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LCBO and Costco - best one

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itryalot Oct 15, 2009 02:59 AM

Looking for a really good LCBO - Imported wines; are there some locations better than othes?

I know by my visit to many, some COSTCOs have a better selection of foods; any come to mind?

  1. haggisdragon Oct 15, 2009 03:35 AM

    The LCBOs at Summerhill and Queens Quay both have a massive selection on vintages. They are the flagship stores.

    2 Replies
    1. re: haggisdragon
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      OTFOODIE Oct 15, 2009 06:18 AM

      The LCBO's at Weston and 401 and Bayiew Village are both top notch as well.

      1. re: haggisdragon
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        simplepieman Oct 15, 2009 06:20 AM

        From what I've been told by LCBO employees, Queen's Quay is designated an "all-brands" location, meaning they are mandated to carry everything on the LCBO stocklist (at least in theory). My own experience in hunting for hard-to-find items is that they are more likely than Summerhill to carry a particular item. But while Summerhill is not QUITE as comprehensive as Queen's Quay, it's still an excellent store, and its location can't be beat.

      2. Lazar Oct 15, 2009 07:23 AM

        In my experience, there website is their best resource if you know exactly what you want. For example, last year, I was desperately looking for Catena Alta Malbec (2006 if remember correctly), really loved that wine. Went to Queen's Quay, Summerhill, Bayview, and others, but all were out of stock (and apparently had been for a few weeks).

        Finally, went online to see availability at other stores, and the location in Scarborough on Kingston Rd had 30+ bottles! Wish I had done that sooner, would have saved me time and fuel.

        Granted, I could have asked the employees at the various locations to check their system. But I always seem to get to the stores when they are either extremely busy or there is minimal staff around. Either way, I really dislike excessive waiting, I sometimes wish they would have terminal kiosks in their stores kind of like the ones Chapters has, so you can just browse on their system if no one is available.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Lazar
          Full tummy Oct 15, 2009 07:28 AM

          Second the website!!! Have used it many times. Unfortunately, some of the better stores are also often sold-out of items. Best to check online, as you may find what you're looking for where you least expect it...

          1. re: Full tummy
            estufarian Oct 15, 2009 08:43 AM

            Agree, the website is a 'better' option. The all-brand stores get more traffic, so they often sell out sooner.
            However, if you care about the vintage of a wine, then find another province! The LCBO re-uses the same product code for later shipments from the same producer, so if you search for a specific vintage you could be in trouble. Then call the store as well - it may save you a fruitless trip. I've found this MANY times (most recently last week on a wine costing well over $100). The actual wine was an inferior vintage.

            1. re: estufarian
              1sweetpea Oct 15, 2009 09:34 AM

              I live in Windsor, where the wine selection is quite weak, generally. When I discover something I like or read about a wine that sounds good, but isn't available in Windsor, I go on the LCBO website and find a location in Ontario that has a number of bottles. I ask my local store to have 6 or 12 bottles delivered from the store I've found online. They always do it for me, especially since I've already done the legwork for them. I've even had Eastern European beers ordered to our local store in cottage country. I wouldn't bother for a bottle or two of anything, but if I'm going to go to the trouble, I'm usually happy to order a case of wine or however many cans/bottles of beer come in a flat.

              1. re: 1sweetpea
                Lazar Oct 15, 2009 12:08 PM

                I have done this as well (e.g. 6 bottles of Malbec sent from Scarborough to a Toronto store that is more local to me).

                All the stores normally do this or even offer right from the outset, but every once in a while, you get an LCBO employee who can be a real jerk and make an issue out of it (I am looking in your direction Bayview Village LCBO). If that happens, don't let it discourage you

          2. re: Lazar
            syoung Oct 15, 2009 01:38 PM

            Lazar, if you like Catena's wines, you need to get their flagship Nicolas for the ultimate! They currently have it (2005 vintage) as a special limited offer (call them fast!), however, I expect they'll all be gone by the time you read this/

            1. re: syoung
              Lazar Oct 15, 2009 04:17 PM

              syoung, why do you do you dangle the carrot in front of me, only to snatch it away from my grasp?

              I will have to check, but I went on a Catena tear a while ago, and I think I did enjoy a bottle or 2 of Nicolas. Damn, my memory sucks...or maybe I just had too much Nicolas.

              The other thing I enjoy when I am in QC is to head to the SAQ, where the sell Catena Malbec in ½ bottles. Last time I was there, the were on sale, and I cleaned that particular store out.

              1. re: Lazar
                syoung Oct 16, 2009 07:43 AM

                Sorry about that!!!

                If you haven't already and want to give it a try and call to see if any are left, here's the link:

                http://www.vintages.com/vmail/catena_...

                1. re: Lazar
                  syoung Apr 20, 2010 05:52 PM

                  Just want to drop a word out to Lazar to check out the May Vintages Classics Collection as there are a few single vineyard Catena malbecs that will probably be to your liking. No Nicolas but these single vineyards should be excellent.

            2. syoung Oct 15, 2009 01:28 PM

              Agred with others that if you're looking for a specific wine, then check the website for inventory first. As well, if a store has less than 10 bottles, call them first to confirm inventory as sometimes it could be an error, timing difference (computer inventory only updated in the evening) or held by someone else.

