2012 Peller Signature series sur lie Chardonnay

Slightly golden in color with lovely varietal nose with lots of pear and apple coming through. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with apple and pear dominating the mid palate. This is a lovely bold, expressive, varietal chard. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth vanilla and some slight creamyness. This is a smooth well made, not over baked chard. Yum. I would give it an 89 or so. I paired it with a sea bass and it was perfect! Did I mention yum? In case you want to read up on Sur de lie follow the link.

From the LCBO’s web site for a different year:
Peller Estates Signature Series Chardonnay Sur Lie 2013 — VINTAGES#: 383075
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
2012 was a massive year with much weight given to many Chardonnays – but here we have the more (for lack of a better term) delicate 2013 Sur Lie Chard – here the wine sees 30% new oak and 12 months on its ‘lies’ (pronounced ‘lees’ – aka: dead yeast cells) … the result is aromas of vanilla, butter, candied apple, grilled peach and green apple skins … palate is fresh, lively and fruit driven with the subtlety of apple, butterscotch and a nice spice on the finish. Score – 4 Stars (out of 5). (Michael Pinkus, ontariowinereview.com, April 19, 2016) $31.95

From the winery’s web site for a different year:
SIGNATURE SERIES CHARDONNAY SUR LIE 2014 $31.95 / BOTTLE
Our Signature Series Chardonnay ‘Sur Lie’ is harvested from selected premium vineyard sites within the Niagara Peninsula. The grapes are gently pressed to release the purest of juice, then barrel fermented and aged sur lie for 12 months in 100% French oak barrels (30% new oak).

This full-bodied Chardonnay has a slightly rich mouthfeel and just enough acidity to refresh. Flavours of tropical fruit and delicate notes of spice and toasty develop on the palate. The smooth finish lingers with spicy oak and grilled lemon. Enjoy this wine now through 2017.

Serve lightly chilled at 14 to 15°C. If served too cold the beautiful bouquet and flavours will be muted. A perfect rich, luscious sipping wine or pair with mushroom risotto; creamy mushroom soup; baked butternut squash; grilled pork chops with Dijon and tarragon; delicate cream sauces on pasta tossed with smoked salmon or scallops; grilled firm fillets of fish on cedar plank; roasted game hen with pine nut stuffing; turkey pot pies.

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Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Inky dark in color with a lovely nose of dark cherries. On the mid palate the wine displays bold rich dark cherries to match the nose. On the medium length finish this wine displays a lovely smooth acidity and tannins. And if that was the end of the review the wine would get strong accolades. But then it hit, an almost immediate and the worst allergic reaction I have ever encountered. A massive asthmatic reaction impacting my breathing. The wine on the back says contains sulphites which is known to cause such reactions but the levels present must be beyond anything I have ever encountered. If your sensitive to sulphites, avoid this wine like the plague.

From the LCBO web site:
Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 — VINTAGES#: 360222
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Aromas of vanilla, herb, cocoa and barrel spice lead the nose of this attractive Cab. The well-balanced palate offers coffee and dark fruit flavors that transition seamlessly into a lingering finish. Score – 90. (Sean P. Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast, Sept. 1, 2016) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 29, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: Washington, USA By: Chat Ste Michelle Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Full-bodied & Smooth

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Lawson’s Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2016 (mini review)

Pale in color with a lovely varietal nose of stone fruits, think peach and the like. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with some nice peach coming through! On the medium finish the wine displays some nice crisp acidity and some nice mouth grip as the wine builds in the mouth. This is a spot on Pinot Gris, just the way I like them. Should be super food friendly too. This is another one from the New Zealand wine fair. I would give it an 88+

From the winery’s web site:
LAWSON’S DRY HILLS PINOT GRIS 2016
Region: Marlborough New Zealand
Winemaker: Marcus Wright/Rebecca Wiffen.
Alcohol: 13.5% pH: 3.55 RS: 6.8g/L TA: 5.4g/L Brix: 22 – 22.4

The majority of the fruit for this wine is from our own Waihopai Valley vineyard. It was cropped at low levels to achieve concentrated flavours and a rich, weighty texture. 10% of the juice was fermented with wild yeast in aged French oak. Aromas include freshly sliced nashi pear, lemon curd and almond meal whilst the palate which is just off-dry, add ripe, juicy stonefruit characters.

Cellaring: Enjoy whilst young or cellar for two to four years.

Food Match: Perfect with rich cheeses, roast pork with a pear sauce, creamy pastas, poultry and seafoods.

