Showing posts with label southbrook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label southbrook. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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  • Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review



wine review is an organic and biodynamic Chardonnay from Niagara that is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. I enjoyed the 2013 Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay almost 3 years ago to the date (and still have another bottle in the cellar), so I am curious to see how this latest version will be.

This delicious white wine is produced by Southbrook Vineyards, a leading producer of organic wines and based in Niagara-on-the-Lake. While previous editions of the Wild Ferment Chardonnay were estate grown, this latest edition is the first "Wild Ferment Chardonnay" that uses grapes sourced from selected organic Chardonnay growers across the Niagara Escarpment, including grapes from the Saunders' family home vineyard in Beamsville. Individual vineyard lots were separately fermented wild in French oak barrels, and only after ageing were selected barrels blended to create the final wine.

This lovely bottle was just released this month and is available for purchase on-site at the winery, and will be available online through their web store very soon.

Southbrook Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
Yellow fruit scented with pear, apple, citrus, and buttery vanilla notes in a slightly reductive style. It is medium-bodied on the palate with fresh and lively acids. Ripe and slightly honeyed on the dry flavour profile with pear, apple, lemon and orange citrus, and subtle oak spice flavours. Fine mineral texture adds complexity to the flavours mid-palate and lingers through to the long, juicy mineral and citrusy finish. Clean and elegant, enjoy this fine Chardonnay over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts


Monday, November 19, 2018

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  • Monday, November 19, 2018

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a very interesting natural, organic and biodynamic orange wine produced by Southbrook Vineyards. Technically, orange wines are now known as a skin-fermented white wines. Southbrook has produced this style of wine under the guiding hands of winemaker Ann Sperling for several years now, with latest rendition being the 2017 vintage that was bottled in January and released for sale in June.

The grapes for this wine were hand-harvested from Southbrook's Estate in the Four Mile Creek sub-appellation of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Small lots of grapes, including stems, were cluster-sorted and foot-trodden before undergoing wild yeast and malolactic fermentation over 30 days. After gentle pressing, the wine was naturally chilled outdoors, settled, and bottled without any filtration or additives, and is free of sulphites.

This orange wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and available for purchase through the winery and soon at the LCBO.

Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine 2017 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK VIDAL SKIN FERMENTED WHITE ORANGE WINE 2017 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#628065) (XD) - $29.95
Stelvin screw cap enclosure. Cloudy orange colour. Highly fragrant nose offers aromas of citrus and black tea leaves with hints of floral and sage. More pronounced tart citrus, floral, and black tea flavours are well-balanced on the nicely textured, medium-bodied palate. Dry mouthfeel with some chalkiness. Acids are bright and balanced. Some tea, sage and earthy notes linger on the long finish. I'll be honest, I have tasted previous vintages and never really been a big fan of this wine, but this latest vintage is very compelling and engaging. Highly recommended. Best with a light chill. Score: 91 pts


Friday, November 16, 2018

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  • Friday, November 16, 2018

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice, organic Chardonnay from Southbrook Vineyards, one of the leading producer of organic and biodynamic wines in Niagara. This white wine is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is available for purchase through the winery and in LCBO VINTAGES.

Founded in 1991, Southbrook Vineyards is the epitome and evolution of co-owners Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier's love story with wine, the land, and all things local. Southbrook also has taken a leadership role in sustainability, including third-party endorsements such as LEED Gold for architecture and Intervin Winery of the Year, as well as obtaining biodynamic and organic certifications, which affirms the Redelmeier's goal to inspire others to commit to sustainability, pursue their passions, and create fine wines.

Having tasted each of the past 4 vintages of this lovely Chardonnay, this has proven to been a fairly consistent, high-quality white wine, which continues with the 2016 vintage. It should come as no surprise as Chardonnay is truly one of the great grape varietals produced in Niagara, especially when placed in the hands of internationally-acclaimed winemaker at Southbrook, Ann Sperling.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (XD) - $24.95
Stelvin screw cap. Subtle nose of apple, pear and cereal, with hints of vanilla and oak. The medium-full bodied palate offers much more, with very interesting mealy flavours combined with nuts, honey, lemon, and vanilla layered on top of ripe white and yellow fruit. Oak is firmly in the background. Nicely textured with bright acids lifting the palate. Mealy, nutty, and citrus notes linger on the long finish. Not your typical Chardonnay, but indeed a fine expression. Serve with just a light chill. Score: 89 pts


Monday, February 26, 2018

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  • Monday, February 26, 2018

Wine Tasting in Niagara-on-the-Lake - August 2017

In , I toured Niagara-on-the-Lake and visited a some fine wineries with a few friends. It was a day trip, and with fine weather in tow, this was a fantastic day of wine tasting!

We visited four wineries in all, beginning at Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery - a family-run organic and biodynamic winery for a tasting of some of their very fine, premium wines. They also have a nice bakery in the back where they make various types of freshly baked bread. Also on-site is a restaurant with an ever-changing menu where the focus is on using fresh, local ingredients. I definitely want to come back and dine here as they also have a hearth wood oven for baking pizza.

