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  • Date publishedSaturday, July 31, 2021

Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2019 (Marche) - Wine Review



wine review is a lovely organic white wine from Marche, Italy, that arrived on shelves at the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

This white wine is crafted by Umani Ronchi, a family-run producer whose story began with Gino Umani Ronchi setting up a small farm in 1957 at Cupramontana, in the heart of Verdicchio Classico country in Marche. A few years later, the Bianchi-Bernetti family acquired the property and brought new energy to the estate's production. Over the next several years, Massimo Bernetti expanded the estate's area under vine to 210 hectares, which are nestled between the hills and sea along the Adriatic coast on the eastern side of central Italy in Marche and Abruzzo, while also improving the quality of the wines. By the 1990s, Massimo was joined by his son, Michele, and with input from university research centres, they began exploring advanced vineyard and cellar management techniques, while also identifying the best grape-growing sites. Today, all of the vineyards are farmed organically, by technical choice, because at Umani Ronchi, organic means quality. Umani Ronchi is driven by strong ethics and respects the environment, with sustainability at top of mind in every aspect of the business.

This Casal di Serra white wine was first produced in 1983 and was one of the first truly "selected" Verdicchio from the area. It was initially crafted from the best grapes in the Montecarotto vineyard, and was later enriched with grapes from three other plots situated in the most suitable areas for
cultivating Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. The DOC Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi translates to "Verdicchio of the Castles of Jesi" and refers to the numerous hilltop villages that dominate the region in the province of Ancona.

For the 2019 vintage, this 100% Verdicchio was grown on a hillsides between 200 and 350 meters above sea level, on opposite sides of the Esino Valley. The vines are between eight and thirty years old and grown on soils that go back to Pleiocene-Pleistocene formations, and characterised by very deep, medium-calcareous clay loams. The grapes were hand-harvested, fermented in steel tanks, and rested on its own yeasts for 5 months prior to bottling. Let's see how this 2019 is tasting tonight...

Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2019 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CASAL DI SERRA VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLI DI JESI CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2019 - DOC, Marche, Italy (#268169) (XD) - $19.95
Screw cap. This 100% organic Verdicchio has a lovely, fragrant, and open nose of lemon citrus, yellow and stone fruit with touches of yellow floral and earthy, saline mineral aromas. The palate is full with excellent fruit concentration and lovely lemon citrus, white stone fruit, herbal, and yellow fruit flavours with touches of leesy mineral and almond adding further interest and complexity. Acids are juicy and well-balanced, Very good length with leesy, saline minerals lingering on the finish. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

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


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  • Date publishedThursday, July 29, 2021

Château Peyros Vieilles Vignes Madiran 2016 (South West) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine from the Madiran appellation in the South West of France that arrived at the LCBO earlier this month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Chateau Peyros was built in the 17th century. It's name "Peyros" means "stony place" in the local language of Gascony and is very representative of its terroir. The Madiran vineyards of Chateau Peyros are located in the Haut Béarn region in South West, France, in the heart of Vic Bilh - or "old country" in the local dialect. The Madiran region is shaped by Pyrenean moraines, with a succession of South-North oriented valley and slopes that have an East-West exposure.

However, Chateau Peyros is unique in that it has a very specific terroir and micro-climate. Chateau Peyros sets itself apart by planting their vines over a significant rocky mass, while also having the only vineyard with a fully southern exposure, thus allowing their grapes to reach greater maturity and higher quality. The soils are a mix of rolled pebbles and clay known as pouzzolanes.

Today, Chateau Peyros is part of Maison Léda, an independent, family-owned company that specializes in the distribution of premium French wines and spirits. Maison Léda was established by the Lesgourgues family in 1982 to better control and develop the distribution of the family's Armagnacs and wines, including Chateau Peyros. Their cellars are one of the most modern in the appellation. They are also moving towards sustainable agriculture and have reduced the use of chemicals by more than 40% since they took over the property.

The 2016 vintage is a blend of 60% Tannat and 40% Cabernet Franc from old vines averaging 40 to 50 years of age. The vineyard is located at the southernmost end of the Madiran appellation and has rolled pebble with some gravels on a clay, silty soils. It was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in on oak barrels (50% new) for 15 months. I've tasted and enjoyed previous vintages of this red wine, and expect this to be just as good. Let's see how this 2016 Madiran is tasting tonight...

Château Peyros Vieilles Vignes Madiran 2016 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU PEYROS VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN 2016 - AC, South West, France (#234997) (XD) - $23.95
This blend of 60% Tannat and 40% Cabernet Franc from 40 to 50 year-old vines has rich, intense, and ripe dark black fruited aromas with spice, wood, and hints of stony minerals rising out of the glass. On the concentrated, full-bodied palate it has a complex mix of dark fruits, currant, blackberry, wood spice, earthy, and stony mineral flavours supported very good, juicy acidity. Structured, fine-grained, and slightly drying tannins are integrating very nicely. Dark fruits with mineral and earthy notes linger on the long finish. I like the approachability and balance at this stage, but it will reward handsomely with some time in the cellar and drink well to at least the end of the decade. Score: 91 pts

Other lovely wines from Chateau Peyros can be ordered through their Agent - Profile Wine Group.


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  • Date publishedSunday, July 25, 2021

Wines of Argentina - July 24, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Wine Reviews

To help satisfy your wine wanderlust, wine reviews continue the recent series on Wines of Argentina, the world's fifth largest wine producer, with this quintet of delicious wines arriving at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. In this post, I explore Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Malbec-based blends from Mendoza.

Wines of Argentina

Mendoza is Argentina's largest and most important winegrowing region with 75% of all vineyards in the country located here. Not surprisingly, Mendoza also has the largest number of wineries in the country and is one of the main producing centres in the world. It is located on a high-altitude plateau at the edge of the Andes Mountains at an altitude between 430 - 2,003 metres (1,410 - 6,500 feet) above sea level. The Andes act as a barrier to the humid winds from the Pacific, and with a fair long distance to the Atlantic in the east, the climate here is continental. In addition, with the heterogeneity of soils and snowmelt water providing irrigation, the conditions are ideal for vine cultivation. Mendoza is divided into five sub-regions - Uco Valley, Primera Zone (which includes Luján de Cuyo and Maipú), the Northern oasis, the East, and the South.

