Showing posts with label argentina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label argentina. Show all posts

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


Saturday, March 17, 2018

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  • Saturday, March 17, 2018

Aniello 006 Riverside Estate Pinot Noir 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is new to the LCBO and was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on . It was featured as part of the main theme on wines from South of the Equator.

Bodegas Aniello is a small winery with Italian roots that was originally built in 1927 and looks to explore the value of the ancient winemaking tradition of Patagonia. The winery is currently on the path of moving from conventional to sustainable agriculture and integrated vineyard management by using natural alternatives for fertilization, pests, disease and weed prevention.

The name '006' derives from the cadastral nomenclature of the estate and is one of the few vineyards in Argentina, located next to an actual flowing river. Indeed, the image on the label depicts all of the elements of the varied alluvial-type soils that characterize the vineyard.

As this is a recent release, this wine is still widely available in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Aniello 006 Riverside Estate Pinot Noir 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANIELLO 006 RIVERSIDE ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2016 - Río Negro Valley, Patagonia, Argentina (#542092) (XD) - $17.95
Fermented in small concrete tanks, with a portion oak-aged for 12 months. Red cherry and raspberry aromas from the cork. This has a cinnamon spice driven nose with dark red cherry, strawberry and raspberry laying underneath, with good intensity. The palate is medium-bodied with cran-cherry-raspberry and forest floor flavours joined by some baking spice and beetroot notes which are lifted by fresh acids. Tannins have a touch of grip and are finely structured. Some mineral notes arrive mid-palate and continue through to the long finish. Drink over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


Monday, March 12, 2018

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  • Monday, March 12, 2018

VINTAGES Release March 17, 2018: Classic Euro Regions + Merlot + Argentina

LCBO Wine Picks: March 17, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES Release on features wines from Europe's classic wine regions as it's main theme. There are two mini-themes - one featuring Merlot, the other featuring Argentina - however, none of the wines from the mini-themes are included among my wine picks. All of these new wines will be on shelves across Ontario this .

The main theme is interesting, featuring Europe's top 11 classic wine regions and lists 18 wines, four of which are included among my top wine picks. The 11 regions listed are Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Loire Valley, Rhône Valley, Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto, Mosel, Douro, and Rioja. Among my top wine picks, you'll find an excellent Champagne that is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. From the Mosel region in Germany, there is a sweet Riesling that will pair really well with spicy dishes. Lastly, both Rhône wines - from the outstanding 2015 vintage - listed in this feature are among my wine recommendations. The Costières de Nîmes is an organic wine consisting of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Carignan, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and other varietals making up the balance.

Among red wines from the rest of the release, Australia continues to explore Italian varietals, and the results are promising. From Australia, there is a Nero d'Avola, as well as a blend of Sangiovese and Shiraz. From Tuscany, the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico is made with 100% Sangiovese. From South Africa, the Ernie Els (yes, the golfer) wine is a blend of 60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Grenache, 3% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsaut, and 5% Viognier. From France, the La Clape red from the Languedoc is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Carignan, while the 2015 Vacqueyras is a blend of 68% Grenache, 27% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault.

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2011 (92 pts)Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2016 (88 pts)

From my white wine picks, the Fumé Blanc is actually a blend of 89% Sauvignon Blanc and 11% Sémillon that was barrel-fermented and aged in French oak. For sweet wine lovers, the Siegerrebe will surely please your palate, as will the Ontario Riesling. The Pinot Gris also offers some sweetness.

Please note that the four Flagship Store Exclusives included among my wine picks will only be available in limited quantities at Flagship stores. Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CORIOLE SANGIOVESE/SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#534610) (XD) - $17.95
  • MONTERRA FLEURIEU PENINSULA NERO D’AVOLA 2016 - Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia (#534743) (XD) - $18.95
  • ARBOLEDA CARMENÈRE 2015 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#046284) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#040964) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERNIE ELS BIG EASY 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#220038) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU PECH REDON L’ÉPERVIER LA CLAPE 2014 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#129965) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN ROSEROCK PINOT NOIR 2014 - Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#529107) (XD) - $39.95
  • DOMAINE LES ONDINES PASSION VACQUEYRAS 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#536854) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE IL MARGONE GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#435115) (XD) - $42.95  92 pts  wine review
  • FONT DE MICHELLE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#400358) (D) - $51.95
  • MICHELE CASTELLANI CINQUE STELLE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2013 - Collezione Ca’ del Pipa, DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#075127) (D) - $55.95
Arboleda Carmenère 2015 (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • ANSELMANN EDESHEIMER ROSENGARTEN SIEGERREBE SPÄTLESE 2016 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#910554) (S) - $16.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (M) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CASTELO DO MAR ALBARIÑO 2016 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#488734) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • A TO Z PINOT GRIS 2016 - Oregon, USA (#258145) (D) - $19.95
  • ATTEMS PINOT GRIGIO 2016 - IGT Venezia Giulia, Venezie, Italy (#707950) (XD) - $19.95
  • TOHU SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#536177) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • DR. PAULY-BERGWEILER BERNKASTELER BADSTUBE RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2015 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#727370) (S) - $29.95
  • WAKEFIELD ST. ANDREWS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Single Vineyard Release, Clare Valley, South Australia (#237933) (XD) - $34.95  FSE
  • MARCO FELLUGA RUSSIZ SUPERIORE RISERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 - DOC Collio, Friuli, Italy (#541599) (XD) - $48.95  FSE
  • ROBERT MONDAVI TO KALON VINEYARD RESERVE FUMÉ BLANC 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#326165) (XD) - $59.95  FSE
Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)Castelo do Mar Albariño 2016 (88+ pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • MOUTARD PÈRE & FILS CUVÉE PRESTIGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#514372) (XD) - $51.95


