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  • Date publishedMonday, August 30, 2021

La Cadiérenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé 2020 (Provence) - Wine Review



The 2019 La Cadiérenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé that I enjoyed last summer was one of my favourite rosés of the year. For wine review, I am delighted to try the new vintage of this lovely dry rosé from Bandol that arrived at the LCBO recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. It is pictured on the cover of the VINTAGES magazine, as well as featured in the theme about Mediterranean wines.

The co-operative Les Vignerons de La Cadiérenne was formed in 1929 by 37 winegrowers. Today, it is comprised of nearly 300 winegrowers who cultivate approximately 600 hectares of mostly hillside vines surrounding the villages, and is the largest and most important cellar in western Var. Members of the co-operative produce wines that respect nature and the environment. All of the fruit is manually harvested, and members stay in contact with their fruit until bottling. Not only does La Cadiérenne produce AOP Côtes de Provence and Pays du Var (Protected Geographical Indication) wines, but they are also the largest producer of AOP Bandol wines.

The previous vintage was nearly an equal split of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault, led slightly by Mourvèdre, while this vintage is predominantly Grenache (50%), and the rest equal parts Cinsault and Mourvèdre, all grown on clay-limestone and marl soils. At the winery, the grapes were direct pressed and each grape variety was vinified separately, while fermentation was carried out at low temperatures in order to preserve the fruity aromas and colour. I very much enjoyed the 2019, let's see how the 2020 Bandol Rosé is tasting tonight...

La Cadiérenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé 2020 (91+ pts)

Tasting Note:

LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2020 - AC, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $24.95
Blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, and 25% Mourvèdre. The fresh, medium-high to highly aromatic nose has pretty aromas of ripe peach, melon, floral, citrus, blood orange, and grapefruit with underlying herbal notes. It has fresh acidity and a fine, slightly chalky texture on the medium-full bodied, fleshy palate with spicy aroma replays. There's a tinge of honey on the dry flavour profile, tapering to herbal, seaspray, and oyster shell minerality on the long, crisp, and dry finish. Love the complex array of flavours. Highly recommended buy. Score: 91+ pts

Other lovely wines from Les Vignerons de La Cadiérenne can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedSaturday, August 28, 2021

Errázuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Chile) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest vintage of the perennially lovely Errázuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile that arrived at the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The renowned Viña Errázuriz was founded in 1870 by Don Maximiano Errázuriz, a man whose family has played an important role in Chile's social and cultural life for over two and a half centuries. His passion for wine led him to plant Chile's first French grape varieties in the Aconcagua Valley. By 1873, the winery had over 300 hectares of vineyards and launched their first wine. By 1890, Rafael Errázuriz, son of Don Maximiano, took over the property and established 700 hectares of vines, becoming the largest vineyard in the world in the hands of a single owner. Today, Viña Errázuriz is led by the fifth generation of the family - Eduardo Chadwick Claro.

Like the 2018 Errázuriz Syrah I enjoyed a couple of months ago, this lovely Cabernet Sauvignon is from Viña Errázuriz's "Specialties" range of wines that reflects the producer's exploration of the Aconcagua Valley for the best and purest expression of each variety through wines that show their true sense of origin. With two geographical landmarks making up this range (Mount Aconcagua and the Pacific Ocean), this particular Cabernet is from Aconcagua Alto, the highest area of the Aconcagua Valley.

This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced primarily from Viña Errázuriz's Max vineyards in the interior of the Aconcagua Valley at an altitude of 600 metres above sea level. These vineyards have a predominantly silty texture and are of colluvial origin, with particular nutrition and drainage conditions of the diverse soils helping control plant vigour to producer balanced fruit loads with small bunches and berries. The grapes were handpicked, double sorted, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and aged in French oak barrels (35% new) for 14 months.

The 2018 vintage experienced much-needed winter rainfall that replenished water levels, which was followed by a dry, slow-ripening season that allowed for good flavour accumulation. Moderate temperatures were slightly cooler-than-average and delivered structure and concentration to the grapes. Overall, the 2018 vintage in Chile is considered one of the best in recent years, and among the best in the last 20 years! Let's see how this 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile is tasting tonight...

Errázuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

ERRÁZURIZ ACONCAGUA ALTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - DO Valle del Aconcagua, Chile (#203364) (XD) - $21.95
Rich, intense aromas of black and red fruits, currant, cassis, herbs, and sandalwood with hints of evergreen laying underneath. The full-bodied palate is ripe with blackberry, dark currant, cassis, and herbal flavours balanced by savoury, earthy, and oak undertones. It has tangy, juicy acidity, while the smooth, structured tannins are a bit tight. Tangy, savoury, and earthy, even some mineral, on the finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, this lovely Cabernet Sauvignon will improve in 1-2 years and drink well to 2027. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ 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 publishedThursday, August 26, 2021

Catena Appellation Series White Clay 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely white wine composed of Semillón and Chenin Blanc - two grape varietals uncommonly blended together, from a country not really known for growing these varietals. It is a new arrival from Argentina, landing on LCBO shelves across Ontario last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Bodega Catena Zapata was founded by Nicola Catena when he planted his first vines in Mendoza in 1902. Today, the Catena family is recognized for its pioneering role in high-altitude viticulture in Argentina led by the 4th generation of the Catena family - Dr. Laura Catena, and Winemaker Alejandro Vigil. This particular wine is from their Appellation "Village" range of wines that expresses the diversity of terroir and the historic farming customs of the local families. I've tasted a number of Catena Appellation wines, including most recently the 2019 Catena Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay, and they have all been lovely.

Semillón was first established in Argentina in the late 19th century and was among the most widely planted varietals. Since Semillón has been in sharp decline since the 1960s, today it is the 10th most widely planted white wine varietal. With just over 600 hectares of Semillón planted, it represents only 1.8% of the total surface area of all white wine varietals. 85% of Semillón plantings can be found in Mendoza, while the 5.6% is planted in Río Negro (Patagonia). In Mendoza, most of the plantings are in Tupungato, followed closely by Luján de Cuyo, where this Semillón is from. In Cuyo, Semillón acquires aromatic tones of white fruits and honey and evolves well in the bottle to form additional complexities.

