Showing posts with label sparkling-wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sparkling-wine. Show all posts

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  • Sunday, July 5, 2020

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte e Concerto Lambrusco 2018 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely Lambrusco sparkling red wine that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Medici has been producing top-notch Lambrusco and other quality wines for more than a century. The story begins in the late 19th century, when Remigio Medici founded a wine cellar between Via Emilia and the first of the hills in the Enza Valley to make use of the family vineyards. Remigio's son, Ermete, expanded the business and helped develop the reputation for producing quality wines before handing over the company to his sons Valter and Giorgio.

Today, the fourth generation of the Medici family runs Medici Ermete, owning 75 hectares of land spread across the wine growing region of Emilia-Romagna, in the north-eastern part of Italy. Medici's success can be attributed to many years of experience and knowledge that have been passed down each generation, along with creating a close link between each vineyard and the winery. They also have a rigorous selection of grapes that are grown in harmony with nature and the environment. Combined with skilful vinification techniques using new machinery, Medici produces wines of unprecedented quality.

This particular sparkling wine is from the Lambrusco Reggiano DOC - the largest of the 8 Lambrusco wine regions. It is made with Salamino grapes that were grown on clayey soils and was naturally fermented into this tasty sparkling wine.

It is widely available for purchase in the VINTAGES section at LCBO outlets across Ontario. It is also available, along with other wines from Medici Ermete, through Profile Wine Group's new website.

Medici Ermete & Figli Arte e Concerto Lambrusco 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MEDICI ERMETE & FIGLI ARTE E CONCERTO LAMBRUSCO 2018 - DOC Reggiano Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#208967) (D) - $19.95
Made with the Lambrusco Salamino varietal, this has a rich array of berry aromas including red berry, raspberry, boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry, and cherry notes. The medium-bodied palate is fresh with bright acidity. Nicely balanced red and dark berry replays on the flavour profile with fine, beady mousse that livens the palate. Finely textured with a touch tannic of grip and mineral on the long, juicy finish. If you've never tried Lambrusco, make this your first. Score: 89 pts

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  • Sunday, May 17, 2020

Bottega Sparkling Wines (May 2020)

Bottega Sparkling Wines + Grappa + Olive Oil
With in-person wine tastings cancelled since the lockdown in March, virtual wine tastings have grown in popularity and will likely continue for some time. As such, I participated in my first ever Zoom virtual wine tasting. It was hosted by Sandro Bottega of Bottega S.p.A. as we tasted through their charming bubbly's as well as a lovely grappa and enjoyed an organic olive oil.

Bottega is a family-owned company located approximately 45 km north of Venice in Bibano, Treviso, and has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, and spirits since 1977. It is a third-generation business led today by Barbara, Stefano, and th e aforementioned Sandro Bottega.

The company is headquartered in a 19th-century farmhouse that was renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards. In addition, they also have a winery in Valpolicella and in Montalcino to produce the great wines of Veneto and Tuscany, including the beloved Amarone and Brunello. Throughout the portfolio, Bottega advocates the quality of Italian taste and authenticity, design that expresses the excellent aesthetic character of being made in Italy, and social responsibility towards the environment and community. Bottega has many sustainable initiatives such as using only electricity from alternative/green resources like the use of geothermal energy, while in the vineyard they use organic agricultural principles and cultivate by hand.

Bottega winery and distillery has been in Ontario for over 25 years. They are known for their high quality, food-friendly sparkling wines that appeal to many palates. In Ontario, they are best known and for their Bottega Gold - with it's fancy, shiny gold-coloured bottle - and Il Vino dei Poeti Prosecco DOC sparkling wines. In addtion to tasting these wines with Sandro, I also tasted a couple of other bottles of sparkling wine. All of these can be enjoyed on their own or mixed into a cocktail such as a Bellini, Rossini, Mimosa, or something specially crafted by Bottega - details and recipes are provided below. As part of this Zoom tasting, I also got to try Bottega's grappa and enjoy their organic extra virgin olive oil.

All four of these sparkling wines and the grappa are available for purchase at the LCBO. Other wines from Bottega's portfolio are available via private order through Noble Estates Wines & Spirits. Thank you to Speducci Mercatto for the food pairing items, and to Noble Estates and Sandro Bottega for the opportunity to try these fine products from Italy.

