Showing posts with label bordeaux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bordeaux. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Château Bel Orme Winemaker's Dinner (2019)



Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande Wine Tasting
On a fine , I had the pleasure of attending a winemaker's dinner at The National Club in downtown Toronto. We enjoyed the wines from Bordeaux's Château Bel Orme with Winemaker/Vigneron Anne Françoise Quié in attendance.

After enjoying a glass of Louis Pommery Brut from California during the reception, which is made by French producer Champagne Pommery, we headed to the dining area to begin the evening's program that included a five-wine vertical of Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande and ended with a Sauternes.

The story of Château Bel Orme begins in 1936 when Anne's parents, Paul and Lucienne Quié, purchased the Château which overlooked the Gironde Estuary. Château Bel Orme covers an area of 30 hectares on Bordeaux's left bank, 6 miles north of Pauillac, with vineyards extending over the hills of the village. The name of the winery dates back to the 18th century, referring to the wooded park named "Bel Orme" that surrounds the Château. In 1946, Paul and Lucienne Quié acquired Château Rauzan-Gassies, a Margaux super second growth. Today, all of the Quié family's wine brands fall under the Domaines Quié umbrella.

Anne Françoise Quié, Château Bel Orme

Tom Noitsis with 2005 Château Bel Orme imperial size bottle

We tasted five red wines from Château Bel Orme on this night, a vertical ranging from 2016 going back to 2000, including one wine that was poured out of an Imperial bottle. And if you didn't know, an Imperial bottle contains 6 L of wine - the equivalent of 8 standard 750 mL bottles of wine.

Wines from the left bank are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. However, at Château Bel Orme they have planted more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon due to the Château's terroirs which consist of deep, sandy gravels. Moreover, because of their knowledge of the terroirs in the village of Saint Seurin de Cadourne and the results they've achieved over the years, they continue to plant more Merlot. This is reflected in the wines themselves as each of the five wines we tasted were Merlot dominant by varying degrees. It's also interesting to note that fermentation at the winery takes place in concrete vats - a growing trend in Bordeaux - and is followed by 12 months of ageing in French oak barrels.

The evening closed with Château d'Armajan des Ormes Sauternes (89 pts) dessert wine that paired beautifully with a cheese plate.

Château d'Armajan des Ormes Sauternes with Cheese Plate, The National Club

Thank you to Eurovintage for the invitation and the opportunity to try these fine wines from Bordeaux, as well as the California bubbly from Louis Pommery. All of these wines can be purchased by contacting Eurovintage Fine Wines & Spirits.

Tasting Notes:

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2016 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - $38
A blend of 58% Merlot and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has a ripe, medium-high intensity nose that offers elegant dark berry/cherry, currant, wet forest floor, complex wood spice, and touches of savoury notes. It's full-bodied with astringent, grippy tannins, fresh acids and ripe fruited aroma replays joined by herbally flavours. Very good finish length. Still very young, needs 3-4 years of cellar time. Score: 88 pts

Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2016 (88 pts)Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2011 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2011 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - $37
Assembled with 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has a medium-high intensity nose that is clean, elegant, and refined with currant, cassis, and sweet oak spice with savoury notes laying underneath. It is full-bodied with refined tannins that are nicely maturing and lovely aroma replays with some herbally, forest floor, and mature fruit characters adding complexity. Acids are nicely balanced, while the long, balanced finish is earthy and savoury. In a fine place right now, and should continue to develop over the next 7-8 years. Score: 90 pts

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2006 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - Sold Out
This blend of 63% Merlot and 37% Cabernet Sauvignon has a lovely, fragrant nose that is savoury with wet forest floor, earth, dried cherry/berry, and floral aromas. The medium-full bodied palate is mature with refined tannins that are soft, rounded and elegant. Flavours are nicely mature, showing finesses with balanced acidity. Savoury and dried berry notes on the linger on the long, finish. Could age another 6-7 years. Score: 92 pts

Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2006 (92 pts)Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2000 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2000 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - $68
A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon that has a fragrant and mature nose with savoury, earthy, forest floor, olive, and barnyard aromas, all of which comes through nicely on the medium+ bodied palate with savoury and barnyard flavours more prominent. It has good acidity while the fine tannins are mature, smooth and well-integrated. There is just a touch of heat on the mid-palate, while the long finish continues with more savoury and barnyard notes. Drink soon. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, October 4, 2019

Château de la Pierre Levée Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine from Bordeaux that arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release and is widely available for purchase across Ontario.

