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

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  • Saturday, June 27, 2020

LAN Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review



wine review is a lovely follow-up to the 2016 LAN Crianza that I enjoyed last month. The 2012 LAN Reserva arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on when it was featured as part of the theme on Spanish wines, and is widely available across Ontario.

Bodegas LAN was founded in 1972 and is widely known for producing quality wines using their innovative hybrid barrels. These unique barrels have French oak bases and American oak staves and are used throughout the range of wines at LAN, including this Reserva which spent 18 months in these oak barrels. The American oak staves add vanilla characters to the wine, while the French oak bases add touches of spice.

This red wine is a blend of mainly Tempranillo and some Mazuelo, with the grapes coming from select vineyards in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa subzones that have an average age of more than 25 years. The 2012 vintage was characterized by high temperatures and an absence of rain, leading to small yields overall - uncharacteristically the fifth straight year of having a small vintage. On the bright side, the resultant small berries helped create wines of high concentration and tannins. According to the back label of the bottle, this Reserva reached its peak in 2017 and will continue to be in its peak drinking window until 2024, then slowly start its descent to full maturity in 2032. Let's see how this bottle is tasting tonight...

LAN Reserva 2012 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#42929) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 92% Tempranillo and 8% Mazuelo that spent 18 months in hybrid barrels, and a further 20 months in bottle prior to release. The medium+ intensity nose leads with oak-driven earthy, savoury, and vanillin woodspice aromas, followed by some red cherry, and dark berry notes. It is medium-full bodied on the spicy palate, offering cherry, vanilla, woody, earthy, and chocolate flavours with touches of dark berry. Fresh acids liven the palate, while the refined, dusty tannins have a touch of grip. Earthy wood spice notes linger on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Other wines from the Bodegas LAN portfolio can be ordered through Profile Wine Group. They recently launched their brand new website with online ordering.


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  • Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2009 (Spain) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2013 Rioja Bordón Reserva, wine review is another lovely red wine from Bodegas Franco-Españolas that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Bodegas Franco-Españolas was founded in 1890 in the aftermath of the French wine industry's most devastating incidents - the phylloxera plague - when Bordeaux winemakers affected by the plague departed for Spain in search of the country's best soil and climate to continue their winemaking traditions. The name comes from the fact that it was founded by Frenchman Frederick Anglade Saurat and Spanish partners to become Bodegas Franco-Españolas. By 1922, the winery became entirely Spanish-owned.

The grapes for this Gran Reserva come from vineyards in the 3 sub-areas in Rioja - Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental - each having different soil types, and located on northward-facing slopes in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. After careful selection of the fruit, the bunches are de-stemmed and lightly pressed prior to alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in new and second-year medium-roasted white American (Ohio) oak barrels for 30 months, with decanting every 6 months to facilitate the natural filtering process. It then stays in the bottle for 36 months for refinement. Bodegas Franco-Españolas is proud to age all of their wines longer than legally required by Rioja wine law.

This Gran Reserva takes me back to a wine tasting I had the honour of attending back in October 2015, where I had the opportunity to taste many back vintage Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva wines - the oldest being a 1982 Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva. Today, the wines of Rioja Bordón are represented in Ontario by Churchill Cellars.

Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva 2009 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

RIOJA BORDÓN GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#114454) (XD) - $27.95
A blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano, and 10% Mazuelo that was aged in white American (Ohio) oak barrels for 30 months. Medium-high intensity aromas offer cherry, wood spice, tobacco, chocolate, and leather with touches of barnyard. It's full-bodied on the palate with pleasing savoury aroma replays joined by some clove flavours. Acids are well-balanced, while textured tannins have integrated into the wine quite nicely. The long finish is savoury with earthy, wood spice and barnyard notes. A nicely maturing Rioja that has the structure to enjoy over the next 5+ years. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Thursday, June 11, 2020

Domaine La Décelle Réserve Valréas 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

lovely red wine from Rhône is featured as the "$17 Solution" in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. It is a new arrival at the LCBO and will be on shelves across Ontario by this .