From the LCBO web site for a different year:
Lawson’s Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2014 — VINTAGES#: 415158 | 750 mL bottle
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Pinot Gris is grown nearly everywhere in New Zealand, with more aromatic versions emerging from the cooler South Island. Despite regional variation, the vast majority of NZ PG is closer in style to Alsace, with great focus on texture and complexity. This example from Marlborough is complex, rich and ripe with lots of tropical fruit, honey, good weight, length and texture. (VINTAGES panel, Oct. 2014) $14.25

PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:November 14, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Marlborough, New Zealand By: Lawsons Dry Hills Sugar Content:10 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry

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Maison Chanzy Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015

Garnet in color with a nice rustic nose with soft red berries coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays some rich light red berries, strawberries and raspberries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely smooth tannins and acidity. There’s some lovely mouth grip to this wine, it builds nicely. There’s some noticeable alcohol especially out of the bottle. This is a really good varietal pinot fr the money. Interestingly it is even labelled as a pinot noir, something the french don’t often do. I would give it an 89. Yumm.

Maison Chanzy Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015 — VINTAGES#: 408153
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Burgundy is a region with a reputation for expensive wines more suited to collectors and connoisseurs than for your everyday wine lover – and though many of the world’s most expensive and sought-after wines are certainly made here, the region is home to great value too. This ripe and structured example is a case in point. Earthy, with ripe red and black cherry, excellent freshness and spice, it is a supple, juicy, complex and inviting wine. (VINTAGES panel, Sept. 2016)
$22.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 29, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 12.0% Made in: Burgundy, France By: Maison Chanzy Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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Sacred Hill 2016 Orange Label Sauv Blanc (mini review)

Pale in color with a nice citrus nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some subtle elegant varietal sauv blanc notes, think citrus and some grass. This is a more refined wine. If you like your sauv blancs edgy, this isn’t the wine for you. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice lively acidity and the citrus notes linger nicely in the mouth. I would give this an 88 or so. I am told this is coming to the general list under LCB number 489112 at $18.95 a bottle.

From the winery‘s web site:
VINTAGE SUMMARY: Spring was typical in Marlborough, with the vineyard team spending many a long nights fighting off Jack Frost. This flowed into a warm dry summer, thus laying the foundation for a quality harvest. Harvesting fruit on flavour, with a careful eye on maturity data, certainly paid dividends with harvest continuing until the end of April. Attentive viticulture and winemaking has provided us with many exceptionally good parcels of Sauvignon Blanc and the winemaker’s task of blending was a pleasure. Expect some full-flavoured, well-balanced and textured wines in 2016.

WINEMAKER’S NOTE: An aromatically intense wine showing aromas of white flesh nectarine, tropical fruit salad, gooseberry and lemon zest. Other aromas noted include quince, nettle, dried oregano and cut straw. The palate has a fleshy entry and seamless flow finishing with a lively crisp acidity – lingering citrus flavours and cut straw.

VINIFICATION: Grapes harvested in the cool of the night were gently pressed and the juice clarified quickly to retain the maximum aroma expression. Selected strains of yeast were added to fully capture the aromatic intensity of this vibrant Sauvignon Blanc. Ferment was undertaken at cool temperatures over several weeks before blending, light fining and filtration.

Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Food Matches: Fish, shellfish or as an aperitif
Cellaring: 1 – 2 years
RS: 3.0 g/L Alcohol: 12.5% pH: 3.13 TA: 7.2 g/L

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Desert Wind Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Inky dark in color with an odd nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some strong black berries coming through. There’s some slight sweetness to the wine. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice velvety tannins and smooth acidity and firm dryness. The wine has a very odd flavor, not a typical cab. I found myself scratching things about it. Honestly, if I had more I would return them. I would give it an 87 or so … Yuk

From the LCBO web site:
Desert Wind Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 — VINTAGES#: 486985
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Considered Zone 3, which is the hottest in the region, the vineyard block where this wine was grown features rocky soils and a gentle, south-facing slope. This complex Cabernet serves up rich, ripe dark cherry, cassis and chocolate. Pair with barbecued meats or black-bean burgers. (VINTAGES panel, July 2016)
$24.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 29, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.2% Made in: Washington, USA By: Duck Pond Cellars Sugar Content: 8 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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Lawson’s Dry Hills 2015 Pinot Noir (mini review)

Garnet in color with a lovely varietal pinot nose, soft red fruits coming through. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with some lovely red fruit, strawberry and raspberries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity and rustic notes. It has a lovely mouth grip to it. A very nice spot on pinot. I would give it an 88+. One of my favs from the recent New Zealand wine fair held at the ROM 5/10/2017. It’s not in the LCBO right now but will be from what I understand. For now it’s $19.95 a bottle available by the case from Wine Guru.