This red wine was born out of an exclusive partnership between Yvon Mau and Hubert de Boüard. Yvon Mau has been trading in the wine industry since 1897, while Hubert de Boüard is co-owner of Château Angelus, a Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé producer. Today, the Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard collection of wines is made up of nine châteaux which aim to reveal little-known vineyards with great potential to produce Bordeaux wines that are fruity, balanced, and accessible to all.

The grapes for this particular red wine come mostly from a single block surrounding Château de la Pierre Levée, which is located in the area known as Bazille within the commune of Salles-de-Castillon to the northwest of the appellation. The estate overlooks the vineyard that has perfect exposure to the sun. The name of the château comes from a reference to the imposing two-metre high dolmen that is found next to the vineyard and has been designated a historic monument.

Château de la Pierre Levée Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE LA PIERRE LEVÉE RÉVÉLATIONS D’HUBERT DE BOÜARD 2016 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon, France (#667147) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from 30-year-old vineyards planted on clay-limestone soils. The nose is fresh and ripe, with medium+ aromatics of plum, blackberry, cocoa, and vanilla wood spice notes. It medium-full bodied on the palate with more black plum, blackberry and wood spice flavours supported by medium-firm, chalky textured tannins that have some grip. Cedar wood and herbal notes come to the fore as it warms in the glass. Acids are fresh and lively, while the finish is juicy with cocoa and wood spice notes, and very good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Monday, August 26, 2019

Château Hauchat 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

I tasted the 2011 Château Hauchat nearly 4 years ago, and I opened the 2016 vintage of the same wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Vignobles Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils at the Hauchat property that is located on a high plateau in the commune of Saint-Aignan, to the west of of neighbouring Pomerol and Saint Émilion in Bordeaux, France. The vineyard of Château Hauchat is facing south and southwest, ensuring ideal sunshine and perfect drainage conditions, while the terroir is very homogeneous with its clay-limestone soils. Lastly, they only grow one grape varietal at Château Hauchat - Merlot.

The Saby family has been making wine in the region for eight generations, combining century-old knowledge with the advantages of modern viticulture. Today, it is owned by brothers Jean Christophe and Jean Philippe who continue the family tradition and hope to pass it along their own children one day.

Château Hauchat 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT 2016 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#123489) (XD) - $17.95
This 100% Merlot was aged for 15 months in an equal parts new, 1 year old, and 2 year old barrels. Enticing and complex, this has medium+ intensity aromas of spice mingling with ripe dark berry fruit, wood, and hints of vanilla and plum. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark berry, currant, cedar oak, and spice flavours. Acids are juicy while the ripe tannins are quite chalky and a bit tight at the moment. Dark berry, clove spice, and wood linger on the finish, with very good length. I would cellar this for 2 years and enjoy into the mid-20's. Score: 88 pts


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  • Sunday, June 16, 2019

Château du Vieux Puit 2015 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

To celebrate , tonight's wine review is a nice red wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Jean-Pierre Bouillac, a 3rd generation vine grape nurseryman who followed his father's and grandfather's footsteps after being fascinated by grape varieties since childhood. In 1996, he decided to plant his own vineyard on a 5 hectare plot with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon so that he could produce wine from his own property. This was the beginning of Château du Vieux Puit and Vignobles Bouillac.

The property is named "Vieux Puit" - which translated means "Old Well" - because of an historic well that is situated in the centre of the property. It is shaped like a shell, typical of the style found in the north of the Gironde estuary, and its origin dates back to the 16th century. An image of the old well adorns this bottle of Château du Vieux Puit.

