Showing posts with label viognier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label viognier. Show all posts

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  • Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (Australia) - Wine Review



This popular red wine has come through VINTAGES many times over the years - and looking through my database I discovered that I purchased the 2007 vintage of this bottle in 2008. , I opened the latest vintage which arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on  - with plenty still available for purchase at the LCBO.

It is produced by Penny's Hill, a winery located in the rolling foothills east of McLaren Vale and named after a hill that sits at the base of the site in South Australia. The project began in 1988 by Tony and Susie Parkinson when they planted 32 ha of vines facing the waters of Gulf St.Vincent. In 1993, they acquired the newly-planted Malpas Road property, followed in 1996 by acquiring the adjacent, highly prized hay-producing paddock that was planted to vines and named Goss Corner. In 1998, the original Goss family homestead, "Ingleburne", was added to the Malpas and Goss properties to reconnect what had originally been one entire holding.

Today, Tony Parkinson still maintains ownership and management of the business, and joining him is his younger son, James, who is learning the vineyard ropes, and his elder son, David, who is a filmmaker and contributes much to the aesthetics of the enterprise.

The Penny’s Hill Cellar Door chook house is home to The Black Chook brand’s namesake, and the original "Black Chook" can be seen scratching and pecking for grubs under the big old gum tree. The fruit for the Black Chook range of wines are sourced from some of South Australia’s eminent wine regions and are made to be affordable, enjoyed, shared and celebrated. The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier is sourced from McLaren Vale and Padthaway as both regions have very consistent climates, which helps produce some of the best Shiraz in Australia and work together harmoniously in the final blend.

The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2017 - McLaren Vale/Padthaway, South Australia (#066738) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of Shiraz (96%) and Viognier (4%) that was co-fermented, while vineyard parcels were vinified and matured with suitable oak separately to best express the nuances of each block. The final wine was blended together after 12 months of oak ageing. Screw cap. Fresh, plummy, black cherry aromas mingle with peppery spice and oak notes, and just a hint of floral. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark currant and dark berry flavours, along with hints of pepper and oak spice in a dry flavour profile. It has soft, refined tannins and juicy acids. Wood and pepper spice notes linger on the finish. Score: 87 pts


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  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rhône Wine Tour 2018 - Luberon and Ventoux (Day 1)

Domaine des Peyre (Luberon)
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the southern Rhône Valley in May to focus on the brilliant white and rosé wines from the region. It was a 4-day trip with visits to wineries and meet with winemakers in Luberon, Ventoux, Cairanne, Costières de Nîmes, Lirac and Tavel AOCs.

After arriving at Marseille Provence Airport, we travelled about 1 hour north to Domaine des Peyre, a boutique winery and hotel in the Luberon AOC where we would be spending the night. Since Craig Pinhey and I had some time to relax while we waited for Daenna Van Mulligen to arrive before heading out for dinner, we tasted a few delicious wines while sitting and chatting on the patio, all the while observing our peaceful surroundings. We learned that some parts of this historic building were built in the 16th century. There was also a church (which was to host a wedding in a few days) that was originally built in the 9th century.

Domaine des Peyre (Luberon)

Anne Georget was our first guide for this trip, and she took us to dinner at La Bergerie, a casual-fine dining restaurant located on the hill village of Bonnieux that had an amazing view overlooking the valley below. The food was delicious, as we enjoyed some wine on the outdoor patio with truffle pizza (yes, I had truffles for the first time, and it wasn't too bad). It got a bit chilly, so we moved indoors and sat near the kitchen which had an open flame that was used for cooking meats and various other dishes, but also provided some much needed heat to warm the room. I opted for the delicious roasted chicken and capped my meal with a chocolate mousse. It was a great way to end the day, as we had a long (and busy) week ahead of us.

