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  • Date publishedSunday, August 30, 2020

Lealtanza Reserva 2015 (Spain) - Wine Review



wine review is this lovely, vegan-friendly Rioja from Spain that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

Bodegas Altanza, a synonym for quality, is a relatively new winery in the world of Spanish wine as it was only established in 1998. Their goal is to offer the best possible quality wine at a sensible price, while also combining tradition and modernity at their estate in Fuenmayor, Rioja Alta. The estate spans 300 hectares, of which 220 hectares are planted to vine. At the winery, they have many stainless steel tanks of varying sizes which allows for better customization of the fermentation process depending on the varietal and style of wine they wish to craft. The modern winemaking facility features temperature-control jackets on each of their tanks and is managed by a central control panel.

The winery began with a focus on crafting only reserva wines, but have also introduced a rosé, an aromatic white wine, and other red wines. All of the red wines at Altanza are made using 100% Tempranillo, the queen of the Rioja's autochthonous varieties and, by far, Spain's most popular grape. Spain grows nearly 90% of the world's Tempranillo. The grape descends from two varieties which were once at home in the Ebro Valley, becoming Tempranillo in the Middle Ages (about 1,500 years ago). Tempranillo flourishes in cool, temperate climates where high summer temperatures allow the vine to give optimum results with good acidity. Tempranillo is relatively late budding, but develops earlier than many other varietals, hence the name "temprano" which means "early".

Whereas many Spanish Riojas are traditionally known for their use of American oak ageing, Bodegas Altanza uses mainly French oak ageing, allowing the wines to have nuances more suited to their preference. I have tasted previous vintages of this wine and it has always been delicious. Let's see how this fine Rioja is tasting tonight...

Lealtanza Reserva 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LEALTANZA RESERVA 2015 - Vegan, DOCa Rioja, Spain (#208223) (XD) - $23.95
This 100% Tempranillo was fermented using natural yeasts and aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, followed by 3 months in 22,000 L French (Allier) oak vats. The medium-high intensity nose has black cherry and sandalwood aromas with some earthy wood spice and a touch of barnyard. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with more sandalwood spice and red cherry flavours supported by supple, refined tannins and racy, food-friendly acidity. A touch warming on the mid-palate, but nicely balanced overall. Earthy, meaty, savoury, wood spice, and cherry notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Enjoy this fine Tempranillo over the next 4-5 years. Score: 89 pts

Limited availability of other wines from the Bodegas Altanza portfolio can be ordered via their Agent - Profile Wine Group.


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 28, 2020

Château de Nages JT 2016 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely organic red wine from a Southern Rhône winery that I had the pleasure of visiting back in 2018. This delicious wine arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release and plenty of bottles are still available for purchase.

Château de Nages is situated in the Costières de Nîmes appellation and the heart of an ecological network of protected areas of the European Union. It is the 4th generation family estate of the highly-acclaimed winemaker Michel Gassier and his wife Tina. They are committed to protecting the ecosystem with an absolute respect for the soil. By combining ancestral know-how with modern winemaking techniques from their fabulous terroir, Michel Gassier is able to produce high-quality, fine wines.

The JT line of wines at Château de Nages, which consists of the lovely 2015 Château de Nages JT White that I enjoyed back in June and this JT Red are dedicated to Michel Gassier's visionary great grandfather, Joseph Torrès. Both of these cuvées are crafted using fruit from the very best parcels of their own estate vineyards in Costières de Nîmes, while offering northern Rhône character.

For this vintage of the JT Red, Michel Gassier notes that the 2016 vintage is the greatest he has ever seen in 23 years of making wine. In 2016, yields were naturally moderate in a warm and dry growing season with exceptionally cool nights that helped produce fresh, concentrated and wonderfully balanced grapes. All of the grapes were certified organically farmed with particular attention to soil health. The grapes were manually harvested and sorted, then fermented using natural yeasts with 50% aged in French oak, while the other half was raised in cement tanks for 12 months. Finally, it was blended and bottled without filtration.

Château de Nages JT 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT 2016 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#736876) (XD) - $26.95
This organic red wine is a blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Mourvèdre from soils that have rolled pebbles from the Rhône over red clay rich in iron. Ripe, medium-high intensity nose has dark berry, black pepper spice, and game aromas with a strong mineral character. The medium-full bodied, structured palate is flavourful with lovely ripe dark berry, mineral and pepper with some gamey, floral, and oak spice tones. Acids are well-balanced while the mid-palate is somewhat chalky with drying tannins. Finishes long with savoury, earthy mineral and floral notes. Score: 90 pts

Other fine wines from the Château de Nages portfolio can be found at the LCBO or ordered via their Agent - Profile Wine Group.


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  • Date publishedTuesday, August 25, 2020

Wakefield Estate Wines (Australia) and Optimum Drinking Temperature

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Wines
wine reviews are a trio of wines from Australia's Wakefield Wines where we take brief look at wine serving temperatures.

But first, the story of Wakefield Wines begins in 1950, when the Taylor family's long-standing association with Clare Valley results in a partnership with a local co-operative to bottle and distribute their own wines. In 1969, Bill Taylor finds a perfect plot of land by the Wakefield River in South Australia's Clare Valley to establish their family estate and plants its first Cabernet Sauvignon vines. At the same time, Bill was excavating the land to find a water source and discovered tiny seahorses in the limestone bedrock that date back more than 600 million years. These seahorses are featured prominently in the company's logo.

In 1973, the Taylor family completed construction of the winery and also released their first wines - the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Shiraz which are the heart of the business. As the company grew and expanded, they began exporting wines to the UK in 1985 under the name "Wakefield" due to international trademarks held by the Taylors family of Portugal. In 2004, Wakefield became the first major Australian wine company to bottle all of their wines under screw cap. The latest innovation came a few years ago, when they launched the Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor on the back label.

