Showing posts with label vintages-release. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vintages-release. Show all posts

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  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 30, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Australia



LCBO Wine Picks: May 30, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The May 30, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release is another mono-thematic Release and features top wines from the land down under - Australia. All of these wines, including those from the Main Release will be on shelves at the top 100 LCBO stores across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the theme on top wines from Awesome Australia. There are 14 wines featured as part of this theme and 5 are included among my top wine picks. Of course, we all know about Australian Shiraz - and there is one Shiraz (which is also the Wine of the Month) recommended from this Release - but it was quite nice to see a diverse range of other varietals and styles also featured from the Land Down Under, although notably absent are any wines from Tasmania. White wines recommended from Australia in this Release include a fine Chardonnay from the Mornington Peninsula, and a Hunter Valley Semillon. Red wine picks from Australia include a Bush Vine Grenache and a lovely single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Montalto Pennon Hill Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts)Nugan Estate Alcira Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (91 pts)

Shanahans The Old Dog Shiraz 2016 (88 pts)

Red wine recommendations from the rest of the Release include a pair of budget-friendly Portuguese reds - the Dão red is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, and Tinta Roriz, while the Douro red is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. From Italy, the Ripasso is a blend of mainly Corvina, with Rondinella, Corvinone, and Oseleta in support, while the lovely Spanish Rioja is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% Mazuelo. High-end single varietal wines include a Barolo made with Nebbiolo, and an organic Brunello that is made with 100% Sangiovese.

Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2014 (91 pts)Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba Barolo 2015 (91 pts)

Rioja Bordón Reserva 2013 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the only a blend is a barrel-fermented white from South Africa that consists of 74% Chenin Blanc, 8% Clairette Blanche, 6% Grenache Blanc, 7% Viognier, 2% Semillon Gris, 2% Viura, and 1% Verdelho. The rest are all single varietal wines such as a trio Sauvignon Blanc wines and a Chardonnay. There is also a nice wine made with the indigenous Coda di Volpe varietal from Campania. For sweet wine lovers, try both Rieslings from Niagara as they are made by the same producer, and if you like very sweet wines, the Riesling Spätlese from Germany will suit your palate.

Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Il Poggio Taburno Sannio Coda di Volpe 2018 (88+ pts)

Arriving with this Release is the much welcomed warm weather, and with that comes a slew of rosé wines. Three rosé wines are among my wine recommendations and all are of the dry variety. The rosé from Niagara is a blend of 65% Cabernet Franc, 27% Gamay, and 8% Pinot Noir. From France, the Tavel is consists of mostly Grenache Noir with Cinsault, Grenache Blanc, Syrah, Bourboulenc, Carignan, and Clairette completing the blend, while the rosé from Provence is a blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, and Merlot.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers and be well!

Red Wine:

  • PEDRA CANCELA WINEMAKER SELECTION RED 2016 - DO Dão, Portugal (#14438) (XD) - $13.95
  • QUINTA DA REDE RESERVA 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#431742) (XD) - $17.95
  • DURIGUTTI CABERNET FRANC 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#14916) (XD) - $18.95
  • SHANAHANS THE OLD DOG SHIRAZ 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#13030) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • PROVOLO CAMPOTORBIAN RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2013 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#974402) (D) - $19.95
  • RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2013 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#194753) (XD) - $20.95  89 pts  wine review
  • YALUMBA SAMUEL'S COLLECTION BUSH VINE GRENACHE 2018 - Barossa, South Australia (#531228) (XD) - $24.95
  • NUGAN ESTATE ALCIRA VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#393686) (D) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2017 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#265074) (XD) - $39.95  FE
  • FONTANAFREDDA SERRALUNGA D'ALBA BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#943290) (XD) - $49.95  91 pts  wine review
  • COL D'ORCIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#306852) (XD) - $53.95  91 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • IL POGGIO TABURNO SANNIO CODA DI VOLPE 2018 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#14270) (XD) - $17.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • VIDAL ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12636) (XD) - $19.95
  • REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2018 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#462614) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TAWSE LIMESTONE RIDGE-NORTH ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#431593) (M) - $21.95
  • WITHER HILLS RARANGI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Single vineyard, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551721) (XD) - $22.95
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2018 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#114777) (S) - $24.95  FE
  • BROKENWOOD SEMILLON 2018 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#657726) (XD) - $27.95
  • MONTALTO PENNON HILL CHARDONNAY 2018 - Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia (#12694) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE 2019 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#556597) (XD) - $37.95  FE
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2018 - Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $101.95

