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  • Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review



Enjoy Shiraz? wine review is an excellent organic Australian Shiraz that came to the LCBO last month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Surprisingly, there is plenty of stock still available, so you can get your hands on this bottle too!

It is produced by Gemtree Wines, a winery in McLaren Vale whose story begins in the 1980's when Paul and Jill Buttery purchased a plot of land named Gemtree off the narrow, gum-lined track that is Elliot Road. In 1994, some years after the vineyards were already well-established, their daughter Melissa asked to work in the vineyards. Melissa would go on to become a qualified viticulturalist, a well-regarded expert in biodynamic and organic farming, and married a boy named Mike Brown who is now Gemtree's chief winemaker and managing director.

Melissa and Mike and were both mindful about the environment and earth, and soon pursued sustainable growing and farming of grapes. After experimenting with a few blocks of Tempranillo, which included trial and error, grit and determination, Melissa started to see more life in the vineyards and a better quality of fruit. From this point on wards, Melissa was determined to farm all of Gemtree’s blocks organically and Gemtree earned full organic certification in 2011.

In 2007, to improve Gemtree’s vineyards and wines, Melissa delved into biodynamics which introduced techniques that interweave the health of the soil, vines and resident fauna and flora. Inside the winery, Mike also began testing biodynamic winemaking practices.

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

GEMTREE UNCUT SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#627844) (XD) - $24.95
Named 'Uncut' because nothing is added from vineyard to bottle. Screw cap enclosure. This organic Shiraz has a fresh and highly aromatic array of dark berry, blackberry, black pepper, meaty, savoury, and cigar box aromas with just a wisp of blackberry jam. It's is medium-full bodied on the palate with fleshy dark fruits, black cherry, licorice, pepper spice, earth, and oak spice flavours. It has a very nice, supple mouthfeel with smooth, refined tannins, while acids are juicy and well-balanced. More black pepper, licorice, and oak spice on the mid-palate, while the long, juicy finish veers towards earthy and savoury notes. Enticing stony mineral notes arrive with time in the glass. Should drink nicely over the next decade. Highly recommended buy. Score: 91 pts


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  • Friday, September 13, 2019

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is an excellent white wine that is coming to LCBO VINTAGES this .

I recall enjoying the 2015 Kono Sauvignon Blanc when it came through VINTAGES a couple of years ago and am delighted to see how this latest vintage is tasting. It is produced by Kono Wines, New Zealand's first Māori owned and operated winery. The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.

This white wine is crafted from carefully selected vineyards in Marlborough, from grapes grown with soil knowledge and cultivation methods passed down from Māori forebearers. This gift of knowledge and rich, unspoiled lands create wines of personality and purity. Furthermore, Kono vineyards are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) and CEMARS (certified emissions measurement and reduction scheme) certified, which is integral to the values of kaitiakitanga - the guarding and protecting of the environment without compromise. The Māori culture has a strong spiritual connection to everything they grow and a responsibility to ensure that the land is passed onto future generations in pristine condition.

The grapes for this white wine were machine harvested from vineyards in Waihopai, Awatere, and Rapaura sub-regions and transported to the winery in Awatare Valley, then pressed in modern membrane presses. With juice from both free-run and harder pressings, they are combined in stainless steel tanks and fermented using selected yeast cultures and controlled temperatures. The 2017/2018 growing season was warmer than average, with challenging wet conditions appearing closer to harvest. However, vigilance in the vineyard from the team ensured that the fruit was in good condition at harvest, with excellent flavours seen in the winery.

Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

KONO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#441394) (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. Fragrant nose of key lime, passionfruit, citrus, kiwi, guava tropical fruit and hints of asparagus aromas wafting from the glass. It is medium-full bodied and concentrated, brimming with vibrant, zesty acidity that freshens the palate. More lime, passion fruit, citrus, and tropical fruit flavours dance on the zesty and ripe palate. It's quite juicy on the mid-palate, while mineral notes appear on the long, dry finish. Highly recommended. Score: 90 pts


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  • Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 14, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Ontario

LCBO Wine Picks: September 14, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The September 14, 2019 LCBO VINTAGES Release is a mono-thematic Release that is also the annual focus on local wines. All of these wines will be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday, and some are part of the VINTAGES Essentials collection that is always available year-round and can be found on shelves today.

