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Well, to be brief before I paste my notes, I was generally disappointed with the wines presented last night. Based on many of the amazing wines available in this catalogue, I would have expected them to pull out a few more nice wines to taste. So much for that idea.

Oh well, I still tasted 24 wines, chatted with some great people and had an all around good time.

And now for the notes:

2000 CHARLES MENTON NINE POPES (Barossa, Australia)

Deep purple colour. Sweet nose with glycerin, blackberry jam, and smoke. Thick legs. Very tasty wine with layers of sweet dark fruit and a bit of cedar. Long dry finish. Will only improve in the cellar. 91 points.


Medium-dark ruby red. Thick legs. Aromas of mesquite, smoke, provencal herbs and red berry fruit. On the palate, peppery with red fruit. Good tannin and a decent finish. Needs time. 87 points.


Medium-dark ruby red; thick slow legs. Nice nose of bramble, grilled meat, spice, cassis. Wow. Lots of fruit, glycerin, spice and a smooth, lingering finish. The steal of the catalogue at $42CAD. 92 points.


Medium ruby colour to a pink rim. Pretty traditional nose of tobacco, rose petals and berries. Nice wine with cherries and candied red fruit. Medium-full bodied with a disappointing short finish. 86 points.


Light-medium red; floral nose with hints of cream soda. Crystal clear in the glass. Surprisingly well integrated tannins for such a young wine. Earth, mushroom, tobacco and red berry on the palate with a medium finish. 87 points.


Medium-ruby colour with anise and a bit of barnyard on the nose. Medium-full bodied with red fruit, good tannin. Slightly hot but with a lingering, dry finish. 87 points.


Clear ruby red in the glass. Great nose of coffee, cassis, mocha, and floral. Nice wine with pretty fruit and good tannin but a little short on the finish. 87 points.

2000 MISSION HILL OCULUS (Okanagan Valley)

Medium-red to rim. Nose of cedar, bramble, cassis, and pepper. Full bodied with lots of tannin and spice. Hot in the mouth. Needs a heck of a lot of time if it’s going to come together. 85 points.


Medium-dark ruby, crystal clear in the glass. Cassis, cream and dark crushed fruit on the nose. Well integrated tannins, medium-full bodied with great dark fruit. Medium finish. 89 points.


Dark ruby colour. Pretty nose of dark fruit, mocha. Full-bodied, unctuous, tasty wine with plenty of cassis and black fruit. Long, lingering dry finish. Great Zin. 92 points.


Medium-ruby to violet rim. Thick legs. Coke and red fruit on the nose. Full-bodied with lots of blackberry and raspberry. A little hot. Touches of mocha, cola, and oak on the finish. 88 points.


Dark ruby red to rim. Cedar, bramble, mocha aromas. Silky in the mouth with cassis, crushed black fruit and smoke. Good finish. 89 points.


Medium-ruby. Medicinal nose with cedar and red fruit. Thick legs. Medicinal tasting as well with cherry and earth. Very disappointing. Tried twice from different bottles with similar results. 68 points.


Medium ruby. Cream, mocha, cassis on nose. Smooth, well integrated tannins with good black fruit. Medium finish. A tasty wine. 89 points.


Deep, dark ruby colour; almost black. Huge nose of cassis, anise, leather. Medium-full bodied with well integrated tannin. Good fruit in the mouth with a medium finish. 90 points.


Medium-dark ruby. A little green on the nose with bramble as well. Integrated tannins, decent fruit and lots of pucker on the woody finish. 80 points.


Dark ruby to rim. Beautiful nose of blackcurrant, smoke, tobacco leaf, grilled meat and bramble. Nice thin, slow legs. Full bodied with some bite. Nice tannin but little fruit right now, it’s hiding behind the oak. Long, lingering finish. Should come around with time. 90 points.


Intense purple colour. Dark fruit, glycerin, smoke and a bit of green pepper on the nose. Smooth, lots of fruit peeking from behind the wood. A little hot and will need time to mellow. Lots and lots of wood right now. Was expecting better. 88 points.


Deep garnet to rim. Nose of briar, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Nice red fruit, integrated tannin. Dry on the finish. 87 points.


Dark, dark ruby, almost black. Nice pretty nose of plum, black cherry, flowers, and smoke. Thin, slow legs. In the mouth: cassis, coffee, oak. Really dry, mouthpuckering finish with red berries. Needs a lot of time if it’s going to come together. 60/40 Cab/Merlot blend. 87 points.


Deep dark ruby/garnet colour. Expansive nose of cassis, raspberries, and violets. Full bodied, plenty of tannin and oak with enough fruit to support with age. Should come together nicely with about 8+ years in the cellar. Long, lingering polished finish with a hint of rose petals. 93 points.


Deep ruby colour to violet rim. Crushed berry fruit on nose. Well integrated tannin with nice fruit and a bit of pucker on the short finish. 86 points.


