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  • Thursday, August 29, 2019

August 31, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: 90+ Scores + Southern Rhône



LCBO Wine Picks: August 31, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the August 31, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features wines that scored 90 pts or higher, while the mini-theme focuses on wines from the Southern Rhône. As always, there are other delightful wines to choose from outside of the themes. All of these wines will appear on LCBO VINTAGES across Ontario shelves by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at wine scoring and focuses on wines that scores 90+ points. Of the thirteen wines featured as part of this theme, four are included among my top wine picks. From South Africa, the white wine is a blend that consists of 40% Chenin Blanc, 40% Roussanne, 10% Grenache Blanc, 8% Viognier, and 2% Verdelho, while the red wine from South Africa is a blend of 73% Syrah, 16% Merlot, and 11% Petit Verdot. From Bordeaux, the Pauillac red is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot. Lastly, the white Burgundy is a lovely Chardonnay from 60-90 year old vines.

Château La Fleur Peyrabon 2014 (91 pts)Deux Roches Vieilles Vignes Pouilly-Fuissé 2016 (91 pts)

Waterkloof Circle of Life Red 2015 (88 pts)

From the mini-theme on wines from Southern Rhône that features only five wines, four are included among my top wine recommendations. Among the three red wines from Rhône, all are composed of various amounts of Grenache and Syrah - the two primary red wine varietals in Southern Rhône. At the top of the list is a lovely Gigondas that consists of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an early maturing blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah. Lastly, the Vinsobres is a blend of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah. The lone Rhône white wine is a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, and 20% Clairette.

Domaine du Grapillon d’Or Gigondas 2016 (91 pts)Gabriel Meffre Laurus Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 (92 pts)

Courtois La Grange Vinsobres 2015 (89 pts)Les Vignerons du Castelas Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

My top red wine picks include a pair of Chianti Classico wines - the 2014 is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino / Canaiolo / Malvasia Nera, while the 2015 consists of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Also from Italy, the Tornatore is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grown on the northern slopes and volcanic soils of Mount Etna.

Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico 2014 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Côte des Roses White is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Vermentino that comes in the same fancy bottle as their rosé. The rest are all single varietal wines, including the Pouilly-Fumé that is made with Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer sweeter wines, the Riesling should be on your shopping list.

Domaine de Congy Pouilly-Fumé 2017 (90 pts)Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2017 (88+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • COURTOIS LA GRANGE VINSOBRES 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#526632) (XD) - $17.00  89 pts  wine review
  • H J. FABRE RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#646844) (D) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#064618) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • WATERKLOOF CIRCLE OF LIFE RED 2015 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#698175) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#085209) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • TORNATORE NERELLO MASCALESE/NERELLO CAPPUCCIO 2017 - DOC Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy (#487090) (XD) - $24.95
  • VICCHIOMAGGIO AGOSTINO PETRI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#993360) (D) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE DU GRAPILLON D’OR GIGONDAS 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#981787) (XD) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR PEYRABON 2014 - AC Pauillac, Bordeaux, France (#648063) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • GABRIEL MEFFRE LAURUS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhone, France (#699074) (XD) - $55.95  92 pts  wine review
H J. Fabre Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (90 pts)Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2017 (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • SIMONSIG CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#610907) (XD) - $13.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LES VIGNERONS DU CASTELAS CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2017 - AC, France (#142125) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • TAHBILK VIOGNIER 2018 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#271387) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES WHITE 2018 - AP, Languedoc, France (#010621) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • RASCALLION 33-1/3 RPM WHITE BLEND 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#914390) (XD) - $18.95
  • CLOS HENRI PETIT CLOS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#927186) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • NALS MARGREID PUNGGL PINOT GRIGIO 2016 - DOC Südtirol – Alto Adige, Italy (#395756) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE DE CONGY POUILLY-FUMÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#667501) (XD) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DEUX ROCHES VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2016 - AP, Burgundy, France (#488825) (XD) - $41.95  91 pts  wine review
Clos Henri Petit Clos Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2018 (89 pts)

