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

Friday, July 28, 2017

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  • Friday, July 28, 2017

Piazzano Chianti 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

red wine returns to the LCBO after a 2-year absence, and will be available as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

It is produced by Fattoria di Piazzano, an estate located in the hills of Empoli, Tuscany. The winery has been part of the Bettarini family since 1948, while Ilaria and Rolanki Bettarini took over operations in 1999. They use the expertise of consultant winemaker Emiliano Falsini to produce the wines.

I tasted the 2013 Piazzano Chianti two years ago and am expecting much of the same from this latest vintage - a savoury, earth, cherry red for pairing with food. It is vinified using soft pressing, with maceration on skins for 3 weeks and pumping over the cap. Fermentation occurs with native yeasts, while ageing is vitrified in cement tanks, with further ageing in bottle for 4 to 6 months.

Piazzano Chianti 2015 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIAZZANO CHIANTI 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#393199) (D) - $14.95
A blend of 80% Sangiovese, and the rest Canaiolo, Colorino and other indigenous varietals. Ripe plum, red berry and oak aromas from the cork. Medium intensity aromas of ripe red berry, cherry, fresh flowers and oak with an earthy rustic note in the glass. It's ripe and slightly raisined on the medium-bodied palate with cherry, earth and some chocolatey oak flavours offering a subtle impression of sweetness. Acids are bright and fresh, while the supple tannins add a nice textural element. Chocolatey and resinous on the finish with good length. A mid-week red wine to enjoy with pizza or pasta over the next 2 years. Score: 86 pts

Monday, July 24, 2017

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  • Monday, July 24, 2017

Niagara Icewine Festival Review 2017 - Day 2 of 2

Legends Estates Terroir Semillon with Creamy Canadian Lobster Bisque
On , I visited Niagara for the second weekend in a row to partake in Icewine and food pairings during the Niagara Icewine Festival. All of the wineries visited on this day were located in Twenty Valley. You can read all about my visit to Niagara Wine Country from the here.

The first stop on this day was at Legends Estates Winery for a delicious Creamy Canadian Lobster Bisque that was paired with a choice of their 2013 Legends Estates Terroir Semillon ($13.25, 87 pts, #400366) or 2013 Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve ($18.95, 89 pts). I opted for the Semillon based on a recommendation at the winery, as well as the fact that I tasted (and very much enjoyed) their Chardonnay the last time I visited Legends Estates. The Semillon was mostly tropical and citrus in nature with just a hint of savoury characters, but turned very savoury and smoky, in a pleasant way, when paired with the thick and savoury Bisque. Moreover, the fresh acidity in the wine helped balance the creamy texture of the soup. Overall, this was a very intriguing pairing with the wine changing immensely when paired with the Lobster Bisque.

At Vieni Estates, which was our second stop of the day, we had the option of a "The Terrific Two" Layered Flakie Custard Pastry paired with the 2011 Vieni Vidal Icewine ($39.95, 375 mL, 89 pts) or a Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti paired with 2014 Vidal Sparkling Icewine. Since I was there with my wife, we got one of each food item and I opted for the Vidal Icewine while my wife got the non-alcoholic red berry fruit juice. Surprisingly, the Icewine paired quite well with the Biscotti, bringing out the nutty notes in the nicely maturing Icewine. Very few producers make Sparkling Icewine, so I tasted it at the end and was quite pleased with the quality of the sparkling dessert wine - a wine review is provided below.

Vieni Vidal Icewine with Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti and Layered Flakie Custard PastryRockway Vidal Icewine with Salted Caramel Peanut Brittle

Picard's Salted Caramel Peanut BrittleThe third stop of the day was Rockway Vineyards, where we enjoyed a very decadent Salted Caramel Peanut Brittle created by Chef Stefan Olk, and paired with their 2013 Rockway Vidal Icewine. This indulgence was for those with a sweet tooth. On its own, the Brittle was intensely sweet, while the salt and peanuts added some much needed nuance to balance out the sweetness. The wine was also very sweet and paired very well with the Brittle as the sweetness levels from both the wine and Brittle were evenly matched, while the Brittle also brought out some very nice caramel notes in the wine. Enjoyable pairing for sure, but you must have a sweet tooth as a prerequisite.

Our final stop of the afternoon was at Hernder Estate Wines, where I always seem to have an unusual experience - and this time was no different. I won't go into any details as things were rectified quickly, and some of the wines I tasted were top-notch. The pairing here was a Vanilla Bean Cake Pop engulfed in a robe of Dark Chocolate and topped with Gold Leaf Sprinkles, and paired with their 2013 Hernder Cabernet Franc Icewine ($50.05, 375 mL, 89 pts). The Cake Pop was fresh and juicy and had just the right amount of sweetness to balance the sweet cherry, strawberry jam flavours in the wine. Berries and chocolate always make for a delightful pairing.

Hernder Cabernet Franc Icewine with Vanilla Bean Cake Pop

This concludes my report from my visit to Niagara during the annual Icewine Festival. Wine reviews of my favourite wines tasted on this day are provided below. If you're interested in purchasing any of these wines, please contact the winery as none of these wines are available at he LCBO.

