Showing posts with label spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spain. Show all posts

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  • Friday, November 8, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Excellens Cuvée Especial 2015 (Spain) - Wine Review



vegan-friendly red wine review is the Wine of the Month that just arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Marqués de Cáceres, one of more widely known Spanish producers with many of their wines available at the LCBO.

The grapes for this particular wine come from vineyards that are 20 to 35 years old and located in and around Cenicero in Rioja Alta from both higher and cooler parcels (600 metres altitude), as well as lower grounds (400 metres altitude). These vineyards are planted on gentle hillsides, as well as on the town's highest altitudes with steep inclines. Soil composition is mainly clay and limestone, with some parcels having more iron-rich subsoils.

It is interesting to note that 100% of the harvest was completed manually, parcel by parcel. In addition, grapes are only harvested after they reach maturity, meaning that they may have to return to some of the vineyards several times depending on the orientation of the vines or if these are planted at different altitudes prior to picking the grapes.

Marqués de Cáceres Excellens Cuvée Especial 2015 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES EXCELLENS CUVÉE ESPECIAL 2015 - Vegan friendly, DOCa Rioja, Spain (#010684) (XD) - $17.00
This Tempranillo spent 14 months in medium-toasted French oak barrels, and at least a further 12 months in bottle prior to release. This has a quiet nose that offers ripe red cherry, sweet vanillin oak, clove and plum aromas. It is full bodied with oak spice, clove, licorice, and tarry notes surrounding a core of dark cherry. There's juicy, food-friendly acidity, while tannins are firmly structured and chalky and could use a couple of years to soften. Wood spice and earthy notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, November 2, 2019

San Gregorio Manga del Brujo 2006 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is something I pulled out from my cellar that was purchased more than 10 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. The tasting note that was published in magazine suggested this would drink well to 2020, so here we are, in 2019. Let's see how this Spanish red wine is tasting tonight...

San Gregorio Manga del Brujo 2006 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SAN GREGORIO MANGA DEL BRUJO 2006 - DO Calatayud, Spain (#015073) (XD) - $17.95
This red wine is a blend of 65% old vines Garnacha, 15% Syrah, 15% Tempranillo, and 5% Monastrell/Mazuelo that was aged for 5 months in new and used oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. Deep garnet colour. The generous nose is full of savoury, earthy, and wet forest floor aromas with hints of dried berry and floral notes. It is medium+ bodied and quite savoury on the palate with more wet forest floor, earthy and savoury characters along with sweet cherry, rose floral, sweet spice, and dried berry flavours. The fruit is fairly dried out at this stage, with tannins offering a grippy textured mouthfeel. Acids are still quite juicy. Very good length on the savoury-earthy, dried berry/floral finish. A treat to drink now if you still have a bottle. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Friday, October 11, 2019

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

The recent parade of Spanish Rioja wine reviews continues with wine that just arrived at the LCBO as part of this Saturday's LCBO VINTAGES Release and was also featured as part of the theme on Rioja wines.

It is produced by Bodegas Franco-Españolas and reminds me of the time almost to the day, when I had the pleasure of attending a fine vertical tasting of their Rioja Bordón Gran Reserva wines ranging in vintage from 1982 to 2009. Bodegas Franco-Españolas is one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Spain and is celebrating its 129th anniversary in this year.

The wine I opened tonight is a Reserva, a class of Spanish red wine that must be aged a minimum of three years with at least one year in oak barrels. The Rioja Bordón Reserva is aged in American (Ohio) and French oak barrels for 18 months and undergoes decanting every 6 months to facilitate a natural filtering process, then stays in bottle for further refinement. The grapes for this wine come from vineyards in Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental which are north-facing in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda. According to winemaker Rubén Provedo, 2012 was a tough harvest in Rioja due to the drought which led to lower yields. However, the grapes reached the winery in excellent health and helped produce this wonderful Rioja wine.

