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

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  • Sunday, October 20, 2019

Tinto Negro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Review



wine review is this lovely red wine from Argentina that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on . It is also featured as the Wine of the Month in this Release and will be widely available across Ontario.

It is produced by TintoNegro, meaning black wine in Spanish meant to celebrate the essence of the Malbec grape - which is known for its dark, blackish colour. TintoNegro was born out of a long-time friendship and professional collaboration between Alejandro Sejanovich and Jeff Mausbach, colleagues at Bodega Catena Zapata for almost 15 years. In 2013, Jorge Crotta, who was also at Catena Zapata for several years, joined the partnership and is involved with the management and winemaking team.

The TintoNegro portfolio explores the terroirs of Mendoza where Mablec thrives, gradually isolating unique vineyard sites and winemaking techniques which can showcase the heights of concentration and complexity to which Malbec can aspire. In order to showcase the unique profile of each soil, TintoNegro has created a line of four single soil wines from Paraje Altamira in the southern part of the Uco Valley. Each harvest is vinified and aged in the exact same method, thus highlighting how a difference of soil (or terroir) can create a completely different wine. This La Piedra Malbec from their La Escuela property is one of the four wines. One day, I hope to have the opportunity to try their entire line.

La Escuela is a small 7.5 hectare estate vineyard located in Paraje Altamira at 4,000 feet above sea level, at the foot of the Andes mountains. It is named after the still active rural school (Escuela) that is located on the property. La Escuela has a diverse soil profile with plots of sandy (arena), silty (limo), rocky (piedra), and gravelly (grava) soils.

This particular wine comes from a small patch of rocky, limestone driven soil that is located in the middle of the vineyard, hence its name La Piedra, which also means stone in Spanish. These white stone soils with limestone deposits produce help produce a complex, spicy Malbec with black fruit flavors and minerality.

Tinto Negro Finca La Escuela La Piedra Malbec 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

TINTO NEGRO FINCA LA ESCUELA LA PIEDRA MALBEC 2016 - Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#010443) (XD) - $24.95
This has a fresh, medium+ intensity nose of blackberry, dark berry, and stony mineral notes with some spicy characters. It is medium+ bodied with ripe blackberry, mulberry, stony mineral flavours with touches of vanillin oak spice and floral. There is fresh, juicy acids, while ripe tannins are supple and smooth. Nice white pepper spice on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with lovely stony mineral, smoky, and dark berry notes. A wonderful wine to enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Friday, October 18, 2019

Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is featured as the Wine of the Month from the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release and will be on shelves across Ontario by next weekend.

Bacci Wines is the producer, and they make this fine red at their Castello di Bossi estate which is located in the southern area of the Chianti Classico zone within the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the province of Siena in Tuscany, approxaimtely 50 kilometres southeast of Florence and 14 kilometres east of Siena. This area tends to produce wines that are fuller and more structured than those from the rest of Chianti Classico, closely resembling those of Montalcino.

The name "Bossi" is apparently linked to a money chest, referred to as boxwood, which was made from a rare and prized type of wood that the Roman army would carry to its encampments to pay its soldiers. Local inscriptions on the site indicate that it was a Roman settlement as far back as the 1st century AD. In the 9th century, a noble family called the dei Berardenghi settled there and enjoyed a lengthy rule over the territories they owned, eventually withdrawing into private life and donating most of their landholdings to a church. However, they kept the property which today surrounds the castle.

At the centre of the estate is Bossi Castle. The first tower was built around the year 1099 and shows the area's early strategic importance. Around 1450, it was expanded into the 4-walled fortress that visitors can see today.

Castello di Bossi has changed hands many times over the years, and was in a slow decline until it was acquired by the Bacci family sometime after World War II. Today, the estate covers 650 hectares, of which 124 hectares are planted with vines. By employing modern viticultural practices, Castello di Bossi aims to harvest the best quality fruit year after year in order to express the best qualities of the terroir and individual grape varieties.

This red wine is made with 100% Sangiovese from soils that contain yellow clay, tuff, gravel and broken rocks, located in a vineyard 350 metres above sea level with southwest exposure. The average age of the vines is 18 years and is manually harvested.

Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASTELLO DI BOSSI C. BERARDENGA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#994608) (XD) - $22.95
100% Sangiovese that spent 6 months in oak casks. Fragrant, perfumed nose of spice, red cherry, clove and incense aromas. It is medium-full bodied and quite savoury on the palate with red cherries, chocolate, spice and some stony mineral flavours. Acids are fresh and mouthwatering while textured tannins are a touch on the grippy side. Clean, savoury, stony mineral and red cherry notes linger on the long, succulent finish. Highly recommended wine to enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 91 pts


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  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

Cave de Roquebrun Roches Noires 2016 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Australia) - Wine Review

My wine review for Thanksgiving is this Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia.

