Showing posts with label 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2013. Show all posts

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  • 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 (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


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  • Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Monday, February 18, 2019

Rockway Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely Icewine that I picked up while visiting the winery in Niagara during the Icewine Festival. This wine continues the string of wines I've enjoyed recently from Rockway Vineyards.

This delicious Icewine is produced by Rockway Vineyards and is a wine I've tasted (and enjoyed) on a number of occasions, including back in . The grapes for this Icewine benefited from early and long freeze cycles that started in late November. Grapes were harvested in the early morning hours of , when the average temperature -10°C.

With only 300 Litres produced (approximately 1,500 bottles of 200 mL) and now 6 years from vintage, I am a bit surprised that this lovely Riesling Icewine is still available for purchase at the winery and through their online web store. It is also currently $10 off, making it one of the better value Riesling Icewines out there.

Rockway Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS RIESLING ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $39.97 $29.97
Gorgeous, aromatic nose offers orange citrus, peach, kiwi, meringue, and honeycomb aromas. It is full-bodied and viscous on the sweet palate with juicy, racy acids balancing the sugar and keeps the wine from being cloying. Sweet, luscious and complex flavours of peach, orange citrus, honeycomb, lime, kiwi, and apple are nicely balanced. Excellent finish length with flavour profile lingering on the long aftertaste. Lots of life in this sweet elixir and will keep for many years. Score: 92 pts


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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

On , I opened up this lovely red wine that was recently featured as an Illustrious Italian wine and released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Palazzo estate, a winery located on the picturesque south-eastern slope of Montalcino at an altitude of 320 metres above sea level that was purchased by the Loia/Palazzo family in 1983. Soon after the purchase, Cosimo Loia and his wife Antoinette Palazzo discovered that some of the land is of Eocene origin, arid and rocky - ideal for planting vines. Today, the estate covers an area of approximately 15 hectares, of which 4 hectares are devoted to vineyards and 3 hectares to olive trees.

In 1986, along with their children they began producing wine. Since the vines were still young, they were devoted to the production of Rosso di Montalcino. But in 1995, the vines reached nine years of age, at which point they could finally harvest the grapes, and after a few years of oak ageing, produce their first vintage of Brunello.

The entire production, including farming, harvesting, vinification, ageing and marketing is managed by the Loia family, along with the help of consulting oenologist Fabrizio Ciufoli. Over the years, the Loia-Palazzo family and cellar has grown, and above all, the quality of the wines - including this Brunello - have achieved a high level of excellence.

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALAZZO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#660746) (XD) - $69.95
Hand-harvested, 100% Sangiovese Grosso that spent 3 years in barrel. Complex, medium-high intensity aromatics offer dark berry, cherry, and mineral aromas layered on top of oak spice and earth. It is full-bodied, spicy and fresh and on the palate with drying tannins. Lovely cherry, leather, oak spice, pepper and a hint of floral on the flavour profile. Mouth-watering acids. Some warmth mid-palate continues through to the long finish, giving way to wood spice, earth, and cherry flavours. Approachable now, but better in a few years and will age for at least a decade. Lovely Brunello! Score: 93 pts


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  • Friday, November 2, 2018

Nativ Bicento 2013 (Campania) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely new wine that arrived as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release that featured some illustrious Italian wines in its main theme.

It is produced by Nativ and was founded in 2008 in the heart of Irpinia, in Paternopoli, Campania (the shin of Italy's boot), by Dr. Mario Ercolino, an internationally renowned oenologist, and Dr. Roberta Pirone, a specialist in food science, with the aim of producing excellent wines from grapes that are typical of the territory.

The name "Nativ" was chosen to represent the origin of the Viticulture of Irpina, through autochthonous production which outlines the concept of "origin of place", and is carried out through the production of wines from indigenous varietals, using vines that are known for their particular fertility in volcanic soils. The winery's precious vineyards span approximately 15 hectares between Paternopoli and Taurasi.

"Bicento" is the name of this important red wine, which translated literally means “twice 100”. It is named as such because the grapes for this wine come from 200-year-old ungrafted vines that are grown on volcanic soils on the Taurasi hills, 500 metres above sea level. These vines are among the oldest in all of Europe!

