Showing posts with label red-blend. Show all posts
Showing posts with label red-blend. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rupert & Rothschild Classique 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review



wine review is a lovely Bordeaux blend from South Africa that is arriving at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Established in 1997, the partnership of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons was founded under the leadership of Dr. Anton Rupert and Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Both men later relinquished the reigns to their respective sons- Anthonij Rupert and Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. After Anthonij passed away in 2001,  his older brother Johann Rupert and sister Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg assumed his position.

The late Dr. Anton Rupert was an internationally respected industrialist who established a global business empire. He was held in high regard as a committed conservationist, and together with his art-devoted wife, Huberte, played an immense role in the preservation of art. The Rupert family has a passion for producing world-class wines and own three other wine estates in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, located just east of Stellenbosch in South Africa's Western Cape.

One of the most well-known names in wine, the Rothschild family’s passion for wine began when James de Rothschild purchased Château Lafite in 1868. His great-grandson, Baron Edmond de Rothschild embraced his vision and expanded their wine portfolio by acquiring two estates in Listrac and Moulis-en-Médoc in 1973. Eventually, this became Edmond de Rothschild Heritage and today it is run by his son and his wife, Baron Benjamin and Baroness Ariane de Rothschild. Over time, Edmond de Rothschild Heritage continued to grow and now includes vineyards in France, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.

At Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, meticulous attention is given to the vineyard and cellar practices in order to produce the finest quality wines. The pay special attention preserve the grapes in their optimal state prior to initiating the winemaking process as it is an important aspect in producing exceptional wine. Bunches are carefully hand-harvested and intervention during the winemaking process is kept to a minimum. Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons produces only three wines - a Chardonnay, a flagship Bordeaux blend, this Classique Bordeaux blend which is one of the most sought after South African red wines in its category. Let's see how this red wine is tasting tonight...

Rupert & Rothschild Classique 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

RUPERT & ROTHSCHILD CLASSIQUE 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#717991) (XD) - $24.95
This blend of 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc was hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel tanks with extended skin contact, followed by ageing in small French oak barrels for 16 months. The medium+ intensity nose is complex with enticing herbally notes mingling with dark fruited, dark berry, blackberry, currant, black plum aromas followed by savoury, earthy and wood spice notes. The palate is medium bodied with juicy acids and tight, textured tannins. It has nice herbally, dark berry, and oak spice flavours with some warmth on the mid-palate. Finishes with very good length and more herbally, wood spice, and some bitter chocolate notes. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, January 19, 2020

Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2010 (France) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely 2010 Roussillon-Villages red wine that I purchased back in 2013 when it came through LCBO VINTAGES on . I had the pleasure of tasting this wine with co-founder Gregory Hecht at the Halpern Enterprises portfolio tasting later that same year, and was pleasantly surprised to see it return to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Although this wine is no longer available at the LCBO, you should be able to get your hands on the latest vintage through Halpern Enterprises.

Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2010 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

HECHT & BANNIER CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2010 - AC, Midi, France (#142802) (XD) - $23.95
A blend of Grenache from the Catalan Hills, Mourvèdre, high-altitude Syrah, and small amounts of Carignan and Lledoner Pelut that was raised in a combination of tanks, demi muids, and large oak casks. Mature deep garnet colour. Aromas of dried herb and dark berries mingle with wet schisty mineral, smoke, and hints of wet forest floor. It is medium+ bodied with more dried herbal, dark berry, schisty mineral, and smoke flavours. Acids are still quite juicy and mouth-watering. There's some warmth on the mid-palate, but it doesn't intrude on enjoyment. Fine, velvety tannins have fully integrated, offering a smooth mouthfeel, developing a nice, slightly chalky grip with each passing sip. Savoury mineral with dried dark berry and earthy notes linger on the very long finish. Drinking beautifully at 10 years from vintage. I wouldn't hold on to this much longer. Score: 91 pts


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  • Monday, January 13, 2020

Olarra Clásico Reserva 2009 (Spain) - Wine Review

After enjoying the recent string of lovely wines from Bodegas Olarra Group, for wine review I dive into my cellar and open a 2009 Rioja that I purchased nearly 5 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

This delicious red wine only appeared to show up at the LCBO once, but the latest vintage should be available via Charles Jewett at Trilogy Wine Merchants.

Olarra Clásico Reserva 2009 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

OLARRA CLÁSICO RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#423541) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of mostly Tempranillo with Grenache and Mazuelo (a.k.a. Carignan) in support, this has a generous bouquet of complex spices, fig, dried dark berry, floral pastille, sweet tobacco, and wood spice aromas rising out of the glass. It's medium-full bodied, mouthwatering and juicy on the palate with savoury, earthy, fig, dried berry, and tobacco flavours. A touch of alcoholic heat on the mid-palate, but otherwise quite balanced. Tannins are well-integrated with a nice chalky textured mouthfeel. Excellent finish length that is earthy and savoury with wood spice and tobacco notes. Should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, December 20, 2019

Valdebarón Reserva 2015 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine arrived in LCBO VINTAGES back in in conjunction with the Rioja Revelation wine tasting event that took place in downtown Toronto. After enjoying a pair of wines from Bodegas Olarra recently, I am expecting this bottle to also be delicious.

