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  • Date publishedSunday, May 30, 2021

Clos de los Siete 2018 (Argentina) - Wine Review



red wine review is a lovely, Malbec-led, six varietal blend from Argentina. I first enjoyed the 2002 vintage - the wine's inaugural vintage - in 2006 and it's become a perennial favourite of mine. This latest vintage arrived at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Michel Rolland, one of the world's most famous consultant oenologists, founded the Clos de los Siete project by combining 850 hectares of vines at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the Uco Valley from 4 bodegas run by passionate Bordeaux families.

In 1988, Michel Rolland first visited Argentina and immediately fell in love with the country, including its atmosphere, people, landscape, and culture. With frequent return trips to the country, he became convinced that all of the conditions were right to grow great wines in Argentina. After some time searching, he and Jean Michel Arcaute (a winegrower from Pomerol, Bordeaux) found an ideal plot of land at the based of the Andes Mountains at 1,100 metres altitude with uniquely exposed with soils made up of pebbles, clay and sand, as well as some enormous boulders that have laid there since prehistoric times. The two friends were joined by others from Bordeaux. The "C7" on the label comes from the fact that 7 winemaking families were involved in the Clos de los Siete project. Each family independently made their own wines, but also contributed their wines to Clos de los Siete, a wine crafted under the supervision of Michel Rolland. Today, 4 bodegas contribute their wines to Clos de los Siete. The four key elements that make Clos de los Siete special are the generous soils on which the grape are grown, the dry weather with high day-night diurnal temperatures, high altitude vines, and the orientation of these vines in relation to the sun.

This red wine is a Malbec-based blend every year, and the 2018 vintage consists of 55% Malbec, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. All of the grapes were grown in the Uco Valley on sand and clay soils with large pebbles at an altitude of 1,100 metres above sea level. The grapes were manually harvested, sorted twice, and gently moved throughout the winery by gravity. It was aged for 11 months - 70% in French oak barrels and rest in vats. As 2018 was one of the finest harvests in the last 30 years, let's see how this latest vintage is tasting tonight...

Clos de Los Siete 2018 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOS DE LOS SIETE 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#622571) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 55% Malbec, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. The rich, intense nose has a complex, ripe, dark fruited mix of blackberry, blueberry, peppery spice, and savoury oak aromas with touches of stony mineral and plum. The medium-full bodied, ripe palate has blackberry, blueberry, and floral flavours accented with peppery spice and savoury oak notes. A touch of warmth on the mid-palate with juicy, well-balanced acidity, while the tannins are smooth, refined, and dusty textured. Herb and mineral touches join the dark berry and savoury notes on the long finish. Enjoy this recommended buy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 90+ pts

When not available at the LCBO, this lovely wine can be ordered through their Agent - Dandurand.


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  • Date publishedFriday, May 28, 2021

Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2019 (Piedmont) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely white wine from Italy made with the Cortese grape that arrives at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The historic Fontanafredda was established in 1858 when Vittoria Emanuele purchased the estate as a gift for "La Bella Rosalina", the woman he loved. In 1866, Fontanafredda purchased their first Barolo vineyard and produced their first wines in 1870. The estate achieved great success and expanded its production and sales over the years, only to be devastated by phylloxera in 1931, and then sold to a bank.

During the 1950's, after the Second World War, Cavalier Giuseppe Bressano led the development of the brand's reputation and image of producing high quality wines. Many of Fontanafredda's "firsts" are related to Barolo, but in 2006 it became an "olympic wine" at the Olympic Winter Games in Turin. It was around this time when the pursuit and awareness of sustainability in wine was growing. In 2008, Fontanafredda returned to Piedmontese ownership and in 2015 they began the process to convert all of the estate's vineyards to organic farming techniques.

Even though Cortese grape is used to make this white wine, the wine is more commonly known as "Gavi di Gavi" because the grapes are grown within the commune of Gavi, Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, just southeast of Turin. Cortese grapes have been cultivated in Gavi since at least the 17th century. The grapes for this Gavi di Gavi were organically cultivated in Rovereto (an historic sub-zone of Gavi) and its surrounding area on hillside vineyards between 200 and 300 metres above sea level and on sandy soils with a high content of arenaceous marl. It is interesting to note that while most of this wine was fermented in stainless steels tanks, 15% was fermented in barriques. Let's see how this delicious white wine is tasting tonight...

Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2019 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI 2019 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#366948) (XD) - $21.95
100% Cortese. The medium-high intensity aromas offers a lovely and intriguing nose of floral, wet straw, waxy, and mealy notes surrounding a core of pear and apple. The dry, mid-weighted palate has a slightly creamy texture and delivers more pear, apple, floral, waxy, and mealy flavours that are supported by fresh, well-balanced acidity. Hints of leesy-yeasty minerals and peach join the apple and floral notes on the slightly chalky textured finish, with very good length. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other lovely wines by Fontanafredda can be found at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Dandurand.


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  • Date publishedThursday, May 27, 2021

May 29, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Spain + Australia

LCBO Wine Picks: May 29, 2021 VINTAGES Release
The main feature of the May 29, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release looks at the wines from Spain, while the mini-theme goes Down Under to look at the wines from Australia. All of these wines, plus those from the main release, should be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at the wines from Spain. There are many lovely wines among the 14 featured in the theme, with four included among my top wine picks. From Rioja, first up is an excellent 1998 Reserva that is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo / Graciano, while the 2015 Reserva from Rioja Alta consists of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha / Graciano / Mazuelo. Single varietal wines include a lovely Tempranillo from Castilla y León, and a Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) from Alicante.

