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LCBO Vintages Corner


jayt90
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Today's Globe (Dec. 18) has a variety of upscale recommendations from Beppi.

Most are over my $30. limit, except for a couple of Aussies. (Isn't there a certain sameness to all those cabs and syrahs from Oz?)

There is a distinctive, old style Chateauneuf de Pape, Vieux Telegraphe 2001, at $44. Half the price of the coveted Perrin property released today. Nice label, too.

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There is a recent post on the Vancouver side comparing LCBO prices (favourably) to Alberta privatized store prices. It would be interesting to compare prices for wines available accross the country, just as it would be good to know the mark up used in various markets. As mentioned, Wine Access is useful in price comparisons. I think I'll see what price info, and comparisons I can dredge up thru the net, and report back here in a week or two.

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Great idea. If you need me to send you Lifford's price list, let me know. Some wines that might be available for sale by the bottle in one province may be consignment wines in another. Or (gasp!) not available at all.

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There is a recent post  on the Vancouver side comparing LCBO prices (favourably) to Alberta privatized store prices.  It would be interesting to compare prices for wines available accross the country, just as it would be good to know the mark up used in various markets.  As mentioned, Wine Access is useful in price comparisons.  I think I'll see what price info, and comparisons I can dredge up thru the net, and report back here in a week or two.

jayt90:

That might have been my post mentioned.

The d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie being released at approx. $26 in Ontario whereas it is selling for between $41 and $46 or so out here [Edmonton] depending upon which private store one goes to.

I inquired at one store which usually has the best prices in town and they were the lowest at $41+ and was told that thir wholesale price from the agent was in the area of the mid-$30. As a result the ON retail price is less that what the agent sells it to the stores in AB.

I will keep my eyes open and look forward to hearing what you are able to "dig up".

I am in wine stores usually once or twice a week and would be pleased to check on prices if you have particular wines in mind.

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I will keep my eyes open and look forward to hearing what you are able to "dig up".

I am in wine stores usually once or twice a week and would be pleased to check on prices if you have particular wines in mind.

This will be an ongoing project for me. I'll have to re-learn the various pricing policies, but these should be public record, and we should know about them.

Thanks for your help.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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.

Hi Jay,

Thanks for saving some of that Syrah for me! Did you try it yet? Just wanted to let you know that I'll be posting my picks for the January Vintages release this Thursday.

Happy New Year!

Natalie

Natalie MacLean

Wine Newsletter Writer

www.nataliemaclean.com

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Hi Jay,

Thanks for saving some of that Syrah for me! Did you try it yet? Just wanted to let you know that I'll be posting my picks for the January Vintages release this Thursday.

Happy New Year!

Natalie

Hi Nat. I tried the syrah before Xmas. It is indeed layered and thick, and I am going to hold off on the remaining bottles until the end of the decade.

My favourite red for opening soon, is Ch. Canteloup ($22). I asked a consultant to get a case, but I don't know yet if it will come in.

The old vines Viognier (d'Oc) from Roger was a step above the usual inexpensive French whites.

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Hi Jay,

Thanks for saving some of that Syrah for me! Did you try it yet? Just wanted to let you know that I'll be posting my picks for the January Vintages release this Thursday.

Happy New Year!

Natalie

Hi Nat. I tried the syrah before Xmas. It is indeed layered and thick, and I am going to hold off on the remaining bottles until the end of the decade.

My favourite red for opening soon, is Ch. Canteloup ($22). I asked a consultant to get a case, but I don't know yet if it will come in.

The old vines Viognier (d'Oc) from Roger was a step above the usual inexpensive French whites.

I'm always relieved when I hear someone liked the wine I suggested... my nightmare is for a group of folks sitting around a table with a bottle of wine asking, "What the heck was she thinking?!"

You've got me curious about the viognier.

Natalie MacLean

Wine Newsletter Writer

www.nataliemaclean.com

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Hi,

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

A couple of responses to this omitted the agents from whom I have ordered most often!

FWP Imports (many of their wines are in 6-packs, so only need a small order)

John Hanna & Sons (one of my better sources for older wines)

Both have been VERY active for years.

(And I have ordered from some of those contained in the suggested lists too).

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Vintages Classics is having a sale starting Monday, by phone (416 365-5767 or 1-800-266-4764)

Most reductions are $4-$6., some higher.

The leaflet says it is exclusive to Classics customers, but you can call them, Monday morning, and they may be eager to sell; just mention egullet.

