Assessments Home Page
4 - The Best of Today's Vintages Release ~ South Africa's Answer to
25 - Mining for Gold in South Africa ~ Great Pinotage & Shiraz
18 - Going for Gold at Vintages
11 - Beware of great wine reviews that don't deliver ~ Is it me, the
critic or the bottle?
4 - Spanish Wines Take Flight
28 - D-Day at Vintages 724 ~ Vintages items go on sale today!
21 - Today at Vintages ~ A Fine Trio of Accessible French Whites ~ The
Many Faces of Syrah/Shiraz
14 - Ontario's Icewines Shine ~ The Icewine Oscars for the Best 2004
7 - A Quality Vintages Kick-off to the New Year Easy Quaffing Southern
31 - Cognac Unconquered ~ From $1.30 to $74.88 an ounce ~ Sipping Your Way
into the New Year
24 - LCBO Gifts ~ Buy Carefully ~ Juicy cherry & tangy cranberry
flavours for your Turkey
17 - The Best of the Season ~ Seasonal Gifting: From Books to the Best Buy
Champagne & '1876' Scotch
10 - Great Holiday Wines in Today's Vintages release ~ From the Bargains
to the Jewels
3 - From the Perfect Pear Martini ~ to a Vintage Port to Remember
26 - Wines to Buy & Wines to Avoid
19 - Beaujolais Nouveau Celebrates 54 Years
12 - Vintages Release Best Buys ~ From California to Bordeaux
5 - "Eyes Wide Shut" ~ Taste, texture and scent in motion
29 - Tricks & Treats in Today's Vintages Release ~ Some Awesome Aussi
22 - Perfect Fall Libations ~ Obscure varieties from Welschriesling to
15 - Hop Scotch ~ The biggest whisky release on record
8 - A Toast to the Turkey ~ Many whites, some reds and even a sparkling
1 - Barolo the King of Italian Reds
24 - A Flood of Upcoming Tastings ~ but not a Vintages Classics in Sight
17 - A Great Ontario Harvest ~ From just-released wines to a terrific new
10 - Film Fest Fizz ~ Finding that Oscar-Winning Drink
3 - Delicious Long Weekend Drinking ~ All but one under $20!
27 - A new way of coding drinkability ~ And getting the best out of that
20 - The "New" Vintages Catalogue
13 - Bargains Galore ~ Spirited Summer Matchmakers ~ From Boulard Calvados
to Grand Marnier
6 - Dealing with Disappointments ~ This Bicyclette has a flat tire!
30 - LCBO Alternatives? ~ Regulations handcuff importers to LCBO warehouse
23 - A French Sparkler & Greek Whites in Today's Vintages Hit Parade ~
In-Store Discoveries Reviews Disappear
16 - French Rosé Rocks ~ Too bad you can't find them at the LCBO
9 - Today's Vintages Release ~ Small in size but big in buys!
2 - The Wines of Canada by John Schreiner ~ Interesting but a little thin
25 - Boning Up for Canada Day! ~ ABC - Anything But Chardonnay A Best Buy
~ Trilogy of Grass-Free Sauvignon Blanc
18 - Austria's Wines on a roll
11 - Where there's Chardonnay there's Hope ~ 2,879 cases at Vintages! ~
Plus 79 New Items in Today's Vintages Release
11 - Bottle
of the Week
Kim Crawford 2004 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ~ Kick starts the
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!
4 - Bottle
of the Week
Codorniu Brut Clasico ~ Puts some sparkling Classics to shame
of National Post Articles
A FBTI Supporter Today By Clicking
not-for-profit website is dedicated to the discerning reader!
to Buy & Wines to Avoid
Michael Vaughan 2005
Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
November 26, 2005
(CLICK ON THE NAME - 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
Vintages release is pretty hefty weighing in at 131 selections. This jumps
to 159 if one includes the additional 28 In-Store-Discoveries (ISD), which
hit the shelves yesterday. Perhaps I am a bit too fussy, but I found a
significant number of new releases that might be avoided. To check this
out, I returned to the LCBO lab last Tuesday and spent three hours
retasting over 120 bottles for a second time.
must admit that it takes more courage to come up with negative reviews. As
beauty is in the eye of the beholder, winemakers always seem to like their
progeny no matter how unbecoming. For numerous reasons, a once tasty wine
can suddenly become disappointing. While vintage is usually the key, poor
shipping and/or storage conditions can destroy otherwise great wines.
