Posts Tagged ‘wines from Spain’

Time for Ports & Sherry!

Posted by Julie

Sunday, November 12th, 2017
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Now that the temperature continuously dips below zero degrees, it’s time to start thinking about stocking up for the winter months and of course the upcoming holiday entertaining season. I don’t recall Vintages ever focusing on “After Dinner Drinks”, but I found some in this release worth tipping you off.

Although the ice wines are too pricey for my $100 budget, there are some beauties to pick up or gift as fine gifts.

In this release, there is also a huge selection of sparkling wines including Champagne, always a great start to any get together with friends.

The advantage of stocking up on after dinner drinks is that they are bound to last longer than other bottles of wine and have a much longer shelf life.

Here’s to the “finishing” drinks,

Julie

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LCBO Vintages Release for Saturday November 11, 2017

Burmester 10-Year Old Tawny Port

DOP, Portugal
$28.95 (Vintages #223958) 19.5% alcohol

DOP is short for (Denominação de Origem Protegida) meaning Protected Designation of Origin. This certification only found in Portugal ensures that products are locally grown and packaged.

This past fall, my husband and I visited the Burmester Port house in Oporto, Portugal on the side of the Douro river in an area called “Gaia”.  While it is not as large as Taylors Fladgate or Grahams, the ports made a Burmester are of premium quality.

This Tawny Port has a deep copper in colour with flavours that remind me of fruit cake, sweet spice with a caramel finish. Light-bodied and goes down smooth, capital S. Positively delicious and a perfect after dinner drink.

City of Oporto. The Burmester Caves where this port was made is on the left of the photo. Credit: Julie Stock

Hildalgo Faraon Oloros Sherry

DO, Spain
$21.95 (Vintages # 471078) 18% alcohol

I don’t often think of sherry as an after dinner drink but his one is an exception. Similar to port it is a fortified wine, yet made only in Spain.

This deep golden nectar is like sipping a bowl of roasted nuts with a great savoury finish. Bone dry with a little orange pith on the palate.

It would be absolutely divine with some assorted cheeses, dried fruit and of course, warm toasted nuts at the end of a meal. It’s a special kind of sherry.

 

Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling

VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario$24.95 (Vintages #578625) 11% alcohol

I’m not often wowed by off-dry Riesling but this is one is an elegant beauty. Apparently I’m not the only one that was lured to this wine since it won Platinum at the Wine Align Intervin awards this year.

Fresh and clean, flinty with soft lemon custard flavours on the palate and a round citrusy finish.

This white wine is positively delicious and would make a decadent afternoon sipper or pair with some spicy shrimps.

 

 

Reif Estate Reserve Gewurztraminer 2015

VQA Niagara River, Ontario
$18.95 (Vintages #360255) 13% alcohol

In my view, Reif Estates always offers good price points for the quality of their wine. It’s always a good thing to have a Gewurztraminer in the fridge for those chilly nights where a hot Indian curry like Chicken Vindaloo or take-out Thai meal would warm you up – all perfect pairings for Gewurztraminer.

Fresh floral aromas, some lychee but loads of tropical fruits on the palate show in this white wine. Look for ripe apricots and peach nectar with some toasty hazelnuts on the finish.

It’s a dy-na-mite!

 

For 2 white wines & 2 after dinner drinks, my Grand Total = $94.80

 

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Wines from around the world for Thanksgiving

Posted by Julie

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

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

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

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family!

– Julie

 

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

 

Vinum Africa Chenin Blanc 2016

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

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

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

 

 

 

Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes Du Rhone Blanc 2015

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Tessellae Rosé 2016

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Kaiken Las Rocas Ultra Malbec 2015

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Tarima Monastrell 2015

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

MAN Family Skaapveld Shiraz 2015

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

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

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

 

 

Grand Total = $99.70

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Sure sign of spring: Rose wines!

