Showing posts with label piedmont. Show all posts
Showing posts with label piedmont. Show all posts

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  • Sunday, March 22, 2020

Boasso Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d'Alba 2015 (Piedmont) - Wine Review

Italy has been hit very hard by COVID-19, so for wine review, I opened this lovely Barolo from Piedmont.

It is produced by the Azienda Agricola Boasso Franco, a family-run winery that started producing it's own wines from its family-owned vineyards in the early 1970's. It is located in Gabutti, a first-class sub-zone within the commune of Serralunga d'Alba and managed by Franco Boasso and his sons, Ezio and Claudio. The wines are produced from their 4.5 hectares of vineyards that are located in the sub-zones of Meriame and Margheria, as well as Gabutti, with special attention, dedication, and conviction to produce great wines (like this Barolo) from prime quality grapes.

The age-worthy wines are produced at Boasso are thanks to green harvesting, taking great care in the vineyard, and selecting the optimal time for harvest. Nebbiolo grapes for this Barolo are hand-harvested, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 36 months in new oak casks, followed by 6 months in bottle before release.

You can show your support for Italy by picking up this excellent Italian wine when it arrives at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Boasso Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d'Alba 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOASSO BAROLO DEL COMUNE DI SERRALUNGA D'ALBA 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#109116) (XD) - $39.95
Fragrant nose of nutmeg, wood spice, and ripe red cherries surrounded by earthy, forest floor notes. Hints of orange and floral also appear out of the glass. On the full-bodied palate, it has lovely, balanced aroma replays of ripe red cherry, earth, forest floor, rose floral, and nutmeg flavours. Acids are juicy and mouth-watering, while the smooth, structured tannins have some grip, but are very approachable right now. Orange, rose floral, earthy, and cedar oak spice notes linger on the long, structured, mouth-watering finish. Enjoy over the next 10+ years. Score: 91 pts

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  • 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

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  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mauro Molino Barolo (Piedmont) Wine Tasting

Mauro Molino Barolo Wine Tasting

At the , I was invited to a special tasting of some very fine Barolo wines from Piedmont's highly acclaimed Mauro Molino. The tasting was held at the Fine Wine Reserve on King St. W. in downtown Toronto.

Mauro Molino was born in Piemonte and graduated from Alba Winemaking School in 1973. After a few years of making wine in Emilia-Romagna, he returned to start his own winery in the Langhe following the passing of his father in 1979. His father left him some vineyards, which Mauro then envisioned as an opportunity to embark on a new winemaking career in his beloved homeland. After spending a few years improving his vineyards and cellar, which is built in Annunziata of La Morra, he began producing wines such as the top-end Conca in 1982, one of the Barolo area's smallest and unique single vineyards.

In 2003, Mauro's son, Matteo, joined the company as winemaker, and in 2009 his daughter Martina began working with the commercial aspect of the company. Both graduated from Alba Winemaking School and are an integral part of the winery today.

The family winery continues to produce wines in Annunziata of La Morra, with the utmost respect for traditions. In total, they have 14 hectares of vineyards, 50% of which is planted to Nebbiolo destined for Barolo.

Fernando Burani, Export Manager

Representing the winery at this tasting was Export Manager, Fernando Burani. He graciously poured the first few of the 10 wines that were available for tasting.

Wine reviews of my top 5 wines are provided below. All of the wines available at the tasting can be ordered online via Thank you Le Sommelier for the invite and the opportunity to taste these fabulous wines.

Tasting Notes:

MAURO MOLINO ROERO ARNEIS 2017 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588755) (XD) - $27.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers appealing notes of papaya, white peach, orange citrus and hints of Flintstone vitamins. It's medium-full bodied on the structured palate with lovely mineral and savoury character joining the ripe fruits. Clean acids and excellent length with a nice minerally finish. Score: 90+ pts

Mauro Molino Roero Arneis 2017 (90+ pts)Mauro Molino Dolcetto Langhe 2017 (89 pts)

MAURO MOLINO DOLCETTO LANGHE 2017 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#588763) (XD) - $21.95
Nice dark berry, floral, mint and tobacco aromas and flavours, with a touch raisiny character on the medium intensity nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins offering nice structure and texture. Very good fruit concentration and a long, balanced finish. Score: 89 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO BRICCO LUCIANI 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588714) (XD) - $82.95
From vines located 270 metres above sea level on compact clay and limestone soils, this has a gorgeous, highly aromatic and pretty nose featuring rose florals, dried cherry, clove, and sweet vanilla oak. It is full bodied with softened tannins that have presence. Very nice aroma replays and well-balanced overall. Classy, elegant, long-lasting finish. My favourite of the tasting. Score: 93 pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Bricco Luciani 2014 (93 pts)Mauro Molino Barolo La Serra 2014 (92 pts)

