Showing posts with label chardonnay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chardonnay. Show all posts

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  • Monday, November 11, 2019

Elderton E Series Chardonnay 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review



On this cold, wintry , I bring you some sunshine in a glass with a wine review of this Australian Chardonnay that arrived at the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The story of Elderton Wines begins 1894, when a vineyard was planted by the Scholz family on the banks of North Para River in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. In 1916, the property was purchased by Tolley family. The homestead is located in the heart of the township of Nuriootpa and was surrounded by extremely old Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines. At a time where demand for Australian table wine was negligible, the vineyard had become derelict.

In 1979, Neil and Lorraine Ashmead moved to the Barossa after spending some years in Saudi Arabia. After years of no interest in the homestead, the Ashmead family purchased the property in 1980, which included a 72-acre vineyard as a bonus as part of the sale. Three years later, after restoring the vineyard and with the help of one of Australia's most respected and innovative winemakers, Peter Lehmann, the Ashmead family produced their first wine under Elderton Wines label.

Since that time, Elderton has garnered many accolades. Today, the winery continues to be run by the Ashmead family, with the second generation, Cameron and Allister, taking over the reins in 2003. Neil passed away in 1997, but Lorraine still continues to be involved through her role on the Board. Together, they intend on taking the company to the next level by purchasing other great vineyards, while also implementing sustainable practices so that the next generation of the Ashmead family will have a lot to work with when they are at the helm.

The E Series wines from Elderton are their entry-level wines that are designed to be affordable, everyday drinking wines made with exceptional quality. The E series stands for excellence, excitement, evolution, epicure, elegance and euphoria. E is for earth. E is for Elderton. Embrace and enjoy!

Elderton E Series Chardonnay 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ELDERTON E SERIES CHARDONNAY 2017 - Barossa, South Australia (#458760) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. The medium intensity nose is ripe with melon, peach, and golden apple aromas, plus touches of pear, floral, and butter characters. It is medium-full bodied and dry with clean, refreshing acids and fleshy fruit that delivers golden apple, melon, and citrus flavours. Oak is very subtle, adding mostly a textural element. Leesy, apple, and citrus notes linger on the finish, with good length. Will be a fine match with poultry. Score: 87 pts


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  • Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I first enjoyed the organic, biodynamic and vegan-friendly 2013 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay back in 2015 and mentioned at the time that it should improve in a couple of years, so I am opening the 2nd bottle, 4 years later, to see how it has evolved.

Southbrook Vineyards, a family-owned winery based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a leader in Ontario in organic and biodynamic viticulture. They have great respect for the soil, water and ecosystems upon which great wine, and our planet, relies. Southbrook was founded in Niagara by Bill Redelmeier in 1991 after much success with their farm just north of Toronto. In 2008, half of their 150 acre property became certified organic, while today 100% of the estate property is certified organic, as well as biodynamic. Also in 2008, Southbrook was the first winery building to receive Gold Level LEED status.

This white wine was crafted by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling, who has been Southbrook's consultant winemaker since 2005. Using exclusively estate fruit, only 6 barrels (180 cases) of this wild fermented Chardonnay were produced. It spent 20 months in French oak barrels (50% new).

Of course, the 2013 is no longer available for purchase. However, the 2017 Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay that I loved last December is still available at the winery and through their online web store.

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Highly aromatic nose offers mature, slightly oxidized and complex notes of buttery, baked apple, pear and vanilla with touches of hazelnut, smoke and mushroom that become more prominent with air. It is medium bodied with lovely hazelnut, baked apple, and pear flavours mingling with vanilla and hints of butter on the palate. Some saline mineral notes arrive on the juicy mid-palate. Acids are still quite lively and fresh. Finishes long and succulent with more smoke, mushroom, nutty, and baked apple notes. Should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 91 pts


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  • Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (PEC) - Wine Review (Bottle 5)

wine review is the last bottle from a case I ordered through the VINI wine app.

Of course, the 2014 is no longer available for purchase, but a newer vintage of this delightful wine from Prince Edward County's Closson Chase arrived in LCBO VINTAGES in August.

The first bottle of this lovely 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay was opened from in December 2016, while the most recent bottle was opened back in March. I noted in March that I should open the last bottle some time later this year. Well, that time has come...

