Showing posts with label mendoza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mendoza. Show all posts

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  • Thursday, April 9, 2020

Pascual Toso Chardonnay 2018 (Argentina) - Wine Review



wine review is the companion white wine to the 2017 Pascual Toso Malbec red wine that I enjoyed last week. Like the Malbec, this Chardonnay from Argentina is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Pascual Toso was established in 1890 and the Estate line of wines are an expression of their passion, commitment to quality, and terroir of Barrancas. The Estate wines come from specially selected vines that are 15 to 25 years old, on high trellises, and watered by a drip irrigation system which allows them to manage the flow of water to obtain the best results. The portfolio of the Estate line of wines includes the varietals Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Torrontes.

Pascual Toso Chardonnay 2018 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

PASCUAL TOSO CHARDONNAY 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#634808) (XD) - $12.95
The fragrant smoky, toasty nose gives way to buttery, ripe apple, pear, and honey aromas. It's full-bodied on the ripe palate with buttery, ripe apple, pear, toasty oak flavours, along with hints of vanilla. It has food-friendly acidity, a toasty mid-palate, and very good length on the buttery, vanilla, and apple flavoured finish. Score: 86 pts


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  • Friday, April 3, 2020

Pascual Toso Malbec 2017 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Malbec from Argentina that is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

It is produced by Bodegas Toso, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries of Argentina. Pascual Toso left his hometown of Canale D’Alba, in Piamonte, Italy and set forth towards Argentina in the mid-1880's. Being closely involved in the development of the family wine business in Piedmont, he saw a promising future for winemaking in Mendoza, settling in the region and using his expertise to establish his first winery in 1890.

Pascual Toso expanded his business at the beginning of the 20th century by acquiring vineyards in Maipú, and at his “Las Barrancas” estate, he built another winery dedicated to producing and growing the finest grapes. With a passion for making quality wines, they continue to remain faithful to it's principles of tradition, authenticity, and innovation.

As part of the "Everything is Coming Up Orange this Summer" promotion, each bottle of this Malbec comes with a neck tag that includes a Balsamic Salmon Kebab recipe. For other fine recipes to pair with this Malbec, please visit Eurovintage.com.

Pascual Toso Malbec 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

PASCUAL TOSO MALBEC 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#35170) (XD) - $14.95
The medium intensity nose offers dark berry, blackberry, black cherry, and violet aromas mingling with oak spice notes. It is medium+ bodied and a touch fleshy on the palate with flavours of dark berry, blackberry, and oak spice flavours supported by fresh, lively acidity. Tannins are soft and well-integrated with a slightly dry, chalky textured mouthfeel. Dark berry, oak, and milk chocolate notes linger on the dry finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Balsamic Salmon Kebab Recipe


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  • Monday, March 9, 2020

Wines of Argentina Masterclass

Tastes of Argentina masterclass on wine

In , I had the pleasure of attending a Tastes of Argentina masterclass to explore the climatic and cultural factors shaping today's wines from Argentina. The event was hosted by The Consulate of Argentina, represented by Maria de los Angeles Arrieta, Deputy Consul General Trade Commissioner from Consulate General of Argentina, and leading the masterclass was Christopher Waters, Dip. WSET.

Elizabeth Luzza, Christopher Waters, and Maria de los Angeles Arrieta

Argentina is the 2nd largest country in South America and 8th largest country in the world. The winegrowing regions in Argentina are located approximately between 30° to 50° latitude - the sweet-spot for grape-growing in the Southern Hemisphere, and within the same latitude range as other major wine regions in the South Hemisphere such as Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. There are six major factors that make the wines of Argentina unique and compelling.

We begin with the first factor - altitude. The vineyards in Argentina are planted within a range at the low-end of 1,000 ft. (300 m) all the way up to 10,000 ft. (3,000 m) above sea level. These high altitudes help create a variety of terroirs and microclimates that distinguish Argentina from the rest of the world. It was interesting to learn that even though vines are planted at high altitudes, many of the vineyards are located on plateaus and not on steep slopes. Planting on plateaus allows for easier monitoring during the grape-growing season as well as harvests that are less labour intensive. The highest vineyards are located in the cooler climate Salta region in northern Argentina, falling under the Winkler I index and are some of the coolest vineyards on the planet.

Terroir is the second major factor. Being one the largest countries in the world, spanning nearly 3,800 kilometres from north to south, the terroir is quite diverse due to wide-ranging altitudes and latitudes. With vineyards across large areas, it is only natural to see variability in soils. The presence of the Andes mountains and rainfall regime are also key factors that affect the terroir. All of these factors contribute to the great diversity of terroirs in Argentina.

