Tuesday, September 20, 2016

  • Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review



Tonight's wine is a General List product that is always available at the LCBO. New shipments of this latest vintage will arrive on shelves with something new and unique - a cold sensor sticker called "Wine Polar".

This Sauvignon Blanc by Bodega Norton is the first white wine to use Polar Technology to help you enjoy your wine at the ideal temperature. Experience this wine best when the Polar sticker turns blue.

For my "experiment", this bottle was placed in the refrigerator this morning and remained there until late afternoon. Upon removing from the fridge, the snowflake on the Polar sticker showed blue, indicating that the wine was ready to be served. Using my Vacu Vin Thermometer, the blue started to fade at around 13° Celsius and sure enough, the wine did start to taste a little warm. At 15° Celsius, the blue indicators had just about disappeared and the wine was clearly too warm to be served. Based on my unscientific observations, I would say that Polar Technology works!

Polar Technology on Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc

Tasting Note:

BODEGA NORTON BARREL SELECT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#400564) (XD) - $13.10
Screw cap. Partially barrel-fermented in French oak barrels, this has a rather soft and closed nose of earth, flint, with hints of lemon/lime and tropical fruits. The fleshy palate has lemon/lime, guava, tropical fruit and some vanilla flavours. Acids are fresh and finish length is very good. Easy drinking wine that should have wide appeal. Score: 86 pts

Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (86 pts)


Friday, September 16, 2016

  • Friday, September 16, 2016

Winetario - Top Wines from 2016 Ontario Wine Awards

iYellow Wine Club presents #Winetario
In , I had the pleasure of attending Winetario, an event put together by iYellow Wine Club and George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts to showcase local Ontario VQA wines that won medals at the 2016 Ontario Wine Awards. The event was held in the atrium at the George Brown College campus located on Adelaide Street East in downtown Toronto.

I was in attendance for the entire tasting session and managed to taste through most of the wines. However, I was disappointed that I ran out of time and missed tasting the Icewine - a category Ontario excels in year after year. I also noticed a distinct lack of Chardonnay amongst the wines being poured - another category which Ontario does quite well. Having said that, there were plenty of other delicious wines to taste, across many different grape varieties, with Ontario Riesling and Syrah being my top favourites. Listed below are wine reviews of some of my favourite wines at Winetario, some of which you can find right now at the LCBO. Alternatively, you can always contact the winery or pay them a visit in Niagara Wine Country.

If you're in the Greater Toronto Area, the WiNETARiO Harvest Edition wine tasting takes place on November 3rd. Venue and ticketing information can be found on the iYellow Wine Club website.

Tasting Notes:

KONZELMANN LATE HARVEST GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#392357) (M) - $14.75
Highly aromatic nose is very inviting with notions of lychee, floral and roses. The medium-dry palate is sweet with nicely balanced acids and lovely aroma replays. Very good finish length. Score: 89 pts

Konzelmann Late Harvest Gewürztraminer 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

ANDREW PELLER ESTATES SIGNATURE SERIES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#405043) (XD) - $24.75
An austere Sauvignon Blanc showing gooseberry, kiwi and some smoke on the nose. It's medium-bodied with barrel-fermented oak providing texture. Acids are well-balanced. Nice aroma replays on the palate continue through to the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Andrew Peller Estates Signature Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

TWO SISTERS RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (M) - $35
Pleasing mineral, petrol and orange aromas that also shine through on the palate with a slight leesy character. Medium in sweetness with juicy, balanced acids. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 90 pts

Two Sisters Riesling 2014 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

THIRTY BENCH SMALL LOT WOOD POST RIESLING 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (M) - ~$30
Lovely, highly aromatic nose offers peach, mineral and petrol notes. Nicely balanced and harmonious aroma replays on the palate with a stony mineral texture. It's off-dry in style, with bracing acidity and excellent length on the finish. Always good year after year. Score: 91 pts

