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

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  • Date publishedTuesday, November 17, 2020

Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2016 and Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (New Zealand) - Wine Reviews

Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts) and The Gimblett 2016 (91 pts)
wine reviews are a pair of lovely wines from New Zealand's iconic Trinity Hill that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on . I've been enamoured with this winery and the Hawke's Bay region ever since enjoying the 2014 Trinity Hill The Trinity Red Blend a couple of years ago that I made it a point to visit the Hawke's Bay and Trinity Hill when I visited New Zealand earlier this year - more on this to come.

The idea of Trinity Hill was formed in 1987 when winemaker John Hancock met with Bleeding Heart restaurant owners Robyn and Robert Wilson at their restaurant in London. On a stony site in Hawke's Bay, Trinity Hill became a reality in 1993 because they recognized that this site would give them the ability to produce world-class wines. They also recognized the potential of the Hawkes Bay's Gimblett Gravels winegrowing district and quickly became one of the region's early pioneers by planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River that is now an 18 hectare vineyard.

By 2001, Trinity Hill helped found the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association. It was created based on the terroir of the area of the old Ngaruroro Riverbed, with 34 member wineries and winegrowers making up the association.

Today, Robyn and Robert Wilson are still co-owners of Trinity Hill, while John Hancock moved on in 2018 to focus on his own negociant wine business. Warren Gibson is the Chief Winemaker. He worked with John prior to the creation of Trinity Hill and joined the team to work alongside John in 1997, earning several accolades along the way. Trinity produces wines using traditional Hawke's Bay varietals such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, as well as (my favourite) Syrah, and, of course, Sauvignon Blanc. All Trinity Hill wines are produced with the utmost care and respect for the grapes and with minimum intervention. Making world-class wines for more than 20 years, Trinity Hill truly is one of New Zealand's iconic wineries.

Tasting Notes:

TRINITY HILL SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Sustainable, Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#247221) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. The fruit for this Sauvignon Blanc was sourced from Mangaorapa Station’s cool climate and argillite soils, in southern Hawke's Bay. Most of the wine was cool fermentated and spent 3 months in contact with lees, while a smaller portion was fermented and aged in small 228 L barriques. Elegant, restrained aromas of lime, citrus and stone fruits with touches of guava, passion fruit, and leesy characters. The medium bodied palate has a nice texture with more citrusy lime and stone fruit flavours joined by subtle leesy and oak notes that balance the crisp, fresh, and lively acidity. Interesting notes of oyster shell minerality linger on the long, juicy finish. Would be a fine pairing with oysters. Score: 89 pts

Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)Trinity Hill The Gimblett 2016 (91 pts)

TRINITY HILL THE GIMBLETT 2016 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#280263) (XD) - $39.95
Screw cap. This blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, and 2% Malbec has lovely, perfumed aromas of ripe red and black fruits, currant, cassis and spices with subtle notes of sweet tobacco, floral, herb and leather. Some olive aromas develop with time in the glass. It's medium-full+ bodied on the palate with firm, structured, and grippy tannins along with juicy acidity that supports the blackberry, cassis, currant, earthy, and cedary oak flavours. Savoury, earthy and woody on the finish, with excellent length. Enjoy to the late 2020s. Score: 91 pts

Other fine wines from Trinity Hill can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Date publishedThursday, October 29, 2020

Greywacke Riesling 2018 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

I had the opportunity to taste this fantastic Riesling back in March, in New Zealand with winemaker Kevin Judd (a full report on this is coming soon), and am delighted to see it come to . For wine review, we take a look at how this Riesling has evolved, 8 months after my first tasting.

I have tasted many wines from Greywacke over the years and they have all been excellent. Greywacke is the Marlborough label of iconic winemaker Kevin Judd. After many successful years at Cloudy Bay, he fulfilled a long held dream with his wife Kimberley to have his own vineyard and winery. The name 'Greywacke' comes from the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones found in the soils of the vineyard in Rapaura. Kevin focuses on quality winemaking and sources fruit mostly from mature vineyards within the central Wairau Plains and the Southern Valleys, such as this single vineyard Riesling from 27-year-old vines. These prime viticultural sites are cultivated using yield restricting vineyard management, and a number of these are owned by the Sutherland family (Dog Point).

Kevin makes his wines at Dog Point Winery in the lower Brancott Valley, a facility extended to him by Ivan Sutherland and James Healy - long-standing friends and industry colleagues who go back to their days together at Cloudy Bay. The Greywacke portfolio is primarily based on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but there are also limited release wines such as this Riesling. Kevin is also an accomplished photographer and uses his own photos on Greywacke wine labels.

Greywacke Riesling 2018 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

GREYWACKE RIESLING 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#14556) (M) - $29.95
This single vineyard Riesling is from 27-year-old vines. Half of this wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, while the other half underwent spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in old French oak barriques. Both halves of this wine also spent about 4 months in barrels on yeast lees. Screw cap. Lovely, highly aromatic nose is slightly reductive and features earthy mineral, leesy, and petrol notes followed by lime zest, citrus, and floral aromas. It has lively, vibrant acidity on the medium+ bodied palate with fine concentration. Nicely textured with citrus, floral, and apple flavours. There's some sweetness, but it is relatively hidden due to the high acidity. Apple, floral, and stony mineral notes linger on the long, lip-smacking finish. Lovely! Score: 91 pts

Other delightful wines from the Greywacke portfolio are available in LCBO VINTAGES, as well as through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Date publishedTuesday, October 27, 2020

13th Street June's Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious, locally-made, unoaked Chardonnay from Niagara that arrives in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines, Ontario, within the Niagara Peninsula. 13th Street Winery was founded in 1988 and purchased by the current owners, John & June Mann and Doug & Karen Whitty, in 2008. Doug is the third generation to operate the family farm and both families have deep roots in the Niagara community. Together, along with French-trained winemaker Jean Pierre Colas, they strive to create exceptional wines that reflect the unique terroir of Niagara.

This particular Chardonnay uses fruit from June's Vineyard. This estate vineyard is named after one of the owners, June Mann, and is located just south of the winery on 5th Avenue, on the west side of Seventh Street Louth. Situated at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, this gorgeous site was established in 1999 and has a distinctive terroir of hard pale clay loam with decomposed yellow limestone soils that produce unique and expressive wines. The Chardonnay planted on this site is Burgundy Clone 96 and was carefully manual-harvested and full bunch pressed. It was fermented and aged in 100% stainless steel tanks, and also underwent full malolactic fermentation. The wine also spent 6 months on its fine lees prior to bottling in spring 2020. Let's see how this unoaked Chardonnay is tasting tonight...

