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  • Date publishedMonday, May 28, 2012

Hat Trick Red 2010 (Ontario) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is the red version of Diamond Estates' "Hat Trick" series, the white version was reviewed last week. This red wine is a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, and 24% Shiraz and is available from the LCBO General List.

HAT TRICK RED 2010 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#273854) (D) - $12.95

Label photo of 2010 Hat Trick Red
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Mulberry, dark fruit and cedar aromas. Balanced flavour profile with plush cassis, red fruits, black cherry and hints of vanilla. Medium-bodied, easy drinking wine. Tannins are well-integrated. Paired nicely with shish kebobs and homemade piri-piri chicken burgers.

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  • Date publishedTuesday, May 22, 2012

Hat Trick White 2011 (Ontario) - Wine Review

This is a new wine that just launched recently from Diamond Estates and is part of the LCBO General List. Blended with 50% Gewürztraminer, 35% Riesling, and 15% Chardonnay, this white wine received a Bronze medal at Cuvée 2012. Here is my wine review...

HAT TRICK WHITE 2011 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#273862) (D) - $12.95

Label photo of 2011 Hat Trick White
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Mostly tropical fruits, citrus aromas, with some melon. Manuka honey with more tropical fruits on the palate. Finishes dry with a crisp seam of acidity, almost lip-smacking. Well-balanced. Medium-bodied. Quite nice for $12.95.

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  • Date publishedMonday, May 21, 2012

May 26 LCBO Wine Picks: 90+ Wines and Portugal

The next VINTAGES wine release from the LCBO will be out in stores across Ontario on . The theme of this release is on wines that scored 90 and higher. I've whittled down the many 90+ wines from this feature into a few that are worth pursuing.

Among them are the following red wines Lealtanza from Spain made with 100% Tempranillo; the Sequillo Cellars Red from South Africa that is a GSM blend plus Carignan and Cinsault, while the Antinori Brunello di Montalcino is 100% Sangiovese. In white wine, we have the C.H. Berres Riesling Kabinett, the Vasse Felix Chardonnay, and the Cave Spring CSV Riesling.

One wine that is not listed below but deserves a mention is the Mas d’Auzières Sympathie pour les Stones 2009 from Midi (#277046, $19.95). It's part of the 90+ feature but there's a note saying the product is currently not available. Why they would include this wine in this release if it's not going to be available?? I would keep an eye out for this once it does arrive in stores.

The secondary feature in this release is on wines from Portugal's hotspots. My pick from Portugal is the Cunha Martins, made from the varietals Touriga-Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro-Preto and Jaen.

Among the rest of the my wine picks, the Umani Ronchi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is an Organic wine made with 100% Montepulciano and has a very high QPR. As the weather gets warmer, rosés tend to quench the thirst. The 13th Street version is made using 6 different red and white varietals, while the Château Montet is 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon.

There are lots of good wines to choose from this release. Hope you enjoy my picks! Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • LEALTANZA RESERVA 2005 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#276097) (XD) - $19.95
  • LA POSTA PIZZELLA FAMILY VINEYARD MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#166298) (D) - $15.95
  • UMANI RONCHI MONTIPAGANO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2010 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#134585) (XD) - $13.95
  • CUNHA MARTINS RESERVA 2008 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#276188) (XD) - $14.95
  • GAMMA RESERVA PRIVADA CABERNET/MERLOT 2008 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#269191) (D) - $16.95
  • BODEGA MONTEVIEJO LINDAFLOR MALBEC 2006 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#109322) (D) - $39.95
  • SEQUILLO CELLARS RED 2009 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#277996) (XD) - $29.95
  • ANTINORI PIAN DELLE VIGNE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2006 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#651141) (XD) - $59.95

White Wine:
  • C.H. BERRES ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2008 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#207274) (MD) - $19.95
  • LINGENFELDER FREINSHEIMER MUSIKANTENBUCKEL RIESLING KABINETT 2010 - Deutscher Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#087593) (MD) - $17.95
  • TRIMBACH RIESLING 2009 - AC Alsace, France (#734517) (XD) - $18.95
  • VASSE FELIX CHARDONNAY 2010 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#903617) (XD) - $20.95
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2008 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Cave Spring Vineyard, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (MD) - $29.95
  • WILLIAM FÈVRE SAUVIGNON BLANC SAINT-BRIS 2010 - AC, Burgundy, France (#626523) (XD) - $16.95

Rosé Wine:
  • 13TH STREET PINK PALETTE ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#275834) (D) - $14.95
  • CHÂTEAU MONTET ROSÉ 2011 - AC Bordeaux Rosé, France (#276386) (D) - $12.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • MARENCO STREV MOSCATO D’ASTI 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#276600) (MS) - $14.95

The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.

