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

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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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  • Friday, August 16, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

After having enjoyed the 2015 Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon a few months ago, wine review is the latest vintage that arrives in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is crafted by the Taylor's family that has been making fine wines for three generations. Wakefield Wines produces different ranges of wines, with the Jaraman range falling directly in the middle and created from parcels that offer extraordinary fruit that showcases the varietals distinctive regional characteristics and style.

The 2016 bottling has a bit more Clare Valley fruit than the previous vintage. Perhaps this is due to the fact that even though rainfall was below average, it came at the right time and had a very positive impact on the quality of fruit. The 2016 vintage in Clare Valley is being lauded as one of the great vintages in part due to the timely rainfall, as well as the fact that the vines were stress free heading into winter, and conditions were ideal during flowering.

In Coonawarra, the growing season was drier than usual, and combined with a warmer October, the whole growing season was a couple of weeks earlier than normal. However, berry development and ripening was in line with normal growing seasons, which allowed adequate time for the fruit to develop tannins and complexity. In February and March, temperatures were mild, and the cold nights and warm days delivered an extended ripening period and the longer hang time contributed to a rich, medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with good varietal definition.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (73%) and Clare Valley (27%) that was aged in used oak barrels. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers ripe blackcurrant and cassis aromas mingling with savoury oak spice and hints of herbs and mint. It is medium+ bodied and very spicy on the palate with blackcurrant, chocolate, mint, herbs, and cassis flavours. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the chalky and grippy tannins are tight at the moment. Herb, oak spice, dark berry, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Seems lighter than previous vintage, but tannins needs a good 2-3 years to loosen up. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, August 5, 2019

Nederburg The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine review is this casual, fairly easy-drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. It was opened on as the 2017 vintage recently arrived at the LCBO and is widely available throughout Ontario.

The story of Nederburg begins in 1791, when Philippus Wolvaart bought a farm that lay between the Berg and Palmiet rivers for 5600 guilder. Philippus was a man of courage and vision, as well as love for winemaking. With his wife, Margaretha, they nurtured the land together to build a strong foundation on which the success of Nederburg flourished.

Today, Nederburg is one of South Africa’s most awarded wineries, with a prize-winning pedigree that stems from a culture of innovation and disciplined attention to detail. Their portfolio consists of many different lines of wines.

The Winemasters range of wines consist of varietal offerings and named to honour the Paarl winery's long-established tradition of winemaking excellence. These classically styled, food-friendly wines have abundant fruit flavours, elegance and finesse, while treasuring the integrity of the grape in every step of the winegrowing and winemaking process. Every drop aims to demonstrate a commitment to vineyard and cellar skills.

Nederburg The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

NEDERBURG THE WINEMASTERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#111526) (D) - $13.95
The medium intensity nose is herbaceous with green pepper, red and black fruit aromas that are layered on top of cassis, oak spice notes. The medium+ bodied palate has herbally, ripe currant, and dark plum flavours, along with subtle oak spice characters. Acids are balanced while tannins are soft and supple. Finish length is very good. Score: 87 pts


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  • Monday, July 22, 2019

For A Song Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Washington) - Wine Review

wine review a pleasant, everyday Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington that arrived at the LCBO over the weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by For a Song Wines, a collaborative effort between winemaker Kyle Johnson and wine importer/distributor Mike de Maar. They both had a dream of creating value-driven wines sourced from great vineyards they knew, and would also have great appeal for the price. They are also committed to bringing you the best everyday wines from the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

For a Song’s Washington winemaker is Kyle Johnson - they also produce wines in Oregon by working with the winemakers at Boedecker Cellars. Kyle brings over 10 years of viticultural and winemaking experience from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Olsen Estates and Purple Star Wines. His philosophy is that wine should be accessible, approachable and affordable, with a focus on creating well-balanced and food-friendly wines that truly showcase the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

The wines from For A Song are packaged to evoke feelings of nostalgia for days gone by, when we all had time to slow down and listen to the music - and the team at For A Song hope you’ll be inspired to do the same.

