Posts Tagged ‘French Champagne’

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

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 28th, 2016

As we move towards the holiday season, Vintages always features “Our Finest” and it is a magnificent release. Everything from single malts to brandies, Grappa, Champagne and all delicious new delectable fine wines.


The only thing that I am complaining about is my measley $100 budget for this blog.  There are so many incredible luxuries in this release that a much bigger budget is required.  Note to self…I should talk to my editor about a ‘raise’.

Whether you are on a budget or like to splurge, there are still some tried and true wines that I always love to see.  The new styles are calling, like new shoes…like wine, you can never have too many shoes!
– Julie


If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for November 26, 2016



Domaine de Vaugondy Brut Vouvray

Méthode Traditionelle, AC
$17.95 (Vintages #154567) 12.5 % alcohol

 In 1936 the Village of Vouvray was created as an Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). Located along the right bank of the Loire river, Chenin Blanc is the dominant and almost exclusive grape of Vouvray.

Vouvray produces more than a million cases of wine a year. This straw coloured sparkling offers fine moussey bubbles that release alluring aromas of tropical fruit, toasted almonds, green apple and apricot. They also replay on the taste buds. Dry, medium bodied, it captures the senses with fruit flavours and a honey’d note towards the end. It’s a divine and elegant sparkling wine as an apperitif or to accompany grilled fish.


gerard-bertrand-la-clapeGerard Bertrand Grand Terroir La Clape

Syrah/Carignan/Mouvedre 2013
$18.95 (Vintages #370262) 13.5 % alcohol

I have become a fan of Bertrand wines, fantastic quality at great price points. This rich, sexy blend has aromas and tastes of dark cherries, plums and currants. A medium bodied red wine with soft tannins, some mocha and a savoury spice on the finish. Would be a perfect match to a hearty stew or lamb shanks.


san-felice-chianti-classico-2013San Felice Chianti Classico 2013

DOCG, Tuscany
$19.95 (Vintages #282996) 13% alcohol

Expressive wafts of floral red cherries introduce you to this classic Chianti. It’s an easy drinking red wine as sweet cherry and raspberry fruits explode on the palate. Bone-dry, medium weight and offers some earthy, leather notes on the finish. With a spicy lasagna, you’ve found yourself a great dinner party.


union-forte-2012Union Forte 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #361758) 19.5%

This fortified port style wine is deep mahogany in colour with aromas of Christmas cake, dried fruit, roasted almonds and berries. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and mouthwatering. A range of layered fruit flavours on the palate, medium bodied and a deliciously sweet with a long dried blackberry finish.

Serve on ice as an aperitif or it would make a superb after dinner drink with some stinky blue cheese – a classic!


georgian-hills-bartlett-frozen-to-the-core-2014Georgian Hills Bartlett Frozen to the Core 2014

Blue Mountains, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #347401) 8.5% alcohol

Deliciously sweet but not cloying with intense aromas and flavours of ripe pear.

Georgian Hills produces other desert icewines: a Frozen to the Core Ida Red, a Vidal and Baked Apple all of which embrace fruit farming in the cool climate of the Georgian Bay wine region. Less expensive than other icewine their nectars are fruit driven and refreshing, deliver good acidity and plain delicious. Another reason to showcase our Ontario wines.


Grand Total = $94.75


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

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 11th, 2016

About this time every year LCBO Vintages showcases ‘Star Quality’ as a feature of the release. We all know what this also means…’star prices’.   Icewine, French Champagne and sparkling wines flow prominently on the pages. I wish I could buy one of each however with my blog budget of $100, I’ll have to leave the Champagne for another time.

vintages-nov-12However, there are some star quality wines that I’d recommend to stock up on.

Also, there are several great wines coming out in large sized 1500 mL bottles. It sounds like a lot of wine, but if you are having a dinner party or a holiday feast, they are super easy to decant at the table and good value too. In particular, I’m thinking of the J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 at $44.95 or Catena Malbec 2014 at $39.95.  Both red wines are heavy duty crowd pleasers and great accompaniments to lasagna, roasts or ribs.

No shortage of star quality in this release.




If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday November 12, 2016


dog-point-sauvignon-blanc-2015Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$24.95 (Vintages #677450)  13.5% alcohol

I wouldn’t recommend wines with animals in the name unless it was star quality and this white wine is definitely one that gets top marks. Any easy sipping white wine that is pale in colour but packs a punch in taste and texture.  Aromatic white flowers start the senses with peachy apricots, tree fruit on the palate and a crisp lemon lime finish. It is a light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with gentle finesse and one mouthwatering taste. Enjoy it on its own, with appetizers or light meals.



clayhouse-cabernet-sauvignon-2015Clayhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Paso Robles, California
$17.00  (Vintages #057869) 13.5% alcohol

Paso Robles is known for its abundance of olive oil, hot springs, almond orchards and wineries.  Mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco the landscape is mainly dry grassland. Roughly 24 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the climate is almost Mediterranean with long hot summers and brief cool winters. This landscapes allows the grapes to reach their absolute maximum potential which we then can enjoy in such vintages as the above. It tastes much richer than its’ terrific price point. Dark and opaque, black currant and plum flavours, smooth as silk with a some pencil shaving oak on the finish. Fruity but structured makes for easy drinking red wine. I’d pair it with any grilled meat or a prime rib roast. Delicious.



