Posts Tagged ‘great Ontario wines’

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 4th, 2016

February was a long month with Leap Year. Now March is loaded with holidays. March Break, St Patrick’s Day and Easter are reasons to pop corks! This week’s release at Vintages is loaded with interesting wines, Irish Whiskies & sparkling wines for exactly that occasion.

LCBO Magazine March 5I must confess that I am learning to enjoy whisky as opposed to a whisky lover! The Knappogue Castle 16 year old Irish Single Malt tempted me to try a wee dram. Glad that I did! The sherry finish made this a smooth sip.

And while you are there, you may be wondering why the store shelves will be overflowing with goodies from California. It is to whet your taste buds & prep you for the arrival of California winemakers when they tour across Canada on their annual roadshow stopping in at Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver and Calgary. Click here to see when they land near you. If you happen to know you are getting a tax refund, consider splurging on a bottle of – Kistler McCrea Vineyards Chardonnay – was delicious, but I won’t be including it on this shopping list as it would break my budget (its $120.95…a bottle!). The Treana White is always a treat with its 50-50 blend of Viognier and Marsanne at $29.95.

Take this shopping list and head on into your local LCBO store to pick up these gems – I recommend it!


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

Saturday March 5, 2016


Vietti Moscato d’Asti 2014

Piedmont, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #441253) 5% alcohol

A sure fire sign of spring is when Moscato d’Asti wines start filling the shelves. Delicious bubbly equally balanced with spring flower aromas (think daffodils & hyacinths) with fruit salad taste of juicy peach, pineapple and melon. A perfect sparkling wine to serve for brunch as it is low in alcohol, or pop it open for an aperitif or to finish a meal instead of a dessert.


Fielding Gewürztraminer 2012Fielding Gewürztraminer VQA 2013

Niagara, ON
$18.95 (Vintages #146753)  12.5% alcohol

Everything Fielding’s winemaker Richie Roberts makes seems to turn to gold. This yummy Gewürztraminer will get your heart racing with its spring-like aromas and flavours. Floral aromas combined with candied ginger and tropical fruit tastes (think mangos, kiwi) make this a well balanced and delicious medium bodied white wine. Chill and sip while you make dinner or serve with something spicy like Phad Thai, Indian curry or Mexican dish.


Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2014Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Malborough, New Zealand
$19.95 (Vintages #974527) 13% alcohol

This is the first wine from the 2015 vintage that I have had…and WOW! A stunning Sauvignon Blanc with loads of lemon-lime tastes with a touch of cut green grass (a typical characteristic of Sauv Blanc). Smooth, round feeling in the mouth – a classy wine. It is not surprising that Villa Maria is one of New Zealand’s most awarded winery. Serve this white wine with roasted chicken, steamed mussels or save a bottle for when fiddleheads & asparagus are in season.


Barón de Ley Reserva 2010Baron de Ley Reserva 2010

Rioja, Spain
$21.95 (Vintages #958868) xx alcohol

I often find gems in the Spanish red wine section. This one is featured as Vintages “Wine of the Month” & there is a good reason for that. Everything about this wine is black – the dark inky colour, dark fruit notes & tastes and rich warm spices. Well balanced with complex with ever changing aromas & tastes, makes this a great wine to enjoy now (it is already been aged 5 years) or put down for a few more years. Another great red wine to serve now with Tortiere, roast beef, cheese & charcuterie board or hold onto till you christen your BBQ this spring.


Château Mamin

Graves, France
$21.95 (Vintages #444281) 13% alcohol

Start the car! This is one of the best French wines that I have had in awhile. Red fruit, tobacco & cigar waft from the glass then follows through the taste with a warm fireside heat. I was blown away when I found out the price tag. Tastes double the price. I will definitely be buying a case. Enjoy with cheese, lamb, hearty stew or pull out over the spring & summer when you fire up the BBQ.


Grand Total: $102.75

Ooops! I am over budget a wee bit…but it is totally worth it!




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

Posted by Julie

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

For someone who is not a winter person the LCBO Vintages release this Saturday Jan 23 are real perk me ups. This release features the dynamic duo of Argentina and Chilean wines and since Buenos Aires is on my travel list, it’s great timing. Not to mention there are fabulous wines at a popular price point.

LCBO Magazine Sat Jan 23Don’t forget that Robbie Burns Day is right around the corner and if you are a whisky lover the LCBO has whisky tastings to help you celebrate. While I can’t fit many single malts into my shopping basket without going over my $100 budget, there’s nothing to stop YOU!

If you have cabin fever, I noticed that all over Ontario, the LCBO is offering workshops on everything from wine appreciation, to pairings to “bubbles”. So if you have the winter blah’s, one of these workshops, plus a couple of new releases will surely beat the mid-winter blues.

