Sunday, April 29, 2012

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  • Sunday, April 29, 2012

Michel Delhommeau Cuvée Harmonie Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine 2010 (Loire) - Wine Review



This white wine was purchased very recently from the April 14th VINTAGES release and can still be found in many stores across the province.

MICHEL DELHOMMEAU CUVÉE HARMONIE MUSCADET DE SÈVRE-ET-MAINE 2010 - AC, Loire, France (#164624) (XD) - $12.95

Label photo of Michel Delhommeau Cuvée Harmonie Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine 2010 from Loire, France
Tasting Note:
Made with 100% Melon de Bourgogne. Aromas of lime and citrus from the cork. More fresh lime aromas in the glass, followed by gooseberry notes that mingle nicely together on the palate. Hint of sweetness on the finish. Dry, with zippy acidity. Very well made summer sipper that can be enjoyed alone or with a simply prepared white fish or lightly herbed chicken.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

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  • Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vinho Verde Wine Tasting

Vinho Verde logo
It was a gorgeous spring evening when I recently attended a walk-around tasting of Vinho Verde wines. The weather was perfectly suited for tasting wines from this Portuguese region.

Prior to this event, I couldn't recall the last time I tasted a Vinho Verde as it must have been many years ago, so I was excited to be attending this tasting and getting re-acquainted the region.

The event was held at Verity Club on Queent St. East (Toronto) and featured about 10 wineries. Most wines produced in Vinho Verde are white wines, while rosé wines are becoming more popular; not many red wines are produced.

Overall, most of the white wines were very high in acidity, slightly tart and many had a slight spritz. The few red wines that were on hand were average at best and generally not my cup of tea. The rosé wines were my favourite of the evening, with notes of candied strawberries and cherries in a light, fruit foward style perfect for sipping on the patio on a hot summer day. Here are some of my tasting notes from the evening:


White Wine:
AVELEDA QUINTA DA AVELEDA 2010 - Colheita Seleccionada Vinho Verde (#089995) (XD) - $9.95
Fresh, delicate floral, herbal aromas. Grassy, tart, some tropical fruits on the palate with a slight spritz.

QUINTA DAS ARCAS CONDE VILLAR LOUREIRO 2009 - DOC (XD)
Grass, nettle, peach aromas and flavours. High acidity. Reminds me of a strong NZ Sauvignon Blanc.

QUINTA DAS ARCAS CONDE VILLAR ALVARINHO 2010 - DOC (XD)
Tropical fruits, floral and citrus aromas follow through on palate. Crisp acidity; will pair nicely with food.

QUINTA DE CARAPEÇOS ESCOLHA 2010 - Vinho Regional Tinto (XD)
This white wine had a closed nose with apple, butter notes on palate. Creamy mouthfeel with spicy notes on mid-palate. Quite nice. Would buy.

QUINTA DE CARAPEÇOS EIRA DOS MOUROS Non-Vintage
Lots of orange and citrus aromas and flavours. Spritzy.

QUINTAS DO HOMEM VALE DO HOMEM BRANCO 2011 (D)
Very aromatic, tree fruits, floral aromas and peach on the palate. Off-dry. Lacking a bit of acidity.

SOLAR DO LOUREDO 2011 (XD)
70% Loureiro, 30% Trajadero. Fresh floral aromas and flavours. Some sweetness, smooth, clean white. Nice.

SOLAR DO LOUREDO TERRAS DE GERAZ 2011 (XD)
50/50 blend of Loureiro and Trajadero. Aromatic white wine with anise notes.

SOLAR DO LOUREDO VIANNA 2011 (D)
Crisp, clean white wine with light acidity levels. Floral aromas and flavours.Slightly off-dry.

SAVAM SOLAR DE SERRADE ALVARINHO 2011 (XD)
Smooth, crisp white wine with citrus notes, followed by floral and mineral flavour profile.

VINIVERDE ESTREIA ALVARINHO 2011 (XD)
Floral aromas with sweet notes in the mouth, followed by slightly earthy tones. Interesting.

VINIVERDE ESTREIA LOUREIRO GRANDE ESCOLHA 2011 - DOC (XD)
Clean, crisp aromas of grass and mineral also evident on palate. Slight spritz.

VINIVERDE ESTREIA BRANCO - DOC (XD)
Clean, fresh white wine, very basic, straightforward and uncomplex.

QUINTA DA LIXA TERRAS DO MINHO BRANCO 2011 - Vinho Verde (XD)
Lime and grass aroma and flavour profile. Very tart and acidic.


Rosé Wine:
AVELEDA CASAL GARCIA ROSÉ 2010 - DOC (D)
My favourite rosé of the event - very fruit forward with fresh raspberries and strawberries aromas and flavours. Off-dry. Perfect patio sipper.

