Showing posts with label biodynamic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label biodynamic. Show all posts

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  • Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I first enjoyed the organic, biodynamic and vegan-friendly 2013 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay back in 2015 and mentioned at the time that it should improve in a couple of years, so I am opening the 2nd bottle, 4 years later, to see how it has evolved.

Southbrook Vineyards, a family-owned winery based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a leader in Ontario in organic and biodynamic viticulture. They have great respect for the soil, water and ecosystems upon which great wine, and our planet, relies. Southbrook was founded in Niagara by Bill Redelmeier in 1991 after much success with their farm just north of Toronto. In 2008, half of their 150 acre property became certified organic, while today 100% of the estate property is certified organic, as well as biodynamic. Also in 2008, Southbrook was the first winery building to receive Gold Level LEED status.

This white wine was crafted by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling, who has been Southbrook's consultant winemaker since 2005. Using exclusively estate fruit, only 6 barrels (180 cases) of this wild fermented Chardonnay were produced. It spent 20 months in French oak barrels (50% new).

Of course, the 2013 is no longer available for purchase. However, the 2017 Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay that I loved last December is still available at the winery and through their online web store.

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Highly aromatic nose offers mature, slightly oxidized and complex notes of buttery, baked apple, pear and vanilla with touches of hazelnut, smoke and mushroom that become more prominent with air. It is medium bodied with lovely hazelnut, baked apple, and pear flavours mingling with vanilla and hints of butter on the palate. Some saline mineral notes arrive on the juicy mid-palate. Acids are still quite lively and fresh. Finishes long and succulent with more smoke, mushroom, nutty, and baked apple notes. Should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 91 pts

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  • Friday, July 19, 2019

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed the 2016 Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc in and am delighted to see how this white wine is faring , on this hot and sweltering day, three years after vintage. It returned to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty are still available throughout Ontario.

Seresin Estate is a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand and this white wine comes from their Momo range of wines. Cinematographer Michael Seresin created Seresin Estate, a new world winery with an old world approach. They are in no hurry when it comes to their wines as they let the wild yeasts that live in their vineyard ferment the grape juice into wine. This approach to winemaking does take a little more time, but the results yield wines with added savouriness, and more mouth watering textures and flavours. They also show a unique sense of place. All of Seresin's wines spend time in barrel or bottle before release because, as we all know, good things come to those who wait.

This organic white wine was naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. It is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Since it doesn't look like a 2017 vintage of this delicious wine was made - likely due to it being a challenging vintage with cold temperatures leading to lower yields - we'll continue to enjoy the 2016 vintage until the 2018 shows up in Ontario.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose is ripe with gooseberry, kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, and leesy characters with lemony hints. It is medium+ bodied with a slight spritz on the creamy, nicely textured palate. It is dry and ripe with lemon citrus, tropical fruit, guava, and kiwi flavours. Crisp acids are still quite refreshing. Leesy, citrus, and tropical fruit notes linger on the long, balanced finish. Enjoy until 2021. Score: 89 pts

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  • Friday, June 7, 2019

Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely Australian Shiraz that arrived at the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and plenty of bottles are available across Ontario.

It is produced by the Paxton family that has been winegrowing since 1979. Founder and owner, David Paxton, is also one of Australia’s most highly respected viticulturalists as he and his family have been nurturing their own vineyards in McLaren Vale for over 30 years. In 2000, the family released their first wine under their own label - a 1998 Paxton Shiraz.

Today, wines are made under the direction and guidance of Richard Freebairn Paxton to produce a range of estate grown wines under the family label. The range features an approachable collection of wines that showcases the quality of fruit and varietal expression from McLaren Vale. David Paxton and his team strive to minimize inputs and manage the Paxton vineyards biodynamically - whereby vineyards are farmed without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and with a focus on promoting healthy, living soils through the use of natural compost preparation. Inside the winery, the family practices minimal interventionist winemaking to ensure the integrity of the fruit from vineyard to bottle. In 2011, Paxton Wines became a fully certified organic and biodynamic wine producer.

Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PAXTON MV SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#327403) (XD) - $19.95
This biodynamic wine was matured in French and American oak. Screw cap. Quite intense on the nose with lovely savoury, blackberry, earthy, and meaty aromas with hints of black pepper, licorice and oak. It is full-ish bodied on the palate with finely-grained and structured tannins. Nicely textured with juicy acids freshening the palate. On the flavour profile, there are blackberry, licorice, cedar oak spice, and vanillin notes with some peppery hints, all of which lingers nicely on the long, balanced finish. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts

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  • Sunday, April 28, 2019

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (Portugal) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely 7-varietal blend from Portugal that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

António Ribeiro and his wife Sara Dionísio lead the estate of Casa de Mouraz. In 2000, they left their secure jobs in Lisbon and immersed themselves in what has become a family adventure of sustainable viticulture and authentic winemaking.

Casa de Mouraz is located in the heart of the Dão region and has been farmed by Antonio's family in a holistic and ecological manner for many generations. Antonio is the 4th generation of the family to farm this land. He was born in the granite house that took his father two years to build and sits above the winery. The landscape and terroir where Casa de Mouraz resides has been shaped by its people and geography, with old and new vineyards coexisting alongside pine, oak, chestnut and cork trees in a wild forest. The vineyards are spread over several parcels with granite and clay soils, and altitudes ranging from 140 to 400 metres. In 1997, all of the estate's vineyards gained ECOCERT’s Organic certification. In 2006, they began Biodynamic preparations and practices.

Surprisingly, there are still many bottles available for purchase at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASA DE MOURAZ TINTO 2014 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#456079) (XD) - $20.95
This organic and biodynamic wine is a blend of 7 varietals - Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Água-Santa, Tinta Pinheira and Baga - from different vineyard plots that have granite soil. Grapes were co-fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tank, and 20% was aged for 8 months in used French oak barrels. Complex, medium+ intensity nose has ripe blackberry, earth, spice and twiggy herbal aromas. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with finely-grained, drying tannins and fresh, vibrant acidity that brightens the palate. Nicely balanced flavours of blackberry, currant, cassis, oak, and herbs. Earthy minerality and blackberry notes linger on the long, savoury finish. Score: 90 pts

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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

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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

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  • Monday, October 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

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

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  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

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

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

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

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

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

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  • Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release August 4, 2018: Eco-Friendly + Puglia + Campania

LCBO Wine Picks: August 4, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on takes a look at Eco-Friendly Wines in its main theme, while the mini-theme compares the southern Italian wine regions of Puglia and Campania. All of these wines be on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario beginning this .

We'll begin with the main theme that lists sixteen wines that are Eco-Friendly, including wines that are organic, biodynamic, and sustainable. Only one wine from this feature made my list of wine picks - a biodynamic wine from Spain that is a blend of 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Graciano.

The mini-theme features the two southern Italian neighbouring wine regions of Puglia and Campania. Puglia is the "heel" of Italy, while Campania is the "shin". Puglia is mostly flat and known for producing big, rustic reds, and was historically known as a bulk wine producing region. Campania, on the other hand, is mostly hilly and produces sophisticated whites and aromatic reds, historically for Rome's emperors. It's a small theme, listing just six wines, but three of these wines are included among my top wine picks. From Puglia, there is a red wine made with the ancient Negroamaro grape. From Campania, there are a pair of white wines - a Falanghina and a Fiano.

Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 2012 (92 pts)

Among red wines from the rest of the Release, the Minervois is a blend of Syrah and Carignan, while the 2010 Bordeaux is maturing well and consists of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. From Veneto, the Ripasso is a blend of 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Corvinone, while the Amarone is a blend of 70% Corvina/Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Croatina/Oseleta. The Quanta da Rede from Portugal is a Touriga Nacional based blend, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a Grenache based blend. And lastly, the Brunello is, of course, made with 100% Sangiovese.

Among my top white wine picks, you're looking at mostly dry whites - Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Albariño. For sweet wine lovers, the 13th Street Riesling is off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet), while the Nomad Riesling is medium sweet, kicking up the sweetness levels a few notches.

Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017 (91 pts)Château de Nages Vieilles Vignes Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