This red wine was purchased from an LCBO VINTAGES Release nearly 10 years ago to the day, back in . Of course, the 2007 vintage of this wine is no longer available for purchase, but since it is listed as a VINTAGES Essential at the LCBO, a newer vintage of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon is always available in the VINTAGES section at your local LCBO outlet. It is interesting to note that while my 2007 bottling was enclosed by cork, newer vintages of this wine, like many Australian wines these days, are enclosed by screw cap.

Margaret River is known for producing highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The region is surrounded by forest, farmland, sea, enjoying the attributes of the mild maritime climate, rich soil, and fresh winds from both the Indian and Southern Oceans. The vineyards of Margaret River are planted primarily on gravel loam soils, which combine with summer sea breezes and temperature conditions during ripening that allow the grapes to develop complex varietal characters, elegance, and strength. At 12 years from vintage, let's see how this Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is tasting tonight...

Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

RINGBOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#606624) (XD) - $19.95
Medium intensity nose has olive, green pepper, tobacco, new leather, sandalwood, and whiffs of cassis liqueur characters. It is medium-full bodied with smooth, mature, and fully resolved tannins that offer just a touch of textural grippiness. Composed earthy and savoury flavours with sandalwood spice, forest floor, green pepper, and dark berry notes with hints of tobacco. Acids are still quite juicy, while the mid-palate is a touch warming. Very good length on the long, earthy-savoury finish accented by green pepper notes. Has aged quite well. Drink soon. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, October 11, 2019

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

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

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

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

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October 12, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Cabernet Sauvignon + Rioja

LCBO Wine Picks: October 12, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme from the October 12, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features Cabernet Sauvignon wines from around the globe, while the mini-theme focuses on food-friendly wines from Rioja. All of these wines, plus those from the main release will be available on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday. If you're looking for some great wines for holiday gift-giving, you should definitely consider some of the wines from this Release.

We'll begin with the main theme that focuses on the Red Giant - Cabernet Sauvignon varietal that is grown in many regions from Bordeaux to California. There are quite a few quality wines among the thirteen featured, but only two are included among my top Cabernet Sauvignon wine recommendations from this LCBO VINTAGES Release. First up is the lovely 2010 Ségla from a blockbuster vintage and is a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaux on the left bank. The only other Cab Sauv among my wine picks is from Coonawarra in Australia. Lastly, the Château Pierre de Montignac (90 pts) came through VINTAGES in April but is also featured in this Release, so it's not listed below but is nonetheless a worthy buy.

Ségla 2010 (92 pts)Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

From the feature on wines from Rioja, five of the eight wines are included among my top wine picks, and all five are blends based on Tempranillo, the King of Spanish red wines, and range in vintage. We'll start with the oldest, a 1998 Reserva that is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo/Graciano, while the 2009 Reserva is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. There are a pair of 2012 Rioja Gran Reserva's - the Baron de Ley is mainly Tempranillo, while the Cune is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. Lastly, the 2016 Crianza is composed of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 5% Mazuelo.

Urbina Especial Reserva 1998 (92 pts)La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva 2009 (93 pts)

Cune Gran Reserva 2012 (92 pts)Barón de Ley Gran Reserva 2012 (91 pts)

Rioja Vega Crianza 2016 (88 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a Saint Chinian that is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault, while the Rhône red consists of mainly Grenache and Syrah. From Australia, the GMS consists of 55% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Shiraz, while the icon wine from Chile is a blend of 92% Carmenere and 8% Petit Verdot.

Montes Purple Angel 2016 (92 pts)M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône Grenache/Syrah 2017 (90 pts)

Calmel & Joseph Saint Chinian 2015 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the white from Veneto is a unique blend of 40% Garganega, 35% Cortese/Incrocio Manzoni, 15% Trebbianello, and 10% Trebbiano Toscano, while the Paso Robles wine is composed of 44% Viognier, 24% Marsanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 12% Roussanne. Among the single varietal wines, The Saint-Véran is made with Chardonnay, while the Muscadet is made with Melon de Bourgogne. For sweet wine lovers, the Niagara Riesling will be off-dry, while the Riesling Spätlese will be very sweet.

