2016 Matua Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Pale in color with a nice grassy nose, leaping up at you. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice grassy notes along with citrus flavors. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely crisp acidity, and maybe even some pineapple. This is a typical, food friendly, New Zealand sauv blanc. I would give it an 88 or so. The LCBO say Aromatic and Flavourful and couldn’t agree more!

From the LCBO web site:
Matua Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc — LCBO#: 619452
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Sauvignon Blanc Crafted off the beaten track in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, this crisp Sauvignon Blanc boasts classic regional flavours, from pear to pineapple. $16.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:November 18, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: New Zealand By: Matua Valley Wines Ltd Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful

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2010 Hidden Bench La Brunante

This past weekend started on the Friday with the iconic ’09 Insignia so I thought on Saturday it would be worth pulling out one of the best Bordeaux style blends Canada has to offer. A great many Ontarians, let alone Canadians, have little understanding of the quality wine that our country produces. For every bottle of plonk that is made domestically (marketed to a bargain basement price point) there are tremendous examples of craftsmanship and excellence that are tucked away from plain sight. Hidden Bench is one of those producers that few are vaguely aware of, and only if they peruse the local Vintages section of their LCBO. The winery only has, on occasion, three wines that grace the shelves of the LCBO and the two principle staples are estate blends. The wine today is Hidden Bench’s answer to the Insignia, and while people may scoff at the concept, it is not a far off idea that the quality of the two are similar. The variation in growing conditions, volume of growing land and the regions terroir are what make the differences. La Brunante (as well as wines like Fielding‘s Chosen Few and even Trius‘ Grand Red to name a few others) is a shining of example of how solid the Niagara region can be on big reds.

Usually I go into the a bit of detail on the winemaking overview or ideas, but I thought I’d share the winemaker’s words on this in verbatim:

La Brunante is the flagship Bordeaux style blend from Hidden Bench made only in the best years where optimum maturity and flavour development are achieved in the vineyard. This small‐lot wine was harvested from our highest performing Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc parcels across our three Estate vineyards. Yields from this blocks were extremely low (less than 1.5 metric tonne per acre on average) which contributes to the concentration and power of the wine. All blocks used in this assemblage were fermented separately in small batches, hand‐plunged to gently extract ripe tannins, and then gravity transferred to barrel. Malolactic fermentation occurred spontaneously in barrel via natural bacteria. The wine was blended at the first racking of the six barrels in April 2011, and then returned to the same barrels. After a further 13 months in barrel, the wine was bottled using gravity. This wine has never been pumped, fined or filtered.  

So what did it taste like and what were the thoughts? Here you go:

On the decant the inky violet colour stood out, I often take this to indicate solid fruit and youth, something I was not expecting from a 7 year old wine. The nose had currants and black pepper, and was surprising “soft”. That was the last time I’d use the word soft when it came to this wine. The initial tastes were raspberries, black currants and plum. It was bold on the palate to start with a long finish. The tannins were still very solid and this wine has more time in bottle to be had. The fruit was still strong and the word deep and heavy come to mind. The more time in glass eased this complex wine and brought out more subtleties, including more pepper and hints of tobacco. This is a very good wine, it has excellent structure and great fruit. If you own some bottles you should be richly rewarded by properly cellaring them for 2-5 more years. However, it is drinking brilliantly now with a good 20 minute decant. Open this wine to fool your friends who are California or old world wine snobs, as it will shock them to find out the origin.

The CWG Subjective Rating is 95 out of 100.

2010 La Brunante

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2009 Joseph Phelps Insignia

“Time improves most things” a quote which can be debated in almost any scenario, including those concerning wine. Some wine simply will never get better with time, while some can improve drastically with some care and patience. This 2009 Joseph Phelps Insignia was not in need of large improvements, however 7+ years of deep slumber have softened this giant to the point of near perfection. I was fortunate to have tried this from the barrel and soon after bottling, both of which hinted at a big wine in need of some settling. Last year I opened one from the cellar and even with a long decant the wine was still young and precocious. All of the previous encounters screamed “lay this down for much longer”; but this time around the porridge tasted “just right” after a brief decant.

