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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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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Australia’s Red Wines: Food Pairings and Styles in LCBO Vintages Feb 1

Australian wines hit the spotlight in the LCBO Vintages Release February 1. We may think of red wines from Australia as being full-bodied, but there’s a wide range of styles now emerging from the various winemaking regions in the country. Try cool, crisp whites and balanced, medium-bodied reds from Australia’s cooler regions. You’ll be surprised at how well these wines pair with various dishes, not just a big steak or hamburger. This just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. VIP Members can access all 50 wines that I reviewed as a […]

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Best BC Wines Shine in the LCBO Vintages Jan 18

BC wines take the spotlight in the LCBO January 18, and among my best wine reviews and ratings for this release. The range of wineries in British Columbia is astonishing, as is the breadth of their wine styles. Both new and established producers are represented in this release of wine, from sparkling wine to robust reds and ethereal whites. Now’s your chance to try the best BC wines on offer here. This just a sampling of wine ratings, the most quoted Canadian source of reviews in the Vintages Magazine. VIP Members can access all 88 wines that I reviewed as […]

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Wine Reviews: Smart Buy Bottles and Value Wine Ratings: LCBO Vintages Jan 4

The best wines in January are priced under $20, the the smart buy value wines that help us tighten our belts and wallets. The LCBO often features bargain-priced wines at this time of the year, right after the holidays when we’ve blown our budget with champagne and expensive gift wines. What is value when it comes to wine? That’s subjective, but many of these bottles hit above their price-point in quality. Even types of wines that are usually more expensive like pinot noir, chianti and port are represented well in this release. Here’s a sampling of my best wine reviews […]

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