Showing posts with label champagne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label champagne. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018 - Top Wines



2018 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
On a cold night in November, I attended the 24th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - a 4-day event that ran through . The first night was VIP Preview Night and attendance seemed a bit lighter than previous years. There also seemed to be fewer food and wine booths, but more craft breweries. Since my focus was mostly on the wines, I traversed the floor seeking some of the finest on offer and had a great time chatting with familiar faces en route.

Some of the highlights included wines in the Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, and at the Kolonaki Group booth where they featured many lovely Greek wines. There were also some fine wines at Wines from Spain, Wines of South Africa, Villa Maria Wines of New Zealand, and Grenache Wines booths. Here are some of my favourites from the show. All of these wines are available via the LCBO unless otherwise noted. Thank you Foodies on Foot for the tickets I won through their online contest!


CHAMPAGNE CUVÉE CARBON BRUT - AC, France (XD) - $350  92 pts
The official Champagne of Formula 1. Exclusive bottle wrapped in carbon looks awesome! Available via Bianchi & Nero.

Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut (92 pts)Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)

VIDAL LEGACY CHARDONNAY 2016 - Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (#570895) (XD) - $60  93 pts

CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts

Cune Gran Reserva 2011 (92 pts)Mega Spileo Grand Cave Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (91 pts)

MEGA SPILEO GRAND CAVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#539924) (XD) - $27.95  91 pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

MARTIN BERDUGO RESERVA 2010 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#233741) (XD) - $38  91 pts

Martin Berdugo Reserva 2010 (91 pts)Te Awa Left Field Syrah 2015 (90+ pts)

TE AWA LEFT FIELD SYRAH 2015 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#377837) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts

ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $32  90+ pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

Argyros Assyrtiko 2017 (90+ pts)Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90 pts

ONTAÑÓN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#725895) (XD) - $25.95  90 pts

Ontañón Reserva 2010 (90 pts)Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2015 (89 pts)

GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE  / GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, France (#413245) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts

UMBERTO CESARI LIANO SANGIOVESE / CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - IGT Rubicone, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#225086) (D) - $27.95  88 pts

Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)


Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut
Kolonaki Group - ShopGreekWine.com
Foods & Wine from Spain
Wines of South Africa
Garnacha and Grenache Wines


Monday, December 3, 2018

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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Dec. 8, 2018: Food Wines + Champagne

LCBO Wine Picks: December 8, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the final Release of the year and features fine wines for food as its main theme, while the mini-theme highlights Champagne for holiday celebrations. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that lists twenty food wines for your holiday celebrations, six of which are included among my top wine picks. For elegant dinners, an elegant Châteauneuf-du-Pape that consists of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Counoise / Muscardin / Vaccarèse / Cinsault. For big family feasts, try a Chardonnay or the Gran Medalla Malbec, both from Argentina. For a casual open house, try the casual red from South Africa that is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, or the Côtes du Rhône which is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. Last, but not lease, for wine and cheese, try the slightly off-dry Charles Baker Riesling.

Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 (91 pts)Charles Baker B-Side Riesling 2017 (90 pts)

In the mini-theme, there are seven Champagnes to add some sparkle to your holiday season, and two are included among my wine picks. Both of my Champagne recommendations use traditional grapes, with the Ruinart consisting of 49% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 11% Pinot Meunier, while the Veuve Clicquot consists of 61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier.

From the red wines in the rest of the Release, there is a Languedoc red that consists of 69% Syrah and 31% Grenache. If you enjoy Chianti Classico, the Primocolle is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino, while the Gabbiano Riserva is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot. From Australia, the Ode to Lorraine consists of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Shiraz, 5% and Merlot, while the Meritage from British Columbia consists of 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 12% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot. From Bordeaux, the Croix Canon is majority Merlot, with Cabernet Franc completing the blend. And, last but not least, the iconic Solaia is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese in support.

Villa Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)Gérard Bertrand Syrah/Grenache 2015 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Roussillon is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne. The Fumé Blanc is a Sauvignon Blanc that was barrel-fermented and aged in oak, but also includes a small amount of Semillon. For those that prefer sweeter white wines, any of the Ontario Riesling's should satisfy your palate.