Urbina Reserva 1998 (92 pts)

The mini-theme on Australian wines features 11 wines, and while there are a number of good wines listed, only three are included among my top wine recommendations from Australia. The lone white wine is a blend of non-traditional Australian varietals that consists of 45% Marsanne, 33% Viognier, and 22% Roussanne, nearly half of which was aged in oak. The other two Australian wines are red wines - a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir.

Turkey Flat Barossa Valley White 2017 (90 pts)

Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (89 pts)Wakefield Pinot Noir 2018 (89 pts)

There are quite a few blends among my red wine picks. From South America, the Chilean red wine is a blend of 31% Syrah, 29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Carménère, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Argentinean red wine consists of 55% Malbec, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. The Rhône red is a blend of Syrah and Grenache, while the Sicilian red is made with Nero d'Avola and Syrah. Lastly, the red wine from South Africa is a Shiraz-led blend that also includes Cinsault, among other varietals.

Clos de los Siete 2018 (90+ pts)

Among my white wine recommendations from the rest of the release, all are single varietal wines. Dry white wines include the Muscadet that is made with the Melon de Bourgogne grape, as well as a trio of lovely whites from Italy - Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige, Falanghina from Campania, and the Gavi from Piedmont that is made with the Cortese grape. If you prefer off-dry wines (i.e. some sweetness), look to either Riesling from Ontario or the Pinot Blanc from British Columbia. If you like even sweeter wines, the Riesling from Mosel will surely satisfy.

Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2017 (91 pts)Fontanafredda Gavi di Gavi 2019 (90 pts)

St. Hubertus Pinot Blanc 2016 (88 pts)

Lastly, the dry rosé from Provence is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • TARAPACÁ ORGANIC GRAN RESERVA 2018 - Sustainable, Maipo Valley, Chile (#19245) (XD) - $17.95
  • LA TREMENDA MONASTRELL 2017 - DO Alicante, Spain (#490011) (XD) - $17.95
  • WAKEFIELD PINOT NOIR 2018 - Adelaide Hills, South Australia (#197392) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • WAKEFIELD ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#744235) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • FIRRIATO SANTAGOSTINO BAGLIO SORÌA NERO D'AVOLA/SYRAH 2014 - IGT Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy (#291369) (XD) - $19.95
  • LEEUWENKUIL RESERVE RED 2019 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#14890) (XD) - $19.95

  • ALEJANDRO FERNÁNDEZ DEHESA LA GRANJA 2015 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain (#192476) (XD) - $21.95
  • CUNE RESERVA 2015 - Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja, Spain (#417659) (XD) - $21.95
  • J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION MON COEUR CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2018 - AC, France (#995548) (XD) - $23.95
  • CLOS DE LOS SIETE 2018 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#622571) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • URBINA RESERVA 1998 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#10723) (XD) - $42.95  92 pts  wine review
  • BURROWING OWL SYRAH 2018 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#73072) (XD) - $43.95
  • MICHELE CHIARLO TORTONIANO BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#586388) (XD) - $44.95

White Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DE LA GRANGE VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DE GRAND LIEU SUR LIE MUSCADET 2018 - AP, Loire, France (#637868) (XD) - $13.95
  • ST. HUBERTUS PINOT BLANC 2016 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#648899) (D) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TURKEY FLAT BAROSSA VALLEY WHITE 2017 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#17646) (XD) - $17.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CASA DEA RIESLING 2018 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#19915) (D) - $18.95
  • MASTROBERARDINO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2018 - DOC, Campania, Italy (#562173) (XD) - $20.95
  • FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI 2019 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#366948) (XD) - $21.95  90 pts  wine review
  • HILL PINOT GRIGIO 2018 - DOC Alto Adige, Italy (#17365) (XD) - $21.95
  • CAPE POINT RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 - WO Cape Town, South Africa (#18698) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE RIESLING 2017 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#183491) (D) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2018 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#629998) (MS) - $27.95

Rosé Wine:

  • MIMI EN PROVENCE GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2020 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#452573) (XD) - $21.95


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  • Date publishedTuesday, May 25, 2021

Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2019 (Chile) - Wine Review

To celebrate National Wine Day, wine review is the latest vintage of this lovely Pinot Noir from Chile. This red wine is a perennial visitor to VINTAGES and arrived in Ontario as part of the most recent LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

It is produced by Viña Errázuriz, one of Chile's best and most internationally recognized wineries. Don Maximiano Errázuriz founded the winery in 1870 with a great vision. His innovative and pioneering spirit led him to plant the first French grape varieties in the Aconcagua Valley. Future generations of the family continued his innovative and creative spirit, and his descendants positioned the wines of Viña Errázuriz among the world's most noteworthy. Today, Viña Errázuriz is led by President Eduardo Chadwick Claro and Winemaker Francisco Baettig Hidalgo.

This particular Pinot Noir is from Viña Errázuriz's "Specialties" range of wines, where they explore the Aconcagua Valley for the best and purest expression of each variety through wines that show their true sense of origin. The two geographical landmarks make up this line of wines are Mount Aconcagua - the highest peak in the western hemisphere, and the Pacific Ocean which has the coldest waters in the world. Aconcagua Alto (Mount Aconcagua) wines are from the highest area of the Aconcagua Valley, while wines from Aconcagua Costa are located in vineyards just 12 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean.

I've had the pleasure of tasting previous vintages of this Pinot Noir and it's always been a delight. The grapes for this vintage were sourced from vines planted in 2005 and 2009 in the coastal vineyard of Aconcagua Costa. The soil in this vineyard is composed of a thin layer of loamy texture that sits above a base of clay and metamorphic rock (slate/schist) that adds mineral notes to the wines.

