Showing posts with label 2017. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2017. Show all posts

Saturday, February 9, 2019

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  • Saturday, February 9, 2019

Rockway 9 Spritz 2017 (Ontario) - Wine Review



wine review is an interesting white wine made by Rockway Vineyards, and is the first of a few wines from Rockway that I'll be writing about over the coming days.

In addition to 75 hectares of vineyards located on premium grape-growing land in the Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation in Niagara Peninsula, there is also an 18-hole golf course and restaurant on-site. There is also an antique wine museum, where guests can look into the history of winemaking from the 17th to 19th centuries. With all of these attractions, plus the wine, one could easily spend the better part of a day at Rockway Vineyards.

This particular wine takes me back about 4 years ago, when a small group of us gathered at the iYellow Wine Cave for a Vidal table wine tasting. Although this wine is also considered a table wine, it does have a bit of a spritz thanks to a Chardonnay (4%) component that was harvested for a Sparkling wine base and provides nice acidity to accent the aromatic Vidal. Even though the grapes for this wine are from Niagara, Ontario VQA labelling rules state that you cannot use any Niagara appellation names for Vidal table wines, hence this wine is labelled as VQA Ontario.

The 2017 Rockway 9 Spritz normally retails for $15.95, but is currently on promotion for $14.95, and is available exclusively at their winery in Twenty Mile Bench and through their online web store.

Rockway 9 Spritz 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY 9 SPRITZ 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (M) - $14.95
A blend of 96% Vidal and 4% Chardonnay that was fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. Screw cap gives off gentle hiss when opening. Effervescent lemon twist, melon, and apple aromas with some grapey character. Spritzy with fresh acids lift the medium-bodied and medium-dry (i.e. fairly sweet) palate with grapey, apple, pear and tropical fruit and citrus flavours. Finish length is very good. 10% abv. Fine casual sipper for the patio that will have wide appeal. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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  • Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a white wine from northern Italy that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mezzacorona, one of the oldest and largest, continuous grower co-operatives in all of Italy, tracing its origins to 1904.

Cliffhanger is their concept for wines crafted on the "Edge of Perfection", and this Pinot Grigio is their best expression of the grape from the beautiful Trentino appellation which is inside the Dolomite area in northern Italy. The Trentino DOC is an area that encompasses many small territories, soil conditions, and micro-climates with completely different geological origins. The grapes for this Pinot Grigio come from two places: the hillside vineyards in the north, located 350 metres above sea level at the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, which runs alongside the Adige River near the city of Trento, and from vines cultivated in the south near Lake Garda.

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLIFFHANGER PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Trentino, Italy (#528687) (XD) - $15.95
Medium intensity aromas of ripe stone fruit, think yellow pear and peach, along with some citrus, floral and touches of honey. It is mid-weighted on the honeyed palate with sharp, juicy acids. Honeyed citrus, ripe pear and melon flavours with a kiss of sweetness on the flavour profile. A touch of mineral appears on the finish, with very good length. Simple and widely appealing. Score: 86 pts


Sunday, January 20, 2019

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  • Sunday, January 20, 2019

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Pinot Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a yummy white wine that is a companion to the 2017 Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot that I opened on .

Not to be confused with the other "Pinot" varietals out there, Pinot Blanc is actually a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, an unstable grape known to naturally mutate. Worldwide, Pinot Blanc isn't grown in large quantities, but it is fairly common in Alsace, Germany, and Austria. In Ontario, Konzelmann Estate Winery, with its German heritage, is one of the very few producers in Niagara growing it, and they have been making Pinot Blanc wines for more than 20 years.

Like the Merlot, this white wine was also picked up at the winery. The 2016 vintage of this wine is currently available for purchase at the LCBO, while the 2017 vintage should arrive in the near future.

