Showing posts with label canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label canada. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review



wine review is a Niagara Chardonnay that was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Palatine Hills Estate Winery has some of the area's oldest vineyards which are nestled among the historic hills of beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. The property has been carefully cultivated over the past 40 years by John and Barbara Neufeld. In the early years, they were among the first wine growers in Niagara and John Sr. was Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. Over time, they learned to master the art of grape growing and recognized that winemaking begins in the vineyard, a core principle of the winery.

Today, Palatine Hills is still family owned & operated, going on two generations of the Neufeld family that shares their passion of the winery's soil. As in the past, they aim to continue to maintain the same respect and awe for their land they had first discovered, knowing that it is truly expressed in the fruits of their labour.

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALATINE HILLS NEUFELD VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#577742) (XD) - $24.95
Very ripe on the nose with mango, baked apple, vanilla, and sweet oak aromas in the glass. It is medium-bodied on the palate with oak-driven baked apple, buttery vanilla, banana and hints of citrus flavours. A touch of smoke and walnut notes appear on the juicy finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


Monday, November 19, 2018

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  • Monday, November 19, 2018

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a very interesting natural, organic and biodynamic orange wine produced by Southbrook Vineyards. Technically, orange wines are now known as a skin-fermented white wines. Southbrook has produced this style of wine under the guiding hands of winemaker Ann Sperling for several years now, with latest rendition being the 2017 vintage that was bottled in January and released for sale in June.

The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested from Southbrook's Estate in the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Small lots of grapes, including stems, were cluster-sorted and foot-trodden before undergoing wild yeast and malolactic fermentation over 30 days. After gentle pressing, the wine was naturally chilled outdoors, settled, and bottled without any filtration or additives, and is free of sulphites.

This orange wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and available for purchase through the winery and soon at the LCBO.

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK VIDAL SKIN FERMENTED WHITE ORANGE WINE 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#628065) (XD) - $29.95
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. Cloudy orange colour. Highly fragrant nose offers aromas of citrus and black tea leaves with hints of floral and sage. More pronounced tart citrus, floral, and black tea flavours are well-balanced on the nicely textured, medium-bodied palate. Dry mouthfeel with some chalkiness. Acids are bright and balanced. Some tea, sage and earthy notes linger on the long finish. I'll be honest, I have tasted previous vintages and never really been a big fan of this wine, but this latest vintage is very compelling and engaging. Highly recommended. Best with a light chill. Score: 91 pts


Friday, November 16, 2018

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  • Friday, November 16, 2018

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, organic Chardonnay from Southbrook Vineyards, one of the leading producer of organic and biodynamic wines in Niagara. This white wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is available for purchase through the winery and in LCBO VINTAGES.

Founded in 1991, Southbrook Vineyards is the epitome and evolution of co-owners Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier's love story with wine, the land, and all things local. Southbrook also has taken a leadership role in sustainability, including third-party endorsements such as LEED Gold for architecture and Intervin Winery of the Year, as well as obtaining biodynamic and organic certifications, which affirms the Redelmeier's goal to inspire others to commit to sustainability, pursue their passions, and create fine wines.

Having tasted each of the past 4 vintages of this lovely Chardonnay, this has proven to been a fairly consistent, high-quality white wine, which continues with the 2016 vintage. It should come as no surprise as Chardonnay is truly one of the great grape varietals produced in Niagara, especially when placed in the hands of internationally-acclaimed winemaker at Southbrook, Ann Sperling.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (XD) - $24.95
Stelvin screw cap. Subtle nose of apple, pear and cereal, with hints of vanilla and oak. The medium-full bodied palate offers much more, with very interesting mealy flavours combined with nuts, honey, lemon, and vanilla layered on top of ripe white and yellow fruit. Oak is firmly in the background. Nicely textured with bright acids lifting the palate. Mealy, nutty, and citrus notes linger on the long finish. Not your typical Chardonnay, but indeed a fine expression. Serve with just a light chill. Score: 89 pts


Sunday, October 7, 2018

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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)


Saturday, September 22, 2018

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  • Saturday, September 22, 2018

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review (Bottle 3)

Diving into my cellar, tonight's wine review is bottle #3 from a case I ordered in 2016 through VINI - a wine app that no longer seems to be available. This cool-climate Chardonnay was also came to LCBO VINTAGES this summer on July 8th.