Tahbilk Viognier 2018 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • DELAS SAINT-ESPRIT CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2018 - AC, France (#224964) (D) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • OTT BY.OTT ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#490896) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
Ott By.Ott Rosé 2018 (91 pts)Delas Saint-Esprit Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • PARÉS BALTÀ BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#650648) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • RENÉ GEOFFROY EMPREINTE BRUT 1ER CRU CHAMPAGNE 2012 - AC, France (#665844) (XD) - $69.95  91 pts  wine review
René Geoffroy Empreinte Brut 1er Cru Champagne 2012 (91 pts)Parés Baltà Brut Cava (88 pts)


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  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Les Vignerons du Castelas Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2017 (France) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice white blend from Côtes du Rhône that will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by the co-operative winery Les Vignerons du Castelas that was formed in 1956 by a handful of winemakers that wanted to pool their efforts to make the most of the land and terroir found in the Côtes du Rhône appellation. The winery is located on the right bank of the Rhône river, between Pont d'Avignon and Pont du Gard in Rochefort du Gard. The name of the winery comes from a Romanesque chapel of the XI century that is perched atop the village.

Today, the co-operative consists of more than 500 hectares of vines, the majority within the Côtes du Rhône appellation. Terroir consists primarily of sandy marls from the Pliocene period and terraces with round pebbles from the Villafranchiennes period on the plateau of the Signargues appellation.

Les Vignerons du Castelas Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

LES VIGNERONS DU CASTELAS CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2017 - AC, France (#142125) (XD) - $15.95
This blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Roussanne, and 20% Clairette has a medium intensity and evolving nose of floral, beeswax, peach, citrus, and grapefruit tones infused with tarragon herbs. It is medium+ bodied with 6 to 8 months of lees ageing adding weight and texture to the dry palate. Clean, lively acids are well-balanced. More floral, beeswax, tarragon and lemon citrus notes on the flavour profile that follow through to the finish with hints of mineral and very good length. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, August 26, 2019

Château Hauchat 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

I tasted the 2011 Château Hauchat nearly 4 years ago, and I opened the 2016 vintage of the same wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Vignobles Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils at the Hauchat property that is located on a high plateau in the commune of Saint-Aignan, to the west of of neighbouring Pomerol and Saint Émilion in Bordeaux, France. The vineyard of Château Hauchat is facing south and southwest, ensuring ideal sunshine and perfect drainage conditions, while the terroir is very homogeneous with its clay-limestone soils. Lastly, they only grow one grape varietal at Château Hauchat - Merlot.

The Saby family has been making wine in the region for eight generations, combining century-old knowledge with the advantages of modern viticulture. Today, it is owned by brothers Jean Christophe and Jean Philippe who continue the family tradition and hope to pass it along their own children one day.

Château Hauchat 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT 2016 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#123489) (XD) - $17.95
This 100% Merlot was aged for 15 months in an equal parts new, 1 year old, and 2 year old barrels. Enticing and complex, this has medium+ intensity aromas of spice mingling with ripe dark berry fruit, wood, and hints of vanilla and plum. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark berry, currant, cedar oak, and spice flavours. Acids are juicy while the ripe tannins are quite chalky and a bit tight at the moment. Dark berry, clove spice, and wood linger on the finish, with very good length. I would cellar this for 2 years and enjoy into the mid-20's. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, August 16, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

After having enjoyed the 2015 Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon a few months ago, wine review is the latest vintage that arrives in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is crafted by the Taylor's family that has been making fine wines for three generations. Wakefield Wines produces different ranges of wines, with the Jaraman range falling directly in the middle and created from parcels that offer extraordinary fruit that showcases the varietals distinctive regional characteristics and style.

The 2016 bottling has a bit more Clare Valley fruit than the previous vintage. Perhaps this is due to the fact that even though rainfall was below average, it came at the right time and had a very positive impact on the quality of fruit. The 2016 vintage in Clare Valley is being lauded as one of the great vintages in part due to the timely rainfall, as well as the fact that the vines were stress free heading into winter, and conditions were ideal during flowering.

