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Monday, October 20, 2014

Oct. 25 LCBO Wine Picks: Tuscany + Chile



LCBO Wine Picks from October 25, 2014 VINTAGES Release
The next batch of wines from the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves this . Some stores actually put wines on shelves a few days earlier - keep this in mind as you begin your holiday shopping.

This release highlights so-called "Trophy Wines" from the old world region of Tuscany, while the secondary feature is on the rising wines from the new world region of Chile. There are some wines from each feature that are worth pursuing.

We'll begin in Tuscany, where 15 wines are featured (all reds) and 3 wines made my list of wine picks. The Chianti is mostly Sangiovese with 5% Colorino and 5% Canaiolo added, and is one you'll want to enjoy over the next couple of years. Both Brunellos are 100% Sangiovese and can be enjoyed over the next decade. Partly because it's 2 years older, the '07 Livio Sassetti Pertimali can be enjoyed now, while you'll want to wait a few years for the tannins in the '09 Poggiotondo to settle before opening.

Of 8 wines featured from Chile, I recommend 3 red wines. First up is the certified organic Emiliana Coyam that is a blend of 38% Syrah, 31% Carmenère, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Mourvedre, and 1% Malbec. No Chilean list would be complete without a Carmenère, in this case a Single Vineyard version from Caliterra that also contains 6% Cabernet Franc and 3% Syrah and made using sustainable viticultural practices. And lastly, there is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Morandé.

From the rest of the release, the Pirramimma Katunga GTS sounds like a fast car, but is really a big tannin, delicious red wine made with Grenache, Tannat and Syrah. A pair of Rhône blends are also worth your attention - the Bacchantes is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blen of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 5% Cinsault and 5% Mourvèdre and can be enjoyed over the next decade.

Those wanting to explore the world of Chardonnay can seek out any of the 4 cool-climate Chardonnays from my wine recommendations below. The versions from Flat Rock and the Chablis from Domaine Hamelin are unoaked styles, while the versions from Le Clos Jordanne and Ramey are oaked, but show excellent balance between fruit and oak.

For those folks who prefer sweeter wines, check out the off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Gewürztraminer from B.C. or the always delicious medium in sweetness Sketches Riesling from Niagara's Tawse Winery. Taking the sweetness level up a couple of notches is the Quady Elysium that's made using the Black Muscat grape and ideally suited for pairing with rich desserts.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Cheers!


Red Wine:
  • CALITERRA TRIBUTO SINGLE VINEYARD CARMENÈRE 2011 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#056630) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE DES BACCHANTES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#380717) (XD) - $16.95
  • MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#389254) (XD) - $17.00
  • ROCCA DI CASTAGNOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#222810) (XD) - $17.00
  • HEARTLAND SHIRAZ 2012 - Langhorne Creek/Limestone Coast, South Australia (#661934) (XD) - $18.95
  • PIRRAMIMMA KATUNGA GTS 2012 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#203174) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • EMILIANA COYAM 2011 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#063891) (XD) - $29.95
  • POGGIOTONDO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#276576) (XD) - $36.95
  • GIACOSA BUSSIA BAROLO 2009 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#344721) (XD) - $39.95
  • LIVIO SASSETTI PERTIMALI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2007 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#287284) (XD) - $45.95
  • DOMAINE PIERRE USSEGLIO ET FILS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2010 - AC, Rhône, France (#381079) (XD) - $45.95

White Wine:
  • DOMAINE LA HAUTE FEVRIE SÈVRE & MAINE SUR LIE MUSCADET 2013 - AC, Loire, France (#390625) (XD) - $13.95
  • QUAIL’S GATE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#391797) (D) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068015) (XD) - $16.95
  • YALUMBA THE Y SERIES VIOGNIER 2013 - South Australia (#624502) (XD) - $16.95
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $17.95
  • LOIMER GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#142240) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE HAMELIN BEAUROY CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#391805) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER SAERING RIESLING 2010 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#627950) (XD) - $30.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE CLAYSTONE TERRACE CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#056929) (XD) - $40.00
  • RAMEY CHARDONNAY 2012 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#288035) (XD) - $45.95  reviewed here

Fortified Wine:
  • QUADY ELYSIUM BLACK MUSCAT 2013 - California, USA (#276840) (S) (375 mL) - $14.95


The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

Karlo Estates Pinot Grigio 2013 and Lake on the Mountain Riesling 2013 (PEC) - Wine Reviews

To celebrate , I decided to open up these two wines from Prince Edward County's Karlo Estates. Both are crisp, refreshing white wines with balanced acids suitable for pairing with traditional Thanksgiving fare. Tonight, these wines were enjoyed with chicken wings, puff pastry pizza, and Shake'n Bake chicken. Neither of these wines are available at the LCBO, so you'll have to make the trek out to The County - just as I've promised myself to next year.

Wine Reviews of Karlo Estates 2013 Pinot Grigio and 2013 Lake on the Mountain Riesling from Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

KARLO ESTATES PINOT GRIGIO 2013 - Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - ~$21
Medium+ intensity aromas featuring lovely, slightly sweet, wild flower, rose, and honeysuckle. It's medium-bodied on the dry palate with pleasing aroma replays, and some lemony notes. Acids are nicely balanced, while finish is lengthy, crisp, and showing hints of tartness. Score: 88 pts

KARLO ESTATES LAKE ON THE MOUNTAIN RIESLING 2013 - Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (D) - $22
Medium-intensity nose with beeswax, wood, pink grapefruit aromas. Medium-full bodied on the palate with off-dry flavours of spice, ginger, grapefruit, and tropical fruit. Bright acids give way to mineral, slightly chalky texture. Lengthy finish is bitter, dry and slightly warm. Score: 87 pts

Monday, October 6, 2014

Oct. 11 LCBO Wine Picks: Sonoma + Piedmont

LCBO Wine Picks from October 11, 2014 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO Vintages release arrives on shelves this , which is also Thanksgiving long weekend. If you still need to buy wine to help celebrate Thanksgiving, then this release arrives just in time for you. The main focus of this release is on wines from Sonoma, which coincides with the upcoming Sonoma County Vintners wine tasting event that takes place this Thursday, October 9th. The mini-feature in this release highlights wines that are nestled in the Alpine foothills - Piedmont.

