Vintages Pumps up Web Offerings
Wine of the WeekMaison Chanson 2005 Bourgogne Pinot Noir **** ($19.00, www.winetrader.ca)Encountered at a Burgundy tasting at the Fairmont Royal York on February 17, this spiffy, lighter pinot noir heralds the very fine quality and firm elegance of Burgundy’s 2005 vintage. Others (see below) tasted that day and since have confirmed that it will be a classic. Nifty aromas combine ripe cherry, vanilla, wood spice and pine. It’s light to medium bodied, slender and seamless with a slightly tart finish. Very good length. Best 2008 to 2011. Available by the case only from Hanna & Sons, but you’ll not regret having it at your beck and call when a lighter pinot is required. See other well priced 2005s below.
In terms of fine wine selection we have historically been Toronto the Sparse. For years I have complained publicly that the LCBO—through its systemic limitations as a one-chain monopoly—cannot physically deliver anywhere near the product selection found in free markets like Calgary or Chicago or, for that matter, any other major city in the world. The situation is improving, however, as the Vintages division of the LCBO does a bit of an end run around its own limited shelf space by launching an expanded on-line service at www.vintages.com. There is the Classics Collection, which is renewed six times a year with up to 150 new wines each time and which replaces the glossy, expensive catalogue previously published four times a year. As well, there will be an increased number of on-going special themed offerings under a program called Vintages Shop On Line that promises “over 300 exclusive products” when it launches in March 2007. The best way to hear about it all as it happens, and understand the ordering procedure, is to sign on at www.vintageslatest.com.
The first Classics Collection offering is up and running, with the ordering deadline set for 5 p.m. Wednesday. This is largely a collection of the world’s rich and famous labels. The full listing, plus tasting notes from non-Canadian critics are on line at www.vintages.com/classics. Vintages does not allow local scribes to preview these wines, thus my lack of recommendations. If using the scores of other critics, be aware that Vintages cherry-picks the best ratings to publish. If you are unfamiliar with the labels offered, and are going to rely on critical opinions, you must research others.
At the moment, Vintages is also offering a few dozen Burgundies that were shown at the big Burgundy tasting held in February the Royal York. As well as the Wine of the Week above here are some you might consider that won’t break the bank.
Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair 2005 Fixin Clos Marion **** ($39.95, 42192) is vibrant, firm and mineral with cherry/raspberry fruit.
Domaine Huber-Verdereau 2005 Volnay 2005 ****1/2 ($34.95, 42291)is very elegant, tight and fine.
Domaine Huber-Verdereau 2005 Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2005 **** ($19.95, 42283) is great value, light, juicy and fragrant.
Maison L. Tramier & Fils 2005 Château Mi-Pont Mercurey **** ($22.95, 42887) is very spicy with smoked bacon, raspberry.