Showing posts with label grenache. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grenache. Show all posts
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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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  • Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is another new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Bodegas Jesús Romero in partnership with San Alejandro's winemaker, Juan Vicente Alcañiz. Together, they purchased a three-hectare vineyard of 70-year-old Garnacha in Báguena, Aragón. They also work together on a nearly four-hectare plot of 10-year-old vines at 980 metres altitude.

The name "Rubus" was chosen for this red wine for two reasons. Firstly, it is a nod to its origins in the municipality of Rubielos de Mora (in Teruel, Aragón, Spain) and secondly, it refers to Rubus Ulmifolius, a species of wild blackberry that evokes its aromas and defines the landscape of the area.

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGA JESÚS ROMERO RUBUS 2016 - DO Aragón, Spain (#575944) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of roughly equal parts Garnacha and Syrah, and 20% Tempranillo completing the blend from vines on pebble soil with sandy loam texture, in a mountainous area between 900 and 1000 metres elevation. All raised in stainless steel and concrete tanks, and spent 5 months on the lees. This is quite fragrant in the glass with blackberry, red berry, and spice aromas accented by earthy mineral. It is medium-full bodied on the fresh, clean, and ripe palate that is fruit forward with blackberry, dark cherry, and spice flavours with a smoky mineral underpinning. Tannins are fairly soft and dusty, offering a nice textural character, with just a touch of grip. Fresh, juicy acids. Long, blackberry and spice finish. Enjoy over the next couple of years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lavau Tavel Rosé 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

lovely wine is a new release that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This rosé 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 and critically-acclaimed wines which embody their savoir-faire and respect of terroir, including the many Lavau wines I've enjoyed over the years.

The vines producing this rosé average 30 years old and are located on the slopes of the right bank of the River Rhône, between the famous Pont d'Avignon and the Pont du Gard bridges. The soil type consists of sand, marly-limestone, and pebbles. Grapes are harvested at night (to keep the grapes cool) and are immediately pressed and transferred into stainless steel vats to undergo slow fermentation.

Lavau Tavel Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#556175) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of 50% Grenache, 45% Cinsault, and 5% Syrah. Fresh strawberry and raspberry with herbally hints from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose featuring pretty aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry, and cherry notes sprinkled with herbs. It's medium-full bodied and somewhat structured on the palate with vibrant, juicy acids that gains body in the mouth. The dry flavour profile is clean and richly concentrated with cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavours. Nice chalky texture. Hints of cran-cherry on the lingering finish. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pierre Amadieu Les Hautes Rives Cairanne 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

To celebrate France's World Cup win, red wine is from the fantastic 2015 Rhône vintage that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Pierre Amadieu, a winery that was established in 1929 with 7 hectares of vineyards in Gigondas that was passed on from generation to generation. Continued success allowed Pierre to grow and expand, eventually building a new winery in 1945. Pierre's son, Jean-Pierre joined the winery after he completed his business studies, and was followed by his brother Claude shortly thereafter. More recently, Claude's three children - Henri-Claude, Jean-Marie, and Marie - also joined the family's winemaking business.

I had the privilege to meet Henri-Claude Amadieu, grandson of Pierre, on a recent visit to the Rhône Valley. While I did not get the chance visit the winery (perhaps the next trip?), I did get a chance to taste some amazing wines - more on this to come.

Indeed, this is a family passionate about wine. Together, they strive to create wines of finesse and reflect their unique terroir, while holding a long-established family tradition of respect for the soil.

This particular wine comes from the Hautes Rives vineyards that are located on marl soils covered with pebble stones on the hillside slopes above the village of Cairanne, 200 metres above sea level. The vineyards are bordered by cliffs overlooking the Aygues River.

Pierre Amadieu Les Hautes Rives Cairanne 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIERRE AMADIEU LES HAUTES RIVES CAIRANNE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#539890) (XD) - $19.95
A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, and 15% Syrah raised completely in stainless steel tanks. Plummy, black cherry and blackberry aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has enticing aromas of smoke, dark berry, and spice with savoury elements and hints of pepper, garrigue, and forest floor. It's medium-bodied with fine purity of fruit - lavender, pepper, dark berry/cherry, and spice flavours. Nicely textured with juicy, vibrant acids and smooth, refined tannins. Some mineral and smoky notes arrive on the long blackberry-pepper finish. Lovely wine to enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I had previously enjoyed the 2014 Lavau Vacqueyras in and noted that a further 1-2 years of cellar time would benefit an already delicious wine. Well, it's 18 months since I last tasted this beautiful red wine and, lo and behold, wine is returning to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (90+ pts)

The Lavau family has been involved in winemaking for several generations, beginning in St. Emilion in the 19th century, then Tunisia, then returning to France and settling in the Rhône Valley in 1962. Maison Lavau was officially created in 1965 by Jean-Guy Lavau and his wife, Anne-Mariein. In the 1990's both of their sons - Frédéric and Benoît - returned to France after completing their studies in Canada to join the family's winemaking business. The sons eventually took over the business as their parents retired in the year 2000.

