Showing posts with label niagara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label niagara. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review



wine review is a Niagara Chardonnay that was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Palatine Hills Estate Winery has some of the area's oldest vineyards which are nestled among the historic hills of beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. The property has been carefully cultivated over the past 40 years by John and Barbara Neufeld. In the early years, they were among the first wine growers in Niagara and John Sr. was Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario. Over time, they learned to master the art of grape growing and recognized that winemaking begins in the vineyard, a core principle of the winery.

Today, Palatine Hills is still family owned & operated, going on two generations of the Neufeld family that shares their passion of the winery's soil. As in the past, they aim to continue to maintain the same respect and awe for their land they had first discovered, knowing that it is truly expressed in the fruits of their labour.

Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALATINE HILLS NEUFELD VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#577742) (XD) - $24.95
Very ripe on the nose with mango, baked apple, vanilla, and sweet oak aromas in the glass. It is medium-bodied on the palate with oak-driven baked apple, buttery vanilla, banana and hints of citrus flavours. A touch of smoke and walnut notes appear on the juicy finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


Monday, November 19, 2018

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  • Monday, November 19, 2018

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a very interesting natural, organic and biodynamic orange wine produced by Southbrook Vineyards. Technically, orange wines are now known as a skin-fermented white wines. Southbrook has produced this style of wine under the guiding hands of winemaker Ann Sperling for several years now, with latest rendition being the 2017 vintage that was bottled in January and released for sale in June.

The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested from Southbrook's Estate in the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Small lots of grapes, including stems, were cluster-sorted and foot-trodden before undergoing wild yeast and malolactic fermentation over 30 days. After gentle pressing, the wine was naturally chilled outdoors, settled, and bottled without any filtration or additives, and is free of sulphites.

This orange wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and available for purchase through the winery and soon at the LCBO.

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK VIDAL SKIN FERMENTED WHITE ORANGE WINE 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#628065) (XD) - $29.95
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. Cloudy orange colour. Highly fragrant nose offers aromas of citrus and black tea leaves with hints of floral and sage. More pronounced tart citrus, floral, and black tea flavours are well-balanced on the nicely textured, medium-bodied palate. Dry mouthfeel with some chalkiness. Acids are bright and balanced. Some tea, sage and earthy notes linger on the long finish. I'll be honest, I have tasted previous vintages and never really been a big fan of this wine, but this latest vintage is very compelling and engaging. Highly recommended. Best with a light chill. Score: 91 pts


Friday, November 16, 2018

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  • Friday, November 16, 2018

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, organic Chardonnay from Southbrook Vineyards, one of the leading producer of organic and biodynamic wines in Niagara. This white wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is available for purchase through the winery and in LCBO VINTAGES.

Founded in 1991, Southbrook Vineyards is the epitome and evolution of co-owners Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier's love story with wine, the land, and all things local. Southbrook also has taken a leadership role in sustainability, including third-party endorsements such as LEED Gold for architecture and Intervin Winery of the Year, as well as obtaining biodynamic and organic certifications, which affirms the Redelmeier's goal to inspire others to commit to sustainability, pursue their passions, and create fine wines.

Having tasted each of the past 4 vintages of this lovely Chardonnay, this has proven to been a fairly consistent, high-quality white wine, which continues with the 2016 vintage. It should come as no surprise as Chardonnay is truly one of the great grape varietals produced in Niagara, especially when placed in the hands of internationally-acclaimed winemaker at Southbrook, Ann Sperling.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (XD) - $24.95
Stelvin screw cap. Subtle nose of apple, pear and cereal, with hints of vanilla and oak. The medium-full bodied palate offers much more, with very interesting mealy flavours combined with nuts, honey, lemon, and vanilla layered on top of ripe white and yellow fruit. Oak is firmly in the background. Nicely textured with bright acids lifting the palate. Mealy, nutty, and citrus notes linger on the long finish. Not your typical Chardonnay, but indeed a fine expression. Serve with just a light chill. Score: 89 pts


Sunday, October 7, 2018

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  • Sunday, October 7, 2018

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (Alsace) and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 and Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Opened up these two delicious wines to celebrate long weekend.

