Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Niagara Wine Tasting - Get Fresh in the Valley 2017

Redstone Limestone Riesling with Fried Shrimp Slider
On , I travelled to Niagara Wine Country to visit some wineries I had never been to before, as well as participate in some of Twenty Valley's Get Fresh in the Valley food & wine experiences.

The day began at Rosewood Estates Winery, an award-winning winery and meadery. And even though I had tasted the wines from this winery before, as well as driven by many, many times, this was my first ever on-site visit. Unfortunately, I missed taking the tour which would have included an opportunity to see the apiary (beeyard), tank cellar and barrel room. On the bright side, I did get to taste through some delicious wines and mead from their current portfolio - wine reviews of my favourites are provided below.

The next stop of the day was nearby in Beamsville at Redstone Winery. The property was formerly the Thomas and Vaughan Estate Winery and purchased by Moray Tawse (of his namesake in winery in Vineland, Ontario) in 2009. In June 2015, they opened up their beautiful hospitality centre, retail tasting room, and restaurant. The Get Fresh pairing here was their very delicious 2013 Redstone Limestone Riesling with a Fried Shrimp Slider with a Buttermilk Ranch & Iceberg Slaw. The brilliant acidity in the wine complemented the Fried Shrimp very well, while the Buttermilk Ranch sauce and sweetness in the wine balanced out the touch of heat from chili powder that was added to the batter. Overall, this was very well done. This was my first ever visit and I definitely want to come back for a dining experience as the restaurant menu looks delicious! In hindsight, I wish I had picked up a bottle of the Riesling (because it's THAT good!), but hopefully it will show up in VINTAGES this Summer.

GreenLane Cabernet with Lil' Lamb Slider
My third stop of the day was a short drive away along King Street at GreenLane Estate Winery for a Lil' Lamb Slider with Mint & Caper Mayo that was paired with their 2013 GreenLane Cabernet (60% Cabernet Franc & 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, $16.95, 87 pts). The green flavours coming from both the wine and mint dominated the flavour profile in this pairing, while the tannins in the Cabernet blend offered enough structure to balance the protein. This was a very well balanced and delicious Get Fresh pairing that I would be happy to enjoy again at home since I have the recipe.

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery was the fourth stop of the afternoon. Amazingly, in all my years of visiting Niagara, I had never been to Henry of Pelham - until this day. After tasting a few wines, I enjoyed a quick tour of Canada's largest underground barrel cellar room which houses more than 1500 barrels. The winery was founded in 1988, but the heritage of the property goes back to circa 1778 when it was deeded to the Speck Brothers great, great, great Grandfather, Nicholas Smith, and has been in the family ever since. In 1842, Nicholas' youngest son Henry - for which the winery is named - built an inn, tavern, and carriage house which now serves as the tasting room and wine boutique.

Henry of Pelham Barrel RoomHenry of Pelham Sparkling Wine Disgorging

Henry of Pelham Barrel RoomHenry of Pelham

As it was quite late in the day by the time everything wrapped up at the previous winery, the final few stops on Saturday were rather quick. I popped into Aure Wines (my first ever visit and now known as London Born Wine Co.) for a Get Fresh pairing of their delicious 2011 Aure Wild Ferment Pinot Noir and a Red Wine Cupcake Bite that was topped with Cherry Swirl Icing. The Pinot itself was quite nice, maturing well and paired nicely with the cupcake, bringing out sweet cherry flavours and baking spice notes from the wine. One wouldn't normally think of pairing Pinot with dessert, but this worked out quite well because each offered just a hint of sweetness. Aure Wines is known for their Marechal Foch and White Gamay, but unfortunately (for me) neither one was available for tasting as they were sold out. I'll have to make a point to visit again.

Aure Wild Ferment Pinot Noir wih Red Wine CupcakeFielding Rosé with Sweet Pepper Bruschetta

The next stop was at Fielding Estate Winery for a Get Fresh pairing of Sweet Pepper Bruschetta with Feta Cheese on a Focaccia, and paired with their 2016 Fielding Estate Rosé (#053421, $15.95, 86 pts). This was a very flavourful pairing with lots of interesting piquant, herbally, tart and sour flavours from the Bruschetta competing with somewhat sweet melon and herbally notes in the wine. I would call it a flavour explosion, but in a very pleasing and appealing way that still worked well together. If I get my hands on the recipe, I would definitely try this at home. If you plan to be in Niagara over the next few weeks, Fielding will be releasing the latest vintage of quite a few wines.

