First image of this post
  • Date publishedWednesday, December 31, 2014

Château Ampélia 2005 (Bordeaux) - Bottle 3 of 3 Wine Review

To ring in the New Year, I decided to open this red wine that turns 10 years old in 2015.

This is the last of the 3 bottles I purchased from the VINTAGES Bordeaux Futures program way back in February of 2006. The 2nd bottle of this wine was opened in March 2012. At that point in time, I commented that the tannins could have used more time to soften. Let's see how this red wine has evolved over the last (nearly) 3 years.

The 2009 vintage (#191171) of this wine was released in VINTAGES on Sept 28, 2013, with small quantities surprisingly still available.

CHÂTEAU AMPÉLIA 2005 - AC Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France (#500330) (XD) - $20

Wine Review of 2005 Château Ampélia from AC Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France
Tasting Note:
Blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Wood and black plum aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity aromas from the glass with aromas of dark currant, black plum, earth, wood and hints of dried herbs. Palate is medium+ bodied with a flavour profile that is quite complex - dried herb, clove flavours up front, followed by blackberry, currant, cedar, floral notes. Some prune and dried figs notes with air. Lengthy finish has clove, cocoa and oak flavours. Shows good balanced, acidity still quite fresh, while drying tannins have integrated very nicely. Could be aged another couple of years, but highly drinkable right now. Score: 89+ pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedThursday, December 25, 2014

Parés Baltà Brut Cava (Spain) - Wine Review

Opened this organic sparkling wine from Spain tonight to celebrate with the family. Available by consignment only from Trialto Wine Group.

PARÉS BALTÀ BRUT CAVA - DO Catalunya, Spain (#661586) (XD) - $13.95

Wine Review of Parés Baltà Brut Cava from DO Catalunya, Spain
Tasting Note:
Non-vintage, organic sparkling wine made using 58% Parellada, 25% Macabeo and 17% Xarel-lo. Lifted nose featuring leesy, green apple and toast aromas. Medium+ bodied with green apple, lemon peel, green melon, wild herb, and yeasty flavours with hints of sweetness. Balanced mousse. Dry, mineral and lime finish that is medium in length. Serve nicely chilled. Score: 88 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedWednesday, December 24, 2014

Pillitteri Chardonnay Icewine 2007 (Niagara) - Wine Review

To celebrate , I opened this Icewine that was first tasted last January during the Icewine Festival. This delicious Icewine is only available at the winery, but can be ordered online via their website.

PILLITTERI CHARDONNAY ICEWINE 2007 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#) (S) (375 mL) - $60.10

Wine Review of 2007 Pillitteri Chardonnay Icewine from VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada
Tasting Note:
Hints of honeysuckle aromas from the cork. In the glass, sweet aromas of honeysuckle, lemon meringue, apricot of medium intensity. Palate is medium+ bodied with a slightly viscous mouthfeel and very nice aroma replays. It's sweet, but balanced acids keep it in check. Lengthy finish that is showing nutty, caramel, pear, and melon notes. Some interesting orangey flavours on the 2nd pour. Delicious. Score: 90 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedTuesday, December 23, 2014

Herdade do Sobroso Sobro Red 2012 (Portugal) - Wine Review

Opened this delicious red wine . It was purchased from the July 19 VINTAGES release and tiny quantities are still available at the LCBO.

HERDADE DO SOBROSO SOBRO RED 2012 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#306563) (D) - $14.95

Wine Review of 2012 Herdade do Sobroso Sobro Red from Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal
Tasting Note:
Blend of 30% Aragonez, 30% Alicante Bouschet, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Syrah. Plummy aromas from the cork. In the glass, it has medium intensity aromatics with notions of purple flowers, blackberries, clove and new cedar oak with pleasing replays on the palate. Some meaty and dried herb notes as well. Spicy mid-palate, balanced acids and a smooth, lengthy finish. Firm, grippy tannins will soften in a year or two, but highly drinkable right now. Score: 88+ pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedSaturday, December 20, 2014

Southbrook Transitions (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

Tonight's wines are from Southbrook Vineyards' and appropriately part of their "Transitions" line as they are all currently undergoing transition to organic certification. All of the grapes for these wines were handpicked. These wines are available to licensees only, via Trialto Wine Group - look for them in restaurants, as they are not available at the LCBO.

Tasting Notes:
SOUTHBROOK TRANSITIONS CABERNET FRANC ROSÉ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (D) - $13
Stelvin screw cap. Handpicked from 3 vineyards in Niagara, of which 1% is Gamay. Fresh strawberry, bing cherry and earthy aromas from the glass. It's medium-bodied with balanced acids on the palate with red fruit, cherry and strawberry flavours with some sweetness. Soft, rounded, medium-length finish. Simple and easy drinking. Score: 86 pts

Wine Review of 2012 Southbrook Transitions Cabernet Franc Rosé from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

SOUTHBROOK TRANSITIONS CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $13
Stelvin screw cap. 100% Chardonnay, handpicked from Sabourin Vineyards. Spring flowers, lime and pear aromas of medium intensity from the glass. Medium-full bodied with honeyed fruit flavours followed by pear, tropical fruit, lemon, and butter notes. Balanced acids and decent length on the dry finish. Score: 87 pts

Wine Review of 2013 Southbrook Transitions Chardonnay from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

SOUTHBROOK TRANSITIONS CABERNET FRANC 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $13
Stelvin screw cap. Contains 15% Gamay. Medium intensity aromas and bretty with green pepper and cedar nose. It's medium+ bodied with medium+ level tannins and fresh acids. Dark currant, black cherry, vanilla and toasted oak flavour profile. Dry, bitter, lasting finish. Score: 88 pts

Wine Review of 2012 Southbrook Transitions Cabernet Franc from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

First image of this post
  • Date publishedTuesday, December 16, 2014

Miguel Torres Ibéricos Crianza 2010 (Spain) - Wine Review

Somehow I missed posting this red wine review of a bottle I opened a . The 2011 vintage of this wine was released in VINTAGES in September and is still quite readily available in stores.

