Delivery to your door! $25 flat rate or FREE on orders over $250 in Ontario. Please allow up to 10 business days for delivery.

Harry's Blog

  • Truly A Glass Act

    When May de Lencquesaing sold her famous Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande estate in Bordeaux and established the Glenelly Winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa, she took her world-renowned glass collection along. The modern Glenelly winery building was designed to incorporate the Glass Museum in one of its wings in order to continue to showcase this treasure trove of unique pieces. It is one of the largest privately-owned collections in the world. The exhibits range from the 1st and 2nd Century to modern classics, including pieces by Salvador Dali and Lino Tagliapietra. Any visitor to Cape Town ought to make a bee line for the Glenelly property to taste their wines and tour the museum, only a leisurely 45 minute car ride away. Not to be missed as well is savouring a meal at the winery’s Vine Bistro. The breathtaking view overlooking the vineyards and towering Drakenstein mountain range in the background will never be forgotten. It serves classic French bistro food with a modern twist and is paired with their award-winning Glenelly wines. The kitchen team, headed by chefs Christophe Dehoss and Michael Saville, work with the best local ingredients available to present diners the art of French cooking. It comes as no surprise, then, that Glass Collection is the name of Glenelly’s range of estate bottled varietal wines. Merlot, the classic Bordeaux varietal with a South African twist, gives us red berry, vanilla and spice in the nose wrapped up in a balanced, complex yet soft body. Braai is the South African term for BBQ. Since we are now in the depths of Canadian winter, pick up some prepared baby back ribs that are readily available at your local supermarket to spare you trying to be a hero with the below zero BBQ thing. 2018 Glenelly Glass Collection Merlot #26669, $16.95, Then, there’s the winery’s flagship wine, Lady May, a super premium Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend. Meant to be laid down for a number of years, it’s drinking well now.

     

    2014 Glenelly Lady May #480426, $46.

  • Prime Time Wine

    Primus is the Latin word for “first in its kind.” Obviously, it’s the source of the English word prime. Prime time, prime rate, prime rib, prime minister, prime of life, prime the pump -  you get the picture. Primus is also the perfect name for a wine that represents top quality. Cabernet Sauvignon is a work horse varietal in Chile with extensive acreage. But this version is grown on special parcels located in higher altitude alluvial terraces of the Maipo Valley at the foot of the Andes mountains. Hence, the appellation of origin on the front label reads Alto (high in Spanish) Maipo. It’s vegan and certified sustainable too. This cab brims with lively aromas of dark berries mixed with vanilla and cedar notes. The full bodied sensation on the palate is firm with chewy tannins while the finish carries through with lengthy fruit accents. And, naturally, this wine deserves to be served with rare prime rib. James Suckling scored this wine with 91 points.

    2019 Primus Alto Maipo Cabernet Sauvignon #486043, $22.95
  • High Elevation Highlight

    The jewel of Lake County is the body of water it’s named for, Clear Lake. The largest natural freshwater lake in California, it’s a popular destination for water skiing, bass fishing and kayaking but also acts as moderating climate influencer. North of Napa and Sonoma, Lake County, in the shadow of Mt. Konocti, an extinct volcano, has built up a reputation for its fine, affordable Cabernet Sauvignons. The Shannon Family, with their base here, has been a local ranching fixture for several generations. In 1996, they identified prime locations, planted vineyards and began making wine. Going forward from 2022, their vineyards are now certified organic and sustainable. While the appellation is Lake County, all of the fruit comes from three estate-owned higher elevation vineyards located in the High Valley, Red Hills and Big Valley sub-appellations. Gentle, smoky oak aromas start us off. Seductive, mouth-filling, dark berry fruit flavours are followed by notes of pepper and spice leading to a lengthy, satisfying finish marked by hints of cedar and smoky oak. A soft grip of tannins in the finish wraps up this noble yet very approachable Cabernet Sauvignon. On the way to your local LCBO retail outlet to purchase this wine, make sure to drop by your local butcher to pick up some lamb chops that beckon to be BBQ’d and paired with this complex red. Wine Enthusiast scored the wine with 92 points.  

