Showing posts with label cabernet-merlot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cabernet-merlot. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rupert & Rothschild Classique 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Bordeaux blend from South Africa that is arriving at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Established in 1997, the partnership of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons was founded under the leadership of Dr. Anton Rupert and Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Both men later relinquished the reigns to their respective sons- Anthonij Rupert and Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. After Anthonij passed away in 2001,  his older brother Johann Rupert and sister Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg assumed his position.

The late Dr. Anton Rupert was an internationally respected industrialist who established a global business empire. He was held in high regard as a committed conservationist, and together with his art-devoted wife, Huberte, played an immense role in the preservation of art. The Rupert family has a passion for producing world-class wines and own three other wine estates in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, located just east of Stellenbosch in South Africa's Western Cape.

One of the most well-known names in wine, the Rothschild family’s passion for wine began when James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite in 1868. His great-grandson, Baron Edmond de Rothschild embraced his vision and expanded their wine portfolio by acquiring two estates in Listrac and Moulis-en-Médoc in 1973. Eventually, this became Edmond de Rothschild Heritage and today it is run by his son and his wife, Baron Benjamin and Baroness Ariane de Rothschild. Over time, Edmond de Rothschild Heritage continued to grow and now includes vineyards in France, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

At Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, meticulous attention is given to the vineyard and cellar practices in order to produce the finest quality wines. The pay special attention preserve the grapes in their optimal state prior to initiating the winemaking process as it is an important aspect in producing exceptional wine. Bunches are carefully hand-harvested and intervention during the winemaking process is kept to a minimum. Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons produces only three wines - a Chardonnay, a flagship Bordeaux blend, this Classique Bordeaux blend which is one of the most sought after South African red wines in its category. Let's see how this red wine is tasting tonight...

Rupert & Rothschild Classique 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

RUPERT & ROTHSCHILD CLASSIQUE 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#717991) (XD) - $24.95
This blend of 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc was hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks with extended skin contact, followed by ageing in small French oak barrels for 16 months. The medium+ intensity nose is complex with enticing herbally notes mingling with dark fruited, dark berry, blackberry, currant, black plum aromas followed by savoury, earthy and wood spice notes. The palate is medium bodied with juicy acids and tight, textured tannins. It has nice herbally, dark berry, and oak spice flavours with some warmth on the mid-palate. Finishes with very good length and more herbally, wood spice, and some bitter chocolate notes. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts

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  • Friday, September 6, 2019

Red Tractor Wines (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Red Tractor Wines
wine reviews are a pair of new wines that were recently launched at Creekside last month.

Established in 2011 by Creekside Estate Winery, Red Tractor Wines are new world wines that celebrate the past, present, and future of farming in Ontario. At Creekside, they have an old Massey Harris tractor that serves as a symbol of the hard work that is required to farm the vineyards. Red Tractor Wines were created to honour this hard work and salute their family of growers.

The grapes for Red Tractor Wines are sourced from family farms across the Niagara Peninsula. Paying homage to the vineyards and growers such as the Serluca and Smith families, Red Tractor Wines is proud to work alongside these 2nd generation farmers as they push the boundaries on innovation and lead with sustainable farming practices.

Yvonne Irvine steers the Red Tractor team and crafted these wines to best express their sense of place while honouring old-world winemaking techniques. She has over 12 years of viticultural and winemaking experience and works closely with their family of growers, embracing the honest, hard work required to grow and harvest quality fruit.

Both of these wines are available for purchase now at Creekside Estate Winery, Furthermore, the Cabernet Merlot will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Tasting Notes:

RED TRACTOR CABERNET MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#011851) (XD) - $17.95
Composed of 45% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and other varietals. Screw cap. Vegan-friendly. This bottle shows an herbally, medium+ intensity nose off the top followed by black currant, blackberry, cassis, wood spice and earthy tones. The soft, medium-bodied palate has smooth, rounded tannins and juicy acidity. It has dark fruited, herbal, and oak spice flavours. Earthy and green herb notes linger on the finish, with good length. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES on September 14th and enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88 pts

