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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review



wine review is a Niagara Chardonnay that was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Palatine Hills Estate Winery has some of the area's oldest vineyards which are nestled among the historic hills of beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. The property has been carefully cultivated over the past 40 years by John and Barbara Neufeld. In the early years, they were among the first wine growers in Niagara and John Sr. was Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. Over time, they learned to master the art of grape growing and recognized that winemaking begins in the vineyard, a core principle of the winery.

Today, Palatine Hills is still family owned & operated, going on two generations of the Neufeld family that shares their passion of the winery's soil. As in the past, they aim to continue to maintain the same respect and awe for their land they had first discovered, knowing that it is truly expressed in the fruits of their labour.

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALATINE HILLS NEUFELD VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#577742) (XD) - $24.95
Very ripe on the nose with mango, baked apple, vanilla, and sweet oak aromas in the glass. It is medium-bodied on the palate with oak-driven baked apple, buttery vanilla, banana and hints of citrus flavours. A touch of smoke and walnut notes appear on the juicy finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


Monday, November 26, 2018

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  • Monday, November 26, 2018

Closerie des Alisiers Petit Chablis 2016 (Burgundy) - Wine Review

lovely little white wine is a Petit Chablis that arrived as a new release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Stéphane Brocard, the son of a Chablis winemaker. He settled in Marsannay in 2007 and founded Closerie des Alisiers to craft wines of purity, fruit, and freshness, while respecting the land and environment, and highlighting the terroir for each wine.

In addition to work in his own vines, he has worked with some selected winegrowers throughout Burgundy over many years, carefully selecting small parcels of grapes. He has worked with many of these growers to establish organic farming practices. The grapes for this particular wine were hand-harvested at peak maturity and direct pressed, followed by fermenting and ageing exclusively in stainless steel tanks.

Closerie des Alisiers Petit Chablis 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS PETIT CHABLIS 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557769) (XD) - $25.95
Fermented and aged completely in tank, this unoaked Chardonnay has a fresh and fragrant nose with lemon and citrus with hints of white peach and leesy notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with more lemon, citrus, ripe apple, and white peach flavours with a fine mineral underpinning. Some grapefruit and floral notes arrive with air, adding complexity. Nicely balanced with clean, crisp, and bright acids providing freshness. Fine mineral and apple notes linger on the long aftertaste. Score: 89 pts


Friday, November 16, 2018

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  • Friday, November 16, 2018

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, organic Chardonnay from Southbrook Vineyards, one of the leading producer of organic and biodynamic wines in Niagara. This white wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is available for purchase through the winery and in LCBO VINTAGES.

Founded in 1991, Southbrook Vineyards is the epitome and evolution of co-owners Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier's love story with wine, the land, and all things local. Southbrook also has taken a leadership role in sustainability, including third-party endorsements such as LEED Gold for architecture and Intervin Winery of the Year, as well as obtaining biodynamic and organic certifications, which affirms the Redelmeier's goal to inspire others to commit to sustainability, pursue their passions, and create fine wines.

Having tasted each of the past 4 vintages of this lovely Chardonnay, this has proven to been a fairly consistent, high-quality white wine, which continues with the 2016 vintage. It should come as no surprise as Chardonnay is truly one of the great grape varietals produced in Niagara, especially when placed in the hands of internationally-acclaimed winemaker at Southbrook, Ann Sperling.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (XD) - $24.95
Stelvin screw cap. Subtle nose of apple, pear and cereal, with hints of vanilla and oak. The medium-full bodied palate offers much more, with very interesting mealy flavours combined with nuts, honey, lemon, and vanilla layered on top of ripe white and yellow fruit. Oak is firmly in the background. Nicely textured with bright acids lifting the palate. Mealy, nutty, and citrus notes linger on the long finish. Not your typical Chardonnay, but indeed a fine expression. Serve with just a light chill. Score: 89 pts


Friday, October 26, 2018

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  • Friday, October 26, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Corvina 2016 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a General List product that is widely available at the LCBO and sells for under $10!

This red wine is produced by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a co-operative that was founded in 1933 and is located just a few kilometres from Verona, near Lake Garda, in northeastern Italy. The people of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar includes 230 families of winemakers who cultivate over 700 hectares of vineyards, and are led by a highly professional technical staff. Together, they are dedicated to the production of quality wines that are a true expression of the land from which they are born.

