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  • Date publishedTuesday, January 26, 2016

Tiago Cabaço .com Premium White 2014 (Portugal) - Wine Review

white wine comes from the Alentejo region in southern Portugal. It is produced by Tiago Cabaço - one of the most promising producers in Alentejo.

Tiago was born and raised in Estremoz, in the heart of the Alentejo wine region, and worked in his parent's vineyard at an early age where he learned first hand about grape growing, grape varieties, and the best soils and climate for each of the grapes. In 2004, Tiago began his own wine project and with an opportunity to showcase his own winemaking capabilities. Today, with access to some of regions best and oldest vineyards, Tiago Cabaço is one of the stars of the new Alentejo.

It will be available at the LCBO as part of the upcoming February 6 VINTAGES release.

Tasting Note:

TIAGO CABAÇO .COM PREMIUM WHITE 2014 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal (#429316) (XD) - $14.95
Unique blend of Antão Vaz, Verdelho, and Viognier. Citrus and spring flower aromas from the cork. Elegant nose of floral, citrus zest, tropical fruits and some minerality. On the light-to-midweighted palate, it has a fleshy character with flavours that mimic the aroma profile along with some pear notes. Vibrant, juicy acids make this very much a wine for pairing with food. Very good length on the finish. Don't overchill this white wine. Will be enjoyed with oven roasted chicken. Score: 88 pts

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  • Date publishedTuesday, January 19, 2016

Domaine les Yeuses les Épices Syrah 2011 (Midi) - Wine Review

Tonight's delicious wine was purchased in the Spring of 2014 from the VINTAGES Release. This red wine has been a frequent arrival on LCBO VINTAGES - however, the 2012 vintage was last released in , so we should see the 2013 vintage arrive soon.

Domaine les Yeuses les Épices Syrah 2011 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

DOMAINE LES YEUSES LES ÉPICES SYRAH 2011 - IGP Pays d’Oc, Midi, France (#177584) (XD) - $14.95
Synthetic rubber cork. Medium+ intensity nose featuring complex earthy, olive, black pepper, dark fruit and hints of smoke aromas. It's full-bodied with savoury aroma replays and some mocha and baking spice notes on the palate. Very good length on the finish. With balanced acidity and dusty tannins that are integrating quite nicely, this should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, January 18, 2016

January 23 VINTAGES Release: Argentina + Chile + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks from January 23, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The VINTAGES Release will be on LCBO shelves this coming and features wines from South America's dynamic duo - Argentina and Chile as part of its main thematic, while the mini-theme is on wines from Portugal. All three countries produce wines offering great value, and should continue to do so in spite of our plunging loonie!

In this release, there are 7 wines each from Argentina and Chile. Three of the seven wines from Argentina are included among my wine picks. No Argentinian list is complete without a nice Malbec, but also among my wine recommendations is a heavily oaked Chardonnay for those that are fans of the style. Last, but not least, is a ripe red wine made using Bonarda - a grape Argentina does quite well.

The Chilean offering is also strong with three of the seven wines included in my wine picks. All are red wines with some special characteristics, such as the single vineyard Carménère from Chile's big house of Concha y Toro. There is also a Cabernet Sauvignon from a single block within a single vineyard from Cono Sur Vineyards & Winery. The third wine is made from 80-year-old vines of Carignan that were dry farmed (i.e. using only natural rainfall). The last Chilean wine recommendation is found near the back of the magazine, as part of the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) program - the 2006 Albis is 10 years old and is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Carménère made in collaboration with the famous Antinori family of Italy.

From Portugal, two of the ten wines made my list. The Vale do Bomfim red table wine is a blend of 30% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and 5% Tinto Cão, while the LBV Vintage Port is a sweet blend consisting of 50% Touriga Nacional, 10% Touriga Franca, and 10% Tinto Cão. It's beyond me why the Warre's Vintage Port was not featured as part of the Portuguese theme, but it's there as part of the rest of the release and it's great!

From the rest of the release, the only organic wine of the release is a red wine from Puglia that is a blend of 70% Aglianico, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah, while the Santenay is 100% Pinot Noir from vines that are 45 years old.