Red Tractor Cabernet Merlot 2017 (88 pts)Red Tractor Cabernet Franc 2017 (89 pts)

RED TRACTOR CABERNET FRANC 2017 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (D) - $25
Sourced entirely from the Serluca Family vineyard near the little village of Virgil. Screw cap. Ripe, medium+ intensity nose offers red and black berry fruit with some dusty earth, bay leaf, herbs, and oak spice aromas. The medium-bodied palate is ripe with more red and black fruit flavours mingling with minty herb, barnyard, sweet tobacco, and spice flavours. It has juicy, balanced acidity and supple, dusty textured tannins that become quite grippy on the mid-palate. Long finishing with wood spice, dark berry, and earthy notes. Vegan-friendly. Best enjoyed from 2020 to 2024. Tasted . Score: 89 pts

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  • Saturday, April 13, 2019

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed 2014 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot back in , and I am opening the 2nd bottle that I have in my possession.

This red wine blend is produced by Southbrook Vineyards with grapes coming from the Saunders Vineyard in Niagara. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and ageing occurred in neutral oak barrels. This certified organic wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Although a newer vintage of this wine isn't available, an equivalent in Southbrook's current portfolio would be the 2017 Triomphe Merlot that is available at the winery and through their online web store.

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET MERLOT 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95 Sold Out
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. A blend of 69% Cabernet Franc and 31% Merlot from a cooler vintage that began with the infamous Polar Vortex. Generous aromas are mature with savoury, earthy, and forest floor notes, plus some dried cherry, floral, and herbal spice hints. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with refined tannins that offer a nice chalky texture. More savouriness on the flavour profile with dried cherry, spice, and herbs. Juicy mid-palate with acids a touch sour. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoy over the next 12 months. Score: 88+ pts

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  • Saturday, September 1, 2018

McMichael Collection Group of Seven Cabernet Merlot 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

is celebrated every , so I'm a couple of days late in celebrating with wine review of a locally-made Cabernet-Merlot blend from Niagara that honours our Canadian Artists.

Produced by Niagara's Lakeview Wine Co. (a division of Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd.), the McMichael Collection of wines were created in celebration of McMichael Art Collection's 50th anniversary.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is located in Kleinburg, just north of Toronto and is renowned for its collection of stunning Canadian art, including works by the Group of Seven. This line of Niagara wines were created to pay tribute to the artists that were part of this group. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle helps support the preservation of the art collection.

This red wine is available for purchase at the winery and at your local LCBO. Additionally, it is currently on promotion at the LCBO until , where you will receive 7 bonus Air Miles with every bottle purchased.

McMichael Collection Group of Seven Cabernet Merlot 2015 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

MCMICHAEL COLLECTION GROUP OF SEVEN CABERNET MERLOT 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#456590) (XD) - $14.95
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Merlot that was aged in French and American oak barrels for 10 months. Screw cap. It's light on the aromatics, featuring hints of red berry, earth, oak vanillan, and herbs. It's medium-bodied and more savoury on the palate, with hints of black cherry, herbs, and oak flavours. Dusty tannins are well-integrated, with some grip mid-palate. Balanced acids keep everything nice and fresh. Good length on the finish. Simple, easy drinking. Score: 86 pts

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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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  • Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cattail Creek Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is something I purchased at the winery when I visited Niagara during the Icewine Festival in .

The 2012 vintage in Niagara was an excellent vintage due to the long, hot summer that's a pre-requisite for Bordeaux-style reds to flourish in this region. Looking back at my tasting note, I gave this red wine a score of 89 pts and noted that it would develop well in bottle for another 2 years. At more than 4 years now, let's see how this wine is tasting...

Cattail Creek Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATTAIL CREEK ESTATE SERIES CABERNET MERLOT 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $17.95
Aged in French oak barrels for 1 year. Blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Screw cap. This has a medium-high intensity nose that leads with earth and dried cherry/floral notes, followed by some dark currant, blackberry, oak and a whiff of olive. Tannins are nicely resolving into the medium-full bodied palate, with some grippiness arriving with time. Savoury earthy, dark cherry, blackberry flavours, while the acids are still quite lively. Some dried cherry/red floral notes arrive mid-palate and continue through to the long, earth-driven finish. Should continue to drink well for at least another 2-3 years. Delicious! 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 Buy now and save $2 off the regular price until February 25th.

