Showing posts with label sparkling-wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sparkling-wine. 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, December 3, 2018

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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Dec. 8, 2018: Food Wines + Champagne

LCBO Wine Picks: December 8, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the final Release of the year and features fine wines for food as its main theme, while the mini-theme highlights Champagne for holiday celebrations. All of these wines will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that lists twenty food wines for your holiday celebrations, six of which are included among my top wine picks. For elegant dinners, an elegant Châteauneuf-du-Pape that consists of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Counoise / Muscardin / Vaccarèse / Cinsault. For big family feasts, try a Chardonnay or the Gran Medalla Malbec, both from Argentina. For a casual open house, try the casual red from South Africa that is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, or the Côtes du Rhône which is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. Last, but not lease, for wine and cheese, try the slightly off-dry Charles Baker Riesling.

Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015 (91 pts)Charles Baker B-Side Riesling 2017 (90 pts)

In the mini-theme, there are seven Champagnes to add some sparkle to your holiday season, and two are included among my wine picks. Both of my Champagne recommendations use traditional grapes, with the Ruinart consisting of 49% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 11% Pinot Meunier, while the Veuve Clicquot consists of 61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, and 5% Pinot Meunier.

From the red wines in the rest of the Release, there is a Languedoc red that consists of 69% Syrah and 31% Grenache. If you enjoy Chianti Classico, the Primocolle is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino, while the Gabbiano Riserva is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot. From Australia, the Ode to Lorraine consists of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Shiraz, 5% and Merlot, while the Meritage from British Columbia consists of 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot, 12% Malbec, and 7% Petit Verdot. From Bordeaux, the Croix Canon is majority Merlot, with Cabernet Franc completing the blend. And, last but not least, the iconic Solaia is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese in support.

Villa Cerna Primocolle Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)Gérard Bertrand Syrah/Grenache 2015 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Roussillon is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne. The Fumé Blanc is a Sauvignon Blanc that was barrel-fermented and aged in oak, but also includes a small amount of Semillon. For those that prefer sweeter white wines, any of the Ontario Riesling's should satisfy your palate.

Since this is the final Release of 2018, you may want to pick up a sparkling wine for New Year's Eve celebrations. The Cremant de Bourgogne is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay, and Aligoté, and the outstanding bubbly from Henry of Pelham is made with Chardonnay and aged for 60 months is bottle prior to disgorgement.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release!

Red Wine:

  • AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2014 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $16.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND SYRAH/GRENACHE 2015 - AP Languedoc, France (#413237) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TRAPICHE MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#547869) (XD) - $17.00  89 pts  wine review
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA CERNA PRIMOCOLLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#573501) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CASTELLO DI GABBIANO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#216309) (XD) - $22.95
  • J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION MON COEUR CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#995548) (XD) - $22.95
Trapiche Medalla Malbec 2014 (89 pts)

  • TRAPICHE GRAN MEDALLA MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#467977) (XD) - $24.95
  • ELDERTON ODE TO LORRAINE CABERNET SAUVIGNON/SHIRAZ/MERLOT 2015 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#976423) (XD) - $39.95
  • CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#959627) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • BURROWING OWL MERITAGE 2015 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#343038) (XD) - $57.95
  • FEL PINOT NOIR 2016 - Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California, USA (#309476) (XD) - $59.95  FE
  • CROIX CANON 2012 - Second wine of Château Canon, AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#671289) (XD) - $66.95
  • SOLAIA 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#987586) (XD) - $316.95

White Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2017 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $16.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $17.95
  • CATENA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES CHARDONNAY 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#918805) (XD) - $19.95
  • WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#919514) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • 13TH STREET JUNE’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (M) - $19.95
  • CHARLES BAKER B-SIDE RIESLING 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#523845) (M) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ROBERT MONDAVI FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#221887) (XD) - $22.95
  • ASTROLABE PROVINCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#010421) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOUDY BAY CHARDONNAY 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#359513) (XD) - $37.95
  • CAKEBREAD CELLARS CHARDONNAY 2015 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#709717) (XD) - $69.95
Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU ROUBINE LA VIE EN ROSE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#556639) (XD) - $15.75