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Pinot Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

KONZELMANN LAKEFRONT SERIES PINOT BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#219279) (D) - $14.95
Screw cap. Pale yellow colour. Fairly light on the nose with lemon and mineral aromas, along with hints of melon and floral. Alsatian in style with a medium-bodied and intense palate that is quite fleshy and off-dry with green apple, ripe melon, beeswax, and pear flavours. Nicely textured with well-balanced crisp and refreshing acidity. Very good finish length that's dry with pear, mineral, and floral tones. Score: 88 pts


Friday, January 18, 2019

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  • Friday, January 18, 2019

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot 2017 (87 pts)
I picked up red wine while visiting Konzelmann Estate Winery back in November during the Taste the Season food & wine pairing event that took place at many wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Konzelmann is Niagara’s exclusive lakefront winery and is heralded for providing one of the most friendly, informative and educational experiences in Niagara's wine country. On a past visit, I had the opportunity to visit their below-ground tasting room, which was dark, yet cozy, and without much in the way of seating. However, they recently renovated this area and it is now bright and airy, and offers seating for structured wine tastings and educational sessions. I can envision this space also being used for small private events.

This Merlot is the winery's most popular red wine. It is a fairly new release, with a new label for 2017, and is currently available for purchase at the winery and online through their web store. This latest vintage has also just recently arrived at the LCBO and is currently on promotion - with every bottle purchased you receive 6 Bonus Air Miles until . The wine review of this highly quaffable Niagara red is provided below.

Konzelmann Estate Winery Private Tasting Room

Tasting Note:

KONZELMANN LAKEFRONT SERIES MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#439281) (D) - $14.95
Screw cap. Soft, medium intensity nose offers ripe red berry, cherry, plum, and black currant aromas with wisps of earth and olive adding savoury elements. It is medium bodied with gritty, textured tannins that are just a touch tight. Fresh, lively acids lift the berry, currant, earthy, and cocoa flavoured dry palate. There's good length on the juicy finish with cocoa, vanilla and earthy notes. Highly drinkable now and should improve in 2020. Score: 87 pts


Friday, January 4, 2019

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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 (#581603) (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 (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)


Saturday, December 15, 2018

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  • Saturday, December 15, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Appassimento 2017 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that recently arrived to the LCBO and is widely available throughout Ontario.

It is produced by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a winery that was founded in the commune of Negrar in Veneto in the 1930's.

The catchy and interesting label of this Appassimento depicts Ulysses' (a.k.a. Odysseus in Greek) 10-year journey home from Troye to Ithaca. Every facet of his journey captivates the sense of discovery, self-discovery, and world discovery Ulysses experiences in those enchanted 10 years, including  Lotus eaters, Circe the Enchantress, the singing winged sirens, the one-eyed giant Cyclops, the six-headed monster Scylla, the violent whirlpool Charybdis, his journey to the underworld to learn of his future, the bags of wind from Aeolus, and his 7 year stay with the nymph Calypso. Each tale embodies a sense of enchantment and delight, drawing the reader in, the urge to know and discover more. Let's see if what's inside the bottle is just as captivating.

Cantina di Negrar Appassimento 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR APPASSIMENTO 2017 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#629865) (D) - $15.90
A Corvina-based blend made using dried grapes (i.e. appassimento method). Medium+ intensity nose features sweet spice, fig, cherry, and earthy aromas. It is medium-full bodied with smooth, dusty tannins and a juicy core with pleasing milk chocolate, cherry, and earthy aroma replays in an off-dry flavour profile. Some tannic grip arrives mid-palate. Nice balance throughout, with earth and cocoa flavours lingering on the long, juicy finish. Widely appealing style. Score: 87 pts


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is an organic and biodynamic Chardonnay from Niagara that is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. I enjoyed the 2013 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay almost 3 years ago to the date (and still have another bottle in the cellar), so I am curious to see how this latest version will be.