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  • Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ferox Wines Tasting

Ferox Wines Tasting
One evening in , I had the pleasure of tasting through the inaugural vintage of wines from a new virtual winery in Niagara - Ferox Wines.

Based out of Reif Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this virtual winery is owned by Fabian Reis, the man behind Ferox. He was born into a traditional vintner family in Germany that has winemaking roots dating back to 1893 and is now a sixth generation winemaker. His grandfather is Herbert Konzelmann, founder of Konzelmann Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Fabian moved to Niagara in 1995, but returned to Germany for five years beginning in 2006 to study at one of Germany's prestigious winemaking schools, as well as work alongside some of Europe's best wineries. After returning to Niagara, Fabian decided to leave the shadows of his long established family and set a new course with his Sommelier wife Stephanie.

After meeting Fabian for the first time, I can tell you that he is passionate about winemaking and wants to produce high-quality wines in Niagara. Fabian and Stephanie are both very much hands-on with this project, from hand-harvesting the grapes to applying the wax seal (by hand) to each and every bottle. For a first vintage, the wine quality is quite good, but they do come in at super premium price points. This is a winery to keep an eye out for as I do believe that future vintages will be even better. The Merlot Cab is sold out, but you can still purchase the Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc by contacting the winery directly.

Thank you to André Proulx for arranging and inviting me to the tasting. It was also a pleasure to meet Fabian and Stephanie Reis!

Tasting Notes:

FOREX WINES RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $38
From 25 year-old vines in St. David's Bench, this has medium+ intensity honeyed aromas that are sweet with lime, ginger, acacia flower, citrus, and a whiff of orange. Acids are delicate on the medium+ bodied palate, with some structure. Citrus, lemon/lime flavours are a touch musky on the mid-palate. Off-dry in style with stony mineral and beeswax notes lingering on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts

Forex Wines Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)

FOREX WINES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $46
The medium intensity nose is a bit sulphury, but eventually gives way to ripe melon, tropical fruit and lemon peel aromas. The palate is medium-bodied and a touch creamy with fresh, vibrant acids that are well-balanced and offers ripe fruited white grapefruit and melon flavours. It's a touch hot mid-palate and finishes long and juicy. Score: 88 pts

Forex Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

FOREX WINES MERLOT CABERNET 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $55 Sold Out
A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of cocoa, blackberry, chocolate, and ripe dark currant and cassis. It's medium-bodied with fresh and bright acids supported by soft, supple tannins that offer some structure. The fruit is crunchy with nice aroma replays and subtle oak flavours that are nicely integrated. Finishes with good length and touches of wet earth. A bit of both Old and New World to enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Only 3 barrels/900 bottles produced. Score: 89 pts

Forex Wines Merlot Cabernet 2015 (89 pts)

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  • Friday, June 9, 2017

Niagara Icewine Festival Review 2017 - Day 1 of 2

Butter Chicken and Naan with 2012 Fielding Riesling Icewine
On , I visited Niagara Wine Country to experience the annual Niagara Icewine Festival to taste some fine Icewine paired with culinary creations. This was the first of two straight Saturday's in Niagara - review from activities will be posted soon are posted here.

The first stop of the day was at Fielding Estate Winery for a pairing of their 2012 Fielding Riesling Icewine (89 pts) with a savoury Butter Chicken and Naan prepared by The Smokin' Buddha. The butter chicken was flavourful and had a fairly thick gravy that seemed a bit heavy on the oregano. It was also mildly spiced, complementing the sweet flavours from the Icewine. Furthermore, the acids in the Icewine cut into some of the rich, creamy gravy from the Butter Chicken that helped lighten the pairing overall. Very good portion size as well. This was a tasty experience with a lot of different flavours battling for your attention.