Sparkling Wine:

  • BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France (#991562) (D) - $19.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2013 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (D) - $44.95
  • RUINART R DE RUINART BRUT CHAMPAGNE - With gift box, AC, France (#189878) (D) - $85.95
  • VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2008 - With gift box, AC, France (#588475) (XD) - $109.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU FILHOT SAUTERNES 2015 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#514679) (S) (#375 mL) - $24.95


Monday, November 5, 2018

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  • Monday, November 5, 2018

Bottega Accademia Red Prosecco (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice sparkling wine that just arrived at the LCBO in time for the holiday season. This Prosecco is packaged in an attractive transparent red bottle that would be ideal for gift-giving or to open at your next holiday gathering.

It is produced by Bottega, a family-owned company located in Bibano, Treviso (45 km North of Venice) that has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, spirits and food products since 1977. However, the history of Bottega goes back much further, as forefather Andrea was cultivating vines as a tenant farmer in 1635 in the beautiful hills near Molinetto della Croda in Refrontolo.

Domenico Bottega was a wine trader and passionate oenologist in the 1920's who could easily identify the best grapes in the vineyard. Domenico's son, Aldo, expanded on his father's passion for grappa in the 1950's and 60's, creating the first monovarietal grappa, and eventually founding Bottega in 1977.

Today, Bottega is a third generation business led by siblings Barbara, Sandro, and Stefano Bottega, the children of Aldo. The headquarters are located in a 19th-century farmhouse, renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and are surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards. With the goal of delivering health, well-being and pleasure through its products, Bottega advocates Quality (Italian taste and authenticity), Design (expression of the excellent aesthetic character of being made in Italy) and Social Responsibility towards the environment and the community.

Bottega Accademia Red Prosecco (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOTTEGA ACCADEMIA RED PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#578955) (D) - $19.95
Produced using the Martinotti method (i.e. Charmat) using Glera grapes. Subtle on the nose with green apple, citrus, white peach, and acacia flowers, and melon. It's medium-bodied with frothy, creamy mousse and lively acids. A shade off-dry on the flavour profile with grapefruit, blood orange, lemon citrus, and hint of floral notes. Slightly yeasty and leesy on the mid-palate, and some bitterness on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


Friday, August 17, 2018

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  • Friday, August 17, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 2 of 2)

Huff Estates
Last , I visited Prince Edward County for the very first time. Winery visits occurred over two days, and while the in The County included only visits to two wineries, the featured visits to five wineries. All of the wineries on the second day were situated near the village of Hillier in Prince Edward County. I was very excited to taste the County minerality that the region is so well-known for.

The day began with heavy rains during the visit to Huff Estates. A quick run from the car to their modern, state-of-the-art facility that also includes an Inn, and I was inside their tasting room ready to taste the first wines of the day. One of the more interesting things I discovered here was a delicious Riesling "Verre de Vin" - a single glass of wine enclosed by screw cap in a clear container. Huff Estates is known as a premium, quality wine producer and the wine I was most looking forward to trying was their elegant South Bay Chardonnay, but unfortunately it was sold out. It also seemed like the harsh winters of 2014 and 2015, plus a frost in May 2015 hit them hard as the shelves seemed a little bare, with quite a few wines bearing the VQA Ontario appellation. The wines I did taste were very good, and since this post is focused on Prince Edward County wines, I can tell you that the Cuvée Peter F. Huff (reviewed below) is a lovely sparkling wine from The County. For those heading to Prince Edward County this summer, they have now added a wood-fired pizza oven to their restaurant.

Huff Estates Riesling "Verre de Vin"Norman Hardie Wood-Fired Pizza

The rains continued as we visited the second winery, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard. My research revealed that the pizza at Norman Hardie's is delicious, so we stopped here for lunch and enjoyed the wood-fired pizza inside among the barrels and tanks (instead of on the outdoor patio) because it was still raining. After lunch, I moved upstairs to the tasting bar and tasted some of Norm's latest wines. Once again, not many VQA Prince Edward County wines here as they were sold out, while newer vintages were not yet bottled. However, the quality of the wines I got to taste was very good, as expected.

