Monday, August 21, 2017

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  • Monday, August 21, 2017

Giveaway - Win a Pair of Winemakers’ Selections Tasting Passes

Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake Winemakers’ Selections Tasting Pass
Here's your chance to win a pair of Winemakers’ Selections Tasting Passes valued at $25 each. This new pass was created by Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and let's you savour 25 carefully selected terroir wines for one convenient price.

To taste the Winemaker's Selection at each winery, simply present your printed ticket or show it on your digital device at a participating winery and have the tasting bar staff scan it for you. All of the participating wineries are located in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Your tasting pass will let you taste one Winemaker's Selection at each winery, anytime of the year. Full terms and conditions of the Winemakers’ Selections Tasting Pass are found here.

Tip: The pass doesn't expire at the end of 2017, so you can still use this pass next year.

Enter Contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 18, 2017

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  • Friday, August 18, 2017

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2008 (Chile) - Wine Review

delicious wine was purchased back in the Spring of 2014 from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Obviously, the 2008 is no longer available at the LCBO, but this wine is always solid year after year, and the latest vintage should show up in VINTAGES at some point this year. Keep an eye out on this blog as I'm sure it will be a recommended buy.

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Carmenère 2008 (90+ pts)

Tasting Note:

CONCHA Y TORO MARQUES DE CASA CONCHA CARMENÈRE 2008 - Peumo Vineyard, Rapel Valley, Chile (#169862) (XD) - $19.95
Black plum with hints of red flowers and earth from the cork. Complex nose is showing fine maturity with lovely dried flowers and wet earth aromas which give way to lush blackberry, wild herbs, cassis, black licorice, and vanilla with very good intensity. The palate is full-bodied with dark currant, blackberry, cassis, mint, and herbs surrounded by mouth watering acidity. It's slightly chalky on the palate with refined, dusty tannins that are smooth and integrated very nicely. The long finish is earthy with hints of chocolate and dried flowers. Beautiful wine to enjoy now or over the next 2-3 years. Enjoyed with chicken fajitas. Score: 90+ pts

Monday, August 14, 2017

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  • Monday, August 14, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES August 19, 2017: South of France + South Africa

LCBO Wine Picks: August 19, 2017 VINTAGES Release
New wines from the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves across the province this and features two wine regions known for producing quality wines at very good prices. The main thematic features the wines from the South of France, while the mini-theme features wines from South Africa.

We'll begin with the South of France feature that's titled "Southern Charm". There are 11 wines listed as part of this theme and 4 are included among my top wine picks. The lone white wine is a blend of 55% Vermentino and 45% Viognier that's been partially aged in oak and comes for a region bordering Spain. The Minervois is a blend of 37% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, and 25% Syrah and is showing fine maturity, while the La Clape is a blend of rougly 40% Syrah, 30% Carignan, and 30% Mourvèdre. Lastly, the Saint-Chinian is a blend 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah.

Le Secret des Capitelles Saint-Chinian 2014 (88 pts)

South Africa is the mini-theme and features many fine wines on offer as 7 of the 8 wines listed are included on my list of wine recommendations. Among the red wines, there is a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and an honest Pinotage that doesn't taste like coffee. Among the South African white wines, there is a Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and an unoaked Chardonnay. And last but not least, there is a Vintage Brut Rosé that is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay.

Among red wines from the rest of the release, the 2008 La Granja is made with Tempranillo, as is the much younger and more modern Crianza. Both the Beni di Batasiolo and the Barolo are made Nebbiolo, while the Brunello is made with Sangiovese.

Among white wines, there's an Albariño and Falanghina, as well as a 100% Turbiana (a.k.a. Trebbiano) di Lugana from Lombardy. The Hermit Crab from Australia is a blend of 72%Viognier and 28% Marsanne. The oaked La Crema Chardonnay is actually one of the Wines of the Month and will be widely available across the province. For sweet wine lovers, your best bet is the Riesling from Ontario.

