Sunday, December 25, 2011

  • Sunday, December 25, 2011

2009 Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina) - Wine Review

Purchased this Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon from the November 12 Vintages release, and probably should've held on to this red wine a bit longer as the tannins needed more time to develop.

MAIPE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#246116) (D) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Cherry aromas from the cork. Earth, currant and cassis aromas in the glass, and follow through on the palate with herbal spiciness and espresso. I knew I should've waited opening this one, as tannins need more time (1-2 years) to settle down. It went well with homemade Christmas fruit cake.

Chocolate and espresso flavours come to the fore on the second day. This is tasting MUCH better tonight. Try an aerator or decant if opening in the near future. This should pair well with oven-roasted whole chicken, with garlic mash potatoes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

  • Saturday, December 24, 2011

2008 Chateau des Charmes Vidal Icewine (Ontario) - Wine Review

Got this one specifically for the #winechat on Icewine that took place on Twitter on . And wow - was it ever a GREAT choice.

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES VIDAL ICEWINE 2008 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#565861) (S) (200mL) - $25.95

Tasting Note:
Icewine goodness from the cork - apricot, honey aromas. Peach and honey aromas from the glass. Syrupy mouthfeel with notes of peach, burnt honey, apricot and red apple. Absolutely delicious! If you've never tried an Icewine or are craving some, this is one that will fulfill your taste buds and won't hurt your wallet too much! I wish there was a 375mL version.

Friday, December 16, 2011

  • Friday, December 16, 2011

Red Shot Lane Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine from the Sept. 17 Vintages Release which compared Burgundy and Oregon Pinot Noir. I went with the Oregon version, as we do not get enough wines from that region here in Ontario. Willamette Valley is a region widely becoming known for their first class Pinots that rival Burgundy.

RED SHOT LANE PINOT NOIR 2009 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#242560) (XD) - $18.95
Tasting Note:
Not a fan of plastic corks, but good aromas emanating from it. Freshly tilled earth is the first thing you will notice, followed by cherry, toast, and smoke aromas in the glass. Strawberry, cherry, and some light spiciness at mid-length on the palate. A classic Pinot, but with a little weight added to this light- to medium-bodied red wine and slightly chewy tannins on the medium-long finish. Enjoying this right now with Chardonnay Wine Biscuits, followed by a Canadian classic - Swiss Chalet. This one is yummy and highly recommended.

Monday, December 12, 2011

  • Monday, December 12, 2011

2009 Flagstone Writer's Block Pinotage (South Africa) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine from the November 26th Vintages release and decided to open it now instead of hanging on to it for another 12-24 months.

FLAGSTONE WRITER’S BLOCK PINOTAGE 2009 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#243337) (XD) - $19.95

Tasting Note:
Earthy, currant, cassis and oak aromas from the glass with more currant/cassis, and black fruit notes on the medium-full bodied palate. A touch of spiciness at mid-length. Tannins would allow ageing another 2 years or so, but drinking well right now. Quite good. It's pairing nicely with Dofino Jalapeno Havarti cheese.

Flagstone makes really good wine. This is the 3rd wine I've tasted from this winery, and I have not been disappointed even once. I reviewed their Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon last May.

Monday, December 5, 2011

  • Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Cheer Wine Picks: Dec. 10 LCBO Vintages Release

The next LCBO Vintages release is nearly upon us, and just in time for the holidays. The new release of wines will be in stores on . To get ready for the holiday season, which typically means at least few get-togethers with friends & family, I have chosen something from each of the 5 major types  of wine - red, white, icewine, sparkling wine, and even a rosé.

Among the reds, two Malbecs from Argentina stand out. In white, the Pinot Gris from Alsace is off-dry. If you prefer something a bit sweeter and different, try Musqué Spritz from our local Malivoire Wines.

Want something even sweeter? Try the Stoney Ridge Vidal Icewine or the Sparkling Vidal Icewine from Inniskillin.

Enjoy my picks this week as you celebrate the holidays with your friends and family!

Red Wine
  • MAIPE RESERVE MALBEC 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#247320) (XD) - $17.95
  • FINCA EL ORIGEN GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#065425) (XD) - $19.95
  • LES HAUTS DE CASTELLAS VACQUEYRAS 2009 - AC, Rhône, France (#177634) (XD) - $19.95
  • MONTES ALPHA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Apalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#322586) (XD) - $19.95
  • RAMON RAMOS MONTE TORO ROBLE 2008 - DO Toro, Spain (#247783) (XD) - $14.95

White Wine:
  • ANNE BOECKLIN PINOT GRIS RÉSERVE 2008 - AC Alsace, France (#106831) (D) - $18.95
  • MALIVOIRE MUSQUÉ SPRITZ 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#189670) (M) - $19.95

Rosé Wine:
  • DOMAINE DE RIMAURESQ ROSÉ Cru Classé 2010 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#226647) (XD) - $18.95

  • STONEY RIDGE VIDAL ICEWINE 2007 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#337402) (MS) 375 mL - $34.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • FLAT ROCK RIDDLED SPARKLING Méthode Classique 2008 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#187377) (D) - $29.95
  • INNISKILLIN SPARKLING VIDAL ICEWINE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#560367) (MS) 375 mL - $69.95
  • FOSS MARAI EXTRA DRY PROSECCO - DOC Treviso, Veneto, Italy (#729392) (D) - $18.95

Friday, December 2, 2011

  • Friday, December 2, 2011

2009 MezzoMondo Sangiovese Merlot (Puglia) - Wine Review

The roof of my mouth is slightly burnt from today's lunch, so this red wine may feel a little spicier than it really is. I received this one as a gift and having looked through my database, I found that I had tasted the 2008 version last year. Let's see how this vintage compares...