Today, the family property has expanded to 80 hectares of vines in Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. The Bouillac family also has considerable experience with vine nurseries in selecting the right grapes for any terroir, advising some very famous Bordeaux classified Grand Cru 1855 houses.

Château du Vieux Puit 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DU VIEUX PUIT 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux-Blaye, France (#630012) (XD) - $17.95
From a vineyard within the commune of St. Girons d'Aiguevives, a few kilometres east of Blaye, this is a blend of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot from vines that are 20+ years old. Fresh, medium intensity nose of currant, spice, and cocoa accented with herbal and olive notes. The medium-full bodied palate is lush with blackberry and spice flavours, along with hints of black plum, all supported by juicy acids. Structured tannins are somewhat chalky, but approachable. Dark berry and cocoa notes linger on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, April 8, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Apr. 13, 2019: Organic + Bordeaux

LCBO Wine Picks: April 13, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features Organic Wines in its main theme, while mini-theme focuses on wines from Bordeaux's left and right banks. All of these wines, plus many others will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features 16 Organic Wines from around the world, of which 7 are included among my wine recommendations. Both Sparkling Wines are organic, with the bubbly from Chile consisting of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, while the sparkler from Ontario is made with Riesling. Organic white wines include a Torrontés from Chile, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Also, the Lagarde Blanc from Bordeaux is a 60/40 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, while the dry Riesling is from Germany. The lone organic red wine is a Chianti Classico that is made with 100% Sangiovese.

Il Molino di Grace Riserva Chianti Classico 2014 (91 pts)Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Château Les Hauts de Lagarde Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Wittmann 100 Hills Trocken Riesling 2017 (88 pts)

The mini-theme looks at red wines from Bordeaux's left and right banks. Red wines from Bordeaux are quite often blends, with Left Bank wines typically based on Cabernet Sauvignon, while Right Bank wines are typically based on either Merlot or Cabernet Franc. In this Release, there are 8 wines featured and 3 are included among my top wine picks. My personal preference leans towards Cabernet Sauvignon, so all three of my picks from this feature are from the Left Bank. The Médoc is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot, while the pretty 2009 Haut-Médoc is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Last, but definitely not the least, the Pessac-Léognan is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Château La Garde 2015 (92 pts)Château Larose-Trintaudon 2009 (91 pts)

Château Pierre de Montignac 2014 (90 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot blend from Australia, as well as an 87% Tempranillo and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Spain. From South Africa, the Glenelly Red Blend consists of 40% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot, while the M. Chapoutier from Roussillon is a lovely blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 5% Carignan, and 5% Mourvèdre. Lastly, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault.

M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem 2016 (91+ pts)Glenelly Estate Reserve Red Blend 2011 (89 pts)

Ferngrove Frankland River Cabernet/Merlot 2016 (89 pts)La Legua El Transformador Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, all are single varietal wines. Included among them is the Anselmi that is made with 100% Garganega, and the Rochemorin Blanc from Bordeaux that is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. There is also a Chenin Blanc from South Africa and a pair of (oaked) Chardonnays from California.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • FERNGROVE FRANKLAND RIVER CABERNET/MERLOT 2016 - Frankland River, Western Australia (#632638) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LA LEGUA EL TRANSFORMADOR TEMPRANILLO/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - DO Cigales, Spain (#645812) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • HERDADE DA PIMENTA TOURIGA NACIONAL/TOURIGA FRANCA/ALICANTE BOUSCHET 2013 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#445114) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PRIMUS CARMENÈRE 2017 - Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#439356) (XD) - $19.95
  • GLENELLY ESTATE RESERVE RED BLEND 2011 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#652289) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2014 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#382945) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BILA-HAUT OCCULTUM LAPIDEM 2016 - AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Latour-de-France, France (#643239) (XD) - $26.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LAROSE-TRINTAUDON 2009 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#297945) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LA GARDE 2015 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#682617) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#700922) (XD) - $67.95  FE

White Wine:

  • SANTA JULIA ORGANIC TORRONTÉS 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#232694) (XD) - $13.95  87 pts  wine review
  • L’AVENIR FAR & NEAR CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#556365) (XD) - $15.95
  • WITTMANN 100 HILLS TROCKEN RIESLING 2017 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#645176) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LES HAUTS DE LAGARDE BLANC 2018 - AC Bordeaux, France (#387787) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#735043) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ANSELMI CAPITEL CROCE 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#966655) (D) - $26.95  FE
  • CHÂTEAU DE ROCHEMORIN BLANC 2015 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#091371) (XD) - $31.95
  • RAMEY CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#613786) (XD) - $51.00  FE
  • FAR NIENTE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#539130) (XD) - $99.95
Santa Julia Organic Torrontés 2018 (87 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • THREE OF HEARTS ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#552562) (D) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
Three of Hearts Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • KEW VINEYARDS ORGANIC RIESLING SPARKLING 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#645309) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • EMILIANA ORGANIC BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, DO Casablanca Valley, Chile (#536607) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
KEW Vineyards Organic Riesling Sparkling 2017 (88 pts)Emiliana Organic Brut Sparkling (88 pts)


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  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LCBO VINTAGES May 12, 2018: Bordeaux + New Zealand + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks: May 12, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is a solid, three-pronged release featuring wines from Bordeaux and New Zealand, while the third theme features Rosé wines just in time for warm weather. All of these wines will be available at LCBO outlets across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the wines from Bordeaux, where twelve wines (all red) are featured, and four are included among my top wine picks. Somewhat not surprisingly, three of my four picks are from the great 2010 vintage - the Godard Bellevue is a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Fleur Haut Gaussens is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Pierre de Montignac is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. From the 2008 vintage, the nicely matured Margaux is a blend of 48% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. Also from Bordeaux, but only featured as a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) is a white wine made with 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon.

The selection of wines from New Zealand is also quite good, with three of nine wines making my list of wine recommendations. Among these wines there is a lovely Hawkes Bay red blend that consists of 55% Merlot, 17% Tempranillo, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec and 7% Syrah, a dry Pinot Gris, and a Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, there are also quite a few wines from New Zealand featured as Flagship Store Exclusives at the back of the magazine, including a pair of Pinot Noirs and a complex, wild fermented Sauvignon Blanc.

Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2014 (90 pts)Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2014 (92 pts)

From the mini-theme featuring thirteen Rosé wines, four are included among my wine picks, including the Languedoc Rosé which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, and the premium-priced Provence Rosé which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle (Vermentino), Syrah, and Tibouren. Also from France, the Tavel is a blend of Grenache Noir & Blanc (45%), Clairette (20%), Cinsault (15%), Mourvèdre (8%), Syrah (6%), Bourboulenc (4%), and Picpoul (2%), while the Rosé from Ontario is made with 100% Pinot Noir.

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the release, the Douro red is a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Barroca, and 30% Tinta Roriz, while the Roussillon Villages red is an excellent wine consisting of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache.

La Valentina Pecorino 2016 (88+ pts)Papagiannakos Vieilles Vignes Savatiano 2016 (88 pts)