The third major factor that makes the wines of Argentina unique is the climate - which is dry and continental. Argentina is very unique in that its traditional wine regions are located in high-altitude valleys, far from the oceans, making Argentina one of the few continental viticultural areas in the world. Moreover, because the Andes mountain range is to the west of Argentina, the cold winds and rain are essentially blocked, leaving only hot and dry winds to flow through the vines. This dryness of the climate helps maintain vineyard health almost completely naturally, which contributes to the production of organic wines.

Poor (or low fertility) soils make for better wine, and the low fertility soils in Argentina are fairly young and nutrient-deprived, with low organic matter, leading to desirable restricted vine growth. Poor soils also help promote natural development of the grape with genuinely distinct flavours.

Argentina also has great water purity, with the main source of irrigation in mountain valleys coming from meltwater in the Andes. This pure, snowmelt water from the mountains is free from any contaminants.

The final factor that makes Argentine wine unique is the new generation of winemakers. The first vitis vinifera wines were produced by the Spanish settlers in 1551. In 1853, the first School of Agriculture was formed and the wine industry subsequently expanded nationwide. The modernization of the wine industry in Argentina began in the 1990’s with local and foreign investments in the search for new markets to export Argentinian wine.

Today, a new generation of agricultural engineers, oenologists, and winemakers is taking the lead and breaking new ground when it comes to producing quality wines. Sebastian Zuccardi, Laura Catena, Luis Reginato, and Alejandro Vigil are just some of the people making exceptional wines in Argentina. With the help of technology applied to the study of soils and climate, new Geographical Indications (GIs) were discovered. Similar to systems used in other winegrowing regions, GIs indicate the origin of the grape and its differential attributes.

Together, the six factors of altitude, terroir, climate, soil, water, and the new generation of winemakers combine to give Argentina it’s unique habitat for creating cutting edge wines.

Tastes of Argentina masterclass on wine

Malbec is usually the first wine that comes to mind when thinking of Argentine wine. It is not surprising given that Malbec is the most widely planted and most important vitis vinifera varietal in Argentina. However, other varieties are becoming more prevalent. In addition to tasting some fine Malbec wines at this masterclass, the 12-wine structured tasting also featured wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Torrontés, and Cabernet Franc that are thriving in Argentina and gaining recognition across the globe. Tasting notes of my favourite wines from this wine tasting are provided below. Most of the wines are currently available or coming soon to the LCBO, or otherwise can be ordered via the Agent.

Tasting Notes:

CATENA ZAPATA WHITE BONES ADRIANNA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#514844) (XD) - $125
A super premium Chardonnay with a clean, medium+ intensity nose of pear, apple, orchard fruit and some limestone mineral, earthy, leesy, and buttery characters, all of which show up beautifully on the nicely balanced, medium-full bodied palate. There's some structure to the fruit, along with a touch of bitterness. Earthy-mineral elements linger on the long, juicy finish. Agent: Noble Estates. Score: 93 pts

Catena Zapata White Bones Adrianna Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)El Esteco 1945 Old Vines Torrontés 2018 (92 pts)

EL ESTECO 1945 OLD VINES TORRONTÉS 2018 - Calchaquí Valley, Argentina (#010695) (XD) - $25.95
From vines planted in 1945, the lovely, highly aromatic nose jumps out of the glass with clean, floral and herbal aromas, along with hints of lemon citrus, white grapefruit, and salty mineral notes adding complexity. There's very good fruit on the medium-bodied palate with tension between the fruit and acids. Very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent length on the long, earthy and minerally finish. Agent: Vins Dandurand. Score: 92 pts

EL ENEMIGO CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#011813) (XD) - $23.95
From a specific plot of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, the medium-high intensity nose delivers classic Cabernet Franc herbaceous, tobacco, and dark berry aromas along with some vanilla spice notes. It is medium+ bodied with very nice aromas replays on the flavour profile, plus some dark currant, dark cherry, and smoky notes adding complexity. Acids are crunchy, while tannins are smooth and refined. Long, balanced finish and should drink well over the next 5-6 years. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES Mar. 7, 2020. Agent: Noble Estates. Score: 89 pts

El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2015 (89 pts)Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

TRAPICHE MEDALLA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Lujan de Cuyo & Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina (#568865) (XD) - $19.95
Subtle nose of currant, cassis, and minerals with some earthy spice tones. It's full-bodied with structured tannins that are well-integrated and very approachable. It has very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile with more spice, currant, cassis, and dark berry flavours, lifted by bright acidity and crunchy fruit. Pleasing notes of dark berry, cherry with hints of floral linger on the finish. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES Feb. 8, 2020. Agent: Vins Dandurand. Score: 89 pts