Light the fire & enjoy a glass of one of these wines,


Trivento Amado Sur Malbec Bonarda Syrah 2013Trivento Amado Sur

Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #37036) 14% alcohol

A powerful trio of 70% Malbec, 20% Bonarda and 10% Syrah this black inky beauty is one fine red wine. Loads of ripe blueberries, blackberries and plums. If you like big fruity and dense wines, this one is for you. Although the Malbec grape steals the show, the Bonarda grape, offers the black cherry easy going fruit flavours. Soft tannins, creamy and smooth, a great hallmark for a classic Argentinian blend. Charred meats, grilled veggies, it’s worth the splurge of a porterhouse steak under the oven grill.


Trapiche Broquel Bonarda 2013Trapiche Broquel Bonarda 2013

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #055558) 14.5% alcohol

The Bonarda grape slipped into the country in the 19th century (sounds like an illegal) and has mysterious origins. There’s 3 different Bonarda grape varietals grown in Italy, one in Croatia and another in California where is known as Charbono. It’s the second most planted grape in Argentina after Malbec and has become known as a workhorse for its easy, less demanding growth compared with other varietals.

Lots of juicy plum and chocolate flavours in this red wine, very smooth sipping and spicy on the long finish. Talk about Argentina’s best kept wine secret, this one is a steal.


Santa Alicia Gran Reserva de Los Andes Cabernet Sauvignon 2011Santa Alicia Gran Reserva De Los Andes Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Maipo Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #60244) 14% alcohol

Maipo valley is the closest wine region to Santiago, the capital of Chile, extending east from the city to the Andes mountains. Although Chile is known for its Carmenere, the Maipo valley is often described as the Bordeaux of South America with its rich fruit-driven Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in French oak , this nectar offers scents of dark fruit and ripe red berry flavours that follow through on flavour of this red wine. The finish delivers easy going tannins with pencil shavings, tobacco and a little spice. Fantastic value with great character.


Gnarly Head Viognier 2013Gnarly Head Viognier 2013

$17.95 (Vintages #396416) 13.5% alcohol

Great Viognier at a reasonable price tag is hard to find. These golden hue beauties often have a higher alcohol content than other whites since the thick-skinned grape has to be left on the vine a long time before developing its characteristic heady aromas. That said, when the scents of orange blossoms, apricots and honeysuckle hit the olfactory, it is paradise to the nose. Slightly off dry, creamy smooth with loads of orchard fruit flavours make it extremely palatable. There is not much acidity, but its a lovely sipper or try it with a seafood casserole. I’m already planning my next dinner party.


Duck Pond Cellars Pinot Gris 2014Duck Pond Cellars Pinot Gris 2014

Willamette Valley, Oregon
$19.95 (Vintages #333286) 14% alcohol

Pale in colour but not in taste. The Pinot Gris grape originated in France and is the same grape varietal as the Italian Pinot Grigio but the change in names have come to infer a slightly different style of wine. The latter being more light-bodied with stone fruit and floral aromas. I never used to pay much attention to the Pinot Gris grape varietal, but recently I’ve found such fabulous citrus and zesty acidity; this one really shines. Layered with vibrant fruit and a medium rich texture: honeymelon, yellow and green apple, aromatic nectarines and lots of citrus. How could anyone not love this white wine? It’s fresh but the earthy minerality at the end adds interest and depth. It’s a versatile match for all kinds of lighter fare food. Delicious.


Symington Altano 2013Symington Altano 2013

DOC Douro
$12.95 (Vintages #579862) 13.5% alcohol

Some wines are just meant for cheap and cheerful spaghetti nights and this is one of those.

Altano is the name given to warm summer thermal winds that blow across the vineyards. Ripe blackberries, blueberries and cherries pretty much sum up this red wine, medium bodied with firm tannins. A little young and bone dry and made for the above.


Grand Total – $98.70




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

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Hop on your sled and dash to your local LCBO for great finds in this Saturday’s Vintages release! Bubbles, fizz, liquid foam, call it what you want but nothing starts a festive gathering like sparkling white wine. Whether it’s the tall, sexy flutes or those bubbles that tickle the nose, sparkling wine is a drinkable turn-on, the ultimate celebratory libation.

LCBO Magazine Sat Dec 12The world has come a long way with bubbles. Spain’s Cava, Alsace’s Cremant, Italy’s Prosecco, Sonoma’s Brut, not to mention our many Canadian fizzy gems.

While this release is filled with champagne I figured you’d want more than 2 bottles in the basket and kept in mind that, “ A woman cannot survive on champagne alone, she also needs shoes.”

So, it is Christmas and I went just a little over our budget to introduce two surprising finds. A dessert wine and a red wine blend from Romania. Even an LCBO product consultant agreed with me that the Romanian red blend at $14.00 was better than a Napa blend we compared at $44.00. So no better time to explore when your budget has constraints, especially at that price point. Not to mention conversation newbies.

