October 18, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: October 18

Bouchard Père & Fils Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre Chardonnay (Burgundy, France)

Sale $16.50, Regular $18.50
Discount (until November 5): $2.00
LCBO #51573 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Brimming with ripe bright pear, mango, apple, pear. Very pretty nose. Just a touch of sweet spice.
Pairs with: All kinds of seafood, roast poultry, cream sauces, grilled shrimp.
Good for: Weekday suppers when you want a little extra specialness. A beautiful sipper too.
Drink: Now.

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Why we're drinking this
This is one of our go-to wines when we’re looking for a well-priced Chardonnay that delivers way above its price point. This vintage is particularly good, with squeaky clean ripe fruit, balance and complexity. What’s beautiful, too, about a village-level Burgundy like this is its low alcohol. At just 12.5%, it’s light and refreshing, but fleshy enough to handle some food and also perform ably as a cocktailing wine. Bouchard Père & Fils is a huge player in Burgundy and pretty much as reliable as it gets for consistently good wines from the region. Stock up for fall, and you’ve got your white house wine for the season.

Tasting note
This is lovely, pure Chardonnay. And riper than some years in Burgundy: very ripe and fresh notes bordering on tropical fruits (mango, banana, pineapple) but with lots of laser-focused apple and pear and a little citrus. A beautifully textured wine too, given its lighter profile. Balanced, harmonious, enjoyable through and through, with a medium-long finish. This is quite the serious wine at a very nice price. It will be versatile with fall fare such as roast birds and seafood. Very, very nice with oysters and raw sea creatures.

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Bouchard Père & Fils Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre Chardonnay

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

October 11, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: October 11

Antinori 2015 Pèppoli Chianti Classico (Tuscany, Italy)

Sale $17.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until November 5): $2.00
LCBO #606541 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Beautiful fresh ripe fruit — plum, blackberry, black currant, cherry — with herbal, spicy complexity. Supple, dry, medium-bodied.
Pairs with: Pretty much anything Italian… get some red sauce, a shank of something, maybe a meaty pizza. That’ll do nice.
Good for: Just drink it.
Drink: Now to 2020.

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Why we're drinking this
Here’s a no bull kind of wine. It’s not too expensive, it doesn’t have a fancy label, and… it is what it is. Which is really good Chianti. It’s Chianti Classico, actually, which is even better, coming from the heart of the Chianti region in the centre of Tuscany. The Antinori family has been making wine for about 600 years, and today the firm is run by Marchese Piero Antinori and his three daughters. So they know what they’re doing.

Tasting note
Deep, dark and delicious black and blue berries, with lots of plum, blackberry and currant. Balanced with herbal and spice notes, this is a beautiful Chianti with serious complexity for the price, or even a heftier price. Medium bodied, lean but substantial, very easy to drink and enjoy. It’s rich enough for sipping but lean and focused enough for all kinds of food, from red-sauced pastas and meatballs to fatty cuts of beef and braised shanks.

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Antinori 2015 Pèppoli Chianti Classico

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

October 04, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: October 4

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Errazuriz 2015 Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile)

Sale $16.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until October 8): $2.00
LCBO #335174 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Pretty and powerful black berry fruit, cherry, plum, cassis, and soft vanilla spice. A touch of green pepper and a savoury finish.
Pairs with: Steaks, beef stew, eggplant Parmigiana, burgers, roast birds, semi-hard cheeses.
Good for: House wine… or weekend wine.
Drink: Now to 2022.

Why we're drinking this
The Max Reserva line from Errazuriz is a consistent favourite for us, and a popular LCBO staple. At three bucks off, it’s a real steal. The 2015 vintage has a softer, rounder feel than past vintages — it’s very easy to like. Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, there is 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and the wine was aged 12 months in oak barrels, 25% new. The grapes come from Chile’s Aconcagua Valley, a prime spot for Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has been scored 90 points or above by James Suckling and Robert Parker.