BODEGA DEL ARTE CLAROSCURO MALBEC 2017 - Tunuyan, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (XD) - $18.95
Although I seemed to be among the very few, this was my favourite of the Malbecs. The subtle nose gives off aromas of currant, cassis, mineral, and hints of earthy spice, while the full-bodied, crunchy palate has structured tannins that are well-integrated and quite approachable. It has also has very nice aroma replays with lovely spice, currant, cassis, and dark berry notes, supported by bright acidity. Appealing notes of dark berry, cherry, and hints of floral linger on the long finish. Available via Abcon. Score: 89 pts

Bodega del Arte Claroscuro Malbec 2017 (89 pts)Dona Paula 1350 Red Terroir Blend 2015 (89 pts)

DONA PAULA 1350 RED TERROIR BLEND 2015 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#568956) (XD) - $20.75
This blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 45% Malbec, and 5% Casavecchi has a medium-high, fairly complex nose that is Cab Franc dominant with red and black fruits, oak spice, and herbaceous notes. It is full-bodied and structured with a touch grippy and tight tannins, and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. It has juicy acids and very good finish length. Best after 2-3 years of ageing. Agent: Select Wines & Spirits. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, February 14, 2020

Zuccardi Apelación Vista Flores Malbec 2017 (Argentina) - Wine Review

For celebrations, wine review is this lovely, brand new Malbec from Zuccardi Wines that will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES on . It is also featured as the Wine of the Month in this Release and will be widely available at LCBO outlets throughout Ontario.

Zuccardi is one of the leaders and most well-known names in Argentine winemaking. Current winemaker Sebastián Zuccardi grew up in a family that had a strong visionary and innovative spirit. Since 1963, when his grandfather planted the first hectares of grapevines in Maipú, Mendoza, the Zuccardi family has not stopped growing and developing.

Sebastien handcrafted this Malbec with fruit from their Vista Flores Estate which is located in the district of Tunuyan in the central-western part of the Uco Valley, which itself is located in the Mendoza wine region.

The 55 hectares of meticulously worked vineyards at the Vista Flores Estate are located 3215 feet (980 metres) above sea level and planted to mainly Malbec, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. For vine training, both the vertical conduction system and the Parral Zuccardi conduction system are used. The Zuccardi vine training system elevates the the vineyards to create an arched green web that allows the process of photosynthesis to develop in the perfect conditions. Additionally, it also protects the grapes from the hours of highest sun radiation by having the right density of leaves and cluster distribution, and also facilitates protection against frosts.

This particular Malbec was carefully harvested in bunches and gravity-fed into tanks, followed by fermentation with indigenous yeasts. After fermentation, skin maceration took place for 20 days. Lastly, after undergoing complete malolactic fermentation, it was aged in concrete tanks and oak barrels.

Zuccardi Apelación Vista Flores Malbec 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

ZUCCARDI APELACIÓN VISTA FLORES MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#011770) (XD) - $24.95
Medium+ intensity nose has a lovely dark berry, blackberry and black cherry core surrounded by stony mineral and black pepper spice aromas. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with more succulent dark berry and pepper spice flavours flecked with stony minerals and hints of purple fruits. Spicy on the mid-palate with fresh and vibrant acids, while the tannins are gritty and a bit tight at the moment. Juicy and long on the finish with with stony mineral, dark berry, and violet notes. A lovely Malbec that should improve in 2 years and enjoyed over the next 5-6 years. Score: 91 pts


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  • Friday, January 31, 2020

TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Following up on the lovely TintoNegro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec that I enjoyed in October (and many still surprisingly available at LCBO), wine review is another lovely red wine by Argentina's TintoNegro. This lovely Malbec blend will arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves .

TintoNegro, meaning black wine in Spanish, was borne out of a long-time friendship and professional collaboration between Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach. Along with Jorge Crotta, who joined the company some years later, their goal together is to celebrate the essence of the Malbec grape which is known for its dark, blackish colour.

The TintoNegro portfolio explores the terroirs of Mendoza where Malbec thrives, gradually isolating unique vineyard sites and winemaking techniques which can showcase the heights of concentration and complexity to which Malbec can aspire.

The grapes for this particular Malbec, which also includes small amounts of Cabernet Franc, come from vineyards in the mid-Uco Valley county of Tunuyan, at the foot of the Andes mountains located to the east. The vineyards are located at 4,000 feet above sea level, within the district of Los Chacayes, with soils that are very rocky and rich in limestone.

TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

TINTONEGRO LIMESTONE BLOCK MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#404137) (XD) - $19.95
This Malbec was co-fermented with approximately 11% Cabernet Franc and aged in for 9 months in French oak barrels, only 15% new. This has a medium+ intensity nose which is stony with blackberry, spices and hints of floral and black cherry aromas. The medium-full bodied palate is fresh with lively acidity and an array of dark berry flavours like blackberry, blueberry, and black cherry that mingle with spices and touches of stony minerality. Tannins offer a supple, chalky textured mouthfeel. Stony notes linger on the long finish. A recommended buy to enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, October 20, 2019

TintoNegro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely red wine from Argentina that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . It is also featured as the Wine of the Month in this Release and will be widely available across Ontario.

It is produced by TintoNegro, meaning black wine in Spanish meant to celebrate the essence of the Malbec grape - which is known for its dark, blackish colour. TintoNegro was born out of a long-time friendship and professional collaboration between Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach, colleagues at Bodega Catena Zapata for almost 15 years. In 2013, Jorge Crotta, who was also at Catena Zapata for several years, joined the partnership and is involved with the management and winemaking team.

The TintoNegro portfolio explores the terroirs of Mendoza where Malbec thrives, gradually isolating unique vineyard sites and winemaking techniques which can showcase the heights of concentration and complexity to which Malbec can aspire. In order to showcase the unique profile of each soil, TintoNegro has created a line of four single soil wines from Paraje Altamira in the southern part of the Uco Valley. Each harvest is vinified and aged in the exact same method, thus highlighting how a difference of soil (or terroir) can create a completely different wine. This La Piedra Malbec from their La Escuela property is one of the four wines. One day, I hope to have the opportunity to try their entire line.

La Escuela is a small 7.5 hectare estate vineyard located in Paraje Altamira at 4,000 feet above sea level, at the foot of the Andes mountains. It is named after the still active rural school (Escuela) that is located on the property. La Escuela has a diverse soil profile with plots of sandy (arena), silty (limo), rocky (piedra), and gravelly (grava) soils.

This particular wine comes from a small patch of rocky, limestone driven soil that is located in the middle of the vineyard, hence its name La Piedra, which also means stone in Spanish. These white stone soils with limestone deposits produce help produce a complex, spicy Malbec with black fruit flavors and minerality.

Tinto Negro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

TINTONEGRO FINCA LA ESCUELA LA PIEDRA MALBEC 2016 - Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#010443) (XD) - $24.95
This has a fresh, medium+ intensity nose of blackberry, dark berry, and stony mineral notes with some spicy characters. It is medium+ bodied with ripe blackberry, mulberry, stony mineral flavours with touches of vanillin oak spice and floral. There is fresh, juicy acids, while ripe tannins are supple and smooth. Nice white pepper spice on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with lovely stony mineral, smoky, and dark berry notes. A wonderful wine to enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Altocedro La Consulta Select Blend 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

red wine review is a blend from Argentina that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES as part of the Release.

If you visit the Altocedro website, all you will find is a humble, down-to-earth video of owner and winemaker Karim Mussi Saffie - it's quite an interesting three-and-a-half minute watch. Altocedro is located in the premier winegrowing region of La Consulta, at the southern end of the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina. Karim Mussi Saffie is the owner and winemaker. He uses sustainable growing practices to produce limited quantities of terroir-driven wines from vines that range up to 100 years of age. All harvesting, sorting, and crushing are done in individual batches by hand, while the grapes and wine move throughout the winery in a gravity flow system that was developed at the winery more than 100 years ago.

Even though this wine came to VINTAGES three months ago, there are still many bottles of this delicious red wine still available at your local LCBO.

Altocedro La Consulta Select Blend 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ALTOCEDRO LA CONSULTA SELECT BLEND 2015 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#631770) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 42% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Tempranillo, and 9% Syrah that was sustainably farmed and hand-harvested. It was also co-fermented and barrel-aged as a blend. The medium+ intensity nose offers compelling dark spice, blackberry, licorice and chocolate aromas with savoury touches. The aromas come through on the full-bodied, savoury palate with some minty notes. Tannins are smooth and well-integrated with a pleasant grippiness, while acids are fresh and nicely balanced. Very good length on the savoury-chocolatey finish. Score: 89 pts


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  • Thursday, April 18, 2019

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Malbec that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . I enjoyed the 2014 Chakana Estate Selection Malbec when it came through VINTAGES in October 2016 and am curious to see how this new vintage compares.

This red wine is produced by Chakana Wines. The winery is based in Agrelo, near the centre of Mendoza, and exhibits a winemaking style that promotes minimum intervention by using indigenous yeasts, and minimal use of sulphur and other additives. In 2012, Chakana began converting their vineyards to use organic and biodynamic agricultural practices.