There are no blends or sweet wines among my top white wine picks, but there some crisp, dry white wines including a Savatiano, Pecorino, Albariño, and Semillon. There is also a Chablis and a pair of oaked Chardonnays. And lastly, the Pouilly-Fumé is a barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my wine picks from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LILÁS 2014 - DO Douro, Portugal (#525667) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU GODARD BELLEVUE 2010 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Francs, France (#426049) (XD) - $15.95
  • ERCAVIO ROBLE TEMPRANILLO 2014 - Vino de La Tierra de Castilla, Spain (#067504) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU FLEUR HAUT GAUSSENS 2010 - AC Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#445510) (XD) - $18.95
  • TRINITY HILL THE TRINITY RED BLEND 2014 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#551630) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2010 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT L’ESQUERDA 2016 - AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde, France (#381020) (XD) - $25.95
  • BUENA VISTA PINOT NOIR 2013 - Carneros, California, USA (#304105) (D) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MT. BEAUTIFUL PINOT NOIR 2015 - North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand (#552026) (XD) - $37.95  FSE
  • GRASSHOPPER ROCK EARNSCLEUGH VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2015 - Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand (#493163) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE MONS 2008 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#550467) (XD) - $52.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE PINOT NOIR 2014 - Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#548248) (XD) - $74.95
Buena Vista Pinot Noir 2013 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • PAPAGIANNAKOS VIEILLES VIGNES SAVATIANO 2016 - Markopoulo, Greece (#546002) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LA VALENTINA PECORINO 2016 - IGT Colline Pescaresi, Abruzzo, Italy (#541433) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • ARBOLEDA SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#606772) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LAXAS ALBARIÑO 2015 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#021477) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO ORGANIC PINOT GRIS 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (XD) - $19.95
  • MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2017 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#493338) (XD) - $19.95

  • WITHER HILLS RARANGI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Single Vineyard, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551721) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAINE DE MAUPERTHUIS CHABLIS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524298) (XD) - $27.95
  • LA MOYNERIE POUILLY-FUMÉ 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#729178) (XD) - $31.95
  • GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (D) - $39.95  FSE  92 pts  wine review
  • BACHELDER WISMER-FOXCROFT N. 2 CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#547299) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU LA LOUVIÈRE BLANC 2012 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#552067) (XD) - $47.95  FSE
Arboleda Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
  • MARQUIS D’AQUERIA TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#556274) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
  • CAVES D’ESCLANS WHISPERING ANGEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#325076) (XD) - $29.95

Fortified:

  • FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT 2011 - Unfiltered, DOP, Portugal (#087551) (S) - $18.95


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  • Friday, April 27, 2018

Château Canteloup 2010 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine was purchased nearly 4 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release, and actually showed up again in VINTAGES on . This wine has since been moved to the General List, with the most recent vintage widely available for $19.95 (#420000) at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

The 2010 Bordeaux vintage was truly great, with optimal ripeness, firm acidity and tannins, thus allowing wines to age gracefully for many years. My notes indicated that this wine would be best until 2018. Let's see how this is tasting tonight...

Château Canteloup 2010 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU CANTELOUP 2010 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#243923) (XD) - $16.95
Blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Savoury barnyard, earth and oak aromas from the cork. Leads with mature savoury earthy aromas and hints of barnyard layered on top of dried cherry and red florals. It is medium-to-full bodied with fine-grained tannins that are nearly fully resolved. There's just a touch of tannic grip on the back palate. Earthy, forest floor flavours mingle with dark berry, dried cherry, black plum, and leather notes in a mature flavour profile. Acids are still quite juicy. Dark berry and earthy notes linger on the long, savoury finish. Delicious! Drink up within the next year or so if you still have this bottle. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, February 5, 2018

Château Timberlay 2014 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

This wine review is the second in the series celebrating the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning, and high-scoring wines from the PMA Canada portfolio.

As the world comes together in a few days to celebrate diversity and cheer on their top athletes, PMA Canada is celebrating it's diverse portfolio of high quality and high-scoring wines, such as this red wine from Bordeaux that was opened during Superbowl Sunday.

Château Timberlay is produced by Robert Giraud and is Terra Vitis certified, while regularly receiving top scores in its long history, with the most recent vintage receiving scores of 87-88 points. The property's origin dates back to the 14th century, during the 100 Years' War, when Aquitaine was under English domination. More recently, the château was destroyed during the French Revolution, later rebuilt, and was completely renovated after the Second World War.

Château Timberlay 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU TIMBERLAY 2014 - AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#030072) (XD) - $16.95 $14.95
A blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Ripe blackberry, plum and earthy aromas from the cork. In the glass, the nose is subtle with ripe red cherry, raspberry, and blackberry with a tinge of prune. On the palate, this has more prune notes followed by dark cherry, cedar oak, and peppery nuances. Dry overall with fresh acids, structured tannins that drying on the mid-palate. Good length on the dry, woody, earthy, and dark berry finish. Pair with big meats like lamb or steak. Score: 87 pts

A General List wine at the LCBO, this red wine is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, as well as online at LCBO.com. Buy now and save $2 off the regular price until February 25th.