The only theme of this Release is titled "Bring Local Home" and focuses on People, Places and Passion in the local Ontario wine scene. Wines from Niagara and its sub-appellations are featured, as well as wines from Georgian Bay and Lake Erie North Shore. Notably absent are any wines from Prince Edward County. Of the twenty wines featured as part of the theme, six are included among my top wine picks. Among the white wines, there is a lovely medium-sweet Riesling, as well as a rich, cool-climate Chardonnay. Among the red wines from Ontario, the majority are Bordeaux style blends. The Calamus is mostly Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Red Tractor is a blend of 45% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and the rest other varietals. Lastly, the Trius Red is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The fourth red from Ontario is a Cabernet Franc from a top vineyard within the Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation along the Niagara Escarpment.

Tawse Quarry Road Organic Riesling 2017 (91 pts)Flat Rock Chardonnay 2017 (89 pts)

Icellars Estate Cabernet Franc 2016 (91 pts)Trius Red 2016 (90 pts)

Calamus Ball's Falls Red 2017 (88 pts)Creekside Red Tractor Cabernet/Merlot 2017 (88 pts)

From my red wine picks, the Rhône red is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, while the Saint Chinian is a blend of mainly Syrah with Grenache, and some Mourvèdre. From Bordeaux, the Lalande consists of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec, while the Carignan Prima is actually 100% Merlot. Lastly, the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.

Cazal Viel Vieilles Vignes Saint Chinian 2016 (89 pts)Volpaia Chianti Classico 2016 (90 pts)

Château Carignan Prima 2015 (91 pts)Château Haut-Lalande 2015 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, all are actually single varietal wines. The Etna Bianco is made with the indigenous Carricante varietal from Sicily. Other highlights from my white wine recommendations include a lovely Chardonnay from Burgundy's Marchand-Tawse, while the Marsanne is always a delicious wine from Australia. For sweet wine lovers, the Riesling mentioned above should be at the top of your list, followed by the Pinot Gris from Alsace.

Marchand-Tawse Viré-Clessé 2016 (91 pts)Tahbilk Marsanne 2018 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CALAMUS BALL'S FALLS RED 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#010527) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#143099) (XD) - $16.95
  • CREEKSIDE RED TRACTOR CABERNET/MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#011851) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT-LALANDE 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Blaye, France (#546069) (D) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CAZAL VIEL VIEILLES VIGNES SAINT CHINIAN 2016 - AC, Languedoc, France (#698985) (D) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TRIUS RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#303800) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • VOLPAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#953828) (XD) - $28.95  FE  90 pts  wine review
  • ICELLARS ESTATE CABERNET FRANC 2016 - Wismer Foxcroft Vineyard, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#011681) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU CARIGNAN PRIMA 2015 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux – Cadillac, France (#648931) (XD) - $33.95  91 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN OREGON PINOT NOIR 2016 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#011263) (XD) - $37.95  91 pts  wine review
  • MASI SEREGO ALIGHIERI VAIO ARMARON AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#462812) (D) - $89.95
Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir 2016 (91 pts)

White Wine:

  • CAVE DES VIGNERONS DE BUXY BUISSONNIER BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#010349) (XD) - $16.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • TAHBILK MARSANNE 2018 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2017 - AC Alsace, France (#983395) (D) - $18.95
  • KONO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#441394) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • PACO & LOLA ALBARIÑO 2018 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#350041) (XD) - $19.95
  • FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2017 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#286278) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TORNATORE ETNA BIANCO 2018 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (#577676) (XD) - $24.95
  • TAWSE QUARRY ROAD ORGANIC RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#198853) (M) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • SPY VALLEY ENVOY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Johnson Vineyard, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#429308) (XD) - $29.95
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE VIRÉ-CLESSÉ 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#648576) (XD) - $31.95  91 pts  wine review
Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (90 pts)Cave des Vignerons de Buxy Buissonnier Bourgogne Chardonnay 2017 (88+ pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • FAMILLE PERRIN TAVEL 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#680801) (XD) - $19.95


