Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts

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  • Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)



I first enjoyed the organic, biodynamic and vegan-friendly 2013 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay back in 2015 and mentioned at the time that it should improve in a couple of years, so I am opening the 2nd bottle, 4 years later, to see how it has evolved.

Southbrook Vineyards, a family-owned winery based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is a leader in Ontario in organic and biodynamic viticulture. They have great respect for the soil, water and ecosystems upon which great wine, and our planet, relies. Southbrook was founded in Niagara by Bill Redelmeier in 1991 after much success with their farm just north of Toronto. In 2008, half of their 150 acre property became certified organic, while today 100% of the estate property is certified organic, as well as biodynamic. Also in 2008, Southbrook was the first winery building to receive Gold Level LEED status.

This white wine was crafted by renowned winemaker Ann Sperling, who has been Southbrook's consultant winemaker since 2005. Using exclusively estate fruit, only 6 barrels (180 cases) of this wild fermented Chardonnay were produced. It spent 20 months in French oak barrels (50% new).

Of course, the 2013 is no longer available for purchase. However, the 2017 Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay that I loved last December is still available at the winery and through their online web store.

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Highly aromatic nose offers mature, slightly oxidized and complex notes of buttery, baked apple, pear and vanilla with touches of hazelnut, smoke and mushroom that become more prominent with air. It is medium bodied with lovely hazelnut, baked apple, and pear flavours mingling with vanilla and hints of butter on the palate. Some saline mineral notes arrive on the juicy mid-palate. Acids are still quite lively and fresh. Finishes long and succulent with more smoke, mushroom, nutty, and baked apple notes. Should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 91 pts


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  • Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

Enjoy Shiraz? wine review is an excellent organic Australian Shiraz that came to the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Surprisingly, there is plenty of stock still available, so you can get your hands on this bottle too!

It is produced by Gemtree Wines, a winery in McLaren Vale whose story begins in the 1980's when Paul and Jill Buttery purchased a plot of land named Gemtree off the narrow, gum-lined track that is Elliot Road. In 1994, some years after the vineyards were already well-established, their daughter Melissa asked to work in the vineyards. Melissa would go on to become a qualified viticulturalist, a well-regarded expert in biodynamic and organic farming, and married a boy named Mike Brown who is now Gemtree's chief winemaker and managing director.

Melissa and Mike and were both mindful about the environment and earth, and soon pursued sustainable growing and farming of grapes. After experimenting with a few blocks of Tempranillo, which included trial and error, grit and determination, Melissa started to see more life in the vineyards and a better quality of fruit. From this point on wards, Melissa was determined to farm all of Gemtree’s blocks organically and Gemtree earned full organic certification in 2011.

In 2007, to improve Gemtree’s vineyards and wines, Melissa delved into biodynamics which introduced techniques that interweave the health of the soil, vines and resident fauna and flora. Inside the winery, Mike also began testing biodynamic winemaking practices.

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

GEMTREE UNCUT SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#627844) (XD) - $24.95
Named 'Uncut' because nothing is added from vineyard to bottle. Screw cap enclosure. This organic Shiraz has a fresh and highly aromatic array of dark berry, blackberry, black pepper, meaty, savoury, and cigar box aromas with just a wisp of blackberry jam. It's is medium-full bodied on the palate with fleshy dark fruits, black cherry, licorice, pepper spice, earth, and oak spice flavours. It has a very nice, supple mouthfeel with smooth, refined tannins, while acids are juicy and well-balanced. More black pepper, licorice, and oak spice on the mid-palate, while the long, juicy finish veers towards earthy and savoury notes. Enticing stony mineral notes arrive with time in the glass. Should drink nicely over the next decade. Highly recommended buy. Score: 91 pts


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  • Friday, July 19, 2019

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed the 2016 Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc in and am delighted to see how this white wine is faring , on this hot and sweltering day, three years after vintage. It returned to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty are still available throughout Ontario.

Seresin Estate is a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand and this white wine comes from their Momo range of wines. Cinematographer Michael Seresin created Seresin Estate, a new world winery with an old world approach. They are in no hurry when it comes to their wines as they let the wild yeasts that live in their vineyard ferment the grape juice into wine. This approach to winemaking does take a little more time, but the results yield wines with added savouriness, and more mouth watering textures and flavours. They also show a unique sense of place. All of Seresin's wines spend time in barrel or bottle before release because, as we all know, good things come to those who wait.