Stanners Vineyard

Our third stop of the was at Stanners Vineyard, a small family vineyard and boutique winery that was started by Cliff and his son, Colin Stanner. As I headed inside through the side door of the homestead, I found winemaker Colin pouring his delicious wines at the tasting bar. Not many wines were available for tasting, but I was delighted to see mostly County fruit being poured. I tasted through the lineup and was really impressed with The County wines - a Pinot Gris and a pair of Pinot Noir wines.

Lacey Estates

I'd heard many good things about Lacey Estates, the fourth winery of the day, so we made an unplanned stop because we were driving along and it happened to be en route. On this day, they were pouring four wines, and only one was VQA Prince Edward County. However, as I learned, even though the some of the bottles were labelled as VQA Ontario, all of the wines contained 100% Prince Edward County fruit. I really liked a couple of wines, as they were quite delicious, but I had tasted these before. Since I visited at the end of a very busy season, they were sold out of most of their wines, but I do think they have some quality wines worth seeking out.

Closson Chase Vineyards

The last visit of the day was at Closson Chase Vineyards, one of Prince Edward County's wine industry pioneers. I've tasted many delicious wines from their portfolio over the years, but on this day I decided to try only their lineup of Pinot Noir wines. Closson Chase was one of the few wineries in Prince Edward County to use only County fruit in all of their wines that I tasted. The three Pinots I tasted on this day were all top-notch wines. This quality-driven winery, with winemaker Keith Tyers at the helm, produces fine wines across their range and is a must visit for any Pinot Noir or Chardonnay fan.

Closson Chase Pinot Noir Lineup

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with my first ever visit to Prince Edward County while visiting 7 wineries. However, given that there are more than 40+ wineries in the region, and growing every year, another trip to The County is definitely in order. After years of procrastinating about visiting Prince Edward County for many years, I think I want to visit this up-and-coming wine region every year.

Tasting Notes:

HUFF ESTATES CUVÉE PETER F. HUFF 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#198754) (XD) - $40
A sparkling wine made with 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir, this has terrific aromatic intensity with lemon curd, brioche, and pastry aromas in a honeyed profile. It's medium-full bodied with honeyed lemon, grapefruit, and ginger flavours that are lifted by crisp, lively acids. Mousse is very fine and well-balanced. Off-dry flavours linger on the long finish. Score: 91 pts

Huff Estates Cuvée Peter F. Huff 2011 (91 pts)Huff Estates South Bay Merlot 2015 (88 pts)

HUFF ESTATES SOUTH BAY MERLOT 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
This Merlot spent 20 months in French oak, and it shows with oak-driven, bretty, tobacco, cigar leaf notes sitting atop blackberry and dark fruit aromas of medium+ intensity. On the palate it's medium-full bodied with grippy tannins. It has dark fruits, blackberry, earth, and forest floor flavours along with hints of cola and brambly fruit. It has very good acidity and a long finish. Age this 3+ years and drink to 2024. Score: 88 pts

NORMAN HARDIE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#131169) (D) - $21
The medium+ intensity nose is fresh with citrus, lemon/lime, orange and peach aromas. It's medium-bodied on the palate with very good acids and nice aroma replays and touches of beeswax and honeysuckle. There's a nice mineral note throughout. Off-dry and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Norman Hardie Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Norman Hardie Calcaire 2016 (89 pts)

NORMAN HARDIE CALCAIRE 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23
With grapes sourced from both Prince Edward County and Niagara, this is a blend of nearly 50/50 Riesling and Chardonnay, plus minute amounts of Pinot Gris, that was co-fermented on the lees. It has elegant, medium-high intensity aromas of orange, lemon citrus, mineral and white peach that also shows up in appealing fashion on the dry palate with a chalky texture. Delicate acids. Nice mineral aftertaste on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY CABERNET FRANC 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29
Highly aromatic and ripe with herbaceous, dark currant, dark berry, blackberry aromas along with leafy, barnyard and oak nuances forming the complex aroma profile. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice, complex aroma replays surrounded by chalky, drying tannins. Acids are clean and well-balanced, while the finish is long and juicy. Score: 90 pts