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2012 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (D) - $19.95
This blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% Mazuelo has a medium+ intensity nose that is oak-spiced followed by complex earthy, red cherry, mocha, and touches of grilled herb and licorice notes. It is medium bodied on the palate with gritty tannins and ripe flavours of candied-stewed cherry, oak spice, licorice, and cocoa. Acids are fresh and juicy. Smoky, oak spice and subtle sour cherry characters linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts


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  • Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October 12, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Cabernet Sauvignon + Rioja

LCBO Wine Picks: October 12, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme from the October 12, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release features Cabernet Sauvignon wines from around the globe, while the mini-theme focuses on food-friendly wines from Rioja. All of these wines, plus those from the main release will be available on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday. If you're looking for some great wines for holiday gift-giving, you should definitely consider some of the wines from this Release.

We'll begin with the main theme that focuses on the Red Giant - Cabernet Sauvignon varietal that is grown in many regions from Bordeaux to California. There are quite a few quality wines among the thirteen featured, but only two are included among my top Cabernet Sauvignon wine recommendations from this LCBO VINTAGES Release. First up is the lovely 2010 Ségla from a blockbuster vintage and is a blend based on Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaux on the left bank. The only other Cab Sauv among my wine picks is from Coonawarra in Australia. Lastly, the Château Pierre de Montignac (90 pts) came through VINTAGES in April but is also featured in this Release, so it's not listed below but is nonetheless a worthy buy.

Ségla 2010 (92 pts)Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (89 pts)

From the feature on wines from Rioja, five of the eight wines are included among my top wine picks, and all five are blends based on Tempranillo, the King of Spanish red wines, and range in vintage. We'll start with the oldest, a 1998 Reserva that is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo/Graciano, while the 2009 Reserva is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. There are a pair of 2012 Rioja Gran Reserva's - the Baron de Ley is mainly Tempranillo, while the Cune is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. Lastly, the 2016 Crianza is composed of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 5% Mazuelo.

Urbina Especial Reserva 1998 (92 pts)La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva 2009 (93 pts)

Cune Gran Reserva 2012 (92 pts)Barón de Ley Gran Reserva 2012 (91 pts)

Rioja Vega Crianza 2016 (88 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the Release include a Saint Chinian that is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault, while the Rhône red consists of mainly Grenache and Syrah. From Australia, the GMS consists of 55% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Shiraz, while the icon wine from Chile is a blend of 92% Carmenere and 8% Petit Verdot.

Montes Purple Angel 2016 (92 pts)M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes du Rhône Grenache/Syrah 2017 (90 pts)

Calmel & Joseph Saint Chinian 2015 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the white from Veneto is a unique blend of 40% Garganega, 35% Cortese/Incrocio Manzoni, 15% Trebbianello, and 10% Trebbiano Toscano, while the Paso Robles wine is composed of 44% Viognier, 24% Marsanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 12% Roussanne. Among the single varietal wines, The Saint-Véran is made with Chardonnay, while the Muscadet is made with Melon de Bourgogne. For sweet wine lovers, the Niagara Riesling will be off-dry, while the Riesling Spätlese will be very sweet.

Monte del Frá Ca' del Magro 2016 (89 pts)Karl Erbes Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese 2016 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • CALMEL & JOSEPH SAINT CHINIAN 2015 - AP, Languedoc, France (#010623) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#471854) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BELLERUCHE CÔTES DU RHÔNE GRENACHE/SYRAH 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#328831) (D) - $16.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JIM BARRY COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#677476) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SCHILD ESTATE GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE/SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#108183) (XD) - $19.95
  • CORIOLE ESTATE GROWN SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#931600) (XD) - $24.95

  • CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $28.95  92 pts  wine review
  • BARÓN DE LEY GRAN RESERVA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#642496) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646885) (XD) - $35.00  FE  91+ pts  wine review
  • URBINA ESPECIAL RESERVA 1998 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#010723) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts  wine review
  • LA RIOJA ALTA VIÑA ARDANZA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#315531) (XD) - $54.95  93 pts  wine review
  • MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2016 - DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#062364) (XD) - $62.95  92 pts  wine review
  • SÉGLA 2010 - Second wine of Château Rauzan-Ségla, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#359810) (XD) - $68.95  92 pts  wine review
Southbrook Laundry Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (91+ pts)