In Coonawarra, the growing season was drier than usual, and combined with a warmer October, the whole growing season was a couple of weeks earlier than normal. However, berry development and ripening was in line with normal growing seasons, which allowed adequate time for the fruit to develop tannins and complexity. In February and March, temperatures were mild, and the cold nights and warm days delivered an extended ripening period and the longer hang time contributed to a rich, medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with good varietal definition.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (73%) and Clare Valley (27%) that was aged in used oak barrels. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers ripe blackcurrant and cassis aromas mingling with savoury oak spice and hints of herbs and mint. It is medium+ bodied and very spicy on the palate with blackcurrant, chocolate, mint, herbs, and cassis flavours. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the chalky and grippy tannins are tight at the moment. Herb, oak spice, dark berry, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Seems lighter than previous vintage, but tannins needs a good 2-3 years to loosen up. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Closerie des Alisiers Bourgogne Aligoté 2017 (Burgundy) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely white wine that is made using Burgundy's other white wine varietal - Aligoté - and will be arriving on VINTAGES shelves this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Stéphane Brocard, son of famed Chablis winemaker Jean-Marc Brocard. Closerie des Alisiers was founded by Stéphane when he settled in Marsannay (south Dijon) in 2007. In addition to working his own vines in Pommard and in the old wine village of Daix, Stéphane has also been working for years with the same growers and on the same plots for the wines he sources according to his philosophy that focuses on purity, fruit and freshness. He likes to produce genuine wines while having respect for terroir and environment. Stéphane's main objective is to highlight terroirs through the each grape variety.

This white wine was vinified in stainless steel vats and made in order keep in line with his philosophy to preserve the purity of the fruit, minerality and freshness. Ageing for 6 to 9 months and malolactic fermentation also occurred in stainless steel vats.

Closerie des Alisiers Bourgogne Aligoté 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557728) (XD) - $18.95
The medium+ intensity nose offers enticing aromas of apple and lime citrus mingling with flinty minerality. It is medium+ bodied, a touch creamy, and quite fleshy with good fruit concentration on the palate. Nicely balanced with more flavours of apple and lime citrus with a distinct oyster shell note. It has crisp and fresh acidity, while the finish is long and minerally. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August 17, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Argentina + Euro Gems

LCBO Wine Picks: August 17, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release features wines from Argentina for perfect pairings, while the mini-theme focuses on hidden treasures from Europe. All of the wines from the themes, plus the main release will arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features wines from Argentina that will pair perfectly with grilled fare off the barbecue. Of the twelve wines featured as part of the theme, five are included among my top wine picks. The lone white wine is a barrel fermented Chardonnay. Among the red wines from Argentina, there are a trio of lovely Malbec wines that would be awesome to try side-by-side. The last of the reds is a very nice Cabernet Franc. All of these delicious wines should go great with foods made over the barbecue.

El Esteco Malbec 2015 (91 pts)Colomé Estate Malbec 2016 (90+ pts)

H J. Fabre Barrel Selection Malbec 2016 (90 pts)Fabre Montmayou Reserva Cabernet Franc 2016 (90 pts)

Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016 (89 pts)

The mini-theme is titled "Hidden Treasure" and focuses on wines from Europe's up-and-coming and lesser-known wine regions. Of the nine wines featured as part of this theme, three are included among my wine recommendations. The white wine is a dry Grüner Veltliner from the Kremstal appellation in Austria. The first red wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan from Tautavel, an appellation in Roussillon in the South of France. Lastly, from Alentejo in Portugal is an indigenous blend of 45% Trincadeira, 35% Aragonez, and 20% Alicante Bouchet.

Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2016 (89 pts)Carmim Terra Lenta Premium Reguengos 2016 (88 pts)

Winzer Krems Grüner Veltliner 2017 (88 pts)

From my red wine recommendations, the Bordeaux red is made with 100% Merlot, while the Rioja is the Wine of the Month and consists of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano. The rest are all single varietal wines.

Château Hauchat 2016 (88 pts)Hazaña Viñas Viejas 2014 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from this Release, the only blend is from Roussillon and it consists of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Macabeu. If you prefer sweeter wines, the Niagara Riesling will be off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet), while the 2009 Riesling Spätlese from Germany will be fairly sweet and still has all the right elements to continue further ageing.

