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

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

Posted by Monique

Thursday, July 21st, 2016
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 Welcome to my first of edition of If I only had $100, I would buy….as a Savvy Sommelier, I speak fluent wine & I am a wine lover on mission… err budget. Since we are in the heat of the summer, I cannot think of a better way to cool off than scoping out some easy drinking summer sipping wines.

As much as I wish I could indulge in the most high-end bottles of white Burgundy, Champagne and California cult classics, I am limited to a very reasonable budget for this shopping spree.LCBO NEW VINTAGE Believe me, you do not need to win LottoMax to find a nice stash of good quality wines on the LCBO Vintages shelves. Leave it with me to seek out these wines for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Monique

 

 If I only had $100, I would buy…
Saturday July 23, 2016

 

Boya 2015 Sauvignon Blanc 

Boya Sauvignon Blanc 2015Leyda Valley, Chile
LCBO Vintages 389726 | $15.95 | 12.5% alcohol

Let’s just start by noting that Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is “a grape to watch!” The Leyda Valley is a cool climate growing region in Southern Chile producing remarkable Sauvignon Blancs white wines and also to note Pinot Noirs. The Boya Sauvignon Blanc stood out to me for two reasons: it had classic notes of both a New and Old World style Sauvignon Blancs, and it’s a bargain!

The key aromas and flavours include lemongrass, passion fruit, canned green vegetable and fresh green herbs. Mark my words that Chile’s up and coming cool climate whites rivaling many others on the world stage, and this one is no exception. This easy going medium bodied white wine will pair well with grilled pork souvlaki drizzled in fresh tzatziki.

 

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South 2012 RieslingRedstone Limestone Vineyard South 2012 Riesling

Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment VQA, ON
$19.20 (Vintages 381251) 10% alcohol

Redstone Winery – a sister winery to Tawse Wines – is one of the Niagara Escarpment’s newly opened wineries and there are lots to discover here! This Riesling is a great start. It showcases the extensive potential for more and more well-crafted wines in pocketed areas of the Niagara Escarpment. Pour yourself a glass and immediately notice the rush of minerality (winespeak: think of the smell of a shower curtain – yes a shower curtain!) in your face.

As you get past the intense interesting smell, you’ll notice citrus zest, wild flower honey and ripe stone fruit. Take your first sip and the deal is sealed! You’ll notice flavours of ripe red delicious apple, pear, honey and beeswax. The acidity is high and tasty and the finish is long. Enjoy pairing this wine with spicy Thai shrimp rice rolls.

 

Masi Rosa dei Masi 2015Masi Rosa dei Masi 2015 Rosé

Venezie, Italy IGT
$15.95  Vintages 377267  13% alcohol

Full disclosure: This wine caught my attention due to its gorgeous brilliant blush pink appearance. Once I gave it try I was even more attracted. This rosé is made from the Italian Refosco grape and a percentage of these grapes where dried before vinification, like they practice when making Reciotto, Amarone and Ripasso wines.

The aromas are dominated by floral notes. The palate is light-bodied, dry with fruity flavours and a crisp and refreshing acidity. Enjoy sipping this wine with a salumi or charcuterie platter while cooling off on a warm summer day.

 

Abad Dom Bueno Mencía 2008

Abad Dom Bueno Mencía 2008

Beirzo, Spain
$15.95  Vintages 291989  13.5% alcohol

What a bargain! Sips of this red wine will easily turn into glasses – and then perhaps even bottles – for a gloriously good time.

This Spanish wine is made from old Mencia grapevines in Bierzo (north west Spain). The aromas are pronounced with developing notes of ripe raspberries, black currants, cigar box, vanilla bean and earthy notes. The palate is dry with chewy tannins tamed by a complementary mouthwatering acidity, and layers of flavours, including cooked berry fruit, vanilla, cedar, and tobacco. Enjoy this robust Spanish red wine with grilled beef.

Caiarossa Pergolaia 2009

Toscana, Italy IGT
$31.95  Vintages 460098  14% alcohol

This is one for keeps. Meaning that it’s good to cellar for a special evening with family or friends. Or perhaps save until this winter. Heads up, like all wines in Vintages, get this wine while you can, because when it is gone from the shelves, it will not be available again.

This Italian red wine is a blend dominated by the iconic Tuscan grape – Sangiovese – and some Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is rich and robust yet fine and elegant. Key notes include red berries, black plum, sweet spice and smoke. It has terrific structure, balance, body and enticing length on the palate. Tannins are still young and chewy so decant 1-2 hours prior to serving. If you wish to cellar a couple of these bottes, it can sit for another 5-7 years. Enjoy with a prime rib roast.

 

And the tab comes to a…
Grand Total of $99.00!

