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  • Date publishedWednesday, June 27, 2018

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I had previously enjoyed the 2014 Lavau Vacqueyras in and noted that a further 1-2 years of cellar time would benefit an already delicious wine. Well, it's 18 months since I last tasted this beautiful red wine and, lo and behold, wine is returning to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Lavau Vacqueyras 2014 (90+ pts)

The Lavau family has been involved in winemaking for several generations, beginning in St. Emilion in the 19th century, then Tunisia, then returning to France and settling in the Rhône Valley in 1962. Maison Lavau was officially created in 1965 by Jean-Guy Lavau and his wife, Anne-Mariein. In the 1990's both of their sons - Frédéric and Benoît - returned to France after completing their studies in Canada to join the family's winemaking business. The sons eventually took over the business as their parents retired in the year 2000.

Today, Maison Lavau is one of the last family-run and independent wine estates in the Rhône Valley. With its three winemaking cellars and 180 hectares of vines, it has made its name as a major winemaker, trader and producer in Rhône wines.

On a side note, while visiting the exciting Cairanne Appellation in the southern Rhône Valley last month (more on this in a future post coming soon), we ended up driving by the Lavau winery. Having enjoyed many of their wines over the years, I was delighted get a glimpse of this fairly large winery.

Maison Lavau

Tasting Note:

LAVAU VACQUEYRAS 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#104927) (XD) - $26.95
Blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre that was aged in a combination of vat and used 450 Litre barrels. Plummy, blackberry and oak spice aromas from the cork. Medium-high aromatic intensity and complex with cassis, blackberry, dark fruit, oak spice aromas with a savoury component throughout. Hints of rocky mineral and peppery notes arrive as it opens up in the glass. The full-bodied palate is smooth and dense with finely knit tannins that have meshed into the palate very nicely. Dark, ripe fruit, plum, cassis with hints of peppery, savoury oak spices on the flavour profile. Acids are juicy and mouth-watering, while the finish is long, smooth and savoury. In a fine place right now, and will continue to age well over the next 3-5 years. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, June 25, 2018

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is a perennial visitor to the LCBO and was recently released into VINTAGES on . It is widely available across Ontario.

Wakefield Wines is a family-owned winery based near the Wakefield River in Clare Valley, South Australia. The Taylor family planted their first vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon) in 1969 with a vision to create authentic, estate grown wines. When Bill Taylor Sr. excavated a dam to secure a water source, he discovered tiny seahorses in the limestone bedrock - a reminder that these soils were under water more than 600 million years ago. The seahorse quickly became the symbol of the family's wine brand, with three seahorses now representing the three generations of Taylor family winemakers.

The family is also committed to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner to help protect the environment. In 2009, Wakefield received their ISO14001 certification for their Environmental Management System (EMS) which demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship. The EMS assists with identifying and controlling environmental impacts throughout the wine-growing process such as environmental risks, impact on land and biodiversity, and water conservation.

Wakefield has won numerous medals for its wines, including this Cabernet Sauvignon. They also had a run of four years (from 2013 to 2016) being named one of the top 5 wineries in the world. In 2004, they were the first major Australian wine company to bottle 100% of their wines under screw cap - a trend which continues all over the world today.

Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. This has evergreen aromas wrapped around cassis, red and black fruits, dark currants and sweet oak, with medium+ intensity. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has medium-firm, gritty tannins with nice aroma replays, and just a touch of sweetness hidden by the bright acids. The finish length is very good. Age 2+ years for better tannin integration. Score: 87 pts

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  • Date publishedSunday, June 24, 2018

Romio Primitivo 2016 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that was opened earlier today during a birthday lunch. It is a new wine coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Romio is a brand of premium quality wines from Caviro, Italy's leading cooperative that was founded in 1966. For this range, they work with a small number of exclusive wineries that have honed their grape-growing and winemaking knowledge over generations, including the use of modern-day winemaking techniques. Core values at Caviro include providing the best value while producing quality wines reliably year-after-year, as well as with minimal environmental impact.