Chenin Blanc is the 6th most widely planted white wine varietal in Argentina with approximately 1,700 hectares planted. Just like Semillón, unfortunately, plantings of Chenin also declined, with current levels half of what used to exist in 2002. Today, Chenin Blanc represents less than 5% of white wine varietal plantings in the country. However, Chenin Blanc has adapted well to Argentine terroirs, bringing freshness and structure to white blends with aromas of white peach.

Even though plantings of both Semillón and Chenin Blanc have declined, there is a renewed interest among winemakers in Argentina to rediscover these classic varieties. This white wine blend by Catena is a perfect example. It is a fairly new addition to the Catena portfolio as the 2019 appears to be only 2nd vintage of this wine, and it consists of 60% Semillón and 40% Chenin Blanc. The grapes were grown in Luján de Cuyo at an altitude of 950 metres (3,117 feet) on soils of alluvial origin with clay topsoil and rounded rocks on the bottom. Soil distribution is 30% clay, 40% silt, and 30% sand.

Catena Appellation Series White Clay 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA APPELLATION SERIES WHITE CLAY 2019 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#19392) (XD) - $19.95
This lovely blend of 60% Semillón and 40% Chenin Blanc spent 6 months in contact with lees has a medium to medium-high intensity nose that offers a pleasing mix of grapefruit, white floral, lemon peel, and leesy mineral aromas. The medium+ bodied palate is dry, fleshy and concentrated with lovely floral, lemon peel, grapefruit replays, plus some herbs and thyme flavours adding complexity and interest. It has balanced acidity, with flavours of apple and pear appearing on the mid-palate and continuing through to the long finish, where it is joined by leesy mineral notes. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

You can find other lovely wines by Catena at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedTuesday, August 24, 2021

LAVAU Côtes du Rhône 2018 (France) - Wine Review

New to the LCBO, wine review is a delicious Côtes du Rhône red that arrived on shelves across Ontario over the weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Maison LAVAU, a family who has been involved in winemaking for several generations. Formerly of St. Emilion,, the Lavau family settled in the Rhône Valley in 1964. Today, Maison LAVAU is a negociant producer with 3 cellars in the Southern Rhône and with a partnership with over 300 grape growers, the Lavau family produces high-quality and authentic appellation and Cru-level wines from both the Southern and Northern Rhône Valleys. The cellar is managed by brothers Benoit and Frederic Lavau, and using long-held partnerships established with local growers, they are able to carefully choose the best terroir and grapes to create their blends.

This red wine is crafted from the Southern Rhône Valley's two most popular red grape varieties - Grenache and Syrah. Grenache is the emblematic grape varietal of the Southern Rhône Valley. It grows well in drought-like conditions, is often used in blends, and contributes much of the volume of wine in the Rhône Valley. Syrah is often trained because it is not very resistant to the Mistral winds, but produces beautiful purplish-hued wines with intense fruit aromas and spices, and is a great partner for blending with Grenache.

This particular red is made with 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, with fruit selected from vineyards planted on clay-limestone plains across the Southern Rhône Valley, stretching from Montélimar in the north to Nîmes in the south. At the winery, the grapes for this wine were completely de-stemmed and placed in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for maceration and fermentation. To complete the wine, it was aged in vats for 12 months prior to bottling. Although 2018 was a challenging growing season in Southern Rhône, the resulting wines were generally good, more densely concentrated than usual, and offered strong fruit flavours and structure. Let's see how this 2018 is tasting tonight...

LAVAU Côtes du Rhône 2018 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#18783) (XD) - $14.95
The blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah has a medium+ intensity nose of candied red cherry and red licorice layered over black fruits, and sweet spices, with hints of black pepper and savoury notes. On the medium bodied, slightly warming and dry palate, it has dark red fruit, plummy, black pepper spice, and savoury flavours with virtually no oak influence, It's supported by fresh, tangy acidity and grainy, structured, slightly chalky textured tannins. Savoury mineral notes linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoy this highly recommended buy with a light chill. Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines from Maison LAVAU are available at the LCBO, but can also be purchased through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedSunday, August 22, 2021

Henri Champliau Brut Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé (France) - Wine Review (Aug. 2021)

wine review is a lovely pink Crémant from Burgundy that is a new arrival to the LCBO this weekend. This Traditional Method sparkling wine is featured in the "Taste Wine Like A Pro" theme in the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Henri Champliau, a family winery located in the village of Mercurey, in the heart of the Côte Chalonnaise sub-region of Burgundy. It was founded by Alexandre Graffard, the grandson of Henri Champliau. Alexandre's grandfather was a man who was passionate about his region of Burgundy and the riches it offered. He loved fine food, great wines, and owned vineyards in Mercurey, while always taking time to share his passion with Alexandre and others in the family. Alexandre's interest in wine started when he was 7 years old and today has an absolute admiration for the terroir and craftsmanship of Burgundy.

Henri Champliau produces only sparkling wines of Crémant de Bourgogne appellation, as well as a pair of Signature Cuvées that pay homage to Henri's passion for horse racing as a breeder and owner. They seek to craft wines of elegance, clarity, strength, and freshness. In order to achieve this level of quality, they pay great attention to the blend selection, respect the time spent maturing in the cellar, and use precise dosage quantities.

This non-vintage traditional method sparkling wine is crafted with fruit primarily from the 2016 vintage from vineyard plots dedicated to the production of Crémant de Bourgogne. The vines in these plots are worked specifically to obtain the best possible base wines, including limiting yields. The grapes are harvested by hand, gently pressed, and the bases are then vinified separately. To create their house style of wines, the base wines are meticulously blended, then bottled, while respecting the traditional method of second fermentation to create the bubbles and aged for a minimum of 12 months. To complete the wine, they carry out disgorgement, dosage, and finally label the bottles. This particular bubbly is predominantly Pinot Noir, which brings elegance and strength, and is joined by the freshness of Chardonnay, and the generosity and delicacy of Gamay, and was aged on its lees for at least a year. Let's see how this rosé sparkling wine is tasting tonight...