MEZZOMONDO SANGIOVESE MERLOT 2009 - IGT Daunia, Puglia, Italy (#079327) (D)

Tasting Note:
Aromas of crushed red berries, black fruits, herbal notes and touch of barnyard. Replays of red fruits on the light- to medium-bodied palate. Ripe fruit and is ready to drink now. A good, quaffable wine that can satisfy many palates at family gatherings. Will be enjoying the rest of this with KFC!

The 2008 was rated as follows:
Lots of red fruit aromas, candied berries. Red fruit, licorice, herb, menthol flavours.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

  • Sunday, November 27, 2011

2009 Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot Gris (Okanagan) - Wine Review

Purchased this white wine a couple of months back from the September 17 LCBO Vintages release.

GEHRINGER BROTHERS PRIVATE RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2009 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#347203) (XD) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Apple and honey aromas faded quickly from cork. Mineral, earth, grapefruit aromas from the glass. More grapefruit on the palate + citrus notes. Dry. If you like dry Pinot Gris, then you will probably like this one; beware of the acidity, which I found a bit strong. It should pair nicely with the crab curry that I will be enjoying tonight!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

  • Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2004 Fernandez Escudo de Plata Gran Reserva (Spain) - Wine Review

This one did not sit long once I purchased it from the latest Vintages release.

FERNANDEZ ESCUDO DE PLATA GRAN RESERVA 2004 - DO Jumilla, Spain (#246751) (XD) - $19.95

Tasting Note:
Corks smell reminds me of prune and raisin - not a fan of such aromas. Having said that, the aromas and flavours from the glass are MUCH better. Red fruits, spice, herbs and vanilla and earth aromas from the glass. Lavender, raspberry, cherry and floral notes on the palate. Medium-bodied. Smooth, well integrated tannins. Could have been cellared for another 1-2 years, but definitely enjoyable now. This one deserved better than serving with leftovers of chicken lasagna, wings, spring rolls, but otherwise did pair nicely with the menu.

Monday, November 21, 2011

  • Monday, November 21, 2011

2010 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling (Ontario) - Wine Review

Last night's wine was an off-dry Riesling. In a blind tasting, you would have thought this white wine was made in Germany. It was purchased from the October 29 Vintages release.

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (MD) - $17.95
Tasting Note:
Aromas of minerals, lemon, and floral. Lovely mineral notes, lemon rind, orange, citrus on the palate. Medium dry. Made in a German-style Riesling. Good acidity that allows it to be paired well with food. I greatly enjoyed this with soya sauce lamb chops, butterflied panko shrimp, and wings from All-Stars.

  • Monday, November 21, 2011

Master Works - Finest Wines & Spirits for Celebrations: Nov. 26 Vintages Release

The latest Vintages release is titled "Master Works: Our finest wines and spirits for splendid celebrations" and will be in stores on . As is par for the season, many of these wines are available at a very high price point, and even though they are good quality, they are not affordable. Thus, I will skip over that section and move into the rest of the release.

South Africa was the big winner among my picks - making the cut on three occasions. If you would like to venture out into the world of South African wines, now would a great time!

The very aromatic Chardonnay from Liberty School will satisfy your senses, as will the two Icewines I've recommended from Reif and Strewn. Treat yourself to these Icewines, or wrap them up to make great gifts.

Enjoy my picks! If you do purchase any, let me know. I would love to hear your reviews!

Red Wine:
  • FLAGSTONE WRITER’S BLOCK PINOTAGE 2009 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#243337) (XD) - $19.95
  • 13TH STREET GAMAY NOIR 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#177824) (XD) - $19.95
  • VALIANO POGGIO TEO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2006 - DOCG, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany, Italy (#250563) (XD) - $17.95
  • MOOIPLAAS THE BEAN COFFEE PINOTAGE 2010 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#251165) (XD) - $13.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO WINEMAKER’S LOT 115 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Palo Santo Vineyard, Rapel Valley, Chile (#030965) (XD) - $17.95

White Wine:
  • LIBERTY SCHOOL CHARDONNAY 2008 - Central Coast, California, USA (#960120) (XD) - $18.95
  • AMANI CHARDONNAY 2009 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#687442) (XD) - $17.95

  • REIF VIDAL ICEWINE 2008 - VQA Niagara River, Ontario, Canada (#544791) (S) 200 mL - $24.95
  • STREWN CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2008 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#251140) (S) 375 mL - $59.95

Saturday, November 19, 2011

  • Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - Review

First time attending the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in about 6-7 years and it has changed quite a bit (or maybe I've changed).

Got there early before the show was officially open and was able to roam around quite freely before the venue got packed - and it filled up fast once the doors opened.

I was able to attend the Cheese Pairing Seminar and it was a delight - 6 different cheeses paired with a Baco Noir, Reisling and... beer! Surprisingly, some of the cheeses did go well with beer. Check it out, if you get a chance. Many great cheese are also available throughout (quelle surprise!), some exhibitors offer free samples.

The Chilean olive oil is EXCELLENT. Very rich. Try it! I really should have purchased a bottle - I may ask someone to get me one. :) The hot sauce booths along the wall are always a favourite of mine at any show. Spanish paella was a sight to be seen - I wish I had taken a picture of the two pans.

It was great meeting friends throughout the night, and also meeting a quite a few new friends for the first time. I am sure our paths will cross again.

Ended up staying right 'til the end, when they started to usher patrons out.

Here are my Wine Reviews:

TRUMPOUR'S MILL PINOT NOIR - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#230227) - $16.95
This was the first wine I've ever tasted from Prince Edward County. Light-medium bodied, with red fruits, uncomplicated. I look forward to visiting The Grange and the area next summer.

DEVIL'S LAIR FIFTH LEG SHIRAZ MERLOT CABERNET 2010 - Western Australia, Australia (#212605) - $15.95
I was wow-ed by this one. Raspberry, red fruits, oak, some mint/herbal notes. Full-bodied, full throttle red. Tasted more expensive. Recommended.