The 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay was drinking exceptionally well when I opened a bottle back in July 2017. Fast forward to this year, I tasted this lovely wine at a trade tasting in the spring and it was showing considerable reductive qualities, albeit still quite pleasing. Let's see how this white wine from Closson Chase Winery - one of my favourite wineries in Prince Edward County, Ontario - is tasting tonight...

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95
Pours a medium yellow gold. Subtle, reductive aromatics offer apple and pear notes, with layers of buttered popcorn, smoke, vanilla and hints of caramel coming through with air. It is elegant on the medium-bodied, maturing and complex palate, with cooked apple, smoke, butter, and pear flavours, along with some stony minerality and hints of lemon. Acids are still quite fresh and lift the palate. Very good length on the stony-lemony finish. A maturing wine to be enjoyed over the next year or so. Score: 90+ pts


Thursday, September 13, 2018

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  • Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a locally made white wine made with Viognier, a varietal not commonly grown here in Ontario.

It is produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd., a large winery based in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. This particular wine was sourced from high quality Niagara vineyards and gently pressed in pneumatic bladder style presses. It was then cool fermented in stainless steel for 14 days at 16ºC, followed by ageing in stainless steel tanks and cold stabilized and bottled to preserve natural and typical fruit characters.

I picked up this delicious white wine while visiting the winery in the spring, and you can too as it is only available at the winery or through their online web store.

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. This has a tart and floral nose with orange blossom, lime citrus, and a whiff of anise and herbally aromas. On the mid-weighted palate, it has vibrant, crunchy acids supporting the citrus, floral, and herbal flavours. There's a touch of candied lime giving off an impression of sweetness. Good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, September 2, 2018

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  • Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wine Reviews from August 5, 2018 Birthday Party

Wine Line-up for Aug. 5 Birthday Party

Last month, we held a birthday party for my toddler daughter and a few of her close friends. And for the adults - there was wine!

The dry rosé was easily the most popular wine at the party, while the Riesling and Shiraz were a close second. All three wines are fairly recent releases to VINTAGES, so you should be able to pick up a bottle at your local LCBO. Full wine reviews are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
Glass enclosure. The medium+ intensity nose has appealing aromas of grapefruit, citrus, spring meadow and herbally notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has clean and crisp acids with nice texture. Herbally and grapefruit flavours on the dry flavour profile. Touch honeyed, with some bitterness on the long finish. Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Enjoy over the next 18 months. Part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection and released as part of the May 12 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely limestone mineral and petrol aromas mingle with white peach and citrus. It's medium-sweet with nicely balanced acids and flavours with white peach, orange zest, citrus, and green apple flavours with hints of mineral. Tart fruited, lip-smacking finish, with very good length. July 21 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Full wine review here.

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (88+ pts)


Saturday, September 1, 2018

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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


Friday, August 17, 2018

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  • Friday, August 17, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 2 of 2)

Huff Estates
Last , I visited Prince Edward County for the very first time. Winery visits occurred over two days, and while the in The County included only visits to two wineries, the featured visits to five wineries. All of the wineries on the second day were situated near the village of Hillier in Prince Edward County. I was very excited to taste the County minerality that the region is so well-known for.

