Posts Tagged ‘2012 LCBO Vintages Release’

Vintages Customer Favourites

Posted by Julie

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Several times a year Vintages puts out “Customer Favourites”.  I confess I never really asked how they were chosen but I assume these are the wines that consistently sell the most.

I have read many articles from wine writers offering an opinion on the best buys for $10 and the best ones for $15-20 and so on. Of course, it all comes down to what you as a consumer like to drink. We all have our popular price point. I confess mine has gone up a little since doing pre-release tastings & having the opportunity to taste different wines I may not have otherwise tasted. But having said that, even I have my $10-$12 dollar go-to favourites, & often try different wines at that price point. I think of the Chilean Cono Sur Riesling & Viognier as an example, as well as Montalto from Italy as another. In sparkling wine, the Spanish Cava Frexienet & Italian Prosecco are great values under $15 & finally you can even find some lovely Ontario late harvest wines around that price. I’m not sure these are “LCBO customer favourites” but they are definitely some of mine, at prices where you can have an extremely elegant dinner party & not having blown your budget on wine.

In this release however, I have forecast wines that were included in the Vintages customer favourites as well as a couple I think are really good value.  Perhaps some of these are your favourites too?

Cheers and Enjoy!

Carpene Malvolti Cuvee Brut Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore

DOCG, Veneto, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages # 727438) 12% alcohol
Pale, light crisp white bubbles, who could not love the freshness of Prosecco on a hot summer day? This to me is always a “go-to” sparkling wine at a popular price. Always festive with hints of orange & lemon & a perfect match with salty antipasto. I always describe Prosecco & fresh and fruity & very food-friendly from appetizers through to dessert.

Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2011

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #578625) 11.6% alcohol
I adore the family stories behind the Niagara Peninsula wineries & this one is no exception. Winemaker, Ed Madronich, made his mother proud naming this lovely wine after her. Doug (my husband & also a sommelier) & I visited this winery last June & was told that there is the absolute minimum influence from the winemaker that goes into this lovely Riesling. Consequently it highlights the unique features of the soil in which the grapes are grown. I have bottle tucked away & remember aromas of blooming white flowers & flavours of lime, green apple, delicious minerality, a bit of tropical like pineapple with a zesty finish. Sip after sip brings you more delicious fruit flavours – it’s really easy drinking.

Momo Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Marlborough, South Island
Seresin Estate, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages #9167) 13.5 % alcohol
If I had to choose only one varietal to drink the rest of my life, it would be the beautifully polished looking & clean mouth-feel of a Sauvignon Blanc. And that is not to make it sound like mouthwash. Pale gold in colour, aromas of tropical fruit but with grassy & wet stone minerality flavours. Finishes crisp, a little gooseberry (well it is from New Zealand!) & just plain tantalizing. It squirts saliva from the tastebuds & works them into getting ready for dinner.

L.A. CETTO Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, Mexico
$11.95 (Vintages 114066)  13.5 %alcohol
I’ll bet you did not know that Mexico is the oldest wine producing country in North and South America? All this, thanks to the Italian family of Don Angelo Cetto, who in 1924 came to Mexico from Italy. Their various Cabernet Sauvignon’s have won international awards & this dense ruby-coloured beauty demands some grilled meat to enjoy with it’s grippy tannins & dark fruit flavours. Concentrated & an amazing price for the quality. One of the LCBO’s best kept secrets.

Grant Burge Barossa Shiraz 2010

Barossa Valley, South Australia
$18.95 (Vintages#738567) 13.5 % alcohol
A deep plum colour full of dark berry favourites; black currants, blackberries, hint of blueberry with a mouthcoating velvety texture. A medium-full bodied wine that reminds me of Christmas cake spices such as cinnamon & allspice with medium tannins, acidity & a little peppery on the long finish. Absolutely perfect for a butterflied leg of lamb.

Chateau D’Angles La Clape Classique Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre 2007

AC, Langedoc, France  Famille E. Fabre
$14.95 (Vintages #286484)  14% alcohol
This is without a doubt the classic blend of great French wines. There are so many great flavours that sift from the glass & carry on to the finish. Chocolate, leather, deep plums & blueberry, a little earth & just plain delicious with anything from a peppery steak to an assorted cheese platter. A great value, truly representative of the wines that give France its’ reputation.

Grand Total: $98.70

Well folks, I only have $1.30 left and I can’t even buy a gelato or a decent box of crackers for that price, oh I guess I could try the dollar store. But having spent my $100 on 6 great wines, much as I dislike the expression “getting a lot of bang for the buck” – I think that’s exactly what I got. Here’s hoping your dollar goes as far. Julie


Spanish Flavour Fiesta & Sparkling Wines

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Hola España! If you enjoy Spanish wines, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the March 17 LCBO Vintages release. Included are a range of styles and varietals, including vibrant Albariño from Rías Baixas on the Atlantic, lively Verdejo from Rueda, Mencia from Bierzo and Monastrell from the plateaux of Almansa and Jumilla. There are also Tempranillo-based wines from the classic denominations of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Almost all of these wines are under $20, many of them aged several years, offering great value.

