Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cheese. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019

October 26, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: France vs. Italy + Wine & Cheese



LCBO Wine Picks: October 26, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The October 26, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release compares and contrasts France and Italy in its main theme, while the mini-theme looks at wine and cheese pairings. All of the wines featured as part of themes, as well everything else from the Main Release will arrive on shelves by Saturday. This is another Release where you'll want to stock up for the holidays or pick up special bottles for holiday gift-giving.

We'll begin with the main theme that compares wines from the two titans of the wine world - France and Italy. There are twenty-two wines featured as part of this theme, eleven from each country, and seven are included among my top wine picks. From the first category on Traditional Method sparkling wines, we have a lovely Bollinger Champagne that consists of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Meunier. From the Classic Premium Grape category, there is a fine Barolo that is made with the Nebbiolo grape. The Southern Values category features a nice Côtes du Rhône that consists of equal parts Syrah and Grenache, plus some Mourvèdre. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wines are actually made using the same grape, but often in different styles, hence the distinction in name. In this Release, there is a fine, dry, quality Pinot Grigio from a place it calls home in northern Italy. The last category focuses on the Revered Regions of Bordeaux and Tuscany. From Bordeaux, we have a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru that is a blend of roughly 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Tuscany also makes some fine Bordeaux blends, such as the baby Ornellaia that consists of 54% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot. Lastly, the Chianti Classico, which is also from Tuscany, is made with 100% Sangiovese and reminds me a little bit of a wine from Montalcino.

Le Serre Nuove Dell'Ornellaia 2017 (92 pts)Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2015 (91 pts)

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (89 pts)

From the feature on wine and cheese pairings, which can be done year-round but becomes especially popular during the holidays. Of the nine wines featured, just one is included among my top wine picks - a lightly oaked Chardonnay from Niagara's Thirty Bench. There is also an excellent Masi Amarone (#548677) included as part of this theme, but I didn't include it in my list below because you would have probably bought it when it came out in VINTAGES last year. You can read more about wine and cheese pairings in the magazine.

My red wine picks include an unoaked blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 5% Carignan from Languedoc, while the Spanish red is a blend of Garnacha, Cariñena (Samsó), Syrah, and Merlot. From France, the Beaujolais is made with Gamay, while the Roussillon red is a blend of mainly Syrah with Grenache and Carignan in support. Lastly, the iconic Sassicaia is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.

Most of my white wine recommendations happen to be minimally oaked Chardonnays. However, Flat Rock's Unplugged Chardonnay is actually an unoaked Chardonnay, while the Umbrian white is a blend of mostly Chardonnay and some Grechetto. There is also a white blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho from Portugal.

Maria Papoila Loureiro/Alvarinho 2018 (88 pts)

Among my sparkling wine picks, the Tasmanian Brut Rosé is primarily Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier completing the blend, while the Cava is a blend of indigenous varietals Macabeo (67%) and Parellada (33%). Lastly, the Dom Perignon is a traditional blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Jansz Premium Sparkling Rosé (90+ pts)Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva Brut Cava (90 pts)

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LES DARONS 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#448464) (XD) - $16.95
  • XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AP, France (#297317) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VAUCHER PÈRE & FILS FLEURIE 2016 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#534339) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU LAMARTINE PRESTIGE DU MALBEC 2015 - AP Cahors, Southwest, France (#010315) (XD) - $17.95
  • POTENTE 2016 - DO Montsant, Spain (#010682) (XD) - $18.95
  • PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN SHIRAZ 2017 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#522235) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DI BOSSI C. BERARDENGA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#994608) (XD) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review

  • TINTO NEGRO FINCA LA ESCUELA LA PIEDRA MALBEC 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#010443) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT L’ESQUERDA 2017 - AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Lesquerde, Midi, France (#381020) (XD) - $27.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE SAINT-PEY 2016 - AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#011834) (XD) - $34.95
  • BENI DI BATASIOLO RISERVA BAROLO 2010 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#330704) (XD) - $39.95
  • ANTINORI BADIA A PASSIGNANO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#384552) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LE SERRE NUOVE DELL'ORNELLAIA 2017 - DOC Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy (#606194) (XD) - $69.95  92 pts  wine review
  • SASSICAIA 2016 - DOC Bolgheri-Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy (#480533) (XD) - $229.95
Antinori Badia A Passignano Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2015 (92 pts)Tinto Negro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (90 pts)