Tasting Notes:

BOTTEGA VINO DEI POETI PROSECCO 2018 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#897702) (D) - $15.95 $14.45 until
100% Glera. Clean, fruity melon, pear, and apple aromas with touches of lime citrus and mineral. The palate is off-dry with pleasing green apple, petar, citrus, and melon, and white flower flavours. Fine mousse is a touch frothy. Nicely balanced and smooth with fresh acidity that moves this bubbly towards a dry finish, with very good length. Score: 87 pts

Bottega Vino dei Poeti Prosecco 2018 (87 pts)Bottega Gold Prosecco (88 pts)

BOTTEGA GOLD PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#621458) (D) - $27.95 $24.95 until
100% Glera. Clean, medium+ intensity nose is focused and fresh with pear, white floral, and white peach aromas. It has good depth with very smooth, fine mousse and fresh acids on the nicely balanced, slightly off-dry palate with pear, green apple, and hints of tart lime citrus flavours. Very good length on the finish. Shiny, golden bottle. Available in LCBO VINTAGES. Score: 88 pts

Bottega Spritz cocktail recipe:
A fresh, soft and natural cocktail that combines Prosecco and Limoncino (Bottega) and satisfies the taste buds of those who do not love the bitter tones of traditional Spritz. Ingredients: 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Limoncino (Bottega), 1 part soda water, and ice. Preparation: Fill a large long stemmed wine glass with ice cubes. Pour in Limoncino with a circular movement (to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the glass). Add Prosecco and finish off with a splash of soda water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh mint.

BOTTEGA VINO DEI POETI BRUT ROSÉ 2018 - DOC Venezia, Veneto, Italy (#277202) (D) - $14.95
Blend of Raboso and Pinot Nero (Noir). Steely, fresh, medium intensity nose offers red berry aromas like cherry and strawberry nuanced with mineral notes. The dry, medium+ bodied palate has good depth with fresh, lively, food-friendly acids and creamy, nicely balanced mousse. Appealing mineral and red berry replays, plus flavours of melon, peach, and grapefruit on the palate. Very good length with touches of vanilla on the finish. Ideal for the table. Score: 88 pts

Rosa Rosae cocktail recipe:
Ingredients: 35 mL sugarless white grape juice, 65 mL Il Vino dei Poeti Brut Rosé, and a few drops of cherry syrup. Preparation: Pour the grape juice into a wine glass and add a few drops of cherry syrup. Stir well and fill the glass with chilled Il Vino dei Poeti Brut Rosé. Garnish with a small bunch of grapes.

Bottega Vino dei Poeti Brut Rosé 2018 (88 pts)Bottega Petalo Il Vino dell'Amore Moscato (87 pts)

The name translates to "The Wine of Love". Crafted with Moscato grapes grown in northern Italy, this bubbly has fragrant and appealing aromas of rose floral and apple with anise and licorice adding some savoury notes. It’s gently sweet on the palate with creamy, frothy mousse supported by fresh, clean acidity. Nice floral, ripe red apple, and licorice flavours. Well-balanced with very good length on the finish. Ideal as an aperitif or after-dinner. Try with cheese or fruits like ripe strawberry, apple, or pear. Low alcohol at only 6.5%. Score: 87 pts

Mojito Moscato cocktail recipe:
Ingredients: 95 mL Rum, 50 mL lime juice, 15 ml sugar syrup, 3 Angostura drops, 12 mint leaves, Bottega Petalo Moscato sparkling wine to fill. Preparation: Muddle the sprig of mint with sugar and lime juice in a tumbler. Fill with crushed ice, rum and Angostura. Top up with Bottega Petalo Moscato sparkling wine. Stir well before serving.

SANDRO BOTTEGA CLUB GRAPPA - Italy (#478156) - $29.95
Beautiful teardrop shaped bottle that depicts the first drop of spirit to run off the still. Fresh, fragrant floral nose with floral, white peach, stone fruit flavours with touches of minty herb. Crisp, long, warming finish. Serve well-chilled after a meal.

