Posts Tagged ‘If I only had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages’

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

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 28th, 2016
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As we move towards the holiday season, Vintages always features “Our Finest” and it is a magnificent release. Everything from single malts to brandies, Grappa, Champagne and all delicious new delectable fine wines.

vintages-nov-26th

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

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

 

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

domaine-de-vaugondy-brut-vouvray

 

Domaine de Vaugondy Brut Vouvray

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

union-forte-2012Union Forte 2012

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Grand Total = $94.75

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 11th, 2016
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About this time every year LCBO Vintages showcases ‘Star Quality’ as a feature of the release. We all know what this also means…’star prices’.   Icewine, French Champagne and sparkling wines flow prominently on the pages. I wish I could buy one of each however with my blog budget of $100, I’ll have to leave the Champagne for another time.

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

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

No shortage of star quality in this release.

Enjoy,
-Julie

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

clayhouse-cabernet-sauvignon-2015Clayhouse Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

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

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

 

clos-de-los-siete-2013

Clos de los Siete

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

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

 

reif-vidal-icewine

Reif Vidal Icewine 2014

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

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

 

Grand Total = $90.85

 

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Savvy Elves are in the festive mood

Posted by Debbie

Friday, December 12th, 2014
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The countdown is on – ready or not, Christmas is next week. In the Savvy office, we’ve been singing holiday songs all month long to keep us in the festive mood while our phones ring off the hook! Here is the SAVVY version of The 12 Days of Christmas to make your Holiday Shopping easy…and bright!

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A one-of-a-kind gift of a subscription to the new Savvy Hip Hops Craft Beer of the month club.  A Taste Case of beers from different Ontario breweries is delivered each month!

Savvy Company keep calmOn the 2nd day of Christmas…

2 cool red Keep Calm & Drink Canadian Wine T-shirts.  $25 each.  Call our Savvy Elves on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) to wrap up a couple for you.

On the 3rd day…

3 Savvy gift certificates for tickets to upcoming Savvy Events in 2015. Order $100 gift certificate, we’ll increase it to $125 value – only during the holidays!

Savvy Selections iconOn the 4th day…

4 month subscription to Savvy Selections wine of the month club . Our #1 wine gift! Each month, three different hard-to-find Ontario wines selected by our team of Savvy Sommeliers conveniently arrive at your home or office. “It’s Christmas for adults. Wines arrive on my doorstep every month!” – Colleen

On the 5th day…

5 ‘Must Buy’ wines from the LCBO featured in our blog If I only had $100, I would buy at LCBO. Use this shopping list for great value wines at Vintages as chosen by our Savvy Sommeliers Julie Stock & Susan Desjardins

Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month clubOn the 6th day…

6 month subscription to Savvy Hip Hops  – Ontario’s largest craft beer of the month club. On the Friday closest to the 2-4 of the month, we hand-deliver an amazing assortment of beers from a featured Ontario brewery.  It’s different each month!

On the 7th day…

7 days a week you can contact us online with our Live Chat. Ask us any question about wine, artisan cheese & craft beer. Try it out now on www.savvycompany.ca “Operators are standing by”!

Savvy SommeliersOn the 8th day…

Our Savvy Elves are working over 8 hours a day & we’re online around the clock! Call our Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) each day leading up to Christmas or reach us online anytime at cheers@savvycompany.ca

On the 9th day…

Wine & beer of course! We have Ontario’s largest wine AND craft beer of the month club. Give a subscription for 4, 6 or 12 months.  It’s THE perfect gift that keeps on giving!

wine_tasting_sparklingOn the 10th day…

Round up 10 friends, colleagues or clients for a private Savvy Sommelier led wine, artisan cheese or craft beer tasting – a fun way to entertain in your home or at the office. Call on us to create a fun & memorable event. You invite the guests – we do the rest.

On the 11thday…

11 fantastic years in business – thank you for your continuing support as Savvy Company grows. Here’s to what in store for us in 2015!

On the 12th day…

12 different bottles of incredible Ontario wines – you won’t find these wines at the LCBO – delivered to you to enjoy during the holidays.

 

The Savvy Holiday Hotline
613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

Happy Ho-Ho-Ho Holidays from all of us at Savvy Company. Here’s to an exciting & delicious New Year together discovering wines, artisan cheeses & craft beers!

Debbie, the Savvy Team & Savvy Elves too!

 

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If I only had $100…I would buy these Canadian wines!

