Showing posts with label germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label germany. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2018

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  • Monday, April 23, 2018

VINTAGES Release April 28, 2018: Pacific Northwest + Germany



LCBO Wine Picks: April 28, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release features as the main theme the cool-climate regions of the Pacific Northwest, which includes British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. The mini-theme features the wines from Germany. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features the wines from British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, commonly grouped together as the Pacific Northwest. None of the five wines listed from Oregon and eight wines listed from Washington are included among my wine picks. British Columbia seemed to get shortchanged (again?) with just three wines listed. However, the Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin is the only wine among my top wine recommendations from the Pacific Northwest; it is always a classy wine and for the 2014 vintage is a blend of 68% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec.

The mini-feature on German wines is also rather weak, with six wines listed and just one included among my top wine picks. My lone pick from the German feature is a dry Riesling that's also known as Riesling Trocken. As part of the Flagship Store Exclusives (FSE) at the back of the magazine is a very sweet Riesling Spätlese and is one of the top wines of the Release.

From my top red wine picks, the Saint-Roch is a blend of approximately equal parts Syrah and Grenache, while the Vacqueyras is an organic wine from the excellent 2015 vintage made with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. The Douro red wine from Portugal is made with Touriga Nacional. Lastly, the Rioja is a blend of 89% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano, and 2% Garnacha.

Roda Reserva 2012 (91 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Soave wine is made with 100% Garganega from vines that range between 10-50 years old. The Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is an organic wine. For sweet wine lovers, in order of least sweet to most sweet, there is the Hidden Bench Riesling (organic), Megalomaniac Riesling, and the Gewürztraminer, as well as the aforementioned Riesling Spätlese. For fans looking for lusciously sweet wines, the Tawse Chardonnay Icewine is also worth seeking.

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2016 (90+ pts)Tawse Chardonnay Icewine 2013 (92 pts)

As the weather gets warmer, Rosé wines return with more frequency at the LCBO. One of the first to arrive is the Miraval Rosé, with vines coming from an average of 1,200 feet above sea level and made using a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle. This wine is also featured as the Wine of the Month and will be available at just about every LCBO outlet.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#195107) (XD) - $16.95
  • MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2014 - Single vineyard, Maipo Valley, Chile (#371112) (XD) - $17.00
  • QUINTA DAS CARVALHAS TINTO 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#523647) (XD) - $17.95
  • BISQUERTT ECOS DE RULO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Single vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#546515) (XD) - $18.95
  • ROCKCLIFFE THIRD REEF SHIRAZ 2015 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#453209) (XD) - $19.95
  • CASAR DE BURBIA MENCÍA 2014 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#392530) (XD) - $19.95
  • TENUTA DI RENIERI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#540849) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DE L’OISELET VACQUEYRAS 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#537951) (XD) - $27.95
  • FLAT ROCK GRAVITY PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#001560) (XD) - $34.95
  • KENWOOD JACK LONDON VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County, California, USA (#944843) (XD) - $39.95
  • OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN 2014 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626325) (XD) - $47.95
  • RODA RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#664557) (XD) - $52.95  FSE  91 pts  wine review
  • BREZZA SARMASSA BAROLO 2013 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#999730) (D) - $87.95  FSE
Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico 2013 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • INDOMITA GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#544213) (XD) - $16.95
  • MEGALOMANIAC NARCISSIST RIESLING 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#067587) (D) - $18.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (D) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • WEINGUT TINA PFAFFMANN T NO. 9 RIESLING TROCKEN 2016 - Qualitätswein, Pfalz, Germany (#549774) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $23.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • PIERRE SPARR MAMBOURG GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#915157) (M) - $26.95
  • CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#529941) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • PIEROPAN LA ROCCA SOAVE CLASSICO 2015 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#092437) (D) - $39.95
  • BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER-SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#298182) (S) - $40.95  FSE
  • FESS PARKER BIEN NACIDO VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 - Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#547158) (XD) - $44.95
Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Flat Rock Chardonnay 2016 (88+ pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MIRAVAL ROSÉ 2017 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#342584) (XD) - $23.95

Dessert Wine:

  • TAWSE CHARDONNAY ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443739) (200 mL) (S) - $35.95  92 pts  wine review


Sunday, December 10, 2017

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  • Sunday, December 10, 2017

Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Gewürztraminer Kabinett 2015 (Pfalz) - Wine Review

Opened up this delightful, pretty, and food-friendly wine from Germany last . This sweet white wine was purchased from the VINTAGES Release and plenty of bottles are still available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Gewürztraminer Kabinett 2015 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

DARTING DÜRKHEIMER NONNENGARTEN GEWÜRZTRAMINER KABINETT 2015 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#944181) (S) - $19.95
Screw cap. This has a pretty medium+ intensity nose of lychee, rose, candied ginger, orange blossom and apricots, with a touch of leesy character. The palate is lively and sweet with bright, clean acids and very nice aroma replays. Sweet flavours continue on the juicy finish, with good length. Ideal for spicy dishes. Score: 88+ pts


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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  • Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016 - Review

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2016
On the evening of , I attended the VIP Preview Night of the 22nd Annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo that was held, as per the usual, in the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto.