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  • Monday, September 9, 2019

Destino Fifth Empire Red Blend 2015 (Portugal) - Wine Review

wine review is a new red wine blend from Portugal that showed up at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The wines for The Fifth Empire Wine Co. are produced at historic Quinta do Portal, a family-owned and -operated producer that is well-known for making Port wines since the late 19th century. However, the family has also been producing Douro wines since the early 1990's, with winemaking of The Fitfth Empire Wines overseen by Paulo Coutinho who has been with Quinta do Portal since 1994.

The Fifth Empire is led by Roger Sobreiro with the goal of producing authentic Portuguese wines for enjoyment across the globe. Ancient Greece was the first empire, while Ancient Rome was the second empire. Christianity was the third empire, and a fusion of both the first and second empires. Europe was the fourth empire with its Great British and Anglo-Saxon hegemony. The fifth empire is the concept of a global Portuguese empire with spiritual and temporal power, based on Daniel 2 and the Book of Revelation interpreted by Antonio Vieira. Beyond territory, The Fifth Empire is the spiritual and linguistic embodiment of Portugal spread throughout the world.

Let's see how this Portuguese red is tasting in Canada tonight...

Destino Fifth Empire Red Blend 2015 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

DESTINO FIFTH EMPIRE RED BLEND 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#646901) (XD) - $22.95
A blend of 45% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Franca, and 25% Touriga Nacional that was aged for 9 months in French oak. Medium+ intensity nose of blackberry, oak spice, vanilla and black plums. The medium-bodied palate offers more blackberry and vanilla notes supported by mouth-watering acidity and finely-grained tannins. There's some earthy nuances on the mid-palate that linger through to the long finish joined by some woody spice notes. Enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88+ pts


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  • Friday, September 6, 2019

Red Tractor Wines (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Red Tractor Wines
wine reviews are a pair of new wines that were recently launched at Creekside last month.

Established in 2011 by Creekside Estate Winery, Red Tractor Wines are new world wines that celebrate the past, present, and future of farming in Ontario. At Creekside, they have an old Massey Harris tractor that serves as a symbol of the hard work that is required to farm the vineyards. Red Tractor Wines were created to honour this hard work and salute their family of growers.

The grapes for Red Tractor Wines are sourced from family farms across the Niagara Peninsula. Paying homage to the vineyards and growers such as the Serluca and Smith families, Red Tractor Wines is proud to work alongside these 2nd generation farmers as they push the boundaries on innovation and lead with sustainable farming practices.

Yvonne Irvine steers the Red Tractor team and crafted these wines to best express their sense of place while honouring old-world winemaking techniques. She has over 12 years of viticultural and winemaking experience and works closely with their family of growers, embracing the honest, hard work required to grow and harvest quality fruit.

Both of these wines are available for purchase now at Creekside Estate Winery, Furthermore, the Cabernet Merlot will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Tasting Notes:

RED TRACTOR CABERNET MERLOT 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#011851) (XD) - $17.95
Composed of 45% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, and other varietals. Screw cap. Vegan-friendly. This bottle shows an herbally, medium+ intensity nose off the top followed by black currant, blackberry, cassis, wood spice and earthy tones. The soft, medium-bodied palate has smooth, rounded tannins and juicy acidity. It has dark fruited, herbal, and oak spice flavours. Earthy and green herb notes linger on the finish, with good length. Coming to LCBO VINTAGES on September 14th and enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88 pts

Red Tractor Cabernet Merlot 2017 (88 pts)Red Tractor Cabernet Franc 2017 (89 pts)

