Posts Tagged ‘2011 LCBO Vintages Release’

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, November 12, 2011

As the holiday season approaches, premium wines and gifts for that special someone are the theme in the upcoming Vintages releases.

The principal feature in the November 12 LCBO Vintages release includes a range of top-of-the –line wines. Among the whites, a Moet & Chandon Vintage Champagne as well as select Chardonnays from California, New Zealand and Burgundy. Unique blends such as the Jonatas Todos Red, signature Malbec from Argentina and Shiraz from Australia, classic Bordeaux and Italy’s grand slam of Barolo, Brunello and Amarone are but a few of note among the reds. In this selection, several Canadian wines beckon including the Closson Chase ‘Beamsville Bench’ Chardonnay, Flat Rock’s ‘Gravity’ Pinot Noir, and Mission Hill’s ‘Quatrain’.

Looking for something sweet to share with your sweetie, or for a special holiday season meal? You’ll appreciate the extensive collection of dessert wines on offer. Consider a 10-year-old Tawny Port, a Trockenberenauslese from Germany, Moniak Mead (honey wine) from the UK, a rich Recioto from Valpolicella, or a luscious and lively Canadian treat such as Henry of Pelham’s Cabernet Franc Ice Wine.

Releases like this can make for a very short list within our target $100, but as always, we’ve found some excellent buys outside the release features as well. Don’t blow the whole holiday shopping budget, as there will be more outstanding fine wines and sparklers in the next November release and the final release of 2011 in early December!

Cheers and Enjoy,

Susan

Lenz Moser ‘Prestige’ Trockenbeerenauslese 2008
Burgenland, Austria
$19.95 (Vintages #729657) 10.0% alcohol 375 ml

Golden tending to amber, produced from select botrytis-affected berries, this harmonious well-balanced dessert wine is rich with aromas of preserved peach, apricot jam and fruit marmalade. Full bodied, luscious and satiny in texture, the apricot replays, tangerine joining the chorus, providing a perfect counterpoint of tang and honey. The underlying structure delivers a refreshing lift on the lengthy fruit-filled finish. Enjoy on its own or match it to apple strudel with crème anglaise.

Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris 2009
Willamette Valley, Oregon
$18.95 (Vintages #940528) 13.0% alcohol
Whole cluster pressed, aged sur lie, blended with a touch of Muscat and Pinot Blanc, this Pinot Gris evokes the sun-ripened fruits of summer. Delicate floral aromas and the scent of ripe orchard fruit drift from the glass. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s rich, ample yet refreshing, the ripe fruit matched by a seam of fine acidity and a trace of minerality. Smooth yet fresh, delivering a lasting fruity finish, this is a well-crafted wine.

Stalking Horse Shiraz 2008
McLaren Vale, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #251215) 15.0% alcohol
Aged in new American oak, inky and voluptuous, the aromas of vanilla, sweet spice, rich ripe black fruits, and an elusive smoky note leap from the glass. Fruit forward—think boysenberry jam and blackberries—the wine has a distinctive note of black licorice, a smooth, velvety texture, and a subtle structure. An ample, rich wine offering a sweetly spiced warm finish, enjoy it now and over the next few years.

Delas Frères ‘Saint-Esprit’ Côtes du Rhône 2009
AOC Côtes du Rhone, France
$14.95 (Vintages #729962) 13.5% alcohol
Dominantly Syrah blended with Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre, this deep violet Rhône blend is fresh and vibrant on the nose—raspberry and boysenberry to the fore, a hint of vanilla and a whiff of garrigue that transports. Dry, medium-full bodied, beautifully balanced and structured, it delivers a wash of lively fruit across the palate, a lingering peppery note and a fresh dry crisp finish. At this price, a few bottles are in order!

Duque de Medina Gran Reserva 2000
DO Cariñena, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #148494) 12.5% alcohol
Ruby with a touch of garnet, this mellow, well-aged wine offers evolved aromas and flavours. Floral and autumnal notes, a hint of leather and subtle sweet ripened fruit drift from the glass. Displaying a velvety texture, dry, medium-full bodied, the taste experience is all about restraint and integration—tannins that melt, acidity that freshens the red fruits, hints of sweet spice and cocoa adding complexity, a lasting slightly warm finish. Very appealing and easy to drink, you could enjoy this with bison bourgignon.

Grand Total: $90.75

Options:

For a premium wine to gift or cellar, consider Mission Hill’s Quatrain!

Mission Hill Quatrain 2008
VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$41.95 (Vintages #218636) 14.0% alcohol

Following on the heels of the 2006 vintage, featured in the March 15 Vintages release, this blend of Merlot, Syrah and the Cabernets is composed from the estate’s best south Okanagan fruit, separately fermented and aged in French oak. Highly aromatic and intense, the nose offers boysenberry, black cherry, spiced floral notes, and sweet cedar. Dry, full bodied, built on a firm frame, the wine delivers depth and complexity, flavours of cassis, plum, spice and herbs, and notes of toast that carry through on the long dry finish. Serve it with robust meat dishes or age 5-7 years.

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, October 15, 2011

The classic red wines of Italy’s best-known regions, Piemonte and Toscana, feature in the October 15 LCBO Vintages release. Italian wines can be named for either the grape, the region they’re from, or out of traditional use of a name with a likely fictional history. Piemonte, as its name suggests, is at the foot of the Alps, with a unique climate that includes a hot growing season, a misty autumn and a cold winter often characterized by fog. Nebbiolo, the famous grape used in the creation of Piemonte’s signature wine, Barolo, is named for the fog. Barolo and Barbaresco (also a Nebbiolo wine though generally more approachable) are named for their local villages, but other well-known wines, such as Barbera and Dolcetto, are named for the varietal, often followed by a district name (such as Barbera d’Alba) which indicates the limited area in which the wine is produced.

