Showing posts with label sauvignon-blanc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sauvignon-blanc. Show all posts

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  • Sunday, January 26, 2020

Lakeview Cellars Serenity Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (Niagara) - Wine Review

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, plus today's tragic news of Kobe Bryant, so for wine review I feel like having some serenity now with this Sauvignon Blanc from Niagara.

Serenity is that feeling created by quiet conversations, easy smiles, magical moments with friends or simply your personal oasis - and is exactly what this delicious white wine was created to be part of.

The Serenity collection of wines, which also includes the Serenity Baco Noir, is a new addition to the Lakeview Cellars brand. These wines are produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Winemaker Scott McGregor says that he enjoys crafting these premium and approachable Serenity Wines. He also mentions that this Sauvignon Blanc would be a great patio wine.

Given that it is January in Toronto, I have no doubt that this will be a hit on patios come Spring, but I will pass on the patio for now and move indoors to my serene spot on the couch, bundled up with warm slippers.

This white wine is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, as well as at the winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake or by shopping online.

Lakeview Cellars Serenity Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS SERENITY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#688549) (D) - $16.95
Screw cap. Fragrant nose of gooseberry, green, grassy, and lime zest aromas. It's medium+ bodied with good fruit concentration and gooseberry, kiwi, tropical fruit, and lime citrus flavours supported by bracing acidity. Good length on the finish. Serve well-chilled. Score: 87 pts

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  • Friday, December 6, 2019

Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is a delightful, vegan-friendly, award-winning Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand that comes to us with a fresh, new label for the 2019 vintage.

It is produced by Yealands, a winery that opened its doors on August 8, 2008 (i.e. 08-08-08) with a vision to become one of the world’s most sustainable wine producers and determined to craft beautiful wines in partnership with nature - a philosophy that continues to hold true and forms the basis of their approach to winemaking.

The fresh new look for the Yealands range (formerly Peter Yealands) reflects their stunning location in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, as well as the unique features of their vineyard. The new label starts with the eye-catching Y that represents the White Road that runs through the heart of their Seaview Vineyard. The White Road takes you on a journey through this stunning coastal vineyard, and captures the breathtaking vistas of Yealands Estate and its unique sustainability initiatives such as New Zealand's largest solar panel installation on the winery roof.

The label is inspired by the coast that surrounds their vineyard, showing the proximity of their vines to the coast through the frame of the U, so close to the ocean that the vines are often misted with sea spray. The beauty of their environment influences how they craft wine, respectful of nature and the land. Yealands believes in sustainable winemaking and creating thoughtfully crafted wines such as this Sauvignon Blanc that work in harmony with their landscape.

This lovely white wine, with its fresh, new label is widely available now at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

YEALANDS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277731) (XD) - $16.95
Enclosed by screw cap, this vegan-friendly Sauvignon Blanc has a clean, fresh and fragrant nose of tropical fruit, kiwi, guava, gooseberry, and nettles with whiffs of mineral. It's medium-bodied on the spicy palate with vibrant, food-friendly acidity and ripe flavours of tropical fruit, guava, and citrus. A fine mineral note lingers through to the long, clean finish. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre 2018 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is a crisp, refreshing, and high quality Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Jean-Max Roger, one of my favourite Loire producers. The Roger family descends from a long line of winegrowers from the village of Bué, with the name first mentioned in texts in the 17th century. In the early 1970's, Jean-Max Roger took over the family estate and in 2004, two of his three sons, Etienne and Thibault, began working at the estate. Together, they strive to produce wines that both express their terroir and the work that they perform in the vineyards and at the winery. They are continually questioning their viticultural and winemaking practises with sustainability of the soil, the health of the vines, the purity of their musts and the meticulousness of their vinification and ageing processes which are top of mind on a daily basis.

The 2018 harvest in the Loire Valley was historically great in terms and quality and quantity, delivering one of the largest crops of the decade. It was the hottest summer since 2003, and the driest since 1945! From mid-June right through to harvest, sunny, dry weather persisted, resulting in clean fruit with ample ripeness and vivid acidity.

This lovely white white has been making an appearance in VINTAGES quite regularly over the past few years. I enjoyed the 2014 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée C.M. Sancerre Blanc a couple of years ago and I am excited to see the 2018 vintage as it comes to the LCBO in just over a week's time.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre 2018 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE MARNES ET CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $31.95
From 5 to 40 year old vines grown on Kimmeridgian Marls called "Marnes" and Limestone called "Caillottes", this Sauvignon Blanc underwent a long fermentation by natural yeasts and was aged on heavy lees from fermentation until the first racking. Fresh, clean, open, and fragrant nose of stony mineral mingles with lime citrus, stone fruit, and a hint of grassy herb. It is firmly structured and fresh on the palate with very good depth of fruit and flavour intensity, offering stony mineral, citrus, and saline flavours. Tangy, mouth-watering acids are fresh and lively, while the stony-citrus finish has excellent length. Highly recommended buy. Score: 92 pts

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  • Friday, September 13, 2019

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is an excellent white wine that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES this .

I recall enjoying the 2015 Kono Sauvignon Blanc when it came through VINTAGES a couple of years ago and am delighted to see how this latest vintage is tasting. It is produced by Kono Wines, New Zealand's first Māori owned and operated winery. The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.

