Posts Tagged ‘wines from Italy’

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…

Posted by Julie

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
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Australia is renowned for it’s big juicy fruit driven Shiraz so it was refreshing to see a release that features Aussie whites.  But don’t be shy to venture further when shopping at LCBO’s Vintages this month.  There is an extremely handsome collection of some old tried and trues wines and of course also features wines from the Mediterranean.

Any chance your plans have you traveling to Europe anytime soon?  There are some wines in this release that are bound to put you in the mood for packing for a trip!

I’d say…this shopping list definitely puts me in the mood to pick up one of everything.

Cheers to all good things and the arrival of Spring,

-Julie

 

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

 

Madison Ranch Chardonnay 2014

Napa Valley, California
$22.95 (Vintages #441113) 14.5% alcohol

Plush aromas of baked cake and tropical fruit. A full bodied elegant white wine loaded with ripe yellow apple and banana flavours, rich, creamy and buttery, a classic California Chardonnay.

With a soft seam of acidity, there is some vanilla and lemony sweet spice on the end, a full-bodied Chardonnay not for those who like a wine with style.  Absolutely delicious.

 

 

 

Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda 2014

Victoria, Australia
$17.95 (Vintages #401398) 13% alcohol

Aromas you could catch across a room! Expansive fruit with floral overtones, soft white blossoms, honeysuckle, almost perfumed tropical fruit in this blend of Viognier and Marsanne white wine. Juicy peaches and pears on the palate, soft, easy and smooth, it’s the type of wine that everyone would like, inoffensive yet delicate, loaded with nutty fruit flavours.

Enjoy on it’s own or with lighter fare, it would also be perfect with summer salads.

 

 

 

Cotnari Fetească Albă 2014

DOC Cotnari, Roumania
$12.95  (Vintages #012088) 12% alcohol

Cotnari is the most famous Romanian wine producing region located in eastern Romania very near the Moldovan border. Fetească Albă is the most widely grown and best known grape varietal. I love discovering a new wine at such an incredible price point. This golden coloured nectar is slightly off-dry with tropical fruit aromas. It’s fruity; there’s pineapple, ripe pear and honeysuckle on the creamy palate but also got some mandarin and petrol on the smooth finish. It’s an easy wine wine sipper or would be a great match for spicy foods.

 

 

 

Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #247882) 13.5% alcohol

The Speck family has yet another reason to be proud. On the nose are aromas of the unmistakeable Baco Noir grape, a little smokiness, then layers of cherries and nutty flavours from the time spent in French and American oak for 17 months. Aside from Baco Noir is the classic blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Loads of personality as these varietals complement each other. Bone dry and juicy, well structured tannins; bring out a roast of beef or grilled ribs, it’s a beauty.

 

Papale Linea Oro Primitivo Di Manduria 2013

DOP, Puglia, Italy
$18.95 (Vintages #261784) 14% alcohol

Way back in July 2013, I discovered this gem and wrote on it in my If I had $100 blog.  Papale is made from the Primitivo grape vinified in the Puglia region. In 2008, 115 bottles of the vintage  was purchased by the Vatican following the election of Pope Francis in 2013.

I call this my Osso Bucco wine. Any chef knows that if you go through the labour of love to prepare Osso Bucco, you want a great wine to accompany.  Deep crimson bold with personality of firm ripe cherries, plums and peppery spice highlight the palate. Full-bodied, a little chewy and deep berry flavours intermingle with noticeable tannins that linger forever on the smooth finish. I would serve this dinner to the Pope!

 

 

GRAND TOTAL – $91.75

 

BTW…Since I came in well under budget, I thought I’d recommend a great medium bodied Portuguese wine called Animus 2014 from Douro at $12.95 a bottle.  Great for burgers, pizza or those mindless nights that call for something cheap and cheerful – it’s a steal and I’m picking up a few.  (Vintages #385302).  If you find an extra $4.70 your grand total is $104.70.

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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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Stocking up on great wines for Labour Day

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
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Approaching fall, the LCBO recognizes we’ll be drinking more red wine, this upcoming Vintages release on September 5th reflects this seasonal trend. Over the years, I have noticed that generally, red wine can have a higher price point….and this release supports that trend. However, savvy shoppers can compensate for this by getting out of their comfort zone and trusting their palate to explore lesser-known wine regions and grape varieties. Below are my six picks that will total under $100.00 when you are at the LCBO checkout this weekend.