From the winery’s web site:
LAWSON’S DRY HILLS PINOT NOIR 2015

Region: Marlborough
Winemaker: Marcus Wright/Rebecca Wiffen
Alcohol: 13.5% pH: 3.6 RS: nil
TA: 6.0g/L Brix: 24.1

Our Pinot Noir 2015 was produced from carefully nurtured vines on our Chaytors Road vineyard, where the combination of clone, climate and soil produce something special. Small batch fermentation, hand plunging and aging in French oak barriques has helped to produce an expressive wine with strong berry fruit notes, lovely texture, great concentration and gentle tannins

Cellaring: Two to three years
Food Match: Enjoy in moderation with lighter red meat dishes

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Remy Pannier Sauvigon Blanc Igp Val De Loire 2015

Pale in color with a mild citrus nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some crisp citrus notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some crisp acidity and the citrus notes have some nice mouth feel. For a $12.95 a bottle this is not a bad wine at all. This is a Vin du pay not an AOC wine. There’a another one that is an AOC. I would give it an 88 or so. Not as vibrant as some on the mid palate but lots of complexity in the finish.

Remy Pannier Sauvigon Blanc Igp Val De Loire — LCBO#: 471318
STYLE – Light & Crisp $12.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Alcohol/Vol 11.5% Made in:Loire, France By: Remy-Pannier S.A.Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Light & Crisp Varietal

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2016 Riverlore Sauv Blanc

I last wrote up the 2015 vintage of this wine and enjoyed it. This has largely become one of my go to Sauv blancs. Inexpensive and tasty. It’s in the general list and of the ones I’ve tried it has been the best so far. I like Sauv blancs more edgey and sharp. This one is pale in color with a pink grapefruit nose that just jumps out at you. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with sharp, edgey pink grape fruit dominating the palate. If you like your wine smooth and refined, you will positively hate this wine, I on the other hand like it. The 2016 is even more boisterous than the 2015. I paired it with fettucine carbonara and it did a stellar job of powering it’s way through the fatty, rich saltiness. Yumm. A match made in heaven. I would give it an 88+. The LCBO describe it as aromatic and flavorful and I would whole heartedly agree! By the way if your looking for a good carbonara recipe check out this one on Delish.com. The secret in this recipe is finding the fonatana cheese and I substituted panchetta for bacon. I had a bit of hard time finding a panchetta I like. I started with a Maestro and it was as hard as a rock and too salty. In the end I eventually found a Casa Italia and it was perfect!

From the LCBO web site:
Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough — LCBO#: 417600
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Pale yellow green colour; aromas of ripe pear, gooseberry and fresh cut grass with notes of tropical fruit and lime; dry, medium bodied, richly textured, with balanced fresh acidity, flavours of gooseberry, ripe apple, fresh herb and tropical fruit, with notes of passion fruit and asparagus.
$13.95WAS $15.95 SAVE $2.00 Limited Time Offer Until May 21, 2017
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:August 4, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Marlborough, New Zealand By: Wairau River Wines Ltd.Sugar Content: 5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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2015 Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay

Pale in color with a mild apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine displays varietal apple and pear notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish there’s some mild vanilla notes along with some nice acidity. This is a gently oaked wine. I would give it an 88 or so. It’s a nice chard for sure, and for the price not a bad deal. I’m not sure it’s about to displace the Sterling Vintners chard as one of my everyday gotos but variety is always a good thing.

From the LCBO web site:
Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay — LCBO#: 367698
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
Pale lemon; intense aromas of ripe stone fruit, apple, peach, citrus and spice; the palate is extra-dry and full body; well-balanced flavours with a creamy, buttery mouth feel and refreshing acidity with a long finish. $14.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 27, 2014
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Wellington, South Africa By:Dgb (Pty) Ltd. Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Rich

from the winery’s web site:
VINIFICATION
All the Chardonnay grapes were whole-bunch pressed and the juice cold settled for two days. Thereafter the clear juice
was racked and some of the pure fluffy solids were added to result in an unclear high-quality juice. Natural fermentation
started in stainless steel tanks. After about 2°B was fermented naturally, selected yeast strains were added, and some of the
juice was then transferred into French oak barrels for the remainder of the fermentation. Still on its primary lees, the
wine matured for a further 10 months in barrel: 12% in firstfill and the balance in second-, third- and fourth-fill barrels.
During this time, the barrels underwent monthly bâtonnage (stirring of the lees) to enhance the mouthfeel of the wine.
The final blend consisted of 70% oak-fermented and matured and 30% stainless steel fermented Chardonnay. The latter
component was also left on the primary lees for the full 10-month period.

