Saturday, February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mike Weir Limited Edition Cabernet Franc 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

This yummy red wine was provided to me by the fine folks at Mike Weir Winery when I visited them last month during the Niagara Icewine Festival. It was requested that I do not taste it at the winery, and instead taste this in the leisurely confines of home, after decanting it for 24 hours. As such, this will not be a normal post as I normally don't decant wines (due to natural oxidation that occurs because my bottles typically last 2-3 days anyway) or post tasting notes from multiple tasting sessions.

The review from night is posted below, as well as tasting note. I fully expect this Cabernet Franc to be tasted evening as well, while watching the Super Bowl, so please do come back and visit to see how it tastes on a 3rd day.

Currently, this wine is only available at the winery. Please contact the winery directly to place your order as it's currently not listed on the website's online shopping cart.

Mike Weir Limited Edition Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

Tasting Notes:

MIKE WEIR LIMITED EDITION CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
night: Screw cap. Initial bretty/barnyard nose of medium+ intensity gives way to earth, blackberry, herbed spice, raspberry and some rose petal notes. It's medium-to-full bodied with smooth tannins that are just a touch grippy. It has juicy acids and flavours of black cherry, blackberry, damp earth, wild herb and hints of olive. Good length on the finish. Enjoy now or over the next 2-4 years. Score: 88 pts

night: The heavy barnyard aromas from Friday have now moved to the back and is quite fruit forward on the nose tonight, showing black currant, raspberry, dark plum, dried herbs and a hint of floral. It is medium-to-full bodied on the palate with vibrant, juicy acids. Softened, dusty tannins are smooth. Pleasing aroma replays with a some raisiny character developing. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

night: Black currant, black licorice, wild herb, hints of cassis and whiffs of white pepper of medium+ intensity on the nose. On the palate, it's medium-to-full bodied with dried herbs, blackberry, black cherry and more raisiny flavours that started to develop yesterday. Acids are still quite juicy, while the finish length is very good. Still a pleasure to sip, but it was at its peak yesterday.

Monday, February 1, 2016

  • Monday, February 1, 2016

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine is new to VINTAGES and will be available as part of the February 20 VINTAGES Release.

Kono Wines are made from carefully selected vineyards within Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island. Owned by the native Māori, the grapes are grown with soil knowledge and cultivation methods passed down from Māori forbearers. Kaitiakitanga - guardianship of the land, resources and environment - is an integral part of the values of Kono Wines. As such, the vineyards for Kono Wines are certified SWNZ (Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand) and CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme).

True to Māori culture, they have a strong spiritual connection to everything they grow and a responsibility to ensure that the land is passed onto future generations in pristine condition.

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

KONO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#441394) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Highly fragrant nose of gooseberry, kiwi, asparagus and lime citrus in typical New Zealand style. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with piercing, juicy acidity to go along with ripe pear, asparagus, melon and citrus flavours. Good length on the tart finish. Serve well-chilled and drink over the next 2 years. Enjoyed tonight with herbed salmon. Score: 87 pts

  • Monday, February 1, 2016

February 6 VINTAGES Release: Southern France + South Africa + Valentines

LCBO Wine Picks from February 6, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming and continues the on-going theme of the year to focus on wine regions offering good value wines. In this edition, wines from Southern Franc are the main theme, while the mini-theme focuses on wines from South Africa. Also featured in this release are wines for .

Southern France is a large wine region bordering the Mediterranean coast that in this release comprises of Languedoc, Roussillon and Provence. Of the 11 wines featured from this region, 4 are included in my list of wine picks. First up is an extra-dry sparkling wine from Gérard Bertrand that consists of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Mauzac. In red wines, the Secret de Schistes is 100% Syrah, while the wine from Cave de Roquebrun is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre. Lastly, there is a 12-year-old blend of old vines Carignan, Grenache and Syrah from Château des Erles that is made only in the best years.

From South Africa, two of the eight wines are included among my wine picks. One of the principal varietals that South Africa does well is Chenin Blanc. The Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc is a dry take on the varietal from old vines that are nearly 40 years old. The other South African wine is also a white wine from the very interesting Avondale Wines that is a Chenin Blanc driven blend which also includes Roussanne, Muscat de Frontignan, Viognier and Semillon.

Wines for Valentine's Day celebrations include Champagnes from Lallier Rose (80/20 Pinot Noir/Chardonnay) and the 2008 Taittinger, as well as the Cabernet Franc Icewine from Lakeview Cellars.

Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Tiago Cabaço .com Premium White 2014 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (88 pts)

From the rest of the release, Tiago Cabaço is an intriguing white wine blend of Antão Vaz, Verdelho, and Viognier, while the white Burgundies are all Chardonnay.

