Posts Tagged ‘wines from South Africa’

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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TOP PICKS: 7 wines for under $15

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
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This Vintages release is guaranteed to  be pick-up for anyone with holiday hangovers & January blahs. The LCBO often kicks off the new year with a “Smart Buys 2017” edition with a fabulous assortment of tried and true wines for every palate and budget with great tastes around the $15 price point.

I vowed I would not go to the ATM before mid-January, but this is better than Boxing Day or Black Friday.Too many values to risk the miss. (try saying that after a few glasses !)

For the Scotch lovers, Robbie Burns Day is around the corner, but you don’t need expensive Scotch when you’ll find something delicious in my “budget-conscious” recommendations.

It is not often that I can offer you 7 wines with my $100 budget… so go wild.

Smart Buys here we come!

-Julie

 

 If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday January 7, 2017

 

Marynissen Estates Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.00 (Vintages #907683) 13% alcohol

Introducing a white wine with pale golden colour, light body, fresh and clean with soft blossom aromas. Must have been fermented in stainless as it’s almost flinty with minerality, baked pears, almonds a lingering touch of pineapple on the finish.

Perfect for lighter foods or would stand up to grilled cheese and simple salad – sounds like one great lunch to me!

 

Budureasca Feteasca Regala 2015

DOC Dealu Mare, Romania
$11.95 (Vintages #416800) 12% alcohol

I know we are in January, but this is what I’d call the perfect summer white wine. At this price point, I’ll be picking up a bunch of bottles!

Light and citrusy, loads of soft lemon flavours and one easy sipping wine. There’s little savoury notes on the finish (perhaps from the vineyard soils?). It’s fresh with a really easy mouthfeel that has lots of appeal at this rock bottom price tag.

 

MAN Free-Run Steen 2015

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$13.95 (Vintages #126847) 13% alcohol

Does the grape variety Steen have you wondering what this wine is all about?  It is the name that the South Africans use for Chenin Blanc grapes.

Fresh, clean and crisp, this free-run style white wine is packed with fruit flavours.  There is no usual pressing of grape skins in the making of this beautiful wine.  The grapes are left intact to allow the weight of the bunches naturally crush to create juice and ferment for 3-4 months before bottling. A very hands-off winemaking approach that magically makes great wines like this one.  Open a bottle of this wine and you will enjoy a balanced full bodied white wine with lingering acidity.  Great on it’s own or it would hold up to chicken pot pie or even a spicy curry. Another great buy.

 

Heartland Stickleback Red 2013

Langhorne Creek, South Australia
$14.95 (Vintages #116574) 14.5% alcohol

Simply put, you cannot go wrong with a red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Grenache and Merlot.  Unbelievable that it is under $15!  Black fruit flavours, plums and blueberries play on the palate and some savory pepper on the finish. Matured in oak which lends richness and texture to this dark delight.

Another easy sipping red wine on a cold wintery evening or to enjoy when you go under cover to fire up the BBQ in the winter for a feast of spicy ribs or steak!

 

Michelle Chiarol Barbera D’Asti Superiore 2014

DOCG, Italy
$13.95 (Vintages #265413) 13.5% alcohol

Some wines are just meant for the easy spaghetti night.  You know what I mean…those evenings when you just want to open up a jar of tomato sauce to smother on fresh pasta, then sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese and open a bottle of easy drinking red wine.  This one has lots of red berry fruit – think raspberries & strawberries – it’s neither huge nor bold in taste and the finish is short, but it’s a great table wine for the simple nights where we can just enjoy an uncomplicated dinner.

And Mama Mia! Another wine under $15

 

The Goatfather 2014

WO Coastal Region, South Africa
$14.95 (Vintages #11072) 14% alcohol

You just have to love a South African wine (not to mention the name) that is made from various Italian grape varietals: Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter) from Stellenbosch. It’s a deep ruby red, hints of violet on the nose, loads of red fruit flavours, noticeable tannins that offer backbone to the wine.

It’s an easy going wine. I’d serve it up with cheeses, burgers, charcuterie.

 

Santa Carolina Reserva Estate Pinot Noir 2015

Leyda Valley, Chile
$12.95 (Vintages #480574) 13.5 % alcohol

It is no surprise that I selected this red wine from the 140 year old Santa Carolina vineyard wines especially with it being awarded Winery of the Year 2015. (I really like their whites too!). At this unbelievable price point, you have a Pinot Noir that offers a smooth, velvety mouthfeel, sweet and sour tart cherries, with noticeable ripe acidity and soft tannins that meld into a long fruity, earthy ending.

