Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Picks: Vintages On-Line Exclusives ─ August 25 2011

Looks like Vintages On-Line Exclusives is back on a regular basis! It disappeared for 4 months starting last August and then showing up on an irregular basis for the first 6 months of 2011 with mostly expensive offerings. But since mid-June, it’s offered new selections every 2 weeks, alternating with the in-store release.

Never heard of Vintages On-Line Exclusives? You’re not alone. Even LCBO employees don’t know about it, or don’t know how to access it to help a customer. Here’s a little story.

About a month ago, a reader wrote to ask me if I knew where he could find some Tintilia for a very special occasion. (Tintilia is a grape variety that’s native to Molise, a tiny and poor region in southeast Italy. In Sardinia, they call it Bovale Grande.)  As he explained to me, “The people at the LCBO couldn't help.”  I had written about a Tintilia wine back in January 2010 that was available through Vintages On-Line Exclusives. I checked to see if there might be some still available and, voilà, there it was: the same wine with 88 bottles sitting in the warehouse. (And as I write this, there are still 69 bottles available. Hasn’t anyone heard of markdowns at the Vintages?! It’s been there for 17 months!)

So the lesson, dear reader, is when you’re looking for something a little bit different, not available at the store, check out Vintages On-Line Exclusives. You can order online or by calling Vintages at 1-800-266-4764. They will deliver to any LCBO outlet.

BTW, emails and comments are always welcomed!

Now, here are 2 selections from this week’s on-line release, with 3 more from earlier releases.

From this week:

R. LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA CUBILLO CRIANZA 2005, DOC Rioja (Spain); #692780; 12% ABV; $25
A blend of Tempranillo (65%), Garnacha (25%), Mazuelo and Graciano (10%). Aged 3 years in American oak barrels, fined with egg whites but unfiltered. López de Heredia makes wine the time-honoured Riojan way, with long aging in American oak. Soft tannins with lots of secondary (from the oak) and tertiary (from aging) aromas, in addition to the fruit. Not to everyone’s taste but I love it.

MONTIRIUS LE CLOS 2006, AC Vacqueyras (France); #76547; 14% ABV; $28
An equal blend of Grenache and Syrah. No oak! Certified organic by ECOCERT and Biodynamic by Biodyvin.

From earlier releases:

MESH RIESLING 2008, Eden Valley (Australia); #627877; 12% ABV; $27.95
It’s Australian Riesling, OK? Great stuff.  And a joint venture between 2 Riesling specialists: one from Yalumba and one from Clare Valley. They picked the grapes from alternate rows from 2 different vineyards, vinified them separately, then blended the finished products to get to a single wine. What a mesh! The winemakers say it’s suitable for vegans, which is reason enough to drink.

And now, the Schiopetto twins:

SCHIOPETTO PINOT GRIGIO 2008, DOC Collio (Italy); #234757; 14% ABV; $29.95
100% Pinot Grigio. Hand harvested. Fermented 10 days in stainless steel tanks. Aged on its lees there too for 8 months. Try it with seafood.

SCHIOPETTO FRIULANO 2008, DOC Collio (Italy); #93526; 14% ABV; $29.95
100% Friulano. Hand harvested. Fermented for 10 days in stainless steel tanks. Aged on its lees for 8 months. Don’t know Friulano? It’s indigenous to northeast Italy and worth trying! Known for its tree fruit, floral and almond aromas. Great as an aperitif.

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