It is produced by Bodegas Ondarre. which is part of Bodegas Olarra Group. Founded in 1985 in the town of Viana, located in the province of Navarre in northern Spain, Bodegas Ondarre was created with the aim of making wines that clearly reflect the personality of the town. The identity of Viana is defined by the diversity of soils and the distribution of the small, old vineyards located on the slopes which climb up towards the mountains. With low-yielding vines and careful selection of the grapes, Bodegas Ondarre produces wines that are a reflection of the terroir, which expresses itself through the climate, soil and the handiwork of man.

Bodegas Ondarre produces classic Rioja wines, as well as specific vineyard wines under the "Valdebarón" label from their estate in Viana. The Valdebarón Reserva Tinto is made with grapes from northwest Viana, where the complex and shallow soils are a mix of limestone, clay, loam, and chalk. There are twelve south-facing vineyards which are planted between 450 to 695 metres elevation on cliffs and slopes at the northern end of the Rioja valley. The average age of the vines is over 35 years. All of this helps produce their best quality Tempranillo and Mazuelo. The label of this red wine is rather interesting as it represents an aerial view of the two streams in the Valdebarón area of Viana, along with the location of the twelve vineyards that make up this wine.

While this bottle appears to be sold out at the LCBO, you can reach out to Charles Jewett at Trilogy Wine Merchants for availability.

Valdebarón Reserva 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

VALDEBARÓN RESERVA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#011784) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo from specific vineyards that was raised in Allier (French) and Missouri (American) casks for 18 months. Medium-high intensity aromatics are elegant and complex with notes of dark red berry, spice, licorice, and black plum accented by herbs, savoury, earthy, and mineral notes. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with ripe red berry, spice, and earthy flavours supported by fresh acidity and fine-grained tannins that have just a touch of grippy texture. Earthy and mineral notes linger on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Château Bel Orme Winemaker's Dinner (2019)

Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande Wine Tasting
On a fine , I had the pleasure of attending a winemaker's dinner at The National Club in downtown Toronto. We enjoyed the wines from Bordeaux's Château Bel Orme with Winemaker/Vigneron Anne Françoise Quié in attendance.

After enjoying a glass of Louis Pommery Brut from California during the reception, which is made by French producer Champagne Pommery, we headed to the dining area to begin the evening's program that included a five-wine vertical of Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande and ended with a Sauternes.

The story of Château Bel Orme begins in 1936 when Anne's parents, Paul and Lucienne Quié, purchased the Château which overlooked the Gironde Estuary. Château Bel Orme covers an area of 30 hectares on Bordeaux's left bank, 6 miles north of Pauillac, with vineyards extending over the hills of the village. The name of the winery dates back to the 18th century, referring to the wooded park named "Bel Orme" that surrounds the Château. In 1946, Paul and Lucienne Quié acquired Château Rauzan-Gassies, a Margaux super second growth. Today, all of the Quié family's wine brands fall under the Domaines Quié umbrella.

Anne Françoise Quié, Château Bel Orme

Tom Noitsis with 2005 Château Bel Orme imperial size bottle

We tasted five red wines from Château Bel Orme on this night, a vertical ranging from 2016 going back to 2000, including one wine that was poured out of an Imperial bottle. And if you didn't know, an Imperial bottle contains 6 L of wine - the equivalent of 8 standard 750 mL bottles of wine.

Wines from the left bank are traditionally Cabernet Sauvignon dominant. However, at Château Bel Orme they have planted more Merlot than Cabernet Sauvignon due to the Château's terroirs which consist of deep, sandy gravels. Moreover, because of their knowledge of the terroirs in the village of Saint Seurin de Cadourne and the results they've achieved over the years, they continue to plant more Merlot. This is reflected in the wines themselves as each of the five wines we tasted were Merlot dominant by varying degrees. It's also interesting to note that fermentation at the winery takes place in concrete vats - a growing trend in Bordeaux - and is followed by 12 months of ageing in French oak barrels.

The evening closed with Château d'Armajan des Ormes Sauternes (89 pts) dessert wine that paired beautifully with a cheese plate.

Château d'Armajan des Ormes Sauternes with Cheese Plate, The National Club

Thank you to Eurovintage for the invitation and the opportunity to try these fine wines from Bordeaux, as well as the California bubbly from Louis Pommery. All of these wines can be purchased by contacting Eurovintage Fine Wines & Spirits.

