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Recent Articles

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

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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Toasting Queen Victoria
With Discounted Reds!
Grab these bargains while they last!

© Michael Vaughan 2005

National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, May 21, 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).

Welcome to the first big weekend of the summer. I sincerely hope that you are enjoying good weather, and if not, at least fine wines. The good news for wine fans is that from yesterday, May 20 until October 10, Vintages wines will be available at 47 LCBO stores located in cottage country and tourist areas. The list of outlets is posted on my website, but not the actual Vintages products, which are decided by individual store managers.

To make life easier, National Post readers can now access all recent May Vintages reviews using the npreader password. If I had just one to Vintages item to buy, it would be a ready to enjoy red from Spain’s Penedes region. Miguel Torres 2000 Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon (36483) is normally $17.95, but for today and tomorrow, the$2 LTO discount continues making it only $15.95. This widely available Vintages Essentials blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Tempranillo has a deep intense purple colour. The nose is gently cedary with ripe plum, cassis and black cherry notes. Dry and harmonious on the palate, the tangy, plum-raspberry-cherry flavours are followed up with a chocolate tinged finish. It would be perfect with a BBQ-charred, rare rib steak.

Those feasting on sweet, spicy, smoke-tinged, tomato-based sauces smothering ribs will want to shift to a slightly juicier red with slightly softer tannins. Try he juicy, well balanced, Rosemount 2004 Diamond Shiraz Cabernet (214270), which also comes with an LTO – this time $1.50 making it $11.45. It is available on the LCBO General List but comes with two different labels!

The new label has the Rosemount Estates appearing above the diamond and the lot number L5013 F2 16:51 on the back label meaning that it was bottles on the January 13, 2005. The older one has a different bottling lot L4273 F1 11:50 (September 29, 2004). The former shows more depth colour and is slightly tangier with more youthful, plumy, dried cherry flavours. While both are very similar, I give the one bottled last fall the edge with greater harmony and slightly smoky, ripe black cherry notes.

Those looking for a robust but accessible red should be prepared to shell out a bit more. From Vintages, the majestic, full bodied (14.5%) but rounded, Masi 2001 Grandarella (606921) is also on a $3 LTO resulting in a net price of $25.95. This deep dark coloured IGT Rosso delle Venezie is made from 75% Refosco and 25% Carmenère grapes, which are semi-dried. Called appassimento, this process shrinks the grapes by 30% thereby concentrating flavours. The nose exudes plums, prune and chocolate. Its rich, extracty, cedar-tinged, roasted plum flavours are highlighted by some dusty dark chocolate notes. It takes me back to a rare rib steak or perhaps rack of lamb.

Remember that today and tomorrow are the last windows to take advantage of this period’s LCBO promotions. To see the fully integrated list of all 243 items on LTO and AirMiles click here. To make life easier, we have linked all items to LCBO store inventory – no need to call the Infoline!

If you are looking for a white, don’t miss two very tasty, albeit different grapes, Chilean whites, which are in this month’s Vintages release. The first is a head-turning Chard from the Casablanca Valley: Veramonte 2003 Chardonnay (494443) a bargain at $14.95 with its complex, baked lemon and rhubarb pie nose. On the palate it is well structured with very flavourful with spicy, ripe lemon, key lime pie flavours along with some leesy brioche and rhubarb notes on the lingering finish. Some 30% was fermented in French oak for 5 months.

The second is a bright, well structured (14% alcohol), refresher that has been barrel fermented. Miguel Torres 2003 Copihue Sauvignon Blanc (593012) at $15.95 has a honeyed and rather spicy nose with bright, ruby grapefruit peel notes. It is very crisp and flavourful with lots of grapefruit flavours that show excellent length. Half of the grapes were fermented in new American oak for 15 days and then aged for six months in French oak - the rest were fermented and aged in stainless steel.

If you are all “wined out” why not kick-start your Coke with some Matusalem Platino White Rum (600916) at $23.75 with 8 bonus AirMiles. Bottled, aged and blended in the Dominican Republic, this well balanced, gently sweet, fruity effort with its gentle molasses flavours is also great on the rocks.

Those surviving the weekend shouldn’t miss the upcoming 2005 New Zealand Wine Fair, which takes place this Tuesday and Wednesday with over 140 wines at Alice Fazooli's 7:00 to 9:30 pm. For more information call 1-888-993-9927 as just a few spaces remain at just $60. The to see the list of New Zealand wines being presented click here

The good news for wine fans is that from yesterday, May 20 until October 10, Vintages wines will be available at 47 LCBO stores located in cottage country and tourist areas. To see the list of stores click here.

2001-2002-2003-2004-2005 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to April 2005, covers every Vintages release product for the past 52 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 June 2005 Release

To see the complete list of upcoming
169 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 June.
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