Showing posts with label france. Show all posts
Showing posts with label france. Show all posts
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  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review



wine review is a lovely bottle that first arrived in VINTAGES nearly , and I am happy to report that this delicious red wine is coming back to LCBO VINTAGES on with a couple of years of bottle age under its belt.

It is produced by Cave de Tain, a large co-operative that was founded in 1933 by Louis Gambert de Loche on the Hermitage slope in northern Rhône. With 1,000 hectares of vineyards that are meticulously maintained in five prestigious appellations - Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Cornas, and Saint-Péray - Cave de Tain is the leading producer of Cru wines in the northern Rhône Valley. Even though Cave de Tain is a co-operative, they own all of their vineyards. This allows the winemakers to select and vinify from individual plots to create wines that express their rich, unique and diverse terroirs.

Cave de Tain is a pioneer in areas such as sustainable winegrowing (certified since 2009), conservation of their unique grape varieties, developing winemaking knowledge that is passed down over four generations of winemakers, and investing in cutting-edge tools.

Northern Rhône and the Crozes-Hermitage Cru are famous for its Syrah as the terroir here offers a very rich expression of the varietal. This particular Crozes-Hermitage comes from the multi-faceted terroirs of more than 30 different plots of vineyards. The terroir here consists of predominantly granite soils in a fresher climate in the north, while in the south there are pebbly and filtrating soils of the Rhône and Isère.

Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE TAIN GRAND CLASSIQUE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#572230) (XD) - $24.95
Cool, medium-high intensity nose is fairly complex with peppery, black cherry, meaty, black plum, and savoury earthy aromas. It is quite dense on the full-ish bodied palate with smooth, refined tannins and just a touch of chalky grippiness. Nicely balanced with more black pepper, black cherry and meaty flavours, plus some stony minerality on the mid-palate. Acids are juicy. Excellent length on the long, earthy-minerally-savoury finish. Enjoy this classic northern Rhône Syrah over the next 3-5 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, April 26, 2019

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (France) - Wine Review

red wine review is a new wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - and plenty are still available at your local LCBO.

It is produced by Winerie Parisienne, an urban winery based in Paris that was founded in 2015. Paris was the largest wine region in France in the 19th century. Winerie Parisienne is inspired by the vineyard history of Paris and resurrects the region's history through a winery brand offering quality wines such as the Grisant Red.

Their philosophy is to establish its own signature style in the wine industry, drawing its inspiration from the richness of the terroirs of France. They use a modern approach to winemaking by selecting specific parcels of major vineyards throughout the country.

Additionally, Winerie Parisienne planted 10 hectares of vines on the plain of Versailles in 2017, signing the return of professional viticulture in Île-de-France for the first time since the 19th century. In 2018, they began experimenting with organic vineyard management, with the possibility of converting this vineyard to organic.

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WINERIE PARISIENNE GRISANT RED 2016 - Vin de France (#645341) (XD) - $25.95
A curious blend of Merlot and Syrah that uses grapes sourced from Bordeaux and made under the Vin de France designation. Medium intensity nose offers blackberry, dark berry, and black plum aromas with earthy and meaty undertones. On the medium+ bodied palate it is more red-fruited with raspberry, dark cherry, and plum flavours followed by some earthy notes. Acids are fresh while tannins are chalky and drying. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoyable now with protein, and should be better in 2+ years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, April 22, 2019

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from the Southern Rhône Valley that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Having enjoyed the 2014 Lavau Rasteau when it came through VINTAGES in , I am excited to try the latest edition of this wine that comes from the excellent 2015 vintage.

The 2015 vintage was wet during the winter and spring, followed by a few showers in June. However the vines were able to withstand the extreme summer droughts due to the water reserves. Ripening conditions were optimal with sunny days and cool nights, accompanied by a light Mistral wind. The harvested grapes showed exceptional concentration and balance, leading to a great vintage.

