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  • Friday, July 10, 2020

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge 2015 (Loire) - Wine Review



wine review is a lovely Pinot Noir from one of my favourite producers of Sancerre that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - with plenty still available for purchase throughout the province.

It is made by Jean-Max Roger, a family-owned winery that comes from a long line of winegrowers from the village of Bué dating back to the early 17th century. Jean-Max Roger took over from his parents in the early 1970's, and in 2004, two of his three sons, Etienne and Thibault, returned to the estate after working abroad. His third son, Xavier, has a passion for wine and works in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Today, the estate covers 26 hectares in the Sancerre AOC, all located along the Loire River.

The name "La Grange Dîmière" refers to one of Bué's ancient tithe barns. The ancestors of Jean-Max Roger used this barn for making their wine and today it remains the oldest part of the winery. This Sancerre Rouge is made with Pinot Noir grapes grown in the villages of Bué, Sancerre, and Amigny, on flint and limestone soils called Caillottes & Terres Blanches (Kimmeridgian marls) with south western and south eastern exposures. The vines are 25 to 40 years old and tended to using organic principles, handpicked and sorted, then fermented using natural yeast. Approximately 20-30% of the wine was aged in 300 L oak barrels, while the remainder was aged in stainless steel tanks where it underwent malolactic fermentation, with a total ageing time of 10 to 15 months. I recall enjoying the 2013 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge a couple of years ago and am expecting this vintage to be even better due to the legendary quality of the 2015 Loire vintage.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROUGE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#539858) (XD) - $29.95
From the great 2015 vintage, this Pinot Noir has a pretty, pale ruby colour and the medium-high intensity nose leads with stony-smoky minerality, followed by red berry, cherry, and currant aromas, with subtle florals. It is light-to-medium bodied on the spicy, red fruited, cherry, and currant palate with elegantly structured tannins. Acids are nice and fresh, while the stony-smoky mineral notes come to the fore on the long, juicy finish. Enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 91 pts

Other wines from the fabulous Jean-Max Roger collection can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Tuesday, July 7, 2020

July 11, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Old World vs. New World + Cool-Climate Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks: July 11, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming July 11, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release is a duo-thematic release, with the first feature comparing some of the wine world's most well-known grapes that were born and bred in the Old World (i.e. Europe) with their transplanted versions in the New World. The second theme of this release is the annual look at cool-climate Chardonnay. All of the wines from this release should be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that compares wines from the Old World versus those made with the same grapes in the New World. Of the fourteen wines featured, only the New World Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is included among my top wine picks.

The secondary theme of the release focuses on cool-climate Chardonnay wines from a few cool-climate regions across the world. Eleven wines are featured as part of this theme and three are included among my wine recommendations. First up are a pair of outstanding Chardonnays from Niagara, while the third wine is a lovely old vines Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy. Buying all three and trying them side-by-side would make for a lovely evening.

Le Clos Jordanne Le Grand Clos Chardonnay 2017 (93 pts)

From my red wine recommendations, the Chianti Classico (which is also the Wine of the Month) is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 4% Merlot, 3% Canaiolo, and 3% Cabernet, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape consists of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Mourvèdre. The Bordeaux red consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, while The Trinity Red Blend is also predominantly Merlot. Single varietal wines that should please your palate include an Australian Shiraz, a Malbec from Argentina, and a Pinot Noir from New Zealand.

Clos Bel-Air 2016 (89 pts)Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2015 (89 pts)

Shanahans Silence Is Golden Shiraz 2016 (89 pts)Alamos Selección Malbec 2016 (88+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, the only blend comes from South Africa and it consists of 80% Chenin Blanc and the balance Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Verdelho, Clairette, Chardonnay, Colombard, and Viognier. Single varietal wines include a lovely Pinot Grigio from northern Italy, as well as a highly-ageable Marsanne from Australia. The Savoie is made with Jacquère from old vines. There is also a nice barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc - called Fumé Blanc - from Niagara. For sweet wine lovers, look for the Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Alois Lageder Dolomiti Pinot Grigio 2018 (90 pts)Tahbilk Marsanne 2019 (89 pts)

Leeuwenkuil Reserve White 2017 (88+ pts)Lakeview Cellars Fumé Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release!

Red Wine:

  • ALAMOS SELECCIÓN MALBEC 2016 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#322800) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#18721) (XD) - $18.95
  • WATERKLOOF SERIOUSLY COOL CINSAULT 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#15595) (XD) - $19.95
  • TRINITY HILL THE TRINITY RED BLEND 2015 - Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#551630) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOS BEL-AIR 2016 - AC Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#633040) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SHANAHANS SILENCE IS GOLDEN SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#13031) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION PINOT NOIR 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#285361) (XD) - $24.95
  • TENUTA PERANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#10360) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AP, Rhone, France (#62711) (XD) - $51.95
  • MASSOLINO BAROLO 2016 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#11205) (XD) - $61.95

White Wine:

