Showing posts with label gamay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gamay. Show all posts

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  • Sunday, April 19, 2020

13th Street Gamay 2018 (Niagara) - Wine Review

red wine review is the latest Gamay from 13th Street Winery in Niagara. I was first introduced to this winery's Gamay nine years ago when I enjoyed their 2008 13th Street Gamay Noir that showed up in LCBO VINTAGES in .

The 2008 vintage would've been current owners John & June Mann's and Doug & Karen Whitty's first vintage as they purchased 13th Street Winery in September of that year, right around harvest time. 13th Street Winery evolved from a desire to create exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara, while also providing a place for guests to congregate and escape, to relax and discover, and to experience and learn. I have tasted many 13th Street wines over the years and have visited the winery on a number of occasions - always leaving with a smile.

Winemaker Jean Pierre Colas is one of Niagara's champions of Gamay and is known for producing some fine examples and 13th Street Winery has a few Gamay's in their portfolio. Including this wine, there is also the fine Whitty Vineyard Gamay and Sandstone Vineyard Gamay - both are lovely wines. The grapes for this particular Gamay are from select Niagara Peninsula vineyards, with harvest taking place in late September and early October, and vinified separately. The 2018 vintage was hot and humid, but luckily, the rains started in September and a freshened the grapes. Unfortunately, the rains did not stop and put pressure to pick early ripening reds, like Gamay, before disease set in. This meant that the grapes were sorted in the vineyard, as well as on the sorting table to ensure only pristine bunches were kept. The result was intense ripness of the grapes, but with lower yields. After fermentation in tanks, the wines were kept separate until the final blending and bottling which occurred in early June 2019.

This Gamay is a VINTAGES Essential listing at the LCBO and is always available at LCBO outlets across Ontario. In VINTAGES, the 2018 vintage should be on shelves soon - if not already. Having said that, this delicious red wine is available for purchase at the winery via Porch Pickup or contact-less delivery. As an added bonus, 13th Street is currently offering free shipping on any wine purchase (with no minimums!) for deliveries in Ontario. Simply use promo code FREE when you place your order.

13th Street Gamay 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

13TH STREET GAMAY 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#177824) (XD) - $19.95
Fermented with minimal intervention and raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. Screw cap enclosure. This Gamay has a lovely dark plum, cherry, blackberry, and gentle spice nose with some savoury earthy characters and just a touch of floral. It's light-to-mid-weighted on the palate with light tannins and fresh acidity framing the spice, cherry, and red currant, and plum flavours. Nicely textured and well-balanced with very good length on the earthy-savoury finish. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts

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  • Monday, April 6, 2020

FRESH Sparkling Rosé (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine review is this casual, fun, and easy drinking rosé sparkling wine from Niagara.

FRESH Wines are crafted in Niagara-on-the-Lake by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates, with a focus on creative, high-quality wines. FRESH is the perfect Niagara wine brand for intrepid wine drinkers who dare to try something a little different.

Each wine from the FRESH line is crafted from 100% Ontario grapes, grown by Ontario farmers and their families. FRESH wines are available in several popular varieties, respectfully priced and readily available to join you on your personal journey of possibilities.

This appealing bubbly is widely available at the LCBO, but you can also stay at home and order online directly from Lakeview Wine Co. where they are offering free shipping on orders of $50+ with promo code LWCLOVE. You can get this bottle along with a few other Lakeview wines I enjoyed recently.

FRESH Sparkling Rosé (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

FRESH SPARKLING ROSÉ - Méthode Cuve Close, VQA Ontario, Canada (#341347) (D) - $16.95
A blend of 60% Riesling and 40% Gamay made in the Charmat method. Soft, gentle nose offers honeysuckle, red berry, floral, and lemon pith aromas. The palate is off-dry with strawberry, citrus, floral, honeysuckle, and grapefruit flavours. Mousse is a touch frothy while clean, fresh acidity livens the palate. Floral, grapefruit, and citrus notes linger on the pithy finish. Easy drinking bubbly ideal as an aperitif. Score: 86 pts

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  • Friday, January 4, 2019

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines
I had the opportunity to taste these three lovely wines from Southbrook Organic Vineyards recently and am pleased to report that all of them are delicious!