Rosé Wine:

  • MALIVOIRE LADYBUG ROSÉ 2019 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#559088) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE MABY LA FORCADIÈRE TAVEL ROSÉ 2019 - AC, Rhône, France (#701318) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE DE TRIENNES ROSÉ 2019 - IGP Méditerranée, Provence, France (#409771) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BLUE MOUNTAIN GOLD LABEL BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#206326) (XD) - $34.95  90 pts  wine review
Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling (90 pts)


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  • Wednesday, May 13, 2020

May 16, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Women of Influence

LCBO Wine Picks: May 16, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming May 16, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release is a mono-thematic release that focuses on Women of Influence and their Fine Wines. All of these wines, plus those from the main release should be on shelves at the top 100 LCBO stores across Ontario by this Saturday. As the Ontario Government slowly re-opens the economy, the LCBO is also following suit with expanded store hours starting May 14 at more than 360 LCBO outlets.

We begin with the main theme on Women of Influence & Their Fine Wines. It is a rather small feature with ten women featured to go along with ten wines, with two wines included among my wine picks. First up is a Chardonnay from Umbria by the iconic Antinori family, which has been involved in wine since 1385, or 26 generations, and is led today by sisters Albiera, Alessia, and Allegra Antinori. The only other wine from this feature is a Côtes du Rhône by Christine Aubert from Domaine Autrand and it is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that was raised entirely in tank.

From the rest of the Release, among my red wine picks, most of the blends are Syrah/Shiraz based or have a significant Syrah component. The Portuguese red is a blend of Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Tinta Roriz, while the red from South Africa consists of 60% Shiraz, 22% Cinsault, 10% Grenache, and 8% Mourvèdre. From France, the Roussillon is a blend of 74% Syrah and 26% Grenache, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape consists of 37% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 27% Mourvèdre, and 7% Cinsault. There is also a lovely single varietal Shiraz from Australia. The last blend is from Chile and it consists of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Malbec, 12% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc.

Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz 2017 (90 pts)Leeuwenkuil Reserve Red 2017 (88 pts)

Casa Santos Lima Colossal Reserva 2016 (88 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, the only blend is a barrel-fermented cuvée from Rhône that consists of Roussanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc. For those that prefer sweeter wines, look for the Riesling from Niagara. And if you like Chardonnay, it would be great to compare and contrast the one from Umbria (mentioned above) with versions from Niagara and New Zealand.

Michel Gassier Château de Nages JT White 2015 (90 pts)Auntsfield Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)

And finally, the dry rosé from Rhône is a blend of Syrah and Grenache.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • DOMAINE AUTRAND CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2017 - AC, France (#380675) (XD) - $14.95
  • CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA 2016 - Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal (#548867) (D) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LEEUWENKUIL RESERVE RED 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#14890) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TIBERIO MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2017 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#14005) (XD) - $19.95
  • BASTIDE MIRAFLORS SYRAH/VIEILLES VIGNES GRENACHE 2017 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#320499) D) - $19.95
  • LAURA HARTWIG EDICION DE FAMILIA 2017 - DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#14147) (XD) - $27.95  FE
  • TORBRECK WOODCUTTER'S SHIRAZ 2017 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#927533) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CITRA CAROSO RISERVA MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2013 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#14253) (XD) $29.95  FE  90+ pts  wine review
  • MARZIANO ABBONA PRESSENDA BAROLO 2013 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#276584) (XD) - $57.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#735407) (XD) - $58.95
Citra Caroso Riserva Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013 (90+ pts)

White Wine:

