Monday, April 25, 2016

  • Monday, April 25, 2016

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review



I received this wine as a gift during the Christmas holidays and opened it up . This is a VINTAGES Essentials product and is always available at the LCBO, with the 2013 vintage being the latest vintage to arrive on our shores.

Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANTINORI PÈPPOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#606541) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and Syrah. Wood and black cherry aromas from the cork. Subtle notes of green olive, cherry and strawberry on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with polished tannins and flavours of cherry, wet earth, leather and a hint of barnyard. Rustic in style. Tannins become a touch grippy with air, while acids are juicy and well-balanced. Lasting finish is savoury and earthy. Score: 87 pts


  • Monday, April 25, 2016

April 30 VINTAGES Release: Pacific Northwest + Aussie Whites + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks from April 30, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming Saturday and features wines from the Pacific Northwest as its main thematic - although noticeably absent this time around is the omission of British Columbia. There are two mini-themes in this release - great Australian white wines and some very fine rosés - both arriving just in time for warmer weather.

From the major theme of the release, the 8 wines from Washington are mostly a disappointment with only a dry Riesling making my list of wine picks. Meanwhile, the Oregon portion of the Pacific Northwest feature was only 6 wines, but 2 (of 4) Oregon Pinot Noirs are included among my wine picks. The Pinot from Two Messengers is a very big Pinot, but will also likely arrive late to shelves.

The first mini-theme is on great Australian whites and highlights 6 wines for your pleasure this Spring. Of the 6 wines, fully half are included among my wine recommendations. First up is an Organic Viognier from Australia's oldest family-owned winery. There's also an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling, and from Western Australia an off-dry blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon.

A rather large selection of 12 rosé wines yielded 4 fine wines, all of which are blends from the 2015 vintage from France. From Tavel, Rhône, is the Domaine Maby rosé that is a blend of 74% Grenache Noir with the balance made up of at least 5 other grapes, while the Gabriel Meffre rose is primarily Grenache with Syrah and Cinsault added in support. Lastly, the Château La Tour de l’Évêque is a blend primarily of Cinsault (40%), Grenache (35%), and Syrah (12%), with the balance made up of 5 other varietals.

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Bordeaux red is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Wildass Red is a Meritage type of blend. In white wines, the Spanish white is mostly Albariño.

Enjoy my wine picks for this week. Cheers!

Rendola Brunello di Montalcino 2004 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)Pascual Toso Barrancas Vineyards Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (90 pts)

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES DEMOISELLES 2011 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon, France (#348755) (XD) - $17.95
  • TABALÍ RESERVA ESPECIAL SYRAH 2012 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#213538) (XD) - $17.95
  • WILDASS RED 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#086363) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA ALTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#203364) (XD) - $19.95
  • PASCUAL TOSO BARRANCAS VINEYARDS RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#083337) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • SOLÉNA DOMAINE DANIELLE LAURENT PINOT NOIR 2012 - Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#446112) (XD) - $35.95
  • RENDOLA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2004 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#181412) (XD) - $39.95  reviewed here
  • TRAPICHE TERROIR SERIES FINCA AMBROSIA SINGLE VINEYARD MALBEC 2010 - Gualtallary, Mendoza, Argentina (#402941) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • MAISON L’ENVOYÉ TWO MESSENGERS PINOT NOIR 2013 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#453357) (XD) - $41.95  late arrival
  • SORDO GIOVANNI ROCCHE DI CASTIGLIONE RISERVA BAROLO 2008 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#442004) (XD) - $49.95
  • FERRARI-CARANO RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Mountain Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California, USA (#450429) (XD) - $74.95

White Wine:

  • FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC 2014 - AP Corbières, Midi, France (#438747) (XD) - $17.95
  • YALUMBA ORGANIC VIOGNIER 2015 - South Australia (#288217) (XD) - $17.95
  • SKUTTLEBUTT SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON 2014 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#047621) (D) - $18.95
  • JOEL GOTT RIESLING 2012 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#443143) (XD) - $19.95
  • PIKES TRADITIONALE RIESLING 2015 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#066894) (D) - $23.95
  • QUINTA DE COUSELO O ROSAL 2014 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#440362) (XD) - $23.95
  • VINCENT MOTHE CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#390468) (XD) - $26.95
  • NORMAN HARDIE UNFILTERED CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184432) (XD) - $39.00

