 

GRAND TOTAL: $101.70

 

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 20th, 2015
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The LCBO release on February 21 focuses on Red Carpet Winners from Ontario.  I would sure love to attend one of those competitions if only to see the judges taste everything from Riesling to blockbuster reds and ice wine. If it happens to be too cold for you outside, the Twentieth anniversary for 2014 Ontario Wine Awards makes for interesting reading at ontariowineawards.ca.

LCBO Vintages Magazine February 21In judging the wines each wine entry is assessed blind by panels of accredited wine judges from the wine writing and teaching community. Not only do they have to have an appreciation for wine but also a knowledge and expertise of the Ontario region. The awards enhance the profile of Ontario wines in the world market and offers a special appreciation to Ontario wineries and the winemakers.

There is also a huge selection of Australian Shiraz’s in this release so don’t forget to pick up a few and be ready for when we can finally pull the cover off the BBQ.

Cheers!
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

February 21, 2015

 

Chateau des Charmes Old Vines RieslingChateau Des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2012

VQA Niagara on the Lake
$16.95 (Vintages # 277228) 12% alcohol

The grapes that grow in the limestone-rich St. David’s Bench sub-appellation really do produce the loveliest of Rieslings and this is no exception. It’s an exciting Riesling with a nose of Asian pear, white flowers and the smoothness on the palate just sends you back for another sip of white wine. Some citrus and peaches, precise wet stone, the winemaker from the Bosc family sure got this right. A delicious Riesling on its own or would partner beautifully with poached white sole topped with toasted almonds.

 

Ad Lib Hen & Chicken ChardonnayAb Lib Hen & Chicken Oaked Chardonnay 2012

Pemberton, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #297697) 13.5% alcohol

I thought I’d placed my nose in a bowl of ripe peaches followed closely with aromas of buttered toast, almonds and apricots. It’s a clean tasting and fresh white wine, nothing cloying about this Chardonnay, medium bodied with after tastes of lemon-lime. A little pith that makes it interesting and complex. For Chardonnay lovers, don’t miss it.

 

Lawsons Dry Hills Sauvignon BlancLawson’s Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough,  New Zealand
$18.95 (Vintages #214460) 13.5% alcohol

Vibrant gooseberry and grassy aromas. Light on its feet but clean, almost shimmers in the glass, with fresh tastes of lemon lime and some tropical fruit on the palate. There’s a little green apple creating great acidity and something vegetal on the finish of this white wine that reminded me of green peppers. Made me think that it would be a nice white wine with a salad nicoise or sushi, a great lunch wine or a refreshing glass of wine on its own.

 

Schild Estate Grenache Mourvedre SyrahSchild Estate GMS Grenache/Mourvèdre/Shiraz 2012

Barossa Valley, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #108183) 14.3%alcohol

Anyone who follows my wine writings know I love the GSM blend and any combination of the trinity. Dark ruby red with some raspberry floral scents on the nose. Ripe black blueberries and currants meld together creating a rich full bodied mouthfeel with just the perfect balance of acidity and soft tannins. There’s some peppery minerality on the impressive fruity finish of this red wine and its got lots of guts, so give it a food partner that will stand proud. I’m thinking a crown roast of pork or prime rib. Guess who’s coming to dinner?

 

Bricklayer’s Reward ‘Block 7′ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Colio Estate Winery
$19.95 (Vintages # 406124)

This wine was NOT available for tasting but since I want to promote the Ontario Red Carpet award winners, I decided to recommend this red wine and make this part of my $100. basket. This took the Double Gold Medal winner at the 2014 All Canadian Wine Championships so I think I’m on “safe footing”.

The Vintages tasting catalogue describes the wine as follows: “ The hot 2012 vintage has delivered a full bodied cabernet though there is still the red grapefruit note to the nose which indicates to me the essentially cool climates nature of its origin. Expect aromas of red grapefruit, black cherry with some generous but well integrated oak spice. The palate shows some firm cabernet tannins which make the finish a little dry. Best 2015 to 2020. Very good length.”

I will be picking up a bottle or two for sure; we have reason to be proud.

