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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release July 20, 2019: Under $20 + Italian Whites



LCBO Wine Picks: July 20, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming July 20, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features 20 Wines Under $20 as the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at fresh Italian white wines. All of these wines, plus those as part of the Main Release will be on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that lists 20 wines under $20, of which only 3 are include among my top wine picks. The first wine from this group is a dry $19 Prosecco that is made with the Glera grape varietal. The lone white is a $15 Chenin Blanc from South Africa, while the red is a lovely $17 Ventoux from the southern Rhône Valley that consists of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre.

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (89 pts)Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2018 (89 pts)

From the mini-theme on fresh Italian white wines, five of the seven wines featured are included among my top wine recommendations. The idea behind this theme to get everyone to try some of the other fine white grape varietals from Italy and look beyond Pinot Grigio. First up is a Fiano, an ancient grape from at least the 13th century. Pecorino (not the cheese) is fresh, floral and vibrant and often comes from Abruzzo. Falanghina is my favourite Italian white wine varietal and often comes from the hilly, volcanic soils of Campania. The Greco varietal is also common in Campania and offers a distinct smoky minerality. Lastly, there is a premium, barrel-fermented and aged Trebbiano di Lugana (aka Verdicchio) from Piedmont.

Sergio Zenato Riserva Lugana 2016 (91 pts)Terre Stregate Svelato Falanghina del Sannio 2016 (89 pts)

Janare Fiano 2017 (89 pts)Citra Ferzo Abruzzo Pecorino Superiore 2017 (88 pts)

Lava Greco di Tufo 2017 (88 pts)

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the Release, the red wine from New Zealand is a blend of 82% Merlot and 18% Malbec. From Rhône, the Rasteau is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Côtes du Rhône is equal parts Syrah and Grenache, plus some Mourvèdre. The blend from Roussillon consists of 50% Syrah, 40% Mourvèdre, and 10% Grenache, and 2015 Bordeaux consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lastly, from Spain, the Reserva is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, while the Crianza consists of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, and 5% Graciano.

Ka Tahi Merlot/Malbec 2015 (90 pts)Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (89 pts)

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017 (88 pts)Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2016 (88+ pts)

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

From my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines. One of the stand outs is the always excellent Assyrtiko from Greece. If you prefer sweet wines, look for the Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Argyros Assyrtiko 2017 (90+ pts)Max Ferd. Richter Elisenberger Riesling Kabinett 2016 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • XAVIER VIGNON VENTOUX 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#413211) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ORTAS TRADITION RASTEAU 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#998716) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#297317) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • BELLINGHAM HOMESTEAD SHIRAZ 2017 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#698290) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE / GRENACHE 2016 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#413245) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • KA TAHI MERLOT/MALBEC 2015 - Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#645192) (XD) - $23.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT SELVE 2015 - AC Graves, Bordeaux, France (#738120) (XD) - $24.95
  • VIVANCO RESERVA 2012 - Selección de Familia, DOCa Rioja, Spain (#293431) (XD) - $29.95
  • YANGARRA SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#911974) (XD) - $34.95  FE
Bellingham Homestead Shiraz 2017 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • RUSTENBERG STELLENBOSCH CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#698274) (XD) - $14.95  89 pts  wine review
  • WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • JANARE FIANO 2017 - DOP Sannio, Campania, Italy (#528786) (D) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CITRA FERZO ABRUZZO PECORINO SUPERIORE 2017 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#573683) (D) $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TERRE STREGATE SVELATO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2016 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#486076) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LAVA GRECO DI TUFO 2017 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#631739) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PENINSULA RIDGE WISMER VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#155580) (D) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MAX FERD. RICHTER ELISENBERGER RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#665984) (S) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • SERGIO ZENATO RISERVA LUGANA 2016 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#928218) (D) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
  • FLOWERS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#215210) (XD) - $59.95  FE
Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2017 (88+ pts)Peninsula Ridge Wismer Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • HACIENDA LOPEZ DE HARO ROSADO 2018 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#450775) (XD) - $13.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PLANETA ROSÉ 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#111856) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2018 - AC, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $22.95
Planeta Rosé 2018 (89 pts)Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • LE MONDE BRUT PROSECCO - DOC Friuli Grave, Italy (#634121) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVINO MUSCAT - PDO Samos, Greece (#113092) (S) (500 mL) - $12.95  88 pts  wine review
Cavino Muscat (88 pts)


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  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2017 Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône that I enjoyed last week, red wine review is a new, lovely wine from the same producer that is also arriving as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Xavier Vins is the creation of notable renowned wine consultant Xavier Vignon. He began his work as a consultant in 1996 and over time developed a profound knowledge of terroirs in the Rhône Valley. The 34 grape harvests around the world, mentors, winegrowers' friendships, and exceptional memory have all shaped Xavier's style and identity.