Rosé Wine:

  • DOMAINE MABY LA FORCADIÈRE TAVEL ROSÉ 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#701318) (XD) - $18.95
  • GABRIEL MEFFRE SAINT FERRÉOL TAVEL ROSÉ 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#450866) (D) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L’ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2015 - Harvested by hand, AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $19.95
  • SAINT AIX ROSÉ 2015 - AP Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France (#451906) (XD) - $22.95

Dessert Wine:

  • PUKLUS PINCÉSZET SZAMORODNI SWEET TOKAJI 2009 - Hungary (#179374) (S) (500 mL) - $18.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CABERNET ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#672402) (S) (200 mL) - $39.95

Cider:

  • DOMAINE FÉLIBRE GIVRÉ ICE CIDER 2014 - Product of Quebec, Canada (#393611) (S) (375 mL) - $21.95  reviewed here
Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2014 - Product of Quebec, Canada


Saturday, April 23, 2016

  • Saturday, April 23, 2016

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2014 (Quebec) - Review

Opened up this yummy cider ahead of its release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This is a vintage cider from Domaine Félibre, the same producer as the Sweet Ginger Cider I opened recently. This multi-award winning cider is made with apples from the Stanstead and Compton orchards in the Quebec Eastern Townships. It consists of 90% McIntosh apples and 10% Paulared/Melba apples. To achieve the desired sweetness levels, once the apples are pressed, the juices are left to freeze outside at -30°. The concentrated extracts of these juices are then fermented at a low temperature.

Domaine Félibre Givré Ice Cider 2014 - Product Of Quebec, Canada

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE FÉLIBRE GIVRÉ ICE CIDER 2014 - Product of Quebec, Canada (#393611) (S) (375 mL) - $21.95
Zesty, crisp apple aromas from the cork. Plenty of sweet apple, apple sauce, and hints of honey aromas in the glass. On the palate, it's medium bodied and sweet with apple, honey, tangy citrus, and orange flavours framed by crisp acids. Finish length is very good. Ideal for pairing with apple-based desserts.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

  • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère / Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile
, I was invited to the iYellow Wine Cave to attend iYellow's most recent #WinemakerRAW event with Emiliana Organic Vineyards from Chile.

Having tasted quite a few Emiliana wines over the past few years at the annual Chilean Wine Tasting, I had a good feeling about this tasting. This night was about getting an up close and personal look at the 2013 Emiliana Nova Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon that was just released a few weeks prior to this event at the LCBO as a general list product (and is widely available throughout the province).

In attendance representing the winery was the Winemaker Emilio Contreras, as well as the Export Director Fernando Pavon. Mr. Contreras joined Emiliana's team of winemakers in 2007 and is currently responsible for the reserve wines (including the wine below) and the two premium organic lines.

Emiliana Organic Vineyards is an organic and biodynamic winery that is focused on creating high quality wines while showing respect for the environment and their people. Emiliana firmly believes that using sustainable, organic, and biodynamic agricultural practices help produce better-balanced, healthier, and more productive vineyards, which in turn results in better grapes and unique, terroir-driven wines.

Fernando Pavon (left) and Winemaker Emilio ContrerasEmiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA NOVAS GRAN RESERVA CARMÉNÈRE/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#434662) (XD) - $15.80
Blend of 85% Carménère and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium+ intensity nose of sweet oak, brett and earth with underlying sweet ripe black cherry and hints of purple fruit. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, rounded tannins. Black cherry, sweet vanilla and hints of cocoa on the medium-to-long finish. Organic wine made in an approachable style that should have wide appeal. Score: 88 pts


Sunday, April 17, 2016

  • Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reinhold Haart Haart to Heart Piesport Riesling 2013 (Mosel) - Wine Review

wine is this lovely Piesport Riesling that was picked up last year when it was released into VINTAGES on .

Surprisingly, there are still a few bottles of this delicious wine available at the LCBO.

