Showing posts with label italy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label italy. Show all posts

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  • Friday, August 9, 2019

Fantini Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Rosé 2018 (Italy) - Wine Review



wine review is an Italian rosé made with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo that is available in the General List section at the LCBO and widely available across the province.

Vini Fantini is one of a number of wineries that make up the Farnese Vini group. Farnese is a young company has become the leading export company in the South of Italy, producing of over 24 million bottles per year, and garnering many awards over the years.

The refined Fantini wines are made with the best selected grapes coming from the Farneto Valley and other important estates in Abruzzo. The aging process for these wines is completed in the beautiful cellars of the Caldora Castle, a historical building that has a cultural heritage and viticultural traditions of the territory of Ortona, The winemaking team at Fantini is headed by two internationally renowned super-consultants who constantly dedicate their work to the care of each production phase and provide direction to the team of talented young winemakers and agronomists.

This particular rosé underwent soft stalk-stripping and crushing, followed by a brief maceration on skins for approximately 6 hours. It was fermented without skins for 15 days in order to obtain the desired colour and taste.

Fantini Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Rosé 2018 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

FANTINI CERASUOLO D'ABRUZZO ROSÉ 2018 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#635342) (D) - $10.95
Made with 100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and pours a fairly deep red with tinges of blood orange. Ripe red berry, strawberry, and cherry aromas with herbally hints. It's light-to-mid weighted on the spicy palate with more ripe red berry, herb, and white pepper flavours. There's some sweetness, but it hides well due to the lively, food-friendly acidity. Chalky textured on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, August 3, 2019

Bottega Gold Prosecco (Italy) - Wine Review

shiny sparkling wine review was recently listed as a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and is now widely available all year round across Ontario.

It is produced by Bottega, a family-owned, third generation company led by Barbara, Sandro, and Stefano Bottega in Bibano, Treviso, north of Venice, that has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, spirits and food products since 1977. The headquarters are located in a 19th century farmhouse that was renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and is surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards.

Bottega Gold is a premium quality Italian Prosecco characterized by its shiny, iconic metallized bottle, an idea that was conceived by Sandro Bottega in 2000 to create an eye-catching package for their premium quality Prosecco. However, this Prosecco is more than just a fancy bottle.

Even though this bottle is labelled as DOC, the Bottega Gold is actually the higher designated DOCG - where the native Glera grapes used for Prosecco are grown (in a mix of old and new vines) and hand-picked in Valdobbiadene within the heart of the DOCG area. It is labelled as DOC because Italian regulations preclude Bottega’s gold-plated bottle from being labelled as a DOCG.

This Prosecco undergoes a single fermentation, directly transforming the grape must into sparkling wine, followed by a second fermentation in autoclaves (pressurized tanks) with the addition of selected yeasts for approximately 40 days. This unique method is known as the Charmat-Martinotti method and helps preserves freshness and all of the characteristics that the Glera varietal is known for, such as white flowers, green apple, pear and citrus.

Bottega Gold Prosecco (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOTTEGA GOLD PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#621458) (D) - $27.95
Faint aromas of pear, white peach, citrus and floral from the glass. The palate has an initial crispness, giving way to frothy, mouthfilling mousse and flavours of pear, floral, and citrus with just a touch of sweetness. There's good structure and balanced acidity. It's also nicely balanced throughout with lingering citrus notes on the finish that veers towards dry, with good length. A well-made Prosecco that can be enjoyed at the table. Score: 87 pts


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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release July 20, 2019: Under $20 + Italian Whites

LCBO Wine Picks: July 20, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming July 20, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features 20 Wines Under $20 as the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at fresh Italian white wines. All of these wines, plus those as part of the Main Release will be on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that lists 20 wines under $20, of which only 3 are include among my top wine picks. The first wine from this group is a dry $19 Prosecco that is made with the Glera grape varietal. The lone white is a $15 Chenin Blanc from South Africa, while the red is a lovely $17 Ventoux from the southern Rhône Valley that consists of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre.