 

Grand Total: $ 95.75

 

 

 

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 6th, 2015
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Heritage Canada recently put out a pamphlet called “This is why I love Winter”, but they failed to mention the new wines in Vintages. For folks like myself this was a miss since indoor activities can offer up wonderful new tantalizing adventures. The LCBO Vintages release for February 7 offers all kinds of new kids on the block: “South of the Equator”, “Italy’s Native Grapes” and of course, “Valentine’s”.  Talk about something for everyone.

LCBO Vintages Magazine Feb 7Aside from the 37th Winterlude festivities, February can sometimes be dull, so why not sparkle it up with an afternoon brunch or lunch, featuring some new releases. Start with a sparkling or a new white wine and a red. A grouping of cheese, another for meats: interesting cold cuts, salamis’s with a few baguette thins and great mustard, tiny quiches, maybe a little soup (hot or cold) in a shooter, some one bite cupcakes or cocoa brownies to finish. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive to make it fun and very satisfying. Introduce a little Port when the cappuccino machine goes on and folks will be talking about this for ages. Different and edgy.

Now this is why I love winter!
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

February 6, 2015

 

Poulet et Fils Cremant de DiePoulet et Fils Brut Crémant De Die

AC, Rhône, France
$17.95 (Vintages # 392555) 11.5% alcohol

The aromas are like putting your face into a bouquet of roses. Pale golden in colour, those tiny bubbles are just bursting with ripe strawberry and raspberry flavours that continue to effervesce with lemon-lime juiciness. It is a beautiful sparkling wine, perfect for a brunch or to share with a special someone during February. Would be divine with strong cheeses or just on its own.

 

 

Eradus Sauvignong BlancEradus Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
$18.95 (Vintages #225557) 13.5% alcohol

While not new to Vintages, this 2013 release offers everything in a great Sauvignon Blanc. Pale in colour with lively green apple flavours that give your mouth a vivacious squirt of acidity. Very fresh with lots of lemon-lime on the palate this white wine is also soft and creamy, with a tangy and clean finish. Not overpowering but there’s lots of backbone and it will stand up to spinach spanakopitas.

 

 

Rolf BinderRolf Binder Heinrich Shiraz/Mataro/Grenache 2010

Barossa Valley, Australia
$24.95 (Vintages #995092) 14.5% alcohol

You can’t go wrong with a 65% Shiraz, 25% Mataro and 10% Grenache blend. Aromas of ripe plums and sweet spice carry through to the palate in this bold rich wine. Smooth as silk on the tongue with soft tannins and a fruity finish almost reminiscent of  Christmas cake. Layered and complex, lots going on with every sip and you could easily cellar this beauty for a few years. This red wine would be fabulous with a Cottage pie and don’t skimp on the garlic mash topping.

 

Lamadrid BonardaLamadrid Single Vineyard Bonarda 2011

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #232652) 14% alcohol 

Dark and inky in colour, smokey aromas waft from the glass. After just one sip of this red wine, sweet, very ripe dark berries coat the palate that seem to last forever. Blackberries and sweet spice permeate the long fruit finish. Tannins are soft but complex, the wine has good body and would stand up handsomely with anything grilled or some hot salami and olives. It’s also a  great sipper on its own with a page turner book and a fireplace.

 

Warre's Warrior Finest PortWarres Warrior Finest Reserve Port

Douro, Portugal
$16.95  (Vintages# 197202) 20% alcohol

DOP means Protected Denomination of Origin which means it has identifiable characteristics from a certain area in Portugal. With an unbelievable price point it did not disappoint. “Warrior” is the oldest brand of Port in the world, having been shipped continuously since the 1750’s.

A nose of buttered toast, hazelnuts and coffee, it is so big and smooth and deliciously sweet on the palate it reminded me of raisin pecan pie. Silky red fruits partner with the above on the tongue making this one delicious drink. I also got a little lemon and licorice the finish, the flavours did not stop coming and I was pretty impressed for that price. With some strong smelly cheese and a bowl of warm mixed nuts, that would be a powerful afternoon or after dinner delight. (Would also make a great hostess gift).

 

Grand Total: $93.75

 

If I only had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages…

Posted by Julie

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
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The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. This jumped into my mind when I read that the wines in this release focussed on Spain and South America. I’m not certain that the rain falls anywhere other than the hilly vineyards, but certainly the right amount gives these grapes a big powerful kick and what a selection.