This is a delicious red wine that is hearty enough to stand up to a beef and mushroom stew or some sautéed salmon with dab of pesto.  A beaut of a wine!

 

Grand Total – $ 97.70 …and that is for 7 wines!

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 10th, 2014
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This week it really is all about TURKEY! The bird and the European country – I visited Turkey this summer and it’s truly amazing. Before I get into the new wines at Vintages this weekend, I want to share with you a couple of wine pix.

Turkey wine cellar by Julie StockI worked in Ankara, Turkey, this past summer and visited a city called Cappadocia – known for the best wines in the country. It is a cave city and the wines I tasted were crisp and light. Here are some pics of wines stored in caves (that is my husband and I on the right)Turkey blog Julie & Doug in wine cellar. It was pretty amazing.

I’m excited about getting back to my blogging so pull out your pen & paper (or your iPhone) and get ready to make your shopping list of wines to serve with your turkey feast this weekend.

We’re covering a  lot of geography in this time around – from Sonoma, California to Piedmont, Italy, offering a great array of wines for the Thanksgiving table. For those of you who love big buttery chardonnays – this release is for you! I  hope you will have a chance before you sit down with friends & family for your big feast – or any dinner – to stop in at the LCBO and pick up some real finds this weekend.

Whatever you are enjoying to give thanks, Happy Thanksgiving!
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
October 11, 2014

 

LCBO Vintages magazine Oct 11

 

The  Domaine Félibre Givréice Cider 2012

Quebec, Canada
$22.95 (LCBO Vintages #393611)

Unfortunately, this cider was unavailable for tasting but I’d planned to include this in my $100 basket since I think cider is such a festive fall drink.  Not to mention, a perfect match for Thanksgiving desert with pumpkin pie or pear crisp. It does not break the bank – so I hope you’ll pick one up too!

 

Benziger Chardonnay

Benzinger Chardonnay 2012

Sonoma County, California
$19.95 (LCBO Vintages #34777)  13.5% alcohol

Pale straw in colour with aromas of tropical fruit, a little buttery on the taste but lemon loaf fresh.  This white wine is not too heavy and has a clean fruity aftertaste. It would be a perfect accompaniment with turkey, mashed potatoes and trimmings. Very yummy indeed and would be nice just on its own.

 

Pella the Vanilla Chenin BlancPella the Vanilla Chenin Blanc 2012

WO Stellenbosch, South Africa
$14.95  (Vintages# 389619) 12.5% alcohol

Chenin Blanc is what I call a glamorous grape varietal. Its’origins are in the Loire Valley in France where it goes by the name of Vouvray.  In South Africa it is called “Steen”so if you see this on a label and wonder what it is, now you know.  I find it to be an extremely versatile white grape for pairing with food.

Usually medium bodied such as this one with tropical fruit aromas, lots of pear overtones, a little honey but bone-dry. The wine was aged for several months in oak barrels but takes on very little oaky flavour. There’s some minerality on the aftertaste which adds interest and complexity. It’s different and delicious and a fabulous price point. It would be nice with before dinner snacks and definitely with a ham or turkey  dinner.

 

Fontanafredda Raimonda Barbera d'AlbaFontanafredda Raimonda Barbera D’Alba 2012

DOCG Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #23135) 13.5% alcohol

Smooth, subtle and sexy this aromatic red wine is plush with aromas of licorce and plums, with some blackberries to mellow the flavours. I found it a little earthy on the finish, tasting of pine needles with a little leather, medium to full-bodied and another great accompaniment with pasta, lasagna, turkey, duck or chicken.

 

Domaine de SahariDomaine De Sahari 2012

AG Guerroune, Morocco
$16.95 (Vintages #92825) 13% alcohol

It’s fun to find a new wine from the not so usual culprit countries and this one caught my eye. Confident, ripe red and black fruit aromas, very flavourful, bone dry with medium tannins. There’s a little leather, toast and dusty earth on the finish. This is one delicious tasting red wine with a pretty attractive price point. It would be great with a tagine or roast lamb.

 

ContradictionThe Contradiction, Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2010

Clare Valley, South Australia
$24.95 (Vintages #377077) 14.5% alcohol

You can never go wrong with a blend of the above, 50% Grenache, 26% Shiraz, and 24% Mourvedre. This is like ripe luscious cherry pie in a glass, robust, full bodied with undertones of spice and vanilla, a lovely long finish of earthy dark fruits blended with a little pepper. It’s sheer delight on its own or with some grilled meat, a beauty, elegant wine.