He works with various domaines in the southern Rhône Valley, including Raymond Usseglio, La Nerthe, Marcoux, Gardine, Jerome Quiot, Beaurenard, Mont Redon, Maucoil, Roger Perrin, and Grand Veneur, while also developing his own, self-named brand - Xavier Vignon.

This red wine hails from Ventoux appellation, a wine region in the southern Rhône Valley that I had the pleasure of visiting last May.

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

XAVIER VIGNON VENTOUX 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#413211) (XD) - $16.95
Blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre. The Grenache was aged in tank, while the other varietals were aged in barrel. Generous aromas offer spicy red and blackberry fruit with hints of pepper and smoky-flinty minerality. It is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced and spicy aroma replays that are supported by vibrant acidity. More minerally on the mid-palate plus touches of purple fruit. Tannins are soft, supple, and finely textured. Dark berry and mineral notes linger on the long finish. I really like the mineral aspect of this Ventoux red wine. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, July 14, 2019

Planeta Rosé 2018 (Sicily) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, dry rosé wine from Sicily that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Planeta Winery is one of the premier wine estates of Sicily and a veritable fine wine empire. The company has vineyards and estates all over the island of Sicily including the Ulmo Contrada and vineyards in Sambuca di Sicilia where you can find their first winemaking facility and beautiful ancestral family home, located on the Arancio Lake; the Dispensa vineyard in Menfi, where they also make high-end olive oils at the nearby Capparina mill; the lovely Dorilli estate in Vittoria in southern Sicily; the Buonvini vineyards and underground winery near the Baroque town of Noto in southeastern Sicily; the Sciaranuova vineyard and estate located in the exciting fine wine region of volcanic Mount Etna; and their newest and smallest estate is the Capo Milazzo winery located in northeastern Sicily.

This rosé comes from their Dispensa Vineyard within the Menfi (Agrigento) district on the western part of the island. Menfi is where is the history of the family and their business began. The family planted their first vines on the Ulmo estate, a few metres from Lake Arancio and the 16th century farmhouse which has been in the family for 17 generations. The family houses all reside within the area in Baglio, as well as their library which holds hundreds of Italian and foreign books from 1700 to the present day, all dedicated to vines and wine. It is also in Menfi where you can find the remains of an ancient Phoenician wine press.

The soils in Menfi are moderately limey with mixed yellow and grey chalk, moderately fine textured, and a few stones present. It was vinified by destalking and sent to soft pressing for a brief maceration of 1-2 hours to achieve a perfect extraction of colour. After must was obtained, it was decanted, then transferred and fermented at 15°C in stainless steel vats.

Planeta Rosé 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PLANETA ROSÉ 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#111856) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Equal parts Nero d’Avola and Syrah. Fresh, medium intensity nose offers floral, orange blossom, melon, ripe berry, herbal notes and some minerality. It is medium-bodied and dry with saline minerality, citrus, melon, strawberry and herbal flavours that are supported by crisp, vibrant acidity that is ideal for food pairing. More saline mineral and melon notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, July 12, 2019

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (France) - Wine Review

For wine review, I opened this organic red wine from Rhône ahead of it's release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Xavier Vignon began oenologist consulting activities in 1996 in a laboratory in Vaucluse for 30+ cellars. With a growing clientele and knowledge of terroirs and grape varietals that are best suited for each other, he developed a reputation for being the "crazy guy". Xavier enjoys going into the vineyard and in 1998 he creates a consulting company with his friend Dominique Portet. Soon thereafter, his client base reaches triple digits. However, after Dominique left the partnership to start his own cellar in 1999, Xavier began producing artisanal cuvees from his garage for his friends. One of his winemaker friends' discreetly sent his cuvees to Guide Hachette and the results were one wine heart (i.e. Commended) rating, and all the other cuvees scored 3 stars (the highest possible rating).

