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  • Friday, July 10, 2020

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge 2015 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Pinot Noir from one of my favourite producers of Sancerre that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - with plenty still available for purchase throughout the province.

It is made by Jean-Max Roger, a family-owned winery that comes from a long line of winegrowers from the village of Bué dating back to the early 17th century. Jean-Max Roger took over from his parents in the early 1970's, and in 2004, two of his three sons, Etienne and Thibault, returned to the estate after working abroad. His third son, Xavier, has a passion for wine and works in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Today, the estate covers 26 hectares in the Sancerre AOC, all located along the Loire River.

The name "La Grange Dîmière" refers to one of Bué's ancient tithe barns. The ancestors of Jean-Max Roger used this barn for making their wine and today it remains the oldest part of the winery. This Sancerre Rouge is made with Pinot Noir grapes grown in the villages of Bué, Sancerre, and Amigny, on flint and limestone soils called Caillottes & Terres Blanches (Kimmeridgian marls) with south western and south eastern exposures. The vines are 25 to 40 years old and tended to using organic principles, handpicked and sorted, then fermented using natural yeast. Approximately 20-30% of the wine was aged in 300 L oak barrels, while the remainder was aged in stainless steel tanks where it underwent malolactic fermentation, with a total ageing time of 10 to 15 months. I recall enjoying the 2013 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge a couple of years ago and am expecting this vintage to be even better due to the legendary quality of the 2015 Loire vintage.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROUGE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#539858) (XD) - $29.95
From the great 2015 vintage, this Pinot Noir has a pretty, pale ruby colour and the medium-high intensity nose leads with stony-smoky minerality, followed by red berry, cherry, and currant aromas, with subtle florals. It is light-to-medium bodied on the spicy, red fruited, cherry, and currant palate with elegantly structured tannins. Acids are nice and fresh, while the stony-smoky mineral notes come to the fore on the long, juicy finish. Enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 91 pts

Other wines from the fabulous Jean-Max Roger collection can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Tuesday, July 7, 2020

July 11, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Old World vs. New World + Cool-Climate Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks: July 11, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming July 11, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release is a duo-thematic release, with the first feature comparing some of the wine world's most well-known grapes that were born and bred in the Old World (i.e. Europe) with their transplanted versions in the New World. The second theme of this release is the annual look at cool-climate Chardonnay. All of the wines from this release should be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that compares wines from the Old World versus those made with the same grapes in the New World. Of the fourteen wines featured, only the New World Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is included among my top wine picks.

The secondary theme of the release focuses on cool-climate Chardonnay wines from a few cool-climate regions across the world. Eleven wines are featured as part of this theme and three are included among my wine recommendations. First up are a pair of outstanding Chardonnays from Niagara, while the third wine is a lovely old vines Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy. Buying all three and trying them side-by-side would make for a lovely evening.

Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017 (93 pts)

From my red wine recommendations, the Chianti Classico (which is also the Wine of the Month) is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 4% Merlot, 3% Canaiolo, and 3% Cabernet, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape consists of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Mourvèdre. The Bordeaux red consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, while The Trinity Red Blend is also predominantly Merlot. Single varietal wines that should please your palate include an Australian Shiraz, a Malbec from Argentina, and a Pinot Noir from New Zealand.

Clos Bel-Air 2016 (89 pts)Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2015 (89 pts)

Shanahans Silence Is Golden Shiraz 2016 (89 pts)Alamos Selección Malbec 2016 (88+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, the only blend comes from South Africa and it consists of 80% Chenin Blanc and the balance Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Verdelho, Clairette, Chardonnay, Colombard, and Viognier. Single varietal wines include a lovely Pinot Grigio from northern Italy, as well as a highly-ageable Marsanne from Australia. The Savoie is made with Jacquère from old vines. There is also a nice barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc - called Fumé Blanc - from Niagara. For sweet wine lovers, look for the Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Alois Lageder Dolomiti Pinot Grigio 2018 (90 pts)Tahbilk Marsanne 2019 (89 pts)

Leeuwenkuil Reserve White 2017 (88+ pts)Lakeview Cellars Fumé Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release!

