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 (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. 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


Saturday, July 22, 2017

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  • Saturday, July 22, 2017

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (Ontario) - Wine Review (Bottle 2)

I decided to open up this wine  in recognition of the International Cool-Climate Chardonnay Celebration that is taking place this weekend in Niagara.

I've tasted this white wine quite a few times since last year and it's always been delicious! This is the second bottle from my personal collection, from a case that was ordered through the Vini wine app. My last published review of the 2014 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay was posted last year on , to ring in the .

This delicious wine can be found at the LCBO, with good inventory levels throughout Ontario, as it was released earlier this month as part of the VINTAGES Release.

Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (92 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (#148866) (XD) - $28.95
Some tropical fruit, citrus and grapefruit aromas from the cork. Aromas are open and fragrant in the glass, offering smoky buttered popcorn and golden apple with very good intensity. It is medium+ bodied, lean more fruit-forward on the palate with golden apple and lemon peel flavours leading the way, with nicely integrated oak and a hint of minerality. Acids are clean and nicely balanced. Excellent finish length with some mineral notes. A lean, elegant, and classy wine to enjoy over the next 2-3 years with rich seafood dishes. So good! Highly recommended. Score: 92 pts


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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  • Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Porca de Murça Reserva Tinto 2010 (Portugal) - Wine Review

wine was purchased almost 4 years ago to the day from the LCBO VINTAGES Release, where this red wine was featured as part of a selection of wines for the BBQ.

Obviously, this vintage no longer available at the LCBO. Moreover, the current vintage is also not available. If you have this wine in your cellar, you should open it within the next couple of years. A full wine review is provided below.

Porca de Murça Reserva Tinto 2010 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

PORCA DE MURÇA RESERVA TINTO 2010 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#684753) (XD) - $17.95
Black plum and prune aromas from the cork. This blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) has a medium intensity nose seems a bit closed, but offers mature dried blackberry, blueberry and a distinct earthy-mineral component. The palate is medium-full bodied with tannins that are resolving quite nicely but still have some grip. Dried fruit flavours of cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and fig, followed by dark plum and some sweet oak spice notes on the flavour profile. Acids are still well-balanced and the finish length is very good with raisiny notes emerging. Maturing well, this should be enjoyed over the next 1-2 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Wednesday, July 19, 2017

LCBO VINTAGES Release July 22, 2017: Old + New Favourites

LCBO Wine Picks from July 22, 2017 VINTAGES Release
The upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release on will be on shelves this coming . It's a mono-thematic release and is titled "Old Favourites + New Favourites".

The first part of this thematic are "Old Favourites", which is in reference to classically styled wines that are well-established from wine regions around the world. It lists 11 different styles and has 2 examples of each wine, for a total of 22 wines, of which 5 are included among my wine picks. The wines I've chosen include a Riesling from Ontario, the Xavier Côtes du Rhône red (from Southern Rhône) that's a blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah. There is also a nice Chianti that is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo. From New Zealand, there is a Sauvignon Blanc, while the final pick is the Ontañon Gran Reserva that is a blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014 (90 pts)

From the second feature titled "New Favourites", this section lists 10 wines made from lesser-known grapes and styles. Just one of the "New Favourites made my list of wine picks, and it's the Vincens Prestige that is a blend of 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot.

In red wines from the rest of the release, the 2010 Bordeaux is a Merlot-based blend that is ageing quite well from an excellent vintage, while the Minervois is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault. The Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône is a blend of nearly equal parts Grenache and Syrah, while the wine from Burgundy is a Pinot Noir, and the Barbaresco is made with Nebbiolo.

Claude Gros La Condamine Paulignan Minervois 2013 (88 pts)

In white wines, the Vinho Verde is a blend of 70% Trajadura and 30% Alvarinho, while the Bila-Haut Blanc is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu. The Burgundy whites are all Chardonnay. For sweet wine lovers, the aforementioned Riesling from Ontario is your best bet.

Among my rosé wine picks, the Saint Aix is a classical Provence blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, with a touch of Carignan, while the Tavel Rosé is from vines averaging 46 years old and consists of 62% Grenache Noir, 17% Cinsault, 7% Grenache Blanc, and the balance other varietals. Both rosés are dry.

Enjoy my LCBO wine recommendations from this Release. Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU HAUT ROZIER CUVÉE SAINT VINCENT 2010 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux, France (#496422) (XD) - $16.95
  • CLAUDE GROS LA CONDAMINE PAULIGNAN MINERVOIS 2013 - AC, Midi, France (#493528) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • XAVIER CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#297317) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHÂTEAU VINCENS PRESTIGE 2014 - AC Cahors, Southwest, France (#272427) (XD) - $18.95
  • LA TREMENDA MONASTRELL 2012 - DO Alicante, Spain (#490011) (XD) - $19.95
  • GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $21.95  reviewed here
  • JEAN-LUC COLOMBO LES FOROTS CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#494641) (XD) - $21.95
  • HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR 2014 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#461699) (D) - $24.95
  • THEULOT JUILLOT VIEILLES VIGNES MERCUREY 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#487462) (XD) - $31.95
  • ONTAÑÓN GRAN RESERVA 2005 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#939736) (XD) - $38.95
  • PRODUTTORI DEL BARBARESCO BARBARESCO 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#708826) (XD) - $46.95

White Wine:

  • ANSELMO MENDES PASSAROS VINHO VERDE 2015 - DOC, Portugal (#190546) (XD) - $13.95
  • LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95
  • DOMAINE DES TOURTERELLES MÂCON VILLAGES 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#489799) (XD) - $16.95
  • CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#256552) (XD) - $18.95
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) - $18.95
  • BERNARD FOUQUET LE PETIT CLOS DRY VOUVRAY 2015 - AC, Loire, France (#489468) (XD) - $21.95
  • VAVASOUR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#713958) (XD) - $23.95
  • PAUMANOK DRY RIESLING 2015 - North Fork of Long Island, New York (#508770) (D) - $24.95
  • EARL SYLVAIN MOSNIER BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 - AC, Burgundy, France (#488817) (XD) - $34.95
  • PEARL MORISSETTE CUVÉE DIX-NEUVIÈME CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#303602) (XD) - $38.20  FSE

Rosé Wine:

  • DOMAINE MABY LA FORCADIÈRE TAVEL ROSÉ 2016 - AC, Rhône, France (#701318) (XD) - $18.95
  • SAINT AIX ROSÉ 2016 - AP Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France (#451906) (XD) - $22.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • CHARLES HEIDSIECK BRUT RÉSERVE CHAMPAGNE - Disgorged 2016, AC, France (#036962) (XD) - $69.95


Sunday, July 16, 2017

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  • Sunday, July 16, 2017

Claude Gros La Condamine Paulignan Minervois 2013 (Midi) - Wine Review

wine review is a new wine that will be released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This red wine is produced by Select Vins, which is a collaboration between Château de la Négly owner, Jean Paux-Rosset, and his consulting winemaker, Claude Gros. Together, they have assembled some of the best grape growers from across the appellations of the Languedoc, including this wine from Minervois, which is located in the western part of the AOC.

Claude Gros La Condamine Paulignan Minervois 2013 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLAUDE GROS LA CONDAMINE PAULIGNAN MINERVOIS 2013 - AC, Midi, France (#493528) (XD) - $17.95
Raised completely in concrete tanks, this is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault. Dark fruit and sweet spice aromas from the cork. In the glass, it has dark fruits, rosemary herb, and olive notes joined by an earthy component and green leafy aromas of modest intensity. The palate is medium-full bodied with bright, spicy acids. Dusty tannins are a touch drying and add nice texture. Flavour profile is ripe with dark fruits, currant, black pepper, and earthy with a resinous character, Finish length is very good. Enjoy over the next 5-6 years. Score: 88 pts


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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  • Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine is this delicious red wine that will be available at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Like the 2012 Giacomo Mori Chianti that I enjoyed two years ago, this is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo that is vinified in 40-60 hectolitre stainless steel tanks, then aged for 10-12 months in 20 hectolitre Slavonian and Allier oak barrels, tonneaux of 5 hectolitres, and barriques on the third refill.

The Giacomo Mori estate is located in San Casciano del Bagni, near Siena, and is planted to 8 hectares of vineyards that were replanted in 1995, followed by a major renovation that began in 1996 and was completed in the year 2000. The consultant winemaker is Emiliano Falsini.

Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014 (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

GIACOMO MORI CHIANTI 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#068858) (XD) - $21.95
Blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino/Canaiolo. Fresh red berry and plum and aromas from the cork. This has a savoury, rustic, earthy, forest floor nose followed by red cherry, raspberry, sweet oak spice and leather aromas of medium intensity and quite complex. The palate is medium-bodied and dry with red currant, sour cherry, and raspberry flavours along with woodsy elements. Bright acids are fresh, while the refined tannins are smooth and well-integrated, if a touch drying. It has a long, savoury finish. Will improve in 1-2 years and drink well to 2023. Score: 90 pts


Sunday, July 9, 2017

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  • Sunday, July 9, 2017

Montecillo Crianza 2011 (Rioja) and Lamberti Santepietre Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2015 (Veneto) - Wine Reviews

Wines for Summer Drinking
As we begin enjoying the hot summer weather, here are a couple of affordable wines that should quench your thirst. The first is a Pinot Grigio and is usually a crowd favourite, while the Crianza is a savoury red wine made with Tempranillo that will be suitable for your backyard BBQ party. Both of these wines are widely available at the LCBO.

If you're heading outdoors, you can pack your wines (and food items) in a cooler bag so they stay nice and cool. You'll also want to remember to pack plastic wine glasses because you don't want to risk breaking your expensive stemware. And lastly, you'll want to pick up a set of DrinkGuards - these are non-slip silicone drink covers that keep bugs and debris out of your glass, which also doubles as a drink marker and even a coaster!

Tasting Notes:

LAMBERTI SANTEPIETRE PINOT GRIGIO DELLE VENEZIE 2015 - IGT, Veneto, Italy (#560524) (XD) - $12.10
Screw cap. Clean, fresh lemon and citrus aromas of medium+ intensity with a hint of white flowers from the glass. Some earthy/musky notes arrive as it warms up. The palate is fleshy, medium-bodied and dry with lemony white floral, and herbally flavours. It has balanced acidity, with good finish length that has touches of minerality. Easy going wine to enjoy on the patio. Score: 87 pts

Lamberti Santepietre Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2015 (87 pts)

MONTECILLO CRIANZA 2011 - DOC, Rioja, Spain (#144493) (XD) - $14.95
Sweet oak spice and black plum aromas from the cork. Medium+ intensity nose from glass, showing sandalwood, oak spice, cherry, raspberry, earth, forest floor, and barnyard aromas all mingling nicely. The palate is medium+ bodied with good fruit concentration, tannins a touch drying, and more savoury earthy, dark cherry, forest floor, barnyard, and oak flavours. It has juicy acids, some heat on the mid-palate, while the finish length is very good with more savoury earthy, forest floor and barnyard notes. A savoury wine ideal for the BBQ. Drink over the next 2 years. Score: 88 pts

Montecillo Crianza 2011 (88 pts)


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