Posts Tagged ‘good value wine’

It’s a boy! Time to pop open the bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
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The news about the arrival of Kate & William’s baby boy is spreading like wild fire.  There are bottles of bubbly being popped all around the world – especially in London!

A royal occasion such as this deserves the finest Champagne, yet all of us in the Savvy Team love to showcase Canadian wines….so to celebrate the baby’s arrival, we are uncorking the most popular sparkling wine that we have featured in Savvy Bin Ends: Romeo Blanc de Noir made by Palatine Hills of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The good news is that this sparkling wine is as good as Champagne at half the price.  The bad news though is that it is almost gone!  We have heard from the winemaker that there are only 15 cases left at the winery…and it’s a steal at $22.95 (that is $7 off each bottle.)

Stock up to have this bubbly in the fridge for whenever the moment strikes – like the Royal’s news today – or for any occasion to pop the cork!

To order this fantastic bubbly click here >>

Hurry as this bubbly will sell out quickly…and when it is gone, it is gone for good!

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Valentine’s wines to fall in love with

Posted by Julie

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
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Flowers and chocolates may be on the list for some Valentines, but I would rather give or share a great bottle of wine any time. The latest release at the LCBO Vintages offers all kinds of fabulous choices from some new varietals through to some sparkling wines. Try a bubbly to set the mood before any dinner or just enjoy a glass on its own. The Peller Cuvée Ice Rosé Sparkling (a beautiful pink colour in the glass) that I recommend in this release is truly outstanding and worth the splurge.

If you wish to continue a “pink” theme for a Valentine’s dinner, keep in mind the Tawse Rosé.  I have written about this rosé wine in the past, and it is one of my favourites, not to mention its origin is in Canada’s ‘Winery of the Year’, so for something different this is a great pick. It would be delicious paired with fish or some seafood appetizers.

If chicken is on your sweetheart menu, the Norman Hardie Chardonnay 2009 (Prince Edward County) at $35.00 will bring lots of ooohs and aww’s.

Finally, if you happen to have a box of fine Belgian chocolates – after all it is Valentine’s Day – some icewine would be the perfect match. The Megalomaniac Cold Hearted Riesling IceWine is not too hard on the pocketbook priced at $29.95. Deliciously sweet but the refreshing squirt of lemon on the finish sure balances it out.

I hope you find something pink or red and delicious for Valentine’s Day. Here are my picks:

Cheers!

Julie

 

Peller Cuvée Ice Rosé Sparkling

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (Méthode Classique)
$34.95 (Vintages #113035) 12% alcohol

It is no wonder that this was a winner of a Gold Medal at the Wine Access 2011 Canadian Wine Awards. The winemaker included a dose of Cabernet Fanc icewine in this sparkling wine to create a first class act from start to finish. This vivid pink sparkling wine is elegant, bone dry, has a lovely fine mousse (tiny bubbles) loaded with ripe strawberry and soft peach flavours. I can’t say enough how deliciously yum this tastes.

Three Saints Chardonnay 2009

Santa Barbara County, California, U.S.A.
$20.95 (Vintages #297531) 14% alcohol

Chardonnay just never goes out of style and this full-bodied delight is creamy and luscious. It oozes flavours of savoury butterscotch with layers of ripe tropical fruit. It is dry, smooth, velvety in texture with a peachy-apricot, hazelnut finish. It would be divine with a creamy chicken dish or just on its own with a little sharp cheese. This one is on my “must buy” list.

Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2010

Dominio del Plata, Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #079798) 14.4% alcohol

While the Malbec grape has its origins in France, it has become increasing known as Argentina’s signature grape varietal. Susana did well to make this beauty at a great price. A dark purple-plum colour that exhibits notions of earthiness, blueberries, blackberries and reminiscent of a baked berry pie. It is fruity but dry with soft tannins and a hint of tobacco. A fabulous table wine with any grilled or braised meats.

Sampietrana 1952 Riserva Brindisi 2008

DOC, Puglia, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #310086) 13.5% alcohol

The judges must have found this wine as juicy as I did when they gave it the Golf Medal at the 2011 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. A deep ruby red displaying some violet and lavender on the nose and on the palate a big blast of ripe dark cherries.  The key grape is Negroamaro  grown predominantly in Puglia, often known as the heel of the Italian boot.  There’s a little woodsy, chocolate or mocha on the finish which makes it a great sipper. The old rule for food and wine pairing, “if it grows together it goes together” so it would be a great match for pasta bolognese and traditional meat lasagna.

