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  • Sunday, March 31, 2019

Creekside Iconoclast Niagara Syrah 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)



wine review is a lovely Syrah I discovered while visiting the winery during the annual Niagara Wine Festival in .

I purchased this red wine for $17.95 and recall that it was on promotion and made available for purchase because their Estate Syrah was sold out. The 2012 is, of course, sold out, but I have tasted a few vintages of this wine now, including the current vintage which is the 2016 Creekside Iconoclast Syrah (89+ pts). You won't find newer vintages at this price, but the current vintage is also a very delicious wine that is available at the winery and may also come through LCBO VINTAGES at some point.

I last tasted the 2012 Creekside Iconoclast Syrah in - basically 4 years ago. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Creekside Iconoclast Niagara Syrah 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST NIAGARA SYRAH 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#471797) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Just a tinge of reddish-brown colour on the edge. The medium-high intensity nose has savoury, earthy, meaty, and black pepper aromas with hints of oak spice and dark berry. The medium+ bodied palate is somewhat dense with refined, dusty tannins that fold into the palate very nicely. It is chalky textured with savoury, freshly tilled soil, meaty, dark berry, and black plum flavours with peppery hints. Acids are juicy. Nicely balanced aromas and flavours linger through to the long, earthy finish. Best with a light chill. Drink soon if you have it. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (PEC) - Wine Review (Bottle 4)

wine review is the 4th bottle from a case of wine that I ordered through the VINI wine app.

I last enjoyed the 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay in September and noted that it will be best over the next year or so. Given that I had two bottles remaining, I thought it best to open one tonight and save the last bottle for some time later this year.

Of course, the 2014 was sold out a long time ago, while small quantities of the 2016 remain at the LCBO, and the 2017 should be available at Closson Chase Winery in Prince Edward County soon.

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95
Pours a medium-yellow colour and offers lemon citrus, waxy, paraffin aromatics in a mature profile. The palate is medium-bodied and fairly complex with lovely mature waxy, paraffin, mealy, and lemon citrus flavours plus some butter and vanilla notes in the background. It is nicely textured with some chalkiness on the mid-palate. Balanced acidity. Lemon and waxy notes linger on the long finish. A high-quality, mature Chardonnay to drink soon. Score: 90 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Pillitteri 25th Anniversary Select Late Harvest Cabernet 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

I picked up sweet dessert wine while visiting the winery last month during the annual Days of Wine & Chocolate Event in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

With this wine, Pillitteri Estates Winery is celebrating 25 years of family, quality and tradition. This family winery opened its doors in June of 1993. Pillitteri has successfully grown with 3 generations working in the family business, having received over 1000 prestigious wine awards and sell to more than 35 countries worldwide. The family is thankful and proudly presents the 25th Silver Anniversary Collection of wines for all to enjoy.

Back in February during Days of Wine & Chocolate, they were offering BOGO on this particular late harvest dessert wine - what a great deal! Although this deal is no more, this delicious sweet wine is still available for purchase at the winery and through their online web store.

Pillitteri 25th Anniversary Select Late Harvest Cabernet 2013 (88+ pts)Pillitteri 25th Anniversary Select Late Harvest Cabernet 2013 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PILLITTERI 25TH ANNIVERSARY SELECT LATE HARVEST CABERNET 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $25
Fresh red cherry and strawberry aromas waft from the glass with hints of white raisins and chocolate. On the medium-full bodied palate, it is somewhat dense and fairly sweet with just enough acidity to keep the palate fresh. More cherry, strawberry, and raisiny flavours continue through to the finish, with very good length. Enjoy well-chilled. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Monday, March 25, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Mar. 30, 2019: 8 Favourite Grapes

LCBO Wine Picks: March 30, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is a mono-thematic Release, featuring 8 favourite grapes to "Meet Your Perfect Match". All of these wines, plus many others will arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

With 8 varietals featured and 2 wines for each grape, there are 16 wines in total as part of the theme of this Release. The varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah and most of the selections here compare and old world wine with a new world wine. Of these 16 wines featured, 5 are included among my top wine picks. Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) is actually a naturally mutated clone of Pinot Noir. Both the dry Pinot Gris from Niagara and a Pinot Grigio from Italy are among my wine recommendations. From New Zealand, there is a nice Sauvignon Blanc. Among the reds, there is a Malbec from Argentina and a Shiraz from Australia.