  • PERCEVAL ABYMES OLD VINES SAVOIE 2018 - AC, France (#14956) (XD) - $17.95
  • TAHBILK MARSANNE 2019 - Certified carbon neutral, Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#11954) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LEEUWENKUIL RESERVE WHITE 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#14937) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • ALOIS LAGEDER DOLOMITI PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige, Italy (#681429) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • RAPAURA SPRINGS RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Sustainable, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#388421) (XD) - $21.95
  • DR. HERMANN KINHEIMER HUBERTUSLAY RIESLING KABINETT 2018 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#15290) (S) - $21.95
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE VIRÉ-CLESSÉ 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#648576) (XD) - $31.95
  • TRIUS SHOWCASE WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017 - Oliveira Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#199273) (XD) - $36.95
  • DEUX ROCHES VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2018 - AP, Burgundy, France (#488825) (XD) - $42.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE LE GRAND CLOS CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184549) (XD) - $44.95  93 pts  wine review

Rosé Wine:

  • TROUPIS FTERI AGIORGITIKO/MOSCHOFILERO ROSÉ 2018 - IGP Peloponnese, Greece (#15139) (XD) - $16.95
  • SOTO MANRIQUE NARANJAS AZULES GARNACHA ROSÉ 2018 - DOP Cebreros, Spain (#15377) (XD) - $16.95


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  • Sunday, July 5, 2020

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte e Concerto Lambrusco 2018 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely Lambrusco sparkling red wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Medici has been producing top-notch Lambrusco and other quality wines for more than a century. The story begins in the late 19th century, when Remigio Medici founded a wine cellar between Via Emilia and the first of the hills in the Enza Valley to make use of the family vineyards. Remigio's son, Ermete, expanded the business and helped develop the reputation for producing quality wines before handing over the company to his sons Valter and Giorgio.

Today, the fourth generation of the Medici family runs Medici Ermete, owning 75 hectares of land spread across the wine growing region of Emilia-Romagna, in the north-eastern part of Italy. Medici's success can be attributed to many years of experience and knowledge that have been passed down each generation, along with creating a close link between each vineyard and the winery. They also have a rigorous selection of grapes that are grown in harmony with nature and the environment. Combined with skilful vinification techniques using new machinery, Medici produces wines of unprecedented quality.

This particular sparkling wine is from the Lambrusco Reggiano DOC - the largest of the 8 Lambrusco wine regions. It is made with Salamino grapes that were grown on clayey soils and was naturally fermented into this tasty sparkling wine.

It is widely available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario. It is also available, along with other wines from Medici Ermete, through Profile Wine Group's new website.

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte e Concerto Lambrusco 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MEDICI ERMETE & FIGLI ARTE E CONCERTO LAMBRUSCO 2018 - DOC Reggiano Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#208967) (D) - $19.95
Made with the Lambrusco Salamino varietal, this has a rich array of berry aromas including red berry, raspberry, boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry, and cherry notes. The medium-bodied palate is fresh with bright acidity. Nicely balanced red and dark berry replays on the flavour profile with fine, beady mousse that livens the palate. Finely textured with a touch tannic of grip and mineral on the long, juicy finish. If you've never tried Lambrusco, make this your first. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, July 3, 2020

Argento Rosé 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, dry rosé from Argentina that is widely at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Bodega Argento was established 1998 in a building that housed a winery since 1970. It is located in Cruz de Piedra - the historic heart of wine production in the traditional Maipú wine region in Mendoza, and is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, as well as offering views of the Andes mountains in the distance. The name of the winery, 'Argento', translates to silver in Latin, and relates strongly the silver thread of tradition that runs through the veins of the country, while also paying homage to Argentina's long history of crafting precious wines.

With more than 284 hectares of certified organic vineyards, Bodega Argento is one of Argentina's largest organic producers. Sustainability has been a top priority since the beginning as they use recycled glass and special water treatments, among the many sustainable initiatives. Argento makes a wide portfolio of wines from not only from Maipú, but also from their vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo, the Uco Valley, and in Eastern Mendoza. Some of these wines can be found through their agent's new website - Profile Wine Group, or at the LCBO.

Argento Rosé 2019 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ARGENTO ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#13245) (XD) - $10.95
Screw cap. This Syrah-based blend has fresh aromas of red berry with touches of melon and sea breeze rising out of the glass. The medium bodied palate is dry and spicy with lively acidity and more red berry and melon flavours, plus touches of blood orange. Good length on the lip-smacking finish with touches of saline. A nice rosé to cool down with for under $11. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, June 27, 2020

LAN Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely follow-up to the 2016 LAN Crianza that I enjoyed last month. The 2012 LAN Reserva arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on when it was featured as part of the theme on Spanish wines, and is widely available across Ontario.

Bodegas LAN was founded in 1972 and is widely known for producing quality wines using their innovative hybrid barrels. These unique barrels have French oak bases and American oak staves and are used throughout the range of wines at LAN, including this Reserva which spent 18 months in these oak barrels. The American oak staves add vanilla characters to the wine, while the French oak bases add touches of spice.

This red wine is a blend of mainly Tempranillo and some Mazuelo, with the grapes coming from select vineyards in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones that have an average age of more than 25 years. The 2012 vintage was characterized by high temperatures and an absence of rain, leading to small yields overall - uncharacteristically the fifth straight year of having a small vintage. On the bright side, the resultant small berries helped create wines of high concentration and tannins. According to the back label of the bottle, this Reserva reached its peak in 2017 and will continue to be in its peak drinking window until 2024, then slowly start its descent to full maturity in 2032. Let's see how this bottle is tasting tonight...