The second stop was at another family-run winery - Riverview Cellars Estate Winery. This winery is adjacent to the Niagara River and has vineyards with special terroir. The topsoil offers subtle differences across their property - from pliable, silty loam, to denser, clay loam, and to fertile sandy loam. In 1992, the family planted their first vinifera - Gewürztraminer, followed by Vidal Blanc in 1993, and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1998.

Crush pad at Inniskillin Wines
Our third stop of the afternoon was at nearby Inniskillin Wines. I had been to this winery numerous times over the years, but this was my first time doing a tour of the facility. The tour began outside, overlooking the vineyards as we were told about the history of Inniskillin and, in a sense, winemaking in Canada. Inniskillin was founded in 1975 by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser (1941-2017) and became Canada's original estate winery and an industry pioneer committed to the production of premium wines made from quality grapes grown in Canada. From grapes harvested in 1984, Innikillin produced their first Icewine and eventually put Canada on the global wine scene when their 1989 Vidal Icewine was awarded the highest accolade at Vinexpo in Bordeaux.

Barrels at Inniskillin Wines
We proceeded to move around the property, eventually finding our way to the crush pad, where sorting, de-stemming and crushing took place. We then made our way through an informational walkway (previously used for self-guided tours) and then into the cellar room to watch a video and learn more about Icewine production. While in the cellar room, I couldn't help but notice that they still had quite a few older bottles, including the 1984 Icewine. Following the tour, we tasted a few wines, including a delicious, one-of-a-kind Vidal Sparkling Icewine.

The final stop of the day was at Southbrook Vineyards - Canada's first estate winery to earn both organic and biodynamic certification. We ended up tasting only a few wines, but their Poetica Chardonnay ended up being one of the top wines of the day, while their Orange Wine was the most polarizing. Upon completion of the tasting in the central room at their LEED-Gold Standard tasting pavilion, we ventured outside and took a stroll along the vineyards, all the while noticing the grid of solar panels that sat beside the vines.

Once again, I tasted some very fine wines in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Most of these wines are only available at the winery or online through their website, while a few could be found in LCBO VINTAGES. Full wine reviews of my favourite wines tasted on this day are provided below.

Tasting Notes:

RAVINE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA St. Davids Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $55
The highly aromatic nose has lovely rich, buttery, toast, smoke, lemon, apple and stone fruit aromas. It's very refined and nicely textured on the medium-full bodied palate with very nice aroma replays. Acids are well-balanced and the finish length is excellent, albeit a touch warm. Score: 92 pts

Ravine Reserve Chardonnay 2014 (92 pts)Ravine Cabernet Franc 2016 (90+ pts)

RAVINE CABERNET FRANC 2016 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Bottle in June from a solid vintage, this has a medium-high intensity nose that's ripe with dark currants, chocolate, and cassis, along with herbally hints and tobacco. This should open up further with some ageing. It's medium-bodied on the palate with refined tannins and very nice dark fruited aroma replays. Oak is well-integrated and acids are fresh. There's some bitterness mid-palate. Finishes long. Still young and should flesh out nicely in 2-3 years. Score: 90+ pts

RAVINE BOTRYTIS-AFFECTED RIESLING 2016 - VQA St. Davids Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $48
Highly aromatic and open on the nose with fruity, peach, apricot honeycomb, Flintstone vitamins, orange and a hint of petrol, all of which come through in a very appealing fashion on the sweet palate. Acids ere crisp and clean, providing much freshness. Excellent finish length. Score: 92 pts

Ravine Botrytis-Affected Riesling 2016 (92 pts)Riverview Angelina’s Reserve Gewurztraminer 2014 (88 pts)

RIVERVIEW ANGELINA’S RESERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2014 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#511642) (M) - $17.15
From vines planted in 1992, this has medium+ aromatics offering honeyed lychee, lemon, and ginger aromas with an earthy component. It's medium sweet on the medium-bodied palate with appealing tropical and floral fruit tones joining the aromas on the flavour profile. Acids are fresh with some sourness. Finishes crisp and on the dry side with some bitterness. Overall, very pleasing Ontario Gewurz. Released into VINTAGES on . Score: 88 pts

RIVERVIEW SALVATORE'S RESERVE SYRAH 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
Third time tasting this in 2017, this bottling is highly aromatic with savoury, meaty, black pepper, earth, and bretty notes with a sprinkle of baking spice. It's full-bodied and savoury on the palate with olive and oak spices joining the aroma replays. It has good acidity and medium-level tannins that are integrating well. Very good finish length. Seems to be getting better with every tasting. Score: 90 pts

Riverview Salvatore's Reserve Syrah 2013 (90 pts)Riverview Cabernet Franc Icewine 2016 (91+ pts)

RIVERVIEW CABERNET FRANC ICEWINE 2016 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $70
Lovely medium-high aromatics have candied strawberry jam, caramel, butterscotch and a hint of lemon. The palate is medium+ bodied and smooth and richly textured with very nice raspberry-driven aroma replays on the sweet flavour profile. It has nicely balanced acids and a long finish. Score: 91+ pts