In 2019, Aconcagua Costa experienced a slightly warmer than normal growing season due to higher temperatures in the Spring, but this was balanced by slightly cooler than normal temperatures in February and March, allowing for a slow and gentle ripening process. Overall, the result was outstanding, healthy fruit. The grapes were hand-harvested and fermented using native yeasts, then aged for 13 months in French oak barrels, only 15% new. Let's see how this delicious Chilean Pinot Noir is tasting tonight...

Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2019 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA PINOT NOIR 2019 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#541151) (XD) - $24.95
The slightly reductive, delicate nose offers lovely dark cherry, raspberry, and smoky earth aromas with subtle spice tones. The black cherry notes continue on the mid-weighted and structured palate with spicy, smoky earth flavours and touches of floral adding further interest. It has fresh, balanced acidity, while the structured tannins have a medium-firm grippy texture. Smoky, earthy, mineral-laced finish, with excellent length. Enjoyable now, but will really blossom in 3-4 years. Score: 91+ pts

Other fine wines from Viña Errázuriz can be found at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Dandurand.


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  • Date publishedSaturday, May 22, 2021

The Wine-demic Pack by Creekside (Niagara) - Wine Reviews

wine reviews are a limited release set of 6 lovely and unique VQA wines called The Wine-demic Pack that were crafted by Niagara's Creekside Estate Winery and launched in . Although things are improving of late, The Wine-demic Pack recognizes some of the daily adjustments we've all had to make while living through these difficult times.

The Wine-demic Pack Collection by Creekside Estate Winery

As Andrew Howard, President of Creekside Estate Winery says, "Great wine and a sense of humour is in our DNA at Creekside, so we've combined them together to create a fun and delicious box of wine that we call our Pandemic Pack (aka Wine-demic Pack). While we won't solve any of life's real problems with this collection, we think that a sense of humour and some very good wine can help to make the current struggles a little less formidable." As these are stressful times for a lot of people, Creekside is donating a portion of the proceeds from these wines to support local mental health services.

The Wine-demic Pack Collection includes 6 delicious and unique VQA wines (reviewed below), with each wine highlighting a different aspect of pandemic living, and while the labels and names are fun in nature, the wines are no joke! You can get this Collection, which includes one of each bottle for a total of 6 bottles for $125 at the winery in Jordan, Ontario, as well as through their online store for free home delivery anywhere in the province.

Tasting Notes:

THE WINE-DEMIC PACK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD)
Laggy wifi patience enhancer

Intense, fresh, ripe, tropical fruit aromas of guava, kiwi, passion fruit, and lemon citrus. It's medium+ bodied on the fleshy, slightly creamy palate with lovely tropical fruit and citrus aroma replays, along with some saline notes. It has fresh acidity, while the finish has touches of saline mineral notes, with very good length. Score: 90+ pts

The Wine-demic Pack Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (90+ pts)The Wine-demic Pack Pinot Gris 2019 (88 pts)

THE WINE-DEMIC PACK PINOT GRIS 2019 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD)
Every day is ground hog day is every day

Pours a medium-deep gold colour. The medium+ intensity nose has a slightly funky nose of peach and stone fruit aromas. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with more peach and stone fruits flavours joined by honeyed notes in a dry flavour profile. Acids are well-balanced, while more peach and stone fruit notes come through on the dry finish, with good length. Score: 88 pts

THE WINE-DEMIC PACK RAZZLE DAZZLE RIESLING 2020 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (M)
Vaccination celebration libation

Bottled under Stelvin screw cap, this Charmat-method sparkling wine is made with Riesling and offers a fragrant nose of ripe peach, apple, citrus, and apricot with touches of white floral aromas, with lovely replays on the semi-sweet palate and frothy mousse with fresh acidity that brightens the palate. Very good length with more apple, floral, and touches of honey lingering on the finish. Score: 89 pts

The Wine-demic Pack Razzle Dazzle Riesling 2020 (89 pts)The Wine-demic Pack Rosé 2020 (90+ pts)

THE WINE-DEMIC PACK ROSÉ 2020 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD)
Spousal tolerance enhancement beverage

This blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris has fresh, medium-high intensity aromatics with ripe raspberry, cranberry, strawberry, cherry, and herbal notes. It's medium-full bodied on the weighty, dry palate with fairly complex currant, cranberry, cherry, strawberry, and herbal flavours joined by orange zest nuances. It has very good acidity and a slightly tannic presence. Lovely herbal, currant, and red berry notes linger on the crisp, dry finish, with very good length. Score: 90+ pts

THE WINE-DEMIC PACK SYRAH 2019 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD)
Fuzzy face and furry legs acceptance tonic

The medium+ intensity nose has funky, meaty aromas layered over dark fruit and black peppercorn. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with fresh acids and smooth, rounded, slightly dusty textured tannins that support the savoury, earthy, dark fruit, meaty, and black peppercorn flavours. Nicely balanced overall with meaty, olive, black pepper, and savoury wood notes lingering on the finish. Score: 90 pts

The Wine-demic Pack Syrah 2019 (90 pts)The Wine-demic Pack Cabernet Merlot 2019 (90 pts)

THE WINE-DEMIC PACK CABERNET MERLOT 2019 - VQA Ontario, Canada (XD)
Remote schooling sauce

The nose is a bit quiet, offering glimpses of red & black fruits, currant, cassis, and touches of wood spice. The full-bodied, structured palate is ripe with currant, cassis, and black cherry with touches of wood spice and herbally mint flavours, It has fresh, balanced acidity, while the structured tannins are a bit grippy. Pleasantly savoury on the tight finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, but should be even better in 2-3 years. Score: 90 pts


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  • Date publishedThursday, May 20, 2021

Babich Pinot Noir 2018 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely, sustainably crafted Pinot Noir from New Zealand that landed at the LCBO over the weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Babich Wines is New Zealand's most experienced family-owned winery as they have been making wine in NZ since 1916. With three generations of winemaking, the Babich family has achieved winemaking excellence with innovation across three winemaking regions - Marlborough, Hawke's Bay, and Auckland.

