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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 Julie

Friday, September 16th, 2016

I was pretty excited to see the feature at the LCBO Vintages be shining the spotlight on Ontario wines. I am a firm believer that we never have to look further than our own backyard for great vintages.

sept-17-vintages-catalogueWe have wineries in the Niagara Escarpment, Prince Edward County, Lake Huron, Pelee Island and Georgian Bay, just to name a few.  This past summer, my husband I toured around the Twenty Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake regions visiting several wineries and the enticement of uncorking new wines that we could not purchase locally just overcame us. We stocked up!  If you have not had a trip to wine country this summer, here is the opportunity to go wild at Vintages and pick up some gems.

The 2016 grape harvest is underway! Ontario winemakers have finished picking grapes for sparkling wine and are now busily harvesting white wine grapes.  By all reports from wineries, the crops are looking good!  Pick up some Ontario wines to celebrate our beautiful province and let’s toast the winemakers that make it all happen.

Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 17, 2016

13th-street-winery

13th Street White Palette 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #207340) 12.5% alcohol 

A fabulous & unique blend of 53% Riesling, 18% Chardonnay, 17% Gewurztraminer, 9% Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of 3% Pinot Gris. The grapes were hand harvested from a variety of vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula, with the vast majority from the 13th  Street Estate vineyards. All varieties were fermented separately in stainless steel then blended in the final stage.

Aromas of orchard wildflowers at their peak housed in a soft golden colour. There’s gentle honeysuckle and lemon aromas on the palate with tree fruit; apricots and yellow apples mixed with some buttery almonds on the finish. Delicious and flavourful. My husband and I enjoyed this white wine with some grilled chicken and Caesar salad and it was over the top perfect!

 

Flat Rock Riesling 2014flat-rock-riesling

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages # 43281)  11%  alcohol

White blossoms and ripe tree fruit capture the senses.  Slightly off-dry with lots of fruity flavours, ripe peaches and apples. This medium-bodied white wine has a delectable seam of acidity that sends you back for another sip. It’s smooth and elegant.

Lovely on it’s own or with lighter fare of fish tacos, salads or a bowl of steamed mussels.

 

 

rapscallion-wine-companySmoke & Gamble Cabernet/Merlot 2012

VQA Ontario  (Rapscallion Wine Company)
$19.95 (Vintages #332825) 13% alcohol 

Located in Port Dover in the county of Norfolk, this winery is new for me and does not disappoint. On the bottle label it states 44% barrel aged and 56% stainless – meaning that this is a blend of wine that was both aged in barrels and tank resulting in a medium bodied red wine.

There is a subtle whiff of dusty aromas (that is a good thing for a wine that is 4 years old already!) with suggestions of roses and violets coupled with red and blackberries on the palate. There is a subtle sweetness of black plums with freshly ground green and black pepper on the long finish. It is slightly tart with firm tannins but then moved into a fabulously smooth and tantalizing red wine blend.  Would definitely marry a hearty autumn stew or thick-with-meat chili.

 

westcott-temperance-redWestcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2014

VQA Vinemount Ridge Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages # 469189) 13.4% alcohol

Bravo to these young retired folks, who bought a 200 year-old timber frame barn, restored it to build a winery around the original structure.  And on top of all that, they planted 26 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Talk about a leap of faith. This relatively new winery located in Jordan, Ontario, is right in the heart of the Twenty Valley region, where the soil is the creme de la creme for growing grapes.

This interesting Cabernet Franc & Pinot Noir red wine blend is loaded with red berries – cherry and raspberry flavours jump from this light bodied pale red nectar. It shows more like a light bodied Pinot Noir with layers of personality. Pair it with pork or roast poultry encrusted with lots of herbs.

 

pondview-icewinePondview Vidal Icewine 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #390351) 11% alcohol

It has been a while since I included an icewine in my list.  This one is a great price!

By definition, icewines can only be made from grapes that have naturally frozen on the vine and picked when the thermometer dips to -8°C or lower. While the grape harvest yield is particularly low, (hence the high expense), icewine offers a mouthfeel and sweet deliciousness that is worth every penny. With a under $20 price tag on this icewine, our friends at Pondview are giving it away.

This dessert wine has aromas and flavours of sweet baked yellow apple, pear and marmalade, citrus notes at the end of this long divine finish. Dinner becomes memorable when you end with such panache.

 

Grand Total – $92.75

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

The dreaded Back-to-School frenzy. Although my school days are long gone, at this time of year, I get caught up in thoughts of buying gym socks, pads of paper and pencil cases, rather wine.

But good on LCBO and the Vintages buying team with this release with incredible buys of “Flagship ISD”, along with vintages septregional features on Burgundy, France and all of Chile.

Many of you may wonder what ISD stands for, it’s “In-Store Discoveries” and flagship of course refers to “the best or most important thing owned or produced” (Wikipedia’s definition). In other words, the most important example of a product. I think you get the drift.