Angels Gate Pinot Noir with Spring Salad
My last stop of the day was at Angels Gate Winery, a winery I have known about for many years, but I recall this being my first ever visit to the site. The Get Fresh food & wine pairing here was a Spring Salad with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, Candied Pecans and Strawberry Balsamic Dressing paired with their 2014 Angels Gate Pinot Noir (#308486, $17.95, 88+ pts). The strawberry salad was delicious and really brought out the strawberry flavours in the wine, while the creamy goat cheese helped balance the acids in the balsamic dressing and the wine, leading to a very enjoyable pairing overall. Since this was my last stop, I managed to squeeze in a few tastings from a list that featured many delicious wines that had some age on them.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to Niagara Wine Country this time around. It was especially nice to check out some wineries that I had never visited before. It was also really great that the wineries provided recipes of their food pairings - I can't wait to enjoy them at home. If anyone would like the recipe of the Fried Shrimp Slider or the Lamb Slider, please let me know and I'll send it to you.

Wine review of my favourite wines tasted at each winery are provided below. Most of these wines are only available at the winery. However, some might be available through the VINTAGES section at the LCBO.

Tasting Notes:

ROSEWOOD ESTATES ORIGIN MIMA'S BLOCK RIESLING 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.95
Medium-high intensity aromatics offer nice petrol, orange citrus, lemon/lime and some green apple. Ripe lemon/lime flavours on the off-dry palate are balanced by tart and gentle acids. The finish length is very good. Coming to VINTAGES later this month. Score: 88 pts

Rosewood Estates Origin Mima's Block Riesling 2014 (88 pts)Rosewood Estates Origin Cabernet Franc 2014 (89 pts)

ROSEWOOD ESTATES ORIGIN CABERNET FRANC 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $29.95
Highly intense aromas that are herbaceous with green pepper, black cherry, blackberry, toasty oak, and earthy barnyard notes. The palate is medium+ bodied with ripe fruited dark cherry, dark berry flavours, along with some bitterness. Acids are bright, while the tannins somewhat tight at the moment. The finish length is very good. Drinkable now, but should improve in 2-3 years as tannins integrate. Score: 89 pts

ROSEWOOD ESTATES MEAD ROYALE HONEY WINE 2015 - Ontario, Canada (#296178) (S) - $16.95
Barrel-aged for 6 months in French oak, this honey wine has a medium-intensity nose of honeysuckle, citrus and floral, all with honeyed overtones and much of the same on the chalky textured, light-to-medium bodied palate. Long, satisfying finish. It's sweet, but not as sweet as one might expect. Score: 88 pts

Rosewood Estates Mead Royale Honey Wine 2015 (88 pts)

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $38.95
This Chardonnay was barrel-fermented and aged for 12 months in French oak, 30% new, and offers ripe tropical fruits, golden apple and buttery aromas that continue onto the lush, medium-bodied palate. Nicely balanced overall, textured, and lifted by bright, refreshing acids. The finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

REDSTONE LIMESTONE VINEYARD SOUTH RIESLING 2013 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#381251) (M) - $18.95
Lovely aromatics of medium-high intensity features a nice mineral, petrol, peach and candied orange citrus nose. The palate is medium-bodied with intense, sweet fruited citrusy aroma replays along with hints of lemon/lime and limestone minerality. Acids are bright and a touch sour. Nicely balanced overall and finishes with more minerally notes and excellent length. Sold out at the winery, but some still available in VINTAGES. Score: 90 pts

Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2013 (90 pts)Redstone Meritage 2012 (90 pts)

REDSTONE MERITAGE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $45.95
A blend of 60/20/20 blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this has medium-high intensity aromas notes of dark berry, toasty oak, black currant and cassis that should open up further with air. It's full-bodied with very nice aroma replays, structured tannins, and very good acidity adding freshness. Satisfying on the long finish with some bretty, barnyard, and earthy notes. Score: 90 pts

