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LCBO New Releases


The LCBO has recently released some new wines for sale in Ontario. Has anyone sampled any?

Last night I tried the Bubbles by Yellow Tail from Australia, somewhere around $13.85. It was delicious, for an inexpensive light sipping sparkling wine. Fruity and a little sweet in the mouth with a slightly dry aftertaste (Please note I am not a wine expert, just my thoughts!)

Has anyone tried any of the other new Ontario releases?

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  1. ..thanks for the tip! I like the Wolf Blass one that sounds like that, but it is hard to find...I'll try that one...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Recyclor

      I'm not sure what pricepoints you're looking at, but I've had a few fantastic wines from the February 2nd release:

      2003 Chapoutier Hermitage Blanc Chante Alouette ($75, #140541) - huge tropical fruit on the nose and palate, with fantastic texture and length. Expensive, but excellent.

      2005 Perrin & Fils Vacqueyras Les Christins ($24, #973453) - loved this. Very elegant, with layers of complexity. If you're into big Aussie fruit bombs, this may not be your cup of tea, as it's more along the medium-full bodied tip with good fruit, structure, and garrigue. Would be a fantastic pairing with duck confit or something along those lines.

      NV Yves Lambert Cremant de Loire Rose ($17, #656488) - if you like bubbles, this is really fantastic stuff. Not Champagne by any stretch, but great texture that shows berries (strawberry and currant) as well as a touch of cocoa. Buy it! It doesn't hurt that on release, the LCBO messed up the CSPC pricing for a while and this wine was scanning in at about $9.50 instead of $17. I think they fixed that issue though.

      One wine I haven't tasted from the release that is pretty consistent from vintage to vintage is the 2005 Fairview Goats do Roam in Villages from South Africa ($16, 566851). I'd give that a crack as well.

      I could put some recommendations on wines from the Feb. 16th release in a separate post if anyone is interested.

      1. re: futronic

        Hey futronic, I also picked up some of the Cremant de Loire Rose and the pricing has been corrected. I was charged the full $17. I also bought one of the last bottles of Sieur d'Argues Cremant de Limoux (#52985) Billy Munnelly gave it very high praises. Act now, not many left in the GTA. Apparently it is a close to champagne as they come. Look forward to trying both.

        1. re: futronic

          I have tried the Fairview Goats do Roam and I found it quite nice. I can't remember what we ate it with (I think a rack of lamb) and it was very complimentary. I'd have to get out my notebook to tell you more!

      2. You might want to be a little more specific - the Yellow Tail sparkling concoction has been around for a few months at least. There have probably been hundreds of other new products (at least) in that time frame.

        The LCBO does regular bi-weekly Vintages releases of (mostly) new products, as well as frequent additions (not on a fixed schedule) to the General List and to Vintages Essentials. There are also a bunch of other programs, like the seasonal beer releases, and some spirits things.


        1. If you mean Vintages, not yet. As for sparkling, I did try a new one at a store that had samples, but I can't remember the name. It was really good, I think had strawberries in it or something.

          1. I understood that there had been a larger than usual release this month - if not, then my mistake! Anything recently available to Ontario and interesting is fair game.

            Futronic - great tips, thanks. I'll definitely be trying some of those.

            6 Replies
            1. re: FrenchSoda

              No problem. For those interested in the Feb. 16th release, there are plenty of well-priced, well made items available based on producer track record. Here's a good selection:

              2005 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile ($22, #322586)
              2005 Famiglia Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina ($14, #677567)
              2005 Fattoria di Basciano Chianti Rufina, Italy ($14, 68163)
              2005 Volpaia Chianti Classico, Italy ($23, 953828)
              2005 Tedeschi Valpolicella Classico Superiore Capitel dei Nicalo, Italy ($17, #984997)

              There are other interesting bottles at a higher pricepoint as well, such as the 2002 Rosemount Traditional, 2005 Ridge Geyserville, 2004 Napanook, and 2004 Dominus.

              1. re: futronic

                I've tasted all the wines at the LCBO lab -- these are my picks:

                WHITE WINES
                1.13th Street Funk Vineyard Riesling 2005 Niagara: racy and MVC, some
                off-dry on the end palate. +56564, $18, QPR: 90.
                2. Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay 2005 Sonoma: very MVC for the region,
                balanced with acid, fruit, toasted wood, butter. +421644, $19.95, QPR:
                2. St.Hallett Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Barossa: off-dry finish,
                twist top, useful drink. +57687, $14.90, QPR: 90.
                3. Pierre Spann Pinot Gris Reserve 2005 Alsace: off-dry feel, lots of
                body and fruit. +983395, $18.85, QPR: 90.
                4. Caves des Perrieres Pouilly-Fume 2006: MVC for the region,
                affordable, twist top. +61358, $19.95, QPR: 90.