Sandro Bottega Club GrappaBottega Extra Virgin Olive Oil Biologico

Made from organically cultivated, hand-harvested olives in Umbria, Italy since 1992 and packaged in a ceramic bottle that protects the oil from oxygen and light. Add a pinch of sea salt (as recommended by Sandro) and this yellowish-green hued olive oil is delicious, flavourful, and slightly spicy. Contact Danny Burns at MC Olive Inc. to purchase.

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  • Sunday, May 3, 2020

Villa Sandi Prosecco Il Fresco (Veneto) - Wine Review

To celebrate a couple of days early with Chicken Fajitas, for wine review I opened this delightful Prosecco sparkling wine from Italy. This bubbly is a General List wine at the LCBO and widely available across Ontario.

Villa Sandi is located within the commune of Crocetta del Montello in the Province of Treviso in the Italian region of Veneto in a Palladian-style mansion that dates back to 1622. The building is protected by the hills of the Marca Trevigiana and rises out of a fertile countryside that pays homage to the local history. Moreover, it is situated between the areas of DOCG Valdobbiadene Prosecco and the DOC areas of Montello and Piave.

The Moretti Polegato family is the owner of Villa Sandi and they have been devoted to wine culture for many generations. Being one of Italy's leading Prosecco Estates, the family has contributed to the region's reputation for producing high quality sparkling wine. Today, Giancarlo Moretti Polegato proudly carries on the family tradition with his fondness and knowledge of the wine world, along with having great respect for the environment with a strong commitment to sustainability.

This particular Prosecco is made with 100% Glera grapes grown in DOC Treviso, the heart of Prosecco, in Northeastern Italy. Treviso is comprised of 95 municipalities, and the character of the soil here is influenced by the Piave river and contains a lot of pebbles, stones, sand and some clay. It was vinified by softly pressing whole grapes, then fermenting in temperature controlled tanks using selected yeast cultures. Fermentation is stopped by refrigeration once the required alcohol and sugar content levels are achieved. After spending two months on lees, the sparkling wine is ready for bottling.

Villa Sandi Prosecco Il Fresco (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

VILLA SANDI PROSECCO IL FRESCO - DOC Treviso, Veneto, Italy (#394387) (D) - $15.95
100% Glera crafted using the Charmat method, this Prosecco has fresh, delicate aromas of lemon citrus, grapefruit, white peach, pear, and even some mineral notes. It has very good mouthfeel on the medium-full bodied palate with fine, balanced mousse. There's a kiss of sweetness that is balanced by crisp, fresh acidity. Lovely lemon citrus flavours notes give way to grapefruit, white peach, melon, and mineral notes. Very good length on the minerally, dry finish. Recommended buy. Score: 88+ pts

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  • Monday, April 6, 2020

FRESH Sparkling Rosé (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine review is this casual, fun, and easy drinking rosé sparkling wine from Niagara.

FRESH Wines are crafted in Niagara-on-the-Lake by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates, with a focus on creative, high-quality wines. FRESH is the perfect Niagara wine brand for intrepid wine drinkers who dare to try something a little different.

Each wine from the FRESH line is crafted from 100% Ontario grapes, grown by Ontario farmers and their families. FRESH wines are available in several popular varieties, respectfully priced and readily available to join you on your personal journey of possibilities.

This appealing bubbly is widely available at the LCBO, but you can also stay at home and order online directly from Lakeview Wine Co. where they are offering free shipping on orders of $50+ with promo code LWCLOVE. You can get this bottle along with a few other Lakeview wines I enjoyed recently.

FRESH Sparkling Rosé (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

FRESH SPARKLING ROSÉ - Méthode Cuve Close, VQA Ontario, Canada (#341347) (D) - $16.95
A blend of 60% Riesling and 40% Gamay made in the Charmat method. Soft, gentle nose offers honeysuckle, red berry, floral, and lemon pith aromas. The palate is off-dry with strawberry, citrus, floral, honeysuckle, and grapefruit flavours. Mousse is a touch frothy while clean, fresh acidity livens the palate. Floral, grapefruit, and citrus notes linger on the pithy finish. Easy drinking bubbly ideal as an aperitif. Score: 86 pts

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  • Sunday, December 8, 2019

13th Street Cuvée Rosé Brut (Niagara) - Wine Review

After enjoying the excellent 2013 13th Street Grande Cuvée Blanc de Noir last weekend, wine review features another delightful sparkling wine from 13th Street Winery that is a VINTAGES Essential at the LCBO and currently on promotion for $3 off at the LCBO and winery.

