Showing posts with label chenin-blanc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chenin-blanc. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release June 22, 2019: Australia + Loire vs. New World

LCBO Wine Picks: June 22, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release June 22, 2019 features wines from Australia in the main theme, while the mini-theme compares and contrasts wines from Loire and the New World. All of these wines, plus those from the main Release will be on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at the wide array of grape varieties (and wine styles) that are thriving in Australia. In all, there are seven grapes/styles, encompassing thirteen wines, of which five wines are included among my top wine picks from Australia. We all know about Australian Shiraz - two of which are included among my wine picks - but Australia also makes some fabulous Chardonnay, as well as off-dry Riesling wines. After Shiraz, the second most popular red grape varietal grown in Australia is Cabernet Sauvignon, with many fine examples to be found in Coonawarra.

Cape Barren Native Goose Shiraz 2016 (90 pts)Bibliotheque Travel Writing Shiraz 2015 (88 pts)

Oakridge Vineyard Series Henk Chardonnay 2017 (91 pts)Best’s Great Western Riesling 2017 (90 pts)

Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

The mini-theme compares the wines from Loire and their New World counterparts. The comparison looks at Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc in Loire and their New World examples. Of the six wines featured, three are included among my wine recommendations, and all three are lovely. First up are a pair of Sauvignon Blanc wines - one from Sancerre (Loire) and the other from New Zealand. Lastly, there is an excellent Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Les Caillottes Sancerre 2017 (91 pts)Saint Clair Pioneer Block 20 Cash Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

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

From the rest of the release, my red wine picks include a 2015 Bordeaux red that consists of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. Also from France, there is a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is made with 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and 5% Cinsault. From Italy, the wine from Puglia is made with the indigenous Nero di Troia, while the Barbaresco is made with 100% Nebbiolo.

Château du Vieux Puit 2015 (88 pts)Enrico Serafino Barbaresco 2015 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines made from fairly common grape varietals. The lone wine that you may have not heard of is made with the Jacquère grape from Savoie. If you are looking for sweeter wines, the Gewurztraminer is off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet), while the Ontario Riesling is semi-dry (i.e. fairly sweet).

Domaine de l’Ldylle Jacquère Savoie 2017 (89 pts)l’Ostal Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

The rosé wines are all blends. The rosé from Midi is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah, while the rosé from Provence is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Cinsault. And finally, the rosé from Ontario is a blend of 97% Pinot Noir and 3% Viognier.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BIBLIOTHEQUE TRAVEL WRITING SHIRAZ 2015 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#668608) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DU VIEUX PUIT 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux - Blaye, France (#630012) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MICHEL GASSIER LES PILIERS SYRAH 2016 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#678086) (XD) - $17.95
  • SECRETO PATAGÓNICO MALBEC 2017 - Patagonia, Argentina (#635961) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PENLEY ESTATE PHOENIX CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#639575) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TORREVENTO CASTEL DEL MONTE VIGNA PEDALE RISERVA 2014 - DOCG, Puglia, Italy (#208256) (D) - $19.95  89 pts
  • CAPE BARREN NATIVE GOOSE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#668590) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ENRICO SERAFINO BARBARESCO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#157347) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $93.95
Secreto Patagónico Malbec 2017 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • DOMAINE DE L’IDYLLE JACQUÈRE SAVOIE 2017 - AC, Savoie, France (#645333) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2017 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (D) - $18.95
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95
  • BEST’S GREAT WESTERN RIESLING 2017 - Great Western, Victoria, Australia (#688259) (D) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DELLA SALA BRAMÌTO CHARDONNAY 2017 - IGT Umbria, Italy (#176792) (XD) - $22.95
  • SAINT CLAIR PIONEER BLOCK 20 CASH BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Single Vineyard, Dillons Point, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#483065) (XD) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • OAKRIDGE VINEYARD SERIES HENK CHARDONNAY 2017 - Henk Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#688242) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#065573) (XD) - $30.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#241182) (M) - $37.20

Rosé Wine:

  • TYPIC CINSAULT/SYRAH ROSÉ 2018 - IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, France (#668699) (XD) - $13.95  88 pts  wine review
  • L’OSTAL ROSÉ 2018 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#450809) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068833) (XD) - $23.95
  • LÉOUBE LOVE ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#575282) (XD) - $24.95
Typic Cinsault/Syrah Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

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  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Avondale Wine Tasting (South Africa)

Avondale Terra Est Vita
, I had the pleasure of tasting the wines of Avondale with proprietor Johnathan Grieve.

Avondale is located on a 160-hectare, picturesque farm in the Paarl valley in the southwestern part of South Africa, only 35 minutes from Cape Town, and has been cultivated for more than 300 years. Early records also indicate that this piece of land was one first in Paarl valley to be allocated specifically for the production of grapes.