In white wines, the Pouilly Fumé is made with Sauvignon Blanc, while the two white Burgundies are Chardonnay. The Côtes du Rhône Blanc is a blend of 50% Grenache, 15% Clairette, 15% Bourboulenc, 10% Viognier, and 10% Roussanne. If you enjoy sweeter wines, the Gewürztraminer from Alsace will fit the bill. Also for sweet wine lovers is the Flat Rock Twisted White (a VINTAGES Essential item) and a blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay that's on sale for one week at only $13.95 - a very good value in my books.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TRAPICHE BROQUEL BONARDA 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#55558) (D) - $14.95
  • VALE DO BOMFIM 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#167676) (XD) - $15.95
  • SANTA CAROLINA SPECIALTIES DRY FARMING CARIGNAN 2011 - Cauquenes Valley, Chile (#213520) (D) - $17.95
  • TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2013 - Mendoza, Argentina (#29280) (D) - $18.95
  • CONO SUR SINGLE VINEYARD EL RECURSO BLOCK 18 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#439364) (D) - $18.95
  • CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMÉNÈRE 2013 - Peumo Vineyard, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95
  • FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ 2013 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (#265967) (D) - $19.95
  • TORMARESCA TRENTANGELI 2012 - DOC Castel del Monte, Puglia, Italy (#435529) (XD) - $19.95
  • VINCENT GIRARDIN VIEILLES VIGNES SANTENAY 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#435552) (XD) - $37.95
  • ALBIS 2006 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#579813) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • PETER FRANUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#907477) (XD) - $66.95

White Wine:

  • RABL LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - Kamptal, Austria (#377457) (XD) - $14.95
  • FLAT ROCK TWISTED WHITE 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#1578) (M) - $16.95 (only $13.95 from Jan. 21-27)
  • WILLY GISSELBRECHT TRADITION GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#928390) (M) - $18.95
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY 2014 - Mendoza, Argentina (#119099) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#707588) (XD) - $21.95
  • DOMAINE CHEVALLIER CHABLIS 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#112227) (XD) - $23.95
  • BLUE MOUNTAIN CHARDONNAY 2014 - Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#350108) (XD) - $24.95
  • MARCHAND-TAWSE SAINT ROMAIN 2011 - AC, Burgundy, France (#440206) (XD) - $31.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D’AURORE BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - Méthode Traditionnelle, AC, Burgundy, France (#48793) (D) - $19.95


  • DALVA LBV PORT 2010 - DOP, Portugal (#169755) (S) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • WARRE’S QUINTA DA CAVADINHA VINTAGE PORT 2001 - Bottled 2003, DOP, Portugal (#189605) (S) - $49.95

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  • Date publishedSunday, January 10, 2016

Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Shiraz 2008 (Australia) - Wine Review

delicious red wine was purchased nearly 4 years ago and was the Wine of the Month from the February 4, 2012 VINTAGES Release.

As luck would have it, the 2013 vintage of this wine will be available in the upcoming January 23rd VINTAGES Release.

Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Shiraz 2008 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PLUNKETT FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ 2008 - Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria, Australia (#265967) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Medium-to-high intensity nose featuring stewed fruits, blackberry, dried herbs, black pepper spice and earthy tones. It's full-bodied with sweet, integrated tannins and very nice aroma replays joined by hints of violet and eucalyptus notes. Rush of fresh, juicy acidity mid-palate. Finishes long and earthy. This lovely Aussie Shiraz should continue to drink well over the next 2-3 years. Will be enjoyed with homemade chicken burgers. Score: 89 pts Jason Solanki

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  • Date publishedMonday, January 4, 2016

Nals Margreid Pinot Noir 2013 (Italy) - Wine Review

Opened up this yummy Pinot ahead of it's release this Saturday as part of the first LCBO VINTAGES release of 2016.

Pinot Noir is nowhere near the first grape that comes to mind when thinking of wines from Italy. This red wine from Winery Nals Margreid is from the northernmost region of Italy, in South Tyrol (aka Südtirol), a region also known by its alternative Italian name of Alto Adige.

The grapes for this Pinot Noir come from Mazzon Vineyard in the southern portion of the winery's region, located on the eastern flank of the wide valley. The vines are at an elevation between 1,100 and 1,600 feet above sea level, in sandy clay soils and exposed to the afternoon sun. It's interesting to note that vineyard is located on the 46th parallel, which is the same latitude as the famous wines of Burgundy. However, since this region enjoys an average of 300 sunny days per year, one can expect a riper wine.

