Showing posts with label new-zealand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new-zealand. Show all posts

Saturday, December 8, 2018

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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


Monday, October 1, 2018

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  • Monday, October 1, 2018

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is the delicious white wine companion to the red 2016 Momo Pinot Noir that I enjoyed recently, It was released into LCBO VINTAGES on April 28 and is virtually sold out at the moment, but will be coming back to shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

This organic white wine is produced by Seresin Estate, a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand, and comes from their second line of wines called 'Momo', which means 'offspring' in Maori. This white wine is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It was a challenging cold start in 2016, with pressure to fight frosts during the early stage of vine growth. However, a spectacularly long and warm summer, with dry weather during the harvest period allowed the fruit to be picked on-time, delivered intact, and without stress. One-third of the 100% certified organic fruit was sourced from their own Tatou and Raupo Creek vineyards, which also has biodynamic certification, while the remainder was sourced from certified organic growers - whose vineyards they help manage - in Wairau and Waihopai Valleys.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. Screw cap. This has a lovely, open, fragrant nose of kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, asparagus, and lemon, with hints of yellow pepper and mineral adding complexity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with a nice creamy texture and lovely aroma replays joined by some wet wool flavours. Succulent, crisp acids are juicy. Minerally and grapefruit-tinged on the long finish. This is very nice. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice organic Pinot Noir from New Zealand that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Momo, meaning 'offspring' in Maori, is the second line of wines from the organic and biodynamic winery Seresin Estate. The estate is located in sun-soaked heart of Marlborough, at the top of New Zealand's South Island. It was founded by cinematographer Michael Seresin in the early 1990s with a desire to create wines in the most natural way possible, and without compromising on quality. The Momo range of wines is fermented naturally with wild yeasts and produced true to variety and reflect the essence of their fruit characters.

The majority (97%) of the fruit for this Pinot came from their Raupo Creek vineyard where the soils are rich and clay-based, while the remaining portion came from the Wairau Valley. The fruit was hand-picked and destemmed, and fermented using wild yeasts. Ageing occurred in French oak barriques for 10 months. This organic and biodynamic wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163972) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. This organic wine has a medium intensity nose that offers ripe and attractive raspberry and cherry aromas with earthy and spicy undertones. It is light-to-medium bodied with smooth, elegant tannins on the palate with cherry, raspberry, earth, and beetroot flavours. Hints of tea leaf and cola arriving mid-palate add to the complexity, while tannins have a nice chalky texture. Acids are fresh. Very good length on the earthy, forest floor, and somewhat grippy finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88+ pts


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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  • Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is a recent arrival to the LCBO, as it was part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Wither Hills, a winery in New Zealand that takes its name from the landmark Wither Hills mountain range that borders their vineyards. It was founded as a small boutique winery in 1994 by (former) winemaker Brent Marris with a passion to craft the very best wine from Marlborough’s beautiful natural surroundings. In 2002, the winery was sold to Lion Wines.

Wither Hills is an accredited winery with Sustainable Winegrowing NZ. This industry standard was developed to allow grape growers and winemakers to protect the environmental integrity of wine production.

The winery is located in Marlborough at the northeast tip of the South Island of New Zealand, and the grapes for this lovely Sauvignon Blanc come from the Wairau Valley, not far from the winery. 2016 was one of the warmest vintages on record, allowing the grapes to ripen to optimum maturity.

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. The fragrant nose offers ripe kiwi, guava, and tropical fruit notes along with some with green, nettle and earthy characters. It's light-to-mid weight on the ripe palate with ripe, citrusy flavoured aroma replays. Acids are bright, juicy and nicely balanced. Hints of salty minerality linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoy well-chilled. Score: 89 pts


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LCBO VINTAGES May 12, 2018: Bordeaux + New Zealand + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks: May 12, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is a solid, three-pronged release featuring wines from Bordeaux and New Zealand, while the third theme features Rosé wines just in time for warm weather. All of these wines will be available at LCBO outlets across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the wines from Bordeaux, where twelve wines (all red) are featured, and four are included among my top wine picks. Somewhat not surprisingly, three of my four picks are from the great 2010 vintage - the Godard Bellevue is a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Fleur Haut Gaussens is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Pierre de Montignac is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. From the 2008 vintage, the nicely matured Margaux is a blend of 48% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. Also from Bordeaux, but only featured as a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) is a white wine made with 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon.