Whatever tickles your nose this December, find something delicious at LCBO Vintages this Saturday to toast the season with friends, family and loved ones. As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.

Make it count and do it with style,


If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday December 12, 2015


Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée RoséOyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée

Charmat Method, New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages # 280172) 12% alcohol

If the philosophy of Oyster Bay Winery is to produce fine, distinctly regional wines that are elegant and assertive with glorious fruit flavours, this sparkling wine hits the nose on the palate. Pale poached salmon in colour, lovely soft tropical fruit flavours capture the senses. A blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir make it a very easy sipper. Gentle ripe berries prevail throughout, a little strawberry and citrus on the finish. Would make a fabulous brunch wine or afternoon delight. Versatile, friendly and a real crowd-pleaser.


Louis Bouillot Perle d'Ivoire Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant de BourgogneLouis Bouillon Perle D’Ivoire Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant De Bourgogne

Méthode Traditionnelle, AC Burgundy, France
$19.95 (Vintages # 48801) 12% alcohol

Pours like Champagne, pale golden, zillions of soft creamy bubbles surface and I was saying to myself “please bring me some grilled shrimps to accompany”. Aromas of buttered toast and almonds, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes; it is medium-bodied, lean, citrusy with some yellow apple, bursting with flavours of lemon curd and bone dry on the palate from start to finish. Plush and undeniably decadent!


Cave de Beblenheim Brut Rosé Crémant d'AlsaceCave De Beblenheim Brut Rosé Crémant D’Alsace

Méthode Traditionnelle, AC Burgundy, France
$18.95 (Vintages #168948) 12.5% alcohol

Forgive me for featuring 2 sparkling wines from France, but they were both so good, I couldn’t decide so thought I’d let you be the judge. Pours like a bright pink grapefruit, 100% Pinot Noir grapes, fresh crisp cranberry and raspberry bubbles dance in the full-bodied mouthfeel. Talk about happy! Uplifting acidity on the finish that leaves the palate feeling refreshed. Appealing and easy, it’s juicy and incredibly good.


Frogpond Farm Gamay Noir 2013Frogpond Farm Gamay Noir 2013

VQA Niagara on the Lake
$16.00 (Vintages 245613) 12.2% alcohol

There is so much going on in this organic beauty from the first whiff to the end of the sip. Not a bit of wonder this red wine won Gold Medal at the 2014 Royal Agriculture Winter Fair Wine Competition. If you love cherries, this is your drink. Bright, sweet and pungent, savoury and a little spicy on the finish. I did not realize Gamay could have so much punch. It’s medium-bodied and so pure in texture, clean and bright. Probably the best Gamay I have tasted. The herbal tones at the end just add interest; I went back for one more taste, just to make sure I got it right.


Cotnari Vin Alb Dulce Tãmâioasã Româneascã 2012Cotnari Vin Alb Dulce Tãmâioasã Româneascã 2012

DOC Cotnari, Romania
$13.95 (Vintages #651653) 11.5% alcohol

The grape Tamaioasa Romaneasca is also know as Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains which is purported to be one of the oldest grape wines in the world. This wine was listed in the Vintages releases under Dessert Wine.

Upon tasting, I found it to be a light-bodied, off dry, floral with soft tree fruit flavours, a little honey at the end that could translate into other venues besides dessert. The grapes exhibit a natural sweetness but so subtle that you could easily serve this with salads or seafood or even with a light cream based soup to start dinner. A noticeable seam of acidity runs through it. There’s not much on the finish, but it’s an easy sipper. Romanian cuisine is very similar to Turkey and Greece. As a dessert wine it would be awesome with Baclava consisting of honey and nuts, native to the region and wow, what a partnership.

 Monser Feteascã Neagrã 2012

Monser Feteascã Neagrã 2012

IG Dealurile Hu_ilor
Senator Prodimpex
$14.00 (Vintages #315069) 12.5% alcohol

Feteasca Meagra translates to Black maiden and this old pre-phylloxeric variety is also known as the Moldovan grape cultivated in the Romanian regions of Moldovia and Muntenia. The grape produces wines tasting of Italian and French character. Deep ruby red, aromas of dark berries and currants that follow through on the palate. Medium-bodied, stand-up tannins and a real pleasant drinking wine. (I hate to say Bordeaux style, but it is what it is) It would be great with stew, spaghetti or pizza or on 26th December with leftovers.


6 interesting wines for just over $100.00.
Have a sparkling new year!

GRAND TOTAL – $ 104.80  




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

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Holiday Finery has hit the LCBO Vintages shelves…and you all know what that means. Finally you can head out for one-stop Christmas shopping at Vintages.  The choices are vast: from single barrel rye whisky to Champagne cognac to Far Niente Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 from the Napa Valley at $196.95 a bottle, there is something for everyone. I was afraid to taste the super- Tuscan, Sassicaia 2012 at $199.95 a bottle, in case it would leave me in a state of nirvana when I had other wine to taste. In any case, you get the drift.