As an example, the Cerro Añon Reserva blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano is from the 2005 vintage, the Vega Sauco Adoremus Tempranillo from the 2004 vintage. A younger wine such as the Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is a steal at $13.95.

Pick up the Vintages catalogue for suggested food matches to some of Spain’s signature grapes! If you enjoy the classic style of dry sparkling wine, produced using Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay in what is known as the ‘Traditional Method’ (a precise measure of still wine, sugar and yeast is added during bottling, kick-starting the second fermentation in bottle, after which the wine rests on the lees and acquires yeasty, toasty notes), the secondary feature will be of interest. The selection ranges from Heidsieck Champagne through the Okanagan’s See Ya Later Ranch Brut, to the very tasty South African Graham Beck Brut sparkling. If you’re into pink, choose the Lefèvre Rémondet Crémant Rosé from Burgundy, Mumm Napa’s Sparkling Rosé, or Niagara’s G. Marquis Ice Rosé kissed with a touch of Cab Franc ice wine.

There are some unique, iconic wines in this release, including the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the Bordeaux-style red blend Opus One by Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Concha & Toro’s Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvginon, Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and my absolute favorite, the Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2002. Released following the death of its legendary winemaker Giuseppe Quintarelli earlier this year, it’s not to be missed. Among the Canadian wines, Flat Rock’s Twisted white wine is always fresh and flavourful, Henry of Pelham’s Barrel Fermented Chardonnay is a well-crafted value, and the Aces Okanagan Seven Deuce Red is substantial and tasty—and entertaining!

Cheers and Enjoy,

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 17, 2012

See Ya Later Ranch
Brut n/v

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$20.95 (Vintages #271049) 12.5% alcohol
Here’s a very nice value from the south-central Okanagan, a well-crafted sparkler also produced using the traditional method. Dry, medium bodied, it’s fresh with aromas of grilled grapefruit, floral notes and a hint of nut. The nutty note replays on the dry, medium-bodied palate, fine mousse offering a clean fresh texture and carrying attractive flavours of citrus and orchard fruit through an extended, lively finish. Pick up a few bottles to celebrate spring!

Lefèvre Rémondet Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé n/v
AOC Bourgogne, France
$15.95 (Vintages #265306) 12.0% alcohol
You can’t go wrong with this great value from Burgundy. The color of fresh cranberry juice, it offers appealing clean aromas of red berry fruit and lightly-grilled toast. The mousse is fine and delicate, fresh red fruit flavours crisp and bright—think cranberry, pie cherry and red currant. It finishes tangy, crisp and fruity. What’s not to like—stockpile a few bottles for casual gatherings.

Cerro Añon Reserva 2005
DOCa Rioja, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #114306) 14.0% alcohol

Principally Tempranillo, this blend displays its lengthy oak aging with notes of vanilla, sandalwood and toast adorning red and black berries. Dry, medium-full bodied, plush and lively fruit wraps around still-perceptible tannins and fresh acidity, nuances of vanilla and sweet spice adding complexity. Charry toasty notes persist on the lasting dry yet fruit-filled finish. A substantial wine crafted for long-term cellaring, offering excellent value.

Wakefield Shiraz 2009
Clare Valley, Australia$17.95 (Vintages #943787)) 14.0% alcohol
From one of Australia’s first families of wine, this is a dry, substantial wine showcasing a subtle yet defined structure. Fragrant with ripe berries, spice, pepper and vanilla, the texture is tangy with fresh acidity, ripe tannins creating a clean frame for the spice-infused dark fruits washing across the palate and through the toasty finish. You’ll want a few bottles of this award-winning wine to enjoy now and to cellar medium term.

Quinta Nova Pomares 2009
DOC Douro, Portugal
$16.95 (Vintages #214007) 13.5% alcohol

Semi-transparent ruby, this attractive blend of classic Port grapes features high-toned aromas and flavours of red fruit, spice, dried herbs and vanilla. Dry, medium bodied, the impact on the palate is lively and fresh, the texture is appealingly silky, the tannins sleek and subtle, the finish tangy and refreshing. A well crafted wine that offers good value, drinking well now and cellarable short term.

Grand Total: $90.75

Worth the splurge: An iconic wine from a legendary producer …

Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2002

DOC Valpolicella, Italy
$79.95 (986117) 15.0% alcohol

Can a wine engender bliss? If so, this is the one! A decade old, released just after the death of its illustrious winemaker, Giuseppe Quintarelli, this fine garnet wine offers subtlty, elegance, depth and pure tasting joy. On the nose, whispers of leather, earth, evolved fruit, dried cherries, subtle spice and vanilla layer, mingle and merge on the palate. Pure silk, the texture is lush yet remarkably fresh, the tannins supple. There’s a sense of warmth and earthiness, of exquisite integration and balance, and a finish that lasts and lasts. Dinner out or this wine – no contest!