  • CUATRO RAYAS VENDEMIA NOCTURNA VERDEJO 2018 - DO Rueda, Spain (#14028) (XD) - $13.95
  • SCHRECKBICHL COLTERENZIO PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - DOC Alto Adige, Italy (#293399) (XD) - $19.95
  • ORGANIZED CRIME LIMESTONE BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#11951) (XD) - $21.20
  • CASTELLO DELLA SALA BRAMÌTO CHARDONNAY 2018 - IGT Umbria, Italy (#176792) (XD) - $22.95
  • VILLA MARIA CLIFFORD BAY RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12631) (XD) - $24.95
  • MICHEL GASSIER CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT WHITE 2015 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#485854) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12623) (XD) - $28.95  FE  90 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2017 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (D) - $29.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#65573) (XD) - $30.95

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU VAL-JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2019 - AP Luberon, Rhône, France (#707281) (XD) - $16.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • ANGELS GATE ARCHANGEL BRUT SPARKLING CHARDONNAY 2014 - Traditional method, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#227009) (XD) - $29.95


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  • Sunday, May 3, 2020

May 2, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Popular Demand + New Zealand

LCBO Wine Picks: May 2, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the LCBO VINTAGES Release features Favourite Wines that are back by Popular Demand, while the mini-theme focuses on wines from New Zealand. Wines arrived in the top 51 LCBO stores across Ontario and online yesterday, while another 50 stores will receive bottles a week after Release.

We begin with the main theme that features 21 Customer Favourites that are return to shelves by Popular Demand. A couple of these were recommended by me late last year - the Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017 and Terrazas de Los Andes Reserva Malbec 2017, in case you were wondering - so I didn't include them this time around, thus, only two wines are included among my top wine picks. First up is the latest edition of the excellent Montes Purple Angel that consists of 92% Carmenere and 8% Petit Verdot. The only other wine from this portion of the Release is a Rioja that is a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo, and 2% Garnacha.

Montes Purple Angel 2017 (92 pts)

The mini-theme focuses on wines from New Zealand, a land of plenty with stellar scenery and a range of top-notch wines (as I discovered while visiting NZ earlier this year - more to come on this). Of the nine wines featured, five are included among my top wine recommendations. The four white wines are all New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines from the 2018 vintage. However, they do differ by the regions that the grapes were grown in - ranging from Marlborough in the South Island, including the sub-region of the Awatere Valley, and Wairarapa on the North Island, which also encompasses the sub-region of Martinborough. Trying all four side-by-side would be a great comparison! The lone red wine from New Zealand is from Hawke's Bay and consists of roughly 72% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 5% Malbec, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (89 pts)Elephant Hill Le Phant 2016 (89 pts)

Among my red wine picks, we start with Romanian wine that is made using Fetească Neagră (Black Maiden) grape. There is also an unoaked red from Languedoc that is made with 50% Carignan, 30% Syrah, and 20% Grenache. From Italy, the excellent Chianti Classico consists of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and 5% Syrah, while the lovely California Cabernet Sauvignon includes 17% Malbec.

Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2016 (92 pts)The Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (92+ pts)

Budureasca Premium Fetească Neagră 2016 (87 pts)

There are no multi-varietal blends among my white wine picks. Single varietal white wines include a Muscadet that is made with the Melon de Bourgogne grape, and an excellent Greco di Tufo. For those that prefer sweeter wines, look to Riesling, such as the off-dry version from Flat Rock or the medium-sweet version from Thirty Bench.

Nativ Greco di Tufo 2018 (90+ pts)Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend Riesling 2017 (90 pts)