Since this is the final Release of 2018, you may want to pick up a sparkling wine for New Year's Eve celebrations. The Cremant de Bourgogne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, and Aligoté, and the outstanding bubbly from Henry of Pelham is made with Chardonnay and aged for 60 months is bottle prior to disgorgement.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release!

Red Wine:

  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2014 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $16.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015 - AP Languedoc, France (#413237) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TRAPICHE MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#547869) (XD) - $17.00  89 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA CERNA PRIMOCOLLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#573501) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DI GABBIANO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#216309) (XD) - $22.95
  • J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION MON COEUR CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#995548) (XD) - $22.95
Trapiche Medalla Malbec 2014 (89 pts)

  • TRAPICHE GRAN MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#467977) (XD) - $24.95
  • ELDERTON ODE TO LORRAINE CABERNET SAUVIGNON/SHIRAZ/MERLOT 2015 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#976423) (XD) - $39.95
  • CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#959627) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • BURROWING OWL MERITAGE 2015 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#343038) (XD) - $57.95
  • FEL PINOT NOIR 2016 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (#309476) (XD) - $59.95  FE
  • CROIX CANON 2012 - Second wine of Château Canon, AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#671289) (XD) - $66.95
  • SOLAIA 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#987586) (XD) - $316.95

White Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2017 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $17.95
  • CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES CHARDONNAY 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#918805) (XD) - $19.95
  • WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • 13TH STREET JUNE’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (M) - $19.95
  • CHARLES BAKER B-SIDE RIESLING 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#523845) (M) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ROBERT MONDAVI FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#221887) (XD) - $22.95
  • ASTROLABE PROVINCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#010421) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOUDY BAY CHARDONNAY 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#359513) (XD) - $37.95
  • CAKEBREAD CELLARS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#709717) (XD) - $69.95
Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU ROUBINE LA VIE EN ROSE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#556639) (XD) - $15.75

Sparkling Wine:

  • BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France (#991562) (D) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2013 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (D) - $44.95
  • RUINART R DE RUINART BRUT CHAMPAGNE - With gift box, AC, France (#189878) (D) - $85.95
  • VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2008 - With gift box, AC, France (#588475) (XD) - $109.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU FILHOT SAUTERNES 2015 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#514679) (S) (#375 mL) - $24.95


Monday, December 4, 2017

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  • Monday, December 4, 2017

VINTAGES Release Dec. 9, 2017: Wines for Fêtes & Feasts + Bubblies

LCBO Wine Picks from December 9, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming VINTAGES Release is the last (and largest) release of 2017 and features Fine Wines for Fêtes & Feasts as its main theme. The mini-theme in this release features some very fine bubblies for festive occasions such as ringing in the New Year. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the feature listing fine wines for fêtes & feasts, which focuses on wines for holiday get-togethers. Of the eighteen wines listed, just two are included among my wine picks. The red wine is from Gérard Bertrand and is made with 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Mourvèdre, while the white wine is a Premier Cru Chablis (Chardonnay) from Burgundy.

From the bubblies mini-thematic which is composed of ten Champagnes, five are included among my top wine recommendations. The Cristal is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, while the Nicolas Feuillatte is blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The HBH is equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and aged at least 10 years on their sides. The Moët & Chandon is the 72nd vintage of this Champagne and this latest incarnation is composed of 40% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir and 23% Pinot Meunier. Lastly, the Rosé Champagne is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir that was vinified as a red wine.

Ornellaia 2014 (94 pts)Faustino I Gran Reserva 1994 (91 pts)

In red wines from the rest of the release, there are a pair of nice Portuguese reds - the DAC Tinto is a blend of 30% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 30% Touriga Nacional, 20% Alfrocheiro, and 20% Jaen, while the Quadrus is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Souzao. From Rhône, a pair of wines from the excellent 2015 vintage include the Les Grands Bois, which is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan, while the Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault. The Elderton from Australia is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Shiraz, and 7% Merlot, while the 1994 Spanish red is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. The blockbuster Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon also includes 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Lastly, the pair of Bolgheri's are the Antinori, which contains Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and the stellar Ornellaia that is a blend of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Petit Verdot.

