A friend recently asked me if it was easy to find good wine at the KGBO (a.k.a, the LCBO). I thought about his question for a while and responded by saying that finding a good bottle in the vast LCBO wine SKUs and confusing classifications (General List, Vintages Essentials, Vintages, Classics, Vintagesshoponline) was “work”. Stores have shelves of bad and mediocre wines. The KGBO’s supply management problems are well known. Yes, there are good wines at reasonable prices at a KGBO but you have to do your homework and taste a lot of wine to find the good ones. I hope that these blogs posts help people navigate such that you find a wine or two that is worth your hard-earned money.
The wine in the 3 August 2019 Vintages release is an example of a time when you have to work to find the good wines. This release was a challenging one. On my first pass through the catalog, I was underwhelmed by the mediocrity of the wines. On my third pass, I identified a few bottles to try and then the Muddler tasting group came to the rescue and identified several other bottles to taste.
Unfortunately, most of you will think that the price point of the wines that I consider to be outstanding to be high. I’ll highlight a couple of less expensive wines from the release in my next post but if you are looking for discounted value bottles then you are better off with the choices in my two reports on the 20 July 2019 release (20 july 2019 vintages release (preview) and 20 july 2019 vintages release supplement).
The KGBO continues to block this site when you are connected to their guest wifi network and has not provided me with an explanation of why they deemed the site to be inappropriate.
While the KBGO’s head office is good at blocking sites that contain unflattering LCBO comments, they appear to be incapable of correcting their inventory management problems. Many people have told me that the problems are getting worse. If you have access to more than one store then before you head out use http://www.lcbo.com to identify the store that has the product that you are looking for. Otherwise, if you show up at a store and ask for a specific product you have a significant risk of disappointment. Typically then you settle and leave with an overpriced-inferior substitute.
I first post the wines that I consider to be outstanding on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as doing so speeds up the process. If you want faster access to these picks then considering following me on one of those platforms (thewinemuddler on each platform). This blog provides details on the wines considered to be outstanding and, in a few days, I will post additional comments on the wines in the 3 August 2019 release (wines to consider and wines to avoid).
I will be traveling and likely will not be able to comment on the next two releases until mid-September. See you in September.
The tasting notes for the $55 Gaston Chiquet Tradition 1er Cru Brut Champagne | VINTAGES#: 665851 are understated. This wine comes from a top grower-producer, is delicious, and the best value champagne that the KGBO presently offers. Our friends in the Excited States pay about the same amount for this wine and we pay about 10% more than the folks in Europe.
The $27 Tenuta Roveglia Vigne di Catullo Riserva Lugana 2014 Trebbiano | VINTAGES#: 437004 is a beautifully balanced white wine with good length. The posted tasting notes are accurate. Wines made from the Trebbiano grape can be boring but this has richness, is enjoyable, and worth the extra dollars. The KGBO increased the price of this wine by 4% in 2018 and a further 8% in 2019 (12.5% over 2 years). We pay a 40% premium to the retail price in Europe. However, we are better off than the folks in Pennsylvania (a state where wine is also considered to be a controlled substance). Our friends there pay 17.5% more than the citizens of the People’s Republic of Ontario.
The posted tasting notes of the $28 Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 | VINTAGES#: 225086. are accurate. This is an expressive and full-bodied wine that will please many people and will work well with food. The LCBO has priced this wine fairly based on a comparison to the price charged by retailers in Europe. If you are in La Belle Province you can pick this wine up in magnum for the equivalent of $20 a bottle. That’s a great price and a terrific choice for a wine for a family BBQ.
The $39 Brancaia Riserva Chianti Classico 2013 Sangiovese Blend | VINTAGES#: 260802 is not a Tuesday night pizza wine. This wine is full-bodied and serious; a wine that will accompany rich food and a bottle that you can cellar for years.