The release provides an opportunity to try all four of these wines, as well as a value-priced blend of Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo. Among the wines of Tuscany, you’ll find the Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, all crafted from clones of the great Sangiovese grape, as well as IGT blends that include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

A recent visit to Tuscany offered the opportunity to visit one of the featured wineries, Volpaia. The winery is located within the limits of a Medieval fortified hillside hamlet, ringed by beautiful vineyards and olive groves that melt into the surrounding hunting preserve. When the owner and winemaker, Giovannella Stianti, decided to establish the winery, historic site restrictions required very special arrangements. All the winemaking facilities are tucked under or within the hamlet’s stone structures, and the wine is transported under the medieval cobbled lanes through stainless steel pipes. The average tourist wandering through the site would never know the winery exists except for the charming tasting room on the small town square!

The secondary feature highlights the focus Argentine winemakers have placed on matching varietal to site, selecting high altitude vineyards to bring vibrancy and balance to their concentrated wines, limiting yields and introducing innovative techniques and technologies. It offers a selection of eight unique premium wines from Argentina, including the famous Catena Alta Malbec of Bodega Catena Zapata. Fifteen years of vineyard research, three years of experimentation and careful selection of specific lots within designated vineyards at significant elevation go into the creation of Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura’s ‘Alta’ wines. Several of these select Argentine wines are designed for cellaring, so consider adding one or two to your collection! Among the Canadian wines, there are two fabulous Pinot Noir, one from Innikillin, the other Le Clos Jordanne vineyard, as well as a silky Riesling from Lailey and a rich Chardonnay from Jackson Triggs’ Sun Rock vineyard in the south Okanagan.

Cheers and Enjoy,

Susan

Lailey Riesling 2010
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #72736) 10.5% alcohol

Pale gold, the fine aromas of honeyed stone fruit and citrus drift from the glass. Just off-dry, medium bodied and lusciously fruity, this wine tastes fresh and bright, underlying minerality and the backbone of lively acidity ensuring a beautiful balance. Juicy and tasty, a mouthwateringly delicious wine! My choice for pan-fried halibut.

Guenoc Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Lake County, California
$17.95 (Vintages #104240) 14.5% alcohol
From an estate established in 1888 by a famous American actress comes a big powerful value-laden wine that captivates with intense aromas of ripe dark fruit, cocoa, spice and dark toast. Showcasing a boatload of intense dark berries, spice box and toast, this dry, medium-full bodied wine achieves balance with fine acidity and a firm tannic structure. The finish is long and dry, crying out for a robust stew.

Montes ‘Limited Selection’ Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenère 2010
Colchagua Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #16071) 14.5% alcohol
This robust blend is a great value displaying intense, complex aromas of cedar, vanilla, toast, chocolate and black fruits. Dry, full bodied, round and rich, perceptible tannins and fine acidity frame concentrated berry fruit, sweet spice and tangy notes of char. There’s good balance through the long dry finish, the ripe fruit flavours lingering. Robust meat dishes are in order.

Volpaia Chianti Classico 2008
DOCG Chianti Classico, Italy
$21.95 (Vintages #953828) 13.5% alcohol
Everything about this wine is subtle, almost delicate, from the aromas—floral, dried herbs and sweet red fruit—through the gently spiced red berry flavours garnished with fine notes of white pepper unfolding on the palate. Fruit, tannins and fine acidity are harmoniously integrated, delivering a lasting graceful finish. Enjoy it now or cellar a bottle or two to savour in a year or two.

Domaine Grand Veneur ‘Les Champauvins’ Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2009
DOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France
$18.95 (Vintages #76331) 15.0% alcohol
Here’s a knock-your-socks-off value with the concentration and power of a Châteauneuf at a fraction of the price. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, this wine delivers a stream of plush rich fruit, vanilla and faintly autumnal notes. Dry yet beautifully silky, medium-full bodied, it displays a wonderful balance of subtle structure, freshness and spiced fresh raspberry and blackberry fruit, the earthy notes recurring. Pleasing, harmonious and finishing long and warm. Pair it with duck cassoulet, or cellar 5-7 years.

Grand Total: $91.75

Options:

An iconic wine from Argentina’s storied producer, Nicolás Catena!

Catena ‘Alta’ Malbec 2008
Mendoza, Argentina
$49.95 (Vintages #982355) 13.5% alcohol

Produced from grapes specially selected from 4 family vineyards, the vibrant aromas of this dense inky wine stream from the glass—dark berries, dried herbs, mint, vanilla, spice, incense and a whiff of cocoa, all intermingling to create the fabulous complex bouquet. Full fruity black berry flavours and a rich velvety texture coat the palate, finely balanced acidity and well-integrated tannins kicking in to assure freshness. The finish is extended, notes of herbs and cocoa persisting. Bring on the prime rib, or cellar 5-7 years.

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, September 17, 2011

Highlighting the 2008 vintage in Bordeaux, the September 17 LCBO Vintages release also includes an opportunity to compare cool-climate Pinot Noir originating from Oregon and Burgundy as well as a special selection of four New Zealand wines. The 2008 vintage in Bordeaux was full of ups and downs, including erratic bud break in the early spring and a killing frost in April that severely reduced yields. The early summer was wet and damp, impacting flowering. Although the sun shone in July, August and early September were cool requiring green harvesting which further reduced yields. Fortunately, the warm dry weather returned in September and carried through October, creating favorable harvest conditions for those properties willing to let their fruit hang. In general, it seems the fruit was in good condition, but there was much less of it. Bordeaux watchers indicate there is significant variability from one appellation to another, so this LCBO Vintages feature creates the opportunity to compare a wide range of wines from both left and right bank producers. Look for fragrance, freshness and fruitiness.(1) Select a wine from each major region, for instance Château Pontet-Caillou and Château des Moines, and give them a try! And keep in mind that the October 1 release features wines chosen for those beginning a private cellar – with the September 17 selection of Bordeaux wines, you can get a head start right now! The Pinot Noir face off features samples from the 2008 and 2009 vintages in Burgundy and Oregon’s Williamette Valley which, like Burgundy, has a number of sub-regions (known as AVAs) that produce distinct types of wines. This is another opportunity to compare and contrast wines whose character will vary, in this case based on geography, terroir, clonal selection, growing philosophy and winemaking methods. Parent’s Bourgogne Pinot Noir and Red Shot Lane Pinot Noir offer a good starting point. Finally, if you are an aficionado of premiium New Zealand wines, you can choose from a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a Bordeaux-style blend, all rated 90+.

