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  • Date publishedTuesday, March 31, 2015

Wine Review - Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling 2012 (Mosel)

Opened this delicious, sweet-flavoured white wine . It was purchased last summer from the July 19th LCBO VINTAGES release with the intention of opening it for guests during my daughter's 1st birthday party. Unfortunately, I never got around to opening it that day.

DR. PAULY-BERGWEILER RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Mosel, Germany (#596601) (M) - $13.95

Wine Review of 2012 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling from Mosel, Germany (88+ pts)
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity aromas featuring nectarine, petrol, limestone mineral, citrus and hints of lemon and smoke. On the palate, it's mid-weighted with crisp acids and medium-dry sweet flavours of stone fruit, lemon/lime, and minerals. Slightly chalky on the mid-palate. Interesting stone flavours on the crisp, lengthy finish. Yummy. Paired really well with Masala Fried Chicken. Score: 88+ pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, March 30, 2015

Apr. 4 LCBO Wine Picks: Veneto + Ontario Wines for Easter

LCBO Wine Picks from April 4, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves this . For those folks in Toronto's downtown core, you may find wines on shelves as early as Wednesday and some stores in and around the city may have them out as early as Thursday or Friday. Pay a visit to your local store prior to Saturday to see when they stock the shelves.

In this release, the major theme is on wines from Veneto, while the secondary theme highlights Ontario wines for upcoming feasts.

The VINTAGES team did something interesting in this release with the Veneto thematic by trying to associate each letter of the alphabet with something from the region (e.g. A is for Amarone, B is for Baroque Music, C is for Corvina, etc.). However, only 11 wines were selected as part of the theme, four of which fell under V is for Valpolicella.

Only three Veneto wines are included among my wine picks, including one of the aforementioned Valpolicellas from Feudi San Pio that is made using the Ripasso technique - expect some sweet-fruited flavours. From the letter "R" is a Recioto from Monte Faustino that takes the sweetness levels up a few notches in this red wine. Lastly, under the letter "S" is a Soave, Veneto's signature white wine, from Montresor that is made using Garganega.

The mini-theme of Ontario wines for Easter featured 6 wines, and only the Fielding Viognier made my wine picks. Other Ontario wines not part of the thematic, but I think would also be perfectly suitable for Easter are the Flat Rock Riesling (medium sweet), Creekside Laura's White (a blend that is mostly Sauvignon Blanc), and Henry of Pelham Chardonnay.

From the rest of the release are a pair of matured Spanish reds, including the 10-year-old Monasterio de las Viñas (60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 10% Cariñena) and the 7-year-old Bodegas Muriel Reserva that is 100% Tempranillo. Another fabulous wine from the great 2010 Bordeaux vintage is the Château Haut Selve Réserve that is nearly 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend and should be cellared for at least a couple of years prior to opening.

And finally, if you want to end your Easter festivities this year with one terrific wine, check out the Château La Tour Blanche. This sweet dessert wine is a blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, from Noble Rot-affected grapes. You may see me lining at a VINTAGES Flagship Store up for this one.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week and Happy Easter. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • AGRIVERDE PIANE DI MAGGIO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2013 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#394999) (D) - $15.95
  • MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS GRAN RESERVA 2005 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#082024) (XD) - $16.95
  • FEUDI SAN PIO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2012 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#181446) (D) - $17.95
  • CARMEN GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2012 - Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile (#439166) (XD) - $17.95
  • MURIEL RESERVA VENDIMIA SELECCIONADA 2008 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#276030) (D) - $18.95
  • TSCHARKE MARANANGA GNADENFREI SHIRAZ 2011 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#303370) (XD) - $26.95
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT SELVE RÉSERVE 2010 - AC Graves, Bordeaux, France (#235424) (XD) - $27.95
  • MONTE FAUSTINO RECIOTO DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2008 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#403857) (M) (500 mL) - $45.95
  • FULIGNI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2008 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#245225) (XD) - $49.95
  • VITANZA RISERVA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2007 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#236232) (XD) - $89.95  Flagship Store Exclusive

White Wine:
  • MONTRESOR SOAVE CLASSICO 2013 - DOP, Veneto, Italy (#408302) (D) - $13.95
  • FLAT ROCK RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#043281) (M) - $16.95
  • GEHRINGER BROTHERS PRIVATE RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2013 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#347203) (XD) - $18.95
  • CREEKSIDE LAURA’S WHITE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#121764) (XD) - $18.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#268342) (XD) - $19.95
  • FORREST THE DOCTORS’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#317842) (D) - $19.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $24.95
  • FIELDING VIOGNIER 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#142323) (D) - $25.95
  • DOMAINE JEAN COLLET & FILS MONTMAINS CHABLIS 1 ER CRU 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#405704) (XD) - $31.95