The Pinot Gris was purchased from the recent LCBO VINTAGES Release, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is from an excellent 2010 Niagara vintage and was purchased when visiting the winery in .

Tasting Notes:

PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#983395) (D) - $18.95
The nose is soft and mild, featuring waxy, lemon, and orange citrus aromas. The plush palate is more lively and a touch oily, with nice orange citrus, honeyed, and peach flavours in an off-dry style on a medium+ bodied frame. Acids are bright, fresh, and provide lift, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 88+ pts

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Gris 2016 (88+ pts)

VIENI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#373308) (XD) - $19.95
Matured considerably since I last tasted this wine. The mature nose has savoury black plum, earth, and barnyard aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with currant, cassis, red and black fruits all wrapped around a savoury profile. Tannins are soft and nearly fully integrated, with just a touch of grip. Juicy acids. Very good length on the savoury, earthy finish. Score: 88 pts

Vieni Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (88 pts)


Thursday, September 13, 2018

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  • Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a locally made white wine made with Viognier, a varietal not commonly grown here in Ontario.

It is produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd., a large winery based in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. This particular wine was sourced from high quality Niagara vineyards and gently pressed in pneumatic bladder style presses. It was then cool fermented in stainless steel for 14 days at 16ºC, followed by ageing in stainless steel tanks and cold stabilized and bottled to preserve natural and typical fruit characters.

I picked up this delicious white wine while visiting the winery in the spring, and you can too as it is only available at the winery or through their online web store.

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. This has a tart and floral nose with orange blossom, lime citrus, and a whiff of anise and herbally aromas. On the mid-weighted palate, it has vibrant, crunchy acids supporting the citrus, floral, and herbal flavours. There's a touch of candied lime giving off an impression of sweetness. Good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, September 2, 2018

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  • Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wine Reviews from August 5, 2018 Birthday Party

Wine Line-up for Aug. 5 Birthday Party

Last month, we held a birthday party for my toddler daughter and a few of her close friends. And for the adults - there was wine!

The dry rosé was easily the most popular wine at the party, while the Riesling and Shiraz were a close second. All three wines are fairly recent releases to VINTAGES, so you should be able to pick up a bottle at your local LCBO. Full wine reviews are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
Glass enclosure. The medium+ intensity nose has appealing aromas of grapefruit, citrus, spring meadow and herbally notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has clean and crisp acids with nice texture. Herbally and grapefruit flavours on the dry flavour profile. Touch honeyed, with some bitterness on the long finish. Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Enjoy over the next 18 months. Part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection and released as part of the May 12 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely limestone mineral and petrol aromas mingle with white peach and citrus. It's medium-sweet with nicely balanced acids and flavours with white peach, orange zest, citrus, and green apple flavours with hints of mineral. Tart fruited, lip-smacking finish, with very good length. July 21 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Full wine review here.

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (88+ pts)


Saturday, September 1, 2018

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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


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Marynissen Chardonnay 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

white wine review is an oaked Chardonnay from Marynissen Estates Winery in Niagara. While a previous vintage has shown up in LCBO VINTAGES, this wine is currently only available through the winery.

Marynissen Estates Winery was founded after the property - which is located in the Four Mile Creek sub-Appellation at the base of the Niagara Escarpment and contained an existing vineyard - was purchased in 1953 by viticulture pioneer John Marynissen and his wife Adrianna (Nanny) who immigrated to Canada from Holland.

In 1975, they began planting European vinifera grape varietals. John was one of the first grape growers in Canada to plant vinifera grapes, at a time when most people thought it could not be done. Cabernet Sauvignon was added to the vineyard in 1978 is now the oldest commercial planting in Canada and the pride of the estate.

The vineyards rich history was born out of a strong devotion to the land, pioneering spirit and passion for excellence. The Marynissen family spent decades watching over the vines, hand farming and harvesting to craft award-winning wines. Sadly, John passed away in January 2009, while his daughter, Sandra, retired. However, their family legacy and vision for the winery remains intact.

