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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. 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

Apr. 28 - Toasting Mom with France’s Finest

Apr. 21 - Prime Time for California

Apr. 14 - Victims of Vintages

Apr. 7 - Delicious Ciders that won't break the Easter bank

Mar. 31 - Racy Rieslings ~ Perfect Springtime Sippers

Mar. 24 - Quest for the Best of Portable Potables ~ The Battle of the Boxes

Mar. 17 - For the love of the Irish ~ A Greek wine for St. Patrick's Day

Mar. 10 - VDN to the rescue ~ Sublime sweet bargains from southwestern France

Mar. 3 - Canada's greatest pinot noir? ~ If you can’t find the best, try LCJ’s less expensive bargains

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Perfect for an Autumn day
Is that a bottle of spicy wine under your kilt?
© Michael Vaughan 2007
National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, September 22, 2007

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

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To celebrate the first day of autumn I was thumbing through the Vintages catalogues looking for something different. Suddenly, there it was staring me the face. In last Saturday's release I uncovered the pride of Scotland. No it's not Scotch, but an elixir made by steeping whole ginger in wine for an extended period extracting every ounce of flavour. Chilies and spices are then added to give this unique wine its heat.

From the house of Aberfoyle & Knight comes Hutchisons Spiced Ginger Wine (505636) at $13.95 (700 ml). Orange amber in colour, it is very intense, sweet and spicy with delicious, hot, honeyed, ginger-caramel flavours. Perfect for a frosty Fall day; perhaps as a pre-prandial on the rocks with a twist of lemon.

Another warming sweetie, this time for after dinner sipping, is González Byass Nutty Solera Oloroso (35204) also in Vintages at $12.95. It has sweet but balanced, fairly rich, plummy, caramelized apples and raisin flavours with a lingering finish.

If you want something a tad stronger, there nothing like a shot of Nonino Grappa di Vinacce di Uve (947069) to stir the juices. It is clear and colourless with dry, harmonious, slightly spicy, honeyed, grassy, pear flavours which will dance on the tongue. A Vintages bargain at $37.95 (700 ml), this Friulane Metado Artigianale will be coming out in next Saturday's release.

Liqueur fans will be happy that Lochan Oro Scotch Whiskey Liqueur (303073) at $39.95 reappeared on September 1st. It hasn't been available for almost two years. I am disheartened to report that it is one of those silly hidden ISDs (in-store-discoveries) that Vintages refuses to present to the wine writers. It has a seductively sweet nose and taste - shades of spicy, clove-tinged, Scotch toffee and Christmas cake. It's great after dinner served neat on the rocks.

With the Australian wine fair coming up on Thursday, September 27 (details are posted on my website) here are a couple of currently available wines worth exploring. If you like Italian Asti, you will be amazed with Trentham Estate 2006 La Famiglia Moscato (43968) at $15.95. It comes with a screwcap closure and has charming slightly sweet, fresh Muscat aromas and refreshing effervescence. Tasty anytime.

A white worthy of a detour is 2006 Annie's Lane Chardonnay (59105) at $17.95, which comes from the Clare Valley. It shows good complexity for the price with well-structured, toasty, ripe lemon-melon flavours.

An even better Chard can be had for a few dollars more. From Victoria, Olsen 2004 Big Fella Chardonnay (34884) at $21.95. Mature, rich and complex, the toasty, mouthfilling, lemon-lime meringue flavours will match a rack of lamb. The secret to the intensity are low yields and high quality French oak. You will be happy that you brought this big fella to your table.

For a solid juicy red, try Elderton 2005 Friends Shiraz (660480) at $19.95. Deep intense purple in colour, it has a very spicy, complex, roasted ripe plum and smoky-chocolate nose. Ditto for the palate with its black cherry and vanilla tinged finish.

Those looking for something a bit richer, the chunky Massena 2005 Epsilon Shiraz (39552) at $26.95 from the Barossa Valley is worth a detour. It has an extremely deep intense purple colour with smoky, complex, baked plum and ripe black cherry purée flavours with a long lingering finish. Don't be concerned about the screwcap closure; this hefty red is capable of aging well for several more years.

Coming up

Thursday, September 27 - Australian Regional Heroes Tasting
[Toronto] Held at the Design Exchange - 234 Bay St., from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.Tickets are $60 per person, for reservation and information contact Wine Australia at 416-323-3016 or visit

2001 - 2007 Tasting Note Database
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