For those not familiar with one of Napa’s top offerings here is a bit of history. Starting with its release in 1978 (of 1974 vintage), Joseph Phelps has produced this Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, Bordeaux style blend on an annual basis. Their flagship wine has been a consistent top product for the region, even earning perfect scores of 100 over several vintages as recently as 2002 from Robert E Parker, a rare feat. These wines are 100% estate grown and every year it varies, as the winemaker takes the best of the best to blend these beauties.

For 2009, this is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec from 100% estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards that break down as follows: Stags Leap District (26% Barboza Vineyard and 24% Las Rocas Vineyard), St. Helena (27% Spring Valley Ranch Vineyard), Napa Valley (11% Suscol Vineyard) and Oak Knoll District (6% Yountville Vineyard).

So what did it look and taste like? Off the decant the deep purple, fruit forward colour was vibrant. The initial nose had hints of cherry, blackberry and tobacco. The first few sips were full mouthed and chewy, with the fruit still very big and in your face. The cherry persisted with cassis, shades of vanilla and a bit of blackberry remained. The tannins were pleasantly firm to start and soft (yet long) to finish. I would highly recommend 25-30 minutes of decanting to start, as the wine is still quite youthful, and truly this wine could handle 3-5 more years of cellaring. With such amazing structure, phenomenal fruit and the excellent winemaking, the 2009 Insignia is a superstar in your cellar if you own it.

As a note, it is difficult to get Insignias in Canada, and sadly the LCBO in Ontario makes a large margin on them when they do have them. Currently they have 2008 and 2013 available, both of which are at hefty price increases. If you do have the ability to travel to Napa or somewhere in the United States that does not want to double/triple the costs, I highly recommend buying your personal allowance and bringing them back, they are one of those wines you will be richly rewarded with for your effort.

The CWG Subjective Rating is 97 out of 100.

09′ Insignia

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2006 Meerlust Rubicon

I had the pleasure of attending my first ever South African Wine Society event where they were featuring a vertical of 10 of Meerlust’s Rubicon Bordeaux blend wine. This one was the star of the night for me. Inky dark in color with a mild cab franc dominant nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some beautiful bold, rich cab franc dominate flavors, black berries and the like. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely bold tannins, great complexity and beautiful mouth puckering dryness. If your getting a hint that I liked this wine … I did! If you like your wines smooth and elegant … ahh this ain’t the wine for you. But if your up to a wine that offers big bold flavors from start to finish, then it’s perfect … This wine should have lots of life left in it, in spite of already being 11 years old. Very impressive. Right now I would give it a 90 or so … Sadly not only not in the LCBO, but you can buy it from Lifford for $54.99 (for the current 2014 vintage). I would have to say this is hands down one of the best South African reds I’ve had to date. Yumm…

By the way if your ever looking for a wine rep here in Ontario to buy a case from you can use Drinks Ontario to search.

Winery’s notes:
2006 – 74% cab sauvignon, 8% merlot and 18% cab franc. Very deep, youthful colour, intense almost purple hue. Very classic Rubicon nose with violets, ripe plum, cedar wood and intense spiceyness. Still very young but brooding, promising further maturation potential. The palate is full bodied, structured but packed with fresh dark fruit and rounded, linear tannins.

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2016 Wolf Blass Red Label Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon

Inky dark in color with a black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with black berries screaming through. While this is a blend with Cab, the shiraz is the dominant flavor. You could easily close your eyes and not know there was any cab … On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins, and some acidity. There’s no pepper on this one at all. Alcohol is well under control. This is a good, softer, fruit forward shiraz. The LCBO describe it as full bodied and smooth, I think that’s pretty accurate. I would give it an -88.

From the LCBO web site:
Wolf Blass Red Label Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon — LCBO#: 311795
Wolf Blass Red Label Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Deep ruby purple colour; dry and full-bodied with medium tannins, ripe blackberry and oaky vanilla aromas and flavours; long finish $14.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 1, 2001
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Australia By: Mildara Blass Limited Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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Watchdog Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Dark in color with a mild cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely red cherries to match the nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some very nice smooth tannins and acidity. This is a lovely varietal well made cab. Super food friendly. I paired it with spaghetti and meat sauce (I know a little pedestrian) and it went very well. I would give it an 88+ which for the price is excellent. I would guess it will easily keep a couple years. The LCBO say full bodied and smooth and I totally agree!

