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  • Date publishedThursday, September 30, 2021

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Australia) - Wine Review

red wine review is the latest vintage of this always delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia that arrived at the LCBO approximately two of weeks ago, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The Taylors family founded Wakefield Wines in Australia's Clare Valley in 1969 after making wines for many years prior. Today, three generations of the family are involved in the business, with a goal of producing fine wines with great dedication and care, while also respecting the fruit. Sustainability is also a core value of the Taylor family, and by being responsible they hope to leave a legacy that lasts for future generations.

I enjoyed the 2017 Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon when it showed up in LCBO VINTAGES last March and am curious to see how this latest vintage compares. For 2018, the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes is identical to the previous vintage - 56% Clare Valley and 44% Coonawarra fruit.

In Clare Valley, the 2018 vintage growing season was one of the warmest and driest in recent times - only 2016 was warmer - and helped produce some excellent wines. One of the great things about this vintage is that there were no major heatwaves, thus it was very calm and controlled. In Coonawarra, the growing season delivered superb vintage conditions with fruit of outstanding quality - a slow and cool ripening yielded fruit with fine tannins and strong varietal characters. Let's see how this 2018 Australia Cabernet Sauvignon is tasting tonight...

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Clare Valley & Coonawarra, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95
Screw cap. Fresh, medium-high intensity nose is cool, minty and leafy herbal, layered with red and black fruits, currant, and cassis aromas with gentle wood spice accents. On the ripe, full-bodied palate, it has delicious mint, leafy herb, blackberry, and dark currant flavours with touches of tobacco leaf and coffee, supported by succulent, balanced acidity and fine, structured, well-integrated, and slightly chalky tannins. Some intriguing salty and tangy notes on the mid-palate, while the finish has savoury, woody and hints of coffee, with very good length. Great vintage for this wine. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

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

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  • Date publishedThursday, September 30, 2021

October 2, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Euro Signatures + Pacific Northwest

LCBO Wine Picks: October 2, 2021 VINTAGES Release
As we head into the holiday season, the main theme of the October 2, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release focuses on European Signature wines, while in the mini-theme we venture to the Pacific Northwest south of the border. For some bizarre reason the LCBO has also re-listed in this Release all of the rosés from the last Release. On a positive note, it's great to see the LCBO finally list the wines from the VINTAGES Online Exclusives (VOE) collection in the magazine! All of the wines slated to be in stores should be on shelves across the province by Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that is a light look at European Signature wines. This feature probably could've gone a quite bit deeper, but as it stands there are ten wines among the eight categories, and four wines are included among my top wine picks. First up is a Grüner Veltliner from the Kamptal region in Austria, and secondly there is a fine Pinot Grigio from the northern Italian wine region of Südtirol – Alto Adige. Lastly, the white wine from Portugal is a blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho, while the 2009 Rioja consists of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, and 10% Graciano / Mazuelo.

From the mini-feature on U.S. wines from the Pacific Northwest, namely Oregon and Washington, only seven wines are listed, three from Oregon and four from Washington. Just one wine from this feature is among my top wine recommendations - a lovely Cabernet-based blend from Washington that consists of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, and 8% Syrah. Additionally, there is also a nice white wine from the same producer that is a unique blend of 77% Sauvignon Blanc, 22% Chardonnay, and 1% Marsanne which is listed as a "Flagship Exclusive" and is only available at LCBO Flagship store locations.

Hedges CMS Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90+ pts)

Looking at my red wine picks, the Wine of the Month is the Côtes du Rhône-Villages that is a blend of Grenache and Syrah. Also from Rhône, the Costières de Nîmes red is a blend of 93% Syrah and 7% Mourvèdre. The Argentinean red consists of 92% Syrah and 8% Viognier, while the Cab Sauv from Chile is actually a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Carménere, and 5% Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, the 2016 Bordeaux is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, and lastly, the Madiran is comprised of 90% Tannat and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from 50+ year-old vines.

Château Le Grand Moulin 2016 (89 pts)

Château de Nages JT 2016 (90 pts)El Enemigo Syrah/Viognier 2017 (90+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, the only blend is the White Meritage from Niagara that is made with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. If you're into sweet wines, the latest vintage of the Riesling Kabinett from Mosel should be on your shopping list, as well as a vegan-friendly Riesling that is also from Mosel.

Axel Pauly Generations Mosel Riesling 2019 (90+ pts)

All of the rosés from the last Release are featured again in this Release, and my lone rosé wine pick is a dry rosé from Provence that is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah.

Vanderpump Rosé 2020 (89 pts)

For Lady Gaga fans, there are a couple of Special Edition Champagnes from Dom Pérignon. The 2010 is a blend of 54% Chardonnay and 46% Pinot Noir, while the 2006 Champagne is a blend of 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay. On the more affordable side of sparkling, the bubbles from Chile is a blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • AROMO PRIVATE RESERVE SYRAH 2019 - Valle del Maule, Chile (#14128) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU LE GRAND MOULIN 2016 - AC Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, France (#11326) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PATERNOSTER GIUV AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE 2017 - DOC, Basilicata, Italy (#21458) (XD) - $18.95
  • VIÑA CHOCALAN GRAN RESERVA ORIGEN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Sustainable, Valle del Maipo, Chile (#21467) (XD) - $19.95
  • LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2019 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#171371) (XD) - $23.95
  • EL ENEMIGO SYRAH/VIOGNIER 2017 - Gualtallary, Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#19390) (XD) - $24.95  90+  wine review

  • BERTHOUMIEU CHARLES DE BATZ MADIRAN 2015 - AP, South of France (#12979) (XD) - $24.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT 2016 - AP Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#736876) (XD) - $27.95  VOE  90 pts  wine review
  • HEDGES CMS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#20491) (XD) - $29.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • LEALTANZA GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#453548) (XD) - $32.95  90+  wine review
  • CARPINETO RISERVA VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#368910) (XD) - $32.95
  • CLOSSON CHASE CHURCHSIDE PINOT NOIR 2018 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#265074) (XD) - $42.00  FE
  • R. LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#356337) (XD) - $60.95

Lealtanza Gran Reserva 2011 (90+ pts)

White Wine:

