Showing posts with label okanagan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label okanagan. Show all posts

First image of this post
  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020

March 21, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Classic Euro Regions + Okanagan + Annapolis

LCBO Wine Picks: March 21, 2020 VINTAGES Release
In these extraordinary times with COVID-19 at top of mind, this post seems almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. However, since the LCBO is still open (with reduced hours as of Thursday, March 19) and I think we would all like to step back and take a breather from all of the Coronavirus pandemic news, the next batch of new wines arriving at the LCBO are from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. The main theme of the Release focuses on wines from Classic Euro Regions, while the mini-theme looks at the Canadian wine regions of the Okanagan and Annapolis Valleys. So long as LCBO outlets remain open, the new wines from this Release will be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at eleven classic wine regions of Europe: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône, Loire, Rioja, Tuscany, Veneto, Piedmont, Mosel, and Port. These are some of the world's most venerable and venerated wine regions, and with twenty wines featured as part of this theme, six are included among my top wine picks. From Hautes-Côtes de Beaune in Burgundy is a Pinot Noir, while the Champagne is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay. Also from France, there are a pair of very nice Rhône reds - the Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also primarily Grenache with Mourvedre and Syrah completing the blend. From Italy, the Amarone from Veneto consists of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Molinara. Last but not least, there is a very nice Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel.

The mini-feature on wines from the Okanagan (British Columbia) and Annapolis (Nova Scotia) Valleys features a combined total of just five wines. While none of the wines from the mini-theme made my list of wine picks, there are a couple of noteworthy wines such as the Burrowing Owl Merlot ($40, #585737) from British Columbia, and the now-iconic Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 Sparkling ($25, #256289) sweet bubbly from Nova Scotia.

From my red wine picks, the Portuguese red is a blend of 35% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 25% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Franca, and 15% Touriga Nacional, while the red from South Africa is made with 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cinsaut, 12% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Merlot. The last red that is a blend is the 2010 Rioja that consists of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Maturana. The rest of the reds are all single varietal wines made with Garnacha from Spain, Cabernet Franc from Niagara, Malbec from Argentina, and a Shiraz and Pinot Noir that are both from Australia.

Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2018 (89 pts)

Among my top white wine picks, the white wine from Greece is a blend of 60% Malagouzia, 20% Asyrtiko, and 20% Chardonnay, while the White Meritage from Niagara consists of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. There are a pair of delightful single varietal white wines from Italy - Grillo and Greco. Lastly, there are a pair of delicious Rieslings - an off-dry version from Alsace, and a medium-sweet version from Niagara.

Gorghi Tondi Coste a Preola Grillo 2018 (88 pts)

In sparkling wines, the Cava is a blend of 65% Parellada, 20% Xarel-lo, and 15% Macabeu, while the fortified wine from Niagara is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and Shiraz that was fortified with a Cabernet Franc brandy.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • EL VIVERO DE USALDÓN COLECCIÓN ORIGEN GARNACHA 2018 - Finca Casa Balaguer, DO Alicante, Spain (#13624) (XD) - $15.95
  • CASA FERREIRINHA PAPA FIGOS TINTO 2018 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#11157) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#523001) (XD) - $17.95
  • YALUMBA ORGANIC SHIRAZ 2018 - South Australia (#280883) (XD) - $17.95
  • ANDELUNA ANDUCO LIMITED EDITION MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#12025) (XD) - $19.95
  • XAVIER VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#12987) (XD) - $20.95

  • INNOCENT BYSTANDER PINOT NOIR 2018 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#178897) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LE RICHE RICHESSE 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#13320) (XD) - $23.95
  • CONDE DE VALDEMAR GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#960427) (XD) - $29.95
  • LA FERME DU MONT VENDANGE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#309245) (D) - $52.95
  • MICHELE CASTELLANI CINQUE STELLE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2015 - Collezione Ca' del Pipa, DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#75127) (D) - $53.95

White Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER 2018 - IGP Pays d'Oc, Roussillon, France (#147975) (XD) - $14.95
  • MEGA SPILEO CUVÉE III WHITE 2018 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#14186) (XD) - $17.95
  • GORGHI TONDI COSTE A PREOLA GRILLO 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#11670) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CATENA ZAPATA APPELLATION TUPUNGATO CHARDONNAY 2017 - Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#10964) (XD) - $19.95
  • ADAMO FOXCROFT RIESLING 2017 - Grower's Series, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#11236) (M) - $19.95
  • RUHLMANN VIEILLES VIGNES COTEAU DU BLETTIG RIESLING 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#10722) (D) - $21.95
  • MONTEMAJOR GRECO DI TUFO 2018 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#10955) (XD) - $23.95
  • JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE WHITE MERITAGE 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#360297) (XD) - $25.95
  • DR. LOOSEN ERDENDER TREPPCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2017 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#393181) (S) - $29.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • STARS BRUT NATURE RESERVA CAVA 2016 - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#515221) (D) - $16.95
  • THIRTY BENCH SPARKLING RIESLING - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469478) (XD) - $38.95
  • PIPER-HEIDSIECK BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2012 - AC, France (#409326) (XD) - $79.95


  • UNION FORTÉ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#361758) (S) (500 mL) - $17.95

First image of this post
  • Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mar. 7 LCBO Wine Picks: Tuscany + B.C. + Israel + St. Patrick's Day

LCBO Wine Picks from March 7, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next batch of wines will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario on .

The major theme of this release is titled "Tuscan Renaissance" and goes through some of the projects that were undertaken over the last 50+ years to modernize and improve the wines from Tuscany. However, of the 14 wines featured, just two made my list of wine picks - and both were quite traditional in nature with a Chianti Classico and a Brunello di Montalcino. Both of these wines are made using Italy's most popular grape - Sangiovese.

This release also has 3 mini-features - wines from British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, modern wines from Israel, and some Whiskies to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Of the 6 wines from B.C., the medium sweet Pinot Gris from Gray Monk is recommended. For an interesting side-by-side comparison, there are drier (i.e. less sweet) versions of Pinot Gris from Oregon and Ontario also available.

From the rest of the release, there are plenty of good value red wines coming from Chile and Argentina. Included among them is an organic Syrah/Mourvèdre blend (85/15) from Emiliana. Also recommended are both "Wines of the Month" - the Kaiken Malbec and Château Saint-Roch Chimères (Grenache / Carignan / Syrah blend) - a rarity for me.

In white wine, the Château de Cruzeau is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, the Tawse Riesling and the aforementioned Gray Monk Pinot Gris are worth your attention. Less sweet are the Malivoire Pinot Gris and the German Riesling.

That's all for this release. Enjoy my wine recommendations. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • EMILIANA NOVAS GRAN RESERVA SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2012 - Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#399360) (XD) - $15.95
  • ZUCCARDI SERIE A BONARDA 2012 - Santa Rosa, Mendoza, Argentina (#355560) (D) - $16.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#057513) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2010 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2012 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Midi, France (#119354) (D) - $18.95
  • KAIKEN ULTRA MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#050849) (XD) - $19.95
  • PENFOLDS BIN 28 KALIMNA SHIRAZ 2011 - South Australia (#422782) (XD) - $34.95
  • JOHN’S BLEND INDIVIDUAL SELECTION NO. 36 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#927640) (XD) - $39.95
  • TERRE NERE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#208462) (XD) - $42.95
  • CUVELIER LOS ANDES GRAND MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#368514) (D) - $61.95

White Wine:
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $17.95
  • GRAY MONK PINOT GRIS 2013 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#118638) (M) - $19.95
  • DUCK POND CELLARS PINOT GRIS 2013 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#333286) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE PINOT GRIS 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#591305) (D) - $19.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. BÜRKLIN-WOLF RUPPERTSBERGER RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Pfalz, Germany (#394148) (D) - $22.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE CRUZEAU BLANC 2009 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#966010) (XD) - $31.95
  • BACHELDER WISMER VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#345819) (D) - $44.95  Flagship Store Exclusive  reviewed here

  • EL MAESTRO SIERRA 15-YEAR-OLD OLOROSO SHERRY - DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Spain (#330571) (D) (375 mL) - $13.95

The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.

First image of this post
  • Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Burrowing Owl (British Columbia) Wine Tasting

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Logo
In , I was invited to a very special tasting of wines by British Columbia's Burrow Owl Estate Winery. This tasting was hosted by their agent here in Ontario - Le Sommelier - and held at the Fine Wine Reserve.