Lastly, there are three lovely dry rosé wines, all at $20 a bottle. From Rhône, the first rosé is from Costières de Nîmes and is made with old vines consisting of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, while the second rosé is a Tavel that is blended with Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault. The rose from Niagara is made with Pinot Noir. I would recommend trying all three of these wines to see which one(s) you like the most.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TABALÍ PEDREGOSO GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2014 - DO Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#569681) (XD) - $15.95
  • LI VELI PASSAMANTE NEGROAMARO 2016 - DOC Salice Salentino, Puglia, Italy (#570077) (XD) - $16.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND MINERVOIS SYRAH/CARIGNAN 2015 - AP, Midi, France (#952804) (XD) - $16.95
  • TEZZA MA ROAT RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2015 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#084053) (XD) - $17.95
  • PABLO CLARO BIODYNAMIC CABERNET SAUVIGNON/GRACIANO 2015 - Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain (#574467) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA CARDONNE 2010 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#550244) (XD) - $26.95
  • QUINTA DA REDE GRANDE RESERVA 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#491993) (XD) - $28.95  FE
  • DOMAINE RAYMOND USSEGLIO & FILS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#539882) (XD) - $47.95
  • LATIUM MORINI CAMPO LEÒN AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2012 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#334300) (D) - $48.95
  • FATTORIA DEI BARBI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#928028) (XD) - $54.95  92 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • INDOMITO FALANGHINA DEL BENEVENTANO 2016 - IGT, Campania, Italy (#562454) (XD) - $14.95
  • NOMAD TRAVELLERS RIESLING 2017 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada (#445775) (M) - $16.95
  • DONNACHIARA MONTEFALCIONE FIANO DI AVELLINO 2015 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#372482) (XD) - $18.95
  • 13TH STREET JUNE’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (D) - $19.95
  • PAZO DAS BRUXAS ALBARIÑO 2016 - DO Rîas Baixas, Spain (#417667) (XD) - $19.95
  • LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#578864) (XD) - $21.95
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $21.95
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY CHARDONNAY 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#655381) (XD) - $39.95
  • DE MORGENZON CHENIN BLANC RESERVE 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#339762) (XD) - $39.95  FE
  • DOMAINE FEVRE VAULORENT CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#558593) (XD) - $49.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#496919) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • FAMILLE PERRIN TAVEL 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#680801) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95  91 pts  wine review

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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

wine is the first in a series from PMA Canada's portfolio that highlights a few top scoring wines from around the globe to help you gear up for the International Sports Stage in February, namely the 2018 Winter Olympics.

As the world comes together this February to celebrate their top athletes, PMA Canada celebrates diversity by offering a selection of award-winning wines from around the globe.

PMA Canada not only prides itself on offering a vast selection of international wines, but also on the fact that the wines presented are of the highest and most renowned quality. So, as different countries battle to come out on top, cheer on your team with a top scoring wine from PMA Canada.

This particular red wine from Chile's Emiliana - Organic Vineyards is the winery's signature wine. "Coyam" means "Chilean oak" and is named in honour of the trees that surround the vineyard that supplies the grapes for this blend. The label, with its tree ring pattern, stylishly matches the name. Scores for this wine range from 90 to 93 points, including 90+ points from me when I tasted this delicious wine back in . Let's see how this wine is tasting tonight.

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA COYAM 2013 - Los Robles Estate, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#063891) (XD) - $29.95
This organic and biodynamic wine is made with 48% Syrah, 24% Carmenere, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Mourvedre, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot that was manually harvested and double sorted. Ageing occurred for 13 months in French (85%) and American oak, spread evenly between casks that were new, single use, and twice used. Dark plum with hints of savoury meaty notes from the cork. This has fine, savoury, meaty, forest floor, crushed blackberry, and evergreen aromas along with hints of white pepper and licorice that gain intensity with air. Very complex and fairly intense nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate and shows finesse with smooth, supple tannins that fold into the wine very nicely. Complex savoury, blackcurrant, pepper and herbal flavours are well-balanced and lifted by bright, juicy acids. Some evergreen on the mid-palate. Finishes long and savoury. An amazing wine to enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 91 pts

Last released into VINTAGES on October 14, 2017, and (surprisingly!) is still widely available throughout Ontario.

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  • Saturday, April 15, 2017

Southbrook Vineyards Wine Tasting - March 2017

Southbrook Vineyards Portfolio Tasting
, I was invited to a wine tasting by André Proulx to taste through some of the latest wines from Southbrook Vineyards - a winery that pursues organic and biodynamic viticulture that I've featured many times on this blog.

There were 13 wines available for tasting, including the 2015 Southbrook Organic Triomphe Pinot Noir and 2015 Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay that I previously tasted earlier this year, as well as other wines from the Triomphe line of wines that are an expression of carefully tended vines that produce quality wines.