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO LA SERRA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604065) (XD) - $96.95
From vines located in the highest part of the municipality of La Morra, at 370 to 400 metres above sea level, on calcareous/clayey soils, this has a generous nose of dark berry, blackberry, and oak spice aromas with leafy hints. It's medium-full bodied on the crunchy palate and balanced acids. Nicely balanced tannins gain presence with time. Curranty flavours add complexity on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Still youthful, will be better in 3-4 years. Score: 92 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO CONCA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604073) (XD) - $125.95
The nose seems shy at the moment, offering glimpses of oak spice, dark cherry, cassis and berry aromas. The palate is structured with firm tannins and flavours of mocha, chocolate and red berry notes wrapped around fresh acidity. A big wine that needs 3-4 years to integrate. Score: 92+ pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Conca 2014 (92+ pts)

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  • Monday, January 30, 2017

VINTAGES Release February 4: Back Roads of Europe + South Africa + Valentine's

LCBO Wine Picks from February 4, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on focuses on wines from Europe's Back Roads in its main theme, while the mini-themes highlight wines from South Africa and wines for celebrations. All of these wines will be on shelves across Ontario this coming .

From the European Back Roads theme - which is meant to showcase lesser-known wines from Portugal, Spain, France and Italy - 4 of the 16 wines are included among my wine picks. From Burgundy, there is a Chardonnay from the tiny village of Chitry-le-Fort. Also from France, from the small appellation of Bourgueil in Loire, there is a nice Cabernet Franc. The other 2 wines are both from Italy, with the Monferrato a blend of 60% Barbera and 40% Syrah, and the white wine from Campania is 100% Greco.

The mini-theme on fine wines from South Africa features 7 wines, 2 of which are included in my wine recommendations. The first wine is an organic and biodynamic white wine made with the help of ducks, and is a blend consisting primarily of South Africa's signature white grape - Chenin Blanc. The other wine from South Africa is the Rustenberg - a red wine blend made with 50% Shiraz, 30% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Chateau Saint-Roch is a blend of nearly equal parts Grenache, Syrah and Carignan and saw no oak. From Greece, the Domain Mega Spileo Red is a lovely red blend (60% Mavrodaphne and 40% Mavro Kalavritino) from 2 indigenous Greek varietals. The Beaujolais is 100% Gamay, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 68% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 13% Syrah, and 4% Cinsault. Both Cali Cabs are, in fact, blends, with the Mt. Brave consisting of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6.5% Malbec, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, while the Mount Veeder Cab consists of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Syrah. And last but not least, the Masi Amarone is a traditional blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta, and Molinara grape varietals.

Domain Mega Spileo Red 2010 (90 pts)Masi Costasera Riserva Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 (91 pts)

In white wines, the Domaine FL is made with Chenin Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to pick up the Riesling Spätlese from Germany.

Enjoy my wine picks from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CHATEAU SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2014 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#195107) (D) - $15.95
  • DOMAINE LES PINS CUVÉE LES ROCHETTES BOURGUEIL 2014 - AC, Loire, France (#478263) (XD) - $17.95
  • PRUNOTTO MOMPERTONE MONFERRATO ROSSO 2014 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#388587) (XD) - $18.95
  • RUSTENBERG RM NICHOLSON 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#278390) (XD) - $19.95
  • TECTONIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#480822) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DU CHATELARD CUVÉE LES VIEUX GRANITS FLEURIE 2013 - AP, Beaujolais, France (#207886) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAIN MEGA SPILEO RED 2010 - Peloponnese, Greece (#466110) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • MOUNT VEEDER WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#708842) (XD) - $49.95
  • ANDREA OBERTO BAROLO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#477174) (XD) - $54.95  FSE
  • CLOS DES BRUSQUIÈRES CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#416289) (D) - $55.95
  • MASI COSTASERA RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2011 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#324137) (D) - $69.95  reviewed here
  • MT. BRAVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California (#329433) (D) - $110.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • PONTE PELLEGRINO GRECO DI TUFO 2015 - IGT Campania, Italy (#477760) (XD) - $13.95
  • MATETIC CORRALILLO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - San Antonio Valley, Chile (#347740) (XD) - $15.95
  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE 2015 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#439554) (D) - $15.95
  • SIMONNET-FEBVRE BOURGOGNE CHITRY 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#479667) (XD) - $19.95
  • LA CHABLISIENNE GRANDE CUVÉE CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#685222) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE FL SAVENNIÈRES-CHENIN 2012 - AC, Loire, France (#470971) (XD) - $33.95  FSE
  • MAXIMIN GRÜNHÄUSER ABTSBERG RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#481374) (S) - $39.95

