Flood of Upcoming Tastings
was heartening to see the crowd at the recent Vintages 2002 Burgundy
tasting. While most of the selection focused on reds that appeared in the
September 3rd release, there was one true standout: Prince
de Merode 2002 Corton Les Bressandes Grand Cru
(620450) at $85.00, which is part of the Vintages Fall Classics release.
Only 25 cases were ordered and availability will be diluted by the
pre-release sales at the event. You can still try and nab a bottle of this
sublime, gently smoky, plumy, ripe cherry flavoured effort by telephoning
your order on -. Alternatively,
you might try the agent Paul Wilk of the Small Winemakers Collection at
for the upcoming Fall Classics, for the first time, absolutely nothing has
been previewed by the press. Worse yet, no Classics pre-tasting was held
for loyal Vintages customers. The recently-organized Burgundy event was
hardly a substitute - only 4 upcoming red 2002 Burgundies were tasted.
I am also puzzled why Vintages failed to show any of the 2002 white
Burgundies from the upcoming Classics.
It isn’t rocket science - if wines aren’t tasted, they are not going to be reviewed and that hurts sales. By canceling preview tastings and only quoting off-shore critics to recommend its Classics imports, the LCBO undermines Ontario writers. Also, by now limiting their exposure, the LCBO also hurts customers who rely on their reviews. This, along with the LCBO’s recently cancelled InStore Discovery preview tastings, can now be added to the growing list of Vintages marketing faux pas.
have no desire to taste more wines. Assessing more than 15,000 items
annually is challenging enough. Nevertheless, delivering the straight
goods on the best available to National Post readers means tasting as many
wines as possible. To this end, while the LCBO may have its shortcomings,
some Ontario importers and wineries, are considerably worse continuously
failing to get any visibility whatsoever for their wares.
example is last Winter’s Classics release of Patrice
Rion 2002 Nuits-Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes
(918664), which was initially priced at $59. Here is a very tasty item
that failed to move. Was it because it was the lowest scoring red Burgundy
in the Classics catalogue? Or perhaps it was the agent’s failure to
taste it with the local wine press. Whatever, there are still cases around
at a discounted price of $48.95. Its attractive, gently juicy, fairly
lush, plumy, ripe cherry-cranberry flavours are showing nicely now –
perfect for Thanksgiving!
the much-needed LCBO pretastings have vanished, there are a flood of other
tastings. This week alone there are three
major country exhibitions. The first is the annual Australia Wine Fair,
which takes place Tuesday, September 27 at the East
Galleria of the National Trade Centre at Exhibition Place.
The complementary trade tasting is from 2–5,
while the consumer tasting is from 6:30–9 pm. Tickets for the latter are
$50 plus service charge through Ticketmaster at 416-870-8000.
Wednesday, September 28, Spain takes centre stage with its “Old
Vines New Wines” exposition.
It takes place at Hart House at the University of Toronto. The trade
session is from 2-5 pm and the evening session for consumers from 6-9 pm
($45 or $40 for members of wine societies) Call Maria
416-967-0488 (612). As Spain
is definitely on a roll producing higher-quality wines than ever before,
give this one priority. There will be 110 wineries in attendance with 328
products to taste (the list is on my Web site).
on Thursday, September 29, there is the
“Art in a Glass” trade
tasting of Portugal’s G7, which consists of the portfolios of seven key
producers. It takes place from 2:30-6 pm at the Windsor Arms Hotel. For information contact William
Delgado at the Portuguese Trade Commission 416-921-0259.
on to the current Vintages best buy honour roll,
let me add a neat little best buy red from the French Midi: 2001
Château Étienne Des Lauzes
(652271) at only $12.95. This well-structured surprise from Saint-Chinian
is a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. In four words, it is
robust, juicy, smoky and delicious. The lingering black cherry flavours
are at their peak, so drink today.
who enjoy the complex flavours offered by South Africa’s unique Pinot
Noir-Cinsault cross should try Sumaridge
(681239) at $21.95. Originating in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley of the Walker
Bay region, this deep intense purple red effort has a spicy, slightly
meaty, smoldering fire nose. On the palate it is well structured and yet
lively with slightly smoky, plummy, stewed red cherry flavours followed up
by a tangy, lifted finish. It is meant for drinking now, perhaps with
question the highlight of the entire release and the best Italian red to
pass these lips in quite some time is the remarkable Tedeschi
2000 Amarone ‘Capitel Monte Olmi’
(964403) at $75.00. One would never know that this beauty has 15% alcohol,
it is so smooth and seamless. While the Vintages Catalogue tells us that
it is a 1998, it is in fact from 2000. A standout at this year’s May
17th Classics preview tasting, it has a very deep intense purple colour.
This lovely effort is quite rounded and surprisingly accessible, with
medium-full bodied, gently juicy, cherry-plum-pomegranate flavours
followed up by a leathery finish. Great today and perhaps even better
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