 

GRAND TOTAL $ 93.75

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

Posted by Susan

Friday, September 26th, 2014
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The September 27 LCBO Vintages release features New World Ground-breakers, wineries known for their innovative practices and outstanding wines. As suggested in the catalogue and demonstrated by the founders of these historic wineries, “the wine visionary starts with an unplanted vineyard and creates something amazing.”

LCBO Vintages magazine Sept 27

Visionaries in the wine world

Included in this feature is the iconic Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon from California’s Wagner family ; Chile’s Errazuriz, where Eduardo Chadwick is pushing the cool-climate envelope in the country’s coastal regions; and Argentina’s Catena, where Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura are producing vibrant, concentrated wines from their high-altitude vineyards. South Africa presents its cool-climate gem, the Hamilton-Russell Pinot Noir, Cloudy Bay is recognized for putting New Zealand on the wine world map, and, of course, Australia’s success with the Shiraz grape variety is featured in Two Hands wines from McLaren Vale.

…and ground breakers close to home

Canada has not been left out! You’ll find Niagara’s Rockway Vineyard’s well-balanced ‘Small Lot’ Meritage and Organized Crimes’ Sauvignon Blanc among the mix. Don’t miss the creamy Chardonnay and powerful, concentrated Cabernet Franc from the south Okanagan’s Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, recognized as a leading producer of quality B.C. wines. Hardly surprising, these wineries exemplify long family traditions of commitment to the land and excellence in winemaking.

A Passion for Portugal

The old world is not to be forgotten, as the secondary feature focuses on Portugese wines—the country is not just known for Port—including well-known light and fresh Vinho Verde (vinified from the Alvarinho grape) and a series of intense, flavourful blended red wines produced from native grapes made famous by Port, such as Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz and Touriga Franca. Portugal has a long history of grape growing and wine making; it exported wine to the Roman and British Empires! And the Douro is one of the oldest designated wine-making regions in the world. Take advantage of the great value to be found among these wines, one of which is included in our selection.

Ready for Thanksgiving?

It’s just around the corner so this release ensures that you have an array of wines to serve with ham, turkey, roast beef or a vegetarian option. You can choose from flavourful Riesling, ripe Pinot Grigio, lush Chardonnay, earthy Pinot Noir, classic Chianti, or robust Cabernet Sauvignon. For something a little different, consider the a Touriga Nacional or a fresh Stoney Ridge Cranberry Wine!

Cheers,

Susan
susan@savvyselections.ca

 

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

September 27, 2014

  

Henry of Pelham Estate RieslingHenry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2012

VQA Short Hills Bench, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages 557165) 11.5% alcohol

Pale straw, this white wine offers lovely mineral notes mingling with orchard fruit and citrus. Dry, medium bodied, dashing clean acidity underlines the flavours of lime zest, ripe apple and pear. The fine silky texture and crisp refreshing finish make it a must-have wine, and a great choice for Thanksgiving ham or turkey. Pick up a few bottles!

 

Bestheim Pinot GrisBestheim ‘Réserve’ Pinot Gris 2012

AOC Alsace, France
$15.95 (Vintages 315143) 13.0% alcohol

This off-dry award winning white wine is loaded with rich stone fruit and melon aromas and flavours. The ripe fruit is nicely balanced by a backbone of lively acidity, while a hint of sweet grapefruit and a touch of pithiness add a lift on the finish. Enjoy chilled with gently spiced Asian dishes or ginger-maple marinated salmon.

 

 

Versado MalbecVersado Malbec 2013

Luján de Cuyo, Argentina
$25.95 (Vintages 317008) 14.8% alcohol

Canada’s Ann Sperling and husband Peter Gamble are the magicians behind this big, bold Malbec. Inky, opaque, the basket of aromas includes a bevy of black fruits, sweet spice and notions of cedar. Dry, full bodied, the palate is awash with plush, velvety black fruit, while fine-grained underlying tannins and fine acidity create balance. There’s warmth on the finish and appealing notes of vanilla, toast, dried fruits and white pepper adding to the intensity of the wine. Savour and serve with rare grilled meats.

 

 

Rockway Estate ‘Small Lot’ Meritage 2011

Twenty Mile Bench
$19.95 (Vintages #388262) 13.0% alcohol

Evocative and complex aromas of sweet black fruits, vanilla, earth, smoky toast, spiced rose and herbs tantalize the nose. Dry, medium-full bodied, this blend of the Cabernets and Merlot flows across the palate like velvet, offering power and harmony, a fresh texture and supple tannins to balance the savoury ripe fruit, and lovely notes of dark chocolate and dried herbs through the long, flavourful finish. An excellent value, this finely crafted candidate for the cellar will pair well with full-flavoured meat dishes.

