July 18, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: July 18

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Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz (Australia)

Sale $13.75, Regular $15.25
Discount (until July 22): $1.50
LCBO #189415 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: The blues! Blueberry, black berry, cassis … with sweet spice and generous plum and fig.
Pairs with: Southern BBQ, burgers, steaks, grilled veg, osso buco, Indian flavours, roti, mushroom risotto.
Good for: Sending the kids off to camp with a hearty “cheers!”
Alcohol: 14.4%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Here’s a nice, fresh tasting Aussie Shiraz that has that requisite generosity of fruit that we’ve all come to know and love. Well, most of us. Truth is, Aussie Shiraz — the more commercial brands, anyway — became a bit of a caricature of themselves through the early 2000s. They became over-done: flabby, soft, over-ripe. But the winds are changing again, and astute winemakers are pulling back from the “big and bold and rich” camp and instilling some elegance into their wines. Even at this price point. Wyndham has always been a favourite estate of ours and they continue to make solid, very pretty, Shiraz.

Tasting note
Lots of ripe black and blue fruit aromas: blackberry, blueberry, plum and black cherry. There’s some delicate spice on the nose too, and soft leather. Really very pretty. The palate is generous, very fruity and delicious. More black fruit and spice. It’s dry, but there’s some residual sugar that lends texture and flavour. This is a nice big wine for people who love big wines, but in fact it exhibits a level of complexity and elegance that is rare at this price. Well done!

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July 11, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: July 11

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Tawse Limestone Ridge Spark Riesling (Ontario, Canada)

Sale $18.95, Regular $20.95
Discount (until July 22): $2.00
Vintages #370361 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Zingy citrus (lime especially) and green apple with touches of white flower and honeysuckle.
Pairs with: Raw seafood, ceviche, charcuterie and cheeses. Pasta in cream sauce too. Casual nibbles of all sorts, the saltier the better.
Good for: Knocking off work early to take care of things. You know, “things.”
Alcohol: 12%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Not only does Tawse make some of the finest wines in Ontario, but we like their biodynamic and eco-friendly vibe. Sure, that has nothing to do with the taste of this fantastic sparkler, but it makes us feel good. Made with 100% Riesling — unusual for a sparkling wine — this is a unique and eminently enjoyable bubbly. Perfect to drink super-cold on a hot day all on its own, but also great with all kinds of food. It has the zippy acidity that goes so well with everything from raw seafood to creamy sauced pastas. This wine really loves oysters. Trust us on this, we’ve experimented many times.

Tasting note
Fresh nose of citrus, green apple and fresh herbs. Pretty, refreshing and inviting. A real “zing” in the mouth from the acidity, which is well balanced with a touch of residual sugar. The mousse is just lovely and the overall mouth effect is lively, juicy and… well, you’ll just want to keep drinking it! Quite a substantial finish, very clean and lemony. A wonderful wine at any price, but superb at under 20 bucks!

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July 04, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: July 4

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Anselmi San Vincenzo 2016 (Veneto, Italy)

Sale $16.95, Regular $17.95
Discount (until July 22): $1.00
Vintages #948158 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Cool, crisp citrus, fresh herbs, peach and pineapple.
Pairs with: Salad, cold soup, asparagus, fresh herb omelette, goat cheese, grilled shrimp, dumplings, fried fish, sushi, Asian dishes.
Good for: Serving ice-cold while taking refuge from the heat.
Alcohol: 12.7%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Got a little palate fatigue? Tired of the same old Chards and Pinot Grigios? Want a funky summer white wine that’ll give you a little kick in the pants? Grab a couple bottles of this white from Italy. It might remind you of a Sauvignon Blanc with its crisp herbaceous-ness and, shall we say, zing. The grape is Garganega, the same grape used for Soave. Citrus is a predominant note, and you’ll often find green plum and almond too. Anselmi is one of Italy’s finest producers of Garganega wines.

Tasting note
Bright aromas of citrus, apple and fresh herbs, even a little mint, along with some peach and pineapple. Quite pretty and exotic. It’s round and fleshy, with a touch of sweetness. It has some heft, which makes it perfect for serving well chilled. It’s versatile with food, so do experiment. You have a wide variety of fruit and herb elements to play with, so it’ll do nicely with foods either complex or simple. Asian dishes will be quite nice, as will seafood and fish.

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June 27, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: June 27

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Malivoire Ladybug Rosé (Niagara, Ontario)

Sale $15.95, Regular $16.95
Discount (until July 22): $1.00
Vintages #559088 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Fresh cherry, strawberry, gooseberry with hints of rose and red licorice.
Pairs with: Chicken wings, pizza, charcuterie and cheeses… easy things. Lightly grilled fare will shine.
Good for: Canada Day long weekend… or any long weekend. Or any weekend. Also great for daily drinking.
Alcohol: 12.5%
Drink: Now to 2020.