The day began with heavy rains during the visit to Huff Estates. A quick run from the car to their modern, state-of-the-art facility that also includes an Inn, and I was inside their tasting room ready to taste the first wines of the day. One of the more interesting things I discovered here was a delicious Riesling "Verre de Vin" - a single glass of wine enclosed by screw cap in a clear container. Huff Estates is known as a premium, quality wine producer and the wine I was most looking forward to trying was their elegant South Bay Chardonnay, but unfortunately it was sold out. It also seemed like the harsh winters of 2014 and 2015, plus a frost in May 2015 hit them hard as the shelves seemed a little bare, with quite a few wines bearing the VQA Ontario appellation. The wines I did taste were very good, and since this post is focused on Prince Edward County wines, I can tell you that the Cuvée Peter F. Huff (reviewed below) is a lovely sparkling wine from The County. For those heading to Prince Edward County this summer, they have now added a wood-fired pizza oven to their restaurant.

Huff Estates Riesling "Verre de Vin"Norman Hardie Wood-Fired Pizza

The rains continued as we visited the second winery, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard. My research revealed that the pizza at Norman Hardie's is delicious, so we stopped here for lunch and enjoyed the wood-fired pizza inside among the barrels and tanks (instead of on the outdoor patio) because it was still raining. After lunch, I moved upstairs to the tasting bar and tasted some of Norm's latest wines. Once again, not many VQA Prince Edward County wines here as they were sold out, while newer vintages were not yet bottled. However, the quality of the wines I got to taste was very good, as expected.

Stanners Vineyard

Our third stop of the was at Stanners Vineyard, a small family vineyard and boutique winery that was started by Cliff and his son, Colin Stanner. As I headed inside through the side door of the homestead, I found winemaker Colin pouring his delicious wines at the tasting bar. Not many wines were available for tasting, but I was delighted to see mostly County fruit being poured. I tasted through the lineup and was really impressed with The County wines - a Pinot Gris and a pair of Pinot Noir wines.

Lacey Estates

I'd heard many good things about Lacey Estates, the fourth winery of the day, so we made an unplanned stop because we were driving along and it happened to be en route. On this day, they were pouring four wines, and only one was VQA Prince Edward County. However, as I learned, even though the some of the bottles were labelled as VQA Ontario, all of the wines contained 100% Prince Edward County fruit. I really liked a couple of wines, as they were quite delicious, but I had tasted these before. Since I visited at the end of a very busy season, they were sold out of most of their wines, but I do think they have some quality wines worth seeking out.

Closson Chase Vineyards

The last visit of the day was at Closson Chase Vineyards, one of Prince Edward County's wine industry pioneers. I've tasted many delicious wines from their portfolio over the years, but on this day I decided to try only their lineup of Pinot Noir wines. Closson Chase was one of the few wineries in Prince Edward County to use only County fruit in all of their wines that I tasted. The three Pinots I tasted on this day were all top-notch wines. This quality-driven winery, with winemaker Keith Tyers at the helm, produces fine wines across their range and is a must visit for any Pinot Noir or Chardonnay fan.

Closson Chase Pinot Noir Lineup

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with my first ever visit to Prince Edward County while visiting 7 wineries. However, given that there are more than 40+ wineries in the region, and growing every year, another trip to The County is definitely in order. After years of procrastinating about visiting Prince Edward County for many years, I think I want to visit this up-and-coming wine region every year.

Tasting Notes:

HUFF ESTATES CUVÉE PETER F. HUFF 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#198754) (XD) - $40
A sparkling wine made with 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir, this has terrific aromatic intensity with lemon curd, brioche, and pastry aromas in a honeyed profile. It's medium-full bodied with honeyed lemon, grapefruit, and ginger flavours that are lifted by crisp, lively acids. Mousse is very fine and well-balanced. Off-dry flavours linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2011 (91 pts)Huff Estates South Bay Merlot 2015 (88 pts)