La BergerieLa Bergerie

Our covered the Luberon and Ventoux AOCs. The first stop was actually not too far from the restaurant we dined at the night before. Château la Canorgue is a family-owned and -operated winery in Luberon that is led by the father-daughter team of Jean-Pierre Margan and his daughter Nathalie. The family has been producing wine at this domain for 5 generations on a fascinating site that was built upon the remains of an ancient Roman villa. Château la Canorgue takes its name from the many ancient underground aqua tunnels that cross below the vineyards - we got to see one of these amazing water channels. Nine days prior to our visit, the winery experienced a very localized, disastrous 15-minute hail storm that left nearly 30 cm of ice/snow on the ground. However, it had completely melted by the time we arrived, leaving behind severely damaged vines that Nathalie said will likely need a couple of years to recover. Approximately 80% of their crop was lost due to this freak storm.

Château la Canorgue - Nathalie and Jean-Pierre MarganChâteau la Canorgue Vineyard

Château la Canorgue - Winemaking FacilityChâteau la Canorgue - Tank Room

After a brief walk among the vines, Nathalie took us inside their gravity-flow production facility that was added to their 17th century cellar which was once a silk factory at one point in its history. Château la Canorgue was the very first organic winery in the Luberon and has been producing wines using organic methods, and a few Biodynamic principles, since the 1970's. After tasting through some fine tank samples, we moved into the tasting room to try some of their latest whites and rosé wines. The domain's 40 hectares, most of which are terraced, are planted to traditional regional varietals with 25% of their production devoted to white wines, and 25% to rosés. Grapes for these wines are typically machine-harvested from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., to keep the grapes cool and allowing for better control over the fermentation process. Vines average 40 years old, with some plots at 80 years old, and some even older at 100 years old. Tasting notes of a couple of my favourites wines tasted here and elsewhere on this day are provided below.

The second stop was Domaine de la Citadelle, a winery founded in 1990 by short-film producer Yves Rousset-Rouard when he purchased a old farmhouse with 8 ha of vines. It is located on the northern slope of Luberon, 35 km east of Avignon and the mouth of the Rhône and Durance rivers. Today, there are 50 ha of vines planted on mostly clay and limestone soils, along with some alluvial marl, griess, and gravel. Since it had been raining, we did not take a walk through the vineyards and proceeded directly to the upper level overlooking the production facility. Like the first winery, they also have a gravity-fed vinification process to gently move the wine through the various stages. It also recently became certified organic in 2016 and use horses to work the soil. 50% of their production is devoted to white (30%) and rosé (20%) wines. The three main ranges of wines in their portfolio are terroir-driven - La Châtaignier from sandy marl soils, the middle-tier Les Artèmes which come from primarily gravel and sandstone soils, and the higher-end Le Gouverneur range which come from their best terroirs and oldest vines. 2017 was a tough vintage due to a severe frost that affected nearly 15 ha of vines, followed by a very long drought with no rain for 6 months. Even with yields practically halved, the wines expressed their terroir with freshness and balance.

Domaine de la Citadelle - TanksDomaine de la Citadelle Rosé Wines

Domaine de la Citadelle White WinesDomaine de la Citadelle - Barrel Room

Lunch was at La Maison de la Truffe & du Vin, a fine-dining establishment that included truffle in each of their dishes. It was located in the Luberon mountains, in the hilltop village of Ménerbes overlooking the valley below. Considering that I had my first truffle the night before (and survived), I was less nervous about having truffles with each course. We enjoyed lunch with two wine producers, which definitely helped calm my nerves regarding the truffles.

Joining us for lunch was Winemaker Sylvain Morey from La Bastide du Claux, and Sabrina Fillod, Export Marketing Manager at Marrenon. Each winery brought four delicious wines to taste.