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2017 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • MARIA PAPOILA LOUREIRO/ALVARINHO 2018 - DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#408146) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY 2018 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068015) (XD) - $17.95
  • ZUCCARDI Q CHARDONNAY 2017 - Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#232702) (XD) - $19.95
  • THIRTY BENCH WINEMAKER’S BLEND CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#547877) (XD) - $19.95
  • NALS MARGREID PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy (#290924) (XD) - $19.95
  • CAMPBELL KIND WINE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#010556) (XD) - $19.95
  • HENRI BOURGEOIS LA CHAPELLE DES AUGUSTINS SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#322628) (XD) - $39.95
  • BACHELDER WISMER VINEYARD #1 WINGFIELD BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#520403) (XD) - $47.95  FE
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL CHARDONNAY 2018 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#931006) (XD) - $47.95  FE
  • CASTELLO DELLA SALA CERVARO DELLA SALA 2017 - IGT Umbria, Italy (#512376) (XD) - $74.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • JANSZ PREMIUM SPARKLING ROSÉ - Traditional method, Tasmania, Australia (#037499) (D) - $28.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • SEGURA VIUDAS HEREDAD RESERVA BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#558825) (D) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review
  • BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#384529) (XD) - $87.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON LUMINOUS BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#422584) (D) - $285.95  FE


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  • Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ontario's Southwest City Fare 2016

Ontario's Southwest City Fare 2016
In my continuing series of wines tasted in May, I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd annual Ontario's Southwest City Fare that was put on by the iYellow Wine Club. This food and wine event was held at 99 Sudbury and spanned two rooms - the 99 Gallery and The Glass Factory.

The first room I entered was The Glass Factory and featured many food items. This room offered craft beer, cocktails and spirits to wash down the delicious Southwest culinary fare, but little wine. Next door, in the much larger 99 Gallery room, wine from Southwest Ontario was very well represented, along with some cheese, chocolatiers and other fine foods from the region.

I have never really been to Ontario's Southwest region except for a camping trip to Port Burwell and driving through to go to Detroit. This event was a chance to discover some of the best that Ontario's Southwest has to offer, and I definitely found some worthy places to visit when I eventually visit the area.

Bright Cheese and Butter
Coming from Toronto, my first stop would be Bright Cheese and Butter. This cheddar factory has been in business since 1874 and produces some very yummy cheese. They had four cheeses available to taste - Old Cheddar, Sizzling Hot Havarti (which is quite hot), Providence and Asiago. While I enjoyed all four, my favourites were the Old Cheddar, and the Providence which is like a mountain cheese from Switzerland. Their products are available throughout Ontario, but your best bet is to visit one of their two locations to taste and buy their freshly made cheese.

Habitual Chocolate
The next stop should be Habitual Chocolate, located in Woodstock and London, Ontario where you will find some amazing, authentic rustic-style chocolate bars made from single varietal cacao beans. The beans come from small family farms in exotic locations such as Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea and Nicaragua. I prefer dark chocolate and really enjoyed the 85% Amara with beans from Ivory Coast, and the 80% Don Tito from Mexican beans. Both of these chocolate bars had the richness and flavour of dark chocolate, but were not terribly bitter like some of the commercially made dark chocolate bars. Highly recommended for chocolate aficionados.

For fans of history, Chatham-Kent is an interesting place to visit. This region was part of the "Underground Railroad" - a network of secret routes used by those held in bondage to escape from slavery in the 19th century. Some of the most poignant stops on the Ontario Underground Railroad tour are historic sites in Chatham-Kent, including Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site, Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society, and the Buxton National Historic Site & Museum. You can also meet some of the descendants of those that escaped slavery and still call Chatham-Kent home. I am very much interested in this subject and personally hope to visit these sites in the future.