Sparkling Wine:



  • WARRE’S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2001 - Bottled 2003, DOC, Portugal (#189605) (S) - $49.95

Dessert Wine:

  • DISZNÓKÖ LATE HARVEST TOKAJI FURMINT 2012 - Hungary (#185074) (S) (500 mL) - $23.95

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  • Monday, October 10, 2016

VINTAGES Release October 15: 3 Top California Vintages + Nebbiolo

LCBO Wine Picks: October 15, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on continues the onslaught of blockbuster wines leading up to holidays (I can only imagine what other goodies are coming down the pipeline over the next 6 weeks). This release focuses on the golden vintages of 2012, 2013 and 2014 in California, while the mini-focus highlights the noble Nebbiolo grape from Piedmont, Italy.

From the California focus, just 2 of the 18 wines are included among my wine picks. There is a fine 2013 Napa Chardonnay, while the 2014 vintage brings us a mostly Zinfandel blend that also contains 24% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, and 4% Mataro (Mourvèdre) using some vines that are more than 130 years old.

The small selection of Nebbiolo wines is very good, with half of the wines included among my wine recommendations. From the Langhe DOC in Piedmont, the Sottimano is 100% Nebbiolo, while the Rocche dei Manzoni is from the excellent 2010 vintage and consists of 80% Nebbiolo and 20% Barbera. No talk about Nebbiolo is complete without mentioning Barolo, and the wine from Gianni Gagliardo is a stunner to be cellared for at least a couple of years.

Among other red wines, both Portuguese reds are blends, while the Fitou is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. The Bordeaux red is a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Merlot, while the Bolgheri is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. Lastly, the latest Beaucastel CdP is a blend of mostly Grenache and Mourvèdre.

Domaine Galaman Fitou 2013 - AP, Midi, France (88 pts)Mike Weir Limited Edition Riesling 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

In white wines, the Saint-Roch is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne. For sweet wine lovers, in order from least sweet to most sweet Riesling, there are wines from Ontario's neighbours Mike Weir and Fielding, and from Germany the Paul Anheuser and Dr. Loosen Riesling Kabinetts.

After having tasted some amazingly sweet PX (Pedro Ximenez) at the recent Spain Is Wine tasting, I am in absolute awe of this fortified style of wine. As luck would have it, a quality PX from Osborne will be available as part of this release.

Enjoy my wine picks from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LUA CHEIA OLD VINES RED 2014 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#266882) (XD) - $13.95
  • DOMAINE GALAMAN FITOU 2013 - AP, Midi, France (#395467) (XD) - $14.95  reviewed here
  • 3C PREMIUM SELECTION CARIÑENA 2013 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#461350) (XD) - $14.95
  • HERDADE DO ROCIM 2012 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#423574) (D) - $17.95
  • DE BORTOLI G.S. PINOT NOIR 2015 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#015511) (XD) - $19.95
  • SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#275958) (D) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • SOTTIMANO LANGHE NEBBIOLO 2013 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#454017) (XD) - $29.95