This white wine is crafted from carefully selected vineyards in Marlborough, from grapes grown with soil knowledge and cultivation methods passed down from Māori forebearers. This gift of knowledge and rich, unspoiled lands create wines of personality and purity. Furthermore, Kono vineyards are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) and CEMARS (certified emissions measurement and reduction scheme) certified, which is integral to the values of kaitiakitanga - the guarding and protecting of the environment without compromise. The Māori culture has a strong spiritual connection to everything they grow and a responsibility to ensure that the land is passed onto future generations in pristine condition.

The grapes for this white wine were machine harvested from vineyards in Waihopai, Awatere, and Rapaura sub-regions and transported to the winery in Awatare Valley, then pressed in modern membrane presses. With juice from both free-run and harder pressings, they are combined in stainless steel tanks and fermented using selected yeast cultures and controlled temperatures. The 2017/2018 growing season was warmer than average, with challenging wet conditions appearing closer to harvest. However, vigilance in the vineyard from the team ensured that the fruit was in good condition at harvest, with excellent flavours seen in the winery.

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

KONO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#441394) (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. Fragrant nose of key lime, passionfruit, citrus, kiwi, guava tropical fruit and hints of asparagus aromas wafting from the glass. It is medium-full bodied and concentrated, brimming with vibrant, zesty acidity that freshens the palate. More lime, passion fruit, citrus, and tropical fruit flavours dance on the zesty and ripe palate. It's quite juicy on the mid-palate, while mineral notes appear on the long, dry finish. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts

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  • Friday, July 19, 2019

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I last enjoyed the 2016 Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc in and am delighted to see how this white wine is faring , on this hot and sweltering day, three years after vintage. It returned to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty are still available throughout Ontario.

Seresin Estate is a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand and this white wine comes from their Momo range of wines. Cinematographer Michael Seresin created Seresin Estate, a new world winery with an old world approach. They are in no hurry when it comes to their wines as they let the wild yeasts that live in their vineyard ferment the grape juice into wine. This approach to winemaking does take a little more time, but the results yield wines with added savouriness, and more mouth watering textures and flavours. They also show a unique sense of place. All of Seresin's wines spend time in barrel or bottle before release because, as we all know, good things come to those who wait.

This organic white wine was naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. It is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Since it doesn't look like a 2017 vintage of this delicious wine was made - likely due to it being a challenging vintage with cold temperatures leading to lower yields - we'll continue to enjoy the 2016 vintage until the 2018 shows up in Ontario.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose is ripe with gooseberry, kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, and leesy characters with lemony hints. It is medium+ bodied with a slight spritz on the creamy, nicely textured palate. It is dry and ripe with lemon citrus, tropical fruit, guava, and kiwi flavours. Crisp acids are still quite refreshing. Leesy, citrus, and tropical fruit notes linger on the long, balanced finish. Enjoy until 2021. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release June 22, 2019: Australia + Loire vs. New World

LCBO Wine Picks: June 22, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release June 22, 2019 features wines from Australia in the main theme, while the mini-theme compares and contrasts wines from Loire and the New World. All of these wines, plus those from the main Release will be on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We'll begin with the main theme that looks at the wide array of grape varieties (and wine styles) that are thriving in Australia. In all, there are seven grapes/styles, encompassing thirteen wines, of which five wines are included among my top wine picks from Australia. We all know about Australian Shiraz - two of which are included among my wine picks - but Australia also makes some fabulous Chardonnay, as well as off-dry Riesling wines. After Shiraz, the second most popular red grape varietal grown in Australia is Cabernet Sauvignon, with many fine examples to be found in Coonawarra.

Cape Barren Native Goose Shiraz 2016 (90 pts)Bibliotheque Travel Writing Shiraz 2015 (88 pts)

Oakridge Vineyard Series Henk Chardonnay 2017 (91 pts)Best’s Great Western Riesling 2017 (90 pts)

Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

The mini-theme compares the wines from Loire and their New World counterparts. The comparison looks at Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc in Loire and their New World examples. Of the six wines featured, three are included among my wine recommendations, and all three are lovely. First up are a pair of Sauvignon Blanc wines - one from Sancerre (Loire) and the other from New Zealand. Lastly, there is an excellent Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Les Caillottes Sancerre 2017 (91 pts)Saint Clair Pioneer Block 20 Cash Block Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017 (90+ pts)

From the rest of the release, my red wine picks include a 2015 Bordeaux red that consists of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. Also from France, there is a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is made with 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and 5% Cinsault. From Italy, the wine from Puglia is made with the indigenous Nero di Troia, while the Barbaresco is made with 100% Nebbiolo.

Château du Vieux Puit 2015 (88 pts)Enrico Serafino Barbaresco 2015 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks, all are single varietal wines made from fairly common grape varietals. The lone wine that you may have not heard of is made with the Jacquère grape from Savoie. If you are looking for sweeter wines, the Gewurztraminer is off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet), while the Ontario Riesling is semi-dry (i.e. fairly sweet).