Sunday, January 21, 2018

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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018

Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a delightful organic red wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Chakana was founded in 2002 and is dedicated to the study and understanding of some of the best terroirs in Mendoza and produce authentic wines that express the character and identity of the Andean soils. In 2012, Chakana began a conversion process to become an organic/biodynamic producer, and this Malbec is just one of the results from this conversion. The winemaking style at Chakana subscribes to the minimum interventionist style by using indigenous yeasts, minimizing the use of sulphur and other additives, and selecting porous materials for ageing that are adapted to preserve the grape's sense of place.

The winemaker is Gabriel Bloise and is a member of the new generation of Mendoza winemakers, and also has experience with harvests in Tuscany, California, Priorat, and Australia. He believes that winemaking is a tool to express nature, and the best wines are those that hide the hand of the maker.

Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA NUNA ESTATE MALBEC 2016 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#018671) (XD) - $16.95
100% Malbec grown at 960 metres elevation, this was aged for 10 months in concrete vats, followed by further ageing in used barrels. Faint nose of dark plum and earth from the cork. In the glass, this has a fresh, medium-high intensity bouquet of exotic spice, tea leaves, blackberry, black plum, and hints of purple flower aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with fine tannins offering nice texture and building with air. Flavours lead with tea leaves, spice, and graphite layered on top of floral and dark plum notes. Fresh acids are bright and juicy. Some warmth on the mid-palate. Shows fine balance overall, finishing with graphite and dark berry flavours. Really digging concrete-aged wines like this. Enjoy this organic wine over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


Sunday, September 17, 2017

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  • Sunday, September 17, 2017

Catena High Mountain Vines Malbec 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a VINTAGES Essential and is always available in the VINTAGES section at many LCBO outlets across the province. And because this red wine always available, it does go on promotion from time to time with either Bonus Air Miles or a couple of dollars off the regular retail price.

This wine has been produced by Bodega Catena Zapata for many years now, going back to at least 1996. My personal records show that I tasted the 2002 and 2005 vintages of this wine, as well as more recent vintages. Like the 2016 Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay that I enjoyed recently, the grapes for this 100% Malbec also come from 4 different high altitude mountain vineyards located at various elevations - Lunlunta (920 m), Agrelo (950 m), El Cepillo / Eugenio Bustos (1,090 m), and Gualtallary (1,450 m).

Catena High Mountain Vines Malbec 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#478727) (XD) - $19.95
Ripe plum, berry, oak spices and a hint of violet aromas from the cork. The generous nose in the glass leads with blackberry and meaty aromas followed by hints of herb, oak spice and violet. The palate is medium-full bodied with fine tannins and lifted by bright acidity. Aromas come through nicely on the palate with blackberry, white pepper and meaty notes leading the way. The finish is long and earthy with hints of mocha. Paired well tonight with lamb burgers. A nice Malbec to enjoy over the next 5 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


Friday, September 8, 2017

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  • Friday, September 8, 2017

Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a recent arrival to the LCBO, as it was released into LCBO VINTAGES on . It was featured as part of the theme on high altitude wines from Argentina.

This white wine is produced by the legendary Bodega Catena Zapata. Founded in 1902 by Nicolás Catena Zapata, this winery is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza.

Fourth generation vintner, Laura Catena, and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil, crafted this Chardonnay with grapes sourced from four vineyards that are located at various elevations - Agrelo (950 m), El Cepillo (1,090 m), Villa Bastías (1,120 m), and Gualtallary (1,450 m). Each vineyard adds different characteristics to the wine, most notably textural and mineral elements in the upper elevations. Higher elevation vineyards also help promote greater acidity in the grapes.

The 2016 Chardonnay was whole cluster pressed, fermented sur lies in a combination of barrels and stainless steel tanks with wild yeasts. It was raised for 10 months in a combination of first, second and third French oak, with 60% undergoing malolactic fermentation.

Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES CHARDONNAY 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#918805) (XD) - $19.95
Ripe tropical fruit salad aromas from the cork are quite pretty. In the glass, it has ripe buttery, apple, pear, and lemon curd aromas with touches of caramel and vanilla of medium+ intensity. The dry palate is medium-full bodied and somewhat creamy with white flowers, lemon, and apple flavours. Notable wood is subtle and nicely integrated. Acids are clean and the finish length is very good with notes of tropical fruit and lemon curd. Easy drinking and widely appealing. Score: 88 pts


Monday, July 31, 2017

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  • Monday, July 31, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES Release August 5, 2017: Argentina + New Old School

LCBO Wine Picks from August 5, 2017 VINTAGES Release
New wines from the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this and features wines from Argentina as its main theme, while the mini-theme looks at 5 "new old school" wine regions.

We'll begin with the feature on Argentina, where the particular focus is on the various altitudes where grapes are grown, ranging from as low as 600 metres up to more than 3,000 metres above sea level. The wine region of Salta in northern Argentina is home to the world's highest vineyards, where grapes are grown up to 3,111 metres above sea level. Of the 12 wines listed, just 2 are included among my top wine picks. The first wine is from Finca Flichman and is a red blend made with 70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot from a vineyard located 1,100 metres above sea level. The second wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon (that also includes approx. 15% Malbec) from Uco Valley, where vineyards range between 1,000 and 1,450 metres above sea level.