INNISKILLIN RIESLING ICEWINE 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#558288) (S) (375 mL) - $79.95
Aromas are of medium+ intensity, somewhat muted, and feature bright lemon and peach notions with some earthy minerality. It's light-to-medium bodied with a delicate mouthfeel that's lifted by bright acids. Pleasing lemony citrus and orange, plus aroma replays shine through on the palate and continue through to the long finish. Seems a bit simple now, this should gain complexity with age. Score: 90 pts

INNISKILLIN VIDAL ICEWINE 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#388306) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Highly aromatic aromas of honey, apricot, ginger and sweet Meyer lemon waft from the glass. The palate is medium-full bodied and lusciously sweet with honeyed aroma replays. There's good, balanced acidity in here to keeps things fresh and not cloying. Fine length on the finish. Score: 90+ pts

Inniskillin Vidal Icewine 2015 (90+ pts)Inniskillin Vidal Sparkling Icewine 2015 (89 pts)

INNISKILLIN VIDAL SPARKLING ICEWINE 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#560367) (S) (375 mL) - $79.95
Made using the Charmat method, this has yeasty, earthy and bready with underlying apricot, honey and candied ginger aromas and flavours. It's sweet on the palate with fine mousse, high acids and very good finish length. A unique wine, to be sure. Score: 89 pts

SOUTHBROOK SMALL LOT ORANGE WINE 2016 - Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Made using Vidal (white wine grape) that was naturally fermented with skins and stems for 25 days (just like a red wine), this a medium-high intensity nose that has floral, grapefruit, orange zest and tea nuances. It's medium-bodied and bone-dry on the palate with complex notes of bergamot, sage, tea, citrus peel and some savoury herbs and bitterness. Acids are balanced and the finish length is very good. A unique wine to try once. Score: 89 pts

Southbrook Small Lot Orange Wine 2016 (89 pts)

SOUTHBROOK POETICA CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#366500) (XD) - $49.95
Showing a lovely, highly aromatic nose that's rich and buttery with golden apple, pear, and smoke notes, and has notable wood influence that's nicely integrated. It's medium-bodied with nice, clean fruit, impressive depth and very nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. Acids are finely tuned and well-balanced. The long finish is smooth and rich. Exquisite! Will continue to sing a poem for at least the next half dozen years. Score: 93 pts

Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2013 (93 pts)Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot 'Witness Block' Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc 2013 (90 pts)

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT 'WITNESS BLOCK' CABERNET SAUVIGNON / CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Merlot. Aromas of medium-high intensity with notes of currant, herbaceous, red berry, resinous oak, woody, and hints of violet, with much of same on the full-bodied palate. It has good acidity and a long finish. Still young, with chalky tannins suggesting a few years in bottle are needed for optimum drinkability. Score: 90 pts


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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  • Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Southbrook Whimsy! The Anniversary (Niagara) - Wine Review

I opened up this delicious Fortified wine to celebrate it's recent Gold Medal at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC). Looking at the results from this competition, this is the top Fortified wine in Canada!

This wine is produced by Southbrook Vineyards, and is one of many Southbrook wines I've tasted from a winery that is Canada's first certified organic and biodynamic winery. Southbrook has built a solid reputation for its strict adherence to biodynamic and organic winemaking, and more recently, announced that it had cut its electricity consumption by 80% by with the installation of a new photovoltaic field as part of its commitment to sustainability and energy reduction program.

Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards crafted the award-winning wines across several categories, including the Framboise (Fruit Wine category), 2016 Orange Skin Fermented Vidal (White Single Varietal category), and the 2016 Organic Wild Ferment Cider (Cider category). Also an award-winner is the lovely 2013 Southbrook Estate Witness Block (Red Blend category) that I tasted earlier this year. In total, Southbrook garnered five medals across five different categories, showing excellence across a broad range of wines.

This very yummy fortified wine is only available at the winery and can be ordered online through their web store.

Southbrook Whimsy! The Anniversary (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK WHIMSY! THE ANNIVERSARY - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) - $29.95
Made with 100% Chardonnay harvested in 2002 (!), then fortified with a neutral grain spirit, which was then followed by extended natural aging without intervention. This was bottled in 2011 and then aged for 2 years prior to release. Enclosed by screw cap. Highly intense aromas with an oxidative character of orange, spice, nutty, dried fig and apricot aromas wafting from the glass. It gives the impression of a very sweet fortified wine, but the medium+ bodied is actually quite dry with just a hint of sweetness. Roasted nuts, dried fig, orange and burnt sugar notes embody the flavour profile. Slightly warming with a very smooth, long finish. Lovely. Very Sherry/Madeira-like. Give it a slight chill and enjoy after dinner. Score: 91 pts


Saturday, April 15, 2017

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  • Saturday, April 15, 2017

Southbrook Vineyards Wine Tasting - March 2017

Southbrook Vineyards Portfolio Tasting
, I was invited to a wine tasting by André Proulx to taste through some of the latest wines from Southbrook Vineyards - a winery that pursues organic and biodynamic viticulture that I've featured many times on this blog.

