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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

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  • Sunday, September 16, 2018

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review



wine review is a lovely rosé that I picked up while visiting the winery in Rhône Valley back in .

Château Mourgues du Grès is a family-owned, certified organic winery located in Beaucaire, on the slopes of Costières de Nîmes and nestled between vineyards, orchards, and heath. Their terroir is quite rich and made up of the rounded stones (grès) and lies on argilo-calcerous marl, which help the vines draw moisture from greater depths. The stony alluvium was transported from the Alps by the glacier of the Rhône in the quaternary era (nearly 2 million years ago) and imparts miinerality, balance and freshness to the wines. The area is also nurtured by the influences of the Rhône river and the Mediterranean Sea.

The winery is committed to preserving the environment by being mindful of nature and respect for their terroir. The vineyards are maintained and kept fertile by sheep grazing and cover crops to prevent erosion and promote biodiversity. Since 2015, wines have been vinified without the use of sulphur, except for a small amount during bottling to ensure stability of the wine.

Vigneron François Collard returned to the family estate in 1990 and produced his first bottling in 1993. He strives to reveal the purity of fruit, freshness, aromas, and balance between the richness and minerality of every wine he produces, including this delightful rosé.

For availability in Ontario, please contact Brand New Day Wines & Spirits.

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS FLEUR D'EGLANTINE 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - €7.5
Mostly Grenache and Mourvèdre, with a dash of Syrah. Vague notions of spring flower and grapefruit from the cork. In the glass, this has delicate aromas of grapefruit and rhubarb with a fine mineral underpinning, and hints of strawberry. It's medium-full bodied on the clean, fresh palate with nicely dry grapefruit and rhubarb flavours. Fresh acids are nicely balanced. A fine salty mineral note and some spiciness arrives mid-palate and continues through to the long, juicy finish. Best with a light chill. Score: 88+ pts


Friday, September 7, 2018

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  • Friday, September 7, 2018

Marqués de Caceres Rosado 2017 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice rosado (a.k.a. rosé) from Spain that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

The story of Marqués de Cáceres begins its roots in 1920, when Enrique Forner's grandfather and father founded Vinícola Forner - a small family business devoted to producing wine. Enrique worked in the wine trade as a boy and, after being exiled to France during the Civil War, he founded a similar business in France in 1952. Eventually, he returned to Spain and founded Marqués de Cáceres in 1970. He has been part of an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade now for five generations, including his daughter, Cristina Forner, who manages the winery today.

In the 1990s, the trend for innovation continued as young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration. Michel Rolland, the most influential enologist in Bordeaux at the time, was brought on as an adviser. Marqués de Cáceres and Michel were united in their obsession to produce quality wines.

Today, Marqués de Cáceres has the leading Rioja in Spain and exports their wines to more than 120 countries around the globe, including delicious wines such as this Rosado in Ontario, Canada.

Marqués de Caceres Rosado 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CACERES ROSADO 2017 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#622142) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 96% Tempranillo and 4% Garnacha Tinta from 15-20-year old vines grown on mainly clay and limestone. Screw cap. This has a medium+ intensity nose with herbally and red currant aromas surrounded by a core of red cherry, strawberry, and watermelon notes. The crunchy palate is a touch honeyed, yet dry, and offers more cherry, strawberry, and watermelon flavours on a medium+ bodied frame. It has food-friendly acids, while the finish length is very good. Score: 87 pts


Sunday, September 2, 2018

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  • Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wine Reviews from August 5, 2018 Birthday Party

Wine Line-up for Aug. 5 Birthday Party

Last month, we held a birthday party for my toddler daughter and a few of her close friends. And for the adults - there was wine!

The dry rosé was easily the most popular wine at the party, while the Riesling and Shiraz were a close second. All three wines are fairly recent releases to VINTAGES, so you should be able to pick up a bottle at your local LCBO. Full wine reviews are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
Glass enclosure. The medium+ intensity nose has appealing aromas of grapefruit, citrus, spring meadow and herbally notes. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has clean and crisp acids with nice texture. Herbally and grapefruit flavours on the dry flavour profile. Touch honeyed, with some bitterness on the long finish. Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Enjoy over the next 18 months. Part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection and released as part of the May 12 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
Screw cap. Lovely limestone mineral and petrol aromas mingle with white peach and citrus. It's medium-sweet with nicely balanced acids and flavours with white peach, orange zest, citrus, and green apple flavours with hints of mineral. Tart fruited, lip-smacking finish, with very good length. July 21 LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 89 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Full wine review here.

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (88+ pts)


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

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  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lavau Tavel Rosé 2017 (Rhône) - Wine Review

lovely wine is a new release that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This rosé wine is produced by the Lavau family that has been involved in winemaking for several generations and settled in the Rhône Valley in 1964. Today, brothers Frederic and Benoit Lavau are rapidly building a reputation for excellent, value-oriented and critically-acclaimed wines which embody their savoir-faire and respect of terroir, including the many Lavau wines I've enjoyed over the years.

The vines producing this rosé average 30 years old and are located on the slopes of the right bank of the River Rhône, between the famous Pont d'Avignon and the Pont du Gard bridges. The soil type consists of sand, marly-limestone, and pebbles. Grapes are harvested at night (to keep the grapes cool) and are immediately pressed and transferred into stainless steel vats to undergo slow fermentation.