Domaine de l’Ldylle Jacquère Savoie 2017 (89 pts)l’Ostal Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

The rosé wines are all blends. The rosé from Midi is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah, while the rosé from Provence is a 50/50 blend of Grenache and Cinsault. And finally, the rosé from Ontario is a blend of 97% Pinot Noir and 3% Viognier.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BIBLIOTHEQUE TRAVEL WRITING SHIRAZ 2015 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#668608) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DU VIEUX PUIT 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux - Blaye, France (#630012) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MICHEL GASSIER LES PILIERS SYRAH 2016 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#678086) (XD) - $17.95
  • SECRETO PATAGÓNICO MALBEC 2017 - Patagonia, Argentina (#635961) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PENLEY ESTATE PHOENIX CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#639575) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TORREVENTO CASTEL DEL MONTE VIGNA PEDALE RISERVA 2014 - DOCG, Puglia, Italy (#208256) (D) - $19.95  89 pts
  • CAPE BARREN NATIVE GOOSE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#668590) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ENRICO SERAFINO BARBARESCO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#157347) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $93.95
Secreto Patagónico Malbec 2017 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • DOMAINE DE L’IDYLLE JACQUÈRE SAVOIE 2017 - AC, Savoie, France (#645333) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2017 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (D) - $18.95
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95
  • BEST’S GREAT WESTERN RIESLING 2017 - Great Western, Victoria, Australia (#688259) (D) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DELLA SALA BRAMÌTO CHARDONNAY 2017 - IGT Umbria, Italy (#176792) (XD) - $22.95
  • SAINT CLAIR PIONEER BLOCK 20 CASH BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Single Vineyard, Dillons Point, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#483065) (XD) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • OAKRIDGE VINEYARD SERIES HENK CHARDONNAY 2017 - Henk Vineyard, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#688242) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#065573) (XD) - $30.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#241182) (M) - $37.20

Rosé Wine:

  • TYPIC CINSAULT/SYRAH ROSÉ 2018 - IGP Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, France (#668699) (XD) - $13.95  88 pts  wine review
  • L’OSTAL ROSÉ 2018 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#450809) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2018 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068833) (XD) - $23.95
  • LÉOUBE LOVE ROSÉ 2018 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#575282) (XD) - $24.95
Typic Cinsault/Syrah Rosé 2018 (88 pts)

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  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine review is an easy-drinking, mid-week Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa that is a General List product at the LCBO and widely available across Ontario. Looking through my blog, I see that I tasted the 2011 Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc .

Two Oceans is named after the awe-inspiring view at the southern tip of Africa, where the two powerful forces of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The sheer scale and natural grandeur will give you pause and a chance to reflect, leaving you inspired, exhilarated and breathless. The wines of Two Oceans are inspired by this special place, where the elements of climate and natural beauty combine to create wines that are crisp, refreshing and easy drinking.

The grapes for this white wine come from vineyards in Stellenbosch, Paarl, Robertson and Worcester wine regions. The age of the vines ranges between 10 and 18 years of age and are grown in soils ranging from decomposed granite to deep Clovelly and Hutton, and are located 200 metres above sea level.

Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

TWO OCEANS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#340380) (XD) - $11.00
Screw cap. Pale straw colour. Quite generous and fresh on the nose with tropical fruit, lemon citrus zest, and grapefruit with a tinge of grassy and gooseberry aromas. The medium-bodied palate with fleshy with crisp acidity. Flavours are a touched honeyed with grapefruit and lemon citrus notes. Dry overall with herbal and earthy mineral notes on the finish. Widely appealing wine to chill well and pair with fish or poultry. Score: 87 pts

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  • Monday, October 1, 2018

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is the delicious white wine companion to the red 2016 Momo Pinot Noir that I enjoyed recently, It was released into LCBO VINTAGES on April 28 and is virtually sold out at the moment, but will be coming back to shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

This organic white wine is produced by Seresin Estate, a leading organic and biodynamic producer in New Zealand, and comes from their second line of wines called 'Momo', which means 'offspring' in Maori. This white wine is also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It was a challenging cold start in 2016, with pressure to fight frosts during the early stage of vine growth. However, a spectacularly long and warm summer, with dry weather during the harvest period allowed the fruit to be picked on-time, delivered intact, and without stress. One-third of the 100% certified organic fruit was sourced from their own Tatou and Raupo Creek vineyards, which also has biodynamic certification, while the remainder was sourced from certified organic growers - whose vineyards they help manage - in Wairau and Waihopai Valleys.

Momo Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#009167) (XD) - $19.95
Naturally fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the lees for 6 months. Screw cap. This has a lovely, open, fragrant nose of kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, asparagus, and lemon, with hints of yellow pepper and mineral adding complexity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with a nice creamy texture and lovely aroma replays joined by some wet wool flavours. Succulent, crisp acids are juicy. Minerally and grapefruit-tinged on the long finish. This is very nice. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts

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  • Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is a recent arrival to the LCBO, as it was part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Wither Hills, a winery in New Zealand that takes its name from the landmark Wither Hills mountain range that borders their vineyards. It was founded as a small boutique winery in 1994 by (former) winemaker Brent Marris with a passion to craft the very best wine from Marlborough’s beautiful natural surroundings. In 2002, the winery was sold to Lion Wines.

Wither Hills is an accredited winery with Sustainable Winegrowing NZ. This industry standard was developed to allow grape growers and winemakers to protect the environmental integrity of wine production.