Here are the wines I think will be top of the class. I plan to uncork them and reminisce about my university days while I can hear the frosh week festivities at the nearby university.

I hope you enjoy going back to school!

– Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 3, 2016

 

featherstoneFeatherstone Rosé

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #117861) 12.5% alcohol

Only a few weeks ago my husband and I visited the Featherstone Winery and came out loaded with purchases and a free wine tote. This rose wine was amongst our haul! Beautiful pale cranberry in colour that shimmers in the glass. Fresh and fruity on the palate with loads of strawberry and dry rhubarb flavours makes a wonderful summer wine. There’s some savory green pepper notes on the finish. Perfect for a picnic, salads or just on its own. Make summer long with this wine or save to serve at Thanksgiving.

 

signos

Signos De Origen La Vinilla Chardonnay/Viognier/Marsanne/Roussane 2015

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #63909) 14.5% alcohol

 The aromas in these four noble grape varietals are exhaustive. When the winemaker blends them together, there is lots of personality and they party well. The tropical fruit of Chardonnay, the peaches and blossom fruit of Viognier, the full bodiness of Marsanne and the creaminess of the Roussane. Delicious!

Flavours on the palate remind me of a big fresh fruit salad with everything from peaches, green and yellow apple with a little citrus on the finish. This wine gives something for everyone. Great on its own or would partner well with some grilled fish.

 

Cotnari Francu A Cotnari 2014

DOC Frâncua, Romania
$12.95 (Vintages # 445767) 11.5% alcohol

Although this white wine was not available at the time of tasting, I’m putting it in my shopping basket. At this low price point, I am prepared to take a chance. The Vintages panel tasting notes indicates that it is light and fruity which sounds to me like a great summer choice. Not to mention the Cotnari winery has taken part in international contests and been awarded well to the point that they have a “medals gallery”. The Cotnari Vineyards dates back to 1250 and the name “Cotnari” refers to the fortune of being an expert in shaping barrels. All sounds good to me…I’ll take the risk.

 

Casa Silva Cool Coast Pinot Noir 2013

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$17.95 (Vintages #464420) 14% alcohol

 Aromas of tree fruit and forest floor waft from my glass. No surprise for a Pinot Noir but this red wine is smooth and delicate. There’s also some crisp edginess to it with loads of wild raspberry and cherry flavours on the palate. While Pinot Noir is not a grape varietal I tend to seek out, mark my words, this one is exceptional. Light to medium bodied, easy to drink with a long fruit finish.

segure

Chateau de Segure Fitou 2013

Mont Tauch, Burgundy, France
$16.95 (Vintages #370254) 13.5% alcohol

 A deep elegant ruby red with whiffs of ripe red berry. Flavourful and bold with tantalizing dark-fruit richness. The tannins are soft ,the finish is pepppery and savoury – something that reminds me of fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary. This red wine calls for a hearty stew or a pork roast with all the trimmings. I’m stashing a few bottles away for when November rolls around.

 

wits endWits End Luna Shiraz 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia
$17.00 (Vintages #311258) 14.5% alcohol

Dense purple with a big bouquet of blackberries and black pepper. The palate concentrates on ripe plums and black fruit with well-integrated tannins that lead to a spicy but not sweet finish. In this red wine, there is a small dallop of Barbera grapes blended in that lends a brambley note, but what is the most striking is how this wine is as smooth as velvet and very delicious. It’s a big wine with a little price, bring on the rack of lamb.

 

Grand Total: $100.75 – for 6 wines…that’s a lot of bang for my buck!

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

Posted by Julie

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

I’ve got one eye on the Olympics, and the other on my tasting notes. Canada collection of medals is on the rise. I applaud our Olympic athletes; even volleyball never looked like this when I was in high school!

vintages august 20OK…now to focus.

This Vintages release at the LCBO is offering products called “The Next Big Thing” – how catchy is that? Germany gets some spotlight especially on their Riesling wines. Having just been on a trip to Niagara, I have to admit that I find our own Rieslings impossible to beat. And as for the “Next Big Thing”, I’ve found a few wines in this blog that you can sip while watching the final weekend of the Olympic games.

Go Canada Go! We’re cheering you on,

Julie

 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy …
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday August 20, 2016

 

EdelweisssEdelweiss 2014

Cave de Jolimont, Switzerland
$17.95 (Vintages #385021) 11.5% alcohol

 I rarely have the opportunity to taste Swiss wine but this is worth the search if you like a light-bodied, delicate, pretty white wine. I learned that the Chasselas grape is golden in colour and is often referred to by Swiss winemakers as “goldilocks”. The result is a light bodied white wine with floral with tree fruit flavours, some citrus at the end that adds interest to the bone dry skinny finish. It would pair well with raclette or a cheese tray with creamy soft brie type cheeses. Chilled well, it makes a lovely sipper for a hot summer afternoon.