Josip Babich, who was originally from Dalmatia (now part of modern day Croatia) and emigrated to New Zealand to join his brothers in 1910 at the tender age of 14, began planting vines in remote New Zealand in 1912 in the difficult way - with vision, thoughtfulness, ingenuity, and true craft. In 1916, Josip makes his first New Zealand wines and bottles them under the name Babich Brothers. In 1919, the Babich brothers move to Henderson in West Auckland and planted Pinot Meunier vines. After marriage in 1929, Josip and his wife Mara Grgic have five children, with their son Peter joining the family vineyard 20 years later. Much success led to the extension of the Auckland vineyard and Josip's son, Joseph, joined the family business in 1958.

Babich Wines expanded further in 1984 with the production of wine from the Gimblett Gravels region in Hawke's Bay, followed by wine from Marlborough in 1991. In 1997, Babich lays claim to New Zealand's first sustainably registered vineyard. In 2001, David Babich, Peter's son, becomes the third generation of the Babich family to join the company. In 2013, Babich completed building their brand new Marlborough winery, processing more than 4,000 tonnes of grapes. Josip Babich's hard-working spirit has traversed generations, and with over 100 years of winemaking achievements, experience, and excellence, Babich Wines has 100 small and interesting stories on their website that are worth reading when you have some time.

Sustainability is also a core value at Babich. For three generations, the Babich family has gently worked in harmony and balance with the land and ecosystem, ensuring that the vineyards and processes improve every vintage. Some of these sustainability practices include being careful with water, expanding the use of organic viticulture, using wild fermentations, and reducing waste.

This red wine is part of Babich's classic range of wines that showcase each varietal's regional style with a classic flavour profile and a touch of everyday sophistication. This particular Pinot Noir was hand-crafted using fruit from their estate-owned vineyards in Marlborough, harvested at optimum ripeness, and fermented in open vats. It was aged in a combination of new and used oak barriques for 7 months, then blended to create to final wine. Let's see how this NZ Pinot Noir is tasting tonight...

Babich Pinot Noir 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

BABICH PINOT NOIR 2018 - Sustainable, estate bottled, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#216) (XD) - $22.95
Screw cap. The fragrant nose delivers a lovely, complex mix of earthy, beetroot, and raspberry, cherry, and rhubarb flecked with tea leaf notes. It's light-to-mid weighted on the palate with sour black cherry, and raspberry flavours layered over savoury earthy, beetroot, and tea leaf notes, It has fresh acidity, while the light tannins are somewhat chalky textured. Smoky black cherries and tea leaf notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Very enjoyable! Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines from Babich can be purchased at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Dionysus Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedTuesday, May 18, 2021

Les Vignerons du Castelas Le Monarque Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019 (France) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious white wine from Côtes du Rhône. It's a new arrival to the LCBO and is featured as part of the theme on fresh French sippers in the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Les Vignerons du Castelas is a co-operative winery that was formed in 1952 by a handful of winegrowers that were keen to pool their efforts to produce appellation wines of high quality. The winery is located on the right bank of the Rhône River, between Pont d'Avignon and Pont du Gard in Rochefort du Gard, and named after Romanesque chapel from the XI century that is perched atop the village.

Today, there are 50 families of winegrowers that form Les Vignerons du Castelas to make wines that respect traditions and employ agricultural practices that respect the people and the land. Together, these winegrowers cultivate over 500 hectares of vines, with the majority in the Côtes du Rhône appellation. They are attached to their terroirs and vineyards, and are committed to healthy vines and living soils, while striving to pursue a "lutte raisonnée" form of viticulture to minimize their impact on the land.

This white wine is named "Le Monarque", after the butterfly that migrates from the producer's region every summer to Africa, a journey that can be more than 4,000 kilometres. This cuvée is a blend of 60% Viognier, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Roussanne from vineyards that are undergoing conversion to organic in order to promote responsible viticulture and also preserves biodiversity. The grapes were harvested in the morning to preserve freshness, then destemmed and fermented, and finally aged on the lees for 6 to 8 months prior to bottling.

Les Vignerons du Castelas Le Monarque Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

LES VIGNERONS DU CASTELAS LE MONARQUE CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2019 - AP, France (#18570) (XD) - $15.95
This delicious blend of 60% Viognier, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Roussanne has fresh and fragrant floral aromas off the top, followed by white peach, orange, ripe melon, and touches of sweet herbal notes. The dry, medium-bodied palate is ripe and slightly honeyed with pretty, floral, honeysuckle, peach, orange citrus, and melon flavours supported by fresh acidity. Some bitterness and leesy minerals add to the peach, melon, orange, and floral notes on the long finish. Lovely Spring sipper! Score: 88+ pts

Other delicious wines from Les Vignerons du Castelas can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedSunday, May 16, 2021

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerre 2019 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest edition of this lovely Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre that arrived at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Jean-Max Roger is one of my favourite Loire Valley wine producers. The Roger family comes from a long line of winegrowers dating back to at least the early part of the 17th century in the village of Bué, just southwest of the town of Sancerre. In the early 1970's, Jean-Max Roger took over 4 hectares of vines that his parents left for him and then expanded the estate to its current size of 26 hectares in the Sancerre AOC along the Loire River. In 2004, he was joined by two of his three sons, Etienne and Thibault.