13th Street June's Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

13TH STREET JUNE'S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2019 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#236745) (XD) - $21.95
Screw cap. This unoaked Chardonnay has a medium+ intensity nose of ripe apple, stone fruit, citrus, and white peach aromas surrounded by leesy characters. It's medium+ bodied on the creamy, nicely textured palate that is ripe with golden apple, honeysuckle, citrus and leesy flavours with a touch of earthy minerality. Acids are well-balanced, while the finish is long and crisp with apple, earthy mineral, and some pleasing mealy notes adding complexity. Enjoy well-chilled. Score: 89 pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, October 12, 2020

El Enemigo Chardonnay 2017 and Bonarda 2016 (Argentina) - Wine Reviews

El Enemigo Chardonnay 2017 (90 pts) and El Enemigo Bonarda 2016 (90 pts)
To cap off a relaxing Thanksgiving Day long weekend, wine reviews are a pair of lovely Wines of Argentina by El Enemigo. Both of these delicious wines arrived in LCBO VINTAGES in July, and while there are still a few bottles available for purchase across Ontario, you may also be able to find these wines aplenty via their Agent - Noble Estates Wine & Spirits.

Winemaker Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena (daughter of Nicolás Catena) created Bodega Aleanna (El Enemigo Wines) in 2008 and it appears as though the name "Aleanna" is a combination of their first names. The name El Enemigo translates to enemy. The wines of El Enemigo are a tribute to internal battles, an enemy, if you will, that make us who we are, and are brought to fruition by Alejandro and Adrianna by trying to capture the era when European immigrants first settled in Argentina and sought to make fine wines as good (or better) than those of their old homeland.

El Enemigo Wines are produced in the southern foothills of Maipu, Mendoza. The have a number of vineyards across Mendoza, a region known for its high-altitude vineyards in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Alejandro is a soil expert, holding a Master's Degree in both winemaking and irrigation management, and has been the Winemaking Director at Bodega Catena Zapata since 2007. His strong scientific background led to important developments in both vineyard management and winemaking.

Chardonnay is the 2nd most widely planted white varietal in Argentina, however, it makes up just less than 3% of the total cultivated area in the country. This Chardonnay is from Mendoza, where more than 80% of all Chardonnay plantings are located. Moreover, Chardonnay is the most widely planted white wine varietal in Mendoza. And within the Tupungato GI, which is located in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Chardonnay is considered to be one of the main grape varietals of the regions. Chardonnay is highly appreciated in Mendoza due to its ability to ripen well in the region and produce a wide range of elegant wines, such as this example from the high-altitude area of Gualtallary.

Until fairly recently, Bonarda was the most widely planted grape in Argentina. It was brought to Argentina by immigrants in the late 19th century. Today, it is the second-most cultivated varietal in Argentina, behind only Malbec. Bonarda is a thick-skinned, very late-ripening grape that is usually one of the last grapes to be harvested. It has much success in warmer climates, thus 60% of all Bonarda in Argentina is grown in the East of Mendoza, such as Rivadavia, where the climate is warmer at about 700 metres above sea level.

The last grape worth a mention in this post is Cabernet Franc, as it makes up 15% of the 2016 El Enemigo Bonarda. Cabernet Franc is not commonly grown in Argentina, making up just 1% of all red varietals cultivated in the country, placing it about 8th on the list. It is relatively new to Argentina as it was first planted in the 1990's and has adapted well to the high-altitude vineyards of Mendoza. Today, nearly 80% of all Cabernet Franc in the country is grown in Mendoza. Since there isn't much Cabernet Grown, it is mostly used in blends to give strength, although the grape does excel in quality on its own.

A naturally restless person, Alejandro strives to channel his creative energy into pushing
the limits of conventional viticultural and winemaking wisdom. As Alejandro says, "Winemaking is a way of life that revolves around contact with nature and a true love for the work. To produce wines from a place you need to breathe the same air as the vine, suffer the cold and the heat, and feel a sense of belonging to that place". Let's discover the wines of El Enemigo...

Tasting Notes:

EL ENEMIGO CHARDONNAY 2017 - Gualtallary, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#482984) (XD) - $23.95
100% Chardonnay grown between 1,400 to 1,500 metres above sea level on calcareous, rocky soils. It was barrel-fermented using wild yeasts and spent 9 months in French oak with veil. The elegant, medium+ intensity nose offers ripe lemon citrus and apple with touches of banana, tropical fruit, and vanilla. It is almost full bodied on the creamy palate with lovely ripe lemon citrus, and apple, and banana replays joined by leesy and nutty tones. Notes of pink bubblegum add further interest on the slightly hot mid-palate that is juicy with mouth-watering acidity. Apple and lemon with a leesy-nutty aftertaste on the long finish. LCBO VINTAGES Wine of the Month. Score: 90 pts

El Enemigo Chardonnay 2017 (90 pts)El Enemigo Bonarda 2016 (90 pts)

EL ENEMIGO BONARDA 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#15120) (XD) - $24.95
An interesting blend of 85% Bonarda from El Mirador (Rivadavia) grown at 650 metres on sandy soils, and 15% Cabernet Franc from Gualtallary (Uco Valley) at high-altitude of 1,470 metres above sea level on calcareous, rocky soils. It was fermented using wild yeast and then aged for 15 months in 100 year old foudre. This has a fresh, medium-high intensity nose of dark berry, blackberry, plum, spices, and minty herb with savoury/meaty undertones and a fine streak of stony minerality. It is full-bodied on the ripe palate with dark berry, chocolatey oak, and spice flavours supported by fine, integrated tannins and balanced acidity. Some chalkiness on the mid-palate, while the long, satisfying finish has plummy, dark berry, and mineral notes. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES . Score: 90 pts

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  • Date publishedSunday, October 4, 2020

Kahurangi Mount Arthur Reserve Riesling 2017 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely medium dry (i.e. somewhat sweet), vegan-friendly Riesling from New Zealand. This white wine is new to the LCBO and arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - with plenty of bottles available in store, or online ordering for pick-up in store or home delivery.

The story of Kahurangi begins in 1973 when they planted their first Riesling vines - which are now some of the oldest on the South Island - while the Kahurangi brand was born in 1998, bringing together four families with a shared desire to craft wines that people will love. Kahurangi Estate is a small, boutique winery near Nelson, South Island, specialising in hand-made wines dedicated to quality.

Kahurangi is a Māori word with multiple meanings such as "treasured possession" and "precious jewel", while the logo is a stylised Nikau palm which is commonly found in the valleys and west coast beaches of the Kahurangi National Park.

Mt. Arthur is one of the highest mountains in Kahurangi National Park at 1,795 metres above sea level and stands as a magnificent backdrop to Kahurangi Estate vineyard. Kahurangi selected Mt. Arthur for their range of premium Reserve wines which stand out for their superior quality and structure.