MIGUEL TORRES IBÉRICOS CRIANZA 2010 - DOC Rioja, Spain (#381046) (XD) - $16.95

Wine Review of 2010 Miguel Torres Ibéricos Crianza from DOC Rioja, Spain
Tasting Note:
100% Tempranillo. Woodsy, cedar and currant aromas from the cork. Medium-intensity aromas featuring sour cherry, wet earth, berry, and sweet spice aromas with much of the same, fruit-forward flavours on the palate. It's medium-bodied and dry with fresh acids and ripe tannins. Balanced oak is definitely in the background. Decent length on the finish that shows hints of prune. Easy drinking, well-made, weekday wine. Score: 87 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedSaturday, December 13, 2014

Parés Baltà Calcari 2013 (Spain) - Wine Review

Tonight's white wine is organic & biodynamic and comes from a family-owned winery with traditions dating back to 1970 (although you wouldn't have guessed it given the very modern look of the label.) It is available by Consignment only via Trialto Wine Group.

PARÉS BALTÀ CALCARI 2013 - DO Penedès, Spain (#781286) (XD) - $16.95

Wine Review of 2013 Parés Baltà Calcari from DO Penedès, Spain
Tasting Note:
Made using 100% Xarel-lo, a grape traditionally used to make Cava. Screw cap. Medium intensity nose with lemony and grapefruit aromas. Medium-full bodied with very chalky, mineral mouthfeel with tarty lemon, grapefruit pith and salty flavours on the dry palate. Fresh, balanced acids and a long, tart finish. Would serve this with oily foods such as fish & chips. Score: 87 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedThursday, December 11, 2014

Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2010 (Spain) - Wine Review

With the snowy and relatively cold weather we're having right now, it's always nice to open up a bottle of red wine, preferably from some place warm, such as is this Cab from Spain. I opened this at our annual building pot luck holiday party. It is a VINTAGES Essential product and always available in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO.

TORRES GRAN CORONAS CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVA 2010 - DO Penedès, Spain (#036483) (D) - $19.95

Wine Review of 2010 Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva from DO Penedès, Spain
Tasting Note:
Cherry and fresh cedar aromas from the cork. Savoury nicotine, smoky and earthy nose, followed by herbal and blackberry aromas of medium+ intensity. Palate is medium-bodied with lively acids. Oak spice, red & black cherry, herbal flavour profile. Medium+ level tannins and a long, warm, oak-spiced and bitter chocolate finish. Spice calmed down to a more pleasing level with air. Score: 87 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedFriday, December 5, 2014

Château Palmer Wine Tasting

Château Palmer Wine Tasting
On , I attended a very special tasting of fine wines produced by world-renowned Château Palmer. This tasting was hosted by Eurovintage Wines & Spirits at the The National Club and featured 6 wines from this famous producer. The timing of this tasting coincided with the Château Palmer dinner that was organized by VINTAGES and taking place later that evening.

The first wine available for tasting was from their Alter Ego label. Given the expansive history of this house that began with the English General Charles Palmer in the early 1800s, the first vintage of Alter Ego wines is practically a baby - beginning only in 1998. This wine shows much of the same finesse, elegance, aromatic richness, harmony and length that is found in their main label, but with a much more approachable price tag.

Palmer was very much interested in the vineyards and wines of this estate, and by 1836 had owned 82 hectares of vines on this prized Margaux site in Bordeaux. The elegantly towered château that currently sits on the site was constructed in 1855 and I'm sure has many stories to tell. I hope to visit the site one of these days. In 1938, when fortunes turned for the worse, the heirs of Palmer had to sell the estate and it has since been turned over to families in England, Holland and France. In the years since, there has been a large focus on producing red wines that show character and terroir at Château Palmer.

We then proceeded to tasted 4 Château Palmer wines from vintages spanning 21 years, ranging from 2004 to 1983. This was an excellent vertical tasting which showed that their wines are approachable now, built-to-last and can gracefully age over the years. All were fantastic quality and very enjoyable to drink right now. As you will see from the wine reviews below, my favourite of the bunch was the 1999 vintage, which appeared to be approaching its prime drinking window, yet still had plenty of stuffing to be cellared for another two decades.

Director, The Americas - Jean-Louis Carbonnier (left)
My second favourite wine was the 1983 Château Palmer. I refrained from tasting the first bottle as other wine folks before me had commented that it was off. The second bottle, which I tasted from, was outstanding! This was easily the oldest wine I had ever tasted. Very mature nose and palate, with balanced acids, alcohol, fruit and tannin. From all the excitement of tasting a wine that was nearly as old as me, I missed taking a picture of the bottle! Oh well... c'est la vie!

The last wine I tasted was the Historical XIXth Century Wine which, as described by Jean-Louis, is an experimental wine and an ode to the winery's past. It was discovered that more than 150 years ago, blending fine Bordeaux wines, including Château Palmer, with grapes from the Northern Rhône was a relatively common practice. This practice came to a halt when AOC regulations were put into place. Given that this wine does not meet the AOC regulations, you will notice that there is no vintage on the label, and it is designated "Vin de France".

Upon departing the tasting and taking some time to reflect, one word comes to mind when describing the wines of Château Palmer - elegant. These red wines have firm tannins, but are elegantly styled with excellent balance between fruit, oak, acids, and alcohol. For the most part, these wines can be enjoyed right now, but can be aged for a period ranging in the decades.

All of these wines are available for order, some in very limited quantities, until through the website.

