Showing posts with label oregon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oregon. Show all posts
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  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release April 27, 2019: 2015 Euro Reds + Pacific Northwest



LCBO Wine Picks: April 27, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming April 27, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features European Red Wines from the fantastic 2015 vintage in the main theme, while the mini-theme looks at cool wines from the Pacific Northwest. All of these wines, plus many more will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that features thirteen wines from the 2015 vintage that was a banner year across Europe. In this Release, the emphasis is on wines from France, Italy, and Spain, of which only two are included among my top wine picks - and both are from France. From Bordeaux, the Château Baracan is a blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. From southern Rhône, the Lavau Rasteau is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Lavau Rasteau 2015 (90 pts)Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Gris 2017 (89 pts)

Roserock Chardonnay 2016 (92+ pts)Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir 2015 (91 pts)

The mini-theme focuses on wines from the cool Pacific Northwest - namely Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. Of the ten wines listed as part of this feature, three are included among my top wine recommendations. First up are a pair of excellent wines from Oregon - one is a Chardonnay, while the other is a Pinot Noir. My third pick from this theme is a dry Pinot Gris from British Columbia.

The majority of my red wine picks from this Release happen to be single varietal wines. However, the 2009 Bordeaux red is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Merlot, while the 2012 Bordeaux red is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc. From South Africa, the Rustenberg is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A Malbec from Argentina, an Australian Shiraz, and a Pinot Noir from Chile are just a few of many delicious wines that can be found among my wine picks in this Release.

Moulins de Citran 2009 (91+ pts)Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2016 (90 pts)Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2017 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietals wines. From Loire, the Muscadet is made with the Melon de Bourgogne grape, while the Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are both made with Sauvignon Blanc. If you prefer sweeter wines, then look for the Riesling from Niagara.

Domaine Seguin Pouilly-Fumé 2017 (90 pts) Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (88 pts)

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • RUSTENBERG RM NICHOLSON 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#278390) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU BARACAN 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux-Cadillac, France (#629980) (XD) - $16.95
  • SISTER’S RUN OLD TESTAMENT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#478271) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • COLAB AND BLOOM SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa, South Australia (#632562) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CAVE DU CHÂTEAU DE CHÉNAS MOULIN-À-VENT 2016 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#648477) (XD) - $19.95
Colab and Bloom Shiraz 2016 (89 pts)Sister’s Run Old Testament Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (88+ pts)

  • LAVAU RASTEAU 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#394650) (XD) - $20.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JIM BARRY THE LODGE HILL SHIRAZ 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#998476) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA PINOT NOIR 2017 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#541151) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MOULINS DE CITRAN 2009 - Second wine of Château Citran, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#633065) (XD) - $29.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CLONAKILLA HILLTOPS SHIRAZ 2016 - Canberra District, Australia (#481861) (XD) - $34.95  FE
  • SOKOL BLOSSER PINOT NOIR 2015 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#748434) (XD) - $37.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU SOCIANDO-MALLET 2012 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#594382) (XD) - $67.95

White Wine:

  • DOMAINE LA HAUTE FÉVRIE SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#390625) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MATAHIWI ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand (#402677) (XD) - $17.00  89 pts  wine review
  • L’AMI DES CRUSTACÉS CLASSIQUE PINOT BLANC 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#644427) (XD) - $17.95
  • SANPAOLO FIANO DI AVELLINO 2017 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#631705) (D) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • MISSION HILL RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2017 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#537076) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#616466) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE SEGUIN POUILLY-FUMÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#637876) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE MARNES ET CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $31.95
  • ROSEROCK CHARDONNAY 2016 - Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#573568) (XD) - $41.95  92+ pts  wine review
Matahiwi Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Sanpaolo Fiano di Avellino 2017 (89 pts)


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  • Monday, April 23, 2018

VINTAGES Release April 28, 2018: Pacific Northwest + Germany

LCBO Wine Picks: April 28, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release features as the main theme the cool-climate regions of the Pacific Northwest, which includes British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. The mini-theme features the wines from Germany. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features the wines from British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, commonly grouped together as the Pacific Northwest. None of the five wines listed from Oregon and eight wines listed from Washington are included among my wine picks. British Columbia seemed to get shortchanged (again?) with just three wines listed. However, the Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin is the only wine among my top wine recommendations from the Pacific Northwest; it is always a classy wine and for the 2014 vintage is a blend of 68% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec.