Nativ Bicento 2013 (94 pts)

Tasting Note:

NATIV BICENTO 2013 - DOC Irpinia Campi Taurasini, Campania, Italy (#575035) (XD) - $41.95
100% Aglianico aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Medium-high intensity aromatics are complex with spicy, blackberry, dark berry, leather, herbs, earth, and a touch of savoury funk. Some smoky mineral notes develop with air. It is full-bodied and concentrated with nicely balanced aroma replays, plus black pepper, fig, and floral nuances supported by fresh, bright acidity to keep things quite light on the palate. Firm, drying, mouth-puckering tannins have a dusty and chalky texture. The finish length is excellent with dark berry, black plum, licorice, and spice flavours. Lovely savoury-earthy character throughout. A pleasure now, but will be better in 5 years as tannins soften and integrate. An amazing wine to enjoy over the next 10-15 years. Buy 4 and enjoy one every 5 years. Score: 94 pts


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  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Henri de Villamont Wine Tasting 2018

Henri de Villamont Wine Tasting 2018

In , I had the pleasure to taste the latest wines from Burgundy's Henri de Villamont with Pierre Jhean, Winemaker and Director at the winery. Having met Pierre and enjoyed the wines from Henri de Villamont in , I was excited to see what he had to offer this time around.

Pierre Jhean, Henri de Villamont
Pierre is always experimenting and trying new strategies and techniques to produce fine wines. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the Macon-Villages was aged with oxygen only and had no barrel contact. Combined with long lees contact, this Burgundian white wine seemed like it saw some time in barrel.

This small, exclusive tasting was held at The National Club, in the Financial District in downtown Toronto and approximately ten people were in attendance. Ten wines were presented at the tasting, and the five below were among my favourites.

For availability of these delicious wines, please click on the six-digit LCBO product code, as some of these may be available at the LCBO or might be arriving soon. Alternatively, you can also contact the Agent Eurovintage Fine Wines & Spirits for availability.

Tasting Notes:

HENRI DE VILLAMONT MACON-VILLAGES 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $21.95
Unique process with long lees contact, oxygen ageing, and no barrel ageing. Fragrant and ripe with nutty, pear, apple, and white flower aromas. The palate is medium+ bodied with nicely balanced aroma replays with some creamy texture. Acids are fresh. Mid-palate just a touch warm. A touch reductive with hints of mineral, while the finish is long and nutty. Score: 89 pts

Henri de Villamont Macon-Villages 2015 (89 pts)Henri de Villamont Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Embazees 2013 (92 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU LES EMBAZEES 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524041) (XD) - $89
Beautiful, gorgeous aromas of sweet nut, lemon citrus and oak emanates from the glass in a nicely integrated fashion. The medium-full bodied is structured with chalky mineral notes, very nice aroma replays. Acids are clean and very nicely balanced. Mouthfeel has finesse. The very long finish is juicy with some nut and earthy notes. Beauty! Score: 92 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT SANTENAY LES CHAMPS-CLAUDE 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $21.95
The medium+ intensity nose is oak spice driven with red cherry, wild berry, and strawberry tones, and hints of earth. The palate is medium-full bodied and ripe with nice aroma replays, if a touch candied. Acids are very good, while the tannins are supple and smooth. Complex, dark berry finish with very good length. Still young, this will drink well to 2025. Score: 89 pts

Henri de Villamont Santenay Les Champs-Claude 2015 (89 pts)Henri de Villamont Savigny-Les-Beaune Le Village 2015 (91 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE LE VILLAGE 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $35
This has a medium-to-high intensity nose that's very savoury with mushroom, forest floor, wet earth, dark berry, and currant aromas. It's medium-bodied with dark berry and well-integrated oak flavours on the palate with refined tannins that gain some grip with time, as well as some chalkiness mid-palate. It has balanced acidity and very good finish length. Score: 91 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CORTON GRAND CRU LES RENARDES 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#561225) (XD) - $104.95
Open and highly aromatic, this offers sweet oak spice surrounded by ripe and perfumed black cherry aromas. The medium-full bodied palate is structured with smooth, refined tannins that have some grip. Very fine aroma replays with sweet herbs, and hints of mineral, cassis, and blackberry joining the fray. Fresh acids lift the palate. Excellent finish length. Elegance in a glass. Score: 93 pts

Henri de Villamont Corton Grand Cru Les Renardes 2015 (93 pts)


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  • Friday, August 17, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 2 of 2)

Huff Estates
Last , I visited Prince Edward County for the very first time. Winery visits occurred over two days, and while the in The County included only visits to two wineries, the featured visits to five wineries. All of the wineries on the second day were situated near the village of Hillier in Prince Edward County. I was very excited to taste the County minerality that the region is so well-known for.

