Vintage Assessments Home Page

Recent Articles

Sep. 17 - A Great Ontario Harvest ~ From just-released wines to a terrific new guide

Sep. 10 - Film Fest Fizz ~ Finding that Oscar-Winning Drink

Sep. 3 - Delicious Long Weekend Drinking ~ All but one under $20!

Aug. 27 - A new way of coding drinkability ~ And getting the best out of that bottle

Aug. 20 - The "New" Vintages Catalogue

Aug. 13 - Bargains Galore ~ Spirited Summer Matchmakers ~ From Boulard Calvados to Grand Marnier

Aug. 6 - Dealing with Disappointments ~ This Bicyclette has a flat tire!

Jul. 30 - LCBO Alternatives? ~ Regulations handcuff importers to LCBO warehouse

Jul. 23 - A French Sparkler & Greek Whites in Today's Vintages Hit Parade ~ In-Store Discoveries Reviews Disappear

Jul. 16 - French Rosé Rocks ~ Too bad you can't find them at the LCBO

Jul. 9 - Today's Vintages Release ~ Small in size but big in buys!

Jul. 2 - The Wines of Canada by John Schreiner ~ Interesting but a little thin

Jun. 25 - Boning Up for Canada Day! ~ ABC - Anything But Chardonnay A Best Buy ~ Trilogy of Grass-Free Sauvignon Blanc

Jun. 18 - Austria's Wines on a roll

Jun. 11 - Where there's Chardonnay there's Hope ~ 2,879 cases at Vintages! ~ Plus 79 New Items in Today's Vintages Release

Jun. 11 - Bottle of the Week
Kim Crawford 2004 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ~ Kick starts the screwcap revolution

Jun. 4 - Bodega Norton 2004 Chardonnay ~ A too-good-to-be-true Argentina gem from the General List ~ LCBO Price Book now a thing of the past!

Jun. 4 - Bottle of the Week
Codorniu Brut Clasico ~ Puts some sparkling Classics to shame

May. 28 - A Trip in a Glass ~ Fine wines to transport you to far-away destinations

May. 28 - Bottle of the Week
Zoom-Zoom-Zoomers! ~ Campari: Seeing Red ~ Setting the World Ablaze

May. 21 - Toasting Queen Victoria ~ With Discounted Reds! ~ Grab these bargains while they last!

May. 21 - Bottle of the Week
Putting a little spice into your Victoria Day Long Weekend

May. 14 - Sprouting Up Like Tulips ~ Excellent 2003 Whites at Vintages

May. 14 - Bottle of the Week
2004 Terra Boa Blanco ~ A Bargain Priced Springtime White from Portugal

May. 7 - Prince Edward County's Field of Dreams ~ Long Dog Winery - No Long Shot!

May. 7 - Bottle of the Week
For Mother's Day! ~ Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Champagne ~ A priceless bubbly for that priceless mother!

Apr. 30 - An increasingly confusing Vintages catalogue ~ Hard to find what you are looking for & plan purchases

Apr. 30 - Bottle of the Week
Rosemount Shiraz on a Roll!

Apr. 23 - The Wine Glass ~ The Key to getting the most out of your wines

Apr. 23 - Bottle of the Week
Making the Rum Transition

Apr. 16 - All we are saying is give pink a chance

Apr. 16 - Bottle of the Week
Talus 2002 Zinfandel ~ A Zinfully Good Anti-Luddite!

Apr. 9 - Don't be screwed by a bad cork ~ Screwcaps are the answer

Apr. 9 - Bottle of the Week
2003 Mouton Cadet Blanc ~ Canada's best selling white Bordeaux

Apr. 2 - From Fizz to Pop ~ Putting some zip into Spring

Apr. 2 - Bottle of the Week
Underberg the Ultimate Digestif! ~ Only a full bottle will do!

Mar. 26 - Canada's #1 Wine Festival 27th ~ Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival

Mar. 26 - Bottle of the Week
Smooth & Satisfying ~ A Luxury French Brandy at a Great Price!