In 2002, Xavier's wine importer friends asked if he could create his own wines. He chooses amongst the best wines he has made and creates Rhone wines of different vintages and appellations, and begins bottling as Xavier Vins.

More recently, Xavier Vignon decided that he had to express himself in his own name because he wants, above all, to share with all lovers, neophytes or enlightened, the fruit of his passion: his wines.

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#297317) (XD) - $17.95
This organic red wine is a blend of equal parts Syrah and Grenache, plus some Mourvèdre to round out the blend. The medium+ intensity nose offers lovely smoky black cherry, blackberry, and spice notes with hints of currant and minty herbs adding complexity. The medium-full bodied palate is more red-fruited and ripe with cherry, pepper spice, and currant flavours, along with some smoky mineral notes on the mid-palate. It has balanced acids and chewy, fine-grained tannins. Finishes with mocha chocolate and spice notes, with good length. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

delicious white wine is a frequent visitor to VINTAGES and will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Winemaking in Clare Valley spans over 150 years, making it one of Australia's oldest wine-producing regions. The unique combination of geography, geology and climate results in terroir that is ideal producing wine in Clare Valley.

The journey of Wakefield Wines began when they planted their first vineyards in the Clare Valley in 1969 with the goal of producing authentic, estate grown wines. The first vintage from these vineyards was an overwhelming success as it won a gold medal in every national wine show that it entered. Since that time, the Estate Range was grown to include other varietals, but every bottle is still crafted at their Clare Valley Estate with the same care and attention as the very first vintage.

The fruit for this Chardonnay was harvested at night from the Taylor family estate in Clare Valley. It was whole berry pressed and the majority was barrel fermented in new and used French oak barrels. A small parcel of juice was fermented using wild yeast, and a small parcel was fermented in stainless steel tanks. Finally, after 10 months of oak maturation, the final wine was blended and fined in stainless steel tanks prior to bottling.

Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised (and impressed) to find a touch-activated temperature sensor (pictured below) on the back label that will tell you the ideal temperature to drink this Chardonnay - simply swipe the sensor to activate and see if the colour matches the perfect temperature range on the scale.

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose that delivers buttery, green apple, pear, and white peach aromas with touches of citrus, vanilla and nutty notes. It is medium-full bodied and quite substantial on the palate with ripe apple and pear flavours accented by some pineapple, banana and butterscotch nuances. Acids are fresh and lively. Nicely balanced throughout, while finishing with notes of citrus, stone fruit, buttery flavours, plus some lingering minerality, with good length. Very good buy! Score: 88+ pts

Optimum drinking temprature of Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay


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  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sivó Shámán Herbal Liqueur (Canada) - Review

I enjoyed this delicious herbal liqueur that arrived on LCBO VINTAGES on .

Shámán is a bitter herbal liqueur with origins in Bavarian monasteries. It has been revived with the respect and love of Quebec artisans by Maison Sivó to please the tastes of a new generation. Shámán aims to be nothing less than becoming a legend. Served cold, straight as a shooter, Shámán will surprise you with its powerful, bitter and floral taste. Developed with the assistance of mixologists, Sháman has a relatively high alcohol percentage by volume and a low sugar content that will make it also ideal in cocktails.

The Sivó family was producing remarkable fruit brandies at the outset of the 20th century in their village in Hungary. At the time, their products were recognized for their craftsmanship and quality even though their equipment was rather rudimentary. Today, they use highly refined methods of micro-distilling at their distillery in Montérégie, in southwestern Quebec.

Sivó Shámán Herbal Liqueur

Tasting Note:

SIVÓ SHÁMÁN HERBAL LIQUEUR - Matured in oak casks, Canada (#653436) (500 mL) - $27.95
Relatively high alcohol (36% alc./vol.) and minimal sugar (7.5 g/L), this is crafted with selective maceration of herbs and spices, realization, and aging in oak casks. Fragrant herbal, bitter, anise seed, licorice, and some floral aromas and flavours. Sticky and richly textured on the medium+ body. Very good length on the smooth, bitter finish. Reminds me of an Amaro. You could serve this lightly chilled on its own, but it will really shine when mixed into a cocktail. I made a slightly simpler version of Cabin Fizz (recipe below) and it was delicious! Other recipes that also look very enticing are provided below.

