Tuesday, May 24, 2016

  • Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2009 (Spain) - Wine Review



For the long weekend, I opened up this beauty of a wine to pair with Greek-marinated chicken wraps. It was purchased from a VINTAGES Release back in January, 2012 and has been slowly evolving for more than 4 years.

This delicious wine has been consistently good vintage-after-vintage and regularly shows up on VINTAGES shelves.

Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2009 - DO Bierzo, Spain (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS PÉTALOS 2009 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#675207) (XD) - $22.95
Dark plum, earth and spice aromas from the cork. Medium-to-high intensity aromatics offering forest floor and umami off the top with underlying herbs, sweet spice, and dark fruits. The palate is medium-bodied that picks up more body with air. Definitely on the savoury side with herbs, sweet oak, earth, black cherry and hints of mineral flavours on the palate. Acids are mouth-watering while the tannins are smooth and well-integrated. A warming mid-palate continues through to the long, earthy finish. Shows a lot of finesse. A nicely maturing wine to enjoy over the next half dozen years. 100% Mencía. Score: 91 pts


  • Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 28 VINTAGES Release: Veneto + Judgment of Paris

LCBO Wine Picks: May 28, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming Saturday and features the wines from Veneto as its main theme, while the mini-theme features the players from the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting.

We'll begin with the secondary theme that honours the 40th anniversary of the famous Judgment of Paris tasting that pitted the relatively unknown Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays from California against the top red wines from Bordeaux and top Chardonnays from Burgundy. California fared quite well in the tasting and ended up taking top prize in both red and white wine categories. The rest, as they say, is history. This mini-theme is anything but mini, with four excellent wines from the seven included among my wine picks.

Three California Chardonnays from Judgment of Paris players made my list of wine picks, including wines from Chateau Montelena, Heitz Cellar, and an organic wine from Grgich Hills. The only red wine chosen from this mini-theme is the Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon which contains 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot, and needs some time before it can be enjoyed over the ensuing three decades. Not included as part of the Judgment of Paris theme but also available in this release as part of the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) program is another Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon that's blended with 14% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc.

From the major theme of the release, the wines from Veneto were mostly lacklustre except for a Masi Amarone that came through VINTAGES last November in a magnum bottle, but now returns in the more popular 750 mL format. The other Venetian wine is the Pieropan Soave Classico crisp, dry white wine that is a blend of 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave.

Masi Costasera Riserva Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2009 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (92 pts)Avondale Jonty’s Ducks Pekin Red 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (88+ pts)

South Africa is well-represented among my wine picks with a Chenin Blanc and an oaked Chardonnay, but there's also a lovely little South African organic red wine that is a blend of 37% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. Other red wines in this release include a Portuguese wine blend consisting of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, while the Rhône blend consists of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault.

The latest vintage of the dry rosé wine returns to VINTAGES shelves, consisting of Syrah and Grenache, while the sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (D) - $14.95  reviewed here
  • HERDADE DA PIMENTA ALENTEJANO 2013 - DO Alentejo, Portugal (#445114) (XD) - $16.95
  • MONTGRAS ANTU CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#444703) (XD) - $17.95
  • D’ARENBERG THE FOOTBOLT SHIRAZ 2013 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#984021) (D) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU PEGAU CUVÉE MACLURA CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#452250) (XD) - $19.95
  • VITICCIO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#283580) (XD) - $22.95
  • JOHN GLAETZER JOHN’S BLEND NO. 38 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#927640) (D) - $39.95
  • BACHELDER LA PETITE CHARMOTTE NUITS SAINT GEORGES 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#357228) (XD) - $58.95  FSE
  • MASI COSTASERA RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2009 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#324137) (D) - $69.95  reviewed here
  • RIDGE VINEYARDS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#089284) (XD) - $74.95  FSE
  • RIDGE MONTE BELLO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#405332) (XD) - $191.95

White Wine:

  • FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068015) (XD) - $16.95
  • PIEROPAN SOAVE CLASSICO 2014 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#946848) (D) - $17.95
  • 13TH STREET JUNE’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • FORREST THE DOCTORS’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#317842) (D) - $19.95
  • RUSTENBERG CHARDONNAY 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#598631) (XD) - $19.95
  • OLDENBURG VINEYARDS CHENIN BLANC 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#443358) (XD) - $20.95  FSE
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2013 - Estate bottled, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (D) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • HEITZ CELLAR CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#205500) (XD) - $49.95
  • GRGICH HILLS ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#346304) (XD) - $67.95
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#701748) (D) - $75.95
Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2013 - Estate Bottled, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)13th Street June’s Vineyard Riesling 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2015 - AP Luberon, Rhône, France (#707281) (XD) - $15.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE BRUT 2011 - Méthode Traditionnelle, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#234161) (D) - $24.95


Friday, May 20, 2016

  • Friday, May 20, 2016

Castillo Perelada Wine Tasting

Castillo Perelada
On , I had the pleasure of tasting some nice Cava and red table wines from Castillo Perelada. This old Spanish winery is making it's first appearance in Canada and I was delighted to be among the first group of people to try some of their delicious wines.