  • LA FORTEZZA GRECO 2018 - DOC Sannio, Campania, Italy (#17744) (XD) - $15.95
  • MARIA PAPOILA LOUREIRO / ALVARINHO 2020 - DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal (#408146) (XD) - $17.95
  • MARKUS HUBER TERRASSEN GRÜNER VELTLINER 2019 - DAC Traisental, Austria (#484956) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2019 - DO Valle de Casablanca, Chile (#83287) (XD) - $19.95
  • ALLRAM STRASS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2019 - DAC Kamptal, Austria (#14189) (XD) - $19.95
  • KELLEREI BOZEN PINOT GRIGIO 2019 - DOC Südtirol – Alto Adige, Italy (#249466) (XD) - $19.95
  • DONATIEN BAHUAUD LES GRANDS MORTIERS VOUVRAY 2019 - AP, Loire, France (#140889) (M) - $21.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • AXEL PAULY GENERATIONS MOSEL RIESLING 2019 - Vegan, Qualitätswein, Germany (#21033) (M) - $22.95  VOE  90+ pts  wine review
  • STUDERT-PRÜM MAXIMINHOF WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING KABINETT 2019 - Estate bottled, Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#970129) (S) - $23.95  FE
  • HEDGES CMS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Columbia Valley, Washington, USA (#20496) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • JACKSON-TRIGGS NIAGARA GRAND RESERVE WHITE MERITAGE 2020 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#360297) (XD) - $25.95

Donatien Bahuaud Les Grands Mortiers Vouvray 2019 (88+ pts)

Rosé Wine:

  • VANDERPUMP ROSÉ 2020 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#14808) (XD) - $29.95  89 pts  wine review

Sparkling Wine:

  • UNDURRAGA TITILLUM BLANC DE NOIRS - Traditional method, Valle del Leyda, Chile (#21215) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2010 - Creators Edition: Lady Gaga, AC, France (#20755) (XD) - $296.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2006 - Creators Edition: Lady Gaga, AC, France (#20996) (XD) - $375.95  FE

Fortified Wine:

  • BARROS COLHEITA TAWNY PORT 1998 - DOC, Douro, Portugal (#18603) (S) - $59.95  VOE

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  • Date publishedTuesday, September 28, 2021

Reine des Fleurs Rosé 2020 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely dry rosé from Languedoc that is new to the LCBO, arriving on shelves across Ontario recently as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release - and listed again in the upcoming Oct. 2 LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The Reine des Fleurs brand rings like the Cicada’s song... Drinking Reine des Fleurs wines is all about enjoying the true French way of life where people take time to indulge in the simple, yet refined pleasures of life. In the French countryside, the brand conveys the vineyards peaceful atmosphere and its picturesque wineries. One sip and you can already imagine the scented Garrigue and the Cicadas singing in the field.

Languedoc is the source of grapes for this rosé, a beautiful wine region located in Southern France, by the Mediterranean sea. This wine region benefits from the Mediterranean climate that offers hot and dry summers. Grape varietals in Languedoc are planted according to the specific characteristics of each terroir, thus, one of the most distinguishing features of Languedoc appellation wines is the strong bond between taste and place.

This dry rosé is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah where the grapes were harvested and fermented separately. Upon reaching the winery, the grapes were sorted and destemmed, then gently pressed with a pneumatic press to slowly extract the juice. After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged on fine lees for 4 months. It was then blended, carefully filtered and bottled prior to release. Let's see how this rosé from Languedoc is tasting tonight...

Reine des Fleurs Rosé 2020 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

REINE DES FLEURS ROSÉ 2020 - AP Languedoc, France (#19841) (XD) - $14.95
Crafted with 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, the fragrant nose offers pretty aromas of melon and grapefruit citrus alongside some garrigue and herbs with a touch of minerality. The fleshy, medium+ bodied palate is dry with delightful melon, grapefruit, citrus, ripe strawberry, and mineral flavours supported by fresh, balanced acidity. Slightly chalky textured on the mid-palate, with mineral, grapefruit, and strawberry notes lingering on the crisp, dry, and very long after taste. Highly recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

Other delicious wines from the Reine des Fleurs label can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Date publishedSunday, September 26, 2021

Lungarotti Rosso di Montefalco 2016 (Umbria) - Wine Review

wine review is this lovely organic red wine from Montefalco, in central west Umbria, that landed at the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Although the Lungarotti family had been producing wine and oil since the 1700s, it was in 1949 when Giorgio Lungarotti was among a group of exhibitors at the Perugia Grape Exhibition and realized the need to modernize viticulture in Umbria. In the early 1960s, he founded Cantine Lungarotti in Torgiano, Umbria. With deep knowledge of the climate, soil, and environment in Umbria, Giorgio Lungarotti played an important role in the the creation of the DOC Montefalco appellation in 1979.

This red wine is from Lungarotti's estate in Montefalco. The winery is located in Turrita di Montefalco and was established after they purchased 20 hectares of land in 2000 and planted vineyards for the production of a range of Sagrantino-based wines. The cellars are located completely underground, and uses a gravity flow system from the time the grapes arrives at the winery, through to vinification and cellaring. The underground cellars also allow for natural control of ambient temperatures. Being environmentally conscious, all of the wines produced at the Montefalco estate are certified organic from the 2014 vintage onwards.

Depicted on the label of this red wine is a view of the Montefalco winery. In the foreground is a falcon because falcon hunting was practiced here and was a passion of Emperor Frederick II of Swabia.

Rosso di Montefalco DOC wines tend to be softer and easier to drink than the DOCG wines of Montefalco (which are 100% Sagrantino) thanks to the varietals in the blend. Montefalco Rosso wines are blends composed of 60-70% Sangiovese, 10-15% Sagrantino, and the rest from other red grape varieties, but typically Merlot. This organic Rosso di Montefalco is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Sagrantino that was grown on loose soils with a sandy-clayey texture and a subsoils of limestone. It was fermented in stainless steel, followed by ageing in barriques and 3-ton casks for 12 months. The wine spent a further 10 months ageing in bottle prior to release.

Lungarotti Rosso di Montefalco 2016 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

LUNGAROTTI ROSSO DI MONTEFALCO 2016 - DOC, Umbria, Italy (#577668) (XD) - $26.95
This organic red wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Sagrantino that has an elegant, perfumed, medium-high intensity nose of lovely red cherry, sweet spices, cinnamon, and floral aromas with wet earth notes providing a savoury aspect. It's medium-full bodied with lovely aroma replays plus some dark cherry notes on the flavour profile. It has juicy, succulent acids, while the firm, gritty, and drying tannins need a few years to integrate. Savoury and earthy with some minerals linger on the finish, with excellent length. Enjoyable now, this will benefit from a few years in the cellar. Recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other fine wines from Lungarotti can be purchased through their Agent - Profile Wine Group.

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  • Date publishedFriday, September 24, 2021

La Vie d'Arnaud Corbières 2017 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine review is a delicious red wine from the Corbières appellation that arrived at the LCBO for the first time as part last weekend's LCBO VINTAGES Release on .