Cocktail Recipes:


Cabin Fizz
1.5 oz. Vodka
0.75 oz. Lemon juice
0.5 oz. Shámán
0.25 oz. Maple syrup
2 oz. Maple water
2 dashes of Angostura bitter

Add ice, shake and serve in a collins glass. Top off with soda, and garnish with lemon zest.

Lone Wolf
Crush a quarter of lemon in glass, then add:

0.5 oz. Shámán
0.5 oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Pineapple juice
Add ice and ginger beer, and garnish with lemon slice

El Shámán
0.75 oz. Shámán
0.75 oz. Mexcal
0.75 oz. Grand Marnier
0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. White sugar
1 dash Agave syrup

Shake and filter, and serve in Marie-Antoinette glass.


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  • Sunday, July 7, 2019

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is nice southern Rhône red wine that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It comes from the Rasteau Cru appellation that is located northeast of Orange and is the westerly neighbour to Cairanne. Winemaking in this region was first established by the Romans in 30 BC.

Founded in 1925, Cave de Rasteau is one of Côtes du Rhône's oldest co-operative wineries. It is a leading producer within the Rasteau appellation and it's partners include 80 vignerons and 600 hectares of vines, which is nearly half of Rasteau's 1240 hectares. Cave de Rasteau is located in Provence, in the heart of the southern Rhône Valley and faces Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail, and the French Prealps mountain ranges.

It's terroir is quite diverse, with hilly, south-facing slopes and smooth, pebbled soils that provide heat, while the cool Mistral winds provide freshness - all of which are ideal for planting classic Rhône varietals like Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. At Cave de Rasteau, wine growing knowledge has been passed down over four generations of wine growers with passion and respect for the environment.

Cave de Rasteau is part of Cercle des Vignerons du Rhône, a union of three companies that work together and share their knowledge with each other to produce quality wines while respecting their terroirs.

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ORTAS TRADITION RASTEAU 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#998716) (XD) - $17.95
A blend of old vines 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre from a hillside and terraced vineyard with limestone white clay, red clay, and fluvio-glacial sandy soils. Medium intensity nose offers nice blackberry liqueur, dark berry, spice, and kirsch, with hints of graphite and loamy earth aromas. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with blackberry, spice, and graphite flavours. Acids are balanced and juicy, while finely textured tannins are well-integrated. Graphite notes and a touch of bitterness linger on the finish, with very good length. The 14.5% alc./vol. is well-balanced. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

This popular red wine has come through VINTAGES many times over the years - and looking through my database I discovered that I purchased the 2007 vintage of this bottle in 2008. , I opened the latest vintage which arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on  - with plenty still available for purchase at the LCBO.

It is produced by Penny's Hill, a winery located in the rolling foothills east of McLaren Vale and named after a hill that sits at the base of the site in South Australia. The project began in 1988 by Tony and Susie Parkinson when they planted 32 ha of vines facing the waters of Gulf St.Vincent. In 1993, they acquired the newly-planted Malpas Road property, followed in 1996 by acquiring the adjacent, highly prized hay-producing paddock that was planted to vines and named Goss Corner. In 1998, the original Goss family homestead, "Ingleburne", was added to the Malpas and Goss properties to reconnect what had originally been one entire holding.

Today, Tony Parkinson still maintains ownership and management of the business, and joining him is his younger son, James, who is learning the vineyard ropes, and his elder son, David, who is a filmmaker and contributes much to the aesthetics of the enterprise.

The Penny’s Hill Cellar Door chook house is home to The Black Chook brand’s namesake, and the original "Black Chook" can be seen scratching and pecking for grubs under the big old gum tree. The fruit for the Black Chook range of wines are sourced from some of South Australia’s eminent wine regions and are made to be affordable, enjoyed, shared and celebrated. The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier is sourced from McLaren Vale and Padthaway as both regions have very consistent climates, which helps produce some of the best Shiraz in Australia and work together harmoniously in the final blend.

