In Vintages’ November 12 release the KGBO decided that you were in the Christmas spirit. Our wine-retailing monopoly wants you to rush out to start buying presents. Thus, the focus of this release is on higher-priced wines. Value wines in this release are hard to find.
The white wines in this release were more boring than vacuuming on a Saturday morning. Like the fool I can be, I did talk myself into trying the Trimbach Riesling (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=734517&ITEM_NUMBER=734517&language=EN&style=Vintages) and I now wish that I had my $24 back. The wine has a kerosene nose (that I like) and, to me, the primary favor of sour green apples overpowers everything else. Like watching the U.S. Vice President debate, one grows tired of this wine quickly. The tasting notes “expressive notes of peach show their exuberance…tautness, shot through with lemon purity while the peach delightfully plays around them” are nonsense. I love Alsatian Riesling but Trimbach has become the Gallo of Alsace and their low-end wines like this one are just not worth it. I knew better than to buy this wine because Trimbach has disappointed me before. I was hoping my prejudice would be proven wrong.
The KGBO made me happy by allowing me to buy a few bottles of the Juve Y Camps Pinot Noir Reserva Brut Rose sparkling wine (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=385088&ITEM_NUMBER=385088&language=EN&style=Vintages). I have enjoyed this wine through the years and cannot think of a better way to celebrate a Tuesday than with a glass of this pink sparkler.
I bought 3 red wines to try…
Somewhat reluctantly, I brought the Hedges CMS Red (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=948992&ITEM_NUMBER=948992&language=EN&style=Vintages). Again, I love Washington State wines but unfortunately the good stuff typically does not leave the West Coast of the U.S.A. and the KGBO tends to prefer hocking the crappy fruit bombs that this region is capable of producing. Thankfully, the wine is not a fruit bomb and the $24 the KGBO wants for this wine (considering their aggressive markup) is reasonable (Snowbirds can buy this wine for $10US). I think you will find that the wine has black fruit and coffee flavor and that it has good structure. Assuming that you don’t chug your wine, I would not decant this wine. The wine’s intensity grew in the glass, an evolution that I found interesting and you may the experience interesting too.
If you like good-quality Chateauneuf du Pape then head to the French section of Vintages and spend $30 for a bottle of Perrin Coudoulet de Beaucastel. Perrin makes the iconic Chateau de Beaucastel and if you are willing to part with $90 and wait 10 years you can taste one of the best wines from the Chateauneuf du Pape region. The A7 highway runs North / South in this area. The vineyards for Beaucastel are west of the A7. The vineyards for the Coudoulet are east of this highway. Because the grapes come from the East the wine cannot be classified as Chateauneuf du Pape and you’ll therefore find the wine’s label says Cotes du Rhone. There are other differences between the Chateauneuf and the Coudoulet, including the grapes used in the blends, but don’t let that get in your way of trying a wine as good or better than wines classified as a Chateauneuf du Pape. If you try this wine you will find intriguing floral aromas and a wine that has pleasant red fruit, pepper and nice tannins. This wine retails in the U.S.A. for $23US so the KGBO’s buying power works in your favor on this transaction (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=48884).
If you are a fan of bold wine with flavors of milk and bitter chocolate and dark fruit then consider the Clos de Los Siette for $24 (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=622571&ITEM_NUMBER=622571&language=EN&style=Vintages). The KGBO buys this wine every year and I have bought a bottle or two and cellared them for a few years before drinking them. Last Saturday was the first time that I tasted one that was young and I have to say that this wine in its youth is too intense for my palate. I used my Osso corkscrew to recork the bottle and will drink it several years from now.
Onto your Christmas list…
Note that I’ve not tasted this Vintages’ release of the following wines. I have tasted previous vintages of these wines and I’m based my purchases on this past experience. Don’t expect Santa Rickee to be giving these wines away. I don’t know anyone that was that good.
Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du Pape – $45, decent producer, same price as in the USA, will age for decades if desired (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=959627&ITEM_NUMBER=959627&language=EN&style=Vintages)
Beronia Gran Reserva – $38 (same price as the USA), wonderful balanced wine that you can drink now or age for many years. Take one to your favorite BYOB Spanish restaurant. It will cost you less than $65 ($38 + 25 corkage) and be as good as anything that the restaurant will have on the menu. (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=940965&ITEM_NUMBER=940965&language=EN&style=Vintages)
Fontanafredda Serralunga D’Alba Barolo – $45 for a 2011 Barolo (it sells for $10CDN more in the USA), Fontanafredda is a large producer but they still make decent wine, not wine that I collect but wine that I enjoy. I love the 2011 Barolos now if you are having them with Italian food. Really enjoyable. (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=943290&ITEM_NUMBER=943290&language=EN&style=Vintages). Again, a great wine to bring to a BYOB restaurant.
Finally, for the Aussie Shiraz lover, E&E Black Pepper Shiraz – it will set you back $90 so give this one to someone you really love. I have never tasted this wine in its youth and don’t really have a desire to do so. It needs time in the bottle. Buy one and let me know what day in 2023 you are free for dinner. Have no availability? No problem. I can make any evening in 2028 or 2033 as well. Just let me know your preference. No place to store it? I’m happy to help out there too. Leave it with me and it will be as safe as letting Colonel Sanders babysit your pet chicken. Older vintages only are available in the USA but (based on the price of older vintages) the KGBO’s price appear reasonable. (http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=731620&ITEM_NUMBER=731620&language=EN&style=Vintages).
If you do not wish to receive these emails please let me know and I will remove you from my distribution list. If you know someone else that would like to receive a copy please let me know and I would be happy to add him or her to the list. Use the find store feature on the LCBO website to determine where you can buy this wine (the locator on www.lcbo.com works better than the locator on www.vintages.com). Product Consultants can request a transfer from another store to the one that is better for you. They may be the controlling monopoly but you are the customer.
The next Vintages’ release is Saturday November 26. I typically try to buy and taste the wines that interest me on the Saturday or Sunday. If you are interested in joining me send me an email and I’ll try to coordinate a small gathering. It would be great to get the views of others that are interested in finding gems in the vast and confusing offerings of the KGBO.
All the best,