You need to upgrade your Flash Player This is replaced by the Flash content. Place your alternate content here and users without the Flash plugin or with Javascript turned off will see this. Content here allows you to leave out noscript tags. Include a link to bypass the detection if you wish.

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

Time for Ports & Sherry!

Posted by Julie

Sunday, November 12th, 2017
Share

Now that the temperature continuously dips below zero degrees, it’s time to start thinking about stocking up for the winter months and of course the upcoming holiday entertaining season. I don’t recall Vintages ever focusing on “After Dinner Drinks”, but I found some in this release worth tipping you off.

Although the ice wines are too pricey for my $100 budget, there are some beauties to pick up or gift as fine gifts.

In this release, there is also a huge selection of sparkling wines including Champagne, always a great start to any get together with friends.

The advantage of stocking up on after dinner drinks is that they are bound to last longer than other bottles of wine and have a much longer shelf life.

Here’s to the “finishing” drinks,

Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday November 11, 2017

Burmester 10-Year Old Tawny Port

DOP, Portugal
$28.95 (Vintages #223958) 19.5% alcohol

DOP is short for (Denominação de Origem Protegida) meaning Protected Designation of Origin. This certification only found in Portugal ensures that products are locally grown and packaged.

This past fall, my husband and I visited the Burmester Port house in Oporto, Portugal on the side of the Douro river in an area called “Gaia”.  While it is not as large as Taylors Fladgate or Grahams, the ports made a Burmester are of premium quality.

This Tawny Port has a deep copper in colour with flavours that remind me of fruit cake, sweet spice with a caramel finish. Light-bodied and goes down smooth, capital S. Positively delicious and a perfect after dinner drink.

City of Oporto. The Burmester Caves where this port was made is on the left of the photo. Credit: Julie Stock

Hildalgo Faraon Oloros Sherry

DO, Spain
$21.95 (Vintages # 471078) 18% alcohol

I don’t often think of sherry as an after dinner drink but his one is an exception. Similar to port it is a fortified wine, yet made only in Spain.

This deep golden nectar is like sipping a bowl of roasted nuts with a great savoury finish. Bone dry with a little orange pith on the palate.

It would be absolutely divine with some assorted cheeses, dried fruit and of course, warm toasted nuts at the end of a meal. It’s a special kind of sherry.

 

Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario$24.95 (Vintages #578625) 11% alcohol

I’m not often wowed by off-dry Riesling but this is one is an elegant beauty. Apparently I’m not the only one that was lured to this wine since it won Platinum at the Wine Align Intervin awards this year.

Fresh and clean, flinty with soft lemon custard flavours on the palate and a round citrusy finish.

This white wine is positively delicious and would make a decadent afternoon sipper or pair with some spicy shrimps.

 

 

Reif Estate Reserve Gewurztraminer 2015

VQA Niagara River, Ontario
$18.95 (Vintages #360255) 13% alcohol

In my view, Reif Estates always offers good price points for the quality of their wine. It’s always a good thing to have a Gewurztraminer in the fridge for those chilly nights where a hot Indian curry like Chicken Vindaloo or take-out Thai meal would warm you up – all perfect pairings for Gewurztraminer.

Fresh floral aromas, some lychee but loads of tropical fruits on the palate show in this white wine. Look for ripe apricots and peach nectar with some toasty hazelnuts on the finish.

It’s a dy-na-mite!

 

For 2 white wines & 2 after dinner drinks, my Grand Total = $94.80

 

Share

Wines from around the world for Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 29th, 2017
Share

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time for LCBO’s Vintages to focus on drinks to serve with the family gathering with a headline of ‘Family Matters”.

With the family theme in this release, the LCBO is featuring family run vineyards & estates that have been handed down through the generations.  There are some great wine finds to accompany whatever dishes you are putting on your Thanksgiving table but I’m not taking any chances, I’m picking up one of each. to have on hand in case anyone drops in over the long weekend.

And there are some of the LCBO’s In Store Discoveries too that are worth putting in your shopping cart. Hope my tried & tested shopping list helps make your long weekend a breeze.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 30, 2017

 

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016

WO Stellenbosch, The Winery of Good Hope, South Africa
$14.95 (Vintages #739995) 12.5% alcohol

Chenin Blanc goes by different names;  in France this white wine it is known as Pineau de la Loire, and in South Africa it goes by the name of Steen. Either way the grape varietal displays succulent flavours of tropical fruit with every sip.

On the palate is a melange of ripe pears and apricots, pineapple and hazelnuts. Full bodied and rich, smooth as silk with a crisp refreshing finish. It’s a beauty and the price point is unbelievable. It’s bound to be a partner to serve with a feast of turkey or roasted ham for sure.

 

 

 

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

AC, France
$14.95 (Vintages  #499509) 13% alcohol

Your first introduction is a delicate floral nose with great aromatic freshness.

