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

Saturday, December 8, 2018

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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


Monday, November 5, 2018

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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


Friday, September 7, 2018

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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


Saturday, August 25, 2018

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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


Friday, August 10, 2018

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  • Friday, August 10, 2018

Villacreces Pruno 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Spanish red blend that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by one of the region's first wineries, Finca Villacreces, and is situated in the middle of Ribera del Duero’s "Golden Mile". The Duero estate is named after its founder, Franciscan monk Pedro de Villacreces, who, together with other clerics established a monastery on this site to pray and grow crops, including grapes.

For centuries, Villacreces was a place of retreat for Franciscan monks who, among other things, worked the land until the Confiscations of Mendizábal in 1836, when the land passed into the private hands of Marquis Teodosio Alonso-Pesquera - a royal senator of Alfonso XIII. Shortly thereafter, Marquis was granted water rights to the Duero River by the King.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the second Marquis sold the estate to the Cuadrado Family from Valladolid. In 2004, Gonzalo and Lalo Antón met the Cuadrado Family and expressed interest in purchasing the site as they already had bodegas in Rioja and Toro, and had been looking to expand into the Ribera de Duero. Pedro Cuadrado also hinted at leaving the wine business and estate in good hands. Soon after, the Antóns became owners of one of Ribera del Duero's most spectacular vineyards. They rebuilt the bodega, restored the vineyard, and relaunched Villacreces in 2007.

Villacreces Pruno 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

VILLACRECES PRUNO 2016 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#312140) (XD) - $22.95
Approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Black plum and cedar oak aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose with smoky black licorice, black cherry, oak spice, and cassis with hints of earth and black plum aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with grippy, muscular tannins and fresh acids lifting the black cherry, blackberry, currant, and oak flavours. Drying mid-palate. Long finish with earthy and smoky elements, and just a touch of chocolate bitterness. Solid wine that needs 3+ years of cellar time. Score: 89 pts


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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  • Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wine Reviews - June 24 Birthday Party

Wine Lineup for June 24, 2018 Birthday Party

On , we threw a birthday party at Bombay Touch in Thornhill for my son who just turned a year old. I brought in my own wines for the occasion, spanning a fairly wide range of categories so that each guest could find at least one wine that would appeal to their palate. Wines styles included a dry rosé, a dry white wine, a sweet white wine, and a variety of dry red wines. The most popular wines were the Mencía, the rosé, and the Riesling.

All of the wines are fairly recent additions to VINTAGES and should still be available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Wines reviews of each of the wines are posted below.

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Pale pink colour much the same as Provence. Lovely, highly aromatic, bright and fresh aromas of mineral, white grapefruit, and lemon citrus. The palate is dry with complex white grapefruit, orange peel, herbs, and mineral with hints of lemon, on a medium-full bodied frame and lifted with crisp, vibrant acidity. Nicely balanced throughout with hints of strawberry and cherry flavours. Excellent finish length with lemony nuances. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 91 pts

Malivoire Vivant Rosé 2017 (91 pts)

TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with grassy, lemon/lime, pear, flinty mineral, and hints of herbal and stone fruits. It has a dry, medium+ body palate with a nice, slightly chalky texture and balanced aroma replays. Balanced acids with a touch viscous mouthfeel on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with nice mineral notes. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Tahbilk Marsanne 2017 (89 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
Screw cap. Wow. Highly aromatic and pretty aromas of peach and orange which give way to ripe apple, mineral and hints of petrol. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good fruit concentration and medium sweet flavours that are nicely balanced and mimic the aroma profile. High acids are crisp and provide a lip-smacking, long finish with just a touch of sourness. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
Full review here.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)Marrenon Versant Nord Luberon 2015 (88+ pts)