KACABA MERLOT RESERVE 2007 - Ontario, Canada - $42.95
Deserving gold medal winner at 2011 InterVin International Wine Awards. Not your typical Merlot - big, dark fruits, chocolate/mocha, well oaked, lots of grippy tannins. Long finish. Cellar a few years or open now and decant for an hour.

AMADO SUR MALBEC BONARDA SYRAH 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#037036) - $15.00
A light-style of Malbec that was more fruit forward. Red licorice, currant, plum flavours.

Monday, November 14, 2011

  • Monday, November 14, 2011

Winners of Tickets to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Congratulations to the following winners who entered my contest and won a pair of tickets to the 2011 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo.

Winner of a pair of VIP tickets for :
Dhimal V.

Winners of a pair of of tickets for :

Enjoy the event!

Thank you to everyone else who entered in this contest! If you would like to purchase tickets to the event, click here for more information.

Monday, November 7, 2011

  • Monday, November 7, 2011

Wine Picks: Holiday Magic + Sweet Wines: Nov. 12 Vintages release

As we get closer to the holiday season, it's time to think about wines for get-togethers. The  primary focus is on premium (i.e. expensive) wines. I mostly skipped over these as nearly all were out of budget. However, there are some gems should you wish to purchase a premium wine for your special occasion.

The secondary focus in this release is on the sweet wines. I have chosen two dessert wines, including one Icewine that should satisfy your sweet tooth - or someone else's while making a nice gift.

As for the remainder of this release, there is something for everyone (including your guests) among my top selections. The Sonop Cab Sauv from South Africa is organic and made in a slightly lighter style, while the remaining red wines are on the "big" side.

Among the white wines, the Chardonnay is intriguing. the Pinot Gris is off-dry, and the Savvy is almost made in the classic style. Enjoy!

Red Wine:
  • MAIPE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#246116) (D) - $17.95
  • FERNANDEZ ESCUDO DE PLATA GRAN RESERVA 2004 - DO Jumilla, Spain (#246751) (XD) - $19.95
  • DELAS FRÈRES SAINT-ESPRIT CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2009 - AC, Rhône, France (#729962) (XD) - $14.95
  • TERRA NOBLE GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2008 - Maule Valley, Chile (#957050) (XD) - $15.95
  • SONOP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#606160) (XD) - $13.95
  • PODERE L’AJA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2007 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#234948) (XD) - $17.95

White Wine:
  • LUIGI BOSCA RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2010 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#142836) (XD) - $17.95
  • KUHLMANN PLATZ PINOT GRIS 2008 - AC Alsace, France (#224204) (D) - $17.95
  • WITHER HILLS WAIRAU VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (XD) - $17.95

  • HENRY OF PELHAM CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2010 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#672402) (S) 200 mL - $39.95

Dessert Wine:
  • SIVIPA MOSCATEL DE SETÚBAL 2008 - DOC, Portugal (#246652) (MS) - $15.95

Sunday, November 6, 2011

  • Sunday, November 6, 2011

2006 Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier (Australia) - Wine Review

Purchased this fine Shiraz/Viognier almost 2 years ago to the day from the Vintages release that was titled "Celebrate for less! 20 party wines under $20."

YALUMBA SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2006 - Barossa, South Australia, Australia (#524926) (XD) - $19.95

Tasting Note:
This red wine has fresh blueberries, blackberries, white pepper, herbal aromas that follow through on the palate. Finishing with dark chocolate on the medium-long finish. Fine tannins. Well-integrated wine. Aged well and could have been aged another 2-3 years, but is definitely ready to drink now. No decanting necessary. Will be enjoying this with "Limri (curry leaves) Chicken" - sorry could not find a recipe for it. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

  • Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2009 Sol de Andes Reserva Chardonnay (Chile) - Wine Review

Purchased this one last month from the October 1 Vintages Release. This is an excellent Chardonnay!

SOL DE ANDES RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2009 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#254334) (XD) - $13.95

Tasting Note:
Cork smells of gorgeous guava, pineapple, and tropical fruit aromas. More guava and tropical fruit waft from the glass. Very aromatic. Buttered popcorn, pear on the palate. Nice structure. Full-bodied white. If you like Chardonnays, this is definitely one to try! Will be enjoying this with homemade veggie pizza. Yum!

Monday, October 31, 2011

  • Monday, October 31, 2011

2008 Nugan McLaren Parish Shiraz (Australia) - Wine Review

Tasted this Decanter Award Winner over the weekend.

NUGAN ESTATE MCLAREN PARISH VINEYARD SHIRAZ 2008 - McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia (#072603) (D) - $24.95

Tasting Note:
Cassis, blackberry, pepper and herb aromas follow through on the palate, finishing with dark chocolate notes. Perfectly ripe tannins. Enjoyed it with chicken lababdar and butter chicken. If it meets your budget, this is highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2000 Kiralyudvar Tokaji Furmint Late Harvest (Hungary) - Wine Review

This white wine / dessert wine was purchased waaaaayyyy back in April, 2006 and opened to celebrate Diwali.

KIRÁLYUDVAR 'LAPIS' TOKAJI FURMINT LATE HARVEST 2000 - Hungary (#681338) (M) - $19.95
Tasting Note:
Cork smells of orange blosson and honey. Burnt caramel, brandy, apricot, marzipan and touch of citrus aromas. Raisin, brandy, apricot on the palate. Reminds me of a light Port. I think it was kept too long as it does taste a little washed out. I was expecting to be 'wow'-ed.

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Win Natalie MacLean's New Wine Book. Meet her in Toronto or Niagara

Contest is now closed!
Congratulations to @TheFunkyCrew

Win a Personally Signed Copy of Natalie MacLeans's New Wine Book - "Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines".

How to Enter:
  • "Like" this page and post to Facebook:

  • Follow me (@cono_sur) on Twitter and Tweet using this button:

Contest Duration:
  • Contest begins Tuesday, October 26th and ends on Saturday, November 19th at 12pm EST.
  • One (1) lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by Monday, November 21st.