Today, Maison Lavau is one of the last family-run and independent wine estates in the Rhône Valley. With its three winemaking cellars and 180 hectares of vines, it has made its name as a major winemaker, trader and producer in Rhône wines.

On a side note, while visiting the exciting Cairanne Appellation in the southern Rhône Valley last month (more on this in a future post coming soon), we ended up driving by the Lavau winery. Having enjoyed many of their wines over the years, I was delighted get a glimpse of this fairly large winery.

Maison Lavau

Tasting Note:

LAVAU VACQUEYRAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#104927) (XD) - $26.95
Blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre that was aged in a combination of vat and used 450 Litre barrels. Plummy, blackberry and oak spice aromas from the cork. Medium-high aromatic intensity and complex with cassis, blackberry, dark fruit, oak spice aromas with a savoury component throughout. Hints of rocky mineral and peppery notes arrive as it opens up in the glass. The full-bodied palate is smooth and dense with finely knit tannins that have meshed into the palate very nicely. Dark, ripe fruit, plum, cassis with hints of peppery, savoury oak spices on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy and mouth-watering, while the finish is long, smooth and savoury. In a fine place right now, and will continue to age well over the next 3-5 years. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Friday, April 20, 2018

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

I had the pleasure of tasting the 2015 Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages last Spring, so I was delighted to try the latest vintage of this red wine .

Château d'Aigueville is the Rhône property of Burgundian producer Henri de Villamont. It is located on a plateau between the villages of Sérignan and Uchaux, close to Orange. The estate benefits from exceptional terroir that has a very large proportion of pebbles, which is also commonly found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir.

The grapes for this red blend come from a cluster of hills in Uchaux, at an altitude between 100 and 250 metres, from vines that are 30 years old. Soil consists of pebbles and either siliceous or clay limestone. Furthermore, plots are separated from each other by garrigue and olive groves.

Within the hierarchy of the Côtes-du-Rhône AOC, this wine is a level up from the generic/entry level designation. A "Villages" wine indicates a sense of place, which in turn is an indication of terroir and quality. There are approximately 90 municipalities within Rhône that can produce Côtes-du-Rhône Villages wines. Since this wine is designated as a Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, among other stipulations, it must contain at least 50% Grenache and at least 20% Syrah or Mourvèdre.

When the 2015 arrived at the LCBO last year, it was placed in the VINTAGES section. Now, due to its immense popularity and relatively low price point, the 2016 vintage is placed in the General List section and began arriving at LCBO outlets this week.

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) - $15.95
A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan, and the balance other varietals. Faint notes of plum, dark berry and currant aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has ripe blackberry and blueberry aromas mingling with charcuterie and peppery notes, and hints of cocoa and oak spice. It is medium-to-full bodied on the palate with fresh acidity providing lift. More blackberry, blueberry, pepper, and oak spice notes on the flavour profile. Fine-grained tannins are richly structured and gain grip with air. The finish is long and juicy with blackberry and earthy notes. 15% abv is held together quite well. Still quite young. Enjoyable now, but I would age this 3+ years more enjoyment later. Score: 88 pts


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  • Thursday, April 5, 2018

La Ferme Du Mont (Rhône) 2017 Wine Tasting

Stéphane Vedeau, La Ferme Du Mont
In , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of La Ferme Du Mont. Taking us through the tasting was the winemaker and vigneron Stéphane Vedeau. This was my third time tasting the wines from this Rhone winery, having previously met and tasted with Stéphane back in 2015 and 2013. I was quite impressed with the quality of the wines on both prior tastings, so I was expecting high quality this time around too.

The event got off to a very slow start as we waited for quite some time for other guests to arrive - some didn't even show up, so I was told. The pace of the wine tasting was also a bit slow. However, these shortcomings were forgotten as the event moved along as the quality of the wines just kept getting better and better.

