Showing posts with label merlot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label merlot. Show all posts
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  • Friday, April 26, 2019

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (France) - Wine Review



red wine review is a new wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - and plenty are still available at your local LCBO.

It is produced by Winerie Parisienne, an urban winery based in Paris that was founded in 2015. Paris was the largest wine region in France in the 19th century. Winerie Parisienne is inspired by the vineyard history of Paris and resurrects the region's history through a winery brand offering quality wines such as the Grisant Red.

Their philosophy is to establish its own signature style in the wine industry, drawing its inspiration from the richness of the terroirs of France. They use a modern approach to winemaking by selecting specific parcels of major vineyards throughout the country.

Additionally, Winerie Parisienne planted 10 hectares of vines on the plain of Versailles in 2017, signing the return of professional viticulture in Île-de-France for the first time since the 19th century. In 2018, they began experimenting with organic vineyard management, with the possibility of converting this vineyard to organic.

Winerie Parisienne Grisant Red 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WINERIE PARISIENNE GRISANT RED 2016 - Vin de France (#645341) (XD) - $25.95
A curious blend of Merlot and Syrah that uses grapes sourced from Bordeaux and made under the Vin de France designation. Medium intensity nose offers blackberry, dark berry, and black plum aromas with earthy and meaty undertones. On the medium+ bodied palate it is more red-fruited with raspberry, dark cherry, and plum flavours followed by some earthy notes. Acids are fresh while tannins are chalky and drying. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoyable now with protein, and should be better in 2+ years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, April 13, 2019

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed 2014 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot back in , and I am opening the 2nd bottle that I have in my possession.

This red wine blend is produced by Southbrook Vineyards with grapes coming from the Saunders Vineyard in Niagara. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and ageing occurred in neutral oak barrels. This certified organic wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Although a newer vintage of this wine isn't available, an equivalent in Southbrook's current portfolio would be the 2017 Triomphe Merlot that is available at the winery and through their online web store.

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET MERLOT 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95 Sold Out
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. A blend of 69% Cabernet Franc and 31% Merlot from a cooler vintage that began with the infamous Polar Vortex. Generous aromas are mature with savoury, earthy, and forest floor notes, plus some dried cherry, floral, and herbal spice hints. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with refined tannins that offer a nice chalky texture. More savouriness on the flavour profile with dried cherry, spice, and herbs. Juicy mid-palate with acids a touch sour. Earthy notes linger on the finish, with good length. Enjoy over the next 12 months. Score: 88+ 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 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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  • 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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  • Friday, January 18, 2019

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Konzelmann Lakefront Series Merlot 2017 (87 pts)
I picked up red wine while visiting Konzelmann Estate Winery back in November during the Taste the Season food & wine pairing event that took place at many wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Konzelmann is Niagara’s exclusive lakefront winery and is heralded for providing one of the most friendly, informative and educational experiences in Niagara's wine country. On a past visit, I had the opportunity to visit their below-ground tasting room, which was dark, yet cozy, and without much in the way of seating. However, they recently renovated this area and it is now bright and airy, and offers seating for structured wine tastings and educational sessions. I can envision this space also being used for small private events.

This Merlot is the winery's most popular red wine. It is a fairly new release, with a new label for 2017, and is currently available for purchase at the winery and online through their web store. This latest vintage has also just recently arrived at the LCBO and is currently on promotion - with every bottle purchased you receive 6 Bonus Air Miles until . The wine review of this highly quaffable Niagara red is provided below.

Konzelmann Estate Winery Private Tasting Room

Tasting Note:

KONZELMANN LAKEFRONT SERIES MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#439281) (D) - $14.95
Screw cap. Soft, medium intensity nose offers ripe red berry, cherry, plum, and black currant aromas with wisps of earth and olive adding savoury elements. It is medium bodied with gritty, textured tannins that are just a touch tight. Fresh, lively acids lift the berry, currant, earthy, and cocoa flavoured dry palate. There's good length on the juicy finish with cocoa, vanilla and earthy notes. Highly drinkable now and should improve in 2020. Score: 87 pts


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  • Friday, November 30, 2018

Roscato Dark Blend (Italy) - Wine Review

Opened up this wine and it is recommended for those that like their red wines on the sweeter side of the spectrum.