Quadrus Reserva 2011 (90+ pts)Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling 2016 (88 pts)

For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to look at either Riesling from Ontario or the Gewürztraminer from British Columbia as all three wines are mildly sweet. For very sweet wines, check out the Riesling Spätlese from Germany or the Tokaji from Hungary.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this release! Happy holidays!

Red Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRENACHE / SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE CORBIÈRES 2014 - AP, Midi, France (#394288) (D) - $16.95
  • DAC TINTO 2014 - DO Dão, Portugal (#523589) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE LES GRANDS BOIS CUVÉE LES TROIS SOEURS CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#281147) (XD) - $16.95
  • DELHEIM SHIRAZ 2013 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#959080) (XD) - $17.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#029280) (XD) - $19.95
  • FEUDO MONTONI LAGNUSA NERO D’AVOLA 2014 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#523738) (XD) - $22.95
  • GEMTREE UNCUT SHIRAZ 2015 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#627844) (XD) - $28.95

  • QUADRUS RESERVA 2011 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#534271) (XD) - $30.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • ELDERTON ODE TO LORRAINE 2014 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#976423) (XD) - $39.95
  • ASCHERI BAROLO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#496851) (XD) - $49.95
  • LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#700922) (XD) - $65.95
  • FAUSTINO I GRAN RESERVA 1994 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#929489) (XD) - $68.95  91 pts  wine review
  • ANTINORI GUADO AL TASSO 2014 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#986380) (XD) - $109.95
  • JOSEPH PHELPS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#189795) (D) - $114.95
  • ORNELLAIA 2014 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#722470) (XD) - $199.95  94 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • CANTINA GALLURA PIRAS VERMENTINO DI GALLURA 2015 - DOCG, Sardinia, Italy (#511485) (XD) - $15.95
  • LA FORTEZZA TABURNO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2016 - DOC, Campania, Italy (#527630) (XD) - $16.95
  • MEGALOMANIAC NARCISSIST RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#067587) (D) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • DIRTY LAUNDRY THREADBARE VINES GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#514992) (D) - $19.95
  • FAMILIA ZUCCARDI Q CHARDONNAY 2016 - Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#232702) (XD) - $19.95
  • VALTEA ALBARIÑO 2016 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#518019) (XD) - $22.95
  • CHARLES BAKER IVAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#395921) (D) - $27.20  FSE
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#065573) (XD) - $27.95
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#912659) (S) - $27.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA MOTTE BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524306) (XD) - $42.95
  • PATZ & HALL CHARDONNAY 2015 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#200808) (XD) - $64.95  FSE

Sparkling Wine:

  • LABOURÉ-GONTARD BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France (#401018) (XD) - $20.95
  • NICOLAS FEUILLATTE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#240085) (D) - $56.95
  • LOUIS BROCHET HBH 1ER CRU CHAMPAGNE 2002 - AC, France (#385815) (XD) - $69.95
  • MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#069773) (XD) - $92.95
  • BILLECART-SALMON BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#724559) (XD) - $109.95
  • CRISTAL BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2009 - AC, France (#268755) (XD) - $304.95

Fortified:

  • SANDEMAN 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#116178) (S) - $64.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • WARRE’S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2004 - Bottled 2006, DOP, Portugal (#189605) (S) - $54.95
Sandeman 20-Year-Old Tawny Port (91+ pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • ROYAL TOKAJI LATE HARVEST TOKAJI 2015 - Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary (#517375) (S) (500 mL) - $19.95


Monday, November 13, 2017

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  • Monday, November 13, 2017

Buena Vista Winery Open House at Char Bar

Buena Vista Winery wine tasting at Char Bar
In , I was invited to a wine tasting at the Char No. 5 Whisky Bar located inside the Delta Hotel on Lower Simcoe Street in downtown Toronto to taste the wines from California's Buena Vista Winery. I was one of the first to arrive and had plenty of space to cozy up to the bar at the back where "The Count" was pouring the wines. After the venue was nicely filled up with patrons, The Count came out from behind the bar and began to tell us the interesting story about himself and the winery.

