Posts Tagged ‘wines from New Zealand’

Cabernet is King!

Posted by Debbie

Friday, February 28th, 2014
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Last weekend’s Academy Awards shone the spotlight on the top movies, actors & directors of the year.  While at the LCBO, they have crowned Cabernet Sauvignon as ‘King’ of their latest release.   I tried several from every point across the globe & was impressed by many.  Also impressed by the differences.  Typically we think of Cabernets as knock your socks off red to enjoy with steak & prime rib.  While the ones that I tasted made a statement, they ranged from medium to full bodied, were elegant, well balanced & made a good impression.  No doubt in my mind that they would be enhanced with food from BBQed pork chops to Sunday roasts with all of the trimmings.

And drinking only Cabernets – or many red wines for that matter – will turn your lips & teeth purple, I have added to my shopping list some white wines & other interesting reds to add to your shopping cart.

OLCBO cover March 1 2014h…and you may be surprised to see that the LCBO is shining the spotlight on wines from Israel. Mark my words – you will see more.  Five years ago, I was invited by the Embassy of Israel in Ottawa to join the first media tour of Canadian wine writers.  We were impressed by the incredible wineries that we visited & the HUGE wines that we tasted.  Now it is your turn to pick up a bottle & explore. Don’t by shy because it is labelled Kosher – this does not impact the taste, only the winemaking process.  All 6 wines from Israel in this release were good – splurge & you too will be impressed.

Cheers!
-Debbie

 

If I only had a $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages
February 28th, 2014

 

Wingspan Sauvignon BlancWingspan Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages 365403) 13% alcohol

This is springtime in a glass.  Classic Sauvignon Blanc – cut grass (do you remember that smell after this long hard winter?), fresh herbs (thyme & mint) combined with aromas & tastes of white flowers & citrus fruits. This will melt away all thoughts of winter.  Enjoy with spring roasted chicken or fresh asparagus.

 

Apollonio SquinzanoApollonio Squizano

Italy, Puglia
$17.95 (Vintages 362475)  14% alcohol

If you don’t speak Italian nor have 20/20 eyesight you will miss this wine all together! I have never seen a label with font so small….and it is all in Italian! Ask any LCBO Product Consultant (look for those with a gold badge) and say that you are looking for the ‘Squizzy’ wine, they will apparently know exactly what you are looking for.  This Nebillio red wine is my new favorite.  Apparently this winery releases frequently into Vintages incredible red wines under $20.  Big, loaded with black fruit and a long finish.  Be on the lookout for this wine from this lesser known Italian wine region 

Cedarcreek Cab MerlotCedarCreek Estates Cabernet Merlot

Okanagan Valley, BC
$24.95 (Vintages 175604) 13.9% alcohol

What?!?! Under $25 for this medium to full red wine from British Columbia – how can this be so? Loaded with red & black fruit, this wine deserves to be served with beef tenderloin, Sunday roast with all the trimmings or BBQed ribs.  Buy 2 or 3 bottles while you are at it!

 

treaty-tree-233x1000Flagstone Treaty Tree Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

South Africa
$16.95 (Vintages 278382) 13.5% alcohol

There was a buzz around the room about this wine.  Eyebrows were raising with each sip.  BIG and I mean BIG aromas & tastes in this plush red wine of black fruit (figs, dates) and bumbleberry jam.  Smooth texture & long finish – this was a great surprise. At this price, make it your weekday wine.

 

Dante Robino Bonarda

Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages 277640) 13.9% alcohol

Never heard of Bonarda grape variety? At this price, grab this wine & discover what you have been missing. Medium full bodied with concentrated aromas of red berries, plush texture in the mouth and well integrated tannins.  A food wine – bring on lamb chops or sit down to a hearty Sunday roast.

 

Grand total: $92.75

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Portgual & New Zealand show off their vibrantly stylish wines

Posted by Susan

Thursday, April 11th, 2013
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We’re well into Spring with the April 13 LCBO Vintages release, which features wines from New Zealand and Portugal. New Zealand’s southern hemisphere water-bound land mass offers a mid-latitude maritime environment particularly suited to the production of unique, quality wines. Not only is there diversity in the varieties cultivated—from the well-known Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, to Syrah and Viognier—but there is great regional diversity—from the established regions of Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, to the emerging Waitaki Valley.