This organic white wine was naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. It is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Since it doesn't look like a 2017 vintage of this delicious wine was made - likely due to it being a challenging vintage with cold temperatures leading to lower yields - we'll continue to enjoy the 2016 vintage until the 2018 shows up in Ontario.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose is ripe with gooseberry, kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, and leesy characters with lemony hints. It is medium+ bodied with a slight spritz on the creamy, nicely textured palate. It is dry and ripe with lemon citrus, tropical fruit, guava, and kiwi flavours. Crisp acids are still quite refreshing. Leesy, citrus, and tropical fruit notes linger on the long, balanced finish. Enjoy until 2021. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, July 12, 2019

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (France) - Wine Review

For wine review, I opened this organic red wine from Rhône ahead of it's release into LCBO VINTAGES on .

Xavier Vignon began oenologist consulting activities in 1996 in a laboratory in Vaucluse for 30+ cellars. With a growing clientele and knowledge of terroirs and grape varietals that are best suited for each other, he developed a reputation for being the "crazy guy". Xavier enjoys going into the vineyard and in 1998 he creates a consulting company with his friend Dominique Portet. Soon thereafter, his client base reaches triple digits. However, after Dominique left the partnership to start his own cellar in 1999, Xavier began producing artisanal cuvees from his garage for his friends. One of his winemaker friends' discreetly sent his cuvees to Guide Hachette and the results were one wine heart (i.e. Commended) rating, and all the other cuvees scored 3 stars (the highest possible rating).

In 2002, Xavier's wine importer friends asked if he could create his own wines. He chooses amongst the best wines he has made and creates Rhone wines of different vintages and appellations, and begins bottling as Xavier Vins.

More recently, Xavier Vignon decided that he had to express himself in his own name because he wants, above all, to share with all lovers, neophytes or enlightened, the fruit of his passion: his wines.

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#297317) (XD) - $17.95
This organic red wine is a blend of equal parts Syrah and Grenache, plus some Mourvèdre to round out the blend. The medium+ intensity nose offers lovely smoky black cherry, blackberry, and spice notes with hints of currant and minty herbs adding complexity. The medium-full bodied palate is more red-fruited and ripe with cherry, pepper spice, and currant flavours, along with some smoky mineral notes on the mid-palate. It has balanced acids and chewy, fine-grained tannins. Finishes with mocha chocolate and spice notes, with good length. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, July 5, 2019

Château de Manissy Le Moulin de Notre Dame Tavel 2018 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice organic and vegan-friendly Tavel that recently arrived at the LCBO as a General List product and is widely available across Ontario.

It is produced by Château de Manissy, a winery located in the heart of Provence, on the right side of the Rhône Valley. Château de Manissy is owned by the Holy Family's Missionaries and has been producing rosé wines since the beginning of the 20th century, all the while developing a reputation for the barrel-aged rosé.

More recently, the talented young winegrower Florian André took over the property and continued it's traditional way of winemaking, while also having respect for the environment and growing wine according to the moon calendar. In 2009, the vineyards were converted to organic agriculture as it was well-known that organic winemaking is good for the soil, the environment, our health, and for future generations. Also in 2009, Florian became a father and thought it was the right time to go organic.

Florian created two more rosés to add to the portfolio, including this enjoyable Tavel that comes from clay soils that are scattered with pebbles which are particularly suited for rosé wine production.

I also can't help but notice that the new Tavel logo is embossed on this bottle - something I learned about when I visited Tavel last May.

Château de Manissy Le Moulin de Notre Dame Tavel 2018 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE MANISSY LE MOULIN DE NOTRE DAME TAVEL 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#234542) (D) - $16.90
Blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that was hand-picked early in the morning, when cool grapes are freshest. Aromas of fresh minerals are followed by subtle hints of herb, raspberry and red cherry notes. It is medium-full bodied and ripe on the palate with cherry, raspberry, strawberry and spice flavours. A touch honeyed on the mid-palate, but essentially dry. Acids are very fresh with a lingering finish that has spice, mineral, and red berry notes. Will be a fine match for seafood or salad over the next couple of years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Sunday, April 28, 2019

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (Portugal) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely 7-varietal blend from Portugal that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

António Ribeiro and his wife Sara Dionísio lead the estate of Casa de Mouraz. In 2000, they left their secure jobs in Lisbon and immersed themselves in what has become a family adventure of sustainable viticulture and authentic winemaking.

