April 20, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: April 20

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava (Penedès, Spain)

Sale $12.75, Regular $14.25
Discount (until Apr. 23): $1.50
LCBO #216945 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Dry citrus and cut apple, clean and crisp.
Pairs with: Seafood, especially raw or ceviche. Snacks and finger foods. Roast birds.
Good for: Your daily dose of sparkling deliciousness. Great for dinner, lunch or breakfast.
Alcohol: 12%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
A few bottles of Cava should have a place in every home. A little bubbly on hand helps turn any occasion into something special. And Cava can offer tremendous value, so you can enjoy those bubbles for the same price as a regular bottle of wine. Cava is the Catalan word for “cave” and these wines are made in very similar methods to those of Champagne. Freixenet is the number one sparkling wine in the world — sure it’s a big commercial enterprise, but the juice is top notch.

Tasting note
Fresh, delicate perfume with flavours of citrus and apple, a little pear and lean mineral notes. Serve this wine quite chilled, which will enhance that bright fruit and liven up the bubbles. Make sure you have a backup bottle or two — once you go Cava it’s hard to go back.

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Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava (Penedès, Spain)

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

April 13, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: April 13

Château Argadens Bordeaux Superieur (Bordeaux, France)

Sale $15.95, Regular $17.95
Discount (until Apr. 23): $2.00
Vintages #681643 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Blackberry, cherry and cedar — a correct and tasty Bordeaux.
Pairs with: Lamb, beef, burgers and hard cheeses.
Good for: An introduction to Bordeaux at a nice price.
Alcohol: 13%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
There’s pedigree in this wine. It’s made by the Sichel family of the famous and famously expensive Bordeaux house Château Palmer. It’s a modern style made predominantly with Merlot (63%), so it’s approachable and easy to drink. (The rest is 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc.) It delivers textbook Bordeaux character — elegance, lean structure, tannins and precise berry fruit — that’s great for casual meaty meals. But its softer side — that Merlot talking — makes it an easy wine for sipping.

Tasting note
Concentrated, tight aromas of blackberry and cherry, plum and cedar. A very dry wine, with a bright fruity attack and zesty acidity, which gives way to Merlot suppleness. It’s lean but generous, not massively complex but nice. Perhaps the Cabernet Sauvignon in here didn’t quite reach epic ripeness, but it's balanced by the juicy Merlot and makes for a tasty blend. A good wine for lamb chops, bavette and burgers.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

April 06, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: April 6

Creekside Estate Winery 2014 Cabernet Merlot (Niagara Peninsula, Ontario)

Sale $13.95, Regular $14.95
Discount (until Apr. 23): $1.00
LCBO #431106 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Plush red and black berries with lingering hints of vanilla and chocolate and a nice savoury edge.
Pairs with: Red meats, stews, tomato-sauced dishes, mushrooms.
Good for: Drinking while cooking (or cooking to drink).
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now through 2018.

Why we're drinking this
This wine—always a favourite for Creekside fans—is practically a steal at its regular price of $14.95. Knock off a buck and you’ve got an excuse to get crazy on one of the plushest Cab Merlot’s you’ve ever tasted from the Niagara Peninsula. The Creekside winemaking team is masterful with these two grapes, coaxing power and finesse from the Cab (67%) and gorgeous texture and perfume from the Merlot (27%). They throw in 6% Cabernet Franc to bring some structure, acidity and more lovely fruit. The grapes in this 2014 bottle come from the estate’s lauded Queenston Road Vineyard and from the Serluca family vineyard near Virgil. A stunning little wine.

Tasting note
Pretty red and black fruit — cherry, raspberry, plum — greet the nose, along with a little vanilla and savoury herbs. Plush and dry with generous fruit and some chocolate on the palate. A mid-weight wine that’s easy to drink with soft smooth tannins and very nice balance. Bright acidity and a medium-plus finish that’s clean, fruity and delicious. Just a great all-rounder. It will pair nicely with red meats, stews and lively Italian fare with lots of red sauce. A baked mushroom dish would be perfect.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

March 30, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: March 30

Famille Perrin 2014 Côtes du Rhône Réserve (Rhône, France)

Sale $14.95, Regular $16.95
Discount (until Apr. 23): $2.00
Vintages #363457 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Bright black and red berries with a hint of earth and some savoury licorice/herbal qualities.
Pairs with: Meaty nibbles, savoury/earthy stews, grilled meats, game.
Good for: Something cooked over an open fire. Or, sipping on its own and dreaming about an open fire.
Alcohol: 13%
Drink: Now through 2018.

Why we're drinking this
When you want to pretend you’re in France on a charming little bistro terrace, this is the wine that’ll take you there. It’s a quintessential southern Rhône wine: unpretentious, vibrant, expressive and—what it all comes down to—delicious. The Perrin family is a legendary presence in the region and they make wines for all budgets, from the wallet-friendly La Vielle Ferme label all the way up to $100 Châteauneuf-du-Papes. This Réserve is a staple at the LCBO, and as long as it remains under $20, it’s a very good value. A crowd pleaser for sure.

