Showing posts with label shiraz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shiraz. Show all posts

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 29, 2018

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  • Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is an Australian Shiraz that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Like the 2016 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon that I enjoyed in June, this red wine is produced by the family-owned and -operated Wakefield Wines. This particular red wine is part of their Jaraman Collection - a selection of premium wines that represent the celebration the regional diversity, bringing together two of Australia's finest wine regions in a single varietal wine.

This is a blend of 63% Clare Valley fruit and 37% McLaren Vale fruit. Clare Valley experienced low, but timely, rainfall, while flowering conditions were ideal. Combined with the vines being stress-free heading into winter, this led to the vintage being called one of the greats. In McLaren Vale, there was low rainfall leading up to the growing season, as well as lower than average rainfall during vintage and long dry spells in between. However, intense rainfall over two days in early February helped increase yields. Overall, it was fairly dry year in McLaren Vale, which is ideal for Shiraz.

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale/Clare Valley, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. The richly spiced nose has aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, mocha chocolate, and vanilla oak with hints of black plum. It is full-bodied on the richly concentrated and ripe palate with blueberry and blackberry fruit flavours. There is some jamminess on the flavour profile, but it's backed by earthy, mocha, and savoury notes with hints of pepper spice, putting the jamminess firmly in the background (which I like). Acids are fresh, while tannins are smooth, supple and well-integrated. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts



Sunday, August 5, 2018

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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is an Australian Shiraz that recently arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Dandelion Vineyards is a unique fusion of vineyards and vignerons. The wines represent decades of experience, blending the fruit of old vine gardens with the finest traditions of artisan winemaking, while also allowing the unique character of these vineyards to express their terroir.

The grapes for the Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz are sourced from Angus and Helen Tuck's vineyard located in the subregion of Bakers Gully, in the foothills of McLaren Vale. These are mature vines are grown on ironstone pebble laden clay loam, over ancient Kurrajong Formation geology, a silica cemented conglomerate most suited to grow Shiraz.

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

Tasting Note:

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $21.95
Hand-picked and pressed in whole bunches, and raised in 20% new and 80% older French Oak barriques for 18 months. Screw cap. The medium-high intensity nose offers aromas of black plum, blackberry, jammy, black peppercorn, and oak spices with some jamminess. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has vibrant acids and nice black peppercorn and blue fruit aroma replays in a dry flavour profile, with jamminess firmly in the background. Rounded tannins are ripe, dusty, and smooth. Black peppercorn and chocolate notes linger on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts


Thursday, June 14, 2018

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  • Thursday, June 14, 2018

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival 2017 - Day 1 of 2

Pacific Snapper Ceviche and Niagara Apple Slaw with 2016 Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling
Last , I visited Niagara to take in the 66th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival that celebrates the harvest season. I have been fortunate to attend this festival many times and have always enjoyed the visit. Once again, I visited Niagara over two days and my review from second day will be posted shortly.

Our tour began in Niagara-on-the-Lake, at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery for some Pacific snapper ceviche and Niagara Apple Slaw paired with their 2016 Grand Reserve Riesling. This was a nicely crisp, balanced pairing where the off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling wine suddenly became quite dry when paired with the slaw due to the high, lemony acids from the ceviche overtaking the sugary elements in the wine. This was really quite well done. Using my Winemaker's Selections' Tasting Passes, we also got to taste their intriguing, and uncommon Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Wine made with Sauvignon Blanc, but otherwise did not taste any other wines as the tasting bar is always a zoo. Full wine reviews from Jackson-Triggs and all the other wineries visited on this day are provided below.

Harvest Barn Apple Cinnamon Chicken Wing with 2013 Rancourt Unoaked Chardonnay
The second stop of the day was at Rancourt Winery for grilled chicken wings brushed with Harvest Barn’s signature Apple Cinnamon grilling sauce, and paired with their 2013 Rancourt Unoaked Chardonnay ($14.80, 86 pts). I do wings and wine at home quite often and find it to be delightful. The pairing at Rancourt was also good, with mild stone fruit flavours from the wine meshing well with the mildly flavoured wings.