Monte del Frá Ca' del Magro 2016 (89 pts)Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2016 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • CALMEL & JOSEPH SAINT CHINIAN 2015 - AP, Languedoc, France (#010623) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#471854) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BELLERUCHE CÔTES DU RHÔNE GRENACHE/SYRAH 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#328831) (D) - $16.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JIM BARRY COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#677476) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SCHILD ESTATE GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE/SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#108183) (XD) - $19.95
  • CORIOLE ESTATE GROWN SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#931600) (XD) - $24.95

  • CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $28.95  92 pts  wine review
  • BARÓN DE LEY GRAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#642496) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646885) (XD) - $35.00  FE  91+ pts  wine review
  • URBINA ESPECIAL RESERVA 1998 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#010723) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LA RIOJA ALTA VIÑA ARDANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#315531) (XD) - $54.95  93 pts  wine review
  • MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2016 - DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#062364) (XD) - $62.95  92 pts  wine review
  • SÉGLA 2010 - Second wine of Château Rauzan-Ségla, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#359810) (XD) - $68.95  92 pts  wine review
Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)

White Wine:

  • LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#363150) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $19.95
  • TERRES SECRÈTES LES PRÉLUDES SAINT-VÉRAN 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#016725) (XD) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (D) - $19.95
  • MONTE DEL FRÁ CA’ DEL MAGRO 2016 - DOC Custoza Superiore, Veneto, Italy (#165670) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • RAPAURA SPRINGS WAIRAU CLASSIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#924704) (XD) - $21.95
  • KARL ERBES ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2016 - Qualitätswein, Mosel, Germany (#011721) (S) - $26.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • TABLAS CREEK CÔTES DE TABLAS BLANC 2017 - Adelaida District, Paso Robles, California, USA (#036616) (XD) - $37.95  FE
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CHARDONNAY 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#701748) (XD) - $74.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CAVES D’ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL ROSÉ 2018 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#491027) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
Caves d'Esclans Rock Angel Rosé 2018 (91 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSÉ 2013 - Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#004085) (XD) - $24.95
  • LE BRUN DE NEUVILLE GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#011131) (XD) - $85.95  92 pts  wine review
Le Brun de Neuville Grand Vintage Brut Champagne 2008 (92 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • ROYAL TOKAJI LATE HARVEST TOKAJI 2017 - PDO, Hungary (#517375) (S) (500 mL) - $21.95


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

CVNE (Spain) Wine Tasting with Maria Larrea

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

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

CVNE Wine Tasting with Winemaker María Larrea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Notes:

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

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

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

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

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 (91 pts)


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  • Friday, October 4, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Sunday, September 29, 2019

Vallobera Crianza 2005 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice red wine that I purchased from an LCBO VINTAGES Release way back in .

The tasting note in the VINTAGES magazine indicated that this Crianza could be aged until 2020. However, my research today indicates that this wine probably should have been opened 3-4 years ago. Looking at my bottle, I see there is noticeable ullage (the gap of air between the top of the wine and the cork), indicating that some oxidation has occurred. Let's see how this red wine is tasting tonight...

Vallobera Crianza 2005 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

VALLOBERA CRIANZA 2005 - DOCa, Rioja, Spain (#092429) (XD) - $19.95
This 100% Tempranillo was aged in French and American oak for 14 months. The medium intensity nose has mature dried berry, blackberry, sweet baking spice and sweet oak aromas with touches of rose floral and scorched earth adding complexity. It is medium bodied with savoury and earthy flavours along with touches of dried plum, fig, cigar box, and sweet spice. Mature tannins have a slightly grippy, drying texture. More earthy, tobacco, and savoury notes on the long, juicy finish. Enjoyable, but drink now if you have a bottle. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Friday, September 20, 2019

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia that will be coming to the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Wakefield Wines, which is owned and operated by the Taylor family that believes great wines are made in the vineyard. This particular red wine comes from their Estate line of wines which are crafted with care, seek to capture the essence of the vineyard site, and the pure varietal expression of the grape.

The fruit for this wine was harvested from the Taylor family estate vineyard in Clare Valley and was fermented in the winery's original "Potter" fermenters which allow for excellent control of skin maceration, colour, and tannin extraction. After gently pressing the wine into French oak barrels for completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine was matured for 12 months in mostly used barrels prior to blending and bottling.