Southbrook recently launched a new tier of "Single Vineyard" wines with a focus on grapes from single sub-appellations, highlighting their dedicated organic growers. The winery is known for their Connect, Triomphe, Estate, and Poetica wines - some of which I also tasted recently. The wines are produced by internationally-acclaimed winemaker, Ann Sperling.

"Over the years I have worked with several organic growers, and have had the opportunity to get to know the quality of each vineyard nearly as well as our own Southbrook Estate. I felt we were ready to show off these unique and worthy vineyard sites as stand-alone wines," said winemaker Ann Sperling. "So, this year we bottled single vineyard wines from our favourite growers - Laundry Vineyard and Saunders Family Vineyard."

The new Single Vineyard collection from Laundry Vineyards includes a 2017 Riesling, 2017 Gamay, and 2016 Pinot Noir. The Riesling and Gamay come from the Vinemount Ridge vineyard, which shows classic properties of the geological area known as the Vinemount Moraine, featuring some of the steepest slopes in the Niagara Peninsula, and mineral-rich soils that are well-suited for growing Riesling and Gamay. The Pinot Noir comes from Heather Laundry's old vines in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation - an area that is becoming known for producing quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Heather Laundry has been specializing in Chardonnay since she graduated as one of the first Enology and Viticulture students from CCOVI at Brock University in 2000. While most of her classmates went on to become winemakers, Heather had her heart set on being among the vines. She learned from her mentor, Deborah Paskus, that the biggest impact on a wine could be made in the vineyard.

These new Single Vineyard Laundry wines are available at the winery and online at The new Single Vineyard Saunders wines will be released in early 2019.

Tasting Notes:

SOUTHBROOK HEATHER'S HOME VINEYARD ORGANIC RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#650135) (XD) - $22.95
Clone 21 Riesling. Screw cap. Lovely, linear, medium-high intensity aromatics of lime citrus, white peach, wet stone, and limestone minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied, fleshy and just off-dry with more lime citrus, peach and stony mineral flavours, and a whiff of honey. Nicely balanced with brilliant acidity providing freshness. Lovely wet stone notes linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Heather's Home Vineyard Organic Riesling 2017 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD GAMAY 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#646323) (XD) - $24.95
Planted on north-facing slopes and hand-harvested. Screw cap. Fresh, highly aromatic and pretty nose offers red berry, spice, black plum and whiffs of earthy and savoury notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with red berry, currant, herbs, tea leaf, and earthy flavours with dusty tannins adding a nice textural element and some structure. Acids are fresh. Appealing tea leaf notes linger on the long, juicy finish. A lovely expression of Niagara Gamay to enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Gamay 2017 (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646885) (XD) - $35
Organically grown Pinot Noir clone 115, hand-harvested. Lovely ruby red colour. Fresh and spicy on the nose with ripe raspberry, wild berry and earthy aromas, along with touches of oak spice. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with brilliant, mouth-watering acids supporting the raspberry, earth, and spice flavours with hints of strawberry. Nicely textured and structured, with tight, chalky tannins. Savoury and red berry notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Enjoyable now, but better in a 1-2 years. Score: 91+ pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)

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  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)

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  • Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sip and Sizzle in Niagara-on-the-Lake 2017

Grilled Prawn, Shoot and Sprout Salad and Citrus Zest Emulsion with 2016 Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc
On this cold, wintry day, let me take you back to when I visited Niagara-on-the-Lake to partake in the annual Sip & Sizzle food and wine pairing event thanks to winning a contest on Foodies on Foot. This excellent event was running on weekends in May at over 20 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule, I was only able to attend on the final day of the event, so I tried to squeeze in as many wineries as I could in a single day.

The first stop was at Château des Charmes for a crisp pairing of their 2016 Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc Estate Grown & Bottled ($14.95, 87 pts) with a grilled prawn, shoot and sprout salad and citrus zest emulsion. This was a delicious pairing as the "sip" is an ideal match for seafood, while the green and citrus notes from the salad complemented the flavours from wine. The zesty dressing also added a bit of zip to the overall pairing, really brightening the flavours. This sizzling pairing was quite well done.

