Posts Tagged ‘all wineries listed’

Cabernet is King!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, February 28th, 2014
Share

Last weekend’s Academy Awards shone the spotlight on the top movies, actors & directors of the year.  While at the LCBO, they have crowned Cabernet Sauvignon as ‘King’ of their latest release.   I tried several from every point across the globe & was impressed by many.  Also impressed by the differences.  Typically we think of Cabernets as knock your socks off red to enjoy with steak & prime rib.  While the ones that I tasted made a statement, they ranged from medium to full bodied, were elegant, well balanced & made a good impression.  No doubt in my mind that they would be enhanced with food from BBQed pork chops to Sunday roasts with all of the trimmings.

And drinking only Cabernets – or many red wines for that matter – will turn your lips & teeth purple, I have added to my shopping list some white wines & other interesting reds to add to your shopping cart.

OLCBO cover March 1 2014h…and you may be surprised to see that the LCBO is shining the spotlight on wines from Israel. Mark my words – you will see more.  Five years ago, I was invited by the Embassy of Israel in Ottawa to join the first media tour of Canadian wine writers.  We were impressed by the incredible wineries that we visited & the HUGE wines that we tasted.  Now it is your turn to pick up a bottle & explore. Don’t by shy because it is labelled Kosher – this does not impact the taste, only the winemaking process.  All 6 wines from Israel in this release were good – splurge & you too will be impressed.

Cheers!
-Debbie

 

If I only had a $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages
February 28th, 2014

 

Wingspan Sauvignon BlancWingspan Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages 365403) 13% alcohol

This is springtime in a glass.  Classic Sauvignon Blanc – cut grass (do you remember that smell after this long hard winter?), fresh herbs (thyme & mint) combined with aromas & tastes of white flowers & citrus fruits. This will melt away all thoughts of winter.  Enjoy with spring roasted chicken or fresh asparagus.

 

Apollonio SquinzanoApollonio Squizano

Italy, Puglia
$17.95 (Vintages 362475)  14% alcohol

If you don’t speak Italian nor have 20/20 eyesight you will miss this wine all together! I have never seen a label with font so small….and it is all in Italian! Ask any LCBO Product Consultant (look for those with a gold badge) and say that you are looking for the ‘Squizzy’ wine, they will apparently know exactly what you are looking for.  This Nebillio red wine is my new favorite.  Apparently this winery releases frequently into Vintages incredible red wines under $20.  Big, loaded with black fruit and a long finish.  Be on the lookout for this wine from this lesser known Italian wine region 

Cedarcreek Cab MerlotCedarCreek Estates Cabernet Merlot

Okanagan Valley, BC
$24.95 (Vintages 175604) 13.9% alcohol

What?!?! Under $25 for this medium to full red wine from British Columbia – how can this be so? Loaded with red & black fruit, this wine deserves to be served with beef tenderloin, Sunday roast with all the trimmings or BBQed ribs.  Buy 2 or 3 bottles while you are at it!

 

treaty-tree-233x1000Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

South Africa
$16.95 (Vintages 278382) 13.5% alcohol

There was a buzz around the room about this wine.  Eyebrows were raising with each sip.  BIG and I mean BIG aromas & tastes in this plush red wine of black fruit (figs, dates) and bumbleberry jam.  Smooth texture & long finish – this was a great surprise. At this price, make it your weekday wine.

 

Dante Robino Bonarda

Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages 277640) 13.9% alcohol

Never heard of Bonarda grape variety? At this price, grab this wine & discover what you have been missing. Medium full bodied with concentrated aromas of red berries, plush texture in the mouth and well integrated tannins.  A food wine – bring on lamb chops or sit down to a hearty Sunday roast.

 

Grand total: $92.75

Share

Impressive wines to uncork on Valentines Day

Posted by Julie

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Share

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and while some folks may be thinking red roses, I’m thinking of a dinner with my husband that starts off with a glass of bubbles, a white wine with a soup or salad, followed by a silky red to pair with the main meal…then top off the evening with an icewine.

vintagesI had a hard time narrowing down my choices especially with so many award winners….I have chosen 4 fabulous wines that amount to no more than $100 total at the cash. On Valentine’s Day, my husband & I usually prefer to stay at home and enjoy a nice dinner but the evening does not have to be a work horse. I have some SIMPLE pairing suggestions to accompany these great wines.