  • SOLÉNA HYLAND PINOT NOIR 2012 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#462986) (XD) - $35.95
  • ROCCHE DEI MANZONI BRICCO MANZONI LANGHE ROSSO 2010 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#459651) (XD) - $38.95
  • GIANNI GAGLIARDO BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#713602) (XD) - $54.95
  • RIDGE GEYSERVILLE 2014 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#723072) (XD) - $63.95
  • SÉGLA 2010 - Second wine of Château Rauzan-Ségla, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#359810) (XD) - $64.95
  • CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $89.95
  • ANTINORI GUADO AL TASSO 2013 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#986380) (XD) - $104.95
Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2015 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $15.95
  • PAUL ANHEUSER SCHLOSSBÖCKELHEIMER KÖNIGSFELS RIESLING KABINETT 2015 - Estate Bottled, Prädikatswein, Nahe, Germany (#161828) (MS) - $17.95
  • MOUNT BROWN ESTATES PINOT GRIS 2015 - Waipara Valley, South Island, New Zealand (#466037) (XD) - $18.95
  • MIKE WEIR LIMITED EDITION RIESLING 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#229286) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#251439) (M) - $19.95
  • DR. LOOSEN BLUE SLATE RIESLING KABINETT 2015 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#160846) (MS) - $22.95
  • SPERLING CHARDONNAY 2014 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#378570) (XD) - $29.95  FSE
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL CHARDONNAY 2015 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa (#931006) (XD) - $42.95
  • JEAN-MARC BROCARD BUTTEAUX CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#294165) (XD) - $46.95  FSE
  • NEWTON UNFILTERED CHARDONNAY 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#001537) (XD) - $68.95


  • OSBORNE PEDRO XIMENEZ 1827 - DOP, Spain (#047944) (S) - $17.95

Dessert Wine:

  • DE BORTOLI NOBLE ONE BOTRYTIS SEMILLON 2013 - Riverina, New South Wales, Australia (#917252) (S) (375 mL) - $29.95  reviewed here
De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon 2013 - Riverina, New South Wales, Australia (92 pts)

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  • Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ca' Viola Brichet Barbera d'Alba 2012 (Piedmont) - Wine Review

wine is a delicious offering from Azienda Agricola Ca' Viola, from Piedmont, Italy that is part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

The interesting story of Ca' Viola begins begins in the 1980s, when Beppe Caviola borrowed a tractor from his longtime buddy, Maurizio Anselmo, to tend to a vineyard that he was renting in Montelupo. Beppe then began vinifying the grapes in his parents' garage. And in 1991, Elio Altare, who was a star in the Barolo world, tasted the wine and encouraged Beppe to bottle it. The Dolcetto was the first wine to use the Caviola label.

Along with the Dolcetto that was released in 1991 was the Bric du Luv Barbera d'Alba. The Brichet Barbera d'Alba wine that is reviewed below is the "younger sister" of the Bric du Luv. Today, the entire line of Ca' Viola wines now stands at 6 wines.

The grapes for this wine come from the Montelupo vineyard that has calcareous marl and clay soil, at an elevation of 400 metres above sea level. It was aged for 15 months in mainly big barrels and used barriques, and a further 6 months in bottle prior to release.

Since this red wine is listed as a Flagship Store Exclusive, it will be available only in limited quantities beginning this in the VINTAGES section at select LCBOs across the province.

Ca' Viola Brichet Barbera d'Alba 2012 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (91 Pts)

Tasting Note:

CA’ VIOLA BRICHET BARBERA D’ALBA 2012 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#452813) (XD) - $36.95
100% Barbera. Black plum and dark berry aromas from the cork. Aromas of wild flower, cinnamon, wet earth, sweet spice, sage, clove and red cherry waft from the glass with terrific complexity. The mouthfeel is soft on the medium-bodied palate with supple, fine-grained tannins. Delicious raspberry, floral and oak spice flavours. Well-balanced with racy acids and very good length on the finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 91 pts

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  • Monday, October 6, 2014

Oct. 11 LCBO Wine Picks: Sonoma + Piedmont

LCBO Wine Picks from October 11, 2014 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO Vintages release arrives on shelves this , which is also Thanksgiving long weekend. If you still need to buy wine to help celebrate Thanksgiving, then this release arrives just in time for you. The main focus of this release is on wines from Sonoma, which coincides with the upcoming Sonoma County Vintners wine tasting event that takes place this Thursday, October 9th. The mini-feature in this release highlights wines that are nestled in the Alpine foothills - Piedmont.

Given that only 3 of the 26 wines featured from Sonoma and Piedmont are included among my wine picks, it goes without saying that I am somewhat disappointed with the wines chosen for this release. However, I fully expect the upcoming Sonoma and Italian wine tasting events to have a much better showing.

The lone wine from Sonoma is the Benzinger (oaked) Chardonnay, the grapes from which were grown using certified sustainable practices. Both of my wine recommendations from Piedmont are not common for the region. The Prunotto is a 60/40 blend consisting of Barbera and Syrah, while the Borgogno is made using 100% Freisa, a grape that can be dated back to the 16th century and was once very prominent and widely planted in Piedmont.