A world first, the back label of the Wakefield Estate and Promised Land range of wines feature their exclusive, touch-activated, Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor. The temperature of a wine plays an important role in the experience and enjoyment of wine. However, most people serve their wine without really thinking about the temperature of it and serve red wines at room temperature - which is too warm - and white wines too cold. The myth surrounding enjoying red wine at room temperature originated from the chilly drawing rooms of medieval French castles. In my younger days, I was also guilty of this behaviour as I would bring a nicely cooled red wine up from the basement and let it warm up to room temp before opening. I learned, and these days I chill all of my wines - how much time in the fridge depends on the varietal/style - and gradually let them warm up to see how the wine changes. I would strongly encourage you to try this at home as well.

Wakefield's solution to the temperature problem is to provide temperature sensors on the back label that indicate when the wine is ready to enjoy. Each wine has its own calibrated sensor that is touch-activated and changes colour depending on the temperature of the wine. By referencing the temperature guide (also printed on the back label) with the colour of the sensor, you can easily tell if the wine is too warm, too cold, or at the right serving temperature. Pictures of the back label are provided below, as well as wine reviews of three Wakefield Estate wines. Based on my personal experimentation, the temperature sensor is a useful guide that will help you determine when to drink the wine. However, since I tend to slowly sip my wines, I would serve them a little cooler than recommended and gradually let the wine warm up in the glass for best enjoyment.

All three of these wines are readily available in the VINTAGES section at the LCBO. Other wines from the Wakefield portfolio can be found at the LCBO or ordered via their Agent - Profile Wine Group.

Tasting Notes:

WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2018 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Ripe, medium+ intensity nose has buttery, pear, golden apple, and some leesy aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the creamy palate with ripe banana and pineapple flavours balanced by apple, lemon, and sweet vanillin oak, and touches of butterscotch. Acids are fresh while the lemony, spicy finish has very good length. Arrived in LCBO VINTAGES . Score: 88 pts

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2018 (88 pts)Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2018 (back label)

WAKEFIELD ESTATE SHIRAZ 2018 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#943787) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. The medium-high intensity nose is fresh with herbal, leafy, mint and spice layered over black cherry, plum, and gentle oak aromas. The medium-full bodied palate offers well-integrated oak spice, black cherry, plum, and peppery spice flavours supported by smooth, fine-grained, and sweet tannins. It has fresh, juicy acidity. Pleasantly dry (but undeniably Shiraz) and well-balanced overall with a touch of chocolate on the long finish. VINTAGES Essentials product and always available year-round. The 2018 is a highly recommended buy! Score: 89 pts

Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2018 (89 pts)Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2018 (back label)

WAKEFIELD ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. Fresh, medium-high intensity aromatics lead with herbal, green pepper, and black cherry liqueur followed by cassis, wood spice, and touches of olive. It is full-bodied on the palate with herbal, dark cherry, cassis, and woodsy replays on the flavour profile. Acids are well-balanced, while tannins are slightly chalky and grainy, softening somewhat since tasting in Sept. 2019. Earthy and wood spice notes linger on the finish, with good length. Available in LCBO VINTAGES now and also featured in the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Score: 88 pts

Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (88 pts)Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (back label)


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 21, 2020

Umani Ronchi Jorio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is this nice Montepulciano d'Abruzzo that arrived at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and is still widely available for purchase across the province.

Umani Ronchi was founded in the 1950's in Cupramontana, the heart of Verdicchio Classico country, by Gino Umani Ronchi. A few years later, the Bianchi family formed a partnership with Umani Ronchi, eventually becoming the sole owners. Dr. Bianchi's son-in-law, Massimo Benetti, took over management of the company and was joined by his son, Michele, and together they run the family business today. The Bianchi-Benetti family have been crafting superb quality wines made with Verdicchio and Montepulciano from Marche and Abruzzo for more than 60 years.

In total, Umani Ronchi has 210 hectares of vines, which are all organically farmed, and nestled between the hills and the sea along the Adriatic coast from Serra dei Conti in Marche in the north to Roseto degli Abruzzi in the south. Umani Ronchi also practices sustainability with a strong sense of ethics and respect for the environment. For example, they use light-weight bottles which have a lower impact on CO2 emissions, while their energy is supplied by a photovoltaic array.

This particular bottle from Umani Ronchi is made with 100% Montepulciano coming from Abruzzo. This wine was first produced in 1993 in collaboration with Abruzzese winegrowers that had vineyards in particularly favourable areas that allowed the grape to express its great potential. The name of the wine "Jorio" is intended as a tribute to the great 20th century Abruzzese poet Gabriele D'Annunzio who wrote a play titled "The Daughter of Jorio".

Umani Ronchi Jorio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

UMANI RONCHI JORIO MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2016 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy (#134577) (D) - $17.95
100% Montepulciano that was hand-harvested. 50% of the wine was aged in large oak barrels, while the other half was aged in 3rd and 4th use barriques, and blended together after a period of 12 months. The medium+ intensity nose has earthy and stony minerals joined by dark berry and plum notes. On the medium-bodied palate it has smooth, fine-grained tannins and juicy, well-balanced acidity. It's savoury and dark berry flavoured with a touch of sweet chocolatey oak. Slightly grippy on the savoury, earthy finish, with very good length. An enjoyable Friday night wine. Score: 88 pts

Other wines from the Umani Ronchi portfolio can be found at the LCBO or ordered through their Agent Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedWednesday, August 19, 2020

Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Chianti Classico that arrives in LCBO VINTAGES on and is featured in this Release as part of the feature on High-Scoring Wines. It has already arrived in some stores and should be widely available across Ontario by Saturday.