 

Grand Total: $ 91.80 

P.S. There’s enough left over to buy a chocolate truffle or two!

 

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These Australia white wines impressed our Sommeliers!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
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Taltarni T Series Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

Victoria, Australia
$17.95
VINTAGES 19471, 12.5% Alcohol

Winery owner, John Goelet grew up in a family of wine merchants in Bordeaux, France. After searching around the world for a property comparable to the great vineyards of Bordeaux, in 1972, he established Taltarni – meaning red earth in the native Aboriginal language.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: A unique blend where the Sauvignon Blanc grapes were picked in two separate harvests (at night!): early harvest for fresh, zesty citrus characters & a few weeks later for blackcurrant & passion fruit flavours. The Semillion adds in straw & guava notes for a truly refreshing wine.

Suggested Food Pairing: This is definitely a wine to pack for a picnic, steamed mussels or shrimp on the barbie!

Tahbilk Estate Viognier

Victoria, Australia
$18.95
VINTAGES 271387, 14.0% Alcohol

Viognier (pronounced vee-on-nyeh) is a grape variety that has deep roots in France.  Now California, Canada & Australia are growing this ‘hidden gem’. In fact, in Australia, Viognier is often blended with Shiraz to add a little body & sweetness.  At Tahbilk meaning place of many watering holes –  they commit to use Viognier not for blending, rather to craft the ultimate wine, that has now become a benchmark Viognier wine in Australia.

Now this is impressive! Tahbilk was nominated by Australian Vignerons magazine in 2004 as producing one of the “Benchmark” Australian Viognier releases. And if that was not enough, the wine has gained great recognition on the Australian Wine Show Circuit.  The wine has numerous awards since the inaugural 2000 vintage, 2 Trophies, 14 Gold, 18 Silver & 47 Bronze Medals.

Savvy Sommelier Tasting Notes: “OMG! One of the finest Viogniers I have tasted”, remarks Savvy Sommelier Debbie…and Julie agrees too! Striking aromas & tastes of tangerine, mango, pineapple & even banana with honeysuckle that continues into a delicious creamy finish.

Suggested Food Pairing: Delightful on its own, with cheeses (try the Parmasean Crisp recipe below), spicy foods & seafood.

 

 

An easy recipe that will be delicious with these sipping wines

There are so many versions of this recipe but nothing could be simpler, or more delicious to match with this sparkling wine. The fruity bubbles in the wine compliment the saltiness in the cheese and just send you back nibbling for more. I sometimes serve them a little red pepper jelly on the side. A perfect hors d’oeuvres – beware, folks inhale these!

Parmesan Crisps

From the kitchen of Savvy Sommelier Julie

Ingredients
1-1/12 cups of grated Parmesan depending how many crisps you would like to make.

Should yield about 20 small crisps.

Method

  1.  Preheat often to 400 degrees and put a heaping tablespoon of the Parmesan onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I would space the spoonfuls about an inch apart.
  2. Bake about 8 minutes or check them after 5 and they should be just slightly golden.

 

Eager to go to Australia?

Come with me on Taste Your Way Around Australia trip that I will be co-hosting in March 2013 organized by Aussie Travel.  It’ll be a 23 day extravaganza of delicious Australian cuisine, winery tours, dinners with chefs, boutique hotels & unique cultural excursions.

Warning: you may not come back!

 

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Spanish Flavour Fiesta & Sparkling Wines

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
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Hola España! If you enjoy Spanish wines, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the March 17 LCBO Vintages release. Included are a range of styles and varietals, including vibrant Albariño from Rías Baixas on the Atlantic, lively Verdejo from Rueda, Mencia from Bierzo and Monastrell from the plateaux of Almansa and Jumilla. There are also Tempranillo-based wines from the classic denominations of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Almost all of these wines are under $20, many of them aged several years, offering great value.

As an example, the Cerro Añon Reserva blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano is from the 2005 vintage, the Vega Sauco Adoremus Tempranillo from the 2004 vintage. A younger wine such as the Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is a steal at $13.95.

Pick up the Vintages catalogue for suggested food matches to some of Spain’s signature grapes! If you enjoy the classic style of dry sparkling wine, produced using Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay in what is known as the ‘Traditional Method’ (a precise measure of still wine, sugar and yeast is added during bottling, kick-starting the second fermentation in bottle, after which the wine rests on the lees and acquires yeasty, toasty notes), the secondary feature will be of interest. The selection ranges from Heidsieck Champagne through the Okanagan’s See Ya Later Ranch Brut, to the very tasty South African Graham Beck Brut sparkling. If you’re into pink, choose the Lefèvre Rémondet Crémant Rosé from Burgundy, Mumm Napa’s Sparkling Rosé, or Niagara’s G. Marquis Ice Rosé kissed with a touch of Cab Franc ice wine.

