Showing posts with label burgundy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label burgundy. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2018

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  • Monday, November 26, 2018

Closerie des Alisiers Petit Chablis 2016 (Burgundy) - Wine Review



lovely little white wine is a Petit Chablis that arrived as a new release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Stéphane Brocard, the son of a Chablis winemaker. He settled in Marsannay in 2007 and founded Closerie des Alisiers to craft wines of purity, fruit, and freshness, while respecting the land and environment, and highlighting the terroir for each wine.

In addition to work in his own vines, he has worked with some selected winegrowers throughout Burgundy over many years, carefully selecting small parcels of grapes. He has worked with many of these growers to establish organic farming practices. The grapes for this particular wine were hand-harvested at peak maturity and direct pressed, followed by fermenting and ageing exclusively in stainless steel tanks.

Closerie des Alisiers Petit Chablis 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS PETIT CHABLIS 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557769) (XD) - $25.95
Fermented and aged completely in tank, this unoaked Chardonnay has a fresh and fragrant nose with lemon and citrus with hints of white peach and leesy notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with more lemon, citrus, ripe apple, and white peach flavours with a fine mineral underpinning. Some grapefruit and floral notes arrive with air, adding complexity. Nicely balanced with clean, crisp, and bright acids providing freshness. Fine mineral and apple notes linger on the long aftertaste. Score: 89 pts


Thursday, September 13, 2018

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  • Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pure Chablis Escape Room Experience - May 2018

Pure Chablis Wine Lineup

Earlier this , I was invited to a very interesting Escape Room Experience that was all about Chablis. The event was held on a fine spring day at Brassaii Restaurant and Lounge in the King West neighbourhood in downtown Toronto, and our team consisted of approximately a dozen members from the local wine community.

After a brief introduction and going over the rules of the game, we were led inside the wine-themed Escape Room. Inside sat a large table with various wine paraphernalia, books, jigsaw puzzles, and other items resting upon it. There were also clues on the walls and around the rest of room to help us in our quest. The end goal was to unlock the combination lock on the bottle of Chablis and reveal the message inside to escape the room. The clock started and we had about 1 hour to solve the puzzle. Solving one clue took us to the next stage of the game, and the previous clue often helped in solving the next puzzle. We did ask for assistance on a couple of occasions - which we were allowed to do as per the rules. A combination of wine knowledge and excellent team work prevailed, as we were able to solve the puzzle with about 15 minutes to spare.

Pure Chablis Escape Room ExperiencePure Chablis Escape Room Experience

Pure Chablis Escape Room Experience

At the conclusion of the game, we "Escaped" to the main dining hall and got to the business of tasting some very fine Chablis, beginning with the 2015 Bouchard Pere & Fils Petit Chablis ($24.95, #051466, 88 pts) as an apertif. We sat down at the long dining table and were led through the tasting by Christian Moreau from Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils, one of oldest and most respected names in Chablis.

Christian actually lived in Canada for 11 years, before returning to Chablis with his Canadian wife and their three sons in 1972. Under the guiding hand of his father Guy, Christian began to learn and master the art of winemaking, and we got to taste an excellent Grand Cru Chablis that bore his name.

After we tasted all the wines, we were offered a lovely spread of appetizers that paired very nicely with Chablis. My favourite was the jumbo garlic shrimp - so yummy that I can't recall how many I had and almost felt like I could skip dinner at home.

In all, we tasted seven wines, and wine reviews of my four favourites are provided below. Thank you to everyone involved with putting on such a fun event with some lovely wines! Santé!

Pure Chablis Wine Tasting

Pure Chablis Wine Tasting

Pure Chablis Wine Tasting

Tasting Notes:

LA CHABLISIENNE CHABLIS LES VÉNÉRABLES 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#215525) (XD) - $26.95
Pleasant medium-high intensity nose leads with limestone mineral aromas followed by clean lemon/lime, citrus zest, and herbally notes. It's medium-to-full bodied on the palate with brightly lit acids and very nice aroma replays. There is some creaminess mid-palate, but is balanced with clean acids. Nicely balanced overall with a long, elegant finish. Classy and refined. Agent: Vinexx. Score: 90 pts

La Chablisienne Chablis Les Vénérables 2014 (90 pts)Domaine de la Motte Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 2015 (91 pts)