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 20th, 2014
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It’s time to head to LCBO Vintages to stock up on fine Canadian wines to celebrate Canada Day. Oh Canada!!  In this blog, I pay tribute to our young – but rich in history – country with a selection of all-Canadian wines. Whether you are on Parliament Hill, at a cottage, on a golf course or just sitting back in a deck chair, this is our time to shine.

LCBO Vintages June 21As we all know, Canada Day is our national day celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act. I’d best not get on my history train, but it seems that in the past couple of weeks, we have seen many milestone commemorations including the 70th year anniversary D-Day invasion.  Raise a glass of European wine that are featured in this release to honour our Canadian veterans.

I had not planned to review 3 rosés but these are just so outstanding, I hope you pick up at least one to help make your Canada Day sparkle.  From coast to coast, thank you to our wineries and winemakers who have given us such outstanding selections.

With true patriot love of all our Canadian wines & Happy Canada Day from coast to coast to coast!

Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy these wines
at LCBO Vintages…
June 21st, 2014 

 

Norman Hardie Riesling 2012

Prince Edward County, Ontario
$21.00 (Vintages 131169)  10.2%

Norman Hardie does not make huge amounts of wine so when this wine comes to Vintages, I would grab a few bottles. Many of his wines are only available to enjoy at a handful of restaurants in Prince Edward County, Kingston, Ottawa and in Toronto. This white wine is light-bodied, crisp clean and delicious, with tastes of limestone and citrus with a great seam of minerality . A more than perfect summer afternoon sipper with a modest alcohol content. If you are having a crowd, stock-up, since I guarantee, it will literally disappear before your eyes.

 

Union Squared RedUnion Squared Red 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #292359) 13.8% alcohol

This is a perfect wine for juicy burgers – lamb, beef, even vegetarian. It is bright cherry in colour, a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir. You can never go wrong with these persistent grape varieties since they grow so well in Ontario soil. This red wine boasts ripe red fruits with grippy tannins which is why is would soak up a juicy rare burger and is bone dry. There’s also a little pepper floating on the palate and makes for an interesting blend.

 

Mission Hill Five Vineyards RoséMission Hill Five Vineyards Rosé 2013

VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$14.95 (Vintages # 229716) 13.5% alcohol

Years ago, my husband and I visited Mission Hill and it is as memorable as any chateau in France. Lush expanses of vineyards, a tasting room reminiscent of a high end department store and a terrace to lunch which has more view than any room. Despite strong watermelon and strawberry flavours, this rosé could stand up to any grilled chop. Crisp, dry with lots of fruit on the finish. Yum.

 

Tawse Sketches RoséTawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages# 172643) 12.5% alcohol

I’m sorry but some wines are just worth repeating! Winery of the year for three years running – 2010, 2011, 2012 – would indicate to anyone that Tawse makes premium VQA wines. This Sketches Rosé just bursts with red fruit flavours of multiple grape varieties. I find it just slightly off-dry with structure and strength to offer versatility to many foods. Refreshing ripe cherries, cranberries and plums with a great squirt of acidity to keep you coming back for more. Definitely a partner for salmon or pork tenderloin.

 

Pondview Cabernet Franc RoséPondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$14.95 (Vintages #241802) 13% alcohol

Many decades ago, as the story goes, winery owner Lou Puglisi was wandering about his property and said to his wife “what a great view of the pond”- hence the name Pondview.  Winemaker, Fred Di Profio allowed the grape skins to remain in contact with the grape juice for several hours creating this beautiful light cranberry colour.  Whether it is the power of suggestion, I taste lots of tart cranberry flavours with hint of pink grapefruit. Bone dry, great acidity and very crisp this medium bodied wine would be fabulous with a charcuterie or just on its own.  Does the yum never end?

 

I totalled my price & realized I had $15.20 left in my $100 budget, so here is a non-Canadian choice of a great summer sipper.

 

Alamos TorrontésAlamos Torrontés 2013

Catena, Argentina
$13.95  (Vintages #81539)  13.5% alcohol

This white wine frequently finds its way to my shopping basket. Torrontes is Argentina’s signature white grape varietal and a great price point. Pale in colour, white blossom aromas, lots citrus, lemon-lime flavour, a little grassy on the finish. It kind of reminds me of a Sauvignon Blanc but is short on the finish. What you taste is what you get, but I love the refreshing clean taste and it’s a great summer wine.

 

GRAND TOTAL – $98.75

 

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Newsletter May 2014 – Cheese-y Road Trip to The County & BBQ wine tips

Posted by Debbie

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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Spring has burst into summer & the Savvy Team has organized a road trip to Prince Edward County, top wine picks when you fire up the BBQ & insider tips on how to get involved in the wine, beer & spirits biz. Join us!