Tasting Notes:
ALTER EGO 2008 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#403311) (XD) - $139.00
Blend of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of medium-high intensity showing elegant woodsmoke, earthy notes, and touches of sweet ripe black cherry and blackberry. Medium-bodied palate is elegant and juicy with pleasing aroma replays. Acids are nicely balanced, while tannins are refined and silky smooth. Long, smooth, bitter-tasting finish. Lovely! Score: 91 pts

Wine Review of 2008 Alter Ego from AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France

CHÂTEAU PALMER 2004 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#403303) (XD) - $415
This blend of 47% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot has aromas of medium+ intensity and an elegant, seductive nose consisting of red berries, currants, wet tilled earth, blackberry, plum and barnyard. Medium-to-full bodied with good structure and finesse, along with very nice aroma replays on the palate. Nicely balanced acids, as well as balance between fruit and oak. Taut tannins are otherwise smooth and crunchy. Hints of black pepper and minty herbal notes on the very long finish. Enjoyable now, but I would cellar this another 3-4 years and drink up to a decade from now. Score: 92 pts

Wine Review of 2004 Château Palmer from AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France

CHÂTEAU PALMER 1999 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#188664) (XD) (1500 mL) - $889
Tasted from the 750 mL bottle. Final blend consisting of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot. Highly aromatic nose featuring lovely mulberry, blackberry, currant, earthy, leather, along with hints of cassis and licorice. It's medium-to-full bodied with flavours of crushed black fruits, black pepper, sweet spice, plum and oak. Still feels very fresh and youthful with vibrant, mouth-watering acids. Excellent length on the finish. At 15 years old, this is enjoyable now, but big tannins seem a bit young and should develop nicely over the next 15-20 years. My favourite wine of the tasting. Score: 93 pts

Wine Review of 1999 Château Palmer from AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France

CHÂTEAU PALMER 1995 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#403287) (XD) - $529
Blend of 51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Medium+ intensity aromas with mature dried fruits, exotic spice, sweet vanillan, tomato leaf, dried currant, and hints of nut and raisin. It's full-bodied with aroma replays following through on the flavour profile. Has balanced acids, while fine-grained tannins are sinewy and smooth. Very long, dry finish is slightly chalky and has some mature nutty and vanillan flavours. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 91 pts

Wine Review of 1995 Château Palmer from AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France

CHÂTEAU PALMER 1983 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#403279) (XD) - $1,479
Back in 1983, some Cabernet Franc (4%) was added to the blend that consisted of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Medium-high intensity aromas immediately come off as mature - dried currants, red fruits, floral, cedar oak, mocha and some earthy notes. It's medium-to-full bodied with lovely aroma replays and also notes of sweet spice, tobacco and hints of mushroom. Acids are very good, balanced. Hints of sweet vanillan on the excellent, lengthy finish. Drying tannins could hold up to 5 more years, or drink now. Expect some sediment. Score: 95 pts

HISTORICAL XIXth CENTURY L20.07 - Vin de France (#403329) (XD) - $499
This blend contains equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah which was added after ageing. It has medium-high intensity, lifted nose consisting of red & black fruits, black peppercorn, and cedar aromas. On the palate, it's medium+ bodied with flavours of blackberry, currant, cassis, peppercorn and leather. Has mouth-watering acids and big, drying tannins. Complex with good structure, it has elegant oak spice notes and an excellent, lengthy finish. Score: 90 pts

Wine Review of Historical XIXth Century L20.07 from France

First image of this post
  • Date publishedTuesday, December 2, 2014

Torres Sangre de Toro Garnacha 2013 (Spain) - Wine Review

Opened this easy-drinking, red wine . The name for this wine is inspired by Baccus, the Roman god of wine, who was known in ancient times as the "Son of the Bull". This red wine is a General List product and readily available at the LCBO.

TORRES SANGRE DE TORO GARNACHA 2013 - DO Catalunya, Spain (#006585) (D) - $12.95

Wine Review of 2013 Torres Sangre de Toro Garnacha from DO Catalunya, Spain
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Even though it says Garnacha on the label, it is an unspecified blend of Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan). Medium+ intensity aromas showing barnyard, black cherry, plum, and subtle oak. Medium-bodied with soft, rounded tannins and slightly sweet flavours of black cherry, blackberry, red berry, and balanced vanillan oak. Fresh acids will allow for pairing with meals. Medium length finish shows some bitter chocolate, cocoa and resinous flavours. Made in an easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing style. Score: 87 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedMonday, December 1, 2014

Dec. 6 LCBO Wine Picks: Holiday Get-Togethers + Champagne

LCBO Wine Picks from December 6, 2014 VINTAGES Release
New wines for the next, and final LCBO VINTAGES of 2014 will be released this . Once again, the major theme is in-line with the season and titled "Uncork the Festivities - Wines for the Holiday Get-Togthers", while the secondary theme is in preparation for New Year's Celebrations with a slew of Champagne and Sparkling Wines.

Including Champagne, many Sparkling Wines are made using Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir, and quite often Pinot Meunier. The Louis Roederer is a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier, while the Château de Bligny is 100% Chardonnay. The version from Josef Chromy is a blend of 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir, while the rosé Champagne from Lallier is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. From Spain, the Brut Cava is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Macabeo, 20% Parellada and 10% Pinot Noir. All of these sparkling wines are dry (in sweetness), with the exception of the Josef Chromy, which is made in a slightly sweeter style.

2009 Pombal do Vesuvio from DOC Duoro, Portugal
There are also two 2004 vintage Champagnes from Moët & Chandon. First is the Brut that consists of 38% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir and 29% Pinot Meunier. The second Champagne is a Brut Rosé that has 45% Pinot Noir (22% of which is red wine), 31% Chardonnay and 24% Pinot Meunier.

The main feature really lacks focus in my opinion, as there are many fantastic wines featured throughout the magazine that I would happily serve at holiday get-togethers. Among them is a Bonarda/Malbec blend from Alma Negra. For really special get-togethers, look to the Vacqueyras (50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre) or the Pomum Shya Red (63% Cab Sauv, 15% Cab Franc, 11% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot). The KWV Mentors is a Shiraz-led blend, while the Vesuvio is a blend of many grapes led by 60% Touriga Franca. Going up a few notches in price point is the Montes Purple Angel that is 92% Carménère and 8% Petit Verdot, and the Château Cantemerle is from the great 2010 Bordeaux vintage and contains 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 8% Cabernet Franc.