There were 13 wines available for tasting, including the 2015 Southbrook Organic Triomphe Pinot Noir and 2015 Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay that I previously tasted earlier this year, as well as other wines from the Triomphe line of wines that are an expression of carefully tended vines that produce quality wines.

The majority of the wines were from the Estate Grown Small Lot series and tended to be my favourite of the bunch. These organic and biodynamic wines are hand-made to express the unique contributors to winemaking - site, soil, climate, vintage, and the human touch. A sub-series within this line of wines is the Estate Barrel Series, where winemaker Ann Sperling illustrates the subtleties that different barrels can make to Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc bottlings. We got to taste the exquisite 'Allier' Chardonnay, but there are 3 other Chardonnays in this line as well, plus 6 Cabernet Francs - it would've been great to taste all of these side-by-side. A visit to the winery to taste through the rest of the Estate Barrel Series may be in order.

In addition to the above, there was also a wild ferment cider, an effervescent bubbly made with 100% Vidal, and a lovely Chardonnay from their top-of-the-line Poetica series.

Guiding us through the tasting were Paul DeCampo, Director of Marketing & Sales, and Andrew Redelmeier, son of owners Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier who is also a Sales & Marketing Specialist at Southbrook Vineyards.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines at this tasting are provided below, and all of the wines are available (or will be available soon) for purchase direct through the winery.

From left to right: André Proulx, Paul DeCampo and Andrew Redelmeier

Southbrook Portfolio Tasting + Cheese

Tasting Notes:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT 'ALLIER' CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Aged for 11 months in combination of new and old oak sourced from the Allier forest in central France, this has a gorgeous nose that is very appealing with elegant, sweet vanilla, nutty, butter and integrated oak with hints of pear. The palate is medium-bodied with nice depth, balanced acids and very nice aroma replays led by more nutty characters and hints of caramel and smoke. Excellent finish length. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot 'Allier' Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2013 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK POETICA CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#366500) (XD) - $49.95
Seems somewhat closed compared to a couple of weeks ago at Taste Ontario, offering medium-high aromatics of stone fruit and oak. The palate is medium-bodied and minerally textured with rich stone fruit flavours and integrated oak notes. Refined with balanced acids. Very good finish length with some nutty flavours adding interest. Has the stuffing to age a number of years, but is enjoyable now. Score: 91 pts

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT '101' CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
My favourite red of the tasting, this is 91% Cabernet Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon that is sourced from the "101" vineyard, this is highly aromatic with very nice red & black fruits, herbaceous, tobacco, leather, and dark currant aromas. The palate is medium-full bodied with ripe tannins integrating nicely and very appealing aroma replays. Refined with finely balanced acids and long finishing. Will reward 2+ years ageing and drink to 2023. Score: 91 pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot '101' Cabernet Franc 2013 (91 pts)

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT PETIT VERDOT 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Appears shy at the moment, offering glimpses of dark berry fruit, black cherry, and oak along with hints of purple fruit, earth and barnyard notes, all of which come through nicely on the full-bodied palate. Tannins are well-integrated and balanced by very good, juicy acids. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Petit Verdot 2013 (89 pts)Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot 'Witness Block' Cabernet Sauvignon / Cabernet Franc 2013 (90+ pts)

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT 'WITNESS BLOCK' CABERNET SAUVIGNON / CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon (from 2003 planting), 37% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Merlot, this has medium-high aromatics that offer touches of evergreen, red and black fruits, cassis and black cherry. Oak is well-integrated on the full-bodied palate with nice aroma replays and balanced acids. Long finishing. Slightly chalky tannins should soften with time. Drink over the next 5 years. Score: 90+ pts


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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  • Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Southbrook Connect Organic White 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I first tried organic white wine from Southbrook Vineyards just over a year ago. And tonight, I am opening the second bottle with an expectation that it has matured a little. This wine is bottled under Stelvin screw cap, so I am expecting only subtle changes, if any at all.

If you're interested in purchasing this wine, there may be some 2014s left at the LCBO, but I suspect they have shifted to the next vintage as the 2015 is now available for purchase on the Southbrook Vineyards website. You should also know that the 2014 was a blend of 58% Vidal, 21% Chardonnay, 12% Riesling, and 9% Sauvignon Blanc, while the 2015 is a blend of 56% Vidal, 31% Riesling, 13% Sauvignon Blanc - bigger Riesling component and no Chardonnay.

Southbrook Connect Organic White 2014 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK CONNECT ORGANIC WHITE 2014 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#249078) (D) - $15.95
Waxy and slightly oxidative, along with subtle aromas of melon, citrus and white peach of medium-intensity. The palate is soft, round and full-ish with sour edged flavours of honey and ripe citrus. Delicate acids. There's a hint of sweetness, but finishes with bitter notes of average length. Drink now. Score: 86 pts


Sunday, January 22, 2017

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  • Sunday, January 22, 2017

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine was bottled last , but only released by the winery for home delivery across Canada a few weeks ago.