VINIVERDE ESTREIA ROSÉ - DOC (D)
Fairly straight-forward profile with lovely candy coated strawberries aromas and flavours with a nice seam of acidity. Off-dry. Nice!

QUINTA DE CARAPEÇOS ESPADEIRO 2010 - Vinho Verde (XD)
Simple, fruit forward, rosé wine with balanced acidity.

SAVAM TERRAS DE MONÇÃO 2011 (XD)
Dry rosé wine with mineral, grassy and floral aromas and flavours.


Red Wine:
VINIVERDE ESTREIA VINHÃO TINTO (XD)
Fruit-forward red wine with lots of red berries. Light-bodied. Best red at the event.

QUINTAS DO HOMEM VALE DO HOMEM TINTO 2010 (XD)
Smoky, bacon, mushroom and barnyard profile. Not enjoyable.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mas d'Auzierès les Éclats 2009 (Midi) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine last month from the Spanish Wine and Bubbly Vintages release. This wine contains 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre.

MAS D’AUZIERÈS LES ÉCLATS 2009 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#271742) (XD) - $16.95

Label photo of 2009 Mas d'Auzierès Les Éclats from Midi, France
Tasting Note:
Dark berries with hints of lavender from the cork. Kirsch liquer, cedar, and hints of earth aromas in the glass. Full on barrel oak, lots of sage, bitter cherry-pit and cassis flavours. Medium-bodied with a rather short finish. Chunky tannins will reward further ageing another 2-3 years, but drinkable now. It will be paired with one of my favourite dishes - spicy masala curry chicken.


Monday, April 23, 2012

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  • Monday, April 23, 2012

Apr. 28 Wine Picks: Veneto + New Zealand Whites

Cover of April 28 LCBO Vintages release
Here are my picks for the next LCBO Vintages release, which will be in stores on . The main feature in this release are wines from Veneto (Italy), where wines are steeped in tradition and can pair exceptionally well with food. Among the Venetian red wines, the Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena and the Brigaldara made my list and both offer outstanding value at $15.95 and $14.95, respectively.

The secondary feature in this release is on white wines from New Zealand. The grapes Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris normally don't come to mind when thinking of New Zealand white wines, but both of these are worth checking out. Of course, no talk of NZ white wine would be complete without a Sauvignon Blanc, thus, we have a premium Savvy from Two Rivers.

From the rest of the release, we've got a lovely blend from Arnoux & Fils and a Burgundy Pinot Noir from Rochebin. You won't be disappointed with the Marziano Barolo, but perhaps let it rest for a few years.

Enjoy my picks for this week!


Red Wine:
  • MONTE DEL FRÁ TENUTA LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2008 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#272500) (D) - $15.95
  • BRIGALDARA VALPOLICELLA 2010 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#917864) (XD) - $14.95
  • ARNOUX & FILS VACQUEYRAS 2009 - AC, Rhône, France (#264663) (D) - $19.95
  • BORSAO TRES PICOS GARNACHA 2009 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (#273748) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE DE ROCHEBIN CLOS ST. GERMAIN VIEILLES VIGNES BOURGOGNE 2009 - AC, Burgundy, France (#264549) (D) - $17.95
  • MARZIANO ABBONA TERLO RAVERA BAROLO 2006 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#067918) (XD) - $42.95

White Wine:
  • CHAVET & FILS LA DAME DE JACQUES COEUR MENETOU-SALON BLANC 2010 - AC, Loire, France (#525048) (XD) - $19.95
  • LAWSON’S DRY HILLS GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2009 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#060129) (D) - $17.95
  • SPY VALLEY PINOT GRIS 2011 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277723) (MD) - $19.95
  • VINEA GARGANEGA 2010 - IGT Veronese, Veneto, Italy (#230656) (XD) - $13.95
  • TWO RIVERS OF MARLBOROUGH CONVERGENCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277707) (XD) - $29.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE LE CLOS JORDANNE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2009 - Twenty Mile Bench, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#033910) (XD) - $40.00

Rose Wine:
  • WINZERGENOSSENSCHAFT KÖNIGSCHAFFHAUSEN PINOT NOIR ROSÉ TROCKEN 2011 - QbA Baden, Königschaffhauser Vulkanfelsen, Germany (#168237) (D) - $11.95


You can find the rest of the wines from this release here.


Monday, April 16, 2012

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  • Monday, April 16, 2012

Joseph Cattin Hatschbourg Pinot Gris 2009 (Alsace) - Wine Review


Purchased this Alsatian Pinot Gris just last month from the Made in France Vintages release. I always enjoy off-dry offerings from Alsace, and this one should be no exception. This white wine was opened Sunday night and went over very well among my guests.