This red wine is produced by the Lavau family that has been involved in winemaking for several generations and settled in the Rhône Valley in 1964. Today, brothers Frederic and Benoit Lavau are rapidly building a reputation for excellent, value-oriented wines which embody their savoir-faire and respect for terroir. I have enjoyed many of their wines over the last few years.

Grapes for this Rasteau appellation wine come from parcels located near the village, on stony hillsides that are east-facing. The vines are planted on fairly deep and dry, pebbly terrain, resulting in low yields and late ripening.

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU RASTEAU 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#394650) (XD) - $20.95
50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. The complex, evolving bouquet has medium-high intensity aromatics that offer crushed rocks, ground spices, black plum, blackberry, dark fruits, and pepper that surround a meaty and earthy core. The palate is medium-full bodied has fresh acids with refined and textured tannins that offer some structure. Blackberry, pepper spice, garrigue, plum, earthy, and savoury notes on the flavour profile. Minerally and savoury on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Saturday, April 20, 2019

Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice organic white wine made with the Melon de Bourgogne varietal that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This Domaine was founded by Sébastien Branger's great-grandfather in 1915. Sébastien became the family's fourth generation of winemakers in 2007 when he began working with his father, Claude Branger, at their family estate, Domaine la Haute Févrie. The estate is located in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, 18 km southeast of Nantes, and has 30 ha of vineyards within the appellation.

Since enjoying the 2014 Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine when it came through VINTAGES in September 2015, it appears as though the winery undergone a slight brand refresh. The 2017 vintage of this wine arrives with a fresh and more modern looking label, and includes Sébastien's name rather prominently. The family has been busy converting all of their vineyards to certified organic - a task that should be 100% complete with the 2019 vintage. They also farm their grapes using biodynamic principles. This particular Muscadet is also now a certified organic wine and comes from plot called the Clos de la Févrie that is located in the hills overlooking the Maine river in Saint-Fiacre, with vines averaging 35 years of age.

Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LA HAUTE FÉVRIE SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#390625) (XD) - $15.95
This organic white wine made with Melon de Bourgogne was hand-harvested and spent 7 months on the lees. In the glass, this offers ripe melon, lemon, pear, and white grapefruit aromas with hints of mineral. The medium-bodied palate has a slight spritz with ripe and honeyed flavours of citrus, grapefruit, herbs, and lemon. Acids are crisp and clean, while the mid-palate brings out stony mineral notes that continue through to the finish, with good length. A fine match for oysters, fish, or what I'll be enjoying it with - boiled lobster. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Château Maucoil 2016 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from Rhône and will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Château Maucoil is a historic property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where vines have been cultivated since the 17th century. Ancient documents indicate that the site's first occupants were the Romans and that they set up a base here for Caesar's legions. Several winegrowing families followed the Roman era, due to the spring running through the property and it's proximity to Via Agrippa.

In the 20th century, the Goguet de la Salmonière family and the Quiot family contributed much to the development and prosperity of Château Maucoil. In 1995, the Arnaud family, who already owned vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, decided to purchase the estate. The new generation picked up the torch in 2009 with a strong desire to secure the future of the estate and manage it in an environmentally-responsible manner. They cultivate their vines in the same way as their ancestors - by working the land according to a cycle of furrowing, forming mounds, ploughing and natural weeding techniques.

Maison Lavau had been a partner of Château Maucoil for several years, and in 2013 they acquired/merged with this historic estate to further strengthen their image. The foursome of Bénédicte and Charles Bonnet and Frédéric and Benoit Lavau now run Château Maucoil together.

The grapes for this organic red wine come from vineyards (some old vines) that are close to the famed region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a similar soil mixture of sand and pebbles. Each varietal and parcel was hand-harvested, then fermented and aged in vats separately prior to blending and bottling.

