Posts Tagged ‘wines from France’

Wines from around the world for Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie

Friday, September 29th, 2017
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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time for LCBO’s Vintages to focus on drinks to serve with the family gathering with a headline of ‘Family Matters”.

With the family theme in this release, the LCBO is featuring family run vineyards & estates that have been handed down through the generations.  There are some great wine finds to accompany whatever dishes you are putting on your Thanksgiving table but I’m not taking any chances, I’m picking up one of each. to have on hand in case anyone drops in over the long weekend.

And there are some of the LCBO’s In Store Discoveries too that are worth putting in your shopping cart. Hope my tried & tested shopping list helps make your long weekend a breeze.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

– Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday September 30, 2017

 

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016

WO Stellenbosch, The Winery of Good Hope, South Africa
$14.95 (Vintages #739995) 12.5% alcohol

Chenin Blanc goes by different names;  in France this white wine it is known as Pineau de la Loire, and in South Africa it goes by the name of Steen. Either way the grape varietal displays succulent flavours of tropical fruit with every sip.

On the palate is a melange of ripe pears and apricots, pineapple and hazelnuts. Full bodied and rich, smooth as silk with a crisp refreshing finish. It’s a beauty and the price point is unbelievable. It’s bound to be a partner to serve with a feast of turkey or roasted ham for sure.

 

 

 

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

AC, France
$14.95 (Vintages  #499509) 13% alcohol

Your first introduction is a delicate floral nose with great aromatic freshness.

This svelte white wine offers light, crisp apple and peach flavours bound by slight mineral notes on the finish.  Lots of finesse and depth for this price point and a perfect marriage with seafood or Mediterranean fare, bruschetta prepared with with heirloom tomatoes would be remarkable.

 

 

 

 

Tessellae Rosé 2016

IGP Côtes Catalanes, France
$15.95 (Vintages # 450817)  13.5% alcohol

This is an all year round Rosé wine. Pale salmon in colour, fresh, crisp and delicate. Ripe strawberries, tangerines and apricot flavours mingle with zesty lemon-lime notes on the finish. Talk about a fruit bowl!

It is a perfect afternoon sipper or to serve as an aperitif with some mild cheese or grilled shrimps, or with a ham for Thanksgiving, one lovely beverage.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Kaiken Las Rocas Ultra Malbec 2015

Mendoza, Argentina
$24.95 (Vintages #50849) 14.5% alcohol

Lavender and blueberry aromas, full bodied and firm, it’s an outstanding Malbec. On the palate of this red wine, there are layers of ripe plums and dark berries, the tannins are ripe and refined. It’s smooth, rich and focussed with excellent length, a Malbec at its finest.

I’d pair this with braised short ribs and a mushroom risotto.

 

 

 

 

Tarima Monastrell 2015

DO Alicante, Spain
$14.95 (Vintages #310151) 14.5% alcohol

The heady nose on this red wine is almost electric with savoury and dark fruit.  Blackberries and blueberry flavours dance on the palate just bursting with flavour.

Look for dark, slightly spicy berries with a pinch of licorice on the finish. Great smooth aftertaste that integrates soft tannins, and juicy fruitiness.

It is absolutely delicious. Begs for something from the grill!

 

 

 

MAN Family Skaapveld Shiraz 2015

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (Vintages #71332)

I did not have the opportunity to taste this particular Shiraz, but I wanted to offer another bottle in my price point since the above was such incredible value. I mean…a Shiraz from South Africa at $13.95?

The Man Family website states that “Skaapbeld” refers to the grazing land for sheep that adjoins their Shiraz vineyards. And it has won more than one award, so I will be popping a bottle of this into my shopping cart and giving it a try.

 

 

Grand Total = $99.70

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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

Thursday, August 18th, 2016
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I’ve got one eye on the Olympics, and the other on my tasting notes. Canada collection of medals is on the rise. I applaud our Olympic athletes; even volleyball never looked like this when I was in high school!

vintages august 20OK…now to focus.

This Vintages release at the LCBO is offering products called “The Next Big Thing” – how catchy is that? Germany gets some spotlight especially on their Riesling wines. Having just been on a trip to Niagara, I have to admit that I find our own Rieslings impossible to beat. And as for the “Next Big Thing”, I’ve found a few wines in this blog that you can sip while watching the final weekend of the Olympic games.