This svelte white wine offers light, crisp apple and peach flavours bound by slight mineral notes on the finish.  Lots of finesse and depth for this price point and a perfect marriage with seafood or Mediterranean fare, bruschetta prepared with with heirloom tomatoes would be remarkable.

 

 

 

 

Tessellae Rosé 2016

IGP Côtes Catalanes, France
$15.95 (Vintages # 450817)  13.5% alcohol

This is an all year round Rosé wine. Pale salmon in colour, fresh, crisp and delicate. Ripe strawberries, tangerines and apricot flavours mingle with zesty lemon-lime notes on the finish. Talk about a fruit bowl!

It is a perfect afternoon sipper or to serve as an aperitif with some mild cheese or grilled shrimps, or with a ham for Thanksgiving, one lovely beverage.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Kaiken Las Rocas Ultra Malbec 2015

Mendoza, Argentina
$24.95 (Vintages #50849) 14.5% alcohol

Lavender and blueberry aromas, full bodied and firm, it’s an outstanding Malbec. On the palate of this red wine, there are layers of ripe plums and dark berries, the tannins are ripe and refined. It’s smooth, rich and focussed with excellent length, a Malbec at its finest.

I’d pair this with braised short ribs and a mushroom risotto.

 

 

 

 

Tarima Monastrell 2015

DO Alicante, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages #310151) 14.5% alcohol

The heady nose on this red wine is almost electric with savoury and dark fruit.  Blackberries and blueberry flavours dance on the palate just bursting with flavour.

Look for dark, slightly spicy berries with a pinch of licorice on the finish. Great smooth aftertaste that integrates soft tannins, and juicy fruitiness.

It is absolutely delicious. Begs for something from the grill!

 

 

 

MAN Family Skaapveld Shiraz 2015

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (Vintages #71332)

I did not have the opportunity to taste this particular Shiraz, but I wanted to offer another bottle in my price point since the above was such incredible value. I mean…a Shiraz from South Africa at $13.95?

The Man Family website states that “Skaapbeld” refers to the grazing land for sheep that adjoins their Shiraz vineyards. And it has won more than one award, so I will be popping a bottle of this into my shopping cart and giving it a try.

 

 

Grand Total = $99.70

Share

6 wines for under $100!

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 15th, 2017
Share

In Niagara Falls, every August, the judging for the Intervin Wine Competition takes place. These wine awards are designed to recognize the very best of international wines available to Canadian consumers.

Although the 2017 results will not be released until November it is fitting that LCBO Vintages is showcasing Ontario wines and Flagship In-Store-Discoveries (FISD) in this release.  Most of these “Flagships” are too pricey for my budget, but I had no difficulty finding some other gems at incredible price points.

My go to wine is always Ontario. This province has the VERY best of everything: from farm to table food, to sports and entertainment; our wine selection is unbeatable and incomparable. Harvest time will soon be here and I hope you’ll be inspired to pick up a few bottles you’ve not tried before. I can almost guarantee you may find a new favourite.

Here’s to Ontario wine shopping, a place to stand, a place to grow, Ontario-ario- ario !

That jingle never grows old!
– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 16, 2017

 

Creekside Marianne Hill Riesling 2015

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #443572) 10.5% alcohol

Stunning and expressive, well deserved for the Gold Medal winner at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada.

I can’t wait to see what other accolades may be in store for Creekside and this gem. Beautifully balanced with flavours of green and yellow apples, peaches and flinty wet stone which shows in many Niagara escarpment Rieslings.

Light-weight with gentle fruit flavours, a perfect afternoon wine to sip or to try with crab cakes, sushi or lighter lunch fare. Mellow and delicious.

 

Featherstone Four Feathers 2016

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #341586) 12.5% alcohol

I have written previously on different Featherstone Estate Winery wines and this one is so lovely I could not neglect it in this release.

The blend of  Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc brings out the very best in each of these varietals. Slightly off-dry, delicate and aromatic, well structured and layered with flavours of apples and stone tree fruits that decorate the palate in one lovely wash. It has a lingering fruity finish.

Perfect for salads, grilled shrimp or fish tacos; an easy sipper and a wine that has something for everyone.

I cannot imagine anyone who could not like this wine.

 

 

Firebird Legend Pinot Grigio 2016

PGI Vulcansti, Moldova
$12.95 (Vintages #74351) 12% alcohol

The very odd time I feature a wine that I was not able to taste and this is one of those. Moldova is a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania in the Black Sea basin where the vines grow.

Historically, there are over 112 thousand hectres of vineyards and over 30 types of varietals so I assume these folks must have achieved some finesse somewhere along the lineage.  One website boasted tropical fruit flavours with zippy acidity, so for that price point, for me, it is worth a try.

