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Jan. 26 - 2005 A Miracle Vintage ~ Tumultuous Week of Highs and Lows

Jan. 19 - Looking for Value? ~ Wines from Argentina to the Rescue

Jan. 12 - Looking Back - Looking Ahead ~ Spanish Wines Looking Up

Jan. 5 - New Year Bargains

Dec. 29 - Having a Sparkling New Year's Eve

Dec. 22 - Sumptuous Sippers ~ For days with Slippers

Dec. 15 - Wine Awards Canada - Charting 339 of Ontario's Best ~ Toasting Ontario's Best Sparklers from Brut to Gently Sweet

Dec. 8 - A Sparkling Vintages Release ~ But buy carefully

Dec. 1 - Holiday Gifting ~ The twin pack is the way to go

Nov. 24 - Eight Buys from Today's Vintages Release

Nov. 17 - Introducing the Signature Selection

Nov. 10 - 2005 Burgundy ~ The wine gurus like it!

Nov. 3 - Magic in Montreal ~ Le Marché an Inspiration for Local Wineries

Oct. 27 - Scary Times at Vintages ~ From Tricks to Treats

Oct. 20 -Best of the West

Oct. 13 -Today at Vintages ~ Bordeaux and Much More

Oct. 6 - Wine Auction Fever ~ Confessions of a Wine Auction Junkie ~ Forget Screaming Eagle and pass the Rum

Sep. 29 - Southern French Accents

Sep. 22 - Perfect for an Autumn day ~ Is that a bottle of spicy wine under your kilt?

Sep. 15 - A Celebration of the Ontario's harvest ~ Faces behind great wines

Sep. 8 - Reel Wines for Real Film Lovers ~ Can't snuggle? Here's what to smuggle! ~ Plus Ontario Recommendations

Sep. 1 - Dust off your Lederhosen ~ Austrian Wines Finally Unleashed in Vintages

Aug. 25 - Summer Twilight Selections ~ Spanish Synergy

Aug. 18 - The Wines of Chile ~ Soaring to the peaks of the Andes

Aug. 11 - Discovering Greece - a wine odyssey ~ Splendid Assyrtiko from Santorini

Aug. 4 - Spain - From the Classics to the Cutting Edge ~ Revving up for Rioja

Jul. 28 - Days of Wine & Roses no more! ~ Under $10 wines a rare breed

Jul. 21 - Que Sera, Syrah ~  Big, Smoky and Beautiful

Jul. 14 - Finding the best wine matches ~ Sizzling Seafood at Scaramouche

Jul. 7 - Sizzling Sauvignon Blanc ~ Vintages Best Buy Whites

Jun. 30 - In search of the Ontario Idol ~ Tracking down the best for Canada Day

Jun. 23 - Vintages Price Hikes ~ Hitting the customer where it hurts

Jun. 16 - Life After Yellow Tail

Jun. 9 - Rosé Rules ~ From serious to casual, unearthing that ambidextrous rosé

Jun. 2 - The ones that didn't get away! ~ Unearthing recent best buys - all under $20

May. 26 - New Zealand’s Natural Gems ~ The best of whites

May. 19 - Alsatian with that Crustacean?

May. 12 - Paradoxical Portugal ~ Old World Grapes with New World Appeal

May. 5 - Toronto's First Private Import Wine Fair ~ Private Imports Picking up Steam Despite LCBO Bullying

Apr. 28 - Toasting Mom with France’s Finest

Apr. 21 - Prime Time for California

Apr. 14 - Victims of Vintages

Apr. 7 - Delicious Ciders that won't break the Easter bank

Mar. 31 - Racy Rieslings ~ Perfect Springtime Sippers

Mar. 24 - Quest for the Best of Portable Potables ~ The Battle of the Boxes

Mar. 17 - For the love of the Irish ~ A Greek wine for St. Patrick's Day

Mar. 10 - VDN to the rescue ~ Sublime sweet bargains from southwestern France

Mar. 3 - Canada's greatest pinot noir? ~ If you can’t find the best, try LCJ’s less expensive bargains

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The Wines of Chile
Soaring to the peaks of the Andes

© Michael Vaughan 2007
National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, August 18, 2007

To see this article as it appears in the National Post click here 

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 was looking forward to today's Chilean release at Vintages. I hoped that there would be some showstoppers from this spectacular narrow strip of land, which stretches 4,630 km from the northern dessert to the southern ice sheets. Nestled in between are a host of individually designated, microclimates, each planted with vineyards producing their own unique style. While there are some definite destination wines among today's 24 listings, I wish there were more Andes-inspired peaks in quality.