There’s also an exceptional display of Ontario Icewine from proud producers such as Cave Springs, Henry of Pelham, Inniskillen and Chateau des Charmes; I wanted to put them all in my basket and who wouldn’t want to receive any of these as a gift? Some of these were bottled in 2014, remember how cold is was last winter?

But if you are looking for some variety for your Christmas dinner feast, for $100.00 the below choices are my promise of bringing interest and a variety to the table. These selections are MY finest!



If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday November 28, 2015


Miravel Rose 2014Miraval Rosé 2014

AP Côtes de Provence
$22.95 (Vintages #342584) 13% alcohol

Don’t ever think that Rosé is just a summer drink. Hollywood icons Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own the winery and estate Château Miraval, even though there is no reference to either of them on the label.

This is a classic French style Rosé, pale salmony pink in colour that is as pretty to look at as it is to drink. Fresh floral aromas waft from the glass, classy and elegant, fresh and well-balanced, loaded with wild strawberry and ripe pear flavours, some tangerine and other citrus at the end. It’s a great match with phyllo appetizers as the acidity in the wine cuts through any buttery richness. I also love to serve rosé with turkey and this beautiful bottle is worthy to sit on the finest of linen. Just watch me!


Santa Carolina Gran Reserva ChardonnaySanta Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #928580) 13.5% alcohol

While not new to Vintages, some wines are like old friends. If you haven’t picked one up for awhile when you taste it, it’s like you never parted. Such is this well-made solid Chardonnay with a lovely seam of acidity that balances perfectly the baked apples and buttered toast flavours from start to finish. Lately, I have been paying close attention to Chilean wines, generally there’s lots of value packed wine in the popular price range (well, mine) and they don’t disappoint. This is a versatile crowd pleaser with any white meats, pasta or just on its own with some toasted nuts. (surprise your company and warm up the nuts, you’ll get lots of oooh’s). This tried and true white wine is in my basket.

Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2012Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2012

DO Camp de Borja, Spain
$33.95 (Vintages #173211) 15.5% alcohol

This is a monster wine ! Inky, with “legs”, (winespeak for the lovely streaks on the side of a glass after you swirl) the aromas deserve a big bowl glass to savour the power. Dark berries, dried blueberries tease the nose and the palate bursts with the rich flavours of 100% Grenache grapes aged in some French and American oak. A red wine silky and layered with some cocoa or mocha on the very long fruit finish. Some licorce, cassis, black currants persist throughout the lingering moments of escape. Just close your eyes.

Aside from its’ enormous structure, it is beautiful table bling with a label that looks like it came straight from the Prado, the largest art gallery in Spain. Worth the splurge for the season.


Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest RieslingCave Spring Indian Sunmer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$24.95 (Vintages # 415901) 12.5% alcohol

Luscious, ripe pears and apples with a hint of citrus and minerality on the finish. There’s a little marmalade in the palate and lots of lemon-lime in the aftertaste that makes you salivate for one more sip. Smooth and creamy it’s one yummy wine to complete dinner with style.


GRAND TOTAL – $97.80



Sure…we’ll do wine shopping for seniors

Posted by Debbie

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Have you started your wine shopping yet?  On my fridge, I have a magnet that reminds me “So many wines, so little time”. The truth is that we are creatures of habit and despite so many options,it’s often easier to simply reach for a bottle of wine that we know. Are you like that?

What can a personal wine shopper do for you?

Savvy Company Keep Calm & Drink Canadian Wine t-shirtAt Savvy Company, we are just a phone call away. When a friend called me recently and asked me to help her buy wine for her parent,  I thought – what a great job I have!

“My parents are in their 90’s.They drink a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc every day. And it’s been that way for years.” I have to admit, her parents have good taste in wine, yet I can only imagine what it is like to drink a zippy zingy high acidity wine each day. Shouldn’t it be that variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes?

I called her parents to find out what they really like and was on the ready to pick wines based on their preferences. After all, that is the role of a Sommelier!

Turns out that they buy this wine not only because they like it, they also know exactly where to find the bottles in the LCBO each time they go shopping. The net-net, they need shopping for wine to be dead easy. With both on the phone, they explained, “It is mesmerizing looking at the thousands of different wine labels. We just want to go in, pick up what we want and get out of there with our supply of wine for the next few days.”

Turns out, this ritual happens twice a week! The words on the magnet echoed in my head. Seniors, or for that matter, wine drinkers of any age, can enjoy the discovery of the world of wines without even stepping out their front door.

