Showing posts with label chile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chile. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release June 8, 2019: Euro Regions + Chile



LCBO Wine Picks: June 8, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on June 8, 2019 features European wine regions that should be on your radar, while the mini theme looks at wines from Chile. All of these wines, plus many others that are part of this Release will be available on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that features wines from a few up-and-coming and lesser-known European wine regions. Of the twelve wines featured, four are included among my top wine picks. Three of the wines are from Languedoc-Roussillon. From Corbières, and one of the best buys of the Release, is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache that was raised in tank. The red wine from Languedoc is also a blend of Grenache and Syrah, but was raised in concrete tanks. Lastly, the Roussillon wines is made with Grenache from 65-year-old vines. The lone white is a Falanghina from the mountainous and rugged region of Campania.

Château de Tréviac Corbières 2016 (90 pts)Mathilde Chapoutier Sélection 2017 (88 pts)

Domaine Lafage Cuvée Nicolas Vieilles Vignes Grenache Noir 2017 (89 pts)Villa Matilde Rocca dei Leoni Falanghina 2017 (89 pts)

The mini-theme of this release is titled "Spicy Chile" and features ten wines from the cool-climate wine-growing region of Chile. Three of these wines are among my top wine recommendations, including a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Carmenère, and an oaked Chardonnay. Last, but not least, no conversation of hot Chilean wines would be complete without mentioning the 2015 Montes Purple Angel (92 pts, review) that is an outstanding blend of 92% Carmenère and 8% Petit Verdot.

Miguel Torres Cordillera de los Andes Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)San Pedro 1865 Selected Vineyards Carmenère 2017 (88 pts)

Casablanca Nimbus Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 (89 pts)

Red wines from the main Release includes a South African wine made with 52% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The Bordeaux red hails from the great 2010 vintage and consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Lastly, from Tuscany, the Fonterutoli contains 65% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, while the latest edition of the iconic Ornellaia is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot.

Château Les Ormes 2010 (92 pts)Mazzei Poggio Badiola di Fonterutoli 2016 (88+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are dry, single varietal and some are unique wines that are worth a look. Included among them are a Moschofilero from Greece and an Aligoté from Burgundy. There is also a barrel-fermented Torrontés from Argentina. Of course, the Pouilly-Fumé is made with Sauvignon Blanc, while the Chablis is made with Chardonnay.

Domaine Laroche Vieilles Vignes Les Vaillons Chablis 1er Cru 2017 (92 pts)Troupis Fteri Moschofilero 2017 (88 pts)

Lastly, a pair of local wines, the rosé is a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, while the sparkling wine is 100% Chardonnay.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • MATHILDE CHAPOUTIER SÉLECTION 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#644468) (XD) - $14.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC CORBIÈRES 2016 - AP, Midi, France (#670505) (XD) - $16.95  90 pts  wine review
  • SAN PEDRO 1865 SELECTED VINEYARDS CARMENÈRE 2017 - DO Maule Valley, Chile (#249201) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MAZZEI POGGIO BADIOLA DI FONTERUTOLI 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#330951) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE LAFAGE CUVÉE NICOLAS VIEILLES VIGNES GRENACHE NOIR 2017 - IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon, France (#354191) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • MIGUEL TORRES CORDILLERA DE LOS ANDES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#541169) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SPY VALLEY PINOT NOIR 2015 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#734681) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN 2015 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#707323) (XD) - $24.95
  • ASCHERI BAROLO 2013 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#496851) (XD) - $49.95
  • LA LECCIAIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#121905) (XD) - $66.95
  • CHÂTEAU LES ORMES 2010 - AC Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France (#648295) (XD) - $69.95  92 pts  wine review
  • ORNELLAIA 2016 - “La Tensione” label, DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#722470) (XD) - $239.95
Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • TROUPIS FTERI MOSCHOFILERO 2017 - PGI Arcadia, Greece (#647388) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • BLASON DE BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2017 - AC Bourgogne, France (#648436) (D) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • VILLA MATILDE ROCCA DEI LEONI FALANGHINA 2017 - IGT, Campania, Italy (#631747) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286377) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE BARREL FERMENTED TORRONTÉS 2017 - Uco Valley, Argentina (#384339) (XD) - $19.95
  • CASABLANCA NIMBUS SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2017 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#638411) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHATELAIN LES VIGNES DE SAINT-LAURENT L’ABBAYE POUILLY-FUMÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#958801) (XD) - $26.95
  • NAUTILUS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#331652) (XD) - $27.95
  • DOMAINE LAROCHE VIEILLES VIGNES LES VAILLONS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#991893) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts  wine review
  • GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (D) - $39.95  FE
Cave Spring Estate Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