Posted by Julie

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

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

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

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

Passionate about pink 😉
Julie

 

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

 


Vina Esmeralda Ros
é 2016

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

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

 

 

 

Zone’s Footstep Scarlet Ladybird Rosé 2016

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

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

 

 

 

Featherstone Estate Winery Rosé 2015

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

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

 

 

 

Atamisque Serbal Malbec Rosé 2016

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

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

 

 

 

Château de Berne Terres Rosé 2016

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

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

 

 

 

Brancaia Rosé 2016

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

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

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

GRAND Total of this top Rosé wine picks = $100.70 

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 13th, 2016
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In the 2016 merry month of May, LCBO Vintages brings back all kinds of “Customer Favourites”. In the May 14 release, there’s a varied collection of wines from around the world that you will just LOVE!

LCBO Vintages Magazine May 14These are tried & true bestsellers that come with our Vintages customers’ seal of approval.  There are also some great new picks from New Zealand to help us give summer a push.  Believe me when I say…this is the time to go looking for new favorite wines.

I found a little trivia on the month when I was scouting on the internet. Things I did not know is that 1) May was named after the Greek goddess Maia, of fertility and 2) in any given year, no month ever begins or ends on the same day of the week as May does. How’s that for (useless) information.

But it’s a beautiful month and everything with legs is out there walking, running, cycling etc…and speaking of legs, there are some great wine picks here and some even have legs!

Cheers,
Julie

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

Saturday May , 2016

 

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, South Island
$24.95 (Vintages #677450) 13.5% alcohol

Year after year “Dog Point” produces first class Sauvignon Blanc’s.  Pungent aromas of lemon, lime, a little ginger that follows through on the palate. It’s light to medium weight delivering great fruit flavour. There’s some grapefruit on the aftertaste that pulls it all together with a tangy white peppery finish. Clean and fresh, it never disappoints. It’s one great sipper.

 

Fielding Rosé 2015Fielding Estate Rosé 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95 (Vintages #53421) 12.3% alcohol 

For those of you who follow my column, you know I am a big fan of Fielding wines and this rosé is the best ever.  And so pretty in PINK, a lighter colour than other years; I really do prefer the lighter coloured rosés, they just seem to have more “class”. There’s a hint of sweetness in the off dry candy floss taste but it’s very smooth and edgey with enough acidity to make it interesting while delivering culprits of tart rhubarb and ripe strawberries.  It is a lovely rosé. I hope winemaker Richie Roberts made enough to last the summer.  There’s a case of this on my list.

 

Conundrum Red 2013Conundrum Red 2013

25th anniversary edition, California
$24.95 (Vintages #294298) 14.2% alcohol

A fabulously deep ruby red and the label on this bottle tells that the Wagner family has gone all out to celebrate. There is outstanding intensity to this big robust red. Rich ripe dark berries that are generous in flavours make it extremely palatable. Soft tannins offer good balance and a delicate mix of spice at the end make this year’s Conundrum special indeed.  With the usual food groups that demand a red wine, this is superb.

 

Zolo Reserve Malbec 2013Zolo Reserve Malbec 2013

Mendoza Fincas Patagonica, Argentina
$18.95 (Vintages# 81091) 14% alcohol 

Aged 14 months in American and French oak barrels makes this Malbec even more delicious than other years. Ripe nose of violets, blueberries and black currants, it’s dark and inky in colour.

The palate is full-bodied with fine-grained tannins , a touch of mint on the finish; it’s just begging for some rare grilled steak.

 

Ardal Crianza 2010Ardal Crianza 2010

DO Ribera del Duero
Bodegas Balbás, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #167601) 14% alcohol

A winemaker can hardly go wrong with a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, certainly two of my favourite varietals. Intense dried black fruit notes, full bodied and nicely polished. There is good volume and it just flows on the palate with tannins building into a spicy bramble, peppery aftertaste.  One great choice for spicy burgers.

 

Grand Total = $101.75    

(oops, I changed coats so I am looking in my pockets for spare change)

 

 

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

Posted by Julie

Monday, November 30th, 2015
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Holiday Finery has hit the LCBO Vintages shelves…and you all know what that means. Finally you can head out for one-stop Christmas shopping at Vintages.  The choices are vast: from single barrel rye whisky to Champagne cognac to Far Niente Estate Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 from the Napa Valley at $196.95 a bottle, there is something for everyone. I was afraid to taste the super- Tuscan, Sassicaia 2012 at $199.95 a bottle, in case it would leave me in a state of nirvana when I had other wine to taste. In any case, you get the drift.