LCBO Vintages magazine Sept 5In LCBO Vintages, you’ll also find lesser-known hidden gems – Nardo, Bierzo and Jumilla wine regions along with Negroamaro grape variety, Mencia grape variety and Melon de Bourgogne grape varieties in my shopping list.

With these top picks, it is a prime opportunity to taste red wines with a bit of age – there’s one that is seven years old and another that is nine years old. Wine develops in bottle and I found that these are good examples of two that have aged gracefully.

For those interested in knowing only the wine, the price and how it smells, feels and tastes, it’ll be a lightening quick read. If you’re interested in knowing a bit more about the wine, winery, the grapes involved and enhanced enjoyment, it’ll still be a short read, but should enhance your understanding, hopefully enjoyment, of each wine. If you read and consider each one, purchase a couple or more and enjoy them… mission accomplished!

Cheers!
Vic Haradine
our special guest blogger & long-time Savvy friend from WineCurrent.com

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday September 5, 2015

 

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay MusqueCave Spring ‘Estate Bottled’ Chardonnay Musqué 2013

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (246579) 13.5% alcohol

The Skinny – there are room-filling aromas of orange blossom, fresh-grape nuances and musk-like perfume. Viscous, slightly off-dry flavours of white nectarine and tropical fruit, Meyer lemon and peach skin abound. It has good weight and texture, a long finish and just enough acidity to keep it crisp and refreshing.

More – this white wine is made from a clone of Chardonnay known for its heady, perfume-like aromas. It’s another triumph for Cave Spring Cellars and co-founder/winemaker extraordinaire, Angelo Pavan. Sip on its own or pair with grilled or pan-seared seafood.

 

Domaine La Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre & MaineDomaine La Haut Févrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2015

AOC Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, France
$13.95 (390625) 12.0% alcohol

The Skinny – hints of smoke and leesy notes mingle with ripe tropical fruit on the nose. There’s a nicely textured stream of caramel-tinted baked apple, sharp spice and lemony tang. It’s medium bodied with a lengthy mouth-watering aftertaste. Pour alongside steamed mussels or pan-seared freshwater fish.

More – This white wine is made from 100% Melon de Bourgogne grapes from 35-year-old vines, hand harvested and left seven months on lees a.k.a. spent yeast cells that fall to the bottom of tanks, eventually removed, but adding texture to the finished wine. Sèvre et Maine refers to the two rivers that make their way through this appellation.

 

Schola Sarmenti Roccamora Nardo' Negroamaro 2006Schola Sarmenti ‘Roccamora Nardo’ Negroamaro 2006

DOC Nardo, Puglia Italy
$16.95 (379768) 13.5% alcohol

The Skinny – Aromas of sandalwood and black plum interlace with baking spice and gamy notes on the involved nose. It rolls over the palate in a delectable spice-laden wash of dried-berry fruit, black cherry and hints of black currant concentrate. It showcases good structure, balance and a lingering dry finish. Pours well with barbecued meats.

More Nardo wine region is centered around the town of Nardo, Italy where the climate is hot and dry. Negroamaro is indigenous to the area, the heel of Italy’s boot. Salice Salentino wine region is considered where the best Negroamaro wines are made and it neighbours Nardo. Due to the heat, grapes ripen easily, winemakers must be diligent in harvesting before grapes are over-ripe or the wine becomes alcoholic, unbalanced.

 

Abad Dom Bueno Mencía 2008Abad Dom Bueno Mencía 2008

DO Bierzo, Spain
$16.95 (291989) 13.5% alcohol

The Skinny – alluring aromas of espresso roast, herbs, spice and dark berry fruit abound on this aged gem. Dense and delicious on the palate, sweet, ripe mulberry and juicy black cherry interweave with black licorice and pipe tobacco. This is full bodied and fully textured red wine with a long aftertaste replaying palate flavours with sweet vanilla and tannins.

More – you’ll enhance your experience by aerating this. Carefully pour the wine into another empty, clean wine bottle using a funnel. Then pour it back into the original bottle, again, carefully with the funnel. If you have a wine decanter, wide-bottomed is best, pour wine and let sit an hour or two before serving. Mencia is indigenous to NW Spain, said to be similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s only recently been promoted and becoming very popular!

 

Alceño Premium 50 Barricas Syrah 2012Bodega Alceño ‘Premium 50 Barricas’ Syrah 2012

DO Jumilla, Spain $13.95 (398933) 14.5% alcohol

The Skinny – Dark and alluring in the glass and on the nose, aromas of dark berry fruit, earthiness and spice box set the table for a smorgasbord of rich luscious flavour—black berry, cassis and red currant interweaving with vanilla and dark coffee. It’s mid-plus weight with good mouth feel and a long, fruity and well-balanced aftertaste.