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 (89 pts)2027 Cellars Wismer Vineyard Fox Croft Block Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine picks from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LE SECRET DES CAPITELLES SAINT-CHINIAN 2014 - AP, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (#156299) (XD) - $15.95  reviewed here
  • BENI DI BATASIOLO NEBBIOLO 2015 - DOC Langhe, Italy (#908079) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU DE SÉRAME MINERVOIS 2010 - AC, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (#480889) (XD) - $16.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LA CLAPE SYRAH / CARIGNAN / MOURVÈDRE 2014 - AP Coteaux du Languedoc La Clape, Languedoc, France (#370262) (XD) - $18.95
  • PEREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - Maipo Andes, Chile (#431015) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • RUSTENBERG SHIRAZ 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#399246) (XD) - $19.95
  • ALEJANDRO FERNÁNDEZ DEHESA LA GRANJA 2008 - Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain (#192476) (XD) - $20.95
  • PALACIOS REMONDO LA MONTESA CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#674572) (XD) - $24.95
  • ERNIE ELS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#278358) (XD) - $24.95
  • SOUTHERN RIGHT PINOTAGE 2015 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#486167) (XD) - $26.95
  • PODERI COLLA DARDI LE ROSE BUSSIA BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#596890) (XD) - $54.95
  • IL GRAPPOLO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#452151) (XD) - $54.95
Perez Cruz Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (89 pts)

White Wine:

  • DE WETSHOF LIMESTONE HILL UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2016 - WO Robertson, South Africa (#419622) (XD) - $16.95
  • TERRE STREGATE SVELATO FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO 2015 - DOP, Campania, Italy (#486076) (XD) - $17.95
  • D’ARENBERG THE HERMIT CRAB VIOGNIER/MARSANNE 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#662775) (XD) - $17.95
  • PACO & LOLA ALBARIÑO 2016 - DO Rías Baixas, Spain (#350041) (XD) - $18.95
  • LES NEIGES DE L’AGLY VERMENTINO/VIOGNIER 2013 - IGP Côtes Catalanes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (#512566) (XD) - $19.95
  • SOUTHERN RIGHT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Walker Bay, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#512277) (XD) - $21.95
  • RAATS ORIGINAL CHENIN BLANC 2016 - Unwooded, WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#651497) (XD) - $21.95
  • 2027 CELLARS WISMER VINEYARD FOX CROFT BLOCK RIESLING 2016 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#225490) (M) - $22.95  FSE  reviewed here
  • TENUTA ROVEGLIA VIGNE DI CATULLO LUGANA RISERVA 2013 - DOC, Lombardy, Italy (#437004) (D) - $24.95
  • LA CREMA SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2015 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#962886) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here

Sparkling Wine:

  • GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSÉ 2011 - Disgorged March 2017, Méthode Cap Classique, WO Western Cape, South Africa (#004085) (XD) - $21.95
  • DOM PÉRIGNON VINTAGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE 2004 - AC, Champagne, France (#091777) (XD) - $337.95  FSE


  • KOURTAKI MUSCAT OF SAMOS - PDO Samos, Greece (#938407) (S) - $15.95

Friday, August 11, 2017

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  • Friday, August 11, 2017

Le Secret des Capitelles Saint-Chinian 2014 (Languedoc) - Wine Review

wine is a red blend that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Les Vignerons de Saint Chinian, a cooperative founded in 1937 and now includes 186 winegrowers over 850 hectares of vines across Languedoc-Roussillon. Their vineyards range in altitude from 120 to 300 metres above sea level, and are mostly on schist and calcareous-clay soils, which are naturally poor (but good for wine!)

Les Vignerons de Saint Chinian is constantly looking to produce high quality wines, which means a constant effort is applied to improve the skills of grape growers and the selective cultivation of vineyards. As part of these efforts, this coop achieved ISO certification in 2001.

The Languedoc-Roussillon wine region in the South of France is known for producing quality wines at very approachable prices, and this is no exception. You can pick up your bottle from the LCBO next weekend.

Le Secret des Capitelles Saint-Chinian 2014 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

LE SECRET DES CAPITELLES SAINT-CHINIAN 2014 - AP, Languedoc-Roussillon, France (#156299) (XD) - $15.95
This blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah was aged for 12 months in oak. Light aromas of plum and red berry from the cork. Medium+ intensity nose is very savoury earthy in nature, followed by garrigue, wild herbs, black pepper, and blackberry with hints of florality. It's medium-bodied with nice peppery and garrigue aroma replays that are lifted by fresh acidity. Supple tannins are well-integrated and the finish is long and earthy. Nicely composed red wine to enjoy with herbed poultry over the next 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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  • Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Southbrook Whimsy! The Anniversary (Niagara) - Wine Review

I opened up this delicious Fortified wine to celebrate it's recent Gold Medal at the 2017 National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC). Looking at the results from this competition, this is the top Fortified wine in Canada!