GREENLANE RIESLING 2014 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $15.95
A blend of estate fruit that's combined with their old vines, this has medium+ intensity aromas of peach, apricot, and orange citrus that continue on the off-dry palate with additional flavours of Flintstones vitamins. Tart acids provide freshness, while there's a hint of mineral texture on the palate. There's good length on the finish. Score: 87 pts

Greenlane Riesling 2014 (87 pts)Greenlane Dry Riesling 2013 (89 pts)

GREENLANE DRY RIESLING 2013 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
This bone dry Riesling has an austere, medium intensity nose with notes of honeysuckle and slate. The palate is medium+ bodied with mineral-driven flavours of lemon/lime, citrus and a hint of apricot. Fine chalky mineral texture, balanced acids and long finishing. Score: 89 pts

GREENLANE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32.95
Highly aromatic on the nose with appealing cassis, dark currant, black cherry, blackberry and floral aromas. It's full-bodied with smooth, velvety tannins and very nice aroma replays along with hints of earth and barnyard. There's some alcohol warmth, but good depth of fruit supports it well. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Will age 5-6 years, but highly enjoyable now. One of the favourite wines of the day! Score: 90+ pts

Greenlane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (90+ pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#643361) (MD) - $24.95
From vines planted in 1984, this has delicate, elegant, and fruit forward aromas of peach, apricot, orange citrus, and Flintstones vitamins. It's medium-dry on the palate with nice aroma replays, juicy acids, and medium-long finish with hints of mineral. Score: 89 pts

HENRY OF PELHAM CUVÉE CATHARINE CARTE BLANCHE BLANC DE BLANC 2012 - Traditional method, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#315200) (XD) - $44.95
100% estate grown Chardonnay, partially barrel-fermented and then aged for 5 years in bottle before being disgorged, this has medium-high intensity aromas that are bready, nutty and lemony. On the palate, it's medium-full bodied with citrus and biscuity flavours, a hint of sweetness that's balanced by lively acids and bright mousse. The finish is long, clean, and dry with hints of mineral. Score: 91 pts

Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blanc 2012 (91 pts)Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2014 (91 pts)

HENRY OF PELHAM RIESLING ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#430561) (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Highly aromatic, gorgeous nose that's honeyed with apricot, sweet lemon, mango, and tropical fruit aromas. It is full-bodied with very nice aromas replays and supported by high acids adding freshness and texture, while also balancing the sweetness very well. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

AURE RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40?
Open, fine nose of red cherry, strawberry, truffle, earth and subtle oak spice with very good intensity. The palate is light-weighted with light tannins that gain texture and volume in the mouth, with lovely aroma replays and fine acidity. Nicely balanced with a bit of old and new world in this Pinot. Finish length is excellent. Score: 90 pts

FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#251439) (M) - $20.15
Ripe apple, citrus, and melon aromas of medium+ intensity. The medium-bodied palate is fleshy with tightly wound acids, medium sweet flavours that follow through from the aroma profile, plus some herbally hints. The finish length is very good. Will be better after 1-2 years of cellaring. Score: 89 pts

Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling 2016 (89 pts)Angels Gate Archangel Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2009 (89 pts)

ANGELS GATE ARCHANGEL PINOT NOIR BRUT ROSÉ 2009 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (D) - $28.95
Medium-high intensity aromas feature ripe cherry and strawberry compote notes. On the medium-bodied palate, it has finely balanced mousse and pleasing aroma replays. Flavour profile is off-dry, but finishes on the dry side with some yeasty and bready notes, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW CHARDONNAY 2009 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $19.95
This mature Chardonnay spent 14 months in French oak and has medium-high intensity aromas that are nutty and buttery, with hints of vanilla on the nose. The palate is medium-full bodied with a somewhat creamy texture and very nice aroma replays joined by some apple notes. Well-balanced overall thanks to the very good acidity. Finish length is excellent. Score: 89 pts

Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay 2009 (89 pts)Angels Gate Mountainview Riesling 2008 (91 pts)

ANGELS GATE MOUNTAINVIEW RIESLING 2008 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (D) - $16.95
Lovely, highly aromatic nose is showing mature notes of mineral, petrol, lemon, and hints of white peach. The palate is medium-bodied with still bright and lemony acids. It has an off-dry flavour profile that's mineral-driven with lemony citrus notes. Finish length is excellent. Score: 91 pts

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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  • Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fleur du Cap Chardonnay 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

The recent parade of South African wines continues with this Chardonnay from the Western Cape.