This tidy little red wine is produced by the young and dynamic winegrower Arnaud Sié, In 2000, he took over his family's estate, which is located in located in Talairan, between Carcassonne and Perpignan, in the southern France wine region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Currently, he has 20 hectares of vineyards, 14 hectares of which are in the Corbières appellation. The vineyards are located on chalky clay soils 200 to 350 metres above sea level. Arnaud has worked tirelessly to modernize the wine cellars, while also performing extensive work in the vineyards. To ensure high quality, all of the grapes hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard.

I enjoyed the 2017 Château de Tréviac Corbières back in March, a red wine also crafted by Arnaud Sié, and would expect this wine to also be quite enjoyable. Let's see how this Corbières red wine is tasting tonight...

La Vie d'Arnaud Corbières 2017 (88+ pts)

Tasting Note:

LA VIE D'ARNAUD CORBIÈRES 2017 - AC, Languedoc, France (#18784) (XD) - $13.95
This blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache has a pleasing medium-high intensity nose that offers spicy black pepper, dark plum, dark cherry, ripe black & blueberry aromas, plus some stony mineral notes. The ripe, medium-full bodied, well-structured palate has dark cherry, black-blueberry fruit, peppery spice, violet, and licorice flavours with underlying savoury mineral notes. Plummy and dry on the mid-palate with fresh acids, and slightly chalky tannins, with more plum, dark berry, and savoury mineral notes lingering on the finish, with very good length. Impressive quality for the price. Highly recommended buy! Score: 88+ pts

Other delicious wines from Arnaud Sié are available through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Date publishedWednesday, September 22, 2021

Château Thieuley Entre-Deux-Mers 2019 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

white wine review is a lovely Bordeaux Blanc from the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation. This white wine is new to the LCBO, arriving on shelves across Ontario over the weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Entre-Deux-Mers is situated southeast of the city of Bordeaux. The name of the region translates to "between two tides", and is a reference to its location between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. At 3,000 hectares, Entre-Deux-Mers is the largest sub-region of Bordeaux, however, only about half area is planted with grapes.

This white wine is produced by a family-owned and -operated winery whose story begins in 1950, when André Courselle bought Château Thieuley to lay the foundation of a great vineyard. In 1972, his son Francis Courselle took over the property and over the next 30 years, expanded their holdings and increased the number of vines planted from 4 to 80 hectares over their three properties - Château Thieuley, Clos Sainte Anne and Château Saint Genes.

Francis' two daughters, Marie and Sylvie Courselle, inherited the estate and family passion, and today they control the destiny of Thieuley. Marie is in charge of the technical aspect of winemaking, while Sylvie runs the commercial side of the business. Together, Marie and Sylvie are dedicated to continuing the tradition of quality at Château Thieuley while also continuing to innovate and respect the environment.

This Bordeaux Blanc is a blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, and 10% Sauvignon Gris that was sustainably grown (Terra Vitis certified) on clay and calcareous soils. It was macerated with skin contact, gently pressed, and vinified in stainless steel tanks with at least 3 months of ageing on lees.

Château Thieuley is known mostly for the quality of their white wines and believe that carefully blended wines are always more complex than single varietal wines. Made with love, let's see how this white wine blend from Bordeaux is tasting tonight...

Château Thieuley Entre-Deux-Mers 2019 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU THIEULEY ENTRE-DEUX-MERS 2019 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#21403) (XD) - $18.95
A blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, and 10% Sauvignon Gris, the fragrant, highly aromatic nose offers lovely aromas of kiwi, guava, tropical fruit, and lemon citrus flecked with earthy minerals. It's medium-full bodied and creamy with very good fruit concentration and lemon citrus, tropical fruit, and guava flavours. Acids are fresh and balanced, while the long, crisp finish has some oyster shell and leesy mineral notes adding further complexity and intrigue. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90 pts

Other delicious wines from Château Thieuley are available through their Agent - DBINO David Beauroy Selections.

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  • Date publishedMonday, September 20, 2021

Alpataco Pinot Noir 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

For red wine review, I travel to Patagonia in southern Argentina to continue the recent string of fine wines from this South American wine producing country. This Pinot Noir is a new arrival to the LCBO, landing on shelves across Ontario earlier this month as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release and is featured as a "Smart Buy".

It is produced by Familia Schroeder, whose story begins in 1927 when German immigrant Hermann Heinz Theodor Schroeder settles down in Patagonia and begins working in the wine industry. In 2001, his son, Hermann Schroeder, along with his own sons started the project of Familia Schroeder and with hard work and significant investments, the Schroeder family transformed the monotony of the Patagonian dry steppe into an eye-catching oasis.

The Estate is located at 39° South Latitude in Patagonia - a land of extremes with dry weather, frequent winds, rivers carrying pure snowmelt water, cool nights and long summer days. Located in Neuquén, the winery building is perched on a gentle slope that dominates the vineyards and blends in naturally with its surroundings, while also using gravity-flow winemaking. Leonardo Puppato is the Chief Enologist and has been part of the project since the beginning in 2002.

Patagonia is marked by large desolate expanses in the South, flanked by low, wooded mountains, a circuit of lakes in the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Winegrowing activities are fairly limited, with Patagonia representing just 2% of Argentina's total cultivated area. However, the region is noted for its great thermal amplitude (high diurnal temperature variation) which comes from its combination of latitude, low altitude, and abundant hours of sun, in addition to scarce rainfall and strong winds. All of these factors contribute to healthy grapes with greater colour concentration (in red varieties) and thicker skins.

Not widely grown in Argentina, Pinot Noir is the 7th most widely planted red varietal in the country, representing less than 2% of all red wine varietals. However, Argentinean Pinot Noir is noted for its concentration as a result of the high number of light hours, thermal amplitude, and soil. The product of a sunnier climate, the style of Pinot Noir from Neuquén, Patagonia, where this wine is from, is a style resembling Pinot from California - concentrated and fleshy.

Alpataco Pinot Noir 2019 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

ALPATACO PINOT NOIR 2019 - Patagonia, Argentina (#19386) (XD) - $14.95
100% Pinot Noir that was matured entirely on the lees in stainless steel tanks. Screw cap. Sunny and fruity aromas of ripe black and red cherry, raspberry, and strawberry flecked with stony-smoky mineral notes of medium+ intensity rise out of the glass. It's light-to-mid-weighted on the palate with dark red cherry, strawberry, and spice with a subtle savoury mineral edge on the flavour profile. Fresh acids lift the palate, while the lights tannins are finely textured. Leesy mineral with dark cherry notes linger on the finish, with good length. A very satisfying Pinot! Recommended buy. Score: 88 pts

Other delicious wines from Familia Schroeder can be ordered through their Agent - Sylvestre Wines & Spirits.