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95
Pours a mature medium yellow-gold colour. Medium-high aromatics offer mature waxy, lemon oil, and paraffin aromas with hints of oxidized and nutty notes. Gentle acids on the medium-full bodied palate deliver a fleshy mouthfeel. More mature, oxidized flavours mimic the nose, with some lemon citrus notes on the mid-palate. Long finishing with lemon oil and paraffin notes. Still appealing, but definitely on the way down. Drink now. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, July 28, 2019

Minerality: The Enigmatic Symbol of Chablis

Minerality: The Enigmatic Symbol of Chablis
Chablis is a cool-climate wine region located in the northernmost wine district in Burgundy, France. The Chablis appellation was established in 1938 and only produces white wines made with one grape varietal - Chardonnay. The wines are known for their purity, expressiveness, and minerality.

Chardonnay becomes Chablis because it is a wine that reflects its environment like nowhere else on earth. When I think of Chablis, it brings to mind images of chalky, mineral-rich clay soils that lay beneath the region’s most coveted vineyards.

Chablis

We know that minerality is not a simple transference from place to taste, or rock to glass, but we do know that soils are the foundation of all great wine regions. The soil is the birthplace of a process that transforms the fruit into an image of its substratum. It is a complex and holistic transformation that takes place and delivers flavours such as granite, slate, limestone or flint in wine.

When visiting Chablis, you will notice that the remarkably chalky soils and the scent of wet organic matter seem very much in line with what can be sensed in the glass. Because the soils are distinctive in their varying abilities to retain humidity, thus allows the roots of the vine to penetrate deep into the soil and extract nutrients. Moreover, because the Chablis soils are nutrient poor, this forces the vines to go very deep into the substratum - playing an important, yet indirect role in creating the characteristic impression of minerality in wine.

The damp soils of Chablis

In Chablis, the two distinctive soil types that influence the wine's foundational elements are of Kimmeridgian and Portlandian origin, which can be traced back to 160 million years ago during the Upper Jurassic age when the sea withdrew the area. The older soils are Kimmeridgian and contain the highest degree of mineral-rich clay, along with marine fossils resulting in high chalky content, resulting in the minerality we perceive so often in the wines of Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru, and Chablis Grand Cru. Furthermore, the cool-climate of Chablis allows the natural expression of minerality. To preserve this minerality and let the fruit express its terroir, winemakers in Chablis use new wood sparingly during vinification and aging.

Kimmeridgian soils of Chablis

Portlandian soils of Chablis

Chablis soil substratum

Minerality in Chablis wines can be described texturally or aromatically as being part of one of three categories of sensations that are derived from the sea (Marine), earth (Terrene), or those that are smoky. The Marine sensations will evoke notions of iodine, brine, oyster shell, sea breeze, or sea salt. Terrene senations can be described as chalk, flint, gunpowder, wet stone, or damp soil. Lastly, the Smoky sensations can be described as sulfur (matchstick) or smoky (smoked black tea). And finally, you will notice fine textural sensations in the wines of Chablis due to the interplay between the brilliant acidity and minerality.

There are four classification tiers among the vineyards of Chablis. Ranging from lowest to highest tier, they are the following:

  • Petit Chablis - 1030 ha of stressed vines located on the more eroded sites at the top of the plateau above Chablis. The wines are fresh and friendly with a delicate fruity character.
  • Chablis - Established in 1938 and is the most vast and productive appellation with 3564 ha. The Kimmeridgian soils give Chablis its telltale minerality.
  • Chablis Premier Cru - Contained within Chablis, there are 783 ha of vines which are divided into 40 Climats who are historically significant in their ability to create wines of superior quality.
  • Chablis Grand Cru - Only 102 ha of vines are planted in Grand Cru designated territories, and all are located on the eastern end of the town of Chablis on south-western facing slope. Many of these wines are aged in (primarily older) oak barrels that add complexities while still allowing minerality to shine.
Here are a couple of fine examples of Chablis that showcase the region's famed minerality. The first wine is a lovely Chablis Premier (1er) Cru, while the second wine is a Chablis. Both of these recently arrived at the LCBO and are available for purchase in the VINTAGES section. To learn more about Chablis, please visit the Pure Chablis wines website.