Produced by Fleur du Cap, the grapes were sourced from vines planted in 1990 (Stellenbosch) and from 2000-2006 (Somerset West, Elgin and Robertson). Soils varied from Karoo limestone and granite in Stellenbosch, and shale soils in Elgin and Somerset West. Crops in 2016 were the smallest in half a decade, resulting in concentrated, ripe wines. I tasted the 2012 Fleur du Cap Chardonnay and am expecting a similar profile this time around as the vinification techniques used in this vintage are nearly identical to the 2012.

As part of the media package I received, this Chardonnay would pair well with Spanish-Style Brick Turkey (recipe below) that you can make during your holiday celebrations. This turkey recipe was crafted by Chef Nikko Janico and should complement the Fleur du Cap Chardonnay, which is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario.

Fleur du Cap Chardonnay Bergkelder Selection 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

FLEUR DU CAP CHARDONNAY BERGKELDER SELECTION 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#358960) (XD) - $13.10
Screw cap. Ripe buttery aromas with baked apple and subtle hints of coconut, sweet vanillan oak, and minerality. The palate is medium+ bodied with a creamy texture and juicy acids. Flavours consist of butter, lemon citrus, pineapple, butterscotch and a touch of honeyed sweetness. There's a nice touch of smoky minerality mid-palate. Finishes with lemon citrus and mineral notes, with good length. Best with just a slight chill. Score: 87 pts

Spanish-Style Brick Turkey Recipe:

  • 1 12 lb. turkey, preferably fresh
  • 2 apples, cored and quartered
  • 3 jalapeños, halved
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 sprig fresh sage, roughly chopped

To Prepare:
In a small bowl combine all ingredients for the rub. Mix with a fork until well incorporated. Set aside. Start by placing the turkey with the breast resting on the cutting board. Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Flip the turkey over and open the cavity so both legs are spread out with the breast facing up. Press down on the breastbone to flatten. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the breast muscle. Using your hands, grab small portions of the butter and place between turkey skin and meat. Make sure to evenly spread throughout as this will help with consistent browning. Lather the outside skin as well. Place turkey on a wire rack over top a baking sheet and chill uncovered in the fridge for 6–12 hours.

To Cook:
Remove turkey from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450°F. Tuck wings under the breast. Lay apples, jalapeños, yellow onion and garlic on a parchment-lined baking tray and lather with vegetable oil. Place the turkey on top of the ingredients and season the skin with salt. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until skin starts to darken. Reduce heat to 320°F and cook for another 40 minutes or until the breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. When finished, remove from the oven and loosely tent with tin foil. Rest at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Friday, October 13, 2017

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  • Friday, October 13, 2017

Goats do Roam Red 2016 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine is the companion to the 2017 Goats do Roam White that I opened last month. I recall enjoying this wine many, many years ago when I first got into wine, but hadn't tasted it recently. The catchy name, interesting label and low price point is what drew me to this wine many years ago, and if I recall correctly, the price hasn't moved much since that time. I'm curious to see how this wine tastes today.

It is produced by the Fairview Wine Farm, a winery that proudly owns all of their vineyards, with land in Paarl, Darling, Swartland and Stellenbosch. Owner Charles Back has also always been an advocate of social development in the Cape and under Apartheid, he was one of a number of producers who campaigned for and implemented better conditions for farm workers. In 1997, he established the Fair Valley Worker’s Association, which gave his employees a chance to farm their own land.

This dry red wine from South Africa is widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, with the 2016 vintage on shelves already or arriving really soon.