Keeping seniors off the streets

You know what I mean! There is no need for them to be driving on bad weather days during the winter bound for the wine store. Loblaws and Walmart have this figured out. Both have recently launched online grocery shopping service. Take it one step further, taxis and Uber will even pick up orders at the grocery stores and deliver to seniors’ residences or homes.

When it comes to delivering wine or craft beer, Savvy Company’s Sommeliers will take on this job. “It’s super easy,” explains Amanda Jackson of Savvy Company, “Our Sommeliers spend time finding out what they like in a wine, then arrange for a customized assortment from various wineries throughout Ontario. And it will be delivered right to their door – home, office or even retirement residence.”

Debbie-bottle-boxCustomized wine delivery to seniors residences

“When I learned this service existed, I was very interested.”  Catherine Strevens – Bourque, Director of Lifestyles and Community Relations at the Rockcliffe Retirement Residence. “Customized wine delivery is an impressive  luxury and a service our residents appreciate.  Sage advice, excellent suggestions and  more impressively, Savvy Company will host a wine & cheese and provide ordering options.  This  is an absolute bonus and naturally,  a well attended social event!”

“No longer do we need to call our daughter to take us to the LCBO,” explains Alwyne Greenhalgh who is 92 and lives in her own home with her husband Roy. He pipes in, “Over the years, our personal Sommelier has found delicious wines that I would never have ventured to try. With service tailored to our budget, why wouldn’t anyone have wine delivered? It’s a great way to shop.”

And not just limited to seniors

Having deliveries of wine or for that matter craft beer is a service that’s available for everyone. Slowly it is being recognized as THE new way to shop. So ask yourself (or your aging parents), why bother with traffic when a personal Sommelier can pick wines especially for you to magically arrive at your doorstep. From the comfort of your own armchair, wine shopping has never been easier.

I’ll drink to that!



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

Posted by Amanda

Friday, November 13th, 2015

LCBO Magazine Nov 14The LCBO Vintages release on November 14 focusses on “Star Quality” and “Ports”. Neither feature needs explanation except to say the star quality wines featured in this release are too pricey for my budget.

But I thought it’s time we started stocking up for the Christmas season and putting a few gems aside that don’t get finished in one sitting. A nice variety of Ports never goes amiss and there’s some star quality here to finish not one but several dinner parties with panache.



If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday November 14, 2015


Forté 2007Forté 2007

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages # 361758) 18% alcohol

This was a delightful surprise to add to my basket for many “after dinners”. A pretty pale ruby, almost mahogany in colour, this light to medium bodied vintage port is nothing to scoff at. The grapes are a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with a pinch of Syrah thrown in.

Sweet but not cloying, dried cherry flavours, spiced nuts with a hint to toasted hazelnuts; it’s one nice sip. I always think of Portugal as “port” land where it is supposedly named after the city of Oporto harbour and for this price point it’s going to be a great new addition to my spirits cupboard.


Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling 2014Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling 2014

Qualitätswein, Germany
$13.95 (Vintages #599274) 8.5% alcohol

The Mosel’s steep, south facing slopes are the perfect climate for Riesling. Although generally cool conditions the vines are given full exposure to the sun. The grapes ripen slowly which offers bright acidity to the slightly off-dry white wine. The Dr. Loosen estate has been family owned and operated for over 200 years so they’ve had lots of time to get it right. Medium bodied and fruity, this white wine would be a great match for a spicy curry or an afternoon sipper.

Taylor Fladgate Fine White PortTaylor Fladgate Fine White Port

DOP, Portugal
$15.95 (Vintages #69856) 20% alcohol

This deep peach coloured wine must be the new “white”. It reminded me of a dry sherry but had flavours of rich baked apples. There is texture and the expression of toasted almonds and molasses in the long warm finish of this port, almost akin to a bittersweet honey. It makes for a great aperitif or a lovely drink on its own or over ice.


Lustau East India Solera SherryLustau East India Solera Sherry

DO, Spain
$24.95 (Vintages #342931) 20% alcohol

If you could purée creme brûlée and put it in a glass, it wouldn’t be a far notion from this creamy sherry. Dark golden in colour, it is delicious. Silky smooth with some Christmas spice and an underlying seam of acidity on the finish. It reminded me of butter pecan pie – rich and satisfying, especially for those who are prone to sweeter wines. I would serve this as a desert wine with any of the above possibilities or on ice for an afternoon delight.


Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad CavaSegura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava

DO, Spain
$29.95 (Vintages # 558825)

This lovely Cava integrates a selection of Macabeo and Parallada grapes into an exciting sparkling white. Rich in flavour but not on sweetness, lots of fresh apples and apricot aromas and flavours from nose to palate to finish. In the LCBO Vintages publication for 14 November, another Savvy sommelier, Susan Desjardins, gave this 4.5 stars (out of 5) and wrote “Displays depth and lovely balance, intense aromas of pear, citrus and toasted butter pastry entice.. dry, bright and fresh….”   I couldn’t have said it better so thought I would quote Susan.