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

This weekend at the LCBO features “Great Values for Summer” on the store shelves at Vintages and a real cool event that takes place in Niagara called “i4C” – the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration.  Years ago my husband and I attended this festival, set on the hills of lovely Tawse Winery in along the Beamsville Bench (aka Niagara Escarpment).vintages magazine cover

Winemakers & Sommeliers from around the world transcended to Niagara to sip & savour Chardonnay all weekend.  Events of all kinds shone the spotlight on this featured grape.  At one event, Canadian singer songwriter Murray McLaughlin played live as the icing on the cake to make this annual event memorable for me.

Join me to fill your shopping cart with bottles of Chardonnay to celebrate i4C along with “Great Values for Summer” that await your discovery at Vintages.

Heres to the dog days of summer…I wish they could last forever.

Cheers & enjoy,

Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday July 9, 2016

 

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2014

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$ 19.95 (Vintages #378489) 14 % alcohol

Straight from the Okanagan Valley, this dry, smooth Chardonnay has no shortage of tropical fruit plus the green apple taste offers perfect acidity. Medium-bodied and fresh there’s a bit of toasty oak and vanilla. It is an elegant Chardonnay with luscious brioche and a hint of coconut at the end. Grilled salmon with new potatoes, buttery and parsley.

                                             

Casa Del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2015

DO Casablanca Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #974717) 14% alcohol

Very pale in colour but not in taste, this Sauvignon Blanc is very clean and refreshing. Talk about a palate cleanser.

There’s lots of citrus, especially white grapefruit flavours with a pithy aftertaste that sends you back for more…and more…and more!   Light-bodied that makes it perfect for a picnic.  At this price, it is a great value wine to have in your fridge until Labour Day, or heck, buy more and keep on drinking it until Christmas!

 

 Timulqui Single Vineyard Torrentes 2015Timulqui Single Vineyard Torrentes 2015

La Rioja, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages #450486) 14.5 % alcohol

Torrentes is such an interesting grape varietal. When I serve a Torrentes everyone always asks what kind of wine is this since it is so different from our  usual varietals like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. It is produced only in Argentina and has an incomparable flavor.  The Torrentes grape originated in Mendoza apparently under the leadership of Jesuits. Pale golden in colour with floral, geranium aromas, lots of  orange and passion fruit on the palate with a touch of oregano or white pepper at the end. It’s interesting, fresh and another fantastic value.

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2012

Waterkloof Circle of Life 2012

WO Stellenbosch, South Africa
$19.95 (Vintages #284588) 13.5% alcohol

Although Circle of Life reminds me of a Disney movie, the winery has certainly taken it’s title seriously embracing a sense of origin with the bio-dynamic vineyards.

I found this wine unusual in taste. I’m not sure whether it was the forest, almost tree-like aromas or that there was so much going on with its Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc (also known as Steen in South Africa) blend. Some tropical fruit, yellow apple and lime mingles with a pinch of honey on the aftertaste making this medium bodied blend very smooth and satisfying. I liked it immediately and can’t wait to pick up a bottle to enjoy with seafood.

 

Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2015Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2015

Uco Valley, Mendoza
Bodegas y Videos La Esperanza
$15.95 (Vintages #65664) 14.1% alcohol

In February my husband and I traveled to Buenos Aires and ever since there’s always lots of Malbec in our wine cupboard. It’s dark, inky purple almost opaque in colour (it’s going to look fabulous in my big bowl wine glasses!) and exhibits layers of spice, tobacco, blackberry and a little cassis. It packs serious punch. It’s smooth, lingering with persistent length and depth. It’s another fabulous value wine.  Bring on anything grilled.

 

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2010

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2010

DOC Gioia del Colle, Puglia
$14.95 (Vintages #724674) 13.5% alcohol

I learned in the LCBO release report that the Latin word, “Primitivo” translates to first to ripen. Just when I thought Primitivo grape made great medium to big red wines that are perfect ‘spaghetti wine’ (you know…perfect with a bowl of spaghetti!) Vibrant dark plums, ripe red berry and violet aromas, lead you to a delicious, medium-bodied palate of ripe black cherries, fleshy raspberry, some ground pepper and noticeable tannins. The fruit is ripe and remains start to finish.

 

Grand Total: $99.75  – how is that for being on budget! 

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Canada Day is just around the corner and what better excuse to stock up. I just returned from working abroad and when I went to my local LCBO to indulge in a few delights, I was astounded at the selection and choices: from reds to whites to fruity spirits and rosés, the sky really is the limit.

Vintages june 25thI was also reading in an LCBO publication that Ontario VQA whites account for more than 30 per cent of total summer sales. I’m so glad that many of us are enjoying our Canadian whites and my focus in this release is mostly Canadian.

If you are firing up the barbecue on Canada Day don’t forget the great selection of beers that most LCBO stores now offer; lighter, fruitier beers and ciders. And, if you happen to be exploring Ontario, make sure to stop at the small town breweries that showcase local artisan beers not to be found elsewhere. I also know of a great local company that delivers different craft beers every month 😉 How cool is that?

