Posts Tagged ‘wines from Tuscany’

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

Posted by Julie

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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.

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  




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

Posted by Julie

Friday, June 6th, 2014

While LCBO Vintages helped us celebrate Mother’s Day showcasing sparkling wines and rosés, for Father’s Day there are some high end whiskeys, cognac, and Italian  wines too.  That’s quite the collection of treats to help Dad celebrate his day.

TLCBO Vintages June 7he Italian whites were not available at the time of my tasting but generally I think most men, prefer a hearty red wines to match steak or ribs and there are some fabulous wines to match for the barbecue. I did notice a return of a red wine that I featured last December – Grant Burge, The Holy Trinity Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre 2011 (Vintages 236257) at $29.95 a bottle, and was tempted to do it again, but like this one, there are so many big bold reds from Australia, I felt I should  take my own advice – expand and try something new. (Truth be told, I did pick up a bottle though!)

If you give your Dad the winning lottery ticket for Father’s Day tip him off that Macallan Sherry Oak 25 years old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be purchased for $999.95. (Vintages #179150). Yes, you read that right, there is no typo in the price – Three 9”s after the $ sign.

Whatever you give your Dad & however you celebrate Father’s Day, here is my top picks to use as your shopping list at Vintages.

Cheers & enjoy!


If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
June 7th, 2014 

Don David Reserve Torrontés 2012

Cafayate, Salta, Argentina (Michel Torino Estate)
$13.95 ( Vintages 727677) 13.9%

New to Vintages, this Torrontés was a Gold Medal winner at the 2013 International Wine Challenge. Medium bodied in weight, a little citrus, some ginger and spice, dried fruit flavours, bone dry and lots of guts. Don’t be fooled by the price, this is a white wine that would hold up to meats as well as fish. Fresh, fresh, fresh.


Carpineto Dogajolo RosatoCarpineto Dogajolo Rosato 2013

IGT Toscana, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages # 699934)  12.5% alcohol

Remember that old saying “real men eat quiche”?  Well I’m here to say that “real men drink rosé” too!  There is nothing that says summer like an engaging pale cranberry coloured wine in a big bowl shaped wine glass. This Tuscan rosé is bone dry made from the classic Chianti grapes: Sangiovese and Canaiolo. Aromas of red berries, some vegetal overtones, light and smooth and just slips down too easily wanting you to come back for more. A great companion to any summer fare; pasta, salads or on its own. The bottle also has a beautiful label which tells me if someone has gone to such lengths to produce an artistic label, something delicious inside must match. Try serving this wine with some chicken enchiladas and Caesar salad and everyone will not only love the wine I guarantee they will pick up the bottle to view the label…just you watch!


Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon. jpgGeyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #343467)   13.8% alcohol

Geyser Peak Winery is over 125 years old, so it’s no wonder they have had lots of time to perfect their Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not new to Vintages but new to me, this red wine is a power house red packed full of black currant aromas and flavours. Noticeable tannins but are very smooth, with a little chocolate, tobacco and pencil shavings on the finish. Proud structure and weight in this wine.  I’ve got this bottle ready for Father’s Day BBQ….who is picking up the ribs?


Domaine Tournon MathildeDomaine Tournon Mathilda Shiraz 2011

Victoria, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages# 327395) 13% alcohol

In the Vintages catalogue it states that wine critic Robert Parker awarded this wine 94 points.  Strangely there was no accompanying tasting note. I am little intimidated as to what he may possibly have said!  In this red wine I picked up lots of spice and black pepper combined with big robust juicy red and black berry flavours. There was also some campfire, leather and woodsmoke and a long blackberry finish. I liked the combination of the spice and fruit and did not find it too fruit forward like some Shiraz wines that just taste like berry juice. A beaut! Serve with a rack of lamb would score points with Dad.


Konzelmann HeritageKonzelmann Heritage Reserve 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$26.95 (Vintages # 149179) 13% alcohol

Herbert Konzelmann is a pioneer in the Ontario wine industry and has received dozens of accolades both locally and internationally. Thankfully the family has continued his traditions of premium wine-making. This 2012 reserve red wine is a product to be collected. Rich and dark garnet in colour, it has a heady fragrances of ripe red berries, some plum with nuances of chocolate, coffee and cherry on the finish. There is something about the taste of a well made wine, the flavours and structure just integrate on the palate. Refined and elegant and a perfect match for a prime rib or some T-bone steaks.


