Posts Tagged ‘wines from Chile’

Yeah! Make it a Chardonnay!

Posted by Julie

Monday, July 10th, 2017
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It’s that time of year again when the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (also known by those in the wine biz as ‘i4C’ or #i4C17) descends upon the Niagara region. Everyone gathers for this special i4C weekend to celebrate the most popular grape varietal in the world.

It is an incredible weekend – July 21 to 23 – where 30+ wineries from around the world PLUS 30 Ontario wineries gather to showcase their finest wines made with Chardonnay grapes – everything from sparkling, fresh Chardonnay, aged ones, Chablis style, fermented with wild yeast and those aged in barrels from around the world.  You get to sample everything. Even fine sweet wines made from Chardonnay grapes.  It is a heavenly weekend event!

At i4C, winemakers attend along with wine enthusiasts, Sommeliers, wine writers, restaurant owners and those who are simply visiting Niagara wanting to take in a top-notch event.  A number of us from the Savvy Team have attended and it is hands down an incredible learning and entertaining experience not to mention absolutely delicious & tasty. I highly recommend making i4C the reason for a weekend getaway to Niagara (if you need a reason!).

And for those of you who are ABCers (aka like Anything But Chardonnay), there is an incredible white wine from Spain that I discovered in the recent LCBO Vintages release from the feature or Spanish wines.  Spain often offers great value wines that taste like they should cost more, but my recommendations on those will have to wait for another time as I am filling my basket with 100% Chardonnay for this blog…and can’t wait to get sipping.

Long live i4C!
-Julie

i4C Social Media Information: Website  *   Twitter   *  Instagram 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LBCO Vintages Release for Saturday July 8, 2017

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2015 

VQA Niagara-on-the Lake
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12.5 % alcohol

In 2008, Southbrook was the first wine estate in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification for its vineyard and winery. This is one smooth Chardonnay from start to finish. There is some minerality in this white wine which is unusual for a Chardonnay, but this only enhances the soft tropical fruits.

Mid-weight and beautifully balanced with some baked pear on the finish, it’s one lovely drink. Would partner nicely with BBQed chicken or salmon.

 

 

Emiliana Natura Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #439398) 14 % alcohol

In the last release I featured Emiliana Winery for their sparkling wine. And here they are again on my top picks list!

This unoaked Chardonnay wine is anything but “typicity”.  In winespeak, this is the degree in which the grape varietal reflects or demonstrates its characteristics from the origin or region. I found just a hint of effervescence, light-bodied with lime tanginess which is unusual for a Chardonnay.  It’s fresh and clean with a green apple finish. I really liked it and this white wine is definitely going into my shopping basket & right into my fridge for a hot summer afternoon where I will uncork it for lunch or a light dinner with something like a Watermelon, Feta Cheese & Black Olive Salad.

 

 

Buena Vista Chardonnay 2015

Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$24.95 (Vintages #396440) 13 % alcohol

In a little corner bordering Sonoma and Napa’s southern boundaries is the celebrated vinicultural area called Carneros. While only about 90 square miles, the region is recognized for producing world class Chardonnays.

This white wine is a style that is heavier and creamier than what comes from other Chardonnay growing regions but for those who love a ‘Big Bold Chard’, this wine is for you!  I put extra stars beside my tasting notes, indicating that I love this wine. Aromas of buttered popcorn, rich and smooth on the palate as the tropical fruit simply takes over the senses and abounds.  It’s dry, crisp with a lingering finish. Elegant and refined, a class-act Chardonnay. Would easily stand up to a dinner of Steak & frites…yes white wine with steak!

 

 

Invivo Gisborne Chardonnay 2016

Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand
$15.95 (Vintages #499855) 13 % alcohol

Although this was not available at my tasting, Invivo Wines is going to be present at i4C represented by Winemaker and Co-founder, Rob Cameron. I never have any difficulty recommending a wine from New Zealand, especially the Gisborne region, since wines that are produced are always top notch. Tasting notes indicate an easy drinking style with citrus and ripe stone fruit on the palate.

At this incredible price point, (remember it travelled half way around the world to get onto the LCBO shelves), this white wine is definitely going in my basket. It is worth a try!

 

A dynamite wine from Spain you have to try …

Barón De ley Blanco 2016

DOCa Rioja
$13.95 (Vintages #145995) 12 % alcohol

A blend of Viura (90%) and Malvasia (10%) grapes, this fresh aromatic white wine is easy to drink. While not common grape varietals, these are quite at home in Navarra in the DOC Rioja region.