Romio Primitivo 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROMIO PRIMITIVO 2016 - IGT Puglia, Italy (#569954) (XD) - $13.95
100% Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) grown on clay soils at up to 300 metres elevation. Raised completely in tanks. Aromas are ripe and fruity with blueberry, blackberry, and sweet spices, along with brambly hints throughout. It's dry on the medium-bodied palate with smooth, supple tannins that add a bit of texture. Nice aroma replays with cola notes joining the dark berry and sweet spice flavours. Lively acids are nicely balanced, while earthy and dark berry tones linger on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts

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  • Date publishedTuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)

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  • Date publishedTuesday, June 19, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release June 23, 2018: Chile + Canada Day

LCBO Wine Picks from June 23, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on features wines from Chile's "tip-top valleys" as the main theme, while the mini-theme celebrates Canadian wines for Canada Day. All of these wines will be on VINTAGES shelves at LCBO outlets across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the theme on Chile that features 14 wines from 8 different wine regions. From the Aconcagua Valley, which takes its name from the nearby river and the highest mountain in the Andes (and the Americas), there are couple of delicious white wines from coastal region of Aconcagua - a Chardonnay and a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - which benefit from the cooling breezes of the Pacific Ocean. Maipo Valley is where winemaking began in Chile (plantings date back to the 1500's) and is known for producing red wines, such as the Quintay Winemaker's Experience Blend which is a Malbec-based blend. And last but not least, Cachapoal is a sub-region of the Rapel Valley and often add refinement, elegance and mineral notes to blends. From a single block at the Peumo Vineyard in Cachapoal Valley is a lovely Carmenère.

Arboleda Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (88 pts)Hidden Bench Locust Lane Rosé 2017 (90 pts)

None of the 6 Canadian wines featured for Canada Day made my list of wine picks. However, there are half a dozen other solid buys that will certainly make your Canada Day celebrations special. If you prefer dry (i.e. not sweet) wines, there is a nice Chardonnay, as well as the Hidden Bench Rosé that consists of 93% Pinot Noir and 7% Viognier. If hints of sweetness is more your thing, check out the Riesling from either Henry of Pelham or Charles Baker, or the Wildass Rosé that is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling. If you have a sweet tooth, check out the Gewürztraminer Icewine.

Red wines from the rest of the release include a Languedoc red that is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre, while the lovely 2009 Infinity Super Tuscan is a blend of 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 20% Alicante. Lastly, the Cune is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, and 5% Mazuelo (Carignan).

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (91 pts)Moselland Goldschild Single Vineyard Riesling Kabinett 2016 (88 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Vinho Verde is a blend of mainly Alvarinho and Trajadura, while the Sancerre is a made with Sauvignon Blanc. The unoaked Chardonnay from Washington is quite Chablis-like. For sweet wine lovers, you'll want to look for the Riesling Kabinett.

Enjoy my top wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • VIÑALBA RESERVA MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#555763) (XD) - $18.95
  • JIM BARRY THE COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Coonawarra, South Australia (#677476) (XD) - $19.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET FRANC 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#492736) (XD) - $19.95
  • CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2016 - AC, Languedoc, France (#155804) (XD) - $19.95
  • PETER YEALANDS PINOT NOIR 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#551648) (XD) - $19.95
  • QUINTAY WINEMAKER’S EXPERIENCE BLEND 2015 - DO Maipo Valley, Chile (#568618) (XD) - $22.95
  • INFINITY 2009 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#540906) (XD) - $25.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO PEUMO VINEYARD BLOCK 27 CARMENÈRE 2016 - DO Peumo, Cachapoal Valley, Chile (#562892) (D) - $34.95
  • CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $39.95
  • DOMAINE DROUHIN LAURÈNE PINOT NOIR 2014 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#974899) (XD) - $79.95  FE

White Wine:

