Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts

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  • Sunday, October 20, 2019

Tinto Negro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review



wine review is this lovely red wine from Argentina that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . It is also featured as the Wine of the Month in this Release and will be widely available across Ontario.

It is produced by TintoNegro, meaning black wine in Spanish meant to celebrate the essence of the Malbec grape - which is known for its dark, blackish colour. TintoNegro was born out of a long-time friendship and professional collaboration between Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach, colleagues at Bodega Catena Zapata for almost 15 years. In 2013, Jorge Crotta, who was also at Catena Zapata for several years, joined the partnership and is involved with the management and winemaking team.

The TintoNegro portfolio explores the terroirs of Mendoza where Mablec thrives, gradually isolating unique vineyard sites and winemaking techniques which can showcase the heights of concentration and complexity to which Malbec can aspire. In order to showcase the unique profile of each soil, TintoNegro has created a line of four single soil wines from Paraje Altamira in the southern part of the Uco Valley. Each harvest is vinified and aged in the exact same method, thus highlighting how a difference of soil (or terroir) can create a completely different wine. This La Piedra Malbec from their La Escuela property is one of the four wines. One day, I hope to have the opportunity to try their entire line.

La Escuela is a small 7.5 hectare estate vineyard located in Paraje Altamira at 4,000 feet above sea level, at the foot of the Andes mountains. It is named after the still active rural school (Escuela) that is located on the property. La Escuela has a diverse soil profile with plots of sandy (arena), silty (limo), rocky (piedra), and gravelly (grava) soils.

This particular wine comes from a small patch of rocky, limestone driven soil that is located in the middle of the vineyard, hence its name La Piedra, which also means stone in Spanish. These white stone soils with limestone deposits produce help produce a complex, spicy Malbec with black fruit flavors and minerality.

Tinto Negro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

TINTO NEGRO FINCA LA ESCUELA LA PIEDRA MALBEC 2016 - Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#010443) (XD) - $24.95
This has a fresh, medium+ intensity nose of blackberry, dark berry, and stony mineral notes with some spicy characters. It is medium+ bodied with ripe blackberry, mulberry, stony mineral flavours with touches of vanillin oak spice and floral. There is fresh, juicy acids, while ripe tannins are supple and smooth. Nice white pepper spice on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with lovely stony mineral, smoky, and dark berry notes. A wonderful wine to enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noires 2016 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from Languedoc that was featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release and should be arriving on shelves across Ontario within a week or so.

It is produced by the co-operative cellar Cave de Roquebrun that was established in 1967 in the regional park of Haut Languedoc, 30 km northwest of Béziers and between the two regional capitals, Montpellier and Toulouse.

In Roquebrun, the mild climate with relatively arid and acidic soils combined with shale/schist allow different varietals to develop in a particular way in the appellation of Saint-Chinian. The winegrowers of Cave de Roquebrun produce mainly Syrah, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc with aim of enhancing the character of their terroir. Through this commitment, the Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun appellation was created in 2004 and subsequently became recognized as a Cru of Languedoc. Cave de Roquebrun manually harvests the grapes for all of their wines by choice. However, according to the decree of 2004, it is noteworthy to know that all Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun appellation wines must be manually harvested.

Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noires 2016 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN ROCHES NOIRES 2016 - AC Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun, Languedoc, France (#251637) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre that was manually harvested from the schist hills of Roquebrun and raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. The medium-high intensity nose delivers enticing aromas of blackberry, schist mineral, and spice layered on top of black pepper and meaty notes. It is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced wild berry, schist mineral, garrigue, black pepper spice, and meaty flavours. Acids are very fresh, while the juicy finish is long, meaty and peppery. Youthful tannins are chalky and quite tight at the moment. Enjoyable now with protein, but will be even better after 2-3 years of tannin integration. Drink into the mid-20's. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Friday, October 4, 2019

Château de la Pierre Levée Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine from Bordeaux that arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release and is widely available for purchase across Ontario.

This red wine was born out of an exclusive partnership between Yvon Mau and Hubert de Boüard. Yvon Mau has been trading in the wine industry since 1897, while Hubert de Boüard is co-owner of Château Angelus, a Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé producer. Today, the Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard collection of wines is made up of nine châteaux which aim to reveal little-known vineyards with great potential to produce Bordeaux wines that are fruity, balanced, and accessible to all.