The winemaking process is carried out in stainless steel tanks which lends to its super fresh lemon lime flavours with a citrusy finish. Fresh and a light-bodied whine, makes for a terrific wine on a hot summer’s day.

 

 

Grand Total = $95.75

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Buyers Picks at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Thursday, May 11th, 2017
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‘Buyer’s Picks’ are the prominent feature of this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release, not to mention New Zealand and Sake wines.

I’m always curious about what ‘Buyers Picks’ really means: more Airmiles offered? Reduced prices on the bottle? or truly great products?  In any case, these are My Picks for you to decide if you want them in your shopping cart.

One thing for certain, these wines are all really good!

Cheers,
-Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday May 13, 2017

Tom Gore Chardonnay 2014

California
$19.95 (Vintages #458810) 13.5% alcohol

Aromas of baked apple and butter, on the palate are lush tropical fruit flavours, creamy and round. It’s medium to full-bodied white wine that is well-balanced and smooth. Dry apricots and almonds prevail on the long lasting finish. A typical California Chardonnay – rich and delicious.

If you have a special dinner party coming up with a seafood casserole or sauteed scallops it would be a match over the moon.

 

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$23.95 (Vintages #164228)  13.5% alcohol

This is a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with aromas of gooseberry and passionfruit. Vinified in stainless steel gives this white wine a fresh clean mouthfeel.

Medium bodied with lime citrus and grapefruit pith bathe the palate, crisp and refreshing with just enough sweetness to balance the racy acidity. Lengthy with a cleansing finish. A beauty Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy on it’s own or with springtime dishes like BBQed Thai Turkey Burgers.

 

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2015

Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #167619) 13% alcohol

Ever since my trip to Buenos Aires, a Malbec always finds its way into my shopping basket. Dark ripe plums and black cherries wash the palate, this full-bodied red wine has firm tannins and a leathery finish. The mouthfeel is plush and velvety. If you are looking for a Malbec, this is the one!  You simply couldn’t ask for more.

Grilled sausages or BBQed burgers would be a great match.

 

Santa Carolina Reserve Petit Verdot 2013

Rapel Valley, Chile
$16.95 (Vintages # 7484) 14.5% alcohol

“Petit” in this varietal comes from the small size of the grape berries known for their dense, inky, violet colours. They are good descriptors for the start of this red wine. There’s also a whiff of woodsy herbal aromas. Aged in French oak it offers a hint of vanilla and savoury spice while black currants and ripe plum flavours dance on the palate. Firm, rich tannins and dark fruit concentration hover in the long dry aftertaste. It is a work of art for the price point and begs to accompany something grilled or a Chilean bean stew. The latter food pairing may not be summer fare, but it could sure brighten up a rainy day.

 

C.J. Pask Gimblette Road Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2013

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand
$19.95 (Vintages #279869) 13.5% alcohol

Talk about legs and length, this red wine blend says it all. This Bordeaux-style red blend delights with aromas of ripe dark plums garnished with smooth, savoury woodsy notes that release on the full fruity palate. Easy going with noticeable tannin and texture that support an enduring dark fruit finish. Would be perfect with a herbed crusted roast of lamb or pork.

 

GRAND TOTAL = $97.75

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Sure sign of spring: Rose wines!

Posted by Julie

Friday, April 28th, 2017
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Fabulous that the latest LCBO Vintages release features varietals from Oregon, Washington and Germany, yet I have chosen to focus on finding the best Rosés to highlight in this blog.

Warm weather is pushing the gauge on the thermometer higher every day. Nothing sends a more summer-like message than pulling out a chilled bottle of pink from the fridge or picnic cooler.  In this release, powerful, playful, pretty, punchy pinks are yours for the picking at GREAT value. (How is that for alliteration?)  Upon entry to any LCBO, your eye cannot help but being drawn to the beautiful rainbow of pinks on the shelves.

A provocative patio sipper, Rosé is also a great food match with anything from salads to fish to tacos and some, like the Serbal Malbec Rosé (below) will stand up to burgers and steak. How versatile is that?

I can’t wait to line up this eye-candy on my kitchen counter (and in my fridge too!).