The story begins with Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesam, the self-proclaimed "The Count of Buena Vista", a grape-grower in his homeland of Hungary who was born into a wealthy, land-owning family and grew up amidst famed orchards and vineyards that had been in his family for centuries. In 1840, he set sail for America and settled with his family in Wisconsin, founding the town of "Szepataj" - now known as Sauk City. He was also the first to plant hops in Wisconsin, spurring the American beer industry. However, the harsh winters in Wisconsin were problematic for grape-growing, so he moved west to California and eventually settled in Sonoma in 1856 where he knew he could grow superb grapes on great terroir.

Buena Vista Winery was founded by The Count in 1857 on a converted ranch and produced 6,500 gallons in the first vintage and continued to grow and expand over the next few years. The Count inspired many others, including friend Charles Krug who borrowed a press from Buena Vista for crushing grapes in Napa Valley and helped pioneer winegrowing in that equally famous valley.

In 1861, The Count built California's first gravity-flow winery and visited Europe to study and report on methods used in the old world in order to improve Californian viniculture. Following this extensive journey with his son, he brought back thousands of vines and samples representing over 487 varieties, many of which were planted throughout the vineyards at Buena Vista Winery. Capitalizing on the knowledge gained, he authored a book which went on to become an essential handbook for California vintners.

The Count of Buena Vista
Later that decade, The Count left his prized winery and set out for Nicaragua to explore sugar growing and rum production. Unfortunately, his life ended abruptly in 1869 as he fell from a tree branch into an alligator-infested stream and was never to be heard from again. Back in Sonoma, without their visionary and widespread phylloxera setting in, Buena Vista Winery ceased production.

The winery was revived in the 1940's after the property was purchased by Frank and Antonia Bartholomew. In 2007, Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa (1812-1869), the eccentric Count of Buena Vista and California's foremost grape protagonist, was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America's Vintners Hall of Fame, where he joined the ranks of many other world-class vintners. In 2011, Buena Vista became part of Boisset Family Estates, a renowned and charismatic family with a collection of historic wineries and roots in Burgundy, France. Led in the U.S. by Jean-Charles Boisset, the family is committed to its partnership and continue the vision and legacy that The Count first created 150 years ago.

The performance was informative and a nice touch to the tasting. If you visit the winery in Sonoma,  you can enjoy the full unique experience with The Count and a light, sound and visual show. Given the compelling story of this winery, I just might make a point to visit Buena Vista on my next visit to Sonoma.

Thank you to Family Wine Merchants (FWM Canada) for the invite. Wine reviews of my favourite wines from this tasting are provided below. The Chardonnay is available in LCBO VINTAGES right now, while the two red wines will be coming through LCBO VINTAGES early next year. Please contact FWM Canada for more immediate needs or if you require large quantities.

The Count of Buena Vista

Tasting Notes:

BUENA VISTA LA VICTOIRE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (XD)
Blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. this has fragrant yeasty, leesy, bready and pastry aromas with a clean hint of lemon waft from the glass. It's medium-bodied and quite light on its feet with balanced acids and fine mousse. The long lasting finish has a fine lemony aftertaste. Classy. Score: 90 pts

Buena Vista La Victoire Brut Champagne (90 pts)Buena Vista North Coast Chardonnay 2015 (88 pts)

BUENA VISTA NORTH COAST CHARDONNAY 2015 - California, USA (#396440) (XD) - $20.75
Very Californian on the nose with medium+ aromatics of ripe pineapple, golden apple, butter and a whiff of minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied and creamy textured with ripe fruited pear and apple flavours, plus leesy and vanillin oak accents. It has bright acids and finishes long with some bitterness. Score: 88 pts

BUENA VISTA CARNEROS PINOT NOIR 2013 - California, USA (#304105) (XD) - $28.95
Open, medium-high intensity aromas of raspberry, sweet oak spices, dark cherry and some forest floor, earth, tea leaf, white pepper are quite complex. It's medium bodied on the palate with suave tannins that are well-integrated and lovely aroma replays followed by some herbally notes. Acids are very good and balanced. Excellent finish length. Coming to VINTAGES . Score: 90 pts