13th Street Winery was founded in 1998 in St. Catharines, Ontario, and was purchased in 2008 by the current owners - the Mann and Whitty families. In 2009, current winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas joined the 13th Street team. He is one of the most talented French-trained winemakers in the business. He believes that great wines come from the best grapes grown in the best vineyards, whereas winemaking techniques are only utilized to supplement and capture the very essence of the grapes’ provenance and character. In his home country of France, where Jean-Pierre was the winemaker at notable Chablis house, Domaine Laroche, his have wines garnered many prestigious awards. Between France and his current residency at 13th Street, Jean-Pierre has travelled and worked extensively in vineyards across globe, including Chile, Argentina, and New Zealand, as well as studied under a number of exceptional winemakers.

I discovered 13th Street Winery's sparkling wines a few years ago and have been a fan ever since. The impressive roster of bubbly's at 13th Street consists of 5 wines, including the aforementioned Grande Cuvée Blanc de Noir. They are considered to be sparkling wine specialists.

This Brut Rosé is the only non-vintage bubbly they produce. It is a dry sparkling wine made in the traditional method with 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay provides structure and backbone, while the Pinot Noir provides fruit, power and richness. Secondary fermentation took place in the final bottle and it was aged sur lattes (en tirage) for a minimum of 18 months, allowing the bubbles to become smaller and more compact. After dosage of 10 grams of sugar, this sparkling wine was aged a further 3 months prior to release.

13th Street Cuvée Rosé Brut (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

13TH STREET CUVÉE ROSÉ BRUT - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147504) (XD) - $29.95 $26.95 until .
Made in the traditional method with 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir, this has aromas of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry that give way to notes of autolytic, brioche, ginger, leesy, citrus and mineral. The medium-bodied palate is dry with fine, creamy textured bubbles and red berry, brioche, toasty, yeasty-leesy flavours. There's a vague impression of sweetness, but it's essentially dry. Very good length on the finish with red berry, leesy, and mineral notes. Score: 89 pts

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  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December 7, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Festive Get-Togethers

LCBO Wine Picks: December 7, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The December 7, 2019 VINTAGES Release is the final release of the year and it's a mono-themed release featuring Fine Wines for Festive Get-Togethers, which also includes a fine selection of sparkling wines. All of the wines from this release will be on shelves by this Saturday, with a subset possibly arriving a bit later.

We begin with feature on table wines for Festive Get-Togethers. There are 18 wines listed as part of this theme, of which five are included among my wine picks. The lone white wine from this part of the release is an excellent Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre. Among the reds, single varietal wines include a Petit Verdot, the Gran Reserva from Rioja that is made with Tempranillo, and the Chianti Classico that is made with Sangiovese. Lastly, the Bordeaux is a blend of 88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Carmenère.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre 2018 (92 pts)Lealtanza Gran Reserva 2010 (91 pts)

Château Boutisse 2016 (91+ pts)Pirramimma Petit Verdot 2016 (90 pts)

Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico 2015 (88 pts)

The second part of this theme is titled Festive Fizz and focuses on fine sparkling wines. Of the eleven sparkling wines featured, four are included among my top wine recommendations. First up at the entry level is a dry Prosecco made using the Glera grape. Moving up in price and quality, the classy bubbly from Ontario is made with Chardonnay. And last but not least, the 1er Cru Champagne is made with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, while the Brut Champagne is a blend of 49% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 11% Pinot Meunier.

Ruinart R de Ruinart Brut Champagne (92 pts)Vilmart et Cie Grande Réserve 1er Cru Champagne (92 pts)

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Estate Blanc de Blanc 2014 (92 pts)Belcanto di Bellussi Extra Dry Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore (89 pts)

From my red wine recommendations, the 2014 Reserva from Rioja consists of Tempranillo and Graciano. From Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of mainly Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, while the Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah. Last, but definitely not the least, the superb Cepparello Super Tuscan is made with 100% Sangiovese.

