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  • Date publishedMonday, September 28, 2015

VINTAGES Release October 3: Bordeaux + Spain + Thanksgiving

LCBO Wine Picks from October 3, 2015 LCBO VINTAGES Release
The main theme from the VINTAGES Release is on wines from Bordeaux, while mini-themes feature premium-priced wines from Spain, and wines for celebrations. All of these wines will be on LCBO shelves across Ontario this coming .

Generally speaking, the wines from the Bordeaux feature were all quite good, however, it was difficult to find really good values. Having said that, the Château Guiraud Sauternes (65% Sémillon / 35% Sauvignon Blanc) dessert wine is an excellent buy. The other Bordeaux wine is a fruit-forward red blend consisting of Merlot and Cabernet Franc and a very good value from the excellent 2010 vintage.

The Spanish feature with 7 wines revealed an exemplary white wine blend from Rías Baixas DO that consists of 70% Albariño, 18% Loureiro and 12% Caíño Blanco. This was the only white wine among the featured Spanish wines. While many of the red wines were also good, they were priced a little bit too high in my opinion.

For Thanksgiving, the Alsatian Riesling is a food-friendly, off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) that will surely delight with your turkey or served with appetizers. Having said that, many of the white wines recommended below will pair nicely with turkey, such as the wine from Gorgo that is new to our market and consists of Cortese, Tocai, Trebbiano Toscano, and Garganega, and the 100% Fiano; both of these wines are from Italy.

Among red wines, from Greece is a 100% Agiorgitiko, while the red wine from Argentina is a Malbec-led blend. There is also a trifecta of Chianti Classico's available: the Fonterutoli is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Malvasia Nera / Colorino / Merlot, the Riserva (aged 2 years in oak) is 100% Sangiovese, and the Gran Selezione is a blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot. Another wine from Italy is made with 100% Grignolino, a single varietal wine from a grape we don't see too often.

Enjoy my wine picks from this VINTAGES Release and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU LES TOURELLES 2010 - AC Bordeaux, France (#426247) (XD) - $14.95
  • TABALI RESERVA SYRAH 2012 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#662692) (D) - $14.95
  • CAVINO GRANDE RESERVE 2008 - PDO Nemea, Greece (#295618) (D) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • FINCA FLICHMAN PAISAJE DE TUPUNGATO 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#415034) (XD) - $17.95
  • ROSEWOOD ORIGIN CABERNET FRANC 2013 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#427534) (XD) - $25.95  reviewed here
  • FONTERUTOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#977629) (XD) - $25.95
  • PENFOLDS BIN 128 SHIRAZ 2013 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#509919) (D) - $34.95
  • CASTELLO DI VOLPAIA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#705335) (XD) - $41.95  FSE
  • TENUTA SAN VINCENTI GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#414417) (XD) - $54.95
  • LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#700922) (XD) - $58.95
Cavino Grande Reserve 2008 - PDO Nemea, Greece (88 pts)Rosewood Origin Cabernet Franc 2013 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (90+ pts)

White Wine:

  • GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2014 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#428045) (XD) - $14.95
  • PIERRE SPARR LIEU DIT ALTENBOURG RIESLING 2013 - AC Alsace. France (#906016) (D) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • DONNACHIARA MONTEFALCIONE FIANO DI AVELLINO 2013 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#372482) (XD) - $17.95
  • SANTA ALICIA GRAN RESERVA DE LOS ANDES CHARDONNAY 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#406991) (XD) - $18.95
  • JULES TAYLOR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#224428) (XD) - $19.95
  • SERESIN CHARDONNAY 2012 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#019190) (XD) - $24.95
  • TERRAS GAUDA O ROSAL BLANCO 2013 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#040238) (XD) - $24.95
  • JOH. JOS. CHRISTOFFEL ERBEN ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2013 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#336396) (S) - $28.95  FSE
  • HENRI BOURGEOIS LA CHAPELLE DES AUGUSTINS SANCERRE 2012 - AC, Loire, France (#322628) (XD) - $29.95  FSE
  • 2027 WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2012 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#421362) (XD) - $30.00

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU GUIRAUD 2011 - 1er Grand Cru Classé en 1855, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#298943) (S) (375 mL) - $39.85

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  • Date publishedSaturday, September 19, 2015

San Raffaele Monte Tabor Pinot Grigio 2014 (Veneto) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine is an organic wine that will be in stores as part of the October 17th LCBO VINTAGES release.