From the LCBO web site:
Watchdog Rock Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 — VINTAGES#: 461178
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
This is a nicely slender, balanced, quite typically built Washington cabernet that combines currant/cherry fruit, herbs, cedary oak and a touch of pencil lead. Really like the balance, with firm acidity and tannin, but nothing overplayed. Not flamboyant or deep but solid, and it does not kowtow to the sweetness trend among inexpensive Washington cabs. Very good length. Score – 89. (David Lawrason, winealign.com, July 20, 2016) $17.95

PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:September 2, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Washington, USA By:Constellation Brands Inc. (Us) Sugar Content: 4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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El Camino Rectoral do Umia Albariño 2015

Regular reader know I’ve written up Albariño’s in the past, I’m a fan. When well made they are crisp dry, super food friendly and reasonably priced. If your unsure of their flavor profile, these can go anywhere you would put a hearty sauv blanc. Sadly we don’t get enough in the LCBO. But then, what’s enough? (well without the word not in front of it :)) This one is pale in color with a lovely crisp dry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays beautiful crisp dry notes to match the nose. Think citrus, and pear. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely dryness with zesty notes, and grapefruit living on in the mouth. This is a super Albariño. Yumm … I would give it a solid 88+ which for the price is a super deal. I will be heading back to grab more!! IMHO these are meant to be drunk young so don’t buy too many of them. The LCBO say light and crisp? Light? On what planet?

From the LCBO web site:
El Camino Rectoral do Umia Albariño 2015 — VINTAGES#: 492629
El Camino Rectoral do Umia Albariño 2015
STYLE – Light & Crisp
This wine won a Silver Medal at the 2016 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. It’s quite pretty, with aromas of white flowers, lemon and grapefruit zest. Plenty of zippy acidity and a touch of mineral join apple and citrus fruit on the palate. Fresh, crisp, lively and perfect for summer. Pair with seafood. (Vintages panel, Oct. 2016) $15.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:September 2, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Rias Baixas, Spain By: Bodegas Milenium, Sl Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Light & Crisp

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Murphy Goode Red Blend 2012

Dark in color with a mild black cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some solid black cherries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely velvety tannins, a hint of sweetness and some nice oaky noes. There’s some lively acidity that lingers nicely in the mouth, and some nice complexity to the wine, to do with the blend. I would give it an 88+. A very nice wine for the money.

From the LCBO web site:
Murphy Goode Red Blend 2012 — VINTAGES#: 508267
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
This is a blend of 34% Zinfandel, 27% Merlot, 16% Petite Sirah, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Syrah and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon – a real snapshot of California. Quite lively with cassis, bright mixed berry fruit and light smoke in a smooth and juicy package. A great burger wine. (Vintages panel, Jan. 2017) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:August 5, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.7% Made in: California, USA By: Jackson Wine Estates International Sugar Content:9 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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2016 Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio

Pale in color with a nice crisp citrus note. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice crisp dry citrus notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely citrus notes, and some grapefruit along with some vibrant acidity. This is a super food friendly wine with some nice mouth grip. I would give it an 88 or so, which for the price is a good deal.

From the LCBO web site:
Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio — LCBO#: 93666
STYLE – Light & Crisp
Pale straw in colour; aromas of peach, grapefruit, and marzipan; the palate is dry and crisp with a refreshing finish. $14.45
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 23, 2011
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: New Zealand By: Nobilo Vintners Sugar Content: 8 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Light & Crisp

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2014 Chateau Clauzet

Another one from my Bordeaux futures order. Ink dark in color with a mild dark cherry nose and some oak. On the mid palate the wine displays some solid rich black cherry notes to match the nose along with some lovely mocha. On the medium length finish the wine displays some solid tannins and vibrant acidity. It’s a beautiful rich bold wine with lots of aging potential. I paired it with rack of lamb and it was a piece of yummy. I would give it an solid 90+

From the LCBO web site:
CLAUZET RP 89-91 WE 91-93 430306 750 $29
CLAUZET Cellar Starter 430306 (XD) 750mL
TASTING NOTE: Dominated by strong Cabernet tannins, this is still a fruity wine with swathes of black currant. The fresh acidity adequately balances the young wood and bitter chocolate finish. Score: 91-93 (WE)

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Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2015

Ink dark in color with a black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays black berries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some soft tannins and acidity. This is an ok wine, but nothing spectacular. I can see the description as being smooth. It could be quite well suited to poultry and salmon. I would give it an -88. I won’t be rushing out for more. The wine is a southern-France blend of 50-per-cent syrah, 30-per-cent grenache and 20-per-cent mourvèdre.

