i am also committing to achieving a balance of twits in my cabinet (9 june 2018 vintages release)

Our story so far

We find ourselves on Ottawa’s Parliment Hill where Prime Minister Trudeau is about to start a press conference. Large flags of the People’s Republic of Canada drape the setting. The Prime Minister is accompanied by British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan, who is sitting to his right. Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley has taken a seat to his left. All three leaders have beaming smiles on their faces.

Justin Trudeau, wearing a custom Gucci suit and having groomed his hair to a wisp of imperfection makes love to the cameras and begins his address.

Today, I am announcing a significant breakthrough in the debate to build the Transmountain Pipeline and my government’s approach to its construction. A key component of my government’s policy is to “protect the environment and grow the economy”. You have heard me and my ministers repeat this statement countless times. Yes, it is my government’s mantra yet some people have questioned what this phrase means. Today I will also provide clarity on that. The multi-billion dollar purchase of the Transmountain Pipeline from Kinder Morgon by my government was necessary to achieve the multitude of objectives that I will achieve with this project.

I need to go “off the record” to provide you with some background information.

[murmurs of excitement echo through the press core]

You will remember that I held a meeting last month with Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The agenda of that meeting included Canada following the U.K.’s lead on banning the plastic drinking straw. Well, Gerald Butts and I were in my hotel suite the night before that meeting discussing this matter. We had a long day and we were kind-of tense and Gerald decided that some herbal remedy was in order. He rolled a big one with this potent strain…Gerald, what’s the name of that strain again?

[Inaubible response]

Pineapple Thai, that’s it, that shit is wicked. Anyway, we were puffing on this joint and I was sipping BC Pinot Grigio through a straw and, in a flash I had a brilliant insight. It dawned on me that a straw and a pipeline have a lot in common. Then Gerald and I came up with the idea that we could build the Transmountain oil pipeline with recycled drinking straws. This is the reason that I refused to join the ban on straws. We can now go back on the record.

First, permit me to address how the construction of the pipeline will protect the environment. Everyone knows the tragic consequences of the use of plastic drinking straws. Therefore, it is important to find ways to recycle straws and my government will show the world that Canada is a leader by constructing the Transmountian Oil Pipeline with used drinking straws.

This will require hundreds, maybe a few thousand straws. That’s a lot. So, the supply of these straws will not only come from Canada. I am also announcing that my government has reached an agreement with several other countries. These countries will send their used straws to Canada along with $.01 payment per straw.  The funds Canada receives from these straw-offset credits will go towards the purchase of Scotch Tape that we will use to connect the straws. Canada prefers the type of straws that have those flexible elbows (you know, like the straws used in hospitals) as the pipeline has to go around a mountain and I’m also told that there are a few big rocks along the way. The pipeline will have to go around these rocks. We need bendy straws to do that but like duh.

I will now address how my government plans to grow the economy. In addition, to the Transmountian Oil Pipeline, my government will also begin construction on the Transmountain Wine Infrastructure Transportation System.  Similar to the Transmountain Pipeline for oil, the TWITS will make BC wine more accessible to the rest of Canada. This wine pipeline will twin the oil pipeline and is very suited to construction with recycled drinking straws. Why? Well, for example, one straw could be used to transport BC Riesling and another straw would contain BC Chardonnay. And, let’s not forget the yummy BC Pinot Gris that I personally love. We will devote extra straws pipelines to “PG” as one or more of those pipelines will terminate in my office. Add a pack of Sweet-N-Low to BC PG and a couple of ice cubes and you have perfection in a glass.

I’m am proud to be the leader of the TWITS and Premiers Horgan and Notley are also proud to be leading TWITS too.

[Horgan and Notley glance at each other with very uncomfortable expressions on their faces]

Finally, the people of Canada know my passion for equality and today I am also committing to achieving a balance of TWITS and non-TWITS in my cabinet.

I will now take questions.

In related news today, the share price of 3M surged on the NYSE from the expected demand for Scotch Tape that will be needed to construct the Canadian pipeline projects. One analyst pointed out that Scotch Tape will not only be needed to connect straws together in order to form a pipeline but also to provide strength to the overall structure by binding individual straw pipelines together. The share price of companies that manufacturers duct tape also surged on this observation.