Chardonnay is the third most widely planted white varietal in Argentina (and seventh most among all varietals), with the ability to ripen well and produce a wide range of wines. Malbec is the flagship varietal of Argentina and, as of 2011, is the most widely cultivated varietal in the country. Malbec is most often produced as a single varietal wine, but is also blended with Bonarda (which is is the second most widely planted varietal) and Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot to produce more structured reds as we see in the two examples below. Cabernet Sauvignon is the third most cultivated varietal in the country and is one of the most researched varieties in recent years. Research has found that Argentina has at least three continental climate styles of Cabernet Sauvignon, with wines from Cuyo described as fruity in character with ripe currants.

All of the red wines in this post are from the 2018 vintage, which was dry and sunny, and considered the best quality since 2013, while the 2019 Chardonnay comes from a cool and dry vintage that is considered the best in nearly 30 years. Let's see how these delicious wines from Argentina are tasting tonight...

Tasting Notes:

KAIKEN ULTRA CHARDONNAY 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#355552) (XD) - $19.95
From Altamira (Uco Valley) at 1,200 metres (3,937 feet) altitude and Vistalba (Luján de Cuyo) at 1,050 meters (3,444 feet) altitude, 65% of this Chardonnay was fermented in concrete tanks and the rest in new barrels. Screw cap enclosure. The open, medium-high intensity nose has yummy tropical fruit, pineapple, lemon citrus, and stone fruit aromas. The full-bodied, crunchy and creamy palate has very good fruit concentration with citrus, ripe apple, and smoke flavours accented with vanilla, butter, and a touch of pink bubble gum adding complexity and interest. Acids are well-balanced, while the lingering, citrusy finish has a slightly chalky texture, with some saline mineral notes on the aftertaste. Agent: Trajectory Beverage Partners. Score: 89 pts

Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay 2019 (89 pts)

ALAMOS SELECCIÓN MALBEC 2018 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#322800) (XD) - $16.95
From high-altitude vineyards planted between 910 and 1,520 metres (2,985 feet and 4,986 feet) above sea level and aged in French oak for 9 to 12 months before assemblage. The medium+ intensity nose has very ripe aromas of black and blueberries rising out of the glass, joined by smoky minerals, violet, and hints of dried herb. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with smooth, finely textured tannins and fresh, balanced acidity, and flavours of blackberry, violet, smoky mineral, and black tea. I like the strong mineral and savoury notes on the juicy finish, with very good length. Agent: E & J Gallo Winery Canada. Score: 89 pts

Alamos Selección Malbec 2018 (89 pts)

KAIKEN TERROIR SERIES MALBEC / BONARDA / PETIT VERDOT 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#450163) (XD) - $18.95
This blend of 80% Malbec, 15% Bonarda, and 5% Petit Verdot was grown in Los Chacayes (Uco Valley) and Agrelo (Luján de Cuyo) between at 950 and 1,250 metres (3,117 and 4,101 feet). It was fermented in concrete tanks and aged in a mix of French oak barrels for 12 months. After taking some time to open up, the nose reveals fresh aromas of dark fruit, blackberry, blueberry, stony mineral, and some vanillin oak spice, leafy herb, and black plum notes. It's full-ish bodied on the somewhat structured palate with nice aroma replays, plus violet notes, all supported by balanced acidity and structured, gritty, and slightly chalky tannins. The finish length is very good, with mineral, cedar oak, and dark berry with hints of violet. Enjoyable now with BBQ fare, but should be even better in 2 years. Agent: Trajectory Beverage Partners. Score: 88+ pts

Kaiken Terroir Series Malbec / Bonarda / Petit Verdot 2018 (88+ pts)D.V. Catena Historic Red Blend 2018 (88+ pts)

D.V. CATENA HISTORIC RED BLEND 2018 - Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#555466) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 75% Malbec, 19% Bonarda, and 6% Petit Verdot from four historic estate vineyards at 750 to 1,450 metres (2,460 to 4,757 feet) altitude. The grapes fermented with wild yeasts and aged for 12 to 14 months in barrel. The medium+ intensity nose is oak-driven with earthy, red and black fruits, along with a mineral note that emerges with time in the glass. The full-ish bodied palate is dark fruited with blackberry, earthy, oak spice, and touches of leafy herb flavours supported by fine-grained, slightly grippy tannins. Acids are juicy and well-balanced, while savoury oak and earthy notes with touches of blackberry linger on the finish, with good length. Agent: Noble Estates Wines & Spirits. Score: 88+ pts

GAUCHEZCO RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Alto Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#17460) (XD) - $16.95
100% Cabernet Sauvignon, of which half was aged in French and American oak barrels for 10 months. The medium intensity nose seems a bit shy, offering glimpses of black cherry, ripe red & black fruits, green pepper, and herbal aromas. The full-bodied palate has flavours of black cherry, ripe currant, green pepper, and sour cherry, layered over savoury, earthy, and toasty oak notes. It has very good, balanced acidity to go along with structured, grainy tannins that have some grip. Savoury and earthy on the finish, with very good length. Agent: Majestic Wine Cellars. Score: 88+ pts

Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (88+ pts)


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  • Date publishedThursday, July 22, 2021

Tenuta Perano Rialzi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely Chianti Classico Gran Selezione that rises to excellence. It is a new arrival to the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Frescobaldi, an historic winemaking family that has been committed to viticulture in Tuscany for over 700 years, beginning in the early 1300s. The Frescobaldi family established their presence in the Oltrarno district of Florence, in the Piazza de' Frescobaldi, by building their palazzo, covered loggia, and tower, as well as the Ponte Santa Trinita bridge that connected their own properties Florence's historic centre. In the 20th century, Vittorio, Ferdinando and Leonardo Frescobaldi helped elevate Tuscany to a place of excellence for viticulture. Today, President Lamberto Frescobaldi aims to further strengthen the uniqueness of the wines from each family estate, along with a continued commitment for sustainable agriculture, diversity, and wines that reflect their terroir.