Castillo Perelada was founded by Miguel Mateu when he purchased the site in 1923. This historic site is made up of a castle and the Carme Monastery, both dating back to the 14th century. Family-owned and operated since its inception, the legacy Castillo Perelada now spans three generations after it passed from Miguel Mateu to his only daughter Carmen Mateu de Suqué (and her husband Arturo Suqué Puig), and now to their children Isabel, Javier and Miguel Suqué Mateu. Today, it is Javier that manages the day-to-day operations.

There are 5 vineyards that encompass Castillo Perelada. The Garbet vineyard is 12 hectares, located north of Cap de Creus, and has slatey soil farmed terraces which overlook the Mediterranean. The Malaveïna vineyard has reddish clay and pebbles on 19 hectares of gentle slopes. La Garriga vineyard is 41 hectares of flat terrain, clay silt with sand and gravel, and contains Perelada's oldest vineyards - Garnatxa (Garnacha/Grenache) and Samsó (Cariñena) that are both over 50 years old. The Espolla vineyard is located on the slopes of the Pre-Pyrenees in l'Albera and is 21 hectares of slatey, black soil. Lastly, the Pont de Molins vineyard is 38 hectares of flat terrain with a sandy texture and a slight silt content. The 5 Fincas Reserva that is reviewed below uses grapes from all 5 vineyards.

Peter Neal, Daniel Marquez and Andrew Hanna

Representing the Castillo Perelada at the tasting was Daniel Marquez, Sales Manager for North America.

Below you will find wine reviews of some of the wines I enjoyed on this evening. I am expecting a few wines from the Perelada portfolio show up on LCBO shelves in the future. However, if you're interested in purchasing sooner rather than later (and from a wider selection), you can contact the agent Hanna Neal Wine Merchants.

Thank you to Andrew, Peter and Chris for the invite and your hospitality! The wines were delicious and so were the hors d'oeuvres!

Tasting Notes:

CASTILLO PERELADA BRUT RESERVA CAVA - DO, Spain (D) - $15.95
Medium intensity nose featuring toasty, yeasty notes with hints of lime and peach. It has fine, mouthfilling mousse with off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) flavours of apricot and orchard fruits. It has good acidity and good length on the finish. Fairly easy drinking and should have wide appeal. Score: 87 pts

Castillo Perelada Brut Reserva Cava - DO, Spain (87 pts)

CASTILLO PERELADA STARS BRUT NATURE CAVA 2014 - DO, Spain (XD) - $15
Shows very good intensity on the nose, and after an initial whiff of sulphur reveals appealing smoke, citrus and peach aromas. On the palate it has fine, soft mousse on a medium+ bodied frame. Hint of sweetness with tangy citrus and orchard fruit flavours that continue through to the long, dry-ish finish. Score: 88 pts

Castillo Perelada Stars Brut Nature Cava 2014 - DO, Spain (88 pts)

CASTILLO PERELADA 5 FINCAS RESERVA 2012 - DO, Spain (XD) - $21.95
Grapes from each of the 5 Castillo Perelada vineyards make up this blend of Merlot (40%), Garnatxa (20%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Syrah (15%), Tempranillo (5%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Medium+ intensity nose featuring sour cherry and hints of barnyard and earth. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with supple tannins and good acidity. Brambly flavours with hints of floral and sweet vanilla are quite appealing. Finishes long. Score: 88 pts

Castillo Perelada 5 Fincas Reserva 2012 - DO, Spain (88 pts)

CASTILLO PERELADA FINCA GARBET 2007 - DO Empordà, Spain (XD) - $125
Here's a lovely 100% Syrah from vineyards located along the banks of the Mediterranean. Highly aromatic nose on the dark fruit side with lovely black cherry, blackberry, black pepper, dark currant and subtle hints of oak. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with very nice aroma replays that weave together seamlessly. It has juicy acids and ripe, integrated tannins. The finish is long and earthy with hints of currant. Only 1000 bottles made, and tasted from bottle #0843. Score: 91 pts

Castillo Perelada Finca Garbet 2007 - DO Empordà, Spain (91 pts)Castillo Perelada Finca Garbet 2007 - Bottle 843 of 1000


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

  • Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Win Tickets to Homegrown Country Music Festival at Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival

Win Tickets to Homegrown Country Music Festival at Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival

The Homegrown Country Music Festival is an extension of the Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival and will take place on June 19th at the Grape Grower of Year's vineyard. This year, it will take place at Pillitteri Icewine Farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake. On site, there will be VQA wines available for purchase by tokens and Food Truck Culinary will be offered at Market.

This music festival will celebrate local talent along with Niagara's agricultural abundance. It will also be a showcase of 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. Artists with roots in Niagara will be scheduled to perform, including well-known Country singer and multi-genre songwriter, Tebey; high energy singer/songwriter Ryan Creelman, who grew up in Thorold and now resides in London, Ontario; and St. Catharines' own Brad Battle. A new twist to the Country festival scene is Country mashup by DJ Dave Stiles and DJ Tanner.

