High on Wine: Argentina and Chile Magic Mountain LCBO Vintages May 10

The wines of Argentina and Chile hit the spotlight in the May 10 LCBO Vintages Release. The premium wine region for Argentina is Mendoza, 650 miles southwest of Buenos Aires. Many of us have only a vague notion of this South American country that’s five times the size of Spain. It spans more than a million square miles from the sub-tropical jungles and parrots in the north, near the equatorial Tropic of Capricorn, to the Antarctic ice fields and penguins of Patagonia in the south. To the east, lie the expansive cattle-grazing grass-fields of the pampas; to the west, the […]

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Gifts for Mother’s Day: Wine Trumps Flowers (and Tastes Better)

My wine column in the May issue of More Magazine Canada, with more than 500,000 thirsty readers, features three wines to celebrate Mother’s Day as gifts: three spectacular bubblies. A toast to Mom! The cover features an actress whom I admire for her depth, strength and guts, Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, Canterbury’s Law, ER). I also love that she’s often drinking a glass of wine as she reviews her legal briefs in the evening at home. (Guess that doesn’t play so well in the ER.) At the start of the season, it was white wine, but I notice that it’s […]

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Wine Review of the Week: Cinco de Mayo + Mexican Food Pairing

Our Wine Review of the Week commemorates Cinco de Mayo (May 5), the day in 1862 when a rag-tag Mexican army defeated the far larger French forces under Emperor Napoleon III. Sure, you could toast with a cerveza or tequila, but which wine? The growing Mexican wine industry is gaining respect, particularly the region of Baja California, and among the leading producers is L.A. Cetto, creating exceptionally well-priced red wines. But let’s broaden the field, and look at wines from around the world to complement the fiesta dishes that include the diverse and spicy dishes of Mexico such as tacos, […]

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Best of Bordeaux Wines + Bargains in the LCBO Vintages Release April 26

By Natalie MacLean To most wine lovers, the French wine region of Bordeaux is a vinous Mecca—and one with ancient tradition: wine has been made there for thousands of years. As far back as AD 379, the writer Ausonius penned (or quilled) some poems about the excellence of the wines. Some of the greatest names in the wine world have their home there: Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Pétrus, Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Latour, among others. Yet these top names comprise less than 5% of the region’s production—which means you don’t have to fork over $100 to get a good […]

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Appassimento Wines Featured in LCBO Vintages April 12

Appassimento wines, passito-style wines that use a traditional winemaking process, are part of one of the hottest trends right now in many wine regions, from Italy where it originated to Ontario where there is tremendous experimentation. Many of these wines will come out on liquor store shelves in the April 14 LCBO Vintages Release. I’ve posted my Appassimento reviews and ratings of the best wines in this style available now. Northern Italy’s Veneto wine region developed this technique originally of drying red wine grapes on straw mats in a temperature- and humidity-controlled rooms for 3-4 months. The grapes lose 30-40% […]

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5 Tips to Shop LCBO Vintages + 5 Reasons to Love a Product Consultant

Remember when buying wine at the LCBO and other liquor stores was like buying drugs?  Wines weren’t displayed – they were kept instead behind locked doors.  You chose from a bleak list of product codes on a blackboard and waited for someone to return with your bottle already wrapped in brown paper from the back storeroom. Today, the Vintages section of the LCBO is often tucked away in the back of the store, much like the adult section of video stores. However, it’s not meant to hide the elicit juice from us. Rather it recognizes that tried-and-true, everyday wine brands […]

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California Wines: Classics, Cellar Collectibles and Cabernets

California wines hit the spotlight in the March 15 LCBO Vintages release, including heavy-hitter Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel wines, along with classic Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Collectors will take note that I’ve awarded one wine in this release a perfect score of 100 — it’s been 10 years since I gave out that score. (Yes, I am tough when it comes to top scores: a wine really has to earn it.) This is just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. I’ll be posting the rest soon. In the meantime, […]

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Cabernet Sauvignon, King of Red Wines: Best of the LCBO Bunch

Cabernet Sauvignon hits the spotlight in the March 1 LCBO Vintages Release. This robust red wine is one of the most recognized wine styles and grapes universally, and is grown in many wine producing regions around the world. The LCBO is featuring Cabernet Sauvignon wines from a wide array of regions, including Ontario (both as a stand-alone varietal and in blends with Merlot), California (both reasonably priced Cabernets as well as those in the collector’s pricey range), Chile (always a source of great value), Australia (re-tooling its Cabernets to be less oaky, and often blended with shiraz), and France (classic […]

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Benchmark Red Wines France, Spain, California: LCBO Vintages Feb 15

A terrific collection of both red and white wines from most regions of France is featured in this release. There are also terrific, full-bodied reds from several New World regions, such as Australia, California and Ontario. This is just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. I’ll be posting the rest soon. In the meantime, you can access the 65 wines that I reviewed for February 15 as a text wine list with my complete tasting notes, scores, food matches and the stock for each bottle in their closest LCBO stores. […]

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Wine Bottle and Label Images

Why do I need a bottle image for my wine review? A picture of the bottle for the wine you’re reviewing makes a big difference to how polished and professional your review looks. Compare a review with no image (the default generic bottle — please don’t update it ;) and one that has both the bottle shot and label image (click on the magnifying glass under the bottle to see the label). As well, a bottle shot makes it far easier for readers to find the wine you’ve reviewed when they’re in the liquor store and to remember it afterwards. […]

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