Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2016. Show all posts
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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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  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019

La Prua Appassimento 2016 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious red wine that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mare Magnum, a fairly new wine company that produces wine not only in various parts of Italy, but is also involved in winemaking in various other parts of the world. Takis Soldatos and Mario Calzolari are the leaders behind Mare Magnum, and they have worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years. Together, they strive to produces wines that are outstanding value-for-money in an attractive and innovative package.

La Prua Appassimento 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA PRUA APPASSIMENTO 2016 - IGT Rosso Veneto, Italy (#530543) (D) - $15.95
100% Corvina grown on the cool climate volcanic slopes of Monte Lessinis. A large part of the grapes were dried for three weeks. Aged for 8 months in French oak barrels. The medium+ intensity nose is spicy and earthy, layered on top of bright cherry and chocolate aromas, with hints of smoke. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins with just a touch of chalkiness, and fresh acids. Blackberry, cherry, and mocha chocolate flavours with some oak undertones. Some sweetness arrives on the mid-palate. Chocolate and dark berry notes close out on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

red wine is a frequent arrival in VINTAGES and was recently featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. It is currently available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at many LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Wakefield Wines is a family-owned and -operated winery located in the southern end of Clare Valley, South Australia. Wakefield is also a member of Australia's First Families of Wine, a group of twelve of Australia's oldest and most respected family-owned, multi-generational wineries who collectively have over 1,380 years of winemaking experience.

I reviewed this delicious Shiraz back in and am curious to see if this bottling, which is enclosed with a screw cap, has changed much over the last 5 months.

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Wine Review/Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2016 - Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. Dark berry, mint, pepper and spice aromas waft from the glass with some jamminess. It is a touch confected on the full-bodied palate with smooth, silky tannins and fresh, lively acids supporting the minty, blueberry, dark berry, cocoa, and spice flavours. Some chalkiness arrives mid-palate. Smooth berry, mocha, and earthy notes linger on the juicy finish, with very good length. Aussie Shiraz lovers will like this. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, January 4, 2019

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines
I had the opportunity to taste these three lovely wines from Southbrook Organic Vineyards recently and am pleased to report that all of them are delicious!

Southbrook recently launched a new tier of "Single Vineyard" wines with a focus on grapes from single sub-appellations, highlighting their dedicated organic growers. The winery is known for their Connect, Triomphe, Estate, and Poetica wines - some of which I also tasted recently. The wines are produced by internationally-acclaimed winemaker, Ann Sperling.

"Over the years I have worked with several organic growers, and have had the opportunity to get to know the quality of each vineyard nearly as well as our own Southbrook Estate. I felt we were ready to show off these unique and worthy vineyard sites as stand-alone wines," said winemaker Ann Sperling. "So, this year we bottled single vineyard wines from our favourite growers - Laundry Vineyard and Saunders Family Vineyard."

The new Single Vineyard collection from Laundry Vineyards includes a 2017 Riesling, 2017 Gamay, and 2016 Pinot Noir. The Riesling and Gamay come from the Vinemount Ridge vineyard, which shows classic properties of the geological area known as the Vinemount Moraine, featuring some of the steepest slopes in the Niagara Peninsula, and mineral-rich soils that are well-suited for growing Riesling and Gamay. The Pinot Noir comes from Heather Laundry's old vines in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation - an area that is becoming known for producing quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Heather Laundry has been specializing in Chardonnay since she graduated as one of the first Enology and Viticulture students from CCOVI at Brock University in 2000. While most of her classmates went on to become winemakers, Heather had her heart set on being among the vines. She learned from her mentor, Deborah Paskus, that the biggest impact on a wine could be made in the vineyard.

These new Single Vineyard Laundry wines are available at the winery and online at Southbrook.com. The new Single Vineyard Saunders wines will be released in early 2019.

Tasting Notes:

SOUTHBROOK HEATHER'S HOME VINEYARD ORGANIC RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#650135) (XD) - $22.95
Clone 21 Riesling. Screw cap. Lovely, linear, medium-high intensity aromatics of lime citrus, white peach, wet stone, and limestone minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied, fleshy and just off-dry with more lime citrus, peach and stony mineral flavours, and a whiff of honey. Nicely balanced with brilliant acidity providing freshness. Lovely wet stone notes linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Heather's Home Vineyard Organic Riesling 2017 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD GAMAY 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#646323) (XD) - $24.95
Planted on north-facing slopes and hand-harvested. Screw cap. Fresh, highly aromatic and pretty nose offers red berry, spice, black plum and whiffs of earthy and savoury notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with red berry, currant, herbs, tea leaf, and earthy flavours with dusty tannins adding a nice textural element and some structure. Acids are fresh. Appealing tea leaf notes linger on the long, juicy finish. A lovely expression of Niagara Gamay to enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Gamay 2017 (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Organically grown Pinot Noir clone 115, hand-harvested. Lovely ruby red colour. Fresh and spicy on the nose with ripe raspberry, wild berry and earthy aromas, along with touches of oak spice. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with brilliant, mouth-watering acids supporting the raspberry, earth, and spice flavours with hints of strawberry. Nicely textured and structured, with tight, chalky tannins. Savoury and red berry notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Enjoyable now, but better in a 1-2 years. Score: 91+ pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)


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  • Thursday, December 20, 2018

Palatine Hills Riesling 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest vintage of a lovely Niagara Riesling. The 2015 vintage of this white wine came through LCBO VINTAGES in , so I wouldn't be surprised if this latest vintage also arrives on shelves in the near future. Nevertheless, the wine is available at Palatine Hills Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and through their website and currently on sale for an astonishingly low price of $12 per bottle.

For over 40 years, the winemakers at Palatine Hills Estate Winery have been blending the history of the artisan grape grower with the modern skill of the winemaker. As co-founder of Palatine Hills, John Neufeld, Sr. has led the way as visionary for the vineyard and an innovator for the Niagara grape growing industry. Palatine Hills is still a family owned and operated winery today.

The wines at Palatine Hills owe their depth and taste structure to the unique topography of the land where their vines grow and our labels are a reflection of this connection.The slight slopes of the landscape and close proximity to Lake Ontario give Palatine Hills a unique climate and terroir ideal for grape growing.

Palatine Hills Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALATINE HILLS RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#520395) (M) - $13.95 $12
Screw cap. This bottle seems a bit shy, offering glimpses of pear, apple, mineral and petrol aromas. Much more lively on the medium-bodied palate with clean, bracing acids and medium sweet flavours of citrus, waxy, and minerals with just a hint pf petrol. Juicy, clean mid-palate and nicely textured. Complex. Very good length on the mineral and candied citrus finish. Should drink well over the next 5-7 years. Score: 89 pts


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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)


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