Go Canada Go! We’re cheering you on,

Julie

 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy …
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday August 20, 2016

 

EdelweisssEdelweiss 2014

Cave de Jolimont, Switzerland
$17.95 (Vintages #385021) 11.5% alcohol

 I rarely have the opportunity to taste Swiss wine but this is worth the search if you like a light-bodied, delicate, pretty white wine. I learned that the Chasselas grape is golden in colour and is often referred to by Swiss winemakers as “goldilocks”. The result is a light bodied white wine with floral with tree fruit flavours, some citrus at the end that adds interest to the bone dry skinny finish. It would pair well with raclette or a cheese tray with creamy soft brie type cheeses. Chilled well, it makes a lovely sipper for a hot summer afternoon.

Did you know? The Chasselas grape has a long intriguing history. It’s genesis is in eastern France and the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Known by different names from Fendant to Valais, this grape variety can be found in monastic records dating before the 1600’s. Although grown in the Pouilly-Fume region in France, it is considered a lowly cousin, but it continues to grow throughout Europe and is by far Switzerland’s most planted varietal. It buds early and has lots of vigor. It is not an acidic grape so it is often blended with other more forthcoming varietals.

 

zenatoZenato Pinot Grigio 2015

IGT Delle Venezie, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #37648) 12.5% alcohol

 If I had to choose one grape variety for summer sipping, hands down, it would be the versatile Pinot Grigio would steal the show. It will take you from mid-afternoon aperitif to late evening. Chilled down, it’s cool and refreshing. This particular Pinot Grigio is the perfect example. I find it especially aromatic and the dancing zippy flavours on the palate from lemon-lime citrus to green apple are crisp and delicious. There’a little steeliness on the finish – this is a good thing. To be paired with summer salads, fish, chicken or put a bottle in the picnic basket – it’s a great summer wine.

 

tthThe Tragically Hip Fully Completely Grand Reserve Red 2013  

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
$24.95 (Vintages #411595) 13% alcohol

 The date of this release, 20 August, marks sadly the final concert performance of The Tragically Hip. This limited edition red wine is being released to commemorate The Hip announcement of the re-release of their legendary album Fully Completely and the band’s last North American Tour. This wine is the ideal way to celebrate the band’s rise to stardom and to toast lead singer Gord Downie.

One waft from the glass offers unmistakably fresh Cabernet Franc and luscious aromas of ripe red berries in a traditional Meritage blend. Combined with the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes the melange is full, rounded and delivers effortlessly, huge juicy dark ripe tree fruit, whispers of blueberries with subtle savoury undertones. A hint of green pepper and black pepper polishes it off. The tannins are soft but noticeable, medium bodied and balanced with tobacco and a little mocha on a juicy finish. The finale is long and memorable.

Did you know? The artistic label on the bottle is a replication of the original artwork that first appeared on the Fully Completely album cover. The wine was also co-created by band members in conjunction with Stoney Ridge Head Winemaker (and Savvy friend), Jeff Hundertmark. For Tragically Hip fans, make sure you grab a few bottles. As I mentioned…this is a limited edition in more ways than one and it’s going to fly off the shelves, literally.

 

MaianaLeone De Castris Maiana Salice Salentino 2014

DOC, Puglia, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #717959) 13.5% alcohol

Juicy, rich and fresh ripe red fruit with whispers of a little mocha and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with well-integrated tannins and fine tuned acidity. I could not believe the price point and this is also on my hit-list. Easy drinking and well-crafted. It’s more than just a pizza wine. It’s a red wine that would span anything from a charcuterie plate to a prime rib roast. Pick up and store a few bottles for heartier fare this winter (yes, the W word!) or enjoy it now with BBQed portobello or burgers.

Did you know? Straight from Puglia, located in the southeast corner of Italy where there are 25 DOCs, not DOCGs (spot the difference?). The major red grapes are Negroamaro which has been planted since the 6th century and Malvasia grapes which have been known to soften the tannins of the former. The Salice Salentino region vineyards are surrounded by water on three sides allowing cool breezes from the Mediterranean to moderate vineyard temperatures.