Cheers

Susan

Château le Grand Moulin Cuvée Collection 2008
AOC Bordeaux, France
$15.95 (Vintages #245357) 13.0% alcohol

This award-winning wine gets points for value and approachability. There’s a nuance of vanilla drifting over lovely rich spiced fruit. Dry, mid-weight, it’s subtly structured, silky on the palate and loaded with ripe red cherry/berry flavours, notes of fines herbes and spiced toast garnishing the mid-length finish. Savour it now or put some bottles aside to enjoy in the next couple of years.

Château des Moines 2008
AOC Lalande-de-Pomerol, France
$22.95 (Vintages #206789) 12.5% alcohol
Semi-opaque, ruby hued, this Merlot-based Bordeaux delivers aromas of smoky toast, spicy roses, cedar and field berries. There’s a firm underlying structure, a velvety caressing texture, and an attractive balance of fresh acidity and concentrated flavours of plum, dark berries, spice and roasted peppers. Persistent and dry on the finish, it’s a good candidate for mid-term cellaring.

Domaine Parent ‘Bourgogne’ Pinot Noir 2009
AOC Bourgogne
$19.95 (Vintages #597971) 13.8% alcohol
This is a very nice value, delivering a subtle floral fragrance, earthiness and aromas of spiced red berries. Dry, medium bodied and supple, there’s a well-crafted balance of tangy red fruit, soft tannins and lively acidity. A lovely flavourful well-structured wine. Enjoy it now with roast duck breast, or cellar medium term.

Gehringer Brothers ‘Private Reserve’ Pinot Gris 2009
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$17.95 (Vintages #347203) 13.2% alcohol
Dressed in the pink straw tint of an autumn grass, this is a mouthwateringly delicious wine with tantalizing aromas of stone fruit, honey melon, musky floral and subtle citrus notes. Dry, medium bodied and fresh, the fine flavourful orchard fruit rides on a backbone of lively acidity, finishing with a tangy little kick. A versatile wine that’s a great value.

Emiliana ‘Winemaker’s Selection’ Syrah/Mouvèdre 2007
Colchagua Valley, Chile
$18.95 (Vintages #243394) 14.5% alcohol
Biodynamic vineyard and winemaking practices were used to produce this dense tantalizing wine. Complexity on the nose—earthy autumnal notes, sweet herbs, a hint of tapenade and rich dark fruit—is evident on the palate. Dry, medium-full bodied, fresh acidity and firm structure frame dark berries and cherries overlaid with enticing nuances of toast, herbs and spice. A wine that lingers and invites another sip, and another. Enjoy it with grilled beef marinated in balsamic and herbs.

Grand Total: $96.75

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the
LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

(1)Source: thewinedoctor.com

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 1st, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, September 3, 2011

If you enjoy the complexity, depth and texture of big red blends, the September 3 LCBO Vintages release delivers! The release leads with classic Bordeaux blends, such as Château le Monteil d’Arsac. There’s Inniskillin Okanagan’s Merlot-dominated Meritage, de Toren Z, a rich South African Bordeaux-style blend that also leads with Merlot, classic Rhône blends such as the Lavau Gigondas (Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah) and the Domaine Chante Cigale Tradition Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend which can include as many as 13 varietals, although this one is principally Grenache, married with regional classics such as Syrah, Mouvèdre and Cinsault.

Other blends include Yalumba’s Iconic Cabernet Sauvginon/Shiraz, combining the plush texture and spice of the former varietal, with the structure and aging potential of the latter, and classics such as Brigaldara’s Amarone. A Spanish winemaker, discussing her wines, once said that she felt that blending was the best way to create wines—in this manner, she could bring out the unique attributes of each varietal and vintage, blend the wines to optimize particular characteristics and offer unique intriguing creations with significant complexity.

For those interested in the building blocks of a classic blend, there’s a fabulous education in the component tasting and presentation by Pascal Madevon, winemaker and vineyard manager at Osoyoos Larose. At a seminar a couple of years ago for instance, he described the 2008 Grand Vin, leading with Merlot, providing big structure and volume, Cabernet Franc, whose chocolaty notes and strong tannins envelope and provide more power, Malbec contributing a big nose and acidity, Petit Verdot the source of more tannic structure and aromas, and Cabernet Sauvignon adding complexity and additional ageability to the blend.

In addition to classic red blends, we are seeing more appealingly aromatic blended whites from Ontario and British Columbia, for instance, 13th Street’s White Palette, included in an earlier release, and Road 13’s Honest John’s White in the current release. It includes Riesling, Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Schoenerger, Muller Thurgau and Pinot Gris, delivering lifted and complex aromatics on a backbone of zesty acidity. Try some of these blends, and take the opportunity to compare say an Australian Cab Sauv/Shiraz blend with a varietal Australian Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvginon.

The second feature marks the 150th anniversary of Italian unification with a selection of wines from some of Italy’s best-known appellations and varietals—Piemonte’s Dolcetto, Barbera and Barbaresco, Sangiovese-based Chianti Classico and Morellino di Scansanco from Toscana, a tasty Amrarone from Valpolicella, and Negroamara and Primitivo from Puglia in the south. There’s something here for every palate and pocketbook. This selection includes an irresistible dessert wine, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. Share it with friends over the long weekend!
Cheers,
Susan

de Toren Z 2008
WO Stellenbosch, South Africa
$32.95 (Vintages #178194) 14.5% alcohol

Well-crafted and finely balanced, the aromas of this classic Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend draw you right in—dark berry and plum, roasted peppers and sun-kissed herbs. Dry, medium-full bodied, robust yet supple, the components all knit together—well-integrated tannins, lovely fresh acidity and ripe fruit nuanced with mint and herbs. The finish is long, warm, fruity and slightly peppery. Full flavoured and just plain delicious.