Join Natalie MacLean for an unforgettable evening of wine, laughter and story-telling to celebrate the launch of her second wine book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines. Natalie will be hosting a multi-course gourmet dinner and matching wines at Grano Restaurant in Toronto and hosting a wine tasting in Niagara:

Niagara-Grimsby: November 22
Author Series & Wine Tasting

Toronto Grano Restaurant: November 23
Multi-Course Wine Dinner
Tickets: 416-361-0032 or
Toronto Event SOLD OUT!

Named the World’s Best Drink Writer at the World food Media Awards, the Canadian journalist and sommelier Natalie is just back from a whirlwind trip to uncover the world’s best bargain wines and share them with you.

She’ll also share stories about fascinating winemakers and gorgeous, remote vineyards with her quirky humour and insider smarts that made her first book, Red, White and Drunk All Over, the only wine book ever to get on the national bestseller list. The Globe & Mail also named it one of the best books of the year.

Space is limited for these exclusive events. Reserve your tickets online now. Your ticket price includes a personally signed copy of Natalie’s new book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wine plus a multi-course meal with wine in Toronto or wine tasting in Niagara. Following the session, you can purchase additional copies of the book as holiday gifts and Natalie will sign them. Natalie's tour will include 14 cities across Canada:

For more information about the book and an amusing video trailer about it, please visit

Monday, October 24, 2011

  • Monday, October 24, 2011

Win Tickets to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Contest is now closed. View winners here.

Want to go to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this November in Toronto? If you answered 'YES', then here is your chance to win a FREE tickets to the Expo.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers you an unparalleled opportunity to sample over 1,500 fine wines, beers and spirits from around the globe, and to savour the culinary delights from local restaurants. The Expo embraces the style and sophistication of a cocktail party paired with unprecedented educational opportunities and compelling feature areas.

  • One (1) Pair of Thursday VIP Preview Evening Tickets (Nov. 17)
    • Pair valued at $80
  • Two (2) Pairs of Friday Admission Tickets (Nov. 18)
    • Each pair valued at $36 (or $40 at the door)

How to Enter:
  • You can enter as many times as you wish using either (or both) of these methods:
    • "Like" this page and post to Facebook:

    • Follow me on Twitter (@cono_sur) and use this Tweet button:

Contest Duration:
  • Contest begins Monday, October 24th and ends on Saturday, November 12th at 12pm EST.
  • Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen at random. Winners will be announced by Monday, November 14th.

Good Luck!

  • Monday, October 24, 2011

Oct. 29 Wine Picks: Sonoma Special + Party Wines

The next LCBO Vintages Release on is nearly upon us. In this release, the major feature is wine from Sonoma, California. Overall, I thought many of the wines from Sonoma were overpriced and did not provide great value; however, two wines did make my Wine Picks list.

We're also fast-approaching the holiday season. As such, the secondary feature in this release focuses on "party wines" (i.e. wines that please large crowds). These wines are generally easy-drinking, ready-to-drink now, and can be sipped alone or with food.

If you want to try something new, look at either the Passerina or Sardegna white wines from Italy. Want something sweet? Then take a look at Tawse's Riesling. I haven't sipped Flat Rock's Nadja's Vineyard Riesling since the 2007 vintage - that may change soon.

Among the red wines, it's a toss up for me between the Malbec, Syrah/Viognier and the Syrah. Which one will you buy?

Hope you enjoy my latest wine picks!

Red Wine:
  • FINCA EL ORIGEN GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#065425) (XD) - $19.95
  • PORCUPINE RIDGE SYRAH/VIOGNIER 2010 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#079442) (XD) - $16.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO WINEMAKER’S LOT 54 SYRAH 2008 - Los Brujos Vineyard, San Javier Valley, Maule Valley, Chile (#227496) (XD) - $16.95
  • SEBASTIANI PINOT NOIR 2008 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#014233) (D) - $19.95

White Wine:
  • FLAT ROCK CELLARS NADJA'S VINEYARD RIESLING 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#578625) (XD) - $19.95
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (MD) - $17.95
  • SILVIO CARTA BADDE ALVA VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA 2009 - DOC, Sardinia, Italy (#230599) (D) - $16.95
  • ET CETERA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#264812) (XD) - $14.95
  • VELENOSI VILLA ANGELA PASSERINA 2009 - IGT Marche, Italy (#230524) (XD) - $13.95

Friday, October 21, 2011

  • Friday, October 21, 2011

2009 Korta Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) - Wine Review

Tonight's red wine was purchased from the latest Vintages release.

KORTA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Lontué Valley, Curicó, Chile (#236034) (XD) - $13.95
Tasting Note:
Cork smells of fresh berries. Cassis, raspberry, dark fruit, finishing with earthy/forest aromas. Offers berries, tar, oak and touch of mocha on the palate. Tannins could use more time to develop. Full bodied with a long finish. Overall, this wine that provides good value at $13.95, but could use another 1-3 years in cellar to mature further. An aerator or decanter would also benefit. Will be enjoying this with dal dhokli.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

  • Thursday, October 20, 2011

Douro & Port Wine Tasting in Toronto

Earlier this week, I attended the IVDP wine tasting event in downtown Toronto. This event featured many Ports and Douros commonly found in the LCBO general list, as well as a few from the Vintages section. Some wines could only be purchase by direct order only. I was excited to find out that some wines (which are currently not available at the LCBO) were being tasted in the coming days for possible inclusion in a future Vintages release.

About 75% of the wines available for tasting were Port, and most of the remainder were dry red table wines; only a handful of white table wines were available for tasting. There was also a selection of cheeses & crackers, fruits and a delicious tray of dark chocolate truffles that go perfectly with Port.