Norman Hardie County Cabernet Franc 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Pinot Gris Cuivré 2016 (90 pts)

STANNERS PINOT GRIS CUIVRÉ 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $28
Bottled just three weeks prior to my visit, this has pretty tropical fruit, melon, floral, and orange blossom aromas that continue very nicely on the palate. It's dry, focused, well-balanced and has fresh, vibrant acids. Finish length is very good. Score: 90 pts

STANNERS PINOT NOIR 2015 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#490359) (XD) - $35
Released two months ago, this has a complex medium intensity nose of cherry, currant, raspberry with hints of tea leaf, earth and mushroom. It's light-weighted with smooth, fine tannins and flavours of currant, cherry, beetroot and earth. It has energetic acids and a long, curranty finish. Score: 90 pts

Stanners Pinot Noir 2015 (90 pts)Stanners Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)

STANNERS BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39
This has a medium-high intensity nose with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beetroot, and whiffs of herbal leaf and limestone minerality, all of which show up on the nicely balanced palate. The smooth, refined tannins have some structure, while the acids are bright and the finish is long and juicy. Age this another year and drink to 2022. Score: 90+ pts

LACEY CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Medium-high intensity and complex  aromas of dark currant, herbally, blackberry, tobacco leaf, and smoke. It has bright acids on a medium-full bodied palate with very nice aroma replays and tannins that are a touch grippy. Pleasantly savoury on the mid-palate, while the finish is earthy with very good length. Drink over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90 pts

LACEY DORLAND RESERVE 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc, this has a medium+ intensity nose of cassis, currants, red & black fruits, cedar oak, and a whiff or dried fruit. It's full-bodied with olive and aroma replays, chalky tannins, and bright acids. Very good finish length. Score: 88 pts

Lacey Dorland Reserve 2012 (88 pts)Closson Chase Hillier Pinot Noir 2013 (90+ pts)

CLOSSON CHASE HILLIER PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
Colour turning garnet orange. Highly aromatic and complex with cherry liqueur, oak spice, nutmeg and beet root aromas. It's medium+ bodied with very nice beetroot and cherry dominant aroma replays. Tannins are silky smooth. Still has bright acids. The finish length is excellent. This is showing some maturity, but should continue to drink well over the next few years. Score: 90+ pts

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#145888) (XD) - $29.95
The nose is highly aromatic and fragrant with cherry, strawberry, beetroot and freshly tilled earth notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has very nice aroma replays that are nicely balanced and lifted by fresh acids. It has fine tannins and a very long finish with lingering currant, cherry, raspberry notes with hints of oak spice. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 90+ pts

Closson Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 (90+ pts)Closson Chase Churchside Pinot Noir 2014 (91 pts)

CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
This is a dark Pinot with a highly aromatic nose of dark berries, blackberry, complex oak spices, tea leaf and earthy forest floor nuances that continue on the palate with great complexity. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple, crunchy tannins that have some grip and partnered with juicy acids. The lengthy finish ends with earthy-minerally nuances. Drink to 2024. Score: 91 pts


Sunday, August 5, 2018

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  • Sunday, August 5, 2018

Wine Tasting in Prince Edward County - Oct 2017 (Day 1 of 2)

Long Dog Vineyard & Winery
During long weekend in October, after many years of procrastinating, I finally managed to get out to Prince Edward County for the first time - ever!

Prince Edward County (a.k.a. The County) is located along the northern shores of Lake Ontario, west of Kingston. Tastings were spread out over two days. Since we were returning from a mini-vacation in Ottawa, I was able to visit only two wineries near the Village of Milford on the first day.