Today's promotion only includes wines in the $13.95 to $19.95 price range. This means that Vintages has excluded some of Chile's finest buys, both lower and higher priced bargains. Thankfully some best buys are already on the market. Take the refreshingly crisp Caliterra 2006 Shiraz Rose (34272) at only $11.95. This tasty Colchagua Valley rose was obviously too cheap and was released on August 4th. Perfect for end of summer sipping, the spicy, medium-light bodied, plummy, cherry-raspberry flavours come in a convenient screwcap bottle.

In terms of today's five whites, with one exception, none matched the quality of previous releases, many of which are still available. The first is a magnificent best buy: Miguel Torres 2006 Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc (177444) at $12.95. Released on August 4, it also was too cheap to be included in today's release. From Chile's Curiço Valley, its dry, vibrant, ripe, lemon-melon-grapefruit flavours are oak-free with just a wink of grassiness - a perfect match with seafood. The Spanish firm of Torres were pioneers investing in Chile vineyards acquiring the Santa Digna property way back in 1979. Today, with over 600 acres (245 ha) of vineyards, they are producing better wines than ever before.

Chardonnay fans should make a beeline to pick up the remaining bottles of another best buy Caliterra 2006 Arboleda Chardonnay (606772) at $16.95, which was released June 9, 2007. Look for lemon meringue, cedar and buttered toast on the nose - chacteristics that are amply reflected on the dry, well-structured palate. It has a lingering, crisp, high acid, finish and would go well with poultry and/or white meats.

Of today's whites, the best bet would be Castillo de Molina Reserva 2005 Chardonnay/Viognier (34462) at $13.95 from the Casablanca Valley. Its unoaked, tangy, lemony, pear, ripe apple flavours would go well with fresh fish.

Moving on to reds, the Vintages focus on Carmenère (more than a quarter of the reds on show) is premature. There's a lot of hoopla about this Bordeaux grape, but when it doesn't fully ripen, it leaves tart, greenish, herbal notes. An exception is the harmonious Baron Phillippe Rothschild 2005 Carmenère Reserva (37945) at $14.95. It is well structured with plummy, blueberry flavours and just a faintly reedy finish. Try it with a BBQ steak.

There are many well-priced Syrah coming out of Chile. In today's release from the Maipo Valley, we have Vina Chocalan 2004 Syrah Reserve (38513) at only $14.95. The slightly smoky, juicy, baked black cherry flavours with a mocha driven finish would be a perfect foil for bbq ribs

Also not to be missed is a National Post exclusive recommendation: Montes 2006 Limited Selection Pinot Noir (37937) at only $14.95 from the Casablanca Valley. Very deep intense purple colour, it is loaded with smoky, rich, plummy, baked black cherry flavours with a lingering finish another great red for the bbq. I was able to get a preview tasting of this wine thanks to Whitehall Agencies. Apparently the LCBO warehouse forgot to send this wine out to the stores meaning that it will not be arriving until next week.

To see other Chile recommendations from today's Vintages release click here. Please use the 'npreader' password to access the page.

FBTI Website Exclusive
Michael Vaughan's
Wine of the Week

Italy - Friuli
Attems 2006 Sauvignon Blanc
Peachy **/**+ out of 3 stars
Vintages 708073 - $20.95 - 150 Cases of 6
(13.5%) [Van Cor] Lot: L7073
Bright light straw colour. Somewhat forward, attractive, gently spicy, ripe peach-apricot nose. Crisp, very dry, medium-light bodied, slightly grassy, ripe, peachy flavours with a lingering finish.
Drinkability: { N S SM m }

Vintages and General List Delisting Sale

Starting on Monday, August 20th, some 24 Vintages products will be put on sale. To see the detail list click here. On the same day there will also be 3 General List Spirits that will be put on sale, click here to see the list. Also check out the list of 70 products in the Vintages VQA Delisting sale that started on last Monday, August 13th. To see the detail list click here


2001 - 2007 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to August 2007, covers every Vintages release product for the past 81 months. There are more than 15,000 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 products from the
August 18 release, including In-Store Discovery items,
click here (sorted by date of release).
You can also see it sorted by agent click here

To see the complete list of upcoming products from the
September 1 release, including In-Store Discovery items,
click here (sorted by date of release).
You can also see it sorted by agent click here

To see the complete list of upcoming products from the
September 15 release, including 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 2007
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