Saturday, December 8, 2018

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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review



wine review is a nice Riserva Chianti Classico that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Rocca delle Macìe, a name that I'm sure you have come across at some point while perusing the aisles at your local LCBO. Rocca delle Macìe was founded by film producer Italo Zingarelli in the Chianti Classico area in 1973 when he purchased the 93 hectare estate to fulfill a life long dream. At the time, only 2 hectares were planted to vines, but along with help from his sons Sergio and Fabio, and his daughter Sandra, the estate now covers more than 500 hectares, 200 hectares of which are used as vineyards. The four estates Rocca delle Macìe owns in the Chianti Classico area all reside within the Municipality of Castellina in Chianti, in the southwest with very heterogeneous soils.

This red wine is one of Rocca delle Macìe's flagship wines from the Chianti Classico zone as only the best grapes from each of the four estates in Castellina make it into the blend that consists of mostly Sangiovese, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The label proudly bears the Zingarelli name in order to highlight the strong link that the family has with the Chianti Classico area.

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE FAMIGLIA ZINGARELLI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#930966) (XD) - $24.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot that was aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. Fine aromas of oak spice, blackberry, wet earth, and dark cherry with a nice savoury component stream from the glass. It is medium-full bodied with fine-grained tannins and juicy acids supporting the dark berry, savoury, vanillin oak, earth, and cherry flavours. A touch warming on the mid-palate. Nicely savoury and earthy with some chalkiness on the long finish that ends with a nice red cherry note. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018 - Top Wines

2018 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
On a cold night in November, I attended the 24th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - a 4-day event that ran through . The first night was VIP Preview Night and attendance seemed a bit lighter than previous years. There also seemed to be fewer food and wine booths, but more craft breweries. Since my focus was mostly on the wines, I traversed the floor seeking some of the finest on offer and had a great time chatting with familiar faces en route.

Some of the highlights included wines in the Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, and at the Kolonaki Group booth where they featured many lovely Greek wines. There were also some fine wines at Wines from Spain, Wines of South Africa, Villa Maria Wines of New Zealand, and Grenache Wines booths. Here are some of my favourites from the show. All of these wines are available via the LCBO unless otherwise noted. Thank you Foodies on Foot for the tickets I won through their online contest!


CHAMPAGNE CUVÉE CARBON BRUT - AC, France (XD) - $350  92 pts
The official Champagne of Formula 1. Exclusive bottle wrapped in carbon looks awesome! Available via Bianchi & Nero.

Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut (92 pts)Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)

VIDAL LEGACY CHARDONNAY 2016 - Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (#570895) (XD) - $60  93 pts

CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts

Cune Gran Reserva 2011 (92 pts)Mega Spileo Grand Cave Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (91 pts)

MEGA SPILEO GRAND CAVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#539924) (XD) - $27.95  91 pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

MARTIN BERDUGO RESERVA 2010 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#233741) (XD) - $38  91 pts

Martin Berdugo Reserva 2010 (91 pts)Te Awa Left Field Syrah 2015 (90+ pts)

TE AWA LEFT FIELD SYRAH 2015 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#377837) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts

ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $32  90+ pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

Argyros Assyrtiko 2017 (90+ pts)Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90 pts

ONTAÑÓN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#725895) (XD) - $25.95  90 pts

Ontañón Reserva 2010 (90 pts)Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2015 (89 pts)

GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE  / GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, France (#413245) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts

UMBERTO CESARI LIANO SANGIOVESE / CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - IGT Rubicone, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#225086) (D) - $27.95  88 pts

Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)


Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut
Kolonaki Group - ShopGreekWine.com
Foods & Wine from Spain
Wines of South Africa
Garnacha and Grenache Wines


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a Niagara Chardonnay that was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Palatine Hills Estate Winery has some of the area's oldest vineyards which are nestled among the historic hills of beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. The property has been carefully cultivated over the past 40 years by John and Barbara Neufeld. In the early years, they were among the first wine growers in Niagara and John Sr. was Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. Over time, they learned to master the art of grape growing and recognized that winemaking begins in the vineyard, a core principle of the winery.

Today, Palatine Hills is still family owned & operated, going on two generations of the Neufeld family that shares their passion of the winery's soil. As in the past, they aim to continue to maintain the same respect and awe for their land they had first discovered, knowing that it is truly expressed in the fruits of their labour.

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALATINE HILLS NEUFELD VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#577742) (XD) - $24.95
Very ripe on the nose with mango, baked apple, vanilla, and sweet oak aromas in the glass. It is medium-bodied on the palate with oak-driven baked apple, buttery vanilla, banana and hints of citrus flavours. A touch of smoke and walnut notes appear on the juicy finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


Monday, December 3, 2018

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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

On , I opened up this lovely red wine that was recently featured as an Illustrious Italian wine and released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Palazzo estate, a winery located on the picturesque south-eastern slope of Montalcino at an altitude of 320 metres above sea level that was purchased by the Loia/Palazzo family in 1983. Soon after the purchase, Cosimo Loia and his wife Antoinette Palazzo discovered that some of the land is of Eocene origin, arid and rocky - ideal for planting vines. Today, the estate covers an area of approximately 15 hectares, of which 4 hectares are devoted to vineyards and 3 hectares to olive trees.