The grapes for this particular red wine come mostly from a single block surrounding Château de la Pierre Levée, which is located in the area known as Bazille within the commune of Salles-de-Castillon to the northwest of the appellation. The estate overlooks the vineyard that has perfect exposure to the sun. The name of the château comes from a reference to the imposing two-metre high dolmen that is found next to the vineyard and has been designated a historic monument.

Château de la Pierre Levée Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE LA PIERRE LEVÉE RÉVÉLATIONS D’HUBERT DE BOÜARD 2016 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon, France (#667147) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from 30-year-old vineyards planted on clay-limestone soils. The nose is fresh and ripe, with medium+ aromatics of plum, blackberry, cocoa, and vanilla wood spice notes. It medium-full bodied on the palate with more black plum, blackberry and wood spice flavours supported by medium-firm, chalky textured tannins that have some grip. Cedar wood and herbal notes come to the fore as it warms in the glass. Acids are fresh and lively, while the finish is juicy with cocoa and wood spice notes, and very good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

Enjoy Shiraz? wine review is an excellent organic Australian Shiraz that came to the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Surprisingly, there is plenty of stock still available, so you can get your hands on this bottle too!

It is produced by Gemtree Wines, a winery in McLaren Vale whose story begins in the 1980's when Paul and Jill Buttery purchased a plot of land named Gemtree off the narrow, gum-lined track that is Elliot Road. In 1994, some years after the vineyards were already well-established, their daughter Melissa asked to work in the vineyards. Melissa would go on to become a qualified viticulturalist, a well-regarded expert in biodynamic and organic farming, and married a boy named Mike Brown who is now Gemtree's chief winemaker and managing director.

Melissa and Mike and were both mindful about the environment and earth, and soon pursued sustainable growing and farming of grapes. After experimenting with a few blocks of Tempranillo, which included trial and error, grit and determination, Melissa started to see more life in the vineyards and a better quality of fruit. From this point on wards, Melissa was determined to farm all of Gemtree’s blocks organically and Gemtree earned full organic certification in 2011.

In 2007, to improve Gemtree’s vineyards and wines, Melissa delved into biodynamics which introduced techniques that interweave the health of the soil, vines and resident fauna and flora. Inside the winery, Mike also began testing biodynamic winemaking practices.

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

GEMTREE UNCUT SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#627844) (XD) - $24.95
Named 'Uncut' because nothing is added from vineyard to bottle. Screw cap enclosure. This organic Shiraz has a fresh and highly aromatic array of dark berry, blackberry, black pepper, meaty, savoury, and cigar box aromas with just a wisp of blackberry jam. It's is medium-full bodied on the palate with fleshy dark fruits, black cherry, licorice, pepper spice, earth, and oak spice flavours. It has a very nice, supple mouthfeel with smooth, refined tannins, while acids are juicy and well-balanced. More black pepper, licorice, and oak spice on the mid-palate, while the long, juicy finish veers towards earthy and savoury notes. Enticing stony mineral notes arrive with time in the glass. Should drink nicely over the next decade. Highly recommended buy. Score: 91 pts


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  • Monday, August 26, 2019

Château Hauchat 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

I tasted the 2011 Château Hauchat nearly 4 years ago, and I opened the 2016 vintage of the same wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Vignobles Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils at the Hauchat property that is located on a high plateau in the commune of Saint-Aignan, to the west of of neighbouring Pomerol and Saint Émilion in Bordeaux, France. The vineyard of Château Hauchat is facing south and southwest, ensuring ideal sunshine and perfect drainage conditions, while the terroir is very homogeneous with its clay-limestone soils. Lastly, they only grow one grape varietal at Château Hauchat - Merlot.

The Saby family has been making wine in the region for eight generations, combining century-old knowledge with the advantages of modern viticulture. Today, it is owned by brothers Jean Christophe and Jean Philippe who continue the family tradition and hope to pass it along their own children one day.