The majority of the wines were from the Estate Grown Small Lot series and tended to be my favourite of the bunch. These organic and biodynamic wines are hand-made to express the unique contributors to winemaking - site, soil, climate, vintage, and the human touch. A sub-series within this line of wines is the Estate Barrel Series, where winemaker Ann Sperling illustrates the subtleties that different barrels can make to Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc bottlings. We got to taste the exquisite 'Allier' Chardonnay, but there are 3 other Chardonnays in this line as well, plus 6 Cabernet Francs - it would've been great to taste all of these side-by-side. A visit to the winery to taste through the rest of the Estate Barrel Series may be in order.

In addition to the above, there was also a wild ferment cider, an effervescent bubbly made with 100% Vidal, and a lovely Chardonnay from their top-of-the-line Poetica series.

Guiding us through the tasting were Paul DeCampo, Director of Marketing & Sales, and Andrew Redelmeier, son of owners Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier who is also a Sales & Marketing Specialist at Southbrook Vineyards.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines at this tasting are provided below, and all of the wines are available (or will be available soon) for purchase direct through the winery.

From left to right: André Proulx, Paul DeCampo and Andrew Redelmeier

Southbrook Portfolio Tasting + Cheese

Tasting Notes:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT 'ALLIER' CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Aged for 11 months in combination of new and old oak sourced from the Allier forest in central France, this has a gorgeous nose that is very appealing with elegant, sweet vanilla, nutty, butter and integrated oak with hints of pear. The palate is medium-bodied with nice depth, balanced acids and very nice aroma replays led by more nutty characters and hints of caramel and smoke. Excellent finish length. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot 'Allier' Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK POETICA CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#366500) (XD) - $49.95
Seems somewhat closed compared to a couple of weeks ago at Taste Ontario, offering medium-high aromatics of stone fruit and oak. The palate is medium-bodied and minerally textured with rich stone fruit flavours and integrated oak notes. Refined with balanced acids. Very good finish length with some nutty flavours adding interest. Has the stuffing to age a number of years, but is enjoyable now. Score: 91 pts

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT '101' CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
My favourite red of the tasting, this is 91% Cabernet Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon that is sourced from the "101" vineyard, this is highly aromatic with very nice red & black fruits, herbaceous, tobacco, leather, and dark currant aromas. The palate is medium-full bodied with ripe tannins integrating nicely and very appealing aroma replays. Refined with finely balanced acids and long finishing. Will reward 2+ years ageing and drink to 2023. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot '101' Cabernet Franc 2013 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT PETIT VERDOT 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Appears shy at the moment, offering glimpses of dark berry fruit, black cherry, and oak along with hints of purple fruit, earth and barnyard notes, all of which come through nicely on the full-bodied palate. Tannins are well-integrated and balanced by very good, juicy acids. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Petit Verdot 2013 (89 pts)Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot 'Witness Block' Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc 2013 (90+ pts)

A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon (from 2003 planting), 37% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Merlot, this has medium-high aromatics that offer touches of evergreen, red and black fruits, cassis and black cherry. Oak is well-integrated on the full-bodied palate with nice aroma replays and balanced acids. Long finishing. Slightly chalky tannins should soften with time. Drink over the next 5 years. Score: 90+ pts

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  • Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère / Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile
, I was invited to the iYellow Wine Cave to attend iYellow's most recent #WinemakerRAW event with Emiliana Organic Vineyards from Chile.

Having tasted quite a few Emiliana wines over the past few years at the annual Chilean Wine Tasting, I had a good feeling about this tasting. This night was about getting an up close and personal look at the 2013 Emiliana Nova Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon that was just released a few weeks prior to this event at the LCBO as a general list product (and is widely available throughout the province).

In attendance representing the winery was the Winemaker Emilio Contreras, as well as the Export Director Fernando Pavon. Mr. Contreras joined Emiliana's team of winemakers in 2007 and is currently responsible for the reserve wines (including the wine below) and the two premium organic lines.

Emiliana Organic Vineyards is an organic and biodynamic winery that is focused on creating high quality wines while showing respect for the environment and their people. Emiliana firmly believes that using sustainable, organic, and biodynamic agricultural practices help produce better-balanced, healthier, and more productive vineyards, which in turn results in better grapes and unique, terroir-driven wines.