The mini-theme is a small one, featuring just 6 wines from 5 countries that are relatively unknown to most wine consumers. Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia and Greece are the countries featured, and while they may not be household names when it comes to wine, winemaking in these regions go as far back as 8,000 years ago. Unfortunately, none of the wines from this feature quite made the cut on my list of wine recommendations.

Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva 2007 (90+ pts)Mondeco Red 2011 (88+ pts)

Among the red wines from the rest of the Release, there is a 2011 red from Portugal that consists of indigenous varietals Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Baga, Alfrocheiro and Jaen, while the 2013 Portuguese red is a blend of 60% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz. From Spain, the 2007 Rioja is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Mazuelo/Graciano, while the 2009 Rioja is a blend of 92% Tempranillo, 4% Mazuelo and 4% Graciano. Also from Spain, the Priorat is a Grenache blend. Last, but not least, the Chianti is 100% Sangiovese.

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2013 (90 pts)Château des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2014 (89 pts)

The white wines listed in my top wine picks are all single varietals. Dry white wines include Xarel-lo, Grüner Veltliner, Viognier, Chardonnay, and a trio of Sauvignon Blanc wines, including one from India! On the sweeter side, there is a nice Gewürztraminer and a pair of lovely Ontario Riesling wines.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • MONDECO RED 2011 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#442210) (D) - $13.95  reviewed here
  • QUINTA DA REDE RESERVA 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#431742) (XD) - $17.95
  • FINCA DEL MARQUESADO RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#492652) (XD) - $17.95
  • FINCA FLICHMAN PAISAJE DE TUPUNGATO 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#415034) (XD) - $18.95
  • FLEUR DU PALAY CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#494849) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOVINO PINOT NOIR 2014 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#514802) (XD) - $22.95
  • BODEGA PIEDRA NEGRA GRAN LURTON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#980334) (XD) - $24.95
  • ROTLLAN TORRA PRIORAT RESERVA 2011 - DOQ Priorat, Spain (#511048) (XD) - $24.95
  • VIÑA OLABARRI GRAN RESERVA 2007 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#329102) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • VIGNA DI PALLINO RISERVA CHIANTI 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#514331) (XD) - $26.95

White Wine:

  • GROVER ZAMPA ART COLLECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Nandi Hills, Karnataka, India (#498329) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#277228) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • HERETAT MONT-RUBI WHITE XAREL-LO 2015 - DO Penedès, Spain (#488742) (XD) - $19.95
  • REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • TWO RIVERS CONVERGENCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277707) (D) - $19.95
  • HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULÈRE GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - AC Alsace, France (#392118) (D) - $21.95  FSE
  • HIRSCH HEILGENSTEIN GRÜNER VELTLINER 2014 - Kammern, DAC Kamptal, Austria (#484980) (XD) - $24.95
  • YALUMBA VIOGNIER 2015 - Eden Valley, South Australia (#954644) (XD) - $24.95
  • ARGYLE CHARDONNAY 2015 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#946640) (XD) - $29.95
  • TE MATA ESTATE CAPE CREST SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#490318) (XD) - $30.95  FSE

Rosé Wine:

  • BY OTT ROSÉ 2016 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#490896) (XD) - $28.95
  • DOMAINES OTT CHÂTEAU DE SELLE ROSÉ 2016 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#074617 / #490888) (XD) - (750 mL / 1500 mL) $47.95 / $104.95  FSE

Sparkling Wine:

  • ELYSSIA GRAN CUVÉE BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#392548) (XD) - $19.95
  • JANSZ PREMIUM SPARKLING ROSÉ - Tasmania, Australia (#037499) (XD) - $27.95
  • HURÉ FRÈRES INSTANTANÉE EXTRA BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#491761) (XD) - $64.95  FSE


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chakana Estate Selection Red Blend 2014 (Argentina) - Wine Review

red wine is mostly Malbec and will be available at the LCBO soon as part of the VINTAGES Release on .

This wine is produced by Chakana Wines, a winery founded in 2002 by an Italian family whose winemaking roots go back to the 19th century in Valtelina, Italy. The name "Chakana" evokes the symbol represented by the Incas to the Southern Cross constellation that is only visible on our planet from the Southern Hemisphere. Moreover, the positioning of the Southern Cross in the skies was of great agricultural importance to the Incas.

The winery is located in Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, where it owns 150 hectares of vineyards. Since 2012, the winery has begun the process to transition to organic & biodynamic cultivation methods for all of their farms. Winemaking principles at Chakana include minimal intervention during the fermentation processes, using indigenous yeasts, minimizing the use of sulphur dioxide and other additives, and favouring the use of porous materials in aging, such as cement without Epoxy and casks.

Chakana Estate Selection Red Blend 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION RED BLEND 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#322602) (D) - $24.95
Blend of 70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc that was aged in large wooden and concrete vats for 12 months. Dark fruited aromas from the cork - currant, cherry, plum. Medium-high aromatics in the glass lead with florals followed by currant, blackberry, sweet herbs, dark cherry, and hints of wood. The palate is medium-full bodied with structured tannins that are a bit tight at the moment. Bright, juicy acids add freshness. Nice aroma replays on the flavour profile with earthy, mineral and wood notes lingering on the long finish. Age 1-2 years and drink to 2024. Delicious! Score: 89 pts


Sunday, March 12, 2017

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  • Sunday, March 12, 2017

Aniello 006 Merlot 2014 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a new arrival to the LCBO and will be on shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Even though this wine is new to VINTAGES, Bodega Aniello is a winery that was originally built in 1927. This small estate winery began with 1 hectare of old vineyards planted in 1932, and growing to 4 hectares in 1947. Today, the winery continues to explore the value of the ancient winemaking tradition of Patagonia, while keeping a connection with one of the owner's Italian roots.