Casa de Mouraz is located in the heart of the Dão region and has been farmed by Antonio's family in a holistic and ecological manner for many generations. Antonio is the 4th generation of the family to farm this land. He was born in the granite house that took his father two years to build and sits above the winery. The landscape and terroir where Casa de Mouraz resides has been shaped by its people and geography, with old and new vineyards coexisting alongside pine, oak, chestnut and cork trees in a wild forest. The vineyards are spread over several parcels with granite and clay soils, and altitudes ranging from 140 to 400 metres. In 1997, all of the estate's vineyards gained ECOCERT’s Organic certification. In 2006, they began Biodynamic preparations and practices.

Surprisingly, there are still many bottles available for purchase at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Casa de Mouraz Tinto 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASA DE MOURAZ TINTO 2014 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#456079) (XD) - $20.95
This organic and biodynamic wine is a blend of 7 varietals - Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Água-Santa, Tinta Pinheira and Baga - from different vineyard plots that have granite soil. Grapes were co-fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tank, and 20% was aged for 8 months in used French oak barrels. Complex, medium+ intensity nose has ripe blackberry, earth, spice and twiggy herbal aromas. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with finely-grained, drying tannins and fresh, vibrant acidity that brightens the palate. Nicely balanced flavours of blackberry, currant, cassis, oak, and herbs. Earthy minerality and blackberry notes linger on the long, savoury finish. Score: 90 pts


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  • Saturday, April 20, 2019

Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice organic white wine made with the Melon de Bourgogne varietal that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This Domaine was founded by Sébastien Branger's great-grandfather in 1915. Sébastien became the family's fourth generation of winemakers in 2007 when he began working with his father, Claude Branger, at their family estate, Domaine la Haute Févrie. The estate is located in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, 18 km southeast of Nantes, and has 30 ha of vineyards within the appellation.

Since enjoying the 2014 Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine when it came through VINTAGES in September 2015, it appears as though the winery undergone a slight brand refresh. The 2017 vintage of this wine arrives with a fresh and more modern looking label, and includes Sébastien's name rather prominently. The family has been busy converting all of their vineyards to certified organic - a task that should be 100% complete with the 2019 vintage. They also farm their grapes using biodynamic principles. This particular Muscadet is also now a certified organic wine and comes from plot called the Clos de la Févrie that is located in the hills overlooking the Maine river in Saint-Fiacre, with vines averaging 35 years of age.

Domaine la Haute Févrie Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LA HAUTE FÉVRIE SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#390625) (XD) - $15.95
This organic white wine made with Melon de Bourgogne was hand-harvested and spent 7 months on the lees. In the glass, this offers ripe melon, lemon, pear, and white grapefruit aromas with hints of mineral. The medium-bodied palate has a slight spritz with ripe and honeyed flavours of citrus, grapefruit, herbs, and lemon. Acids are crisp and clean, while the mid-palate brings out stony mineral notes that continue through to the finish, with good length. A fine match for oysters, fish, or what I'll be enjoying it with - boiled lobster. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, April 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Monday, April 8, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Apr. 13, 2019: Organic + Bordeaux

LCBO Wine Picks: April 13, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features Organic Wines in its main theme, while mini-theme focuses on wines from Bordeaux's left and right banks. All of these wines, plus many others will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features 16 Organic Wines from around the world, of which 7 are included among my wine recommendations. Both Sparkling Wines are organic, with the bubbly from Chile consisting of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, while the sparkler from Ontario is made with Riesling. Organic white wines include a Torrontés from Chile, a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Also, the Lagarde Blanc from Bordeaux is a 60/40 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, while the dry Riesling is from Germany. The lone organic red wine is a Chianti Classico that is made with 100% Sangiovese.