Goats do Roam Red 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

GOATS DO ROAM RED 2016 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#718940) (XD) - $13.00
Blend of 49% Shiraz, 24% Cinsault, 12% Grenache, 11% Mourvèdre, 2% Petite Sirah, and 2% Carignan. Screw cap. This has generous aromas that are soft with plummy, peppery and red cherry notes, along with some meaty and vanillan oak nuances. It's medium-bodied on the dry palate with candied red berry fruit, chocolate oak and resinous flavours with touches of menthol. It has bright and juicy acids, some warmth mid-palate (14% abv), and soft tannins. Finish length is good with earthy-curranty notes. An easy drinking red for current consumption. Score: 87 pts

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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  • Thursday, October 12, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES October 14, 2017: Napa + Pinot Noir

LCBO Wine Picks from October 14, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The main focus of the upcoming release into LCBO VINTAGES on is on wines from Napa, while the mini-thematic focuses on the grape varietal Pinot Noir. New wines will be on LCBO shelves across Ontario this coming .

We'll begin with the feature on Napa. The timing of this release couldn't be worse, as we hear about the sad news of the wildfires ravaging Napa and nearby counties of Sonoma and Mendocino. Nevertheless, this release features a few bright wines from Napa, as three of the fifteen wines listed are included among my top wine picks. The single vineyard Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is at the top of this list and is made with 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petite Verdot. Also in this release is a Petite Sirah (aka Durif) which is an offspring of the Syrah varietal. The last wine is a complex Chardonnay from the Carneros AVA within Napa Valley.

Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (91 pts)Stags’ Leap Winery Petite Sirah 2014 (90+ pts)

The "Pinot Gallery" was a bit disappointing as only one of the nine Pinots from the mini-theme are included among my wine picks. However, the one Pinot Noir that did make it is a great wine from one of South Africa's top producers - Hamilton Russell.

In red wines from the rest of the release, the Rasteau from Rhône is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah, while the Crianza is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha / Graciano / Mazuela. From Italy, the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, while the Amarone is a blend of 70% Corvina and Corvinone, and 30% Rondinella.

Lavau Rasteau 2014 (89 pts)Losi Querciavalle Chianti Classico 2011 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Vinho Verde is a blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho, while the rest are all single varietals. If you prefer your wines on the sweeter side, you'll want to check out the Riesling or Gewürztraminer wines, with the Gewürztraminer Kabinett the sweetest of the lot.

Fielding Estate Bottled Riesling 2016 (89 pts)

For those who prefer very sweet wines, or if you're looking for a nice after dinner dessert wine, any of the Pedro Ximenez, Vintage Port and Vin Santo will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • LOSI QUERCIAVALLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#515478) (XD) - $16.95  reviewed here  89 pts
  • CVNE VIÑA REAL CRIANZA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#657411) (XD) - $18.95
  • SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE MALBEC 2014 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#079798) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here  88+ pts
  • LAVAU RASTEAU 2014 - AC, Rhone, France (#394650) (XD) - $19.95  reviewed here  89pts
  • TABALÍ VETAS BLANCAS RESERVA ESPECIAL CABERNET FRANC 2014 - Limarí Valley, Chile (#514117) (XD) - $19.95
  • TABALÍ TALUD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#513960) (XD) - $23.95
  • STAGS’ LEAP WINERY PETITE SIRAH 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#590356) (XD) - $49.95  reviewed here  90+ pts
  • SANTA SOFIA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2011 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#713669) (XD) - $52.95
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL PINOT NOIR 2016 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#999516) (XD) - $57.95
  • TWO HANDS LILY’S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2015 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#683086) (XD) - $59.95
  • ROBERT MONDAVI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville, Napa Valley, California, USA (#670463) (XD) - $149.95
Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2014 (88+ pts)

White Wine:

  • MARIA PAPOILA VINHO VERDE 2015 - DOC, Portugal (#408146) (D) - $15.95
  • BARON DE HOEN RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2015 - AC Alsace, France (#377721) (D) - $18.95
  • BELLVALE ATHENA’S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - Gippsland, Victoria, Australia (#521245) (XD) - $19.95
  • DARTING DÜRKHEIMER NONNENGARTEN GEWÜRZTRAMINER KABINETT 2015 - Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (#944181) (S) - $19.95
  • FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#251439) (D) - $19.95  reviewed here  89pts
  • SAINT CLAIR WAIRAU RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#415653) (XD) - $34.95
  • CLOS PEGASE MITSUKO’S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - Estate grown, Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA (#986737) (XD) - $34.95  reviewed here  91 pts
  • BACHELDER SAUNDERS VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2013 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#324103) (XD) - $44.95