Terroir consists of alluvial soils that are very heterogeneous, moderately deep, with stone-dominated areas, and others with sandy/loamy soil types. The winery is moving towards sustainable agriculture along with integrated vineyard management to reduce their carbon footprint and use natural alternatives for fertilization, pests, disease and weed control and prevention.

Aniello 006 Merlot 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANIELLO 006 MERLOT 2014 - Patagonia, Argentina (#480731) (XD) - $17.95
Only 30% oak-aged for 12 months. Plum, red fruit and cherry aromas from the cork. Medium-high aromatics are quite complex, offering red & black fruits, raspberry, blackberry, dark currant, black plum, some green herbal, mint, and cocoa nuances. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins. Chocolate, oak-spiced, dark currant, and herbally flavours on the palate. Some savoury and black tea aromas and flavours emerge with air. Acids are bright and fresh. Dry overall with a nice cocoa-dusted finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


Monday, January 16, 2017

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  • Monday, January 16, 2017

VINTAGES Release January 21: Argentina + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks from January 21, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming VINTAGES Release on brings with it the return of duo-thematic releases. However, the wines in the second theme (Portugal) aren't very interesting, so we'll stick with the main theme that is Argentina. As per the usual, wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves on - or a few days earlier depending on the store.

Wines from 6 top producers in Argentina is the main theme and each producer got 2 wines listed, for a total of 12 wines. It's a solid selection, with 7 of the 12 wines included among my top wine picks. In white wines, there is a nice Chardonnay from Mendoza, while the excellent Torrontés is from the northern Argentina wine region of Salta. At the top-end in red wines is a Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic Catena Zapata wine family. Lastly, there are four Malbec wines ranging in price from $19 to $30, and from vintages 2013 to a fairly young 2015. Argentina is synonymous with Malbec, and the grapes for the wines I've chosen are grown in various parts of the country, from Salta in the north, to Mendoza in central Argentina, and Patagonia to the south. Buy all of them and taste the differences side-by-side!

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (90 pts)

From the rest of the release, in red wines from Rhône, the Vacqueyras is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Saint-Joseph is an old vines Syrah. Also from Rhône, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, 3% Cinsault and 2% Counoise. The Gamay Noir "Droit" is made from a clone of Gamay that presented itself at the vineyards of Château des Charmes - it's a much bigger and more complex wine than your typical Gamay and definitely worth checking out. Lastly, the 2010 Rioja comes from an excellent vintage and is blend with 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo (Carignan).

In white wines, the Gavi is made with Cortese, while the Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, the Gewürztraminer is your best bet. The rest of the wines are all oaked Chardonnay.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée C.M. Sancerre Blanc 2014 (90+ pts)The Tragically Hip Ahead By A Century Chardonnay 2014 (88 pts)

There are a pair of aged Champagnes worth your attention. The 1997 Champagne is a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for consumption now, while the 2006 Pol Roger is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay that can be aged further.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • ESPELT VITICULTORS OLD VINES GARNACHA 2015 - DO Empordà, Spain (#422469) (D) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID’S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT 2015 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#346742) (XD) - $17.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU BARREL SELECTION MALBEC 2014 - Patagonia, Argentina (#477364) (XD) - $18.95
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#118067) (XD) - $19.95
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2013 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (D) - $19.95
  • RUSTENBERG MERLOT 2014 - WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, South Africa (#404194) (D) - $19.95
  • LAVAU VACQUEYRAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#104927) (D) - $25.95  reviewed here
  • PLANETA NOTO NERO D’AVOLA 2012 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (#477190) (XD) - $26.95
  • COLOMÉ ESTATE MALBEC 2013 - Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina (#477315) (XD) - $29.95
  • J. L. CHAVE SÉLECTION OFFERUS SAINT-JOSEPH 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#359109) (XD) - $36.95  FSE
  • CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (D) - $38.95
  • DOMAINE DURIEU CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#320168) (XD) - $41.95
  • CATENA ALTA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#959965) (XD) - $47.95

White Wine:

  • COLOMÉ TORRONTÉS 2015 - Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina (#357913) (XD) - $15.95
  • MICHELE CHIARLO LE MARNE GAVI 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#228528) (XD) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • VINELAND ESTATES GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#434779) (M) - $17.95
  • THE TRAGICALLY HIP AHEAD BY A CENTURY CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#483875) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#119099) (XD) - $19.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE C.M. SANCERRE BLANC 2014 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $27.95  reviewed here
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#414557) (XD) - $28.95
  • STERLING VINEYARDS OAK KNOLL CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#478891) (XD) - $29.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • SENSATION CHAMPAGNE 1997 - Disgorged in 2012, AC, France (#403006) (XD) - $75.95  FSE
  • POL ROGER VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, France (#411793) (D) - $95.95


Saturday, October 22, 2016

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  • Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2014 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is featured as the "Arrive in Style" product in the upcoming VINTAGES Release on and will be on shelves this coming .