My second stop was at Ravine Vineyard to savour the 2016 Ravine Cabernet Rosé ($22, 88+ pts) paired with Rossco’s harissa grilled chicken thigh on a mixed grain salad. This was a nice, balanced pairing where nothing really jumped out, except for the herbally character in the wine that matched some of the herbs in the dish. The chicken was nicely grilled off the BBQ and added subtle smoky flavours to the overall pairing. Portion size was also very good. This was a nice, wholesome and comforting pairing.

Rossco’s Harissa Grilled Chicken Thigh on a Mixed Grain Salad with 2016 Ravine Cabernet RoséGrilled Chicken Taco topped with Mango Salsa with 2015 Riverview Bianco Riesling Gewürztraminer

Our third stop of the day was at Riverview Cellars Estate Winery for a mildly sweet 2015 Riverview Bianco Riesling Gewürztraminer ($14, 87 pts) blend that was paired with a grilled chicken taco topped with a mango salsa that was made with some of the Bianco white wine. This pairing was all about matching the sweet, fruity flavours from the wine to the mango salsa. The clean acids from the wine also helped create a balanced pairing. Overall, this was a well executed pairing that I would love to try at home.

At our fourth stop of the afternoon, we visited Inniskillin Wines for another grilled chicken taco, but this time it was spiced with chipotle and topped with avocado. It was paired with their 2013 Inniskillin Reserve Shiraz Cabernet ($25, 88+ pts). This was a quality and balanced pairing, with plenty of spiced, peppery notes from both the taco and the red wine complementing each other well.

Grilled Chicken Taco spiced with Chipotle and topped with Avocado and paired with 2013 Inniskillin Reserve Shiraz CabernetCherry Cheesecake Flambé with 2012 Lailey Pinot Noir

The fifth stop was at Lailey Vineyard Winery, where the pairing was off the beaten path and a little adventurous by pairing a dessert item with red table wine. It was interesting to try their 2012 Lailey Pinot Noir (89 pts) paired with a dessert item - a cherry cheesecake flambé. The cherry flavours in the wine matched the cherry notes in the cheesecake, plus the wine's bright acidity balanced out the creamy texture from the cheesecake. The cheesecake also wasn't very sweet, which helped allow this to be a good pairing.

Wings are a popular item at Rancourt Winery, our sixth stop of the afternoon. On this day, we were offered BBQ chicken wings braised in Harvest Barn's famous Vidalia onion sauce and paired with their 2013 Rancourt Noble Rouge ($15, 86 pts), a Cabernet Merlot blend. Wings and red wine are always a good pairing in my books, and at Rancourt we had wings in a sweet sauce paired with a wine that also had some sweetness in it, providing for a balanced pairing. Unfortunately, I gobbled it down so fast that I forgot to take a picture.

Lamb Slider with 2014 Trius Merlot

The seventh stop was at Trius Winery where we were supposed to pair the 2015 Trius Merlot with a spiced lamb Merguez sausage, spring slaw, honey, and mint yogurt dressing. However, since we were approaching the end of the day on the last day of the event, it appears as though they ran out of that specific wine and the sausage because we got the 2014 Trius Merlot ($16, 87 pts) paired with a yummy lamb slider. No complaints from me! Bigger red wines with red meats are usually a pretty good pairing, and this was no exception.

Since the brand spanking new Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery was (unofficially) open to the public next door to Trius, we decided to pop-in and check out the new digs. It was crazy busy here, so we only managed to taste a few wines before heading over to our final stop of the day. This is a place I definitely want to come back and taste through the distilled products.

Grilled Halloumi Cheese marinated in Curry Sauce on Naan Wedge and topped with Niagara peach, and paired 2016 Jack Rabbit White

The eighth and final stop of the day was at The Hare Wine Co. for a grilled Halloumi cheese marinated in a mild & creamy curry sauce on a Naan wedge topped with Niagara peach, and paired with the 2016 Jack Rabbit White ($14.50, 86 pts). The wine was off-dry with plenty of floral and citrusy flavours that paired well with the peach, while the acids in the wine helped balance the creamy cheese. A good pairing overall, even though the portions at this winery were a bit on the small side.

