Showing posts with label 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2015. Show all posts

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  • Monday, June 24, 2019

Queenston Mile Vineyard Portfolio Tasting (Spring 2019)



Queenston Mile Vineyard Sparkling Wines
In the , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of one of Niagara's newest and hottest wineries - Queenston Mile Vineyard.

The 50-acre vineyard and winery are located in St. David's Bench in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just 10 kilometres south of the shores of Lake Ontario. This area was formed when glaciers carved out the Niagara Escarpment and arose from the historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois towards the base of the Niagara Escarpment. Today, the escarpment's steep ridge collects winds off the lake and circulates them back over the low-lying plains of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Queenston Mile Vineyard is situated in one of Niagara's hottest sub-appellations, with their Estate Vineyard warming early in the Spring and allowing for an extended growing season. In fact, they have one of the warmest and longest growing sites in the Niagara Peninsula. Soils consist of red sandstone bedrock and rich layers of silty clay and loam.

The people behind Queenston Mile Vineyard are not new to wine. They have also been growing grapes and making wine from this land for over twenty years. For the first ten years, they waited for the vines to mature on this newly planted vineyard so they could see what they truly had to be able to make exceptional wines. During the second ten years, they started to see the special qualities of the vineyard. The result is a house that produces mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir table wines, as well as fantastic sparkling wines.

Rob Power is the man behind Queenston Mile Vineyard. It is a project of passion for him and has been a strong advocate for the advancement of quality and creativity in the Canadian wine industry. He has worked tirelessly to innovate within the Niagara wine industry, producing thought provoking blends and vinifying unique varietals. You may also know him as the winemaker at Niagara's Creekside Estate Winery. During his career, Rob has garnered both critical acclaim and the respect of his industry colleagues as he is widely considered to be one of Canada's top winemakers.

I tasted through the entire Queenston Mile Vineyard portfolio and wine reviews of my favourites are provided below. All of these delicious wines are available for purchase directly from the winery.

Queenston Mile Vineyard Mile Red 2016Queenston Mile Vineyard Sweet Victory Viognier 2017

Tasting Notes:

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD BLANC DE NOIRS 2015 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
100% Pinot Noir that spent 3 years on the lees. Pretty, light-peach coloured with fragrant aromas pastry, lemon/lime citrus and stone fruits. Honeyed with a kiss of sweetness on the palate with lovely aromas replays. It is creamy textured with bright, vibrant acids and a long, crisp finish. Very fine Niagara bubbly. Score: 91+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2015 (91+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#010137) (XD) - $35
From a hot year, this offers subtle ripe apple, pear, and vanilla aromas, with much of the same on the medium+ bodied and fleshy palate. Finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88+ pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2017 - Barrel Fermented, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Bottled a couple of weeks prior, the 2017 offers a lovely, medium-high intensity nose that is clean and lean, with butter ripe apples, elegant pear and vanilla aromas. It is lifted with vibrant acidity on a medium-bodied palate. Nutty notes arrive on flavour profile, along with lovely aroma replays. Long, clean finish. Reminds me of a Meursault. Score: 90+ pts

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
A hot vintage on a hot site, this has a medium intensity nose of stewed red and blackberry, strawberry, cherry, and a touch of nail polish, all of which come through nicely on the palate. Acids are very good, but the tannins are very drying and chalky. Good finish length. I would hold for 2-3 years to let the tannins subside. Score: 89 pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (89 pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2017 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
Slightly darker in colour and more feminine in style than the 2016. This has a lovely medium-high intensity nose of red currant, black cherry, raspberry, wood spice, and hints of earthiness and tea leaf. It is medium-bodied with some astringency to the soft tannins, but otherwise well-integrated. Lovely tea leaf, beet root and strawberry flavours on the palate. Bright acids and very good finish length. Bottled 1-2 weeks ago. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Sunday, June 16, 2019

Château du Vieux Puit 2015 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

To celebrate , tonight's wine review is a nice red wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Jean-Pierre Bouillac, a 3rd generation vine grape nurseryman who followed his father's and grandfather's footsteps after being fascinated by grape varieties since childhood. In 1996, he decided to plant his own vineyard on a 5 hectare plot with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon so that he could produce wine from his own property. This was the beginning of Château du Vieux Puit and Vignobles Bouillac.

The property is named "Vieux Puit" - which translated means "Old Well" - because of an historic well that is situated in the centre of the property. It is shaped like a shell, typical of the style found in the north of the Gironde estuary, and its origin dates back to the 16th century. An image of the old well adorns this bottle of Château du Vieux Puit.