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (89 pts)Rustenberg Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2018 (89 pts)

From the mini-theme on fresh Italian white wines, five of the seven wines featured are included among my top wine recommendations. The idea behind this theme to get everyone to try some of the other fine white grape varietals from Italy and look beyond Pinot Grigio. First up is a Fiano, an ancient grape from at least the 13th century. Pecorino (not the cheese) is fresh, floral and vibrant and often comes from Abruzzo. Falanghina is my favourite Italian white wine varietal and often comes from the hilly, volcanic soils of Campania. The Greco varietal is also common in Campania and offers a distinct smoky minerality. Lastly, there is a premium, barrel-fermented and aged Trebbiano di Lugana (aka Verdicchio) from Piedmont.

Sergio Zenato Riserva Lugana 2016 (91 pts)Terre Stregate Svelato Falanghina del Sannio 2016 (89 pts)

Janare Fiano 2017 (89 pts)Citra Ferzo Abruzzo Pecorino Superiore 2017 (88 pts)

Lava Greco di Tufo 2017 (88 pts)

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the Release, the red wine from New Zealand is a blend of 82% Merlot and 18% Malbec. From Rhône, the Rasteau is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Côtes du Rhône is equal parts Syrah and Grenache, plus some Mourvèdre. The blend from Roussillon consists of 50% Syrah, 40% Mourvèdre, and 10% Grenache, and 2015 Bordeaux consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lastly, from Spain, the Reserva is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, while the Crianza consists of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, and 5% Graciano.

Ka Tahi Merlot/Malbec 2015 (90 pts)Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (89 pts)

Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2017 (88 pts)Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2016 (88+ pts)

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

From my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines. One of the stand outs is the always excellent Assyrtiko from Greece. If you prefer sweet wines, look for the Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Argyros Assyrtiko 2017 (90+ pts)Max Ferd. Richter Elisenberger Riesling Kabinett 2016 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • XAVIER VIGNON VENTOUX 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#413211) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ORTAS TRADITION RASTEAU 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#998716) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#297317) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • BELLINGHAM HOMESTEAD SHIRAZ 2017 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#698290) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE / GRENACHE 2016 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#413245) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • KA TAHI MERLOT/MALBEC 2015 - Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#645192) (XD) - $23.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT SELVE 2015 - AC Graves, Bordeaux, France (#738120) (XD) - $24.95
  • VIVANCO RESERVA 2012 - Selección de Familia, DOCa Rioja, Spain (#293431) (XD) - $29.95
  • YANGARRA SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#911974) (XD) - $34.95  FE
Bellingham Homestead Shiraz 2017 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • RUSTENBERG STELLENBOSCH CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#698274) (XD) - $14.95  89 pts  wine review
  • WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • JANARE FIANO 2017 - DOP Sannio, Campania, Italy (#528786) (D) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CITRA FERZO ABRUZZO PECORINO SUPERIORE 2017 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#573683) (D) $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TERRE STREGATE SVELATO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2016 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#486076) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LAVA GRECO DI TUFO 2017 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#631739) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PENINSULA RIDGE WISMER VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#155580) (D) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MAX FERD. RICHTER ELISENBERGER RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#665984) (S) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • SERGIO ZENATO RISERVA LUGANA 2016 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#928218) (D) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
  • FLOWERS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#215210) (XD) - $59.95  FE
Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2017 (88+ pts)Peninsula Ridge Wismer Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • HACIENDA LOPEZ DE HARO ROSADO 2018 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#450775) (XD) - $13.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PLANETA ROSÉ 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#111856) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2018 - AC, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review
La Cadiérenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé 2018 (91 pts)Planeta Rosé 2018 (89 pts)

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Rosado 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • LE MONDE BRUT PROSECCO - DOC Friuli Grave, Italy (#634121) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVINO MUSCAT - PDO Samos, Greece (#113092) (S) (500 mL) - $12.95  88 pts  wine review
Cavino Muscat (88 pts)