Luis Felipe Edwards ‘Reserva’ Merlot 2009
Colchagua Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #250340) 14.0% alcohol
Enjoy the tantalizing array of aromas—floral, herbal, spice, raspberry and black cherry—in this big, deep inky wine. Dry, medium-full bodied, displaying lively texture and great underlying structure, the flavourful fruit is complemented with a replay of spice and herbs, some notes of toast garnishing the lengthy warm dry finish.

Inniskillin ‘Winemaker’s Series Barrel-Aged’ Pinot Gris 2009
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #177766) 14.0% alcohol
Offering an elegant twist on the varietal, this dry award-winning medium-bodied wine is subtle, spiced and fruity on the nose. Lush yet lively in texture, it brings to mind preserved peaches, honeyed roast pear and lemon chiffon pie. There’s a nice lift from spice and pepper on the fresh lasting fruity finish. Delish!

Domaine des Bernardins Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise 2009
AOC Beaumes-de-Venise, France
$16.95 (Vintages #129999) 15.0% alcohol (375 ml)
It’s a dream, seducing you with notes of dried apricot, peach nectar, honeysuckle, honey and fruit of the vine. The texture is luscious and silky, the sumptuous preserved stone fruit and dried mango is poised on a backbone of generous acidity, and a hint of warmth glides through the delectable finish. A lovely closer, sip it on its own or with an orange crème brulée, or cellar long term.

Grand Total: $84.80

Worth the splurge:
Here’s a tasty modestly priced Amarone for your enjoyment!
Corte Majoli Amarone della Valpolicella 2007
DOCG Valpolicella, Italy
$33.95 (Vintages #81943) 15.5% alcohol

Head straight to the display for this classic value-laden Amarone. Savour the warm aromas of ripe fruit, dried berries, chocolate-coated caramel and cedar. Dry, medium bodied, the texture is like satin across the palate, the balance exquisite, and the layers of flavours fascinating—from ripe red fruit, through bittersweet chocolate, a toffee-like note and exotic spice. The finish is warm, fruity and so tasty, you just want more. Savour it with an aged Pecorino.

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the
LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, August 18th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, August 20, 2011

Welcome to the southern Rhône and southwestern France in the August 20 LCBO Vintages release. On offer is a selection of wines, most under $20, from a part of the country with a long history, garrigue-dotted landscape and the gentle influence of the Mediterranean. Graced with dramatic Roman towns such as Nîmes and Carcassonne, the Roman arches of the Pont du Gard, the Mediterranean salt flats of Aigues-Mortes. and the foothills of the Pyrenees, where Spanish influence is pervasive, culture and vineyards are well rooted. Look for appellations such as the Languedoc, Côtes du Rousillon, the Gard and Côtes de Provence to offer blends of Syrah, Grenache, Mouvèdre and Carignan. These wines integrate the depth and power of Syrah, the spice and fruit of Grenache, the firmness of Mouvèdre, and the color and structure of Carignan, creating robust flavourful taste experiences. To the west, appellations such as Corbières and the Minervois are closer geographically to the traditional Bordeaux appellation, the former often experiencing severe drought and producing intense concentrated wines. While the area is known for its reds, the feature also offers a fragrant Viognier and a clean fresh Picpoul de Pinet, a great match to the ‘moules marinières’ of the region.

Take advantage of this value-laden release to stock up on wines that are a perfect complement to late summer barbeque fare. The secondary feature includes wines from a selection of California appellations: Mendocino in the north, and Monterey, adjacent Paso Robles and the Santa Ynez Valley in the south, among others. Mendocino is known for its two distinct growing areas: west of the Coastal Range, where the Pacific offers a cooling influence, and the eastern interior that offers warmer drier growing conditions. Monterey has more vines planted than Napa, and offers a range of wine styles from cool climate to rich warm wines produced from fruit grown on limestone ridges above the fog. The Santa Ynez Valley benefits from warm sun-soaked days and variations in altitude that can produce wines that are fleshier or fresher in texture.

Among the Canadian wines, I wouldn’t miss the Cattail Creek Riesling (from a Savvy Selections featured winery), Henry of Pelham’s Pinot Noir from the great 2007 vintage, and the Black Sage Vineyard Cabernet Franc from B.C.’s Sumac Ridge. Enjoy browsing!

Cheers

Susan

Cattail Creek Riesling 2009
VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara
$15.95 (Vintages #241547) 12.5% alcohol

A very attractive adroitly-crafted golden Riesling, it’s fragrant with ripe peach, apricot, citrus and tropical notes, displays a fine fresh texture. There’s a keen balance of lively acidity, underlying minerality and delicious fruit—pear, lemon-lime, pink grapefruit and apricot to the fore. A faint note of slate complements the tangy fruity finish. A versatile wine, it will pair with pork, chicken, salads or lightly spiced shrimp.

Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc 2009
AOC Alsace, France
$13.95 (Vintages #224642) 12.0% alcohol
A great value, this award-winning wine delivers subtle alluring floral and orchard fruit aromas. Just off-dry, light-medium bodied it’s supple and silky, balancing lively acidity and complex flavours of sweet orchard fruit, lemon/lime, grapefruit and elusive nuances of spice and pepper. The finish is long, flavourful and slightly peppery. Load up and serve it with light appetizers or salads.

Domaine Sabarda Côtes du Roussillon 2009
AOC Côtes du Roussillon, France
$16.95 (Vintages #237321) 14.5% alcohol
The purple hue of this award-winning blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan portends the depth and intensity of aromas and flavours. Sweet ripe dark fruit to the fore, there are also alluring notes of spice and cedar. The palate is awash with tangy spicy berry fruit—raspberry and blackberry—that is well balanced with a fresh texture and firm structure. Medium bodied, the wine offers a lengthy dry tasty finish. Fire up the BBQ!

Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem 2008
AOC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France
$21.95 (Vintages #643239) 14.0% alcohol
Dry, medium-full bodied and silky on entry, this is a lively wine with attractive aromas of dark berry, spice and licorice. Refreshing flavours of ripe raspberry and blackberry woven through with notes of spice and cocoa are finely balanced with perceptible tannins and clean acidity, creating a lasting fruit-focused finish. Enjoy now with a selection of cheeses, olives and crusty French bread or cellar a further 2-3 years.

Sumac Ridge ‘Black Sage Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc 2008
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$18.95 (Vintages #230102) 14.0% alcohol

Produced from well-ripened fruit from the south Okanagan, aged in French and American oak, this is a very appealing dry medium bodied wine with attractive complexity on the nose and palate. Floral notes, red berry, hints of roasted peppers and herbs beguile. Soft and creamy in texture, the palate is awash with ripe red berry fruit, spice and pepper, balanced by fine acidity and well-integrated tannins. Subtle notes of toast drift through the lasting fruit-filled finish. Cellar 3-5 years or try it with the winemaker’s favorite – mushroom risotto.

Grand Total: $87.75

Options:

Aficionados of Cabernet Franc might like to compare this flavourful Chinon with the Okanagan Cabernet Franc in our selection!

Domaine Bernard Beaudry Chinon 2009
AOC Chinon, France
$19.95 (Vintages #940783) 13.0% alcohol

Produced from hand-harvested fruit, free of herbicides and pesticides, this is a very attractive deep ruby Cabernet Franc that offers an abundance of enticing aromas—herbs, tobacco, ripe berry fruit, spice and graphite. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s firmly structured, with a lively texture and a mouthwatering slightly bitter note underlying. On the palate, raspberry and blackberry predominate, laced with contrasting floral and mineral notes, a nuance of espresso emerging on the dry mid-length finish. Intricate and interesting, this wine will age at least 3-5 years.

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the
LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, July 23, 2011

Taste your way through Italy from north to south, red or white, with the July 23 LCBO Vintages feature on Signature Varietels of Italy, some better and others lesser known. Among the whites, you’ll find delectable Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay from the North, a fruity Soave, and less common but equally appealing varietals—Greco di Tufo, Garganega and Arneis, a personal favorite for its body and rich fruit flavours. The red segment of the Italian feature includes well-known varietals from Piemonte, such as Nebbiolo—producing the renowned Barolo—Barbaresco and Barbera, from Tuscany, Sangiovese—the storied wine that creates the unique flavours of Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino. The lesser-known noble varietal of Campagnia and Basilicata, Aglianico, producing wines with great depth of flavour, is joined by Primitivo from Puglia. All in all, a great selection for those who have a favorite among Italian wines.

Lovers of white wine will enjoy the secondary feature, which focuses on cool-climate Chardonnay. Climatic conditions such as altitude, latitude, cool nights or cooling breezes in areas such as Burgundy, Oregon, Tasmania and Ontario bring to the fore clean crisp fruit flavours and fresh acidity, often complemented with subtle oak aging. Niagara enjoys just the right conditions to produce fine Chardonnay, and the feature includes wines from Coyote’s Run (featured in Savvy Selections), Inniskillin and Le Clos Jordanne.

Finally, you all know me as a great fan of B.C. wines – don’t miss those in this feature—a Syrah from the world’s first aboriginal-owned winery, Nk’Mip, a Merlot from Quail’s Gate, whose wines were offered to William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on their recent visit to Yellowknife, and a tangy rosé from Mission Hill that I’ve squeezed in as the sixth wine in this selection. Interested in more B.C. wines—stay tuned for a small feature in the upcoming August 6 Vintages release.

Cheers,
SusanVinea Gargarnega 2009
IGT Veronese, Italy
$12.95 (Vintages #230656) 13.0% alcohol

You won’t find a better value than this intensely aromatic award-winning wine produced from one of Italy’s lesser-known white varietals. Enjoy the floral, stone and tropical fruit fragrances and flavours. Dry, medium bodied, round and silky on the palate, this versatile wine offers a lasting honeyed fruit finish. Consider purchasing several bottles.

Cantina Tollo ‘Aldiano’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007
DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #51796) 14.0% alcohol
Inky purple, full-bodied and loaded with aromas and flavours of ripe dark fruit, spice box and vanilla, this is a well-crafted approachable wine. Soft tannins and acidity provide sufficient structure to balance the focused fruit, and the finish delights with notes of pepper, licorice and spice-infused chocolate. Enjoy with a meaty tomato-based pasta.

 

Cantina di Venosa Terre di Orazio 2007
DOC Aglianico di Vulture, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #247494) 13.5% alcohol
Opaque ruby, dense, flavourful and intensely aromatic with notes of dark berries, vanilla and a whiff of fennel—what’s not to like! Dry, full bodied this wine from the noble varietal Aglianico offers attractive notes of herbs, spice and toast drifting over rich flavours of blueberry and blackberry. A peppery note lingers on the fruity finish. A tasty value that calls for grilled meats.

Ridgepoint Cabernet Franc 2009
VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara
$17.95 (Vintages #245639) 12.5% alcohol
This is a great example a varietal that does very well in Niagara. Semi-transparent ruby, this dry, medium-bodied wine offers alluring and complex aromas—berry, sweet spice, vanilla and an earthy herbal note. Savour the ripe red fruit—raspberry and cranberry—garnished with sweet spice and a hint of toast. The texture is quite silky, the underlying structure subtle, providing a deftly balanced wine with a long lasting fruity finish. A great choice for herbed grilled pork or other simple barbequed fare.