Château Hauchat 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT 2016 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#123489) (XD) - $17.95
This 100% Merlot was aged for 15 months in an equal parts new, 1 year old, and 2 year old barrels. Enticing and complex, this has medium+ intensity aromas of spice mingling with ripe dark berry fruit, wood, and hints of vanilla and plum. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark berry, currant, cedar oak, and spice flavours. Acids are juicy while the ripe tannins are quite chalky and a bit tight at the moment. Dark berry, clove spice, and wood linger on the finish, with very good length. I would cellar this for 2 years and enjoy into the mid-20's. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, August 16, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

After having enjoyed the 2015 Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon a few months ago, wine review is the latest vintage that arrives in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is crafted by the Taylor's family that has been making fine wines for three generations. Wakefield Wines produces different ranges of wines, with the Jaraman range falling directly in the middle and created from parcels that offer extraordinary fruit that showcases the varietals distinctive regional characteristics and style.

The 2016 bottling has a bit more Clare Valley fruit than the previous vintage. Perhaps this is due to the fact that even though rainfall was below average, it came at the right time and had a very positive impact on the quality of fruit. The 2016 vintage in Clare Valley is being lauded as one of the great vintages in part due to the timely rainfall, as well as the fact that the vines were stress free heading into winter, and conditions were ideal during flowering.

In Coonawarra, the growing season was drier than usual, and combined with a warmer October, the whole growing season was a couple of weeks earlier than normal. However, berry development and ripening was in line with normal growing seasons, which allowed adequate time for the fruit to develop tannins and complexity. In February and March, temperatures were mild, and the cold nights and warm days delivered an extended ripening period and the longer hang time contributed to a rich, medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with good varietal definition.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (73%) and Clare Valley (27%) that was aged in used oak barrels. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers ripe blackcurrant and cassis aromas mingling with savoury oak spice and hints of herbs and mint. It is medium+ bodied and very spicy on the palate with blackcurrant, chocolate, mint, herbs, and cassis flavours. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the chalky and grippy tannins are tight at the moment. Herb, oak spice, dark berry, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Seems lighter than previous vintage, but tannins needs a good 2-3 years to loosen up. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, July 19, 2019

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed the 2016 Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc in and am delighted to see how this white wine is faring , on this hot and sweltering day, three years after vintage. It returned to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty are still available throughout Ontario.

Seresin Estate is a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand and this white wine comes from their Momo range of wines. Cinematographer Michael Seresin created Seresin Estate, a new world winery with an old world approach. They are in no hurry when it comes to their wines as they let the wild yeasts that live in their vineyard ferment the grape juice into wine. This approach to winemaking does take a little more time, but the results yield wines with added savouriness, and more mouth watering textures and flavours. They also show a unique sense of place. All of Seresin's wines spend time in barrel or bottle before release because, as we all know, good things come to those who wait.

This organic white wine was naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. It is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Since it doesn't look like a 2017 vintage of this delicious wine was made - likely due to it being a challenging vintage with cold temperatures leading to lower yields - we'll continue to enjoy the 2016 vintage until the 2018 shows up in Ontario.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose is ripe with gooseberry, kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, and leesy characters with lemony hints. It is medium+ bodied with a slight spritz on the creamy, nicely textured palate. It is dry and ripe with lemon citrus, tropical fruit, guava, and kiwi flavours. Crisp acids are still quite refreshing. Leesy, citrus, and tropical fruit notes linger on the long, balanced finish. Enjoy until 2021. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, July 1, 2019

Gloria Reserva 2016 (Portugal) - Wine Review

On this glorious Monday of a long weekend, red wine review is a blend from Douro that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Vicente Faria founded his winery in 2001, but his story of success begins in the early part of the 19th century, when Vicente’s ancestors began producing wine in the Douro Valley region in northern Portugal. As a child, Vicente knew that one day he would run his own winery, just like his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had done for more than 200 years. Starting in the same family vineyard, Vicente Faria Vinhos is now the 7th largest exporter and produces wine in several regions in Portugal

Winemaker Vicente Leite de Faria first learned about winemaking as a child from his great grandfather. He completed a winemaking degree in Portgual and followed that up with further studies at the Unveristy of Bordeaux to learn French wine making techniques. Vicente also worked in Bordeaux with world famous winemakers in several renowned French Châteaux’s where he learned best practices and some of the industry's best kept secrets. Today, he combines the techniques he has learned from both winemaking regions to create extraordinary wines.