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  • Sunday, July 14, 2019

Planeta Rosé 2018 (Sicily) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, dry rosé wine from Sicily that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Planeta Winery is one of the premier wine estates of Sicily and a veritable fine wine empire. The company has vineyards and estates all over the island of Sicily including the Ulmo Contrada and vineyards in Sambuca di Sicilia where you can find their first winemaking facility and beautiful ancestral family home, located on the Arancio Lake; the Dispensa vineyard in Menfi, where they also make high-end olive oils at the nearby Capparina mill; the lovely Dorilli estate in Vittoria in southern Sicily; the Buonvini vineyards and underground winery near the Baroque town of Noto in southeastern Sicily; the Sciaranuova vineyard and estate located in the exciting fine wine region of volcanic Mount Etna; and their newest and smallest estate is the Capo Milazzo winery located in northeastern Sicily.

This rosé comes from their Dispensa Vineyard within the Menfi (Agrigento) district on the western part of the island. Menfi is where is the history of the family and their business began. The family planted their first vines on the Ulmo estate, a few metres from Lake Arancio and the 16th century farmhouse which has been in the family for 17 generations. The family houses all reside within the area in Baglio, as well as their library which holds hundreds of Italian and foreign books from 1700 to the present day, all dedicated to vines and wine. It is also in Menfi where you can find the remains of an ancient Phoenician wine press.

The soils in Menfi are moderately limey with mixed yellow and grey chalk, moderately fine textured, and a few stones present. It was vinified by destalking and sent to soft pressing for a brief maceration of 1-2 hours to achieve a perfect extraction of colour. After must was obtained, it was decanted, then transferred and fermented at 15°C in stainless steel vats.

Planeta Rosé 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PLANETA ROSÉ 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#111856) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Equal parts Nero d’Avola and Syrah. Fresh, medium intensity nose offers floral, orange blossom, melon, ripe berry, herbal notes and some minerality. It is medium-bodied and dry with saline minerality, citrus, melon, strawberry and herbal flavours that are supported by crisp, vibrant acidity that is ideal for food pairing. More saline mineral and melon notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Leonardo Rosso 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine from Tuscany that recently arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Cantine Leonardo da Vinci, a brand of wineries named after the famous Renaissance Man. The winery was created to continue Leonardo's studies in the field of viticulture. The people behind Cantine Leonardo da Vinci are committed to winemaking excellence in Italy through a modern combination of tourism, culture, food, and wine.

For Leonardo himself, wine was a daily passion, a creative matter and a stimulus for new inventions. With this in mind, the Cantine Leonardo da Vinci strives to produce wines in Italy's best territories, while attempting to use his methods to innovate, research, observe, and have respect for nature.

Each collection within the Leonardo da Vinci portfolio tells a different aspect of Leonardo's extraordinary relationship with wine. This particular red comes from the Leonardo da Vinci collection that is a selection of the most representative wines of Tuscany (and Romagna) that show on the label the most popular and famous design in the world. The Vitruvian Man holds the power and the contemporaneity of Leonardo, his unshakable aspiration to the future that makes him a timeless Genius.

In addition to the cellars that are shared among a number of Italian wineries, they also have a couple of museums devoted to divulging the knowledge of Leonardo da Vinci - the artist, scientist, inventor and designer.

Leonardo Rosso 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LEONARDO ROSSO 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#483818) (D) - $14.95
A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% other varietals that come from the hilly areas within the municipalities of Vinci and Cerreto Guidi in Tuscany. Savoury, wet forest floor aromas mingle with tangy cherry, dark berry and baking spice notes, with very good intensity. The medium-full bodied palate is ripe fruited with dark red berries, spice, and some sweet vanillin flavours. It has soft, supple tannins that are nicely textured. There's some sweetness here, but it's mostly hidden by the fresh acidity. Savoury earthy notes along with red cherries linger on the finish, with very good length. Casual, easy-drinking, and widely appealing style for BBQ fare. Score: 87 pts


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  • Friday, May 31, 2019

Mazzei Poggio Badiola di Fonterutoli 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review a nice red wine from Tuscany that will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES for the first time on .