This delicious white wine is produced by Southbrook Vineyards, a leading producer of organic wines and based in Niagara-on-the-Lake. While previous editions of the Wild Ferment Chardonnay were estate grown, this latest edition is the first "Wild Ferment Chardonnay" that uses grapes sourced from selected organic Chardonnay growers across the Niagara Escarpment, including grapes from the Saunders' family home vineyard in Beamsville. Individual vineyard lots were separately fermented wild in French oak barrels, and only after ageing were selected barrels blended to create the final wine.

This lovely bottle was just released this month and is available for purchase on-site at the winery, and will be available online through their web store very soon.

Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#644625) (XD) - $40
Yellow fruit scented with pear, apple, citrus, and buttery vanilla notes in a slightly reductive style. It is medium-bodied on the palate with fresh and lively acids. Ripe and slightly honeyed on the dry flavour profile with pear, apple, lemon and orange citrus, and subtle oak spice flavours. Fine mineral texture adds complexity to the flavours mid-palate and lingers through to the long, juicy mineral and citrusy finish. Clean and elegant, enjoy this fine Chardonnay over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts


Monday, November 19, 2018

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  • Monday, November 19, 2018

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a very interesting natural, organic and biodynamic orange wine produced by Southbrook Vineyards. Technically, orange wines are now known as a skin-fermented white wines. Southbrook has produced this style of wine under the guiding hands of winemaker Ann Sperling for several years now, with latest rendition being the 2017 vintage that was bottled in January and released for sale in June.

The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested from Southbrook's Estate in the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Small lots of grapes, including stems, were cluster-sorted and foot-trodden before undergoing wild yeast and malolactic fermentation over 30 days. After gentle pressing, the wine was naturally chilled outdoors, settled, and bottled without any filtration or additives, and is free of sulphites.

This orange wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and available for purchase through the winery and soon at the LCBO.

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK VIDAL SKIN FERMENTED WHITE ORANGE WINE 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#628065) (XD) - $29.95
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. Cloudy orange colour. Highly fragrant nose offers aromas of citrus and black tea leaves with hints of floral and sage. More pronounced tart citrus, floral, and black tea flavours are well-balanced on the nicely textured, medium-bodied palate. Dry mouthfeel with some chalkiness. Acids are bright and balanced. Some tea, sage and earthy notes linger on the long finish. I'll be honest, I have tasted previous vintages and never really been a big fan of this wine, but this latest vintage is very compelling and engaging. Highly recommended. Best with a light chill. Score: 91 pts


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mauro Molino Barolo (Piedmont) Wine Tasting

Mauro Molino Barolo Wine Tasting

At the , I was invited to a special tasting of some very fine Barolo wines from Piedmont's highly acclaimed Mauro Molino. The tasting was held at the Fine Wine Reserve on King St. W. in downtown Toronto.

Mauro Molino was born in Piemonte and graduated from Alba Winemaking School in 1973. After a few years of making wine in Emilia-Romagna, he returned to start his own winery in the Langhe following the passing of his father in 1979. His father left him some vineyards, which Mauro then envisioned as an opportunity to embark on a new winemaking career in his beloved homeland. After spending a few years improving his vineyards and cellar, which is built in Annunziata of La Morra, he began producing wines such as the top-end Conca in 1982, one of the Barolo area's smallest and unique single vineyards.

In 2003, Mauro's son, Matteo, joined the company as winemaker, and in 2009 his daughter Martina began working with the commercial aspect of the company. Both graduated from Alba Winemaking School and are an integral part of the winery today.

The family winery continues to produce wines in Annunziata of La Morra, with the utmost respect for traditions. In total, they have 14 hectares of vineyards, 50% of which is planted to Nebbiolo destined for Barolo.

Fernando Burani, Export Manager

Representing the winery at this tasting was Export Manager, Fernando Burani. He graciously poured the first few of the 10 wines that were available for tasting.

Wine reviews of my top 5 wines are provided below. All of the wines available at the tasting can be ordered online via lcbo.com. Thank you Le Sommelier for the invite and the opportunity to taste these fabulous wines.