Sylvain Morey's roots are in Burgundy as he is a descendant of (Domaine) Albert Morey. He began La Bastide du Claux in 2002 to bring his Burgundian vision and winemaking craft to the rising Luberon AOC. Sylvain has a fragmented 15 ha vineyard that offers a rich combination of soils, climates and exposures, and tries to highlight its characteristics. Approximately one-third of all wines produced in Luberon are rosés. One of the interesting points that Sylvain mentioned was the fact that even though Luberon is part of the historical region of Provence, with similar terroir, they are not part of Provence AOC and, thus, cannot put "Provence" on the label. Given that rosé wines from Provence carry some weight and prestige, wineries in Luberon are at a somewhat disadvantage. Perhaps one day we will see the rules changed, but in the meantime we shall continue enjoying lovely the wines of Luberon, which are part of the Rhône AOC, and offer great value!

Sylvain Morey, La Bastide du ClauxMarrenon, Sabrina Fillod

Marrenon is a large cooperative consisting of 7 wineries and 650 winegrowers that was created in 1965. All 4,200 hectares of vineyards are based in the heart of a Regional Natural Park which is recognized as a natural biosphere reserve by UNESCO, and spread out along the mountain ranges of Luberon and Ventoux, ranging in altitude from 150 to 500 metres. With vineyards located in the South East Rhône Valley and in Provence, 50% of their production is devoted to rosé wines and 20% to white wines. They were also the first producer to grow Vermentino (Rolle) in France. They are committed to the environment and sustainability, and all of the work is controlled and approved by Agri-Confiance Certification which, among other things, includes respecting nature and environment, fair income for the producers, and vine-to-glass traceability. There are 3 ranges of wines - Classique, Altitude, and Exclusive Single Estate wines. All of the wines we tasted during lunch were from their Single Estate line, and were delicious!

La Maison de la Truffe & du Vin

After lunch, we visited Domaine de Fondrèche, a family-owned winery that was founded by Nanou Barthelémy when she purchased the property in 1993. Her son, Sébastien Vincenti, joined the business a few years later after spending some time in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They have 38 ha of organically cultivated vineyards, 10 ha of which are dedicated to producing terroir-driven rosé wines from sandy soils and white wines from clay and limestone soils. As Sébastien took us through the wines and gave us a tour of the winery, it was obvious that he was very passionate about wine and the winemaking process. The winery was built to favour the use of gravity, including having the press sit a few metres above ground, thus allowing the juice to escape through a hole at the bottom of the press with the assistance of gravity. It is interesting to note that Sébastien does not use any sulphites during pressing. Domaine de Fondrèche produces three lines of wines, and I was most impressed with their middle-tier Persia line that come from their older vines.

Sébastien Vincenti, Domaine de Fondrèche

Domaine de Fondrèche - Concrete Eggs and Oak BarrelsDomaine de Fondrèche

The final stop of the day was at Château Pesquié, an estate winery owned by a family that is passionate about the Ventoux region and recognized its potential. Odette & René Bastide purchased the property that is located at the foot of the Ventoux Mountain in the early 1970's and became pioneers of AOC Côtes du Ventoux. Even though vines had been cultivated in this region for more than a thousand years, the AOC was only created in 1973. In the mid-1980's, their daughter Edith and her husband Paul Chaudière joined the business. In 1989, the family stopped selling their grapes to the local cooperative and formed their own cellars. In 2003, Paul and Edith's two sons, Alexandre and Frédéric, took over the Domaine and continue the family tradition of producing terrific wines that harness the outstanding Ventoux terroir. We had the pleasure of meeting Alexandre, who through three generations of winemakers in the family have always tried to be agriculturally sustainable and responsible, mentioned that they hope to be certified biodynamic in 2019. Château Pesquié has one of the coolest micro-climates in the south of the Rhône Valley, thanks to slightly higher elevations and mountain influence, while also having great mineral diversity, but predominantly limestone. They have a fabulous visitor centre with impressive displays showcasing their terroir, among other things. The wines are also tasty! Château Pesquié is definitely a place to visit if you're in the area.