Thirty Bench Small Lot Wood Post Riesling 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM RESERVE BACO NOIR 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#461699) (D) - $24.95
A medium-high intensity nose offers blackberry, black cherry, sweet oak and brambly aromas that balances fruit and oak well. It's medium-full bodied with nicely balanced aroma replays on the palate, along with some mineral notes. Juicy with a long cherry-floral finish. Very appealing. Released in VINTAGES on June 25th. Score: 90 pts

Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

PALATINE HILLS NEUFELD VINEYARD MERLOT 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.80
This Merlot is quite complex, offering earthy, blackberry, dark fruits, dark cherry, and hints of barnyard aromas that all follow through to the full-bodied palate. It has dusty tannins that are integrating very nicely. Very good acids and fine length on the earthy, dark-fruited finish. Still a bit young and should age well for half dozen years or more. Score: 90 pts

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Merlot 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Organic and biodynamic, composed of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Cabernet Franc. This red wine was Served decanted, and has lovely cherry, sweet oak, cassis, ripe red berry and earthy aromas. Full-bodied with smooth tannins and tart aroma replays. It has balanced acids and excellent length on the finish. Score: 90+ pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

CREEKSIDE BROKEN PRESS SYRAH 2012 - Queenston Road Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#202127) (XD) - $42.95
Highly aromatic nose offers meaty, black peppercorn and sour cherry notes. The full-bodied palate has fine aroma replays with hints of violet and floral notes. The juicy acids and integrated tannins are well-balanced, and the finish length is excellent. Such a delight! Score: 92 pts

Creekside Broken Press Syrah 2012 - Queenston Road Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

  • Tuesday, September 13, 2016

La Crema Los Carneros Chardonnay 2014 (California) - Wine Review

wine is a lovely oaked Chardonnay that will be available in VINTAGES on September 17th.

La Crema has been practising small-batch winemaking since 1979, focusing on cool-climate appellations. The grapes for this white wine come from Los Carneros, an AVA that includes parts of both Sonoma and Napa, and located just north of San Pablo Bay. The area is a combination of soft, rolling hills, wide-open skies, rocky soils, cooling fog, and late-afternoon breezes sweeping up from the bay to naturally cool the countryside.

Conditions for the 2014 vintage were once again near ideal. The final blend of this Chardonnay consists of fruit from 7 block of the Ramal West estate vineyard in the Los Carneros appellation. It contains several less common clones such as 131, Calera, Mount Eden and Long, grown on a combination of Haire clay loam and Diablo clay soils. Furthermore, all blocks and clones were kept separate until the final blending.

La Crema Los Carneros Chardonnay 2014 - Los Carneros, California, USA (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA CREMA LOS CARNEROS CHARDONNAY 2014 - Los Carneros, California, USA (#184929) (XD) - $39.95
100% Chardonnay that is barrel-fermented and aged for 9 months in 100% French oak barrels, 28% new. Spring meadow and lemon peel aromas from the cork. This fragrant and inviting oaked Chardonnay has a nose of vanilla, butter, ripe pear and apple. It's full bodied and rich on the palate with a creamy, leesy texture that's balanced by high acids. More vanilla, butter, binned apple, and ripe pear flavours with hints of blood orange and wet stone on the long finish. Nicely balanced overall and richly textured, it's ideal for pairing with rich seafood dishes or poultry. Best enjoyed with only a light chill. Score: 92 pts


Monday, September 12, 2016

  • Monday, September 12, 2016

VINTAGES Release September 17: Ontario + Local Fall Feast

LCBO Wine Picks from September 17, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this and features fine wines from Ontario as its main theme, while the mini-theme highlights local wines for Fall feasts.

We'll begin with the Ontario wine feature that lists 16 wines, of which only 2 are included among my wine picks. The Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay has been a favourite of mine for a few years now and the 2014 vintage was fermented in barrels made from oak trees grown along the Grand River in Brantford, Ontario. The only other wine included from this feature is a sparkling wine that's crafted in the traditional method of Champagne, but is made using Riesling in a just-off dry style.