Tasting Notes:

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2016 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - $38
A blend of 58% Merlot and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has a ripe, medium-high intensity nose that offers elegant dark berry/cherry, currant, wet forest floor, complex wood spice, and touches of savoury notes. It's full-bodied with astringent, grippy tannins, fresh acids and ripe fruited aroma replays joined by herbally flavours. Very good finish length. Still very young, needs 3-4 years of cellar time. Score: 88 pts

Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2016 (88 pts)Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2011 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2011 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - $37
Assembled with 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has a medium-high intensity nose that is clean, elegant, and refined with currant, cassis, and sweet oak spice with savoury notes laying underneath. It is full-bodied with refined tannins that are nicely maturing and lovely aroma replays with some herbally, forest floor, and mature fruit characters adding complexity. Acids are nicely balanced, while the long, balanced finish is earthy and savoury. In a fine place right now, and should continue to develop over the next 7-8 years. Score: 90 pts

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2006 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - Sold Out
This blend of 63% Merlot and 37% Cabernet Sauvignon has a lovely, fragrant nose that is savoury with wet forest floor, earth, dried cherry/berry, and floral aromas. The medium-full bodied palate is mature with refined tannins that are soft, rounded and elegant. Flavours are nicely mature, showing finesses with balanced acidity. Savoury and dried berry notes on the linger on the long, finish. Could age another 6-7 years. Score: 92 pts

Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2006 (92 pts)Château Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande 2000 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU BEL ORME TRONQUOY DE LALANDE 2000 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (XD) - $68
A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon that has a fragrant and mature nose with savoury, earthy, forest floor, olive, and barnyard aromas, all of which comes through nicely on the medium+ bodied palate with savoury and barnyard flavours more prominent. It has good acidity while the fine tannins are mature, smooth and well-integrated. There is just a touch of heat on the mid-palate, while the long finish continues with more savoury and barnyard notes. Drink soon. Score: 90 pts


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  • Monday, December 16, 2019

Olarra Erudito Reserva Especial 2015 (Spain) - Wine Review

After enjoying the 2010 Olarra Cerro Añon Gran Reserva over the weekend, wine review is another delicious offering from Bodegas Olarra Group. It arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on as a Flagship Store Exclusive, and small quantities are still available for purchase throughout Ontario.

The Erudito Reserva Especial, along with the Summa Reserva, are the top-tier, vineyard specific wines from Bodegas Olarra and are only made during exceptional vintages. The grapes for the Erudito come from a specially selected 12 hectare vineyard and are hand-harvested only when the grapes reach full maturity. It was vinified in small vats and fermented and aged on the lees. Further ageing occurred in new barrels for at least 18 months. Prior to bottling, in order to preserve the wine's unique character, it was left to settle without the use of any fining agents. Lastly, it spent a minimum of 18 months in the bottle cellar prior to release.

Olarra Erudito Reserva Especial 2015 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

OLARRA ERUDITO RESERVA ESPECIAL 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#378885) (XD) - $39.95
A single-vineyard blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo that delivers an elegant, fragrant and intense nose of blackberry, black cherry, red berry, spice, licorice and smoky mineral aromas. It is medium-full bodied with fresh, juicy acidity that coats the palate. Lovely aroma replays on the flavour profile are joined by tobacco notes that add further complexity. Dusty, fine-grained tannins gain grip on the mid-palate. Excellent length with mineral notes on the long, balanced, and succulent finish. Enjoy over the next 6-7 years. Score: 92 pts


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  • Friday, December 13, 2019

Olarra Cerro Añon Gran Reserva 2010 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious red wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES as part of the Rioja Revelation wine tasting event that took place in downtown Toronto back in .

It is produced by Bodegas Olarra Group, a winery with 40 years of experience that is also at the forefront of vinegrowing and winemaking in Spain. Bodegas Olarra was founded in 1970 and started by producing classically-styled Rioja wines which are only possible when proper and timely care is taken in the vineyards all throughout the year.

There have been many architectural feats in Rioja over the last 40 years. One of which is the building of Bodegas Olarra. It was designed by Juan Antonio Ridruejo in 1973 and inspired by and for wine. The most prominent feature of this building is the roof that crowns the underground barrel cellar (which holds 27,000 oak barrels) and is made up of 111 hexagonal domes that help prevent sharp changes in temperature.

The Cerro Añón range of wines are Bodegas Olarra's top range and are crafted based on Rioja’s long-standing tradition of combining grapes from different terroirs to create classically-styled wines of perfect assemblage. The grapes for this Gran Reserva primarily come from their vineyards in Rioja Alta, with a smaller portion coming from Rioja Alavesa. The average age of the vines is 30 years, and they sit on clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta, and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

While this red wine quickly sold out soon after the Rioja Revelation tasting, a small number of cases may still be available through the agent, Trilogy Wine Merchants.

Olarra Cerro Añon Gran Reserva 2010 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

OLARRA CERRO AÑON GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#190827) (XD) - $23
A blend of approximately 80% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Garnacha, and 5% Graciano that was aged in Allier and Missouri oak barrels for 27 months in a mix of new and used oak, and spent another 45 months in bottle prior to release. Fairly intense aromatics lift out of the glass with savoury, wood spice and dried berry/cherry notes mingling with leather and raisin characters. The aromas come through on the firm, full-bodied palate with juicy, saliva-inducing acids. Well-knit tannins have a slightly chalky texture. Earthy, wood spice, and coffee notes linger on the long, dry finish. Approachable now, but will benefit from ageing and drink well over the next 6-7 years. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Saturday, November 2, 2019

San Gregorio Manga del Brujo 2006 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is something I pulled out from my cellar that was purchased more than 10 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. The tasting note that was published in magazine suggested this would drink well to 2020, so here we are, in 2019. Let's see how this Spanish red wine is tasting tonight...

