Our story so far: It is a typical day at KGBO (a.k.a., the LCBO) headquarters. The smell of totalitarianism lingers in the air. Dark and dank storm clouds orbit the windowless building even as the summer sun shines brightly on the rest of the People’s Republic of Ontario. Our scene is a meeting of the two remaining KGBO Sith Lords. The lord’s take action to defend and expand the KGBO and they make sure that the evil empire is protected and grows.
Darth Sidious: Privatisation threatens our monopolistic empire and my chosen weapon is our leases. Leases will be used in our first strike against the side of light. We now sign only 99-year leases on our properties and I also make sure that we pay above-market rates. The expense of exiting these leases will act as an effective shield against the privatization threat.
Darth Vader: I am pleased and I’ve also done what we agreed to my lord. Over the past year, I have increased wine prices, 10%, 25%, 35% and more. This boosts short-term profitability. The cash flow that fills our coffers is a drug, a powerful drug that will make the government become an addict. They will need us perennially. Sadly, I have discovered a flaw, however.
Darth Sidious: Meaning?
Darth Vader: A Jedi Knight blogger who calls himself TheWineMuddler. He routinely points out the darkness of our practices and pricing. He has tens of follower so his posts threaten our position.
Darth Sidious: The solution is simple. Have IT block his site. That will fix that little shit. The citizens of our empire will remain nescient. There is no threat. Our work is done.
You may find it humorous to hear that this blog has caught the attention of the KGBO’s internet police. If you connect to the LCBO guest wifi and try to access www.thewinemuddler.com you will discover that the LCBO has deemed the site to inappropriate and has blocked access. Maybe this multiple-billion-dollar-government monopoly feels threaten by a blogger that calls them out on their unfriendly and unfair practices and pricing. The new KGBO motto: “Today we will tell you what you are allowed to buy and what you are allowed to view”. Maybe their next step might be banning TheMuddler from KGBO premises. HeeHeeHee. This shit is hilarious.
I have asked the LCBO for an explanation for their action. Stay tuned.
In an attempt to speed up the distribution of my recommendations I will be posting the wines that I consider to be outstanding on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you so desire, you can follow TheWineMuddler on any of these platforms.
This blog will also be updated and contain further commentary, which may include satire, wines to consider, wines for wine geeks, wines for collectors, and wines to avoid. Creating content for the blog takes time and so distribution via the blog will be delayed in comparison to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
In my last post, I highlighted four wines from the 20 July 2019 Vintages release that I thought were good buys. Here are a few more thoughts on that release.
My first impression was to classify the $30 Argyros Assyrtiko 2017 | VINTAGES#: 387365 as a wine for collectors. After tasting it several times since the first time we popped a bottle I changed my mind and think that my initial impression was too restricted. Yes, I’m confident that if you cellar the wine your patience will be rewarded. And, you can also enjoy this wine now. The wine is delicious with really bright acidity. Drink it solo or enjoy with seafood or fried food dishes. Our friends in La Belle Province can enjoy this wine and pay 9% less than the KGBO price. Our friends in the Excited States pay a 28% premium if they want to enjoy this beauty.
Wines for wine geeks
If you are a fan of oxidized wine then you will enjoy the $23 Alvear 3 Miradas Sierra de Montilla Vino de Pueblo 2017 | VINTAGES#: 96834. Wine made from the Pedro Ximénez grape usually start with dried grapes and the resulting dessert wine is super dense and extremely sweet. This wine is my first experience with a bone dry PX wine. If you are a dry Fino Sherry fan you will find this wine enjoyable and interesting.
Wines to consider
Lovers of California Cabs will enjoy the $70 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 | VINTAGES#: 904532. This is a textbook and highly enjoyable Napa Cab. Yes, the price makes me choke especially when you consider that last year the KGBO charged $53 for the 2013 vintage of this wine. That’s a 32% price increase. In the good old USA, our friends pay the equivalent of $47 CAD. Are you feeling fairly treated? Yah, it really sucks, and I fear that we nescient citizens are now looking at a $70 starting price for good California Cabs such as this one.
You are not willing to fork out $70 for a California Cab? Then you might want to try the $20 for a Song Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 | VINTAGES#: 666057. To be clear it is from Washington state, not California, but stylistically there are similarities. The wine is commercial in approach. This wine is not in the same league as the Freemark but at less than 1/3 the cost you get a decent BBQ wine. We pay about the same amount of money as our friends in the USA with the exception of Pennsylvania. In the state where wine is also considered a controlled substance, and where the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board models its approach after our LCBO, their customers pay the equivalent of $14CAD. Go figure.
If you are a fan of German Riesling then consider the $25 Max Ferd. Richter Elisenberger Kabinett Riesling 2016 | VINTAGES#: 665984. Yes, the wine has significant residual sugar but there is also plenty of acid and flavors to balance things out. The wine is a nice example of German Riesling and it is a good food wine. The LCBO’s priced this one more than fairly as we pay about $5 less than our friends in Europe and the USA.
Are you in need of an easy-drinking deck/dock/balcony wine? Then consider the $20 Lava Greco di Tufo 2017 | VINTAGES#: 631739. It’s not complicated and it’s enjoyable. What else is there to say?
The $18 Planeta Rosé 2018 Rosé – Dry | VINTAGES#: 111856 is an okay choice if you find yourself in need of a Rose and cannot source the $14 Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado 2018 Rosé | VINTAGES#: 450775 that I discussed in my last post. The Planeta is enjoyable and versatile. Is the price fair you ask? Well, if you think paying 80% more than our European friends is fair then my answer is yes. The pricing is a KGBO ripoff but, like I said earlier, you may have a Rosé emergency and need a decent one.
Wines that I am avoiding
The tasting group explored Pinot Noir land and was disappointed in all three bottles that we tried. So, I will not be buying the $22 Kenwood Vineyards Pinot Noir 2016 | VINTAGES#: 943225, the $40 Lange Pinot Noir 2015 | VINTAGES#: 367359 and the Roche de Bellene Cuvée Réserve Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017 | VINTAGES#: 299859. All are underwhelming. If you are looking for a decent Pinot Noir try the $29 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017 | VINTAGES#: 512574. It’s quite tasty and there are lots of bottles available in the KGBO system. We pay a 10% premium to the price in the USA and a 40% premium to the price in Europe.
I couldn’t get past the odd smell of fennel in the $19 Terre Stregate Svelato Falanghina del Sannio 2016 Falanghina | VINTAGES#: 486076. A weird wine that may work for you but it is not for me. Similarly, I found the presence of mint in the $19 Bersano Gavi di Gavi 2017 | VINTAGES#: 999979 to be distracting and not enjoyable. I’ll pass on that one too.
The two Flagship Exclusive wines that we tasted from South Africa showed poorly. The $40 Ataraxia Chardonnay 2016 | VINTAGES#: 232967 is an oak bomb, a style that I don’t enjoy. Surprisingly, the $35 Glenelly Lady May 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot | VINTAGES#: 480426 has significant and unpleasant vegetal and green bell pepper attributes. Sorry, but these characteristics do not ring my bell.