Did you know. . . today is Chardonnay Day? 

Corks will be flying around the world today celebrating this white wine grape & the upcoming International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (aka i4c) in Niagara that shines the spotlight on all wines made with Chardonnay.

Is it Chard’-o’clock yet??

Hop on the Savvy Bus – we’re going to Prince Edward County!

Last month’s Savvy Bus trip sold out so quickly . . .we’re going to The County again! Join us on Saturday June 7th bound for The Great Canadian Cheese Festival where hundreds of artisan cheeses are waiting to be enjoyed. Everyone will be there – cheesemakers, farmers, brewmasters, winemakers, chefs & artists too.

Be sure to take part in the Savvy Seminars too – including a Wine or Craft Beer – which is better with cheese? tasting by our own Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. And be part of the People’s Choice Awards with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons to have your say in Canada’s top artisan cheese.

And any trip to The County is not complete without a visit to a winery or two. We’ll take a break from cheese to hit the country roads and discover some nearby wineries.

NEW: Makers+Mongers dinner under the stars!

We are delighted to be the sponsor of the new Makers+Mongers after-festival party! The Savvy Bus will return to Picton to take in the fun mixing & mingling with those involved in the cheese industry. The cheese laden menu will feature top winning cheeses from the Canadian Cheese Awards & a tasty BBQ.

Book your spot on the Savvy Bus $130 includes everything! (reg $150) > >

OR. . .go for a gourmet getaway!

 

Buy tickets to The Great Canadian Cheese Festival & join us for dinner at Makers+Mongers > >

Get the inside scoop on Importing Wine, Beer & Spirits

Thinking about becoming a wine, beer & spirits agent? Or already involved & looking for a competitive edge? Register for the popular Importing Wine, Craft Beer & Spirits for Pleasure & Profit seminar to learn from industry ‘guru’ Steven Trenholme. During this day long seminar he will explain how to bring wine back from your travels, how to start an agency & sell through the LCBO or SAQ.

Steven certainly knows the ins & outs. He has over 30 years experience working as manager of a national sales agency, brand manager of Mosel wines in Germany, consultant to Wines of South Africa & SABMiller. An invaluable seminar if you are wondering what it takes to be involved in ‘the biz’.

Toronto: Saturday June 7th

Only 6 seats left.

Register before it sells out > >

Firing up your BBQ? Here are 3 Savvy wine tips:

TIP #1 – Every 2 weeks, our Savvy Sommeliers blog If I only had $100, I would buy at Vintages’ – it’s a tried & tested shopping list of wines we highly recommend to buy at LCBO Vintages.

TIP #2 – What goes with BBQ? Malbec of course! We recently showcased renowned Canadian winemaker Ann Sperling who is a winemaker in Niagara, Okanagan & Argentina – all at once! Ann’s full bodied Versado Malbec 2012 WOWed the crowd. This BIG red is begging to be enjoyed with anything off the BBQ or lay down in your cellar. Treat yourself! Click to find this premium Malbec at your LCBO – you’ll thank us for this tip!

TIP #3Do you like Rosé wine? We’re about to make a first-of-its-kind announcement that will make you clink & drink pink. Email us cheers@savvycompany.ca to get the news first!

Happy Chardonnay Day!

Debbie & the Savvy Team

 

 

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The 12 SAVVY Days of Christmas…

Posted by Debbie

Friday, December 20th, 2013
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Can you believe Christmas is tomorrow!?! Don’t despair…Be Savvy! Our team of Savvy Sommeliers are here to help! There is still time to wrap up these gifts:

Our #1 gift: Savvy Selections wine of the month club 3, 4 or 6 month subscription

Our ever popular Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’ with Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm

NEW this year! Cheesey FUN-damentals ‘Class’ – a full day with our Cheese Sommelier Vanessa Simmons


And don’t forget to stock up on wines!

Our Sommeliers have a special holiday assortment of Ontario wines that will WOW your family & friends. And be sure to have our special bubbly for $18.95 (regular $27.95) for New Years Eve!

The Savvy Holiday Hotline is 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926)
or cheers@savvycompany.ca

 

The Savvy Elves are in the festive mood! We’ve been singing holiday songs in the office all month long. Here is the SAVVY version of The 12 Days of Christmas!

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me. . .

1 Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’ on January 18 with Savvy Sommelier Debbie Trenholm. Join Debbie for a full day of learning about wines from around the world, wine lingo, the importance of glassware & decanters, tricks for ordering wine at a restaurant . . . AND Debbie will even show you how to sabre a bottle of bubbly!