Tenuta Perano is one of the eight estates of Frescobaldi. It is a unique estate located in the heart of Chianti Classico in Gaiole, an area with exceptional soils and climate that captures the light and warmth of the sun. The vineyards are located 500 metres (1,640 feet) above sea level, well above normal altitude for the late-maturing Sangiovese grape. The steep slopes and stony soils in this area create healthy air movement and is the ideal terroir for Sangiovese.

This particular red wine is from their Rialzi Vineyard, which literally translates to "rises", and is named as such because the vineyard rises above others on three natural steps. Crafted entirely with Sangiovese, the grapes were meticulously tended to in the vineyard, then carefully hand-picked. After careful selection in the cellar, the grapes were fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. It was then aged for 36 months, 24 of which were spent in barriques, following by another short period of ageing in bottle prior to release. In 2016, the climate around the estate of Tenuta Perano produced perfectly ripe and succulent fruit, leading to an outstanding harvest of exceptional quality Sangiovese grapes, which in turn produced a truly extraordinary wine of great aromatic intensity and rich structure. Let's see how this Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is tasting tonight...

Tenuta Perano Rialzi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

TENUTA PERANO RIALZI CHIANTI CLASSICO GRAN SELEZIONE 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#17682) (XD) - $49.95
This 100% Sangiovese has lovely, elegant, medium-high intensity aromatics that offer attractive notes of rose florals, red cherry, sweet spices, earth, sandalwood, and clove. It's medium-full bodied with very good concentration on the slightly chalky palate with red cherry, floral, sweet spice, earthy, and stony mineral flavours. It's supported by fresh, citrusy acidity and structured tannins that are refined, textured, and slightly chalky. Succulent with minerals, red cherries, and floral lingering on the finish, with excellent length. Enjoy this highly recommended buy until at least the end of the decade. Score: 93 pts

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


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  • Date publishedWednesday, July 21, 2021

July 24, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Big Scores + South Africa

LCBO Wine Picks: July 24, 2021 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on high scoring wines, while the mini-theme looks at wines from South Africa. All of these wines, plus those from the main release should be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that offers a dozen high-scoring wines, of which two are included among my top wine picks. The first wine is an always excellent Assyrtiko from Santorini, while the other wine is a lovely Pinot Noir from Oregon.

The mini-theme features the wines from South Africa, the world's oldest New World wine region as wine has been made here since the year 1659. With six wines featured in this theme, three are included among my top wine recommendations. First up is a traditional method sparkling wine that is made with Pinot Noir. The other two wines are both South African red wines - one is a Cabernet Sauvignon, while the other is made with Syrah.

My red wine picks from the main release includes an excellent Chianti Classico Gran Selezione that is made with 100% Sangiovese, as well as a red wine from Greece that is a blend of 87% Xinomavro and 13% Syrah. From Argentina, the are two wines of similar blends - the Kaiken consists of 80% Malbec, 15% Bonarda and 5% Petit Verdot, while the Catena is a blend of 75% Malbec, 19% Bonarda, and 6% Petit Verdot that would be interesting to compare side-by-side. The last blend is from Roussillon and it is made with 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Carignan.

Tenuta Perano Rialzi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2016 (93 pts)

D.V. Catena Historic Red Blend 2018 (88+ pts)Kaiken Terroir Series Malbec / Bonarda / Petit Verdot 2018 (88+ pts)

Most of my white wine recommendations from the main release are single varietals. Fresh and aromatic whites include a Moschofilero from Greece and a fine Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. From Italy, the Pecorino and Verdicchio are light and crisp white wines. There are also a pair of delicious Chardonnays - one from Argentina and the other from Sonoma County. The lone blend is a rich, oak-aged blend from Rhône that consists of 70% Roussanne, 15% Viognier, and 15% Grenache Blanc. For sweet wine lovers, the Riesling from Niagara should be on your shopping list.

Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2017 (90 pts)

Casal di Serra Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2019 (90 pts)Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay 2019 (89 pts)

Among my rosé wine picks, all are dry rosés in style, with the Rioja consisting of 60% Garnacho, 30% Tempranillo, and 10% Viura. From Provence, the Whispering Angel is made with Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, while the Inspiration Rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • ALAMOS SELECCIÓN MALBEC 2018 - La Consulta, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#322800) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GAUCHEZCO RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#17460) (XD) - $16.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • HEREDAD DE URUEÑA SANTO TERROIR TEMPRANILLO 2014 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain (#629832) (XD) - $16.95
  • GLENELLY GLASS COLLECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#13316) (XD) - $17.95
  • KAIKEN TERROIR SERIES MALBEC / BONARDA / PETIT VERDOT 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#450163) (XD) - $18.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • D.V. CATENA HISTORIC RED BLEND 2018 - Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#555466) (XD) - $19.95  88+ pts  wine review
Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (88+ pts)Alamos Selección Malbec 2018 (89 pts)

  • CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES GRENACHE / SYRAH / CARIGNAN 2018 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#119354) XD) - $19.95
  • RUSTENBERG BUZZARD KLOOF SYRAH 2018 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#414151) (XD) - $24.95
  • SOUTHBROOK LAUNDRY VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR 2018 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#646323) (XD) - $29.95
  • SOLÉNA GRAND CUVÉE PINOT NOIR 2018 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#486944) (XD) - $32.95
  • TENUTA PERANO RIALZI CHIANTI CLASSICO GRAN SELEZIONE 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#17682) (XD) - $49.95  93 pts  wine review
  • KIR-YIANNI DIAPOROS SINGLE VINEYARD XINOMAVRO 2016 - PGI Imathia, Greece (#14131) (XD) - $53.95  FE

White Wine:

  • FEUDO ANTICO ORGANIC PECORINO 2019 - IGP Terre di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy (#644930) (XD) - $15.95
  • KAIKEN ULTRA CHARDONNAY 2019 - Mendoza, Argentina (#355552) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CASAL DI SERRA VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLI DI JESI CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2019 - DOC, Marche, Italy (#268169) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • TSELEPOS MOSCHOFILERO 2020 - PDO Mantinia, Greece (#724583) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHARLES BAKER RIESLING 2019 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#20373) (M) - $19.95
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2020 - Sustainable, Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $21.95
  • MICHEL GASSIER CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT WHITE 2018 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#485854) (XD) - $27.95
  • RODNEY STRONG CHALK HILL CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#275552) (XD) - $28.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2019 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $45.95

