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

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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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  • Thursday, April 18, 2019

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Malbec that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . I enjoyed the 2014 Chakana Estate Selection Malbec when it came through VINTAGES in October 2016 and am curious to see how this new vintage compares.

This red wine is produced by Chakana Wines. The winery is based in Agrelo, near the centre of Mendoza, and exhibits a winemaking style that promotes minimum intervention by using indigenous yeasts, and minimal use of sulphur and other additives. In 2012, Chakana began converting their vineyards to use organic and biodynamic agricultural practices.

While the 2014 Malbec came from estate grapes grown in Luján de Cuyo, this 2016 Malbec uses grapes from their estate vineyards in Altamira and Gualtallari, a little further south in the Uco Valley.

In charge of winemaking at Chakana is Gabriel Bloise, a member of the new generation of Mendoza winemakers. He has developed his skills in various wine region around the globe and understands that winemaking is a tool to express nature and believes that the best wines are those that hide the hand of its maker to reveal their place, such as this lovely Malbec.

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95
Fermented using wild yeasts, and aged in French oak barrels and concrete vats for 10 months. A minerally, fragrant nose of dark plums, dark berries, wild herbs, smoky mineral, and hints of floral. The palate is medium-full bodied with fresh acidity and nicely textured tannins that offer a touch of grip. Nicely balanced aroma replays come through on the palate, plus hints of white pepper adding complexity. Smoke and white pepper notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Recommended buy. Score: 89 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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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Château Maucoil 2016 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from Rhône and will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Château Maucoil is a historic property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where vines have been cultivated since the 17th century. Ancient documents indicate that the site's first occupants were the Romans and that they set up a base here for Caesar's legions. Several winegrowing families followed the Roman era, due to the spring running through the property and it's proximity to Via Agrippa.

In the 20th century, the Goguet de la Salmonière family and the Quiot family contributed much to the development and prosperity of Château Maucoil. In 1995, the Arnaud family, who already owned vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, decided to purchase the estate. The new generation picked up the torch in 2009 with a strong desire to secure the future of the estate and manage it in an environmentally-responsible manner. They cultivate their vines in the same way as their ancestors - by working the land according to a cycle of furrowing, forming mounds, ploughing and natural weeding techniques.

Maison Lavau had been a partner of Château Maucoil for several years, and in 2013 they acquired/merged with this historic estate to further strengthen their image. The foursome of Bénédicte and Charles Bonnet and Frédéric and Benoit Lavau now run Château Maucoil together.

The grapes for this organic red wine come from vineyards (some old vines) that are close to the famed region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a similar soil mixture of sand and pebbles. Each varietal and parcel was hand-harvested, then fermented and aged in vats separately prior to blending and bottling.

Château Maucoil 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MAUCOIL 2016 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#638502) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 25% Carignan with rich aromatics offering ripe blackberry, black cherry, black plum and peppery spice accented with subtle oak and stony minerality notes. The medium-full bodied palate is bright with lively acidity with blackberry, black cherry, and cocoa-dusted flavours. Supple tannins are a touch tight, leading to a dusty textured and a cocoa, blackberry and stony mineral flavoured finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, but better in 2 years and enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019 with Winemaker Francisco Baettig

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019
In , I had the pleasure of tasting some iconic wines from the quality, award-winning Chilean producer Viña Errázuriz with Winemaker Francisco Baettig in attendance. I've tasted previous vintages of the Icon wines - La Cumbre, Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, and Kai - recalling the time I was first introduced to these delicious wines back in , but these wines are so good that it's always a treat to taste them every year.

However, this tasting was really about introducing the Las Pizarras wines. Eduardo Chadwick Claro is the President of Viña Errázuriz and also a descendant of Don Maximiano Errázuriz, the winery's founder. He was named Decanter's Man of the Year in 2018 and is one of the most important people within the Chilean wine scene. He has worked tirelessly to promote the wines of Chile around the world, becoming a true ambassador for the country’s potential to produce premium wines. As Francisco explained, the Las Pizarras wines were borne out of Eduardo Chadwick's desire to create an Icon white wine - as there were none among the existing portfolio. This desire resulted in the creation of a very fine Las Pizarras Chardonnay (now in its 4th vintage) that expresses the estate's terroir. Tagging along with the Chardonnay is also an excellent Las Pizarras Pinot Noir, The Las Pizarras collection also includes a Syrah, which was unfortunately not available for tasting.

Errázuriz Winemaker - Francisco Baettig

In addition to the Icon Wines, there were also wines from their Aconcagua Costa and Aconcagua Alto ranges. The tasting was held at Oretta Restaurant in downtown Toronto and featured a unique food pairing with each of the 10 wines that were available for tasting. I didn't try any of the food items (since my focus was on the wine), but was told by a few others in attendance that the food was quite delicious and paired really well with the wines.

Most of these wines are available at the LCBO, but you can also reach out to Dandurand or Galleon Wines to purchase the Las Pizarras Icon Wines, back vintages, or other wines from the Errázuriz portfolio.

Errázuriz - From the best land, the best wine.

Tasting Notes:

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $69.95
From a 5 hectare plot on the Aconcagua Coast estate. The shy nose has a nutty profile with some passion fruit, ripe and slightly baked apple, citrus and vanilla nuances. It is medium-full bodied with lively, fresh acids that are well-balanced with nutty aroma replays. Very nice chalky texture on the palate with nutty aroma replays and touches of vanilla. Cool-climate style. Excellent finish length. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2017 (92 pts)Errázuriz Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2017 (92 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS PINOT NOIR 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $92.95
One of the stars of the tasting. From the cool-climate terroir of the Aconcagua Coast estate that has slate and schist soils. Clean, medium-high intensity aromatics offer elegant spice, red berry, currant, mineral, earth, and hints of tobacco. Nicely textured with fine, elegant tannins on the medium-bodied palate with hints of black tea and spice flavours, plus lovely aroma replays. Lively, balanced acidity lifts the palate. Long, persistent finish. Score: 92 pts

ERRÁZURIZ LA CUMBRE SYRAH 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#579821) (XD) - $90
100% Syrah with lovely white pepper, herbs, dill, meaty, black and blueberry, and spice aromas of medium-high intensity. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with elegant, refined tannins that provide structure. There's nice dark-fruited aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some earthy minerality. Juicy mid-palate with balanced acidity and a nice, long finish. Drinking well now. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz La Cumbre Syrah 2016 (92 pts)Errázuriz Kai Carmenère 2016 (93 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ KAI CARMENÈRE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#055863) (XD) - $150
93% Carmenère and 7% Syrah. This has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of dark berry, tobacco, black pepper, graphite, and cedar oak spice. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with nice peppery replays and well-integrated oak flavours. Structured with supple tannins and balanced acidity add to the elegance. Excellent finish length. Score: 93 pts

ERRÁZURIZ DON MAXIMIANO FOUNDER'S RESERVE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#501247) (XD) - $90
This blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenère, 8% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc has a fairly intense, and pleasing nose of currant, cassis, black and blue fruit and oak aromas. It is full-bodied and dense with very good fruit concentration on the palate with big tannins that are integrating nicely. A touch drying with succulent, mouth-watering acids and lovely aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent finish length. Should age gracefully for 10-15 years. Score: 94 pts

Errázuriz Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve 2016 (94 pts)


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