From the rest of the release, there's an interesting Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Bordeaux-blend from Morocco. If you've never tried wine from this country, this is a great place to start! Another Bordeaux-blend is South Africa's Rustenberg John X Merriman, consisting of 55% Cab Sauv, 37% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec and 2% Cab Franc. From actual Bordeaux are a couple of stellar 2010s - both the Château Hanteillan and Château La Tour Carnet feature similar blends consisting of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with small dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. From Spain, the Lealtanza Reserva is 100% Tempranillo, while the red wine from the dessert lands of Patagonia is a blend of 90% Malbec and 10% Merlot. The last of the reds is from Tuscany's Ornellaia, consisting of 52% Merlot, 28% Cab Sauv, 12% Petit Verdot, and 8% Cabernet Franc; this is a big wine that you'll want to decant and serve now or cellar for at least 5 years.

There are plenty of choices for sweet wine lovers as well, with three Gewürztraminers (2 from Alsace and 1 from Ontario) and a pair of German Rieslings.

Enjoy my LCBO wine picks from this Vintages release. May you enjoy great wine and give thanks with your family this .

Red Wine:
  • DOMAINE DE SAHARI 2012 - AG Guerrouane, Morocco (#092825) (XD) - $16.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#018721) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • PRUNOTTO MOMPERTONE 2011 - DOC Monferrato, Piedmont, Italy (#388587) (XD) - $18.95
  • NK’MIP CELLARS MERLOT 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#626416) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU HANTEILLAN 2010 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#377408) (XD) - $19.95
  • KATOGI & STROFILIA AVEROFF XINOMAVRO 2008 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#249615) (XD) - $19.95
  • LEALTANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#208223) (XD) - $20.95  reviewed here
  • BORGOGNO LANGHE FREISA 2012 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#388660) (XD) - $21.95
  • RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN 2011 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#707323) (XD) - $24.95
  • BODEGA NOEMÍA A LISA 2012 - Patagonia, Argentina (#385765) (XD) - $25.95
  • PODERE CIONA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#385070) (XD) - $31.95
  • MITOLO SAVITAR SHIRAZ 2009 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#659581) (XD) - $49.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR CARNET 2010 - 4e Cru, AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#259986) (XD) - $59.85
  • LE SERRE NUOVE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2012 - DOC Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy (#606194) (XD) - $59.95  reviewed here

White Wine:
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2012 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#302059) (D) - $17.95
  • ALBERT SCHOECH RÉSERVE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2012 - AC Alsace, France (#385351) (D) - $17.95
  • ANDRÉ BLANCK ET SES FILS ALTENBURG GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#168906) (MS) - $19.95
  • BENZIGER CHARDONNAY 2012 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#034777) (XD) - $19.95
  • ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2013 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. LOOSEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2013 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#927756) (MD) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#912659) (M) - $28.95  reviewed here

Sparkling Wine:
  • LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE RARE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE 2009 - AC, Burgundy, France (#178137) (D) - $19.95
  • CYGNUS BRUT NATURE RESERVA CAVA - Méthode Champenoise, DO, Spain (#352856) (XD) - $19.95

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

First image of this post
  • Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nov. 10 Wine Picks: Holidays + Piedmont

Cover photo of November 10, 2012 LCBO Vintages Release
It's been a hectic couple of weeks, so I have to keep this short with the release just a couple of days away.

The next Vintages wine release will be in LCBO outlets on across Ontario on . The main feature in this release is on wines for the holidays, such as for festive family dinners and gift-giving. The secondary feature is on wines from Piedmont, and while nearly all of them are good-to-great, the one that stands out is the Giacosa because it is outstanding and available at a relatively decent price point.