GRAND TOTAL – $96.75


Tuscany & Thanksgiving wines at Vintages – this shopping list is under $100

Posted by Susan

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Italy’s Tuscany wine region is the main attraction in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (beginning on Sept 28th). The classic ‘big three’ red wines crafted from the native grape variety, Sangiovese—Chianti Classico, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and Brunello—and a number of blended red wines, usually classified as IGT  (Indicazione geografica tipica), that bring to the palate the impact of classic French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Sangiovese grapes, photo F. Sgroi

Explore the world of Super Tuscans

Some may know the story of how the Maremma, the coastal region of Italy on the Mediterranean, was the birthplace of what were called the ‘Super-Tuscans’. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta planted his first vineyard in the area with the intention of producing some Bordeaux-style red wines for his personal consumption. The wine he called ‘Sassicaia’, commercially released in 1968, along with Antinori’s Tignanello, launched the Super-Tuscan phemonema.

Over time, as this style of wine became more popular and spread more broadly through many Italian wine regions, the regulations were expanded to include the designation IGT to incorporate these unique wines into the standards of Italian wine law. These wines come from a specific geographic area, meet specified quality standards, and may also bear the name of the grape varieties from which they were produced. As an example of the longstanding presence of non-native varieties in Italy’s winemaking history, the Capezzana ‘Barco Reale’ di Carmignano (a great value) comes from a DOCCarmignano—which has always required the inclusion of Cabernet Sauvignon in its blends. To quote the September 28 LCBO Vintages magazine, the IGT style ‘embodies the interplay of tradition and innovation that has always been at the heart of Tuscan winemaking’.

Give Thanks with Great Wines 

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, this release brings a cornucopia of wines to choose from. There are Rieslings from Ontario, Alsace and Germany; Chardonnay from California and Australia.  If you are prepping your Thanksgiving feast early, here are my top picks at the table; a richly flavoured Merlot from Ontario’s Angels Gate; the fabulous ‘Goldeneye’ Pinot Noir from Duckhorn or the classic Mercury of Domaine Faiveley; and Cascina Gilli’s clean yet concentrated Barbera d’Asti. For a Canadian sweep at the Thanksgiving table, consider starting with Sumac Ridge Steller’s Jay Sparkling Brut, moving to a choice of Angel’s Gate Mountainview Merlot or Tawse ‘Sketches of Niagara’ Riesling for the main, and then consider the hedonistic pleasures of Château des Charmes’ Vidal Ice Wine for dessert!

From the general release, I’m putting a focus on cellarable wines, including Paul Hobbs’ always impressive, concentrated ‘Crossbarn’ Cabernet Sauvignon, a great value Bordeaux—Château les Hauts de Palette—and from the Okanagan, Burrowing Owl’s 2010 Merlot.

Cheers and Enjoy!


Nottola Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2009

Montepulciano, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #184960) 14.0% alcohol

Absolutely delectable, this fine red wine shows restrained aromas of red fruit, spice, earth and delicate floral notes. Dry, medium-full bodied and satiny in texture, the wash of intense red fruit is nicely offset by a spine of lively acidity and subtle tannins. Elegantly integrated oak offers a spicy note that accents the earthiness that persists on the finish. Enjoy this red wine now and over the next few years.


Lapostolle ‘Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$24.95 (Vintages #947929) 14.0% alcohol

Deep purple, this powerful red wine produced from organic grapes offers great complexity and layers of aromas and flavours, including cassis, mint, spiced flowers, dried herbs and tobacco. Dry, full bodied, displaying gripping tannins and clean acidity, it has a firm base from which to showcase ripe, concentrated red and black fruits. Hints of sweet spice and pepper, along with a whiff of espresso linger on the finish. Cellar a further year or two, or decant and serve with rare red meats.


Graffigna ‘Centenario’ Late Harvest Malbec 2012

San Juan, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #322719) 12.5% alcohol

Deep ruby, this is a delightful incarnation of Malbec, offering tantalizing aromas of dried cranberries and black cherries, ripe dark berries and hints of smoke and spice. The jammy red fruit is attractively balanced with a backbone of clean acidity, notes of spice add interest, and there’s freshness on the finish. Serve this red wine with flourless chocolate almond cake.


Tawse ‘Sketches of Niagara’ Riesling 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #89029) 10.0% alcohol

Light-medium bodied and almost transparent, this is a fine value white wine bursting with aromas of nectarine, Japanese pear and lemon/lime. The sensation is one of subtly-wrought balance, the flavours suggesting the sweetness of lemon curd, along with lime, crisp apple and a touch of mineral.


Dry Creek ‘Heritage’ Zinfandel 2010

Sonoma County, California
$21.95 (Vintages #574491) 13.5% alcohol

Inky and deep, this absolutely fabulous Zin offers rich blueberry and currant aromas, exotic spice notes, vanilla, earth and savoury toasty oak. Dry, full and rich, the dark fruit is succulent and spicy, the oak well integrated. The subtle structure brings great balance and harmony to the whole and delivers a surprisingly clean freshness on the big, fruity finish. Wow! You’ll want to stock up on this red wine!


Grand Total: $99.30