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

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  • Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review



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

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

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

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

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

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


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  • Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

This popular red wine has come through VINTAGES many times over the years - and looking through my database I discovered that I purchased the 2007 vintage of this bottle in 2008. , I opened the latest vintage which arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on  - with plenty still available for purchase at the LCBO.

It is produced by Penny's Hill, a winery located in the rolling foothills east of McLaren Vale and named after a hill that sits at the base of the site in South Australia. The project began in 1988 by Tony and Susie Parkinson when they planted 32 ha of vines facing the waters of Gulf St.Vincent. In 1993, they acquired the newly-planted Malpas Road property, followed in 1996 by acquiring the adjacent, highly prized hay-producing paddock that was planted to vines and named Goss Corner. In 1998, the original Goss family homestead, "Ingleburne", was added to the Malpas and Goss properties to reconnect what had originally been one entire holding.

Today, Tony Parkinson still maintains ownership and management of the business, and joining him is his younger son, James, who is learning the vineyard ropes, and his elder son, David, who is a filmmaker and contributes much to the aesthetics of the enterprise.

The Penny’s Hill Cellar Door chook house is home to The Black Chook brand’s namesake, and the original "Black Chook" can be seen scratching and pecking for grubs under the big old gum tree. The fruit for the Black Chook range of wines are sourced from some of South Australia’s eminent wine regions and are made to be affordable, enjoyed, shared and celebrated. The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier is sourced from McLaren Vale and Padthaway as both regions have very consistent climates, which helps produce some of the best Shiraz in Australia and work together harmoniously in the final blend.

The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2017 - McLaren Vale/Padthaway, South Australia (#066738) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of Shiraz (96%) and Viognier (4%) that was co-fermented, while vineyard parcels were vinified and matured with suitable oak separately to best express the nuances of each block. The final wine was blended together after 12 months of oak ageing. Screw cap. Fresh, plummy, black cherry aromas mingle with peppery spice and oak notes, and just a hint of floral. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark currant and dark berry flavours, along with hints of pepper and oak spice in a dry flavour profile. It has soft, refined tannins and juicy acids. Wood and pepper spice notes linger on the finish. Score: 87 pts


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  • Friday, June 21, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

After enjoying the 2016 Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz earlier this year, I am delighted to try the 2017 vintage of this wine that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Wakefield Wines and within their Jaraman range of wines they search for parcels of extraordinary fruit to craft wines that showcase their distinctive regional characteristics and style.

The growing season leading up to the 2017 vintage in Clare Valley was rather wet and, in fact, the wettest recorded since 2000. Soil temperatures remained very low due to the waterlogged conditions, and below average ambient temperatures resulted in later budburst. However, weather conditions during flowering were favourable and, hence, fruit set was good across all varieties. Harvest began in late February and continued through early May. Overall, the winemakers at Wakefield declared the vintage to be an above average vintage in terms of quantity and quality.

In McLaren Vale, winter and spring saw above average rainfall, leading to full soil profiles. Like in Clare Valley, cooler than average temperatures led to delayed flowering and veraison, which also meant that harvest was also slightly delayed with very few vineyards picked in February. The weather during March & April was stable, with warm and dry conditions and little rainfall. Overall, the winemakers reported the reds to be lively, bright, spicy, vibrant, and elegant.

Compared with the 2016 vintage, the 2017 has a bit less fruit from Clare Valley, with the blend consisting of 60.5% Clare Valley and 39.5% McLaren Vale. The grapes were gently de-stemmed and fermented in small static stainless steel tanks using Shiraz-specific yeast isolate. Gentle pressing occurred in a mixture of American oak hogshead and barriques (30% 1 year old, 70% 2 to 3 year old) for secondary malolactic fermentation, and upon completion was transferred back to barrel for maturation before being fined, filtered, and bottled in August 2018.

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2017 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2017 - Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose delivers blackberry pie, plum, dark cherry and spice with hints of violet and mint. The fresh medium+ bodied palate offers more spice notes surrounding a core of blackberry, plum, and dark cherry flavours. Acids are fresh, while tannins are smooth, refined and textured. Finishes on the woody side with a touch of bitter dark chocolate. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts


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  • Monday, June 10, 2019

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed the 2016 Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz. T I opened the 2017 vintage of this delicious Australian Shiraz that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - and there are plenty of bottles still available across Ontario.

This red wine is crafted by the next generation of Peter Lehmann winemakers, showcasing the superb fruit that is sourced from the many fabled sub-regions across the Barossa Valley. The fruit comes from a selection of Barossa's key growers that are renowned for their quality, skill, and passion.

For the 2017 vintage, the winemakers at Peter Lehmann identified various expressions of Shiraz across the Barossa and blended the high-quality parcels together to seamlessly deliver a complex, layered wine. The 2017 vintage began after a long, wet winter, resulting in damp soils and cooler temperatures which lead to vine development that was slower than normal. The summer had average temperatures with two short heat bursts and well-timed rains. An Indian Summer began in March, allowing for consistent ripening, colour development, and good natural acidity.