It is produced by Ca'Vit-Consorzio Cantine Sociali, a large co-operative winery located in Trentino, Northern Italy. The Roscato range offers irresistible wines from the region that will complement any type of cuisine.

The Roscato Dark Blend is the newest addition to the lineup and is made using a blend of indigenous Northern Italian varietals - mostly Teroldego and Lagrein, plus some Merlot. It is fermented in contact with grape skins at fairly cool temperatures to preserve fruity aromas, followed by ageing in stainless steel tanks and in medium-sized casks for about 12 months, after which the wines are blended and allowed to age for a further 2 to 3 months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

This red wine is widely available in at your local LCBO.

Roscato Dark Blend (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROSCATO DARK BLEND - VD'Italia, Trentino, Italy (#629857) (M) - $15.95
Screw cap. Non-vintage blend of Teroldego, Lagrein, and Merlot. Fruit forward with ripe plum and blackberry aromas followed by some chocolatey notes. It is medium-bodied with soft, rounded tannins that have a slightly dusty texture. Food-friendly acids. More dark berry, chocolate, and cocoa flavours, plus vanilla and spice on the palate that lingers through to juicy finish, with good length. Easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing style. Score: 86 pts


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  • Saturday, September 1, 2018

McMichael Collection Group of Seven Cabernet Merlot 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

is celebrated every , so I'm a couple of days late in celebrating with wine review of a locally-made Cabernet-Merlot blend from Niagara that honours our Canadian Artists.

Produced by Niagara's Lakeview Wine Co. (a division of Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd.), the McMichael Collection of wines were created in celebration of McMichael Art Collection's 50th anniversary.

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is located in Kleinburg, just north of Toronto and is renowned for its collection of stunning Canadian art, including works by the Group of Seven. This line of Niagara wines were created to pay tribute to the artists that were part of this group. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle helps support the preservation of the art collection.

This red wine is available for purchase at the winery and at your local LCBO. Additionally, it is currently on promotion at the LCBO until , where you will receive 7 bonus Air Miles with every bottle purchased.

McMichael Collection Group of Seven Cabernet Merlot 2015 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

MCMICHAEL COLLECTION GROUP OF SEVEN CABERNET MERLOT 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#456590) (XD) - $14.95
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Merlot that was aged in French and American oak barrels for 10 months. Screw cap. It's light on the aromatics, featuring hints of red berry, earth, oak vanillan, and herbs. It's medium-bodied and more savoury on the palate, with hints of black cherry, herbs, and oak flavours. Dusty tannins are well-integrated, with some grip mid-palate. Balanced acids keep everything nice and fresh. Good length on the finish. Simple, easy drinking. Score: 86 pts


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  • Saturday, July 7, 2018

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Merlot 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

award-winning red wine is made by Hinterbrook Estate Winery and is a nice follow-up to their award-winning 2016 NOMAD Sauvignon Blanc that I enjoyed a few days ago.

NOMAD Wine is the expression of Hinterbrook through award-winning, artisanal winemaking. Hinterbrook is also committed to practising ecological sustainability with a facility that is solar powered and has geothermal climate control and water conserving technology.

Once again, because NOMAD Wine is the story of the people, the label is nearly blank and offers you the opportunity to draw or paint to create your own story and share your experience.

This Bordeaux-varietal red wine from Niagara comes from a 2013 vintage that was typical for Niagara - a roller coaster with a late start to the growing season that featured hot, cold, wet and dry growing conditions. Quality for Bordeaux varietals was spotty throughout the region that year, but this particular wine is of good quality and is only available at their winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake or through their online web store.

