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  • Date publishedMonday, October 31, 2011

2008 Nugan McLaren Parish Shiraz (Australia) - Wine Review

Tasted this Decanter Award Winner over the weekend.

NUGAN ESTATE MCLAREN PARISH VINEYARD SHIRAZ 2008 - McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia (#072603) (D) - $24.95

Tasting Note:
Cassis, blackberry, pepper and herb aromas follow through on the palate, finishing with dark chocolate notes. Perfectly ripe tannins. Enjoyed it with chicken lababdar and butter chicken. If it meets your budget, this is highly recommended.

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  • Date publishedWednesday, October 26, 2011

2000 Kiralyudvar Tokaji Furmint Late Harvest (Hungary) - Wine Review

This white wine / dessert wine was purchased waaaaayyyy back in April, 2006 and opened to celebrate Diwali.

KIRÁLYUDVAR 'LAPIS' TOKAJI FURMINT LATE HARVEST 2000 - Hungary (#681338) (M) - $19.95
Tasting Note:
Cork smells of orange blosson and honey. Burnt caramel, brandy, apricot, marzipan and touch of citrus aromas. Raisin, brandy, apricot on the palate. Reminds me of a light Port. I think it was kept too long as it does taste a little washed out. I was expecting to be 'wow'-ed.

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  • Date publishedWednesday, October 26, 2011

Win Natalie MacLean's New Wine Book. Meet her in Toronto or Niagara

Contest is now closed!
Congratulations to @TheFunkyCrew

Win a Personally Signed Copy of Natalie MacLeans's New Wine Book - "Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines".

How to Enter:
  • "Like" this page and post to Facebook:

  • Follow me (@cono_sur) on Twitter and Tweet using this button:

Contest Duration:
  • Contest begins Tuesday, October 26th and ends on Saturday, November 19th at 12pm EST.
  • One (1) lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by Monday, November 21st.

Join Natalie MacLean for an unforgettable evening of wine, laughter and story-telling to celebrate the launch of her second wine book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines. Natalie will be hosting a multi-course gourmet dinner and matching wines at Grano Restaurant in Toronto and hosting a wine tasting in Niagara:

Niagara-Grimsby: November 22
Author Series & Wine Tasting

Toronto Grano Restaurant: November 23
Multi-Course Wine Dinner
Tickets: 416-361-0032 or
Toronto Event SOLD OUT!

Named the World’s Best Drink Writer at the World food Media Awards, the Canadian journalist and sommelier Natalie is just back from a whirlwind trip to uncover the world’s best bargain wines and share them with you.

She’ll also share stories about fascinating winemakers and gorgeous, remote vineyards with her quirky humour and insider smarts that made her first book, Red, White and Drunk All Over, the only wine book ever to get on the national bestseller list. The Globe & Mail also named it one of the best books of the year.

Space is limited for these exclusive events. Reserve your tickets online now. Your ticket price includes a personally signed copy of Natalie’s new book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wine plus a multi-course meal with wine in Toronto or wine tasting in Niagara. Following the session, you can purchase additional copies of the book as holiday gifts and Natalie will sign them. Natalie's tour will include 14 cities across Canada:

For more information about the book and an amusing video trailer about it, please visit

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  • Date publishedMonday, October 24, 2011

Win Tickets to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Contest is now closed. View winners here.

Want to go to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this November in Toronto? If you answered 'YES', then here is your chance to win a FREE tickets to the Expo.

The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers you an unparalleled opportunity to sample over 1,500 fine wines, beers and spirits from around the globe, and to savour the culinary delights from local restaurants. The Expo embraces the style and sophistication of a cocktail party paired with unprecedented educational opportunities and compelling feature areas.

  • One (1) Pair of Thursday VIP Preview Evening Tickets (Nov. 17)
    • Pair valued at $80
  • Two (2) Pairs of Friday Admission Tickets (Nov. 18)
    • Each pair valued at $36 (or $40 at the door)

How to Enter:
  • You can enter as many times as you wish using either (or both) of these methods:
    • "Like" this page and post to Facebook:

    • Follow me on Twitter (@cono_sur) and use this Tweet button:

Contest Duration:
  • Contest begins Monday, October 24th and ends on Saturday, November 12th at 12pm EST.
  • Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen at random. Winners will be announced by Monday, November 14th.