HUFF ESTATES SOUTH BAY MERLOT 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
This Merlot spent 20 months in French oak, and it shows with oak-driven, bretty, tobacco, cigar leaf notes sitting atop blackberry and dark fruit aromas of medium+ intensity. On the palate it's medium-full bodied with grippy tannins. It has dark fruits, blackberry, earth, and forest floor flavours along with hints of cola and brambly fruit. It has very good acidity and a long finish. Age this 3+ years and drink to 2024. Score: 88 pts

NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#131169) (D) - $21
The medium+ intensity nose is fresh with citrus, lemon/lime, orange and peach aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with very good acids and nice aroma replays and touches of beeswax and honeysuckle. There's a nice mineral note throughout. Off-dry and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Norman Hardie Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Norman Hardie Calcaire 2016 (89 pts)

NORMAN HARDIE CALCAIRE 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23
With grapes sourced from both Prince Edward County and Niagara, this is a blend of nearly 50/50 Riesling and Chardonnay, plus minute amounts of Pinot Gris, that was co-fermented on the lees. It has elegant, medium-high intensity aromas of orange, lemon citrus, mineral and white peach that also shows up in appealing fashion on the dry palate with a chalky texture. Delicate acids. Nice mineral aftertaste on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29
Highly aromatic and ripe with herbaceous, dark currant, dark berry, blackberry aromas along with leafy, barnyard and oak nuances forming the complex aroma profile. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice, complex aroma replays surrounded by chalky, drying tannins. Acids are clean and well-balanced, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 90 pts

Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Pinot Gris Cuivré 2016 (90 pts)

STANNERS PINOT GRIS CUIVRÉ 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28
Bottled just three weeks prior to my visit, this has pretty tropical fruit, melon, floral, and orange blossom aromas that continue very nicely on the palate. It's dry, focused, well-balanced and has fresh, vibrant acids. Finish length is very good. Score: 90 pts

STANNERS PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#490359) (XD) - $35
Released two months ago, this has a complex medium intensity nose of cherry, currant, raspberry with hints of tea leaf, earth and mushroom. It's light-weighted with smooth, fine tannins and flavours of currant, cherry, beetroot and earth. It has energetic acids and a long, curranty finish. Score: 90 pts

Stanners Pinot Noir 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)

STANNERS BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39
This has a medium-high intensity nose with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and whiffs of herbal leaf and limestone minerality, all of which show up on the nicely balanced palate. The smooth, refined tannins have some structure, while the acids are bright and the finish is long and juicy. Age this another year and drink to 2022. Score: 90+ pts

LACEY CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Medium-high intensity and complex  aromas of dark currant, herbally, blackberry, tobacco leaf, and smoke. It has bright acids on a medium-full bodied palate with very nice aroma replays and tannins that are a touch grippy. Pleasantly savoury on the mid-palate, while the finish is earthy with very good length. Drink over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

LACEY DORLAND RESERVE 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc, this has a medium+ intensity nose of cassis, currants, red & black fruits, cedar oak, and a whiff or dried fruit. It's full-bodied with olive and aroma replays, chalky tannins, and bright acids. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts

Lacey Dorland Reserve 2012 (88 pts)Closson Chase Hillier Pinot Noir 2013 (90+ pts)

CLOSSON CHASE HILLIER PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
Colour turning garnet orange. Highly aromatic and complex with cherry liqueur, oak spice, nutmeg and beet root aromas. It's medium+ bodied with very nice beetroot and cherry dominant aroma replays. Tannins are silky smooth. Still has bright acids. The finish length is excellent. This is showing some maturity, but should continue to drink well over the next few years. Score: 90+ pts

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#145888) (XD) - $29.95
The nose is highly aromatic and fragrant with cherry, strawberry, beetroot and freshly tilled earth notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has very nice aroma replays that are nicely balanced and lifted by fresh acids. It has fine tannins and a very long finish with lingering currant, cherry, raspberry notes with hints of oak spice. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90+ pts

Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noir 2014 (91 pts)

CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
This is a dark Pinot with a highly aromatic nose of dark berries, blackberry, complex oak spices, tea leaf and earthy forest floor nuances that continue on the palate with great complexity. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple, crunchy tannins that have some grip and partnered with juicy acids. The lengthy finish ends with earthy-minerally nuances. Drink to 2024. Score: 91 pts


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Marynissen Chardonnay 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

white wine review is an oaked Chardonnay from Marynissen Estates Winery in Niagara. While a previous vintage has shown up in LCBO VINTAGES, this wine is currently only available through the winery.