Château Pesquié

Château Pesquié

The evening was capped off with a gourmet dinner and a quiet night at the lovely Château de Mazan Hotel that is housed in an 18th century mansion located in the centre of the town of Mazan, nestled at the foot of Mont Ventoux.

Château de MazanChâteau Unang Ventoux Blanc 2017

Château de MazanChâteau de Mazan

This post is just the first in the series. A visit to the Cairanne AOC is next on the itinerary, and reviews from my trip to the other Rhône AOCs will be posted in the coming days.

Tasting Notes:

Domaine des Peyre Paparazzi 2017 (87 pts)

DOMAINE DES PEYRE PAPARAZZI 2017 - AP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 11.5 €
Mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre completing the blend. Medium+ intensity nose is fresh with herbal, garrigue, stone fruit and peach aromas. Medium-bodied palate is delicate with herbally and stone fruit flavours, and a vague impression of sweetness. Clean and balanced, some saline mid-palate. Very good finish length. Score: 87 pts

Agent: DB Wine & Spirits (ON)

CHÂTEAU LA CANORGUE LUBERON ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - 9.50 €
Majority Grenache, with Syrah and Mourvèdre completing the blend. Medium+ intensity nose has herbally, raspberry, and currant aromas. Red berry flavours of raspberry, red currant and strawberry on the medium-bodied, dry palate lifted by fresh acidity. Fine, crisp finish. Score: 88 pts

Château la Canorgue Luberon Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Château la Canorgue Luberon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU LA CANORGUE LUBERON BLANC 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - 10.50 €
Co-fermented and equal parts Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Grenache, Bourbeblanc, and Vermentino. Lovely citrus and exotic fruits with plenty of minerality on the nose and flavour profile. The medium+ bodied palate is structured and has a creamy texture with a nice mineral, mid-palate supported by fresh acids. Nicely balanced overall, dry. Floral and fruit on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Agent: N/A

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE LES ATÈRMES ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Luberon, Rhône, France (XD) - 12 €
Vines located 300 m above sea level. 80% Mourvèdre. Subtle raspberry, earth, and mineral aromas. Medium-bodied with crisp acids, rounded mouthfeel and nice aroma replays in a dry style. Structured, spicy, nice clean finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88+ pts

Domaine de la Citadelle Les Atèrmes Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)Domaine de la Citadelle Le Châtaignier Blanc 2017 (88+ pts)

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE LE CHÂTAIGNIER BLANC 2017 - AOP Luberon, Rhône, France (XD) - 8.50 €
Blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Marsanne. Subtle stony mineral and herbal aromas continue on the medium-bodied palate, joined by some lemon/lime flavours. Clean acids offer a crisp mouthfeel. Very good length on the fresh finish. Score: 88+ pts

Agent: Balthazard (QC)

BASTIDE DU CLAUX L'ODALISQUE 2016 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
40% Grenache Blanc blended with equal parts Vermentino and Viognier, all spending some time in oak barrels. Medium-high intensity nose with stone fruit and lemon oil notes. It's medium+ bodied on the smoky, structured palate with lemony acids and flavours. Buttery, baked apple notes linger on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

Bastide du Claux l'Odalisque 2016 (89 pts)Bastide du Claux Barraban 2009 (91 pts)

BASTIDE DU CLAUX BARRABAN 2009 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
40% Grenache Blanc, the rest equal parts Vermentino, Clairette, and Ugni Blanc. Pours a deep gold colour, this has medium-high intensity waxy, lanolin, floral, and herbally aromas, all which comes through nicely on the medium-bodied, dry, spicy palate. Nicely textured with balanced acidity. Drinking well now, but could age another 5-7 years. Score: 91 pts

Agent: N/A

MARRENON PETULA 2017 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
Syrah and Grenache Noir. Pretty raspberry, strawberry aromas are open and fragrant with fine minerality. It's medium-bodied, crisp, and clean on the subtly spicy palate with nice, balanced acids and herbally aroma replays. Long with some structure on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Marrenon Petula 2017 (89 pts)Marrenon Grand Marrenon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