There’s also an exceptional display of Ontario Icewine from proud producers such as Cave Springs, Henry of Pelham, Inniskillen and Chateau des Charmes; I wanted to put them all in my basket and who wouldn’t want to receive any of these as a gift? Some of these were bottled in 2014, remember how cold is was last winter?

But if you are looking for some variety for your Christmas dinner feast, for $100.00 the below choices are my promise of bringing interest and a variety to the table. These selections are MY finest!

Cheers,
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday November 28, 2015

 

Miravel Rose 2014Miraval Rosé 2014

AP Côtes de Provence
$22.95 (Vintages #342584) 13% alcohol

Don’t ever think that Rosé is just a summer drink. Hollywood icons Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own the winery and estate Château Miraval, even though there is no reference to either of them on the label.

This is a classic French style Rosé, pale salmony pink in colour that is as pretty to look at as it is to drink. Fresh floral aromas waft from the glass, classy and elegant, fresh and well-balanced, loaded with wild strawberry and ripe pear flavours, some tangerine and other citrus at the end. It’s a great match with phyllo appetizers as the acidity in the wine cuts through any buttery richness. I also love to serve rosé with turkey and this beautiful bottle is worthy to sit on the finest of linen. Just watch me!

 

Santa Carolina Gran Reserva ChardonnaySanta Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #928580) 13.5% alcohol

While not new to Vintages, some wines are like old friends. If you haven’t picked one up for awhile when you taste it, it’s like you never parted. Such is this well-made solid Chardonnay with a lovely seam of acidity that balances perfectly the baked apples and buttered toast flavours from start to finish. Lately, I have been paying close attention to Chilean wines, generally there’s lots of value packed wine in the popular price range (well, mine) and they don’t disappoint. This is a versatile crowd pleaser with any white meats, pasta or just on its own with some toasted nuts. (surprise your company and warm up the nuts, you’ll get lots of oooh’s). This tried and true white wine is in my basket.

Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2012Alto Moncayo Veraton Garnacha 2012

DO Camp de Borja, Spain
$33.95 (Vintages #173211) 15.5% alcohol

This is a monster wine ! Inky, with “legs”, (winespeak for the lovely streaks on the side of a glass after you swirl) the aromas deserve a big bowl glass to savour the power. Dark berries, dried blueberries tease the nose and the palate bursts with the rich flavours of 100% Grenache grapes aged in some French and American oak. A red wine silky and layered with some cocoa or mocha on the very long fruit finish. Some licorce, cassis, black currants persist throughout the lingering moments of escape. Just close your eyes.

Aside from its’ enormous structure, it is beautiful table bling with a label that looks like it came straight from the Prado, the largest art gallery in Spain. Worth the splurge for the season.

 

Cave Spring Indian Summer Select Late Harvest RieslingCave Spring Indian Sunmer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$24.95 (Vintages # 415901) 12.5% alcohol

Luscious, ripe pears and apples with a hint of citrus and minerality on the finish. There’s a little marmalade in the palate and lots of lemon-lime in the aftertaste that makes you salivate for one more sip. Smooth and creamy it’s one yummy wine to complete dinner with style.

 

GRAND TOTAL – $97.80

 

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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 had $100…I would buy at LCBO Vintages

Posted by Julie

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

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

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

Summertime and the living is easy.

Cheers,
Julie

 

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

 

Sunnybrook Redhaven Peach Wine 2013Sunnybrook Redhaven Peach Wine 2013

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Zuccardi Q MalbecZuccardi Q Malbec 2012

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

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

Grand Total: $ 96.75

 

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

Posted by Debbie

Friday, March 6th, 2015
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OK wine shoppers, the wait is over!  There are amazing wines in the latest release at LCBO Vintages at INCREDIBLE prices.  Yes you heard me correctly, here are 6 wines that should in fact be double their price tag.