Closson Chase K.J. Watson Vineyard Pinot Gris 2017 (89 pts)

The red wines from the rest of the Release includes a lovely $20 Côtes du Rhône-Villages that consists of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 25% Carignan, while the Bordeaux red is a blend of 68% Merlot and 32% Cabernet Sauvignon from 40 year old vines. From Italy, the Chianti consists of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo, while the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. The organic Emiliana Coyam is a perennial favourite of mine, and the 2015 is an 8-grape blend consisting of 44% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Mourvedre, 4% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Garnacha, and 2% Tempranillo. Lastly, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre.

Château Maucoil 2016 (89 pts)Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (90 pts)

Emiliana Coyam 2015 (91 pts)Velenosi Villa Angela Pecorino 2017 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietals. The Pecorino and Avesso are not very common varietals and surely worth a try. All of the Rieslings are (mostly) dry in style, while the Pinot Gris from New Zealand will have some sweetness to it.

And finally, the lovely dry rosé from Niagara is made with 100% Pinot Noir.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release!

Red Wine:

  • CUATRO PASOS MENCÍA 2015 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#039313) (XD) - $18.95
  • FINCA LAS MORAS PAZ MALBEC 2016 - San Juan, Argentina (#520486) (XD) - $18.95
  • D’ARENBERG THE FOOTBOLT SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#984021) (XD) - $18.95
  • DECERO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Remolinos Vineyard, Agrelo, Mendoza, Argentina (#195677) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU MAUCOIL 2016 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#638502) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU MAISON NOBLE CUVÉE PRESTIGE 2015 - AC Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#633198) (XD) - $20.95
  • GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ROCCA DELLE MACÌE FAMIGLIA ZINGARELLI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#930966) (XD) - $24.95
  • EMILIANA COYAM 2015 - Los Robles Estate, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#063891) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DE LA SOLITUDE CUVÉE BARBERINI CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#525907) (XD) - $70.95

White Wine:

  • VELENOSI VILLA ANGELA PECORINO 2017 - DOCG Offida, Marche, Italy (#173252) (D) - $15.95  89 pts  wine review
  • KILIKANOON KILLERMAN’S RUN RIESLING 2015 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#365635) (XD) - $17.95
  • KELLEREI ST. MAGDALENA PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Südtirol – Alto Adige, Italy (#249466) (XD) - $18.95
  • COVELA EDIÇÃO NACIONAL AVESSO 2016 - DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#524868) (XD) - $18.95
  • PIERRE SPARR SOL GRÈS RIESLING 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#644419) (XD) - $19.95
  • TWO RIVERS CONVERGENCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277707) (XD) - $19.95
  • CLOSSON CHASE K.J. WATSON VINEYARD PINOT GRIS 2017 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#469445) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • 2027 CELLARS WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#421362) (XD) - $22.95
  • GILBERT + GILBERT SINGLE VINEYARD RIESLING 2015 - Eden Vallery, South Australia (#633529) (XD) - $27.95
  • GREYSTONE SAND DOLLAR PINOT GRIS 2016 - Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand (#426650) (D) - $27.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • DRAPPIER BRUT NATURE PINOT NOIR CHAMPAGNE - Zero dosage, AC, France (#179275) (XD) - $57.95

Fortified:

  • BODEGAS BARBADILLO PASTORA MANZANILLA PASADA - Unfiltered, DO Manzanilla – Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (#515965) (XD) (375 mL) - $15.95


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  • Saturday, March 23, 2019

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Chianti that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Having tasted and enjoyed both the 2014 Giacomo Mori Chanti and the 2012 Giacomo Mori Chanti, I am fully expecting this latest vintage to also provide pleasure. This red wine is from the 2015 vintage - a vintage that is widely regarded as one of the great vintages in Tuscany.

The history of Giacomo Mori begins at the end of the 18th century as a marketer of processed, aged, and bottled wine from the cellars of Palazzone and Chiusi. These activities slowed with the onset of World War I and eventually ceasing during the economic crisis of 1927. In 1970, Giovanni, the son of Giacomo, restarted the production of grapes and wine with his sons, selling mostly in tanks and demijohns. In 1995, they began focusing on making quality wines by planting new vineyards with a careful selection of varieties, clones, and vineyard layout.