There are some unique, iconic wines in this release, including the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the Bordeaux-style red blend Opus One by Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Concha & Toro’s Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvginon, Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and my absolute favorite, the Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2002. Released following the death of its legendary winemaker Giuseppe Quintarelli earlier this year, it’s not to be missed. Among the Canadian wines, Flat Rock’s Twisted white wine is always fresh and flavourful, Henry of Pelham’s Barrel Fermented Chardonnay is a well-crafted value, and the Aces Okanagan Seven Deuce Red is substantial and tasty—and entertaining!

Cheers and Enjoy,
Susan

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 17, 2012


See Ya Later Ranch
Brut n/v

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$20.95 (Vintages #271049) 12.5% alcohol
Here’s a very nice value from the south-central Okanagan, a well-crafted sparkler also produced using the traditional method. Dry, medium bodied, it’s fresh with aromas of grilled grapefruit, floral notes and a hint of nut. The nutty note replays on the dry, medium-bodied palate, fine mousse offering a clean fresh texture and carrying attractive flavours of citrus and orchard fruit through an extended, lively finish. Pick up a few bottles to celebrate spring!

Lefèvre Rémondet Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé n/v
AOC Bourgogne, France
$15.95 (Vintages #265306) 12.0% alcohol
You can’t go wrong with this great value from Burgundy. The color of fresh cranberry juice, it offers appealing clean aromas of red berry fruit and lightly-grilled toast. The mousse is fine and delicate, fresh red fruit flavours crisp and bright—think cranberry, pie cherry and red currant. It finishes tangy, crisp and fruity. What’s not to like—stockpile a few bottles for casual gatherings.

Cerro Añon Reserva 2005
DOCa Rioja, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #114306) 14.0% alcohol

Principally Tempranillo, this blend displays its lengthy oak aging with notes of vanilla, sandalwood and toast adorning red and black berries. Dry, medium-full bodied, plush and lively fruit wraps around still-perceptible tannins and fresh acidity, nuances of vanilla and sweet spice adding complexity. Charry toasty notes persist on the lasting dry yet fruit-filled finish. A substantial wine crafted for long-term cellaring, offering excellent value.

Wakefield Shiraz 2009
Clare Valley, Australia$17.95 (Vintages #943787)) 14.0% alcohol
From one of Australia’s first families of wine, this is a dry, substantial wine showcasing a subtle yet defined structure. Fragrant with ripe berries, spice, pepper and vanilla, the texture is tangy with fresh acidity, ripe tannins creating a clean frame for the spice-infused dark fruits washing across the palate and through the toasty finish. You’ll want a few bottles of this award-winning wine to enjoy now and to cellar medium term.

Quinta Nova Pomares 2009
DOC Douro, Portugal
$16.95 (Vintages #214007) 13.5% alcohol

Semi-transparent ruby, this attractive blend of classic Port grapes features high-toned aromas and flavours of red fruit, spice, dried herbs and vanilla. Dry, medium bodied, the impact on the palate is lively and fresh, the texture is appealingly silky, the tannins sleek and subtle, the finish tangy and refreshing. A well crafted wine that offers good value, drinking well now and cellarable short term.

Grand Total: $90.75


Worth the splurge: An iconic wine from a legendary producer …


Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2002

DOC Valpolicella, Italy
$79.95 (986117) 15.0% alcohol

Can a wine engender bliss? If so, this is the one! A decade old, released just after the death of its illustrious winemaker, Giuseppe Quintarelli, this fine garnet wine offers subtlty, elegance, depth and pure tasting joy. On the nose, whispers of leather, earth, evolved fruit, dried cherries, subtle spice and vanilla layer, mingle and merge on the palate. Pure silk, the texture is lush yet remarkably fresh, the tannins supple. There’s a sense of warmth and earthiness, of exquisite integration and balance, and a finish that lasts and lasts. Dinner out or this wine – no contest!

 

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Wines & Tennis – a perfect match!

Posted by Susan

Thursday, January 19th, 2012
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On Saturday LCBO Vintages features ‘Australian got Style’, emphasizing the wide range of varietals and  types of wine from this powerhouse wine producer.