Il Molino di Grace Riserva Chianti Classico 2014 (91 pts)Seresin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Château Les Hauts de Lagarde Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Wittmann 100 Hills Trocken Riesling 2017 (88 pts)

The mini-theme looks at red wines from Bordeaux's left and right banks. Red wines from Bordeaux are quite often blends, with Left Bank wines typically based on Cabernet Sauvignon, while Right Bank wines are typically based on either Merlot or Cabernet Franc. In this Release, there are 8 wines featured and 3 are included among my top wine picks. My personal preference leans towards Cabernet Sauvignon, so all three of my picks from this feature are from the Left Bank. The Médoc is a blend of 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot, while the pretty 2009 Haut-Médoc is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. Last, but definitely not the least, the Pessac-Léognan is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Château La Garde 2015 (92 pts)Château Larose-Trintaudon 2009 (91 pts)

Château Pierre de Montignac 2014 (90 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot blend from Australia, as well as an 87% Tempranillo and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Spain. From South Africa, the Glenelly Red Blend consists of 40% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot, while the M. Chapoutier from Roussillon is a lovely blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 5% Carignan, and 5% Mourvèdre. Lastly, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault.

M. Chapoutier Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem 2016 (91+ pts)Glenelly Estate Reserve Red Blend 2011 (89 pts)

Ferngrove Frankland River Cabernet/Merlot 2016 (89 pts)La Legua El Transformador Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, all are single varietal wines. Included among them is the Anselmi that is made with 100% Garganega, and the Rochemorin Blanc from Bordeaux that is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. There is also a Chenin Blanc from South Africa and a pair of (oaked) Chardonnays from California.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • FERNGROVE FRANKLAND RIVER CABERNET/MERLOT 2016 - Frankland River, Western Australia (#632638) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LA LEGUA EL TRANSFORMADOR TEMPRANILLO/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - DO Cigales, Spain (#645812) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • HERDADE DA PIMENTA TOURIGA NACIONAL/TOURIGA FRANCA/ALICANTE BOUSCHET 2013 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#445114) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PRIMUS CARMENÈRE 2017 - Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#439356) (XD) - $19.95
  • GLENELLY ESTATE RESERVE RED BLEND 2011 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#652289) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2014 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • IL MOLINO DI GRACE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#382945) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BILA-HAUT OCCULTUM LAPIDEM 2016 - AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Latour-de-France, France (#643239) (XD) - $26.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LAROSE-TRINTAUDON 2009 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#297945) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LA GARDE 2015 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#682617) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#700922) (XD) - $67.95  FE

White Wine:

  • SANTA JULIA ORGANIC TORRONTÉS 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#232694) (XD) - $13.95  87 pts  wine review
  • L’AVENIR FAR & NEAR CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#556365) (XD) - $15.95
  • WITTMANN 100 HILLS TROCKEN RIESLING 2017 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#645176) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LES HAUTS DE LAGARDE BLANC 2018 - AC Bordeaux, France (#387787) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SERESIN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#735043) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ANSELMI CAPITEL CROCE 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#966655) (D) - $26.95  FE
  • CHÂTEAU DE ROCHEMORIN BLANC 2015 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#091371) (XD) - $31.95
  • RAMEY CHARDONNAY 2014 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#613786) (XD) - $51.00  FE
  • FAR NIENTE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#539130) (XD) - $99.95
Santa Julia Organic Torrontés 2018 (87 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • THREE OF HEARTS ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#552562) (D) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
Three of Hearts Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • KEW VINEYARDS ORGANIC RIESLING SPARKLING 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#645309) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • EMILIANA ORGANIC BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, DO Casablanca Valley, Chile (#536607) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
KEW Vineyards Organic Riesling Sparkling 2017 (88 pts)Emiliana Organic Brut Sparkling (88 pts)


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  • Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Château Maucoil 2016 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from Rhône and will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Château Maucoil is a historic property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape where vines have been cultivated since the 17th century. Ancient documents indicate that the site's first occupants were the Romans and that they set up a base here for Caesar's legions. Several winegrowing families followed the Roman era, due to the spring running through the property and it's proximity to Via Agrippa.

