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Monday, March 30, 2015

Apr. 4 LCBO Wine Picks: Veneto + Ontario Wines for Easter

LCBO Wine Picks from April 4, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves this . For those folks in Toronto's downtown core, you may find wines on shelves as early as Wednesday and some stores in and around the city may have them out as early as Thursday or Friday. Pay a visit to your local store prior to Saturday to see when they stock the shelves.

In this release, the major theme is on wines from Veneto, while the secondary theme highlights Ontario wines for upcoming feasts.

The VINTAGES team did something interesting in this release with the Veneto thematic by trying to associate each letter of the alphabet with something from the region (e.g. A is for Amarone, B is for Baroque Music, C is for Corvina, etc.). However, only 11 wines were selected as part of the theme, four of which fell under V is for Valpolicella.

Only three Veneto wines are included among my wine picks, including one of the aforementioned Valpolicellas from Feudi San Pio that is made using the Ripasso technique - expect some sweet-fruited flavours. From the letter "R" is a Recioto from Monte Faustino that takes the sweetness levels up a few notches in this red wine. Lastly, under the letter "S" is a Soave, Veneto's signature white wine, from Montresor that is made using Garganega.

The mini-theme of Ontario wines for Easter featured 6 wines, and only the Fielding Viognier made my wine picks. Other Ontario wines not part of the thematic, but I think would also be perfectly suitable for Easter are the Flat Rock Riesling (medium sweet), Creekside Laura's White (a blend that is mostly Sauvignon Blanc), and Henry of Pelham Chardonnay.

From the rest of the release are a pair of matured Spanish reds, including the 10-year-old Monasterio de las Viñas (60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 10% Cariñena) and the 7-year-old Bodegas Muriel Reserva that is 100% Tempranillo. Another fabulous wine from the great 2010 Bordeaux vintage is the Château Haut Selve Réserve that is nearly 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend and should be cellared for at least a couple of years prior to opening.

And finally, if you want to end your Easter festivities this year with one terrific wine, check out the Château La Tour Blanche. This sweet dessert wine is a blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, from Noble Rot-affected grapes. You may see me lining up for this one.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week and Happy Easter. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • AGRIVERDE PIANE DI MAGGIO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2013 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#394999) (D) - $15.95
  • MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS GRAN RESERVA 2005 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#082024) (XD) - $16.95
  • FEUDI SAN PIO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2012 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#181446) (D) - $17.95
  • CARMEN GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2012 - Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#439166) (XD) - $17.95
  • MURIEL RESERVA VENDIMIA SELECCIONADA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#276030) (D) - $18.95
  • TSCHARKE MARANANGA GNADENFREI SHIRAZ 2011 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#303370) (XD) - $26.95
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT SELVE RÉSERVE 2010 - AC Graves, Bordeaux, France (#235424) (XD) - $27.95
  • MONTE FAUSTINO RECIOTO DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2008 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#403857) (M) (500 mL) - $45.95
  • FULIGNI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2008 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#245225) (XD) - $49.95
  • VITANZA RISERVA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2007 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#236232) (XD) - $89.95  Flagship Store Exclusive

White Wine:
  • MONTRESOR SOAVE CLASSICO 2013 - DOP, Veneto, Italy (#408302) (D) - $13.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $16.95
  • GEHRINGER BROTHERS PRIVATE RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2013 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#347203) (XD) - $18.95
  • CREEKSIDE LAURA’S WHITE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#121764) (XD) - $18.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#268342) (XD) - $19.95
  • FORREST THE DOCTORS’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#317842) (D) - $19.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $24.95
  • FIELDING VIOGNIER 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#142323) (D) - $25.95
  • DOMAINE JEAN COLLET & FILS MONTMAINS CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#405704) (XD) - $31.95

  • CÁLEM LÁGRIMA WHITE PORT - DOP, Douro, Portugal (#912568) (S) - $16.95

Dessert Wine:

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Juan Gil 4 Meses 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

Tonight's red wine is courtesy of the fine folks at Kylix Wines. Periodically, this wine does show up at the LCBO. However, the latest vintage of this wine (2013) is currently only available via Consignment through Kylix Wines. This wine was aged 4 months (i.e. 4 meses) in French and American oak barrels.

