Friday, April 20, 2018

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  • Friday, April 20, 2018

Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2016 (France) - Wine Review



I had the pleasure of tasting the 2015 Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages last Spring, so I was delighted to try the latest vintage of this red wine .

Château d'Aigueville is the Rhône property of Burgundian producer Henri de Villamont. It is located on a plateau between the villages of Sérignan and Uchaux, close to Orange. The estate benefits from exceptional terroir that has a very large proportion of pebbles, which is also commonly found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir.

The grapes for this red blend come from a cluster of hills in Uchaux, at an altitude between 100 and 250 metres, from vines that are 30 years old. Soil consists of pebbles and either siliceous or clay limestone. Furthermore, plots are separated from each other by garrigue and olive groves.

Within the hierarchy of the Côtes-du-Rhône AOC, this wine is a level up from the generic/entry level designation. A "Villages" wine indicates a sense of place, which in turn is an indication of terroir and quality. There are approximately 90 municipalities within Rhône that can produce Côtes-du-Rhône Villages wines. Since this wine is designated as a Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, among other stipulations, it must contain at least 50% Grenache and at least 20% Syrah or Mourvèdre.

When the 2015 arrived at the LCBO last year, it was placed in the VINTAGES section. Now, due to its immense popularity and relatively low price point, the 2016 vintage is placed in the General List section and began arriving at LCBO outlets this week.

Château d'Aigueville Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2016 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CHÂTEAU D'AIGUEVILLE CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE VILLAGES 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#544031) (XD) - $15.95
A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Carignan, and the balance other varietals. Faint notes of plum, dark berry and currant aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has ripe blackberry and blueberry aromas mingling with charcuterie and peppery notes, and hints of cocoa and oak spice. It is medium-to-full bodied on the palate with fresh acidity providing lift. More blackberry, blueberry, pepper, and oak spice notes on the flavour profile. Fine-grained tannins are richly structured and gain grip with air. The finish is long and juicy with blackberry and earthy notes. 15% abv is held together quite well. Still quite young. Enjoyable now, but I would age this 3+ years more enjoyment later. Score: 88 pts


Monday, April 16, 2018

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  • Monday, April 16, 2018

Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine is a new release that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

Tenuta di Renieri is the Chianti-area estate of Bacci Wines, a winery based in Montalcino. It is located in the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, approximately 14 km east of Siena and in the southern half of the Chianti Classico production zone. The property is contiguous with Castello di Bossi vineyards and covers 60 hectares, with 22 hectares planted to vineyards. The vineyards are south-facing and planted in soils that vary from yellow clay to tufa, along with a mixture of rounded pebbles that provide natural drainage.

Tenuta di Renieri Chianti Classico 2013 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

TENUTA DI RENIERI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#540849) (XD) - $22.95
This 100% Sangiovese was aged for 12 months in (French) Allier Barriques and oak casks. A mix of red cherry, plum and sweet oak spice aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a generous nose of sweet oak spice, red cherry, floral with some earthy elements and rustic charm. Hints of dried cherry emerge with time. The palate is light-to-medium bodied with soft, balanced, and well-integrated tannins that provide just a touch of grip. Fresh, food-friendly acids lift the palate. Flavours of dark cherry, blackberry, cedar, earth, and hints of dried cherry. Nicely balanced overall. Earthy notes with cherry linger on the long finish. There's just enough here to keep you coming back for another sip. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts


Monday, April 9, 2018

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  • Monday, April 9, 2018

VINTAGES Release April 14, 2018: Grapes Gone Global + Lighter Reds

LCBO Wine Picks: April 14, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on is titled "Grapes Gone Global", while the mini-theme features the lighter side of red wines. All of these wines will be on VINTAGES shelves by this .

We'll begin with the main theme, which looks at 10 classic European grape varietals and compares how they express themselves in Europe versus around the globe. In all, there are 20 wines featured as part of this theme, with 7 included among my top wine picks. From the old world in Burgundy, there is a Chardonnay from Meursault, as well as a Pinot Noir from Santenay. Riesling is a varietal that thrives in old world Germany, as well as here in new world Niagara - and with both wines under $20, try them both and see the differences. Another fine comparison would be Sauvignon Blanc from old world Sancerre (Loire) versus the new world style in New Zealand. And lastly, from the new world is a Chenin Blanc from South Africa.