Moving along to the Beamsville Bench area of Niagara, Cave Spring Cellars was our third stop of the day. They were not participating in the Discovery Pass Experience, so we simply tasted a few wines from their lovely portfolio, followed by a short stroll on picturesque Main Street in Jordan Village.

The fourth stop of the afternoon was at GreenLane Estate Winery to taste their newly released 2014 GreenLane Guts and Glory Blend ($19.95, 87 pts), which is a blend of 55% Unoaked Chardonnay (Guts) and 45% Riesling (Glory), and paired with a Macaroni and Gorgonzola Fritter by Just Cooking. This was a nicely balanced pairing as the high acidity in the wine cut through the deep fried mac & cheese ball, while also providing a nice mouthfeel. The ambience on their outdoor patio is always such a delightful place, we took our time before heading inside and tasting a few of their top wines.

Just Cooking Macaroni and Gorgonzola Fritter with 2014 GreenLane Guts and GloryItty Bitty Pie Company Brie and Caramelized Onions Pie with 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve

Our fifth and final stop of the day was at Legends Estates Winery. The food and wine pairing here was a mouthwatering, bite-sized pie stuffed with Brie and caramelized onions from the Itty Bitty Pie Company, and paired with their award-winning 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve and 2012 Legends Estates Shiraz Reserve. Having tasted both of these wines previously, I was curious to see how each wine would the on prior visits to the winery, so I opted to pair the pie with the Chardonnay as the rich, buttery, butterscotch, and vanilla notes in the wine accentuated caramelized flavours in the pie filling, as well as the buttery flavours in the pie crust. Delicious pairing, indeed.

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with yet another trip to Niagara Wine Country. This is only part 1 of my review, as I ended up visiting Niagara a couple of weeks later to partake in more Discovery Pass Experiences. Stay tuned, as that review will be posted in a few days time.

Tasting Notes:

JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#367102) (D) - $21
Fragrant nose of tropical fruits, orange citrus, Flintstone vitamins and mineral waft from the glass, and all of it coming through nicely on the off-dry palate, balanced by clean acids. The finish is long with some bitterness and comes off as dry. Score: 88+ pts

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE SPARKLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#353078) (D) - $29.95
A sparkling wine that is tart and sour with pink grapefruit notes, followed by some brioche, leesy and green stemmy aromas and flavours. It comes off as mostly dry on the palate with frothy mousse and a toasty brioche edge. Nicely balanced with a medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

RANCOURT FOUNDER'S BLEND 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD)
Equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, this is highly aromatic with lots of woodsy, barnyard, brett, and oak spice aromas, with underlying cassis and blackberry notes. It's full-bodied with nice aroma replays on the palate with notable, but well-integrated oak. Ripe tannins are smooth and refined. Acids are very good, while the finish is long. Score: 89 pts

Rancourt Founder's Blend 2012 (89 pts)Rancourt Gewürztraminer Icewine 2013 (90+ pts)

RANCOURT GEWÜRZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $30
Tasted a few times now, and still drinking very well. The highly aromatic nose offers sweet honey, pear, stone fruit, peach and some spices. The palate has very nice, balanced aroma replays. It's sweet, but the fresh acids keep everything nicely balanced. Excellent finish length. Score: 90+ pts

CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#529941) (XD) - $29.95
From 41-year old vines, 100% barrel fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak barriques and puncheons, this has a richly buttered nose of apple, pear, and lemon aromas of medium-high intensity. It has a medium+ body that is rich and buttery with, apple, vanilla and well-integrated oak flavours. Nicely textured with crisp, balanced acidity. Excellent finish length. Still a bit young - age this 1-2 years. Score: 91 pts

Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Cave Spring Estate Bottled Riesling 2015 (89 pts)

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2015 - VQA, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment,, Ontario, Canada (#286377) (D) - $18.95
This has a medium-high intensity nose of orange citrus, peach, lime, and some limestone mineral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a chalky limestone mineral texture on the off-dry palate. Clean acids are a touch sour. Long finishing. Will age gracefully for many years. Score: 89 pts

GREENLANE OLD VINES RIESLING 2010 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $34.95
The medium-high intensity aromas are quite fragrant and open with orange citrus, mineral notes, and hints of petrol. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice aroma replays in a medium-dry profile and lifted by vibrant acids. Excellent finish length. Lovely! Score: 90+ pts

