Monday, February 18, 2019

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  • Monday, February 18, 2019

Rockway Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely Icewine that I picked up while visiting the winery in Niagara during the Icewine Festival. This wine continues the string of wines I've enjoyed recently from Rockway Vineyards.

This delicious Icewine is produced by Rockway Vineyards and is a wine I've tasted (and enjoyed) on a number of occasions, including back in . The grapes for this Icewine benefited from early and long freeze cycles that started in late November. Grapes were harvested in the early morning hours of , when the average temperature -10°C.

With only 300 Litres produced (approximately 1,500 bottles of 200 mL) and now 6 years from vintage, I am a bit surprised that this lovely Riesling Icewine is still available for purchase at the winery and through their online web store. It is also currently $10 off, making it one of the better value Riesling Icewines out there.

Rockway Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS RIESLING ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $39.97 $29.97
Gorgeous, aromatic nose offers orange citrus, peach, kiwi, meringue, and honeycomb aromas. It is full-bodied and viscous on the sweet palate with juicy, racy acids balancing the sugar and keeps the wine from being cloying. Sweet, luscious and complex flavours of peach, orange citrus, honeycomb, lime, kiwi, and apple are nicely balanced. Excellent finish length with flavour profile lingering on the long aftertaste. Lots of life in this sweet elixir and will keep for many years. Score: 92 pts

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 150-183 Riesling 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a medium sweet Riesling that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES . There are several bottles of this white wine still available at the LCBO, however, I would suggest you visit the winery in Niagara.

Rockway Vineyards is a unique destination in that it is Ontario's only winery with its own 18-hole golf course. You can enjoy a round of golf, weather-permitting of course, but also visit the on-site winery museum and restaurant, with terrific views of the Escarpment. However, at the center of the experience are the delightful wines produced under of the care of winemaker David Stasiuk.

Rockway grows, crafts, and bottles 99.9% of all the wines they produce. David has a hands-off approach to winemaking, with the goal of capturing the flavours from the vineyard and guiding them into your glass.

This single vineyard Riesling comes from a small block of vines within the VQA Twenty Mile Bench appellation in Niagara. In 2015, the fruit was nearly perfect after two very cold winters. The very dry months from July to September allowed the vines to get back to normal ripening schedule. This lovely white wine normally retails for $21.95, but is currently available for $19.95.

Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 150-183 Riesling 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS SMALL LOT BLOCK 150-183 RIESLING 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#424176) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely, fragrant and perfumed nose of wet stone, lime zest, white peach and floral. On the medium-bodied palate it is a touch fleshy with crisp, lip-smacking acidity and pretty honeyed, tart lime citrus, and limestone mineral flavours in a medium sweet profile. Juicy acids along with a mineral texture on the mid-palate. Nicely balanced overall with lingering wet stone and lime flavours on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 6+ years. Score: 90 pts

Monday, February 11, 2019

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  • Monday, February 11, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Feb. 16, 2019: Brand New + Australia

LCBO Wine Picks: February 16, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release highlights wines that are Brand New to VINTAGES in the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at cool wines from Australia. All of these wines, and many more, will arrive on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features eighteen wines in the theme titled "Brand New to VINTAGES", of which six are included among my top wine picks. From the white wines, there is a nice indigenous Greco from Campania, as well as a barrel-fermented Pouilly-Fuissé Chardonnay from Burgundy. Among the red wines, there is a lovely single vineyard Syrah from the coastal cool-climate region of Leyda Valley in Chile. From Rhône, there is the excellent Domaine Alary Cairanne, as well as the Camille Cayran Plan de Dieu, both of which are made with 100% Grenache. Lastly, there is an alluring 2011 Barolo made with Nebbiolo.

Domaine Alary La Jean de Verde Cairanne 2015 (91 pts)Viña Leyda Canelo Single Vineyard Syrah 2015 (90 pts)

From the mini-theme that focuses on refined and elegant wines from the cool-climate regions of Australia, three of the seven wines are included among my wine recommendations. From the cool-climate region of Adelaide Hills in South Australia there is a single vineyard (and single block) Australian Shiraz. From the Margaret River region in Western Australia, the Stella Bella Chardonnay is a fine barrel-fermented example. Also from Margaret River is a lovely Syrah (note the spelling) that is actually a blend of 95% Syrah, 3% Viognier, and 2% Malbec, and shows elegance and finesse reminiscent of wines from Rhône.

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the Release, the Patrick Lesec Cairanne is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and old-vines Carignan that was raised almost entirely in tank, while the Bordeaux is a blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. From Tuscany, the Chianti Classico is a blend of 96% Sangiovese and 4% Merlot, while the Palazzino is made with Colorino - a grape normally used for blends. From the volcanic soils of Etna (Sicily), the Piano dei Diani is a blend of 90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio, while the Portuguese wine is a field blend of 30 grape varietals, but primarily Touriga Franca, Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional.

