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LCBO Vintages Corner


jayt90
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Let's hope we can stir up some interest here in discussing current LCBO wine offerings. The corporation is huge and muti-tentacled, and most of us need some help in making adequate purchases.

Currently I have been buying from the lower shelf of the 2003 Bordeaux Futures offer. I was amazed to find that one of my choices, Chateau Cap de Faugeres ($24), rated well by Parker, was at first denied to me, then re-offered yesterday by phone message. I guess I'll have to pounce on it today, or it may be gone. Or maybe French wines of a certain quality are in oversupply (even in futures) because of U.S. politics...

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I'll jump in here. I work for a wine agent here in Toronto and we have lots of opportunities to see how the LCBO's policies affect consumer choice. Most people have no idea they can buy from agents like us, though the LCBO dictates that we can only sell by the case, which scares off most regular consumers.

That being said, we compete fiercely to get some of our wines into the VINTAGES program. It's incredibly competitive, with lots and lots of producers competing for a limited number of spaces.

Edited by jmcnally (log)
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I'll jump in here. I work for a wine agent here in Toronto and we have lots of opportunities to see how the LCBO's policies affect consumer choice. Most people have no idea they can buy from agents like us, though the LCBO dictates that we can only sell by the case, which scares off most regular consumers.

That being said, we compete fiercely to get some of our wines into the VINTAGES program. It's incredibly competitive, with lots and lots of producers competing for a limited number of spaces.

You're with Lifford, no? (I get your e-newsletter.)

What do you guys have in this month's releases that you're excited about? Particularly, in the $15 to $25, I'm buying a bottle for Friday night dinner with my wife range?

Malcolm Jolley

Gremolata.com

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Malcolm: Yes, I'm with Lifford. I can give you the scoop on November's VINTAGES releases as well as October's.

In the October release, the Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.95) is a winner. I've also just been informed that it sold 1,700 bottles in its first week of release. Ironstone is a Sierra Foothills producer who also makes the popular Leaping Horse brand (you might have seen either or both in local restaurants). Any time we have a wine in VINTAGES, I encourage our customers to pick up a bottle or two, since later, they can always buy a case from us even when the LCBO is out of stock.

November features a few more Ironstone releases, with the Zinfandel being a good choice ($17.95). We're also releasing half-bottles of two of our VINTAGES Essentials, the Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages ($9.50 for the half-bottle, $15.50 for the full), and the Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay ($11.50 for the half-bottle, $19.95 for the full). We also have a Bordeaux selection from Compagnie Medocaine de Grand Crus, the Vieux Château Valentin 2000, for $17.95 (and available in half-bottles for $10.35). I haven't tried it, but all of the Medocaine-represented wines usually show well.

If you're a port fan, we're releasing the Quinta do Noval Vintage 1995 Port for $84.00.

Let me know if you try any of these!

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Hi,

This is a bit of a threadjack, but is there a definitive list of beverage agents (wine, spirits, beer) for Ontario?

I've been poking around for such a list for quite some time. It seems like such a bother to have to ask private ordering to find one everytime I want something that's not listed.

That said, I enjoy the Vintages corners and boutiques, but I end up buying more wine from the SAQ due to proximity and wider advertised selection (really into Langedoc Pic-St Loups right now). The Vintages spirits releases has had some nice surprises lately (green spot, decent aged rums, etc)

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J_Ozzy, try the OIWSBA website (Ontario Imported Wine Beer Spirts Association). It's not totally up to date, but it will give you a good start.

And Gordon, your best bet for older wines are auctions. The LCBO conducts one with Ritchies every year. It just happened October 16, though there might be some unsold lots. You can check out the catalogue from this page.

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Are there any LCBO store offering older wines? I'm looking for mostly older french and german.

The most exclusive offerings of older wines from LCBO has to be the twice yearly Classics Catalogue (mail order). I'm not sure how you could negotiate a Classics purchase from Rochester, although the LCBO could hold the order at a Fort Erie or Niagara Falls store for pick up.

The largest LCBO stores, such as Queen's Quay, Summerhill, or Bayview Village, will usually have older, expensive bottles from France and Germany that can't be moved elsewhere.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Do you have any favourite LCBO advisors or consultants in any of the Vintages corners or stores?

I generally had great suggestions from Peter St. Pierre when he was in Pickering. He is now in Oshawa or Bowmanville ( I haven't seen an up to date list).

There are always good, knowledgeable advisors at Queen's Quay, Bayview Village, Summerhill, and other big stores, but sometimes they are hard to find or short of time.