Marynissen Chardonnay 2014 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARYNISSEN CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#907683) (XD) - $15.95
Binned apple and lemon aromas from the cork. In the glass, the medium intensity nose has buttery, binned apple, lemon, and tropical fruit aromas, a touch reductive, and hints of butterscotch and earth. On the medium-bodied palate, it is clearly an oaked Chardonnay with buttery, baked apple, lemon peel, and sweet oak flavours. Food friendly acids lift the palate, while the finish is juicy with good length. Shows best with some aeration and only a slight chill. Score: 86 pts


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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  • Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Morgan Vineyard Kerner 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a unique white wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

The Kerner grape is an aromatic white grape variety that was bred in Germany in 1929 by crossing Trollinger (a red grape variety) with Riesling. Today, most Kerner plantings are in Germany, while some are also grown in Austria, Switzerland, and South Tyrol (in Northern Italy).

With only a few vineyards in Niagara producing Kerner, this wine by Lakeview Cellars comes from the Morgan Vineyard located on the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation. Approximately 2 acres of vines are 20+ years old, and are all planted on sandy soils. This wine has been produced since at least the 2000 vintage. Let's see how the 2017 is tasting tonight...

Lakeview Cellars Morgan Vineyard Kerner 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS MORGAN VINEYARD KERNER 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443614) (D) - $17.95
Screw cap. The generous nose has white floral, ripe apple and peach aromas, with some honeyed and grapey notes. It's off-dry on the palate with more apple, floral, and peach flavours lifted by bright acidity. There's some bitterness on the honeyed-floral finish, with good length. A casual sipper to enjoy on a hot summer's day. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts


Saturday, July 28, 2018

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  • Saturday, July 28, 2018

Joseph's Estate Proprietor's Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc 2004 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is from Joseph's Estate Wines, a family owned and operated winery whose history goes back even further than when it first opened its doors in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1996.

Dr. Joseph Pohorly was born in Vineland, Ontario, to a farmer's son and learned how to grow grapes and other fruit crops. With time, he gained knowledge of the land, geography, and climate that makes Niagara's viticultural area special. In 1979, Joseph founded Newark Winery in Virgil, one of the three original wineries in Niagara and helped the lay the foundation for the growth of the Ontario wine industry.

When Dr. Pohorly sold a majority share of Newark Winery in 1982, the new German owners changed the name to Hillebrand and encouraged him to produce Icewine. If you visit the winery, you will get a close look attheir first ever Icewine press stationed outside the front door.

In 1992, Joseph purchased a 20-acre site in the heart of Niagara Wine Country and planted the site with vineyards to become Joseph's Estate Wines. The Niagara winery is known to produce award-winning wines, while also ageing their wines for many years prior to release, such as this current-release 2004 Cabernet Franc (available at winery only and online web store). In addition to table wines, they also produce port-style, sherry, and grape seed oil.

Joseph's Estate Proprietor's Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc 2004 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

JOSEPH'S ESTATE PROPRIETOR'S GRAND RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2004 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
No review since this bottle seems flawed. However, since I also tasted this wine (and enjoyed it) when I visited the winery a couple of months ago, I am including my tasting note from that visit.

11 years in barrel and only 2 barrels produced. This has a medium+ intensity nose offering tobacco, cherry, and leather aromas in a sour-edged profile. It's medium-bodied on the crunchy palate with supple tannins that are quite smooth, vibrant acids, and an earthy-savoury mid-palate with sweet tobacco flavours. Very good finish length. Tasted May/2018. Score: 89 pts


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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  • Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wine Reviews - June 24 Birthday Party

Wine Lineup for June 24, 2018 Birthday Party

On , we threw a birthday party at Bombay Touch in Thornhill for my son who just turned a year old. I brought in my own wines for the occasion, spanning a fairly wide range of categories so that each guest could find at least one wine that would appeal to their palate. Wines styles included a dry rosé, a dry white wine, a sweet white wine, and a variety of dry red wines. The most popular wines were the Mencía, the rosé, and the Riesling.

All of the wines are fairly recent additions to VINTAGES and should still be available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Wines reviews of each of the wines are posted below.