Did you know that the Australian Open Tennis Tournament, running January 16-29, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year? With Austalian Open as the sub-title of this Vintages feature, it gives you a good excuse to choose from among the great selection of wines from South Australia’s Barossa and Clare Valleys, as well as a couple of wines from the Heathcote Hills and Mornington Peninsula, nearer to Melbourne, where the tournament is being hosted. The Barossa Valley offers some of Australia’s best quality wines, especially Shiraz produced from older vines. The Clare Valley is recognized for more structured red wines displaying natural acidity, as well as firm, dry Riesling. Consider a selection of wines from this feature to keep you company during the Open, such as the Jim Berry duo – a lovely dry Riesling and a plush, smooth Shiraz (check out that Clare Valley character), the ripe fruity Hewitson Miss Harry blend, the inky full-bodied Turkey Flat Butchers Block blend, or the concentrated balanced Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon.

Step out of your comfort zone with the second feature, Discovery Grapes, which highlights some of the lesser-known grapes from across the world. There’s some excellent value here – in fact, four wines from this feature are included in our selection below – a creamy Chenin Blanc from South Africa, a smoky structured Monastrell (Mourvèdre) blend from Spain, an intensely aromatic Montepulciano d’Abruzzo—only made in the best vintages—and a powerful Petit Verdot from Chile. The main release also offers some really good wines under $15 – Alamos Malbec and Alfredo Roca Pinot Noir from Argentina, Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Blanc and La Chablisienne Saint-Bris Sauvignon Blanc (a unique wine from an appellation known for Chardonnay) from France. Once again, we’ve managed to squeeze 6 tasty value-packed wines into this selection. Buy some, buy them all, at less than $100!

Cheers and Enjoy,
Susan

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, January 21, 2012


Spice Route Chenin Blanc 2009
Swartland, South Africa
$17.95 (Vintages #174623) 14.0% alcohol
From low-yielding bush vines, this golden barrel-fermented ‘Steen’ is richly aromatic—orchard fruit, spice, caramel and toasted hazelnut burst from the glass. Dry, creamy and softly textured, well-integrated oak complements a rush of orchard fruit and lemon curd. Lovely balance, weight and texture—what’s not to like!

Castaño ‘Reserva’ Pozuelo 2006
Yecla, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages #35485) 13.5% alcohol
Produced from Monastrell (Mouvèdre) with a dollop each of Cab Sauv, Syrah and Merlot, the old bush vines flourishing on a windy, dry, sunny plateau, this is a wine where balance and structure are the watchwords. Aromas of sweetly spiced fruit, vanilla, licorice and campfire smoke herald concentrated flavours of ripe dark berries, plum, herbs and sweet spice. Dry, medium-full bodied, displaying perceptible tannins and fresh acidity, the long dry finish offers the warmth of sun-kissed fruit. Enjoy it with braised short ribs and roast root veggies.

Talamonti ‘Tre Saggi’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008
DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #204016) 13.5% alcohol
This award-winning wine, hand harvested and aged 12 months in French oak, offers an attractive value equation. Complexity on the nose recurs on the palate—ripe fruit, autumnal notes, vanilla, coffee bean and toast mingle to create interest and depth. The dark berry and cherry fruit is quite plush, the tannins soft, the acidity fresh, creating a dry, medium-full bodied wine with great balance and a touch of sweet vanilla on the lasting finish. Enjoy it with herbed roast pork au jus.

Santa Carolina ‘Barrica Selection’ Petit Verdot 2009
Rapel Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #7484) 14.5% alcohol
Inky, with a concentrated weighty texture, this is a drink-me-know example of a varietal more commonly found in Bordeaux blends. There’s alluring complexity, including subtle floral, spice and vanilla notes, a hint of licorice and chocolatey caramel garnishing dark berry fruits. Aged 18 months in oak, dry, full bodied and structured,  rich and velvety, this is a powerful wine with impact from the first whiff to the last spicy chocolate-tinged sip. Partner this Petit Verdot with lamb and root veggie ragout or cellar medium term.
 
Vineland Sauvignon Blanc 2009
VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$16.95 (Vintages #551168) 12.0% alcohol
Pale straw, this wine artfully combines intense citrus aromas, alluring tropical fruit notes and a subtle underlying mineral character. Dry, medium bodied, the aromas replay on the palate, braced with vibrant acidity and a clean mineral component. Fresh, fruity, absolutely delightful, enjoy it with sautéed scallops or pan-fried halibut with a lemon-caper sauce.