 

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.35 (Vintages #172643) 12%  alcohol

Not just any Rosé, this blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay makes a lively entry with it’s handsome cranberry colour and aromas of ripe cherries and a pinch of white pepper. On the palate are impressive strawberry and watermelon flavours.  It’s driven by lively acidity and some rhubarb on the elegant finish.

Bone dry which makes it a perfect accompaniment to grilled chicken, salmon or just on its own with some soft cheeses.

Always a class act.

 

13th Street Red Palette 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$15.95 (Vintages #244558) 13 % alcohol

13th Street Winery has to one of the prettiest wineries along the Niagara Escarpment I think. Not only is there a spacious tasting room with floor to ceilings windows, but upon entry, the long spectacular table gives it an art gallery feel. The bakery farmhouse next door also makes it a worthwhile stop for lunch or to grab an outstanding butter-tart.

This Red Palette blend is so juicy; bursting with red cherry and ripe raspberry flavours with just a hint of green savoury spice on the finish. Medium bodied, the varietals of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc make it a perfect accompaniment to turkey, ham or salmon (I am already thinking about Thanksgiving!). Well rounded and perfectly balanced with soft tannins and a hint of smokey acidity on a decent cherry finish. You could partner this alongside just about anything from fish to pork/veggie kebabos or mild Thai take-out. Simply delicious.

 

Traipiche Fina Las Palmas Gran Reeserva Malbec 2014

Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages # 186668) 14.5 % alcohol

Malbec is Argentina’s signature grape and no one grows it better than Traipiche. At altitudes higher than the CN tower, Trapiche was one of the first Argentinian wineries to enter the international scene. In 1889, the winery received its first international award in Paris.

Dark and inky in colour, rich and expansive on the nose your senses are fillled with luscious black and ripe red fruits that flow through on the palate. Everything Traipiche produces is worth picking up and their wines are a great price point. This Malbec is full-bodied and not for the faint-hearted, structured with layers of blueberry and ripe plum favours, some spice and tobacco on the finish. It’ll be forever in memory with braised short ribs and spicey sausages.

I can’t wait to pick this up and head to the butcher.

 

Grand Total = $ 99.10 
6 wines – now that is VALUE !!

Share

Yeah! Make it a Chardonnay!

Posted by Julie

Monday, July 10th, 2017
Share

It’s that time of year again when the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (also known by those in the wine biz as ‘i4C’ or #i4C17) descends upon the Niagara region. Everyone gathers for this special i4C weekend to celebrate the most popular grape varietal in the world.

It is an incredible weekend – July 21 to 23 – where 30+ wineries from around the world PLUS 30 Ontario wineries gather to showcase their finest wines made with Chardonnay grapes – everything from sparkling, fresh Chardonnay, aged ones, Chablis style, fermented with wild yeast and those aged in barrels from around the world.  You get to sample everything. Even fine sweet wines made from Chardonnay grapes.  It is a heavenly weekend event!

At i4C, winemakers attend along with wine enthusiasts, Sommeliers, wine writers, restaurant owners and those who are simply visiting Niagara wanting to take in a top-notch event.  A number of us from the Savvy Team have attended and it is hands down an incredible learning and entertaining experience not to mention absolutely delicious & tasty. I highly recommend making i4C the reason for a weekend getaway to Niagara (if you need a reason!).

And for those of you who are ABCers (aka like Anything But Chardonnay), there is an incredible white wine from Spain that I discovered in the recent LCBO Vintages release from the feature or Spanish wines.  Spain often offers great value wines that taste like they should cost more, but my recommendations on those will have to wait for another time as I am filling my basket with 100% Chardonnay for this blog…and can’t wait to get sipping.

Long live i4C!
-Julie

i4C Social Media Information: Website  *   Twitter   *  Instagram 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LBCO Vintages Release for Saturday July 8, 2017

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2015 

VQA Niagara-on-the Lake
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12.5 % alcohol

In 2008, Southbrook was the first wine estate in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification for its vineyard and winery. This is one smooth Chardonnay from start to finish. There is some minerality in this white wine which is unusual for a Chardonnay, but this only enhances the soft tropical fruits.

Mid-weight and beautifully balanced with some baked pear on the finish, it’s one lovely drink. Would partner nicely with BBQed chicken or salmon.

 

 

Emiliana Natura Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #439398) 14 % alcohol

In the last release I featured Emiliana Winery for their sparkling wine. And here they are again on my top picks list!

This unoaked Chardonnay wine is anything but “typicity”.  In winespeak, this is the degree in which the grape varietal reflects or demonstrates its characteristics from the origin or region. I found just a hint of effervescence, light-bodied with lime tanginess which is unusual for a Chardonnay.  It’s fresh and clean with a green apple finish. I really liked it and this white wine is definitely going into my shopping basket & right into my fridge for a hot summer afternoon where I will uncork it for lunch or a light dinner with something like a Watermelon, Feta Cheese & Black Olive Salad.