Henri Champliau Brut Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

HENRI CHAMPLIAU BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE ROSÉ - Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France (#20945) (XD) - $24.95
This blend of approximately 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, and 10% Gamay has a pretty, salmon-pink colour. The focused, intense nose offers fragrant toasty and brioche aromas accented with grapefruit, citrus, floral, and red berry notes. The crisp and dry palate has good weight along with fresh, vibrant acidity and bubbles. Appealing grapefruit, citrus, floral, red berry, and brioche flavours with a fine mineral texture. Elegant and nicely balanced overall with leesy mineral and brioche notes lingering on the long finish. Highly recommended dry sparkling wine. Lot #L1832-4HC. Score: 91 pts

Other lovely sparkling wines from Henri Champliau can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 20, 2021

Closerie des Alisiers Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019 (Burgundy) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely, unoaked Chardonnay from Burgundy. It's a new arrival to the LCBO that's included in the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Closerie des Alisiers wines are produced by Stéphane Brocard, son of renowned Chablisian winegrower Jean-Marc Brocard. in 2007, Stéphane moved to Marsannay and founded his Trading House. In addition to owning his own vineyards, he also works with the same winegrowers and plots who share his philosophy to create authentic wines based on purity of fruit, freshness, and great respect for the terroir and environment.

In Burgundy, the concept of clos is very old, with the first clos appearing in the 7th century. The stone walls that formed a clos were initially of religious influence, but also made it possible to retain the soil gave personality to each Burgundy estate. A Closerie is a small clos, a small property surrounded by walls or hedges.

This Chardonnay was crafted using fruit from various regional appellations within Burgundy, from vines averaging 25 years of age that were farmed using Reasoned Agriculture. It was vinified in Burgundian tradition by sorting in the vineyard (or table), then pressing and settling, followed by fermentation in stainless steel vats to preserve freshness, fruit, and minerality of the terroirs. Typical for white Burgundy, this Chardonnay has no oak contact.

The 2019 vintage in Burgundy is described by many as "one of the best ever" due to the long, hot and dry summer, yielding ripe and concentrated fruit to produce rich and deeply aromatic wines. Let's see how this 2019 Bourgogne is tasting tonight...

Closerie des Alisiers Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2019 - AC Burgundy, France (#20911) (XD) - $18.95
This unoaked Chardonnay has a rich, deep nose that delivers generous aromas of lemon citrus, white flowers, and earthy mineral with hints of ripe stone fruit, apple, and white peach. On the medium+ bodied, it has lovely ripe yellow fruit, citrus, earthy mineral, apple and floral flavours framed by bright acidity. Hints of honey and yellow plum join the mineral, citrus, and apple notes on the spicy mid-palate. Excellent length on the long, minerally finish. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other lovely wines by Stéphane Brocard are available through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedThursday, August 19, 2021

August 21, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Mediterranean + Taste Wine Like Pros

LCBO Wine Picks: August 21, 2021 VINTAGES Release
With 159 wines listed, the upcoming August 21, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release is a big one. And just like the last Release, there are number of wines listed as a VINTAGES Online Exclusive (VOE) which are only mentioned and available for purchase on LCBO.com. The main theme of this Release tours the wines of the Mediterranean, while the mini-theme is titled "Taste Wine Like a Pro". All of the wines (except the VOEs, of course) should be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with a tour across the Mediterranean, which includes wines from Italy, Southern France, and Spain. Of the 15 wines featured, the majority of which are from France, 4 are included among my top wine picks. From France, there is a lovely Bandol Rosé that is composed of 50% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, and 25% Mourvèdre, while the Roussillon is an unoaked Carignan from 70+ year old vines. The other two wines are from Italy - one is a lovely Nero d'Avola from Sicily, while the other is an unoaked red made with the indigenous Gaglioppo varietal from Calabria.

La Cadiérenne Cuvée Grande Tradition Bandol Rosé 2020 (91+ pts)Librandi Duca Sanfelice Cirò Riserva Rosso 2017 (90+ pts)

The mini-theme on "Taste Wine Like a Pro" offers some useful tips if you are a relative newcomer to wine and want to learn how to taste wine. In addition to what is mentioned in the magazine, I would pay particular attention to the temperature of the wines being served, including the reds. Of the 10 wines list in this feature, 3 are included among my top wine recommendations. First up is a Traditional Method Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé that is made with 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay, and 10% Gamay. In still wines, there is the Rapaura Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and the Muga which is a barrel fermented blend of Viura, Garnacha Blanca, and Malvasía de Rioja.

Henri Champliau Brut Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé (91 pts)

From my red wine recommendations, there are a pair of Côtes du Rhônes - the LAVAU is the blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, while the Dauphins consists of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah. At the higher-end of the price scale, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 18% Mourvèdre, and 7% Cinsault. while the Tuscan red is 100% Sangiovese. Lastly, both reds from Argentina are 100% Malbec.

LAVAU Côtes du Rhône 2018 (89 pts)Cellier des Dauphins Réserve 2019 (88 pts)

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2019 (88 pts)

Although not listed below, there's also a fine quartet of sub-$20 red wines that I previously enjoyed and returned to VINTAGES in this release. These wines are: Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90 pts), Viña Tarapacá Gran Reserva Carmenère 2019 (89 pts), Salentein Reserve Malbec 2018 (89 pts), and Château Hauchat 2018 (88+ pts).