San Gregorio Manga del Brujo 2006 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SAN GREGORIO MANGA DEL BRUJO 2006 - DO Calatayud, Spain (#015073) (XD) - $17.95
This red wine is a blend of 65% old vines Garnacha, 15% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo, and 5% Monastrell/Mazuelo that was aged for 5 months in new and used oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. Deep garnet colour. The generous nose is full of savoury, earthy, and wet forest floor aromas with hints of dried berry and floral notes. It is medium+ bodied and quite savoury on the palate with more wet forest floor, earthy and savoury characters along with sweet cherry, rose floral, sweet spice, and dried berry flavours. The fruit is fairly dried out at this stage, with tannins offering a grippy textured mouthfeel. Acids are still quite juicy. Very good length on the savoury-earthy, dried berry/floral finish. A treat to drink now if you still have a bottle. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Saturday, October 26, 2019

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise 2017 (California) - Wine Review

Want something for your Halloween party? You might want to look at tonight's red wine review that is sure to please your guests with it's Halloween-themed label. It just arrived at the LCBO and is widely available across Ontario, just in time for Halloween festivities.

It is produced by Chronic Cellars, a California winery that came together in 2004 when brothers Josh and Jake Beckett combined their winemaking skills with their wit and humour to turn an idea into reality using two tons of the best – or 'chronic' – grapes to make killer wine.

The Beckett brothers grew up in a wine family in Paso Robles and helped by washing barrels, punching down fermenting grapes, and working the bottling line. It was only natural that one day they would make their own wine.

Chronic Cellars' philosophy is to use the best, or 'chronic', grapes to make seriously good wine for people who don’t take themselves too seriously. They have partnered with neighbours and friends in Paso Robles to build an network of growers, allowing Josh to select the grapes he wants for all of his custom, intriguing blends, including this Purple Paradise. The labels are created by Joe Kalionzes, a childhood friend and artist whose style and graphic linocuts perfectly capture their double-take vision for the brand.

While the label of this wine and it's well-timed arrival in Ontario evokes images of Halloween, the vision for Purple Paradise actually appeared when they were in their own paradise - Mexico. Purple represents the juice, while Paradise represents how you feel when drinking it. Sit back, relax, and float away to your own paradise.

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise 2017 (85 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHRONIC CELLARS PURPLE PARADISE 2017 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#012011) (D) - $21.95
This blend of 78% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah, and 6% Grenache has a fresh, aromatic nose of cherries, spice, strawberry, and a touch brambly, surrounded by vanilla and cocoa notes. The full-bodied palate is confected with sweet spice and vanilla, followed by blueberry, cherry, and strawberry flavours. Acids are fresh and balanced, while tannins are supple with a touch of textural grip. Good length on the finish with sweet vanillin oak and some earthy characters. Crafted for mass appeal. Score: 85 pts


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  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019

M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut L'Esquerda 2018 (Roussillon) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely red wine from the highly-acclaimed house of M. Chapoutier. While this is the 2018 vintage, the 2017 vintage will arrive on shelves at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The story of M. Chapoutier begins in 1808, when Calvet et Compagnie was created in the Rue de l’Hermitage in Tain. In 1855, ownership was transferred to Octave Calvet and Frédéric Vogelgesang until it was purchased by Rodolphe Delépine in 1883. The Chapoutier name enters in 1897, when Marius Chapoutier joined forces with Rodolphe Delépine to found the company Delépine et Chapoutier. After Delépine retires in 1922, the company is renamed to Chapoutier et Compagnie and Marius creates the new Chapoutier winery in 1929 at the foot of the Hermitage hill. After Marius' death in 1937, his son Marc takes over the family business and in 1955 changes the name to M. Chapoutier, the name it still bears today.

In 1990, winemaker Michel Chapoutier asked for and received control of the company from his grandfather Marc. At this time, he also began applying biodynamic cultivation techniques. Expanding from the Rhône Valley, Michel acquired his first estate in the Roussillon area of France in 2000.

Domaine de Bila-Haut was founded by Chapoutier in Latour-de-France and the vines of the Bila-Haut and Occultum Lapidem wines became the first expression of this terroir. Years later, the L’Esquerda red wine was created from vines near the village of Lesquerde, which is located at 350 metres altitude some 15 kilometres west of Bila-Haut. The terroir here is steep with craggy limestone, arid soil, and is battered by the Tramontane northern winds.

Michel Chapoutier has earned a reputation for producing wines that are highly representative of where they are grown - offering a true snapshot of the terroir. He is also known for being a generous person with a human approach to business, becoming the first in the industry to include braille on all of his product labels in 1996.