 

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Clare Valley, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #744235) 14.0% alcohol
Inky, concentrated, this award-winning wine is redolent of cassis and toasty oak, a whiff of mint tickling the senses. Dry, medium-full bodied, the bushel of ripe black and red berries is nicely balanced by a wash of fresh acidity and a frame of ripe tannins. That tantalizing hint of mint endures on the long clean finish. Great value, great taste!
 

Grand Total: $98.70

 

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, August 4th, 2011
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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, August 6, 2011

There are great values to be had in the feature on Chilean wines in the August 6 LCBO Vintages release. While the country has developed a reputation for such iconic wines as Montes Purple Angel, Chile can be counted on to deliver reliably ripe, fruity full-flavoured accessible wines. The country is quite isolated by natural features, bound on the north and south by a desert and Antarctica, on the east and west by the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. This isolation has proven beneficial, keeping the country’s wine-growing regions largely free of the infamous phylloxera louse which decimated vines around the world in the late 1800s. Since then most vines are grafted onto American rootstock, an expensive practice not required in Chile. As a country with a wide range of altitude, climate and exposure, Chile can successfully cultivate many varietals, including Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc among the whites, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Carmenére, it’s most famous grape, among the reds. Prior to the phylloxera infestation in France, Carmenére was one of the blending varietals of Bordeaux. The vine was brought to Chile in the mid-1800s and for many years was assumed to be Merlot. In the mid 1990s, it was properly identified and has become the signature red varietal of Chile, known for being approachable, intensely purple colored, spicy character and soft velvety body.

This release also includes a small feature on B.C. wines, including a luscious full-bodied Chardonnay from Burrowing Owl, a classic Gewurztraminer from Dirty Laundry Vineyards, a fruity Merlot from Gehringer Brothers, a rich full Pinot Noir from See Ya Later Ranch, and a Bordeaux-style red blend from Laughing Stock. A long narrow valley, the Okanagan offers a range of climate, terroir and exposure, with almost every property overlooking a lake or river. The featured wineries are located in the central and south Okanagan, where the interplay of hot summers, shadows on the mountainside and unique microclimates create the context for outstanding wines. Finally, this release provides the unique opportunity to sample a fabulous off-dry sparkling wine from Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge. The great value in this release means we’ve included 6 wines in the selection!

Cheers

Susan

Anakena ‘Lilén Single Vineyard’ Viognier 2010
Requinoa, Chile
$13.95 (Vintages #45138) 13.5% alcohol

A golden cascade into the glass foreshadows the smooth texture and lovely balance of this dry, medium-full bodied wine. Tangy aromas tantalize the nose—floral, stone and tropical fruit. The fruit replays on the palate, a stream of citrusy acidity refreshing and the characteristic touch of pithiness coming through on the lasting finish. A great value, you’ll enjoy it with barbequed shrimp and grilled vegetables.

Anakena ‘Single Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2009
Leyda Valley, Chile
$13.95 (Vintages #208439) 13.5% alcohol
This wine displays a lovely balance and weight, depth of aromas and flavours and a fine silky texture. It’a all about rich ripe red fruit, with a garnish of spice and an appealing earthiness. Dry, full flavoured, the fine tannins and acidity make for a very approachable wine. Hints of spice and white pepper add complexity on the lasting finish. An excellent value.

Chilensis ‘Reserva’ Carmenére’ 2010
Maule Valley, Chile
$12.95 (Vintages #657981) 14.0% alcohol
Dry, medium-full bodied, this ruby wine entices with aromas of berry fruit, vanilla, smoky roasted pepper and a herbal note. The rich ripe dark fruit—blueberry and luscious black cherry—harmonizes with ripe tannins and fresh acidity. Peppery notes and a hint of espresso garnish the finish. A very nice value and a good choice for spicy pork ribs.

Emiliana ‘Adobe Reserva’ Syrah 2009
Rapel Valley, Chile
$12.95 (Vintages #213553) 14.0% alcohol
Deep purple, this award-winning organic wine is highly fragrant with aromas of spicy rose, dark berries, licorice and smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, well structured, the rich ripe black berry flavours caress the palate, subtle peppery smoky notes persisting through the generous finish. Grilled red meat and a few bottles will liven up the party!


Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 2010
Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
$25.00 (Vintages #256289) 8.5% alcohol

Finally, this delectable Nova Scotia wine has made it to Ontario. A winemakers’ favorite at a spring tasting in Ottawa, you won’t want to miss out. Benjamin Bridge is building a reputation for outstanding sparkling wines, many of which sell out within weeks of release. Nova 7 is a secret blend of several Nova Scotia varietals, the principal one being New York Muscat, created in the style of light, off-dry Italian sparklers. Light on its feet with a delightful fine creamy mousse, it offers lovely floral, peach, lime-splashed mango and mineral notes, harmonized with fresh acidity, creating a tangy yet fruit-filled mid-length finish. Have I said it’s wonderful . . . Sip it for pleasure or enjoy with light summer salads with a fruity vinaigrette.