This was my first time attending Sip & Sizzle and I was quite pleased with the many sips and sizzling culinary creations. I would definitely recommend this event food and wine lovers, especially those folks who have an affinity for BBQ fare. I hope to attend this lovely event featuring the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake again in 2018, and firmly believe that you should attend too! Wine reviews of some of my favourites wines tasted on this day are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID’S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT 2015 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#346742) (XD) - $18.95
Medium-high intensity aromas of pepper, earth, black cherry, blackberry, and gamey notes that are quite complex with a certain rustic charm. It's medium-full bodied with cherry, oak spice, and brambly fruit flavours lifted by bright acids. There's supple tannins, good fruit concentration, and a long, juicy finish. Score: 89 pts

Château des Charmes St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gamay Noir Droit 2015 (89 pts)Château des Charmes Vidal Icewine 2015 (92 pts)

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES VIDAL ICEWINE 2015 - Estate Bottled, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#565861) (S) (200 mL) - $26.95
Highly aromatic and complex nose of peach, apricot, honeysuckle, pineapple and honeydew melon. The palate is medium-full bodied with bright fruited aroma replays that are nicely balanced. It's lusciously sweet, but balanced with very good acidity. The finish length is excellent and nicely balanced. Score: 92 pts

RAVINE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Aromas of medium-high intensity with rich, oak-influenced buttery, apple, and smoke notes, plus hints of butterscotch, pineapple and caramel. The medium-bodied palate offers nice aroma replays that are well-balanced and supported by nicely articulated acids. Finishes long with caramel, sweet oak, and vanilla notes. Score: 91 pts

Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Ravine Vineyard Reserve Riesling 2015 (90+ pts)

RAVINE VINEYARD RESERVE RIESLING 2015 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $35
Contains 30% botrytis affected grapes, this has medium-high intensity aromatics of petrol, honeycomb, and apricot. The palate is medium-dry (i.e. noticeably sweet) with very nice aroma replays and a light mineral texture. Acids are bright and refreshing. Finish length is excellent. Score: 90+ pts

RIVERVIEW CELLARS SALVATORE'S RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30.15
Medium-high intensity aromas show white pepper, herbaceous, leafy, brambly, blackberry and medicinal aromas that are slightly cooked/stewed. It's medium-bodied with herbally, dark fruited, medicinal, and iodine flavours, plus touches of chocolate mocha. Refined tannins are well-integrated and acids are balanced. Earthy, mocha, and vanilla notes linger on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

Riverview Cellars Salvatore's Reserve Cabernet Franc 2012 (88 pts)Riverview Cellars Salvatore's Reserve Syrah 2013 (89 pts)

RIVERVIEW CELLARS SALVATORE'S RESERVE SYRAH 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30.15
Medium-high intensity nose offers white pepper, blackberry, dark fruits, earthy, and vanilla oak aromas. This is much more open and fruit forward compared to when I tasted this in September 2016. It's full-bodied with pleasing aroma replays lifted by bright acidity. Smooth, refined tannins. Long, earthy-peppery finish. Score: 89 pts

INNISKILLIN NIAGARA RESERVE SHIRAZ CABERNET 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#225482) (D) - $24.95
Medium+ intensity aromas that are ripe with red cherry, white pepper, currant, cassis, and herbs. It's medium-full bodied and dense on the palate with oak spiced aroma replays that have a touch of sweetness. Acids are bright, tannins a touch grippy, and the finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Inniskillin Niagara Reserve Shiraz Cabernet 2015 (88 pts)Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (88 pts)

INNISKILLIN MONTAGUE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#586347) (XD) - $24.95
Clean apple, pear, and butter aromas of medium-high intensity with hints of tart citrus and melon. The palate is medium+ bodied with nice aroma replays plus toasty oak notes. Acids are very good. Long, buttery finish. Score: 88 pts

