Friday, January 18, 2019

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  • Friday, January 18, 2019

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review



Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot 2017 (87 pts)
I picked up red wine while visiting Konzelmann Estate Winery back in November during the Taste the Season food & wine pairing event that took place at many wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Konzelmann is Niagara’s exclusive lakefront winery and is heralded for providing one of the most friendly, informative and educational experiences in Niagara's wine country. On a past visit, I had the opportunity to visit their below-ground tasting room, which was dark, yet cozy, and without much in the way of seating. However, they recently renovated this area and it is now bright and airy, and offers seating for structured wine tastings and educational sessions. I can envision this space also being used for small private events.

This Merlot is the winery's most popular red wine. It is a fairly new release, with a new label for 2017, and is currently available for purchase at the winery and online through their web store. This latest vintage has also just recently arrived at the LCBO and is currently on promotion - with every bottle purchased you receive 6 Bonus Air Miles until . The wine review of this highly quaffable Niagara red is provided below.

Konzelmann Estate Winery Private Tasting Room

Tasting Note:

KONZELMANN LAKEFRONT SERIES MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#439281) (D) - $14.95
Screw cap. Soft, medium intensity nose offers ripe red berry, cherry, plum, and black currant aromas with wisps of earth and olive adding savoury elements. It is medium bodied with gritty, textured tannins that are just a touch tight. Fresh, lively acids lift the berry, currant, earthy, and cocoa flavoured dry palate. There's good length on the juicy finish with cocoa, vanilla and earthy notes. Highly drinkable now and should improve in 2020. Score: 87 pts


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Jan. 19, 2019: Euro + South Africa

LCBO Wine Picks: January 19, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the second release of the year and continues the value parade with wines from Europe for Hearty Winter Suppers as the main theme, while the mini-theme highlights wines from South Africa. All of the wines from the two themes, plus many more will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features European wines for Hearty Winter Suppers. There are 12 European wines paired with 6 classically regional dishes. Only 3 of these wines are included among my wine picks - the Scopeto Super Tuscan is a blend of 40% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot, while the Lirac from Rhône is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. The third and final wine is an excellent semi-sweet Riesling from Mosel, Germany.

In the mini-theme, there are 9 wines featured from South Africa, a wine region considered "New World" but has been producing wine since the 17th century. Six wines from South Africa made my list of wine picks, including a Chenin Blanc, an Unoaked Chardonnay, and an excellent white wine blend made with 65% Chenin Blanc, 10% Viognier, 10% Clairette Blanche, 13% Grenache Blanc, and 2% Sémillon Gris. Among the reds, there are single varietal wines made with Grenache and Shiraz, while the sparkling wine is made with 100% Pinot Noir. This is a very nice selection of South Africa wines.

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2015 (88 pts)

From my top red wine picks of the Release, the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, and 5% Colorino, while the Gabarda is a blend of 85% Cariñena (Carignan) and 15% Garnacha. The Douro red is a field blend of indigenous varietals, and the Meritage from B.C. is a blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot.

Among my top white wine recommendations, the Australian blend has slightly more Semillon (from Hunter Valley) than Sauvignon Blanc (from Orange), while the Venetian is a barely off-dry (i.e. hint of sweetness) blend containing Garganega, Cortese, and Riesling. If you prefer your wines sweet, the Rheingau Riesling, as well as the aforementioned Mosel Riesling from Germany are both lovely!

It was nice to find a quality dry rosé in this Release as well, with a very good wine from Provence that is a blend of 42% Cinsault, 34% Grenache, and 24% Syrah.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BORGO SCOPETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#023325) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
  • BORGO SCOPETO BORGONERO 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#421396) (XD) - $18.95
  • LEEUWENKUIL GRENACHE NOIR 2016 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#630871) (XD) - $19.95
  • GABARDA SELECCIÓN 2015 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#629139) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOURNEY’S END SHIRAZ 2015 - Single vineyard, WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#337642) (XD) - $21.95
  • LUA CHEIA EM VINHAS VELHAS RESERVA ESPECIAL TINTO 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#610287) (XD) - $21.95
  • XAVIER VIGNON LIRAC 2016 - AP, Rhône, France (#636183) (XD) - $22.95
  • EL VALAO PAGO DE VALDONEJE MENCÍA 2015 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#629204) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • OUTLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#633537) (XD) - $29.95
  • MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE RESERVE MERITAGE 2016 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#633628) (XD) - $29.95