Monte Tabor has been cultivating vines organically since 1970. In 2006, Monte Tabor began managing another 50 hectares of Soave vineyards in Illasi. Today, viticulturalists and oenologists collaborate on the production of organic wines from these vineyards with the Fasoli family - a family that has been organic producers in the area for over 25 years.

SAN RAFFAELE MONTE TABOR PINOT GRIGIO 2014 - IGT Veronese, Veneto, Italy (#204768) (XD) - $13.95

San Raffaele Monte Tabor Pinot Grigio 2014 - IGT Veronese, Veneto, Italy (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

Organic Pinot Grigio. Lemon peel and citrus scents from the cork. Subtle nose of lemon, citrus, white grapefruit with a slightly oxidized character. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with lime peel and grapefruit flavours. It has crisp, balanced acidity and some bitterness on the lingering finish. Score: 86 pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, September 14, 2015

LCBO VINTAGES Release September 19: Ontario Wine

LCBO Wine Picks from September 19, 2015 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on LCBO shelves this coming . This release coincides with the Ontario wine harvest season and, as such, the major theme of this release is Ontario wine.

There is a mini-theme in this release, but it is a rather poor collection of wines from "The Oher Side of Europe". Countries featured include Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Republic of Macedonia, and Romania and are historically significant in the wine world, but are not widely known wine regions.

Back to the main theme of Ontario wines, there are 21 wines featured and 8 are included in my wine picks below. Ontario makes very nice Pinot Noir. Included among my wine picks are two Pinots - one from Niagara and one from Prince Edward County (PEC); both are lovely, but the version from PEC is a world-class wine. Ontario is also making a name for itself with the Gamay Noir grape and one of the versions from 13th Street will be available this Saturday. The other Gamay I have selected is from one of the pioneers of Gamay in Ontario - Château des Charmes. However, this is made using a clone of Gamay that was born in their vineyard in the early 1980's on St. David's Bench and is known as Gamay Noir Droit.

Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Pinot Noir 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (92 pts)

Château des Charmes St. David’s Bench Vineyard Gamay Noir Droit 2012 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (89 pts)Keint-He Voyageur Pinot Noir 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (88+ pts)Reif Vidal Icewine 2013 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (91 pts)

Among Ontario white wines, there are a pair of Rieslings that have a just a kiss of sweetness to them. And of course, no talk about Ontario wine would be complete without a mention of Icewine. Included in this release is a delicious Vidal Icewine from Reif, and a Late Harvest Riesling from Cave Spring.

It's interesting to note that none of the 21 Ontario wines selected was a pure Cabernet Franc. I was also disappointed with the Ontario Chardonnay selection in this release. It seems like a missed opportunity to showcase these two wonderful grapes. Do you enjoy Ontario Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay? Post a comment and let me know.

From the rest of the release, the La Rosa is a blend of Touriga Nacional (30%), Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz (a.k.a. Tempranillo), while the Rompesedas is a mature Tempranillo that is also one of the Wines of the Month in this release. Lastly, the Taurasi from Italy is made with 100% Aglianico.

In white wines, there are three Viogniers from three different continents to choose from - two at the lower end of the price spectrum, while the third is a Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) and will be available in small quantities at VINTAGES Flagship Stores. The Atlantis Dry White is a blend of local varietals Assyrtiko (90%), Aidani (5%), and Athiri (5%) from Greece.