2011 KWV The Mentors Canvas from WO Coastal Region, South Africa2011 Montes Purple Angel from Colchagua Valley, Chile

For sweet wine lovers, there are once again plenty of Rieslings to choose from. Included among them is a version from Vineland Estates that returns to VINTAGES this month after being featured last August. If you missed it last Fall, get it now! Kew's Old Vine Riesling comes from vines that are nearly 40 years old - these are some of the oldest vines in Niagara.

For Chardonnay fans, all of the wine recommendations below are oaked Chardonnays. And if you want to try an aged Malbec, check out the 2004 Malbec from Cicchitti.

Please note that the Cantemerle, Vesuvio, and Christoffel Riesling will all be available in limited quantities only at VINTAGES Flagship stores.

Enjoy your holidays with my wine picks, and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year! Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2012 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#177584) (XD) - $15.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#29280) (D) - $18.95
  • PALACIOS REMONDO LA MONTESA CRIANZA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#674572) (XD) - $18.95
  • ALMA NEGRA M BLEND 2011 - Mendoza, Argentina (#384297) (XD) - $19.95
  • DANDELION VINEYARDS LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2012 - Single Vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia (#357475) (XD) - $19.95

  • CICCHITTI GRAN RESERVA MALBEC 2004 - Mendoza, Argentina (#155713) (XD) - $22.95
  • VIDAL-FLEURY VACQUEYRAS 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#394643) (XD) - $24.95
  • POMUM SHYA RED 2008 - Yakima Valley, Washington, USA (#395566) (XD) - $25.95
  • KWV THE MENTORS CANVAS 2011 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#348839) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • POMBAL DO VESUVIO 2009 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#392365) (XD) - $30.95  reviewed here
  • ELK COVE PINOT NOIR 2012 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#234534) (XD) - $37.95
  • CHÂTEAU CANTEMERLE 2010 - AC Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#256610) (XD) - $58.85
  • MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2011 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#62364) (XD) - $62.95  reviewed here
  • HEITZ CELLAR TRAILSIDE VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#992438) (XD) - $119.95

White Wine:
  • TSELEPOS CLASSIC MOSCHOFILERO 2013 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (#724583) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • CHÂTEAU DU TRIGNON VIOGNIER CÔTES DU RHONE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#394585) (XD) - $18.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2012 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (D) - $18.95
  • KEW VINEYARDS OLD VINE RIESLING 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#392126) (D) - $18.95
  • VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2012 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#038117) (M) - $19.95
  • MOUNTADAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2009 - High Eden, Eden Valley, South Australia (#333211) (XD) - $21.95
  • SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (D) - $22.95  reviewed here
  • VILLA MARIA SOUTHERN CLAYS SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#388405) (XD) - $29.95
  • JOH. JOS. CHRISTOFFEL ERBEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#336396) (MS) - $29.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • FREIXENET ELYSSIA GRAN CUVÉE BRUT CAVA - DO, Spain (#392548) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOSEF CHROMY SPARKLING 2008 - Méthode Traditionnelle, Tasmania, Australia (#393629) (D) - $29.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE BLIGNY BLANC DE BLANCS CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#385112) (XD) - $49.95
  • LALLIER ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 1ER CRU - AC, France (#385179) (XD) - $56.95
  • LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#268771) (XD) - $69.95
  • MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2004 - AC, France (#069773) (XD) - $84.95
  • MOËT & CHANDON GRAND VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2004 - AC, France (#069831) (D) - $91.95

Dessert Wine:
  • PUKLUS PINCÉSZET TOKAJI ASZÚ 5 PUTTONYOS 2008 - Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary (#047209) (S) (500 mL) - $35.95
  • CHÂTEAU SUDUIRAUT 2010 - 1er Cru Classé, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#256206) (S) (375 mL) - $62.85

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

First image of this post
  • Date publishedSaturday, November 29, 2014

Torres Viña Esmeralda Semi Dry White 2013 (Spain) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is a white blend featuring two very elegant and aromatic grapes - Moscatel and Gewürztraminer. Both of these grapes hail from a mountainous area of the Upper Penedès. This is an LCBO General List products and readily available.

TORRES VIÑA ESMERALDA SEMI DRY WHITE 2013 - DO Catalunya, Spain (#377465) (D) - $13.95
Wine Review of 2013 Torres Viña Esmeralda Semi Dry White from DO Catalunya, Spain
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Blend of 85% Mosacatel de Alejandría and 15% Gewürztraminer. The Gewürz really shines through with lychee, rose petals and honeydew melon wafting from the glass, with tropical fruit, melon, apricot, lychee notes on the palate. Medium-dry sweet with a fine seam of acidity. Lengthy finish shows some heat, along with tart, mineral and bitter notes. Score: 87 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedSunday, November 23, 2014

Hermanos Lurton Tempranillo 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

Opened this juicy, red wine last night. It's from the Toro region of Spain, located in the northwestern part of country and is a General List product and readily available at the LCBO.

HERMANOS LURTON TEMPRANILLO 2011 - DO Toro, Spain (#372342) (D) - $16.90

Wine Review of 2011 Hermanos Lurton Tempranillo from DO Toro, Spain
Tasting Note:
Woodsy and vanilla aromas from the cork. Cherry, bitter chocolate, dark currant and hints of cola as it warms up in the glass. Medium-bodied with firm tannic structure and mild oak spice along with dark cherry, cola, and currant notes. Juicy palate with fresh, vibrant acids and a dry, medium-long finish. 15% alc/vol is hidden well. Score: 88 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedSaturday, November 22, 2014

2014 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo

Tutored Tasting on Wine Faults at GFWE
I arrived for the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo VIP Night at the Metro Convention Centre, where it has always been held since as far back as I can remember, checked in at the Trade & Media booth to get my badge and wristband, and then proceeded down the hall to first attend a seminar on Wine Faults.