 

Quinta da PancasQuinta de Pancas Seleccão do Enólogo 2010

DOC Lisboa, Portugal
$18.95 (Vintages #380931) 13.5% alcohol

This award-winning blend is dense and inky, offering tantalizing aromas of vanilla, smoke, fresh black berry and dried fruits. Dry, medium-full bodied red, it’s smooth and velvety in texture, substantial and rich on the palate.  The ripe fruit flavours are framed by ripe tannins and fine acidity, and enhanced by well-integrated oak. Notes of exotic spice extend through the full-flavoured finish. Serve with hearty meat dishes.

 

 

GRAND TOTAL $98.75

 

 

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A spring time wines shopping list…

Posted by Julie

Saturday, April 12th, 2014
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The LCBO Vintages is sure pulling out all the bells and whistles for it this weekend’s (April 12) release to coincide with Easter celebrations. Regardless of religious beliefs, countries all over the world seem to celebrate Easter in various ways. Some people deliver chocolate or real eggs & live bunnies, throw pots of water out of windows, fly homemade kites or ski. Regardless the tradition, Easter is a symbol of spring and fertility. Albeit, as I write this I have not seen many sprouting daffodils but regardless of country, most cultures bring out wine, spirits and their best ethnic food for the occasion.

LCBO Vintages magazine April 12Whether you having a traditional Easter feast of turkey, ham, fish, lamb, all or any of the above (invite me please!) you certainly need some wine to help wash it down. To help decide which ones, I have made this weekend’s shopping list for a spring time feast that would be great to serve with any of the above dishes.  And a splash of little icewine is always a nice finale to any meal – I recommend Reif Vidal Icewine 2012 (Vintages #3544791) as it would not break the bank at $24.95.

Spring always cheers us on and with these releases we’re well on our way to bunny hopping.

Happy Easter!
Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy at LCBO Vintages
April 12th, 2014

 

Cathedral Cellar Brut SparklingCathedral Cellar Brut Sparkling 2010

Méthode Cap Classique, WO Western Cape, South Africa
KWV
$16.95 (Vintages #296426) 12% alcohol

Sparkling wine is an elegant start to any event and impossible to go wrong with this Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend. Light, moussey bubbles abound, fine texture with a chalky base, slightly toasty with lemon, pear flavours and a touch minerality. A fabulous price point for this bone dry beautiful bubbly.

 

Lailey Chardonnay 2012Lailey Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$19.95  (Vintages #193482)  13.5% alcohol

Winemaker, Derek Barnett must sleep well at night. On 20 acres of premium Niagara land, and from 100% Ontario grown grapes the end result is an absolutely magnificent white wine. I am a huge Lailey fan and this is a beautiful Chardonnay. Smooth as silk on the palate with ripe yellow apple and honeydew melon flavours, a pinch citrus and a clean refreshing finish. It is a tantalizing white wine, sending you back for more. It would food pair with all the usual Chardonnay partners but it is so delicious, I recommend it on its own. 

 

Newton Johnson Pinot NoirNewton Johnson Pinot Noir 2012

WO Upper Hemel en aarde Valley, Walker Bay
South Africa
$26.95 (Vintages # 660878)  13.5% alcohol

This new Pinot on the block does not disappoint. Lovely smooth red cherry flavour with soft herbs and tannins. This red wine has quite a respectable length and is a wine with finesse. A perfect accompaniment to turkey or ham.

 

SkuttlebuttStella Bella Skuttlebutt Shiraz/Cabernet 2009

Margaret River, Western Australia
$19.95 (Vintages # 58131) 14% alcohol

After I taste 30-40 bottles of wine, my handwriting becomes skewed and I shorten words that I can only guess later, however my notes on this were clear and when I place mega stars, that’s a definite that I must pick up a couple of bottles. Rich berry flavours deep garnet purple a little woodsy with loads of flavour and texture. Medium bodied red wine with soft tannins; a great drinking wine and as for food – lamb stew to anything grilled would more than work and be enjoyed.

 

Featherstone RoseFeatherstone Rosé 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$14.95 (Vintages # 117861) 13% alcohol

Years ago I took pictures of the Featherstone winery with sheep nibbling at the grape leaves to help ripen the grapes.  Fond memories. Nothing says spring like a beautiful glass of salmon coloured rosé. In my opinion, most rosés have flavours of strawberries, and often rhubarb, which is true for this rosé however I also found some savoury, vegetal elements with juicy acidity, This rosé wine is medium bodied with a longer finish than many others. Makes for a great appertif and has enough structure to match any lighter fare dishes.

 

 I’m ready for Easter – Grand Total: $ 98.75

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