The grapes for this delicious Riesling come from their estate vineyard in Upper Moutere, on soils that are made up of Moutere clay that add richness and texture to the grapes. Although 2017 was a challenging growing season, it was a longer than average flowering period with cooler summer temperatures. Harvest was also later than usual, but with careful vineyard management the fruit looked great! Let's see how this Riesling is tasting tonight...

Kahurangi Mount Arthur Reserve Riesling 2017 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

KAHURANGI MOUNT ARTHUR RESERVE RIESLING 2017 - Nelson, South Island, New Zealand (#14559) (M) - $23.95
Screw cap. Vegan-friendly. Lovely, elegant floral, lemon/lime, and peach aromas with a touch of petrol rising out of the glass. The textured, medium+ bodied palate is both slightly tart and honeyed with lemon pith and floral flavours in a slightly sweet profile that is balanced by lively acidity. It's chalky textured with floral and touches of earthy mineral on the long, dry, slightly taut finish. Enjoyable now, but should provide even more pleasure in a couple of years. Score: 89 pts

The Kahurangi Estate Sauvignon Blanc arrived in LCBO VINTAGES this weekend, while other wines from their portfolio can be ordered via their Agent - Rare Earth Wines.

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  • Date publishedSaturday, September 26, 2020

Lafazanis Geometria Moschofilero 2018 (Greece) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely white wine from Greece that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on . It is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, as well as available online for delivery to store or home delivery.

It is produced by Lafazanis Winery, a producer whose roots go back to 1946, when Vassilis Lafazanis started making wine in Piraeus, a port city in Attica, Greece. In 1960, the Lafazanis family built its first family-owned winery in Magoula (Attica), some distance northwest of Piraeus. In 1985, the second generation of the family acquired an education in oenology and had a vision which helped pave the way to create a high-quality, state-of-the-art winemaking facility. In 1993, Spyros Lafazanis decided to move the winery to Nemea, a region he grew to love as a young oenologist, to cultivate the native grapes of Greece and produce superb quality wines.

Today, 80% of the approximately 4 million litres of Lafazanis' wine production is consumed locally. They have more than 10 hectares of their own vines, but also work in co-operation with 300 winegrowers. The vision is to produce high quality wines enthusiastically and environmentally responsibly, evolving to set the bar higher and higher over the time.

If you know me, you already know that I love this grape. Moschofilero (pronounced mow-sko-FEEL-err-oh) is a grape variety native to Greece that has existed in various iterations since ancient times. It's popularity grew in the 1970's and 1980's when producers studied the varietal more closely and crafted elegant, terroir-driven Moschofilero wines. The grape has a rather high degree of difficulty to grow because of its location and cultivation conditions, but the results are lovely when everything lines up. Moschofilero is typically grown in the misty, mountainous vineyards of the Peloponnese region of Mantinia, in central Greece. It is a pink-skinned grape and produces lively and floral white wines such as this expression from Lafazanis.

Lafazanis Geometria Moschofilero 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAFAZANIS GEOMETRIA MOSCHOFILERO 2018 - PGI Peloponnese, Greece (#15753) (XD) - $17.95
The inviting nose is fresh and aromatic with floral and peach aromas plus touches of tropical fruit, candied ginger, spice, and citrus. It is medium+ bodied on the slightly oily palate with very good fruit concentration alongside crisp, lively acidity. It's dry with flavours of yellow stone fruit, spice, and lily florals. Nicely textured on the mid-palate with floral, spice, peach, and saline mineral notes lingering on the long, slightly drying finish. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other wines from the Lafazanis portfolio can be ordered via their Agent - Eurovintage Wines & Spirits.

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  • Date publishedWednesday, September 9, 2020

Santa Ana La Mascota Chardonnay 2018 (Argentina) - Wine Review

For wine review, we continue the recent looks (here and here) at the Wines of Argentina. This delicious white wine is a Chardonnay from Argentina that will be coming to the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Mascota Vineyards, a dream that was realized by a legend in Argentine winemaking - Rodolfo "Opi" Sadler. As a young boy, he observed his grandfather and father engage in winemaking activities and wished to proudly create his own wines some day. He studied Oenology at the prestigious Don Bosco University in Mendoza and gained his experience working harvests in California, Chile, and France.

In the early 1980's, he joined Argentine winery Santa Ana in Cuyo and worked there for more than 25 years, eventually becoming the Chief Winemaker. He has been crafting wines for nearly 30 years now and firmly believes that when you put passion and enthusiasm into what you do, your dream will know no boundaries and earn you international recognition. In 2013, Opi took on a new challenge to become the Chief Winemaker at Mascota Vineyards and only a year later earned "Best Argentine Wine Producer of the Year" by International Wine and Spirits.

Finca La Mascota is located in the district of Cruz de Piedra, in the heart of Maipú within Mendoza's Primera Zone. This district is known as a premium winemaking area in Mendoza and gave rise to the prestigious brands that have been historically known as the best proponents of Argentina's wine industry. The vineyards of La Mascota are situated at the foot of the Andes Mountains, about 1,000 metres away from the Mendoza River. The vines in this area receive fresh breezes that descend from the mountain and cross the river, resulting in a wide range of temperatures. The vineyards are located 850 metres above sea level on sandy-clay loam soils that sit on a layer of rock. Like much of Argentina, La Mascota is planted with almost exclusively red wine varietals. However, Chardonnay is their most widely planted white varietal - from which they are able to produce three wines, including this fine Chardonnay.

Santa Ana La Mascota Chardonnay 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SANTA ANA LA MASCOTA CHARDONNAY 2018 - Cruz de Piedra, Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina (#126870) (XD) - $16.95
This estate grown Chardonnay is planted on deep and stony soils. It was hand-harvested with 30% of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation sur lies, and the entire wine aged in French and American oak barrels for 9 months. The medium+ intensity nose offers ripe apple and peach aromas nuanced with touches of nutty, mealy, buttery, oak spice, earthy mineral, and tropical fruit that adds a lot of interest and complexity. The medium+ bodied, textured palate has honeysuckle, ripe apple, and mealy flavours with gentle oak spice notes. It's well-balanced with fresh, vibrant acids. Mealy, nutty, saline mineral, and earthy notes linger on finish, with very good length. Just lovely! Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines from the Mascota portfolio can be found at the LCBO, as well as via their Agent - Univins and Spirits.

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  • Date publishedTuesday, September 1, 2020

Leyda Garuma Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (Chile) - Wine Review

white wine review is this lovely single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from Chile that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on - with plenty still available across the province.