Named "Cuvée Genèse" (or Genesis in English), this white wine represents the origin of the Roger family's history on these ancestral lands. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is crafted using a blend of grapes grown on stony, calcareous soils known as "caillottes" located within the commune of Bué. The grapes come from the famous Grand Chemarin vineyard and neighbouring vineyard sites with identical agronomic characteristics with southeastern exposure to the sun. The vine age is between 10 to 40 years and grown using organic principles. It was fermented using natural yeasts, followed by ageing on heavy lees. The wine undergoes fining and filtration prior to bottling at the estate.

I really enjoyed the 2018 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerre back in December and the 2018 vintage in Loire was historic in terms of yield and quality. During the 2019 growing season, the summer heat stressed the vines and lowered yields, but the fruit that was harvested was excellent and of premium quality. Early reports suggest that the 2019 vintage is even better than the year prior. Let's see how this 2019 Sancerre is tasting tonight...

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerre 2019 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE 2019 - AC, Loire, France (#189126) (XD) - $33.95
This 100% Sauvignon Blanc has intense and deep aromas of lemon citrus and white flowers with underlying minerality and touches of herbal and guava adding further complexities. The medium-full bodied, concentrated palate has ripe fruited aroma replays of lemon citrus, white floral, and stony mineral flavours with elegance. It has crisp, well-delineated acidity and is really well-balanced throughout with stony mineral notes lingering on the finish, with excellent length. Lovely Sancerre and highly recommended buy! Score: 92 pts

Other fine wines from Jean-Max Roger can be ordered via their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedFriday, May 14, 2021

J. Laurens Le Moulin Brut Blanquette de Limoux (Midi) - Wine Review (May 2021)

wine review is a very nice sparkling wine that I last enjoyed four years ago and am delighted to see return to the LCBO this weekend. It is featured as part of the theme on fresh French sippers in the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The story of Domaine J. Laurens begins in the 1980s, when Michel Dervin of Champagne decided to settle in the village of La Digne d'Aval in the south of France, less than 5 kilometres from Limoux. He purchased a few hectares of vines so he could produce the famous Blanquette de Limoux sparkling wine. In 2002, Jacques Calvel took over the domaine, and with the help of Michel and cellar master Henri Albrus, Jacques expanded and modernized the cellar to improve the consistency and quality of the wines. Today, Domaine J. Laurens produces a fine range of quality AOC sparkling wines while respecting the environment and preferring the use of sustainable agricultural techniques.

The climate in Limoux is a well balanced mixture of Mediterranean and Atlantic influences with hot, sunny days, followed by cool nights. These conditions help create a perfect acid-sugar balance - a fundamental element in the taste of sparkling wines. This particular sparkling wine is a blend of 90% Mauzac and 10% Chardonnay. The Mauzac varietal is planted on granular, clay-limestone slopes which are less fertile, but have regular rainfall, while the Chardonnay is planted in deep, fertile, well-drained soils. Let's see how the latest edition of this Blanquette de Limoux is tasting tonight...

J. Laurens Le Moulin Brut Blanquette de Limoux (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

J. LAURENS LE MOULIN BRUT BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX - Traditional method, AP, Midi, France (#180323) (XD) - $19.95
A blend of 90% Mauzac and 10% Chardonnay that was hand-harvested and aged for at least 9 months prior to disgorgement. The medium+ intensity nose offers elegant aromas of ripe apple and pear. citrus, honeyed floral, and biscuity notes. It's medium-full bodied on the weighty, slightly creamy palate with crisp, vibrant acidity and dry flavours of lemon citrus, apple, biscuit, and yeast. It's finely balanced overall with lemon, yeasty, and touches of oyster shell mineral notes on the finish, with very good length. Lot L20363-3. Great buy! Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines from Domaine J. Laurens can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedThursday, May 13, 2021

May 15, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: France + Portugal

LCBO Wine Picks: May 15, 2021 VINTAGES Release
With the arrival of Spring weather, the main theme of the May 15, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on fresh, French sippers, while the mini-theme looks at wines from Portugal. All of these wines, plus those from the main release should arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at fresh French wines for sipping - which can surely be enjoyed on their own or with a meal. Of the fourteen wines featured, four are included among my top wine picks. First up a traditional method sparkling wine from Limoux that is made using 90% Mauzac and 10% Chardonnay. The white wine from Rhône is a blend of 60% Viognier, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Roussanne, while the Minuty Rosé consists of Grenache (Noir), Cinsault, and Syrah. Lastly, the wine from Beaujolais is made with 100% Gamay.

J. Laurens Le Moulin Brut Blanquette de Limoux (89 pts)Les Vignerons du Castelas Le Monarque Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2019 (88+ pts)

The mini-theme on wines from Portugal is a small feature with just six wines, and the lone wine included among my Portuguese wine recommendations is an unoaked red that is a field blend of 27 grape varieties from old vines.

From my red wine picks from the rest of the release, the South African red is a blend of 71% Syrah, 11% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Viognier, while the Châteauneuf-du-Pape consists of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. There are also a pair of lovely Syrah/Shiraz and Grenache blends - the wine from Roussillon consists of 70% Syrah and 30% old vines Grenache, while the Australian red is a blend of 60% Shiraz and 40% Grenache. Lastly, the wine from Sicily is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Single varietal wines include a pair of Cabernet Franc wines - one each from Niagara and Argentina, as well as a pair of Pinot Noir wines - one from Chile and one from New Zealand - that you can compare and contrast with each other.