The winery is constantly doing research to gain insights and knowledge, with an eye towards keeping tradition as well as innovating. As such, all of the work in the vineyards is done by hand with respect for the environment and its biodiversity due to the need for sustainable viticulture. The in-depth study of the biology, ecology and environment where winemakers work allows them to adopt good practices in soil management, promote biodiversity in the vineyards, and pest control with minimal environmental impact on operators and consumers.

Cantina di Negrar Corvina 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR CORVINA 2016 - IGT Verona, Veneto, Italy (#519199) (D) - $9.95
Screw cap. Made with 100% Corvina, the principle grape used in the production of Amarone and Valpolicella wines, and uncommon to find as a single varietal wine. Generous nose is plummy with spice surrounded by a dark berry-cherry, savoury, and earthy core, and hints of white pepper. The light-to-medium bodied palate is dry, ripe and fruit forward, with slightly raisined plum, cherry, and blackcurrant flavours, with a touch of spice. It is supported by supple, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. The finish length is very good. Will have wide-appeal. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, October 7, 2018

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  • Sunday, October 7, 2018

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (Alsace) and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Opened up these two delicious wines to celebrate long weekend.

The Pinot Gris was purchased from the recent LCBO VINTAGES Release, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is from an excellent 2010 Niagara vintage and was purchased when visiting the winery in .

Tasting Notes:

PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#983395) (D) - $18.95
The nose is soft and mild, featuring waxy, lemon, and orange citrus aromas. The plush palate is more lively and a touch oily, with nice orange citrus, honeyed, and peach flavours in an off-dry style on a medium+ bodied frame. Acids are bright, fresh, and provide lift, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 88+ pts

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (88+ pts)

VIENI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#373308) (XD) - $19.95
Matured considerably since I last tasted this wine. The mature nose has savoury black plum, earth, and barnyard aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with currant, cassis, red and black fruits all wrapped around a savoury profile. Tannins are soft and nearly fully integrated, with just a touch of grip. Juicy acids. Very good length on the savoury, earthy finish. Score: 88 pts

Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (88 pts)


Monday, October 1, 2018

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  • Monday, October 1, 2018

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

wine review is the delicious white wine companion to the red 2016 Momo Pinot Noir that I enjoyed recently, It was released into LCBO VINTAGES on April 28 and is virtually sold out at the moment, but will be coming back to shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

This organic white wine is produced by Seresin Estate, a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand, and comes from their second line of wines called 'Momo', which means 'offspring' in Maori. This white wine is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It was a challenging cold start in 2016, with pressure to fight frosts during the early stage of vine growth. However, a spectacularly long and warm summer, with dry weather during the harvest period allowed the fruit to be picked on-time, delivered intact, and without stress. One-third of the 100% certified organic fruit was sourced from their own Tatou and Raupo Creek vineyards, which also has biodynamic certification, while the remainder was sourced from certified organic growers - whose vineyards they help manage - in Wairau and Waihopai Valleys.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. Screw cap. This has a lovely, open, fragrant nose of kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, asparagus, and lemon, with hints of yellow pepper and mineral adding complexity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with a nice creamy texture and lovely aroma replays joined by some wet wool flavours. Succulent, crisp acids are juicy. Minerally and grapefruit-tinged on the long finish. This is very nice. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice organic Pinot Noir from New Zealand that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Momo, meaning 'offspring' in Maori, is the second line of wines from the organic and biodynamic winery Seresin Estate. The estate is located in sun-soaked heart of Marlborough, at the top of New Zealand's South Island. It was founded by cinematographer Michael Seresin in the early 1990s with a desire to create wines in the most natural way possible, and without compromising on quality. The Momo range of wines is fermented naturally with wild yeasts and produced true to variety and reflect the essence of their fruit characters.

The majority (97%) of the fruit for this Pinot came from their Raupo Creek vineyard where the soils are rich and clay-based, while the remaining portion came from the Wairau Valley. The fruit was hand-picked and destemmed, and fermented using wild yeasts. Ageing occurred in French oak barriques for 10 months. This organic and biodynamic wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163972) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. This organic wine has a medium intensity nose that offers ripe and attractive raspberry and cherry aromas with earthy and spicy undertones. It is light-to-medium bodied with smooth, elegant tannins on the palate with cherry, raspberry, earth, and beetroot flavours. Hints of tea leaf and cola arriving mid-palate add to the complexity, while tannins have a nice chalky texture. Acids are fresh. Very good length on the earthy, forest floor, and somewhat grippy finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88+ pts


Thursday, September 13, 2018

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  • Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a locally made white wine made with Viognier, a varietal not commonly grown here in Ontario.