Buena Vista Carneros Pinot Noir 2013 (90 pts)Buena Vista Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (91 pts)

BUENA VISTA CHATEAU BUENA VISTA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#539106) (XD) - $59.95
The highly aromatic nose offers a complex bouquet of currant, cassis, mint, red & black fruits, and forest floor aromas. It's full-bodied with polished tannins and very nice aroma replays on the structured palate to go along with mouth-watering acids. Some warmth on the mid-palate, but is supported well by the fleshy fruit. Excellent finish length. A big, powerful Napa Cab to enjoy now or over next 15+ years. Coming to VINTAGES . Score: 91 pts


Monday, November 6, 2017

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  • Monday, November 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy my top wine picks from the release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

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

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

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

White Wine:

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

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

Sparkling Wine:

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

Dessert Wine:

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

Fortified:

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


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

First image of this post
  • Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016 - Review

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016
On the evening of , I attended the VIP Preview Night of the 22nd Annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo that was held, as per the usual, in the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto.

As usual, the event was busy as the crowds poured in soon after 6 p.m. and stayed busy over the course of the evening, until the lights began flashing near the end, signalling that the night event was about to end soon at 10 p.m.

For me, this tasting is all about the wine, however, there seemed to be fewer wine-focused booths compared to previous years - hopefully this doesn't develop into a trend. Meanwhile, spirits-focused booths seemed to be at the same number compared to prior years (which is not that many), and the number of food-centric booths seemed to be more than prior years, including some new names to the show. Having more food options was definitely a pleasant surprise as, for once, I wasn't left scrambling trying to find something to eat towards the end of the show.

Some of the booths I visited included the agency booths of United Stars Corporation, where they were pouring wines from Georgia, and MCO - Interesting Wines & Spirits, where they offered pours of fine French wines. No trip to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo would be complete without a stop at the Kolonaki Group booth to sample some lovely Greek wines and the top-notch Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Brut Champagne. My favourite booth every year is Wines of Germany for the some very fine sweet Riesling. This time, because it wasn't crazy busy, I also managed to taste at the Wines from Spain booth and tried the very nice PX (Pedro Ximenez) lusciously sweet Sherry.

Wines of Germany

Kolonaki Group

On the local scene, Prince Edward County had a lengthy booth featuring wines from a few different wineries, including Trail Estates Winery and Closson Chase Winery. Although I didn't taste anything from Niagara wineries this time around, Hidden Bench Vineyard and Winery and Two Sisters Vineyards were among the notables that I know have quality wines.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the event. And even though the number of wine-focused booths was less than previous years, the event did compensate by having more food options that were to my liking. Many of the wines I tasted were also very good quality, with wine reviews of some of my favourites provided below. You should be able to find most of these wines at the LCBO in the General List section or in VINTAGES.

Tasting Notes:

KONCHO MUKUZANI 2013 - Kakheti, Georgia (#460501) (XD) - $13.95
Made with the indegenous Saperavi grape, this has a medium intensity nose with currant, cedar oak, red & black fruits and some spice aromas and flavours. It's medium-bodied and dry with good acids. Tannins have some structure and are a touch drying. Medium-long finish. Score: 87 pts

Koncho Mukuzani 2013 (87 pts)Domaine Courbis Saint-Joseph 2013 (91 pts)

DOMAINE COURBIS SAINT-JOSEPH 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#007914) (XD) - $30.95
100% Syrah. Highly aromatic and very appealing nose of black current, blackberry, red & black fruits, pepper, and hints of floral and oak. It's full-bodied with soft, velvety smooth tannins and very nice aroma replays. Very good acidity. Balanced, long finish. Superb. Score: 91 pts

SKOURAS MOSCHOFILERO 2015 - PGI Peloponnese, Greece (#442178) (XD) - $15.95
Medium-high intensity aromas of nice spring flower, mineral, tropical fruit and orange that continue on palate. Acids are clean and bright, offering a juicy mouthfeel. Medium-long finish. A wine for Spring. Score: 88 pts

Skouras Moschofilero 2015 (88 pts)Kir-Yianni Estate White 2015 (88+ pts)