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  • Date publishedSunday, September 19, 2021

Rosewood Legacy Cyser Apple Honey Wine 2017 (Ontario) - Wine Review

wine review is an interesting and delicious apple honey wine made locally in Niagara by a family of beekeepers that also make mead and wine using traditional vitis vinifera varieties. Although this unique apple honey wine is available direct from the winery, it is also featured in this weekend's LCBO VINTAGES Release and should be on shelves across the province this week.

It is crafted by Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery, a family-owned and -operated producer with over 85 years of farming experience. Rosewood's proprietor is Eugene Roman, a 2nd generation lifelong beekeeper who was inspired by his father, R.W. Roman, and always had a dream to produce world-class, age-worthy, and innovative meads. He first applied for a meadery licence in Ontario 1967, but gave up after several years of trying. In 1982, Eugene & Renata Roman honeymoon in Niagara-on-the-Lake and fell in love with the region and promises that one day they will build a winery & meadery together.

In 2000, the dream becomes a reality with the purchase of a 40 acre site on the Beamsville Bench - the future of Rosewood, and they plant their first vines in 2003. The winery was built in 2005, and in 2008 they released their first wine.

Today, Eugene and his son William Roman, along with their winemaking team practice low intervention winemaking in the pursuit of balance, texture, and vintage expression, while respecting the land. They are focused on premium, vintage-driven wines, innovative meads, and artisanal local honey. The vineyards and apiaries are managed using sustainable farming techniques that utilize modern technology, extensive hand-tending of vines, and integrated pest management systems to promote sustainable farm lands and healthy crops.

This particular honey wine was re-created after Rosewood recently discovered R.W. Roman's original recipe by co-fermenting apple cider and estate honey. This is his Legacy.

Rosewood Legacy Cyser Apple Honey Wine 2017 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

ROSEWOOD LEGACY CYSER APPLE HONEY WINE 2017 - Ontario, Canada (#521138) (500 mL) (S) - $19.95
The attractive, medium-high intensity nose has light honeyed aromas mingling with freshly cut apple and wildflowers. It's mid-weighted on the lightly sweet palate with fine honeyed apple and floral notes on the flavour profile. Nicely balanced with fresh acidity that cuts right through the sweet flavours. Beeswax notes with hints of apple linger on the finish, with very good length. Enjoy on its own or pair with lightly sweet desserts. Recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts

Some of Rosewood's wines are available at the LCBO, while their entire portfolio of wines and meads can be ordered directly from winery, as well as through their Agent - Churchill Cellars Ltd.

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  • Date publishedSunday, September 19, 2021

Great Italian Wines - Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties - Carricante & Nerello Mascalese

Great Italian Wines - Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties - Carricante & Nerello Mascalese
I had the pleasure of attending the fifth and final masterclass on "Great Italian Wines - Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties" last evening. In this class, we ventured to the island of Sicily to discover Etna wines made with the indigenous varietals Carricante and Nerello Mascalese.

The wines from Mount Etna have garnered much international praise and recognition in recent years. Etna wines are recognized not only for their high quality, but also as one of the most important and fascinating winegrowing regions in Italy, and quite possibly the world.

Unlike previous masterclasses, joining us live from Etna (it was midnight over there!) for this masterclass were the producers of the wines we tasted. Ciro Biondi and his wife Stephanie from Azienda Agricola Biondi, and Alberto Graci of Azienda Agricola Graci were live on the Zoom call and told us a bit about their wines, philosophy, and about winegrowing on Etna.

The majestic Mount Etna is located in northeastern Sicily, near the city of Catania. Mount Etna is the highest and largest active volcano in Europe. In addition to being one of the world's biggest, Mount Etna is also considered the oldest volcano in the world and has been continuously growing for about 500,000 years, soaring to a height of 3,300 metres (10,800 feet) today with a base that spans 45 kilometres in diameter.

Although there are several wine regions on the island, we are only exploring the unique wines from the Etna DOC in this class. Established in 1968, the Etna DOC was the first DOC in Sicily. Today, there are 1,100 hectares of vines planted within the DOC, with much of it planted in terraced vineyards on steep slopes. The principal white wine varietal is Carricante, while the main red wine varietal is Nerello Mascalese. 55% of wines produced in the DOC are red, 31% are white wines, and the balance made up of Rosato and Spumante (i.e. sparkling wines).

Located just off the coast of Africa, Sicily and Etna experience long and hot African summers. However, because of the height of Mt. Etna, diurnal temperature variation between day and night in the vineyard can swing by as much as 30°C. Winegrowing on Etna occurs in a three-quarter ring from the northern end, around to the east, and down to the south. The eastern side of Etna receives cooling sea breezes from the Ionian sea. As a result of these unique climatic conditions, plus the rich volcanic soils that are constantly regenerated with with each volcanic eruption, there are many different volcanic terroirs which result in unique wines depending on where the grapes are grown. Much like the Cru system in Bordeaux or Burgundy, the growers on Etna have developed the Contrade system which names each of the unique plots of land. In all, there are currently 133 Contrade (i.e. named vineyards) on Etna and you will see its name on the label if it is a wine crafted using grapes from a specific Contrade.

Included along with my tasting kit was an antipasto platter with Grana Padano DOP and Pecorino Calabrese cheeses, as well as Caponata - a Sicilian dish consisting of eggplant seasoned with olive oil, tomato paste, celery, olives, capers, and pine nuts - that was made in-house at Spaccio, Terroni's central kitchen. There was also some Taralli with fennel adding a Sicilian twist to this toroidal Italian snack food.

Thank you to the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario Canada (ICCO Canada) for putting on an excellent series of True Italian Taste masterclasses this year, and to Cavinona for presenting the wines. For a limited time, you can use the special discount code ICCOETNA for 10% off any case purchase on I look forward to seeing what ICCO Canada has planned for 2022.