For sweet wine lovers, there are the two aforementioned dessert wines from Ontario, and also a German Riesling Spätlese that is an FSE.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID’S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT 2012 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#346742) (XD) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • KEINT-HE VOYAGEUR PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#373407) (D) - $19.00  reviewed here
  • LA ROSA TINTO 2011 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#933101) (XD) - $19.95
  • 13TH STREET GAMAY NOIR 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#177824) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • ROMPESEDAS 2006 - DO Toro, Spain (#425868) (XD) - $19.95
  • TRINITY HILL SYRAH 2013 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#194274) (XD) - $22.95
  • NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY UNFILTERED PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#125310) (XD) - $39.00  reviewed here
  • TRAPICHE TERROIR SERIES ORELLANA DE ESCOBAR SINGLE VINEYARD MALBEC 2010 - La Consulta, Mendoza, Argentina (#178145) (D) - $39.95
  • CANTINE LONARDO TAURASI RED 2008 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#418707) (XD) - $44.95  FSE
  • AURELIO SETTIMO ROCCHE DELL’ANNUNZIATA BAROLO 2010 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#293761) (XD) - $57.95  reviewed here

White Wine:

  • TABALÍ RESERVA VIOGNIER 2013 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#406967) (XD) - $13.95
  • DOMINIO DE PUNCTUM VIENTO ALISEO VIOGNIER 2014 - DO La Mancha, Spain (#424713) (XD) - $15.95
  • ARGYROS ATLANTIS DRY WHITE 2014 - PGI Cyclades, Santorini, Greece (#371658) (XD) - $17.95
  • KEW VINEYARDS ORGANIC RIESLING 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#426460) (D) - $18.95
  • THIRTY BENCH RIESLING 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#024133) (D) - $18.95
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $20.95  reviewed here
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER SCHARZHOFBERGER RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2012 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#424721) (S) - $31.95  FSE
  • SCHIOPETTO PINOT GRIGIO 2013 - DOC Collio, Friuli, Italy (#234757) (XD) - $32.95  FSE
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY VIOGNIER 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#597369) (D) - $34.95  FSE
Auntsfield Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (90+ pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • ANTECH RÉSERVE BRUT BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX 2012 - AC, Midi, France (#656470) (D) - $16.95
  • RENE GEOFFROY EXPRESSION BRUT 1 ER CRU - AC, Champagne, France (#421008) (D) - $49.95

Dessert Wine:

  • CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#415901) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95
  • REIF VIDAL ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#544791) (S) (200 mL) - $24.95  reviewed here

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  • Date publishedMonday, September 7, 2015

La Ferme Du Mont 2015 Tasting with Stéphane Vedeau

La Ferme Du Mont Wine Lineup

On a fine day in , I had the pleasure of tasting the wines of La Ferme Du Mont with the talented Stéphane Vedeau. This was my second tasting with Mr. Vedeau, as I had previously tasted his wines at a similar event in 2013. I was curious to learn about and taste his latest wines and see how they differed (if at all) compared to the wines tasted a couple of years ago.

Stéphane Vedeau of La Ferme Du Mont
Many of the wines available at this tasting were newer vintages of the same wines tasted in 2013. However, there were also some new, previously-untasted wines such the Rosé and a pair of surprise wines from his other estate - Clos Bellane, one of which was excellent!

Stéphane has an endless passion for Grenache grapes, as evidenced by the 50 hectares of old vines that are cultivated on the estate in a completely natural environment, using only organic fertilisers. He continues the traditions passed down from his mother's side of the family as a 3rd generation winemaker to create beautiful handcrafted wines.

Some of these wines are available in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO, while others can be ordered privately via the agent Eurovintage Wines & Spirits.

Tasting Notes:

LA FERME DU MONT ROSÉ 2014 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (XD) - $16.95
100% Grenache using intentionally under-ripe grapes. Low-to-medium intensity nose of white peach, strawberry and grapefruit. The palate is medium-bodied with dry flavours of strawberry, floral and is herbaceous. It has fresh acidity and a crisp, lengthy finish with some chalky minerality. Score: 87-88 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Rosé 2014 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (87-88 pts)La Ferme Du Mont La Truffière 2014 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (88+ pts)

LA FERME DU MONT LA TRUFFIÈRE 2014 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#234716) (XD) - $16.95
Blend of 50% Grenache white, 40% Viognier (3% of which is botrytis-affected), 10% Clairette and a small amount of Marsanne (yes, that is more than 100%). Medium+ intensity nose with herbaceous, floral and some saline aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp, fresh acidity and floral. herbal, and mineral flavours. It's nicely balanced with hints of tropical fruit on the long finish. Score: 88+ pts

