Navigating the LCBO biweekly vintage release

I thought I would take a bit of time and go through the biweekly LCBO vintage release … Every two weeks the LCBO release a catalog of wines that are featured. These wines may or may not come back to the LCBO anytime soon. The catalog is available in three forms, printed (which can be mailed to your home by signing up on the Vintages site), a digital flipboard (that is very poorly done and clumsy, it doesn’t even link to the LCBO site for the products) or a PDF (which also does not link the LCBO site for the products). To say this process is clumsy is an understatement. Hard to imagine in today’s digital age but the printed copy is probably the easiest to use. Get out your pen and circle what interests you. If you choose the PDF I found a tool called Liquidtext to be a great way to cut out and manage excerpts (albeit an expensive tool).

If your lucky, and I am, you have an LCBO that has a tasting bar, complete with an Enomatic wine dispenser. For a small fee you can taste before you buy! They limit you to 4 samples (or mine does), and the tasting bar is only available at certain times of the day. I found no good way on the LCBO web site to get a list of all of the stores with tasting bar. Cornwall in Oakville, Summerhill in Toronto are examples.

So what do you look for in the catalog? Well it takes a bit of time to get efficient at it, but I look for tasting notes, wines I’ve had in the past (so your tasting notes is VERY helpful. I take all my notes digitally using Microsoft One Note on an iPad 9.7 with an Apple Pencil), wine ratings (but beware you need to find a reviewer who’s taste matches yours) and price. One of the criteria I tend to focus on is the residual sugar in the wines, quoted in g/l. I tend to prefer wines that are in the category the LCBO call Extra Dry or XD, which in LCBO terms is less than 6 g/l.

So you’ve found the ones you like how do you know where to find them? The LCBO web site, and the LCBO app can tell you what stores near you have stock of a particular wine. This is HUGELY helpful in that your not searching for a product that isn’t there, but be aware, the stock numbers can be as much as 24 hours out of date, stock levels show before the release is actually out, and stock levels include product that may be on hold for customer orders. So to say this is imperfect is a statement of the obvious. And once you find the store that has what you want, your in for a quest to find it. Or ask your handy product specialist, assuming they know 🙂

The current release can always be found on the Vinatges web site under the category of new arrivals.

Hope you’ve found something of value in this article …

So this Saturday Feb 16th is the next release. I thought I’d highlight a few of the wines that caught my attention, be aware though, I have NOT tasted these.

I love Pinot noirs and this price/description seemed interesting

Alcohol/Vol 13.0%
Made in: Tasmania, Australia By: Brown Brothers
Sugar Content: 4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity
Check LCBO stock

I love Sauv blancs and have been exploring the offerings from the Loire region lately. My local product specialist raved about this wine. The product specialist pre taste wines before their release. As you can see, it’s nice and dry …

Made in:Loire, France By:Domaine Chavet Et Fils
Sugar Content: 4 g/LSweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry
Style:Aromatic & Flavourful
Description: Made from Sauvignon Blanc and presented in an eco-friendly lightweight bottle, this wine is consistently vivacious and mineral with delicate citrus character. Pour it with green salads or seafood.
Check LCBO stock

Another super dry, Sauv blanc at a price that sounds REALLY good, I figured I’d give it a try.

Alcohol/Vol 11.8%
Made in: South of France, France By: Vinisource
Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Aromatic & Flavourful
Check LCBO stock

I’ve recently been exploring Muscadets and saw this one, nice and dry, super attractive price.

Alcohol/Vol 11.7%
Made in: Loire, France By: Earl B. De Goulaine
Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Aromatic & Flavourful
Check LCBO stock

Reasonably priced Bordeaux’s that are good are hard to find, so this description caught my eye at a price I’m willing to pay.

Alcohol/Vol 12.5%
Made in: Bordeaux, France By: Cordier
Sugar Content: 3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Full-bodied & Smooth
Varietal: Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc
This Cru Bourgeois is drinking beautifully now and will continue to delight for another 3+ years
Check LCBO stock

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