The winery is located in Marlborough at the northeast tip of the South Island of New Zealand, and the grapes for this lovely Sauvignon Blanc come from the Wairau Valley, not far from the winery. 2016 was one of the warmest vintages on record, allowing the grapes to ripen to optimum maturity.

Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. The fragrant nose offers ripe kiwi, guava, and tropical fruit notes along with some with green, nettle and earthy characters. It's light-to-mid weight on the ripe palate with ripe, citrusy flavoured aroma replays. Acids are bright, juicy and nicely balanced. Hints of salty minerality linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoy well-chilled. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, July 4, 2018

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

 white wine is an award-winner that is available at the winery, as well as in the VINTAGES section at select LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Hinterbrook Estate Winery is located on a historic site in Niagara-on-the-Lake that was first settled in 1789 by the United Empire Loyalists Servos family. In 1963, the Nickel family purchased the property and grew orchard stone fruit and concord grapes, eventually planting Vinifera grapes in 1998. Current owners, George Lau and winemaker Violet Yeh, took over the winery in 2014. The vines for this Sauvignon Blanc were damaged during the winter of 2013, but have since recovered and started producing quality fruit in 2016.

NOMAD Wine is the expression of Hinterbrook, with the aim of expressing the land, terroir, and its people through authentic, thoughtfully crafted wines using a minimalist approach. NOMAD Wine is also the story of people, like you and I. The label is intentionally clean and sparse, with plenty of white space allowing you to create your own story by drawing or painting on the label and sharing your experience with the world. I personally won't be drawing on the label as I think it looks nice just way it is, but if you do pick up a bottle, I would love to see your creativity.

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

NOMAD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada (#446088) (XD) - $16.95
Cork has aromas of grapefruit, lime peel and gooseberry aromas. In the glass, this offers medium+ intensity aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit, lime peel, along with whiffs of ginger and earthy mineral. Juicy acids are vibrant on the medium-bodied palate with a nice chalky mineral texture adding complexity. Nicely balanced aroma replays continue through to the spicy mid-palate, and lingers on the long, juicy finish. Drink over the next 6 months. Score: 88 pts

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  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)

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  • Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a back vintage of a wine that was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This white wine is produced by Lakeview Wine Co. (formerly known as Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits) and is one of the largest wine producers in the country. The re-brand of the winery coincided with the launch of their brand new retail and tasting centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in the spring of 2017. The building features a unique architectural and interior design that creates a welcoming atmosphere. I visited Lakeview last month for Sip & Sizzle and must say the building is quite nice - much improved over the old building and it feels warm and inviting. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.

Founded in 1991 by Eddy Gurinskas, Lakeview Cellars is the winery's oldest brand. Lakeview Cellars wines use grapes sourced from their best vineyards in Niagara. The fruit for this Sauvignon Blanc come from 5 acres of mature vines that have been farmed by the Tregunno family for four generations.

While the 2015 vintage is no longer available, and the 2016 vintage looks to be sold out at the LCBO, you can pick up the 2016 at the winery or shop online.

Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#483958) (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. The nose is subtle, offering grassy and tropical fruit aromas with hints of gooseberry, kiwi, guava, and orange zest. It's light-to-medium bodied and dry on the palate with crisp and fresh acids. Ripe fruited flavour profile - think melon, guava, kiwi, with lemon citrus and grassy notes. Some bitterness on the finish. Score: 87 pts

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  • Friday, May 4, 2018

Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

International Sauvignon Blanc Day is celebrated around the globe the first Friday in May. This year, the occasion falls on and I am celebrating with this yummy Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. This white wine is a General List product at the LCBO and is widely available across Ontario. It is also suitable for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diets.

Peter Yealands is part of the Yealands Wine Group that was formed in 2008 with a vision to become the world's leading sustainable wine producer. In 2008, the winery opened to become the first winery in the world to be accredited carboNZero certified from inception. Mr. Yealands himself is known for his pioneering and innovative ways, all of which is chronicled in the book A Bloke for All Seasons: The Peter Yealands Story.

Today, Peter and his family focus their energies on building Yealands Estate into a global brand with sustainability at top of mind. The winery opened in August 2008 Some of the sustainable initiatives at Yealands include developing wetlands, making their own special compost, and using natural pest control methods. They are also working at reducing their emissions by producing their own renewable energy, and using environmentally-friendly packaging.

Which Sauvignon Blanc is in your glass tonight? Leave a comment below or join the conversation online by using the hashtags #SauvBlancDay and #SauvBlanc.

Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

PETER YEALANDS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277731) (XD) - $17.20
Fruit comes from 75% (Seaview) Awatere Valley and 25% Wairau Valley. Screw cap. Bright nose is typically pungent for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with green aromas with lime zest, passion fruit, guava, and herbs. The medium bodied palate is crunchy and fresh with lip-smacking acidity and flavours of green herbs, lemon, guava, passion fruit, and asparagus. Touches of salty mineral on the mid-palate. Finishes long and juicy with some sourness and hints of mineral. Enjoy nicely chilled. Score: 88 pts

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  • Friday, March 9, 2018

Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

Hot on the heels of enjoying a wonderful NZ Sauvignon Blanc earlier this week, wine is another delightful Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

Producing fine wines in New Zealand's premier grape growing regions since 1998, Tohu (pronounced Tor-who) means "sign" or "signature" and is the world's first Maori owned wine company. The Maori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The grapes for this single vineyard bottling of Sauvignon Blanc was grown on their own vineyards in the upper reaches of the Awatere Valley at approximately 200 metres above sea level and machine harvested. In stainless steel tanks, this was fermented and left to settle on the less, following by maturation. Each batch was meticulously classified during the entire process, then finally blended together to capture the unique characteristics of the vineyard and the season. In 2016, Marlborough produced larger than average berries, which should emphasize more passionfruit flavours over herbally flavours.