CLOS BELLANE LES ECHALAS 2012 - AC Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas, France (XD) - $35
This white wine is made from 3 clones of Roussanne, 1 of which is harvested in November. Elegant, fragrant aromas of beeswax, flowers, lime and citrus. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp, balanced acids with a kiss of sweetness and white truffle notes. It has a very nice texture and a long, clean finish. Very nice! One of my favourites of this tasting. Score: 91 pts

Clos Bellane Les Echalas 2012 - AC Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas, France (91 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE 2012 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#251645) (XD) - $14.95
Blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Medium+ intensity aromas of plum, bretty, ripe black cherry herbs and a hint of mushroom. It's medium-bodied on the palate with sweet vanillan oak, spice, black cherry, and hints of strawberry. It has fresh acids, light tannins and finishes long. Score: 88 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte 2012 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (88 pts)La Ferme Du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône Villages 2012 - Unfiltered, AC, Rhône, France (89 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2012 - Unfiltered, AC, Rhône, France (#171371) (XD) - $18.95
60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Complex aromas of crème de cassis, licorice, blueberry, oak spice, blackberry, and acacia flowers of medium intensity which replay very nicely on the peppery palate. It's medium-bodied with bright acids and a spicy mid-palate. Medium level tannins. The finish length is medium-to-long with oak, dark berry, and spice notes. Score: 89 pts

LA FERME DU MONT GIGONDAS CÔTES JUGUNDA 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#354118) (XD) - $29.95
This red wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, showing medium+ intensity aromas of purple fruit, pepper, plum and hint of meatiness. On the palate, it's medium-to-full bodied with balanced acids and pepper, spice and licorice notes. It has medium-to-firm chalky tannins that would benefit from 2-3 years bottle ageing, but drinking well now. Good structure. Finishes long with violet notes. Score: 90 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Gigondas Côtes Jugunda 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (90 pts)La Ferme Du Mont Châteauneuf-du-Pape Côtes Capelan 2011 - AC, Rhône, France (92 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE CÔTES CAPELAN 2011 - AC, Rhône, France (#078857) (XD) - $80.00
80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Aromas of medium-to-high intensity featuring meaty, smoky, black cherry, raspberry and hints of graphite. The palate is medium+ bodied with very nice aroma replays and spicebox notes. It's well-balanced with mouth-watering acids and tannins that are somewhat chalky, and integrating very nicely. Excellent length on the finish. Will age gracefully up to 2026. Score: 92 pts

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  • Date publishedSunday, September 6, 2015

Colio Méthode Cuve Close Lily Sparkling (Ontario) - Wine Review

After spending the whole day outdoors under a beaming sun at The Ex, it was nice to come home in the evening and open this chilled bubbly. wine is a nice sparkling wine that you will enjoy if you prefer your bubbly with some sweetness.

This wine has been continuously produced by Colio Estate Wines since 1996, with the initial bottling having a Calla Lily printed directly on the bottle using a ceramic technique. It has since undergone a few label updates and was recently refreshed to feature an intertwined white Calla Lily in an art nouveau style.

When first introduced nearly 20 years ago, this sparkler was a blend consisting of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Today, it is 100% Riesling. It has continued to be made using the Charmat Method, where secondary fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks/vessels.

The story of Colio Estate Wines is of patience, determination and perseverance. Located along Lake Erie North Shore, this is the southernmost and warmest wine appellation in Ontario. Colio was started by three Italian bricklayers named Alfredo, Enzo and Tiberio who had a dream of building a world-class winery, and opened its doors in 1980.

COLIO MÉTHODE CUVE CLOSE LILY SPARKLING - VQA Ontario, Canada (#418657) (MD) - $16.95

Colio Méthode Cuve Close Lily Sparkling from VQA Ontario, Canada (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

Non-vintage 100% Riesling using the Charmat Method. Medium intensity nose consisting of green apple, lily flower, and mineral, along with hints of citrus and brioche. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh, balanced acids and citrus, lemon, and green apple flavours. Fine bubbles, subtly sweet, and hints of apricot and stone fruit on the lingering finish. Will delight as an apertif. Readily available at the LCBO. Score: 87 pts

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