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  • Sunday, October 6, 2013

Diamond Estates - Lakeview, Daredevil, Dan Aykroyd and De Sousa Tasting

I held a small wine tasting and invited a few friends over to indulge in some of the wines that arrived on my doorstep.

Of the four wines we tasted, the favourite was by far Dan Aykroyd's Cab/Shiraz. This red wine offered a bit of everything - aromas, flavours, acids, tannin, balance and finish. It had good crowd appeal, so I wasn't surprised that this was the favourite wine of the night. My personal favourite was a toss up between this one and the De Sousa Meritage.

Diamond Estates is a fairly large wine and spirits production, marketing and distribution company based in Toronto and Niagara, Canada. They market both Canadian and International wines. The 4 wines we tasted on this night were all from Ontario, and fruit for a couple of these were sourced only from Niagara.

Fruit for Lakeview Cellars wines are sourced from Diamond Estates' best vineyards in Niagara. Lakeview Cellars is known to be a premium Niagara wine producer, yet is able to keep prices relatively affordable. After tasting their 2012 Syrah Rosé, and previously, their 2008 "GMR" Sparkling Reserve, I am eagerly looking forward to tasting more from them.

Wine review of 2012 Lakeview Cellars Syrah Rosé

LAKEVIEW CELLARS SYRAH ROSÉ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#) (XD) - $16.95
Also contains 8.5% Moscato and 1.5% Auxerrois, two grapes that are not widely planted in Niagara. Slightly sweet with low-to-medium intensity perfumy floral aromas. Good acidity and slightly chalky tannins which come from the Syrah. Palate is fruity and very slightly off-dry, with blueberry and raspberry notes showing through on the medium-length finish. This rosé wine is only available at the winery. Score: 86 pts

Wine review of 2011 Daredevil Cabernet

DAREDEVIL CABERNET 2011 - VQA Ontario (#) (XD) - $14.95
This is the first wine with their new label and is made using traditional Bordeaux grapes with a blend consisting of 48% Cab Sauv, 47% Cab Franc, and 5% Merlot. Medium intensity aromas with oak dominating the nose, with some underlying dark fruits. Interesting pepper notes developed in the glass. Palate is light-to-medium bodied with dark and red fruits, with a spiciness that shows up mid-palate and continues through to the medium-length finish. Tannins are harsh and very chalky. This was the least favourite among the group. Available only at the winery. Score: 85 pts

Wine review of 2011 Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series Cabernet/Shiraz

Dan Aykroyd Wines are one of the few, and growing, "celebrity wines" in Ontario. Dan's affinity for travel took him around the globe and he eventually developed a taste for fine wines. He worked closely with Diamond Estates' head winemaker Tom Green for nearly 2 years and launched his first wine in 2007.

Red wine blend of 38% Cab Franc, 37% Cab Sauv, and 25% Shiraz. Medium intensity aromas of black fruits, currant, and cassis. Medium-bodied with smooth, round tannins and nice aroma replays on the palate, with hints of blueberry on the smooth, lengthy finish. Quite fruit forward and has good acidity. Crowd pleaser and the favourite among my guests. Readily available at the LCBO. Score: 87 pts

Wine review of 2010 De Sousa Seasons Meritage Reserve

Originally from Portugal, the De Sousa family purchased some vineyards in the Beamsville Bench area in 1979. In 1990, the family was able to get a winery licence that enabled them to open a full-fledged winery. 20 years later, we have the Meritage Reserve below. In between, Diamond Estates purchased the winery and some of their vineyards. John De Sousa Jr. continues three generations of winemaking and remains on board as Operations Manager and Winemaker.

DE SOUSA SEASONS MERITAGE RESERVE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario (#315911) (XD) - $14.95
Another Bordeaux blend consisting of 72% Merlot, 25% Cab Sauv, and 3% Cab Franc. Strong oak aromas from glass give way to black currant and blackberry aromas. This red wine is full bodied with chalky tannins that are integrating nicely. Sour cherry, blackberry jam, wood and hints of mocha on the palate. Has mouth-watering acidity and a long finish. Could be cellared 1-2 years. Vintages product and should re-appear in the Vintages section at the LCBO soon. Score: 87 pts


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