This new wine will be available on shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

Tohu Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

TOHU SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#536177) (XD) - $21.95
Screw cap. The pungent, aromatic nose offers passionfruit, grapefruit, gooseberry, and guava with hints of minerality. It's very ripe with sweet and sour flavours on the palate with appealing aroma replays. Racy acids provide freshness. Juicy mid-palate. Fine length on the crisp, mouth-watering finish. Inclined to let this sit for another 6 to 12 months to let the acids settle down and enjoy to 2020. Score: 89 pts

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  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine is featured on the cover of the latest LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

When I tasted the 2014 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc and 2015 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc, both wines were excellent in my books, so I am expecting another high quality wine this vintage. Yields were up in New Zealand after the small 2015 vintage. However, the biggest difference in 2016 in Marlborough, where this white wine is from, is the larger than average berry size which should result in wines with an emphasis on thiols (i.e. passionfruit flavours) over methoxypyrazines (i.e. herbal flavours).

Greywacke was formed by Kevin Judd to fulfil a long-held dream and is named after the rounded greywacke river stones that were found at his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura. The grapes for this wine were sourced from various prime vineyard sites in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys, the central Wairau Plains (specifically in Woodbourne, Renwick and Rapaura), and a spectacular river terrace site in the upper Awatere Valley. All individual vineyard batches were left on lees and kept separate until the blend was finally assembled.

Since this wine was just placed on LCBO VINTAGES shelves last weekend, there are still quite a few bottles available for you to buy now and enjoy over the Summer.

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

GREYWACKE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#164228) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. The expressive nose opens with flinty mineral followed by guava, kiwi, tropical fruit, gooseberry and hints of lemon drops at the tail end. On the plump medium-bodied palate, this offers crisp, bright, and crunchy acids with ripe guava, white grapefruit, melon and tropical fruit flavours. Finishes long with fine minerality. A substantial Sauv Blanc that will be succulent with oysters. Score: 91 pts

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  • Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Meldville Wines Tasting with Derek Barnett

Meldville Wines

At the end of last , with thanks to André Proulx, I had the opportunity to taste through some of the latest releases from a relatively new virtual winery called Meldville Wines. This is the project of renowned winemaker Derek Barnett, formerly of Lailey Winery and currently the winemaker at Karlo Estates (tasted his lovely Cabernet Franc here), and the focus is on small batch, limited edition, VQA wines.

Meldville Wines with Derek Barnett
The story begins with Derek's childhood home back in Swinford, England, named Meldville. He was always encouraged to be true to his nature growing up, and has adopted the same philosophy in winemaking. Each of his wines are crafted in a time honoured way with little intervention, a key to open the narrative and allow the vines to tell their own story.

Continuing the "story" theme on is the artwork of the label and the naming of the wines. The label features an old book cover, while the key also represents the keys to the back door of his home in Swinford. Some of Meldville's current wines use the term "Second Edition" to denote the fact that this is the second time that this wine was made - I assume this naming convention will continue with future vintages. I tasted a couple of Meldville "First Edition" wines in 2016 and, quite frankly, wasn't really impressed. However, the Second Edition wines are a marked improvement and just lovely!

After tasting through each of the seven wines presented on this day, I can tell you that all of the wines are delicious and come in at very reasonable price points. Full wine reviews of my top five are provided below. Meldville Wines can be ordered online or by visiting Legends Estate Winery in Beamsville, Ontario.

Tasting Notes:

MELDVILLE SAUVIGNON BLANC SECOND EDITION 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
Medium-high intensity aromas with pungent gooseberry, hay, and grassy notes, along with some tropical fruit and melon nuances, that meld together to form a very appealing profile. It's medium bodied with crisp, bright acids and ripe fruited aroma replays mildly oak influenced (due to 20% neutral French oak barrel fermentation). The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Meldville Sauvignon Blanc Second Edition 2016 (89 pts)

MELDVILLE CHARDONNAY CANADIAN OAK 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $27
The nose is rich and buttery with stone fruit, golden apple, pear, vanilla and oak aromas of medium-high intensity. On the palate, it's medium-full bodied with pleasing nutty and coconut flavours joining the aroma replays. Acids are bright and fresh, while the finish is long, clean and nutty. Score: 90 pts

Meldville Chardonnay Canadian Oak 2016 (90 pts)Meldville Chardonnay Barrel Select 2015 (90+ pts)

MELDVILLE CHARDONNAY BARREL SELECT 2015 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29
From two barrels specially selected for this Chardonnay. The medium-high intensity nose is ripe with butterscotch, tropical fruit, pineapple and banana aromas. It's medium bodied and fruit forward on the palate with citrus, strone fruit, and pear flavours with a slight impression of sweetness, but it's essentially dry. It's clean with crisp acids and a long finish. Score: 90+ pts