DOMAINE DE LA MOTTE CHABLIS 1ER CRU BEAUROY 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524306) (XD) - $42.95
Highly aromatic and richly concentrated aromas of lemon, lime, herbs, and stony mineral. Acids are lively on the full-bodied palate with very nice aroma replays. Mineral character comes for the fore on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish, with excellent length. Will be even better in 2-3 years. Agent: The World Winery. Score: 91 pts

DOMAINE PINSON CHABLIS 1ER CRU MONT DE MILIEU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#700914) (XD) - $52.95
This is a rich and highly aromatic wine with elegant, refined and rope aromas of lemony, stony mineral, lemon oil and citrus. It is full-bodied with bright acids. The palate is a touch on the nutty side, with delicate use of oak. Terrific complexity with flavours of lemon oil and hazelnut that continue through to the very long finish. Should drink well for nearly a decade. Agent: Connexion Oenophilia. Score: 93 pts

Domaine Pinson Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu 2015 (93 pts)Domaine Christian Moreau Pere & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2015 (92 pts)

DOMAINE CHRISTIAN MOREAU PERE & FILS CHABLIS GRAND CRU LES CLOS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#042366) (XD) - $82
Highly aromatic on the nose with all kinds of nutty, hazelnut aromas with lemon oil and herbs adding complexity. It's full-bodied on the palate with lovely aroma replays lifted with bright and lively acids. Subtle use of oak is well-balanced. The nutty mid-palate continues through to the long finish with some herbally hints. Agent: Rogers & Company. Score: 92 pts


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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  • Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Henri de Villamont Wine Tasting 2018

Henri de Villamont Wine Tasting 2018

In , I had the pleasure to taste the latest wines from Burgundy's Henri de Villamont with Pierre Jhean, Winemaker and Director at the winery. Having met Pierre and enjoyed the wines from Henri de Villamont in , I was excited to see what he had to offer this time around.

Pierre Jhean, Henri de Villamont
Pierre is always experimenting and trying new strategies and techniques to produce fine wines. One of the most interesting things I learned was that the Macon-Villages was aged with oxygen only and had no barrel contact. Combined with long lees contact, this Burgundian white wine seemed like it saw some time in barrel.

This small, exclusive tasting was held at The National Club, in the Financial District in downtown Toronto and approximately ten people were in attendance. Ten wines were presented at the tasting, and the five below were among my favourites.

For availability of these delicious wines, please click on the six-digit LCBO product code, as some of these may be available at the LCBO or might be arriving soon. Alternatively, you can also contact the Agent Eurovintage Fine Wines & Spirits for availability.

Tasting Notes:

HENRI DE VILLAMONT MACON-VILLAGES 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $21.95
Unique process with long lees contact, oxygen ageing, and no barrel ageing. Fragrant and ripe with nutty, pear, apple, and white flower aromas. The palate is medium+ bodied with nicely balanced aroma replays with some creamy texture. Acids are fresh. Mid-palate just a touch warm. A touch reductive with hints of mineral, while the finish is long and nutty. Score: 89 pts

Henri de Villamont Macon-Villages 2015 (89 pts)Henri de Villamont Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Embazees 2013 (92 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU LES EMBAZEES 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524041) (XD) - $89
Beautiful, gorgeous aromas of sweet nut, lemon citrus and oak emanates from the glass in a nicely integrated fashion. The medium-full bodied is structured with chalky mineral notes, very nice aroma replays. Acids are clean and very nicely balanced. Mouthfeel has finesse. The very long finish is juicy with some nut and earthy notes. Beauty! Score: 92 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT SANTENAY LES CHAMPS-CLAUDE 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $21.95
The medium+ intensity nose is oak spice driven with red cherry, wild berry, and strawberry tones, and hints of earth. The palate is medium-full bodied and ripe with nice aroma replays, if a touch candied. Acids are very good, while the tannins are supple and smooth. Complex, dark berry finish with very good length. Still young, this will drink well to 2025. Score: 89 pts