On the 2nd day of Christmas. . .

2 Back-to-Back weekends featuring Wine Appreciation 101 ‘Class’ (January 18) & Cheesey FUN-damentals ‘Class’ (January 25) by the Savvy ‘Teachers’ & dynamic duo: Debbie Trenholm (for wine) & Vanessa Simmons (for artisan cheese). Join us for one or come to both ‘classes’ for a true wine & cheese experience like you have never had before. Homework never tasted so good!

On the 3rd day. . .

3 Savvy gift certificates for tickets to upcoming Savvy Events in 2014. Ideal for those hard-to-buy-for friends . . . and as a thank you gift for colleagues & clients too.

On the 4th day. . .

4 month subscription to Savvy Selections wine of the month club . Our #1 gift! Each month, three different hard-to-find Ontario wines selected by our team of Savvy Sommeliers conveniently arrive at your home or office. “It’s like Christmas for adults. Wines arrive on my doorstep every month!” – Colleen

On the 5th day. . .

5 ‘Must Buy’ wines from the LCBO featured in our blog If I only had $100, I would buy at LCBO. Use this shopping list for great value wines at Vintages as chosen by our Savvy Sommeliers Julie Stock & Susan Desjardins

On the 6th day. . .

6 month subscription to Savvy Selections – Ontario’s largest wine of the month club. The perfect gift for any wine lover . . . yourself included! Three bottles of wine that you won’t find at the LCBO are delivered directly to you each month – can shopping be any easier?

On the 7th day. . .

7 days a week you can contact us online with our NEW Live Chat. Ask us any question about wine, artisan cheese & craft beer. Try it out now on www.savvycompany.ca . . .”Operators are standing by”!

On the 8th day. . .

Our Savvy Elves are working over 8 hours a day & we’re online around the clock! Call our Savvy Team on 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) each day leading up to Christmas or reach us online anytime at cheers@savvycompany.ca

On the 9th day. . .

$9 off sparkling wine from Niagara-on-the-Lake – so delicious you’d think it is French Champagne! Pop the cork when your friends drop in during the holidays or stock up for New Years Eve. ONLY $18.95 – and shipping is FREE when you order 12 bottles.

On the 10th day. . .

Round up 10 friends, colleagues or clients for a private Savvy Sommelier led wine, artisan cheese or craft beer tasting – a fun way to entertain in your home or at the office. Call on us to create a fun & memorable event. You invite the guests – we do the rest.

On the 11thday. . .

11 fantastic years in business – thank you for your continuing support as Savvy Company grows. Here’s to what in store for us in 2014!

On the 12th day. . .

12 different bottles of incredible Ontario wines – you won’t find these wines at the LCBO – delivered to you to enjoy during the holidays. Order today & your wines will be delivered in time for Christmas.

 

Happy Ho-Ho-Ho Holidays from all of us at Savvy Company.
Here’s to an exciting & delicious New Year together discovering wines, artisan cheeses & craft beers!

Debbie, the Savvy Team & Savvy Elves too!

 

PS – Have you seen the articles showcasing Debbie & her festive ideas in the holiday issue of Ottawa at Home Magazine (page 42 & 43)? And be on the lookout for her in this coming Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen

 

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California Wine Fair coming to Ottawa & Toronto

Posted by Susan

Thursday, February 28th, 2013
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The California Wine Fair is visiting Canada this spring with stops in Toronto (April 8, the Fairmont Royal York) & Ottawa (April 5, Westin Ottawa).  Always a sell out, we recommend that you don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a huge assortment of the newest wines & styles coming from the west coast wine regions.

Cutting-Edge California trends

To prep you for the California Wine Fair, March is the feature month for California wines in the LCBO.  To kick it all off, this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release focusing on ‘Cutting-Edge California’ trends. The Wine Institute of California has identified some of the evolving trends, including emerging regions and varietals, as well as more extensive use of environmentally friendly practices, such as dry farming, which relies only on rainfall and fog.

The new generation of California winemakers and grape growers is strongly committed to sustainable agriculture, which has become a common approach for California producers determined to preserve the quality of their vineyards and the state’s water resources. California is blessed with a wide range of growing conditions thanks to its varied topography, proximity to the Pacific Ocean and diverse soil conditions. As a result, grapes produced from international varieties such as Riesling Gewürztraminer, Merlot and Tempranillo are now appearing on California wine labels, while lesser known regions such as Mendocino and Napa’s Lake County are introducing wine from varieties long grown in California, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Must try California wines ….

