First image of this post
  • Tuesday, April 30, 2019

16 Mile Cellar Wine Tasting (2019)



16 Mile Cellar Wine Tasting (2019)
, I had the pleasure of tasting the latest wines from Niagara's 16 Mile Cellar. I was first introduced to 16 Mile Cellar in 2015 and at that time only tasted their Chardonnay wines.

On this day, I was able to taste their Pinot Noir, as well as their more recent Chardonnays. In the four years since, there have been some changes at the winery. Morgan Juniper is the new winemaker at 16 Mile Cellar. She previously worked at a Niagara's Tawse Winery and Pearl Morissette, in addition to gaining winemaking experience in Australia, Germany, and Alsace. While she did help finish some of the wines we tasted, 2018 was her first full vintage at 16 Mile Cellar.

In addition to Morgan taking us through the wines, Susan Barnacal, President of 16 Mile, was also in attendance and told us quite a few stories. 16 Mile Cellar is a small family-owned and -operated winery that was founded in 2010 by Susan and her husband Joseph Groia. It is located on 16 Mile Creek (hence the name) in St. Catharines, at the base of the Twenty Mile Bench. They farm using organic practices and grow only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In the early years, they purchased fruit for their wines. However, as the their own vines matured, they started using estate fruit beginning with the 2015 vintage for Pinot Noir and the 2018 vintage for Chardonnay.

Many thanks to André Proulx for hosting and the opportunity to taste these delicious wines from 16 Mile Cellar. My wine reviews of four of the wines (the fifth was a Pinot Noir barrel sample) are provided below.

Most of these wines are be available for purchase right now. 16 Mile Cellar is holding their annual Spring Open House this Saturday, May 4th at their winery & vineyard and is sure to be an afternoon of fun with complementary tastings, and much more.

16 Mile Cellar Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:

16 MILE CELLAR REBEL CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#485243) (XD) - $22.95
Medium+ intensity nose has buttery, vanilla, pear and slightly mealy notes with air. On the medium-bodied and creamy palate it has nice aroma replays supported by bright acids. Expresses terroir with mineral, earth, and mealy notes with hints of vanilla on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

16 Mile Cellar Rebel Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)16 Mile Cellar Civility Chardonnay 2015 (89 pts)

16 MILE CELLAR CIVILITY CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
From a few selected barrels, this is a touch mature with pear, apple amd subtle oak aromas, while the palate is medium-full bodied with bracing acidity and minerally, apple, pear, and a touch mealy flavours. Very good fruit concentrations. Long, juicy finish. Score: 89 pts

16 MILE CELLAR INCIVILITY PINOT NOIR UNFILTERED 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Medium-high intensity nose has earthy, cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and oak spice aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with soft, smooth, and refined tannins to go along with red-fruited raspberry, cherry, strawberry flavours and sweet oak spice notes. Long, oak-spiced finish. Various clones fermented separately prior to blending. Score: 89 pts

16 Mile Cellar Incivility Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2014 (89 pts)16 Mile Cellar Tenacity Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2015 (90 pts)

16 MILE CELLAR TENACITY PINOT NOIR UNFILTERED 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
100% estate fruit from Susan's Vineyard. Medium+ intensity nose is all dark berry, blackberry and dark cherry with oak spice aromas that develop complexities with air. It is medium-bodied with very good fruit concentration and pleasingly spicy replays. Bright acids are juicy, while supple tannins are structured. Long, dark berry notes on the finish. Fairly big Pinot, still somewhat young. Drink over the next 5-8 years. Score: 90 pts


First image of this post
  • Sunday, April 28, 2019

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (Portugal) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely 7-varietal blend from Portugal that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

António Ribeiro and his wife Sara Dionísio lead the estate of Casa de Mouraz. In 2000, they left their secure jobs in Lisbon and immersed themselves in what has become a family adventure of sustainable viticulture and authentic winemaking.

