Showing posts with label 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2014. Show all posts

First image of this post
  • Monday, October 7, 2019

CVNE (Spain) Wine Tasting with Maria Larrea



On a fine , I had the pleasure of tasting a few wines from Spain's historic CVNE wine company with winemaker María Larrea at George Restaurant in downtown Toronto.

CVNE is actually an abbreviation of Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España, which translates to the Northern Spanish Wine Company. It was founded in 1879 by two brothers in the town of Haro in Rioja, in northern Spain, and has always focused on producing and aging wines. It now comprises of four wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino.

CVNE Wine Tasting with Winemaker María Larrea

Even though the company is officially called CVNE, the producer is more commonly known as Cune (pronounced COO-nay). It was interesting to learn from Maria that the origins of this name are due to a label misprint by the print shop they were using in the early days of the winery's history. The print shop accidentally replaced the "V" with a "U" and the name Cune became quite popular and continues be well-known. Personally, I have always known this producer as Cune.

CVNE garnered its first awards in 1885, and further successes led to the creation of the revolutionary Effel's cellar. The cellar was designed by the famous French architect, Aleixandre Gustave Eiffel, and uses steel trusses running from wall to wall (instead of columns) to support the roof, thus creating a large, open space for the management of the barrels. It was completed in 1909 and is still in use today by Imperial wines.

Imperial wines were first created in 1920 and are some of Spain's greatest wines. The name comes from a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called "Pinta Imperial" or "Imperial Pint". Viña Real wines were also launched at this time. In 1940, the El Carmen winemaking facility became the largest of its kind in Spain and showcased the benefits of using concrete in winemaking.

In 1973, Viñedos del Contino was established by CVNE and the family that owned the Contino vineyard, becoming the first single vineyard site in Rioja. Another first occurred in 1989 when they began using gravity during the fermentation process. In 2004, Viña Real winery was inaugurated by his majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, becoming one of the most advanced wineries in Spain.

Today, the company is still controlled by descendants of the founding family. Maria and I tasted through the three wines listed below and, while all three were enjoyable, we both thought the Imperial Reserva the best. I was also hoping to try the Monopole - Spain's oldest white wine brand that was first introduced in 1915, but unfortunately it was not available for tasting.

Of the three wines I did get to taste, the Crianza and Reserva came to LCBO VINTAGES in and are still available for purchase at the LCBO. Wines from CVNE's entire portfolio can be purchased through their licensed agent here in Ontario, Von Terra. Thank you, Von Terra, for the opportunity to meet Maria and taste these fine wines from CVNE.

Tasting Notes:

CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95
85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo. From a warm year, the medium-high intensity nose is all red berry and cherry with hints of strawberry and wood adding some complexity. It's light-to-medium bodied with medium-level tannins that are smooth and refined. Pretty aroma replays, plus vanilla and coconut flavours on the palate. Acids are very good. Dry, clean, and easy drinking with a finish length that is very good. Score: 88 pts

CVNE Cune Crianza 2015 (88 pts)CVNE Imperial Reserva 2014 (92 pts)

CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo and equal parts Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), and Grenache spent 18 months in (60%) French and (40%) American oak. Lovely, fairly intense nose offers very complex dark berry, black cherry, blackberry, and black plum aromas, with subtle oak, cinnamon, and spice complementing the dark fruits. The medium-full bodied palate is slightly warm, but the very good fruit concentration holds it all together. Very nice aroma replays are well-balanced on the juicy palate. Nicely balanced overall with smooth tannins and a very long, complex finish. Score: 92 pts

CVNE IMPERIAL GRAN RESERVA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (XD) - $69.95
Same blend as the Reserva, this is showing maturity on the nose with complex coffee, oak, tobacco, earthy, and savoury aromas, plus hints of blackberry and dark berry. The medium-full bodied palate has complex aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some dried herb notes. Continues to evolve in the glass. Medium tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Excellent finish length with tobacco and forest floor notes. Score: 91 pts

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 (91 pts)


First image of this post
  • Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (PEC) - Wine Review (Bottle 5)

wine review is the last bottle from a case I ordered through the VINI wine app.

Of course, the 2014 is no longer available for purchase, but a newer vintage of this delightful wine from Prince Edward County's Closson Chase arrived in LCBO VINTAGES in August.

The first bottle of this lovely 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay was opened from in December 2016, while the most recent bottle was opened back in March. I noted in March that I should open the last bottle some time later this year. Well, that time has come...

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95
Pours a mature medium yellow-gold colour. Medium-high aromatics offer mature waxy, lemon oil, and paraffin aromas with hints of oxidized and nutty notes. Gentle acids on the medium-full bodied palate deliver a fleshy mouthfeel. More mature, oxidized flavours mimic the nose, with some lemon citrus notes on the mid-palate. Long finishing with lemon oil and paraffin notes. Still appealing, but definitely on the way down. Drink now. Score: 89 pts


First image of this post
  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious Rioja that came to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty of bottles are still available for purchase across Ontario.