New Zealand – commitment to sustainable winemaking

The New Zealand wine industry has made a firm commitment to innovative and sustainable viticultural and winemaking practices which they expect will reinforce their reputation for “vibrantly stylish wines”. In 2007, the New Zealand wine industry committed to having 100% of the country’s wine produced under approved independently audited sustainability standards by 2012. The industry shares practices in areas such as water usage, energy consumption, waste management and biodiversity.This Vintages release highlights New Zealand’s best-known wine regions, Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, showcasing classic Sauvignon Blanc, aromatic Pinot Gris, and clean unoaked Chardonnay, as well as elegant Pinot Noir and fruity, well-balanced Merlot.

 Portugal – tradition integrated with state-of-the art viticulture

Portugal is best known for its famous Port wine, but the country also produces tangy, fresh white wines and concentrated flavourful red wines from a broad range of native grape varieties. The country has a long history of winemaking, dating back several millennia. Since joining the European Union the 1980s, Portugal has experienced substantial change and an increasing focus on quality in the wine industry. Now Portugal is integrating traditional with modern methods to produce wines of great character, yet modern in style. While most wine was previously produced by cooperatives, and much still is, many grape growers are now establishing their own wineries (quintas) and creating wines with their own unique style. This LCBO release provides the opportunity to try a classic Alvarinho Vino Verde, as well as several red wines, many of them including Touriga Nacional, such as Monte Vilar Reserva. Touriga Nacional is one of Portugal’s best-known red grapes, used in the production of red varietal wines, red wine blends and Port. There’s great value in these wines, with the majority priced under $20.

The general release offers some tasty Niagara wines such as: Fielding Estate Cabernet Franc and Reif ‘The Magician’ Shiraz/Pinot Noir, Viewpointe Estate Auxerrois and Featherstone Rosé, the latter two included in our selection. If you want to share a taste of a rich savoury Chilean red wine, try the Perez Cruz  Cabernet Sauvignon in the 375ml format. Other full-flavoured red wines include Easton Zinfandel, Oyster Bay Merlot and Quinta de Ventozelo ‘Reserva’ Douro Tinto. There’s also great value in the fruit-forward Montepulciano and Sangiovese blend, deAngelis Rosso Piceno Superiore ($14.95) and the Rhône red blend, Le Cirque Grenache/Carignan/Mourvèdre/Syrah ($15.95). With all the great values on offer, we’re managed to include 6 wines for just under $100!

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

 

Kim Crawford ‘East Coast’ Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 

Marlborough/Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
$18.95 (Vintages #991950) 13.0% alcohol

Straw hued and delightfully expressive with aromas of white flowers, citrus and ripe stone fruit, this is a clean, fresh white wine. Dry, with a racy backbone of keen acidity, it offers flavours of melon, green apple and tangy citrus, as well as a pithy note that persists on the lengthy, mouth-watering finish. Enjoy with your choice of seafood or lemon roast chicken.

 

 Monte Vilar Reserva 2011

Alentejo, Portugal
$14.95 (Vintages #276105) 14.0% alcohol

An excellent value, this ruby/violet blend of native red grape varieties display remarkable complexity of aromas—vanilla, ripe fresh field berries, dried cherries, mineral and earth. Dry, medium-full bodied, the concentrated dark berry fruit is garnished with a touch of pepper and espresso and framed by fresh acidity and perceptible tannins. The finish is dry, full flavoured and long lasting. Pick up a few bottles and try them over the next several years.

 

Viewpointe Estate Auxerrois 2011

VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #327239) 12.5% alcohol

From a dramatic boutique estate winery on the shore of Lake Erie comes this lovely pale gold wine, tantalizing the nose with delicate aromas of stone and tropical fruit, pear and flowers. Just off-dry, the flavours are quite intense—pineapple, ripe yellow plum, apricot and juicy nectarine. It’s a very tasty wine with a fine balancing seam of acidity and a delicious fruity finish. A good choice to sip on its own or to savour with lightly spiced dishes, previous vintages have sold out quickly from the winery. Don’t miss the boat!

Featherstone Rosé 2012 

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #117861) 12.0% alcohol
Produced from Gamay and Merlot, the deep rosy salmon color of this tasty rosé wine portends the intensity of aromas and flavours. Bursting with ripe red field berries and cherries, apple skin and mineral notes, it also exhibits hints of spice and pepper. Dry, mid weight, all that juicy flavour is balanced with lively acidity right through the lasting flavourful finish. A versatile, value-driven wine that will delight on its own or paired on a warm spring day with a balsamic beef and strawberry salad.

