Showing posts with label 2015. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2015. Show all posts
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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 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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  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 150-183 Riesling 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a medium sweet Riesling that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES . There are several bottles of this white wine still available at the LCBO, however, I would suggest you visit the winery in Niagara.

Rockway Vineyards is a unique destination in that it is Ontario's only winery with its own 18-hole golf course. You can enjoy a round of golf, weather-permitting of course, but also visit the on-site winery museum and restaurant, with terrific views of the Escarpment. However, at the center of the experience are the delightful wines produced under of the care of winemaker David Stasiuk.

Rockway grows, crafts, and bottles 99.9% of all the wines they produce. David has a hands-off approach to winemaking, with the goal of capturing the flavours from the vineyard and guiding them into your glass.

This single vineyard Riesling comes from a small block of vines within the VQA Twenty Mile Bench appellation in Niagara. In 2015, the fruit was nearly perfect after two very cold winters. The very dry months from July to September allowed the vines to get back to normal ripening schedule. This lovely white wine normally retails for $21.95, but is currently available for $19.95.

Rockway Vineyards Small Lot Block 150-183 Riesling 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS SMALL LOT BLOCK 150-183 RIESLING 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#424176) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely, fragrant and perfumed nose of wet stone, lime zest, white peach and floral. On the medium-bodied palate it is a touch fleshy with crisp, lip-smacking acidity and pretty honeyed, tart lime citrus, and limestone mineral flavours in a medium sweet profile. Juicy acids along with a mineral texture on the mid-palate. Nicely balanced overall with lingering wet stone and lime flavours on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 6+ years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine review will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Fattoria Viticcio has been producing wine since 1964 among the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country in Greve in Chianti, between Florence and Siena. Today, the winery encompasses 120 ha of estate-owned land among the hills in Chianti Classico and Maremma. With the help of a young and energetic team, they are dedicated to producing wines that showcase the nuances of the incredible terroir in Tuscany, while also respecting the environment. Viticcio has always cultivated their vines using organic techniques and natural treatments as much as possible. Since 2013, their entire production has converted to organic.

This particular red wine was launched by Viticcio a couple of years ago. It is their second wine from the lands of Maremma and first red from this zone. The climate in Maremma, which is located in southern Tuscany, is sunny with a refreshing sea breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, and clay, sand, limestone, and sandstone soils that make it the ideal terroir for cultivating varietals such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The name "Morellino" is the local word for "Sangiovese." In Maremma, it is a deep-hued purple grape that is a clone of the Sangiovese grape found in other parts of Tuscany, and (possibly) named after the dark-haired Morelli bay horse that once roamed these lands.

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

VITICCIO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#574186) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot aged in 225 L barriques for 10-12 months. The medium+ intensity nose reveals pretty red cherry, rose floral, oak aromas wrapped around a savoury core. It is full bodied with bold, assertive, and grippy tannins, along with fresh acids and nice aroma replays on the palate. Very good length with more cherry, floral and earthy notes lingering on the finish. Needs a couple of years for tannins to soften, or try now with big red meats. Should drink well for the next 6-8 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Sunday, December 23, 2018

Pillitteri Cabernet Franc 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice local red wine from Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Having enjoyed the 2012 Pillitteri Cabernet Franc a couple of times in the recent past, I am delighted to try this latest vintage that is currently available for purchase at the winery only (and through their online web store).

This red wine is from Pillitteri's Carretto Series - wines that are crafted with care from quality Niagara grapes under the winemaking philosophy of old world meets new world. The label itself showcases the significance of the Carretto as a cherished heirloom to the Pillitteri family.

A Carretto (or Sicilian Cart) was the only real method of transportation used in Sicily up until the end of the second world war, and their usefulness and smaller design made them popular to navigate the streets of Italy, long after the invention of the motorized vehicle. The Pillitteri Family had four Carrettos that were crafted in the early 1930's and were passed through the generations. The Carrettos were brought to Canada by Gary Pillitteri's mother in 1952, and Gary and each of his brothers received a Carretto as a token of their Sicilian family heritage. The largest and most beautifully decorated of the Carretto's was donated by the Pillitteri family in 1989 to the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa and is still on display today. The Carretto that Gary received is intricately painted and on display in the Awards Room at Pillitteri Estates Winery. The Pillitteri Carretto is a cherished family heirloom and to honour that heritage, the Carretto has become a symbol of their winery and their logo.