Casa de Mouraz is located in the heart of the Dão region and has been farmed by Antonio's family in a holistic and ecological manner for many generations. Antonio is the 4th generation of the family to farm this land. He was born in the granite house that took his father two years to build and sits above the winery. The landscape and terroir where Casa de Mouraz resides has been shaped by its people and geography, with old and new vineyards coexisting alongside pine, oak, chestnut and cork trees in a wild forest. The vineyards are spread over several parcels with granite and clay soils, and altitudes ranging from 140 to 400 metres. In 1997, all of the estate's vineyards gained ECOCERT’s Organic certification. In 2006, they began Biodynamic preparations and practices.

Surprisingly, there are still many bottles available for purchase at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASA DE MOURAZ TINTO 2014 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#456079) (XD) - $20.95
This organic and biodynamic wine is a blend of 7 varietals - Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Água-Santa, Tinta Pinheira and Baga - from different vineyard plots that have granite soil. Grapes were co-fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tank, and 20% was aged for 8 months in used French oak barrels. Complex, medium+ intensity nose has ripe blackberry, earth, spice and twiggy herbal aromas. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with finely-grained, drying tannins and fresh, vibrant acidity that brightens the palate. Nicely balanced flavours of blackberry, currant, cassis, oak, and herbs. Earthy minerality and blackberry notes linger on the long, savoury finish. Score: 90 pts


First image of this post
  • Friday, April 26, 2019

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (France) - Wine Review

red wine review is a new wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - and plenty are still available at your local LCBO.

It is produced by Winerie Parisienne, an urban winery based in Paris that was founded in 2015. Paris was the largest wine region in France in the 19th century. Winerie Parisienne is inspired by the vineyard history of Paris and resurrects the region's history through a winery brand offering quality wines such as the Grisant Red.

Their philosophy is to establish its own signature style in the wine industry, drawing its inspiration from the richness of the terroirs of France. They use a modern approach to winemaking by selecting specific parcels of major vineyards throughout the country.

Additionally, Winerie Parisienne planted 10 hectares of vines on the plain of Versailles in 2017, signing the return of professional viticulture in Île-de-France for the first time since the 19th century. In 2018, they began experimenting with organic vineyard management, with the possibility of converting this vineyard to organic.

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WINERIE PARISIENNE GRISANT RED 2016 - Vin de France (#645341) (XD) - $25.95
A curious blend of Merlot and Syrah that uses grapes sourced from Bordeaux and made under the Vin de France designation. Medium intensity nose offers blackberry, dark berry, and black plum aromas with earthy and meaty undertones. On the medium+ bodied palate it is more red-fruited with raspberry, dark cherry, and plum flavours followed by some earthy notes. Acids are fresh while tannins are chalky and drying. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoyable now with protein, and should be better in 2+ years. Score: 88 pts


First image of this post
  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release April 27, 2019: 2015 Euro Reds + Pacific Northwest

LCBO Wine Picks: April 27, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming April 27, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features European Red Wines from the fantastic 2015 vintage in the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at cool wines from the Pacific Northwest. All of these wines, plus many more will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that features thirteen wines from the 2015 vintage that was a banner year across Europe. In this Release, the emphasis is on wines from France, Italy, and Spain, of which only two are included among my top wine picks - and both are from France. From Bordeaux, the Château Baracan is a blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. From southern Rhône, the Lavau Rasteau is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (90 pts)Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2017 (89 pts)

Roserock Chardonnay 2016 (92+ pts)Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2015 (91 pts)

The mini-theme focuses on wines from the cool Pacific Northwest - namely Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. Of the ten wines listed as part of this feature, three are included among my top wine recommendations. First up are a pair of excellent wines from Oregon - one is a Chardonnay, while the other is a Pinot Noir. My third pick from this theme is a dry Pinot Gris from British Columbia.

The majority of my red wine picks from this Release happen to be single varietal wines. However, the 2009 Bordeaux red is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Merlot, while the 2012 Bordeaux red is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. From South Africa, the Rustenberg is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A Malbec from Argentina, an Australian Shiraz, and a Pinot Noir from Chile are just a few of many delicious wines that can be found among my wine picks in this Release.

Moulins de Citran 2009 (91+ pts)Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2016 (90 pts)Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2017 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietals wines. From Loire, the Muscadet is made with the Melon de Bourgogne grape, while the Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are both made with Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer sweeter wines, then look for the Riesling from Niagara.