LCBO Vintages magazine March 7When I taste wine, I never consider the price until the end.  I sample the wine for its quality, guess to the price, then flip through the catalogue to seek out the actual cost.  The 6 wines I selected in this shopping list, I am baffled why the winemaker is ‘giving them away’.

You will see the shelves are well stocked with wines from British Columbia (yeah!) and Israel (give one a try – you’ll be amazed – guaranteed).  To remind us that St Patricks Day is in a few weeks, there are three different bottles of Irish whiskey on the store shelves.

“Start the car!” and get ready to fill your trunk with these gems.

 

Cheers!
Debbie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
March 7, 2015

 

Bisol Jeio ProseccoJeio Colmei Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Italy

Veneto, Italy DOCG
$16.95 (Vintages #30601) 11.5% alcohol

Grab three bottles (you will thank me) and be prepared to come back for more wine after you popped the cork on bottle #1.  Warning, once this sparkling wine is gone, it’s gone for good!  Aromas of fruit salad, crunchy apples, freshly grated ginger with a lime finish…and lively bubbles that are never ending. Chill, sip & repeat. 

 

 

Tinhorn Creek GewurztraminerTinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer VQA 2013, British Columbia

Okanagan, BC
$19.95 (Vintages #904185) 13% alcohol

A classic Gewurz with elegant aromas of green melon, lychee fruit and candied ginger.  Refreshing acidity with a long lingering finish makes this white wine beautiful & simply delicious. A classic match is spicy foods – Chicken Phad Thai, Morroccan Tangine  or a Asian Red Curry with coconut milk will be delicious.

 

 

Puklus Takaji Yellow MuscatPuklus Pincé Tokaji Yellow Muscat, Hungary

Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary
$15.95 (Vintages #46508) 13.5% alcohol

I am always on the lookout for hidden gems.  Knowing little about this particular wine, I thought I would give this wine a whirl (errr swirl). I was immediately impressed! Aromas of cantaloupe, honeydew melon and peach jump out of the glass.

Full bodied white wine with refreshing acidity that enhances the fruit – apple, mango, lime – flavours. A great white wine to serve with brunch, appetizers, Indian curry, or pork tenderloin with mango chutney.

“The volcanic/clay soils and hills of northeastern Hungary are to Muscat as Paris is to love or orange is to the new black.” – LCBO Vintages tasting notes

 

Olivares Altos de la HoyaOlivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell

DO Jumilla, Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #163154) 14% alcohol

This red wine completely caught me off guard.  Everyone at the tasting was talking about the ‘Altos’ wine.  With one sip, I too have been talking about this wine ever since.  Deep ruby colour. Rich aromas, full bodied with predominant red and black fruits in each sip.  A long smoky finish with super smooth tannins.  I am sticker shocked that it is less than $15!

 

 

BenMarco MalbecBenMarco Malbec

Uco Valley, Mendoza Argentine
$18.95 (Vintages # 657601)

I have to confess, I chose this one because of its stunning label. This is a topnotch Malbec  loaded with fruit – pomegranate, boysenberry, ripe & juicy blackberries.  This red wine that is medium to full bodied with a long dark chocolate and coffee finish can be enjoyed with the full range from meatloaf to prime rib.

 

 

Emiliana Novas Grran Reserva Syrah MourvedreEmiliana Novas Gran Reserva Syrah/Mouvédre

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages # 399360)

I have always been a fan of this organic winery.  This red wine blend of Syrah & Mouvédre  grape varieties (more common to French Côtes du Rhone) certainly WOWed me again.  Dark opaque in colour, it is concentrated with red fruit, dark chocolate, warm spices & pencil shavings with lots of tannins that will mellow out over time (cellar for 5 to 7 years) or when enjoyed with rich foods.   A rich wine that seems to last forever.  Fire up the BBQ for steak or get ready for a roast beef feast. An amazing price!

 

GRAND TOTAL: $101.70

 

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, January 23rd, 2015
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The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. This jumped into my mind when I read that the wines in this release focussed on Spain and South America. I’m not certain that the rain falls anywhere other than the hilly vineyards, but certainly the right amount gives these grapes a big powerful kick and what a selection.