On Feb.14, I will be working in Moscow, but I’ll be squirreling away the bottles listed below for a great dinner upon our return. I would love to hear about anything that you find remarkable.

Happy Valentine’s day, from my heart to yours!

Julie

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

 

Pfaffenheim Brut Rose Cremant d'Alsace sparkling winePfaffenheim Brut Rosé Crémaunt D’Alsace

AC, Alsace, France
$17.95 (Vintages #352203) 12 % alcohol

A lovely sparkling wine, a dreamy and so romantic soft pink colour with flavours and tastes of summer berries with a perfect punch of acidity. One of those wines that could take you through an entire dinner and dessert or just to enjoy on its own. Oh and did I mention it was a Gold Medal winner at the 2012 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. I’m not the only one that loved it.  Bring out some Miss Vickie’s potato crisps and a few shrimp, what a start to your evening!

Irony Chardonnay white wineIrony Chardonnay 2011

California
$19.95 (Vintages #027409)   14.5% alcohol

Aromas of butterscotch pudding and buttered toasty almonds made me think this Chard. might be a little sweet, but it dissipates into tastes of tropical fruit, bone dry with a tad citrus, a mouth coating lengthy finish and the word “yum” just sprung to my mind. Although not a new product to Vintages, thankfully I have finally tasted this white wine. I like a full-bodied and rich Chardonnay during the winter months and this would be sheer bliss with a creamy squash or carrot and ginger soup. (You don’t have to slave in the kitchen, there are some great jars of soup out there.)  

Signargues Cotes du Rhone red wineLes Vignerons Du Castelas Vieilles Vignes Signargues

Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2010
$16.95  (Vintages #034116)  14% alcohol

Dark garnet in colour with cigar box and black currant aromas, full bodied with tastes of lavender, liquorce/pepper and a little fruitcake. How you go wrong with a Grenache and Syrah with 20% Carignan. It has good structure and balance, some smooth but nippy tannins as only a fine Rhone valley red wine provides. It is an amazing price point considering this was a Gold Medal winner at the 2011 Concours Général Agricole in Paris.  I plan to serve this will some roasted pork tenderloin, ground hazelnut crust, sweet potatoes and green beans and am salivating as I write.

Henry of Pelham IcewineHenry of Pelham Cabernet Icewine 2012

VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$39.95 (Vintages #672402)  10% alcohol

The floral on the nose is reminiscent of an English country garden but with strawberry and rhubarb flavours on the palate not to mention a little citrus. No one could not adore this beautiful, elegant and refined taste. The marmalade sweetness makes it a perfect dessert wine with a seam of acidity that make your taste buds pay attention. This Icewine has a long lingering finish that just sends you back for more. It would be heaven served with a great baker’s lemon or raspberry tart followed by a little artisan blue cheese – a perfect first class Canadian finale. Who needs the Olympics?

Grand Total: $ 94.80

 

 

 

Share

Change of season – time to shop for different wines

Posted by Julie

Friday, April 26th, 2013
Share

During my recent trip to Shanghai I tasted some “Great Wall” wines which really did not inspire me to climb the wall despite the fact that China is the fifth world’s wine producing country. I’m so glad to be back in Ottawa in time for signs of Spring which to me include all the great wines in the LCBO Vintages release on Saturday April 27.

Although we’re all ready for a change in temperature and switching lighter style wines,  this release focuses on Italy’s Veneto, Appassimento and organic wines all perfect for hearty pastas. 

 What are Veneto wines?

No need for translation here…however Apassimento style wine is an ancient wine technique where the grapes are laid out on straw mats to allow them to dry. Depending on humidity and temperature, the grapes shrivel and develop high sugar concentration levels. After being crushed they produce concentrated rich wines such as Amarone and desert ones like “vin santo”.

The real splurge…

Although I cannot fathom anyone tiring of ice or late harvest wine, for something different, this release offers a wonderful Italian desert wine and a myriad of really big reds for those who are biting to grill some meat. There are also some fabulous new white wines from our Niagara region.

The real splurge however, would be the Veuve Clicquot Pondsardin Vintage Rose Champagne 2004 at $97.95, oh the mousse in this is divine and it does comes with a gift box.

So all this to say, if you are planning a special lunch or dinner, this release offers quite a selection of new beverages to help dress up any occasion.

Spring Cheers!