In the 20th century, the Goguet de la Salmonière family and the Quiot family contributed much to the development and prosperity of Château Maucoil. In 1995, the Arnaud family, who already owned vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, decided to purchase the estate. The new generation picked up the torch in 2009 with a strong desire to secure the future of the estate and manage it in an environmentally-responsible manner. They cultivate their vines in the same way as their ancestors - by working the land according to a cycle of furrowing, forming mounds, ploughing and natural weeding techniques.

Maison Lavau had been a partner of Château Maucoil for several years, and in 2013 they acquired/merged with this historic estate to further strengthen their image. The foursome of Bénédicte and Charles Bonnet and Frédéric and Benoit Lavau now run Château Maucoil together.

The grapes for this organic red wine come from vineyards (some old vines) that are close to the famed region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with a similar soil mixture of sand and pebbles. Each varietal and parcel was hand-harvested, then fermented and aged in vats separately prior to blending and bottling.

Château Maucoil 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MAUCOIL 2016 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#638502) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 25% Carignan with rich aromatics offering ripe blackberry, black cherry, black plum and peppery spice accented with subtle oak and stony minerality notes. The medium-full bodied palate is bright with lively acidity with blackberry, black cherry, and cocoa-dusted flavours. Supple tannins are a touch tight, leading to a dusty textured and a cocoa, blackberry and stony mineral flavoured finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, but better in 2 years and enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, January 4, 2019

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Wines
I had the opportunity to taste these three lovely wines from Southbrook Organic Vineyards recently and am pleased to report that all of them are delicious!

Southbrook recently launched a new tier of "Single Vineyard" wines with a focus on grapes from single sub-appellations, highlighting their dedicated organic growers. The winery is known for their Connect, Triomphe, Estate, and Poetica wines - some of which I also tasted recently. The wines are produced by internationally-acclaimed winemaker, Ann Sperling.

"Over the years I have worked with several organic growers, and have had the opportunity to get to know the quality of each vineyard nearly as well as our own Southbrook Estate. I felt we were ready to show off these unique and worthy vineyard sites as stand-alone wines," said winemaker Ann Sperling. "So, this year we bottled single vineyard wines from our favourite growers - Laundry Vineyard and Saunders Family Vineyard."

The new Single Vineyard collection from Laundry Vineyards includes a 2017 Riesling, 2017 Gamay, and 2016 Pinot Noir. The Riesling and Gamay come from the Vinemount Ridge vineyard, which shows classic properties of the geological area known as the Vinemount Moraine, featuring some of the steepest slopes in the Niagara Peninsula, and mineral-rich soils that are well-suited for growing Riesling and Gamay. The Pinot Noir comes from Heather Laundry's old vines in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation - an area that is becoming known for producing quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Heather Laundry has been specializing in Chardonnay since she graduated as one of the first Enology and Viticulture students from CCOVI at Brock University in 2000. While most of her classmates went on to become winemakers, Heather had her heart set on being among the vines. She learned from her mentor, Deborah Paskus, that the biggest impact on a wine could be made in the vineyard.

These new Single Vineyard Laundry wines are available at the winery and online at Southbrook.com. The new Single Vineyard Saunders wines will be released in early 2019.

Tasting Notes:

SOUTHBROOK HEATHER'S HOME VINEYARD ORGANIC RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#650135) (XD) - $22.95
Clone 21 Riesling. Screw cap. Lovely, linear, medium-high intensity aromatics of lime citrus, white peach, wet stone, and limestone minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied, fleshy and just off-dry with more lime citrus, peach and stony mineral flavours, and a whiff of honey. Nicely balanced with brilliant acidity providing freshness. Lovely wet stone notes linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Heather's Home Vineyard Organic Riesling 2017 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD GAMAY 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#646323) (XD) - $24.95
Planted on north-facing slopes and hand-harvested. Screw cap. Fresh, highly aromatic and pretty nose offers red berry, spice, black plum and whiffs of earthy and savoury notes. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with red berry, currant, herbs, tea leaf, and earthy flavours with dusty tannins adding a nice textural element and some structure. Acids are fresh. Appealing tea leaf notes linger on the long, juicy finish. A lovely expression of Niagara Gamay to enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Gamay 2017 (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646885) (XD) - $35
Organically grown Pinot Noir clone 115, hand-harvested. Lovely ruby red colour. Fresh and spicy on the nose with ripe raspberry, wild berry and earthy aromas, along with touches of oak spice. It is light-to-medium bodied on the palate with brilliant, mouth-watering acids supporting the raspberry, earth, and spice flavours with hints of strawberry. Nicely textured and structured, with tight, chalky tannins. Savoury and red berry notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Enjoyable now, but better in a 1-2 years. Score: 91+ pts

Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)


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  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is an organic and biodynamic Chardonnay from Niagara that is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. I enjoyed the 2013 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay almost 3 years ago to the date (and still have another bottle in the cellar), so I am curious to see how this latest version will be.