While the 2014 Malbec came from estate grapes grown in Luján de Cuyo, this 2016 Malbec uses grapes from their estate vineyards in Altamira and Gualtallari, a little further south in the Uco Valley.

In charge of winemaking at Chakana is Gabriel Bloise, a member of the new generation of Mendoza winemakers. He has developed his skills in various wine region around the globe and understands that winemaking is a tool to express nature and believes that the best wines are those that hide the hand of its maker to reveal their place, such as this lovely Malbec.

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95
Fermented using wild yeasts, and aged in French oak barrels and concrete vats for 10 months. A minerally, fragrant nose of dark plums, dark berries, wild herbs, smoky mineral, and hints of floral. The palate is medium-full bodied with fresh acidity and nicely textured tannins that offer a touch of grip. Nicely balanced aroma replays come through on the palate, plus hints of white pepper adding complexity. Smoke and white pepper notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, August 19, 2018

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that came through VINTAGES earlier this year (and sold out), but will be returning to shelves as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Zuccardi Wines, a winemaking family going on three generations. It was founded in 1963 by engineer, Alberto Zuccardi, when he planted his first acre of vines in Maipú, Mendoza, Zuccardi has continued to develop and grow, while positioning itself as an important benchmark for Argentina's winemaking industry.

Today, Sebastian Zuccardi represents the third generation of the family and heads up a young agricultural and winemaking team responsible for producing quality wines from the Uco Valley. In 2008, the winery created an area for Research & Development to study terroir and the different variables that affect wine quality. The aim is to produce wines that express the place and region.

The "Serie A" (or Argentina Series) wines seek to reveal the richness of Argentina's soils and micro-climates through wines that express each grape variety. Malbec, such as tonight's wine, shows best in the Uco Valley.

Zuccardi Serie A Malbec 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ZUCCARDI SERIE A MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#167619) (XD) - $16.95
Fermented and aged mostly in concrete, with 10% aged in used French barrels. Plummy with black and red cherry aromas from the cork. The medium+ intensity nose is pretty and ripe with blackberry and black plum aromas, with touches of floral, mineral, tea leaf, and herbs. It is medium-full bodied and clean with nice aroma replays and very good fruit expression on the palate. Ripe tannins are smooth and well-integrated. Nicely textured with some chalkiness. It has good acidity and a juicy mid-palate. Very good finish length. Drink over the next 1-2 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018

Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a delightful organic red wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Chakana was founded in 2002 and is dedicated to the study and understanding of some of the best terroirs in Mendoza and produce authentic wines that express the character and identity of the Andean soils. In 2012, Chakana began a conversion process to become an organic/biodynamic producer, and this Malbec is just one of the results from this conversion. The winemaking style at Chakana subscribes to the minimum interventionist style by using indigenous yeasts, minimizing the use of sulphur and other additives, and selecting porous materials for ageing that are adapted to preserve the grape's sense of place.

The winemaker is Gabriel Bloise and is a member of the new generation of Mendoza winemakers, and also has experience with harvests in Tuscany, California, Priorat, and Australia. He believes that winemaking is a tool to express nature, and the best wines are those that hide the hand of the maker.

Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA NUNA ESTATE MALBEC 2016 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#018671) (XD) - $16.95
100% Malbec grown at 960 metres elevation, this was aged for 10 months in concrete vats, followed by further ageing in used barrels. Faint nose of dark plum and earth from the cork. In the glass, this has a fresh, medium-high intensity bouquet of exotic spice, tea leaves, blackberry, black plum, and hints of purple flower aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with fine tannins offering nice texture and building with air. Flavours lead with tea leaves, spice, and graphite layered on top of floral and dark plum notes. Fresh acids are bright and juicy. Some warmth on the mid-palate. Shows fine balance overall, finishing with graphite and dark berry flavours. Really digging concrete-aged wines like this. Enjoy this organic wine over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, September 17, 2017

Catena High Mountain Vines Malbec 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a VINTAGES Essential and is always available in the VINTAGES section at many LCBO outlets across the province. And because this red wine always available, it does go on promotion from time to time with either Bonus Air Miles or a couple of dollars off the regular retail price.

This wine has been produced by Bodega Catena Zapata for many years now, going back to at least 1996. My personal records show that I tasted the 2002 and 2005 vintages of this wine, as well as more recent vintages. Like the 2016 Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay that I enjoyed recently, the grapes for this 100% Malbec also come from 4 different high altitude mountain vineyards located at various elevations - Lunlunta (920 m), Agrelo (950 m), El Cepillo / Eugenio Bustos (1,090 m), and Gualtallary (1,450 m).