The most interesting aspect of this tasting was the opportunity to taste multiple vintages of the same wine. We got to taste different vintages of three different wines - including five different vintages of the Côtes-du-Rhône Premiere Côte, two vintages of the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Le Ponnant, and two vintages of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vendage. How often does one get to taste five different vintages of the same wine on the same day? Thus, it was most fascinating for me to taste the 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Premiere Côte wines. Each Premiere Côte was quite different from each other, and you could sort of see the evolution of this wine, as well as how the growing season and the blend contributed to the vintage.

La Ferme Du Mont Wine Tasting 2017

Grenache is the main component in nearly all of the wines at La Ferme Du Mont's. 50 hectares of old vines are cultivated on the estate, incorporating several AOC's, and grown in a completely natural environment in harmony with Provencal vegetation. Vines are tended all throughout the year while using only organic fertilizers to help produce top quality fruit and fine wines year after year.

Thank you to Eurovintage International Wines & Spirits for the opportunity to taste these lovely wines. Some of these wines may be available for purchase at the LCBO - click six-digit the product code (if listed) to find out. You can also reach out to Eurovintage directly for availability or to order by the case.

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Vertical Tasting

Tasting Notes:

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2011 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
Medium-high intensity nose that is quite complex with sweet oak spice, blackberry, dark fruit, licorice, plum, cherry, and mature hints of dried fruit and floral. It's medium-full bodied with fresh acids and a spiced palate with lovely savoury aroma replays. This has supple tannins and a long, clean finish. Drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 89 pts

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2013 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
Quite light in colour and has focused red cherry and earth aromas of medium-high intensity with subtle oak and smoke notes. The palate of medium bodied with nice red currant aroma replays plus chalky mineral flavours. It has fine tannins, juicy acids and a long finish with a nice mineral underpinning. Score: 88 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2013 (88 pts)La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2014 (88 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2014 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
The medium+ intensity nose offers dark berry, oak spice, raspberry, and sweet spices. It's medium-bodied with fine tannins, fresh balanced acids, and dark berry aroma replays. It finishes long with a currant and mineral aftertaste. Score: 88 pts

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD) - $17.95
A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, this has a medium+ intensity nose of dark berry, dark plum, oak, blackberry and herbal aromas that follow through on the flavour profile. The palate is medium+ bodied and more savoury with supple and ripe tannins that provide some grip. It has a crunchy texture. Still young and a bit tight. Acids are juicy and the finish length is very good. Should evolve nicely over the next 5-6 years. Score: 88+ pts

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2015 (88+ pts)La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2016 (88 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
Medium+ intensity nose is ripe with dark cherry, dark berry, earth, brett, licorice, and raspberry aromas gain complexity with air, introducing kirsch liqueur and coffee aromas. It's medium+ bodied with ripe tannins, nice aroma replays plus some floral notes. Acid are very good and the finish length is good. Drinkable now, but will improve in a few years time. Score: 88 pts

LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2014 - Unfiltered, AC, Rhône, France (#171371) (XD)
An 80/10/10 blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that has an elegant medium-high intensity nose of dried cherry, floral and sweet spices. On the palate, this is medium-full bodied with medium-firm tannins that are ripe and offer some structure and fine aroma replays of dark berry, dark cherry, and licorice. This has very good juicy acids.and a long finish. 89 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014 (89 pts)La Ferme Du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015 (89+ pts)

LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2015 - Unfiltered, AC, Rhône, France (#171371) (XD) - $20.95
A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. The medium-high intensity nose is ripe and high-toned with dark red berry, blackberry, white pepper, sweet oak aromas, all of which come through nicely on the medium+ bodied palate. It has bright, sharp, and fresh acidity. Medium+ tannins are supple and textured. Balanced acids. Long mineral finish. Softer than the 2014. Score: 89+ pts

LA FERME DU MONT CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE VENDANGE 2011 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - $48.95
Highly aromatic nose is elegant and savoury, showing fine maturity with forest floor, wet earth, dried cherry, and a whiff of florality. It's medium-full bodied with very nice aroma replays and silky, sweet tannins that still have some crunch to them. Acids are finely balanced. Earthy and barnyard notes on the long finish. Score: 91+ pts