White Wine:

  • LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#363150) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $19.95
  • TERRES SECRÈTES LES PRÉLUDES SAINT-VÉRAN 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#016725) (XD) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING 2018 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#557165) (D) - $19.95
  • MONTE DEL FRÁ CA’ DEL MAGRO 2016 - DOC Custoza Superiore, Veneto, Italy (#165670) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • RAPAURA SPRINGS WAIRAU CLASSIC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#924704) (XD) - $21.95
  • KARL ERBES ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2016 - Qualitätswein, Mosel, Germany (#011721) (S) - $26.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • TABLAS CREEK CÔTES DE TABLAS BLANC 2017 - Adelaida District, Paso Robles, California, USA (#036616) (XD) - $37.95  FE
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CHARDONNAY 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#701748) (XD) - $74.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CAVES D’ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL ROSÉ 2018 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#491027) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
Caves d'Esclans Rock Angel Rosé 2018 (91 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSÉ 2013 - Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#004085) (XD) - $24.95
  • LE BRUN DE NEUVILLE GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#011131) (XD) - $85.95  92 pts  wine review
Le Brun de Neuville Grand Vintage Brut Champagne 2008 (92 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • ROYAL TOKAJI LATE HARVEST TOKAJI 2017 - PDO, Hungary (#517375) (S) (500 mL) - $21.95


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

Following up on the delicious 2014 Marqués de Cáceres Crianza, wine review is another lovely Rioja from Spanish producer Marqués de Cáceres. This red wine arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and plenty are still available for purchase.

Marqués de Cáceres made its first Gran Reserva in 1975 and produces it only in the best vintages. The grapes used in this 2011 vintage are Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, and Graciano which come from a special selection of 35-50 year-old vineyards with some parcels in Rioja Alta that are 65-85 years old. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards planted between 400-620 metres above sea level from different zones within the Cenicero boundary in La Rioja, northern Spain. The Garnacha Tinta comes from selected vineyards located in Rioja Alta at altitudes between 500 m and 650 m, adding finesse, freshness, and structure to the wine. Lastly, Graciano adds a unique style and colour to the blend. All of the grapes come from mainly clay and limestone soils, and were manually harvested, parcel by parcel.

In Spanish wine law, Crianza wines spend one year in oak barrels, while Reserva wines must be aged for 2 years, of which one year must be in oak. Gran Reserva wines must be aged for two years in oak and three years in bottle. However, this Gran Reserva from Marqués de Cáceres is aged for 24-26 months in barrel, followed by a minimum of 4 years in bottle prior to release.

Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2011 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#976670) (XD) - $29.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 8% Garnacha Tinta, and 7% Graciano. The medium intensity nose has toasty oak and vanilla aromas nuanced with ripe red cherry, floral, and balsamic notes. It is full bodied on the palate with structured, drying tannins that become more pronounced on the mid-palate. Flavours are savoury with sweet spice, plum, dark cherry, and roasted nut notes. Acids are well-balanced while the finish is long and savoury. Approachable now, but should improve in 3 years and drink nicely into the mid-to-late 20's. Score: 89 pts


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  • Monday, October 7, 2019

CVNE (Spain) Wine Tasting with Maria Larrea

On a fine , I had the pleasure of tasting a few wines from Spain's historic CVNE wine company with winemaker María Larrea at George Restaurant in downtown Toronto.

CVNE is actually an abbreviation of Compañía Vinícola del Norte del España, which translates to the Northern Spanish Wine Company. It was founded in 1879 by two brothers in the town of Haro in Rioja, in northern Spain, and has always focused on producing and aging wines. It now comprises of four wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino.