 

 

Buena Vista Chardonnay 2015

Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$24.95 (Vintages #396440) 13 % alcohol

In a little corner bordering Sonoma and Napa’s southern boundaries is the celebrated vinicultural area called Carneros. While only about 90 square miles, the region is recognized for producing world class Chardonnays.

This white wine is a style that is heavier and creamier than what comes from other Chardonnay growing regions but for those who love a ‘Big Bold Chard’, this wine is for you!  I put extra stars beside my tasting notes, indicating that I love this wine. Aromas of buttered popcorn, rich and smooth on the palate as the tropical fruit simply takes over the senses and abounds.  It’s dry, crisp with a lingering finish. Elegant and refined, a class-act Chardonnay. Would easily stand up to a dinner of Steak & frites…yes white wine with steak!

 

 

Invivo Gisborne Chardonnay 2016

Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand
$15.95 (Vintages #499855) 13 % alcohol

Although this was not available at my tasting, Invivo Wines is going to be present at i4C represented by Winemaker and Co-founder, Rob Cameron. I never have any difficulty recommending a wine from New Zealand, especially the Gisborne region, since wines that are produced are always top notch. Tasting notes indicate an easy drinking style with citrus and ripe stone fruit on the palate.

At this incredible price point, (remember it travelled half way around the world to get onto the LCBO shelves), this white wine is definitely going in my basket. It is worth a try!

 

A dynamite wine from Spain you have to try …

Barón De ley Blanco 2016

DOCa Rioja
$13.95 (Vintages #145995) 12 % alcohol

A blend of Viura (90%) and Malvasia (10%) grapes, this fresh aromatic white wine is easy to drink. While not common grape varietals, these are quite at home in Navarra in the DOC Rioja region.

The winemaking process is carried out in stainless steel tanks which lends to its super fresh lemon lime flavours with a citrusy finish. Fresh and a light-bodied whine, makes for a terrific wine on a hot summer’s day.

 

 

Grand Total = $95.75

Share

6 Sparkling wines under $100

Posted by Julie

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
Share

What perfect timing! Canada Day, Canadian Winemakers Around the World and Bubbles are featured in this release. LCBO & Vintages sometimes does this to me, all my favourite wine topics are featured at once – Oh Canada!

I plan to celebrate my “Canuck-ness” with bubbles. I will raise some “fizz” to toast Canada’s 150th birthday of accumulated strength in heritage and multiculturalism – this is the country where there is something for everyone.

This is also true of my selections for this release;  SIX sparkling wines from SIX countries to demonstrate a mosaic of diversity. I hope you find at least one to enjoy and join me as we raise a glass together.

Happy 150 years Canada!

-Julie

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday June 24, 2017

Vieni Momenti Sparkling Wine

Charmat Method, VQA Ontario
$13.95 (Vintages # 435784)  11.3% alcohol

 Last fall, I had the opportunity to taste this sparkling wine at one of our Taste & Buy events and recently “re-enjoyed” it since a friend of mine had purchased several bottles too.  It was a top seller at our event….and no doubt it will fly off the Vintages shelves too.

Pale yellow in colour, this unique blend of Vidal and Pinot Grigio grapes is fresh and aromatic. It has a light fine mousse (tiny bubbles) embracing soft tropical fruit flavours. At that price point you cannot go wrong. I will definitely be stocking up on this delicious sparkling wine. Great on its own or with lighter fare.

 

Chevalier Monopole Brut Rosé

AC, Champagne Region, France
$15.95 (Vintages #485920) 12% alcohol

First, I loved the unusual pale tangerine colour but then secondly, when several LCBO Product Consultants (aka wine experts who work in the Vintages section) are all smacking their lips, exclaiming what a fabulous wine not to mention great value, I knew I’d hit the bulleye!

Monopole is a term meaning “wholly owned” and can be used by a producer when the grapes used in the wine are exclusively owned buy the winemaker and not purchased.  It’s an easy sipping sparkling wine, full of citrusy orange and lime flavours, gentle, soft and juicy with enough acidity to pair with grilled chicken or tacos. Absolutely. Delicious.

 

Emiliana Organic Brut Sparkling

Charmat method, Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #451914) 13% alcohol

Emiliana is Chile’s biggest organic wine producer. Artfully crafted , pale golden in colour with amazing aromas and tastes of ripe pineapple and papaya.

A Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend (classic grape varieties used for sparkling wines) that is easy going and fresh with a citrusy lime aftertaste. Nicely balanced with noticeable acidity.  This bubbly from Chile is another great sipper on its own or  with fish, summer salads, or sushi.  Perfect for a picnic with the easy snap top bottle.

 

Graham Beck Brut Rosé

Méthode Cap Classique, WO Western Cape, South Africa
$19.95 (Vintages #175588) 12.5% alcohol

A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, silvery pink and shimmery in colour just like a cocktail dress, this just glows with excitement. Loads of sweet and sour cherries, raspberries, other red berries, smooth on the palate and loads of the above berries on the aftertaste.