RED TRACTOR CABERNET FRANC 2017 - VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (D) - $25
Sourced entirely from the Serluca Family vineyard near the little village of Virgil. Screw cap. Ripe, medium+ intensity nose offers red and black berry fruit with some dusty earth, bay leaf, herbs, and oak spice aromas. The medium-bodied palate is ripe with more red and black fruit flavours mingling with minty herb, barnyard, sweet tobacco, and spice flavours. It has juicy, balanced acidity and supple, dusty textured tannins that become quite grippy on the mid-palate. Long finishing with wood spice, dark berry, and earthy notes. Vegan-friendly. Best enjoyed from 2020 to 2024. Tasted . Score: 89 pts


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  • Thursday, September 5, 2019

Rhône Wine Tour 2018 - Costières de Nîmes (Day 3)

Costières de Nîmes - Château Mourgues du Grès Vineyard
After visits to Luberon and Ventoux, and Cairanne earlier in the week, our focused on the Costières de Nîmes appellation. This region is the southern-most wine-growing region of the Rhône Valley and exhibits a rich history and culture dating back to Greek and Roman times. In the year 280 A.D., the area was replanted with vines after the decree banning viticulture was revoked and is considered to be one of the first winegrowing regions in France. Winegrowing was further encouraged in the 17th century, and became even more important when the Canal du Midi was linked with the Rhône River in the 19th century.

The appellation was known as Costières du Gard when it was granted AOC status in 1986, and only had its name changed to Costières de Nîmes in 1989. In 2004, Costières de Nîmes was moved from Languedoc to the Rhône wine region because the wines were more reflective of the typical characteristics of Rhône than of the Languedoc. Today, Costières de Nîmes produces 8% of the wines from Rhône, of which 35% are rosé and 5% white wines. Like other Rhône AOCs, blending of at least two grape varieties is required. For rosé wines, Syrah is usually combined with either Grenache and/or Mourvedre, and sometimes Carignan and Cinsault. White wines are usually composed of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne, and sometimes Viognier, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Macabeu, and Vermentino (Rolle).

Château de Nages The day began with a visit to Château de Nages, where Tina Gassier, wife of renowned winemaker Michel Gassier, took us through some of their impressive current offerings of white and rosé wines from both Domaine Gassier and Château de Nages labels, and ranged in vintage from 2014 to 2017. They have vineyards in the northern part of the appellation featuring "galets" (i.e. pebbles) that sit atop iron-rich red clay, while some of this area is covered by a thin blanket of loess (wind-blown silt) that is very suitable for white varietals and Syrah. Their Bek Vineyard to the south, which was acquired fairly recently, has a base of chalk and “safres” layers that sit below a layer of red sandstone (iron-rich clay and sand) and is topped by “cailloutis” (pebbles from the ancient Durance River) on the higher elevations. The terroir of the Bek Vineyards changes as you move to lower elevations, with chalk and “safres” layers closer to the surface and topped with a layer of sandy-clay loam, offering freshness and salinity to the wines due to the vineyard being located at a fault line. At the lowest point of the Bek Vineyard, the alluvium soil that sits on top of the chalk and “safres” layer is rich in nutrients and limestone and offers minerality and freshness - white wine varietals are planted here. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather, we were not able to see the vineyards, but I can imagine it would have been quite the sight.

The vineyards at Château de Nages have been passed along 4 generations, and the story begins when Joseph Torres purchased the southern Rhône estate during World War II. After the passing of Mr. Torres, his son-in-law, Alfred Gassier, begins managing the property all the while residing in Algeria with his wife. He helps his sons re-construct their lives in France, with the eldest son, Jean Gassier taking the reins and restoring farm while the second son, Roger Gassier, restored the Château and the property. Michel is the great grandson of Joseph and was asked to take over the property in 1993 when his father retired.

Today, Château de Nages has 112 hectares of vineyards. 32% of their production is devoted to rosé wines, while is 16% to white wines, making them one of the larger producers of white wines in Costières de Nîmes. Vineyards are organically farmed, and there is a commitment to protecting the ecosystem and using resources wisely. All of the wines among the half dozen we tasted were delicious, and some were downright excellent. Fortunately for us, these wines do show up in our market from time to time. However, I think I will have to make another trip out to Château de Nages to take a stroll through the vineyards.