MARRENON VERSANT NORD LUBERON 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#537969) (XD) - $15.95
A single vineyard blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The medium-high intensity aromas offer complex blackberry, dark currant, pepper, and meaty aromas with some savoury and dark cherry notes as well. On the medium-full bodied, crunchy palate, it has plummy, blueberry, and dark berry flavours, plus savoury hints of oak spice and peppery notes. Vibrant acids and supple tannins with a touch of grip add to the character of this wine, while the finish length is very good. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88+ pts

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Full review here.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)Gancedo Xestal Mencía 2010 (90 pts)

GANCEDO XESTAL MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#553743) (XD) - $17.95
From 60+ year old vines, this maturing Mencía has a gorgeous, highly aromatic nose offering a pretty bouquet of red cherry, raspberry, red floral, and sweet oak spice. It's full bodied with fine, dusty tannins providing some grip, and very appealing aroma replays, plus some baking spice and cinnamon, and earthy/savoury elements on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy. Touch warming on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Released in LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts


Friday, June 15, 2018

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  • Friday, June 15, 2018

Casa Maguila Cachito Mío Toro 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

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

This red wine is produced by Casa Maguila, a relatively new winery that was formed in 2009. It is located in the Toro DO appellation within the province of Zamora, in the Castile and Léon autonomous community in northwestern Spain. The founder, Jesús Peña, is from the little town of Caceres, within the Extremadura autonomous community in western Spain, south of Castile and Léon, and "Maguila" was the nickname bestowed upon his ancestral family.

Tinta de Toro is a dark, thick-skinned variant of Tempranillo that anchored its roots in this part of Spain after phylloxera arrived in the late 19th century, As such, some of the vines at Casa Maguila are at least 100 years old, with some of those grapes included in the Cachito Mío. The winery practices sustainable farming among its vineyards, all of which are located in the Toro DO.

Casa Maguila Cachito Mío Toro 2014 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASA MAGUILA CACHITO MÍO TORO 2014 - DO Toro, Spain (#546028) (XD) - $17.95
Made with 100% Tinta de Toro from vines over 50 years old at 715 metres elevation. Aged for 8 months in mostly American oak, and in bottle since May 2015. Black plum and blackberry aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity nose in the glass is ripe and a touch sweet with blackberry, licorice, sweet oak, and chocolate aromas. It's heavily oaked on the dry palate with more sweet oak spice flavours surrounding the core of dark berry, blackberry and black plum fruit. Gritty tannins are grippy, while juicy acids provide freshness. Mocha chocolate and oak flavours linger on the long finish. Made in a more commercial style that should have wide appeal. Best with red meats. Score: 87 pts


Saturday, April 7, 2018

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  • Saturday, April 7, 2018

René Barbier Mediterranean White (Spain) - Wine Review

wine was gifted to me during the holidays. This white wine blend is a General List wine that is readily available at the LCBO.

René Barbier Mediterranean White (84 pts)

Tasting Note:

RENÉ BARBIER MEDITERRANEAN WHITE - DO Catalunya, Spain (#332767) (XD) - $9.95
Screw cap. A non-vintage blend of 40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, and 30% Parellada. Honeyed aroma profile with melon and lemon rind notes. The medium-bodied palate is sweetish and juicy with balanced acidity and honeydew melon flavours joined by lemon rind and ripe tropical fruit notes. More lemon notes, with hints of white flowers, and good length on the dry finish. Fairly basic and simple, but should have wide appeal. Chill well. Score: 84 pts


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Castelo do Mar Albariño 2016 (Spain) - Wine Review

delicious wine will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This white wine is produced by the Pazo do Mar Group, a family business with over 40 years of experience in producing Galician wines in northwestern Spain, just north of Portugal. The winery, Viega da Princesa, is located in Arbo, Pontevedra, and produces only single estate/property wines using modern equipment and winemaking techniques. It was formed after merging more than 200 small farms that were owned by more than 70 different owners, with the first vines planted in 2002.