 

gerardGérard Bertrand Terroir Corbières 2013

AP, France
$16.95 (Vintages #394288) 13.5% alcohol

 I recommended a Gérard Bertrand Viognier in my last blog, so when I saw this red wine, I was already ready for another quality wine from this winemaker. Full and rounded, black currants spring to the surface with deep dark concentrated black fruit, in the aromas and on the palate. An always robust favourite blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre that have been aged 12 months in oak barrels that lends to the rich, easy drinking with a polished texture, a little pepper and friendly liquorce on the finish – loads of personality. A marbled grilled steak would be perfect with a glass of this wine!

Did you know? Gérard Bertrand was awarded the title of Red Winemaker of the Year in 2012 at the International Wine Challenge. He retired from his rugby career to take over the family estate after the accidental death of his father. He has become a renowned wine grower and winemaker in Langedoc-Rousillon region. Clay and limestone soils with a kaleidoscope of climates and temperatures constitute the terroir Corbières that stretches from the Pyrenees to the Montagne Noir. The wine literally comes with a message of the terroir. Plus it’s a pretty nice country to do some sightseeing & wine touring.

 

Grand Total: $ 90.75

Look what I have saved you!

TIP: If you can find an extra $13.00, I recommend to add a bottle of Sunnybrook Estate Series Strawberry Wine 2014 ($22.95- Vintages# ). Made in Niagara, if you love ripe Ontario strawberries, here is a way to enjoy them all year round.

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, June 24th, 2016
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Canada Day is just around the corner and what better excuse to stock up. I just returned from working abroad and when I went to my local LCBO to indulge in a few delights, I was astounded at the selection and choices: from reds to whites to fruity spirits and rosés, the sky really is the limit.

Vintages june 25thI was also reading in an LCBO publication that Ontario VQA whites account for more than 30 per cent of total summer sales. I’m so glad that many of us are enjoying our Canadian whites and my focus in this release is mostly Canadian.

If you are firing up the barbecue on Canada Day don’t forget the great selection of beers that most LCBO stores now offer; lighter, fruitier beers and ciders. And, if you happen to be exploring Ontario, make sure to stop at the small town breweries that showcase local artisan beers not to be found elsewhere. I also know of a great local company that delivers different craft beers every month 😉 How cool is that?

Have a Happy Canada Day and remember there’s no place like home.
Julie

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday June 25, 2016

 

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$ 17.95 (Vintages # 302059) 13.5% alcohol


Cave Spring did it for us – talk about bottling aromas. I can see this beautiful winery nestled along the main street in Jordan and can hardly wait to visit in July. Deliciously aromatic does not begin to describe this nectar. Intense white blossoms mingle with rosewater. Soft gentle tastes of lychee and tree fruit, smooth as silk on the palate and very easy to drink. It’s a gentle, pretty wine with lots of intermingling fruit flavours. Guaranteed there is no one who would not like this wine. I would chill it well and bring it out one summer afternoon or to enjoy with some sushi for an easy summer lunch or dinner. Perhaps not descriptive but it’s really nice.

 

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014

VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara Peninsula
$23.95 (Vintages 183491) 10.5% alcohol

 Make sure you pick up more than one bottle since once this is on the shelves, it will go fast. Loads of minerality, stone and flint dash the palate creating a zesty earthy taste. Grapefruit, lemon-lime and green apple flavours coat the palate with lively acidity. It is refreshing and a great example of a Niagara Riesling. Deliciously clean and fresh, well-balanced and one lovely wine. With lighter summer fare or just on its own.

 

 

Domaine De La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2014Domaine De La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2014

IGP, d’Oc, Midi, France
$16.95 (Vintages #438796) 14.6% alcohol

 For those of us who love to sniff and swirl, this is another aromatic floral power bomb. Lots of ripe fruit swirl on the palate, some lemon and tangerine create a soft interplay of tastes with a noticeable seam of acidity, smooth and plain delicious. It’s elegant and rich but maintains it’s freshness on the long juicy finish. Sends you back for one more sip and another easy quaffing afternoon or evening wine. Would be a great partner for seafood or summer salads and roast chicken.