This was a very interesting seminar, as we learned about the 2 basic types of faults – oxidative and reductive. We tasted some Sauvignon Blanc that was fresh and typical of the varietal, then compared this same wine that had been either artificially oxidized and reduced. One of these glasses had an oxidized Savvy, and tasted like it was off with a nose of stewed orchard fruit, green apple and wet dog flavours. The other three glasses had a Savvy that had been reduced to various different levels. Prominent notes of sulphur and rotten eggs were found in glasses 3 and 4, while the 5th glass had aromas of rubber and mineral.

Keep in mind that some oxidation can be desirable in some wines - such as big, red Cabs or even Port wine, which also usually change their colour to brick-red or brown; the colour of white wines tends to change to a darker yellow or brownish tones. Only when a wine is over-oxidized do undesirable traits being to show. The principal is much the same for reduced wines, where too much reductive activity will lead to undesirable wines.

The last part of this seminar involved adding a few drops of Copper Sulphate to a few of the wines and see the results. The first wine, which was normal, suddenly tasted like it had been aged and oxidized a number years in just a couple of minutes. When we added Copper Sulphate to wine #3, it cleared up the wine completely and smelled and tasted quite normal. However, adding the chemical to wine #4 did not make any difference. Thus, the experiment shows that wines that have been slightly reduced can be fixed. Please do not try this with your wines at home.

Once the seminar was finished, I made my way through the trade & media entrance and began tasting some wine. The crowd was still fairly light on this VIP Thursday evening, which I didn't mind considering how packed it was last year. Methodically going through the aisles one-by-one, it seemed as though there were more smaller exhibitors, and fewer big displays. Maybe it's just me, but there also seemed to be fewer restaurants participating this year.

Hidden Bench Terroir Caché 2010 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada

Photos and wine scores of many of my favourite wines that I tasted on this night are posted below, many of which can be found at the LCBO. Due to the volume of yummy wines I tasted, detailed reviews will be posted at a later date. As usual, the Hidden Bench booth is a must stop for any wine aficionado. As well, wine shows are a great place to try some new wines that you may have never heard about or considered purchasing - keep that in mind as you peruse the floor.

One of the highlights was meeting the recently-crowned German Wine Queen, Janina Huhn. We spoke at length about wines and how being crowned 'The 66th Queen' has changed her life. She can be found all weekend long, along with her Royal Chair, at the Wines of Germany booth to engage in conversation or take photos.

Fire in the Kitchen Rubs & Spices
Given my self-imposed dietary restrictions, food options seemed quite limited. After having toured the entire venue and tasting many, many wines, I was famished, and headed straight to the Fire in the Kitchen booth, where I had seen earlier in the night their full-sized grilled cheese stuffed with chicken, caramelized onions and pickles. This really hit the spot and tasted even better when topped with some of their specialty rubs & spices!

Next, with time running out and still many tickets remaining in-hand, I found Ourrr Lobster Shack and settled for a 6" lobster roll. At $9, it was a bit pricey, but yummy. Still not quite full, I searched for Amaya Restaurant, but by the time I finally found them, they had already run out of food and were packing up. So, I decided at this point that dessert might be my best option to close out the night.

Marble Slab Creamery
Two orders of Marble Slab Creamery would fit the bill nicely. Vanilla cheesecake ice cream mashed with raspberries and chocolate brownie, followed by a decadent Gingerbread ice cream topped with graham cracker crumbs and caramel - both satisfied my sweet tooth.

Lastly, it was great to see so many friendly faces on both sides of the counter, many of whom I met over the last few years. It was also very nice to meet some new folks - hopefully, our paths will cross again.

Hope everyone enjoys the show as much as I did this year. The Gourmet Food & Wine Expo runs until Sunday. Tickets can be purchased here. Cheers!

PERSUASION DRAGON BLEND 2010 - Sonoma, California, USA (#) (XD) - $37.95
Booth: Noteworthy Wines booth. Blend of Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chalk Hill Merlot. Available for licensees only, so you'll want to try this here. Score: 90 pts

Persuasion Dragon Blend 2010 from Sonoma, California, USACornerstone Cabernet-Merlot 2010 from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

CORNERSTONE CABERNET-MERLOT 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $19.00
Booth: Winery. Hails from the great 2010 vintage, highly aromatic nose featuring smoky, black fruits and hints of barnyard. Palate it big and full-bodied with dark fruit, flowers and rhubarb flavours. Balanced acids and very good length on the finish. Could age another 4-5 years, but drinking well now. Not many left, according to the owner. Score: 89 pts

GARCIA CARRION MAYOR DE CASTILLA CRIANZA 2010 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#318931) (D) - $15.95
Booth: Christoper Stewart Wine & Spirits. 100% Tempranillo. Medium intensity nose showing dark fruits, dark cherry, currant and cedar oak aromas. It's medium-to-full bodied with balanced oak and dark, stewed fruits, black cherry, and blackberry flavours. Has balanced acids and a long finish. Very good value. Score: 89 pts

Garcia Carrion Mayor de Castilla Crianza 2010 from DO Ribera del Duero, Spain

RIO MADRE 2013 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#354753) (XD) - $14.95
Booth: Christoper Stewart Wine & Spirits. Rare to see 100% Graciano wine. Low-to-medium intensity nose with black cherry, black currant, cedar oak, and hints of cherry aromas. Palate is medium+bodied with flavours of blackberry, floral, oak, and sweet ripe fruits. Good acids, rounded tannins and a medium length finish. Will be available in VINTAGES on January 10. Score: 87+ pts

Booth: Mark Anthony Brands. Quite dry with just a hint of sweetness. Will be on sale at the LCBO very soon. Score: 89 pts

HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $23.95
Booth: Winery. Organically grown from estate vineyards. Medium-high intensity aromas with lovely orange, Flintstones vitamins, and citrus with crisp aroma replays on a light frame. Medium-dry in sweetness and juicy, with bracing acids and very good length on the finish. Quality stuff. Was released into VINTAGES on August 2nd. Score: 89+ pts

HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $28.95
Booth: Winery. Barrel fermented in French oak; partial malolactic fermentation. Ripe pear and butter aroma profile with much of the same on the palate, plus some butterscotch and caramel for complexity. Medium-to-full bodied with restrained use of oak and just a kiss of sweetness on the palate. There's a fine seam of acidity and the finish is excellent in length. Released in VINTAGES on November 8th. Score: 90 pts

HIDDEN BENCH PINOT NOIR 2012 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#274753) (XD) - $29.95
Booth: Winery. Classic Pinot aromas and flavours. Elegant nose of sour cherry, strawberry and beetroot of medium-high intensity with balanced aroma replays on the palate, along with hints of mushroom and subtle oak spice. Medium+ level of tannins are not overbearing and show good balance with the very good acids. Well-balanced red wine with excellent length on the finish. Drink now or over the next 5 years. Available in VINTAGES. Score: 91 pts

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2013 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, CanadaHidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2012 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, CanadaHidden Bench Pinot Noir 2012 from VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada

HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ 2010 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada (#505610) (XD) - $38.20
Booth: Winery. Blend of 53% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Malbec. Seductive medley of purple, black and red fruits, along with floral, cherry, licorice, forest floor, sweet vanilla and hints of cocoa. On the palate, it's full-bodied and has violet, cassis, black & red currants, licorice and oak flavours. Complex and poised with mouth-watering acids and a finish that lasts! Amazing wine! Released in VINTAGES on November 8th. Score: 92 pts

LIGHTHALL PROGRESSION 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#) (D) - $20
Booth: Winery. Off-dry sparkling wine made with 100% Vidal. Score: 89 pts

Lighthall Progression 2013 from VQA Ontario, CanadaHeinrich Blaufränkisch 2012 from DAC Burgenland, Austria

HEINRICH BLAUFRÄNKISCH 2012 - DAC Burgenland, Austria (#) (XD) - $24.95
Booth: Wines of Austria. Made using the Blaufränkisch grape (also known as Lemberger), this comes across as quite similar to Pinot Noir with earthy, sour cherry, beetroot aromas. It's light-to-medium bodied with strawberry, cherry, red fruit and oak spice flavours on the palate. Has very good acids and a long finish. Score: 89 pts

DR. LOOSEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT 2013 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#927756) (MD) - $21.95
Booth: Wines of Germany. Medium-high intensity aromatics showing lovely citrus, petrol and orange aromas, with all making a balanced appearance on the palate. Medium-dry sweet with vibrant acids and a lengthy finish. Released in VINTAGES on October 11th. Score: 91 pts

Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2013 from Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany

STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#912659) (M) - $28.95
Booth: Wines of Germany. Mineral-driven orange zest and petrol aromas of medium-high intensity. Vibrant acids on the mineral-driven palate with peach flavours dominating the flavour profile. Medium in sweetness and excellent length on the finish. Gorgeous wine for those that enjoy sweet wines. Released in VINTAGES on October 11th. Score: 91 pts

Booth: Wines of Germany. Highly aromatic nose featuring sweet beeswax, citrus, and honey wafting out of the glass. Medium-bodied palate is medium sweet with honeyed fruit and orange flavours. Excellent balance overall with finely tuned acids and a mineral-tinged finish that goes on forever. My favourite wine of the evening and was released in VINTAGES on September 27th. Score: 93 pts

Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2012 from Pradikätswein, Mosel, GermanyWegeler Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett 2012 from Rheingau, Germany

Booth: Sommelier Tasting Bar in VIP Area. Released in VINTAGES on November 8th. Grapes for this wine come from 60-year-old vines. Unoaked. Elegant buttered popcorn and buttery apple aromas with very nice aroma replays on the medium+ bodied, creamy palate. Good balance over all, with balanced acids and a long, smooth finish. Delightful! Score: 90 pts

Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2013 from AC, Burgundy, France

Booth: Winery. Delicious dessert wine made with cranberry and some maple syrup. Score: 90 pts

Muskoka Lakes Winery Red Maple 2012

First image of this post
  • Date publishedTuesday, November 18, 2014

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2013 (Niagara) - Wine Review

While the 2012 Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay was classified as VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, the 2013 edition is VQA Niagara Peninsula. It is certified organic and vegan friendly, with grapes sourced from 5 different vineyards within the Niagara Peninsula: Laundry, Southbrook, Sabourin, Reimer and Saunders vineyards.

This delicious white wine was opened over the and will be available on shelves as part of the LCBO VINTAGES release.

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172338) (D) - $22.95

Wine Review of 2013 Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Tasting Note:
Stelvin screw cap. Medium-high, complex aromatics with buttered popcorn, apple, pear, pineapple and whiffs of smoke and pineapple which all make an appearance on the flavour profile. Palate is medium+ bodied, lean with some creaminess, and a hint of sweetness. The very good acids keep the slightly sweet fruit in check. Slight heat on the long finish which also has honeyed fruit and vanilla spice flavours. Enjoy over the next 3 years. Score: 90 pts

First image of this post
  • Date publishedMonday, November 17, 2014

Nov. 22 LCBO Wine Picks: Top Wines for the Holidays

LCBO Wine Picks from November 22, 2014 VINTAGES Release
Wines from the next LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves this and essentially continues the theme from the last release - fine wines for the holidays.

This is another massive release, as you will see from my wine picks below. I have split up the red wine picks into three groups - value-based wines, premium wines, and super premium wines for those with really deep pockets.