The Albariño vines for this wine come entirely from their own 18 hectare estate on granite soils in Tea County. The vines were cultivated on trellises, which helps produce grapes that are airy and sun-kissed, while also less acidic when compared to other vine-training techniques. This wine was hand-harvested and raised completely in stainless steel tanks using indigenous yeasts.

Castelo do Mar Albariño 2016 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CASTELO DO MAR ALBARIÑO 2016 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#488734) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. This has a fairly generous nose featuring citrus, green apple, white flower and lemon oil aromas. On the ripe medium-to-full bodied palate, this has appealing lemon oil, citrus, and orchard fruit flavours. Some herbally notes add complexity as it warms in the glass. Fresh, crunchy, and balanced acids offer nice texture. Hints of stony mineral come through on the mid-palate and on the long, juicy finish. Score: 88+ pts


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

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  • Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

As the world comes together in a few days to celebrate their top athletes and diversity, PMA Canada is celebrating the diversity of its international portfolio with award-winning wines that have received high accolades on the global stage.

wine is from Bodegas Montecillo is the third and final wine in the series. This red wine has received high scores ranging from 90-92 points from internationally-acclaimed critics and publications. Having tasted and enjoyed the 2011 Montecillo Crianza last year, I am expecting similar (if not higher) quality levels with this wine, but with a more noticeable oak component as Spanish Reserva wines are required to spend at least 1 year in oak.

Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2011 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONTECILLO RIOJA RESERVA 2011 - DOCa, Rioja, Spain (#621003) (XD) - $17.90
A blend of 95% Tempranillo, 3% Mazuelo, and 2% Garnacha from the excellent 2011 vintage and raised in French and American oak casks for 24 months. This has a medium intensity nose of sandalwood, savoury, umami and earthy nose with hints of blackberry, dark currant and dried cherry, along some sweet spice notes at the tail end. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with sneaky tannins that are refined and smooth, yet build steadily in the mouth. Acids are mouthwatering. The mature palate doles out licorice, dark currant, wood, and some dried fruit characters in a savoury profile. Some sourness mid-palate. Finishes savoury and woody with hints of very appealing sweet spice and dried cherry flavours. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts

This red wine is a General List product and widely available in-store at the LCBO. It can also be purchased online at LCBO.com.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

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  • Sunday, July 9, 2017

Montecillo Crianza 2011 (Rioja) and Lamberti Santepietre Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2015 (Veneto) - Wine Reviews

Wines for Summer Drinking
As we begin enjoying the hot summer weather, here are a couple of affordable wines that should quench your thirst. The first is a Pinot Grigio and is usually a crowd favourite, while the Crianza is a savoury red wine made with Tempranillo that will be suitable for your backyard BBQ party. Both of these wines are widely available at the LCBO.

If you're heading outdoors, you can pack your wines (and food items) in a cooler bag so they stay nice and cool. You'll also want to remember to pack plastic wine glasses because you don't want to risk breaking your expensive stemware. And lastly, you'll want to pick up a set of DrinkGuards - these are non-slip silicone drink covers that keep bugs and debris out of your glass, which also doubles as a drink marker and even a coaster!

Tasting Notes:

LAMBERTI SANTEPIETRE PINOT GRIGIO DELLE VENEZIE 2015 - IGT, Veneto, Italy (#560524) (XD) - $12.10
Screw cap. Clean, fresh lemon and citrus aromas of medium+ intensity with a hint of white flowers from the glass. Some earthy/musky notes arrive as it warms up. The palate is fleshy, medium-bodied and dry with lemony white floral, and herbally flavours. It has balanced acidity, with good finish length that has touches of minerality. Easy going wine to enjoy on the patio. Score: 87 pts

Lamberti Santepietre Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2015 (87 pts)