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Les Clous Meursault 2015 (91 pts)

The mini-theme on lighter red wines features 9 wines, with only the Beaujolais included in my list of wine recommendations. Like most wines from Beaujolais, this light red wine is made using Gamay Noir.

From the rest of the release, among my red wine picks, the Ventenac Languedoc wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 35% Syrah, and 15% Merlot/Grenache. From Sicily, the Zisola is made with Nero d'Avola, while the Greek red is a blend of indigenous varietals consisting of 60% Mavrodafne and 40% Mavro Kalavritino. Lastly, the excellent Amarone is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Oseleta, and Molinara.

Domain Mega Spileo Red 2011 (90 pts)

Among my top white wine picks, the Savennières from Loire is made with Chenin Blanc, while the Lugana is made with Trebbiano. Both of these wines will be crisp, bright and refreshing.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • COLLE SECCO RISERVA MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2012 - DOP, Abruzzo, Italy (#541508) (XD) - $15.95
  • MAISON VENTENAC LES HAUTS DE VENTENAC CUVÉE JULES 2014 - AP Cabardès, Languedoc, France (#538017) (XD) - $16.95
  • VIÑA CONO SUR RESERVA ESPECIAL PINOT NOIR 2015 - San Antonio Valley, Chile (#546432) (XD) - $18.95
  • MAZZEI ZISOLA 2015 - DOC Sicilia Noto Rosso, Sicily, Italy (#303925) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA PONCIAGO LA RÉSERVE FLEURIE 2015 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#299917) (XD) - $19.95
  • BARTALI RISERVA CHIANTI 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#541524) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAIN MEGA SPILEO RED 2011 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#466110) (XD) - $29.95  FSE  90 pts  wine review
  • CANTALICI BARUFFO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#541078) (XD) - $35.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • BOSCARELLI VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#477620) (XD) - $39.95  FSE
  • ROUX PÈRE & FILS BEAUREPAIRE SANTENAY 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#527994) (XD) - $54.95
  • MASI COSTASERA RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#324137) (D) - $69.95
Cantalici Baruffo Riserva Chianti Classico 2012 (90+ pts)

White Wine:

  • FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#080234) (D) - $16.95
  • KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95
  • ZENATO SAN BENEDETTO LUGANA 2016 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#707158) (D) - $18.95
  • DOMDECHANT WERNER HOCHHEIMER RIESLING KABINETT 2015 - Prädikatswein, Rheingau, Germany (#722413) (MS) - $19.95
  • MARGAN FAMILY HUNTER VALLEY SÉMILLON 2017 - Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia (#493338) (D) - $19.95
  • ASTROLABE PROVINCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#010421) (XD) - $24.95
  • DOMAINE DU PETIT MÉTRIS CLOS DE LA MARCHE SAVENNIÈRES 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#250571) (D) - $24.95  FSE
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#616466) (XD) - $29.95
  • MATTHIAS ET ÉMILE ROBLIN ORIGINE SANCERRE 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#556548) (XD) - $33.95
  • DOMAINE BILLAUD-SIMON MONT DE MILIEU CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#373548) (XD) - $54.95  FSE  91 pts  wine review
  • DOMAINE BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS LES CLOUS MEURSAULT 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#661322) (XD) - $62.95  91 pts  wine review


Saturday, April 7, 2018

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  • Saturday, April 7, 2018

René Barbier Mediterranean White (Spain) - Wine Review

wine was gifted to me during the holidays. This white wine blend is a General List wine that is readily available at the LCBO.

René Barbier Mediterranean White (84 pts)

Tasting Note:

RENÉ BARBIER MEDITERRANEAN WHITE - DO Catalunya, Spain (#332767) (XD) - $9.95
Screw cap. A non-vintage blend of 40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, and 30% Parellada. Honeyed aroma profile with melon and lemon rind notes. The medium-bodied palate is sweetish and juicy with balanced acidity and honeydew melon flavours joined by lemon rind and ripe tropical fruit notes. More lemon notes, with hints of white flowers, and good length on the dry finish. Fairly basic and simple, but should have wide appeal. Chill well. Score: 84 pts


Thursday, April 5, 2018

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  • Thursday, April 5, 2018

La Ferme Du Mont (Rhône) 2017 Wine Tasting

Stéphane Vedeau, La Ferme Du Mont
In , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of La Ferme Du Mont. Taking us through the tasting was the winemaker and vigneron Stéphane Vedeau. This was my third time tasting the wines from this Rhone winery, having previously met and tasted with Stéphane back in 2015 and 2013. I was quite impressed with the quality of the wines on both prior tastings, so I was expecting high quality this time around too.