My white wine picks are all single varietals, including a Pinot Grigio that shows some sweetness. The rest are all dry white wines including Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre (Loire, France), Chile, and New Zealand, and Chardonnay from Meursault (Burgundy) and Australia.

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (86 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA PETIT VERDOT 2014 - DO Rapel Valley, Chile (#007484) (XD) - $16.95
  • CAMILLE CAYRAN LA RÉSERVE PLAN DE DIEU 2017 - AP Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#644286) (XD) - $17.95
  • PATRICK LESEC CAIRANNE 2016 - AP, Rhône, France (#636217) (XD) - $19.95
  • PIERRE LURTON BORDEAUX 2016 - AC, France (#632984) (XD) - $19.95
  • VIÑA LEYDA CANELO SINGLE VINEYARD SYRAH 2015 - DO Leyda Valley, Chile (#632703) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE NATURALISTE DISCOVERY SYRAH 2014 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#632596) (XD) - $24.95

  • PIANO DEI DIANI 2015 - DOC Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy (#589242) (XD) - $26.95
  • DOMAINE ALARY LA JEAN DE VERDE CAIRANNE 2015 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#639914) (XD) - $28.95  91 pts  wine review
  • THE LANE SINGLE VINEYARD BLOCK 14 BASKET PRESS SHIRAZ 2016 - Adelaide Hills, South Australia (#470591) (XD) - $29.95
  • AMA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#515759) (XD) - $34.95
  • IL PALAZZINO STAGI 2012 - IGT Toscana, Tuscany, Italy (#629212) (XD) - $37.95  FE
  • PINTAS CHARACTER 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#292599) (XD) - $49.95  FE
  • LA SPINONA SORÌ GEPIN BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#577874) (XD) - $68.95

White Wine:

  • CLIFFHANGER PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Trentino, Italy (#528687) (XD) - $15.95  86 pts  wine review
  • TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - DO Leyda Valley, Chile (#632349) (XD) - $17.95
  • LA GUARDIENSE JANARE DEL SANNIO GRECO 2017 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#631085) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHAVET & FILS LA DAME DE JACQUES COEUR MENETOU-SALON BLANC 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#525048) (XD) - $20.95
  • AWATERE RIVER BY LOUIS VAVASOUR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#492272) (XD) - $21.95
  • STELLA BELLA CHARDONNAY 2016 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#102061) (XD) - $28.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#189126) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE NATURALISTE FLORIS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#609339) (XD) - $33.95  FE
  • DOMAINE SANGOUARD-GUYOT QUINTESSENCE POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2016 - AP, Burgundy, France (#637850) (XD) - $34.95
  • BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS LES CLOUS MEURSAULT 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#661322) (XD) - $68.95  FE

Saturday, February 9, 2019

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  • Saturday, February 9, 2019

Rockway 9 Spritz 2017 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine review is an interesting white wine made by Rockway Vineyards, and is the first of a few wines from Rockway that I'll be writing about over the coming days.

In addition to 75 hectares of vineyards located on premium grape-growing land in the Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation in Niagara Peninsula, there is also an 18-hole golf course and restaurant on-site. There is also an antique wine museum, where guests can look into the history of winemaking from the 17th to 19th centuries. With all of these attractions, plus the wine, one could easily spend the better part of a day at Rockway Vineyards.

This particular wine takes me back about 4 years ago, when a small group of us gathered at the iYellow Wine Cave for a Vidal table wine tasting. Although this wine is also considered a table wine, it does have a bit of a spritz thanks to a Chardonnay (4%) component that was harvested for a Sparkling wine base and provides nice acidity to accent the aromatic Vidal. Even though the grapes for this wine are from Niagara, Ontario VQA labelling rules state that you cannot use any Niagara appellation names for Vidal table wines, hence this wine is labelled as VQA Ontario.

The 2017 Rockway 9 Spritz normally retails for $15.95, but is currently on promotion for $14.95, and is available exclusively at their winery in Twenty Mile Bench and through their online web store.

Rockway 9 Spritz 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY 9 SPRITZ 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (M) - $14.95
A blend of 96% Vidal and 4% Chardonnay that was fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. Screw cap gives off gentle hiss when opening. Effervescent lemon twist, melon, and apple aromas with some grapey character. Spritzy with fresh acids lift the medium-bodied and medium-dry (i.e. fairly sweet) palate with grapey, apple, pear and tropical fruit and citrus flavours. Finish length is very good. 10% abv. Fine casual sipper for the patio that will have wide appeal. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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  • Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a white wine from northern Italy that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mezzacorona, one of the oldest and largest, continuous grower co-operatives in all of Italy, tracing its origins to 1904.