Rose Wine:

  • FIELDING ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#053421) (XD) - $15.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#213983) (XD) - $29.95


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  • Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019 with Winemaker Francisco Baettig

Errázuriz Icons Wine Tasting 2019
In , I had the pleasure of tasting some iconic wines from the quality, award-winning Chilean producer Viña Errázuriz with Winemaker Francisco Baettig in attendance. I've tasted previous vintages of the Icon wines - La Cumbre, Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve, and Kai - recalling the time I was first introduced to these delicious wines back in , but these wines are so good that it's always a treat to taste them every year.

However, this tasting was really about introducing the Las Pizarras wines. Eduardo Chadwick Claro is the President of Viña Errázuriz and also a descendant of Don Maximiano Errázuriz, the winery's founder. He was named Decanter's Man of the Year in 2018 and is one of the most important people within the Chilean wine scene. He has worked tirelessly to promote the wines of Chile around the world, becoming a true ambassador for the country’s potential to produce premium wines. As Francisco explained, the Las Pizarras wines were borne out of Eduardo Chadwick's desire to create an Icon white wine - as there were none among the existing portfolio. This desire resulted in the creation of a very fine Las Pizarras Chardonnay (now in its 4th vintage) that expresses the estate's terroir. Tagging along with the Chardonnay is also an excellent Las Pizarras Pinot Noir, The Las Pizarras collection also includes a Syrah, which was unfortunately not available for tasting.

Errázuriz Winemaker - Francisco Baettig

In addition to the Icon Wines, there were also wines from their Aconcagua Costa and Aconcagua Alto ranges. The tasting was held at Oretta Restaurant in downtown Toronto and featured a unique food pairing with each of the 10 wines that were available for tasting. I didn't try any of the food items (since my focus was on the wine), but was told by a few others in attendance that the food was quite delicious and paired really well with the wines.

Most of these wines are available at the LCBO, but you can also reach out to Dandurand or Galleon Wines to purchase the Las Pizarras Icon Wines, back vintages, or other wines from the Errázuriz portfolio.

Errázuriz - From the best land, the best wine.

Tasting Notes:

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $69.95
From a 5 hectare plot on the Aconcagua Coast estate. The shy nose has a nutty profile with some passion fruit, ripe and slightly baked apple, citrus and vanilla nuances. It is medium-full bodied with lively, fresh acids that are well-balanced with nutty aroma replays. Very nice chalky texture on the palate with nutty aroma replays and touches of vanilla. Cool-climate style. Excellent finish length. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2017 (92 pts)Errázuriz Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2017 (92 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ LAS PIZARRAS PINOT NOIR 2017 - Aconcagua Coast, Chile (XD) - $92.95
One of the stars of the tasting. From the cool-climate terroir of the Aconcagua Coast estate that has slate and schist soils. Clean, medium-high intensity aromatics offer elegant spice, red berry, currant, mineral, earth, and hints of tobacco. Nicely textured with fine, elegant tannins on the medium-bodied palate with hints of black tea and spice flavours, plus lovely aroma replays. Lively, balanced acidity lifts the palate. Long, persistent finish. Score: 92 pts

ERRÁZURIZ LA CUMBRE SYRAH 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#579821) (XD) - $90
100% Syrah with lovely white pepper, herbs, dill, meaty, black and blueberry, and spice aromas of medium-high intensity. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with elegant, refined tannins that provide structure. There's nice dark-fruited aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some earthy minerality. Juicy mid-palate with balanced acidity and a nice, long finish. Drinking well now. Score: 92 pts

Errázuriz La Cumbre Syrah 2016 (92 pts)Errázuriz Kai Carmenère 2016 (93 pts)

ERRÁZURIZ KAI CARMENÈRE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#055863) (XD) - $150
93% Carmenère and 7% Syrah. This has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of dark berry, tobacco, black pepper, graphite, and cedar oak spice. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with nice peppery replays and well-integrated oak flavours. Structured with supple tannins and balanced acidity add to the elegance. Excellent finish length. Score: 93 pts