LAILEY BARREL SELECT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From four outstanding barrels, this has medium-high intensity aromatics featuring clean apple, butter, pear, sweet oak vanilla and hints of nuttiness. It's mid-weighted with lovely well-balanced aromas replays, crisp acids, while finishing long and clean. Score: 90 pts

Lailey Barrel Select Chardonnay 2013 (90 pts)Lailey Syrah 2013 (90+ pts)

LAILEY SYRAH 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Medium-high intensity aromas have complex gamey, black peppercorn, oak, olive and earthy notes. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays and fresh acids. Tannins are integrating nicely. Long, balanced finish. Will provide pleasure over the next 5 years. Score: 90+ pts

RANCOURT CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
The complex nose is ripe with sweet oak spice, herbaceous, white pepper, dark fruits and chocolate aromas of very good intensity. The palate is medium+ bodied with fresh acids and nice aroma replays. Refined tannins are integrating nicely. Finish length is very good. Drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 88 pts

Rancourt Cabernet Franc 2012 (88 pts)

TRIUS SHIRAZ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.75
This new arrival is blended with 5% Viognier. Aromas of medium-high intensity offer black peppercorn, blackberry, gamey, dark currant, and dark berry notes. It's full-bodied with some tannic grip and very nice aroma replays. It has fresh acids and finishes long. This well-made wine should be aged 2+ years for the tannins to soften. Score: 88 pts

Trius Shiraz 2015 (88 pts)Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2012 (91 pts)

TRIUS SHOWCASE RED SHALE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - Clark Farm Vineyard, VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $45.20
From the Clark Farm Vineyard, this has medium-high intensity and complex aromas of currant, leafy, herbaceous, oak, and forest floor. It's full-bodied and structured with some tannic grip and nicely balanced aroma replays. Very good and juicy acids add freshness and lift. Hints of minerality exist on the long finish. This is a serious Cab Franc to enjoy over the next decade. Score: 91 pts

WAYNE GRETZKY NO. 99 RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#144865) (M) - $14.95
Medium+ intensity aromas feature some mature petrol notes, along with mineral, green apple, citrus and peach aromas. There's a nice mineral texture on the light-weighted palate with appealing off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) aroma replays. Vibrant acids keep things fresh, while the finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Riesling 2015 (88+ pts)The Hare Frontier Cabernet Franc 2013 (89 pts)

THE HARE FRONTIER CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
Contains trace amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this has medium-high intensity, oak-influenced aromas of tobacco, cigar, smoke, dark cherry, pepper, and dark currant with very good complexity that continues on the medium-full bodied palate. It has vibrant acids, good tannic structure, and long finishing. Enjoy over the next half decade. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, November 9, 2016

EastDell Gamay Noir 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest Gamay from EastDell Estates.

I tasted the 2010 EastDell Gamay Noir three years ago, but this wine has since undergone a label change and comes to us now with a brand new, modern label that still includes the iconic heron.

The summer in 2014 had average-to-cooler than normal temperatures, while late summer and into September brought much needed sunshine to push the grapes to maturity. Harvest began 10 days later than normal and lasted into October. This wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for 12 days, followed by ageing in French and American oak barrels for 8 months, half which were new oak and half in 2 year old barrels.

This easy-drinking red wine is widely available at the LCBO and at the Diamond Estates winery boutique in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

EastDell Gamay Noir 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

EASTDELL GAMAY NOIR 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#214890) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. Impressive array of black and red cherry, mushroom and sweet cinnamon spice aromas that also come through on the juicy, light-to-medium bodied palate. There's good fruit concentration and depth here, with fresh acids and supple tannins adding to the widely appealing package. It's juicy and finishes long with red cherry, sweet oak spice flavours and some floral notes with air. I am really impressed by this - well done! Will be enjoyed with homemade Chicken Lasagne. Score: 88 pts

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  • Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seriously Cool Red 2012 and Seriously Cool Chardonnay 2015 (Ontario) - Wine Reviews

Southbrook Vineyards is proud to launch these two new wines produced by internationally-acclaimed winemaker Ann Sperling. Created from Niagara-grown grapes that followed Sustainable Winemaking Ontario standards, these Seriously Cool wines also support the local economy by using bottles made in Ontario using recycled glass. The labels are also designed and printed locally.