Gloria Reserva 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

GLORIA RESERVA 2016 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#146522) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 40% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 30% Touriga Franca, and 30% Touriga Nacional that spent a minimum of 12 months in American oak barrels. Generous aromas of spice, red berry, blackberry, wood, and subtle rustic earthiness from the glass. It is medium-bodied with supple, dusty textured, and slightly drying tannins. Fresh acids brighten the palate. Delicious blackberry, dark plum, sweet cinnamon spice, and hints of floral flavours surround a savoury-earthy core. More savoury notes with hints of mineral on the long finish. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, June 24, 2019

Bodega Garzón Reserva Tannat 2016 (Uruguay) - Wine Review

It is widely accepted that the greatest wines in the world are found where a grape varietal finds the ideal conditions to express itself in a natural and authentic way. As such, I am reviewing a delicious Tannat that has found a home in, of all places, Uruguay. This delicious red wine will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This wine is made with the Tannat grape varietal by Bodega Garzón, a producer that was awarded the 2018 New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. Bodega Garzón, located in Maldonado in southeastern Uruguay, was founded by Argentinean businessman Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife Bettina to have their family dream come true of a winery of modern viticulture in Uruguay with personality and a sense of belonging to the land. With the advice of international eonologist Alberto Antonini, Garzón's philosophy is focused on producing wines that are a true expression of their origins.

Uruguay is recognized worldwide for Tannat, a variety that has become the iconic grape of the country given its unique, velvety flavour and the countless international awards it has received. In fact, it is now produced in greater quantities in Uruguay than in Southwest of France, where this varietal originated. Located at the same latitude as Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, the temperate climate favours growing grapevines throughout Uruguay.

At Bodega Garzón, the vineyards are located close to the Uruguayan Atlantic coast at 160 m above sea level and are influenced by the fresh breeze of the Atlantic Ocean. The geology of Garzón belongs to what is known as the Crystalline Basement, which gave origin to the oldest soils on the planet more than 2.5 billion years ago. When those rocks are altered and broken down naturally over millions of years, a fantastic soil of weathered rock is formed, called Ballast. These ballast hills have excellent drainage and several minerals that are absorbed by the roots of the vine, making wines vibrant, energetic and complex, turning Garzón into a suitable place for specialized viticulture.

Bodega Garzón Reserva Tannat 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGA GARZÓN RESERVA TANNAT 2016 - Uruguay (#558916) (D) - $21.95
Fermented in cement tanks and aged for 6 to 12 months on the lees in French oak barrels and casks. Medium+ intensity aromatics are quite stony mineral driven, layered atop red and black fruits, black currant, and herbs, accented with some peppery spice aromas. The full-ish bodied palate is ripe with more dark berry, herbal, spice, and subtle wood flavours. Nicely textured with some some stony characters on the mid-palate adding nuance. Acids are fresh, while the refined tannins are approachable, supple and have some structure. Some bitterness with dark chocolate and hints of black plum notes on the long after taste. Recommended buy to enjoy over the next 5+ years. Score: 90 pts


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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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  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Leonardo Rosso 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine from Tuscany that recently arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Cantine Leonardo da Vinci, a brand of wineries named after the famous Renaissance Man. The winery was created to continue Leonardo's studies in the field of viticulture. The people behind Cantine Leonardo da Vinci are committed to winemaking excellence in Italy through a modern combination of tourism, culture, food, and wine.

For Leonardo himself, wine was a daily passion, a creative matter and a stimulus for new inventions. With this in mind, the Cantine Leonardo da Vinci strives to produce wines in Italy's best territories, while attempting to use his methods to innovate, research, observe, and have respect for nature.

Each collection within the Leonardo da Vinci portfolio tells a different aspect of Leonardo's extraordinary relationship with wine. This particular red comes from the Leonardo da Vinci collection that is a selection of the most representative wines of Tuscany (and Romagna) that show on the label the most popular and famous design in the world. The Vitruvian Man holds the power and the contemporaneity of Leonardo, his unshakable aspiration to the future that makes him a timeless Genius.

In addition to the cellars that are shared among a number of Italian wineries, they also have a couple of museums devoted to divulging the knowledge of Leonardo da Vinci - the artist, scientist, inventor and designer.