Today, the family property has expanded to 80 hectares of vines in Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. The Bouillac family also has considerable experience with vine nurseries in selecting the right grapes for any terroir, advising some very famous Bordeaux classified Grand Cru 1855 houses.

Château du Vieux Puit 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DU VIEUX PUIT 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux-Blaye, France (#630012) (XD) - $17.95
From a vineyard within the commune of St. Girons d'Aiguevives, a few kilometres east of Blaye, this is a blend of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot from vines that are 20+ years old. Fresh, medium intensity nose of currant, spice, and cocoa accented with herbal and olive notes. The medium-full bodied palate is lush with blackberry and spice flavours, along with hints of black plum, all supported by juicy acids. Structured tannins are somewhat chalky, but approachable. Dark berry and cocoa notes linger on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, June 3, 2019

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine for Pinot lovers that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Spy Valley Wines was founded deep in the Waihopai Valley by Bryan and Jan Johnson in the 1990s, at a time when the Marlborough region was undergoing discovery. They established 180 hectares of estate vineyards on land that was considered too hard, too dry and too unfertile for wine. However, as this wine can attest too, as well as others from Spy Valley that I have tasted in the past, this couldn't be further from the truth.

This family-run winery began with a passion for the land. Today, it remains committed to the land and to the people who tend it, focusing on sustainability to ensure guardianship of the land for generations to come. Since the beginning, Spy Valley has been accredited under the New Zealand Sustainable Winegrowing scheme, an initiative that promotes economically and environmentally sustainable vineyard management that includes their own winery and vineyards, as well as their grower vineyards.

Fun fact: The winery is named after a spy base that is located just down the road from the winery.

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SPY VALLEY PINOT NOIR 2015 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#734681) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. As it warms in the glass, this offers an appealing, medium+ intensity nose of red cherry, black cherry, tea leaf, floral, and subtle oak spice. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with chunky, mouthfilling tannins that have a slightly dusty texture to go along with juicy, balanced acids. Nice black cherry, beetroot, and tea leaf flavours. Hints of mocha on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely bottle that first arrived in VINTAGES nearly , and I am happy to report that this delicious red wine is coming back to LCBO VINTAGES on with a couple of years of bottle age under its belt.

It is produced by Cave de Tain, a large co-operative that was founded in 1933 by Louis Gambert de Loche on the Hermitage slope in northern Rhône. With 1,000 hectares of vineyards that are meticulously maintained in five prestigious appellations - Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cornas, and Saint-Péray - Cave de Tain is the leading producer of Cru wines in the northern Rhône Valley. Even though Cave de Tain is a co-operative, they own all of their vineyards. This allows the winemakers to select and vinify from individual plots to create wines that express their rich, unique and diverse terroirs.

Cave de Tain is a pioneer in areas such as sustainable winegrowing (certified since 2009), conservation of their unique grape varieties, developing winemaking knowledge that is passed down over four generations of winemakers, and investing in cutting-edge tools.

Northern Rhône and the Crozes-Hermitage Cru are famous for its Syrah as the terroir here offers a very rich expression of the varietal. This particular Crozes-Hermitage comes from the multi-faceted terroirs of more than 30 different plots of vineyards. The terroir here consists of predominantly granite soils in a fresher climate in the north, while in the south there are pebbly and filtrating soils of the Rhône and Isère.

Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE TAIN GRAND CLASSIQUE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#572230) (XD) - $24.95
Cool, medium-high intensity nose is fairly complex with peppery, black cherry, meaty, black plum, and savoury earthy aromas. It is quite dense on the full-ish bodied palate with smooth, refined tannins and just a touch of chalky grippiness. Nicely balanced with more black pepper, black cherry and meaty flavours, plus some stony minerality on the mid-palate. Acids are juicy. Excellent length on the long, earthy-minerally-savoury finish. Enjoy this classic northern Rhône Syrah over the next 3-5 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Altocedro La Consulta Select Blend 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

red wine review is a blend from Argentina that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES as part of the Release.

If you visit the Altocedro website, all you will find is a humble, down-to-earth video of owner and winemaker Karim Mussi Saffie - it's quite an interesting three-and-a-half minute watch. Altocedro is located in the premier winegrowing region of La Consulta, at the southern end of the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. Karim Mussi Saffie is the owner and winemaker. He uses sustainable growing practices to produce limited quantities of terroir-driven wines from vines that range up to 100 years of age. All harvesting, sorting, and crushing are done in individual batches by hand, while the grapes and wine move throughout the winery in a gravity flow system that was developed at the winery more than 100 years ago.