TASTING NOTES
On the nose: This bold statement wine, which is big onaromas and flavours, has a lemony, cinnamon and nutmeg
nose.

VINEYARDS
Chardonnay for this wine was selected from three areas:
Stellenbosch, Elgin Valley and Boschendal farm, from vineyards planted on well-drained soils. The variety of clones
within the selected vineyards gave complexity and character to the wine. Vines were spur pruned at the end of July, with
excess shoots removed shortly after budding in September. This was followed up in November, leaving only two to three
of the best-developed shoots per spur.

To ensure optimum ripeness, all grapes were hand-picked on taste and came in at an average sugar content of 22.5–24°B.
Harvest took place during mid to end February 2015, after a drier than normal winter. This was a challenging vintage,
where winemakers and viticulturist had to change strategies in the vineyard and cellar to adapt to the vintage to ensure
good quality wine.

AGEING POTENTIAL
Enjoy now but will age with much complexity for the next five to eight years

Palate: Zesty citrus and ripe tropical fruit flavours. Well balanced with a soft, buttery character from barrel fermentation and maturation add to the complexity and roundness of the wine.

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Gray Monk Cabernet/Merlot 2013

Dark in color with a nose of dark berries. On the mid palate the wine displays some mild black berries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some firm tannins and some nice dryness. The fruit on this wine is quite subdued and it lives primarily in the finish. It’s not a great wine, but not an aweful wine. I would give it an 87-88. A little disappointing. The Pinot Noir I last tasted from this winery was much better. If I had others I would return them.

From the LCBO web site:
Gray Monk Cabernet/Merlot 2013 — VINTAGES#: 464123
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Founded in 1972, Gray Monk is one of the pioneering estates of BC winemaking. Among other accomplishments, they are credited with planting the very first Pinot Gris vines in Canada. Their 2013 Cabernet/Merlot is floral and ripe, with an impressive depth of black fruit with cedar, herbs and chocolate tones in support. It will be excellent with lamb kebabs or burgers. (VINTAGES panel, Feb. 2016) $20.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:August 20, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.4% Made in: British Columbia, Canada By: Gray Monk Cellars Ltd.Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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2014 Fielding Sauv Blanc

I love my sauv blancs, food friendly and versatile. This one is pale in color with a nice albeit mild nose with some nice citrus notes. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice citrus notes and some nice pink grapefuit. This is a more subtle sauv blanc but the flavors build nicely in the mouth and linger on the medium length finish. Theres some nice acidity too. I would give it an 88 or so … $18.95 at the winery.

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Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2014

I’ve had this one in past years and enjoyed it so I grabbed one and was rewarded. Dark in color with an interesting nose with the blend of varietals all coming through, super hard to pin point. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice rich fruit, some dark berries, some cab and maybe even a little shiraz. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dry notes, tannins and acidity. The complexity of the wine is really quite notable. This is a very nice wine. Like listening to a symphony you can focus and pick out the individual instruments or enjoy the melody they make together! I would give it an 88+. I paired it with a smoked trout and it went beautifully. Red fish red wine. I have to believe this has a good 5 years of cellaring potential too.

From the LCBO web site:
Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2014 — VINTAGES#: 247882
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This blend of syrah (33%), merlot (29%), cabernet franc (19%), cabernet sauvignon (14%), and baco noir (5%) was barrel-aged for 17 months in French (65%) and American (35%) oak. The syrah stakes its claim on the flavours at the outset, but the other varietal components make their mark as the palate evolves. This complexity is underwritten by a very good acidity that’s clean and fresh and adds some attractive juiciness to the texture. The texture itself verges on generous, while the moderate tannins tighten it up slightly. The overall effect is attractive, serious, and very drinkable. Drink now through to 2020 to enjoy its freshness. Score – 4 1/2 Stars (out of 5). (Rod Phillips, rodphillipsonwine.com, Jan. 8, 2017)
$18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 15, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Henry Of Pelham Family Est. Winery Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Shiraz Blend This is a VQA wine

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Terroir La Baume Saint-Paul Fitou 2014

Dark in color with a nose of black berries and some oaky notes. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice black berries to match the nose along with some velvety smooth tannins and some acidity. I would give it an 88-. Not a bad wine, but not fantastic either. I only bought the one and won’t be rushing back to get more.