                RED WINES
                1. Eral Bravo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Mendoza: off-dry, ready, North
                American appeal. +58081, $18.55, QPR: 90.
                2. Famiglia Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Mendoza: sustainable
                winery, 14.5% ABV kick, heavy Bordeaux nose. +677567, $13.95, QPR: 93.
                3. Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Colchagua: another thick and
                juicy mocha and tobacco toned wine. +322586, $21.80, QPR: 94
                4. D’Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 McLaren:
                delicious but some tart flavours, full profile for climbing. +943456,
                $20.95, QPR: 90.
                5.Zilzie Shiraz 2006 South Eastern Australia: cloves and fruit, rich,
                thick, lovely, heavy-heavy, buy it all! +58016, $16.75, QPR: 94.
                6. Chateau Lenormand 2005 Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux: depth, but needs
                time to resolve finishing tannins, balanced already. +60913, $18.45,
                QPR: 90.
                7. Domaine Laurent Mabileau St.Nicholas-de-Bourgueil 2005 Loire: MVC
                cab franc for the region, leafy, berryish. +61192, $14.55, QPR: 90.
                8. Beronia Reserva 2001 Rioja: another must-by from Spain, a great
                Rioja at this price. +50203, $17.55, QPR: 93.
                9. Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2005: North American in style and
                appeal, wood and fruity jam tones, thick. +606541, $19.95, QPR: 90.
                10. Fattoria di Basciano Chianti Rufina 2005: very intense and nervy,
                but getting better with airing. Value. +68163, $13.45, QPR: 91.

                At a higher price, there are some useful wines to take into a resto as a Bring Your Own:

                RESTAURANT READY WINES: to markup about $15, or for consumers to BYOW!
                1. Chateau de Rully Blanc 2004 (+46714, $27.45 retail, on your wine
                card for $42?) is ageing very well, some butter and light oak.
                2. Dominus 2004 Napa (+63057, $90.95 retail, but on your wine card for
                $99.99?) and its second wine, Dominus Estate Napanook 2004 Napa
                (+63065, $39.95 retail but on your wine card for $55?) form an
                interesting comparison. Both wines are ready to go now, but the
                Napanook is slightly more accessible and does not need food.
                3. Ridge Geyserville 2005 Sonoma (+723072, $47.75 retail, but on your
                wine card for $62?) is largely zinfandel. Read Josh Raynolds notes in
                the Vintages catalogue, and you won’t even have to drink the wine.
                4. Rosemount Traditional Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot 2002
                South Australia (+484097, $35.20 retail, but on your wine card for
                $49?) is 82-10-8 in percentages, very mellow and ready now.

                1. re: Dean Tudor

                  I had the St. Hallett Semillion-Sauv Blanc at Cowbell. The server recommended it to go along with their beef pot pie. I was skeptical at first...as someone still rather new to intentional food and wine pairings, I didn't think white wine would go with beef. I'm so glad I decided to trust him because it was seriously the most gorgeous food-wine pairing I've ever had. Every combined mouthful was so delcious...I can't fully remember the exact flavours now, but it was a revelation! Now I know what a good match can do...:)

                2. re: futronic

                  gotta agree with jay on the perrin et fils, they have been releasing great vintages this past year and although i think they need some good cellaring it's well worth the $$$.

                  i gotta bigup the 2004 zolo cab-sauv reserve, argentina. i think it comes in somewhere in or around $17 and is well worth it. approach it right now without hesitation, well structured and full of big blackberry and huge big boy tannins.

                  1. re: insideman

                    Sounds like someone knows me from another board. :p

                  2. re: futronic

                    I need to retract my recommendations of the 2005 Fattoria di Basciano Chianti Rufina and 2005 Volpaia Chianti Classico. I had them (as well as the Vale do Bomfim from Portugal) last night and they were awful. Thin and overly acidic. Quite disappointing.

                3. I bought into to Feb. 2 release, many of them sold out or hard to get now.
                  I've only tried one: Pillar Box Red, Padthaway 2005. $17.40
                  It is deep purple, tannic and unyielding. Needs at least 2-3 years as Parker suggests. It's a Feb. wine of the month but not much is still left.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jayt90

                    If anyone is after the 2004 Dominus, they still have a couple of Magnums at the Manulife centre and a bunch of bottles at Dupont/Davenport (just ask a consultant - they're in the back). Summerhill sold out immediately this morning.