LCBO Vintages magazine Jan 24This release proved difficult to choose and narrow down the wines since there were so many delicious choices. Some tastings are just problematic.

I did not consciously go to find four red wines with my $100. but since we’re in the middle of winter many of us eat more stews, pasta and possibly more red meat. Nothing warms the soul or appetite more than a hearty red wine on a winter’s night, hunkered in front of the fireplace. I’m focussing on the positive since I’m really not a winter kind of girl.  But this release definitely improved my morale and I hope you try at least one wine from sunny Spain or South America to warm your day. 

Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

Saturday January 24, 2015

 

Middle Earth Sauvignon BlancMiddle-Earth Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages # 391987) 14% alcohol

The massive success of the Lord of the Rings series clearly put New Zealand, not to mention “Middle-Earth”, on the map. Memories of lush green hills and valleys come to mind. New Zealand really does make the cleanest-tasting, freshest Sauvignon Blanc. This new-to-Vintages product, very pale in colour, is an aromatic and fresh white wine with aromas of citrus and minerality, I practically started to salivate before tasting this wine and it opens into a fruity citrus bowl on the palate.  Tantalizing with acidity but light to medium bodied with a lingering crisp finish. It would make a great summer wine, but one of these in my refrigerator would not last long especially with creamed salmon on a pastry shell for ladies who lunch.

 

Invisible Man TempranilloThe Invisible Man Tempranillo 2011

MaRioja Alta, DOCa Rioja
Case Rojo, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #392985) 13.5% alcohol

There is nothing invisible about the tastes in this new to Vintages product. The label states “unmask and interpret” which I did not find too difficult, except for the fact I wanted to savour and swirl. Lots of ripe berry flavours, plums and a little floral note in this red wine. On the palate and behind the ripe fruit were layers of toast and sweet spices. It is bone dry with soft tannins and a long finish of ripe fruit. With nice meaty pork chops and some roast potatoes to help the savoury elements would certainly make me happy. (skip the salad)

 

Casas Del Bosque Gran Reserva Syrah 2012Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Shiraz

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$22.95 (Vintages #995092) 14.5% alcohol

Dark, inky and sexy with aromas of black currants and leather. On the palate a luscious blackberry jam coated with dark plums flavours but the red wine is bone dry. It has good structure with an excellent balance between slight acidity and grippy tannins that don’t take away anything from the ripe berry flavours. A fabulously long finish that just sends you back for one more sip. It would make a handsome companion with beef tenderloin or a lamb stew.

 

Chakan Maipe Old Vine Reserve BonardaChakana Maipe Old Vie Reserve Bonarda 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #361212) 14.5% alcohol

Many winemakers use the Bonarda grape with the Malbec grape to create blends but this is a wonderful example of how it can shine on its own. Floral and ripe fruit permeates the aroma. This deep purple wine was barrel aged for 12 months so there’s a bit of  pencil shaving or woodsiness that adds to the concentrated dried plum flavours. Medium to full bodied with grippy tannins, bone dry at an unbelievable price point. It is wonderful on its own or with some oven baked ribs.

 

 

Fitou Domaine GalamanDomaine Galaman Fitou 2013

AP Claude Gros,  Midi, France
$16.95  (Vintages# 395467) 14% alcohol

Fitou is a large red wine appellation in the Langedoc region of France. This 2013 Fitou is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah and has a bowl of fruit flavours. On the nose it initially reminded me almost of a Pinot Noir since it was slightly woodsy and dusty but one sip later, the rich red fruit flavours just burst on the palate. With soft tannins it makes for an easy sipper and it would be out of this world with a dish heavily laden with mushrooms.

 

 Grand Total: $92.75

If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 9th, 2015
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I can hardly believe that I am writing 2015! And what better way to start the new year but with “The Smart Buys Issue” from Vintages.  This makes my homework really easy when there are so many tried & true great value wines. I am also happy to report that the several new wines to LCBO`s Vintages do not break the bank.

Smart Buy WinesVintages magazine states, “The definition of value is the quality of something compared to the price paid for it”.  Many times I have written about finding an outstanding wine at a popular price point. It really feels like a bargain although I’m never sure of the price you can put on real quality. After all there are some quality wines at $15 and also at $20. So in this release, I challenge you to find your smart buys, albeit I‘ll help with a few suggestions in this shopping list below.