Good Luck!

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  • Date publishedMonday, October 24, 2011

Oct. 29 Wine Picks: Sonoma Special + Party Wines

The next LCBO Vintages Release on is nearly upon us. In this release, the major feature is wine from Sonoma, California. Overall, I thought many of the wines from Sonoma were overpriced and did not provide great value; however, two wines did make my Wine Picks list.

We're also fast-approaching the holiday season. As such, the secondary feature in this release focuses on "party wines" (i.e. wines that please large crowds). These wines are generally easy-drinking, ready-to-drink now, and can be sipped alone or with food.

If you want to try something new, look at either the Passerina or Sardegna white wines from Italy. Want something sweet? Then take a look at Tawse's Riesling. I haven't sipped Flat Rock's Nadja's Vineyard Riesling since the 2007 vintage - that may change soon.

Among the red wines, it's a toss up for me between the Malbec, Syrah/Viognier and the Syrah. Which one will you buy?

Hope you enjoy my latest wine picks!

Red Wine:
  • FINCA EL ORIGEN GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#065425) (XD) - $19.95
  • PORCUPINE RIDGE SYRAH/VIOGNIER 2010 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#079442) (XD) - $16.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO WINEMAKER’S LOT 54 SYRAH 2008 - Los Brujos Vineyard, San Javier Valley, Maule Valley, Chile (#227496) (XD) - $16.95
  • SEBASTIANI PINOT NOIR 2008 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#014233) (D) - $19.95

White Wine:
  • FLAT ROCK CELLARS NADJA'S VINEYARD RIESLING 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#578625) (XD) - $19.95
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (MD) - $17.95
  • SILVIO CARTA BADDE ALVA VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA 2009 - DOC, Sardinia, Italy (#230599) (D) - $16.95
  • ET CETERA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#264812) (XD) - $14.95
  • VELENOSI VILLA ANGELA PASSERINA 2009 - IGT Marche, Italy (#230524) (XD) - $13.95

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  • Date publishedFriday, October 21, 2011

2009 Korta Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) - Wine Review

Tonight's red wine was purchased from the latest Vintages release.

KORTA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Lontué Valley, Curicó, Chile (#236034) (XD) - $13.95
Tasting Note:
Cork smells of fresh berries. Cassis, raspberry, dark fruit, finishing with earthy/forest aromas. Offers berries, tar, oak and touch of mocha on the palate. Tannins could use more time to develop. Full bodied with a long finish. Overall, this wine that provides good value at $13.95, but could use another 1-3 years in cellar to mature further. An aerator or decanter would also benefit. Will be enjoying this with dal dhokli.

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  • Date publishedThursday, October 20, 2011

Douro & Port Wine Tasting in Toronto

Earlier this week, I attended the IVDP wine tasting event in downtown Toronto. This event featured many Ports and Douros commonly found in the LCBO general list, as well as a few from the Vintages section. Some wines could only be purchase by direct order only. I was excited to find out that some wines (which are currently not available at the LCBO) were being tasted in the coming days for possible inclusion in a future Vintages release.

About 75% of the wines available for tasting were Port, and most of the remainder were dry red table wines; only a handful of white table wines were available for tasting. There was also a selection of cheeses & crackers, fruits and a delicious tray of dark chocolate truffles that go perfectly with Port.

The music from the female DJ got better as the evening progressed - I found myself bobbing my head quite a bit to the electro-tech-house tunes.

Photo Courtesy of @TylerOnWine
In all, I tasted 18 wines (and, yes, I did spit out good wine). If you're not into Port and would like to get a nice introduction, I would highly recommend the Cálem or the Warre's Otima (both reviewed below). Here are some of my tasting notes:

Red Wine:
Red fruit aromas and cherry, blackberry flavours. Tannins present for ageing. Medium-full bodied. Looking forward to when this bottle is available in stores.

Prune, dark fruit aromas. Palate consists of dark fruits. Chalky tannins need more time to develop.