This delicious white wine is produced by Southbrook Vineyards, a leading producer of organic wines and based in Niagara-on-the-Lake. While previous editions of the Wild Ferment Chardonnay were estate grown, this latest edition is the first "Wild Ferment Chardonnay" that uses grapes sourced from selected organic Chardonnay growers across the Niagara Escarpment, including grapes from the Saunders' family home vineyard in Beamsville. Individual vineyard lots were separately fermented wild in French oak barrels, and only after ageing were selected barrels blended to create the final wine.

This lovely bottle was just released this month and is available for purchase on-site at the winery, and will be available online through their web store very soon.

Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#644625) (XD) - $40
Yellow fruit scented with pear, apple, citrus, and buttery vanilla notes in a slightly reductive style. It is medium-bodied on the palate with fresh and lively acids. Ripe and slightly honeyed on the dry flavour profile with pear, apple, lemon and orange citrus, and subtle oak spice flavours. Fine mineral texture adds complexity to the flavours mid-palate and lingers through to the long, juicy mineral and citrusy finish. Clean and elegant, enjoy this fine Chardonnay over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts


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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


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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


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  • Monday, October 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

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

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

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

Momo Pinot Noir 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Sunday, September 16, 2018

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely rosé that I picked up while visiting the winery in Rhône Valley back in .

Château Mourgues du Grès is a family-owned, certified organic winery located in Beaucaire, on the slopes of Costières de Nîmes and nestled between vineyards, orchards, and heath. Their terroir is quite rich and made up of the rounded stones (grès) and lies on argilo-calcerous marl, which help the vines draw moisture from greater depths. The stony alluvium was transported from the Alps by the glacier of the Rhône in the quaternary era (nearly 2 million years ago) and imparts miinerality, balance and freshness to the wines. The area is also nurtured by the influences of the Rhône river and the Mediterranean Sea.

The winery is committed to preserving the environment by being mindful of nature and respect for their terroir. The vineyards are maintained and kept fertile by sheep grazing and cover crops to prevent erosion and promote biodiversity. Since 2015, wines have been vinified without the use of sulphur, except for a small amount during bottling to ensure stability of the wine.

Vigneron François Collard returned to the family estate in 1990 and produced his first bottling in 1993. He strives to reveal the purity of fruit, freshness, aromas, and balance between the richness and minerality of every wine he produces, including this delightful rosé.

For availability in Ontario, please contact Brand New Day Wines & Spirits.

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS FLEUR D'EGLANTINE 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - €7.5
Mostly Grenache and Mourvèdre, with a dash of Syrah. Vague notions of spring flower and grapefruit from the cork. In the glass, this has delicate aromas of grapefruit and rhubarb with a fine mineral underpinning, and hints of strawberry. It's medium-full bodied on the clean, fresh palate with nicely dry grapefruit and rhubarb flavours. Fresh acids are nicely balanced. A fine salty mineral note and some spiciness arrives mid-palate and continues through to the long, juicy finish. Best with a light chill. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cantalici (Tuscany) Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi

Cantalici Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi
Last , I had the pleasure of tasting the wines from Tuscany's Cantalici Winery with Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini at Mangia et Bevi in the eastern end of downtown Toronto.

After everyone arrived, we sat down at the long, communal-style dinner table and Angela and Carlo began telling us about their winery and taking us through the wines with course from the delicious 4-course meal, eventually ending the night with some Vin Santo.