  • MURALHAS DE MONÇÃO VINHO VERDE 2016 - Monção e Melgaço, DOC, Portugal (#80374) (XD) - $15.95
  • MOSELLAND GOLDSCHILD SINGLE VINEYARD RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#466052) (MS) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • ARBOLEDA SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#510339) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $18.95
  • HEDGES H.I.P. DIONYSUS VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#488528) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA CHARDONNAY 2016 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#556118) (XD) - $21.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (D) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#189126) (XD) - $29.95
  • CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2015 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#241182) (D) - $37.20
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY VIOGNIER 2016 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#597369) (XD) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
Stags’ Leap Winery Viognier 2016 (91 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • WILDASS ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#71712) (D) - $18.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#68833) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU SALETTES BANDOL ROSÉ 2017 - AC Bandol, Southwest, France (#557892) (XD) - $27.95

Dessert Wine:

  • LAKEVIEW CELLARS GEWÜRZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#547703) (S) (200 mL) - $34.95

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  • Date publishedFriday, June 15, 2018

Casa Maguila Cachito Mío Toro 2014 (Spain) - Wine Review

wine is a new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is produced by Casa Maguila, a relatively new winery that was formed in 2009. It is located in the Toro DO appellation within the province of Zamora, in the Castile and Léon autonomous community in northwestern Spain. The founder, Jesús Peña, is from the little town of Caceres, within the Extremadura autonomous community in western Spain, south of Castile and Léon, and "Maguila" was the nickname bestowed upon his ancestral family.

Tinta de Toro is a dark, thick-skinned variant of Tempranillo that anchored its roots in this part of Spain after phylloxera arrived in the late 19th century, As such, some of the vines at Casa Maguila are at least 100 years old, with some of those grapes included in the Cachito Mío. The winery practices sustainable farming among its vineyards, all of which are located in the Toro DO.

Casa Maguila Cachito Mío Toro 2014 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASA MAGUILA CACHITO MÍO TORO 2014 - DO Toro, Spain (#546028) (XD) - $17.95
Made with 100% Tinta de Toro from vines over 50 years old at 715 metres elevation. Aged for 8 months in mostly American oak, and in bottle since May 2015. Black plum and blackberry aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity nose in the glass is ripe and a touch sweet with blackberry, licorice, sweet oak, and chocolate aromas. It's heavily oaked on the dry palate with more sweet oak spice flavours surrounding the core of dark berry, blackberry and black plum fruit. Gritty tannins are grippy, while juicy acids provide freshness. Mocha chocolate and oak flavours linger on the long finish. Made in a more commercial style that should have wide appeal. Best with red meats. Score: 87 pts

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  • Date publishedThursday, June 14, 2018

Niagara Grape & Wine Festival 2017 - Day 1 of 2

Pacific Snapper Ceviche and Niagara Apple Slaw with 2016 Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling
Last , I visited Niagara to take in the 66th Annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival that celebrates the harvest season. I have been fortunate to attend this festival many times and have always enjoyed the visit. Once again, I visited Niagara over two days and my review from second day will be posted shortly.

Our tour began in Niagara-on-the-Lake, at Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery for some Pacific snapper ceviche and Niagara Apple Slaw paired with their 2016 Grand Reserve Riesling. This was a nicely crisp, balanced pairing where the off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) Riesling wine suddenly became quite dry when paired with the slaw due to the high, lemony acids from the ceviche overtaking the sugary elements in the wine. This was really quite well done. Using my Winemaker's Selections' Tasting Passes, we also got to taste their intriguing, and uncommon Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Wine made with Sauvignon Blanc, but otherwise did not taste any other wines as the tasting bar is always a zoo. Full wine reviews from Jackson-Triggs and all the other wineries visited on this day are provided below.

Harvest Barn Apple Cinnamon Chicken Wing with 2013 Rancourt Unoaked Chardonnay
The second stop of the day was at Rancourt Winery for grilled chicken wings brushed with Harvest Barn’s signature Apple Cinnamon grilling sauce, and paired with their 2013 Rancourt Unoaked Chardonnay ($14.80, 86 pts). I do wings and wine at home quite often and find it to be delightful. The pairing at Rancourt was also good, with mild stone fruit flavours from the wine meshing well with the mildly flavoured wings.

Moving along to the Beamsville Bench area of Niagara, Cave Spring Cellars was our third stop of the day. They were not participating in the Discovery Pass Experience, so we simply tasted a few wines from their lovely portfolio, followed by a short stroll on picturesque Main Street in Jordan Village.