The Mazzei family has been making fine wines in Tuscany since the 11th century. When Ser Lapo Mazzei's granddaughter married Agnolo da Fonterutoli in 1435, Castello di Fonterutoli became part of the Mazzei family. They have been producing wines at this historic castle since that time, now spanning 24 generations.

At Castello di Fonterutoli, there are 5 areas divided into 73 vineyards. The grapes for this delicious red wine come from the Le Ripe area vineyard, which is located approximately 2 kilometres northwest of Fonterutoli, within the commune of Radda in Chianti, in the heart of Chianti Classico. The vineyard surrounds a 10th century Romanic Church, called "Badiola", to which this wine owes its name. The specific vineyard where the grapes for this wine come from are south facing and sit between 450 to 510 metres altitude, with soils that are very rocky with decomposed limestone and sandstone. This area is also relatively cool due to it's height and specific micro-climate, imparting freshness to the grapes.

Mazzei Poggio Badiola di Fonterutoli 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

MAZZEI POGGIO BADIOLA DI FONTERUTOLI 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#330951) (XD) - $19.95
A blend of 65% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot that was hand-picked and aged in small American oak barrels for 10 months. Medium+ intensity nose offers aromas of sweet red and black cherries, dried spices, and some wood surrounding a savoury earthy core. It is medium-full bodied and fairly dense with smooth, finely-grained tannins with some grip, and juicy acids. More savoury on the flavour profile with currant, black cherry accents. Savoury, earthy and cocoa notes linger on the long finish. Enjoyable now, but will be better in 1-2 years. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (Veneto) - Wine Review

red wine was purchased nearly 7 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release that featured wines from Veneto in its main theme. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2008 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONTE DEL FRÁ TENUTA LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2008 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#272500) (D) - $15.95
Blend of 80% Corvina Veronese and Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella from the terraced estate of Lena di Mezzo that is an hilly area with tufaceous, clay and limestone soils. Deep garnet colour with a brownish tinge on the edge. Generous aromas are very earthy and savoury in the glass with dirt, tree bark, and touches of dried cherry and floral. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with tobacco and spice flavours, plus some dried cherry/berry and floral notes. Fruit is starting to fade while tannins have softened but leave a chalky and drying mouthfeel. Acids are juicy. Earthy and stony mineral notes linger on the long finish. Quite nice for an 11-year-old Valpolicella. Drink now. Score: 89 pts


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  • Saturday, March 23, 2019

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Chianti that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Having tasted and enjoyed both the 2014 Giacomo Mori Chanti and the 2012 Giacomo Mori Chanti, I am fully expecting this latest vintage to also provide pleasure. This red wine is from the 2015 vintage - a vintage that is widely regarded as one of the great vintages in Tuscany.

The history of Giacomo Mori begins at the end of the 18th century as a marketer of processed, aged, and bottled wine from the cellars of Palazzone and Chiusi. These activities slowed with the onset of World War I and eventually ceasing during the economic crisis of 1927. In 1970, Giovanni, the son of Giacomo, restarted the production of grapes and wine with his sons, selling mostly in tanks and demijohns. In 1995, they began focusing on making quality wines by planting new vineyards with a careful selection of varieties, clones, and vineyard layout.

This particular red wine has been made for more than 15 years and today consists of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo. It is vinified in stainless steel tanks at carefully controlled temperatures, aged for 10-12 months in Slavonian and Allier oak barrels, as well as tonneaux and used barriques.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $22.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers ripe red cherry and spice, with leather and sour cherry hints, all surrounded by a savoury, earthy, forest floor core. It is medium-bodied with juicy acids and gritty tannins that will reward with some ageing. Nicely savoury with earthy, forest floor, red and black cherry, and oak spice flavours. Very good finish length. Really starts to shine as it warms in the glass. Enjoy over the next 6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019

La Prua Appassimento 2016 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious red wine that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mare Magnum, a fairly new wine company that produces wine not only in various parts of Italy, but is also involved in winemaking in various other parts of the world. Takis Soldatos and Mario Calzolari are the leaders behind Mare Magnum, and they have worked in the wine industry for more than 20 years. Together, they strive to produces wines that are outstanding value-for-money in an attractive and innovative package.