Enjoy my recommendations from this Release! Cheers and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • BUDUREASCA PREMIUM FETEASCĂ NEAGRĂ 2016 - DOC-CMD Dealu Mare, Romania (#263913) (XD) - $16.95  87 pts  wine review
  • TEDESCHI CAPITEL NICALÒ VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2018 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#984997) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU OLLIEUX ROMANIS CUVÉE CLASSIQUE CORBIÈRES 2017 - AC, Languedoc, France (#568444) (XD) - $18.95
  • ROCKCLIFFE THIRD REEF CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#12910) (XD) - $19.95
  • SUTHERLAND SYRAH 2015 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#13349) (XD) - $19.95
  • ELEPHANT HILL LE PHANT 2016 - Certified sustainable, Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#447367) (XD) - $23.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SPERLING VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR 2018 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#382283) (XD) - $28.95
  • MARQUÉS DE MURRIETA FINCA YGAY RESERVA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#209148) (XD) - $29.95
  • ISOLE E OLENA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#704346) (XD) - $34.95  92 pts  wine review
  • MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2017 - DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#62364) (XD) - $69.95  92 pts  wine review
  • THE HESS COLLECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Certified sustainable, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, California, USA (#662015) (D) - $99.95  92+ pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • ZACHARIAS ASSYRTIKO 2018 - PGI Peloponnese, Greece (#588814) (XD) - $13.95
  • PIERRE-LUC BOUCHAUD SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#82461) (XD) - $15.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2018 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#43281) (D) - $17.95
  • BABICH BLACK LABEL SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Certified sustainable, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#9142) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • BORTHWICK VINEYARD PADDY BORTHWICK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand (#361220) (XD) - $19.95
  • TOHU SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Certified sustainable, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#536177) (XD) - $21.95
  • CAVE DE TURCKHEIM COLLECTION TERROIRS PINOT GRIS 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#12114) (XD) - $21.95
  • THIRTY BENCH WINEMAKER'S BLEND RIESLING 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#24133) (M) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • NATIV GRECO DI TUFO 2018 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#13640) (D) - $23.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CRAGGY RANGE TE MUNA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand (#466011) (XD) - $27.95

Rosé Wine:

  • HENRI GAILLARD ROSÉ 2019 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#450825) (XD) - $18.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • TAWSE SPARK LIMESTONE RIDGE ORGANIC SPARKLING RIESLING 2017 - Traditional method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#370361) (XD) - $20.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING RIESLING ICEWINE 2017 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#447441) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95

Fortified:

  • KOPKE 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - Matured in wood, DOP, Portugal (#14049) (S) (375 mL) - $17.95


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  • Wednesday, April 15, 2020

April 18, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Organic, Biodynamic & Sustainable + Sicily & Sardinia

LCBO Wine Picks: April 18, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the April 18, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on Organic, Biodynamic, and Sustainable wines, while the mini-theme looks at wines from the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. All of these wines should be on VINTAGES shelves at the top 51 stores only by Saturday, and with physical distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future you can expect to wait in long lines. To stay safe and save time, a better option might be to shop online from LCBO.com - the product code for each of my recommended wines below links directly to the LCBO website.

We begin with the main theme on eco-minded winemaking concepts to produce Organic, Biodynamic, and Sustainable wines. Organic wines use grapes grown without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers, and contain a very small amount of sulfites. Of the six organic wines featured, two are recommended - a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, and a Chardonnay from Niagara. Biodynamic wines are organic wines as they follow a similar approach. In a nut shell, biodynamics take care of the vineyard as a single organism, emphasizing biodiversity of the land and creatures on it. Astrological influences and lunar cycles also play a part in biodynamic winemaking. Of the six biodynamic wines, one is included among my wine recommendations - a lovely Napa Valley Chardonnay. Sustainable winemaking strives for economic viability and social responsibility in an ecologically responsible manner, often borrowing the practices for organic and biodynamic winemaking. From the six sustainable wines featured, two are included among my top wine picks - a Fumé Blanc that is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc from Niagara, and a Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa.

Simonsig Labyrinth Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (89 pts)

From the mini-theme on wines from Sicily and Sardinia, there are six wines from Sicily and three from Sardinia, and just one from each region is included among my wine recommendations. From Sicily, there is an excellent Carricante from the northern slopes of Mount Etna. The lone wine from Sardinia is a Carignano (Carignan) that was grown at the southern end of the island.

Tornatore Etna Bianco 2018 (90+ pts)

Red wines from the main release include a pair of Rioja wines - at the low end is the Crianza that consists of 85% Tempranillo snf 15% Garnacha / Mazuelo, while at the high end is a Reserva that is made with 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Graciano / Mazuelo. Also from Spain, the Priorat is a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Cariñena, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. From Italy, the Riserva Chianti Classico is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot, while the Côtes du Rhône from France consists of about 50% Grenache, and Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise to complete the blend. Single varietal wines include a Pinot Noir and a Shiraz from Australia, while the Barolo is, of course, made with Nebbiolo.

Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2018 (91 pts)Penny's Hill Cracking Black Shiraz 2016 (90 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, all are single varietal wines. From Loire, the Savennières is made with Chenin Blanc, while the Valdeorras is from northwestern Spain, a place known for producing fine wines made from the Godello varietal. For those that prefer sweeter wines, the off-dry Riesling from Niagara is your best bet.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Stay home and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#39925) (XD) - $15.95
  • CASTELLO DI GABBIANO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#216309) (D) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE MONTFAUCON CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AP, France (#13439) (XD) - $18.95
  • SARDUS PATER IS SOLUS CARIGNANO DEL SULCIS 2017 - DOC, Sardinia, Italy (#13452) (XD) - $19.95
  • MOMO ORGANIC PINOT NOIR 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#163972) (XD) - $19.95
  • PENNY'S HILL CRACKING BLACK SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#396473) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MAIUS ASSEMBLAGE 2017 - DOQ Priorat, Spain (#13745) (XD) - $23.95
  • SIMONSIG LABYRINTH CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#744375) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GIANT STEPS PINOT NOIR 2018 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#219725) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • R. LOPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA RESERVA 2007 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#356337) (XD) - $59.95
  • PECCHENINO SAN GIUSEPPE BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#181396) (XD) - $65.95

White Wine:

  • LYRARAKIS VÓILA ASSYRTIKO 2018 - Vegan, PGI Crete, Greece (#14420) (XD) - $16.95
  • FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 -VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#89011) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2017 - Lake Lodge Farms, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646307) (D) - $19.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2017 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $19.95
  • ORGANIZED CRIME WILD FERMENT RIESLING 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#11952) (D) - $21.20
  • TORNATORE ETNA BIANCO 2018 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (#577676) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • A COROA GODELLO 2018 - DO Valdeorras, Spain (#13746) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • DOMAINE DU PETIT MÉTRIS CLOS DE LA MARCHE SAVENNIÈRES 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#250571) (XD) - $26.95  FE
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2018 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#68825) (XD) - $29.95
  • GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN CHARDONNAY 2016 - Made with organic grapes, Napa Valley, California, USA (#346304) (XD) - $67.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • CÀ DI RAJO EXTRA DRY PROSECCO - DOC Treviso, Italy (#13830) (XD) - $16.95


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  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 4, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Easter + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks: April 4, 2020 VINTAGES Release
While most of us continue to stay at home and practice physical distancing, the LCBO remains open as it is deemed an essential service, albeit with reduced hours and now closed on Mondays until the foreseeable future, the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES is nearly upon us and features wines for Easter Feasts in its main theme, while the mini-theme focuses on wines from Portugal. All of these wines will be on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this .

It is unlikely we will see any large, family gatherings for Easter this year. However, if you are inclined to host a virtual gathering, there are 14 wines featured as part of theme on wines for Easter Feasts, with 4 wines included among my top wine picks. For vegetarian fare, try the Rosé that is made with Pinot Noir, or the Sancerre that is made using Sauvignon Blanc. If you are inclined to make Turkey during these times, try the Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc or Grüner Veltliner as both will be delicious.

The mini-theme on wines from Portugal is indeed rather small - with just five wines included as part of the feature. My lone wine recommendation is the 2017 Crasto which is a blend of traditional Douro varietals Touriga Nacional (35%), Tinta Roriz (30%), Touriga Franca (25%), and Tinta Barroca (10%). I enjoyed the 2018 Crasto and would expect much of the same in the 2017.

From my red wine recommendations, there are a pair of quality Rhône reds - the Côtes du Rhône-Villages is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Costières de Nîmes is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah. The latest edition of the Pétalos is a blend of 90% Mencía, 4% Alicante Bouschet, and the balance other varietals, while the Te Kahu is a blend of 63% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon,14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec. Lastly, the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, and 7% Malvasia Nera. Single varietal wines include a Cinsault, a lovely Barolo made with Nebbiolo, and a Sicilian wine made with Nero d'Avola.

