The L C B O is a huge government owned enterprise in charge of distributing alcoholic beverages in the province, and thus generating billions for the provincial treasury.
It decides which wines, spirits, beers and other alcoholic beverages will be bought, quantities, and analyses every product before it is accepted and ordered.
It has several branches offering different levels of products – general list, vintages, vintages essentials, vintages classics, wine appreciation classes, cooking classes that also feature wine pairings, imported and domestic beers, spirits, and ciders.
It will also import any alcoholic beverages (minimum order one case) from anywhere if you provide the name, address of the producers and other details.
Agents are also allowed to sell consignment wines.
Many writers complain that the L C B O has too much control over the daily lives of consumers, and restricts the choice of wines, spirits, and beer aficionados.
Alberta (the only province in the country that privatized alcoholic beverage sales), offers many more brands and a better choice of all categories of alcoholic beverages, but prices are more or less comparable to those in Ontario.
Over the years, I have tasted hundreds of general list wines.
Some brands remain on the list, others that could not meet quota (another complaint from agents and consumers) were discontinued.
Here are the ten red wines that may be considered the “gems” of the general list:
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Santa Julia, Argentina, $ 13.00
Robust, high-alcohol, balanced, and flavourful.
Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, The Dream Tree, California, $ 16.95
Dark red, well extracted, deeply flavoured with a long aftertaste.
Syrah, 2011, Cusumano, Sicily, Italy $ 10.95
Superb balance, flavour, and typicity
Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Cousino-Macul $ 22.00
One of the most popular cabernet sauvignon wines on the general list of Chilean wines. Brilliant, typical berry aromas, and full bodied
Max Reserva Syrah, Errazuriz, Chile $ 18.95
Toasty, soft, minty aromas, balanced with a long aftertaste.
Monastrell, 2009, Hecula, Yecla, Spain, $ 11.80
A wine to pair with grilled or roasted beef, stews, and hard cheeses. Dark, well extracted, full bodied, balanced.
Nero d’Avola/Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, Montalto, Italy $ 10.95
Medium-bodied, with good acidity, fruity, balanced, and easy to enjoy
The Stump Jump (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre), 2011, D’Arenberg, Australia
A seamless blend of three popular red grapes from one of the most adventurous winemakers of Australia. Well extracted, fruit, soft, and highly enjoyable.
OV Monastrell, 2011, La Casona de Castano, Spain $ 8.90
Powerful, well extracted, balanced, ansd layered flavours.
Art De Vivre, G. Bertrand, Languedoc, France
A medium-weight wine from Southern France. Fruity, seamless, with a long aftertaste.