For A Song Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

FOR A SONG CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#666057) (XD) - $19.95
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (92%), Petit Verdot (6%), and Syrah (2%) spent 10 months in French oak, of which 15% was new. The medium+ intensity nose offers plummy, black cherry, black currant, and cocoa aromas with hints of cedar wood. The full-bodied palate has notes of dark plum, blackberry, cedar wood spice, and chocolate flavours. As it opens with time, it reveals some appealing dried herb, tea, and touches of evergreen characters that add complexity. There's fresh, food-friendly acidity, while tannins are finely-grained and rounded. Chocolate, wood, and herbal notes sing in harmony on the long finish. 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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  • Saturday, May 25, 2019

Fleur du Cap Essence du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Approximately three years ago, I enjoyed the 2013 Fleur du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. , I am opening the 2016 vintage of this LCBO General List red wine that is readily available across Ontario.

The story of Fleur du Cap wines begins in 1968, shortly after the opening of the famous Die Bergkelder, a cellar that cuts deep into the Papegaaiberg (Parrot Mountain) in Stellenbosch. It was built by Dr. Anton Rupert and was the first underground bottle maturation cellar of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The team at Die Bergkelder were important innovators of the wine industry in South Africa as they played a pivotal role in establishing classic noble grape varieties in the vineyards of the Cape and introduced the maturation of quality wine in small casks of new French oak.

The Essence du Cap range of wines are known for their value and the ability to express their true varietal character. The grapes for this Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from different blocks in Stellenbosch, with the bulk coming from Stellenbosch Kloof. The vines are between 11 and 22 years of age and were grown according to South Africa's IPW pest and disease control standards - Integrity and Sustainability Certified.

Fleur du Cap Essence du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

FLEUR DU CAP ESSENCE DU CAP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#457101) (XD) - $13.00
Medium+ intensity nose leads with wood spice and chocolate, surrounding the core aromas of black cherry, currant, cassis, and touches of green pepper. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with ripe flavoured aroma replays and sweet tannins that have some grip. It has juicy acids and a lingering black cherry, cassis and oak spiced finish. Score: 87 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Altocedro La Consulta Select Blend 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

red wine review is a blend from Argentina that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES as part of the Release.

If you visit the Altocedro website, all you will find is a humble, down-to-earth video of owner and winemaker Karim Mussi Saffie - it's quite an interesting three-and-a-half minute watch. Altocedro is located in the premier winegrowing region of La Consulta, at the southern end of the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. Karim Mussi Saffie is the owner and winemaker. He uses sustainable growing practices to produce limited quantities of terroir-driven wines from vines that range up to 100 years of age. All harvesting, sorting, and crushing are done in individual batches by hand, while the grapes and wine move throughout the winery in a gravity flow system that was developed at the winery more than 100 years ago.

Even though this wine came to VINTAGES three months ago, there are still many bottles of this delicious red wine still available at your local LCBO.

Altocedro La Consulta Select Blend 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ALTOCEDRO LA CONSULTA SELECT BLEND 2015 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#631770) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 42% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Tempranillo, and 9% Syrah that was sustainably farmed and hand-harvested. It was also co-fermented and barrel-aged as a blend. The medium+ intensity nose offers compelling dark spice, blackberry, licorice and chocolate aromas with savoury touches. The aromas come through on the full-bodied, savoury palate with some minty notes. Tannins are smooth and well-integrated with a pleasant grippiness, while acids are fresh and nicely balanced. Very good length on the savoury-chocolatey finish. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019 with Winemaker Francisco Baettig

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019
In , I had the pleasure of tasting some iconic wines from the quality, award-winning Chilean producer Viña Errázuriz with Winemaker Francisco Baettig in attendance. I've tasted previous vintages of the Icon wines - La Cumbre, Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, and Kai - recalling the time I was first introduced to these delicious wines back in , but these wines are so good that it's always a treat to taste them every year.

However, this tasting was really about introducing the Las Pizarras wines. Eduardo Chadwick Claro is the President of Viña Errázuriz and also a descendant of Don Maximiano Errázuriz, the winery's founder. He was named Decanter's Man of the Year in 2018 and is one of the most important people within the Chilean wine scene. He has worked tirelessly to promote the wines of Chile around the world, becoming a true ambassador for the country’s potential to produce premium wines. As Francisco explained, the Las Pizarras wines were borne out of Eduardo Chadwick's desire to create an Icon white wine - as there were none among the existing portfolio. This desire resulted in the creation of a very fine Las Pizarras Chardonnay (now in its 4th vintage) that expresses the estate's terroir. Tagging along with the Chardonnay is also an excellent Las Pizarras Pinot Noir, The Las Pizarras collection also includes a Syrah, which was unfortunately not available for tasting.