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Merlot 2013 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

NOMAD MERLOT 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
Black and blue fruit plus chocolate and oak spice aromas from the cork. This has elegant savoury, blackberry and kirsch liqueur aromas, with hints of cassis, blue fruit, forest floor, and wet earth. Whiffs of green pepper emerge with time. The medium-bodied palate has a plush mouthfeel with refined tannins that are smooth with just a touch of grip on the tail end. Crushed aroma replays plus some nice white pepper and oak spice flavours are supported by vibrant, juicy acids. Nicely balanced overall while showing some elegance. The finish length is very good. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)


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  • Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine is a new wine coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Even though Tenuta PoggioVerrano was founded in the shining and rural landscape of Maremma Toscana at the turn of the century in the year 2000, this appears to be the first vintage for this particular red wine. The property has 27 hectares of vines planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc on rocky soils of a calcareous and clayey nature, and located between 170 metres and 300 metres elevation. The vineyards are facing south-southwest and are located just 15 kilometres from the Mediterranean. The winery is built upon gravity flow principles and is fully underground.

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

INFINITY 2009 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#540906) (XD) - $25.95
This excellent Super Tuscan is a blend of 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 20% Alicante that was aged for 2 years is French oak barriques and 3 years in small stainless steel tanks before bottling. Intriguing black plum, blackberry, and oak spice aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic, pretty aromas in the glass with a nice, mature mix of savoury and dried fruits - think red floral, savoury wet forest floor, dried cherry, and sweet oak spice, along with hints of cinnamon, black plum, and black licorice. The palate is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced, complex aroma replays. Supple tannins are nicely folding into the palate, offering some grip and dusty texture. Acids are fresh. Savoury notes linger on the finish, with excellent length. Drinking great now, but can also be enjoyed over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts


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  • Sunday, May 6, 2018

Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2014 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

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

This red wine blend is produced by Trinity Hill, a winery that was established on a stony site in Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand, in the early 90's after a conversation over a glass of wine between Winemaker John Hancock and the owners of the London restaurant Bleeding Heart, Robert and Robyn Wilson. They were convinced that the Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels winegrowing region could produce world-class wines and became one of the region's early pioneers.

Hawkes Bay is the second largest wine growing region in New Zealand, but is responsible for 85% of the production of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet within the country. What makes Trintiy Hill special is that most of their grape harvest comes from unique gravel soils and micro-climate of the Gimblett Gravels region.

All wines at Trinity Hill are produced with the utmost care and respect for the grapes and with minimum intervention. The winery is known for consistently delivering quality wines across the range.

Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

TRINITY HILL THE TRINITY RED BLEND 2014 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#551630) (XD) - $22.95
Predominantly Merlot (55%), with 17% Tempranillo, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec and 7% Syrah completing the blend. Individual blocks were aged for 14 months in small French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks prior to blending. Screw cap. The generous nose is complex, offering cassis, black & blueberry, black plum, leather, sweet oak spice and cocoa aromas. It's medium-bodied with a lush mouthfeel and ripe black plum, blackberry, earthy, leather, and cocoa flavours. Nice black pepper notes arrive with time in the glass. Ripe, dusty tannins are refined and offer nice texture, while offering some grip towards the mid- and back-palate. Earthy, forest floor notes linger on the very long finish. Enjoy this fine wine over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, April 27, 2018

Château Canteloup 2010 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine was purchased nearly 4 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release, and actually showed up again in VINTAGES on . This wine has since been moved to the General List, with the most recent vintage widely available for $19.95 (#420000) at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

The 2010 Bordeaux vintage was truly great, with optimal ripeness, firm acidity and tannins, thus allowing wines to age gracefully for many years. My notes indicated that this wine would be best until 2018. Let's see how this is tasting tonight...