Château Maucoil 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MAUCOIL 2016 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#638502) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 25% Carignan with rich aromatics offering ripe blackberry, black cherry, black plum and peppery spice accented with subtle oak and stony minerality notes. The medium-full bodied palate is bright with lively acidity with blackberry, black cherry, and cocoa-dusted flavours. Supple tannins are a touch tight, leading to a dusty textured and a cocoa, blackberry and stony mineral flavoured finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, but better in 2 years and enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, March 11, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Mar. 16, 2019: Southern France + Spirits

LCBO Wine Picks: March 16, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features the sunny wines from Southern France as the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at fine spirits made with either grape or grain. All of these wines, plus many others from this Release should be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at wines from Southern France, a sunny area that stretches along the Mediterranean from the Spanish border to Nice. Of the eleven wines featured, five delicious wines are included among my top wine picks. The "DSM" wine is a blend of 30% Syrah, 27% Carignan, 23% Grenache, 14% Carignan, and 6% Lledoner Pelut from fairly old vines and altitudes 600 to 1300 feet above sea level. The Bastide Miraflors is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, while the Tautavel consists of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 10% Carignan. The rosés from the South of France are also famous, as is the version from Gérard Bertrand that consists of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, and is now a VINTAGES Essentials listing. Lastly, the bubbly is a dry sparkler made with Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Mauzac.

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)1879 Boutari Legacy 2007 (93 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a Merlot dominated blend from Bordeaux, while the Super Tuscan from Italy is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. Single varietal wines include an excellent Xinomavro from Greece and a Shiraz from South Africa. From Australia, there's a lovely high-end Shiraz, as well as a nice Cabernet Sauvignon.

Barossa Valley Estate E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 2014 (93 pts)Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from this Release, the only blend is from Portugal and it consists of Antão Vaz, Arinto and Alvarinho. The rest are all single varietals, including lovely returnees to VINTAGES - a Chardonnay and Riesling from Ontario.

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2016 (93 pts)Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations this from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • FIRRIATO CHIARAMONTE NERO D’AVOLA 2015 - IGT Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#121145) (D) - $15.95
  • DUNCAN SAVAGE UNTAMED SHIRAZ 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#634659) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU HOURTOU CÔTES DE BOURG 2015 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#630038) (XD) - $18.95
  • HEARTLAND WINES HEART & SOIL SHIRAZ 2014 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#632539) (XD) - $19.95
  • BASTIDE MIRAFLORS SYRAH/VIEILLES VIGNES GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#320499) (XD) - $19.95
  • SOUS LA MONTAGNE DSM VIN D’ALTITUDE 2016 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#647925) (XD) - $20.95
  • WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VIGNERONS DE TAUTAVEL LES VINGT MARCHES TAUTAVEL 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#645358) (XD) - $29.95
  • POGGIO VERRANO DRÒMOS 2010 - IGT Maremma Toscana, Italy (#107383) (XD) - $43.95
  • 1879 BOUTARI LEGACY 2007 - Naoussa, Greece (#590497) (XD) - $60.00  FE  93 pts  wine review
  • BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE E&E BLACK PEPPER SHIRAZ 2014 - Limited release, Barossa Valley, South Australia (#731620) (XD) - $89.95  93 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • HERDADE DO ROCIM MARIANA BRANCO 2017 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#631507) (XD) - $13.95
  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646307) (D) - $18.95
  • TE AWA LEFT FIELD PINOT GRIS 2017 - Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#630525) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#462614) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (XD) - $29.95  93 pts  wine review
  • SAINT CLAIR WAIRAU RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#415653) (XD) - $32.95
  • DOMAINE LAROCHE LES VAUDEVEY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#416057) (XD) - $38.95
Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review

Sparkling Wine:

  • ANTECH EXPRESSION BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2015 - Traditional method, AC, Languedoc, France (#068239) (XD) - $19.95

Fortified:

  • QUINTA DO CRASTO VINTAGE PORT 2015 - Bottled in 2017, DOP, Portugal (#644880) (375 mL) (S) - $29.95


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  • Sunday, February 3, 2019

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely bottle I picked up while visiting Rhône .