Domaine Seguin Pouilly-Fumé 2017 (90 pts) Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (88 pts)

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • RUSTENBERG RM NICHOLSON 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#278390) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU BARACAN 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux-Cadillac, France (#629980) (XD) - $16.95
  • SISTER’S RUN OLD TESTAMENT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#478271) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • COLAB AND BLOOM SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa, South Australia (#632562) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CAVE DU CHÂTEAU DE CHÉNAS MOULIN-À-VENT 2016 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#648477) (XD) - $19.95
Colab and Bloom Shiraz 2016 (89 pts)Sister’s Run Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (88+ pts)

  • LAVAU RASTEAU 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#394650) (XD) - $20.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JIM BARRY THE LODGE HILL SHIRAZ 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#998476) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA PINOT NOIR 2017 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#541151) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MOULINS DE CITRAN 2009 - Second wine of Château Citran, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#633065) (XD) - $29.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CLONAKILLA HILLTOPS SHIRAZ 2016 - Canberra District, Australia (#481861) (XD) - $34.95  FE
  • SOKOL BLOSSER PINOT NOIR 2015 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#748434) (XD) - $37.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU SOCIANDO-MALLET 2012 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#594382) (XD) - $67.95

White Wine:

  • DOMAINE LA HAUTE FÉVRIE SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#390625) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MATAHIWI ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand (#402677) (XD) - $17.00  89 pts  wine review
  • L’AMI DES CRUSTACÉS CLASSIQUE PINOT BLANC 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#644427) (XD) - $17.95
  • SANPAOLO FIANO DI AVELLINO 2017 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#631705) (D) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • MISSION HILL RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2017 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#537076) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#616466) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE SEGUIN POUILLY-FUMÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#637876) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE MARNES ET CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $31.95
  • ROSEROCK CHARDONNAY 2016 - Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#573568) (XD) - $41.95  92+ pts  wine review
Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Sanpaolo Fiano di Avellino 2017 (89 pts)


First image of this post
  • Monday, April 22, 2019

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from the Southern Rhône Valley that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Having enjoyed the 2014 Lavau Rasteau when it came through VINTAGES in , I am excited to try the latest edition of this wine that comes from the excellent 2015 vintage.

The 2015 vintage was wet during the winter and spring, followed by a few showers in June. However the vines were able to withstand the extreme summer droughts due to the water reserves. Ripening conditions were optimal with sunny days and cool nights, accompanied by a light Mistral wind. The harvested grapes showed exceptional concentration and balance, leading to a great vintage.

This red wine is produced by the Lavau family that has been involved in winemaking for several generations and settled in the Rhône Valley in 1964. Today, brothers Frederic and Benoit Lavau are rapidly building a reputation for excellent, value-oriented wines which embody their savoir-faire and respect for terroir. I have enjoyed many of their wines over the last few years.

Grapes for this Rasteau appellation wine come from parcels located near the village, on stony hillsides that are east-facing. The vines are planted on fairly deep and dry, pebbly terrain, resulting in low yields and late ripening.

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU RASTEAU 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#394650) (XD) - $20.95
50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. The complex, evolving bouquet has medium-high intensity aromatics that offer crushed rocks, ground spices, black plum, blackberry, dark fruits, and pepper that surround a meaty and earthy core. The palate is medium-full bodied has fresh acids with refined and textured tannins that offer some structure. Blackberry, pepper spice, garrigue, plum, earthy, and savoury notes on the flavour profile. Minerally and savoury on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 90 pts


First image of this post
  • Saturday, April 20, 2019

Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice organic white wine made with the Melon de Bourgogne varietal that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This Domaine was founded by Sébastien Branger's great-grandfather in 1915. Sébastien became the family's fourth generation of winemakers in 2007 when he began working with his father, Claude Branger, at their family estate, Domaine la Haute Févrie. The estate is located in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, 18 km southeast of Nantes, and has 30 ha of vineyards within the appellation.

Since enjoying the 2014 Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine when it came through VINTAGES in September 2015, it appears as though the winery undergone a slight brand refresh. The 2017 vintage of this wine arrives with a fresh and more modern looking label, and includes Sébastien's name rather prominently. The family has been busy converting all of their vineyards to certified organic - a task that should be 100% complete with the 2019 vintage. They also farm their grapes using biodynamic principles. This particular Muscadet is also now a certified organic wine and comes from plot called the Clos de la Févrie that is located in the hills overlooking the Maine river in Saint-Fiacre, with vines averaging 35 years of age.

Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LA HAUTE FÉVRIE SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#390625) (XD) - $15.95
This organic white wine made with Melon de Bourgogne was hand-harvested and spent 7 months on the lees. In the glass, this offers ripe melon, lemon, pear, and white grapefruit aromas with hints of mineral. The medium-bodied palate has a slight spritz with ripe and honeyed flavours of citrus, grapefruit, herbs, and lemon. Acids are crisp and clean, while the mid-palate brings out stony mineral notes that continue through to the finish, with good length. A fine match for oysters, fish, or what I'll be enjoying it with - boiled lobster. Score: 88 pts


First image of this post
  • Thursday, April 18, 2019

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Malbec that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . I enjoyed the 2014 Chakana Estate Selection Malbec when it came through VINTAGES in October 2016 and am curious to see how this new vintage compares.

This red wine is produced by Chakana Wines. The winery is based in Agrelo, near the centre of Mendoza, and exhibits a winemaking style that promotes minimum intervention by using indigenous yeasts, and minimal use of sulphur and other additives. In 2012, Chakana began converting their vineyards to use organic and biodynamic agricultural practices.

While the 2014 Malbec came from estate grapes grown in Luján de Cuyo, this 2016 Malbec uses grapes from their estate vineyards in Altamira and Gualtallari, a little further south in the Uco Valley.

In charge of winemaking at Chakana is Gabriel Bloise, a member of the new generation of Mendoza winemakers. He has developed his skills in various wine region around the globe and understands that winemaking is a tool to express nature and believes that the best wines are those that hide the hand of its maker to reveal their place, such as this lovely Malbec.

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95
Fermented using wild yeasts, and aged in French oak barrels and concrete vats for 10 months. A minerally, fragrant nose of dark plums, dark berries, wild herbs, smoky mineral, and hints of floral. The palate is medium-full bodied with fresh acidity and nicely textured tannins that offer a touch of grip. Nicely balanced aroma replays come through on the palate, plus hints of white pepper adding complexity. Smoke and white pepper notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


First image of this post
  • Thursday, April 18, 2019

Copain Wines Tasting (California) 2019

Copain Wines (2019)
I had the pleasure of tasting some of the latest fine wines from California's Copain Wines.

Founded in 1999, Copain, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘buddy’ in French, embodies their philosophy that wine enhances life’s most joyous occasions, and is an experience best shared with friends and family. The winery is perched on a hillside overlooking the Russian River Valley and specializes in making single-vineyard wines from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Grapes are sourced from cool-climate vineyards in Mendocino County, the Anderson Valley and the Sonoma Coast.

The Copain portfolio consists of three distinct collections - Tous Ensemble, Les Voisins, and the single-vineyard wines. The "Tous Ensemble" collection, which translates to "All Together", are crafted in an approachable, ready-to-drink style from a blend of fruit sourced from select vineyards within the AVA, and suitable for gatherings with friends and family. The "Les Voisins" wines are nuanced, terroir-driven wines, while the single-vineyard wines are crafted to be savoured many years after release.

In 2016, Copain Wines joined the Jackson Family Wines portfolio, a family-owned and -operated company that crafts award-winning wines of distinct character and quality, with a focus on sustainable viticulture practices, responsible vineyard and natural resource management. The family's collection includes more than 40 renowned brands from across the globe.

My favourites from this tasting were the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines that were classy, elegant, and fresh. The rosé was also nicely dry.

To purchase any of these fine Copain Wines, please contact the agent Halpern Enterprises.