Tasting Notes:

MAURO MOLINO ROERO ARNEIS 2017 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588755) (XD) - $27.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers appealing notes of papaya, white peach, orange citrus and hints of Flintstone vitamins. It's medium-full bodied on the structured palate with lovely mineral and savoury character joining the ripe fruits. Clean acids and excellent length with a nice minerally finish. Score: 90+ pts

Mauro Molino Roero Arneis 2017 (90+ pts)Mauro Molino Dolcetto Langhe 2017 (89 pts)

MAURO MOLINO DOLCETTO LANGHE 2017 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#588763) (XD) - $21.95
Nice dark berry, floral, mint and tobacco aromas and flavours, with a touch raisiny character on the medium intensity nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins offering nice structure and texture. Very good fruit concentration and a long, balanced finish. Score: 89 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO BRICCO LUCIANI 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588714) (XD) - $82.95
From vines located 270 metres above sea level on compact clay and limestone soils, this has a gorgeous, highly aromatic and pretty nose featuring rose florals, dried cherry, clove, and sweet vanilla oak. It is full bodied with softened tannins that have presence. Very nice aroma replays and well-balanced overall. Classy, elegant, long-lasting finish. My favourite of the tasting. Score: 93 pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Bricco Luciani 2014 (93 pts)Mauro Molino Barolo La Serra 2014 (92 pts)

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO LA SERRA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604065) (XD) - $96.95
From vines located in the highest part of the municipality of La Morra, at 370 to 400 metres above sea level, on calcareous/clayey soils, this has a generous nose of dark berry, blackberry, and oak spice aromas with leafy hints. It's medium-full bodied on the crunchy palate and balanced acids. Nicely balanced tannins gain presence with time. Curranty flavours add complexity on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Still youthful, will be better in 3-4 years. Score: 92 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO CONCA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604073) (XD) - $125.95
The nose seems shy at the moment, offering glimpses of oak spice, dark cherry, cassis and berry aromas. The palate is structured with firm tannins and flavours of mocha, chocolate and red berry notes wrapped around fresh acidity. A big wine that needs 3-4 years to integrate. Score: 92+ pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Conca 2014 (92+ pts)


Sunday, September 16, 2018

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  • Sunday, September 16, 2018

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely rosé that I picked up while visiting the winery in Rhône Valley back in .

Château Mourgues du Grès is a family-owned, certified organic winery located in Beaucaire, on the slopes of Costières de Nîmes and nestled between vineyards, orchards, and heath. Their terroir is quite rich and made up of the rounded stones (grès) and lies on argilo-calcerous marl, which help the vines draw moisture from greater depths. The stony alluvium was transported from the Alps by the glacier of the Rhône in the quaternary era (nearly 2 million years ago) and imparts miinerality, balance and freshness to the wines. The area is also nurtured by the influences of the Rhône river and the Mediterranean Sea.

The winery is committed to preserving the environment by being mindful of nature and respect for their terroir. The vineyards are maintained and kept fertile by sheep grazing and cover crops to prevent erosion and promote biodiversity. Since 2015, wines have been vinified without the use of sulphur, except for a small amount during bottling to ensure stability of the wine.

Vigneron François Collard returned to the family estate in 1990 and produced his first bottling in 1993. He strives to reveal the purity of fruit, freshness, aromas, and balance between the richness and minerality of every wine he produces, including this delightful rosé.

For availability in Ontario, please contact Brand New Day Wines & Spirits.