Clos de los Siete

Mendoza, Argentina
$23.95 (Vintages #622571) 14.5%

Since returning from a trip to Argentina this past February, a wine from Mendoza always makes its way to my shopping basket. This red wine blend nearly reaches nirvana for me. Predominantly Malbec (57%) with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the follow up. Dark ruby with aromas and flavours of ripe blueberries, black cherries, currants with some mocha on the finish. This nectar  integrates soft tannins with fabulously smooth intensity and depth. Pair with the usual red meat suspects but worthy of a veal chop splurge.



Reif Vidal Icewine 2014

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake
$24.95  (Vintages #544791) 10% alcohol

Reif Estate Winery has been a long time producer of fine Canadian icewine. This one is harvested from a 12 acre block planted in 1981. Those grapes have had lots of time to think about their future! The average picking temperatures range from -10 to -12 C and this vintage was harvested in January 2014.  Lusciously sweet with honey, toffee, apricots and peaches fill the senses with a memorable creamy mouthfeel. There is a little marmalade on the finish and it is a divine expression of icewine.  With some soft blue cheese it would be over the top.


Grand Total = $90.85



A+ wines at Vintages – many under $30!

Posted by Julie

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The latest LCBO Vintages release offers some great 90 point wines, many under $30.00. Who really decides whether a wine ‘makes the grade’ or not?  For this “If I had a $100, I would buy’ blog, I purposely chose to write on wines that captured 90 points from a panel of experienced wine judges.

Wine scores baffle me. Hardly fair that some wine critics can make or break the sale of a wine and we rarely are there any reviews about ho-hum wines. Thankfully, we all have different tastes and there are no right or wrongs in what you chose to enjoy. It would be a major yawn if we all sought the same style of wine or picked from only one wine region.

During my years of wine tasting I learned to know what makes a well-balanced wine, but sometimes I enjoy a big blast of dark red fruit on my palate without many tannins or a white wine that squirts acidity to wake up my senses. So much depends on the time of day, type of food, certainly the company and just what you feel like tasting.

BTW – if your budget permits, there are several new French champagnes at Vintages that were served at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), but drats – I have a budget of $100 and I’m going to stick to it.

Remember, there are no rights or wrongs in tasting wine – enjoy and succumb!

Cheers & Enjoy!



Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2011

Mendoza, Argentina
$24.95 (Vintages #24737) 14.5% alcohol

Deep inky purple in colour with origins in France, but now Argentina’s signature grape. This red wine has lots of guts ! Once you get past the aromas of some floral earthy mustiness and leather you are besot with dark velvety fruit plums on the palate with a little spice and cocoa on the finish. Round but not too tannicy. I found the wine to be deliciously intoxicating, smooth and rich. Argentinians are known for their grilled meat so I would suggest spicey sausages, blackened chicken, a tomato salad and some crusty bread to make a fabulous rustic dinner. When I put two “yums” after my tasting notes, I know to put at least one bottle in my basket.

Cave Springs CSV Riesling 2009

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$29.95 (Vintages #566026) 11.5% alcohol

Cave Springs may be best known for its signature Riesling and while it may seem like a lot to pay, it’s worth every cent. Cave Springs winemaker, Angelo Pavan, crafts cool-climate wines in the European tradition of Alsace which results in top quality wine expressing minerality and great acidity. This Riesling is one of my all time favourites tasting what the very best of Niagara has to offer. Slightly minerally and a tad off-dry, this nectar has beautiful stone fruit flavours: apricots, peaches, some green apple and grapefruit with a wet stone long crisp finish. It is elegant and refined. If the Queen invited me for dinner, I would proudly this wine!

USA Gallo Family Laguna Vineyard Chardonay 2009

Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages # 544981) 14.2% alcohol

Rich golden in colour, aromas cross between creme caramel, butterscotch pudding and buttered toast. Not sure you’d like a white wine that has aromas of the above? It’s easy to understand where these flavours come from with grapes grown in the Russian River and fermented in oak barrels, hints of poached pears, ripe pineapple which make this Chardonnay rich and creamy. It is a white wine that would stand up to steak or would make the perfect accompaniment to a lobster salad at lunch and not just for the ladies who lunch!

Australia Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Shiraz 2009

Victoria Region, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages 719575) 14% alcohol

Aromatic fragrances of rich red and dark berry fruits which give this red wine such a dense colour. It is loaded with flavours, brimming with dark fruit, but more medium bodied on the palate. The black currant, dusty leather and soft tannins would marry perfectly with some lamb chops or it would be nice just on its own. It has the long berry spicy finish found in a well made Aussie Shiraz. A class act at that price point.

Grand Total: $ 92.80