As usual, the event was busy as the crowds poured in soon after 6 p.m. and stayed busy over the course of the evening, until the lights began flashing near the end, signalling that the night event was about to end soon at 10 p.m.

For me, this tasting is all about the wine, however, there seemed to be fewer wine-focused booths compared to previous years - hopefully this doesn't develop into a trend. Meanwhile, spirits-focused booths seemed to be at the same number compared to prior years (which is not that many), and the number of food-centric booths seemed to be more than prior years, including some new names to the show. Having more food options was definitely a pleasant surprise as, for once, I wasn't left scrambling trying to find something to eat towards the end of the show.

Some of the booths I visited included the agency booths of United Stars Corporation, where they were pouring wines from Georgia, and MCO - Interesting Wines & Spirits, where they offered pours of fine French wines. No trip to Gourmet Food & Wine Expo would be complete without a stop at the Kolonaki Group booth to sample some lovely Greek wines and the top-notch Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Brut Champagne. My favourite booth every year is Wines of Germany for the some very fine sweet Riesling. This time, because it wasn't crazy busy, I also managed to taste at the Wines from Spain booth and tried the very nice PX (Pedro Ximenez) lusciously sweet Sherry.

Wines of Germany

Kolonaki Group

On the local scene, Prince Edward County had a lengthy booth featuring wines from a few different wineries, including Trail Estates Winery and Closson Chase Winery. Although I didn't taste anything from Niagara wineries this time around, Hidden Bench Vineyard and Winery and Two Sisters Vineyards were among the notables that I know have quality wines.

All in all, I was quite pleased with the event. And even though the number of wine-focused booths was less than previous years, the event did compensate by having more food options that were to my liking. Many of the wines I tasted were also very good quality, with wine reviews of some of my favourites provided below. You should be able to find most of these wines at the LCBO in the General List section or in VINTAGES.

Tasting Notes:

KONCHO MUKUZANI 2013 - Kakheti, Georgia (#460501) (XD) - $13.95
Made with the indegenous Saperavi grape, this has a medium intensity nose with currant, cedar oak, red & black fruits and some spice aromas and flavours. It's medium-bodied and dry with good acids. Tannins have some structure and are a touch drying. Medium-long finish. Score: 87 pts

Koncho Mukuzani 2013 (87 pts)Domaine Courbis Saint-Joseph 2013 (91 pts)

DOMAINE COURBIS SAINT-JOSEPH 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#007914) (XD) - $30.95
100% Syrah. Highly aromatic and very appealing nose of black current, blackberry, red & black fruits, pepper, and hints of floral and oak. It's full-bodied with soft, velvety smooth tannins and very nice aroma replays. Very good acidity. Balanced, long finish. Superb. Score: 91 pts

SKOURAS MOSCHOFILERO 2015 - PGI Peloponnese, Greece (#442178) (XD) - $15.95
Medium-high intensity aromas of nice spring flower, mineral, tropical fruit and orange that continue on palate. Acids are clean and bright, offering a juicy mouthfeel. Medium-long finish. A wine for Spring. Score: 88 pts

Skouras Moschofilero 2015 (88 pts)Kir-Yianni Estate White 2015 (88+ pts)

KIR-YIANNI ESTATE WHITE 2015 - Samaropetra Vineyard, PGI Florina, Greece (#464511) - $17.95
A 50/50 blend of Roditis and Sauvignon Blanc, this has clean medium-high aromatics of kiwi, asparagus, grass, tropical fruit, and spring flowers. Acids are bright on the medium+ bodied palate with nice, ripe-fruited aroma replays and touches of mineral from the Roditis. Finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

ARMAND DE BRIGNAC ACE OF SPADES GOLD BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#220244) (XD) - $299.95
A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, offering medium-high aromatics that has bready, nutty, walnut, and some lime citrus aromas. Mostly comes off as dry on the fruity palate which is smooth and refined with fine bubbles. Vibrant acids are refreshing with a minerally character. Excellent finish length. Will have wide appeal at just about any table. Score: 91 pts

Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Gold Brut Champagne (91 pts)

TRAIL ESTATE SKIN CONTACT SERIES LAKEVIEW VINEYARD RIESLING 2015 - Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Fermented with 21-day skin contact - much longer than most modern white wines. Highly aromatic nose of golden apple and pear. The palate is bone dry with a chalky mineral texture, nice aroma replays, and crisp acids. Very good length on the finish. Winery only. Score: 91 pts

Trail Estate Skin Contact Series Lakeview Vineyard Riesling 2015 (91 pts)Trail Estate Barrel-Ferment Chardonnay 2015 (90 pts)

TRAIL ESTATE BARREL-FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Bottled one week prior, the nose is highly aromatic, offering heavily-oaked aromas of toasty oak, smoke, popcorn, apple and butter aromas. It's medium-full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and flavours that are less oak-influenced and more fruity - stone fruit, apple and butter flavours. Balanced acids. Finish length is excellent! Winery only. Score: 90 pts

PAUL ANHEUSER SCHLOSSBÖCKELHEIMER KÖNIGSFELS RIESLING KABINETT 2015 - Nahe, Germany (#161828) (MS) - $17.95
Medium+ aromas, very mineral-driven with stone fruits and citrus adding complexity. Crunchy mouthfeel, brimming with high acids that cuts into the perceived sweetness. More mineral and stone-citrus fruits on the palate, while finishing with grapefruit flavours. Score: 88+ pts

Paul Anheuser Schlossböckelheimer Königsfels Riesling Kabinett 2015 (88+ pts)Markus Molitor Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2013 (91 pts)

MARKUS MOLITOR ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2013 - Mosel, Germany (#139005) (MS) - $36.75
Highly aromatic nose offers complex mineral, earth, matchstick/smoke, and citrus aromas. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with a fleshy mouthfeel. Semi-sweet on the palate with lovely stone fruit and pink grapefruit flavours that are nicely balanced by vibrant acids. Excellent finish length. Score: 91 pts

CLEMENS BUSCH MARIENBURG GROSSES GEWÄCHS ROTHENPFAD RIESLING 2014 - Mosel, Germany (XD)
Stony mineral, limestone, and hints of lemon pith aromas of great intensity from the glass. Dry on the palate with more lemon pith. stony earth and limestone. Composed and well-balanced through and through. It has balanced acids and a long, elegant, juicy finish. Score: 91+ pts

Clemens Busch Marienburg Grosses Gewächs Rothenpfad Riesling 2014 (91+ pts)Selbach Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese * 2012 (92 pts)

SELBACH OSTER ZELTINGER SCHLOSSBERG RIESLING AUSLESE * 2012 - Mosel, Germany (S)
Medium-high aromatics with lovely orange and mineral notes. The palate is very sweet with highly appealing aroma replays which are balanced by bright acids. The finish goes on and on. Well-balanced, this will age for many years and will go great at the dinner table. Score: 92 pts

OSBORNE PEDRO XIMENEZ 1827 - DOP, Spain (#047944) (S) - $17.95
This Sherry has a highly aromatic nose of caramel, walnut, fig, molasses and more nutty notes. It's very sweet on the full bodied palate with many of the aromas coming through on the lush, thick, and smooth palate. Finish length is very long. Serve with a slight chill. Score: 91 pts

Osborne Pedro Ximenez 1827 (91 pts)


Monday, April 24, 2017

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  • Monday, April 24, 2017

VINTAGES Release April 29, 2017: Oregon + Washington + Germany + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks from April 29, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming and features the wines from Washington and Oregon as its main theme. The mini-themes highlight the wines from Germany, as well as a fresh crop of Rosé wines for Spring sipping.

We'll begin with the feature on wines from the U.S. Pacific Northwest States of Oregon and Washington. For some odd reason, only 5 wines were listed from Oregon, whereas Washington received double the amount with 10 wines listed. From Oregon, only the (dry) Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley made my list of wine picks - I suppose all the great Willamette Pinot Noir is being saved for the Fall/Holiday Releases. From Washington, there is an aromatic Viognier and an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling, both from Columbia Valley.

Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2015 (89 pts)Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Kabinett 2014 (91 pts)

The mini-theme from Germany is also rather small, listing just 4 wines to showcase the different styles of wines that are produced by this country. The main attraction though is the varied styles of Riesling, ranging from dry to sweet. Two of the three Rieslings are listed among my wine recommendations, and both on the sweeter side - a Riesling Kabinett and even more sweeter Riesling Spätlese.