On the downside, it was unfortunate that the Fielding Riesling Icewine was not available for purchase, as some folks in my group wanted to take home a bottle or two. Moreover, it was somewhat odd that not even one Icewine was available for purchase in the boutique. I suspect that the wine was nearly sold out and they used whatever remaining stock they had just for the festival, while newer vintages of this Icewine were not ready yet due to the harsh winter of 2013-2014 (remember the "Polar Vortex"?) that led to severe crop damage and limited Icewine production capabilities across the region. On the bright side, I have been advised that a newer Riesling Icewine from Fielding is coming in the near future and should be on shelves soon.

2012 Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Savant Icewine with White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake on a Dark Chocolate Crust

The rest of our Icewine Tour was in Niagara-on-the-Lake, with the next stop being at Niagara College Teaching Winery for a delicious, mouth-watering White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake on a Dark Chocolate Crust that was quite small in stature but packed plenty of flavour, and was paired with their 2012 Dean's List Savant Icewine. This was a very nice pairing xxxxxas the red berry flavours from each item played well together, while the fresh acids in the wine complemented the creaminess in the cheesecake. Overall, this was a sweet, balanced, and harmonious pairing that was well executed.

Our third stop of the afternoon was at The Hare Wine Co., a new winery that just opened it's doors in November. For their first appearance at the Niagara Icewine Festival, they offered a delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding prepared by Ello Gov'na that was paired with their 2014 Frontier Vidal Icewine. Portions (especially the Icewine) were once again small, however, the gooey toffee cake that was smothered in a treacle sauce and topped with Icewine Chantilly was lusciously sweet and delicious, while pairing beautifully together. The toffee cake sauce really brought out the butterscotch notes in the Icewine. Lovely pairing!

The Hare Wine Co.Sticky Toffee Pudding with 2014 The Hare Wine Co. Frontier Vidal Icewine

Hinterbrook Estate Winery was the fourth stop of the day. The pairing here was a Baked Square Crust filled with fresh Pineapple Jam Fruits and topped with Pine Nuts, paired with their 2014 Vidal Icewine. Lots going in the baked square - sweet, savoury, fruity, and nutty - which led to many different flavours brought out of the Icewine, especially enhanced pineapple notes. Once again, a nicely thought out pairing that worked well together.

Baked Square Crust filled with fresh Pineapple Jam Fruits and topped with Pine Nuts, paired with 2014 Nomad Vidal IcewineLobster Bisque paired with 2010 Konzelmann Estate Vidal Icewine

The final stop of the day was at Konzelmann Estate Winery, Niagara's only lakefront winery, for a Lobster Bisque with a hint of spice prepared by Tide & Vine and paired with their 2010 Vidal Icewine. I recall having this combo in the past at Konzelmann and enjoyed it very much, fully expecting that I would enjoy it this time around as well! The bisque was rich and creamy with small chunks of lobster and had a hint spice that paired beautifully with the Vidal Icewine. There was just enough acids in the Icewine that helped balance the creamy bisque, while the subtle spicy notes were subdued because of the sweet flavours in the wine. Following the food & Icewine pairing, we took a private tour of the winery which included a visit to the vineyard, a tour of the facilities, and finished up in an underground tasting room where we had the opportunity to taste some of their very fine Reserve wines.

Konzelmann Estate Winery VineyardsKonzelmann Estate Winery Production Facility

Konzelmann Estate Winery Stainless Steel TanksKonzelmann Estate Winery Bottling Equipment

All-in-all, this was a very successful visit to Niagara Wine Country, with delicious food & Icewine pairings, as well as tasting many other delicious, local wines. Many of the wines I tasted are only available for purchase at the winery (or from the winery's website), and wine reviews of some of my favourites are provided below.

My trip to Niagara during the Icewine Festival did not end on this day, as I visited region the following weekend for more food & wine experiences. A review from the 2nd day of tasting will be posted in the coming days.