Château la Grolet 2009
AOC Côtes de Bourg, France
$17.95 (Vintages #126615) 13.5% alcohol
Dry, medium-bodied, finely balanced and structured, this biodynamic wine is a winner! Principally Merlot blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers rich fruity aromas and nuances of herbs and earth. The fresh flavours of ripe field berries flow across the palate, supported by ripe tannins and a tangy texture. The dry, fruity finish lasts and lasts. Enjoy it with full-flavoured meat dishes or cellar 3-5 years.

 

Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Rosé 2010
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$15.95 (Vintages #229716) 12.5% alcohol
Pale salmon pink, this lively rosé has delightful aromas of red berry fruit and fresh citrus. Dry, light-medium bodied, the cherry/berry and zippy citrus flavours replay with blueberry coming through on the mid palate. Tasty and bright, it offers a lasting fresh fruity finish. Enjoy with a grilled chicken and mushroom salad.

Grand Total: $99.70

 

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Monday, June 27th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, June 25, 2011

Argentina is featured in the June 25 LCBO Vintages release, the emphasis on a match made in heaven–summer barbeques along with fresh Argentine whites and fruity, robust reds. This major wine producer is known for the altitude of its vineyards, where diurnal variations and intense sunlight ensure depth of color and well-ripened fruit. Whether you enjoy a classic Chardonnay, the highly aromatic white wines produced from the Torrontés grape, or the depth and concentration available from the signature Malbec and the weighty Cabernet Sauvignon, you will find a wine to your taste in the selection available. This feature also includes a focus on white wines that offer a pure expression of the particular varietal. The selection ranges from well-chilled crisp whites to more intensely aromatic wines that are better served moderately cool.

Wines from around the world have been selected, including a tasty Riesling from Ontario’s Flat Rock Cellars, a fine Viognier from Australia, a fabulous Pinot Gris from Alsace and a fresh Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, among others. Finally, summer is truly here, and that means getting ready for Canada Day celebrations with some ‘local produce’. For something light and frothy, try the Crackling Cider from Québec, enjoy the Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir with some grilled chicken, or pop the cork on the Jackson Triggs sparkler at sunset as the fireworks begin.

Happy Summer Holidays &
Cheers

Susan

Zuccardi ‘Q’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #140855) 14.0% alcohol

Opaque purple, bursting with aromas of sweet spice, cassis, wild roses and vanilla, this wine has a smooth velvety texture. Dry, medium-full bodied, there’s a great balance of nuanced fruit, ripe tannins and fine acidity, Approachable yet refined, it finishes dry and tangy. Enjoy it with grilled lamb or beef, or cellar medium term.

Zolo ‘Reserve’ Malbec 2008
Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #81091) 14.0% alcohol

Aged 14 months in French and American oak, this inky purple gem is your go-to wine for the barbeque. Aromas of dark fruit, blackcurrant jam and sweet slightly smoky spice rush from the glass. Dry, medium-full bodied, the perceptible tannins and fresh acidity balance rich ripe field berries and dark smoky toast. It’s full flavoured to the finish, where a satisfying hint of bitter chocolate lingers.

Berton Vineyards ‘The White’ Viognier 2010
South Eastern Austalia
$14.95 (Vintages #93425) 14.0% alcohol

A golden wine with a pure expression of stone and tropical fruit, subtle floral notes. Lovely and fresh, yet creamy in texture, it’s dry, medium-full bodied and well balanced. The fabulous fruit replays on the palate, notes of lime, mango and luscious stone fruit carrying through the lasting finish. Very tasty—try it with a creamy chicken caesar salad.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2008
Coonawarra, South Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #433060) 14.0% alcohol
Deep purple, intensely aromatic, this is a round, beautifully balanced, substantial wine with velvety tannins and soft fruity acidity. It captures the senses with dark fruit, sweet spice and notes of vanilla. On the finish, the sweet spice persists, mingling with nuances of toast and licorice. An excellent value—consider several bottles, or a case so that you can enjoy it as it evolves in the cellar.

Perrin ‘Les Cornuds’ Vinsobres 2009
Vinsobres, Frances
$15.00 (Vintages #241604) 14.5% alcohol
My oh my, you’re going to want to load the cart! This blend of Grenache and Syrah from a reputed producer is deeply hued and intensely flavoured. Abundant and complex, there’s depth of fruit, layers of flavours—berries, floral notes, spice, slightly smoky nuances and minerality—all framed by ripe tannins and fine acidity. Exquisite balance and a long lasting finish complete the package, An excellent value to enjoy now and for many years to come.

Grand Total: $86.80

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the
LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
Share

 

If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, June 11, 2011

 

As the primary feature, Amarone, Ripasso and Valpolicella are the stars from Veneto in the June 11 LCBO Vintages release. All three wines are produced from classic Italian indigenous grapes, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, in one of Italy’s iconic wine regions, the Veneto.

 

 

In the case of the potent Amarone, the grapes are dried on mats for several months, then pressed and vinified. This process concentrates the sugars and fruit extract creating a rich, mouth-coating wine. Ripasso is produced when the skins and pulp left from the Amarone fermentation are added to Valpolicella wine to induce a second fermentation, creating a wine of greater depth and flavour than the standard Valpolicella.

 

 

Several producers in the north of the region have been producing wines from Bordeaux varietals, Dal Maso’s Montebelvedere being one example. And the region is known for white wines such as sparkling Prosecco, and Soave, made from a blend of Garganega and Trebbiano.

 

 

The secondary feature highlights local Ontario talent, including existing wineries—Vineland Estates, Alvento, Harbour Estates, Peninsula Ridge and Lakeview—as well as a couple of newcomers. Sue-Ann Staff is now creating her own eponymous wines on her family’s historic property, and Cellaria Winery is focusing on producing fresh inspirational wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay.

 

 

Don’t forget Father’s Day, June 19. The release offers a range of exceptional products for the wine and spirits lover. If your dad is a wine lover, I would recommend the Domaine du Haut des Terres Blanches Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which can be enjoyed now or put aside for a special event.