                  2. Anyone find any good deals at LCBO lately? Mostly looking for the great value wines $10-15 and under.

                    Recently bought the Marcus James Malbec on the recommendation of Tony Aspler, but haven't tried it yet. It's supposed to be a bit like the Fuzion, which I must admit, I didn't really like the new vintage they are selling now. The older one was the great one, I think.

                    But has anyone tried any others?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: FoodyGirly

                      I don't think it's a "new" release but for the past few weeks I've been drinking Mezzomondo pinot grigio/chardonnay because I noticed it as part of the lcbo's current Italian/Spanish/Porguese promotion Viva Vino event. At $9.35 it was a deal.

                      Apparently others have come to the same conclusion. There were no more bottles to be found at three of the lcbo stores near me.

                    2. Micheal Torino Don David Reserve Malbec (12.95)
                      Not sure if its a new release but Chateau de Charmes Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007 is great too.

                      1. From the Dec 11th LCBO Release


                        2008 Yalumba, Shiraz/Viognier
                        Viognier is a white grape varietal which makes this Aussie red a touch unusual. Yalumba has blended a very small amount of the fragrant Viognier with their mighty Shiraz, a varietal typical of south Australia. The result is a powerhouse wine which I found a touch aggressive straight out of the bottle. After an hour of breathing time however, the deep inky purple Shiraz began to show its softer side. This full bodied wine seemed to mellow nicely in the glass with some air though make no mistake, while it is very good, it is also a very dry Shiraz and not one to sip on its own but instead, will pair perfectly with a rich red meat dish. Decant 1-2 hours before serving. LCBO #524926 / $19.95 (XD)

                        2008 De Martino Legado, Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon
                        Opened at lunch, the nose was quite fragrant but the mid palate was flat - nothing to write home about was my initial reaction but later in the day - Wow! The nose exploded with peppermint and the mouth-feel rounded out nicely. It is bone dry with dark fruit and an earthy aftertaste. A very interesting Chilean wine for sure! Decant 2 hours before serving LCBO #205674 / $14.95 (XD)


                        2009 Bougrier, Vouvray
                        'Consistently excellent' best describes this Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France. Bougrier's Vouvray is one of my 'go-to' wines and it never disappoints. The style is off-dry with notes of exotic fruit and a hint of honey plus just the right amount of acidity to pair will a multitude of foods or simply on its own as an aperitif. Save yourself the trip back to the store and buy a few bottles. LCBO #106880 / $13.95 (MD)

                        2008 Jackson-Triggs, Proprietors' Grand Reserve Chardonnay
                        This Niagara Chardonnay has spent 8 months in new oak and that style is quite prevalent in the vanilla and almond extract notes but these characteristics are balance by some nice tropical fruit and good acidity. This is a big wine and a rare opportunity where a white will also benefit from decanting. Let it breath for an hour. Very good. LCBO #593996 / $20.95 (D)


                        Royal Oporto 10-year old Tawny Port
                        The LCBO called this 200ml bottle a 'Stocking Stuffer' and I agree whole-heartedly. If you have not yet tried Tawny Port, this is the perfect place to start. Tawny is an oak-aged fortified wine and the 10-year designation is the average time the wine has spent aging in wood. The oak softens the wine's hard edges and slowly changes its colour to a soft tawny-brown. Traditionally, port is served on the cool side but I prefer mine at room temperature with milk chocolate - Wow! LCBO #661223 / $12.95 (S)

                        One for the Cellar:

                        2005 Ascheri Vigna dei Pola, Barolo
                        The 2000 version of Ascheri's Vigna dei Pola was voted top wine at the North of 9 Fine Wine Barolo tasting last March. Italy's Barolo is a product of the Nebbiolo grape varietal and wines from the 2005 vintage will benefit from at least 7-10 years in the bottle. Vigna dei Pola is aged as separate components in large Slovenian oak, new barriques, and stainless steel and then rejoined before bottling. Expect a big wine which is surprisingly light in colour filled with red fruit, subtle earthy notes, and a touch of spice. Cellar it until 2012 - It's worth the wait. LCBO #739920 / $41.95 (XD)


                        1. From the January 8th 2011 LCBO Vintages Release

                          It's been almost a month since the LCBO issued a Vintages release so I'm rather keen to taste the latest offerings. The January 8th issue brings good value for your money and rightfully so, December for most of us is a very expensive month. If you're like me, you also ate too much food over the holidays and have (or had) great intentions of living life on the leaner side this month. With that, can I recommend a few labels to pair with a healthier fare:

                          I picked up several bottles for sample from the Jan 8th Vintages release catalogue and the following two red, two white, one fortified selection, and one for the cellar, are in my opinion, good value for the varietal and region.