The music from the female DJ got better as the evening progressed - I found myself bobbing my head quite a bit to the electro-tech-house tunes.

Photo Courtesy of @TylerOnWine
In all, I tasted 18 wines (and, yes, I did spit out good wine). If you're not into Port and would like to get a nice introduction, I would highly recommend the Cálem or the Warre's Otima (both reviewed below). Here are some of my tasting notes:

Red Wine:
Red fruit aromas and cherry, blackberry flavours. Tannins present for ageing. Medium-full bodied. Looking forward to when this bottle is available in stores.

Prune, dark fruit aromas. Palate consists of dark fruits. Chalky tannins need more time to develop.

Dark berry, oak and currant aromas all follow through on palate. A little strong on the alcohol.

VEEDHA DOURO RED 2008 - DOC (#255851) (D) - $12.95
Red fruits, pepper, spice, herbs on the palate. Ripe fruit and ready to drink now.

Port Wine:
CÁLEM FINE WHITE PORT (#224568) (S) - $13.95
Honey, caramel aromas and flavours. Very smooth and syrupy. Reminds me of a Vidal Icewine. Delicious!

WARRE'S OTIMA 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT (#566174) (S) - $21.95
Honey and caramel fill your senses. Smooth. Well made and highly recommended.

TAYLOR FLADGATE 30 YEAR OLD TAWNY (#540252) (S) - $183.95
Burnt honey, caramel notes. Acidic finish requires this one to be slightly chilled prior to serving. Quite good.

Very sweet with aromas of crème caramel. Tasty. Alcoholic finish.

Smooth, caramel aromas and taste and very well-focused. Recommended.

Who else attended and what were your impressions?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

  • Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2008 Flat Rock Chardonnay (Niagara) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is a lovely offering one of our local wine producers - Flat Rock Cellars. This white wine was purchased from the Special Ontario-only Vintages release on September 10th.

FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2008 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#681247) (XD) - $16.95
Tasting Note:
A screw-top, so no smelling of the cork. Apple, toasty oak and mineral aromatics. Citrus and not over-bearing oak on the palate. Light-medium bodied with a long tropical finish. Quite tasty. It should pair well with one of my favourite Indian dishes that I'll be enjoying tonight - Chicken Korma.

Monday, October 10, 2011

  • Monday, October 10, 2011

Wines of Tuscany & Piedmont + Whisky: Oct. 15 Wine Picks

The major feature in the LCBO Vintages release on are the wines from the two big powerhouses in Italy - Tuscany and Piedmont. Only one wine from Piedmont/Tuscany made my list. However, I do want to mention a 2nd - the Scopetani Chianti (#164814) - as it appears to be a good crowd-friendly wine to serve when having many guests over for dinner. Another crowd-pleasing wine in this release is the Primitivo (#230573) from Puglia.

Also featured in this release are premium wines from Argentina - all of which feature a premium price and do not provided great value. In Local Talent, the Niagara River appellation is featured with four wines, including one that made my wine picks of the week.

In spirits, there is a nice feature on Whisky and the various different styles. I've chosen one for your enjoyment.

If you want to try something new, then my top pick of the week goes to the Neagra from Romania. Enjoy my picks and share them with your friends.

Red Wine:
  • LIVIA FETEASCA NEAGRA 2009 - I.G. Vrancea Hills, Romania (#244392) (XD) - $16.95
  • KORTA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Lontué Valley, Curicó, Chile (#236034) (XD) - $13.95
  • KOYLE ROYALE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#255760) (XD) - $19.95
  • CATHEDRAL CELLAR MERLOT 2008 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#522219) (D) - $14.95
  • PODERI DI LUIGI EINAUDI DOLCETTO DI DOGLIANI 2009 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#232454) (XD) - $18.95
  • SXS STEP TWO SHIRAZ 2008 - South Australia, Australia (#246645) (XD) - $14.95

White Wine:
  • JACKSON TRIGGS OKANAGAN ESTATE SUNROCK VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2008 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#249516) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAILEY RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#072736) (MD) - $17.95
  • DR. BÜRKLIN-WOLF WACHENHEIMER RIESLING TROCKEN 2009 - Deutscher Qualitâtswein Pfalz, Germany (#253955) (D) - $19.95


Thursday, October 6, 2011

  • Thursday, October 6, 2011

2009 Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz (Australia) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine over the weekend from the most recent Vintages Release.

THORN-CLARKE TERRA BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2009 - Barossa, South Australia, Australia (#595306) (XD) - $16.95
Tasting Note:
Big aromas of lush blackberry, blueberry, earth, mint and pepper. Dark fruit flavours, dark chocolate, turning a bit spicy at mid-palate. Full-bodied, chewy. Dry. Ageable, but ready to drink now. Well-made Shiraz, but is bit too bitter for my taste.

Friday, September 30, 2011

  • Friday, September 30, 2011

2010 Mission Hill Five Vineyards Rosé (B.C.) - Wine Review

This pretty Rosé wine was purchased this summer as part of the July 23 Vintages Release - and what a gem it is!

MISSION HILL FIVE VINEYARDS ROSÉ 2010 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#229716) (D) - $15.95

Tasting Note:
A lot of bubbles that sink to the bottom for a wine that is not a sparkling wine. Aromas of sweet cherries, sandalwood and grapefruit. Candy covered cherries and blueberries on the palate. Off-dry and absolutely delicious! Will be enjoying this with chicken nachos. If you know someone who is not a wine drinker, this would a be a great introduction to wine for that person.

Monday, September 26, 2011

  • Monday, September 26, 2011

Syrah & Shiraz Around the World: October 1 Vintages Release

The next Vintages release on features Syrah and Shiraz from around the world. If you didn't know, these 2 grapes are identical. So, when you see either "Syrah" or "Shiraz" on the bottle, it really is a reflection of the style of wine. Also, Syrahs tend to be from the Old World, while Shirazes tend to be from the New World. I like both Syrahs and Shirazes, so I've picked 1 from each region in this release. Perhaps you can see the difference.

