Showing posts with label grenache. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grenache. Show all posts

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  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review



Following up on the delicious 2017 Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône that I enjoyed last week, red wine review is a new, lovely wine from the same producer that is also arriving as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Xavier Vins is the creation of notable renowned wine consultant Xavier Vignon. He began his work as a consultant in 1996 and over time developed a profound knowledge of terroirs in the Rhône Valley. The 34 grape harvests around the world, mentors, winegrowers' friendships, and exceptional memory have all shaped Xavier's style and identity.

He works with various domaines in the southern Rhône Valley, including Raymond Usseglio, La Nerthe, Marcoux, Gardine, Jerome Quiot, Beaurenard, Mont Redon, Maucoil, Roger Perrin, and Grand Veneur, while also developing his own, self-named brand - Xavier Vignon.

This red wine hails from Ventoux appellation, a wine region in the southern Rhône Valley that I had the pleasure of visiting last May.

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

XAVIER VIGNON VENTOUX 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#413211) (XD) - $16.95
Blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre. The Grenache was aged in tank, while the other varietals were aged in barrel. Generous aromas offer spicy red and blackberry fruit with hints of pepper and smoky-flinty minerality. It is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced and spicy aroma replays that are supported by vibrant acidity. More minerally on the mid-palate plus touches of purple fruit. Tannins are soft, supple, and finely textured. Dark berry and mineral notes linger on the long finish. I really like the mineral aspect of this Ventoux red wine. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, July 12, 2019

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (France) - Wine Review

For wine review, I opened this organic red wine from Rhône ahead of it's release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Xavier Vignon began oenologist consulting activities in 1996 in a laboratory in Vaucluse for 30+ cellars. With a growing clientele and knowledge of terroirs and grape varietals that are best suited for each other, he developed a reputation for being the "crazy guy". Xavier enjoys going into the vineyard and in 1998 he creates a consulting company with his friend Dominique Portet. Soon thereafter, his client base reaches triple digits. However, after Dominique left the partnership to start his own cellar in 1999, Xavier began producing artisanal cuvees from his garage for his friends. One of his winemaker friends' discreetly sent his cuvees to Guide Hachette and the results were one wine heart (i.e. Commended) rating, and all the other cuvees scored 3 stars (the highest possible rating).

In 2002, Xavier's wine importer friends asked if he could create his own wines. He chooses amongst the best wines he has made and creates Rhone wines of different vintages and appellations, and begins bottling as Xavier Vins.

More recently, Xavier Vignon decided that he had to express himself in his own name because he wants, above all, to share with all lovers, neophytes or enlightened, the fruit of his passion: his wines.

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#297317) (XD) - $17.95
This organic red wine is a blend of equal parts Syrah and Grenache, plus some Mourvèdre to round out the blend. The medium+ intensity nose offers lovely smoky black cherry, blackberry, and spice notes with hints of currant and minty herbs adding complexity. The medium-full bodied palate is more red-fruited and ripe with cherry, pepper spice, and currant flavours, along with some smoky mineral notes on the mid-palate. It has balanced acids and chewy, fine-grained tannins. Finishes with mocha chocolate and spice notes, with good length. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, July 7, 2019

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is nice southern Rhône red wine that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It comes from the Rasteau Cru appellation that is located northeast of Orange and is the westerly neighbour to Cairanne. Winemaking in this region was first established by the Romans in 30 BC.

Founded in 1925, Cave de Rasteau is one of Côtes du Rhône's oldest co-operative wineries. It is a leading producer within the Rasteau appellation and it's partners include 80 vignerons and 600 hectares of vines, which is nearly half of Rasteau's 1240 hectares. Cave de Rasteau is located in Provence, in the heart of the southern Rhône Valley and faces Mont Ventoux, the Dentelles de Montmirail, and the French Prealps mountain ranges.

It's terroir is quite diverse, with hilly, south-facing slopes and smooth, pebbled soils that provide heat, while the cool Mistral winds provide freshness - all of which are ideal for planting classic Rhône varietals like Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. At Cave de Rasteau, wine growing knowledge has been passed down over four generations of wine growers with passion and respect for the environment.