In news that is equally-believable, CNN reported that they discovered that Colonel Sanders was PETA’s biggest supporter, the Pope has endorsed the work of the devil, James Suckling denounced the 110 point wine scoring system, and Bill Clinton supports the #METOO movement. Okay, the last thing is true but everything else is just a story. Wait, the Suckling part of the story might be true too. He might go with the 100++ scale instead.


Onto the serious business of wine and the June 9 release. Don’t forget that many wines are available for online ordering and delivery to your local store is free of charge.

Outstanding wines

The $29 Osoyoos Larose Pétales d’Osoyoos Red 2014 Red Blend—VINTAGES#: 276741 is a French-styled Bordeaux blend. I particularly enjoyed the tannins in this wine and the ripeness level of the underlying fruit. This is a well-made wine that is not the $40+ one normally has to pay to get a Canadian wine of this quality. If you live in Alberta then you can buy this wine for $25. That’s a 16 percent premium we pay to the KGBO (a.k.a., the LCBO). Ugh.


Fans of the Chenin Blanc grape hit the payload in this release as there are three that are worth your hard-earned money.

Let’s start with the budget-friendly $16 L’Avenir Far & Near Chenin Blanc 2017—VINTAGES#: 556365. The flavor profile lacks complexity but the acidity is good as is the length of the wine. There is also some minerality. A good $16 for your dock or deck or to accompany your weekday meal. In South Africa, you can source this wine for the equivalent of $7CAD and in Europe, you can pick it for $12.wine_106761_web

The $30 Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2016—VINTAGES#: 12724 ups the price but also ups the quality. This is a really good Chenin. The tasting notes are fairly accurate except there is a lot more going on in this wine than the brief description implies, including tropical fruit flavors, minerality, nice use of wood, good acidity and wonderful length. This would be a great food wine and also very enjoyable solo with the company and assistance of a good friend. Unfortunately, if you want this wine you’ll have to put up with the KGBO’s gouge factor. This wine retails for the equivalent of $21 in Europe, $24 in BC, and $25 in La Belle Province. Still not convinced? Well, the KGBO charged $23 for the 2015 vintage of this wine last year. This is shameful greedy pricing here in the People’s Republic of Ontario on this release. They may not be able to sell this wine at this price. Maybe we should wait for a price reduction.Bellingham_2016_The_Bernard_Series_Old_Vine_Chenin_Blanc_web

Ask that friend to source his or her own Chenin Blanc from the release and hopefully, he or she will bring a wine from France’s Loire Valley (the original home of Chenin Blanc I believe). Specifically, the $31 Bourillon Dorléans La Coulée d’Argent Sec Vouvray 2015 Chenin Blanc—VINTAGES#: 541532. This wine oozes quality. It is mineral-driven and hits all of my sweet spots. It retails for the equivalent of $20CAD in Europe and about $25CAD in the Excited States of America. This wine is also worthy of a place in your cellar.Bourillon_Dorl_ans_La_Coul_e_d_Argent_Sec_Vouvray_2015_web

Fans of dry Riesling should pick up the $23 Muré Signature Riesling 2014—VINTAGES#: 538421. With a wonderful petrol dominated nose, tropical fruit flavors and minerality this is one versatile Riesling. High acidity that would work well with food. Collectors could also cellar this wine as some age will increase the wine’s depth and weight. Wine from a good year and a good region and a good producer, how can you go wrong? I bet you were thinking “price”. Well, this wine is actually priced higher in Europe. It’s a good deal here.  Ren__Mur__Riesling_Signature_2014_web

Are you in need of a good Italian red house wine?  If so, then the $22 Cafaggio Chianti Classico 2013 Sangiovese Blend—VINTAGES#: 176776 might fill that ticket. We have tasted many 2013 Chiantis over the past several months and most of those wines showed really well. The professional wine critics rate the 2013 vintage high and I can see why. The posted tasting notes are accurate. An affordable wine to enjoy on its own or use it to wash down your favorite Italian dish. This wine retails for the equivalent of $19CAD in the USA and Italy. A decent wine at a fair price.