Dr. Siemens Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese Feinherb 2009 (91 pts)Leaning Post Wismer-Foxcroft Vineyard Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CARMIM TERRA LENTA PREMIUM REGUENGOS 2016 - DOC Alentejo, Portugal (#646083) (D) - $13.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT 2016 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#123489) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET FRANC 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#492736) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • H J. FABRE BARREL SELECTION MALBEC 2016 - Patagonia, Argentina (#114983) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR TAUTAVEL 2016 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#272575) (D) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • WESTMOUNT PINOT NOIR 2015 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#010704) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HAZAÑA VIÑAS VIEJAS 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#648204) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • EL ESTECO MALBEC 2015 - Calchaquí Valley, Argentina (#113191) (XD) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review
  • WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra & Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • COLOMÉ ESTATE MALBEC 2016 - Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina (#477315) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • PECCHENINO SAN GIUSEPPE BAROLO 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#181396) (XD) - $66.95
Westmount Pinot Noir 2015 (89 pts)Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • WINZER KREMS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2017 - DAC Kremstal, Austria (#647735) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2017 - AC, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95
  • EDETÀRIA VIA TERRA GARNATXA BLANCA 2017 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (#105908) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557728) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • MOUNTADAM EDEN VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2017 - Eden Valley, South Australia (#010411) (XD) - 19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • QUAILS’ GATE DRY RIESLING 2018 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#308312) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. SIEMENS HERRENBERG RIESLING SPÄTLESE FEINHERB 2009 - Prädikatswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (#665992) (MS) - $19.95  91 pts  wine review
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2016 - Finca Dominio Gualta, Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#688077) (XD) - $20.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LEANING POST WISMER-FOXCROFT VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#644740) (D) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • LUNAE VERMENTINO 2017 - DOC Colli di Luni, Liguria, Italy (#336644) (XD) - $36.95  FE
Edetària Via Terra Garnatxa Blanca 2017 (89 pts)Mountadam Eden Valley Chardonnay 2017 (89 pts)

Closerie des Alisiers Bourgogne Aligoté 2017 (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ 2018 - AP, France (#450908) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES ROSÉ 2018 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#496919) (XD) - $19.95
  • FLEURS DE PRAIRIE ROSÉ 2018 - AP Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France (#667329) (XD) - $23.95  90 pts  wine review
Fleurs de Prairie Rosé 2018 (90 pts)


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  • Friday, August 9, 2019

Fantini Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Rosé 2018 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is an Italian rosé made with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo that is available in the General List section at the LCBO and widely available across the province.

Vini Fantini is one of a number of wineries that make up the Farnese Vini group. Farnese is a young company has become the leading export company in the South of Italy, producing of over 24 million bottles per year, and garnering many awards over the years.

The refined Fantini wines are made with the best selected grapes coming from the Farneto Valley and other important estates in Abruzzo. The aging process for these wines is completed in the beautiful cellars of the Caldora Castle, a historical building that has a cultural heritage and viticultural traditions of the territory of Ortona, The winemaking team at Fantini is headed by two internationally renowned super-consultants who constantly dedicate their work to the care of each production phase and provide direction to the team of talented young winemakers and agronomists.

This particular rosé underwent soft stalk-stripping and crushing, followed by a brief maceration on skins for approximately 6 hours. It was fermented without skins for 15 days in order to obtain the desired colour and taste.

Fantini Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Rosé 2018 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

FANTINI CERASUOLO D'ABRUZZO ROSÉ 2018 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#635342) (D) - $10.95
Made with 100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and pours a fairly deep red with tinges of blood orange. Ripe red berry, strawberry, and cherry aromas with herbally hints. It's light-to-mid weighted on the spicy palate with more ripe red berry, herb, and white pepper flavours. There's some sweetness, but it hides well due to the lively, food-friendly acidity. Chalky textured on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2018 (Alsace) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely, slightly sweet white wine from Alsace that was recently promoted from General List to a VINTAGES Essentials listing at the LCBO and should arrive on shelves within a week or so.

It is produced Pierre Sparr, from the historic Sparr winemaking family that has been making wine since 1680. In 1785, François Pierre Sparr influenced expanded the size of vineyards. Generations later, Charles Sparr developed the business further by increasing activities with trade and influencing the wine ageing process. Charles' son, Pierre, succeeded his father at the tender age of 20 and became a pioneer of estate bottling of wines in Alsace.

Unfortunately, the commune of Sigolsheim and all of its vineyards were completely destroyed during WWII. However, with courage and determination, Pierre Sparr rebuilt one of Alsace’s most beautiful and prestigious Domaines. With contributions from his sons René and Charles, Vins Sparr continued to grow and develop the business, expanding vineyards and exporting their wines to new markets.

