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New at Vintages in November

11/10/2014 04:18 EST | Updated 01/10/2015 05:59 EST

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The Vintages section of your local LCBO may be a bit of a mystery to you. The name itself suggests "Wine Snobs Only Please." Yes, Vintages is classed as the fine wine and premium spirits business of the LCBO, but excellent value limited quantity wines can be found if you venture inside.

I'm excited to announce I have been accepted to the Vintages Ottawa media pre-release tastings. Bi-weekly, LCBO Product Consultants and media personalities meet and taste upwards of 120 new wines and spirits hitting the shelves at an LCBO near you. This gives me the opportunity to write and recommend wines while continuing my thirst for wine knowledge. It's all great fun! VQA is a passion for me. Canadian vintners continue to craft some world class wines and we should be proud and supportive of our wine industry. Let's get started.

The holiday season is fast approaching and the November 8th and 22nd releases are monstrous. More than 170 products will be hitting the shelves and were made available for the October 29th tasting. For me it was akin to Baptism by fire. Yes, Heather, there really is palate fatigue. This massive release was split over two days. I attended only one tasting day and had to be very strategic. I will do things a little differently at my next tasting.

DOMESTIC(VQA)

Sparkling

Henry of Pelham Estate Winery Cuvée Catharine Estate Blancs De Blanc Wine Review

Lots of pretty bubbles with staying power. Crisp and clean palate cleanser after a long couple of hours tasting wines. Citrus and granny smith apple, tea biscuit, lemon zest. Easily comparable to quality French champagne. Crafted in traditional Champagne method. XD and light body. Asian fusion dishes, seafood or as an aperitif. Thinking Happy New Year!

Release date: November 22/14

Dessert/Fortified

Reif Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2012 Wine Review

Brilliant deep amber-gold. Thick and rich with slow moving legs revealing it's almost oily texture. Oxidized apple, pear, peach, honey, floral, vanilla and brown sugar. The length is long with lingering sweet honeyed finish. The acidity is medium+ and balanced well against the sweetness.Dessert on it's own or with Creme Brule, Stilton cheese, caramel sundae. Outstanding value icewine at $24.95. Makes a perfect host/hostess gift.

Release date: November 22/14

White Wine

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2013 Wine Review

A wonderful Ontario Riesling. Fresh and bright with comfort like a favourite running shoe. Tree fruit, lemon zest, honey, vanilla, white blossom, petrol (running shoe?), minerality, cinnamon. Refreshing acidity. The finish is long and tangy. Pair this with just about anything or sip it on it's own. Great value at $16.95.

Release date: November 8/14

Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2011 Wine Review

Le Grand Clos, Le Clos Jordanne's "Grand Cru" of Niagara is created exclusively from the best parcels of land. The medium lemon colour in the glass foreshadows the rich and full-bodied experience on the nose and palate. Ripe Niagara tree fruit, honey, toffee,white blossoms,herbs, citrus, toast, nuts,earthy, wet cedar, melon, minerality(indicactive of the limestone soil.) Smooth and creamy mouthfeel coupled with an extended length with cleansing finish. For the wine lover on your list. Perfect "winter white."

Release date: November 8/14

Red Wine

Quails' Gate Pinot Noir 2012 Wine Review

Quail's Gate Pinot Noir continues to be one of my favourites. Always aromatic with voluptuous layers, I have to make myself slow down and savour...Gulp! Medium- body with good acidity .Black cherry, raspberry, black pepper, baking spices, nuttiness with subtle toasted oak. Tannins are polished even though we have s young wine here. Acidity is medium+. The length is long with a warm spicy finish. Terrific turkey wine. This is a "buy two" wine.

Release date: November 22/14

Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2012 Wine Review

Gravity, a Reserve Pinot Noir, is crafted from the vineyard's best batches,clones and barrels. This leans to a medium body Pinot Noir from an exceptional year in the Niagara Peninsula. Medium ruby colour with thin legs. Wafting aromatics of dark cherry,raspberry, plum, vanilla, violets, pepper, clove, earthy, smoke. Palate introduces a bit more sour cherry, cranberry, baking spices. Perfect amount of acidity coupled with supple tannins. Easy drinking. This might just be my Christmas table wine.

Release date: November 8/14

Cheers!

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