Lavau Tavel Rosé 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#556175) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of 50% Grenache, 45% Cinsault, and 5% Syrah. Fresh strawberry and raspberry with herbally hints from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose featuring pretty aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry, and cherry notes sprinkled with herbs. It's medium-full bodied and somewhat structured on the palate with vibrant, juicy acids that gains body in the mouth. The dry flavour profile is clean and richly concentrated with cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavours. Nice chalky texture. Hints of cran-cherry on the lingering finish. Score: 89 pts


Friday, August 17, 2018

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  • Friday, August 17, 2018

Château La Négly La Natice Rosé 2017 (Midi) - Wine Review

I enjoyed the 2016 Château La Négly La Natice Rosé last year and am pleased to see the lovely 2017 vintage come to LCBO VINTAGES on .

wine review is a lovely dry rosé that is produced by Château de la Negly. The winery is located in the Languedoc, overlooking the Mediterranean. The unique geographical location of the winery allows a synergy of the elements to take place - stroked by sea spray, and buffeted between the Tramontane (strong, cold winds from the north) and the sea wind, the land is bathed under the hot, Mediterranean sun that captures the heat which warms up the berries. The grapes for this rosé come from silty, sandy soils dating from the Miocene period (5 to 23 million years old) and face the Mediterranean sea.

Several families have managed the Domaine over the years. Today, it is the Paux-Rosset family that manages the vineyards and winery with the help of consultant oenologist and friend, Claude Gros. The winemaking process at Château La Négly is entirely focused on creating wines of quality and distinction, such as this gastronomic rosé wine.

Château La Négly La Natice Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU LA NÉGLY LA NATICE ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#492199) (XD) - $24.95
Mostly Mourvèdre with some Syrah and Cinsault completing the blend. Made using the saignée method and aged in tank on fine lees for 6 months. Glass enclosure. The medium intensity nose is spicy, herbally, and citrusy with hints of cherry and melon, and mineral undertones. It's medium bodied on the dry palate with melon, tart citrus, garrigue and spice flavours supported by crisp, vibrant acids that are nicely balanced. Very good flavour intensity. Spiced, juicy mid-palate. Nice mineral notes linger on the long finish. Give it a slight chill enjoy to 2019. Score: 90 pts


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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  • Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wine Reviews - June 24 Birthday Party

Wine Lineup for June 24, 2018 Birthday Party

On , we threw a birthday party at Bombay Touch in Thornhill for my son who just turned a year old. I brought in my own wines for the occasion, spanning a fairly wide range of categories so that each guest could find at least one wine that would appeal to their palate. Wines styles included a dry rosé, a dry white wine, a sweet white wine, and a variety of dry red wines. The most popular wines were the Mencía, the rosé, and the Riesling.

All of the wines are fairly recent additions to VINTAGES and should still be available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Wines reviews of each of the wines are posted below.

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Pale pink colour much the same as Provence. Lovely, highly aromatic, bright and fresh aromas of mineral, white grapefruit, and lemon citrus. The palate is dry with complex white grapefruit, orange peel, herbs, and mineral with hints of lemon, on a medium-full bodied frame and lifted with crisp, vibrant acidity. Nicely balanced throughout with hints of strawberry and cherry flavours. Excellent finish length with lemony nuances. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017 (91 pts)

TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with grassy, lemon/lime, pear, flinty mineral, and hints of herbal and stone fruits. It has a dry, medium+ body palate with a nice, slightly chalky texture and balanced aroma replays. Balanced acids with a touch viscous mouthfeel on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with nice mineral notes. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Tahbilk Marsanne 2017 (89 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
Screw cap. Wow. Highly aromatic and pretty aromas of peach and orange which give way to ripe apple, mineral and hints of petrol. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good fruit concentration and medium sweet flavours that are nicely balanced and mimic the aroma profile. High acids are crisp and provide a lip-smacking, long finish with just a touch of sourness. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
Full review here.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)Marrenon Versant Nord Luberon 2015 (88+ pts)

MARRENON VERSANT NORD LUBERON 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#537969) (XD) - $15.95
A single vineyard blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The medium-high intensity aromas offer complex blackberry, dark currant, pepper, and meaty aromas with some savoury and dark cherry notes as well. On the medium-full bodied, crunchy palate, it has plummy, blueberry, and dark berry flavours, plus savoury hints of oak spice and peppery notes. Vibrant acids and supple tannins with a touch of grip add to the character of this wine, while the finish length is very good. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88+ pts

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Full review here.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)Gancedo Xestal Mencía 2010 (90 pts)

GANCEDO XESTAL MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#553743) (XD) - $17.95
From 60+ year old vines, this maturing Mencía has a gorgeous, highly aromatic nose offering a pretty bouquet of red cherry, raspberry, red floral, and sweet oak spice. It's full bodied with fine, dusty tannins providing some grip, and very appealing aroma replays, plus some baking spice and cinnamon, and earthy/savoury elements on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy. Touch warming on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts


Saturday, July 21, 2018

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  • Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cantalici (Tuscany) Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi

Cantalici Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi
Last , I had the pleasure of tasting the wines from Tuscany's Cantalici Winery with Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini at Mangia et Bevi in the eastern end of downtown Toronto.

After everyone arrived, we sat down at the long, communal-style dinner table and Angela and Carlo began telling us about their winery and taking us through the wines with course from the delicious 4-course meal, eventually ending the night with some Vin Santo.

The winery, L'Antica Fornace di Ridolfo, was formed by Carlo and his brother Daniele in Castagnoli, a small medieval hamlet close to the village of Gaiole in Chianti. It was named after an ancient kiln that was built in the 16th century by a wealthy Florentine family, and the kiln was preserved and integrated into the winery when Carlo and Daniele purchased the property in the late 1990's. Today, the estate has three properties in different areas of Chianti spread out over 90 hectares of hand-harvested vineyards, at altitudes from 300 to 450 metres above sea level.