More – The Jumilla region escaped the nasty phylloxera bug until the late 1980s when the area was attacked and vines devastated. They ripped out vines and replanted, much of it with the indigenous Monastrell along with international varieties. There’s 15% Monastrell in this wine. With the rebirth of this wine region, it’s a go-to spot for value-laden, good-quality reds. BTW – Barricas means barrels.

 

Tessellae Côtes du Roussillon Old Vines Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre 2013Tesselai ‘Old Vines’ Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre 2013

AOP Côtes du Roussillon, France
$17.00 (343517) 14.5% alcohol

The Skinny – This Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre red blend leaps from the glass with lifted aromas of black currant, piquant spice and black licorice. It’s mid weight with good texture, balance and charm. Palate-bathing flavours abound with juicy black cherry, bramble berry and earthy/gamy notes to the fore. I STRONGLY recommend to pick up a case of this wine…and start the car!

More –It’s difficult to find inexpensive wine from some regions of France e.g. Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. However, southern France is a wonderful lake to cast bait. You’ll find less-expensive wine, some showcasing good value, in Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and a few regions in the southern Rhone.

 

GRAND TOTAL: $94.75

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, August 21st, 2015
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Are you off to the LCBO to pick up the latest releases from Vintages this weekend?  Look no further, we have you covered. This is a surreal moment…the person who began my wine soaked journey – Vic Haradine – called me and asked if he could write a blog or two for us! Without hesitation, I said yes…and gave him $100 to spend at Vintages. Well, not the hard cold cash, rather the goal to find wines in this release that would tally to be no more than $100.

Vic knows his wines. He was one of the pillars of the Algonquin Sommelier Program (and my Wine Tasting 101 instructor), he is a wine judge and does countless wine reviews under his banner – winecurrent.com

LCBO Vintages Magazine Aug 22Here is Vic’s If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages:

This release is chockfull of quality wine with many at attractive prices. I’m feeling very fortunate to have a great deal of choice in the quest to find high-quality wine with a favourable price-quality ratio.

With $100 in my pocket, I chose four whites and two red wines – one each from Canada, Austria, South Africa, Italy and two from Australia. Warm weather is still with us so numerous opportunities to drink and enjoy white wine. Your barbecue grill and red wine is a match made in heaven. This wide assortment may entice you out of your usual hunting grounds, and that can be good thing.

For those interested in knowing only the wine, the price and how it smells, feels and tastes, it’ll be a lightening quick read. If you’re interested in knowing a bit more about the wine, winery, possibly the grapes involved, it will still be a short read, but should enhance your understanding and hopefully enjoyment of each wine. If you read and consider each one, purchase a couple or more and enjoy them… mission accomplished!

Cheers!
Vic

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday August 22, 2015

 

Featherstone 4 Feathers 2014 Riesling BlendFeatherstone Estates ‘Four Feathers’ 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Canada
$14.95 (341586) 12.0% alcohol

The Skinny –This off-dry white blend delivers a wash of tropical fruit, lemon-pie filling and grilled pineapple. It’s medium-full bodied with a long, textured, balanced aftertaste. Pick up a few to sip or pour with lighter appetizers or spicy Asian cuisine.

More – Featherstone is family owned and managed, producing carefully crafted, well-made wine from sustainably farmed fruit; the quality-price balance tips in your favour.

 

Lenz Moser Prestige Gruner VeltlinerLenz Moser ‘Prestige’ Grüner Veltliner 2013

Qualitätswein, Niederösterreich, Austria
$13.95 (71233) 12.5% alcohol

The Skinny – Floral, spice and notions of lemongrass on the nose, this dishes up a lovely mouthful of ripe tropical fruit, yellow peach and plum on the palate and fruit-filled finish. Sip this white wine on its own or serve well chilled with spicy Asian cuisine.

More – This is unique Grüner Veltliner with very little tang and acidity, it’s quite attractive & will find many admirers. Qualitätswein is a step up from a Landwein designation; Niederösterreich is the premium & largest Grüner growing area in Austria.

 

MAN Vintners Free Run Steen Chenin BlancMAN Vintners ‘Free-Run Steen’ Chenin Blanc 2014

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (126847) 13.5% alcohol

The Skinny – This white has loads of lemon citrus notes with notions of orchard fruit on the nose. It streaks over the palate with a fairly balanced river of ripe pineapple and lemon-lime yoghurt and notes of tangy orange. There’s a snappy, crisp finish. Serve with prawn ceviche or pan-seared fish.