The first stop on was Long Dog Vineyard & Winery - owner of the oldest Chardonnay & Pinot Noir vines in The County, with the oldest vines planted in 1999. I had the pleasure to speak with owner and winemaker James Lahti, who took us into the production facility (a large shed) where all the action happens, including an opportunity to see Pinot Noir grapes undergoing fermentation - fascinating! The next stop was the barrel room where various wines were being aged in French oak. We were able to taste a few barrel samples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - all of which seemed to be coming along quite nicely. We then went to the tasting room to taste through Long Dog's current offering. I thought his Pinot Noir wines were outstanding, as each offered something different. Wine reviews of my favourite wines at Long Dog are posted below.

James Lahti - Long Dog Vineyard & WineryLong Dog Vineyard & Winery - Barrel Room

The second stop was a visit to Lighthall Vineyards to see Glenn Symons and taste a few of his very limited production, quality wines. As I found out when I arrived, production is very limited and wines sell out quickly, as there were only two wines available for tasting, with the four or five other wines sold out. Both of the wines I did try were delicious. Of course, I was disappointed at the lack of availability of the other wines. On the plus side, I also got to taste some of their delicious cheese that they make on-site. Lighthall is Canada's first wine and cheese producer that makes both under the same roof. A return to Lighthall will be necessary, and contacting the winery ahead of time to see what's available is highly recommended.

Lighthall VineyardsLighthall Vineyards

At the suggestion of the June Motel - a lovely, wine-themed motel located in Picton, Ontario, where we spent the night and that I would recommend in a heartbeat - we had dinner at Parsons Brewing Company as well as enjoyed a beer tasting flight. Besides the tasty craft beer and delicious, home-style cooked meal, this brewery/restaurant is ideal for those with young children as there is a playground on-site where kids can go and play while the adults enjoy their food & beverage.

June Motel

June Motel

Parsons Brewing CompanyParsons Brewing Company - Beer Flight

After we checked out of "The June" the following day - we will definitely come back, without the kids - we began another day full of wine tastings. A full review of activities will be posted shortly is now posted here.

Wine reviews of my favourite wines are posted below. To order any of the wines from Long Dog or Lighthall, please contact the winery directly.

Tasting Notes:

LONG DOG BARREL SELECT PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $20
Medium-high intensity aromatics are mature in nature with earthy, cherry, strawberry, beet root and baking spice aromas and flavours. It's light-bodied with smooth, fine tannins that are integrated very well. Acids are still quite lively. Whiffs of mineral on the mid-palate and lingers on the long finish. Fine, mature Pinot that will continue to drink well for a few more years. Score: 90 pts

Long Dog Barrel Select Pinot Noir 2011 (90 pts)Long Dog Top Dog Pinot Noir 2012 (89 pts)

LONG DOG TOP DOG PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $26
From a hot vintage, this has ripe and perfumed cherry liqueur, strawberry, and oak spice aromas of medium intensity. It's medium-bodied on the palate with crunchy tannins that have some grip and nice aroma replays on the flavour profile. There's some warmth mid-palate, but is balanced by the concentrated fruit. Long finish. Enjoy with turkey over the next 5-6 years. Score: 89 pts

Long Dog The Otto Pinot Noir 2013 (91 pts)

LONG DOG THE OTTO PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
Made only in the best years, this has a lovely, intense red-fruited nose of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with earth and oak spice aromas. It's elegant and focused, with very nice aroma replays on the medium-bodied palate with some creaminess mid-palate. It has clean, balanced acids and fine, structured tannins. Finish length is excellent. Will age gracefully for 6-8 years. Score: 91 pts

LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION SPARKLING 2016 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#468090) (D) - $20
From Vidal grapes on the Lighthall property in Prince Edward County and made using the Charmat method, this is quite fragrant with lemon/lime, pear, white peach and floral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a light mousse and off-dry aroma replays led by citrus and tropical fruits. The finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2016 (88 pts)Lighthall Ramirez Chardonnay 2016 (88 pts)

LIGHTHALL RAMIREZ CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $30
From the Ramirez Vineyard in Hillier, this has medium-high intensity aromas featuring pear, apple, and subtle vanilla oak nuances. The medium-bodied palate is creamy with nice aroma replays. Clean acids are slightly tart, but otherwise well-balanced. Touches of mineral on the medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts


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