The selection of wines from New Zealand is also quite good, with three of nine wines making my list of wine recommendations. Among these wines there is a lovely Hawkes Bay red blend that consists of 55% Merlot, 17% Tempranillo, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec and 7% Syrah, a dry Pinot Gris, and a Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, there are also quite a few wines from New Zealand featured as Flagship Store Exclusives at the back of the magazine, including a pair of Pinot Noirs and a complex, wild fermented Sauvignon Blanc.

Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2014 (90 pts)Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2014 (92 pts)

From the mini-theme featuring thirteen Rosé wines, four are included among my wine picks, including the Languedoc Rosé which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, and the premium-priced Provence Rosé which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle (Vermentino), Syrah, and Tibouren. Also from France, the Tavel is a blend of Grenache Noir & Blanc (45%), Clairette (20%), Cinsault (15%), Mourvèdre (8%), Syrah (6%), Bourboulenc (4%), and Picpoul (2%), while the Rosé from Ontario is made with 100% Pinot Noir.

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the release, the Douro red is a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Barroca, and 30% Tinta Roriz, while the Roussillon Villages red is an excellent wine consisting of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache.

La Valentina Pecorino 2016 (88+ pts)Papagiannakos Vieilles Vignes Savatiano 2016 (88 pts)

There are no blends or sweet wines among my top white wine picks, but there some crisp, dry white wines including a Savatiano, Pecorino, Albariño, and Semillon. There is also a Chablis and a pair of oaked Chardonnays. And lastly, the Pouilly-Fumé is a barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my wine picks from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LILÁS 2014 - DO Douro, Portugal (#525667) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU GODARD BELLEVUE 2010 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Francs, France (#426049) (XD) - $15.95
  • ERCAVIO ROBLE TEMPRANILLO 2014 - Vino de La Tierra de Castilla, Spain (#067504) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU FLEUR HAUT GAUSSENS 2010 - AC Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#445510) (XD) - $18.95
  • TRINITY HILL THE TRINITY RED BLEND 2014 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#551630) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2010 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT L’ESQUERDA 2016 - AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde, France (#381020) (XD) - $25.95
  • BUENA VISTA PINOT NOIR 2013 - Carneros, California, USA (#304105) (D) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MT. BEAUTIFUL PINOT NOIR 2015 - North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand (#552026) (XD) - $37.95  FSE
  • GRASSHOPPER ROCK EARNSCLEUGH VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2015 - Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand (#493163) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE MONS 2008 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#550467) (XD) - $52.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE PINOT NOIR 2014 - Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#548248) (XD) - $74.95
Buena Vista Pinot Noir 2013 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • PAPAGIANNAKOS VIEILLES VIGNES SAVATIANO 2016 - Markopoulo, Greece (#546002) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LA VALENTINA PECORINO 2016 - IGT Colline Pescaresi, Abruzzo, Italy (#541433) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • ARBOLEDA SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#606772) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LAXAS ALBARIÑO 2015 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#021477) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO ORGANIC PINOT GRIS 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (XD) - $19.95
  • MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2017 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#493338) (XD) - $19.95

  • WITHER HILLS RARANGI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Single Vineyard, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551721) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAINE DE MAUPERTHUIS CHABLIS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524298) (XD) - $27.95
  • LA MOYNERIE POUILLY-FUMÉ 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#729178) (XD) - $31.95
  • GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (D) - $39.95  FSE  92 pts  wine review
  • BACHELDER WISMER-FOXCROFT N. 2 CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#547299) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU LA LOUVIÈRE BLANC 2012 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#552067) (XD) - $47.95  FSE
Arboleda Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
  • MARQUIS D’AQUERIA TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#556274) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
  • CAVES D’ESCLANS WHISPERING ANGEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#325076) (XD) - $29.95

Fortified:

  • FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT 2011 - Unfiltered, DOP, Portugal (#087551) (S) - $18.95


Sunday, May 6, 2018

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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


Friday, May 4, 2018

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  • Friday, May 4, 2018

Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

International Sauvignon Blanc Day is celebrated around the globe the first Friday in May. This year, the occasion falls on and I am celebrating with this yummy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This white wine is a General List product at the LCBO and is widely available across Ontario. It is also suitable for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diets.