Tasting Notes:

DOMAINE LAROCHE VIEILLES VIGNES LES VAILLONS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#991893) (XD) - $39.95
From deeply rooted, old vines within Les Vaillons vineyard that sits on a sunny slope on the left bank with limestone marls and Kimmeridgian limestone soils. Fragrant nose delivers earthy, leesy, chalky mineral notes inter-mingling with lemon citrus and orchard fruit. Nutty and smoky notes add complexity as it warms in the glass. The medium-full bodied palate is concentrated and structured with juicy, finely tuned citrusy acids balancing the citrus, honeysuckle, chalky and salty mineral flavours. It's nicely textured with a slightly chalky mouthfeel and more minerally on the mid-palate. Oyster shell, lemon citrus, and honeysuckle notes linger on the smooth, long finish. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES June 8. Score: 92 pts

Domaine Laroche Vieilles Vignes Les Vaillons Chablis 1er Cru 2017 (92 pts)Gueguen Chablis 2017 (90 pts)

GUEGUEN CHABLIS 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524934) (XD) - $27.95
Grown on Kimmeridgian clay soils from the upper Jurassic age, this has a medium+ intensity nose offering lemon citrus and earthy mineral aromas along with hints of peach and chalky limestone notes. The vibrant, mid-weighted palate has good fruit, delivering crisp, juicy acidity and nicely balanced aroma replays with a fine mineral streak on the mid-palate. Citrus and mineral notes linger on the long finish, plus hints of mango and mandarin adding interest and complexity. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES April 27. Score: 90 pts


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  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

delicious white wine is a frequent visitor to VINTAGES and will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Winemaking in Clare Valley spans over 150 years, making it one of Australia's oldest wine-producing regions. The unique combination of geography, geology and climate results in terroir that is ideal producing wine in Clare Valley.

The journey of Wakefield Wines began when they planted their first vineyards in the Clare Valley in 1969 with the goal of producing authentic, estate grown wines. The first vintage from these vineyards was an overwhelming success as it won a gold medal in every national wine show that it entered. Since that time, the Estate Range was grown to include other varietals, but every bottle is still crafted at their Clare Valley Estate with the same care and attention as the very first vintage.

The fruit for this Chardonnay was harvested at night from the Taylor family estate in Clare Valley. It was whole berry pressed and the majority was barrel fermented in new and used French oak barrels. A small parcel of juice was fermented using wild yeast, and a small parcel was fermented in stainless steel tanks. Finally, after 10 months of oak maturation, the final wine was blended and fined in stainless steel tanks prior to bottling.

Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised (and impressed) to find a touch-activated temperature sensor (pictured below) on the back label that will tell you the ideal temperature to drink this Chardonnay - simply swipe the sensor to activate and see if the colour matches the perfect temperature range on the scale.

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose that delivers buttery, green apple, pear, and white peach aromas with touches of citrus, vanilla and nutty notes. It is medium-full bodied and quite substantial on the palate with ripe apple and pear flavours accented by some pineapple, banana and butterscotch nuances. Acids are fresh and lively. Nicely balanced throughout, while finishing with notes of citrus, stone fruit, buttery flavours, plus some lingering minerality, with good length. Very good buy! Score: 88+ pts

Optimum drinking temprature of Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay


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  • Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release July 6, 2019: Cool-Climate New World + Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks: July 6, 2019 VINTAGES Release
Cool wines are the theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on July 6, 2019, with the major theme focusing on wines from Cool New World Regions, while the mini-theme is the annual look at Cool-Climate Chardonnay. All these wines, plus from the rest of the Release will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that features 13 wines from 10 New World cool-climate wine regions. Typically, cool-climate wines are fresh, refined, and food-friendly, and are influenced by the cooling breezes off a body of water, altitude, vineyard direction and steepness, and latitude. Four of the wines from this theme are among my top wine picks. From New Zealand, there are two lovely wines - a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir that are both reductive in style. From the high altitude vineyards in Argentina is a Gran Reserva that is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Lastly, the excellent sparkling wine from British Columbia is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (90 pts)Summerhouse Pinot Noir 2015 (90 pts)

Bodega Fin del Mundo Neuquén Gran Reserva 2015 (89 pts)Sperling Brut Reserve 2011 (92 pts)

From the mini-theme on Cool-Climate Chardonnays, which coincides with the Cool-Climate Chardonnay Celebration (i4C) taking place in Niagara later this month, just two of the eleven wines are included among my top wine recommendations. The first is a nice Chardonnay from Niagara, while the second wine is a lovely cool Chardonnay from South Africa.

Paul Cluver Estate Chardonnay 2017 (90+ pts)

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the Release, the Beaujolais is, of course, made with Gamay, while the Portuguese red wine is a blend of 40% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 30% Touriga Franca, and 30% Touriga Nacional. If you like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, both of my recommendations excellent - they are from different vintages and are different in style, with the 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape consisting of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, and 5% Muscardin, while the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 5% Mourvèdre.