Pillitteri Cabernet Franc 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PILLITTERI CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28
Aged in French oak barrels for 19 months. Medium-high intensity nose offers bright red berry fruits with a nice underlying savoury component, along with hints of tobacco, herbaceous, spice and vanilla adding complexity. It is medium-full bodied on the elegant palate with smooth, refined tannins and balanced, juicy acidity. Dark berry, black pepper, tobacco, black plum, herbaceous, and wood spice on the flavour profile, with some flinty minerality showing up on the long finish. Lovely Niagara Cab Franc. Enjoy over the next 5+ years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Riserva Chianti Classico that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Rocca delle Macìe, a name that I'm sure you have come across at some point while perusing the aisles at your local LCBO. Rocca delle Macìe was founded by film producer Italo Zingarelli in the Chianti Classico area in 1973 when he purchased the 93 hectare estate to fulfill a life long dream. At the time, only 2 hectares were planted to vines, but along with help from his sons Sergio and Fabio, and his daughter Sandra, the estate now covers more than 500 hectares, 200 hectares of which are used as vineyards. The four estates Rocca delle Macìe owns in the Chianti Classico area all reside within the Municipality of Castellina in Chianti, in the southwest with very heterogeneous soils.

This red wine is one of Rocca delle Macìe's flagship wines from the Chianti Classico zone as only the best grapes from each of the four estates in Castellina make it into the blend that consists of mostly Sangiovese, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The label proudly bears the Zingarelli name in order to highlight the strong link that the family has with the Chianti Classico area.

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE FAMIGLIA ZINGARELLI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#930966) (XD) - $24.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot that was aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. Fine aromas of oak spice, blackberry, wet earth, and dark cherry with a nice savoury component stream from the glass. It is medium-full bodied with fine-grained tannins and juicy acids supporting the dark berry, savoury, vanillin oak, earth, and cherry flavours. A touch warming on the mid-palate. Nicely savoury and earthy with some chalkiness on the long finish that ends with a nice red cherry note. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, November 12, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015 (Veneto) - Wine Review

I recently enjoyed the 2016 Cantina di Negrar Corvina, and is another lovely wine from the same producer.

Cantina Valpolicella Negrar is the producer considered to be the birthplace of Amarone and the typical Valpolicella Classica wines. In 1936, just 3 years after the winery was founded, the Cantina's President, Gaetano Dall'Ora, pronounced "This is not an Amaro, it’s an Amarone!" (amaro means bitter in English) after tasting a Recioto wine that had accidentally been left to ferment for a long time, thus giving rise to the name of the actual symbolic wine of Valpolicella.

Amarone is traditionally made from partially dried grapes, the majority consisting of Corvina with some Rondinella, and sometimes other indigenous varietals. This process is called appassimento and concentrates the remaining sugars and flavours. After the grapes have been dried, the grapes go through a long fermentation which results in a drier wine - a short fermentation results in sweeter Recioto wine. The final step is often many months of barrel ageing.

The Cantina di Negrar brand is the soul of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, and the St. Mark's winged lion on the label is a tribute both to the winery's philosophy of cooperative production and to the history of the local area. The lion, a symbol of Venice's once great power in the 16th century, sits atop a column in the centre of the commune of Negrar.

This delicious red wine is a General List product at the LCBO and widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, as well as online at lcbo.com.

Cantina di Negrar Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#044784) (D) - $34.95
The medium+ intensity nose offers enticing aromas of sour cherry, tobacco, chocolate, oak spice, and fig. It is full-bodied with lovely fig, chocolate, oak spice, and dark berry flavours supported by fresh, vibrant acidity. Sweet tannins are nicely textured with just a touch of grip. Pretty chocolate notes on the mid-palate continue through to the lovely, long finish. Will be better at end of 2019. Very good value in Amarone! Score: 89 pts


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  • 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


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