This Sangiovese is produced by Bacci Wines at their Castello di Bossi estate in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, which is located in the southern part of the Chianti Classico zone, 50 kilometres southeast of Florence and 14 kilometres east of Siena.

Local inscriptions indicate that there was a Roman settlement on this site dating back to the 1st century AD. The name Bossi is apparently linked to a money chest that was made of boxwood - a rare and prized wood at the time - the Roman army would carry to encampments to pay the soldiers. In the 9th century, the noble dei Berardenghi family settled on the site. After a lengthy rule, the dei Berardenghi family withdrew to private life and donated most of their landholdings - except for the property which today surrounds the castle.

Castello di Bossi has changed owners many times over the years and is currently in the hands of the Bacci family. The estate covers 650 ha, with 124 ha under vine, most of which is planted to Sangiovese. Using modern viticultural practices, the estate aims to consistently harvest the best quality fruit in order to express the best qualities of the terroir and each grape variety.

The 2015 Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico was an excellent wine I enjoyed last fall, so I am delighted to see the next vintage come to Ontario this year. According to vintage reports, the high quality of the 2016 vintage matched 2015, albeit yields were somewhat lower. Furthermore, the wines of 2016 tend to be less structured, but very aromatic. Sounds great to me! Let's see how the 2016 is tasting tonight...

Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASTELLO DI BOSSI C. BERARDENGA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#994608) (XD) - $22.95
100% Sangiovese grown at 350 metres above sea level on tufo, brown and yellow clay, and broken stone soils. The fragrant, highly aromatic nose offers enticing rose floral, red and black cherry aromas joined by cinnamon, sweet spices, and leather notes. The medium+ bodied, juicy palate is fresh, spicy and a touch warming with cherry, spices, and clove, and leather flavours with touches of dried herb. Well-integrated tannins have a pleasantly subtle, textured grip, while fresh acids are slightly tart and limey. Chocolatey oak with touches of mineral linger on the finish, with excellent length. Score: 91 pts

Other wines from the Bacci Wines portfolio can be found via their Agent Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedWednesday, August 19, 2020

August 22, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: 90+ pts + South Africa

LCBO Wine Picks: August 22, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the upcoming August 22, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release is titled "Guide Posts" and focuses on wines that have received high scores, while the mini-theme looks at the stellar wines from South Africa. All of these wines, plus those from the main release, should be on shelves by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at high-scoring wines. Of the fourteen wines that received high scores from international critics and competitions, five wines are included among my top wine picks. At the top of my list is a lovely blend from Paraje Altamira in Argentina that is a co-fermented blend of 78% Malbec and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, followed closely by a 2016 Chianti Classico that is 100% Sangiovese. There are also a pair of lovely Chardonnay wines - one from Mâcon-Péronne in Burgundy, while the other is from Tumbarumba in Australia. The last wine from this feature is a white wine blend from Rhône that consists of 70% Grenache Blanc and 30% Viognier.

Zaha El Corte 2016 (91 pts)Castello di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2016 (91 pts)

The mini-theme on wines from South Africa is mini indeed with just seven wines and provides a decent cross section of what comes out of South Africa, although notably absent is any Chenin Blanc. There are some good wines featured as part of the South African theme, but just one wine made my list of wine recommendations - a 2014 Syrah for $18.

Among my top red wine picks, the California Cabernet Sauvignon includes some Petit Verdot and Malbec. From France, the Vacqueyras is a blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, while the Roussillon red is consists of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan. Lastly, the 2015 Chianti Classico is made with 95% Sangiovese and 5% Malvasia Nera, A pair of single varietal wines worth your attention are a Malbec that is consistently one of my favourites and also featured in this Release as the Wine of the Month, and a consistently well-made Gamay from Niagara.

Archimedes Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (93 pts)Salentein Reserve Malbec 2018 (89 pts)

13th Street Gamay 2018 (89 pts)

Besides the Rhône white mentioned above, all of my white wine picks are single varietals wines and the most interesting of the bunch might the 2011 Rioja, which is a barrel-aged Viura. The Chablis is, of course, made with Chardonnay. For sweet wine lovers, look to the Riesling from Niagara or the Riesling Kabinett from Mosel. Lastly, the dry rosé from Argentina is an interesting blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2018 (90 pts)Luigi Bosca A Rosé Is A Rosé Is A Rosé 2019 (88 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • ALMENKERK WINE ESTATE SYRAH 2014 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#15780) (XD) - $17.95
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • VALE DE LOBOS SYRAH 2015 - DO Tejo, Portugal (#14546) (XD) - $19.95
  • 13TH STREET GAMAY 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#177824) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GABRIEL MEFFRE LA CHÂSSE GRANDE RÉSERVE 2015 - AP Vacqueyras, Rhône, France (#15455) (XD) - $19.95
  • CASTELLO DI BOSSI C. BERARDENGA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#994608) (XD) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review
  • ZAHA EL CORTE 2016 - Toko Vineyard, Paraje Altamira, Mendoza, Argentina (#629972) (XD) - $24.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • M. CHAPOUTIER BILA-HAUT OCCULTUM LAPIDEM 2017 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Latour-de-France (#643239) (XD) - $26.95
  • CASA EMMA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#910281) (XD) - $43.95
  • ARCHIMEDES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#431825) (D) - $79.95  93 pts  wine review

White Wine:

  • COLOMÉ TORRONTÉS 2019 - Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina (#357913) (XD) - $15.95
  • RHÔNE TO THE BONE 2018 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#14033) (XD) - $16.95
  • INVIVO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#14199) (XD) - $17.00  88 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE DU BICHERON MÂCON-PÉRONNE 2017 - AC, Burgundy, France (#14960) (XD) - $19.95
  • VINELAND ESTATES ELEVATION ST. URBAN VINEYARD RIESLING 2018 - St. Urban Vineyard, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#38117) (M) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • PROCELLA TUMBARUMBA CHARDONNAY 2018 - Single vineyard, New South Wales, Australia (#15140) (XD) - $21.95
  • BODEGA GARZÓN RESERVA ALBARIÑO 2019 - Maldonado, Uruguay (#646802) (XD) - $22.95
  • DR. LOOSEN BERNKASTELER LAY RIESLING KABINETT 2017 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#15295) (S) - $29.95
  • DOMAINE LAROCHE VIEILLES VIGNES LES VAILLONS CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2018 - AC, Burgundy, France (#991893) (XD) - $39.95
  • R. LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA VIÑA GRAVONIA CRIANZA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#910711) (XD) - $39.95  FE
Invivo Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • LUIGI BOSCA A ROSÉ IS A ROSÉ IS A ROSÉ 2019 - Argentina (#553032) (XD) - $18.95  88 pts  wine review

Sparkling Wine:

  • ANDREA BIASIOTTO EXTRA DRY MILLESIMATO PROSECCO 2018 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#516559) (D) - $18.95
  • RENÉ GEOFFROY TERRE EXTRA BRUT 1ER CRU CHAMPAGNE 2006 - AC, Champagne, France (#16166) (XD) - $149.95  FE


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  • Date publishedSaturday, August 15, 2020

Argentina: A Mini-Tasting Trip - August 22, 2020 VINTAGES Release Wine Reviews

Wines of Argentina
After exploring and enjoying some fabulous Wines of Argentina a couple of weeks ago, tonight's wine reviews are another look at three Argentine wines coming to LCBO VINTAGES on August 22 and one that is in stores now.

Grapes are grown in Argentina stretching 3,800 km from north to south. with vineyards making quality wines covering nearly 500,000 acres. The diversity of terroirs where the vines are grown imprint distinctive characters and profiles of each variety.

Torrontés is the most cultivated white wine varietal in Argentina with 5% of the total cultivated area within the country devoted to the grape. Torrontés is only found in Argentina and there are three variants - Mendocino, Sanjuanino, and Riojano. Of the three variants, Riojano is the most cultivated and expresses the best qualities for the production of fine wines, especially those found in Cafayate Valley, Salta. Torrontés is Argentina's signature white wine and winemaker Susana Balbo is known as the "Queen of Torrontés" for her role in transforming Torrontés from an unknown blending grape into Argentina’s star white varietal.

Pink-skinned varieties - primarily the indigenous Cereza and Criolla Grande - currently make up 24% of all vines cultivated in Argentina. However, in the not-too-long-ago past, these varietals were actually the most widely planted in the country until they were supplanted by Malbec in more recent years. While I don't think I have ever seen (or tasted) wines made with these indigenous grapes, Pinot Gris also falls into the pink-skinned category and is included as part of the blend that makes up the Luigi Bosca Rosé.

Malbec is far and away the most widely planted varietal in Argentina, claiming top spot only in 2011, with 22% of the country's vine acreage devoted to the grape. It is Argentina's flagship red wine grape and many of the country's top wines are made using this varietal. An astounding 85% of the Malbec planted in Argentina is within Mendoza, while in second place is San Juan (neighbouring north of Mendoza) with 6%. In third place is Salta, in the north of Argentina, with just over 3%. These three region combine to produce 94% of the country's Malbec.

The Malbec reviewed below is one of my favourite wallet-friendly Malbec wines - and there are many - as Argentina is widely known for offering great value for the quality of its wines. This particular Malbec is from Tunuyán in the Uco Valley, nestled beside the cordillera of the Andes in higher altitude, cooler, and southern area of Mendoza that is characterized by the crossing of the Las Tunas and Tunuyán rivers. The vineyards in Uco Valley range in altitude from 900 to 2,200 metres above sea level (masl), which are the highest in Mendoza and among the highest in the world. Tunuyán was first settled in the 17th century, but only began planting vines in 1995. As the vines matured, it was realized beginning in 2010 that the high altitude vines in Tunuyán create a different wine style. This led to further research to understand the terroir of the area, and eventually the discovery of exciting micro-regions within Tunuyán.

The last wine in this post comes from the Paraje Altamira GI (Geographical Indication), an area located to the south of Uco Valley in San Carlos, right next to La Consulta. The area, which was originally called Altamira, was known for producing excellent grapes for many years - it was first planted in 1900. It produces wines of unique colour and tannic concentration, flavour and freshness. Paraje Altamira GI is placed at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,200 masl and officially became a GI in 2013 and now consists of an area nearly 10,000 ha, of which nearly 3,000 ha are planted to vine. One of the most important aspects of Paraje Altamira GI is that it was the first appellation in Argentina delineated by the concept of terroir - instead of by political boundaries - paving the way for future terroir-based GIs. The end result are unique, high-quality, and delicious wines with a sense of place.

Tasting Notes:

SUSANA BALBO CRIOS TORRONTÉS 2019 - Argentina (#1834) (XD) - $14.95 $12.95 until Sept. 13.
Torrontés grapes from Cafayate (Salta) and Uco Valley (Mendoza) grown at an average of 1,700 masl. All of the fruit was hand-harvested and spent 3 months on lees. Screw cap. Fresh and highly aromatic with floral, green grassy-herbal, lemon citrus, and grapefruit notes. The medium-bodied, slightly creamy palate has crunchy, tart citrus fruit flavours plus some herbs and floral. Acids are well-balanced and juicy. Somewhat chalky mineral textured and saline on the mid-palate, followed by mineral and lime citrus notes on the finish, with very good length. VINTAGES Essentials listing and available year-round. Agent: Profile Wine Group. Score: 88 pts

Susana Balbo Crios Torrontés 2019 (88 pts)Luigi Bosca A Rosé Is A Rosé Is A Rosé 2019 (88 pts)