ERRÁZURIZ DON MAXIMIANO FOUNDER'S RESERVE 2016 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#501247) (XD) - $90
This blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenère, 8% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc has a fairly intense, and pleasing nose of currant, cassis, black and blue fruit and oak aromas. It is full-bodied and dense with very good fruit concentration on the palate with big tannins that are integrating nicely. A touch drying with succulent, mouth-watering acids and lovely aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent finish length. Should age gracefully for 10-15 years. Score: 94 pts

Errázuriz Don Maximiano Founder's Reserve 2016 (94 pts)


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  • Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carménère 2012 (Chile) - Wine Review

lovely red wine had been sitting in my cellar for nearly 5 years and, according to my notes, was reaching full maturity. It was purchased from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Of course, the 2012 is long gone from stores, but the 2016 is available for purchase at $20.95.

Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carménère 2012 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

PÉREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION CARMÉNÈRE 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#670539) (XD) - $19.95
Hand-picked blend of 93% Carménère, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot from the piedmont stony soils of the Fundo Liguai de Huelquen vineyard. Maturing reddish-brown colour. Lovely, fragrant aromatics from the glass with herbally, olive tapenade, savoury earthy characters and subtle oak spice. It is full-bodied on the palate with suave, silky smooth, and finely-grained tannins. Nicely textured with well-balanced acids, A touch warm on the mid-palate. Mature flavours of tilled earth, dark berry, leather, oak spice with hints of dried berries and floral, all of which linger on the long, slightly chalky finish. Fine, mature wine that should drink well for another 1-2 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release June 23, 2018: Chile + Canada Day

LCBO Wine Picks from June 23, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features wines from Chile's "tip-top valleys" as the main theme, while the mini-theme celebrates Canadian wines for Canada Day. All of these wines will be on VINTAGES shelves at LCBO outlets across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the theme on Chile that features 14 wines from 8 different wine regions. From the Aconcagua Valley, which takes its name from the nearby river and the highest mountain in the Andes (and the Americas), there are couple of delicious white wines from coastal region of Aconcagua - a Chardonnay and a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - which benefit from the cooling breezes of the Pacific Ocean. Maipo Valley is where winemaking began in Chile (plantings date back to the 1500's) and is known for producing red wines, such as the Quintay Winemaker's Experience Blend which is a Malbec-based blend. And last but not least, Cachapoal is a sub-region of the Rapel Valley and often add refinement, elegance and mineral notes to blends. From a single block at the Peumo Vineyard in Cachapoal Valley is a lovely Carmenère.

Arboleda Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)Hidden Bench Locust Lane Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

None of the 6 Canadian wines featured for Canada Day made my list of wine picks. However, there are half a dozen other solid buys that will certainly make your Canada Day celebrations special. If you prefer dry (i.e. not sweet) wines, there is a nice Chardonnay, as well as the Hidden Bench Rosé that consists of 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Viognier. If hints of sweetness is more your thing, check out the Riesling from either Henry of Pelham or Charles Baker, or the Wildass Rosé that is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. If you have a sweet tooth, check out the Gewürztraminer Icewine.

Red wines from the rest of the release include a Languedoc red that is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre, while the lovely 2009 Infinity Super Tuscan is a blend of 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 20% Alicante. Lastly, the Cune is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo (Carignan).

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (91 pts)Moselland Goldschild Single Vineyard Riesling Kabinett 2016 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Vinho Verde is a blend of mainly Alvarinho and Trajadura, while the Sancerre is a made with Sauvignon Blanc. The unoaked Chardonnay from Washington is quite Chablis-like. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to look for the Riesling Kabinett.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • VIÑALBA RESERVA MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#555763) (XD) - $18.95
  • JIM BARRY THE COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#677476) (XD) - $19.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#492736) (XD) - $19.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2016 - AC, Languedoc, France (#155804) (XD) - $19.95
  • PETER YEALANDS PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551648) (XD) - $19.95
  • QUINTAY WINEMAKER’S EXPERIENCE BLEND 2015 - DO Maipo Valley, Chile (#568618) (XD) - $22.95
  • INFINITY 2009 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#540906) (XD) - $25.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO PEUMO VINEYARD BLOCK 27 CARMENÈRE 2016 - DO Peumo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#562892) (D) - $34.95
  • CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $39.95
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN LAURÈNE PINOT NOIR 2014 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#974899) (XD) - $79.95  FE