Seriously Cool Wines by Southbrook Vineyards

As part of a series, each wine is bottled under three different labels designed by Laura Wills, an award-winning designer that has also designed labels for other Southbrook wines.

These wines were released last month and at the time of this post are only available at the winery. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see both of these wines on LCBO shelves in the near future. Both of these easy-drinking wines are now available at the LCBO!

Tasting Notes:

SERIOUSLY COOL CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#457481) (XD) - $15.95
Screw cap. Floral, ripe tropical fruit notes, green apple and poached pear aromas emanate from the glass. The palate medium+ bodied with a lush, round mouthfeel and sweet fruited flavours similar to the aroma profile, along with lime notes. It has bright, balanced acids and good length on the finish. This is a crowd pleaser and perfectly suitable for (upcoming) patio weather. Blend of 65% Chardonnay Musque, 26% Chardonnay and 9% Riesling, with 80% of the harvest coming from vineyards that are transitioning to Organic. Score: 87 pts

Seriously Cool Chardonnay 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

SERIOUSLY COOL RED 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#453639) (D) - $15.95
Stelvin screw cap. Blend of 85% Gamay, 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Zweigelt. Bright red fruits and cherry give way to earthy and cedar aromas of medium intensity. The medium-bodied palate is rounded with soft, smooth, and ripe tannins. Sweet fruited flavours of cherry, red licorice, sweet vanilla, cedar, and hints of smoke. It has juicy acids and good length on the finish which shows hints of pencil lead. Should be a favourite at parties. Score: 87 pts

Seriously Cool Red 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

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  • Thursday, May 30, 2013

Beaujolais BBQ at Acadia Restaurant

Trio of Beaujolais Wines I attended an exclusive tasting of Beaujolais wines paired with items off the BBQ. This event was done in advance of a special promotion that will be out soon at the LCBO, just in time for the upcoming - or finally arrived? - BBQ season. The luncheon was hosted at Acadia Restaurant in Little Italy, with the food items prepared by chef Patrick Kriss. Leading the tasting was head of marketing of Inter Beaujolais - Anthony Collet. The twitter tag for this event was #BeaujolaisBBQ.

We started off the event with a Chardonnay from the region's most widespread appellation - Beaujolais AOC (yes, there is a Beaujolais appellation within the Beaujolais region). Chardonnay makes up less than 1% of all production within Beaujolais (the region), so it was a nice treat to sample something we probably wouldn't get a chance to taste, and a nice starter before getting into 11 straight Gamay Noirs.

Served as an apertif. This Chardonnay has medium-intensity aromas of orchard fruit, citrus and smoke. Lime and citrus on the palate with refreshing acidity. Finish was medium-long. It's available at the SAQ in Québec. Score: 87 pts

Next up were a couple of light, easy-drinking reds to be paired with Creole Shrimp and handpicked Anson Mills Grits. Porridge immediately came to mind when diving into this dish.

Creole Shrimp and handpicked Anson Mills Grits

GEORGES DUBOEUF BEAUJOLAIS FUN 2009 - (#228155) (XD) - $10.95
This red wine is fruit forward with low- to medium-intensity cran-cherry and strawberry aromas. Bitter cranberry, sour cherry and fruity flavour profile. Good acidity, slightly hot finish. Easy drinking, good BBQ wine. Would probably have been more "fun" last year. Still managed to pair well with the shrimp dish, as grits provided good texture balance. Score: 86 pts

Medium-intensity strawberry and cranberry aromas. Spice, cranberry and slightly chalky tannins on the palate. Good acidity for pairing with food. Clean and smooth medium-length finish. A bit too big and sweet for the Creole Shrimp. Score: 87 pts

The 2nd course on this lovely afternoon was Piri Piri Chicken Leg with Yogurt that was topped with a Pickled Anaheim Chilly. The piri piri sauce was a lot milder than I am accustomed too, and worked well with a couple of the wines for this pairing.