This small batch organic Chardonnay has been produced by Southbrook Vineyards for many years now. I've tasted the previous 3 vintages (2014, 2013 and 2012), which were all delicious, and I expect the 2015 to also be delicious, while continuing to be suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Ann Sperling is director of winemaking and viticulture at Southbrook, and with three decades of experience in winegrowing and winemaking, she is considered a leading force in the Canadian movement towards organic and biodynamic winemaking.

The 2015 vintage is currently only available at the winery, or online through their website. Previous vintages of this wine have showed up on LCBO VINTAGES shelves. However, since only 800 cases were produced, it may or may not show up this time around.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (XD) - $22.95
Stelvin screw cap. Quite a change in style compared to the last vintage, this has subtle aromas of orchard fruits, earth and yeast. The palate is medium+ bodied with more orchard fruit flavours like apple and pear, with underlying earthy flavours, and ending with slightly honeyed notes. Some interesting salty notes mid-palate. Acids are prickly and juicy, providing freshness. Finish is earthy and dry, with very good length. I would put this away for another year to let it develop further. Serve with only a light chill. Score: 88 pts


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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  • Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Pinot Noir 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is something we haven't seen in many, many years - a Triomphe Pinot Noir from Southbrook Vineyards.

Since moving to Niagara and starting their own organic production, only organically grown grapes are chosen for Southbrook's Triomphe line of wines. And since they didn't plant any Pinot Noir (or Riesling) at their site in Four Mile Creek (in Niagara-on-the-Lake), they did not produce a Pinot Noir for their Triomphe line - until now. The grapes for this wine are sourced from Heather Laundry's certified organic vineyard at their Lincoln Lakeshore site.

For this vintage, the grapes were hand-harvested and naturally fermented with 40% whole clusters. It was matured for 9 months in mostly neutral French oak.

This organic wine is only available from the winery and can be ordered for home delivery across the country. Only 250 cases produced, so visit the Southbrook Vineyards website to place your order today!

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Pinot Noir 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Subtle aromas of strawberry, cherry and subtle spice from the cork. Crafted by the talented Ann Sperling with grapes sourced from the Laundry Vineyard, this organic red wine has medium+ intensity aromatics offering cherry, strawberry, raspberry, sweet herbs and a whiff of earthiness in the glass. Some dried floral aromas emerge with air. It's light-bodied but gains texture in the mouth. Smooth, refined tannins on the palate with earthy, red currant strawberry, cherry and mushroom flavours. Acids are fresh and balanced. Some milk chocolate notes on the long finish. Fairly complex overall and should evolve nicely over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


Thursday, October 27, 2016

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  • Thursday, October 27, 2016

Seriously Cool Red 2013 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine is a General List product at the LCBO and widely available throughout Ontario. You may have noticed that this bottle is on the cover of LCBO's current fall catalogue.

The 2012 Seriously Cool Red was a Gamay-based blend that I tasted in the Spring, while this latest vintage is Pinot Noir dominated. It continues to be suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Produced locally and sustainably by Niagara's Southbrook Vineyards, it also continues to be bottled using the funky cool labels under three different designs created by Laura Wills of Messenger.

Seriously Cool Red 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

SERIOUSLY COOL RED 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#453639) (D) - $15.95
The blend for 2013 has changed quite a bit compared to the 2012, now composed of 65% Pinot Noir, 25% Gamay, 8% Zweigelt, and 2% Syrah. Stelvin screw cap. Light nose featuring red cherry, raspberry, subtle spice, white pepper, and whiffs of earth aromas. The dry palate is also light-weighted but gains body with air. It has fresh acids and light, ripe tannins. Flavours of white pepper, black tea, cherry and hints of forest floor linger through to the finish. Pair with pizza, poultry or heartier fish. Score: 86 pts


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine returns to VINTAGES soon and will be on shelves at the LCBO as part of the upcoming VINTAGES Release on .

I tasted this organic wine produced by Southbrook Vineyards previously at the epic Ontario Cabernet Franc tasting in . It's now had more than a year in bottle to soften any hard edges and comes across as quite smooth today, as noted in my wine review below.

The organic grapes for this wine were sourced from Southbrook's own vineyards, as well as 3 other growers, and picked, de-stemmed and fermented separately in either a stainless steel tank or oak vat over an average total maceration time of 3 weeks. Gentle pressing, settling and racking to oak barrels occurred for nine months before careful blending, filtering and bottling, without fining.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#275958) (D) - $21.95
Blend of 95% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. Stelvin screw cap. Cocoa-dusted, forest floor and earthy aromas give way to lovely sweet herbs, clove, red floral, black cherry, blackberry notes. The tannins have integrated very nicely, offering a nice and smooth mouthfeel on the medium bodied frame. Nice, sweet-fruited aroma replays - clove, red currant, floral, and vanilla flavours open up nicely with air. Acids are juicy and finish length is very good. In a nice place right now, but will drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts


Monday, September 26, 2016

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  • Monday, September 26, 2016

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

I opened up this nice organic Chardonnay to pair with rotisserie chicken - and it paired very well indeed!

This white wine is the latest vintage of Southbrook Vineyards' Triomphe Chardonnay and is included as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on . Having tasted both the 2013 and 2012 vintages of this wine, this latest vintage comes across as quite reductive in style and may shock you if you've never tasted a style of wine like this.