White Wine:

  • MURALHAS DE MONÇÃO VINHO VERDE 2016 - Monção e Melgaço, DOC, Portugal (#080374) (XD) - $15.95
  • MOSELLAND GOLDSCHILD SINGLE VINEYARD RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#466052) (MS) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • ARBOLEDA SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#510339) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $18.95
  • HEDGES H.I.P. DIONYSUS VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#488528) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA CHARDONNAY 2016 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#556118) (XD) - $21.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (D) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#189126) (XD) - $29.95
  • CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2015 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#241182) (D) - $37.20
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY VIOGNIER 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#597369) (XD) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
Stags’ Leap Winery Viognier 2016 (91 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • WILDASS ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#071712) (D) - $18.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068833) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU SALETTES BANDOL ROSÉ 2017 - AC Bandol, Southwest, France (#557892) (XD) - $27.95

Dessert Wine:

  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS GEWÜRZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#547703) (S) (200 mL) - $34.95


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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

wine is the first in a series from PMA Canada's portfolio that highlights a few top scoring wines from around the globe to help you gear up for the International Sports Stage in February, namely the 2018 Winter Olympics.

As the world comes together this February to celebrate their top athletes, PMA Canada celebrates diversity by offering a selection of award-winning wines from around the globe.

PMA Canada not only prides itself on offering a vast selection of international wines, but also on the fact that the wines presented are of the highest and most renowned quality. So, as different countries battle to come out on top, cheer on your team with a top scoring wine from PMA Canada.

This particular red wine from Chile's Emiliana - Organic Vineyards is the winery's signature wine. "Coyam" means "Chilean oak" and is named in honour of the trees that surround the vineyard that supplies the grapes for this blend. The label, with its tree ring pattern, stylishly matches the name. Scores for this wine range from 90 to 93 points, including 90+ points from me when I tasted this delicious wine back in . Let's see how this wine is tasting tonight.

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA COYAM 2013 - Los Robles Estate, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#063891) (XD) - $29.95
This organic and biodynamic wine is made with 48% Syrah, 24% Carmenere, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Mourvedre, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot that was manually harvested and double sorted. Ageing occurred for 13 months in French (85%) and American oak, spread evenly between casks that were new, single use, and twice used. Dark plum with hints of savoury meaty notes from the cork. This has fine, savoury, meaty, forest floor, crushed blackberry, and evergreen aromas along with hints of white pepper and licorice that gain intensity with air. Very complex and fairly intense nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate and shows finesse with smooth, supple tannins that fold into the wine very nicely. Complex savoury, blackcurrant, pepper and herbal flavours are well-balanced and lifted by bright, juicy acids. Some evergreen on the mid-palate. Finishes long and savoury. An amazing wine to enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 91 pts

Last released into VINTAGES on October 14, 2017, and (surprisingly!) is still widely available throughout Ontario.


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  • Monday, January 15, 2018

VINTAGES Release January 20, 2018: Chile + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks from January 20, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The value-based releases of 2018 continues with this second release of the year. The main theme of the VINTAGES Release focuses on sustainable and green wines from Chile, while the mini-theme highlights the wines from the varied regions of Portugal. New wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves this .

Chile shines in this release, with nine of the fourteen wines included in my top wine picks. We'll begin with the organic sparkling wine that is a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. Among the white wines from Chile, there is a single vineyard oaked Chardonnay, as well as an interesting blend from coastal vineyards made with 85% Chardonnay (oaked) and 15% Viognier. Among the reds there are numerous single varietal wines to choose from, including Syrah, Cot (the original name for Malbec in France), Carmenère, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The blends include a 2010 that consists of 80% Carignan from dry farmed 60-year-old vines, with the balance Mourvèdre. And lastly, the LFE 900 is a blend of 77% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Mourvèdre, 4% Tempranillo, and 1% Grenache.

Valdivieso Éclat 2010 (90+ pts)Concha Y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2015 (89 pts)

The mini-theme from Portugal is very small, with just five wines listed, and the only one included among my wine picks is a dry, unoaked white wine made with the Avesso varietal from the Vinho Verde wine region in northwestern Portugal. It's not common to see single varietal wines made with this grape, and is very uncommon to see in our market.

