So, How's the New Distribution Process Working Out?

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FranceIt has been almost three months since our Champagne Forget-Brimont Brut 1er Cru and Rosé Brut 1er Cru were first listed on ‘LCBO.com’ and two months for our Les Lys ‘La Soif’ Rosé. A month ago they appeared on the shelves of the first LCBO ‘French Boutique’ (part of the LCBO’s ‘Products of the World’ program) at 275 Rideau Street in Ottawa.

So, how’s the new LCBO distribution process going thus far? That all depends, as my old pappy used to say, on whose ox is being gored.

Our Members

Our Members who have tried it seem quite pleased. Some have reported that the LCBO online ordering system is a bit of a bear to wade through. But, they find it much easier the second time around (note, I understand that it is a different process and that some might be reluctant to attempt it. I’ll be pleased to order for you. Just get in touch with me and I’ll do the rest). Canada Post deliveries (at a cost of $12) have been very well received. And, I have had Members exclaim in disbelief at how well and quickly the deliveries through their favourite LCBO stores have gone. Everyone is delighted they no longer have to wait three months for the wines to arrive from France.

I’d love to get your take on things. Please drop me a line if you have a few moments.


The LCBO

Photo of LCBO - Ottawa, ON, Canada. Entranceway to booze heaven!
Site of the ‘French Boutique in Ottawa 
The LCBO is very happy with the program. Sales have far exceeded their expectations. The LCBO store in Ottawa is also delighted. (Note - many Members have expressed disappointment that there is not a French Boutique at a Toronto LCBO store. Program management say that such a facility might be forthcoming.) We certainly hope so.

There is a new development in the offing that will have a positive impact. The LCBO have announced that they will sell all wines, including ours, by the single bottle at ‘LCBO.com’. The only slight problem is they haven’t told us when this will occur.


Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club

I have mixed feelings about it all at the moment. The huge plus is that our administrative burden has been greatly reduced. On the other side of the coin, it has distanced us from our active Members and increased our business risk. You see, we have much at stake. We are responsible for all of the wine that has not been sold after being on the program for 180 days. We could end up owning an awful lot of Champagne and Rosé! Recent Champagne sales have been quite slow, glacial in fact. We sure hope that sales improve as we get nearer to the year-end festivities.

Overall, we had expected sales to be enhanced somewhat. It is still too early to determine if this will bear out, but they certainly haven’t soared. The vast majority of orders are coming from our Members (many thanks). Purchases at the LCBO Rideau Street store have been quite good. But, virtually no additional business has been generated by random shoppers on LCBO.com ... pretty much as expected.

Coming This Fall

We will keep monitoring the situation before deciding where to go from here. However, assuming sales progress apace, it is our intention to place orders for the marvellous 2015 and 2016 wines from our favourite Southern Rhône producers, Domaine Roger Sabon (the ‘Wine Advocate’ rated all four of their 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape in the nineties), Domaine Palon and Domaine Giuliani. We tried them all a couple of months ago and they are truly special. Watch for our announcements mid-autumn.

Please pass this note on to friends, family, neighbours, casual acquaintances, heck even total strangers. Their taste buds will thank you for it (and I will too!).


Currently Available from ‘LCBO.com (Six-bottle Cases):

2015 ‘La Soif’ Rosé – 12.5% Alc./Vol.     LCBO #377654        $15.95/$95.70 case of 6

‘La Soif’ (the thirst) is a strange name for a marvellous wine whose primary purpose will be to slake your thirst during the dog days of summer. Made from old vines Grenache and Syrah from vineyards converted to organic farming in 2010, it is a most refreshing, satisfying rosé that is showing lovely red fruit, peaches, wet stones and 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-nine and thirty-nine years old and the Grenache is thirty-eight (average yield is only 35 hl./ha.). And, 2015 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.



Champagne Forget-Brimont Brut 1er Cru – 12.0% Alc./Vol.   LCBO Product # 926617                 $47.70/$286.20 for 6

Believe me, this is a great wine at a great price. The grape composition is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay (all Premier and Grand Cru). A pale golden colour with a delicate nose of fresh green apples, white flowers and hazelnuts, it has a very fresh, deep structure and is well-balanced with good length. What a great way to start any party and also a wonderful accompaniment for white meats.

Here’s what Alison Napjus said about it in the December 31, 2012 edition of the ‘Wine Spectator’ – “Firm and focused by racy acidity, this is lightly chalky in texture, offering tightly knit flavors of ripe Gala apple, anise, black currant candy, fresh ginger and biscuit. Fine balance. $63 (wow, note the price – US$!!) – 91/100”. Robert Parker rated it a 90!

And, it costs much less than you would pay for regular mass-marketed Champagne. Here are some examples of the prices of ordinary Champagne currently available at the LCBO (not a 1er Cru in the bunch, let alone one with Grand Cru juice as well):

Piper Heidsieck Brut
$59.95
Möet & Chandon Brut Imperial
$67.65
Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut
$60.65
Veuve Clicquot Brut
$72.85

Ain’t it wonderful when you don’t have to support all those expensive advertising campaigns? Click here to order.