CVNE Wine Tasting with Winemaker María Larrea

Even though the company is officially called CVNE, the producer is more commonly known as Cune (pronounced COO-nay). It was interesting to learn from Maria that the origins of this name are due to a label misprint by the print shop they were using in the early days of the winery's history. The print shop accidentally replaced the "V" with a "U" and the name Cune became quite popular and continues be well-known. Personally, I have always known this producer as Cune.

CVNE garnered its first awards in 1885, and further successes led to the creation of the revolutionary Effel's cellar. The cellar was designed by the famous French architect, Aleixandre Gustave Eiffel, and uses steel trusses running from wall to wall (instead of columns) to support the roof, thus creating a large, open space for the management of the barrels. It was completed in 1909 and is still in use today by Imperial wines.

Imperial wines were first created in 1920 and are some of Spain's greatest wines. The name comes from a special bottling for the English market, in a measure called "Pinta Imperial" or "Imperial Pint". Viña Real wines were also launched at this time. In 1940, the El Carmen winemaking facility became the largest of its kind in Spain and showcased the benefits of using concrete in winemaking.

In 1973, Viñedos del Contino was established by CVNE and the family that owned the Contino vineyard, becoming the first single vineyard site in Rioja. Another first occurred in 1989 when they began using gravity during the fermentation process. In 2004, Viña Real winery was inaugurated by his majesty Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, becoming one of the most advanced wineries in Spain.

Today, the company is still controlled by descendants of the founding family. Maria and I tasted through the three wines listed below and, while all three were enjoyable, we both thought the Imperial Reserva the best. I was also hoping to try the Monopole - Spain's oldest white wine brand that was first introduced in 1915, but unfortunately it was not available for tasting.

Of the three wines I did get to taste, the Crianza and Reserva came to LCBO VINTAGES in and are still available for purchase at the LCBO. Wines from CVNE's entire portfolio can be purchased through their licensed agent here in Ontario, Von Terra. Thank you, Von Terra, for the opportunity to meet Maria and taste these fine wines from CVNE.

Tasting Notes:

CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95
85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo. From a warm year, the medium-high intensity nose is all red berry and cherry with hints of strawberry and wood adding some complexity. It's light-to-medium bodied with medium-level tannins that are smooth and refined. Pretty aroma replays, plus vanilla and coconut flavours on the palate. Acids are very good. Dry, clean, and easy drinking with a finish length that is very good. Score: 88 pts

CVNE Cune Crianza 2015 (88 pts)CVNE Imperial Reserva 2014 (92 pts)

CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo and equal parts Graciano, Mazuelo (Carignan), and Grenache spent 18 months in (60%) French and (40%) American oak. Lovely, fairly intense nose offers very complex dark berry, black cherry, blackberry, and black plum aromas, with subtle oak, cinnamon, and spice complementing the dark fruits. The medium-full bodied palate is slightly warm, but the very good fruit concentration holds it all together. Very nice aroma replays are well-balanced on the juicy palate. Nicely balanced overall with smooth tannins and a very long, complex finish. Score: 92 pts

CVNE IMPERIAL GRAN RESERVA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (XD) - $69.95
Same blend as the Reserva, this is showing maturity on the nose with complex coffee, oak, tobacco, earthy, and savoury aromas, plus hints of blackberry and dark berry. The medium-full bodied palate has complex aroma replays on the flavour profile, plus some dried herb notes. Continues to evolve in the glass. Medium tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Excellent finish length with tobacco and forest floor notes. Score: 91 pts

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2008 (91 pts)


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  • Sunday, September 29, 2019

Vallobera Crianza 2005 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice red wine that I purchased from an LCBO VINTAGES Release way back in .

The tasting note in the VINTAGES magazine indicated that this Crianza could be aged until 2020. However, my research today indicates that this wine probably should have been opened 3-4 years ago. Looking at my bottle, I see there is noticeable ullage (the gap of air between the top of the wine and the cork), indicating that some oxidation has occurred. Let's see how this red wine is tasting tonight...