    2019 Shannon Ridge High Elevation Cabernet Sauvignon #16182, $21.95.

  • Fèvre’s Focus in Chile

    William Fèvre (pronounced Fev-Ruh) is an icon French producer famous for his Chablis wines that must be produced exclusively from the Chardonnay grape. I can remember meeting him quite a long time ago at his estate in the village of Chablis where he lamented the fact that New World producers were using the term “Chablis” indiscriminately for any white wine. International trade negotiations finally put a stop to this unethical practice. When Fèvre set up a joint venture winery bearing the family name in Chile 25 years ago, they imported Chardonnay rootstock from his own vineyards in Chablis. He gave the name to this line of Chardonnay, Espino, wines grown in and around nettles and briars which border his property. Bone dry with less than 2 gm/l residual sugar and fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel, subtle hints of flint, a Chablis characteristic, together with notes of stone fruits, come through in the bouquet. Serve with scallops or baked salmon. At this time of year, these seafoods, caught in the cold waters off the coast of Chile, are probably what’s available in the seafood sections of Canadian supermarkets. A perfect land and sea pairing. Check out this Chilean at your local LCBO outlet Vintages section.  Buen Apetito!          

    2021 William Fèvre Espino Reserva Especial Chardonnay #350058 , $15.95

  • Flying Cigar Sensation

    The founder of California’s Bonny Doon Winery, Randall Grahm, is an icon. Enfant terrible, whimsical, intellectual, liberal arts proponent and eternal philosopher, he made his mark as a “Rhône Ranger.” A proponent of using red and white California-grown Rhône grape varietals, the winery is based in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of Silicon Valley. Grahm also spawned the term ABC as his mantra – Anything But Chardonnay. Despite what seems like a “fun” side of the business, these wines are serious. His tribute to high quality red Rhône-style blends is comically labelled Le Cigare Volant, the French term for what English speakers call a flying saucer. It refers to an ordinance passed by the local government officials in 1954 in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France, that forbad flying cigars from landing in their vineyards. Instead, this wine has landed on the shelves of your local LCBO Vintages retail outlet instead. The key varietals of this blend are Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah with small amounts of Petite Sirah and Counoise providing a supporting role. With a nose of red fruit, on a bit of the wild side, the effects of barrel toasting come through subtly. The palate greets us with nuances of lingering dark red fruits and exotic spices wrapped up in a medium body. We would recommend enjoying the “cigar” with a charcuterie board piled high with diverse cold cuts and characterful cheeses served with artisanal breads. An olive and nut bread loaf, with its Mediterranean origins, would be the perfect carb component. Wine Enthusiast magazine rated this wine 92 points.              

    2020 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant #18516, $19.95.

  • Platinum, Points and Happy New Year

    No exit from the old year and into the new would be complete without Champagne to accompany the transition and festivities. There’s nothing like watching a steady stream of pin-point bubbles rise to the surface of your preferred style of glass – flute, coupe or high end stemware – as the clock ticks toward midnight. Champagne House Boizel, located on the avenue du Champagne in the town of Epernay, one of the epicentres of this famous fizz, was established in 1834. Deep below ground level, in a labyrinth of tunnels, their cuvées, blends of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier rest undisturbed in the dark. Their house style is one of utilizing a much higher thirty percent of reserve wines in the blend than is usually the case. Only first press juice is used. It is no surprise that the UK-based Decanter 2020 World Wine Awards accorded Boizel’s Brut Réserve non vintage the Platinum award, their highest honour and scored it 97 points. And the price is right at $64.95. So rush to your nearest LCBO retail store as quantities are limited. Enjoy on its own or with oysters, lobster, crab or lighter finger foods. Cheers and Happy New Year!!!!!

    Boizel Brut Réserve Champagne NV #25514, $64.95.