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2016 (94 pts)Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (91 pts)

Hacienda López de Haro Reserva 2014 (89 pts)

Among white wine picks from the rest of the Release, the only blends are an Australian white made with 62% Sauvignon Blanc and 38% Semillon, while the Vinho Verde is a blend of 85% Alvarinho and 15% Trajadura. The rest are all single varietals, and for those that prefer sweeter wines, the Mosel Riesling should be on your shopping list.

The Lane Gathering Single Vineyard Sauvignon/Semillon 2016 (91 pts)Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2017 (90+ pts)

Muralhas de Monção Vinho Verde 2018 (88+ pts)

Happy holidays and enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CASTELLI DEL GREVEPESA CLEMENTE VII CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#421388) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • BODEM LAS MARGAS GARNACHA 2017 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#010700) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#029280) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HACIENDA LÓPEZ DE HARO RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#357335) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOS ST. ANTONIN 2016 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#010513) (XD) - $19.95
  • PIRRAMIMMA PETIT VERDOT 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#986752) (XD) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • LEALTANZA GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#453548) (XD) - $31.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU BOUTISSE 2016 - AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#368175) (XD) - $40.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#959627) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • TWO HANDS BELLA'S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2017 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#636407) (XD) - $59.95
  • ISOLE E OLENA CEPPARELLO 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#025650 / #025601) (XD) (750 mL / 1500 mL) - $113.95 / $256.95  94 pts  wine review
Terrazas de Los Andes Reserva Malbec 2017 (89 pts)Bodem Las Margas Garnacha 2017 (88+ pts)

White Wine:

  • MURALHAS DE MONÇÃO VINHO VERDE 2018 - Monção e Melgaço, DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#080374) (XD) - $15.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • DOMÄNE WACHAU TERRASSEN FEDERSPIEL GRÜNER VELTLINER 2018 - DAC Wachau, Austria (#031534) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90 pts  wine review
  • JULES TAYLOR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Certified sustainable, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#224428) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • DOMÄNE WACHAU TERRASSEN FEDERSPIEL RIESLING 2018 - DAC Wachau, Austria (#491902) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • THE LANE GATHERING SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON / SEMILLON 2016 - Adelaide Hills, South Australia (#010539) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • FLAT ROCK THE RUSTY SHED CHARDONNAY 2018 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#001552) (XD) - $26.95
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER SCHARZHOFBERGER RIESLING KABINETT 2017 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#670752) (S) - $27.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE MARNES ET CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $31.95  92 pts  wine review
Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2018 (90 pts)Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (89 pts)

Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Grüner Veltliner 2018 (89 pts)Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Riesling 2018 (89 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • DESIDERIUS PONGRÁCZ BRUT CAP CLASSIQUE SPARKLING CHARDONNAY / PINOT NOIR - Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#404111) (XD) - $16.95  90 pts  wine review
  • BELCANTO DI BELLUSSI EXTRA DRY PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#053215) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2014 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • VILMART ET CIE GRANDE RÉSERVE 1ER CRU CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#012619) (XD) - $69.95  92 pts  wine review
  • RUINART R DE RUINART BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#189878) (D) - $88.95  92 pts  wine review
Desiderius Pongrácz Brut Cap Classique Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir (90 pts)


  • CÉSAR FLORIDO CHIPIONA DORADO MOSCATEL - DO, Spain (#010824) (S) (375 mL) - $17.95
  • CALEM 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#010902) (S) - $56.95
César Florido Chipiona Dorado Moscatel

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  • Sunday, December 1, 2019

13th Street Grande Cuvée Blanc de Noir 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

For wine review, I venture into the VINTAGES Classics Collection - a selection of fine wine (and spirits) that are some of the best, most iconic, and most collectible wines from top producers around the world. The VINTAGES Classics program releases new wines on a monthly basis, specifically on the first Thursday of every month.

13th Street Winery produces this lovely sparkling wine on Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines. The winery was founded by amateur winemakers in 1998, and purchased in 2008 by the current owners - John & June Mann and Doug & Karen Whitty. Both families have deep roots in the region and aim to create exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara. John Mann has been involved in farming for over 30 years, while Doug Whitty is the third generation to be operating the family farm in St. Catharines, which was originally established in 1908.