Chakana wines are made in Agrelo, near the centre of Mendoza, in a facility with a capacity of 2 million litres. However, small tank sizes are used to maintain grape identities which come from different soil types. The modular design of the winery is tailored to vineyard development, while also helping with careful and detailed management of the grapes and process control as part of the winemaking process.

After making key contributions to the Super Tuscan movement at Antinori and Frescobaldi, consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini came to Argentina in 1995 and immediately sensed the potential of Malbec. The following 15 years were devoted to the re-discovery and perfection of what is now Argentina's signature grape. Mr. Antonini's winemaking philosophy is focused on using modern technology to express terroir and the true nature of grape flavours.

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2014 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2014 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (D) - $21.95
Black plum and dark fruit aromas from the cork. Initial oak aromas give way to dark cherry, plum and cocoa, with hints of white pepper and mineral. The dry palate is full bodied, juicy and nicely textured with dark berry, dark plum, white pepper, oak spices and some herbally flavours. Some mocha notes on the long finish. Tannins are drying and a bit hard - needs some time to integrate. Drinkable now, but should be prime drinking in 2 years. Score: 88 pts


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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  • Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is a General List product that is always available at the LCBO. New shipments of this latest vintage will arrive on shelves with something new and unique - a cold sensor sticker called "Wine Polar".

This Sauvignon Blanc by Bodega Norton is the first white wine to use Polar Technology to help you enjoy your wine at the ideal temperature. Experience this wine best when the Polar sticker turns blue.

For my "experiment", this bottle was placed in the refrigerator this morning and remained there until late afternoon. Upon removing from the fridge, the snowflake on the Polar sticker showed blue, indicating that the wine was ready to be served. Using my Vacu Vin Thermometer, the blue started to fade at around 13° Celsius and sure enough, the wine did start to taste a little warm. At 15° Celsius, the blue indicators had just about disappeared and the wine was clearly too warm to be served. Based on my unscientific observations, I would say that Polar Technology works!

Polar Technology on Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc

Tasting Note:

BODEGA NORTON BARREL SELECT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#400564) (XD) - $13.10
Screw cap. Partially barrel-fermented in French oak barrels, this has a rather soft and closed nose of earth, flint, with hints of lemon/lime and tropical fruits. The fleshy palate has lemon/lime, guava, tropical fruit and some vanilla flavours. Acids are fresh and finish length is very good. Easy drinking wine that should have wide appeal. Score: 86 pts

Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (86 pts)


Friday, February 19, 2016

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  • Friday, February 19, 2016

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Argentina) - Wine Review

This savoury, earthy red wine was purchased more than 6 years ago from the November 7, 2009 LCBO VINTAGES Release, well before I starting blogging about wine. It's unfortunate that after the 2006 vintage there were only two vintages that were released through VINTAGES at the LCBO.

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - Mendoza, Argentina (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ZUCCARDI Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 - Mendoza, Argentina (#140855) (XD) - $19.95
Destroyed the cork, so had to decant/filter. Perfumed, oxidative nose of old wood, damp earth, black fruit, dark plum, dried herb, and a hint of white pepper. On the palate, it is medium-to-full bodied with black currant, cassis, dried herb, earth and wood notes. It has juicy, balanced acids, but fruit is starting to fade, leaving behind tannins that are very much chalky. Savoury long and earthy finish. Drink now as this won't improve with further ageing. Will be enjoyed with Chicken Korma. Score: 88 pts


Monday, January 18, 2016

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  • Monday, January 18, 2016

January 23 VINTAGES Release: Argentina + Chile + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks from January 23, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on LCBO shelves this coming and features wines from South America's dynamic duo - Argentina and Chile as part of its main thematic, while the mini-theme is on wines from Portugal. All three countries produce wines offering great value, and should continue to do so in spite of our plunging loonie!

In this release, there are 7 wines each from Argentina and Chile. Three of the seven wines from Argentina are included among my wine picks. No Argentinian list is complete without a nice Malbec, but also among my wine recommendations is a heavily oaked Chardonnay for those that are fans of the style. Last, but not least, is a ripe red wine made using Bonarda - a grape Argentina does quite well.

The Chilean offering is also strong with three of the seven wines included in my wine picks. All are red wines with some special characteristics, such as the single vineyard Carménère from Chile's big house of Concha y Toro. There is also a Cabernet Sauvignon from a single block within a single vineyard from Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery. The third wine is made from 80-year-old vines of Carignan that were dry farmed (i.e. using only natural rainfall). The last Chilean wine recommendation is found near the back of the magazine, as part of the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) program - the 2006 Albis is 10 years old and is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Carménère made in collaboration with the famous Antinori family of Italy.

From Portugal, two of the ten wines made my list. The Vale do Bomfim red table wine is a blend of 30% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and 5% Tinto Cão, while the LBV Vintage Port is a sweet blend consisting of 50% Touriga Nacional, 10% Touriga Franca, and 10% Tinto Cão. It's beyond me why the Warre's Vintage Port was not featured as part of the Portuguese theme, but it's there as part of the rest of the release and it's great!

From the rest of the release, the only organic wine of the release is a red wine from Puglia that is a blend of 70% Aglianico, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, while the Santenay is 100% Pinot Noir from vines that are 45 years old.