Tasting Notes:

FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#251439) (M) - $19.95
Medium+ aromas of lime, citrus and mineral, with tart/sour aroma replays on the palate. Off-dry in style, but with bright acids that cut into the sweetness. Nice chalky mineral texture that lingers on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling 2015 (89 pts)

FIELDING SYRAH 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Aromas are of medium-high intensity, but seem somewhat closed at the moment, and offer black pepper, dark fruits and integrated oak notes. It's full bodied with fleshy tannins, balanced acids. Some elegance and suave. Long bitter finish with some dark chocolate flavours. Will age gracefully for 5-8 years. Score: 89 pts

Fielding Syrah 2012 (89 pts)Fielding Chosen Few 2012 (90 pts)

FIELDING CHOSEN FEW 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
Made only in the best years with wines from a chosen few barrels, the 2012 is a blend of 38% Cabernet Franc, 37% Syrah, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Pleasant, appealing aromas that are meaty and savoury combined with dark fruits of great intensity. The palate is full-bodied with well-knit flavours of black currant, dark fruit, and toasty oak. It has very good acidity and firm tannins. Finish length is excellent. Drinkable now, but should be better few years. Score: 90 pts

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
Medium+ intensity aromas that are heavily oak-influenced with pineapple, woody, apple and baking spice notes. It's medium-full bodied with more apple and oak spiced flavours on the palate. It has balanced acidity and very good finish length. Score: 88 pts

Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2012 (88 pts)

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY DEAN'S LIST PRODIGY ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $33.00
This blend of white grape varietals (Vidal, Riesling and Chardonnay) has fresh, appealing aromas of apricots, pineapple, honey and lemon citrus of high intensity. The palate is medium+ bodied and offers very sweet aroma replays on the palate, balanced by fresh acids, and finishing long. Score: 90 pts

Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Prodigy Icewine 2012 (90 pts)Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Savant Icewine 2012 (89 pts)

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY DEAN'S LIST SAVANT ICEWINE 2012 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $39.00
A blend of 5 red grape varietals, aromas are of medium-high intensity with notes of strawberry, burnt sugar and caramel that also appear on the palate along with flavours of honey and hints of coffee. It's very sweet, a touch syrupy, but has nicely balanced acids. Finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

THE HARE JACK RABBIT RED 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.50
Selected as the official red wine of Ontario's Legislative Assembly for 2017, this has medium-intensity aromas of red & black fruits, subtle oak, and plummy notes. It's medium-bodied with sweet, rounded tannins and ripe fruited flavours. Balanced acids and medium-long finishing. There's some tannic structure for short term ageing, but I would drink this now. Blend of 60% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Score: 87 pts

The Hare Jack Rabbit Red 2013 (87 pts)The Hare Frontier Riesling Icewine 2013 (89 pts)

THE HARE FRONTIER RIESLING ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $65.00
The fragrant nose offers sweet peach, apricot, and lemon aromas and flavours. It's medium-full bodied and balanced by nicely textured acids. Slightly tart mid-palate while having a medium-long finish. Score: 89 pts

THE HARE FRONTIER VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $65.00
Oak-aged for 1 year in French oak, this offers medium-high aromas of honey, apricot, peach, butterscotch and steely mineral notes with pleasingly sweet aroma replays on the palate. Some oak-spiced notes appear mid-palate. Acids are well-balanced and finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

NOMAD CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $69.95
Medium-high and well-balanced aromas give off a clean, elegant bouquet that's focuses on black fruits, herbs and sweet oak. It's medium-bodied on the palate with the same aromas on the flavour profile. Bitter tannins are well-integrated. It has bright acids and a milk chocolate finish. Score: 90 pts

Nomad Cabernet France Reserve 2012 (90 pts)

NOMAD VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Appealing aromas of medium-high intensity, featuring pineapple, honey and orange citrus notes that continue on the very sweet palate. Perhaps a touch cloying with delicately balanced acids. Very good finish length. Score: 90 pts

Nomad Vidal Icewine 2014 (90 pts)Nomad Cabernet Franc Icewine 2014 (90+ pts)

NOMAD CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $69.95
The highly aromatic nose offers cherry, strawberry jam, rhubarb and more sweet red fruits. The palate is medium-full bodied with well-balanced acidity and very appealing aroma replays and hints of orange peel. Finish length is excellent. Score: 90+ pts