In all, 13th Street Winery owns seven vineyards in Niagara and produces 85% of their wines using fruit from their own vineyards. The Whitty family has been farming fruit for more than 100 years, and with each new generation they employ a sustainable and minimal interventionist approach to viticulture, respecting the life of the land and ensuring it stays healthy and happy for future generations.

I have enjoyed many table wines from 13th Street over the years, but it was only in the last few years that I discovered their fantastic sparkling wines. The Grand Cuvée is their top traditional method sparkling wine. It is produced only in the best vintages and is made with 100% Pinot Noir from their own Whitty Vineyard (which surrounds the winery itself on Fourth Avenue) in the Creek Shores appellation in Niagara. After careful manual harvest, whole bunches of Pinot Noir were put into the press where the free run juice was separated out and blended with the first gentle press to extract juice, but not colour or phenolics. It was aged on the lees for 60 months and after disgorging, winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas deemed the wine to be perfectly balanced and decided to not add any sugar to the dosage, resulting in a classically dry sparkling wine in the zero dosage style.

This top Niagara sparkling wine will be available for purchase by the bottle at VINTAGES Shop Online as part of the December VINTAGES Classics Collection on Orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's highly advised to shop early to secure your bottles. Unfortunately, this will not be coming to VINTAGES Classics after all. However, it is available at the winery and through their online web store.

13th Street Grande Cuvée Blanc de Noir 2013 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

13TH STREET GRANDE CUVÉE BLANC DE NOIR 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#361394) (XD) - $59.95
100% Pinot Noir from the Whitty Vineyard and made only in top vintages, this traditional method sparkling wine was aged for 60 months on the lees. Fine, persistent aromas of brioche, biscuit, lemon curd, and white berries rise out of the glass. On the medium+ bodied palate, it has fresh acidity and fine, delicate mousse that provide a very nice mouthfeel with plenty of finesse. It is classically dry, with slightly oxidative and complex flavours of baked apple, lemon curd, citrus, leesy, brioche, and yeasty with touches of stony mineral that linger through to the long lemony-mineral finish. Really fine bubbly! Score: 93 pts

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  • Saturday, August 3, 2019

Bottega Gold Prosecco (Italy) - Wine Review

shiny sparkling wine review was recently listed as a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and is now widely available all year round across Ontario.

It is produced by Bottega, a family-owned, third generation company led by Barbara, Sandro, and Stefano Bottega in Bibano, Treviso, north of Venice, that has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, spirits and food products since 1977. The headquarters are located in a 19th century farmhouse that was renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and is surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards.

Bottega Gold is a premium quality Italian Prosecco characterized by its shiny, iconic metallized bottle, an idea that was conceived by Sandro Bottega in 2000 to create an eye-catching package for their premium quality Prosecco. However, this Prosecco is more than just a fancy bottle.

Even though this bottle is labelled as DOC, the Bottega Gold is actually the higher designated DOCG - where the native Glera grapes used for Prosecco are grown (in a mix of old and new vines) and hand-picked in Valdobbiadene within the heart of the DOCG area. It is labelled as DOC because Italian regulations preclude Bottega’s gold-plated bottle from being labelled as a DOCG.

This Prosecco undergoes a single fermentation, directly transforming the grape must into sparkling wine, followed by a second fermentation in autoclaves (pressurized tanks) with the addition of selected yeasts for approximately 40 days. This unique method is known as the Charmat-Martinotti method and helps preserves freshness and all of the characteristics that the Glera varietal is known for, such as white flowers, green apple, pear and citrus.

Bottega Gold Prosecco (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOTTEGA GOLD PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#621458) (D) - $27.95
Faint aromas of pear, white peach, citrus and floral from the glass. The palate has an initial crispness, giving way to frothy, mouthfilling mousse and flavours of pear, floral, and citrus with just a touch of sweetness. There's good structure and balanced acidity. It's also nicely balanced throughout with lingering citrus notes on the finish that veers towards dry, with good length. A well-made Prosecco that can be enjoyed at the table. Score: 87 pts

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  • Monday, June 24, 2019

Queenston Mile Vineyard Portfolio Tasting (Spring 2019)

Queenston Mile Vineyard Sparkling Wines
In the , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of one of Niagara's newest and hottest wineries - Queenston Mile Vineyard.