Event Details:

Homegrown Country Music Festival
Where: Pillitteri Icewine Farm, Niagara-on-the-Lake (shuttle service required)
When: Sunday, June 19, 2016 from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Admission:

$25 + HST in advance
$30 + HST at the gate (if available)
Click here to purchase your tickets

Contest:

Here's your chance to win a pair of tickets to this fabulous event!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, May 14, 2016

  • Saturday, May 14, 2016

La Crema Chardonnay 2014 (Monterey) - Wine Review

wine is a sneak peak of the La Crema Monterey Chardonnay that will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario on .

Originally named La Crema Vinera, meaning "best of the vine", the once family-owned and operated winery concentrated on exclusively on cool-climate appellations, while emphasizing boutique, small-batch winemaking to produce elegant, quality wines.

This Chardonnay comes from the cool-climate vineyards in Monterey that are nestled in a long valley with Monterey Bay on one side and Central California on the other. The cool-climate means that grapes spend more time on the vine, and 2014 was an especially long, cool growing season in Monterey. The winemaker is Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, born and educated in Canada, and has been part of the La Crema team since 2001, becoming head winemaker in 2010.

La Crema Chardonnay 2014 - Monterey, California, USA (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA CREMA CHARDONNAY 2014 - Monterey, California, USA (#158683) (XD) - $26.95
Lemon and ripe fruited aromas from the cork. Aromas of medium intensity showing butter, poached apple, butterscotch and orchard fruits. Full bodied on the palate with butterscotch and baked apple flavours, along with hints of caramel. There's hints of sweetness on the palate and notable oak influence, but it's not overdone. It has delicate acids and good length on the slightly warming finish. Score: 88 pts


Monday, May 9, 2016

  • Monday, May 9, 2016

May 14 VINTAGES Wine Release: Customer Favourites + New Zealand + Sake

LCBO Wine Picks from May 14, 2016 VINTAGES Release
New wines from the LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming and features Customer Favourites as it's main theme. The mini-themes of this release features wine from New Zealand and an assortment of Sake.

Twenty-three wines are listed as part of the "Customer Favourites" theme and 6 made my list of wine picks. First up is a lovely rosé wine from Mas des Bressades that usually consists of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. The Crémant de Bourgogne dry sparkling wine is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, Aligoté. Another favourite is the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. In red wines, customer favourites include a Carménère from Chile and a premium Malbec from Argentina. Also delightful year-after-year is the Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape that in the 2013 vintage consists of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and 5% Cinsault.

Of the 8 wines featured in the New Zealand theme, three are included among my wine picks and all are very fine Sauvignon Blancs. The grape does very well there and the ones I have chosen are of the single vineyard variety from the producers te Pā, Auntsfield, and Villa Maria.

te Pā Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (89 pts)

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Rosso do Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese Grosso, while the Sicilian wine is made with the indigenous Nerello Mascalese. The 2010 Château de Panigon (50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot) appeared in VINTAGES in 2014 and has developed and matured quite well over the last couple of years. The Domaine Courbis is a northern Rhône wine made using Syrah. Lastly, the Amarone is a blend of 70% Corvina Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Oseleta & Croatina.

Rendola Rosso di Montalcino 2009 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (89 pts)Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the lovely Mas des Bressades Blanc is a blend of traditional Rhône varietals Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. while the Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy is made with Chardonnay.

Last but not least is the highly regarded Fielding Rosé wine that is a blend primarily consisting of Gamay and Cabernet Franc.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • RENDOLA ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#438564) (XD) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • ANTICHI VINAI IL MASCALESE NERELLO 2013 - IGT Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#442376) (XD) - $16.95
  • BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • TERRANOBLE GRAN RESERVA CARMÉNÈRE 2012 - Maule Valley, Chile (#957050) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE PANIGON 2010 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#348250) (D) - $19.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#279802) (D) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE COURBIS SAINT-JOSEPH 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#007914) (XD) - $36.95
  • LATIUM MORINI CAMPO LEÒN AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2010 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#334300) (D) - $47.95
  • VAL DI SUGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#713719) (XD) - $48.95  reviewed here
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $89.95
Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • CONCHA Y TORO SERIE RIBERAS GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#287995) (XD) - $16.95
  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION BLANC 2015 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#701094) (XD) - $17.95
  • THÖRLE-WEIN ESTATE DRY RIESLING 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (#445817) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • TE PĀ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#450668) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#131169) (D) - $21.00  reviewed here
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $24.95
  • VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#447474) (XD) - $29.95
  • ERNEST MEURGEY-PERRON POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#448852) (XD) - $31.95
Norman Hardie Riesling 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Thörle-Wein Estate Dry Riesling 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION ROSÉ 2015 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#950576) (XD) - $15.95
  • FIELDING ROSÉ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#053421) (XD) - $15.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy, France (#991562) (XD) - $19.95


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 www.niagarawinefestival.com


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