Fernando Pavon (left) and Winemaker Emilio ContrerasEmiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA NOVAS GRAN RESERVA CARMÉNÈRE/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#434662) (XD) - $15.80
Blend of 85% Carménère and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium+ intensity nose of sweet oak, brett and earth with underlying sweet ripe black cherry and hints of purple fruit. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, rounded tannins. Black cherry, sweet vanilla and hints of cocoa on the medium-to-long finish. Organic wine made in an approachable style that should have wide appeal. Score: 88 pts

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  • Sunday, December 20, 2015

Southbrook Poetica Red 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

The final instalment of wines from Southbrook Vineyards is the Southbrook Poetica Red from their top-of-the-line "Poetica" collection. I wrote a brief introduction about this collection of wines during my review of their 2012 Poetica Chardonnay.

Featured on the label once again is an excerpt from a lovely poem by Chief Dan George. "Words to a Grandchild" speaks to the role that nature plays and that we must listen to it.

All Poetica wines are made in tiny, small batches, and only in excellent vintages. As such, only 85 cases of this red wine were produced. Like the Chardonnay, this benchmark red wine features limited edition numbering on the bottle - making an empty bottle a definite keepsake. The bottle I have is #307 of 1,019 and definitely one I'll be hanging on to once the juice inside is long gone.

You can purchase this wine through winery on its own or as part of the Poetica Holiday Gift Package. This 6-pack of wines includes the 2012 Poetica Red, the 2010 Poetica Red, and the 2007 Poetica Cabernet Merlot, as well as one bottle each of the 2007, 2011 and 2012 Poetica Chardonnay. This gift pack is offered with a complimentary wooden crate along with free shipping. You should also know that the 2010 Poetica Red is in extremely limited supply, so you'll need to hurry to reserve your gift package. Pricing and info about a smaller Poetica Gift Package are available on Southbrook's website.

Like nearly everything that Southbrook produces, this wine is both organic and biodynamic and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Southbrook Poetica Red 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK POETICA RED 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#355859) (XD) - $54.95
A Bordeaux-blend consisting of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cabernet Franc, 26% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot. Organic and biodynamic. Plum and wood aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic earthy, barnyard nose followed by sweet spice and dark berries. It's medium-to-full bodied with dark, brooding and refined tannins. Delicious aroma replays offer rich layers of baking spice, cassis, floral, blackberry, and sweet oak that persist through to the long, slightly warm finish that is supported by excellent fruit concentration and tannin. Acids are mouth-watering. Amazing right now, this will improve with cellar time and easily offer enjoyment over the next decade. This might just be the best Ontario red table wine I've ever tasted. Score: 93 pts

"Words to a Grandchild" - Southbrook Poetica Red 2012Bottle 0307 of 1,019 - Southbrook Poetica Red 2012

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  • Saturday, December 19, 2015

Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

The next instalment of wines from Southbrook Vineyards features a white wine from their top-of-the-line "Poetica" collection.

Poetica wines are made only in excellent vintages. The poetry on the labels is drawn from the work of a wide cross-section of talented Canadian poets and reflects, in some way, a love theme. The wine honours the poem on the label, and the poem honours the wine in the bottle.

These wines are made mostly from tiny batches and feature limited edition numbering on the bottles - making an empty bottle somewhat of a keepsake. Only 222 cases of the 2012 Poetica Chardonnay were produced. This Chardonnay is also organic and biodynamic and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

The Poetica Gift Package is currently available for the holidays as a 6-pack that includes the Chardonnay reviewed below, as well as the 2007 and 2011 Poetica Chardonnays, the 2007 Poetica Cabernet Merlot, and 2010 and 2012 Poetica Red. This gift pack is offered with a complimentary wooden crate along with free shipping. Furthermore, the 2010 Poetica Red is in extremely limited supply, so you'll need to hurry to reserve your gift package. Pricing and info about a smaller Poetica Gift Package are available on Southbrook's website.

Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK POETICA CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#366500) (XD) - $49.95
The poem on the front is a verse from "Keep a Few Embers From the Fire" by Canadian poet Chief Dan George. Bottle 348 of 2,664, this has a reductive nose of yellow pear, toasted nuts and some subtle baking spice notes. On the palate it has vibrant acidity on a honeyed flavoured profile with hints of pineapple, Golden apple, butter and vanilla. Medium-bodied with a slight oily and creamy texture. It's mouth-watering throughout, while the finish length is excellent. A special wine that should mature well over the next 5-6 years. Score: 92 pts

"Keep a Few Embers From the Fire" - Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012Bottle 0348 of 2,664 of Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012

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  • Saturday, December 12, 2015

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

The next post in my series of Southbrook wines is a very unique Chardonnay whose primary fermentation and malolactic conversion were indigenous - also known as "Wild Fermentation". To put it another way, the yeast used to ferment this wine was naturally occurring in the vineyard and at the winery - instead of adding inoculated yeast.