La Ferme Du Mont Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vendange 2011 (91+ pts)La Ferme Du Mont Châteauneuf-du-Pape Côtes Capelan 2013 (92 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE CÔTES CAPELAN 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#078857) (XD) - $82.95
A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. The medium-high intensity nose is complex with dried cherry, floral, sweet spice, raspberry, red fruit, and some minerality. The medium+ bodied palate is chalky textured with medium-firm tannins that are well structured. Nice, complex aroma replays plus some graphite notes on the flavour profile. Acids are nice and bright, while the long finish is a touch warm, yet balanced. This is a powerful wine that is still quite young and should be aged 4-5 years and will continue to drink well for a decade or more. Score: 92 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Château de Treviac Corbières 2015 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine is a preview of a delicious red blend that will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is produced by Arnaud Sié at his family's estate that he took responsibility over in the year 2000. The southern facing vineyards are situated 200 to 350 metres elevation, on very rocky limestone-clay soils - perfect terroir for Syrah and Grenache - and surrounded by garrigue. The crop is completely hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard, after which the grapes are then de-stemmed and crushed when they arrive in the cellar.

Having enjoyed the 2012 Château de Treviac that I tasted nearly three years ago, and given that the 2015 vintage winegrowing season was rated slightly better than the very good 2012 season, I am expecting this wine to be just as good (perhaps even better?) than the tasty 2012 bottling.

Château de Treviac Corbières 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE TREVIAC CORBIÈRES 2015 - AP, Midi, France (#670505) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache (35 year old vines) that was aged in tank. Faint notes of cherry from the cork. Medium-high intensity nose of cassis, licorice, and black pepper with savoury meaty notes throughout. With air, the nose reveals red currant and garrigue aromas. On the medium bodied palate, there are very nice aroma replays - cassis, garrigue, licorice and black pepper on a bed of fine, chalky textured, and slightly grippy tannins. Acids are bright and juicy. The finish length is very good with lingering earth and garrigue notes. Nicely balanced overall. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, January 7, 2018

Pierre Amadieu La Grangelière Vacqueyras 2010 (Rhône) - Wine Review

Coming off the lovely 2009 Mas d'Auzières Sympathie Pour Les Stones that I opened , tonight's wine is another bottle that has seen some time in my cellar. This delicious wine was purchased from the LCBO VINTAGES Release - just over 5 years ago.

Pierre Amadieu La Grangelière Vacqueyras 2010 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIERRE AMADIEU LA GRANGELIÈRE VACQUEYRAS 2010 - AC, Rhône, France (#076398) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah grown on terraces where the soil is a mixture of gravel and alluvium deposits that was aged 60% in tank and 40% in 2-year-old oak barrels. Dark plum, earth and hints of violet aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose that's savoury with scorched earth and tobacco notes followed by blackberry, dark cherry, sweet spices and herbs, and hints of black pepper. Meaty notes come to the fore as it warms. It's full bodied and dense on the palate with drying, chalky tannins. Flavours are savoury and earthy with oak spice and meaty notes. Some stony minerality and warmth on the mid-palate. Good acids. Finishes long and savoury with lingering earthy and dark berry notes. From the excellent 2010 vintage, this should continue to drink well for another couple of years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, December 17, 2017

Celebrating 40 Years of Roussillon

Celebrating 40 Years of Roussillon

This year marks 40 years of recognition of the AOC status of Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes du Roussillon Villages. Although winemaking in the region goes back hundreds of years, it was only in 1977 when this southern France wine region was formally recognized as an AOP by the INAO. Moreover, it only achieved this status because of the 40+ years of work by Roussillon producers prior to 1977.

I have personally been a fan of wines from Roussillon for many years thanks to the high quality and good value on offer. The AOC Côtes du Roussillon produces crisp white wines, fruity rosés and powerful reds, while wines from the AOC Côtes du Roussillon Villages are entirely made up of red wines. The primary red wine grapes are Grenache Noir, Carignan, and Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Carignan, in particular, is notable for its high quality from historic old vines that can be over 100 years old. Among white wines, the primary grapes are Grenache Blanc, Macabeu, and Tourbat. Most of the wines produced in Roussillon are blends.

The AOP Côtes du Roussillon is the largest of the Roussillon appellations, covering an area of 4695 hectares spread over 102 municipalities in the Pyrénées-Orientales region. Both the white wine and the first red wine listed below come from this large appellation. The Latour de France is a sub-appellation of the AOP Côtes du Roussillon Villages covering 202 hectares in the northern part of the appellation and features mainly grey schist soils.

Wine Appellations of Roussillon

Surrounding the AOC Côtes du Roussillon are three mountain chains and the sea. To the north is the Corbières, the Pyrénées and the Mont Canigou are on the west side, the Albères is down south, and to the east is the Mediterranean Sea. Eighty percent of the vines are located on hillsides, and combined with the hot Mediterranean climate with minimal rainfall, helping create wines that are complex, aromatic and fresh.