It has a healthy weight for a sparkling wine but in South African style, would pair well with anything grilled, salad on the side.  Another delicious bubbly.

 

Castillo Perelada Brut Rosé Cava

Traditional method, DO, Spain
$15.95 (Vintages # 226266) 11.5% alcohol

An elegant pale pink colour this sparkling wine shimmers in the glass. To start, it just looks pretty. Then, as you take in the aromas and tastes of strawberries, cherries with a little peppermint on the light-bodied finish it is no wonder that Spain has become famous for its Cava (winespeak: Spanish sparkling wines).  Cavas are typically affordable priced and this is no exception. Would be perfect for a wedding reception or bridal shower or more importantly no occasion at all.

 

Valdo Marca Oro Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

DOCG, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #422840) 11% alcohol

Year round Prosecco is a great sparkling wine. Floral and croissant aromas hover around the bubbles that burst playfully with suggestions of citrus, green apple and apricot flavours.  Fresh and always delicious, it pairs with just about anything under the sun from charcuterie to pan seared fish.

 

Grand Total  = $98.75
I was thrilled to find 6 sparklers within my $100 budget!

Share

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 9th, 2017
Share

Trust the LCBO to shine the spotlight on single malt scotch, cognac and specialty wines just in time for Father’s Day. This release also focuses on Flagship ISD (in-store-discoveries) from Australia and France. That covers a wide span of the wine world.

While Dad may be part of the focus in this release, I discovered two great sparkling wines from Niagara that were so reasonably priced you could pick something up for Mum as well.

Contraband Sparkling Chardonnay (#443705)
and Contraband Sparkling Riesling (#400127), both under $20.
These bubblies are full of lively fruit flavours that is perfect for Mum, Dad or to ring in Canada Day.

I hope you find more than one wine to enjoy in the picks that I ‘bought’ on my $100 budget.

-Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy …
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday June 10, 2017

 

Creekside Reserve Viognier 2014 

Queenston Road Vineyard, VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
$29.95 (Vintages #264168) 14 % alcohol

I don’t usually spend so much on one bottle of wine for obvious reasons, yet this time, I have to make an exception.

There aren’t many wineries in Ontario that produce Viognier because it is such a difficult grape to grow.  It’s prone to mildew, low yields and it has to be picked when it’s absolutely prime & ripe or it fails to develop its amazing colour, aromatics and fine fruit flavours. Creekside Winery won a gold medal winner in 2010 for their Viognier and this 2014 release is too delicious for words.

Aged for 9 months in French oak, this white wine delivers lush lingering aromatics of honeysuckle, mango, peach flavours that carry through to the palate. Slightly oily but fresh. Weighty and balanced – it’s one class act.  It also makes a beautiful gift for someone, especially someone who knows their wine. It’s so good on its own but could handle a spicy foods like a Moroccan Tagine or fresh sushi with panache.  Only 136 cases produced so I’ll grab a couple of bottles and leave the rest for you.

 

 

Medeiros Rosé

Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal
$12.95 (Vintages #451385)  12.5% alcohol

A pretty blend of Touriga Nacional (45%), Syrah (41%) and Aragonês or Tempranillo (14%) grapes.  This Rose is unreal at this price point. Pale pink in colour, with a little peach, almond and green melon flavours on the palate.  It is so light and refreshing. There’s not a huge finish but a great patio sipper or with seafood/summer salads. Summer in a glass!

 

 

Sister’s Run Bethlehem Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Gomersal, Barossa, South Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #360636) 14.5% alcohol

Aromatic hints of  concentrated black fruit translate onto the palate. Bone-dry, full-bodied red wine with black currant and raspberry flavours. Gentle tannins that make it quite approachable on the palate and a very easy summer sipper.

It would be fabulous with assorted cheeses, lamb burgers or spicy sausages hot off the BBQ.

 

Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Grès De Montpellier Syrah Grenache

AP Languedoc, France
$18.95 (Vintages #493635) 15% alcohol

Aged in French oak barrels for 12 months lends hearty robust flavours to this classic red wine blend.  Ripe plums and layers of dark fruit flavours are velvety smooth on the palate with a peppery, charcoal edge on the finish and length.

It’s a big, rich red wine that would partner beautifully with BBQed steak with all of the trimmings or saucy ribs off the grill.

 

Tomassi Arele Parziale Appassimento 2015

IGT Della Venezie, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #224188) 13% alcohol

You expect full flavour, texture and richness in a blend with Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta and Merlot grapes.  This red wine holds no surprise. “Arele” is the name of the wooden trays used to partially dry the grapes that is part of the magic in creating this unique wine.

Loaded with dark fruit berry flavours, ripe red currants with hints of violets. Medium to full-bodied with a persistent sweet spice finish and a touch of cedar. Mark my words, this red wine is hard to resist. Perfect choice to accompany some grilled meats or summer vegetable lasagna. Stock up!