Errázuriz Winemaker - Francisco Baettig

In addition to the Icon Wines, there were also wines from their Aconcagua Costa and Aconcagua Alto ranges. The tasting was held at Oretta Restaurant in downtown Toronto and featured a unique food pairing with each of the 10 wines that were available for tasting. I didn't try any of the food items (since my focus was on the wine), but was told by a few others in attendance that the food was quite delicious and paired really well with the wines.

Most of these wines are available at the LCBO, but you can also reach out to Dandurand or Galleon Wines to purchase the Las Pizarras Icon Wines, back vintages, or other wines from the Errázuriz portfolio.

Errázuriz - From the best land, the best wine.

Tasting Notes:

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $69.95
From a 5 hectare plot on the Aconcagua Coast estate. The shy nose has a nutty profile with some passion fruit, ripe and slightly baked apple, citrus and vanilla nuances. It is medium-full bodied with lively, fresh acids that are well-balanced with nutty aroma replays. Very nice chalky texture on the palate with nutty aroma replays and touches of vanilla. Cool-climate style. Excellent finish length. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2017 (92 pts)Errázuriz Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2017 (92 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS PINOT NOIR 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $92.95
One of the stars of the tasting. From the cool-climate terroir of the Aconcagua Coast estate that has slate and schist soils. Clean, medium-high intensity aromatics offer elegant spice, red berry, currant, mineral, earth, and hints of tobacco. Nicely textured with fine, elegant tannins on the medium-bodied palate with hints of black tea and spice flavours, plus lovely aroma replays. Lively, balanced acidity lifts the palate. Long, persistent finish. Score: 92 pts

ERRÁZURIZ LA CUMBRE SYRAH 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#579821) (XD) - $90
100% Syrah with lovely white pepper, herbs, dill, meaty, black and blueberry, and spice aromas of medium-high intensity. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with elegant, refined tannins that provide structure. There's nice dark-fruited aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some earthy minerality. Juicy mid-palate with balanced acidity and a nice, long finish. Drinking well now. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz La Cumbre Syrah 2016 (92 pts)Errázuriz Kai Carmenère 2016 (93 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ KAI CARMENÈRE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#055863) (XD) - $150
93% Carmenère and 7% Syrah. This has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of dark berry, tobacco, black pepper, graphite, and cedar oak spice. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with nice peppery replays and well-integrated oak flavours. Structured with supple tannins and balanced acidity add to the elegance. Excellent finish length. Score: 93 pts

ERRÁZURIZ DON MAXIMIANO FOUNDER'S RESERVE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#501247) (XD) - $90
This blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenère, 8% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc has a fairly intense, and pleasing nose of currant, cassis, black and blue fruit and oak aromas. It is full-bodied and dense with very good fruit concentration on the palate with big tannins that are integrating nicely. A touch drying with succulent, mouth-watering acids and lovely aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent finish length. Should age gracefully for 10-15 years. Score: 94 pts

Errázuriz Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve 2016 (94 pts)


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  • Friday, March 15, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Australia) - Wine Review

yummy red wine from Australia is returning to LCBO VINTAGES on . It is the latest in a series of wines I've reviewed from Wakefield Wines over the past year.

Wakefield Wines have been crafted by the Taylor's family for three generations. Australia's iconic wine regions provide great diversity. The Jaraman range of wines are created from parcels of fruit that showcases the regions distinctive characteristics and style.

In 2015, Coonawarra experienced an excellent start to the growing season with average winter rainfall ensuring good soil moisture. However, Spring was not typical as it was very dry and one of the region's warmest, with conditions remaining this way through December. In January, there were some refreshing rains, while the Summer growing season was a classic with warm days and cool nights, leading to a long and cool ripening that is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon.

