The LCBO has begun to keep Kosher, that is they have just celebrated the grand opening of three kosher boutique stores as part of the relatively new initiative “Products of the World” program. In addition to the boutique stores, more seasonal kosher products have been released than ever before, ahead of Passover, including Canada’s first kosher Icewine.
Each of the three destination stores offer more than 100 different kosher wines and spirits. While more than 500 LCBO stores across Ontario carry kosher offerings, the three destination boutiques are stocked with an expanded selection pulled from exclusive wines and spirits out of the Consignment Program. The selection will be regularly refreshed and will include many products previously only available to licensees. The LCBO kosher boutique locations are:
· 675 Wilson Ave. (near Dufferin), North York
· 180 Promenade Circle, Promenade Mall, Thornhill
· 502 Lawrence Ave. W. (near Bathurst), Toronto
Related – Is Kosher wine being passed over?
The LCBO boutique program is a renaissance of sorts for the Kosher category, one that only last year seemed to be entering the category of “passed over.” I had relayed the concern to more than one higher level VINTAGES representative and while I am quite confident my message had nothing to do with the elevated attention, perhaps I was not the only voice of dissidence. Good on the LCBO for stepping up their Kosher game.
Related – New wave under $20 wines go kosher for Passover
Last minute Passover shopping is upon the Jewish community of Ontario. I reviewed the five VINTAGES products from the March 19th, 2016 release. While these five are just a drop in the available bucket, they are the only wines that were presented to the media for assessment.
Tzafona Cellars Cold Climate Riesling Kp 2014, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (445569, $19.95, WineAlign)
Light, middle of the road, innocuous, easy-going Riesling. Slightly dilute and yet certainly, obviously and respectably Riesling. You could commit worse acts of hostess gifting by bringing this to auntie Mimi’s Seder. Drink 2016. Tasted March 2016
Teperberg Vision Cabernet Sauvignon/Petite Sirah Kpm 2014, Samson, Israel (325746, $19.95, WineAlign)
Interesting Samson blend, both in bedfellows and locale. The Petite Sirah inclusion is more than obvious. This one is decidedly cooked. Drink 2016-2017. Tasted March 2016
Segal’s Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon Kp M 2013, Galilee Heights, Israel (157206, $24.95, WineAlign)
High-toned aromatics, plums and cherries, very modern and not so Bordeaux. Not so shaken and splintered, which is nice but it is a bit carbonic and lactic. Simple and drinkable with a spice accent on the back end. Drink 2016-2018. Tasted March 2016
Related – KP Duty – Kosher For Passover Wines
Gilgal Pinot Noir Kp 2013, Galilee, Israel (440651, $29.95, WineAlign)
From Yarden, Golan Heights Winery. This smells just like a cup of tea. Fruit tea, orange zinger, rooibos or something fruity. Simple, easy Pinot with negative tannins and just a hint of staying alive acidity. Certainly Pinot though and with no baking activity whatsoever. Drink 2016-2017. Tasted March 2016
Tulip Winery Just Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Upper Galilee, Israel (440420, $29.95, WineAlign)
Have always appreciated the natural and honest feel of the Tulip Cabernet Sauvignon, with pure and ripe red fruit. It’s just and right, picked and developed with simple, sweet, spicy and leathery flavours. Cassis gets in there. It’s well made. Hanging round for days. “Teach you how to be a holy cow.” Drink 2016-2018. Tasted March 2016
Psâgot Winery M Series Chardonnay Kp 2014, Jerusalem Mountain Vineyards, Israel (441675, $33.95, WineAlign)
A new and improved Chardonnay listing for the LCBO from limestone at altitude (900m) in the Jerusalem (Mountains) Hills. Not exactly “Great Revolt” or “Amphora” antiquity but this has some old school Chardonnay character while making spicy use of the modern barrel. Apples and mango or somewhere in between define the fruit while cool, upper altitude climate reminds of Sonoma. Wish it carried terrific acidity. If it had it would have been the best KFP Chardonnay to grace this market in a stone age. Still decent work for Mevushal. Drink 2016-2017. Tasted March 2016
Related – Passover that big glass of red
Recanati David Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Kp 2012, Upper Galilee, Israel (356683, $42.95, WineAlign)
Shaken, presently volatile, rich and reductive Cabernet with plenty of new, rich and swaddling oak. With this David Vineyard release the house is clearly going for a rich west coast style though the acidity, acetic venting and tart fruit puts it more in line with the Galilee. And that’s a good thing, a biblical foil to what it doesn’t get right. There is a hint of cooked fruit on the hot finish and loads of tannin. The pentateuch of fruit, mineral, oak, acidity and tannin may at times seem overbearing but there is a sensitivity that greatly refreshes if sometimes estranges. I can promise however, it will not be familiar to those who have been drinking Mevushal wines for many years. Drink 2016-20219. Tasted March 2016
Good to go!
WineAlign: Michael Godel