Have a Happy Canada Day and remember there’s no place like home.
Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday June 25, 2016

 

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$ 17.95 (Vintages # 302059) 13.5% alcohol


Cave Spring did it for us – talk about bottling aromas. I can see this beautiful winery nestled along the main street in Jordan and can hardly wait to visit in July. Deliciously aromatic does not begin to describe this nectar. Intense white blossoms mingle with rosewater. Soft gentle tastes of lychee and tree fruit, smooth as silk on the palate and very easy to drink. It’s a gentle, pretty wine with lots of intermingling fruit flavours. Guaranteed there is no one who would not like this wine. I would chill it well and bring it out one summer afternoon or to enjoy with some sushi for an easy summer lunch or dinner. Perhaps not descriptive but it’s really nice.

 

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014

VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara Peninsula
$23.95 (Vintages 183491) 10.5% alcohol

 Make sure you pick up more than one bottle since once this is on the shelves, it will go fast. Loads of minerality, stone and flint dash the palate creating a zesty earthy taste. Grapefruit, lemon-lime and green apple flavours coat the palate with lively acidity. It is refreshing and a great example of a Niagara Riesling. Deliciously clean and fresh, well-balanced and one lovely wine. With lighter summer fare or just on its own.

 

 

Domaine De La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2014Domaine De La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2014

IGP, d’Oc, Midi, France
$16.95 (Vintages #438796) 14.6% alcohol

 For those of us who love to sniff and swirl, this is another aromatic floral power bomb. Lots of ripe fruit swirl on the palate, some lemon and tangerine create a soft interplay of tastes with a noticeable seam of acidity, smooth and plain delicious. It’s elegant and rich but maintains it’s freshness on the long juicy finish. Sends you back for one more sip and another easy quaffing afternoon or evening wine. Would be a great partner for seafood or summer salads and roast chicken.

 

Kacaba Cabernet:Syrah 2013

Kacaba Cabernet/Syrah 2013

VQA Niagara Escarpment
$18.95 (Vintages #317925) 13.1% alcohol

So much personality, violet aromas, layers of blackberries, complex ripe black cherries, framed in ripe velvety tannins, that just about sums it up. I have always been a big fan of Kacaba wines, they are consistently structured and well made. Years ago I met winemaker, John Tummon and recall him telling me the story about Air Canada losing some grapes he’d sourced from a California vineyard. They were eventually found – whew. This Cab/Syrah would be great for (Canada Day) barbecued burgers or steak or any grilled meat. With a 55% Cabernet and 45 % Syrah blend, there’s loads of currants and berry flavours, black pepper all wrapped up with a rustic, lingering finish. I intend to pick up a couple of bottles to keep for hearty winter fare.

 

The foreign affair AmaroseForeign Affairs Amarosé

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #388702) 12.4%

 Definitely not your ordinary Rosé, this has to be the most delicious I have tasted and that covers a lot of territory. It is made in the Amarone style undergoing the appassimento or dried grape method. In short, the grapes are dried losing their natural water but this results in super concentrated berry flavours. The juice from the 57% Pinot Noir, 22% Riesling and 21% Chardonnay create enticing aromas that are reminiscent of stepping into a field of over ripe strawberries begging to be picked. Luscious raspberries and cherries also play on the palate with a slightly tangerine finish. It is smooth, loaded with flavour and slightly off dry. The ripe berry flavours in this rosé are dazzling and impressive. From start to finish, it is generous rosé.

Grand Total – $96.75

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 13th, 2016

In the 2016 merry month of May, LCBO Vintages brings back all kinds of “Customer Favourites”. In the May 14 release, there’s a varied collection of wines from around the world that you will just LOVE!

LCBO Vintages Magazine May 14These are tried & true bestsellers that come with our Vintages customers’ seal of approval.  There are also some great new picks from New Zealand to help us give summer a push.  Believe me when I say…this is the time to go looking for new favorite wines.

I found a little trivia on the month when I was scouting on the internet. Things I did not know is that 1) May was named after the Greek goddess Maia, of fertility and 2) in any given year, no month ever begins or ends on the same day of the week as May does. How’s that for (useless) information.

But it’s a beautiful month and everything with legs is out there walking, running, cycling etc…and speaking of legs, there are some great wine picks here and some even have legs!

Cheers,
Julie

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

Saturday May , 2016

 

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island
$24.95 (Vintages #677450) 13.5% alcohol

Year after year “Dog Point” produces first class Sauvignon Blanc’s.  Pungent aromas of lemon, lime, a little ginger that follows through on the palate. It’s light to medium weight delivering great fruit flavour. There’s some grapefruit on the aftertaste that pulls it all together with a tangy white peppery finish. Clean and fresh, it never disappoints. It’s one great sipper.