                          2008 Tolloy, Pinot Noir
                          If you're up on your heart-smart reading you'll realize that grape skins contains an antioxidant known as Reversatrol and since the juice for a red wine spends considerably longer soaking with the grape skins, a greater amount of this antioxidant is found in the wine. There is much debate on the benefits of Reversatrol but research does show that Resveratrol may be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. Interestingly, of all the red wines, Pinot Noir typically contains the highest degree of antioxidants, so I thought I'd do you a favour and recommend this nice Italian Pinot. This one is interesting for a couple of reasons: In Italy, Pinot Noir is also known as Pinot Nero which at the LCBO we don't see very often. The 2009 Tolloy is very much an old world wine: you will find it soft and very light in both colour and body. The fruit hides behind a very dry core of earthy notes. Enjoy this one with a grilled chicken salad and sprinkle a bit of the wine on the salad instead of dressing. LCBO #193441 / $15.95 (XD)

                          2008 St. Hallett, Shiraz/Grenache
                          When you've had enough of the 'smart food' and decide to return to normal living, try this Australian blend of Shiraz and Grenache along side a beef tenderloin smothered with a peppercorn sauce. There's lots of fruit here but not overpowering and it's followed by a hint of black pepper. Nice round mouth-feel and lots of black fruit and cassis on the finish. Very easy to drink. LCBO #024117 / $14.95 (D)


                          2009 Chateau Les Bertrands, Cuvee Tradition
                          Though you won't find it in bold print anywhere on the label, dry white wine from Bordeaux is almost always Sauvignon Blanc; this one has a touch of Muscadelle added to it. The French have been crafting great Sauvignon for longer than anyone else, they just don't market it with fancy advertising campaigns. The '09 Chateau les Bertrands shows very fragrant floral aromas with a hint of pear. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied and beautifully balanced with rather pronounced lime on the finish which I really enjoyed. This wine will go beautifully with white fish or sea scallops. LCBO #190967 / $14.95 (XD)

                          2009 Domaine du Vieux Chai, Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine
                          This light-bodied white is from Sevre-et-Maine, a sub-region in Loire, France. The term Sur-Lie (on lees) is a style of winemaking where the wine ages in a vat or barrel which also contains the sediment produced during the winemaking process. Normally, the clear wine is pumped off into a new barrel after which the sediment is discarded. In this example, the wine was left 'sur-lie' to absorbed additional flavour. This selection has pronounced pears and citrus notes but even more interesting is the slight effervescence or carbonation which adds a nice tingle as you sip. This will pair well with a variety of seafood dishes. LCBO #200048 / $13.95 (D)


                          Leacock's Rainwater Maderia
                          There really isn't much in this release in terms of sweet/dessert wines so I'll dig a bit deeper... Back in the October 16th, 2010 release, I was thrilled to see the return of Leacock's Rainwater Maderia. The term 'rainwater' is actually a designation of the Maderia's style, this one being very light on the palate; not like a Vintage Port or Oloroso Sherry. And it's not as sweet as you might expect either, Leacock's has a slight tang that works well on its own as an aperitif or paired with a semi-sweet dessert. Interestingly, the oldest wines in the world are all Maderia and once open, a bottle will last well over a month. Serve it slightly chilled. LCBO #189159 / $21.95 (MD)

                          One for the Cellar:

                          2007 Domaine Pavelot, Savigny-les-Beaune, 1er Cru aux Gravains
                          Yes I know the name is a lot to swallow, but the LCBO has it in the wrong order in their magazine. Pavelot is the last name of the producer, Savigny-les-Beaune is the name of a village at the top of Burgundy's Côte de Beaune where truly beautiful Pinot Noir is made, and aux Gravains is the name of the vineyard where the grapes are grown. The 1er Cru translates as 'premier vineyard or plot' meaning the vines are ideally positioned on the hill or côte and in terms of quality, the only designation greater is Grand-cru but for that, you must pay dearly. Pinot from Burgundy is my absolute favourite and I'll tell you from experience that Savigny-les-Beaune is a lovely wine for a special occasion. At the moment, this one is a rather bold but let it mellow in the bottle for a while and enjoy it perhaps with your turkey feast in 2013. You'll be sorry if you only buy one! LCBO #206136 / $47.95 (D)


                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Northof9

                            That is pricey for a 1er cru from Beaune, but Savigny can produce interesting barnyard flavors.
                            I don't recall any Grand Cru in the area.