Château Canteloup 2010 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU CANTELOUP 2010 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#243923) (XD) - $16.95
Blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Savoury barnyard, earth and oak aromas from the cork. Leads with mature savoury earthy aromas and hints of barnyard layered on top of dried cherry and red florals. It is medium-to-full bodied with fine-grained tannins that are nearly fully resolved. There's just a touch of tannic grip on the back palate. Earthy, forest floor flavours mingle with dark berry, dried cherry, black plum, and leather notes in a mature flavour profile. Acids are still quite juicy. Dark berry and earthy notes linger on the long, savoury finish. Delicious! Drink up within the next year or so if you still have this bottle. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cattail Creek Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is something I purchased at the winery when I visited Niagara during the Icewine Festival in .

The 2012 vintage in Niagara was an excellent vintage due to the long, hot summer that's a pre-requisite for Bordeaux-style reds to flourish in this region. Looking back at my tasting note, I gave this red wine a score of 89 pts and noted that it would develop well in bottle for another 2 years. At more than 4 years now, let's see how this wine is tasting...

Cattail Creek Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATTAIL CREEK ESTATE SERIES CABERNET MERLOT 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $17.95
Aged in French oak barrels for 1 year. Blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Screw cap. This has a medium-high intensity nose that leads with earth and dried cherry/floral notes, followed by some dark currant, blackberry, oak and a whiff of olive. Tannins are nicely resolving into the medium-full bodied palate, with some grippiness arriving with time. Savoury earthy, dark cherry, blackberry flavours, while the acids are still quite lively. Some dried cherry/red floral notes arrive mid-palate and continue through to the long, earth-driven finish. Should continue to drink well for at least another 2-3 years. Delicious! Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, March 12, 2018

VINTAGES Release March 17, 2018: Classic Euro Regions + Merlot + Argentina

LCBO Wine Picks: March 17, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES Release on features wines from Europe's classic wine regions as it's main theme. There are two mini-themes - one featuring Merlot, the other featuring Argentina - however, none of the wines from the mini-themes are included among my wine picks. All of these new wines will be on shelves across Ontario this .

The main theme is interesting, featuring Europe's top 11 classic wine regions and lists 18 wines, four of which are included among my top wine picks. The 11 regions listed are Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Loire Valley, Rhône Valley, Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto, Mosel, Douro, and Rioja. Among my top wine picks, you'll find an excellent Champagne that is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. From the Mosel region in Germany, there is a sweet Riesling that will pair really well with spicy dishes. Lastly, both Rhône wines - from the outstanding 2015 vintage - listed in this feature are among my wine recommendations. The Costières de Nîmes is an organic wine consisting of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Carignan, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and other varietals making up the balance.

Among red wines from the rest of the release, Australia continues to explore Italian varietals, and the results are promising. From Australia, there is a Nero d'Avola, as well as a blend of Sangiovese and Shiraz. From Tuscany, the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico is made with 100% Sangiovese. From South Africa, the Ernie Els (yes, the golfer) wine is a blend of 60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Grenache, 3% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsaut, and 5% Viognier. From France, the La Clape red from the Languedoc is a blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 20% Carignan, while the 2015 Vacqueyras is a blend of 68% Grenache, 27% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault.

Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2011 (92 pts)Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2016 (88 pts)

From my white wine picks, the Fumé Blanc is actually a blend of 89% Sauvignon Blanc and 11% Sémillon that was barrel-fermented and aged in French oak. For sweet wine lovers, the Siegerrebe will surely please your palate, as will the Ontario Riesling. The Pinot Gris also offers some sweetness.