Julie

The Good Earth the Good Wine Betty’s Blend 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #327791) 11.6% alcohol

Winery owner Nicolette Novak isn’t kidding when she includes the word ‘good’ in the name of her winery – there’s nothing but good wine at Good Earth. This blend is pale in colour with aromas of white blossoms and a bit of wet stone. Deliciously delicate in taste with a lovely mix of tree fruits like apricot and a pinch of tart apple. It’s dry fresh and light and a wine that I would call a crowd pleaser – no one could not like this wine!  It is a perfect afternoon drink on its own or with some soft cheese or light lunch.

 

La Cappuccina Soave 2012  (Organic)

DOC, Veneto, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #081489) 12% alcohol

Perhaps it is because the grapes are grown at the site of an ancient chapel housed by Franciscan friars who, for over a century really knew how to grow grapes. The pale straw coloured wine is fresh and crisp with tastes of lemon-lime on the palate. It is clean tasting, fruity but bone dry & the wine is sulphur free with lively acidity.  It’s a fabulous sipper or would be perfect with some shellfish or other seafood. I can practically imagine an Italian piazza, some brilliant sunshine, nibbles of grilled calamari and of course having a glass of this cool zesty delicious Soave.

 

EOS Estate Petite Sirah 2009

Paso Robles, California, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #317677) 13.9% alcohol

It is coincidental that on 5 April 2013, in Ottawa, I poured for the EOS Estate Winery at the California Wine Show. There were not many Petite Sirah’s at the show so this wine was a popular novelty.  EOS, named after the Greek Goddess of dawn, is the largest winery on California’s Central Coast to run completely on alternative energy. Layered with dark fruits and a peppery pinch of coffee on the finish; a great sipper on its own or with a lamb/feta burger.

 

Chateau Haut-Plaisance 2010

Ac Montagne Saint Emilion, France
$17.00 (Vintages 326587) 15% alcohol

A rich garnet red Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabnert Franc – a classic full bodied Meritage. Heady aromas of ripe dark fruit and violets that follow through with a little leather and pepper on the medium long finish. It is positively mouthcoating and delcious with firm medium tannins that would match a prime rib any day. It also won Gold Medals at the Concours General Agricole de Paris and Concours des Grands Vins de France in 2012- need I say more?

 

Antolini Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico 2009  (Dessert Wine)

DOC, Italy
$28.95 (Vintages #135533) 13.5% alcohol

Valpolicella ranks just after Chianti in total Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wine production. This rich, luscious desert wine, made with Corvina and Rondinella grapes, derives part of its name (recioto) from ancient Greek dialect “recie” meaning ears. This refers to the lobes of a grape cluster that appear as “ears” becoming very ripe with direct sun exposure which in turn allows the natural sugars to concentrate. Following harvest, DOC Regulations dictate that Reciotos cannot be pressed before January 1. The grapes in this wine matured a year before bottling. Aromas and tastes of rich dark fruit, roasted almonds with chocolate overtones and spices reminiscent of Christmas cake. With a piece of dark chocolate or unsweetened chocolate cake, it would be heaven

 

Grand Total: $98.80

 

Share

Great Wine Picks from Ontario & France For Your Easter Weekend

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
Share

Easter weekend arrives early this year, the last weekend of March, and the March 30 LCBO Vintages is right on cue, with a special feature including a bevy of Ontario wines to serve with your ham, turkey or prime rib. To get you started, try the always delectable 13th Street Premier Cuvée sparkling wine, a fine, focused effort from the 2008 vintage.

 

With ham or turkey, you have a choice of wines, including Chardonnay from Thomas Bachelder or Le Clos Jordanne, or single vineyard Pinot Noir from Le Clos Jordanne or Peninsula Ridge. With prime rib or ham, give the Featherstone Cabernet Franc from the great 2011 vintage a whirl.

 

Looking for a grand finale to the Easter meal, enjoy Fielding Estates’ luscious yet balanced Vidal Icewine, winner of a silver medal at the Canadian Wine Awards. The main feature, showcasing Southern France, also offers a fine sparkling wine from the Languedoc, Domaine J. Laurens ‘Le Moulin’ Brut Blanquette de Limoux. Made in the same method as champagne, with the second fermentation in bottle, Blanquette de Limoux is recognized as the first sparkling wine made in France – earliest references date back to Benedictine monks in the 16th century.  If you’re feeling adventurous, buy a bottle of both the Blanquette de Limoux and the 13th Street sparkler, and compare!