We'll begin at the high-end of the scale with a Parker-rated 100 point wine - from the great 2010 vintage is the Château Pontet-Canet (65% Cab Sauv, 30% Merlot and 5% Cab Franc/Petit Verdot) and can be decanted and enjoyed now or cellared over the next 30+ years, if you can hold off that long. From Rhône is the Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and 5% Cinsault, while Napa's Joseph Phelps Insignia is a blend of 82% Cab Sauv, 11% Petit Verdot, and small amounts of Malbec, Merlot and Cab Franc; both of these wines can be enjoyed over the next 15 years. The Masi Amarone is ageable for up to 10 years and is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. You might be surprised to know that the Tuscan wine Sassicaia is made without any traces of local varietals - it's made using 85% Cab Sauv and 15% Cab Franc - and should be cellared for at least a few years and enjoyed through the next decade. All of the wines in this price category should be cellared for at least a few years and would make excellent gifts for your special wine lovers in your life.

In the premium red wine category, there are 3 wines from Rhône including a Crozes-Hermitage that is 100% Syrah, and a Grenache-led blend from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It's uncommon to see Syrah in a Portuguese wine, but there is 40% Syrah in the version from Quinta da Romaneira (local grape Touriga Nacional makes up the rest of the blend). Syrah is also uncommon in Spain, but once again 40% of the blend from Finca Constancia is Syrah, while the balance is Petit Verdot. Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz) is also available in the The Holy Trinity GSM blend, with 56% Grenache, 33% Shiraz and 11% Mourvèdre. The Brunello and Barolo keep to their traditional roots by, respectively, using Sangiovese and Nebbiolo - and you'll want to lay these to rest for a couple of years prior to opening.

Rhône was quite well-represented in this release with 11 wines, all but one from the 2012 vintage. Included among them are two from Michel Gassier's Les Halos de Jupiter label. His Cotes du Rhône is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre, while the Costières de Nimes is 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. Lastly, wait a year for the tannins to settle in the Aydie l'Origine, which is made from 70% Tannat and 30% Cab Franc.

In white wines, the Côtes du Roussillon Blanc is a blend of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Marsanne. Of the multiple Chardonnays listed among my wine recommendations below, all are oaked, except for the Billaud-Simon . For sweet wine lovers, I would recommend moving straight to the Fortifieds or the Dessert Wine section. In particular, the Sauternes from Raymond-Lafon is a poor man's Yquem at a fraction of the price; both Sauternes are blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Enjoy my wine picks for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • AYDIE L’ORIGINE 2011 - AC Madiran, Southwest, France (#343566) (XD) - $15.95
  • LES HALOS DE JUPITER COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#309153) (XD) - $16.95
  • SANTA RITA MEDALLA REAL GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#275594) (XD) - $17.95
  • DOMAINE DE L’HERMINETTE GRAND CRAS MORGON 2013 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#390476) (XD) - $19.95
  • LES HALOS DE JUPITER CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#276956) (D) - $19.95

  • FINCA CONSTANCIA ALTOS DE LA FINCA 2011 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain (#383984) (XD) - $21.95
  • GRANDS SERRES LES HAUTES VACQUIERES VACQUEYRAS 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#395194) (XD) - $24.95
  • M. CHAPOUTIER PETITE RUCHE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#264655) (XD) - $24.95
  • QUINTA DA ROMANEIRA TOURIGA NACIONAL/SYRAH 2010 - Vinho Regional Duriense, Portugal (#392316) (D) - $29.95
  • GRANT BURGE THE HOLY TRINITY GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVÈDRE 2011 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#236257) (D) - $29.95
  • TENUTA LA FUGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#212837) (XD) - $44.95
  • BREZZA SARMASSA BAROLO 2009 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#999730) (XD) - $49.95
  • TWO HANDS BELLA’S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2012 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#636407) (D) - $63.95

  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (D) - $89.95
  • STAGS’ LEAP THE LEAP ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#142844) (XD) - $89.95
  • CHÂTEAU MALESCOT ST. EXUPÉRY 2010 - 3e Cru, AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#261552) (XD) - $149.85
  • SASSICAIA 2011 - DOC Bolgheri-Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy (#480533) (XD) - $199.95
  • CHÂTEAU PONTET-CANET 2010 - 5e Cru, AC Pauillac, Bordeaux, France (#259119, #259200, #259184, #259242, #259473, #260588) (XD) - $249.85
  • JOSEPH PHELPS INSIGNIA 2011 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#710400) (XD) - $258.95

White Wine:
  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2013 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $15.95
  • TRAMIN PINOT GRIGIO 2013 - DOC Südtirol - Alto Adige, Italy (#627059) (XD) - $17.95
  • LAGOON HILL SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand (#388389) (XD) - $18.95
  • ANSELMO MENDES CONTACTO ALVARINHO 2013 - DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#393058) (XD) - $19.95
  • McWILLIAM’S MOUNT PLEASANT ELIZABETH SEMILLON 2007 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#724492) (XD) - $19.95
  • PONDVIEW BELLA TERRA CHARDONNAY 2011 - Barrel Fermented, VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#347922) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • MISSION HILL S.L.C. CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#144170) - $24.95
  • DR. LOOSEN ERDENDER TREPPCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2013 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#393181) (M) - $25.95
  • MACROSTIE CHARDONNAY 2012 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#244467) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • BILLAUD-SIMON MONTÉE DE TONNERRE CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2009 - AC, Burgundy, France (#325241) (XD) - $47.95
  • PAHLMEYER CHARDONNAY 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#147454) (XD) - $96.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE ESTATE BLANC DE BLANC 2009 - Traditional Method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (D) - $44.95

  • DOMAINE BOULETIN VIN DOUX NATUREL MUSCAT DE BEAUMES DE VENISE 2012 - AP, Rhône, France (#393033) (MS) (375 mL) - $15.95
  • TORRES FLORALIS MOSCATEL ORO - Spain (#642173) (MS) (500 mL) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • CROFT VINTAGE PORT 2011 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#362343) (MS) - $120.00

Dessert Wine:
  • QUADY ESSENSIA ORANGE MUSCAT 2012 - California, USA (#299552) (S) (375 mL) - $14.95
  • PONDVIEW VIDAL ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#390351) (S) (200 mL) - $18.95
  • PUKLUS PINCÉSZET SZAMORODNI SWEET TOKAJI 2009 - Hungary (#179374) (MS) (500 mL) - $18.95
  • REIF VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Ontario, Canada (#544791) (S) (200 mL) - $24.95
  • CHÂTEAU RAYMOND-LAFON 2010 - AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#256362) (S) (375 mL) - $31.85
  • CHÂTEAU SUDUIRAUT 2010 - 1er Cru Classé, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#256214) (S) - $129.85

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

First image of this post
  • Date publishedTuesday, November 11, 2014

Creekside Estate Winery Wine Tasting

Wine reviews of various wines from Creekside Estate Winery
I received these delicious wine samples from Creekside Estate Winery recently and opened them up a couple of weeks ago on a crisp, Fall .