Rosé Wine:

  • BERNE INSPIRATION ROSÉ 2020 - AP Côtes de Provence, France (#278861) (XD) - $23.95
  • THE PALM BY WHISPERING ANGEL 2020 - AC Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France (#562595) (XD) - $24.95
  • LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA GRAN RESERVA ROSÉ 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#15781) (XD) - $43.95  FE

Sparkling Wine:

  • HAUTE CABRIÈRE PIERRE JOURDAN BELLE ROSE BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#18569) (XD) - $19.95


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  • Date publishedTuesday, July 20, 2021

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Chardonnay 2018 (Oregon) - Wine Review

wine review is an excellent Chardonnay from the Dundee Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Willamette Valley that arrived at the LCBO a couple of weeks ago as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Sokol Blosser Winery was founded by Susan Sokol and Bill Blosser when they planted their first vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA in Willamette Valley in 1971. At the time, they needed all of their youthful confidence, energy, and determination as there was no wine industry in Oregon. They are located 28 miles (45 km) southwest of Portland, in an area in Dundee Hills whose geology dates back 15 million years, when lava flowed from northeast Oregon and pushed into Willamette Valley to create the red volcanic Jory soils that the Dundee Hills AVA is known for.

Today, the certified-organic 106 hectare estate winery is family-owned and -operated by the children of Susan and Bill, siblings Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser. They produce wines of world-class quality in a sustainable manner, mindful of the environment, and express the different flavours of their hillside vineyards. Among their many achievements, Sokol Blosser's underground barrel cellar was the first winery building in the U.S.A. to receive LEED certification in 2002. In 2015, Sokol Blosser became a Certified B Corporation.

This 100% Chardonnay is crafted with certified organic grapes from their Thistle Vineyard estate in the Dundee Hills. The vines were planted on a steep hillside site in the year 2000 with popular clones 95, 76, and 96. It was fermented in a variety of formats, including new and neutral French oak barrels and concrete egg, followed by secondary fermentation and ageing for 10 months in both barrel and larger format puncheons that included some lees ageing. The 2018 vintage was their coolest since 2012, and they believe it's their best since that then. I've tasted previous vintages of this wine and it's always been a delight - let's see how this 2018 is tasting tonight...

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Chardonnay 2018 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

SOKOL BLOSSER DUNDEE HILLS ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2018 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#16988) (XD) - $28.95
From red volcanic Jory soils, the elegant, medium+ intensity nose is rich with lemon citrus and ripe stone fruits mingling with earthy volcanic minerals, plus hints of tropical fruit. It is impressively textured on the medium+ bodied palate with lovely, complex flavours of citrus and minerals with hints of mealy, honey, and a kiss of vanilla. Vibrant acidity lifts the slightly spicy mid-palate. Somewhat tight on the long, textured finish with mineral flavours joined by touches of apple and butter. Best enjoyed with only a light chill. Highly recommended buy. Score: 91+ pts

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


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  • Date publishedSaturday, July 17, 2021

Luigi Bosca D.O.C. Malbec 2018 (Argentina) - Wine Review

For wine review, I continue the recent string of fine Argentinean wines with another lovely Malbec that arrived at the LCBO last month, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - with plenty still available on shelves across the province.

The story of Bodega Luigi Bosca begins when Leoncio Arizu arrived in Argentina in 1890 searching for new opportunities, and founded a winery in Mendoza in 1901. The Arizu family had a strong European legacy dating back to the XVIII century, in the small village of Unzue in Basque country. Soon after founding the winery, he joined forces with the Bosca family that emigrated from Piamonte, Italy, to found what is today Bodega Luigi Bosca – Arizu Family.

Today, the winery remains in the hands of Leoncio Arizu's grandchildren and great-grandchildren to honour the tradition of producing great wines. They are committed to continuous innovation, an unwavering work spirit, and a perpetual quest to achieve the ultimate expression of Argentine wine which includes the best expression of the terroir and region's style. The Arizu Family also played a leading role in major changes in the local wine producing industry. One of the most important changes was participating in the founding in 1989 of Argentina's first Controlled Denomination of Origin (C.D.O.) - the Lujan de Cuyo C.D.O - from which this wine was borne.

The Luigi Bosca D.O.C Malbec is one of the first Argentine wines with a Designation of Origin. The grapes come from their iconic, 70-year-old Finca La Linda vineyard in the Vistalba district, within the Luján de Cuyo DOC. It is located in the western part of Mendoza at an altitude of 960 metres (3,150 feet) altitude. The climate is continental with high diurnal temperatures, well-defined seasons, and many hours of good sunlight. The soil structure consist of 60% sand, 35% silt, and 5% clays with 10% boulders scattered throughout. The vineyard produces below 7,000 kg per hectare, which is equivalent to 1 kg per plant, and one plant produces one bottle of wine. The grapes were hand-picked, sorted, and destemmed. After fermentation, this red wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months, then filtered, bottled, and stored at the winery for 6 months prior to release. Let's see how this Malbec is tasting tonight...

Luigi Bosca D.O.C. Malbec 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LUIGI BOSCA D.O.C. MALBEC 2018 - Single vineyard, DOC Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#74922) (XD) - $29.95
Aged in new French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months, this lovely Malbec has medium-high intensity aromas led by oak, vanilla, sweet spice, and cocoa surrounding the slightly maturing dark fruit and blackberry notes. It's medium-full bodied, with very good concentration on the palate with chewy, supple tannins and juicy, balanced acidity supporting the ripe dark fruit, blackberry, blueberry, cocoa, and oak flavours. Slightly spicy on the mid-palate, with savoury oak and dark berry notes lingering on the finish, with very good length. Enjoy now or hold into the mid-to-late 20's. Score: 90 pts

Other lovely wines from Luigi Bosca are available at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - FWM Canada.