The most interesting wine of the night was the 2012 Chianti Classico as it really blossomed over the course of the evening.

Thank you to AMV-Whiz for the invitation and hosting this event. It was a lovely evening with fine wines, delicious food, and very good conversation. You may find these wines at the LCBO, but can otherwise contact AMV-Whiz for availability.

Cantalici Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini

Tasting Notes:

CANTALICI PETALI ORGANIC ROSÉ 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#314004) (XD) - $18.15
100% Sangiovese. Medium intensity nose that has attractive herbal, strawberry and citrus notes. It's dry on the structured palate with balanced acids and a touch glycerin like texture. The mid-palate is spiced and finishes with blood orange and strawberry flavours, with good length. Score: 87 pts

Cantalici Petali Organic Rosé 2016 (87 pts)

CANTALICI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#314012) (XD) - $25.15
A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, quite shy initially, but eventually opens up beautifully with cinnamon, clove, sweet oak spice, dark cherry and rose flowers, all of which come through in spades on the medium-bodied palate with nicely integrated tannins and very good acidity. It has a medium-long finish. Give this a short decant (1 hour) prior to serving and drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 90 pts

Cantalici Chianti Classico 2012 (90 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico 2013 (88 pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315795) (XD) - $25.15
100% Sangiovese. This has a medium+ intensity nose in a (new) wood and dark profile with dark berry/cherry, blackberry and oak spice aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with tannins a touch chalky. This has nice aroma replays that are oak influenced with clove and sweet oak spices. Acids are fresh and the finish length is very good. Still young, should improve in 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

CANTALICI MESSER RIDOLFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315787) (XD) - $33.60
This 100% Sangiovese is named after the 1st owner of the property and who was also mayor of the town. It has a medium-high intensity nose with red berry, cherry, and subtle oak spices. The palate is richly concentrated with more dark cherry, berry and oak spices. Tannins are well-integrated, acids are juicy and the finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Cantalici Messer Ridolfo Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 (89 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico Riserva 2012 (90+ pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#541078) (XD) - $35.95
100% Sangiovese from vines planted 500 metres above sea-level, this has medium-high intensity aromas of sweet oak spice, floral, and dark berries. It is full-bodied and richly structured with smooth tannins and lovely aroma replays. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Has the stuffing to age 10 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90+ pts


Sunday, July 1, 2018

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  • Sunday, July 1, 2018

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (Loire) - Wine Review

lovely wine is the latest rosé from Jean-Max Roger and will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Having enjoyed the 2016 Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé in , I am expecting a wine of similarly high-quality from this very good, reliable Loire producer.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $27.95
Direct pressed 100% Pinot Noir, and then cold settled for between 48 and 72 hours. Citrus, peach and melon aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has clean, fresh aromas of citrus, strawberry, melon, tropical fruit with hints of mineral and red berry, with very good intensity. The palate is medium-full bodied and dry, leading with fine saline minerality joined by citrus, melon, tropical fruit and hints of strawberry flavours. Acids are tart, crisp, very juicy, and lip-smackingly fresh. Finely balanced throughout with berry and citrus flavours lingering on the long finish. Perfect for this hot, summer day! Score: 90 pts


Monday, May 21, 2018

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  • Monday, May 21, 2018

Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine to cap off a wonderful long weekend is this dry rosé wine from Niagara's Domaine Queylus.

As described when I opened their 2015 Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnay last week, this is a relatively new winery that was formed in 2006. And even though they've been in operation for more than a decade, this is only the 3rd rosé that they've ever produced.

This deliciously dry rosé wine is newly released and only available at their winery in Niagara and through their online web store.

Domaine Queylus Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE QUEYLUS PINOT NOIR ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $21.95
100% Pinot Noir. This has a medium-intensity nose featuring honeyed strawberries, orange zest, and red floral aromas with more red berry fruits and hints of earth. It is medium bodied and dry on the palate with cran-cherry, raspberry, and strawberry flavours with a mineral backbone. It has crisp, refreshing acids. Chalky mineral texture and flavours become more prominent mid-palate and continue through to the crisp finish, with good length. Serve with only a light chill. Perfect for summer sipping or pair with lightly herbed poultry. Score: 88 pts


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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  • Tuesday, May 8, 2018

LCBO VINTAGES May 12, 2018: Bordeaux + New Zealand + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks: May 12, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is a solid, three-pronged release featuring wines from Bordeaux and New Zealand, while the third theme features Rosé wines just in time for warm weather. All of these wines will be available at LCBO outlets across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the wines from Bordeaux, where twelve wines (all red) are featured, and four are included among my top wine picks. Somewhat not surprisingly, three of my four picks are from the great 2010 vintage - the Godard Bellevue is a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Fleur Haut Gaussens is a blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Pierre de Montignac is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. From the 2008 vintage, the nicely matured Margaux is a blend of 48% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc. Also from Bordeaux, but only featured as a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) is a white wine made with 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon.

The selection of wines from New Zealand is also quite good, with three of nine wines making my list of wine recommendations. Among these wines there is a lovely Hawkes Bay red blend that consists of 55% Merlot, 17% Tempranillo, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec and 7% Syrah, a dry Pinot Gris, and a Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, there are also quite a few wines from New Zealand featured as Flagship Store Exclusives at the back of the magazine, including a pair of Pinot Noirs and a complex, wild fermented Sauvignon Blanc.

Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend 2014 (90 pts)Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2014 (92 pts)

From the mini-theme featuring thirteen Rosé wines, four are included among my wine picks, including the Languedoc Rosé which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah, and the premium-priced Provence Rosé which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle (Vermentino), Syrah, and Tibouren. Also from France, the Tavel is a blend of Grenache Noir & Blanc (45%), Clairette (20%), Cinsault (15%), Mourvèdre (8%), Syrah (6%), Bourboulenc (4%), and Picpoul (2%), while the Rosé from Ontario is made with 100% Pinot Noir.

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the release, the Douro red is a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 30% Tinta Barroca, and 30% Tinta Roriz, while the Roussillon Villages red is an excellent wine consisting of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache.

La Valentina Pecorino 2016 (88+ pts)Papagiannakos Vieilles Vignes Savatiano 2016 (88 pts)

There are no blends or sweet wines among my top white wine picks, but there some crisp, dry white wines including a Savatiano, Pecorino, Albariño, and Semillon. There is also a Chablis and a pair of oaked Chardonnays. And lastly, the Pouilly-Fumé is a barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my wine picks from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LILÁS 2014 - DO Douro, Portugal (#525667) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU GODARD BELLEVUE 2010 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Francs, France (#426049) (XD) - $15.95
  • ERCAVIO ROBLE TEMPRANILLO 2014 - Vino de La Tierra de Castilla, Spain (#067504) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU FLEUR HAUT GAUSSENS 2010 - AC Bordeaux Supérieur, France (#445510) (XD) - $18.95
  • TRINITY HILL THE TRINITY RED BLEND 2014 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#551630) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU PIERRE DE MONTIGNAC 2010 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#437954) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT L’ESQUERDA 2016 - AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde, France (#381020) (XD) - $25.95
  • BUENA VISTA PINOT NOIR 2013 - Carneros, California, USA (#304105) (D) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MT. BEAUTIFUL PINOT NOIR 2015 - North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand (#552026) (XD) - $37.95  FSE
  • GRASSHOPPER ROCK EARNSCLEUGH VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2015 - Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand (#493163) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE MONS 2008 - Cru Bourgeois, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#550467) (XD) - $52.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE PINOT NOIR 2014 - Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#548248) (XD) - $74.95
Buena Vista Pinot Noir 2013 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • PAPAGIANNAKOS VIEILLES VIGNES SAVATIANO 2016 - Markopoulo, Greece (#546002) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LA VALENTINA PECORINO 2016 - IGT Colline Pescaresi, Abruzzo, Italy (#541433) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • ARBOLEDA SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#606772) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LAXAS ALBARIÑO 2015 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#021477) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO ORGANIC PINOT GRIS 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (XD) - $19.95
  • MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2017 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#493338) (XD) - $19.95

  • WITHER HILLS RARANGI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Single Vineyard, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551721) (XD) - $22.95
  • DOMAINE DE MAUPERTHUIS CHABLIS 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#524298) (XD) - $27.95
  • LA MOYNERIE POUILLY-FUMÉ 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#729178) (XD) - $31.95
  • GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (D) - $39.95  FSE  92 pts  wine review
  • BACHELDER WISMER-FOXCROFT N. 2 CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#547299) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • CHÂTEAU LA LOUVIÈRE BLANC 2012 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#552067) (XD) - $47.95  FSE
Arboleda Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#373985) (XD) - $18.95
  • MARQUIS D’AQUERIA TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#556274) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
  • CAVES D’ESCLANS WHISPERING ANGEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#325076) (XD) - $29.95

Fortified:

  • FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT 2011 - Unfiltered, DOP, Portugal (#087551) (S) - $18.95


Saturday, June 10, 2017

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  • Saturday, June 10, 2017

Château de la Négly La Natice 2016 (Midi) - Rosé Wine Review

National Rosé Day is celebrated annually on the second Saturday of June, and this year it falls on . wine to celebrate National Rosé Day is this delicious dry rosé from the Languedoc in France.

Château de la Negly is the producer of wine review and is located in the Languedoc, overlooking the Mediterranean, in the massif of La Clape. This privileged geographical location has a unique synergy of elements taking place: stroked by sea spray, buffeted between the Tramontane (wind) and the sea wind, and the land is bathed by the Mediterranean sun which warms up the berries. The terroir in this area is rich in alluvium. The Château has been around since the 18th century and is currently managed by the Paux-Rosset family with the assistance of consultant oenologist, Claude Gros.

This rosé wine will be available at the LCBO as part of the upcoming VINTAGES Release. A full wine review of this wine is posted below.

Share your special rosé experience on social media by using the hashtag #NationalRoséDay. What's in your glass today?

Château de la Négly La Natice 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE LA NÉGLY LA NATICE 2016 - AP Languedoc, Midi, France (#492199) (XD) - $23.95
Made using the saignée method and consisting of 70% Mourvèdre, and rest equal parts Syrah and Cinsault. Enclosed using a glass stopper. Clean, medium-high intensity aromatics offer red currant, strawberry, red cherry, orange blossom and banana notes that echo on the palate, plus some watermelon flavours. It's medium-bodied and dry with crisp, refreshing acids. Some herbally notes arrive as it warms up in the glass. Finish length is very good with hints of earthy minerality. Score: 90 pts


Monday, June 5, 2017

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  • Monday, June 5, 2017

June 10, 2017 VINTAGES Release: Australia + France + Father's Day + Canada 150

LCBO Wine Picks from June 10, 2017 VINTAGES Magazine
The VINTAGES Release will be on shelves at LCBO outlets across Ontario this coming and has four themes featured. In this Release, the main themes are warm-weather wines from Australia, French wines under $20, Father's Day gifts, and many Canadian wines to celebrate Canada 150. There could also easily be a fifth theme with all of the fine Rosé wines listed.