LAN Reserva 2012 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#42929) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 92% Tempranillo and 8% Mazuelo that spent 18 months in hybrid barrels, and a further 20 months in bottle prior to release. The medium+ intensity nose leads with oak-driven earthy, savoury, and vanillin woodspice aromas, followed by some red cherry, and dark berry notes. It is medium-full bodied on the spicy palate, offering cherry, vanilla, woody, earthy, and chocolate flavours with touches of dark berry. Fresh acids liven the palate, while the refined, dusty tannins have a touch of grip. Earthy wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Other wines from the Bodegas LAN portfolio can be ordered through Profile Wine Group. They recently launched their brand new website with online ordering.


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  • Thursday, June 25, 2020

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (Campania) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine made with Aglianico from Campania. This bottle was so popular when it arrived in VINTAGES in May 2019 that the LCBO decided to bring it back for another round this year. As such, this Aglianico is coming to the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Nativ, a winery founded in Campania in 2008 and focused on making typical wines of the region. Each wine from Nativ has a unique character - produced through the use of innovative winemaking techniques, while also respecting tradition. The grapes are grown on their own lands which are known for their particular fertility thanks to the presence of volcanic soils, extending for about 15 hectares between Paternopoli and Taurasi. In particular, the grapes Nativ focuses on are Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, Aglianico, and Aglianico of Taurasi.

The Aglianico grape was introduced to Campania by the Greeks along the Tyrrhenian coast (the western coast of Italy) sometime around the 6th or 7th century B.C. It is one of Italy's oldest grape verieties. The grapes for this Aglianico come from within the town and commune of Paternopoli, which is in the province of Avellino in Campania. They were grown on hilly soils of predominantly volcanic and clay-limestone, rich in minerals, at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level.

I've enjoyed other wines from Nativ previously, including most recently their 2018 Nativ Greco di Tufo, and am sure this will also be delightful. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

NATIV RUE DELL'INCHIOSTRO AGLIANICO 2017 - IGT Campania, Italy (#631606) (D) - $19.95
This Aglianico was raised completely in tank, followed by a short time in bottle prior to release. The medium+ intensity aromas are fresh and fruity with inky dark fruit, dark berry, and sweet spice flavours flecked with black pepper and savoury undertones. It is medium-full bodied on the slightly sweet palate with delicious ripe dark berry fruit flavours with some raisin, savoury, and peppery spice notes adding interest. Acids are fresh and lively while tannins are refined and dusty. Fruity with subtle savoury mineral notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, June 24, 2020

June 27, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Summery Food Wines + Italian Whites

LCBO Wine Picks: June 27, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the June 27, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on Summery Food Wines when Dining Out at Home, while the mini-theme takes a look at crisp white wines from Italy. All of the wines from the themes, as well as the rest of the Release will be on shelves by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that focuses on wines to enjoy when Dining Out at Home. It's a big theme with nineteen wines featured and five included among my top wine picks. For lighter meals, try the Morgon from Beaujolais that is made with Gamay, or the always-lovely Chenin Blanc from South Africa, or the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. For casual sipping, try the Brut Trento Traditional Method Sparkling Wine from Italy that is made with Chardonnay, or the organic dry Rosé from Niagara that is predominantly Pinot Noir.

Invivo X by Sarah Jessica Parker Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

If you didn't know by now, there's so much more to the world of Italian white wines beyond Pinot Grigio. Featured in this Release as part of the theme are seven wines from seven different grapes - none named Pinot Grigio, and three of these wines are included among my top wine recommendations. First up is a Vernaccia di San Gimignano - a wine made with the Vernaccia grape from the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. There is also a Falanghina from Campania, while the Gavi di Gavi is made with the Cortese grape from Piedmont.

Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2018 (89 pts)

There are plenty of lovely red wines to choose from the rest of the Release. We begin in Spain, with the Rioja consisting of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, and 10% Mazuelo, while the Portuguese red is a blend of mostly Grand Noir, followed by Trincadeira and Aragonês in support. From France, the Languedoc wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Carignan, while the Côtes du Rhône-Villages is an organic wine made with 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. From Italy, both the Chianti Classico and Brunello wines are made with pure Sangiovese. Other single varietal wines include a lovely Pinot Noir from New Zealand, as well as an Aglianico from Campania that sold out very quickly when it appeared in VINTAGES last Spring.

Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2009 (90+ pts)Whitehaven Pinot Noir 2016 (90 pts)

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines. The Muscadet is made with Melon de Bourgogne. There is also a lovely Chardonnay and a dry Riesling. For those that prefer sweeter wines, try the off-dry (Old Vines) Gewurztraminer from Alsace, or the very sweet Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2018 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LES DARONS 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#448464) (XD) - $16.95
  • JOSÉ DE SOUSA 2016 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#494153) (XD) - $17.95
  • ROMAIN DUVERNAY VISAN 2017 - AP Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#13321) (XD) - $19.95
  • NATIV RUE DELL'INCHIOSTRO AGLIANICO 2017 - IGT Campania, Italy (#631606) (D) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • G. MARQUIS THE SILVER LINE PINOT NOIR 2018 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#258673) (D) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE NATURALISTE DISCOVERY SYRAH 2017 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#632596) (XD) - $24.95
  • CHÂTEAU DU CHATELARD CUVÉE LES ROCHES MORGON 2017 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#558528) (XD) - $24.95
  • WHITEHAVEN PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#532929) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • RIOJA BORDÓN GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#114454) (XD) - $27.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • ANTINORI BADIA A PASSIGNANO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#384552) (XD) - $48.95
  • CERBAIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#652446) (XD) - $66.95

White Wine:

  • LA FORTEZZA TABURNO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2018 - DOC, Campania, Italy (#527630) (XD) - $15.95
  • LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#363150) (XD) - $16.95
  • POGGIO ALLORO VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO 2018 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#14025) (XD) - $17.95
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2019 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95
  • HUNAWIHR KUHLMANN-PLATZ VIEILLES VIGNES GEWURZTRAMINER 2018 - AC Alsace, France (#169474) (D) - $19.95
  • VON SCHUBERT MAXIMIN GRÜNHAUS MONOPOL RIESLING 2018 - Qualitätswein, Mosel, Germany (#14797) (XD) - $19.95
  • FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI 2018 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#366948) (D) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • INVIVO X, BY SARAH JESSICA PARKER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#14278) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • KANZEMER ALTENBERG RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#15292) (S) - $27.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#616466) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review

Rosé Wine:

  • HUGH HAMILTON THE FLOOZIE SANGIOVESE ROSÉ 2019 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#558106) (XD) - $18.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2019 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#68833) (XD) - $24.95
  • LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2019 - AC, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $24.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • ROTARI PLATINUM LABEL BRUT TRENTO 2014 - Traditional method, DOC, Trentino, Italy (#15679) (D) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING 2015 - Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#423111) (D) - $34.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DRAPPIER BRUT NATURE PINOT NOIR CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#179275) (XD) - $62.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON BRUT ROSÉ VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, Champagne, France (#91777) (XD) - $347.95  FE
Château des Charmes Blanc de Blancs Sparkling 2015 (90 pts)


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  • Sunday, June 21, 2020

Palatine Hills Vidal Icewine 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

To cap off Ontario Wine Week, I opened this lovely Icewine . I purchased this Icewine from the winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake when I visited the region back in during the annual Niagara Grape & Wine Festival. At the time, this 200 mL bottle was on promotion for $20.

It also showed up at the LCBO last year at the same price as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Although it is long gone from LCBO shelves, it is still available for purchase at the winery.

Palatine Hills Vidal Icewine 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALATINE HILLS VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada (#614842) (S) (200 mL) - $24.95
Gorgeous, fragrant nose of apricot, honey, and orange with touches of citrus, burnt orange, marmalade. It is medium-full bodied with lovely apricot, honey, and burnt orange flavours on the palate, albeit fading slightly. Has very good acidity. Notes of orange and honey linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoy over the next 1-2 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2009 (Spain) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2013 Rioja Bordón Reserva, wine review is another lovely red wine from Bodegas Franco-Españolas that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Bodegas Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890 in the aftermath of the French wine industry's most devastating incidents - the phylloxera plague - when Bordeaux winemakers affected by the plague departed for Spain in search of the country's best soil and climate to continue their winemaking traditions. The name comes from the fact that it was founded by Frenchman Frederick Anglade Saurat and Spanish partners to become Bodegas Franco-Españolas. By 1922, the winery became entirely Spanish-owned.

The grapes for this Gran Reserva come from vineyards in the 3 sub-areas in Rioja - Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental - each having different soil types, and located on northward-facing slopes in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. After careful selection of the fruit, the bunches are de-stemmed and lightly pressed prior to alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in new and second-year medium-roasted white American (Ohio) oak barrels for 30 months, with decanting every 6 months to facilitate the natural filtering process. It then stays in the bottle for 36 months for refinement. Bodegas Franco-Españolas is proud to age all of their wines longer than legally required by Rioja wine law.

This Gran Reserva takes me back to a wine tasting I had the honour of attending back in October 2015, where I had the opportunity to taste many back vintage Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva wines - the oldest being a 1982 Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva. Today, the wines of Rioja Bordón are represented in Ontario by Churchill Cellars.

Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2009 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

RIOJA BORDÓN GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#114454) (XD) - $27.95
A blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, and 10% Mazuelo that was aged in white American (Ohio) oak barrels for 30 months. Medium-high intensity aromas offer cherry, wood spice, tobacco, chocolate, and leather with touches of barnyard. It's full-bodied on the palate with pleasing savoury aroma replays joined by some clove flavours. Acids are well-balanced, while textured tannins have integrated into the wine quite nicely. The long finish is savoury with earthy, wood spice and barnyard notes. A nicely maturing Rioja that has the structure to enjoy over the next 5+ years. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Thursday, June 11, 2020

Domaine La Décelle Réserve Valréas 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

lovely red wine from Rhône is featured as the "$17 Solution" in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. It is a new arrival at the LCBO and will be on shelves across Ontario by this .