 

Fielding Rosé 2015Fielding Estate Rosé 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #53421) 12.3% alcohol 

For those of you who follow my column, you know I am a big fan of Fielding wines and this rosé is the best ever.  And so pretty in PINK, a lighter colour than other years; I really do prefer the lighter coloured rosés, they just seem to have more “class”. There’s a hint of sweetness in the off dry candy floss taste but it’s very smooth and edgey with enough acidity to make it interesting while delivering culprits of tart rhubarb and ripe strawberries.  It is a lovely rosé. I hope winemaker Richie Roberts made enough to last the summer.  There’s a case of this on my list.

 

Conundrum Red 2013Conundrum Red 2013

25th anniversary edition, California
$24.95 (Vintages #294298) 14.2% alcohol

A fabulously deep ruby red and the label on this bottle tells that the Wagner family has gone all out to celebrate. There is outstanding intensity to this big robust red. Rich ripe dark berries that are generous in flavours make it extremely palatable. Soft tannins offer good balance and a delicate mix of spice at the end make this year’s Conundrum special indeed.  With the usual food groups that demand a red wine, this is superb.

 

Zolo Reserve Malbec 2013Zolo Reserve Malbec 2013

Mendoza Fincas Patagonica, Argentina
$18.95 (Vintages# 81091) 14% alcohol 

Aged 14 months in American and French oak barrels makes this Malbec even more delicious than other years. Ripe nose of violets, blueberries and black currants, it’s dark and inky in colour.

The palate is full-bodied with fine-grained tannins , a touch of mint on the finish; it’s just begging for some rare grilled steak.

 

Ardal Crianza 2010Ardal Crianza 2010

DO Ribera del Duero
Bodegas Balbás, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #167601) 14% alcohol

A winemaker can hardly go wrong with a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, certainly two of my favourite varietals. Intense dried black fruit notes, full bodied and nicely polished. There is good volume and it just flows on the palate with tannins building into a spicy bramble, peppery aftertaste.  One great choice for spicy burgers.

 

Grand Total = $101.75    

(oops, I changed coats so I am looking in my pockets for spare change)

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Pop into your closest LCBO Vintages for the release on Saturday April 30 – just in time for Mother’s Day! you’ll find Pacific Northwest Wines, Aussie whites and interesting coloured  Rosés. There is something for every mum!

LCBO Vintages magazine April 30I haven’t made the wine trek to Oregon but whenever wines appear from the Willamette and Columbia Valleys. they are always exciting and the price points are not as staggering as their nearby neighbours.

And thinking of Mum’s, this release features sparkling wines from both France and Italy plus some ice cider from Quebec that won  the Félibre Givré Gold Medal at the 2015 All Canadian Wine Championships. Any of these is bound to make Mum smile on her special day. I’m counting on a sunny May 8 to accompany and share my “delights”.

All Mum’s are special,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday 30, 2016

 

Cloudline Pinot Gris 2014Cloudline Pinot Gris 2014

Willamette Valley, U.S.A.
$21.95 (Vintages #159988) 13.5% alcohol 

Aromas of spring flowers, very pale but shimmery in the glassy with citrusy clean flavours on the palate and a tangy white peppery finish. Bone dry with crisp acidity, lends itself to everything from an aperitif to lighter food fare, salads and seafood pasta. Trust me, there’s no one who would not like this wine.

 

Joel Gott Riesling 2012Joel Gott Riesling 2012

Columbia Valley, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #443143) 12.9% alcohol 

Be sure to serve this in a stem glass since it is almost watery green in colour, but don’t let that be a detriment. It’s a playful and seductive Riesling, lots of of lemon-lime fruits, medium bodied with green apples dancing on the aftertastes. It’s clean, fresh, and vibrant and a fantastic choice for an afternoon sip, maybe a few shrimps on the side or pan-seared scallops— pure yum.

 

Yalumba Organic ViognierYalumba Organic Viognier 2015

South Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #288217) 14.5% alcohol 

Floral and peach pie aromas with tastes of baked pear crisp and something almost vanilla-like on the palate. It’s rich and creamy but dry with concentrated fruit flavours and a little lanolin on the aftertaste. Concentrated and full, a great match for curry or fish or just on its own. 

 

 

Gassier RoseGassier Sables D’Azur Rosé

AP Côtes de Provence, France
$15.95 (Vintages #33621) 12.5% alcohol 

Anyone who designs such a beautiful bottle, something akin to Marilyn Munroe’s figure, must have placed something delicious inside. Soft peachy pink in colour, this nectar is downright dreamy with alluring scents of summer flowers. Tangy strawberry rhubarb flavours with some orange blossom and flinty aftertastes. It’s has some minerality on the palate which lends to a very fresh stainless steel taste but remains bone-dry, soft and packed with flavour.  One delicious rosé to match with everything from a picnic lunch to charcuterie.