Tasting note
Pretty floral and fruity notes and flavours of plum, cherry, cassis and black berries. There’s an herbal element, too: green pepper, menthol and some green herbs. It’s quite delicious and balanced. The acidity is well integrated, the tannins are soft and the texture is fluid and pleasing. It’s not quite the powerhouse one would expect. Rather, it’s an elegant, softer take on Cab Sauv. And very well done.

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Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

September 27, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: September 27

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Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Old Vines (Ontario, Canada)

Sale $17.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until October 8): $2.00
LCBO #459966 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Dark berries, sweet oak spice, black pepper and a touch of smoke.
Pairs with: Game, red meats, autumn (if it comes).
Good for: Richly flavoured autumnal meals with meat front and centre.
Drink: Now to 2019.

Why we're drinking this
The Henry of Pelham winery has made the Baco Noir grape into one of its flagship wines. The vines were hand-planted by shovel by the three Speck brothers on their parent’s farm in Niagara in the 1980s and 1990s. These “old vines” yield fewer grapes, but with more concentration and flavour. Baco Noir is a hybrid red wine grape brought to North America in the 1950s. It makes a fruity and spicy wine that’s smooth and complex.

Tasting note
Deeply aromatic nose of ripe and spicy black fruit, blackberries, mulberry and wild strawberries. Dry and smooth on the palate, with generous rich fruit that coats the mouth in deliciousness. The wine rides a fun balance of dark fruit and sweet spice, even a little black pepper and smoke. This is the perfect food wine: all of that deep flavour and spice makes a lovely match with wild game and red meats. The wine has a medium-to-full body, medium acidity and soft ripe tannins. Thoroughly enjoyable and easy to drink.

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Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Old Vines

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

September 20, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: September 20

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Farm To Table Cabernet Merlot (Victoria, Australia)

Sale $12.80, Regular $14.80
Discount (until October 8): $2.00
LCBO #436964 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Fresh plum and blackberry, spicy cherry and green pepper. Bright, fleshy, complex and very tasty. Soft ripe tannins.
Pairs with: Steak, braised beef, burger with mushrooms and mozzarella, ribs, braised veal shank, prime rib, meatloaf, chili.
Good for: A meaty-slash- beefy dinner where you want a substantial wine but don’t want to raid your prized cellar. Here’s a good wine at a good price.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now to 2019.

Why we're drinking this
The Fowles Wine company in Victoria, Australia, has a nice sense of humour. But their wines are not for giggling. From their premium “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch” Syrah to their cheap and cheerful “Are You Game” reds and whites to their excellent Stone Dwellers sparkling (only $11.95!), they make consistently good, modern-styled wines that do a lovely job of expressing their fruit and restrained winemaking. (Try them all!) They are serious winemakers who don’t take it too seriously.

Tasting note
The Fowles’ “Lunch” and “Game” wines were designed to match with wild game, apparently, so the Fowles family must be avid hunters. The Farm to Table line is also designed for food, specifically farm-raised meat with its softer texture and elevated fat content. This wine does a nice job. The fruit comes from the family’s vineyards in the Strathbogie Ranges near Victoria. It’s a delicious, bright and fruity red with moderate weight and soft ripe tannins. It’s eminently drinkable, with or without food. The oak is noticeable but not too much so, and it helps deliver nice spice complexity, which should marry nicely with beef of all stripes. We don’t say this often, but this is an innovative wine. And bloody good.

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Farm to Table Cabernet Merlot - get this at your local LCBO!

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

September 13, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: September 13

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Willm Réserve Riesling (Alsace, France)

Sale $14.95, Regular $15.95
Discount (until October 8): $1.00
LCBO #11452 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Vibrantly crisp peach, pear, white flower and lots of citrus. Dry, bright and delicious.
Pairs with: Crab cakes (crab anything, really!), seafood ceviche, sushi, grilled or roasted white meat or white-fleshed fish. Brunch with lots of hollandaise. Cold rotisserie chicken turned into a decadent sandwich on crusty baguette.
Good for: A cold lunch when you didn’t expect to be drinking wine, but it just makes sense. (Go on, you deserve it.)
Alcohol: 12%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
This is a classic and affordably priced every day Riesling. And by everyday, we don’t mean to diminish this wine in any way. This wine is a cut above. In fact, if you don’t know Riesling well, this is a great gateway. First of all, it’s dry, with just 4 grams per litre of sugar. Chalk that up to the cool climate of Alsace, which keeps things nice and crisp. An excellent vintage in 2016 makes this wine even more special.