Boasso Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d'Alba 2015 (91 pts)Craggy Range Te Kahu 2016 (90 pts)

Scattered Earth Bush Vine Cinsault 2018 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Roussillon Blanc is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne, while the Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 60% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, 8% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc, and 2% Grenache Blanc. From Veneto, the Soave is a blend of 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave. For Riesling wine lovers, the version from Australia is dry, while the version from Ontario has some sweetness. If you want a Riesling more for after dinner sipping, although it will be quite fine for the table, the Late Harvest Riesling from New Zealand is the one to buy.

13th Street June's Vineyard Riesling 2019 (90 pts)Greywacke Late Harvest Riesling 2011 (91 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • SCATTERED EARTH BUSH VINE CINSAULT 2018 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#13350) (XD) - $12.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CUVÉE SABRINE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#538496) (XD) - $15.95
  • FERZO MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2016 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#573675) (D) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CRASTO 2017 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#81588) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#40964) (XD) - $19.95
  • DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS PÉTALOS 2017 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#446484) (XD) - $24.95
  • CRAGGY RANGE TE KAHU 2016 - Single vineyard, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#493023) (XD) - $29.95  FE  90 pts  wine review
  • BOASSO BAROLO DEL COMUNE DI SERRALUNGA D'ALBA 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#109116) (XD) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
  • PLANETA SANTA CECILIA NOTO 2015 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (#354589) (XD) - $49.95  FE
  • CASTELLO DI AMA SAN LORENZO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#418897) (XD) - $56.95
Ferzo Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016 (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2018 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $15.95
  • RADFORD DALE VINUM CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#13338) (XD) - $17.95
  • E. GUIGAL CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#290296) (XD) - $18.95
  • ALLRAM STRASS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2018 - Vegan, certified sustainable, DAC Kamptal, Austria (#14189) (XD) - $19.95
  • SONS OF EDEN FREYA RIESLING 2018 - Eden Valley, South Australia (#12652) (XD) - $19.95
  • PIEROPAN SOAVE CLASSICO 2018 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#946848) (XD) - $19.95
  • 13TH STREET JUNE'S VINEYARD RIESLING 2019 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (D) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ROGER & DIDIER RAIMBAULT SANCERRE 2018 - AC, Loire, France (#82255) (XD) - $32.95
  • QUEENSTON MILE BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2017 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#10137) (XD) - $35.00  FE  91 pts  wine review
  • DE MORGENZON RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#339762) (XD) - $46.95  FE
Queenston Mile Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2017 (91 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ 2019 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#498535) (XD) - $19.95

Dessert Wine:

  • GREYWACKE LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2011 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12637) (S) (375 mL) - $29.95  FE  91 pts  wine review


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  • Wednesday, March 18, 2020

March 21, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Classic Euro Regions + Okanagan + Annapolis

LCBO Wine Picks: March 21, 2020 VINTAGES Release
In these extraordinary times with COVID-19 at top of mind, this post seems almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. However, since the LCBO is still open (with reduced hours as of Thursday, March 19) and I think we would all like to step back and take a breather from all of the Coronavirus pandemic news, the next batch of new wines arriving at the LCBO are from the LCBO VINTAGES Release. The main theme of the Release focuses on wines from Classic Euro Regions, while the mini-theme looks at the Canadian wine regions of the Okanagan and Annapolis Valleys. So long as LCBO outlets remain open, the new wines from this Release will be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at eleven classic wine regions of Europe: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône, Loire, Rioja, Tuscany, Veneto, Piedmont, Mosel, and Port. These are some of the world's most venerable and venerated wine regions, and with twenty wines featured as part of this theme, six are included among my top wine picks. From Hautes-Côtes de Beaune in Burgundy is a Pinot Noir, while the Champagne is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay. Also from France, there are a pair of very nice Rhône reds - the Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 15% Syrah, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also primarily Grenache with Mourvedre and Syrah completing the blend. From Italy, the Amarone from Veneto consists of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Molinara. Last but not least, there is a very nice Riesling Kabinett from the Mosel.