Only 6 barrels (180 cases) of this wine were produced, all from estate fruit. It spent 20 months in French oak barrels (50% new). Once again, this wine is certified organic and biodynamic and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

This wine is only available at the winery and is currently available as part of a lovely Holiday Gifting Estate Package. For fans of Chardonnay, this package also includes the 2013 Vosges, and the unreleased Moon Barrel, Allier and Jupilles wines. There is also a similarly packaged set of wines for Cabernet Franc aficionados. These wines are specially crafted by winemaker Ann Sperling to show the subtle differences in barrel wood. The names of these wines refer to either the forest from which the barrel wood came from, or the unique method of cooperage. Visit the Southbrook Vineyards website for more details and to place your order.

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Ripe pear, green apple and hints of butter aromas from the cork. Elegant bouquet of coconut, pear, Golden apple, with hints of honeycomb and white flower. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with vibrant acidity and honey-tinged aromas replays. A saline note comes through mid-palate. Finishes long with mineral, honey, apple, floral and vanilla aftertaste. Some intriguing coffee notes emerge as it warms up in the glass. Lots going on in this yummy Chardonnay. Eminently drinkable now and should be better in a couple of years. Score: 90 pts

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  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Avondale Wine Tasting (South Africa)

Avondale Terra Est Vita
, I had the pleasure of tasting the wines of Avondale with proprietor Johnathan Grieve.

Avondale is located on a 160-hectare, picturesque farm in the Paarl valley in the southwestern part of South Africa, only 35 minutes from Cape Town, and has been cultivated for more than 300 years. Early records also indicate that this piece of land was one first in Paarl valley to be allocated specifically for the production of grapes.

Johnathan Grieve
Although the farm was established as early as 1693, current owners John and Ginny Grieve (Johnathan's parents) only began producing wine on the site in 1999, two years after purchasing the land. Today, it continues to be family-owned and operated with Johnathan taking up the challenge to transform the land into a balanced vineyard ecosystem using organic and biodynamic viticultural practices that he developed, along with modern science, and now terms BioLOGIC.

One of the ways Avondale promotes a balanced ecosystem is through the use of natural predators. Beginning more than 15 years ago, Avondale began unleashing White Pekin Ducks to feast on snails that were proliferating throughout the vineyards and eating the vines. Johnathan showed us a fascinating video of the ducks in action that you can view here:

Other natural predators include predatory wasps (to combat mealy bugs), Spotted Eagle Owls, Rock Kestrels, Yellow-billed and Black-shouldered Kites.

Continuing on the theme of "natural" is the waste water system that mimics the way Nature cleans water. The system is comprised of three dams interlinked by spiralling channels of cleansing reeds that replicates the natural river system. This closed-nutrient cycle yields quality water that is then used for their irrigation needs.

Avondale Wine
Avondale has 13 different soil types on their land, and vines are planted within pockets of soil types. Furthermore, when Avondale built their cellar, it was designed such that each block of fruit from these different soil types could be vinified independently of each other, allowing for terroir expression. The soil is often re-balanced using the soil balancing system pioneered by Dr. William Albrecht, followed by re-mineralization of the soil. To further help balance the soil and ecosystem, legumes and other cover crops are used to create a vibrant and diverse plant community.

All of the wines at Avondale go through natural fermentation - a process which is much slower than commercial fermentation. Some wines are also warm-fermented at this estate, producing wines that can be aged for longer periods when compared with wines that are cool-fermented.

One thing Johnathan talked about that really intrigued me was the Luna Tasting Calendar. This calendar is based on the Biodynamic Planting Calendar that was developed in the 1950's by Maria Thun and centres around the 12 Zodiac constellations and the lunar cycle. Within the calendar there are four cycles: Fruit, Root, Flower and Leaf. The Luna Tasting Calendar conjectures that any given wine will taste different based on the current cycle. The Flower cycle is regarded as the best day for tasting wine. I personally have not tried tasting wine based on this, but it's on my list of things to do this year.

The dowsing experiment using rods that Johnathan performed on one of the attendees was also very interesting. I have a pair of dowsing rods that I haven't used in quite a few years, so it was refreshing to see somebody else perform dowsing, and do it well!

