Posts Tagged ‘LCBO Vintages Release’

Start 2012 with Smart Buy wines at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, January 6th, 2012
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To kick off the new year, the first LCBO Vintages release on Saturday January 7th offers the opportunity to experiment with some relatively unknown European varietals and to re-stock your wine cabinet with some excellent well-priced values. Consider two whites, shoulder to shoulder in the Alpine regions of France, Roussette de Savoie, and Switzerland, the classic Chasselas (known locally as Fendant). Both offer lovely aromatics, good balance and texture, and under $20.  Among the reds, the little-known region of Irouléguy in southwestern France offers a powerful blend of Tannat and the Cabernet grape varieties, while Italy’s Sicily wine region delivers a classic savoury wine just made for meaty pasta dishes called Nero d’Avola.

Among the ‘Smart Buys’, there’s great value in Konzelmann’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (just off-dry) and Sue-Ann Staff’s mouthwateringly delicious Semi-Dry Riesling – both under $15 and both wineries featured in our Savvy Selections. Among the red wines, Chile offers great value and powerful flavours in the Koyle Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  Argentina delivers loads of flavour with the Urban Uco Malbec/Tempranillo red wine blend while Australia’s award-winning Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz fills your mouth with full-bodied fruit. Italy’s Tuscany offers the ripe yet dry Ripa delle Mandorle from Vicchiomaggio, a site with a historic castle where Leonardi da Vinci is reputed to have painted the Mona Lisa.

LCBO’s general release (main shelves in the store) also offers some excellent values, including the rich round Bordeaux Supérieur, Château la Croix de Queynac and the outstanding full-bodied Sabor Real crafted from the fruit of 70+-year-old vines. And don’t miss Pondview’s Bella Terra Cabernet Franc, a wine that was featured in Savvy Selections in the spring of 2011.

Below is my shopping list for 6 good value wines at prices that will be kind to your wallet!

Cheers and Happy 2012,
Susan

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday January 7, 2012

Sue-Ann Staff  Semi-Dry Riesling 2008
Niagara, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #258632) 10.0% alcohol
Produced from grapes harvested from 4 separate parcels, this is Sue-Ann Staff’s first wine as proprietor. Pale yellow-green, there’s a whiff of petrol over mineral notes and the aromas of zesty citrus, ripe stone fruit and fresh-picked apple. Light-medium bodied and off-dry, this wine displays a great balance of fresh acidity, underlying minerality and tangy fruit that persists through the lasting finish.

Domaine de Mignaberry 2008
AOC Irouléguy, France
$18.95 (Vintages #251611) 13.0% alcohol
Primarily Tannat blended with the Cabernets, this deep violet wine from southwestern France is dry, medium-full bodied, and loaded with flavours framed by a firm structure. There’s intriguing complexity on the nose—earthy herbal notes, a whiff of spicy flowers, an elusive gamey nuance and the richness of ripe dark berries. The tannins make their presence felt, the lush berry fruit balanced with fresh acidity, the herbal notes suffusing the palate and lingering on the extended dry finish. Choose a hearty stew to match this hearty wine or cellar mid-term.

Koyle ‘Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Alto Colchagua, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #256073) 14.0% alcohol
An outstanding value, this deep ruby Cab, hand harvested and aged in French oak, is refined and stylish. There’s beguiling complexity at first scent—minty herbal notes, spice, tobacco leaf, cedar and berries. Dry, medium-full bodied, the fresh texture and ripe tannins frame vibrant red fruit—raspberry and cherry—with hints of cedar and spice persisting on an extended dry savoury finish. Pick up a few bottles. Try a bottle with prime rib and cellar the remaining ones mid term.

Montes ‘Limited Selection’ Pinot Noir 2009
DO Casablanca Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #37937) 14.0% alcohol
Here’s another great value, a dry medium-bodied ruby Pinot that offers enticing aromas of earth, beetroot, red field berry and mineral. Dry, medium bodied, the silky texture is complemented by lively acidity and vivid red berries—strawberries, red currant, cranberries. Just lovely balance, the attractive notes of spice and white pepper carrying through the tantalizing vibrant finish. This is another multiple purchase that would pair well with duck confit on yam chips served with a cranberry-orange garnish.