Henri de Villamont Santenay Les Champs-Claude 2015 (89 pts)Henri de Villamont Savigny-Les-Beaune Le Village 2015 (91 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE LE VILLAGE 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $35
This has a medium-to-high intensity nose that's very savoury with mushroom, forest floor, wet earth, dark berry, and currant aromas. It's medium-bodied with dark berry and well-integrated oak flavours on the palate with refined tannins that gain some grip with time, as well as some chalkiness mid-palate. It has balanced acidity and very good finish length. Score: 91 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CORTON GRAND CRU LES RENARDES 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#561225) (XD) - $104.95
Open and highly aromatic, this offers sweet oak spice surrounded by ripe and perfumed black cherry aromas. The medium-full bodied palate is structured with smooth, refined tannins that have some grip. Very fine aroma replays with sweet herbs, and hints of mineral, cassis, and blackberry joining the fray. Fresh acids lift the palate. Excellent finish length. Elegance in a glass. Score: 93 pts

Henri de Villamont Corton Grand Cru Les Renardes 2015 (93 pts)


Monday, November 6, 2017

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  • Monday, November 6, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES November 11, 2017: France + After-Dinner Drinks

LCBO Wine Picks: November 11, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The next release in LCBO VINTAGES on is features wines from France as its main theme, while the mini-theme focuses on after-dinner drinks. It's a big release, with many top wines to add to your cellar. These new wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario starting this .

We'll begin with the main theme that lists twelve wines, nine of which are included among my top wine picks. Both Champagnes are of the Rose type, with the Deutz made with 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, while the Veuve Clicquot is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 7% Pinot Meunier. In white wines, there is the Picard Premier Cru Chablis and Servin Grand Cru Chablis, both of which are Chardonnay with little oak influence. From Sancerre, there is a Sauvignon Blanc made from vines that are at least 50 years old. The final white is a dry Riesling from Alsace. Among French reds, the 2006 Madiran is made with Tannat, while the 2001 Burgundy is made with Pinot Noir. Lastly, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre.

Red wines from the rest of the release include the Fontaine du Clos, which is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. From Spain, the Murrieta is a blend of 83% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo, and 3% Garnacha, while the Remelluri is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Viura and Malvasia. From Italy, the "baby" Ornellaia is a big wine that consists of 64% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Petit Verdot. Lastly, the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon also contains 9% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 2% Merlot.

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2015 (92 pts)Cliff Lede Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (92 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, the Hugel Gentil is a dry blend made with 50% Sylvaner & Pinot Blanc, 22% Pinot Gris, 15% Gewürztraminer, 7% Riesling, and 6% Muscat. For sweet wine lovers, look for the Riesling from Ontario or British Columbia, or the Gewürztraminer from Alsace.

From the drinks to enjoy after-dinner section, there are two lovely Port wines, as well as the Botrytis-affected Semillon from Australia that always makes an appearance around this time of year.

Enjoy my top wine picks from the release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND SAINT CHINIAN SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2014 - AP, Midi, France (#370247) (D) - $16.95
  • DEMORGENZON DMZ SYRAH 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#404202) (D) - $16.95
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2013 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (XD) - $17.95
  • FONTAINE DU CLOS CONFIDENCES 2014 - AP Côtes du Rhône, France (#498451) (XD) - $17.95
  • FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ 2015 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (#265967) (XD) - $19.95

  • CASAS DEL BOSQUE GRAN RESERVA PINOT NOIR 2014 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#525022) (D) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • MARQUÉS DE MURRIETA FINCA YGAY RESERVA 2013 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#209148) (XD) - $30.95
  • CHÂTEAU BOUSCASSÉ VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN 2006 - AP, Southwest, France (#132415) (D) - $38.95
  • TRAPICHE TERROIR SERIES FINCA AMBROSÍA SINGLE VINEYARD MALBEC 2012 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#402941) (XD) - $39.95  reviewed here
  • REMELLURI RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#480160) (XD) - $39.95
  • PIETRANERA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#189761) (XD) - $44.95
Trapiche Terroir Series Finca Ambrosía Single Vineyard Malbec 2012 (91 pts)Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2014 (89 pts)

  • DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AP, Rhône, France (#062711) (D) - $44.95
  • BORGOGNO BAROLO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#283499) (XD) - $45.95
  • LE SERRE NUOVE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2015 - DOC Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy (#606194) (D) - $64.95  reviewed here
  • CONCHA Y TORO DON MELCHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Puente Alto, Chile (#403980) (D) - $89.95
  • MAISON ROCHE DE BELLENE COLLECTION BELLENUM PETITE CHAPELLE GEVREY CHAMBERTIN 1ER CRU 2001 - AC, Burgundy, France (#514257) (XD) - $106.95
  • CLIFF LEDE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, USA (#014217) (XD) - $122.95  reviewed here