Dessert Wine:

  • MARCHESI DE’ FRESCOBALDI CASTELLO DI POMINO VIN SANTO 2008 - DOC, Tuscany, Italy (#661249) (M) (500 mL) - $42.95


  • ALVEAR PEDRO XIMENEZ DE AÑADA 2014 - DOP Montilla-Moriles, Spain (#499152) (S) (375 mL) - $24.95
  • DOW’S QUINTA DO BOMFIM VINTAGE PORT 2005 - Bottled in 2007, DOP, Portugal (#515544) (S) (375 mL) - $31.95

Saturday, September 30, 2017

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  • Saturday, September 30, 2017

Lavau Rasteau 2014 (Rhône) - Wine Review

red wine will be on LCBO shelves later this month as it will be released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by the Lavau family, whose passion for wine and love of terroir and the land began in Saint-Émilion in the 19th century. The family moves to Tunisia and becomes the country's biggest wine producer before returning to France and settling in Rhône, where Maison Lavau was officially founded in 1965.

This particular red wine comes from the Rasteau AOC, in the southern wine region of Rhône, with vineyards located on east-facing, stony/pebbly hillsides that are fairly deep and dry, resulting in low yields and late ripening.

Lavau Rasteau 2014 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

LAVAU RASTEAU 2014 - AC, Rhône, France (#394650) (XD) - $19.95
Aged for 1-2 years, with 30% of this wine aged in used 450 litre oak barrels. A 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah. Black plum dark berry and wood spice aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has medium intensity aromas of black plum, dark berry, raspberry, licorice, garrigue, and wood spice with hints of black pepper notes. It's medium+ bodied on the palate with smooth, supple tannins that are just a touch grippy and gain volume with time. Chocolate, raspberry, blackberry, red currant flavours, with touches of sour cherry and charcuterie notes appear on the palate. Acids are fresh and juicy and the finish length is very good, ending with a savoury aftertaste. Shows good complexity overall. Best over the next 2-3 years. Score: 89 pts

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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  • Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Goats do Roam White 2017 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine is an easy drinking white wine with a unique/fun name that you may have come across while browsing LCBO shelves as it's been available in our market for quite a few years now.

It is produced by the Fairview Wine Farm in South Africa, and while the name "Goats do Roam" is considered by some to be a play on "Côtes du Rhône" as it contains the same varietals found in Rhône whites, it is in fact (according to the website) from legend.

The story behind the name goes like this: Some errant members of Fairview’s long-established goat herd once escaped from their paddock into the Fairview vineyards after Charles Back’s young son Jason accidentally left the gate open; The little group happily roamed among the vineyards, showing rare discernment by selecting some of the ripest berries from the vines; Those berries were then used to make this white blend.

The 2017 vintage is the latest vintage and packaged in an eco-friendly, lighter-weight bottle. It is widely available (if not already, then really soon) at LCBO outlets across Ontario as it is a General List product.

Goats do Roam White 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

GOATS DO ROAM WHITE 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#237313) (XD) - $11.95
Bottled under screw cap, this is a traditional Rhône blend of 49% Viognier, 28% Roussanne, and 23% Grenache Blanc. The medium intensity nose offers widely appealing ripe tropical fruit, orange zest, white peach and white floral aromas. On the medium-full bodied palate, it's got zesty acids with more ripe tropical fruit, melon, and orange peel flavours in an essentially dry profile. There's some bitterness on the mid-palate and good length on the finish. Chill well and serve with hearty fish such as Salmon. Score: 86 pts

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES September 30, 2017: Family Matters + Sangiovese + Thanksgiving

LCBO Wine Picks from September 30, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The next release into LCBO VINTAGES on features 6 top wineries where "Family Matters" as its main theme. The mini-themes in this release focus on the Sangiovese grape varietal and fine wines for Thanksgiving. New wines will be on shelves this coming .