This Smart Buys issue also celebrates the 256th birthday of Robbie Burns and while I didn’t get around to tasting the Bunnahabhain 18-year old Islay Single Malt at $179.95 (Vintages #247049), I’ll bet you for those malt fans out there, it would not disappoint.

So let’s start our new year out right with some “smart buys” and we’ll just go from there.
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

Saturday January 10, 2015

 

Jan 10 See Ya LaterSee Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2012

VQA Okanagan, British Columbia
$17.95 (Vintages # 126912)  13% alcohol

With the highest elevation vineyard in the Okanagan Valley this lovely Chardonnay is an example of what British Columbia grapes can produce. Pale in colour, fruity, crisp, light and smooth, with tastes of soft apricots and almonds on the palate. It is a delicate Chardonnay with a soft buttery finish and a little lime zest. This white wine is wonderful on its own or try this with some Mac n’ Cheese – Monday night dinners will never be the same.

Haha 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages # 388363)  13% alcohol

You just have to love a wine called “Haha” and I’m not sure if the winemaker was wanting to play a trick, but there was nothing tricky about this fabulous Sauvignon Blanc. Looking into it further, Hãhã is a Mãori word which means savoury and luscious. I`ll buy that!  The usual culprits descriptors for Sauvignon Blanc spring to mind: grapefruit and lime citrus, a little gooseberry (also known as cat’s pee – strangely, this is a good thing!).  This white wine is lively with a little pithiness on the finish and lots of fresh pizzazz.  Your taste buds burst with saliva which makes it a fabulous appertif. With some fig and hazelnut Raincoast crackers and soft cheese in an endive leaf it would be divine. A lovely new Sauvignon Blanc at a very nice price point.

Jan 10 Devils Corner wineDevils Corner Pinot Noir 2013

Brown Brothers, Tasmania
$23.95 (Vintages # 317966)  14% alcohol

On the east coast in Tasmania’s Tamar river valley lies the Devil’s Corner Vineyard. No doubt named on account of a treacherous bend in the river the winery has become a sanctuary for growing several award winning varietals entrenched deep with family history.  Soft aromas of cherries with herbs, a little forest floor and ripe plums on the palate to give this medium bodied, silky gem a delicious mouthfeel. Fine tannins and refreshing acidity make it an attractive companion with everything from charcuterie to rabbit.

 

Monasterio De Las Vinas Reserva 2006 

DO Carinena, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages # 166579)  13% alcohol

A beautiful deep ruby red wine with a heady blend of Grenache, Carignan and Tempranillo grapes, all being aged in either American or French oak for approximately 12 months. Rich ripe fruits in the aromas; black ripe plums and cherries spring to mind  that carry through on the palate with a little vegetal, peppery taste that adds interest to the melange of flavours. There’s little sweet spice on the long finish that makes this a lovely wine to sip on its own or with any grilled meats or strong cheese. There’s also enough fruit that I would say you could cellar for a couple of years.

 

Lafage Cote Sud 2012Jan 10 Lafage

IGP Cotes Catalanes, Roussillon, France
$14.95 (Vintages # 395236)   14% alcohol

After tasting some wines I have to go back and look at the price point, just to confirm I hadn’t mistaken it for more than its actual price tag. This is one of those wines that tastes like it is $10 more! Bright ruby and garnet with rich ripe currants and blackberries in the aromas and tastes. It’s full bodied and fruity with sweet spices lingering through the soft tannins in the aftertaste. It would be wonderful with any wintery roast with all the trimmings.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 89.75 (look what Ive saved you already!)

 

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 5th, 2014
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes, with friends, festivities, and family get togethers.  Vintages in the LCBO never disappoints.  In this weekend’s release (December 6) I wanted to buy one of everything….but remembering that I only have $100 and several dinner parties ahead of me I’m looking for value – for you and me.

