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

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  • Friday, July 10, 2020

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge 2015 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Pinot Noir from one of my favourite producers of Sancerre that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - with plenty still available for purchase throughout the province.

It is made by Jean-Max Roger, a family-owned winery that comes from a long line of winegrowers from the village of Bué dating back to the early 17th century. Jean-Max Roger took over from his parents in the early 1970's, and in 2004, two of his three sons, Etienne and Thibault, returned to the estate after working abroad. His third son, Xavier, has a passion for wine and works in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Today, the estate covers 26 hectares in the Sancerre AOC, all located along the Loire River.

The name "La Grange Dîmière" refers to one of Bué's ancient tithe barns. The ancestors of Jean-Max Roger used this barn for making their wine and today it remains the oldest part of the winery. This Sancerre Rouge is made with Pinot Noir grapes grown in the villages of Bué, Sancerre, and Amigny, on flint and limestone soils called Caillottes & Terres Blanches (Kimmeridgian marls) with south western and south eastern exposures. The vines are 25 to 40 years old and tended to using organic principles, handpicked and sorted, then fermented using natural yeast. Approximately 20-30% of the wine was aged in 300 L oak barrels, while the remainder was aged in stainless steel tanks where it underwent malolactic fermentation, with a total ageing time of 10 to 15 months. I recall enjoying the 2013 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge a couple of years ago and am expecting this vintage to be even better due to the legendary quality of the 2015 Loire vintage.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rouge 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROUGE 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#539858) (XD) - $29.95
From the great 2015 vintage, this Pinot Noir has a pretty, pale ruby colour and the medium-high intensity nose leads with stony-smoky minerality, followed by red berry, cherry, and currant aromas, with subtle florals. It is light-to-medium bodied on the spicy, red fruited, cherry, and currant palate with elegantly structured tannins. Acids are nice and fresh, while the stony-smoky mineral notes come to the fore on the long, juicy finish. Enjoy over the next 4-5 years. Score: 91 pts

Other wines from the fabulous Jean-Max Roger collection can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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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 25, 2020

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (Campania) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine made with Aglianico from Campania. This bottle was so popular when it arrived in VINTAGES in May 2019 that the LCBO decided to bring it back for another round this year. As such, this Aglianico is coming to the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Nativ, a winery founded in Campania in 2008 and focused on making typical wines of the region. Each wine from Nativ has a unique character - produced through the use of innovative winemaking techniques, while also respecting tradition. The grapes are grown on their own lands which are known for their particular fertility thanks to the presence of volcanic soils, extending for about 15 hectares between Paternopoli and Taurasi. In particular, the grapes Nativ focuses on are Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, Aglianico, and Aglianico of Taurasi.

The Aglianico grape was introduced to Campania by the Greeks along the Tyrrhenian coast (the western coast of Italy) sometime around the 6th or 7th century B.C. It is one of Italy's oldest grape verieties. The grapes for this Aglianico come from within the town and commune of Paternopoli, which is in the province of Avellino in Campania. They were grown on hilly soils of predominantly volcanic and clay-limestone, rich in minerals, at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level.

I've enjoyed other wines from Nativ previously, including most recently their 2018 Nativ Greco di Tufo, and am sure this will also be delightful. Let's see how it is tasting tonight...

Nativ Rue dell'Inchiostro Aglianico 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

NATIV RUE DELL'INCHIOSTRO AGLIANICO 2017 - IGT Campania, Italy (#631606) (D) - $19.95
This Aglianico was raised completely in tank, followed by a short time in bottle prior to release. The medium+ intensity aromas are fresh and fruity with inky dark fruit, dark berry, and sweet spice flavours flecked with black pepper and savoury undertones. It is medium-full bodied on the slightly sweet palate with delicious ripe dark berry fruit flavours with some raisin, savoury, and peppery spice notes adding interest. Acids are fresh and lively while tannins are refined and dusty. Fruity with subtle savoury mineral notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

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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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  • Saturday, May 30, 2020

Cave de Tain L'Hermitage Cornas Arènes Sauvages 2005 (Rhône) - Wine Review

For wine review, I was going through my cellar and found this nugget that I acquired back in . Looking back on my tasting note from 2013, I mentioned that it would hold for another 5 years, so I am now 2 years beyond and hoping that this beautiful Cornas Syrah is still drinkable.

Founded in 1933, Cave de Tain is a pioneer and leader in the northern Rhône with its prestigious cru wines, sustainable viticulture, and conservation of their unique varieties. Knowledge has been passed down over four generations of winegrowers and today they are led by a team of young winemakers who have a desire to craft wines that express the diverse terroirs. Cave de Tain is recognized today as a jewel in the crown of the northern Rhône Valley.