Mas Carlot Vineyard

The second stop of the day was meeting Cyril Marès at Mas Carlot - Château Paul Blanc. Upon arriving at the winery, I thought to myself that the buildings looked rather historic. In fact, I learned that the buildings were from the 17th century, remodelled in the 19th century by the Grasset family, and fully restored by Paul Blanc a century later. Roman remains dating back to more than 2000 years old have also been found around the Mas. The visit began with a tour of the vineyards in Cyril's SUV - since it was raining on and off, and we would be able to see more of the 75 hectare property that was littered with round pebbles coloured by the red clay of the Costières, known locally as "Grès".

Cyril Marès, Mas Carlot - Château Paul Blanc After returning to the winery and getting a quick look at the tank and barrel rooms, we began tasting the wines with Cyril. Mas Carlot - Château Paul Blanc is actually the winery of Cyril's wife, Nathalie Blanc-Marès. She is an oenologist and the winemaker at Mas Carlot, and has been running the estate since 1998, following in the footsteps of her father, Paul Blanc. We didn't actually get to meet Nathalie, but Cyril tells us that she prefers to craft her wines in an elegant and fresh style, allowing the wines to express the Domaine's terroir fully. We tasted through the portfolio of whites and rosé wines (5 wines in all) and each wine was delicious and of very good quality. In 2018, Cyril Marès took over complete management of the estate and is currently moving towards organic farming.

The Marès family has a long tradition of winemaking going back centuries. Cyril was born in Nîmes and has always lived between the vineyards and orchards of his father Roger Marès. Mas des Bressades neighbours Mas Carlot and was founded by Roger in 1964. After studying agronomy, viticulture and oenology in Montpellier, Cyril went on to vinify on other continents before returning to Mas des Bressades and taking over the reins in 1996 and becoming the latest of 6 generations to make wine. At Mas des Bressades, Cyril and his small team try with passion to produce ripe and fruity wines. Today, the estate is managed by Cyril's cousin, Alix Marès. The fabulous estate terroir is comprised of Siliceous pebbles which originated from the Rhône River Basin dating back to the Quaternary era and is 6 to 15 metres thick. Roussanne is the most widely planted white varietal on the property, leading to Roussanne-dominate white wines, while the single rosé is a Grenache-led blend. After tasting the yummy wines of Mas des Bressades with Cyril at Mas Carlot, we headed out for lunch.

Cyril Marès

Hotel Restaurant Le Cours was the venue for lunch, a family hotel in Saint-Gilles that offers cultural fare in the tradition of the Camargue. It was a short drive away from Mas Carlot and Cyril joined us. I expected lunch to be on the quiet side, however, it got really interesting after Cyril pulled out 10 whites and rosés for tasting. All of the wines were from various producers in Costières de Nîmes and Cyril did his best to provide some information regarding each of the wines, along with tech sheets that came in handy. A couple of wines, one each from Domaine du Vistre and Château d'Or et de Gueules really stood out for me, and wine reviews of each are provided below.

Garlic Shrimp Entrée at Hotel Restaurant Le Cours

As for lunch, the shrimp I ordered was loaded with garlic and really delicious, but made it a bit difficult for tasting the wines and, of course, it was a little messy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and would highly recommend this entrée.

Château Mourgues du Grès
We visited the family-owned and -operated Château Mourgues du Grès for the only winery stop of the afternoon - and it was quite the visit! The site is located in Beaucaire on a slope in Costières de Nîmes and is a former 16th century agricultural estate of the Ursulines de Beaucaire. It takes its name from the nuns called "Mourgues" in the Provençal language, and the "Grès" which are the rounded stones found across Costières de Nîmes and give character to the wines from this region. The "grès" were transported here naturally via the River Rhône during the Ice Age. Since the weather had cleared up around here and the ground was fairly dry, owner and vigneron François Collard and his wife Anne gave us a tour of the property, which involved driving up the hill.