Cave de Rasteau is part of Cercle des Vignerons du Rhône, a union of three companies that work together and share their knowledge with each other to produce quality wines while respecting their terroirs.

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ORTAS TRADITION RASTEAU 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#998716) (XD) - $17.95
A blend of old vines 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre from a hillside and terraced vineyard with limestone white clay, red clay, and fluvio-glacial sandy soils. Medium intensity nose offers nice blackberry liqueur, dark berry, spice, and kirsch, with hints of graphite and loamy earth aromas. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with blackberry, spice, and graphite flavours. Acids are balanced and juicy, while finely textured tannins are well-integrated. Graphite notes and a touch of bitterness linger on the finish, with very good length. The 14.5% alc./vol. is well-balanced. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, July 5, 2019

Château de Manissy Le Moulin de Notre Dame Tavel 2018 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice organic and vegan-friendly Tavel that recently arrived at the LCBO as a General List product and is widely available across Ontario.

It is produced by Château de Manissy, a winery located in the heart of Provence, on the right side of the Rhône Valley. Château de Manissy is owned by the Holy Family's Missionaries and has been producing rosé wines since the beginning of the 20th century, all the while developing a reputation for the barrel-aged rosé.

More recently, the talented young winegrower Florian André took over the property and continued it's traditional way of winemaking, while also having respect for the environment and growing wine according to the moon calendar. In 2009, the vineyards were converted to organic agriculture as it was well-known that organic winemaking is good for the soil, the environment, our health, and for future generations. Also in 2009, Florian became a father and thought it was the right time to go organic.

Florian created two more rosés to add to the portfolio, including this enjoyable Tavel that comes from clay soils that are scattered with pebbles which are particularly suited for rosé wine production.

I also can't help but notice that the new Tavel logo is embossed on this bottle - something I learned about when I visited Tavel last May.

Château de Manissy Le Moulin de Notre Dame Tavel 2018 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE MANISSY LE MOULIN DE NOTRE DAME TAVEL 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#234542) (D) - $16.90
Blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that was hand-picked early in the morning, when cool grapes are freshest. Aromas of fresh minerals are followed by subtle hints of herb, raspberry and red cherry notes. It is medium-full bodied and ripe on the palate with cherry, raspberry, strawberry and spice flavours. A touch honeyed on the mid-palate, but essentially dry. Acids are very fresh with a lingering finish that has spice, mineral, and red berry notes. Will be a fine match for seafood or salad over the next couple of years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, June 14, 2019

Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2016 (France) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I enjoyed the 2016 Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages in , and I am delighted to open another bottle of the same vintage and see how it has evolved over the past year. Surprisingly, this vintage is still available for purchase at the LCBO and is currently on promotion -  earn 5 Air Miles reward miles .

It is produced by the Burgundian producer Henri de Villamont at their Château d'Aigueville property in southern Rhone. The estate is located on a plateau between the villages of Sérignan and Uchaux, just north of Orange. Moreover, the estate benefits from exceptional terroir that has a very large proportion of pebbles, similar to what you find in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir.

This particular Villages wine comes from vines that are 30 years old and grown on the hills in Uchaux at 100 to 250 metres altitude. The soils consist of pebbles and siliceous or clay limestone, while the plots are separated from each other by garrigue and olive groves. As a Villages wine, it indicates a sense of place, which in turn is also an indication of terroir and quality. Let's see how this is tasting tonight...

Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU D'AIGUEVILLE CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE VILLAGES 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#544031) (XD) - $16.90
A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan. Generous aromas of fresh black cherry, dark berry, plum, black pepper, spice, and meaty notes from the glass. It is medium-full bodied on the juicy palate with chewy, dense tannins that are smooth and well-integrated. Quite stony on the flavour profile with blackberry and herbal notes. Becomes chalky on the mid-palate and finishes with stony, mocha, and pepper notes, with very good length. Approachable now. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rhône Wine Tour 2018 - Luberon and Ventoux (Day 1)

Domaine des Peyre (Luberon)
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the southern Rhône Valley in May to focus on the brilliant white and rosé wines from the region. It was a 4-day trip with visits to wineries and meet with winemakers in Luberon, Ventoux, Cairanne, Costières de Nîmes, Lirac and Tavel AOCs.