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Pale pink colour much the same as Provence. Lovely, highly aromatic, bright and fresh aromas of mineral, white grapefruit, and lemon citrus. The palate is dry with complex white grapefruit, orange peel, herbs, and mineral with hints of lemon, on a medium-full bodied frame and lifted with crisp, vibrant acidity. Nicely balanced throughout with hints of strawberry and cherry flavours. Excellent finish length with lemony nuances. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017 (91 pts)

TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with grassy, lemon/lime, pear, flinty mineral, and hints of herbal and stone fruits. It has a dry, medium+ body palate with a nice, slightly chalky texture and balanced aroma replays. Balanced acids with a touch viscous mouthfeel on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with nice mineral notes. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Tahbilk Marsanne 2017 (89 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
Screw cap. Wow. Highly aromatic and pretty aromas of peach and orange which give way to ripe apple, mineral and hints of petrol. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good fruit concentration and medium sweet flavours that are nicely balanced and mimic the aroma profile. High acids are crisp and provide a lip-smacking, long finish with just a touch of sourness. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
Full review here.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)Marrenon Versant Nord Luberon 2015 (88+ pts)

MARRENON VERSANT NORD LUBERON 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#537969) (XD) - $15.95
A single vineyard blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The medium-high intensity aromas offer complex blackberry, dark currant, pepper, and meaty aromas with some savoury and dark cherry notes as well. On the medium-full bodied, crunchy palate, it has plummy, blueberry, and dark berry flavours, plus savoury hints of oak spice and peppery notes. Vibrant acids and supple tannins with a touch of grip add to the character of this wine, while the finish length is very good. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88+ pts

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Full review here.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)Gancedo Xestal Mencía 2010 (90 pts)

GANCEDO XESTAL MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#553743) (XD) - $17.95
From 60+ year old vines, this maturing Mencía has a gorgeous, highly aromatic nose offering a pretty bouquet of red cherry, raspberry, red floral, and sweet oak spice. It's full bodied with fine, dusty tannins providing some grip, and very appealing aroma replays, plus some baking spice and cinnamon, and earthy/savoury elements on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy. Touch warming on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts


Sunday, July 22, 2018

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  • Sunday, July 22, 2018

Backyard Vineyards Nosey Neighbour Cabernet Franc 2015 & EastDell Pinot Noir 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Lakeview Wine Co. Wines
wine reviews are a pair of wines produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd. Based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this large wine producer has many brands within their portfolio, including EastDell, 20 Bees, FRESH Wines, McMichael Collection, Dan Aykroyd, Lakeview Cellars, and more recently, Backyard Vineyards.

The Backyard Vineyards brand has it's roots coming from an award-winning British Columbia winery that Diamond Estates recently acquired. The label is identical to the B.C. wine, except this wine is VQA Niagara Peninsula and is made using only Cabernet Franc, whereas the B.C. version is a blend. There is a companion White to the Red (reviewed below), and I suspect more wines bearing the Backyard Vineyards name will be coming down the pipeline.

EastDell Estates was founded 1999 by Michael East and the Late Susan O’Dell, and was located on Locust Lane in Beamsville, Ontario. It later merged with Diamond Estates in 2005. EastDell wines are known to be casual in nature and quite easy-drinking. However, they are also crafted with just enough sophistication and style for special occasions.

In addition to finding Lakeview Wine Co.'s wines on premises at their winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, they also have an online web store. Many of their wines can also be found at the LCBO.

Tasting Note:

BACKYARD VINEYARDS NOSEY NEIGHBOUR CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469247) (D) - $14.95
100% Cabernet Franc. Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose leads with typical herbaceous notes followed by blackberry, spice, peppery aromas, and hints of cedar oak. It's medium+ bodied and a touch sweet with ripe blackberry, dark berry, plum, grilled pepper and oak spice flavours surrounded by juicy acids. It's a touch warm on the mid-palate. Supple tannins offer some structure and grip. The finish length is very good with grilled pepper and oak spice notes. Drink over the next 2-3 years. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 87 pts

Backyard Vineyards Nosey Neighbour Cabernet Franc 2015 (87 pts)EastDell Pinot Noir 2016 (87 pts)

EASTDELL PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#613059) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. The soft nose has earthy and cherry aromas with hints of beetroot. It's light-to-medium bodied on the dry palate with supple tannins adding nice texture. Fresh acids are well-balanced. Notes of cranberry, cherry and red plum with hints of vanilla on the flavour profile. Good length on the finish with savoury and bitter chocolate notes. Honest Pinot for casual fare. Will be available for purchase next month. Score: 87 pts


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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  • Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival 2017 - Day 2 of 2

Vineland Estates Bo-Teek Vineyard
Last , I visited Niagara twice over the course of the month to partake in the 66th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival. You can read all about the activities here.