Among my white wine picks, at the top of the list is a 2012 Crianza that was barrel-aged for 4 years and made with 100% Viura. The Argentinean white is a blend of 60% Semillón and 40% Chenin Blanc, while the dry Alsatian wine consists of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, and Sylvaner. The Viognier from California is actually a blend of 83% Viognier, 6.7% Chardonnay, 5% Gewurztraminer, and 5.3% Muscat. The rest of the white wines are single varietals, and if you enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, there are three others in addition to the one mentioned above that would make for an interesting comparative tasting. Lastly, the pale-coloured dry rosé from Argentina is (surprisingly!) made with 100% Syrah.

Catena Appellation Series White Clay 2019 (89 pts)Salentein Reserve Rosé 2020 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • ALBERT BICHOT SÉLECTION PARCELLAIRE BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2018 - AC Beaujolais, France (#18781) (XD) - $13.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • LAVAU CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2018 - AC, Rhône, France (#18783) (XD) - $14.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CELLIER DES DAUPHINS RÉSERVE 2019 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#14081) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LIBRANDI DUCA SANFELICE CIRÒ RISERVA ROSSO 2017 - DOC, Calabria, Italy (#695874) (XD) - $17.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • SANTA RITA MEDALLA REAL GRAN RESERVA SYRAH 2018 - Valle del Limarí, Chile (#19236) (XD) - $17.95
  • TESSELLAE VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2018 - IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon, France (#343509) (XD) - $18.95
  • CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2019 - Vegan, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA ALTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - DO Valle del Aconcagua, Chile (#203364) (XD) - $21.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • MATÍAS RICCITELLI TINTO DE LA CASA 2018 - Mendoza, Argentina (#19400) (XD) - $29.95
  • FEUDO MACCARI SAIA NERO D'AVOLA 2017 - DOC Sicilia, Italy (#128967) (XD) - $29.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017 - AC, Rhone, France (#735407) (XD) - $59.95
  • ISOLE E OLENA CEPPARELLO 2017 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#12818) (XD) - $128.95

Errazuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90+ pts)Albert Bichot Sélection Parcellaire Beaujolais-Villages 2018 (88+ pts)

White Wine:

  • MUGA BARREL FERMENTED WHITE 2020 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#958736) (XD) - $17.95
  • CLOSERIE DES ALISIERS BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2019 - AC Burgundy, France (#20911) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • HUGEL GENTIL 2019 - AC Alsace, France (#367284) (XD) - $18.95  VOE
  • MONTPELLIER VIOGNIER 2020 - California, USA (#658138) (D) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • BODEGA GARZÓN MALDONADO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2020 - Garzón, Uruguay (#12678) (XD) - $19.95
  • CATENA APPELLATION SERIES WHITE CLAY 2019 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#19392) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • RAPAURA SPRINGS RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2020 - Sustainable, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#388421) (XD) - $23.95
  • DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2020 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#677450) (XD) - $27.95
  • BROKENWOOD SEMILLON 2019 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#657726) (XD) - $27.95  FE
  • LEYDA LOT 4 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Valle de Leyda, Chile (#18997) (XD) - $29.95
  • R. LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA VIÑA GRAVONIA CRIANZA 2012 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#910711) (XD) - $44.95  FE

Closerie des Alisiers Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019 (90 pts)Montpellier Viognier 2020 (88 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • SALENTEIN RESERVE ROSÉ 2020 - Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina (#19555) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ 2020 - AC, Provence, France (#119453) (XD) - $24.95  91+ pts  wine review

Sparkling Wine:

  • PONGRÁCZ BRUT CAP CLASSIQUE SPARKLING CHARDONNAY/PINOT NOIR - Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#404111) (XD) - $16.95  91 pts  wine review
  • HENRI CHAMPLIAU BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE ROSÉ - Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France (#20945) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review

Pongrácz Brut Cap Classique Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir (91 pts)


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  • Date publishedWednesday, August 18, 2021

Cellier des Dauphins Réserve 2019 (Rhône) - Wine Review

wine review is this delicious Côtes du Rhône red that comes to the LCBO this weekend, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The story of Cellier des Dauphins begins with the formation of Union of Côtes du Rhône winegrowers (UVCDR) in 1967. The UVCDR brought together 2,300 winemaking families in the southern Rhône Valley, a territory that covered 2,500 hectares of vines and approximately 20 AOCs. Founded in 1967 by UVCDR, Cellier des Dauphins has become the pride of the member winemakers as it has risen to regional preeminence. The sun-drenched wines of Cellier des Dauphins are highly esteemed and synonymous with the voluptuous south's art de vivre.

Proud of their terroir, the founding winemakers of Cellier des Dauphins are driven by constant innovation, preparing for the future, and striving relentlessly to raise quality from vine to glass. They have a wide variety of soils and terroirs within their vineyards which offers oenologists a rich palette of grapes for blending. Cellier des Dauphins is committed to sustainable agriculture and has launched various eco-friendly initiatives to meet this goal. Their goal is to ensure that their wines are environmentally-sound by reducing their environmental footprint, earning Haute Valeur Environnementale accreditation, and reducing by-product waste. As of today, Cellier des Dauphins has over 1,000 hectares of organically farmed vines.

Cellier des Dauphins Réserve 2019 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CELLIER DES DAUPHINS RÉSERVE 2019 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#14081) (XD) - $16.95
Harvested at full maturity on sunny terroirs in the Côtes du Rhône, this blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah has a medium+ intensity nose that offers red berry, raspberry, and spice aromas with subtle savoury and mineral undertones. On the fleshy, medium-full bodied palate it has very ripe red currant, raspberry, and spice flavours that are balanced with tangy, juicy acidity. Touch grapey on the mid-palate. The refined, grainy tannins are a bit tight, while the taut finish tapers to savoury and slightly mineral, with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Other delicious wines from Cellier des Dauphins can be found at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Churchill Cellars Ltd.


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  • Date publishedMonday, August 16, 2021

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2019 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is the latest vintage of this always reliable, premium Australian Shiraz from Wakefield Wines that arrived at the LCBO earlier this month, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Bill Taylor Sr. and his two sons founded the winery in Clare Valley in 1969 to create estate wines. Today, Wakefield produces wines not only from estate fruit, but also sourcing fruit from other growers. The Wakefield's Jaraman range of wines takes advantage of Australia's iconic wine regions which provide great diversity. With the Jaraman range, the family searches for parcels of extraordinary fruit, from Australia's celebrated wine regions that are renowned for a particular variety, to craft wines that showcase their distinctive regional characteristics and style.