Gehringer Brothers ‘Dry Rock Vineyard’ Merlot 2009
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$18.95 (Vintages #229898) 14.4% alcohol

A deep ruby, this enticing wine offers complexity on the nose and palate. Aromas of red berry, plum, spice, herb and smoke drift from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, there’s depth and concentration of fruit and intriguing notes of earth, char and pepper that persist on the lasting finish. An approachable, accessible wine from the South Okanagan. Enjoy it with grilled rib steak or cellar short term.


Grand Total: $97.75

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 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!

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

Posted by Susan

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, July 23, 2011

Taste your way through Italy from north to south, red or white, with the July 23 LCBO Vintages feature on Signature Varietels of Italy, some better and others lesser known. Among the whites, you’ll find delectable Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay from the North, a fruity Soave, and less common but equally appealing varietals—Greco di Tufo, Garganega and Arneis, a personal favorite for its body and rich fruit flavours. The red segment of the Italian feature includes well-known varietals from Piemonte, such as Nebbiolo—producing the renowned Barolo—Barbaresco and Barbera, from Tuscany, Sangiovese—the storied wine that creates the unique flavours of Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello di Montalcino. The lesser-known noble varietal of Campagnia and Basilicata, Aglianico, producing wines with great depth of flavour, is joined by Primitivo from Puglia. All in all, a great selection for those who have a favorite among Italian wines.

Lovers of white wine will enjoy the secondary feature, which focuses on cool-climate Chardonnay. Climatic conditions such as altitude, latitude, cool nights or cooling breezes in areas such as Burgundy, Oregon, Tasmania and Ontario bring to the fore clean crisp fruit flavours and fresh acidity, often complemented with subtle oak aging. Niagara enjoys just the right conditions to produce fine Chardonnay, and the feature includes wines from Coyote’s Run (featured in Savvy Selections), Inniskillin and Le Clos Jordanne.

Finally, you all know me as a great fan of B.C. wines – don’t miss those in this feature—a Syrah from the world’s first aboriginal-owned winery, Nk’Mip, a Merlot from Quail’s Gate, whose wines were offered to William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on their recent visit to Yellowknife, and a tangy rosé from Mission Hill that I’ve squeezed in as the sixth wine in this selection. Interested in more B.C. wines—stay tuned for a small feature in the upcoming August 6 Vintages release.

Cheers,
SusanVinea Gargarnega 2009
IGT Veronese, Italy
$12.95 (Vintages #230656) 13.0% alcohol

You won’t find a better value than this intensely aromatic award-winning wine produced from one of Italy’s lesser-known white varietals. Enjoy the floral, stone and tropical fruit fragrances and flavours. Dry, medium bodied, round and silky on the palate, this versatile wine offers a lasting honeyed fruit finish. Consider purchasing several bottles.

Cantina Tollo ‘Aldiano’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007
DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #51796) 14.0% alcohol
Inky purple, full-bodied and loaded with aromas and flavours of ripe dark fruit, spice box and vanilla, this is a well-crafted approachable wine. Soft tannins and acidity provide sufficient structure to balance the focused fruit, and the finish delights with notes of pepper, licorice and spice-infused chocolate. Enjoy with a meaty tomato-based pasta.

 

Cantina di Venosa Terre di Orazio 2007
DOC Aglianico di Vulture, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #247494) 13.5% alcohol
Opaque ruby, dense, flavourful and intensely aromatic with notes of dark berries, vanilla and a whiff of fennel—what’s not to like! Dry, full bodied this wine from the noble varietal Aglianico offers attractive notes of herbs, spice and toast drifting over rich flavours of blueberry and blackberry. A peppery note lingers on the fruity finish. A tasty value that calls for grilled meats.

Ridgepoint Cabernet Franc 2009
VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara
$17.95 (Vintages #245639) 12.5% alcohol
This is a great example a varietal that does very well in Niagara. Semi-transparent ruby, this dry, medium-bodied wine offers alluring and complex aromas—berry, sweet spice, vanilla and an earthy herbal note. Savour the ripe red fruit—raspberry and cranberry—garnished with sweet spice and a hint of toast. The texture is quite silky, the underlying structure subtle, providing a deftly balanced wine with a long lasting fruity finish. A great choice for herbed grilled pork or other simple barbequed fare.