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  • Date publishedWednesday, May 16, 2012

Grant Burge Wine Tasting

Grant Burge Wines logo I had the pleasure of tasting Grant Burge Wines at the Trialto Wines office in Toronto. The tasting was led by Nick Doumanis, Global Sales Director at Grant Burge. Six wines were on the lineup card, but we ended up tasting seven.

GRANT BURGE VINEYARD RANGE SUMMERS CHARDONNAY 2010 - Eden Valley & Adelaide Hills (#269829) (D) - $19.95
Lovely aromas of citrus, oak, nut and hints of spice. One the palate, peach, apple, citrus and oak mingle together with racy acidity and finishing long. Medium-bodied. Tastes and feels more expensive. Excellent summer appertif, but can also be paired with lightly seasoned salmon. This white wine is scheduled to be part of the LCBO General List in about a month. Be ready to pounce.

GRANT BURGE MIAMBA SHIRAZ 2010 - Barossa (#725127) (XD) - $17.95
Smells dense with smoky, dark fruits, vanilla aromas. Blueberry flavours in the glass with hints of mint, lavender and pepper. Medium-bodied with a medium-length finish. Current vintage not available at LCBO.

GRANT BURGE CAMERON VALE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Barossa (#937276) (XD) - $15.95
Dark fruit, blackcurrant, vanillan and oak aromas. On the palate there is lots of cassis and blackcurrant in this medium-bodied wine. Evident tannins will reward ageing another 2-3 years. Very good Cab Sauv. Currently not available at the LCBO.

6 wines to taste from Grant Burge

Holy moly! This blend of 46% Grenache, 39% Shiraz and 15% Mourvèdre offers gorgeous aromas of red fruit, ripe cherries and subtle milk chocolate. Crushed red berries and blueberries with hints of chocolate and mocha on the palate. Medium-full bodied. Could be aged another 5-6 years. Awesome! My favourite wine of the evening.

GRANT BURGE FILSELL OLD VINE SHIRAZ 2010 - Barossa (#987453) (XD) - $29.95
This is a big wine with aromas of ripe dark fruits, blueberry, violet and lavender. Lovely blueberry with hints of coffee and vanilla on the palate. Full-bodied. Drinkable now, but has enough tannic grip to let sit for another 2-3 years. Current vintage not available at LCBO.

Another big wine with blackcurrants, tobacco, smoke, meat and oak aromas. On the palate, there is blackcurrant and red fruits (cranberry and cherry) that are well-integrated with fine tannins. Very smooth. Medium-bodied with a very long finish. Yummy. Available via private order from Trialto Wines.

GRANT BURGE 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY - Barossa (#058388) (S) - $30.95
Made with Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. Gorgeous aromas of caramel, floral, herbal and touch of earth. Complex palate that begins with candied pecans, followed by burnt orange, and finishes with cocoa. It starts sweet and finishes dry. Lovely! Very few left in stock at the LCBO.

Lineup of the 7 Grant Burge wines tasted

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  • Date publishedSaturday, May 12, 2012

Hardys Winemakers Dinner and Wine Walkthrough

Hardys Logo I had the opportunity to attend a Winemakers Dinner and Wine Walkthrough hosted at the Edward Day Gallery by Bill Hardy, the great grandson of Hardys founder - Thomas Hardy.

I arrived early and had the chance to mingle before the festivities got started. While mingling and waiting for everyone to arrive, we were offered 'The Gamble' Chard Pinot Gris, which ended up being one of my favourites wines of the evening. It was a rather small, intimate crowd (which I enjoyed) that also allowed everyone to meet and chat with Bill for a few moments. Overall, the event was well organized and executed. Quality and portions of both the food and wine were just right!