It is produced by Maison LAVAU, a negociant winemaker whose wines I've enjoyed many times over the years. The story of the Lavau family begins with its passion for wine and love of terroir in 19th Saint-Émilion and continued into Tunisia where René Lavau and his son transformed a small estate of vines and orange trees into the country's largest wine producer. In the 1960s, Jean-Guy Lavau (René’s grandson) and his wife Anne-Marie returned to France and took charge of a small winemaking cellar in Sablet, in the heart of the Rhône Valley, eventually becoming Maison LAVAU in 1965. Frédéric and Benoît Lavau joined the team 30+ years later at their family winery and LAVAU has since become one of the most renowned and respected names in Rhône Valley winemaking.

This particular red wine comes from Domaine de la Decelle, an 82 hectare site that Frédéric and Benoît Lavau acquired in 2010 after they were convinced of its great potential. The Domaine is located in the heart of the Enclave des Papes, in the village of Valréas. The Enclave des Papes is a small part of the Vaucluse situated in Drôme provençale. The history of the Enclave is closely linked to that of the Popes of Avignon and began over 700 years ago when the lone estate in the area was purchased by Pope John XXII in the year 1317. Legend has it that Pope John XXII, returning from Lyon after his election and feeling very weary, took a glass of Valréas wine and was restored to full health. He then annexed the land that had produced this miraculous wine, so he would have permanent access. This became the Papal Enclave, and Valréas remained the capital until the French Revolution of the late 18th century. The vineyards were awarded Côtes du Rhône-Villages Valréas status in 1967.

The site where the Grenache and Syrah grapes for this wine are grown sit at a latitude and altitude that give it unique climatic conditions which are perfect for creating structured, complex, and fresh wines. The grapes are grown on south- and west-facing slopes as high as 320 metres above sea level, thus benefiting from a cooler climate. This also allows for wide diurnal temperature variation between day and night, which in turn helps the grapes ripen slowly and develop tannins.

Domaine La Décelle Réserve Valréas 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RÉSERVE VALRÉAS 2017 - AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France (#14391) (XD) - $17.00
This 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah was grown on clay-limestone soils and aged for 6 months in used French oak barrels. Lovely, complex, southern Rhône nose of blackberry, plum, and peppery spice mingling with garrigue, lavender, purple fruit, and some meaty notes. Smoky mineral notes develop with time in the glass. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with ripe, elegant tannins that have a touch of grip. Acids are fresh and juicy, while the flavours are more red fruited and a touch candied on the flavour profile with raspberry, spice, and meaty flavours which linger through to the long, meaty and smoky mineral finish. Recommended buy to enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, June 5, 2020

Château Le Grand Moulin Collection Grande Réserve 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious red wine from Bordeaux. It is a new arrival at the LCBO as part of the VINTAGES Release and is also featured in the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine.

This red wine is produced by the co-operative winery Vignobles Gabriel & Co., a company founded in 1904 when Gabriel Bruneteau founded Domaine du Grand Moulin at Saint Aubin de Blaye, about 50 km north of Bordeaux in the heart of the Blaye vineyards. In 1921, with a passionate interest in wine and people, Gabriel created the forerunner to the Vignobles Gabriel & Co. enterprise.

After Gabriel's passing, the vineyard dwindled and changed over the years, but finally recovered four generations later when Jean-François Reaud, the great grandson of Gabriel Bruneteau, inherited the estate in 1985. There were only 7 hectares of vines at the time, but he reorganized, modernized, and expanded the winery to cover 25 hectares by the end of the 1990's, eventually becoming Château Le Grand Moulin. Further development increased the size of the estate to the 81 hectares it is today, and to further meet consumer demand, Jean-François formed partnerships with several neighbouring producers and winegrowers on the Right Bank to collectively promote their wines. Being sensitive to the environment, Jean-François also owns Château Les Aubiers which has 25 hectares of organically-farmed vines.

With lots of bottles available throughout Ontario, it will be very easy for you to get your hands on this wallet-friendly Bordeaux.

Château Le Grand Moulin Collection Grande Réserve 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU LE GRAND MOULIN COLLECTION GRANDE RÉSERVE 2016 - AC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, France (#11326) (XD) - $17.00
An estate grown blend of mostly Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec in support, and aged in cement vats. Generous, nicely ripe, and fruit forward aromas of dark currant, blackberry, cassis, mint, and spice with touches of earthiness lift out of the glass. The medium+ bodied palate has nice balanced aroma replays supported by refined, textured, and gritty tannins, and balanced acidity. The finish is a touch drying, with savoury and earthy flavours, and very good length. Enjoy now or cellar for a couple of years and drink into the later part of this decade. This is very good Bordeaux! Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice follow-up to the delicious 2018 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico that I enjoyed a couple of weekends ago. Like the Chianti Classico, this Chianti is a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and widely available for purchase in-store across Ontario.