MONTECILLO CRIANZA 2011 - DOC, Rioja, Spain (#144493) (XD) - $14.95
Sweet oak spice and black plum aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity nose from glass, showing sandalwood, oak spice, cherry, raspberry, earth, forest floor, and barnyard aromas all mingling nicely. The palate is medium+ bodied with good fruit concentration, tannins a touch drying, and more savoury earthy, dark cherry, forest floor, barnyard, and oak flavours. It has juicy acids, some heat on the mid-palate, while the finish length is very good with more savoury earthy, forest floor and barnyard notes. A savoury wine ideal for the BBQ. Drink over the next 2 years. Score: 88 pts

Montecillo Crianza 2011 (88 pts)


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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  • Tuesday, July 4, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES Release July 8, 2017: Spain + Cool-Climate Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks from July 8, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming VINTAGES Release at the LCBO features Spain as its main theme, while the mini-thematic features Cool-Climate Chardonnay. These wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme, which features sixteen fine wines (and spirits) from Spain, seven of which are included among my top wine picks. From Bierzo, a wine region located in northwestern Spain, in the area just north of Portugal, there are two wines made using the region's primary red varietal - Mencía. From Priorat, a small DOQ located in northeastern Spain, the Torres Salmos is a blend of 40% Carignan, 40% Grenache and 20% Syrah. From Rioja, the Bordón Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo, while the LAN Gran Reserva is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo. Only two white wines were available from Spain, and my pick among the two is a fresh Albariño. For those with a sweet tooth, you'll want to check out the Solera Sherry which is a blend of 80% Palomino and sweetened with 20% Pedro Ximénez.

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2011 (88 pts)

The mini-thematic coincides with the upcoming International Cool-Climate Chardonnay Celebration that will take place in Niagara later this month and lists ten wines that are considered cool-climate. Three Chardonnays are included among my wine picks - they are from Bachelder, Hidden Bench and Tawse, and all are from Niagara. Also in this Release, but not included as part of the Cool-Climate feature is a lovely Chardonnay from Closson Chase in Prince Edward County.

Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2014 (90 pts)Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (91 pts)

Red wines from the rest of the release include an organic wine from South Africa that is a blend of 50% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec. The latest vintage of the Cave de Roquebrun is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre, while the Bastide Miraflors is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache. Single varietal wines include a Gamay from Beaujolais, a Malbec from Cahors (Southwest, France), and a Nebbiolo from Piedmont.

Both of my top rosé wine picks are dry, with the Tavel consisting of Cinsault, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, while the Bandol is a blend of Mourvèdre and Grenache.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • PAGO DE VALDONEJE MENCIA 2015 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#268805) (XD) - $14.95
  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2013 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#155804) (XD) - $18.95
  • RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • BASTIDE MIRAFLORS VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, Midi, France (#320499) (XD) - $19.95
  • LAURENT PERRACHON ROCHE BLEUE JULIÉNAS 2015 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#487165) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU LAMARTINE CUVÉE PARTICULIÈRE CAHORS 2012 - AC, Southwest, France (#441238) (XD) - $24.95
  • DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS PÉTALOS 2015 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#446484) (XD) - $24.95
  • TORRES SALMOS 2014 - DOCa Priorat, Spain (#450734) (XD) - $31.95
  • MAJELLA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#301531) (XD) - $33.00  FSE
  • LAN GRAN RESERVA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#928622) (XD) - $34.95
  • RÉVA BAROLO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#490045) (XD) - $59.95

White Wine:

  • MULDERBOSCH CHENIN BLANC 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#675421) (XD) - $14.95
  • WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#468728) (XD) - $17.95
  • FOLLAS NOVAS ALBARIÑO 2015 - DO Rias Baixas, Spain (#488981) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. HERMANN ERDENER TREPPCHEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2010 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#181917) (S) - $20.95
  • CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95  reviewed here
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • TAWSE QUARRY ROAD CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#111989) (XD) - $35.80
  • DUCKHORN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#094375) (XD) - $35.95
  • NORMAN HARDIE UNFILTERED CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184432) (XD) - $39.20
  • BACHELDER WISMER VINEYARD FOXCROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#512178) (XD) - $44.95  reviewed here

Rosé Wine:

  • FAMILLE PERRIN TAVEL 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#680801) (XD) - $19.95
  • LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2016 - AP, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $21.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BENJAMIN BRIDGE BRUT SPARKLING WINE 2011 - Méthode classique, Nova Scotia, Canada (#381533) (D) - $49.95  FSE
  • PIERRE PAILLARD BOUZY GRAND CRU BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#482836) (XD) - $64.95

Fortified:

  • LUSTAU EAST INDIA SOLERA SHERRY - DO, Spain (#342931) (S) (500 mL) - $23.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95


Monday, December 26, 2016

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  • Monday, December 26, 2016

Menguante Selección Garnacha 2012 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine was a parting gift I received after the Garnacha Day tasting in .

It is produced by Viñedos y Bodegas Pablo, a family-owned winery located in Almonacid de la Sierra, Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain. The winery dates back to the 18th century, but the winemaking traditions of this family go back even further - to 1760.

The fascinating story begins with the founder, Antonio Hernández, making grapes into wine in the underground cellar that was dug by hand and is the site where the current cellar is found today. The wine caves still exist today and previously used to house large wooden vats with capacities between 5,000 to 6,000 Litres. These vats were so large that they had to be built inside the caves. The winery has since been pulsating along, growing and modernizing itself in the process, while still maintaining the family's roots.

This red wine was released earlier this year into VINTAGES on and small quantities are still available throughout the province of Ontario.

Menguante Selección Garnacha 2012 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MENGUANTE SELECCIÓN GARNACHA 2012 - DOP Cariñena, Spain (#313833) (XD) - $16.95
8 months in barrel. Ripe red plum and cherry, plus raisiny aromas from the cork. Charmingly rustic with medium-high intensity aromas of raspberry, cranberry, cherry with graphite/lead elements and some woody notes. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and subtly oak-influenced flavours cherry, cranberry, red currant and Mediterranean herbs. Acids are lively and juicy. Earth and wood notes linger on the long finish. Drink over the next 2-3 years. Good value. Score: 88 pts


Monday, November 21, 2016

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  • Monday, November 21, 2016

Bodegas Hermanos del Villar Oro de Castilla 2015 (Spain) - Wine Review

I opened up this crisp, refreshing dry white wine from Bodegas Hermanos del Villar . After having tasting their 2014 Oro de Castilla at the Rueda Tasting in May, I was very excited to try the latest vintage of this wine.

The 2015 vintage in Rueda was marked by a lack rain, causing a delay in sprouting by 15 days and resulting in lower than usual yields. However, due to the large root development of the vineyards, the vines were able to withstand one of the driest growing seasons in many years. Furthermore, no chemical treatments were applied to the vines this year.

Surprisingly, this delicious white wine is still currently available at the LCBO, even though it was released through VINTAGES on September 3.

Bodegas Hermanos del Villar Oro de Castilla 2015 - DO Rueda, Spain (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

BODEGAS HERMANOS DEL VILLAR ORO DE CASTILLA 2015 - DO Rueda, Spain (#745562) (XD) - $15.95
Screw cap. 100% Verdejo fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aromas of medium-high intensity featuring a mix that dances between tropical fruits, guava, herbs and earthy notes. The dry palate medium bodied and fleshy with lemon/lime, grassy, herbs, and ripe tropical fruits framed by vibrant acids. Finish length is very good. Perhaps not quite as fragrant as the 2014, but every bit as delicious. Serve this nicely chilled with salads, pasta, seafood, or poultry dishes. Score 88 pts


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Celebrating #GarnachaDay

Celebrating #GarnachaDay
International Grenache Day is celebrated around the world every 3rd Friday of September. This year, the celebration fell on and I was invited to an exclusive tasting of a few spectacular Grenache (or Garnatxa as they say in Spain) wines at Archive 909 on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto.