Inky purple; opaque. Bit of crème de cassis. Soft, integrated tannins. Black fruit in the mouth with a lingering finish. A tasty wine. 90 points.


Inky purple colour. Pretty nose of cassis, pepper, caramel and cream. Cassis, dark crushed fruit in the mouth with a short finish. 87 points.
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Thanks for the tasting notes for those of us that couldn't afford to go for time/money reasons. Plus I was waiting for the tasting list to come out and by the time it did it was late in the game and I wasn't impressed by the list.

One quesiton: I guess you didn't get a chance to try the Alkoomi Blackbutt?

[This message was edited by SirIsm on May 14, 2003 at 07:38 PM.]
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No problem Seaquam. I'm just trying to contribute to the best of my ability as I've learned a hundred fold from everyone else.

What do you think for the cellaring of the wine? Leave it for a few years before opening it up? I only bought thre so that's why I'm curious. It was drinking well at the time but I still think it will improve a lot.
We drank one bottle. It's got lots of primary fruit, not too much tannin, and certainly not excessive acidity. I won't have another one for 2 or 3 years, and will re-evaluate at that time. However, based on initial experience, I don't expect to keep these more than 10 years--doesn't have the intense concentration or structure that some of the other '00 Chateauneufs have, but it is very well balanced. A wine to look forward to.



Glad the notes could be of use! I found the Terra Rossa to be disjointed and a little green. For all the accolades that it received, I was just expecting more. It wasn't a bad bottle and should improve with time, but it wasn't the blockbuster people were talking about.

My sentiments were echoed by friends that are much more versed in high quality Australian wine than I. I believe their thoughts were along the lines of, "tasting that tonight just saved me a few hundred dollars, because there's no way I'm buying that wine at that price."
Great, helpful notes futronic, and while it's not your fault, you open a wound of my own making as I missed the bloody ordering deadline!!!! Frown Mad Frown Mad Frown

I got back from my Europe trip last Saturday and completely forgot to order. Thankfully, I was only going to try to get some of the Elderton CSM, but as it is one of my all time favourite wines I am truly heartbroken at having screwed it up. And of course there will be none left when the telephone ordering begins, not that I'd be able to get through in any case.

My bad, my bad! Frown Frown Frown

"Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."

Groucho Marx

No word here yet either. I'm not optimistic about at least one of the items I ordered, though. I noticed that the 2000 Lafon-Rochet which I ordered from the Classics Catalogue at C$59 (and subject to a two bottle limit, I might add) is now scheduled for the July 12th Vintages release at C$77.95! Somehow I doubt that the LCBO will be inclined to fill too many orders at the lower price! A 33% increase in two months! We deserve better than this.

If your order for the Lafon doesn't get filled, go to Summerhill and see if they have any one the shelf. They're bastards like that. I can think of a several things from the previous catalogue that were "sold out," yet three days later ended up on the shelves there. The 98pt Riesling is one that I can think of off the top of my head, as well as the Cinq Cepages were both in this boat.

Stupid LCBO. They really need to get their head out of their a**es and start ordering adequate product. Word on the street is that volume will start picking up fourth quarter this year, when they should have larger quantities of the better quality wine (who cares about plonk volume). I'll believe it when I see it.
I've noticed that as well. In fact, when I ordered my '99 Cinq Cepages, they called me back to say that the limit in the catalogue was a mistake and I could get more if I wanted! Then I saw it on the shelves!

You're right about the '97 Poggio Salvi Brunello. I paid C$59.95 at the Vintages release last November and was told that I could only have one bottle because of limited supply. Yet, lo and behold, it magically re-appeared in the Classics Catalogue last month at C$79!

One final example is the '97 Tignanello. Vintages released it way back in February 2001 at C$79.95. Summerhill has some today at C$149.95! (For those looking for the math, that's an increase of 87.5% over 28 months.) I'm thinking of trying to return a few of my bottles at the higher price and pocketing the difference! Roll Eyes
They only let you have one of the Poggio Salvi? That sucks. The store I went to had two six-packs. Myself and another guy wanted it and we could've had a sixer each if we wanted. In the end, I took four, he took three.

I think it's time to start speculating on wine at the LCBO. Buy wine, flip it back to them six months later at double the price! Razz Big Grin
I received "The Call" just a few minutes ago. Out of the seven wines that I ordered, the only one that was sold out was the Elderton CSM. Here's what I ordered, and what I ended up buying is marked with an asterisk:

(2) 97 Abbona Barolo Terlo Ravera
* (2) 98 Veglio Barolo Arborina
(2) 97 San Felice BdM Campogiovanni
(2) 97 Frescobaldi BdM Castelgiocondo
* (1) 99 Fontodi Flaccianello Delle Pieve
* (3) 98 Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella
(2) 98 Elderton CSM

There will be a few happy people since I passed on the Brunello. Personally, I couldn't justify buying even more as I now have about two cases of '97 Brunello and that's enough.

I'm really happy I got the Allegrini Amarone. I look forward to drinking the first bottle in about 3-5 years.