The fun-filled began at Vineland Estates Winery where we were given a guided tour of the property and facilities by David Hulley. The tour began on the patio over looking the prized Bo-Teek Vineyard with a gorgeous view of the Bench, and in the distance Lake Ontario, followed by a visit to the St. Urban Vineyard where some of Niagara's oldest Riesling vines (late '70's / early 80's) can be found. The winery is housed in picturesque structures that date back to the 1840's, including a former farmhouse, century barn, and a charming Carriage House. The tour concluded with a visit to the production facility, where I had the opportunity to get a closer look at their state-of-the-art optical sorting machine. This game changing machine accurately sorts up to 2,000 berries per second, separating lower quality grapes from the higher quality grapes. Vineland Estates is the only Canadian winery to have such technology.

Vineland Estates - New TanksVineland Estates - "Game Changer" Optical Sorting Machine

Beer and Cheddar Bisque paired with Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc

Following the tour, we headed downstairs to the tank room to enjoy their Discovery Pass Experience, which featured a Beer and Cheddar Bisque paired with their 2016 Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc (#594127, $14.95, 88 pts). The soup was made using Shawn & Ed's LagerShed Beer and Cow's Creamery 2-year-old Cheddar. It was creamy, if a touch sour, but offered nice balance when paired with the wine. A comfort pairing perfect for cooler months. After the food and wine pairing, we went to the tasting room to taste through some wines from their delicious portfolio. Wine reviews of some of these wines, plus others tasted on this day are provided below.

The second stop of the day was at Megalomaniac Winery. The wine pairing here was the 2016 Megalomaniac Selfie (#453506, $17.95, 86 pts), an easy-drinking, off-dry blend of Chardonnay Musqué, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling that paired very nicely with the small-proportioned Japanese-style buttermilk and panko-crusted chicken tenders, finished with a local freestone peach and ginger root glaze. The chicken tenders were very tasty, a little spicy, and when paired together with the off-dry white wine, the chicken tenders became even spicier and really enhanced the ginger flavours from the root glaze. A lively pairing that was really well done! Megalomaniac sits atop a hill, and relaxing on their outdoor patio while enjoying the view really enhanced the whole experience.

Megalomaniac Selfie paired with Japanese-Style Buttermilk and Panko-Crusted Chicken TendersPillitteri Estates Winery celebrating Canada 150 Potato Skins

Our third stop of the day was at Pillitteri Estates Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where they were celebrating Canada's 150th birthday by offering potato skins topped with ingredients from every province and territory in our great nation. With 13 ingredients making up this potato skin, you can bet there were going to be many flavours vying for your attention. Some of the ingredients included potatoes from Prince Edward Island (obviously), cheese from the three other Atlantic provinces, honey from Ontario, juniper berries from British Columbia, and Ox tail from the Yukon. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of this food item, and the fact that Pillitteri was very busy on this day, they weren't able to customize my potato skin. This led to me trying only a couple of bites before discarding it. Two wines were offered with this pairing - a choice of either the Pillitteri Gewurztraminer Riesling Fusion (#349126, $13.95) or the Pillitteri Cabernet Merlot ($20). I opted for the heartier Cab Merlot, thinking that it should go well with the starchy and complex, loaded potato skin. The Discovery Pass Experience was a bit of downer here for me, but I did get to taste some really special Icewines afterwards, which made the visit to Pillitteri worthwhile.