It is produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd., a large winery based in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. This particular wine was sourced from high quality Niagara vineyards and gently pressed in pneumatic bladder style presses. It was then cool fermented in stainless steel for 14 days at 16ºC, followed by ageing in stainless steel tanks and cold stabilized and bottled to preserve natural and typical fruit characters.

I picked up this delicious white wine while visiting the winery in the spring, and you can too as it is only available at the winery or through their online web store.

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. This has a tart and floral nose with orange blossom, lime citrus, and a whiff of anise and herbally aromas. On the mid-weighted palate, it has vibrant, crunchy acids supporting the citrus, floral, and herbal flavours. There's a touch of candied lime giving off an impression of sweetness. Good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, September 2, 2018

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  • Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wine Reviews from August 5, 2018 Birthday Party

Wine Line-up for Aug. 5 Birthday Party

Last month, we held a birthday party for my toddler daughter and a few of her close friends. And for the adults - there was wine!

The dry rosé was easily the most popular wine at the party, while the Riesling and Shiraz were a close second. All three wines are fairly recent releases to VINTAGES, so you should be able to pick up a bottle at your local LCBO. Full wine reviews are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
Glass enclosure. The medium+ intensity nose has appealing aromas of grapefruit, citrus, spring meadow and herbally notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has clean and crisp acids with nice texture. Herbally and grapefruit flavours on the dry flavour profile. Touch honeyed, with some bitterness on the long finish. Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Enjoy over the next 18 months. Part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection and released as part of the May 12 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely limestone mineral and petrol aromas mingle with white peach and citrus. It's medium-sweet with nicely balanced acids and flavours with white peach, orange zest, citrus, and green apple flavours with hints of mineral. Tart fruited, lip-smacking finish, with very good length. July 21 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Full wine review here.

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (88+ pts)


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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  • Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is an Australian Shiraz that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Like the 2016 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon that I enjoyed in June, this red wine is produced by the family-owned and -operated Wakefield Wines. This particular red wine is part of their Jaraman Collection - a selection of premium wines that represent the celebration the regional diversity, bringing together two of Australia's finest wine regions in a single varietal wine.

This is a blend of 63% Clare Valley fruit and 37% McLaren Vale fruit. Clare Valley experienced low, but timely, rainfall, while flowering conditions were ideal. Combined with the vines being stress-free heading into winter, this led to the vintage being called one of the greats. In McLaren Vale, there was low rainfall leading up to the growing season, as well as lower than average rainfall during vintage and long dry spells in between. However, intense rainfall over two days in early February helped increase yields. Overall, it was fairly dry year in McLaren Vale, which is ideal for Shiraz.

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale/Clare Valley, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. The richly spiced nose has aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, mocha chocolate, and vanilla oak with hints of black plum. It is full-bodied on the richly concentrated and ripe palate with blueberry and blackberry fruit flavours. There is some jamminess on the flavour profile, but it's backed by earthy, mocha, and savoury notes with hints of pepper spice, putting the jamminess firmly in the background (which I like). Acids are fresh, while tannins are smooth, supple and well-integrated. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts



Saturday, August 25, 2018

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  • Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is another new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Bodegas Jesús Romero in partnership with San Alejandro's winemaker, Juan Vicente Alcañiz. Together, they purchased a three-hectare vineyard of 70-year-old Garnacha in Báguena, Aragón. They also work together on a nearly four-hectare plot of 10-year-old vines at 980 metres altitude.

The name "Rubus" was chosen for this red wine for two reasons. Firstly, it is a nod to its origins in the municipality of Rubielos de Mora (in Teruel, Aragón, Spain) and secondly, it refers to Rubus Ulmifolius, a species of wild blackberry that evokes its aromas and defines the landscape of the area.

