Wednesday, November 30, 2016

  • Wednesday, November 30, 2016

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 (California) - Wine Review

wine was released into VINTAGES last Spring and will be back as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

This wine is produced by La Crema, a winery emphasizing boutique, small-batch winemaking and a commitment to sustainability. I had the opportunity to visit this Sonoma winery in October and will be reporting on this in the near future - stay tuned.

The fruit for this wine comes from various vineyards across the diverse region of Sonoma Coast, including the Laghlin, Fulton, Ramal, Saralee's, Shiloh and Kelli Ann vineyards. The vintage was very good, with the weather co-operating beautifully by offering ample sunshine to achieve optimal ripeness and flavour development, while the cooling breezes maintained vibrant acidity. The wine spent 7 months in barrel, mostly French and some American, 18% new.

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA CREMA SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#962886) (XD) - $29.95
Aromas of peach, stone fruit and apple with a twist honey from the cork. Lovely medium+ intensity ripe apple, lemon citrus, pear, butterscotch, sweet vanillan oak aromas with a whiff of mineral at the tail end. The rich palate is medium-full bodied with bright, balanced acids. It's dry with pleasing aroma replays and hints of lemon peel. Moderate use of oak is nicely integrated. Well-balanced overall. Hints of mineral linger on the long finish. Finely crafted, deserves rich seafood or pair with poultry. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Sunday, November 27, 2016

  • Sunday, November 27, 2016

Château Bertin 2014 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine review is another sneak preview of a wine that will be in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is produced by Vignobles Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils, a family-owned winery with a winemaking history dating back to the 18th Century and spanning 9 generations.

The grapes for this wine come from Château Bertin, within the town of Lussac, on the right bank, approximately 45 kilometres from the city of Bordeaux. The plot of land where these grapes were grown are near the centre of village, next to a school and bordering the house of Château Haut Brion. The vineyard is south-facing and has extraordinary potential.

Château Bertin 2014 - AC Lussac St-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU BERTIN 2014 - AC Lussac St-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#244046) (D) - $19.95
100% Merlot that was hand-harvested and matured in oak for 12 months. Wet earth, forest floor, plum and whiffs of incense aromas from the cork. Ripe black cherry, cassis aromas followed by notions of milk chocolate, herbs and vanilla oak of medium intensity. Medium-bodied with a soft, plush mouthfeel and dusty tannins that become chalkier with air. Acids are juicy. Black cherry, currant, cocoa, milk chocolate, and cedar oak flavours, finishing long with earthy notes. Will be a fine match over the holidays with poultry or red meats. Score: 88 pts

Monday, November 21, 2016

  • Monday, November 21, 2016

Bodegas Hermanos del Villar Oro de Castilla 2015 (Spain) - Wine Review

I opened up this crisp, refreshing dry white wine from Bodegas Hermanos del Villar . After having tasting their 2014 Oro de Castilla at the Rueda Tasting in May, I was very excited to try the latest vintage of this wine.

The 2015 vintage in Rueda was marked by a lack rain, causing a delay in sprouting by 15 days and resulting in lower than usual yields. However, due to the large root development of the vineyards, the vines were able to withstand one of the driest growing seasons in many years. Furthermore, no chemical treatments were applied to the vines this year.

Surprisingly, this delicious white wine is still currently available at the LCBO, even though it was released through VINTAGES on September 3.

Bodegas Hermanos del Villar Oro de Castilla 2015 - DO Rueda, Spain (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGAS HERMANOS DEL VILLAR ORO DE CASTILLA 2015 - DO Rueda, Spain (#745562) (XD) - $15.95
Screw cap. 100% Verdejo fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aromas of medium-high intensity featuring a mix that dances between tropical fruits, guava, herbs and earthy notes. The dry palate medium bodied and fleshy with lemon/lime, grassy, herbs, and ripe tropical fruits framed by vibrant acids. Finish length is very good. Perhaps not quite as fragrant as the 2014, but every bit as delicious. Serve this nicely chilled with salads, pasta, seafood, or poultry dishes. Score 88 pts

  • Monday, November 21, 2016

VINTAGES Release November 26: Fine Holiday Wines

LCBO Wine Picks from November 26, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is titled "A Fine Romance" and features 29 fine wines and spirits that are splurge-worthy for the holidays. Wines from this release will be on shelves this coming .