The mini-feature on German wines is also rather weak, with six wines listed and just one included among my top wine picks. My lone pick from the German feature is a dry Riesling that's also known as Riesling Trocken. As part of the Flagship Store Exclusives (FSE) at the back of the magazine is a very sweet Riesling Spätlese and is one of the top wines of the Release.

From my top red wine picks, the Saint-Roch is a blend of approximately equal parts Syrah and Grenache, while the Vacqueyras is an organic wine from the excellent 2015 vintage made with Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. The Douro red wine from Portugal is made with Touriga Nacional. Lastly, the Rioja is a blend of 89% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano, and 2% Garnacha.

Roda Reserva 2012 (91 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Soave wine is made with 100% Garganega from vines that range between 10-50 years old. The Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is an organic wine. For sweet wine lovers, in order of least sweet to most sweet, there is the Hidden Bench Riesling (organic), Megalomaniac Riesling, and the Gewürztraminer, as well as the aforementioned Riesling Spätlese. For fans looking for lusciously sweet wines, the Tawse Chardonnay Icewine is also worth seeking.

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2016 (90+ pts)Tawse Chardonnay Icewine 2013 (92 pts)

As the weather gets warmer, Rosé wines return with more frequency at the LCBO. One of the first to arrive is the Miraval Rosé, with vines coming from an average of 1,200 feet above sea level and made using a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and Rolle. This wine is also featured as the Wine of the Month and will be available at just about every LCBO outlet.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#195107) (XD) - $16.95
  • MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2014 - Single vineyard, Maipo Valley, Chile (#371112) (XD) - $17.00
  • QUINTA DAS CARVALHAS TINTO 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#523647) (XD) - $17.95
  • BISQUERTT ECOS DE RULO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Single vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#546515) (XD) - $18.95
  • ROCKCLIFFE THIRD REEF SHIRAZ 2015 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#453209) (XD) - $19.95
  • CASAR DE BURBIA MENCÍA 2014 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#392530) (XD) - $19.95
  • TENUTA DI RENIERI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#540849) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DE L’OISELET VACQUEYRAS 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#537951) (XD) - $27.95
  • FLAT ROCK GRAVITY PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#001560) (XD) - $34.95
  • KENWOOD JACK LONDON VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County, California, USA (#944843) (XD) - $39.95
  • OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN 2014 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626325) (XD) - $47.95
  • RODA RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#664557) (XD) - $52.95  FSE  91 pts  wine review
  • BREZZA SARMASSA BAROLO 2013 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#999730) (D) - $87.95  FSE
Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico 2013 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • INDOMITA GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Casablanca Valley, Chile (#544213) (XD) - $16.95
  • MEGALOMANIAC NARCISSIST RIESLING 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#067587) (D) - $18.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (D) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • WEINGUT TINA PFAFFMANN T NO. 9 RIESLING TROCKEN 2016 - Qualitätswein, Pfalz, Germany (#549774) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $23.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • PIERRE SPARR MAMBOURG GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#915157) (M) - $26.95
  • CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#529941) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • PIEROPAN LA ROCCA SOAVE CLASSICO 2015 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#092437) (D) - $39.95
  • BRAUNEBERGER JUFFER-SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#298182) (S) - $40.95  FSE
  • FESS PARKER BIEN NACIDO VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 - Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#547158) (XD) - $44.95
Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Flat Rock Chardonnay 2016 (88+ pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MIRAVAL ROSÉ 2017 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#342584) (XD) - $23.95

Dessert Wine:

  • TAWSE CHARDONNAY ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443739) (200 mL) (S) - $35.95  92 pts  wine review


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  • Monday, April 24, 2017

VINTAGES Release April 29, 2017: Oregon + Washington + Germany + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks from April 29, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming and features the wines from Washington and Oregon as its main theme. The mini-themes highlight the wines from Germany, as well as a fresh crop of Rosé wines for Spring sipping.