After arriving at Marseille Provence Airport, we travelled about 1 hour north to Domaine des Peyre, a boutique winery and hotel in the Luberon AOC where we would be spending the night. Since Craig Pinhey and I had some time to relax while we waited for Daenna Van Mulligen to arrive before heading out for dinner, we tasted a few delicious wines while sitting and chatting on the patio, all the while observing our peaceful surroundings. We learned that some parts of this historic building were built in the 16th century. There was also a church (which was to host a wedding in a few days) that was originally built in the 9th century.

Domaine des Peyre (Luberon)

Anne Georget was our first guide for this trip, and she took us to dinner at La Bergerie, a casual-fine dining restaurant located on the hill village of Bonnieux that had an amazing view overlooking the valley below. The food was delicious, as we enjoyed some wine on the outdoor patio with truffle pizza (yes, I had truffles for the first time, and it wasn't too bad). It got a bit chilly, so we moved indoors and sat near the kitchen which had an open flame that was used for cooking meats and various other dishes, but also provided some much needed heat to warm the room. I opted for the delicious roasted chicken and capped my meal with a chocolate mousse. It was a great way to end the day, as we had a long (and busy) week ahead of us.

La BergerieLa Bergerie

Our covered the Luberon and Ventoux AOCs. The first stop was actually not too far from the restaurant we dined at the night before. Château la Canorgue is a family-owned and -operated winery in Luberon that is led by the father-daughter team of Jean-Pierre Margan and his daughter Nathalie. The family has been producing wine at this domain for 5 generations on a fascinating site that was built upon the remains of an ancient Roman villa. Château la Canorgue takes its name from the many ancient underground aqua tunnels that cross below the vineyards - we got to see one of these amazing water channels. Nine days prior to our visit, the winery experienced a very localized, disastrous 15-minute hail storm that left nearly 30 cm of ice/snow on the ground. However, it had completely melted by the time we arrived, leaving behind severely damaged vines that Nathalie said will likely need a couple of years to recover. Approximately 80% of their crop was lost due to this freak storm.

Château la Canorgue - Nathalie and Jean-Pierre MarganChâteau la Canorgue Vineyard

Château la Canorgue - Winemaking FacilityChâteau la Canorgue - Tank Room

After a brief walk among the vines, Nathalie took us inside their gravity-flow production facility that was added to their 17th century cellar which was once a silk factory at one point in its history. Château la Canorgue was the very first organic winery in the Luberon and has been producing wines using organic methods, and a few Biodynamic principles, since the 1970's. After tasting through some fine tank samples, we moved into the tasting room to try some of their latest whites and rosé wines. The domain's 40 hectares, most of which are terraced, are planted to traditional regional varietals with 25% of their production devoted to white wines, and 25% to rosés. Grapes for these wines are typically machine-harvested from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., to keep the grapes cool and allowing for better control over the fermentation process. Vines average 40 years old, with some plots at 80 years old, and some even older at 100 years old. Tasting notes of a couple of my favourites wines tasted here and elsewhere on this day are provided below.