The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2017 - McLaren Vale/Padthaway, South Australia (#066738) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of Shiraz (96%) and Viognier (4%) that was co-fermented, while vineyard parcels were vinified and matured with suitable oak separately to best express the nuances of each block. The final wine was blended together after 12 months of oak ageing. Screw cap. Fresh, plummy, black cherry aromas mingle with peppery spice and oak notes, and just a hint of floral. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark currant and dark berry flavours, along with hints of pepper and oak spice in a dry flavour profile. It has soft, refined tannins and juicy acids. Wood and pepper spice notes linger on the finish. Score: 87 pts


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  • Friday, July 5, 2019

Château de Manissy Le Moulin de Notre Dame Tavel 2018 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice organic and vegan-friendly Tavel that recently arrived at the LCBO as a General List product and is widely available across Ontario.

It is produced by Château de Manissy, a winery located in the heart of Provence, on the right side of the Rhône Valley. Château de Manissy is owned by the Holy Family's Missionaries and has been producing rosé wines since the beginning of the 20th century, all the while developing a reputation for the barrel-aged rosé.

More recently, the talented young winegrower Florian André took over the property and continued it's traditional way of winemaking, while also having respect for the environment and growing wine according to the moon calendar. In 2009, the vineyards were converted to organic agriculture as it was well-known that organic winemaking is good for the soil, the environment, our health, and for future generations. Also in 2009, Florian became a father and thought it was the right time to go organic.

Florian created two more rosés to add to the portfolio, including this enjoyable Tavel that comes from clay soils that are scattered with pebbles which are particularly suited for rosé wine production.

I also can't help but notice that the new Tavel logo is embossed on this bottle - something I learned about when I visited Tavel last May.

Château de Manissy Le Moulin de Notre Dame Tavel 2018 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE MANISSY LE MOULIN DE NOTRE DAME TAVEL 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#234542) (D) - $16.90
Blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that was hand-picked early in the morning, when cool grapes are freshest. Aromas of fresh minerals are followed by subtle hints of herb, raspberry and red cherry notes. It is medium-full bodied and ripe on the palate with cherry, raspberry, strawberry and spice flavours. A touch honeyed on the mid-palate, but essentially dry. Acids are very fresh with a lingering finish that has spice, mineral, and red berry notes. Will be a fine match for seafood or salad over the next couple of years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release July 6, 2019: Cool-Climate New World + Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks: July 6, 2019 VINTAGES Release
Cool wines are the theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on July 6, 2019, with the major theme focusing on wines from Cool New World Regions, while the mini-theme is the annual look at Cool-Climate Chardonnay. All these wines, plus from the rest of the Release will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that features 13 wines from 10 New World cool-climate wine regions. Typically, cool-climate wines are fresh, refined, and food-friendly, and are influenced by the cooling breezes off a body of water, altitude, vineyard direction and steepness, and latitude. Four of the wines from this theme are among my top wine picks. From New Zealand, there are two lovely wines - a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir that are both reductive in style. From the high altitude vineyards in Argentina is a Gran Reserva that is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Lastly, the excellent sparkling wine from British Columbia is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (90 pts)Summerhouse Pinot Noir 2015 (90 pts)

Bodega Fin del Mundo Neuquén Gran Reserva 2015 (89 pts)Sperling Brut Reserve 2011 (92 pts)

From the mini-theme on Cool-Climate Chardonnays, which coincides with the Cool-Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) taking place in Niagara later this month, just two of the eleven wines are included among my top wine recommendations. The first is a nice Chardonnay from Niagara, while the second wine is a lovely cool Chardonnay from South Africa.

Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay 2017 (90+ pts)

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the Release, the Beaujolais is, of course, made with Gamay, while the Portuguese red wine is a blend of 40% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 30% Touriga Franca, and 30% Touriga Nacional. If you like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, both of my recommendations excellent - they are from different vintages and are different in style, with the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape consisting of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, and 5% Muscardin, while the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 5% Mourvèdre.

Domaine Chante-Perdrix Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (92 pts)Giraud Tradition Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 (92 pts)

Gloria Reserva 2016 (89 pts)Bel-Air Clochers Saint-Amour 2017 (88 pts)

From my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines. The white Bordeaux is made with Sauvignon Blanc, while both white wines from Burgundy are made with Chardonnay.

Laroche Les Beauroys Chablis 1er Cru 2017 (91+ pts)Château Briot 2017 (88 pts)

Lastly, there are a pair of wines from Uruguay's Bodega Garzón, a winery that was awarded 2018 New World Winery of the Year for its innovation and leadership by using sustainable practices, modern technology, and most importantly - making some pretty delicious wines from Tannat (Uruguay's signature varietal) and Albariño.

