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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

Feb. 26 - Cuvée Throws a Curve Ball at Ontario's Best

Feb. 19 - A Vintages Jackpot for Shiraz Fans ~ But Slim Pinot Noir Pickings

Feb. 19 - Bottle of the Week
It's Canadian fortified and exudes sweet raspberries: Southbrook Framboise - Summer in a Bottle

Feb. 12 - The Apple of my Heart ~ Calvados to the Rescue

Feb. 12 - Bottle of the Week
It's French, it's spirited and a little bit sexy: Mon dieu, it's Green Chartreuse

Feb. 5 - Uncovering the Best Classics Red

Jan. 29  - Ooh la la! ~ Fine French Values that Won't Break the Bank

Jan. 22  - Frisky Whisky for Robbie Burns Revellers

Jan. 15  - Pinotage Perfection ~ Exploring South Africa's Sole Indigenous Grape

Jan. 8  - Gems from Chile ~ Be selective in today's Vintages Release

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Ontario's Vinous Peaks
Great quality directly from the wineries!

© Michael Vaughan 2005

National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, March 12, 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).

Last weekend’s Ontario Cuvée weekend was a splendid affair filled with many vinous peaks and the occasional valley. Having recently provided readers with the lowdown on the event itself, including detailed notes for 49 finalists on our website, I ventured forth to uncover other unrecognized wines.

First, I was pleased to see that my highest scoring red and white also were the top Cuvée winners: Jackson-Triggs 2002 Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Meritage ($23.95 at Wine Rack stores) and Niagara College Teaching (NTC) Winery 2003 Barrel Fermented/Barrel Aged Chardonnay, which is bargain priced at the winery for only $18.95 (reguarly $21.95).

Saturday began with an Experts Tasting presented by CCOVI at Brock University. I was surprised to discover that there are 11 Syrah (Shiraz) now being produced in Ontario. The good news is that of seven blind tasted, I was stunned by Daniel Lenko 2002 Syrah, which turned out to be the best red of the weekend. It is beautifully textured (14% alcohol) with robust, ripe plum and lingering, gently earthy, lush, black cherry flavours.

The bad news is that you can’t buy it! Lenko’s vines only yielded enough grapes to fill a single new French oak barrel meaning that just under 25 cases were produced. “Unfortunately, our Syrah vines produced no grapes in 2003 and I want to keep our 2002 on hand as a reference wine,” explains Lenko. On the positive side it now has a chance of appearing in some special tastings as opposed to simply disappearing to just a handful of lucky buyers.

You can, however, purchase Daniel Lenko 2003 Viognier at the winery at $34.95. This lovely dry white bubbles over with juicy, gently honeyed, winter melon fruit flavours. Keep in mind that Ontario’s extreme variations in climate, from one year to another, makes stylistic consistency virtually impossible, at least with dry table wines. In contrast to his stunning 2002, which had over 14% alcohol, Lenko’s 2003 has under 12% with more bright fruit and less complexity.

In the sparkling department, my highest score in the blind tasting of six went to Jackson-Triggs 2001 Proprietor’s Grand Reserve Méthode Classique (587691) at $24.95 and is currently available at the Wine Rack stores. This Cuvée award winner is elegant, harmonious, dry but not austere with fresh melon-lemon flavours is perfect for any festive occasion. Do not confuse the 2001 with the lesser 2000, which was released in Vintages at $22.95.

Some weekend disappointments, included a fledgling Nebbiolo, which was hard, thin and shrill. I was not overly enthusiastic about wines aged in new Canaiadian oak, which seem to have some resiny notes from inadequately weathered staves. I was surprised that the newly-released Malivoire 2003 Pinot Noir ($26.00) didn’t really live up to my expectations. Also disturbing was the presence of some ladybug taint in a just a few of the wines from the 2002-2003 vintages. This problem seems to be concentrated in vineyards adjacent to the Niagara Escarpment, where the ladybugs apparently like to hang out in the nearby woods overnight.

On a more positive note, there were plenty of good wines on show at the gala. Australian winemaker Darryl Brooker has produced some terrific wines at the new Flat Rock Cellars. His Flat Rock 2003 Pinot Noir is based on Dijon clones 777 and 115, has those classic, elegant, ripe plum, juicy, ripe red cherry Burgundian flavours. At $23.95, it a winery-only best buy. Also, don’t miss tasting the lively, honeyed, grapefruit-driven Flat Rock 2003 Riesling - a steal at $14.95! Click here for contact information.

The “Limited Edition White Wine Winner” (meaning under 200 cases were produced) was Cilento 2003 Chardonnay Reserve (593913) at $24.95. Its vibrant, honeyed, ripe lemon zest and Anjou pear flavours stand up and say hello and are tamed by some butterscotch and vanilla notes on the finish. It is available at the winery store in Woodbridge at $24.95.

Remember that Ontario wineries can ship wines directly to your home. For more information, including telephone numbers and email addresses, see the winery/agent ID guide on our website.

Finally, starting Monday, March 14 there will be 110 Vintages items going on sale. To see click here.

2001-2002-2003-2004-2005 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to January 2005, covers every Vintages release product for the past 48 months. There are more than 8,000 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 April 2005 Release

To see the complete list of upcoming
186 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 April.
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