Why we're drinking this
Not just because this wine won a 2018 Ontario Wine Award — full disclosure I was a judge at this blind tasting — we love this wine and have been a loyal fan from day one. It’s a fridge staple both at home and at the cottage. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar makes four different rosés, each lovely and unique in its own right. The Ladybug is the “biggest” of the bunch, with deep salmon colour and a fuller body and texture. It’s a dry wine, but has a small amount of residual sugar, which is the sugar content leftover after fermentation. (All wines have a little bit.) This lends texture, a dash of sweetness (but not so’s you’d notice, really) and fleshes out the fruit flavours. This is a wonderful wine, straight up.

Tasting note
Fresh perfume of wild berries, cherry and flowery meadow. Soft attack in the mouth, with cascading flavours of strawberry, cherry, citrus and gooseberry. Generously ripe fruit, lovely soft texture, and just enough acidity to keep it all bright and easy. Such a pretty wine in the glass, too, especially if you’re outside in the sunshine. Enjoy on its own or with fun foods like chicken wings, pizza, a board of cheese and meats. Tip: buy at least two bottles so you don’t run out. Maybe buy more if you’re drinking this with a friend…

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June 20, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: June 20

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Spier 2016 Signature Merlot (Stellenbosch, South Africa)

Sale $10.90, Regular $12.90
Discount (until June 24): $2.00
LCBO #454827 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Plum, red berries, blue berry and mocha. Straight up Merlot. No surprises, except how good it is.
Pairs with: Easy stuff like pizza, burgers, cold cuts, a sandwich. Pretty much anything you like to eat.
Good for: Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday. Certainly Monday. Sunday too. Thursday if it’s all you have left. Friday, sure why not? (Saturday you should drink rye or Champagne.)
Alcohol: 14%
Drink: Now.

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Why we're drinking this
We’re not sure what “mulled red berry” smells like, but that’s just one wine note you might read if you Google this wine. We’re drinking this wine: a) because it’s cheap and good; b) because it’s from South Africa, the home of cheap and good (and also premium and great); c) because we love Merlot. So when you’re done mulling your red berries, this should be your go to weekday red. It’ll make a good party red too. A nice change from the usual suspects. You know who they are.

Tasting note
Pretty nose of plum and blueberry, some fresh and dried herbs, and mocha. Taste is soft and inviting, with more berries (mulled… maybe…) and mocha-chocolate on the finish. It’s a pleasantly dry wine with a nice soft texture. Really easy to drink. Soft tannins, balanced acidity, good fresh fruit. It’s what a good solid ten dollar wine should be. And you should be proud serving it (rather than the usual same olds… )

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June 13, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: June 13

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Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza, Argentina)

Sale $17.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until June 24): $2.00
Vintages #985002 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Lots of black fruit and berries, cherry, rich plum and cassis and luscious texture.
Pairs with: Big meats, steaks, burgers, brisket, lamb tagine, duck confit, semi-soft cheeses. Grilled stuff.
Good for: Staying just under your $20 threshold for weekday wines. At this price, you can have two. Invite the neighbours over!
Alcohol: 13.9%
Drink: Now to 2020.

Why we're drinking this
While Catena is better known as a purveyor of fine Argentinian Malbec, the winery is also making some very nice Cabernet Sauvignon — at a very good price. You might think Chile is a hot zone for wines, and you’d be right. But with premium vineyards located at higher elevations, Chile can achieve the kind of cool climate conditions that are perfect for Cab Sauv, which needs lots of sunshine and a long warm growing season to reach full maturity. Four different vineyards contribute to this wine, with elevations ranging from 945 to 1524 metres. A wine this plush and delicious for under twenty bucks is a rare treat.

Tasting note
Pretty perfume with most of the usual Cabernet Sauvignon suspects: plum, black berries, cassis and a hint of savoury herbs, plus some refreshing red berries (cherry). Soft and plush, with ripe tannins and medium acidity. At just under 14% alcohol, this is quite a lively wine and rather light on its feet. This is what you want in a summertime Cab Sauv. It’s easy drinking but complex enough to go with delicious grilled meaty things.

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June 06, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: June 6

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Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2017 (South Australia)

Sale $12.25, Regular $14.25
Discount (until June 24): $2.00
LCBO #470062 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Soft, rich pear, apricot, citrus and sweet spice notes of ginger and honey. Full bodied, voluptuous, and food friendly.
Pairs with: Asian and Indian flavours, mild curries, sushi and pho.
Good for: Using up your credits with Foodora and Uber Eats.
Alcohol: 14.5%
Drink: Now.

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Why we're drinking this
Consistently great value in an interesting, easy-to-love white from South Australia. Viognier is a so-called aromatic grape variety, which of course means it’s got a powerful nose. And that makes it a really nice summer sipper, especially during lilac season. The country’s oldest family owned winery, Yalumba is a Viognier specialist and it shows. Look no further for your perfect sunshine wine. If you can find some good floating wine glasses and a splash pool, you’re all set.

Tasting note
As noted, the wafts of floral and sweet spice will hit you immediately (though softly) with peach and pear, citrus, ginger and apricot. Viognier is a rich, velvety wine, and usually fuller bodied. This one is bang on. Serve it well chilled (but not icy) and observe as the layers of flavours unpeel as the wine warms up a bit. This is a versatile food wine. You want to pair similar flavours and textures. Go for Asian and Indian dishes, sushi, Korean barbecue, mild curries and pho.