For Fall feasts, the wines featured are all from Ontario, and 3 of the 5 wines are included among my wine recommendations. Pair the Hidden Bench Chardonnay with your soup course, Flat Rock's off-dry Riesling can be paired with your main course that can be spicy. Also included is the Keint-He Voyageur Pinot Noir that is ideal for poultry or pork dishes.

Keint-He Voyageur Pinot Noir 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)

From the rest of the release in red wines, there is a Spanish wine made with 100% Prieto Picudo - a local grape relatively unheard of outside of northwestern Spain. From Piedmont is a blend of mostly Barbera and Nebbiolo, while the Ruffino Super Tuscan is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Merlot. The Portuguese red is a field blend consisting of Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Nacional, Jaen, and Alfrocheiro. From France, the Sancerre Rouge is actually made with Pinot Noir, while the mature 2009 Bordeaux red is a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Lastly, the Amarone is a blend of 45% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella, 5% Molinara, and 5% Dindarella.

Estay Prieto Picudo 2012 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain (88 pts)

In white wines from the rest of the release, both the Sancerre and the Schiopetto are made with Sauvignon Blanc. There's also New World Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and South Africa. Also from the New World is a Viognier and a Chardonnay, both from California. And lastly, there is a Albariño from Spain.

La Crema Los Carneros Chardonnay 2014 - Los Carneros, California, USA (92 pts)

Enjoy my wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • ESTAY PRIETO PICUDO 2012 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain (#393140) (D) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • LANTIDES AGIORGITIKO 2013 - PDO Nemea, Greece (#286708) (XD) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#057513) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • FONTANAFREDDA EREMO LANGHE ROSSO 2012 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#454041) (XD) - $17.95
  • QUINTA DE SAES RED 2013 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#452771) (XD) - $18.95
  • KEINT-HE VOYAGEUR PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#373407) (XD) - $19.00  reviewed here
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2009 - AP Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $23.95
  • ROGER & DIDIER RAIMBAULT SANCERRE ROUGE 2013 - AC, Loire, France (#446401) (XD) - $28.95
  • RUFFINO MODUS 2012 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#912956) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • REMO FARINA MONTEFANTE RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2010 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#063636) (D) - $59.95
Lantides Agiorgitiko 2013 - PDO Nemea, Greece (88 pts) Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Carmenère 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • MAN FAMILY WARRELWIND SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#461004) (XD) - $13.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $16.95
  • ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand (#225557) (XD) - $18.95
  • BONTERRA VIOGNIER 2014 - Mendocino County/Lake County, California, USA (#128900) (D) - $19.95
  • TORRES PAZO DAS BRUXAS ALBARIÑO 2014 - DO Rîas Baixas, Spain (#417667) (XD) - $19.95
  • FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#149302) (D) - $21.95
  • BERNARD REVERDY & FILS SANCERRE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#200055) (XD) - $26.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $28.95
  • SCHIOPETTO SAUVIGNON 2013 - DOC Collio, Friuli, Italy (#165027) (XD) - $32.95  FSE
  • LA CREMA LOS CARNEROS CHARDONNAY 2014 - Los Carneros, California, USA (#184929) (XD) - $39.95  reviewed here

Sparkling Wine:

  • THIRTY BENCH SPARKLING RIESLING - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469478) (D) - $34.95


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

  • Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Estay Prieto Picudo 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is made using a grape that's little-known to most - Prieto Picudo. This grape is native to Spain and offers remarkable colour, acidity, sugar and tannin, resulting in wines of unique taste.

The wine is made by Dominio Dostares, a winery located in the town of Pajares do los Oteros, Castilla e Léon, in northwestern Spain. It is located on a plateau 810 metres above sea level with a continental climate and extreme temperatures. This winery produces only red and rosé wines from Prieto Picudo.

