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Nov. 19 - Beaujolais Nouveau Celebrates 54 Years

Nov. 12 - Vintages Release Best Buys ~ From California to Bordeaux

Nov. 5 - "Eyes Wide Shut" ~ Taste, texture and scent in motion

Oct. 29 - Tricks & Treats in Today's Vintages Release ~ Some Awesome Aussi Highlights

Oct. 22 - Perfect Fall Libations ~ Obscure varieties from Welschriesling to Semillon

Oct. 15 - Hop Scotch ~ The biggest whisky release on record

Oct. 8 - A Toast to the Turkey ~ Many whites, some reds and even a sparkling rosé

Oct. 1 - Barolo the King of Italian Reds

Sep. 24 - A Flood of Upcoming Tastings ~ but not a Vintages Classics in Sight

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

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Bargains Galore
Spirited Summer Matchmakers
From Boulard Calvados to Grand Marnier

© Michael Vaughan 2005

National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, August 13, 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).

I am sitting in Vieux Montreal’s recently opened Le Club Chasse et Pêche, which is arguably the best new restaurant in Canada (for information on this gem click here). Their capable sommelier Philippe Boisvert is reviewing what will go with their appetizer of fresh snow crab from Sept-Iles, nasturtium flower vinaigrette in a curry emulsion. I ask him about Calvados. He pauses and admits that he never thought of it. I order one ice chilled, like a martini, but in a tulip shaped-wine glass, which brings out the pungent ripe apple nose. By itself the taste is bracingly dry, but it becomes wonderfully fruity when married with the spicy dish.

I can almost taste it as I inspect the LCBO’s  Limited Time Offers (LTO) and AirMile deals, which expire by this Monday. That excellent Calvados Boulard (296228) mentioned above has a $1.50 LTO reducing the price to $42.45. Other spirits worth tracking down include Tanqueray Dry Gin (2691), which is reduced in price to $23.45 with a $1.00 LTO and Matusalem Platino White Rum (600916) from the Dominican Republic, which has a $2.50 LTO making it mere $21.25.

The hands-down best buy is the mega 1,750 ml size of Grand Marnier (187633), which has a huge $16.20 LTO bringing the price down to $79.95. The sweet Seville orange marmalade flavours are perfect in the summer on the rocks with a twist of lemon. If you don’t drink it all this summer, try it on frosty winter night in a large snifter by a roaring fire If you are looking for Cognac, you get 15 AirMiles (the biggest bonus offered this month) with Marnier VSOP Cognac (67694) at $67.55. Also from the Marnier-Lapostolle portfolio is a crisp, dry, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Marnier-Lapostolle 2003 Chateau de Sancerre (340893) at $24.50 along with 10 AirMiles.

Worthwhile red wines on LTO include the recommended, juicy, black cherry driven Goundrey 2002 Shiraz (574079) from Western Australia, which is now only $11.45 with a $2.50 LTO. If you looking for something bigger, Chile’s Errazuriz Don Maximiano 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (335174) is a definite winner at $15.90 with a $2.00 LTO. This complex, well-structured effort has some cedary, ripe plum, cassis and black cherry flavours. It shows good length and works well with beef as in a rib steak or roast.

Occasionally some wines from Vintages, usually Vintages Essentials, are included in these promotions. There are 11 items in the current promotion. Sometimes they are very good. Take two excellent Vintages Essentials from California: Beringer 1999 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (352583) at $44.95, which now comes with 7 AirMiles and Cline 2002 Syrah (733758), which has a $1 LTO making it $16.95.

Unfortunately, some are duds. Domaine La Batteuse 2004 Chardonnay (930842), a recently released organic white from the French Midi, for instance, has a $1 LTO making it $11.95. While I have enjoyed some previous releases, this thin 2004 effort is not worth searching out.

Looking for a bargain white from the General List? Try K.W.V. 2004 Chenin Blanc (18689) at a mere $7.45 from South Africa’s Western Cape. This dangerously quaffable white has a surprising 13% alcohol, a bright, fresh ripe red apple nose and zesty, slightly honeyed, attractive orange citrus flavours. There isn’t any oak in sight making it perfect for light seafood and poultry dishes.

From Ontario, I was impressed with Stoney Ridge 2004 Bench Chardonnay (292839) $11.95. This VQA effort from the Niagara Peninsula has fairly juicy, ripe pear flavours with just a touch of vanilla. Meanwhile, those who find New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc a tad too herbaceous, will love the newly-released Vin de Pays d’Oc Georges Duboeuf 2003 Sauvignon Blanc (602664) at $10.95 with its crisp, dry, well balanced, gently tangy, ripe lemon-melon flavours.

Turning to new recent red releases - Spain is hot, hot, hot! The current big buy is Osborne Solaz 2003 Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon (620575), which is only $18.30 for a 1500 ml. magnum. This blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the new mega winery with a single estate vineyard of over 1,000 hc. Deep purple red in colour, the nose is slightly spicy with cedary, plumy cherry notes. On the palate it is solid but balanced with slightly cedary, ripe plum and dried cherry flavours. The regular 750 ml Solaz (610188) is $9.65.

To see the current list of 274 LTO and bonus AirMiles items click here. For the upcoming deals on 221 items starting Monday, August 15 running to September 11 click here.

Selected upcoming event:

Wednesday, August 17 - Rodney Strong Dinner [Toronto]
Truffles will be hosting another wine dinner, featuring Rodney Strong Vineyards. Truffles Chef Jonathan Gushue will present a five-course gourmet dinner, matching Rodney Strong Vineyards’ wines introduced by winemaker Rick Sayre. Held at
Truffles, Four Seasons Hotel
- 21 Avenue Rd., starting at 6:30 pm.
Click here to see the menu.
Tickets are $120 per person, excluding taxes and gratuities. Contact Truffes at 416-928-7331 or email or click here for more information.

2001-2002-2003-2004-2005 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to May 2005, covers every Vintages release product for the past 53 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 Releases
 To see the complete list of upcoming 91 products from the
August 20, release
click here (sorted by date of release).
You can also see it sorted by agent click here

To see the complete list of upcoming 102 products from the
3 release, including 19 In-Store Discovery items,
click here (sorted by date of release).
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