  • CÁLEM LÁGRIMA WHITE PORT - DOP, Douro, Portugal (#912568) (S) - $16.95

Dessert Wine:

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

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  • Date publishedWednesday, March 25, 2015

Juan Gil 4 Meses 2011 (Spain) - Wine Review

Tonight's red wine is courtesy of the fine folks at Kylix Wines. Periodically, this wine does show up at the LCBO. However, the latest vintage of this wine (2013) is currently only available via Consignment through Kylix Wines. This wine was aged 4 months (i.e. 4 meses) in French and American oak barrels.

JUAN GIL 4 MESES 2011 - DO Jumilla, Spain (#013656) (XD) - $15.95

Wine Review of 2011 Juan Gil 4 Meses from DO Jumilla, Spain (88+ pts)
Tasting Note:
100% Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvèdre). Plum, prune and menthol aromas from the cork. In the glass, it has aromas of within the dark spectrum with black currant, blackberry and dark cocoa with hints of raisins. On the palate, it's medium-bodied with a complex flavour profile featuring new cedar oak, spice, new leather, wild herb, and dark fruit, along with hints of floral and violets. Acids are fresh, while tannins are still quite firm. Medium length on the earthy-toned finish. This could be cellared another 3-5 years, but is enjoyable now. Will be paired tonight with Tandoori-style chicken wings. Score: 88+ pts

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  • Date publishedSunday, March 22, 2015

MadeWithLove - Canada's Largest Mixing Competition is Coming to Toronto

After a successful run in Montreal last December, the largest and most extravagant mixology competitive event, MadeWithLove™, continues its tour across Canada to the great city of Toronto. The finals will be held on at Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex located at 25 British Columbia Rd, from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Tickets are available for $65 at or at participating locations.

21 bartenders from across the city will compete during the finals to impress over 1000 cocktail enthusiasts with exclusive and innovative creations. Each cocktail will be judged based on its originality, creativity and taste. This year marks the start of a new trend at the competition, a food pairing; a promising new addition which will only serve to enhance the overall experience of the event.

Come and enjoy the cocktails created by the finalists who qualified at College Street Bar in early January (click here to watch the video):
  • Aaron Male, Campagnolo
  • Alex James, Hopgood’s Foodliner
  • Andrés Márquez, Fonda Lola
  • Andrew Hunter, The County General
  • Brett Intrater, Independent
  • Dan Tavares, Mr. Flamingo
  • Ger Cullen, Her Majesty’s Pleasure
  • Jake Valianes, Linwood Essentials
  • Joe Howell, The Spoke Club
  • Holly Dewan, The Whirppoorwill Restaurant & Tavern
  • Japhet Bower, Parlor Foods & Co
  • Mana Moghada, Blowfish Restaurant & Sake Bar
  • Michael Crispo. Soho House
  • Michael Fortier, Drake One Fifty
  • Michele Maffei, Balsamico
  • Nick Incretolli, Urban Tavern On George
  • Parham Rahimi, Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
  • Rob Renda, BartenderOne
  • Rory West, Pastizza
  • Ryan Desjardins, College Street Bar
  • Will Howden, Howden Bar Service

The People's Choice and Judge's Choice winners will represent the city at the National Finale which is slated to be held in Toronto on .

Click here to purchase your tickets. Your ticket will give to access to taste the 21 cocktails, the food pairing and afford you the right to vote for the People's Choice.

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  • Date publishedThursday, March 19, 2015

Invitation to 4th Annual County in the City - Toronto

Join us on at Airship 37 (37 Parliament Street, Toronto) and sample some of the best wines Prince Edward County has to offer! Over twenty different County wineries under one Toronto roof!

At the 4th annual "County in the City" presented by WineAlign, samples of more than 50 different wines will be tasted to delight the palates of Torontonians and introduce them to some of the most enticing flavours of Prince Edward County; the world’s fastest growing wine region. Over 20 small-batch and family-owned wineries will showcase their pride and joy (including new vintages and specialty wines) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Some returning wineries this year are Casa Dea Estates Winery, Lighthall Vineyards, Karlo Estates Winery, Harwood Estate Vineyard and Norman Hardie Winery to name a few. Some new-comers include Trail Estate Winery and Black Prince Winery!