Avondale Wines Lineup

Overall, I was quite pleased with the tasting. It was an eye-opener in terms of the many organic and biodynamic practices that are followed. The labels are also very pretty - with a unique story behind each of them. However, it's what's inside the bottle that counts - and the wines are delicious.

Thank you Rare Earth Wines for the invitation and the opportunity to taste these fabulous wines that also happen to be organic & biodynamic. Since most of these wines are not (yet) available at the LCBO, you can order these wines directly with Rare Earth Wines.

Tasting Notes:

AVONDALE ARMILLA BLANC DE BLANC 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (XD) - $28
100% Chardonnay. Medium-high aromatics with toast, bread, poached pear and citrus notes. The palate has vibrant mousse and show hints of sweetness that are cut very quickly by the vibrant acids. Medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

Avondale Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (88 pts)Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin White 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (87 pts)

AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (XD) - $14.95
Primarily Chenin Blanc (85%) with Roussanne, Muscat de Frontignan, Viognier and Semillon rounding out the blend. Aromas of medium-to-high intensity consisting of sweet ripe peach, citrus and lemon notes. On the palate, it's medium-bodied and fleshy with flavours of lemon/lime, citrus, tangy peach and hints of honey. Some chalky minerality mid-palate. Balanced acids and medium-length finish. Score: 87 pts

AVONDALE ANIMA 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (D) - $22.95
100% Chenin Blanc. Elegant, medium+ intensity aromas of honeyed fruit, white peach and tropical fruit. Palate is medium-bodied with very nice aroma replays showing nice complexity. It's off-dry with good tension between fruit and vibrant, yet balanced, acidity. Long finishing. Score: 89 pts

Avondale Anima Chenin Blanc 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (89 pts)Avondale Cyclus 2012 - WO Paarl, South Africa (90+ pts)

AVONDALE CYCLUS 2012 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#295220) (XD) - $26.95
White wine blend consisting of equal parts Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne & Chenin Blanc, and a small amount of Semillon. Medium-high aromatics that are elegant with notions of apples, orchard fruit, floral and fennel. The palate is medium-bodied, dry, and slightly oily with a chalky mineral texture and fresh, vibrant acids. Layered flavours of herb, lemon and floral continue through to the very long finish. Score: 90+ pts

AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 37% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. Medium+ aromatic intensity with complex herbal, wild dark/red berry fruit, currant, cassis and elegant oak aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with ripe, supple tannins and flavours of red/black fruits, black cherry, black currant, vanilla and chocolate. Good, balanced acids and a medium-long finish. Currently in VINTAGES. Score: 88+ pts

Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin Red 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (88+ pts)Avondale Samsara Syrah 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (90 pts)

AVONDALE SAMSARA 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#295550) (XD) - $32.95
100% Syrah. Medium+ intensity aromas of red cherry, berry, white pepper, dark plum, and soft vanillan oak. Flavours of spiced oak, plum, white pepper and currants on the medium+ bodied palate. It has brilliant acidity and firm, chalky tannins. Hints of chocolate on the spiced finish. Will age gracefully for 5-8 years. Score: 90 pts

AVONDALE LA LUNA 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (XD) - $34.95
A Bordeaux-blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec, this red wine has medium+ intensity aromas with suggestions of elegant plum, red & dark fruits, floral, cedar oak and some purple fruits. It's full-bodied with refined tannins and very nice aroma replays. It also has very good acids and a long, smooth finish. Score: 91 pts

Avondale La Luna 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (91 pts)

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  • Saturday, December 13, 2014

Parés Baltà Calcari 2013 (Spain) - Wine Review

Tonight's white wine is organic & biodynamic and comes from a family-owned winery with traditions dating back to 1970 (although you wouldn't have guessed it given the very modern look of the label.) It is available by Consignment only via Trialto Wine Group.

PARÉS BALTÀ CALCARI 2013 - DO Penedès, Spain (#781286) (XD) - $16.95

Wine Review of 2013 Parés Baltà Calcari from DO Penedès, Spain
Tasting Note:
Made using 100% Xarel-lo, a grape traditionally used to make Cava. Screw cap. Medium intensity nose with lemony and grapefruit aromas. Medium-full bodied with very chalky, mineral mouthfeel with tarty lemon, grapefruit pith and salty flavours on the dry palate. Fresh, balanced acids and a long, tart finish. Would serve this with oily foods such as fish & chips. Score: 87 pts

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