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  • Date publishedThursday, July 15, 2021

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

I enjoyed the 2018 Zuccardi Q Malbec earlier this year, and for wine review I am delighted to try the 2019 edition as it returned to the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Zuccardi Wines was founded with a strong visionary and innovative spirit in Maipú, Mendoza in 1963. In 2005, Sebastián Zuccardi, the grandson of founder Alberto Zuccardi, becomes the third generation of the family to continue the strong family tradition and lead the development of the new stage of the winery. Starting in 2008, Sebastián dedicated an area of the winery to Research and Development to study of the terroir and the different variables that affect wine production. In 2016, Zuccardi Wines opened their new winery with the goal of producing wines with identity through the different terroirs of the Uco Valley, while also crafting their wines using sustainable practices.

This Malbec is from Zuccardi's "Q" range of regional wines, a project that began in 1999 when they marked the best vineyards and plots with the letter "Q" - which stands for Quality. During the growing and vinification process, these grapes are given extra care and attention in order to produce wines of exceptional quality.

Like the previous vintage, this Malbec is composed of fruit from the Uco Valley, specifically from IG Paraje Altamira (San Carlos) grown at 1,100 metres (3,600 feet) elevation, and IG Los Chacayes (Tunuyán) that was grown at 1,000 metres (3,200 feet) elevation. The soils in Altamira, which is located on the southern side of the Tunuyán river, originated from in the alluvial fan of the Tunuyán river, in its upper zone. The soils are very heterogeneous (diverse) with sandy loam on the surface and medium and large gravels at various depths, along with an abundance of calcareous material. In Los Chacayes, which is located at the foot of the Andes, the soils originated in a series of superimposed alluvial fans, in the middle zone of the Uco Valley. Again, the soils are heterogeneous with a mix of mostly sandy loam with strata of moderately eroded small stones, with occasional coverage of calcium carbonate or gypsum.

The exceptional harvest in 2019 was fresh and dry, with temperatures below average and great thermal amplitude (diurnal temperatures). The result was very good natural acidity, tannin structure, and excellent, ripe (but not over-ripe) fruit. Let's see how this 2019 Malbec is tasting tonight...

Zuccardi Q Malbec 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2019 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
This 100% Malbec from Altamira (70%) and Los Chacayes (30%) was fermented in concrete vessels using native yeasts, followed by ageing 70% in concrete and 30% in used 500 L untoasted French oak barrels. The intense, bright, and spicy nose offers aromas of dark berry, purple fruit, stony mineral, and dried herbs. The chewy, medium+ bodied palate has lovely spicy, dark berry, and purple fruited flavours with stony mineral notes adding interest. It's framed by fresh, lively acidity and refined, supple tannins that have a slightly dusty/grippy texture, leading to a nicely balanced, juicy, spicy, and savoury finish, with very good length. A perennial recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

There are many fine Zuccardi wines available at the LCBO, while other wines not found at the LCBO can be ordered through their Agent - The Bacchus Group.


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  • Date publishedTuesday, July 13, 2021

Altosur Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

After enjoying the delicious 2018 Finca SOPHENIA Altosur Malbec last September, wine review is a lovely white wine from the same producer. This Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina is new to the LCBO and arrived on shelves across Ontario last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. This is the first of what will be many posts in the coming weeks highlighting the exciting and diverse Wines of Argentina.

Roberto Luka, the former President of Wines of Argentina, founded Finca SOPHENIA in 1997 by combining the names of his partner's daughter, Sophia, and his own daughter, Eugenia. The wine producer is based in the high-altitude sub-zone of Gualtallary in Tupungato, within the Uco Valley in Mendoza. Today, Finca SOPHENIA is recognized as one of the highest quality wine producers in Argentina. Finca SOPHENIA is Sustainability Certified and the young, dynamic, and ambitious winemaking team is led by Ing. Julia Halupczok and winemaker Matías Michelini; Eugenia Luka has also joined the family business.

Finca SOPHENIA is a pioneer in the cultivation of vines in Gualtallary. Tupungato has an ideal micro-climate that allows for the slow ripening of grapes. The combination of height, cold weather, and sandy and stony soils result in wines with ideal natural acidity, intense aromas and flavours, concentration, and good structure. The small terroir of Gualtallary yields wines that are some of Argentina's most freshest and minerally.

With Argentina's unique conditions, notably the Andes mountain range and its latitudinal extension, the country is able to cultivate a wide range of grapes to produce many distinct styles of wines. Although Sauvignon Blanc isn't widely planted, it is being cultivated more in recent years and is now the fifth most widely planted white varietal in the country.

This particular Sauvignon Blanc is from their "Altosur" range of wines. Altosur translates to "high in the south", referring to the elevation of its terroir at the southern part of the world. It was grown in Finca SOPHENIA's high-altitude estate vineyard by the Andes in the Gualtallary sub-zone of Tupungato, in the Uco Valley, at an altitude of 1,219 metres (4,000 feet) above sea level. The soils here are of alluvial origin, loose and highly permeable structure. To obtain a balanced vineyard with high quality grapes, special pruning, irrigation and canopy management tasks are performed. The grapes are harvested manually and vinified using gentle pressing at low pressures in a pneumatic press, and fermented in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. Let's see how this delicious Argentinean Sauvignon Blanc is tasting tonight...

Altosur Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ALTOSUR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Estate grown and bottled, Gualtallary, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#19385) (XD) - $16.95
Screw cap. The fresh, intense nose is highly aromatic with ripe guava, kiwi, melon, tropical fruit, and citrus aromas nuanced with earthy minerals and herbs. The clean, fresh palate has more ripe tropical fruit, guava, kiwi, citrus, and melon flavours in a spicy profile with fresh, clean acidity. Juicy herbs with citrus and melon linger on the long, distinctively mineral finish. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

While a few Altosur Malbec's are still available at the LCBO, other delicious wines from Finca SOPHENIA can be purchased through their Agent - Sylvestre Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedSunday, July 11, 2021

Vanderpump Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 and Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 (California) - Wine Reviews

Vanderpump Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts) and Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (92 pts)
wine reviews are a pair of lovely wines from Sonoma - a California Cabernet Sauvignon and California Chardonnay. Both of these wines are new to the LCBO and arrived on VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

With many decades in the hospitality industry worldwide, the Vanderpump family developed a passion for outstanding wines. The family has deep roots in California - it is where they call home and raised their family. Vanderpump Wines was founded in 2016, when Lisa and her family decided to collaborate with renowned Winemaker Tom Hinde to produce wines that combine the family's love of Old World style with the excellence of New World fruit from Sonoma.