From my top red wine picks in this release, the 2008 Bordeaux is a blend of roughly 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The Flagship Store Exclusives (FSE) in this release are also very good. From South Africa, the Optima is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and 16% Cabernet Franc, while the Languedoc red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, and 20% old vine Syrah. There are also a pair of very fine Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines - the 2015 is a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Mourvèdre / Vaccarèse / Cinsault, while the 2004 has Grenache as the main component, and but contains other varietals typical for the region.

Among my white wine picks, the Bila-Haut is a blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Macabeu, 10% Marsanne, and 10% Vermentino, while the rest are all single varietal wines. For sweet wine lovers, the Gewürztraminer is a must buy; there is also a Niagara Riesling which is a blend of grapes from both the Ivan and Picone vineyard.

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

It's refreshing to see rosé wines on VINTAGES shelves in the middle of winter. The Il Borro is a dry, organic rosé wine from Tuscany made with 100% Sangiovese.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • BOUTARI NAOUSSA XINOMAVRO 2015 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#023218) (XD) - $13.95
  • SANTA EMA GRAN RESERVA SYRAH 2015 - Leyda Valley, Chile (#371161) (XD) - $18.95
  • PÉREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION COT 2015 - Estate bottled, Maipo Valley, Chile (#670547) (D) - $19.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENÈRE 2015 - Peumo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ANKO FLOR DE CARDÓN MALBEC 2014 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#536706) (XD) - $19.95
  • MIGUEL TORRES CORDILLERA DE LOS ANDES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#541169) (XD) - $19.95

  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#382945) (XD) - $24.95
  • LUIS FELIPE EDWARDS LFE 900 SINGLE VINEYARD BLEND 2014 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#431809) (XD) - $24.95
  • ANTHONIJ RUPERT OPTIMA 2013 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#455915) (XD) - $27.95  FSE
  • VALDIVIESO ÉCLAT 2010 - Dry farmed, old vines, Maule Valley, Chile (#541128) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PECH-REDON LA CENTAURÉE COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC LA CLAPE 2012 - AC, Midi, France (#530246) (XD) - $33.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU BELLEGRAVE DU POUJEAU 2008 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#526921) (XD) - $38.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2004 - AC, Rhône, France (#735407) (XD) - $52.95  FSE
  • CLOS DU CAILLOU LES SAFRES CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#525998) (XD) - $62.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • TETRAMYTHOS RODITIS 2016 - PDO Patras, Peloponnese, Greece (#261610) (XD) - $13.95  88 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DE LA FRUITIÈRE MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE SUR LIE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#451112) (XD) - $14.95
  • LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • COVELA EDIÇÃO NACIONAL AVESSO 2015 - Vinho Verde, Portugal (#524868) (XD) - $17.95
  • VISTAMAR CORTE DE CAMPO COASTAL BLEND 2015 - Single estate, Casablanca Costa Valley, Chile (#541003) (XD) - $18.95
  • SAN PEDRO 1865 SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 - Elquí Valley, Chile (#540781) (XD) - $19.95
  • ANDRÉ BLANCK & FILS ALTENBOURG GEWURZTRAMINER 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#168906) (M) - $19.95
  • CHARLES BAKER B-SIDE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#523845) (M) - $22.20
  • LOUIS MOREAU VAULIGNOT CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#525386) (XD) - $38.95
Tetramythos Roditis 2016 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • IL BORRO ROSÉ DEL BORRO 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#539940) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • EMILIANA ORGANIC BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, Casablanca Valley, Chile (#536607) (XD) - $17.95


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  • Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Novas Gran Reserva Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Chile) - Wine Review

organic red wine is the last in a series featuring delicious turkey recipes that I'm sure would also work well with chicken. It is produced by Emiliana, a winery known for producing fine organic wines and was recently named Winery of the Year in 2015.

This particular wine comes from their Novas line, and is made with organic grapes from carefully selected vineyards, resulting in wines of excellent quality that fully express their terroir. Its name comes from the ancient astronomers who used the word “Novas” to denote the birth of a new star.