                            1. re: jayt90

                              jayt90: You are absolutely correct, there are no Grand Cru vineyards within Savigny-lès-Beaune. The term in the tasting note above is simply used in an effort to explain what a 1er Cru is in general. I should have been more specific. Thanks for the observation.

                              Do you really find it pricey (for a premier cru)? This is arguably the top vineyard in Savigny and compared to the asking prices of many 'new-world' pinot producers, I think this, an example of tradition, is well under the radar: In Ontario alone, Tawse Winery 17th St. 2007 Pinot Noir is $58 and Le Clos Jordanne's top Pinot is $75.

                            2. re: Northof9

                              Actually, I drank that Savigny les Beaune with Christmas Dinner this year. It was perfect.

                              1. re: haggisdragon

                                Jan 8/11 release

                                TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
                                1. Peninsula Ridge Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2009 VQA Niagara: very good
                                consistency, MVC for Ontario chard, nice price for an oaked toasty
                                wine. +211490, $14.95, QPR: 90.
                                2. Cline Viognier 2009 North Coast California: dry version, with plenty
                                of honeysuckle perfume, 13.5% ABV. +128421, $14.95, QPR: 90.
                                3. Dominio del Plata Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2009 Calchaquiles
                                Valley: good aromatic sipper, twist top, 13.5% ABV. +1834, $11.95, QPR:
                                4. Cave Vinicole Kientzheim-Keyserberg Anne Boecklin Pinot Gris Reserve
                                2007 Alsace: off-dry in mid-palate, intense fruit, Gold Medalist
                                (Paris). +106831, $18.95, QPR: 90.
                                5. Cave Vinicole du Vieil Armand Riesling 2007 Alsace: Gold Medalist in
                                Alsace, extremely rip and unctuous, MVC. +205807, $15.95, QPR: 90.
                                6. Chateau Les Bertrands Cuvee Tradition 2009 Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux:
                                Gold Medal (Paris), slightly off-dry citric complexity, good herbs too,
                                15% muscadelle for aromatics. +190967, $14.95, QPR: 90.
                                7. Domaine Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc Touraine 2009: the Loire Savvy
                                wines keep coming, very good SB complexity, grass, stone fruit, citrus,
                                needs food. +82305, $12.95, QPR: 90.
                                8. Les Costieres de Pomerols Beauvignac Viognier 2009 VdP d’Oc:
                                aromatic, food or sip, priced to sell. MVC. +525295, $12.95, QPR: 89.
                                9. Pfeffingen Gewurztraminer Spatlese 2008 Pfalz: off-dry food wine for
                                heavy cabbage-based and fatty foods, 11.5% ABV. +211417, $19.95, QPR:

                                TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
                                1. Sumptuary Zinfandel 2007 Amador County: very good quality (oak,
                                black fruit, mocha). Load up!! +203869, $15.95, QPR: 90.
                                2. La Posta Pizzella Family Vineyard Malbec 2008 Uco Mendoza:
                                associated with the Catenas. Fine value for berries and fig jam.
                                +166298, $15, QPR: 90.
                                3. Majella The Musician Cabernet/Shiraz 2008 Coonawarra: delicious
                                balance of fruit and wood, 14.5% ABV. +142018, $19.95, QPR: 89.
                                4. Fairview Shiraz 2008 WO Coastal Region South Africa: delicious, good
                                backbone for black fruit and mocha and underbrush. Affordable to load
                                up. +626358, $14.95, QPR: 91.
                                5. Chateau La Fleur Terrien 2008 Lussac-Saint-Emilion: North American
                                style of bright fruit, merlot-based (70%). Enjoy now. +199059, $15,
                                QPR: 90.
                                6. Chateau de Gourgazaud Cuvee Mathilde 2008 Minervois: garrigue,
                                mocha, black currants. +958629, $14.95, QPR: 89.
                                7. Tolloy Pinot Noir 2008 IGT Alto Adige: one of the best modestly
                                priced pinots I’ve had. Open in advance, decant once. +193441, $15.95,
                                QPR: 90.
                                8. Produttori di Govone Barbaresco 2006: light but okay nebbiolo wine,
                                MVC for the region, great price. +119503, $19.95, QPR: 91.
                                9. Bodegas Palacio Glorioso Crianza 2006 Rioja: Gold Medalist at
                                Bruxelles. Hard to find a more excellent MVC Rioja value at this price
                                level. +340844, $15.95, QPR: 91.

                                1. re: Dean Tudor

                                  Thank you for this post! I tried the Crios (#3 under whites) and love it. I went back for a few more bottles, but I don't think they'll last long.