 

Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec 2012Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec 2012

Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
Fincas de Agrelo, Argentina
$17.00 (Vintages # 234492) 14.5% alcohol

Having just returned from Argentina where I enjoyed many Malbecs, I look forward to picking this one up at such a great price point. It has all the bookmarks of a great Malbec: dark inky in colour, aromas of violets and chocolate, some woodsiness and pure red fruits abound on the palate. Intense berries, ripe and refined tannins, lovely depth with lasting flavour.  Begging for lamb chops or grilled rare meat, I can’t wait.

 

Grand Total – $ 92.80

 

 

 

 

Neat Easter Treats

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Ahhh, it’s the lonnnnnng weekend. Time to chill out, relax with family & friends.  Here are the top picks of ‘neat Easter treats’ of wine & craft beer from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew – all locally made & available at the LCBO.   Use this as your shopping list so you can spend less time figuring out what to buy & more time enjoying the weekend.

I’ll drink to that!

 

Savvy Sommelier Top Picks
for Easter long weekend


MacKinnon Brothers Brewery Crosscut Canadian Ale

Bath, Ontario
$2.85 per can (LCBO #414870)

MacKinnon Brothers Brewery - CrosscutThis 5.2% Alcohol by volume (ABV), 15 International Bitterness Units (IBU) Golden Ale is the MacKinnon Brothers’ rendition of a traditional Canadian ale. They use Herkules and Sassasprat hops and add a portion of wheat from their farm to the grain bill. This beer starts with a sweet malt smell and an upfront cereal flavour and subtle honey flavour. The hops kick in mid-sip with a subtle herbal note before being washed away in a wave of carbonated crispness. This may have been designed to be an easy drinking, sessionable beer, but there’s a wonderful layered flavour that will make you pause after each sip. With a strong malt bill and palate cleansing scrubbing bubbles (a good carbonation level), Crosscut can sit alongside spicy chili, roast duck, BBQ ribs, sticky chicken or braised beef.

 

Barley Days Loyalist LagerBarley Day’s Loyalist Lager

Prince Edward County, Ontario
$2.00 per bottle (LCBO#286526)

Brewed in the Czech Pilsner style with Saaz hops, this 4.5% ABV beer is easy to drink no matter who your allegiance is to. Starts slightly sweet with some caramel, grain and cereal notes, but with a slight earthy/spice hop flavour. There’s a nice balance between the hops and malt which makes this light bodied lager crisp and easy to drink. Serve alongside roast of ham, chicken, seafood….or lots of appetizers!

Beau’s Le Coeur Noir Black IPA

VanKleek Hill, Ontario
$7.95 (LCBO #442533)

beaus coeur noirThis beer is the 11th in Beau’s Pro-Am Series which features beers that are designed by amateur brewers, and brewed at Beau’s. Le Coeur Noir Black IPA was brewed in collaboration with the winner of the 2013 Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Contest, Jordan Rainhard. This 7.1% abv beer is one of Beau’s cutting styles, an American Black IPA.  It pours with an opaque brown hue and shows pronounced notes of black molasses, spruce tips, cacao nibs, roasted malt and touch of grapefruit rind.  The mouthfeel is rich and full bodied with a long grapefruit pith finish.  Christening the BBQ this weekend? Enjoy this beer with a burger – beef, bison, elk – with a slice of blue cheese on top.  Blue cheese is an incredible example of pairing an assertive style of beer with an assertive style of food. (If you are a subscriber of our Savvy Cool Curds cheese-o-month-club, some of the Back Forty Highland Blue treat we sent this month will be PERFECT! the trick!)

 

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2012

Domaine Félibre Givré Ginger Ice Cider

Québec
$19.95 (Vintages #393611) 6.5% alcohol

This was a flyer and I really liked it! A Gold Medal winner at the 2015 Berlin International Wine Competition soothes with its fresh ginger, honey & ice cider combination. Not too powerful in flavour nor too sweet either. This ice cider is refreshing and flavourful. WOW your guests with it as an on arrival drink, after or after a meal. Chill & serve it straight up, over ice or mixed with sparkling wine.

 

 

Fielding Gewürztraminer VQA 2013Fielding Gewürztraminer 2012

Niagara, ON
$18.95 (Vintages #146753)  12.5% alcohol

Everything Fielding’s winemaker Richie Roberts makes seems to turn to gold. This yummy Gewürztraminer will get your heart racing with its spring-like aromas and flavours. Floral aromas combined with candied ginger and tropical fruit tastes (think mangos, kiwi) make this a well balanced and delicious medium bodied white wine. Chill and sip while you make dinner or serve with something spicy like Phad Thai, Indian curry or Mexican dish.

 

Creekside Estate Queenstown Road Pinot Noir VQA 2014Creekside Estate Queenston Road Pinot Noir 2014

VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #415877) 12.5% alcohol

Great things grow along that Queenstown Road, even if the vineyards are situated some 105 metres above sea level. Cherry and cranberry aromas and tastes, smooth as silk on the palate, medium bodied weight and tannins with some beloved St. David Bench earthiness and minerality on the spine of this red wine. For Pinot lovers, don’t miss out.