Viña Leyda is part of the VSPT Wine Group, a group of six Chilean and two Argentinean wineries. However, Viña Leyda does stand out on its own as a pioneer, planting vineyards in the Leyda Valley in 1998 well before it became a Designation of Origin in Chile. Leyda (the winery) is located on the western side of the Chilean Coastal Range of mountains, only 4 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. The coastal climate provided ideal conditions for winegrowing, however, they needed to innovate by building an aqueduct to bring water from the Maipo River to the valley. In 2001, they were able to prove that wines of the Leyda Valley were distinct and helped create the D.O. Leyda Valley appellation. Today, Viña Leyda is Chile's most awarded coastal winery.

Leyda is internationally renowned for producing some of Chile's finest cool-climate Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, including this delicious Garuma Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. This white wine is named after the Garuma, a small seagull that can be found along the Chilean coastline and sandy beaches all year-round. The grapes for this Sauvignon Blanc come from the producer's El Maitén vineyard in the coastal valley of Leyda, just 12 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean, and grown on a west-facing slope with plenty of cooling breezes from the ocean that allow the grapes to slowly and steadily ripen, while also adding a unique saline character to the wines. The soils here are granitic with calcareous encrustations. It is produced with 100% Davis 1 clone Sauvignon Blanc, a variant known for producing creamy and structured wines. All of the grapes were hand-harvested early in the morning and spent 4 months on the lees during vinification.

Leyda Garuma Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LEYDA GARUMA SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - DO Leyda Valley, Chile (#99309) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Lovely, elegant, and highly aromatic nose of ripe passion fruit, guava, and lime citrus surrounded by earthy minerality and saline notes. The creamy, medium+ bodied is palate is nicely textured with lemon-lime citrus, passion fruit, saline mineral, and green pepper flavours. Lively acids are finely balanced by the concentrated fruit. Hints of jalapeño join the lemon-lime citrus, passion fruit, and saline notes on the juicy, well-balanced finish, with very good length. Enjoy this distinctive, cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc well-chilled over the next 3-4 years. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other fine wines from the award-winning Leyda portfolio are available at the LCBO, but can also be ordered via Dandurand.

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  • Date publishedTuesday, August 25, 2020

Wakefield Estate Wines (Australia) and Optimum Drinking Temperature

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Wines
wine reviews are a trio of wines from Australia's Wakefield Wines where we take brief look at wine serving temperatures.

But first, the story of Wakefield Wines begins in 1950, when the Taylor family's long-standing association with Clare Valley results in a partnership with a local co-operative to bottle and distribute their own wines. In 1969, Bill Taylor finds a perfect plot of land by the Wakefield River in South Australia's Clare Valley to establish their family estate and plants its first Cabernet Sauvignon vines. At the same time, Bill was excavating the land to find a water source and discovered tiny seahorses in the limestone bedrock that date back more than 600 million years. These seahorses are featured prominently in the company's logo.

In 1973, the Taylor family completed construction of the winery and also released their first wines - the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Shiraz which are the heart of the business. As the company grew and expanded, they began exporting wines to the UK in 1985 under the name "Wakefield" due to international trademarks held by the Taylors family of Portugal. In 2004, Wakefield became the first major Australian wine company to bottle all of their wines under screw cap. The latest innovation came a few years ago, when they launched the Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor on the back label.

A world first, the back label of the Wakefield Estate and Promised Land range of wines feature their exclusive, touch-activated, Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor. The temperature of a wine plays an important role in the experience and enjoyment of wine. However, most people serve their wine without really thinking about the temperature of it and serve red wines at room temperature - which is too warm - and white wines too cold. The myth surrounding enjoying red wine at room temperature originated from the chilly drawing rooms of medieval French castles. In my younger days, I was also guilty of this behaviour as I would bring a nicely cooled red wine up from the basement and let it warm up to room temp before opening. I learned, and these days I chill all of my wines - how much time in the fridge depends on the varietal/style - and gradually let them warm up to see how the wine changes. I would strongly encourage you to try this at home as well.

Wakefield's solution to the temperature problem is to provide temperature sensors on the back label that indicate when the wine is ready to enjoy. Each wine has its own calibrated sensor that is touch-activated and changes colour depending on the temperature of the wine. By referencing the temperature guide (also printed on the back label) with the colour of the sensor, you can easily tell if the wine is too warm, too cold, or at the right serving temperature. Pictures of the back label are provided below, as well as wine reviews of three Wakefield Estate wines. Based on my personal experimentation, the temperature sensor is a useful guide that will help you determine when to drink the wine. However, since I tend to slowly sip my wines, I would serve them a little cooler than recommended and gradually let the wine warm up in the glass for best enjoyment.

All three of these wines are readily available in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Other wines from the Wakefield portfolio can be found at the LCBO or ordered via their Agent - Profile Wine Group.

Tasting Notes:

WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2018 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Ripe, medium+ intensity nose has buttery, pear, golden apple, and some leesy aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the creamy palate with ripe banana and pineapple flavours balanced by apple, lemon, and sweet vanillin oak, and touches of butterscotch. Acids are fresh while the lemony, spicy finish has very good length. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES . Score: 88 pts

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2018 (88 pts)Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2018 (back label)

WAKEFIELD ESTATE SHIRAZ 2018 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#943787) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. The medium-high intensity nose is fresh with herbal, leafy, mint and spice layered over black cherry, plum, and gentle oak aromas. The medium-full bodied palate offers well-integrated oak spice, black cherry, plum, and peppery spice flavours supported by smooth, fine-grained, and sweet tannins. It has fresh, juicy acidity. Pleasantly dry (but undeniably Shiraz) and well-balanced overall with a touch of chocolate on the long finish. VINTAGES Essentials product and always available year-round. The 2018 is a highly recommended buy! Score: 89 pts

Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2018 (89 pts)Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2018 (back label)

WAKEFIELD ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Fresh, medium-high intensity aromatics lead with herbal, green pepper, and black cherry liqueur followed by cassis, wood spice, and touches of olive. It is full-bodied on the palate with herbal, dark cherry, cassis, and woodsy replays on the flavour profile. Acids are well-balanced, while tannins are slightly chalky and grainy, softening somewhat since tasting in Sept. 2019. Earthy and wood spice notes linger on the finish, with good length. Available in LCBO VINTAGES now and also featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 88 pts

Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (88 pts)Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (back label)

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  • Date publishedSaturday, August 15, 2020

Argentina: A Mini-Tasting Trip - August 22, 2020 VINTAGES Release Wine Reviews

Wines of Argentina
After exploring and enjoying some fabulous Wines of Argentina a couple of weeks ago, tonight's wine reviews are another look at three Argentine wines coming to LCBO VINTAGES on August 22 and one that is in stores now.

Grapes are grown in Argentina stretching 3,800 km from north to south. with vineyards making quality wines covering nearly 500,000 acres. The diversity of terroirs where the vines are grown imprint distinctive characters and profiles of each variety.