for instance, you are looking for a white Burgundy, you might be tempted
to try Domaine des Granges 2004 Mâcon-Chaintré at only $16.95. Don’t
unless you like a very dry, lightish Chard with slightly peppery, malic
flavours. It has absolutely nothing in common with the far superior,
well-structured, albeit much more expensive Joseph
Drouhin 2002 Meursault Blanc
non-starter is Cristina Ascheri Moscato d'Asti 2004 at $15.95, which
doesn’t hit the spot with its aging, somewhat odd, vegetal notes. If you
relish bouncy, sweetish, juicy Muscat flavours of a good Asti, try San
simplify things, here are my two best buy whites. The first is a
remarkably inexpensive effort from the Midi, Les
Vignerons de Puisserguier 2004 Les Grès Viognier
(669523) at only $12.95. This lovely Vin de Pays d’Oc has an intense,
very fruity, ripe pear-peach nose. It is dry, harmonious and well
structured with lots of ripe pear flavours - just terrific for current
second choice is a sweetie from Germany. The spicy, sweet but balanced,
honeyed pear, grapefruit flavoured Bischöefliche
Weingüeter 2002 Kanzemer Altenberg Riesling Kabinett
(657189) at $17.95. A versatile, crowd-pleasing style that is perfect for
the holiday season, especially as it has only 8.5% alcohol.
Moving on to
reds, disappointments include the prestigious Villa Poggio Salvi 2002
Lavischio at $26.95 from Tuscany with its brittle, dried red apple
flavours. A disappointing wine from a poor vintage and should have not
been released. Having said that, on the other side of the Tuscan spectrum,
we have 2002
Le Serre Nuove dell Ornellaia
(606194) at $54.95, which shows lots of style with great accessibility.
This second wine from the famed Cabernet-Merlot based Ornellaia property
on the Tuscan coast may not be a keeper, but shows good complexity with
earthy, spicy, ripe plum and gently juicy, black Muscat flavours. It
demonstrates what can be done in a challenging year.
"disappointing" would be an understatement when it comes to this already
over-the-hill Rhone from Paul Jaboulet - Ainé 2000 Gigondas Pierre
Aiguille at $32.95. I tried hard to like it at first, but became
impatiently unhappy with the stewed red apple flavours of the subsequent
on to perhaps the worst red of the release, is a thin Cabernet Franc from
the Loire. Coming from the heat-driven 2003 vintage, St-Nicolas de
Bourgueil at $16.95 pretty much takes the cake unless you relish tart reds
with peppery, bitter olive, celery and damp earth flavours.
I had one red to buy, it would be Boekenhoutskloof
2004 Porcupine Ridge Syrah
(595280) at $13.95. This South African winner has a slightly smoky, black
cherry purée nose. It is very juicy on the palate with dry, bright,
balanced, plumy, black cherry jubilee flavours. A consistent best buy, it
is ready to drink now.
biggest surprise in today’s release is Angelo
Gaja 2003 Ca’marcanda ‘Promis’
(745638) at $42.95, which is a big improvement over the 2000 vintage last
featured in Vintages at $46.95. It is well structured, bright, spicy and
gently juicy with ripe plum flavours. You can drink it today, but it will
still improve over the next 3 years.
searching for an inexpensive Champagne substitute, shouldn’t miss Marques
de Monistrol Cava Brut Reserva ‘Selección Especial’
(656454) at $12.95. It is dry, very effervescent, bright and crisp, with
ripe lemon-melon flavours followed up by a tangy, refreshing, effervescent
that the current Vintages Catalogue erroneously says that the current 116
items Air Miles and 136 Limited Time Offer selections will last another
week into December. In fact, this is the last weekend (today and Sunday) to take advantage of
these deals, click
here to see the list of all products in the promotion. One white not
mentioned but worth trying comes from last
month’s Vintages release: the very crisp, lively, honeyed, ripe
apple-pear flavoured Bollini
2003 Chardonnay Barricato 40
(987503) is reduced to $12.95 until tomorrow.
On Tuesday, December 6, The Grand Tasting Wines of
France will feature some 150+ selections from across the country.
Throughout the evening you will be able to match them with French regional
cuisine. Held at Carlu - 444 Yonge St., 7th floor from 7 pm to 10
pm. Tickets are $75 (+GST), to register go to www.frenchtasting.com.
For more information contact Anne Popoff at 416-921-8400.
Tasting Note Database
tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to October 2005, covers every
Vintages release product for the past 58 months. There are more than
10,000 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
LCBO Availability", which will automatically tell you the
number of bottles at LCBO as of last night.
use our Tasting
Notes Database: click
** For All Visitors **
see the complete list of upcoming
including In-Store Discovery items,
(sorted by date of release).
can also see it sorted
by agent click
To see the complete list of upcoming
including In-Store Discovery items,
(sorted by date of release).
You can also see it sorted
by agent click
Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada
Prior written permission is required for any form of reproduction
(electronic or other wise) and or quotation.
Contact Michael Vaughan at