Posts Tagged ‘Cava’

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 5th, 2014
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes, with friends, festivities, and family get togethers.  Vintages in the LCBO never disappoints.  In this weekend’s release (December 6) I wanted to buy one of everything….but remembering that I only have $100 and several dinner parties ahead of me I’m looking for value – for you and me.

LCBO Vintages magazine Dec 6First, there’s all kinds of divine “fizz” out there to tickle your tastebuds and reasonably priced sparklers such as the two new Cava’s in this release.  They are dry, snappy and the genesis to any dinner or party. To me, December is all about sparkling wine.  Served in a beautiful flute with 2 or 3 pomegranate seeds for panache, it’s as elegant as any champagne and no one knows or even cares if you spent $15 or $50. Bottom line, sparkling wine is festive and fun and everyone enjoys it. You can never have too much fizz!

When you are shopping for others, don’t forget about yourself. There’s one beautiful wine that I would recommend to everyone including the Queen: “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012”  (LCBO #243592 $35.95) is the pinnacle of Shiraz’s. I have tasted hundreds of wines in 2014 and this one always rises to any occasion.

I love to showcase Canadian wines and this release offered so many great ones. Have fun shopping and don’t forget, if you find something delicious, go back and get a few bottles. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Sometimes even I forget my own advice!

It’s Christmas time, share your cheer and goodwill.

My best to you for the season,
Julie 

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

December 6, 2014

 

Summarroca Gran Reserva Brut Cava

Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2009

DO, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages # 393504) 11.5% alcohol

Ever wonder what that “DO” means?  DO  stands for “Denominacion de Origen” similar to our VQA in Ontario.  It’s part of a regulatory classification system for the country’s highest quality products. It can be applied to everything from olive oil to honey to fruit.  This Cava is delicate, pale in colour, light bodied and totally refreshing. Reminiscent of toasted almonds and apricots with a little herbaceous-ness on the finish not often detected in a sparkling white.  I would recommend light or-d’oeuvres so not to crowd the tastes; perhaps some delicious little crackers, you don’t have to break the bank to be elegant. That old expression, “less is more”.

 

Featherstone ChardonnayFeatherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$21.95 (Vintages # 149302) 13.5% alcohol

I hadn’t planned to feature a Chardonnay however I could not waste the opportunity to taste something new. This Chard. really wowed me. I can’t wait for the release. Aromas of creme caramel and layers upon layers of tropical fruits, soft, not overwhelming in oak so don’t let the “oak” in the name scare you off.  As you whirl it around the tongue this white wine is so soft in the mouthfeel, medium to full bodied and there are some wines, I can only describe as yummy.   A great sipper on its own but I think it would marry well with chicken in parmesan crust with a little white sauce, green beans, now its getting “yummier”.

 

De Sousa Seasons MeritageDe Sousa Seasons Reserve Meritage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95  (Vintages #315911) 13% alcohol

Unbelievable to find a Meritage at that price point that tasted so delicious. Once again I am wowed by a Canadian winery. Red Meritage must be a blend of two or more of the five traditional Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot or Malbec. Historically, Meritage wines are considered to be highly rated and the winery must be a member of the Meritage Alliance and adhere to the above regulation. Rich red fruits on the palate, medium bodied, light tannins with a little leather and dust on the finish. Layered with lots of berry flavours, a great sipper on its own but pot roast comes to mind, with lots of root veggies and don’t forget the “jus”.

 

Vineland Pinot MeunierVineland Pinot Meunier 2012

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages# 225508) 12% alcohol

Juicy, juicy, juicy….the aromas were almost like sticking your head in a bouquet of ripe cherries. Pinot Meunier is often used in blends such as Champagne, however it is an incredible grape just on its own and grown in our own backyard. Medium bodied with soft tannins with a fruity red berry finish, it is a red wine that would be agreeable to everyone. It is also versatile enough to marry with chicken to a beef stew and it’s just great on its own with a varietal cheese plate.