JUAN GIL 4 MESES 2011 - DO Jumilla, Spain (#013656) (XD) - $15.95

Wine Review of 2011 Juan Gil 4 Meses from DO Jumilla, Spain (88+ pts)
Tasting Note:
100% Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvèdre). Plum, prune and menthol aromas from the cork. In the glass, it has aromas of within the dark spectrum with black currant, blackberry and dark cocoa with hints of raisins. On the palate, it's medium-bodied with a complex flavour profile featuring new cedar oak, spice, new leather, wild herb, and dark fruit, along with hints of floral and violets. Acids are fresh, while tannins are still quite firm. Medium length on the earthy-toned finish. This could be cellared another 3-5 years, but is enjoyable now. Will be paired tonight with Tandoori-style chicken wings. Score: 88+ pts

Sunday, March 22, 2015

MadeWithLove - Canada's Largest Mixing Competition is Coming to Toronto

After a successful run in Montreal last December, the largest and most extravagant mixology competitive event, MadeWithLove™, continues its tour across Canada to the great city of Toronto. The finals will be held on at Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex located at 25 British Columbia Rd, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tickets are available for $65 at or at participating locations.

21 bartenders from across the city will compete during the finals to impress over 1000 cocktail enthusiasts with exclusive and innovative creations. Each cocktail will be judged based on its originality, creativity and taste. This year marks the start of a new trend at the competition, a food pairing; a promising new addition which will only serve to enhance the overall experience of the event.

Come and enjoy the cocktails created by the finalists who qualified at College Street Bar in early January (click here to watch the video):
  • Aaron Male, Campagnolo
  • Alex James, Hopgood’s Foodliner
  • Andrés Márquez, Fonda Lola
  • Andrew Hunter, The County General
  • Brett Intrater, Independent
  • Dan Tavares, Mr. Flamingo
  • Ger Cullen, Her Majesty’s Pleasure
  • Jake Valianes, Linwood Essentials
  • Joe Howell, The Spoke Club
  • Holly Dewan, The Whirppoorwill Restaurant & Tavern
  • Japhet Bower, Parlor Foods & Co
  • Mana Moghada, Blowfish Restaurant & Sake Bar
  • Michael Crispo. Soho House
  • Michael Fortier, Drake One Fifty
  • Michele Maffei, Balsamico
  • Nick Incretolli, Urban Tavern On George
  • Parham Rahimi, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
  • Rob Renda, BartenderOne
  • Rory West, Pastizza
  • Ryan Desjardins, College Street Bar
  • Will Howden, Howden Bar Service

The People's Choice and Judge's Choice winners will represent the city at the National Finale which is slated to be held in Toronto on .

Click here to purchase your tickets. Your ticket will give to access to taste the 21 cocktails, the food pairing and afford you the right to vote for the People's Choice.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Invitation to 4th Annual County in the City - Toronto

Join us on at Berkeley Church (315 Queen St. East, Toronto) and sample some of the best wines Prince Edward County has to offer! Over twenty different County wineries under one Toronto roof!

At the 4th annual "County in the City" presented by WineAlign, samples of more than 50 different wines will be tasted to delight the palates of Torontonians and introduce them to some of the most enticing flavours of Prince Edward County; the world’s fastest growing wine region. Over 20 small-batch and family-owned wineries will showcase their pride and joy (including new vintages and specialty wines) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Some returning wineries this year are Casa Dea Estates Winery, Lighthall Vineyards, Karlo Estates Winery, Harwood Estate Vineyard and Norman Hardie Winery to name a few. Some new-comers include Trail Estate Winery and Black Prince Winery!

Many of the County wines showcased at the event are not available at retail wine outlets in the GTA, so guests are strongly encouraged to take part in the "Try and Buy" program and have delicious County wines delivered right to their door. Mix and match bottles from different wineries and receive FREE shipping (minimum 6 bottles).

I've attended each year and will once again be in attendance. Here are past posts about this event and its wines:

2014 County in the City - Toronto
Prince Edward County Tasting in 2012

$49 (includes food and all wine samples).
$60 at the door (subject to availability)
Tickets can be purchased here and includes a FREE Thursday ticket to the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival ($20 Value) in June when you purchase your tickets using my link:

Buy Tickets to 4th Annual County in the City - Toronto

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