Many of the County wines showcased at the event are not available at retail wine outlets in the GTA, so guests are strongly encouraged to take part in the "Try and Buy" program and have delicious County wines delivered right to their door. Mix and match bottles from different wineries and receive FREE shipping (minimum 6 bottles).

I've attended each year and will once again be in attendance. Here are past posts about this event and its wines:

2014 County in the City - Toronto
Prince Edward County Tasting in 2012

$49 (includes food and all wine samples).
$60 at the door (subject to availability)
Tickets can be purchased here and includes a FREE Thursday ticket to the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival ($20 Value) in June when you purchase your tickets using my link:

Buy Tickets to 4th Annual County in the City - Toronto

Facebook -
Twitter - @winefestival

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  • Date publishedMonday, March 16, 2015

Mar. 21 LCBO Wine Picks: Cali Icons + Southwest France

Wine Picks from March 21, 2015 LCBO VINTAGES Release
The next LCBO VINTAGES release will be on shelves this . The major theme of this release highlights many of the biggest names in California's wine scene and is titled "Cali Icons". As such, we find many high-priced wines that are beyond the reach of most people. However, if you have the deep pockets or are really into wine, there are 5 wines worth your attention and all are north of $70.

First up is the Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon that hails from the Santa Cruz Mountains and contains 14% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc - it will drink well for the next 6-7 years. The Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon is organic & biodynamic and almost all Cab with just dashes of Petit Verdot (5%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Merlot (1% ). The Cade Cabernet Sauvignon is also all Napa Valley fruit, but specifically from Howell Mountain, and includes 7% Merlot to round out the blend. The Dominus is the most expensive wine in the release and it is composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc and can be enjoyed over the next decade. Lastly, the Cakebread Dancing Bear Ranch is available as part of the Flagship Store Exclusive release and contains 13% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot.

The mini-theme of this release features 6 big, food-friendly wines from Southwest, France. From this portion of the release, only a premium Cahors made the list - a red wine that is 100% Malbec from vines that are 60+ years old.

If you're looking for quality red wines under $20, this release is a little light. However, there is a big 100% Xinomavro from Greece that could be aged for at least another 10 years. There is also traditional Bordeaux-blend from Ontario - a 2012 Cab Franc/Cab Sauv/Merlot blend from Pondview. Actual Bordeaux wines that are worth considering are a Cab Sauv/Merlot blend from Les Charmes de Magnol and a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc/Petit Verdot (60/35/4/1%) from iconic Château Pontet-Canet.

In white wines, the only blend is from Rhône's E. Guigal and it consists of 65% Viognier, 15% Roussane, 10% Marsanne, 8% Clairette, and 2% Bourboulenc. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to check out either Riesling from Germany or Ontario, or the Pinot Gris from Alsace.

Enjoy my wine picks for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • CASTELLO DI AMA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#403824) (XD) (375 mL) - $16.95
  • BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE 2008 - PDO Naoussa, Greece (#140111) (XD) - $17.95
  • PONDVIEW RESERVE CABERNET/MERLOT 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#307561) (XD) - $18.95
  • LES CHARMES DE MAGNOL 2010 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#403709) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION RED BLEND 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#322602) (D) - $26.95
  • CHARLES CIMICKY RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#685594) (XD) - $31.95
  • CHÂTEAU PINERAIE L’AUTHENTIQUE CAHORS 2011 - AC, Southwest, France (#408294) (XD) - $39.95

  • RIDGE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#089284) (XD) - $73.95
  • GRGICH HILLS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#071407) (XD) - $80.95  reviewed here
  • CADE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA (#325027) (XD) - $112.95
  • CAKEBREAD DANCING BEAR RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON/CABERNET FRANC 2011 - Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California, USA (#220459) (XD) - $159.95  Flagship Store Exclusive
  • CHÂTEAU PONTET-CANET 2011 - 5e Cru, AC Pauillac, Bordeaux, France (#297739 / #300335 / #297747 / #298885) (XD) - $174.85
  • DOMINUS 2011 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#212381) (XD) - $176.95