Cave de Tain is located between Valence and Lyon, laying at the foot of the Hermitage hillside. Cornas - meaning "burnt earth" in Celtic - is a cru located little south of the winery, on the right bank of the Rhône River on the border of the northern Rhône Valley, and is one of 5 cru wines that Cave de Tain produces.

There is evidence that winemaking existed in Cornas dating back to the 10th century. The first terraces and "chaillées" (or walls) go back even further to the times of the Romans. In 1938, Cornas was awarded AOC status. Today, the vineyards in Cornas are abrupt, south-facing slopes that form a natural amphitheatre, protecting the vines from cold winds. This unique location also means that the Syrah grapes ripen early and are the first to be harvested in the northern part of Côtes du Rhône. The soil in Cornas is mainly made up of decomposed granite, resulting in clayey and sandy surfaces, while the foothills of the steep slopes are rich in clay. Cornas is one of the smallest appellations of the Rhône Valley, and all wines from this cru must be made with 100% Syrah.

This wine has showed up in LCBO VINTAGES previously, but newer vintages are more frequently found at the SAQ in Quebec. The agents representing this wine are Noble Estates Wines & Spirits in Ontario and Divin Paradis in Quebec. Let's see how this 15 year old red wine is tasting tonight...

Cave de Tain L'Hermitage Cornas Arènes Sauvages 2005 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE TAIN L'HERMITAGE CORNAS ARÈNES SAUVAGES 2005 - AC, Rhône, France (#11099552) (XD) - $51.50
This northern Rhône Syrah was grown on steep terraces with granitic sand and aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Pours deep garnet colour. Fragrant, perfumed nose is full of savoury, leathery, and sweet spice aromas along with touches of dried berry, plum, and violet notes. It's savoury on the medium+ bodied palate with more leathery, spice, and dried berry flavours. Mature, supple tannins have nicely integrated while acids still have some zip. Some warmth on the mid-palate continues through to the long, savoury, spiced, and a touch gamey finish, with excellent length. A joy to sip. Drink now. Score: 90 pts

Tasting note from 2013:

Lovely meaty, dark fruit aromas waft from the glass. On the palate it has purple fruited, oak, and dark fruit flavours with touches of raisiny characters. Long and smooth on the finish with hints of violet throughout. It has chalky tannins and could still be aged another 5 years. Score: 91 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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  • Thursday, May 14, 2020

LAN Crianza 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Rioja from Spain that is a VINTAGES Essentials product and widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario. It is also available for online ordering with the option to pick-up in-store or have it delivered to your nearest Canada Post office.

As of 2012, Bodegas LAN (which takes its name from the three provinces that make up Rioja - Logroño, Alava, and Navarra) became part of the Sogrape group of wines, but it was founded in 1972 and has over 108 hectares of vineyards in Rioja and Rias Baixas and wine production facilities in both regions. The main vineyard is their historic 72 hectare Viña Lanciano that sits along the Ebro River and on the border between Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is a privileged location that is sheltered by the Cantabria Mountains, creating different microclimates in each of its 22 parcels, and where they respect the logical balance of nature through sustainable vine growing.

This red wine is the most famous from Bodegas LAN and best reflects their innovations in barrel ageing. With this wine two decades ago, they started using hybrid oak barrels that have French oak bases and American oak staves that contribute a unique mix of characters to the wine. The grapes for this wine come from selected vineyards in the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa, where the age of the vines are between 10 and 20 years and raised on chalky-clay soils that are located on well-drained slopes with good sun exposure.

LAN Crianza 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAN CRIANZA 2016 - DOC Rioja, Spain (#166538) (XD) - $16.95
This Tempranillo was aged for 14 months in hybrid oak barrels and delivers a fragrant and nicely balanced savoury, earthy nose that mingles with sandalwood oak spice, red cherry, and dark berry aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with lovely savoury, sandalwood, and cherry flavour replays, plus some coconut notes. Acids are juicy and well-balanced, while smooth tannins are dry and dusty. Earthy and savoury notes linger on the long finish. Recommended buy. Score: 89 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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  • Sunday, April 19, 2020

13th Street Gamay 2018 (Niagara) - Wine Review

red wine review is the latest Gamay from 13th Street Winery in Niagara. I was first introduced to this winery's Gamay nine years ago when I enjoyed their 2008 13th Street Gamay Noir that showed up in LCBO VINTAGES in .

The 2008 vintage would've been current owners John & June Mann's and Doug & Karen Whitty's first vintage as they purchased 13th Street Winery in September of that year, right around harvest time. 13th Street Winery evolved from a desire to create exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara, while also providing a place for guests to congregate and escape, to relax and discover, and to experience and learn. I have tasted many 13th Street wines over the years and have visited the winery on a number of occasions - always leaving with a smile.