Reinhold Haart Haart To Heart Piesport Riesling 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

REINHOLD HAART HAART TO HEART PIESPORT RIESLING 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (#672683) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. This wine was fermented spontaneously with natural yeast and features a lovely slatey, wet stone, tangy citrus nose followed by hints of petrol. It is medium in sweetness with vibrant tangy citrus flavours on the light-to-mid weighted palate with hints of stone and honey adding interest. Acids are delicately balanced while citrus notes lingering on the very good finish. Score: 90 pts


Friday, April 15, 2016

  • Friday, April 15, 2016

Domaine Félibre Givré Sweet Ginger Cider (Quebec) - Review

, I enjoyed this mildly sweet cider that was recently released into VINTAGES on .

This dessert wine is produced by Domaine Félibre in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. It is located in the Hauts-Cantons region in West-Barnston (between Stanstead and Coaticook) at an altitude of 425 metres and has an exceptional view that extends from Mount Orford to the edges of the Appalachian Mountains. Ciders, liqueurs, and wines are made in a traditional manner from fruit cultivation through to bottling.

This cider is infused with old ginger roots from China and a bit of honey. Try it while there are plenty of bottles still available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves!

Domaine Félibre Givré Sweet Ginger Cider - Quebec, Canada

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE FÉLIBRE GIVRÉ SWEET GINGER CIDER - Quebec, Canada (#441949) (S) (375 mL) - $19.95
Cork smells of freshly cut ginger. In the glass, it offers medium intensity aromas of fresh ginger, sweet spice, candied lemon and hints of apple and honey with much of same on the flavour profile. It's light-weighed and mildly sweet with ginger and honey tones lingering on the aftertaste. The producer recommends serving this as an apértif, but it could also be served after dinner. Would make a lovely cocktail.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

  • Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Terre di Talamo Tempo Morellino di Scansano 2012 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

Opened up this delicious red wine from Tuscany night and it paired really well with homemade Chicken Fajitas.

Terre di Talamo is owned by Marco Bacci and located south of Grosseto in the southern part of Tuscany's Maremma coastal area, facing the Gulf of Argentario. The estate covers 52 hectares on a hillside facing the sea, with 32 hectares planted to vines, and is mostly brown clay and quite stony.

This old world wine is new to VINTAGES and will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves as part of the upcoming VINTAGES release.

Terre di Talamo Tempo Morellino di Scansano 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

TERRE DI TALAMO TEMPO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#438556) (XD) - $21.95
Hints of cherries and plums from the cork. In the glass, it has complex and inviting medium+ intensity aromas of dark cherry, earth, dried herbs and hints of meatiness. The palate is medium+ bodied and quite juicy with fresh acids with supple tannins. Evident oak aging is nicely integrated, with flavours of earth and hints of vanilla accenting the dark-fruited flavours. Becomes more earthy, savoury with air. Very good length on the earthy finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts


Monday, April 11, 2016

  • Monday, April 11, 2016

April 16 VINTAGES Release: Europe + California

LCBO Wine Picks from April 16, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming and the major theme of the release is titled "European Vocation" and features wines from Europe's 10 benchmark regions. The mini-theme looks at wines from California's "other" wine regions.

Of the 20 wines featured from the 10 benchmark regions of Europe, just three wines were included among my wine recommendations. Both of the red wine picks from this thematic are from Italy - a gorgeous Brunello made with Tuscany's signature grape Sangiovese, and the famous Barolo made using Nebbiolo. The only white wine chosen from this theme is a very nice Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley.

From California's "other" wine regions of Mendocino, Lodi, Monterey and Paso Robles, none of the 10 wines featured made my list of wine picks.

In red wines from the rest of the release, we are going to begin with wines a little bit off the beaten path. From Croatia is a red blend consisting of indigenous 30% Teran, 50% Merlot, and 20%
Blaufränkisch (a.k.a Lemberger), while the wine from Sicily is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nero d'Avola - both of these wines are new to VINTAGES. The São Miguel from Portugal is also new to VINTAGES and consists of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional. The mature Rhône red is a blend of 80% Grenache old vines and 20% Syrah from young vines. All of the Tuscan reds are made with Sangiovese.

In white wines, the Fumé Blanc is mostly Sauvignon Blanc - plus 6% Semillon - that was barrel fermented and oak-aged in barrel for 9-months. If you enjoy sweeter wines, look for the off-dry Old Vines Riesling from Château des Charmes, or if you prefer very sweet wines, go for the Vineland Estates Riesling.

Enjoy my LCBO wine picks from this release. Cheers!