Red Wine:

  • ALAMOS SELECCIÓN MALBEC 2016 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#322800) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#18721) (XD) - $18.95
  • WATERKLOOF SERIOUSLY COOL CINSAULT 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#15595) (XD) - $19.95
  • TRINITY HILL THE TRINITY RED BLEND 2015 - Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#551630) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOS BEL-AIR 2016 - AC Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#633040) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SHANAHANS SILENCE IS GOLDEN SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#13031) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION PINOT NOIR 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#285361) (XD) - $24.95
  • TENUTA PERANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#10360) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AP, Rhone, France (#62711) (XD) - $51.95
  • MASSOLINO BAROLO 2016 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#11205) (XD) - $61.95

White Wine:

  • PERCEVAL ABYMES OLD VINES SAVOIE 2018 - AC, France (#14956) (XD) - $17.95
  • TAHBILK MARSANNE 2019 - Certified carbon neutral, Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#11954) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LEEUWENKUIL RESERVE WHITE 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#14937) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • ALOIS LAGEDER DOLOMITI PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige, Italy (#681429) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • RAPAURA SPRINGS RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Sustainable, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#388421) (XD) - $21.95
  • DR. HERMANN KINHEIMER HUBERTUSLAY RIESLING KABINETT 2018 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#15290) (S) - $21.95
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE VIRÉ-CLESSÉ 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#648576) (XD) - $31.95
  • TRIUS SHOWCASE WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017 - Oliveira Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#199273) (XD) - $36.95
  • DEUX ROCHES VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2018 - AP, Burgundy, France (#488825) (XD) - $42.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE LE GRAND CLOS CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184549) (XD) - $44.95  93 pts  wine review

Rosé Wine:

  • TROUPIS FTERI AGIORGITIKO/MOSCHOFILERO ROSÉ 2018 - IGP Peloponnese, Greece (#15139) (XD) - $16.95
  • SOTO MANRIQUE NARANJAS AZULES GARNACHA ROSÉ 2018 - DOP Cebreros, Spain (#15377) (XD) - $16.95

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2020

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte e Concerto Lambrusco 2018 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely Lambrusco sparkling red wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Medici has been producing top-notch Lambrusco and other quality wines for more than a century. The story begins in the late 19th century, when Remigio Medici founded a wine cellar between Via Emilia and the first of the hills in the Enza Valley to make use of the family vineyards. Remigio's son, Ermete, expanded the business and helped develop the reputation for producing quality wines before handing over the company to his sons Valter and Giorgio.

Today, the fourth generation of the Medici family runs Medici Ermete, owning 75 hectares of land spread across the wine growing region of Emilia-Romagna, in the north-eastern part of Italy. Medici's success can be attributed to many years of experience and knowledge that have been passed down each generation, along with creating a close link between each vineyard and the winery. They also have a rigorous selection of grapes that are grown in harmony with nature and the environment. Combined with skilful vinification techniques using new machinery, Medici produces wines of unprecedented quality.

This particular sparkling wine is from the Lambrusco Reggiano DOC - the largest of the 8 Lambrusco wine regions. It is made with Salamino grapes that were grown on clayey soils and was naturally fermented into this tasty sparkling wine.

It is widely available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario. It is also available, along with other wines from Medici Ermete, through Profile Wine Group's new website.

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte e Concerto Lambrusco 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MEDICI ERMETE & FIGLI ARTE E CONCERTO LAMBRUSCO 2018 - DOC Reggiano Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#208967) (D) - $19.95
Made with the Lambrusco Salamino varietal, this has a rich array of berry aromas including red berry, raspberry, boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry, and cherry notes. The medium-bodied palate is fresh with bright acidity. Nicely balanced red and dark berry replays on the flavour profile with fine, beady mousse that livens the palate. Finely textured with a touch tannic of grip and mineral on the long, juicy finish. If you've never tried Lambrusco, make this your first. Score: 89 pts

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  • Friday, July 3, 2020

Argento Rosé 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, dry rosé from Argentina that is widely at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Bodega Argento was established 1998 in a building that housed a winery since 1970. It is located in Cruz de Piedra - the historic heart of wine production in the traditional Maipú wine region in Mendoza, and is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, as well as offering views of the Andes mountains in the distance. The name of the winery, 'Argento', translates to silver in Latin, and relates strongly the silver thread of tradition that runs through the veins of the country, while also paying homage to Argentina's long history of crafting precious wines.