Vicchiomaggio Ripa delle Mandorle 2009
IGT Toscana, Italy
$15.00 (Vintages #677930) 13.5% alcohol
From a storied Tuscan property, this blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet proffers a lovely nose—floral nuances, berry fruit, spice and vanilla captivate. Beautifully balanced, it’s dry yet silky, medium bodied, ripe berry fruit caressing the palate, the spice and vanilla replaying right through the scrumptious finish. Just delicious, it would be a good match for osso bucco.

Sabor Real 2008
DO Toro, Spain
$15.95 (Vintages #172932) 14.5% alcohol
The last release of October offered the Sabor Real Vignas Centenarias, and here is yet another great Tempranillo, produced from 70+-year-old vines. Inky purple, the plush aromas are of rich dark spiced fruit, exotic spice, cigar box and some elusive floral nuances. Subtly structured, it’s dry, full-bodied, velvety with great depth of flavour – just loaded with spicy dark fruit. Lingering notes of spice, vanilla and sweet toast persist on a warm finish. A candidate for medium-term cellaring, it’s a great value.

Grand Total: $95.75

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Savvy Sommelier Debbie sheds some lights on bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
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Spring is bursting forth with much to celebrate! That hazy green glow around the trees, the flirty chirping of birds & the return of BBQ parties. Let’s celebrate the shedding of winter with the excitement of spring by popping open a bottle of bubbly!

Think that sparkling wine is too sweet, too expensive or too much of an affair for any day of the week? Think again! Have you ever had a sparkling shiraz? Or a sparkling dry rosé? They exist, and Savvy Company’s Debbie Trenholm loves how the mousse (winespeak: bubbles) cleanses your palate and refreshes the senses readying for delicious dishes of spring like risotto or BBQed plank salmon.

Bubblies are made using various methods, and available at several price points. No need to wait for a special occasion, after all, spring has arrived.

Pop a bottle open & cheers!

Taltarni Brut Taché 2008, Australia $20.40 (on sale – regular $24)
Crafted using the same grape varieties used in French champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, this crisp & dry sparkling has elegant aromas of rose petals, pear & apricots. The persistent mousse leaves a refreshing taste with every sip.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Serve chilled on its own, pack for a picnic or serve with sushi.

Hardy’s Oomoo Sparkling Shiraz 2004, Australia $19.95
This sparkling red wine has an oooh ahhh factor. This wine is striking with its racing car red colour concentrated aromas of plums, boysenberry, red licorice combined with a juicy texture & refreshing acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestions: I recommend to chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes then serve on its own, or with a meal of BBQed meats. Last weekend, I popped it open to enjoy with a Sunday meal of prime rib & all the trimmings. Save a splash to enjoy with dark chocolate cake!

Enrico Serafino Moscato d’Asti, Italy $15.95
Now here is a wine that definitely smells & tastes like spring! Swirl the glass to enjoy the concentrated aromas of apricot, orange blossom, marmalade that continues into the taste.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Light in alcohol (5.5%) this is a great wine to serve at a springtime brunch or with fresh fruit.

Nicolas Feuillate Brut Champagne, France $42.50
It’s impossible to write about bubblies without including French champagne. If you’re going to splurge then get this gorgeous Champagne as it is priced less than its competitors. The fine mousse is a surefire sign of premium quality. This champagne has yeasty aromas of biscuit (think shortbreads or Arrowroot cookies) with a touch of citrus & crunchy apple.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Steamed lobster is a classic match with champagne, grilled chicken brochettes & oysters.

Let’s toast to the arrival of spring!

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

Posted by Susan

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 19, 2011

The wines of the Iberian peninsula are featured in the March 19 LCBO Vintages release, including wines from Portugal’s Douro, Ribatejo and Alentejo appellations,  the well-known Rioja of Spain, as well as less familiar Spanish regions such as Rías Baixas and Toro. I found that there are some intense flavourful value-laden wines from both countries. Iconic wines of California are also featured, including such legends as Opus One, Dominus, and Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon – wines to contemplate and to cellar. A personal favorite is Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon – I had the opportunity to hear him speak about his philosophy of winemaking, and appreciate his focus on varietal character and terroir.