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  • Sunday, June 18, 2017

Charme d’Aliénor Crémant de Bordeaux (France) - Wine Review

wine to celebrate is a sparkling wine is new to Ontario and will be available on LCBO shelves as part of the VINTAGES Release on .

This wine is produced by the co-operative Union de Guyenne, also known as UG Bordeaux. In 2007, UG Bordeaux joined the Caves of Sauveterre de Guyenne, Saint-Pey-Génissac and Blasimon. Today, 250 operators combine their savoir-fare to produce wines such as this Crémant de Bordeaux sparkling wine. From vineyard to bottle, quality, traceability, and commitment to environmental protection are priorities.

Charme d’Aliénor Crémant de Bordeaux (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHARME D’ALIÉNOR CRÉMANT DE BORDEAUX - Traditional method, AC, France (#483008) (D) - $16.95
Hand-harvested and unique blend of 90% Semillon and 10% Cabernet Franc. This has a bready, autolytic nose of medium intensity with hints of pastry and white flowers. There's a vague impression of sweetness, but essentially dry on the medium-bodied palate, with crisp, balanced acids. Frothy mousse is gentle and dissipates quickly. Lemon and apple flavours on the palate, with earthy mineral notes lingering on the finish, with good length. Clean and easy drinking for current enjoyment. Score: 87 pts


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  • Sunday, November 27, 2016

Château Bertin 2014 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine review is another sneak preview of a wine that will be in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is produced by Vignobles Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils, a family-owned winery with a winemaking history dating back to the 18th Century and spanning 9 generations.

The grapes for this wine come from Château Bertin, within the town of Lussac, on the right bank, approximately 45 kilometres from the city of Bordeaux. The plot of land where these grapes were grown are near the centre of village, next to a school and bordering the house of Château Haut Brion. The vineyard is south-facing and has extraordinary potential.

Château Bertin 2014 - AC Lussac St-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU BERTIN 2014 - AC Lussac St-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#244046) (D) - $19.95
100% Merlot that was hand-harvested and matured in oak for 12 months. Wet earth, forest floor, plum and whiffs of incense aromas from the cork. Ripe black cherry, cassis aromas followed by notions of milk chocolate, herbs and vanilla oak of medium intensity. Medium-bodied with a soft, plush mouthfeel and dusty tannins that become chalkier with air. Acids are juicy. Black cherry, currant, cocoa, milk chocolate, and cedar oak flavours, finishing long with earthy notes. Will be a fine match over the holidays with poultry or red meats. Score: 88 pts


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  • Thursday, November 3, 2016

Château Guillou 2014 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

Last November, the 2012 Château Guillou landed in VINTAGES. wine is the 2014 vintage of this wine and will be in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Produced by Jean-Bernard Saby, this family has been making wines for nine generations since the 18th century. Today, the winery's vineyards consist of 62 hectares, yielding well-structured wines that are enhanced by perfectly absorbed tannins.

Château Guillou 2014 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU GUILLOU 2014 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#140483) (XD) - $19.95
Has a bit less Merlot (75%) and more Cabernet Franc (25%) compared to the 2012 vintage. Plummy and milk chocolate aromas from the cork. The nose is not very intense, but offers juicy blackberry and oak along with hints of underbrush and herbal spice aromas. The palate is medium-full bodied and gains volume in the mouth with good fruit concentration. Palate is dry with juicy blackberry, dark fruit, chocolate, earth and well-integrated oak flavours. Appealing sweet spice flavours emerge with time. Acids are very good, balanced. Tannins are finely-grained, dusty, and just a touch grippy. Good length on the finish. Satisfying overall. Ideal with lamb right now. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Tuesday, October 25, 2016

VINTAGES Release October 29: Bordeaux + Blends

LCBO Wine Picks: October 29, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on focuses on approachable and affordable Bordeaux wines as its main theme, while the mini-theme focuses on the art of blended wines.