Here are my full reviews of the wine and food pairings:

Label photo of Hardys Chronicles 'The Gamble' Chardonnay Pinot Gris 2011HARDYS CHRONICLES 'THE GAMBLE' CHARDONNAY PINOT GRIS 2011 - South Australia (#219147) (D) - $15.05
Served to open the evening as people walked in and played the part very well with very smooth with apple, pear, citrus notes, mingling with peach aromas and flavours. Some earthy notes. Medium bodied wine with a medium-length finish that would make a very good appetizer wine. Yummy. Part of the LCBO General List and always available.

HARDYS HRB CHARDONNAY D648 2009 - Pemberton & Adelaide Hills (XD) - $29.95
Lots of butter, apple, citrus with some oak notes. Smooth, full bodied with fine seam of acidity. Long finish. Tasty.

Paired quite nicely with seared scallops, braised leeks, fricasse of baby spring vegetables and saffron cream. Coming to VINTAGES in .

Label photo of Hardys HRB Chardonnay D648 2009 from Pemberton & Adelaide Hills

EILEEN HARDY CHARDONNAY 2009 - Tasmania (#500991) (XD) - $59.95
Nutty, hazelnut, earth, oak aromas and flavours with touch of barnyard on the finish. Extremely smooth, medium-bodied with a very long finish. Excellent.

Paired with lobster poached in lemongrass consommé, Napa cabbage, orange-ruby grapefruit salad and toasted hazelnuts. This pairing was exquisite as the toasted hazelnuts really brought out the nutty flavours of this white wine. Unfortunately not currently available.

Lobster poached in lemongrass consomméLabel photo of Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2009 from Tasmania

HARDYS CHRONICLES 'BUTCHERS GOLD' SHIRAZ SANGIOVESE 2008 - South Australia (#219139) (XD) - $15.05
Aromas of plum, raisin, currant, oak, sour cherry with nuances of mint. Plum, fruit forward with ripe fruit on the palate. Ripe tannins for drinking now. I would serve this slightly chilled.

HARDYS HRB SHIRAZ D641 2007 - McLaren Vale & Clare Valley (XD) - $34.95
Bright and minty, licorice, pepper with red fruit aromas. Dark fruits and herbal pepper notes on the palate balanced by oak. Good amount of tannin for ageing another 3-5 years. Full-bodied with a long finish. Yum.

The above two red wines were paired with a lamb duo of roasted loin and braised shank, cherry-infused lamb jus, whipped mash potatoes, and baby carrot. I thought the Shiraz Sangiovese was a bit weak for the gamey lamb flavours, while the HRB Shiraz, with it's full body and integrated tannins was well suited. The Shiraz Sangiovese is always available as in LCBO General List, while the HRB Shiraz will be coming to VINTAGES on .

Lamb Duo and Hardys Chronicles 'Butchers Gold' Shiraz Sangiovese 2008 from South AustraliaLabel photo of Hardys HRB Shiraz D641 2007 from McLaren Vale & Clare Valley

EILEEN HARDY SHIRAZ 2005 - McLaren Vale (#461368) (XD) - $89.95
Big, Australian fruit bomb with an explosion of red and black fruit aromas and flavours. Some mintyness arrives towards the finish. Still evident tannins will reward another 2-3 years ageing, or decant prior to serving today.

Served with a cheese plate featuring cheddar, melted brie(?) and a too-salty blue cheese. I would've preferred this wine with a chicken dish, as opposed to a cheese plate. If you like big, fruit bombs, you will enjoy this one.

Cheese plateLabel photo of Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2005 from McLaren Vale

Peach, caramel, nuts, raisin and plum aromas. Dried raisin, caramel and peach flavours on the palate. Medium-viscosity. Should be served well-chilled to tone down the alcohol. Quite nice.

This Fortified wine is not available in Ontario (and possibly Canada), so it was a real treat to taste this with Pear Beignet, espresso-chocolate sauce, and hazelnut-sun dried cherry praline.

