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  • Saturday, July 7, 2018

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Merlot 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review



award-winning red wine is made by Hinterbrook Estate Winery and is a nice follow-up to their award-winning 2016 NOMAD Sauvignon Blanc that I enjoyed a few days ago.

NOMAD Wine is the expression of Hinterbrook through award-winning, artisanal winemaking. Hinterbrook is also committed to practising ecological sustainability with a facility that is solar powered and has geothermal climate control and water conserving technology.

Once again, because NOMAD Wine is the story of the people, the label is nearly blank and offers you the opportunity to draw or paint to create your own story and share your experience.

This Bordeaux-varietal red wine from Niagara comes from a 2013 vintage that was typical for Niagara - a roller coaster with a late start to the growing season that featured hot, cold, wet and dry growing conditions. Quality for Bordeaux varietals was spotty throughout the region that year, but this particular wine is of good quality and is only available at their winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake or through their online web store.

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Merlot 2013 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

NOMAD MERLOT 2013 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
Black and blue fruit plus chocolate and oak spice aromas from the cork. This has elegant savoury, blackberry and kirsch liqueur aromas, with hints of cassis, blue fruit, forest floor, and wet earth. Whiffs of green pepper emerge with time. The medium-bodied palate has a plush mouthfeel with refined tannins that are smooth with just a touch of grip on the tail end. Crushed aroma replays plus some nice white pepper and oak spice flavours are supported by vibrant, juicy acids. Nicely balanced overall while showing some elegance. The finish length is very good. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, July 4, 2018

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Niagara) - Wine Review

 white wine is an award-winner that is available at the winery, as well as in the VINTAGES section at select LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Hinterbrook Estate Winery is located on a historic site in Niagara-on-the-Lake that was first settled in 1789 by the United Empire Loyalists Servos family. In 1963, the Nickel family purchased the property and grew orchard stone fruit and concord grapes, eventually planting Vinifera grapes in 1998. Current owners, George Lau and winemaker Violet Yeh, took over the winery in 2014. The vines for this Sauvignon Blanc were damaged during the winter of 2013, but have since recovered and started producing quality fruit in 2016.

NOMAD Wine is the expression of Hinterbrook, with the aim of expressing the land, terroir, and its people through authentic, thoughtfully crafted wines using a minimalist approach. NOMAD Wine is also the story of people, like you and I. The label is intentionally clean and sparse, with plenty of white space allowing you to create your own story by drawing or painting on the label and sharing your experience with the world. I personally won't be drawing on the label as I think it looks nice just way it is, but if you do pick up a bottle, I would love to see your creativity.

NOMAD at Hinterbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

NOMAD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Ontario, Canada (#446088) (XD) - $16.95
Cork has aromas of grapefruit, lime peel and gooseberry aromas. In the glass, this offers medium+ intensity aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit, lime peel, along with whiffs of ginger and earthy mineral. Juicy acids are vibrant on the medium-bodied palate with a nice chalky mineral texture adding complexity. Nicely balanced aroma replays continue through to the spicy mid-palate, and lingers on the long, juicy finish. Drink over the next 6 months. Score: 88 pts


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  • Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release July 7, 2018: Mediterranean + Cool Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks from July 7, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The main theme from the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features Mediterranean wines, while the mini-theme is the annual cool-climate Chardonnay feature. All of these wines - plus many others - will be on LCBO shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that explores seven Mediterranean hot spots that are as alluring as their wines. Twelve wines are listed in this theme, and only three are included among my wine picks. From Southern France, the rosé from Provence is a blend of 39% Cinsault, 37% Grenache, 11% Syrah, 6% Mourvèdre, 3% Rolle, 2% Sémillon, 1% Ugni Blanc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Languedoc red is a blend of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre. The last of the three wines is a Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) from Puglia.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (91 pts)

From the cool-climate Chardonnay theme, four of the ten wines made my list of top wine recommendations. First up is one of my favourites from Prince Edward County, while the Chardonnay from South Africa is always a classy, elegant wine. There is also a nice Chardonnay from Jura, France, while the Chardonnay from Südtirol/Alto Adige is an unoaked style.