La Prua Appassimento 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA PRUA APPASSIMENTO 2016 - IGT Rosso Veneto, Italy (#530543) (D) - $15.95
100% Corvina grown on the cool climate volcanic slopes of Monte Lessinis. A large part of the grapes were dried for three weeks. Aged for 8 months in French oak barrels. The medium+ intensity nose is spicy and earthy, layered on top of bright cherry and chocolate aromas, with hints of smoke. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins with just a touch of chalkiness, and fresh acids. Blackberry, cherry, and mocha chocolate flavours with some oak undertones. Some sweetness arrives on the mid-palate. Chocolate and dark berry notes close out on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

I have tasted and enjoyed previous vintages of this yummy red wine, and wine review is the lovely 2015 vintage that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by the historic Mazzei family in Tuscany, where they have been making wines since the 11th century and now 24 generations. Ser Lapo Mazzei, whom this wine is named in honour of, was the author of the first known documented use of the "Chianti" denomination on . The main estate is Castello di Fonterutoli, which became part of the family's estate in 1435 when his granddaughter, Madonna Smeralda Mazzei, married Piero di Agnolo da Fonterutoli.

In Fonterutoli, the centuries-old ownership of Marchesi Mazzei has preserved the handful of houses, the church of San Miniato, and the villa erected at the end of the 1500's, maintaining the charm of the Middle Ages. The legend of the Chianti Black Rooster was also born in the hamlet of Fonterutoli.

Today, the modern Fonterutoli Winery in Chianti Classico, Tuscany, is one of three estates owned by Mazzei. The winery dominates the estate and farm slopes, and has a view of Siena in the distance. The gravity-flow winery was designed by a family member with the goal of achieving low environmental impact. The cellar is located 15 metres below ground and temperatures and humidity levels are regulated by five natural water streams flowing through naked rock walls - something I hope to see one day!

The first vintage of this wine was 1983. This blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot comes from vines located 250 to 330 metres above sea level on medium textured with loam and limestone soils, and age ranging from 10 to 30 years. It was aged for 12 months in small french oak barrels, 50% new.

Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MAZZEI SER LAPO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#288530) (XD) - $23.95
The medium+ intensity nose has complex herbal, earthy, savoury, cherry, and strawberry aromas. It is medium bodied on the savoury palate with more earthy flavours surrounding the cherry/strawberry core. Tannins are grippy and drying while acids are juicy. Nicely balanced flavours come through long finish, with hints of dried cherry and red floral. Enjoy over the next 5+ years. Score: 90 pts

The actual label for this bottle is covered with a removable wrap. When removed, it reveals an illustration by Paolo Fiumi that depicts the 1435 marriage of Madonna Smeralda Mazzei.

Mazzei Ser Lapo Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (90 pts)


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  • Saturday, February 23, 2019

Lungarotti Rubesco Sangiovese/Colorino 2015 (Umbria) - Wine Review

Hot on the heels of a 100% Colorino that I enjoyed a few days ago, wine review is a more traditional blend that also contains Colorino. This red wine consists of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino and will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Lungarotti was founded in central Italy the early 60’s by Giorgio Lungarotti, and the company soon became a driving force that opened up new opportunities not only for Torgiano (a commune in the Province of Perugia in Umbria), but also for whole region of Umbria - with wine as the centrepiece.

Rubesco is a Lungarotti trademark deriving from the Latin verb "rubescere", meaning "to blush", therefore a joyous significance. The image on the label depicts harvest from one of the panels found at Fontana Maggiore in Perugia, one of Italy's most beautiful Medieval fountains that was built in approximately 1277.

The grapes for this wine were harvested from clayey-sandy soils of medium depth, with good
structure and a limestone subsoil. It has also spent one year ageing in oak casks, and one year in bottle prior to release.