KIR-YIANNI ESTATE WHITE 2015 - Samaropetra Vineyard, PGI Florina, Greece (#464511) - $17.95
A 50/50 blend of Roditis and Sauvignon Blanc, this has clean medium-high aromatics of kiwi, asparagus, grass, tropical fruit, and spring flowers. Acids are bright on the medium+ bodied palate with nice, ripe-fruited aroma replays and touches of mineral from the Roditis. Finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

ARMAND DE BRIGNAC ACE OF SPADES GOLD BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#220244) (XD) - $299.95
A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, offering medium-high aromatics that has bready, nutty, walnut, and some lime citrus aromas. Mostly comes off as dry on the fruity palate which is smooth and refined with fine bubbles. Vibrant acids are refreshing with a minerally character. Excellent finish length. Will have wide appeal at just about any table. Score: 91 pts

Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Brut Champagne (91 pts)

TRAIL ESTATE SKIN CONTACT SERIES LAKEVIEW VINEYARD RIESLING 2015 - Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Fermented with 21-day skin contact - much longer than most modern white wines. Highly aromatic nose of golden apple and pear. The palate is bone dry with a chalky mineral texture, nice aroma replays, and crisp acids. Very good length on the finish. Winery only. Score: 91 pts

Trail Estate Skin Contact Series Lakeview Vineyard Riesling 2015 (91 pts)Trail Estate Barrel-Ferment Chardonnay 2015 (90 pts)

TRAIL ESTATE BARREL-FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Bottled one week prior, the nose is highly aromatic, offering heavily-oaked aromas of toasty oak, smoke, popcorn, apple and butter aromas. It's medium-full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and flavours that are less oak-influenced and more fruity - stone fruit, apple and butter flavours. Balanced acids. Finish length is excellent! Winery only. Score: 90 pts

PAUL ANHEUSER SCHLOSSBÖCKELHEIMER KÖNIGSFELS RIESLING KABINETT 2015 - Nahe, Germany (#161828) (MS) - $17.95
Medium+ aromas, very mineral-driven with stone fruits and citrus adding complexity. Crunchy mouthfeel, brimming with high acids that cuts into the perceived sweetness. More mineral and stone-citrus fruits on the palate, while finishing with grapefruit flavours. Score: 88+ pts

Paul Anheuser Schlossböckelheimer Königsfels Riesling Kabinett 2015 (88+ pts)Markus Molitor Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2013 (91 pts)

MARKUS MOLITOR ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2013 - Mosel, Germany (#139005) (MS) - $36.75
Highly aromatic nose offers complex mineral, earth, matchstick/smoke, and citrus aromas. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with a fleshy mouthfeel. Semi-sweet on the palate with lovely stone fruit and pink grapefruit flavours that are nicely balanced by vibrant acids. Excellent finish length. Score: 91 pts

CLEMENS BUSCH MARIENBURG GROSSES GEWÄCHS ROTHENPFAD RIESLING 2014 - Mosel, Germany (XD)
Stony mineral, limestone, and hints of lemon pith aromas of great intensity from the glass. Dry on the palate with more lemon pith. stony earth and limestone. Composed and well-balanced through and through. It has balanced acids and a long, elegant, juicy finish. Score: 91+ pts

Clemens Busch Marienburg Grosses Gewächs Rothenpfad Riesling 2014 (91+ pts)Selbach Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese * 2012 (92 pts)

SELBACH OSTER ZELTINGER SCHLOSSBERG RIESLING AUSLESE * 2012 - Mosel, Germany (S)
Medium-high aromatics with lovely orange and mineral notes. The palate is very sweet with highly appealing aroma replays which are balanced by bright acids. The finish goes on and on. Well-balanced, this will age for many years and will go great at the dinner table. Score: 92 pts

OSBORNE PEDRO XIMENEZ 1827 - DOP, Spain (#047944) (S) - $17.95
This Sherry has a highly aromatic nose of caramel, walnut, fig, molasses and more nutty notes. It's very sweet on the full bodied palate with many of the aromas coming through on the lush, thick, and smooth palate. Finish length is very long. Serve with a slight chill. Score: 91 pts

Osborne Pedro Ximenez 1827 (91 pts)


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