Showing posts with label sicily. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sicily. Show all posts

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  • Wednesday, April 15, 2020

April 18, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Organic, Biodynamic & Sustainable + Sicily & Sardinia

LCBO Wine Picks: April 18, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the April 18, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on Organic, Biodynamic, and Sustainable wines, while the mini-theme looks at wines from the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. All of these wines should be on VINTAGES shelves at the top 51 stores only by Saturday, and with physical distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future you can expect to wait in long lines. To stay safe and save time, a better option might be to shop online from - the product code for each of my recommended wines below links directly to the LCBO website.

We begin with the main theme on eco-minded winemaking concepts to produce Organic, Biodynamic, and Sustainable wines. Organic wines use grapes grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers, and contain a very small amount of sulfites. Of the six organic wines featured, two are recommended - a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, and a Chardonnay from Niagara. Biodynamic wines are organic wines as they follow a similar approach. In a nut shell, biodynamics take care of the vineyard as a single organism, emphasizing biodiversity of the land and creatures on it. Astrological influences and lunar cycles also play a part in biodynamic winemaking. Of the six biodynamic wines, one is included among my wine recommendations - a lovely Napa Valley Chardonnay. Sustainable winemaking strives for economic viability and social responsibility in an ecologically responsible manner, often borrowing the practices for organic and biodynamic winemaking. From the six sustainable wines featured, two are included among my top wine picks - a Fumé Blanc that is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc from Niagara, and a Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa.

Simonsig Labyrinth Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (89 pts)

From the mini-theme on wines from Sicily and Sardinia, there are six wines from Sicily and three from Sardinia, and just one from each region is included among my wine recommendations. From Sicily, there is an excellent Carricante from the northern slopes of Mount Etna. The lone wine from Sardinia is a Carignano (Carignan) that was grown at the southern end of the island.

Tornatore Etna Bianco 2018 (90+ pts)

Red wines from the main release include a pair of Rioja wines - at the low end is the Crianza that consists of 85% Tempranillo snf 15% Garnacha / Mazuelo, while at the high end is a Reserva that is made with 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Graciano / Mazuelo. Also from Spain, the Priorat is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Cariñena, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. From Italy, the Riserva Chianti Classico is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot, while the Côtes du Rhône from France consists of about 50% Grenache, and Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise to complete the blend. Single varietal wines include a Pinot Noir and a Shiraz from Australia, while the Barolo is, of course, made with Nebbiolo.

Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2018 (91 pts)Penny's Hill Cracking Black Shiraz 2016 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, all are single varietal wines. From Loire, the Savennières is made with Chenin Blanc, while the Valdeorras is from northwestern Spain, a place known for producing fine wines made from the Godello varietal. For those that prefer sweeter wines, the off-dry Riesling from Niagara is your best bet.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Stay home and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#39925) (XD) - $15.95
  • CASTELLO DI GABBIANO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#216309) (D) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE MONTFAUCON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AP, France (#13439) (XD) - $18.95
  • SARDUS PATER IS SOLUS CARIGNANO DEL SULCIS 2017 - DOC, Sardinia, Italy (#13452) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO ORGANIC PINOT NOIR 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163972) (XD) - $19.95
  • PENNY'S HILL CRACKING BLACK SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#396473) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MAIUS ASSEMBLAGE 2017 - DOQ Priorat, Spain (#13745) (XD) - $23.95
  • SIMONSIG LABYRINTH CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#744375) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GIANT STEPS PINOT NOIR 2018 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#219725) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • R. LOPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA RESERVA 2007 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#356337) (XD) - $59.95
  • PECCHENINO SAN GIUSEPPE BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#181396) (XD) - $65.95

White Wine:

  • LYRARAKIS VÓILA ASSYRTIKO 2018 - Vegan, PGI Crete, Greece (#14420) (XD) - $16.95
  • FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 -VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#89011) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2017 - Lake Lodge Farms, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646307) (D) - $19.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $19.95
  • ORGANIZED CRIME WILD FERMENT RIESLING 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#11952) (D) - $21.20
  • TORNATORE ETNA BIANCO 2018 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (#577676) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • A COROA GODELLO 2018 - DO Valdeorras, Spain (#13746) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • DOMAINE DU PETIT MÉTRIS CLOS DE LA MARCHE SAVENNIÈRES 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#250571) (XD) - $26.95  FE
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2018 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#68825) (XD) - $29.95
  • GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN CHARDONNAY 2016 - Made with organic grapes, Napa Valley, California, USA (#346304) (XD) - $67.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • CÀ DI RAJO EXTRA DRY PROSECCO - DOC Treviso, Italy (#13830) (XD) - $16.95

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  • Sunday, July 14, 2019

Planeta Rosé 2018 (Sicily) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, dry rosé wine from Sicily that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Planeta Winery is one of the premier wine estates of Sicily and a veritable fine wine empire. The company has vineyards and estates all over the island of Sicily including the Ulmo Contrada and vineyards in Sambuca di Sicilia where you can find their first winemaking facility and beautiful ancestral family home, located on the Arancio Lake; the Dispensa vineyard in Menfi, where they also make high-end olive oils at the nearby Capparina mill; the lovely Dorilli estate in Vittoria in southern Sicily; the Buonvini vineyards and underground winery near the Baroque town of Noto in southeastern Sicily; the Sciaranuova vineyard and estate located in the exciting fine wine region of volcanic Mount Etna; and their newest and smallest estate is the Capo Milazzo winery located in northeastern Sicily.