I have enjoyed previous vintages of this red wine, including most recently the 2017 Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz back in December. For this vintage, this 100% Shiraz is composed of 59% Clare Valley and 41% McLaren Vale fruit, which is more or the less the same composition as the 2017. In Clare Valley, the 2019 growing season experienced a lower than average winter and spring rainfall, along with some hail and frost events affected yields. There were also some extreme temperatures - the lowest temperature ever recorded in spring, as well as the highest ever temperature in the summer. However, the vines showed great resilience and wine quality is strong with intense flavours and colour. In McLaren Vale, dry conditions, plus a hail event in November, and hot weather in January and February resulted in reduced yields, but an increase in flavour intensity. Overall, while yields were down, the fruit quality is, once again, very good. Let's see how this 2019 is tasting tonight...

Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2019 - Clare Valley & McLaren Vale, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95
100% Shiraz from Clare Valley (59%) & McLaren Vale (41%) and aged in a mix of coopers' American oak hogsheads (30% 1 year old and 70% 2-3 year old) for an average of 12 months before being bottled. Screw cap. The highly aromatic nose is ripe with slightly jammy dark berries and spices nuanced with sweet oak vanillin and cocoa aromas. The medium-full bodied palate delivers pleasing aroma replays which are joined by black pepper spice, savoury, and earthy tones with touches of olive in a slightly warming profile, but still well-balanced. There's a fresh lick of acidity, while the finely textured tannins are slightly grippy. Some herbal complexities show up on the cocoa-dusted, savoury finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, but should be even better in a couple of years. Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines from Wakefield Wines can be found at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Profile Wine Group, who also now offer Air Miles Reward Miles with purchase.


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  • Date publishedSaturday, August 14, 2021

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre 2019 (Loire) - Wine Review

white wine review is a brilliant Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre that arrived at the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. However, this lovely white wine is listed as a VINTAGES Online Exclusive and can only be purchased online through LCBO.com.

One of my favourite Loire wine producers, Jean-Max Roger comes from a long line of winegrowers dating back to at least the early part of the 17th century. The winery, which has evolved over time with the development of the estate, is located in the heart of the village of Bué. The oldest structures on the estate are date back to the 17th century, while part of the winery was once one of the village's tithe barns.

In the early 1970s, Jean-Max Roger took over the property from his parents, and in 2004 was joined by two of his three sons, Thibault and Etienne. The estate's vineyards are managed according to regional winegrowing traditions, while also striving to uphold sustainable viticultural practices. The Roger family uses the Guyot Poussart pruning method which helps to better balance the vines and respect sap flow, in turn keeping the vines strong and healthy.

I last enjoyed this white wine when the 2018 Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre arrived at the LCBO in November 2019 and am delighted to taste the latest vintage. The grapes for this Sauvignon Blanc were grown in several vineyards within the Sancerre appellation villages of Bué and Amigny. The soils in these vineyards are a blend of Kimmeridgian Marls called "Marnes" and Limestone called "Caillottes" - hence the name of this wine. The vines are between 5 and 40 years of age with southeastern and southwestern exposure to the sun and farmed using organic principles to revitalize soil life and produce grapes that reveal its terroir. At the winery, the grapes are long-fermented using natural yeasts to develop aromatic complexity, followed by ageing on heavy lees to develop minerality.

During the growing season in 2019, although the summer heat and dry weather stressed the vines and reduced yields, the fruit at harvest was of premium quality, with general consensus being that the quality is even better than the previous year. I rated the last vintage of this wine 92 pts, let's see how the 2019 is tasting...

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre 2019 (92+ pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE MARNES ET CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2019 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $31.95
100% Sauvignon Blanc from Kimmeridgian Marls ("Marnes") and stony calcareous "Caillottes" terroirs, this has an intense, aromatic nose that is elegant, pretty, and ripe with lemon citrus, floral, and earthy white stone mineral notes accented with stone fruit and white peach. The concentrated, medium-full bodied palate has lovely aroma replays of ripe lemon citrus, white peach, floral, and white stone mineral adding a pleasant savoury touch. Subtly spice on the mid-palate, along with a slightly chalky texture. Finely balanced throughout with fresh, well-articulated acidity. Oyster-shell minerality with hints of citrus lingers on the juicy finish, with excellent length. Beautiful. Highly recommended buy. Score: 92+ pts

Other lovely wines from Jean-Max Roger are available at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedThursday, August 12, 2021

Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

red wine review is this delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina that arrived at the LCBO last weekend, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Viña Cobos was established 1988 by founding partner and winemaker Paul Hobbs. Since that time, he has explored the different terroirs of Mendoza, looking for the most distinguished regions in Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley to produce wines that authentically and uniquely express their terroir and origins.

Although Mendoza is divided into various regions for the cultivation of excellent quality vines, Paul finds that the Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo stand out for their particular growing conditions. Luján de Cuyo is known historically as the premier winegrowing region in Mendoza with its high elevation between 800 and 1,100 metres (2,624 and 3,308 feet), semi-desert climate, and low-nutrient, gravelly soils. The Uco Valley is at the privileged location at the foot of the Andes Mountains at high-altitudes between 900 and 1,400 m (2,952 and 4,593 feet), and has alluvial soils that are incredibly rocky with pebbles and stones of varying sizes scattered throughout.

The Andes Mountains strongly influence the climate in Mendoza by blocking the humid conditions created by the Pacific Ocean to the west, resulting in a temperate climate that is mostly dry with plentiful sunshine, and along with a wide diurnal temperature range, helps create favourable vine growing conditions. Snowmelt is the principal source of irrigation as the pure mountain water is distributed through an ingenious thousand-year-old system of canals designed and constructed by the Huarpes, the indigenous people of the region.