We'll begin with the feature on wines from the U.S. Pacific Northwest States of Oregon and Washington. For some odd reason, only 5 wines were listed from Oregon, whereas Washington received double the amount with 10 wines listed. From Oregon, only the (dry) Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley made my list of wine picks - I suppose all the great Willamette Pinot Noir is being saved for the Fall/Holiday Releases. From Washington, there is an aromatic Viognier and an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling, both from Columbia Valley.

Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2015 (89 pts)Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Kabinett 2014 (91 pts)

The mini-theme from Germany is also rather small, listing just 4 wines to showcase the different styles of wines that are produced by this country. The main attraction though is the varied styles of Riesling, ranging from dry to sweet. Two of the three Rieslings are listed among my wine recommendations, and both on the sweeter side - a Riesling Kabinett and even more sweeter Riesling Spätlese.

The last thematic features 11 Rosé wines, and 2 are included among my wine picks. Both of these Rosés are dry (i.e. not sweet) in style and are made with Pinot Noir.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dimière Sancerre Rosé 2016 (90 pts)Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2009 (90 pts)

From the rest of the release, in red wines, the Quinta de Cabriz is a blend of 40% Alfrocheiro, 40% Tinta Roriz, and 20% Touriga Nacional, while the Spanish Rioja is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 5% Graciano. From France, the Chinon is 100% Cabernet Franc, while the Cave de Roquebrun is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. For 2013, The Hess Colletion's 19 Block Mountain Cuvee is a Malbec-heavy (61%) blend that also contains 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot/Syrah.

In whites wines, the Burgundy is Chardonnay, while the Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my top wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • QUINTA DE CABRIZ COLHEITA SELECCIONADA 2014 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#247973) (D) - $13.95
  • TOURNON MATHILDA CHAPOUTIER SHIRAZ 2013 - Victoria, Australia (#336966) (XD) - $17.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2014 - AC, Midi, France (#155804) (D) - $18.95
  • SERGE & BRUNO SOURDAIS LE LOGIS DE LA BOUCHARDIÈRE CHINON 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#490375) (XD) - $18.95
  • PENLEY ESTATE HYLAND SHIRAZ 2014 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#409078) (XD) - $18.95
  • ZUCCARDI APELACIÓN VISTA FLORES MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#482760) (XD) - $24.95
  • MITCHELL SEVENHILL VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#673129) (XD) - $24.95
  • MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#976670) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • BURROWING OWL SYRAH 2014 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#073072) (XD) - $40.95
  • THE HESS COLLECTION 19 BLOCK MOUNTAIN CUVÉE 2013 - Mount Veeder/Napa Valley, California, USA (#018879) (XD) - $49.95
  • BUON TEMPO ALTA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#483784) (XD) - $69.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • HOGUE RIESLING 2014 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#363291) (D) - $15.95
  • ERNIE ELS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#455907) (XD) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • POWERS COLUMBIA VALLEY VIOGNIER 2015 - Talcott Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#486993) (XD) - $18.95
  • MOMO PINOT GRIS 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (D) - $19.95
  • ELK COVE PINOT GRIS 2015 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#955906) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT KASELER NIES’CHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2014 - VDP Grosse Lage, Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#940809) (MS) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • DOMAINE DE LA DENANTE LES MAILLETTES SAINT-VÉRAN 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#491738) (XD) - $26.95
  • PASCAL JOLIVET SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#264945) (XD) - $29.95
  • SCHLOSS VOLLRADS RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Pradikätswein, Rheingau, Germany (#101972) (M) - $34.95

Rosé Wine:

  • THE KING’S DESIRE PINOT ROSÉ 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#492926) (XD) - $19.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DIMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $25.95  reviewed here


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  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wine Tasting in Sonoma 2016

Stonestreet Wine Tasting
Back in , I had the pleasure of visiting Sonoma Wine Country for the very first time. This wine region has been on my radar for a while now, especially after the disappointment of not being able to visit Sonoma during my visit to nearby Napa Valley in 2012. After conducting various online searches and getting recommendations from friends of friends who had been to Sonoma previously, I settled on visiting 4 wineries, two of which who were new to me.