LUIGI BOSCA A ROSÉ IS A ROSÉ IS A ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#553032) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from grapes grown in Luján de Cuyo and Maipú at an altitude of 780 metres. An interesting caramel and honey nose surrounds notes of citrus and grapefruit. It's quite full and structured in the mouth with honeyed, floral, grapefruit, and tangy citrus flavours in a dry profile. Juicy acids follow through to the honey and floral finish. A big, dry rosé with very good length. Agent: FWM Canada. Score: 88 pts

SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2018 - Tunuyán, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
100% estate grown Malbec from shallow, alluvial, and pebbly soils, with 70% coming from the El Oasis estate (1,050+ masl) and 30% from the La Pampa estate (1,250+ masl). The clean, medium-high intensity nose offers smoky minerality, dark berry, spice, and plum with whiffs of dried herb. It's mid-weighted on the fresh, juicy palate with very good acidity and flavours of dark berry, blackberry, smoky mineral, and spice with touches of violet. Tannins are smooth and refined. Dark berry and mineral with touches of chocolate linger on the long, juicy finish. Agent: Azureau Wines & Spirits. Score: 89 pts

Salentein Reserve Malbec 2018 (89 pts)Zaha El Corte 2016 (91+ pts)

ZAHA EL CORTE 2016 - Toko Vineyard, Paraje Altamira, Mendoza, Argentina (#629972) (XD) - $24.95
Zaha means "Heart" in the native Huarpe language of Mendoza. The Toko (stone) vineyard has diverse soils - sandy soils, rocky limestone rich soils with abundant white surface stones, and shallow silty soils mixed with gravel. Co-fermented blend of 78% Malbec and 22% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh, spicy, scorched earth, and stony mineral notes jump out of the glass followed by some dark spices, herbs, and dark berry. The refined, medium-full bodied palate has smooth, structured, nicely textured and slightly chalky tannins. It's very minerally on the flavour profile with spice, dried herb, plum, and dark berry tones. Acids are fresh and mouth-watering. It's well-balanced throughout with mineral notes lingering on the long, juicy, and spicy finish. Very distinctive and highly recommended buy. Agent: Noble Estates Wine & Spirits. Score: 91+ pts


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  • Date publishedTuesday, August 11, 2020

LAVAU Gigondas 2016 and Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (Rhône) - Wine Reviews

LAVAU Gigondas 2016 (91 pts) and LAVAU Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (91+ pts)
Tonight's wine reviews are a pair of excellent cru wines from the Southern Rhône. These red wines are from Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape and are from the spectacular 2016 vintage. Moreover, both of these lovely wines arrived at the LCBO as part of the August 8th LCBO VINTAGES Release.

These wines are produced by Maison LAVAU, a family that has been involved in winemaking for several generations and was officially created in 1965 when Jean-Guy Lavau and his wife Anne-Marie returned to France (from Tunisia) and took charge of a small winemaking cellar in Sablet that Jean-Guy's father, Jean, purchased a few years earlier.

With great attention to detail and a thirst for excellence, Jean-Guy and Anne-Marie Lavau built a reputation as top quality winemakers in the region. They also formed close ties with other winegrowers and invested in the their future by purchasing the biggest winemaking business in the Vaucluse in 1994. In an interesting Canadian connection, their two sons, Frédéric and Benoît, both studied in Canada before joining the family business back in Rhône. Frédéric joined the family business in 1995, and Benoît followed suit two years later.

In 2000, Frédéric and Benoît took over the family business after their parents retired. They continued to invest in their business by building a new, modern, and high-performance cellar, as well as creating the LAVAU brand, and exporting their wines to other countries.

Today, Maison LAVAU is one of the last family-run and independent wine estates in the Rhône Valley. It has three winemaking cellars and 180 hectares of vines and has become a major producer of Rhône wines. The primary objectives are to make top quality, generous, and affordable wines, while also promoting the diversity and quality of the prestigious Rhône Valley appellations.

I have enjoyed many LAVAU wines over the years, which are represented by Connexion Oenophilia, and would expect these fine Rhône wines to be just as excellent.

Tasting Notes:

LAVAU GIGONDAS 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#234955) (XD) - $36.95
This Gigondas is a blend of old 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre that was hand-harvested from steep, north-facing, terraced hillsides on fairly poor, calcareous-marl soils at the foot of the famous Dentelles de Montmirail. 55% of the wine is aged in vat, while the rest in 450 L barrels that were used for 1 or 2 vintages. The barrel-aged wine spends 12 months in barrel prior to blending with the vat-aged wine. The fresh, rich, and highly aromatic nose offers peppery spice, garrigue, and dark berry with earthy tones and touches of plum. The medium-full bodied palate is rich with a concentrated mouthfeel and spicy, dark berry flavours supported by refined, structured tannins and fresh, lively acidity. There's some chalkiness on the mid-palate while earthy mineral, spice, and dark berry notes linger on the long, juicy finish. Lovely Gigondas that will reward with a couple of years in the cellar and drink well to the end of the decade. Score: 91 pts

LAVAU Gigondas 2016 (91 pts)

LAVAU CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#15183) (XD) - $44.95
This Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of old 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre planted on sandy terrain, and undergoes similar vinification to the Gigondas with 50% of the wine aged in vat, while the other half spent 12 months in 450 L barrels that were used for 1 or 2 vintages prior to blending with the vat-aged wine. Complex, fragrant, and spicy medley of ripe raspberry, wild dark berry, garrigue, violet, and plum with touches of smoky-stony mineral aromas. The medium-full to full-bodied palate has black plum, black currant, and raspberry flavours mingling with spice and stony mineral notes. There's also touches of herb and tobacco on the mid-palate, adding further complexity. It's supported by fresh, juicy acidity and smooth, fine-grained tannins that have some grip. Well-balanced with plum, spicy dark berry with fine stony mineral notes lingering on the finish, with excellent length. Lovely now, but has the structure to develop further over the coming decade. Score: 91+ pts

LAVAU Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (91+ pts)


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 7, 2020

Henri de Villamont Chablis 2018 (Burgundy) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Chablis that arrives at LCBO as part of the August 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release - and is available for purchase in many stores already.