Please note that the four Flagship Store Exclusives included among my wine picks will only be available in limited quantities at Flagship stores. Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CORIOLE SANGIOVESE/SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#534610) (XD) - $17.95
  • MONTERRA FLEURIEU PENINSULA NERO D’AVOLA 2016 - Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia (#534743) (XD) - $18.95
  • ARBOLEDA CARMENÈRE 2015 - Aconcagua Valley, Chile (#046284) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#040964) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERNIE ELS BIG EASY 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#220038) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU PECH REDON L’ÉPERVIER LA CLAPE 2014 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#129965) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN ROSEROCK PINOT NOIR 2014 - Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#529107) (XD) - $39.95
  • DOMAINE LES ONDINES PASSION VACQUEYRAS 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#536854) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE IL MARGONE GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#435115) (XD) - $42.95  92 pts  wine review
  • FONT DE MICHELLE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#400358) (D) - $51.95
  • MICHELE CASTELLANI CINQUE STELLE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2013 - Collezione Ca’ del Pipa, DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#075127) (D) - $55.95
Arboleda Carmenère 2015 (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • ANSELMANN EDESHEIMER ROSENGARTEN SIEGERREBE SPÄTLESE 2016 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#910554) (S) - $16.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (M) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CASTELO DO MAR ALBARIÑO 2016 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#488734) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • A TO Z PINOT GRIS 2016 - Oregon, USA (#258145) (D) - $19.95
  • ATTEMS PINOT GRIGIO 2016 - IGT Venezia Giulia, Venezie, Italy (#707950) (XD) - $19.95
  • TOHU SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#536177) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • DR. PAULY-BERGWEILER BERNKASTELER BADSTUBE RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2015 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#727370) (S) - $29.95
  • WAKEFIELD ST. ANDREWS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Single Vineyard Release, Clare Valley, South Australia (#237933) (XD) - $34.95  FSE
  • MARCO FELLUGA RUSSIZ SUPERIORE RISERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 - DOC Collio, Friuli, Italy (#541599) (XD) - $48.95  FSE
  • ROBERT MONDAVI TO KALON VINEYARD RESERVE FUMÉ BLANC 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#326165) (XD) - $59.95  FSE
Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)Castelo do Mar Albariño 2016 (88+ pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • MOUTARD PÈRE & FILS CUVÉE PRESTIGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#514372) (XD) - $51.95


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  • Monday, February 5, 2018

Château Timberlay 2014 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

This wine review is the second in the series celebrating the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning, and high-scoring wines from the PMA Canada portfolio.

As the world comes together in a few days to celebrate diversity and cheer on their top athletes, PMA Canada is celebrating it's diverse portfolio of high quality and high-scoring wines, such as this red wine from Bordeaux that was opened during Superbowl Sunday.

Château Timberlay is produced by Robert Giraud and is Terra Vitis certified, while regularly receiving top scores in its long history, with the most recent vintage receiving scores of 87-88 points. The property's origin dates back to the 14th century, during the 100 Years' War, when Aquitaine was under English domination. More recently, the château was destroyed during the French Revolution, later rebuilt, and was completely renovated after the Second World War.

Château Timberlay 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU TIMBERLAY 2014 - AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#030072) (XD) - $16.95 $14.95
A blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Ripe blackberry, plum and earthy aromas from the cork. In the glass, the nose is subtle with ripe red cherry, raspberry, and blackberry with a tinge of prune. On the palate, this has more prune notes followed by dark cherry, cedar oak, and peppery nuances. Dry overall with fresh acids, structured tannins that drying on the mid-palate. Good length on the dry, woody, earthy, and dark berry finish. Pair with big meats like lamb or steak. Score: 87 pts

A General List wine at the LCBO, this red wine is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, as well as online at LCBO.com. Buy now and save $2 off the regular price until February 25th.


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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

wine is the first in a series from PMA Canada's portfolio that highlights a few top scoring wines from around the globe to help you gear up for the International Sports Stage in February, namely the 2018 Winter Olympics.

As the world comes together this February to celebrate their top athletes, PMA Canada celebrates diversity by offering a selection of award-winning wines from around the globe.

PMA Canada not only prides itself on offering a vast selection of international wines, but also on the fact that the wines presented are of the highest and most renowned quality. So, as different countries battle to come out on top, cheer on your team with a top scoring wine from PMA Canada.

This particular red wine from Chile's Emiliana - Organic Vineyards is the winery's signature wine. "Coyam" means "Chilean oak" and is named in honour of the trees that surround the vineyard that supplies the grapes for this blend. The label, with its tree ring pattern, stylishly matches the name. Scores for this wine range from 90 to 93 points, including 90+ points from me when I tasted this delicious wine back in . Let's see how this wine is tasting tonight.

