Change is coming to the LCBO
Some changes are more frustrating than others but Wine is guiding us this week towards the best value for money in wine
If you visit the LCBO online, you’ll notice a number of changes, many of which are aimed at promoting online shopping.
Navigating the LCBO site isn’t difficult, and it retains the functionality it once offered. A feature, however, which is much more cumbersome is to search for the monthly Limited time offers. Previously, you could easily navigate from page to page, forward and back.
Now, however, you only get one page at a time. You can load more pages, so you can scroll through multiple pages at once; however, if you click on an item when you try to return to the product list, it returns to the first single page, and you have to start all over again, like poor old Sisyphus in Greek mythology who was condemned to push a rock up a hill, only to have him back down every time he reached the top. Tedious.
Also, every time I tried to scroll through the list entirely, it would freeze halfway through and I would end up starting all over again. Complete frustration.
However, if you come across an item that you would like to purchase, you can click on the image, and a box will appear on the right side of the screen telling you if it is available at your preferred store. If you haven’t already identified one, it will prompt you to do so. It will also let you know if the item can be ordered online.
The only curious change here is to the functionality that lets you search for nearby stores. If another local store has it, a box will appear and give you the necessary information. In the old days, “near by” meant “nearby.” If there was nothing in our vicinity, you would receive a “none available” message.
Now, however, the site identifies the nearest store anywhere in the province who currently has this product. When I searched for an item, it identified a “nearby” store as the one in the far west of Toronto, just 300 miles away. a way! Technically it’s the the closest store, so I guess I can’t complain.
You can always check availability in all stores in the province. Click on this feature and the full list of stores that offer it will be displayed.
For some time now, the Vintages catalogs, published twice a month, have included a number of wines designated as “online exclusives”. The April 30 catalog identifies 40 such wines, most in the $30-$40 range.
From now on, until at least August, there will be only one Vintages release per month in stores instead of two, and one release that will be exclusively online. The first fully online versions will be on May 12 and June 5. Normally, in-store releases release on Saturdays, but online releases are scheduled for Thursdays.
The first online-only version contains only 41 articles. Only 2 are $20), and another 10 are priced between $20 and $30.
If you are currently receiving emails from the LCBO, you should be notified in advance of news release articles online.
Among the products broadcast normally, Sault Ste. Marie only receives about half of it. Being able to order online gives us the flexibility to buy something we like that doesn’t catch on here.
Recently I made a purchase online, just to make sure my account is in order as things go. I was asked to create a new password; this will apply to any customer who already had an account prior to this LCBO overhaul.
Additionally, a new wrinkle requires that, to complete your order, you type in a confirmation code that the LCBO sends by SMS to your smartphone. Previously, the LCBO simply sent you a confirmation email. No more. First enter the number sent by SMS. Once the order has been completed, you will receive confirmation by e-mail.
A minimum order of $50 is required, but then shipping to an LCBO store for pickup is free. This is the most convenient option, since you do not have to pay shipping costs or be at home to receive the shipment.
Among the articles on May 12 Online releasethere are a few that catch my eye.
Chateau Miraval White 2020, $24.95, is made in Provence by La Famille Perrin. The property was owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, but there is currently a dispute as Pitt disputes Jolie’s attempt to sell his share to a third party, rather than him. Although the circumstances may be inconvenient, there is nothing wrong with wine. It’s 100% Rolle, a grape known in Sardinia and elsewhere as Vermentino, and the winery says the wines promise to be magnificent, very pure and straightforward, with good acidity, great minerality, tension and delicious aromatic citrus notes. A previous vintage was described as “opulent”: this one could well turn out to be the same.
Chateau Vincens Origin Malbec 2017, $19.95, from Cahors in France regularly gained points in the 1990s. From this vintage, the Passionate about wine writes: “This pure Malbec wine is solid, dark with blueberry tannins and fruit. It’s full and rich, dense with maturity and serious concentration. With its richness still molten, the wine could still age, so drink from 2021. – 93.”
Sean Thackery XXVIII Old Vines Red, $39.95of California is, I presume, the “Pleiades”. On the Pléiades website, we are told that Thackrey himself is an icon, an artist who has been making wine for almost 40 years.
We learn that “Thackrey produces wines using largely self-taught methods, many of which rely on his own intuitions and senses rather than dogmatic adherence to formulas, protocols, and classroom-taught winemaking. Rather than turning to conventional winemaking practices, Sean preferred to use ancient texts as reference points. His overall philosophy on viticulture and winemaking can be described as simple, natural and hands-off.
Of this marvelous red wine, Wine.com enthuses that “Thackrey & Co. Pleiades XXVIII Old Vines is delicious, unique, a wine that I drink without asking myself any questions about it, where it comes from – its place, its state of mind, only M Thackery knows it. I know Sean did. TASTING NOTES: This wine brings to the table enchanting aromas and flavors of bright red fruits, bold black fruits and hints of minerality. Sit down with a friend and sip this wine. – 92.”
Release of the vintages of April 30
Petrichor Pinot Grigio 2021, $17.95, is a bit mysterious. Although this is a VQA wine from Niagara, I couldn’t find any reference to the winery there; however, there is a Petrichor in British Columbia and the tags bear the same image. “Petrichor” is a term associated with the smell of stone and earth associated with rain. According to Vintages, this dry white is “supple and crisp, with generous notes of ripe green apple, peach, pear and apricot. Sleek and long. Something new. Try.
Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc 2020, $18.95, is one of half a dozen great New Zealand SBs we get on this release. wineorbit.co.nz, describes it as follows: “Intense and deliciously expressed, the wine presents aromas of nectarine, kaffir lime, green apple and fresh fig on the nose, followed by a fabulously savory palate delivering tremendous fruity power and persistence. – 93.
Alvear 3 Mirados Sierra de Montilla Vino de Pueblo 2019, $19.95, from Spain offers us something distinctive. Josh Raynolds from vineux.com explains that it is “light gold. Vibrant, mineral aromas of Meyer lemon and quince are complemented by hints of honeysuckle, toasted walnuts and green cardamom. Tight and lively on the palate, it offers juicy, mineral citrus and orchard fruit flavors that slowly unfold and take on a smoky aftertaste. Shows very good concentration and a mineral cut on the salty finish with impressive length, which leaves behind notes of chamomile and fennel. – 91.” We are hoping for nice warm weather; when he comes, this wine will be ideal.
Tarima Monastrell 2019, $13.95, is produced by the highly respected Bodega Volver from fruit grown in the Alicante region of Spain. Monastrell is also known in France and elsewhere as “Mourvèdre”. vineux.com tells us it has “ripe dark fruit and licorice on the nose and palate, along with notes of wood smoke and cracked pepper. A round and generous style, showing good depth and a hint of jam on the soft, slightly tannic finish. – 89.
Casa Santos Lima Colossal Reserve 2018, $16.95, from the Lisboa region of Portugal, always delivers too much for the price. the Passionate about wine says it’s “big, bold and spicy” and “has weight, focus and extra aging potential. – 91.
Duca di Saragnano Governo 2019, $17of Tuscany has a 98 from Luca Maroni, who writes, “this wine is made according to the ancient Tuscan tradition of government of Tuscany, in which partially dried grapes are added to the vinification after the first fermentation. The result is a rich, full wine brimming with ripe blackberry, dark cherry and spice.
Chateau Hyot Reserve 2018, $17.95, is a Bordeaux affair. “This densely textured wine is concentrated and dark with a layer of tannin and lots of toasty flavors from aging in wood. Rich dark plum and berry fruits evolve into part of a wine that has good aging potential. – wine lover, 91.