Les Cuvées du Firmament Cuvée Horizon Update – New Vintage – Still $16!

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Wow! Our allotment of 2011 Cuvée Horizon from Les Cuvées du Firmament sold out within a half hour after we announced it for sale. In fact, by the time we could halt orders, almost three hundred bottles had been requested.  

We tracked down Franck Léonor, the winery’s owner in Berlin (he is on a marketing blitz to Poland and Belgium) to see if he had any suggestions for the shortfall. He confirmed that the 2011 vintage was all gone. But, he noted that the 2012 vintage was soon to be bottled. I asked him how it compared to the 2011. “It is the same cépage – equal parts Cinsault and Carignan from mature vines. It is very similar to the 2011, perhaps not quite as full, but more elegant and also very good.”

“What about the price, Franck? Will you leave it the same as for the 2011?” After a moment’s pause punctuated by an audible groan, he agreed to the same price.

So, the 2011 Cuvée Horizon is gone but the 2012 is available at the same price. I have not tried the 2012, but I trust Franck’s judgement. 2012 was a good year in the south-west of France and everything about the creation of the wine remained the same. At $16 the bottle, I believe it is also a remarkable value. I will certainly be ordering some for Arthur’s Cellar.

We’ll be taking your orders to the LCBO next Wednesday, April 30th.


2012 Cuvée Horizon – 13.9% Alc./Vol.                               $16/$96 per six-bottle case

The following commentary is for the 2011 vintage. Franck Léonor says the 2012 is much the same, perhaps not quite as full, but more elegant and also very good.

This wonderful little sipper is made of equal parts Cinsault and Carignan that were hand-picked from vines at least fifteen years old. The bunches were destemmed and the grapes hand-sorted before being gently crushed and entering the fermentation process. The juice rested a year in stainless steel tanks and saw no oak. This Vin de Pays de l’Hérault is a medium ruby colour and offers up tantalizing aromas of ripe red berries, rosemary, a trace of smoke and new leather. It is surprisingly smooth, possessing excellent, pure, fresh fruit and a round structure with very nice, soft tannins. This is a wine that should be kept within easy reaching distance whenever the urge for a glass of satisfying red presents itself. Don’t let the price deter you – this is a great wine for the price. Order some of this little treasure for those thirsty moments.


'La Soif' Rosé and Other Fine Wines from Les Vignes du Lys are Back!


One of our favourite Rosés, ‘La Soif’ is back and along with it new vintages of ‘100% Chardonnay’ and Duché d’Uzès Rouge from Les Vignes du Lys located near the enchanting town of Uzès in southern France. These wines are real crowd pleasers – ready to drink and excellent values. Load up your cellar with them!

Les Vignes du Lys

The irrepressible Olivier Privat along with Eileen and Ray Monahan acquired the old vineyards and winery they renamed Les Vignes du Lys in 2008. For years the winery had sold the majority of its wines in bulk to the SAQ in Quebec. But like their good friends, the nearby Chabriers who also make excellent wines, they knew that with a little care and attention, not to mention oodles of Euros, they could produce excellent wines from the mature Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Petit Grain and Pinot Gris planted on their properties.    

Eileen and Ray Monahan and Olivier Privat
Ray is an Irishman and Olivier is pure laine from the Pays d’Oc. They have accomplished a great deal in a very short time to improve the vineyards and are converting to the strict organic regimen. They have also created an up-to-date wine making facility including all of the modern equipment and fermentation systems. Perhaps most importantly, they have retained the services of Emmanuel Gagnepain to supervise their winemaking. Emmanuel is a renowned oenologist who has earned 100 point ratings from Robert Parker for his work at Domaine la Barroche and Domaine Chante Cigale in Châteauneuf du Pape.

Here’s what the very critical French wine press has been saying about Les Lys:

“We have been charmed by the wines. You must come to Blauzac for a tasting but be forewarned; you will stay for more than 30 minutes! ” - Terre de Vins, January 2012

“The renaissance of a vineyard….” - Bettane and Desseauve (Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve)

“A remarkable addition to these pages” - Guide Hachette 2012

The Wines of Les Vignes du Lys

We are delighted to offer the 2013 ‘La Soif’, a perennial favourite Rosé, the beautifully made, crisp 2012 100% Chardonnay and the luscious 2012 Duché d’Uzès Rouge as well as a sampler of all three. These wines come in handy six-bottle cases. We will be taking your orders for the fine wines of Les Vignes du Lys to the LCBO on Friday, April 25th.