Tasting note
A pretty nose of fresh peach, pear, white flower and citrus/tangerine. Clean, pure and delightful. The palate is dry with crisp acidity. Lots of fresh tree fruit and citrus again, with clean minerality and a pleasantly bitter finish. The vintage in 2016 was long — harvest happened quite late due to the optimal weather, so the grapes hit perfect ripeness. You can taste that here in pure fruit and the complexity of flavours that result. This is a very good wine. You couldn’t ask for better at fifteen bucks.

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Willm Réserve Riesling at LCBO

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

September 06, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: September 6

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Thelema 2014 Mountain Red (Western Cape, South Africa)

Sale $11.15, Regular $13.65
Discount (until September 10): $2.50
LCBO #222570 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Silky smooth ripe blue berries, cherry and plum, with sweet oak spice (just a little) and some smoky interest. Soft, deep and intriguing.
Pairs with: Just about anything in the meaty and substantial camp: burgers, steak, stew, Scotch broth, lasagna, meat-lover’s pizza, grilled or braised lamb, bison…
Good for: Hectic back-to-school mealtimes when the cook needs a little sip to get sane. Also good to polish off a bottle while packing a lunch of leftovers. Bonus: It’s a screw cap.
Alcohol: 14%
Drink: Now. (Or hold a few years.)

Why we're drinking this
South African wines offer tremendous value not to mention a winemaking heritage that goes back centuries. This Thelema comes from the mountains above the historic town of Stellenbosch, where winemaking traditions reach back to the end of the 17th century. An agriculture and viticulture hub, Stellenbosch (“the town of oaks”) is the country’s most recognizable wine region — you’ll see it on a lot of bottles in Ontario. This wine is a really neat blend of Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and Rhone grapes (Grenache and Shiraz). It’s a fun, soft yet quite complex wine.

Tasting note
Brimming with plush black and red berry fruit, plum and smoky sweetness. Cab Sauv and Merlot are dominant (28% each) with Petit Verdot and Grenache picking up the slack (21% each) and just a smidge of Shiraz and Cab Franc (1% each). So the end result is exactly as it should be: a big juicy supple wine with ripe and easy tannins, medium acidity and tons of rich ripe fruit. It’s purely delicious. It was aged 18 months in old oak (from second to fourth fills). A complex and food friendly wine that’s also a nice sipper, as it has the body and softness to make it a fun drink. It’s dry, but the ripe fruit lends some serious heft. All is in balance. This wine could easily command double the price.

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Thelema Mountain Red Wine

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

August 30, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: August 30

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Paul Cluver 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

Sale $17.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until September 10): $2.00
LCBO #483743 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Grass, hay and lemon-lime plus a bit of green apple. Vibrant and fresh, as Sauv Blanc should be, but with added textural harmony. Very nice wine.
Pairs with: Asparagus and goat cheese salad, gazpacho, white pizza, herbed roast pork, chicken.
Good for: Hot days and warm nights chatting on the back stoop/patio/porch.
Alcohol: 13.4%
Drink: Now to 2019.

Why we're drinking this
What’s a summer without Sauvignon Blanc? All grassy and limey, it really is summer in a glass. When done right, it’s pure bliss: sharp, zingy, brightly acidic, and brimming with citrus, leaf and fresh cut grass, maybe with some fresh (or canned) green pea going on too. The Cluver family has owned this South African winery since 1896, and this cool-climate SB is one stellar wine. They do all the right things with sustainability, and were a pioneering winery in the region. All that, and the wine is very well priced. Tremendous value here.