We'll begin with main theme which lists twelve wines for summer fare from Australia. Just two of the twelve wines made my list of wine picks, and includes a nice Aussie Shiraz from Margaret River in Western Australia. The other wine from Australia is a Viognier from Tahbilk - a family-owned winery since 1860 that was named 2016 Winery of the Year by James Halliday.

As part of the Australian thematic, there's a neat side note about wine serving temperatures. As a general rule, you should chill your white wines for 2 hours in the fridge (or 20 minutes in an ice bucket), rose wines for 1.5 hours in the fridge (or 15 minutes in an ice bucket), and red wines for 1 hour in the fridge (or 10 minutes in an ice bucket).

Tahbilk Viognier 2016 (89 pts)

The second theme of the release is titled "French Lessons" and lists seven wines from France, all under $20, two of which are included among my top wine recommendations. From Beaujolais, there is a Gamay from Vieilles Vignes (i.e. Old Vines) that are more than 40 years old. The second wine from this mini-theme is a mature Malbec from Cahors, the native home of the Malbec grape.

From the Father's Day thematic which listed five wines plus a Cognac, and being a Father myself, I would love to have either the Châteauneuf-du-Pape (which is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre) or the Amarone that is a blend of 70% Corvina/Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Croatina/Oseleta.

For Canada 150 celebrations, there are sixteen wines listed and many good choices among them. Viognier is not grown much in Ontario, but there's a good one from Creekside, a producer that's been making quality Viognier for quite a few years now. A pair of dry rosés are also worth your attention, one is made by Creekside using Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Malivoire Rosé is made with Pinot Noir.

This leads us into the fine selection of rosé wines that are being released, most of which are from France. The rosé wine from Rhône is a blend of Syrah and Grenache, while the La Riviera is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault, and the Leoube Rosé consists of Grenache, Cinsault with touches of Syrah and Mourvèdre.

In red wines from the rest of the release, from Midi, the M. Chapoutier is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Carignan, while the Bugadelles is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. From Spain, the Crianza is 100% Tempranillo, while the Rioja is actually a blend of 77% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 8% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. From Chile, the Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon contains 8% Cabernet Franc, and last but not least, the Barbaresco from Piedmont is made with Nebbiolo.

Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (90+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, the white Bordeaux is mostly Sauvignon Blanc, with Semillon added to complete the blend. For sweet wine lovers, the mature Riesling Kabinett should be on your list, as well as the Tokaji from Hungary.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • M. CHAPOUTIER LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#168716) (XD) - $15.95
  • LIONEL OSMIN & CIE CAHORS MALBEC 2012 - AC Cahors, Southwest, France (#247544) (XD) - $16.95
  • OVIDIO GARCÍA ESENCIA CRIANZA 2009 - DO Cigales, Spain (#489757) (XD) - $18.95
  • STÉPHANE AVIRON VIEILLES VIGNES MOULIN-À-VENT 2013 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#368134) (XD) - $19.95
  • FRANKLIN TATE ESTATES SHIRAZ 2015 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#489948) (XD) - $19.95
  • INTRIGA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#057901) (XD) - $22.95  reviewed here
  • DOMAINE LES BUGADELLES 2014 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#493536) (XD) - $25.95  FSE
  • MARQUÉS DE MURRIETA FINCA YGAY RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#209148) (D) - $29.95
  • PASQUALE PELISSERO BRICCO SAN GIULIANO BARBARESCO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#214551) (XD) - $38.95
  • CHÂTEAU FORTIA CUVÉE DU BARON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#959999) (D) - $44.95
  • LATIUM MORINI CAMPO LEÒN AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2011 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#334300) (D) - $46.95

White Wine:

  • BELLINGHAM HOMESTEAD SERIES THE OLD ORCHARDS CHENIN BLANC 2015 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#484055) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU ROQUEFORT BLANC 2016 - AC Bordeaux, France (#313346) (XD) - $16.95
  • TAHBILK VIOGNIER 2016 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#271387) (XD) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • MARKUS HUBER TERRASSEN GRÜNER VELTLINER 2015 - DAC Traisental, Austria (#484956) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • HEDGES H.I.P DIONYSUS VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2013 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#488528) (XD) - $19.95
  • SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN HATTENHEIM NUSBRUNNEN RIESLING KABINETT 2008 - Hattenheim, Rheingau, Germany (#496497) (MS) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE RAOUL GAUTHERIN CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#488809) (XD) - $24.95
  • CREEKSIDE RESERVE VIOGNIER 2014 - Queenston Road Vineyard, VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#264168) (D) - $29.95
Markus Huber Terrassen Grüner Veltliner 2015 (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • CREEKSIDE CABERNET ROSÉ 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#048819) (XD) - $14.95
  • CHÂTEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2016 - AP Luberon, Rhône, France (#707281) (XD) - $15.95
  • LA RIVIERA CÔTES DE PROVENCE ROSÉ 2016 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#494120) (XD) - $18.95
  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU LÉOUBE ROSÉ DE LÉOUBE 2016 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#491100) (XD) - $25.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DERESZLA 5 PUTTONYOS TOKAJI ASZÚ 2009 - Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary (#012203) (S) (500 mL) - $45.95


Monday, April 24, 2017

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  • Monday, April 24, 2017

VINTAGES Release April 29, 2017: Oregon + Washington + Germany + Rosé

LCBO Wine Picks from April 29, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming and features the wines from Washington and Oregon as its main theme. The mini-themes highlight the wines from Germany, as well as a fresh crop of Rosé wines for Spring sipping.

