Thursday, April 12, 2007

What A Winey Week

I'm pretty sure that readers of this blog know that I'm a wine lover and also that I work for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Sometimes the combination of the two can be a bit of a curse, because I see all the delicious wines that are available, but, alas, this fair maiden can't afford them all. I have been very fortunate in the fact that I live close to wine country and through many trips to favorite wineries, being wine club members, attending tasting events, pouring at tasting events, working where I do, etc. I've been able to taste some outstanding wines. At times I even indulge and purchase my own bottles to tuck away until they are perfect and enjoy with a delicious meal.

A couple of weekends ago, I got to indulge my wine geekiness at the Toronto Wine & Cheese show. We got to taste some good wines from all over the world and I was very impressed with some of the offerings from Long Island, New Zealand and old favorites here in Ontario - Lailey, Fielding and NCTW.

The highlight for me was the LCBO's Vintages Classics Collection Tasting Area. When we first entered and started looking around, I could barely take it all in. Wonderful bottles everywhere! I cruised the tables and looked and then I came upon this.

This is one of the wines I chose when I ordered my Bordeaux Futures last year. At the time, there was a problem and it was unavailable. Then I got a call from Sarah at Vintages to say that there were some bottles that had become available and was I still interested. Hell ya! Here was my chance to taste. Mind you, this bottle was a 1995 and the one I have coming is a 2004. I quite liked it. The style, the flavour, mouthfeel, all were right up my alley. Jim liked it too.

The Consultant at that table was Gord from store #10, the Summerhill LCBO store in Toronto. This store is AMAZING! It's in an old train station. Just click here to see some photos of it. Anyhow, while chatting with him, (and letting him know I was also an LCBO employee) he poured us some tastes of some rather expensive wines.

This baby caught my eye and I just HAD to try it. This is one of the 5 Premiers Crus of Bordeaux. Retail on this particular vintage - $330. Ouch! But taste? Quite amazing.

This was a delicious Burgundy. I've had lower end wines from Louis Jadot and thought they were quite good and this producer tends to be very consistent. This one did not disappoint either.

While Jim was indulging in his love for scotch (he really liked this one) Michelle & I were chatting with another product consultant and tried a Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

This one was my favorite of the day. It was magically delicious! Compared to the Bordeauxs, it was a steal at a whopping $239. These wines are certainly out of my price range, but it sure was fun to try them. Most times, the price is driven up because of the limited amounts available. I've had some excellent wines at $30 & $40, but I sure could get used to the lavish lifestyle! :o)

There were a lot of other vendors at this event and we spent the day strolling around and trying all kinds of foodstuffs & drinks. Here we are at the Blackfly Coolers booth. We all had a lot of fun and can't wait for next year's show.

That week continued on with the wine theme. Monday morning I was home and the doorbell went. It was a delivery of some of the wine we'd ordered at the Buyer's Weekend event at Hillebrand Winery in October. This is one of our favorite things about being a wine club member with Hillebrand. They organize all kinds of activities over the weekend, but the highlight is on Saturday afternoon when they set up a big tent and inside they have old and new vintages that you can sample and buy. We'd picked out 3 favorites and ordered them pre-release.

The two whites that we liked were ready and arrived safe & sound at our door. A bonus with ordering them early is getting them at a discounted price. The Trius Riesling is one of my favorite Rieslings. The Chardonnay got 4-6 months in French oak on it's lees, so it's character flavour still shines through and makes it quite refreshing.

Then - yes, there's more! The first wave of Bordeaux futures arrived at the LCBO. Thursday night, I picked up my first shipment.

There were 2 varieties I chose that came with the first wave. I got 3 bottles of each.





From Pomerol, Chateau La Croix de Gay. It is made mostly from Merlot which makes a nice soft, flavourful wine and it got a fairly decent review.





I'm hoping this one will be a sleeper. It's from Fronsac, which until the 19th century was a very popular wine region. It is now a less prestigious region in Bordeaux than say St. Emilion or Haut-Medoc. It's a Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend and quite often these "off the beaten path" areas can offer really good wines at an excellent value.


The rest of our wines are to be released around June and I'm looking forward to getting them. Until then, we've got a wine tasting event on Saturday that I'm geared up for. Ahhh, so much wine, so little time.


bazu said...

I learn so much from you about wines! Thank you! I wish I could attend tastings like these with you... in the summer, I love going to the wineries in the Finger Lakes region here in NY and doing some tastings. I think the climate here is most similar to Germany, so most wines are Rieslings and Gewurtztramminers. Lucky for me, Alsacian-style white wines are my favorites! I like NY wines so much better than CA (where it seemed to be all oaky Chardonnay, all the time).

KleoPatra said...

And here i thought it was my lucky day when i was walkin' Mattie and i found two of a 4-pack of Sutter Home Chardonnay. (i really did find this... but as someone who doesn't drink alcohol except for rare occasions, i gave the screw-top little bottles to Peter. i would imagine this wasn't a big windfall!!)

Michelle Ann said...

I wish we could get more Canadian wines here....However, last night I had the Jackson Trigg Ice Wine and it was awesome!!!

laura k said...

I love wine... What an intriguing post.