                            3. From the January 22, 2011 LCBO Vintages Release


                              2007 Messias, Grande Escolha
                              For most of us, Portugal represents Vintage and Tawny Port, the thick, rich and greatest example of fortified wine. But are you aware that the Portuguese also make really good dry red wine? This one is from Douro and is made with the same grape varietals used in the production of port except it’s not fortified with brandy spirits. Aromas of highly concentrated dark fruit with a hint of dark chocolate precede smooth blackberries accented by black pepper and spice. Try it with prime rib. LCBO #064691 / $17.95 (XD)

                              2009 Rolling Shiraz
                              Rich red fruit greets you right off the top combined with some earthiness. The two actually balance each other out nicely. On the palate, sweetness and lots of it coats your tongue with ripe juicy fruit and a hint of spice. It is by no means a full-bodied Shiraz; the style is much lighter and very easy to drink. A bargain at this price. LCBO #203133 / $14.95 (D)


                              2009 St. Donatus Irsai Oliver, Balatonlellei
                              Irsai Oliver is a type of white grape native to central Europe and in this example, Hungary. The awkwardness of the name has not added to the appeal of this very fragrant varietal though that should not deter your interest in trying something new. On the nose: Aroma is not the correct word; perfume is more accurate and you must try it to believe how pronounced the fragrance actually is. Crushed rose petal bath soap, if you can imagine it – very interesting. On the palate: fresh acidity highlighted with touch of lime on the finish. Can I say that it even tastes like flowers? Delicate but very pronounced and recommended. LCBO #012070 / $12.95 (D)

                              2009 Terres Blanches, Muscat Sec
                              From the south of France, this wine greets you with aromas of lemon and orange. There is also a floral note which is very typical of the Muscat grape. Sec implies a dry wine but this one is not overly-so. Serve this alongside lemon chicken to someone who will only drink Chardonnay and watch their expression. A perfectly balanced wine. LCBO #200048 / $13.95 (D)


                              2004 Croft LBV Porto
                              Late Bottle Vintage (LBV) is port which is ready to drink much earlier than the traditional vintage port style. LBV has been filtered and/or fined and therefore will not benefit from additional bottle age and at 6 years old, this one is quite rich and smooth offering up chewy dark fruit with a touch of pepper and heat. The open air did seem to take the spicy edge off within an hour or so. LCBO #087601 / $17.95 (S)

                              One for the Cellar:

                              2008 Domaine Bernard Defaix, Côte de Lechet, Chablis, 1er Cru
                              Chablis is a satellite of the French appellation of Burgundy. The Chardonnay here has a pronounced minerality and freshness when compared to its buttery counterparts in the Côte de Beaune. This premier cru will benefit from 2 to 5 years in the cellar over which it will develop a fullness on the palate to balance out the crisp acidity right now. Aged Chablis is always worth the wait. LCBO #950667 / $31.95 (XD)


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Northof9

                                From Jan 22/11 Vintages release:

                                TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
                                1. Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc 2009 North Coast California: warm Cal
                                style, inviting, toned down grassiness, restaurant wine. +146258,
                                $17.95, QPR: 90.
                                2. Folie a Deux Menage a Trois Chardonnay 2008 California: rich Cal
                                style, finishes a bit clove-y, vanilla and butter side of oak. +158592,
                                $18.95, QPR: 90.
                                3. Vina Casablanca El Bosque Chardonnay 2008 Casablanca: baked apple
                                nose, some caramel, Burgundian, food-driven lemon taste, long finish.
                                +208389, $14.95, QPR: 91.