Rocca delle Macìe was established in 1973 by film producer Italo Zingarelli to fulfill his life-long dream. It was established on a solid base of ethical values constructed by Italo and today is run by his children Sergio, Fabio, and Sandra, to become one of the largest wine producers in Italy.

Sustainability is a key pillar of Rocca delle Macìe as they continue to implement agronomic techniques that are geared not only towards constantly improving the products, but also towards respecting the environment. Some of these practices include integrated pest management, streamlining the consumption of non-renewable resources, avoiding non-essential waste of natural resources, and limiting human activity on the equilibrium of the ecosystem. By using high-precision viticulture, Rocca delle Macìe is able to make winemaking rational and sustainable, while at the same time enhancing the land. With this in mind, Rocca delle Macìe still aims to express the very best of the vine and terroir, and achieve products of the highest quality.

In addition to producing wines from the Chianti Classico and Maremma zones, Rocca delle Macìe also produces wines thanks in part to collaboration with old and new Tuscany producers in other zones such as Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Bolgheri, San Gimignano, and Orvieto. This particular red wine is from the Chianti DOCG from carefully selected and ripened Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grapes. It is vinified with the latest controlled fermentation techniques and undergoes maturation in oak for a period of two years prior to being released.

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE CHIANTI RISERVA 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#111641) (XD) - $15.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot completing the blend, and aged for 24 months is large oak barrels. Medium+ intensity nose is savoury with currant, plum, red cherry, and earth aromas. It's ripe fruited on the palate with currant, sour cherry, oak spice, and leathery flavours on the medium-bodied palate. Light tannins have just enough texture to keep things interesting, while lemony acids are food-friendly. Savoury, currant, and chocolate notes linger on the finish, with very good length. A fine, simple Chianti for mid-week drinking. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2013 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice, consistently well-made Rioja from Spain that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . I have tasted quite a few vintages of this wine and have enjoyed them all, including the 2012 Rioja Bordón Reserva late last year.

Rioja Bordón wines are produced by Bodegas Franco-Españolas, a winery that was founded in 1890 by Frenchman Frederick Anglade Saurat. It was borne out of a partnership between France and Spain at a time when France was attempting to replace their vineyards that were devastated by phylloxera. The winery was renamed to Rioja Bordón in the 1950's, and, today, the winery is in the hands of the 3rd generation of the Eguizábal family, which has been the owner since 1984.

Like previous years, the 2018 vintage of this red wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% Mazuelo from grapes grown in the three sub-Rioja soil types - Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental - on the north-facing foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. After carefully selecting the fruit, the grapes are de-stemmed from the bunches and lightly pressed before undergoing alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 18 months in white American (Ohio) and French oak barrels.

In addition to this Reserva, their lovely 2009 Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES next month. Other wines from the Rioja Bordón lineup can be ordered through their agent, Churchill Cellars.

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2013 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2013 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (XD) - $20.95
The medium+ intensity nose is oak spice driven with savoury, Asian spices, dark red berry, dark currant, and whiffs of dried berry, chocolate and coffee notes. It's medium-full bodied on the structured palate with fresh, juicy acidity and drying tannins that still seem a bit tight. Savoury, sweet oak spices, and red cherry flavours, along with some chocolate and toffee notes carry through to the long finish. Enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico 2018 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice Chianti Classico that is part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection and widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario for purchase in-store and online for either delivery or pick-up.

It is produced by Rocca delle Macìe, a relative newcomer to winegrowing in Italy as it was established in the Chianti Classico zone only in 1973. It was founded by film producer Italo Zingarelli to fulfill his life-long dream when he acquired the 93 hectare "Le Macìe" estate - of which only 2 hectares were planted to vine. The passion and love for the Tuscan land was passed along to his sons Sergio and Fabio in the mid-to-late 1980's, with Sergio becoming President in 1989. In collaboration with his sister Sandra, they set out to make quality wines and the company became quite popular and recognized worldwide. Today, Rocca delle Macìe has more than 500 hectares, 200 ha of which are planted to vines and 22 ha to olive groves, across its six estates which span the areas of Chianti Classico and Maremma in Tuscany.