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA COYAM 2013 - Los Robles Estate, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#063891) (XD) - $29.95
This organic and biodynamic wine is made with 48% Syrah, 24% Carmenere, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Mourvedre, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot that was manually harvested and double sorted. Ageing occurred for 13 months in French (85%) and American oak, spread evenly between casks that were new, single use, and twice used. Dark plum with hints of savoury meaty notes from the cork. This has fine, savoury, meaty, forest floor, crushed blackberry, and evergreen aromas along with hints of white pepper and licorice that gain intensity with air. Very complex and fairly intense nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate and shows finesse with smooth, supple tannins that fold into the wine very nicely. Complex savoury, blackcurrant, pepper and herbal flavours are well-balanced and lifted by bright, juicy acids. Some evergreen on the mid-palate. Finishes long and savoury. An amazing wine to enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 91 pts

Last released into VINTAGES on October 14, 2017, and (surprisingly!) is still widely available throughout Ontario.


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  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Konzelmann Merlot Barrel Aged Reserve 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a new release that is available exclusively at Konzelmann Estate Winery.

The winery was founded in 1984 by Herbert Konzelmann, a fourth-generation winemaker and the first in the family to leave Germany in search of the next perfect spot to grow grapes. He discovered the site on a property alongside the shores of Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake. What attracted him to this site was the micro-climate, which is similar to Alsace with a wonderful balance of sun, soil, airflow and moisture conditions. This type of micro-climate is ideal for making clean, aromatic, and fruity wines. Konzelmann is Niagara’s only lakefront winery.

This delicious Niagara red wine is available for purchase either by visiting their picturesque property in Niagara-on-the-Lake or through their online web store. They have a promotion on now where you can get free shipping within Ontario when you buy 12 or more bottles or spend more than $150. Use promo code FREESHIP to take advantage of this offer!

Konzelmann Merlot Barrel Aged Reserve 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

KONZELMANN MERLOT BARREL AGED RESERVE 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. From a very good 2016 vintage, this has a medium-intensity, dark fruited nose of crushed blackberry, dark cherry, currant and cocoa, with underlying subtle sweet oak spices, earth and stony minerality. It is medium-bodied on the dry palate with ripe flavours of blueberry, currant, dark cherry, cocoa and nicely integrated oak flavours. Pleasant smoky black pepper notes emerge with time. Juicy acids are clean and nicely balanced. Sweet, ripe tannins are well-knit and nicely fold into the wine. The savoury finish is long with smoke and earthy notes. Pretty solid for a Bordeaux-varietal red in Niagara at this price point. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ferox Wines Tasting

Ferox Wines Tasting
One evening in , I had the pleasure of tasting through the inaugural vintage of wines from a new virtual winery in Niagara - Ferox Wines.

Based out of Reif Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this virtual winery is owned by Fabian Reis, the man behind Ferox. He was born into a traditional vintner family in Germany that has winemaking roots dating back to 1893 and is now a sixth generation winemaker. His grandfather is Herbert Konzelmann, founder of Konzelmann Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Fabian moved to Niagara in 1995, but returned to Germany for five years beginning in 2006 to study at one of Germany's prestigious winemaking schools, as well as work alongside some of Europe's best wineries. After returning to Niagara, Fabian decided to leave the shadows of his long established family and set a new course with his Sommelier wife Stephanie.

After meeting Fabian for the first time, I can tell you that he is passionate about winemaking and wants to produce high-quality wines in Niagara. Fabian and Stephanie are both very much hands-on with this project, from hand-harvesting the grapes to applying the wax seal (by hand) to each and every bottle. For a first vintage, the wine quality is quite good, but they do come in at super premium price points. This is a winery to keep an eye out for as I do believe that future vintages will be even better. The Merlot Cab is sold out, but you can still purchase the Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc by contacting the winery directly.

Thank you to André Proulx for arranging and inviting me to the tasting. It was also a pleasure to meet Fabian and Stephanie Reis!