Tasting note
Here’s a nice little wine that tastes, well, alive. It’s got some verve, expressed in juicy black and red berry fruit. It’s mid-weight, kind of a goldilocks “not too light and not too heavy” thing going on. Which makes it a nice party wine, when you want something with a bit of personality. Good acidity and alcohol balance; it’s not too boozy. Under the fruit, there are some nice meaty-earthy-herbal hints, a little smoke and licorice, and a bit of a wild side. Great for grilled meats on the barbecue, rustic stews and pepperoni pizza. Drink now or hang on for a year or two.

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Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve (Rhone, France)

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

March 24, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: March 23

Gabbiano Promessa 2015 Pinot Grigio (Chianti, Italy)

Sale $11.45, Regular $12.95
Discount (until Mar. 26): $1.50
LCBO #77990 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Fresh and easy pear, apple, citrus. That’s all you need, really.
Pairs with: Light snacks and canapés, a little salmon on cream cheese, an onion tart, Bits and Bites, etc.
Good for: Tumblers. No need to put on airs here.
Alcohol: 12%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Here’s a Grigio you needn’t be embarrassed to take to a party, especially a patio party or poolside gathering. OK, the weather isn’t quite there yet, but it’s coming. This is a suitably crisp white with alcohol leaning to the low side and a very dry flavour profile (just 2 grams of sugar per litre). Gabbiano is one of the most important producers in Chianti. Their whole medieval motif — see label — is genuine, and the castle on the property dates back to the 12th century. So there’s a fun fact to throw out while you're cracking the (very welcome) screw cap.

Tasting note
Light and delicate aromas of pear and citrus, with a touch of pineapple. Very dry and lightweight, with similar flavours along with fresh apple. Nicely textured and persistent. A very pleasant drinker on its own or with simple snacks and canapés. The epitome of cheap and cheerful—and nothing wrong with that!

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Gabbiano Promessa Pinot Grigio

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

March 16, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: March 16

Cavas Hill Cellars 1887 Cava (Penedes, Spain)

Sale $11.95, Regular $13.95
Discount (until Mar. 26): $2.00
LCBO #370866 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Light citrus and pear, a touch of apricot, and touch of savoury essence.
Pairs with: Salty snacks (corn nuts especially), sushi/sashimi, ceviche, pate, roast white meats, white pizza.
Good for: At this price? Anything and everything. Make sparkling your house wine!
Alcohol: 11.5%
Drink: Now.

Don't forget! Order today for the Spring shipment of ClubK. Six killer wines you won't find at the LCBO for $119 all in.

Why we're drinking this
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: sparkling wine is your friend, so keep it around at all times. This very good Cava has been hard to find lately, and now it’s back—and at a whopping $2 off. That’s $24 off a case, so we’re pretty excited to have a bubbly weekend to look forward to. All you need to know about Cava is that it’s good. If you’re curious, also know that it’s made using the same traditional method as Champagne (look it up, it’s a really cool process, and you’ll understand how much labour and love goes into it). A second fermentation in the bottle creates bubbles and the wine gets extra depth from aging on the used yeast cells. Too technical? Nevermind, just pop a cork.

Tasting note
Fresh citrus and apple aromas, some pear and melon and just a little whiff of croissant dough. Those same flavours are there on the palate, along with just a hint of savoury herbs. This is the quintessential definition of “crisp”—bright citrus flavours, racy acidity and just a bit of residual sugar (the touch of sweetness leftover after fermentation). At 11.5%, it’s nice and light in alcohol. Excellent and pretty finish. One of our very favourite Cavas.

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Cavas Hill Cellars 1887 Cava (Penedes, Spain)

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

March 09, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: March 9

Catena 2014 Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)

Sale $17.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until Mar. 26): $2.00
Vintages #478727 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Rich ripe black berries with lots of black pepper and a hint of bacon.
Pairs with: Big meats, anything grilled (within reason).
Good for: March Break BBQ in the great outdoors.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now to 2020.

ClubK. Order by March 31 for the Spring shipment! Six killer wines for $119 all in.

Why we're drinking this
When you want a robust and expressive wine — one that won’t break your bank card — you want Malbec. The grape is the pride of Argentina. The Catena family works their vineyards hard, as they have done since Nicola Catena took a boat to Argentina from Italy in 1898. Four years later he planted the first of the family’s Malbec vineyards. For this wine, the grapes were grown in three vineyards located at four different elevations in the foothills of the Andes. They range in elevation from 2850 feet to 5000 feet, and each vineyard produces fruit that express different aspects of the grape. The final blend is complex and delicious. Great value any time, but even better right now.

Tasting note
Deep ruby-purple colour, almost inky. Perfumed nose of deep dark fruit, black pepper, purple flowers and bacon. Dry but juicy, with a peppery attack followed by lots of fruit: blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, cassis. Savoury with notes of pine and bacon. Wonderful balance of fresh fruit and complex earthy tones. Crisp acidity and medium-weight. Very nice structure; it’s not quite delicate but there is finesse here. A medium-plus finish. A very good wine. Sippable, but best with game meats, big steaks, roasts and other rich fare.