There are several that fit my 'under $30' guideline, but my favourite has to be the Australian 627844 SHIRAZ UNCUT 2002 Maclaren Vale (Gemtree) ($29.95) You could hope it goes down smoothly! No gagging.

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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.

I actually do taste the entire Vintages release (or at least, all that the LCBO sets out for wine writers), but I only recommend those that I like... although it's probably also useful to warn you off the poor wine, life is short and many readers have told me that it's enough to absorb the 30-+ I recommend each release. Hope it's helpful anyway.

Natalie MacLean

Wine Newsletter Writer

www.nataliemaclean.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

I found an excellent set of 8 wine glasses, for $30. at Costco.

The glass is crystal, made in Austria, hold 24 oz., is 11" high, and a dead ringer for Riedel's Vinum Claret. They should be great for everyday or restaurant use.

They sell under the house brand label, Kirkland.

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There are two or three interesting offereings at the Vintages corners:

Gigodas 2000 (Montirius) at $24. This is a sale item and may be hard to find, so I will have to check Vintages.com for availability. But it is half the price of Chat. de Pape.

Vouvray Demi Sec (Huet) at 29.00 Beppi likes the dry version with stinky cheese. Both are from a superb producer.

Cabernet Sauvignon (Goundrey) at 22.00 Not avail. until Feb. but guaranteed hard to get...

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There are two or three interesting offereings at the Vintages corners:

Gigodas 2000 (Montirius) at $24.  This is a sale item and may be hard to find, so I will have to check Vintages.com for availability. But it is half the price of Chat. de Pape.

Vouvray Demi Sec (Huet)  at 29.00  Beppi likes the dry version with stinky cheese.  Both are from a superb producer.

Cabernet Sauvignon  (Goundrey) at 22.00  Not avail. until Feb. but guaranteed hard to get...

Agree on the Gigondas and Huet - but not enamoured with the Groundrey (based on previous vintages). Also not sure why it would be hard to get - it's owned by Vincor after all?

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Agree on the Gigondas and Huet - but not enamoured with the Groundrey (based on previous vintages). Also not sure why it would be hard to get - it's owned by Vincor after all?

I wondered about that, too, but in my experience with Saturday Vintages releases, there can be a stampede if the wine is well-priced, a reserve, from a known vintner in Australia, and includes two rave blurbs in the description.

I haven't had anything else from this vintner. It may not be worth a special trip to the large stores, on the morning of the 19th, but I'll look for it locally.

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Porcupine Ridge 2003 is still available!

I bought one bottle on Sunday at Bayview Village and they still had a dozen or so. The consultant was telling anyone who listened that it was a Parker 90, at $12.95. The rating may be excessive, but it is a superb, dense mouthfull, a little shy on the nose, but balanced and ready. Jancis liked it a lot, and W.S. gave it a mere 87. Check Vintages.com product search for a store with stock.

Gremolata put us on to this a few weeks ago. Thanks, Malcom...

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  • 1 month later...

The April 2 Vintages release is fast approaching, and there are a few interesting items in my arbitrary $15-30 range, worth looking for.

Osborne's Special Reserve Tawny Port at $18, leads the pack. No indication of age, but hard to resist at the price. Natalie says it's a good value.

Penfold's Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre 2003, $20. Previous bottlings have been good, and a fine introduction to their Bin Series.

Dornier Donatus White 2003, $19. Worth a shot, as South African whites are getting a lot of recognition, finally. I recall when David Peterson placed an embargo on S.A. wines, thus helping to set back the industry years behind other wine exporting countries. Now they are catching up.

Cono Sur Res. Chard. 2003, $14. A medal winner from Chile.

Chateau Marsau AC Cotes de Francs 2001, $28. Parker calls this wine a sleeper (and not only this vintage) giving it a 90. It will be hard to get, and I'll have to check out availability on the vintages.com search engine, as I can't get to a major Vintages Corner on Saturday.

Mas Janeil 2001 AC Cotes de Roussillon Villages $16. Stephen Tanzer says it reminds him of Chat. de Pape, so I'll have to try it and see...

Serrata Di Belguardo 2002 $20. Well rated by the Spectator. Good Italian wines at attractive prices have always been elusive, so I am defintely hoping to learn something here.

Martinez Bujanda 'Conde de Valdemar' Res. 1998, $20. Well aged, and modern Rioja in style; I have only old style rioja in my cellar, so this will be a nice comparison.