The day began with heavy rains during the visit to Huff Estates. A quick run from the car to their modern, state-of-the-art facility that also includes an Inn, and I was inside their tasting room ready to taste the first wines of the day. One of the more interesting things I discovered here was a delicious Riesling "Verre de Vin" - a single glass of wine enclosed by screw cap in a clear container. Huff Estates is known as a premium, quality wine producer and the wine I was most looking forward to trying was their elegant South Bay Chardonnay, but unfortunately it was sold out. It also seemed like the harsh winters of 2014 and 2015, plus a frost in May 2015 hit them hard as the shelves seemed a little bare, with quite a few wines bearing the VQA Ontario appellation. The wines I did taste were very good, and since this post is focused on Prince Edward County wines, I can tell you that the Cuvée Peter F. Huff (reviewed below) is a lovely sparkling wine from The County. For those heading to Prince Edward County this summer, they have now added a wood-fired pizza oven to their restaurant.

Huff Estates Riesling "Verre de Vin"Norman Hardie Wood-Fired Pizza

The rains continued as we visited the second winery, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard. My research revealed that the pizza at Norman Hardie's is delicious, so we stopped here for lunch and enjoyed the wood-fired pizza inside among the barrels and tanks (instead of on the outdoor patio) because it was still raining. After lunch, I moved upstairs to the tasting bar and tasted some of Norm's latest wines. Once again, not many VQA Prince Edward County wines here as they were sold out, while newer vintages were not yet bottled. However, the quality of the wines I got to taste was very good, as expected.

Stanners Vineyard

Our third stop of the was at Stanners Vineyard, a small family vineyard and boutique winery that was started by Cliff and his son, Colin Stanner. As I headed inside through the side door of the homestead, I found winemaker Colin pouring his delicious wines at the tasting bar. Not many wines were available for tasting, but I was delighted to see mostly County fruit being poured. I tasted through the lineup and was really impressed with The County wines - a Pinot Gris and a pair of Pinot Noir wines.

Lacey Estates

I'd heard many good things about Lacey Estates, the fourth winery of the day, so we made an unplanned stop because we were driving along and it happened to be en route. On this day, they were pouring four wines, and only one was VQA Prince Edward County. However, as I learned, even though the some of the bottles were labelled as VQA Ontario, all of the wines contained 100% Prince Edward County fruit. I really liked a couple of wines, as they were quite delicious, but I had tasted these before. Since I visited at the end of a very busy season, they were sold out of most of their wines, but I do think they have some quality wines worth seeking out.

Closson Chase Vineyards

The last visit of the day was at Closson Chase Vineyards, one of Prince Edward County's wine industry pioneers. I've tasted many delicious wines from their portfolio over the years, but on this day I decided to try only their lineup of Pinot Noir wines. Closson Chase was one of the few wineries in Prince Edward County to use only County fruit in all of their wines that I tasted. The three Pinots I tasted on this day were all top-notch wines. This quality-driven winery, with winemaker Keith Tyers at the helm, produces fine wines across their range and is a must visit for any Pinot Noir or Chardonnay fan.

Closson Chase Pinot Noir Lineup

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with my first ever visit to Prince Edward County while visiting 7 wineries. However, given that there are more than 40+ wineries in the region, and growing every year, another trip to The County is definitely in order. After years of procrastinating about visiting Prince Edward County for many years, I think I want to visit this up-and-coming wine region every year.