Southern France Shines Through

The remainder of the Southern France feature comprises mostly red wine blends, from appellations such as Minervois, Côtes de Roussillon, Corbières and the Côtes du Languedoc, most offering great value in the $15-20 range. This area of France is quite fascinating, with influences from southern Bordeaux, the Mediterranean and northern Spain. French melts into Catalan, fields of lavender rush to meet the sea, and vineyards climb the rocky hills. It’s a region of innovation and ancient history, stretching back to the Romans. With somewhat looser rules in its appellations, the Languedoc was one of the first regions in France to create tasty, relatively inexpensive wines for export naming the grape varieties on the label. You will finds blends that combine varying concentrations of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and/or Mourvèdre, such as the Cave de Roquebrun “La Grange des Combes’ Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun (awarded 4 stars by Decanter World Wine Awards), the Château de Treviac from Corbières near the Spanish border, and the Château Saint-Roch Chimères, included in our selection.

 California Wine Fair Comes to Ottawa April 5, 2013

The general release also offers some great value, including a couple of California red wines—Irony ‘Small Lot Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon and the unique Langtry Guenoc Petite Syrah.  Reminder – the California Wine Fair stops in Ottawa just after Easter (April 5 at the Westin) and in Toronto the following week  (April 8 at the Fairmont Royal York). Erasmo is a fabulous Cab/Merlot blend from Chile, while Otazu is an award-winning wine from Spain. Don’t miss Luigi Righetti’s ‘Campolieto’ Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore from the 2010 vintage – it’s fabulous and one of our choices. I just opened a bottle of 2005 that was divine, so pick up a few bottles of this wine—a great deal at $16.95—to enjoy now and to cellar.

 

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet 2011

AP Coteaux du Languedoc, France
$12.95 (Vintages #525287) 12.5% alcohol
Load up the wagon with this great value white wine! Straw-hued, it’s fragrant with white flowers, citrus zest and a touch of crisp green apple. Dry, clean and tangy, with a fine silky texture, the flavours of lemon/lime and green apple replay right through the tasty, palate-cleansing finish. A lively sipper or a great wine to pair with fish or seafood.

Château Saint-Roch Chimères 2010

AOC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France
$18.95 (Vintages #119354) 14.5% alcohol
This is a big, flavourful red wine blend—Grenache, Syrah and Carignan—a bold wine offering intriguing aromas of blueberry, smoked meat, dried herbs, tar and earth. Dry, full bodied, the intense flavours of berries replay, mingling with elusive notes of sweet spice and dark chocolate. Displaying well-integrated tannins and oak, it’s loaded with flavour and finishes with a peppery flourish. Serve with herbed rack of lamb.

The Good Earth Dry Riesling 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #324244) 11.3% alcohol
Owner Nicolette Novak isn’t kidding when she includes the word ‘good’ in the name of her winery – there’s nothing but good food and wine at Good Earth. This Riesling is a fine example! Deftly crafted by young winemaker Dré Glass it’s a finely balanced dry, mid weight white wine where clean, tangy acidity is married with lovely aromas and flavours of pithy citrus and crisp apple. A fine mineral edge enhances the keen, lively texture and carries through the lengthy refreshing finish. Serve it with lobster with lemon butter, or with ham.

Irony ‘Small Lot Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Napa Valley, California
$19.95 (Vintages #25106) 14.5% alcohol
The quality of this red wine makes me glad the Indelicato brothers came back to their roots after ‘escaping’ (their words) the family farm! Dense and dark, this outstanding, finely balanced dry wine offers lovely aromas of ripe dark fruit, cedar, spiced vanilla and fragrant dried herbs. Dry, full bodied,  it’s a warm, approachable and intensely flavourful wine displaying well integrated oak, fresh acidity and velvety tannins married to a core of sweet spiced cassis, blackberry and plum. Great fruit-filled finish! 

Luigi Righetti ‘Campolieti’ Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010

DOC Valpolicella, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #695890) 13.5% alcohol
Ruby, semi-opaque this fine, compelling red wine blend offers totally alluring aromas of sweet ripe dark fruit, vanilla, incense and chocolate-coated cherries. Dry, medium-full bodied, you couldn’t ask for a more balanced wine. Well-integrated oak, ripe tannins and fine acidity create a velvety texture that wraps around full-flavoured, concentrated black berry and plum-flavoured fruit that glides through a yielding finish. Since you’ll want to taste it right now, buy at least one other bottle for the cellar!