 

Kacaba Cabernet:Syrah 2013

Kacaba Cabernet/Syrah 2013

VQA Niagara Escarpment
$18.95 (Vintages #317925) 13.1% alcohol

So much personality, violet aromas, layers of blackberries, complex ripe black cherries, framed in ripe velvety tannins, that just about sums it up. I have always been a big fan of Kacaba wines, they are consistently structured and well made. Years ago I met winemaker, John Tummon and recall him telling me the story about Air Canada losing some grapes he’d sourced from a California vineyard. They were eventually found – whew. This Cab/Syrah would be great for (Canada Day) barbecued burgers or steak or any grilled meat. With a 55% Cabernet and 45 % Syrah blend, there’s loads of currants and berry flavours, black pepper all wrapped up with a rustic, lingering finish. I intend to pick up a couple of bottles to keep for hearty winter fare.

 

The foreign affair AmaroseForeign Affairs Amarosé

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #388702) 12.4%

 Definitely not your ordinary Rosé, this has to be the most delicious I have tasted and that covers a lot of territory. It is made in the Amarone style undergoing the appassimento or dried grape method. In short, the grapes are dried losing their natural water but this results in super concentrated berry flavours. The juice from the 57% Pinot Noir, 22% Riesling and 21% Chardonnay create enticing aromas that are reminiscent of stepping into a field of over ripe strawberries begging to be picked. Luscious raspberries and cherries also play on the palate with a slightly tangerine finish. It is smooth, loaded with flavour and slightly off dry. The ripe berry flavours in this rosé are dazzling and impressive. From start to finish, it is generous rosé.

Grand Total – $96.75

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

Posted by Julie

Thursday, April 28th, 2016
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Pop into your closest LCBO Vintages for the release on Saturday April 30 – just in time for Mother’s Day! you’ll find Pacific Northwest Wines, Aussie whites and interesting coloured  Rosés. There is something for every mum!

LCBO Vintages magazine April 30I haven’t made the wine trek to Oregon but whenever wines appear from the Willamette and Columbia Valleys. they are always exciting and the price points are not as staggering as their nearby neighbours.

And thinking of Mum’s, this release features sparkling wines from both France and Italy plus some ice cider from Quebec that won  the Félibre Givré Gold Medal at the 2015 All Canadian Wine Championships. Any of these is bound to make Mum smile on her special day. I’m counting on a sunny May 8 to accompany and share my “delights”.

All Mum’s are special,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday 30, 2016

 

Cloudline Pinot Gris 2014Cloudline Pinot Gris 2014

Willamette Valley, U.S.A.
$21.95 (Vintages #159988) 13.5% alcohol 

Aromas of spring flowers, very pale but shimmery in the glassy with citrusy clean flavours on the palate and a tangy white peppery finish. Bone dry with crisp acidity, lends itself to everything from an aperitif to lighter food fare, salads and seafood pasta. Trust me, there’s no one who would not like this wine.

 

Joel Gott Riesling 2012Joel Gott Riesling 2012

Columbia Valley, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #443143) 12.9% alcohol 

Be sure to serve this in a stem glass since it is almost watery green in colour, but don’t let that be a detriment. It’s a playful and seductive Riesling, lots of of lemon-lime fruits, medium bodied with green apples dancing on the aftertastes. It’s clean, fresh, and vibrant and a fantastic choice for an afternoon sip, maybe a few shrimps on the side or pan-seared scallops— pure yum.

 

Yalumba Organic ViognierYalumba Organic Viognier 2015

South Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #288217) 14.5% alcohol 

Floral and peach pie aromas with tastes of baked pear crisp and something almost vanilla-like on the palate. It’s rich and creamy but dry with concentrated fruit flavours and a little lanolin on the aftertaste. Concentrated and full, a great match for curry or fish or just on its own. 

 

 

Gassier RoseGassier Sables D’Azur Rosé

AP Côtes de Provence, France
$15.95 (Vintages #33621) 12.5% alcohol 

Anyone who designs such a beautiful bottle, something akin to Marilyn Munroe’s figure, must have placed something delicious inside. Soft peachy pink in colour, this nectar is downright dreamy with alluring scents of summer flowers. Tangy strawberry rhubarb flavours with some orange blossom and flinty aftertastes. It’s has some minerality on the palate which lends to a very fresh stainless steel taste but remains bone-dry, soft and packed with flavour.  One delicious rosé to match with everything from a picnic lunch to charcuterie.