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGA JESÚS ROMERO RUBUS 2016 - DO Aragón, Spain (#575944) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of roughly equal parts Garnacha and Syrah, and 20% Tempranillo completing the blend from vines on pebble soil with sandy loam texture, in a mountainous area between 900 and 1000 metres elevation. All raised in stainless steel and concrete tanks, and spent 5 months on the lees. This is quite fragrant in the glass with blackberry, red berry, and spice aromas accented by earthy mineral. It is medium-full bodied on the fresh, clean, and ripe palate that is fruit forward with blackberry, dark cherry, and spice flavours with a smoky mineral underpinning. Tannins are fairly soft and dusty, offering a nice textural character, with just a touch of grip. Fresh, juicy acids. Long, blackberry and spice finish. Enjoy over the next couple of years. Score: 89 pts


Sunday, August 19, 2018

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  • Sunday, August 19, 2018

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that came through VINTAGES earlier this year (and sold out), but will be returning to shelves as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Zuccardi Wines, a winemaking family going on three generations. It was founded in 1963 by engineer, Alberto Zuccardi, when he planted his first acre of vines in Maipú, Mendoza, Zuccardi has continued to develop and grow, while positioning itself as an important benchmark for Argentina's winemaking industry.

Today, Sebastian Zuccardi represents the third generation of the family and heads up a young agricultural and winemaking team responsible for producing quality wines from the Uco Valley. In 2008, the winery created an area for Research & Development to study terroir and the different variables that affect wine quality. The aim is to produce wines that express the place and region.

The "Serie A" (or Argentina Series) wines seek to reveal the richness of Argentina's soils and micro-climates through wines that express each grape variety. Malbec, such as tonight's wine, shows best in the Uco Valley.

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ZUCCARDI SERIE A MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#167619) (XD) - $16.95
Fermented and aged mostly in concrete, with 10% aged in used French barrels. Plummy with black and red cherry aromas from the cork. The medium+ intensity nose is pretty and ripe with blackberry and black plum aromas, with touches of floral, mineral, tea leaf, and herbs. It is medium-full bodied and clean with nice aroma replays and very good fruit expression on the palate. Ripe tannins are smooth and well-integrated. Nicely textured with some chalkiness. It has good acidity and a juicy mid-palate. Very good finish length. Drink over the next 1-2 years. Score: 88 pts


Friday, August 17, 2018

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  • Friday, August 17, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 2 of 2)

Huff Estates
Last , I visited Prince Edward County for the very first time. Winery visits occurred over two days, and while the in The County included only visits to two wineries, the featured visits to five wineries. All of the wineries on the second day were situated near the village of Hillier in Prince Edward County. I was very excited to taste the County minerality that the region is so well-known for.

The day began with heavy rains during the visit to Huff Estates. A quick run from the car to their modern, state-of-the-art facility that also includes an Inn, and I was inside their tasting room ready to taste the first wines of the day. One of the more interesting things I discovered here was a delicious Riesling "Verre de Vin" - a single glass of wine enclosed by screw cap in a clear container. Huff Estates is known as a premium, quality wine producer and the wine I was most looking forward to trying was their elegant South Bay Chardonnay, but unfortunately it was sold out. It also seemed like the harsh winters of 2014 and 2015, plus a frost in May 2015 hit them hard as the shelves seemed a little bare, with quite a few wines bearing the VQA Ontario appellation. The wines I did taste were very good, and since this post is focused on Prince Edward County wines, I can tell you that the Cuvée Peter F. Huff (reviewed below) is a lovely sparkling wine from The County. For those heading to Prince Edward County this summer, they have now added a wood-fired pizza oven to their restaurant.

Huff Estates Riesling "Verre de Vin"Norman Hardie Wood-Fired Pizza

The rains continued as we visited the second winery, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard. My research revealed that the pizza at Norman Hardie's is delicious, so we stopped here for lunch and enjoyed the wood-fired pizza inside among the barrels and tanks (instead of on the outdoor patio) because it was still raining. After lunch, I moved upstairs to the tasting bar and tasted some of Norm's latest wines. Once again, not many VQA Prince Edward County wines here as they were sold out, while newer vintages were not yet bottled. However, the quality of the wines I got to taste was very good, as expected.

Stanners Vineyard

Our third stop of the was at Stanners Vineyard, a small family vineyard and boutique winery that was started by Cliff and his son, Colin Stanner. As I headed inside through the side door of the homestead, I found winemaker Colin pouring his delicious wines at the tasting bar. Not many wines were available for tasting, but I was delighted to see mostly County fruit being poured. I tasted through the lineup and was really impressed with The County wines - a Pinot Gris and a pair of Pinot Noir wines.