              If you're just looking to browse, than check out these stores especially:

              Summerhill: Bordeaux (especially 1er Cru and other high $$$), Burgundy, California, New Zealand, Tuscany, Piedmont, Amarone, Portugal, Rhone, Alsace

              Queen's Quay: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Spain, Australia, Germany, US, all Italy, Germany

              Bayview: Piedmont, Tuscany, Spain, Southern Rhone, Australia, South America, South Africa, New Zealand, Burgundy, California Syrah

              For hidden gems, it's Summerhill by far.

              1. Lazar Oct 15, 2009 04:27 PM

                Almost forgot to answer the second part of your query. As far as Costcos go, I find it is pretty much a crap shoot. Sometimes certain items just take time to get to the particular locations.

                I remember once the Costco in Woodbridge had Bresola, but the one in Ajax didn't. A couple of weeks later, the Ajax had Bresola and would regularly stock, and the Woodbridge location wasn't going to be getting any more after their existing stock ran out.

                I guess they try to customize their products for the local demographic, but their stock changes so frequently it is hard to predict consistency. Of course, this is only my experience

                3 Replies
                1. re: Lazar
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                  embee Oct 15, 2009 04:59 PM

                  Interesting, then, that they do not stock smoked meat briskets in Downsview, but sell them in Ajax? Peterborough?

                  1. re: embee
                    jayt90 Oct 15, 2009 06:50 PM

                    I have a feeling the buyers are food people, and the local managers are bean counters.

                    1. re: embee
                      Lazar Oct 16, 2009 07:24 AM

                      As I said, these have only been my experiences. But that particular situation has happened enough times (with different products) that I use it as a rule of thumb.

                      One thing I do know is that if you go to customer service, they will be more than happy to let you know which locations have specific products. The only issue with that is if you are willing to wait in the always massive line that seems to be the one consistent thing that every Costco has.

                  2. i
                    itryalot Oct 15, 2009 05:52 PM

                    Summerhill is on my list,but I will be checking online first. Thanks all! I will take a chance with my trip to Costco.

                    1. Davwud Oct 16, 2009 04:13 AM

                      I find with Costco that there are two types. Good ones and bad ones. Period. Bad ones around here include Warden/Ellesmere and Queensway/Islington.

                      As for the LCBO, one thing I found was the store on Wilmington s/o Finch was never busy. This is great if you need something standard around Christmas time. No need to stand in line for 30 minutes. I would go in there and be out in 10 minutes. I haven't lived in that area in 10 years so I don't know now. I don't even know if it's still there. But just a little tip.

                      DT

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Davwud
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                        instantnoodle Oct 16, 2009 07:46 AM

                        What do you consider as a good or bad Costco? What product selection are you referring to? I often hear from my sister in the US telling me about interesting products. There often are not many interesting products at the Costco on Queensway (that's the one I'm closest to). I often just go for supplies like diapers.

                        1. re: instantnoodle
                          Davwud Oct 16, 2009 07:56 AM

                          It's sort of a hard definition to pin down. Basically, it's a smaller store. Not easy to get in and out of. Crappy shopping carts. Lousy food court. Better "Roadshows." Just little things like that. I find the Queensway one and the Warden/Ellesmere ones to be a bit dingy whereas the newest one close to me (Elgin Mills/Leslie) is very bright.
                          For selection, I find that they're all pretty much the same. At least for stuff that I'm interested in.

                          DT

                          1. re: Davwud
                            e
                            erly Oct 16, 2009 08:23 AM

                            There was time that we made the trip to the Woodbine store, as many more products were available than at our closest Costco Warden/Ellesmere, but the Woodbine store discontinued almost all of the products that made it worth the trip.
                            A great bacon (forget the name but it began with a F) that was not waterlogged.
                            Freybe Franks, Dunns Briskets, jars of fresh Garlic, etc. etc.
                            Their baking has always been sub par at every store.
                            They like Loblaws seem to be focusing more on frozen foods, pity.

                            1. re: Davwud
                              syoung Oct 16, 2009 09:05 AM

                              We were told the Elgin Mills / Leslie Costco is considered to be a "flagship" store and will stock many items not found at other Costco stores.

                              1. re: Davwud
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                                instantnoodle Oct 16, 2009 09:50 AM

                                My sister is always telling me about all these organics products as well as organic meats at Costco.

                                I 've seen very very few organic products. None whatsoever in terms of meat.

                                1. re: instantnoodle
                                  Full tummy Oct 16, 2009 09:52 AM

                                  Which Costco does she shop at???

                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                    i
                                    instantnoodle Oct 16, 2009 09:54 AM

                                    She lives in the states.

                                    1. re: instantnoodle
                                      Full tummy Oct 16, 2009 10:05 AM

                                      That explains it. We don't have any of that stuff here.

                                      1. re: Full tummy
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                                        middydd Oct 16, 2009 10:17 AM

                                        I like the one at Highway 7 and 400. They seem to have more products than other stores, good parking and very good meat selection.

                                        I can usually get brisket there.

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