Grand Total: $88.75

 

 

 

Share

‘Tis the Season for Snazzy Sparkling wines

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Share

Holiday season is upon us, so it’s no wonder that one theme for this next release on December 8 at the LCBO Vintages features is “Fabulous Fizz”, also known as sparkling wine.

There is nothing more celebratory or inviting than being given a glass of sparkling wine when you go into someone’s home and this release offers all kinds of festive fizz. Of course if you are in for the big splurge there are some new Champagne releases starting at $44.95 going to $299.95 for a rare Dom Perignon Rosé Champagne. My features however show that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy great bubbly.

Sparkling wine is generally lower in alcohol than many table wines with more delicate flavours to entice the palate. This makes it a great aperitif to serve with hors d’oeuvres, especially salty ones. The bubbles act as palate cleansers which send you reaching for one more nibble. For this reason sparkling wine is also known to be incredibly food friendly from appetizers through to desert. During the Christmas season, I add pomegranate seeds to the sparkling wine which, in a tall flute, makes for a very festive presentation.

So don’t neglect to have a few sparklers on hand. What is not enjoyed before Christmas, can provide some “pop” at New Year’s. There are some new, some old and I am sure you will find one to suit your budget.

Since this will be my last “If I had a $100” blog until next year, I wish you a fabulously, fizzy season.

Cheers, Santé, Salute, Aplausos to my readers!

 Julie

Oyster Bay Brut Sparkling Cuvée

New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages #163634) 12% alcohol

Some of you may be familiar with the Oyster Bay Chardonnay on the LCBO general list so it was a real treat to see that the winemakers made a sparkler just in time for the Christmas season. Produced with the same finesse that is given to their Chard., this does not disappoint and tastes similar to Champagne, done in the Charmat style. (This is when the wine undergoes a secondary fermention in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.) A lovely nose of lemon-lime, fine moussy bubbles with a creamy texture in the mouth feel. It is a lovely sipper on its own with hors d’oeuvres and could easily go to the table to serve with salad and seafood.

Jackson Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2008

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$22.95 (Vintages #234161) 12% alcohol

The wine was fermented first in stainless steel tanks and like the above Traditional Méthode or Méthode Classique, it was then aged in the bottle for 3 years before being disgorged (removing the sediment). A blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay 30%) how could it not be anything but elegant and refined? It has a generous mousse (wine speak for lots of tiny bubbles) aromas of white blossoms and almonds, with creamy tastes of apples, citrus and apricots. It’s one classy wine!

Domaine Du Clos De L’Epinay Tete De Cuvée Brut Vouvray 2007

AC, Loire Valley, France
$19.95 (Vintages #298398) 12% alcohol

The Chenin Blanc grape varietal initially hails from the Loire valley of France. It is known for its’ great acidity which means it can be blended, or produced on it’s own in everything from sparkling to still wine to luscious desert wine. This sparkler has lots of “nose” giant flavours of yellow apples, almost a little sweet spice reminiscent of baked coconut pie but dry and a pinch vegetal. All these fabulous flavours dance on the palate with a delicious hazel-nutty finish. Another great partner for seafood appetizers or a fish course.

Masottina Brut Prosecco

DOC, Treviso, Veneto, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #297838) 11.5% alcohol

I can’t count the number of times I have served Prosecco (and Cava, below) to start a dinner party and this is the new kid on the block. Very pale in colour with a slightly greenish hue, delightfully aromatic; white blossoms and fresh scents of apple and pear, with a slightly edgy taste of citrus on the palate. It sure gets those taste buds moving before sitting down to the main course and is a great all year round sparkler. This would be a fabulous prior to a creamy hot or cold soup, depending on the season. It also goes without saying it’s a splendid beginning to some Italian food.

Naveran Dama Extra Brut Cava 2010

DOC, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #223602) 12% alcohol

Fresh and lively with aromas of tropical fruit and a little spice. A blend of Chardonnay and Parellada grapes gives it a fairly weighty mouth feel for a sparkling wine with lots of bubbles to create lingering fruit flavours on the finish. A great start to a paella dinner or with tapas or just on its own. Lots of flavours and interest, a great value wine.

Grand Total: $ 99.75

(maybe in the New Year I will hit $100.00 spot on)

 

 

Share