White Wine:

  • HUGEL GENTIL 2015 - AC Alsace, France (#367284) (XD) - $17.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $18.95
  • DIRTY LAUNDRY RIESLING 2014 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#514976) (M) - $19.95
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2016 - IGT Vignetti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMANE WACHAU TERRASSEN FEDERSPIEL GRÜNER VELTLINER 2015 - DAC Wachau, Austria (#031534) (XD) - $19.95
  • FLAT ROCK NADJA’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#578625) (M) - $24.95

  • LA CHABLISIENNE GRANDE CUVÉE CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#685222) (D) - $31.95
  • CAVE DE TURCKHEIM BRAND GRAND CRU RIESLING 2013 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#021303) (XD) - $37.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER VIEILLES VIGNES SANCERRE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#527218) (XD) - $39.95
  • PICARD LE CHARMOIS SAINT AUBIN 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#522078) (XD) - $57.95
  • WEINBACH CUVÉE LAURENCE GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - AC Alsace, France (#581975) (M) - $62.95  FSE
  • DOMAINE SERVIN BOUGROS GRAND CRU CHABLIS 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#145623) (XD) - $69.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • SEGURA VIUDAS HEREDAD RESERVA BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#558825) (D) - $32.95
  • DEUTZ BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#092833) (D) - $80.95
  • VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2008 - With gift box, AC, France (#588475) (XD) - $109.95

Dessert Wine:

  • ROSEWOOD MEAD ROYALE HONEY WINE 2015 - Barrel aged, Canada (#437319) (MS) (500 mL) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • DE BORTOLI NOBLE ONE BOTRYTIS SEMILLON 2014 - Riverina, New South Wales, Australia (#917252) (S) (375 mL) - $29.95
Rosewood Mead Royale Honey Wine 2015 (88 pts)

Fortified:

  • BURMESTER 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#223958) (S) - $28.95
  • FONSECA VINTAGE PORT 2009 - DOP, Portugal (#256875) (S) - $58.95


Friday, September 1, 2017

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  • Friday, September 1, 2017

Henri de Villamont Wine Tasting at Cluny Bistro

Henri de Villamont Fine Wine Tasting
On a fine evening in , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of Domaine Henri de Villamont with Pierre Jhean, Winemaker and Director at the winery. This small, intimate tasting was held in a private backroom at Cluny Bistro, in Distillery District, downtown Toronto with only a few wine writers in attendance. Following the tasting, we enjoyed a lovely meal and had the opportunity to try the wines with some food.

Domain Henri de Villamont is located within the commune of Savigny-lès-Beaune, in Côte de Beaune of Burgundy, in eastern France. It is one of the oldest producers in Savigny, with the domain's buildings built between 1880 and 1888 and still in use today! The winery owns 10 hectares in the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, including several Premier (1er) Cru sites. The wines from these areas are all vinified in their 18th century vaulted cellars.

Pierre Jhean, Winemaker and Director at Henri de Villamont

The wines we tasted on this night are just a fraction of the entire Henri de Villamont portfolio. Overall, I was quite impressed with the wines, including the top shelf Montrachet and Chambolle-Musigny which are both worthy additions to your fine wine cellar. Their wine from Rhône was also quite good and is available in small quantities at the LCBO.

Wine reviews of all of the wines tasted are provided below. Thank you to Eurovintage Fine Wines & Spirits and Pierre for hosting this tasting! If you wish to order any of these wines, please contact Eurovintage as most of these wines are not available at the LCBO.


Tasting Notes:

HENRI DE VILLAMONT BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY PRESTIGE 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#416123) (XD) - $19.95
Medium-high intensity aromas with nice buttery, vanilla, pear and ripe fruited notes that continue on the medium+ bodied palate. Balanced acids are lightly volatile, while the finish length is very good. Contains 55% Meursault fruit. Score: 88+ pts