Marqués de Cáceres was founded in La Rioja and Cenicero, within the heart of the La Rioja Alta sub-region in Spain in 1970 by Enrique Forner, forming an historic alliance between a region and an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade for five generations.

After making wine at his own Chateaux's in Bordeaux, he brought the same reformist spirit when he returned to Spain and employed some of the same techniques for success such as vineyard control, grape selection, cold production, ageing in new and semi-new French oak barrels, and long refinement in the bottle. All of this contributes to wines that can show finesse and elegance. Their first wine was the 1970 Crianza which was released to the public in 1975 and offered more fruity notes over wood when compared to classic Riojas of the time.

In the 1990's, a trend for innovation took hold in La Rioja. Young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration, just as Enrique Forner had done twenty years previously, and worked the terroir and vineyards, to obtain profiles that were different to the traditional Riojas. Marqués de Cáceres was advised by Michel Rolland - the most influential oenologist in Bordeaux at the time - and together they were united by a great obsession to create quality wines.

Their single objective at Marqués de Cáceres is to have the best vine growers and vineyards in La Rioja to produce the best wines, an obsession that continues today, led by the fourth generation of this wine family, Cristina Forner. They are also the best-known Rioja in Spain as well as one of the top 50 most admired wine brands globally.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Graciano aged in both French and American oak. The medium intensity nose delivers red cherry/berry notes with hints of dried red fruit, followed by sweet oak spice, herbs, and floral aromas. The medium+ bodied palate is fresh and lively, offering more red cherry, floral, and oak spiced flavours surrounding a savoury, earthy core. Refined tannins offer a nice, dusty texture with a touch of chalkiness. Finish is long and earthy. A satisfying Rioja to enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88 pts


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

16 Mile Cellar Wine Tasting (2019)

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

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

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

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

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

16 Mile Cellar Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (Portugal) - Wine Review

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

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

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

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

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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

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

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

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

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

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

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


First image of this post
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2019

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

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

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

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

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


First image of this post
  • Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely bottle I picked up while visiting Rhône .

It is produced by Pierre Amadieu, a passionate family-owned and -operated winery in Gigondas. Prior to 1929, Pierre Amadieu operated as a private co-operative, selling his wine in bulk. But in 1929, Pierre Amadieu Sr. (grandfather of current owner Pierre Amadieu Jr.) decided to produce Gigondas wines under his own name with grapes coming from 7 ha of vineyards in Gigondas that were passed on from generation to generation. He was the first to write the name of the appellation on his labels and in 1932 obtained a gold medal in the Agricultural Contest in Paris. Pierre Sr. played a decisive role for the appellation, promoting Gigondas everywhere, with wines becoming very much appreciated over time. He was rewarded for his efforts when Gigondas was awarded Cru status in 1971.

This lovely cuvée is called "Le Pas de l'Aigle", meaning "The Eagle Pass", and comes from the highest lands of Gigondas with terroir consisting of limestone and marls of Cretaceous origin. The grapes for this wine are a selection of old vines Grenache and Syrah on northwest facing slopes at 500 metres altitude next to rocky falls. Very low yields allow the terroir to shine in this wine. The Eagle Pass looks like a fascinating place to visit!

For availability of this delicious red wine, please contact Trilogy Wine Group in Ontario, or Balthazard in Québec.

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2014 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PIERRE AMADIEU LE PAS DE L'AIGLE GIGONDAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#354217) (XD) - $38
Hand-harvested blend of old vines Grenache (90%) and Syrah (10%) aged in French foudre for 15 months. The lovely medium-high intensity nose offers spice, blackberry, and smoky minerality notes mingling with hints of white pepper, currant, red berry and a whiff of floral. It is medium-to-full bodied with very good fruit extraction, racy acids and chewy tannins that are integrating nicely. Savoury and woody on the palate with tobacco, red berry, cherry, and raspberry flavours. Somewhat drying and chalky mid-palate. Mineral, dark berry, and wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Enjoyable now, but still a few years away from prime drinking and can be aged for about 10 years. Score: 91+ pts

When I was in Rhône, I also had the opportunity to taste the 2012 vintage of this delicious wine...