Leonardo Rosso 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LEONARDO ROSSO 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#483818) (D) - $14.95
A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% other varietals that come from the hilly areas within the municipalities of Vinci and Cerreto Guidi in Tuscany. Savoury, wet forest floor aromas mingle with tangy cherry, dark berry and baking spice notes, with very good intensity. The medium-full bodied palate is ripe fruited with dark red berries, spice, and some sweet vanillin flavours. It has soft, supple tannins that are nicely textured. There's some sweetness here, but it's mostly hidden by the fresh acidity. Savoury earthy notes along with red cherries linger on the finish, with very good length. Casual, easy-drinking, and widely appealing style for BBQ fare. Score: 87 pts


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  • Friday, June 14, 2019

Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2016 (France) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I enjoyed the 2016 Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages in , and I am delighted to open another bottle of the same vintage and see how it has evolved over the past year. Surprisingly, this vintage is still available for purchase at the LCBO and is currently on promotion -  earn 5 Air Miles reward miles .

It is produced by the Burgundian producer Henri de Villamont at their Château d'Aigueville property in southern Rhone. The estate is located on a plateau between the villages of Sérignan and Uchaux, just north of Orange. Moreover, the estate benefits from exceptional terroir that has a very large proportion of pebbles, similar to what you find in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir.

This particular Villages wine comes from vines that are 30 years old and grown on the hills in Uchaux at 100 to 250 metres altitude. The soils consist of pebbles and siliceous or clay limestone, while the plots are separated from each other by garrigue and olive groves. As a Villages wine, it indicates a sense of place, which in turn is also an indication of terroir and quality. Let's see how this is tasting tonight...

Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU D'AIGUEVILLE CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE VILLAGES 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#544031) (XD) - $16.90
A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan. Generous aromas of fresh black cherry, dark berry, plum, black pepper, spice, and meaty notes from the glass. It is medium-full bodied on the juicy palate with chewy, dense tannins that are smooth and well-integrated. Quite stony on the flavour profile with blackberry and herbal notes. Becomes chalky on the mid-palate and finishes with stony, mocha, and pepper notes, with very good length. Approachable now. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Friday, June 7, 2019

Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely Australian Shiraz that arrived at the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and plenty of bottles are available across Ontario.

It is produced by the Paxton family that has been winegrowing since 1979. Founder and owner, David Paxton, is also one of Australia’s most highly respected viticulturalists as he and his family have been nurturing their own vineyards in McLaren Vale for over 30 years. In 2000, the family released their first wine under their own label - a 1998 Paxton Shiraz.

Today, wines are made under the direction and guidance of Richard Freebairn Paxton to produce a range of estate grown wines under the family label. The range features an approachable collection of wines that showcases the quality of fruit and varietal expression from McLaren Vale. David Paxton and his team strive to minimize inputs and manage the Paxton vineyards biodynamically - whereby vineyards are farmed without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and with a focus on promoting healthy, living soils through the use of natural compost preparation. Inside the winery, the family practices minimal interventionist winemaking to ensure the integrity of the fruit from vineyard to bottle. In 2011, Paxton Wines became a fully certified organic and biodynamic wine producer.

Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PAXTON MV SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#327403) (XD) - $19.95
This biodynamic wine was matured in French and American oak. Screw cap. Quite intense on the nose with lovely savoury, blackberry, earthy, and meaty aromas with hints of black pepper, licorice and oak. It is full-ish bodied on the palate with finely-grained and structured tannins. Nicely textured with juicy acids freshening the palate. On the flavour profile, there are blackberry, licorice, cedar oak spice, and vanillin notes with some peppery hints, all of which lingers nicely on the long, balanced finish. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Friday, May 31, 2019

Mazzei Poggio Badiola di Fonterutoli 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review a nice red wine from Tuscany that will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES for the first time on .

The Mazzei family has been making fine wines in Tuscany since the 11th century. When Ser Lapo Mazzei's granddaughter married Agnolo da Fonterutoli in 1435, Castello di Fonterutoli became part of the Mazzei family. They have been producing wines at this historic castle since that time, now spanning 24 generations.

At Castello di Fonterutoli, there are 5 areas divided into 73 vineyards. The grapes for this delicious red wine come from the Le Ripe area vineyard, which is located approximately 2 kilometres northwest of Fonterutoli, within the commune of Radda in Chianti, in the heart of Chianti Classico. The vineyard surrounds a 10th century Romanic Church, called "Badiola", to which this wine owes its name. The specific vineyard where the grapes for this wine come from are south facing and sit between 450 to 510 metres altitude, with soils that are very rocky with decomposed limestone and sandstone. This area is also relatively cool due to it's height and specific micro-climate, imparting freshness to the grapes.