It is produced by Pierre Amadieu, a passionate family-owned and -operated winery in Gigondas. Prior to 1929, Pierre Amadieu operated as a private co-operative, selling his wine in bulk. But in 1929, Pierre Amadieu Sr. (grandfather of current owner Pierre Amadieu Jr.) decided to produce Gigondas wines under his own name with grapes coming from 7 ha of vineyards in Gigondas that were passed on from generation to generation. He was the first to write the name of the appellation on his labels and in 1932 obtained a gold medal in the Agricultural Contest in Paris. Pierre Sr. played a decisive role for the appellation, promoting Gigondas everywhere, with wines becoming very much appreciated over time. He was rewarded for his efforts when Gigondas was awarded Cru status in 1971.

This lovely cuvée is called "Le Pas de l'Aigle", meaning "The Eagle Pass", and comes from the highest lands of Gigondas with terroir consisting of limestone and marls of Cretaceous origin. The grapes for this wine are a selection of old vines Grenache and Syrah on northwest facing slopes at 500 metres altitude next to rocky falls. Very low yields allow the terroir to shine in this wine. The Eagle Pass looks like a fascinating place to visit!

For availability of this delicious red wine, please contact Trilogy Wine Group in Ontario, or Balthazard in Québec.

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2014 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PIERRE AMADIEU LE PAS DE L'AIGLE GIGONDAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#354217) (XD) - $38
Hand-harvested blend of old vines Grenache (90%) and Syrah (10%) aged in French foudre for 15 months. The lovely medium-high intensity nose offers spice, blackberry, and smoky minerality notes mingling with hints of white pepper, currant, red berry and a whiff of floral. It is medium-to-full bodied with very good fruit extraction, racy acids and chewy tannins that are integrating nicely. Savoury and woody on the palate with tobacco, red berry, cherry, and raspberry flavours. Somewhat drying and chalky mid-palate. Mineral, dark berry, and wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Enjoyable now, but still a few years away from prime drinking and can be aged for about 10 years. Score: 91+ pts

When I was in Rhône, I also had the opportunity to taste the 2012 vintage of this delicious wine...

PIERRE AMADIEU LE PAS DE L'AIGLE GIGONDAS 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (XD)
Medium-high intensity, sour-edged nose with red berry, cherry, spice, and savoury hints. Medium-bodied with chalky tannins, and more savoury on the palate with earthy, forest floor nuances layered on top of red cherries, with hints of floral and mineral flavours. Acids still fresh. Very good to excellent finish length. Showing some maturity. Score: 91 pts

Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l'Aigle Gigondas 2012 (91 pts)


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  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Jan. 19, 2019: Euro + South Africa

LCBO Wine Picks: January 19, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the second release of the year and continues the value parade with wines from Europe for Hearty Winter Suppers as the main theme, while the mini-theme highlights wines from South Africa. All of the wines from the two themes, plus many more will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features European wines for Hearty Winter Suppers. There are 12 European wines paired with 6 classically regional dishes. Only 3 of these wines are included among my wine picks - the Scopeto Super Tuscan is a blend of 40% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot, while the Lirac from Rhône is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. The third and final wine is an excellent semi-sweet Riesling from Mosel, Germany.

In the mini-theme, there are 9 wines featured from South Africa, a wine region considered "New World" but has been producing wine since the 17th century. Six wines from South Africa made my list of wine picks, including a Chenin Blanc, an Unoaked Chardonnay, and an excellent white wine blend made with 65% Chenin Blanc, 10% Viognier, 10% Clairette Blanche, 13% Grenache Blanc, and 2% Sémillon Gris. Among the reds, there are single varietal wines made with Grenache and Shiraz, while the sparkling wine is made with 100% Pinot Noir. This is a very nice selection of South Africa wines.