Domaine Chante-Perdrix Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (92 pts)Giraud Tradition Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 (92 pts)

Gloria Reserva 2016 (89 pts)Bel-Air Clochers Saint-Amour 2017 (88 pts)

From my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines. The white Bordeaux is made with Sauvignon Blanc, while both white wines from Burgundy are made with Chardonnay.

Laroche Les Beauroys Chablis 1er Cru 2017 (91+ pts)Château Briot 2017 (88 pts)

Lastly, there are a pair of wines from Uruguay's Bodega Garzón, a winery that was awarded 2018 New World Winery of the Year for its innovation and leadership by using sustainable practices, modern technology, and most importantly - making some pretty delicious wines from Tannat (Uruguay's signature varietal) and Albariño.

Bodega Garzón Reserva Tannat 2016 (90 pts)Bodega Garzón Reserva Albariño 2018 (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • GLORIA RESERVA 2016 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#146522) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
  • FEUDO MACCARI NOTO NERO D’AVOLA 2016 - IGP Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#339101) (XD) - $17.95
  • BEL-AIR CLOCHERS SAINT-AMOUR 2017 - AP, Beaujolais, France (#648527) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • BODEGA GARZÓN RESERVA TANNAT 2016 - Uruguay (#558916) (D) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • BODEGA FIN DEL MUNDO NEUQUÉN GRAN RESERVA 2015 - Patagonia, Argentina (#668285) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SUMMERHOUSE PINOT NOIR 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#492728) (XD) - $27.95  90 pts  wine review
  • GEYSER PEAK WINERY WALKING TREE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#161323) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE CHANTE-PERDRIX CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#121723) (XD) - $45.95  92 pts  wine review
  • GIRAUD TRADITION CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#182899) (XD) - $59.95  92 pts  wine review
Geyser Peak Winery Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU BRIOT 2017 - AC Bordeaux, France (#668855) (XD) - $14.95  88 pts  wine review
  • DeMORGENZON DMZ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#698324) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • NOVELLUM CHARDONNAY 2017 - France (#390781) (XD) - $18.95
  • MARKUS HUBER TERRASSEN GRÜNER VELTLINER 2018 - DAC Traisental, Austria (#484956) (XD) - $18.95
  • BODEGA GARZÓN RESERVA ALBARIÑO 2018 - Maldonado, Uruguay (#646802) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • LEANING POST THE FIFTY CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#578864) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • PAUL CLUVER ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#570952) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • LAROCHE LES BEAUROYS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#648469) (XD) - $39.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE LAVERNETTE VERS CHÂNE POUILLY FUISSÉ 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#499657) (XD) - $44.95  FE
DeMorgenzon DMZ Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (88+ pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#452573) (XD) - $20.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ASHLEY MARY LIMITED EDITION M DE MINUTY ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#575316) (XD) - $26.95
Mimi en Provence Grande Réserve Rosé 2018 (89 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • 13TH STREET CUVÉE BRUT ROSÉ - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147504) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • SPERLING BRUT RESERVE 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#635144) (XD) - $48.95  92 pts  wine review
13th Street Cuvée Brut Rosé (90+ pts)

Liqueur:

  • SIVÓ SHÁMÁN HERBAL LIQUEUR - Matured in oak casks, Canada (#653436) (500 mL) - $27.95
Sivó Shámán Herbal Liqueur


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  • Monday, June 24, 2019

Queenston Mile Vineyard Portfolio Tasting (Spring 2019)

Queenston Mile Vineyard Sparkling Wines
In the , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of one of Niagara's newest and hottest wineries - Queenston Mile Vineyard.

The 50-acre vineyard and winery are located in St. David's Bench in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just 10 kilometres south of the shores of Lake Ontario. This area was formed when glaciers carved out the Niagara Escarpment and arose from the historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois towards the base of the Niagara Escarpment. Today, the escarpment's steep ridge collects winds off the lake and circulates them back over the low-lying plains of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Queenston Mile Vineyard is situated in one of Niagara's hottest sub-appellations, with their Estate Vineyard warming early in the Spring and allowing for an extended growing season. In fact, they have one of the warmest and longest growing sites in the Niagara Peninsula. Soils consist of red sandstone bedrock and rich layers of silty clay and loam.