Pear Beignet with Espresso-Chocolate SauceLabel photo of Hardys Whisker's Blake Tawny

Bill Hardy and myself

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  • Date publishedMonday, May 7, 2012

May 12 VINTAGES Wine Picks: California Legends + Rosés

Cover of May 12 VINTAGES magazine
The next LCBO VINTAGES release will be out in stores on , and the main "attraction" in this release are California Legends starring Cab, Zin and Chard. However, as is the par for Cali wines in Ontario, many are over-priced and out of budget. However, the Ravenswood Zin is a "star" in this release and worth checking out.

The secondary attraction in this release is on Rosé wines and features 11 wines of various different styles, from dry to off-dry, and made using many different varietal combinations. The Mas des Bressades is made in a dry style using Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, while the dry Carpineto is made using Sangiovese and Canaiolo. The off-dry Ontario versions from Fielding Estate is a blend of Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah, while the Featherstone is made up of almost 50/50 Gamay and Cab Franc.

Among the rest of the release, Morgon is made using Gamay, the Cinghiale is a blend of Syrah, Cab France, Merlot and Petit Verdot, while Vouvray is made with currently trending varietal Chenin Blanc. If you want something sweet, definitely check out the Yalumba Muscat.

When you head into the LCBO this Saturday, you may notice updates to shelf tags. Among other things, the sugar code levels (0, 1, 2, 3, etc...) have been replaced with XD, D, M, MS, S (i.e. Extra Dry, Dry, Medium, Medium-Sweet or Sweet) and indicate the perceived sweetness level of any wine. These sweetness levels are always indicated for wine picks and reviews found on my blog, and now also fall in line with the rest of the world. Alongside this you will also find the actual sugar content, which may or may not affect your decision to purchase a particular bottle of wine. Enjoy shopping on Saturday!

Red Wine:
  • MONTES ALPHA CARMENÈRE 2009 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#143230) (XD) - $19.95
  • RAVENSWOOD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2009 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#673798) (D) - $23.95
  • GEORGES DUBOEUF DOMAINE MONT CHAVY MORGON 2010 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#276477) (D) - $17.95
  • GRAFFIGNA GRAND RESERVE MALBEC 2008 - Pedernal Valley, San Juan, Argentina (#162149) (D) - $16.95
  • CAMPO DI SASSO INSOGLIO DEL CINGHIALE 2010 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#277012) (D) - $29.95

White Wine:
  • ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#116384) (D) - $18.95
  • MONMOUSSEAU VOUVRAY 2010 - AC, Loire, France (#271940) (D) - $14.95
  • GEIL BECHTHEIMER ROSENGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2011 - Prädikatswein, Rheinhessen, Germany (#994764) (MD) - $14.95
  • PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARDS INOX RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#007328) (D) - $18.95
  • TALBOTT LOGAN ESTATE SLEEPY HOLLOW VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2009 - Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, California, USA (#716290) (D) - $26.95

Rosé Wine:
  • MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION ROSÉ 2011 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#950576) (XD) - $13.95
  • FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#117861) (D) - $14.95
  • FIELDING ESTATE ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#053421) (D) - $15.95
  • CARPINETO ROSATO 2011 - IGT Toscana, Tuscany, Italy (#699934) (XD) - $12.95

Dessert Wine:
  • YALUMBA MUSEUM RESERVE MUSCAT - South Eastern Australia (#963488) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95

The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.

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  • Date publishedSaturday, May 5, 2012

Brigaldara Valpolicella 2010 (Veneto) - Wine Review

Purchased this red wine just last week from the VINTAGES Veneto release. It's a good one and many are still available in LCBO outlets.

BRIGALDARA VALPOLICELLA 2010 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#917864) (XD) - $14.95

Label photo of Brigaldara Valpolicella 2010 from Veneto, Italy
Tasting Note:
Made with grape varietals Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. Cork was dry. Licorice, black cherry, plum, pepper and hints of smoked meat aromas. Lots of red cherries on the palate. Spicy core with good acidity throughout. Light- to medium-bodied. Dry with well-balanced ripe tannins. Perfect for chicken lasagna. Very good wine.

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