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

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  • Friday, June 5, 2020

Château Le Grand Moulin Collection Grande Réserve 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review



red wine review is a delicious red wine from Bordeaux. It is a new arrival at the LCBO as part of the VINTAGES Release and is also featured in the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine.

This red wine is produced by the co-operative winery Vignobles Gabriel & Co., a company founded in 1904 when Gabriel Bruneteau founded Domaine du Grand Moulin at Saint Aubin de Blaye, about 50 km north of Bordeaux in the heart of the Blaye vineyards. In 1921, with a passionate interest in wine and people, Gabriel created the forerunner to the Vignobles Gabriel & Co. enterprise.

After Gabriel's passing, the vineyard dwindled and changed over the years, but finally recovered four generations later when Jean-François Reaud, the great grandson of Gabriel Bruneteau, inherited the estate in 1985. There were only 7 hectares of vines at the time, but he reorganized, modernized, and expanded the winery to cover 25 hectares by the end of the 1990's, eventually becoming Château Le Grand Moulin. Further development increased the size of the estate to the 81 hectares it is today, and to further meet consumer demand, Jean-François formed partnerships with several neighbouring producers and winegrowers on the Right Bank to collectively promote their wines. Being sensitive to the environment, Jean-François also owns Château Les Aubiers which has 25 hectares of organically-farmed vines.

With lots of bottles available throughout Ontario, it will be very easy for you to get your hands on this wallet-friendly Bordeaux.

Château Le Grand Moulin Collection Grande Réserve 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU LE GRAND MOULIN COLLECTION GRANDE RÉSERVE 2016 - AC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, France (#11326) (XD) - $17.00
An estate grown blend of mostly Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec in support, and aged in cement vats. Generous, nicely ripe, and fruit forward aromas of dark currant, blackberry, cassis, mint, and spice with touches of earthiness lift out of the glass. The medium+ bodied palate has nice balanced aroma replays supported by refined, textured, and gritty tannins, and balanced acidity. The finish is a touch drying, with savoury and earthy flavours, and very good length. Enjoy now or cellar for a couple of years and drink into the later part of this decade. This is very good Bordeaux! Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice follow-up to the delicious 2018 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico that I enjoyed a couple of weekends ago. Like the Chianti Classico, this Chianti is a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and widely available for purchase in-store across Ontario.

Rocca delle Macìe was established in 1973 by film producer Italo Zingarelli to fulfill his life-long dream. It was established on a solid base of ethical values constructed by Italo and today is run by his children Sergio, Fabio, and Sandra, to become one of the largest wine producers in Italy.

Sustainability is a key pillar of Rocca delle Macìe as they continue to implement agronomic techniques that are geared not only towards constantly improving the products, but also towards respecting the environment. Some of these practices include integrated pest management, streamlining the consumption of non-renewable resources, avoiding non-essential waste of natural resources, and limiting human activity on the equilibrium of the ecosystem. By using high-precision viticulture, Rocca delle Macìe is able to make winemaking rational and sustainable, while at the same time enhancing the land. With this in mind, Rocca delle Macìe still aims to express the very best of the vine and terroir, and achieve products of the highest quality.

In addition to producing wines from the Chianti Classico and Maremma zones, Rocca delle Macìe also produces wines thanks in part to collaboration with old and new Tuscany producers in other zones such as Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Bolgheri, San Gimignano, and Orvieto. This particular red wine is from the Chianti DOCG from carefully selected and ripened Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes. It is vinified with the latest controlled fermentation techniques and undergoes maturation in oak for a period of two years prior to being released.

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE CHIANTI RISERVA 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#111641) (XD) - $15.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot completing the blend, and aged for 24 months is large oak barrels. Medium+ intensity nose is savoury with currant, plum, red cherry, and earth aromas. It's ripe fruited on the palate with currant, sour cherry, oak spice, and leathery flavours on the medium-bodied palate. Light tannins have just enough texture to keep things interesting, while lemony acids are food-friendly. Savoury, currant, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. A fine, simple Chianti for mid-week drinking. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 6, 2020

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (California) - Wine Review

To follow the popular J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay that I opened last week, wine review is a California Cabernet Sauvignon that is the most popular red in the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. Like the Chardonnay, this Cali Cab is widely available in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and is also available online for pick-up or delivery.

After an extensive search in the late 1960's to find an ideal location for his first vineyard, Jerry Lohr, founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, settled in the Central Coast, an area that was just beginning to explore its potential for winegrowing. In the early 1970's, Jerry planted his first vineyard in Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district.