From the LCBO web site:
Cave de Roquebrun La Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2015 — VINTAGES#: 155804
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
A muscular but polished red, with brooding blackberry pie, dark cherry and roasted plum notes complemented by iron, peppercorn and licorice details. Full but not overpowering tannins linger on the savory, herb-tinged finish. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2022. Ranked #57 in the 2016 Wine Spectator Top 100. Score – 91. (Gillian Sciaretta, winespectator.com, Nov. 15, 2016) $18.95

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2016 Lumina Ruffino Pinot Grigio

Pale in color with a mild citrus nose. On the mid palate especially without food there’s some mild stone fruits, (think peach), but the dominant flavour here is definitely citrus, lemon and the like. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice crisp dryness and vibrant acidity. This is a super food friendly wine and would make a perfect on the patio summer sipper. I would give it an 88 or so which given the price is a bargain. A nice smooth subtle wine.

From the LCBO web site:
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio IGT — LCBO#: 589101
STYLE – Light & Crisp
Pale green-gold colour; mineral, citrus, herbal aromas with soft pineapple notes; dry palate, medium-bodied with moderate acidity and citrus, pear and lemon flavours with notes of herb; medium finish. $13.75

PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 1, 2001
Alcohol/Vol 12.0% Made in: Veneto, Italy By: Ruffino S.R.L.Sugar Content: 4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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Invivo Pinot Gris 2016

Pale in color with a crisp nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some odd out of place flavors, I would say nectarine that the LCBO description referred to. There’s a slight hint of pear. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice crisp firm acidity and nice dryness. I would give it an -88. Not exactly what I look for in a pinot grigio.

From the LCBO web site:
Invivo Pinot Gris 2016 — VINTAGES#: 367771
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
It is beautifully fruited and lifted on the nose displaying nectarine, poached pear and mandarin characters. The palate is succulent and rounded with a hint of sweetness, perfectly balanced by juicy acidity, finishing long and tasty. Wonderfully expressive and highly enjoyable. At its best: now to 2019. Score – 91. (Sam Kim, wineorbit.co.nz, July 2016) $16.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 22, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Marlborough, New Zealand By: Invivo Wines New Zealand Limited Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful

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2015 Mission Hill Five Vineyard Cab/Merlot

Inky dark in color with a nice hearty dark berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lots of lovely dark berries along with some mocha and oaky/earthy notes. On the medium length finish the wine deliver some lovely firm (although not overwhelming) tannins and some nice acidity. This is a perfect steak wine. For the price it’s a very good deal. This is another in the family of these from Okanagan that are being brought into the LCBO. I would give it an 88 or so.

From the LCBO web site:
Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot VQA — LCBO#: 145102
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Clear ruby red colour; cassis, plum, vanilla and spicy oak aromas, nicely complex; dry, medium-full body, rounded tannins, fresh blackberry, spice and herbal flavours with balanced acidity and medium length finish. $16.95

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2015 Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chard

I last reviewed the 2014 vintage of this wine and enjoyed it. This one is slightly golden in color with a nice nose of pear and vanilla. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with the usual suspects, pear and some apple. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice subtle vanilla notes along with some acidity. This is a super food friendly wine, we paired it with pan seared scallops and it went beautifully. This is absoloutely not an over oaked chard. The fruit is still present and the star of the show. I am thrilled to see this wine is continuing to be consistent year over year. Not all are, which is why re-review a wine when a new vintage comes out. Sometimes, sadly, a wine that has been a fav or a goto becomes a yuk. Not this one!!!!! I would give it an 88+. The LCBO call it full bodied and rich and I whole heartedly agree! This is a typical chard in that if you serve it too cold you will miss a lot of the complexity. Be sure and take it out of the fridge an hour or so before the meal, or watch it evolve in the glass as it warms ….