Bodega Garzón Reserva Tannat 2016 (90 pts)Bodega Garzón Reserva Albariño 2018 (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • GLORIA RESERVA 2016 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#146522) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
  • FEUDO MACCARI NOTO NERO D’AVOLA 2016 - IGP Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#339101) (XD) - $17.95
  • BEL-AIR CLOCHERS SAINT-AMOUR 2017 - AP, Beaujolais, France (#648527) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • BODEGA GARZÓN RESERVA TANNAT 2016 - Uruguay (#558916) (D) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • BODEGA FIN DEL MUNDO NEUQUÉN GRAN RESERVA 2015 - Patagonia, Argentina (#668285) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SUMMERHOUSE PINOT NOIR 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#492728) (XD) - $27.95  90 pts  wine review
  • GEYSER PEAK WINERY WALKING TREE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#161323) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE CHANTE-PERDRIX CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#121723) (XD) - $45.95  92 pts  wine review
  • GIRAUD TRADITION CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#182899) (XD) - $59.95  92 pts  wine review
Geyser Peak Winery Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU BRIOT 2017 - AC Bordeaux, France (#668855) (XD) - $14.95  88 pts  wine review
  • DeMORGENZON DMZ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#698324) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • NOVELLUM CHARDONNAY 2017 - France (#390781) (XD) - $18.95
  • MARKUS HUBER TERRASSEN GRÜNER VELTLINER 2018 - DAC Traisental, Austria (#484956) (XD) - $18.95
  • BODEGA GARZÓN RESERVA ALBARIÑO 2018 - Maldonado, Uruguay (#646802) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#578864) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • PAUL CLUVER ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#570952) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • LAROCHE LES BEAUROYS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#648469) (XD) - $39.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE LAVERNETTE VERS CHÂNE POUILLY FUISSÉ 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#499657) (XD) - $44.95  FE
DeMorgenzon DMZ Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (88+ pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#452573) (XD) - $20.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ASHLEY MARY LIMITED EDITION M DE MINUTY ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#575316) (XD) - $26.95
Mimi en Provence Grande Réserve Rosé 2018 (89 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • 13TH STREET CUVÉE BRUT ROSÉ - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147504) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • SPERLING BRUT RESERVE 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#635144) (XD) - $48.95  92 pts  wine review
13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé (90+ pts)

Liqueur:

  • SIVÓ SHÁMÁN HERBAL LIQUEUR - Matured in oak casks, Canada (#653436) (500 mL) - $27.95
Sivó Shámán Herbal Liqueur


First image of this post
  • Monday, July 1, 2019

Gloria Reserva 2016 (Portugal) - Wine Review

On this glorious Monday of a long weekend, red wine review is a blend from Douro that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Vicente Faria founded his winery in 2001, but his story of success begins in the early part of the 19th century, when Vicente’s ancestors began producing wine in the Douro Valley region in northern Portugal. As a child, Vicente knew that one day he would run his own winery, just like his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had done for more than 200 years. Starting in the same family vineyard, Vicente Faria Vinhos is now the 7th largest exporter and produces wine in several regions in Portugal

Winemaker Vicente Leite de Faria first learned about winemaking as a child from his great grandfather. He completed a winemaking degree in Portgual and followed that up with further studies at the Unveristy of Bordeaux to learn French wine making techniques. Vicente also worked in Bordeaux with world famous winemakers in several renowned French Châteaux’s where he learned best practices and some of the industry's best kept secrets. Today, he combines the techniques he has learned from both winemaking regions to create extraordinary wines.

Gloria Reserva 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

GLORIA RESERVA 2016 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#146522) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 40% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 30% Touriga Franca, and 30% Touriga Nacional that spent a minimum of 12 months in American oak barrels. Generous aromas of spice, red berry, blackberry, wood, and subtle rustic earthiness from the glass. It is medium-bodied with supple, dusty textured, and slightly drying tannins. Fresh acids brighten the palate. Delicious blackberry, dark plum, sweet cinnamon spice, and hints of floral flavours surround a savoury-earthy core. More savoury notes with hints of mineral on the long finish. Score: 89 pts


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