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2015 (88 pts)

From my top red wine picks of the Release, the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, and 5% Colorino, while the Gabarda is a blend of 85% Cariñena (Carignan) and 15% Garnacha. The Douro red is a field blend of indigenous varietals, and the Meritage from B.C. is a blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot.

Among my top white wine recommendations, the Australian blend has slightly more Semillon (from Hunter Valley) than Sauvignon Blanc (from Orange), while the Venetian is a barely off-dry (i.e. hint of sweetness) blend containing Garganega, Cortese, and Riesling. If you prefer your wines sweet, the Rheingau Riesling, as well as the aforementioned Mosel Riesling from Germany are both lovely!

It was nice to find a quality dry rosé in this Release as well, with a very good wine from Provence that is a blend of 42% Cinsault, 34% Grenache, and 24% Syrah.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BORGO SCOPETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#023325) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
  • BORGO SCOPETO BORGONERO 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#421396) (XD) - $18.95
  • LEEUWENKUIL GRENACHE NOIR 2016 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#630871) (XD) - $19.95
  • GABARDA SELECCIÓN 2015 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#629139) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOURNEY’S END SHIRAZ 2015 - Single vineyard, WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#337642) (XD) - $21.95
  • LUA CHEIA EM VINHAS VELHAS RESERVA ESPECIAL TINTO 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#610287) (XD) - $21.95
  • XAVIER VIGNON LIRAC 2016 - AP, Rhône, France (#636183) (XD) - $22.95
  • EL VALAO PAGO DE VALDONEJE MENCÍA 2015 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#629204) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • OUTLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#633537) (XD) - $29.95
  • MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE RESERVE MERITAGE 2016 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#633628) (XD) - $29.95

White Wine:

  • GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2017 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#428045) (D) - $16.95
  • JARDIN INSPECTOR PÉRINGUEY CHENIN BLANC 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#443473) (XD) - $17.95
  • SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN ESTATE RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Rheingau, Germany (#653535) (MS) - $18.95
  • PEPPER TREE ESTATE GROWN SEMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Hunter Valley/Orange, New South Wales, Australia (#632067) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#225557) (XD) - $19.95
  • DE WETSHOF BON VALLON UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Robertson, South Africa (#403675) (XD) - $22.95
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#629998) (MS) - $25.95
  • MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#556597) (XD) - $37.95
  • JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAU DE VAY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#159012) (XD) - $39.95

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DE L’AUMÉRADE CUVÉE MARIE-CHRISTINE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Provence, France (#562785) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BON COURAGE JACQUES BRUÉRE CUVÉE ROSÉ BRUT 2011 - Traditional method, WO Robertson, South Africa (#630855) (D) - $24.95

Fortified:

  • SAN LEÓN MANZANILLA - DO Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (#703066) (D) - $21.95


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  • Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Wines for Christmas 2018

Wines for Christmas 2018 - Reif Estate Vidal Icewine and Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne

To celebrate , wine is a Champagne that is widely available at the LCBO. It is produced by a house that has been producing champagne for two centuries and has only seen seven Cellar Masters since its founding.

after-dinner drink is an Icewine that is a VINTAGES Essentials listing at the LCBO and always available. This 2012 vintage Icewine was purchased 4 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Tasting Notes:

PERRIER-JOUËT GRAND BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#155341) (XD) - $70.95
Blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay aged on the lees for at least 2 years. Elegant aromatics of pastry, lemon citrus, and brioche waft from the glass. It's medium-bodied and dry with fine, creamy mousse and nicely balanced lemony citrus, pastry, yeasty, and autolytic flavours with just a kiss of sweetness. Vibrant acids are well-balanced. A touch smoky on the mid-palate. Crisp, clean and dry with some nutty flavours on the finish with excellent length. Really quite lovely. Lot #L1781724021. Score: 91 pts

Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne (91 pts)Reif Estate Vidal Icewine 2012 (91 pts)

REIF ESTATE VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#544791) (S) - $24.95
Honey and orange marmalade aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic with honey, orange marmalade, peach, burnt brown sugar and caramel notes. It is medium-full bodied with a rich and viscous texture. There's just enough acidity here to keep it fresh and not cloying. It's lusciously sweet with lovely aroma replays on the palate, with flavours that continue through to the long finish. Score: 91 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018 - Top Wines

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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  • Monday, November 26, 2018

Closerie des Alisiers Petit Chablis 2016 (Burgundy) - Wine Review

lovely little white wine is a Petit Chablis that arrived as a new release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Stéphane Brocard, the son of a Chablis winemaker. He settled in Marsannay in 2007 and founded Closerie des Alisiers to craft wines of purity, fruit, and freshness, while respecting the land and environment, and highlighting the terroir for each wine.

In addition to work in his own vines, he has worked with some selected winegrowers throughout Burgundy over many years, carefully selecting small parcels of grapes. He has worked with many of these growers to establish organic farming practices. The grapes for this particular wine were hand-harvested at peak maturity and direct pressed, followed by fermenting and ageing exclusively in stainless steel tanks.

Closerie des Alisiers Petit Chablis 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS PETIT CHABLIS 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557769) (XD) - $25.95
Fermented and aged completely in tank, this unoaked Chardonnay has a fresh and fragrant nose with lemon and citrus with hints of white peach and leesy notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with more lemon, citrus, ripe apple, and white peach flavours with a fine mineral underpinning. Some grapefruit and floral notes arrive with air, adding complexity. Nicely balanced with clean, crisp, and bright acids providing freshness. Fine mineral and apple notes linger on the long aftertaste. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, November 19, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Nov. 24, 2018: France + Washington

LCBO Wine Picks: November 24, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the second last VINTAGES Release of the year and features French wines in its main theme, while the mini-theme features wines from Washington. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that is titled "French Treasures" and lists 14 wines, but only 3 are included among my top wine picks. First up are a pair of whites - a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, and a Chardonnay from Pouilly-Fuissé in Burgundy. The third wine is a Champagne made with 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Meunier. Surprisingly, no reds are included among my wine recommendations from this feature. However, not to worry, as there are some other delightful French red wines to choose from.

The mini-theme features 7 wines from Washington, of which only the Hedges Family Estate Red made my list of wine picks. This red wine hails from the highly-acclaimed Red Mountain AVA and is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 2% Syrah, and 2% Petit Verdot.

There are lots of lovely red wines to choose from in this Release. We'll begin in France, where the M. Chapoutier wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, while the Chusclan from the excellent 2015 Rhône vintage is a blend of 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. From Italy, the Losi Querciavalle Chianti Classico is a lovely blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, while the Gran Selezione is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, and 7% Malvasia Nera. Staying in Italy, the wine from Ornellaia is a blend of Merlot, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Sauvignon. From Ontario, the Hidden Bench red reveals a blend of 36% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, and 24% Malbec, while the Stratus Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.

Stratus Red 2015 (92 pts)

Losi Querciavalle Chianti Classico 2012 (89 pts)Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2016 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Bordeaux white is a blend of 57% Sauvignon Blanc and 43% Sémillon, while the white from Veneto is made with 100% Trebbiano di Lugana. The only white with any sweetness is the Organic Riesling from Niagara.