In the Clare Valley, there was slightly higher than average rainfall leading up to the 2015 vintage. However, there was very little rainfall afterwards, making it the driest August ever recorded. In addition to an extremely dry Spring, it was also warm and windy, leading to higher water loss. This resulted in smaller bunch numbers. Rains in January provided a welcomed relief for the vines, and helped increase yields and quality.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (76%) and Clare Valley (24%). Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose is very minty with thyme and herbal aromas layered on top of ripe blackberry, red fruit, and oak spice notes. It is full-bodied and quite dense on the palate with firm tannins. Blackberry, mint, and oak spice flavours with high acids freshening the palate. Dry and chalky on the long finish with more blackberry, mint, and oak spice flavours. A big, enjoyable Aussie Cab that should be better in 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carménère 2012 (Chile) - Wine Review

lovely red wine had been sitting in my cellar for nearly 5 years and, according to my notes, was reaching full maturity. It was purchased from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Of course, the 2012 is long gone from stores, but the 2016 is available for purchase at $20.95.

Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carménère 2012 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

PÉREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION CARMÉNÈRE 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#670539) (XD) - $19.95
Hand-picked blend of 93% Carménère, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot from the piedmont stony soils of the Fundo Liguai de Huelquen vineyard. Maturing reddish-brown colour. Lovely, fragrant aromatics from the glass with herbally, olive tapenade, savoury earthy characters and subtle oak spice. It is full-bodied on the palate with suave, silky smooth, and finely-grained tannins. Nicely textured with well-balanced acids, A touch warm on the mid-palate. Mature flavours of tilled earth, dark berry, leather, oak spice with hints of dried berries and floral, all of which linger on the long, slightly chalky finish. Fine, mature wine that should drink well for another 1-2 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine review will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Fattoria Viticcio has been producing wine since 1964 among the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country in Greve in Chianti, between Florence and Siena. Today, the winery encompasses 120 ha of estate-owned land among the hills in Chianti Classico and Maremma. With the help of a young and energetic team, they are dedicated to producing wines that showcase the nuances of the incredible terroir in Tuscany, while also respecting the environment. Viticcio has always cultivated their vines using organic techniques and natural treatments as much as possible. Since 2013, their entire production has converted to organic.

This particular red wine was launched by Viticcio a couple of years ago. It is their second wine from the lands of Maremma and first red from this zone. The climate in Maremma, which is located in southern Tuscany, is sunny with a refreshing sea breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, and clay, sand, limestone, and sandstone soils that make it the ideal terroir for cultivating varietals such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The name "Morellino" is the local word for "Sangiovese." In Maremma, it is a deep-hued purple grape that is a clone of the Sangiovese grape found in other parts of Tuscany, and (possibly) named after the dark-haired Morelli bay horse that once roamed these lands.

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

VITICCIO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#574186) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot aged in 225 L barriques for 10-12 months. The medium+ intensity nose reveals pretty red cherry, rose floral, oak aromas wrapped around a savoury core. It is full bodied with bold, assertive, and grippy tannins, along with fresh acids and nice aroma replays on the palate. Very good length with more cherry, floral and earthy notes lingering on the finish. Needs a couple of years for tannins to soften, or try now with big red meats. Should drink well for the next 6-8 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Sunday, October 7, 2018

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (Alsace) and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Opened up these two delicious wines to celebrate long weekend.

The Pinot Gris was purchased from the recent LCBO VINTAGES Release, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is from an excellent 2010 Niagara vintage and was purchased when visiting the winery in .

Tasting Notes:

PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#983395) (D) - $18.95
The nose is soft and mild, featuring waxy, lemon, and orange citrus aromas. The plush palate is more lively and a touch oily, with nice orange citrus, honeyed, and peach flavours in an off-dry style on a medium+ bodied frame. Acids are bright, fresh, and provide lift, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 88+ pts

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (88+ pts)

VIENI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#373308) (XD) - $19.95
Matured considerably since I last tasted this wine. The mature nose has savoury black plum, earth, and barnyard aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with currant, cassis, red and black fruits all wrapped around a savoury profile. Tannins are soft and nearly fully integrated, with just a touch of grip. Juicy acids. Very good length on the savoury, earthy finish. Score: 88 pts

Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (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, August 10, 2018

Villacreces Pruno 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Spanish red blend that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by one of the region's first wineries, Finca Villacreces, and is situated in the middle of Ribera del Duero’s "Golden Mile". The Duero estate is named after its founder, Franciscan monk Pedro de Villacreces, who, together with other clerics established a monastery on this site to pray and grow crops, including grapes.