Torrontés is the most cultivated white wine varietal in Argentina with 5% of the total cultivated area within the country devoted to the grape. Torrontés is only found in Argentina and there are three variants - Mendocino, Sanjuanino, and Riojano. Of the three variants, Riojano is the most cultivated and expresses the best qualities for the production of fine wines, especially those found in Cafayate Valley, Salta. Torrontés is Argentina's signature white wine and winemaker Susana Balbo is known as the "Queen of Torrontés" for her role in transforming Torrontés from an unknown blending grape into Argentina’s star white varietal.

Pink-skinned varieties - primarily the indigenous Cereza and Criolla Grande - currently make up 24% of all vines cultivated in Argentina. However, in the not-too-long-ago past, these varietals were actually the most widely planted in the country until they were supplanted by Malbec in more recent years. While I don't think I have ever seen (or tasted) wines made with these indigenous grapes, Pinot Gris also falls into the pink-skinned category and is included as part of the blend that makes up the Luigi Bosca Rosé.

Malbec is far and away the most widely planted varietal in Argentina, claiming top spot only in 2011, with 22% of the country's vine acreage devoted to the grape. It is Argentina's flagship red wine grape and many of the country's top wines are made using this varietal. An astounding 85% of the Malbec planted in Argentina is within Mendoza, while in second place is San Juan (neighbouring north of Mendoza) with 6%. In third place is Salta, in the north of Argentina, with just over 3%. These three region combine to produce 94% of the country's Malbec.

The Malbec reviewed below is one of my favourite wallet-friendly Malbec wines - and there are many - as Argentina is widely known for offering great value for the quality of its wines. This particular Malbec is from Tunuyán in the Uco Valley, nestled beside the cordillera of the Andes in higher altitude, cooler, and southern area of Mendoza that is characterized by the crossing of the Las Tunas and Tunuyán rivers. The vineyards in Uco Valley range in altitude from 900 to 2,200 metres above sea level (masl), which are the highest in Mendoza and among the highest in the world. Tunuyán was first settled in the 17th century, but only began planting vines in 1995. As the vines matured, it was realized beginning in 2010 that the high altitude vines in Tunuyán create a different wine style. This led to further research to understand the terroir of the area, and eventually the discovery of exciting micro-regions within Tunuyán.

The last wine in this post comes from the Paraje Altamira GI (Geographical Indication), an area located to the south of Uco Valley in San Carlos, right next to La Consulta. The area, which was originally called Altamira, was known for producing excellent grapes for many years - it was first planted in 1900. It produces wines of unique colour and tannic concentration, flavour and freshness. Paraje Altamira GI is placed at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,200 masl and officially became a GI in 2013 and now consists of an area nearly 10,000 ha, of which nearly 3,000 ha are planted to vine. One of the most important aspects of Paraje Altamira GI is that it was the first appellation in Argentina delineated by the concept of terroir - instead of by political boundaries - paving the way for future terroir-based GIs. The end result are unique, high-quality, and delicious wines with a sense of place.

Tasting Notes:

SUSANA BALBO CRIOS TORRONTÉS 2019 - Argentina (#1834) (XD) - $14.95 $12.95 until Sept. 13.
Torrontés grapes from Cafayate (Salta) and Uco Valley (Mendoza) grown at an average of 1,700 masl. All of the fruit was hand-harvested and spent 3 months on lees. Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with floral, green grassy-herbal, lemon citrus, and grapefruit notes. The medium-bodied, slightly creamy palate has crunchy, tart citrus fruit flavours plus some herbs and floral. Acids are well-balanced and juicy. Somewhat chalky mineral textured and saline on the mid-palate, followed by mineral and lime citrus notes on the finish, with very good length. VINTAGES Essentials listing and available year-round. Agent: Profile Wine Group. Score: 88 pts

Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2019 (88 pts)Luigi Bosca A Rosé Is A Rosé Is A Rosé 2019 (88 pts)

LUIGI BOSCA A ROSÉ IS A ROSÉ IS A ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#553032) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from grapes grown in Luján de Cuyo and Maipú at an altitude of 780 metres. An interesting caramel and honey nose surrounds notes of citrus and grapefruit. It's quite full and structured in the mouth with honeyed, floral, grapefruit, and tangy citrus flavours in a dry profile. Juicy acids follow through to the honey and floral finish. A big, dry rosé with very good length. Agent: FWM Canada. Score: 88 pts

SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2018 - Tunuyán, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
100% estate grown Malbec from shallow, alluvial, and pebbly soils, with 70% coming from the El Oasis estate (1,050+ masl) and 30% from the La Pampa estate (1,250+ masl). The clean, medium-high intensity nose offers smoky minerality, dark berry, spice, and plum with whiffs of dried herb. It's mid-weighted on the fresh, juicy palate with very good acidity and flavours of dark berry, blackberry, smoky mineral, and spice with touches of violet. Tannins are smooth and refined. Dark berry and mineral with touches of chocolate linger on the long, juicy finish. Agent: Azureau Wines & Spirits. Score: 89 pts

Salentein Reserve Malbec 2018 (89 pts)Zaha El Corte 2016 (91+ pts)

ZAHA EL CORTE 2016 - Toko Vineyard, Paraje Altamira, Mendoza, Argentina (#629972) (XD) - $24.95
Zaha means "Heart" in the native Huarpe language of Mendoza. The Toko (stone) vineyard has diverse soils - sandy soils, rocky limestone rich soils with abundant white surface stones, and shallow silty soils mixed with gravel. Co-fermented blend of 78% Malbec and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh, spicy, scorched earth, and stony mineral notes jump out of the glass followed by some dark spices, herbs, and dark berry. The refined, medium-full bodied palate has smooth, structured, nicely textured and slightly chalky tannins. It's very minerally on the flavour profile with spice, dried herb, plum, and dark berry tones. Acids are fresh and mouth-watering. It's well-balanced throughout with mineral notes lingering on the long, juicy, and spicy finish. Very distinctive and highly recommended buy. Agent: Noble Estates Wine & Spirits. Score: 91+ pts

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  • Date publishedFriday, August 7, 2020

Henri de Villamont Chablis 2018 (Burgundy) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Chablis that arrives at LCBO as part of the August 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release - and is available for purchase in many stores already.

The story of Domaine Henri de Villamont begins in the late 19th century when Léonce Bocquet built a winery for vinification and aging his wines in Savigny les Beaune, Burgundy. The structures that were built in 1880 took 8 years to build, and the underground cellars are still in use today! The winery has had many different owners over the years and became Henri de Villamont in 1964 after it was purchased by Schenk, a Swiss familial group.