In red wines, the Fielding Red from the excellent 2012 Niagara vintage is a blend of 68% Cabernet Franc, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah and 6% Petit Verdot. The Quadrus Red from Portugal is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (a.k.a. Tempranillo) and Souzão, while the Valpolicella is 80% Corvina/Corvinone and 20% Rondinella.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for the week! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BOUTARI NAOUSSA XINOMAVRO 2013 - Naoussa, Greece (#023218) (XD) - $13.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#057513) (D) - $17.95
  • FIELDING RED CONCEPTION 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#189183) (D) - $18.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA MERLOT 2013 - Maule Valley, Chile (#939827) (XD) - $19.95
  • QUADRUS RED 2010 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#440305) (XD) - $21.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES ERLES FITOU 2004 - AC, Midi, France (#654590) (XD) - $25.95
  • SECRET DE SCHISTES 2011 - IGP Côtes Catalanes, Midi, France (#440669) (XD) - $41.95
  • SAN GIACOMO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#434548) (XD) - $49.95
  • LA JOTA HOWELL MOUNTAIN ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA (#659755) (D) - $94.95

White Wine:

  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE 2014 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#439554) (XD) - $14.95
  • TIAGO CABAÇO .COM PREMIUM WHITE 2014 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#429316) (XD) - $14.95  reviewed here
  • EMILIANA NATURA UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2015 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#439398) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2014 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#246579) (D) - $16.95
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2015 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95
  • PIERRE SPARR SCHOENENBOURG RIESLING 2011 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, Alsace, France (#664995) (XD) - $22.95  FSE
  • LOUIS MOREAU DOMAINE DE BIÉVILLE CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#106161) (XD) - $25.95
  • DOMAINE DE BELLENE LES CHARMES DESSUS SANTENAY 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#435032) (XD) - $35.95
  • DOMAINE LAROCHE VIEILLES VIGNES LES VAILLONS CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#991893) (XD) - $36.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CUVÉE THOMAS JEFFERSON BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2013 - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Languedoc, France (#438838) (XD) - $19.95
  • LALLIER GRAND CRU ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE - AC, Champagne, France (#385179) (D) - $56.95
  • TAITTINGER BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, Champagne, France (#989905) (XD) - $97.95

Dessert Wine:

  • GRÓF DEGENFELD TOKAJI SZAMORODNI SWEET 2010 - Hungary (#433946) (S) (500 mL) - $18.95
  • LAKEVIEW CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#053397) (S) (200 mL) - $29.95  reviewed here

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tiago Cabaço .com Premium White 2014 (Portugal) - Wine Review

white wine comes from the Alentejo region in southern Portugal. It is produced by Tiago Cabaço - one of the most promising producers in Alentejo.

Tiago was born and raised in Estremoz, in the heart of the Alentejo wine region, and worked in his parent's vineyard at an early age where he learned first hand about grape growing, grape varieties, and the best soils and climate for each of the grapes. In 2004, Tiago began his own wine project and with an opportunity to showcase his own winemaking capabilities. Today, with access to some of regions best and oldest vineyards, Tiago Cabaço is one of the stars of the new Alentejo.

It will be available at the LCBO as part of the upcoming February 6 VINTAGES release.

Tasting Note:

TIAGO CABAÇO .COM PREMIUM WHITE 2014 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#429316) (XD) - $14.95
Unique blend of Antão Vaz, Verdelho, and Viognier. Citrus and spring flower aromas from the cork. Elegant nose of floral, citrus zest, tropical fruits and some minerality. On the light-to-midweighted palate, it has a fleshy character with flavours that mimic the aroma profile along with some pear notes. Vibrant, juicy acids make this very much a wine for pairing with food. Very good length on the finish. Don't overchill this white wine. Will be enjoyed with oven roasted chicken. Score: 88 pts

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

  • Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Domaine les Yeuses les Épices Syrah 2011 (Midi) - Wine Review

Tonight's delicious wine was purchased in the Spring of 2014 from the VINTAGES Release. This red wine has been a frequent arrival on LCBO VINTAGES - however, the 2012 vintage was last released in , so we should see the 2013 vintage arrive soon.

Domaine les Yeuses les Épices Syrah 2011 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2011 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#177584) (XD) - $14.95
Synthetic rubber cork. Medium+ intensity nose featuring complex earthy, olive, black pepper, dark fruit and hints of smoke aromas. It's full-bodied with savoury aroma replays and some mocha and baking spice notes on the palate. Very good length on the finish. With balanced acidity and dusty tannins that are integrating quite nicely, this should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

Monday, January 18, 2016

  • Monday, January 18, 2016

January 23 VINTAGES Release: Argentina + Chile + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks from January 23, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on LCBO shelves this coming and features wines from South America's dynamic duo - Argentina and Chile as part of its main thematic, while the mini-theme is on wines from Portugal. All three countries produce wines offering great value, and should continue to do so in spite of our plunging loonie!