The organic grapes for this wine come from both the Saunders and Sabourin vineyards and were handpicked, sorted and gently whole cluster pressed to extract the juice. Fermentation and lees aging occurred in 100% French cooperage over a period of 12 months prior to barrel selection, blending and bottling.

Southbrook Organic Triomphe Chardonnay 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (XD) - $22.95
Stelvin screw cap. Lifted aromatics that are reductive in style with matchstick most prominent followed by lemon, herbs, buttered popcorn and yellow pear aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with clean, refreshing lemony acids. Balanced flavours of lemon, buttered popcorn, herbal and smoky nuances linger on the long finish. This should improve in a year's time as the wine integrates. Paired really well with the smoky flavours from the rotisserie chicken off the BBQ. Score: 89 pts


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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  • Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Southbrook Triomphe Organic Cabernet Franc Rosé 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a sneak preview of a dry rosé that will be available at the LCBO as part of the VINTAGES Release on .

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc, from grapes grown organically at the Estate, as well as from the Saunders and Sabourin Vineyards.

Southbrook Triomphe Organic Cabernet Franc Rosé 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC CABERNET FRANC ROSÉ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#279117) (XD) - $19.95
Stelvin screw cap. Pretty salmon colour. Shy nose offers glimpses of red fruit, strawberry, floral, sweet herbs and hints of honey. The plush, medium-bodied palate has honeyed cran-cherry flavours with some pepper and herbally nuances. It's dry with gentle acids and good length on the finish. Best enjoyed with just a slight chill. Score: 88 pts


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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  • Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Seriously Cool Red 2012 and Seriously Cool Chardonnay 2015 (Ontario) - Wine Reviews

Southbrook Vineyards is proud to launch these two new wines produced by internationally-acclaimed winemaker Ann Sperling. Created from Niagara-grown grapes that followed Sustainable Winemaking Ontario standards, these Seriously Cool wines also support the local economy by using bottles made in Ontario using recycled glass. The labels are also designed and printed locally.

Seriously Cool Wines by Southbrook Vineyards

As part of a series, each wine is bottled under three different labels designed by Laura Wills, an award-winning designer that has also designed labels for other Southbrook wines.

These wines were released last month and at the time of this post are only available at the winery. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see both of these wines on LCBO shelves in the near future. Both of these easy-drinking wines are now available at the LCBO!

Tasting Notes:

SERIOUSLY COOL CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#457481) (XD) - $15.95
Screw cap. Floral, ripe tropical fruit notes, green apple and poached pear aromas emanate from the glass. The palate medium+ bodied with a lush, round mouthfeel and sweet fruited flavours similar to the aroma profile, along with lime notes. It has bright, balanced acids and good length on the finish. This is a crowd pleaser and perfectly suitable for (upcoming) patio weather. Blend of 65% Chardonnay Musque, 26% Chardonnay and 9% Riesling, with 80% of the harvest coming from vineyards that are transitioning to Organic. Score: 87 pts

Seriously Cool Chardonnay 2015 - VQA Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

SERIOUSLY COOL RED 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#453639) (D) - $15.95
Stelvin screw cap. Blend of 85% Gamay, 10% Pinot Noir and 5% Zweigelt. Bright red fruits and cherry give way to earthy and cedar aromas of medium intensity. The medium-bodied palate is rounded with soft, smooth, and ripe tannins. Sweet fruited flavours of cherry, red licorice, sweet vanilla, cedar, and hints of smoke. It has juicy acids and good length on the finish which shows hints of pencil lead. Should be a favourite at parties. Score: 87 pts

Seriously Cool Red 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (87 pts)


Sunday, December 20, 2015

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  • Sunday, December 20, 2015

Southbrook Poetica Red 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

The final instalment of wines from Southbrook Vineyards is the Southbrook Poetica Red from their top-of-the-line "Poetica" collection. I wrote a brief introduction about this collection of wines during my review of their 2012 Poetica Chardonnay.

Featured on the label once again is an excerpt from a lovely poem by Chief Dan George. "Words to a Grandchild" speaks to the role that nature plays and that we must listen to it.

All Poetica wines are made in tiny, small batches, and only in excellent vintages. As such, only 85 cases of this red wine were produced. Like the Chardonnay, this benchmark red wine features limited edition numbering on the bottle - making an empty bottle a definite keepsake. The bottle I have is #307 of 1,019 and definitely one I'll be hanging on to once the juice inside is long gone.

You can purchase this wine through winery on its own or as part of the Poetica Holiday Gift Package. This 6-pack of wines includes the 2012 Poetica Red, the 2010 Poetica Red, and the 2007 Poetica Cabernet Merlot, as well as one bottle each of the 2007, 2011 and 2012 Poetica Chardonnay. This gift pack is offered with a complimentary wooden crate along with free shipping. You should also know that the 2010 Poetica Red is in extremely limited supply, so you'll need to hurry to reserve your gift package. Pricing and info about a smaller Poetica Gift Package are available on Southbrook's website.