We'll begin with the feature on wines from the U.S. Pacific Northwest States of Oregon and Washington. For some odd reason, only 5 wines were listed from Oregon, whereas Washington received double the amount with 10 wines listed. From Oregon, only the (dry) Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley made my list of wine picks - I suppose all the great Willamette Pinot Noir is being saved for the Fall/Holiday Releases. From Washington, there is an aromatic Viognier and an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling, both from Columbia Valley.

Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2015 (89 pts)Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Kabinett 2014 (91 pts)

The mini-theme from Germany is also rather small, listing just 4 wines to showcase the different styles of wines that are produced by this country. The main attraction though is the varied styles of Riesling, ranging from dry to sweet. Two of the three Rieslings are listed among my wine recommendations, and both on the sweeter side - a Riesling Kabinett and even more sweeter Riesling Spätlese.

The last thematic features 11 Rosé wines, and 2 are included among my wine picks. Both of these Rosés are dry (i.e. not sweet) in style and are made with Pinot Noir.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dimière Sancerre Rosé 2016 (90 pts)Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2009 (90 pts)

From the rest of the release, in red wines, the Quinta de Cabriz is a blend of 40% Alfrocheiro, 40% Tinta Roriz, and 20% Touriga Nacional, while the Spanish Rioja is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 5% Graciano. From France, the Chinon is 100% Cabernet Franc, while the Cave de Roquebrun is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. For 2013, The Hess Colletion's 19 Block Mountain Cuvee is a Malbec-heavy (61%) blend that also contains 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot/Syrah.

In whites wines, the Burgundy is Chardonnay, while the Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my top wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • QUINTA DE CABRIZ COLHEITA SELECCIONADA 2014 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#247973) (D) - $13.95
  • TOURNON MATHILDA CHAPOUTIER SHIRAZ 2013 - Victoria, Australia (#336966) (XD) - $17.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2014 - AC, Midi, France (#155804) (D) - $18.95
  • SERGE & BRUNO SOURDAIS LE LOGIS DE LA BOUCHARDIÈRE CHINON 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#490375) (XD) - $18.95
  • PENLEY ESTATE HYLAND SHIRAZ 2014 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#409078) (XD) - $18.95
  • ZUCCARDI APELACIÓN VISTA FLORES MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#482760) (XD) - $24.95
  • MITCHELL SEVENHILL VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#673129) (XD) - $24.95
  • MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#976670) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • BURROWING OWL SYRAH 2014 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#073072) (XD) - $40.95
  • THE HESS COLLECTION 19 BLOCK MOUNTAIN CUVÉE 2013 - Mount Veeder/Napa Valley, California, USA (#018879) (XD) - $49.95
  • BUON TEMPO ALTA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#483784) (XD) - $69.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • HOGUE RIESLING 2014 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#363291) (D) - $15.95
  • ERNIE ELS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#455907) (XD) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • POWERS COLUMBIA VALLEY VIOGNIER 2015 - Talcott Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#486993) (XD) - $18.95
  • MOMO PINOT GRIS 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163535) (D) - $19.95
  • ELK COVE PINOT GRIS 2015 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#955906) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT KASELER NIES’CHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2014 - VDP Grosse Lage, Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#940809) (MS) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • DOMAINE DE LA DENANTE LES MAILLETTES SAINT-VÉRAN 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#491738) (XD) - $26.95
  • PASCAL JOLIVET SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#264945) (XD) - $29.95
  • SCHLOSS VOLLRADS RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2014 - Pradikätswein, Rheingau, Germany (#101972) (M) - $34.95

Rosé Wine:

  • THE KING’S DESIRE PINOT ROSÉ 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#492926) (XD) - $19.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DIMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $25.95  reviewed here


Saturday, April 22, 2017

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  • Saturday, April 22, 2017

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2016 (France) - Wine Review

wine is something new to VINTAGES and will be available on LCBO shelves across Ontario as part of the upcoming VINTAGES Release on .

This rose wine is produced by Jean-Max Roger, a family from the village of Bué with winegrowing traditions dating back to the 17th century. This winery produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and red and rosé wines from Pinot Noir, such as this La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé.

The name "La Grange Dîmière" for this wine is in reference to one of Bué's ancient tithe barns which constitutes the oldest part of their winery. The grapes are pressed using a pneumatic press and the must is cold-settled for between 48 and 72 hours. Grape sediment is carefully removed and the clear juice is brought up to temperature, followed by addition of yeasts and fermentation taking place for 4-8 weeks under controlled temperatures. The wine is finished using Bentonite fining and Kieselguhr filtering.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $25.95
100% Pinot Noir and pretty salmon pink colour. Pretty red cherry, strawberry and tart citrus aromas from the cork. Aromas of tart red cherry, red currant, strawberry, citrus and whiffs of banana from the glass are quite intense and a touch candied. The palate is medium-bodied with a silky mouthfeel and fresh, balanced acids. More cherry, currant, and banana flavours with hints of herbal mint and minerality add complexity. Dry overall with excellent finish length. Ideal as an apertif or pair with salads, fish or poultry. Score: 90 pts


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Château La Tour de l’Évêque Rosé 2015 (France) - Wine Review

wine is a rosé wine that was purchased last year from the LCBO VINTAGES Release on - a release that featured an assortment of rosés for Springtime enjoyment. I didn't intend on holding this until Winter, but having said that, I've always enjoyed a nice dry rosé during the cold months. Do you enjoy rosé wines in Winter? Leave a comment below.