For centuries, Villacreces was a place of retreat for Franciscan monks who, among other things, worked the land until the Confiscations of Mendizábal in 1836, when the land passed into the private hands of Marquis Teodosio Alonso-Pesquera - a royal senator of Alfonso XIII. Shortly thereafter, Marquis was granted water rights to the Duero River by the King.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the second Marquis sold the estate to the Cuadrado Family from Valladolid. In 2004, Gonzalo and Lalo Antón met the Cuadrado Family and expressed interest in purchasing the site as they already had bodegas in Rioja and Toro, and had been looking to expand into the Ribera de Duero. Pedro Cuadrado also hinted at leaving the wine business and estate in good hands. Soon after, the Antóns became owners of one of Ribera del Duero's most spectacular vineyards. They rebuilt the bodega, restored the vineyard, and relaunched Villacreces in 2007.

Villacreces Pruno 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

VILLACRECES PRUNO 2016 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#312140) (XD) - $22.95
Approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Black plum and cedar oak aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose with smoky black licorice, black cherry, oak spice, and cassis with hints of earth and black plum aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with grippy, muscular tannins and fresh acids lifting the black cherry, blackberry, currant, and oak flavours. Drying mid-palate. Long finish with earthy and smoky elements, and just a touch of chocolate bitterness. Solid wine that needs 3+ years of cellar time. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wine Reviews - June 24 Birthday Party

Wine Lineup for June 24, 2018 Birthday Party

On , we threw a birthday party at Bombay Touch in Thornhill for my son who just turned a year old. I brought in my own wines for the occasion, spanning a fairly wide range of categories so that each guest could find at least one wine that would appeal to their palate. Wines styles included a dry rosé, a dry white wine, a sweet white wine, and a variety of dry red wines. The most popular wines were the Mencía, the rosé, and the Riesling.

All of the wines are fairly recent additions to VINTAGES and should still be available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Wines reviews of each of the wines are posted below.

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Pale pink colour much the same as Provence. Lovely, highly aromatic, bright and fresh aromas of mineral, white grapefruit, and lemon citrus. The palate is dry with complex white grapefruit, orange peel, herbs, and mineral with hints of lemon, on a medium-full bodied frame and lifted with crisp, vibrant acidity. Nicely balanced throughout with hints of strawberry and cherry flavours. Excellent finish length with lemony nuances. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017 (91 pts)

TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with grassy, lemon/lime, pear, flinty mineral, and hints of herbal and stone fruits. It has a dry, medium+ body palate with a nice, slightly chalky texture and balanced aroma replays. Balanced acids with a touch viscous mouthfeel on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with nice mineral notes. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Tahbilk Marsanne 2017 (89 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
Screw cap. Wow. Highly aromatic and pretty aromas of peach and orange which give way to ripe apple, mineral and hints of petrol. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good fruit concentration and medium sweet flavours that are nicely balanced and mimic the aroma profile. High acids are crisp and provide a lip-smacking, long finish with just a touch of sourness. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
Full review here.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)Marrenon Versant Nord Luberon 2015 (88+ pts)

MARRENON VERSANT NORD LUBERON 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#537969) (XD) - $15.95
A single vineyard blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The medium-high intensity aromas offer complex blackberry, dark currant, pepper, and meaty aromas with some savoury and dark cherry notes as well. On the medium-full bodied, crunchy palate, it has plummy, blueberry, and dark berry flavours, plus savoury hints of oak spice and peppery notes. Vibrant acids and supple tannins with a touch of grip add to the character of this wine, while the finish length is very good. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88+ pts

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Full review here.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)Gancedo Xestal Mencía 2010 (90 pts)

GANCEDO XESTAL MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#553743) (XD) - $17.95
From 60+ year old vines, this maturing Mencía has a gorgeous, highly aromatic nose offering a pretty bouquet of red cherry, raspberry, red floral, and sweet oak spice. It's full bodied with fine, dusty tannins providing some grip, and very appealing aroma replays, plus some baking spice and cinnamon, and earthy/savoury elements on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy. Touch warming on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts


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  • Monday, June 25, 2018

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is a perennial visitor to the LCBO and was recently released into VINTAGES on . It is widely available across Ontario.