Like the 2011 Cepas Viejas Mencía that I tasted last year, and made by the sister company of Dominio Dostares, the label on this wine also includes braille and other raised elements to enhance to the look and feel, as well as helping those visually-impaired.

This unique red wine will be on LCBO shelves this weekend as part of the upcoming VINTAGES Release on .

Estay Prieto Picudo 2012 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Léon, Spain (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ESTAY PRIETO PICUDO 2012 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Léon, Spain (#393140) (XD) - $15.95
100% Prieto Picudo sourced from vines more than 90 years old. Black plum, peppery and wild raspberry aromas from the cork. Medium intensity nose offers interesting underbrush and spice nose with hints of floral, wild berry, bramble, black cherry, and blackberry aromas. There's also specks of violet coming through on the nose. The palate is medium-full bodied with grippy tannins and fresh acids. Pleasing aroma replays that are quite complex with vanilla and spice nuances. Long, clean finish. Drinkable now, but should be better in 2+ years. Score: 88 pts


Sunday, September 4, 2016

  • Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mike Weir Limited Edition Riesling 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Sweet wines are ideal for pairing with fiery Indian curries. To match the Chicken Madras that's on the menu tonight at Chez Megz, I elected to open up this off-dry Riesling from Niagara's Mike Weir Winery.

This wine was tasted and picked up at the winery last January during the Icewine Festival and is available at the winery only. I also enjoyed this wine when I visited the winery on a hot day in July during Food Truck Fest. Let's see how it is tonight...

Mike Weir Limited Edition Riesling 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MIKE WEIR LIMITED EDITION RIESLING 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#229286) (MD) - $22.95
Screw cap. Clean orange citrus and petrol nose with whiffs of sweet lemon and stony minerality. It's clean and crisp on the palate, slightly fleshy, with pleasing aroma replays of medium-dry sweetness. Acids are juicy, clean and well-balanced. Fine length with some wet stone notes at the tail end of the finish. 10.5% abv. If you like sweeter wines, you will enjoy this! Available at winery only. Paired beautifully with the Chiken Madras as the sweet sugars in the wine helped calm the hot spices in the dish. Score: 89 pts


Saturday, September 3, 2016

  • Saturday, September 3, 2016

SwirlTO - Elevated Beverage Experience in Toronto

SwirlTO Buy Tickets
At the end of , you will have the opportunity to heighten your senses at SwirlTO - an elevated beverage experience unlike any other. With no need for tickets or tokens, guests enjoy an all-inclusive night of wine tasting along with spirits and beer tasting for one ticket price. Premium wines, spirits and beers from more than 80 exhibitors, together with exciting entertainment and distinctive food pairings from Oliver & Bonacini make SwirlTO a must-attend event this fall.

Some of the names you'll see there include Beringer, Cesari, Foreign Affair, Henry of Pelham, Masi, Thomas George, Yalumba, Nickel Brook Brewing, and El Dorado.

SwirlTO will also feature the Canadian Whisky Tour presented by the LCBO in The Round Room, bringing guests back in time to indulge in a night of premium beverages and distinctive food pairings. Elegant décor and exuberant entertainment combined with unforgettable tastings will deliver an engaging and tantalizing experience for all the senses.

Meet winery, distillery and brewery principals that will be bringing hundreds of premium products. Each sample will have an exclusive pairing created by Oliver & Bonacini. You can also take Master Classes in wine and spirits. It’s an all-inclusive evening for the novice, enthusiast and expert.

As a bonus for my readers, use SwirlTO Promo Code VWP10 and save $10 off your tickets. Click here to buy your tickets today. Enjoy and see you there!

Event Details:

When: from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Where: The Carlu - 7th Floor, 444 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
Tickets: Save $10 when you use Promo Code VWP10
Buy SwirlTO Tickets Here




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