Today, the 9th generation of the Sparr family continues the family tradition of making quality wines using ancestral knowledge and modern technology with passion and emotion. They also respect each varietal's own character that is a special harmony of soil and climate in Alsace. Maison Pierre Sparr is located in the heart of Alsace’s famous vineyard, working on 15 ha of estate vineyards while also sourcing grapes from 130 ha owned by experienced winegrowers.

Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2018 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PIERRE SPARR GEWURZTRAMINER 2018 - AC Alsace, France (#373373) (M) - $17.95
This single-vineyard Gewurztraminer comes from 35-year-old vines that were grown on granitic, limestone, and gneiss chalk & clay soils. Screw cap. Fragrant aromas of lychee, floral, and spice lift out of the glass. The medium+ bodied palate is structured and spicy with very good, mouthfilling fruit. It's medium sweet with nicely balanced flavours of lychee, rose floral, lemon citrus, and touches of honeyed apricot. Acids are lively and fresh, while the finish is long and dry. Enjoy nicely chilled. Recommended buy. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Monday, August 5, 2019

Nederburg The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine review is this casual, fairly easy-drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. It was opened on as the 2017 vintage recently arrived at the LCBO and is widely available throughout Ontario.

The story of Nederburg begins in 1791, when Philippus Wolvaart bought a farm that lay between the Berg and Palmiet rivers for 5600 guilder. Philippus was a man of courage and vision, as well as love for winemaking. With his wife, Margaretha, they nurtured the land together to build a strong foundation on which the success of Nederburg flourished.

Today, Nederburg is one of South Africa’s most awarded wineries, with a prize-winning pedigree that stems from a culture of innovation and disciplined attention to detail. Their portfolio consists of many different lines of wines.

The Winemasters range of wines consist of varietal offerings and named to honour the Paarl winery's long-established tradition of winemaking excellence. These classically styled, food-friendly wines have abundant fruit flavours, elegance and finesse, while treasuring the integrity of the grape in every step of the winegrowing and winemaking process. Every drop aims to demonstrate a commitment to vineyard and cellar skills.

Nederburg The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

NEDERBURG THE WINEMASTERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#111526) (D) - $13.95
The medium intensity nose is herbaceous with green pepper, red and black fruit aromas that are layered on top of cassis, oak spice notes. The medium+ bodied palate has herbally, ripe currant, and dark plum flavours, along with subtle oak spice characters. Acids are balanced while tannins are soft and supple. Finish length is very good. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, August 3, 2019

Bottega Gold Prosecco (Italy) - Wine Review

shiny sparkling wine review was recently listed as a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and is now widely available all year round across Ontario.

It is produced by Bottega, a family-owned, third generation company led by Barbara, Sandro, and Stefano Bottega in Bibano, Treviso, north of Venice, that has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, spirits and food products since 1977. The headquarters are located in a 19th century farmhouse that was renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and is surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards.

Bottega Gold is a premium quality Italian Prosecco characterized by its shiny, iconic metallized bottle, an idea that was conceived by Sandro Bottega in 2000 to create an eye-catching package for their premium quality Prosecco. However, this Prosecco is more than just a fancy bottle.

Even though this bottle is labelled as DOC, the Bottega Gold is actually the higher designated DOCG - where the native Glera grapes used for Prosecco are grown (in a mix of old and new vines) and hand-picked in Valdobbiadene within the heart of the DOCG area. It is labelled as DOC because Italian regulations preclude Bottega’s gold-plated bottle from being labelled as a DOCG.

This Prosecco undergoes a single fermentation, directly transforming the grape must into sparkling wine, followed by a second fermentation in autoclaves (pressurized tanks) with the addition of selected yeasts for approximately 40 days. This unique method is known as the Charmat-Martinotti method and helps preserves freshness and all of the characteristics that the Glera varietal is known for, such as white flowers, green apple, pear and citrus.

Bottega Gold Prosecco (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOTTEGA GOLD PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#621458) (D) - $27.95
Faint aromas of pear, white peach, citrus and floral from the glass. The palate has an initial crispness, giving way to frothy, mouthfilling mousse and flavours of pear, floral, and citrus with just a touch of sweetness. There's good structure and balanced acidity. It's also nicely balanced throughout with lingering citrus notes on the finish that veers towards dry, with good length. A well-made Prosecco that can be enjoyed at the table. Score: 87 pts


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