Lacey Estates

I'd heard many good things about Lacey Estates, the fourth winery of the day, so we made an unplanned stop because we were driving along and it happened to be en route. On this day, they were pouring four wines, and only one was VQA Prince Edward County. However, as I learned, even though the some of the bottles were labelled as VQA Ontario, all of the wines contained 100% Prince Edward County fruit. I really liked a couple of wines, as they were quite delicious, but I had tasted these before. Since I visited at the end of a very busy season, they were sold out of most of their wines, but I do think they have some quality wines worth seeking out.

Closson Chase Vineyards

The last visit of the day was at Closson Chase Vineyards, one of Prince Edward County's wine industry pioneers. I've tasted many delicious wines from their portfolio over the years, but on this day I decided to try only their lineup of Pinot Noir wines. Closson Chase was one of the few wineries in Prince Edward County to use only County fruit in all of their wines that I tasted. The three Pinots I tasted on this day were all top-notch wines. This quality-driven winery, with winemaker Keith Tyers at the helm, produces fine wines across their range and is a must visit for any Pinot Noir or Chardonnay fan.

Closson Chase Pinot Noir Lineup

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with my first ever visit to Prince Edward County while visiting 7 wineries. However, given that there are more than 40+ wineries in the region, and growing every year, another trip to The County is definitely in order. After years of procrastinating about visiting Prince Edward County for many years, I think I want to visit this up-and-coming wine region every year.

Tasting Notes:

HUFF ESTATES CUVÉE PETER F. HUFF 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#198754) (XD) - $40
A sparkling wine made with 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir, this has terrific aromatic intensity with lemon curd, brioche, and pastry aromas in a honeyed profile. It's medium-full bodied with honeyed lemon, grapefruit, and ginger flavours that are lifted by crisp, lively acids. Mousse is very fine and well-balanced. Off-dry flavours linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2011 (91 pts)Huff Estates South Bay Merlot 2015 (88 pts)

HUFF ESTATES SOUTH BAY MERLOT 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
This Merlot spent 20 months in French oak, and it shows with oak-driven, bretty, tobacco, cigar leaf notes sitting atop blackberry and dark fruit aromas of medium+ intensity. On the palate it's medium-full bodied with grippy tannins. It has dark fruits, blackberry, earth, and forest floor flavours along with hints of cola and brambly fruit. It has very good acidity and a long finish. Age this 3+ years and drink to 2024. Score: 88 pts

NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#131169) (D) - $21
The medium+ intensity nose is fresh with citrus, lemon/lime, orange and peach aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with very good acids and nice aroma replays and touches of beeswax and honeysuckle. There's a nice mineral note throughout. Off-dry and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Norman Hardie Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Norman Hardie Calcaire 2016 (89 pts)

NORMAN HARDIE CALCAIRE 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23
With grapes sourced from both Prince Edward County and Niagara, this is a blend of nearly 50/50 Riesling and Chardonnay, plus minute amounts of Pinot Gris, that was co-fermented on the lees. It has elegant, medium-high intensity aromas of orange, lemon citrus, mineral and white peach that also shows up in appealing fashion on the dry palate with a chalky texture. Delicate acids. Nice mineral aftertaste on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29
Highly aromatic and ripe with herbaceous, dark currant, dark berry, blackberry aromas along with leafy, barnyard and oak nuances forming the complex aroma profile. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice, complex aroma replays surrounded by chalky, drying tannins. Acids are clean and well-balanced, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 90 pts

Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Pinot Gris Cuivré 2016 (90 pts)

STANNERS PINOT GRIS CUIVRÉ 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28
Bottled just three weeks prior to my visit, this has pretty tropical fruit, melon, floral, and orange blossom aromas that continue very nicely on the palate. It's dry, focused, well-balanced and has fresh, vibrant acids. Finish length is very good. Score: 90 pts

STANNERS PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#490359) (XD) - $35
Released two months ago, this has a complex medium intensity nose of cherry, currant, raspberry with hints of tea leaf, earth and mushroom. It's light-weighted with smooth, fine tannins and flavours of currant, cherry, beetroot and earth. It has energetic acids and a long, curranty finish. Score: 90 pts

Stanners Pinot Noir 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)

STANNERS BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39
This has a medium-high intensity nose with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and whiffs of herbal leaf and limestone minerality, all of which show up on the nicely balanced palate. The smooth, refined tannins have some structure, while the acids are bright and the finish is long and juicy. Age this another year and drink to 2022. Score: 90+ pts