With more than 284 hectares of certified organic vineyards, Bodega Argento is one of Argentina's largest organic producers. Sustainability has been a top priority since the beginning as they use recycled glass and special water treatments, among the many sustainable initiatives. Argento makes a wide portfolio of wines from not only from Maipú, but also from their vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo, the Uco Valley, and in Eastern Mendoza. Some of these wines can be found through their agent's new website - Profile Wine Group, or at the LCBO.

Argento Rosé 2019 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ARGENTO ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#13245) (XD) - $10.95
Screw cap. This Syrah-based blend has fresh aromas of red berry with touches of melon and sea breeze rising out of the glass. The medium bodied palate is dry and spicy with lively acidity and more red berry and melon flavours, plus touches of blood orange. Good length on the lip-smacking finish with touches of saline. A nice rosé to cool down with for under $11. Score: 87 pts

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  • Saturday, June 27, 2020

LAN Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely follow-up to the 2016 LAN Crianza that I enjoyed last month. The 2012 LAN Reserva arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on when it was featured as part of the theme on Spanish wines, and is widely available across Ontario.

Bodegas LAN was founded in 1972 and is widely known for producing quality wines using their innovative hybrid barrels. These unique barrels have French oak bases and American oak staves and are used throughout the range of wines at LAN, including this Reserva which spent 18 months in these oak barrels. The American oak staves add vanilla characters to the wine, while the French oak bases add touches of spice.

This red wine is a blend of mainly Tempranillo and some Mazuelo, with the grapes coming from select vineyards in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones that have an average age of more than 25 years. The 2012 vintage was characterized by high temperatures and an absence of rain, leading to small yields overall - uncharacteristically the fifth straight year of having a small vintage. On the bright side, the resultant small berries helped create wines of high concentration and tannins. According to the back label of the bottle, this Reserva reached its peak in 2017 and will continue to be in its peak drinking window until 2024, then slowly start its descent to full maturity in 2032. Let's see how this bottle is tasting tonight...

LAN Reserva 2012 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#42929) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 92% Tempranillo and 8% Mazuelo that spent 18 months in hybrid barrels, and a further 20 months in bottle prior to release. The medium+ intensity nose leads with oak-driven earthy, savoury, and vanillin woodspice aromas, followed by some red cherry, and dark berry notes. It is medium-full bodied on the spicy palate, offering cherry, vanilla, woody, earthy, and chocolate flavours with touches of dark berry. Fresh acids liven the palate, while the refined, dusty tannins have a touch of grip. Earthy wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Other wines from the Bodegas LAN portfolio can be ordered through Profile Wine Group. They recently launched their brand new website with online ordering.

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  • Thursday, June 25, 2020

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (Campania) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine made with Aglianico from Campania. This bottle was so popular when it arrived in VINTAGES in May 2019 that the LCBO decided to bring it back for another round this year. As such, this Aglianico is coming to the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Nativ, a winery founded in Campania in 2008 and focused on making typical wines of the region. Each wine from Nativ has a unique character - produced through the use of innovative winemaking techniques, while also respecting tradition. The grapes are grown on their own lands which are known for their particular fertility thanks to the presence of volcanic soils, extending for about 15 hectares between Paternopoli and Taurasi. In particular, the grapes Nativ focuses on are Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, Aglianico, and Aglianico of Taurasi.

The Aglianico grape was introduced to Campania by the Greeks along the Tyrrhenian coast (the western coast of Italy) sometime around the 6th or 7th century B.C. It is one of Italy's oldest grape verieties. The grapes for this Aglianico come from within the town and commune of Paternopoli, which is in the province of Avellino in Campania. They were grown on hilly soils of predominantly volcanic and clay-limestone, rich in minerals, at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level.

I've enjoyed other wines from Nativ previously, including most recently their 2018 Nativ Greco di Tufo, and am sure this will also be delightful. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

NATIV RUE DELL'INCHIOSTRO AGLIANICO 2017 - IGT Campania, Italy (#631606) (D) - $19.95
This Aglianico was raised completely in tank, followed by a short time in bottle prior to release. The medium+ intensity aromas are fresh and fruity with inky dark fruit, dark berry, and sweet spice flavours flecked with black pepper and savoury undertones. It is medium-full bodied on the slightly sweet palate with delicious ripe dark berry fruit flavours with some raisin, savoury, and peppery spice notes adding interest. Acids are fresh and lively while tannins are refined and dusty. Fruity with subtle savoury mineral notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, June 24, 2020

June 27, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Summery Food Wines + Italian Whites