PIERRE AMADIEU LE PAS DE L'AIGLE GIGONDAS 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (XD)
Medium-high intensity, sour-edged nose with red berry, cherry, spice, and savoury hints. Medium-bodied with chalky tannins, and more savoury on the palate with earthy, forest floor nuances layered on top of red cherries, with hints of floral and mineral flavours. Acids still fresh. Very good to excellent finish length. Showing some maturity. Score: 91 pts

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2012 (91 pts)


First image of this post
  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mauro Molino Barolo (Piedmont) Wine Tasting

Mauro Molino Barolo Wine Tasting

At the , I was invited to a special tasting of some very fine Barolo wines from Piedmont's highly acclaimed Mauro Molino. The tasting was held at the Fine Wine Reserve on King St. W. in downtown Toronto.

Mauro Molino was born in Piemonte and graduated from Alba Winemaking School in 1973. After a few years of making wine in Emilia-Romagna, he returned to start his own winery in the Langhe following the passing of his father in 1979. His father left him some vineyards, which Mauro then envisioned as an opportunity to embark on a new winemaking career in his beloved homeland. After spending a few years improving his vineyards and cellar, which is built in Annunziata of La Morra, he began producing wines such as the top-end Conca in 1982, one of the Barolo area's smallest and unique single vineyards.

In 2003, Mauro's son, Matteo, joined the company as winemaker, and in 2009 his daughter Martina began working with the commercial aspect of the company. Both graduated from Alba Winemaking School and are an integral part of the winery today.

The family winery continues to produce wines in Annunziata of La Morra, with the utmost respect for traditions. In total, they have 14 hectares of vineyards, 50% of which is planted to Nebbiolo destined for Barolo.

Fernando Burani, Export Manager

Representing the winery at this tasting was Export Manager, Fernando Burani. He graciously poured the first few of the 10 wines that were available for tasting.

Wine reviews of my top 5 wines are provided below. All of the wines available at the tasting can be ordered online via lcbo.com. Thank you Le Sommelier for the invite and the opportunity to taste these fabulous wines.

Tasting Notes:

MAURO MOLINO ROERO ARNEIS 2017 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588755) (XD) - $27.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers appealing notes of papaya, white peach, orange citrus and hints of Flintstone vitamins. It's medium-full bodied on the structured palate with lovely mineral and savoury character joining the ripe fruits. Clean acids and excellent length with a nice minerally finish. Score: 90+ pts

Mauro Molino Roero Arneis 2017 (90+ pts)Mauro Molino Dolcetto Langhe 2017 (89 pts)

MAURO MOLINO DOLCETTO LANGHE 2017 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#588763) (XD) - $21.95
Nice dark berry, floral, mint and tobacco aromas and flavours, with a touch raisiny character on the medium intensity nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins offering nice structure and texture. Very good fruit concentration and a long, balanced finish. Score: 89 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO BRICCO LUCIANI 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588714) (XD) - $82.95
From vines located 270 metres above sea level on compact clay and limestone soils, this has a gorgeous, highly aromatic and pretty nose featuring rose florals, dried cherry, clove, and sweet vanilla oak. It is full bodied with softened tannins that have presence. Very nice aroma replays and well-balanced overall. Classy, elegant, long-lasting finish. My favourite of the tasting. Score: 93 pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Bricco Luciani 2014 (93 pts)Mauro Molino Barolo La Serra 2014 (92 pts)

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO LA SERRA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604065) (XD) - $96.95
From vines located in the highest part of the municipality of La Morra, at 370 to 400 metres above sea level, on calcareous/clayey soils, this has a generous nose of dark berry, blackberry, and oak spice aromas with leafy hints. It's medium-full bodied on the crunchy palate and balanced acids. Nicely balanced tannins gain presence with time. Curranty flavours add complexity on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Still youthful, will be better in 3-4 years. Score: 92 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO CONCA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604073) (XD) - $125.95
The nose seems shy at the moment, offering glimpses of oak spice, dark cherry, cassis and berry aromas. The palate is structured with firm tannins and flavours of mocha, chocolate and red berry notes wrapped around fresh acidity. A big wine that needs 3-4 years to integrate. Score: 92+ pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Conca 2014 (92+ pts)


First image of this post
  • Saturday, September 22, 2018

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review (Bottle 3)

Diving into my cellar, tonight's wine review is bottle #3 from a case I ordered in 2016 through VINI - a wine app that no longer seems to be available. This cool-climate Chardonnay was also came to LCBO VINTAGES this summer on July 8th.

The 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay was drinking exceptionally well when I opened a bottle back in July 2017. Fast forward to this year, I tasted this lovely wine at a trade tasting in the spring and it was showing considerable reductive qualities, albeit still quite pleasing. Let's see how this white wine from Closson Chase Winery - one of my favourite wineries in Prince Edward County, Ontario - is tasting tonight...