Today, Michel and his wife Corinne are joined by their children Mathilde and Maxime - whose names by no coincidence also start with 'M'. Together, they continue to perpetuate the tradition of the family business and philosophy by creating wines based on the concept of 'terroir', while also helping make M. Chapoutier one of the most admired brand names in French wine.

M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut L'Esquerda 2018 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT L'ESQUERDA 2018 - AC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Lesquerde, Midi, France (#381020) (XD) - $27.95
This blend of mainly Syrah with Grenache and Carignan in support was aged in concrete vats for 7-8 months has a complex stream of wild dark berry, plum and garrigue aromas accented by meaty, spice, mineral, earthy, and floral characters wafting out of the glass. It is full bodied, dense, and chewy with ripe, structured, and finely-grained tannins that are a bit chalky textured. Scorched earth and touches of herbal notes join the fine aroma replays on the flavour profile, lifted by fresh, mouthwatering acidity. Mineral and scorched earth notes linger on the juicy finish, with excellent length. Has the stuffing to drink well over the next 7-8 years. Highly recommended buy. Score: 92 pts


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  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noires 2016 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from Languedoc that was featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release and should be arriving on shelves across Ontario within a week or so.

It is produced by the co-operative cellar Cave de Roquebrun that was established in 1967 in the regional park of Haut Languedoc, 30 km northwest of Béziers and between the two regional capitals, Montpellier and Toulouse.

In Roquebrun, the mild climate with relatively arid and acidic soils combined with shale/schist allow different varietals to develop in a particular way in the appellation of Saint-Chinian. The winegrowers of Cave de Roquebrun produce mainly Syrah, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc with aim of enhancing the character of their terroir. Through this commitment, the Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun appellation was created in 2004 and subsequently became recognized as a Cru of Languedoc. Cave de Roquebrun manually harvests the grapes for all of their wines by choice. However, according to the decree of 2004, it is noteworthy to know that all Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun appellation wines must be manually harvested.

Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noires 2016 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN ROCHES NOIRES 2016 - AC Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun, Languedoc, France (#251637) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre that was manually harvested from the schist hills of Roquebrun and raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. The medium-high intensity nose delivers enticing aromas of blackberry, schist mineral, and spice layered on top of black pepper and meaty notes. It is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced wild berry, schist mineral, garrigue, black pepper spice, and meaty flavours. Acids are very fresh, while the juicy finish is long, meaty and peppery. Youthful tannins are chalky and quite tight at the moment. Enjoyable now with protein, but will be even better after 2-3 years of tannin integration. Drink into the mid-20's. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Friday, October 11, 2019

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

The recent parade of Spanish Rioja wine reviews continues with wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of this Saturday's LCBO VINTAGES Release and was also featured as part of the theme on Rioja wines.

It is produced by Bodegas Franco-Españolas and reminds me of the time almost to the day, when I had the pleasure of attending a fine vertical tasting of their Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva wines ranging in vintage from 1982 to 2009. Bodegas Franco-Españolas is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Spain and is celebrating its 129th anniversary in this year.

The wine I opened tonight is a Reserva, a class of Spanish red wine that must be aged a minimum of three years with at least one year in oak barrels. The Rioja Bordón Reserva is aged in American (Ohio) and French oak barrels for 18 months and undergoes decanting every 6 months to facilitate a natural filtering process, then stays in bottle for further refinement. The grapes for this wine come from vineyards in Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental which are north-facing in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. According to winemaker Rubén Provedo, 2012 was a tough harvest in Rioja due to the drought which led to lower yields. However, the grapes reached the winery in excellent health and helped produce this wonderful Rioja wine.

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (D) - $19.95
This blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% Mazuelo has a medium+ intensity nose that is oak-spiced followed by complex earthy, red cherry, mocha, and touches of grilled herb and licorice notes. It is medium bodied on the palate with gritty tannins and ripe flavours of candied-stewed cherry, oak spice, licorice, and cocoa. Acids are fresh and juicy. Smoky, oak spice and subtle sour cherry characters linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2014 Marqués de Cáceres Crianza, wine review is another lovely Rioja from Spanish producer Marqués de Cáceres. This red wine arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and plenty are still available for purchase.

Marqués de Cáceres made its first Gran Reserva in 1975 and produces it only in the best vintages. The grapes used in this 2011 vintage are Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, and Graciano which come from a special selection of 35-50 year-old vineyards with some parcels in Rioja Alta that are 65-85 years old. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards planted between 400-620 metres above sea level from different zones within the Cenicero boundary in La Rioja, northern Spain. The Garnacha Tinta comes from selected vineyards located in Rioja Alta at altitudes between 500 m and 650 m, adding finesse, freshness, and structure to the wine. Lastly, Graciano adds a unique style and colour to the blend. All of the grapes come from mainly clay and limestone soils, and were manually harvested, parcel by parcel.

In Spanish wine law, Crianza wines spend one year in oak barrels, while Reserva wines must be aged for 2 years, of which one year must be in oak. Gran Reserva wines must be aged for two years in oak and three years in bottle. However, this Gran Reserva from Marqués de Cáceres is aged for 24-26 months in barrel, followed by a minimum of 4 years in bottle prior to release.