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS FLEUR D'EGLANTINE 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - €7.5
Mostly Grenache and Mourvèdre, with a dash of Syrah. Vague notions of spring flower and grapefruit from the cork. In the glass, this has delicate aromas of grapefruit and rhubarb with a fine mineral underpinning, and hints of strawberry. It's medium-full bodied on the clean, fresh palate with nicely dry grapefruit and rhubarb flavours. Fresh acids are nicely balanced. A fine salty mineral note and some spiciness arrives mid-palate and continues through to the long, juicy finish. Best with a light chill. Score: 88+ pts


Friday, September 7, 2018

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  • Friday, September 7, 2018

Marqués de Caceres Rosado 2017 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice rosado (a.k.a. rosé) from Spain that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

The story of Marqués de Cáceres begins its roots in 1920, when Enrique Forner's grandfather and father founded Vinícola Forner - a small family business devoted to producing wine. Enrique worked in the wine trade as a boy and, after being exiled to France during the Civil War, he founded a similar business in France in 1952. Eventually, he returned to Spain and founded Marqués de Cáceres in 1970. He has been part of an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade now for five generations, including his daughter, Cristina Forner, who manages the winery today.

In the 1990s, the trend for innovation continued as young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration. Michel Rolland, the most influential enologist in Bordeaux at the time, was brought on as an adviser. Marqués de Cáceres and Michel were united in their obsession to produce quality wines.

Today, Marqués de Cáceres has the leading Rioja in Spain and exports their wines to more than 120 countries around the globe, including delicious wines such as this Rosado in Ontario, Canada.

Marqués de Caceres Rosado 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CACERES ROSADO 2017 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#622142) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 96% Tempranillo and 4% Garnacha Tinta from 15-20-year old vines grown on mainly clay and limestone. Screw cap. This has a medium+ intensity nose with herbally and red currant aromas surrounded by a core of red cherry, strawberry, and watermelon notes. The crunchy palate is a touch honeyed, yet dry, and offers more cherry, strawberry, and watermelon flavours on a medium+ bodied frame. It has food-friendly acids, while the finish length is very good. 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 22, 2018

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  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lavau Tavel Rosé 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

lovely wine is a new release that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This rosé wine is produced by the Lavau family that has been involved in winemaking for several generations and settled in the Rhône Valley in 1964. Today, brothers Frederic and Benoit Lavau are rapidly building a reputation for excellent, value-oriented and critically-acclaimed wines which embody their savoir-faire and respect of terroir, including the many Lavau wines I've enjoyed over the years.

The vines producing this rosé average 30 years old and are located on the slopes of the right bank of the River Rhône, between the famous Pont d'Avignon and the Pont du Gard bridges. The soil type consists of sand, marly-limestone, and pebbles. Grapes are harvested at night (to keep the grapes cool) and are immediately pressed and transferred into stainless steel vats to undergo slow fermentation.

Lavau Tavel Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#556175) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of 50% Grenache, 45% Cinsault, and 5% Syrah. Fresh strawberry and raspberry with herbally hints from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose featuring pretty aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry, and cherry notes sprinkled with herbs. It's medium-full bodied and somewhat structured on the palate with vibrant, juicy acids that gains body in the mouth. The dry flavour profile is clean and richly concentrated with cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavours. Nice chalky texture. Hints of cran-cherry on the lingering finish. Score: 89 pts


Friday, August 17, 2018

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  • Friday, August 17, 2018

Château La Négly La Natice Rosé 2017 (Midi) - Wine Review

I enjoyed the 2016 Château La Négly La Natice Rosé last year and am pleased to see the lovely 2017 vintage come to LCBO VINTAGES on .

wine review is a lovely dry rosé that is produced by Château de la Negly. The winery is located in the Languedoc, overlooking the Mediterranean. The unique geographical location of the winery allows a synergy of the elements to take place - stroked by sea spray, and buffeted between the Tramontane (strong, cold winds from the north) and the sea wind, the land is bathed under the hot, Mediterranean sun that captures the heat which warms up the berries. The grapes for this rosé come from silty, sandy soils dating from the Miocene period (5 to 23 million years old) and face the Mediterranean sea.

Several families have managed the Domaine over the years. Today, it is the Paux-Rosset family that manages the vineyards and winery with the help of consultant oenologist and friend, Claude Gros. The winemaking process at Château La Négly is entirely focused on creating wines of quality and distinction, such as this gastronomic rosé wine.