Like nearly everything that Southbrook produces, this wine is both organic and biodynamic and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Southbrook Poetica Red 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK POETICA RED 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#355859) (XD) - $54.95
A Bordeaux-blend consisting of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cabernet Franc, 26% Petit Verdot and 2% Merlot. Organic and biodynamic. Plum and wood aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic earthy, barnyard nose followed by sweet spice and dark berries. It's medium-to-full bodied with dark, brooding and refined tannins. Delicious aroma replays offer rich layers of baking spice, cassis, floral, blackberry, and sweet oak that persist through to the long, slightly warm finish that is supported by excellent fruit concentration and tannin. Acids are mouth-watering. Amazing right now, this will improve with cellar time and easily offer enjoyment over the next decade. This might just be the best Ontario red table wine I've ever tasted. Score: 93 pts

"Words to a Grandchild" - Southbrook Poetica Red 2012Bottle 0307 of 1,019 - Southbrook Poetica Red 2012


Saturday, December 19, 2015

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  • Saturday, December 19, 2015

Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

The next instalment of wines from Southbrook Vineyards features a white wine from their top-of-the-line "Poetica" collection.

Poetica wines are made only in excellent vintages. The poetry on the labels is drawn from the work of a wide cross-section of talented Canadian poets and reflects, in some way, a love theme. The wine honours the poem on the label, and the poem honours the wine in the bottle.

These wines are made mostly from tiny batches and feature limited edition numbering on the bottles - making an empty bottle somewhat of a keepsake. Only 222 cases of the 2012 Poetica Chardonnay were produced. This Chardonnay is also organic and biodynamic and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

The Poetica Gift Package is currently available for the holidays as a 6-pack that includes the Chardonnay reviewed below, as well as the 2007 and 2011 Poetica Chardonnays, the 2007 Poetica Cabernet Merlot, and 2010 and 2012 Poetica Red. This gift pack is offered with a complimentary wooden crate along with free shipping. Furthermore, the 2010 Poetica Red is in extremely limited supply, so you'll need to hurry to reserve your gift package. Pricing and info about a smaller Poetica Gift Package are available on Southbrook's website.

Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK POETICA CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#366500) (XD) - $49.95
The poem on the front is a verse from "Keep a Few Embers From the Fire" by Canadian poet Chief Dan George. Bottle 348 of 2,664, this has a reductive nose of yellow pear, toasted nuts and some subtle baking spice notes. On the palate it has vibrant acidity on a honeyed flavoured profile with hints of pineapple, Golden apple, butter and vanilla. Medium-bodied with a slight oily and creamy texture. It's mouth-watering throughout, while the finish length is excellent. A special wine that should mature well over the next 5-6 years. Score: 92 pts

"Keep a Few Embers From the Fire" - Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012Bottle 0348 of 2,664 of Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay 2012


Monday, December 14, 2015

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  • Monday, December 14, 2015

Southbrook Vidal Icewine 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Tonight's end-of-dinner treat is an organic Icewine that will be released in January. If you're heading to the Icewine Festival next month, make sure to stop by Southbrook Vineyards and taste this delicious nectar.

Although there is no special Holiday Gift Package for Icewine, the beverage in and of itself would make a very special gift indeed. Having said that, you can easily bundle up the 2013 Cabernet Franc Icewine and the fully mature 2006 Vidal Icewine that was just released from the library as a lovely duo of wines for that Icewine lover in your life. Both of these Icewines are only available through the winery. Visit their website for details.

Southbrook Vidal Icewine 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $34.95
Inviting nose of peach, honey and orange from the cork. Very appealing and highly aromatic nose of apricot preserve, peach, honey with hints of lemon and ginger. It's very sweet on the fullish palate with a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel and pleasing aroma replays. The acids provide vibrancy mid-palate, while the finish length is very good. Drink over the next 7-8 years. Score: 90 pts


Saturday, December 12, 2015

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  • Saturday, December 12, 2015

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

The next post in my series of Southbrook wines is a very unique Chardonnay whose primary fermentation and malolactic conversion were indigenous - also known as "Wild Fermentation". To put it another way, the yeast used to ferment this wine was naturally occurring in the vineyard and at the winery - instead of adding inoculated yeast.

Only 6 barrels (180 cases) of this wine were produced, all from estate fruit. It spent 20 months in French oak barrels (50% new). Once again, this wine is certified organic and biodynamic and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

This wine is only available at the winery and is currently available as part of a lovely Holiday Gifting Estate Package. For fans of Chardonnay, this package also includes the 2013 Vosges, and the unreleased Moon Barrel, Allier and Jupilles wines. There is also a similarly packaged set of wines for Cabernet Franc aficionados. These wines are specially crafted by winemaker Ann Sperling to show the subtle differences in barrel wood. The names of these wines refer to either the forest from which the barrel wood came from, or the unique method of cooperage. Visit the Southbrook Vineyards website for more details and to place your order.