I’d recommend in this release to seek out the classic Chardonnays, a Gewürztraminer from Monterey County, a unique blend of Viognier, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino from Paso Robles.  When it comes to red wines, try the organic Pinot Noir from Bonterra, Napa classics such as Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Vintages favorite, Liberty School Syrah.

… there are Italian wines featured too!

The secondary feature of this release draws attention to the native grapes of Italy’s southern mainland and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, including wines produced from white grapes varieties such as the well-known Verdicchio, and from red wine varieties such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Nero d’Avola, Cannonau di Sardegna (Grenache) and Italy’s noble southern grape, Aglianico.

Other wines to consider adding to your shopping cart – a lovely Pinot Gris from Malivoire, a fabulous Gamay Noir from Tawse, an award-winning Alsatian Pinot Blanc from Jean Geiler (only $14.95!), as well as Piñol’s Ludovicus, a Grenache blend and outstanding value at just $13.95.

There were so many great wines in this release that it made it difficult for me to keep within my $100 budget —I am over by 75 cents – no pennies required!

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Vina Robles White 4 2010

Paso Robles, California
$18.95 (Vintages #313460) 14.2% alcohol


This assemblage of Viognier, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc and Vermentino offers great complexity and style. It’s perfumed and aromatic, displaying floral notes, passion fruit, citrus, mango and stone fruit. Dry, medium bodied, creamy and rich in texture yet lively on the palate, the harmony of the fruit flavours replays and amplifies through the crisp finish. Lovely integration, balance, flavour and texture. Enjoy as a sipper or with light fare.

 

 

 

Bonterra Pinot Noir 2010

Mendocino County, California
$19.95 (Vintages #317685) 14.1% alcohol
Here’s another great example of the flavourful organic wines Bonterra has been producing for years. Enticing aromas of red cherry/berry fruit, sweet spice and a touch of toast rise from the glass. Dry, silky, the luscious core of ripe fruit mingles with notes of milk-chocolate-coated cherries and vanilla, the sweet spice and toast replaying. A very approachable wine, balanced and flavourful, it has the heft to pair with roast beef tenderloin with root vegetables.

Aldiano Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ‘Riserva’ 2008

DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #61706) 14.0% alcohol
Inky, opaque and intensely aromatic, this is a stunning wine and a great value. Notes of plum, blueberry, pipe tobacco and vanilla tease the nose. On the palate, it’s dry yet velvety, mid-full weight, rich in dark fruit that’s framed by fine-grained tannins. There’s a freshness complementing the ripe fruit, while notes of espresso bean and a hint of earth linger on the finish. Serve with meat-based pasta.

Konzelmann Heritage 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$24.95 (Vintages #149179) 14.0% alcohol
Here’s finely crafted assemblage of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot offering alluring aromas of fully ripened red and black fruits, baking spice, pepper and a whiff of smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, the texture is velvety, the tangy flavours of black cherry, cassis and raspberry mingling with notes of spice, dried herbs and toasty oak. Soft ripe tannins and fresh acidity underpin the ripe fruit, lending fullness to a persistent warm finish graced with notes of spice and pepper. Pair with rare roast beef. It’s sold out at the winery, so don’t miss this opportunity!

 

Barossa Valley Estate ‘E Minor’ Shiraz 2010

Barossa Valley, Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #295907) 14.5% alcohol
Classic Shiraz from a reputable and reliable producer equals great value! Savour the high-toned aromas of black berry, kirsch, smoke, crushed pepper and sweet spice. Dry, full bodied, the wine offers a rush of intense, concentrated dark fruit and black pepper, along with a subtle earthy quality and notes of char. This is a big, powerful, well-balanced wine, well structured with a lasting fruity-filled finish.

Grand Total: $100.75

 

Got the urge to splurge?

Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Napa Valley, California
$56.95 (Vintages #932400) 13.9% alcohol
This is a powerful, complex cellar-worthy wine, inky purple and enticing with its layers of aromas and flavours—hints of menthol, lavender, dried herbs, cedar, cassis, black cherry and smoke. Dry, full bodied, firmly structured, it displays a clean tangy texture and a concentrated core of full-flavoured fruit. Finishing dry and long, it’s your wine of choice for rare red meats.

 

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Wines to warm your winter

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 15th, 2013
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Ottawa in February offers many wintery activities but Winterlude is truly our city’s greatest celebration: skating on the canal, viewing the ice sculptures, walking around the market restaurants to taste what the chef’s have specially prepared to celebrate, so that you do not have to waste much time doing routine things like shopping, here is a quick ‘must by list’ of wines available in LCBO Vintages release as of February 16.