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN SHIRAZ 2017 - Barossa, South Australia (#522235) (XD) - $21.95
Partially barrel fermented. Matured in a combination of 1-5 year old French and American 300 L oak hogsheads barrels for 12 months. Screw cap enclosure. I like the fairly intense and complex nose that offers cassis, mint, black cherry, licorice, and vanillin oak spices. The medium-full bodied palate has chewy, well-integrated tannins that are quite smooth. More black plum on the flavour profile, followed by cassis, black cherry, oak spice, and licorice notes. Acids are juicy and balanced. Spice and mocha chocolate notes on the mid-palate, lingering through to the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Friday, June 7, 2019

Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely Australian Shiraz that arrived at the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and plenty of bottles are available across Ontario.

It is produced by the Paxton family that has been winegrowing since 1979. Founder and owner, David Paxton, is also one of Australia’s most highly respected viticulturalists as he and his family have been nurturing their own vineyards in McLaren Vale for over 30 years. In 2000, the family released their first wine under their own label - a 1998 Paxton Shiraz.

Today, wines are made under the direction and guidance of Richard Freebairn Paxton to produce a range of estate grown wines under the family label. The range features an approachable collection of wines that showcases the quality of fruit and varietal expression from McLaren Vale. David Paxton and his team strive to minimize inputs and manage the Paxton vineyards biodynamically - whereby vineyards are farmed without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and with a focus on promoting healthy, living soils through the use of natural compost preparation. Inside the winery, the family practices minimal interventionist winemaking to ensure the integrity of the fruit from vineyard to bottle. In 2011, Paxton Wines became a fully certified organic and biodynamic wine producer.

Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

PAXTON MV SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#327403) (XD) - $19.95
This biodynamic wine was matured in French and American oak. Screw cap. Quite intense on the nose with lovely savoury, blackberry, earthy, and meaty aromas with hints of black pepper, licorice and oak. It is full-ish bodied on the palate with finely-grained and structured tannins. Nicely textured with juicy acids freshening the palate. On the flavour profile, there are blackberry, licorice, cedar oak spice, and vanillin notes with some peppery hints, all of which lingers nicely on the long, balanced finish. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Sunday, May 19, 2019

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is a nice Australian Shiraz. The 2017 vintage of wine will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Peter Lehmann was born in Barossa in 1930 and was the fifth generation of one of Barossa's pioneering families. In 1947, Peter apprenticed as a winemaker at Yalumba and in 1959 he became the Winemaker/Manager at the Barossa winery Saltram. In the late 1970's, during a difficult time in the winegrowing region when there was a grape surplus and contracts were being cancelled, Peter took a massive gamble by working with growers to process their grapes at Saltram (with the permission of Saltram's owners) as a side-project he called "Masterson" - a famous gambler from Guys and Dolls. After Saltram was sold, Peter parted ways with the new owners and he started Masterson Wines in 1979, which evolved into Peter Lehmann Wines.

Today, Peter Lehmann Wines is renowned as one of Australia’s most internationally awarded wineries and its wines are a celebration of the Barossa community and the benefits that passion, craft and collaboration can bring. Peter Lehmann Wines has strong relationships with more than 140 grape growers across the region and has access to some of Barossa’s finest fruit.

The fruit for The Barossan Shiraz come from high quality parcels that are selected from a diverse range of Shiraz vineyards throughout the Barossa Valley, many of which include vines over 100 years old.

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa, South Australia (#522235) (XD) - $21.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity nose offers ripe black cherry and blackberry aromas combined with enticing black pepper notes. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with mocha, licorice, oak spice and touches of mint joining the black cherry and black pepper notes on the flavour profile. It has fresh acids and smooth, supple tannins. Earthy and mocha notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoyed with lamb burgers off the BBQ. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

red wine is a frequent arrival in VINTAGES and was recently featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. It is currently available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at many LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Wakefield Wines is a family-owned and -operated winery located in the southern end of Clare Valley, South Australia. Wakefield is also a member of Australia's First Families of Wine, a group of twelve of Australia's oldest and most respected family-owned, multi-generational wineries who collectively have over 1,380 years of winemaking experience.

I reviewed this delicious Shiraz back in and am curious to see if this bottling, which is enclosed with a screw cap, has changed much over the last 5 months.

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Wine Review/Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2016 - Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. Dark berry, mint, pepper and spice aromas waft from the glass with some jamminess. It is a touch confected on the full-bodied palate with smooth, silky tannins and fresh, lively acids supporting the minty, blueberry, dark berry, cocoa, and spice flavours. Some chalkiness arrives mid-palate. Smooth berry, mocha, and earthy notes linger on the juicy finish, with very good length. Aussie Shiraz lovers will like this. Score: 88 pts


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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)


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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



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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


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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


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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


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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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