Their first wine was a rosé, which they launched in 2017 after developing a passion for it from living in the South of France for many years. Last year, they expanded their portfolio with the addition of these two wines, both crafted using fruit Sonoma within their home state of California. Both of these "celebrity wines" beat my expectations and have impressively high quality.

Tasting Notes:

VANDERPUMP SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2018 - Estate grown, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#18636) (XD) - $37.95
Hand-sorted and whole cluster pressed, this barrel-fermented Chardonnay with some lees ageing was raised in French oak for 11 months. It has a fresh, medium-high intensity nose with aromas of ripe stone fruits such as pear, apple, and lemon citrus, along with some tropical fruit and peach layered over butter and toasty vanilla notes. It's medium+ bodied on the slightly warming palate with more ripe apple, pear, and lemon citrus notes joined by vanilla and butter flavours. Acids are well-balanced, while some leesy mineral and coffee notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Score: 91 pts

Vanderpump Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts)

VANDERPUMP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#20176) (XD) - $49.95
The grapes for this lovely blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot were sourced from Sonoma Valley and Alexander Valley, and aged in French oak for 18 months. Elegant, medium-high intensity aromas of dark fruited, blackberry, black cherry, plum, and currant notes are nuanced with cocoa and sweet spices. It's full-bodied and chewy with lovely dark fruited aroma replays plus cocoa, sweet spice, and vanilla flavours adding savoury complexity. It's supported by juicy, well-balanced acidity and very smooth, refined tannins that have a supple texture. Savoury and earthy with dark fruited notes linger on the long, elegant finish. Score: 92 pts

Vanderpump Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (92 pts)

The portfolio of Vanderpump wines and are proudly represented by their Agent - Dionysus Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedThursday, July 8, 2021

July 10, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: BBQ + Cool-Climate Chardonnay

LCBO Wine Picks: July 10, 2021 VINTAGES Release
As we head into the sizzling heat of the summer, the main theme of the July 10, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on all-purpose BBQ wines that will appeal to many tastes and budgets, while in the mini-theme we cool off with the annual Cool-Climate Chardonnay selection. All of these wines, including those from the main release should be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the theme on BBQ wines, of which six of the eighteen wines featured are among my top wine picks, with all three colours represented. The white wines are an organic Vernaccia from Tuscany and a barrel-fermented Chardonnay from Sonoma. The red wines are a Brunello di Montalcino made with 100% Sangiovese, and a consistently delicious Malbec from Argentina. The pink wines include a rosé from Spain that is made with 100% old-vine Garnacha, while the other rosé is from Coteaux d'Aix en Provence and consists of 60% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, and 5% Syrah.

Vanderpump Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts)Zuccardi Q Malbec 2019 (89 pts)

Izadi Larrosa Garnacha Rosé 2020 (88+ pts)

From the mini-theme on Cool-Climate Chardonnay wines, two of the eleven wines featured are included among my top Chardonnay recommendations. Both of these delightful white wines are $25 and come from Niagara.

At the top of my red wine picks is the Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is a blend of 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 10% Counoise, 5% Cinsault, and the rest a mix of other red and wine varieties. Also from Rhône is the Lirac that consists of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvèdre, while the Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. The last wine from France is the Madiran which consists of 60% Tannat and 40% Cabernet Franc. From Portugal, the Douro red is mainly Touriga Nacional with Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Souzão in support, while the Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot.

Vanderpump Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (92 pts)Château Peyros Vieilles Vignes Madiran 2016 (91 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, the Vinho Verde is a blend of mainly Alvarinho with Trajadura in support, while the Rioja Blanco is a barrel-fermented blend of 70% Viura and 30% Maturana Blanca. From France, the Rhône white is a blend of roughly 70% Viognier and the rest equal parts Grenache Blanc and Clairette, while the Roussillon white is mainly Grenache Blanc with 20% Roussanne making up the final blend. Single varietal wines include a fine Chardonnay from Oregon, and an high-altitude Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina. The only wine with some sweetness is the off-dry Riesling Kabinett from Mosel.

Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Chardonnay 2018 (91+ pts)Altosur Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • JERZU MARGHIA CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA 2018 - DOC, Sardinia, Italy (#508630) (XD) - $17.95
  • SEAWARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 - Sustainable, WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#19577) (XD) - $17.95
  • HALOS DE JUPITER CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2019 - AC, France (#276956) (XD) - $18.95
  • PLANTAGENET THREE LIONS SHIRAZ 2017 - Great Southern, Western Australia (#18482) (XD) - $19.95
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2019 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • QUADRUS RED 2015 - DOP Douro, Portugal (#440305) (XD) - $22.95
  • CHÂTEAU PEYROS VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN 2016 - AC, South West, France (#234997) (XD) - $23.95  91 pts  wine review
  • ALAIN JAUME CLOS DE SIXTE LIRAC 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#76349) (XD) - $26.95
  • VANDERPUMP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 - Sonoma County, California, USA (#20176) (XD) - $49.95  92 pts  wine review
  • IL GRAPPOLO SASSOCHETO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#550038) (XD) - $56.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#711317) (XD) - $93.95

White Wine:

  • MURALHAS DE MONÇÃO VINHO VERDE 2020 - Monção e Melgaço, DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#80374) (XD) - $15.95
  • ALTOSUR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Estate grown and bottled, Gualtallary, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#19385) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • OLIVIER & LAFONT CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2019 - AC, France (#18646) (XD) - $16.95
  • SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON GRENACHE BLANC / ROUSSANNE 2019 - AP, Midi, France (#175232) (XD) - $17.95
  • SAN DONATO DI FRENZI VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO 2020 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#17827) (XD) - $17.95
  • NIVARIUS LIMITED EDITION BLANCO 2016 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#15591) (XD) - $21.95
  • LE CLOS JORDANNE JORDAN VILLAGE CHARDONNAY 2019 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#20455) (XD) - $24.95
  • 2027 CELLARS WISMER VINEYARD FOXCROFT BLOCK CHARDONNAY 2019 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#421362) (XD) - $24.95
  • SOKOL BLOSSER DUNDEE HILLS ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2018 - Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#16988) (XD) - $28.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • VANDERPUMP SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2018 - Estate grown, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California, USA (#18636) (XD) - $37.95  91 pts  wine review
  • SELBACH-OSTER ZELTINGER HIMMELREICH RIESLING KABINETT HALBTROCKEN 2018 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#18922) (D) - $34.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • IZADI LARROSA GARNACHA ROSÉ 2020 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#490961) (XD) - $16.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L'ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2020 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#319392) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA AIX EN PROVENCE ROSÉ 2020 - AP Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, France (#668426) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • VILMART ET CIE GRANDE RÉSERVE 1ER CRU CHAMPAGNE - AC, Champagne, France (#12619) (XD) - $72.95  FE  92 pts  wine review
Vilmart et Cie Grande Réserve 1er Cru Champagne (92 pts)


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  • Date publishedWednesday, July 7, 2021

Izadi Larrosa Garnacha Rosé 2020 (Rioja) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious rosé from Spain that arrives at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

A relatively new producer, Bodegas Izadi was founded 1987 in the heart of Rioja Alavesa, when Gonzalo Antón, who had a passion for wine and good food, and a group of friends and business people began the ground breaking project. This innovative bodega is located in the village of Villabuena de Alava, in northern Spain, where Gonzalo's family was already growing grapes, and focuses on making fine wine.

With Gonzalo's knowledge of hotels and restaurants, Izadi wines became some of the most highly regarded wines in gastronomic circles. Over time, Izadi has introduced new winemaking techniques and improved their quality to set a particular house style of wine. In 2000, Lalo Antón, Gonzalo's son, joined the company and further expanded its reach around the globe, including adding other brands to the portfolio.

Izadi, which means nature, was the name chosen because they wanted the bodega to show the fruits of its natural surroundings. The 178 hectares of vineyards (70 of which are their own) that Izadi has access to are located in a triangle between the villages of Villabuena, Samaniego, and Abalos. These old, south-facing vineyards have a special micro-climate and are cultivated in an integrated approach with respect for its natural surroundings. The building is on a steep slope, with a 50-metre difference from top to bottom. They use gravity flow to gently move the grapes and wine throughout the 5 levels of the winery.

This particular dry rosé is 100% Garnacha from a selection of low-yield vineyards which were first planted in 1972 at an high-altitude of 790 metres above sea level. On a slope, the soils are clay-chalk with pebbles and are influenced by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The grape were manually harvested and vinified in stainless steel tanks. Let's see how this delightful dry rosé is tasting tonight...

Izadi Larrosa Garnacha Rosé 2020 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

IZADI LARROSA GARNACHA ROSÉ 2020 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#490961) (XD) - $16.95
This 100% old-vine Garnacha pours a pretty, pale salmon colour. The medium+ intensity nose offers aromas of grapefruit, red berry, citrus, and herbs with subtle honey and floral undertones. The dry, mid-weighted palate is fleshy with ripe red berry, strawberry, grapefruit, citrus, and floral flavours with subtle herb and white pepper spice notes adding further interest. It has fresh, balanced acidity and zesty flavour replays on the dry, slightly minerally finish, with very good length. Chill well and enjoy this recommended buy. Score: 88+ pts

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


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  • Date publishedMonday, July 5, 2021

Cave de Tain Héritiers Gambert Nobles Rives Crozes-Hermitage 2018 (Rhône) - Wine Review

After enjoying the 2015 Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage a couple of years ago, red wine review is another lovely Syrah from the same producer that arrived at the LCBO a couple of weeks ago, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Cave de Tain was founded in 1933 by Louis Gambert de Loche on the Hermitage slope in northern Rhône. It is a large co-operative and unique in that they own all of their 1,000 hectares of vineyards. These vineyards are spread across the five prestigious appellations of northern Rhône, making Cave de Tain the leading producer of cru wines in the region. Cave de Tain is also a pioneer in sustainable winegrowing and conservation of their unique grape varieties. Today, four generations of growers have contributed to the craftsmanship of terroir-driven wines of Cave de Tain using the latest, cutting-edge tools.

This 100% Syrah was grown on Cave de Tain's primary vineyard, on the left bank of the northern Rhône, on its two emblematic soil types - granite and galets which are small surface stones. Most of the grapes come from alluvial terraces with rolled pebbles (galets) from the Rhône River, along with some loess soils. The climate here is continental with a Mediterranean influence. The grapes were completely de-stemmed prior to gentle fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel and/or concrete tanks. It was aged in vats (60%) for 6 to 11 months, while the remaining 40% of the was aged in 400 L oak barrels. In 2018, northern Rhône experienced a very hot and dry vintage, resulting in a plentiful and ripe crop. Let's see how this Syrah is tasting tonight...

Cave de Tain Héritiers Gambert Nobles Rives Crozes-Hermitage 2018 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CAVE DE TAIN HÉRITIERS GAMBERT NOBLES RIVES CROZES-HERMITAGE 2018 - Sustainable, AC, Rhône, France (#572230) (XD) - $25.95
This excellent, sustainably crafted Syrah has fresh, intense, and complex aromas of dark berry, blackberry, black cherry, smoke, black pepper spice, herbs, and meaty notes with a savoury, earthy core. Some pretty floral aromas with time in the glass. It's medium-full bodied on the structured palate with very good concentration. Lovely black pepper, blackberry, dark cherry, and herbal flavours that turn savoury, meaty, smoky, and minerally on the mid-palate. It's supported by fresh, balanced acidity and fine-grained tannins that have a some structure and grip. Savoury, stony mineral, and coffee notes linger on the very long finish. Wow. Highly recommended buy! Score: 91+ pts

Other fine wines from Cave de Tain can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedSunday, July 4, 2021

The Spritz Pack - Distelleria Amalfi Aperitivo Liqueur & Spritz

Distilleria Amalfi & Co. Aperitivo Liqueur, Amalfi Aperitivo Spritz, and Toro Bravo Sparkling Secco White
Last Spring, I enjoyed the locally made, ready-to-drink Amalfi Aperitivo Spritz that was launched by Distilleria Amalfi & Co. This year, the company located just north of Toronto launched a 750 mL bottle of their aperitivo liqueur named "Distilleria Amalfi & Co. Aperitivo Liqueur".