This release features heart warming Cabernet red wines, a few  Kosher wines for Passover as well as some Ontario award winning wines.

What is Kosher wine?

I have never written anything on a Kosher wine, but after tasting many delicious Kosher wines in this release, I found myself doing research on Jewish traditions. Familiar with the term “Kosher”, I did not realize that kosher wines must be processed by only Sabbath-observant Jewish males touching the grapes from the crushing phase through to the bottling.

Kosher wines also differ from those made specifically for Passover. These wines must be made from mould (all wines require some mould or yeast) that has not been grown on bread and cannot have any common preservatives such as potassium sorbate. There is also a “P” on the label which means it is meant for Passover.  While I wrote on one Kosher wine below, there is another in this release I really liked called Segal’s Fusion Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon (KPM) 2001 (Israel)  that is made by a former poet, journalist and barman. With all that on his CV, he probably sleeps well at night.

If you too are curious about Kosher wines, this is the time of year when there are many at the LCBO – so pick one up & give it a try!

I won’t be blogging again until April since I am off to work in Shanghai, but I can’t wait to catch up with you again in April.

Cheers to Winterlude…and Happy Passover!

Julie

 

Clay Station Unoaked Viognier 2011

Lodi, California, U.S.A.
$16.95 (Vintages #25411) 13.5% alcohol

I have read that the Viognier grape is somewhat temperamental to grow but am grateful that some winemakers got it right. It has been described similarly to Chardonnay in that it shares tropical fruit flavours and has a creamy mouthfeel. This Viognier is pale golden in colour with tantilizing aromas of blossoms and honey. It is smooth and velvety in texture and oh so deliciously mouthcoating with apricots, mango and a little vanilla and caramel on the after taste. It’s bone dry but with distinct richness in flavour. For the price point, I think it’s spectacular.

 

Fielding Estate Riesling 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
$18.95 (Vintages #251439) 10.5% alcohol

This Riesling is so deliciously fresh and clean tasting. Lots of citrusy expression with an undermining of minerality and stone, softly textured with subtle fruit flavours and plain lip-smacking good. It is a fabulous afternoon sipper or would be great with spicey chicken, pork chops and of course any fish dish. It’s a very versatile food wine.

Château Cailleteau Bergeron 2010

AC Blaye-Cotes-de-Bordeaux, France
$17.95 (Vintages# 309138) 14% alcohol

This wine won a Gold Medal at the 2012 Concours Général Agricole in Paris! I try not to pick the “already winners”, but write on ones that I think are really good wines. With a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, !0% Malbec, how could this Bordeaux not be delicious.  Aromas of violets and red ripe berries that follow through on the palet, medium bodied with a little tobacco, soft tannins, and a tad spice are all the yummies that develop in your senses. They persist and make for a really smooth finish.

Five Stones Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (KPM) 2010    *KOSHER

Margaret River, Western Australia Beckett’s Flat
$19.95 (Vintages #157305)  13.5% alcohol

The Five Stones Winery used to be called Beckett’s Flat and has been producing kosher wine since 1998. They are located in the southwest corner of Australia surrounded by three sides of ocean. Their wines are processed without the use of any animal products and under strict kosher supervision, all suitable for Passover and Mevushal.

I just couldn’t spit this wine and had to swallow. If that sounds funny, try tasting over 50 wines in a morning. Sound familiar to any other sommeliers out there?  Blends of dark fruits, blackberries, plum, tobacco, leather  and spice on the nose following through with a harmony of bone dry fruit flavours, soft tannins and oh so drinkable.  Since I am not Jewish I kept wondering if I would be in frowned upon. But it’s a lovely, well-made Cab and I’d be proud to have it on my dining table – regardless of what denomination is comng for dinner.

 

Fairview Caldera Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2008

WO Coastal Region, Charles Back, South Africa
$22.95 (Vintages #3013330) 14% alcohol

This is another fabulous blend of 50% Grenache (68-70 year old bush vines), 25% Shiraz and 25% Mourvedre aged in old wooden 225-liter barrels. Lots of dark berries and quite peppery that makes it interesting and edgy. Very dry but elegant on the palate with strong blackberry flavours making it quite a rich wine. Would be fabulous with a steak or rack of lamb with some buttery spuds.

 

Grand Total: $ 96.75

 

 

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Ole! Sommelier picks of Spanish wines at Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, January 18th, 2013
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Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins started her year off right – tasting an array of Spanish wines and was treated with some wines from BC too.  In this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (January 19) features on the wines of Spain – a country that as Susan tells you in this blog – has a long history of winemaking, varied terroir, and winemakers who work with traditional native grapes while also creating powerful blends using international varieties.