The mini-feature on wines from the Okanagan (British Columbia) and Annapolis (Nova Scotia) Valleys features a combined total of just five wines. While none of the wines from the mini-theme made my list of wine picks, there are a couple of noteworthy wines such as the Burrowing Owl Merlot ($40, #585737) from British Columbia, and the now-iconic Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 Sparkling ($25, #256289) sweet bubbly from Nova Scotia.

From my red wine picks, the Portuguese red is a blend of 35% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), 25% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Franca, and 15% Touriga Nacional, while the red from South Africa is made with 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cinsaut, 12% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec, 9% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Merlot. The last red that is a blend is the 2010 Rioja that consists of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Maturana. The rest of the reds are all single varietal wines made with Garnacha from Spain, Cabernet Franc from Niagara, Malbec from Argentina, and a Shiraz and Pinot Noir that are both from Australia.

Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2018 (89 pts)

Among my top white wine picks, the white wine from Greece is a blend of 60% Malagouzia, 20% Asyrtiko, and 20% Chardonnay, while the White Meritage from Niagara consists of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. There are a pair of delightful single varietal white wines from Italy - Grillo and Greco. Lastly, there are a pair of delicious Rieslings - an off-dry version from Alsace, and a medium-sweet version from Niagara.

Gorghi Tondi Coste a Preola Grillo 2018 (88 pts)

In sparkling wines, the Cava is a blend of 65% Parellada, 20% Xarel-lo, and 15% Macabeu, while the fortified wine from Niagara is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and Shiraz that was fortified with a Cabernet Franc brandy.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers and stay safe!

Red Wine:

  • EL VIVERO DE USALDÓN COLECCIÓN ORIGEN GARNACHA 2018 - Finca Casa Balaguer, DO Alicante, Spain (#13624) (XD) - $15.95
  • CASA FERREIRINHA PAPA FIGOS TINTO 2018 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#11157) (XD) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#523001) (XD) - $17.95
  • YALUMBA ORGANIC SHIRAZ 2018 - South Australia (#280883) (XD) - $17.95
  • ANDELUNA ANDUCO LIMITED EDITION MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#12025) (XD) - $19.95
  • XAVIER VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#12987) (XD) - $20.95

  • INNOCENT BYSTANDER PINOT NOIR 2018 - Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia (#178897) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LE RICHE RICHESSE 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#13320) (XD) - $23.95
  • DOMAINE MAZILLY PÈRE & FILS CLOS DU BOIS PRÉVOT BOURGOGNE HAUTES-CÔTES DE BEAUNE 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#11904) (XD) - $28.95
  • CONDE DE VALDEMAR GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#960427) (XD) - $29.95
  • LA FERME DU MONT VENDANGE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017 - AP, Rhône, France (#309245) (D) - $52.95
  • MICHELE CASTELLANI CINQUE STELLE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2015 - Collezione Ca' del Pipa, DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#75127) (D) - $53.95

White Wine:

  • GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER 2018 - IGP Pays d'Oc, Roussillon, France (#147975) (XD) - $14.95
  • MEGA SPILEO CUVÉE III WHITE 2018 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#14186) (XD) - $17.95
  • GORGHI TONDI COSTE A PREOLA GRILLO 2018 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#11670) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CATENA ZAPATA APPELLATION TUPUNGATO CHARDONNAY 2017 - Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#10964) (XD) - $19.95
  • ADAMO FOXCROFT RIESLING 2017 - Grower's Series, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#11236) (M) - $19.95
  • RUHLMANN VIEILLES VIGNES COTEAU DU BLETTIG RIESLING 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#10722) (D) - $21.95
  • MONTEMAJOR GRECO DI TUFO 2018 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#10955) (XD) - $23.95
  • JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE WHITE MERITAGE 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#360297) (XD) - $25.95
  • DR. LOOSEN ERDENDER TREPPCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2017 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#393181) (S) - $29.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • STARS BRUT NATURE RESERVA CAVA 2016 - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#515221) (D) - $16.95
  • THIRTY BENCH SPARKLING RIESLING - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469478) (XD) - $38.95
  • PIPER-HEIDSIECK BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2012 - AC, France (#409326) (XD) - $79.95

