Thursday, May 5, 2016

  • Thursday, May 5, 2016

Niagara New Vintage Festival Announces the Inaugural Homegrown Country Music Festival Funded by Celebrate Ontario

Niagara New Vintage Festival / Homegrown Country Music Festival
This marks the arrival of the annual Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival and this year includes the inaugural Homegrown Country Music Festival.

The music festival will take on June 19 from noon until 7 p.m. and is a celebration of local talent and Niagara’s agricultural abundance that will showcase an all-Canadian New Country artist lineup. Each performer selected for the showcase has a deep rooted tie to the Niagara region and a passion for the local community. Artist lineup includes Tebey, Ryan Creelman and Brad Battle. A new twist to the Country festival scene is Country mash-up by DJ Dave Stiles and DJ Tanner.

Enjoy the soothing sounds of Country music in a unique vineyard location, sipping VQA favourites and singing along amongst the vines. Food trucks will take the stage, offering Niagara sourced produce from local chefs who believe in making the most of the farm-to-table freshness the region has to offer.

Also included in the farm-to-table celebrations of Niagara’s wine country is the Annual TD Tailgate Party, taking place June 18 at the Pillitteri Icewine Farm. Join 35+ of Niagara’s celebrated wineries as they share their stories alongside ten local chefs who will wow you with fresh culinary delights from our own backyard. It promises to be an unforgettable summer solstice best paired with friends, old and new.

Grape Grower of the Year, Jamie Slingerland, looks forward to welcoming festival goers to the Pillitteri Icewine Farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake. “As Grape King, please accept my invitation to the award-winning Reserve Vineyards of Pillitteri Estates for the 2016 Tailgate Party and Homegrown Country Music Festival. The vineyards are nestled in the heart of wine country in historic Niagara-on-the-Lake where great 100% Ontario wines are grown.”

For those looking to tour Niagara’s wine country, the New Vintage Discovery Pass is the key to two weekends of wine and culinary adventures at wineries across Niagara. Discovery Pass holders can enjoy eight (8) experiences per pass during Festival weekends June 11-19. Designated drivers can also indulge in culinary offerings with the Driver’s Discovery Pass.

For fans of the vine, these are the weekends to visit wine country. Sip and savour the best of Niagara’s farm-to-table favourites and delicious VQA wine pairings at the Niagara New Vintage Festival and Homegrown Country Music Festival.

For a complete listing of all Niagara New Vintage Festival programming and events, visit

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

  • Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lacroix-Vanel Fine Amor Pézenas 2008 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine is this delightful offering from Lacroix-Vanel that was purchased from a VINTAGES Release back in .

Lacroix-Vanel Fine Amor Pézenas 2008 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LACROIX-VANEL FINE AMOR PÉZENAS 2008 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#343418) (XD) - $19.95
About 50% Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Carignan making up the other half of the blend. Black cherry, plum and barnyard aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity, perfumed nose of dried herbs, garrigue, black fruits, blackberry surrounded by earthy, barnyard elements. It is medium-to-full bodied with chunky, dusty tannins that are slightly drying, but well supported by good fruit concentration. Yummy flavours of violets, black cherry, black berry, and oak spices. It has juicy acids and is long finishing with earthy, black cherry flavours. Fantastic! Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Monday, April 25, 2016

  • Monday, April 25, 2016

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

I received this wine as a gift during the Christmas holidays and opened it up . This is a VINTAGES Essentials product and is always available at the LCBO, with the 2013 vintage being the latest vintage to arrive on our shores.

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANTINORI PÈPPOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#606541) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and Syrah. Wood and black cherry aromas from the cork. Subtle notes of green olive, cherry and strawberry on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with polished tannins and flavours of cherry, wet earth, leather and a hint of barnyard. Rustic in style. Tannins become a touch grippy with air, while acids are juicy and well-balanced. Lasting finish is savoury and earthy. Score: 87 pts

  • Monday, April 25, 2016

April 30 VINTAGES Release: Pacific Northwest + Aussie Whites + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks from April 30, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming Saturday and features wines from the Pacific Northwest as its main thematic - although noticeably absent this time around is the omission of British Columbia. There are two mini-themes in this release - great Australian white wines and some very fine rosés - both arriving just in time for warmer weather.