The story of Domaine Henri de Villamont begins in the late 19th century when Léonce Bocquet built a winery for vinification and aging his wines in Savigny les Beaune, Burgundy. The structures that were built in 1880 took 8 years to build, and the underground cellars are still in use today! The winery has had many different owners over the years and became Henri de Villamont in 1964 after it was purchased by Schenk, a Swiss familial group.

Over the next 40 years, the Schenk family grew Henri de Villamont to produce 20 million bottles of wine per year. However, in 2004 they decided to scale back and produce fewer bottles, but of higher quality wine by completely renovating the winery and using the best oenological tools that offered high performance and efficiency. In order to achieve these new goals, Pierre Jhean became the new Director and Winemaker in 2005 and still leads the team today. Pierre is an oenologist from nearby Meursault, where his family still runs an estate, and aims to produce a complete range of outstanding Burgundian wines that respect the old traditions of winemaking in Burgundy, express terroir, and offer modernity.

Henri de Villamont, whose Agent is Eurovintage Wines & Spirits, has a relatively large presence at the LCBO, with many of the 13 wines available at the higher end of the price spectrum. I have tasted quite a few wines from Henri de Villamont over the years, including some really fine high-end wines, but I believe this is my first time tasting their Chablis. Let's see how this Chardonnay is tasting tonight...

Henri de Villamont Chablis 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHABLIS 2018 - AC, Burgundy, France (#13131) (XD) - $27.95
The medium-high intensity nose of this Chardonnay is enticing with leesy and lemony aromas accented by nutty and mineral notes. The medium-full bodied palate is ripe and creamy with lemon, apple, spice, and leesy flavours with touches of nut. Acids are juicy while oyster shell and stony mineral notes linger on the long, slightly hot finish. Chill well and enjoy! Score: 90 pts


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 7, 2020

August 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: New World Signatures + Argentina

LCBO Wine Picks: August 8, 2020 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the August 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on Signature Wines from the New World, while Argentina is separated out from the main theme and gets its own focus as the mini-thematic. All of these wines, plus those from the Main Release should be on shelves by Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that features 18 wines from seven New World wine regions, and three wines are included among my wine recommendations from this Release. Ontario is known for its Riesling and Chardonnay, and there is a very nice Chardonnay from Prince Edward County. Among other varietals, Australia is also known for its Chardonnay, and a version from Wakefield Wines comes from the Clare Valley that has cool nights and cooling breezes. In addition to fine Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand also produces some impressively fresh and concentrated Pinot Noir.

Wakefield Clare Valley Estate Chardonnay 2018 (88 pts)

The mini-theme on wines from Argentina is titled "Don't Fry for me, Argentina" and looks to focus on wines that will pair nicely with an Argentine-inspired asado. In Argentina, and generally in South America, an asado is equally a form of art as well as a way of cooking. It is much more than just a barbecue. Among the ten wines featured as part of this thematic, seven are included among my top wine recommendations. At the lighter end of the spectrum is a rosé that is made with 100% Malbec, and a white wine blend that consists of 35% Semillón, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Torrontés. Among the red wines, there are a pair of Malbec wines under $20, as well as a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Bonarda. There is also a blend that is made with 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc. You can see my wine reviews and learn more from my special blog post about the Wines of Argentina.

Susana Balbo Signature White Blend 2018 (90+ pts)La Mascota Rosé 2019 (89 pts)

La Mascota Malbec 2018 (88+ pts)La Celia Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2017 (87 pts)

El Esteco 1947 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90+ pts)La Posta Estela Armando Bonarda 2018 (88 pts)

From my top red wine picks, we begin with a pair of lovely wines from Maison Lavau in Southern Rhône. Both of these wines are from the brilliant 2016 vintage and, somewhat surprisingly, both the Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are blends of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. There is also a nice, tank-raised blend of 40% Carignan, 35% Grenache, and 25% Syrah from Languedoc. From Spain, the Rioja is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and the rest Garnacha, Graciano, and Mazuela. Lastly, the wine from Sicily is a blend of 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato.

LAVAU Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 (91+ pts)LAVAU Gigondas 2016 (91 pts)

Among my white wine recommendation, all except one are single varietal wines, including a pair of lovely Chablis wines that are, of course, made with Chardonnay. The lone blend is from Roussillon and it consists of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Macabeu.

Henri de Villamont Chablis 2018 (90 pts)

There are a few dry rosé wines that will quench your thirst during the month of August, including a Côtes du Rhône that consists of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah, while the rosé from Provence is a blend of mostly Grenache and Cinsault, completed by touches of Syrah and Mourvèdre. Lastly, the Tavel would be a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette, and Mourvèdre.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • LA CELIA RESERVA MALBEC/CABERNET FRANC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#618280) (XD) - $14.95  87 pts  wine review
  • LA POSTA ESTELA ARMANDO BONARDA 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261586) (XD) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • VIÑA REAL CRIANZA 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#657411) (XD) - $16.95
  • LA MASCOTA MALBEC 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#555805) (XD) $16.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • LE CHAMP DES MURAILLES CUVÉE CLASSIQUE 2017 - AC Corbières, Languedoc, France (#15160) (XD) - $16.95
  • WAPISA MALBEC 2017 - San Javier Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina (#631879) (XD) - $19.95
  • ALLAN SCOTT ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2018 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#13422) (XD) - $21.95
  • EL ESTECO 1947 OLD VINES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#15082) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • LUIGI BOSCA TERROIR LOS MIRADORES MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#568899) (XD) - $34.95  FE  91 pts  wine review
  • LAVAU GIGONDAS 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#234955) (XD) - $36.95  91 pts  wine review
  • PLANETA DORILLI CERASUOLO DI VITTORIA CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Sicily, Italy (#15085) (XD) - $39.95  FE
  • LAVAU CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#15183) (XD) - $44.95  91+ pts  wine review
Luigi Bosca Terroir Los Miradores Malbec 2017 (91 pts)