The fourth stop of the afternoon was at GreenLane Estate Winery to taste their newly released 2014 GreenLane Guts and Glory Blend ($19.95, 87 pts), which is a blend of 55% Unoaked Chardonnay (Guts) and 45% Riesling (Glory), and paired with a Macaroni and Gorgonzola Fritter by Just Cooking. This was a nicely balanced pairing as the high acidity in the wine cut through the deep fried mac & cheese ball, while also providing a nice mouthfeel. The ambience on their outdoor patio is always such a delightful place, we took our time before heading inside and tasting a few of their top wines.

Just Cooking Macaroni and Gorgonzola Fritter with 2014 GreenLane Guts and GloryItty Bitty Pie Company Brie and Caramelized Onions Pie with 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve

Our fifth and final stop of the day was at Legends Estates Winery. The food and wine pairing here was a mouthwatering, bite-sized pie stuffed with Brie and caramelized onions from the Itty Bitty Pie Company, and paired with their award-winning 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve and 2012 Legends Estates Shiraz Reserve. Having tasted both of these wines previously, I was curious to see how each wine would the on prior visits to the winery, so I opted to pair the pie with the Chardonnay as the rich, buttery, butterscotch, and vanilla notes in the wine accentuated caramelized flavours in the pie filling, as well as the buttery flavours in the pie crust. Delicious pairing, indeed.

All-in-all, I was quite satisfied with yet another trip to Niagara Wine Country. This is only part 1 of my review, as I ended up visiting Niagara a couple of weeks later to partake in more Discovery Pass Experiences. Stay tuned, as that review will be posted in a few days time.

Tasting Notes:

JACKSON-TRIGGS GRAND RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#367102) (D) - $21
Fragrant nose of tropical fruits, orange citrus, Flintstone vitamins and mineral waft from the glass, and all of it coming through nicely on the off-dry palate, balanced by clean acids. The finish is long with some bitterness and comes off as dry. Score: 88+ pts

Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)Jackson-Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE SPARKLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#353078) (D) - $29.95
A sparkling wine that is tart and sour with pink grapefruit notes, followed by some brioche, leesy and green stemmy aromas and flavours. It comes off as mostly dry on the palate with frothy mousse and a toasty brioche edge. Nicely balanced with a medium-long finish. Score: 88 pts

RANCOURT FOUNDER'S BLEND 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD)
Equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, this is highly aromatic with lots of woodsy, barnyard, brett, and oak spice aromas, with underlying cassis and blackberry notes. It's full-bodied with nice aroma replays on the palate with notable, but well-integrated oak. Ripe tannins are smooth and refined. Acids are very good, while the finish is long. Score: 89 pts

Rancourt Founder's Blend 2012 (89 pts)Rancourt Gewürztraminer Icewine 2013 (90+ pts)

RANCOURT GEWÜRZTRAMINER ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $30
Tasted a few times now, and still drinking very well. The highly aromatic nose offers sweet honey, pear, stone fruit, peach and some spices. The palate has very nice, balanced aroma replays. It's sweet, but the fresh acids keep everything nicely balanced. Excellent finish length. Score: 90+ pts

CAVE SPRING CSV CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#529941) (XD) - $29.95
From 41-year old vines, 100% barrel fermented and aged for 10 months in French oak barriques and puncheons, this has a richly buttered nose of apple, pear, and lemon aromas of medium-high intensity. It has a medium+ body that is rich and buttery with, apple, vanilla and well-integrated oak flavours. Nicely textured with crisp, balanced acidity. Excellent finish length. Still a bit young - age this 1-2 years. Score: 91 pts

Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2015 (91 pts)Cave Spring Estate Bottled Riesling 2015 (89 pts)

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2015 - VQA, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment,, Ontario, Canada (#286377) (D) - $18.95
This has a medium-high intensity nose of orange citrus, peach, lime, and some limestone mineral aromas. It's medium-bodied with a chalky limestone mineral texture on the off-dry palate. Clean acids are a touch sour. Long finishing. Will age gracefully for many years. Score: 89 pts