Other wine picks in this release are quite good, including a Chardonnay from Chile - great value!

Also featured in this release is a guide on how to start a cellar and wines for .

Red Wine:
  • THORN-CLARKE TERRA BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2009 - Barossa, South Australia, Australia (#595306) (XD) - $16.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN ROCHES NOIRES 2009 - AC Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun, Midi, France (#251637) (D) - $19.95
  • WAYNE GRETZKY NO. 99 ESTATE SERIES PINOT NOIR 2008 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#129056) (XD) - $18.95
  • POST HOUSE PENNY BLACK Unfiltered 2008 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#148619) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2008 - Vin de Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#177584) (XD) - $14.95

White Wine:
  • SOL DE ANDES RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2009 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#254334) (XD) - $13.95
  • DR. HERMANN RIESLING KABINETT 2008 - Prädikatswein, Erdener Treppchen, Mosel, Germany (#189647) (MD) - $16.95
  • VINELAND ST. URBAN RIESLING 2009 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (MD) - $19.95

Dessert Wine:
  • FLEUR DU CAP NOBLE LATE HARVEST 2008 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#173781) (S) 375mL - $20.95

Friday, September 23, 2011

  • Friday, September 23, 2011

2007 Château de Flaugergues (Languedoc) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine last month as part of the August 20 Vintages Release, the wine label on this bottle would be a top 3 finalist for most boring. However, it's what's inside that counts...

CHÂTEAU DE FLAUGERGUES CUVÉE SOMMELIÈRE 2007 - La Méjanelle, AC Coteaux du Languedoc, France (#065896) (XD) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Cork smelled lovely on this one. Delicious aromas of red berries, and wood/earth permeate from the glass. Dried fruit (prune/figs), finishing with milk chocolate and mocha. Medium-full bodied with a clean finish. Could be aged a little longer (1-2 years), but definitely ready to drink now. This wine will go well with the chicken biryani that I'll be enjoying tonight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

  • Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vintage Ink Mark of Passion Merlot/Cabernet 2009 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Purchased only a few days ago from the most recent Vintages Release that featured only wines from Ontario. This wine was opened so soon because everything else in my cellar is still not quite ready to open.

VINTAGE INK MARK OF PASSION MERLOT/CABERNET 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#250209) (XD) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Spicy bouquet with black fruit, some cedar, earth and licorice. Light- to medium-bodied with no overly strong flavours of blackberries and cedar/oak. A good wine, but I wouldn't rate it a 90+ as another critic had rated it - an 89 is more suitable. I'll post another review in an hour or so after it's had time to air out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

  • Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2008 Bordeaux + Pinots + New Zealand: September 17 Vintages Release

The next LCBO Vintages Release on doesn't appear to be your typical release because it focuses on 2 rather unique, and interesting subjects - the sleeper 2008 Bordeaux Vintage, and comparing Pinot Noirs from Oregon & Burgundy. The 3rd highlight in this release are high-scoring (but very pricey) wines from New Zealand.

Among the 2008 Bordeaux's, only one made my list - the Vintages "Wine of the Month" Fayan (#243295). I'm a big fan of good Pinot Noirs - most people love this grape or hate it. Which side of the fence are you on? The Red Shot Lane from Willamette looks very intriguing and is a must buy for any Pinot lovers.

The rest of my selections from this release all look very good, included among them is a rare Pinot Gris from B.C. Also noticeable is the absence of any Ontario wines this week, as they had their own "Special Edition" Release last weekend. Enjoy!

Red Wine:
  • RED SHOT LANE PINOT NOIR 2009 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#242560) (XD) - $18.95
  • EMILIANA WINEMAKER’S SELECTION SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2007 - Los Robles, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#243394) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU FAYAN 2008 - AC Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#243295) (XD) - $18.95
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Mendoza, Argentina (#132365) (XD) - $19.95
  • JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ 2009 - Padthaway, South Australia, Australia (#673897) (D) - $16.95

White Wine:
  • GEHRINGER BROTHERS PRIVATE RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2009 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#347203) (XD) - $17.95
  • JOSEPH CATTIN GEWURZTRAMINER 2009 - AC Alsace, France (#224626) (D) - $16.95

Sunday, September 11, 2011

  • Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ferré I Catasús Brut Reserva Cava (Spain) - Wine Review

My experience with Bruts/Sparkling Wines/Champagnes is quite limited, but if you enjoy this type of wine, you might be interested in this sparkler from Spain.

FERRÉ I CATASÚS BRUT RESERVA CAVA - Spain (#224717) (D) - $16.95

Tasting Note:
Apple, lime aromas. Crisp apple and nutty flavours. Dry. It's well made and fills your mouth with bubbles quite well with every sip. Will be enjoying this with Tandoori Chicken on the BBQ.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

  • Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2007 Tierra Alta Reserva Carmenère (Chile) - Wine Review

This Decanter award-winning wine was purchased on Saturday as part of the September 3 Vintages Release.

TIERRA ALTA RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2007 - Maule Valley, Chile (#236067) (XD) - $13.95

Tasting Note:
Lovely blackberry, mocha, wet earth, flower aromas. Palate has ripe fruit with raspberry at the fore. Dry with a touch of tannin. Medium-bodied. Will pair nicely with the spicy, creamy chicken dish that I will be enjoying tonight.

Monday, September 5, 2011

  • Monday, September 5, 2011

Celebrating Ontario Wine: September 10 Special Vintages Release

This Special Edition Vintages release focuses entirely on Ontario wines from the Niagara region - to coincide with the Niagara Wine Festival that begins the following week. The release is a small one, with only 20 wines. Hope you enjoy my top 5 picks!