The bottle also offers great bling for the table with an attractive silver embossing on the bottle and a wine coaster cradling the bottom. It would make a fabulous gift since you get to enjoy the wine and have a decorative coaster for afterwards. Talk about 2 gifts in one, how much fun is that?

GRAND TOTAL – $101.75



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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 30th, 2015

On Saturday Oct. 31 you will find Whisky and Chilean wines are the main features of the LCBO release. We recently participated in a whisky tasting in Ireland and Chile is on our travel bucket list, so who would like to come to our house for a tasting?

LCBO Vintages Magazine Oct 31Good things grow on the side of the Andes, the world’s largest mountain range and the grape varietals are rich, diverse and amazing. Chile is fortunate to have climate conditions that are ideal for grape growing harvests.  Hot summers, coastal cooling breezes, and moderate rainfall.

Chile’s geographic barriers make Chile a veritable agriculture island protected in the north by the Atacama Desert, the Andes in the east, the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Patagonia ice fields in the south. The vineyards are totally protected against pests and disease. Just like in other parts to the world there are regional wine routes in the 14 grape growing regions with unforgettable wineries to discover. Perhaps after trying some of these releases, Chile might be on your bucket list too.


If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday October 31, 2015


Signos de Origen La Vinilla Chardonnay Viognier Marsanne Roussanne 2014Signo De Origen La Vinilla Chardonnay/Viognier/Marsanne/Roussanne 2014

Casablanca Valley
$19.95 (Vintages # 63909) 14.5 % alcohol

This is a winning combination for the winemaker. A blend of 63% Chardonnay, 15% Viognier, 14% Marsanne and 8% Roussanne and this luscious organic nectar takes the best from all the grapes. Golden to the eye, tropical fruit bathes the palate with layers of deliciousness. Some honey and floral aromas lead to flavours of baked pears, peaches and apricots, smooth and silky with an underlying seam of citrus acidity. Well-balanced and mouth filling with a long fruity finish. Sheer yum and a style of white wine I like on its own or with some grilled fish.


Falernia Reserva Carmenère 2013Falernia Réserva Carmenère 2013

Elqui Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #269175) 15% alcohol

Huge, broad and delicious, rich in concentrated deep purple. The grapes were partially dried before fermentation similar to the appassimento style which always leads to more concentrated flavours. Monstrous juicy ripe blackberry flavours, bone dry but some sweet spice and warmth at the end of the lengthy finish. It begs for a really good beef stew and crusty bread. Can’t wait to pick up a few bottles of this red wine.


Tabalí Reserva Especial 2011Tabali Reserva Especial 2011

Limari Valley, Chile
$23.95 (Vintages #107540) 14% alcohol

An assertive blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot delivers dense notes of deep dark berries with some underlying subtle herbal notes. Rich and creamy in texture, the dark cherry flavours intermingle with mocha and white pepper, soft tannins on the lengthy finish. This red wine would be lovely with pot roast or lamb tagine.


Ventisquero Grey Glacier Single Block Carmenère 2012Ventisquero Grey Glacier Single Block Carmenère 2012

Main Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #325415) 14% alcohol

18 months in French oak barrel gives this Carm. a big body with loads of black cherry flavours. Appealing notes of earth, woodsmoke, violet, red rose aromas combined with big berry and fruitcake flavours on the palate make it gutsy. Great interplay with strong but subtle tannins, well-balanced with a long peppery finish. This red wine is perfect for hearty pasta dishes like spaghetti bolognese.


Pascual Toso Chardonnay 2014Pascual Toso Chardonnay 2014

Mendoza, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #162636) 13.5 % alcohol

I’m just seeing who is paying attention since I inserted a country cousin from Argentina. It was part of this release and at this price point, it is such an amazing Chardonnay with lots of personality (I just had to sneak it in.) Honeysuckle aromas capture the nose. Look for an interplay of baked pears and crisp apples on the palate, bone dry but a buttery caramel finish that makes it so interesting. This white wine would pair beautifully with some juicy pork chops cooked with apples.


GRAND TOTAL – $ 95.75




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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 16th, 2015

I’m not sure about the rest of you but I find my $100 does not go nearly as far as what it used to. Wine inflation, or is it that my opportunity to taste many products is getting the better of me?

LCBO Magazine Oct 17The LCBO Vintages release of October 17 focuses on Barolo (Italy) and Napa (California) full-bodied wines at full-bodied prices. The reasons are varied from the outstanding property value where the grapes are harvested, to the methodology spent by the winemakers in producing such rich full-bodied wines.