@trueitaliantaste #ExtraordinaryItalianTaste #TrueItalianTaste #iffoodcouldtalk

Tasting Notes:

BIONDI OUTIS ETNA BIANCO 2018 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (XD) - $48.45
A blend of 90% Carricante and 10% Catarrato / Minella from the southeast Comune of Trecastagni that was organically grown on sandy volcanic soils between 650 and 700 metres above sea level. Matured in stainless steel vats with 9 months on lees. The medium-high intensity nose is reductive with a mix of wet stone minerality, fresh lemon citrus, and nutty aromas. It's light-to-medium bodied with lovely lemon citrus, wet stone, and herbal flavours in a spicy profile on the palate, supported by fresh, lively acidity. Juicy, succulent, and crisp with lovely flavour replays joined by pear, stone fruit, and leesy mineral notes that linger on the long finish. Elegant, harmonious, and really nicely balanced with fine acidity bringing it all together. Score: 91+ pts

Biondi Outis Etna Bianco 2018 (91+ pts)

GRACI ETNA ROSSO 2018 - DOC, Sicily, Italy (XD) - $38.28
100% Nerello Mascalese from Passopisciaro in the northern Comune of Castiglione di Sicilia. It was organically grown on iron rich volcanic soils at an altitude of 600 to 700 metres above sea level. Aged for 18 months in mostly concrete vats and 20% in large oak tini. Sweet cinnamon spice and red fruited aromas of cran-cherry-raspberry and strawberry with a faint hint of smoky mineral rise out of the glass. It's medium+ bodied with fine-grained, supple tannins and lovely spice, cran-cherry, raspberry, and strawberry flavours with underlying savoury, mineral, and smoky characters. It has fresh, juicy acidity and a supple grip with cranberry and some bitterness, tobacco, and white pepper lingering on the long, smoky mineral finish. Score: 91 pts

Graci Etna Rosso 2018 (91 pts)

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  • Date publishedThursday, September 16, 2021

September 18, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release Wine Picks: Ontario

LCBO Wine Picks: September 18, 2021 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming September 18, 2021 LCBO VINTAGES Release is the annual harvest season look at Local Wines from Ontario. It is a mono-thematic Release, as per the usual. All of these local wines, plus those from main release will be on shelves across Ontario by this Saturday.

We begin with the theme on Local Wines from various wine regions across Ontario. Of the seventeen wines listed as part of this theme, three are included among my top wine picks. At the top of this list is a fine, off-dry Riesling (i.e. slightly sweet) by Charles Baker from Niagara. Also from Niagara is a Chardonnay Musqué, an aromatic mutation of Chardonnay that is grown primarily in Niagara and Finger Lakes wine regions. Lastly, there is a Pinot Noir from Prince Edward Country, located along Lake Ontario between Toronto and Kingston, Ontario. Although not part of the theme, there are also a pair of lovely wines from Two Sisters Vineyards in Niagara - a semi-sweet Riesling and a dry rosé made with Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. There's also a mead that was co-fermented with apple cider from a recipe written in 1980, resulting in an interesting (and delicious) Apple Honey Wine by Rosewood Estates Winery.

Rosewood Legacy Cyser Apple Honey Wine 2017 (90+ pts)

Nearly all of my red wine picks are from France and Italy, with the only wine not from either of these countries being a GSM blend from Australia that consists of 46% Grenache, 36% Shiraz, and 18% Mourvedre. From France, the Côtes du Rhône is a blend of 85% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Cinsault, while the Roussillon red consists of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. The 2016 Corbières is a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah, while the 2017 Corbières is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache. The Beaujolais is made with Gamay, while the Costières de Nîmes Syrah includes 10% Grenache. From Italy, the Chianti Classico (Annata) and Brunello are both 100% Sangiovese, while the Gran Selezione Chianti Classico is a blend of 93% Sangiovese and 7% Colorino. Lastly, the fantastic Barolo is made with 100% Nebbiolo.

Rocca delle Macìe Single Vineyard Riserva di Fizzano Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2015 (91+ pts)Domaine la Rougeante 2016 (89 pts)

La Vie d'Arnaud Corbières 2017 (88+ pts)Lornano Chianti Classico 2016 (88 pts)

Among my white wine recommendations, the Bordeaux Blanc is a traditional blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, while the Rhône white consists of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne. There are a trio of Sauvignon Blanc wines worth your consideration, with the versions from Margaret River (Australia) and Napa Valley (California) both seeing some oak ageing.

Château Thieuley Entre-Deux-Mers 2019 (90 pts)

From my rosé wine picks are dry rosés, with the l'Escarelle a blend of mainly Rolle and Ugni Blanc, while the Paradis consists of 70% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, and 10% Vermentino / Rolle. The rose from Languedoc is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. The lone sparkling wine is a dry bubbly made using an uncommon blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. Last, but definitely not the least, is a lovely Sauternes dessert wine that is primarily Sémillon and a dollop of Sauvignon Blanc.

Reine des Fleurs Rosé 2020 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LA VIE D'ARNAUD CORBIÈRES 2017 - AC, Languedoc, France (#18784) (XD) - $13.95  88+ pts  wine review
  • FERRATON PÈRE & FILS SAMORËNS CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2019 - AC, France (#168708) (XD) - $16.95
  • MICHEL GASSIER FLEUR DE SYRAH 2019 - AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France (#678086) (XD) - $18.95
  • DOMAINE LA ROUGEANTE 2016 - AC Corbières, Languedoc, France (#15298) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • LORNANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2016 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#211599) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • LAURENT PERRACHON ROCHE BLEUE JULIÉNAS 2019 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#487165) (XD) - $19.95

  • FAMILLE LAFAGE LIEU DIT NARASSA 2017 - AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France (#483313) (XD) - $23.95
  • WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 - Clare Valley & Coonawarra, South Australia (#142398) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • SONS OF EDEN KENNEDY GRENACHE / SHIRAZ / MOURVÈDRE 2018 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#558692) (XD) - $24.95
  • LUNGAROTTI ROSSO DI MONTEFALCO 2016 - DOC, Umbria, Italy (#577668) (XD) - $26.95  90 pts  wine review
  • ROCCA DELLE MACÌE SINGLE VINEYARD RISERVA DI FIZZANO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#699454) (XD) - $34.95  91+ pts  wine review
  • CLOSSON CHASE CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2018 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#145888) (XD) - $36.00
  • FATTOI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#33498) (XD) - $47.95
  • AURELIO SETTIMO ROCCHE DELL'ANNUNZIATA BAROLO 2015 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#293761) (XD) - $55.95

Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (90 pts)Lungarotti Rosso di Montefalco 2016 (90 pts)

White Wine:

  • MATETIC CORRALILLO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019 - Estate bottled, Valle de San Antonio, Chile (#347740) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON RÉSERVE BLANC 2019 - AC Côtes du Rhône, France (#18602) (XD) - $17.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2019 - Sustainable, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#246579) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU THIEULEY ENTRE-DEUX-MERS 2019 - AC, Bordeaux, France (#21403) (XD) - $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • HOWARD PARK MIAMUP SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#20018) (XD) - $19.95
  • TWO SISTERS VINEYARDS RIESLING 2018 - VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#20413) (M) - $35.00  FE
  • CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#241182) (D) - $39.00
  • GRGICH HILLS FUMÉ BLANC DRY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Estate grown, Napa Valley, California, USA (#346296) (XD) - $42.95  FE