Peter Yealands is part of the Yealands Wine Group that was formed in 2008 with a vision to become the world's leading sustainable wine producer. In 2008, the winery opened to become the first winery in the world to be accredited carboNZero certified from inception. Mr. Yealands himself is known for his pioneering and innovative ways, all of which is chronicled in the book A Bloke for All Seasons: The Peter Yealands Story.

Today, Peter and his family focus their energies on building Yealands Estate into a global brand with sustainability at top of mind. The winery opened in August 2008 Some of the sustainable initiatives at Yealands include developing wetlands, making their own special compost, and using natural pest control methods. They are also working at reducing their emissions by producing their own renewable energy, and using environmentally-friendly packaging.

Which Sauvignon Blanc is in your glass tonight? Leave a comment below or join the conversation online by using the hashtags #SauvBlancDay and #SauvBlanc.

Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

PETER YEALANDS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277731) (XD) - $17.20
Fruit comes from 75% (Seaview) Awatere Valley and 25% Wairau Valley. Screw cap. Bright nose is typically pungent for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with green aromas with lime zest, passion fruit, guava, and herbs. The medium bodied palate is crunchy and fresh with lip-smacking acidity and flavours of green herbs, lemon, guava, passion fruit, and asparagus. Touches of salty mineral on the mid-palate. Finishes long and juicy with some sourness and hints of mineral. Enjoy nicely chilled. Score: 88 pts


Friday, March 9, 2018

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  • Friday, March 9, 2018

Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

Hot on the heels of enjoying a wonderful NZ Sauvignon Blanc earlier this week, wine is another delightful Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

Producing fine wines in New Zealand's premier grape growing regions since 1998, Tohu (pronounced Tor-who) means "sign" or "signature" and is the world's first Maori owned wine company. The Maori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The grapes for this single vineyard bottling of Sauvignon Blanc was grown on their own vineyards in the upper reaches of the Awatere Valley at approximately 200 metres above sea level and machine harvested. In stainless steel tanks, this was fermented and left to settle on the less, following by maturation. Each batch was meticulously classified during the entire process, then finally blended together to capture the unique characteristics of the vineyard and the season. In 2016, Marlborough produced larger than average berries, which should emphasize more passionfruit flavours over herbally flavours.

This new wine will be available on shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

TOHU SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#536177) (XD) - $21.95
Screw cap. The pungent, aromatic nose offers passionfruit, grapefruit, gooseberry, and guava with hints of minerality. It's very ripe with sweet and sour flavours on the palate with appealing aroma replays. Racy acids provide freshness. Juicy mid-palate. Fine length on the crisp, mouth-watering finish. Inclined to let this sit for another 6 to 12 months to let the acids settle down and enjoy to 2020. Score: 89 pts


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine is featured on the cover of the latest LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

When I tasted the 2014 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc and 2015 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, both wines were excellent in my books, so I am expecting another high quality wine this vintage. Yields were up in New Zealand after the small 2015 vintage. However, the biggest difference in 2016 in Marlborough, where this white wine is from, is the larger than average berry size which should result in wines with an emphasis on thiols (i.e. passionfruit flavours) over methoxypyrazines (i.e. herbal flavours).

Greywacke was formed by Kevin Judd to fulfil a long-held dream and is named after the rounded greywacke river stones that were found at his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura. The grapes for this wine were sourced from various prime vineyard sites in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys, the central Wairau Plains (specifically in Woodbourne, Renwick and Rapaura), and a spectacular river terrace site in the upper Awatere Valley. All individual vineyard batches were left on lees and kept separate until the blend was finally assembled.