LCBO Vintages magazine Dec 6First, there’s all kinds of divine “fizz” out there to tickle your tastebuds and reasonably priced sparklers such as the two new Cava’s in this release.  They are dry, snappy and the genesis to any dinner or party. To me, December is all about sparkling wine.  Served in a beautiful flute with 2 or 3 pomegranate seeds for panache, it’s as elegant as any champagne and no one knows or even cares if you spent $15 or $50. Bottom line, sparkling wine is festive and fun and everyone enjoys it. You can never have too much fizz!

When you are shopping for others, don’t forget about yourself. There’s one beautiful wine that I would recommend to everyone including the Queen: “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012”  (LCBO #243592 $35.95) is the pinnacle of Shiraz’s. I have tasted hundreds of wines in 2014 and this one always rises to any occasion.

I love to showcase Canadian wines and this release offered so many great ones. Have fun shopping and don’t forget, if you find something delicious, go back and get a few bottles. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Sometimes even I forget my own advice!

It’s Christmas time, share your cheer and goodwill.

My best to you for the season,
Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

December 6, 2014

 

Summarroca Gran Reserva Brut Cava

Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2009

DO, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages # 393504) 11.5% alcohol

Ever wonder what that “DO” means?  DO  stands for “Denominacion de Origen” similar to our VQA in Ontario.  It’s part of a regulatory classification system for the country’s highest quality products. It can be applied to everything from olive oil to honey to fruit.  This Cava is delicate, pale in colour, light bodied and totally refreshing. Reminiscent of toasted almonds and apricots with a little herbaceous-ness on the finish not often detected in a sparkling white.  I would recommend light or-d’oeuvres so not to crowd the tastes; perhaps some delicious little crackers, you don’t have to break the bank to be elegant. That old expression, “less is more”.

 

Featherstone ChardonnayFeatherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$21.95 (Vintages # 149302) 13.5% alcohol

I hadn’t planned to feature a Chardonnay however I could not waste the opportunity to taste something new. This Chard. really wowed me. I can’t wait for the release. Aromas of creme caramel and layers upon layers of tropical fruits, soft, not overwhelming in oak so don’t let the “oak” in the name scare you off.  As you whirl it around the tongue this white wine is so soft in the mouthfeel, medium to full bodied and there are some wines, I can only describe as yummy.   A great sipper on its own but I think it would marry well with chicken in parmesan crust with a little white sauce, green beans, now its getting “yummier”.

 

De Sousa Seasons MeritageDe Sousa Seasons Reserve Meritage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95  (Vintages #315911) 13% alcohol

Unbelievable to find a Meritage at that price point that tasted so delicious. Once again I am wowed by a Canadian winery. Red Meritage must be a blend of two or more of the five traditional Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot or Malbec. Historically, Meritage wines are considered to be highly rated and the winery must be a member of the Meritage Alliance and adhere to the above regulation. Rich red fruits on the palate, medium bodied, light tannins with a little leather and dust on the finish. Layered with lots of berry flavours, a great sipper on its own but pot roast comes to mind, with lots of root veggies and don’t forget the “jus”.

 

Vineland Pinot MeunierVineland Pinot Meunier 2012

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages# 225508) 12% alcohol

Juicy, juicy, juicy….the aromas were almost like sticking your head in a bouquet of ripe cherries. Pinot Meunier is often used in blends such as Champagne, however it is an incredible grape just on its own and grown in our own backyard. Medium bodied with soft tannins with a fruity red berry finish, it is a red wine that would be agreeable to everyone. It is also versatile enough to marry with chicken to a beef stew and it’s just great on its own with a varietal cheese plate.

 

Alma Negra BlendAlma Negra Blend 2011

Mendoza , Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #384297)  13.5% alcohol

This new to Vintages product is a blend of the Bonarda and Malbec grapes. Aromas of dark ripe plums and cherries carry through to the palate and make for a huge mouthfeel of lusciousness. Good acidity with soft tannins, beautifully balanced and a great new find. It’s dark and rich, served with any grilled meat from ribs to steak (not to mention its packaged in one sexy black bottle) I promise the folks around the table will comment.  It’s a gem of a red wine.

 

Grand Total: $ 94.75

 

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 21st, 2014
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While earlier this month, the LCBO Vintages release was on Star Quality, now for the November 22 Vintages release the focus is on  “Our Finest” and “Premium Spirits”. How to keep up? Hopefully I will make it a little easier with our budget of $100.