After a day of cheese, chocolate and sightseeing, settle into a B&B in Lake Erie North Shore wine country. The next day, spend your time visiting a few of the more than dozen wineries in the region. My favourites wines at the Ontario's Southwest City Fare were from Muscadere Vineyards, Colio Estate Winery and North 42 Degrees - all of which are located a few minutes from each other in the communities of Harrow and Colchester. Also check out Cooper's Hawk Vineyards and Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery.

On your way home, stop at Ontario's first and only brewery farm. Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm is an actual working farm with crops and a hop garden to create small batch hand-crafted local beer. I tasted a few of their beers and if you're a fan Red beers like me, check out their PurebRED Red Lager - it's a good one.

Ramblin' Road PurebRED LagerRaging Bowl Pottery Whisky Infusions + Lavender Infused Balsamic Vinegar

The Raging Bowl Pottery was one of the more interesting tables at this event. Alongside handmade porcelain crafts by artist Melissa Schooley was a delicious lavender-infused Balsamic Vinegar and flavoured whiskys. The flavoured whisky can be made at home when you purchase her flavoured tea bags - available in flavours such as Vanilla, Hazelnut Vanilla, Chocolate and Coffee - and soak them them in your favourite spirit. My favourite was the Hazelnut Vanilla!

Perch Taco at The Combine

For lunch (or dinner), stop at The Combine in Norfolk County. This restaurant's menu is filled with locally sourced ingredients and daily seasonal specials. Located in the home of owners Ryan and Jennifer, there is a handmade brick oven, garden and outdoor patio. I enjoyed their Perch Taco on a corn tortilla topped with butternut aioli, pickled salsa, avocado cream, and fried lemon.

Another stop to consider for a fine meal is DEBB's Cuisine on Queen in Dunnville, where they combine fresh local ingredients with a creative approach and meticulous presentation to create a memorable experience. At this event, they had a delicious Chicken Breast with Fried Goat Cheese Rice Ball that you could wash down with a Bourbon Street Caesar.

Bourbon Street Ceasar at DEBB's Cuisine on QueenChicken Breast with Fried Goat Cheese Rice Ball at DEBB's Cuisine on Queen


Map of Ontario's Southwest Locations
To help you plan your trip (and mine), I've plotted these Ontario Southwest locations on a Google Map. I hope you find it useful!

Overall, I really enjoyed the event! There weren't as many wines as I had hoped for, but the number of culinary delights and other alcoholic beverages more than made up for it. This was a very good, well-balanced event that had something for everyone, offering very good value for the price of admission.

For more information about Ontario's Southwest region, please visit their website.

Tasting Notes:

MUSCADERE VINEYARDS RIESLING 2014 - VQA Ontario, Canada (D) - $16
Lovely, lifted nose of petrol followed by stony minerality. The palate is medium-bodied with a chalky mineral texture and subtle flavours of orange, citrus, stone fruits and white peach. It has good acids and finishes long. Score: 88 pts

Muscadere Riesling 2014 - VQA Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Muscadere Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

MUSCADERE VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Medium+ intensity nose, ripe fruited scents of currant, cherry, cassis, cedar oak and red & black fruits. It's shows good complexity on the full-bodied palate with very nice aroma replays along with hints of mint. It has good acids and chalky tannins. Cran-cherry finish that's long. Score: 89 pts

COLIO ESTATE BRICKLAYER'S CACHE SMALL LOT SYRAH 2012 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (#426676) (XD) - $29.95
Decanted and served, this has a lovely medium-to-high intensity nose of black cherry, black peppercorn, white pepper and black plum. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with smooth, silky tannins, balanced acids and very white peppery aroma replays. This has been the last vintage of this of this wine and is now available in very limited quantities. Score: 89 pts

Colio Estate Bricklayer's Cache Small Lot Syrah 2012 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)North 42 Degrees Pinot Noir 2013 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)

NORTH 42 DEGREES PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
Medium+ intensity nose featuring black tea, cherry, strawberry, and red plum notes. The aromas are quite appealing on the light-to-medium bodied palate. It has light tannins, fresh acids and more black tea notes on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts


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