Champagne Forget-Brimont Rosé Brut 1er Cru - 12.0% Alc./Vol.   LCBO Product # 926633         $52.80/$316.80 for 6

This is the Champagne for those most festive occasions. It is also an ideal apéritif. Its rose colour comes from adding a touch of red wine from Brouzy to the Forget-Brimont reserve cuvée. The grape composition is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay (Premier and Grand Cru grapes only!). In the glass, the beautiful light salmon colour provides an ideal backdrop for its steady stream of tiny bubbles.

Alison Napjus had this to say about it in the November 15, 2012 edition of the ‘Wine Spectator’ – “This offers lovely balance, a finely detailed texture and delicate acidity that focuses the subtle flavors of ripe plum, wild strawberries, and melon fruit. A hint of almond-tinged financier and mineral notes add complexity. $67 (note the price in US$!!) - 91/100

At least $25 less than anything comparable at the LCBO, it is a big hit with our Members. Click here to order.

Many thanks and cheers!

Jim, Hélène and Kate
www.arthursellers.com
jaswalker@arthursellers.com
www.ofrance.ca
hbuisson@ofrance.ca
kwalker@arthursellers.com


Ordering Your Favourite Arthur's Cellar Libations Via LCBO.com
https://glassofchampagne.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/cropped-r443590_21451772.jpgTo order your favourite Arthur's Cellar libations currently available for immediate delivery at the LCBO, just click the very subtle ‘Order Now’ tags included at the end of the product descriptions. Or, you can go to LCBO.com and insert the respective product number in the ‘Search’ box at the upper right.

If you would prefer, just send me an email telling me what you would like and I’ll be pleased to order it from the LCBO for you. Just let me know if you want it delivered to your door by Canada Post ($12) or sent at no cost to your preferred LCBO store (please tell me which one that is). Then send us a cheque or an electronic funds transfer (I’ll confirm the amount after ordering).


LCBO.com

Here’s how LCBO.com works. We will supply the LCBO with selected wines and you or anyone else in Ontario can order and pay for them on-line via the ‘LCBO.com’ site. The major benefit to you is that the wines will already be here at the LCBO warehouse and will be delivered in a short amount of time. By paying a $12 delivery fee, they will ship it (regardless of quantity as long as the order is for $50 or more) by way Canada Post to any address in Ontario and it will be delivered within four business days. Or, you can avoid the shipping fee by having the wine sent to any LCBO store you designate. The store will call you once it is ready to be picked up. This process will take from one to two weeks (possibly up to four weeks in remote areas). Another benefit is that you will no longer have to provide us with the LCBO Lab Waiver email.

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions, would like additional information or would like my help ordering your wine. The LCBO will assist with any post-ordering issues. Contact them at ‘helloLCBO’.


Salvation Wines


When Brian Jutzi, a very active Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member heard that we would be jettisoning several of our wineries, he bravely volunteered to take them on. He and his wife Cindy have launched ‘Salvation Wines’ and already have wines from Domaine de Tara and Domaine de Poulvarel on order and on their way to Ontario. Brian also intends to use the ‘LCBO.com’ ordering and distribution program.

Here are a few words from Brian:

Salvation: The act of saving, preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin or loss."

Brian and Cindy Jutzi
Inspired by Peter Mayle’s book ‘A Year in Provence’, my wife Cindy and I travelled to France where we discovered many small family run wineries. It was during our visit to Domaine de Tara that we spied the Arthur Sellers Wine Club business cards on full display. This was fabulous news as we could enjoy the fine wines of southern France back home. We have been sharing wines of the region with family and friends ever since.

Jim’s email “SADLY WINDING DOWN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!” was truly sad news... it was one of the most distressing emails I have ever read.

I decided to offer an alternative. Rather than Jim and Hélène throwing in the towel, I asked Jim if he would consider passing the baton instead. He agreed and thus ‘Salvation Wines’ was born. Our mission is to preserve the enjoyment of these wines that so many have come to love.”

If you would like to find out more about Salvation Wines and get on their emailing list, please contact Brian directly at brian@salvationwines.ca.


The 2015 Vintage in Southern France
We spent some time in southern France this past May sampling many young, fresh 2015 wines from the area (it is truly a selfless task we perform on behalf of our wine club Members), some recently bottled and others from tanks and casks. They were generally terrific – both reds and whites. The 2015 growing season had been close to ideal (hot in July and part of August with little rain) and harvesting was a bit earlier than usual under favourable conditions. Last fall, during the vendange, I had predicted that 2015 was going to be a very good year for Grenache and it turned out I was right. But, to my surprise, the Syrah turned proved to be every bit as good if not better. In that these are the two principle grapes for the reds from southern France, the resulting wines are very, very good, not unlike those of 2009 at this stage of their development. My two 2015 favourites were the Domaine Palon Vacqueyras and the Domaine Roger Sabon Châteauneuf du Pape ‘Prestige’.

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.

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