Sonoma County is quite a large and diverse wine region - also bigger than Napa Valley - comprising of various topographies, microclimates, and soil types. Almost 60,000 acres are planted with grapes, with the majority planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon - the 3 grapes I was most looking forward to tasting on this trip.

The view from Stonestreet Wines
The first stop was the furthest - about 1.5 hours north of home base (Concord) - and located within the Alexander Valley AVA, just west of the town of Healdsburg. Stonestreet Estate Vineyards is known for their premium, high-quality Mountain Vineyard wines. I tasted a few of their wines over the years back home in Toronto and was thoroughly impressed, thus increasing my desire to the visit the winery. It was founded by Jess Stonestreet Jackson (of Jackson Family Wines) and Barbara Banke in 1995 and has since been passed on to their son Christopher Jackson and his wife Ariel. As we tasted through the lineup, we were told that the grapes for the wines came from the mountain seen in the far distance between the two mountains in the fore (pictured above/left). There is a very cool digital mountain map on their website that shows where each of their vineyards are located on the mountain. It would have been very cool to go to the vineyards to get a closer look - perhaps on my next visit? Nevertheless, the wines here are excellent!

Holdredge Red Barn
The next stop, as we made our way back to home base, was Holdredge Wines - a small, family winery located within the town of Healdsburg. It was chosen based on a recommendation from a friend of a friend, and also on the fact that these wines aren't available in Ontario. The winery exists in a red barn that dates back to the late 1800s and has a long, rich history of continuous use, including during prohibition! The husband and wife team of John and Carri Holdredge (unfortunately didn't get to meet either of them) formed the winery back in 2001 with the intention of making what they knew best - Zinfandel and Syrah. However, that same year, renowned grower Saralee Kunde offered to sell some Pinot Noir to John and the wine took off. Today, Holdredge Wines now works with 14 different Pinot Vineyards all over Sonoma County - and no Zinfandel or Syrah. The wines are produced in a minimal interventionist style and I managed to taste through 6 Pinots - each sourced from a different vineyard - and there wasn't a bad wine in the group. I enjoyed all of them and am somewhat regretting the fact that I didn't pick up a bottle or two to bring to home as they offered relatively good value.

Holdredge Wine Lineup

Holdredge Winery

Inman Family Wines
Our third stop of the day was in the heart of the Russian River Valley at Inman Family Wines. The same fellow that recommended Holdredge Wines also recommended this small, family winery. The Inman story begins in the year 2000, when the Inman Family planted seven+ acres of Pinot Noir, and a patch of Pinot Gris on their ten-acre Olivet Grange property on Olivet Road. Winemaker Kathleen Inman's love for gardening began as a child and continues to this day, and in our brief conversation showed a lot passion and enthusiasm for her wines. The winery is committed to employing environmentally responsible, sustainable farming practices and using natural winemaking techniques. The organic fertilizers used in the vineyard are nutrient-rich and named "Four-Course Compost" because it is derived from the table scraps of high-end San Francisco restaurants. Production is small, with only 5,000 cases produced, and every wine is capped under Stelvin screw cap. We sat outside on the patio and tasted through quite a few wines, with reviews of my favourites - all single vineyard Pinot Noir - provided below. Unfortunately, these quality wines are also not available in Ontario.

La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard
The final stop of the day was a short drive away to La Crema Winery. The winery was founded in 1979, but in June 2016 they opened up their new estate at Saralee's Vineyard. The centrepiece is the visitor experience centre sits in an historic barn that dates back to 1900 and sits on a knoll overlooking the storied Saralee's Vineyard. It was a bit chilly and windy outdoors, so we opted for only a tour of the building. Originally a hop barn, it later became the family home of Richard and Saralee Kunde, and thus felt very warm, cozy and inviting. This is a place where you can come visit, lose sense of time, and easily spend a whole afternoon tasting the many different wines on offer. We ended up spending the most time here as there were many delicious wines to taste, but also because we got quite comfortable and found it difficult to leave. Reviews of some of my favourite La Crema wines are posted below.