Given that only 3 of the 26 wines featured from Sonoma and Piedmont are included among my wine picks, it goes without saying that I am somewhat disappointed with the wines chosen for this release. However, I fully expect the upcoming Sonoma and Italian wine tasting events to have a much better showing.

The lone wine from Sonoma is the Benzinger (oaked) Chardonnay, the grapes from which were grown using certified sustainable practices. Both of my wine recommendations from Piedmont are not common for the region. The Prunotto is a 60/40 blend consisting of Barbera and Syrah, while the Borgogno is made using 100% Freisa, a grape that can be dated back to the 16th century and was once very prominent and widely planted in Piedmont.

From the rest of the release, there's an interesting Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Bordeaux-blend from Morocco. If you've never tried wine from this country, this is a great place to start! Another Bordeaux-blend is South Africa's Rustenberg John X Merriman, consisting of 55% Cab Sauv, 37% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec and 2% Cab Franc. From actual Bordeaux are a couple of stellar 2010s - both the Château Hanteillan and Château La Tour Carnet feature similar blends consisting of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with small dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. From Spain, the Lealtanza Reserva is 100% Tempranillo, while the red wine from the dessert lands of Patagonia is a blend of 90% Malbec and 10% Merlot. The last of the reds is from Tuscany's Ornellaia, consisting of 52% Merlot, 28% Cab Sauv, 12% Petit Verdot, and 8% Cabernet Franc; this is a big wine that you'll want to decant and serve now or cellar for at least 5 years.

There are plenty of choices for sweet wine lovers as well, with three Gewürztraminers (2 from Alsace and 1 from Ontario) and a pair of German Rieslings.

Enjoy my LCBO wine picks from this Vintages release. May you enjoy great wine and give thanks with your family this .


Red Wine:
  • DOMAINE DE SAHARI 2012 - AG Guerrouane, Morocco (#092825) (XD) - $16.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#018721) (XD) - $17.95
  • PRUNOTTO MOMPERTONE 2011 - DOC Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy (#388587) (XD) - $18.95
  • NK’MIP CELLARS MERLOT 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626416) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU HANTEILLAN 2010 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#377408) (XD) - $19.95
  • KATOGI & STROFILIA AVEROFF XINOMAVRO 2008 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#249615) (XD) - $19.95
  • LEALTANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#208223) (XD) - $20.95  reviewed here
  • BORGOGNO LANGHE FREISA 2012 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#388660) (XD) - $21.95
  • RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN 2011 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#707323) (XD) - $24.95
  • BODEGA NOEMÍA A LISA 2012 - Patagonia, Argentina (#385765) (XD) - $25.95
  • PODERE CIONA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#385070) (XD) - $31.95
  • MITOLO SAVITAR SHIRAZ 2009 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#659581) (XD) - $49.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR CARNET 2010 - 4e Cru, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#259986) (XD) - $59.85
  • LE SERRE NUOVE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2012 - DOC Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy (#606194) (XD) - $59.95

White Wine:
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2012 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#302059) (D) - $17.95
  • ALBERT SCHOECH RÉSERVE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2012 - AC Alsace, France (#385351) (D) - $17.95
  • ANDRÉ BLANCK ET SES FILS ALTENBURG GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#168906) (MS) - $19.95
  • BENZIGER CHARDONNAY 2012 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#034777) (XD) - $19.95
  • ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2013 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. LOOSEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2013 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#927756) (MD) - $21.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#912659) (M) - $28.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE RARE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE 2009 - AC, Burgundy, France (#178137) (D) - $19.95
  • CYGNUS BRUT NATURE RESERVA CAVA - Méthode Champenoise, DO, Spain (#352856) (XD) - $19.95


The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Handsome Brut Sparkling Wine (Niagara) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is brand spanking new and was very recently launched at the LCBO. Handcrafted by award-winning Angels Gate Winery, I received this sample to try and share my thoughts with all of you. This dry, sparkling wine is available in small quantities throughout the province as part of the LCBO General List.

There is also an interesting mixer cocktail recipe that includes Brandy on the Handsome Brut website, which I will be trying tomorrow. For your convenience, the recipe is also provided at the end of this post.

HANDSOME BRUT - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#395160) (XD) - $24.95

Wine Review of Handsome Brut from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Tasting Note:
100% Chardonnay made in the méthode traditionelle style. Cleam lime and citrus nose of medium intensity with leesy, toasty notes on the back end. Mouth-filling with lime, buttered bread, mineral, lees, and a slight hint of sweetness on the palate. Fine mousse, balanced acids, medium-length citrus-tinged finish. Handsome wine that will pair well with Dungeness Crab Curry! Score: 88+ pts


Handsome Brut Old Fashioned Recipe:

  1. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to your glass; sprinkle with 3–6 dashes of bitters.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of Handsome Brut on top, followed by 1 oz. of Brandy.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon slice.
  4. Brood like Don Draper.