From the LCBO web site:
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay — VINTAGES#: 369686
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 3, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: California, USA By:Jackson Wine Estates International Sugar Content: 8 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Description: One hundred percent barrel-fermented Chardonnay with the richness one wants from California. Plenty of sunny fruit and lively freshness. Creamy and round with notes of buttered toast and tropical fruits. Try with char-grilled corn on the cob, or with grilled chicken.

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2015 Duckhorn Cab Sauv

I last wrote up the 2013 vintage of this wine and loved it. This wine is on the by the bottle list at the Keg for $64 which is not a bad deal for a wine that costs $34.75 from Rogers wines (and it comes into Vintages from time to time). So many restaurants mark up wine so excessively it’s nice to see ones like this. Dark in color with a lovely dark cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays lovely rich dark cherries to match the nose along with some mocha hints. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely tannins and acidity. This vintage is not quite as vibrant as the 2013, but still really good. It’s super food friendly and pairs perfectly with steaks. I would give it an 89+.

From the winery’s web site:
Production Notes
Varietal Content: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 1% Petite Sirah, 1% Petit Verdot
Winemaker Notes: From its deep, inviting color to its enticing aromas of blackberry, currant and cocoa, this wine showcases what we love about great Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. On the palate, the lush fruit flavors are framed by rich tannins and hints of sweet oak and spice.

Production
In Sonoma County, a warm, dry spring resulted in an early budbreak, while an extended flowering period brought a return to normal yields after three years of abundant crops. With berry weights down, the grapes offered great concentration, while retaining excellent acidity. We had one of our earliest harvests in the past decade, but a light rain in mid-September nourished the vines and provided welcome additional hangtime. Overall, the quality of the fruit was exceptional, with our white wines showing both richness and complexity, and our red grapes displaying a fine balance between elegance and intensity, with gorgeous dark fruit flavors.

Wine Specs
Appellation: Napa Valley
Harvest Date: August 25 – October 15
Sugar: 25.5° Brix
Acid: 0.60 g/100 ml titratable acidity
pH 3.62
Aging 100% French Oak
Fermentation 10-15 days fermentation at 80°F
Alcohol %13.9

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2006 Groom Shiraz

Often times i head down to my cellar and look for something that I know I should pull and drink, but at the same time does not have some sort of significance that makes me want to hold off. I cannot fully explain why I have this reluctance to drink certain wines more than to say I get attached to them the same way baseball card collectors can often times not sell certain cards. It is usually the sentimentality of the occasion that frequently stops a bottle being opened, the “I remember buying this from the winery” moment. Quite often I hate to break up verticals as well. Nothing bothers me more than looking at six years of the same vintage sitting side by side and I cannot pull the bottle that needs drinking. These are all faults that keep bottles cellar’d longer than they should be, occasionally causing a wine to be opened flat and uninteresting.

Funny enough, this review is not about any of the above, I think I simply wanted a cathartic moment to chastise my reluctance to drink more great wine…

This Shiraz was purchased at the recommendation of one of my favorite wine dealers in Sydney on one of my many passing’s through the city over the past decade. I grabbed this in 2011 and was told that it could use some more time lying down. Usually I tend to buy two of any wine that comes recommended, but as a Canadian who has limited baggage space and even more limits on my legal limit in importing wine without being forced to pay taxes and duties in excess of 90% on wines, I only grabbed one of these. What a shame, as it was very rewarding to have kept it for nearly 6 full years.

Marschall Groom Cellars is a family owned winery in the famous Barossa Valley, just outside of Adelaide, Australia. Most people know the region for the big bold, high alcohol Shiraz that vary so much from the Syrahs grown in the old world.; this despite years of producing great varietals and blends that do not begin with the letter S. While Barossa has been on the world stage for many decades, the most common comment I get is they like/dislike the region for their Shiraz’s. This wine in its current state would move most from the negative to the positive. It is a balanced and full bodied wine that has definitively been served by the patience in holding as opposed to drinking.