Terre di Talamo Tempo Morellino di Scansano 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90 pts)Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (89 pts)

Red Wine:

  • VINA LAGUNA TERRA ROSSA 2013 - Istria, Croatia (#450437) (XD) - $15.95
  • SÃO MIGUEL ESCOLHA DOS ENOLOGOS 2011 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#445122) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • CLOS TROTELIGOTTE K-OR MALBEC 2014 - AC Cahors, Southwest, France (#299982) (XD) - $18.95
  • HAUNER SALINA ROSSO 2013 - IGP, Sicily, Italy (#440784) (XD) - $19.95
  • SANTA DUC ROAIX LES CROTTES 2010 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#437491) (XD) - $19.95
  • TERRE DI TALAMO TEMPO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#438556) (XD) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • PATRIZI BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#653527) (XD) - $34.95
  • AVIGNONESI VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#943670) (XD) - $39.95
  • SAN FELICE IL GRIGIO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#403477) (D) - $46.95
  • LA LECCIAIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#121905) (XD) - $57.95
  • CATENA ZAPATA NICASIA VINEYARD MALBEC 2011 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#132357) (XD) - $89.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#277228) (D) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (XD) - $18.95
  • CANTINA ANDRIAN FLOREADO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - DOC Südtirol/Alto Adige, Italy (#435396) (XD) - $19.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUÉS DE CASA CONCHA CHARDONNAY 2013 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#342857) (XD) - $19.95
  • VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (MS) - $19.95
  • FANTINEL SANT’HELENA PINOT GRIGIO 2014 - DOC Collio, Friuli, Italy (#310144) (XD) - $20.95
  • ROBERT MONDAVI FUMÉ BLANC 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#221887) (XD) - $22.95  reviewed here
  • ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2015 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $22.95
  • TWO RIVERS CONVERGENCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277707) (XD) - $23.95
  • F. TINEL-BLONDELET L’ARRÊT BUFFATTE POUILLY-FUMÉ 2014 - AC, Loire, France (#169730) (XD) - $24.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • GRAHAM BECK BRUT ZERO 2009 - Méthode Cap Classique, South Africa (#435453) (XD) - $22.95


Sunday, April 10, 2016

  • Sunday, April 10, 2016

Niagara Icewine Festival Review 2016 - Day 2

Jackson-Triggs Pizza and Cab Franc Icewine
After a full day of food & wine tasting on , our wine tour through Niagara continued on with a pair of stops in Niagara-on-the-Lake and finishing out on the Escarpment.

The first stop was Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery, where we once again arrived just as the doors opened at 11 a.m. Our host then led us upstairs to the fabulous Estate Lounge (which can be rented out for meetings/private  events), overlooking the vineyards, where we enjoyed a private tasting of a fine selection wines. Reviews of many of these wines are posted below. Following the tasting, we enjoyed a delightful pairing of a savoury Upper Canada goat cheese and olive pizza with house cured lamb bacon paired with their Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine. This sweet and savoury pairing was excellent with juicy acids from the wine cutting through the creamy goat cheese and the complementary flavours working so well together.

Jackson-Triggs Estate Lounge

Strewn Winery was the second stop of the day and featured a warm mini waffle topped with Icewine, Niagara Maple Ice Jelly and Niagara "Apple Snow". It was paired with Strewn's 2006 Riesling Icewine. Neither item was very sweet, so they balanced each other quite well. Overall, it was a good, enjoyable pairing. Furthermore, the Icewine is reaching the end of its life and should be enjoyed sooner rather than later. We then moved to the tasting room to sample some other Strewn wines, including an amazing 1998 Vidal Icewine that was balanced and still had lots of life and energy - this was a very special treat!

Strewn Mini Waffle with Riesling Icewine

Heading in the direction of home, our third stop of the afternoon was at Malivoire Wine Company. Surprisingly, in all my visits to Niagara over the last 15 years, this was my first ever visit to Canada's first gravity-flow winery. There were two Discover Pass Experience options at Malivoire, and all of us opted for the newly-released 2014 Malivoire Riesling Icewine paired with a decadent Blue Cheese Crème Brûlée prepared by Chef Daniel of The Epicurean Restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake. This was an exquisite pairing with sweetness perfectly balanced between the crème brûlée and the Icewine, as well as the bright acids from the Icewine meshing well with the creamy cheese that lay under the burnt sugar crust. What was most interesting was how the smoky flavours in the crème brûlée really intensified when enjoyed with the Icewine. Afterwards, Jay Dugale of Malivoire took us through a tasting of some very fine Burgundian-style wines.