White Wine:
  • RABL LÖSS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#295709) (XD) - $14.95
  • CAPE POINT VINEYARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - WO Cape Point, South Africa (#285221) (XD) - $15.95
  • DR. HERMANN ERDENER TREPPCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2010 - Pradikätswein, Mosel, Germany (#402420) (S) - $17.95
  • E. GUIGAL CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#290296) (XD) - $18.95
  • WOLFBERGER SIGNATURE PINOT GRIS 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#398172) (D) - $18.95
  • FLAT ROCK NADJA’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#578625) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • TRIMBACH RIESLING 2012 - AC Alsace, France (#734517) (XD) - $21.95
  • DOMAINE LE VERGER CHABLIS 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#181289) (XD) - $22.95
  • SAINT CLAIR WAIRAU RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#415653) (XD) - $35.95
  • CALERA CHARDONNAY 2013 - Mt. Harlan, Central Coast, California, USA (#968925) (D) - $49.95

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

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  • Date publishedFriday, March 13, 2015

Vidal Wine Tasting

Blind tasting Vidal wines at iYellow Wine Cave
On , I attended an exclusive tasting of Vidal table wines at the iYellow Wine Cave. This tasting was born out of a conversation about Vidal between Angela Aiello and André Proulx at this very same venue back in January during a promotional event for Niagara Chilled. Krista Lamb and I were nearby and eventually got involved in the discussion. The conversation eventually led to André proposing a tasting of Vidal table wines to see how they fared.

There were 6 Vidal wines available for tasting on this Wednesday evening. All the wines were brown-bagged so we could taste them blind. However, we were told that all the wines were from Ontario and ranged in vintage from 2011 to 2013. Looking at the labels of each of the wines at the conclusion of the tasting, I couldn't help but notice that all the wines were designated VQA Ontario. If I'm not mistaken, the fruit for five of the six wines came from Niagara, while the fruit for the Monarch came from Pelee Island.

The results from tasting the wines blind was interesting. In general, these Vidal wines all featured varying degrees of sweetness, ranging from just off-dry (slightly sweet) to semi-dry (quite sweet). Furthermore, the palates were generally light-to-mid-weight. The biggest surprise I discovered on this night was the balanced acidity. Generally speaking, Icewine made with Vidal tends to lack the acidity desired to balance the sweetness, while also making the wine have a somewhat flabby mouthfeel. However, when sugar levels are lowered, in cases such as the below table wines, the acids are quite balanced.

Blind tasting Vidal wines at iYellow Wine Cave
We tasted the wines in the order listed below. Bottles #2 and #3 seemed off to my nose and may require re-tasting at a future date when visiting the winery. It was interesting to note that André's favourite was the first wine (Lailey Vidal 2011), while Angela and myself preferred Sandbanks Dunes Vidal; Krista's favourite was a toss up between these two wines. The Sandbanks version is a good, cheap alternative for those who prefer sweet wines and want to try something else other than a Riesling.

If you're interested in purchasing any of these wines, all are available through the winery, while the wines from Pelee Island and Sandbanks are readily available at the LCBO.

Lastly, thank you Andre for proposing the idea, arranging the tasting and securing the wines. Also thank you Angela for hosting us at your fantastic Wine Cave. And finally, thank you to all the wineries who provided the samples for us to taste.

Vidal wines

LAILEY VINEYARD VIDAL 2011 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#) (D) - $12.20
Medium intensity nose featuring floral, wild herb, iodine and acetone aromas. It's light-to-mid weight on the viscous palate with off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) wildflower, green melon notes. Mouthfeel has a chalky mineral texture, while acids are balanced. Medium-long finish that is a little warm. Score: 86 pts

Wine Review of 2011 Lailey Vineyard Vidal from VQA Ontario, Canada (86 pts)

SUE-ANN STAFF VIDAL 2011 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#) (MD) - $13.95
Unpleasant, medium intensity, oxidized aromas of egg and funk. The light-to-medium bodied palate is quite different with quite sweet fruity, floral, and melon flavours and a slightly chalky mouthfeel. Balanced acids tone down the semi-dry sweet flavours, while the finish is short. Score: 82 pts (flawed bottle?)

Wine Review of 2011 Sue-Ann Staff Vidal from VQA Ontario, Canada (82 pts)

REIF ESTATE VIDAL 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $10.95
Medium intensity nose, oxidized, with underlying orchard apple and poached pear aromas. Medium bodied palate comes off as extra dry due to high acidity. Hints of apple flavour profile and finishing short. Score: 80 pts (flawed bottle?)

