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Jan. 26 - 2005 A Miracle Vintage ~ Tumultuous Week of Highs and Lows

Jan. 19 - Looking for Value? ~ Wines from Argentina to the Rescue

Jan. 12 - Looking Back - Looking Ahead ~ Spanish Wines Looking Up

Jan. 5 - New Year Bargains

Dec. 29 - Having a Sparkling New Year's Eve

Dec. 22 - Sumptuous Sippers ~ For days with Slippers

Dec. 22 - Sumptuous Sippers ~ For days with Slippers

Dec. 15 - Wine Awards Canada - Charting 339 of Ontario's Best ~ Toasting Ontario's Best Sparklers from Brut to Gently Sweet

Dec. 8 - A Sparkling Vintages Release ~ But buy carefully

Dec. 1 - Holiday Gifting ~ The twin pack is the way to go

Nov. 24 - Eight Buys from Today's Vintages Release

Nov. 17 - Introducing the Signature Selection

Nov. 10 - 2005 Burgundy ~ The wine gurus like it!

Nov. 3 - Magic in Montreal ~ Le Marché an Inspiration for Local Wineries

Oct. 27 - Scary Times at Vintages ~ From Tricks to Treats

Oct. 20 -Best of the West

Oct. 13 -Today at Vintages ~ Bordeaux and Much More

Oct. 6 - Wine Auction Fever ~ Confessions of a Wine Auction Junkie ~ Forget Screaming Eagle and pass the Rum

Sep. 29 - Southern French Accents

Sep. 22 - Perfect for an Autumn day ~ Is that a bottle of spicy wine under your kilt?

Sep. 15 - A Celebration of the Ontario's harvest ~ Faces behind great wines

Sep. 8 - Reel Wines for Real Film Lovers ~ Can't snuggle? Here's what to smuggle! ~ Plus Ontario Recommendations

Sep. 1 - Dust off your Lederhosen ~ Austrian Wines Finally Unleashed in Vintages

Aug. 25 - Summer Twilight Selections ~ Spanish Synergy

Aug. 18 - The Wines of Chile ~ Soaring to the peaks of the Andes

Aug. 11 - Discovering Greece - a wine odyssey ~ Splendid Assyrtiko from Santorini

Aug. 4 - Spain - From the Classics to the Cutting Edge ~ Revving up for Rioja

Jul. 28 - Days of Wine & Roses no more! ~ Under $10 wines a rare breed

Jul. 21 - Que Sera, Syrah ~  Big, Smoky and Beautiful

Jul. 14 - Finding the best wine matches ~ Sizzling Seafood at Scaramouche

Jul. 7 - Sizzling Sauvignon Blanc ~ Vintages Best Buy Whites

Jun. 30 - In search of the Ontario Idol ~ Tracking down the best for Canada Day

Jun. 23 - Vintages Price Hikes ~ Hitting the customer where it hurts

Jun. 16 - Life After Yellow Tail

Jun. 9 - Rosé Rules ~ From serious to casual, unearthing that ambidextrous rosé

Jun. 2 - The ones that didn't get away! ~ Unearthing recent best buys - all under $20

May. 26 - New Zealand’s Natural Gems ~ The best of whites

May. 19 - Alsatian with that Crustacean?

May. 12 - Paradoxical Portugal ~ Old World Grapes with New World Appeal

May. 5 - Toronto's First Private Import Wine Fair ~ Private Imports Picking up Steam Despite LCBO Bullying

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Scary Times at Vintages
From Tricks to Treats
© Michael Vaughan 2007
National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, October 27, 2007

To see this article as it appears in the National Post click here 

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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).

It's almost "trick or treat" time. For me, there's nothing scarier than a disappointing bottle of wine. With today's Vintages release has some of both.

For instance, I not sure what's scarier? The uninspiring taste of Ringbolt 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. The fact that a staggering 1548 cases was bought. Or, the sky high selling price of $19.95. Regarding the latter, it's readily available south of the border for under $12 US a bottle.

Moving on to the treats, despite being the smallest in years, there are quite a few on hand. For Chardonnay fans, there are three standouts. The least expensive is KWV Cathedral Cellar 2005 Chardonnay (328559) at $14.95, which is from South Africa's Paarl region. Dry, rich and well-structured, this whopper of a white has loads of cedary, ripe, lemony, pear flavours with a lingering, caramel driven finish. It's ready to drink and perhaps best with poultry. A little will go a long way.

Moving up the price ladder to $17.95, I was very impressed with finesse of Yalumba 2005 Eden Valley Wild Ferment Chardonnay (39271). It too has great concentration but less overt oakiness. Its slightly spicy, ripe lemon-melon-lime flavours are accompanied by lingering caramel custard notes.

My final recommendation comes from California's Napa Valley. Unfortunately, Clos du Val 2005 Carneros Chardonnay (297499) has jumped from $23.95 a year ago to $26.95, which was the price back in September 2003. It has full-bodied, ripe lemon-melon-lime flavours with a long buttery, brioche finish. It's very tasty and would be a best buy except that case retail price south of the border is only $16.19 a bottle.

If you are looking for a delicious white to surprise your friends, check out a rather amazing Trebbiano (aka Ugni Blanc) from Italy's Veneto region. While most Lugana is quite docile, this one stands up and says hello. And at $27.95, it is probably the most expensive one I have ever tried. Nevertheless, Sergio Zenato 2005 Lugana Riserva (928218) is deliciously dry with rich, honeyed, ripe melon flavours and just a hint of caramel-pear on the finish. Perfect with a Fall roast chicken.

Talking about pairing wine with poultry, as a Riesling fan, I relish the ripe fruit and intense minerality found in the best from Alsace. At $39.95, Domaine Zind Humbrecht 2005 Riesling Gueberschwihr (686246) it isn't cheap, but it is great. Dry and well structured, it has an abundance of lingering, ripe lemon-melon-apple flavours. A true classic.

As for reds, some today's best buys come from Italy. Frescobaldi 2005 Tenuta di Castiglioni (974394) at $22.95 is a modern Tuscan blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Sangiovese. On the palate it shows great harmony and its plummy, ripe cherry flavours will marry with a wide variety of dishes.

If you want something a bit cheaper with lots of fruit, then the new edition of New Zealand's Oyster Bay 2005 Merlot (692343) at $18.95 is on target. It's medium-light bodied with dried ripe cherry and juicy plum flavours.

Looking for a classic bubbly? Move quickly because Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve (814723) at $59.95 is always a quick sell out. It is very dry and nicely structured with refined, gently toasty, ripe lemon flavours along with excellent effervescence and mid palate.

The final treat is a half bottle of one of the world's great Sherries. Gonzalez Byass Apostoles Palo Cortado (969527) at $24.95 has to be savoured slowly. This seductive 30-year-old has complex, sweet, smoke-tinged, plummy, crème brulée flavours. A perfect warmer for a chilly Halloween.

2001 - 2007 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to September 2007, covers every Vintages release product for the past 82 months. There are more than 15,000 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.

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