Both of these products were created by brothers Davide and Bruno Codispoti, who were born and raised in Vaughan, Ontario. Over the years, the brothers have introduced numerous beverage and food concepts in Canada, including the ever-popular (and one of my personal favourites) "Crazy Uncle" line of cocktails. After many trips to Italy, Davide and Bruno fell in love with the tradition of "Aperitivo Hour" and wanted to bring this tradition back to Canada with the aim of launching an authentic, locally crafted Aperitivo using real sparkling wine in their Spritz and natural flavours in the Aperitivo.

The Distilleria Amalfi & Co. Aperitivo Liqueur, or Amalfi Aperitivo for short, is an Aperitivo Liqueur made in small batches with natural flavours. As printed on the back label, some of the ingredients include Hibiscus flowers, Chamomile blossoms, Rosehips, Lemon peel, and Quinine. You can enjoy this delicious Aperitivo Liqueur chilled or on the rocks, as well as play mixologist. One of surely many recipes is recommended on the back - pour equal parts Amalfi Aperitivo Liqueur and Sparkling Wine over ice, then add a Blood Orange Slice and Mint Leaves to enhance the flavours.

The Aperitivo Liqueur, Spritz, and Toro Bravo sparkling wine are all widely available at the LCBO outlets across Ontario. Enjoy Aperitivo Hour this summer with delicious Aperitivo Liqueur that is currently $2 off for a limited time.

Distilleria Amalfi & Co. Aperitivo Liqueur

Tasting Notes:

DISTILLERIA AMALFI & CO. APERITIVO LIQUEUR - Ontario, Canada (#19417) - $28.95 $26.95 until July 18
A locally made premium bitter liqueur produced in small batches. On the rocks, this has an attractive, fresh, and fragrant nose of blood orange accented with floral and citrus aromas. There's some initial sweetness on the palate, but it gives way to bitter orange, floral, and citrus notes that carry the mid-weighted palate through to the very long, bitter, floral, and savoury finish. Delicious! Must try.

It's very refreshing (and delicious) when mixed with the Toro Bravo sparkling wine, with a more balanced and even-keeled aroma and flavour profile from start to finish.

AMALFI APERITIVO SPRITZ - Ontario, Canada (#14515) (4 x 355 mL) - $12.95
This ready-to-drink, refreshing cocktail has attractive aromas of sweet blood oranges joined by bitter notes on the spritzy palate. Chill and enjoy or, ideally, pour over ice in a stemmed wine glass and garnish with an orange.

Amalfi Aperitivo Spritz

TORO BRAVO SPARKLING SECCO WHITE - Spain (#16191) (D) - $11.95
Made using Spain's traditional cava grapes Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, this Charmat method sparkling wine is enclosed by screw cap and has pear, citrus, ripe apple, and floral aromas rise out of the glass. The off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) palate is frothy and lightly textured with fresh, balanced acidity. It has pleasant aroma replays of pear, citrus, and apple, and floral on the flavour profile that lingers to the finish. Chill well and enjoy. Score: 85 pts

Toro Bravo Sparkling Secco White (85 pts)

The Amalfi products are proudly represented by Churchill Cellars Ltd.


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  • Date publishedThursday, July 1, 2021

Le Fils des Gras Moutons Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine 2019 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest vintage of this lovely Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine white wine that is made using the Melon de Bourgogne varietal. It arrived at the LCBO over the weekend, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

Domaine la Haute Févrie was founded in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, 18 km southeast of Nantes, Loire, during the First World War by Claude Branger's grandfather. Claude worked alongside his father for many years, and in 2007, Sébastien Branger, Claude's son, joined the domain to become the fourth generation of the family to carefully tend the vines. The estate vines are grown on hills overlooking the Sèvre River, ‎between the communes of Saint-Fiacre and Monnières, and enjoy optimum ripening conditions. The Branger's are conscientious winegrowers, harvesting all of the grapes by hand. Starting in 2016, Sébastien embarked on a vision to convert all of their vineyards to organic farming, and by 2019 all of the domain's parcels was fully certified to organic.

The grapes for this wine come from their "Les Gras Moutons" named single vineyard, which translates to "Fat Sheep", perhaps because there was a well-fed sheep that used to graze on this land. The wine is named "Le Fils des Gras Moutons", which translates to "The Son of the Fat Sheep", perhaps because the first sheep was the father of a lamb.

In all seriousness, "mouton" is actually a variant on the Old French word motton, which means a slight rise or small hill. Thus, "Gras Moutons" refers to larger hill where the grapes for this wine were grown. It is made with 100% Melon de Bourgogne from 26 acres of vines in earlier maturing plots of the Les Gras Moutons vineyard. The vines average 40+ years old and are planted on soils that sit on granite bedrock that is metamorphic gneiss full of mica and quartz. The grapes are hand-picked and rest on lees for 6-7 months prior to bottling.

I've enjoyed this white wine numerous times over the years, including most recently last July when the 2018 Le Fils des Gras Moutons Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine arrived in LCBO VINTAGES last June. Although yields were down in 2019, the quality was very good, especially for white wines. Let's see how this white wine is tasting tonight...

Le Fils des Gras Moutons Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine 2019 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE 2019 - AC, Loire, France (#363150) (XD) - $16.95
100% Melon de Bourgogne. Fresh, intense, lemon-lime citrus, and wet stone aromas with hints of saline, orange peel and musky spice notes rising out of the glass. It's medium+ bodied and ripe on the palate with very good concentration and flavours of lemon-lime citrus, wet stone, oyster shell mineral, saline, and touches of honey. It's nicely balanced throughout with very good acidity and a finely textured mid-palate. It finishes with lovely wet stone minerals and tart lemons on the lip-smacking, juicy finish, with excellent length. Easily the best vintage I've tasted. Chill and enjoy this highly recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other lovely wines from Domaine la Haute Févrie can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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