Henri de Villamont Bourgogne Chardonnay Prestige 2015 (88+ pts)Henri de Villamont Montagny 1er Cru 2014 (91 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT MONTAGNY 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $36.95
Medium-high intensity aromas that are elegant, with very nice nutty, butter, golden apple and pear on the nose. It's light-to-medium weighted with bright, crisp acids and nice stone fruit aroma replays. Nicely balanced overall, with a finish length that is very long with hints of minerality. Coming to VINTAGES October 2017. Score: 91 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT AUXEY-DURESSES LA CANÉE 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#445270) (XD) - $42.95
The fruit for this wine comes 200 metres away from Meursault and offers medium+ intensity aromatics that are mineral-driven, with pear, stone fruit, and nutty nuances. The palate is medium-full bodied with concentrated fruit, pear, mineral, stone and tropical fruit flavours. Fine mineral texture and fresh acids add interest. Finish length is very good, with hints of barrel smoke. Score: 91 pts

Henri de Villamont Auxey-Duresses La Canée 2014 (91 pts)Henri de Villamont Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Les Embazées 2011 (93 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHASSAGNE MONTRACHET 1ER CRU LES EMBAZÉES 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $79.95
Elegant, highly aromatic and complex notes of candied pear, nutty, almonds, stone fruits, along with hints of banana and pineapple. It's medium-full bodied and refined, showing lovely aroma replays and nicely textured. Acids are mouth-watering and well-balanced. Finish is minerally with hints of oak, and the length goes on and on. Coming to VINTAGES October 2017. Score: 93 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR PRESTIGE 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#084616) (XD) - $19.95
This has a perfumed, medium intensity nose of red cherry, earth, beet root, and oak spice. It has mid-level tannins and very good acidity on a medium-bodied frame with nicely balanced aroma replays, plus some exotic spice, currant, and raspberry flavours. Finish length is good to very good. Easy drinking Pinot. Score: 87 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT BOURGOGNE HAUTES CÔTES DE NUITS LES DAMOISEAUX 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $19.95
Medium-high intensity aromas of bing cherry, blackberry, sweet oak spice, and some floral. The palate is medium-bodied with a chalky texture and flavours of red and black fruits and spicy oak lifted by bright acids. Hints of cherry and strawberry on the medium-length finish. Score: 87 pts

HENRI DE VILLAMONT SAVIGNY LES BEAUNE LE VILLAGE 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $44.95
Gorgeous, highly aromatic nose that I could smell all day offers raspberry, floral, exotic spice, black cherry, and some earthy notes. It's medium-bodied on the palate with smooth, lithe tannins, and elegant flavours of cherry, beet root, and hints of tea leaf. Nicely balanced with juicy acids throughout, and a long, satisfying finish. Score: 91 pts

Henri de Villamont Savigny Les Beaune Le Village 2015 (91 pts)Henri de Villamont Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Le Châtelots 2011 (92 pts)

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 1ER CRU LE CHÂTELOTS 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $62.95
Beautiful, highly aromatic nose is the most savoury of the bunch, and quite complex, with meaty notes, plus leather, red & black fruits, blackberry, earth, and sour cherry aromas. Full-bodied on the palate with lovely aroma replays, plus some candied red cherry, mineral, and dark fruited notes. Tannins medium-firm and supported by mouth-watering acids. Finish length is excellent. This is a serious Pinot. Score: 92 pts

CHATEAU D'AIGUEVILLE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#479683) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan, and 10% other grape varietals. Ripe, medium+ intensity aromas of black pepper, blackberry, oak spice, and raspberry. The palate is full-bodied and dry with flavours of violets, blackberry, black pepper, and sweet oak spices. Acids are very good. Ripe tannins have some structure. Finish length is medium-long. Drink to 2023. Score: 88 pts

Chateau d'Aigueville Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2015 (88 pts)


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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  • Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pure Chablis National Final at Bent Restaurant

Pure Chablis National Final
On the evening of , I had the pleasure of attending the Pure Chablis National Final at Bent Restaurant in downtown Toronto. This event pitted three individuals against each other, with the task of trying to best pair Chablis with  special culinary creations prepared by Hong Kong-American celebrity Master Chef Susur Lee.

Each person was given a description of each of the 3 courses ahead of time and had to select a Chablis that they thought would best pair with each course. The winner would be determined by counting the votes of approximately 60 people (including yours truly), who would vote for which wine paired best with each course. I have been to many food & wine pairing events over the years, but this was my first time experiencing something like this - it was very exciting! The prize for the winner was an amazing trip to Chablis!