Mar. 19 - German Classics for Easter

Mar. 19 - Bottle of the Week
A liqueur that Grows on Trees!

Mar. 12 - Ontario's Vinous Peaks ~ Great quality directly from the wineries!

Mar. 12 - Bottle of the Week
A Special Treat for St. Patrick's Day

Mar. 5 - Today at Vintages ~ Chardonnays starting at $8.95!

Mar. 5 - Bottle of the Week
Cynar - A One-of-a-Kind Aperitif

Feb. 26 - Cuvée Throws a Curve Ball at Ontario's Best

Feb. 19 - A Vintages Jackpot for Shiraz Fans ~ But Slim Pinot Noir Pickings

Feb. 19 - Bottle of the Week
It's Canadian fortified and exudes sweet raspberries: Southbrook Framboise - Summer in a Bottle

Feb. 12 - The Apple of my Heart ~ Calvados to the Rescue

Feb. 12 - Bottle of the Week
It's French, it's spirited and a little bit sexy: Mon dieu, it's Green Chartreuse

Feb. 5 - Uncovering the Best Classics Red

Jan. 29  - Ooh la la! ~ Fine French Values that Won't Break the Bank

Jan. 22  - Frisky Whisky for Robbie Burns Revellers

Jan. 15  - Pinotage Perfection ~ Exploring South Africa's Sole Indigenous Grape

Jan. 8  - Gems from Chile ~ Be selective in today's Vintages Release

Archive of National Post Articles

Sign-up Now!

Become A FBTI Supporter Today By Clicking Here
This not-for-profit website is dedicated to the discerning reader!

All we are saying is give pink a chance
© Michael Vaughan 2005

National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, April 16, 2005


All listings are automatically linked to the LCBO database)
If there is a product that interests you, just click on the name below and you will instantaneously connected with the LCBO database. The product will appear in blue and all you have to do is click on the name again and then the next screen will provide details along with the store search. Just click on store search. The number of bottles in each store is updated nightly. Call the store first to see if stock still remains (each store phone number is listed).

With Spring in the air, the proliferation of apple and cherry blossoms always makes me think pink. Two under $10 “kick ass” rosé best buys in today’s release represent rather divergent styles. Both come from South America and are made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. At one of the spectrum from Argentina is the slightly drier, reddish pink, Bodegas Trapiche 2004 Rosé Mendoza (655217) at only $8.95 (12.5% alcohol). The nose is gently honeyed with ripe plum fruit. It is very dry and refreshing on the palate, which is surprisingly well structured - a bit reminiscent of a good Tavel - with fine plum flavours and a very tangy finish.

Only a few hundred miles to the west comes Viña Santa Rita 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé (266502) at $9.95 from Chile’s Maipo Valley. This distinctive effort has an eerie day glow pink colour and a honeyed, gooseberry, spicy, red currant nose. It is very crisp on the palate with gooseberry-cranberry flavours, which show good versatility and are ready to enjoy with ham or perhaps turkey (13.5% alcohol).

With the celebratory wedding season coming up, the proliferation of various bubblies available boggles the mind. While one might retreat into one of those terrific non-Champagne values, those compelled to serve the real thing are faced with a quandary because the cheapest thing on the general list at $39.95 a pop isn’t all that good. Indeed, the best value general list Champagne is Piper-Heidsieck Brut (462432) at $44.95.

Thankfully, Vintages comes to the rescue with the remarkably delicious Georges Gardet Cuvée Saint Flavy Brut Champagne (924654) a best buy at only $37.95. This classic has a light yellow colour and fine, bright, ripe lemon nose. It is very dry on the palate with good structure and a fine mousse. The excellent, gently toasty, ripe lemon flavours linger perfectly. Alas, only 194 cases of six are available - so act quickly!