  • Cabernet Hat Trick for the Holidays

    While many of us may have visions of sugar plum fairies dancing around in our heads, or thoughts of turkey, there are meat lovers who crave hearty fare with full-bodied red wines while seated around the table during the Christmas holidays. We are fortunate to be able to offer consumers Cabernet-based wines from three continents. If still mourning England’s losses during the World Cup, Australia’s Claymore Winery, located in the Clare Valley, has a tasty Cabernet Malbec blend to help soothe the pain of the loss, but matches beautifully with prime rib. 2019 Claymore London Calling Cabernet Malbec #522110, $19.95. It received 95 points at the International Wine & Spirits Competition. Argentina is one the world’s largest producers of premium beef, and a major red wine producer too. Bordeaux’s Cabernet Franc grape has a found place of prominence in the Andean foothills vineyards in Mendoza region. 2018 Riglos Gran Cabernet Franc #26102, $33.95, hits a premium high note with esteemed journalist,Tim Atkin, giving it 95 points. Filet mignon, por favor. Lake County, California, north of Napa and Sonoma, is a new hot spot for Cabernet Sauvignon. At a higher elevation, with their cool nights, the grapes ripen at a slower pace and provide a freshness and balance essential to great Cabernet character. Shannon Ridge 2019 Buck Shack Cabernet Sauvignon #16201, $29.95, received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast. Top Sirloin, pleeeeze. All three wines exhibit shades of the classic bouquet of black currants with a hint of mint, deep garnet colour and a full body with the dark fruit underpinned by oak notes. Not just for enjoyment, but also perfect for gift giving, get yourself to your local LCBO retail store and pick up some of these bottles. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and please enjoy these wines in moderation. 

  • Wine With Spice: All Things Nice!

    Mulled wine, a sweetened red wine with added spices, served hot, has a long tradition. In fact, it is said to date back to 20 AD when the Romans started to add honey and spices to their wine. As the temperature drops, it’s a favourite consumed during the holiday season. Nothing like fending off the cold with a steaming, hot mug of this winter warmer. While shopping or socializing, this beverage, with a bit of a kick, is associated with good health, warmth and happiness. Christmas markets, so prevalent across northern Europe and the UK, are now catching on in North America. We have the Christkindl Market in Kitchener, as close as it gets to the real thing without having to travel to Germany. And then there’s the Toronto Distillery District Winter Village. Two entertaining destinations with a variety of offerings of food, beverage and gifting items. Check out the internet to see where there may be such activities close to home. And how about the ugly sweater craze that has captured the attention of the human race. What better combination than to offer a mulled wine, pre-mixed and bottled, with an unforgettable ugly sweater wrap motif. It’s conveniently available for purchase throughout the LCBO retail store system. Bring a few bottles home, heat to the desired temperature and take the occasion to get cozy and enjoy. Aromas of nutmeg, clove and orange peel gently waft from the cup. The taste of gingerbread is beautifully integrated with red wine flavours. Rich, with a gentle, restrained sweetness, the finish is all about Christmas spices. Visiting friends and relatives over the holidays? It makes for a great host or hostess gift, too.  

    The Ugly Mulled Wine 750 mL #578021, $14.95.

  • Merry Poppings – Bring on the Bubbles for the Holidays

    With COVID restrictions finally subsiding and life returning to normal, sales of sparkling wines, and especially Champagne, are skyrocketing. While it’s definitely a reason to celebrate this holiday season, Champagne is the most versatile of wines that will pair with most foods, except red meat. Starting a meal with a flute of champagne with its effervescence, mineral tones and lively texture is mandatory. It will activate the palate and its nerve receptors leading the way to enjoy the dishes that follow. Seafood comes to mind. How about opening with oysters, complimented by caviar, or followed by lobster or haddock in dill cream sauce - heavenly. Then take a few sips of Champagne between courses to again cleanse the palate. And let’s not forget poultry such as chicken cordon bleu. Or Asian or fusion dishes. Taittinger Champagnes are some of Ontario’s most popular premium priced sparklers to be found at the LCBO retail stores. Taittinger Brut Réserve is pale lemon in colour and dry on the palate with an edge of minerality that emphasizes the fresh acidity. Accented by white fruits in the bouquet, the whole taste experience is carried forward by a steady stream of very fine pin point bubbles. 160 Aeroplan Bonus Points can be collected with every bottle purchased this month through to New Year’s Eve. It’s an added incentive to help usher in the New Year 2023. 