LCBO Wine Picks: June 27, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the June 27, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on Summery Food Wines when Dining Out at Home, while the mini-theme takes a look at crisp white wines from Italy. All of the wines from the themes, as well as the rest of the Release will be on shelves by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that focuses on wines to enjoy when Dining Out at Home. It's a big theme with nineteen wines featured and five included among my top wine picks. For lighter meals, try the Morgon from Beaujolais that is made with Gamay, or the always-lovely Chenin Blanc from South Africa, or the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. For casual sipping, try the Brut Trento Traditional Method Sparkling Wine from Italy that is made with Chardonnay, or the organic dry Rosé from Niagara that is predominantly Pinot Noir.

Invivo X by Sarah Jessica Parker Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

If you didn't know by now, there's so much more to the world of Italian white wines beyond Pinot Grigio. Featured in this Release as part of the theme are seven wines from seven different grapes - none named Pinot Grigio, and three of these wines are included among my top wine recommendations. First up is a Vernaccia di San Gimignano - a wine made with the Vernaccia grape from the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. There is also a Falanghina from Campania, while the Gavi di Gavi is made with the Cortese grape from Piedmont.

Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2018 (89 pts)

There are plenty of lovely red wines to choose from the rest of the Release. We begin in Spain, with the Rioja consisting of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, and 10% Mazuelo, while the Portuguese red is a blend of mostly Grand Noir, followed by Trincadeira and Aragonês in support. From France, the Languedoc wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Carignan, while the Côtes du Rhône-Villages is an organic wine made with 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. From Italy, both the Chianti Classico and Brunello wines are made with pure Sangiovese. Other single varietal wines include a lovely Pinot Noir from New Zealand, as well as an Aglianico from Campania that sold out very quickly when it appeared in VINTAGES last Spring.

Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2009 (90+ pts)Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2016 (90 pts)

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines. The Muscadet is made with Melon de Bourgogne. There is also a lovely Chardonnay and a dry Riesling. For those that prefer sweeter wines, try the off-dry (Old Vines) Gewurztraminer from Alsace, or the very sweet Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2018 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LES DARONS 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#448464) (XD) - $16.95
  • JOSÉ DE SOUSA 2016 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#494153) (XD) - $17.95
  • ROMAIN DUVERNAY VISAN 2017 - AP Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#13321) (XD) - $19.95
  • NATIV RUE DELL'INCHIOSTRO AGLIANICO 2017 - IGT Campania, Italy (#631606) (D) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • G. MARQUIS THE SILVER LINE PINOT NOIR 2018 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#258673) (D) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE NATURALISTE DISCOVERY SYRAH 2017 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#632596) (XD) - $24.95
  • CHÂTEAU DU CHATELARD CUVÉE LES ROCHES MORGON 2017 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#558528) (XD) - $24.95
  • WHITEHAVEN PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#532929) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • RIOJA BORDÓN GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#114454) (XD) - $27.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CERBAIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#652446) (XD) - $66.95

White Wine:

  • LA FORTEZZA TABURNO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2018 - DOC, Campania, Italy (#527630) (XD) - $15.95
  • LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#363150) (XD) - $16.95
  • POGGIO ALLORO VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO 2018 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#14025) (XD) - $17.95
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2019 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95
  • VON SCHUBERT MAXIMIN GRÜNHAUS MONOPOL RIESLING 2018 - Qualitätswein, Mosel, Germany (#14797) (XD) - $19.95
  • FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI 2018 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#366948) (D) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • INVIVO X, BY SARAH JESSICA PARKER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#14278) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • KANZEMER ALTENBERG RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#15292) (S) - $27.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#616466) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review

Rosé Wine:

  • HUGH HAMILTON THE FLOOZIE SANGIOVESE ROSÉ 2019 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#558106) (XD) - $18.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2019 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#68833) (XD) - $24.95
  • LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2019 - AC, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $24.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • ROTARI PLATINUM LABEL BRUT TRENTO 2014 - Traditional method, DOC, Trentino, Italy (#15679) (D) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING 2015 - Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#423111) (D) - $34.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DRAPPIER BRUT NATURE PINOT NOIR CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#179275) (XD) - $62.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON BRUT ROSÉ VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, Champagne, France (#91777) (XD) - $347.95  FE
Château des Charmes Blanc de Blancs Sparkling 2015 (90 pts)

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