The event got off to a very slow start as we waited for quite some time for other guests to arrive - some didn't even show up, so I was told. The pace of the wine tasting was also a bit slow. However, these shortcomings were forgotten as the event moved along as the quality of the wines just kept getting better and better.

The most interesting aspect of this tasting was the opportunity to taste multiple vintages of the same wine. We got to taste different vintages of three different wines - including five different vintages of the Côtes-du-Rhône Premiere Côte, two vintages of the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Le Ponnant, and two vintages of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vendage. How often does one get to taste five different vintages of the same wine on the same day? Thus, it was most fascinating for me to taste the 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Premiere Côte wines. Each Premiere Côte was quite different from each other, and you could sort of see the evolution of this wine, as well as how the growing season and the blend contributed to the vintage.

La Ferme Du Mont Wine Tasting 2017

Grenache is the main component in nearly all of the wines at La Ferme Du Mont's. 50 hectares of old vines are cultivated on the estate, incorporating several AOC's, and grown in a completely natural environment in harmony with Provencal vegetation. Vines are tended all throughout the year while using only organic fertilizers to help produce top quality fruit and fine wines year after year.

Thank you to Eurovintage International Wines & Spirits for the opportunity to taste these lovely wines. Some of these wines may be available for purchase at the LCBO - click six-digit the product code (if listed) to find out. You can also reach out to Eurovintage directly for availability or to order by the case.

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Vertical Tasting

Tasting Notes:

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2011 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
Medium-high intensity nose that is quite complex with sweet oak spice, blackberry, dark fruit, licorice, plum, cherry, and mature hints of dried fruit and floral. It's medium-full bodied with fresh acids and a spiced palate with lovely savoury aroma replays. This has supple tannins and a long, clean finish. Drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 89 pts

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2013 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
Quite light in colour and has focused red cherry and earth aromas of medium-high intensity with subtle oak and smoke notes. The palate of medium bodied with nice red currant aroma replays plus chalky mineral flavours. It has fine tannins, juicy acids and a long finish with a nice mineral underpinning. Score: 88 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2013 (88 pts)La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2014 (88 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2014 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
The medium+ intensity nose offers dark berry, oak spice, raspberry, and sweet spices. It's medium-bodied with fine tannins, fresh balanced acids, and dark berry aroma replays. It finishes long with a currant and mineral aftertaste. Score: 88 pts

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD) - $17.95
A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, this has a medium+ intensity nose of dark berry, dark plum, oak, blackberry and herbal aromas that follow through on the flavour profile. The palate is medium+ bodied and more savoury with supple and ripe tannins that provide some grip. It has a crunchy texture. Still young and a bit tight. Acids are juicy and the finish length is very good. Should evolve nicely over the next 5-6 years. Score: 88+ pts

La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2015 (88+ pts)La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes du Rhône 2016 (88 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2016 - Unfiltered, AP, France (#251645) (XD)
Medium+ intensity nose is ripe with dark cherry, dark berry, earth, brett, licorice, and raspberry aromas gain complexity with air, introducing kirsch liqueur and coffee aromas. It's medium+ bodied with ripe tannins, nice aroma replays plus some floral notes. Acid are very good and the finish length is good. Drinkable now, but will improve in a few years time. Score: 88 pts

LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2014 - Unfiltered, AC, Rhône, France (#171371) (XD)
An 80/10/10 blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre that has an elegant medium-high intensity nose of dried cherry, floral and sweet spices. On the palate, this is medium-full bodied with medium-firm tannins that are ripe and offer some structure and fine aroma replays of dark berry, dark cherry, and licorice. This has very good juicy acids.and a long finish. 89 pts

La Ferme Du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône Villages 2014 (89 pts)La Ferme Du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015 (89+ pts)

LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2015 - Unfiltered, AC, Rhône, France (#171371) (XD) - $20.95
A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. The medium-high intensity nose is ripe and high-toned with dark red berry, blackberry, white pepper, sweet oak aromas, all of which come through nicely on the medium+ bodied palate. It has bright, sharp, and fresh acidity. Medium+ tannins are supple and textured. Balanced acids. Long mineral finish. Softer than the 2014. Score: 89+ pts

LA FERME DU MONT CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE VENDANGE 2011 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - $48.95
Highly aromatic nose is elegant and savoury, showing fine maturity with forest floor, wet earth, dried cherry, and a whiff of florality. It's medium-full bodied with very nice aroma replays and silky, sweet tannins that still have some crunch to them. Acids are finely balanced. Earthy and barnyard notes on the long finish. Score: 91+ pts

La Ferme Du Mont Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vendange 2011 (91+ pts)La Ferme Du Mont Châteauneuf-du-Pape Côtes Capelan 2013 (92 pts)

LA FERME DU MONT CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE CÔTES CAPELAN 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#078857) (XD) - $82.95
A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre. The medium-high intensity nose is complex with dried cherry, floral, sweet spice, raspberry, red fruit, and some minerality. The medium+ bodied palate is chalky textured with medium-firm tannins that are well structured. Nice, complex aroma replays plus some graphite notes on the flavour profile. Acids are nice and bright, while the long finish is a touch warm, yet balanced. This is a powerful wine that is still quite young and should be aged 4-5 years and will continue to drink well for a decade or more. Score: 92 pts


Sunday, April 1, 2018

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  • Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cattail Creek Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2012 (Niagara) - Wine Review

wine is something I purchased at the winery when I visited Niagara during the Icewine Festival in .

The 2012 vintage in Niagara was an excellent vintage due to the long, hot summer that's a pre-requisite for Bordeaux-style reds to flourish in this region. Looking back at my tasting note, I gave this red wine a score of 89 pts and noted that it would develop well in bottle for another 2 years. At more than 4 years now, let's see how this wine is tasting...

Cattail Creek Estate Series Cabernet Merlot 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CATTAIL CREEK ESTATE SERIES CABERNET MERLOT 2012 - VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $17.95
Aged in French oak barrels for 1 year. Blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Screw cap. This has a medium-high intensity nose that leads with earth and dried cherry/floral notes, followed by some dark currant, blackberry, oak and a whiff of olive. Tannins are nicely resolving into the medium-full bodied palate, with some grippiness arriving with time. Savoury earthy, dark cherry, blackberry flavours, while the acids are still quite lively. Some dried cherry/red floral notes arrive mid-palate and continue through to the long, earth-driven finish. Should continue to drink well for at least another 2-3 years. Delicious! Score: 89 pts


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

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  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Nederburg Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (South Africa) - Wine Review

wine is a companion to the Nederburg Manor House Shiraz that I enjoyed on the. Like it's companion, this red wine is an LCBO VINTAGES product. However, since this Cabernet Sauvignon was released into VINTAGES last , there isn't much inventory available at the moment, but I suspect new stock will arrive in short order.

Produced by Nederburg, one of South Africa's most awarded wineries, the grapes for this wine were sourced from two dryland sites in the Paarl and Groenekloof regions where the soil is red/yellow Tukulu/Clovelly and ideal for root penetration. Both sites are low-yielding and produced small-berried, loose bunches picked at good phenolic ripeness. The Groenekloof fruit provided strong aromatics and dark fruit flavours, while the Paarl fruit contributed red fruit and gooseberry characters. Each block of fruit was vinified separately and matured in a combination of new-, second-, and third-fill French oak barrels for a period of 18 months prior to blending.

Nederburg Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

NEDERBURG MANOR HOUSE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#068767) (XD) - $16.95
Vague notions of curranty red and black fruit aromas from the cork. The medium intensity nose is ripe, offering aromas of cassis, black currant, dark fruit, grilled pepper and oak, with touches of mint. The medium-full bodied palate has a mix of red & black fruits, cassis, and oak notes on the flavour profile. Lively acids on the mid-palate. Tannins are supple and rounded, but gain some grip on the mid-palate. Woody notes linger on the long, dry finish. Drinking well now and should continue to drink well over the next 2-4 years. Score: 87 pts


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