We'll begin with the feature on Bordeaux that lists 11 wines, 3 of which are included among my wine picks. From Médoc and Fronsac are a pair of wines from outstanding 2010 Bordeaux vintage - both are Bordeaux blends, with the Fronsac wine consisting of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Also from the 2010 vintage is the Margaux Grande Cru Classé that is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Merlot. The 2012 Bois Chantant is also mostly Merlot (79%), with 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc added to round out the blend.

The fact that the majority of Bordeaux wines are blends is a nice segue into the mini-thematic - the art of the blend. This feature lists 8 wines, none of which are from Bordeaux, and only 1 wine is included in my wine recommendations. The vintage Champagne is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir, and 23% Pinot Meunier.

In red wines, we have a lovely blend Touriga Nacional, Jaen, and Alfrocheiro blend from Portugal - a wine region where most wines are blends. Surprisingly, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is 100% Grenache from vines that are 80-100 years old. The dry (i.e. not sweet) Amarone is a blend of 60% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, and 10% Molinara. Last, but not definitely not the least, is the Solaia that is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Among my white wine picks, the Greek wine is a blend of 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Roditis, while the Sancerre is strictly Sauvignon Blanc. The sparkling Cava is a blend of local varietals Macabeo (67%) and Parellada (33%).

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Les Caillottes Sancerre 2015 - AC, Loire, France (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine picks from this release! Cheers!


Red Wine:

  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - DO Maipo Valley, Chile (#018721) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAPILLI BENEVENTANO AGLIANICO 2014 - IGT, Campania, Italy (#472696) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT-CANTELOUP 2010 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#466565) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU DU BOIS CHANTANT CUVÉE LAURENCE H. 2012 - AP Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#421206) (XD) - $18.95
  • NIEPOORT DÃO RÓTULO RED 2013 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#452722) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2014 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (D) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SYRAH 2013 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#471797) (XD) - $22.95  reviewed here
Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2014 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (88 pts)Creekside Iconoclast Syrah 2013 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

  • CHÂTEAU HERVÉ-LAROQUE 2010 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#446393) (XD) - $26.95
  • MENDEL MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#108225) (XD) - $29.95
  • FATTORIA DEI BARBI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#928028) (XD) - $53.95  reviewed here
  • CHÂTEAU DURFORT-VIVENS 2010 - Second wine of Château Durfort-Vivens, AC Margaux, Grand Cru Classé, Bordeaux, France (#466540) (XD) - $54.95
  • ZENI BARRIQUES AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2009 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#472688) (XD) - $59.95
  • DOMAINE DE CRISTIA VIEILLES VIGNES CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#071381) (XD) - $107.00  FSE
  • SOLAIA 2012 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#987586) (D) - $254.95
Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

White Wine:

  • SAN RAFFAELE MONTE TABOR PINOT GRIGIO 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#204768) (XD) - $13.95  reviewed here
  • KIR-YIANNI ESTATE WHITE 2015 - Samaropetra Vineyard, PGI Florina, Greece (#464511) - $17.95
  • TYRRELL’S LOST BLOCK SEMILLON 2015 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#933200) (XD) - $17.95
  • ST. PAULS CHARDONNAY 2014 - DOC Südtirol/Alto Adige, Italy (#455170) (XD) - $18.95
  • ANDRÉ BLANCK & FILS ALTENBURG GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2015 - AC, Alsace, France (#168906) (M) - $19.95
  • MASTROBERARDINO RADICI FIANO DI AVELLINO 2014 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#323998) (XD) - $19.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $23.75  reviewed here
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#065573) (XD) - $26.95  reviewed here
  • WEINBACH CUVÉE LAURENCE GEWURZTRAMINER 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#581975) (M) - $64.00  FSE
  • STONY HILL CHARDONNAY 2010 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#444471) (XD) - $71.00  FSE
Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts) San Raffaele Monte Tabor Pinot Grigio 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (87 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA HEREDAD CAVA - Méthode traditionnelle, DO, Spain (#558825) (D) - $29.95
  • MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#069773) (D) - $89.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING RIESLING ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#447441) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95  reviewed here
Cave Spring Riesling Icewine 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)


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  • Thursday, November 26, 2015

Château Guillou 2012 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine is part of the November 28, 2015 VINTAGES Release and is most likely already available for purchase on some LCBO shelves.