Cliffhanger is their concept for wines crafted on the "Edge of Perfection", and this Pinot Grigio is their best expression of the grape from the beautiful Trentino appellation which is inside the Dolomite area in northern Italy. The Trentino DOC is an area that encompasses many small territories, soil conditions, and micro-climates with completely different geological origins. The grapes for this Pinot Grigio come from two places: the hillside vineyards in the north, located 350 metres above sea level at the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, which runs alongside the Adige River near the city of Trento, and from vines cultivated in the south near Lake Garda.

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLIFFHANGER PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Trentino, Italy (#528687) (XD) - $15.95
Medium intensity aromas of ripe stone fruit, think yellow pear and peach, along with some citrus, floral and touches of honey. It is mid-weighted on the honeyed palate with sharp, juicy acids. Honeyed citrus, ripe pear and melon flavours with a kiss of sweetness on the flavour profile. A touch of mineral appears on the finish, with very good length. Simple and widely appealing. Score: 86 pts

Sunday, February 3, 2019

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  • Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely bottle I picked up while visiting Rhône .

It is produced by Pierre Amadieu, a passionate family-owned and -operated winery in Gigondas. Prior to 1929, Pierre Amadieu operated as a private co-operative, selling his wine in bulk. But in 1929, Pierre Amadieu Sr. (grandfather of current owner Pierre Amadieu Jr.) decided to produce Gigondas wines under his own name with grapes coming from 7 ha of vineyards in Gigondas that were passed on from generation to generation. He was the first to write the name of the appellation on his labels and in 1932 obtained a gold medal in the Agricultural Contest in Paris. Pierre Sr. played a decisive role for the appellation, promoting Gigondas everywhere, with wines becoming very much appreciated over time. He was rewarded for his efforts when Gigondas was awarded Cru status in 1971.

This lovely cuvée is called "Le Pas de l'Aigle", meaning "The Eagle Pass", and comes from the highest lands of Gigondas with terroir consisting of limestone and marls of Cretaceous origin. The grapes for this wine are a selection of old vines Grenache and Syrah on northwest facing slopes at 500 metres altitude next to rocky falls. Very low yields allow the terroir to shine in this wine. The Eagle Pass looks like a fascinating place to visit!

For availability of this delicious red wine, please contact Trilogy Wine Group in Ontario, or Balthazard in Québec.

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2014 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PIERRE AMADIEU LE PAS DE L'AIGLE GIGONDAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#354217) (XD) - $38
Hand-harvested blend of old vines Grenache (90%) and Syrah (10%) aged in French foudre for 15 months. The lovely medium-high intensity nose offers spice, blackberry, and smoky minerality notes mingling with hints of white pepper, currant, red berry and a whiff of floral. It is medium-to-full bodied with very good fruit extraction, racy acids and chewy tannins that are integrating nicely. Savoury and woody on the palate with tobacco, red berry, cherry, and raspberry flavours. Somewhat drying and chalky mid-palate. Mineral, dark berry, and wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Enjoyable now, but still a few years away from prime drinking and can be aged for about 10 years. Score: 91+ pts

When I was in Rhône, I also had the opportunity to taste the 2012 vintage of this delicious wine...

Medium-high intensity, sour-edged nose with red berry, cherry, spice, and savoury hints. Medium-bodied with chalky tannins, and more savoury on the palate with earthy, forest floor nuances layered on top of red cherries, with hints of floral and mineral flavours. Acids still fresh. Very good to excellent finish length. Showing some maturity. Score: 91 pts

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2012 (91 pts)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

red wine is a frequent arrival in VINTAGES and was recently featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. It is currently available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at many LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Wakefield Wines is a family-owned and -operated winery located in the southern end of Clare Valley, South Australia. Wakefield is also a member of Australia's First Families of Wine, a group of twelve of Australia's oldest and most respected family-owned, multi-generational wineries who collectively have over 1,380 years of winemaking experience.

I reviewed this delicious Shiraz back in and am curious to see if this bottling, which is enclosed with a screw cap, has changed much over the last 5 months.

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Wine Review/Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2016 - Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. Dark berry, mint, pepper and spice aromas waft from the glass with some jamminess. It is a touch confected on the full-bodied palate with smooth, silky tannins and fresh, lively acids supporting the minty, blueberry, dark berry, cocoa, and spice flavours. Some chalkiness arrives mid-palate. Smooth berry, mocha, and earthy notes linger on the juicy finish, with very good length. Aussie Shiraz lovers will like this. Score: 88 pts

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