Rosé Wine:

  • REINE DES FLEURS ROSÉ 2020 - AP Languedoc, France (#19841) (XD) - $14.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU DE L'ESCARELLE LES DEUX ANGES ROSÉ 2020 - AP Coteaux Varois en Provence, France (#19902) (XD) - $24.95
  • CHÂTEAU PARADIS TERRE DES ANGES ROSÉ 2020 - AC Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, France (#19838) (XD) - $27.95
  • TWO SISTERS VINEYARDS MARGO ROSÉ 2020 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#22484) (XD) - $35.00  VOE

Sparkling Wine:

  • APALTAGUA COSTERO EXTRA BRUT SPARKLING - Valle de San Antonio, Chile (#18559) (XD) - $17.95

Dessert Wine:

  • ROSEWOOD LEGACY CYSER APPLE HONEY WINE 2017 - Ontario, Canada (#521138) (500 mL) (S) - $19.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CASTELNAU DE SUDUIRAUT 2006 - Second wine of Château Suduiraut, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#29694) (375 mL) (S) - $23.95

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  • Date publishedMonday, September 13, 2021

Estancia Los Cardones Anko Torrontés 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

After enjoying a fine Malbec from Salta last week, I return to Argentina's northernmost wine region and a land of extremes for a delicious Torrontés for wine review. This white wine is new to the LCBO, arriving as part of the recent LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Found only in Argentina, Torrontés is its most famous criolla variety and is the signature white wine varietal of the country. thriving in the high altitude of northwestern Argentine wine country. There are three sub-varieties of Torrontés - Mendocino, Sanjuanino, and Riojano. The first two variants produce wines that are lighter and fresher, but it's the Riojano that is the most cultivated because it expresses the best qualities to produce fine wines, in particular those from Cafayate Valley, Salta. It is typically light-yellow in colour, but can also have golden or green hues, and is characterized by floral aromas like rose, jasmine, and geranium. While the aromas may indicate sweetness, it is typically dry with fresh acidity.

This lovely Torrontés is produced by Estancia Los Cardones, a winery that was established in 2008 by Fernando Saavedra Jr. and his father, along with partners Jeff Mausbach (Catena alumni) and renowned winemaker Alejandro (Colo) Sejanovich. Together, they realized their dream to create a boutique winery in their native province of Salta to produce wines that express the extreme beauty, altitude, and sunlight of the region. The name "Estancia Los Cardones" pays tribute to the region's giant cacti - Cardones - while Anko means "high water" in the native Indian language of Quechan. Anko is an high altitude oasis that was treasured as a precious sanctuary and provided protection from the harsh elements of nature.

The winery is located in Tolombón, Salta, just south of the city of Cafayate at 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) above sea level at the top of the eastern slopes of the Calchaquí Valleys. At this altitude, Salta is exposed to intense sunlight during the day, and cold mountain nights which ensure excellent natural acid retention and imparts freshness, elegance and balance. The soil profile at the winery is very rocky, with abundant splintered shale and crushed mica, lending distinct minerality to the wines.

Estancia Los Cardones Anko Torrontés 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ESTANCIA LOS CARDONES ANKO TORRONTÉS 2019 - Salta, Argentina (#19394) (XD) - $16.95
Gently whole cluster pressed, cold macerated, and fermented using natural yeast, this unoaked Torrontés was grown on sandy soils with crushed mica at 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) above sea level. Screw cap. Delicate, medium-high intensity aromas offer lovely lychee, jasmine floral, tropical fruit, and citrus notes with a subtle earthy mineral element rising out of the glass. On the spicy, medium+ bodied palate, it has very good concentration and delicious aroma replays of lychee, citrus, jasmine, and tropical fruit flavours lifted by fresh, balanced acidity. Dry and crisp, with notes of saline and oyster shell minerality lingering on the long, satisfying finish. Recommended buy! Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines by the team at Estancia Los Cardones are available through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.

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  • Date publishedSaturday, September 11, 2021

Château Siaurac 2010 (Bordeaux) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely Bordeaux from the legendary 2010 vintage that returned to the LCBO last weekend as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Château Siaurac is the largest and most emblematic estate in the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. It is located on a single, contiguous plot on the plateau of Néac, which is a continuation of the famous plateau of neighbouring Pomerol, separated by a small trickle of water called the Barbane.

The Château's origins of winegrowing date back to at least the mid-18th century, with documents showing casks of red and white wine sold to the son of a wine merchant in Libourne, nearby to the southwest of the estate. The Domaine has been passed down familial lines since Pierre Brisson purchased the estate in 1832. When his son, Benjamin Brisson, inherited the estate and married Elise Chaperon, the Château was mentioned in their marriage contract. Their only son, Joseph Brisson, was a town councillor, Mayor of Néac, and Member of Parliament for the Gironde region in 1902. Joseph managed the Siaurac holdings and estate for 50 years, fighting for the recognition of the quality of wines from Néac. He was also President of the Winegrower's Association from 1919 and tried to merge the appellation of Néac with that of Pomerol.

After marriage in 1919, Joseph and his wife, Marthe, had a daughter named Madeleine. She married into the Guichard family, and their son Oliver inherited the lands and vineyards in 1978. Starting in 2004, the estate was managed by his daughter Aline Guichard and her husband Paul Goldschmidt. After Artémis Domaines acquired a stake in 2014, the property was sold to Les Terroirs de Suravenir in 2020 with the intention of developing the Château over the long-term and realizing its full potential.

In addition to the magnificent vineyards, Château Siaurac also has gardens on the property which are on the list of the 300 most exceptional gardens in France, featuring some extraordinary trees that are as much as 350 years old.

This red wine was grown in the Château's 41 hectare vineyard (which is 46 hectares today) on gravel, deep clays, and sandy clay soils. The vineyard has 40 distinct plots which are planted to 74% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Malbec, while the blend of this red wine is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from a selection of the best plots of the vineyard. After a controlled and gentle extraction, followed by fermentation, it was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.

Although this 2010 Bordeaux has shown up in VINTAGES a number of times over the years, this is actually my first time trying it. Let's see how this 2010 Bordeaux is tasting now, 11 years from vintage.