Leaving out the spirits, there are 25 wines included in this mono-thematic release, and a full 9 are included among my wine picks. A local red wine that is on this list is the impressive Stratus Red from the very good 2012 vintage that's made with traditional Bordeaux varietals. From South America, there is the Catena Alta Malbec from Argentina, and Chilean icon wine Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon that also contains 7% Cabernet Franc. The legendary Sassicaia is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, while the Amarone consists of traditional grapes (70%) Corvina Veronese and Corvinone, (25%) Rondinella, (5%) Molinara. Other single-varietal wines include the Dead Arm Shiraz and the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Beringer.

Stratus Red 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)Concha Y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - Puente Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile (92 pts)

Sassicaia 2013 - DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy (94 pts)

Among non-red wines, the splurge-worthy white wine is a multi-site mountain vineyard Kistler Chardonnay. In sparkling wine, the Bollinger Champagne - which is available in 2 sizes in this release - consists of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier.

Other sparkling wines that are also in this Release include a dry version that is almost equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from South Africa, while the Le Mesnil Champagne is 100% Chardonnay. Lastly, the Vouvray is a slightly off-dry style (i.e. a touch sweet) and made with Chenin Blanc. In white wines, the Hermit Crab for 2015 is a crisp blend of 58% Viognier and 42% Marsanne.

In red wine recommendations, the Borsao Bole is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, while the Rioja is 100% Tempranillo. The 2010 Bordeaux is a returnee to VINTAGES and is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot. From Portugal, the Mondego is a blend of 88% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Roriz, 5% Alfrocheiro and 2% Jaen, while the Torbreck is an unoaked blend of 85% Grenache, 8% Shiraz and 7% Mataro with vines ranging from 40 to 150 years old.

Montebuena Cuvée KPF 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (88 pts)

This is the second last release of 2016 - so you might want to stock up now. Enjoy my wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BORSAO BOLE 2013 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (#471565) (XD) - $15.95
  • MONTEBUENA CUVÉE KPF 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#211029) (XD) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE PANIGON 2010 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#348250) (XD) - $19.95
  • QUINTA DO MONDEGO 2010 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#399766) (D) - $19.95
  • WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2012 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#433060) (XD) - $22.95
  • TORBRECK CUVÉE JUVENILES 2014 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#723940) (XD) - $27.95
  • STRATUS RED 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#131037) (XD) - $44.20  reviewed here
  • REX HILL PINOT NOIR 2013 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#275735) (XD) - $46.95

  • CATENA ALTA HISTORIC ROWS MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#982355) (D) - $49.95
  • SASSETTI PERTIMALI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#474734) (XD) - $49.95
  • D’ARENBERG THE DEAD ARM SHIRAZ 2012 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#430512) (D) - $54.95
  • MICHELE CASTELLANI CINQUE STELLE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2012 - Collezione Ca’ del Pipa, DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#075127) (D) - $56.95
  • VERSADO RESERVA ANCIENT MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#316984) (XD) - $59.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO DON MELCHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Puente Alto, Maipo Valley, Chile (#403980) (D) - $74.95  reviewed here
  • ANAKOTA HELENA MONTANA VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#181131) (XD) - $158.95  FSE
  • BERINGER PRIVATE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#149955) (XD) - $166.95
  • SASSICAIA 2013 - DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy (#480533) (XD) - $212.95  reviewed here

White Wine:

  • TENUTE MESSIERI VISIONI OFFIDA PECORINO 2013 - DOCG, Marche, Italy (#414011) (XD) - $16.95
  • D’ARENBERG THE HERMIT CRAB VIOGNIER/MARSANNE 2015 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#662775) (XD) - $17.95
  • BARBUNTÍN ALBARINO 2014 - DO Rîas Baixas, Spain (#461285) (XD) - $17.95
  • WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (D) - $19.95
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2015 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95
  • VIGNE SURRAU BRANU VERMENTINO DI GALLURA 2014 - DOCG, Sardinia, Italy (#455246) (XD) - $21.95
  • DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER KESSLER RIESLING 2012 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#061176) (XD) - $27.95
  • TAWSE ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#344804) (D) - $38.40  reviewed here
  • DOMAINE DANIEL-ÉTIENNE DEFAIX CÔTES DE LECHET CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2003 - AC, Burgundy, France (#470435) (XD) - $51.95
  • KISTLER SONOMA MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Mountain, California, USA (#183921) (XD) - $111.95
Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2012 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • DOMAINE DE VAUGONDY BRUT VOUVRAY - Méthode traditionelle, AC, Loire, France (#154567) (D) - $17.95
  • GRAHAM BECK BRUT CHARDONNAY/PINOT NOIR SPARKLING - Méthode Cap Classique, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#593483) (XD) - $18.95
  • BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#234104 / #384529) (D) (375 mL / 750 mL) - $42.95 / $78.95


  • WARRE’S LBV BOTTLE AGED PORT 2004 - Unfiltered, bottled in 2008, DOP, Portugal (#434936) (S) - $35.95
  • KOPKE COLHEITA PORT 1996 - Matured in wood, btld. in 2016, DOC, Portugal (#063743) (S) - $59.95


  • ALVEAR SOLERA 1927 PEDRO XIMÉNEZ - DOP Montilla-Moriles, Spain (#463034) (S) (375 mL) - $19.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE CAUHAPE SYMPHONIE DE NOVEMBRE 2012 - AC Jurançon, Southwest, France (#470344) (S) - $38.95  FSE


  • ROSEWOOD MEAD ROYALE HONEY WINE 2015 - Barrel aged, Canada (#296178) (S) (500 mL) - $16.95

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016

EastDell Unoaked Chardonnay 2015 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine is an unoaked Chardonnay and, similar to the 2014 EastDell Gamay Noir, is now on LCBO shelves with an updated, modern label that still retains the iconic heron.

The 2015 vintage began with unusually cold temperatures throughout Winter and Spring. Fortunately, weather conditions improved greatly during the Summer growing season, with favourable conditions continuuing through to harvest.

Produced by Diamond Estates, this easy-drinking Chardonnay is available at the Winery Boutique (at Diamond Estates) and at the LCBO.

EastDell Unoaked Chardonnay 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

EASTDELL UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#609867) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. Aromas of fresh lemon/lime citrus with ripe golden apple undertones. The palate is medium-bodied and fleshy with more ripe apple and citrus fruit flavours. Some grapefruit notes emerge with time in glass. Acids are clean and balanced. Good length on the finish. This is a clean, easy-drinking (unoaked) Chardonnay to drink in the near term with seafood, salads or poultry. Score: 86 pts

  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Celebrating #GarnachaDay

Celebrating #GarnachaDay
International Grenache Day is celebrated around the world every 3rd Friday of September. This year, the celebration fell on and I was invited to an exclusive tasting of a few spectacular Grenache (or Garnatxa as they say in Spain) wines at Archive 909 on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto.

The origins of Grenache are found in Aragon, in northern Spain and the grape was known as the Red of Aragon (Tinto Aragonés). From there, it spread to Sardinia, Southern France, Australia and California. Over centuries, naturally occurring Grenache mutations formed, resulting in the prevalence of Grenache blanc, a grapes that's used in making white wines.

Today, Grenache is one of most widely planted grapes in the world, with Spain being the #1 grower. Single varietals wines made from Grenache noir are plenty, but it's also commonly used in GSM blends (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre/Mataro) from Southern France and Australia.

On this day in , I had the opportunity to taste through various Grenache wines, including some Garnatxa blanc wines, and pairing them with some delicious Mediterranean tapas prepared by the fine folks at Archive 909. All of the wines were from Spain, and wine reviews of my favourite Garnacha wines are provided below. Unfortunately, none of the my favourite wines are currently available at the LCBO, so you'll have to reach out to the Agent to place your order.