Tasting Notes:

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $16.95
Ripe stone and orchard fruit aromas of very good intensity that continue on the palate, joined by grapefruit flavours. Still on the dry side, and balanced with fresh acidity on a medium-bodied frame. Finish length is very good. Score: 88 pts

Legends Estates Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (88 pts)Legends Estates Reserve Shiraz 2012 (89 pts)

LEGENDS ESTATES RESERVE SHIRAZ 2012 - Lizak Vineyard, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $23.95
The nose is highly aromatic with meaty, savoury notes, along with touches of sour cherry. It's full-bodied with smooth, velvety tannins and more meaty/savoury flavours. Very good finish length. It has mouth-watering acids and some structure for ageing, but this is quite enjoyable now. Score: 89 pts

LEGENDS ESTATES VIDAL ICEWINE 2006 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $49.90
Highly aromatic and very appealing with aromas of peach, apricot, honeysuckle and some sweet vanilla notes. On the palate, it's medium-full bodied and thick, but well-balanced by vibrant acids. Lovely mature burnt sugar and caramel flavours lead the way on the palate, followed by peach, pineapple, and apricot. Excellent finish length. Enjoy now or hold a few years. Score: 91 pts

Legends Estates Vidal Icewine 2006 (91 pts)

VIENI CABERNET FRANC PRIVATE RESERVE 2012 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $22.95
Medium-high aromas that are herbaceous in nature, followed by spice and toasty oak (from 18 months in oak) and ripe red & black fruits. It's full-bodied on the palate with nice aroma replays and has a slightly chalky mouthfeel from the medium-firm tannins. Acids are very good and finishes long. Score: 89 pts

Vieni Cabernet Franc Private Reserve 2012 (89 pts)Vieni Pinot Noir Private Reserve 2012 (89+ pts)

VIENI PINOT NOIR PRIVATE RESERVE 2012 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
Medium+ intensity nose offers a lot of dark fruit notes - berry, cherry and plum - along with earth and sweet spice notes. It's medium-bodied with earthy, beetroot, black cherry and savoury flavours framed by good acidity. There's some structure to the tannins. Finishes long. Score: 89+ pts

VIENI SPARKLING VIDAL ICEWINE 2014 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $49.95
Rare to find, this has medium+ intensity aromas consisting of apple, green mango, tropical fruits, and pineapple with some tartness. It is sweet on the full-ish palate, with very nice aroma replays and hints of honey. Nice bubbles, juicy, and finishing long. Score: 89+ pts

Vieni Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2014 (89+ pts)

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR 2014 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#498790) (XD) - $19.95
The nose is slightly candied with red cherry, strawberry, beetroot and earth aromas of medium+ intensity. It's light-to-medium bodied with slightly dusty and young tannins. The palate is dry with with nice red fruit, black cherry and black plum flavours, and very subtle oak nuances. Acids are very good and the finish is long and juicy. Coming to VINTAGES on August 8th. Score: 88 pts

Rockway Vineyards Pinot Noir 2014 (88 pts)

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS VIDAL ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (375 mL) - $34.95
Medium-high aromatics offers lemon, pineapple, and a touch of tart citrus notes. The medium+ body is luscious with balanced acids and very nice aroma replays along with hints of caramel flavours. Long finishing. Score: 90 pts

Rockway Vineyards Vidal Icewine 2013 (90 pts)Rockway Vineyards Riesling Icewine 2013 (91 pts)

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS RIESLING ICEWINE 2013 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (S) (200 mL) - $29.95
Highly aromatic on the nose, showing lovely mineral, petrol and honeysuckle notes. The palate is sweet, but is balanced by bracing acidity. The aromas come through on the palate and are joined by lemon citrus, orange, apricot and tropical fruit flavours. Excellent finish length. Delicious! Score: 91 pts

HERNDER RIESLING RESERVE 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $12.95
Maturing well, this has a medium-high intensity nose that's essentially dry with mineral-driven aromas of petrol, slate and lime. The palate is more of the same with lemon/lime and mineral with just a kiss of sweetness. Delicate acids provide freshness and the finish length is medium-long. Very good value! Score: 88

Hernder Riesling Reserve 2010 (88 pts)

HERNDER DEEP ROOTS CABERNET FRANC RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $39.95
This refined, elegant wine has medium-high intensity aromas of dark berry, dark fruit, oak, leafy, along with touches of green, herbaceous notes. The palate is medium-full bodied with nicely extracted fruit offering complex aroma replays and supple tannins that are still a bit tight. It has very good acidity and excellent finish length. Age this another 2 years and drink over the 5-7 years. Score: 91 pts

Hernder Deep Roots Cabernet Franc Reserve 2012 (91 pts)Hernder Deep Roots Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012 (91 pts)

HERNDER DEEP ROOTS CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE 2012 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $44.95
The nose seems a bit shy and offers white pepper, cassis, black currant, and evergreen aromas of medium-high intensity. It is medium-full bodied on the palate with flavours of evergreen, currant, and cassis, accented by oak elements. It has smooth, refined tannins that are supported by mouth-watering acids. Long finishing. A powerful Niagara Cab with years of enjoyment ahead. Score: 91 pts

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