The last thematic features 11 Rosé wines, and 2 are included among my wine picks. Both of these Rosés are dry (i.e. not sweet) in style and are made with Pinot Noir.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dimière Sancerre Rosé 2016 (90 pts)Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2009 (90 pts)

From the rest of the release, in red wines, the Quinta de Cabriz is a blend of 40% Alfrocheiro, 40% Tinta Roriz, and 20% Touriga Nacional, while the Spanish Rioja is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 5% Graciano. From France, the Chinon is 100% Cabernet Franc, while the Cave de Roquebrun is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. For 2013, The Hess Colletion's 19 Block Mountain Cuvee is a Malbec-heavy (61%) blend that also contains 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot/Syrah.

In whites wines, the Burgundy is Chardonnay, while the Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my top wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • QUINTA DE CABRIZ COLHEITA SELECCIONADA 2014 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#247973) (D) - $13.95
  • TOURNON MATHILDA CHAPOUTIER SHIRAZ 2013 - Victoria, Australia (#336966) (XD) - $17.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2014 - AC, Midi, France (#155804) (D) - $18.95
  • SERGE & BRUNO SOURDAIS LE LOGIS DE LA BOUCHARDIÈRE CHINON 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#490375) (XD) - $18.95
  • PENLEY ESTATE HYLAND SHIRAZ 2014 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#409078) (XD) - $18.95
  • ZUCCARDI APELACIÓN VISTA FLORES MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#482760) (XD) - $24.95
  • MITCHELL SEVENHILL VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#673129) (XD) - $24.95
  • MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#976670) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • BURROWING OWL SYRAH 2014 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#073072) (XD) - $40.95
  • THE HESS COLLECTION 19 BLOCK MOUNTAIN CUVÉE 2013 - Mount Veeder/Napa Valley, California, USA (#018879) (XD) - $49.95
  • BUON TEMPO ALTA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#483784) (XD) - $69.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • HOGUE RIESLING 2014 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#363291) (D) - $15.95
  • ERNIE ELS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#455907) (XD) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • POWERS COLUMBIA VALLEY VIOGNIER 2015 - Talcott Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#486993) (XD) - $18.95
  • MOMO PINOT GRIS 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (D) - $19.95
  • ELK COVE PINOT GRIS 2015 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#955906) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT KASELER NIES’CHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2014 - VDP Grosse Lage, Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#940809) (MS) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • DOMAINE DE LA DENANTE LES MAILLETTES SAINT-VÉRAN 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#491738) (XD) - $26.95
  • PASCAL JOLIVET SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#264945) (XD) - $29.95
  • SCHLOSS VOLLRADS RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Pradikätswein, Rheingau, Germany (#101972) (M) - $34.95

Rosé Wine:

  • THE KING’S DESIRE PINOT ROSÉ 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#492926) (XD) - $19.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DIMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $25.95  reviewed here


Monday, August 15, 2016

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  • Monday, August 15, 2016

VINTAGES Release August 20: Trends + Germany

LCBO Wine Picks from August 20, 2106 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on LCBO shelves this and features wines trending upwards as its main theme, while the secondary theme is a small selection of German wines. The local feature has a fine selection of wines from Prince Edward County.

We'll begin with the trendy wine feature. Only 1 of the 17 wines listed in this thematic is included in my wine picks. It is the refreshing Vermentino from Sardinia that has just a kiss of sweetness - ideal for the remaining hot days of August.

The tiny German feature lists only 5 wines. However, 2 are included among my wine picks. Both of my German Riesling recommendations are on the sweeter side, with the Schloss Schönborn being sweeter than the Thörle Riesling. If you're a Riesling fan, you should pick up both of these.

Schloss Schönborn Riesling 2011 - Rheingau, Germany (89 Pts)Thörle Feinherb Riesling 2015 - Rheinhessen, Germany (89 Pts)

In the Local Talent feature, Price Edward County is the theme and offers an excellent (albeit mini) glimpse into the region with 4 wines listed. Three of the wines are included in my wine picks - Norm Hardie's Pinot Noir, the Closson Chase Chardonnay, and a sparkling wine from Lighthall Vineyards. The sparkling wine is designated VQA Ontario, but, in fact, all the fruit (100% Vidal) is sourced from their own vineyards in The County.

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (91 Pts)

From the rest of the release, the Old Vines Spanish red is a blend of Garnacha from 70+ year old vines, plus 15% Syrah, while the Rigoleto Tuscan red is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Ciliegiolo, and 15% Montepulciano. The Portuguese red wine is an unoaked blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, and Touriga Nacional and comes from an estate whose story goes back more than 250 years. The mature 2005 Ontañón Gran Reserva is mostly Tempranillo with 5% Graciano added. Lastly, the Zuccardi Malbec is an interesting wine in that it was entirely fermented and aged in concrete tanks to showcase the fruit, and only available at Flagship Stores (FSE).