Wine Review of 2012 Reif Estate Vidal from VQA Ontario, Canada (80 pts)

PELEE ISLAND MONARCH VIDAL 2012 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#393405) (D) - $10.95 $9.45
Blend of 85% Vidal and 15% Geisenheim. Nose was somewhat closed but showed subtle off-dry hints of melon, honeysuckle, floral notes. Palate is light-to-mid weighted and quite sweet with melon, honey flavours which taper off on the long, bitter finish. Crisp, balanced acids with good balance overall. Currently on sale until March 29th. Score: 87 pts

Wine Review of 2012 Pelee Island Monarch Vidal from VQA Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

LAILEY VINEYARD VIDAL 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#) (D) - $12.20
Slightly oxidized with a nose that seemed closed but showed hints of floral, wild herb, grass, gooseberry aromas. Medium-to-full bodied on the palate with a chalky mineral texture and flavours consisting of floral and pink grapefruit. Palate begins off-dry, but tapers off into the dry (i.e. not sweet) zone. Balanced acids and lengthy finish. Score: 85 pts

Wine Review of 2013 Lailey Vineyard Vidal from VQA Ontario, Canada (85 pts)

SANDBANKS ESTATE DUNES VIDAL 2013 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#110031) (M) - $12.95
Very focused medium+ intensity aromas of wildflower and honey. The palate is medium bodied and medium in sweetness with exotic wildflower, Flintstones vitamin flavours and a slightly chalky texture. It has balanced, vibrant acids and a long, focused finish. Score: 88 pts

Wine Review of 2013 Sandbanks Estate Dunes Vidal from VQA Ontario, Canada (88 pts)

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  • Date publishedTuesday, March 10, 2015

Sula Vineyards & Fratelli Indian (Nashik) Wine Reviews

On my recent trip to India, I had plans to visit India's Wine Capital - Nashik. Located in the state of Maharashtra, less than 200 km northeast of Mumbai - about 2.5 hours by car - an overnight trip to the region was in the cards. Unfortunately, those plans had to be cancelled.

Getting tired of drinking India's most popular alcoholic beverage - Whisky - I ended up purchasing a bottle of Sula's Chenin Blanc from an outlet within a local grocery store in Mumbai. Knowing how much I loved wine, my Uncle also purchased two other Indian wines from a liquor store nearby in Dadar East.

This was my first time tasting Indian wines. All of the wines below are on the low-end of the price scale, and it shows. Here are wine reviews of three Indian wines I tasted while in India, with the Chenin Blanc and the Shiraz blend relatively quite enjoyable.

SULA VINEYARDS CHENIN BLANC 2014 - Nashik, India (#) (M) - Rs. 550 ($11 CAD)
Screw cap. Elegant aromas of medium intensity with sweet notes of pineapple, honey, elderflower and lime citrus notes. Palate is medium bodied and medium-dry sweet (i.e. medium sweet) with lemon/lime, floral, honeysuckle flavours. Lacking a bit of acidity with a medium+ length finish that tapers off into the dry zone with a slight bitterness. Tasted February 24, 2015. Score: 86 pts

Wine Review of 2014 Sula Vineyards Chenin Blanc from Nashik, India (86 pts)

SULA VINEYARDS SATORI MERLOT MALBEC - Nashik, India (D) - Rs. 520 ($10.40 CAD)
Manufactured July 2013, so I assume 2013 vintage. Screw cap. Medium intensity nose with grapey, dried red fruit, raisin, black cherry, sweet ripe red fruit aromas. Integrated, rounded tannins, Palate is sweetish with black fruit, dried fruit, raisiny flavours. Balanced acids, while tannins are rounded and integrated well. Average length finish, Easy drinking wine for those that prefer sweeter red wines. Personally, I didn't feel any "Satori" or sudden enlightenment. Tasted February 28, 2015. Score: 83 pts

Wine Review of Sula Vineyards Satori Merlot Malbec from Nashik, India (83 pts)

FRATELLI CLASSIC SHIRAZ - Nashik, India (XD) - Rs 485 ($9.70 CAD)
Manufactured March 2014, so I assume 2014 vintage. An unspecified Shiraz blend (2013 vintage was 80/20 Shiraz/Cab Franc.) Screw cap. Medium+ intensity aromas featuring black pepper, plum and milk chocolate aromas, along with hints of raisin. Medium bodied, sweet ripe fruits, red & blue fruits, and subtle oak spice, milk chocolate flavours. Tannins are refined and smooth, while acids are balanced. Medium length finish that is smooth, yet a touch hot with slightly bitter chocolate and dried fruit notes. Quaffable and easy drinking. Tasted February 25, 2015. Score: 86 pts

Wine Review of Fratelli Classic Shiraz from Nashik, India (86 pts)

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  • Date publishedSunday, March 8, 2015

Creekside Iconoclast Niagara Syrah 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is this lovely, locally made Syrah by Niagara's own Creekside Estate Winery. This particular bottle arrived on my doorstep back in October, along with four other Creekside wines for review. However, since I had tasted this delicious red wine when I was at the winery in September, I held this one back to see how it would evolve. Five months later, here is what we have...

CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST NIAGARA SYRAH 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#) (XD) - $17.95

Wine Review of 2012 Creekside Iconoclast Niagara Syrah from VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Medium+ intensity aromas with notes of plum, cracked black pepper, black currant and hints of chocolate. On the palate, it's medium bodied with dusty, refined tannins and plummy, dark currant, white pepper and vanillan flavours. It has a chalky mouthfeel, mouth-watering acids and very good length on the finish. Highly drinkable right now and could cellar up to 2018. Delicious! Originally created for licensees only, it was made available for purchase at the winery in September because their Estate Syrah was sold out. Score: 89 pts

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  • Date publishedWednesday, March 4, 2015

Mar. 7 LCBO Wine Picks: Tuscany + B.C. + Israel + St. Patrick's Day

LCBO Wine Picks from March 7, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The next batch of wines will be available on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario on .

The major theme of this release is titled "Tuscan Renaissance" and goes through some of the projects that were undertaken over the last 50+ years to modernize and improve the wines from Tuscany. However, of the 14 wines featured, just two made my list of wine picks - and both were quite traditional in nature with a Chianti Classico and a Brunello di Montalcino. Both of these wines are made using Italy's most popular grape - Sangiovese.

This release also has 3 mini-features - wines from British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, modern wines from Israel, and some Whiskies to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Of the 6 wines from B.C., the medium sweet Pinot Gris from Gray Monk is recommended. For an interesting side-by-side comparison, there are drier (i.e. less sweet) versions of Pinot Gris from Oregon and Ontario also available.

From the rest of the release, there are plenty of good value red wines coming from Chile and Argentina. Included among them is an organic Syrah/Mourvèdre blend (85/15) from Emiliana. Also recommended are both "Wines of the Month" - the Kaiken Malbec and Château Saint-Roch Chimères (Grenache / Carignan / Syrah blend) - a rarity for me.

In white wine, the Château de Cruzeau is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, the Tawse Riesling and the aforementioned Gray Monk Pinot Gris are worth your attention. Less sweet are the Malivoire Pinot Gris and the German Riesling.

That's all for this release. Enjoy my wine recommendations. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • EMILIANA NOVAS GRAN RESERVA SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2012 - Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#399360) (XD) - $15.95
  • ZUCCARDI SERIE A BONARDA 2012 - Santa Rosa, Mendoza, Argentina (#355560) (D) - $16.95
  • VIÑA TARAPACÁ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2012 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#57513) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2010 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2012 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Midi, France (#119354) (D) - $18.95
  • KAIKEN ULTRA MALBEC 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#50849) (XD) - $19.95
  • PENFOLDS BIN 28 KALIMNA SHIRAZ 2011 - South Australia (#422782) (XD) - $34.95
  • JOHN’S BLEND INDIVIDUAL SELECTION NO. 36 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#927640) (XD) - $39.95
  • TERRE NERE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#208462) (XD) - $42.95
  • CUVELIER LOS ANDES GRAND MALBEC 2009 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#368514) (D) - $61.95

White Wine:
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#89029) (M) - $17.95
  • GRAY MONK PINOT GRIS 2013 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#118638) (M) - $19.95
  • DUCK POND CELLARS PINOT GRIS 2013 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#333286) (XD) - $19.95
  • MALIVOIRE PINOT GRIS 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#591305) (D) - $19.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $19.95
  • DR. BÜRKLIN-WOLF RUPPERTSBERGER RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Pfalz, Germany (#394148) (D) - $22.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE CRUZEAU BLANC 2009 - AC Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France (#966010) (XD) - $31.95
  • BACHELDER WISMER VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#345819) (D) - $44.95  Flagship Store Exclusive  reviewed here

  • EL MAESTRO SIERRA 15-YEAR-OLD OLOROSO SHERRY - DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Spain (#330571) (D) (375 mL) - $13.95

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

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