This particular red wine has been made for more than 15 years and today consists of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo. It is vinified in stainless steel tanks at carefully controlled temperatures, aged for 10-12 months in Slavonian and Allier oak barrels, as well as tonneaux and used barriques.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $22.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers ripe red cherry and spice, with leather and sour cherry hints, all surrounded by a savoury, earthy, forest floor core. It is medium-bodied with juicy acids and gritty tannins that will reward with some ageing. Nicely savoury with earthy, forest floor, red and black cherry, and oak spice flavours. Very good finish length. Really starts to shine as it warms in the glass. Enjoy over the next 6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Château Maucoil 2016 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from Rhône and will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Château Maucoil is a historic property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where vines have been cultivated since the 17th century. Ancient documents indicate that the site's first occupants were the Romans and that they set up a base here for Caesar's legions. Several winegrowing families followed the Roman era, due to the spring running through the property and it's proximity to Via Agrippa.

In the 20th century, the Goguet de la Salmonière family and the Quiot family contributed much to the development and prosperity of Château Maucoil. In 1995, the Arnaud family, who already owned vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, decided to purchase the estate. The new generation picked up the torch in 2009 with a strong desire to secure the future of the estate and manage it in an environmentally-responsible manner. They cultivate their vines in the same way as their ancestors - by working the land according to a cycle of furrowing, forming mounds, ploughing and natural weeding techniques.

Maison Lavau had been a partner of Château Maucoil for several years, and in 2013 they acquired/merged with this historic estate to further strengthen their image. The foursome of Bénédicte and Charles Bonnet and Frédéric and Benoit Lavau now run Château Maucoil together.

The grapes for this organic red wine come from vineyards (some old vines) that are close to the famed region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a similar soil mixture of sand and pebbles. Each varietal and parcel was hand-harvested, then fermented and aged in vats separately prior to blending and bottling.

Château Maucoil 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MAUCOIL 2016 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#638502) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 25% Carignan with rich aromatics offering ripe blackberry, black cherry, black plum and peppery spice accented with subtle oak and stony minerality notes. The medium-full bodied palate is bright with lively acidity with blackberry, black cherry, and cocoa-dusted flavours. Supple tannins are a touch tight, leading to a dusty textured and a cocoa, blackberry and stony mineral flavoured finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, but better in 2 years and enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019 with Winemaker Francisco Baettig

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019
In , I had the pleasure of tasting some iconic wines from the quality, award-winning Chilean producer Viña Errázuriz with Winemaker Francisco Baettig in attendance. I've tasted previous vintages of the Icon wines - La Cumbre, Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, and Kai - recalling the time I was first introduced to these delicious wines back in , but these wines are so good that it's always a treat to taste them every year.

However, this tasting was really about introducing the Las Pizarras wines. Eduardo Chadwick Claro is the President of Viña Errázuriz and also a descendant of Don Maximiano Errázuriz, the winery's founder. He was named Decanter's Man of the Year in 2018 and is one of the most important people within the Chilean wine scene. He has worked tirelessly to promote the wines of Chile around the world, becoming a true ambassador for the country’s potential to produce premium wines. As Francisco explained, the Las Pizarras wines were borne out of Eduardo Chadwick's desire to create an Icon white wine - as there were none among the existing portfolio. This desire resulted in the creation of a very fine Las Pizarras Chardonnay (now in its 4th vintage) that expresses the estate's terroir. Tagging along with the Chardonnay is also an excellent Las Pizarras Pinot Noir, The Las Pizarras collection also includes a Syrah, which was unfortunately not available for tasting.

Errázuriz Winemaker - Francisco Baettig

In addition to the Icon Wines, there were also wines from their Aconcagua Costa and Aconcagua Alto ranges. The tasting was held at Oretta Restaurant in downtown Toronto and featured a unique food pairing with each of the 10 wines that were available for tasting. I didn't try any of the food items (since my focus was on the wine), but was told by a few others in attendance that the food was quite delicious and paired really well with the wines.