The people behind Queenston Mile Vineyard are not new to wine. They have also been growing grapes and making wine from this land for over twenty years. For the first ten years, they waited for the vines to mature on this newly planted vineyard so they could see what they truly had to be able to make exceptional wines. During the second ten years, they started to see the special qualities of the vineyard. The result is a house that produces mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir table wines, as well as fantastic sparkling wines.

Rob Power is the man behind Queenston Mile Vineyard. It is a project of passion for him and has been a strong advocate for the advancement of quality and creativity in the Canadian wine industry. He has worked tirelessly to innovate within the Niagara wine industry, producing thought provoking blends and vinifying unique varietals. You may also know him as the winemaker at Niagara's Creekside Estate Winery. During his career, Rob has garnered both critical acclaim and the respect of his industry colleagues as he is widely considered to be one of Canada's top winemakers.

I tasted through the entire Queenston Mile Vineyard portfolio and wine reviews of my favourites are provided below. All of these delicious wines are available for purchase directly from the winery.

Queenston Mile Vineyard Mile Red 2016Queenston Mile Vineyard Sweet Victory Viognier 2017

Tasting Notes:

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD BLANC DE NOIRS 2015 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
100% Pinot Noir that spent 3 years on the lees. Pretty, light-peach coloured with fragrant aromas pastry, lemon/lime citrus and stone fruits. Honeyed with a kiss of sweetness on the palate with lovely aromas replays. It is creamy textured with bright, vibrant acids and a long, crisp finish. Very fine Niagara bubbly. Score: 91+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2015 (91+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#010137) (XD) - $35
From a hot year, this offers subtle ripe apple, pear, and vanilla aromas, with much of the same on the medium+ bodied and fleshy palate. Finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88+ pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2017 - Barrel Fermented, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Bottled a couple of weeks prior, the 2017 offers a lovely, medium-high intensity nose that is clean and lean, with butter ripe apples, elegant pear and vanilla aromas. It is lifted with vibrant acidity on a medium-bodied palate. Nutty notes arrive on flavour profile, along with lovely aroma replays. Long, clean finish. Reminds me of a Meursault. Score: 90+ pts

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
A hot vintage on a hot site, this has a medium intensity nose of stewed red and blackberry, strawberry, cherry, and a touch of nail polish, all of which come through nicely on the palate. Acids are very good, but the tannins are very drying and chalky. Good finish length. I would hold for 2-3 years to let the tannins subside. Score: 89 pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (89 pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2017 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
Slightly darker in colour and more feminine in style than the 2016. This has a lovely medium-high intensity nose of red currant, black cherry, raspberry, wood spice, and hints of earthiness and tea leaf. It is medium-bodied with some astringency to the soft tannins, but otherwise well-integrated. Lovely tea leaf, beet root and strawberry flavours on the palate. Bright acids and very good finish length. Bottled 1-2 weeks ago. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Tuesday, April 30, 2019

16 Mile Cellar Wine Tasting (2019)

16 Mile Cellar Wine Tasting (2019)
, I had the pleasure of tasting the latest wines from Niagara's 16 Mile Cellar. I was first introduced to 16 Mile Cellar in 2015 and at that time only tasted their Chardonnay wines.

On this day, I was able to taste their Pinot Noir, as well as their more recent Chardonnays. In the four years since, there have been some changes at the winery. Morgan Juniper is the new winemaker at 16 Mile Cellar. She previously worked at a Niagara's Tawse Winery and Pearl Morissette, in addition to gaining winemaking experience in Australia, Germany, and Alsace. While she did help finish some of the wines we tasted, 2018 was her first full vintage at 16 Mile Cellar.

In addition to Morgan taking us through the wines, Susan Barnacal, President of 16 Mile, was also in attendance and told us quite a few stories. 16 Mile Cellar is a small family-owned and -operated winery that was founded in 2010 by Susan and her husband Joseph Groia. It is located on 16 Mile Creek (hence the name) in St. Catharines, at the base of the Twenty Mile Bench. They farm using organic practices and grow only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In the early years, they purchased fruit for their wines. However, as the their own vines matured, they started using estate fruit beginning with the 2015 vintage for Pinot Noir and the 2018 vintage for Chardonnay.

Many thanks to André Proulx for hosting and the opportunity to taste these delicious wines from 16 Mile Cellar. My wine reviews of four of the wines (the fifth was a Pinot Noir barrel sample) are provided below.

Most of these wines are be available for purchase right now. 16 Mile Cellar is holding their annual Spring Open House this Saturday, May 4th at their winery & vineyard and is sure to be an afternoon of fun with complementary tastings, and much more.