Inside La Crema Estate at Saralee's Vineyard

Group Photo

Overall, I was very pleased with my first ever visit to Sonoma County. Quite often we'll see single vineyard bottles, but never get to the see the vineyard itself because it's somewhere off-property that's relatively inaccessible. One thing I really appreciated as we drove along was that there were signs at every vineyard indicating the name of that vineyard, some names which I actually recognized. To see a vineyard name on a bottle, and then be able to see the vineyard with your own eyes was quite satisfying and visualized the sense of place.

I would've preferred to visit a couple of more wineries, but the 425+ wineries in Sonoma County are widely scattered across this large region. As such, it is somewhat difficult to cover many wineries in a single day. Another trip (or five) to this region is most definitely required to fully appreciate the wines from this area, including visiting the many small, family-run houses whose wines aren't available in Ontario.

And lastly, I was very satisfied with the quality of the Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir I tasted on this visit. I was especially impressed with the Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley, as well as the mountain vineyard Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. If you wish to acquire any of these wines, please contact the agent in Ontario (B&W Wines) for availability and ordering of Stonestreet and La Crema wines. To order Holdredge and Inman Family wines, please contact the winery directly, or better yet - go visit them in Sonoma County in person!

Tasting Notes:

STONESTREET COUGAR RIDGE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2013 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (D) - $55
From south-facing vineyards at an elevation of 850 feet. The nose is a bit shy, but has hints of apple, golden pear, butter, sweet vanilla and hints of pineapple. It's fairly light-weighted with fresh, crisp, balanced and very nice, ripe-fruited aroma replays showing a touch of sweetness. Nicely balanced, with hints of butterscotch, toffee, and caramel on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Stonestreet Cougar Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 (90 pts)Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay 2013 (92 pts)

STONESTREET UPPER BARN CHARDONNAY 2013 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#253542) (XD) - $90
From vines planted in 1973 at an elevation between 1,600 - 1,800 feet, this also initially had a closed that hinted at light green apple, minerals, vanilla, and butter. It really started to open up with time in the glass. Medium-bodied with balanced acids and flavours of pineapple, pear, and subtle oak spice. A delicate and elegant wine with touches of butter and vanilla notes on the long finish. Score: 92 pts

STONESTREET BEAR POINT VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (XD) - $60
Sourced from vines at an elevation between 1,000 - 1,200 feet, this has a very lifted fruit-forward nose of dark cherry, blackberry and sweet cedar oak spices adding complexity. It's full-bodied with appealing currant, cassis, blackberry, black cherry, and sweet oak spice flavours. Acids are fresh, while the ripe, refined tannins provide support, handling the 14.5% abv well. There's very good depth of fruit. Excellent length on the finish with a fine mineral streak. Score: 91 pts

Stonestreet Bear Point Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (91 pts)Stonestreet Rockfall Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (93 pts)

STONESTREET ROCKFALL VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#249367) (XD) - $100
From vines at 2,200 feet above sea level and above the fog line, this warmer site has produced a Cab that's highly aromatic that's earthy and terroir-driven profile, backed by black cherry, blackberry, and dark currant notes. It's full-bodied with firm tannins and nicely balanced, complex aroma replays. Acids are mouth-watering, while the finish length is excellent and offers currant and hints of mint and cassis flavours. Still a bit tight and should be better in 2-3 and enjoy over the next decade or two. Score: 93 pts

HOLDREDGE "SHAKEN NOT STIRRED" PINOT NOIR 2013 - Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (XD) - $45
Made from only the Martini clone from Saralee's Vineyard, this offers a lovely complex bouquet of cherry, cola, black tea, black cherry and some earthy aromas of medium-to-high intensity. It's light-weighted with refined tannins with appealing fruit-forward aroma replays along with some earthy spice notes. Acids are bright and refreshing, while the finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