MARRENON GRAND MARRENON BLANC 2017 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
Equal parts Grenache Blanc and Vermentino, and 10% Roussanne. Elegant, medium-high intensity nose shows finesse with ripe, balanced yellow fruit, white flowers, mineral and barrel-aged oak nuances. It's light-to-medium bodied on the nicely balanced palate with pleasing aroma replays supported by vibrant acids. Clean lime and mineral notes, touch bitter on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Agent: Von Terra (ON)

DOMAINE DE FONDRÈCHE PERSIA ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 20 €
Half Mourvèdre, the rest equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Medium-intensity nose has herbally, spicy, currant, floral, and raspberry aromas. Juicy, fresh acids support the medium-bodied, spiced palate with curranty aroma replays. Spiced finish with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Domaine de Fondrèche Persia Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Domaine de Fondrèche Persia Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

DOMAINE DE FONDRÈCHE PERSIA BLANC 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 20 €
Roussanne from 30-40 year old vines, the nose is reserved with lime citrus and herbs, and hints of hay and white stone fruit. The medium-bodied palate is ripe, rounded with very good acidity. White peach, melon, and some herbal, fennel flavours. Nicely textured on the mid-palate through to the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

Agent: Sens.i (QC)

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ TERRASSES ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 11 €
50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, and 10% Syrah. Shy nose has raspberry, red berry and citrus aromas. Structured, medium-bodied palate has more raspberry and citrus notes with hints of floral. Fresh, juicy acids support the crunchy fruit. Clean, lemony notes on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

Château Pesquié Terrasses Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Château Pesquié Quintessence Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ QUINTESSENCE BLANC 2016 - AOC Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 16 €
Blend of 80% Roussanne (barrel-fermented) and 20% Clairette, with trace amounts of Viognier, and then blended and aged in concrete tanks. Subtle aromas offer wood-influenced herbal, white peach, and hints of citrus, all which come through on the medium-bodied palate. Fresh, balanced acids provide lift. Nicely textured with crunchy fruit, and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Agent: The Vine Agency (ON), Sélections Oeno (QC)


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  • Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a locally made white wine made with Viognier, a varietal not commonly grown here in Ontario.

It is produced by Lakeview Wine Co., a division of Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd., a large winery based in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake. This particular wine was sourced from high quality Niagara vineyards and gently pressed in pneumatic bladder style presses. It was then cool fermented in stainless steel for 14 days at 16ºC, followed by ageing in stainless steel tanks and cold stabilized and bottled to preserve natural and typical fruit characters.

I picked up this delicious white wine while visiting the winery in the spring, and you can too as it is only available at the winery or through their online web store.

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIOGNIER 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. This has a tart and floral nose with orange blossom, lime citrus, and a whiff of anise and herbally aromas. On the mid-weighted palate, it has vibrant, crunchy acids supporting the citrus, floral, and herbal flavours. There's a touch of candied lime giving off an impression of sweetness. Good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts


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  • Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Goats do Roam White 2017 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine is an easy drinking white wine with a unique/fun name that you may have come across while browsing LCBO shelves as it's been available in our market for quite a few years now.

It is produced by the Fairview Wine Farm in South Africa, and while the name "Goats do Roam" is considered by some to be a play on "Côtes du Rhône" as it contains the same varietals found in Rhône whites, it is in fact (according to the website) from legend.

The story behind the name goes like this: Some errant members of Fairview’s long-established goat herd once escaped from their paddock into the Fairview vineyards after Charles Back’s young son Jason accidentally left the gate open; The little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from the vines; Those berries were then used to make this white blend.

The 2017 vintage is the latest vintage and packaged in an eco-friendly, lighter-weight bottle. It is widely available (if not already, then really soon) at LCBO outlets across Ontario as it is a General List product.

