On July 26, the LCBO initiated a broad service for the on-line purchasing of over 5,000 products, including wine, spirits, and beer. At Shop LCBO.COM, the products may come from the general LCBO list or Vintages, or they may be on-line exclusives.
By 2017, the LCBO intends to have 16,000 different products available.
Minimum order is $50, and you may have the order delivered, or you may pick it up at an LCBO store which you designate.
Every order for home delivery carries a charge of $12, plus tax. The maximum is $5000 with the maximum number of bottles 480; so, you could order up to 40 cases, it would seem… or just one bottle of Louis XIII Cognac - it retails for $3,100… and there are 3 bottles available!
Orders for home delivery are promised in 2 to 4 days with delivery provided by Canada Post.
If your order is to be picked up at an LCBO store, there is no charge for delivery, but it may take one to four weeks, as your order would likely be included with the store’s regularly scheduled shipments.
If you select the home delivery option, whoever receives the order must be able to prove that they are 19 years of age or over.
To pick up wine at the LCBO store, you must have designated at time of order who would be making the pickup, and identification would be required.
When you shop LCBO.COM, you are asked to identify a store that you would work with.
Your order is then connected to a specific “hub” and product availability might vary from region to region, unless you have selected to shop from “on-line exclusives”.
With the “on-line exclusives”, it is case purchases only, and so you will be buying 6 to 12 bottles of wine. There is a lot of product available, and so you should use the side bar to filter what you are looking at. You can filter by colour or style – red white, rosé, sparkling – as well as country of origin, right down to region, and price.
Be prepared to do some homework. While some names, such as Mitolo from Australia, which makes the Jester and the Musician wines found in Vintages, may be familiar, many names probably won’t ring too many bells.
But you may find some bargains, wines worth purchasing even by the case. For example, Resso 2014 is a blend of old vine Garnacha and Tempranillo, selling for $99.60 a case, or $8.30 a bottle. The Wine Enthusiast gave one vintage an “86”, certainly respectable. If you like Spanish reds with some depth and character, this is a pretty good find.
Just as intriguing is Boutinot Cuvee Jean Paul Red 2014, $100.80 per case, $8.40per bottle. The LCBO provides no descriptors, but some checking revealed that it is a blend of Grenache (there’s that Garnacha again!) and Syrah from Vaucluse in the south of France, and an importer described it as having “lusciously textured plum and strawberry fruit” and as being “uncomplicated, medium bodied, soft and fruity.” All these wines would have passed the lab tests of the LCBO. It is hard to believe that you could go wrong with a purchase like this.
Many of these wines may never have been on offer to the public before, and some may have been available only to licencees – you could have seen them on a restaurant list, but never in a store.
Other wines might previously have been available on consignment, but this will help raise consumers’ awareness of them.
It is expected – and hoped – that agents and importers will be able to get more and more of their portfolios out to consumers under this programme.
Like the purchase of wine and beer in grocery stores, this new initiative is still very much in its infancy, and will be subject to much refinement.
I will be interested in seeing if it makes purchases of wines on the Vintages releases any easier, especially for those products which might not have been destined for stores in our more out-lying communities, such as North Bay, Timmins, or the Sault.
As for buying a case of mystery wine, it shouldn’t be a burden – we can share the bounty with friends…or we can just make Sangria!
Fiesta Sangria (Food and Drink, Early Summer 2005)
- In a glass pitcher, combine one 750 mL bottle full-bodied red wine, 4 oz cranberry vodka, 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 lime, all sliced in rounds, 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced, 1 apple, cored and sliced, 9 whole cloves (inserted into apple slices) and 2 cups white cranberry juice.
- Stir to mix, and let steep several hours if possible. Just before serving, add 2 cups lemon-lime soda. To serve, fill a wine goblet with ice and add sangria.
Makes approximately 12 servings
I am sure you can adapt it with respect to the cranberry vodka – I would probably use an unflavoured vodka if I didn’t have the cranberry, and just add more cranberry juice to taste.
August 20 Vintages Release
The whites recommended on this release are all new to Vintages.
Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2015, $19.95, hits all the right notes, everything balanced in fine proportion. The same grape is vinified quite differently when it is presented as Pinot Grigio: Pinot Gris, however, is quite richly flavoured in comparison – here, melon, peach and floral notes are detected on the nose and repeated in the palate, along with some smoke, honey, and even wet stone. Medium to full in body, with good acidity and intensity, this wine is eminently quaffable.
Tom Gore Chardonnay 2014, $19.95, from California presents itself as “a farmer’s wine”, as Tom Gore himself has been growing grapes and working the harvest ever since he was seven. Gore only recently has begun to carry through on turning the grapes into wines bearing his name, and he wants the wine to be an honest expression of the fruit. This he has achieved, with the apple-like characteristics on the palate of what is unmistakably good chardonnay. Limiting the oak treatment to 60% of the wine brings just a kiss of vanilla and toast to the profile. The texture is round and creamy, and the 2% Sauvignon Blanc punctuates the finish, just so.
Contini Pariglia Vermentino di Sardegna 2014, $18.95, hails from Sardinia. Ian D’Agata, a Canadian wine writer who often contributes to Decanter, identifies nectarine, lime and lemon peel, calling the wine juicy and intense, with ample acidity counterbalancing the fruit. He awarded it a 91 on vinous.com.
This release is replete with some very good values at $15 and under.
Alceño Premium 50 Barricas Syrah 2012, $14.95 from Jumilla in Spain is a must. erobertparker.com compares it to a good red wine from Crozes- Hermitage in the Rhone, with savoury flavours including peat and smoke, and with silky integrated texture. They recommend drinking it sooner rather than later to “enjoy the exuberance of its fruit.” 92
José Maria Fonseca Domini 2012, $13.95 is a dry red from one of Portugal’s prominent Port houses. The Wine Enthusiast considers it to be a serious and structured wine, with “juicy fruitiness and mineral character…evoking the granite of the Douro.” 91
Leone de Castris Maiana Salic Salentino 2014, $14.95, earned a silver medal and a score of90 at the Decanter World Wine Awards in 2016. They called it a “big wine with bags of life and a long finish”, acknowledging its “lovely pure fruit – super bright and fresh with nice integration.”
Velenosi Brecciaolo Rosso Piceno Superiore 2013, $13.95 is from Marche, in Italy and is a blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Ian d”Agata describes “savory red cherry and herb flavors complicated by tar and saline elements.” The finish, he says, is “bright and suave” 90.This sounds like the perfect wine for a spicy penne arrabiata.
There are plenty more excellent wines on this release, including some good rosés. Talk to your local product consultants for other gems in every (reasonable) price range.