Carpineto Brunello di Montalcino 2012 (92 pts)Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (90+ pts)

Among my top red wine picks from the rest of the release, the Taurasi is made with 100% Aglianico, while the Brunello is 100% Sangiovese Grosso. The Napa Cab consists of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec, while the spectacular Antinori wine is a blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. From Vacqueyras, the lovely Rhône red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. For fans of lighter wines, you'll want to check out either the Bardolino or the Beaujolais, which is made with Gamay Noir.

Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

White wine blends among my top white wine picks include a Rhône white, which is a blend of 50% Roussanne, 30% Grenache, 10% Marsanne, and 10% Viognier, while the blend from Lazio consists of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Trebbiano Giallo.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95  87 pts  wine review
  • MONTE DEL FRÁ BARDOLINO 2016 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#134544) (D) - $15.95
  • DOMAINE D’ALBAS ROUGE 2015 - AP Minervois, Languedoc, France (#562587) (XD) - $15.95
  • CONO SUR RESERVA ESPECIAL CARMENÈRE 2017 - DO Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#569657) (XD) - $16.95
  • BAPTISTE & LAURENT LE MEILLEUR DES 2 MONDES SAINT-AMOUR 2015 - AP, Beaujolais, France (#556449) (XD) - $19.95
  • LAVAU VACQUEYRAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#104927) (XD) - $26.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • ANTICA HIRPINIA TAURASI 2010 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#542126) (XD) - $36.95
  • TRUCHARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA (#059683) (XD) - $41.95
  • CARPINETO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#515486) (XD) - $64.95  92 pts  wine review
  • ANTINORI GUADO AL TASSO 2015 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#986380) (XD) - $117.95

White Wine:

  • MACULAN PINOT GRIGIO 2016 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#734921) (D) - $15.95
  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION BLANC 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#701094) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CASALE DEL GIGLIO SATRICO 2017 - IGT Lazio Bianco, Italy (#569806) (XD) - $17.95
  • KELLEREI BOZEN BOLZANO CHARDONNAY 2017 - DOC Südtirol/Alto Adige, Italy (#570457) (XD) - $18.95
  • MARCEL CABELIER VIEILLES VIGNES CHARDONNAY 2014 - AP Côtes du Jura, France (#485839) (XD) - $19.95
  • LOIMER GRÜNER VELTLINER 2016 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#142240) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN ARTHUR CHARDONNAY 2015 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#959619) (XD) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#931006) (XD) - $44.95
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $99.95
Loimer Grüner Veltliner 2016 (90 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • CABRIZ ROSÉ 2017 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#030445) (XD) - $13.95
  • DOMAINE DES CARTERESSES TAVEL ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (#739474) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L’ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $20.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $27.95  90 pts  wine review
Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (90 pts)Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé 2017 (88 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (MS) (375 mL) - $24.95


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  • Sunday, July 1, 2018

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (Loire) - Wine Review

lovely wine is the latest rosé from Jean-Max Roger and will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Having enjoyed the 2016 Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé in , I am expecting a wine of similarly high-quality from this very good, reliable Loire producer.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $27.95
Direct pressed 100% Pinot Noir, and then cold settled for between 48 and 72 hours. Citrus, peach and melon aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has clean, fresh aromas of citrus, strawberry, melon, tropical fruit with hints of mineral and red berry, with very good intensity. The palate is medium-full bodied and dry, leading with fine saline minerality joined by citrus, melon, tropical fruit and hints of strawberry flavours. Acids are tart, crisp, very juicy, and lip-smackingly fresh. Finely balanced throughout with berry and citrus flavours lingering on the long finish. Perfect for this hot, summer day! Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I had previously enjoyed the 2014 Lavau Vacqueyras in and noted that a further 1-2 years of cellar time would benefit an already delicious wine. Well, it's 18 months since I last tasted this beautiful red wine and, lo and behold, wine is returning to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (90+ pts)

The Lavau family has been involved in winemaking for several generations, beginning in St. Emilion in the 19th century, then Tunisia, then returning to France and settling in the Rhône Valley in 1962. Maison Lavau was officially created in 1965 by Jean-Guy Lavau and his wife, Anne-Mariein. In the 1990's both of their sons - Frédéric and Benoît - returned to France after completing their studies in Canada to join the family's winemaking business. The sons eventually took over the business as their parents retired in the year 2000.