Goats do Roam White 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

GOATS DO ROAM WHITE 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#237313) (XD) - $11.95
Bottled under screw cap, this is a traditional Rhône blend of 49% Viognier, 28% Roussanne, and 23% Grenache Blanc. The medium intensity nose offers widely appealing ripe tropical fruit, orange zest, white peach and white floral aromas. On the medium-full bodied palate, it's got zesty acids with more ripe tropical fruit, melon, and orange peel flavours in an essentially dry profile. There's some bitterness on the mid-palate and good length on the finish. Chill well and serve with hearty fish such as Salmon. Score: 86 pts


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  • Saturday, February 4, 2017

Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2015 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine was purchased last year from the LCBO VINTAGES Release and only a few bottles of this dry white wine are still available at the LCBO. It's a good one, especially at this price point.

Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION BLANC 2015 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#701094) (XD) - $17.95
A blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. Fresh lemon and white floral aromas from the cork. Very good intensity on the nose with earthy/mineral aromas, along with lemon, floral, grapefruit and hints of peach. Full flavoured on the oily, medium-bodied palate with notes of lemon, white peach, and floral. Balanced by fine acidity. Juicy with lovely orange blossom notes that arrive mid-palate and continue through to the finish. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Thursday, August 25, 2016

Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival Review 2016 - Day 2

After a very satisfying Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival experience on , expectations were raised for visit to wineries mostly in Niagara-on-the-Lake. In all, we ended up visiting 7 different wineries on Sunday, a few of which were unplanned stops that were hard to pass up.

Triple Cream Brie Grilled Cheese with Poached Rhubarb and Inniskillin Reserve Cabernet Franc Rosé
Our day began in the morning at Inniskillin Wines for a triple cream Brie grilled cheese with poached rhubarb that was paired with their freshly released 2015 Inniskillin Reserve Cabernet Franc Rosé ($19.95, 87 pts). Since we were one of the first to arrive at the winery, we had to wait quite a while before the first grilled cheese was prepared. However, we didn't mind because that gave us a chance to enjoy the sun and great weather on their outdoor patio, and also allowed us to sample some wines at their wine tasting bar. The grilled cheese was hot and tasty, with the rhubarb flavours from the sandwich bringing out similar flavours in the rosé. The creamy cheese also helped tame the racy acids in the wine, making for a balanced, yummy pairing.

Niagara Grilled Trout on Flatbread with Smoked Salsa, Charred Feta and Pickled Red Onions with Peller Estates Private Reserve Rosé
The second stop of the day was an unplanned visit to Peller Estates Winery for a mouthwatering Niagara grilled trout on a flatbread with smoked salsa, charred feta and pickled red onions. This was paired with your choice of 2015 Peller Estates Private Reserve Rosé ($16.95, 87 pts, sold out) or the 2015 Peller Estates Private Reserve Muscat ($14.95). It was served on their outdoor back patio facing the vineyards - a very nice setting to enjoy this refreshing pairing. I opted for the rosé and it paired really well with the flatbread - lots of cherry, red berry, herbally, spice flavours complementing the dry rosé that made this pairing quite compelling. Making this experience very memorable was the arrival of more than 50 exotic cars that parked on the grass between the patio and the vineyards.

Exotic cars at Peller Estates

The third stop of the day was at PondView Estate Winery for two stuffed endive boats paired with their 2015 Viognier. Once again, the great weather allowed us to enjoy our pairing outdoors. The first endive boat had grilled pineapple and caramelized shallots in goat cheese and topped with pecans, while the second endive boat had blue cheese and walnuts, and both boats were drizzled with honey. The pairing with the dry Viognier was quite nice with the honey adding some pleasant sweetness. I found the first endive boat to be immaculately paired with the wine - well-balanced flavours that brought out sweet pineapple and honey flavours from the wine. The blue cheese endive made the pairing fall on the savoury side. All-in-all, this was a satisfying experience.