The second stop was Domaine de la Citadelle, a winery founded in 1990 by short-film producer Yves Rousset-Rouard when he purchased a old farmhouse with 8 ha of vines. It is located on the northern slope of Luberon, 35 km east of Avignon and the mouth of the Rhône and Durance rivers. Today, there are 50 ha of vines planted on mostly clay and limestone soils, along with some alluvial marl, griess, and gravel. Since it had been raining, we did not take a walk through the vineyards and proceeded directly to the upper level overlooking the production facility. Like the first winery, they also have a gravity-fed vinification process to gently move the wine through the various stages. It also recently became certified organic in 2016 and use horses to work the soil. 50% of their production is devoted to white (30%) and rosé (20%) wines. The three main ranges of wines in their portfolio are terroir-driven - La Châtaignier from sandy marl soils, the middle-tier Les Artèmes which come from primarily gravel and sandstone soils, and the higher-end Le Gouverneur range which come from their best terroirs and oldest vines. 2017 was a tough vintage due to a severe frost that affected nearly 15 ha of vines, followed by a very long drought with no rain for 6 months. Even with yields practically halved, the wines expressed their terroir with freshness and balance.

Domaine de la Citadelle - TanksDomaine de la Citadelle Rosé Wines

Domaine de la Citadelle White WinesDomaine de la Citadelle - Barrel Room

Lunch was at La Maison de la Truffe & du Vin, a fine-dining establishment that included truffle in each of their dishes. It was located in the Luberon mountains, in the hilltop village of Ménerbes overlooking the valley below. Considering that I had my first truffle the night before (and survived), I was less nervous about having truffles with each course. We enjoyed lunch with two wine producers, which definitely helped calm my nerves regarding the truffles.

Joining us for lunch was Winemaker Sylvain Morey from La Bastide du Claux, and Sabrina Fillod, Export Marketing Manager at Marrenon. Each winery brought four delicious wines to taste.

Sylvain Morey's roots are in Burgundy as he is a descendant of (Domaine) Albert Morey. He began La Bastide du Claux in 2002 to bring his Burgundian vision and winemaking craft to the rising Luberon AOC. Sylvain has a fragmented 15 ha vineyard that offers a rich combination of soils, climates and exposures, and tries to highlight its characteristics. Approximately one-third of all wines produced in Luberon are rosés. One of the interesting points that Sylvain mentioned was the fact that even though Luberon is part of the historical region of Provence, with similar terroir, they are not part of Provence AOC and, thus, cannot put "Provence" on the label. Given that rosé wines from Provence carry some weight and prestige, wineries in Luberon are at a somewhat disadvantage. Perhaps one day we will see the rules changed, but in the meantime we shall continue enjoying lovely the wines of Luberon, which are part of the Rhône AOC, and offer great value!

Sylvain Morey, La Bastide du ClauxMarrenon, Sabrina Fillod

Marrenon is a large cooperative consisting of 7 wineries and 650 winegrowers that was created in 1965. All 4,200 hectares of vineyards are based in the heart of a Regional Natural Park which is recognized as a natural biosphere reserve by UNESCO, and spread out along the mountain ranges of Luberon and Ventoux, ranging in altitude from 150 to 500 metres. With vineyards located in the South East Rhône Valley and in Provence, 50% of their production is devoted to rosé wines and 20% to white wines. They were also the first producer to grow Vermentino (Rolle) in France. They are committed to the environment and sustainability, and all of the work is controlled and approved by Agri-Confiance Certification which, among other things, includes respecting nature and environment, fair income for the producers, and vine-to-glass traceability. There are 3 ranges of wines - Classique, Altitude, and Exclusive Single Estate wines. All of the wines we tasted during lunch were from their Single Estate line, and were delicious!

La Maison de la Truffe & du Vin

After lunch, we visited Domaine de Fondrèche, a family-owned winery that was founded by Nanou Barthelémy when she purchased the property in 1993. Her son, Sébastien Vincenti, joined the business a few years later after spending some time in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They have 38 ha of organically cultivated vineyards, 10 ha of which are dedicated to producing terroir-driven rosé wines from sandy soils and white wines from clay and limestone soils. As Sébastien took us through the wines and gave us a tour of the winery, it was obvious that he was very passionate about wine and the winemaking process. The winery was built to favour the use of gravity, including having the press sit a few metres above ground, thus allowing the juice to escape through a hole at the bottom of the press with the assistance of gravity. It is interesting to note that Sébastien does not use any sulphites during pressing. Domaine de Fondrèche produces three lines of wines, and I was most impressed with their middle-tier Persia line that come from their older vines.