Today, Maison Lavau is one of the last family-run and independent wine estates in the Rhône Valley. With its three winemaking cellars and 180 hectares of vines, it has made its name as a major winemaker, trader and producer in Rhône wines.

On a side note, while visiting the exciting Cairanne Appellation in the southern Rhône Valley last month (more on this in a future post coming soon), we ended up driving by the Lavau winery. Having enjoyed many of their wines over the years, I was delighted get a glimpse of this fairly large winery.

Maison Lavau

Tasting Note:

LAVAU VACQUEYRAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#104927) (XD) - $26.95
Blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre that was aged in a combination of vat and used 450 Litre barrels. Plummy, blackberry and oak spice aromas from the cork. Medium-high aromatic intensity and complex with cassis, blackberry, dark fruit, oak spice aromas with a savoury component throughout. Hints of rocky mineral and peppery notes arrive as it opens up in the glass. The full-bodied palate is smooth and dense with finely knit tannins that have meshed into the palate very nicely. Dark, ripe fruit, plum, cassis with hints of peppery, savoury oak spices on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy and mouth-watering, while the finish is long, smooth and savoury. In a fine place right now, and will continue to age well over the next 3-5 years. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Monday, June 25, 2018

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is a perennial visitor to the LCBO and was recently released into VINTAGES on . It is widely available across Ontario.

Wakefield Wines is a family-owned winery based near the Wakefield River in Clare Valley, South Australia. The Taylor family planted their first vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon) in 1969 with a vision to create authentic, estate grown wines. When Bill Taylor Sr. excavated a dam to secure a water source, he discovered tiny seahorses in the limestone bedrock - a reminder that these soils were under water more than 600 million years ago. The seahorse quickly became the symbol of the family's wine brand, with three seahorses now representing the three generations of Taylor family winemakers.

The family is also committed to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner to help protect the environment. In 2009, Wakefield received their ISO14001 certification for their Environmental Management System (EMS) which demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship. The EMS assists with identifying and controlling environmental impacts throughout the wine-growing process such as environmental risks, impact on land and biodiversity, and water conservation.

Wakefield has won numerous medals for its wines, including this Cabernet Sauvignon. They also had a run of four years (from 2013 to 2016) being named one of the top 5 wineries in the world. In 2004, they were the first major Australian wine company to bottle 100% of their wines under screw cap - a trend which continues all over the world today.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. This has evergreen aromas wrapped around cassis, red and black fruits, dark currants and sweet oak, with medium+ intensity. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has medium-firm, gritty tannins with nice aroma replays, and just a touch of sweetness hidden by the bright acids. The finish length is very good. Age 2+ years for better tannin integration. Score: 87 pts


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  • Sunday, June 24, 2018

Romio Primitivo 2016 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that was opened earlier today during a birthday lunch. It is a new wine coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Romio is a brand of premium quality wines from Caviro, Italy's leading cooperative that was founded in 1966. For this range, they work with a small number of exclusive wineries that have honed their grape-growing and winemaking knowledge over generations, including the use of modern-day winemaking techniques. Core values at Caviro include providing the best value while producing quality wines reliably year-after-year, as well as with minimal environmental impact.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
100% Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) grown on clay soils at up to 300 metres elevation. Raised completely in tanks. Aromas are ripe and fruity with blueberry, blackberry, and sweet spices, along with brambly hints throughout. It's dry on the medium-bodied palate with smooth, supple tannins that add a bit of texture. Nice aroma replays with cola notes joining the dark berry and sweet spice flavours. Lively acids are nicely balanced, while earthy and dark berry tones linger on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


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