MELDVILLE CABERNET FRANC SECOND EDITION 2015 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $27
This has a medium+ intensity nose that leads with an herbaceous note, followed by ripe fruited black currant, cassis, and some savoury-woodsy aromas. The palate is medium bodied with nice aroma replays and fresh acidity lifting the palate. Tannins are crunchy, yet refined, and add a nice textural character to the wine. The finish is long with dark currant flavours. It's lean and tight and should well up to 2024. Score: 89 pts

Meldville Cabernet Franc Second Edition 2015 (89 pts)Meldville Syrah Barrel Select 2016 (90+ pts)

MELDVILLE SYRAH BARREL SELECT 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $27
Aged in one French and one Hungarian oak barrel. The medium-high intensity aromatics are sour edged with meaty, gamey, black pepper, dark cherry, savoury and smokey notes. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays and supported by fresh, bright acids. Medium-firm tannins are chunky, while the finish length is excellent. Should age nicely for 6-10 years. Score: 90+ pts

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  • Saturday, December 23, 2017

Ferox Wines Tasting

Ferox Wines Tasting
One evening in , I had the pleasure of tasting through the inaugural vintage of wines from a new virtual winery in Niagara - Ferox Wines.

Based out of Reif Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this virtual winery is owned by Fabian Reis, the man behind Ferox. He was born into a traditional vintner family in Germany that has winemaking roots dating back to 1893 and is now a sixth generation winemaker. His grandfather is Herbert Konzelmann, founder of Konzelmann Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Fabian moved to Niagara in 1995, but returned to Germany for five years beginning in 2006 to study at one of Germany's prestigious winemaking schools, as well as work alongside some of Europe's best wineries. After returning to Niagara, Fabian decided to leave the shadows of his long established family and set a new course with his Sommelier wife Stephanie.

After meeting Fabian for the first time, I can tell you that he is passionate about winemaking and wants to produce high-quality wines in Niagara. Fabian and Stephanie are both very much hands-on with this project, from hand-harvesting the grapes to applying the wax seal (by hand) to each and every bottle. For a first vintage, the wine quality is quite good, but they do come in at super premium price points. This is a winery to keep an eye out for as I do believe that future vintages will be even better. The Merlot Cab is sold out, but you can still purchase the Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc by contacting the winery directly.

Thank you to André Proulx for arranging and inviting me to the tasting. It was also a pleasure to meet Fabian and Stephanie Reis!

Tasting Notes:

FOREX WINES RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $38
From 25 year-old vines in St. David's Bench, this has medium+ intensity honeyed aromas that are sweet with lime, ginger, acacia flower, citrus, and a whiff of orange. Acids are delicate on the medium+ bodied palate, with some structure. Citrus, lemon/lime flavours are a touch musky on the mid-palate. Off-dry in style with stony mineral and beeswax notes lingering on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts

Forex Wines Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)

FOREX WINES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $46
The medium intensity nose is a bit sulphury, but eventually gives way to ripe melon, tropical fruit and lemon peel aromas. The palate is medium-bodied and a touch creamy with fresh, vibrant acids that are well-balanced and offers ripe fruited white grapefruit and melon flavours. It's a touch hot mid-palate and finishes long and juicy. Score: 88 pts

Forex Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

FOREX WINES MERLOT CABERNET 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $55 Sold Out
A blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, this has an elegant, medium-high intensity nose of cocoa, blackberry, chocolate, and ripe dark currant and cassis. It's medium-bodied with fresh and bright acids supported by soft, supple tannins that offer some structure. The fruit is crunchy with nice aroma replays and subtle oak flavours that are nicely integrated. Finishes with good length and touches of wet earth. A bit of both Old and New World to enjoy over the next 5-7 years. Only 3 barrels/900 bottles produced. Score: 89 pts

Forex Wines Merlot Cabernet 2015 (89 pts)

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  • Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sip and Sizzle in Niagara-on-the-Lake 2017

Grilled Prawn, Shoot and Sprout Salad and Citrus Zest Emulsion with 2016 Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc
On this cold, wintry day, let me take you back to when I visited Niagara-on-the-Lake to partake in the annual Sip & Sizzle food and wine pairing event thanks to winning a contest on Foodies on Foot. This excellent event was running on weekends in May at over 20 wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule, I was only able to attend on the final day of the event, so I tried to squeeze in as many wineries as I could in a single day.

The first stop was at Château des Charmes for a crisp pairing of their 2016 Château des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc Estate Grown & Bottled ($14.95, 87 pts) with a grilled prawn, shoot and sprout salad and citrus zest emulsion. This was a delicious pairing as the "sip" is an ideal match for seafood, while the green and citrus notes from the salad complemented the flavours from wine. The zesty dressing also added a bit of zip to the overall pairing, really brightening the flavours. This sizzling pairing was quite well done.