Founder Jim Wyse had no intention of starting a winery when he began replanting vineyards in 1993 - his goal was to produce world class, premium quality grapes. Soon enough, however, he realized that his grapes were producing wines that gained immediate recognition. In 1997, Jim decided to build Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, with construction beginning early in 1998 and completing in time for that year's harvest. Today, Burrowing Owl uses state-of-the-art technologies, including a gravity-flow system to ensure grapes are handled delicately, with proven, classic winemaking traditions. Burrowing Owl also has a temperature controlled cave/cellar for fermentation and barrel ageing.

The vineyards at Burrowing Owl are varied and have deceptively fragile ecosystems which the team tries to maintain using environmentally-friendly methods. For pest control, bluebird boxes and bat nurseries are used to help contain insects in the vineyard, while snakes are safely relocated, and bears and big horned sheep are discouraged from munching on grapes but never harmed.

Nearly all of the 9 wines that were available for tasting were enjoyable. Here are wine reviews of 6 of my favourites.

Tasting Notes:
BURROWING OWL CHARDONNAY 2012 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley (#208694) (XD) - $33.95
Barrel fermented in 90% French oak and 10% American oak. Highly aromatic and very balanced nose showing orchard fruits, apple, pear and butter. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with bracing acids and very nice aroma replays. Oak-spiced mid-palate and very long finish. Released in VINTAGES last September and plenty in stock. Recommended. Score: 90+ pts

Wine Review of 2012 Burrowing Owl Chardonnay from BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (90+ pts)Wine Review of 2012 Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir from BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (89 pts)

BURROWING OWL PINOT NOIR 2012 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley (#556613) (XD) - $40.95
Nose appeared somewhat closed but had an appealing aromas of dark currant, beet root, and hints of raspberry, strawberry and cherry. Medium+ bodied and slightly creamy, with dark currants and aroma replays on the flavour profile. Fresh, mouth-watering acids, along with integrated tannins and a medium+ length, spiced finish. Plenty available in VINTAGES. Score: 89 pts

BURROWING OWL ATHENE 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley (#373336) (XD) - $44.95
Blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cab Sauv has a medium-to-high lifted nose of barnyard and earth with nuances of raspberry, plum and cedar aromas. On the palate, it's medium-to-full bodied with currant, blue fruits, dark cherry, floral, and cassis flavours. Very good, balanced acids and oak spiced mid-palate giving way to a long, warm finish. Firm tannins are still a bit tight - will be better in 2-3 years and will last up to 2020. Fine stuff. Score: 91 pts

Wine Review of 2010 Burrowing Owl Athene from BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (91 pts)Wine Review of 2012 Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc from BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (90 pts)

BURROWING OWL CABERNET FRANC 2012 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley (#349019) (XD) - $43.95
Medium+ intensity aromas with green pepper, herb, currant, smoke and cedar aromas. Palate is medium-to-full bodied and crunchy with very good tannic structure. Savoury red & black fruits, currants, green pepper and oak flavour profile. Has mouth-watering acids and a medium-long finish. Will reward with 2-3 years cellar time. Available in VINTAGES. Score: 90 pts

BURROWING OWL MERLOT 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley (#585737) (XD) - $40.95
Medium intensity aromas with oak at the forefront and underlying notes of mocha, dark berries, chocolate and plum. It's medium-to-full bodied with more oak-influenced flavours of vanillan, cedar, hickory, woodsy, and some black fruits and cocoa notes. Very good acids, firm tannins are integrating nicely. Long finish is warm. The 2011 is currently in VINTAGES. Score: 89 pts

Wine Review of 2010 Burrowing Owl Merlot from BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (89 pts)Wine Review of 2010 Burrowing Owl Meritage from BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (90 pts)

BURROWING OWL MERITAGE 2010 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley (#343038) (XD) - $59.95
Blend of 55% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Malbec and 2.5% Petit Verdot. Aromas of medium+ intensity show musky, fresh new wood, blackberry and eucalypt. Complex red & black fruits, mint, cassis, and woodsy flavours on a medium-bodied frame. Lively, fresh acids on the mid-palate, followed by firm, dusty tannins on the very long, slightly warm finish. Only 1 remaining at the LCBO (in Liberty Village, Toronto) as of this post. Score: 90 pts

First image of this post
  • Thursday, January 24, 2013

B.C. Wine Tasting on Twitter - #ONtastesBC

I had the opportunity to taste these 6 wines for the #ONtastesBC Tweet-Up held on . It's a shame that we do not get more wines from our sister province out West.