Since this wine was just placed on LCBO VINTAGES shelves last weekend, there are still quite a few bottles available for you to buy now and enjoy over the Summer.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. The expressive nose opens with flinty mineral followed by guava, kiwi, tropical fruit, gooseberry and hints of lemon drops at the tail end. On the plump medium-bodied palate, this offers crisp, bright, and crunchy acids with ripe guava, white grapefruit, melon and tropical fruit flavours. Finishes long with fine minerality. A substantial Sauv Blanc that will be succulent with oysters. Score: 91 pts


Monday, June 19, 2017

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  • Monday, June 19, 2017

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine is the latest Sauvignon Blanc from Kono Wines to arrive at the LCBO.

The grapes for this white wine were all picked using state-of-the-art machine harvesters, then gently pressed to obtain clean juice. The juice is settled very clear, then racked into stainless steel tanks for warming and inoculation with aromatic yeasts. Fermentation is carried out at quite cool temperatures, ranging from 10-13°C, to help preserve freshness.

I tasted the 2014 Kono Sauvignon Blanc in of last year and am curious to see how the 2015 turned out. In 2015, Marlborough enjoyed a very dry summer, resulting in wines of greater concentration than the 2014. However, a spring frost led to much lower yields.

This yummy white wine will be on shelves as part of the upcoming VINTAGES Release on .

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

KONO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#441394) (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. Medium-high intensity aromatics offer typical NZ Sauv Blanc notes of guava, kiwi, tropical fruit, with hints of gooseberry, grass and mineral. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle acids that are nicely balanced. There's good flavour concentration on the palate with more guava, kiwi, and grassy notes, plus grapefruit and saline. The finish is juicy and minerally with very good length. Enjoy this summer! Score: 88 pts


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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  • Tuesday, May 9, 2017

VINTAGES Release May 13, 2017: Buyers' Best + New Zealand + Sake

LCBO Wine Picks from May 13, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming and features an interesting theme as its main release - an introduction to some of the buyers at the LCBO and their best finds, which is also a collection of wines that are new to VINTAGES. The mini-themes are wines from New Zealand and Sake - the same as the first release of .

We'll begin with Buyers' Best finds feature that lists 19 wines from 5 different buyers. However, only 1 wine made my list of wine picks - a dry rosé from Spain that is made with Garnacha from nearly 60-year-old vines planted at high-altitude (790 metres).

From the New Zealand mini-theme, there are 7 wines listed and 2 are included among my top wine picks. If you enjoy Sauv Blanc, then the excellent Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc should be on your shopping list. Also from New Zealand is a red wine blend that consists of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 10% Malbec.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (92 pts)

In red wines from the rest of the release, the wine from Rhône is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, while the Corbières is a blend of 55% Syrah, 25% Grenache, and 20% Carignan/Mourvèdre. From Spain, the Valdemar is a blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, while the Cune adds more Graciano, with the final blend consisting of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. The 2 California Cabs are also blends - the Clos du Bois includes 6% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, while the Ridge includes 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. From South Africa, the Glenelly Red is a blend of 36% Shiraz, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. And last but not least, the Solaia is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Cune Gran Reserva 2010 (91 pts)Château de Fontenelles Renaissance Corbières 2013 (89 pts)

In white wines, the Portuguese wine consists of two local barrel-aged varietals Arinto and Rabigato, rarely found in these parts, while the Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc, and the Meursault is a lightly oaked Chardonnay. For sweet wine lovers, try either Riesling or Gewürztraminer, including the very sweet Late Harvest Gewürztraminer from Konzelmann.