A decade later, Jerry Lohr recognized the potential for growing Bordeaux varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, further south in Paso Robles. In 1986, he began planting Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals in San Luis Obispo County's little-known Paso Robles region. With the hands-on devotion of an artisan farmer, Jerry tended to the vines while diligently working toward the creation and development of an adjacent winery and barrel cellar that opened in 1988.

Today, J. Lohr farms over 2,700 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, a region now recognized as one of the world’s best spots for Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux and Rhône varietals. Nearly all of the red wines in the J. Lohr portfolio come from their sustainably-farmed Paso Robles vineyards. Still family-owned and operated, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is one of the industry’s most respected wine brands.

This red wine gets its name from blocks 2 and 4 of Cabernet Sauvignon that were some of the original sources for this iconic wine 30 years ago and featured views of a stand of seven majestic oak trees, which still thrive today. The grapes for this wine predominantly come from their estate vineyards in Paso Robles, directly opposite their J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center and two newer sites just to the north. The region is known for its rich, well-drained, gravelly, and sometimes chalky limestone soils, as well as its semi-arid climate and dramatic diurnal temperature swings of 50°F degrees between warm days and cool nights. This diurnal fluctuation is key to the region's trademark, intense varietal character. The 2017 vintage is remembered as a restorative vintage as it broke an unprecedented 5-year drought conditions throughout California.

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

J. LOHR SEVEN OAKS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#656561) (D) - $23.95
The medium+ intensity nose offers slightly confected aromas of ripe plum, black cherry, currant, blueberry, sweet oak spice, and savoury earthy tones with touches of leafy herbs and mint. The full-bodied palate is notably sweet with flavours of chocolate, sweet, vanillin oak and ripe black cherry and currant notes. Acids are well-balanced while rounded tannins are soft, fine-grained and a touch drying with each passing sip. Earthy, chocolate, and coffee notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah. Crowd pleasing California Cab. Score: 86 pts


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  • Monday, March 9, 2020

Wines of Argentina Masterclass

Tastes of Argentina masterclass on wine

In , I had the pleasure of attending a Tastes of Argentina masterclass to explore the climatic and cultural factors shaping today's wines from Argentina. The event was hosted by The Consulate of Argentina, represented by Maria de los Angeles Arrieta, Deputy Consul General Trade Commissioner from Consulate General of Argentina, and leading the masterclass was Christopher Waters, Dip. WSET.

Elizabeth Luzza, Christopher Waters, and Maria de los Angeles Arrieta

Argentina is the 2nd largest country in South America and 8th largest country in the world. The winegrowing regions in Argentina are located approximately between 30° to 50° latitude - the sweet-spot for grape-growing in the Southern Hemisphere, and within the same latitude range as other major wine regions in the South Hemisphere such as Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. There are six major factors that make the wines of Argentina unique and compelling.

We begin with the first factor - altitude. The vineyards in Argentina are planted within a range at the low-end of 1,000 ft. (300 m) all the way up to 10,000 ft. (3,000 m) above sea level. These high altitudes help create a variety of terroirs and microclimates that distinguish Argentina from the rest of the world. It was interesting to learn that even though vines are planted at high altitudes, many of the vineyards are located on plateaus and not on steep slopes. Planting on plateaus allows for easier monitoring during the grape-growing season as well as harvests that are less labour intensive. The highest vineyards are located in the cooler climate Salta region in northern Argentina, falling under the Winkler I index and are some of the coolest vineyards on the planet.

Terroir is the second major factor. Being one the largest countries in the world, spanning nearly 3,800 kilometres from north to south, the terroir is quite diverse due to wide-ranging altitudes and latitudes. With vineyards across large areas, it is only natural to see variability in soils. The presence of the Andes mountains and rainfall regime are also key factors that affect the terroir. All of these factors contribute to the great diversity of terroirs in Argentina.

The third major factor that makes the wines of Argentina unique is the climate - which is dry and continental. Argentina is very unique in that its traditional wine regions are located in high-altitude valleys, far from the oceans, making Argentina one of the few continental viticultural areas in the world. Moreover, because the Andes mountain range is to the west of Argentina, the cold winds and rain are essentially blocked, leaving only hot and dry winds to flow through the vines. This dryness of the climate helps maintain vineyard health almost completely naturally, which contributes to the production of organic wines.