Vallobera Crianza 2005 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

VALLOBERA CRIANZA 2005 - DOCa, Rioja, Spain (#092429) (XD) - $19.95
This 100% Tempranillo was aged in French and American oak for 14 months. The medium intensity nose has mature dried berry, blackberry, sweet baking spice and sweet oak aromas with touches of rose floral and scorched earth adding complexity. It is medium bodied with savoury and earthy flavours along with touches of dried plum, fig, cigar box, and sweet spice. Mature tannins have a slightly grippy, drying texture. More earthy, tobacco, and savoury notes on the long, juicy finish. Enjoyable, but drink now if you have a bottle. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious Rioja that came to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty of bottles are still available for purchase across Ontario.

Marqués de Cáceres was founded in La Rioja and Cenicero, within the heart of the La Rioja Alta sub-region in Spain in 1970 by Enrique Forner, forming an historic alliance between a region and an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade for five generations.

After making wine at his own Chateaux's in Bordeaux, he brought the same reformist spirit when he returned to Spain and employed some of the same techniques for success such as vineyard control, grape selection, cold production, ageing in new and semi-new French oak barrels, and long refinement in the bottle. All of this contributes to wines that can show finesse and elegance. Their first wine was the 1970 Crianza which was released to the public in 1975 and offered more fruity notes over wood when compared to classic Riojas of the time.

In the 1990's, a trend for innovation took hold in La Rioja. Young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration, just as Enrique Forner had done twenty years previously, and worked the terroir and vineyards, to obtain profiles that were different to the traditional Riojas. Marqués de Cáceres was advised by Michel Rolland - the most influential oenologist in Bordeaux at the time - and together they were united by a great obsession to create quality wines.

Their single objective at Marqués de Cáceres is to have the best vine growers and vineyards in La Rioja to produce the best wines, an obsession that continues today, led by the fourth generation of this wine family, Cristina Forner. They are also the best-known Rioja in Spain as well as one of the top 50 most admired wine brands globally.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Graciano aged in both French and American oak. The medium intensity nose delivers red cherry/berry notes with hints of dried red fruit, followed by sweet oak spice, herbs, and floral aromas. The medium+ bodied palate is fresh and lively, offering more red cherry, floral, and oak spiced flavours surrounding a savoury, earthy core. Refined tannins offer a nice, dusty texture with a touch of chalkiness. Finish is long and earthy. A satisfying Rioja to enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018 - Top Wines

2018 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
On a cold night in November, I attended the 24th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - a 4-day event that ran through . The first night was VIP Preview Night and attendance seemed a bit lighter than previous years. There also seemed to be fewer food and wine booths, but more craft breweries. Since my focus was mostly on the wines, I traversed the floor seeking some of the finest on offer and had a great time chatting with familiar faces en route.

Some of the highlights included wines in the Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, and at the Kolonaki Group booth where they featured many lovely Greek wines. There were also some fine wines at Wines from Spain, Wines of South Africa, Villa Maria Wines of New Zealand, and Grenache Wines booths. Here are some of my favourites from the show. All of these wines are available via the LCBO unless otherwise noted. Thank you Foodies on Foot for the tickets I won through their online contest!


CHAMPAGNE CUVÉE CARBON BRUT - AC, France (XD) - $350  92 pts
The official Champagne of Formula 1. Exclusive bottle wrapped in carbon looks awesome! Available via Bianchi & Nero.

Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut (92 pts)Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)

VIDAL LEGACY CHARDONNAY 2016 - Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (#570895) (XD) - $60  93 pts

CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts

Cune Gran Reserva 2011 (92 pts)Mega Spileo Grand Cave Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (91 pts)

MEGA SPILEO GRAND CAVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#539924) (XD) - $27.95  91 pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

MARTIN BERDUGO RESERVA 2010 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#233741) (XD) - $38  91 pts

Martin Berdugo Reserva 2010 (91 pts)Te Awa Left Field Syrah 2015 (90+ pts)

TE AWA LEFT FIELD SYRAH 2015 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#377837) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts

ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $32  90+ pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