The 50-acre vineyard and winery are located in St. David's Bench in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just 10 kilometres south of the shores of Lake Ontario. This area was formed when glaciers carved out the Niagara Escarpment and arose from the historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois towards the base of the Niagara Escarpment. Today, the escarpment's steep ridge collects winds off the lake and circulates them back over the low-lying plains of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Queenston Mile Vineyard is situated in one of Niagara's hottest sub-appellations, with their Estate Vineyard warming early in the Spring and allowing for an extended growing season. In fact, they have one of the warmest and longest growing sites in the Niagara Peninsula. Soils consist of red sandstone bedrock and rich layers of silty clay and loam.

The people behind Queenston Mile Vineyard are not new to wine. They have also been growing grapes and making wine from this land for over twenty years. For the first ten years, they waited for the vines to mature on this newly planted vineyard so they could see what they truly had to be able to make exceptional wines. During the second ten years, they started to see the special qualities of the vineyard. The result is a house that produces mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir table wines, as well as fantastic sparkling wines.

Rob Power is the man behind Queenston Mile Vineyard. It is a project of passion for him and has been a strong advocate for the advancement of quality and creativity in the Canadian wine industry. He has worked tirelessly to innovate within the Niagara wine industry, producing thought provoking blends and vinifying unique varietals. You may also know him as the winemaker at Niagara's Creekside Estate Winery. During his career, Rob has garnered both critical acclaim and the respect of his industry colleagues as he is widely considered to be one of Canada's top winemakers.

I tasted through the entire Queenston Mile Vineyard portfolio and wine reviews of my favourites are provided below. All of these delicious wines are available for purchase directly from the winery.

Queenston Mile Vineyard Mile Red 2016Queenston Mile Vineyard Sweet Victory Viognier 2017

Tasting Notes:

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD BLANC DE NOIRS 2015 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#010139) (XD) - $50
100% Pinot Noir that spent 3 years on the lees. Pretty, light-peach coloured with fragrant aromas pastry, lemon/lime citrus and stone fruits. Honeyed with a kiss of sweetness on the palate with lovely aromas replays. It is creamy textured with bright, vibrant acids and a long, crisp finish. Very fine Niagara bubbly. Score: 91+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2015 (91+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#010137) (XD) - $35
From a hot year, this offers subtle ripe apple, pear, and vanilla aromas, with much of the same on the medium+ bodied and fleshy palate. Finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88+ pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2017 - Barrel Fermented, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Bottled a couple of weeks prior, the 2017 offers a lovely, medium-high intensity nose that is clean and lean, with butter ripe apples, elegant pear and vanilla aromas. It is lifted with vibrant acidity on a medium-bodied palate. Nutty notes arrive on flavour profile, along with lovely aroma replays. Long, clean finish. Reminds me of a Meursault. Score: 90+ pts

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
A hot vintage on a hot site, this has a medium intensity nose of stewed red and blackberry, strawberry, cherry, and a touch of nail polish, all of which come through nicely on the palate. Acids are very good, but the tannins are very drying and chalky. Good finish length. I would hold for 2-3 years to let the tannins subside. Score: 89 pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (89 pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2017 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
Slightly darker in colour and more feminine in style than the 2016. This has a lovely medium-high intensity nose of red currant, black cherry, raspberry, wood spice, and hints of earthiness and tea leaf. It is medium-bodied with some astringency to the soft tannins, but otherwise well-integrated. Lovely tea leaf, beet root and strawberry flavours on the palate. Bright acids and very good finish length. Bottled 1-2 weeks ago. Score: 90+ pts

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  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release May 25, 2019: Brilliant Women + Bubbles

