Posts Tagged ‘French wines at LCBO Vintages’

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, January 9th, 2015

I can hardly believe that I am writing 2015! And what better way to start the new year but with “The Smart Buys Issue” from Vintages.  This makes my homework really easy when there are so many tried & true great value wines. I am also happy to report that the several new wines to LCBO`s Vintages do not break the bank.

Smart Buy WinesVintages magazine states, “The definition of value is the quality of something compared to the price paid for it”.  Many times I have written about finding an outstanding wine at a popular price point. It really feels like a bargain although I’m never sure of the price you can put on real quality. After all there are some quality wines at $15 and also at $20. So in this release, I challenge you to find your smart buys, albeit I‘ll help with a few suggestions in this shopping list below.

This Smart Buys issue also celebrates the 256th birthday of Robbie Burns and while I didn’t get around to tasting the Bunnahabhain 18-year old Islay Single Malt at $179.95 (Vintages #247049), I’ll bet you for those malt fans out there, it would not disappoint.

So let’s start our new year out right with some “smart buys” and we’ll just go from there.


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

Saturday January 10, 2015


Jan 10 See Ya LaterSee Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2012

VQA Okanagan, British Columbia
$17.95 (Vintages # 126912)  13% alcohol

With the highest elevation vineyard in the Okanagan Valley this lovely Chardonnay is an example of what British Columbia grapes can produce. Pale in colour, fruity, crisp, light and smooth, with tastes of soft apricots and almonds on the palate. It is a delicate Chardonnay with a soft buttery finish and a little lime zest. This white wine is wonderful on its own or try this with some Mac n’ Cheese – Monday night dinners will never be the same.

Haha 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages # 388363)  13% alcohol

You just have to love a wine called “Haha” and I’m not sure if the winemaker was wanting to play a trick, but there was nothing tricky about this fabulous Sauvignon Blanc. Looking into it further, Hãhã is a Mãori word which means savoury and luscious. I`ll buy that!  The usual culprits descriptors for Sauvignon Blanc spring to mind: grapefruit and lime citrus, a little gooseberry (also known as cat’s pee – strangely, this is a good thing!).  This white wine is lively with a little pithiness on the finish and lots of fresh pizzazz.  Your taste buds burst with saliva which makes it a fabulous appertif. With some fig and hazelnut Raincoast crackers and soft cheese in an endive leaf it would be divine. A lovely new Sauvignon Blanc at a very nice price point.

Jan 10 Devils Corner wineDevils Corner Pinot Noir 2013

Brown Brothers, Tasmania
$23.95 (Vintages # 317966)  14% alcohol

On the east coast in Tasmania’s Tamar river valley lies the Devil’s Corner Vineyard. No doubt named on account of a treacherous bend in the river the winery has become a sanctuary for growing several award winning varietals entrenched deep with family history.  Soft aromas of cherries with herbs, a little forest floor and ripe plums on the palate to give this medium bodied, silky gem a delicious mouthfeel. Fine tannins and refreshing acidity make it an attractive companion with everything from charcuterie to rabbit.


Monasterio De Las Vinas Reserva 2006 

DO Carinena, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages # 166579)  13% alcohol

A beautiful deep ruby red wine with a heady blend of Grenache, Carignan and Tempranillo grapes, all being aged in either American or French oak for approximately 12 months. Rich ripe fruits in the aromas; black ripe plums and cherries spring to mind  that carry through on the palate with a little vegetal, peppery taste that adds interest to the melange of flavours. There’s little sweet spice on the long finish that makes this a lovely wine to sip on its own or with any grilled meats or strong cheese. There’s also enough fruit that I would say you could cellar for a couple of years.


Lafage Cote Sud 2012Jan 10 Lafage

IGP Cotes Catalanes, Roussillon, France
$14.95 (Vintages # 395236)   14% alcohol

After tasting some wines I have to go back and look at the price point, just to confirm I hadn’t mistaken it for more than its actual price tag. This is one of those wines that tastes like it is $10 more! Bright ruby and garnet with rich ripe currants and blackberries in the aromas and tastes. It’s full bodied and fruity with sweet spices lingering through the soft tannins in the aftertaste. It would be wonderful with any wintery roast with all the trimmings.