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

KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90 pts

ONTAÑÓN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#725895) (XD) - $25.95  90 pts

Ontañón Reserva 2010 (90 pts)Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2015 (89 pts)

GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE  / GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, France (#413245) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts

UMBERTO CESARI LIANO SANGIOVESE / CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - IGT Rubicone, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#225086) (D) - $27.95  88 pts

Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)


Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut
Kolonaki Group - ShopGreekWine.com
Foods & Wine from Spain
Wines of South Africa
Garnacha and Grenache Wines


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  • Monday, November 5, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Nov. 10, 2018: California + Rioja

LCBO Wine Picks: November 10, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The parade of premium wines continues with the LCBO VINTAGES Release that features coveted and iconic California wines as its main theme, while the mini-theme features classic gems from Rioja. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with main theme that features fifteen of some of California's most coveted and iconic wines, four of which are included among my top wine picks. From the whites, both are high-end Chardonnay. One is from Beringer, California's oldest continually operating winery (founded in 1876), while the other from a specialist in Sonoma Chardonnay - Kistler Vineyards. Among the reds, there is a lovely Pinot Noir from Flowers Vineyards & Winery, as well as a Napa Cab from Joseph Phelps that is actually a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot.

Kistler Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)Flowers Pinot Noir 2016 (92 pts)

The mini-theme features only seven wines from Rioja (Spain), but four are include among my top wine recommendations. First up is the lone white that is made with the Viura (aka Macabeo) grape and can be aged for at least another 5 years. The red wines include some stellar mature wines from 1996, 2005, and 2009. The '96 is a blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo, while the '05 is a blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 5% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo. Lastly, the '09 is 100% Tempranillo.

Wine blends among my top red wine picks include the Saint-Roch that is a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan, while the Madiran is a blend of 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Franc from 40-50 year old vines. From Rhône, the '15 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, while the '16 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a made with 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and 5% Cinsault. From Tuscany, the Luce is a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, while the baby Ornellaia is a blend of 44% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot, and 12% Cabernet Franc.

Luce 2015 (91 pts)Cave Spring Indian Summer Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Marsannay is made with Chardonnay, while the Muscadet is made with Melon de Bourgogne from old vines that average 80-years-old. If you like your wines with some sweetness, the Niagara Riesling is your best bet. Moving on to dessert wines, the Cave Spring Riesling is a Late Harvest and along with the Tokaj are the least sweetest of the bunch. Both the Vidal Icewine and the Botrytis Semillon are lusciously sweet dessert wines.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2016 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#119354) (D) - $17.00
  • LA TREMENDA MONASTRELL 2016 - DO Alicante, Spain (#490011) (XD) - $17.95
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#578179) (XD) - $18.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE / GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, France (#413245) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU PEYROS VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN 2013 - AC, Southwest, France (#234997) (XD) - $19.95

  • FEUDO MONTONI LAGNUSA NERO D’AVOLA 2015 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#523738) (XD) - $23.95
  • MONTECILLO GRAN RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#239277) (XD) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA SOLITUDE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#560987) (XD) - $41.95
  • VIÑA TONDONIA RESERVA 2005 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#356337) (XD) - $49.95
  • URBINA GRAN RESERVA 1996 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#355743) (XD) - $54.95

  • LE SERRE NUOVE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2016 - DOC Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy (#606194) (XD) - $64.95
  • FLOWERS PINOT NOIR 2016 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#215202) (XD) - $64.95  92 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $93.95
  • LUCE 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#685263) (XD) - $114.95  91 pts  wine review
  • JOSEPH PHELPS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#189795) (XD) - $118.95

White Wine:

  • ILOK CELLARS CLASSIC GRASEVINA 2017 - Croatia (#517474) (XD) - $14.95
  • VETIVER VIURA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#437707) (XD) - $16.95
  • GADAIS VIEILLES VIGNES MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2015 - Sur lie, AC, Loire, France (#444406) (XD) - $17.95
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95
  • PADDY BORTHWICK PINOT GRIS 2016 - Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand (#555516) (XD) - $19.95
  • TAWSE LIMESTONE RIDGE-NORTH ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#431593) (M) - $23.95
  • LOUIS LATOUR MARSANNAY BLANC 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#435156) (XD) - $32.95
  • BERINGER PRIVATE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#026682) (D) - $64.95
  • KISTLER SONOMA MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2016 - Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County, California, USA (#183921) (XD) - $107.95  93 pts  wine review