Tornatore Etna Rosso 2017 (91 pts)Errázuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2019 (91+ pts)

Paxton AAA Shiraz/Grenache 2019 (90+ pts)Babich Pinot Noir 2018 (89 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, all are single varietal wines including a pair of fine Sauvignon Blanc wines, one from Sancerre and the other from New Zealand. From South America, there is also a nice Semillon from Argentina, as well as a lovely Chardonnay from Chile. For Riesling wine lovers, there is a dry Riesling from Australia, an off-dry Riesling (i.e. slightly sweet) from Niagara, and a very sweet Riesling from Mosel.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Genèse Sancerre 2019 (92 pts)Wakefield Riesling 2019 (90 pts)

All of my top rosé wine picks from this release are stylistically dry rosé wines. From Provence, the Pigoudet is a blend of Cinsault and Grenache, while the Ott Rosé consists of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Lastly, the rosé from Languedoc consists of 45% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, 10% Caladoc, and 5% Syrah.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LUA CHEIA OLD VINES RED 2019 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#266882) (XD) - $15.95
  • DOMAINE DE LA MADONE LE PERRÉON BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2019 - AC, France (#981175) (XD) - $17.95
  • FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET FRANC 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#492736) (XD) - $18.95
  • FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC 2018 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#64618) (XD) - $19.95
  • BASTIDE MIRAFLORS SYRAH/VIEILLES VIGNES GRENACHE 2018 - AP Côtes du Roussillon, France (#320499) (XD) - $19.95
  • PAXTON AAA SHIRAZ/GRENACHE 2019 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#149898) (XD) - $21.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • BABICH PINOT NOIR 2018 - Sustainable, estate bottled, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#216) (XD) - $22.95  89 pts  wine review
  • ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA PINOT NOIR 2019 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#541151) (XD) - $24.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • TORNATORE ETNA ROSSO 2017 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (#487090) (XD) - $25.95  91 pts  wine review
  • THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK 2019 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#129353) (XD) - $39.95
  • LA FERME DU MONT VENDANGE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2018 - AP, Rhône, France (#309245) (XD) - $57.95

White Wine:

  • LES VIGNERONS DU CASTELAS LE MONARQUE CÔTES DU RHÔNE BLANC 2019 - AP, France (#18570) (XD) - $15.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • WAKEFIELD RIESLING 2019 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#301523) (XD) - $16.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ARBOLEDA CHARDONNAY 2019 - DO Aconcagua Costa, Chile (#606772) (XD) - $18.95
  • PADDY BORTHWICK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand (#361220) (XD) - $19.95
  • EL ENEMIGO SEMILLON 2018 - Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#17457) (XD) - $23.95  FE
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2018 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (D) - $29.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE GENÈSE SANCERRE 2019 - AC, Loire, France (#189126) (XD) - $33.95  92 pts  wine review
  • DR. H. THANISCH ERBEN MÜLLER-BURGGRAEF BERNKASTELER GRABEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2018 - Estate bottled, Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#18287) (S) - $33.95

Rosé Wine:

  • LE BIJOU DE SOPHIE VALROSE 2020 - IGP Coteaux de Béziers, Languedoc, France (#20012) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU PIGOUDET CLASSIC ROSÉ 2020 - AP Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France (#668434) (XD) - $24.95
  • M DE MINUTY ROSÉ 2020 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#575316) (XD) - $26.95
  • OTT BY.OTT ROSÉ 2020 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#490896) (XD) - $31.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • J. LAURENS LE MOULIN BRUT BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX - Traditional method, AP, Midi, France (#180323) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • BLUE MOUNTAIN BLANC DE BLANCS 2011 - Estate bottled, traditional method, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#17693) (XD) - $54.95  FE


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  • Date publishedWednesday, May 12, 2021

Wakefield Riesling 2019 (Australia) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely dry Riesling from Australia, a varietal we unfortunately don't see much of from Australia here in Ontario. This white wine arrives at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Wakefield Wines are hand-crafted by three generations of the Taylor family at their estate in Clare Valley. In 1969, Bill Taylor Sr. and his two sons, Bill and John, founded Wakefield Wines by the Wakefield River in South Australia's Clare Valley with a desire to create a proper "old-world" style Estate where the vineyards and winery are at the same location. Today, the third generation of the Taylors - Mitchell, Justin and Clinton - continue the family's long term goal to make wines that will stand the test of time and the next generation will be proud of.

This particular Riesling is from their Estate Label range of wines. This Estate Label white wines are intended to over deliver in every aspect, while also displaying great varietal expression with elegance and finesse.

Like other wines in the Estate Label range, this Riesling also has a handy, touch-activated Optimum Drinking Temperature sensor on the back label. The sensor is calibrated for each wine, with the ideal temperature suggested as between 8-10°C for this particular Riesling. When the wine is at the optimum drinking temperature, the colour of the sensor will fall within the optimum range on the accompanying colour chart.

Wakefield Riesling 2019 (90 pts)Wakefield Riesling 2019 - back label with temperature sensor

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD RIESLING 2019 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#301523) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Fresh, clean, medium-high intensity aromas of lime citrus, white floral, and pear with hints of petrol and melon adding complexity. The medium-bodied palate has a fleshy mouthfeel with a dry flavour profile of lime citrus, floral, ripe pear notes, joined by a twist of honey. It has fresh, balanced acidity with oyster shell mineral, tart lime, and floral notes coming through on the long, lip-smacking finish. Highly recommended buy! Score: 90 pts

Other lovely wines from Wakefield Wines are available at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Profile Wine Group.


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  • Date publishedMonday, May 10, 2021

Château d'Aquéria Tavel 2020 (Rhône) - Wine Review

As we look forward to bright and sunny weather, wine review is a bright and lovely rosé from the southern Rhône Valley Cru of Tavel that came to the LCBO as part of the most recent LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

Perennially one of my favourite Tavel wines, this rosé takes me back to my visit to the historic Château d'Aquéria nearly three years ago. The fascinating story of Château d'Aquéria begins in 1595 when Louis Joseph d'Aqueria purchased the area of Tavel known as "Puy Sablonneux" from the monks at the Abbey in Villeneuve les Avignon. On prime vine-growing lands, his son, Robert d'Aqueria, built a home that was transformed in the 18th century into the Château that stands today. Château d'Aquéria has been owned by many families since that time, while maintaining winegrowing activities.