It is produced by Maison LAVAU, a negociant winemaker whose wines I've enjoyed many times over the years. The story of the Lavau family begins with its passion for wine and love of terroir in 19th Saint-Émilion and continued into Tunisia where René Lavau and his son transformed a small estate of vines and orange trees into the country's largest wine producer. In the 1960s, Jean-Guy Lavau (René’s grandson) and his wife Anne-Marie returned to France and took charge of a small winemaking cellar in Sablet, in the heart of the Rhône Valley, eventually becoming Maison LAVAU in 1965. Frédéric and Benoît Lavau joined the team 30+ years later at their family winery and LAVAU has since become one of the most renowned and respected names in Rhône Valley winemaking.

This particular red wine comes from Domaine de la Decelle, an 82 hectare site that Frédéric and Benoît Lavau acquired in 2010 after they were convinced of its great potential. The Domaine is located in the heart of the Enclave des Papes, in the village of Valréas. The Enclave des Papes is a small part of the Vaucluse situated in Drôme provençale. The history of the Enclave is closely linked to that of the Popes of Avignon and began over 700 years ago when the lone estate in the area was purchased by Pope John XXII in the year 1317. Legend has it that Pope John XXII, returning from Lyon after his election and feeling very weary, took a glass of Valréas wine and was restored to full health. He then annexed the land that had produced this miraculous wine, so he would have permanent access. This became the Papal Enclave, and Valréas remained the capital until the French Revolution of the late 18th century. The vineyards were awarded Côtes du Rhône-Villages Valréas status in 1967.

The site where the Grenache and Syrah grapes for this wine are grown sit at a latitude and altitude that give it unique climatic conditions which are perfect for creating structured, complex, and fresh wines. The grapes are grown on south- and west-facing slopes as high as 320 metres above sea level, thus benefiting from a cooler climate. This also allows for wide diurnal temperature variation between day and night, which in turn helps the grapes ripen slowly and develop tannins.

Domaine La Décelle Réserve Valréas 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RÉSERVE VALRÉAS 2017 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#14391) (XD) - $17.00
This 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah was grown on clay-limestone soils and aged for 6 months in used French oak barrels. Lovely, complex, southern Rhône nose of blackberry, plum, and peppery spice mingling with garrigue, lavender, purple fruit, and some meaty notes. Smoky mineral notes develop with time in the glass. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with ripe, elegant tannins that have a touch of grip. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the flavours are more red fruited and a touch candied on the flavour profile with raspberry, spice, and meaty flavours which linger through to the long, meaty and smoky mineral finish. Recommended buy to enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020

June 13, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Spain + California

LCBO Wine Picks: June 13, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The first theme of the upcoming June 13, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on wines from Spain, while the second theme looks at wines from California. As the weather warms, the slew of rosé wines also start appearing in VINTAGES shelves, as you'll find in this Release. All of the wines from this Release will be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at wines from Spain, of which there are nine wines featured and four are included among my top wine picks. Up first is a lovely Rioja red wine that is a blend of 92% Tempranillo and 8% Mazuelo that was aged for 18 months in hybrid barrels made of French and American oak. Also from Rioja is a barrel-fermented white wine made with Viura. Outside of Rioja, there is a nice Albariño from Rías Baixas in northwestern Spain. Lastly, there is a nice Cava sparkling wine that is made with 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada.

LAN Reserva 2012 (90+ pts)Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva Brut Cava (90 pts)

From the theme on California wines, there are ten wines featured, but just one is included among my top wine recommendations. Fortunately, it is a sub-$20 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County that will probably fly off the shelves.

Among my red wine recommendations, we begin in Portugal with a traditional red blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barroca. Meanwhile, the Côtes du Rhône-Villages is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. From Tuscany, the Chianti Classico is made with 100% Sangiovese. Novel grapes that we don't see much of in Ontario include Xinomavro from Greece, Areni from Armenia, and Grignolino from Piedmont.

Crasto 2018 (89 pts)Lornano Le Bandite Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)

Domaine La Décelle Réserve Valréas 2017 (90 pts)

All of my white wine picks from the rest of the Release are single varietal wines. Among them are a pair of Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand, and a Hunter Valley Semillon from Australia. There are also a pair of barrel-fermented whites, including a Chenin Blanc from South Africa, and a Torrontés from Argentina. For sweet wine lovers, look for the off-dry Riesling from Niagara, or take the sweetness up a notch with a Gewurztraminer from Alsace.