 

Alma Negra BlendAlma Negra Blend 2011

Mendoza , Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #384297)  13.5% alcohol

This new to Vintages product is a blend of the Bonarda and Malbec grapes. Aromas of dark ripe plums and cherries carry through to the palate and make for a huge mouthfeel of lusciousness. Good acidity with soft tannins, beautifully balanced and a great new find. It’s dark and rich, served with any grilled meat from ribs to steak (not to mention its packaged in one sexy black bottle) I promise the folks around the table will comment.  It’s a gem of a red wine.

 

Grand Total: $ 94.75

 

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Festive fizz & must buy holiday wines

Posted by Susan

Friday, December 6th, 2013
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Corks are popping as the festive season kicks into full swing.  Appropriately, the focus in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (Saturday December 7) is ‘Making Merry’ with a selection of  wines for the holidays…along with a truckload of fabulous fizz…you know sparkling wines!

When shopping for sparkling wines, it is best to know the ABCs…

 

What is Méthode Traditionelle?

Champagne is of course, at the top of Santa’s list, each Champagne House creates a unique blend of wines that reflects its signature flavours and texture. If your palate wants that creamy crispness but your wallet is calling ‘Halt!’, try some of the unique sparkling wines featured in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release. Many of these sparkling wines are made in the classic ‘Méthode Traditionelle’, that is to say, with the second fermentation in the bottle, as in French Champagne, an approach that creates fine, persistent bubbles. 

Try the Peller Estates ‘Ice Cuvee’ Rose and the versatile Megalomaniac Bubblehead from Niagara, Chandon Rosé and Roederer Estate Sparkling Brut from California, Simonsig ‘Kaapse Vonkel’ Brut Cap Classique from South Africa, Juvé y Camps ‘Cinta Purpura Reserva’ Cava from Spain, Pfaffenheim ‘Blanc de Blancs’ Brut Crèmant d’Alsace and Charles Duret Brut Crémant de Bourgogne.

Or what about Méthode Charmat?

The ‘Charmat’ method, which sees the second fermentation in tank, is known for preserving fresh fruit flavours.  Good & tasty examples are the Perlage Canah Brut Prosecco also available this Vintages release. 

If you’re confused about some of these designations, remember that sparkling wines can be made from white or red grapes (in France, these would be Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Chardonnay).  When the bubbly is made using only white grapes, it will state on the label ‘Blanc de Blancs’.  If made from red grapes, it will be state ‘Blanc de Noirs’. Now there is a tidbit to float during small talk at your next holiday party!

The Ho Ho Ho of White Wines…

In the Vintage release there’s a great selection excellent value wines.  Try such white wines as Trapiche ‘Finca las Palmas’ Chardonnay, Seresin Sauvignon Blanc (an organic product), Pierre Sparr Altenbourg Riesling or the concentrated Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio.

…and Red Wines

LCBO Vintages release December 7 2013In terms for red wines, I would recommend Belle Glos ‘Meiomi’ Pinot Noir, Irony Small Lot Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Château Bertinerie Merlot/Cabernet, Domaine Beau Mistral ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Rasteau, Villa Medoro ‘Rosso del Luca’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Luigi Righetti ‘Campolietti’ Ripasso.

Unfortunately, there were few Canadian wines at this release tasting, but I would recommend both the Pillitteri Antagonist (a tasty, easy-drinking blend of the Cabs and Merlot) as well as the biodynamic wine from Southbrook, Triomphe Cabernet-Merlot, showing lots of character and balance, despite the difficult 2008 vintage.

…. and a Truly special finish

Finally, if you like a touch of fizz with a dessert tart, enjoy the off-dry Nova 7 from Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge, a unique, absolutely delightful low-alcohol sparkler that offers lovely floral, fresh fruit and citrus aromas.

Buy it now, drink it later

If you want a holiday treat for your sweetie or to stash away in your cellar, here are my picks to pick up: Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon or the Burrowing Owl Meritage. For those who like a touch of sweetness, you can choose from the unctuous de Bortoli ‘Noble One’ Botrytis Semillon or the richly textured Burmester 10 Year Old Tawny Port.

Happy and Safe Holidays to all!

Susan

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

 

Juvé y Camps ‘Cinta Purpura Reserva’ Brut Cava 2009

Penedes, Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #352864) 12.0% alcohol

Generally produced from the indigenous Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes in the traditional method,  Cava sparkling wines tend to offer great quality and value – this sparkling wine is no exception!