 

Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec 2012Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec 2012

Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza
Fincas de Agrelo, Argentina
$17.00 (Vintages # 234492) 14.5% alcohol

Having just returned from Argentina where I enjoyed many Malbecs, I look forward to picking this one up at such a great price point. It has all the bookmarks of a great Malbec: dark inky in colour, aromas of violets and chocolate, some woodsiness and pure red fruits abound on the palate. Intense berries, ripe and refined tannins, lovely depth with lasting flavour.  Begging for lamb chops or grilled rare meat, I can’t wait.

 

Grand Total – $ 92.80

 

 

 

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 4th, 2016
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February was a long month with Leap Year. Now March is loaded with holidays. March Break, St Patrick’s Day and Easter are reasons to pop corks! This week’s release at Vintages is loaded with interesting wines, Irish Whiskies & sparkling wines for exactly that occasion.

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

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

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

Cheers,
Debbie

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

Saturday March 5, 2016

 

Vietti Moscato d’Asti 2014

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

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

 

Fielding Gewürztraminer 2012Fielding Gewürztraminer VQA 2013

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Barón de Ley Reserva 2010Baron de Ley Reserva 2010

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

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

 

Château Mamin

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

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

 

Grand Total: $102.75

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

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 19th, 2016
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The Red Carpet Ontario Awards and Australia are featured in this LCBO Vintages release. Just like the Academy Awards, I look forward to the Red Carpet Ontario awards since I’m cheering for all my favourite wineries and winemakers to win, many which I have visited over the years and it’s just too exciting.

LCBO Magazine Feb 20As for the Australian features, I don’t know anyone who does not enjoy a big fruity Shiraz. There were too many to fit in my basket but I thought I’d take advantage of all these reds since by mid-winter I’ve perfected the hearty stews and they are going to have great accompaniments.

I’m picking up a few of everything to help me stay warm at the end of winter, ahem.

Cheers,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday
February 20, 2016

 

Creekside Estate Queenston Road Pinot Noir 2014Creekside Estate Queenstown Road Pinot Noir 2014

VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #415877) 12.5% alcohol

Great things grow along that Queenstown Road, even if the vineyards are situated some 105 metres above sea level. Cherry and cranberry aromas and tastes, smooth as silk on the palate, medium bodied weight and tannins with some beloved St. David Bench earthiness and minerality on the spine of this red wine. For Pinot lovers, don’t miss out.

 

Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2013Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2013

VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula
$19.95 (Vintages #444745) 13.3% alcohol

In 2012 and 2013 Peller Estates vintages won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Ontario Wines. The 2012 also won a Gold Medal from Wine Align’s National Wine Awards of Canada 2014, Silver Medal from the International Wine & Spirit Competition UK 2014, and Silver Medal from the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014. How’s that for credentials?

I did not have the opportunity to taste this red wine but tasting notes highlight cherry and red fruit flavours, some vegetal and earthy notes on the finish, light to medium bodied and would work with any number of dishes including salmon. Serve it slightly chilled so the fresh tastes are even more lasting. I can’t wait!

 

Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$16.95 (Vintages #143206) 14.5% alcohol

Rich alluring aromas of cassis and vanilla waft through the glass and big ripe juicy red and black fruits dance on the palate. Last year this red wine flew off the shelves and I don’t expect this year to be any different, so if you like Cab. Sauv.’s from Argentina, stock up.

Fruity but bone dry with a little smokiness at the end of the long finish. Richly textured with great depth and fine tannins. A knock out for the price-tag so you can spend extra on the prime rib or crown roast of pork from your favourite butcher.

 

Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Nagamble Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia
$22.95 (Vintages #138818) 13.5% alcohol

Alluring, concentrated aromas of rich blackberry and black currant fruit. There’s savoury notes on the palate with a little chewy texture, well integrated tannins and it slips down very smooth. There’s some woodsmoke at the end of a long flavourful finish. It’s a lovely Cab. Sauv, and ready to take on any strong spicy meats, cheeses or charcuterie.

 

Heartland Shiraz 2013Heartland Shiraz 2013

Langhorne Creek, South Australia
$18.95 (Vintages #661934) 14.4% alcohol

Boasting big dark intense fruit flavours in aromas and tastes, this Shiraz is a beauty. Opaque, dark purple almost inky in colour, it exudes richness and depth. Full-bodied red wine with a little pepper dancing in the layered dark fruit flavours, there’s some bitter dark chocolate and a tinge of menthol on the long fruity finish. Bring on the rack of lamb and mint jelly.