Southbrook Estate Grown Small Lot Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE GROWN SMALL LOT WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $34.95
Ripe pear, green apple and hints of butter aromas from the cork. Elegant bouquet of coconut, pear, Golden apple, with hints of honeycomb and white flower. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with vibrant acidity and honey-tinged aromas replays. A saline note comes through mid-palate. Finishes long with mineral, honey, apple, floral and vanilla aftertaste. Some intriguing coffee notes emerge as it warms up in the glass. Lots going on in this yummy Chardonnay. Eminently drinkable now and should be better in a couple of years. Score: 90 pts


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

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  • Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot 2014 (Niagara) - Wine Review

red wine is the second in a series of wines from Southbrook Vineyards.

The grapes for this wine come from the Saunders Vineyard in Niagara. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and ageing occurred in neutral oak barrels. This wine is certified organic and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Currently available as part of the Triomphe Gift Package that also includes two other Southbrook Triomphe wines, a bottle of Southbrook Preserve Chardonnay Vinegar, and a copy of the Ontario Table Cookbook that features 109 recipes using local ingredients.

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CABERNET MERLOT 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95
Capped with a Stelvin closure, this relatively unique blend of 69% Cabernet Franc and 31% Merlot is an organic red wine with medium+ intensity aromas of raspberry, black cherry, licorice, and sweet tobacco. Some earthy and stewed fruit notes arrive later. Essentially dry aroma replays on the medium+ bodied palate with sandalwood and chocolate notes arriving mid-palate add complexity. Acids are fresh, while tannins are light and gritty. Finishes long and earthy. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. This will go great with lamb and buffalo mozzarella pizza (recipe provided below). Score: 88 pts

Recipe: Lamb Meatballs, Red Wine Braised Shallots and Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza

Pizza Crust:
  • K2
  • Red Fife 60%
  • 3 Star Canadian Flour 40% (This flour is comparable to the Tippo ‘00’)
  • Salt 3%
  • Bioflavia 3% (dry yeast if used instead will also be 3%)
  • Cool water 63%
  • 250 mL of Southbrook Wine
Technique:
  1. Mix all of the ingredients except for the wine by hand for about 4 to 5 minutes or in a mixer on a lower speed for about two minutes. You do not want to over develop the gluten or each pizza will always shrink on you. After mixing the dough, drink the wine as your reward. You just made pizza dough from scratch!
  2. Let the dough stand overnight, preferably in the pre-weighed balls. The typical individual pizza is about 140 g. The easiest ratio is to work with 1000 g of flour and do the percentages back from that. You will get about 10 individual pizzas.
  3. Pull dough out 1 hour before rolling. If you don’t have a pizza oven, put your stove to 450°F and fill a small pot or pan with water and place on the bottom of the oven. Keep the dough nice and thin with a little corn meal on the bottom so it does not stick to the tray.

Pizza Sauce Pomodoro:
  • 1 large 3.5 L can of quality whole tomatoes
  • 5 mL of sea salt per litre of canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of basil (optional)
Technique:
  1. Pass the whole tomatoes through a food mill and bring to a slow simmer for about 2 hours.
  2. When finished throw in salt a few leaves of basil.

Red Wine Braised Shallots:
  • 2 lbs shallots
  • 250 mL Southbrook Triomph Cabernet Franc
  • 250 mL dark chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1/4 tsp chilli
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
Technique:
  1. Peel shallots and cover half way with red wine and dark chicken stock.
  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, some sugar, dried chili and fennel.
  3. Cover with tin foil and cook at 250°F for about two hours and remove the foil.
  4. Keep cooking until they take on a nice caramel colour.
  5. Make a lot at a time and just place them in the fridge.
  6. Take two of the shallots and slice for the pizza

Lamb Meatballs:
  1. Add chopped thyme, rosemary and parsley with a splash of 10% cream to ground lamb.
  2. Roll meat balls at a size of about 40 g.
  3. Cook for approximately 25 minutes at 325°F.

To Assemble Pizza:
To build the pizza, roll out the dough to create a thin layer and place on a tray with corn meal sprinkled on it to avoid sticking. Ladle on a thin layer of pomodoro sauce, add three sliced meatballs, two shallots, and 60 g of torn buffalo mozzarella cheese, and then sprinkle charred garlic scapes.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

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  • Saturday, December 5, 2015

Southbrook Connect Organic White 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review

white wine is a blend of 4 varietals and is certified organic. It is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Produced by Southbrook Vineyards, this organic white wine is currently available in a gift package directly from the winery that includes the 2014 Connect Red and a jar each of the Southbrook Preserves Raspberry Jam with Framboise and the Southbrook Chardonnay Mustard. Details and other holiday gifting ideas from Southbrook are available on their website.

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK CONNECT ORGANIC WHITE 2014 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#249078) (D) - $15.95
Interesting blend of 58% Vidal, 21% Chardonnay, 12% Riesling, and 9% Sauvignon Blanc capped with a Stelvin closure. Perfumed nose of melon, peach, and clementine. The palate is soft and round with honeydew and citrus flavours that are slightly sweet. Fleshy in style with balanced acidity and some honeyed sweetness flavours that linger through to the medium-length finish. Crafted in an easy drinking, crowd pleasing style, this will be fine to sip on its own or pair with poultry or seafood dishes. Available at the LCBO. Score: 86 pts


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