Château la Grolet 2009
AOC Côtes de Bourg, France
$17.95 (Vintages #126615) 13.5% alcohol
Dry, medium-bodied, finely balanced and structured, this biodynamic wine is a winner! Principally Merlot blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers rich fruity aromas and nuances of herbs and earth. The fresh flavours of ripe field berries flow across the palate, supported by ripe tannins and a tangy texture. The dry, fruity finish lasts and lasts. Enjoy it with full-flavoured meat dishes or cellar 3-5 years.

 

Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Rosé 2010
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$15.95 (Vintages #229716) 12.5% alcohol
Pale salmon pink, this lively rosé has delightful aromas of red berry fruit and fresh citrus. Dry, light-medium bodied, the cherry/berry and zippy citrus flavours replay with blueberry coming through on the mid palate. Tasty and bright, it offers a lasting fresh fruity finish. Enjoy with a grilled chicken and mushroom salad.

Grand Total: $99.70

 

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 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!

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

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
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If only I had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, April 2, 2011

This week’s LCBO Vintages release includes an extensive feature on Burgundy, the land of terroir, of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, including wines from the 2008 and the heralded 2009 vintages. It is suggested that like many of the previous ‘9’ vintages, 2009 will be a great one. Hail in some areas not only decreased yield, but advanced ripening, and the hot dry weather in August and through harvest assured good quality fruit. The vintage conditions are predicted to produce deeply colored, quite intense red wines with higher alcohol levels. The whites are expected to be fruity with good acidity. 

The second feature is of South African wines, highlighting blends based on southern Rhône and Bordeaux varietals. The main release includes a good selection of wines from Ontario, for instance the Pelee Island ‘Vendange Tardive’ Pinot Gris featured in a recent Savvy Selection, as well as some very tasty wines from Chile, Argentina and Italy. Once again, there is an intense, robust wine from California’s Paul Hobbs, the Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy the selection below as you bask in the warm spring sunshine.Cheers

Cheers!
Susan

Vincent Morin Lacombe Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009
AOC Bourgogne, France

$16.95 (Vintages #208496) 12.5% alcohol

Red with a tinge of violet, this wine is fragrant with sweet red and black berry fruit, spice and an earthy undertone. Dry, medium bodied, the sweet fruit and spice flavours wrapped in a silky texture entice, while fresh acidity and perceptible tannins ensure balance and consistency through the mid-length finish. An attractive value-laden wine, it wil cellar medium term or would be a good match this weekend with beef tenderloin with a tarragon mushroom sauce or roast pork with herbs and garlic.

Domaine Saint-Saturnin de Vergy Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc 2009
AOC, Hautes Côtes de Nuits, France
$18.95 (Vintages #128686) 13.0% alcohol

Pale gold, this lovely Chardonnay has a subtle nose of ripe orchard fruit, citrus, mineral and lightly toasted nuts. Dry, medium bodied, it offers a silky texture and vibrant acidity matched with delicious citrus, apple and pear. Beautifully balanced, there’s a lingering note of light toast on the fresh fruity finish. Match to chicken roasted with lemon zest and tarragon, or cellar medium term.

Lammershoek Roulette Blanc ‘Reserve’2008
WO Swartland, South Africa

$16.95 (Vintages #225458) 14.5% alcohol
This golden blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier displays lifted aromas of tropical and orchard fruit, and sweet toasty notes. Dry, full bodied, it has a smooth creamy texture, fresh acidity and loads of rich ripe fruit—pear, Mac apple and pineapple—with a dash of spice and some lasting toasty notes on the warm yet tangy finish. Mouth filling and satisfying, give it a whirl with herbed roast pork.

Errázuriz ‘Single Vineyard’ Syrah 2008
Don Maximiano Estate, Panhueque, Chile

$19.95 (Vintages #211938) 14.5% alcohol

Deep purple and intensely aromatic, this wine offers dark fruit, spice, vanilla and earthy nuances. Dry, medium-full bodied, fruit forward, it’s rich with dark plum, blackberry and black cherry, lifted by notes of exotic spice and white pepper. Perceptible tannins and fine acidity are well matched to the rich fruit. Attractive notes of cocoa and dark toast persist on the finish. A great choice for barbequed meats, now or over the next 3-5 years.