Rosé Wine:

  • MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2017 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#452573) (XD) - $18.95

Fortified:

  • QUINTA VALE D. MARIA VINTAGE PORT 2015 - DOP, Portugal (#582965) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95

Dessert Wine:

  • BIRO SO SWEET TOKAJ 2016 - Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary (#617324) (S) (375 mL) - $17.95
  • CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • DE BORTOLI NOBLE ONE BOTRYTIS SEMILLON 2016 - New South Wales, Australia (#917252) (S) (375 mL) - $29.95
  • SOUTHBROOK ORGANIC VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#581165) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95


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  • Friday, September 7, 2018

Marqués de Caceres Rosado 2017 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice rosado (a.k.a. rosé) from Spain that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

The story of Marqués de Cáceres begins its roots in 1920, when Enrique Forner's grandfather and father founded Vinícola Forner - a small family business devoted to producing wine. Enrique worked in the wine trade as a boy and, after being exiled to France during the Civil War, he founded a similar business in France in 1952. Eventually, he returned to Spain and founded Marqués de Cáceres in 1970. He has been part of an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade now for five generations, including his daughter, Cristina Forner, who manages the winery today.

In the 1990s, the trend for innovation continued as young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration. Michel Rolland, the most influential enologist in Bordeaux at the time, was brought on as an adviser. Marqués de Cáceres and Michel were united in their obsession to produce quality wines.

Today, Marqués de Cáceres has the leading Rioja in Spain and exports their wines to more than 120 countries around the globe, including delicious wines such as this Rosado in Ontario, Canada.

Marqués de Caceres Rosado 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CACERES ROSADO 2017 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#622142) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 96% Tempranillo and 4% Garnacha Tinta from 15-20-year old vines grown on mainly clay and limestone. Screw cap. This has a medium+ intensity nose with herbally and red currant aromas surrounded by a core of red cherry, strawberry, and watermelon notes. The crunchy palate is a touch honeyed, yet dry, and offers more cherry, strawberry, and watermelon flavours on a medium+ bodied frame. It has food-friendly acids, while the finish length is very good. Score: 87 pts


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  • Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is another new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Bodegas Jesús Romero in partnership with San Alejandro's winemaker, Juan Vicente Alcañiz. Together, they purchased a three-hectare vineyard of 70-year-old Garnacha in Báguena, Aragón. They also work together on a nearly four-hectare plot of 10-year-old vines at 980 metres altitude.

The name "Rubus" was chosen for this red wine for two reasons. Firstly, it is a nod to its origins in the municipality of Rubielos de Mora (in Teruel, Aragón, Spain) and secondly, it refers to Rubus Ulmifolius, a species of wild blackberry that evokes its aromas and defines the landscape of the area.

Bodega Jesús Romero Rubus 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGA JESÚS ROMERO RUBUS 2016 - DO Aragón, Spain (#575944) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of roughly equal parts Garnacha and Syrah, and 20% Tempranillo completing the blend from vines on pebble soil with sandy loam texture, in a mountainous area between 900 and 1000 metres elevation. All raised in stainless steel and concrete tanks, and spent 5 months on the lees. This is quite fragrant in the glass with blackberry, red berry, and spice aromas accented by earthy mineral. It is medium-full bodied on the fresh, clean, and ripe palate that is fruit forward with blackberry, dark cherry, and spice flavours with a smoky mineral underpinning. Tannins are fairly soft and dusty, offering a nice textural character, with just a touch of grip. Fresh, juicy acids. Long, blackberry and spice finish. Enjoy over the next couple of years. Score: 89 pts


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