 

Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2013Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir VQA 2013

VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #444745) 13.3% alcohol

In 2012 and 2013 Peller Estates vintages won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The 2012 also won a Gold Medal from Wine Align’s National Wine Awards of Canada 2014, Silver Medal from the International Wine & Spirit Competition UK 2014, and Silver Medal from the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014. How’s that for credentials?

 

Lakeview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013Lakeview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$29.95 (Vintages #53397) 11% alcohol

How sweet it is! Like bubbles, nothing makes an evening or occasion more festive than having a finale with ice wine. Aromas of red roses, tastes of ripe red and black currants, strawberries at their peak, with just enough acidity to keep you going back. Elegant and refined and plain delicious, it’s desert on its own but with some strong stinky cheese it would be over the top.

 

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Easter is on its way! For me that marks that spring is around the corner. It is interesting to see some of the wines shifting in style while the seasons begin the change. I had the opportunity to sample a number of the wines in this spring-will-soon-be-here release of Vintages and found some neat Easter eggs to share with you.

Celebrate spring by popping the corks. There is a larger than usual selection of sparkling wines along with a feature of wines from Israel that stirs up great memories when I visited the wine regions there a couple of years ago while on a media tour. If you haven’t yet tried some from this region, there are definitely some good red wines worth the money -Recanti David Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($35.95). Tada! Just like that you will have explored a new wine country.

Italian Barolo, Barbera Brunellos and Chiantis are plentiful too. Many ready now and others to tuck away in the depths of your cellar.

With only $100 to spend, it is a hard task to pick a handful of good value wines that won’t break the bank – there are many to choose from in this release. Here’s my shopping list to take with you when you head into your local LCBO store. Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Debbie

 

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

Saturday March 19, 2016

 

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2012Domaine Félibre Givré Ginger Ice Cider

Québec
$19.95 (Vintages #393611) 6.5% alcohol

This was a flyer and I really liked it! A Gold Medal winner at the 2015 Berlin International Wine Competition soothes with its fresh ginger, honey & ice cider combination. Not too powerful in flavour nor too sweet either. This ice cider is refreshing and flavourful. WOW your guests with it as an on arrival drink, after or after a meal. Chill & serve it straight up, over ice or mixed with sparkling wine.

 

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2012

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2013

Stellenbosch, South Africa
$15.95 (Vintages #739995) 13.5% alcohol

A lot going on in this white wine! Amazing value for a well made wine with smokey notes combined with apple, pears that round out in your mouth with each sip. This wine makes me want to create a pasta with cream sauce loaded with bacon bits or seafood.

 

 

Primus The Blend 2012Primus the Blend 2013

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #712463) 14.5% alcohol

What a blend! 35% Carmenere, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot to finish it off.The result of this recipe? A deep coloured wine with aromas and tastes of black cherry, over ripe blackberry, dark chocolate and a peppery finish. My notes say – Smooth. Smooth. Smooth. Fire up the BBQ & get a steak, burgers or spicy sausages on the grill to enjoy with this big bold red wine.

 

Le Gravillas Côtes du Rhône-Villages Séguret 2011Le Gravillas Cotes du Rhone-Villages Seguret

Cotes du Rhone, France
$15.95 (Vintages #309260) 14.% alcohol

I was lured to the name on this one as I visited the town of Seguret when backpacking through France during my 20’s. I could almost spot the hostel in the etching on the wine label. This is a beautiful Rhone blend has impressive red fruit aromas and flavours with grippy tannins that would mellow if cellared for two to five years. Impressive and well blended, this wine needs food and would be delicious if you were planning to serve roast lamb for Easter. For nostalgia as well as quality, at this price, I will buy a case – they are giving this red wine away!

 

Frascole Chianti Rufina 2011Frascole Chianti Rufina 2012

Tuscany, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #85167) XX alcohol

An Italian classic. A medium bodied red wine delivering intense red fruit flavours (think strawberry, plums and currants) laced with dried herbs and white pepper. Solid tannins begging to be enjoyed with food – spaghetti and meatballs no less! A classic Italian wine for a classic Italian dish. Mama Mia!

 

 

Grand Total: $89.75

Pretty good for 4 bottles of wine and a neat treat!

 

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 4th, 2016

February was a long month with Leap Year. Now March is loaded with holidays. March Break, St Patrick’s Day and Easter are reasons to pop corks! This week’s release at Vintages is loaded with interesting wines, Irish Whiskies & sparkling wines for exactly that occasion.

LCBO Magazine March 5I must confess that I am learning to enjoy whisky as opposed to a whisky lover! The Knappogue Castle 16 year old Irish Single Malt tempted me to try a wee dram. Glad that I did! The sherry finish made this a smooth sip.