Passionate about pink 😉
Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday April 29, 2017

 


Vina Esmeralda Ros
é 2016

DO Catalunya, Torres, Spain
$13.95  (Vintages #490920) 12.5 % alcohol

Pale coral in colour, floral aromas, this wine is made with the Garnacha Tinto grape – the most heavily grown in the Mediterranean.  Rosé is also known as Rosado in Spain and Portugal too. On the palate, ripe cherries burst with acidity leaving a tangy lime tangerine in the finish. Clean, refreshing and crisp….and a great price too!

 

 

 

Zone’s Footstep Scarlet Ladybird Rosé 2016

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
$15.95 (Vintages #408476) 13.5% alcohol

Aromas of red roses, pale pinkish with a hint of tangerine in colour.  The flavours are lush and tart. Medium-weight, rhubarb galore with ripe strawberries weaving their way on the palate and fruity finish.

 

 

 

Featherstone Estate Winery Rosé 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #117861) 13.2% alcohol

It is hard not to write about Featherstone’s Rosé every year. I confess to being a huge fan of all of their wines.  Deep cranberry in colour, vegetal and mineral aromas that open to ripe red berriess on the palate.  There’s some sour cherry at the end which makes it crisp and just plain de-e-e-e-licious.

 

 

 

Atamisque Serbal Malbec Rosé 2016

Mendoza, Chile
$16.95 (Vintages #493031) 13% alcohol

The Atamisque Winery, maker of the Serbal line of wines, is located in the foothills of the Andes Mountain range. The winery also takes its name from the Serbal aboriginal bush. Bright ruby red, the Rosé wine literally glistens in the glass. Sour cherries and savoury spice explode in the taste buds with a noticeable seam of acidity.  Add to this an interesting hint of black pepper. Bone dry and chewy for a Rosé, but packs full-bodied red fruit on the palate and the lengthy fruity finish.

 

 

 

Château de Berne Terres Rosé 2016

AC Côtes de Provence, France
$17.95 (Vintages #278861) 13% alcohol

I did not get a chance to taste this Rosé, but I have no difficulty recommending it & putting it in my shopping basket. Rosé wine was born in Provence and todate, it accounts for half to almost two thirds of all wine produced in the region. It’s also a classic blend of Cinsault and Grenache which offers raspberry, strawberry and red currant flavours. The rosés of Provence are often known for their food pairing matches with local Mediterranean cuisine. You just can’t go wrong.

 

 

 

Brancaia Rosé 2016

IGT Rosato Toscana, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #490953)  13 % alcohol

Aromas of violets and ripe red berries that come from the Merlot grape flow through on the palate leaving a delicious seam of acidity on the finish. Aged in stainless steel, yet there’s creamy crispness to red juicy fruit. Perfect for happy hour or any hour for that matter.

Check out the drone flight over the Brancaia Wine Estate, if you’re interested in a trip to Tuscany – if only for a few minutes!

GRAND Total of this top Rosé wine picks = $100.70 

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 2nd, 2016
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The dreaded Back-to-School frenzy. Although my school days are long gone, at this time of year, I get caught up in thoughts of buying gym socks, pads of paper and pencil cases, rather wine.

But good on LCBO and the Vintages buying team with this release with incredible buys of “Flagship ISD”, along with vintages septregional features on Burgundy, France and all of Chile.

Many of you may wonder what ISD stands for, it’s “In-Store Discoveries” and flagship of course refers to “the best or most important thing owned or produced” (Wikipedia’s definition). In other words, the most important example of a product. I think you get the drift.

Here are the wines I think will be top of the class. I plan to uncork them and reminisce about my university days while I can hear the frosh week festivities at the nearby university.

I hope you enjoy going back to school!

– Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 3, 2016

 

featherstoneFeatherstone Rosé

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #117861) 12.5% alcohol

Only a few weeks ago my husband and I visited the Featherstone Winery and came out loaded with purchases and a free wine tote. This rose wine was amongst our haul! Beautiful pale cranberry in colour that shimmers in the glass. Fresh and fruity on the palate with loads of strawberry and dry rhubarb flavours makes a wonderful summer wine. There’s some savory green pepper notes on the finish. Perfect for a picnic, salads or just on its own. Make summer long with this wine or save to serve at Thanksgiving.

 

signos

Signos De Origen La Vinilla Chardonnay/Viognier/Marsanne/Roussane 2015

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

 The aromas in these four noble grape varietals are exhaustive. When the winemaker blends them together, there is lots of personality and they party well. The tropical fruit of Chardonnay, the peaches and blossom fruit of Viognier, the full bodiness of Marsanne and the creaminess of the Roussane. Delicious!