My second stop was at Ravine Vineyard to savour the 2016 Ravine Cabernet Rosé ($22, 88+ pts) paired with Rossco’s harissa grilled chicken thigh on a mixed grain salad. This was a nice, balanced pairing where nothing really jumped out, except for the herbally character in the wine that matched some of the herbs in the dish. The chicken was nicely grilled off the BBQ and added subtle smoky flavours to the overall pairing. Portion size was also very good. This was a nice, wholesome and comforting pairing.

Rossco’s Harissa Grilled Chicken Thigh on a Mixed Grain Salad with 2016 Ravine Cabernet RoséGrilled Chicken Taco topped with Mango Salsa with 2015 Riverview Bianco Riesling Gewürztraminer

Our third stop of the day was at Riverview Cellars Estate Winery for a mildly sweet 2015 Riverview Bianco Riesling Gewürztraminer ($14, 87 pts) blend that was paired with a grilled chicken taco topped with a mango salsa that was made with some of the Bianco white wine. This pairing was all about matching the sweet, fruity flavours from the wine to the mango salsa. The clean acids from the wine also helped create a balanced pairing. Overall, this was a well executed pairing that I would love to try at home.

At our fourth stop of the afternoon, we visited Inniskillin Wines for another grilled chicken taco, but this time it was spiced with chipotle and topped with avocado. It was paired with their 2013 Inniskillin Reserve Shiraz Cabernet ($25, 88+ pts). This was a quality and balanced pairing, with plenty of spiced, peppery notes from both the taco and the red wine complementing each other well.

Grilled Chicken Taco spiced with Chipotle and topped with Avocado and paired with 2013 Inniskillin Reserve Shiraz CabernetCherry Cheesecake Flambé with 2012 Lailey Pinot Noir

The fifth stop was at Lailey Vineyard Winery, where the pairing was off the beaten path and a little adventurous by pairing a dessert item with red table wine. It was interesting to try their 2012 Lailey Pinot Noir (89 pts) paired with a dessert item - a cherry cheesecake flambé. The cherry flavours in the wine matched the cherry notes in the cheesecake, plus the wine's bright acidity balanced out the creamy texture from the cheesecake. The cheesecake also wasn't very sweet, which helped allow this to be a good pairing.

Wings are a popular item at Rancourt Winery, our sixth stop of the afternoon. On this day, we were offered BBQ chicken wings braised in Harvest Barn's famous Vidalia onion sauce and paired with their 2013 Rancourt Noble Rouge ($15, 86 pts), a Cabernet Merlot blend. Wings and red wine are always a good pairing in my books, and at Rancourt we had wings in a sweet sauce paired with a wine that also had some sweetness in it, providing for a balanced pairing. Unfortunately, I gobbled it down so fast that I forgot to take a picture.

Lamb Slider with 2014 Trius Merlot

The seventh stop was at Trius Winery where we were supposed to pair the 2015 Trius Merlot with a spiced lamb Merguez sausage, spring slaw, honey, and mint yogurt dressing. However, since we were approaching the end of the day on the last day of the event, it appears as though they ran out of that specific wine and the sausage because we got the 2014 Trius Merlot ($16, 87 pts) paired with a yummy lamb slider. No complaints from me! Bigger red wines with red meats are usually a pretty good pairing, and this was no exception.

Since the brand spanking new Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery was (unofficially) open to the public next door to Trius, we decided to pop-in and check out the new digs. It was crazy busy here, so we only managed to taste a few wines before heading over to our final stop of the day. This is a place I definitely want to come back and taste through the distilled products.

Grilled Halloumi Cheese marinated in Curry Sauce on Naan Wedge and topped with Niagara peach, and paired 2016 Jack Rabbit White

The eighth and final stop of the day was at The Hare Wine Co. for a grilled Halloumi cheese marinated in a mild & creamy curry sauce on a Naan wedge topped with Niagara peach, and paired with the 2016 Jack Rabbit White ($14.50, 86 pts). The wine was off-dry with plenty of floral and citrusy flavours that paired well with the peach, while the acids in the wine helped balance the creamy cheese. A good pairing overall, even though the portions at this winery were a bit on the small side.

This was my first time attending Sip & Sizzle and I was quite pleased with the many sips and sizzling culinary creations. I would definitely recommend this event food and wine lovers, especially those folks who have an affinity for BBQ fare. I hope to attend this lovely event featuring the wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake again in 2018, and firmly believe that you should attend too! Wine reviews of some of my favourites wines tasted on this day are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID’S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT 2015 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#346742) (XD) - $18.95
Medium-high intensity aromas of pepper, earth, black cherry, blackberry, and gamey notes that are quite complex with a certain rustic charm. It's medium-full bodied with cherry, oak spice, and brambly fruit flavours lifted by bright acids. There's supple tannins, good fruit concentration, and a long, juicy finish. Score: 89 pts

Château des Charmes St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gamay Noir Droit 2015 (89 pts)Château des Charmes Vidal Icewine 2015 (92 pts)

CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES VIDAL ICEWINE 2015 - Estate Bottled, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#565861) (S) (200 mL) - $26.95
Highly aromatic and complex nose of peach, apricot, honeysuckle, pineapple and honeydew melon. The palate is medium-full bodied with bright fruited aroma replays that are nicely balanced. It's lusciously sweet, but balanced with very good acidity. The finish length is excellent and nicely balanced. Score: 92 pts