In 1919, Jean Olivier purchased the estate, which was then managed by his son-in-law, Paul de Bez, beginning in 1943. Today, his grandsons, Bruno and Vincent de Bez, run the estate using environmentally-friendly and sustainable agricultural principles. The climate at Château d'Aquéria is quintessentially Mediterreanean with low rainfall, plenty of sunshine, and exposure to the Mistral winds. Situated in Tavel, the distinct soils around the Château are light and sandy-clayey, and when combined with the climate are ideal for the production of the estate's great rosé wines that are both fruity and complex. Let's see how the lovely 2020 Tavel is tasting tonight...

Château d'Aquéria Tavel 2020 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU D'AQUÉRIA TAVEL 2020 - AC, Rhône, France (#319368) (XD) - $24.95
A blend of 45% Grenache, 20% Clairette, 15% Cinsault, 8% Mourvèdre, 6% Syrah, 4% Bourboulenc, and 2% Picpoul grown on sandy-clayey hillsides. Pretty, deep red colour in classic Tavel style. Medium-high to highly aromatic nose is bright, ripe, and sunny with lovely aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry joined by white pepper spice, mineral, and herbal nuances. The full-bodied palate is ripe and dry with lovely aromas replays, plus lavender and a tinge of honey on the flavour profile supported by fresh, vibrant, and citrusy acidity. It has a nicely textured, slightly chalky mouthfeel, while mineral notes linger on the long, balanced, and crisp finish. One of the best vintages ever? Highly recommended buy. Score: 91 pts

There's another Tavel by Aquéria available at the LCBO, while other lovely wines from this producer can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedSaturday, May 8, 2021

Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2018 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely, unoaked red wine blend from Languedoc in the south of France. This wine comes to the LCBO just about every year and is usually on my shopping list each time. This latest vintage arrived at the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Founded in 1967, Cave de Roquebrun is located in Haut-Languedoc Natural Regional Park approximately 30 km north of Béziers, between Montpellier and Toulouse. This co-operative is the largest producer in the Saint-Chinian appellation of Languedoc, consisting of 70 winegrowers that cultivate over 650 hectares of vines, plus 30 members in the cellar. Together, their philosophy is to create wines of originality, balance, and power.

Situated in the village of Roquebrun, the exceptional, sunny Mediterranean micro-climate combined with the schist terroir typical of Languedoc allows for the production of high quality and original wines with a sense of place. The soils in the Saint-Chinian appellation are among the oldest in France at 500 million years of age, and are ideal for the cultivation of grapes. These acidic, schist soils of character make up 80% of the winegrowing lands in the area and form the base of the reputation of the quality wines from Roquebrun.

I enjoyed the 2010 Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun back in October 2018, and with a couple of other vintages still resting in my cellar, I am delighted to open the 2018 tonight. From the Saint-Chinian sub-appellation of Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun, this vintage is a blend of 45% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre that was grown on schistous soils facing south and south-east. It was vinified in whole bunches and fermented and aged in stainless steel vats. Let's see how this unoaked red wine is tasting tonight...

Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN-ROQUEBRUN 2018 - AC, Languedoc, France (#155804) (XD) - $20.95
This blend of 45% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre from the schistous hillside of Roquebrun was raised entirely in tanks. The fragrant, spicy nose and lovely aromas of ripe dark berry, blackberry, schist mineral, and peppery aromas with touches of smoke. The full-bodied palate is ripe with dark berry, blackberry, currant, peppery spice flavours backed by lovely mineral and hints of cassis and meaty notes. It has fresh, juicy acidity, while the chalky tannins are just a touch tight at the moment. Some bitterness with smoky mineral notes linger on the finish, very good length. Enjoyable now, but will be even better in a couple of years. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other lovely wines from Cave de Roquebrun can be ordered through their Agent - Eurovintage Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedThursday, May 6, 2021

Luna Estate Pinot Noir 2016 (New Zealand) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Pinot Noir from New Zealand. This red wine is a new arrival to the LCBO that was featured as part of the theme on "What's New, New Zealand?" from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Luna Estate is a family owned vineyard located in Martinborough, one of the three main sub-regions of the Wairarapa wine region in the southern end of North Island. They have two parcels of land with two distinct terroirs that they use to create their range of wines. Their main philosophy is to work very hard to do as little as possible. The passionate, dedicated team tends the vineyards, hand picks and carefully selects only the best fruit, and then minimally handles the grapes at the winery to preserve the purity and integrity of the fruit.

Although the human touch at Luna Estate is ever present, the land is at the heart of the winery. Sustainable and organic principals and practices drive the farming processes across both of their thriving vineyards, thereby eliminating the need for harmful herbicides and pesticides within their ecosystems as cleaner farming is good for all. By respecting and nurturing the land, the rewards will always be seen in the wines that are crafted using modern technology and traditional winemaking techniques.

This lovely Pinot Noir is crafted from fruit grown on both of their vineyards - Puruatanga Road (Eclipse) and Dry River Road (Blue Rock). With its ideal climate and ancient rocky riverbed, winemaking in the area where the Eclipse Vineyard resides began taking shape in 1970's, with Luna Estate planting their first Pinot Noir here in 1992. The Blue Rock Vineyard is located approximately 12 km south of Martinborough on Dry River Road, on a north-facing elevated hillside with silty clay loam soils interspersed with ancient marine sediment. Vines were first planted at Blue Rock in 1986. This Pinot Noir was fermented in open topped fermenters, gently plunged by hand, then pressed to tank, followed by ageing in mostly used French oak barrels with lower toast levels for 12 months prior to bottling. The 2016 vintage was not too hot, nor too cold, and considered a bit of a 'goldilocks' vintage. Let's see how this Pinot is tasting tonight...