Grand Total: $ 89.75 (look what Ive saved you already!)



If I only had $100, I would buy…

Posted by Susan

Friday, October 15th, 2010

“If I only had $100, I would buy…’
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, October 16, 2010


The October 16 LCBO Vintages release features Bordeaux wines—reds from the Left and Right Banks, whites from Graves and Pessac-Léognan, as well as a couple of dessert wines. I found some great values here. You’ll also enjoy the French sparkling wines on offer, Cremants from Alsace, the Loire, Burgundy, Bordeaux, as well as Blanquette de Limoux. It’s always a challenge to choose the wines for this selection, but I hope you’ll enjoy my “If I only had $100, I would buy…” picks.



Château d’Argadens Bordeaux Supérieur 2006
AOC Bordeaux, France
$16.95 (Vintages #681643) 13.0% alcohol
Predominantly Merlot (65%), this balanced gold-medal winner is a great value. The aromas are alluring—spicy, richly fruity, with nuances of cedar, vanilla and licorice. Firmly structured and dry, the wine has chewy tannins, fresh acidity and subtle herbal notes complementing the fine fruit. There are hints of dark chocolate and toast on the lengthy, dry, flavourful finish. It entices you to take another sip and at this price, you should!

Pierre Sparr ‘Brut Réserve’ Cremant d’Alsace nv (NV is winespeak for non-vintage)
AOC Alsace, France
$18.95 (Vintages #173401) 12.0% alcohol
Light on it’s feet yet creamy and generous, this fresh citrusy wine has fine aromas and flavours of toasted brioche, stone fruit and lemon-chiffon pie. It’s vibrant, lively and refreshing with a fine mousse and palate-cleansing mid-length finish. Lovely to sip on its own and a great match for a veal or pork dish.

Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve 2008
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$25.00 (Vintages #33894) 12.5% alcohol
Le Clos Jordanne creates consistently good cool-clmate Pinot Noir, and this is no exception. From the fruit of 4 vineyards, separately fermented, this assemblage displays warm aromas of subtly-spiced cherry/berry fruit—raspberry/blueberry pie fresh from the oven comes to mind—along with nuances of mineral and cedar. Medium bodied, its dry and vibrant, with a tangy texture and bright red berry flavours—raspberry and cranberry. Great consistency and a spice-infused lively fruity finish. Try it with osso bucco, or cellar for 2-3 years

Terredora Falanghina 2008
IGT Campania, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #642074) 13.0% alcohol
Fragrant aromas of orchard and tropical fruit marry with floral notes and a certain pungency. Spritzy, the wine is fresh and bright with a core of stone fruit and citrus. Dry, medium bodied and balanced with zesty acidity, it has a lasting and refreshing lemon-lime finish. Serve it with hors d’oeuvres or soft cheeses.

Cuatro Pasos Mencia 2008
DO Bierzo, Spain
$16.95 (Vintages #39313) 13.5% alcohol
From an indigenous varietal of northwestern Spain, this wine is produced from the fruit of decades-old vines and lightly aged in French and American oak. Deep purple, its intensely aromatic—raspberry pie to the fore, licorice, spice and a mineral note. Medium bodied, the texture is soft with quite an intense concentrated core of ripe red and black berry fruit, nicely balanced by fine tannins and fresh acidity. Great value – you won’t be disappointed!

Grand Total: $93.80

A special treat worth the splurge: 

Le Dauphin de Guiraud 2003
AOC Sauterns, France
$24.95 (Vintages #190496) 13.5% alcohol
Golden amber, this fabulous dessert wine has great depth and presence. Aromas of marmalade, orange rind, honeyed caramel and vanilla beckon. On the palate, a satiny texture, warmth and acidity wrap around flavours of spun brown sugar, candied citrus and five-fruit marmalade. The extended finish replays these exotic flavours. Totally compelling – you just want more . . . Imagine the most decadent matches – Roquefort, foie gras, crème brulée—and secure an extra bottle for long-term cellaring. An outstanding value!


More about my 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 a 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 these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  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!