This wine is produced by Southbrook Vineyards, and is one of many Southbrook wines I've tasted from a winery that is Canada's first certified organic and biodynamic winery. Southbrook has built a solid reputation for its strict adherence to biodynamic and organic winemaking, and more recently, announced that it had cut its electricity consumption by 80% by with the installation of a new photovoltaic field as part of its commitment to sustainability and energy reduction program.

Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards crafted the award-winning wines across several categories, including the Framboise (Fruit Wine category), 2016 Orange Skin Fermented Vidal (White Single Varietal category), and the 2016 Organic Wild Ferment Cider (Cider category). Also an award-winner is the lovely 2013 Southbrook Estate Witness Block (Red Blend category) that I tasted earlier this year. In total, Southbrook garnered five medals across five different categories, showing excellence across a broad range of wines.

This very yummy fortified wine is only available at the winery and can be ordered online through their web store.

Southbrook Whimsy! The Anniversary (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

SOUTHBROOK WHIMSY! THE ANNIVERSARY - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) - $29.95
Made with 100% Chardonnay harvested in 2002 (!), then fortified with a neutral grain spirit, which was then followed by extended natural aging without intervention. This was bottled in 2011 and then aged for 2 years prior to release. Enclosed by screw cap. Highly intense aromas with an oxidative character of orange, spice, nutty, dried fig and apricot aromas wafting from the glass. It gives the impression of a very sweet fortified wine, but the medium+ bodied is actually quite dry with just a hint of sweetness. Roasted nuts, dried fig, orange and burnt sugar notes embody the flavour profile. Slightly warming with a very smooth, long finish. Lovely. Very Sherry/Madeira-like. Give it a slight chill and enjoy after dinner. Score: 91 pts

Friday, August 4, 2017

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  • Friday, August 4, 2017

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 (California) - Wine Review

wine review is the latest vintage of the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from La Crema Winery. It is being featured as the Wine of the Month in the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

I enjoyed my visit to La Crema in Sonoma Wine Country last Fall and was very impressed when I had the opportunity to taste the 2014 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay a month later.

In 2015, warmer winter temperatures resulted in earlier bud break, while cooler than average temperatures delayed bloom and led to lower yields compared to the previous three years. Veraison also came early, and a warm, dry summer led to one of the earliest harvests on record for the Sonoma Coast AVA, with harvest beginning by mid-August.

This delicious white wine will be widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario within a couple of weeks.

La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LA CREMA SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY 2015 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#962886) (XD) - $29.95
For 2015, this wine spent 9 months in primarily French oak (some American), 19% of which is new. Tropical fruit and lemon citrus aromas from the cork. It's quite fragrant in the glass with creamy, buttery, lemony, tropical fruit and slightly lactic aromas. The palate is full-bodied and very ripe with pear and butter flavours, along with touches of white peach and woodsmoke. It's creamy with fresh, balanced acidity. The finish is long and bitter with a fine chalky mineral texture. A rich Chardonnay that deserves to be paired with rich seafood dishes or chicken. Score: 89 pts

Monday, July 31, 2017

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  • Monday, July 31, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES Release August 5, 2017: Argentina + New Old School

LCBO Wine Picks from August 5, 2017 VINTAGES Release
New wines from the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release will be on shelves this and features wines from Argentina as its main theme, while the mini-theme looks at 5 "new old school" wine regions.

We'll begin with the feature on Argentina, where the particular focus is on the various altitudes where grapes are grown, ranging from as low as 600 metres up to more than 3,000 metres above sea level. The wine region of Salta in northern Argentina is home to the world's highest vineyards, where grapes are grown up to 3,111 metres above sea level. Of the 12 wines listed, just 2 are included among my top wine picks. The first wine is from Finca Flichman and is a red blend made with 70% Malbec, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot from a vineyard located 1,100 metres above sea level. The second wine is a Cabernet Sauvignon (that also includes approx. 15% Malbec) from Uco Valley, where vineyards range between 1,000 and 1,450 metres above sea level.