Having just returned from Ireland, I was a little squeezed for cash for this month, but I am very pleased in offering three 3 great whites, a port and a red ruby with my last $100.00. and just a little change. Perhaps still on holiday mode, I overspent but not by much.



If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday October 17, 2015

Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009

Unfiltered, DOP
$21.95 (Vintages #87551) 20% alcohol

THE SCOOP: I had forgot how delicious this Port can taste, talk about desert! It is like a liquified Christmas cake with a little chocolate on top. How is that for a tasting note? Aromas of caramel, toasted nuts and raisin pie, some ripe blackberry, creamy and luscious on the palate with loads of volume. The long, smooth, slightly peppery finish trickles warmly down the throat sending you back for one more sip, oh my it’s good. I hate to use an old cliché, but with some stinky strong cheese it is a match made in heaven.


Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2013Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2013

Napa Valley, California
$23.95 (Vintages #225342) 14.2% alcohol

THE SCOOP: For those of my friends who love a big full-bodied Chard., this one is for you.

The melange of tropical fruit is over the top, reminiscent of my baked pear and peach crisp with some toasted almonds. It’s creamy and buttery with concentrated caramel and vanilla on the lengthy finish. Not for the faint of heart, this Napa-style classic white wine has loads of finesse. It could easily stand up to a bbq’d steak or with some grilled swordfish or salmon.


Creekside Reserve Viognier 2013Creekside Reserve Viognier 2013

VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$26.95 (Vintages #264168) 13.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: A sensational Viognier and only 150 cases, so put it on your list. Delivers layers of soft tropical fruits, ripe yellow apple and peaches, wild honey, and a touch of spice. Ever so slightly off- dry but with a perfect seam of citrus acidity to round it out. Beautifully balanced, medium weight, smooth as silk and one taste keeps you coming back for more. Serve it slightly chilled and don’t spoil it with food – there’s just too much goodness in this bottle.


Zolo Torrontés 2014Zolo Torrentés 2014

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #183913) 13.8 % alcohol

THE SCOOP: Bright pale yellow bursting with a field of white flower aromas mingled with lychee and lemon-lime zest. Clean and fresh on the palate, lots of citrusy fruit flavours, a lovely zip of acidity with a tantalizing zippy finish. It would be fabulous with chicken Alfredo, lemon linguine, fish and chips or a lovely sipper on its own. One great price-point for a value packed wine.


3 Rings Shiraz 20133 Rings Shiraz 2013

Barossa Valley, Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #15495) 15.2% alcohol

THE SCOOP: Huge dark fruit fruit; blackberries and blueberries, a little cassis and some green pepper at the end. One solid Shiraz with fine tannins underlying all the berry flavours ending in a peppery dried fruit finish. This beauty has length and depth. With some lamb burgers or chops it would be lip-smacking.There’s a lot of wine here for that price point.



GRAND TOTAL – $ 106.75 (oops)



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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

No surprise that the LCBO Vintages release of Oct. 3 focusses on LINK wines for Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether it’s turkey, ham, fish or pork, the wines I have chosen will accompany them all. Now how’s that for a scoop?

LCBO Vintages Magazine Oct 3I recently read that the planting of grape vines for winemaking in Ontario dates back to 1811 and were planted on the Credit River in Cookeville, just west of Toronto. However, the first winery in Ontario was established on Pelee Island and to this day the Pelee Island winery offers some great general list products. And while I am offering some trivia, did you know that you can buy a wine holder for a bicycle that clasps to the bike frame? Talk about pedal power… but enough.

Whatever you’re cooking this Thanksgiving all these wines are saying “pick me” and I guarantee they will be good to the last drop.

Give thanks and count our blessings,


If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday October 3, 2015

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir sparklingGloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs

Carneros, U.S.A.
$29.95 (Vintages #925735) 12.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: The pale pink, copper colour alone is enchanting. Fine sparkling mousse in a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Creamy and delicate flavours of stone fruit and a hint of brioche, a little fruity. Delicate stone fruit flavours, a hint of brioche and almost a mineral flint in the aftertaste. It’s one beautiful sparkling wine that will take you from start to finish of any meal.


Pierre Sparr Lieu Dit Altenbourg Riesling 2010Pierre Sparr Lieu Dit Altenbourg Riesling 2013

AC Alsace, France
$16.95 (Vintages #906016) 13% alcohol

 THE SCOOP: I suppose lip-smacking good does not tell you very much about a wine but that is exactly what describes this aromatic wine. The term “lieu dit” on the bottle is used to describe a small vineyard site within a larger appellation. The grapes must come from that particular village or appellation to have this term on the bottle. Lots of fruit flavours; green apples and a pinch of honey but bone dry and smooth. A simply delicious white wine.