Part of this promotion, as well as the feature in the current Vintages magazine, is to help spread the word and bring more B.C. wines into Ontario. As a consumer, I am also hoping that this will help, somehow, some way, open up the borders (between provinces!) to allow wine to move more freely from West to East (and vice versa). To show your support on Twitter, use the hashtag #FreeMyGrapes.

GRAY MONK GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#321588) (D) - $19.95
Quite aromatic with lemon, mineral and herbal spice aromas. Light-bodied with crisp, tart lemon, citrus, orange rind and some lychee on the palate. Has very bright acidity. Finish is medium-length and spicy. Score: 87 pts

QUAILS' GATE CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#377770) (D) - $20.95
Nice aromas of apple, pear and butter waft from the glass. Medium-full bodied with nice aroma replays, plus some minerality and French oak on the palate. Some herbal/leesy notes come through on the mid-palate. Very good acidity and the finish is medium-long. Score: 89 pts

MISSION HILL RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#545004) (D) - $19.95
Nose seemed a bit closed with apple, oak, peach and pineapple aromas. Full-bodied with a round core of ripe orchard and tropical fruits on the palate. American and French oak is well-integrated. Easy drinking, crowd pleasing wine. Score: 87 pts

EAU VIVRE PINOT NOIR 2008 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#308353) (D) - $24.95
Seems higher than 13.3% alcohol. Complex aromas of earth, tar, dark red fruits and cranberries. On the palate, there is beetroot, strawberry, cranberry, earth and some cedar on the palate. Medium-bodied with smooth, integrated tannins, and a short finish. Score: 88 pts

MISSION HILL QUATRAIN 2009 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#218636) (XD) - $44.95
Blend of 35% Merlot, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc. Very nice aromas of dark fruits, blackberries, blackcurrants and (French) oak. Full bodied with good structure. It's very smooth with blackcurrant, dark cherry, ripe dark fruits on the palate. Refined tannins are well-integrated. Well-balanced with a long finish and hints of sweet fruit. Very approachable right now, but could be cellared another 1-2 years. Gorgeous! Score: 91 pts

OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN 2008 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626325) (XD) - $45.95
Blend of 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot. Fruity aromas jump out of the glass, followed by leather, cedar, kirsch liquer and raspberry. Core of dark fruits surrounded by very chalky tannins. Well-balanced with mouth-watering acidity. Finish is long with hints of mocha. Should be even better once tannins settle in 3+ years. Score: 91 pts

First image of this post
  • Sunday, November 27, 2011

2009 Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Pinot Gris (Okanagan) - Wine Review

Purchased this white wine a couple of months back from the September 17 LCBO Vintages release.

GEHRINGER BROTHERS PRIVATE RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2009 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#347203) (XD) - $17.95

Tasting Note:
Apple and honey aromas faded quickly from cork. Mineral, earth, grapefruit aromas from the glass. More grapefruit on the palate + citrus notes. Dry. If you like dry Pinot Gris, then you will probably like this one; beware of the acidity, which I found a bit strong. It should pair nicely with the crab curry that I will be enjoying tonight!

First image of this post
  • Friday, September 30, 2011

2010 Mission Hill Five Vineyards Rosé (B.C.) - Wine Review

This pretty Rosé wine was purchased this summer as part of the July 23 Vintages Release - and what a gem it is!

MISSION HILL FIVE VINEYARDS ROSÉ 2010 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#229716) (D) - $15.95

Tasting Note:
A lot of bubbles that sink to the bottom for a wine that is not a sparkling wine. Aromas of sweet cherries, sandalwood and grapefruit. Candy covered cherries and blueberries on the palate. Off-dry and absolutely delicious! Will be enjoying this with chicken nachos. If you know someone who is not a wine drinker, this would a be a great introduction to wine for that person.

  • Sunday, January 9, 2011

See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2008 - B.C.

See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2008 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (#126912)

Profile: Apple, toast, butter, earth/mineral aromas follow on the palate. Vanilla, pear and tropical fruit notes. Crisp, medium-long finish.

Quite nice. It's not over-bearing with oak as some oaked Chardonnay's can be.

Blog Archive

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget

  The World Atlas of Wine 8th Edition


BOTW Blogs - Vintages Wine Picks and Reviews
My Zimbio
Blogarama - Drinks & Beverages Blogs
Top Wine Sites
Wine blog
RSSChomp Blog Directory