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Hate to toot our own horn here (well, not really!) but Lifford has a great Chardonnay in the April 16 release. It's the Wither Hills Chardonnay 2002 ($24.95). Rod Phillips (www.winecurrent.com) gave it 5 stars and Natalie gave it an 88.

And I might be out of line here, but I'd love to announce our 2nd annual Lifford Grand Tasting, which is being held on Wednesday May 4 from 6:30-9:00pm at the Eglinton Grand Theatre. More than 250 wines from over 50 producers, with 30 winery representatives in attendance. Tickets are $95 and can be reserved by calling 416-440-4101.

More info: http://www.liffordwineagency.com/special/2...isle/index.html

P.S. I'm also a big fan of South African whites, and I'm excited to see the Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc in the April 2nd release.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is a great thread and I hope it stays alive and well! I'm currently living in Paris, but will have to return to Ontario later this year (insert sound of suffocating woman here)

Living in France has whet my appetite for a wide variety of wines (or, at least French wines; they are quite sure that only France produces good wine and most caves sell - at most - 2 or 3 bottles - TOTAL - of non-french wine) and I fear that I will find high prices and poor selection in Toronto. If this thread remains afloat, maybe I will have a chance of finding something decent in Ontario!?

What is a wine consultant, please?

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This is a great thread and I hope it stays alive and well!  I'm currently living in Paris, but will have to return to Ontario later this year (insert sound of suffocating woman here) 

Living in France has whet my appetite for a wide variety of wines (or, at least French wines; they are quite sure that only France produces good wine and most caves sell - at most - 2 or 3 bottles - TOTAL - of non-french wine) and I fear that I will find high prices and poor selection in Toronto.  If this thread remains afloat, maybe I will have a chance of finding something decent in Ontario!?

What is a wine consultant, please?

Freckles, it is great to see interest in Ont. wine stores from someone in France.

A wine consultant is what the LCBO calls a product consultant now, and used to call a wine advisor. They are in most larger stores, and can be found in the 'Vintages Corner' dispensing advice, or restocking.Most are well trained, and knowledgeable; some are very good, and have a following.

The LCBO has a lot more non French wine than they used to. This is a dominant trend everywhere, except in France. I think you'll find that prices of good French wines are comparable to Paris, but more than if you go directly to the Apellation. Our prices are generallly comparable to U.S. prices now, although some markets, like New York and Chicago, might be more competitive.

Selection in Toronto is quite good, but you may have to buy from several sources: Vintages Corners, LCBO CLassics, Bordeaux Futures, and independent agents.

There is a wide variety, but you have to work at it.

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hey everyone,

I live in Montreal, but get to Toronto once a month or so for business. Whenever I go, I try to stock up on Australian and Canadian wines, which are in short supply at the SAQ :/ It's depressing to walk into a HUGE SAQ Selection shop, see entire ROWS devoted to a single region of france, and compare it to the pathetic three or four Canadian wines on offer in the "Divers Pays" corner.

Our offices used to be at 1 Dundas, which gave me access to the LCBO across the street (sorry if I can't remember the name... i think it was the atrium on bay?). But now we're down on the lake, and I've no clue where to go! I stay at the Westin Harbour Castle. I'm usually on a tight schedule, but I'll MAKE time to get to the LCBO! If anyone has any suggestions on which LCBO to hit, and what wines to pick up, I'd REALLY appreciate it. I usually try to pick up 6 - 8 bottles (having to carry them during travel is a PAIN!) across a variety of price ranges and styles, and I'm really looking to expand my collection.

I've fallen into a bit of a rut lately with my wine choices, and have made a conscious effort to buy new and untried wines. It can be hit and miss, but the hits are well worth it, i think :) Favourites include Australian shiraz, NZ sauvignon blanc, Burgundy pinot noirs, well, just about anything really :)

Any suggestions are very appreciated!

Disclaimer: 1) a renunciation of any claim to or connection with; 2) disavowal; 3) a statement made to save one's own ass

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But now we're down on the lake, and I've no clue where to go!  I stay at the Westin Harbour Castle. I'm usually on a tight schedule, but I'll MAKE time to get to the LCBO! If anyone has any suggestions on which LCBO to hit, and what wines to pick up, I'd REALLY appreciate it. I usually try to pick up 6 - 8 bottles (having to carry them during travel is a PAIN!) across a variety of price ranges and styles, and I'm really looking to expand my collection.

Westin Harbour Castle is actually near one of the bigger LCBOs.

The hotel is here and the Queens Quay branch is here.

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