Sébastien Vincenti, Domaine de Fondrèche

Domaine de Fondrèche - Concrete Eggs and Oak BarrelsDomaine de Fondrèche

The final stop of the day was at Château Pesquié, an estate winery owned by a family that is passionate about the Ventoux region and recognized its potential. Odette & René Bastide purchased the property that is located at the foot of the Ventoux Mountain in the early 1970's and became pioneers of AOC Côtes du Ventoux. Even though vines had been cultivated in this region for more than a thousand years, the AOC was only created in 1973. In the mid-1980's, their daughter Edith and her husband Paul Chaudière joined the business. In 1989, the family stopped selling their grapes to the local cooperative and formed their own cellars. In 2003, Paul and Edith's two sons, Alexandre and Frédéric, took over the Domaine and continue the family tradition of producing terrific wines that harness the outstanding Ventoux terroir. We had the pleasure of meeting Alexandre, who through three generations of winemakers in the family have always tried to be agriculturally sustainable and responsible, mentioned that they hope to be certified biodynamic in 2019. Château Pesquié has one of the coolest micro-climates in the south of the Rhône Valley, thanks to slightly higher elevations and mountain influence, while also having great mineral diversity, but predominantly limestone. They have a fabulous visitor centre with impressive displays showcasing their terroir, among other things. The wines are also tasty! Château Pesquié is definitely a place to visit if you're in the area.

Château Pesquié

Château Pesquié

The evening was capped off with a gourmet dinner and a quiet night at the lovely Château de Mazan Hotel that is housed in an 18th century mansion located in the centre of the town of Mazan, nestled at the foot of Mont Ventoux.

Château de MazanChâteau Unang Ventoux Blanc 2017

Château de MazanChâteau de Mazan

This post is just the first in the series. A visit to the Cairanne AOC is next on the itinerary, and reviews from my trip to the other Rhône AOCs will be posted in the coming days.

Tasting Notes:

Domaine des Peyre Paparazzi 2017 (87 pts)

DOMAINE DES PEYRE PAPARAZZI 2017 - AP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 11.5 €
Mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre completing the blend. Medium+ intensity nose is fresh with herbal, garrigue, stone fruit and peach aromas. Medium-bodied palate is delicate with herbally and stone fruit flavours, and a vague impression of sweetness. Clean and balanced, some saline mid-palate. Very good finish length. Score: 87 pts

Agent: DB Wine & Spirits (ON)

CHÂTEAU LA CANORGUE LUBERON ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - 9.50 €
Majority Grenache, with Syrah and Mourvèdre completing the blend. Medium+ intensity nose has herbally, raspberry, and currant aromas. Red berry flavours of raspberry, red currant and strawberry on the medium-bodied, dry palate lifted by fresh acidity. Fine, crisp finish. Score: 88 pts

Château la Canorgue Luberon Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Château la Canorgue Luberon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU LA CANORGUE LUBERON BLANC 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - 10.50 €
Co-fermented and equal parts Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Grenache, Bourbeblanc, and Vermentino. Lovely citrus and exotic fruits with plenty of minerality on the nose and flavour profile. The medium+ bodied palate is structured and has a creamy texture with a nice mineral, mid-palate supported by fresh acids. Nicely balanced overall, dry. Floral and fruit on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Agent: N/A

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE LES ATÈRMES ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Luberon, Rhône, France (XD) - 12 €
Vines located 300 m above sea level. 80% Mourvèdre. Subtle raspberry, earth, and mineral aromas. Medium-bodied with crisp acids, rounded mouthfeel and nice aroma replays in a dry style. Structured, spicy, nice clean finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88+ pts

Domaine de la Citadelle Les Atèrmes Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)Domaine de la Citadelle Le Châtaignier Blanc 2017 (88+ pts)