                                TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
                                1. Trentadue Old Patch Red 2006 North Coast California: 46% zinfandel,
                                35% petite sirah, 12% carignan, 5% sangiovese, 2% syrah. Best for BBQ
                                on your frozen patio/balcony. +686709, $15.95, QPR: 89.
                                2. Staccato Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Mendoza: organic, 60%
                                Malbec, dark fruit and spices, finishes best with food. +19660, $12.95,
                                QPR: 90.
                                3. Morande Reserva Pinot Noir 2008 Casablanca Valley: good pinot snap
                                and tartness, old world style MVC Burgundian. +59428, $14.95, QPR: 89.
                                4. Winery of Good Hope Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2009 WO Stellenbosch:
                                14% ABV. Mounds of fruit with sufficient finishing acid makes this a
                                swinger between sip and food. Great value. +8748, $11.95, QPR: 91.
                                5. Chateau de Nages Reserve 2009 Costieres de Nimes: gutsy and spicy,
                                red fruit, enlivened finish. Some garrigue. +427617, $14.95, QPR: 90.
                                6. Domaine de la Bastide Cuvee Les Figues Cotes du Rhone 2009: great
                                blend of syrah-grenache-carignan, North American appeal with juiciness,
                                but some refreshing tartness. +194852, $13.95, QPR: 90.
                                7. Cantine Nicosia Fondo Filara Nero d'Avola 2008 IGT Sicilia: berries
                                and mocha, plus herbs. Oaky with a lighter but sufficient acidic
                                finish. +207811, $15.95, QPR: 89.
                                8. Sartori L'Appassito Rosso 2008 IGT Veneto: wonderful intensity of
                                dried fruit and spices, good backbone for food. +193607, $18.95, QPR:
                                9. Casa de Santar Red 2007 Dao: dark fruit, cedary, leafy, unfiltered,
                                long finish, 13.5% ABV. +190710, $14.95, QPR: 89.
                                10. Casa de Illana Tresdecinco 2004 Ribera del Jucar: North American
                                style blend of syrah, cab sauv ands merlot, fresh lumber notes, off-dry
                                on the palate, fruity finish. +190702, $15.95, QPR: 89.
                                11. Vinos Sin-Ley Traza Gra 2 2008 Rioja: 100% Graciano. Berry
                                flavours, spices which persist on the finish, good adequate body.
                                Unoaked. Where is Gra 1 (the cooler climate version)? +190819, $16.95,
                                QPR: 90.

                                VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $20
                                Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10
                                markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers
                                should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.

                                1. Cedrick Bardin Pouilly-Fume 2009, +202416, $21.95 retail.
                                2. Markus Molitor Riesling Spatlese 2008 QmP Haus Klostergerg, +189613,
                                3. Mission Hill SLC Merlot 2005 Okanagan, +68353, $34.95.
                                4. Clos du Bois Sonoma Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Alexander Valley
                                Sonoma, +54080, $24.95.
                                5. M and D Phillips Earthquake Zinfandel 2007 Lodi, +59717, $39.95.
                                6. Clos du Calvaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007, +728139, $36.95.
                                7. Perrin & Fils La Gille Gigondas 2007, +906073, $26.95.
                                8. Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2006, +930966, $21.95,
                                QPR: 90.
                                9. Burgo Viejo Gran Reserva 2000 Rioja, +190611, $21.95.

                                1862 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1H1, CA

                                138 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA

                                Classicos Bar Cafe
                                30 Ontario St S, Kitchener, ON N2G1X2, CA

                                1. re: Dean Tudor

                                  Wow, Northof9 and Dean Tudor, thanks for these posts. I would love to keep these threads going on a regular basis for the various Vintages releases as I am keen to restock my wine shelves a bit over the next few months.

                                  I was at the LCBO the other day and pressed for time. Celebrating a birthday, I picked up a bottle of La Velona Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 for $51.95. It was FABULOUS. We decanted it for a couple of hours before dinner, and a hearty meal helped balance the weight of this wine but it was absolutely scrumptious. I also picked up a Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2008 Vintage and I didn't care for it at all - very thin, a bit sour, definitely not a winner for me.

                                  1. re: peppermint pate

                                    PP, as I said in the other thread, if you're really interested learning about LCBO Vintages releases, go to the Winespecator.com board where the biggest wine geeks (like me under another alias) talk about wine including all the latest LCBO releases.

                              2. From the February 5th 2011 LCBO Vintages Release

                                With the focus on Tuscany in this weekend’s release, if your preference is for a traditional grape varietal such as Sangiovese or even the more international flare of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, there are many intriguing wines to choose from. But of course, in our quest for discovery, North of 9 Selections has turned up a few ‘other’ interesting tasting opportunities. Let me show you a few...


                                2008 Pirramimma, Shiraz
                                You’ll have to move quickly if you want to get your hands on a bottle of this full-bodied Aussie gem. Port-like qualities here: thick, rich, and concentrated. Black fruit on the nose and lots of cocoa as it flows across the palate. At $24, this is underpriced. Decant 1-2 hours before serving. LCBO #987784/ $23.95 (D)

                                2007 Columbia Crest, H3 Merlot
                                Plenty of spice and black fruit on the nose. Medium bodied with initially an earthy taste which is followed quickly by more of the dark fruit. Quite dry on the finish. A very nice merlot. LCBO #209874 / $19.95 (XD)


                                2009 Kleine Zalze, Chardonnay
                                This was really nice. Initially, some peach and apple on the nose followed by a touch of vanilla and almond indicating time spent in oak, but on the palate, the flavours integrate nicely. Lovely; perfectly balanced Chardonnay from South Africa. LCBO #096495 / $15.95 (D)