Luna Estate Pinot Noir 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

LUNA ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2016 - Sustainable, Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand (#17544) (XD) - $26.95
Screw cap. Lovely, elegant, intense, and well-balanced aromas of raspberry, red and black cherry, and strawberry with subtle sweet spice, floral and dried cherry notes adding further complexity. The medium+ bodied palate has very good fruit concentration and flavours of raspberry-cran-cherry, mineral, earth, and touches of dried floral, and herbal notes. It has very good acidity, while the lightly structured tannins provide a pleasant grip. Nicely balanced throughout with mineral and cherry notes lingering on the long finish. Enjoy this highly recommended buy over the next 3-4 years! Score: 91 pts

Other lovely wines from Luna Estate can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedTuesday, May 4, 2021

Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin Red 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely, organic, and vegan-friendly red wine blend from South Africa. This customer favourite (and mine too) arrived at the LCBO over the weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

Jonty's Ducks wines are produced at Avondale's eco-friendly estate in the picturesque Paarl region in South Africa. Avondale Wines is a family owned farm run by proprietor, Johnathan Grieve, who is sometimes also known as 'Jonty'.

The wines celebrate Avondale's natural vineyard eco-system where a posse of glossy Pekin ducks patrol the vineyards to find and eat snails which would otherwise cause serious damage to the vines. These ducks provide a very effective and eco-friendly method to manage pests while also avoiding the use of harmful chemical poisons, and is just one of the many ways Avondale works with nature to produce premium quality, organically certified wines, while also ensuring that our Earth is protected for future generations.

There are only two wines in the Jonty's Ducks range - a lovely white blend that came through VINTAGES back in December and is nearly sold out, and this red blend. Both wines are slow made with natural yeast, free of all artificial additives and low in sulphur.

I was first introduced to this wine, the 2011 Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin Red back in 2015 and have enjoyed it on a number of occasions since. For the 2016 vintage, this red wine is a blend of 37% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 4% Petit Verdot, that was aged in used 225 litre barrels for 12-14 months.

Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin Red 2016 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2016 - Vegan, WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. Organic and vegan-friendly. The medium+ intensity nose has a lovely mix of red and black fruits, currant, ink, and wood spice with whiffs of wild herbs and white pepper notes adding complexity. It's full-bodied and quite concentrated and dense on the ripe palate with minty, currant, cassis, and herbal flavours surrounding a savoury, earthy core. It has juicy, succulent acids, while sweet, ripe tannins have a subtle, chalky grip. Slightly spicy on the mid-palate, while the long finish is savoury and earthy with touches of mineral. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

Wines from Jonty's Ducks and Avondale Wines can be ordered through their Agent - Rare Earth Wines.


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  • Date publishedSunday, May 2, 2021

J. Denuzière Crozes-Hermitage 2018 (Rhône) - Wine Review

Tonight's wine review is a lovely Syrah from the northern Rhône appellation of Crozes-Hermitage that arrived at the LCBO this weekend as part of the May 1st LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Based in Condrieu, the story of J. Denuzière begins in 1876 when founder of the estate, Joanny Paret, wished to develop the reputation and distribute local Rhône wines. Joseph Paret, son of Joanny, continued the traditions of the family business for forty years, eventually handing it over in the 1940s to his son-in-law, Pierre Denuzière. Since that time, the Denuzière name has been part of the vineyard landscape in northern Rhône Valley.

Today, J. Denuzière handcrafts a number of micro-cuvées around their Condriot heritage that strengthen with each passing vintage. In addition to owning 1 hectare vineyard plots in both Condrieu and Cornas, J. Denuzière also works exclusively and closely with a number of regional winegrowers, ensuring that each terroir is carefully studied to get the best expression of each grape variety. The vinification philosophy is to be gentle and natural, while combining tradition with modernity. Since 2010, and more recently with the help of Caroline Moro (whom I had the pleasure of meeting back in May 2018), all J. Denuzière wines are handcrafted, requiring working plot-by-plot on the terraced vineyards, and giving rise to a small quantity of wines with excellent quality.

This particular red wine is from the northern Rhône Valley's largest appellation, Crozes-Hermitage. It is 100% Syrah and was grown on old alluvial terraces with a lot of rocks and pebbles in the soils. The grapes were hand-picked, then destemmed at the cellar. Fermentation occurred in stainless steels vats, followed by ageing in barrels for 6 to 8 months. Let's see how this northern Rhône Syrah is tasting tonight...

J. Denuzière Crozes-Hermitage 2018 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

J. DENUZIÈRE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#667485) (XD) - $29.95
The medium+ intensity nose seems a bit shy, but offers dark fruited aromas of black and blueberry alongside white pepper spice, wood, and touches of floral. It's medium+ bodied with good fruit concentration on the palate and fruit forward flavours of dark berry and blackberry joined by savoury, earthy, white pepper spice, and wood notes supported by fresh acidity and refined, dusty-textured tannins. Lovely floral notes emerge on the mid-palate and linger to the stony mineral finish, with excellent length. Enjoy this classy Syrah over the next 7-8 years. Score: 91 pts

A limited number of other lovely wines from J. Denuzière are available at the LCBO, while the rest of the portfolio can be ordered through their Agent - DBINO David Beauroy Selections.


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