Château Siaurac 2010 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU SIAURAC 2010 - AC Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux, France (#309831) (XD) - $44.95
This blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc pours deep ruby in colour. The maturing nose is intensely aromatic and complex with very attractive sweet baking spices, sweet plums, dried cherry, dried roses, and sandalwood aromas with savoury earth undertones. It's medium-full bodied on the spicy, slightly warm palate with dark berry, black cherry, blackberry, and plum flavours surrounding a savoury-earthy, and sweet spice core. Acids are well-balanced, while tannins are still a bit tight and grippy. Excellent length on the savoury, sweet spiced finish. Should continue to drink well for a number of years. Highly recommended buy! Score: 93 pts

As they only make two wines, the other wine from Château Siaurac can be ordered through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Date publishedThursday, September 9, 2021

Piattelli Reserve Malbec 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

To continue the recent string of lovely Argentine wines, tonight's wine review is another lovely Malbec that arrived at the LCBO over the long weekend and is featured as a "Smart Buy" in the September 4th LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Crafted by Piattelli Vineyards, their story begins in the 1940s, when the Giovanni Piattelli family immigrated from Tuscany to Mendoza and brought along with them a winemaking legacy, tradition, and passion. In the late 1990s, American businessman Jon Malinski was visiting Argentina on the hunt for lumber to import into the U.S.A. By chance, Jon met the Piattelli family and found incredible vineyards and wine, amazing people, beautiful landscapes, and couldn't bear the thought of leaving the country. Soon thereafter, the Malinski and Piattelli families came together to form Piattelli Vineyards.

Today, Piattelli Vineyards continues to be family-owned and managed. At the heart of their operations is the winery that opened in 2002 in the town of Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo (Mendoza). In 2009, they expanded into Cafayete (Salta) - where this wine is from - with vineyards and a brand new gravity flow winery. A 4th generation winemaker and daughter of a famous Mendozan winemaker, Valeria Antolin is the Principal Winemaker at Piattelli. She has been with Piattelli since the beginning and leads all winemaking decisions at both facilities.

Sustainability is a core value at Piattelli Vineyards, believing that what is good for the environment is also good for the wine. They are committed to producing wines that reflect their landscape and climate, while preserving natural resources.

Although Malbec is widely cultivated in Argentina, this particular Malbec is from the northern region of Salta, which is home to not only some of Argentina's highest vineyards, but also the world's, ranging in elevation from 1,530 to 3,111 metres (5,000 to 10,200 feet) above sea level. The climate in Salta is arid and dry, with high average temperatures, a wide daily thermal amplitude (i.e. large diurnal temperature range), and intense solar radiation enhanced by the altitude and long summers.

The system of mountain valleys in northern Argentina are called the "Calchaquí Valleys" and were formed 5 million years ago, stretching 270 km within the region. This Malbec was grown in Cafayate Valley in Salta at an elevation of 1,700 metres (5,600 feet) on soils that are mostly free-draining chalky loam, and in some areas quite rocky. Since Cafayate has a desert climate with very low rainfall and humidity, the vines rely on meltwater from the Andes to keep them hydrated, while the dry soils cause stress in the vines, leading to fewer, but more concentrated grapes rich in flavours. Let's see how this high-altitude Malbec from Cafayate is tasting tonight...

Piattelli Reserve Malbec 2019 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIATTELLI RESERVE MALBEC 2019 - Valle de Cafayate, Salta, Argentina (#452029) (XD) - $16.95
100% Malbec that was aged for 8 months in American and French oak barrels. The perfumed, medium-high intensity nose has complex aromas of dark berry, blackberry, inky, violet, meaty, reductive, and spice aromas with savoury, wet earth undertones. It's medium-full bodied on the ripe palate with pleasing dark berry, blackberry, violet, and dark plum flavours accented with wood spices. It has fresh, balanced acidity and smooth, fine-grained tannins with a subtle, fine chalky texture. Savoury, earthy, and woody with blackberry and violets lingering on the finish, with very good length. Recommended buy. Score: 89 pts

Other delicious wines from Piattelli Vineyards can be ordered through their Agent - Imprese Inc. or Kinetic Brands.

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  • Date publishedTuesday, September 7, 2021

Montpellier Viognier 2020 (California) - Wine Review

white wine review is a tasty Viognier blend from California that is a new arrival to the LCBO that was released as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

The Montpellier Vineyards brand of wines are produced by Bronco Wine Company, a family-owned company whose winemaking traditions go back to 1893. Since childhood, brothers Fred T. and Joseph S. Franzia, alongside their first cousin, John G. Franzia, have been learning every aspect of the wine business from their fathers. On Christmas Day in 1973, the three members of the Franzia family succumbed to the industry's charms and formed Bronco Wine Company.

Over the next 40+ years, the family-owned company has grown to become a force in the U.S. wine industry, committing itself to becoming the largest privately held vineyard holder in the U.S. Bronco Wine Company is focused on crafting quality wines for every table through hard work, innovation, and a willingness to embrace change - touchstones that are the backbone of its success and while also laying the groundwork for a strong foundation for future generations.

Montpellier Viognier 2020 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

MONTPELLIER VIOGNIER 2020 - California, USA (#658138) (D) - $19.95
Predominantly Viognier (83%) with Chardonnay (6.7%), Gewurztraminer (5%), and Muscat (5.3%) completing the blend. The medium intensity nose seems quiet with aromas of lemon, white floral, and herbs with hints of apple, pear, lychee, and beeswax. The mid-weighted palate is fleshy and viscous with ripe lemon, white flowers, herbal flavours. The bright, juicy acidity hides the vague impression of sweetness, with notes of ripe apple, vanilla, lychee and beeswax joining the flavour replays on the dry, juicy, slightly bitter and leesy finish, with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Other delicious wines from Montpellier Vineyards are available through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.

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  • Date publishedSunday, September 5, 2021

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2019 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is this delicious, vegan-friendly Malbec from Argentina. After a two year absence, the Yaguarete (Jaguar) of the Uco Valley returned to LCBO VINTAGES on and is widely available across the province.

It is produced by Chakana Wines, a winery that was founded in 2002, after taking up the family legacy that began in the 19th century when their ancestors made quality wines in the mountainous region of Valtellina in Lombardy, Italy. Chakana is dedicated to studying and understanding some of the best terroirs in Argentina, with the primary goal of producing authentic wines that express the identity and character of its soils. They are located in Agrelo (Luján de Cuyo), but also have vineyards in Altamira (Uco Valley), all within Mendoza.

In 2012, Chakana began work to recover and maintain the harmony of its soils by transitioning to organic and biodynamic viticulture. They also produce their wines with minimal intervention, using indigenous yeasts, and favouring the use of porous materials (i.e. concrete without epoxy and barrels) in ageing, in order to preserve the character of the place in the wine. The winemaker is Gabriel Bloise, a member of the new generation of winemakers. Gabriel understands oenology as a means of expressing nature and believes that the best wines are those that do not bear the mark of whoever makes them, but of the places where they are developed.