Wakefield Wines is a family-owned winery based near the Wakefield River in Clare Valley, South Australia. The Taylor family planted their first vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon) in 1969 with a vision to create authentic, estate grown wines. When Bill Taylor Sr. excavated a dam to secure a water source, he discovered tiny seahorses in the limestone bedrock - a reminder that these soils were under water more than 600 million years ago. The seahorse quickly became the symbol of the family's wine brand, with three seahorses now representing the three generations of Taylor family winemakers.

The family is also committed to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner to help protect the environment. In 2009, Wakefield received their ISO14001 certification for their Environmental Management System (EMS) which demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship. The EMS assists with identifying and controlling environmental impacts throughout the wine-growing process such as environmental risks, impact on land and biodiversity, and water conservation.

Wakefield has won numerous medals for its wines, including this Cabernet Sauvignon. They also had a run of four years (from 2013 to 2016) being named one of the top 5 wineries in the world. In 2004, they were the first major Australian wine company to bottle 100% of their wines under screw cap - a trend which continues all over the world today.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. This has evergreen aromas wrapped around cassis, red and black fruits, dark currants and sweet oak, with medium+ intensity. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has medium-firm, gritty tannins with nice aroma replays, and just a touch of sweetness hidden by the bright acids. The finish length is very good. Age 2+ years for better tannin integration. Score: 87 pts


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  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)


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  • Thursday, June 14, 2018

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival 2017 - Day 1 of 2

Pacific Snapper Ceviche and Niagara Apple Slaw with 2016 Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling
Last , I visited Niagara to take in the 66th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival that celebrates the harvest season. I have been fortunate to attend this festival many times and have always enjoyed the visit. Once again, I visited Niagara over two days and my review from second day will be posted shortly.

Our tour began in Niagara-on-the-Lake, at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery for some Pacific snapper ceviche and Niagara Apple Slaw paired with their 2016 Grand Reserve Riesling. This was a nicely crisp, balanced pairing where the off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling wine suddenly became quite dry when paired with the slaw due to the high, lemony acids from the ceviche overtaking the sugary elements in the wine. This was really quite well done. Using my Winemaker's Selections' Tasting Passes, we also got to taste their intriguing, and uncommon Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Wine made with Sauvignon Blanc, but otherwise did not taste any other wines as the tasting bar is always a zoo. Full wine reviews from Jackson-Triggs and all the other wineries visited on this day are provided below.

Harvest Barn Apple Cinnamon Chicken Wing with 2013 Rancourt Unoaked Chardonnay
The second stop of the day was at Rancourt Winery for grilled chicken wings brushed with Harvest Barn’s signature Apple Cinnamon grilling sauce, and paired with their 2013 Rancourt Unoaked Chardonnay ($14.80, 86 pts). I do wings and wine at home quite often and find it to be delightful. The pairing at Rancourt was also good, with mild stone fruit flavours from the wine meshing well with the mildly flavoured wings.

Moving along to the Beamsville Bench area of Niagara, Cave Spring Cellars was our third stop of the day. They were not participating in the Discovery Pass Experience, so we simply tasted a few wines from their lovely portfolio, followed by a short stroll on picturesque Main Street in Jordan Village.

The fourth stop of the afternoon was at GreenLane Estate Winery to taste their newly released 2014 GreenLane Guts and Glory Blend ($19.95, 87 pts), which is a blend of 55% Unoaked Chardonnay (Guts) and 45% Riesling (Glory), and paired with a Macaroni and Gorgonzola Fritter by Just Cooking. This was a nicely balanced pairing as the high acidity in the wine cut through the deep fried mac & cheese ball, while also providing a nice mouthfeel. The ambience on their outdoor patio is always such a delightful place, we took our time before heading inside and tasting a few of their top wines.