Poor (or low fertility) soils make for better wine, and the low fertility soils in Argentina are fairly young and nutrient-deprived, with low organic matter, leading to desirable restricted vine growth. Poor soils also help promote natural development of the grape with genuinely distinct flavours.

Argentina also has great water purity, with the main source of irrigation in mountain valleys coming from meltwater in the Andes. This pure, snowmelt water from the mountains is free from any contaminants.

The final factor that makes Argentine wine unique is the new generation of winemakers. The first vitis vinifera wines were produced by the Spanish settlers in 1551. In 1853, the first School of Agriculture was formed and the wine industry subsequently expanded nationwide. The modernization of the wine industry in Argentina began in the 1990’s with local and foreign investments in the search for new markets to export Argentinian wine.

Today, a new generation of agricultural engineers, oenologists, and winemakers is taking the lead and breaking new ground when it comes to producing quality wines. Sebastian Zuccardi, Laura Catena, Luis Reginato, and Alejandro Vigil are just some of the people making exceptional wines in Argentina. With the help of technology applied to the study of soils and climate, new Geographical Indications (GIs) were discovered. Similar to systems used in other winegrowing regions, GIs indicate the origin of the grape and its differential attributes.

Together, the six factors of altitude, terroir, climate, soil, water, and the new generation of winemakers combine to give Argentina it’s unique habitat for creating cutting edge wines.

Tastes of Argentina masterclass on wine

Malbec is usually the first wine that comes to mind when thinking of Argentine wine. It is not surprising given that Malbec is the most widely planted and most important vitis vinifera varietal in Argentina. However, other varieties are becoming more prevalent. In addition to tasting some fine Malbec wines at this masterclass, the 12-wine structured tasting also featured wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Torrontés, and Cabernet Franc that are thriving in Argentina and gaining recognition across the globe. Tasting notes of my favourite wines from this wine tasting are provided below. Most of the wines are currently available or coming soon to the LCBO, or otherwise can be ordered via the Agent.

Tasting Notes:

CATENA ZAPATA WHITE BONES ADRIANNA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#514844) (XD) - $125
A super premium Chardonnay with a clean, medium+ intensity nose of pear, apple, orchard fruit and some limestone mineral, earthy, leesy, and buttery characters, all of which show up beautifully on the nicely balanced, medium-full bodied palate. There's some structure to the fruit, along with a touch of bitterness. Earthy-mineral elements linger on the long, juicy finish. Agent: Noble Estates. Score: 93 pts

Catena Zapata White Bones Adrianna Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)El Esteco 1945 Old Vines Torrontés 2018 (92 pts)

EL ESTECO 1945 OLD VINES TORRONTÉS 2018 - Calchaquí Valley, Argentina (#010695) (XD) - $25.95
From vines planted in 1945, the lovely, highly aromatic nose jumps out of the glass with clean, floral and herbal aromas, along with hints of lemon citrus, white grapefruit, and salty mineral notes adding complexity. There's very good fruit on the medium-bodied palate with tension between the fruit and acids. Very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent length on the long, earthy and minerally finish. Agent: Vins Dandurand. Score: 92 pts

EL ENEMIGO CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#011813) (XD) - $23.95
From a specific plot of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, the medium-high intensity nose delivers classic Cabernet Franc herbaceous, tobacco, and dark berry aromas along with some vanilla spice notes. It is medium+ bodied with very nice aromas replays on the flavour profile, plus some dark currant, dark cherry, and smoky notes adding complexity. Acids are crunchy, while tannins are smooth and refined. Long, balanced finish and should drink well over the next 5-6 years. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES Mar. 7, 2020. Agent: Noble Estates. Score: 89 pts

El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2015 (89 pts)Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

TRAPICHE MEDALLA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Lujan de Cuyo & Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina (#568865) (XD) - $19.95
Subtle nose of currant, cassis, and minerals with some earthy spice tones. It's full-bodied with structured tannins that are well-integrated and very approachable. It has very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile with more spice, currant, cassis, and dark berry flavours, lifted by bright acidity and crunchy fruit. Pleasing notes of dark berry, cherry with hints of floral linger on the finish. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES Feb. 8, 2020. Agent: Vins Dandurand. Score: 89 pts

