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

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

Posted by Julie

Saturday, July 25th, 2015
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If your birthday coincides with the LCBO Vintages release on July 25th, your horoscope is dictated by Leo the Lion. You are supposedly characterized by being highly outgoing and independent, possessing a highly social nature so to give these characteristics adage, you should go shopping at Vintages.

LCBO Vintages Magazine July 25This release displays some old tried and trues with a focus on “Wines to Chill”, (probably both figuratively and literally) Argentina and Greece, great new choices for our last week of July 2015 and at terrific price points as you can see below.

And for a little trivia, July 25 is the 206th day of the year (207 in leap years), in the Gregorian calendar. How many of you knew that?

Summertime and my living is easy.
Cheers,
Julie

 

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
July 25
, 2015

 

Trius Divine WhiteTrius Divine White 

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #054957) 12.5% alcohol

Aromas of white blossoms and orchard fruits. Pale in colour, this delicate white wine is one beautiful light bodied blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer and Chardonnay. The taste really is divinely light and fresh. I almost detected a slight effervescence on the palate combined with tastes of pear and melon with a little citrus on the finish. Makes for a lovely afternoon sipper or with some soft cheese, maybe some skewered shrimp in a Thai dressing. A class act.

 

Pietro Marini Torrontes 2013Pietro Marini Torrontés 2013

Salta, Argentina
$12.95 (Vintages #408443) 13.2% alcohol

The Argentinian signature Torrontes grape never fails to disappoint with its pale golden colour and aromatic nose of white flowers and fruit.Harvested at 1750 feet above sea level gives this wine a distinct light bodied appearance but with a backbone of fresh acidity, pear and lime flavours on the palate. It is a wonderful light-bodied summer white wine; great on its own or with seafood/ summer salads.

 

Squealing PigSquealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages #414789) 13.5 % alcohol

Aside from great marketing (and you should see the bottle!) your nose really perks up with pineapple and strong citrus aromas of lime. Lots of green apple and stone fruit on the palate of this white wine which makes it interesting for a Sauvignon Blanc. It’s so fresh and racy with a slightly herbaceous edge, makes you literally squeal with delight on the finish. Great acidity makes it a fab food partner. It’s fun and very yummy.

 

 

Valle Los Acequinas Oak Cabernet SauvignonValle Las Acequias Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Mendoza, Chile
$16.95 (Vintages #287516) 13% alcohol

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon has it all. Spending 10 months in French Oak has created layers of ripe plums, blackberries and blueberries with aromas of cedar and pencil shavings. Although only 13% alcohol, it’s gutsy. Bone dry but luscious, velvety with soft tannins and a long fruity sweet spice finish. Deserving of a fine quality steak with the hottest horseradish you can find. This red wine stands up to be counted – nirvana.

 

Grant Burge 5th Generation ShirazGrant Burge 5th Generation Shiraz 2013

Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #361295) 14% alcohol

This 5th generation winery never fails to disappoint. This dense purple in colour and fruit forward Shiraz is loaded with opulent ripe plums and black fruit characteristics from start to finish. Some woodsy aromas prevail in this red wine with rich bouquets of the fruit. Ripe tannins with sweet spice and a little menthol on the finish. It reminds me of a chocolate coated mint that sends you back for another (sip) – delicious.

 

Grand Total: $90.75

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, July 10th, 2015

The LCBO Vintages release for July 11 focuses on Cool Climate Chardonnay’s, wines from Spain and more Flagship In Store Discoveries (ISD). It’s so easy to find new discoveries with every LCBO release especially this time of year when sitting outside on the patio is everyone’s favourite pass-time…browse through the magazine then off to shop!

LCBO Vintages Magazine July 11Ontario also celebrates Cool Climate Chardonnay, dare I say festival ? from July 17-19 in St.Catherines at various venues including local wineries. Everything from Ontario’s best cuisine to tasting dozens of the region’s finest Chardonnays.

I attended the celebration several years ago when it was held at the Tawse Winery. It might be time for a return trip.

Summertime and the living is easy.

Cheers,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
July 11
, 2015

 

Sunnybrook Redhaven Peach Wine 2013Sunnybrook Redhaven Peach Wine 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #426551) 12% alcohol

Many years ago, my husband and I visited Sunnybrook Wine Farm and were literally blown away by the vast array of fruit wines. I recall bringing plum and pear wines home to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. They were bone dry but very fruity. The winery produces a huge array of fruit wines that reflect all the ripe fruit grown in the Niagara region. This peach wine is new to LCBO Vintages, medium weight and would be nice over ice as an aperitif served with some soft cheese. It was downright peachy!

 

Toro de Piedra Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2014Toro De Piedra Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Maule Valley, Chile
$17.95 (Vintages #417493) 14.9% alcohol

A first class Chard. from the Maule Valley. Tropical heady fruits, smooth as silk on the palate, robust layers of pineapple, mango and almonds. A full bodied white wine, rounded with a pinch of sweet spice on the finish.

 

 

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2013Cave Springs Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2013

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #256552) 12% alcohol

An easy going Chardonnay that is perfect for the summer. Tropical fruits, yellow and green apples abound in the aromas of this white wine. On the palate are suggestions of almonds, pineapple, apricots and a little butter. Medium to full bodied, it is mouth filling with deliciousness with a long finish of fruits and toast. On its own or with some grilled chicken or salmon, it’s one fine wine.