If you missed celebrating #GrenacheDay this year, mark you calendar as it will return in 2017 on . In the meantime, you can drink Grenache throughout year as its quite commonly found at the LCBO. Salud!

#GarnachaDay at Archive 909#GarnachaDay at Archive 909

Tasting Notes:

BOTERA VILA-CLOSA GARNATXA BLANCA 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (XD) - $16.02
Medium+ intensity nose offering plenty of mineral character combined with lemon, stone fruit and pear aromas. The palate has nicely balanced aroma replays with earthy and some flinty notes making a statement on the long finish. Fresh and succulent acids. Contact That's Life Gourmet for availability. Score: 88+ pts

Botera Vila-Closa Garnatxa Blanca 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (88+ pts)Lafou Els Amelers Garnatxa Blanca 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (89 pts)

LAFOU ELS AMELERS GARNATXA BLANCA 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (XD) ~ $29
10% of this exotic wine rested in 300-litre lightly toasted barrels. The medium intensity nose has exotic waxy, honey and tropical nuances. Lemony acids are fresh with a nice mineral texture on the palate. Some herbally flavours. Finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

From vines between 80-100 years old, this has medium+ intensity aromas of cranberry, oak spice, and red & purple florals that all make an appearance on the medium+ bodied palate. It has nicely integrated tannins, balanced and juicy acids. Long finishing. Score: 88+ pts

Las Rocas Vinas Viejas de San Alejandro Old Vine Garnacha 2013 - DO Catalayud, Spain (88+ pts)Cruz de Piedra Selección Especial 2014 - DO Catalayud, Spain (89 pts)

CRUZ DE PIEDRA SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL 2014 - DO Catalayud, Spain (XD) - $12
Grapes for this wine come from old bush vines, ranging between 50-100 years old. Appears closed for the moment, but shows hints of blackberry, mineral, dark fruits, sweet oak spices. Full-bodied with a dense, concentrated mouthfeel and pleasing aroma replays. It has fresh, balanced acids that are just a touch tart. Excellent length on the finish. This is a big wine that can be decanted and enjoyed now, or aged for at least half dozen years. Contact Rogers & Company for availability. Score: 89 pts

From old vines ranging between 40-50 years old. Lovely, captivating nose offers complex raspberry, leafy, floral, clove and hints of mineral. Medium+ bodied on the palate with astringent tannins that softened with air. Very nice, well balanced, floral and cherry, clove, subtle sweet oak spice flavours. Balanced use of oak with hints of vanilla on the medium-long finish. My favourite wine of the tasting. Contact Hobbs & Co. for availability. Score: 89 pts

Bodegas Aragonesas Fagus de Coto de Hayas Selección Especial 2013 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (90 pts)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

  • Sunday, November 13, 2016

Montebuena Cuvée KPF 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is a red wine that will be available in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Having enjoyed the 2012 Montebuena Cuvée KPF that showed up in VINTAGES in , I am expecting the 2014 to be equally as good as (or better than) the 2012 vintage to due a harvest that improved in quality.

It is produced by Bodegas y Viñedos Labastida, a winery that is part of the Unión de Cosecheros of Labastida co-operative. This co-op was formed in the 1960s and is now the largest co-operative winery in the Basque Country, with a production capacity of 7 million litres.

Montebuena Cuvée KPF 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONTEBUENA CUVÉE KPF 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#211029) (XD) - $15.95
100% Tempranillo that was hand-harvested from the Montebuena vineyard. The 2012 was bottled under cork, but this vintage is now under screw cap. Nicely appealing mulberry, sweet herbs, freshly tilled earth and red fruit aromas of medium intensity. The palate is medium-bodied with nice aroma replays. Acids are juicy and tannins are ripe and smooth. Forest floor notes linger on the finish. Delicious wine to drink over the next 2 years. Score: 88 pts

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

  • Wednesday, November 9, 2016

EastDell Gamay Noir 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest Gamay from EastDell Estates.

I tasted the 2010 EastDell Gamay Noir three years ago, but this wine has since undergone a label change and comes to us now with a brand new, modern label that still includes the iconic heron.

