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

© Michael Vaughan 2005

National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, June 11, 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).

There’s nothing like a bargain. I was a bit suspicious to discover that Vintages had bought 2,879 cases of Hope Estate 2003 Estate Grown Chardonnay (651331) at $13.95 from Australia’s Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. That is, at least, until I tasted the wine. Wow! This winner has a very spicy, zesty, lemon peel nose with cedary, Anjou pear notes. Dry and well structured on the palate, the lemony, ripe pear purée flavours shine. Best with white meats and poultry, at one time it was offered as a Consignment wine to restaurants and sold in the $19 range! Apparently the supplier cut the price to the bone to get this massive order.

Riesling is one of my favourite summer refreshers. It comes in a variety of styles from steely dry food wines to sweet botrytis affected dessert wines. Today’s release sees a charming organic effort with a slightly elevated 26-ppm free sulphur level from Germany’s Rheinhessen. Heyl zu Herrnsheim’s Baron Heyl 2002 Nierstein Estate Riesling (597872) at $18.95 shows lots of zip with only 11% alcohol. It has extremely vibrant, ripe lemon-lime-grapefruit aromas. Very crisp, gently honeyed and very slightly sweet but refreshing, the apple-melon-lime-grapefruit flavours show good length.

An interesting white is a blend of two indigenous Spanish grapes from the Catalunya region: Miguel Torres 2003 “Nerola” Xarel-lo (680678) at $16.95, which has some 20% of Garnacha Blanca. The “Nerola” line was inspired/created by Miguel Torres’ daughter, Mireia. Some 50% was vinified and aged in French Allier for 6 months, the balance in stainless steel. Look for a honeyed, fresh melon nose and bright, very attractive, ripe melon flavours with a vanilla-tinged, Anjou pear finish. This best buy is versatile and ready to enjoy today, perhaps with roast chicken.

Moving on to today’s reds, the companion best buy is Miguel Torres 2002 “Nerola” Syrah (680751) at $19.95. A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Monastrell, some 60% spending 12 months in French Never and Allier oak. The nose is quite rich, spicy and slightly cedary with attractive, plumy, black cherry notes. Juicy and bright, it is well structured with fine ripe plum and black cherry flavours.

My pick from Italy is Tedeschi 2001 Capitel Dei Nicalo (984997) at $16.95. I have raved about this best buy Valpolicella Classico Superiore before – in particular the fantastic 1999. The reasonably hefty 2001 with 13% alcohol was last seen in Vintages in February. Very dark intense deep red in colour, the nose shows slightly earthy, stewed plum, prune and chestnut purée. Rich, dry and well structured, the ripe plum and dark cherry flavours are followed up with a lingering, cedary finish. While you can drink it now, I suggest decanting for an hour or so and using a large glass. It should be approach its peak in about 20 months.

A blend of 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone and 30% Rondinella with 10% Molinara, Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara and Dindarella, the extracty quality is the result of the Veronese technique of raisin-drying the grapes. They are placed in wooden crates for about one month where they lose about 10% of their weight. They are then pressed and fermentation in special small vats. Aging takes place in large 5,000 liter Slavonia oak barrels for 18 months.

Those searching for a well-priced Bordeaux will not be disappointed with 2001 Château Reysson Reserve (653618) at $25.95. This Haut-Mèdoc Cru Bourgeois has a red licorice-tinged, gently herbal, ripe plum nose. It is showing nicely with gently juicy, ripe plum flavours with hints of vanilla stick and cherry on the finish.

Unfortunately, the LCBO dropped the ball on the best wine of the release, which even at $99.95 was still a good buy. The esteemed Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé 2002 Chambolle Musigny (941351) was supposed to be released today but was inadvertently shipped early and it seems that all 84 bottles have mysteriously disappeared. Surely with such a special one-of-a-kind wine Vintages should have limited sales and released it properly. Instead, I understand that licensees and high rollers have plundered the LCBO’s tiny allocation.

One very unhappy customer, who only could afford to buy a single bottle, now has the option of ordering it from the Ontario agent Halpern Enterprise (416-593-2662). Unfortunately, the LCBO forces importing agents to only sell by the case (in this instance a minimum of 6 bottles). If the LCBO and Ontario wineries can sell/ship by the bottle, why can’t importers? Apparently this perverse discriminatory practice was designed to reduce sales by importing agents.

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 July 2005 Release

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

Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada 2005
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