History of Spanish wine making 101 . . .

Archeologists have found evidence of wine cultivation dating back to the 3rd and 4th millennia BC. And the tradition carried on through the Roman empire, with evidence of winemaking in this period to be found throughout the country. Much of Spain is barren plateau, where strong winds, scorching sun and limitations on irrigation led to the cultivation of bush vines. These can be seen, for instance, in Jumilla and Yecla, where one finds many vineyards displaying old, gnarled Monastrell vines. These conditions have led to widely spaced planting, making Spain the country with the largest amount of land under vine, although it traditionally falls behind France and Italy in volume of production.  However, since irrigation was officially permitted in the mid 1990s, vineyard owners and winemakers have also planted international grapes varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot using more common wire trellising and spacing systems. There’s great value to be had from Spanish wines, and a delightful range to choose from: finely crafted ‘methode traditionelle’ sparkling Cava, crisp tangy whites made from Albariño, full-bodied Tempranillo or flavourful native Mencía, tasty Garnacha blends, and the famed Sherry from Jerez.

All of these are on offer in the release, along with a small but focused selection of BC wines (I have visited all of these wineries and unreservedly recommend their wines, if your budget allows). Then, there is the main release . . . an opportunity to compare Henry of Pelham’s Riesling with that of Alsace’s Joseph Cattin, to sample Opawa’s well-priced New Zealand Pinot Noir, to enjoy the luxurious Cline Cellars Cashmere, or to select Les Hauts de Castellas Vacqueyras for the cellar. So many wines, so little time, but we hope you have the opportunity to appreciate the selection of 5 wines below.

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Alvarez de Toledo Godello 2010

DO Bierzo, Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #308049) 12.4% alcohol

From an estate established in the XVth century, this straw-hued white wine offers richness and complexity of aromas and flavours. On the nose, a touch of slate, apple, ripe citrus and floral notes. Dry, mid-weight, it beguiles with a round, ripe texture, lightly spiced peach, citrus and mineral nuances riding a wave of fresh acidity through a flavourful, fruity finish. Enjoy now and add a few bottles for the short-term cellaring.

 

Gray Monk Gewürztraminer 2011

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$19.95 (Vintages #321588) 12.6% alcohol

Brilliant pale gold, this wine is fragrant with floral notes, lychee, stone fruit, citrus and spice. Off dry, lusciously fruity, the tropical aromas replay on the palate, the spice extending through the fruit-filled, delicately pithy finish. This pioneering Okanagan winery once again delivers a sumptuous wine to pair with lightly spiced dishes.

 

Borsao ‘Tres Picos’ Garnacha 2010

DO Campo de Borja, Spain
$19.95 (Vintages #273748) 14.5% alcohol

Produced from low yielding old vines, the inky dense color of the wine portends the weight and substance in the glass. First the sweet aromas—vanilla, cedar, leather, spice and berries ripe to bursting. Dry, velvety and full bodied, this wine delivers a mouthful of juicy ripe fruit garnished with exotic spice, dried herbs and subtle oak. Soft ripe tannins underpin the fruit, the richness of the flavours persisting through the lengthy finish. A great value to enjoy now or cellar medium term.

 

 

 

Jackson-Triggs ‘Niagara Estate Grand Reserve’ Shiraz 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #317941) 13.5% alcohol

Inky ruby, this is a substantial wine with alluring aromas of mint, pepper dancing over rich ripe red and black fruit. Dry, full bodied, the menthol comes through on the palate mingling with succulent spiced black fruit, a hint of coffee bean and a dazzling peppery note. Fermented in French and American oak for 12 months, the firm structure complements the ripe fruit, while the peppery garnish persists on the finish. A fine value to serve with rare roast beef, or cellar medium term. 

Château de Puisseguin Curat 2010

AOC Puisseguin St-Émilion, France
$19.95 (Vintages #307140) 14.5% alcohol

From a celebrated vintage, this is another award-winning wine that offers great value. Aromas include ripe black cherry, plum, spice and a whiff of smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, the texture is very smooth, the red fruit ripe, the notes of spice and pepper building across the palate. Fine tannins and acidity along with subtly-integrated oak balance the rich fruit flavours, while the warm, spicy finish makes this a great wine to serve on a cold winter day. Or cellar medium term.

