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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

Feb. 24 - Cuvée 2007 ~ Ontario winemakers whoop it up

Feb. 17 - Pinot Noir Madness III ~ New Zealand takes another step forward

Feb. 10 - Burgundy Comes to Town ~ Despite Limited Vintages Buys ~ The Good News is Virtual Buying

Feb. 3 - Great Values South of the Equator ~ Both in Vintages & on the General List

Jan. 27 - Napa a go-go ~ Wine Parties vs. Tastings

Jan. 20 - Winemaker Niel Groenewald ~ Pushing the South African Envelope

Jan. 13 - Montreal Passion Vin ~ Delivering Excellence on Every Level

Jan. 6 - Off-the Beaten-Path Wines ~ Hard to Find in Today's Vintages Release

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Vintages Spanish Release
From Classics to the Cutting Edge
© Michael Vaughan 2007
National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, August 4, 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).

With today's Vintages Spanish thematic featuring 32 items, Rioja is on my mind. Winemaker Maria Martinez is a perfectionist. She has been making classics at Bodegas Montecillo for more than three decades. She treats the wines as if they are her children: loves them all, but is quick to point out their individual peccadilloes.

Over the years, I met have met Maria several times and am always most impressed when tasting her wines in on the spot where they were made. They never seem to show quite as well elsewhere. Perhaps it is the fantastic local cuisine - they are simply perfection when accompanied by smoky, slow roasted, sublimely flavourful, baby local lamb.

All of today's four Riojas are classic in style - complex, oaky and well structured. The starting price is $29.95 for the French oak aged Montecillo 1998 Gran Risera (239277). While the first bottle was corked, the second fine. It has a mature, stewed prune nose with coconut-tinged, bitter chocolate notes. The extracty, plummy, dried cherry, dusty prune and cedar flavours seem to be at their peak.

For a less expensive modern take on Rioja, check out last month's best buy Bodegas Beronia 2005 Tempranillo Elaboración Especial (72364) at $17.95. In this case, the grape juice is actually fermented in the barrel - a process quite common for whites, especially Chardonnay, but not reds. The result is a much juicier, user-friendly, ready to enjoy crancherry flavoured red that will marry perfectly with BBQ ribs.

Assuming money is no object, my Rioja recommendation is the rich, ripe, cherry-driven Muga Reserva 2003 Selección Especial (921536) at $40.95 (up from $38.95 last Fall). Indeed, the Vintages agenda of pushing prices in an upward spiral seems to be a problem. For 17 the reds on show, the average price is $25.66 a bottle.

Nevertheless, there are some good buys. The current shipment of Bodega Emina 2002 Vinho Rojo (993220) at $18.95, for instance, is quite delicious, albeit still a bit youthful. Decanting or laying away for another year or so will make this tangy, cedar-mocha flavoured Ribera del Duero even better.

A red I really liked is Bodegas Castaño 2004 Colección (35493) at $22.95. This extremely tasty blend of 80% Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from the region of Yecla in south-eastern Spain spent 14 months in French and American oak. It has lovely, spicy, ripe, plummy-cherry flavours with a lingering ready-to-drink finish.

If you are looking for a white, you can't go wrong with the cheapest in the release Chivite 2006 Gran Feudo Chardonnay (129767) at $12.95. This modern medium-light bodied Navarra has refreshingly tangy, lemony, yellow grapefruit flavours. Perfect for seafood and sipping on a hot summer day.

Ditto for the best buy pink of the release, 2006 Gran Feudo Rosado (256149) at $10.95.A repeat of the May 7th release, it too is from Navarra and has dry, plummy, fresh raspberry flavours with a crisp finish.

While fortified wines may not be on summer agenda, if your stand-by Tio Pepe (242669) at $15.95 is out of stock, then perhaps the pricier La Gitana Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada (975797) at $22.95 is worth a look. It is extremely dry and slightly bitter with dried ripe lemon peel flavours with a lingering, nutty finish. A great summer aperitif, which can be served chilled with tapas.

On a sweeter note, the half bottle of Lustau Solera Reserva Dry Oloroso Don Nuno (43612) at $14.95 hits the spot with its slightly sweet, buttery, caramel flavours. More interesting is Castaño 2004 Dulce Monastrell (35501) at $25.95 (500 ml), which is rich and sweet with roasted ripe plum and cherry cassis flavours.

FBTI Website Exclusive
Michael Vaughan's
Wine of the Week

Germany - Rheingau
Schloss Schonborn 2004 Riesling Kabinett
Honeyed Melon & Lime **/**+ out of 3 stars
Vintages 928184 - $18.95 - 150 Cases
(9.5%) [HHD Imp] Lot: APN3105200805
Very pale straw colour. Lovely, intense, honeyed, ripe apple-lemon purée nose with spicy lime notes. Spicy, honeyed, gently sweet, medium bodied, very classy, ripe lemon-melon-lime flavours with a lingering, lime-tinged finish. Much better than the 2003 released on August 19, 2006 at $17.95.
Drinkability: { N S SM m }

Coming Up

Friday, August 9-12 - Toronto 12th Festival of Beer
Toronto's Festival of Beer will feature exhibitors offering 200+ major, macro and micro brews from the palest pilsners to the deepest stouts, featuring some of Canada's oldest brewers. Held at the Historic Fort York - 100 Garrison Rd. Tickets are $21 per person for advance purchase or $26 at the gate for Friday or Sunday, and $26 per person for advance purchase or $31 at the gate for Saturday.
For information click here.

Friday, August 10-12 - Taste of the Danforth
This year's festival will be the 14th Anniversary of the Krinos
Taste of the Danforth
. Click here for more information.

Saturday, August 11 - Hillebrand Blues
Bring your favourite chair or blanket and listen to the sounds from the lawn overlooking the Stone Road Vineyard. VQA wines and wine country cuisine available for purchase. Held at Hillebrand Estates Winery, 1249 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, from 4 pm to 8 pm. For more information visit Tickets are $30.00 per guest. For information call 1-800-582-8412.
For a review of the WINERY ONLY just released 2005 Trius Red 
click here

Sunday, August 12 - Niagara Farm to Table Experience
The Bosc family invites you to come and experience a celebration of Niagara's fresh bounty, produced locally and brought directly from the farm to your table, presented by Chef Stephen Treadwell and Grower Dave Perkins featuring tomatoes. Held at Chateau des Charmes, 1025 York Road, Niagara-on-the-Lake, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Tickets are $50.00 per person. For tickets contact Allison Vandenbos at 905-262-4219 ext.27 or email 
or click here for information.

Vintages Delisting and Bin End Sale

On last Saturday, July 28th, 453 Vintages products being put on sale. To see the detail list click here, use the 'npreader' password to access the list. Also check out the list of 88 products in the Vintages Delisting sale that started on Monday, July 23rd. To see the detail list click here

2001 - 2007 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to July  2007, covers every Vintages release product for the past 80 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 4 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
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

Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada 2007
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 (electronic or other wise) and or quotation.
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