Soil types are varied across the region, with a mix of granitic sand and gneiss, black and grey schist, red clay soils, sandy clay, and pebbly terraces.

To get a taste of what Roussillon offers, here are three quality wines that I enjoyed on and are a small sample of the various styles of wine you can expect from Roussillon. All three of these wines arrived in LCBO VINTAGES earlier this year. These wines are nearly sold out across the province, with only limited availability now.

To learn more about this fascinating wine region, visit Roussillon Wines.

40 Years of AOP Côtes du Roussillon & Villages

Tasting Notes:

LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95
Blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Macabeu, 10% Marsanne, and 10% Vermentino. Floral, lemon, and tropical fruit aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose featuring grapefruit, lemon peel, white floral, and herbally notes, with a fine mineral component throughout. It's medium+ bodied and round on the palate with a nice mineral texture. Dry flavour profile features grapefruit, herbs, and floral notes, and a touch waxy. Juicy acids. The finish length is good, ending with a flinty mineral note. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88 pts

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

LE PUIG CARIGNANE DE LA PERPIGNANE 2013 - AC Côtes du Roussillon, France (#480988) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine was raised in concrete tank and consists of 60% Carignane and 40% Grenache. Faint aromas of black plum and dark berry from the cork. In the glass, this leads with a mineral and iron nose followed by dark berry/cherry, kirsch, menthol, and spice aromas. Also some meaty aromas with air. It's medium-bodied on the palate with fresh, balanced acids and ripe, dark berry and peppery spice flavours laced with earthy minerality. Supple, gritty tannins add texture, while the finish is juicy with good length. Drink over the next 4-5 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Le Puig Carignane de la Perpignane 2013 (89 pts)

DOMAINE DE L’AGLY LATOUR DE FRANCE LES CIMES 2013 - AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages, France (#480897) (XD) - $29.95
From a 12 hectare vineyard with mica schist and blue granite soils at 300 metres elevation in the magnificent Agly Valley, this is a blend of 35% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, and 13% Carignan brought up in barrique (one-third new), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Earthy, dark berry and smoke aromas from the cork. Very ripe and fruit forward on the nose with raspberry, blackberry, crushed rocks, flowers and touches of vanilla. The seamless palate is bright and medium-full bodied with balanced dark berry, blackberry, white pepper, along with hints of violet and meaty flavours, Acids are very bright. Tannins have some grip and gain volume over time. The finish length is very good with some fine mineral notes. Drink over the next 6-8 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

Domaine de l’Agly Latour de France Les Cimes 2013 (90 pts)


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  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tessellae Old Vines Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre Côtes du Roussillon 2015 (Midi) - Wine Review

I opened up this delightful red blend from the Roussillon on night. This was purchased from the recent VINTAGES Release and is still widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario. This red wine is made by the famed house of Domaine Lafage.

Tessellae Old Vines Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre Côtes du Roussillon 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

TESSELLAE OLD VINES GRENACHE/SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#343517) (XD) - $18.95
From vines more than 65 years old on schist soils, this is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre that was tank-fermented and followed by aging in concrete tanks. Red and black fruit notes, plus some dark plum aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose leads with flinty minerality and is layered with red and black fruits, white pepper, wild herbs, and hints of black plum and evergreen. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with ripe fruited, peppery, dark berry, and black plum, with good fruit purity and concentration. Acids are bright and zesty. Suave tannins provide subtle grip. Some bitterness mid palate. Juicy finish with good length. Drink over the next 4-5 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, October 13, 2017

Goats do Roam Red 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine is the companion to the 2017 Goats do Roam White that I opened last month. I recall enjoying this wine many, many years ago when I first got into wine, but hadn't tasted it recently. The catchy name, interesting label and low price point is what drew me to this wine many years ago, and if I recall correctly, the price hasn't moved much since that time. I'm curious to see how this wine tastes today.

It is produced by the Fairview Wine Farm, a winery that proudly owns all of their vineyards, with land in Paarl, Darling, Swartland and Stellenbosch. Owner Charles Back has also always been an advocate of social development in the Cape and under Apartheid, he was one of a number of producers who campaigned for and implemented better conditions for farm workers. In 1997, he established the Fair Valley Worker’s Association, which gave his employees a chance to farm their own land.

This dry red wine from South Africa is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, with the 2016 vintage on shelves already or arriving really soon.

