Posts Tagged ‘Father’s Day wine gifts’

Say ‘Si’ to Argentina!

Posted by Susan

Friday, June 7th, 2013

The spotlight is shining on Argentina’s Mendoza region – the country’s major grape-growing area – in the June 8 LCBO Vintages release. This is a great opportunity to stock up on value wines, many under $20. The selection includes a creamy Chardonnay from Alamos (only $13.95),  the country’s signature white grape – Torrontes – and a range of varietal red wines and blends showcasing classic red wine varieties such as Malbec and Bonarda. A good example of this red blend is Familia Mayol ‘Quatro Primos’. Look for loads of flavour, attractive complexity, warmth and balance in the wines.

Mendoza – The ‘Wine Capital’

Mendoza, the city, is known as Argentina’s ‘Wine Capital’ and anchors the wine region at the heart of Argentina’s wine production. Wines in Mendoza benefit from the intense sunlight of high altitudes, cool night temperatures that ensure retention of acidity, and dry air that mitigates against disease. Warm temperatures produce well-ripened grapes with plenty of sugar, leading to softer tannins and higher alcohol. The soils are sandy, and flood irrigation has been used for many years (although drip irrigation is making inroads), with the result that phylloxera has not posed a significant threat and many vines can be grown on their own rootstock.

Malbec is perhaps the best known grape of Argentina, a variety that was relatively insignificant as a part of Bordeaux blends in France but has come into its own in Argentina. The deep-coloured, flavourful Bonarda is increasingly making its presence felt in the export market, either in varietal wines or as a significant part of blended red wines.

Looking for a Father’s Day idea?

In addition to wines from Argentina, this Vintages release focuses on high-end Scotch and wines for Father’s Day, including a fine Chardonnay from Coyote’s Run, approachable red wines such as the deLoach Zinfandel, and wines to be cellared such as the Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. My personal choice would be the Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, a wonderful wine at a very reasonable $29.95.

Rosé wines are here!

For those of us who love rosé for its versatility, and for sipping on a warm summer’s day, peruse the Local Talent feature for some delicious Ontario wines; two of my favorites—Château des Charmes ‘Cuvée d’Andrée’ Rosé and Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé, appear in our selection at only $14.95!

More great value wines…

And to top it all off, there are more great values, several of which are included among the six wines I have selected below in my shopping list. And if you have some spare change, add to your shopping cart these extras: the full-bodied Côtes du Rhône blend, Les Halos de Jupiter, Rocca delle Macie’s  Chianti Riserva,  the Tedeschi Appassimento, and Lealtanza Crianza, a finely balanced Tempranillo from the Rioja.

Cheers and Enjoy!



Luigi Bosca Pinot Noir 2010

Mendoza, Argentina
$17.95 (Vintages #143420) 12.6% alcohol

With just six months in barrel, this is a very attractive mid-weight Pinot Noir showcasing vibrant red fruits, dried herbs, a hint of cedar and an elusive floral note. Dry and quite juicy in texture, the delicate tannins and lively acidity complement lovely red fruits—cranberry, raspberry and cherry. Touches of spice, toast and earth add complexity through a lengthy dry finish. A versatile wine offering great value, pair it with lighter meat dishes, grilled vegetables or salmon.

13th Street  Winery White Palette 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #207340) 12.5% alcohol

A blend of several perfumed grape varieties, the aromas of Gewürztraminer and Riesling shine through on the nose with notes of spicy tropical fruit, citrus and white flowers. Dry, medium bodied, the wine is fleshy yet fresh, fruity and spicy with a nice slightly pithy note on the vibrant, clean finish. Sip on the patio, or serve with salads or seafood.


Château des Charmes Rosé ‘Cuvée d’Andrée’ 2012

 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #333260) 12.5% alcohol

The depth and character of this Pinot Noir rosé is suggested to reflect the personality of matriarch Madame Andrée Bosc. An electric deep rose, it’s wonderfully fragrant with notes of apple blossom, red berry and cherry. Dry, vibrant and mid weight, notes of dried herbs and white pepper add complexity to the luscious red fruit—strawberry, red currant and raspberry. Tangy acidity offers a nice balance to a well-crafted wine that finishes crisp and fruity. A versatile choice that has the heft to pair with a range of foods from strawberry balsamic spinach salad to grilled meats. Stock up and enjoy!


Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2011

 VQA Four Mile Creek, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #241802) 13.5% alcohol

Lou Puglisi has done it again, creating a salmon-hued beauty that offers amazing complexity—sweet cherry/berry aromas, honey and toasted coconut—as well as outstanding value. Just off-dry, medium bodied, this is a rosé with presence and a fine tension between crisp acidity and tangy, juicy red fruit. There’s a light touch of spritz on the palate, warmth and intense flavour through the extended finish. Savour it well chilled on the screened porch this summer.


Sileni ‘The Triangle’ Merlot 2010

Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$16.95 (Vintages #586081) 14.0% alcohol

Aged in French and American oak, this is an impressive, value-laden wine serving up complex aromas and flavours. On the nose, dark and dried fruit, vanilla, dried lavender, sandalwood and cocoa. Displaying a firm yet subtle structure, it grabs your attention with a tangy peppery note followed by a rush of dark plummy fruit, notes of licorice and earth. Tasty, well crafted, and well worth cellaring, you’ll want to pick up a few bottles.