Lungarotti Rubesco Sangiovese/Colorino 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LUNGAROTTI RUBESCO SANGIOVESE/COLORINO 2015 - DOC Rosso di Torgiano, Umbria, Italy (#368548) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Colorino. Delicate, medium+ intensity nose of stony mineral followed by dark cherry, black plum, violet, and herbs that gain intensity with air. It is medium+ bodied with chewy, dusty and refined tannins. I like the mineral-driven flavour profile with dark berry-cherry, earth, herbs, and a hint of pepper spice notes. Acids are fresh and juicy. Excellent finish length with more mineral and earthy flavours. Enjoy over the next 3-5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Piazzano Colorino 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a premium red from Tuscany that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is made by Fattoria di Piazzano, an estate winery located in the hills south of Empoli and traversed by the Rio di Camerata that has been in the hands of the Bettarini family since 1948. Otello Bettarini was a well-known manufacturer from Prato, with a great interest for astronomy, who fell in love with this place that he decided to move there permanently. In this village, he found the right astral conjunction to undertake what would become the main activity of the family - wine growing. Ricardo would work alongside his uncle Otello, eventually taking over the reins. In the late 1990s, Riccardo entrusted the estate to his children Rolando and Ilaria. Today, the farm continues to be completely family-run and has a strong respect for the environment and sustainability to keep the land as healthy as possible. The winery is certified vegan-friendly.

The grapes for this red wine come from soils that are loose and rich in rock fragments, cobbles, and gravel. It was fermented with wild yeasts in glazed concrete tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in french oak barriques for 12 to 15 months. Further refining occurred in bottle for at least another 6 months. Rare to find 100% Colorino.

Piazzano Colorino 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIAZZANO COLORINO 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#455675) (XD) - $35.95
This deeply purple-hued 100% Colorino is normally used as a blending grape and rare to find on its own. It has medium+ intensity aromas of purple fruit, dark cherry-berry, and herbs with a licorice and medicinal character wafts from glass. It is medium bodied with firm, grippy, chalky and drying tannins, along with fresh and juicy acids that provide lift. Flavours of violet, black cherry, dark plum, and hints of oak. A bit thin on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with wet earth, dark berry, and violet nuances. Should develop more complexity with time as tannins integrate. Enjoyable now with big meats, or age for 3+ years and drink into the mid-20's. Score: 91 pts


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  • Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a white wine from northern Italy that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mezzacorona, one of the oldest and largest, continuous grower co-operatives in all of Italy, tracing its origins to 1904.

Cliffhanger is their concept for wines crafted on the "Edge of Perfection", and this Pinot Grigio is their best expression of the grape from the beautiful Trentino appellation which is inside the Dolomite area in northern Italy. The Trentino DOC is an area that encompasses many small territories, soil conditions, and micro-climates with completely different geological origins. The grapes for this Pinot Grigio come from two places: the hillside vineyards in the north, located 350 metres above sea level at the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, which runs alongside the Adige River near the city of Trento, and from vines cultivated in the south near Lake Garda.

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLIFFHANGER PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Trentino, Italy (#528687) (XD) - $15.95
Medium intensity aromas of ripe stone fruit, think yellow pear and peach, along with some citrus, floral and touches of honey. It is mid-weighted on the honeyed palate with sharp, juicy acids. Honeyed citrus, ripe pear and melon flavours with a kiss of sweetness on the flavour profile. A touch of mineral appears on the finish, with very good length. Simple and widely appealing. Score: 86 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine review will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Fattoria Viticcio has been producing wine since 1964 among the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country in Greve in Chianti, between Florence and Siena. Today, the winery encompasses 120 ha of estate-owned land among the hills in Chianti Classico and Maremma. With the help of a young and energetic team, they are dedicated to producing wines that showcase the nuances of the incredible terroir in Tuscany, while also respecting the environment. Viticcio has always cultivated their vines using organic techniques and natural treatments as much as possible. Since 2013, their entire production has converted to organic.