GreenLane Old Vines Riesling 2010 (90+ pts)GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (91 pts)

GREENLANE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Ripe, medium-high intensity nose of evergreen, cassis, black currant, cocoa, and chocolate aromas, all of which come through very nicely on the wood-driven, full bodied palate. Balanced acids. Tannins are chalky, yet well-integrated and quite refined. The finish goes on and on. Score: 91 pts

LEGENDS ESTATES CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
The medium-intensity nose offers rich, buttery aromas with butterscotch, vanilla, and poached apple joining fray, all of which come through nicely on the medium-bodied palate. Acids are still clean, while the finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve 2013 (88+ pts)Legends Estates Reserve Shiraz 2012 (89 pts)

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
This has a medium-high intensity nose that's very savoury with wood spice, green olive, meaty, and gamey aromas. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has black peppercorn, gamey and charcuterie flavours surrounded by good acidity and refined tannins. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts


Saturday, March 24, 2018

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  • Saturday, March 24, 2018

Nederburg Manor House Shiraz 2014 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Shiraz from South Africa was most recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on and featured as part of its main theme on wines from South of the Equator. It is widely available across Ontario.

Nederburg is one of South Africa's most awarded wineries and was most recently named Platter's Winery of the Year in 2017.

The story of Nederburg begins in 1791, when Philippus Wolvaart purchased a farm that lay between the Berg and Palmiet rivers. Together with his wife, Margaretha, they nurtured the land, innovated, and paid close attention to details, all of which helped build a strong foundation on which Nederburg flourishes today.

The Manor House is but one of a few wine labels among the Nederburg portfolio, and is comprised of single varietal wines made from Nederburg's best-of-best fruit. The line is inspired by the Cape Dutch manor house built by Philippus Wolvaart, Nederburg's founder and original wine master, for himself and his wife in 1800.

Nederburg Manor House Shiraz 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

NEDERBURG MANOR HOUSE SHIRAZ 2014 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#068775) (D) - $16.95
Plummy, blackberry and blueberry aromas from the cork. This has a medium+ intensity nose featuring ripe blackberry and blueberry, along with some minty herbal and meaty notes, all wrapped in vanillan oak. It is full bodied on the palate with suave, well-integrated tannins and crunchy, juicy acids. The palate is sweet-fruited with ripe blackberry, blueberry, pepper, and sweet oak flavours. The finish length is very good. If you like 'Shiraz', you will like this. Score: 88 pts


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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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


Friday, October 13, 2017

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  • Friday, October 13, 2017

Goats do Roam Red 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine is the companion to the 2017 Goats do Roam White that I opened last month. I recall enjoying this wine many, many years ago when I first got into wine, but hadn't tasted it recently. The catchy name, interesting label and low price point is what drew me to this wine many years ago, and if I recall correctly, the price hasn't moved much since that time. I'm curious to see how this wine tastes today.

It is produced by the Fairview Wine Farm, a winery that proudly owns all of their vineyards, with land in Paarl, Darling, Swartland and Stellenbosch. Owner Charles Back has also always been an advocate of social development in the Cape and under Apartheid, he was one of a number of producers who campaigned for and implemented better conditions for farm workers. In 1997, he established the Fair Valley Worker’s Association, which gave his employees a chance to farm their own land.

This dry red wine from South Africa is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, with the 2016 vintage on shelves already or arriving really soon.

Goats do Roam Red 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

GOATS DO ROAM RED 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#718940) (XD) - $13.00
Blend of 49% Shiraz, 24% Cinsault, 12% Grenache, 11% Mourvèdre, 2% Petite Sirah, and 2% Carignan. Screw cap. This has generous aromas that are soft with plummy, peppery and red cherry notes, along with some meaty and vanillan oak nuances. It's medium-bodied on the dry palate with candied red berry fruit, chocolate oak and resinous flavours with touches of menthol. It has bright and juicy acids, some warmth mid-palate (14% abv), and soft tannins. Finish length is good with earthy-curranty notes. An easy drinking red for current consumption. Score: 87 pts


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First image of this post
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES September 2, 2017: New World Benchmarks + Syrah vs. Shiraz

LCBO Wine Picks from September 2, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming release in LCBO VINTAGES on is titled "Reference Library" and features benchmark varietals in new world wine regions as its main theme. Meanwhile, the mini-theme compares Syrah and Shiraz. These new wines will be on shelves this coming .