Catena High Mountain Vines Malbec 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#478727) (XD) - $19.95
Ripe plum, berry, oak spices and a hint of violet aromas from the cork. The generous nose in the glass leads with blackberry and meaty aromas followed by hints of herb, oak spice and violet. The palate is medium-full bodied with fine tannins and lifted by bright acidity. Aromas come through nicely on the palate with blackberry, white pepper and meaty notes leading the way. The finish is long and earthy with hints of mocha. Paired well tonight with lamb burgers. A nice Malbec to enjoy over the next 5 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, September 8, 2017

Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a recent arrival to the LCBO, as it was released into LCBO VINTAGES on . It was featured as part of the theme on high altitude wines from Argentina.

This white wine is produced by the legendary Bodega Catena Zapata. Founded in 1902 by Nicolás Catena Zapata, this winery is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec and in discovering extreme high altitude terroirs in the Andean foothills of Mendoza.

Fourth generation vintner, Laura Catena, and chief winemaker, Alejandro Vigil, crafted this Chardonnay with grapes sourced from four vineyards that are located at various elevations - Agrelo (950 m), El Cepillo (1,090 m), Villa Bastías (1,120 m), and Gualtallary (1,450 m). Each vineyard adds different characteristics to the wine, most notably textural and mineral elements in the upper elevations. Higher elevation vineyards also help promote greater acidity in the grapes.

The 2016 Chardonnay was whole cluster pressed, fermented sur lies in a combination of barrels and stainless steel tanks with wild yeasts. It was raised for 10 months in a combination of first, second and third French oak, with 60% undergoing malolactic fermentation.

Catena High Mountain Vines Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES CHARDONNAY 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#918805) (XD) - $19.95
Ripe tropical fruit salad aromas from the cork are quite pretty. In the glass, it has ripe buttery, apple, pear, and lemon curd aromas with touches of caramel and vanilla of medium+ intensity. The dry palate is medium-full bodied and somewhat creamy with white flowers, lemon, and apple flavours. Notable wood is subtle and nicely integrated. Acids are clean and the finish length is very good with notes of tropical fruit and lemon curd. Easy drinking and widely appealing. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chakana Estate Selection Red Blend 2014 (Argentina) - Wine Review

red wine is mostly Malbec and will be available at the LCBO soon as part of the VINTAGES Release on .

This wine is produced by Chakana Wines, a winery founded in 2002 by an Italian family whose winemaking roots go back to the 19th century in Valtelina, Italy. The name "Chakana" evokes the symbol represented by the Incas to the Southern Cross constellation that is only visible on our planet from the Southern Hemisphere. Moreover, the positioning of the Southern Cross in the skies was of great agricultural importance to the Incas.

The winery is located in Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, where it owns 150 hectares of vineyards. Since 2012, the winery has begun the process to transition to organic & biodynamic cultivation methods for all of their farms. Winemaking principles at Chakana include minimal intervention during the fermentation processes, using indigenous yeasts, minimizing the use of sulphur dioxide and other additives, and favouring the use of porous materials in aging, such as cement without Epoxy and casks.

Chakana Estate Selection Red Blend 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION RED BLEND 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#322602) (D) - $24.95
Blend of 70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc that was aged in large wooden and concrete vats for 12 months. Dark fruited aromas from the cork - currant, cherry, plum. Medium-high aromatics in the glass lead with florals followed by currant, blackberry, sweet herbs, dark cherry, and hints of wood. The palate is medium-full bodied with structured tannins that are a bit tight at the moment. Bright, juicy acids add freshness. Nice aroma replays on the flavour profile with earthy, mineral and wood notes lingering on the long finish. Age 1-2 years and drink to 2024. Delicious! Score: 89 pts


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  • Saturday, October 22, 2016

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2014 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is featured as the "Arrive in Style" product in the upcoming VINTAGES Release on and will be on shelves this coming .

Chakana wines are made in Agrelo, near the centre of Mendoza, in a facility with a capacity of 2 million litres. However, small tank sizes are used to maintain grape identities which come from different soil types. The modular design of the winery is tailored to vineyard development, while also helping with careful and detailed management of the grapes and process control as part of the winemaking process.

After making key contributions to the Super Tuscan movement at Antinori and Frescobaldi, consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini came to Argentina in 1995 and immediately sensed the potential of Malbec. The following 15 years were devoted to the re-discovery and perfection of what is now Argentina's signature grape. Mr. Antonini's winemaking philosophy is focused on using modern technology to express terroir and the true nature of grape flavours.