So ... how did everyone else pan out?
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Tuesday morning and still no call. Should I be concerned? The Vintages phone lines re-open this morning. Shouldn't that mean that all the calls have been made?

This was the first time I submitted my order by e-mail. Historically, I've always faxed it in. What's been the experience of others in e-mailing in their orders?
Ya...I gave up and called...they gave some sort of excuse like...yes, there are some "anomolies" and people don't get called in time...don't quite understand why I go to all the effort then. Here's how I did:

1 Alkoomi - sold out
1 Moss Brothers
1 Moss Wood - returned it
1 Allegrini - sold out
1 Lake's Folly
1 Simonsig Pinotage

Not great - maybe next time I'll fall near the front of the line...although it hasn't happened so far.

My advice: since the phone lines are open...stop waiting for them to call.
Well, based on the advice above, I decided to get proactive and call Vintages myself to enquire about my order.

What a freakin' disaster! Apparently, they never received my e-mail! And, of course, everything I wanted (with one exception) was already sold out! The fellow who took my call was helpful and sympathetic. He asked me to try sending him another e-mail, which I did and he received without a problem. He also agreed to put me at the top of the waiting list for any wines that were allocated to customers who ultimately didn't want them. I'm not holding my breath, though.

We also got into a bit of a discussion on people "padding" their orders. I had always assumed that if you order 10 bottles and you get allocated 10 bottles, then you have to take 10 bottles! I've never padded any of my orders. I suggested to the Vintages fellow that orders should be charged to a credit card as soon as the customer receives the allocation he asked for and any returns should only be for LCBO credit (i.e., not simply refunded to the credit card) to cut down on order padding.

For what it's worth, I struck out on the following:

2000 Grand-Puy-Lacoste
2000 Gruaud-Larose
2000 Lafon-Rochet
1997 Frescobaldi Brunello Castelgiocondo
1997 Brunello Campogiovanni
1997 Brunello Banfi (magnum)

The one exception was, naturally, the wine I was least interested in -- the 1999 Guigal CNP -- which I only ordered to see what all the Wine of the Year fuss was all about.

Honestly, I think you *have* to pad your orders. I learned the hard way and padded this time around. Sorry to hear you got shut out. Now I feel bad for turning down my two bottle allocation of the Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo! I could have picked it up for you if I knew ...

The LCBO is in such an awful state when it comes to having enough wine to supply its demand, that there's really no choice but to over-order. I ordered seven different wines and got all of them but the '98 Elderton CSM. In the past I've ordered just two or three that I definitely wanted and got shut out. Now I put down everything that I want and rank them accordingly. When I get the call back, I just go down the list and don't go over the self-imposed budget I set.

As for them not receiving your email, I was concerned about that at first too. The simple solution is to turn on delivery and read receipts when you email your order. This way you know it's been delivered and you can prove it if they say otherwise. Registered email ... what a beautiful thing! Smile
i almost feel bad for saying this but i ordered only what i wanted, and got all i they are.

chateau bernadotte 2000
guigal chateauneuf de pape 1999
gewurtz vorbourg vendanges tardives 2000grand cru
riesling schlossberg 200 grand cru albert mann
moss brothers cab/merlot 1999

i'll chalk my success up to beginners luck
My call came just after they opened the phone lines. I received:

2000 Chateau Charmail
2000 Vieux Donjon
2000 Riesling Schlossberg A. Mann
2000 Tokay Pinot Gris Rene Mure
1997 Barolo Abbona
1999 Flaccianello

I did not get 5 others, so I was about 50%.

BTW, the cover wine, the 1996 Haut-Brion, I just saw on sale at Binny's in Chicago for $135 U.S. Our friends at the LCBO want $425 CDN. Tell me that isn't a crime!
Well, much to my surprise, I got a call back from Vintages today. I was offered two items from my original order which were allocated to customers but not taken -- the 2000 GPL and the 1997 Castelgiocondo.

I suppose I should be grateful but, frankly, I don't know who's benefiting from this insane system of ours. Certainly not the consumer. Agruably, not even the government. Think of all the forgone revenue from all the unsatisfied demand!

Maybe the Classics system should be a quarterly online Dutch auction, instead. Big Grin You know, a partnership between the LCBO and Wine Commune or Wine Bid or someone like that. The guy who bids the most will get his order filled first, then the guy who bids second highest, etc. That's how the province could really maximize revenues! Why pretend to be consumer friendly if the objective is to maximize revenues? Or, if the objective is to be consumer friendly, then why worry about maximizing revenues - PRIVATIZE!

Rant over.
i agree that something has to give.....unfortunetly for us the average wine buyer is satisfied with the lcbo...they've dumped a ton of cash back into the stores, the magazines etc etc..

a good friend in the distribution/sales business feels that if anything were to be privatized in ontario it will be the highest end products....

he wasn't clear on how it would be done but mentioned that NB or NS is experimenting with private high end wine sales..

who knows

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