Beaujolais and Sweet Corn Bread

Joseph Burrier Saint-Amour Côte de BessetPiri Piri Chicken Leg with Yogurt and Pickled Anaheim Chilly

Not very aromatic, but shows some sour cherry, strawberry and oak aromas. Spice, cranberry and black fruits on the palate. Good acidity and a lingering finish. Spice from wine paired really well with the mildly-spiced Piri Piri Chicken. My favourite pairing! Score: 86 pts

JACQUES DÉPAGNEUX CÔTE DU PY MORGON 2011 - (#299925) (XD) - $18.95
Low intensity aromas of cherry, strawberry and mild spice. Light- to medium-bodied with pleasant aroma replays. Balanced overall with integrated tannins and a medium-long finish. Could be cellared 1-2 years, but enjoyable now. Tannins and spice were a bit much for the Piri-Piri Chicken. Score: 87+ pts

JOSEPH BURRIER SAINT-AMOUR CÔTE DE BESSET 2009 - (#11154419) (XD) - $25.85
Fresh, ripe cherry, raspberry, strawberry and plum aromas. Spicy red and black fruits on the palate, with some oak showing through as well. Good acidity and quite complex. Good pairing flavour-wise with the Piri-Piri Chicken, but alcohol (14%) shows through on the medium-length finish. Score: 88 pts

Up next was a Grilled Eggplant that was placed on top of a Peanut, Coconut & Curry Condiment that reminded me a lot of a South Asian happy hour snack called chevdo. As we move further along in this tasting, the wines are getting bigger, with more tannins that require more substance in your meal to balance out the tannin. I must say, I was caught off-guard a bit as I had not tasted anything from Beaujolais in many years.

Grilled Eggplant with Peanut, Coconut & Curry Condiment

CHÂTEAU DE PIERREUX BROUILLY 2011 - (#005496) (XD) - $18.95
Medium intensity violet and floral aromas. Black fruits, currant and violet flavours, with spice kicking in mid-palate, and finally giving way to dark fruits on the medium-length finish. Good tannins, could reward ageing 1-2 years. Score: 87 pts

VILLA PONCIAGO FLEURIE LA RÉSERVE 2011 - (#299917) (XD) - $21.95
Highly expressive aromas of ripe red fruits, cherry and blueberry. Medium-bodied with chalky tannins, flavour profile consists of blueberries and red currants. Well-balanced with good acidity and a medium-long finish. Delicious. Score: 88+ pts

Aromas are very fruit forward and of medium-high intensity - bing cherry and strawberry come to mind. More red fruits on the soft palate. Medium-level tannins and balanced overall with hints of spice on the finish. Score: 86 pts

The previous flight of wines raised my expectations for this final flight. All 3 wines in this flight were big Gamays, with good acidity, lots of tannin, and could have been opened now or enjoyed in a couple of years. Perhaps it's no surprise given that these 3 wines hail from three neighbouring Cru Beaujolais appellations - Moulin-à-Vent, Chénas, and Juliénas - all of which reside in the northern part of Beaujolias, where the soil is mostly granite. These wines were paired with Korean Short Rib and encrusted with Crispy Rice, Sesame & Chili. Red meat and big wines are a natural pairing.

Korean Short Rib Encrusted with Crispy Rice, Sesame & Chili

DOMAINE MANOIR DU CARRA JULIÉNAS 2010 - (#290981) (D) - $19.95
Medium-intensity aromas of oak, blackberry and currant in this red wine. Medium-full bodied with flavours of black fruits, cedar, currant and cinnamon. Mouth-watering acidity and a medium-long finish. Chalky tannins will allow cellaring for 2+ years. This is a big Gamay. Score: 88 pts

Medium-intensity fruit forward aromas of sour cherry along with some steely notes. Medium-chalky tannins and woody, red fruit flavour palate. Balanced with a medium-length finish. Age-worthy wine - could be cellared 2 years. Score: 88+ pts

Nose seemed rather closed but shows black fruits and violet aromas. Medium-bodied with flavours of red fruits, cranberry and sour cherry. Finish is short-medium in length. Structured, big tannins will reward ageing 1-2 years. Score: 88 pts

And last, but not least, we had a scrumptious dessert. No wine pairing was offered for the Dark Chocolate Ganache with Chantilly Cream & Caramel Popcorn dessert. Might I suggest, if it exists, a Late Harvest Gamay?