In white wines, the Pouilly Fumé is made with Sauvignon Blanc, while the two white Burgundies are Chardonnay. The Côtes du Rhône Blanc is a blend of 50% Grenache, 15% Clairette, 15% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier, and 10% Roussanne. If you enjoy sweeter wines, the Gewürztraminer from Alsace will fit the bill. Also for sweet wine lovers is the Flat Rock Twisted White (a VINTAGES Essential item) and a blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay that's on sale for one week at only $13.95 - a very good value in my books.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TRAPICHE BROQUEL BONARDA 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#055558) (D) - $14.95
  • VALE DO BOMFIM 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#167676) (XD) - $15.95
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2011 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (D) - $17.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#029280) (D) - $18.95
  • CONO SUR SINGLE VINEYARD EL RECURSO BLOCK 18 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#439364) (D) - $18.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMÉNÈRE 2013 - Peumo Vineyard, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95
  • FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ 2013 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (#265967) (D) - $19.95
  • TORMARESCA TRENTANGELI 2012 - DOC Castel del Monte, Puglia, Italy (#435529) (XD) - $19.95
  • VINCENT GIRARDIN VIEILLES VIGNES SANTENAY 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#435552) (XD) - $37.95
  • ALBIS 2006 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#579813) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • PETER FRANUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#907477) (XD) - $66.95

White Wine:

  • RABL LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - Kamptal, Austria (#377457) (XD) - $14.95
  • FLAT ROCK TWISTED WHITE 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#001578) (M) - $16.95 (only $13.95 from Jan. 21-27)
  • WILLY GISSELBRECHT TRADITION GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#928390) (M) - $18.95
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY 2014 - Mendoza, Argentina (#119099) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE CHATELAIN LES VIGNES DE SAINT-LAURENT-L’ABBAYE POUILLY FUMÉ 2014 - AC, Loire, France (#958801) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#707588) (XD) - $21.95
  • DOMAINE CHEVALLIER CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#112227) (XD) - $23.95
  • BLUE MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2014 - Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#350108) (XD) - $24.95
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE SAINT ROMAIN 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#440206) (XD) - $31.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D’AURORE BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy, France (#048793) (D) - $19.95

Fortifieds:

  • DALVA LBV PORT 2010 - DOP, Portugal (#169755) (S) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • WARRE’S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2001 - Bottled 2003, DOP, Portugal (#189605) (S) - $49.95


Monday, July 20, 2015

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  • Monday, July 20, 2015

July 25 LCBO VINTAGES Release: Chilled Wines + Argentina + Greece

LCBO Wine Picks from July 25, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The major feature of the VINTAGES Release is titled "Chill Out" and features 20 refreshing summer wines that should be chilled for ideal enjoyment. Also included in this release are mini-themes on wines from Argentina and Greece.

Obviously, all white wines should be served chilled, with some chilled more than others. The white wines I can recommend from the "Chill Out" feature are the medium sweet Henry of Pelham Riesling (it will be sweet), the just off-dry (slightly sweet) Pinot Gris from New Zealand, and a dry white wine from Italy that is 100% Pecorino.

There are also some red wines as part of the "Chill Out" feature, with the claim that most red wines are served warmer than their intended 'cellar temperature' of 18°C. These days, since I don't have a wine cooling unit or basement, all of my wines are refrigerated prior to opening. It's been amazing to see how much better the wines have tasted with a slight chill and also to see how the wine changes as it warms up in the glass. If your red wines aren't getting a slight chill, I would highly encourage you to try it.

The mini-theme on Argentina was disappointing, while the feature on Greek wines produced two wine recommendations. The dry white wine from Greece is a blend of local grape varieties Malagousia and Assyrtiko. Meanwhile, the Greek red wine is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Ximomavro.

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (91 pts)
Once again, quite a few wines from the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) section at the back of the magazine are included among my wine picks. Among them is a lush blend of 67% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec from British Columbia, a $110 red wine from Argentina that is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, and an IGT blend of 85% Carignano (Carignan), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot from Sardinia. There's also a $47 rosé that consists of 40% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, 14% Syrah, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. All of these wines will be available in limited quantities at VINTAGES Flagship Stores.

Other red wines to consider from this release include a 60/40 Touriga Nacional/Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) blend from Portugal, and the Lealtanza Reserva which is 100% Tempranillo. The Remelluri red from Spain is mostly Tempranillo, but also contains Garnacha, Graciano and Viura.

For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to check out the Vineland Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling that recently became a VINTAGES Essential and will now be available year round. Other sweet wines to consider are the aforementioned Henry of Pelham Riesling and the Pinot Gris from New Zealand.

Enjoy my wine picks for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TSCHARKE BAROSSA GROUNDS COLLECTION SHIRAZ 2012 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#411520) (XD) - $17.95
  • TESSELLAE VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2013 - IGP Côtes Catalanes, Southwest, France (#343509) (XD) - $17.95
  • MAÇANITA RED 2012 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#408070) (XD) - $18.95
  • KTIMA KIR-YIANNI 2011 - PGI Imathia, Greece (#419234) (XD) - $18.95
  • LEALTANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#208223) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • REMELLURI LINDES DE REMELLURI VIÑEDOS DE LABASTIDA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#422030) (XD) - $22.95
  • CARPINETO FARNITO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#996553) (XD) - $27.95
  • BARRUA 2011 - IGT Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia, Italy (#109124) (XD) - $43.95  FSE
  • DOMAINE CHANTE CIGALE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012 - AP, Rhône, France (#194993) (XD) - $44.95
  • OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626325) (XD) - $44.95  FSE reviewed here
  • NICOLÁS CATENA ZAPATA 2010 - Mendoza, Argentina (#396960) (D) - $110.00  FSE  reviewed here
Nicolás Catena Zapata 2010 from Mendoza, Argentina (93 pts)