JOSEPH CATTIN HATSCHBOURG PINOT GRIS 2009 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#260240) (M) - $19.95

Label photo of 2009 Joseph Cattin Hatschbourg Pinot Gris from Alsace
Tasting Note:
Aromas of peach, mineral with touches honey and mushroom. Rich, and flavourful with gorgeous peach and honey on the palate, with a light seam of acidity. Finishes a bit spicy. Full-bodied, smooth and very tasty. Enjoyed this with spicy chicken pakoras and chicken masala meatballs in curry. Highly recommended.

Joseph Cattin is an excellent producer of Pinot Gris. You can find my review of their 2008 Pinot Gris here.


Monday, April 9, 2012

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  • Monday, April 9, 2012

Konzelmann Select Late Harvest Vidal 2004 (Ontario) - Wine Review

Purchased back in 2007 from the , this fabulous dessert wine was opened, almost to the day, 5 years later.

KONZELMANN SELECT LATE HARVEST VIDAL 2004 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#409474) (MS) (375 mL) - $19.95

Label photo of 2004 Konzelmann Select Late Harvest Vidal from Ontario, Canada
Tasting Note:
Aromas of candied oranges, honey and peach from cork. Soft toasted honey notes, slight citrusy aromas in the glass.Honey, peach, nutmeg and orange flavours on the palate. Light texture. Very sweet for a late harvest. Delicious, but doesn't quite match up to the sweetness of this Cadbury Creme Egg that I'm enjoying.

This wine is no longer available from the LCBO. However, you can purchase a similar, newer vintage wine directly from the winery.


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  • Monday, April 9, 2012

Apr. 14 Wine Picks: Argentina + Eco-Friendly Wines

Cover page for April 14 LCBO Vintages release
The next LCBO Vintages release is on , and just in time to restock after Easter and Passover holidays. Titled Heat of the Moment, the major focus in this release is on wines from Argentina.

While the overall release is rather weak, there does seem to be many more wines in the sub-$20 category. From Argentina, we have two intense reds in the CarinaE Malbec and Fabre Cab Sauv. We also have the Grenache-blended Brotte from Rhône, and an Italian Old Vines Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) who are the masters of this grape varietal.

The secondary feature is on Eco-Friendly wines, and while each region is adopting their own set of best practices, more and more wineries are trending towards making eco-friendly wines. You can read more about this subject on page 19 and 20. The Zuccardi Malbec Rosé is an organic wine, while the Herdade Penedo Gordo is a sustainable product - and both are worth a look.

As with many Vintages products, it's important to buy the day the wine is released, because you may not find it on shelves again until the next vintage (i.e. next year). Enjoy my picks and let me know if you liked any of these!


Red Wine:
  • HERDADE PENEDO GORDO VINHO TINTO 2008 - DOC Alentejo, Portugal (#218339) (XD) - $13.95
  • BROTTE CHÂTEAU DE BORD LA CROIX DE FRÉGÈRE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES LAUDUN 2009 - AC, Rhône, France (#264218) (D) - $16.95
  • CARINAE RESERVA MALBEC 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261735) (XD) - $15.95
  • LA CORTE OLD VINES PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2010 - DOC, Puglia, Italy (#269019) (D) - $15.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261891) (XD) - $14.95
  • PASSADOURO VINHO TINTO 2008 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#267997) (XD) - $21.95
  • NORTON PRIVADA 2008 - Mendoza, Argentina (#148155) (XD) - $24.95

White Wine:
  • MICHEL DELHOMMEAU CUVÉE HARMONIE MUSCADET DE SÈVRE-ET-MAINE 2010 - AC, Loire, France (#164624) (XD) - $12.95
  • ST. HALLETT SEMILLON 2006 - Barossa, South Australia, Australia (#658005) (D) - $19.95
  • VINELAND ESTATES CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#996793) (MD) - $17.95
  • INNISKILLIN WINEMAKER’S SERIES TWO VINEYARDS RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#105387) (D) - $17.95
  • FAMIGLIA BIANCHI CHARDONNAY 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#001461) (XD) - $14.95

Rosé Wine:
  • ZUCCARDI ORGANICA MALBEC ROSÉ 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#271015) (XD) - $12.95

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


Thursday, April 5, 2012

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  • Thursday, April 5, 2012

Beringer Stone Cellars Merlot (California) - Wine Review

Tonight's red wine was received back in February, courtesy of Sandals St. Lucia. I am not expecting much, but, as always, keeping an open mind and was quite pleasantly surprised. I suspect this is the same wine that can be purchased from the LCBO for $13.95.

BERINGER STONE CELLARS MERLOT - California, USA (#462473) (D) - $13.95

Tasting Note:
Slippery cork was pulled out rather easily. Cork aromas of crushed red berries and some prune. In the glass, aromas of ripe red berries, raspberry, plum, licorice, and some earthy elements. Lots of blackberry notes on the palate, mulberry, some spice, and hints of milk chocolate. Sweet core, medium-bodied with chewy ripe tannins. Finishes somewhat hot - alcohol seems higher than the 13.5% on the label. Easy drinking.


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