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Bulletin Detail
Date August 13, 2017 
Title So, How's The New Distribution Process Working Out? 
Bulletin Untitled Page

Dear Arthur’s Cellar Wine Club Member:

FranceIt has been almost three months since our Champagne Forget-Brimont Brut 1er Cru and Rosé Brut 1er Cru were first listed on ‘’ 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.


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 ‘’. 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 ... 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 ‘ (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
Möet & Chandon Brut Imperial
Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut
Veuve Clicquot Brut

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