June 26, 2009




All recommendations are linked to the LCBO database enabling you to do an instant store search for current inventory.

Michael Vaughan’s June 26th Update

A Tumultuous Week
Vintages ISD Obscurity
The New Vintages Sale
Culinary Classes at Inn at Manitou

It’s almost as if the employees union negotiators and LCBO management had conspired to bring about a settlement at the very last minute.
Customers frantically lined to buy and sales skyrocketed – the highest single day sales ever over $60 million.

Of course, not every wine was in the buyer’s cross-sites. Take the tasty Riesling from New York’s Finger Lakes –Hermann J. Wiemer 2006 Dry Riesling(V90332) at $29.95. Only 56 cases were released as an ISD (in store discovery) on Saturday June 20th. According to the mandate laid down by Tom Wilson, the LCBO vice president in charge of Vintages, wine writers are not allowed to taste or even photograph these ISD products. The reason given is that this might create excess demand, thereby resulting in some customer requests that they be able to buy the wines via their local Vintages outlet. While the possibility of such an inconvenience occurring for the LCBO is almost unfathomable, Wilson decided not to continue giving wine writers access to these wines.

One wonders, how is the customer able to get the scoop on these wines? In some instances, LCBO consultants are allowed to taste these ISD items, presumably enabling them to make recommendations. Secondly, there is a list of ISDs on the Vintages website. Unfortunately, it isn’t used by many customers. And guess what wine was forgotten in the current listing? The $30 Hermann J. Wiemer 2006 Dry Riesling. It seems that of the 56 cases safely tucked away in 14 Vintages outlets, the first week’s total sales amounted to a miniscule 15 bottles.

One would think that the folks at Vintages should be encouraging the wine media to taste, photograph and write about all the products they sell. Many customers have been repeatedly disappointed by LCBO sales hype featured with these wines and it just doesn’t make sense to relegate hard-to-sell wines to ISD obscurity. It is a loss for the producers, agents, LCBO (in terms of revenue) and, of course, customers.

Vintages July 22nd Sale

Meanwhile, a quick look at the most current June 22nd Vintages sale of February 14 remnants reveals a number of significant buys. Our fully-linked, user-friendly list of Vintages sale items reveals that South Africa can deliver great value (to see our list click here).

Excellent Pinotage is hard to come buy, so when Vintages released Meerendal 2004 Pinotage (96347) at $19.95, I gave it a Recommended Best Buy with a **/**+ (out of ***+). My note reads: Extremely deep intense purple colour. Spicy, vanilla-tinged, stewed plum, prune and cranberry nose. Dry, medium bodied, fairly extracty, plummy, baked cherry flavours with a long, lingering, very slightly herbal, sandalwood finish. Drinkability: { N S SM M ml }. The good news is that now it’s even a better buy at only $16.90.

Once again, it’s disappointing that the folks at Vintages don’t want you to know that it’s on sale. Take a look at the current LCBO website listing for this wine and there isn’t a word about the $3.30 reduction in price (click here to see). Those who have tasted this wine will be rushing to LCBO stores to buy another bottle.

Culinary Classes at Inn at Manitou

Why not explore the cooking classes at the Inn at Manitou on the upcoming July 3rd weekend? There is a special rate of only $299 per nite - the second person stays/dines/plays for free.
Chef, Bernard Ibanez, entertains and educates the amateur
cook or would-be chef. Each weekend includes two Cooking sessions where you will explore and create some of his most secret recipes. Call for 1-800-571-8818. Availability is limited.

All Package Rates include:
* Room Accommodation based on Double Occupancy.
* Welcome Fresh Fruit in Room
* Morning Wake-Up Coffee or Tea and Sliced Oranges brought to your room
* Three meals daily (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
* Afternoon Tea served daily in the Tea Room.
Free use of Tennis Courts, Mountain Bikes, Sail Boats, Canoes, Kayaks,
Pontoon Boat Cruise, Daily Yoga or Exercise Classes and Gym Equipment,
Daily Heath Walk, and Out Door Heated Pool.

Visit: www.manitou-online.com