Endive Boats with PondView ViognierCaraway Salmon Burger with Debbie Travis Pinot Grigio

Our fourth stop of the day was an unplanned visit to Pillitteri Estates Winery. We couldn't pass up the chance to enjoy a sumptuous celery and caraway salmon burger that was topped with lettuce, grilled red onion, and lemon remoulade on a brioche bun. Generously sized, this burger was perfectly paired with the newly released 2014 Debbie Travis Pinot Grigio (#457515, $15.95, 86 pts). Knowing what was ahead of us and a little tight on time, I had to skip any wine tasting, including some of the best Icewine in Niagara.

As we moved closer towards direction of home, our fifth stop of the day was at Colaneri Estate Winery for a tangy spring roll from Chang Noi's Thai Restaurant that was paired with the 2012 Colaneri Mistera Gewürztraminer ($19.95). The vegetarian spring roll was topped with a sweet chili sauce that made the spring roll a touch on the hot side, but also allowed it to pair quite well with the sweet Gewürztraminer white wine. Once again, sweet wine paired with spice makes for a delightful combo.

Tangy Spring Roll from Chang Noi with Colaneri Mistera GewürztraminerCreekside Pinot Grigio and Golden Niagara Peach Slushie

More closer to home in Lincoln, Ontario, our next stop was at Creekside Estate Winery for a break from solid foods to enjoy a refreshing slushie on this hot day. The nice and cold slushie was made by blending their 2015 Creekside Pinot Grigio (#083196, $14.95) with golden Niagara peaches that were in season. It had lots of delicious peach flavours to go along with a slight kick from the alcohol. On this hot summer day, this was the perfect way to cool down!

Wood-Fired Strawberry Pizza with Featherstone Rosé
Amazingly, as had happened during the 2015 Niagara New Vintage Wine Festival, our day of food and wine concluded at Featherstone Estate Winery for the second year in a row. Once again, the offering was a strawberry pizza topped with balsamic paired with their latest Featherstone Rosé. It was made in their outdoor wood-fired oven by owner/winemaker David Johnson - the same guy that made these pizza's last summer, except I had no clue who he was last year. Ha! Ha! It was great to finally meet and talk to the man behind the wines. It was Featherstone's Cabernet Franc that got me turned on to Ontario Cab Franc many years ago and is still one of my favourite Ontario red wines year-after-year. The pizza was a delicious combination of sweet, savoury and sour, and accentuated the strawberry flavours in the wine.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our trip through Niagara Wine Country and are looking forward to visiting the region again in September for the big, annual Niagara Grape & Wine Festival where we expecting more delicious food & wine pairings. If you're interested in joining us, let me know!

Tasting Notes:

INNISKILLIN DISCOVERY SERIES BARREL FERMENTED SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95
Barrel fermented for 3 months in new and older French barrels. Medium+ intensity nose showing musky oak notes layered with grassy, hay and green aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with a nice, creamy texture, tart acids balanced by clean lime and gooseberry flavours. Juicy with slight sour notes on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

Inniskillin Discovery Series Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Inniskillin Discovery Series Susse Reserve Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

INNISKILLIN DISCOVERY SERIES SUSSE RESERVE RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $22.95
Generous nose offers clean citrus, orange, peach, Flintstone vitamins, along with hints of mineral and petrol adding complexity. It's medium-bodied with juicy, balanced acids. Off-dry with yummy peach and orange flavours. Good length on the finish. Score: 88 pts

INNISKILLIN RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $24.95
From a hot vintage, this has a medium+ nose featuring complex spice, blackberry, dark cherry, allspice and clove aromas. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with smooth, supple tannins that are just a touch grippy at the moment. Dark cherry, earth and oak spice flavours. It has very good acids and finishes long. Should be better in 1-2 years. Score: 89 pts