Viña Cobos has several estates and vineyards, and this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon was hand-harvested from sustainably farmed vineyards located in semi-desert climates in Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, at high altitudes between 700 and 1,195 metres (2,306 and 3,927 feet). The different parcels of grapes were kept separate throughout vinification and produced with minimal intervention. It was fermented with selected and native yeasts in closed-top stainless steel tanks, and gently moved throughout the winery using gravity flow. It was in aged in American oak barrels (10% new) for 8 months. The 2019 vintage was characterized by great thermal amplitude (high diurnal temperatures) and low rainfall, resulting in fruit bunches of excellent quality. Let's see how this 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina is tasting tonight...

Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

VIÑA COBOS FELINO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 - Unfined, Mendoza, Argentina (#132365) (XD) - $19.95
From vineyards in Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo, this Cabernet Sauvignon has a clean, highly aromatic nose that delivers spicy, dark fruited, blackberry, and savoury aromas accented with grilled herbs, leafy, and graphite notes. It's full-bodied on the spicy, dark fruited, blackberry palate joined by herbal and plummy flavours framed by fresh, succulent acidity and fine, dusty textured tannins. Savoury with dark berry, and a graphite edge on the finish, with very good length. Enjoyable now, and should be even better in 3-4 years. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines from Viña Cobos can be ordered through their Agent - Rogers & Company.


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  • Date publishedTuesday, August 10, 2021

Torbreck Old Vines Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvèdre 2017 (Barossa) - Wine Review

red wine review is a lovely GSM blend from Australia that returned to the LCBO last weekend in the LCBO VINTAGES Release as a "VINTAGES Online Exclusive", meaning that it is only available for purchase online through LCBO.com. To purchase, simply click on the product code below to visit its product page on the LCBO website.

Torbreck Vintners was founded in 1994 by David Powell. It was named after a forest in Scotland where David worked as a lumberjack. David gained his experience in winemaking by working at other wineries in Barossa prior to forming Torbreck, but was inspired to create his own label. In order to achieve this, he began to share-farm vineyards, which allowed Torbreck to obtain fruit from the very best vineyards in the Barossa Valley. With his love for wines from France's Rhône Valley, Torbreck's highly-acclaimed red and white wines were also based on classic Rhone varieties - Shiraz (Syrah), Grenache and Mataró (Mourvèdre) - all of which are considered classic varieties of the Barossa.

Today, Torbreck Vintners is owned by Proprietor Peter Kight with the aim of building one of the best wine estates in the world. Torbreck considers Barossa to be the most exciting place to make wine in the world, with its gentle Mediterranean climate and 175 years of Silesian and English commitment to grape-growing and winemaking. They work with multi-generational winegrowers, whose ancestors arrived here nearly two centuries ago, and have great knowledge of the seasons and soil, while working the vineyards with minimal intervention and aiming to get the best out of each vineyard site.

This red wine is a blend of 62% Grenache, 26% Shiraz, and 12% Mourvèdre that was hand-harvested from old vines, some as much as 100 years old, from the sub-regions of Marananga, Gomersal, and Ebenezer. As each parcel of grapes enters the winery, they were fermented in a combination of open top cement and wooden vats, as well as stainless steel tanks. It was aged in well-seasoned French oak hogsheads for 24 months. Each parcel was kept separate throughout the vinification process, until it was finally blended and bottled.

During the growing season in the Barossa Valley, a wet spring replenished sub-soil moisture, while a warm, dry Indian summer created perfect ripening conditions through to April 2017, resulting in an outstanding vintage that produced intense, well-structured reds. I had the opportunity to taste this 2017 back in January 2020 and am curious to see how it has evolved since then.

Torbreck Old Vines Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvèdre 2017 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

TORBRECK OLD VINES GRENACHE / SHIRAZ / MOURVÈDRE 2017 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#10223) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. This GSM blend of 62% Grenache, 26% Shiraz, and 12% Mourvèdre is open and complex on the nose with lovely aromas of red berry, strawberry, and cherry mingling with savoury, black pepper, dried spice, earth, and a touch of rosemary. The medium-full bodied palate has slightly maturing flavours of dried red and black berries, strawberry, raspberry, black pepper, and spices supported by fresh, lively acidity and smooth, refined, and lightly chalky tannins. Nicely balanced flavours throughout with savoury, earthy and red berry complexity on the long finish. Enjoy this recommended buy lightly chilled. Score: 90+ pts

A limited selection of Torbreck wines are available at the LCBO, while others from the Torbreck portfolio can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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  • Date publishedSunday, August 8, 2021

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2020 (Loire) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely dry rosé from Sancerre that arrived at the LCBO this weekend, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Jean-Max Roger comes from a long-line of winegrowers in the village of Bué, just southwest of the town of Sancerre, with the Roger family name mentioned in texts going back to the early part of the 17th century. In the early 1970s, Jean-Max Roger took over the 4 hectares of vines left to him by his parents, and together with his wife, Nicole, developed the vineyards and further expanded the estate. In 2004, he was joined by two of this three sons, Etienne and Thibault. Today, the estate covers 34 hectares, 28 of which are in the Sancerre appellation along the Loire River.

I've always enjoyed this rose, including most recently just over three years ago when the 2017 Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé showed up at the LCBO. This lovely rose is crafted from 100% Pinot Noir grown in the villages of Vinon, Bué, and Sancerre, on flint, Kimmeridgian marls & Limestone Silex, Terres Blanches & Caillottes soils. The vines average between 25 to 45 years old and are farmed using organic principles, including revitalization of soil life, to produce grapes which reveal its terroir. In the winery, the grapes undergo a long fermentation to develop aromatic complexity and are aged on heavy lees to develop minerality.

Although little detailed information exists about the 2020 vintage in Loire, it was frost-free and relatively easy-going, resulting in an excellent vintage with berry fruited and aromatic rosé wines. Let's see how this 2020 Sancerre Rosé is tasting tonight...