Rivera ‘Cappellaccio Riserva’ Aglianico 2005
DOC Castel del Monte, Italy

$18.95 (Vintages #984120) 13.5% alcohol
A deep jeweled ruby tone, this well-crafted wine is produced from one of Italy’s lesser known noble varietals, aged 12 months in French oak and a further 12 in bottle. Perfumed with spicy floral and herbal aromas, ripe plum, berry fruit and earthy tones, the wine is robust and well structured.  Dry, medium-full bodied, the succulent berry fruit is matched with fresh acidity and firm tannins that underline the lengthy dry finish. Rare meats are in order, or cellar long term, as there’s lots of life in this wine!

Grand Total: $91.75

 

Worth the splurge: 
Paul Hobbs ‘Crossbarn’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Napa Valley, USA

$34.95 (Vintages #118695) 14.8% alcohol

A wine of substance, you see this in the depth of color and in the complexity of aromas—dark berry, pit fruit, cedar, vanilla. Powerful and structured, there’s warmth and depth on the palate, with layers of flavor and an attractive balance of fruit and acidity. Lovely notes of espresso roast linger on the lengthy finish of this dry, full bodied and intensely flavourful wine. The tannins are yet grippy, so enjoy it with rare grilled meats, or cellar 3-5 years.

  

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 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!

Share

It is party time – stock up on wine!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, November 27th, 2009
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Your to do list is getting longer as the date quickly approaches for your holiday cocktail party.  Next stop, the wine store…but the question is which wines to buy?  

 

Rest easy & be savvy. Print off our Savvy Sommelier list of wine tips that are sure to please your crowd (and be easy on your wallet).  For something different (& even more convenient),  call our Savvy Sommeliers to arrange for an assortment of wines that you won’t find at the LCBO or SAQ delivered.  That’s right…delivered straight to your doorstep. How is that for making your holiday party to do list shorter?

 

Support local, pop the cork & serve Ontario wines…

White Wines at the LCBO

Peninsula Ridge INOX Chardonnay VQA 2007 $12.95

 

Angels Gate Sussreserve Riesling VQA 2008 $14.15
(Debbie’s top holiday pick white wine in the Ottawa Citizen MATCHED: Food & Drink article)

 

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling VQA 2008 $16.95 (in Vintages)

 

Fielding Pinot Gris VQA 2008 $18.95 (in Vintages)

 

Malivoire Gewurztraminer VQA 2008 $24.95 (in Vintages)

 

Red Wines at the LCBO

Pilitteri Estates Cabernet-Merlot VQA 2007 $12.95

 

Pelee Island Pinot Noir Reserve VQA 2008 $14.95

 

Chateau des Charmes “Droit’ Gamay Noir VQA 2007 $16.95

 

Rosehall Run Vineyards County Cuvee Cabernet Franc VQA 2007 $18.95

 

FlatRock Cellars Pinot Noir VQA 2007 $19.95 (in Vintages)

 

Easy & quick – Order wine online

Stuntman Stu Red Line Merlot VQA 2008 $19.95 – in two clicks you can have the most talked about red wine delivered to your doorstep overnight.
(Debbie’s top holiday pick red wine in the Ottawa Citizen MATCHED: Food & Drink article)

 

 

Sip & tour around the world

Sparkling Wine

Astoria Prosecco la Robina, Italy $12.95

 

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Spain $14.95

 

Nino Franc Brut Prosecco di Valdobiadene, Italy $18.95

 

 

White Wines

J&F Lurton Pinot Gris, Argentina $10.95

 

Whitecliff Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand $14.95

 

Willm Riesling, Alsace France $16.95 (in Vintages)

 

 

Red Wines

Finca La Chamiza Cabernet-Merlot, Argentina $7.95


Cline Cellars Zinfandel, California $13.65

 

Errazuriz Carmenere, Chile $13.95

 

Los Molinos, Spain $14.70

 

Perrin Reserve, France $14.95 (in Vintages)

 

Cline Cellars Syrah, California $14.95 (in Vintages)

 

Abadia Raimat Crianza, Spain $14.95 (in Vintages)

 

Elderton Friends Vineyard Series Shiraz, Australia $15 (in Vintages)

 

Bertani Valpollicella Ripasso, Italy $16.90

 

Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Village Rasteau, France $17.80 (tip: look for the only wine label on the shelve all in brail!)

 

Katnook Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia $17.95

 

Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, California $17.95 (in Vintages)

 

Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Spain $18.95 (in Vintages)

 

At any time, know that you can call on the team of Savvy Sommeliers to help you select wines for your holiday party, or have us be your Sommelier at your party.

 

May your holiday parties be merry with great wines served!
Debbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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