Grand Total: $93.75

 

Worth the splurge:

Mission Hill ‘Family Estate’ Quatrain 2008

VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
$44.95 (Vintages #218636) 13.5% alcohol

This blend of Merlot, Syrah and the Cabernets is composed from some of the estate’s best south-Okanagan fruit, fermented separately, aged in French oak. Highly aromatic and intense, the nose offers boysenberry, black cherry, spiced floral notes, and sweet cedar. Built on a firm frame, this dry, full-bodied blend delivers depth and complexity, flavours of cassis, black plum, spice and herbs with notes of toast carrying through the long finish. Serve with robust meat dishes; drink now to 2019.

 

 

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‘Tis the Season for Snazzy Sparkling wines

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
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Holiday season is upon us, so it’s no wonder that one theme for this next release on December 8 at the LCBO Vintages features is “Fabulous Fizz”, also known as sparkling wine.

There is nothing more celebratory or inviting than being given a glass of sparkling wine when you go into someone’s home and this release offers all kinds of festive fizz. Of course if you are in for the big splurge there are some new Champagne releases starting at $44.95 going to $299.95 for a rare Dom Perignon Rosé Champagne. My features however show that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy great bubbly.

Sparkling wine is generally lower in alcohol than many table wines with more delicate flavours to entice the palate. This makes it a great aperitif to serve with hors d’oeuvres, especially salty ones. The bubbles act as palate cleansers which send you reaching for one more nibble. For this reason sparkling wine is also known to be incredibly food friendly from appetizers through to desert. During the Christmas season, I add pomegranate seeds to the sparkling wine which, in a tall flute, makes for a very festive presentation.

So don’t neglect to have a few sparklers on hand. What is not enjoyed before Christmas, can provide some “pop” at New Year’s. There are some new, some old and I am sure you will find one to suit your budget.

Since this will be my last “If I had a $100” blog until next year, I wish you a fabulously, fizzy season.

Cheers, Santé, Salute, Aplausos to my readers!

 Julie

Oyster Bay Brut Sparkling Cuvée

New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages #163634) 12% alcohol

Some of you may be familiar with the Oyster Bay Chardonnay on the LCBO general list so it was a real treat to see that the winemakers made a sparkler just in time for the Christmas season. Produced with the same finesse that is given to their Chard., this does not disappoint and tastes similar to Champagne, done in the Charmat style. (This is when the wine undergoes a secondary fermention in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.) A lovely nose of lemon-lime, fine moussy bubbles with a creamy texture in the mouth feel. It is a lovely sipper on its own with hors d’oeuvres and could easily go to the table to serve with salad and seafood.

Jackson Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2008

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$22.95 (Vintages #234161) 12% alcohol

The wine was fermented first in stainless steel tanks and like the above Traditional Méthode or Méthode Classique, it was then aged in the bottle for 3 years before being disgorged (removing the sediment). A blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay 30%) how could it not be anything but elegant and refined? It has a generous mousse (wine speak for lots of tiny bubbles) aromas of white blossoms and almonds, with creamy tastes of apples, citrus and apricots. It’s one classy wine!

Domaine Du Clos De L’Epinay Tete De Cuvée Brut Vouvray 2007

AC, Loire Valley, France
$19.95 (Vintages #298398) 12% alcohol

The Chenin Blanc grape varietal initially hails from the Loire valley of France. It is known for its’ great acidity which means it can be blended, or produced on it’s own in everything from sparkling to still wine to luscious desert wine. This sparkler has lots of “nose” giant flavours of yellow apples, almost a little sweet spice reminiscent of baked coconut pie but dry and a pinch vegetal. All these fabulous flavours dance on the palate with a delicious hazel-nutty finish. Another great partner for seafood appetizers or a fish course.

Masottina Brut Prosecco

DOC, Treviso, Veneto, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #297838) 11.5% alcohol

I can’t count the number of times I have served Prosecco (and Cava, below) to start a dinner party and this is the new kid on the block. Very pale in colour with a slightly greenish hue, delightfully aromatic; white blossoms and fresh scents of apple and pear, with a slightly edgy taste of citrus on the palate. It sure gets those taste buds moving before sitting down to the main course and is a great all year round sparkler. This would be a fabulous prior to a creamy hot or cold soup, depending on the season. It also goes without saying it’s a splendid beginning to some Italian food.

Naveran Dama Extra Brut Cava 2010

DOC, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #223602) 12% alcohol

Fresh and lively with aromas of tropical fruit and a little spice. A blend of Chardonnay and Parellada grapes gives it a fairly weighty mouth feel for a sparkling wine with lots of bubbles to create lingering fruit flavours on the finish. A great start to a paella dinner or with tapas or just on its own. Lots of flavours and interest, a great value wine.

Grand Total: $ 99.75

(maybe in the New Year I will hit $100.00 spot on)

 

 

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