    Taittinger Brut Réserve Champagne #365312, $61.20.

  • In Quatar They Have No Beer, So We Must Drink It Here

    From November 20 to December 18, 32 national teams representing their respective countries are competing in the Emirate of Quatar for the coveted World Cup of Soccer trophy. As the first World Cup to be held in the Arab world, sixty-four matches are scheduled in eight venues ranging in capacity from 44,089 to 88,966 spectators. Of course the preferred beverage of choice in any soccer (football) stadium, pub, bar, club, or at home, while watching the matches playing out on the pitch, is beer. The northern hemisphere is nudging into winter with its low temperatures while in Quatar the daily temperatures this time of year average a comfortable range in the high 20’s to low 30’s Celsius. A thirsty throat environment for sure, even if not screaming and cheering on one’s favourite team. Due to cultural and religious reasons, the Quatari Government pulled its approval of allowing alcoholic beverages, mainly beer, to be served throughout the tournament.  While we prepare to watch what’s happening on the pitches, over here, fortunately, we can drop by our local beverage alcohol outlet, the LCBO, and pick up cans of Germany’s Gaffel Kölsch. A standard bearer for this top fermented ale, it is dry, light-bodied, soft and smooth with a touch of sweet malt, light fruit and citrus flavours. It refreshes with a pleasant bitterness on the finish. The 500 mL can, #430769, $2.95, is widely available. We are fortunate to also have the 5 Liter mini keg, #179465, $25.95, available at retail level in the LCBO Germany Destination Collection store #115, 115 King St. North, Waterloo. May the best team win!

  • Link to Pink: Sizes matter!

    Gérard Bertrand has played a major role in expanding awareness and demand for rosé wines all over the world. Based in the village of Narbonne, in the southern French region of Languedoc, his Côte des Roses Rosé has become a benchmark for dry rosés, long a staple of the Mediterranean coastline’s wine and food culture. It has now been wholeheartedly embraced by North American wine lovers and shows no signs of slowing down. The Côte des Roses bottle is iconic with its rose pattern incorporated in the glass base. But this is not just another pretty bottle. Brilliant pink in colour, the bouquet serenades us with a medley of summer fruits underpinned by gentle, yet seductive grapefruit notes. On the palate we encounter a very fresh yet complex mouth filling cornucopia of flavours. What’s really neat for this holiday season is the availability of three sizes of bottles to match the demands of the celebration. The 375ml size, # 11234, $10.95, is the ideal stocking stuffer or perfect for a dinner-for-two. The 750 ml size, # 373985 at $19.95 is an LCBO Vintages Essential listing, continuously available. The 3 Liter size, # 490912, $38.95, is perfect for larger family gatherings. Whether pairing with appetizers such as shrimps, dipped in mandatory cocktail sauce, or white or dark turkey meat, baked ham or even duck, Côtes des Roses Rosé, ticks off all the boxes for potential matches. Enjoy your favourite size of Côtes des Roses Rosé this holiday season, even just for sipping on its own.

  • Dunkel Delivers Malty Medley

    As the leaves finally fall, baring the branches, temperatures dip ever lower. And when snow flurries start to whirl about, we begin to lean toward heartier food and drink. Dark beers, called dunkel in German, for sure fit the bill. The venerable Hofbräuhaus in Munich always comes up in any discussion concerning “classic” or “iconic” breweries. Their sublime Munich Dunkel contributes to the reverence for which beer afficionados hold this institution. Filling the glass with a deep, shimmering copper glow, it’s crowned by a lush tan head that lingers right to the last gulp. Rich aromas of sweet caramel and light toffee burst forth with a solid punch of spicy Munich malt. The silky smooth and seductive caramel and spice flavours lead to a perfect balance between malty sweetness and hop bitterness. Is it any wonder that Beer Consumer Magazine gave this brew a 97 point rating? Quite quaffable on its own, it would go great with pulled pork sandwiches or a more formal Beef Wellington.

     

    Hofbräu Dunkel  #415950, $3.35