Tasting Notes:

FOREX WINES RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $38
From 25 year-old vines in St. David's Bench, this has medium+ intensity honeyed aromas that are sweet with lime, ginger, acacia flower, citrus, and a whiff of orange. Acids are delicate on the medium+ bodied palate, with some structure. Citrus, lemon/lime flavours are a touch musky on the mid-palate. Off-dry in style with stony mineral and beeswax notes lingering on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts

Forex Wines Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)

FOREX WINES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $46
The medium intensity nose is a bit sulphury, but eventually gives way to ripe melon, tropical fruit and lemon peel aromas. The palate is medium-bodied and a touch creamy with fresh, vibrant acids that are well-balanced and offers ripe fruited white grapefruit and melon flavours. It's a touch hot mid-palate and finishes long and juicy. Score: 88 pts

Forex Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

FOREX WINES MERLOT CABERNET 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $55 Sold Out
A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of cocoa, blackberry, chocolate, and ripe dark currant and cassis. It's medium-bodied with fresh and bright acids supported by soft, supple tannins that offer some structure. The fruit is crunchy with nice aroma replays and subtle oak flavours that are nicely integrated. Finishes with good length and touches of wet earth. A bit of both Old and New World to enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Only 3 barrels/900 bottles produced. Score: 89 pts

Forex Wines Merlot Cabernet 2015 (89 pts)


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  • Friday, March 31, 2017

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot Organic 2015 (Chile) - Wine Review

wine is an organic red wine made by Emiliana Organic Vineyards of Chile.

"Adobe" refers to an ancient natural material used for construction in Chile and is now the main foundation of Emiliana's winery in Chile. It is also the name of their "reserve" line of wines, one of many lines in their portfolio, that are made with organic grapes which reflect the quality of their vineyards. These wines are also made with deep respect for the environment and their workers.

This wine is a General List product and widely available at LCBO locations throughout Ontario and is perfectly suitable for upcoming Easter celebrations paired with red meats.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot Organic 2015 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

EMILIANA ADOBE RESERVA MERLOT ORGANIC 2015 - DO Rapel Valley, Chile (#322024) (D) - $12.95
Screw cap. This organic Merlot offers ripe fruited aromas of raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, black plum, along with wood-influenced cocoa, milk chocolate and oak notes. The palate is full-bodied with a plush mouthfeel, balanced by fresh acids and a flavour profile that mimics the aromas, plus some graphite tones. Sweet, dusty tannins gain volume and become quite chalky towards the long chocolatey finish. Ideal with red meat. Score: 87 pts


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  • Sunday, March 12, 2017

Aniello 006 Merlot 2014 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a new arrival to the LCBO and will be on shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Even though this wine is new to VINTAGES, Bodega Aniello is a winery that was originally built in 1927. This small estate winery began with 1 hectare of old vineyards planted in 1932, and growing to 4 hectares in 1947. Today, the winery continues to explore the value of the ancient winemaking tradition of Patagonia, while keeping a connection with one of the owner's Italian roots.

Terroir consists of alluvial soils that are very heterogeneous, moderately deep, with stone-dominated areas, and others with sandy/loamy soil types. The winery is moving towards sustainable agriculture along with integrated vineyard management to reduce their carbon footprint and use natural alternatives for fertilization, pests, disease and weed control and prevention.

Aniello 006 Merlot 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ANIELLO 006 MERLOT 2014 - Patagonia, Argentina (#480731) (XD) - $17.95
Only 30% oak-aged for 12 months. Plum, red fruit and cherry aromas from the cork. Medium-high aromatics are quite complex, offering red & black fruits, raspberry, blackberry, dark currant, black plum, some green herbal, mint, and cocoa nuances. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins. Chocolate, oak-spiced, dark currant, and herbally flavours on the palate. Some savoury and black tea aromas and flavours emerge with air. Acids are bright and fresh. Dry overall with a nice cocoa-dusted finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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