François and Anne Collard, Château Mourgues du Grès
The first stop along the way was an ancient Roman archaeological site that was recently discovered while planting a new vineyard. We then drove up to a plateau that featured vineyards with plenty of "grès" on the ground and were also told about Mistral (winds) that plays an important role in winegrowing. The mistral from the north is dry, while the south wind brings moisture from the sea. Together, these winds accentuate the diurnal temperature and brings freshness to the wines. We went further up the hill and got a lovely view of the vineyards below, the town of Beaucaire, and the eastern plateau facing the River Rhône. After the brief tour of the property, we headed back to the tasting room to learn more and taste their portfolio of white and rosé wines.

Of their entire production, 20% is devoted to white wines, which is fairly high among Rhône producers. Château Mourgues du Grès is a certified organic winery, being mindful and respectful of nature and the environment. Since 2015, they have not used sulphur during winemaking (a slight addition of sulphur is added at bottling to ensure stability of the wine). All six wines we tasted were delicious - 3 whites and 3 rosés - ranging in style from fresh and fruity to something more serious for gastronomie. Most of the wines also had a fine mineral element. All in all, I was very satisfied with my visit to Château Mourgues du Grès.

Château Mourgues du Grès

This concludes a fascinating day in Costières de Nîmes, an area rich in winemaking history that goes back more than two-thousand years. The fresh white wines showed fine mineral character thanks to the terroir, while the rosés wines were deliciously fresh and fruity. From here, we moved to Lirac and Tavel the following day as we toured through the southern Rhône Valley.

Tasting Notes:

Michel Gassier Lou Coucardié Blanc 2014 (90+ pts)

MICHEL GASSIER LOU COUCARDIÉ BLANC 2014 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - $35
Bek vineyard. Blend of 50% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Viognier grown on galets and sandy limestone soils over beds of safres and chalk. Barrel-fermented and aged on the lees for 9 months. Medium+ intensity nose of lanolin, yellow floral, anise, and herbs. The palate is medium-to-full bodied with a nice mouthfeel and lovely aroma replays that are balanced with fresh acids. Chalky mineral notes appear mid-palate and continue through to the long finish. Score: 90+ pts

Agent: Halpern Enterprises (ON), Le Maitre de Chai (QC)

Château de Nages Vieilles Vignes Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES ROSÉ 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#496919) (XD) - $20
A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, the nose is subtle but offers rich cherry and strawberry aromas, while the medium-full bodied palate has nice aroma replays supported by balanced, juicy acids. There's some structure to this dry rosé that has a nice, rich texture. Finish length is very good. A serious, gastronomie rosé. Score: 90 pts

Agent: Profile Wine Group (ON), LCC Vins et Spiritueux (QC)

Mas Carlot La Terre Natale 2016 (90 pts)

MAS CARLOT LA TERRE NATALE 2016 - AP Clairette de Bellegarde, Rhône, France (XD) - 10 €
Neighbouring Costières de Nîmes, this Clairette de Bellegarde appellation wine is 100% Clairette and mostly raised in concrete tanks (20% in oak). This elegant white wine has a medium+ intensity nose that is herbally with lemon oil, citrus, and stone fruits. It is medium+ bodied on the palate with fine minerally and balanced aroma replays and some fennel notes. Nicely textured with succulent acids and long finishing. Score: 90 pts

Agent: Nicholas Pearce Wines (ON)

Mas des Bressades Cuvée Excellence Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE EXCELLENCE BLANC 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - 12 €
70/30 Roussanne and Viognier that was barrel-fermented and aged oak for 5 months. Medium-high, wood-inflected nose of baked pear, white peach, subtle vanilla, and floral aromas. It is medium-full bodied, rounded, and richly structured with oak nicely integrated on the palate. Nice aroma replays and somewhat chalky textured. Balanced acids. Shows impressive complexity and very good finish length. Score: 89 pts

Agent: Vinexx (ON)

Domaine du Vistre Cuvée Gladiateur Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)

DOMAINE DU VISTRE CUVÉE GLADIATEUR ROSÉ 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - 8 €
Blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah from hillside vineyards featuring sandstone and pebbles from the Rhône river, this has a medium-high intensity nose that is clean and fresh with currant, strawberry, mineral, and herbal aromas. Medium-bodied on the very clean palate with fresh acids and nicely balanced aroma replays and a long-lasting finish. Score: 88+ pts