16 Mile Cellar Chardonnay

Tasting Notes:

16 MILE CELLAR REBEL CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#485243) (XD) - $22.95
Medium+ intensity nose has buttery, vanilla, pear and slightly mealy notes with air. On the medium-bodied and creamy palate it has nice aroma replays supported by bright acids. Expresses terroir with mineral, earth, and mealy notes with hints of vanilla on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

16 Mile Cellar Rebel Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)16 Mile Cellar Civility Chardonnay 2015 (89 pts)

16 MILE CELLAR CIVILITY CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
From a few selected barrels, this is a touch mature with pear, apple amd subtle oak aromas, while the palate is medium-full bodied with bracing acidity and minerally, apple, pear, and a touch mealy flavours. Very good fruit concentrations. Long, juicy finish. Score: 89 pts

16 MILE CELLAR INCIVILITY PINOT NOIR UNFILTERED 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Medium-high intensity nose has earthy, cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and oak spice aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with soft, smooth, and refined tannins to go along with red-fruited raspberry, cherry, strawberry flavours and sweet oak spice notes. Long, oak-spiced finish. Various clones fermented separately prior to blending. Score: 89 pts

16 Mile Cellar Incivility Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2014 (89 pts)16 Mile Cellar Tenacity Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2015 (90 pts)

16 MILE CELLAR TENACITY PINOT NOIR UNFILTERED 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
100% estate fruit from Susan's Vineyard. Medium+ intensity nose is all dark berry, blackberry and dark cherry with oak spice aromas that develop complexities with air. It is medium-bodied with very good fruit concentration and pleasingly spicy replays. Bright acids are juicy, while supple tannins are structured. Long, dark berry notes on the finish. Fairly big Pinot, still somewhat young. Drink over the next 5-8 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Thursday, April 18, 2019

Copain Wines Tasting (California) 2019

Copain Wines (2019)
I had the pleasure of tasting some of the latest fine wines from California's Copain Wines.

Founded in 1999, Copain, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘buddy’ in French, embodies their philosophy that wine enhances life’s most joyous occasions, and is an experience best shared with friends and family. The winery is perched on a hillside overlooking the Russian River Valley and specializes in making single-vineyard wines from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Grapes are sourced from cool-climate vineyards in Mendocino County, the Anderson Valley and the Sonoma Coast.

The Copain portfolio consists of three distinct collections - Tous Ensemble, Les Voisins, and the single-vineyard wines. The "Tous Ensemble" collection, which translates to "All Together", are crafted in an approachable, ready-to-drink style from a blend of fruit sourced from select vineyards within the AVA, and suitable for gatherings with friends and family. The "Les Voisins" wines are nuanced, terroir-driven wines, while the single-vineyard wines are crafted to be savoured many years after release.

In 2016, Copain Wines joined the Jackson Family Wines portfolio, a family-owned and -operated company that crafts award-winning wines of distinct character and quality, with a focus on sustainable viticulture practices, responsible vineyard and natural resource management. The family's collection includes more than 40 renowned brands from across the globe.

My favourites from this tasting were the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines that were classy, elegant, and fresh. The rosé was also nicely dry.

To purchase any of these fine Copain Wines, please contact the agent Halpern Enterprises.

Wine Scores:

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" CHARDONNAY 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $36.75  90 pts

Copain "Tous Ensemble" Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)Copain "Tous Ensemble" Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" ROSÉ 2017 - Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $29.86  88+ pts

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" PINOT NOIR 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $39.71  90 pts

Copain "Tous Ensemble" Pinot Noir 2016 (90 pts)Copain "Tous Ensemble" Syrah 2016 (89 pts)

COPAIN "TOUS ENSEMBLE" SYRAH 2016 - Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $41.25  89 pts

COPAIN "LES VOISIN" PINOT NOIR 2015 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $54.48  91+ pts

Copain "Les Voisin" Pinot Noir 2015 (91+ pts)Copain "Les Voisin" Syrah 2015 (90 pts)

COPAIN "LES VOISIN" SYRAH 2015 - Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $54.48  90 pts

COPAIN DUPRATT CHARDONNAY 2016 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (#010873) (XD) - $63.37  91 pts

Copain DuPratt Chardonnay 2016 (91 pts)Copain Hawks Butte Syrah 2013 (91 pts)

COPAIN HAWKS BUTTE SYRAH 2013 - Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County, California, USA (XD) - $64.33  91 pts


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