Marynissen Estates Winery was founded after the property - which is located in the Four Mile Creek sub-Appellation at the base of the Niagara Escarpment and contained an existing vineyard - was purchased in 1953 by viticulture pioneer John Marynissen and his wife Adrianna (Nanny) who immigrated to Canada from Holland.

In 1975, they began planting European vinifera grape varietals. John was one of the first grape growers in Canada to plant vinifera grapes, at a time when most people thought it could not be done. Cabernet Sauvignon was added to the vineyard in 1978 is now the oldest commercial planting in Canada and the pride of the estate.

The vineyards rich history was born out of a strong devotion to the land, pioneering spirit and passion for excellence. The Marynissen family spent decades watching over the vines, hand farming and harvesting to craft award-winning wines. Sadly, John passed away in January 2009, while his daughter, Sandra, retired. However, their family legacy and vision for the winery remains intact.

Marynissen Chardonnay 2014 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARYNISSEN CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#907683) (XD) - $15.95
Binned apple and lemon aromas from the cork. In the glass, the medium intensity nose has buttery, binned apple, lemon, and tropical fruit aromas, a touch reductive, and hints of butterscotch and earth. On the medium-bodied palate, it is clearly an oaked Chardonnay with buttery, baked apple, lemon peel, and sweet oak flavours. Food friendly acids lift the palate, while the finish is juicy with good length. Shows best with some aeration and only a slight chill. Score: 86 pts


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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  • Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Morgan Vineyard Kerner 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a unique white wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

The Kerner grape is an aromatic white grape variety that was bred in Germany in 1929 by crossing Trollinger (a red grape variety) with Riesling. Today, most Kerner plantings are in Germany, while some are also grown in Austria, Switzerland, and South Tyrol (in Northern Italy).

With only a few vineyards in Niagara producing Kerner, this wine by Lakeview Cellars comes from the Morgan Vineyard located on the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation. Approximately 2 acres of vines are 20+ years old, and are all planted on sandy soils. This wine has been produced since at least the 2000 vintage. Let's see how the 2017 is tasting tonight...

Lakeview Cellars Morgan Vineyard Kerner 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS MORGAN VINEYARD KERNER 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443614) (D) - $17.95
Screw cap. The generous nose has white floral, ripe apple and peach aromas, with some honeyed and grapey notes. It's off-dry on the palate with more apple, floral, and peach flavours lifted by bright acidity. There's some bitterness on the honeyed-floral finish, with good length. A casual sipper to enjoy on a hot summer's day. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, August 5, 2018

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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 1 of 2)

Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
During long weekend in October, after many years of procrastinating, I finally managed to get out to Prince Edward County for the first time - ever!

Prince Edward County (a.k.a. The County) is located along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, west of Kingston. Tastings were spread out over two days. Since we were returning from a mini-vacation in Ottawa, I was able to visit only two wineries near the Village of Milford on the first day.

The first stop on was Long Dog Vineyard & Winery - owner of the oldest Chardonnay & Pinot Noir vines in The County, with the oldest vines planted in 1999. I had the pleasure to speak with owner and winemaker James Lahti, who took us into the production facility (a large shed) where all the action happens, including an opportunity to see Pinot Noir grapes undergoing fermentation - fascinating! The next stop was the barrel room where various wines were being aged in French oak. We were able to taste a few barrel samples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - all of which seemed to be coming along quite nicely. We then went to the tasting room to taste through Long Dog's current offering. I thought his Pinot Noir wines were outstanding, as each offered something different. Wine reviews of my favourite wines at Long Dog are posted below.