And while you are there, you may be wondering why the store shelves will be overflowing with goodies from California. It is to whet your taste buds & prep you for the arrival of California winemakers when they tour across Canada on their annual roadshow stopping in at Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver and Calgary. Click here to see when they land near you. If you happen to know you are getting a tax refund, consider splurging on a bottle of – Kistler McCrea Vineyards Chardonnay – was delicious, but I won’t be including it on this shopping list as it would break my budget (its $120.95…a bottle!). The Treana White is always a treat with its 50-50 blend of Viognier and Marsanne at $29.95.

Take this shopping list and head on into your local LCBO store to pick up these gems – I recommend it!

Cheers,
Debbie

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

Saturday March 5, 2016

 

Vietti Moscato d’Asti 2014

Piedmont, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #441253) 5% alcohol

A sure fire sign of spring is when Moscato d’Asti wines start filling the shelves. Delicious bubbly equally balanced with spring flower aromas (think daffodils & hyacinths) with fruit salad taste of juicy peach, pineapple and melon. A perfect sparkling wine to serve for brunch as it is low in alcohol, or pop it open for an aperitif or to finish a meal instead of a dessert.

 

Fielding Gewürztraminer 2012Fielding Gewürztraminer VQA 2013

Niagara, ON
$18.95 (Vintages #146753)  12.5% alcohol

Everything Fielding’s winemaker Richie Roberts makes seems to turn to gold. This yummy Gewürztraminer will get your heart racing with its spring-like aromas and flavours. Floral aromas combined with candied ginger and tropical fruit tastes (think mangos, kiwi) make this a well balanced and delicious medium bodied white wine. Chill and sip while you make dinner or serve with something spicy like Phad Thai, Indian curry or Mexican dish.

 

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2014Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Malborough, New Zealand
$19.95 (Vintages #974527) 13% alcohol

This is the first wine from the 2015 vintage that I have had…and WOW! A stunning Sauvignon Blanc with loads of lemon-lime tastes with a touch of cut green grass (a typical characteristic of Sauv Blanc). Smooth, round feeling in the mouth – a classy wine. It is not surprising that Villa Maria is one of New Zealand’s most awarded winery. Serve this white wine with roasted chicken, steamed mussels or save a bottle for when fiddleheads & asparagus are in season.

 

Barón de Ley Reserva 2010Baron de Ley Reserva 2010

Rioja, Spain
$21.95 (Vintages #958868) xx alcohol

I often find gems in the Spanish red wine section. This one is featured as Vintages “Wine of the Month” & there is a good reason for that. Everything about this wine is black – the dark inky colour, dark fruit notes & tastes and rich warm spices. Well balanced with complex with ever changing aromas & tastes, makes this a great wine to enjoy now (it is already been aged 5 years) or put down for a few more years. Another great red wine to serve now with Tortiere, roast beef, cheese & charcuterie board or hold onto till you christen your BBQ this spring.

 

Château Mamin

Graves, France
$21.95 (Vintages #444281) 13% alcohol

Start the car! This is one of the best French wines that I have had in awhile. Red fruit, tobacco & cigar waft from the glass then follows through the taste with a warm fireside heat. I was blown away when I found out the price tag. Tastes double the price. I will definitely be buying a case. Enjoy with cheese, lamb, hearty stew or pull out over the spring & summer when you fire up the BBQ.

 

Grand Total: $102.75

Ooops! I am over budget a wee bit…but it is totally worth it!

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 19th, 2016

The Red Carpet Ontario Awards and Australia are featured in this LCBO Vintages release. Just like the Academy Awards, I look forward to the Red Carpet Ontario awards since I’m cheering for all my favourite wineries and winemakers to win, many which I have visited over the years and it’s just too exciting.

LCBO Magazine Feb 20As for the Australian features, I don’t know anyone who does not enjoy a big fruity Shiraz. There were too many to fit in my basket but I thought I’d take advantage of all these reds since by mid-winter I’ve perfected the hearty stews and they are going to have great accompaniments.

I’m picking up a few of everything to help me stay warm at the end of winter, ahem.

Cheers,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday
February 20, 2016

 

Creekside Estate Queenston Road Pinot Noir 2014Creekside Estate Queenstown Road Pinot Noir 2014

VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #415877) 12.5% alcohol

Great things grow along that Queenstown Road, even if the vineyards are situated some 105 metres above sea level. Cherry and cranberry aromas and tastes, smooth as silk on the palate, medium bodied weight and tannins with some beloved St. David Bench earthiness and minerality on the spine of this red wine. For Pinot lovers, don’t miss out.

 

Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2013Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2013

VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #444745) 13.3% alcohol

In 2012 and 2013 Peller Estates vintages won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The 2012 also won a Gold Medal from Wine Align’s National Wine Awards of Canada 2014, Silver Medal from the International Wine & Spirit Competition UK 2014, and Silver Medal from the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014. How’s that for credentials?

I did not have the opportunity to taste this red wine but tasting notes highlight cherry and red fruit flavours, some vegetal and earthy notes on the finish, light to medium bodied and would work with any number of dishes including salmon. Serve it slightly chilled so the fresh tastes are even more lasting. I can’t wait!