Getting down to the details of the wine are pretty easy. The red colour had hints of the earthy tones that you see with a wine that was made over 11 years ago. Once decanted, the sediment was significant but not a hindrance. The first whiffs show vanilla and cherry on the nose. Digging into the wine brings a wine with a bit of a bite to start and a long, lingering finish. Throughout the bottle this did not change, the balance of the wine holding up to an hour of exposure. The fruit was solid and not muted at all, and with a 14.3% ABV the alcohol was not countering the quality of the overall experience. If you could summarize the encounter with this Shiraz it boil it down to “great”. It was this word that kept coming to mind.

As few things: i) this cannot be found in any stores I’ve seen across Canada ii) this wine for sure could be put in the obscure category. However, online wine merchants can get you basically anything, so if you want it, I am sure you could buy it. Good Luck!

The CWG Subjective Rating is 91 out of 100.

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Oak Bay Pinot Noir 2013

I love pinots and love Okanagan wines, the terroir from the region is distinct. This wine is lovely garnet in color with a lovely varietal rustic nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely rich rustic notes, some nice soft red berries, raspberries and the like. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely firm tannins and crisp acidity. If you like your pinots soft an fruity … ahhh this is so not the wine for you. It’s big it’s bold and it’s beautiful. Yumm. The tannins mean this ought to have some life in it, 2-5 years or so. I would give it a solit 89+ BUY MORE!!!!

From the LCBO web site:
Oak Bay Pinot Noir 2013 — VINTAGES#: 267146
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This wine is sustainably farmed and fermented in French oak. It offers sour cherry, beetroot, earthy notes and a touch of toasty woodsmoke. The producer suggests pouring it alongside scallops with back bacon and vanilla. (Vintages panel, March 2017) $19.95
Release Date:July 22, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 12.9% Made in:British Columbia, Canada By: Gebert Family, St. Hubertus Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Pinot NoirT his is a VQA wine

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Alba Vega Albariño 2015

Albariño as you may know is a white grape grown primarily in Spain that when done right creates a lovely crisp, dry, food friendly, sauv blanc like wine. This one is no exception. Pale in color with a nice crisp nose with lovely dry minerality coming through. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely crisp dry minerality, and some nice citrus notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely lively acidity. This is indeed a very food friendly wine. We don’t get a lot of Albariño in Ontario, so if you like it buy a few, but be aware this wine is best appreciated young. You can substitute this wine anywhere you would put a sauv blanc. I would give the wine an 88+ which for the price is a really good deal. Get it while you can.

From the LCBO web site:
Alba Vega Albariño 2015 — VINTAGES#: 488973
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
This is a lovely albariño from its star region on Spain’s Atlantic coast. Look for fine fruit that’s well defined and layered, with some rich ripeness in the flavours. A little viscosity in the texture echoes the richness of the fruit and the acid adds an effective counter-balance that gives the wine its attractive and food-friendly freshness. Score – 4.5 Stars (out of 5). (Rod Phillips, Winepointer Newsletter, May 2016) $16.95

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Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2016

Pale in color with a lovely crisp dry nose, with some nice minerality and citrus notes coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely crisp dry citrus notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine’s crispness and lively acidity linger on nicely in the mouth. This is a super food friendly wine. I would give it an 88+, which for the price is a major bargoon!!!

From the LCBO web site:
Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2016 — VINTAGES#: 675421
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful $14.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 8, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Western Cape, South Africa By: Mulderbosch Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful Varietal:Chenin Blanc Description: Chenin Blanc is perhaps best known for the work it has done in the Loire, but Chenin is the signature white grape of South Africa where it has been long known as ‘Steen’ and has been produced in South Africa since the 1600s. You can expect to discover a ripe wine with impressive tropical fruit flavours and a fine mineral tone. This wine is typically fresh and lively with an underlying spice character.

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Xavier Ventoux 2015

The back of this wine says AOC Protogee … I did a bunch of digging and eventually found out the wine is from the Rhone valley and the wine is 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 20% Mourvèdre. Dark in color with a nice black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice black berries to match the nose along with some slight sweetness. On the medium length finish the wine displays some light tannins and acidity. This is for me similar to Cotes du Rhone village wine. It’s lighter. The LCBO say full bodied and smooth which I would say would be generous. I’d give it an 87-88. It’s not a bad wine, but not a great one either. I won’t be rushing out to grab more.