Competing in the Final were Roger Maniwa of Mak N Ming Restaurant in Vancouver, Nicolas Charron-Boucher of Planvin Wine Agency in Montreal, and Joshua Corea from just down the street at Archive Wine Bar. The speaker of the evening was Louis Moreau, producer of many fine wines from Chablis, but also currently the Vice President of the Chablis Commission of the Bourgogne Wine Board.

Chablis paired with Gravlax & Spicy Salmon Tartare, Avocado, Egg, Lemon Crème Fraîche, Pickled Onion and Capers Our first course consisted of Gravlax & Spicy Salmon Tartare, Avocado, Egg, Lemon Crème Fraîche, Pickled Onion and Capers. This dish was quite spicy and difficult to pair with Chablis. However, it was the 3rd wine (Domaine Servin chosen by Joshua) that paired best due to the high acids and ripe fruited flavours that helped calm the spicy dish. The side of dill was also very interesting to taste with the Chablis. Ironically, the Servin Chablis was my least favourite wine of the three to sip on its own as I felt it was too ripe and needed a year or two for the acids to soften, but, in my opinion (and some others around our table), it was the best pairing with the first course.

The second course was a Korean Crisp Shrimp with Nori, Hong Kong Xo Sauce, and Sweet & Sour Chili Glaze. The dish offered plenty of earthy, mineral, sea flavours, but the sauces kicked up the heat levels significantly. The wines for this pairing were all quite similar and tended to complement the flavours in the dish, but once again it was 3rd wine (Daniel-Étienne Defaix chosen by Joshua) that I thought (and others too) paired the best due to the earthy-mineral qualities in the wine and the dish.

Chablis 1er Cru paired with Korean Crisp Shrimp with Nori, Hong Kong Xo Sauce, and Sweet & Sour Chili Glaze

For the third and final course of competition, we enjoyed a Chicken Pot stuffed with Chestnut, Parsnip, Carrot, Peas, Tarragon and Beurre Blanc. The flavours were earthy for the most part, but the pastry crust was on the sweeter side which lifted the whole dish. The wines for this pairing were all excellent quality (we found out later they were all Grand Cru). Although all three wines paired well with this course, it was the 1st wine (Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin chosen by Roger) that paired the best because of the overall balance that presented itself when pairing the Chicken Pot and wine together.

Chablis Grand Cru paired with Chicken Pot stuffed with Chestnut, Parsnip, Carrot, Peas, Tarragon and Beurre Blanc

Chablis with Cheeses

At the end of the evening, it was revealed that Nicolas Charron-Boucher had the most votes and won the Pure Chablis National Final. I was a bit surprised by this as I did not vote for any of Nicolas' wine choices (although I did see-saw with his choice on the 2nd course) and it just goes to show how food & wine is a very personal experience that varies from person-to-person. Congratulations Nicolas and enjoy your trip to Chablis!

Thank you to everyone that helped put this event together - great job! - and allowing me to be part of this, as well as Bent Restaurant for your accommodation.

If you were at this event, what were your favourite pairings? Leave a comment below and let me know.

From left to right: Roger Maniwa, Nicolas Charron-Boucher and Joshua Corea

Bent Restaurant Chablis Pairing Menu

Tasting Notes:

DOMAINE SERVIN CHABLIS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $28.95
Ripe, medium+ aromatics offering hints of orange, peach, citrus. Nice aroma replays on the bright palate, with high acids needing a couple of years to settle down. Finishes long. Score: 88 pts

DOMAINE DANIEL-ÉTIENNE DEFAIX CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2003 - Côte de Léchet, AC, Burgundy, France (#470435) (XD) - $51.95
Subtle aromatics are initially reductive with waxy hints, along with some vegetal notes, eventually giving way to minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied with nice texture and rounded acids that still provide freshness. Nice lemon/lime, earthy and limestone mineral flavours come through on the palate. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

Domaine Daniel-Étienne Defaix Côte de Léchet Chablis 1er Cru 2003 (91 pts)

DOMAINE JEAN-PAUL ET BENOIT DROIN CHABLIS GRAND CRU 2015 - Valmur, AC, Burgundy, France (XD) - $82.25
This has medium-high intensity aromas that are elegant and complex with high-toned lemon, stone fruit, peach, and pear along with some herbal, earthy, and mineral nuances. It is medium-full bodied on the rich palate offering elegance with balanced acids and very nice aroma replays, plus some butter and vanilla notes from the oak. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 91 pts

Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin Valmur Chablis Grand Cru 2015 (91 pts)


Monday, January 30, 2017

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  • Monday, January 30, 2017

VINTAGES Release February 4: Back Roads of Europe + South Africa + Valentine's

LCBO Wine Picks from February 4, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on focuses on wines from Europe's Back Roads in its main theme, while the mini-themes highlight wines from South Africa and wines for celebrations. All of these wines will be on shelves across Ontario this coming .