The main release includes a couple of fine wines from Ontario’s great 2007 vintage, some tasty Shiraz from Australia, a great Cabernet/Carmenère blend from Chile, as well as a very flavourful Perrin & Fils from the Rhône. I couldn’t resist adding an optional wine from B.C., Mission Hill’s Quatrain. An embarrassment of riches, but we’ve stayed within (just) our self-imposed limit of $100. I hope you enjoy my wine recommendations.
 
Cheers,
Susan

 

Cistus Reserva 2007
DOC Douro, Portugal
$18.95 (Vintages #145052) 14.5% alcohol
Aged 15 months in French, American and Hungarian oak, this is an old-vines blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional. Enjoy lifted aromas of sun-ripened berries, plums and notes of toffee and licorice. Approachable yet structured, harmonious and flavourful, this is a dry, delectable, medium-bodied wine displaying sweet ripe berry fruit, spice box and vanilla. Delightful notes of sweet cocoa and toast ripple through the fruity finish. To be savoured with hard cheeses or with robust meat dishes.

Leira Albariño 2009
DO Rías Baixas, Spain

$17.95 (Vintages #115816) 13.0% alcohol
A pale golden-green gem, this varietal of the Spanish northwest displays lovely fragrance—floral, citrus, mineral, and nuances of sweet stone fruit. Sweet stone fruit and citrus predominate on entry, the soft silky texture in counterpoint to lively acidity. Dry, medium bodied and tangy, the lasting finish offers a faint refreshing note of pithy citrus rind. Enjoy it with paella.

 

East Dell Sauvignon Blanc ‘Reserve’2009
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #222174) 12.5% alcohol
Here’s an appealing, fresh, vibrant wine, offering lifted aromas of citrus, tree fruit, tropical notes and a whiff of nettle. Smooth in texture and sweetly fruity on entry, it’s an invigorating mouthful of tangy acidity and clean citrus, gooseberry and tree fruit flavours, wrapping up in a lengthy lively finish. A great choice with smoked fish or a salad garnished with goat cheese.

 

Inniskillin ‘Winemaker’s Series Montague Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2007
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

$24.95 (Vintages #997353) 13.0% alcohol
Cherry red, this is an impressive well-crafted wine with impact on the nose and palate, a fine expression of the 2007 vintage. The aromas are alluring and complex—earth, spice and ripe cherry/berry fruit. Dry, medium bodied, and smooth in texture, the tannins are ripe, the acidity lively. The intense fruit replays and persists through the dry finish with notes of sweet spice and toast, the earthiness a subtle presence. Savour a glass on its own, pair it with mushroom risotto, or cellar short term.

 

The Watcher 2008
Barossa Valley, Australia

$19.95 (Vintages #219196) 14.5% alcohol
This is a dense inky Shiraz, dry yet fruity, loaded with spice and dark berry fruit– blueberry and blackberry. Mid-weight, soft in texture and generous, the flavours are reminiscent of favorite jams—blackberry, cassis and raspberry—yet it displays good balance. There’s a dollop of pepper and toast layered on the rich fruity finish. 

Grand Total: $99.75

 

 

Wine worth the splurge:

Mission Hill Quatrain 2006
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$44.95 (Vintages #218636) 13.0% alcohol

Named due to its blend of four varietals—Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon—this is a dry powerful full bodied wine, the grapes hand picked and sorted, then fermented and aged in French oak. Almost black, it’s so dense, there’s great depth and complexity of aroma and flavour—cassis, blackberry, plum, sweet spice. It all comes together with subtlety and finesse, well integrated tannins, subtle acidity balancing the intense fruit, a smooth and velvety texture. Enjoy the persistent aftertaste, savoury notes of dark toast and chocolate complementing the deeply flavourful fruit. Beautiful now and a candidate for medium-term cellaring.

 

 

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?