Flavours on the palate remind me of a big fresh fruit salad with everything from peaches, green and yellow apple with a little citrus on the finish. This wine gives something for everyone. Great on its own or would partner well with some grilled fish.

 

Cotnari Francu A Cotnari 2014

DOC Frâncua, Romania
$12.95 (Vintages # 445767) 11.5% alcohol

Although this white wine was not available at the time of tasting, I’m putting it in my shopping basket. At this low price point, I am prepared to take a chance. The Vintages panel tasting notes indicates that it is light and fruity which sounds to me like a great summer choice. Not to mention the Cotnari winery has taken part in international contests and been awarded well to the point that they have a “medals gallery”. The Cotnari Vineyards dates back to 1250 and the name “Cotnari” refers to the fortune of being an expert in shaping barrels. All sounds good to me…I’ll take the risk.

 

Casa Silva Cool Coast Pinot Noir 2013

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$17.95 (Vintages #464420) 14% alcohol

 Aromas of tree fruit and forest floor waft from my glass. No surprise for a Pinot Noir but this red wine is smooth and delicate. There’s also some crisp edginess to it with loads of wild raspberry and cherry flavours on the palate. While Pinot Noir is not a grape varietal I tend to seek out, mark my words, this one is exceptional. Light to medium bodied, easy to drink with a long fruit finish.

segure

Chateau de Segure Fitou 2013

Mont Tauch, Burgundy, France
$16.95 (Vintages #370254) 13.5% alcohol

 A deep elegant ruby red with whiffs of ripe red berry. Flavourful and bold with tantalizing dark-fruit richness. The tannins are soft ,the finish is pepppery and savoury – something that reminds me of fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary. This red wine calls for a hearty stew or a pork roast with all the trimmings. I’m stashing a few bottles away for when November rolls around.

 

wits endWits End Luna Shiraz 2014

McLaren Vale, South Australia
$17.00 (Vintages #311258) 14.5% alcohol

Dense purple with a big bouquet of blackberries and black pepper. The palate concentrates on ripe plums and black fruit with well-integrated tannins that lead to a spicy but not sweet finish. In this red wine, there is a small dallop of Barbera grapes blended in that lends a brambley note, but what is the most striking is how this wine is as smooth as velvet and very delicious. It’s a big wine with a little price, bring on the rack of lamb.

 

Grand Total: $100.75 – for 6 wines…that’s a lot of bang for my buck!

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

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 30th, 2015
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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!

Cheers,
Julie

 

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

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 30th, 2015
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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.

Slàinte,
Julie

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

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 2nd, 2015
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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,
Julie

 

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

 

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

Posted by Julie

Saturday, July 25th, 2015
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If your birthday coincides with the LCBO Vintages release on July 25th, your horoscope is dictated by Leo the Lion. You are supposedly characterized by being highly outgoing and independent, possessing a highly social nature so to give these characteristics adage, you should go shopping at Vintages.

LCBO Vintages Magazine July 25This release displays some old tried and trues with a focus on “Wines to Chill”, (probably both figuratively and literally) Argentina and Greece, great new choices for our last week of July 2015 and at terrific price points as you can see below.

And for a little trivia, July 25 is the 206th day of the year (207 in leap years), in the Gregorian calendar. How many of you knew that?

Summertime and my living is easy.
Cheers,
Julie

 

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
July 25
, 2015

 

Trius Divine WhiteTrius Divine White 

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #054957) 12.5% alcohol

Aromas of white blossoms and orchard fruits. Pale in colour, this delicate white wine is one beautiful light bodied blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer and Chardonnay. The taste really is divinely light and fresh. I almost detected a slight effervescence on the palate combined with tastes of pear and melon with a little citrus on the finish. Makes for a lovely afternoon sipper or with some soft cheese, maybe some skewered shrimp in a Thai dressing. A class act.

 

Pietro Marini Torrontes 2013Pietro Marini Torrontés 2013

Salta, Argentina
$12.95 (Vintages #408443) 13.2% alcohol

The Argentinian signature Torrontes grape never fails to disappoint with its pale golden colour and aromatic nose of white flowers and fruit.Harvested at 1750 feet above sea level gives this wine a distinct light bodied appearance but with a backbone of fresh acidity, pear and lime flavours on the palate. It is a wonderful light-bodied summer white wine; great on its own or with seafood/ summer salads.