Nals Margreid Pinot Noir 2013 - DOC Alto Adige, Italy (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

NALS MARGREID PINOT NOIR 2013 - DOC Alto Adige, Italy (#434225) (XD) - $19.95
8 months in big oak barrels. Plum and sour cherry aromas from the cork. Ripe cherry with dampen earth aromas along with whiffs of ripe plum, clove and charcuterie. On the palate, it's medium-bodied with saliva-inducing acids, soft rounded tannins and flavours of ripe dark cherry, black cherry, sweet spice with beetroot, earth and strawberry flavours emerging on the medium-long finish. Will be enjoyed with Fesenjan (Pomegranate Chicken) with rice. Score: 88 pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, January 4, 2016

January 9 VINTAGES Release: Smart Buys

LCBO Wine Picks from January 9, 2016 VINTAGES Release
The first VINTAGES release of 2016 is on and is the annual "Smart Buys" release. After seeing many premium-priced wines land on VINTAGES shelves throughout November and December, most of the wines in this release are below the magic $20 line.

From the "Smart Buys" thematic, only 4 of the 20 wines featured are included among my wine picks below. First up is an Australian Shiraz from a grape grower that has been growing grapes for decades for other winemakers, but has now finally decided make his own wine. The other red wine is an Argentinian red blend consisting of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot. In white wines, the medium sweet Featherstone Riesling is back in VINTAGES. There is also an intriguing Italian Moscato that is - get this - made in an uncommon dry style (i.e not sweet).

In white wines from the rest of the release, there are a pair of very sweet Rieslings from Germany. Since it is new year, why not try some new varietals you may have never tasted before? There's a Grüner Veltliner, a Coda di Volpe, and a florally aromatic Moschofilero/Roditis blend from Greece. All three of these wines are dry.

Among the red wines, the Michel Gassier red is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, and 10% Carignan/Cinsault, while the Maquis Lien is 42% Cabernet Franc, 32% Syrah, 23% Carmenere and 2% Petit Verdot. Lastly, the IGT Super Tuscan is mainly Sangiovese with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot added.

Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy my first set of LCBO wine recommendations of 2016! Cheers!

Michel Gassier Nostre Païs 2012 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (90 pts)Maquis Lien 2009 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (90 pts)

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DES ALADÈRES SÉLECTION VIEILLES VIGNES 2012 - AC Corbières, Midi, France (#431726) (XD) - $14.95
  • NIETO SENETINER DON NICANOR CABERNET/MALBEC/MERLOT 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#640938) (XD) - $16.95
  • DON’T HESITATE SHIRAZ 2013 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#434159) (XD) - $17.00
  • SANTA RITA MEDALLA REAL GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#275594) (XD) - $17.95
  • NALS MARGREID PINOT NOIR 2013 - DOC Alto Adige, Italy (#434225) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • MICHEL GASSIER NOSTRE PAÏS 2012 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#295410) (D) - $22.95  reviewed here
  • MAQUIS LIEN 2009 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#403881) (XD) - $29.00  FSE  reviewed here
  • CAIAROSSA PERGOLAIA 2008 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#424333) (XD) - $34.95
Nals Margreid Pinot Noir 2013 - DOC Alto Adige, Italy (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • SYN+ WHITE DOT MOSCHOFILERO/RODITIS 2014 - PGI Peloponnese, Greece (#429944) (XD) - $13.95
  • FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (M) - $16.95
  • DONNACHIARA IRPINIA CODA DI VOLPE 2013 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#434241) (XD) - $16.95
  • FRED LOIMER LOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2013 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#422717) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • PUPILLO CYANE MOSCATO 2010 - IGT Sicilia, Italy (#156430) (XD) - $18.95
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2011 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#912659) (S) - $24.95
  • JOH. JOS. PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING KABINETT 2011 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#440131) (MS) - $39.95  FSE

Sparkling Wine:

  • ZUCCARDI BLANC DE BLANCS CUVÉE ESPECIAL 2008 - Méthode Traditionnelle, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#435438) (XD) - $19.95

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