This particular red wine was launched by Viticcio a couple of years ago. It is their second wine from the lands of Maremma and first red from this zone. The climate in Maremma, which is located in southern Tuscany, is sunny with a refreshing sea breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, and clay, sand, limestone, and sandstone soils that make it the ideal terroir for cultivating varietals such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The name "Morellino" is the local word for "Sangiovese." In Maremma, it is a deep-hued purple grape that is a clone of the Sangiovese grape found in other parts of Tuscany, and (possibly) named after the dark-haired Morelli bay horse that once roamed these lands.

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

VITICCIO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#574186) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot aged in 225 L barriques for 10-12 months. The medium+ intensity nose reveals pretty red cherry, rose floral, oak aromas wrapped around a savoury core. It is full bodied with bold, assertive, and grippy tannins, along with fresh acids and nice aroma replays on the palate. Very good length with more cherry, floral and earthy notes lingering on the finish. Needs a couple of years for tannins to soften, or try now with big red meats. Should drink well for the next 6-8 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2015 (88 pts)

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

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

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

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

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

White Wine:

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

Rosé Wine:

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

Sparkling Wine:

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

Fortified:

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


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  • Saturday, December 15, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Appassimento 2017 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that recently arrived to the LCBO and is widely available throughout Ontario.

It is produced by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a winery that was founded in the commune of Negrar in Veneto in the 1930's.

The catchy and interesting label of this Appassimento depicts Ulysses' (a.k.a. Odysseus in Greek) 10-year journey home from Troye to Ithaca. Every facet of his journey captivates the sense of discovery, self-discovery, and world discovery Ulysses experiences in those enchanted 10 years, including  Lotus eaters, Circe the Enchantress, the singing winged sirens, the one-eyed giant Cyclops, the six-headed monster Scylla, the violent whirlpool Charybdis, his journey to the underworld to learn of his future, the bags of wind from Aeolus, and his 7 year stay with the nymph Calypso. Each tale embodies a sense of enchantment and delight, drawing the reader in, the urge to know and discover more. Let's see if what's inside the bottle is just as captivating.

Cantina di Negrar Appassimento 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR APPASSIMENTO 2017 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#629865) (D) - $15.90
A Corvina-based blend made using dried grapes (i.e. appassimento method). Medium+ intensity nose features sweet spice, fig, cherry, and earthy aromas. It is medium-full bodied with smooth, dusty tannins and a juicy core with pleasing milk chocolate, cherry, and earthy aroma replays in an off-dry flavour profile. Some tannic grip arrives mid-palate. Nice balance throughout, with earth and cocoa flavours lingering on the long, juicy finish. Widely appealing style. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Riserva Chianti Classico that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Rocca delle Macìe, a name that I'm sure you have come across at some point while perusing the aisles at your local LCBO. Rocca delle Macìe was founded by film producer Italo Zingarelli in the Chianti Classico area in 1973 when he purchased the 93 hectare estate to fulfill a life long dream. At the time, only 2 hectares were planted to vines, but along with help from his sons Sergio and Fabio, and his daughter Sandra, the estate now covers more than 500 hectares, 200 hectares of which are used as vineyards. The four estates Rocca delle Macìe owns in the Chianti Classico area all reside within the Municipality of Castellina in Chianti, in the southwest with very heterogeneous soils.

This red wine is one of Rocca delle Macìe's flagship wines from the Chianti Classico zone as only the best grapes from each of the four estates in Castellina make it into the blend that consists of mostly Sangiovese, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The label proudly bears the Zingarelli name in order to highlight the strong link that the family has with the Chianti Classico area.

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE FAMIGLIA ZINGARELLI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#930966) (XD) - $24.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot that was aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. Fine aromas of oak spice, blackberry, wet earth, and dark cherry with a nice savoury component stream from the glass. It is medium-full bodied with fine-grained tannins and juicy acids supporting the dark berry, savoury, vanillin oak, earth, and cherry flavours. A touch warming on the mid-palate. Nicely savoury and earthy with some chalkiness on the long finish that ends with a nice red cherry note. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018 - Top Wines

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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