 

The main release includes some great values, including one of our selections, the Barossa Valley Estate E-Minor Shiraz, from the producers of the legendary E&E Black Pepper and Ebenezer Shiraz. Swirl, sip and savour!

 


Cheers!

Susan

 

 

 

Tedeschi Corasco 2008
IGT Rosso delle Venezie, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #216440) 14.0% alcohol
This deep ruby blend of briefly dried Corvina with Refosco and Raboso offers intriguing aromas of flowers, red fruit, savoury earthy notes, spice and pepper. Dry, medium bodied, richly textured, consistently fruity and flavourful, the wine is characterized by fine tannins, lively acidity and some elusive earthy notes. Complex and attention-grabbing, this is a great value. Try it with steak fajitas – you may need more than one bottle!

 

 

Dal Maso ‘Montebelvedere’ Cabernet 2007
DOC Colli Berici, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #224773) 13.5% alcohol
Here’s another nice value, an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Dry, medium-full bodied and deftly balanced, this varietal wine offers fresh red berry fruit aromas, spice and smoky toast. A fresh seam of acidity carries the bright cherry/berry flavours, sweet spice lingering on the dry yet fruity finish. Very approachable and enjoyable, try it with meat-based pasta.

 

 

Sue-Ann Staff Estate ‘Robert’s Block’ Riesling 2009
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #231415) 11.0% alcohol
Almost transparent with faint green notes, this is a finely crafted wine with delightful complexity on the nose—floral, stone fruit, sweet citrus aromas and a whiff of mineral and petrol. Dry, light-medium bodied, there’s a clean backbone of acidity, fine minerality and persistence of stone fruit and fresh citrus. Refreshing and consistent through the finish, the tang of lime lingering. A lovely summer sipper.

 

 

Rose Hill ‘Private Reserve’ Cabernet/Merlot 2007
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$18.95 (Vintages #233841) 13.0% alcohol
From a new producer, Cellaria Winery, this is an impressive wine, ruby with lifted aromas of toast, dark berry fruit and spiced vanilla. Dry, medium-full bodied, the wine is velvety in texture, fine ripe tannins and fresh acidity balancing the core of rich dark fruit, sweet spice and hint of chocolate. There’s great fruit persistence and a whiff of smoky toast on the finish. A great value from the storied 2007 vintage, the wine will cellar medium term.

 

 

Barossa Valley Estate ‘E-Minor’ Shiraz 2009
Barossa Valley, South Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #71043) 14.0% alcohol
From an estate renowned for its premium red wines comes the little brother. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this dry, full-bodied inky purple wine that is fragrant with ripe dark fruit, pepper and toasty vanilla. It offers robust flavours of red and black berries, pepper and notes of espresso. Finely balanced with well-integrated oak and consistent through the lengthy finish, it is an excellent value. Bring on the bar-b!

 

 

Grand Total: $90.75

 

 

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for an autumn afternoon?

 

 

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .” will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

 

 

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages has selected these wines. Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine. And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more. Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

 

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, May 28, 2011

California is the main actor in this week’s LCBO Vintages release, with Alsace playing a supporting role. Half the size of France, California is a significant wine region in its own right, producing the majority of U.S. wines. Topography plays a significant role in the California wine industry, creating a range of unique viticultural areas. The cool sea air and fog of the Pacific moderate vineyards in areas such as Carneros while the Mediterranean climate offers hot dry summers with limited rainfall in the sheltered interior, such as the Central Valley. California is home to wine pioneers such as Robert Mondavi, whose Fumé Blanc was first produced in 1966, award-winning wineries such as Stag’s Leap, and proud family-owned estates such as Duckhorn Vinyeards. From a region known as the home of Zinfandel, California’s reputation has broadened to include not only elegant creamy Chardonnays, rich Merlots and full-bodied iconic Cabernet blends, but refined Pinots and delightful sparkling wines such as the Mumm Napa Rosé in this release.

The California wine industry has attracted investment from major European producers, yet continues to be internationally acclaimed for its local viticultural innovation and winemaking excellence. Economic conditions, including a strong Canadian dollar, have led to an increase in the range of quality California wines available, as well as a drop in prices. There’s been a resurgence of interest in California wines across Canada over the last year—make sure you’re a part of it!

The small secondary feature offers such signature Alsatian varietals such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris from highly reputed producers. These wines always delight with their balance, weight and crisp clean fruit flavour. Sprinkled throughout the release is a sure sign of the impending summer weather—a range of rosés including some very tasty ones from Ontario’s 2010 vintage. Don’t miss this opportunity to sample the impressive range of California wines, to enjoy a food-friendly wine from Alsace, and to stock up on versatile rosés for those patio parties. We’re a few pennies over our $100, so I’ll leave it to you to pick and choose!


Cheers
Susan

Hugel & Fils ‘Tradition’ Pinot Gris 2007
AOC Alsace, France
$22.95 (Vintages #118919) 13.0% alcohol

Displaying weight and depth, this is a beautifully crafted wine with a fine silky texture. Dry, medium bodied, the aromas and luscious flavours are of sun-ripened stone fruit, pear and roasted herbs, an elusive floral note persisting. A fresh seam of citrusy acidity carries the fruit through a lingering finish. Delightful now with light meats or seafood, this wine is designed for long-term cellaring.


Featherstone Estate Rosé 2010
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #117861) 13.0% alcohol

A pale peachy pink, produced from Cabernet Franc and Gamay, this rosé displays an appealing nose of bright red fruit, mineral and floral notes. Mid-weight, well balanced, it’s dry yet fruity, offering a basketful of fresh berry flavours and a juicy, tangy texture through the refreshing finish. A versatile wine, you’ll enjoy it on its own, with a summer salad or with poached or grilled salmon.