Winemaker Jean Pierre Colas is one of Niagara's champions of Gamay and is known for producing some fine examples and 13th Street Winery has a few Gamay's in their portfolio. Including this wine, there is also the fine Whitty Vineyard Gamay and Sandstone Vineyard Gamay - both are lovely wines. The grapes for this particular Gamay are from select Niagara Peninsula vineyards, with harvest taking place in late September and early October, and vinified separately. The 2018 vintage was hot and humid, but luckily, the rains started in September and a freshened the grapes. Unfortunately, the rains did not stop and put pressure to pick early ripening reds, like Gamay, before disease set in. This meant that the grapes were sorted in the vineyard, as well as on the sorting table to ensure only pristine bunches were kept. The result was intense ripness of the grapes, but with lower yields. After fermentation in tanks, the wines were kept separate until the final blending and bottling which occurred in early June 2019.

This Gamay is a VINTAGES Essential listing at the LCBO and is always available at LCBO outlets across Ontario. In VINTAGES, the 2018 vintage should be on shelves soon - if not already. Having said that, this delicious red wine is available for purchase at the winery via Porch Pickup or contact-less delivery. As an added bonus, 13th Street is currently offering free shipping on any wine purchase (with no minimums!) for deliveries in Ontario. Simply use promo code FREE when you place your order.

13th Street Gamay 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

13TH STREET GAMAY 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#177824) (XD) - $19.95
Fermented with minimal intervention and raised entirely in stainless steel tanks. Screw cap enclosure. This Gamay has a lovely dark plum, cherry, blackberry, and gentle spice nose with some savoury earthy characters and just a touch of floral. It's light-to-mid-weighted on the palate with light tannins and fresh acidity framing the spice, cherry, and red currant, and plum flavours. Nicely textured and well-balanced with very good length on the earthy-savoury finish. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts

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  • Friday, April 17, 2020

Budureasca Premium Fetească Neagră 2016 (Romania) - Wine Review

wine review is an early sneak preview of a red wine from Romania that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Budureasca is located in central-southeastern Romania and was inaugurated in 2013. It is one of the newest and largest wineries in Dealu Mare region. However, the Dealu Mare vineyard is an oasis of peace in the sunny hills and is an ancient place with deep roots in the history and culture of wine. Archaeological evidence found nearby suggests that this place has a particularly rich tradition of winemaking since the time of the Dacians or even their ancestors, the ancient Thracians.

The area includes numerous hills and valleys, from the Teleajen river in the west and up to the Buzau river in the east. The hilly massif, with its southern position, is an ideal place for growing vines. The Budureasca vineyards have an altitude between 175 metres and 400 metres and the area is favourable for growing both black and white grapes.

This particular wine is made with the Fetească Neagră (Black Maiden in English) varietal, an old pre-phylloxera black grape of Romanian-Moldovan origin that is still cultivated today in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The grapes for this red wine come from vines more than 30 years old and were fermented in stainless steel tanks, followed by partial ageing in oak barrels for 5 months.

Budureasca Premium Fetească Neagră 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BUDUREASCA PREMIUM FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ 2016 - DOC-CMD Dealu Mare, Romania (#263913) (XD) - $15.95
100% Fetească Neagră from 30+ year old vines, 50% of which was aged in oak barrels for 5 months. Fresh, clean, medium+ nose of cherries, blackberry, bramble, and oak spice aromas. It is medium+ bodied and dry on the palate with soft, rounded tannins and flavours of dark berry, cherry, and wood spice. Acids are very good, while oak spice notes linger on the long finish, if a touch warming. A worthy exploration of Black Maiden. Score: 87 pts

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  • Friday, April 3, 2020

Pascual Toso Malbec 2017 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Malbec from Argentina that is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

It is produced by Bodegas Toso, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries of Argentina. Pascual Toso left his hometown of Canale D’Alba, in Piamonte, Italy and set forth towards Argentina in the mid-1880's. Being closely involved in the development of the family wine business in Piedmont, he saw a promising future for winemaking in Mendoza, settling in the region and using his expertise to establish his first winery in 1890.

Pascual Toso expanded his business at the beginning of the 20th century by acquiring vineyards in Maipú, and at his “Las Barrancas” estate, he built another winery dedicated to producing and growing the finest grapes. With a passion for making quality wines, they continue to remain faithful to it's principles of tradition, authenticity, and innovation.