LCBO Vintages magazine Jan 24This release proved difficult to choose and narrow down the wines since there were so many delicious choices. Some tastings are just problematic.

I did not consciously go to find four red wines with my $100. but since we’re in the middle of winter many of us eat more stews, pasta and possibly more red meat. Nothing warms the soul or appetite more than a hearty red wine on a winter’s night, hunkered in front of the fireplace. I’m focussing on the positive since I’m really not a winter kind of girl.  But this release definitely improved my morale and I hope you try at least one wine from sunny Spain or South America to warm your day. 

Julie

 

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

Saturday January 24, 2015

 

Middle Earth Sauvignon BlancMiddle-Earth Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
$17.95 (Vintages # 391987) 14% alcohol

The massive success of the Lord of the Rings series clearly put New Zealand, not to mention “Middle-Earth”, on the map. Memories of lush green hills and valleys come to mind. New Zealand really does make the cleanest-tasting, freshest Sauvignon Blanc. This new-to-Vintages product, very pale in colour, is an aromatic and fresh white wine with aromas of citrus and minerality, I practically started to salivate before tasting this wine and it opens into a fruity citrus bowl on the palate.  Tantalizing with acidity but light to medium bodied with a lingering crisp finish. It would make a great summer wine, but one of these in my refrigerator would not last long especially with creamed salmon on a pastry shell for ladies who lunch.

 

Invisible Man TempranilloThe Invisible Man Tempranillo 2011

MaRioja Alta, DOCa Rioja
Case Rojo, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #392985) 13.5% alcohol

There is nothing invisible about the tastes in this new to Vintages product. The label states “unmask and interpret” which I did not find too difficult, except for the fact I wanted to savour and swirl. Lots of ripe berry flavours, plums and a little floral note in this red wine. On the palate and behind the ripe fruit were layers of toast and sweet spices. It is bone dry with soft tannins and a long finish of ripe fruit. With nice meaty pork chops and some roast potatoes to help the savoury elements would certainly make me happy. (skip the salad)

 

Casas Del Bosque Gran Reserva Syrah 2012Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Shiraz

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$22.95 (Vintages #995092) 14.5% alcohol

Dark, inky and sexy with aromas of black currants and leather. On the palate a luscious blackberry jam coated with dark plums flavours but the red wine is bone dry. It has good structure with an excellent balance between slight acidity and grippy tannins that don’t take away anything from the ripe berry flavours. A fabulously long finish that just sends you back for one more sip. It would make a handsome companion with beef tenderloin or a lamb stew.

 

Chakan Maipe Old Vine Reserve BonardaChakana Maipe Old Vie Reserve Bonarda 2012

Mendoza, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #361212) 14.5% alcohol

Many winemakers use the Bonarda grape with the Malbec grape to create blends but this is a wonderful example of how it can shine on its own. Floral and ripe fruit permeates the aroma. This deep purple wine was barrel aged for 12 months so there’s a bit of  pencil shaving or woodsiness that adds to the concentrated dried plum flavours. Medium to full bodied with grippy tannins, bone dry at an unbelievable price point. It is wonderful on its own or with some oven baked ribs.

 

 

Fitou Domaine GalamanDomaine Galaman Fitou 2013

AP Claude Gros,  Midi, France
$16.95  (Vintages# 395467) 14% alcohol

Fitou is a large red wine appellation in the Langedoc region of France. This 2013 Fitou is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah and has a bowl of fruit flavours. On the nose it initially reminded me almost of a Pinot Noir since it was slightly woodsy and dusty but one sip later, the rich red fruit flavours just burst on the palate. With soft tannins it makes for an easy sipper and it would be out of this world with a dish heavily laden with mushrooms.

 

 Grand Total: $92.75

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 5th, 2014
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes, with friends, festivities, and family get togethers.  Vintages in the LCBO never disappoints.  In this weekend’s release (December 6) I wanted to buy one of everything….but remembering that I only have $100 and several dinner parties ahead of me I’m looking for value – for you and me.