We'll begin with the feature titled "Family Matters", where the focus is on six winemaking families that uphold traditions and have a commitment to the land from generation to generation. Of the twelve wines listed, just two are included among my top wine picks. The Pennachetti family began forming roots in Niagara region in the 1920s and founded Cave Spring Cellars in 1986 and is currently owned by the third generation of the family. Their Chardonnay Musqué is among my wine recommendations below. The other family featured among my wine picks is the Torres Family from Spain that has been associated with winemaking for over 300 years, and their Cabernet Sauvignon is the 40th vintage of this wine.

Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2015 (88+ pts)2027 Falls Vineyard Riesling 2016 (88+ pts)

From the Thanksgiving theme that listed eight wines, only the Ontario Riesling made the cut. Amazingly, none of the six wines featured in the Sangiovese theme made it on my list of wine picks.

In red wines from the rest of the release, many of which would go great with a rich Thanksgiving meal, include a Tinta de Toro (a.k.a. Tempranillo) and the Cúmaro that is made with Montepulciano. The Strapper GSM is a blend of Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro, while the 2010 Bordeaux (from an excellent vintage) is a blend of the Cabernets and Merlot.

Umani Ronchi Cúmaro Riserva Conero 2011 (91 pts)Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc 2015 (90+ pts)

Among my white wine picks, the Custoza is a ripe, slightly sweet blend of Garganega, Cortese, and Riesling. The Fumé Blanc is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, while the Pouilly-Fuissé is made with Chardonnay.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • G7 RESERVA SYRAH 2015 - Estate bottled, Loncomilla Valley, Maule Valley, Chile (#514067) (XD) - $15.95
  • THYMIOPOULOS YOUNG VINES XINOMAVRO 2015 - Unfiltered, PDO Naoussa, Greece (#466474) (XD) - $17.95
  • TESSELLAE VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2015 - IGP Cotes Catalanes, Roussillon, France (#343509) (D) - $17.95
  • TERRA D’URO FINCA LA RANA TORO 2012 - DO Toro, Spain (#424135) (D) - $18.95
  • YALUMBA THE STRAPPER GSM 2014 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#295873) (D) - $19.95
  • 2027 CELLARS QUEENSTON ROAD VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2013 - VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#421370) (XD) - $28.25  reviewed here
  • UMANI RONCHI CÚMARO RISERVA CONERO 2011 - DOCG, Marche, Italy (#699587) (XD) - $29.95  reviewed here
  • SEGHESIO BAROLO 2011 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#496877) (XD) - $49.95
  • TORRES MAS LA PLANA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - 40th vintage, DO Penedès, Spain (#129676) (XD) - $59.95
  • CHÂTEAU MARSAC-SEGUINEAU 2010 - AC Margaux, Bordeaux, France (#512350) (XD) - $59.95
2027 Cellars Queenston Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 (90+ pts)

White Wine:

  • BODEGA EL PORVENIR DE CAFAYATE AMAUTA ABSOLUTO TORRONTÉS 2016 - Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina (#489179) (XD) - $14.95
  • GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2015 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#428045) (D) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2015 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#246579) (XD) - $16.95  reviewed here
  • TE PA PINOT GRIS 2015 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#519884) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • 2027 FALLS VINEYARD RIESLING 2016 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#294041) (D) - $18.95  reviewed here
  • AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $20.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2015 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068825) (XD) - $29.45  reviewed here
  • ROBERT MONDAVI NAPA VALLEY CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#310409) (XD) - $29.95
  • TRIMBACH RÉSERVE RIESLING 2013 - AC Alsace, France (#247023) (XD) - $30.95  FSE
  • DEUX ROCHES VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2014 - AP, Burgundy, France (#488825) (XD) - $31.95
  • HAMILTON RUSSELL CHARDONNAY 2016 - WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, South Africa (#931006) (XD) - $43.95
te Pa Pinot Gris 2015 (88 pts)

Dessert Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU RIEUSSEC 2010 - 1er Cru, AC Sauternes, Bordeaux, France (#263012) (S) (375 mL) $87.95  FSE

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