This red wine is a General List product at the LCBO and readily available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Novas Gran Reserva Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

NOVAS GRAN RESERVA CARMENERE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#434662) (XD) - $16.15
An organic wine that's a blend of 85% Carmenere and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 12 months in a combination of French and American oak, as well as stainless steel tanks. Light plum and blackberry notes from the cork. An initial red pepper nose gives way to oak spice, blackberry, and herbs, with whiffs of minty cassis and chocolate. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with supple tannins that are a touch chalky, and acids are lively and food-friendly. More dark berry, blackberry and herbal flavours with some cassis and mint on the palate. The finish length is very good, with an earthy chocolate aftertaste. Enjoyed with oven roasted chicken. Score: 87 pts

Southern-Style Rotisserie Turkey Recipe:


Ingredients:
  • 1 12 lb. turkey, preferably fresh

Brine:
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • Ice

Rub:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 chipotle pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 sprig fresh sage, roughly chopped

Stuffing:
  • 1 apple, cored and quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into six
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed

To Prepare:
Place all brine ingredients – except for ice – in a pot large enough to fit the turkey. On the stovetop, heat until sugar and salt dissolve, stirring gently. Remove from heat and let sit until liquid reaches room temperature. Place turkey inside the pot and fill with ice. Cover and place in the fridge for 12 hours.

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the rub. Mix with a fork until fully incorporated. Set aside.

To Cook:
Remove the pot from the fridge and remove turkey from the brine. Place the turkey in a sink and wash with cold water. Pat the turkey as dry as possible and let sit out at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Using your fingers, gently separate turkey skin from the muscles. Using your hands, grab small portions of the butter and place between turkey skin and meat. Make sure to evenly spread throughout as this will help with consistent browning. Lather the outside skin as well.

Stuff the bird with apple, lemon, sage, parsley, onion and garlic. Twine the legs together and fold the wings under the breast. Season outside skin with salt. Outfit the turkey with the rotisserie rod and forks. Place a parchment-lined tray on the bottom rack of your oven and add the turkey to the rotisserie. Let the turkey cook for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 320°F and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

When finished, remove from the oven and rest for 1 hour at room temperature. Remove rod and forks before serving.


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  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES September 2, 2017: New World Benchmarks + Syrah vs. Shiraz

LCBO Wine Picks from September 2, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming release in LCBO VINTAGES on is titled "Reference Library" and features benchmark varietals in new world wine regions as its main theme. Meanwhile, the mini-theme compares Syrah and Shiraz. These new wines will be on shelves this coming .

We'll begin with the feature on new world benchmark varietals, which lists 11 wines across 7 varietals. The wines in this feature include Ontario Chardonnay, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Oregon Pinot Noir, Argentinean Malbec, Australian Shiraz, Chilean Carmenere, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Just two wines from this theme are included on my list of top wine picks - the lovely 2027 Chardonnay (which came through VINTAGES in ) and a Carmenère from Chile.

2027 Wismer Vineyard Fox Croft Block Chardonnay 2014 (90 pts)Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2014 (88+ pts)

The mini-theme compares Syrah and Shiraz, two grapes that are identical but can yield very different styles of wines. Personally, I prefer the Syrah style of wine, which tends to be savoury, earthy, and meaty with black pepper nuances instead of the riper, jammy style of Shiraz found so often in Australia. In this thematic, there are eight wines listed and two made my list of wine recommendations - both are Syrah.

Creekside Iconoclast Syrah 2014 (89 pts)

From the rest of the release among red wines, the Forca Real is an unoaked blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Family Tree Red is a blend of 33% Syrah, 29% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Baco Noir. The Schild GMS is a blend of 52% Grenache, 24% Mourvèdre, and 24% Shiraz. Also, the California Cab contains 9% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Single varietal wines include the Crianza that's made with Tempranillo, and the wine from Lazio that is made using a grape you've probable never heard of - Cesanese.

Among my white wine picks, the Creekside Iconoclast is a blend of 74% Semillon and 26% Sauvignon Blanc, while the Anselmi is an off-dry wine made with Garganega. The rest are all single varietals. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to check out the Gewürztraminer or the Riesling from Ontario. For those who want just a hint of sweetness, look to the Riesling from Austria, or the Semillon from Australia.