Tasting note
Very pretty nose of citrus and grass, some lemon hard candy and a bit of wild grass and hay. Supple on the palate; in fact, that texture is quite remarkable for a value-priced wine. Lots of lime and grass on the palate, but its rather well balanced by a subtler acidity versus what you might find in other under-$20 Sauvignon Blancs. It’s a delightful sipping wine, but would go really well with grilled asparagus, goat cheese, roast pork and something well-herbed like a lemon-thyme chicken. Next time the sun shines hot, you’ll want to break this baby out.

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Paul Cluver 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

August 23, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: August 23

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Rioja Bordon Gran Reserva 2007

Sale $21.90, Regular $23.90
Discount (until September 10): $3.00
LCBO #428060 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Savoury, juicy, smoky — this is a sultry little number. Lots of black berry fruit, dried raisins and sweet oak. Supple verging on silky.
Pairs with: Your most exotic fare, from magret de canard to roast quail (or any game bird) to leg of lamb over a smoky fire. Hard cheeses too.
Good for: A dimly lit room with some crackling logs in the fireplace.
Alcohol: 14%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
It’s a rare treat to have a 10-year- old beautifully aged wine for just a hair over $20. This is a staple at the LCBO and for good reason. It’s hard to beat this value. And no one we’ve served this wine to has been unimpressed. Tempranillo is the main grape at 80%, with 16% Garnacha and a couple points each of the obscure grapes Mazuelo and Graciano. As required for Gran Reserva status, the wine was aged a minimum of 36 months in American white oak. That’s where the deep smoky and vanilla tones come from. All you really need to know is that this is from the Rioja region of northern Spain, it’s old and it’s bloody good.

Tasting note
This is a joy to sniff. Lots of ripe cherry, blackberry, plum and sweet spice and vanilla. Just a hint of smoke and toasted oak, generous but not overwhelming. The savoury quality makes it a great foil to game birds and anything that tastes better with herbal and woody flavours like black tea, olive, thyme and twigs. While this wine is clearly mature — note the garnet rim and paler colour — it’s still loaded with fresh fruit vitality. It should do well for another couple of years in bottle. But it’s drinking very well right now, so why wait?

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Rioja Bordon Gran Reserva 2007

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

August 16, 2017

LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: August 16

Gnarly Head Chardonnay

Sale $13.95, Regular $15.95
Discount (until September 10): $2.00
LCBO #486449 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: California light. Fresh and fruity apple, citrus and tropical. Pure, fresh, sunshine-kissed Chardonnay.
Pairs with: Any good to really good day.
Good for: Tumblers and maybe a game of tennis. Or a ride in someone’s boat (lord knows we can’t afford one).
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now. Now!

ClubK: Six Killer Wines in a Box Full of Fun. Order by September 5 to get the Autumn box! $119 all in.

Why we're drinking this
Cheap Chardonnay? Check. Cheap AND good Chardonnay? Yeah right. Well, cheap is relative, after all. If you look up this wine on the interweb, you’ll see this wine sells for just $7.49 at Joe Canal’s Discount Liquor Outlet of Marlton. Which makes us love it even more. We are blessed enough in Ontario to only have to pay twice that amount most of of the year. Still, a bargain’s a bargain. And though it’s a top candidate for “top bad wine name award,” the juice is pretty good. Cheap Chardonnay? Bring it on.

Tasting note
A nicely balanced wine overall. The notes say the fruit from Lodi contributes fruit, ripeness and a “creamy mouth feel” while Monterrey lends acidity (straight up!) It has a pretty nose of apple, citrus, a mix of tropicals, and a little whiff of vanilla. Hello, California! The palate is dry, generous, supple. Alcohol is moderate. More apple, citrus and tropical, with some melon and understated sweet spice. Not much oak, but that’s where they’re saving cash (and passing the savings on to you!) Just a nice drinking wine. Relax, grab a tumbler and chuck in a small ice cube if you need to (just pull it out after 30 seconds!) Serve with whatever you want.

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Gnarly Head Chardonnay

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder

 

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