In white wines, the Burgundian wines are all Chardonnays above $20. The Italian white wines are under $20 and include the Soave, which is an organic wine made with 100% Garganega, a Greco from Campania, and the aforementioned Vermentino. There is also the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Lastly, the dry rosé wine from Rhône is a blend of mostly Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault.

Enjoy my wine picks from this release! Prost!

Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec 2013 - Barrancas Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina (89 Pts)

Red Wine:

  • CELLER DE CAPÇANES MAS DONÍS BARRICA OLD VINES 2014 - DO Montsant, Spain (#705863) (XD) - $17.95
  • CASTELLO COLLEMASSARI RIGOLETO MONTECUCCO ROSSO 2013 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#455501) (XD) - $17.95
  • CASAS DEL TOQUI TERROIR SELECTION GRAN RESERVA PINOT NOIR 2012 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#443499) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • QUINTA NOVA DE NOSSA SENHORA DO CARMO COLHEITA TINTO 2011 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#452748) (XD) - $19.95
  • PASCUAL TOSO RESERVE MALBEC 2013 - Barrancas Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina (#183897) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • WAIMEA PINOT NOIR 2014 - Nelson, South Island, New Zealand (#447508) (XD) - $22.95
  • MAZZEI FONTERUTOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#977629) (D) - $25.95  reviewed here
  • ONTAÑÓN GRAN RESERVA 2005 - DOC Rioja, Spain (#939736) (XD) - $39.95
  • ZUCCARDI CONCRETO MALBEC 2014 - Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#455774) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY UNFILTERED PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#125310) (XD) - $45.20
Mazzei Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (89 Pts)Casas del Toqui Terroir Selection Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2012 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (88+ Pts)

White Wine:

  • LA CAPPUCCINA SOAVE 2014 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#081489) (D) - $15.95
  • SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN RIESLING 2011 - Rheingau, Germany (#653535) (MS) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#734798) (XD) - $18.95
  • THÖRLE FEINHERB RIESLING 2015 - Rheinhessen, Germany (#420091) (M) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • CONTINI PARIGLIA VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA 2014 - DOC, Sardinia, Italy (#455238) (D) - $18.95
  • MASTROBERARDINO GRECO DI TUFO 2014 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#568105) (XD) - $19.95
  • JEAN-MARC BROCARD DOMAINE SAINTE CLAIRE CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#356634) (XD) - $23.95
  • ANDRÉ GOICHOT LES GUIGNOTTES MONTAGNY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#455139) (XD) - $26.95
  • CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $29.00  reviewed here
  • JEAN COLLET & FILS MONTÉE DE TONNERRE CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#405720) (XD) - $37.95

Rosé Wine:

  • DELAS SAINT-ESPRIT CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE ROSÉ 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#224964) (XD) - $16.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • LIGHTHALL VINEYARDS PROGRESSION SPARKLING WINE 2014 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#468090) (D) - $20.00
  • GUY CHARLEMAGNE BLANC DE BLANCS GRAND CRU RÉSERVE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#143263) (XD) - $61.95


Friday, July 29, 2016

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  • Friday, July 29, 2016

Top Riesling - Wines of Germany Tasting 2016

Riesling & Co. Wines of Germany 2016
The next post in my continuing series of wine tastings in May is the Riesling & Co. Wines of Germany tasting that was held in at the Arcadian Loft on Bay Street.

This event tends to be one of my favourite tastings of the year because I love my Rieslings, especially the wines from Germany. And while there were plenty of delicious German Riesling wines of various sweetness levels, I was a bit disappointed with the fact that very few showed the lovely petrol nose that I was seeking. Furthermore, there seems to be a growing trend of producing more dry instead of sweet Riesling in Germany. Personally, I prefer the sweeter styles.

In addition to Riesling, there were a few delicious Pinot Noirs, such as the Thörle Saulheimer Hölle Spätburgunder 2013 (90+ pts, $60). There was also the delicious Weingut Am Stein Stettener Stein Silvaner 2014 (89 pts) and a surprising Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot blend in the Frey Assemblage 2013.

My most memorable wine of the event was a German Eiswein. This was my first time ever tasting Eiswein and it was absolutely delicious - I can see why most of it never leaves the borders of Germany (because not much is made, and what ever is made is scooped up by the locals). Wine reviews of my other favourite German wines are provided below. None of these wines are available at the LCBO, but you can contact the Agent for pricing and availability.