This Chianti Classico was born along with the winery when the first vintage was bottled at least as far back as 1978, and growing to become the ambassador that represents Rocca delle Macìe. In fact, the history of Rocca delle Macìe is doubly intertwined with this Chianti Classico as the wine has evolved over the years both through the changes imposed upon it by updates to local wine regulations and through enhancements made in the vineyards thanks to replanting, soil analysis, and the clonal selection of Sangiovese.

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico 2018 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2018 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#741769) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of mainly Sangiovese (and 5% Merlot), that was selected and picked by hand, and aged for 6-10 months in Slavonian/French oak barrels. The medium intensity nose has a savoury, dark red cherry, and sweet spiced core flecked with dried herbal aromas. It's medium-bodied with fresh, lively acidity that lifts the savoury, red cherry, currant, and oak spice flavours. Soft, grainy tannins are a touch drying on the savoury, earthy finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, May 6, 2020

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (California) - Wine Review

To follow the popular J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay that I opened last week, wine review is a California Cabernet Sauvignon that is the most popular red in the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. Like the Chardonnay, this Cali Cab is widely available in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and is also available online for pick-up or delivery.

After an extensive search in the late 1960's to find an ideal location for his first vineyard, Jerry Lohr, founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, settled in the Central Coast, an area that was just beginning to explore its potential for winegrowing. In the early 1970's, Jerry planted his first vineyard in Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco district.

A decade later, Jerry Lohr recognized the potential for growing Bordeaux varietals, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, further south in Paso Robles. In 1986, he began planting Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varietals in San Luis Obispo County's little-known Paso Robles region. With the hands-on devotion of an artisan farmer, Jerry tended to the vines while diligently working toward the creation and development of an adjacent winery and barrel cellar that opened in 1988.

Today, J. Lohr farms over 2,700 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, a region now recognized as one of the world’s best spots for Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux and Rhône varietals. Nearly all of the red wines in the J. Lohr portfolio come from their sustainably-farmed Paso Robles vineyards. Still family-owned and operated, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is one of the industry’s most respected wine brands.

This red wine gets its name from blocks 2 and 4 of Cabernet Sauvignon that were some of the original sources for this iconic wine 30 years ago and featured views of a stand of seven majestic oak trees, which still thrive today. The grapes for this wine predominantly come from their estate vineyards in Paso Robles, directly opposite their J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center and two newer sites just to the north. The region is known for its rich, well-drained, gravelly, and sometimes chalky limestone soils, as well as its semi-arid climate and dramatic diurnal temperature swings of 50°F degrees between warm days and cool nights. This diurnal fluctuation is key to the region's trademark, intense varietal character. The 2017 vintage is remembered as a restorative vintage as it broke an unprecedented 5-year drought conditions throughout California.

J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

J. LOHR SEVEN OAKS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Paso Robles, California, USA (#656561) (D) - $23.95
The medium+ intensity nose offers slightly confected aromas of ripe plum, black cherry, currant, blueberry, sweet oak spice, and savoury earthy tones with touches of leafy herbs and mint. The full-bodied palate is notably sweet with flavours of chocolate, sweet, vanillin oak and ripe black cherry and currant notes. Acids are well-balanced while rounded tannins are soft, fine-grained and a touch drying with each passing sip. Earthy, chocolate, and coffee notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 1% Syrah. Crowd pleasing California Cab. Score: 86 pts


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  • Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Crasto 2018 (Portugal) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious blend of Douro red grape varieties from Portugal. The 2017 vintage of this red wine will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Quinta do Crasto, an estate whose name comes from the Latin castrum meaning "Roman fort", and its history dates far back into ancient times, with the first mention of its wine production dating back to 1615. Between the years of 1758 and 1761, 335 large granite markers were installed around the Douro Valley to delineate the first ever Demarcated Region in the world. One of these pillars can still be seen by the century-old farm house at Quinta do Crasto.