2013 Rosé “La Soif”   - 13.0% Alc./Vol.                                $17/$102 six-bottle case
http://www.les-lys.fr/anglais/carousel_fichiers/soifrouge.jpgStrange name, “La Soif” (the thirst) for a marvellous wine whose primary purpose will be to slake your thirst during the dog days of summer. Made from Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault from vineyards converted to totally organic farming in 2009. It is a most refreshing, satisfying rosé that is showing gobs of red fruit with light citrus nuances and a nice crisp finish. While a fashionably pale salmon colour, this is not weak stuff made from young vines. The Syrah is between twenty-five and thirty-five years old and the Grenache thirty-five (average yield is only 35 hl./ha.). And, 2013 was a very, very good vintage for these varietals in southern France. This IGP Cévennes comes with a convenient screw cap to preserve its freshness (and make it wonderfully easy to get at!). I love this wine! It will go brilliantly with Asian cuisine, ham and salmon or by itself on a hot summer’s day. Order your thirst-quenching six-pack (or two, or three) of Rosé heaven now!


2012 100% Chardonnay - 13.5% Alc./Vol.                           $20/$120 six-bottle case
This refreshing beauty is appropriately crafted from 100% Chardonnay plucked from 20 year old vines farmed completely organically since 2009. This is pure drinking pleasure – no oak and minimal filtration. This IGP Cévennes is a vibrant light golden colour and offers up delicious aromas of white blossoms, peaches, pineapples, citrus fruit and just a trace of anise. In the mouth it is fresh, medium bodied, beautifully balanced and crisp. It sports a screw-top – just as it should. This lovely white will go wonderfully with shellfish (particularly fresh oysters), roast chicken and soft cheese. It is also dandy companion for whenever you feel like a wee slurp. Order your sunshine in a bottle now.


2012 Duché d’Uzès Rouge – 14.0% Alc./Vol.                       $22/$132 six-bottle case
Any time someone carefully fashions a mixture of Grenache and Syrah in southern France you can bet I want to try it. The Duché d’Uzès Rouge from Les Vignes du Lys does not disappoint. Made from equal parts of these two succulent varietals, it is a deep purple with flashes of ruby red. Finished off with a bit of oak, it offers up lovely aromas of ripe plums, black cherries, blackberries, garrigue and a note of black pepper. In the mouth it is full, round, vibrant, fresh and surprisingly long. This AOC Duché d’Uzès comes with a decent cork and while drinking wonderfully now, it will keep nicely for another five years. This is a big chunk of wine for the money! It will go delightfully with just about anything off the barby, roast leg of lamb (a match made in heaven) or a plate of charcuterie. Order your ready-to-slurp red now.


The Les Lys Sampler – 12.5 - 14.0% Alc./Vol.                      $20/$120 six-bottle case
Why not try all three of the Les Vignes du Lys beauties? You get two bottles each of the 2013 ‘La Soif’ Rosé, the 2012 100% Chardonnay and 2012 Duché d’Uzès Rouge in this mixed case. Order your six-pack of ready-to-quaff pleasure now.


Important Note
The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

LCBO Delivery Notices!

The LCBO has started to mail out delivery notices to all our Members who order wine. This notice is being sent when the wine has arrived from overseas and has been cleared for delivery by the LCBO. The form letter is two sided, one with the numeric details of the transaction and the other with pick-up instructions. Please note - the pick-up instructions do not apply to our Members.

Why?

First, they instruct our Member to pick up the wine at the LCBO’s warehouse loading docks at 33 Freeland Street in Toronto. Our Members don’t have to do this – we either cause the wine to be sent to an LCBO retail store that is conveniently located near our Member or we personally deliver the wine.

Second, they infer that our Members owe them for the wine and warn that they will be penalized if the wine is not picked up within a prescribed period of time. Our Members have already paid for their wine and don’t owe any additional money. We look after payment for them.

Please disregard these form letters when you receive them.

We have requested that the LCBO either correct the message or not send it at all. We also asked that they send the message electronically (they have the e-mail addresses of everyone who orders) to save money and be environmentally responsible. They have thanked us for our suggestions and we hope they will act on them.