It's safe to say that this release has been the best in months, with some very good buys across a wide range of price points. Whatever is your pleasure, I am sure you will enjoy something from my wine picks below. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • MONTGRAS QUATRO 2011 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#050641) (XD) - $14.95
  • VALLE LAS ACEQUIAS OAK MALBEC 2007 - Estate Don Angelino, Medrano, Mendoza, Argentina (#138412) (XD) - $15.95
  • TILENUS ENVEJECIDO EN ROBLE 2007 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#297143) (XD) - $17.95
  • PIERRE AMADIEU LA GRANGELIÈRE VACQUEYRAS 2010 - AC, Rhône, France (#076398) (XD) - $19.95
  • TOSALET OLD VINES 2009 - DOCa Priorat, Spain (#292078) (XD) - $19.95
  • ALEJANDRO FERNÁNDEZ TINTO PESQUERA CRIANZA 2009 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#341461) (XD) - $26.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE VILLAGE RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#033894) (XD) - $30.00
  • HARTENBERG SHIRAZ 2007 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#906289) (XD) - $34.95
  • GIACOSA BASARIN VIGNA GIANMATÉ BARBARESCO 2007 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#291401) (XD) - $38.95
  • DOMAINE TERLATO & CHAPOUTIER LIEU DIT MALAKOFF SHIRAZ 2010 - Pyrenees, Victoria, Australia (#290874) (XD) - $51.95
  • LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2010 - AC, Rhône, France (#700922) (XD) - $53.95
  • JONATA TODOS RED 2008 - Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, California, USA (#218941) (D) - $59.95

White Wine:
  • VIEIL ARMAND MÉDAILLE GEWURZTRAMINER 2010 - AC Alsace, France (#260158) (MS) - $17.95
  • DOPFF & IRION VORBOURG PINOT GRIS 2009 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#292227) (M) - $17.95
  • YALUMBA ORGANIC VIOGNIER 2011 - South Australia (#288217) (D) - $16.95
  • CAVE DE LA VIGNE BLANCHE MÂCON-VILLAGES 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#284034) (XD) - $15.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE VILLAGE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#033936) (XD) - $30.00

Sparkling Wine:
  • CAVE DE LUGNY BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - AC, Burgundy, France (#297846) (D) - $16.95
  • MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2002 - AC, France (#069831) (XD) - $87.95

Honey Wine:
  • ROSEWOOD MEAD ROYALE HONEY WINE 2008 - Select Barrel Aged, Ontario, Canada (#296178) (M) (500 mL) - $14.95

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

First image of this post
  • Monday, October 10, 2011

Wines of Tuscany & Piedmont + Whisky: Oct. 15 Wine Picks

The major feature in the LCBO Vintages release on are the wines from the two big powerhouses in Italy - Tuscany and Piedmont. Only one wine from Piedmont/Tuscany made my list. However, I do want to mention a 2nd - the Scopetani Chianti (#164814) - as it appears to be a good crowd-friendly wine to serve when having many guests over for dinner. Another crowd-pleasing wine in this release is the Primitivo (#230573) from Puglia.

Also featured in this release are premium wines from Argentina - all of which feature a premium price and do not provided great value. In Local Talent, the Niagara River appellation is featured with four wines, including one that made my wine picks of the week.

In spirits, there is a nice feature on Whisky and the various different styles. I've chosen one for your enjoyment.

If you want to try something new, then my top pick of the week goes to the Neagra from Romania. Enjoy my picks and share them with your friends.

Red Wine:
  • LIVIA FETEASCA NEAGRA 2009 - I.G. Vrancea Hills, Romania (#244392) (XD) - $16.95
  • KORTA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Lontué Valley, Curicó, Chile (#236034) (XD) - $13.95
  • KOYLE ROYALE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#255760) (XD) - $19.95
  • CATHEDRAL CELLAR MERLOT 2008 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#522219) (D) - $14.95
  • PODERI DI LUIGI EINAUDI DOLCETTO DI DOGLIANI 2009 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#232454) (XD) - $18.95
  • SXS STEP TWO SHIRAZ 2008 - South Australia, Australia (#246645) (XD) - $14.95

White Wine:
  • JACKSON TRIGGS OKANAGAN ESTATE SUNROCK VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2008 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#249516) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAILEY RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#072736) (MD) - $17.95
  • DR. BÜRKLIN-WOLF WACHENHEIMER RIESLING TROCKEN 2009 - Deutscher Qualitâtswein Pfalz, Germany (#253955) (D) - $19.95


  • Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Tonight's wine is a lovely white from the Piedmont region of Italy.

CASTELLARI BERGAGLIO SALLUVII GAVI 2009 - Piedmont, Italy (#185033) - $13.95

Tasting Note:
This Gavi has fresh lime/citrus, apple, pear aromas. All the aromas follow through on the palate. Crisp. Some oak ageing evident. Dry style that is very similar to a Chardonnay. First time trying a Gavi and I wouldn't hesitate to try another in the future.

Stay tuned for my next Vintage Wine Picks which will be published this Saturday.

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