Dark berry, oak and currant aromas all follow through on palate. A little strong on the alcohol.

VEEDHA DOURO RED 2008 - DOC (#255851) (D) - $12.95
Red fruits, pepper, spice, herbs on the palate. Ripe fruit and ready to drink now.

Port Wine:
CÁLEM FINE WHITE PORT (#224568) (S) - $13.95
Honey, caramel aromas and flavours. Very smooth and syrupy. Reminds me of a Vidal Icewine. Delicious!

WARRE'S OTIMA 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT (#566174) (S) - $21.95
Honey and caramel fill your senses. Smooth. Well made and highly recommended.

TAYLOR FLADGATE 30 YEAR OLD TAWNY (#540252) (S) - $183.95
Burnt honey, caramel notes. Acidic finish requires this one to be slightly chilled prior to serving. Quite good.

Very sweet with aromas of crème caramel. Tasty. Alcoholic finish.

Smooth, caramel aromas and taste and very well-focused. Recommended.

Who else attended and what were your impressions?

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  • Date publishedWednesday, October 12, 2011

2008 Flat Rock Chardonnay (Niagara) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is a lovely offering one of our local wine producers - Flat Rock Cellars. This white wine was purchased from the Special Ontario-only Vintages release on September 10th.

FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2008 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#681247) (XD) - $16.95
Tasting Note:
A screw-top, so no smelling of the cork. Apple, toasty oak and mineral aromatics. Citrus and not over-bearing oak on the palate. Light-medium bodied with a long tropical finish. Quite tasty. It should pair well with one of my favourite Indian dishes that I'll be enjoying tonight - Chicken Korma.

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  • Date publishedMonday, October 10, 2011

Wines of Tuscany & Piedmont + Whisky: Oct. 15 Wine Picks

The major feature in the LCBO Vintages release on are the wines from the two big powerhouses in Italy - Tuscany and Piedmont. Only one wine from Piedmont/Tuscany made my list. However, I do want to mention a 2nd - the Scopetani Chianti (#164814) - as it appears to be a good crowd-friendly wine to serve when having many guests over for dinner. Another crowd-pleasing wine in this release is the Primitivo (#230573) from Puglia.

Also featured in this release are premium wines from Argentina - all of which feature a premium price and do not provided great value. In Local Talent, the Niagara River appellation is featured with four wines, including one that made my wine picks of the week.

In spirits, there is a nice feature on Whisky and the various different styles. I've chosen one for your enjoyment.

If you want to try something new, then my top pick of the week goes to the Neagra from Romania. Enjoy my picks and share them with your friends.

Red Wine:
  • LIVIA FETEASCA NEAGRA 2009 - I.G. Vrancea Hills, Romania (#244392) (XD) - $16.95
  • KORTA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Lontué Valley, Curicó, Chile (#236034) (XD) - $13.95
  • KOYLE ROYALE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#255760) (XD) - $19.95
  • CATHEDRAL CELLAR MERLOT 2008 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#522219) (D) - $14.95
  • PODERI DI LUIGI EINAUDI DOLCETTO DI DOGLIANI 2009 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#232454) (XD) - $18.95
  • SXS STEP TWO SHIRAZ 2008 - South Australia, Australia (#246645) (XD) - $14.95

White Wine:
  • JACKSON TRIGGS OKANAGAN ESTATE SUNROCK VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2008 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#249516) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAILEY RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#072736) (MD) - $17.95
  • DR. BÜRKLIN-WOLF WACHENHEIMER RIESLING TROCKEN 2009 - Deutscher Qualitâtswein Pfalz, Germany (#253955) (D) - $19.95


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  • Date publishedThursday, October 6, 2011

2009 Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz (Australia) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine over the weekend from the most recent Vintages Release.

THORN-CLARKE TERRA BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2009 - Barossa, South Australia, Australia (#595306) (XD) - $16.95
Tasting Note:
Big aromas of lush blackberry, blueberry, earth, mint and pepper. Dark fruit flavours, dark chocolate, turning a bit spicy at mid-palate. Full-bodied, chewy. Dry. Ageable, but ready to drink now. Well-made Shiraz, but is bit too bitter for my taste.

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