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May 30, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: May 30

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Chanson Réserve du Bastion Pinot Noir 2015 (Burgundy, France)

Sale $20.95, Regular $24.95
Discount (until June 24): $4.00
Vintages #50575 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Deep and rich, with black cherry, cranberry and blackberry. Medium-bodied with a touch of spice and a touch of medium-soft tannins.
Pairs with: Bavette and frites, roast chicken, beef tartare, cold roast beef, duck confit.
Good for: A picnic with leftovers, impromptu lunch in the yard (or park), or just sipping on the stoop.
Alcohol: 12.5%
Drink: Now to 2020.

Need more wine? The summer ClubK delivers six killer bottles you won't find at the LCBO. $125 all in. Order today!

Why we're drinking this
This is a lovely Pinot Noir that exemplifies all that we love about the grape: it’s delicate yet complex, powerful yet elegant, and absolutely delicious. This 2015 vintage has serious character. This is a concentrated, layered wine. It’s much deeper in colour than usual, which is a good thing. Winemaker Jean Pierre Confuron was named winegrower of the year 2014 by the Revue du Vin de France and Wine & Spirit Magazine named Bastion French Winery of the Year in 2013.

Tasting note
Pretty nose of sour cherry, plum, blackberry and delicate sweet spice. (Excellent use of top quality oak here.) Medium body, with supple texture and rich, ripe fruit. Some tannins are present, just enough to make things interesting and position this for good food. There are layers to this wine. Chill it slightly, just shy of room temperature, to bolster those pretty black berries. This will be nice with lightly grilled summer fare, and it will shine with the season’s emerging vegetables cooked over a nice charcoal fire. A perfect summer picnic wine, too, with cold roast beef or chicken, veggie sandwiches, and lots of cheese.

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May 23, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: May 23

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KWV The Legend of Big Bill Cabernet Sauvignon (Western Cape, South Africa)

Sale $10.95, Regular $12.95
Discount (until May 27): $2.00
LCBO #457119 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Plum with a little spice and pepper, black berries, black olive and toasty oak, with some chocolate on the finish.
Pairs with: Big ol’ steak on a grill. Burgers, platters of meaty things.
Good for: Discussing the Ontario election, worrying about the Ontario election, forgetting about the Ontario election. Or, on a lighter note: a wedding.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
This is a new-ish wine to the market. And though the cartoony label promises an outrageously huge wine — in homage to “Big” Bill Millar from the KWV co-operative in South Africa — it is in fact rather elegant. Big Bill was the first general manager at the co-op, which started up in 1921. He was also a boxer, rugby star and war hero. You’d expect a massive wine with that kind of narrative. But there’s restraint here. This is a stunning value, even at regular price. It should be your summer barbecue or wedding wine, given that you can get a case for under $135.

Tasting note
Pretty nose, with good ripe fruit and lots of classic Cabernet elements: plum, blackberry, cassis, chocolate and toasty oak. It’s got a spicy kick in the mouth (that’s Big Bill talking!) with a nice round feel. Tannins are fairly soft, with a somewhat rustic presence. The fruit is perfect: ripe, bright, juicy. Very nice balance in a fairly bold Cab that’s drinking perfectly right now. Everyone should love this.

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May 16, 2018

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: May 16

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Santa Rita Reserva 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley, Chile)

Sale $12.95, Regular $14.95
Discount (until May 27): $2.00
LCBO #275677 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Green apple, citrus, green pepper, basil, lemongrass, mint and white pepper. (Yep, that’s a pretty nice salad right there!)
Pairs with: Salad, asparagus, onion tart, sweet pepper omelette, asparagus risotto, chicken sandwich.
Good for: Mowing the lawn… seriously. Why do you think there’s a cup holder on that thing?
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Spring is for Sauvignon Blanc. The asparagus is up, and really this is the only wine you can pair with asparagus. Because it pretty much tastes like asparagus drizzled in olive oil and lemon and sprinkled with basil, mint and pepper. Hailing from Chile’s Casablanca Valley, this is a pure, ripe and quite complex Sauvignon Blanc. It’s just the thing for summer — as the temperature outside starts to heat up, you can chill this down. Waaaaaaay down. It’ll warm up anyway, so either drink it fast or keep it on ice. (We favour the former.)

Tasting note
Prepare thy nose! Huge aromas of green apple, grapefruit, basil and green pepper, with some undercurrent of apricot and pineapple. Bone dry and bracing with acidity, this is nonetheless a nice creamy wine in the mouth. It’s not austere like some SBs. Complex flavours of apple, citrus, herbs and white pepper — which is why this is one of the few white wines that pairs nicely with salads. It can handle the vinaigrettes and fresh-cut veggies. But the creaminess goes nicely with proteins too, like grilled chicken or pork, frittatas or omelettes, and creamy risottos.

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