LCBO Wine Picks: May 25, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release May 25, 2019 is titled "Sister Act" and features some brilliant women from the wine world, while the mini-theme features some super sparkling wines. All of the wines from this Release will arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at 13 women in wine. Of the 20 wines featured as part of this theme, 6 are include among my top wine picks. Ann Sperling is the Director of Winemaking at Southbrook, and her single vineyard Riesling is a lovely off-dry, organic and biodynamic wine from Niagara. Dr. Laura Catena was born into Argentina's most prominent wine family, and her Altamira Vineyard Malbec is a lovely wine to enjoy over several years. Virginia Willcock is the chief winemaker at Vasse Felix and prefers a hands-off approach to allow the vineyard to express itself, as it does with her Margaret River Chardonnay. Nadia Barnard believes in working in harmony with nature, so she is a good fit for the organic and biodynamic Waterkloof Wines - she brings us her Circle of Life white wine that is a blend of 72% Sauvignon Blanc and 28% Chenin Blanc. Lastly, I met with Maria Larrea, Techincal Director and Chief Winemaker at Spain's legendary Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) earlier this month and a full report from that tasting will be posted soon. In the meantime, I can tell you that both Cune Crianza and CVNE Imperial Reserva are made with 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo.

Southbrook Heather's Home Vineyard Riesling 2017 (91 pts)Catena Paraje Altamira Malbec 2016 (90 pts)

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts)

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

From the mini-theme that focuses on sparkling wines, two of the seven bubbly's are included among my wine recommendations, and both are from Canada and made using the Traditional Method. The bubbly from British Columbia consists of 50% Pinot Noir, 45.5% Chardonnay, and 4.5% Pinot Gris, while the Trius Brut Rosé is mostly Pinot Noir.

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling (90 pts)Trius Brut Rosé (90 pts)

My red wine picks contain several great buys. From France, the Morgon is 100% Gamay from one of the best Cru vineyard sites in Beaujolais and is located one the slopes of a volcano, while the Crozes-Hermitage is a classic, northern Rhône Syrah. Also from France, the Bordeaux red consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Languedoc red is a blend of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah. Lastly, the California Cab actually consists of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Stéphane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Morgon Côte du Py 2014 (90+ pts)Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage 2015 (90 pts)

Château Gaumaran 2014 (89 pts)Cháteau Puech-Haut Les Complices 2016 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, most are single varietal wines, including the Blanco from Spain that is made with 100% Viura, while the outstanding Fumé Blanc is made with Sauvignon Blanc. The Creekside Iconoclast is a blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon that sees some time in neutral French oak. If you prefer sweeter wines, check out the Riesling Kabinett from Germany.

Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc 2017 (92 pts)Creekside Iconoclast Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Blanco 2018 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TONEL 46 MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#629808) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU GAUMARAN 2014 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#634014) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÁTEAU PUECH-HAUT LES COMPLICES 2016 - AP Languedoc, France (#644666) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PAXTON MV SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#327403) (XD) - $19.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CATENA PARAJE ALTAMIRA MALBEC 2016 - Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#492413) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • STÉPHANE AVIRON VIEILLES VIGNES MORGON CÔTE DU PY 2014 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#424804) (XD) - $23.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CAVE DE TAIN GRAND CLASSIQUE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#572230) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts  wine review
  • CLIFF LEDE STAGS LEAP DISTRICT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, USA (#014217) (XD) - $119.95  FE
Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (90+ pts)Tonel 46 Malbec 2015 (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • MURIEL FINCAS DE LA VILLA BLANCO 2018 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#645127) (XD) - $14.95  89 pts  wine review
  • FEUDO ANTICO BIOLOGICO PECORINO 2017 - IGP Terre di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy (#644930) (D) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • WATERKLOOF CIRCLE OF LIFE 2015 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#284588) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • THE LANE VINEYARD BLOCK 1A CHARDONNAY 2017 - Adelaide Hills, South Australia (#429233) (XD) $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SOUTHBROOK HEATHER'S HOME VINEYARD RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#650135) (D) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SÉMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#520627) (XD) - $23.00  89 pts  wine review
  • VASSE FELIX FILIUS CHARDONNAY 2018 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#416511) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT KASELER NIES’CHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - VDP Grosse Lage, Mosel, Germany (#940809) (MS) - $27.95  FE
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068825) (XD) - $29.95  FE  92 pts  wine review
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $99.95
The Lane Vineyard Block 1A Chardonnay 2017 (89 pts)Feudo Antico Biologico Pecorino 2017 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • BLUE MOUNTAIN GOLD LABEL BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#206326) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • TRIUS BRUT ROSÉ - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184309) (XD) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review

Dessert Wine:

  • PALATINE HILLS VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#614842) (S) (200 mL) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
Palatine Hills Vidal Icewine 2012 (89 pts)

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