White Wine:

  • LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2018 - AP, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95
  • WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2018 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#711556) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • HENRI BOURGEOIS PETIT BOURGEOIS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Vin de France (#672345) (XD) - $16.95
  • QUINTA DA CALÇADA TERROIR ALVARINHO 2018 - DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#14439) (XD) - $17.95
  • TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2019 - IGT Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige-Trentino, Italy (#474742) (XD) - $19.95
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE WHITE BLEND 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#558734) (XD) - $21.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • HENRI DE VILLAMONT CHABLIS 2018 - AC, Burgundy, France (#13131) (XD) - $27.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2018 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (D) - $33.00
  • DOMAINE LAROCHE LES VAUDEVEY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2018 - Vegan, AC, Burgundy, France (#416057) (XD) - $39.95

Rosé Wine:

  • FAMILLE PERRIN RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2019 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#719062) (XD) - $15.95
  • LA MASCOTA ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#15182) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • MARQUIS D'AQUERIA TAVEL 2019 - AP, Rhône, France (#556274) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU LÉOUBE ROSÉ DE LÉOUBE 2019 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#491100) (XD) - $32.95


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  • Date publishedWednesday, August 5, 2020

Wines of Argentina - Aug. 8, 2020 LCBO VINTAGES Wine Reviews

Wines of Argentina
Over the Civic Holiday long weekend, I had a great opportunity - thanks to Wines of Argentina! - to taste through and explore many lovely Argentine wines that will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release that features wines from Argentina.

In fact, there are more than 30 Argentine wines coming through LCBO VINTAGES this summer and fall - and I will be writing about nearly all of these over the coming weeks - but we'll begin our look at wines from Argentina with these 7 wines.

With 895 wineries, Argentina is the 5th largest wine producer globally and is 7th most in cultivated surface. Of course, Malbec is Argentina's flagship grape that we all know and love and is usually the first grape that comes to mind when we think of Argentine wine. However, only 22% (44,000 hectares) of Argentine vineyards are devoted to Malbec. Bonarda is currently Argentina's 2nd most planted grape with 18,000 hectares planted to this varietal. However, this was always not the case as Bonarda was the most planted grape in Argentina until the end of the last century. The 3rd most widely planted grape is Cabernet Sauvignon - and not far behind Bonarda in acreage - has been extensively researched in recent years. Not surprisingly, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses different profiles depending on where its grown, and in Argentina the trend has been to grown this varietal in colder, higher altitude zones. These three red grapes combine to make up the majority of Argentina's wine production, making Argentina very much a red wine producing nation.

La Mascota Vineyards in Mendoza

However, with 36,000 hectares of vines planted to white grape varietals, Argentina does produce some white wines. Argentina has many old vineyards in perfect condition, but winemakers are also innovating by reconditioning and reviving old vineyards, as well as experimenting with earlier harvests that result in wines with higher acidity and lower alcohol. Winemakers are also exploring new regions for white wines such as at very high altitude sites, in poor, high drainage, calcareous soils, and different micro-climates within the desert regions of the Andes mountains and in Oceanic, coastal vineyards. Another area of experimentation is fermentation vessels such as using amphoras, spheres, and pressurized barrel fermenters. Torrontés Riojano - found only in Argentina - is the most widely planted white varietal at nearly 8,000 hectares, making it the country's signature white wine. The other white varietal of prominence is Chardonnay with almost 6,000 hectares planted. Sauvignon Blanc has seen explosive growth over the last 14 years to become the 3rd most planted white varietal. The final grape of note is Semillón - with 650 hectares planted - and it develops well in cool, moderate climates such as those found in the Uco Valley (Mendoza) and Rio Negro Upper Valley (Patagonia). The white wine below is a delightful blend of three of these varietals.

One of the most interesting aspects of winegrowing in Argentina is the landscape. Grapes are grown from 22° to 45° southern latitude along a strip that follows the Andes mountain range, and heights reaching up to an astounding 3,300 metres above sea level - which are among the highest in the world.

The Cuyo, in central western Argentina, contains 95% of the country's total acreage planted to vines. Located in the Cuyo are the wine regions of La Rioja, San Juan, and the heart of Argentine wine production - Mendoza. The highest peaks of the Andes are found in Mendoza, thus acting as a barrier to the humid winds from the Pacific Ocean. The altitude, continental climate, heterogeneity of soils, and snowmelt are key contributors to the production of excellent wines in the region. Mendoza is divided into 5 sub-regions - Valle de Uco (Tunuyán, Tupungato, and San Carlos), Primera Zone (Luján de Cuyo and Maipú), Northern Oasis (Lavalle and Las Heras), the East (San Martín, Rivadavia, Junín, Santa Rosa and La Paz), and the South (San Rafael, Malargüe and General Alvear). Moreover, new research has led to the identification of micro-regions within these terroirs, with new Geographical Indications (GIs) being certified as contributing distinctive characteristics to their wines.