Over the next 40 years, the Schenk family grew Henri de Villamont to produce 20 million bottles of wine per year. However, in 2004 they decided to scale back and produce fewer bottles, but of higher quality wine by completely renovating the winery and using the best oenological tools that offered high performance and efficiency. In order to achieve these new goals, Pierre Jhean became the new Director and Winemaker in 2005 and still leads the team today. Pierre is an oenologist from nearby Meursault, where his family still runs an estate, and aims to produce a complete range of outstanding Burgundian wines that respect the old traditions of winemaking in Burgundy, express terroir, and offer modernity.

Henri de Villamont, whose Agent is Eurovintage Wines & Spirits, has a relatively large presence at the LCBO, with many of the 13 wines available at the higher end of the price spectrum. I have tasted quite a few wines from Henri de Villamont over the years, including some really fine high-end wines, but I believe this is my first time tasting their Chablis. Let's see how this Chardonnay is tasting tonight...

Henri de Villamont Chablis 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHABLIS 2018 - AC, Burgundy, France (#13131) (XD) - $27.95
The medium-high intensity nose of this Chardonnay is enticing with leesy and lemony aromas accented by nutty and mineral notes. The medium-full bodied palate is ripe and creamy with lemon, apple, spice, and leesy flavours with touches of nut. Acids are juicy while oyster shell and stony mineral notes linger on the long, slightly hot finish. Chill well and enjoy! Score: 90 pts

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  • Date publishedWednesday, August 5, 2020

Wines of Argentina - Aug. 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Wine Reviews

Wines of Argentina
Over the Civic Holiday long weekend, I had a great opportunity - thanks to Wines of Argentina! - to taste through and explore many lovely Argentine wines that will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release that features wines from Argentina.

In fact, there are more than 30 Argentine wines coming through LCBO VINTAGES this summer and fall - and I will be writing about nearly all of these over the coming weeks - but we'll begin our look at wines from Argentina with these 7 wines.

With 895 wineries, Argentina is the 5th largest wine producer globally and is 7th most in cultivated surface. Of course, Malbec is Argentina's flagship grape that we all know and love and is usually the first grape that comes to mind when we think of Argentine wine. However, only 22% (44,000 hectares) of Argentine vineyards are devoted to Malbec. Bonarda is currently Argentina's 2nd most planted grape with 18,000 hectares planted to this varietal. However, this was always not the case as Bonarda was the most planted grape in Argentina until the end of the last century. The 3rd most widely planted grape is Cabernet Sauvignon - and not far behind Bonarda in acreage - has been extensively researched in recent years. Not surprisingly, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses different profiles depending on where its grown, and in Argentina the trend has been to grown this varietal in colder, higher altitude zones. These three red grapes combine to make up the majority of Argentina's wine production, making Argentina very much a red wine producing nation.

La Mascota Vineyards in Mendoza

However, with 36,000 hectares of vines planted to white grape varietals, Argentina does produce some white wines. Argentina has many old vineyards in perfect condition, but winemakers are also innovating by reconditioning and reviving old vineyards, as well as experimenting with earlier harvests that result in wines with higher acidity and lower alcohol. Winemakers are also exploring new regions for white wines such as at very high altitude sites, in poor, high drainage, calcareous soils, and different micro-climates within the desert regions of the Andes mountains and in Oceanic, coastal vineyards. Another area of experimentation is fermentation vessels such as using amphoras, spheres, and pressurized barrel fermenters. Torrontés Riojano - found only in Argentina - is the most widely planted white varietal at nearly 8,000 hectares, making it the country's signature white wine. The other white varietal of prominence is Chardonnay with almost 6,000 hectares planted. Sauvignon Blanc has seen explosive growth over the last 14 years to become the 3rd most planted white varietal. The final grape of note is Semillón - with 650 hectares planted - and it develops well in cool, moderate climates such as those found in the Uco Valley (Mendoza) and Rio Negro Upper Valley (Patagonia). The white wine below is a delightful blend of three of these varietals.

One of the most interesting aspects of winegrowing in Argentina is the landscape. Grapes are grown from 22° to 45° southern latitude along a strip that follows the Andes mountain range, and heights reaching up to an astounding 3,300 metres above sea level - which are among the highest in the world.

The Cuyo, in central western Argentina, contains 95% of the country's total acreage planted to vines. Located in the Cuyo are the wine regions of La Rioja, San Juan, and the heart of Argentine wine production - Mendoza. The highest peaks of the Andes are found in Mendoza, thus acting as a barrier to the humid winds from the Pacific Ocean. The altitude, continental climate, heterogeneity of soils, and snowmelt are key contributors to the production of excellent wines in the region. Mendoza is divided into 5 sub-regions - Valle de Uco (Tunuyán, Tupungato, and San Carlos), Primera Zone (Luján de Cuyo and Maipú), Northern Oasis (Lavalle and Las Heras), the East (San Martín, Rivadavia, Junín, Santa Rosa and La Paz), and the South (San Rafael, Malargüe and General Alvear). Moreover, new research has led to the identification of micro-regions within these terroirs, with new Geographical Indications (GIs) being certified as contributing distinctive characteristics to their wines.

El Esteco Vineyards in Calchaquí Valley

Located north of Cuyo are the wine regions of Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, and Catamarca, collectively known as The North. It is here that some of the world's highest-altitude vineyards are located. Viticultural tradition in the region can be traced back to the 18th century and primarily located in the Calchaquí Valleys - a system of mountains that formed 5 million years ago and stretch 270 km. The town of Cafayate, in Salta, is home to 60% all of vineyards in The North. The wines from this region are strongly influenced by the terroir and high altitude, with its arid and dry climate, very high average temperatures and diurnal temperature variation, long growing season, and sandy-loam soils. The Cabernet Sauvignon reviewed below is a great example from Cafayate.

The Patagonia and Atlantic Region is south of Cuyo and forms a large area that is flanked by low mountains to the west and extends to the ocean in the east. Five regions encompass the area - Neuquén is located to the southwest of La Pampa, while Río Negro is to the south and borders both regions. Newer projects have regions further to the south in Chubut, and towards the ocean to the east in Chapadmalal (Buenos Aires). It is interesting to note that the city of Buenos Aires has a wine consumption rate per capita that is 2nd only to Paris.

Wine reviews are provided below and all of these lovely wines will be in stores by . You will also be able to order them online at where Wines of Argentina is sponsoring an amazing contest to Win the Ultimate Backyard Makeover - a $10,000 grand prize that includes a Home Depot Gift Card and four premium cuts of 100% Argentine beef valued at $600. To enter this contest, simply spend at least $100 on - easily achieved by adding a few of these lovely Argentine wines to your shopping cart. This contest closes .