James Lahti - Long Dog Vineyard & WineryLong Dog Vineyard & Winery - Barrel Room

The second stop was a visit to Lighthall Vineyards to see Glenn Symons and taste a few of his very limited production, quality wines. As I found out when I arrived, production is very limited and wines sell out quickly, as there were only two wines available for tasting, with the four or five other wines sold out. Both of the wines I did try were delicious. Of course, I was disappointed at the lack of availability of the other wines. On the plus side, I also got to taste some of their delicious cheese that they make on-site. Lighthall is Canada's first wine and cheese producer that makes both under the same roof. A return to Lighthall will be necessary, and contacting the winery ahead of time to see what's available is highly recommended.

Lighthall VineyardsLighthall Vineyards

At the suggestion of the June Motel - a lovely, wine-themed motel located in Picton, Ontario, where we spent the night and that I would recommend in a heartbeat - we had dinner at Parsons Brewing Company as well as enjoyed a beer tasting flight. Besides the tasty craft beer and delicious, home-style cooked meal, this brewery/restaurant is ideal for those with young children as there is a playground on-site where kids can go and play while the adults enjoy their food & beverage.

June Motel

June Motel

Parsons Brewing CompanyParsons Brewing Company - Beer Flight

After we checked out of "The June" the following day - we will definitely come back, without the kids - we began another day full of wine tastings. A full review of activities will be posted shortly is now posted here.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines are posted below. To order any of the wines from Long Dog or Lighthall, please contact the winery directly.

Tasting Notes:

LONG DOG BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
Medium-high intensity aromatics are mature in nature with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beet root and baking spice aromas and flavours. It's light-bodied with smooth, fine tannins that are integrated very well. Acids are still quite lively. Whiffs of mineral on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish. Fine, mature Pinot that will continue to drink well for a few more years. Score: 90 pts

Long Dog Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2011 (90 pts)Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2012 (89 pts)

LONG DOG TOP DOG PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $26
From a hot vintage, this has ripe and perfumed cherry liqueur, strawberry, and oak spice aromas of medium intensity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with crunchy tannins that have some grip and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. There's some warmth mid-palate, but is balanced by the concentrated fruit. Long finish. Enjoy with turkey over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts

Long Dog The Otto Pinot Noir 2013 (91 pts)

LONG DOG THE OTTO PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Made only in the best years, this has a lovely, intense red-fruited nose of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with earth and oak spice aromas. It's elegant and focused, with very nice aroma replays on the medium-bodied palate with some creaminess mid-palate. It has clean, balanced acids and fine, structured tannins. Finish length is excellent. Will age gracefully for 6-8 years. Score: 91 pts

LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION SPARKLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#468090) (D) - $20
From Vidal grapes on the Lighthall property in Prince Edward County and made using the Charmat method, this is quite fragrant with lemon/lime, pear, white peach and floral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a light mousse and off-dry aroma replays led by citrus and tropical fruits. The finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2016 (88 pts)Lighthall Ramirez Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

LIGHTHALL RAMIREZ CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From the Ramirez Vineyard in Hillier, this has medium-high intensity aromas featuring pear, apple, and subtle vanilla oak nuances. The medium-bodied palate is creamy with nice aroma replays. Clean acids are slightly tart, but otherwise well-balanced. Touches of mineral on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts


Saturday, July 28, 2018

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  • Saturday, July 28, 2018

Joseph's Estate Proprietor's Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc 2004 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is from Joseph's Estate Wines, a family owned and operated winery whose history goes back even further than when it first opened its doors in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1996.

Dr. Joseph Pohorly was born in Vineland, Ontario, to a farmer's son and learned how to grow grapes and other fruit crops. With time, he gained knowledge of the land, geography, and climate that makes Niagara's viticultural area special. In 1979, Joseph founded Newark Winery in Virgil, one of the three original wineries in Niagara and helped the lay the foundation for the growth of the Ontario wine industry.

