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

 

February 09, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: February 9

Montalto 2015 Pinot Grigio (Sicily, Italy)

Sale $7.95, Regular $9.45
Discount (until Feb. 26): $1.50
LCBO #73148 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Pear, apple and a hint of honey—delicate but flavourful with a nice finish.
Pairs with: Pasta with cream sauce, lighter pork and white fish dishes, white pizza and, of course, roast chicken.
Good for: Patio season—it’s coming!
Alcohol: 12.5%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
There are many good reasons to drink this wine, if you can get past any inherent biases against Pinot Grigio. Sadly, too much of the Grigio out there today is insipid and limp. The variety—properly called Pinot Gris—is made into wine all over to the globe, in such places as Germany, California, Canada and New Zealand. Italy cemented a reputation for churning out bucket loads of commercial-style “Grigio,” of which you’ll find weak (read: cheap) versions on the lists at many chain restaurants or any place that doesn’t really care about its wine list (or its customers for that matter!) But the grape can do great things, ranging far and wide in style, taste and sweetness. This Montalto hails from Sicily in the south — and it’s pretty darned good. It’s not epic, but it is solid and enjoyable.

Tasting note
Medium aromas of pear, apple and white flowers, with a little lick of honey. The wine has nice body and texture. It’s rather soft on the palate, which is lovely, but it’s not in any way flabby. There’s nice balance and acidity here, and delicate flavours of apple, citrus and pear. Medium, fruity finish. A very nice patio wine (come patio season). Good sipping, but would also be nice with creamy pasta, white pizza, and most fish or pork dishes (lightly sauced).

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Montalto Pinot Grigio

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

February 02, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: February 2

Miguel Torres 2015 Merlot Reserva Las Mulas (Central Valley, Chile)

Sale $11.95, Regular $12.95
Discount (until Feb. 26): $1.00
LCBO #454868 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Soft and smooth with red and black berries, some funk and a hint of mint.
Pairs with: Burger, pizza, and pasta. Great with meatballs and red sauce, it has the requisite “zip.”
Good for: Mid-week meal or a weekend house party. Wide ranging appeal.
Alcohol: 14%
Drink: Soonest.

Why we're drinking this
We cannot tell a lie. We like mules. They work hard and they’re cute. We also like Merlot. We can take or leave the organic designation, but good on Miguel Torres for being environmentally responsible — which they sincerely have been for some time. Chile is a great place for wine deals, and Torres is a label with a long history for quality and nice prices. This is good, typical Merlot with a bit of personality and depth.

Tasting note
Fragrant with blue and red berries, black cherry, lots of black currant, some damp earth funk and oak spice. Plus a little mint and herb on the backbeat. It’s not exactly fresh, but it is intriguing. It’s nice and dry, crisp and mellow — just how we like a Merlot. Soft texture, almost supple, medium body. Soft, round tannins with a bit of grit. It’s a chewy wine, pleasant and lovely to sip, with just enough acidity to keep it buoyant.

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Miguel Torres 2015 Merlot Reserva Las Mulas

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

January 26, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: January 26

KWV The Vinecrafter Chenin Blanc (South Africa)

Sale $8.20, Regular $9.95
Discount (until Jan. 29): $1.75
LCBO #18689 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Fresh and crisp tree fruit, citrus, white flowers and apple.
Pairs with: White fish, shrimp, salmon, trout; roast chicken or pork.
Good for: Lunch. Makes a great aperitif too.
Alcohol: 13%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Too few people are comfortable with Chenin Blanc, which is a delicious white grape most famously connected to the Loire region of France as well as South Africa, where they call it Steen. The versatile grape makes wines that can vary from bone dry to sweet (so be careful to check the sweetness level before you take one home). It makes a good sparkler, too. It can also be age worthy, though most of what you’ll find in Ontario is for immediate consumption. A nice alternative to Chardonnay.

Tasting note
Very pretty nose of white flowers, tree fruit and a light hint of citrus. With eight grams of sugar per litre, it is decidedly on the dry side. Fresh and refreshing, medium in body with more flavours of tree fruit, tangerine and lemon, and apple. Chenin’s characteristic acidity is perfectly present. A really nice crisp wine. Fruity finish. Great with all kinds of fish and seafood, smoked trout, or a simple roast chicken.

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KWV Vinecrafter Chenin Blanc

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

January 19, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: January 19

Citra Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Doc (Abruzzo, Italy)

Sale $6.95, Regular $7.95
Discount (until Jan. 29): $1.00
LCBO #446633 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Bright cherry, pomegranate, plum and a little savoury funk.
Pairs with: Red sauce, charcuterie, pizza… anything nonna puts in front of you.
Good for: Cracking a second bottle.
Alcohol: 13%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
Montepulciano is the wine you’ll drink while sitting on an Italian piazza, hopefully from a nice and simple short tumbler. This isn’t a wine for deep contemplation. There’s a reason Citra is the house wine at pretty much any old-school neighbourhood eatery you wander into in Ontario. It’s cheap and it’s good. Hell, you can buy two bottles for the same price you’ll pay for a tall boy at a Leafs game (plus tip). (And that’s the last sports reference you’ll ever get from me.) Montepulciano is the grape, an easygoing little number. This wine took a gold medal for “value” at the 2015 World Wine Awards of Canada and it’s on wine critic Steve Thurlow’s Top 50 value picks.

Tasting note
A clean and fruity nose, lots of red and black berries and a little forest floor funk. Cherry flavours with blackberry, rhubarb and pomegranate. Mid-weight with soft tannins and a good bump of acidity, a requisite for tackling that piquant red sauce. A pure, simple wine — well made and better than a lot of $15 bottles out there. Serve it with a slight chill; at the very least, keep it below room temperature.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

January 12, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: January 13

Ogier Cotes du Ventoux Rose AOC (Rhône, France)

Sale $11.95, Regular $13.95
Discount (until Jan. 29): $2.00
LCBO #134916 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Strawberry and fresh herbs, with a touch of citrus. Light and lovely.
Pairs with: Cold soups, salmon or trout, vegetarian pizza or flatbread, nibbly things.
Good for: Brunch, late lunch on a Sunday, or a long session with a good book.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
How about a little palate cleanser for your post-holiday enjoyment? After a season of indulgence with heavy food and big wines, it’s nice to lighten things up with a refreshing little rosé from the south of France. The Ogier has crept up in price a couple of bucks in the last few years, so here’s your chance to stock up for summer patio season and start dreaming of sunshine. (Too soon?)

Tasting note
Lightly aromatic of strawberry, fresh herbs and a dash of citrus. Rather shy, or let’s say delicate nose. A fairly simple and straightforward wine without a lot of show, but with refreshing acidity and a slight savoury element. Light to medium weight and very dry. While not quite as weighty as its peers, this is nonetheless a lovely expression of classic southern France rosé.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

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