From the major theme of the release, the 8 wines from Washington are mostly a disappointment with only a dry Riesling making my list of wine picks. Meanwhile, the Oregon portion of the Pacific Northwest feature was only 6 wines, but 2 (of 4) Oregon Pinot Noirs are included among my wine picks. The Pinot from Two Messengers is a very big Pinot, but will also likely arrive late to shelves.

The first mini-theme is on great Australian whites and highlights 6 wines for your pleasure this Spring. Of the 6 wines, fully half are included among my wine recommendations. First up is an Organic Viognier from Australia's oldest family-owned winery. There's also an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling, and from Western Australia an off-dry blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon.

A rather large selection of 12 rosé wines yielded 4 fine wines, all of which are blends from the 2015 vintage from France. From Tavel, Rhône, is the Domaine Maby rosé that is a blend of 74% Grenache Noir with the balance made up of at least 5 other grapes, while the Gabriel Meffre rose is primarily Grenache with Syrah and Cinsault added in support. Lastly, the Château La Tour de l’Évêque is a blend primarily of Cinsault (40%), Grenache (35%), and Syrah (12%), with the balance made up of 5 other varietals.

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Bordeaux red is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Wildass Red is a Meritage type of blend. In white wines, the Spanish white is mostly Albariño.

Enjoy my wine picks for this week. Cheers!

Rendola Brunello di Montalcino 2004 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)Pascual Toso Barrancas Vineyards Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (90 pts)

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES DEMOISELLES 2011 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon, France (#348755) (XD) - $17.95
  • TABALÍ RESERVA ESPECIAL SYRAH 2012 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#213538) (XD) - $17.95
  • WILDASS RED 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#086363) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA ALTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#203364) (XD) - $19.95
  • PASCUAL TOSO BARRANCAS VINEYARDS RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#083337) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • SOLÉNA DOMAINE DANIELLE LAURENT PINOT NOIR 2012 - Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#446112) (XD) - $35.95
  • RENDOLA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2004 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#181412) (XD) - $39.95  reviewed here
  • TRAPICHE TERROIR SERIES FINCA AMBROSIA SINGLE VINEYARD MALBEC 2010 - Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina (#402941) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • MAISON L’ENVOYÉ TWO MESSENGERS PINOT NOIR 2013 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#453357) (XD) - $41.95  late arrival
  • SORDO GIOVANNI ROCCHE DI CASTIGLIONE RISERVA BAROLO 2008 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#442004) (XD) - $49.95
  • FERRARI-CARANO RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Mountain Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California, USA (#450429) (XD) - $74.95

White Wine:

  • FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC 2014 - AP Corbières, Midi, France (#438747) (XD) - $17.95
  • YALUMBA ORGANIC VIOGNIER 2015 - South Australia (#288217) (XD) - $17.95
  • SKUTTLEBUTT SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON 2014 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#047621) (D) - $18.95
  • JOEL GOTT RIESLING 2012 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#443143) (XD) - $19.95
  • PIKES TRADITIONALE RIESLING 2015 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#066894) (D) - $23.95
  • QUINTA DE COUSELO O ROSAL 2014 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#440362) (XD) - $23.95
  • VINCENT MOTHE CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#390468) (XD) - $26.95
  • NORMAN HARDIE UNFILTERED CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184432) (XD) - $39.00

Rosé Wine:

  • DOMAINE MABY LA FORCADIÈRE TAVEL ROSÉ 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#701318) (XD) - $18.95
  • GABRIEL MEFFRE SAINT FERRÉOL TAVEL ROSÉ 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#450866) (D) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L’ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2015 - Harvested by hand, AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $19.95
  • SAINT AIX ROSÉ 2015 - AP Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France (#451906) (XD) - $22.95

Dessert Wine:

  • PUKLUS PINCÉSZET SZAMORODNI SWEET TOKAJI 2009 - Hungary (#179374) (S) (500 mL) - $18.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CABERNET ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#672402) (S) (200 mL) - $39.95