Even though this wine came to VINTAGES three months ago, there are still many bottles of this delicious red wine still available at your local LCBO.

Altocedro La Consulta Select Blend 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ALTOCEDRO LA CONSULTA SELECT BLEND 2015 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#631770) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 42% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Tempranillo, and 9% Syrah that was sustainably farmed and hand-harvested. It was also co-fermented and barrel-aged as a blend. The medium+ intensity nose offers compelling dark spice, blackberry, licorice and chocolate aromas with savoury touches. The aromas come through on the full-bodied, savoury palate with some minty notes. Tannins are smooth and well-integrated with a pleasant grippiness, while acids are fresh and nicely balanced. Very good length on the savoury-chocolatey finish. Score: 89 pts


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  • 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


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  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

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

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

White Wine:

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


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  • Monday, April 22, 2019

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

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

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

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

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

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

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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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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  • Saturday, March 23, 2019

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Chianti that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Having tasted and enjoyed both the 2014 Giacomo Mori Chanti and the 2012 Giacomo Mori Chanti, I am fully expecting this latest vintage to also provide pleasure. This red wine is from the 2015 vintage - a vintage that is widely regarded as one of the great vintages in Tuscany.

The history of Giacomo Mori begins at the end of the 18th century as a marketer of processed, aged, and bottled wine from the cellars of Palazzone and Chiusi. These activities slowed with the onset of World War I and eventually ceasing during the economic crisis of 1927. In 1970, Giovanni, the son of Giacomo, restarted the production of grapes and wine with his sons, selling mostly in tanks and demijohns. In 1995, they began focusing on making quality wines by planting new vineyards with a careful selection of varieties, clones, and vineyard layout.

This particular red wine has been made for more than 15 years and today consists of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo. It is vinified in stainless steel tanks at carefully controlled temperatures, aged for 10-12 months in Slavonian and Allier oak barrels, as well as tonneaux and used barriques.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $22.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers ripe red cherry and spice, with leather and sour cherry hints, all surrounded by a savoury, earthy, forest floor core. It is medium-bodied with juicy acids and gritty tannins that will reward with some ageing. Nicely savoury with earthy, forest floor, red and black cherry, and oak spice flavours. Very good finish length. Really starts to shine as it warms in the glass. Enjoy over the next 6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, March 15, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Australia) - Wine Review

yummy red wine from Australia is returning to LCBO VINTAGES on . It is the latest in a series of wines I've reviewed from Wakefield Wines over the past year.

Wakefield Wines have been crafted by the Taylor's family for three generations. Australia's iconic wine regions provide great diversity. The Jaraman range of wines are created from parcels of fruit that showcases the regions distinctive characteristics and style.

In 2015, Coonawarra experienced an excellent start to the growing season with average winter rainfall ensuring good soil moisture. However, Spring was not typical as it was very dry and one of the region's warmest, with conditions remaining this way through December. In January, there were some refreshing rains, while the Summer growing season was a classic with warm days and cool nights, leading to a long and cool ripening that is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the Clare Valley, there was slightly higher than average rainfall leading up to the 2015 vintage. However, there was very little rainfall afterwards, making it the driest August ever recorded. In addition to an extremely dry Spring, it was also warm and windy, leading to higher water loss. This resulted in smaller bunch numbers. Rains in January provided a welcomed relief for the vines, and helped increase yields and quality.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (76%) and Clare Valley (24%). Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose is very minty with thyme and herbal aromas layered on top of ripe blackberry, red fruit, and oak spice notes. It is full-bodied and quite dense on the palate with firm tannins. Blackberry, mint, and oak spice flavours with high acids freshening the palate. Dry and chalky on the long finish with more blackberry, mint, and oak spice flavours. A big, enjoyable Aussie Cab that should be better in 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

I have tasted and enjoyed previous vintages of this yummy red wine, and wine review is the lovely 2015 vintage that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by the historic Mazzei family in Tuscany, where they have been making wines since the 11th century and now 24 generations. Ser Lapo Mazzei, whom this wine is named in honour of, was the author of the first known documented use of the "Chianti" denomination on . The main estate is Castello di Fonterutoli, which became part of the family's estate in 1435 when his granddaughter, Madonna Smeralda Mazzei, married Piero di Agnolo da Fonterutoli.

In Fonterutoli, the centuries-old ownership of Marchesi Mazzei has preserved the handful of houses, the church of San Miniato, and the villa erected at the end of the 1500's, maintaining the charm of the Middle Ages. The legend of the Chianti Black Rooster was also born in the hamlet of Fonterutoli.