LACEY CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Medium-high intensity and complex  aromas of dark currant, herbally, blackberry, tobacco leaf, and smoke. It has bright acids on a medium-full bodied palate with very nice aroma replays and tannins that are a touch grippy. Pleasantly savoury on the mid-palate, while the finish is earthy with very good length. Drink over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

LACEY DORLAND RESERVE 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc, this has a medium+ intensity nose of cassis, currants, red & black fruits, cedar oak, and a whiff or dried fruit. It's full-bodied with olive and aroma replays, chalky tannins, and bright acids. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts

Lacey Dorland Reserve 2012 (88 pts)Closson Chase Hillier Pinot Noir 2013 (90+ pts)

CLOSSON CHASE HILLIER PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
Colour turning garnet orange. Highly aromatic and complex with cherry liqueur, oak spice, nutmeg and beet root aromas. It's medium+ bodied with very nice beetroot and cherry dominant aroma replays. Tannins are silky smooth. Still has bright acids. The finish length is excellent. This is showing some maturity, but should continue to drink well over the next few years. Score: 90+ pts

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#145888) (XD) - $29.95
The nose is highly aromatic and fragrant with cherry, strawberry, beetroot and freshly tilled earth notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has very nice aroma replays that are nicely balanced and lifted by fresh acids. It has fine tannins and a very long finish with lingering currant, cherry, raspberry notes with hints of oak spice. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90+ pts

Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noir 2014 (91 pts)

CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
This is a dark Pinot with a highly aromatic nose of dark berries, blackberry, complex oak spices, tea leaf and earthy forest floor nuances that continue on the palate with great complexity. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple, crunchy tannins that have some grip and partnered with juicy acids. The lengthy finish ends with earthy-minerally nuances. Drink to 2024. Score: 91 pts


Friday, August 10, 2018

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  • Friday, August 10, 2018

Villacreces Pruno 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Spanish red blend that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by one of the region's first wineries, Finca Villacreces, and is situated in the middle of Ribera del Duero’s "Golden Mile". The Duero estate is named after its founder, Franciscan monk Pedro de Villacreces, who, together with other clerics established a monastery on this site to pray and grow crops, including grapes.

For centuries, Villacreces was a place of retreat for Franciscan monks who, among other things, worked the land until the Confiscations of Mendizábal in 1836, when the land passed into the private hands of Marquis Teodosio Alonso-Pesquera - a royal senator of Alfonso XIII. Shortly thereafter, Marquis was granted water rights to the Duero River by the King.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the second Marquis sold the estate to the Cuadrado Family from Valladolid. In 2004, Gonzalo and Lalo Antón met the Cuadrado Family and expressed interest in purchasing the site as they already had bodegas in Rioja and Toro, and had been looking to expand into the Ribera de Duero. Pedro Cuadrado also hinted at leaving the wine business and estate in good hands. Soon after, the Antóns became owners of one of Ribera del Duero's most spectacular vineyards. They rebuilt the bodega, restored the vineyard, and relaunched Villacreces in 2007.

Villacreces Pruno 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

VILLACRECES PRUNO 2016 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#312140) (XD) - $22.95
Approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Black plum and cedar oak aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose with smoky black licorice, black cherry, oak spice, and cassis with hints of earth and black plum aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with grippy, muscular tannins and fresh acids lifting the black cherry, blackberry, currant, and oak flavours. Drying mid-palate. Long finish with earthy and smoky elements, and just a touch of chocolate bitterness. Solid wine that needs 3+ years of cellar time. Score: 89 pts


Sunday, August 5, 2018

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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is an Australian Shiraz that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Dandelion Vineyards is a unique fusion of vineyards and vignerons. The wines represent decades of experience, blending the fruit of old vine gardens with the finest traditions of artisan winemaking, while also allowing the unique character of these vineyards to express their terroir.

The grapes for the Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz are sourced from Angus and Helen Tuck's vineyard located in the subregion of Bakers Gully, in the foothills of McLaren Vale. These are mature vines are grown on ironstone pebble laden clay loam, over ancient Kurrajong Formation geology, a silica cemented conglomerate most suited to grow Shiraz.

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Hand-picked and pressed in whole bunches, and raised in 20% new and 80% older French Oak barriques for 18 months. Screw cap. The medium-high intensity nose offers aromas of black plum, blackberry, jammy, black peppercorn, and oak spices with some jamminess. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has vibrant acids and nice black peppercorn and blue fruit aroma replays in a dry flavour profile, with jamminess firmly in the background. Rounded tannins are ripe, dusty, and smooth. Black peppercorn and chocolate notes linger on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 1 of 2)

Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
During long weekend in October, after many years of procrastinating, I finally managed to get out to Prince Edward County for the first time - ever!