The mini-theme is a small one, featuring just 6 wines from 5 countries that are relatively unknown to most wine consumers. Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia and Greece are the countries featured, and while they may not be household names when it comes to wine, winemaking in these regions go as far back as 8,000 years ago. Unfortunately, none of the wines from this feature quite made the cut on my list of wine recommendations.

Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva 2007 (90+ pts)Mondeco Red 2011 (88+ pts)

Among the red wines from the rest of the Release, there is a 2011 red from Portugal that consists of indigenous varietals Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Baga, Alfrocheiro and Jaen, while the 2013 Portuguese red is a blend of 60% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz. From Spain, the 2007 Rioja is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Mazuelo/Graciano, while the 2009 Rioja is a blend of 92% Tempranillo, 4% Mazuelo and 4% Graciano. Also from Spain, the Priorat is a Grenache blend. Last, but not least, the Chianti is 100% Sangiovese.

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2013 (90 pts)Château des Charmes Old Vines Riesling 2014 (89 pts)

The white wines listed in my top wine picks are all single varietals. Dry white wines include Xarel-lo, Grüner Veltliner, Viognier, Chardonnay, and a trio of Sauvignon Blanc wines, including one from India! On the sweeter side, there is a nice Gewürztraminer and a pair of lovely Ontario Riesling wines.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Salud!

Red Wine:

  • MONDECO RED 2011 - DOC Dão, Portugal (#442210) (D) - $13.95  reviewed here
  • QUINTA DA REDE RESERVA 2013 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#431742) (XD) - $17.95
  • FINCA DEL MARQUESADO RESERVA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#492652) (XD) - $17.95
  • FINCA FLICHMAN PAISAJE DE TUPUNGATO 2015 - Mendoza, Argentina (#415034) (XD) - $18.95
  • FLEUR DU PALAY CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - AP, Rhône, France (#494849) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOVINO PINOT NOIR 2014 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#514802) (XD) - $22.95
  • BODEGA PIEDRA NEGRA GRAN LURTON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#980334) (XD) - $24.95
  • ROTLLAN TORRA PRIORAT RESERVA 2011 - DOQ Priorat, Spain (#511048) (XD) - $24.95
  • VIÑA OLABARRI GRAN RESERVA 2007 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#329102) (XD) - $24.95  reviewed here
  • VIGNA DI PALLINO RISERVA CHIANTI 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#514331) (XD) - $26.95

White Wine:

  • GROVER ZAMPA ART COLLECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Nandi Hills, Karnataka, India (#498329) (XD) - $16.95
  • CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES RIESLING 2014 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#277228) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • HERETAT MONT-RUBI WHITE XAREL-LO 2015 - DO Penedès, Spain (#488742) (XD) - $19.95
  • REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $19.95  reviewed here
  • TWO RIVERS CONVERGENCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#277707) (D) - $19.95
  • HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULÈRE GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - AC Alsace, France (#392118) (D) - $21.95  FSE
  • HIRSCH HEILGENSTEIN GRÜNER VELTLINER 2014 - Kammern, DAC Kamptal, Austria (#484980) (XD) - $24.95
  • YALUMBA VIOGNIER 2015 - Eden Valley, South Australia (#954644) (XD) - $24.95
  • ARGYLE CHARDONNAY 2015 - Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA (#946640) (XD) - $29.95
  • TE MATA ESTATE CAPE CREST SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#490318) (XD) - $30.95  FSE

Rosé Wine:

  • BY OTT ROSÉ 2016 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#490896) (XD) - $28.95
  • DOMAINES OTT CHÂTEAU DE SELLE ROSÉ 2016 - AC Côtes de Provence, France (#074617 / #490888) (XD) - (750 mL / 1500 mL) $47.95 / $104.95  FSE

Sparkling Wine:

  • ELYSSIA GRAN CUVÉE BRUT CAVA - Traditional method, DO, Spain (#392548) (XD) - $19.95
  • JANSZ PREMIUM SPARKLING ROSÉ - Tasmania, Australia (#037499) (XD) - $27.95
  • HURÉ FRÈRES INSTANTANÉE EXTRA BRUT CHAMPAGNE 2008 - AC, France (#491761) (XD) - $64.95  FSE

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