Why is the LCBO sending out these notices?

When we inquired, we were told that this has always been their procedure; they just haven’t been following it.

We can surmise that it is in response to last year’s ruling by the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario (IPC) ruling that the LCBO stop taking personal information from wine club customers. In a subsequent Ontario Superior Court of Justice appeal hearing, the case was remitted back to the IPC for reconsideration, i.e., the LCBO and the other involved parties were told to work out their issues between themselves. A key point in the ruling was, “it is not clear whether the IPC actually made a clear or consistent finding on the issue of whether the LCBO's customer is the club or the club member.” Since then, the LCBO has been determined to make certain that we are all fully aware that it is they who control the customer relationship when it comes to the purchase of beverage alcohol in the Province of Ontario.

To reinforce this point, they have instructed us to prominently post the following wherever we display our prices:

The LCBO is the only entity authorized to sell beverage alcohol in Ontario. Arthur Sellers & Company and Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club do not sell or markup beverage alcohol, but rather, arrange for customers to purchase it from the LCBO. Our prices indicated above and on our website include the LCBO sale price plus a fee to cover the cost of sourcing, handling and marketing the wine. The LCBO’s sale prices are available on request.

If you have any comments for the LCBO, please address them to Margaret Plant, Supervisor, Private Ordering (margaret.plant@lcbo.com) and copy Archie Karanxha, Acting Manager, Specialty Services (arqile.karanxha@lcbo.com) and Geoff Allaire, General Manager Operations, Toronto Retail Service Centre, Vintages Warehouse (geoff.allaire@lcbo.com).

All this reminds me of a very old joke. It seems that a little devil was involved in a most unfortunate tangle with one of Toronto’s Red Rockets that resulted in his tail being severed. He was rushed to the Toronto General Hospital but was refused admission. The ER receptionist explained, “I am afraid you will have to take him to the LCBO ... they are the only ones in Ontario allowed to retail spirits.”


Kate joins the team!
We are delighted to announce that our eldest daughter Kate (shown here with a bottle of Penfolds Grange from her birth year!) has officially joined the Arthur Sellers & Company team. She is an avid wine enthusiast with a very fine palate and is renowned for her frequent thirsty assaults on Arthur’s Cellar. Kate will be assisting us with the day-to-day operation of our wine club and will introduce our fine wines to her market demographic (recognizing that this old tippler needs a little help marketing to the younger aficionados of the fruit of the vine). Please join us in welcoming Kate to our wonderful world of wine.

Hélène's 2014 Tour to Provence is Sold Out; But ...
She is taking reservations for September 2015. Long our favourite part of France, Provence is filled with so many wonderful things – marvellous markets, gorgeous perched villages, exquisite Mediterranean cuisine as well as the Mediterranean itself, a bevy of awe-inspiring Roman ruins, medieval towns, olive oil mills, Southern Rhône vineyards, sophisticated cities with great shopping, and constantly changing, spectacular scenery. And, you get to spend it all comfortably ensconced in your very own castle for a week, the enchanting Château du Goult. Maybe even get a group of friends to join you. That way, Hélène can massage her itinerary to meet your special interests.

Please contact Hélène for all the delectable details.


Deluxe Rental Accommodations in the City of Lights

Eiffel Tower night in Paris Our good Parisian friends, Diran and Mimi Loris have completely and spectacularly renovated two well-situated apartments in Paris - one in a 17th century building on a quiet cobble stone street in one of liveliest districts of Paris, quartier Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement and the other on the exquisite Rue St Honoré a few steps from the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens and the Palais Royal. Both will accommodate two couples, have up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms and boast all of the comforts of home (and then some!) - including flat screen television with multiple channels including CNN and BBC, wireless internet and free, long distance phone calls to 37 countries including Canada and the US.

These beautiful renovations have been carried out by Diran, a Governor General's Medal winning Canadian architect. And Mimi has made sure that they are beautifully decorated (click here to see the floor plans, photos and to book your reservations).

Your homes away from home when visiting the City of Lights!


Where’s My Wine??
Generally, it will take three to four months from the time you order your wine till it is delivered. To find out where your next treasure is on its long journey from Europe, just click on Delivery Status in the side bar to the left. We update it regularly.

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