Creekside has been making premium wine since 1997, when owner Laura McCain pursued a passion for wine by purchasing a 15-acre vineyard and winery on Fourth Avenue in Jordan. The darlings of their portfolio at the time were Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz - neither grape particularly known for doing well in Niagara during this period.

The year 1999 marked the first of several major face lifts to the site, including the addition of shiny new stainless steel tanks with temperature control jackets, a brand new crush pad, and a pneumatic press. In 2000, an underground barrel cellar for fermentation and aging was added to the site.

Growing consumer demand meant more grapes were required to produce more wine. Creekside purchased a 50-acre vineyard site on St. David's Bench and named it the Queenston Road Vineyard (QRV). This site now produces some of their best wines, including their award-winning Syrah that I tasted at the winery in September.

Due to growing popularity over the years, a brand new retail store and covered outdoor deck was built in 2008. During this time, new labels, packaging and website were all face-lifted and are the current look-and-feel that you see today.

Creekside's slogan is "Serious wine from an irreverent bunch". After visiting them last month and my wine reviews below, I can agree that their wines are serious.

Tasting Notes:
CREEKSIDE PINOT GRIGIO 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#083196) (XD) - $14.95
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity aromas with lime, peach, apple and leesy notes. Dry, medium-bodied palate with crisp, lively acids and pleasing aroma replays. Crisp, medium-length finish that is slightly bitter and tart. LCBO General List and widely available. Score: 87 pts

Wine review of 2012 Creekside Pinot Grigio from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

CREEKSIDE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#620724) (XD) - $13.95
Screw cap. Elegant, medium intensity nose showing gooseberry, kiwi, guava and lime aromas. It's medium-weighted and echos the aromas, along with some greenness on the flavour profile. Balanced acids. Tropical fruit & lime flavours on the medium+ length on the finish. Well balanced overall. LCBO General List and widely available. Score: 88 pts

Wine review of 2013 Creekside Sauvignon Blanc from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

ICONOCLAST SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $17.95
Screw cap. Nose seems somewhat closed but shows mandarine orange, guava, kiwi and some earthy aromas. Medium+ bodied and fleshy palate with lemon/lime, green leaf and mineral flavours. Has a fine seam of acidity that dances on the long, dry finish. Score: 88 pts

Wine review of 2013 Iconoclast Sauvignon Blanc from VQA Creek Shores, Ontario, Canada

CREEKSIDE CABERNET SHIRAZ 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#305300) (XD)  - $16.95
Comprised of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Shiraz. Screw cap. Lifted nose featuring smoky, meaty, peppercorn and cassis aromas, Some distinct barnyard notes as it opens up in the glass. Medium-full bodied palate with dark, brooding tannins and mouth-watering acids. Flavours of blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, black pepper, vanillan oak and cocoa. Drinkable now and can be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years. LCBO General List and widely available. Score: 88+ pts

Wine review of 2012 Creekside Cabernet Shiraz from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

First image of this post
  • Date publishedSaturday, November 8, 2014

Herederos Del Marqués de Riscal (Spain) - Wine Reviews

Tonight's wines are a pair of Spanish wines from Marqués de Riscal. Founded in 1858, Marques de Riscal is one of the oldest wineries in all of Rioja. Their first wines were bottled four years later, in 1862, and won numerous awards over the years. Fast forward to 1972, when Marqués de Riscal produced their first white wines in Rueda. This winery continued it's innovative and pioneering ways in 1995 when they introduced the very first grape sorting table within the Rioja appellation. And most recently, it was awarded Best European Winery in 2013 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Wine labels of Marqués de Riscal wines

As you will see from my wine review below, both of these wines are delicious. Furthermore, both of these wines are general listed at the LCBO and readily available.

Tasting Notes:
MARQUÉS DE RISCAL 2013 - DO Rueda, Spain (#036822) (XD) - $12.55
Screw cap. 100% Verdejo. Medium-high aromatics showing lovely floral, herbal nose, with a backdrop of earth, and hints of guava and banana. Very complex nose. Palate is medium+ bodied with herbal, white grapefruit, passion fruit and hints of tropical fruit. Fresh acids are nicely balanced, while the dry finish is very good. Excellent value! Get the 2013 while it's still available. Score: 88+ pts

Wine review of 2013 Marqués de Riscal from DO Rueda, Spain

MARQUÉS DE RISCAL RESERVA 2008 - DOC Rioja, Spain (#032656) (XD) - $24.65
Mostly Tempranillo with 7% Graciano and 3% Mazuelo (Carignan). Plum and old, wet wood aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity aromas featuring dried fruit, cedar, blackberry, plums and hints of underbrush. It's medium-bodied with an earthy core surrounded by notions of black cherry, blackberry, dried fruits, and herbally notes. Acids are still very fresh. Tannins are slightly dusty, but otherwise very smooth. Excellent length on the cherry-earthy finish. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Wine review of 2008 Marqués de Riscal Reserva from DOC Rioja, Spain

Blog Archive

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget


My Zimbio
Blogarama - Drinks & Beverages Blogs
Top Wine Sites
Wine blog
RSSChomp Blog Directory