Most of these wines are available at the LCBO, but you can also reach out to Dandurand or Galleon Wines to purchase the Las Pizarras Icon Wines, back vintages, or other wines from the Errázuriz portfolio.

Errázuriz - From the best land, the best wine.

Tasting Notes:

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $69.95
From a 5 hectare plot on the Aconcagua Coast estate. The shy nose has a nutty profile with some passion fruit, ripe and slightly baked apple, citrus and vanilla nuances. It is medium-full bodied with lively, fresh acids that are well-balanced with nutty aroma replays. Very nice chalky texture on the palate with nutty aroma replays and touches of vanilla. Cool-climate style. Excellent finish length. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2017 (92 pts)Errázuriz Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2017 (92 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS PINOT NOIR 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $92.95
One of the stars of the tasting. From the cool-climate terroir of the Aconcagua Coast estate that has slate and schist soils. Clean, medium-high intensity aromatics offer elegant spice, red berry, currant, mineral, earth, and hints of tobacco. Nicely textured with fine, elegant tannins on the medium-bodied palate with hints of black tea and spice flavours, plus lovely aroma replays. Lively, balanced acidity lifts the palate. Long, persistent finish. Score: 92 pts

ERRÁZURIZ LA CUMBRE SYRAH 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#579821) (XD) - $90
100% Syrah with lovely white pepper, herbs, dill, meaty, black and blueberry, and spice aromas of medium-high intensity. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with elegant, refined tannins that provide structure. There's nice dark-fruited aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some earthy minerality. Juicy mid-palate with balanced acidity and a nice, long finish. Drinking well now. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz La Cumbre Syrah 2016 (92 pts)Errázuriz Kai Carmenère 2016 (93 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ KAI CARMENÈRE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#055863) (XD) - $150
93% Carmenère and 7% Syrah. This has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of dark berry, tobacco, black pepper, graphite, and cedar oak spice. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with nice peppery replays and well-integrated oak flavours. Structured with supple tannins and balanced acidity add to the elegance. Excellent finish length. Score: 93 pts

ERRÁZURIZ DON MAXIMIANO FOUNDER'S RESERVE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#501247) (XD) - $90
This blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenère, 8% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc has a fairly intense, and pleasing nose of currant, cassis, black and blue fruit and oak aromas. It is full-bodied and dense with very good fruit concentration on the palate with big tannins that are integrating nicely. A touch drying with succulent, mouth-watering acids and lovely aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent finish length. Should age gracefully for 10-15 years. Score: 94 pts

Errázuriz Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve 2016 (94 pts)


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  • Sunday, March 17, 2019

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2017 (Greece) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious white wine from the volcanic soils of Santorini, Greece - more on this coming soon.

It is produced by the Union of Santorini Cooperatives, SantoWines that was founded in 1947. Today, it consists of the largest organization of the island representing 1,200 cultivators with the goal of producing quality products (wine and other products) while also safeguarding the local traditional cultivations.

The grapes for this lovely white wine come from the villages of Pyrgos & Imerovigli, on the island of Santorini, at an altitude of up to 400 metres, and vine age ranging from 20 to 60 years old. It was vinified using the classic white wine method - destemmed, juice has skin contact for several hours, and finally fermented and raised completely in stainless steel tanks.

The 2017 vintage of this lovely white wine celebrates 50 years of Santo Wines. It is a General List product at the LCBO and is readily available across Ontario - click on the 6-digit product code below to find a location near you.

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SANTO SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#459032) (XD) - $23.30
Clean, medium-high aromatics offering lemon and lime citrus, herbs, and a fine saline minerality. The rich, medium-full bodied palate is dense, structured, and even a bit chewy, with nice aroma replays of lemon citrus, herbs, and yellow fruit backed by lovely saline mineral flavours. Nicely textured with bracing acidity. Fine mineral and lemon citrus notes linger on the long finish. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, March 15, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Australia) - Wine Review

yummy red wine from Australia is returning to LCBO VINTAGES on . It is the latest in a series of wines I've reviewed from Wakefield Wines over the past year.