 

Squealing PigSquealing Pig Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages #414789) 13.5 % alcohol

Aside from great marketing (and you should see the bottle!) your nose really perks up with pineapple and strong citrus aromas of lime. Lots of green apple and stone fruit on the palate of this white wine which makes it interesting for a Sauvignon Blanc. It’s so fresh and racy with a slightly herbaceous edge, makes you literally squeal with delight on the finish. Great acidity makes it a fab food partner. It’s fun and very yummy.

 

 

Valle Los Acequinas Oak Cabernet SauvignonValle Las Acequias Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Mendoza, Chile
$16.95 (Vintages #287516) 13% alcohol

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon has it all. Spending 10 months in French Oak has created layers of ripe plums, blackberries and blueberries with aromas of cedar and pencil shavings. Although only 13% alcohol, it’s gutsy. Bone dry but luscious, velvety with soft tannins and a long fruity sweet spice finish. Deserving of a fine quality steak with the hottest horseradish you can find. This red wine stands up to be counted – nirvana.

 

Grant Burge 5th Generation ShirazGrant Burge 5th Generation Shiraz 2013

Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #361295) 14% alcohol

This 5th generation winery never fails to disappoint. This dense purple in colour and fruit forward Shiraz is loaded with opulent ripe plums and black fruit characteristics from start to finish. Some woodsy aromas prevail in this red wine with rich bouquets of the fruit. Ripe tannins with sweet spice and a little menthol on the finish. It reminds me of a chocolate coated mint that sends you back for another (sip) – delicious.

 

Grand Total: $90.75

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, July 10th, 2015
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The LCBO Vintages release for July 11 focuses on Cool Climate Chardonnay’s, wines from Spain and more Flagship In Store Discoveries (ISD). It’s so easy to find new discoveries with every LCBO release especially this time of year when sitting outside on the patio is everyone’s favourite pass-time…browse through the magazine then off to shop!

LCBO Vintages Magazine July 11Ontario also celebrates Cool Climate Chardonnay, dare I say festival ? from July 17-19 in St.Catherines at various venues including local wineries. Everything from Ontario’s best cuisine to tasting dozens of the region’s finest Chardonnays.

I attended the celebration several years ago when it was held at the Tawse Winery. It might be time for a return trip.

Summertime and the living is easy.

Cheers,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
July 11
, 2015

 

Sunnybrook Redhaven Peach Wine 2013Sunnybrook Redhaven Peach Wine 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #426551) 12% alcohol

Many years ago, my husband and I visited Sunnybrook Wine Farm and were literally blown away by the vast array of fruit wines. I recall bringing plum and pear wines home to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. They were bone dry but very fruity. The winery produces a huge array of fruit wines that reflect all the ripe fruit grown in the Niagara region. This peach wine is new to LCBO Vintages, medium weight and would be nice over ice as an aperitif served with some soft cheese. It was downright peachy!

 

Toro de Piedra Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2014Toro De Piedra Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Maule Valley, Chile
$17.95 (Vintages #417493) 14.9% alcohol

A first class Chard. from the Maule Valley. Tropical heady fruits, smooth as silk on the palate, robust layers of pineapple, mango and almonds. A full bodied white wine, rounded with a pinch of sweet spice on the finish.

 

 

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2013Cave Springs Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2013

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #256552) 12% alcohol

An easy going Chardonnay that is perfect for the summer. Tropical fruits, yellow and green apples abound in the aromas of this white wine. On the palate are suggestions of almonds, pineapple, apricots and a little butter. Medium to full bodied, it is mouth filling with deliciousness with a long finish of fruits and toast. On its own or with some grilled chicken or salmon, it’s one fine wine.

 

Rosehall Run Cuvee County Pinot NoirRosehall Run Cuvée County Pinot Noir 2011

VQA Prince Edward County
$22.95 (Vintages #225748) 12.% alcohol

I’m always a fan of Rosehall wines! Winemaker Dan Sullivan does not disappoint with this delicate but complex Pinot Noir. Gentle and silky on the palate, aromas of cranberry and sour cherries with tastes of ripe cherries and some raspberry. It’s soft but rounded, lots of body and interest and you could serve this with anything from light fish to steak or burgers. A versatile red wine with soft tannins and just plain yummy.