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE LE CHÂTAIGNIER BLANC 2017 - AOP Luberon, Rhône, France (XD) - 8.50 €
Blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Marsanne. Subtle stony mineral and herbal aromas continue on the medium-bodied palate, joined by some lemon/lime flavours. Clean acids offer a crisp mouthfeel. Very good length on the fresh finish. Score: 88+ pts

Agent: Balthazard (QC)

BASTIDE DU CLAUX L'ODALISQUE 2016 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
40% Grenache Blanc blended with equal parts Vermentino and Viognier, all spending some time in oak barrels. Medium-high intensity nose with stone fruit and lemon oil notes. It's medium+ bodied on the smoky, structured palate with lemony acids and flavours. Buttery, baked apple notes linger on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

Bastide du Claux l'Odalisque 2016 (89 pts)Bastide du Claux Barraban 2009 (91 pts)

BASTIDE DU CLAUX BARRABAN 2009 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
40% Grenache Blanc, the rest equal parts Vermentino, Clairette, and Ugni Blanc. Pours a deep gold colour, this has medium-high intensity waxy, lanolin, floral, and herbally aromas, all which comes through nicely on the medium-bodied, dry, spicy palate. Nicely textured with balanced acidity. Drinking well now, but could age another 5-7 years. Score: 91 pts

Agent: N/A

MARRENON PETULA 2017 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
Syrah and Grenache Noir. Pretty raspberry, strawberry aromas are open and fragrant with fine minerality. It's medium-bodied, crisp, and clean on the subtly spicy palate with nice, balanced acids and herbally aroma replays. Long with some structure on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Marrenon Petula 2017 (89 pts)Marrenon Grand Marrenon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

MARRENON GRAND MARRENON BLANC 2017 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
Equal parts Grenache Blanc and Vermentino, and 10% Roussanne. Elegant, medium-high intensity nose shows finesse with ripe, balanced yellow fruit, white flowers, mineral and barrel-aged oak nuances. It's light-to-medium bodied on the nicely balanced palate with pleasing aroma replays supported by vibrant acids. Clean lime and mineral notes, touch bitter on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Agent: Von Terra (ON)

DOMAINE DE FONDRÈCHE PERSIA ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 20 €
Half Mourvèdre, the rest equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Medium-intensity nose has herbally, spicy, currant, floral, and raspberry aromas. Juicy, fresh acids support the medium-bodied, spiced palate with curranty aroma replays. Spiced finish with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Domaine de Fondrèche Persia Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Domaine de Fondrèche Persia Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

DOMAINE DE FONDRÈCHE PERSIA BLANC 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 20 €
Roussanne from 30-40 year old vines, the nose is reserved with lime citrus and herbs, and hints of hay and white stone fruit. The medium-bodied palate is ripe, rounded with very good acidity. White peach, melon, and some herbal, fennel flavours. Nicely textured on the mid-palate through to the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

Agent: Sens.i (QC)

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ TERRASSES ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 11 €
50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, and 10% Syrah. Shy nose has raspberry, red berry and citrus aromas. Structured, medium-bodied palate has more raspberry and citrus notes with hints of floral. Fresh, juicy acids support the crunchy fruit. Clean, lemony notes on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

Château Pesquié Terrasses Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Château Pesquié Quintessence Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ QUINTESSENCE BLANC 2016 - AOC Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 16 €
Blend of 80% Roussanne (barrel-fermented) and 20% Clairette, with trace amounts of Viognier, and then blended and aged in concrete tanks. Subtle aromas offer wood-influenced herbal, white peach, and hints of citrus, all which come through on the medium-bodied palate. Fresh, balanced acids provide lift. Nicely textured with crunchy fruit, and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Agent: The Vine Agency (ON), Sélections Oeno (QC)


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  • Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Château de Tréviac Corbières 2016 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely unoaked red wine that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

The 2012 and 2015 Château de Tréviac Corbières were both delightful wines when they arrived in VINTAGES in previous years, showing remarkable consistency. I have no doubt that this latest vintage will also be very good.