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#976670) (XD) - $29.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha Tinta, and 7% Graciano. The medium intensity nose has toasty oak and vanilla aromas nuanced with ripe red cherry, floral, and balsamic notes. It is full bodied on the palate with structured, drying tannins that become more pronounced on the mid-palate. Flavours are savoury with sweet spice, plum, dark cherry, and roasted nut notes. Acids are well-balanced while the finish is long and savoury. Approachable now, but should improve in 3 years and drink nicely into the mid-to-late 20's. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

CVNE (Spain) Wine Tasting with Maria Larrea

On a fine , I had the pleasure of tasting a few wines from Spain's historic CVNE wine company with winemaker María Larrea at George Restaurant in downtown Toronto.

CVNE is actually an abbreviation of Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España, which translates to the Northern Spanish Wine Company. It was founded in 1879 by two brothers in the town of Haro in Rioja, in northern Spain, and has always focused on producing and aging wines. It now comprises of four wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino.

CVNE Wine Tasting with Winemaker María Larrea

Even though the company is officially called CVNE, the producer is more commonly known as Cune (pronounced COO-nay). It was interesting to learn from Maria that the origins of this name are due to a label misprint by the print shop they were using in the early days of the winery's history. The print shop accidentally replaced the "V" with a "U" and the name Cune became quite popular and continues be well-known. Personally, I have always known this producer as Cune.

CVNE garnered its first awards in 1885, and further successes led to the creation of the revolutionary Effel's cellar. The cellar was designed by the famous French architect, Aleixandre Gustave Eiffel, and uses steel trusses running from wall to wall (instead of columns) to support the roof, thus creating a large, open space for the management of the barrels. It was completed in 1909 and is still in use today by Imperial wines.

Imperial wines were first created in 1920 and are some of Spain's greatest wines. The name comes from a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called "Pinta Imperial" or "Imperial Pint". Viña Real wines were also launched at this time. In 1940, the El Carmen winemaking facility became the largest of its kind in Spain and showcased the benefits of using concrete in winemaking.

In 1973, Viñedos del Contino was established by CVNE and the family that owned the Contino vineyard, becoming the first single vineyard site in Rioja. Another first occurred in 1989 when they began using gravity during the fermentation process. In 2004, Viña Real winery was inaugurated by his majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, becoming one of the most advanced wineries in Spain.

Today, the company is still controlled by descendants of the founding family. Maria and I tasted through the three wines listed below and, while all three were enjoyable, we both thought the Imperial Reserva the best. I was also hoping to try the Monopole - Spain's oldest white wine brand that was first introduced in 1915, but unfortunately it was not available for tasting.

Of the three wines I did get to taste, the Crianza and Reserva came to LCBO VINTAGES in and are still available for purchase at the LCBO. Wines from CVNE's entire portfolio can be purchased through their licensed agent here in Ontario, Von Terra. Thank you, Von Terra, for the opportunity to meet Maria and taste these fine wines from CVNE.

Tasting Notes:

CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95
85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo. From a warm year, the medium-high intensity nose is all red berry and cherry with hints of strawberry and wood adding some complexity. It's light-to-medium bodied with medium-level tannins that are smooth and refined. Pretty aroma replays, plus vanilla and coconut flavours on the palate. Acids are very good. Dry, clean, and easy drinking with a finish length that is very good. Score: 88 pts

CVNE Cune Crianza 2015 (88 pts)CVNE Imperial Reserva 2014 (92 pts)

CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo and equal parts Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), and Grenache spent 18 months in (60%) French and (40%) American oak. Lovely, fairly intense nose offers very complex dark berry, black cherry, blackberry, and black plum aromas, with subtle oak, cinnamon, and spice complementing the dark fruits. The medium-full bodied palate is slightly warm, but the very good fruit concentration holds it all together. Very nice aroma replays are well-balanced on the juicy palate. Nicely balanced overall with smooth tannins and a very long, complex finish. Score: 92 pts

CVNE IMPERIAL GRAN RESERVA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (XD) - $69.95
Same blend as the Reserva, this is showing maturity on the nose with complex coffee, oak, tobacco, earthy, and savoury aromas, plus hints of blackberry and dark berry. The medium-full bodied palate has complex aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some dried herb notes. Continues to evolve in the glass. Medium tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Excellent finish length with tobacco and forest floor notes. Score: 91 pts

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 (91 pts)


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  • Friday, October 4, 2019

Château de la Pierre Levée Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine from Bordeaux that arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release and is widely available for purchase across Ontario.

This red wine was born out of an exclusive partnership between Yvon Mau and Hubert de Boüard. Yvon Mau has been trading in the wine industry since 1897, while Hubert de Boüard is co-owner of Château Angelus, a Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé producer. Today, the Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard collection of wines is made up of nine châteaux which aim to reveal little-known vineyards with great potential to produce Bordeaux wines that are fruity, balanced, and accessible to all.