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2015 (91 pts)Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2010 (90+ pts)

Among my sparkling wine picks, the Franciacorta is made with 100% Chardonnay, while both the Riddled and the Rosé Champagne consist of a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE LES GRANDS BOIS CUVÉE PHILIPPINE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#286344) (D) - $18.95
  • PASK GIMBLETT GRAVELS CABERNET/MERLOT/MALBEC 2013 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#279869) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE FONTENELLES RENAISSANCE CORBIÈRES 2013 - AP, Midi, France (#148692) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • CONDE VALDEMAR RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#947309) (XD) - $19.95
  • GRAND VIN DE GLENELLY RED 2010 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#360339) (D) - $19.95
  • CLOS DU BOIS SONOMA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#054080) (XD) - $24.95
  • CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (D) - $38.95  reviewed here
  • CORTE PAVONE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#237263) (D) - $55.95
  • MICHELE CHIARLO CEREQUIO BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#393355) (XD) - $73.95  FSE
  • RIDGE VINEYARDS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#089284) (D) - $86.95  FSE
  • ANTINORI SOLAIA 2013 - IGT Toscana, Tuscany, Italy (#987586) (XD) - $254.95

White Wine:

  • KONZELMANN LATE HARVEST GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#392357) (S) - $14.75
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $17.95
  • PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (D) - $18.95
  • QUINTA DA REDE GRANDE RESERVA BRANCO 2014 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#477943) (XD) - $21.95
  • GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • ANDRÉ DEZAT SANCERRE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#493320) (XD) - $26.95
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2015 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • MARCHAND TAWSE MEURSAULT 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#285866) (D) - $65.95  FSE

Rosé Wine:

  • IZADI LARROSA PREMIUM ROSÉ 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#490961) (XD) - $14.95
  • CHÂTEAU D’AQUÉRIA TAVEL 2016 - AP, Rhône, Spain (#319368) (XD) - $21.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • LO SPARVIERE FRANCIACORTA BRUT CUVÉE NO. 7 - Traditional method, DOCG Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy (#484584) (D) - $29.95  FSE
  • FLAT ROCK CELLARS RIDDLED SPARKLING 2010 - Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#383315) (D) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • DUVAL-LEROY PRESTIGE PREMIER CRU BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#483107) (XD) - $70.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES VIDAL ICEWINE 2015 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#565861) (S) (200 mL) - $26.95


Saturday, May 6, 2017

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  • Saturday, May 6, 2017

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

After following up on celebration of International Sauvignon Blanc Day, wine is also a Sauvignon Blanc that will be arriving on LCBO shelves as part of the VINTAGES Release.

Greywacke is the Marlborough label of one of the region's pioneer winemakers, Kevin Judd. The name comes from his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura where there is an high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard.

I tasted the 2014 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc in February of last year and am curious to see how this latest vintage turned out. In 2014, the quality of the fruit was considered above-average, along with the largest ever vintage in Marlborough. For the 2015 vintage, quality across South Island was good, but crop yields were lower, resulting in less wine produced; it was also a very dry summer in Marlborough, resulting in greater concentration than the 2014s.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. Medium-high intensity aromatics are clean and elegant with subtle nuances of lemon zest, herbs, yellow flowers, tropical fruit and a fine mineral note. There's very good fruit concentration on the medium-bodied palate, balanced by zesty acids and fine minerally texture. Ripe stone fruits and lemon flavours are followed by hints of melon, orange and ripe tropical fruits, all nicely balanced. Stony mineral notes linger on the very long finish. Wow. This is excellent! Must buy. Score: 92 pts


Friday, May 5, 2017

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  • Friday, May 5, 2017

Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

I opened up this wine to celebrate the 8th Annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day, which is always the first Friday in May and takes place on this year.

This Sauvignon Blanc is produced by Saint Clair Family Estate, one of the leading wineries in New Zealand. The winery is owned by Neal and Judy Ibbotson, a couple that are considered viticultural pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. Initially, grapes they produced were sold to other wine companies, but in 1994 they established Saint Clair Family Estate because they had a desire to produce their own finished wine. Saint Clair is synonymous with quality ever since its first vintage in 1994 and continues to produce top quality wines today, such as this 2016 Sauvignon Blanc.

This delicious white wine is readily available at LCBO outlets across Ontario. How are you celebrating #SauvBlancDay?

Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

SAINT CLAIR FAMILY ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#237255) (XD) - $17.35
Screw cap. Lifted aromatics offer ripe tropical fruits, kiwi, gooseberry, grass and hints of mineral notes. It's light-weighted and fleshy with clean, refreshing acids. Fine chalky mineral texture on the dry palate with ripe tropical fruit and blood orange flavours. Clean, lingering finish. Score: 88 pts


Sunday, April 16, 2017

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  • Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bel Echo Pinot Noir 2012 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine was purchased back in 2014 from the LCBO VINTAGES Release, where "Summery New Zealand Wines" were featured as the main release and this wine was listed as the Benchmark/Wine of the Month.

Produced by Clos Henri, a French family from Sancerre whose roots in winemaking go back 10 generations. The grapes for this wine are grown predominantly on their free draining river stone soil, without any irrigation, thereby stressing the vines and providing fruit with the purest expression of terroir,

The 2012 is no longer available at the LCBO, but small quantities of the 2014 vintage are available, and if history is any indication, the 2016 should come through VINTAGES next year.

Bel Echo Pinot Noir 2012 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

BEL ECHO PINOT NOIR 2012 - 'Terroir: Greywacke', Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#159137) (XD) - $22.95
Terroir blend of Greywacke riverbed (65%) and Broadbridge clay (35%) soil, and bottled under screw cap. Screw cap. Highly aromatic, complex and alluring nose that bounces between blackberry, mulberry, cherry, red currant, sweet spice, earth and a hint of herbs. Some dried cherry and floral notes also appear with time in glass. The palate is medium-bodied with silky smooth and refined tannins. With air, flavour profile offers earthy spiciness along with cherry and strawberry notes. Rush of acidity mid-palate gives way to long, juicy finish. If you still have it, enjoy this fine wine over the next 12 months. Score: 91 pts


Friday, June 10, 2016

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  • Friday, June 10, 2016

Top Wines at Great New Zealand Wine Tiki Tour - May 2016

At the Great New Zealand Wine Tiki Tour in , as expected, there were many very nice Sauvignon Blanc wines, including some oaked styles, and Pinot Noir wines. However, there were two wines that stood out - a young Syrah that showed impeccable balance and was very approachable for such a young wine, and an oaked Chardonnay.

Here are my top wines from the New Zealand tasting. We should see most of these wines show up at the LCBO at some point, however, you can always contact the Agent directly for more ordering options.

Tasting Notes:

NGATARAWA STABLES RESERVE SYRAH 2015 - Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (XD) - $22.95
With only 3 months of oak, this young wine has a medium-to-high intensity nose showing true varietal character with notes of black peppercorn, black fruits and some oak spices. The palate is medium+ bodied with nicely balanced aroma replays and balanced acids. Tannins are smooth and supple. Medium-to-long finish. Available via Private Order through EPIC Wines and Spirits. Score: 89 pts

Ngatarawa Stables Reserve Syrah 2015 - Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (89 pts)

PASQUALE CHARDONNAY 2012 - Waitaki Valley, Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $39
A rich wine with an high intensity nose featuring very nice apple, butter notes and some elegant oak, vanilla notes. On the palate, it is medium+ bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and orchard fruit, oak, buttery flavours to go along with crisp, clean acids. Excellent length on the finish. Contact Trilogy Wine Merchants for purchasing information. Score: 91 pts

Pasquale Chardonnay 2012 - Waitaki Valley, Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand (91 pts)

SPY VALLEY ENVOY JOHNSON VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#429308) (XD) - $29.95
From their oldest vines, this barrel fermented and oak aged Sauvignon Blanc offers a lovely smoky nose combined with elegant grass, hay, asparagus and hints of citrus aromas. On the nicely textured palate, it is light-to-mid-weighted with tart green fruit, grass, and lime that is on the tangy side. It has well-balanced acids and excellent length on the finish. Can age at least half dozen years. Contact Trialto for availability. Score: 91 pts

Spy Valley Envoy Johnson Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (91 pts)