White Wine:

  • TENUTE MESSIERI VISIONI OFFIDA PECORINO 2012 - DOCG, Marche, Italy (#414011) (XD) 750 mL $16.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2012 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (M) - $17.95
  • KTIMA GEROVASSILIOU WHITE 2014 - PGI Epanomi, Greece (#999714) (XD) - $18.95
  • MOMO PINOT GRIS 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (D) - $19.95
  • VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (M) - $19.95
  • SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#735043) (XD) - $23.95
  • DOG POINT VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2012 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#238568) (XD) - $42.95  FSE
  • BILLAUD-SIMON MONTÉE DE TONNERRE CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#325241) (XD) - $45.95
  • ROUX PÈRE & FILS LES CHAUMES CHASSAGNE-MONTRACHET 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#208512) (XD) - $64.95

Rosé Wine:

  • DOMAINES OTT CHÂTEAU DE SELLE COEUR DE GRAIN ROSÉ 2014 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#074617) (XD) - $46.95  FSE

Sparkling Wine:

  • NAVERAN BRUT NATURE MILLESSIME CAVA 2011 - DO, Navarra, Spain (#414649) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHARLES HEIDSIECK BRUT RÉSERVE CHAMPAGNE - AC, Champagne, France (#036962) (D) - $69.95


The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.


Monday, February 2, 2015

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  • Monday, February 2, 2015

Feb. 7 LCBO Wine Picks: Italy + Southern Hemisphere

LCBO Wine Picks from February 7, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves across Ontario on . The major feature of this release highlights 11 native grapes found in Italy, while the mini-feature highlights wines from the 5 major winemaking powers in the Southern Hemisphere - Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Italy has many native grape varieties - over 500 at last count. VINTAGES highlights only 11 of these grapes, and only 3 of the 17 wines are included among my wine recommendations below. If you prefer dry, floral and fragrant white wines, check out the Falanghina grape. Tuscany is synonymous with Sangiovese, but also goes by various other names within the region. The Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is made with this grape, but goes by its local name - Prugnolo Gentile, while the Villa Cafaggio uses Sangiovese. Lastly, if you've ever tried some of the Zinfandels from California and found them too sweet, then check out the dry, earthy Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) from Puglia.

One other Italian wine is included in the magazine, but for some reason not part of the native Italian grape theme - a Pecorino from Abruzzo. The last Italian wine to be included below is a traditional Bordeaux blend from Poggio al Tesoro - 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, balance is Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

From the mini-feature, a total of 4 wines from Chile, Argentina and South Africa are worth your attention. Chile's winemaking power Concha Y Toro brings us a Carmenère that hails from a single block within a single vineyard, while Fabre Montmayou from neighbouring Argentina has a Malbec that comes from vines over 60 years old. Both wines from South Africa made my list of wine picks - a Chenin Blanc (the most widely planted white grape in the country) and a Shiraz (a.k.a. Syrah and rising in popularity in South Africa.)

Hess Collection 19 Block Mountain Cuvée 2010 from Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, USA (91 pts)
The rest of the release features yet another fabulous Mencía wine from Bierzo, Spain, as well as a red blend from Hess Collection (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 11% Syrah, 6% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot) that I had the pleasure of tasting at the winery last June.

In white wines, the Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc, while the wine from Switzerland is made using the Chasselas grape. Last, but definitely not the least, is a 9-grape, dry white wine blend from Austria that will be available only on VINTAGES Flagship stores.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!


Red Wine:
  • FEUDI SALENTINI LUPORANO PRIMITIVO DEL TARANTINO 2012 - IGP, Puglia, Italy (#395368) (XD) - $17.95
  • VILLA CAFAGGIO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#176776) (XD) - $19.95
  • J. LOHR SOUTH RIDGE SYRAH 2012 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#948240) (XD) - $19.95
  • RUSTENBERG SHIRAZ 2011 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#399246) (XD) - $19.95
  • FINCA LA CUESTA 2011 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#166702) (XD) - $19.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#279802) (XD) - $22.95
  • SALCHETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#685180) (D) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO PEUMO VINEYARD BLOCK 27 CARMENÈRE 2011 - Entre Cordilleras, Peumo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#562892) (XD) - $29.95
  • HESS COLLECTION 19 BLOCK MOUNTAIN CUVÉE 2010 - Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, USA (#018879) (XD) - $49.95  reviewed here
  • POGGIO AL TESORO SONDRAIA 2010 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#292391) (XD) - $49.95

White Wine:
  • REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT RK RIESLING 2008 - QbA Mosel, Germany (#733295) (M) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • WEINGUT ZAHEL RIEDENCUVÉE GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - Wiener Lagen, Austria (#181594) (XD) - $16.95
  • ECO PECORINO D’ABRUZZO SUPERIORE 2013 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#395020) (XD) - $17.95
  • OCONE FLORA FALANGHINA 2012 - DOP Taburno Falanghina del Sannio, Campania, Italy (#326694) (XD) - $18.95
  • REDSTONE CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398966) (XD) - $18.95
  • CAVES ORSAT FENDANT 2013 - AC Valais, Switzerland (#402669) (XD) - $19.95
  • SIMONSIG CHENIN AVEC CHÊNE CHENIN BLANC 2012 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#282772) (XD) - $25.95
  • DOMAINE DE SAINT-PIERRE SANCERRE 2013 - AC, Loire, France (#170258) (XD) - $26.95
  • WIENINGER NUSSBERG ALTE REBEN WIENER GEMISCHTER SATZ 2012 - DAC, Wien, Austria (#395640) (XD) - $37.00