The grapes for this particular red wine come mostly from a single block surrounding Château de la Pierre Levée, which is located in the area known as Bazille within the commune of Salles-de-Castillon to the northwest of the appellation. The estate overlooks the vineyard that has perfect exposure to the sun. The name of the château comes from a reference to the imposing two-metre high dolmen that is found next to the vineyard and has been designated a historic monument.

Château de la Pierre Levée Révélations d'Hubert de Boüard 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE LA PIERRE LEVÉE RÉVÉLATIONS D’HUBERT DE BOÜARD 2016 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Castillon, France (#667147) (XD) - $16.95
A blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from 30-year-old vineyards planted on clay-limestone soils. The nose is fresh and ripe, with medium+ aromatics of plum, blackberry, cocoa, and vanilla wood spice notes. It medium-full bodied on the palate with more black plum, blackberry and wood spice flavours supported by medium-firm, chalky textured tannins that have some grip. Cedar wood and herbal notes come to the fore as it warms in the glass. Acids are fresh and lively, while the finish is juicy with cocoa and wood spice notes, and very good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Monday, September 9, 2019

Destino Fifth Empire Red Blend 2015 (Portugal) - Wine Review

wine review is a new red wine blend from Portugal that showed up at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The wines for The Fifth Empire Wine Co. are produced at historic Quinta do Portal, a family-owned and -operated producer that is well-known for making Port wines since the late 19th century. However, the family has also been producing Douro wines since the early 1990's, with winemaking of The Fitfth Empire Wines overseen by Paulo Coutinho who has been with Quinta do Portal since 1994.

The Fifth Empire is led by Roger Sobreiro with the goal of producing authentic Portuguese wines for enjoyment across the globe. Ancient Greece was the first empire, while Ancient Rome was the second empire. Christianity was the third empire, and a fusion of both the first and second empires. Europe was the fourth empire with its Great British and Anglo-Saxon hegemony. The fifth empire is the concept of a global Portuguese empire with spiritual and temporal power, based on Daniel 2 and the Book of Revelation interpreted by Antonio Vieira. Beyond territory, The Fifth Empire is the spiritual and linguistic embodiment of Portugal spread throughout the world.

Let's see how this Portuguese red is tasting in Canada tonight...

Destino Fifth Empire Red Blend 2015 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

DESTINO FIFTH EMPIRE RED BLEND 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#646901) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of 45% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Franca, and 25% Touriga Nacional that was aged for 9 months in French oak. Medium+ intensity nose of blackberry, oak spice, vanilla and black plums. The medium-bodied palate offers more blackberry and vanilla notes supported by mouth-watering acidity and finely-grained tannins. There's some earthy nuances on the mid-palate that linger through to the long finish joined by some woody spice notes. Enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Friday, September 6, 2019

Red Tractor Wines (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Red Tractor Wines
wine reviews are a pair of new wines that were recently launched at Creekside last month.

Established in 2011 by Creekside Estate Winery, Red Tractor Wines are new world wines that celebrate the past, present, and future of farming in Ontario. At Creekside, they have an old Massey Harris tractor that serves as a symbol of the hard work that is required to farm the vineyards. Red Tractor Wines were created to honour this hard work and salute their family of growers.

The grapes for Red Tractor Wines are sourced from family farms across the Niagara Peninsula. Paying homage to the vineyards and growers such as the Serluca and Smith families, Red Tractor Wines is proud to work alongside these 2nd generation farmers as they push the boundaries on innovation and lead with sustainable farming practices.

Yvonne Irvine steers the Red Tractor team and crafted these wines to best express their sense of place while honouring old-world winemaking techniques. She has over 12 years of viticultural and winemaking experience and works closely with their family of growers, embracing the honest, hard work required to grow and harvest quality fruit.

Both of these wines are available for purchase now at Creekside Estate Winery, Furthermore, the Cabernet Merlot will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Tasting Notes:

RED TRACTOR CABERNET MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#011851) (XD) - $17.95
Composed of 45% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and other varietals. Screw cap. Vegan-friendly. This bottle shows an herbally, medium+ intensity nose off the top followed by black currant, blackberry, cassis, wood spice and earthy tones. The soft, medium-bodied palate has smooth, rounded tannins and juicy acidity. It has dark fruited, herbal, and oak spice flavours. Earthy and green herb notes linger on the finish, with good length. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES on September 14th and enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88 pts

Red Tractor Cabernet Merlot 2017 (88 pts)Red Tractor Cabernet Franc 2017 (89 pts)

RED TRACTOR CABERNET FRANC 2017 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (D) - $25
Sourced entirely from the Serluca Family vineyard near the little village of Virgil. Screw cap. Ripe, medium+ intensity nose offers red and black berry fruit with some dusty earth, bay leaf, herbs, and oak spice aromas. The medium-bodied palate is ripe with more red and black fruit flavours mingling with minty herb, barnyard, sweet tobacco, and spice flavours. It has juicy, balanced acidity and supple, dusty textured tannins that become quite grippy on the mid-palate. Long finishing with wood spice, dark berry, and earthy notes. Vegan-friendly. Best enjoyed from 2020 to 2024. Tasted . Score: 89 pts


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  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious Rioja that came to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty of bottles are still available for purchase across Ontario.

