Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Three Bottle Lot

Years ago (like 20 years), when Dave and I were just getting into wine, the Liquor Commission Board of Ontario (LCBO)  came out with a program to introduce people to wine.  Each month, they would recommend wines that they suggested you buy in 3-bottle lots:  one to drink now, one to drink in a year, and one to drink some time later, based on the aging potential of the wine.  These wine recommendations were in the back of the magazine, and came with great write-ups about the wine, along with articles about aging and storing wines. The goal was to document your thoughts about each bottle, and compare them, so you could understand the effect that bottle aging has on wines, and why you might buy wines that aren’t even ready to drink yet.

We still practice this to this day.  Every time we identify a wine that we’d like – perhaps through Wine of the Weekend or WineAlign, we buy three bottles, drink one right away and put the other two away. Of course this means you need somewhere to keep the wine, like in a dark corner in the basement – or even better, a wine cellar. And it means you need some discipline to let it sit for a year or two.  Not that we have that much discipline – but we found that if you have lots of bottles in the cellar, you’re ok with letting some of them age, as there’s always something else to drink :-).

What’s the value of this?  It’s a pleasure to enjoy a good wine, but to see it age and become even better with time is even more special.  You feel more ownership and pride in the wine – after all, you’ve safeguarded it while it worked on becoming its best. It elevates drinking wine from just slugging back something to skew reality, to a practice of appreciating something that’s grown in special soil, by special people, in a place that you’d love to visit. It gives you the ability to learn to identify what you like, how it will complement your meals and make them more enjoyable, and where you should spend your precious wine budget. And if you’ve stumbled on a truly exceptional wine, it gives you something amazing to look forward to.

Why not give it a try? Next time you’re off to buy a bottle of wine, pick up three.  And let us know how that works for you!


Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Vina Tarapaca Gran ReservaI received an email describing this wine as part of the Wine of the Weekend service, which highlights wines available at the LCBO that are:

  • less than $25 retail
  • readily available in Ontario
  • over-deliver on quality and value
  • fit the season or what is happening that weekend
  • are approachable and perfect for sharing and celebrating

Dave went off and bought our standard 3-bottle lot at an LCBO store in London Ontario, and we tried the first bottle tonight.  All I can say is “Honey, get in the car and get some more!”

This is a lovely wine, lots of berries when you open the bottle, which for me turned into violets on the nose as the wine opened.  It’s robust, with good tannins, but is extremely drinkable right away, with lots of blackberry flavours. While it was robust, I was quite happy to drink the first half of the bottle before dinner – it doesn’t absolutely cry out for food to accompany it, like some wines do.  But I can also see drinking this with a nice steak, or some super aged cheddar.  Here’s the Wine of the Weekend writeup.

Dave was getting “nuts” when he was drinking it.  Honey, I think that was the nutmeg flavour, or maybe the cocoa coming through.  While it’s complex enough to suit those with sophisticated tastes, it’s just a wonderful wine for the rest of us too!

The Details:




Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

We’ve been periodically trying wines recommended in the Wine of the Weekend email service – some are stars, others, meh…Santa-Julia-Reserva-Malbec-LCBO

This week’s wine is Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina – another Malbec.  While in our opinion, it doesn’t hold a flame to our last Malbec, it’s not a bad wine, especially for the price.

She said: “It reminds me a bit of Beaujolais Nouveau, there’s a flavour in there that you find with younger wines (reminds me of Turkish Delight.)

He said: “This might not be a Malbec to introduce yourself to Malbec – I’d suggest that the last Malbec we tested is a much better example of just how good this varietal can be.”

Do you agree?  Why not try both wines and see which you like, and why.  Here’s the details:

  • This week’s wine:  Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina LCBO #429761 $12.95
  • Our preferred wine:      Catena Malbec 2012, Vintages 478727, $19.95