Classic notes of white flower, ripe apple, pear, citrus and toast pop from the glass. It is clean and fresh, the mousse is fine, mouth-filling and long-lasting, framing tangy notes of citrus, green apple and yeast that persist through the tasty, refreshing finish. Offering poise and refinement, this is an excellent choice for any holiday gathering.

 

Vignobles Guilheim Le Viognier 2012

Pays d’Oc, France
$15.95 (Vintages #358507) 13.5% alcohol

A golden gem, this Viognier delivers! From the lifted aromas of tropical fruit, white flowers, sweet citrus and honey to the clean fresh texture and depth of flavour—mango, peach and lemon zest jump to the fore. Dry, medium-full bodied, this white wine offers a wonderful fullness and that characteristic pleasing touch of tangy bitterness on the finish. An excellent value, enjoy it with roast pork loin or lemon-herb chicken.

 

Château Bertinerie Cru Réserve 2009

Côtes de Bordeaux-Blaye, France
$18.95 (Vintages #244640) 13.5% alcohol

From one of the lesser-known Bordeaux appellation, this blend of Merlot and Cabernets is a remarkable value red wine. Cherries, plum and berries are layered with spice, cedar and vanilla. Dry, medium-full bodied, the fruit and spice replays, a sweet note of toasty oak and a hint of chocolate mingling with a whiff of dried herbs. Well structured and balanced, appealingly accessible and fruity, this is a great wine to cellar or serve with herb-crusted leg of lamb or with your favorite roast of beef.

 

Les Vignerons de Visan ‘Visan’ Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2011

Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France
$15.95 (Vintages #179234) 14.5% alcohol

There’s finesse to the structure of this intensely fruity medium-full bodied red wine. The nose offers lashings of sweet fruit, vanilla, spice and garigue. The palate is dry yet smooth, showcasing loads of luscious clean, ripe fruit, balance assured by well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. The spice and herbs replay on the dry, tasty finish. An excellent value that will pair with roast beef au jus. 

 

Luigi Righetti ‘Campolieti’ Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2011

Valpolicella, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #695890) 13.5% alcohol

I recommended the 2010 vintage of this wine earlier this year, and definitely feel the new vintage is worth purchasing as well! Crafted from fruit harvested in the original Valpolicella viticultural area, this dry, medium-full bodied wine displays added intensity and depth from the use of dried grapes in the winemaking process. There’s complexity of aromas and flavours—floral notes, berry, vanilla, notions of dried cherries, herbs and spice—on a subtle structure. Clean, fresh acidity frames bright tasty fruit, the lasting aftertaste offering notions of chocolate and pleasantly toasty oak. Cellar or serve this wine with beef tenderloin with a pinenut and sun-dried tomato stuffing.

Grand Total: $86.75

 

 

 

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Ole! Sommelier picks of Spanish wines at Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, January 18th, 2013
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Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins started her year off right – tasting an array of Spanish wines and was treated with some wines from BC too.  In this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (January 19) features on the wines of Spain – a country that as Susan tells you in this blog – has a long history of winemaking, varied terroir, and winemakers who work with traditional native grapes while also creating powerful blends using international varieties.

History of Spanish wine making 101 . . .

Archeologists have found evidence of wine cultivation dating back to the 3rd and 4th millennia BC. And the tradition carried on through the Roman empire, with evidence of winemaking in this period to be found throughout the country. Much of Spain is barren plateau, where strong winds, scorching sun and limitations on irrigation led to the cultivation of bush vines. These can be seen, for instance, in Jumilla and Yecla, where one finds many vineyards displaying old, gnarled Monastrell vines. These conditions have led to widely spaced planting, making Spain the country with the largest amount of land under vine, although it traditionally falls behind France and Italy in volume of production.  However, since irrigation was officially permitted in the mid 1990s, vineyard owners and winemakers have also planted international grapes varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot using more common wire trellising and spacing systems. There’s great value to be had from Spanish wines, and a delightful range to choose from: finely crafted ‘methode traditionelle’ sparkling Cava, crisp tangy whites made from Albariño, full-bodied Tempranillo or flavourful native Mencía, tasty Garnacha blends, and the famed Sherry from Jerez.