Château La Négly La Natice Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU LA NÉGLY LA NATICE ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#492199) (XD) - $24.95
Mostly Mourvèdre with some Syrah and Cinsault completing the blend. Made using the saignée method and aged in tank on fine lees for 6 months. Glass enclosure. The medium intensity nose is spicy, herbally, and citrusy with hints of cherry and melon, and mineral undertones. It's medium bodied on the dry palate with melon, tart citrus, garrigue and spice flavours supported by crisp, vibrant acids that are nicely balanced. Very good flavour intensity. Spiced, juicy mid-palate. Nice mineral notes linger on the long finish. Give it a slight chill enjoy to 2019. Score: 90 pts


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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  • Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Morgan Vineyard Kerner 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a unique white wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

The Kerner grape is an aromatic white grape variety that was bred in Germany in 1929 by crossing Trollinger (a red grape variety) with Riesling. Today, most Kerner plantings are in Germany, while some are also grown in Austria, Switzerland, and South Tyrol (in Northern Italy).

With only a few vineyards in Niagara producing Kerner, this wine by Lakeview Cellars comes from the Morgan Vineyard located on the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation. Approximately 2 acres of vines are 20+ years old, and are all planted on sandy soils. This wine has been produced since at least the 2000 vintage. Let's see how the 2017 is tasting tonight...

Lakeview Cellars Morgan Vineyard Kerner 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS MORGAN VINEYARD KERNER 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443614) (D) - $17.95
Screw cap. The generous nose has white floral, ripe apple and peach aromas, with some honeyed and grapey notes. It's off-dry on the palate with more apple, floral, and peach flavours lifted by bright acidity. There's some bitterness on the honeyed-floral finish, with good length. A casual sipper to enjoy on a hot summer's day. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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  • Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wine Reviews - June 24 Birthday Party

Wine Lineup for June 24, 2018 Birthday Party

On , we threw a birthday party at Bombay Touch in Thornhill for my son who just turned a year old. I brought in my own wines for the occasion, spanning a fairly wide range of categories so that each guest could find at least one wine that would appeal to their palate. Wines styles included a dry rosé, a dry white wine, a sweet white wine, and a variety of dry red wines. The most popular wines were the Mencía, the rosé, and the Riesling.

All of the wines are fairly recent additions to VINTAGES and should still be available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Wines reviews of each of the wines are posted below.

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Pale pink colour much the same as Provence. Lovely, highly aromatic, bright and fresh aromas of mineral, white grapefruit, and lemon citrus. The palate is dry with complex white grapefruit, orange peel, herbs, and mineral with hints of lemon, on a medium-full bodied frame and lifted with crisp, vibrant acidity. Nicely balanced throughout with hints of strawberry and cherry flavours. Excellent finish length with lemony nuances. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017 (91 pts)

TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with grassy, lemon/lime, pear, flinty mineral, and hints of herbal and stone fruits. It has a dry, medium+ body palate with a nice, slightly chalky texture and balanced aroma replays. Balanced acids with a touch viscous mouthfeel on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with nice mineral notes. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Tahbilk Marsanne 2017 (89 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
Screw cap. Wow. Highly aromatic and pretty aromas of peach and orange which give way to ripe apple, mineral and hints of petrol. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good fruit concentration and medium sweet flavours that are nicely balanced and mimic the aroma profile. High acids are crisp and provide a lip-smacking, long finish with just a touch of sourness. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
Full review here.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)Marrenon Versant Nord Luberon 2015 (88+ pts)

MARRENON VERSANT NORD LUBERON 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#537969) (XD) - $15.95
A single vineyard blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The medium-high intensity aromas offer complex blackberry, dark currant, pepper, and meaty aromas with some savoury and dark cherry notes as well. On the medium-full bodied, crunchy palate, it has plummy, blueberry, and dark berry flavours, plus savoury hints of oak spice and peppery notes. Vibrant acids and supple tannins with a touch of grip add to the character of this wine, while the finish length is very good. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88+ pts