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery with Jamaican Jerk Glaze ChickenCoyote’s Run Estate Winery Barrel Room

The fourth and final stop of the day was a very interesting one at Coyote’s Run Estate Winery. The culinary creation here was a farm-raised chicken, slow-cooked in a Jamaican jerk glaze and topped with Your Farm Gate’s fresh Ontario peach chutney, while served on a bed of basmati rice salad. Once again, two wines were offered - the 2016 Coyote's Run Lambert Vineyard Riesling ($19.95, 87 pts) and the 2015 Coyote's Run Estate Cabernet Franc ($24.95, 88 pts). However, here at Coyote's Run we were encouraged to try both wines with the food pairing to see how they fare. The Jerk chicken was mildly flavoured and not spicy, while the Riesling was bordering on off-dry, bringing out peach flavours from the chutney and wine. With the Cab Franc, the pairing became earthier and comforting, along with some of the jerk spice flavours becoming more prominent. While this pairing was quite interesting, our visit went to a whole other level after we met Assistant Winemaker Chris Protonentis. He was able to give us a quick tour of the facility before heading to the cellar for some barrel sampling of a few wines coming down the pipeline.

This was another fine day spent touring Niagara Wine Country during the annual Grape and Wine Festival. And just like on the first day, I was able to bring home recipes of some of the food items so we could try them at home. Get in touch with me if you would like a copy of any of the recipes.

Tasting Notes:

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION CHARDONNAY 2014 - Bo-Teek Vineyard, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#164459) (XD) - $25
The medium+ intensity aromas offer golden apple, pear, and butter notes with hints of hazelnut. It's medium-bodied on the somewhat creamy palate with balanced acids and nice aroma replays. The nutty finish has very good length. Score: 89 pts

Vineland Estates Elevation Chardonnay 2014 (89 pts)Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2008 (91 pts)

VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2008 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (MD) - $30
The highly aromatic nose is showing some maturity, offering lemon citrus with whiffs of petrol and hints of minerality. It's medium-bodied and nicely textured on the palate with acids that are still quite lively. Off-dry flavour profile with lovely lemon/lime citrus, honeyed peach and floral flavours. Excellent finish length. Will easily age another 10 years. Score: 91 pts

VINELAND ESTATES CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
From a very good vintage, this has highly aromatic aromas of ripe blackberry, herbal, currant, cassis, mocha chocolate, and barnyard, all of which come through in appealing fashion on the medium+ bodied palate with smooth, refined tannins supported by very good, energetic acids. The smooth finish has excellent length. Score: 91+ pts

Vineland Estates Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012 (91+ pts)Megalomaniac Bespoke Pinot Noir 2015 (90+ pts)

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $49.95
Highly aromatic on the nose with elegant candied cherry, floral, raspberry, baking spice, and hints of minerality aromas. Fine tannins are light on the light-bodied palate with pretty aroma replays plus some oak spice elements that are lifted by fresh, bright acids. There's some structure to the palate and it's very well balanced. Great tension between fruit and oak. The long finish is a touch bitter. Score: 90+ pts

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE MERLOT 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
The intense aromas reveal lovely forest red berry, dark cherry, mocha, forest floor aromas with hints of bay leaf and evergreen. On the medium-full bodied palate, this offers layers red and black forest fruits, chocolate, blackberry, cedar oak and some floral nuances. Medium-level tannins offer some structure and is balanced with fresh acids. Textured, classy, and long finishing. Age 3-4 years and drink to 2027. 91 pts

Megalomaniac Bespoke Merlot 2015 (91 pts)Megalomaniac Bespoke Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (91+ pts)

MEGALOMANIAC BESPOKE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $59.95
The medium-high intensity nose offers lush cassis, blackcurrant, and hints of olive, game and earthiness. The palate is full-bodied with smooth, silky, and structured tannins. It has very nice aroma replays, followed by an earthy mid-palate. Bright acids provide lift, and the finish is long and smooth. Drink or hold until 2027. Score: 91+ pts

PILLITTERI VIDAL RESERVE ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $65
Fragrant and open with peach, apricot, lychee, orange citrus, honey and marmalade aromas. The palate is medium+ bodied and lush with delicate acids providing balanced freshness to complement the sweet aroma replays. The long finish is accented with some oak spice. Score: 91 pts