El Esteco Vineyards in Calchaquí Valley

Located north of Cuyo are the wine regions of Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, and Catamarca, collectively known as The North. It is here that some of the world's highest-altitude vineyards are located. Viticultural tradition in the region can be traced back to the 18th century and primarily located in the Calchaquí Valleys - a system of mountains that formed 5 million years ago and stretch 270 km. The town of Cafayate, in Salta, is home to 60% all of vineyards in The North. The wines from this region are strongly influenced by the terroir and high altitude, with its arid and dry climate, very high average temperatures and diurnal temperature variation, long growing season, and sandy-loam soils. The Cabernet Sauvignon reviewed below is a great example from Cafayate.

The Patagonia and Atlantic Region is south of Cuyo and forms a large area that is flanked by low mountains to the west and extends to the ocean in the east. Five regions encompass the area - Neuquén is located to the southwest of La Pampa, while Río Negro is to the south and borders both regions. Newer projects have regions further to the south in Chubut, and towards the ocean to the east in Chapadmalal (Buenos Aires). It is interesting to note that the city of Buenos Aires has a wine consumption rate per capita that is 2nd only to Paris.

Wine reviews are provided below and all of these lovely wines will be in stores by . You will also be able to order them online at LCBO.com where Wines of Argentina is sponsoring an amazing contest to Win the Ultimate Backyard Makeover - a $10,000 grand prize that includes a Home Depot Gift Card and four premium cuts of 100% Argentine beef valued at $600. To enter this contest, simply spend at least $100 on LCBO.com - easily achieved by adding a few of these lovely Argentine wines to your shopping cart. This contest closes .

Tasting Notes:

SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE WHITE BLEND 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#558734) (XD) - $21.95
This blend of 35% Semillón, 35% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Torrontés was grown at 1,050 metres above sea level. It has a medium-high intensity, ripe nose of asparagus and grassy tones with some yellow floral, passion fruit, and lime citrus with touches of mineral adding complexity. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with very good concentration and zesty, limey acidity. Pleasing citrus, herbal, asparagus flavours with a fine, underlying minerality. It has a nice, chalky texture on the mid-palate while the finish is long and zesty. Agent: Profile Wine Group. Score: 90+ pts

Susana Balbo Signature White Blend 2018 (90+ pts)La Mascota Rosé 2019 (89 pts)

LA MASCOTA ROSÉ 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#15182) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. This 100% Malbec Rosé has a medium+ intensity nose offering bright red berry, cherry, and strawberry aromas with touches of citrus, all of which come through nicely on the ripe red berry and citrus palate with some spice and floral notes adding interest to the flavour profile. It's somewhat fleshy on the mid-palate with bracing acidity. Nicely dry overall with subtle stony mineral and saline characters on the long, fresh finish. Very impressive. Agent: Univins and Spirits. Score: 89 pts

LUIGI BOSCA TERROIR LOS MIRADORES MALBEC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#568899) (XD) - $34.95
This single vineyard Malbec from vines averaging only 10 years old was grown at 1,150 metres above sea level. It has a clean, fresh, elegant, fragrant, and ripe nose of spice, stony mineral, violet, blackberry, and touches of herb. The spicy, medium bodied palate is ripe with very nice replays and sweet, elegant tannins and flavours of dark berry, blackberry, and violet accented with spice and stony minerals. It's juicy on the mid-palate with fresh acidity. Long, stony, spicy finish with subtle oak nuances. Lovely! Agent: FWM Canada. Score: 91 pts

Luigi Bosca Terroir Los Miradores Malbec 2017 (91 pts)La Mascota Malbec 2018 (88+ pts)

LA MASCOTA MALBEC 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#555805) (XD) - $16.95
This Malbec was grown in deep, stony soils and aged for 12 months in new French and American oak barrels. The medium intensity nose has dark berry, black cherry, and white pepper spice aromas mingling with stony mineral and touches of plum, floral, and oak. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with dark berry, black cherry, white pepper spice, and oak influenced flavours. The smooth, rounded tannins have a slightly chalky texture, while acids are well-balanced. Very good length on the spicy, dark berry, and cocoa scented finish. A nice wine that I'd like to see with a little less oak. Agent: Univins and Spirits. Score: 88+ pts

LA CELIA RESERVA MALBEC/CABERNET FRANC 2017 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#618280) (XD) - $14.95
This co-fermented blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc has a medium intensity nose that leads with woody, herbal, and green pepper tones backed by some red and dark currant aromas and subtle spiciness. It is medium+ bodied with herbal, woody, currant, and peppery spice flavours with well-integrated, subtly grippy, crunchy tannins. Acids are fresh, while the finish length is very good. Agent: Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits. Score: 87 pts

La Celia Reserva Malbec/Cabernet Franc 2017 (87 pts)El Esteco 1947 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90+ pts)

EL ESTECO 1947 OLD VINES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#15082) (XD) - $24.95
From pergola-trained vines whose origins can be traced back to 1947, and raised entirely in cement egg with natural yeasts. Fresh, aromatic nose has herbaceous, paprika, olive, and minty notes with some cassis, red and black fruits and some minerals. It is full bodied on the complex palate with peppery, spice, paprika, olive, cassis, currant, herbal, and plum flavours with some earthiness supported by fresh acidity. Smooth, refined tannins have some grip on the back palate, while the long finish is earthy and stony with olive notes. Agent: Dandurand. Score: 90+ pts

LA POSTA ESTELA ARMANDO BONARDA 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#261586) (XD) - $15.95
From 50+ year old vines located in the Guaymallén region. Ripe and fruity nose with raspberry, blueberry, and spice. It's medium+ bodied on the fruity palate with raspberry, red berry and spice flavours balanced with fresh acidity and smooth, rounded tannins. The fruit and spice notes are joined by some chocolate notes on the finish, with very good length. Agent: Noble Estates Wine & Spirits. Score: 88 pts

La Posta Estela Armando Bonarda 2018 (88 pts)


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