Furthermore, this wine actually re-appeared in VINTAGES on and is currently widely available through the province.

Château La Tour de l’Évêque Rosé 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L’ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2015 - Harvested by hand, AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $19.95
A blend of 8 varietals that include Cinsault (40%), Grenache (35%), and Syrah (12%). Light aromas of red fruits with hints of floral and honey from the cork. Medium+ aromatics are ripe in style with red fruits (cherry, strawberry) and herbs along with hints of floral, grapefruit and honey. Flavours are also ripe with more red fruit, herbs, and honeyed notes on a medium+ bodied palate that is balanced by bright acidity. Finishes dry with very good length. A fine dry rosé with substance for dining. Will be enjoyed with Dungeness crab curry. Score: 89 pts


Thursday, August 25, 2016

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  • Thursday, August 25, 2016

Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival Review 2016 - Day 2

After a very satisfying Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival experience on , expectations were raised for visit to wineries mostly in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In all, we ended up visiting 7 different wineries on Sunday, a few of which were unplanned stops that were hard to pass up.

Triple Cream Brie Grilled Cheese with Poached Rhubarb and Inniskillin Reserve Cabernet Franc Rosé
Our day began in the morning at Inniskillin Wines for a triple cream Brie grilled cheese with poached rhubarb that was paired with their freshly released 2015 Inniskillin Reserve Cabernet Franc Rosé ($19.95, 87 pts). Since we were one of the first to arrive at the winery, we had to wait quite a while before the first grilled cheese was prepared. However, we didn't mind because that gave us a chance to enjoy the sun and great weather on their outdoor patio, and also allowed us to sample some wines at their wine tasting bar. The grilled cheese was hot and tasty, with the rhubarb flavours from the sandwich bringing out similar flavours in the rosé. The creamy cheese also helped tame the racy acids in the wine, making for a balanced, yummy pairing.

Niagara Grilled Trout on Flatbread with Smoked Salsa, Charred Feta and Pickled Red Onions with Peller Estates Private Reserve Rosé
The second stop of the day was an unplanned visit to Peller Estates Winery for a mouthwatering Niagara grilled trout on a flatbread with smoked salsa, charred feta and pickled red onions. This was paired with your choice of 2015 Peller Estates Private Reserve Rosé ($16.95, 87 pts, sold out) or the 2015 Peller Estates Private Reserve Muscat ($14.95). It was served on their outdoor back patio facing the vineyards - a very nice setting to enjoy this refreshing pairing. I opted for the rosé and it paired really well with the flatbread - lots of cherry, red berry, herbally, spice flavours complementing the dry rosé that made this pairing quite compelling. Making this experience very memorable was the arrival of more than 50 exotic cars that parked on the grass between the patio and the vineyards.

Exotic cars at Peller Estates

The third stop of the day was at PondView Estate Winery for two stuffed endive boats paired with their 2015 Viognier. Once again, the great weather allowed us to enjoy our pairing outdoors. The first endive boat had grilled pineapple and caramelized shallots in goat cheese and topped with pecans, while the second endive boat had blue cheese and walnuts, and both boats were drizzled with honey. The pairing with the dry Viognier was quite nice with the honey adding some pleasant sweetness. I found the first endive boat to be immaculately paired with the wine - well-balanced flavours that brought out sweet pineapple and honey flavours from the wine. The blue cheese endive made the pairing fall on the savoury side. All-in-all, this was a satisfying experience.

Endive Boats with PondView ViognierCaraway Salmon Burger with Debbie Travis Pinot Grigio

Our fourth stop of the day was an unplanned visit to Pillitteri Estates Winery. We couldn't pass up the chance to enjoy a sumptuous celery and caraway salmon burger that was topped with lettuce, grilled red onion, and lemon remoulade on a brioche bun. Generously sized, this burger was perfectly paired with the newly released 2014 Debbie Travis Pinot Grigio (#457515, $15.95, 86 pts). Knowing what was ahead of us and a little tight on time, I had to skip any wine tasting, including some of the best Icewine in Niagara.

As we moved closer towards direction of home, our fifth stop of the day was at Colaneri Estate Winery for a tangy spring roll from Chang Noi's Thai Restaurant that was paired with the 2012 Colaneri Mistera Gewürztraminer ($19.95). The vegetarian spring roll was topped with a sweet chili sauce that made the spring roll a touch on the hot side, but also allowed it to pair quite well with the sweet Gewürztraminer white wine. Once again, sweet wine paired with spice makes for a delightful combo.

Tangy Spring Roll from Chang Noi with Colaneri Mistera GewürztraminerCreekside Pinot Grigio and Golden Niagara Peach Slushie

More closer to home in Lincoln, Ontario, our next stop was at Creekside Estate Winery for a break from solid foods to enjoy a refreshing slushie on this hot day. The nice and cold slushie was made by blending their 2015 Creekside Pinot Grigio (#083196, $14.95) with golden Niagara peaches that were in season. It had lots of delicious peach flavours to go along with a slight kick from the alcohol. On this hot summer day, this was the perfect way to cool down!