In the early part of the 20th century, Quinta do Crasto was purchased by the founder of the renowned Constantino wine house, Constantino de Almeida. Following his death in 1923, his son Fernando Moreira d’Almeida took over the management of Quinta do Crasto. In 1981, Leonor Roquette (daughter of Fernando Moreira d’Almeida) and her husband Jorge Roquette took over majority ownership as well as the management of the estate. With their sons, Miguel and Tomás Roquette, the fourth generation of the family began the process of renovating and expanding the vineyards, while also starting the production of Douro DOC table wines such as this Crasto Red.

Crasto 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CRASTO 2018 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#81588) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of traditional Douro grape varieties Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barroca, and raised mostly in stainless steel tanks. Fresh, wild dark berry aromas lift out of the glass followed by some floral, schist mineral, purple fruit, and savoury earthy notes. It's medium+ bodied with lovely schist mineral and wild dark berry flavours supported by fresh, juicy acidity and smooth, fine-grained, and slightly chalky mineral tannins. Fine mineral, dark berry, and floral flavours linger on the long, balanced, mouth-watering, and textured finish. Enjoy over the next 3-5 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, March 9, 2020

Wines of Argentina Masterclass

Tastes of Argentina masterclass on wine

In , I had the pleasure of attending a Tastes of Argentina masterclass to explore the climatic and cultural factors shaping today's wines from Argentina. The event was hosted by The Consulate of Argentina, represented by Maria de los Angeles Arrieta, Deputy Consul General Trade Commissioner from Consulate General of Argentina, and leading the masterclass was Christopher Waters, Dip. WSET.

Elizabeth Luzza, Christopher Waters, and Maria de los Angeles Arrieta

Argentina is the 2nd largest country in South America and 8th largest country in the world. The winegrowing regions in Argentina are located approximately between 30° to 50° latitude - the sweet-spot for grape-growing in the Southern Hemisphere, and within the same latitude range as other major wine regions in the South Hemisphere such as Chile, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. There are six major factors that make the wines of Argentina unique and compelling.

We begin with the first factor - altitude. The vineyards in Argentina are planted within a range at the low-end of 1,000 ft. (300 m) all the way up to 10,000 ft. (3,000 m) above sea level. These high altitudes help create a variety of terroirs and microclimates that distinguish Argentina from the rest of the world. It was interesting to learn that even though vines are planted at high altitudes, many of the vineyards are located on plateaus and not on steep slopes. Planting on plateaus allows for easier monitoring during the grape-growing season as well as harvests that are less labour intensive. The highest vineyards are located in the cooler climate Salta region in northern Argentina, falling under the Winkler I index and are some of the coolest vineyards on the planet.

Terroir is the second major factor. Being one the largest countries in the world, spanning nearly 3,800 kilometres from north to south, the terroir is quite diverse due to wide-ranging altitudes and latitudes. With vineyards across large areas, it is only natural to see variability in soils. The presence of the Andes mountains and rainfall regime are also key factors that affect the terroir. All of these factors contribute to the great diversity of terroirs in Argentina.

The third major factor that makes the wines of Argentina unique is the climate - which is dry and continental. Argentina is very unique in that its traditional wine regions are located in high-altitude valleys, far from the oceans, making Argentina one of the few continental viticultural areas in the world. Moreover, because the Andes mountain range is to the west of Argentina, the cold winds and rain are essentially blocked, leaving only hot and dry winds to flow through the vines. This dryness of the climate helps maintain vineyard health almost completely naturally, which contributes to the production of organic wines.

Poor (or low fertility) soils make for better wine, and the low fertility soils in Argentina are fairly young and nutrient-deprived, with low organic matter, leading to desirable restricted vine growth. Poor soils also help promote natural development of the grape with genuinely distinct flavours.

Argentina also has great water purity, with the main source of irrigation in mountain valleys coming from meltwater in the Andes. This pure, snowmelt water from the mountains is free from any contaminants.

The final factor that makes Argentine wine unique is the new generation of winemakers. The first vitis vinifera wines were produced by the Spanish settlers in 1551. In 1853, the first School of Agriculture was formed and the wine industry subsequently expanded nationwide. The modernization of the wine industry in Argentina began in the 1990’s with local and foreign investments in the search for new markets to export Argentinian wine.