RAVINE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Aromas of medium-high intensity with rich, oak-influenced buttery, apple, and smoke notes, plus hints of butterscotch, pineapple and caramel. The medium-bodied palate offers nice aroma replays that are well-balanced and supported by nicely articulated acids. Finishes long with caramel, sweet oak, and vanilla notes. Score: 91 pts

Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Ravine Vineyard Reserve Riesling 2015 (90+ pts)

RAVINE VINEYARD RESERVE RIESLING 2015 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $35
Contains 30% botrytis affected grapes, this has medium-high intensity aromatics of petrol, honeycomb, and apricot. The palate is medium-dry (i.e. noticeably sweet) with very nice aroma replays and a light mineral texture. Acids are bright and refreshing. Finish length is excellent. Score: 90+ pts

RIVERVIEW CELLARS SALVATORE'S RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30.15
Medium-high intensity aromas show white pepper, herbaceous, leafy, brambly, blackberry and medicinal aromas that are slightly cooked/stewed. It's medium-bodied with herbally, dark fruited, medicinal, and iodine flavours, plus touches of chocolate mocha. Refined tannins are well-integrated and acids are balanced. Earthy, mocha, and vanilla notes linger on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

Riverview Cellars Salvatore's Reserve Cabernet Franc 2012 (88 pts)Riverview Cellars Salvatore's Reserve Syrah 2013 (89 pts)

RIVERVIEW CELLARS SALVATORE'S RESERVE SYRAH 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30.15
Medium-high intensity nose offers white pepper, blackberry, dark fruits, earthy, and vanilla oak aromas. This is much more open and fruit forward compared to when I tasted this in September 2016. It's full-bodied with pleasing aroma replays lifted by bright acidity. Smooth, refined tannins. Long, earthy-peppery finish. Score: 89 pts

INNISKILLIN NIAGARA RESERVE SHIRAZ CABERNET 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#225482) (D) - $24.95
Medium+ intensity aromas that are ripe with red cherry, white pepper, currant, cassis, and herbs. It's medium-full bodied and dense on the palate with oak spiced aroma replays that have a touch of sweetness. Acids are bright, tannins a touch grippy, and the finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Inniskillin Niagara Reserve Shiraz Cabernet 2015 (88 pts)Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (88 pts)

INNISKILLIN MONTAGUE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#586347) (XD) - $24.95
Clean apple, pear, and butter aromas of medium-high intensity with hints of tart citrus and melon. The palate is medium+ bodied with nice aroma replays plus toasty oak notes. Acids are very good. Long, buttery finish. Score: 88 pts

LAILEY BARREL SELECT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From four outstanding barrels, this has medium-high intensity aromatics featuring clean apple, butter, pear, sweet oak vanilla and hints of nuttiness. It's mid-weighted with lovely well-balanced aromas replays, crisp acids, while finishing long and clean. Score: 90 pts

Lailey Barrel Select Chardonnay 2013 (90 pts)Lailey Syrah 2013 (90+ pts)

LAILEY SYRAH 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Medium-high intensity aromas have complex gamey, black peppercorn, oak, olive and earthy notes. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays and fresh acids. Tannins are integrating nicely. Long, balanced finish. Will provide pleasure over the next 5 years. Score: 90+ pts

RANCOURT CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
The complex nose is ripe with sweet oak spice, herbaceous, white pepper, dark fruits and chocolate aromas of very good intensity. The palate is medium+ bodied with fresh acids and nice aroma replays. Refined tannins are integrating nicely. Finish length is very good. Drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 88 pts

Rancourt Cabernet Franc 2012 (88 pts)

TRIUS SHIRAZ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.75
This new arrival is blended with 5% Viognier. Aromas of medium-high intensity offer black peppercorn, blackberry, gamey, dark currant, and dark berry notes. It's full-bodied with some tannic grip and very nice aroma replays. It has fresh acids and finishes long. This well-made wine should be aged 2+ years for the tannins to soften. Score: 88 pts

Trius Shiraz 2015 (88 pts)Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc 2012 (91 pts)

TRIUS SHOWCASE RED SHALE CABERNET FRANC 2012 - Clark Farm Vineyard, VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $45.20
From the Clark Farm Vineyard, this has medium-high intensity and complex aromas of currant, leafy, herbaceous, oak, and forest floor. It's full-bodied and structured with some tannic grip and nicely balanced aroma replays. Very good and juicy acids add freshness and lift. Hints of minerality exist on the long finish. This is a serious Cab Franc to enjoy over the next decade. Score: 91 pts

WAYNE GRETZKY NO. 99 RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#144865) (M) - $14.95
Medium+ intensity aromas feature some mature petrol notes, along with mineral, green apple, citrus and peach aromas. There's a nice mineral texture on the light-weighted palate with appealing off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) aroma replays. Vibrant acids keep things fresh, while the finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Riesling 2015 (88+ pts)The Hare Frontier Cabernet Franc 2013 (89 pts)

THE HARE FRONTIER CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
Contains trace amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this has medium-high intensity, oak-influenced aromas of tobacco, cigar, smoke, dark cherry, pepper, and dark currant with very good complexity that continues on the medium-full bodied palate. It has vibrant acids, good tannic structure, and long finishing. Enjoy over the next half decade. Score: 89 pts

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