Chef Daniel Tong of The Epicurean Caramelizing Crème BrûléeMalivoire Riesling Icewine with Blue Cheese Crème BrûléeMalivoire - Canada's First Gravity-Flow Winery

The final stop of the day was at Mike Weir Winery for an Icewine Grilled Cheese prepared by The Yellow Pear served with the 2014 Mike Weir Limited Edition Riesling. This substantial grilled cheese was stuffed with Icewine butter, apricot jam Icewine, pear soaked in Icewine and a blend of 3 cheeses. There were certainly some sweet/tart bits in the grilled cheese that added some interesting complexity, but was otherwise a savoury, fulfilling composition that paired well with the medium-dry (i.e. a little sweet) Riesling table wine. While sitting comfortably at a wooden picnic table inside the Retail & Hospitality Centre, our gracious host at Mike Weir Winery, Grayson Riordon, followed up with a tasting of some very special wines that included a pair of 2010 Bordeaux varietal reds - reviews are posted below. Contact the winery if they are still available as they would make very worthy additions to your cellar!

Mike Weir Limited Edition Riesling with Grilled Cheese by The Yellow Pear

This concludes my review of the 2016 Niagara Icewine Festival. All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience as we tasted many delicious wines and enjoyed them with some very fine culinary creations. There were no real surprises as the Chardonnays, Rieslings and Pinots were quite fine, and in excellent vintages the red Bordeaux varietals really shined. I didn't taste as many Syrah on this trip as I did back in September, but I am quite convinced that this grape will be the next big thing coming from Niagara.

You will find wine reviews of many of the wines I tasted on this visit. Most of these wines are available at the winery only, but there are a few at the LCBO, including some that you might see come through VINTAGES, so keep your eyes peeled.

Happy reading!

Tasting Notes:

JACKSON-TRIGGS GRANDE RESERVE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
Lovely medium+ intensity aromas that are floral with hints of rose petals. It's medium+ bodied with bright, juicy acids and lychee flavours on the essentially dry palate. Good length on the finish. Score: 88+ pts

JACKSON-TRIGGS DELAINE CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#623454) (XD) - $24.95 (only $17.25 at LCBO!)
Elegant nose of medium-to-high intensity showing smoke, toasty oak, buttered popcorn and butter aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and very nice aroma replays. Smooth and refined with balanced acids and a very long finish from this single vineyard Chardonnay. Score: 90 pts

Jackson-Triggs Delaine Chardonnay 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#317941) (XD) - $24.95
Aromas of medium+ intensity with bold, blackcurrant, blackberry, wood and white pepper notes. On the palate, it's medium-to-full bodied with crisp acids and pleasing aroma replays on the flavour profile. It has finely tuned acids and finishes long with currant and earthy flavours. Score: 89 pts

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz 2012 (89 pts) and Jackson-Triggs Delaine Syrah 2012 (90+ pts)

JACKSON-TRIGGS DELAINE SYRAH 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#086553) (XD) - $32.95
Medium+ intensity aromas are somewhat shy, showing earthy, black pepper and red fruits. It's medium-to-full bodied with light, gritty tannins and very nice aroma replays. Well-balanced with good fruit concentration and very good acidity. Hint of mineral on the long finish. Should open up after some decanting. Single vineyard Syrah. Score: 90+ pts

JACKSON-TRIGGS RESERVE CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $59.99
Highly aromatic nose of orange, strawberry, cherry, along with hints of apricot and whipped cream which all make a very nice appearance on the medium-to-full bodied palate. It has balanced acids and good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Jackson-Triggs Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

STREWN TERROIR CHARDONNAY AMERICAN OAK 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#405530) (XD) - $25.15
Intriguing medium-to-high intensity nose of butterscotch, cinnamon spice, orchard fruit and floral. On the palate, it is medium+ bodied with very nice aroma replays. Well-balanced with a spiced mid-palate, balanced acids and a medium-to-long finish. Score: 90 pts

Strewn Terroir Chardonnay American Oak 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Strewn Terroir Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