Wakefield Wines have been crafted by the Taylor's family for three generations. Australia's iconic wine regions provide great diversity. The Jaraman range of wines are created from parcels of fruit that showcases the regions distinctive characteristics and style.

In 2015, Coonawarra experienced an excellent start to the growing season with average winter rainfall ensuring good soil moisture. However, Spring was not typical as it was very dry and one of the region's warmest, with conditions remaining this way through December. In January, there were some refreshing rains, while the Summer growing season was a classic with warm days and cool nights, leading to a long and cool ripening that is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the Clare Valley, there was slightly higher than average rainfall leading up to the 2015 vintage. However, there was very little rainfall afterwards, making it the driest August ever recorded. In addition to an extremely dry Spring, it was also warm and windy, leading to higher water loss. This resulted in smaller bunch numbers. Rains in January provided a welcomed relief for the vines, and helped increase yields and quality.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (76%) and Clare Valley (24%). Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose is very minty with thyme and herbal aromas layered on top of ripe blackberry, red fruit, and oak spice notes. It is full-bodied and quite dense on the palate with firm tannins. Blackberry, mint, and oak spice flavours with high acids freshening the palate. Dry and chalky on the long finish with more blackberry, mint, and oak spice flavours. A big, enjoyable Aussie Cab that should be better in 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carménère 2012 (Chile) - Wine Review

lovely red wine had been sitting in my cellar for nearly 5 years and, according to my notes, was reaching full maturity. It was purchased from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Of course, the 2012 is long gone from stores, but the 2016 is available for purchase at $20.95.

Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carménère 2012 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

PÉREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION CARMÉNÈRE 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#670539) (XD) - $19.95
Hand-picked blend of 93% Carménère, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot from the piedmont stony soils of the Fundo Liguai de Huelquen vineyard. Maturing reddish-brown colour. Lovely, fragrant aromatics from the glass with herbally, olive tapenade, savoury earthy characters and subtle oak spice. It is full-bodied on the palate with suave, silky smooth, and finely-grained tannins. Nicely textured with well-balanced acids, A touch warm on the mid-palate. Mature flavours of tilled earth, dark berry, leather, oak spice with hints of dried berries and floral, all of which linger on the long, slightly chalky finish. Fine, mature wine that should drink well for another 1-2 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Monday, March 11, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Mar. 16, 2019: Southern France + Spirits

LCBO Wine Picks: March 16, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features the sunny wines from Southern France as the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at fine spirits made with either grape or grain. All of these wines, plus many others from this Release should be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at wines from Southern France, a sunny area that stretches along the Mediterranean from the Spanish border to Nice. Of the eleven wines featured, five delicious wines are included among my top wine picks. The "DSM" wine is a blend of 30% Syrah, 27% Carignan, 23% Grenache, 14% Carignan, and 6% Lledoner Pelut from fairly old vines and altitudes 600 to 1300 feet above sea level. The Bastide Miraflors is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, while the Tautavel consists of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 10% Carignan. The rosés from the South of France are also famous, as is the version from Gérard Bertrand that consists of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, and is now a VINTAGES Essentials listing. Lastly, the bubbly is a dry sparkler made with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Mauzac.

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)1879 Boutari Legacy 2007 (93 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a Merlot dominated blend from Bordeaux, while the Super Tuscan from Italy is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. Single varietal wines include an excellent Xinomavro from Greece and a Shiraz from South Africa. From Australia, there's a lovely high-end Shiraz, as well as a nice Cabernet Sauvignon.

Barossa Valley Estate E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 2014 (93 pts)Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from this Release, the only blend is from Portugal and it consists of Antão Vaz, Arinto and Alvarinho. The rest are all single varietals, including lovely returnees to VINTAGES - a Chardonnay and Riesling from Ontario.