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2014 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2014 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (D) - $21.95
Black plum and dark fruit aromas from the cork. Initial oak aromas give way to dark cherry, plum and cocoa, with hints of white pepper and mineral. The dry palate is full bodied, juicy and nicely textured with dark berry, dark plum, white pepper, oak spices and some herbally flavours. Some mocha notes on the long finish. Tannins are drying and a bit hard - needs some time to integrate. Drinkable now, but should be prime drinking in 2 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is a General List product that is always available at the LCBO. New shipments of this latest vintage will arrive on shelves with something new and unique - a cold sensor sticker called "Wine Polar".

This Sauvignon Blanc by Bodega Norton is the first white wine to use Polar Technology to help you enjoy your wine at the ideal temperature. Experience this wine best when the Polar sticker turns blue.

For my "experiment", this bottle was placed in the refrigerator this morning and remained there until late afternoon. Upon removing from the fridge, the snowflake on the Polar sticker showed blue, indicating that the wine was ready to be served. Using my Vacu Vin Thermometer, the blue started to fade at around 13° Celsius and sure enough, the wine did start to taste a little warm. At 15° Celsius, the blue indicators had just about disappeared and the wine was clearly too warm to be served. Based on my unscientific observations, I would say that Polar Technology works!

Polar Technology on Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc

Tasting Note:

BODEGA NORTON BARREL SELECT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#400564) (XD) - $13.10
Screw cap. Partially barrel-fermented in French oak barrels, this has a rather soft and closed nose of earth, flint, with hints of lemon/lime and tropical fruits. The fleshy palate has lemon/lime, guava, tropical fruit and some vanilla flavours. Acids are fresh and finish length is very good. Easy drinking wine that should have wide appeal. Score: 86 pts

Bodega Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (86 pts)


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  • Friday, February 19, 2016

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Argentina) - Wine Review

This savoury, earthy red wine was purchased more than 6 years ago from the November 7, 2009 LCBO VINTAGES Release, well before I starting blogging about wine. It's unfortunate that after the 2006 vintage there were only two vintages that were released through VINTAGES at the LCBO.

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - Mendoza, Argentina (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ZUCCARDI Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 - Mendoza, Argentina (#140855) (XD) - $19.95
Destroyed the cork, so had to decant/filter. Perfumed, oxidative nose of old wood, damp earth, black fruit, dark plum, dried herb, and a hint of white pepper. On the palate, it is medium-to-full bodied with black currant, cassis, dried herb, earth and wood notes. It has juicy, balanced acids, but fruit is starting to fade, leaving behind tannins that are very much chalky. Savoury long and earthy finish. Drink now as this won't improve with further ageing. Will be enjoyed with Chicken Korma. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wine Reviews: Santa Alicia Carménère Reserva + Pascual Toso Malbec

I received these two nice, easy drinking red wines last week courtesy of Eurovintage International Inc. Both are LCBO General List products and widely available throughout the province.

My personal favourite of the two is the Malbec, from a very good producer in Argentina. I had tasted this and their Malbec Limited Edition at Malbec World Day back in April.

Tasting Notes:
SANTA ALICIA CARMÉNÈRE RESERVA 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#309302) (XD) - $13.00
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity aromas featuring ripe, green pepper and mineral notes. On the palate, it's medium-bodied with very green, herbal notes and hints of smoke lingering on the long, slightly warm finish. Acids are bright and balanced, while tannins are a touch tight. Score: 87 pts

Wine Review of 2012 Santa Alicia Carménère Reserva from Maipo Valley, Chile

PASCUAL TOSO MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#035170) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. Medium intensity aromas of plum, blackberry and blackcherry which replay nicely on the medium-bodied palate. Mineral and oak also show up on the dry flavour profile. Fruit-forward. Refreshing acids and ripe, integrated tannins and a clean finish make this a very good weekday wine. Score: 88+ pts
Wine Review of 2013 Pascual Toso Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina


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  • Thursday, April 17, 2014

Malbec World Day Toronto

On , I attended #MalbecWorldDayTO that was co-hosted by iYellow Wine Club and Wines of Argentina at The Great Hall in the Queen West area in downtown Toronto.

is celebrated around the world every April 17th to commemorate the day when the President of Argentina Domingo Faustino Sarmiento officially made it his mission in 1853 to transform Argentina's wine industry and make it a world player in the wine scene. 150 years later, it is safe to say that he has succeeded in reaching that goal.

Today, Argentina is now the 5th largest producer of wine and Malbec is the most planted in grape in the country. Furthermore, even though Malbec's original home is in Cahors, France, nowhere in the world is there more acreage of Malbec grown than in Argentina.

Tuesday night's event featured more than 50 wines from 18 different Argentinian wineries. Among the many Malbecs and Malbec-blends were wines made from Torrontes, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes. Included with your admission were latin-inspired chicken, beef and goat cheese empanadas, as well as beef and Argentinian rice on corn tortillas – this was a great touch as both food pairings complemented the wines very well.