Goats do Roam Red 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

GOATS DO ROAM RED 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#718940) (XD) - $13.00
Blend of 49% Shiraz, 24% Cinsault, 12% Grenache, 11% Mourvèdre, 2% Petite Sirah, and 2% Carignan. Screw cap. This has generous aromas that are soft with plummy, peppery and red cherry notes, along with some meaty and vanillan oak nuances. It's medium-bodied on the dry palate with candied red berry fruit, chocolate oak and resinous flavours with touches of menthol. It has bright and juicy acids, some warmth mid-palate (14% abv), and soft tannins. Finish length is good with earthy-curranty notes. An easy drinking red for current consumption. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lavau Rasteau 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review

red wine will be on LCBO shelves later this month as it will be released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by the Lavau family, whose passion for wine and love of terroir and the land began in Saint-Émilion in the 19th century. The family moves to Tunisia and becomes the country's biggest wine producer before returning to France and settling in Rhône, where Maison Lavau was officially founded in 1965.

This particular red wine comes from the Rasteau AOC, in the southern wine region of Rhône, with vineyards located on east-facing, stony/pebbly hillsides that are fairly deep and dry, resulting in low yields and late ripening.

Lavau Rasteau 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU RASTEAU 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#394650) (XD) - $19.95
Aged for 1-2 years, with 30% of this wine aged in used 450 litre oak barrels. A 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. Black plum dark berry and wood spice aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has medium intensity aromas of black plum, dark berry, raspberry, licorice, garrigue, and wood spice with hints of black pepper notes. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with smooth, supple tannins that are just a touch grippy and gain volume with time. Chocolate, raspberry, blackberry, red currant flavours, with touches of sour cherry and charcuterie notes appear on the palate. Acids are fresh and juicy and the finish length is very good, ending with a savoury aftertaste. Shows good complexity overall. Best over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, September 4, 2017

Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2008 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine to end a busy Summer is this red wine blend from one of my favourite producers in the Languedoc - Hecht & Bannier. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the founders of this winery, Gregory Hecht, a few years ago and will likely meet him again this Fall.

This wine was purchased from a VINTAGES Release in . Newer vintages have periodically shown up in VINTAGES as well, with the most recent appearance of this wine showing up in . Since it is currently not available at the LCBO, you can contact Halpern Enterprises to order this wine by the case.

Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2008 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

HECHT & BANNIER CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2008 - AC, Midi, France (#142802) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of mostly Grenache with some Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Prune, dried fig and leathery aromas from the cork. In this glass, this has a fragrant, mature nose of garrigue, wet earth/forest floor, blackberry, along with subtle hints of dried floral, dried cherry and sweet oak spice. It's full-bodied and somewhat chalky textured on the palate with smooth tannins that are well-integrated and nearly fully resolved. Complex garrigue, dark fruit, blackberry, and hints of fig with flavours moving towards savoury on the mid-palate. Acids are juicy. The finish is long and savoury with touches of florality, dried cherry, bitterness, and mineral. Showing fine complexity and maturity and should drink well for another 2-3 years. Lovely! Score: 91 pts


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  • Friday, August 11, 2017

Le Secret des Capitelles Saint-Chinian 2014 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine is a red blend that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Les Vignerons de Saint Chinian, a cooperative founded in 1937 and now includes 186 winegrowers over 850 hectares of vines across Languedoc-Roussillon. Their vineyards range in altitude from 120 to 300 metres above sea level, and are mostly on schist and calcareous-clay soils, which are naturally poor (but good for wine!)

Les Vignerons de Saint Chinian is constantly looking to produce high quality wines, which means a constant effort is applied to improve the skills of grape growers and the selective cultivation of vineyards. As part of these efforts, this coop achieved ISO certification in 2001.

The Languedoc-Roussillon wine region in the South of France is known for producing quality wines at very approachable prices, and this is no exception. You can pick up your bottle from the LCBO next weekend.

Le Secret des Capitelles Saint-Chinian 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

LE SECRET DES CAPITELLES SAINT-CHINIAN 2014 - AP, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (#156299) (XD) - $15.95
This blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah was aged for 12 months in oak. Light aromas of plum and red berry from the cork. Medium+ intensity nose is very savoury earthy in nature, followed by garrigue, wild herbs, black pepper, and blackberry with hints of florality. It's medium-bodied with nice peppery and garrigue aroma replays that are lifted by fresh acidity. Supple tannins are well-integrated and the finish is long and earthy. Nicely composed red wine to enjoy with herbed poultry over the next 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts


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