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 at Vintages”

Posted by Susan

Friday, December 10th, 2010
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“If I only had $100, I would buy…’
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, November 27, 2010

This week’s LCBO Vintages release once again offers a broad choice of wine, with another feature on sparklers and other wines recommended for holiday festivities. From Champagne through Cremant, to Cava and Prosecco, there is something for everyone’s taste. And there’s a nice little feature on Ontario icewine as well! Given the $100 budget, I’ve selected 5 wines that I believe offer excellent value and that you’ll enjoy sharing with friends. I would also highlight a few Canadian wines that are given prominent press in this release, all of which I’ve tasted and would recommend:  Peller Estates ‘Ice Cuvee’ Rose, 13th Street ‘Premier Cuvee’ Brut, Sumac Ridge ‘Stellar’s Jay’ Brut 2006, Inniskillin ‘Reserve Series’ Meritage 2007, Nk’Mip Cellars Merlot 2007, Coyote’s Run Riesling Icewine 2008, and Ice House ‘Northern Ice’ Vidal Icewine 2006. May the holidays be happy and safe, while you enjoy the wines presented below with the various delicacies of the season.

Cheers!
Susan

 

McManis Family Vineyards Viognier 2009
California, USA
$19.95 (Vintages #658112) 13.5% alcohol
For lovers of Viognier, this is a must-have wine . . . Bright, golden, the aromas delight – floral notes, tropical and ripe stone fruit and a whiff of perfurmed musk. Medium bodied and try, it has a silky texture and succulent flavours of apricot, nectarine and lemon-lime, lovingly balanced with lively acidity and underlying minerality. There’s a bright note of citrus peel on the finish. A treat – go for it!

Creekside Estate ‘Laura’ Red 2007
VQA Niagara, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #117960) 12.7% alcohol
This is another award winner from the famed 2007 vintage, a Bordeaux-style blend aged 21 months in French and American oak. For the first time, it includes all five varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to the fore, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Dry, medium full-bodied, the wine is deep and inky with loads of aromas and flavours of dark berries and plums, with some attractive cedar, sweet spice and herbal notes. Ripe tannins and fine acidity create the framework for lovely balance. The finish is dry and persistent. A good choice for hearty winter meals, it will also cellar in the short term.

 

Luigi Bosca ‘Reserva’ Syrah 2007
Maipu, Argentina
$17.95 (Vintages #143412) 14.1% alcohol
Produced from the fruit of low-yielding vines and aged in French oak for a year, this ruby red wine is fragrant with aromas of sweet dark fruit, licorice and smoke. Beautifully composed, dry, medium-full bodied, loads of dark berry, pit fruit and spicy, peppery flavours are deftly balanced with supple tannins and fresh acidity. The depth of fruit flavour is evident on the lengthy finish, which also offers a bright peppery tang. Drinking well now, it’s a candidate for mid-term cellaring.

 

Chateau de Gourgazaud Reserve 2006
AOC MInervois la Liviniere, France
$17.95 (Vintages #986083) 13.5% alcohol
A deep opaque red hue, this wine has an enticingly complex nose – cherry, plum, spice, cocoa and licorice. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s a balanced mouthful of richly textured brooding dark fruit and spice, with supple tannins and fine acidity. The finish is pleasingly warm and fruity, with some lingering notes of dark chocolate. Great value – pick up a few bottles!

 

Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2007
DOCG Chianti Classico, Italy
$21.95 (Vintages #295964) 14.0% alcohol
This historic family-owned estate pays great attention to organic methods in the creation of its wine. The wine, semi-transparent with a hint of brick, has rich ripe aromas of red berry fruit, fragrant cedar and spice. Dry, medium bodied, it has outstanding balance – ripe supple tannins, fresh acidity and bright fruit complemented with hints of spice, pepper and licorice. Fine, consistent, with a smooth, fresh texture, it leaves a lasting imprint on the palate, but a light touch on the planet!

 

Grand Total: $97.75

 

An optional sparkling wine worth the splurge on:

 

Segura Viudas ‘Brut Reserva Heredad’ Cava
Spain
$29.95 (Vintages #558825) 12.0% alcohol
Golden with some green notes, displaying lovely depth and balance, this limited production wine is a blend of the first pressing of estate-grown Macabeo and Parellada. Intense aromas of pear, citrus and toasted butter pastry entice. Dry, bright and fresh, it has a fine creamy mousse and a lively crisp texture. Rich flavours of Bosc pear and lemon-lime wash across the palate and linger on the clean and persistent finish. A sparkling wine of presence and weight in an elegant hand-blown bottle with a pewter crest and base, it would present well as a gift or served at any holiday gathering. 

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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