The last time I tasted this wine was over two years ago when the 2016 Chakana Estate Selection Malbec showed up in VINTAGES in spring 2019. Because of Chakana's constant soil and terroir research, the grapes that make up this Malbec seem to be sourced from different regions each vintage. For the 2019 vintage, this Malbec comes from Gualtallary (Tupungato) and Los Chacayes (Tunuyán), within the Uco Valley, at an altitude of 1,100 metres (3,600 feet) on sandy loam soils with gravels near the surface. The climate is cool and sunny with good diurnal temperatures, but is relatively more humid than other areas of Mendoza. It was aged in used French oak barrels and concrete vats for 12 months. Let's see how this latest Malbec is tasting tonight...

Chakana Estate Selection Malbec 2019 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2019 - Vegan, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina (#219261) (XD) - $19.95
100% Malbec from Gualtallary (Tupungato) and Los Chacayes (Tunuyán). Generous aromas of wet earth, game, savoury, and brett are accented with ripe red berry, cherry, floral, and sweet spice notes. On the medium-full bodied palate it has very ripe red fruit and cherry flavours joined by savoury, earthy, and wood notes, supported by fresh, balanced acidity and grainy, textured tannins that are slightly grippy. Tangy with savoury earth notes linger on the finish, with good length. Score: 88 pts

Other delicious wines by Chakana Wines are available through their Agent - Connexion Oenophilia.

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  • Date publishedFriday, September 3, 2021

Salentein Reserve Rosé 2020 (Argentina) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely dry rosé from Argentina that is made with Syrah! It's a new arrival to the LCBO, landing on shelves across Ontario a couple of weeks ago as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Bodegas Salentein was founded in the 1990s with the goal of producing first-rate wines with a sense of place, while respecting nature and using the principles of sustainability to take part in the life of the area's community. They are located in the heart of Mendoza, with vineyards in the Uco Valley, where the sandy and loamy soils, and dry weather with very hot days and very cool nights help produce high quality grapes.

The magnificent bodega is located at an elevation of 1,200 meters (4,000 feet) with the nearby western horizon dominated by the snowy Andes mountains. The cross-shape of the bodega has four wings, and each is a little bodega with two levels - the first level is for fermentation and storage, while the second level is subterranean (9 metres / 29 feet underground) and used for barrel ageing. A gravity-flow system is used to gently move the wine through the vinification and ageing process. The underground cellar has the benefit of constant temperatures and humidity, allowing the wines to age in optimal conditions. The floor of the cellar was built using natural stones from the Cuyo region using yellow quartzite sandstone, green chlorite of schist variety, and red limonite sandstone, among others. If you are visiting Mendoza, you will certainly want to visit Bodegas Salentein!

This particular dry rosé was crafted with 100% clone 99 Syrah grapes planted in 1996 in the vineyards of the El Oasis estate in Los Arboles (Tunuyán county) at an altitude of 1,050 metres (3,400 feet) above sea-level. With a hot summer that was slightly warmer than average, combined with low rainfall, yields were down in 2020, but produced healthy grapes of exceptional quality. Let's see how this 2020 Syrah Rosé is tasting tonight...

Salentein Reserve Rosé 2020 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

SALENTEIN RESERVE ROSÉ 2020 - Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina (#19555) (XD) - $17.95
This lovely 100% Syrah was matured for 6 months on its fermentation lees. Screw cap. The fresh, medium+ intensity nose has pretty aromas of red berry, cherry, strawberry, and floral wrapped around stony mineral. The dry, mid-weighted palate is tangy, tart, and spicy, accented with citrus, red berry, strawberry, and mineral flavours that are supported by crisp, lemony acidity. Subtle chalky texture on the mid-palate. Tangy citrus with saline minerals lingering on the crisp finish, with very good length. Recommended buy! Score: 89 pts

Other lovely wines by Bodegas Salentein are available at the LCBO, as well as through their Agent - Azureau Wines & Spirits.

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  • Date publishedWednesday, September 1, 2021

Librandi Duca Sanfelice Cirò Riserva Rosso 2017 (Calabria) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely red wine made with the indigenous varietal Gaglioppo from Calabria. It arrived at the LCBO a couple of weeks ago, as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release and is featured as part of the theme on the sunny wines of the Mediterranean.

It is produced by Librandi Winery, a family-owned producer that first bottled its own wines in 1953 in Via Tirone, Cirò Marina, with wines made using Gaglioppo and Greco Bianco grapes. The company expanded its winemaking activities in 1955 by purchasing an estate in the Ponta area, and named it 'Duca Sanfelice'. The grapes for this wine are from Duca Sanfelice, an estate which was further expanded by purchasing neighbouring plots in 1973. Librandi inaugurated their new wine production facility in 1975 within the municipality of Cirò Marina, where they are still located today.

Cultivating vines for four generations, the Librandi family have been steadfast supporters of the region's land and its riches. They are eager to spread the knowledge of Calabria's rich winemaking heritage that goes back to the 8th century BC, when a Greek colony made up of mostly winemakers settled on the Ionian shores and named the area "Enotria Tellus", or Land of Wine.

First crafted in 1983, this red wine is made with the indigenous Gaglioppo varietal that was grown on clayey and calcareous soils within the heart of the Calabrian winemaking region - the comunes of Cirò and Cirò Marina, in the province of Crotone. It was vinified in stainless steel vats, then aged in a combination of steel and concrete vats for 2 years, followed by bottle ageing for a few months prior to release, which should provide a very pure-fruit experience unobstructed by oak. I recall only trying one Gaglioppo wine prior to this and am curious to see how this compares. Let's see how this Gaglioppo red wine is tasting tonight...

Librandi Duca Sanfelice Cirò Riserva Rosso 2017 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

LIBRANDI DUCA SANFELICE CIRÒ RISERVA ROSSO 2017 - DOC, Calabria, Italy (#695874) (XD) - $17.95
100% Gaglioppo aged in steel and concrete for 2 years, the medium-high intensity nose offers complex ripe black and dark red cherries and spices joined by some funky earthy, rustic, and touch minerally aromas, along with some baking spice, plum, and candied cherry notes that arrive with time in the glass. It's medium+ bodied with attractive black cherry, spice, and plum flavours that are supported by fresh, balanced acidity. Smooth, fine tannins have a slightly grainy & chalky texture on the mid-palate. Juicy with notes of black cherry, mineral, and a touch of smoke lingering on the long, satisfying finish. Highly recommended buy. Score: 90+ pts

Other lovely, authentically Calabrian wines by Librandi can be ordered through their Agent - Noble Estates Wines & Spirits.

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