Like the 2017 Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay that I enjoyed in July, this bottle also has a touch-activated temperature sensor on the back label that will tell you the ideal temperature to drink this wine.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (D) - $19.95
Screw cap. This has a medium intensity nose that is herbally, minty, and green, surrounding a core of cassis and blackberry notes. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with more minty green flavours mingling with blackberry, cassis, wood spice, and sweet tobacco flavours. It has food-friendly acidity and soft, supple tannins that offer a touch of grip. Earthy and oak spice notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Score: 88 pts


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  • Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

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

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

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

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

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Monday, September 9, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Destino Fifth Empire Red Blend 2015 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Friday, September 6, 2019

Red Tractor Wines (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

Tasting Notes:

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

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

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


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  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

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

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

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

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

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

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Monday, August 26, 2019

Château Hauchat 2016 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

I tasted the 2011 Château Hauchat nearly 4 years ago, and I opened the 2016 vintage of the same wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Vignobles Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils at the Hauchat property that is located on a high plateau in the commune of Saint-Aignan, to the west of of neighbouring Pomerol and Saint Émilion in Bordeaux, France. The vineyard of Château Hauchat is facing south and southwest, ensuring ideal sunshine and perfect drainage conditions, while the terroir is very homogeneous with its clay-limestone soils. Lastly, they only grow one grape varietal at Château Hauchat - Merlot.

The Saby family has been making wine in the region for eight generations, combining century-old knowledge with the advantages of modern viticulture. Today, it is owned by brothers Jean Christophe and Jean Philippe who continue the family tradition and hope to pass it along their own children one day.

Château Hauchat 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT 2016 - AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (#123489) (XD) - $17.95
This 100% Merlot was aged for 15 months in an equal parts new, 1 year old, and 2 year old barrels. Enticing and complex, this has medium+ intensity aromas of spice mingling with ripe dark berry fruit, wood, and hints of vanilla and plum. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark berry, currant, cedar oak, and spice flavours. Acids are juicy while the ripe tannins are quite chalky and a bit tight at the moment. Dark berry, clove spice, and wood linger on the finish, with very good length. I would cellar this for 2 years and enjoy into the mid-20's. Score: 88 pts


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  • Friday, August 16, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

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

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

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

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

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Monday, August 5, 2019

Nederburg The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine review is this casual, fairly easy-drinking Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. It was opened on as the 2017 vintage recently arrived at the LCBO and is widely available throughout Ontario.

The story of Nederburg begins in 1791, when Philippus Wolvaart bought a farm that lay between the Berg and Palmiet rivers for 5600 guilder. Philippus was a man of courage and vision, as well as love for winemaking. With his wife, Margaretha, they nurtured the land together to build a strong foundation on which the success of Nederburg flourished.

Today, Nederburg is one of South Africa’s most awarded wineries, with a prize-winning pedigree that stems from a culture of innovation and disciplined attention to detail. Their portfolio consists of many different lines of wines.

The Winemasters range of wines consist of varietal offerings and named to honour the Paarl winery's long-established tradition of winemaking excellence. These classically styled, food-friendly wines have abundant fruit flavours, elegance and finesse, while treasuring the integrity of the grape in every step of the winegrowing and winemaking process. Every drop aims to demonstrate a commitment to vineyard and cellar skills.

Nederburg The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

NEDERBURG THE WINEMASTERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#111526) (D) - $13.95
The medium intensity nose is herbaceous with green pepper, red and black fruit aromas that are layered on top of cassis, oak spice notes. The medium+ bodied palate has herbally, ripe currant, and dark plum flavours, along with subtle oak spice characters. Acids are balanced while tannins are soft and supple. Finish length is very good. Score: 87 pts


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  • Monday, July 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

For A Song Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2017 Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône that I enjoyed last week, red wine review is a new, lovely wine from the same producer that is also arriving as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Xavier Vins is the creation of notable renowned wine consultant Xavier Vignon. He began his work as a consultant in 1996 and over time developed a profound knowledge of terroirs in the Rhône Valley. The 34 grape harvests around the world, mentors, winegrowers' friendships, and exceptional memory have all shaped Xavier's style and identity.

He works with various domaines in the southern Rhône Valley, including Raymond Usseglio, La Nerthe, Marcoux, Gardine, Jerome Quiot, Beaurenard, Mont Redon, Maucoil, Roger Perrin, and Grand Veneur, while also developing his own, self-named brand - Xavier Vignon.

This red wine hails from Ventoux appellation, a wine region in the southern Rhône Valley that I had the pleasure of visiting last May.

Xavier Vignon Ventoux 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

XAVIER VIGNON VENTOUX 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#413211) (XD) - $16.95
Blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre. The Grenache was aged in tank, while the other varietals were aged in barrel. Generous aromas offer spicy red and blackberry fruit with hints of pepper and smoky-flinty minerality. It is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced and spicy aroma replays that are supported by vibrant acidity. More minerally on the mid-palate plus touches of purple fruit. Tannins are soft, supple, and finely textured. Dark berry and mineral notes linger on the long finish. I really like the mineral aspect of this Ventoux red wine. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts


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