Lastly, from Ontario, the Sparkling Wine is made with Chardonnay in the traditional method, while the Fortified wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and a hint of Shiraz.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • M. CHAPOUTIER LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2017 - AC, Midi, France (#168716) (XD) - $15.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - DO Maipo Valley, Chile (#018721) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU SIGNAC CHUSCLAN 2015 - AP Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#537878) (XD) - $18.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#029280) (XD) - $19.95
  • LOSI QUERCIAVALLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#515478) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (88 pts)Lakeview Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

  • WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#433060) (XD) - $23.95
  • LE VOLTE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#964221) (XD) - $29.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LAKEVIEW CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#012617) (D) - $29.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SONVIDA RESERVE MALBEC 2015 - Paraje Altmira, Mendoza, Argentina (#458240) (XD) - $29.95
  • HEDGES FAMILY ESTATE RED 2013 - Red Mountain, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#001594) (XD) - $38.95

  • HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ 2015 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#505610) (XD) - $44.95
  • STRATUS RED 2015 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#131037) (XD) - $48.20
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN OREGON PINOT NOIR 2015 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#961284) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DI AMA SAN LORENZO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#418897) (XD) - $54.95
  • PECCHENINO SAN GIUSEPPE BAROLO 2013 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#181396) (XD) - $59.95
Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 2015 (92 pts)

White Wine:

  • SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2016 - DO Limarí Valley, Chile (#928580) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU BONNET 2016 - AC Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux, France (#568535) (XD) - $16.95
  • ZENATO SAN BENEDETTO LUGANA 2017 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#707158) (D) - $18.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95
  • SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#581603) (D) - $22.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $26.95
  • SOUMAH CHARDONNAY 2017 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#609305) (XD) - $27.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE FONTAINE-AUDON SANCERRE 2016 - AP, Loire, France (#745893) (XD) - $32.95
  • J.J. VINCENT MARIE-ANTOINETTE POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#525113) (XD) - $37.95
Santa Carolina Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • FLAT ROCK RIDDLED SPARKLING 2011 - Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#383315) (D) - $34.95
  • BOIZEL GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2007 - AC, France (#484071) (XD) - $94.95

Fortified:

  • UNION FORTÉ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#361758) (S) (500 mL) - $17.95


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  • Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2010 (Midi) - Wine Review

beverage is a lovely red wine blend that I purchased 5 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. I also have the 2013 and 2015 vintages of this wine, which would've made for a nice vertical tasting, but alas, only the 2010 is opened tonight.

The latest vintage (2016) of this delicious wine can be found in the LCBO VINTAGES section for a couple of dollars more than what I paid for this wine 5 years ago.

Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2010 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2010 - AC, Midi, France (#155804) (XD) - $17.95
Blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre grown on schistous soils facing south and south-east. It was raised in stainless steel tanks and bottled unfiltered. Fragrant earthy, smoky, savoury, meaty nose accented by peppery spice, black cherry, and touches of floral aromas. It is almost full bodied on the lively palate with savoury dark cherry, mineral, smoke, garrigue, blackberry flavours. Acids are still quite fresh, while firm, gritty tannins are chalky and drying. Garrigue, pepper, savoury, and mineral notes linger on the fine, long finish. A pleasure to drink, but tannins are starting to overpower the fruit. Drink now. Score: 90 pts


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  • Sunday, October 7, 2018

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (Alsace) and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Opened up these two delicious wines to celebrate long weekend.

The Pinot Gris was purchased from the recent LCBO VINTAGES Release, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is from an excellent 2010 Niagara vintage and was purchased when visiting the winery in .

Tasting Notes:

PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#983395) (D) - $18.95
The nose is soft and mild, featuring waxy, lemon, and orange citrus aromas. The plush palate is more lively and a touch oily, with nice orange citrus, honeyed, and peach flavours in an off-dry style on a medium+ bodied frame. Acids are bright, fresh, and provide lift, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 88+ pts

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (88+ pts)

VIENI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#373308) (XD) - $19.95
Matured considerably since I last tasted this wine. The mature nose has savoury black plum, earth, and barnyard aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with currant, cassis, red and black fruits all wrapped around a savoury profile. Tannins are soft and nearly fully integrated, with just a touch of grip. Juicy acids. Very good length on the savoury, earthy finish. Score: 88 pts

Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (88 pts)


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