Red Wine:
  • VINTAGE INK MARK OF PASSION MERLOT/CABERNET 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#250209) (XD) - $17.95
  • TAWSE SKETCHES CABERNET/MERLOT 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#130252) (XD) - $19.95
  • GREENLANE GREETINGS CABERNET/MERLOT 2007 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#256271) (XD) - $14.95

White Wine:
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2008 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#681247) (XD) - $16.95
  • FEATHERSTONE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#064592) (D) - $19.95

Thursday, September 1, 2011

  • Thursday, September 1, 2011

2009 Chalone Monterey County Chardonnay (California) - Wine Review

This wine is a good reminder me of why you should always smell the cork when you open a bottle of wine. Do you smell the cork when you open a bottle of wine? If not, then definitely start taking a whiff.

This wine was purchased from latest Vintages Release on August 20.

CHALONE MONTEREY COUNTY CHARDONNAY 2009 - Monterey County, California, USA (#080226) (XD) - $16.95

Tasting Note:
Cork: Very nice citrus, orange, banana aromas. Lovely butter, toast, banana aromas in the glass. Interesting crisp green apple, plus butter and pear on the palate. Crisp and refreshing. Slightly acidic on the long finish. Very well-made and could have been aged another 1-2 years, but definitely enjoyable now. Will be having this with bhel puri.

Monday, August 29, 2011

  • Monday, August 29, 2011

Wine Blends + Viva Italia + Sake: September 3 Vintages Release

Judging from the cover of the next LCBO Vintages Release on , this doesn't appear to be a strong release. However, we all know that you should never judge a book (or magazine!) by its cover.

The first major feature in this release focuses on blends from around the world. My favourites blends are the classic Bordeaux (Cab Sauv, Merlot & Cab Franc) and southern Rhône GSM (Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre) blends. In this release, none stood as great value.

Second focus of this Vintages magazine celebrates Italy's 150th anniversary of unification. Only 1 wine from Italy made my list (Montalcino from Tuscany). Far more interesting is the feature on Sake. I've only ever had Sake once before, so, the 2 listed below look quite appealing.

Enjoy my picks for this week and, as always, let me know if you try any of these! The next Vintages Release () is a Special Edition that features only wines from Ontario to coincide with the upcoming Niagara Wine Festival. Stay tuned. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • CHÂTEAU PEYROS VIEILLES VIGNES 2006 - AC Madiran, Midi, France (#234997) (XD) - $18.95
  • TIERRA ALTA RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2007 - Maule Valley, Chile (#236067) (XD) - $13.95
  • LAMADRID SINGLE VINEYARD RESERVA MALBEC 2008 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#234492) (XD) - $15.00
  • LUIS FELIPE EDWARDS RESERVA MERLOT 2009 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#250340) (XD) - $14.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA MAISONNETTE 2008 - AC Côtes de Blaye, Bordeaux, France (#226191) (XD) - $14.95
  • REBENFELD BLAUFRÄNKISCH 2007 - AC Burgenland, Austria (#218420) (XD) - $15.95
  • SAN FILIPPO LO SCORNO ROSSI DI MONTALCINO 2008 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#232397) (XD) - $19.95

White Wine:
  • GIESEN THE BROTHERS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#247213) (XD) - $19.95
  • LAILEY CHARDONNAY 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#193482) (XD) - $19.95

  • TAISETSU ICE DOME GINJO - Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan (#211144) (MD) 300 mL - $12.95
  • GEKKEIKAN HORIN JUNMAI DAIGINJO - Kyoto Prefecture, Japan (#603837) (D) 300 mL - $16.95

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

  • Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2008 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet (Australia) - Wine Review

Life outside of wine has been keeping me busy, hence the long time between wine reviews. Tonight's wine is from the general LCBO listing and was recently gifted to us.

PENFOLDS KOONUNGA HILL CABERNET/SHIRAZ 2008 - South Australia, Australia (#285544) (D) - $16.55

Tasting Note:
Red berries, touch of earth aromas. Gentle ripe fruit, currants and light oak on the palate. Medium-full bodied. Chalky tannins really get onto your teeth - will definitely have to brush well tonight! Not big and uncomplicated. Good, everyday wine that will go well with many simple meat dishes, including curries and pastas.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

  • Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Southern France + Other Cali Regions + TIFF: August 20 Vintages Release

Mmmm...Southern France. One of my favourite regions for wines of high quality that don't hit your wallet hard. Three from this region made my list, with the Sommelière being my top value pick of the entire release.

The secondary feature in the Vintages Release highlights other wine regions of California that are outside of the legendary Napa and Sonoma valleys. The Chardonnay from Monterey looks good!

My wine pick from Ontario comes from Cattail Creek's 2009 Riesling. Made in an off-dry style - this one looks like a winner!

The Parés Baltà from Spain is an Organic wine. For anyone who may have a very special occasion coming up, I've also included 2 Champagne offerings, which will surely add to your celebrations.

I hope you enjoy my picks for this Saturday's release. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • CHÂTEAU DE FLAUGERGUES CUVÉE SOMMELIÈRE 2007 - La Méjanelle, AC Coteaux du Languedoc, France (#065896) (XD) - $17.95
  • VILLA MEDORO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2008 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#242321) (D) - $15.95
  • PARÉS BALTÀ MAS ELENA 2007 - DOC Penedès, Spain (#687236) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU CALISSANNE 2008 - AC Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France (#061283) (XD) - $16.95
  • PASCUAL TOSO BARRANCAS VINEYARDS RESERVE MALBEC 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#183897) (XD) - $18.95
  • MAS FORASTER JOSEP FORASTER CRIANÇA 2006 - Montblanc, DO Conca de Barbera, Spain (#218321) (XD) - $13.95
  • DOMAINE SABARDA CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2009 - AC, Roussillon, France (#237321) (XD) - $16.95

White Wine:
  • CATTAIL CREEK RIESLING 2009 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#241547) (D) - $15.95
  • CHALONE MONTEREY COUNTY CHARDONNAY 2009 - Monterey County, California, USA (#080226) (XD) - $16.95

Rosé Wine:
  • CHÂTEAU DE FONTENELLES TENUE DE SOIRÉE ROSÉ DE SYRAH CORBIÈRES 2010 - AP, Languedoc, France (#225011) (D) - $13.95

  • CRISTAL BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2004 - AC, France (#268755) (XD) - $286.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2002 - AC, France (#280461) (XD) - $219.95

Thursday, August 11, 2011

  • Thursday, August 11, 2011

2008 Heartland Shiraz (Australia) - Wine Review

It's time for another wine review. This one was purchase only a few days ago from the latest Vintages Release.