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2016 (93 pts)Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations this from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • FIRRIATO CHIARAMONTE NERO D’AVOLA 2015 - IGT Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#121145) (D) - $15.95
  • DUNCAN SAVAGE UNTAMED SHIRAZ 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#634659) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU HOURTOU CÔTES DE BOURG 2015 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#630038) (XD) - $18.95
  • HEARTLAND WINES HEART & SOIL SHIRAZ 2014 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#632539) (XD) - $19.95
  • BASTIDE MIRAFLORS SYRAH/VIEILLES VIGNES GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#320499) (XD) - $19.95
  • SOUS LA MONTAGNE DSM VIN D’ALTITUDE 2016 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#647925) (XD) - $20.95
  • WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VIGNERONS DE TAUTAVEL LES VINGT MARCHES TAUTAVEL 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#645358) (XD) - $29.95
  • POGGIO VERRANO DRÒMOS 2010 - IGT Maremma Toscana, Italy (#107383) (XD) - $43.95
  • 1879 BOUTARI LEGACY 2007 - Naoussa, Greece (#590497) (XD) - $60.00  FE  93 pts  wine review
  • BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE E&E BLACK PEPPER SHIRAZ 2014 - Limited release, Barossa Valley, South Australia (#731620) (XD) - $89.95  93 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • HERDADE DO ROCIM MARIANA BRANCO 2017 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#631507) (XD) - $13.95
  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646307) (D) - $18.95
  • TE AWA LEFT FIELD PINOT GRIS 2017 - Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#630525) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#462614) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (XD) - $29.95  93 pts  wine review
  • SAINT CLAIR WAIRAU RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#415653) (XD) - $32.95
  • DOMAINE LAROCHE LES VAUDEVEY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#416057) (XD) - $38.95
Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review

Sparkling Wine:

  • ANTECH EXPRESSION BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2015 - Traditional method, AC, Languedoc, France (#068239) (XD) - $19.95

Fortified:

  • QUINTA DO CRASTO VINTAGE PORT 2015 - Bottled in 2017, DOP, Portugal (#644880) (375 mL) (S) - $29.95


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  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019

La Prua Appassimento 2016 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious red wine that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mare Magnum, a fairly new wine company that produces wine not only in various parts of Italy, but is also involved in winemaking in various other parts of the world. Takis Soldatos and Mario Calzolari are the leaders behind Mare Magnum, and they have worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years. Together, they strive to produces wines that are outstanding value-for-money in an attractive and innovative package.

La Prua Appassimento 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA PRUA APPASSIMENTO 2016 - IGT Rosso Veneto, Italy (#530543) (D) - $15.95
100% Corvina grown on the cool climate volcanic slopes of Monte Lessinis. A large part of the grapes were dried for three weeks. Aged for 8 months in French oak barrels. The medium+ intensity nose is spicy and earthy, layered on top of bright cherry and chocolate aromas, with hints of smoke. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins with just a touch of chalkiness, and fresh acids. Blackberry, cherry, and mocha chocolate flavours with some oak undertones. Some sweetness arrives on the mid-palate. Chocolate and dark berry notes close out on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, March 2, 2019

Rockway Vineyards Brut Cuvée (Niagara) - Wine Review

sparkling wine review is the latest from a recent string of lovely wines I've enjoyed from Niagara's Rockway Vineyards.

Sparkling wine is a category gaining in popularity as more and more people drink various types of bubbly from around the globe. The biggest reason for this is that people aren't just uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine for special occasions, but also for everyday drinking. There is no celebratory occasion happening at my place tonight, other than opening this delightful Niagara bubbly.

This sparkler is the very first Traditional Method Sparkling Wine crafted by Rockway Vineyards and is indeed a very fine bubbly. David Stasiuk is the talented winemaker at Rockway. He used fruit (67% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir) that was hand-picked in early September during the 2015 vintage. The cuvée was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks without malolactic fermentation. Secondary fermentation in bottle occurred using tirage in March 2016, and lasted 6-8 weeks. It was bottle aged for 32 months on lees before being disgorged. Dosage was with wild barrel fermented estate Chardonnay.

This delicious bubbly is available through their retails store in Niagara, as well as their online web store.

Rockway Vineyards Brut Cuvée (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS BRUT CUVÉE - Méthode Traditionnelle, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
A blend of 67% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Noir aged on the lees for 32 months. Fragrant lemon citrus, ripe green apple and brioche aromas emanate from the glass. It is medium-bodied with crisp, bright acids, fine bubbles and a slightly creamy texture. A touch honeyed on the palate with more lemon citrus, green apple and brioche notes. Nicely balanced with more green apple and lemon flavours on the long finish. Score: 90 pts


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