From the LCBO web site:
Xavier Ventoux 2015 Red Blend — VINTAGES#: 413211
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Named for Mount Ventoux, this region has seen winemaking since at least the first century BCE, and a potter’s workshop uncovered by archaeological excavations in the region places the earliest evidence of amphorae production in France in this region. This 2015 offers notes of fresh berry, cherry, spice and savoury wood tones crafted in a smooth and approachable style. (Vintages panel, June 2016)
$15.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 1, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: Rhône, France By: Xavier Vins Sugar Content:11 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Pale in color with a nice crisp nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely grassy notes along with some nice pink grapefruit. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice crisp acidity and some nice lingering mouth grip. I paired it with crab and shrimp ravioli and it went well. A very food friendly wine. I quite enjoyed it. I would give it an 88+ which for the price is quite good.

From the LCBO web site:
Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2016 — VINTAGES#: 714295
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
This gorgeous sauvignon is filled with tropical fruit, nectarine and mandarin characters with a subtle infusion of fresh herbs. It is succulent and intensely flavoured on the palate, and delivers lovely fruit purity, wonderfully framed by juicy acidity, finishing superbly long and delicious. At its best: now to 2019. Score – 93. (Sam Kim, wineorbit.co.nz, July 2016) $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 22, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Nelson, New Zealand By: Waimea Estates Sugar Content: 4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful

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Arboleda Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Inky dark in color with a nice vibrant cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice dark cherries coming through along with some oak. I previously reviewed the 2008 vintage of this wine and loved it. This vintage is not as bold as the 2008, but still quite good. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely smooth tannins, dryness and acidity. This is a lovely wine. I would give it an 88+ and very varietal. Given the tannins I would say it should keep quite nicely. This is spot on varietal to my tastes. The LCBO call it full bodied and firm and I would whole heartedly agree!

From the LCBO web site:
Arboleda Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 — VINTAGES#: 606764
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
This is a pretty coastal cabernet with flower and black currant aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, very fine tannins and a crisp finish. Elegant style. Drink now. Score – 92. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, May 12, 2016) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 22, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Aconcagua Valley, Chile By: Vina Sena S.A.Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm

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Wakefield Pinot Noir 2016

Garnet in color with a mild light red berry nose. On the mid palate there are some varietal pinot noir notes, this raspberries and the like. On the mid palate the wine displays some varietal pinot noir notes to match the nose, some light red berries along with a hint of black berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some slight peppery notes, some smooth tannins and some nice dryness. This is a good pinot noir, but not a great one. Medium bodied and fruity is how the LCBO describe it and I would agree. I won’t rush back to get more … I would give it an -88

From the LCBO web site:
Wakefield Pinot Noir 2016 Pinot Noir — VINTAGES#: 197392
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
One of the most trusted names in Australian wine, Wakefield (known as Taylor in Australia) is a member of the Australian First Families of Wine – an organization comprised of 12 of Australia’s most important and iconic family-run wineries. This 2016 Pinot Noir is floral, smooth and easy-drinking with bright red fruit and juicy blackberry, plus a touch of spice. (Vintages panel, Sept. 2016) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 22, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: South Australia, Australia By: Wakefield Wines Pty Ltd. Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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2016 Pondview Dragonfly Pinot Grigio

Pale in color with a mild crisp nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice dry crisp notes along with a hint of peach,and pear and stone fruits. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice crisp dry notes, along with some nice acidity and some citrus. This is a super dry, subtle wine, very food friendly. I would give it an -88. If your looking for a wine to simply sip on the patio, then this is not a bad choice at all!

From the LCBO web site:
Pondview Dragonfly Pinot Grigio VQA — LCBO#: 260372
STYLE – Light & Crisp
Light-bodied with crisp peachy flavours. $16.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:September 29, 2011
750 mL bottle Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in:Ontario, Canada By: Pondview Estate Winery Ltd.Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Light & Crisp Varietal: Pinot Grigio

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