Today, a new generation of agricultural engineers, oenologists, and winemakers is taking the lead and breaking new ground when it comes to producing quality wines. Sebastian Zuccardi, Laura Catena, Luis Reginato, and Alejandro Vigil are just some of the people making exceptional wines in Argentina. With the help of technology applied to the study of soils and climate, new Geographical Indications (GIs) were discovered. Similar to systems used in other winegrowing regions, GIs indicate the origin of the grape and its differential attributes.

Together, the six factors of altitude, terroir, climate, soil, water, and the new generation of winemakers combine to give Argentina it’s unique habitat for creating cutting edge wines.

Tastes of Argentina masterclass on wine

Malbec is usually the first wine that comes to mind when thinking of Argentine wine. It is not surprising given that Malbec is the most widely planted and most important vitis vinifera varietal in Argentina. However, other varieties are becoming more prevalent. In addition to tasting some fine Malbec wines at this masterclass, the 12-wine structured tasting also featured wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Torrontés, and Cabernet Franc that are thriving in Argentina and gaining recognition across the globe. Tasting notes of my favourite wines from this wine tasting are provided below. Most of the wines are currently available or coming soon to the LCBO, or otherwise can be ordered via the Agent.

Tasting Notes:

CATENA ZAPATA WHITE BONES ADRIANNA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#514844) (XD) - $125
A super premium Chardonnay with a clean, medium+ intensity nose of pear, apple, orchard fruit and some limestone mineral, earthy, leesy, and buttery characters, all of which show up beautifully on the nicely balanced, medium-full bodied palate. There's some structure to the fruit, along with a touch of bitterness. Earthy-mineral elements linger on the long, juicy finish. Agent: Noble Estates. Score: 93 pts

Catena Zapata White Bones Adrianna Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)El Esteco 1945 Old Vines Torrontés 2018 (92 pts)

EL ESTECO 1945 OLD VINES TORRONTÉS 2018 - Calchaquí Valley, Argentina (#010695) (XD) - $25.95
From vines planted in 1945, the lovely, highly aromatic nose jumps out of the glass with clean, floral and herbal aromas, along with hints of lemon citrus, white grapefruit, and salty mineral notes adding complexity. There's very good fruit on the medium-bodied palate with tension between the fruit and acids. Very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. Excellent length on the long, earthy and minerally finish. Agent: Vins Dandurand. Score: 92 pts

EL ENEMIGO CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#011813) (XD) - $23.95
From a specific plot of the Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary, the medium-high intensity nose delivers classic Cabernet Franc herbaceous, tobacco, and dark berry aromas along with some vanilla spice notes. It is medium+ bodied with very nice aromas replays on the flavour profile, plus some dark currant, dark cherry, and smoky notes adding complexity. Acids are crunchy, while tannins are smooth and refined. Long, balanced finish and should drink well over the next 5-6 years. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES Mar. 7, 2020. Agent: Noble Estates. Score: 89 pts

El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2015 (89 pts)Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

TRAPICHE MEDALLA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Lujan de Cuyo & Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina (#568865) (XD) - $19.95
Subtle nose of currant, cassis, and minerals with some earthy spice tones. It's full-bodied with structured tannins that are well-integrated and very approachable. It has very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile with more spice, currant, cassis, and dark berry flavours, lifted by bright acidity and crunchy fruit. Pleasing notes of dark berry, cherry with hints of floral linger on the finish. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES Feb. 8, 2020. Agent: Vins Dandurand. Score: 89 pts

BODEGA DEL ARTE CLAROSCURO MALBEC 2017 - Tunuyan, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (XD) - $18.95
Although I seemed to be among the very few, this was my favourite of the Malbecs. The subtle nose gives off aromas of currant, cassis, mineral, and hints of earthy spice, while the full-bodied, crunchy palate has structured tannins that are well-integrated and quite approachable. It has also has very nice aroma replays with lovely spice, currant, cassis, and dark berry notes, supported by bright acidity. Appealing notes of dark berry, cherry, and hints of floral linger on the long finish. Available via Abcon. Score: 89 pts

Bodega del Arte Claroscuro Malbec 2017 (89 pts)Dona Paula 1350 Red Terroir Blend 2015 (89 pts)