The summer in 2014 had average-to-cooler than normal temperatures, while late summer and into September brought much needed sunshine to push the grapes to maturity. Harvest began 10 days later than normal and lasted into October. This wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for 12 days, followed by ageing in French and American oak barrels for 8 months, half which were new oak and half in 2 year old barrels.

This easy-drinking red wine is widely available at the LCBO and at the Diamond Estates winery boutique in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

EastDell Gamay Noir 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

EASTDELL GAMAY NOIR 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#214890) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. Impressive array of black and red cherry, mushroom and sweet cinnamon spice aromas that also come through on the juicy, light-to-medium bodied palate. There's good fruit concentration and depth here, with fresh acids and supple tannins adding to the widely appealing package. It's juicy and finishes long with red cherry, sweet oak spice flavours and some floral notes with air. I am really impressed by this - well done! Will be enjoyed with homemade Chicken Lasagne. Score: 88 pts

Monday, November 7, 2016

  • Monday, November 7, 2016

VINTAGES Release November 12: Holiday Gifts & Parties

LCBO Wine Picks: November 12, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is a large one featuring just one theme - wines for holiday gifts and parties. All wines will be on shelves this .

Since there is only one theme in this release, there are 31 wines included as part of the feature, and 12 are included among my wine picks. Most of the wines in this theme are red wines, but there are a few other delightful wines to choose from that would make delightful gifts or amazing additions to holiday parties. The vintage sparkling wine from Henry of Pelham is made with Chardonnay, while the vintage Rosé Champagne is a blend of 47% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. There are only 2 white wines among the 31, and both are highly recommended - they are the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc and the slightly sweet Cave Spring CSV Riesling.

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2014 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

The red wines listed as part of this theme are numerous, with 8 reds being included among my wine recommendations. We'll begin with a Pinot Noir from Chile, the Barossa Valley Shiraz from Australia that has some age on it. In blends, the Hidden Bench Terroir Caché Meritage is a blend of 46% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc and 13% Malbec, while the Clos de los Siete is a blend of 57% Malbec, 18% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Syrah. From Veneto, the Masi Amarone is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara, while the Quintarelli uses no dried grapes and consists of 50% Corvina/Corvinone and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc. The Penfolds Bin 389 is an almost even split of Cabernet Sauvignon (51%) and Shiraz (49%), while the 2007 Rioja is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha.

Maycas del Limarí Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2014 - Limarí Valley, Chile (88+ pts)Hidden Bench Terroir Caché Meritage 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)

From the rest of the release in red wines, the wine from Bordeaux is a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. From Italy, the Zisola from Sicily is 100% Nero d'Avola, while the Rivera Il Falcone is 70% Nero di Troia and 30% other varietals.

Château Guillou 2014 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (88 pts)Rivera Il Falcone Riserva Castel del Monte 2009 - DOC, Puglia, Italy (90+ pts)

In white wines, the Greek white from Crete is a blend of two indigenous varietals - Vilana (65%) and Vidiano (35%). For Riesling fans, all of my Riesling picks are on the dry side (i.e. not sweet), with only the versions from Cave Spring and Charles Baker showing some sweetness.

Karavitakis Winery The Little Prince White 2015 - Crete, Greece (88 pts)Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2013 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)

Enjoy my wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • THYMIOPOULOS YOUNG VINES XINOMAVRO 2013 - Naoussa, Greece (#466474) (XD) - $17.95
  • MAZZEI ZISOLA 2013 - DOC Sicilia Noto Rosso, Italy (#303925) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU GUILLOU 2014 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#140483) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • MAYCAS DEL LIMARÍ RESERVA ESPECIAL PINOT NOIR 2014 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#469213) (XD) 750 mL $19.95  reviewed here
  • KAIKEN ULTRA MALBEC 2014 - Mendoza, Argentina (#050849) (D) - $19.95
  • CATENA MALBEC 2014 - Mendoza, Argentina (#468066) (XD) (1500 mL) - $39.95
  • CLOS DE LOS SIETE 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#622571) (XD) - $23.95
  • RIVERA IL FALCONE RISERVA CASTEL DEL MONTE 2009 - DOC, Puglia, Italy (#177295) (XD) - $23.95  reviewed here

  • HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ MERITAGE 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#505610) (XD) - $38.00  reviewed here
  • ANTINORI BADIA A PASSIGNANO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#384552) (D) - $44.95  reviewed here
  • LA RIOJA ALTA VIÑA ARDANZA RESERVA 2007 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#315531) (XD) - $44.95
  • QUINTARELLI PRIMOFIORE 2012 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#020867) (XD) - $66.95
  • PENFOLDS BIN 407 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - South Australia (#414987) (D) - $69.95
  • PENFOLDS BIN 389 CABERNET/SHIRAZ 2013 - South Australia (#309625) (D) - $69.95
  • BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE E&E BLACK PEPPER SHIRAZ 2008 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#731620) (XD) - $89.95
  • STAGS’ LEAP ESTATE THE LEAP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#142844) (XD) - $89.95
  • MASI MAZZANO AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#215764) (D) - $109.95
Antinori Badia A Passignano Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

White Wine:

  • KARAVITAKIS WINERY THE LITTLE PRINCE WHITE 2015 - Crete, Greece (#465930) (XD) - $14.95  reviewed here
  • MEGALOMANIAC NARCISSIST RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#067587) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • WILDASS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#376814) (D) - $18.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#268342) (XD) - $19.95
  • TRIMBACH RIESLING 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#734517) (XD) - $23.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $24.95
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2014 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (D) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2013 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#241182) (D) - $35.20  reviewed here
  • LOUIS MOREAU VAULIGNOT CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#525386) (XD) - $36.95
Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - AC, Burgundy, France (#991562) (XD) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE BLANC DE BLANC 2011 - Méthode traditionelle, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (D) - $44.95
  • MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, France (#069831) (D) - $95.95


Dalva Colheita Port 1995 - DOC Douro, Portugal (93 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • REIF VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#544791) (S) (200 mL) - $24.95

Thursday, November 3, 2016

  • Thursday, November 3, 2016

Château Guillou 2014 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

Last November, the 2012 Château Guillou landed in VINTAGES. wine is the 2014 vintage of this wine and will be in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Produced by Jean-Bernard Saby, this family has been making wines for nine generations since the 18th century. Today, the winery's vineyards consist of 62 hectares, yielding well-structured wines that are enhanced by perfectly absorbed tannins.

Château Guillou 2014 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU GUILLOU 2014 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#140483) (XD) - $19.95
Has a bit less Merlot (75%) and more Cabernet Franc (25%) compared to the 2012 vintage. Plummy and milk chocolate aromas from the cork. The nose is not very intense, but offers juicy blackberry and oak along with hints of underbrush and herbal spice aromas. The palate is medium-full bodied and gains volume in the mouth with good fruit concentration. Palate is dry with juicy blackberry, dark fruit, chocolate, earth and well-integrated oak flavours. Appealing sweet spice flavours emerge with time. Acids are very good, balanced. Tannins are finely-grained, dusty, and just a touch grippy. Good length on the finish. Satisfying overall. Ideal with lamb right now. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 88 pts

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

  • Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Chianti Classico Tasting - Celebrating 300 Years

Chianti Classico 300 Years
The final wine tasting of was held at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, downtown Toronto. Inside was a tasting celebrating 300 years of Chianti Classico wines. The borders of the Chianti Classico DOCG were formed in 1716 and lies in the territory between the provinces of Florence to the north and Siena to the south. The total area of the territory is 173,000 acres, 25,000 acres of which are dedicated to vineyards, and 18,000 acres that are registered as Chianti Classico.

Every bottle of Chianti Classico contains the trademark Black rooster, an historic symbol of the Chianti Military League, among other things. The history of the symbol dates back to a legend from medieval times, at a time when there was bitter fighting over the territory between the Republics of Florence and Siena. In order to settle the conflict, legend has it that a knight from each Republic would depart from their respective cities and fix the boundary of the territory at the point of where they meet. Departure from each city would take place at dawn, when the rooster crows. The Sieneses chose a white rooster, while the Florentines chose a starved black rooster that was kept in a small, dark chicken coop.