Wood-Fired Strawberry Pizza with Featherstone Rosé
Amazingly, as had happened during the 2015 Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival, our day of food and wine concluded at Featherstone Estate Winery for the second year in a row. Once again, the offering was a strawberry pizza topped with balsamic paired with their latest Featherstone Rosé. It was made in their outdoor wood-fired oven by owner/winemaker David Johnson - the same guy that made these pizza's last summer, except I had no clue who he was last year. Ha! Ha! It was great to finally meet and talk to the man behind the wines. It was Featherstone's Cabernet Franc that got me turned on to Ontario Cab Franc many years ago and is still one of my favourite Ontario red wines year-after-year. The pizza was a delicious combination of sweet, savoury and sour, and accentuated the strawberry flavours in the wine.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our trip through Niagara Wine Country and are looking forward to visiting the region again in September for the big, annual Niagara Grape & Wine Festival where we expecting more delicious food & wine pairings. If you're interested in joining us, let me know!

Tasting Notes:

INNISKILLIN DISCOVERY SERIES BARREL FERMENTED SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95
Barrel fermented for 3 months in new and older French barrels. Medium+ intensity nose showing musky oak notes layered with grassy, hay and green aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with a nice, creamy texture, tart acids balanced by clean lime and gooseberry flavours. Juicy with slight sour notes on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

Inniskillin Discovery Series Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Inniskillin Discovery Series Susse Reserve Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

INNISKILLIN DISCOVERY SERIES SUSSE RESERVE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $22.95
Generous nose offers clean citrus, orange, peach, Flintstone vitamins, along with hints of mineral and petrol adding complexity. It's medium-bodied with juicy, balanced acids. Off-dry with yummy peach and orange flavours. Good length on the finish. Score: 88 pts

INNISKILLIN RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
From a hot vintage, this has a medium+ nose featuring complex spice, blackberry, dark cherry, allspice and clove aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with smooth, supple tannins that are just a touch grippy at the moment. Dark cherry, earth and oak spice flavours. It has very good acids and finishes long. Should be better in 1-2 years. Score: 89 pts

Inniskillin Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

PONDVIEW ESTATE VIOGNIER 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469205) (XD) - $16.95
Offers a medium+ intensity nose featuring clean lime, white flowers, and fresh citrus. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with an oily texture that offers floral, lemon/lime, some herbally notes, and hints of honey. It has bright, fresh acids, while the finish length is medium-long. Score: 88 pts

PondView Estate Viognier 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)PondView Vidal Icewine 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

PONDVIEW VIDAL ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#390351) (S) (200 mL) - $19.95
Very inviting and highly aromatic nose that offers lovely pineapple, orange, caramelized citrus and peach aromas. It's very sweet with lovely aroma replays of citrus, peach and apricot on the medium-bodied palate, with bright acids balancing the sweetness very well. Excellent length on the finish that has notes of poached pineapples. Score: 90 pts

COLANERI STELLUCHA RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (M) - $17.95
The 2015 vintage was just released and has a medium-high nose that is effervescent with nuances of green apple, lime, and hints of mandarin orange. It's medium-bodied with crisp, bright, refreshing acids and flavours of Flintstone vitamins, orange and pear. It's off-dry to medium-dry in sweetness with clean minerality on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

Colaneri Stellucha Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Colaneri Unita Cabernet Franc Reserva 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

COLANERI UNITA CABERNET FRANC RESERVA 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
80% appassimento and 22 months in barrel, this has a medium-high intensity, complex nose offering chestnut, brambly, licorice, candied cherry, currant, and blackberry aromas. It's medium-full bodied with raspberry, sweet oak vanilla, herbal spice and ripe berry aroma replays. Quite spicy. Finishes long. Score: 90 pts

CREEKSIDE BACKYARD BUBBLY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398628) (D) - $24.95
Medium+ intensity featuring mineral, lemon peel and earthy funk. Bubbles are finely tuned on the medium+ bodied palate, with a nice texture and green, grass, and hints of gooseberry flavours typical or the varietal. Comes off as dry overall, with bright acids and very good length on the finish. It was released into VINTAGES on June 11 and some still available. Score: 89 pts

Creekside Backyard Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

CREEKSIDE BACKYARD BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#341792) (XD) - $18.95
Medium-high intensity, but somewhat restrained nose of tropical fruit, kiwi, passion fruit, and guava. It's medium-bodied with vibrant, juicy acids with more kiwi and grass flavours, along with some gooseberry notes. Quite balanced overall. Medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

Creekside Backyard Block Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Creekside Marianne Hill Riesling 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)

CREEKSIDE MARIANNE HILL RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443572) (M) - $21.95
A medium+ intensity nose offers orange and citrus aromas with a mineral component. The palate is medium-bodied with acids that are juicy and vibrant, while balancing the pleasing aroma replays in an off-dry style. There's a chalky mineral texture on the palate, while the lengthy finish ends with orange notes. Score: 88+ pts

FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#117861) (D) - $15.95
Bright strawberry, cherry, ripe red plums on the nose, with sweet aroma replays on the light-to-mid weighted palate. It has balanced acids and good length on the finish. Soft, easy drinking style. Score: 87 pts

FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $16.95
Lovely medium-high intensity nose has clean orange, citrus and some tropical fruit, mineral, apple and peach notes add complexity. It's fairly light-weighted with a slatey texture and pleasing aroma replays on the medium sweet palate. Bright acids provide freshness, while the finish length is very good. Was released into VINTAGES on August 6th. Score: 88 pts

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#064618) (XD) - $19.20
The medium-high intensity nose has an initial bretty/barnyard aroma that gives way to complex raspberry, bramble, spices, black cherry, and blackberry. It's medium-full bodied with complex spice-led aroma replays. Vibrant acids are well-balanced. Long, raspberry-cherry finish with hints of smoke. Tannins a bit tight at this stage - try this in 1-2 years. Score: 88 pts


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