Tasting Notes:

HUFF ESTATES CUVÉE PETER F. HUFF 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#198754) (XD) - $40
A sparkling wine made with 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir, this has terrific aromatic intensity with lemon curd, brioche, and pastry aromas in a honeyed profile. It's medium-full bodied with honeyed lemon, grapefruit, and ginger flavours that are lifted by crisp, lively acids. Mousse is very fine and well-balanced. Off-dry flavours linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2011 (91 pts)Huff Estates South Bay Merlot 2015 (88 pts)

HUFF ESTATES SOUTH BAY MERLOT 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
This Merlot spent 20 months in French oak, and it shows with oak-driven, bretty, tobacco, cigar leaf notes sitting atop blackberry and dark fruit aromas of medium+ intensity. On the palate it's medium-full bodied with grippy tannins. It has dark fruits, blackberry, earth, and forest floor flavours along with hints of cola and brambly fruit. It has very good acidity and a long finish. Age this 3+ years and drink to 2024. Score: 88 pts

NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#131169) (D) - $21
The medium+ intensity nose is fresh with citrus, lemon/lime, orange and peach aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with very good acids and nice aroma replays and touches of beeswax and honeysuckle. There's a nice mineral note throughout. Off-dry and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Norman Hardie Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Norman Hardie Calcaire 2016 (89 pts)

NORMAN HARDIE CALCAIRE 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23
With grapes sourced from both Prince Edward County and Niagara, this is a blend of nearly 50/50 Riesling and Chardonnay, plus minute amounts of Pinot Gris, that was co-fermented on the lees. It has elegant, medium-high intensity aromas of orange, lemon citrus, mineral and white peach that also shows up in appealing fashion on the dry palate with a chalky texture. Delicate acids. Nice mineral aftertaste on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29
Highly aromatic and ripe with herbaceous, dark currant, dark berry, blackberry aromas along with leafy, barnyard and oak nuances forming the complex aroma profile. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice, complex aroma replays surrounded by chalky, drying tannins. Acids are clean and well-balanced, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 90 pts

Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Pinot Gris Cuivré 2016 (90 pts)

STANNERS PINOT GRIS CUIVRÉ 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28
Bottled just three weeks prior to my visit, this has pretty tropical fruit, melon, floral, and orange blossom aromas that continue very nicely on the palate. It's dry, focused, well-balanced and has fresh, vibrant acids. Finish length is very good. Score: 90 pts

STANNERS PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#490359) (XD) - $35
Released two months ago, this has a complex medium intensity nose of cherry, currant, raspberry with hints of tea leaf, earth and mushroom. It's light-weighted with smooth, fine tannins and flavours of currant, cherry, beetroot and earth. It has energetic acids and a long, curranty finish. Score: 90 pts

Stanners Pinot Noir 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)

STANNERS BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39
This has a medium-high intensity nose with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and whiffs of herbal leaf and limestone minerality, all of which show up on the nicely balanced palate. The smooth, refined tannins have some structure, while the acids are bright and the finish is long and juicy. Age this another year and drink to 2022. Score: 90+ pts

LACEY CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Medium-high intensity and complex  aromas of dark currant, herbally, blackberry, tobacco leaf, and smoke. It has bright acids on a medium-full bodied palate with very nice aroma replays and tannins that are a touch grippy. Pleasantly savoury on the mid-palate, while the finish is earthy with very good length. Drink over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

LACEY DORLAND RESERVE 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc, this has a medium+ intensity nose of cassis, currants, red & black fruits, cedar oak, and a whiff or dried fruit. It's full-bodied with olive and aroma replays, chalky tannins, and bright acids. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts

Lacey Dorland Reserve 2012 (88 pts)Closson Chase Hillier Pinot Noir 2013 (90+ pts)

CLOSSON CHASE HILLIER PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
Colour turning garnet orange. Highly aromatic and complex with cherry liqueur, oak spice, nutmeg and beet root aromas. It's medium+ bodied with very nice beetroot and cherry dominant aroma replays. Tannins are silky smooth. Still has bright acids. The finish length is excellent. This is showing some maturity, but should continue to drink well over the next few years. Score: 90+ pts

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#145888) (XD) - $29.95
The nose is highly aromatic and fragrant with cherry, strawberry, beetroot and freshly tilled earth notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has very nice aroma replays that are nicely balanced and lifted by fresh acids. It has fine tannins and a very long finish with lingering currant, cherry, raspberry notes with hints of oak spice. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90+ pts

Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noir 2014 (91 pts)

CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
This is a dark Pinot with a highly aromatic nose of dark berries, blackberry, complex oak spices, tea leaf and earthy forest floor nuances that continue on the palate with great complexity. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple, crunchy tannins that have some grip and partnered with juicy acids. The lengthy finish ends with earthy-minerally nuances. Drink to 2024. Score: 91 pts


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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 1 of 2)

Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
During long weekend in October, after many years of procrastinating, I finally managed to get out to Prince Edward County for the first time - ever!