Gassier Sables d'Azur Rose 2014Gassier Sables DAzur Rosé 2014

Cotes de Provence, France
$15.95 (Vintages #33621) 13 % alcohol

THE SCOOP: If anyone is having salmon for Thanksgiving, this lovely pale pink colour is bound to match. Floral aromas, ripe red berry flavours on the palate, some citrus on the finish and a great seam of acidity that keeps you coming back for more. It’s a dry, classy and elegant rosé wine, again from start to finish, no one will be disappointed.


Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir 2012Rosewood Select Series Pinot Noir 2012

VQA Niagara Escarpment
$21.95 (Vintages #112177) 13% alcohol

THE SCOOP: Soft aromas of red berries and a tinge of forest floor in this red wine. It fills the palate with tastes of sour cherries but smooth and satiny. It’s well balanced with gentle tannins integrating with the fruit flavours. Good typicity of Pinots made in the Niagara region, soft and delicious.


In Situ Reserva Carmenere 2010In Situ Reserva Carmenère 2012

Aconcagua Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #37952) 14.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: This was a Gold medal winner at the 2014 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Although Carmenère is originally from Bordeaux, it has become Chile’s iconic grape. Loads of blueberries on the palate, full bodied and rich with plums, liquorice and a little menthol in the mouth. Delicious and easy possessing soft tannins and finishes on cocoa and spice. I can’t believe the price point of this red wine. Alright, it might not be first choice to accompany fish, but it’s a sure crowd pleaser for those red wine drinkers.


GRAND TOTAL – $ 99.75



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

Posted by Julie

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

The LCBO Vintages release on September 19 focuses on Canadian and Emerging European wines. Want the ‘full story’ on our local wines then stop by your local LCBO this weekend to find out more about Ontario producers that are serving up world-class wines.

LCBO Vintages Magazine Sept 19 2015Those of you who follow our blog know well our love for Canadian wines and this release offers some beauties, so here’s my scoop. Vic Harradine ( filled in for me on the last blogs and made some fabulous recommendations and notes on new discoveries.

I know since I tried many of them out, so the heat is on for me to find some equally good matches.

Enjoy September…it’s still Summer until the 21st!




If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday September 19, 2015


Featherstone Black Sheep RieslingFeatherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #80234) 9.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: I would be at fault not to place this fabulous wine at the top of the list. Layer after layer of delicious waves of fruit flavours, mouthwatering acidity; think green apples glistening in the glass, with slight pinch of residual sugar. Ottawa Citizen Wine Critic, Rod Phillips, gave this white wine a score of 5 out of 5 and while it’s boring to follow suit, it really is quite lovely. My husband and I visited Featherstone Winery years ago and were enchanted by the sheep eating the green leaves to expose the grapes to the sunshine. Put a couple of bottles away, it won’t last.


Calamus Barrel Kissed ChardonnayCalamus Barrel Kissed Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #330613) 12.9% alcohol

THE SCOOP: A very pretty Chard. featuring stone fruit and baked yellow apple flavours; light and creamy on the palate. There’s some grassy wet flint which makes it interesting. Light-medium bodied and surprisingly some mineral for a Chardonnay but given the soil in the Niagara region, not surprising the wine reflects the land. This white wine was housed in French oak for 18 months which provides some vanilla reflections on the finish. It’s very yummy.



Finca Flinchman Expresiones Reserve Shiraz CabernetFinca Flichman Expresiones Reserve Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #17111) 14.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: Sometimes high alcohol content does not feel hot on the palate and this is one of those wines. With a blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, this red wine brings out the best in both.Massaged in French oak for 12 months, there are the delicious red, black fruit flavours plus woodsy, earthy aromas on the palate. A peppery menthol seam runs through the stern backbone with some sweet and savour spice on the finish; it’s one easy sipper. With a roast on a spit or foiled in the bbq, it would be perfect, not to mention a fantastic price point. Perfect for winter nights.


Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz MataroPenfolds Bin 2 Shiraz/Mataro 2013

Barossa Valley, Australia
$24.95 (Vintages #468629) 14.5% alcohol

THE SCOOP: A family-owned winery of 170 years, they’ve had lots of practice to get it right. A rich deep garnet coloured red wine with a coppery aroma amongst assertive dark fruit. Satiny smooth in the mouthfeel, full bodied dark fruit and well balanced between some noticeable tannins and lengthy fruit ending. Simply delicious. I’m thinking prune and nut stuffed pork tenderloin and scalloped potatoes.


Reif Vidal IcewineReif Vidal Icewine 2013

VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula
$24.95 (Vintages #544791) 10% alcohol

THE SCOOP: Golden in colour, layer after layer of baked apple and pear flavours, deliciously sweet and concentrated nectar with a seam of beautiful acidity and a hint of mineralogy at the end. Luscious and refined, this icewine is a beautiful ending to any meal. I’d serve it on its own slightly chilled – it really is desert.


 GRAND TOTAL – $ 99.75