Wine Scores:

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" CHARDONNAY 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $36.75  90 pts

Copain "Tous Ensemble" Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)Copain "Tous Ensemble" Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" ROSÉ 2017 - Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $29.86  88+ pts

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" PINOT NOIR 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $39.71  90 pts

Copain "Tous Ensemble" Pinot Noir 2016 (90 pts)Copain "Tous Ensemble" Syrah 2016 (89 pts)

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" SYRAH 2016 - Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $41.25  89 pts

COPAIN "LES VOISIN" PINOT NOIR 2015 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $54.48  91+ pts

Copain "Les Voisin" Pinot Noir 2015 (91+ pts)Copain "Les Voisin" Syrah 2015 (90 pts)

COPAIN "LES VOISIN" SYRAH 2015 - Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $54.48  90 pts

COPAIN DUPRATT CHARDONNAY 2016 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (#010873) (XD) - $63.37  91 pts

Copain DuPratt Chardonnay 2016 (91 pts)Copain Hawks Butte Syrah 2013 (91 pts)

COPAIN HAWKS BUTTE SYRAH 2013 - Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $64.33  91 pts


First image of this post
  • Saturday, April 13, 2019

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed 2014 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot back in , and I am opening the 2nd bottle that I have in my possession.

This red wine blend is produced by Southbrook Vineyards with grapes coming from the Saunders Vineyard in Niagara. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and ageing occurred in neutral oak barrels. This certified organic wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Although a newer vintage of this wine isn't available, an equivalent in Southbrook's current portfolio would be the 2017 Triomphe Merlot that is available at the winery and through their online web store.

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET MERLOT 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95 Sold Out
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. A blend of 69% Cabernet Franc and 31% Merlot from a cooler vintage that began with the infamous Polar Vortex. Generous aromas are mature with savoury, earthy, and forest floor notes, plus some dried cherry, floral, and herbal spice hints. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with refined tannins that offer a nice chalky texture. More savouriness on the flavour profile with dried cherry, spice, and herbs. Juicy mid-palate with acids a touch sour. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoy over the next 12 months. Score: 88+ pts


First image of this post
  • Friday, April 12, 2019

Sip and Sizzle in Niagara-on-the-Lake 2018

I had a great time attending Sip and Sizzle in Niagara-on-the-Lake , and this annual event is taking place again this May.

Sip and Sizzle features over 20 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake, each offering a unique grilled food item and VQA wine pairing. It is a fun, relaxing, and a great way to discover the Wines of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

In order to attend Sip and Sizzle, purchase your Touring Pass here. This Pass entitles you to one VQA wine tasting and food pairing at each of the 20+ participating wineries during the 4 weekends in May - Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The full list of this year's offerings are now posted and a Designated Driver's Touring Pass is also available.

To have the best experience, I would recommend visiting 6-8 wineries per day. This will allow you to casually visit each winery at a fairly relaxed pace and discover some of their other delicious wines - many of which never arrive on LCBO shelves. This event would also make a great weekend getaway.

Here are some of the highlights from my visit last year:

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES CUVÉE D’ANDRÉE ROSÉ 2016 ($16, #333260, 87 pts) paired with house smoked salmon on an herb scone with cranberry compote. The red berry flavours from the wine complemented the cranberry compote well, while the food-friendly acids in the wine allowed it to be paired with the salmon and scone. Really nice done!

Château des Charmes Cuvée d’Andrée Rosé 2016 (87 pts) with smoked salmon on herb scone with cranberry compoteRavine Gewurztraminer 2017 (88 pts) with Harissa grilled chicken thighs on K2 grain salad


RAVINE VINEYARD ESTATE WINERY GEWURZTRAMINER 2017 ($25, 88 pts) paired with Harissa grilled chicken thighs on K2 grain salad. They actually ran out of the salad, so I ended up getting another serving with the salad while at the tasting bar. An off-dry wine with lemon/lime notes that brought out the lemony notes from the grain salad. The tender chicken was well-made, not spicy, and had subtle smoky flavours that meshed well with the wine.

BETWEEN THE LINES WINERY ROSÉ 2017 ($18, 87 pts) paired with grilled lamb brochette with a tangy herb de provence glaze. A fairly substantial darker rose with a slightly tannic backbone that actually held up well against lamb.

Between The Lines Rosé 2017 (87 pts) with grilled lamb brochette with a tangy herb de provence glazeEastDell Summer Rosé 2016 (86 pts) with strawberry & goat cheese bruschetta on grilled focaccia bread

LAKEVIEW WINE CO. EASTDELL SUMMER ROSÉ 2016 ($15, #560243, 86 pts) paired with strawberry & goat cheese bruschetta on grilled focaccia bread. All candied cherry and tangy citrus that was a fun pairing which complemented the strawberry-flavoured bruschetta.