 

Rosehall Run Cuvee County Pinot NoirRosehall Run Cuvée County Pinot Noir 2011

VQA Prince Edward County
$22.95 (Vintages #225748) 12.% alcohol

I’m always a fan of Rosehall wines! Winemaker Dan Sullivan does not disappoint with this delicate but complex Pinot Noir. Gentle and silky on the palate, aromas of cranberry and sour cherries with tastes of ripe cherries and some raspberry. It’s soft but rounded, lots of body and interest and you could serve this with anything from light fish to steak or burgers. A versatile red wine with soft tannins and just plain yummy.

 

Zuccardi Q MalbecZuccardi Q Malbec 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #723478) 14.5 % alcohol

Ripe plums and blackberries, dark and inky, another rich dark Malbec that is a must for the grill. Juicy and rich, full bodied with soft tannins. Also aged in a oak, this red wine finishes long with some sweet spice, sending you back for another sip. With some steak fajitas it would certainly impress.

Grand Total: $ 96.75

 

Stocking up on wines for Canada Day!

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 26th, 2015

This LCBO Vintages release for Saturday June 27 focuses on Flagship ISD (in store discoveries), Canada Day, and the Pan Am Toronto Games games. I was wondering what the term “flagship” meant and still do not have a definitive answer.

LCBO Vintages Magazine June 27However, having just returned from working in the UAE, I think of “flagship” similarly to a city like Dubai. It’s about the biggest, the best, the shiniest, the most opulent, the tallest, definitely the most expensive etc. So I will sum it up by saying that the LCBO has likely identified Flagship ISD wines as those that are pretty good and leave it at that.

July is my favorite month and this tantalizing new releases reminds me of what I am going to enjoy on my balcony with my husband and friends. I just can’t wait to shop in my favorite store, especially when Canada Day is around the corner. I buy mostly Canadian wines since I believe we have a fabulous selection, so cannot apologize for the mostly Canadian content below. There’s just no place like home so let’s celebrate; Oh Caaanaaadaaaa…..

Cheers!
Accredited Sommelier Julie Stock

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday June 27, 2015

 

Featherstone Sauvignon BlancFeatherstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013

VQA Niagara on the Lake
$17.95 (Vintages # 089011) 12% alcohol

Solid fruit aromas emanate from this lovely pale coloured white wine that just breathes summer. It’s delicate but has lots of backbone, great acidity and fabulous grass and grapefruit flavours. Lots of depth and expression, and I may have found my new favourite Sauv. Blanc. It has a racy, crisp finish that make it a great sipper on its own or with a wide range of summer salads and pasta.

 

Calamus Steely Unoaked Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$14.95 (Vintages #210062) 12.5% alcohol

If you could blend a little sunshine with tangerines it might describe the aromas in this lovely white wine. Pale in colour for a Chardonnay, it comes by its name honestly since there are definite crisp steely notes with an abundance of tropical fruit flavours. It’s clean tasting and very fresh, nothing cloying about this Chardonnay, medium bodied with citrus aftertastes. At this price point, don’t miss out, it’s a great Niagara find that won’t last long on the shelves. With some grilled salmon or chicken and veggies it would be a lovely summer dinner.

 

13th Street White Palette13th Street White Palette 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #207340) 12% alcohol

It’s impossible to go wrong with a blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer and Chardonnay Musqué; talk about bringing the best of each grape varietal forward. Super fragrant and another incredible price point for the complexity of fruit flavours. A delicate blend of cantaloupe, tangerine and lemon tea almost a hint of residual sugar no doubt from the Gewurtztraminer, but bone dry, fresh and delicious. This is one of those wines that slips down very easily so don’t hesitate to stock up while supplies last. Proud to be on any dinner table for lighter summer fare. It’s as dazzling as the winery it comes from, an art gallery of fine wines nestled in a forest setting with slopping hills. 13th Street never disappoints.

 

Thirty Bench Small Lot RieslingThirty Bench Small Lot Rosé 2014

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$22.20 (Vintages #414227) 12.7% alcohol

So aromatic of red roses and only 466 cases of this made so you may not want to line up but this won’t last long. Intense rhubarb and raspberry flavours dance on the palate, great acidity with a slightly off dry taste on the crisp finish. It’s a elegant and refined rosé, that is great on its own or with some grilled seafood, delicious and yummy says it all.

 

 

Montes Alph CarmenereMontes Alpha Carmenere 2012

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #143230) 14.3% alcohol

I thought I should at least put another country in my $100 basket so this is it. A powerful Carmenère for those steak nights or when mixed grill is on the menu. Intense dark purple, with aromas of plums and blueberries, blackberries that carry onto the palate. A Smooth red wine with medium tannins resulting in full bodied lusciousness. Some dusty earth tones on the subtle dark fruit finish. Oh man, it’s good.

So call on some friends, heat up the barbeque, pick up some shrimps and sirloin, accompanied by some if not all the above, wave our flag, sing our anthem and that sounds like my kind of Canada Day.

Grand Total: $ 91.50    

P.S. I left you enough to buy some Canadian cheeses too!

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 15th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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