Grand Total = $100.75

The 3 extra quarters are totally worth going over budget!

 

 

Share

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

Posted by Julie

Thursday, May 25th, 2017
Share

South Central Italy & Flagship In Store Discoveries (LCBO speak: ISD) as well as California are a prominent features in this LCBO Vintages release.  Where to start?

Frankly, the ISD’s are a little rich for my $100 budget for this blog, yet there are some pretty enticing looking wines.  Worth saving your pennies (or I guess it is now nickles!)

With the weather changing, I’m in a white wine mood so that’s what will be focused on finding the best to put in my shopping basket. You can’t go wrong with any of these great wines but remember when buying wines in the Vintages section, if you find something you like – grab a few bottles since they won’t be here again until next year and even that’s not a rule of thumb either!

Enjoy,

Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday May 27, 2017

 

Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay 2015

Santa Barbara County, California
$24.95 (Vintages # 989152) 13.7% alcohol

Talk about typicity! It doesn’t get much richer or better for a classic California Chardonnay.  If you can imagine putting your nose in a creamy rich butter bar, or creme caramel, you’d probably not be far off when smelling the aromas in this wine. Lots of ripe pineapple and baked apple flavours, a full-bodied white wine, balanced, lots of fruity layers, creamy smooth with a citrusy finish. Rich, fragrant and delicious. Enjoy with seafood or chicken alfredo pasta, sounds like a dinner party to me.

 

 

Beauvignac Picpoul De Pinet 2016

AP, Les Costières Pomerols, France
$14.95 (Vintages #350124) 12.5% alcohol

This light, crisp perfect summer wine called “Picpoul” is a direct reference to the vibrant natural acidity of this grape. A loose translation of Picpoul means “stings the lip” which refers to the high acidity level in this varietal. It’s super fresh and floral, white blossoms and lemon-lime flavours are too easy on the palate.

There’s a bounty of  green Granny Smith apple flavours in this white wine which also offer natural acidity that makes it so refreshing. Serve well chilled with a seafood salad, or cold poached salmon and you’ll have rave reviews.

 

Vesevo Beneventano Falaghina 2015

IGT Beneventano, South Central Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #289538) 13% alcohol

One sip reminded me of sitting in an piazza in Rome, starring at busts of bronze and a nearby coliseum. Fresh, lots of minerality and tastes of wet stone (this is a good thing), especially if you are prone to liking some earthy wine with loads of lemon flavours. A light white wine and delicate and a perfect afternoon sipper. If you happen to have a few shrimps handy – serve chilled or grill em up to have an awesome afternoon snack.

 

Frescobaldi Castelo Di Pomino Bianco 2015

DOC,  Tuscany, Italy
$19.95  (Vintages #65086) 12.5% alcohol

The history books state that in 1855, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc were planted in Tuscany for the first time. Pomino (meaning little apple in Italian) is a small DOC located in central Italy that includes vineyards within the Chianti Rufina sub-zone in the province of Florence. It earned it’s DOC status in 1983.

Softly floral, ripe apricots and gentle peach flavours coat the palate with a lemony finish. A Fresh white wine that is delicate and delicious.

 

 

Feudo Maccari Grillo 2015

IGP Terre Siciliane, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #477877) 12.5% alcohol

If I wrote in a sommelier exam that the wine tastes like fresh green grapes, I probably wouldn’t have passed the course but it is what it is (keeping in mind all our taste buds are different). This pale golden nectar is aromatically floral with some minerality on the palate and a pinch of effervescence, perhaps from the citrusy fruit flavours. It’s crisp and dreamy and a very easy white wine sipper especially at this price point. Salads, soft cheese, fish tacos or on its own.

Bottom line…I’m stocking up, this wine is too good to be true!

 

 

Grand total = $91.75 

5 great wines and look what I’ve saved you

Share

Buyers Picks at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Thursday, May 11th, 2017
Share

‘Buyer’s Picks’ are the prominent feature of this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release, not to mention New Zealand and Sake wines.

I’m always curious about what ‘Buyers Picks’ really means: more Airmiles offered? Reduced prices on the bottle? or truly great products?  In any case, these are My Picks for you to decide if you want them in your shopping cart.

One thing for certain, these wines are all really good!

Cheers,
-Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday May 13, 2017

Tom Gore Chardonnay 2014

California
$19.95 (Vintages #458810) 13.5% alcohol

Aromas of baked apple and butter, on the palate are lush tropical fruit flavours, creamy and round. It’s medium to full-bodied white wine that is well-balanced and smooth. Dry apricots and almonds prevail on the long lasting finish. A typical California Chardonnay – rich and delicious.

If you have a special dinner party coming up with a seafood casserole or sauteed scallops it would be a match over the moon.