Tasting Notes:

RAPPENHOF NIERSTEINER OELBERG RIESLING AUSLESE 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (S)
Highly aromatic with wet stone, mineral, lime, peach and stone fruit. The palate is sweet with balanced aroma replays and lively acids. Excellent finish length. Contact Churchill Cellars for ordering info. Score: 93 pts

Rappenhof Niersteiner Oelberg Riesling Auslese 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (93 pts)Schloss Schönborn Jubiläum Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Riesling Spätlese 2011 - Rheingau, Germany (91 pts)

SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN JUBILÄUM HATTENHEIMER PFAFFENBERG RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2011 - Rheingau, Germany (MS)
The nose is highly aromatic, offering peach, apricot, orange, citrus and some wet stone aromas. It's medium-bodied with bright, balanced acids and very nice aroma replays. Balanced and very long finishing. Contact H.H.D. Imports for ordering info. Score: 91 pts

REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT JOSEPHSHÖFER RIESLING SPÄTLESE MONOPOL 2003 - Mosel, Germany (MS)
An effervescence wine with white peach and citrus aromas and flavours, joined by apricot, honey and mature petrol notes on the medium-sweet palate. Acids are still quite juicy, finish is long-lasting. Contact H.H.D. Imports for ordering info. Score: 91 pts

Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Josephshöfer Riesling Spätlese Monopol 2003 - Mosel, Germany (91 pts)Julius Treis Goldlay Riesling Spätlese 2015 - Mosel, Germany (91 pts)

JULIUS TREIS GOLDLAY RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2015 - Mosel, Germany (MS)
Medium-high intensity nose featuring white peach, apricot, citrus, pink grapefruit and stony minerality with terrific complexity. It's medium-dry with aroma replays led by orangey citrus notes. Very well balanced with finely tuned acids, and excellent finish length. Not represented in Ontario at time of tasting. Score: 91 pts

THÖRLE SAULHEIMER SCHLOSSBERG RIESLING 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (D) - $50
Medium+ intensity nose with mineral and lime aromas. The medium+ bodied palate offers a chalky texture with more mineral notes, high acids, and fine length with more minerally tones. Contact Univins and Spirits to order. Score: 91 pts

Thörle Saulheimer Schlossberg Riesling 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (91 pts)Burg Ravensburg Husarenkappe Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2013 - Baden, Germany (91 pts)

BURG RAVENSBURG HUSARENKAPPE RIESLING GROSSES GEWÄCHS 2013 - Baden, Germany (D)
A single site wine from vines that are more than 40 years old, this Riesling has an appealing, highly aromatic nose of petrol, orange, apricot that's very clean. Just a touch off-dry, it has flavours of orange, peach and stony minerality. Nicely balacned with very good acidity and finishing long. Contact Halpern Wine Enterprises to order. Score: 91 pts

WEINGUT AM STEIN STETTENER STEIN RIESLING EISWEIN 2012 - Franken, Germany (S)
Highly aromatic, so intoxicating with lovely honey, apricot, and peach aromas that come from the drops I was poured. The palate is medium-bodied and very sweet with gentle acidity that balances the sweet aroma replays very well. Excellent length on the finish. Was seeking representation in Ontario. Score: 92 pts

Weingut Am Stein Stettener Stein Riesling Eiswein 2012 - Franken, Germany (92 pts)


Sunday, April 17, 2016

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  • Sunday, April 17, 2016

Reinhold Haart Haart to Heart Piesport Riesling 2013 (Mosel) - Wine Review

wine is this lovely Piesport Riesling that was picked up last year when it was released into VINTAGES on .

Surprisingly, there are still a few bottles of this delicious wine available at the LCBO.

Reinhold Haart Haart To Heart Piesport Riesling 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

REINHOLD HAART HAART TO HEART PIESPORT RIESLING 2013 - Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany (#672683) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. This wine was fermented spontaneously with natural yeast and features a lovely slatey, wet stone, tangy citrus nose followed by hints of petrol. It is medium in sweetness with vibrant tangy citrus flavours on the light-to-mid weighted palate with hints of stone and honey adding interest. Acids are delicately balanced while citrus notes lingering on the very good finish. Score: 90 pts


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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  • Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2015 - Review

Amsterdam BrewHouse Jalapeño Chicken + Waffle
On , I attended VIP Night at the 21st Annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo that was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

I arrived early as per the norm, however, unlike last year, there was no complimentary seminar before the show, so I waited patiently for the doors to open. Once inside just after 6pm, the place was already quite busy and with more than 1,500 wines, beers, spirits and gourmet foods to choose from, I knew I would have to pick my spots wisely.