Did you know? The Chasselas grape has a long intriguing history. It’s genesis is in eastern France and the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Known by different names from Fendant to Valais, this grape variety can be found in monastic records dating before the 1600’s. Although grown in the Pouilly-Fume region in France, it is considered a lowly cousin, but it continues to grow throughout Europe and is by far Switzerland’s most planted varietal. It buds early and has lots of vigor. It is not an acidic grape so it is often blended with other more forthcoming varietals.

 

zenatoZenato Pinot Grigio 2015

IGT Delle Venezie, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #37648) 12.5% alcohol

 If I had to choose one grape variety for summer sipping, hands down, it would be the versatile Pinot Grigio would steal the show. It will take you from mid-afternoon aperitif to late evening. Chilled down, it’s cool and refreshing. This particular Pinot Grigio is the perfect example. I find it especially aromatic and the dancing zippy flavours on the palate from lemon-lime citrus to green apple are crisp and delicious. There’a little steeliness on the finish – this is a good thing. To be paired with summer salads, fish, chicken or put a bottle in the picnic basket – it’s a great summer wine.

 

tthThe Tragically Hip Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red 2013  

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
$24.95 (Vintages #411595) 13% alcohol

 The date of this release, 20 August, marks sadly the final concert performance of The Tragically Hip. This limited edition red wine is being released to commemorate The Hip announcement of the re-release of their legendary album Fully Completely and the band’s last North American Tour. This wine is the ideal way to celebrate the band’s rise to stardom and to toast lead singer Gord Downie.

One waft from the glass offers unmistakably fresh Cabernet Franc and luscious aromas of ripe red berries in a traditional Meritage blend. Combined with the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes the melange is full, rounded and delivers effortlessly, huge juicy dark ripe tree fruit, whispers of blueberries with subtle savoury undertones. A hint of green pepper and black pepper polishes it off. The tannins are soft but noticeable, medium bodied and balanced with tobacco and a little mocha on a juicy finish. The finale is long and memorable.

Did you know? The artistic label on the bottle is a replication of the original artwork that first appeared on the Fully Completely album cover. The wine was also co-created by band members in conjunction with Stoney Ridge Head Winemaker (and Savvy friend), Jeff Hundertmark. For Tragically Hip fans, make sure you grab a few bottles. As I mentioned…this is a limited edition in more ways than one and it’s going to fly off the shelves, literally.

 

MaianaLeone De Castris Maiana Salice Salentino 2014

DOC, Puglia, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #717959) 13.5% alcohol

Juicy, rich and fresh ripe red fruit with whispers of a little mocha and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with well-integrated tannins and fine tuned acidity. I could not believe the price point and this is also on my hit-list. Easy drinking and well-crafted. It’s more than just a pizza wine. It’s a red wine that would span anything from a charcuterie plate to a prime rib roast. Pick up and store a few bottles for heartier fare this winter (yes, the W word!) or enjoy it now with BBQed portobello or burgers.

Did you know? Straight from Puglia, located in the southeast corner of Italy where there are 25 DOCs, not DOCGs (spot the difference?). The major red grapes are Negroamaro which has been planted since the 6th century and Malvasia grapes which have been known to soften the tannins of the former. The Salice Salentino region vineyards are surrounded by water on three sides allowing cool breezes from the Mediterranean to moderate vineyard temperatures.

 

gerardGérard Bertrand Terroir Corbières 2013

AP, France
$16.95 (Vintages #394288) 13.5% alcohol

 I recommended a Gérard Bertrand Viognier in my last blog, so when I saw this red wine, I was already ready for another quality wine from this winemaker. Full and rounded, black currants spring to the surface with deep dark concentrated black fruit, in the aromas and on the palate. An always robust favourite blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre that have been aged 12 months in oak barrels that lends to the rich, easy drinking with a polished texture, a little pepper and friendly liquorce on the finish – loads of personality. A marbled grilled steak would be perfect with a glass of this wine!

Did you know? Gérard Bertrand was awarded the title of Red Winemaker of the Year in 2012 at the International Wine Challenge. He retired from his rugby career to take over the family estate after the accidental death of his father. He has become a renowned wine grower and winemaker in Langedoc-Rousillon region. Clay and limestone soils with a kaleidoscope of climates and temperatures constitute the terroir Corbières that stretches from the Pyrenees to the Montagne Noir. The wine literally comes with a message of the terroir. Plus it’s a pretty nice country to do some sightseeing & wine touring.

 

Grand Total: $ 90.75

Look what I have saved you!

TIP: If you can find an extra $13.00, I recommend to add a bottle of Sunnybrook Estate Series Strawberry Wine 2014 ($22.95- Vintages# ). Made in Niagara, if you love ripe Ontario strawberries, here is a way to enjoy them all year round.