All in all, it was a fun event with some fun, easy drinking wines, as well as a few serious wines for serious winos. The live DJ battle kept folks hopping throughout the night as well.

Here are wine reviews of 6 wines that I really enjoyed - 5 of which are currently available at the LCBO - to help you celebrate Malbec World Day this year. Enjoy!

Wine Review of 2012 Trapiche Malbec Reserve from Mendoza, ArgentinaWine Review of 2012 Pascual Toso Malbec Limited Edition from Mendoza, ArgentinaWine Review of 2011 Luigi Bosca Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina

TRAPICHE MALBEC RESERVE 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#614651) (D) - $11.95
Medium-high aromas with earthy, green, black cherry, and hint of brett (barnyard) notes. Full-bodied with sweet ripe black fruits and gentle oak spice flavours. Tannins are big, yet very smooth and integrated. Very good acids and finishing long. Fine value at this price! LCBO General List and always available. Score: 88 pts

PASCUAL TOSO MALBEC LIMITED EDITION 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#162610) (D) - $15.95
A terroir-driven wine that hails from Barrancas, the 2012 is highly aromatic with mineral, wet stone and plum aromas. It's medium-bodied with refined tannins. Palate has mineral, dark fruit, wet stone, and elegant oak spice flavours. Very good acids and a long finish that is slightly warm. LCBO General List product and always available. Score: 89 pts

LUIGI BOSCA MALBEC 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#079293) (XD) - $17.95
Made from vines over 50 years old that are located 960 metres above sea level. Medium intensity nose with green, ripe black fruit and oak aromas. Medium-bodied with pleasant aroma replays and notes of bitter chocolate. Chalky tannins will reward another year or two in cellar. Mouth-watering acids and a long finish. Vintages product. Score: 88 pts

Wine Review of 2010 Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, ArgentinaWine Review of 2010 Clos de los Siete from Mendoza, ArgentinaWine Review of 2010 Norton Privada from Mendoza, Argentina

KAIKEN ULTRA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Mendoza, Argentina (#135202) (D) - $19.95
Medium+ intensity aromas showing cassis, red fruits and new oak. Medium+ bodied with chalky tannins on the palate. Flavour profile consists of sweet ripe fruits, plum, milk chocolate, and leather. Good acids and long finishing. Vintages product. Score: 89 pts

CLOS DE LOS SIETE 2010 - Mendoza, Argentina (#622571) (XD) - $21.95
Malbec blend containing 57% Malbec, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, and 3% Petit Verdot. Medium-high intensity aromas consisting of spice, peppercorn, oak and dark fruits. Palate is full-bodied showing sweet tobacco, red & black fruits, and Asian spice. Firm, yet refined, tannins, very good acids and finishing long. Vintages product. Score: 90 pts

NORTON PRIVADA 2010 - Mendoza, Argentina (#) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Beautiful floral, purple, dark fruit, blackberry, cedar oak and mocha aromas. It's full bodied with big, silky smooth tannins. Flavour palate has nice blackberry liquer, oak, dark chocolate, and spice flavours. Balanced acids and a long, smooth finish. Delicious! Score: 91 pts

Chicken Empanada with Salsa


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  • Friday, September 14, 2012

Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec 2009 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Picked up this gem of a red wine while I was in Muskoka as I wasn't able to find it at an LCBO near me. It was purchased from the August 4 Vintages Release and there are quite a few still available.

PASCUAL TOSO RESERVE MALBEC 2009 - Barrancas Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina (#183897) (XD) - $19.95

Label photo of 2009 Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec from Argentina
Tasting Note:
Earthy, mulberry and dark fruit aromas from the cork. In the glass, aromas of savoury spice lead to mulberry, bramble, vanilla and all surrounded by an earthy core. Full bodied on the palate with more mulberry and bramble replays, some earthy notes. Hints of milk chocolate and espresso on the long finish. Ripe fruit with mouth-watering acidity. Smooth tannins are well-integrated. Will be enjoyed with Chicken lasagne.


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  • Thursday, June 21, 2012

Luigi Bosca Reserva Chardonnay 2010 - Wine Review

Purchased this one back in November from the Holiday Magic VINTAGES wine release. There are still a few available in the VINTAGES section of the LCBO across the province.

LUIGI BOSCA RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2010 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#142836) (XD) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Melon/peach aromas from cork. Mango, pineapple, oak and barnyard aromas from the glass. Tropical fruits with hints of juicy sweetness dance with apple and butter notes, giving way to oaky finish in this dry, full-bodied white wine. This could be enjoyed on its own or paired with Dungeness Crab served with drawn butter. Tasty!


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