Posts Tagged ‘2011 LCBO Vintages’

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 29th, 2011
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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, October 1, 2011

Taste a world traveller in the October 1 LCBO Vintages release, which offers a range of different styles of Syrah/Shiraz from around the world. Why the two different spellings?Cooler climates such as the Northern Rhône, the original home of Syrah, produce ageworthy wines known to be dry and structured, characterized by bright fruit flavours, black pepper and mint. In climates where the warmth allows the grapes to fully ripen, such as South Australia, winemakers will often label their wines as Shiraz to distinguish their wines as bigger, more full bodied, ripely fruity, spicy and more softly structured. Of course, there are wines of every style in between and from newer regions, such as Chile and Argentina where the climate facilitates the creation of a wine with fairly soft texture and ripe sweet fruit underpinned with the classic Rhône structure. And Syrah is also found in a range of blends, including the wines of the southern Rhône, where it typically is blended with varietals such as Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Carignan.

There’s also a good example of an Australian blend in this release, Hickinbotham’s Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon. Consider tasting a range of these wines, from Guigal’s classic Crozes-Hermitage, to the powerful full-bodied eminently ageable Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Shiraz, to the Syrah from Chile or Sicily. The substantial secondary feature is perfect for those who want to start a cellar. The quality of the fruit, levels of acidity and tannic structure are critical factors affecting the ageability of wines. With certain varietals and blends, classic examples being Burgundian and Bordeaux wines, methods of oak aging are also of significance. Perhaps you selected one or two Bordeaux wines from the Septembere 17 release to start your cellar. With this release, you can consider two Canadian whites—Le Clos Jordanne’s Talon Ridge Chardonnay, or Vineland’s St. Urban Riesling—a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or South Australia, a Burgundy from Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils, a Brunello or Barolo from Italy, and a Vintage Port, among others. You won’t go wrong with any of these and can create a small selection to choose from and to build on in the future.

Finally, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there are some wines in this release that are a perfect match for that festive meal. For an all-Canadian line-up, consider the Cranberry Wine from Stoney Ridge to whet your appetite or with the meal, a choice of Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay or Wayne Gretzky’s Pinot Noir for the main course, and finish up with the Pomme de Glace Ice Cider with your apple pie and ice cream!


Happy Thanksgiving,

Susan

Vineland ‘St. Urban’ Riesling 2009
VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #38117) 8.4% alcohol
While almost transparent, this wine is very fragrant—pear, sweet citrus and a fine mineral quality drift from the glass. Definitively off-dry, there’s a faint hint of spritz, lovely lemon-lime flavours, traces of stone fruit and mineral, balanced by a clean stream of fine acidity. Beautifully crafted and tasty, you just want more . . . so buy a few bottles, as this will cellar medium-long term.

Babich ‘Black Label’ Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Marlborough, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages #9142) 14.0% alcohol
Big and substantial are not the usual terms for a Sauvignon Blanc, but they’re just right in the case of this fragrant wine. Inhale the aromas and savour the rich flavours of ripe tropical fruit—imagine lime-splashed papaya—gooseberry, nettle and a hint of fresh ginger. Beautifully balanced, dry, full on the palate, this is a gorgeous wine with some zip on the fruit-filled finish.

Luigi Bosca ‘Single Vineyard’ Malbec 2008
Luján de Cuyo, Argentina
$21.95 (Vintages #74922) 14.4% alcohol
The impressive pedigree—fruit from a 70-year-old vineyard, 14 months oak aging—from a highly reputable producer portends the quality and depth of this wine. Notably complex and lush aromas of berry, plum, cocoa, toasty oak and dried herbs lead the way to a full dry velvety palate that’s equally complex. Subtly framed by ripe tannins and fine acidity, rich fruit flavours and notes of cocoa persist on the lasting supple finish. Drinking well now, the wine will cellar 5-7 years.

Pérez-Cruz ‘Limited Edition’ Syrah 2009
Maipo Alto, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #588812) 14.0% alcohol
Produced from hand-picked grapes wrested from stony soils, this is a dry, medium bodied wine with layered aromas and flavours. Earthy herbal notes, a hint of balsamic, a whiff of spiced rose and the tang of ripe raspberries mingle with focused dark berry fruit,The texture is appealingly fresh, the tannins somewhat chalky, the overall experience intriguing and consistently flavourful through the lasting finish. A match for lamb or beef.

Feudo Principi di Butera Syrah 2008
IGT Sicilia, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #247510) 13.0% alcohol
Appealing aromas of rich ripe dark fruit, sweet spice and smoky toast waft from the glass. Dry, medium-full bodied, the core of intense berry fruit wraps around a firm structure, the notes of spice and pepper lasting through a balanced savoury finish. Approachable and very flavourful, this is a wine to enjoy with robust meat dishes.