Sparkling Wine:
  • POULET ET FILS BRUT CRÉMANT DE DIE - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Rhône, France (#392555) (D) - $17.95
  • TAITTINGER PRESTIGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#993113) (D) - $89.95

Fortified Wine:
  • FONSECA QUINTA DO PANASCAL VINTAGE PORT 2001 - Bottled in 2003, DOP, Portugal (#402354) (S) (375 mL) - $39.95

Dessert Wine:
  • FEATHERSTONE SELECT LATE HARVEST CABERNET FRANC 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#210757) (S) (375 mL) - $19.95  reviewed here


The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

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  • Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jan. 24 LCBO Wine Picks: Spain + Chile + Argentina

LCBO Wine Picks from January 24, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves across Ontario on . The major theme of this release is on new value wines from Spain, while the mini-theme highlights wines from South America's two wine superpowers - Argentina and Chile.

Out of 22 Spanish wines featured, 6 made my list of wine picks - all are red wines. Four of these wines are made using grapes that don't quickly come to top of mind when thinking of Spanish wines - these are Mencía, Mazuelo (Carignan), Graciano, and the indigenous Prieto Picudo. All four wines can be enjoyed over the next few years. More familiar to those who drink Spanish wines is the Garnacha grape (a.k.a. Grenache) - the Casa Castillo el Molar is one such example made using young Garnacha (planted in only 2006).

Lastly, no conversation about Spanish wines would be complete without mentioning Tempranillo - the most widely planted red grape in Spain. In the Toro region, Tempranillo is referred to as Tinta de Toro. The Abelis Carthago William Selection Crianza, which you'll want to put away for a few years, is made using this grape from old vines.

The Argentina/Chile mini-feature yielded one wine worth mentioning - a Chilean Syrah. Chile has become one of my favourite places for Syrah - and this version from Casas del Bosque is a very fine example.The fruit for this wine was sourced from Casas del Bosque's own vineyard, from vines that are 8-13 years old and located on the coolest, westernmost area of the Casablanca Valley. This winery does practice some organic techniques, but is not certified organic.

From the rest of the release, there is a primarily Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (37/26/24) blend from South Africa, and also a Grenache-led blend from Rhône's André Aubert. Also a blend is a red wine from Tenuta Rocca - an unspecified (and not very common) blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In white wines, there are 2 very good values under $14 - the extra-dry Garganega from Veneto and the dry (slightly sweet) Weissburgunder (a.k.a. Pinot Blanc) from Germany. If you want to try an Old World Sauvignon Blanc, check out the Pouilly Fumé from Loire. For those that prefer sweeter wines, take a look at the Riesling from Alsace, or the even more sweeter Ontario Riesling or Alsatian Pinot Gris.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Cheers!


Red Wine:
  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $14.95
  • GOTÍN DEL RISC MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#391581) (XD) - $15.95
  • DOMINIO DOSTARES ESTAY PRIETO PICUDO 2011 - DO La Mancha, Spain (#393140) (XD) - $15.95
  • ANDRÉ AUBERT VISAN CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#224915) (XD) - $15.95
  • FINCA LOS ALIJARES GRACIANO 2009 - DO La Mancha, Spain (#392522) (XD) - $17.95
  • CASA CASTILLO EL MOLAR 2011 - DO Jumilla, Spain (#397190) (XD) - $17.95
  • SEÑORÍO DE SARRÍA VIÑEDO NO.8 MAZUELO CRIANZA 2009 - DO Navarra, Spain (#391656) (XD) - $17.95
  • TENUTA ROCCA ORNATI LANGHE 2009 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#309369) (XD) - $21.95
  • CASAS DEL BOSQUE GRAN RESERVA SYRAH 2012 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#995092) (XD) - $22.95
  • ABELIS CARTHAGO WILLIAM SELECTION CRIANZA 2011 - DO Toro, Spain (#399105) (XD) - $23.95
  • NUGAN ESTATE ALCIRA VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#393686) (XD) - $24.95
  • STOLLER PINOT NOIR 2012 - Dundee Hills, Oregon, USA (#401539) (XD) - $31.95

White Wine:
  • RIONDO CASTELFORTE GARGANEGA 2013 - IGT Veronese, Veneto, Italy (#230656) (XD) - $13.95
  • ANSELMANN EDESHEIMER ORDENSGUT WEISSBURGUNDER KABINETT TROCKEN 2012 - Pradikätswein, Pfalz, Germany (#394122) (D) - $13.95
  • FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $16.95
  • KELLEREI ST. MAGDALENA PINOT GRIGIO 2013 - DOC Südtirol, Alto Adige, Italy (#249466) (XD) - $16.95
  • HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULIÈRE PINOT GRIS 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#392092) (M) - $18.95
  • DOMAINE CHATELAIN LES VIGNES DE SAINT-LAURENT-L’ABBAYE POUILLY FUMÉ 2013 - AC, Loire, France (#958801) (XD) - $21.95
  • CALERA CHARDONNAY 2012 - Central Coast, California, USA (#713313) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER SAERING RIESLING 2011 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#627950) (D) - $33.95
  • BACHELDER BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#272005) (XD) - $35.95


The rest of the wines from this VINTAGES release can be found here.


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