More – Steen was the name of a grape first planted in South Africa in the 1600s from unknown European cuttings. It was eventually identified as being identical to Chenin Blanc from Loire Valley, France. MAN is the acronym from the first names of wives owning this winery—Marie, Anette, Nicky.

 

Willow Bridge Dragon Fly Sauvignon Blanc SemillonWillow Bridge Estate ‘Dragonfly’ Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2014

Geographe, Western Australia
$16.95 (418368) 12.3% alcohol

The Skinny – Citrus and grassy aromas give way to a crisp wash of racy lemon-lime and white grapefruit joining ripe nectarine and tropical fruit on the palate. It has good mouth feel and oodles of charm. Serve with grilled seafood or steamed mussels.

More – This white blend is signature Australian, although Geographe—two hours south of Perth—is a relatively new wine area, established in 1999. The maritime climate, with a cool afternoon sea breeze, makes it an ideal growing area. Family owned and managed, Willow Bridge Estate has 150 acres under vine.

 

Castelliani Filicheto Vino Nobile di Montipulciano 2011Castellani Filicheto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2010

DOCG Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Italy
$19.95 (184937) 13.5% alcohol

The Skinny – Involved aromas of savory spice, red and black currant, grilled herbs and pipe tobacco swirl from the glass. This red wine has a rich, luscious stream of dark berry fruit, juicy black cherry and cassis coat the palate, balanced, beautiful. It’s an elegant, value-laden treat.

More –Vineyards surround the town of Montepulciano tracing its history back 12 centuries, the ‘Nobile’ (know-buh-lay) may stem from a Pope’s cellar master’s quote, ‘wine fit for a Nobleman’. The main grape is Prugnello gentile, a variation of Sangiovese.

 

Turkey Flat Butchers Block Shiraz MourvedreTurkey Flat ‘Butcher’s Block’ Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre 2012

Barossa Valley, South Australia
$19.95 (90241) 14.5% alcohol

The Skinny – Aromas of mocha, cedar and black cherry unleash a structured, balanced and elegant flow of ripe mulberry, mixed spice and mocha. This is deftly balanced red wine showcasing polished tannin, purity of fruit and a lingering, dry, fruity finish.

More – Some of the fruit in here was sourced from 1847, non-irrigated, bush vines. Turkey Flat is family owned and world renowned, still retaining its artisan ways producing only 20,000 cases annually.

Grand Total: $99.70

 

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, August 7th, 2015
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Got the Long Weekend blues?  Try the new releases from LCBO Vintages on August 8 and you’ll think you’ve won the lottery. Although this release focuses on the Loire Valley and the Pacific North West, for those of you who know and read my blog I really am a Canadian at heart kind of gal so once again – I can only “brag” about our Canadian content.

LCBO Vintages Magazine August 8There’s quite a variety of new reds from all over Ontario especially the Lake Erie North shore and while I haven’t traveled down that way, it’s starting to look like a destination for wine lovers.

I can only encourage you to stroll through Vintages on 8 August and see for yourself, you may also want to pick up one or two of my suggestions which will not disappoint.

Cheers, Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday August 8, 2015

 

Casa-Dea sparkling roseDea’s Sparkling Rosé 2013

VQA Prince Edward County, Casa Dea Vineyards
$19.95 (Vintages #424622) 11.4% alcohol

100% Gamay grapes went into producing this lovely rosé which offers huge berries and fine mousse on the palate, with just a little touch of citrus on the finish. There’s a pinch of earthiness which makes it interesting and adds complexity – crisp and refreshing, it’s one lovely sparkling rosé.

 

Foreign Affairs Enchanted RipassoForeign Affairs Enchanted 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages # 389767) 12% alcohol

With a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling it is almost impossible to go wrong. Floral nose and fruity flavours on the palate, lots of citrus; sweet pink grapefruit, peaches and lemon but dry and refreshing. Tastes clean and crisp; an elegant white wine blend to sip on its own or with a strawberry grilled chicken salad – a perfect summer afternoon delight.

 

Mission Hill ChardonnayMission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2013

BC VQA Okanagan Valle,
$21.95 (Vintages # 545004) 13.5% alcohol

A few years ago, my husband and I lunched at the Mission Hills winery overlooking the beautiful vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The Mission Hill Winery reminded me of a French Chateau; a first class act, very impressive and the wines were just generally fabulous. This is a beautifully made Chardonnay, crisp and layered with flavours of apricots, pears, melon the usual tropical fruit culprits but integrated into such creamy full body, no doubt as a result of some time spent in American oak barrels. A little butter on the finish of this white wine and worth every penny; elegant and refined. Chicken Alfredo comes to mind.