KONZELMANN ESTATE VIDAL ICEWINE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $65.00
I recall tasting this back in 2014 and it was very delicious then. Today, it is still highly aromatic with pineapple, and mature aromas of caramel and brown sugar. It's very sweet and thick with low acids making this just a touch cloying. Delicious flavours of burnt sugar and caramel on the palate. Finishes long. Drink over next year or two. Score: 90 pts

Konzelmann Estate Vidal Icewine 2010 (90 pts)Konzelmann Chardonnay Family Reserve 2012 (90 pts)

KONZELMANN CHARDONNAY FAMILY RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $49.95
Medium-high aromatics offer pear, nutty, binned apple, and hints of bubblegum. Medium-bodied on the palate with pleasing and elegant aroma replays along with baking spice and hints of lime flavours. the finish length is very good with some mineral notes. Score: 90 pts

KONZELMANN CABERNET MERLOT RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
A blend of 43% Cabernet Franc, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, this has an highly aromatic nose that's elegant with red and black fruits, well-integrated oak and a touch bretty. It's full-bodied on the smooth palate with suave, elegant and structured tannins. Very nice aroma replays with integrated oak flavours come through on the palate. It's well-balanced with very good acidity. Warming, long finish that's held together quite well. Drink now or better to wait and enjoy over the next 5-10 years. Score: 91+ pts

Konzelmann Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2012 (91+ pts)Konzelmann Cabernet Merlot Family Reserve 2012 (92 pts)

KONZELMANN CABERNET MERLOT FAMILY RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $49.95
Similarly blended as the Reserve, this has elegant black currant, cassis, vanilla and oak aromas of medium-high intensity and seems a bit shy right now. The palate is full-bodied with structured tannins that are a bit tight. Very nice aroma replays along with some black cherry and floral hints, balanced by juicy acids. Excellent finish length. A powerful, finesse wine that should be cellared for at least few years and drink to 2020. Score 92 pts

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  • Wednesday, August 10, 2016

McMichael Collection Group of Seven Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is an LCBO General List product that was released into the market in June and is readily available throughout Ontario.

Produced by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, in Kleinburg, just north of Toronto, in partnership with Niagara's Diamond Estates Winery, the Cabernet Merlot (along with an unoaked Chardonnay) is part of a new collection of wines to celebrate the institution's 50th anniversary. The unique labels adorning the bottles feature works from the Group of Seven. Furthermore, fifty cents from every bottle sold goes to the McMichael Collection.

Each member of the Group of Seven is honoured with a label depicting their artwork on one of the two wines. If you're an art lover, you'll recognize that my Cab Merlot features the Road to Baie St. Paul (1933) by A.Y. Jackson.

McMichael Collection Group of Seven Cabernet Merlot 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (85 pts)

Tasting Note:

MCMICHAEL COLLECTION GROUP OF SEVEN CABERNET MERLOT 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#456590) (XD) - $14.95
A blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Franc. Screw cap. Earthy and red berry aromas with hints of sweet spices and green herbs. The palate is medium bodied with young, gritty tannins. Flavours of dark berry, earth and oak spices. It has fresh acids and good length on the finish. Requires a meaty dish to balance the tannin. Score: 85 pts

This wine is currently on promotion, offering 6 Bonus Air Miles reward miles until .

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  • Saturday, April 2, 2016

EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Merlot 2013 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine is the 2nd in my recent series on wines from EastDell Estates (the first wine being the 2014 EastDell Estates Black Label Viognier that I tasted last week).

The 2013 vintage season was an interesting year in Niagara with some significant weather variations throughout the growing season. Temperatures were close to normal, while precipitation ranged from normal to a bit wet. Spring was cool and wet with some isolated late frosts, but then moved quickly into hot weather. Towards the end of the growing season in September and October, temperatures were higher than normal and helped produce a relatively large crop, allowing harvest season to stretch well into November.

Already available for purchase online and at the winery, Diamond Estates, this quaffable wine will also be at the LCBO next month as part of the VINTAGES Release.

EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Merlot 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

EastDell Estates Black Label Cabernet Merlot 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443630) (XD) - $19.95
Relatively equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon (38%), Merlot (33%) and Cabernet Franc (29%). Medium intensity nose of blackberry, chocolate, leather and peppery aromas in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, dusty tannins and ripe fruited flavours that echo the aroma profile. It has juicy acids ideal for pairing with meals. Good length on the cocoa-dusted finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 87 pts

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  • Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

red wine is the second in a series of wines from Southbrook Vineyards.

The grapes for this wine come from the Saunders Vineyard in Niagara. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and ageing occurred in neutral oak barrels. This wine is certified organic and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Currently available as part of the Triomphe Gift Package that also includes two other Southbrook Triomphe wines, a bottle of Southbrook Preserve Chardonnay Vinegar, and a copy of the Ontario Table Cookbook that features 109 recipes using local ingredients.

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET MERLOT 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95
Capped with a Stelvin closure, this relatively unique blend of 69% Cabernet Franc and 31% Merlot is an organic red wine with medium+ intensity aromas of raspberry, black cherry, licorice, and sweet tobacco. Some earthy and stewed fruit notes arrive later. Essentially dry aroma replays on the medium+ bodied palate with sandalwood and chocolate notes arriving mid-palate add complexity. Acids are fresh, while tannins are light and gritty. Finishes long and earthy. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. This will go great with lamb and buffalo mozzarella pizza (recipe provided below). Score: 88 pts

Recipe: Lamb Meatballs, Red Wine Braised Shallots and Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza

Pizza Crust:
  • K2
  • Red Fife 60%
  • 3 Star Canadian Flour 40% (This flour is comparable to the Tippo ‘00’)
  • Salt 3%
  • Bioflavia 3% (dry yeast if used instead will also be 3%)
  • Cool water 63%
  • 250 mL of Southbrook Wine
  1. Mix all of the ingredients except for the wine by hand for about 4 to 5 minutes or in a mixer on a lower speed for about two minutes. You do not want to over develop the gluten or each pizza will always shrink on you. After mixing the dough, drink the wine as your reward. You just made pizza dough from scratch!
  2. Let the dough stand overnight, preferably in the pre-weighed balls. The typical individual pizza is about 140 g. The easiest ratio is to work with 1000 g of flour and do the percentages back from that. You will get about 10 individual pizzas.
  3. Pull dough out 1 hour before rolling. If you don’t have a pizza oven, put your stove to 450°F and fill a small pot or pan with water and place on the bottom of the oven. Keep the dough nice and thin with a little corn meal on the bottom so it does not stick to the tray.

Pizza Sauce Pomodoro:
  • 1 large 3.5 L can of quality whole tomatoes
  • 5 mL of sea salt per litre of canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of basil (optional)
  1. Pass the whole tomatoes through a food mill and bring to a slow simmer for about 2 hours.
  2. When finished throw in salt a few leaves of basil.

Red Wine Braised Shallots:
  • 2 lbs shallots
  • 250 mL Southbrook Triomph Cabernet Franc
  • 250 mL dark chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1/4 tsp chilli
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Peel shallots and cover half way with red wine and dark chicken stock.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, some sugar, dried chili and fennel.
  3. Cover with tin foil and cook at 250°F for about two hours and remove the foil.
  4. Keep cooking until they take on a nice caramel colour.
  5. Make a lot at a time and just place them in the fridge.
  6. Take two of the shallots and slice for the pizza

Lamb Meatballs:
  1. Add chopped thyme, rosemary and parsley with a splash of 10% cream to ground lamb.
  2. Roll meat balls at a size of about 40 g.
  3. Cook for approximately 25 minutes at 325°F.

To Assemble Pizza:
To build the pizza, roll out the dough to create a thin layer and place on a tray with corn meal sprinkled on it to avoid sticking. Ladle on a thin layer of pomodoro sauce, add three sliced meatballs, two shallots, and 60 g of torn buffalo mozzarella cheese, and then sprinkle charred garlic scapes.

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