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2020 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2020 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $26.95
This 100% Pinot Noir rosé has a fresh, elegant, and intense nose with attractive aromas of grapefruit, citrus, red currant, strawberry, red cherry, and mineral. It's medium+ bodied with good weight to the fruit with lovely grapefruit, citrus and red berry flavours coming through on the dry palate. Acids are well-balanced, while white pepper spice notes join the grapefruit, citrus, and red berry profile on the mid-palate, lingering through to the long, leesy mineral finish. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts

Other lovely wines from Jean-Max Roger are available at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 6, 2021

Durigutti Proyecto Las Compuertas Cinco Suelos Malbec 2018 (Argentina) - Wine Review

Continuing the recent string of lovely wines from Argentina, red wine review is an excellent Malbec that arrives at the LCBO this weekend, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release. If I'm not mistaken, I believe this my first time tasting any wines from this producer.

Born and raised in Mendoza, brothers Hector and Pablo established Durigutti Family Winemakers in western Luján de Cuyo in 2002 after growing up in a sensoral world with aromas, ingredients and flavours that, over time, motivated them to become oenologists. Today, the Durigutti brothers have evolved to form the new generation of winemakers who are leading the evolutionary change in Argentina's viticulture.

In 2007, they purchased their first 5 hectares of historical Malbec vineyards located on Callejón de la Reta, just around the corner from the winery. They began to recover and revitalize the history and viticultural traditions of the Las Compuertas district in Lujan de Cuyo. Today, they have 31 hectares of vines at the site, which is named in honour of their mother - Finca Victoria.

Durigutti has a number of collections of wines, and within their Family Estate Wine collection - which aims to offer a maximum interpretation of its soils - is the Proyecto Las Compuertas range that celebrates the rich history of the Las Compuertas district.

This very impressive Malbec comes from vines that were planted in 1914 at an altitude of 1,050 metres (3,440 feet) above sea level and are farmed organically. This area offers a cool-climate and has diverse soils which are alluvial, deep, and low in fertility. This Malbec is named after the five different parcels of grapes that make up the wine. Each parcel are characterized by their soils - deep clayish soil, limestone, stony soil, frank sandy soil and river stones soil, and is vinified separately before creating the final blend. After manually harvesting the grapes, they are fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete eggs, followed by malolactic fermentation in 3rd and 4th use barrels. It was aged for 3 months in 500 L of 3rd and 4th use oak barrels, and more than 11 months in concrete eggs. Personally, I love minimally-oaked Malbec wines. Let's see how this Argentinean Malbec is tasting tonight...

Durigutti Proyecto Las Compuertas Cinco Suelos Malbec 2018 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

DURIGUTTI PROYECTO LAS COMPUERTAS CINCO SUELOS MALBEC 2018 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#12670) (XD) - $29.95
The highly aromatic and energetic nose offers attractive aromas of red and black fruits, raspberry and blackberry that mingle with savoury stony minerals and spices. It's medium-full bodied with lovely aroma replays lifted by fresh, balanced acidity and fine-grained tannins that are slightly chalky and grippy, tapering to a savoury, minerally, slightly smoky finish, with excellent length. Really nicely balanced throughout. Highly recommended buy. Score: 92 pts

Other lovely wines from Durigutti can be found at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Loyal Imports.


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  • Date publishedFriday, August 6, 2021

August 7, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Old World Meets New World + Orange Wines

LCBO Wine Picks: August 7, 2021 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the August 7, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release compares Old World wines to their New World counterparts, while the mini-theme features Orange Wines. All of these wines, plus those from the Main Release should be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday. In addition, there are also a select number of wines in this Release listed as a VINTAGES Online Exclusive (VOE). These VOE wines - a few of which are recommended below - aren't listed anywhere in the printed magazine and are only available for purchase through lcbo.com for delivery to your home or nearest LCBO outlet. Clicking on the product code for each wine will take you its product page on lcbo.com.

From the main theme on comparing Old World and New World wines, just one wine made my list of wine picks - a Rhône blend from the old world of Vacqueyras (France) that is mainly Grenache and Syrah, along with some Cinsault and Mourvèdre.

The mini-feature looks at Orange Wines which are also known as Amber Wines or Skin-Fermented White Wines. These types of wines are crafted using white wine grapes that are fermented with prolonged skin or lees contact, adding depth and unique flavours to the resulting wine, along with an orange or amber hue. Although none of orange wines made my list of wine recommendations (mostly because I'm not a big fan of the category), I have enjoyed the Southbrook Vidal Skin Fermented White Orange Wine in the past and the latest vintage is featured in this Release. Orange wines are a bit of an acquired tasted and worth trying at least once.

Among my red wine recommendations, the "GSM" blend from Barossa Valley consists of 65% Grenache, 26% Shiraz, and 12% Mourvèdre, while the Languedoc red is a blend of 85% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 5% Mourvèdre. The Tonel 78 is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Bonarda, while the Chianti Classico is mainly Sangiovese with Canaiolo and other red grape varietals in support. Single varietal red wines include a lovely Malbec from Argentina, a Cabernet Sauvignon that is also from Argentina, and an Australian Shiraz. Lastly, the Taurasi is 100% Aglianico, while the Barolo is 100% Nebbiolo.

Durigutti Proyecto Las Compuertas Cinco Suelos Malbec 2018 (92 pts)Tonel 78 Barrel Select Malbec / Bonarda 2017 (90 pts)

Torbreck Old Vines Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvèdre 2017 (90+ pts)Quarisa Mrs Q McLaren Vale Shiraz 2017 (89 pts)

Viña Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (89 pts)

From my white wine picks, three are blends. From South Africa, the Pekin White is a blend of 85% Chenin Blanc and the rest consisting of Roussanne, Viognier, and Sémillon, while the Coastal Region white is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Sémillon. The Bordeaux Blanc is a also a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The single varietal wines are fairly straightforward, led by a lovely Sancerre that is made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Other wines not-very-common to Ontario include a Grenache Blanc, a Falanghina, and a 2013 Marsanne.