Dark Chocolate Ganache with Chantilly Cream & Caramel Popcorn

Anthony Collet, Inter Beaujolais

Our table at #BeaujolaisBBQ

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  • Thursday, April 11, 2013

Diamond Estates + 7 Deadly Zins Wine Tasting

I hosted a small wine tasting. Invited were a few of our neighbours to taste some media samples of local Ontario wines from Diamond Estates Winery, and a red Lodi Zinfandel from Michael David Winery out in California.

Paired with these wines were some blueberries, watermelon, the L'Extra Brie, and the Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. This cheddar from PEI has become one of my favourite cheeses - our guests enjoyed it too!

Wine and cheese tasting

LAKEVIEW "GMR" SPARKLING RESERVE 2008 - Traditional Method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $24.95
The letters "GMR" come from the winemaking team of Thomas Green, Scott McGregor & Jason Roller. This sparkling wine was hand-harvested and made from 50.4% Chardonnay and 49.6% Pinot Noir. Medium intensity aromas of apple, pear and yeastiness. Extra dry with apple and pear on the palate, plus some lemon and toast. Mouthfeel is slightly chalky. Fine stream of bubbles and a finish that is medium-long. Pairs well with mild-flavoured cheeses. Only available through the winery. Score: 88 pts

20 BEES PINOT GRIGIO 2011 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#060707) (D) - $11.95
Screw cap. Honeysuckle, orange and tropical aromas from this white wine. Light-bodied with lots of floral and tropical fruits on palate, and hints of honey. Low acidity and finish is medium-length. Refreshing palate cleanser, good as an apertif. Even though classified as extra dry, this is an off-dry P.G. Score: 86 pts

EASTDELL GAMAY NOIR 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#214890) (XD) - $12.95
Screw cap. Red berry and cherry, oak and pungent smoke aromas from the glass. Light-bodied and fruit-forward with red fruits, cherry, raspberry, and red currant flavours on the palate. Medium levels of acidity. Tannins are integrating nicely, will reward in 1-2 years. Score: 86 pts

3 wines from Diamond Estates Winery

7 DEADLY ZINS OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2010 - Lodi, California, USA (#059311) (D) - $24.95
The 2010 was just released in Vintages and is part of the Essentials collection. Mostly Zinfandel and blended with Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot. Medium-intensity crushed black fruit and sweet red fruit aromas with cedar undertones. Medium-bodied and very fruit-forward with red fruits, red berries and black cherry on the palate. Medium acidity and integrated tannins. Crowd-pleaser and a good introduction to new red wine drinkers. This was favourite of the evening. Score: 88 pts

Label photo of 2010 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel

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  • Saturday, April 23, 2011

2009 Cave des Vignerons de Bel Air Beaujolais-Villages - Review

Opened this light, easy drinking Beaujolais - which was purchased from the latest LCBO Vintages Release - last night for guests who prefer red wines with little-to-no oak.

CAVE DES VIGNERONS DE BEL AIR BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2009 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#208058) - $13.95

Tasting Note:
Cherry, strawberry aromas and flavours. Some pepper notes. Finishes a touch smoky. Light-medium bodied with a medium-long finish. A lighter style of wine that appears unoaked and ready to drink now. Tasty!

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  • Sunday, February 27, 2011

13th Street Gamay Noir 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula - Review

Just purchased this last week from the latest Vintages Release (see post from February 19th for my full list picks). Normally I shy away from Gamay's - they taste different, but this one got a good review.

13TH STREET GAMAY NOIR 2008 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#177824) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Black cherry, burnt toast, smoke, raspberry and some vanilla aromas. Black cherry, raspberry, menthol flavours. Touch of acidity at mid-length, finishes smooth with some bitterness. Medium-bodied. Some light tannins make it ageable, but definitely ready to drink now. Having this tonight with oven-baked chicken.

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