We'll begin with the feature on new world benchmark varietals, which lists 11 wines across 7 varietals. The wines in this feature include Ontario Chardonnay, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Oregon Pinot Noir, Argentinean Malbec, Australian Shiraz, Chilean Carmenere, and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Just two wines from this theme are included on my list of top wine picks - the lovely 2027 Chardonnay (which came through VINTAGES in ) and a Carmenère from Chile.

2027 Wismer Vineyard Fox Croft Block Chardonnay 2014 (90 pts)Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2014 (88+ pts)

The mini-theme compares Syrah and Shiraz, two grapes that are identical but can yield very different styles of wines. Personally, I prefer the Syrah style of wine, which tends to be savoury, earthy, and meaty with black pepper nuances instead of the riper, jammy style of Shiraz found so often in Australia. In this thematic, there are eight wines listed and two made my list of wine recommendations - both are Syrah.

Creekside Iconoclast Syrah 2014 (89 pts)

From the rest of the release among red wines, the Forca Real is an unoaked blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Family Tree Red is a blend of 33% Syrah, 29% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Baco Noir. The Schild GMS is a blend of 52% Grenache, 24% Mourvèdre, and 24% Shiraz. Also, the California Cab contains 9% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Single varietal wines include the Crianza that's made with Tempranillo, and the wine from Lazio that is made using a grape you've probable never heard of - Cesanese.

Among my white wine picks, the Creekside Iconoclast is a blend of 74% Semillon and 26% Sauvignon Blanc, while the Anselmi is an off-dry wine made with Garganega. The rest are all single varietals. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to check out the Gewürztraminer or the Riesling from Ontario. For those who want just a hint of sweetness, look to the Riesling from Austria, or the Semillon from Australia.

Riverview Angelina’s Reserve Gewurztraminer 2014 (88 pts)Flat Rock Riesling 2015 (88 pts)

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE FORCA REAL CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES 2013 - AP, Roussillon, France (#494161) (XD) - $17.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY TREE RED 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#247882) (XD) - $18.95
  • CASALE DEL GIGLIO CESANESE 2014 - IGT Lazio Rosso, Italy (#498188) (XD) - $18.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENÈRE 2014 - Peumo, Rapel Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • SCHILD ESTATE GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE/SHIRAZ 2014 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#108183) (XD) - $19.95
  • SEÑORÍO DE P. PECIÑA CRIANZA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#313726) (XD) - $21.95
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SYRAH 2014 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#471797) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • MAISON ROCHE DE BELLENE VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTE DE NUITS-VILLAGES 2007 - AC, Burgundy, France (#487447) (XD) - $29.95
  • FESS PARKER SYRAH 2013 - Santa Barbara County, California, USA (#942136) (XD) - $34.95
  • SILVERADO VINEYARDS ESTATE GROWN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#111880) (XD) - $61.95

White Wine:

  • RIVERVIEW ANGELINA’S RESERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2014 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#511642) (M) - $17.15  reviewed here
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2015 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SÉMILLON 2016 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#493338) (D) - $19.95
  • REDSTONE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398966) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMÄNE WACHAU TERRASSEN FEDERSPIEL RIESLING 2015 - DAC Wachau, Austria (#491902) (D) - $21.95
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SÉMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#520627) (XD) - $22.50
  • 2027 WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#421362) (XD) - $22.95  reviewed here
  • ANSELMI CAPITEL CROCE 2015 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#966655) (D) - $26.95  FSE
  • VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#447474) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • LA CHABLISIENNE CHABLIS BEAUROY 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#490110) (XD) - $34.95  FSE
Villa Maria Southern Clays Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (90 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • VINELAND ESTATES SPARKLING PINOT MEUNIER RESERVE 2015 - Charmat method, VQA Ontario, Canada (#520700) (D) - $30.00

Fortified:

  • DELAFORCE VINTAGE PORT 2003 - DOP, Portugal (#459784) (S) - $77.95


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