 

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$23.95 (Vintages #164228)  13.5% alcohol

This is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with aromas of gooseberry and passionfruit. Vinified in stainless steel gives this white wine a fresh clean mouthfeel.

Medium bodied with lime citrus and grapefruit pith bathe the palate, crisp and refreshing with just enough sweetness to balance the racy acidity. Lengthy with a cleansing finish. A beauty Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy on it’s own or with springtime dishes like BBQed Thai Turkey Burgers.

 

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2015

Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #167619) 13% alcohol

Ever since my trip to Buenos Aires, a Malbec always finds its way into my shopping basket. Dark ripe plums and black cherries wash the palate, this full-bodied red wine has firm tannins and a leathery finish. The mouthfeel is plush and velvety. If you are looking for a Malbec, this is the one!  You simply couldn’t ask for more.

Grilled sausages or BBQed burgers would be a great match.

 

Santa Carolina Reserve Petit Verdot 2013

Rapel Valley, Chile
$16.95 (Vintages # 7484) 14.5% alcohol

“Petit” in this varietal comes from the small size of the grape berries known for their dense, inky, violet colours. They are good descriptors for the start of this red wine. There’s also a whiff of woodsy herbal aromas. Aged in French oak it offers a hint of vanilla and savoury spice while black currants and ripe plum flavours dance on the palate. Firm, rich tannins and dark fruit concentration hover in the long dry aftertaste. It is a work of art for the price point and begs to accompany something grilled or a Chilean bean stew. The latter food pairing may not be summer fare, but it could sure brighten up a rainy day.

 

C.J. Pask Gimblette Road Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2013

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand
$19.95 (Vintages #279869) 13.5% alcohol

Talk about legs and length, this red wine blend says it all. This Bordeaux-style red blend delights with aromas of ripe dark plums garnished with smooth, savoury woodsy notes that release on the full fruity palate. Easy going with noticeable tannin and texture that support an enduring dark fruit finish. Would be perfect with a herbed crusted roast of lamb or pork.

 

GRAND TOTAL = $97.75

Share

Sure sign of spring: Rose wines!

Posted by Julie

Friday, April 28th, 2017
Share

Fabulous that the latest LCBO Vintages release features varietals from Oregon, Washington and Germany, yet I have chosen to focus on finding the best Rosés to highlight in this blog.

Warm weather is pushing the gauge on the thermometer higher every day. Nothing sends a more summer-like message than pulling out a chilled bottle of pink from the fridge or picnic cooler.  In this release, powerful, playful, pretty, punchy pinks are yours for the picking at GREAT value. (How is that for alliteration?)  Upon entry to any LCBO, your eye cannot help but being drawn to the beautiful rainbow of pinks on the shelves.

A provocative patio sipper, Rosé is also a great food match with anything from salads to fish to tacos and some, like the Serbal Malbec Rosé (below) will stand up to burgers and steak. How versatile is that?

I can’t wait to line up this eye-candy on my kitchen counter (and in my fridge too!).

Passionate about pink 😉
Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday April 29, 2017

 


Vina Esmeralda Ros
é 2016

DO Catalunya, Torres, Spain
$13.95  (Vintages #490920) 12.5 % alcohol

Pale coral in colour, floral aromas, this wine is made with the Garnacha Tinto grape – the most heavily grown in the Mediterranean.  Rosé is also known as Rosado in Spain and Portugal too. On the palate, ripe cherries burst with acidity leaving a tangy lime tangerine in the finish. Clean, refreshing and crisp….and a great price too!

 

 

 

Zone’s Footstep Scarlet Ladybird Rosé 2016

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
$15.95 (Vintages #408476) 13.5% alcohol

Aromas of red roses, pale pinkish with a hint of tangerine in colour.  The flavours are lush and tart. Medium-weight, rhubarb galore with ripe strawberries weaving their way on the palate and fruity finish.

 

 

 

Featherstone Estate Winery Rosé 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #117861) 13.2% alcohol

It is hard not to write about Featherstone’s Rosé every year. I confess to being a huge fan of all of their wines.  Deep cranberry in colour, vegetal and mineral aromas that open to ripe red berriess on the palate.  There’s some sour cherry at the end which makes it crisp and just plain de-e-e-e-licious.

 

 

 

Atamisque Serbal Malbec Rosé 2016

Mendoza, Chile
$16.95 (Vintages #493031) 13% alcohol

The Atamisque Winery, maker of the Serbal line of wines, is located in the foothills of the Andes Mountain range. The winery also takes its name from the Serbal aboriginal bush. Bright ruby red, the Rosé wine literally glistens in the glass. Sour cherries and savoury spice explode in the taste buds with a noticeable seam of acidity.  Add to this an interesting hint of black pepper. Bone dry and chewy for a Rosé, but packs full-bodied red fruit on the palate and the lengthy fruity finish.