 

Grand Total – $97.95  

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, February 5th, 2016
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The LCBO Vintages release of February 6 is celebrating Valentine’s, southern France and South Africa; talk about something for everyone.

LCBO Magazine Feb 6February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and there are all kinds of legends about who St. Valentine’s was and what he did but suffice to say that he remained a VERY popular saint throughout the centuries. Valentine’s greetings go as far back as the Middle Ages and there is an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards sent each year.

But a card and a bottle of wine from the Vintages release – now that’s a Valentine.

I hope you find your name on both.
Cheers, Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday February 6, 2016

 

Lustau Escuadrilla Rare Amontillado SherryLustau Escadrille Rare Amontillado Sherry

DO, Spain
$19.95 (Vintages #660324) 18.5% alcohol

Sherry is such a refined and civilized drink. On the rocks or straight up this golden coloured nectar delivers rich tastes of brown sugar, roasted almonds, orange rind, sweet spices and dates. It’s just slightly off dry, rich, creamy and warm-bodied. Makes for a lovely afternoon drink with a good book, fireplace and some warmed nuts.

 

Pierre Sparr Brut Rosé Crémant d'AlsacePierre Sparr Crémant D’Alsace

Méthode Traditionnelle, AC France
$18.95 (Vintages #39016) 12.5% alcohol

Just in time for Valentine’s, what a beautiful beginning this would be to the evening. Pale rhubarb in colour this 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine is just bursting with tangerine and ripe cherry flavours. It’s creamy and delightfully mousse, don’t pour to much or it will overflow, it’s one easy sipper with a great balance of fruit flavours and acidity. Talk about pretty in pink.

 

Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet 2014Beauvignac Picpoul De Pinet 2014

AP, Les Costières de Pomérols, Southern France
$14.95 (Vintages #350124) 12.5% alcohol

AP is the serial number the wine received during official testing and it obviously passed a few tests since it was the recipient of the Gold Medal at the 2015 Concours des Grands Vins du Languedoc-Roussillon. I love this white wine. It’s pale in colour but not in taste, loads of ripe pears, light to medium bodied, fresh and crisp, bone dry almost with a little effervescence on the finish. Zippy seam of a acidity gives it a well-balanced proportion and would pair with any lighter fare or just on its own.

Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2013Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2013

WO Western Cape, South Africa KWV
$16.95 (Vintages #99267) 14%alcohol

Cathedral Cellar wines just never disappoint whether its their Chardonnay, Petit Verdot or Shiraz and this once a year Pinotage is right up there.  Pinotage is to South Africa what Malbec is to Argentina. It was officially bred in 1925 and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cineast varietals. I find Pinotage can sometimes be brambley and rough, not this one. Loads of blackberries, mulberries, currants, a little mocha and very smooth. There’s some woodsy-ness on the finish, having spent some time in oak and it’s just plain good. A crowd-pleaser for sure and with some ribs or grilled meat, this red wine would be dynamite. 

Lakeview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013Lakeview Cabernet Franc Ice wine 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$29.95 (Vintages #53397) 11% alcohol

How sweet it is! Like bubbles, nothing makes an evening or occasion more festive than having a finale with ice wine. Aromas of red roses, tastes of ripe red and black currants, strawberries at their peak, with just enough acidity to keep you going back. Elegant and refined and plain delicious, it’s desert on its own but with some strong stinky cheese it would be over the top.

 

GRAND TOTAL – $ 100.75

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 11th, 2015
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Hop on your sled and dash to your local LCBO for great finds in this Saturday’s Vintages release! Bubbles, fizz, liquid foam, call it what you want but nothing starts a festive gathering like sparkling white wine. Whether it’s the tall, sexy flutes or those bubbles that tickle the nose, sparkling wine is a drinkable turn-on, the ultimate celebratory libation.

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

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

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

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

Make it count and do it with style,
Julie

 

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

 

Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée RoséOyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Frogpond Farm Gamay Noir 2013Frogpond Farm Gamay Noir 2013

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 Monser Feteascã Neagrã 2012

Monser Feteascã Neagrã 2012

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

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

 

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

GRAND TOTAL – $ 104.80  

 

 

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