Les Vignes ‘Bila-Haut’ Côtes du Rousillon-Villages 2011

 AOC Côtes du Rousillon-Villages, France
$14.95 (Vintages #168716) 14.5% alcohol

This blend of Grenache and Syrah from Chapoutier is a remarkable value and consistently good from vintage to vintage. Deep ruby, fruit forward, with a kiss of spice and vanilla, it’s dry, round and full bodied. Very approachable, loaded with luscious dark fruit, notes of licorice, pepper and spice add interest and allure. There’s the structure to balance the fruit and a big lip-smacking finish that says ‘bring on the barbequed meat’.


Load up  your shopping cart!

Grand Total: $94.70




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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, June 9th, 2011


If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, June 11, 2011


As the primary feature, Amarone, Ripasso and Valpolicella are the stars from Veneto in the June 11 LCBO Vintages release. All three wines are produced from classic Italian indigenous grapes, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, in one of Italy’s iconic wine regions, the Veneto.



In the case of the potent Amarone, the grapes are dried on mats for several months, then pressed and vinified. This process concentrates the sugars and fruit extract creating a rich, mouth-coating wine. Ripasso is produced when the skins and pulp left from the Amarone fermentation are added to Valpolicella wine to induce a second fermentation, creating a wine of greater depth and flavour than the standard Valpolicella.



Several producers in the north of the region have been producing wines from Bordeaux varietals, Dal Maso’s Montebelvedere being one example. And the region is known for white wines such as sparkling Prosecco, and Soave, made from a blend of Garganega and Trebbiano.



The secondary feature highlights local Ontario talent, including existing wineries—Vineland Estates, Alvento, Harbour Estates, Peninsula Ridge and Lakeview—as well as a couple of newcomers. Sue-Ann Staff is now creating her own eponymous wines on her family’s historic property, and Cellaria Winery is focusing on producing fresh inspirational wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay.



Don’t forget Father’s Day, June 19. The release offers a range of exceptional products for the wine and spirits lover. If your dad is a wine lover, I would recommend the Domaine du Haut des Terres Blanches Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which can be enjoyed now or put aside for a special event.


The main release includes some great values, including one of our selections, the Barossa Valley Estate E-Minor Shiraz, from the producers of the legendary E&E Black Pepper and Ebenezer Shiraz. Swirl, sip and savour!







Tedeschi Corasco 2008
IGT Rosso delle Venezie, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #216440) 14.0% alcohol
This deep ruby blend of briefly dried Corvina with Refosco and Raboso offers intriguing aromas of flowers, red fruit, savoury earthy notes, spice and pepper. Dry, medium bodied, richly textured, consistently fruity and flavourful, the wine is characterized by fine tannins, lively acidity and some elusive earthy notes. Complex and attention-grabbing, this is a great value. Try it with steak fajitas – you may need more than one bottle!



Dal Maso ‘Montebelvedere’ Cabernet 2007
DOC Colli Berici, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #224773) 13.5% alcohol
Here’s another nice value, an unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Dry, medium-full bodied and deftly balanced, this varietal wine offers fresh red berry fruit aromas, spice and smoky toast. A fresh seam of acidity carries the bright cherry/berry flavours, sweet spice lingering on the dry yet fruity finish. Very approachable and enjoyable, try it with meat-based pasta.



Sue-Ann Staff Estate ‘Robert’s Block’ Riesling 2009
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$20.95 (Vintages #231415) 11.0% alcohol
Almost transparent with faint green notes, this is a finely crafted wine with delightful complexity on the nose—floral, stone fruit, sweet citrus aromas and a whiff of mineral and petrol. Dry, light-medium bodied, there’s a clean backbone of acidity, fine minerality and persistence of stone fruit and fresh citrus. Refreshing and consistent through the finish, the tang of lime lingering. A lovely summer sipper.



Rose Hill ‘Private Reserve’ Cabernet/Merlot 2007
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$18.95 (Vintages #233841) 13.0% alcohol
From a new producer, Cellaria Winery, this is an impressive wine, ruby with lifted aromas of toast, dark berry fruit and spiced vanilla. Dry, medium-full bodied, the wine is velvety in texture, fine ripe tannins and fresh acidity balancing the core of rich dark fruit, sweet spice and hint of chocolate. There’s great fruit persistence and a whiff of smoky toast on the finish. A great value from the storied 2007 vintage, the wine will cellar medium term.



Barossa Valley Estate ‘E-Minor’ Shiraz 2009
Barossa Valley, South Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #71043) 14.0% alcohol
From an estate renowned for its premium red wines comes the little brother. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this dry, full-bodied inky purple wine that is fragrant with ripe dark fruit, pepper and toasty vanilla. It offers robust flavours of red and black berries, pepper and notes of espresso. Finely balanced with well-integrated oak and consistent through the lengthy finish, it is an excellent value. Bring on the bar-b!



Grand Total: $90.75



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 an 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 a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages has selected these wines. 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!