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95
Pours a medium yellow gold. Subtle, reductive aromatics offer apple and pear notes, with layers of buttered popcorn, smoke, vanilla and hints of caramel coming through with air. It is elegant on the medium-bodied, maturing and complex palate, with cooked apple, smoke, butter, and pear flavours, along with some stony minerality and hints of lemon. Acids are still quite fresh and lift the palate. Very good length on the stony-lemony finish. A maturing wine to be enjoyed over the next year or so. Score: 90+ pts


First image of this post
  • Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pure Chablis Escape Room Experience - May 2018

Pure Chablis Wine Lineup

Earlier this , I was invited to a very interesting Escape Room Experience that was all about Chablis. The event was held on a fine spring day at Brassaii Restaurant and Lounge in the King West neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, and our team consisted of approximately a dozen members from the local wine community.

After a brief introduction and going over the rules of the game, we were led inside the wine-themed Escape Room. Inside sat a large table with various wine paraphernalia, books, jigsaw puzzles, and other items resting upon it. There were also clues on the walls and around the rest of room to help us in our quest. The end goal was to unlock the combination lock on the bottle of Chablis and reveal the message inside to escape the room. The clock started and we had about 1 hour to solve the puzzle. Solving one clue took us to the next stage of the game, and the previous clue often helped in solving the next puzzle. We did ask for assistance on a couple of occasions - which we were allowed to do as per the rules. A combination of wine knowledge and excellent team work prevailed, as we were able to solve the puzzle with about 15 minutes to spare.

Pure Chablis Escape Room ExperiencePure Chablis Escape Room Experience

Pure Chablis Escape Room Experience

At the conclusion of the game, we "Escaped" to the main dining hall and got to the business of tasting some very fine Chablis, beginning with the 2015 Bouchard Pere & Fils Petit Chablis ($24.95, #051466, 88 pts) as an apertif. We sat down at the long dining table and were led through the tasting by Christian Moreau from Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils, one of oldest and most respected names in Chablis.

Christian actually lived in Canada for 11 years, before returning to Chablis with his Canadian wife and their three sons in 1972. Under the guiding hand of his father Guy, Christian began to learn and master the art of winemaking, and we got to taste an excellent Grand Cru Chablis that bore his name.

After we tasted all the wines, we were offered a lovely spread of appetizers that paired very nicely with Chablis. My favourite was the jumbo garlic shrimp - so yummy that I can't recall how many I had and almost felt like I could skip dinner at home.

In all, we tasted seven wines, and wine reviews of my four favourites are provided below. Thank you to everyone involved with putting on such a fun event with some lovely wines! Santé!

Pure Chablis Wine Tasting

Pure Chablis Wine Tasting

Pure Chablis Wine Tasting

Tasting Notes:

LA CHABLISIENNE CHABLIS LES VÉNÉRABLES 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#215525) (XD) - $26.95
Pleasant medium-high intensity nose leads with limestone mineral aromas followed by clean lemon/lime, citrus zest, and herbally notes. It's medium-to-full bodied on the palate with brightly lit acids and very nice aroma replays. There is some creaminess mid-palate, but is balanced with clean acids. Nicely balanced overall with a long, elegant finish. Classy and refined. Agent: Vinexx. Score: 90 pts

La Chablisienne Chablis Les Vénérables 2014 (90 pts)Domaine de la Motte Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 2015 (91 pts)

DOMAINE DE LA MOTTE CHABLIS 1ER CRU BEAUROY 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524306) (XD) - $42.95
Highly aromatic and richly concentrated aromas of lemon, lime, herbs, and stony mineral. Acids are lively on the full-bodied palate with very nice aroma replays. Mineral character comes for the fore on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish, with excellent length. Will be even better in 2-3 years. Agent: The World Winery. Score: 91 pts

DOMAINE PINSON CHABLIS 1ER CRU MONT DE MILIEU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#700914) (XD) - $52.95
This is a rich and highly aromatic wine with elegant, refined and rope aromas of lemony, stony mineral, lemon oil and citrus. It is full-bodied with bright acids. The palate is a touch on the nutty side, with delicate use of oak. Terrific complexity with flavours of lemon oil and hazelnut that continue through to the very long finish. Should drink well for nearly a decade. Agent: Connexion Oenophilia. Score: 93 pts

Domaine Pinson Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2015 (93 pts)Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2015 (92 pts)

DOMAINE CHRISTIAN MOREAU PERE & FILS CHABLIS GRAND CRU LES CLOS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#042366) (XD) - $82
Highly aromatic on the nose with all kinds of nutty, hazelnut aromas with lemon oil and herbs adding complexity. It's full-bodied on the palate with lovely aroma replays lifted with bright and lively acids. Subtle use of oak is well-balanced. The nutty mid-palate continues through to the long finish with some herbally hints. Agent: Rogers & Company. Score: 92 pts


First image of this post
  • 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


Featured Post

Giveaway - Win Tickets to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2019

Blog Archive

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget




  

Followers

Lists

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