Buyers’ Guide Part Two:  March 16th, 2019 – Postponed Until March 19

The March Break We Were Not Expecting

By David Lawrason

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

Normally in this space you would be receiving more recommendations from the March 16 release, but VINTAGES has suspended media tastings until March 29th.  We have had to scramble for opportunities to taste the March 16 wines, and once they are on shelf late this week we hope to be able to acquire more samples, taste them Monday, then report on Tuesday. (In the meantime, please refer to last week’s report for our top picks for the March 16 release so far.)

In the same report John Szabo will be penning a comprehensive report on Tuscany, with input from Michael Godel. Both lads were in Italy last month for the annual “Anteprime di Toscana”, a massive showcase of this year’s releases.  Not only will you get vintage reports on new vintages coming down the pipe, we are assembling a tasting of Chianti Classico’s and Brunello currently in the Ontario market and will be posting our top picks.

In case you missed the news in last week’s report, VINTAGES is re-jigging its media tasting program. The suspension of the March tastings we are now enduring was said by the LCBO to be necessary as it redesigns the regular tastings.

The regular tastings will resume March 29 with a reduced number of wines that will be released April 13.  It will be what the LCBO calls “a curated selection” tailored by the merchandising team “based on criteria such as, distribution across the LCBO store network, product availability and alignment with business strategies”.

At WineAlign we strongly feel that the job of an independent press is to review all the wines, and we know our readers want maximum coverage as well.

So, we are gearing up to access those wines not presented by the LCBO by working with the importing agencies and Ontario wineries. This may mean adjusting our publication schedule somewhat, but until we work through the process with the April 13 release, we will not make any hard and fast decisions or promises. Only that we will do our best!

We have also decided over the next weeks to increase our coverage of wines from sources other than VINTAGES. This would include more wines in the Agents’ Consignment Program, wines only available at LCBO Online, Classics Catalogue wines, and wines in the Destination Collection stores.  Plus Ontario wines (see a great selection in last week’s report). We may organize many of these tastings and reviews around regionally themed articles, as we are doing with Tuscany next week.

In any case, watch this space on Tuesday, and enjoy the rest of your March Break.


David Lawrason

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Lawrason’s Take
John’s Top Picks
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

WineAlign Exchange 

We are sold out of the ALL RED case for March but there are still a few MIXED cases left.