Fortified:

  • UNION FORTÉ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#361758) (S) (500 mL) - $17.95


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  • Tuesday, March 10, 2020

March 7, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: California + Burgundy

LCBO Wine Picks: March 7, 2020 VINTAGES Release
I just returned from a lovely vacation in New Zealand where I also visited some wineries in Marlborough, Hawke's Bay, Waiheke Island, and Auckland - stay tuned for more about my visit. In the meantime, wines from the March 7, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release arrived on shelves across Ontario last Saturday. This Release features wines from two premium winegrowing regions - California is the main theme, while Burgundy is the mini-theme.

Of the twelve wines featured as part of the theme on California wines, there are a few solid gold offerings that are consistently top-quality wines. However, just one wine made my list of wine picks - a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon (which also includes 2% Petit Verdot & 2% Malbec) from the Red Hills Lake County AVA, just north of Napa Valley, that is planted on red volcanic soils that are shot through with obsidian rock.

The mini-theme seeks to find bargains in Burgundy - with some pretty good success as three of the seven wines featured are included among my wine recommendations. All three of my recommendations are white wines, with one made with Aligoté. The other two wines are both made with Chardonnay - one is a 1er Cru Chablis, while the other is from Montagny.

From my top red wine picks from this Release, the Saint-Roch is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from 60-year-old vines. From Italy, the Riserva Chianti Classico is made with 100% Sangiovese, while the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva is made with a minimum of 70% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) and a maximum of 30% of Canaiolo. From Bordeaux, the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.

San Felice Il Grigio Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (91 pts)Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2015 (91 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, there is only one blend - a 68% Sauvignon Blanc and 32% Semillon combination from Australia. For sweet wine lovers, the Kew Riesling from Niagara is off-dry, while the Tawse Riesling further amps up the sweetness levels.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • QUINTA DAS CARVALHAS RED BLEND 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#11150) (XD) - $13.95
  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH / GRENACHE 2017 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#195107) (XD) - $16.95
  • DOMAINE TOURNON MATHILDA CHAPOUTIER SHIRAZ 2017 - Victoria, Australia (#327395) (XD) - $18.95
  • TABALÍ VETAS BLANCAS SYRAH 2016 - Viñedo Espinal, DO Limarí Valley, Chile (#213538) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT 2017 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#346742) (XD) - $19.95
  • ROCKCLIFFE THIRD REEF SHIRAZ 2017 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#453209) (XD) - $19.95

  • REVEREND V MOUNT BARKER SYRAH 2017 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#13175) (XD) - $21.95
  • EL ENEMIGO CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#11813) (XD) - $23.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SAN FELICE IL GRIGIO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#716266) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE ORGANIC PINOT NOIR 2017 - Unfiltered, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#274753) (XD) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (D) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • OBSIDIAN RIDGE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, Red Hills, Lake County, California, USA (#544940) (XD) - $49.95
  • CHÂTEAU SIMARD 2015 - AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France (#12090) (XD) - $49.95
Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir 2017 (91 pts)El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2015 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • PAUL MAS SINGLE VINEYARD COLLECTION RESERVE VIOGNIER 2018 - Nicole Vineyard, IGP Pays d'Oc, Midi, France (#370098) (XD) - $13.95
  • KEW OLD VINE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#392126) (D) - $15.95
  • CHARLES MONTSERAT BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2018 - AC, Burgundy, France (#12026) (XD) - $16.95
  • ABRAS TORRONTÉS 2017 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#10965) (XD) - $16.95
  • SKUTTLEBUTT SAUVIGNON BLANC / SEMILLON 2018 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#47621) (XD) - $18.95
  • ESK VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#12638) (XD) - $21.95
  • TAWSE QUARRY ROAD ORGANIC RIESLING 2018 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#198853) (M) - $24.95
  • LA CHABLISIENNE VAILLONS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#11900) (XD) - $27.95
  • JOSEPH DROUHIN MONTAGNY 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#11903) (XD) - $32.95
  • GREYWACKE WILD SAUVIGNON 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#282806) (XD) - $38.95  FE


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