Riverview Angelina’s Reserve Gewurztraminer 2014 (88 pts)Flat Rock Riesling 2015 (88 pts)

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE FORCA REAL CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES 2013 - AP, Roussillon, France (#494161) (XD) - $17.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY TREE RED 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#247882) (XD) - $18.95
  • CASALE DEL GIGLIO CESANESE 2014 - IGT Lazio Rosso, Italy (#498188) (XD) - $18.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENÈRE 2014 - Peumo, Rapel Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • SCHILD ESTATE GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE/SHIRAZ 2014 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#108183) (XD) - $19.95
  • SEÑORÍO DE P. PECIÑA CRIANZA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#313726) (XD) - $21.95
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SYRAH 2014 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#471797) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • MAISON ROCHE DE BELLENE VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTE DE NUITS-VILLAGES 2007 - AC, Burgundy, France (#487447) (XD) - $29.95
  • FESS PARKER SYRAH 2013 - Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#942136) (XD) - $34.95
  • SILVERADO VINEYARDS ESTATE GROWN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#111880) (XD) - $61.95

White Wine:

  • RIVERVIEW ANGELINA’S RESERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2014 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#511642) (M) - $17.15  reviewed here
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SÉMILLON 2016 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#493338) (D) - $19.95
  • REDSTONE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398966) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMÄNE WACHAU TERRASSEN FEDERSPIEL RIESLING 2015 - DAC Wachau, Austria (#491902) (D) - $21.95
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SÉMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#520627) (XD) - $22.50
  • 2027 WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#421362) (XD) - $22.95  reviewed here
  • ANSELMI CAPITEL CROCE 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#966655) (D) - $26.95  FSE
  • VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#447474) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • LA CHABLISIENNE CHABLIS BEAUROY 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#490110) (XD) - $34.95  FSE
Villa Maria Southern Clays Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • VINELAND ESTATES SPARKLING PINOT MEUNIER RESERVE 2015 - Charmat method, VQA Ontario, Canada (#520700) (D) - $30.00

Fortified:

  • DELAFORCE VINTAGE PORT 2003 - DOP, Portugal (#459784) (S) - $77.95


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  • Friday, August 18, 2017

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2008 (Chile) - Wine Review

delicious wine was purchased back in the Spring of 2014 from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Obviously, the 2008 is no longer available at the LCBO, but this wine is always solid year after year, and the latest vintage should will show up in VINTAGES in . Keep an eye out on this blog as I'm sure it will be a recommended buy.

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2008 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENÈRE 2008 - Peumo Vineyard, Rapel Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95
Black plum with hints of red flowers and earth from the cork. Complex nose is showing fine maturity with lovely dried flowers and wet earth aromas which give way to lush blackberry, wild herbs, cassis, black licorice, and vanilla with very good intensity. The palate is full-bodied with dark currant, blackberry, cassis, mint, and herbs surrounded by mouth watering acidity. It's slightly chalky on the palate with refined, dusty tannins that are smooth and integrated very nicely. The long finish is earthy with hints of chocolate and dried flowers. Beautiful wine to enjoy now or over the next 2-3 years. Enjoyed with chicken fajitas. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Friday, March 31, 2017

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot Organic 2015 (Chile) - Wine Review

wine is an organic red wine made by Emiliana Organic Vineyards of Chile.

"Adobe" refers to an ancient natural material used for construction in Chile and is now the main foundation of Emiliana's winery in Chile. It is also the name of their "reserve" line of wines, one of many lines in their portfolio, that are made with organic grapes which reflect the quality of their vineyards. These wines are also made with deep respect for the environment and their workers.

This wine is a General List product and widely available at LCBO locations throughout Ontario and is perfectly suitable for upcoming Easter celebrations paired with red meats.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot Organic 2015 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA ADOBE RESERVA MERLOT ORGANIC 2015 - DO Rapel Valley, Chile (#322024) (D) - $12.95
Screw cap. This organic Merlot offers ripe fruited aromas of raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, black plum, along with wood-influenced cocoa, milk chocolate and oak notes. The palate is full-bodied with a plush mouthfeel, balanced by fresh acids and a flavour profile that mimics the aromas, plus some graphite tones. Sweet, dusty tannins gain volume and become quite chalky towards the long chocolatey finish. Ideal with red meat. Score: 87 pts


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  • Monday, August 29, 2016

VINTAGES Release September 3: Chile + Burgundy

LCBO Wine Picks from September 3, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The wines from the LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming and features wines from Chile as its main theme, while the secondary theme is Burgundy. Interestingly, there's no Local Talent feature; instead, there are 4 fine Scottish single malt whisky's from Glenfarclas to commemorate the 150th anniversary of a storied Canadian regiment.