BODEGA DEL ARTE CLAROSCURO MALBEC 2017 - Tunuyan, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (XD) - $18.95
Although I seemed to be among the very few, this was my favourite of the Malbecs. The subtle nose gives off aromas of currant, cassis, mineral, and hints of earthy spice, while the full-bodied, crunchy palate has structured tannins that are well-integrated and quite approachable. It has also has very nice aroma replays with lovely spice, currant, cassis, and dark berry notes, supported by bright acidity. Appealing notes of dark berry, cherry, and hints of floral linger on the long finish. Available via Abcon. Score: 89 pts

Bodega del Arte Claroscuro Malbec 2017 (89 pts)Dona Paula 1350 Red Terroir Blend 2015 (89 pts)

DONA PAULA 1350 RED TERROIR BLEND 2015 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#568956) (XD) - $20.75
This blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 45% Malbec, and 5% Casavecchi has a medium-high, fairly complex nose that is Cab Franc dominant with red and black fruits, oak spice, and herbaceous notes. It is full-bodied and structured with a touch grippy and tight tannins, and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. It has juicy acids and very good finish length. Best after 2-3 years of ageing. Agent: Select Wines & Spirits. Score: 89 pts


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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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  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Château Bel Orme Winemaker's Dinner (2019)

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

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

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

Anne Françoise Quié, Château Bel Orme

Tom Noitsis with 2005 Château Bel Orme imperial size bottle

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Australia) - Wine Review

My wine review for Thanksgiving is this Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia.

This red wine was purchased from an LCBO VINTAGES Release nearly 10 years ago to the day, back in . Of course, the 2007 vintage of this wine is no longer available for purchase, but since it is listed as a VINTAGES Essential at the LCBO, a newer vintage of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon is always available in the VINTAGES section at your local LCBO outlet. It is interesting to note that while my 2007 bottling was enclosed by cork, newer vintages of this wine, like many Australian wines these days, are enclosed by screw cap.

Margaret River is known for producing highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The region is surrounded by forest, farmland, sea, enjoying the attributes of the mild maritime climate, rich soil, and fresh winds from both the Indian and Southern Oceans. The vineyards of Margaret River are planted primarily on gravel loam soils, which combine with summer sea breezes and temperature conditions during ripening that allow the grapes to develop complex varietal characters, elegance, and strength. At 12 years from vintage, let's see how this Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is tasting tonight...

Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

RINGBOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#606624) (XD) - $19.95
Medium intensity nose has olive, green pepper, tobacco, new leather, sandalwood, and whiffs of cassis liqueur characters. It is medium-full bodied with smooth, mature, and fully resolved tannins that offer just a touch of textural grippiness. Composed earthy and savoury flavours with sandalwood spice, forest floor, green pepper, and dark berry notes with hints of tobacco. Acids are still quite juicy, while the mid-palate is a touch warming. Very good length on the long, earthy-savoury finish accented by green pepper notes. Has aged quite well. Drink soon. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October 12, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Cabernet Sauvignon + Rioja

LCBO Wine Picks: October 12, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme from the October 12, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features Cabernet Sauvignon wines from around the globe, while the mini-theme focuses on food-friendly wines from Rioja. All of these wines, plus those from the main release will be available on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday. If you're looking for some great wines for holiday gift-giving, you should definitely consider some of the wines from this Release.

We'll begin with the main theme that focuses on the Red Giant - Cabernet Sauvignon varietal that is grown in many regions from Bordeaux to California. There are quite a few quality wines among the thirteen featured, but only two are included among my top Cabernet Sauvignon wine recommendations from this LCBO VINTAGES Release. First up is the lovely 2010 Ségla from a blockbuster vintage and is a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaux on the left bank. The only other Cab Sauv among my wine picks is from Coonawarra in Australia. Lastly, the Château Pierre de Montignac (90 pts) came through VINTAGES in April but is also featured in this Release, so it's not listed below but is nonetheless a worthy buy.

Ségla 2010 (92 pts)Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

From the feature on wines from Rioja, five of the eight wines are included among my top wine picks, and all five are blends based on Tempranillo, the King of Spanish red wines, and range in vintage. We'll start with the oldest, a 1998 Reserva that is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo/Graciano, while the 2009 Reserva is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. There are a pair of 2012 Rioja Gran Reserva's - the Baron de Ley is mainly Tempranillo, while the Cune is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. Lastly, the 2016 Crianza is composed of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 5% Mazuelo.

Urbina Especial Reserva 1998 (92 pts)La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva 2009 (93 pts)

Cune Gran Reserva 2012 (92 pts)Barón de Ley Gran Reserva 2012 (91 pts)

Rioja Vega Crianza 2016 (88 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a Saint Chinian that is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault, while the Rhône red consists of mainly Grenache and Syrah. From Australia, the GMS consists of 55% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Shiraz, while the icon wine from Chile is a blend of 92% Carmenere and 8% Petit Verdot.