All of these are on offer in the release, along with a small but focused selection of BC wines (I have visited all of these wineries and unreservedly recommend their wines, if your budget allows). Then, there is the main release . . . an opportunity to compare Henry of Pelham’s Riesling with that of Alsace’s Joseph Cattin, to sample Opawa’s well-priced New Zealand Pinot Noir, to enjoy the luxurious Cline Cellars Cashmere, or to select Les Hauts de Castellas Vacqueyras for the cellar. So many wines, so little time, but we hope you have the opportunity to appreciate the selection of 5 wines below.

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Alvarez de Toledo Godello 2010

DO Bierzo, Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #308049) 12.4% alcohol

From an estate established in the XVth century, this straw-hued white wine offers richness and complexity of aromas and flavours. On the nose, a touch of slate, apple, ripe citrus and floral notes. Dry, mid-weight, it beguiles with a round, ripe texture, lightly spiced peach, citrus and mineral nuances riding a wave of fresh acidity through a flavourful, fruity finish. Enjoy now and add a few bottles for the short-term cellaring.

 

Gray Monk Gewürztraminer 2011

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$19.95 (Vintages #321588) 12.6% alcohol

Brilliant pale gold, this wine is fragrant with floral notes, lychee, stone fruit, citrus and spice. Off dry, lusciously fruity, the tropical aromas replay on the palate, the spice extending through the fruit-filled, delicately pithy finish. This pioneering Okanagan winery once again delivers a sumptuous wine to pair with lightly spiced dishes.

 

Borsao ‘Tres Picos’ Garnacha 2010

DO Campo de Borja, Spain
$19.95 (Vintages #273748) 14.5% alcohol

Produced from low yielding old vines, the inky dense color of the wine portends the weight and substance in the glass. First the sweet aromas—vanilla, cedar, leather, spice and berries ripe to bursting. Dry, velvety and full bodied, this wine delivers a mouthful of juicy ripe fruit garnished with exotic spice, dried herbs and subtle oak. Soft ripe tannins underpin the fruit, the richness of the flavours persisting through the lengthy finish. A great value to enjoy now or cellar medium term.

 

 

 

Jackson-Triggs ‘Niagara Estate Grand Reserve’ Shiraz 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #317941) 13.5% alcohol

Inky ruby, this is a substantial wine with alluring aromas of mint, pepper dancing over rich ripe red and black fruit. Dry, full bodied, the menthol comes through on the palate mingling with succulent spiced black fruit, a hint of coffee bean and a dazzling peppery note. Fermented in French and American oak for 12 months, the firm structure complements the ripe fruit, while the peppery garnish persists on the finish. A fine value to serve with rare roast beef, or cellar medium term. 

Château de Puisseguin Curat 2010

AOC Puisseguin St-Émilion, France
$19.95 (Vintages #307140) 14.5% alcohol

From a celebrated vintage, this is another award-winning wine that offers great value. Aromas include ripe black cherry, plum, spice and a whiff of smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, the texture is very smooth, the red fruit ripe, the notes of spice and pepper building across the palate. Fine tannins and acidity along with subtly-integrated oak balance the rich fruit flavours, while the warm, spicy finish makes this a great wine to serve on a cold winter day. Or cellar medium term.

Grand Total: $93.75

 

Worth the splurge:

Mission Hill ‘Family Estate’ Quatrain 2008

VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
$44.95 (Vintages #218636) 13.5% alcohol

This blend of Merlot, Syrah and the Cabernets is composed from some of the estate’s best south-Okanagan fruit, fermented separately, aged in French oak. Highly aromatic and intense, the nose offers boysenberry, black cherry, spiced floral notes, and sweet cedar. Built on a firm frame, this dry, full-bodied blend delivers depth and complexity, flavours of cassis, black plum, spice and herbs with notes of toast carrying through the long finish. Serve with robust meat dishes; drink now to 2019.

 

 

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‘Tis the Season for Snazzy Sparkling wines

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
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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)

 

 

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