Holdredge "Shaken Not Stirred" Pinot Noir 2013 (91 pts)Holdredge "The True" Pinot Noir 2014 (91+ pts)

HOLDREDGE "THE TRUE" PINOT NOIR 2014 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $50
The grapes for this wine are from a single-vineyard in Annapolis, in northern Sonoma. Highly aromatic with lovely floral, black tea, cherry and mineral nose. It's medium-bodied with very nice aroma replays on the palate supported by good tannic structure and crisp, fresh acids. Excellent finish length. Drinking well now, but will improve in 3-4 years. Score: 91+ pts

HOLDREDGE "JUDGMENT TREE" PINOT NOIR 2013 - Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (XD) - $70
From the Rochioli Vineyard, 5 miles south of the winery, this has clean, well-balanced and complex aromas of black tea, cherry, earth and sweet spice aromas. It is medium-bodied on the palate with racy acids, fine tannic structure, and very nice aroma replays. Harmonious and showing plenty of finesse, while also having juicy acids and a long-lasting finish. Highly drinkable now, but should improve further over the coming 5 years. Score: 92 pts

Holdredge "Judgment Tree" Pinot Noir 2013 (92 pts)

INMAN FAMILY SEXTON ROAD RANCH PINOT NOIR 2013 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (XD) - $68
The nose is medium-to-high intensity and features lovely ripe fruited cherry, earth and spice aromas. It's medium-bodied with integrated, crunchy tannins and a flavour profile that continues from the aromas, joined by compelling incense flavours. It has juicy acids and finishes long with exotic spice notes. Score: 90 pts

Inman Family Sexton Road Ranch Pinot Noir 2013 (90 pts)Inman Family Thorn Ridge Ranch Pinot Noir 2012 (90+ pts)

INMAN FAMILY THORN RIDGE RANCH PINOT NOIR 2012 - Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (XD) - $68
Medium-high intensity nose offers lovely black tea, earth, dark cherry, and blackberry aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice, well-balanced aroma replays, and tannins that are a touch chalky. Nicely spiced mid-palate. The finish is a touch on the sweet side, showing some mature dried fruit/floral characters. Lovely stuff. Score: 90+ pts

INMAN FAMILY OGV ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2013 - Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (XD) - $73
The medium-high intensity nose has appealing aromas of cherry, sweet spice, and some dried cherry and floral aromas. It's medium-bodied with refined tannins providing an elegantly structured mouthfeel and very pleasing aroma replays. Balanced acids. Nice wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Drinkable now or age at least 3 years and drink to 2024. Score: 92 pts

Inman Family OGV Estate Pinot Noir 2013 (92 pts)

LA CREMA SARALEE'S VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2013 - Russian River Valley, California, USA (XD) - $50
Aged in a mix of new and used French oak for 9 months, this has complex medium-high intensity aromas of bing cherry, earth, cola, white pepper and mushroom. The palate is medium-bodied with gritty tannins, fresh acids and nice earthy aroma replays along with hints of dark cherry. Fine finish length. Score: 89 pts

La Crema Saralee's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 (89 pts)La Crema Fog Veil Pinot Noir 2013 (89 pts)

LA CREMA FOG VEIL PINOT NOIR 2013 - Russian River Valley, California, USA (XD) - $50
Sourced from a vineyard located in the Santa Rosa Plains, this has medium-high intensity aromas of tea leaves, red cherry and plum. On the light-to-medium bodied palate, it has flavours of dark berry, cherry, black plum and subtle oak spice. It has balanced acids, refined tannins, and a long, spiced finish. Score: 89 pts

LA CREMA CHEHALEM MOUNTAINS PINOT NOIR 2012 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (XD) - $45
Medium-high aromatics offer pretty hibiscus flower, tea leaves, red cherry and more exotic floral notes. It's light-weighted with lovely floral aroma replays. Acids are balanced and crunchy tannins are well-integrated. The finish is long with hints of dried fruit. Score: 90 pts

La Crema Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir 2012 (90 pts)

All prices in this post are the local price in Sonoma in USD.


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