Mazzei Poggio Badiola di Fonterutoli 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

MAZZEI POGGIO BADIOLA DI FONTERUTOLI 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#330951) (XD) - $19.95
A blend of 65% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot that was hand-picked and aged in small American oak barrels for 10 months. Medium+ intensity nose offers aromas of sweet red and black cherries, dried spices, and some wood surrounding a savoury earthy core. It is medium-full bodied and fairly dense with smooth, finely-grained tannins with some grip, and juicy acids. More savoury on the flavour profile with currant, black cherry accents. Savoury, earthy and cocoa notes linger on the long finish. Enjoyable now, but will be better in 1-2 years. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Château de Tréviac Corbières 2016 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely unoaked red wine that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

The 2012 and 2015 Château de Tréviac Corbières were both delightful wines when they arrived in VINTAGES in previous years, showing remarkable consistency. I have no doubt that this latest vintage will also be very good.

It is produced by the young and dynamic winegrower Arnaud Sié at Château de Tréviac in the village of Talairan - between Carcassonne and Perpignan, and just west of the Mediterranean. In 2000, after completing his studies, he decided to take over the family's estate. He currently has 20 hectares of vineyards, 14 of which are in the Corbières appellation and has worked tirelessly to modernize the wine cellars and improve the vineyards.

The grapes for this wine come from an established south-facing vineyard located 200 to 350 metres above sea level on chalky clay soils surrounded by garrigue, the ideal terroir for Syrah and Grenache. The Syrah vines are approximately 15 years old, while the Grenache vines are 35 years old, with low yields allowing the wines to have exceptional concentration.

Château de Tréviac Corbières 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC CORBIÈRES 2016 - AP, Midi, France (#670505) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache that was hand-harvested, sorted in the vineyard, and aged completely in tank. Quite intense on the nose with stony mineral and scorched earth aromas layered on top of the lovely blackberry, black pepper spice, licorice, and cassis notes. Lovely mineral driven aroma replays on the full-bodied palate with very good fruit concentration. Nicely textured with supple tannins that have some chalkiness. Acids are juicy and mouth-watering. Stony mineral notes linger on the long finish. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90 pts


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  • Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fleur du Cap Essence du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Approximately three years ago, I enjoyed the 2013 Fleur du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. , I am opening the 2016 vintage of this LCBO General List red wine that is readily available across Ontario.

The story of Fleur du Cap wines begins in 1968, shortly after the opening of the famous Die Bergkelder, a cellar that cuts deep into the Papegaaiberg (Parrot Mountain) in Stellenbosch. It was built by Dr. Anton Rupert and was the first underground bottle maturation cellar of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The team at Die Bergkelder were important innovators of the wine industry in South Africa as they played a pivotal role in establishing classic noble grape varieties in the vineyards of the Cape and introduced the maturation of quality wine in small casks of new French oak.

The Essence du Cap range of wines are known for their value and the ability to express their true varietal character. The grapes for this Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from different blocks in Stellenbosch, with the bulk coming from Stellenbosch Kloof. The vines are between 11 and 22 years of age and were grown according to South Africa's IPW pest and disease control standards - Integrity and Sustainability Certified.

Fleur du Cap Essence du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

FLEUR DU CAP ESSENCE DU CAP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#457101) (XD) - $13.00
Medium+ intensity nose leads with wood spice and chocolate, surrounding the core aromas of black cherry, currant, cassis, and touches of green pepper. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with ripe flavoured aroma replays and sweet tannins that have some grip. It has juicy acids and a lingering black cherry, cassis and oak spiced finish. Score: 87 pts


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  • Sunday, May 19, 2019

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice Australian Shiraz. The 2017 vintage of wine will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Peter Lehmann was born in Barossa in 1930 and was the fifth generation of one of Barossa's pioneering families. In 1947, Peter apprenticed as a winemaker at Yalumba and in 1959 he became the Winemaker/Manager at the Barossa winery Saltram. In the late 1970's, during a difficult time in the winegrowing region when there was a grape surplus and contracts were being cancelled, Peter took a massive gamble by working with growers to process their grapes at Saltram (with the permission of Saltram's owners) as a side-project he called "Masterson" - a famous gambler from Guys and Dolls. After Saltram was sold, Peter parted ways with the new owners and he started Masterson Wines in 1979, which evolved into Peter Lehmann Wines.