GREENLANE OLD VINES RIESLING 2010 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (MD) - $34.95
The medium-high intensity aromas are quite fragrant and open with orange citrus, mineral notes, and hints of petrol. The palate is medium-bodied with very nice aroma replays in a medium-dry profile and lifted by vibrant acids. Excellent finish length. Lovely! Score: 90+ pts

GreenLane Old Vines Riesling 2010 (90+ pts)GreenLane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (91 pts)

GREENLANE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Ripe, medium-high intensity nose of evergreen, cassis, black currant, cocoa, and chocolate aromas, all of which come through very nicely on the wood-driven, full bodied palate. Balanced acids. Tannins are chalky, yet well-integrated and quite refined. The finish goes on and on. Score: 91 pts

LEGENDS ESTATES CHARDONNAY RESERVE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $18.95
The medium-intensity nose offers rich, buttery aromas with butterscotch, vanilla, and poached apple joining fray, all of which come through nicely on the medium-bodied palate. Acids are still clean, while the finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve 2013 (88+ pts)Legends Estates Reserve Shiraz 2012 (89 pts)

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
This has a medium-high intensity nose that's very savoury with wood spice, green olive, meaty, and gamey aromas. On the medium-full bodied palate, this has black peppercorn, gamey and charcuterie flavours surrounded by good acidity and refined tannins. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

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  • Date publishedSunday, June 10, 2018

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine is a new wine coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Even though Tenuta PoggioVerrano was founded in the shining and rural landscape of Maremma Toscana at the turn of the century in the year 2000, this appears to be the first vintage for this particular red wine. The property has 27 hectares of vines planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Alicante, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc on rocky soils of a calcareous and clayey nature, and located between 170 metres and 300 metres elevation. The vineyards are facing south-southwest and are located just 15 kilometres from the Mediterranean. The winery is built upon gravity flow principles and is fully underground.

Tenuta PoggioVerrano Infinity 2009 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

INFINITY 2009 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#540906) (XD) - $25.95
This excellent Super Tuscan is a blend of 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, and 20% Alicante that was aged for 2 years is French oak barriques and 3 years in small stainless steel tanks before bottling. Intriguing black plum, blackberry, and oak spice aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic, pretty aromas in the glass with a nice, mature mix of savoury and dried fruits - think red floral, savoury wet forest floor, dried cherry, and sweet oak spice, along with hints of cinnamon, black plum, and black licorice. The palate is medium-full bodied with nicely balanced, complex aroma replays. Supple tannins are nicely folding into the palate, offering some grip and dusty texture. Acids are fresh. Savoury notes linger on the finish, with excellent length. Drinking great now, but can also be enjoyed over the next 5 years. Score: 91 pts

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  • Date publishedTuesday, June 5, 2018

Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is a back vintage of a wine that was recently released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This white wine is produced by Lakeview Wine Co. (formerly known as Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits) and is one of the largest wine producers in the country. The re-brand of the winery coincided with the launch of their brand new retail and tasting centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, in the spring of 2017. The building features a unique architectural and interior design that creates a welcoming atmosphere. I visited Lakeview last month for Sip & Sizzle and must say the building is quite nice - much improved over the old building and it feels warm and inviting. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.

Founded in 1991 by Eddy Gurinskas, Lakeview Cellars is the winery's oldest brand. Lakeview Cellars wines use grapes sourced from their best vineyards in Niagara. The fruit for this Sauvignon Blanc come from 5 acres of mature vines that have been farmed by the Tregunno family for four generations.

While the 2015 vintage is no longer available, and the 2016 vintage looks to be sold out at the LCBO, you can pick up the 2016 at the winery or shop online.

Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAKEVIEW CELLARS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#483958) (XD) - $18.95
Screw cap. The nose is subtle, offering grassy and tropical fruit aromas with hints of gooseberry, kiwi, guava, and orange zest. It's light-to-medium bodied and dry on the palate with crisp and fresh acids. Ripe fruited flavour profile - think melon, guava, kiwi, with lemon citrus and grassy notes. Some bitterness on the finish. Score: 87 pts

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  • Date publishedMonday, June 4, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release June 9, 2018: Milestone Moments + Summer Whites

LCBO Wine Picks: June 9, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release features Milestone Moments from the wine world as its main theme, while the mini-thematic focuses on cool Summer white wines. All of these wines will be shelves by this coming .