This rosé comes from their Dispensa Vineyard within the Menfi (Agrigento) district on the western part of the island. Menfi is where is the history of the family and their business began. The family planted their first vines on the Ulmo estate, a few metres from Lake Arancio and the 16th century farmhouse which has been in the family for 17 generations. The family houses all reside within the area in Baglio, as well as their library which holds hundreds of Italian and foreign books from 1700 to the present day, all dedicated to vines and wine. It is also in Menfi where you can find the remains of an ancient Phoenician wine press.

The soils in Menfi are moderately limey with mixed yellow and grey chalk, moderately fine textured, and a few stones present. It was vinified by destalking and sent to soft pressing for a brief maceration of 1-2 hours to achieve a perfect extraction of colour. After must was obtained, it was decanted, then transferred and fermented at 15°C in stainless steel vats.

Planeta Rosé 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PLANETA ROSÉ 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#111856) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Equal parts Nero d’Avola and Syrah. Fresh, medium intensity nose offers floral, orange blossom, melon, ripe berry, herbal notes and some minerality. It is medium-bodied and dry with saline minerality, citrus, melon, strawberry and herbal flavours that are supported by crisp, vibrant acidity that is ideal for food pairing. More saline mineral and melon notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release May 27, 2017: Southern Italy + Santa Barbara

LCBO Wine Picks from May 27, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release features wines from 5 sunny Southern Italy hot spots in its main theme, while the mini-theme focuses on wines from Santa Barbara. Wines from this release will be on shelves at LCBO outlets across Ontario this .

We'll begin my top wine picks from this release with the focus on southern Italy because nothing from Santa Barbara made the cut. The hot and sunny wine regions of Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Sicily, and Sardinia are featured, with a total of 12 wines listed and only 2 are included among my top wine picks. From the island of Sicily, there is a nice Grillo, one of the key white wine grapes on the island. One of the major grapes in Campania is Aglianico, and there is a nice little wine for $14 in this release. The last wine from Southern Italy is a Chardonnay from Puglia, and is actually listed near the back the VINTAGES Magazine as a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) - with limited availability.

From the rest of the release, the Domaine Guisset is a spicy blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache, while the Black Rock from South Africa is 68% Syrah that was co-fermented with other Rhône varieties to produce this multi-varietal blend. The latest vintage of the Emiliana Coyam is organic & biodynamic and consists of 48% Syrah, 24% Carmenere, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Mourvedre, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. The pair of big Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California are also blends, with the Chateau Montelena including 1.5% Cabernet Franc and 1.5% Petit Verdot, while the La Jota includes one quarter other grapes - 10.5% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec.

Emiliana Coyam 2013 (90+ pts)

My white wine recommendations from this release consist of either Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Riesling. As is quite common, Riesling can be produced in styles ranging from bone dry to very sweet. From this release, the Pearl Morissette Riesling is bone dry, while the Hidden Bench Riesling will have a kiss of sweetness to it, and the Waimea Riesling is off-dry (i.e. slight sweet).

Among my sparkling wine picks, the Cava is a blend of Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo, while the vintage Champagne is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Meunier.

Enjoy my top wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CAMPOREALE AGLIANICO 2015 - IGP Campania, Italy (#475251) (XD) - $13.95
  • DOMAINE GUISSET 2014 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, Roussillon, France (#480863) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHILCAS RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Lolol, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#486050) (XD) - $18.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA MALBEC 2014 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261867) (XD) - $18.95
  • CONO SUR SINGLE VINEYARD EL RECURSO BLOCK 18 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#439364) (D) - $19.95
  • EMILIANA COYAM 2013 - Los Robles Estate, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#063891) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • RADFORD DALE BLACK ROCK 2013 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#485490) (XD) - $29.95
  • COSTA DI BUSSIA CAMPO DEI BUOI BAROLO 2010 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#475277) (XD) - $47.95
  • BACHELDER LA PETITE CHARMOTTE NUITS-SAINT-GEORGES 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#357228) (XD) - $49.95  FSE
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Calistoga, Napa Valley, California, USA (#718452) (XD) - $74.95
  • KISTLER PINOT NOIR 2014 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#377259) (XD) - $109.95  FSE
  • LA JOTA HOWELL MOUNTAIN ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#659755) (XD) - $110.95  FSE

White Wine:

  • FEUDO MACCARI GRILLO 2015 - IGT Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#477877) (XD) - $14.95
  • RIVERA PRELUDIO NO. 1 CHARDONNAY 2015 - DOC Castel del Monte, Puglia, Italy (#177303) (XD) - $16.00  FSE
  • MAYCAS DEL LIMARÍ RESERVA ESPECIAL CHARDONNAY 2015 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#143768) (XD) - $18.95
  • WAIMEA CLASSIC RIESLING 2016 - Nelson, South Island, New Zealand (#408666) (D) - $18.95
  • PAUL CLUVER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#483743) (XD) - $19.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $23.95
  • CLOS HENRI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#675629) (XD) - $29.95
  • PEARL MORISSETTE CUVÉE BLACK BALL RIESLING 2014 - Product of Canada (#416073) (XD) - $36.20  FSE
  • DOMAINE BILLAUD-SIMON LES VAILLONS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#330175) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $99.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • CYGNUS ORGANIC BRUT NATURE RESERVA CAVA - Méthode champenoise, DO Penedès, Spain (#352856) (XD) - $16.95
  • ANDRÉ ET MICHEL DRAPPIER PINOT NOIR BRUT NATURE CHAMPAGNE - Zero dosage, AC, France (#179275) (XD) - $58.95
  • BEAUMONT DES CRAYERES FLEUR DE PRESTIGE CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, France (#483099) (D) - $68.95


  • FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT 2011 - Unfiltered, DOP, Portugal (#087551) (S) - $22.95

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