HEARTLAND SHIRAZ 2008 - Langhorne Creek/Limestone Coast, South Australia, Australia (#661934) (D) - $19.95

Tasting Note:
Warm aromas of mint, eucalyptus, wet earth. Flavours of sweet red fruits (raspberry and cherry), herbs, pepper. Medium-bodied. Screw-top. Very uncomplicated. A good wine, but probably doesn't warrant the rating of 91 points given by Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh of the The Big Red Wine Book. Will be having this with one of my favs - simple rice and lentils dish with chaas (yogurt mixed with water, salt & cumin) called khichdi.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

  • Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Magnificent Sparkling in Massachusetts?

Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery
Tucked inside the shores of Buzzard’s Bay, 80 acres of chardonnay, pinot noir, riesling, rkatsiteli, and several other varietals surround a first class winery operation on what was once a potato farm. This close to the coast, the warm ocean temperatures moderate the New England winter, bringing less snowfall to damage the vines.

In spring, cooler ocean water moderates early warm spikes, delaying bud break and preventing frost damage from retarding growth. And in fall, the warmer water extends the growing season, allowing a later harvest here than in other New England vineyards. Combine this microclimate with a family dedicated to quality wines and you have Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery, the gem of New England winemaking that has won dozens of Gold Medals and been raved about by local, national and international press.

A friend urged me to visit Westport Rivers when researching my novel Sin & Vengeance, saying that the wines were as good as anything grown in the Napa Valley and that the family would welcome me with open arms. He was right on both counts.

The Russell family taught me so much about wines and winemaking my readers assume I’ve been an enthusiast for years. I am so enamored with their fruity sparkling wines I serve them at every function and book group meeting I attend. My guests can’t believe the sparkling is produced right here in Massachusetts and many go on to explore the vineyard for themselves.

Three times I’ve brought my readers to tour the vineyard. We discuss the action from my novel Sin & Vengeance and the script for the Sin & Vengeance movie, both of which are set on the property. The Russell family delights the crowd with information about winemaking and a touch of family history.

As my friend before me, I urge you to visit Westport Rivers Winery on your next trip to Massachusetts. It’s about 30 minutes from the excellent restaurants in Providence, a few miles from Horseneck Beach, and about 40 minutes from the bridges to Cape Cod. Throw in a bed and breakfast and you’ve got a fantastic weekend getaway.

CJ West is the author of 5 thrillers set in New England. Find him at

Friday, August 5, 2011

  • Friday, August 5, 2011

2009 Terredora Loggia della Serra Greco di Tufo (Italy) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine was purchased only a couple of weeks ago from the July 23 Vintages Release. Normally, I'm not a fan of white wines from Italy, but this was one I HAD to try. I'm glad I did - it was worth it! I would go even as far to say that this is the best white wine I've ever had from Italy.

TERREDORA LOGGIA DELLA SERRA GRECO DI TUFO 2009 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#983197) (XD) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Lime, minerals, flowers and wet earth aromas all come through on the palate. Well integrated. Dry and delicious. Creamy long finish (even the bottle was creamy, for some strange reason. LOL.) Very highly recommended if you like dry white wines. Will be enjoying the rest of this wine with whiting fish fried in masala.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

  • Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tastes of Chile + BC Crafters: August 6 Vintages Wine Release

Vintages Magazine Cover: August 6, 2011 Wine ReleaseThe next Vintages Release on focuses on the tastes of Chile. It's great to see the secondary feature of this release highlighting 5 of our friends from out west (we don't get enough wines from our fellow countrymen & women in British Columbia). However, most of the wines from B.C. in this release are extremely pricey and don't provide great value.

Lots of good Chilean wines to choose from. I'm a sucker for Carmenère - if you haven't tried this grape before, then check out the Siegel (#237859). Normally, I'm not a big fan of Zinfandels, but the Kunde from California looks big enough to try.

Among the whites, the Riesling Spatlese from Mosel stands apart from the rest. For those that prefer unoaked whites, 'Unplugged' Chadonnay from Flat Rock is unoaked.

Enjoy this week's picks, and let me know if you try any of these!

Red Wine:
  • HEARTLAND SHIRAZ 2008 - Langhorne Creek/Limestone Coast, South Australia, Australia (#661934) (D) - $19.95
  • GEHRINGER BROTHERS DRY ROCK VINEYARDS MERLOT 2009 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#229898) (XD) - $18.95
  • SIEGEL CRUCERO RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2008 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#237859) (XD) - $13.95
  • KUNDE ZINFANDEL 2007 - Sonoma Valley, California, USA (#965921) (XD) - $16.95
  • EMILIANA ADOBE RESERVA SYRAH 2009 - Rapel Valley, Chile (#213553) (XD) - $12.95

White Wine:
  • HOFFMANN-SIMON RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2009 - Prädikatswein, Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Mosel, Germany (#216499) (MD) - $19.95
  • ANAKENA LILÉN SINGLE VINEYARD VIOGNIER 2010 - Requínoa, Chile (#045138) (XD) - $13.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE DRY MUSCAT 2009 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Southwest, France (#234674) (D) - $13.95
  • MONTES ALPHA CHARDONNAY 2009 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#390203) (XD) - $19.95
  • FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068015) (D) - $15.95

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