It is produced by the young and dynamic winegrower Arnaud Sié at Château de Tréviac in the village of Talairan - between Carcassonne and Perpignan, and just west of the Mediterranean. In 2000, after completing his studies, he decided to take over the family's estate. He currently has 20 hectares of vineyards, 14 of which are in the Corbières appellation and has worked tirelessly to modernize the wine cellars and improve the vineyards.

The grapes for this wine come from an established south-facing vineyard located 200 to 350 metres above sea level on chalky clay soils surrounded by garrigue, the ideal terroir for Syrah and Grenache. The Syrah vines are approximately 15 years old, while the Grenache vines are 35 years old, with low yields allowing the wines to have exceptional concentration.

Château de Tréviac Corbières 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC CORBIÈRES 2016 - AP, Midi, France (#670505) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache that was hand-harvested, sorted in the vineyard, and aged completely in tank. Quite intense on the nose with stony mineral and scorched earth aromas layered on top of the lovely blackberry, black pepper spice, licorice, and cassis notes. Lovely mineral driven aroma replays on the full-bodied palate with very good fruit concentration. Nicely textured with supple tannins that have some chalkiness. Acids are juicy and mouth-watering. Stony mineral notes linger on the long finish. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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, September 16, 2018

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely rosé that I picked up while visiting the winery in Rhône Valley back in .

Château Mourgues du Grès is a family-owned, certified organic winery located in Beaucaire, on the slopes of Costières de Nîmes and nestled between vineyards, orchards, and heath. Their terroir is quite rich and made up of the rounded stones (grès) and lies on argilo-calcerous marl, which help the vines draw moisture from greater depths. The stony alluvium was transported from the Alps by the glacier of the Rhône in the quaternary era (nearly 2 million years ago) and imparts miinerality, balance and freshness to the wines. The area is also nurtured by the influences of the Rhône river and the Mediterranean Sea.

The winery is committed to preserving the environment by being mindful of nature and respect for their terroir. The vineyards are maintained and kept fertile by sheep grazing and cover crops to prevent erosion and promote biodiversity. Since 2015, wines have been vinified without the use of sulphur, except for a small amount during bottling to ensure stability of the wine.

Vigneron François Collard returned to the family estate in 1990 and produced his first bottling in 1993. He strives to reveal the purity of fruit, freshness, aromas, and balance between the richness and minerality of every wine he produces, including this delightful rosé.

For availability in Ontario, please contact Brand New Day Wines & Spirits.

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS FLEUR D'EGLANTINE 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - €7.5
Mostly Grenache and Mourvèdre, with a dash of Syrah. Vague notions of spring flower and grapefruit from the cork. In the glass, this has delicate aromas of grapefruit and rhubarb with a fine mineral underpinning, and hints of strawberry. It's medium-full bodied on the clean, fresh palate with nicely dry grapefruit and rhubarb flavours. Fresh acids are nicely balanced. A fine salty mineral note and some spiciness arrives mid-palate and continues through to the long, juicy finish. Best with a light chill. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wine Reviews from August 5, 2018 Birthday Party

Wine Line-up for Aug. 5 Birthday Party

Last month, we held a birthday party for my toddler daughter and a few of her close friends. And for the adults - there was wine!

The dry rosé was easily the most popular wine at the party, while the Riesling and Shiraz were a close second. All three wines are fairly recent releases to VINTAGES, so you should be able to pick up a bottle at your local LCBO. Full wine reviews are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
Glass enclosure. The medium+ intensity nose has appealing aromas of grapefruit, citrus, spring meadow and herbally notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has clean and crisp acids with nice texture. Herbally and grapefruit flavours on the dry flavour profile. Touch honeyed, with some bitterness on the long finish. Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Enjoy over the next 18 months. Part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection and released as part of the May 12 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely limestone mineral and petrol aromas mingle with white peach and citrus. It's medium-sweet with nicely balanced acids and flavours with white peach, orange zest, citrus, and green apple flavours with hints of mineral. Tart fruited, lip-smacking finish, with very good length. July 21 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Full wine review here.

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (88+ pts)


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