PELLER ESTATES PRIVATE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 ($23, 88 pts) paired with our house-made lamb and balsamic mint sausage. Nicely done with pepper and spice notes from both the wine and lamb complementing each other, while the full-bodied wine with somewhat big tannins balanced the protein. The sour cream based spread on top was a nice cooling touch.

Peller Estates Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts) with house-made lamb and balsamic mint sausageJoseph's Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Riesling 2014 (85 pts) with grilled sweet heat chicken satay

JOSEPH'S ESTATE PROPRIETOR’S RESERVE RIESLING 2014 ($15, 85 pts) paired with grilled sweet heat chicken satay. The chicken satay was mildly spiced, however, at the tail end there was some spicy heat which would have been better paired with an off-dry Riesling instead of this dry Riesling.

JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE SHIRAZ 2015 ($26, 89 pts) paired with lamb spiedini with fresh ciabatta, pepperoncini and olive oil. This was a nice, peppery pairing with pepper notes from the wine and the lamb complementing each other, and just enough tannins to balance the protein. The pepperoncini also added a nice spicy kick.

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Shiraz 2015 (89 pts) with lamb spiedini with fresh ciabatta, pepperoncini and olive oilStrewn Gewurztraminer 2015 (88 pts) with Sizzling Sampler Trio: Tandoori chicken, grilled pineapple & vegetable samosa

STREWN GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 ($15, #065359, 88 pts) paired with a Sizzling Sampler Trio: Tandoori chicken, grilled pineapple & vegetable samosa. Very intresting to try all three of these bites with a dry Gewurztraminer. The spicy notes from the wine fared well with the tandoori chicken and the samosa, however, the pineapple citrus flavours were stronger than the wine.

NOMAD AT HINTERBROOK TRAVELLER'S RIESLING 2016 ($16, #445775, 88 pts) paired with grilled shrimp with pickled garden root vegetables, spicy citrus, lime and sweet basil. A nice, fresh pairing with balanced acids and slightly sweet citrusy flavours matching the tangy and spicy salad, while the minerality in the wine complemented the shrimp.

Nomad at Hinterbrook Traveller's Riesling 2016 (88 pts) with grilled shrimp with pickled garden root vegetables, spicy citrus, lime and sweet basilPalatine Hills Vidal Icewine 2012 (90 pts) with S'mores Pie

PALATINE HILLS VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 ($20, 200 mL, 90 pts) paired with S'mores Pie: chocolate cream cheese, chocolate graham and toasted marshmallows. A lusciously sweet pairing where the wine matched the sweetness of the dessert, and the acidity in the wine held it all together.


First image of this post
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (Veneto) - Wine Review

red wine was purchased nearly 7 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release that featured wines from Veneto in its main theme. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONTE DEL FRÁ TENUTA LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2008 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#272500) (D) - $15.95
Blend of 80% Corvina Veronese and Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella from the terraced estate of Lena di Mezzo that is an hilly area with tufaceous, clay and limestone soils. Deep garnet colour with a brownish tinge on the edge. Generous aromas are very earthy and savoury in the glass with dirt, tree bark, and touches of dried cherry and floral. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with tobacco and spice flavours, plus some dried cherry/berry and floral notes. Fruit is starting to fade while tannins have softened but leave a chalky and drying mouthfeel. Acids are juicy. Earthy and stony mineral notes linger on the long finish. Quite nice for an 11-year-old Valpolicella. Drink now. Score: 89 pts


First image of this post
  • Monday, April 8, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Apr. 13, 2019: Organic + Bordeaux

LCBO Wine Picks: April 13, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features Organic Wines in its main theme, while mini-theme focuses on wines from Bordeaux's left and right banks. All of these wines, plus many others will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features 16 Organic Wines from around the world, of which 7 are included among my wine recommendations. Both Sparkling Wines are organic, with the bubbly from Chile consisting of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, while the sparkler from Ontario is made with Riesling. Organic white wines include a Torrontés from Chile, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Also, the Lagarde Blanc from Bordeaux is a 60/40 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, while the dry Riesling is from Germany. The lone organic red wine is a Chianti Classico that is made with 100% Sangiovese.