The origins of Grenache are found in Aragon, in northern Spain and the grape was known as the Red of Aragon (Tinto Aragonés). From there, it spread to Sardinia, Southern France, Australia and California. Over centuries, naturally occurring Grenache mutations formed, resulting in the prevalence of Grenache blanc, a grapes that's used in making white wines.

Today, Grenache is one of most widely planted grapes in the world, with Spain being the #1 grower. Single varietals wines made from Grenache noir are plenty, but it's also commonly used in GSM blends (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre/Mataro) from Southern France and Australia.

On this day in , I had the opportunity to taste through various Grenache wines, including some Garnatxa blanc wines, and pairing them with some delicious Mediterranean tapas prepared by the fine folks at Archive 909. All of the wines were from Spain, and wine reviews of my favourite Garnacha wines are provided below. Unfortunately, none of the my favourite wines are currently available at the LCBO, so you'll have to reach out to the Agent to place your order.

If you missed celebrating #GrenacheDay this year, mark you calendar as it will return in 2017 on . In the meantime, you can drink Grenache throughout year as its quite commonly found at the LCBO. Salud!

#GarnachaDay at Archive 909#GarnachaDay at Archive 909

Tasting Notes:

BOTERA VILA-CLOSA GARNATXA BLANCA 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (XD) - $16.02
Medium+ intensity nose offering plenty of mineral character combined with lemon, stone fruit and pear aromas. The palate has nicely balanced aroma replays with earthy and some flinty notes making a statement on the long finish. Fresh and succulent acids. Contact That's Life Gourmet for availability. Score: 88+ pts

Botera Vila-Closa Garnatxa Blanca 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (88+ pts)Lafou Els Amelers Garnatxa Blanca 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (89 pts)

LAFOU ELS AMELERS GARNATXA BLANCA 2015 - DO Terra Alta, Spain (XD) ~ $29
10% of this exotic wine rested in 300-litre lightly toasted barrels. The medium intensity nose has exotic waxy, honey and tropical nuances. Lemony acids are fresh with a nice mineral texture on the palate. Some herbally flavours. Finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

LAS ROCAS VINAS VIEJAS DE SAN ALEJANDRO OLD VINE GARNACHA 2013 - DO Catalayud, Spain (XD) - ??
From vines between 80-100 years old, this has medium+ intensity aromas of cranberry, oak spice, and red & purple florals that all make an appearance on the medium+ bodied palate. It has nicely integrated tannins, balanced and juicy acids. Long finishing. Score: 88+ pts

Las Rocas Vinas Viejas de San Alejandro Old Vine Garnacha 2013 - DO Catalayud, Spain (88+ pts)Cruz de Piedra Selección Especial 2014 - DO Catalayud, Spain (89 pts)

CRUZ DE PIEDRA SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL 2014 - DO Catalayud, Spain (XD) - $12
Grapes for this wine come from old bush vines, ranging between 50-100 years old. Appears closed for the moment, but shows hints of blackberry, mineral, dark fruits, sweet oak spices. Full-bodied with a dense, concentrated mouthfeel and pleasing aroma replays. It has fresh, balanced acids that are just a touch tart. Excellent length on the finish. This is a big wine that can be decanted and enjoyed now, or aged for at least half dozen years. Contact Rogers & Company for availability. Score: 89 pts

BODEGAS ARAGONESAS FAGUS DE COTO DE HAYAS SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL 2013 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (XD) - $29.95
From old vines ranging between 40-50 years old. Lovely, captivating nose offers complex raspberry, leafy, floral, clove and hints of mineral. Medium+ bodied on the palate with astringent tannins that softened with air. Very nice, well balanced, floral and cherry, clove, subtle sweet oak spice flavours. Balanced use of oak with hints of vanilla on the medium-long finish. My favourite wine of the tasting. Contact Hobbs & Co. for availability. Score: 89 pts

Bodegas Aragonesas Fagus de Coto de Hayas Selección Especial 2013 - DO Campo de Borja, Spain (90 pts)


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