Johnathan Grieve
Although the farm was established as early as 1693, current owners John and Ginny Grieve (Johnathan's parents) only began producing wine on the site in 1999, two years after purchasing the land. Today, it continues to be family-owned and operated with Johnathan taking up the challenge to transform the land into a balanced vineyard ecosystem using organic and biodynamic viticultural practices that he developed, along with modern science, and now terms BioLOGIC.

One of the ways Avondale promotes a balanced ecosystem is through the use of natural predators. Beginning more than 15 years ago, Avondale began unleashing White Pekin Ducks to feast on snails that were proliferating throughout the vineyards and eating the vines. Johnathan showed us a fascinating video of the ducks in action that you can view here:

Other natural predators include predatory wasps (to combat mealy bugs), Spotted Eagle Owls, Rock Kestrels, Yellow-billed and Black-shouldered Kites.

Continuing on the theme of "natural" is the waste water system that mimics the way Nature cleans water. The system is comprised of three dams interlinked by spiralling channels of cleansing reeds that replicates the natural river system. This closed-nutrient cycle yields quality water that is then used for their irrigation needs.

Avondale Wine
Avondale has 13 different soil types on their land, and vines are planted within pockets of soil types. Furthermore, when Avondale built their cellar, it was designed such that each block of fruit from these different soil types could be vinified independently of each other, allowing for terroir expression. The soil is often re-balanced using the soil balancing system pioneered by Dr. William Albrecht, followed by re-mineralization of the soil. To further help balance the soil and ecosystem, legumes and other cover crops are used to create a vibrant and diverse plant community.

All of the wines at Avondale go through natural fermentation - a process which is much slower than commercial fermentation. Some wines are also warm-fermented at this estate, producing wines that can be aged for longer periods when compared with wines that are cool-fermented.

One thing Johnathan talked about that really intrigued me was the Luna Tasting Calendar. This calendar is based on the Biodynamic Planting Calendar that was developed in the 1950's by Maria Thun and centres around the 12 Zodiac constellations and the lunar cycle. Within the calendar there are four cycles: Fruit, Root, Flower and Leaf. The Luna Tasting Calendar conjectures that any given wine will taste different based on the current cycle. The Flower cycle is regarded as the best day for tasting wine. I personally have not tried tasting wine based on this, but it's on my list of things to do this year.

The dowsing experiment using rods that Johnathan performed on one of the attendees was also very interesting. I have a pair of dowsing rods that I haven't used in quite a few years, so it was refreshing to see somebody else perform dowsing, and do it well!

Avondale Wines Lineup

Overall, I was quite pleased with the tasting. It was an eye-opener in terms of the many organic and biodynamic practices that are followed. The labels are also very pretty - with a unique story behind each of them. However, it's what's inside the bottle that counts - and the wines are delicious.

Thank you Rare Earth Wines for the invitation and the opportunity to taste these fabulous wines that also happen to be organic & biodynamic. Since most of these wines are not (yet) available at the LCBO, you can order these wines directly with Rare Earth Wines.

Tasting Notes:

AVONDALE ARMILLA BLANC DE BLANC 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (XD) - $28
100% Chardonnay. Medium-high aromatics with toast, bread, poached pear and citrus notes. The palate has vibrant mousse and show hints of sweetness that are cut very quickly by the vibrant acids. Medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

Avondale Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (88 pts)Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin White 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (87 pts)

AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (XD) - $14.95
Primarily Chenin Blanc (85%) with Roussanne, Muscat de Frontignan, Viognier and Semillon rounding out the blend. Aromas of medium-to-high intensity consisting of sweet ripe peach, citrus and lemon notes. On the palate, it's medium-bodied and fleshy with flavours of lemon/lime, citrus, tangy peach and hints of honey. Some chalky minerality mid-palate. Balanced acids and medium-length finish. Score: 87 pts

AVONDALE ANIMA 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (D) - $22.95
100% Chenin Blanc. Elegant, medium+ intensity aromas of honeyed fruit, white peach and tropical fruit. Palate is medium-bodied with very nice aroma replays showing nice complexity. It's off-dry with good tension between fruit and vibrant, yet balanced, acidity. Long finishing. Score: 89 pts

Avondale Anima Chenin Blanc 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (89 pts)Avondale Cyclus 2012 - WO Paarl, South Africa (90+ pts)

AVONDALE CYCLUS 2012 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#295220) (XD) - $26.95
White wine blend consisting of equal parts Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne & Chenin Blanc, and a small amount of Semillon. Medium-high aromatics that are elegant with notions of apples, orchard fruit, floral and fennel. The palate is medium-bodied, dry, and slightly oily with a chalky mineral texture and fresh, vibrant acids. Layered flavours of herb, lemon and floral continue through to the very long finish. Score: 90+ pts

AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 37% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. Medium+ aromatic intensity with complex herbal, wild dark/red berry fruit, currant, cassis and elegant oak aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with ripe, supple tannins and flavours of red/black fruits, black cherry, black currant, vanilla and chocolate. Good, balanced acids and a medium-long finish. Currently in VINTAGES. Score: 88+ pts

Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin Red 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (88+ pts)Avondale Samsara Syrah 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (90 pts)

AVONDALE SAMSARA 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#295550) (XD) - $32.95
100% Syrah. Medium+ intensity aromas of red cherry, berry, white pepper, dark plum, and soft vanillan oak. Flavours of spiced oak, plum, white pepper and currants on the medium+ bodied palate. It has brilliant acidity and firm, chalky tannins. Hints of chocolate on the spiced finish. Will age gracefully for 5-8 years. Score: 90 pts

AVONDALE LA LUNA 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#) (XD) - $34.95
A Bordeaux-blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec, this red wine has medium+ intensity aromas with suggestions of elegant plum, red & dark fruits, floral, cedar oak and some purple fruits. It's full-bodied with refined tannins and very nice aroma replays. It also has very good acids and a long, smooth finish. Score: 91 pts

Avondale La Luna 2009 - WO Paarl, South Africa (91 pts)

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  • Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sula Vineyards & Fratelli Indian (Nashik) Wine Reviews

On my recent trip to India, I had plans to visit India's Wine Capital - Nashik. Located in the state of Maharashtra, less than 200 km northeast of Mumbai - about 2.5 hours by car - an overnight trip to the region was in the cards. Unfortunately, those plans had to be cancelled.

Getting tired of drinking India's most popular alcoholic beverage - Whisky - I ended up purchasing a bottle of Sula's Chenin Blanc from an outlet within a local grocery store in Mumbai. Knowing how much I loved wine, my Uncle also purchased two other Indian wines from a liquor store nearby in Dadar East.

This was my first time tasting Indian wines. All of the wines below are on the low-end of the price scale, and it shows. Here are wine reviews of three Indian wines I tasted while in India, with the Chenin Blanc and the Shiraz blend relatively quite enjoyable.

SULA VINEYARDS CHENIN BLANC 2014 - Nashik, India (#) (M) - Rs. 550 ($11 CAD)
Screw cap. Elegant aromas of medium intensity with sweet notes of pineapple, honey, elderflower and lime citrus notes. Palate is medium bodied and medium-dry sweet (i.e. medium sweet) with lemon/lime, floral, honeysuckle flavours. Lacking a bit of acidity with a medium+ length finish that tapers off into the dry zone with a slight bitterness. Tasted February 24, 2015. Score: 86 pts

Wine Review of 2014 Sula Vineyards Chenin Blanc from Nashik, India (86 pts)

SULA VINEYARDS SATORI MERLOT MALBEC - Nashik, India (D) - Rs. 520 ($10.40 CAD)
Manufactured July 2013, so I assume 2013 vintage. Screw cap. Medium intensity nose with grapey, dried red fruit, raisin, black cherry, sweet ripe red fruit aromas. Integrated, rounded tannins, Palate is sweetish with black fruit, dried fruit, raisiny flavours. Balanced acids, while tannins are rounded and integrated well. Average length finish, Easy drinking wine for those that prefer sweeter red wines. Personally, I didn't feel any "Satori" or sudden enlightenment. Tasted February 28, 2015. Score: 83 pts

Wine Review of Sula Vineyards Satori Merlot Malbec from Nashik, India (83 pts)

FRATELLI CLASSIC SHIRAZ - Nashik, India (XD) - Rs 485 ($9.70 CAD)
Manufactured March 2014, so I assume 2014 vintage. An unspecified Shiraz blend (2013 vintage was 80/20 Shiraz/Cab Franc.) Screw cap. Medium+ intensity aromas featuring black pepper, plum and milk chocolate aromas, along with hints of raisin. Medium bodied, sweet ripe fruits, red & blue fruits, and subtle oak spice, milk chocolate flavours. Tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Medium length finish that is smooth, yet a touch hot with slightly bitter chocolate and dried fruit notes. Quaffable and easy drinking. Tasted February 25, 2015. Score: 86 pts

Wine Review of Fratelli Classic Shiraz from Nashik, India (86 pts)

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  • Wednesday, September 3, 2014

KWV Wines Tasting with Izele van Bierk

Izele van Bierk, Winemaker at KWV
On , I had the pleasure of attending the KWV Wines tasting at the iYellow Wine Cave. Coming all the way from South Africa to attend and host this special event was winemaker at KWV Wines - Izele van Bierk.