 

Anticha Masseria Jorche Primitovo di ManduriaAntica Masseria Jorche Primitivo di Manchuria 2010

DOP, Puglia, Italy, $21.95 (Vintages #417535) 15% alcohol

This intense dark opaque beauty oozes with ripe dark berry fruit. Dark fruit aromas and on the palate, layer upon layer of juicy goodness in this full-bodied red wine with aftertastes of Christmas cake and subtle vanilla flavours. While I don’t usually think about “winter” food in July , it would make an extremely handsome accompaniment with Osso Bucco and I’m stashing at least one away for November. Sheer yum.

 

Penfolds Cabernet SauvignonPenfolds Bin 9 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

South Australia$23.95 (Vintages #411504) 14.5 % alcohol

Black fruit notes prevail in a solidly built Cabernet Sauvignon. A big red wine; classic and complex with a blackcurrant, black cherry structure with suggestions of cedar and herbal notes. Medium to full bodied, bone dry with soft but grippy tannins, dark berries and mocha on the smooth finish. Worthy of a great roast. (Julie Stock)

 

 

GRAND TOTAL – $105.75  

(oops, but these were all so good)

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 1st, 2015
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The LCBO Vintages release on May 2nd focuses on New Zealand, Germany and rosé wines (High time for the latter). If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting “greenland” down under, you will know that the region is famous for the crisp LCBO Vintages new arrivals magazine May 2Sauvignon Blanc’s and Pinot Noir’s. New Zealand even has an official Sauvignon Blanc day in April; how’s that for promoting the varietal?

Although New Zealand only produces less than 1% of the world’s wine, there is an impressive array of varieties and styles.

Rosés just never go out of style and are a fabulous accompaniment to many foods. This release will display all kinds of pink on the shelves so I hope you pick up one or three and think “pink”. Here’s to warm weather and the patio!

 

Cheers,
Julie

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
May 2, 2015

 

Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc

Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand
$24.95 (Vintages # 411603) 13% alcohol

Gooseberry and grassy aromas support the fleshy backbone of stone fruit. Flavours of ripe peach, the citrus has some spicy notes but this white wine is smooth as silk. It’s harmonious and gave me the impression of a well made wine. Balanced with an aftertaste of sweet pink grapefruit pith. A great sipper or with some fish tacos or salmon salad.

 

 

Frogpond Organic ChardonnayFrogpond Organic Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara on the Lake
$15.00 (Vintages # 203547) 12.2% alcohol

A fresh and lively new Chard. from the Niagara region. The winemaking philosophy behind Frogpond is “harmony in nature is the prerequisite for truly authentic wine”. I was not disappointed and more than amazed at the price point of this white wine.

It’s lively with some tropical fruit, green grass and apple, light bodied but very satisfying on the palate with a respectable fruity finish.

Perfect for a summer luncheon, salad fare or a wonderful sipper on its own.

 

Carpineto Dogajolo RosatoCarpineto Dogajolo Rosato 2014

IGT Toscana, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #699934) 12.5% alcohol

Pale salmon in colour, floral and fruity aromas. Tart cherry and apple flavours, great acidity and soft in the mouthfeel. It’s light bodied, soft and juicy with a light fruity finish. A beautiful summer rose. I have served this with everything from fish to chicken and someone always ends up checking the beautiful label on the bottle, not (as we know) that that makes the wine! I recently found a recipe for crispy cod taco with a smoked pineapple sauce – this will be my summer match!

 

Wirra Wirra Church BlockWirra Wirra Church Block Cabernet/Shiraz/Merlot 2012

McLaren Vale, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #24034) 14.5 % alcohol

There is lots going on here with 49% Cabernet, 35% Shiraz and 16% Merlot, not a bit of wonder this masterful red wine blend brings on aromas and flavours of dense, velvety, rich fruit. Impressive structure with soft tannins, lots of backbone! It is a rich wine that would stand up to anything grilled or just on its own – almost approaching nirvana. This is really yum.

 

Lenz Moser TrockenbeerenausleseLenz Moser Prestige Trockenbeerenauslese 2012

Prädikatswein, Burgenland, Austria
$20.95 (Vintages #729657) 10% alcohol

Deep golden yellow the flavours in this desert wine are absolutely delectable. Sweet luscious honeysuckle flavours of baked apple raisin compote with toasted almonds. Creamy deluxe with a seam of acidity that sends you back for more. Absolutely mouth coating and a perfect end to a dinner regardless of the season. Balanced and outstanding, it’s desert on its own but with a strong cheese, your tastebuds are pretty close to heaven.