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Catena 2014 Malbec

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

March 02, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: March 2

Sonoma-Cutrer 2015 Russian River Ranches Chardonnay (California)

Sale $24.95, Regular $27.95
Discount (until Mar. 26): $3.00
Vintages #608653 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Crisp apple and tree fruit overlaid with tropical notes.
Pairs with: White meats in creamy sauces, grilled scallops, white bean stew, soft bloomy-rind cheeses.
Good for: A nice dinner—try out a new recipe!—or sipping with some nice cheeses and nuts.
Alcohol: 14.2%
Drink: Now to 2019.

Why we're drinking this
Here’s a Chardonnay from Sonoma-Cutrer that’s terrifically popular in the premium wine category, well known as a rather luscious fruit bomb with a fair amount of warm oak and ripe tropical fruit. But it’s changed a bit over the past few vintages. The oak and overall weight have been toned down a bit. It’s now a leaner wine than it used to be, and quite lovely at that. It’s no secret that California is battling climate change—years-long drought is a big issue—and trying to maintain its grip on the fine wine category, which is now favouring finessed, low-alcohol, cool-climate wines. This wine isn’t quite there yet, but it’s a very good Chardonnay by any measure, dancing delicately along the line of California “oomph” and the popular taste that likes things a little more crisp.

Tasting note
Pretty nose of tree fruit (fresh pear, peach, apricot) and fresh-cut apple, along with very clean tropical like banana and pineapple, custard and tinned apricot syrup. A little cake spice—vanilla, clove—too, which rise up along with a little alcohol heat. A very fruity, tempting nose. The wine is dry, but rich and chewy, with all the aforementioned flavours being led by tree fruit, apple and citrus. Just on the plus side of medium weight, and very expressive, with a long butterscotch finish. It achieves a very pleasing balance. I wouldn’t call it light on its feet, but it’s a nimble middle weight. It would pair nicely with anything with hollandaise, some nice spring asparagus, say. Try also chicken divan, pork roast, crab and avocado salad, grilled scallops, white bean stew and soft bloomy-rind cheese.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

February 23, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: February 23

Frescobaldi 2013 Chianti Nipozzano Riserva DOCG (Chianti, Italy)

Sale $18.95, Regular $21.95
Discount (until Feb. 26): $3.00
LCBO #107276 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Sour red cherries with a touch of herbal-savoury. Dry, but juicy.
Pairs with: Pizza, pasta and red sauce, roast pork and chicken. Simple stuff, but with herbs and some black pepper.
Good for: Impressing the in-laws or future in-laws (it’s a good looking label!)
Alcohol: 13%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
If you’ve tried many Chiantis lately you might be struck by the range of style these wines can express. From dry and austere to smooth and luscious, but always with a prominent cherry fruit flavour and a savoury, almost leafy, quality. Even with this flavour profile—which can depend on producer or vintage—Chianti is generally a pretty easygoing wine that most people will enjoy. (Though it can be very serious, too, but at a very serious price.) This one, from one of Italy’s most respected producers, is always reliable. Though, to be honest, it’s good value on sale. For $3 more, it’s fair but no bargain.

Tasting note
Somewhat reserved on the nose, but with pretty cherry and raspberry scents and some herbal tones. Refreshing, with a little rustic woody character. Just a touch of oak and vanilla on the nose, but less so on the palate. Good cherry and red berry flavours, with dried and fresh herbs and a firm fruity finish. Solid Chianti, great for every-night dining on pizza, red sauced pasta, grilled bavette, roast chicken and herbed pork.

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Frescobaldi Chianti Nipozzano Reserva (Chianti, Italy)

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

February 16, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: February 16

Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port (Portugal)

Sale $16.10, Regular $18.10
Discount (until Feb. 26): $2.00
LCBO #46946 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Sweet dried fruit, nuts, a little coffee on the finish.
Pairs with: Nuts, dried fruit and vanilla ice cream.
Good for: Late at night, you’re done with wine. But you want one more sip, the sweeter the better…
Alcohol: 20%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Everyone needs a bottle of Port on hand for emergencies. You know, like when you’re tired of wine and beer and it’s late and you want just one more drink because the conversation is so good or the movie’s not quite over… hey, we don’t need to make excuses. A beautiful sweet wine is a beautiful thing. And it’s never too late. That’s what Port is for. Taylor Fladgate does it well. And it’s fun to say.

Tasting note
Big warm nose of dried fruit: prunes, dates and raisins. Some almonds, walnuts—that sort of thing. The beauty of a Late Bottled Vintage—or LBV to you—is that it’s ready to drink now. No need to age it, as one would with a vintage Port (but you’re not paying $100 for a vintage Port, are you?) LBV gives you the “light” experience of vintage Port for a fraction of the price. The dried fruit and nuts are all there, the length is medium. It’s delicious. And it matches perfectly with your late-night lifestyle. And vanilla ice cream.

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Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port (Portugal)

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

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