 

 

 

Château de Berne Terres Rosé 2016

AC Côtes de Provence, France
$17.95 (Vintages #278861) 13% alcohol

I did not get a chance to taste this Rosé, but I have no difficulty recommending it & putting it in my shopping basket. Rosé wine was born in Provence and todate, it accounts for half to almost two thirds of all wine produced in the region. It’s also a classic blend of Cinsault and Grenache which offers raspberry, strawberry and red currant flavours. The rosés of Provence are often known for their food pairing matches with local Mediterranean cuisine. You just can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

Brancaia Rosé 2016

IGT Rosato Toscana, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #490953)  13 % alcohol

Aromas of violets and ripe red berries that come from the Merlot grape flow through on the palate leaving a delicious seam of acidity on the finish. Aged in stainless steel, yet there’s creamy crispness to red juicy fruit. Perfect for happy hour or any hour for that matter.

Check out the drone flight over the Brancaia Wine Estate, if you’re interested in a trip to Tuscany – if only for a few minutes!

GRAND Total of this top Rosé wine picks = $100.70 

 

 

Share

If I only had $100…I would buy…

Posted by Julie

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Share

Australia is renowned for it’s big juicy fruit driven Shiraz so it was refreshing to see a release that features Aussie whites.  But don’t be shy to venture further when shopping at LCBO’s Vintages this month.  There is an extremely handsome collection of some old tried and trues wines and of course also features wines from the Mediterranean.

Any chance your plans have you traveling to Europe anytime soon?  There are some wines in this release that are bound to put you in the mood for packing for a trip!

I’d say…this shopping list definitely puts me in the mood to pick up one of everything.

Cheers to all good things and the arrival of Spring,

-Julie

 

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

 

Madison Ranch Chardonnay 2014

Napa Valley, California
$22.95 (Vintages #441113) 14.5% alcohol

Plush aromas of baked cake and tropical fruit. A full bodied elegant white wine loaded with ripe yellow apple and banana flavours, rich, creamy and buttery, a classic California Chardonnay.

With a soft seam of acidity, there is some vanilla and lemony sweet spice on the end, a full-bodied Chardonnay not for those who like a wine with style.  Absolutely delicious.

 

 

 

Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda 2014

Victoria, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #401398) 13% alcohol

Aromas you could catch across a room! Expansive fruit with floral overtones, soft white blossoms, honeysuckle, almost perfumed tropical fruit in this blend of Viognier and Marsanne white wine. Juicy peaches and pears on the palate, soft, easy and smooth, it’s the type of wine that everyone would like, inoffensive yet delicate, loaded with nutty fruit flavours.

Enjoy on it’s own or with lighter fare, it would also be perfect with summer salads.

 

 

 

Cotnari Fetească Albă 2014

DOC Cotnari, Roumania
$12.95  (Vintages #012088) 12% alcohol

Cotnari is the most famous Romanian wine producing region located in eastern Romania very near the Moldovan border. Fetească Albă is the most widely grown and best known grape varietal. I love discovering a new wine at such an incredible price point. This golden coloured nectar is slightly off-dry with tropical fruit aromas. It’s fruity; there’s pineapple, ripe pear and honeysuckle on the creamy palate but also got some mandarin and petrol on the smooth finish. It’s an easy wine wine sipper or would be a great match for spicy foods.

 

 

 

Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #247882) 13.5% alcohol

The Speck family has yet another reason to be proud. On the nose are aromas of the unmistakeable Baco Noir grape, a little smokiness, then layers of cherries and nutty flavours from the time spent in French and American oak for 17 months. Aside from Baco Noir is the classic blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Loads of personality as these varietals complement each other. Bone dry and juicy, well structured tannins; bring out a roast of beef or grilled ribs, it’s a beauty.

 

Papale Linea Oro Primitivo Di Manduria 2013

DOP, Puglia, Italy
$18.95 (Vintages #261784) 14% alcohol

Way back in July 2013, I discovered this gem and wrote on it in my If I had $100 blog.  Papale is made from the Primitivo grape vinified in the Puglia region. In 2008, 115 bottles of the vintage  was purchased by the Vatican following the election of Pope Francis in 2013.

I call this my Osso Bucco wine. Any chef knows that if you go through the labour of love to prepare Osso Bucco, you want a great wine to accompany.  Deep crimson bold with personality of firm ripe cherries, plums and peppery spice highlight the palate. Full-bodied, a little chewy and deep berry flavours intermingle with noticeable tannins that linger forever on the smooth finish. I would serve this dinner to the Pope!

 

 

GRAND TOTAL – $91.75

 

BTW…Since I came in well under budget, I thought I’d recommend a great medium bodied Portuguese wine called Animus 2014 from Douro at $12.95 a bottle.  Great for burgers, pizza or those mindless nights that call for something cheap and cheerful – it’s a steal and I’m picking up a few.  (Vintages #385302).  If you find an extra $4.70 your grand total is $104.70.

Share