 

Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #143206) 14.5% alcohol

Rich alluring aromas of cassis and vanilla waft through the glass and big ripe juicy red and black fruits dance on the palate. Last year this red wine flew off the shelves and I don’t expect this year to be any different, so if you like Cab. Sauv.’s from Argentina, stock up.

Fruity but bone dry with a little smokiness at the end of the long finish. Richly textured with great depth and fine tannins. A knock out for the price-tag so you can spend extra on the prime rib or crown roast of pork from your favourite butcher.

 

Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Nagamble Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia
$22.95 (Vintages #138818) 13.5% alcohol

Alluring, concentrated aromas of rich blackberry and black currant fruit. There’s savoury notes on the palate with a little chewy texture, well integrated tannins and it slips down very smooth. There’s some woodsmoke at the end of a long flavourful finish. It’s a lovely Cab. Sauv, and ready to take on any strong spicy meats, cheeses or charcuterie.

 

Heartland Shiraz 2013Heartland Shiraz 2013

Langhorne Creek, South Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #661934) 14.4% alcohol

Boasting big dark intense fruit flavours in aromas and tastes, this Shiraz is a beauty. Opaque, dark purple almost inky in colour, it exudes richness and depth. Full-bodied red wine with a little pepper dancing in the layered dark fruit flavours, there’s some bitter dark chocolate and a tinge of menthol on the long fruity finish. Bring on the rack of lamb and mint jelly.

 

Grand Total – $97.95  

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 5th, 2016

The LCBO Vintages release of February 6 is celebrating Valentine’s, southern France and South Africa; talk about something for everyone.

LCBO Magazine Feb 6February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and there are all kinds of legends about who St. Valentine’s was and what he did but suffice to say that he remained a VERY popular saint throughout the centuries. Valentine’s greetings go as far back as the Middle Ages and there is an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards sent each year.

But a card and a bottle of wine from the Vintages release – now that’s a Valentine.

I hope you find your name on both.
Cheers, Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday February 6, 2016

 

Lustau Escuadrilla Rare Amontillado SherryLustau Escadrille Rare Amontillado Sherry

DO, Spain
$19.95 (Vintages #660324) 18.5% alcohol

Sherry is such a refined and civilized drink. On the rocks or straight up this golden coloured nectar delivers rich tastes of brown sugar, roasted almonds, orange rind, sweet spices and dates. It’s just slightly off dry, rich, creamy and warm-bodied. Makes for a lovely afternoon drink with a good book, fireplace and some warmed nuts.

 

Pierre Sparr Brut Rosé Crémant d'AlsacePierre Sparr Crémant D’Alsace

Méthode Traditionnelle, AC France
$18.95 (Vintages #39016) 12.5% alcohol

Just in time for Valentine’s, what a beautiful beginning this would be to the evening. Pale rhubarb in colour this 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine is just bursting with tangerine and ripe cherry flavours. It’s creamy and delightfully mousse, don’t pour to much or it will overflow, it’s one easy sipper with a great balance of fruit flavours and acidity. Talk about pretty in pink.

 

Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet 2014Beauvignac Picpoul De Pinet 2014

AP, Les Costières de Pomérols, Southern France
$14.95 (Vintages #350124) 12.5% alcohol

AP is the serial number the wine received during official testing and it obviously passed a few tests since it was the recipient of the Gold Medal at the 2015 Concours des Grands Vins du Languedoc-Roussillon. I love this white wine. It’s pale in colour but not in taste, loads of ripe pears, light to medium bodied, fresh and crisp, bone dry almost with a little effervescence on the finish. Zippy seam of a acidity gives it a well-balanced proportion and would pair with any lighter fare or just on its own.

Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2013Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2013

WO Western Cape, South Africa KWV
$16.95 (Vintages #99267) 14%alcohol

Cathedral Cellar wines just never disappoint whether its their Chardonnay, Petit Verdot or Shiraz and this once a year Pinotage is right up there.  Pinotage is to South Africa what Malbec is to Argentina. It was officially bred in 1925 and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cineast varietals. I find Pinotage can sometimes be brambley and rough, not this one. Loads of blackberries, mulberries, currants, a little mocha and very smooth. There’s some woodsy-ness on the finish, having spent some time in oak and it’s just plain good. A crowd-pleaser for sure and with some ribs or grilled meat, this red wine would be dynamite. 

Lakeview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013Lakeview Cabernet Franc Ice wine 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$29.95 (Vintages #53397) 11% alcohol

How sweet it is! Like bubbles, nothing makes an evening or occasion more festive than having a finale with ice wine. Aromas of red roses, tastes of ripe red and black currants, strawberries at their peak, with just enough acidity to keep you going back. Elegant and refined and plain delicious, it’s desert on its own but with some strong stinky cheese it would be over the top.

 

GRAND TOTAL – $ 100.75