When Dr. Pohorly sold a majority share of Newark Winery in 1982, the new German owners changed the name to Hillebrand and encouraged him to produce Icewine. If you visit the winery, you will get a close look attheir first ever Icewine press stationed outside the front door.

In 1992, Joseph purchased a 20-acre site in the heart of Niagara Wine Country and planted the site with vineyards to become Joseph's Estate Wines. The Niagara winery is known to produce award-winning wines, while also ageing their wines for many years prior to release, such as this current-release 2004 Cabernet Franc (available at winery only and online web store). In addition to table wines, they also produce port-style, sherry, and grape seed oil.

Joseph's Estate Proprietor's Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc 2004 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

JOSEPH'S ESTATE PROPRIETOR'S GRAND RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2004 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
No review since this bottle seems flawed. However, since I also tasted this wine (and enjoyed it) when I visited the winery a couple of months ago, I am including my tasting note from that visit.

11 years in barrel and only 2 barrels produced. This has a medium+ intensity nose offering tobacco, cherry, and leather aromas in a sour-edged profile. It's medium-bodied on the crunchy palate with supple tannins that are quite smooth, vibrant acids, and an earthy-savoury mid-palate with sweet tobacco flavours. Very good finish length. Tasted May/2018. Score: 89 pts


Sunday, July 22, 2018

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  • Sunday, July 22, 2018

Backyard Vineyards Nosey Neighbour Cabernet Franc 2015 & EastDell Pinot Noir 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Lakeview Wine Co. Wines
wine reviews are a pair of wines produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd. Based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this large wine producer has many brands within their portfolio, including EastDell, 20 Bees, FRESH Wines, McMichael Collection, Dan Aykroyd, Lakeview Cellars, and more recently, Backyard Vineyards.

The Backyard Vineyards brand has it's roots coming from an award-winning British Columbia winery that Diamond Estates recently acquired. The label is identical to the B.C. wine, except this wine is VQA Niagara Peninsula and is made using only Cabernet Franc, whereas the B.C. version is a blend. There is a companion White to the Red (reviewed below), and I suspect more wines bearing the Backyard Vineyards name will be coming down the pipeline.

EastDell Estates was founded 1999 by Michael East and the Late Susan O’Dell, and was located on Locust Lane in Beamsville, Ontario. It later merged with Diamond Estates in 2005. EastDell wines are known to be casual in nature and quite easy-drinking. However, they are also crafted with just enough sophistication and style for special occasions.

In addition to finding Lakeview Wine Co.'s wines on premises at their winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, they also have an online web store. Many of their wines can also be found at the LCBO.

Tasting Note:

BACKYARD VINEYARDS NOSEY NEIGHBOUR CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469247) (D) - $14.95
100% Cabernet Franc. Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose leads with typical herbaceous notes followed by blackberry, spice, peppery aromas, and hints of cedar oak. It's medium+ bodied and a touch sweet with ripe blackberry, dark berry, plum, grilled pepper and oak spice flavours surrounded by juicy acids. It's a touch warm on the mid-palate. Supple tannins offer some structure and grip. The finish length is very good with grilled pepper and oak spice notes. Drink over the next 2-3 years. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 87 pts

Backyard Vineyards Nosey Neighbour Cabernet Franc 2015 (87 pts)EastDell Pinot Noir 2016 (87 pts)

EASTDELL PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#613059) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. The soft nose has earthy and cherry aromas with hints of beetroot. It's light-to-medium bodied on the dry palate with supple tannins adding nice texture. Fresh acids are well-balanced. Notes of cranberry, cherry and red plum with hints of vanilla on the flavour profile. Good length on the finish with savoury and bitter chocolate notes. Honest Pinot for casual fare. Will be available for purchase next month. Score: 87 pts


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