Prince Edward County (a.k.a. The County) is located along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, west of Kingston. Tastings were spread out over two days. Since we were returning from a mini-vacation in Ottawa, I was able to visit only two wineries near the Village of Milford on the first day.

The first stop on was Long Dog Vineyard & Winery - owner of the oldest Chardonnay & Pinot Noir vines in The County, with the oldest vines planted in 1999. I had the pleasure to speak with owner and winemaker James Lahti, who took us into the production facility (a large shed) where all the action happens, including an opportunity to see Pinot Noir grapes undergoing fermentation - fascinating! The next stop was the barrel room where various wines were being aged in French oak. We were able to taste a few barrel samples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - all of which seemed to be coming along quite nicely. We then went to the tasting room to taste through Long Dog's current offering. I thought his Pinot Noir wines were outstanding, as each offered something different. Wine reviews of my favourite wines at Long Dog are posted below.

James Lahti - Long Dog Vineyard & WineryLong Dog Vineyard & Winery - Barrel Room

The second stop was a visit to Lighthall Vineyards to see Glenn Symons and taste a few of his very limited production, quality wines. As I found out when I arrived, production is very limited and wines sell out quickly, as there were only two wines available for tasting, with the four or five other wines sold out. Both of the wines I did try were delicious. Of course, I was disappointed at the lack of availability of the other wines. On the plus side, I also got to taste some of their delicious cheese that they make on-site. Lighthall is Canada's first wine and cheese producer that makes both under the same roof. A return to Lighthall will be necessary, and contacting the winery ahead of time to see what's available is highly recommended.

Lighthall VineyardsLighthall Vineyards

At the suggestion of the June Motel - a lovely, wine-themed motel located in Picton, Ontario, where we spent the night and that I would recommend in a heartbeat - we had dinner at Parsons Brewing Company as well as enjoyed a beer tasting flight. Besides the tasty craft beer and delicious, home-style cooked meal, this brewery/restaurant is ideal for those with young children as there is a playground on-site where kids can go and play while the adults enjoy their food & beverage.

June Motel

June Motel

Parsons Brewing CompanyParsons Brewing Company - Beer Flight

After we checked out of "The June" the following day - we will definitely come back, without the kids - we began another day full of wine tastings. A full review of activities will be posted shortly is now posted here.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines are posted below. To order any of the wines from Long Dog or Lighthall, please contact the winery directly.

Tasting Notes:

LONG DOG BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
Medium-high intensity aromatics are mature in nature with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beet root and baking spice aromas and flavours. It's light-bodied with smooth, fine tannins that are integrated very well. Acids are still quite lively. Whiffs of mineral on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish. Fine, mature Pinot that will continue to drink well for a few more years. Score: 90 pts

Long Dog Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2011 (90 pts)Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2012 (89 pts)

LONG DOG TOP DOG PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $26
From a hot vintage, this has ripe and perfumed cherry liqueur, strawberry, and oak spice aromas of medium intensity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with crunchy tannins that have some grip and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. There's some warmth mid-palate, but is balanced by the concentrated fruit. Long finish. Enjoy with turkey over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts

Long Dog The Otto Pinot Noir 2013 (91 pts)

LONG DOG THE OTTO PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Made only in the best years, this has a lovely, intense red-fruited nose of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with earth and oak spice aromas. It's elegant and focused, with very nice aroma replays on the medium-bodied palate with some creaminess mid-palate. It has clean, balanced acids and fine, structured tannins. Finish length is excellent. Will age gracefully for 6-8 years. Score: 91 pts

LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION SPARKLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#468090) (D) - $20
From Vidal grapes on the Lighthall property in Prince Edward County and made using the Charmat method, this is quite fragrant with lemon/lime, pear, white peach and floral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a light mousse and off-dry aroma replays led by citrus and tropical fruits. The finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2016 (88 pts)Lighthall Ramirez Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

LIGHTHALL RAMIREZ CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From the Ramirez Vineyard in Hillier, this has medium-high intensity aromas featuring pear, apple, and subtle vanilla oak nuances. The medium-bodied palate is creamy with nice aroma replays. Clean acids are slightly tart, but otherwise well-balanced. Touches of mineral on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts


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