Montes Purple Angel 2016 (92 pts)M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône Grenache/Syrah 2017 (90 pts)

Calmel & Joseph Saint Chinian 2015 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the white from Veneto is a unique blend of 40% Garganega, 35% Cortese/Incrocio Manzoni, 15% Trebbianello, and 10% Trebbiano Toscano, while the Paso Robles wine is composed of 44% Viognier, 24% Marsanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 12% Roussanne. Among the single varietal wines, The Saint-Véran is made with Chardonnay, while the Muscadet is made with Melon de Bourgogne. For sweet wine lovers, the Niagara Riesling will be off-dry, while the Riesling Spätlese will be very sweet.

Monte del Frá Ca' del Magro 2016 (89 pts)Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2016 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • CALMEL & JOSEPH SAINT CHINIAN 2015 - AP, Languedoc, France (#010623) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#471854) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BELLERUCHE CÔTES DU RHÔNE GRENACHE/SYRAH 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#328831) (D) - $16.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JIM BARRY COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#677476) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SCHILD ESTATE GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE/SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#108183) (XD) - $19.95
  • CORIOLE ESTATE GROWN SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#931600) (XD) - $24.95

  • CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $28.95  92 pts  wine review
  • BARÓN DE LEY GRAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#642496) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646885) (XD) - $35.00  FE  91+ pts  wine review
  • URBINA ESPECIAL RESERVA 1998 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#010723) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LA RIOJA ALTA VIÑA ARDANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#315531) (XD) - $54.95  93 pts  wine review
  • MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2016 - DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#062364) (XD) - $62.95  92 pts  wine review
  • SÉGLA 2010 - Second wine of Château Rauzan-Ségla, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#359810) (XD) - $68.95  92 pts  wine review
Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)

White Wine:

  • LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#363150) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $19.95
  • TERRES SECRÈTES LES PRÉLUDES SAINT-VÉRAN 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#016725) (XD) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (D) - $19.95
  • MONTE DEL FRÁ CA’ DEL MAGRO 2016 - DOC Custoza Superiore, Veneto, Italy (#165670) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • RAPAURA SPRINGS WAIRAU CLASSIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#924704) (XD) - $21.95
  • KARL ERBES ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2016 - Qualitätswein, Mosel, Germany (#011721) (S) - $26.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • TABLAS CREEK CÔTES DE TABLAS BLANC 2017 - Adelaida District, Paso Robles, California, USA (#036616) (XD) - $37.95  FE
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CHARDONNAY 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#701748) (XD) - $74.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CAVES D’ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL ROSÉ 2018 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#491027) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
Caves d'Esclans Rock Angel Rosé 2018 (91 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSÉ 2013 - Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#004085) (XD) - $24.95
  • LE BRUN DE NEUVILLE GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#011131) (XD) - $85.95  92 pts  wine review
Le Brun de Neuville Grand Vintage Brut Champagne 2008 (92 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • ROYAL TOKAJI LATE HARVEST TOKAJI 2017 - PDO, Hungary (#517375) (S) (500 mL) - $21.95


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  • Friday, October 4, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Friday, September 20, 2019

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia that will be coming to the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Wakefield Wines, which is owned and operated by the Taylor family that believes great wines are made in the vineyard. This particular red wine comes from their Estate line of wines which are crafted with care, seek to capture the essence of the vineyard site, and the pure varietal expression of the grape.

The fruit for this wine was harvested from the Taylor family estate vineyard in Clare Valley and was fermented in the winery's original "Potter" fermenters which allow for excellent control of skin maceration, colour, and tannin extraction. After gently pressing the wine into French oak barrels for completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine was matured for 12 months in mostly used barrels prior to blending and bottling.

Like the 2017 Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay that I enjoyed in July, this bottle also has a touch-activated temperature sensor on the back label that will tell you the ideal temperature to drink this wine.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (D) - $19.95
Screw cap. This has a medium intensity nose that is herbally, minty, and green, surrounding a core of cassis and blackberry notes. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with more minty green flavours mingling with blackberry, cassis, wood spice, and sweet tobacco flavours. It has food-friendly acidity and soft, supple tannins that offer a touch of grip. Earthy and oak spice notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Score: 88 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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  • 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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