LCBO Vintages magazine Dec 6First, there’s all kinds of divine “fizz” out there to tickle your tastebuds and reasonably priced sparklers such as the two new Cava’s in this release.  They are dry, snappy and the genesis to any dinner or party. To me, December is all about sparkling wine.  Served in a beautiful flute with 2 or 3 pomegranate seeds for panache, it’s as elegant as any champagne and no one knows or even cares if you spent $15 or $50. Bottom line, sparkling wine is festive and fun and everyone enjoys it. You can never have too much fizz!

When you are shopping for others, don’t forget about yourself. There’s one beautiful wine that I would recommend to everyone including the Queen: “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012”  (LCBO #243592 $35.95) is the pinnacle of Shiraz’s. I have tasted hundreds of wines in 2014 and this one always rises to any occasion.

I love to showcase Canadian wines and this release offered so many great ones. Have fun shopping and don’t forget, if you find something delicious, go back and get a few bottles. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Sometimes even I forget my own advice!

It’s Christmas time, share your cheer and goodwill.

My best to you for the season,
Julie 

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

December 6, 2014

 

Summarroca Gran Reserva Brut Cava

Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2009

DO, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages # 393504) 11.5% alcohol

Ever wonder what that “DO” means?  DO  stands for “Denominacion de Origen” similar to our VQA in Ontario.  It’s part of a regulatory classification system for the country’s highest quality products. It can be applied to everything from olive oil to honey to fruit.  This Cava is delicate, pale in colour, light bodied and totally refreshing. Reminiscent of toasted almonds and apricots with a little herbaceous-ness on the finish not often detected in a sparkling white.  I would recommend light or-d’oeuvres so not to crowd the tastes; perhaps some delicious little crackers, you don’t have to break the bank to be elegant. That old expression, “less is more”.

 

Featherstone ChardonnayFeatherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$21.95 (Vintages # 149302) 13.5% alcohol

I hadn’t planned to feature a Chardonnay however I could not waste the opportunity to taste something new. This Chard. really wowed me. I can’t wait for the release. Aromas of creme caramel and layers upon layers of tropical fruits, soft, not overwhelming in oak so don’t let the “oak” in the name scare you off.  As you whirl it around the tongue this white wine is so soft in the mouthfeel, medium to full bodied and there are some wines, I can only describe as yummy.   A great sipper on its own but I think it would marry well with chicken in parmesan crust with a little white sauce, green beans, now its getting “yummier”.

 

De Sousa Seasons MeritageDe Sousa Seasons Reserve Meritage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95  (Vintages #315911) 13% alcohol

Unbelievable to find a Meritage at that price point that tasted so delicious. Once again I am wowed by a Canadian winery. Red Meritage must be a blend of two or more of the five traditional Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot or Malbec. Historically, Meritage wines are considered to be highly rated and the winery must be a member of the Meritage Alliance and adhere to the above regulation. Rich red fruits on the palate, medium bodied, light tannins with a little leather and dust on the finish. Layered with lots of berry flavours, a great sipper on its own but pot roast comes to mind, with lots of root veggies and don’t forget the “jus”.

 

Vineland Pinot MeunierVineland Pinot Meunier 2012

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages# 225508) 12% alcohol

Juicy, juicy, juicy….the aromas were almost like sticking your head in a bouquet of ripe cherries. Pinot Meunier is often used in blends such as Champagne, however it is an incredible grape just on its own and grown in our own backyard. Medium bodied with soft tannins with a fruity red berry finish, it is a red wine that would be agreeable to everyone. It is also versatile enough to marry with chicken to a beef stew and it’s just great on its own with a varietal cheese plate.

 

Alma Negra BlendAlma Negra Blend 2011

Mendoza , Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #384297)  13.5% alcohol

This new to Vintages product is a blend of the Bonarda and Malbec grapes. Aromas of dark ripe plums and cherries carry through to the palate and make for a huge mouthfeel of lusciousness. Good acidity with soft tannins, beautifully balanced and a great new find. It’s dark and rich, served with any grilled meat from ribs to steak (not to mention its packaged in one sexy black bottle) I promise the folks around the table will comment.  It’s a gem of a red wine.

 

Grand Total: $ 94.75

 

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