 

Grand Total: $ 95.80

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 21st, 2014
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While earlier this month, the LCBO Vintages release was on Star Quality, now for the November 22 Vintages release the focus is on  “Our Finest” and “Premium Spirits”. How to keep up? Hopefully I will make it a little easier with our budget of $100.

LCBO Vintages magazine November 22An advantage of Premium spirits is that they last a long time. Premium spirits you purchased last Christmas are still wonderfully aged for sipping a year later. One could start a “bar of spirits” collection. For example, the Camus Elegance XO Cognac, listed in the top 50 Spirits by The Wine Enthusiast will still be great next year and the $199.95 price tag only stings once.  You can also admire the beautiful bottle on your buffet; it looks like a decanter!

At this time of year, there is a variety of sparkling wine at popular price points that you do not see at other times during the year. You can stock up for December festivities or if planning ahead, even a spring party. Sparkling wine just never goes out of style.

Finally, although the 3rd week of November has passed, there is still lots of Nouveau Beaujolais on the shelves. It’s a great pizza and casual sipping wine, with a great price tag.

I hope you find something to brighten up the 11th month and I’d love to hear of any memorable purchases.

Julie 

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

November 22, 2014

 

Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de BourgogneBailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne

France, AC
$19.95 (Vintages # 991562) 12% alcohol

A beautiful crisp sparkling white wine with fine little bubbles bursting with flavours of toast and citrus.  It has more weight to it than other sparklers which gives it more clout when serving hors-d’oeuvres.  Although it’s hard to go wrong with a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligoté. Not surprising there’s lots going on with these fruity cherry flavours, and it has a nice crisp finish.

It would pair well with salty phyllo pastry appetizers like spankopitas. The saltiness would be perfect with the bubbles,. There ’s yummy frozen delicacies in the grocery store, so don’t fret about cooking; sit back and enjoy your guests, Sparkling wine is always a great starter to an evening.

 

Mission Hill SLC ChardonnayMission Hill SLC Chardonnay 2011

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$24.95 (Vintages #144170)  13.5% alcohol

A few years ago, my husband and I lunched at the Mission Hills winery overlooking the beautiful vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The Mission Hill Winery reminded me of a French Chateau; a first class act, very impressive and the wines contained therein just never disappoint. It is a beautifully made Chardonnay, crisp and layered with flavours of apricots, almonds, the usual tropical fruit culprits but integrated into such smooth full body, no doubt as a result of some time spent in American oak barrels. This white wine has a little citrus on the finish and worth every penny; elegant and refined.

 

Lena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpollicella SuperioreLena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010

DOC, Monte Del  Frá, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #165662) 14% alcohol

Heavenly aromas of currants, cherries and ripe plums, begging to be sipped. Ripasso means a second fermentation where the grapes obtain their fullest expression being dried on mats. They turn into little raisins which intensifies the flavours of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes (the Valpolicella trio).Robust notes of dark berries that spark the tastebuds and leave a hint of sweet spice and smooth tannin in the aftertaste of this red wine. I always serve Ripasso with my signature Osso Buco dinner party dish. When you labour over preparation, it demands a great wine so I’m glad mine is chosen.

 

Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet SauvignonThe Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

WO Stellenbosch,  South Africa
$17.95 (Vintages #172973) 14% alcohol

I sometimes forget about South Africa when looking for a new wine, but having recently picked up a great Chenin Blanc, it reminds me how good they can be. This red wine is no exception. Good Hope is a spirit of optimism and that the early pioneers had good faith when planting vineyards several hundred years ago. This red wine is an easy sipper brimming with flavours of cassis and raspberry, some earthy overtones and a little leather on the finish, full bodied with easy tannins. For those of you who can still barbecue, its a great match for a hearty burger or grilled meat.