I asked this question a few days ago on another site, called Yahoo Groups: LCBO.

So far no reply, so I hope this thread is more active!

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Sorry, usually shop at Summerhill or QQ and haven't had any trouble finding anyone, also have a family member with LCBO that is a great source and will order/pick up anything unusal I may want, or he thinks we'll like.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I remember some Saturday morning line ups at QQ on the day of a Vintages release. The staff were quite busy, and harried, and had to put quotas on three items, which sold out quickly.

Yes, I've seen that happen. In that situation if REALLY helps to have an inside source, although I'm sure the LCBO would deny it. I can see if I can get you a rec. of who to deal with if you can tell me what store you frequent most often if you like.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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It's all about your relationship with the local advisor. If you frequent the store on a regular basis and you can show that product will sell, he'll stock it for you.

I would also suggest that you get to know others who frequent the store on release day and try and influence the purchases to your tastes. If you want something bad enough he'll order it for you but you better be prepared to do what it takes for the product to move - even if it means syndicating the extra stock or buying it yourself.

Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Ham?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Pork chops?

Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.

Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal. (The Simpsons)

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  • 2 weeks later...

The new Vintages release, Dec. 4, has a lot of interesting items in my price range (Under $30). But the release of 14 Bordeaux 2000 is right up my alley, as I missed out on their Futures offering three years ago.

There are three that I'll be looking out for: Chateau Canteloup (422) a Cotes de Balye; Chateau Moul;in de Soubeyran (Haut Medoc, $30);

andVieux Chateau Valentin (anotheere Cotes de Blaye) at $18.

The selection of 14 is not well known, but at least we are getting something.

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Natalie McLean's survey of the December Vintages releases is out, and there is an interesting choice , 'best red wine' : Syrah Reserva 2002 limited edition Maipo Valley, from Vina Perez Cruz, $23.

Natalie says she hesitates to recommend it because it may be hard to get. ( And Nat. wants some!)

Not to worry, if you prepare for the release: It will be available December 18, but shipped to the stores a few days early. A wine consultant can offer it as soon as it is in. Not all stores will get it, so check.

My local store (Pickering) is getting 10 cases, so I can reserve 6 bottles.

There should be lots of it on release day, but it will go fast.

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I managed to get a small selection of the Bordeaux 2000 offering on Saturday, after coping with Xmas traffic to get to the Bayview megastore.

I opened one yesterday, Ch. Canteloup 2000, Cotes de Blaye, $22., and it was a revelation of how good a small property on the right bank can get. Very rich flavour, good length, and spicy aromas. I'll be back for more if it is still available.

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I picked up a bottle of the Château Cantaloup and a half-bottle of the Vieux Château Valentin but don't plan on opening either for a while. Glad to hear the Cantaloup is a good pick. Maybe I can get back and grab some more...

By the way, another good newsletter is WineCurrent (www.winecurrent.com) written by Vic Harradine and Rod Phillips.

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another good newsletter is WineCurrent (www.winecurrent.com) written by Vic Harradine and Rod Phillips.

Thanks for this info: I looked at the site and ended up subscribing to 2 wine oriented newsletters.

So far it looks like none of the free newsletters taste all of the Vintages release.

Lawrason et al does this, but you have to buy the magazine.

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There is a new thread in Cooking about an Ontario Ice Wine Vinegar called ' -8 '.

Apparently very good for deglazing, and sauces. Is it available here? It is pretty costly in the U.S. and the U.K., but so far everyone raves over it.

(Sorry, I don't know how to put the link-to-thread here.)

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Thanks for the link. As I read the site, it looks like it is a solera vinegar made in Canada, and selling for $35./100ml, shipped by Canada Post.

Verjus is also available, but they call it 8 Brix.

This is pricey stuff for at home cooks, but it may come down if there is competition.

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As I read the site, it looks like it is a solera vinegar made in Canada

I re-read it, and it does appear to be made here.

It all seems very mysterious, though. There is another site for Americans at minus8vinegar.com, and the American company seems to be based in NYC. Their distribution also seems to be more widespread in the US. I mean, if this fabulous product is being produced here, why is their vineyard location a "secret", and their winemaker unnamed?

I'll snoop a bit and see if I can find out who the culprits are.

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They claim to have a lot of experience, and the solera goes back to 2000. My guess is they are a small 'garage' company buying leftover or not ready for prime time ice wine, and turning it into vinegar. A solera system would benefit consistency, and let them use several types of grapes. But who are they? What is the address? We need a little more clarity before spending big, I mean huge bucks on vinegar!

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