Posts Tagged ‘dessert wines’

Star quality wines have landed at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
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Looking to economize while drinking great wines? Entertaining season is just around the corner so I am game for the challenge to see how far we can stretch my $100 budget that I have been ‘given’ to do this blog. This weekend’s LCBO Vintages release features wines of “Premium Star Quality” along with an assortment of dessert wines. While we all tend to know what premium star quality means, I am on the mission to find wines of star quality that won’t break my budget with their price tag.

So what did I pick?

With the exception of two wines, I have chosen wines under $15 a bottle. I have also put together a selection that can easily take you through many dinner parties from appetizers through to dessert, without breaking the bank. 

I did not have the opportunity to taste two wines I am recommending – sound strange?  Don’t worry I taste wines for a living!  I am confident that knowing the wineries that they produce only quality wine.  And from previous wines that I have reviewed from these wineries, they have never disappointed. There are also a couple of wines from Italy that never fail to inspire and match any number of food dishes. 

I also wanted to tip you off a couple of the wines found in the LCBO’s general list area of the store that are under $15 & somehow always find their way into my shopping basket:

Cave Springs Riesling VQA at $14.95
Creekside Sauvignon Blanc VQA $13.95
and  L.A.Cetto Petite Sirah 2011 at $11.95

All that to say, you can have lots of star quality with $100 to spend.

Julie

 

 Abbazia Moscato D’Asti 2012

DOCG, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #265397)  13% alcohol 

With a slight touch of sweetness, this off dry white wine is always festive, pretty and a lovely start to any party. It is nice to start with something spritzy especially if the rest of your dinner wines are packed with punch and/or you are serving wines with different courses. It has aromas and tastes of stone fruits: peaches, apricots, pears with delicate moussey bubbles that could accompany shrimp canapes or parmesan crisps. 

 

Rockway Small Lot Reserve White Assemblage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #359315) 11.5% alcohol 

Golden straw in colour, this delightful white wine blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurtztraminer is aromatic and tastes of all these grapes. The Chardonnay has some creaminess being aged in oak but there’s lots of stone fruit and apples from the other grape varietals. Great acidity and is beautifully balanced; just another example that we never have to look further than our own backyard. It would be perfect to sip with an uncomplicated boston lettuce salad with a soft olive oil, a little artisan bread or a spicey soup to start your evening. 

 

Cavit Alta Luna Phases 2010

IGT Vigneti della Dolomiti, Italy
$14.95  (Vintages #354340)  12.5% alcohol 

A fabulous red wine blend made with the Teroldego, Lagrein and Merlot grapes from the foothills of Italy’s Dolomite Alps.  Dark plums and cherries fill the palate and being aged in oak, the wine has a richness to the taste with great tannins and a spicey finish. A great pizza or pasta wine or with some cheese.

 

Zuccardi Organica Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$13.95 (Vintages #68452) 14% alcohol 

The Mendoza province is by far the largest wine region in western Argentina located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains. The altitude is an important terroir characteristic since it means long sunny warm days that extend the growing season and contribute to ripe, rich grapes that do not sacrifice the acidity.  This dark cherry coloured baby is one red wine packed with punch. This red wine would make a fabulous partner with roast pork or a spicy sausage and eggplant pasta dish.

 

Natura Carmenere 2012

Colchagua Valley, Banfi, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #56887)   14.1% alcohol 

For us red wine lovers, you can’t go far wrong with a blend of Carmenere, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Juicy and full, dark fruits, some spice, smokey and peppery all conjure up pictures of the beautiful Colchagua Valley (on my travel list !). I’m thinking ribs or beef stew.

 

Konzelmann Special Select Late Harvest Vidal 2011

VQA Ontario
$19.95 9Vintages #359216) 13.5% alcohol 

When presenting this finale to your dinner party you might want to mention that this late harvest wine was awarded a Gold Medal at the 2013 Ontario Wine Awards. There is citrus and apricot flavours with a creamy sweetness; you just want to roll it around your tongue to make it last. Serve with cheese, chocolates & fresh fruit for a beautiful ending of a feast. 

 

Grand Total: $95.70

 

 

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Change of season – time to shop for different wines

Posted by Julie

Friday, April 26th, 2013
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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

 

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Wines to WOW your Valentine

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
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To make it a breeze to enjoy a special dinner for Valentine’s Day, Thyme & Again Creative Catering has a delicious take home menu for February 14th.  As good food deserves good wines, Thyme & Again called our Savvy Team of accredited Sommeliers to provide wine recommendations for the menu.  As Thyme & Again supports local farmers, the Savvy Sommeliers have selected Ontario wineries to enjoy with your special meal.  All of these wines are available at LCBO in the Vintages section.

Toast your Valentine with a sparkling

Outstanding white wines

Red wines that will melt your heart

 A sweet finish

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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