From the European Back Roads theme - which is meant to showcase lesser-known wines from Portugal, Spain, France and Italy - 4 of the 16 wines are included among my wine picks. From Burgundy, there is a Chardonnay from the tiny village of Chitry-le-Fort. Also from France, from the small appellation of Bourgueil in Loire, there is a nice Cabernet Franc. The other 2 wines are both from Italy, with the Monferrato a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Syrah, and the white wine from Campania is 100% Greco.

The mini-theme on fine wines from South Africa features 7 wines, 2 of which are included in my wine recommendations. The first wine is an organic and biodynamic white wine made with the help of ducks, and is a blend consisting primarily of South Africa's signature white grape - Chenin Blanc. The other wine from South Africa is the Rustenberg - a red wine blend made with 50% Shiraz, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Chateau Saint-Roch is a blend of nearly equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Carignan and saw no oak. From Greece, the Domain Mega Spileo Red is a lovely red blend (60% Mavrodaphne and 40% Mavro Kalavritino) from 2 indigenous Greek varietals. The Beaujolais is 100% Gamay, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 68% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, and 4% Cinsault. Both Cali Cabs are, in fact, blends, with the Mt. Brave consisting of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6.5% Malbec, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, while the Mount Veeder Cab consists of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Syrah. And last but not least, the Masi Amarone is a traditional blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta, and Molinara grape varietals.

Domain Mega Spileo Red 2010 (90 pts)Masi Costasera Riserva Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 (91 pts)

In white wines, the Domaine FL is made with Chenin Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to pick up the Riesling Spätlese from Germany.

Enjoy my wine picks from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CHATEAU SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2014 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#195107) (D) - $15.95
  • DOMAINE LES PINS CUVÉE LES ROCHETTES BOURGUEIL 2014 - AC, Loire, France (#478263) (XD) - $17.95
  • PRUNOTTO MOMPERTONE MONFERRATO ROSSO 2014 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#388587) (XD) - $18.95
  • RUSTENBERG RM NICHOLSON 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#278390) (XD) - $19.95
  • TECTONIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#480822) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DU CHATELARD CUVÉE LES VIEUX GRANITS FLEURIE 2013 - AP, Beaujolais, France (#207886) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAIN MEGA SPILEO RED 2010 - Peloponnese, Greece (#466110) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • MOUNT VEEDER WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#708842) (XD) - $49.95
  • ANDREA OBERTO BAROLO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#477174) (XD) - $54.95  FSE
  • CLOS DES BRUSQUIÈRES CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#416289) (D) - $55.95
  • MASI COSTASERA RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2011 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#324137) (D) - $69.95  reviewed here
  • MT. BRAVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California (#329433) (D) - $110.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • PONTE PELLEGRINO GRECO DI TUFO 2015 - IGT Campania, Italy (#477760) (XD) - $13.95
  • MATETIC CORRALILLO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - San Antonio Valley, Chile (#347740) (XD) - $15.95
  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE 2015 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#439554) (D) - $15.95
  • SIMONNET-FEBVRE BOURGOGNE CHITRY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#479667) (XD) - $19.95
  • LA CHABLISIENNE GRANDE CUVÉE CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#685222) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE FL SAVENNIÈRES-CHENIN 2012 - AC, Loire, France (#470971) (XD) - $33.95  FSE
  • MAXIMIN GRÜNHÄUSER ABTSBERG RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#481374) (S) - $39.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • NICOLAS FEUILLATTE CHARDONNAY BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, France (#009761) (D) - $59.95

Fortifieds:

  • WARRE’S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2001 - Bottled 2003, DOC, Portugal (#189605) (S) - $49.95

Dessert Wine:

  • DISZNÓKÖ LATE HARVEST TOKAJI FURMINT 2012 - Hungary (#185074) (S) (500 mL) - $23.95


Monday, August 29, 2016

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  • Monday, August 29, 2016

VINTAGES Release September 3: Chile + Burgundy

LCBO Wine Picks from September 3, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The wines from the LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming and features wines from Chile as its main theme, while the secondary theme is Burgundy. Interestingly, there's no Local Talent feature; instead, there are 4 fine Scottish single malt whisky's from Glenfarclas to commemorate the 150th anniversary of a storied Canadian regiment.