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Full review here.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)Gancedo Xestal Mencía 2010 (90 pts)

GANCEDO XESTAL MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#553743) (XD) - $17.95
From 60+ year old vines, this maturing Mencía has a gorgeous, highly aromatic nose offering a pretty bouquet of red cherry, raspberry, red floral, and sweet oak spice. It's full bodied with fine, dusty tannins providing some grip, and very appealing aroma replays, plus some baking spice and cinnamon, and earthy/savoury elements on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy. Touch warming on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Mont Gravet Colombard 2017 (Southwest) - Wine Review

wine review is a white wine made using Colombard, a French white wine grape variety that is the offspring of Chenin Blanc and Gouais Blanc. Traditionally, this grape was grown in France for distilling into Cognac and Armagnac. Today, it is grown in South West France, Bordeaux, and in a few other wine regions around the world.

It is produced by Mont Gravet and hails from the appellation of Côtes de Gascogne, near the city of Toulouse, in the South West of France. The "Mont Gravet" name comes from the hills (i.e. "Mont" in French) in the area, while "Gravet" refers to the oval-shaped rocks commonly found in the area. This cool-climate area is ideal for viticulture with its Oceanic and Mediterranean influences. Mosaics, along with an excavation site revealed that wine-growing occurred as early as the 4th century.

This refreshing white wine will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Mont Gravet Colombard 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONT GRAVET COLOMBARD 2017 - IGP Côtes de Gascogne, Southwest, France (#521930) (XD) - $15.95
Screw cap. Aged on fine lees for 3 months. Fresh, clean and generous aromas of ripe peach, spring flower and pear, with some herbally hints. It is medium-bodied with clean, vibrant, and juicy acids supporting the ripe, slightly honeyed palate with citrus, peach, and herbal flavours. Good length on the finish with lemony notes. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, July 1, 2018

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  • Sunday, July 1, 2018

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (Loire) - Wine Review

lovely wine is the latest rosé from Jean-Max Roger and will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Having enjoyed the 2016 Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé in , I am expecting a wine of similarly high-quality from this very good, reliable Loire producer.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $27.95
Direct pressed 100% Pinot Noir, and then cold settled for between 48 and 72 hours. Citrus, peach and melon aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has clean, fresh aromas of citrus, strawberry, melon, tropical fruit with hints of mineral and red berry, with very good intensity. The palate is medium-full bodied and dry, leading with fine saline minerality joined by citrus, melon, tropical fruit and hints of strawberry flavours. Acids are tart, crisp, very juicy, and lip-smackingly fresh. Finely balanced throughout with berry and citrus flavours lingering on the long finish. Perfect for this hot, summer day! Score: 90 pts


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)


Monday, May 21, 2018

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  • Monday, May 21, 2018

Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine to cap off a wonderful long weekend is this dry rosé wine from Niagara's Domaine Queylus.

As described when I opened their 2015 Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnay last week, this is a relatively new winery that was formed in 2006. And even though they've been in operation for more than a decade, this is only the 3rd rosé that they've ever produced.

This deliciously dry rosé wine is newly released and only available at their winery in Niagara and through their online web store.

Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE QUEYLUS PINOT NOIR ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $21.95
100% Pinot Noir. This has a medium-intensity nose featuring honeyed strawberries, orange zest, and red floral aromas with more red berry fruits and hints of earth. It is medium bodied and dry on the palate with cran-cherry, raspberry, and strawberry flavours with a mineral backbone. It has crisp, refreshing acids. Chalky mineral texture and flavours become more prominent mid-palate and continue through to the crisp finish, with good length. Serve with only a light chill. Perfect for summer sipping or pair with lightly herbed poultry. Score: 88 pts


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