Grand Total: $96.75

Options:

Tuck this Barolo away in the cellar – a great value!

Marchesi di Barolo Barolo 2005
DOCG Barolo, Italy
$34.95 (Vintages #168179) 14.0% alcohol
A very attractive, elegant designed-to-age wine that offers subtle alluring floral notes and aromas of earth, red fruit, toast and vanilla. Dry, medium bodied and tight-knit, the tannins are notable, the flavours of wild strawberry, pepper and spice box balanced by fine acidity. Delivering a long intense finish, this wine is a great value. Created for long-term cellaring, hold it for a few more years, or serve decanted accompanied by veal chops with porcini mushrooms.

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!

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, July 7th, 2011
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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, July 9, 2011

You’ll want to celebrate the 90+ wines in the July 9 LCBO Vintages release with one of the fine sparklers also featured. I’ve included one of my favorites, a Crémant de Bourgogne rosé, but there’s a wide range to choose from including Grand Cru Champagne, German Sekt, Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco and Moscato d’Asti, as well as sparklers from Ontario, California and South Africa.

The classifier ‘classic or traditional method’ implies that the wine goes through a second fermentation in bottle, like Champagne, a process used for more complex wines that tends to produce a fine mousse and delightful aromas of brioche and baked bread. Cava, for instance, and the Mike Weir Sparkling Brut, are produced in this way. The Charmat Method, which sees the wine bottled after undergoing a second fermentation in tank, produces a lively refreshing sparkling wine—a good example being Prosecco. Often these wines are less expensive than those produced using the traditional approach. Try one produced using each method, for instance a Crémant and a Prosecco, and see what you think!

The principal feature focuses on critic-reviewed wines that scored 90 or more points. Individuals follow the recommendations of wine reviewers for different reasons—their reputation, the type of wines they review, the accessibility of their reviews, etc. In the end, you may choose to follow a particular reviewer because their tastes and preferences in wines coincide with yours or because you are looking for reliable wine recommendations when you want to try something new.

For you, the ‘Savvy’ follower of “If I had $100”, I have highlighted below a couple of 90+ wines I would buy, but there are many others to choose from: an unusual fresh, aromatic Verdeca, a fine New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a beautiful Oregon Pinot Noir, an expressive concentrated Australian Grenache, among others. Take you pick of these wines, then start your tasting al fresco with the Crémant de Bourgogne rosé!


Cheers,

Susan

Louis Bouillot ‘Perle d’Aurore’ Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne nv
Burgundy, France
$18.95 (Vintages #48793) 12.0% alcohol

Pale salmon, this is an absolutely delightful medium-bodied sparkler that’s fruity yet dry. From the subtle aromas of summer berries, spice and brioche through the delicate creamy mousse that refreshes the palate, it offers light red berry flavours and a lasting fresh finish. A great value, enjoy it with nothing to do, or with a smoked salmon appetizer.

Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico 2007
Chianti Classico, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #222810) 14.0% alcohol

The ruby tone of this wine is echoed in the enticing aromas and flavours of ripe red berries and cherries. Dry, medium bodied, fresh yet rounded, the fruit predominates, subtle exotic spices perfuming the wine. In fine balance, the wine has a lasting slightly warm finish graced with delicate notes of spice and toast. Enjoy it now or cellar medium term.

Ramos Pinto ‘Duas Quintas’ Reserva 2007
Douro, Portugal
$21.95 (Vintages #951301) 15.0% alcohol

Inky purple, this blend of classic port grapes—Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca—is rich and fruity, offering nuances of spice and vanilla. Dry, full bodied and satin smooth, it displays a defined structure of firm tannins and refined acidity. The tasting experience is delicious—ripe fruit, peppery warmth, spicy toast and a bite of espresso. Very tasty, with a lasting dry finish, it will cellar long term.

Château Hourbanon 2003
AOC Médoc, France
$21.95 (Vintages #125922) 13.0% alcohol
This is an impressive value-laden wine from a hot vintage. Garnet in the glass, it proffers complex aromas—dark berries, dried cherries, herbal notes and a whiff of cedar. Dry, medium bodied with a firm structure and fresh acidity, the intriguing replay of flavours on the palate captivates. The long refined finish calls for more, so consider a few bottles.

Baglio di Pianetto ‘Shymer’ Syrah/Merlot 2008
IGT Sicily, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #219501) 14.5% alcohol
Deep ruby, this wine is heady with dark fruit, vanilla, savoury herbal and perfumed floral notes. Dry, full bodied and intensely flavourful, it’s rich with black fruits—cherries, berries, plums—peppery and slightly smoky. All that rich fruit is framed by perceptible tannins, the warm peppery note persisting on the fruity finish. A good value!

Grand Total: $98.75

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!

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