We'll begin with the main theme that focuses on Milestone Moments in the wine world. There are fourteen wines listed among the seven different milestones. The advent of appellations is an important milestone in the world of wine and began in 1716; in Ontario, the VQA appellation and standards system began in 1988 and the wine representing this milestone is the Fumé Blanc (i.e. barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc) from Niagara. The only other wine among my top wine picks is from the "South Africa goes global" milestone and is an Old Vine Chenin Blanc, where significant progress swept through South Africa after the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc 2016 (91 pts)Janare Senete Falanghina del Sannio 2016 (89 pts)

From the mini-theme on cool and refreshing Summer white wines, four of the ten wines featured are included among my top wine picks. First up is a variety native to Burgundy called Aligoté. Also on my list is a Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch in South Africa, and a Falanghina from Campania, Italy. Lastly, there is a Marsanne from an Estate in Australia that first planted this grape back in the 1860's and still has vines dating back to 1927.

Among my red wine picks from the rest of the release, the Romanian wine is made using Cadarca (Kadarka), while the Crianza is made with Tempranillo. The wine from Gérard Bertrand is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan. From Faugères, the blend consists of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Carignan, while the Arana from Rioja is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo. And lastly, the Dievole is a blend of mostly Sangiovese.

Pol Roger Vintage Brut Champagne 2008 (93 pts)

And last, but definitely not the least, the brilliant Champagne is made with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.

Enjoy my wine picks from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • GANCEDO XESTAL MENCÍA 2010 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#553743) (XD) - $17.95
  • BALLA GÉZA CADARCA 2015 - DOC Minis, Romania (#548552) (XD) - $18.95
  • LEALTANZA CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#114835) (XD) - $18.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR TAUTAVEL GRENACHE / SYRAH / CARIGNAN 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#272575) (D) - $18.95
  • PARFUM DE SCHISTES FAUGÈRES 2016 - AP Les Crus Faugères, Languedoc, France (#538025) (XD) - $21.95
  • DIEVOLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#444448) (XD) - $22.95
  • ALÉOFANE NATACHA CHAVE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#530691) (XD) - $36.95  FE
  • CASTELLO DI GABBIANO BELLEZZA GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#652438) (XD) - $39.95  91 pts  wine review
  • RINGBOLT 21 BARRIQUES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#367870) (XD) - $44.95  FE
  • VIÑA ARANA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#368373) (XD) - $44.95  FE
  • CASCINA CHICCO GINESTRA RISERVA BAROLO 2010 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#551853) (XD) - $92.00  FE
Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2013 (91 pts)

White Wine:

  • L’AVENIR FAR & NEAR CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#556365) (XD) - $15.95
  • TAHBILK MARSANNE 2017 - Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#117945) (XD) - $17.95
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
  • JANARE SENETE FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2016 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#556787) (D) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS BOURGOGNE ALIGOTÉ 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#557728) (XD) - $19.95
  • BELLINGHAM THE BERNARD SERIES OLD VINE CHENIN BLANC 2016 - WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#012724) (XD) - $29.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2016 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068825) (XD) - $29.95  91 pts  wine review
  • BOURILLON DORLÉANS LA COULÉE D’ARGENT SEC VOUVRAY 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#541532) (D) - $30.95
  • HERVÉ AZO VAU DE VEY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#240655) (XD) - $42.95
  • FLOWERS CHARDONNAY 2016 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#215210) (XD) - $59.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • CHIVITE LAS FINCAS VINO DE LA TIERRA ROSADO 2017 - IGP Vino de la Tierra 3 Riberas, Spain (#556308) (XD) - $22.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • POL ROGER VINTAGE BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#411793) (XD) - $96.95  93 pts  wine review


  • LUSTAU EAST INDIA SOLERA SHERRY - DO, Spain (#342931) (S) (500 mL) - $25.95  91 pts  wine review
Lustau East India Solera Sherry (91 pts)

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