In 1986, along with their children they began producing wine. Since the vines were still young, they were devoted to the production of Rosso di Montalcino. But in 1995, the vines reached nine years of age, at which point they could finally harvest the grapes, and after a few years of oak ageing, produce their first vintage of Brunello.

The entire production, including farming, harvesting, vinification, ageing and marketing is managed by the Loia family, along with the help of consulting oenologist Fabrizio Ciufoli. Over the years, the Loia-Palazzo family and cellar has grown, and above all, the quality of the wines - including this Brunello - have achieved a high level of excellence.

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALAZZO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#660746) (XD) - $69.95
Hand-harvested, 100% Sangiovese Grosso that spent 3 years in barrel. Complex, medium-high intensity aromatics offer dark berry, cherry, and mineral aromas layered on top of oak spice and earth. It is full-bodied, spicy and fresh and on the palate with drying tannins. Lovely cherry, leather, oak spice, pepper and a hint of floral on the flavour profile. Mouth-watering acids. Some warmth mid-palate continues through to the long finish, giving way to wood spice, earth, and cherry flavours. Approachable now, but better in a few years and will age for at least a decade. Lovely Brunello! Score: 93 pts


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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Dec. 8, 2018: Food Wines + Champagne

LCBO Wine Picks: December 8, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the final Release of the year and features fine wines for food as its main theme, while the mini-theme highlights Champagne for holiday celebrations. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that lists twenty food wines for your holiday celebrations, six of which are included among my top wine picks. For elegant dinners, an elegant Châteauneuf-du-Pape that consists of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Counoise / Muscardin / Vaccarèse / Cinsault. For big family feasts, try a Chardonnay or the Gran Medalla Malbec, both from Argentina. For a casual open house, try the casual red from South Africa that is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, or the Côtes du Rhône which is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. Last, but not lease, for wine and cheese, try the slightly off-dry Charles Baker Riesling.

Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 (91 pts)Charles Baker B-Side Riesling 2017 (90 pts)

In the mini-theme, there are seven Champagnes to add some sparkle to your holiday season, and two are included among my wine picks. Both of my Champagne recommendations use traditional grapes, with the Ruinart consisting of 49% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 11% Pinot Meunier, while the Veuve Clicquot consists of 61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier.

From the red wines in the rest of the Release, there is a Languedoc red that consists of 69% Syrah and 31% Grenache. If you enjoy Chianti Classico, the Primocolle is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino, while the Gabbiano Riserva is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot. From Australia, the Ode to Lorraine consists of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Shiraz, 5% and Merlot, while the Meritage from British Columbia consists of 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 12% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot. From Bordeaux, the Croix Canon is majority Merlot, with Cabernet Franc completing the blend. And, last but not least, the iconic Solaia is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese in support.

Villa Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)Gérard Bertrand Syrah/Grenache 2015 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Roussillon is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne. The Fumé Blanc is a Sauvignon Blanc that was barrel-fermented and aged in oak, but also includes a small amount of Semillon. For those that prefer sweeter white wines, any of the Ontario Riesling's should satisfy your palate.

Since this is the final Release of 2018, you may want to pick up a sparkling wine for New Year's Eve celebrations. The Cremant de Bourgogne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, and Aligoté, and the outstanding bubbly from Henry of Pelham is made with Chardonnay and aged for 60 months is bottle prior to disgorgement.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release!

Red Wine:

  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2014 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $16.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015 - AP Languedoc, France (#413237) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TRAPICHE MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#547869) (XD) - $17.00  89 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA CERNA PRIMOCOLLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#573501) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DI GABBIANO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#216309) (XD) - $22.95
  • J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION MON COEUR CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#995548) (XD) - $22.95
Trapiche Medalla Malbec 2014 (89 pts)

  • TRAPICHE GRAN MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#467977) (XD) - $24.95
  • ELDERTON ODE TO LORRAINE CABERNET SAUVIGNON/SHIRAZ/MERLOT 2015 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#976423) (XD) - $39.95
  • CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#959627) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • BURROWING OWL MERITAGE 2015 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#343038) (XD) - $57.95
  • FEL PINOT NOIR 2016 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (#309476) (XD) - $59.95  FE
  • CROIX CANON 2012 - Second wine of Château Canon, AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#671289) (XD) - $66.95
  • SOLAIA 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#987586) (XD) - $316.95

White Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2017 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $17.95
  • CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES CHARDONNAY 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#918805) (XD) - $19.95
  • WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • 13TH STREET JUNE’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (M) - $19.95
  • CHARLES BAKER B-SIDE RIESLING 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#523845) (M) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ROBERT MONDAVI FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#221887) (XD) - $22.95
  • ASTROLABE PROVINCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#010421) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOUDY BAY CHARDONNAY 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#359513) (XD) - $37.95
  • CAKEBREAD CELLARS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#709717) (XD) - $69.95
Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU ROUBINE LA VIE EN ROSE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#556639) (XD) - $15.75

Sparkling Wine:

  • BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France (#991562) (D) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2013 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (D) - $44.95
  • RUINART R DE RUINART BRUT CHAMPAGNE - With gift box, AC, France (#189878) (D) - $85.95
  • VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2008 - With gift box, AC, France (#588475) (XD) - $109.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU FILHOT SAUTERNES 2015 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#514679) (S) (#375 mL) - $24.95


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