 

Alfredo Roca‘Reserva de Familia’ Pinot Noir 2010

Mendoza, Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #301275) 13.0% alcohol
Aged 9 months in oak, displaying a garnet hue, this gem of a wine offers attractive aromas of cherry/berry garnished with notes of vanilla, spice and toast. Dry, silky in texture, it has a lovely core of ripe fruit—raspberry, cherry and blackberry—mingling with notes of spiced oak and earth. Approachable, with fruit deftly balanced by fresh acidity and fine tannins, it delivers a lengthy, dry yet smooth finish.

 

Château la Croix de Queynac 2009

AOC Bordeaux Supérieur
$15.95 (Vintages #138636) 13.0% alcohol

Deep ruby, this award-winning red wine offers depth of flavour and very nice value. The aromas are very ripe berry fruits, spice and cedar, with a sweet note of dried fruits. Dry, medium-full bodied, ripe tannins and a fine measure of acidity balance plush berry fruit, sweet spice and a trace of toasty vanilla that carries through the long-lasting dry finish. Enjoy this attractive blend now or over the next couple of years.

 

 Grand Total: $99.70

 

 

 

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‘Tis the Season for Snazzy Sparkling wines

Posted by Julie

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers, Santé, Salute, Aplausos to my readers!

 Julie

Oyster Bay Brut Sparkling Cuvée

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

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

Jackson Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Masottina Brut Prosecco

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

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

Naveran Dama Extra Brut Cava 2010

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

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

Grand Total: $ 99.75

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

 

 

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Old and New Tastes

Posted by Wayne

Friday, December 19th, 2008
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When people select, drink and enjoy wines these days, the concept of ‘style’ plays a big role in the character, profile and experience of wine. It is a way of familiarizing the unknown. There are many ways of referencing style with wine as there is referencing style with people. One can talk about style with winemaking or growing or marketing or bottling or flavour…  just like you can with art or clothing or behaviour. Often, the concept of ‘New’ and ‘Old’ World styles run through discussions and pleasures that are a part of the wine experience too. There is no well-defined identity for one or the other, particularly now that vines and winemakers and techniques move from traditional Old World regions to New World regions and back again.

There is still value in referencing these styles because it helps to uncover the identities and assets of wines we might not be familiar with. In a way it is like discovering a tasting profile for wines. Here are some ideas that might clarify ‘Old’ from ‘New’ and “open up” some wines for you.

Old World:  These wines are usually wines that have a long, documented history and are primarily found in Europe and around the Mediterranean. Here the traditions of winemaking are very important to the production of wine. “Terroir” (the impact of soil, weather, nutrients, sunlight, agricultural method, etc.) also plays a large role in the way wine is made.

Austria, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland are wine regions with a long history of growing grapes for wine that would qualify as “Old World”.

New World: These wines are grown outside of the traditional wine regions of Europe. Each of these countries has its own history with wine that often is about the importation of vines in many cases ( often by the Church for various rituals). The growers brought their grape growing and winemaking traditions with them, but had to modify some of their procedures (like irrigation) to accommodate the conditions and resources of their new sites.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and the United States are the more notale examples.

Style: Knowing this information is helpful.

Old World wines because of their reliance on tradition and terroir will display more of the characteristics of the soils and climates they are in like the foods grown right along side them. Much Old World wine, to oversimplify, is intended as a food partner, a wine whose crop yields, alcohol levels, acid levels, aging processes and geographical boundaries are highly regulated. Filtering of many of these wines is done with natural products like clay or egg whites so sediment levels tend to be higher and the wines tend to absorb rather than reflect light. These wines often show a minerality, an earthiness and a flavour profile that leans towards barrel flavours like vanilla and smoke or wood and they show tannic characteristics more readily. Intended to be food partners, Old World often improves its impact with local fare as an accompaniment.

New World, on the other hand, is more winemaker driven. It is intended to be more a “cocktail” experience. It is designed for the consumer with its fruit forward, high sugar and alcohol profile. These wines are grown to be drunk now. Longer growing seasons, less regulations, controlled irrigation and fertilization render bountiful crops and copious supplies of wine that is brilliantly reflective because of the .005 gauge screening it goes through when it is filtered. Drinking wine on its own suits the New World very well.

That is not to say that these are hard and fast rules for “Old” and “New”. Many is the Old World vintage that is tasty and sweet all by itself. Many is the New World vintage that marries very well with food. A lot of Old World wineries have New World winemakers and vice versa, but these characteristics are helpful in recognizing New and Old World ‘Styles’ of wine which may help you share your wine experiences with someone else or choose the right wine for someone you know. 

Cheers and Salute!
Wayne

Do you have more ideas about styles of wine, New or Old World? Email me as I would like to hear from you.

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