As part of the "Everything is Coming Up Orange this Summer" promotion, each bottle of this Malbec comes with a neck tag that includes a Balsamic Salmon Kebab recipe. For other fine recipes to pair with this Malbec, please visit

Pascual Toso Malbec 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

PASCUAL TOSO MALBEC 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#35170) (XD) - $14.95
The medium intensity nose offers dark berry, blackberry, black cherry, and violet aromas mingling with oak spice notes. It is medium+ bodied and a touch fleshy on the palate with flavours of dark berry, blackberry, and oak spice flavours supported by fresh, lively acidity. Tannins are soft and well-integrated with a slightly dry, chalky textured mouthfeel. Dark berry, oak, and milk chocolate notes linger on the dry finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Balsamic Salmon Kebab Recipe

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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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  • Saturday, March 28, 2020

Scattered Earth Bush Vine Cinsault 2018 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious, wallet-friendly, and intriguing Cinsault from South Africa that will arrive in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Scattered Earth is a relatively new brand of wines - launched within the last couple of years - and created by South Africa's co-operative - KWV. The Scattered Earth brand follows the learnings of The Mentors brand. With Mentors, the story is about innovation and experimentation, along with regionality. The exciting new winemakers created a micro-winery within KWV, and used what they learned about The Mentors line to create a range of Scattered Earth wines that are still regionally specific, and created on a fairly small scale, but bigger than Mentors so that they could be produced in larger quantities.

Cinsault is one of the parent grapes of the hybrid Pinotage, and it is uncommon to find Cinsault on its own in a bottle of wine. The grapes for this Cinsault come from Bush Vines, a system of perfectly straight rows of uniform height and short trunks. The Bush Vines are free-standing and best-suited to low-vigour vineyards in hot, drier climates, such as those found in the Western Cape in South Africa. Bush Vines tend to produce smaller crops with smaller berries that have thicker skins, resulting in much more concentrated colour and flavours. Let's see how this straight Cinsault is tasting tonight...

Scattered Earth Bush Vine Cinsault 2018 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

SCATTERED EARTH BUSH VINE CINSAULT 2018 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#13350) (XD) - $12.95
Aged in oak for 8-10 months and enclosed by screw cap. Fresh, fruity nose of red berry, raspberry, cherry notes with floral, violet, and some rustic earthiness, dried herb and spice notes that add intrigue. It is medium-full bodied with impressive concentration on the palate. Ripe flavours of red berry, raspberry, cherry, and strawberry give way to rustic earthy and smoky wood spice notes. It has juicy acidity, while medium level tannins are well-integrated and have some structure. Nicely balanced with earthy, wood spice and touches of dark chocolate on the finish, with very good length. Would pair nicely with lamb burgers. Score: 88 pts

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  • Sunday, March 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Note:

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

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  • Friday, March 20, 2020

Lakeview Cellars Malbec 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

While I'm practising self-isolation and social distancing, wine review is a lovely Malbec from Niagara... yes, you read that right!

Lakeview Cellars was founded in 1991 by Eddy Gurinskas. Today, Lakeview Cellars is the oldest label that forms the group of brands from Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Niagara's Diamond Estates.

Malbec is not commonly grown in Niagara, so I was delightfully surprised to find this delicious wine while visiting Lakeview Wine Co. back in January. This Malbec is produced using grapes from a small, single vineyard called the Southshore Vineyards that is located in the Niagara Lakeshore sub-appellation in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The small block of 1.5 acres has sandy loam soils and is situated on a relatively flat piece of land, with a gentle slope right on the shores of Lake Ontario, ensuring uninterrupted sunlight exposure. Malbec ripens at roughly the same time as Merlot, thus requiring a fairly long growing season. The grape for this vintage were harvested beginning in late October, then fermented in 5,000 L tank, then aged in Hungarian oak barrels (new and older) for 18-24 months.

The 2017 Malbec (which winemaker Tom Green tells me is" dynamite") was just bottled last month and I expect it to hit shelves next month. Meanwhile, this lovely 2016 continues to be available at the winery can be ordered online with free shipping over $50 throughout the month with promo code MARCH. You can order this and a bottle of the 2017 Lakeview Cellars Fumé Blanc and have them shipped to your door for free.

Lakeview Cellars Malbec 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS MALBEC 2016 - Southshore Vineyards, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
The medium-high intensity nose offers sweet, ripe red fruits of plum, raspberry, and cherry aromas that are nuanced with stony mineral, smoky, and white pepper notes. The palate is medium-bodied with smooth, well-integrated tannins and food-friendly acidity. Some stewed cherry, black cherry, blackberry flavours come through on the flavour profile, along with smoky and peppery spice notes. Earthy, dark plum, and dark berry notes linger on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 1-2 years. 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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