DONA PAULA 1350 RED TERROIR BLEND 2015 - Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#568956) (XD) - $20.75
This blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 45% Malbec, and 5% Casavecchi has a medium-high, fairly complex nose that is Cab Franc dominant with red and black fruits, oak spice, and herbaceous notes. It is full-bodied and structured with a touch grippy and tight tannins, and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. It has juicy acids and very good finish length. Best after 2-3 years of ageing. Agent: Select Wines & Spirits. Score: 89 pts


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  • Sunday, February 23, 2020

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Vertical Wine Tasting at EVOO Ristorante

, I had the pleasure of tasting a fine vertical of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva wines from Carpineto. The tasting was led by the owner of Carpineto, Antonio Mario Zaccheo and hosted by Univins & Spirits at EVOO Ristorante in Toronto.

Carpineto was founded in 1967 by Antonio and his business partner Giovanni Carlo Sacchet, setting out to produce internationally renowned Chianti Classico wines. Being wine fanatics, they saw enormous potential in the Tuscan soil and knew that applying cutting-edge technology could further help produce quality wines. Over the years, the intensity, integrity and consistency of their wines have earned Carpineto a solid reputation among consumers and critics alike.

The wines of Carpineto are grounded in tradition, influencing everything from sustainable winegrowing to how wine cellars are maintained. Carpineto wines are the fruit of an age-old connection to the land that bears its grapes and gives the wine it's unique qualities. all the while using advanced scientific and oenological processes and techniques which respect the territorial integrity of the land.

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015 - 2011 vertical wine tasting

Carpineto has five estates within Tuscany - two in Chianti Classico DOCG, and one each in Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, and Maremma DOC.

In 1966, not long after the DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata) system was implemented in Italy, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano became one of the country’s first DOC wines. And in 1980, when the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) system - an even higher designation of quality - was implemented, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was again one of the first appellations to receive this status. The wines of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are made primarily with Sangiovese (minimum 70%), known locally as Prugnollo Gentile, and often blended with Canaiolo and other permitted varietals.

Carpineto's Montepulciano Estate sits on softly rolling hills, at an elevation of 250 metres, with 84.5 hectares of dry-farmed vineyards planted across 184 tillable hectares. These vineyards are planted with new clones of Sangiovese and international grape varietals that are dedicated to their age-worthy wines, as well as their Appodiati single vineyard programs. Modern trellising methods are used in the vineyards with clones and rootstocks varying according to soil type.

In addition, Carpineto also has 12 hectares of olive groves on the Montepulciano Estate planted to the classic Tuscan varieties of Frantoio, Moraiolo, Leccino and Pendolino that are used to produce the Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We got to taste their olive oil at the luncheon and it was delicious!

Arugula Salad with Feta and Crostini paired with Carpineto WinesPappardelle with Lamb paired with Carpineto Wines

The estate also contains an old farmhouse complex that is complete with vinification and ageing cellars that date back to the 1700's and are still in use today. Carpineto uses primarily oval Slavonian oak casks and small barrels for their ageing program. In 2010, a new state-of-the-art winery with a ventilated wooden roof and an integrated solar panel system was inaugurated to help reduce their environmental footprint.

The Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva wines comes from vineyards that are planted to a minimum of 70% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) and a maximum of 30% Canaiolo and other authorized grape varietals. It is aged for two years in large 5,500 litre Slavonian oak barrels, with a small part in French oak barrels.

In addition to tasting the lovely Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva wines, I also got to taste the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino (92 pts), 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (92 pts), and the 2015 Chianti Classico (88 pts).

Thank you very much to Univins & Spirits for the opportunity to taste these wonderful wines. Please contact Univins in order to purchase any of these wines as all were available for purchase at the time of the tasting.

EVOO Ristorante Biscotti with Carpineto Wines

Tasting Notes:

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $32.95
From an excellent vintage, this has a fragrant, medium-high to highly aromatic and complex nose of red and black cherry, oak spice, earthy, barnyard, licorice, and leathery aromas with touches of violet and some prune notes. It's medium-full bodied with structured, dusty, and fine-grained tannins. Nice aroma replays on the flavour profile, turning savoury with more dark cherry/berry notes prominent. It has juicy, mouth-watering acids and a long, structured finish. Score: 91 pts

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2015 (91 pts)Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2013 (89 pts)