Those feeling a bit of déjà vu will, in fact, have seen Cuvée Saint Flavy in Vintages twice before. This blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay comes from 30 vineyards throughout the Champagne. To maintain freshness, it is only disgorged (a process removing the yeast deposit) just prior to shipping. This means each shipment is a bit different. In this case the bottling lot number (L10J 1514H) is printed on the capsule.

Talking about change, the current California shipment of the Vintages Essential Cline 2002 Syrah (733758) at $17.95 is definitely on a roll - certainly tastier than what was sampled last Fall. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any identifiable bottling code. Look for a deep intense purple colour and a spicy, juicy, ripe black cherry nose with hints of sandalwood and cedar. The attractive, bright, juicy black cherry flavours make it an instantaneous BBQ winner.

This month’s highest Vintages California rating goes to another Essential, Beringer 1999 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (352583) at $44.95, which is from the unique volcanic soils of their Napa Knights Valley vineyard. The nose shows good complexity with slightly spicy, stewed black cherry, vanilla and herbal notes. Solid, dry and fairly extracty, the ripe plum and dried red cherry flavours are complemented with a lingering, cedar tinged finish - a perfect partner for steak.

The grapes for the 1999 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were picked between October 28th and November 6th, as each block developed the maturities and full flavors. As individual lots came into the winery, winemaster Ed Sbragia and winemaker Laurie Hook, kept them separate through vinification to maintain their unique characteristics. The wine was aged in small oak barrels (30 percent new and mostly French) for 20 months and is in prime condition for current consumption.

For dessert, we have an Austrian sweetie from the Neusiedlersee region just southeast of Vienna. This half-bottle of Lenz-Moser 2001 Trockenbeerenauslese ‘Prestige’ (729657) fetches a modest $18.95. The German word Trockenbeerenauslese (also known as “TBA” or totally botrytis affected) means that the grapes are completely affected by ‘noble rot’ that concentrates the flavour and natural sugars – sort of an icewine without the ice. Look for sweet orange marmalade on the nose and rich, creamy, honeyed palate.

Coming up

 On Sunday, April 17th, Alis Arrowood presents her portfolio and answers any wine-related questions at a winemaker's dinner at Hemispheres Restaurant & Bistro (lobby level Metropolitan Hotel at 110 Chestnut Street). Reception kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and tickets are $175 per person (plus taxes and gratuities). To see the menu click here. For reservations, please call 416-599-8000.

On Monday, April 18th, the 2005 California Wine Fair takes place at the Fairmont Royal York. The trade-only tasting will be held from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm, and is strictly for invited trade persons only. The invitational consumer tasting takes place from 7:00 pm until 9:30 pm. There are no ticket sales at the door ($55 for wine club members or $60 for guests). Contact the California Wine Institute at 1-800-558-2675. To see the wine list click here.

On Wednesday, April 20th, is the Annual Austrian Wine Event. This trade-only event will be held from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Contact the Birgitta
at the Austrian Consulate General at 416-967-3348.

To see the wine list
click here.

2001-2002-2003-2004-2005 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to February 2005, covers every Vintages release product for the past 50 months. There are more than 9,000 notes in the database data. Just enter the name of the product, supplier name or CSPC number. Or you can search by type of wine, country of origin, even wine agent! Nothing could be easier. Also you can get information on the agent by clicking on the agent’s name, as well as current LCBO store inventory by clicking on "Check LCBO Availability", which will automatically tell you the number of bottles at LCBO as of last night.

To use our Tasting Notes Database: click here

** For All Visitors **
Vintages May 2005 Release

To see the complete list of upcoming
199 products click here (sorted by date of release). It includes the number of cases, which wines were presented by the LCBO, our agent ID for every product,
as well as, the
In Store D
iscoveries” for May.
You can also see it sorted by agent
click here  

Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada 2005
Prior written permission is required for any form of reproduction
 (electronic or other wise) and or quotation.
Contact Michael Vaughan at