Pillitteri Vidal Reserve Icewine 2013 (91 pts)Pillitteri Gewurztraminer Icewine 2000 (90 pts)

PILLITTERI GEWURZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2000 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $35
The medium-high intensity nose has a mature character, showing notes of molasses, burnt brown sugar, earth, and orange peel, in a slightly reductive style. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with smooth, silky, voluptuous and velvety mouthfeel with sweet, honeyed aroma replays. Palate still has some freshness. Excellent finish length. Such a treat to taste an Icewine at this age. Score: 90 pts

PILLITTERI CABERNET SAUVIGNON ICEWINE 2004 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $70
This has a medium-high intensity nose of dried cassis, dried red fruit and blackberry aromas. The palate is full bodied and sweet with raisiny, dried fig flavours lifted with very good acids, Long finishing with nice aroma replays. Score: 89 pts

Pillitteri Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2004 (89 pts)

COYOTE'S RUN ESTATE SYRAH 2015 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
From the red soil vineyard and matured for 18 months in an even split between Hungarian and French oak. The medium intensity nose seens closed, but offers complex glimpses of white pepper, meat, gamey, dark berry, earth, and savoury aromas. On the medium+ bodied palate, this offers crunchy tannins and very good acidity with balanced aroma replays that lean more towards fruit forward, with some savoury elements. The finish is long and clean. Very drinkable now, but I would age this for 2 years. Score: 89 pts

Coyote's Run Estate Syrah 2015 (89 pts)

COYOTE'S RUN ESTATE SYRAH 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Barrel sample. A mix of sweet and savoury bouquet with ripe dark berry, white pepper, sweet oak spice, and gamey notes. It's full-bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays. fresh acids, touch grippy tannins, and long finishing. Score: 89+ pts

COYOTE'S RUN RED PAW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#079228) (XD) - $35
Barrel sample. Aged on the lees. This has floral, cherry, and earth aromas and flavours. It's light-weighted on the palate with structured tannins that are a touch grippy. Clean acids and a balanced, long finish. Score: 89 pts

Barrel Sampling with Chris Protonentis

COYOTE'S RUN BLACK PAW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#116442) (XD) - $35
Barrel sample. This has a medium-high intensity nose featuring dark fruit, dark berry, tea leaf, and mineral aromas. It's light-to-medium bodied with more dark berry and dark fruit flavours lifted by fresh acids. It has grippy tannins and a long finish. Needs at least a couple of years to come together. Score: 90 pts


Saturday, July 7, 2018

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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


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

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  • Wednesday, July 4, 2018

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

 white wine is an award-winner that is available at the winery, as well as in the VINTAGES section at select LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Hinterbrook Estate Winery is located on a historic site in Niagara-on-the-Lake that was first settled in 1789 by the United Empire Loyalists Servos family. In 1963, the Nickel family purchased the property and grew orchard stone fruit and concord grapes, eventually planting Vinifera grapes in 1998. Current owners, George Lau and winemaker Violet Yeh, took over the winery in 2014. The vines for this Sauvignon Blanc were damaged during the winter of 2013, but have since recovered and started producing quality fruit in 2016.

NOMAD Wine is the expression of Hinterbrook, with the aim of expressing the land, terroir, and its people through authentic, thoughtfully crafted wines using a minimalist approach. NOMAD Wine is also the story of people, like you and I. The label is intentionally clean and sparse, with plenty of white space allowing you to create your own story by drawing or painting on the label and sharing your experience with the world. I personally won't be drawing on the label as I think it looks nice just way it is, but if you do pick up a bottle, I would love to see your creativity.

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

NOMAD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada (#446088) (XD) - $16.95
Cork has aromas of grapefruit, lime peel and gooseberry aromas. In the glass, this offers medium+ intensity aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit, lime peel, along with whiffs of ginger and earthy mineral. Juicy acids are vibrant on the medium-bodied palate with a nice chalky mineral texture adding complexity. Nicely balanced aroma replays continue through to the spicy mid-palate, and lingers on the long, juicy finish. Drink over the next 6 months. Score: 88 pts


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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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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