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Saturday, March 15, 2008

BRING YOUR OWN WINE: some recent selections found at the LCBO

The Bring Your Own Wine campaign at Ontario restaurants has been moderately
successful, with corkage ranging from $1 (depending on day of week) to $15
or so. I write a newsletter for the trade. In it, I encourage restaurants to
buy moderately expensive but "restaurant ready" wines from Vintages, for
current consumption. And to mark them up only $15...There is no reason why
BYOW fans could not buy these same wines at the LCBO and bring them along to
a dinner, paying corkage of $1 to $15...Here are some recent selections from
the January and February Vintages releases. All wines are ready now, all
wines have a certain cachet with great labels or credibility, and all wines
taste very good. They would rate at about 89 plus points. The key for
restaurants and for BYOW fans is to find expensive wines that are reasonable
in price for what they are and that are ready for drinking with food.
Restaurants have horrific markups, so most people would end up paying $60
for a decent wine (plus tax). That means, with a $15 corkage, you could
safely buy a great $55 wine at Vintages, and bring it along. Tipping is up
to you. Hardly any of the wines which follow can be described as "sippers":

1. Jordan Chardonnay 2005 Russian River Valley (+68023, $37.65 ) shows bold,
concentrated flavours.
2. Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Marlborough (+677450, $21.80 ) is very
off-the-wall zesty New Zealand
sauvignon blanc. For the racy lover.
3. Cedro do Noval 2004 Douro (+64709, $24.75 ) is very restaurant-ready,
moderate fruit, great food wine,
integrated and noticeable French oak.
4. Leasingham Bin 56 Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 Clare Valley (+39545,
$25.75 ) is nicely aged, sip or food.
5. Teusner The Riebke Ebenezer Road Shiraz 2005 Barossa (+48470, $25.75 ) is
juicy and addictively delicious,
reaching 13.5% ABV.
6.. Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2004 (+57323, $27.75) is traditional
California with floral tones, citrus,
pear, and oak.
7. Austins Pinot Noir 2005 Geelong Victoria (+684142, $26.75) is a twist-top
with good pinot depth.
8. Chateau Belle-Vue 2004 Haut Medoc (+35592, $31.70 ) continues the fact
that HMs are the best value in
Bordeaux today. Restaurant-ready now.
9.Martin Ray Chardonnay 2005 (+57067, $23.75) has been crafted for the resto
trade, 14.3% ABV, butterscotch
and caramel.
10.M. Chapoutier Chante Alouette Blanc Hermitage 2003 (+140541, $74.75) is a
rare MVC treat for a Northern
Rhone white. Certainly worth it as a BYOW.
11..Henry of Pelham Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 Niagara (+268391, $24.75) deep
burgundy style, ready soon.
12.Chateau Le Caillou 1998 pomerol (+45682, $48.75 ) is nicely aged already,
great food wine at this stage.
13. Degani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2003 (+52423, $37.75) is this
month's amarone flavour.
14. Palacios Remondo Propiedad 2005 Rioja (+597880, $37.75 ) is brimming
with fruit and integrity, 14.5%
ABV, great finish.
15. Chateau de Rully Blanc 2004 (+46714, $27.45) is ageing very well, some
butter and light oak.
16. Dominus 2004 Napa (+63057, $90.95 ) and its second wine, (17.)Dominus
Estate Napanook 2004 Napa
(+63065, $39.95 ) form an
interesting comparison. Both wines are ready to go now, but the
Napanook is slightly more accessible and does not need food.
18. Ridge Geyserville 2005 Sonoma (+723072, $47.75) is largely zinfandel.
Read Josh Raynolds notes in
the Vintages catalogue, and you won't even have to drink the wine.
19. Rosemount Traditional Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot 2002
South Australia (+484097, $35.20 ) is 82-10-8 in percentages, very mellow
and ready now.

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