Il Molino di Grace Riserva Chianti Classico 2014 (91 pts)Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Château Les Hauts de Lagarde Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Wittmann 100 Hills Trocken Riesling 2017 (88 pts)

The mini-theme looks at red wines from Bordeaux's left and right banks. Red wines from Bordeaux are quite often blends, with Left Bank wines typically based on Cabernet Sauvignon, while Right Bank wines are typically based on either Merlot or Cabernet Franc. In this Release, there are 8 wines featured and 3 are included among my top wine picks. My personal preference leans towards Cabernet Sauvignon, so all three of my picks from this feature are from the Left Bank. The Médoc is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot, while the pretty 2009 Haut-Médoc is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Last, but definitely not the least, the Pessac-Léognan is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Château La Garde 2015 (92 pts)Château Larose-Trintaudon 2009 (91 pts)

Château Pierre de Montignac 2014 (90 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot blend from Australia, as well as an 87% Tempranillo and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Spain. From South Africa, the Glenelly Red Blend consists of 40% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot, while the M. Chapoutier from Roussillon is a lovely blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 5% Carignan, and 5% Mourvèdre. Lastly, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault.

M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem 2016 (91+ pts)Glenelly Estate Reserve Red Blend 2011 (89 pts)

Ferngrove Frankland River Cabernet/Merlot 2016 (89 pts)La Legua El Transformador Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, all are single varietal wines. Included among them is the Anselmi that is made with 100% Garganega, and the Rochemorin Blanc from Bordeaux that is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. There is also a Chenin Blanc from South Africa and a pair of (oaked) Chardonnays from California.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • FERNGROVE FRANKLAND RIVER CABERNET/MERLOT 2016 - Frankland River, Western Australia (#632638) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LA LEGUA EL TRANSFORMADOR TEMPRANILLO/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - DO Cigales, Spain (#645812) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • HERDADE DA PIMENTA TOURIGA NACIONAL/TOURIGA FRANCA/ALICANTE BOUSCHET 2013 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#445114) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PRIMUS CARMENÈRE 2017 - Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#439356) (XD) - $19.95
  • GLENELLY ESTATE RESERVE RED BLEND 2011 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#652289) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2014 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#382945) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BILA-HAUT OCCULTUM LAPIDEM 2016 - AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Latour-de-France, France (#643239) (XD) - $26.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LAROSE-TRINTAUDON 2009 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#297945) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LA GARDE 2015 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#682617) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#700922) (XD) - $67.95  FE

White Wine:

  • SANTA JULIA ORGANIC TORRONTÉS 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#232694) (XD) - $13.95  87 pts  wine review
  • L’AVENIR FAR & NEAR CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#556365) (XD) - $15.95
  • WITTMANN 100 HILLS TROCKEN RIESLING 2017 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#645176) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LES HAUTS DE LAGARDE BLANC 2018 - AC Bordeaux, France (#387787) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#735043) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ANSELMI CAPITEL CROCE 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#966655) (D) - $26.95  FE
  • CHÂTEAU DE ROCHEMORIN BLANC 2015 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#091371) (XD) - $31.95
  • RAMEY CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#613786) (XD) - $51.00  FE
  • FAR NIENTE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#539130) (XD) - $99.95
Santa Julia Organic Torrontés 2018 (87 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • THREE OF HEARTS ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#552562) (D) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
Three of Hearts Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • KEW VINEYARDS ORGANIC RIESLING SPARKLING 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#645309) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • EMILIANA ORGANIC BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, DO Casablanca Valley, Chile (#536607) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
KEW Vineyards Organic Riesling Sparkling 2017 (88 pts)Emiliana Organic Brut Sparkling (88 pts)


Blog Archive

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget




  

Followers

Lists

OnToplist.com
BOTW Blogs - Vintages Wine Picks and Reviews
My Zimbio
Blogarama - Drinks & Beverages Blogs
Top Wine Sites
Wine blog
RSSChomp Blog Directory