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $34.95
From a demanding vintage, the shy nose offers woody, dark berry, and dark plum aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with soft, dusty textured tannins that have a touch of grippiness. It has vibrant acids and closes out with very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $32.95
From a vintage that promises excellent varietal and terroir expression, the 2012 is showing some maturity at this point, with dark berry, plum, forest floor, and hints of floral aromas, with more dark berry, earthy, and wood spice flavours showing up on the medium-full bodied palate. It has very good, balanced acidity which is supported by smooth, fine tannins that are structured with some grip. Evolving nicely with very good length on the finish. Score: 91 pts

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2012 (91 pts)Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2011 (90+ pts)

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $32.95
Medium-high intensity nose has dusty, earthy, forest floor, woodsy, dark berry, blackberry with some floral, savoury, and leather aromas that continued to evolve in the glass. The medium-full bodied has very good acidity with nicely balanced aroma replays supported by smooth, fine, dusty tannins that still have a supple grip. Stony mineral joins the currant, dark berry, and sweet spice flavours on the long finish. Score: 90+ pts

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $29.95
Lovely floral, savoury, dried cherry, and sweet baking spice aromas with savoury notes more prominent on the full-bodied palate. It's very smooth with refined tannins that still have some structure and chalky textured characters. Nicely balanced throughout with very good acidity. Excellent finish length with savoury and earthy flavours. Still quite youthful. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 92 pts

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2010 (92 pts)Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2007 (90+ pts)

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2007 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $29.95
From a hot vintage, this has a mature, medium intensity nose with savoury, leathery, barnyard, and earthy aromas with hints of floral and cherry. It's full-bodied with smooth, refined tannins and balanced acids. Nice aroma replays on the flavour profile that becomes savoury on the long finish. Still drinking quite well. Score: 90+ pts

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 1995 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $65
Colour shows some brown on the edges. Medium-high intensity nose offers some pruney, dark berry, and savoury aromas that evolves in the glass, adding lovely dried cherry and floral complexity. It's full-bodied and quite dense on the palate with very good fruit concentration and lovely aroma replays. Tannins are smooth and a touch grippy, while juicy acids are still very good. Excellent length with forest floor and savoury notes. Will continue to drink well for a few more years. Score: 92 pts

Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 1995 (92 pts)Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 1990 (93 pts)

CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 1990 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $65
The medium-high intensity, mature nose is all earthy, savoury, and nutty with subtle wood spice aromas. Full-bodied and smooth on the palate with refined tannins that are very nicely integrated. It still has fresh acids and very good fruit, showing some primary, secondary, and tertiary flavours. Prune, dried fruit, and nutty flavours linger on the long finish. Still has enough life to enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 93 pts


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  • Friday, January 31, 2020

TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec 2015 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Following up on the lovely TintoNegro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec that I enjoyed in October (and many still surprisingly available at LCBO), wine review is another lovely red wine by Argentina's TintoNegro. This lovely Malbec blend will arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves .

TintoNegro, meaning black wine in Spanish, was borne out of a long-time friendship and professional collaboration between Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach. Along with Jorge Crotta, who joined the company some years later, their goal together is to celebrate the essence of the Malbec grape which is known for its dark, blackish colour.

The TintoNegro portfolio explores the terroirs of Mendoza where Malbec thrives, gradually isolating unique vineyard sites and winemaking techniques which can showcase the heights of concentration and complexity to which Malbec can aspire.

The grapes for this particular Malbec, which also includes small amounts of Cabernet Franc, come from vineyards in the mid-Uco Valley county of Tunuyan, at the foot of the Andes mountains located to the east. The vineyards are located at 4,000 feet above sea level, within the district of Los Chacayes, with soils that are very rocky and rich in limestone.

TintoNegro Limestone Block Malbec 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

TINTONEGRO LIMESTONE BLOCK MALBEC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#404137) (XD) - $19.95
This Malbec was co-fermented with approximately 11% Cabernet Franc and aged in for 9 months in French oak barrels, only 15% new. This has a medium+ intensity nose which is stony with blackberry, spices and hints of floral and black cherry aromas. The medium-full bodied palate is fresh with lively acidity and an array of dark berry flavours like blackberry, blueberry, and black cherry that mingle with spices and touches of stony minerality. Tannins offer a supple, chalky textured mouthfeel. Stony notes linger on the long finish. A recommended buy to enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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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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