Just Cooking Macaroni and Gorgonzola Fritter with 2014 GreenLane Guts and GloryItty Bitty Pie Company Brie and Caramelized Onions Pie with 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve

Our fifth and final stop of the day was at Legends Estates Winery. The food and wine pairing here was a mouthwatering, bite-sized pie stuffed with Brie and caramelized onions from the Itty Bitty Pie Company, and paired with their award-winning 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve and 2012 Legends Estates Shiraz Reserve. Having tasted both of these wines previously, I was curious to see how each wine would the on prior visits to the winery, so I opted to pair the pie with the Chardonnay as the rich, buttery, butterscotch, and vanilla notes in the wine accentuated caramelized flavours in the pie filling, as well as the buttery flavours in the pie crust. Delicious pairing, indeed.

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with yet another trip to Niagara Wine Country. This is only part 1 of my review, as I ended up visiting Niagara a couple of weeks later to partake in more Discovery Pass Experiences. Stay tuned, as that review will be posted in a few days time.

Tasting Notes:

JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#367102) (D) - $21
Fragrant nose of tropical fruits, orange citrus, Flintstone vitamins and mineral waft from the glass, and all of it coming through nicely on the off-dry palate, balanced by clean acids. The finish is long with some bitterness and comes off as dry. Score: 88+ pts

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE SPARKLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#353078) (D) - $29.95
A sparkling wine that is tart and sour with pink grapefruit notes, followed by some brioche, leesy and green stemmy aromas and flavours. It comes off as mostly dry on the palate with frothy mousse and a toasty brioche edge. Nicely balanced with a medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

RANCOURT FOUNDER'S BLEND 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD)
Equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, this is highly aromatic with lots of woodsy, barnyard, brett, and oak spice aromas, with underlying cassis and blackberry notes. It's full-bodied with nice aroma replays on the palate with notable, but well-integrated oak. Ripe tannins are smooth and refined. Acids are very good, while the finish is long. Score: 89 pts

Rancourt Founder's Blend 2012 (89 pts)Rancourt Gewürztraminer Icewine 2013 (90+ pts)

RANCOURT GEWÜRZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $30
Tasted a few times now, and still drinking very well. The highly aromatic nose offers sweet honey, pear, stone fruit, peach and some spices. The palate has very nice, balanced aroma replays. It's sweet, but the fresh acids keep everything nicely balanced. Excellent finish length. Score: 90+ pts

CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#529941) (XD) - $29.95
From 41-year old vines, 100% barrel fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak barriques and puncheons, this has a richly buttered nose of apple, pear, and lemon aromas of medium-high intensity. It has a medium+ body that is rich and buttery with, apple, vanilla and well-integrated oak flavours. Nicely textured with crisp, balanced acidity. Excellent finish length. Still a bit young - age this 1-2 years. Score: 91 pts

Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Cave Spring Estate Bottled Riesling 2015 (89 pts)

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2015 - VQA, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment,, Ontario, Canada (#286377) (D) - $18.95
This has a medium-high intensity nose of orange citrus, peach, lime, and some limestone mineral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a chalky limestone mineral texture on the off-dry palate. Clean acids are a touch sour. Long finishing. Will age gracefully for many years. Score: 89 pts

GREENLANE OLD VINES RIESLING 2010 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $34.95
The medium-high intensity aromas are quite fragrant and open with orange citrus, mineral notes, and hints of petrol. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice aroma replays in a medium-dry profile and lifted by vibrant acids. Excellent finish length. Lovely! Score: 90+ pts

GreenLane Old Vines Riesling 2010 (90+ pts)GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (91 pts)

GREENLANE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Ripe, medium-high intensity nose of evergreen, cassis, black currant, cocoa, and chocolate aromas, all of which come through very nicely on the wood-driven, full bodied palate. Balanced acids. Tannins are chalky, yet well-integrated and quite refined. The finish goes on and on. Score: 91 pts

LEGENDS ESTATES CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
The medium-intensity nose offers rich, buttery aromas with butterscotch, vanilla, and poached apple joining fray, all of which come through nicely on the medium-bodied palate. Acids are still clean, while the finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve 2013 (88+ pts)Legends Estates Reserve Shiraz 2012 (89 pts)

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
This has a medium-high intensity nose that's very savoury with wood spice, green olive, meaty, and gamey aromas. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has black peppercorn, gamey and charcuterie flavours surrounded by good acidity and refined tannins. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts


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