We'll begin with the feature on Chile that focuses on the country's three distinct winemaking zones - Costa (the coast), Entre Cordilleras (area between coast and mountains) and the Andes. In all, there are 14 wines featured and 4 are included among my wine picks. From Costa is a Sauvignon Blanc, while the Entre Cordilleras gives us the De Martino Cabernet Sauvignon and the Junta Syrah/Carménère (65/35 blend). From the Andes is a perennial favourite of mine - the Concha y Toro terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a single block from the Pirque Vineyard, a vineyard located along the Maipo River, near the foothills of the Andes.

Eight wines make up the Burgundy theme and two are included in my wine recommendations. Both the Montagny and the 1er Cru Chablis are unoaked Chardonnays that showcase fruit and terroir. The Bourgogne Chardonnay is found near the back of the magazine as a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) and is also an unoaked Chardonnay.

Domaine Hamelin Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (91 pts)

From the rest of the release in red wines, the Rompesedas is a mature wine made with Tinta de Toro (a.k.a. Tempranillo), while the Orben is also a Tempranillo from Rioja. Many of my red wine picks are single varietals, but the Gigondas is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre.

Lavau Gigondas 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (90+ pts)

In white wines, there are quite a few options if you enjoy sweeter wines. At the dry-er end (i.e. less sweet) is the Gewürztraminer, followed by the semi-sweet Pinot Gris. Going up the sweet scale a few more notches are a pair of Spätlese (i.e late harvest) wines made using Riesling and a local German varietal called Siegerrebe.

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2013 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • WITS END LUNA SHIRAZ 2014 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#311258) (XD) - $17.00
  • JUNTA MOMENTOS RESERVE SYRAH/CARMÉNÈRE 2014 - Curicó Valley, Chile (#464396) (XD) - $16.95
  • DE MARTINO LEGADO RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#205674) (XD) - $18.95
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#085209) (D) - $19.95
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2013 - La Consulta and Vista Flores Vineyards, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (D) - $19.95
  • ROMPESEDAS 2006 - DO Toro, Spain (#425868) (D) - $19.95
  • LA CREMA PINOT NOIR 2014 - Monterey County, California, USA (#367896) (XD) - $26.95  reviewed here
  • LAVAU GIGONDAS 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#234955) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Las Terrazas Block, Pirque Vineyard, Pirque, Maipo Valley, Chile (#562918) (XD) - $29.95
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2013 - Southern Valleys, South Island, New Zealand (#361246) (XD) - $31.95
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY PETITE SIRAH 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#590356) (D) - $39.95
  • ORBEN 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#191379) (XD) - $39.95
La Crema Pinot Noir 2014 - Monterey County, California, USA (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • ORO DE CASTILLA VERDEJO 2015 - DO Rueda, Spain (#745562) (XD) - $15.95
  • ANSELMANN EDESHEIMER ROSENGARTEN SIEGERREBE SPÄTLESE 2014 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#910554) (S) - $16.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#302059) (D) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • VIGNERONS DE BUXY BUISSONNIER MONTAGNY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#382879) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#462614) (XD) - $19.95
  • WEINGUT VOLLENWEIDER WOLFER GOLDGRUBE GOLDKAPSEL RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2009 - Mosel, Germany (#464727) (S) (375 mL) - $27.95  FSE
  • JOSEPH CATTIN HATSCHBOURG TRÉSOR DES SEIGNEURS PINOT GRIS 2013 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#260240) (M) - $27.95
  • OLIVIER LEFLAIVE BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#942482) (XD) - $29.95  FSE
  • DOMAINE HAMELIN BEAUROY CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#391805) (XD) - $32.95  reviewed here
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $99.95

Rosé Wine:

  • MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2015 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#452573) (XD) - $18.95

Fortifieds:

  • TORRES FLORALIS MOSCATEL ORO - Spain (#642173) (S) (500 mL) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • BURMESTER 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#223958) (S) - $28.95


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