Today, Peter Lehmann Wines is renowned as one of Australia’s most internationally awarded wineries and its wines are a celebration of the Barossa community and the benefits that passion, craft and collaboration can bring. Peter Lehmann Wines has strong relationships with more than 140 grape growers across the region and has access to some of Barossa’s finest fruit.

The fruit for The Barossan Shiraz come from high quality parcels that are selected from a diverse range of Shiraz vineyards throughout the Barossa Valley, many of which include vines over 100 years old.

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa, South Australia (#522235) (XD) - $21.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose offers ripe black cherry and blackberry aromas combined with enticing black pepper notes. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with mocha, licorice, oak spice and touches of mint joining the black cherry and black pepper notes on the flavour profile. It has fresh acids and smooth, supple tannins. Earthy and mocha notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoyed with lamb burgers off the BBQ. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, May 17, 2019

Wines from Santorini Volcanic Terroir

Santorini Volcanic Terroir
In , I was invited to a media luncheon featuring the wines of Santorini, Greece. The luncheon and tasting was hosted and led by Steve Kriaris, owner of Kolonaki Group, and Elias Karkabasis, owner and Sommelier of Pane Vino Trattoria & Wine Bar in Lindsay, Ontario. The venue was VOLOS, a fine Greek restaurant in the heart of downtown Toronto, and a place I realized upon arriving that I had dined here a few years ago with my wife.

Winemaking began in Santorini in 3500 BC, more than 5,000 thousand years ago. In the classic Greek era, the island was called Thera, while today is officially called Thira. The massive volcanic eruption of 1600 BC ultimately created island's caldera and shape as it is today. This explosion left behind a mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone and pieces of solidified lava and sand, which together make up the soil of Santorini. This soil has little to no organic matter, but is rich in essential minerals, except potassium, thus creating wines with a naturally low pH level and high acidity. All of these factors contribute to creating agricultural products with a distinct profile.

Wines grown on volcanic soils also travel well. As such, when the Italians discovered Santorini in 1200 AD, they began trading wines from the island in amphoras. The wine that was traded the most was the delectably sweet Vinsanto dessert wine and it was exported throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. It was also sent back home to the Pope in Italy - a practice that still occurs today as The Pope receives the oldest and some of the finest Vinsanto directly from Santorini.

Most of the wine production on Santorini consists of white wines and dessert wines. Assyrtiko is the main white grape grown as it thrives in its birthplace, the volcanic island of Santorini. According to appellation rules, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Santorini white wines must contain a minimum of 75% Assyrtiko. Most often, it is produced as a single varietal wine, but can also contain the varietals Athiri and Aidani. Nykteri wines are also made with Assyrtiko and aged for at least three months is oak barrels. Vinsanto wines are naturally sweet dessert wines made from sun-dried grapes, must contain at least 51% Assyrtiko and be aged for at least 24 months in oak barrels, allowing the wine to develop additional complexities. PDO Santorini wines have great ageing potential due to their unique characteristics that stem from their volcanic origin, as well as their naturally high acidity and minerality.

All of the wines we tasted during the luncheon were from the Union of Santorini Cooperatives, also known as SantoWines. This co-operative was founded in 1947 and today it is the largest winery on the island, representing more than 1,200 active growers of grapes and other agricultural products. SantoWines is committed to safeguarding local traditional cultivations, producing high quality PDO Santorini wines, tomatoes, and fava, as well as promoting sustainable agriculture development.

In addition to the fine wines from Santorini, there were also a couple of other food items from this small and rich volcanic island. Santorini fava beans are scientifically known as "Lathyrus Clymenum L." and have been grown exclusively on the island for more than 3,500 years. These fava beans are considered a superfood as they have amazing nutritional value and contain more than 20% plant-based protein. Traditionally dried and aged under the sun, this legume has a rich, velvety texture and an earthy, slightly sweet taste.