White Wine:

  • GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2017 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#428045) (D) - $16.95
  • JARDIN INSPECTOR PÉRINGUEY CHENIN BLANC 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#443473) (XD) - $17.95
  • SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN ESTATE RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Rheingau, Germany (#653535) (MS) - $18.95
  • PEPPER TREE ESTATE GROWN SEMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Hunter Valley/Orange, New South Wales, Australia (#632067) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#225557) (XD) - $19.95
  • DE WETSHOF BON VALLON UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Robertson, South Africa (#403675) (XD) - $22.95
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#629998) (MS) - $25.95
  • MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#556597) (XD) - $37.95
  • JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAU DE VAY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#159012) (XD) - $39.95

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DE L’AUMÉRADE CUVÉE MARIE-CHRISTINE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Provence, France (#562785) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BON COURAGE JACQUES BRUÉRE CUVÉE ROSÉ BRUT 2011 - Traditional method, WO Robertson, South Africa (#630855) (D) - $24.95

Fortified:

  • SAN LEÓN MANZANILLA - DO Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (#703066) (D) - $21.95


Friday, January 4, 2019

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  • Friday, January 4, 2019

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines
I had the opportunity to taste these three lovely wines from Southbrook Organic Vineyards recently and am pleased to report that all of them are delicious!

Southbrook recently launched a new tier of "Single Vineyard" wines with a focus on grapes from single sub-appellations, highlighting their dedicated organic growers. The winery is known for their Connect, Triomphe, Estate, and Poetica wines - some of which I also tasted recently. The wines are produced by internationally-acclaimed winemaker, Ann Sperling.

"Over the years I have worked with several organic growers, and have had the opportunity to get to know the quality of each vineyard nearly as well as our own Southbrook Estate. I felt we were ready to show off these unique and worthy vineyard sites as stand-alone wines," said winemaker Ann Sperling. "So, this year we bottled single vineyard wines from our favourite growers - Laundry Vineyard and Saunders Family Vineyard."

The new Single Vineyard collection from Laundry Vineyards includes a 2017 Riesling, 2017 Gamay, and 2016 Pinot Noir. The Riesling and Gamay come from the Vinemount Ridge vineyard, which shows classic properties of the geological area known as the Vinemount Moraine, featuring some of the steepest slopes in the Niagara Peninsula, and mineral-rich soils that are well-suited for growing Riesling and Gamay. The Pinot Noir comes from Heather Laundry's old vines in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation - an area that is becoming known for producing quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Heather Laundry has been specializing in Chardonnay since she graduated as one of the first Enology and Viticulture students from CCOVI at Brock University in 2000. While most of her classmates went on to become winemakers, Heather had her heart set on being among the vines. She learned from her mentor, Deborah Paskus, that the biggest impact on a wine could be made in the vineyard.
These new Single Vineyard Laundry wines are available at the winery and online at Southbrook.com. The new Single Vineyard Saunders wines will be released in early 2019.

Tasting Notes:

SOUTHBROOK HEATHER'S HOME VINEYARD ORGANIC RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#581603) (XD) - $22.95
Clone 21 Riesling. Screw cap. Lovely, linear, medium-high intensity aromatics of lime citrus, white peach, wet stone, and limestone minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied, fleshy and just off-dry with more lime citrus, peach and stony mineral flavours, and a whiff of honey. Nicely balanced with brilliant acidity providing freshness. Lovely wet stone notes linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Heather's Home Vineyard Organic Riesling 2017 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD GAMAY 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
Planted on north-facing slopes and hand-harvested. Screw cap. Fresh, highly aromatic and pretty nose offers red berry, spice, black plum and whiffs of earthy and savoury notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with red berry, currant, herbs, tea leaf, and earthy flavours with dusty tannins adding a nice textural element and some structure. Acids are fresh. Appealing tea leaf notes linger on the long, juicy finish. A lovely expression of Niagara Gamay to enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Gamay 2017 (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Organically grown Pinot Noir clone 115, hand-harvested. Lovely ruby red colour. Fresh and spicy on the nose with ripe raspberry, wild berry and earthy aromas, along with touches of oak spice. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with brilliant, mouth-watering acids supporting the raspberry, earth, and spice flavours with hints of strawberry. Nicely textured and structured, with tight, chalky tannins. Savoury and red berry notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Enjoyable now, but better in a 1-2 years. Score: 91+ pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)


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