Tasting Notes:

SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE WHITE BLEND 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#558734) (XD) - $21.95
This blend of 35% Semillón, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Torrontés was grown at 1,050 metres above sea level. It has a medium-high intensity, ripe nose of asparagus and grassy tones with some yellow floral, passion fruit, and lime citrus with touches of mineral adding complexity. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good concentration and zesty, limey acidity. Pleasing citrus, herbal, asparagus flavours with a fine, underlying minerality. It has a nice, chalky texture on the mid-palate while the finish is long and zesty. Agent: Profile Wine Group. Score: 90+ pts

Susana Balbo Signature White Blend 2018 (90+ pts)La Mascota Rosé 2019 (89 pts)

LA MASCOTA ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#15182) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. This 100% Malbec Rosé has a medium+ intensity nose offering bright red berry, cherry, and strawberry aromas with touches of citrus, all of which come through nicely on the ripe red berry and citrus palate with some spice and floral notes adding interest to the flavour profile. It's somewhat fleshy on the mid-palate with bracing acidity. Nicely dry overall with subtle stony mineral and saline characters on the long, fresh finish. Very impressive. Agent: Univins and Spirits. Score: 89 pts

LUIGI BOSCA TERROIR LOS MIRADORES MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#568899) (XD) - $34.95
This single vineyard Malbec from vines averaging only 10 years old was grown at 1,150 metres above sea level. It has a clean, fresh, elegant, fragrant, and ripe nose of spice, stony mineral, violet, blackberry, and touches of herb. The spicy, medium bodied palate is ripe with very nice replays and sweet, elegant tannins and flavours of dark berry, blackberry, and violet accented with spice and stony minerals. It's juicy on the mid-palate with fresh acidity. Long, stony, spicy finish with subtle oak nuances. Lovely! Agent: FWM Canada. Score: 91 pts

Luigi Bosca Terroir Los Miradores Malbec 2017 (91 pts)La Mascota Malbec 2018 (88+ pts)

LA MASCOTA MALBEC 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#555805) (XD) - $16.95
This Malbec was grown in deep, stony soils and aged for 12 months in new French and American oak barrels. The medium intensity nose has dark berry, black cherry, and white pepper spice aromas mingling with stony mineral and touches of plum, floral, and oak. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark berry, black cherry, white pepper spice, and oak influenced flavours. The smooth, rounded tannins have a slightly chalky texture, while acids are well-balanced. Very good length on the spicy, dark berry, and cocoa scented finish. A nice wine that I'd like to see with a little less oak. Agent: Univins and Spirits. Score: 88+ pts

LA CELIA RESERVA MALBEC/CABERNET FRANC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#618280) (XD) - $14.95
This co-fermented blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc has a medium intensity nose that leads with woody, herbal, and green pepper tones backed by some red and dark currant aromas and subtle spiciness. It is medium+ bodied with herbal, woody, currant, and peppery spice flavours with well-integrated, subtly grippy, crunchy tannins. Acids are fresh, while the finish length is very good. Agent: Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits. Score: 87 pts

La Celia Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2017 (87 pts)El Esteco 1947 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90+ pts)

EL ESTECO 1947 OLD VINES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#15082) (XD) - $24.95
From pergola-trained vines whose origins can be traced back to 1947, and raised entirely in cement egg with natural yeasts. Fresh, aromatic nose has herbaceous, paprika, olive, and minty notes with some cassis, red and black fruits and some minerals. It is full bodied on the complex palate with peppery, spice, paprika, olive, cassis, currant, herbal, and plum flavours with some earthiness supported by fresh acidity. Smooth, refined tannins have some grip on the back palate, while the long finish is earthy and stony with olive notes. Agent: Dandurand. Score: 90+ pts

LA POSTA ESTELA ARMANDO BONARDA 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261586) (XD) - $15.95
From 50+ year old vines located in the Guaymallén region. Ripe and fruity nose with raspberry, blueberry, and spice. It's medium+ bodied on the fruity palate with raspberry, red berry and spice flavours balanced with fresh acidity and smooth, rounded tannins. The fruit and spice notes are joined by some chocolate notes on the finish, with very good length. Agent: Noble Estates Wine & Spirits. Score: 88 pts

La Posta Estela Armando Bonarda 2018 (88 pts)

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  • Date publishedWednesday, July 29, 2020

German Wines: A Closer Look

German Wines: A Closer Look

, I had an exciting opportunity to attend a webcast titled "German Wines: A Closer Look with Anne Krebiehl, MW and John Szabo, MS". As part of attending this webcast, participants were sent a fabulous selection of eight wines (listed below) so we could taste along with Anne and John.

Map of German Wine Regions

While most would think that Germany is all about (mostly sweet) Riesling, and rightly so as it is by far the most widely planted grape in the country, this tasting offered an excellent opportunity to showcase some German wines made with other varietals, with Anne leading much of the conversation. In addition to tasting some dry Riesling, we also got to taste a pair of white wines that shine in Germany - Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) and Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder). Germany grows the most Pinot Blanc of any country, and the 3rd most Pinot Gris. Although not widely known, Germany also makes red wines - 33% of all plantings within the country are red varieties - and all tend to be of the lighter variety. We tried a pair of Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) wines - Germany's most widely planted red grape and 3rd most globally - as well as Germany's most full-ish bodied red, Lemberger (Blaufränkisch).

Kaiserstuhl, Baden
Germany is known for it's vineyards that are planted on steep slopes, and just about all of these slopes border rivers that helped shape the landscape. All thirteen wine regions in Germany are located within 4 degrees latitude and have varied climates and soils, creating wines that are diverse and in a wide array of styles. We tasted wines from six wine regions - Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Baden, Ahr, Württemberg, and Mosel. Rheinhessen is the largest winegrowing region in Germany and is known as the "land of a thousand hills" as it hugs the Rhine River. Pfalz is located south of Rheinhessen and has a slightly warmer climate, producing rich, voluptuous wines. Baden is a long, warm and sunny stretch of land spanning 400 km from north to south, running along the Rhine, in the southern most part of Germany, and produces food-friendly wines primarily with Burgunder (Pinot) grapes - Noir, Blanc, and Gris.

The Ahr Valley, with its steep vineyards are located along the Ahr River that joins the Rhine River to the east, and is located south of Bonn. Ahr is known as Germany's red wine paradise, especially for its Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). Württemberg is another region known for its red wines - it is located adjacent (to the east) of Baden and south of Franken. The area in Württemberg is rural and hilly, and the vineyards are scattered over a fairly large area.

Wines of Germany by Anne Krebiehl, MW

The last region we touched upon is the world renowned Mosel, located along the Mosel River, south of Ahr and connecting to the Rhine in the east. The valleys of the Mosel River, along with its tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, have been settled since Roman times and have very steep, slate slopes. World class Riesling from Mosel are fragrant and minerally with finesse, vibrant acidity, and impeccable balance, ranging in styles from dry to the lusciously sweet Trockenbeerenauslese, or TBA.