From the same producer as the 2011 Château Hauchat red wine that I tasted earlier this month, this Jean-Bernard Saby wine is produced by the 9th generation of the Saby family. Jean-Christophe and Jean-Phillippe are both oenologists and apply their new skills, as well as respecting the traditions and know-how of their father and grandfather in producing the wines at this estate.

Château Guillou 2012 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU GUILLOU 2012 - AC Montagne Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France (#140483) (XD) - $18.95
Blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Dried spice, oak and whiff of plum from the cork.  Medium intensity herbally, spice, black currant, dark cherry, and some earthy characters on the nose. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with gritty, astringent tannins. Raspberry and dusty cocoa flavours join the aroma profile on the palate. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the finish length is good. Has a mineral/steely aftertaste. Perfectly fine for a Thursday night. Score: 87 pts



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  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Château Hauchat 2011 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

This fairly easy drinking red wine will be in VINTAGES on November 14th and is suitable for mid-week sipping.

The Château Hauchat property was re-acquired by the Saby family in 1973. In 1989, current owner Jean-Bernard Saby purchased the property from his uncle. The Saby family has been making wine in the region for an astounding 8 centuries now.

The property is located within the commune of Saint-Aignan, to the west of neighbouring Pomerol and Saint Émilion in Bordeaux, France. On the high plateau of Saint-Aignan, the Château is in one of the finest growing areas of the Fronsac appellation. Well drained clay-limestone soil and perfect south/southwest exposure to the sun are two of its most distinctive features. Château Hauchat also grows just a single grape variety on its property - Merlot.

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT 2011 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#123489) (XD) - $15.95
100% Merlot. Plummy and black cherry aromas from the cork. Medium intensity aromas from the glass showing plum, blackberry, sour cherry, black spices, soft cedar vanilla oak, mineral and hints of cocoa notes. It's medium-bodied on the palate with tart red berry and mineral/iodine flavours. Has good acids, fairly rounded but gritty tannins. Good length on the cocoa-tinged finish. Score: 86 pts

Château Hauchat 2011 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (86 pts)


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  • Monday, October 12, 2015

Château Renard Mondesir 2009 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

Opened up this delicious red wine on to celebrate with the family. It is produced by the Négociant Chassagnoux & Fils.

The story of Chassagnoux & Fils begins with Amedee Chassagnoux arriving in Bordeaux in the early 50's. His son Pierre discovers the vineyards of Saint Emilion and distributes them with a passion in Northern France and Belgium. Today, Pierre's son, Xavier and his daughter Laurence manage the property, marking 4 generations of family involvement.

An 18th Century residence, Château Renard was purchased in 1978 by Xavier. It is located in The Rivère within the Fronsac appellation in Bordeaux and surrounded by 12 hectares of vines planted on hillsides, ensuring fully ripened grapes.

The wine below is the first wine of Château Renard and has been regularly produced since 1990. It comes from the best plots and is a selection of rich, concentrated grapes, harvested with great care.

It will be available in VINTAGES on October 17th.

Château Renard Mondesir 2009 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU RENARD MONDESIR 2009 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#420299) (XD) - $26.95
Blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Blackberry, dark fruits and a whiff of dried fruit aromas from the cork. Dark garnet coloured with a tinge of brown forming along the rim. Savoury medium intensity nose with earthy, cherry, dried herbs and hints of tobacco in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, spiced tobacco, black cherry, sage, and leathery notes. Has very good acidity. Finishes long and a touch warm with dark currant, earthy and mineral after taste. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts


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