When the big day arrived and the roosters were freed from the coop well before dawn, it was the black rooster that started crowing immediately. On that signal, the Florentine knight began his journey, well before his counterpart from Siena, and reached Fonterutoli, a mere 12 kms from Siena. This resulted in nearly all of Chianti being brought under control of the Republic of Florence and the legend of the Black Rooster was born.

Chianti Classico Tasting Notes Booklet
Sangiovese is the primary grape within the region and a minimum of 80% of every wine must contain this varietal. There are three levels of Chianti Classico - Annata, Riserva, and Gran Selezione. The entry level is the Annata (a term you won't see on the label) and requires a minimum of 12 months ageing. The middle-tier Riserva wines require a minimum 24 months of ageing, including 3 months of bottle ageing. At the top of the quality pyramid is the Gran Selezione - a tier that was created only in 2013 - and states that these wines must use grapes from a single vineyard or from the estate's best grapes, and be aged for a minimum 30 months, including 3 months of bottle ageing.

In all, there were more than 25 wineries in attendance, providing the opportunity to try more than 75 wines. Many of the wines poured were quite good, but the ones that stood out above others were the Gran Selezione wines, specifically from the outstanding 2010 vintage. Wine reviews of some of favourites are provided below. Please contact the agent listed for availability, pricing and ordering information.

Tasting Notes:

Matured for 8 months in large oak barrels and contains 5% Canaiolo and 5% Colorino. Beautiful, highly aromatic, dark scented and focused nose of dark flowers, dark cherry, clov and spice. It's medium-to-full bodied nicely balanced aroma replays and gains texture with air. It has very good acidity providing freshness. Good oak integration. Finish is long with hints of mineral. Contact Signature Wines & Spirits for availability. Score: 90+ pts

Castello Vicchiomaggio San Jacopo Chianti Classico 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (90+ pts)Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

CARPINETO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#047118) (XD) - $29.95
The medium-to-high intensity nose offers nice, sweet herbally spice, clove, sweet oak and cherry aromas. It's medium-to-full bodied on the palate with balanced, full tannins, and very good acidity. Aromas follow through to the palate along with hints of pencil lead and mineral on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5-8 years. Contact Univins et Spiriteaux for availability. Score: 91 pts

Lovely, focused and intense nose featuring floral, cherry, clove and sweet oak spice aromas. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with a fine texture and silky smooth, structured tannins. Pleasing aroma replays on the palate. Excellent length on the finish shows hints of mineral. Contact Profile Wine Group for availability. Score: 92 pts

Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)Fèlsina Colonia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)

Beautiful, perfumed nose of sweet spice, floral, oak, cherry, red fruits and clove. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with pleasing sweet oak and spice aroma replays, and hints of purple flowers. Very good acidity. Earthy, cherry notes on the excellent finish. Tannins are a bit tight, but provide good tannic structure for ageing. Better in 2-3 years and enjoy until 2026. 100% Sangiovese. Contact Lifford Wine & Spirits for pricing and availability. Score: 92 pts

This 100% Sangiovese has medium-to-high intensity aromas of ripe red fruits, cherry, floral, sweet oak and clove notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has firm tannins and juicy acids, along with balanced earth, cherry, floral and spice flavours. Excellent finish length. A bit young, try in 3 years. The 2010 vintage was released into VINTAGES in March. Contact Frontier Wine Merchants for availability of the 2011 vintage. Score: 92 pts

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (92 pts)Castelvecchi Madonnino della Pieve Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (93 pts)

From a great vintage, this 100% Sangiovese, has a highly aromatic and inviting nose of floral, sweet oak, cherry, clove and hints of sweet spices. Maturing very nicely, it has a medium+ bodied palate with yummy purple flower led aroma replays. Well balanced, with juicy acids and balanced tannins. Excellent length on the finish. Drink by 2023. Contact Barrel Select for pricing and availability. Score: 93 pts

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