LCBO Vintages magazine November 22An advantage of Premium spirits is that they last a long time. Premium spirits you purchased last Christmas are still wonderfully aged for sipping a year later. One could start a “bar of spirits” collection. For example, the Camus Elegance XO Cognac, listed in the top 50 Spirits by The Wine Enthusiast will still be great next year and the $199.95 price tag only stings once.  You can also admire the beautiful bottle on your buffet; it looks like a decanter!

At this time of year, there is a variety of sparkling wine at popular price points that you do not see at other times during the year. You can stock up for December festivities or if planning ahead, even a spring party. Sparkling wine just never goes out of style.

Finally, although the 3rd week of November has passed, there is still lots of Nouveau Beaujolais on the shelves. It’s a great pizza and casual sipping wine, with a great price tag.

I hope you find something to brighten up the 11th month and I’d love to hear of any memorable purchases.

Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

November 22, 2014

 

Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de BourgogneBailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne

France, AC
$19.95 (Vintages # 991562) 12% alcohol

A beautiful crisp sparkling white wine with fine little bubbles bursting with flavours of toast and citrus.  It has more weight to it than other sparklers which gives it more clout when serving hors-d’oeuvres.  Although it’s hard to go wrong with a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligoté. Not surprising there’s lots going on with these fruity cherry flavours, and it has a nice crisp finish.

It would pair well with salty phyllo pastry appetizers like spankopitas. The saltiness would be perfect with the bubbles,. There ’s yummy frozen delicacies in the grocery store, so don’t fret about cooking; sit back and enjoy your guests, Sparkling wine is always a great starter to an evening.

 

Mission Hill SLC ChardonnayMission Hill SLC Chardonnay 2011

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$24.95 (Vintages #144170)  13.5% alcohol

A few years ago, my husband and I lunched at the Mission Hills winery overlooking the beautiful vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The Mission Hill Winery reminded me of a French Chateau; a first class act, very impressive and the wines contained therein just never disappoint. It is a beautifully made Chardonnay, crisp and layered with flavours of apricots, almonds, the usual tropical fruit culprits but integrated into such smooth full body, no doubt as a result of some time spent in American oak barrels. This white wine has a little citrus on the finish and worth every penny; elegant and refined.

 

Lena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpollicella SuperioreLena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010

DOC, Monte Del  Frá, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #165662) 14% alcohol

Heavenly aromas of currants, cherries and ripe plums, begging to be sipped. Ripasso means a second fermentation where the grapes obtain their fullest expression being dried on mats. They turn into little raisins which intensifies the flavours of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes (the Valpolicella trio).Robust notes of dark berries that spark the tastebuds and leave a hint of sweet spice and smooth tannin in the aftertaste of this red wine. I always serve Ripasso with my signature Osso Buco dinner party dish. When you labour over preparation, it demands a great wine so I’m glad mine is chosen.

 

Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet SauvignonThe Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

WO Stellenbosch,  South Africa
$17.95 (Vintages #172973) 14% alcohol

I sometimes forget about South Africa when looking for a new wine, but having recently picked up a great Chenin Blanc, it reminds me how good they can be. This red wine is no exception. Good Hope is a spirit of optimism and that the early pioneers had good faith when planting vineyards several hundred years ago. This red wine is an easy sipper brimming with flavours of cassis and raspberry, some earthy overtones and a little leather on the finish, full bodied with easy tannins. For those of you who can still barbecue, its a great match for a hearty burger or grilled meat.

 

Quady Essensia Orange MuscatQuady Essensia Orange Muscat 2012   (dessert wine)

California, U.S.A.
$13.95 (Vintages #299552)   15.6% alcohol

Orange may be the new black in some spots but there’s nothing dark about this Muscat.  Golden orange in appearance, it shimmers prettily in the glass. I was so excited to find a new desert wine especially one at this price point. If you could imagine an ice wine that tastes of fresh tangerines, and makes your saliva buds just sparkle, this would be it. With great acidity it balances the orangey sweetness in this luscious nectar. It would be divine on ice or with some soda water. If you like oranges, citrus and something deliciously sweet, this one is for you.  A couple will be in my basket, for sure, a great ending to a dinner party.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 96.75