We'll begin with the feature on Chile that focuses on the country's three distinct winemaking zones - Costa (the coast), Entre Cordilleras (area between coast and mountains) and the Andes. In all, there are 14 wines featured and 4 are included among my wine picks. From Costa is a Sauvignon Blanc, while the Entre Cordilleras gives us the De Martino Cabernet Sauvignon and the Junta Syrah/Carménère (65/35 blend). From the Andes is a perennial favourite of mine - the Concha y Toro terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a single block from the Pirque Vineyard, a vineyard located along the Maipo River, near the foothills of the Andes.

Eight wines make up the Burgundy theme and two are included in my wine recommendations. Both the Montagny and the 1er Cru Chablis are unoaked Chardonnays that showcase fruit and terroir. The Bourgogne Chardonnay is found near the back of the magazine as a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) and is also an unoaked Chardonnay.

Domaine Hamelin Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (91 pts)

From the rest of the release in red wines, the Rompesedas is a mature wine made with Tinta de Toro (a.k.a. Tempranillo), while the Orben is also a Tempranillo from Rioja. Many of my red wine picks are single varietals, but the Gigondas is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre.

Lavau Gigondas 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (90+ pts)

In white wines, there are quite a few options if you enjoy sweeter wines. At the dry-er end (i.e. less sweet) is the Gewürztraminer, followed by the semi-sweet Pinot Gris. Going up the sweet scale a few more notches are a pair of Spätlese (i.e late harvest) wines made using Riesling and a local German varietal called Siegerrebe.

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • WITS END LUNA SHIRAZ 2014 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#311258) (XD) - $17.00
  • JUNTA MOMENTOS RESERVE SYRAH/CARMÉNÈRE 2014 - Curicó Valley, Chile (#464396) (XD) - $16.95
  • DE MARTINO LEGADO RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#205674) (XD) - $18.95
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#085209) (D) - $19.95
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2013 - La Consulta and Vista Flores Vineyards, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (D) - $19.95
  • ROMPESEDAS 2006 - DO Toro, Spain (#425868) (D) - $19.95
  • LA CREMA PINOT NOIR 2014 - Monterey County, California, USA (#367896) (XD) - $26.95  reviewed here
  • LAVAU GIGONDAS 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#234955) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Las Terrazas Block, Pirque Vineyard, Pirque, Maipo Valley, Chile (#562918) (XD) - $29.95
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2013 - Southern Valleys, South Island, New Zealand (#361246) (XD) - $31.95
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY PETITE SIRAH 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#590356) (D) - $39.95
  • ORBEN 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#191379) (XD) - $39.95
La Crema Pinot Noir 2014 - Monterey County, California, USA (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • ORO DE CASTILLA VERDEJO 2015 - DO Rueda, Spain (#745562) (XD) - $15.95
  • ANSELMANN EDESHEIMER ROSENGARTEN SIEGERREBE SPÄTLESE 2014 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#910554) (S) - $16.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#302059) (D) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • VIGNERONS DE BUXY BUISSONNIER MONTAGNY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#382879) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#462614) (XD) - $19.95
  • WEINGUT VOLLENWEIDER WOLFER GOLDGRUBE GOLDKAPSEL RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2009 - Mosel, Germany (#464727) (S) (375 mL) - $27.95  FSE
  • JOSEPH CATTIN HATSCHBOURG TRÉSOR DES SEIGNEURS PINOT GRIS 2013 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#260240) (M) - $27.95
  • OLIVIER LEFLAIVE BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#942482) (XD) - $29.95  FSE
  • DOMAINE HAMELIN BEAUROY CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#391805) (XD) - $32.95  reviewed here
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $99.95

Rosé Wine:

  • MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2015 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#452573) (XD) - $18.95

Fortifieds:

  • TORRES FLORALIS MOSCATEL ORO - Spain (#642173) (S) (500 mL) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • BURMESTER 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#223958) (S) - $28.95


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