Bonmarito Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Napa Valley, California
$19.95 (Vintages #213918) 14.5% alcohol

Produced from hand-harvested fruit and aged in French and American oak for 19 months, this is a deeply colored, approachable, balanced wine that offers great value. Smoky, toasty notes drift over robust aromas of ripe red and black fruit, summer herbs and cedar. Those delicious ripe fruit flavours replay on the palate, garnished with sweet spiced vanilla and toast. Dry, medium-full bodied, displaying velvety tannins and fine acidity, this wine has a lasting finish and will be a hit with your choice of grilled meats or meat-based pasta.

J. Lohr ‘South Ridge’ Syrah 2009
Paso Robles, California
$18.95 (Vintages #948240) 13.5% alcohol
Inky purple, this dry, full-bodied and fruit-forward wine has intense aromas of dark berries, smoke, toast and licorice. The concentrated dark berry fruit is a star on the palate, with notes of dark toast, spice and pepper, the whole well balanced with smooth tannins and fine acidity. Very appealing and gulpable, this is a good match for grilled meats. Bring on summer!

I Greppi ‘Greppicante’ Bolgheri 2007
DOC Bolgheri, Italy
$23.95 (Vintages #170381) 13.0% alcohol
The enchantment starts in the glass, with a fine ruby hue. Absolutely delectable, this appealing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc is fragrant with red berry fruit, toast and a rich floral note. Full bodied, it displays brilliant balance of concentrated fresh berry flavours, fresh acidity and ripe tannins. On the clean finish there’s the lingering pleasure of espresso underlying the rich fruit flavours. Enjoy it now, or over the next several years.

Grand Total: $100.75

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the
LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Share

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

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Share

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, April 16, 2011

 

Let the kids keep the chocolate, your Easter treat is from this week’s LCBO Vintages release – dressed up for Easter and heralding the fabulous wines of New Zealand. With a focus on New Zealand’s signature varietals—Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir—there’s a lovely Pinot Gris and some robust reds from Hawkes Bay. Whether it’s a roast ham or a spring risotto on your table, there is a wide range of wines highlighted for Easter, including a white blend from South Africa and a couple of Canadian whites to keep it local. Unsure of how to pair your Easter dinner or Passover brisket? Try a versatile rosé from Niagara’s award-winning Tawse Winery, offering ‘Sketches of Niagara’.

 

The main release is chock full of value-laden wines under twenty dollars, including Apollonio Valle Cupa from Puglia, Hogue’s Reserve Merlot from Washington state, and the Luigi Bosca Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. It was difficult to narrow down the selection for this feature, so we’ve ended up a few pennies over $100.

 

I’ll be celebrating Easter in Italy, and wish you all a delicious holiday weekend wherever you may be!



 

Cheers!

Susan

 

Carrick Pinot Noir 2007
Central Otago, New Zealand
$34.95 (Vintages #919837) 13.5% alcohol

A fabulous semi-opaque ruby wine, this offers a tapestry of aromas and flavours—floral, mineral, sweet cherry and cinnamon toast on the nose. Dry yet silky, the texture is lovely, the wine approachable yet complex. Medium bodied, fine tannins and vibrant acidity are well matched to tangy red fruit—cherry, raspberry and cranberry—soft spicy notes lingering on the persistent finish. A wine to savour now or cellar medium term.

Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages #225557) 13.5% alcohol

From a classic of  New Zealand, pale yellow-green, expect an array of aromas—tropical fruit, pungent green herbaceous notes, asparagus and citrus. Dry, medium bodied, there’s significant weight on the palate, a replay of the tropical fruit, the herbal notes persisting. Lively acidity balances the sweet fruity and herbal tones and carries the flavours through the refreshing finish.

Featherstone ‘Black Sheep’ Riesling2010
VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #80234) 11.0% alcohol
As part of their sustainable practices, the owners of Featherstone have sheep roam the vineyards, trimming the leaves on the vines prior to veraison, creating the conditions for optimal ripeness, seen in this wine. Lovely aromas of stone fruit, tangerine and lemon curd delight. Sweetly fruity, the flavours are of peach, pear and sweet apple, with an underlying backbone of fresh acidity to balance it all. Displaying the great potential of the vintage, this is a delightfully flavourful and well balanced wine with a lasting and compelling finish. Ontario’s signature varietal delights again!

Cave de Rasteau ‘La Domelière’ Rasteau Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2009
AOC Rasteau Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France
$15.00 (Vintages #222927) 14.5% alcohol
A youthful value-laden wine, this medium-bodied blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is sweet and spicy with lovely aromas of dark fruit and licorice on the nose. Dry, silky in texture, it’s structured yet fruity, dark berries, herbs and licorice notes riding a wave of fresh acidity braced with perceptible tannins. Nicely balanced, with heft and texture on the palate, it’s a great wine to enjoy now or over the next couple of years with flavourful meat dishes.

 

Falesco Vitiano 2008
IGT Umbria, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #950204) 13.5% alcohol
This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese is a well-crafted wine with great impact on the palate. On the nose, sweet ripe fruit and spice with a hint of red licorice. Dry, medium bodied, the tannins are firm, the acidity crisp, and there are lovely layered flavours of toasty oak, berry fruit—raspberry, blackberry, black cherry—and exotic spice. The extended dry finish delights with lingering notes of cocoa. It’s a match for grilled meat. Such a value – will one bottle be enough?
 
Grand Total: $100.80

 

 

Have the urge to splurge?
Palatine Hills ‘Proprietor’s Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #121699) 12.8% alcohol
Smooth, dry, medium-full bodied, this is a great exemplar of the heralded 2007 vintage. A deep ruby in tone, the appealing aromas are of dark berries, plum, a slight herbal note and some hints of vanilla and spice.  Ripe tannins and fresh acidity support loads of ripe dark berry fruit, sweet herbs and spice—bay leaves and mint come to mind. Well integrated and robust, this is delicious and wonderfully suave wine. Enjoy it with full-flavoured meat dishes or cellar 3-5 years.

 

 

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

Share