Agent: N/A

Château d'Or et de Gueules Trassegum Blanc 2017 (88 pts)

CHÂTEAU D'OR ET DE GUEULES TRASSEGUM BLANC 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - 14.50 €
Organic and biodynamic blend of 80% Roussanne (barrel-fermented), 10% Grenache Blanc, and 10% Rolle (Vermentino). Barrel ageing evident on the nose, along with clean fresh lemon and herbal scents. It's medium-full bodied, a touch creamy, and nicely textured on the palate with more barrel influenced and pear flavours. Balanced acids. There's some complexity on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

Agent: N/A

Château Mourgues du Grès Fleur d'Eglantine 2017 (88 pts)

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS FLEUR D'EGLANTINE 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - 7.5 €  88 pts  wine review

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS GALETS ROSÉS 2017 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (XD) - 7.5 €
Blend of Syrah, Grenache, and 15% Mourvèdre made in the saignee method. Medium+ intensity and fruity with red berry, candied cherry and strawberry aromas. It is medium+ bodied, fresh, lively and dry with nice, fruity aroma replays and some structure. Minerally on the finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Château Mourgues du Grès Galets Rosés 2017 (88 pts)Château Mourgues du Grès Capitelles Blanc 2015 (89 pts)

CHÂTEAU MOURGUES DU GRÈS CAPITELLES BLANC 2015 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhone, France (XD) - 16 €
Blend of old vines Grenache Blanc that grow on chalky soils (rare for this appellation), Roussanne, and Viognier, and is barrel-fermented and aged. Pours deep yellow gold and offers a medium-high intensity and slightly mature nose that is waxy with baked apple, white and yellow flowers. It is medium-full bodied and fleshy on the palate with nice aroma replays. Acids are still quite fresh and juicy. Very good length on the limestone mineral finish. Should drink well for another 5 years. Score: 89 pts

Agent: Brand New Day Wines & Spirits (ON)


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  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

red wine review is a delicious Rioja that came to LCBO VINTAGES on and plenty of bottles are still available for purchase across Ontario.

Marqués de Cáceres was founded in La Rioja and Cenicero, within the heart of the La Rioja Alta sub-region in Spain in 1970 by Enrique Forner, forming an historic alliance between a region and an enterprising family that has been devoted to the wine trade for five generations.

After making wine at his own Chateaux's in Bordeaux, he brought the same reformist spirit when he returned to Spain and employed some of the same techniques for success such as vineyard control, grape selection, cold production, ageing in new and semi-new French oak barrels, and long refinement in the bottle. All of this contributes to wines that can show finesse and elegance. Their first wine was the 1970 Crianza which was released to the public in 1975 and offered more fruity notes over wood when compared to classic Riojas of the time.

In the 1990's, a trend for innovation took hold in La Rioja. Young oenologists and wine producers looked to Bordeaux for inspiration, just as Enrique Forner had done twenty years previously, and worked the terroir and vineyards, to obtain profiles that were different to the traditional Riojas. Marqués de Cáceres was advised by Michel Rolland - the most influential oenologist in Bordeaux at the time - and together they were united by a great obsession to create quality wines.

Their single objective at Marqués de Cáceres is to have the best vine growers and vineyards in La Rioja to produce the best wines, an obsession that continues today, led by the fourth generation of this wine family, Cristina Forner. They are also the best-known Rioja in Spain as well as one of the top 50 most admired wine brands globally.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#638775) (D) - $16.95
Blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Graciano aged in both French and American oak. The medium intensity nose delivers red cherry/berry notes with hints of dried red fruit, followed by sweet oak spice, herbs, and floral aromas. The medium+ bodied palate is fresh and lively, offering more red cherry, floral, and oak spiced flavours surrounding a savoury, earthy core. Refined tannins offer a nice, dusty texture with a touch of chalkiness. Finish is long and earthy. A satisfying Rioja to enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 88 pts


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