It was also interesting to learn that light ripens grapes, not heat. This happens gradually and naturally in Germany because the vineyards are located at higher altitudes, along with autumns that are long and sunny. Additionally, because Germany is a bit northern in latitude, the sunlight is a little less intense, resulting in heat that hits the grapes at slightly lower temperatures. Combining long sunlight hours with lower temperatures helps create wines with moderate alcohol levels and body, crisp acidity, and lots of aromas - all qualities very apparent in German Rieslings as well as other wines.

All eight of the wines we tasted are available for purchase in one way or another - either via LCBO or Agent. After the webcast, attendees were also sent a copy of Anne Krebiehl's book that was published last year - The Wines of Germany. Overall, it was a very informative webcast and I was very pleased to have to the opportunity to attend. Thank you, Wines of Germany Canada!

Tasting Notes:

WITTMANN WEISSER BURGUNDER TROCKEN 2017 - Qualitätswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#11654) (XD) - $24.95
This organic Pinot Blanc was grown on limestone soils around Westhofen, handpicked. and vinified in a minimal interventionist style. It has a lovely, well-balanced, and complex nose offering stone fruit, lemon citrus, and fennel aromas flecked with limestone mineral and orange notes. Nicely concentrated on the essentially dry, medium+ bodied, balanced, and crunchy fruited palate with fresh, succulent acids, and flavourful citrus, yellow fruit, white floral, and fine mineral notes. Touches of waxy notes linger on the long, minerally finish. Released in LCBO VINTAGES April 4, 2020. Agent: Brand New Day Wines & Spirits. Score: 90+ pts

Wittmann Weisser Burgunder Trocken 2017 (90+ pts)A. Christmann Riesling Trocken 2017 (90 pts)

A. CHRISTMANN RIESLING TROCKEN 2017 - Pfalz, Germany (XD) - $25.01
From predominantly Buntsandstein soils. Spontaneous ferment in large, used barrels and stainless steel tanks. Screw cap. Fresh and fruity nose delivers notions of apricot, ginger, melon and white pear with hints of petrol and stony-earthy minerality. The medium-full bodied palate is impressively concentrated and slightly crunchy with fresh, balanced acidity and a dry, honeyed flavour profile surrounding notes of lemon, white floral, apricot, and stony minerals. Very good length on the dry, crisp, minerally, and pithy finish. Certified biodynamic. Agent: CGU Fine Wines. Score: 90 pts

WEINGUT DREISSIGACKER GRAUBURGUNDER ORGANIC 2018 - Rheinhessen, Germany (#726066) (D) - $30
Screw cap. From loam soils, this Pinot Gris was partially barrel-fermented and has an elegant, perfumed, peach and stone fruit aromatics with a stony mineral underpinning. It's medium+ bodied on the slightly off-dry palate supported by fresh, vibrant acidity. More peach and mineral notes on the flavour profile. Stony notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Agent: DBINO. Score: 90 pts

Weingut Dreissigacker Grauburgunder Organic 2018 (90 pts)Salwey GBR RS Spätburgunder VDP Ortswein 2016 (91 pts)

SALWEY GBR RS SPÄTBURGUNDER VDP ORTSWEIN 2016 - Kaiserstuhl, Baden, Germany (#710193) (XD) - $44.75
The 2016 vintage was outstanding for reds, and this Pinot Noir was grown on volcanic ash, weathered basalt, and loess soils. Pretty pale ruby colour. The medium-high intensity nose offers earthy, raspberry, cherry, and beetroot aromas that mingle with spice and mineral underpinning. The palate is light-to-mid weighted with fine raspberry, cherry, spice, and mineral flavours supported by light, fine-grained, and textured tannins that have some structure, gaining volume with each passing sip. Racy acids provide freshness. Well-balanced throughout with raspberry, spice, earth, and cherry notes lingering on the long finish. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Available online at Agent: Angyal Agency. Score: 91 pts

JEAN STODDEN SPÄTBURGUNDER JS 2017 - Qualitätswein, Ahr Valley, Germany (XD) - $60.76
Elegant, fragrant, and appealing nose of red cherry, earth, spices, and floral. It is medium+ bodied on the structured palate with lovely sweet spice, cherry, and earthy flavours supported by juicy, balanced acidity. Some dark berry and beet root notes add complexity on the mid-palate. Glossy, ripe tannins are full, refined, and smooth, with some tannic grip coming through with each passing sip. Complex earthy, cherry, beet root, spice, and mineral notes linger on the long finish. Enjoy to 2027. Agent: CGU Fine Wines. Score: 91+ pts

Jean Stodden Spätburgunder JS 2017 (91+ pts)Graf Neipperg Lemberger Schwaigener Ruthe GG 2016 (91 pts)

GRAF NEIPPERG LEMBERGER SCHWAIGENER RUTHE GG 2016 - Württemberg, Germany (XD) - $67.60
This Lemberger has complex spices with a mix of red and black fruit aromas, accented by earthy, stony minerality. It is light-to-medium weighted on the palate with fine-grained, lightly structured tannins and lovely black cherry, red berry, currant, and spice flavours Nicely balanced throughout with fresh acidity, while the long, curranty, stony finish has a minerally aftertaste. Agent: Angyal Agency. Score: 91 pts

From 50-80 year old vines on grey slate, partially terraced soils. The medium-high to highly aromatic nose offers notions of citrus, floral, ginger, apple, peach, and melon with slatey mineral and touches of mealy aromas. The rich, medium+ bodied palate is gently sweet with vibrant acidity, making this Riesling essentially dry. Complex citrus, apple, ginger, beeswax, and orange flavours with a mineral underpinning. A touch of bitterness on the long, dry, crisp finish. A complex wine that changes a lot as it warms in the glass. Certified Biodynamic. Released in LCBO VINTAGES Classics May 7, 2020. Agent: The Livng Vine. Score: 91 pts

Clemens Busch Marienburg Falkenlay GG Riesling Trocken 2016 (91 pts)Hofgut Falkenstein Niedermenniger Herrenberg Riesling Spätlese Feinherb 2018 (92 pts)

Riesling planted in the 1960's on weathered grey slate, very poor soils. Lovely, fragrant minerally, petrol nose joined by honey, lemon drop, peach, and citrus aromas. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with impressive depth and concentration. Medium sweet, lemon citrus, honeyed, apple, peach, and touches of mineral flavours are balanced with bright, zesty acidity. Citrus, peach, and honey with fine mineral notes linger on the finish, with excellent length. Will age 15+ years easy. Agent: Chalk, Slate, Gravel. Score: 92 pts

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