Prince Edward County (a.k.a. The County) is located along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, west of Kingston. Tastings were spread out over two days. Since we were returning from a mini-vacation in Ottawa, I was able to visit only two wineries near the Village of Milford on the first day.

The first stop on was Long Dog Vineyard & Winery - owner of the oldest Chardonnay & Pinot Noir vines in The County, with the oldest vines planted in 1999. I had the pleasure to speak with owner and winemaker James Lahti, who took us into the production facility (a large shed) where all the action happens, including an opportunity to see Pinot Noir grapes undergoing fermentation - fascinating! The next stop was the barrel room where various wines were being aged in French oak. We were able to taste a few barrel samples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - all of which seemed to be coming along quite nicely. We then went to the tasting room to taste through Long Dog's current offering. I thought his Pinot Noir wines were outstanding, as each offered something different. Wine reviews of my favourite wines at Long Dog are posted below.

James Lahti - Long Dog Vineyard & WineryLong Dog Vineyard & Winery - Barrel Room

The second stop was a visit to Lighthall Vineyards to see Glenn Symons and taste a few of his very limited production, quality wines. As I found out when I arrived, production is very limited and wines sell out quickly, as there were only two wines available for tasting, with the four or five other wines sold out. Both of the wines I did try were delicious. Of course, I was disappointed at the lack of availability of the other wines. On the plus side, I also got to taste some of their delicious cheese that they make on-site. Lighthall is Canada's first wine and cheese producer that makes both under the same roof. A return to Lighthall will be necessary, and contacting the winery ahead of time to see what's available is highly recommended.

Lighthall VineyardsLighthall Vineyards

At the suggestion of the June Motel - a lovely, wine-themed motel located in Picton, Ontario, where we spent the night and that I would recommend in a heartbeat - we had dinner at Parsons Brewing Company as well as enjoyed a beer tasting flight. Besides the tasty craft beer and delicious, home-style cooked meal, this brewery/restaurant is ideal for those with young children as there is a playground on-site where kids can go and play while the adults enjoy their food & beverage.

June Motel

June Motel

Parsons Brewing CompanyParsons Brewing Company - Beer Flight

After we checked out of "The June" the following day - we will definitely come back, without the kids - we began another day full of wine tastings. A full review of activities will be posted shortly is now posted here.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines are posted below. To order any of the wines from Long Dog or Lighthall, please contact the winery directly.

Tasting Notes:

LONG DOG BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
Medium-high intensity aromatics are mature in nature with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beet root and baking spice aromas and flavours. It's light-bodied with smooth, fine tannins that are integrated very well. Acids are still quite lively. Whiffs of mineral on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish. Fine, mature Pinot that will continue to drink well for a few more years. Score: 90 pts

Long Dog Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2011 (90 pts)Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2012 (89 pts)

LONG DOG TOP DOG PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $26
From a hot vintage, this has ripe and perfumed cherry liqueur, strawberry, and oak spice aromas of medium intensity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with crunchy tannins that have some grip and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. There's some warmth mid-palate, but is balanced by the concentrated fruit. Long finish. Enjoy with turkey over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts

Long Dog The Otto Pinot Noir 2013 (91 pts)

LONG DOG THE OTTO PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Made only in the best years, this has a lovely, intense red-fruited nose of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with earth and oak spice aromas. It's elegant and focused, with very nice aroma replays on the medium-bodied palate with some creaminess mid-palate. It has clean, balanced acids and fine, structured tannins. Finish length is excellent. Will age gracefully for 6-8 years. Score: 91 pts

LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION SPARKLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#468090) (D) - $20
From Vidal grapes on the Lighthall property in Prince Edward County and made using the Charmat method, this is quite fragrant with lemon/lime, pear, white peach and floral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a light mousse and off-dry aroma replays led by citrus and tropical fruits. The finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2016 (88 pts)Lighthall Ramirez Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

LIGHTHALL RAMIREZ CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From the Ramirez Vineyard in Hillier, this has medium-high intensity aromas featuring pear, apple, and subtle vanilla oak nuances. The medium-bodied palate is creamy with nice aroma replays. Clean acids are slightly tart, but otherwise well-balanced. Touches of mineral on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts


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