 

Quady Essensia Orange MuscatQuady Essensia Orange Muscat 2012   (dessert wine)

California, U.S.A.
$13.95 (Vintages #299552)   15.6% alcohol

Orange may be the new black in some spots but there’s nothing dark about this Muscat.  Golden orange in appearance, it shimmers prettily in the glass. I was so excited to find a new desert wine especially one at this price point. If you could imagine an ice wine that tastes of fresh tangerines, and makes your saliva buds just sparkle, this would be it. With great acidity it balances the orangey sweetness in this luscious nectar. It would be divine on ice or with some soda water. If you like oranges, citrus and something deliciously sweet, this one is for you.  A couple will be in my basket, for sure, a great ending to a dinner party.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 96.75

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

Posted by Amanda

Friday, November 7th, 2014
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The November 8 LCBO Vintages Release features Star Quality products and ports.  Just like a squirrel scurrying to store nuts for the winter, I’m collecting a few bottles from each release to keep for the winter months. My husband reminds me that the wine stores stay open in the winter, but it’s good to have a little stash for unexpected company. Unfortunately with star quality products come star quality quality prices, however I am so pleased and proud with my $100. shopping basket, that I hope you will be too.

LCBO Vintages Magazine Nov 8There is something compelling about Port, whether its because it hails from a timeless land where grapes have grown for centuries or that it is such a great match for strong deliciously stinky cheese. I could cheerfully enjoy a glass of port on just about any occasion. It also makes a lovely hostess gift instead of the usual bottle of wine and chances are a bottle of Port will last a lot longer. There are at least 6 in this release so I hope one finds its way into your shopping basket.

There’s something for everyone and don’t forget Beaujolais Nouveau arrives on our shelves November 20.

 

Happy shopping,
Julie 

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

November 8, 2014

 

Dow's Late Bottled Vintage PortDow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2009

DOC Douro, Portugal
$17.95  (Vintages #613927)    20% alcohol

First of all, its hard to argue with a Silver Medal winner at the 2014 International Wine Challenge. Deep ruby in the glass, this port is deliciously sweet with ripe berry aromas and tastes. It has just the right amount of acidity that helps promote the dark berry flavours – it is mouthwatering delicious. I think this would also make a lovely afternoon drink on ice with some toasted walnuts and cheddar, or with mincemeat tarts or do I dare say Christmas cake? It’s also an amazing price point.

 

Megalomaniac BubbleheadMegalomaniac Bubblehead 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$28.95  (Vintages #363655)  12% alcohol

When the cradle was released (that’s the little crossed wire on the cork) it just burst with fine bubbles overflowing. I thought this sparkling wine was about as close to Champagne as it comes. The mousse (little tiny bubbles that tickle the nose) went on forever bursting with delicious cranberries and cherry flavours with just a little citrus on the finish.  It is a sheer “bubblehead” delight and not a bit of wonder it was awarded Overall Best in Show and Best in Show White at the 2014 Royal Wine Competition.  Well deserved, I shall serve it chilled on its own.

 

 

Menade VerdejoMenade Verdejo 2013

DO Rueda, Spain
$16.95 (Vintages #392159)  13% alcohol

This white wine is new to Vintages, made from 80-100 year old Verdejo grape vines. It’s very pale in colour, almost watery, but oh so fresh and it would be dynamite with seafood.  It’s quite aromatic and flavourful. Some folks may think it more of a summer wine being light-medium bodied but it has so much soft tropical fruit flavour that I wanted to feature it as a change from our usual grape varietals. After the release (when I can pick up a bottle or 3)  I’m planning to serve it with spaghetti and clams and an uncomplicated side salad,. Guess whose coming to dinner?

 

 

Casas del Bosque Reserva CarmeneraCasa del Bosque Reserva Carmenère 2012

Rapel Valley, Chile
$14.95 (Vintages #205872)  14.5% alcohol

Carmenere is Chile’s signature premium grape varietal. This wine displays characteristics of a great Carmenere being full bodied with depths of blackberry and spice flavours.

There is a hint of something vegetal or like a green leaf on the finish. It’s a hearty wine, not for sissies. I’m planning to enjoy it with a sausage and bean stew with some crusty bread. You just cannot beat that price point.

 

 

Layer Cake PrimitivoLayer Cake Primitivo 2011

IGT, Puglia Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #384065)  13% alcohol

I longed to have a big bowl glass and not just a sip. Inky in colour with tastes of jammy black cherries and plums,this red wine is rich and smooth. The wine was fermented in stainless steel to preserve the fruit flavours. The bottle label suggests that the wine should taste like a layered cake, with chocolate and mocha and spice and a little earth at the end. I couldn’t say it better. It’s layered with complexity and the fruit flavours go on forever. Primitivo is also known as Zinfandel in North America so if you are a fan of the latter, this beauty will not disappoint.

