My travels through the Excited States of America delayed my commentary on the last release by one week. I have some great friends there and it was a treat for me to visit them.
It’s that time of year. The Holidays are upon us. Panic is starting to germinate. A warm glow is also growing in your heart. This time of year is not just for buying presents for loved ones. It’s not just about lists and queues and crowds and overspending and over indulgence. It’s also a time for peace on earth, goodwill to men (although even as a small boy I couldn’t understand why the song excluded over half the globe’s population).
Like the Grinch, this time of year softened my heart. Could I be too hard on government controlled monopolies? The one that tells me what I am allowed to buy? Should I embrace the season and do a little forgiving?
Sentimentality was cured the evening I tried to read through the 12/10 release catalogue. The sheer number of wines in this release caused anxiety to rise. I had to call it a night. The next day I scrolled through the catalogue with renewed energy. I was determined to count the number of wines. I gave up at 150. In school my teacher taught me to count higher (I think the next number is 151) but as an adult I could not suppress the boredom. I then went looking for wines that excited me and was surprised at how few interested me. I think I’m justified in saying that human forgiveness does not apply to government controlled monopoles over products we need for quality of life.
Let’s start with the 3 wines that I wanted to buy to taste, starting with the sparkling wine http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=386979&ITEM_NUMBER=386979&language=EN&style=Vintages.
This $15 Cava would be a crowd-and-bank-account pleaser. It is not as complex as the tasting notes imply but it is pleasant and fine for a fun aperitif. The 11.5% alcohol level pleased me as I prefer wines with lower alcohol levels. The 14 grams of residual sugar worried me but after tasting it over two days I was pleased that the wine does not have perceived sweetness.
I thought that I would enjoy the $16 Flor de Vetus Verdejo http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=320259&ITEM_NUMBER=320259&language=EN&style=Vintages but I was mistaken. The tasting notes interested me (maybe it was the phrase “tempt the reticent”) and I bought a bottle. On day one, the wine had a distasteful noise of sulfur. It was slight, not as distasteful as a dirty joke at a formal dinner, but strong enough to be shunned. I had high hopes that the wine would be different on day two. My hopes were dashed. The smell was worse, the flavors gone. If I cannot find my receipt the wine will go down the sink.
The wine that excited me most was the $25 Cote Du Py http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=468694&ITEM_NUMBER=468694&language=EN&style=Vintages. It’s not unusual to pay $45 for a wine from this region so as I headed to my KGBO I found myself as excited as Justin Trudeau flying to a photo opt. Unfortunately, day one’s tasting experience was as disappointing as my high-school prom. I poured a glass and, while I really tried hard to like my date, the point was lost on me. I thought this relationship had little hope. After a glass, I corked the bottle and decided that I had nothing to lose by giving it a day.
It’s now day two and I am really digging this wine. If you buy this wine and want to serve it soon please decant it at least an hour before serving. Two or three hours would be better. I’m thinking that this wine would show nicely after five years of cellaring and I’m thinking it’s a bargain.
If you are looking for real Champagne to celebrate consider buying the $43 Gardet http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/searchResults.do?ITEM_NAME=924654&ITEM_NUMBER=924654&language=EN&style=Vintages. This champagne punches above its weight. It retails for $40USD in the Excited States (fair value in the People’s Republic of Ontario $40 x 1.3 [exchange] x 1.525 [duties and KGBO “lost margin”] = ~$80CDN).
Have a wonderful holiday break!
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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. Copy the product number, perform a search with that number and use the find a store feature. Unfortunately, I have to provide you with links to vintages.com as (for reasons beyond my ability to understand) the links that I create to lcbo.com will not work.
Product Consultants can request a transfer from another store to the one that is better for you. The KGBO may be the controlling monopoly but you are the customer.
The next Vintages’ release is Saturday January 7. 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.