STREWN TERROIR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From an excellent vintage, this has medium-to-high intensity aromas of cassis, black currant, dark chocolate and herbed spice. It's full-bodied with very nice aroma replays and balanced acids. Drinking well now, but should be better next year to allow gritty tannins to soften. Score: 90+ pts

STREWN RIESLING ICEWINE 2006 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $58
This mature Icewine is highly aromatic with burnt caramel and sugar notes, along with hints of orange marmalade and apricot. It's fairly light-weighted with citrusy and candied lemon flavours and still has very good acidity. Decent length on the finish. Score: 88 pts

STREWN VIDAL ICEWINE 1998 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $98
Complex, medium-high intensity aromas of burnt sugar, apricot, spice and honey notes that also appear on the sweet palate. It still has balanced acids and excellent length on the finish. At 18 years old, this has held up extremely well. A real treat! Score: 92 pts

Strewn Vidal Icewine 1998 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)

MALIVOIRE MOTTIAR CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Matured in two 4-year-old oak barrels, this has a medium+ intensity nose of pineapple, brioche, and some smoke, butter and pear nuances. It is medium-bodied with bright acids. Delicious flavours of Bosc pear, green apple, lime and peach. Mineral-driven finish shows very good length. Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Mottiar Chardonnay 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)Malivoire Mottiar Pinot Noir 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

MALIVOIRE MOTTIAR PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#125252) (XD) - $34.95
Medium+ intensity nose of cherry, strawbery, mineral and black cherry with lovely aromas replays joined by red cherry and raspberry notes on the medium-bodied palate. It is balanced with bright acids and smooth tannins. Very focused and finishes long. I'm not a big Pinot fan, but I really like this. Score: 90 pts

MALIVOIRE STOUCK MERITAGE 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
From vines that are 30-40 years old, this is a blend of 63% Merlot and 37% Cabernet Sauvignon that has complex, medium-to-high intensity aromas of cocoa, black cherry, blackberry, mocha, baking spice and black tea that also show up on the full-bodied palate. It has bright acids and a long finish with hints of white pepper. Tannins are medium-to-firm, which should allow this wine to drink well to at least 2020. Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Stouck Meritage 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)Malivoire Riesling Icewine 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

MALIVOIRE RIESLING ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) - $34.95
Just released in January, this has medium-to-high intensity aromas of candied lemon and citrus. On the palate, there are sweet aroma replays plus honeysuckle and beeswax notes combined with brilliant acids. Hint of mineral on the long finish. Delicious! Score: 91 pts

MIKE WEIR LIMITED EDITION RIESLING 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#229286) (MD) - $22.95
Clean lemon/lime with a whiff of petrol and some beeswax aromas. Clean and elegant on the medium-bodied palate with medium-dry aroma replays. It has balanced acidity and a tart citrus character on the long finish. Yummy! Score: 89 pts

MIKE WEIR RESERVE MERLOT 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
Medium-to-high intensity aromas of cocoa, black cherry, earth, tobacco and lead. On the palate, it is medium-to-full bodied with complex flavours of spicebox, dark fruit, currant, and damp earth flavours. It has balanced acids and finishes long with some cocoa notes. Mature tannins are well-integrated. From the excellent 2010 vintage, this is one of Ontario's better Merlot efforts. Score: 89 pts

Mike Weir Reserve Merlot 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Mike Weir Meritage 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

MIKE WEIR MERITAGE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
This Bordeaux-blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc and 26% Merlot has medium-to-high intensity earthy, dark currant and cranberry aromas along with hints of pencil shavings. It's full-bodied with a firm tannic structure and very yummy flavours of eucalyptus, mocha and dark chocolate. Balanced acids and excellent length on the finish. Decant and serve now or wait another 3-4 years and drink up to 2023. Savour on its own and enjoy the evolution sip-after sip, or pair with red meats. From the excellent 2010 vintage, this is special! Score: 90 pts

MIKE WEIR 4 BARREL CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
100% free run juice with 25% undergoing malolactic fermentation. French, American, Canadian and Hungarian oak. I was expecting a big, buttery, smoky Chardonnay, but instead this has elegant pear, orchard fruit, and butterscotch notes. Oak is quite reserved with clean, crisp acids and fruit forward with some vanilla and butter notes on the back end. Finishes long. Score: 89 pts