Bellingham The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2017 (90 pts)Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Riesling 2018 (90 pts)

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

Among my dry rosé wine picks, the rosé from Provence is a blend of 53% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 14% Grenache, 9% Mourvèdre, 7% Ugni Blanc, and 2% Rolle, while the Tavel consists of 45% Grenache Noir, plus Clairette, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and other varietals completing the blend.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RÉSERVE VALRÉAS 2017 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#14391) (XD) - $17.00  90 pts  wine review
  • CRASTO 2018 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#81588) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • ACCORNERO BRICCO DEL BOSCO GRIGNOLINO DEL MONFERRATO CASALESE 2018 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#426635) (XD) - $19.95
  • KIR YIANNI CUVÉE VILLAGES XINOMAVRO 2017 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#14151) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHATEAU ST. JEAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#38034) (D) - $19.95
  • VOSKENI ARENI DRY RED 2016 - Vayots Dzor, Armenia (#14674) (XD) - $23.95
  • LORNANO LE BANDITE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#230672) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • LAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#42929) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • LE RICHE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#13355) (XD) - $26.95

White Wine:

  • VIÑA REAL FERMENTADO EN BARRICA BLANCO 2018 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#14056) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAWSON'S DRY HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#214460) (XD) - $17.95
  • PAZO DE VILLAREI 2018 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#14054) (XD) - $18.95
  • PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2018 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (M) - $18.95
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE BARREL FERMENTED TORRONTÉS 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#384339) (XD) - $21.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (D) - $27.95  90 pts  wine review
  • BELLINGHAM THE BERNARD SERIES OLD VINE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#12724) (XD) - $29.95  FE  90 pts  wine review
  • TYRRELL'S BELFORD SEMILLON 2017 - Single vineyard, Hunter Valley, South Australia (#14322) (XD) - $46.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L'ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2019 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU D'AQUÉRIA TAVEL 2019 - AC, Rhône, France (#319368) (XD) - $24.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • SEGURA VIUDAS HEREDAD RESERVA BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#558825) (D) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review


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  • Friday, June 5, 2020

Château Le Grand Moulin Collection Grande Réserve 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious red wine from Bordeaux. It is a new arrival at the LCBO as part of the VINTAGES Release and is also featured in the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine.

This red wine is produced by the co-operative winery Vignobles Gabriel & Co., a company founded in 1904 when Gabriel Bruneteau founded Domaine du Grand Moulin at Saint Aubin de Blaye, about 50 km north of Bordeaux in the heart of the Blaye vineyards. In 1921, with a passionate interest in wine and people, Gabriel created the forerunner to the Vignobles Gabriel & Co. enterprise.

After Gabriel's passing, the vineyard dwindled and changed over the years, but finally recovered four generations later when Jean-François Reaud, the great grandson of Gabriel Bruneteau, inherited the estate in 1985. There were only 7 hectares of vines at the time, but he reorganized, modernized, and expanded the winery to cover 25 hectares by the end of the 1990's, eventually becoming Château Le Grand Moulin. Further development increased the size of the estate to the 81 hectares it is today, and to further meet consumer demand, Jean-François formed partnerships with several neighbouring producers and winegrowers on the Right Bank to collectively promote their wines. Being sensitive to the environment, Jean-François also owns Château Les Aubiers which has 25 hectares of organically-farmed vines.

With lots of bottles available throughout Ontario, it will be very easy for you to get your hands on this wallet-friendly Bordeaux.

Château Le Grand Moulin Collection Grande Réserve 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU LE GRAND MOULIN COLLECTION GRANDE RÉSERVE 2016 - AC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, France (#11326) (XD) - $17.00
An estate grown blend of mostly Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec in support, and aged in cement vats. Generous, nicely ripe, and fruit forward aromas of dark currant, blackberry, cassis, mint, and spice with touches of earthiness lift out of the glass. The medium+ bodied palate has nice balanced aroma replays supported by refined, textured, and gritty tannins, and balanced acidity. The finish is a touch drying, with savoury and earthy flavours, and very good length. Enjoy now or cellar for a couple of years and drink into the later part of this decade. This is very good Bordeaux! Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Michel Gassier Château de Nages JT White 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely organic white wine from Rhône that most recently came to LCBO VINTAGES on and is still readily available across Ontario.

It is produced by Château de Nages, a winery in Costières de Nîmes, within the southern Rhône Valley that I had the pleasure of visiting in May 2018. In fact, I recall tasting this delicious wine when I visited the winery.

For the Gassier family, the story of Château de Nages begins when Joseph Torrès, Michel Gassier's great grandfather, purchased the southern Rhone estate during World War II. Upon Joseph's passing, his son-in-law, Alfred Gassier inherits the property while remaining in Algeria with his wife. However, his four children reconstruct their lives in France with his eldest son, Jean Gassier, arriving first and restoring the badly neglected farm. Alfred's second son, Roger Gassier, arrives soon thereafter and revives Château de Nages, eventually passing along the magnificent vineyard and exceptional winery to his son, the highly-acclaimed winemaker Michel Gassier.

The JT White is dedicated to visionary founder Joseph Torrès and uses Roussanne and Viognier grapes that come from their very best parcels in the extreme north of the appellation where the terroir consists of grès (rolled pebbles) from the Rhône River over red clay soils rich in iron. There is also some Grenache Blanc in the blend, and all of the grapes were grown according to certified organic farming techniques, with a particular attention to soil health. The fruit was manually harvested and underwent natural yeast fermentation in French oak barrels, followed by some lees ageing prior to blending and bottling.