Today, the modern Fonterutoli Winery in Chianti Classico, Tuscany, is one of three estates owned by Mazzei. The winery dominates the estate and farm slopes, and has a view of Siena in the distance. The gravity-flow winery was designed by a family member with the goal of achieving low environmental impact. The cellar is located 15 metres below ground and temperatures and humidity levels are regulated by five natural water streams flowing through naked rock walls - something I hope to see one day!

The first vintage of this wine was 1983. This blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot comes from vines located 250 to 330 metres above sea level on medium textured with loam and limestone soils, and age ranging from 10 to 30 years. It was aged for 12 months in small french oak barrels, 50% new.

Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MAZZEI SER LAPO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#288530) (XD) - $23.95
The medium+ intensity nose has complex herbal, earthy, savoury, cherry, and strawberry aromas. It is medium bodied on the savoury palate with more earthy flavours surrounding the cherry/strawberry core. Tannins are grippy and drying while acids are juicy. Nicely balanced flavours come through long finish, with hints of dried cherry and red floral. Enjoy over the next 5+ years. Score: 90 pts

The actual label for this bottle is covered with a removable wrap. When removed, it reveals an illustration by Paolo Fiumi that depicts the 1435 marriage of Madonna Smeralda Mazzei.

Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)


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  • Saturday, February 23, 2019

Lungarotti Rubesco Sangiovese/Colorino 2015 (Umbria) - Wine Review

Hot on the heels of a 100% Colorino that I enjoyed a few days ago, wine review is a more traditional blend that also contains Colorino. This red wine consists of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino and will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Lungarotti was founded in central Italy the early 60’s by Giorgio Lungarotti, and the company soon became a driving force that opened up new opportunities not only for Torgiano (a commune in the Province of Perugia in Umbria), but also for whole region of Umbria - with wine as the centrepiece.

Rubesco is a Lungarotti trademark deriving from the Latin verb "rubescere", meaning "to blush", therefore a joyous significance. The image on the label depicts harvest from one of the panels found at Fontana Maggiore in Perugia, one of Italy's most beautiful Medieval fountains that was built in approximately 1277.

The grapes for this wine were harvested from clayey-sandy soils of medium depth, with good
structure and a limestone subsoil. It has also spent one year ageing in oak casks, and one year in bottle prior to release.

Lungarotti Rubesco Sangiovese/Colorino 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LUNGAROTTI RUBESCO SANGIOVESE/COLORINO 2015 - DOC Rosso di Torgiano, Umbria, Italy (#368548) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino. Delicate, medium+ intensity nose of stony mineral followed by dark cherry, black plum, violet, and herbs that gain intensity with air. It is medium+ bodied with chewy, dusty and refined tannins. I like the mineral-driven flavour profile with dark berry-cherry, earth, herbs, and a hint of pepper spice notes. Acids are fresh and juicy. Excellent finish length with more mineral and earthy flavours. Enjoy over the next 3-5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Piazzano Colorino 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a premium red from Tuscany that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is made by Fattoria di Piazzano, an estate winery located in the hills south of Empoli and traversed by the Rio di Camerata that has been in the hands of the Bettarini family since 1948. Otello Bettarini was a well-known manufacturer from Prato, with a great interest for astronomy, who fell in love with this place that he decided to move there permanently. In this village, he found the right astral conjunction to undertake what would become the main activity of the family - wine growing. Ricardo would work alongside his uncle Otello, eventually taking over the reins. In the late 1990s, Riccardo entrusted the estate to his children Rolando and Ilaria. Today, the farm continues to be completely family-run and has a strong respect for the environment and sustainability to keep the land as healthy as possible. The winery is certified vegan-friendly.

The grapes for this red wine come from soils that are loose and rich in rock fragments, cobbles, and gravel. It was fermented with wild yeasts in glazed concrete tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in french oak barriques for 12 to 15 months. Further refining occurred in bottle for at least another 6 months. Rare to find 100% Colorino.

Piazzano Colorino 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIAZZANO COLORINO 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#455675) (XD) - $35.95
This deeply purple-hued 100% Colorino is normally used as a blending grape and rare to find on its own. It has medium+ intensity aromas of purple fruit, dark cherry-berry, and herbs with a licorice and medicinal character wafts from glass. It is medium bodied with firm, grippy, chalky and drying tannins, along with fresh and juicy acids that provide lift. Flavours of violet, black cherry, dark plum, and hints of oak. A bit thin on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with wet earth, dark berry, and violet nuances. Should develop more complexity with time as tannins integrate. Enjoyable now with big meats, or age for 3+ years and drink into the mid-20's. Score: 91 pts


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