Are you looking for a value-priced and good Rosé? Then stock up on the $15 Muga Rosé 2017—VINTAGES#: 603795. This is a bone-dry Rosé with good fruit flavors and some complexity. There are tannins that provide some structure, which I really enjoy in a Rosé. Open a bottle to enjoy on your deck or serve this wine with your lunch. There is sufficient acidity to make this wine versatile with food.  Our friends in Spain guzzle this wine for $12CAD.wine_106836_web

If you have read previous posts then you would not be surprised that a 2015 village Beaujolais made the cut. The $25 Château du Chatelard Cuvée Les Roches Morgon 2015 Gamay—VINTAGES#: 558528 delivers as described (I would add that there are mineral undertones) and is worthy of 5-10 years in your cellar. This wine retails for $22CAD in France.wine_106844_web

Wines for collectors

On day 1 the $29 Benegas Estate Single Vineyard Malbec 2013—VINTAGES#: 547331 was awkward. On day 2 it fooled most of us to think that the wine was from Bordeaux. If you are interested in cellaring a few bottles of Malbec this wine is a pretty good choice. If you want a high-quality Malbec to enjoy now then make sure that you give this wine a few hours in the decanter before serving. cq5dam.web.1280.1280__71__web

We didn’t taste the $94 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 Grenache Blend—VINTAGES#: 711317. That frankly should be a crime. We did, thanks to Joe R, taste the 2001 vintage of this wine.  Beaucastel is a wine built for the cellar and the 2001 we tasted sang beautifully. The 2015 and 2001 vintages have similarities so I know that the 2015 needs about 20 years to shine into a wine that will be really special. This is one of the world’s most collectible wines, one that the KGBO has priced consistently through the years.  You would pay about $70CAD for this wine in France and about $97CAD in the good-old USA. The price here in the People’s Republic is a decent one.


The $40 Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2013 Sangiovese—VINTAGES#: 652438 is good right now but it is also worthy of a spot in your cellar. This is a well put together Chianti with red fruit, the right amount of wood, and earth and leather notes. Enjoyable now but would be even better in 5 or more years. This wine retails in Europe for the equivalent of $49CAD. The price here is excellent.


If you have room in your cellar to store a $20 wine then consider the $19 Château Nozières Cuvée Ambroise de l’Her Malbec Cahors 2014 Malbec/Merlot—VINTAGES#: 276055. The posted tasting notes don’t describe the awkwardness of this wine at this time. If this wine was a person, it would be a 13-year-old male, whose voice has just changed, trips over his own two feet, and who outgrows his clothes monthly. Yet you see potential. Give him 5-10 years and I think that the boy becomes a nice young man.


Wines to consider

There are wedge issues and there are wedge wines. The $19 Janare Senete Falanghina del Sannio 2016 Falanghina—VINTAGES#: 556787 is a wedge wine. If you served to it guests, half may be intrigued by this wine and the other half hate it. The tasting notes are surprisingly accurate. Yes, the wine is both bitter and sweet at the same time. Rosso’s rating of 3 glasses is the highest that reviewer awards. My initial reaction was I did not like this wine. I gave it a second chance and warmed up to its appeal. You might love it, you might hate it and, for sure, it will generate conversation.


Wines to avoid

Washington State produces some of my favorite wines and, unfortunately, they are kind of pricey and hard to get. I keep searching for value plays and I keep failing. The cheaper Washington State wines tend to be fruit bombs and the $26 North by Northwest Red Blend 2014 Shiraz/Merlot/Cabernet—VINTAGES#: 551424 is yet another unpleasant example.

While the residual sugar indicates a completely dry wine, the $22 Marchesi di Barolo Gavi di Gavi 2016 Cortese—VINTAGES#: 155382 gives the impression of unpleasant sweetness on the finish. We found this wine to be simple, overly fruity and overpriced.

The $16 The Goatfather 2015 Sangiovese Blend—VINTAGES#: 11072 is an awkward, disjointed, and unpleasant wine. It must be the name and not the contents of the bottle that makes this one a “long-time favorite of Vintages customers.

I’m not a fan of dill and tend to avoid that flavor in the food I eat. So, when a wine has dill in its taste and smell profile it’s not for me. That’s why I am avoiding the $45 Viña Arana Reserva 2009 Tempranillo Blend—VINTAGES#: 368373.



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The Wine Muddler

The Wine Muddler blog is a reflection, criticism, and research of The LCBO Vintages Release. It is composed by Rick Wood from Toronto Ontario. The Wine Muddler is the satirical musings of a man muddling through life in search of good wine

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