The winery, L'Antica Fornace di Ridolfo, was formed by Carlo and his brother Daniele in Castagnoli, a small medieval hamlet close to the village of Gaiole in Chianti. It was named after an ancient kiln that was built in the 16th century by a wealthy Florentine family, and the kiln was preserved and integrated into the winery when Carlo and Daniele purchased the property in the late 1990's. Today, the estate has three properties in different areas of Chianti spread out over 90 hectares of hand-harvested vineyards, at altitudes from 300 to 450 metres above sea level.

The most interesting wine of the night was the 2012 Chianti Classico as it really blossomed over the course of the evening.

Thank you to AMV-Whiz for the invitation and hosting this event. It was a lovely evening with fine wines, delicious food, and very good conversation. You may find these wines at the LCBO, but can otherwise contact AMV-Whiz for availability.

Cantalici Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini

Tasting Notes:

CANTALICI PETALI ORGANIC ROSÉ 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#314004) (XD) - $18.15
100% Sangiovese. Medium intensity nose that has attractive herbal, strawberry and citrus notes. It's dry on the structured palate with balanced acids and a touch glycerin like texture. The mid-palate is spiced and finishes with blood orange and strawberry flavours, with good length. Score: 87 pts

Cantalici Petali Organic Rosé 2016 (87 pts)

CANTALICI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#314012) (XD) - $25.15
A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, quite shy initially, but eventually opens up beautifully with cinnamon, clove, sweet oak spice, dark cherry and rose flowers, all of which come through in spades on the medium-bodied palate with nicely integrated tannins and very good acidity. It has a medium-long finish. Give this a short decant (1 hour) prior to serving and drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 90 pts

Cantalici Chianti Classico 2012 (90 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico 2013 (88 pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315795) (XD) - $25.15
100% Sangiovese. This has a medium+ intensity nose in a (new) wood and dark profile with dark berry/cherry, blackberry and oak spice aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with tannins a touch chalky. This has nice aroma replays that are oak influenced with clove and sweet oak spices. Acids are fresh and the finish length is very good. Still young, should improve in 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

CANTALICI MESSER RIDOLFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315787) (XD) - $33.60
This 100% Sangiovese is named after the 1st owner of the property and who was also mayor of the town. It has a medium-high intensity nose with red berry, cherry, and subtle oak spices. The palate is richly concentrated with more dark cherry, berry and oak spices. Tannins are well-integrated, acids are juicy and the finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Cantalici Messer Ridolfo Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 (89 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico Riserva 2012 (90+ pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#541078) (XD) - $35.95
100% Sangiovese from vines planted 500 metres above sea-level, this has medium-high intensity aromas of sweet oak spice, floral, and dark berries. It is full-bodied and richly structured with smooth tannins and lovely aroma replays. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Has the stuffing to age 10 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90+ pts


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  • Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (Chile) - Wine Review

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

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

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

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

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

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

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


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  • Sunday, January 21, 2018

Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine is a delightful organic red wine that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Chakana was founded in 2002 and is dedicated to the study and understanding of some of the best terroirs in Mendoza and produce authentic wines that express the character and identity of the Andean soils. In 2012, Chakana began a conversion process to become an organic/biodynamic producer, and this Malbec is just one of the results from this conversion. The winemaking style at Chakana subscribes to the minimum interventionist style by using indigenous yeasts, minimizing the use of sulphur and other additives, and selecting porous materials for ageing that are adapted to preserve the grape's sense of place.

The winemaker is Gabriel Bloise and is a member of the new generation of Mendoza winemakers, and also has experience with harvests in Tuscany, California, Priorat, and Australia. He believes that winemaking is a tool to express nature, and the best wines are those that hide the hand of the maker.

Chakana Nuna Estate Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA NUNA ESTATE MALBEC 2016 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#018671) (XD) - $16.95
100% Malbec grown at 960 metres elevation, this was aged for 10 months in concrete vats, followed by further ageing in used barrels. Faint nose of dark plum and earth from the cork. In the glass, this has a fresh, medium-high intensity bouquet of exotic spice, tea leaves, blackberry, black plum, and hints of purple flower aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with fine tannins offering nice texture and building with air. Flavours lead with tea leaves, spice, and graphite layered on top of floral and dark plum notes. Fresh acids are bright and juicy. Some warmth on the mid-palate. Shows fine balance overall, finishing with graphite and dark berry flavours. Really digging concrete-aged wines like this. Enjoy this organic wine over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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