 

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

Posted by Monique

Friday, August 5th, 2016

vintages AugustThis weekend’s Vintages release at the LCBO showcases an exciting selection of well-crafted wines from all over the world that fit our budget.  

Since the world will be watching athletes from across the globe exercise their best efforts to make it onto the podium at the Rio Summer Olympics, I have been inspired to seek out select value wines from around the world that are podium worthy as well.

So, let’s have a look at my world tour of well-crafted, value for quality wines…

Cheers!
-Monique

 

 

 

 

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

framinghamFramingham 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, New Zealand
LCBO Vintages 606848 | $18.95 | 12.5% alcohol

Temperatures are spiking and, at times, nothing seems more refreshing than sipping a chilled crisp Sauvignon Blanc under a patio umbrella.  I find the Framingham 2015 Sauvignon Blanc to be a high-ranking player in the “crisp patio whites” category.  This signature New Zealand white wine shows vibrant notes of  citrus zest, lemon grass and floral notes. The palate is bone dry, mouthwatering and finishes with a crisp zesty citrus note.  Enjoy pairing this Sauvignon Blanc with fresh oysters, king crab legs, poached lobster or ceviche.

 

nemeaEstate Papaioannou 2010 Single Vineyard Agiorgitiko

Nemea, Greece
LCBO Vintages 47977 | $20.95 | 12.5% alcohol

Greece, where it all began! As the birthplace of the Olympics, Greece could not be overlooked.  This weekend’s Vintages release actually showcases a decent selection of white and red wines from Greece, but the Estate Papaioannou 2010 Single Vineyard Agiorgitiko steals the podium.

Agiorgitiko – meaning St. George – is the most widely grown red grape variety in Greece, predominantly in the region of Nemea (northeastern part of the Peloponnese Peninsula). This red wine showcases an intense burst of perfumey floral and berry fruit aromas.

The palate is showing young , but polished tannins, a nice balance of acidity  and a long tart cherry finish.  Key flavours to note include red cherry, leather, tar, and dark chocolate. You may consider letting this medium to full bodied red wine sit in the cellar for another three to five years, but it is also drinking well now. Just be sure to decant this beauty for two hours prior to serving, and definitely try pairing it with beef tartar.

 

flat rockFlat Rock 2010 Twisted Red

VQA Ontario, Canada
LCBO Vintages 86918 | $24.95 | 12.3% alcohol

Let’s offer our shout out to Team Canada with the Flat Rock 2010 Twisted Red. Flat Rock Cellars is no stranger to the pro-athlete world. In 2013, this winery collaborated with three-time world champion and Olympic medalist figure skater, Patrick Chan, to craft one the most top rated Reisling icewines release in our market. This red wine with a striking blend of fleshy fruity berries and smoke.  Hailing from the Niagara Escarpment, this red wine shows hints of fresh cherry, cranberry, smoke and wet stone minerality. The acidity is mouthwatering, the tannins are young and grippy with a plump medium-bodied mouthfeel. I recommend drinking now, and enjoy pairing it with pulled port tacos.

 

mandusPietra Pura Mandus 2013 Primitivo Di Manduria

Puglia, Italy
LCBO Vintages 216457 | $16.95 | 13.8% Alcohol

 Our world tour continues with this gorgeous Italian red wine known as Primitivo.  Primitivo is the native grape of Puglia (the heel on the boot of Italy) and is actually the same grape as  Zinfandel. This full-bodied red wine showcases inviting perfumed aromas of rose petals, cherry, plum, graphite minerality, and a touch of vanilla. Even though the flavours appear sweet – berry jam, vanilla, sweet smoke – the acidity is high with mild balanced tannins and long dark chocolate finish.  It definitely reminds of a California style Zinfandels but with good complexity. It’s a great crowd pleaser and pairs well backyard BBQ ribs.

 

 shirazBest’s 2013 Bin No. 1 Shiraz

Victoria, Australia
LCBO Vintages 222323 | $19.95 | 14.5% alcohol

Finally, we a representative from Australia that excels in the “big bold BBQ red” category.  This red wine shows classic Australian Shiraz notes of pronounced eucalyptus, licorice, black plum, and black cherry. The palate is off-dry, chewy (young tannins) and mouthwatering. Flavours are an exact repeat of the aromas with added notes of cedar, vanilla, and a touch of earthy minerality. This Shiraz is full bodied with a long minted-berry finish. This red wine can certainly afford to sit for another five to seven years, but it is drinking quite well now after a couple hours of decanting.  Enjoy pairing this red wine with grilled lamb chops.

 

So, sometimes this happens, it appears that we are $1.75 over budget.
Altogether, this shopping list is worth extra pennies.

 Grand Total $101.75

 

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

Posted by Monique

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

 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.