Inniskillin Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

PONDVIEW ESTATE VIOGNIER 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#469205) (XD) - $16.95
Offers a medium+ intensity nose featuring clean lime, white flowers, and fresh citrus. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with an oily texture that offers floral, lemon/lime, some herbally notes, and hints of honey. It has bright, fresh acids, while the finish length is medium-long. Score: 88 pts

PondView Estate Viognier 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)PondView Vidal Icewine 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

PONDVIEW VIDAL ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#390351) (S) (200 mL) - $19.95
Very inviting and highly aromatic nose that offers lovely pineapple, orange, caramelized citrus and peach aromas. It's very sweet with lovely aroma replays of citrus, peach and apricot on the medium-bodied palate, with bright acids balancing the sweetness very well. Excellent length on the finish that has notes of poached pineapples. Score: 90 pts

COLANERI STELLUCHA RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (M) - $17.95
The 2015 vintage was just released and has a medium-high nose that is effervescent with nuances of green apple, lime, and hints of mandarin orange. It's medium-bodied with crisp, bright, refreshing acids and flavours of Flintstone vitamins, orange and pear. It's off-dry to medium-dry in sweetness with clean minerality on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

Colaneri Stellucha Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Colaneri Unita Cabernet Franc Reserva 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (90 pts)

COLANERI UNITA CABERNET FRANC RESERVA 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
80% appassimento and 22 months in barrel, this has a medium-high intensity, complex nose offering chestnut, brambly, licorice, candied cherry, currant, and blackberry aromas. It's medium-full bodied with raspberry, sweet oak vanilla, herbal spice and ripe berry aroma replays. Quite spicy. Finishes long. Score: 90 pts

CREEKSIDE BACKYARD BUBBLY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398628) (D) - $24.95
Medium+ intensity featuring mineral, lemon peel and earthy funk. Bubbles are finely tuned on the medium+ bodied palate, with a nice texture and green, grass, and hints of gooseberry flavours typical or the varietal. Comes off as dry overall, with bright acids and very good length on the finish. It was released into VINTAGES on June 11 and some still available. Score: 89 pts

Creekside Backyard Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)

CREEKSIDE BACKYARD BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#341792) (XD) - $18.95
Medium-high intensity, but somewhat restrained nose of tropical fruit, kiwi, passion fruit, and guava. It's medium-bodied with vibrant, juicy acids with more kiwi and grass flavours, along with some gooseberry notes. Quite balanced overall. Medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

Creekside Backyard Block Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Creekside Marianne Hill Riesling 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)

CREEKSIDE MARIANNE HILL RIESLING 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#443572) (M) - $21.95
A medium+ intensity nose offers orange and citrus aromas with a mineral component. The palate is medium-bodied with acids that are juicy and vibrant, while balancing the pleasing aroma replays in an off-dry style. There's a chalky mineral texture on the palate, while the lengthy finish ends with orange notes. Score: 88+ pts

FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#117861) (D) - $15.95
Bright strawberry, cherry, ripe red plums on the nose, with sweet aroma replays on the light-to-mid weighted palate. It has balanced acids and good length on the finish. Soft, easy drinking style. Score: 87 pts

FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $16.95
Lovely medium-high intensity nose has clean orange, citrus and some tropical fruit, mineral, apple and peach notes add complexity. It's fairly light-weighted with a slatey texture and pleasing aroma replays on the medium sweet palate. Bright acids provide freshness, while the finish length is very good. Was released into VINTAGES on August 6th. Score: 88 pts

Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#064618) (XD) - $19.20
The medium-high intensity nose has an initial bretty/barnyard aroma that gives way to complex raspberry, bramble, spices, black cherry, and blackberry. It's medium-full bodied with complex spice-led aroma replays. Vibrant acids are well-balanced. Long, raspberry-cherry finish with hints of smoke. Tannins a bit tight at this stage - try this in 1-2 years. Score: 88 pts


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