 

Zuccardi Q MalbecZuccardi Q Malbec 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #723478) 14.5 % alcohol

Ripe plums and blackberries, dark and inky, another rich dark Malbec that is a must for the grill. Juicy and rich, full bodied with soft tannins. Also aged in a oak, this red wine finishes long with some sweet spice, sending you back for another sip. With some steak fajitas it would certainly impress.

Grand Total: $ 96.75

 

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Stocking up on wines for Canada Day!

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 26th, 2015
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This LCBO Vintages release for Saturday June 27 focuses on Flagship ISD (in store discoveries), Canada Day, and the Pan Am Toronto Games games. I was wondering what the term “flagship” meant and still do not have a definitive answer.

LCBO Vintages Magazine June 27However, having just returned from working in the UAE, I think of “flagship” similarly to a city like Dubai. It’s about the biggest, the best, the shiniest, the most opulent, the tallest, definitely the most expensive etc. So I will sum it up by saying that the LCBO has likely identified Flagship ISD wines as those that are pretty good and leave it at that.

July is my favorite month and this tantalizing new releases reminds me of what I am going to enjoy on my balcony with my husband and friends. I just can’t wait to shop in my favorite store, especially when Canada Day is around the corner. I buy mostly Canadian wines since I believe we have a fabulous selection, so cannot apologize for the mostly Canadian content below. There’s just no place like home so let’s celebrate; Oh Caaanaaadaaaa…..

Cheers!
Accredited Sommelier Julie Stock

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday June 27, 2015

 

Featherstone Sauvignon BlancFeatherstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013

VQA Niagara on the Lake
$17.95 (Vintages # 089011) 12% alcohol

Solid fruit aromas emanate from this lovely pale coloured white wine that just breathes summer. It’s delicate but has lots of backbone, great acidity and fabulous grass and grapefruit flavours. Lots of depth and expression, and I may have found my new favourite Sauv. Blanc. It has a racy, crisp finish that make it a great sipper on its own or with a wide range of summer salads and pasta.

 

Calamus Steely Unoaked Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$14.95 (Vintages #210062) 12.5% alcohol

If you could blend a little sunshine with tangerines it might describe the aromas in this lovely white wine. Pale in colour for a Chardonnay, it comes by its name honestly since there are definite crisp steely notes with an abundance of tropical fruit flavours. It’s clean tasting and very fresh, nothing cloying about this Chardonnay, medium bodied with citrus aftertastes. At this price point, don’t miss out, it’s a great Niagara find that won’t last long on the shelves. With some grilled salmon or chicken and veggies it would be a lovely summer dinner.

 

13th Street White Palette13th Street White Palette 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #207340) 12% alcohol

It’s impossible to go wrong with a blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer and Chardonnay Musqué; talk about bringing the best of each grape varietal forward. Super fragrant and another incredible price point for the complexity of fruit flavours. A delicate blend of cantaloupe, tangerine and lemon tea almost a hint of residual sugar no doubt from the Gewurtztraminer, but bone dry, fresh and delicious. This is one of those wines that slips down very easily so don’t hesitate to stock up while supplies last. Proud to be on any dinner table for lighter summer fare. It’s as dazzling as the winery it comes from, an art gallery of fine wines nestled in a forest setting with slopping hills. 13th Street never disappoints.

 

Thirty Bench Small Lot RieslingThirty Bench Small Lot Rosé 2014

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$22.20 (Vintages #414227) 12.7% alcohol

So aromatic of red roses and only 466 cases of this made so you may not want to line up but this won’t last long. Intense rhubarb and raspberry flavours dance on the palate, great acidity with a slightly off dry taste on the crisp finish. It’s a elegant and refined rosé, that is great on its own or with some grilled seafood, delicious and yummy says it all.

 

 

Montes Alph CarmenereMontes Alpha Carmenere 2012

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #143230) 14.3% alcohol

I thought I should at least put another country in my $100 basket so this is it. A powerful Carmenère for those steak nights or when mixed grill is on the menu. Intense dark purple, with aromas of plums and blueberries, blackberries that carry onto the palate. A Smooth red wine with medium tannins resulting in full bodied lusciousness. Some dusty earth tones on the subtle dark fruit finish. Oh man, it’s good.

So call on some friends, heat up the barbeque, pick up some shrimps and sirloin, accompanied by some if not all the above, wave our flag, sing our anthem and that sounds like my kind of Canada Day.

Grand Total: $ 91.50    

P.S. I left you enough to buy some Canadian cheeses too!

 

 

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