The first booth that struck my eye was Greek wine booth by Kolonaki Group. I don't recall ever seeing Greek wines at this show previously, but this time there was no missing it - they had a very nice, large display. More importantly, the wines being poured were very good to excellent. Wine reviews are provided below for a few of these wines.

The next surprise on my tour through the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo was the return of the Iconoclast Syrah at the Creekside Estate Winery booth. I had previously tasted the 2012 Iconoclast Syrah and was told that at the time that it wouldn't be made again. I am very happy to report that they changed their mind and brought back the Iconoclast label for another vintage. This Syrah is their middle tier wine that slides between their classic Syrah and the premium Broken Press Syrah. Currently only available through the winery, I hope this will one day makes its way to LCBO shelves for wider enjoyment. Conveniently located across the Creekside booth was another local winery - Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery. I was able to taste through Hidden Bench's entire offering at the show and, as always, the wines were excellent.

I also tasted some fine Austrian wines poured by Le Sommelier at the Advantage Austria booth, some of which should make their way on to VINTAGES shelves in 2016. After hearing quite a few nice things about one of Ontario's newest wineries that opened just over a year ago, I knew I had to make at least a brief stop at the Two Sisters Vineyards booth. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the sisters, Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli, as she took me through a flight of their well-made red wines. I hope I get a chance to visit this exciting winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake soon to taste their entire portfolio of wines.

My final wine stop of the evening was at the Wines of Germany booth to taste some fine Riesling. As per the norm, the wines I tasted from Wines of Germany were excellent. I also loved the fact that the folks at Wines of Germany always seem to pour quality wines that are available for purchase at the LCBO or will be available soon.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo is mostly about the wine for me as I usually run out of time before I get the chance to try many of the mouth-watering gourmet food offerings. This year, I managed to try the delicious jalapeño chicken & waffle (twice!) at the Amsterdam Brewery booth. It doesn't seem as though this item is on their menu at the Amsterdam BrewHouse on Queen's Quay, but I hope they offer it eventually as it was tasty! Based on this yummy item, I have high hopes for the rest of their menu and hope to visit the restaurant for the first time ever in the near the future.

A favourite stop of mine for food at this show is the Fire in the Kitchen booth where they offer a multitude of yummy, specialty seasonings. This year, they were offering a grilled cheese stuffed with chicken and a marinade heavy on pickles. I added some of their hot sauce and it was delicious!

To end the night, I tried to get some ice cream from the Marble Slab Creamery, but the line (although not very long) was moving very, very slowly. With only one person preparing sweet creations, while the other person was taking her precious time to update the menu board even though the show was closing in 10 minutes, it was painful to wait so I ended up departing the line and headed to Amsterdam Brewery for a second helping of the chicken & waffle.

Maybe it was just me, but food options seemed to be fewer than previous years. Overall, I enjoyed my time at the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, making a few new friends while also re-connecting with industry folk that I only seem to see at this show. As always, it was great to see the usual industry folk that I see throughout the year - you know who you are.

Looking forward to more good times in 2016!

Tasting Notes:

SANTO ASSYRTIKO 2014 - PDO Santorini, Greece (D) - $17.95
Medium+ intensity aromas featuring citrus, orange and grapefruit aromas which echo very nicely on the ripe, slightly salty palate. It has fresh acidity and very good length on the finish. Quite enjoyable and has good crowd appeal. Score: 89 pts

ARGYROS SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2014 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $21.95
Tasted this last May and still captivating today. Aroma and flavour profile hasn't changed, still has bracing acids and fine length. Score: 90 pts

BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (D) - $18.95
Medium intensity aromas of cherry, strawberry, some florals and sweet spices. Supple tannins on the medium-bodied palate with very nice aroma replays. Acids are nicely balanced. Finishes long and dry with a hint of mineral notes. Good tannic structure will allow this to age well. Drink now or over the next 6-8 years. The 2008 vintage of this wine came to VINTAGES in November. Score: 90 pts

Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (90 pts)

SANTO VINSANTO 2006 - PDO Santorini, Greece (S) (500 mL) - $35.95
Lovely medium-to-high intensity aromas of musky spice, burnt sugar. It's full-bodied with very sweet flavours of caramel, honey, lemon twist, burnt sugar and sweet spices. Somewhat chalky texture with good acidity keeps it from being cloying. Excellent length on the long, smooth finish. Score: 91 pts

Santo Vinsanto 2006 - PDO Santorini, Greece (91 pts)

CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST NIAGARA SYRAH 2013 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#471797) (XD) - $22.95
Medium-to-high intensity nose featuring typical character of black peppercorn, spice, charcuterie, smoked meat, and black fruit notes that also appear in a balanced manner on the palate. Very good acids keep things fresh. Medium-level, gritty tannins will allow for ageing. Finishes long and smooth. Delicious! Score: 89 pts

Creekside Iconoclast Niagara Syrah 2013 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

HIDDEN BENCH CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $28.95
Mild oak, stone fruit, apple, pear and a hint of honeyed fruit aromas from the glass. It's medium-bodied with delicious aroma replays plus notes of lime on the palate. Showing very good complexity, balanced acidity and finishes long. Score: 90 pts

HIDDEN BENCH PINOT NOIR 2013 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#274753) (XD) - $29.95
A fairly lifted nose featuring beetroot, smoke, and cherry that also come through very nicely on the light-to-medium bodied palate. It has balanced acidity and a light tannic grip. Well-balanced overall and finishes long. Score: 90 pts

HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#505610) (XD) - $38.20
Medium-to-high intensity aromas of plum, sandalwood, dark cherry and blackberry. Full-bodied on the palate with sweet tannin and spice flavours to go along with aroma replays. Bright acids. Medium+ level tannins need some time to integrate. Finishes long. Feels disjointed right now. Cellar this one away for at least 2 years. Score: 89 pts

Hidden Bench Chardonnay 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Hidden Bench Pinot Noir 2013 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

WIENINGER 2014 - DAC Wiener Gemischter Satz, Vienna, Austria (D) - $21.95
A field blend of at least 10 indigenous grape varieties, this white wine has complex notes of mineral, funk and citrus, as well as some chalky minerality on the palate. It has bright acids and some sweetness on the palate that linger on the long finish. Available in consignment via Le Sommelier. Score: 89 pts

LOIMER LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2014 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#142240) (XD) - $21.95
Medium+ intensity nose featuring complex aromas of mineral, lemon drop, lime, and hints of herbs. The rounded palate offers mineral, lemon, and citrus notes. Balanced acidity provides freshness. Finishes long. Will be in LCBO VINTAGES in Spring 2016. Score: 88+ pts

Loimer Langenlois Grüner Veltliner 2014 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (88+ pts)Heinrich Blaufränkisch 2013 - DAC Burgenland, Austria (90 pts)

HEINRICH BLAUFRÄNKISCH 2013 - DAC Burgenland, Austria (XD) - $24.95
Organic and biodynamic, it is made using a grape varietal also known as Lemberger. It has medium+ intensity aromas of cherry, beetroot, freshly tilled earth and forest floor. The palate is medium+ bodied with more cherry and beetroot flavours. Elegant tannins and balanced acidity. Finishes long. Available in consignment via Le Sommelier. Score: 90 pts

TWO SISTERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $62
Medium+ intensity aromas of black pepper, cassis, and oak spice. It's medium-to-full bodied with spice and cassis flavours leading the way on the balanced palate. Acids are bright and mouth-watering, while the medium+ level tannins provide good structure. Excellent length on the finish. Score: 90+ pts

Two Sisters Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

RUPPERTSBERGER LINSENBUSCH GEWÜRZTRAMINER SPÄTLESE 2014 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#320473) (MS) - $17.95
Lovely, elegant nose of rose petals, lychee and honey that also show up on the sweet palate. Balanced acids and very good length on the finish. Released in VINTAGES December 12th. Score: 88 pts

Ruppertsberger Linsenbusch Gewürztraminer Spätlese 2014 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (88 pts)Hiestand Riesling Trocken 2013 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (88 pts)

HIESTAND RIESLING TROCKEN 2013 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#424515) (D) - $19.95
Interesting ripe, melon, pink grapefruit, orange citrus and stony minerality aromas that make an appearance on the slightly honeyed palate. Acids are well-balanced, while the finish is long. Released in VINTAGES October 17th. Score: 88 pts

FRITZ WILLI RIESLING 2013 - Mosel, Germany (#436873) (M) - $18.00
Orange, mineral and herbal aromas of medium intensity. It has stony, mineral, schist flavours joining the orange citrus aroma profile. It's medium-sweet with very good acidity and a minerally, long finish. Released in VINTAGES November 14th. Score: 88 pts

Fritz Willi Riesling 2013 - Mosel, Germany (88 pts)Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2013 - Mosel, Germany (92 pts)

FRITZ HAAG BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER RIESLING AUSLESE 2013 - Mosel, Germany (S) - ??
Fine mineral, orange, citrus and petrol aromas emanate from the glass and echo very nicely on the very sweet palate. The acids are vibrant, yet balanced. Excellent length on the finish. Will provide joy for at least a decade. Score: 92 pts


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