Marqués de Cáceres was founded in La Rioja and Cenicero, within the heart of the La Rioja Alta sub-region in Spain in 1970 by Enrique Forner, forming an historic alliance between a region and an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade for five generations.

After making wine at his own Chateaux's in Bordeaux, he brought the same reformist spirit when he returned to Spain and employed some of the same techniques for success such as vineyard control, grape selection, cold production, ageing in new and semi-new French oak barrels, and long refinement in the bottle. All of this contributes to wines that can show finesse and elegance. Their first wine was the 1970 Crianza which was released to the public in 1975 and offered more fruity notes over wood when compared to classic Riojas of the time.

In the 1990's, a trend for innovation took hold in La Rioja. Young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration, just as Enrique Forner had done twenty years previously, and worked the terroir and vineyards, to obtain profiles that were different to the traditional Riojas. Marqués de Cáceres was advised by Michel Rolland - the most influential oenologist in Bordeaux at the time - and together they were united by a great obsession to create quality wines.

Their single objective at Marqués de Cáceres is to have the best vine growers and vineyards in La Rioja to produce the best wines, an obsession that continues today, led by the fourth generation of this wine family, Cristina Forner. They are also the best-known Rioja in Spain as well as one of the top 50 most admired wine brands globally.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Graciano aged in both French and American oak. The medium intensity nose delivers red cherry/berry notes with hints of dried red fruit, followed by sweet oak spice, herbs, and floral aromas. The medium+ bodied palate is fresh and lively, offering more red cherry, floral, and oak spiced flavours surrounding a savoury, earthy core. Refined tannins offer a nice, dusty texture with a touch of chalkiness. Finish is long and earthy. A satisfying Rioja to enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, August 16, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

After having enjoyed the 2015 Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon a few months ago, wine review is the latest vintage that arrives in LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is crafted by the Taylor's family that has been making fine wines for three generations. Wakefield Wines produces different ranges of wines, with the Jaraman range falling directly in the middle and created from parcels that offer extraordinary fruit that showcases the varietals distinctive regional characteristics and style.

The 2016 bottling has a bit more Clare Valley fruit than the previous vintage. Perhaps this is due to the fact that even though rainfall was below average, it came at the right time and had a very positive impact on the quality of fruit. The 2016 vintage in Clare Valley is being lauded as one of the great vintages in part due to the timely rainfall, as well as the fact that the vines were stress free heading into winter, and conditions were ideal during flowering.

In Coonawarra, the growing season was drier than usual, and combined with a warmer October, the whole growing season was a couple of weeks earlier than normal. However, berry development and ripening was in line with normal growing seasons, which allowed adequate time for the fruit to develop tannins and complexity. In February and March, temperatures were mild, and the cold nights and warm days delivered an extended ripening period and the longer hang time contributed to a rich, medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with good varietal definition.

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra/Clare Valley, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra (73%) and Clare Valley (27%) that was aged in used oak barrels. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers ripe blackcurrant and cassis aromas mingling with savoury oak spice and hints of herbs and mint. It is medium+ bodied and very spicy on the palate with blackcurrant, chocolate, mint, herbs, and cassis flavours. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the chalky and grippy tannins are tight at the moment. Herb, oak spice, dark berry, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Seems lighter than previous vintage, but tannins needs a good 2-3 years to loosen up. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, July 22, 2019

For A Song Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Washington) - Wine Review

wine review a pleasant, everyday Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington that arrived at the LCBO over the weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by For a Song Wines, a collaborative effort between winemaker Kyle Johnson and wine importer/distributor Mike de Maar. They both had a dream of creating value-driven wines sourced from great vineyards they knew, and would also have great appeal for the price. They are also committed to bringing you the best everyday wines from the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

For a Song’s Washington winemaker is Kyle Johnson - they also produce wines in Oregon by working with the winemakers at Boedecker Cellars. Kyle brings over 10 years of viticultural and winemaking experience from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Olsen Estates and Purple Star Wines. His philosophy is that wine should be accessible, approachable and affordable, with a focus on creating well-balanced and food-friendly wines that truly showcase the best that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

The wines from For A Song are packaged to evoke feelings of nostalgia for days gone by, when we all had time to slow down and listen to the music - and the team at For A Song hope you’ll be inspired to do the same.

For A Song Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

FOR A SONG CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#666057) (XD) - $19.95
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (92%), Petit Verdot (6%), and Syrah (2%) spent 10 months in French oak, of which 15% was new. The medium+ intensity nose offers plummy, black cherry, black currant, and cocoa aromas with hints of cedar wood. The full-bodied palate has notes of dark plum, blackberry, cedar wood spice, and chocolate flavours. As it opens with time, it reveals some appealing dried herb, tea, and touches of evergreen characters that add complexity. There's fresh, food-friendly acidity, while tannins are finely-grained and rounded. Chocolate, wood, and herbal notes sing in harmony on the long finish. Score: 88 pts


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