Mike Weir 4 Barrel Chardonnay 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Mike Weir Cabernet Franc Icewine 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

MIKE WEIR CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $39.95
Two presses were broken while in the process of making this delicious Icewine. It is highly aromatic with strawberry, rhubarb and subtle baking spice notes that also appear lusciously on the medium-to-full bodied palate. Very good fruit concentration and showing a spiced mid-palate. It has vibrant acids and excellent length on the finish. Score: 91 pts


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

  • Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Win Tickets to 2016 Austrian Wine Fair in Toronto

Austrian Tasting Toronto
On April 14 in Toronto, over 30 vintners present up to 165 wines at the Austrian Wine Fair in cooperation with the Austrian Wine Marketing Board and the Austrian Trade Commission. Traditionally known for its white wines, did you know that a third of Austria’s vineyards are made up of red wines?

‘Austrian Wines - A Taste of Culture’ is a public tasting event that is open from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. Wine lovers will enjoy not only Austria’s unique grape varietal, the beloved Grüner Veltliners, Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs, but also the three red aces, the indigenous grape varieties Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, complemented by our liquid gold, Austria’s sweet wine. This tasting is accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and live piano music. Book your tickets here.

Event Details:

Austrian Wines - A Taste of Culture
Where: Snell Hall & Library at St. James Cathedral - 65 Church Street, Toronto, Ontario
When: Thursday, April 14, 2016 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Admission:

$55 (includes all wine samples and hors d’oeuvres)
Click here to purchase your tickets

Contest:

Here's your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to the Austrian Wine Fair.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, April 2, 2016

  • Saturday, April 2, 2016

EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Merlot 2013 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine is the 2nd in my recent series on wines from EastDell Estates (the first wine being the 2014 EastDell Estates Black Label Viognier that I tasted last week).

The 2013 vintage season was an interesting year in Niagara with some significant weather variations throughout the growing season. Temperatures were close to normal, while precipitation ranged from normal to a bit wet. Spring was cool and wet with some isolated late frosts, but then moved quickly into hot weather. Towards the end of the growing season in September and October, temperatures were higher than normal and helped produce a relatively large crop, allowing harvest season to stretch well into November.

Already available for purchase online and at the winery, Diamond Estates, this quaffable wine will also be at the LCBO next month as part of the VINTAGES Release.

EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Merlot 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Merlot 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443630) (XD) - $19.95
Relatively equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon (38%), Merlot (33%) and Cabernet Franc (29%). Medium intensity nose of blackberry, chocolate, leather and peppery aromas in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, dusty tannins and ripe fruited flavours that echo the aroma profile. It has juicy acids ideal for pairing with meals. Good length on the cocoa-dusted finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 87 pts


Friday, April 1, 2016

  • Friday, April 1, 2016

Win Tickets to 2016 County in the City presented by WineAlign

County in the City TorontoThe 5th Annual “County in the City” presented by WineAlign takes place on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at Berkeley Church (Toronto). Sample more than 70 different wines from at least 14 wineries from Prince Edward County - one of the world’s fastest growing wine regions. Many small-batch and family-owned wineries will showcase their pride and joy - including new vintages and specialty wines.

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

Confirmed Wineries:

Broken Stone Winery, Casa Dea Estates Winery, Closson Chase, Grange of Prince Edward County Vineyards and Estate Winery, Huff Estates Winery, Karlo Estates, Keint-He Winery and Vineyard, Lighthall Vineyards, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard, Rosehall Run Winery, Sandbands Estate Winery, Threedog Winery, Trail Estate Winery, and Traynor Family Vineyard.

Bonus 2-for-1 Tickets:

With every ticket purchased for County in the City presented by WineAlign, guests receive a complimentary ticket to the Thursday session of the Wine & Spirit Festival on June 16th at Sugar Beach! These tickets will be received upon entry to County in the City.

Event Details:

County in the City presented by WineAlign
Where: Berkeley Church - 315 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario
When: Thursday, April 14, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission:

$49 (includes 2 food samples and all wine samples)
$99 (same as $49 ticket + beautiful Zalto Universal Wine glass)
Click here to purchase your tickets

Contest:

Here's your chance to WIN a pair of tickets to County in the City presented by WineAlign:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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