KWV (Ko-operatieve Wijnbouwers Verenigingvan Zuid Afrika) Wines is one of South Africa's largest wine & spirits producers. It has a long and rich history dating back to 1918 - the same year Nelson Mandela was born - when it was first registered as a company. KWV was formed with the aim of stabilising, supporting, and structuring a young, struggling industry.

KWV Wines - Proud Pioneers
In 1924, the KWV Act is passed in parliament and certain administrative responsibilities as well as the position of sole exporter and importer of surplus alcohol are handed to the association. In 1949, the Roodeberg brand of wine of born and is now one of KWV's most celebrated brands.

KWV also played a vital role in establishing the South African Brandy Foundation in 1984.

In all, there were 10 wines and one Brandy available for tasting. Below, you will find wine reviews of a few wines that I enjoyed on this night. Included among them is one of Izele's favourites - the Roodeberg Red, which I poured at a party recently and it went over really well with guests.

Tasting Notes:
KWV CATHEDRAL CELLAR BRUT MÉTHODE CAP CLASSIQUE SPARKLING 2010 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#296426) (D) - $16.95
Cap Classique is South Africa's designation for sparkling wines made using the Traditional Method. Blend of 78% Chardonnay and 22% Pinot Noir and highly aromatic nose showing toastiness, lees and bread. Medium-bodied with a hint of sweetness and flavours of green apple and lime cordial. Fine mousse and finishing medium-long. In Vintages with high availability. Score: 88+ pts

KWV CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY 2013 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#328559) (XD) - $15.95
Low nose featuring butter, apple and orchard fruits. Medium-bodied with a chalky texture on the palate. Flavours mimic the aromas and are joined by minerality, toasty oak and spice notes. Bright acids and long finishing. Quite easy drinking. In Vintages with high availability. Score: 88 pts

KWV ROODEBERG RED 2012 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#007187) (XD) - $12.45
Blend of 61% Cab Sauv, 11% Shiraz, 10% Merlot and 18% Other. Medium intensity aromas of blackberry, cherry and dark fruits. Medium-bodied and lush on the concentrated palate with crunchy tannins. Pepper, toasty oak, dark cherry and plum flavour profile. Made in a crowd-pleasing style and can be cellared 2-3 years. LCBO General List product and quite available. Score: 88+ pts

Wine Review of 2012 KWV Roodeberg Red from WO Western Cape, South Africa

KWV THE MENTORS CHENIN BLANC 2012 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#) (XD) - $24.95
Highly aromatic with leesy, herbal and slight earthy nose. Low-to-medium bodied palate with refreshingly dry, lime, lemon peel and some mineral flavours. Chalky texture with mouth-watering acids. Excellent finish that is long and smooth. Score: 91 pts

Wine Review of 2012 KWV The Mentors Chenin Blanc from WO Coastal Region, South Africa

KWV THE MENTORS CANVAS 2011 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#348839) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 63% Shiraz, 18% Tempranillo, 10% Mourvèdre and 9% Grenache. Aromas are of medium intensity and feature peppercorn, blackberry, oak and hints of earth & barnyard. On the palate, it`s full-bodied with green pepper, earth, oak and sweet ripe fruit flavours. Mouth-watering acids and smooth, integrated tannins that ride the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Wine Review of 2011 KWV The Mentors Canvas from WO Coastal Region, South Africa

KWV PAARL CAPE RUBY - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#028951) (S) - $9.95
Non-Vintage port-style wine that offers medium+ intensity aromas with prune, dried fig, caramel and nutty notes. On the palate, it's medium-bodied and very sweet with flavours of oak spice, caramel and nut. Finish is long, spiced and a touch hot. A good, everyday Port-style wine that is part of LCBO General List and widely available Score: 88 pts

Wine Review of KWV Paarl Cape Ruby from WO Western Cape, South Africa

iYellow Wine Cave

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  • Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bosman Adama White 2010 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Purchased this white wine last month from the August 18 Vintages release.

BOSMAN ADAMA WHITE 2010 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#282764) (D) - $18.95

Label photo of Bosman Adama White 2010 from South Africa
Tasting Note:
A white blend that is primarily Chenin Blanc with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Semillon playing a supporting role. Peach and tart citrus aromas from the cork. Grapefruit, citrus, peach and mineral aromas. More grapefruit and stoney minerailty on the palate, joined by citrus and green flavours. Lively acidity with a short finish. Smells sweeter than it tastes, only very slightly off-dry on the palate. Quite good. Will be enjoyed with chicken kebabs off the BBQ.

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