  • DOMAINE FÉLIBRE GIVRÉ ICE CIDER 2014 - Product of Quebec, Canada (#393611) (S) (375 mL) - $21.95  reviewed here
Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2014 - Product of Quebec, Canada

Saturday, April 23, 2016

  • Saturday, April 23, 2016

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2014 (Quebec) - Review

Opened up this yummy cider ahead of its release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This is a vintage cider from Domaine Félibre, the same producer as the Sweet Ginger Cider I opened recently. This multi-award winning cider is made with apples from the Stanstead and Compton orchards in the Quebec Eastern Townships. It consists of 90% McIntosh apples and 10% Paulared/Melba apples. To achieve the desired sweetness levels, once the apples are pressed, the juices are left to freeze outside at -30°. The concentrated extracts of these juices are then fermented at a low temperature.

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2014 - Product Of Quebec, Canada

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE FÉLIBRE GIVRÉ ICE CIDER 2014 - Product of Quebec, Canada (#393611) (S) (375 mL) - $21.95
Zesty, crisp apple aromas from the cork. Plenty of sweet apple, apple sauce, and hints of honey aromas in the glass. On the palate, it's medium bodied and sweet with apple, honey, tangy citrus, and orange flavours framed by crisp acids. Finish length is very good. Ideal for pairing with apple-based desserts.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

  • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère / Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile
, I was invited to the iYellow Wine Cave to attend iYellow's most recent #WinemakerRAW event with Emiliana Organic Vineyards from Chile.

Having tasted quite a few Emiliana wines over the past few years at the annual Chilean Wine Tasting, I had a good feeling about this tasting. This night was about getting an up close and personal look at the 2013 Emiliana Nova Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon that was just released a few weeks prior to this event at the LCBO as a general list product (and is widely available throughout the province).

In attendance representing the winery was the Winemaker Emilio Contreras, as well as the Export Director Fernando Pavon. Mr. Contreras joined Emiliana's team of winemakers in 2007 and is currently responsible for the reserve wines (including the wine below) and the two premium organic lines.

Emiliana Organic Vineyards is an organic and biodynamic winery that is focused on creating high quality wines while showing respect for the environment and their people. Emiliana firmly believes that using sustainable, organic, and biodynamic agricultural practices help produce better-balanced, healthier, and more productive vineyards, which in turn results in better grapes and unique, terroir-driven wines.

Fernando Pavon (left) and Winemaker Emilio ContrerasEmiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA NOVAS GRAN RESERVA CARMÉNÈRE/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#434662) (XD) - $15.80
Blend of 85% Carménère and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium+ intensity nose of sweet oak, brett and earth with underlying sweet ripe black cherry and hints of purple fruit. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, rounded tannins. Black cherry, sweet vanilla and hints of cocoa on the medium-to-long finish. Organic wine made in an approachable style that should have wide appeal. Score: 88 pts

Sunday, April 17, 2016

  • Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reinhold Haart Haart to Heart Piesport Riesling 2013 (Mosel) - Wine Review

wine is this lovely Piesport Riesling that was picked up last year when it was released into VINTAGES on .

Surprisingly, there are still a few bottles of this delicious wine available at the LCBO.

Reinhold Haart Haart To Heart Piesport Riesling 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

REINHOLD HAART HAART TO HEART PIESPORT RIESLING 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (#672683) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. This wine was fermented spontaneously with natural yeast and features a lovely slatey, wet stone, tangy citrus nose followed by hints of petrol. It is medium in sweetness with vibrant tangy citrus flavours on the light-to-mid weighted palate with hints of stone and honey adding interest. Acids are delicately balanced while citrus notes lingering on the very good finish. Score: 90 pts

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget
Food Lover's Guide to the World (Hardback)   The World Atlas of Wine



Food & Drink
Top Blogs
BOTW Blogs - Vintages Wine Picks and Reviews
My Zimbio
blog search
Top Wine Sites
Wine Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Wine blog
RSSChomp Blog Directory