Having tasted this particular vintage on at least three separate occasions over the last few years, I am curious to see where this barrel-fermented white wine is in its evolution. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Michel Gassier Château de Nages JT White 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MICHEL GASSIER CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT WHITE 2015 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#485854) (XD) - $26.95
This barrel-fermented blend of 64% Roussanne, 20% Viognier, and 16% Grenache Blanc pours a medium yellow gold and has medium+ intensity aromatics featuring rich and complex notes of lemony, waxy, paraffin, butter, and pear with touches of saline. It's full-bodied on the rich palate with buttery, pear, lemon, herb, slightly smoky wood, and leesy flavours followed by touches of saline. It's nicely textured with very good acidity, but also shows some heat on the mid-palate. Long, smoky finish with touches of saline, lemon, and pear. Enjoy now, nicely chilled. Score: 90 pts


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  • Saturday, May 30, 2020

Cave de Tain L'Hermitage Cornas Arènes Sauvages 2005 (Rhône) - Wine Review

For wine review, I was going through my cellar and found this nugget that I acquired back in . Looking back on my tasting note from 2013, I mentioned that it would hold for another 5 years, so I am now 2 years beyond and hoping that this beautiful Cornas Syrah is still drinkable.

Founded in 1933, Cave de Tain is a pioneer and leader in the northern Rhône with its prestigious cru wines, sustainable viticulture, and conservation of their unique varieties. Knowledge has been passed down over four generations of winegrowers and today they are led by a team of young winemakers who have a desire to craft wines that express the diverse terroirs. Cave de Tain is recognized today as a jewel in the crown of the northern Rhône Valley.

Cave de Tain is located between Valence and Lyon, laying at the foot of the Hermitage hillside. Cornas - meaning "burnt earth" in Celtic - is a cru located little south of the winery, on the right bank of the Rhône River on the border of the northern Rhône Valley, and is one of 5 cru wines that Cave de Tain produces.

There is evidence that winemaking existed in Cornas dating back to the 10th century. The first terraces and "chaillées" (or walls) go back even further to the times of the Romans. In 1938, Cornas was awarded AOC status. Today, the vineyards in Cornas are abrupt, south-facing slopes that form a natural amphitheatre, protecting the vines from cold winds. This unique location also means that the Syrah grapes ripen early and are the first to be harvested in the northern part of Côtes du Rhône. The soil in Cornas is mainly made up of decomposed granite, resulting in clayey and sandy surfaces, while the foothills of the steep slopes are rich in clay. Cornas is one of the smallest appellations of the Rhône Valley, and all wines from this cru must be made with 100% Syrah.

This wine has showed up in LCBO VINTAGES previously, but newer vintages are more frequently found at the SAQ in Quebec. The agents representing this wine are Noble Estates Wines & Spirits in Ontario and Divin Paradis in Quebec. Let's see how this 15 year old red wine is tasting tonight...

Cave de Tain L'Hermitage Cornas Arènes Sauvages 2005 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE TAIN L'HERMITAGE CORNAS ARÈNES SAUVAGES 2005 - AC, Rhône, France (#11099552) (XD) - $51.50
This northern Rhône Syrah was grown on steep terraces with granitic sand and aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Pours deep garnet colour. Fragrant, perfumed nose is full of savoury, leathery, and sweet spice aromas along with touches of dried berry, plum, and violet notes. It's savoury on the medium+ bodied palate with more leathery, spice, and dried berry flavours. Mature, supple tannins have nicely integrated while acids still have some zip. Some warmth on the mid-palate continues through to the long, savoury, spiced, and a touch gamey finish, with excellent length. A joy to sip. Drink now. Score: 90 pts

Tasting note from 2013:

Lovely meaty, dark fruit aromas waft from the glass. On the palate it has purple fruited, oak, and dark fruit flavours with touches of raisiny characters. Long and smooth on the finish with hints of violet throughout. It has chalky tannins and could still be aged another 5 years. Score: 91 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice follow-up to the delicious 2018 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico that I enjoyed a couple of weekends ago. Like the Chianti Classico, this Chianti is a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and widely available for purchase in-store across Ontario.

Rocca delle Macìe was established in 1973 by film producer Italo Zingarelli to fulfill his life-long dream. It was established on a solid base of ethical values constructed by Italo and today is run by his children Sergio, Fabio, and Sandra, to become one of the largest wine producers in Italy.

Sustainability is a key pillar of Rocca delle Macìe as they continue to implement agronomic techniques that are geared not only towards constantly improving the products, but also towards respecting the environment. Some of these practices include integrated pest management, streamlining the consumption of non-renewable resources, avoiding non-essential waste of natural resources, and limiting human activity on the equilibrium of the ecosystem. By using high-precision viticulture, Rocca delle Macìe is able to make winemaking rational and sustainable, while at the same time enhancing the land. With this in mind, Rocca delle Macìe still aims to express the very best of the vine and terroir, and achieve products of the highest quality.

In addition to producing wines from the Chianti Classico and Maremma zones, Rocca delle Macìe also produces wines thanks in part to collaboration with old and new Tuscany producers in other zones such as Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Bolgheri, San Gimignano, and Orvieto. This particular red wine is from the Chianti DOCG from carefully selected and ripened Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes. It is vinified with the latest controlled fermentation techniques and undergoes maturation in oak for a period of two years prior to being released.