Fava spread

Tomataki dip (top left) with Saganaki

Santorini tomatoes, commonly known as tomataki, are one-of-a-kind as they are dry-farmed on volcanic soils. They have thick skins with a ruffled shape, a concentrated full-body and a naturally sweet taste. Tomataki also have more vitamin C than regular tomatoes and more lycopene (antioxidant) than any other fruit or vegetable. Tomataki also makes a unique tomato paste, which we got to enjoy during lunch. It has a distinctive dark red colour, velvety texture, and a sweet and slightly minerally taste that was great for dipping with bread.

The wines, as well as the unique Santorini food items can all be purchased through Kolonaki Group. You can also purchase these wines at the LCBO Greece Destination outlet at 200 Danforth Avenue (Toronto), while the first Assyrtiko in the list below is widely available across Ontario.

Thank you Kolonaki Group for the invitation and the opportunity to try these delicious Santorini foods and wines. Lunch was delicious and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lamb dish paired beautifully with these white wines. Wine reviews of these delicious wines are provided below and I trust that you will enjoy them as much as I dd. Opa!

Exohico (phyllo pastry and braised lamb) with Santo Grand Reserve Assyrtiko

Tasting Notes:

SANTO SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#459032) (XD) - $23.30
Medium+ intensity nose is clean with citrus, herbs and minerality with hints of saline. It is medium+ bodied and concentrated on the minerally-textured palate with nicely balanced aromas replays on the flavour profile. It is structured with vibrant acids, and has a long, juicy finish. Score: 89 pts

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2017 (89 pts)Santo Nykteri 2017 (90 pts)


SANTO NYKTERI 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (XD) - $33.95
A blend of 75% Assrytiko, 15% Athiri, and 10% Aidani that was harvested at night to keep freshness. Spent 3 months in oak barrels. This is ripe with roasted pineapple, stone fruit, ripe apple, pear, citrus, and melon, with subtle oak influence. All of which comes through on the vibrant palate with lively acids. Clean, elegant and nicely balanced with excellent finish length. Score: 90 pts

SANTO GRANDE RESERVE ASSYRTIKO 2016 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#814186) (XD) - $57.95
This Assyrtiko spent 1 year in French oak barrels. The medium-high intensity nose has a subtle oak influence with Meyer lemon citrus, baked apple, butter, and stone fruit aromas and flavours. It is medium-full bodied and structured with vanilla notes appearing on the palate. There is a nice mineral texture to go along with juicy acids. Long on the finish. Score: 91 pts

Santo Grande Reserve Assyrtiko 2016 (91 pts)Santo Vinsanto 2011 (89 pts)

SANTO VINSANTO 2011 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#654722) (S) (500 mL) - $67.95
Sun-dried 85% Assyrtiko and 15% Aidani grapes that spent 3 years in oak barrels. Deep orange-red-brown colour. Offers complex aromas of sweet spice, golden raisin, fig, dates, plum, honeyed, brown sugar and hints of hazelnut. Full-bodied with more raisin, fig, and sweet plum notes on the palate, with very good acidity and flavours lingering on the long 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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  • Friday, April 26, 2019

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (France) - Wine Review

red wine review is a new wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - and plenty are still available at your local LCBO.

It is produced by Winerie Parisienne, an urban winery based in Paris that was founded in 2015. Paris was the largest wine region in France in the 19th century. Winerie Parisienne is inspired by the vineyard history of Paris and resurrects the region's history through a winery brand offering quality wines such as the Grisant Red.

Their philosophy is to establish its own signature style in the wine industry, drawing its inspiration from the richness of the terroirs of France. They use a modern approach to winemaking by selecting specific parcels of major vineyards throughout the country.

Additionally, Winerie Parisienne planted 10 hectares of vines on the plain of Versailles in 2017, signing the return of professional viticulture in Île-de-France for the first time since the 19th century. In 2018, they began experimenting with organic vineyard management, with the possibility of converting this vineyard to organic.

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WINERIE PARISIENNE GRISANT RED 2016 - Vin de France (#645341) (XD) - $25.95
A curious blend of Merlot and Syrah that uses grapes sourced from Bordeaux and made under the Vin de France designation. Medium intensity nose offers blackberry, dark berry, and black plum aromas with earthy and meaty undertones. On the medium+ bodied palate it is more red-fruited with raspberry, dark cherry, and plum flavours followed by some earthy notes. Acids are fresh while tannins are chalky and drying. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoyable now with protein, and should be better in 2+ years. Score: 88 pts


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