In this release, there are 7 wines each from Argentina and Chile. Three of the seven wines from Argentina are included among my wine picks. No Argentinian list is complete without a nice Malbec, but also among my wine recommendations is a heavily oaked Chardonnay for those that are fans of the style. Last, but not least, is a ripe red wine made using Bonarda - a grape Argentina does quite well.

The Chilean offering is also strong with three of the seven wines included in my wine picks. All are red wines with some special characteristics, such as the single vineyard Carménère from Chile's big house of Concha y Toro. There is also a Cabernet Sauvignon from a single block within a single vineyard from Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery. The third wine is made from 80-year-old vines of Carignan that were dry farmed (i.e. using only natural rainfall). The last Chilean wine recommendation is found near the back of the magazine, as part of the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) program - the 2006 Albis is 10 years old and is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Carménère made in collaboration with the famous Antinori family of Italy.

From Portugal, two of the ten wines made my list. The Vale do Bomfim red table wine is a blend of 30% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and 5% Tinto Cão, while the LBV Vintage Port is a sweet blend consisting of 50% Touriga Nacional, 10% Touriga Franca, and 10% Tinto Cão. It's beyond me why the Warre's Vintage Port was not featured as part of the Portuguese theme, but it's there as part of the rest of the release and it's great!

From the rest of the release, the only organic wine of the release is a red wine from Puglia that is a blend of 70% Aglianico, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, while the Santenay is 100% Pinot Noir from vines that are 45 years old.

In white wines, the Pouilly Fumé is made with Sauvignon Blanc, while the two white Burgundies are Chardonnay. The Côtes du Rhône Blanc is a blend of 50% Grenache, 15% Clairette, 15% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier, and 10% Roussanne. If you enjoy sweeter wines, the Gewürztraminer from Alsace will fit the bill. Also for sweet wine lovers is the Flat Rock Twisted White (a VINTAGES Essential item) and a blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay that's on sale for one week at only $13.95 - a very good value in my books.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TRAPICHE BROQUEL BONARDA 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#055558) (D) - $14.95
  • VALE DO BOMFIM 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#167676) (XD) - $15.95
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2011 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (D) - $17.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#029280) (D) - $18.95
  • CONO SUR SINGLE VINEYARD EL RECURSO BLOCK 18 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#439364) (D) - $18.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMÉNÈRE 2013 - Peumo Vineyard, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95
  • FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ 2013 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (#265967) (D) - $19.95
  • TORMARESCA TRENTANGELI 2012 - DOC Castel del Monte, Puglia, Italy (#435529) (XD) - $19.95
  • VINCENT GIRARDIN VIEILLES VIGNES SANTENAY 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#435552) (XD) - $37.95
  • ALBIS 2006 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#579813) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • PETER FRANUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#907477) (XD) - $66.95

White Wine:

  • RABL LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - Kamptal, Austria (#377457) (XD) - $14.95
  • FLAT ROCK TWISTED WHITE 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#001578) (M) - $16.95 (only $13.95 from Jan. 21-27)
  • WILLY GISSELBRECHT TRADITION GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#928390) (M) - $18.95
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY 2014 - Mendoza, Argentina (#119099) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#707588) (XD) - $21.95
  • DOMAINE CHEVALLIER CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#112227) (XD) - $23.95
  • BLUE MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2014 - Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#350108) (XD) - $24.95
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE SAINT ROMAIN 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#440206) (XD) - $31.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D’AURORE BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy, France (#048793) (D) - $19.95


  • DALVA LBV PORT 2010 - DOP, Portugal (#169755) (S) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • WARRE’S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2001 - Bottled 2003, DOP, Portugal (#189605) (S) - $49.95

Sunday, January 10, 2016

  • Sunday, January 10, 2016

Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Shiraz 2008 (Australia) - Wine Review

delicious red wine was purchased nearly 4 years ago and was the Wine of the Month from the February 4, 2012 VINTAGES Release.

As luck would have it, the 2013 vintage of this wine will be available in the upcoming January 23rd VINTAGES Release.

Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Shiraz 2008 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PLUNKETT FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ 2008 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (#265967) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium-to-high intensity nose featuring stewed fruits, blackberry, dried herbs, black pepper spice and earthy tones. It's full-bodied with sweet, integrated tannins and very nice aroma replays joined by hints of violet and eucalyptus notes. Rush of fresh, juicy acidity mid-palate. Finishes long and earthy. This lovely Aussie Shiraz should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Will be enjoyed with homemade chicken burgers. Score: 89 pts Jason Solanki

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