This wine also received the first-ever Certificate of Label Approval with Primitive and Zinfandel used as synonyms on the label. My signature winter dinner party dish is Osso Bucco;  a labour of love for my friends, so that’s where I’m going with this wine. I can’t wait for that December dinner party to wow them.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 98.75  (now that’s value !)

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 24th, 2014
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Look at all the new wines from Chile, Tuscany, Ontario…and around the world in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release. By the time the end of October rolls around, everyone is into their fall schedules, programs, sports and school, but being retired I’m looking for a new travel destination.

LCBO Vintages magazine Oct25

Chile has always been on my bucket list and it is with renewed interest that this release features many new Chilean wines. Vintages is also featuring some wines from Tuscany and I better not get started on my love of Italy and Italian wines.

As much as we all love fall, we know what comes after so its no surprise that Vintages has started their “Gifting” for Christmas. Beautiful bottles, glossy packaging even ships containing liqueurs will start to decorate the stores (if not your mantle?). Even if you are not planning to purchase any gifts from Vintages, it is worth the stroll through your nearest store and you may find yourself changing your mind.

There are also some extravagant whiskey’s in this release as well as champagnes. While I cannot afford the Armand De Brignac Brut Gold Champagne at $299.95 a bottle (why do they add the .95 cents?), it would sure make for nice bling as a centrepiece.

I will be picking up a few of these new releases on the 25th of October and I hope you find something to sip while shelling out on Halloween… if only to keep the “bad spirits” away.
Julie  

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

October 25, 2014

 

Williams & Humber Oloroso SherryWilliams and Hunbert Walnut Brown Oloroso Sherry

DO Jerez-Xérèz-Sherry – Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #437467) 19.5% alcohol

I remember in Sommelier school, one professor saying that this only comes out once a year and he always picked up a few bottles.  I too, have purchased this year after year. Dark mahogany in colour, light and sweet, yellow raisins, Christmas cake, almonds a little bitter orange, toasted almonds and butterscotch flavours tantalize the tastebuds sending you back for another delicious sip. How could anyone not be enticed with such flavours AND at this price point.  It is a lovely afternoon sipper on ice or my favourite is to serve this sherry as a desert drink with apple/pear crisp and blue cheese.

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling WineGraham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine

WO Western Cape, South Africa
Méthode Cap Classique $18.95 (Vintages #593483) 12.% alcohol 

A lovely sparkling wine from South Africa, toasty, creamy smooth and citrusy tastes. Lots of fine mousse (bubbles) and a slight after taste of grapefruit.  The méthode classique (winespeak: the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle which can offer a yeasty flavour to the wine.

I’m always looking for a new sparkler to serve for a brunch or pre-dinner drinks and this offers a fabulous change.

Montes Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Zapallar Vineyard, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #389643) 12.5% alcohol

When a vineyard is located just seven kilometres from the sea, it is not a bit of wonder this Sauvignon Blanc tastes so clean and fresh. Pale gold, almost shimmery, the nose highlights white grapefruit and wet stone. There’s lots of fresh citrus, with a slight vegetal taste and a limey finish. It is absolutely mouth-watering good with great acidity. A fabulous white wine thirst quencher on its own or with any white sauced dishes to cut the “rich”.

Stratus Wildass RedStratus Wildass Red 2011

Niagara -on-the-Lake, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #86363)  14.8% alcohol 

I always try to include at least one Canadian wine in my shopping basket and this does not disappoint. While not new to Vintages, it is the first time I tasted it and talk about finding a new favourite. You have to love the name “Wildass”! I am guessing it is on account of a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Gamay and Sangiovese. Something for everyone? Deep ruby red, this red wine has great depth of ripe berry flavours, juicy and layered with taste, a little chocolate on the finish. Medium bodied and would pair everything from roast chicken to roast beef to a mocha torte- absolutely delicious.

Ruffino ModusRuffino Modus 2011

IGT Toscana, Italy
$29.95 (Vintages # 912956)  13.5% alcohol 

You are probably more familiar with the DOC or DOCG labels on Italian wines, but the “IGT”means that the rules for wine producers are not quite as strict and a little more generous than those other status labels. In other words, the geography for the grapes might be less reduced as well as the kind of grapes that go into the wine. But don’t let that fool you. Wines with IGT status can equally hold their own and this is a good example.

Dark ruby red, leathery, dusty aromas and brambly on the palate, almost prickly like only age old ripe vines can offer.  With strong tannins and a long dusty finish, this red wine would accompany a rare Tuscan steak with panache.  It won a Gold medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2014. I would lay this down for a year or two – outstanding.

Grand Total: $ 102.75  

 

 

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