Made in France

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

French wine fans will enjoy the March 3rd LCBO Vintages segment featuring signature varieties of France, many of which have now proliferated around the globe. Among the whites are classic crisp intensely aromatic varietals from Alsace (Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer), Chardonnay in two unique styles from Burgundy (Chablis and Meursault), and a vibrant penetrating Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire (Sancerre). The selection of French red wines in the feature provides the opportunity to taste well-known single-varietal wines, such as Morgon (Gamay), Volnay (Pinot Noir), Crozes-Hermitage (Syrah) and Cahors (Malbec). For a sampling of the unique blends found in some of France’s best-known appellations, try a Cabernet or Merlot-dominated Bordeaux, a Grenache-based Vacqueyras or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, or a Grenache-Carignan blend from the South. The selection emphasizes the wide range of terroir and wine styles to be found in this long-established Old World region.

There’s also a fabulous selection of Chilean Carmenère red wines in this release with a French connection! Did you know that Carmenère grape was part of the Bordeaux red wine blend prior to the vineyard devastation caused by infamous plant louse phylloxera? The grape was brought to Chile in the mid-1800s and misidentified as the Merlot grape until the mid-1990s. It’s a late-ripening varietal that prefers richer clay soils. When fully ripened, it displays an intense purple-red hue, a full velvety texture, aromas of berry fruit, spice and chocolate. The wines in this selection range from the iconic Montes Purple Angel, to Natura’s organic Carmenère. Enjoy these substantial and flavourful wines.

There are several good values at or under $15, including Cattail Creek ‘Estate’ Sauvignon Blanc, Don Cristobal 1492 Bonarda, Umani Ronchi ‘San Lorenzo’ Rosso Conero, Casa Silva Carmenère, Château de Parenchères and Palacios Remondo La Vendimia.

Among the Canadian wines, I would recommend the robust Jackson-Triggs Gold Series Sunrock Vineyard Shiraz  and the round, fruity Featherstone Red Tail Merlot.

Cheers and Enjoy,

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 3, 2012


Marimar Estate ‘La Masía Don Miguel Vineyard’ Chardonnay 2007

Russian River Valley, California
$19.95 (Vintages #270090) 14.2% alcohol
Produced from organic grapes grown in a vineyard named after Miguel Torres, this Chardonnay has loads of personality. Dry, medium-full bodied white wine, it’s fragrant with ripe apple, pear and pineapple mingling with nutty, spicy aromas. Round, silky yet juicy and fresh, it delivers the zing of citrus, hints of caramel apple and roasted pear and a long mouthwatering finish. Enjoy now with chicken casserole or cellar 3-5 years.

Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Viognier 2011

South Australia
$15.95 (Vintages #624502) 13.5% alcohol
Featuring perfumed floral and fruit aromas, this dry, mid-full bodied white wine is reliably good. It delivers nicely matched acidity and depth of fruit flavours—stone fruit and  sweet citrus to the fore—finishing with an appealing slightly bitter hint of zest adding tang to the fruit.

Perrin & Fils ‘Les Christins’ Vacqueyras 2009

AOC Vacqueyras, France
$23.95 (Vintages #973453) 14.5% alcohol
This appealing red wine blend of Grenache (dominantly) and Syrah displays great integration and balance while delivering a complex array of aromas—sweet fruit, spiced vanilla, floral notes and sweet dried herbs. Dry, medium-full bodied red wine, the sweetness of licorice mingles with the rich fruit flavours across the palate, subtle nuances of spice and toast persisting on the smooth supple finish. Enjoy it now or cellar medium term.

Misiones de Rengo ‘Gran Reserva Cuvée’ Carmenère 2010

Rapel Valley
$19.95 (Vintages #264937) 14.0% alcohol
Intriguing notes of dried herbs, flowers, red berries, cherries and exotic spice drift from the glass of this dry, medium-full bodied red wine. The framing is subtle, the texture fresh, well-integrated oak exists in fine balance with delicious red fruit and attractive notes of spiced dark chocolate. Quite refined, offering persistent fruit and notes of spice and toast on the lasting finish, this is a very good value that will cellar medium term.

Umani Ronchi ‘San Lorenzo’ Rosso Conero 2008
 DOCRosso Conero, Italy

$14.95 (Vintages #981191) 13.5% alcohol
Deep ruby violet, this is a very nice valued red wine produced from the Montepulciano grape, part of the wine aged in barrique and large cask. Aromas of sweet ripe fruit, black licorice, herbs and earth lift from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, the dark berry fruit is framed by sleek tannins and lively acidity, earthy notes and hints of char adding layers of flavour that persist through the mouthwatering dry finish. Enjoy now or cellar short term.

Grand Total: $94.75