                                2009 Ferraton Père & Fils, Samorëns Blanc
                                From the Rhône valley in France, the style is not normally available at the LCBO. Samorëns Blanc is a blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 40% Clairette. With several bottles open on the table as I tasted, the floral aromas from this particular bottle overpowered the others: Flowers and tropical fruit notes followed by a medium body and the taste of apples and pineapple wrapped up by a crisp acidity. Try this one purely out of curiosity. LCBO #073916 / $13.95 (D)


                                Pierre Sparr, Rosè Brut, Crémant d’Alsace
                                Champagne is from Champagne; bubbles from elsewhere, no matter how good, cannot be called Champagne – it’s the law. This Alsatian crémant however, is made with the same care and technique though for a fraction of the price. The term brut implies dry. Fine bubbles are an indication of care taken during production whereas oxygen infused rapidly by carbonation would produce larger bubbles similar to a soft-drink. The aroma of strawberries hits you immediately followed by cherries and a toasty roundness in the mouth. Nice, but don’t over chill this one; try it at 10ºC. LCBO #039016 / $18.95 (D)

                                One for the Cellar:

                                2007 Ciacci Piccolomini, D’Aragona, Ateo
                                The Vintages release indicates DOC status for this wine but it is actually IGT which implies a deviation from traditional approved winemaking practices. This wine varies from what might be viewed as ‘religious’ in terms of wine production in Sant Antino,Italy. For this, Ciacci has named this wine Ateo which translates as ‘atheist’. This is the first year that Sangiovese has not been included in the blend leaving only Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to create an international style that will appeal to many ‘big red’ enthusiasts. Expect a full-bodied wine dominated by dark fruit and spice. This will be lovely with a few years in the cellar; right now though, the tannic structure of the Cab. Sav. dominates. A great investment in taste at this price. Best after 2013. LCBO #211623 / $24.95 (D)


                                1. My ‘Selections’ this weekend include two red: the first of which is a fun Shiraz from south Australia followed by a another red, this time from Bordeaux and the first wine available in Ontario from the highly acclaimed 2009 vintage. Of course, I have two white for you as well: a fantastic Alsatian Gewurztraminer and a Chardonnay from Chile in addition to a lovely bottle of Sherry and finally, an unbelievable bargain from Burgundy for your cellar.


                                  2008 Jim Jim, Shiraz
                                  Very reflective of the big Aussie style; dark fruits on the nose: current, cassis, though not as much spice as one might expect of the variety. Full bodied, with great fruit and lots of chocolate; lip-smacking good wine here. LCBO # 682005 / $15.95 (D)

                                  2009 La Patache, Bordeaux
                                  Lovely ruby red colour with hints of raspberry on the nose. Medium bodied and rather modern for Bordeaux but not in the heavy California sense; smooth structure and easy drinking. A blend of 85% Cab Sauv with 15% Merlot. LCBO #217307 / $14.95 (XD)


                                  2008 Domaine Saint-Rémy Réserve, Gewurztraminer
                                  The North of 9 tasting group sampled five different ‘Gewurtz’ last week at our monthly tasting session and unfortunately this Alsace label was unavailable at the time. Wonderful fruit – peach, lychee, and some grapefruit; sweeter than most with great balance and a lovely aftertaste. Nice on its own or with an Asian dish. I really enjoyed this! LCBO # 061150 / $18.95 (MD)

                                  2009 Viña Los Vascos, Chardonnay
                                  This Chilean winery is managed by the great French estate of Lafite which produces what is arguably the most sought after label in Bordeaux. Here in Chile though, Lafite is striving for something of a more modernistic approach. The wine is very clean almost transparent in colour; unoaked with pronounced green apples and lemon on the nose followed by more of the same taste. Good acidity will pair this wine with many rich foods. LCBO # 206342 / $13.95 (D)


                                  Gonzalez Byass, Elegante Sherry
                                  This is a nice wine to sip before dinner with a variety of old cheeses. Elegante is sherry made in the Amontillado style which means the wine is relatively oxidized. The initial aroma is more of a nuttiness than the typical sherry tang. Soft and delicate in the mouth. Quite nice. LCBO 196816 / $14.95 (MD)

                                  One for the Cellar

                                  2007 Nicolas Potel, Les Grèves, Beaune 1er Cru
                                  Burgundy, France is the home of Pinot Noir and this wine is from the vineyard of Les Grèves which is classified as a premier plot of land for both its soil and exposure. Expect a medium body with notes of sour cherry, raspberry, and a touch of black pepper on the finish. Burgundy reds are best consumed with food. Premier cru Burgundy at this price is very rare. A lovely wine indeed but let it sit for a while. Enjoy it after 2012. LCBO # 196899 / $29.92 (XD)