STONELEIGH LATITUDE PINOT NOIR 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#325654) (XD) - $25.95
The medium-to-high intensity nose has lively aromas of black cherry, tea leaf, and black spices. On the medium-bodied palate it is smooth with rounded tannins, juicy acids, and cherry flavours with earthy undertones. Well-balanced and long finishing. Contact Corby Spirit & Wine for availability. Score: 90+ pts

Stoneleigh Latitude Pinot Noir 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (90+ pts)

WHITEHAVEN GREG SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD) - $24.95
Medium-to-high intensity aromas that are clean with notes of asparagus, gooseberry, and lime which echo nicely on the well-balanced palate. It's medium-bodied with good acidity and a long, juicy finish. Contact E.J. Gallo to order. Score: 90+ pts

Whitehaven Greg Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (90+ pts)


Monday, May 9, 2016

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  • Monday, May 9, 2016

May 14 VINTAGES Wine Release: Customer Favourites + New Zealand + Sake

LCBO Wine Picks from May 14, 2016 VINTAGES Release
New wines from the LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this coming and features Customer Favourites as it's main theme. The mini-themes of this release features wine from New Zealand and an assortment of Sake.

Twenty-three wines are listed as part of the "Customer Favourites" theme and 6 made my list of wine picks. First up is a lovely rosé wine from Mas des Bressades that usually consists of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. The Crémant de Bourgogne dry sparkling wine is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, Aligoté. Another favourite is the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. In red wines, customer favourites include a Carménère from Chile and a premium Malbec from Argentina. Also delightful year-after-year is the Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape that in the 2013 vintage consists of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and 5% Cinsault.

Of the 8 wines featured in the New Zealand theme, three are included among my wine picks and all are very fine Sauvignon Blancs. The grape does very well there and the ones I have chosen are of the single vineyard variety from the producers te Pā, Auntsfield, and Villa Maria.

te Pā Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (89 pts)

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Rosso do Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese Grosso, while the Sicilian wine is made with the indigenous Nerello Mascalese. The 2010 Château de Panigon (50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot) appeared in VINTAGES in 2014 and has developed and matured quite well over the last couple of years. The Domaine Courbis is a northern Rhône wine made using Syrah. Lastly, the Amarone is a blend of 70% Corvina Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Oseleta & Croatina.

Rendola Rosso di Montalcino 2009 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (89 pts)Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (91 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the lovely Mas des Bressades Blanc is a blend of traditional Rhône varietals Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. while the Pouilly-Fuissé from Burgundy is made with Chardonnay.

Last but not least is the highly regarded Fielding Rosé wine that is a blend primarily consisting of Gamay and Cabernet Franc.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • RENDOLA ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#438564) (XD) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • ANTICHI VINAI IL MASCALESE NERELLO 2013 - IGT Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#442376) (XD) - $16.95
  • BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • TERRANOBLE GRAN RESERVA CARMÉNÈRE 2012 - Maule Valley, Chile (#957050) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE PANIGON 2010 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#348250) (D) - $19.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#279802) (D) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE COURBIS SAINT-JOSEPH 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#007914) (XD) - $36.95
  • LATIUM MORINI CAMPO LEÒN AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2010 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#334300) (D) - $47.95
  • VAL DI SUGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#713719) (XD) - $48.95  reviewed here
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $89.95
Boutari Grande Reserve Xinomavro 2010 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • CONCHA Y TORO SERIE RIBERAS GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2013 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#287995) (XD) - $16.95
  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION BLANC 2015 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#701094) (XD) - $17.95
  • THÖRLE-WEIN ESTATE DRY RIESLING 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (#445817) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • TE PĀ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#450668) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#131169) (D) - $21.00  reviewed here
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $24.95
  • VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#447474) (XD) - $29.95
  • ERNEST MEURGEY-PERRON POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2012 - AC, Burgundy, France (#448852) (XD) - $31.95
Norman Hardie Riesling 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Thörle-Wein Estate Dry Riesling 2014 - Rheinhessen, Germany (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION ROSÉ 2015 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#950576) (XD) - $15.95
  • FIELDING ROSÉ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#053421) (XD) - $15.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy, France (#991562) (XD) - $19.95


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