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

May. 21 - Bottle of the Week
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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
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Apr. 23 - The Wine Glass ~ The Key to getting the most out of your wines

Apr. 23 - Bottle of the Week
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Apr. 16 - All we are saying is give pink a chance

Apr. 16 - Bottle of the Week
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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

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Today's Vintages Release
Small in size but big in buys!

© Michael Vaughan 2005

National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, July 9, 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).

Usually summer Vintages releases are a big yawn loaded with boring stuff. Well I am delighted to report that this isn’t the case with today’s release of 74 items - small in size, but big in buys!

If I was allowed to only buy one white, it would be the very gently sweet but refreshing, release highlight Markus Molitor 2000 Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken Zeltinger Himmelreich (958140) at $19.95. With only 9.5% alcohol, this impressive 2000 comes from Molitor’s own vineyard (massive by German standards) of 4.5 ha (11 acres) in this Mittel Mosel. The nose is classic with honey, sweet lime and Seville orange marmalade. It is seductive on the palate with lovely ripe melon flavours and hints of lime zest on the lingering finish. The perfect summer sipper.

While German wine names are challenging, there is a solution. Get a copy of Stephen Brook The Wines of Germany published by Mitchell Beazley (2003). This definitive work is available at Chapters on line at $27.96 (vs. $39.95). Click here to go to Chapters website.

My other release highlight is a charming, juicy, ripe Anjou pear driven effort from the French Midi. Domaine Lafage 2003 Côté Chardonnay (680611) is an excellent buy at $17.95. Clean, refreshing and dry on the palate, it offers great drinkability along with fine ripe varietal flavours at a reasonable price. Designated as a Vin de Pays Côtes Catalanes just east of Perpignan, I discovered that this small family-owned 2.8 hc estate was set up by Jean-Marc Lafarge in 1995 and was purchased directly by Vintages.

From California, go for Cline Cellars 2003 Red Truck White (657999) at $14.95. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier has a pleasant, rather spicy, ripe pear purée nose. The fresh melon, red apple, apricot and dried lemon flavours show good length and versatility.

From Western Australia’s Margaret River Region Beckett’s Flat 2004 Belizar’s Verdelho (585851) $18.95 offers a nice change of pace. Estate grown and bottled, Verdelho is a white Portuguese variety that has traditionally been grown on Madeira. The Aussi edition is pale straw in colour with fine, bright, ripe melon aromas. Zesty, dry and medium bodied, it has very tangy, ripe lemon-melon flavours with a lifted finish.

Rioja fans can rejoice with Bodegas Muga 2003 Blanco (958736) at $15.95. This barrel fermented blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia has a fairly rich, toasty, ripe pear purée nose. The dry, very well structured, toasty, ripe pear purée flavours are followed up with a lingering lime finish. Try with poultry and veal dishes; it is a bit too big for seafood dishes.

Moving closer to home, Vineland Estates 2002 Pinot Blanc (563478) at $16.95 hits the mark. It is dry with gently honeyed, ripe lemon tinged, fresh melon flavours and a crisp finish. Those looking for a red can skip the herbal Creekside 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon at $29.95 and, instead, try the very dry, plumy, red cherry flavoured Creekside 2001 Pinot Noir (662239) at $24.95.

Collectors will be attracted like moths to a flame to get their hands on the Italian icon Antinori 2001 Solaia (987586) at $169.95. This is a very good wine, but at a huge price. It comes with a complex, sandalwood nose with plumy, chocolate notes. Big and well structured, it has stewed plum and figgy sandalwood flavours with a lingering, dark chocolate finish. There are 400 cases of 6 for those where money is no object!

In a comparative blind taste test, it wouldn’t surprise me if another, much cheaper, ready-to-drink Italian red won. Cantele 2001 Amativo (650952) at $28.95 has loads of juicy, plumy, ripe cherry flavours. This IGT Salento blend of 60% Primitivo and 40% Negroamaro comes from Puglia region. Fear not, it would never be mistaken for Solaia.

The best value high quality red is St. Clement 2001 Napa Valley Oroppas (655670) at $69.95. This refined blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc has a very deep intense purple colour. The nose shows complexity with cedar, ripe plum and chocolate-hazelnut purée notes. It is very well structured with tangy, ripe plum, red cherry and slightly bitter chocolate flavours. With 14.9% alcohol, it will appeal to fans of Joseph Phelps Insignia, which goes for $205.15. It can be drunk today, but will improve over the next 2-3 years. By the way, Oroppas spelled backwards is Sapporo, the Japanese brewing company who owned it prior to selling it to Beringer in 1999.

Selected upcoming events:

Saturday, July 9-10 - Hillebrand Jazz in the Vineyard [Niagara-on-the-Lake]
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. It takes place from 3 - 7 p.m. Held at Hillebrand Estates Winery, 1249 Niagara Stone Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. For more information visit
Tickets $25.00 per guest, per day. For further information, please call 1-800-582-8412.

Saturday, July 16 - Summerlude by the Harbour
Harbour Estates Winery
1 - 5 pm
Stroll along the Harbour Trail, be entertained and experience the undiscovered treasures of the Jordan Harbour/Twenty Valley area. Specially selected food and wine pairings from many of the area's finest wineries and restaurants are yours to enjoy. This is a great day of sampling some of the finest food and wine that west Niagara has to offer...and you don't have to drive from place to place. A fundraiser for Conservation Niagara Foundation. Tickets are $75 per person.
To purchase tickets call 877-439-9463 or click here for more information

Toast the skies with the Champagne of Ginger Ales
Canada Dry and Ontario Place sign five-year deal
to expand  the Festival of Fire fireworks series.
special Grande Finale - July 9.
 Shows begin at 10:30 p.m at the Ontario Place.

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 August 2005 Release

To see the complete list of upcoming
148 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 August.
You can also see it sorted by agent click here

To see the complete list of upcoming 93 products from the August 20, release 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