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE CHIANTI RISERVA 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#111641) (XD) - $15.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot completing the blend, and aged for 24 months is large oak barrels. Medium+ intensity nose is savoury with currant, plum, red cherry, and earth aromas. It's ripe fruited on the palate with currant, sour cherry, oak spice, and leathery flavours on the medium-bodied palate. Light tannins have just enough texture to keep things interesting, while lemony acids are food-friendly. Savoury, currant, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. A fine, simple Chianti for mid-week drinking. Score: 88 pts


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  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 30, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Australia

LCBO Wine Picks: May 30, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The May 30, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release is another mono-thematic Release and features top wines from the land down under - Australia. All of these wines, including those from the Main Release will be on shelves at the top 100 LCBO stores across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the theme on top wines from Awesome Australia. There are 14 wines featured as part of this theme and 5 are included among my top wine picks. Of course, we all know about Australian Shiraz - and there is one Shiraz (which is also the Wine of the Month) recommended from this Release - but it was quite nice to see a diverse range of other varietals and styles also featured from the Land Down Under, although notably absent are any wines from Tasmania. White wines recommended from Australia in this Release include a fine Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula, and a Hunter Valley Semillon. Red wine picks from Australia include a Bush Vine Grenache and a lovely single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Montalto Pennon Hill Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts)Nugan Estate Alcira Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (91 pts)

Shanahans The Old Dog Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Red wine recommendations from the rest of the Release include a pair of budget-friendly Portuguese reds - the Dão red is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, and Tinta Roriz, while the Douro red is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. From Italy, the Ripasso is a blend of mainly Corvina, with Rondinella, Corvinone, and Oseleta in support, while the lovely Spanish Rioja is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% Mazuelo. High-end single varietal wines include a Barolo made with Nebbiolo, and an organic Brunello that is made with 100% Sangiovese.

Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2014 (91 pts)Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba Barolo 2015 (91 pts)

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2013 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the only a blend is a barrel-fermented white from South Africa that consists of 74% Chenin Blanc, 8% Clairette Blanche, 6% Grenache Blanc, 7% Viognier, 2% Semillon Gris, 2% Viura, and 1% Verdelho. The rest are all single varietal wines such as a trio Sauvignon Blanc wines and a Chardonnay. There is also a nice wine made with the indigenous Coda di Volpe varietal from Campania. For sweet wine lovers, try both Rieslings from Niagara as they are made by the same producer, and if you like very sweet wines, the Riesling Spätlese from Germany will suit your palate.

Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Il Poggio Taburno Sannio Coda di Volpe 2018 (88+ pts)

Arriving with this Release is the much welcomed warm weather, and with that comes a slew of rosé wines. Three rosé wines are among my wine recommendations and all are of the dry variety. The rosé from Niagara is a blend of 65% Cabernet Franc, 27% Gamay, and 8% Pinot Noir. From France, the Tavel is consists of mostly Grenache Noir with Cinsault, Grenache Blanc, Syrah, Bourboulenc, Carignan, and Clairette completing the blend, while the rosé from Provence is a blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, and Merlot.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers and be well!

Red Wine:

  • PEDRA CANCELA WINEMAKER SELECTION RED 2016 - DO Dão, Portugal (#14438) (XD) - $13.95
  • QUINTA DA REDE RESERVA 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#431742) (XD) - $17.95
  • DURIGUTTI CABERNET FRANC 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#14916) (XD) - $18.95
  • SHANAHANS THE OLD DOG SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#13030) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PROVOLO CAMPOTORBIAN RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2013 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#974402) (D) - $19.95
  • RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2013 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (XD) - $20.95  89 pts  wine review
  • YALUMBA SAMUEL'S COLLECTION BUSH VINE GRENACHE 2018 - Barossa, South Australia (#531228) (XD) - $24.95
  • NUGAN ESTATE ALCIRA VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#393686) (D) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2017 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#265074) (XD) - $39.95  FE
  • FONTANAFREDDA SERRALUNGA D'ALBA BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#943290) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • COL D'ORCIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#306852) (XD) - $53.95  91 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • IL POGGIO TABURNO SANNIO CODA DI VOLPE 2018 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#14270) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • VIDAL ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12636) (XD) - $19.95
  • REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2018 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#462614) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TAWSE LIMESTONE RIDGE-NORTH ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#431593) (M) - $21.95
  • WITHER HILLS RARANGI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Single vineyard, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551721) (XD) - $22.95
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2018 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#114777) (S) - $24.95  FE
  • BROKENWOOD SEMILLON 2018 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#657726) (XD) - $27.95
  • MONTALTO PENNON HILL CHARDONNAY 2018 - Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia (#12694) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE 2019 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#556597) (XD) - $37.95  FE
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2018 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $101.95

Rosé Wine:

  • MALIVOIRE LADYBUG ROSÉ 2019 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#559088) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE MABY LA FORCADIÈRE TAVEL ROSÉ 2019 - AC, Rhône, France (#701318) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE DE TRIENNES ROSÉ 2019 - IGP Méditerranée, Provence, France (#409771) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BLUE MOUNTAIN GOLD LABEL BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#206326) (XD) - $34.95  90 pts  wine review
Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling (90 pts)


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