Jean-Max Roger Cuvée Marnes et Caillottes Sancerre 2019 (92+ pts)Il Poggio Taburno Falanghina del Sannio 2018 (89 pts)

Both of my rosé wine picks are dry rosés, with the version from Argentina a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Pinot Noir, while the Sancerre Rosé is made with 100% Pinot Noir.

Jean-Max Roger La Grange Dîmière Sancerre Rosé 2020 (90+ pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • QUARISA MRS Q McLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2017 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#12909) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CARPINETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2018 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#356048) (XD) - $19.95
  • CHÂTEAU PAUL MAS CLOS DES MÛRES 2018 - Sustainable, AP Languedoc, France (#286393) (XD) - $19.95
  • VIÑA COBOS FELINO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2019 - Unfined, Mendoza, Argentina (#132365) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • GABRIEL MEFFRE LA CHÂSSE GRANDE RÉSERVE 2016 - AP Vacqueyras, Rhône, France (#15455) (XD) - $19.95
  • TONEL 78 BARREL SELECT MALBEC / BONARDA 2017 - Mendoza, Argentina (#17380) (XD) - $23.95  VOE  90 pts  wine review
  • WAKEFIELD JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2019 - Clare Valley & McLaren Vale, South Australia (#377036) (XD) - $24.95  89 pts  wine review
  • BORGODANGELO TAURASI 2013 - DOCG, Campania, Italy (#96792) (XD) - $24.95
  • TORBRECK OLD VINES GRENACHE / SHIRAZ / MOURVÈDRE 2017 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#10223) (XD) - $24.95  VOE  90+ pts  wine review
  • DURIGUTTI PROYECTO LAS COMPUERTAS CINCO SUELOS MALBEC 2018 - Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina (#12670) (XD) - $29.95  92 pts  wine review
  • ATTILIO GHISOLFI BUSSIA BAROLO 2017 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#382796) (XD) - $56.95  VOE
Wakefield Jaraman Shiraz 2019 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU BELLES EAUX LES COTEAUX GRENACHE BLANC 2020 - AP Languedoc, France (#18665) (XD) - $14.95
  • AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE 2018 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#439554) (XD) - $16.95
  • IL POGGIO TABURNO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2018 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#17695) (XD) - $16.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LES HAUTS DE LAGARDE BLANC 2020 - Vegan, AC Bordeaux, France (#387787) (XD) - $17.95
  • CATENA APPELLATION TUPUNGATO CHARDONNAY 2019 - Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina (#10964) (XD) - $19.95  90 pts  wine review
  • SPIER CREATIVE BLOCK 2 2019 - Vegan, sustainable, WO Coastal Region, South Africa (#307827) (XD) - $19.95
  • TAHBILK MUSEUM RELEASE MARSANNE 2013 - Sustainable, Nagambie Lakes, Central Victoria, Australia (#276980) (D) - $19.95
  • 13TH STREET JUNE'S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2019 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#236745) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE MARNES ET CAILLOTTES SANCERRE 2019 - AC, Loire, France (#196667) (XD) - $31.95  VOE  92+ pts  wine review

Catena Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay 2019 (90 pts)13th Street June's Vineyard Chardonnay 2019 (89 pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE ROSÉ 2020 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#493130) (XD) - $22.95
  • JEAN-MAX ROGER LA GRANGE DÎMIÈRE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2020 - AC, Loire, France (#490813) (XD) - $26.95  90+ pts  wine review

Sparkling Wine:

  • DE CHANCENY BRUT CRÉMANT DE LOIRE - Traditional method, AC, Loire, France (#515262) (D) - $19.95


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  • Date publishedWednesday, August 4, 2021

Catena Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

white wine review is a lovely, high-altitude Chardonnay that arrives at the LCBO this weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is crafted by Catena Zapata, a family with a long winemaking history that goes back more than 100 years. Today, the company that helped pioneer high-altitude viticulture in Argentina is led by the 4th generation of the family, Dr. Laura Catena, with talented Winemaker Alejandro Vigil also in the fold.

Like the 2018 Catena Appellation Agrelo Cabernet Sauvignon I enjoyed earlier this year, this lovely white wine is from Catena's Appellations Series of wines. Similar to what we see in Burgundy and other old world wine regions, each wine in this series gets their name from the village that surrounds these beautiful, historic vineyards.

This particular Chardonnay is from the Tupungato Appellation, a thin band of land in the northern Uco Valley that stretches out from the Andes. More than 20 years ago, Nicolás Catena Zapata began cultivating Chardonnay at their family vineyards in Tupungato at the foothills of the Andes mountains between 1,200 and 1,500 metres (4,000 and 5,000 feet) altitude, where the soils are pebble-covered and nights are extremely cool. In fact, due to Chardonnay's great success in the region, 59% of the vineyard surface in Tupungato is now planted to the varietal.

This Chardonnay is from Catena's Tupungato Vineyard at 1,450 metres (4,750 feet) above sea-level. The soils here are of alluvial origin with gravel, limestone, and sandy loam, with rounded rocks laying underneath. During vinification, it spent 9 months in contact with lees and was aged in 100% French oak. Let's see how this Chardonnay from Tupungato is tasting tonight...

Catena Appellation Tupungato Chardonnay 2019 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATENA APPELLATION TUPUNGATO CHARDONNAY 2019 - Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#10964) (XD) - $19.95
The medium-high intensity nose is rich with lemon citrus and minerals, accented with apple, pear, and subtle vanilla aromas. The medium-full bodied palate has good weight to the fruit, with lovely flavours of citrus, apple, and mineral with touches of toasty vanilla, nut, and saline adding complexity. There's a fine chalky mineral texture on the mid-palate, along with fresh acidity, while the long, balanced finish delivers mineral, apple, and citrus notes. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

There are many lovely wines from the Catena portfolio available at the LCBO, as well as others through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.


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