From the LCBO web site:
Terroir La Baume Saint-Paul Fitou 2014 — VINTAGES#: 480970
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Deep and youthful, note of oak. Flavoursome and complex, the wines’ defining note is the fragrance and freshness on the finish. Score – Silver Medal. (International Wine Challenge, 2016)
$23.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 15, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Midi, France By: Les Grands Chais De France Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Full-bodied & Smooth Varietal: Red Blend
Description This wine is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah that will pair nicely with peppercorn-crusted sirloin burgers or steaks.

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Clos du Bois 2015 Chard

Slightly golden in color with a nice apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice softer varietal apple/pear to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some mild oak/vanilla notes. This is a more gently oaked chard and quite food friendly. I would give it an 88 or so. The LCBO have it defined as full bodied and rich, this seems a little generous.

From the LCBO web site:
Clos Du Bois Chardonnay — LCBO#: 400549
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
Pale straw colour; lifted aromas of golden apple, citrus, butter and toast; dry, medium to full-bodied, creamy in texture with rich flavours of ripe apple, pear, butter, vanilla and toasty oak, followed by a medium length finish.
$15.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:June 7, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: California, USA By: Constellation Brands Inc. (Us)Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Full-bodied & Rich

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2013 Kew Soldiers Grant

When I go down to Niagara, I have my favs (like Kacaba, Fielding, and lately Two Sisters) but I try and add in one wild card. In this case not only a winery I have not visited before, but a winery I’ve never had a wine from. This wine is 85% cab sauv and 15% cab franc. The somewhat unique thing here is that the cab franc was appassimento’d. If you have ever had an Amarone from Italy that wine is Appasimento. They basically dry the grape before crushing it. Not to the point of making raisins out of it, but close. Kew has pioneered a mobile appasimento rack. Inky dark in color with a nice black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely bold rich black berries to match the nose backed almost immediately by some nice dry notes and mocha. There’s some dried fruit notes too. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely acidity and tannins. This is a surprisingly complex wine for the price. The fact they can do a complex process and resulting wine for such a reasonable price is impressive. The LCBO describe it as medium bodied and fruity. Wouldn’t be my choice, I think it’s full bodied and firm!

From the winery’s web site:
WINEMAKER’S NOTES
Our 2013 Soldier’s Grant is a medium bodied, Cabernet blend, consisting of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. For this particular vintage, and in its entirety, the Cabernet Franc is dried out in the Appassimento style, crushed and then back-blended into the Cabernet Sauvignon. Maturing in oak for eighteen months, this blend is a wine that is strong in character and a fitting way for us to pay homage to the Kew family.

After the War of 1812, the Canadian government awarded Richard Kew the plot of land on which the vineyard sits today. His brother William maintained ownership of the land and ran a successful carriage making business out of the very house in which our retail space is located.

VARIETAL COMPOSITION:
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc BARREL FERMENTATION: 18 months, French Oak
ALCOHOL: 13.7%, Residual Sugars: 5.2 g/L
RELEASE DATE: July 16, 2016

From the LCBO web site:
Kew Soldier’s Grant 2013 — VINTAGES#: 367318
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:December 10, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.5%Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Kew Vineyard Est. Ltd Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc
Description This unique wine takes 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and blends it with 15% Cabernet Franc that has been dried in the appassimento style. Expect an elegant yet richly flavoured and textured wine with blackcurrant, red pepper jelly and spice notes.

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2014 Cannonball cab sauv

I’ve had this wine over a number of vintages and sadly it has been inconsistent. Inky dark in color with a nice fruity red cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely red cherry notes. At first there was a hint of herbaceous notes but this passed super quickly. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity and mild tannins. Not a bad cab at all. I would give it an 88 or so. It has some nice mouth grip best experienced without food.

From the LCBO web site:
Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 — VINTAGES#: 291666
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 18, 2017
750 mL bottleAlcohol/Vol13.8%Made in:California, USABy:Cannonball Wine And Spirits, Llc.Sugar Content:2 g/LSweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra DryStyle:Full-bodied & SmoothVarietal:Cabernet Sauvignon BlendDescriptionThis is a wine that always makes a splash! Okay, we know you’ve heard that one before – but it’s true. Typically concentrated and round with dark fruit, cassis, smoke, spice and touches of chocolate, this balanced and well-made, value-priced Cali-Cab will be a massive hit alongside spicy ribs or grilled steak. This is truly a fun wine. $24.95

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Flor de Vetus Verdejo 2015

I like my whites dry and crisp. This one is pale in color with a mild slightly minerally, citrus nose. On the mid palate the wine displays lovely crisp dry notes to match the nose with minerality and some citrus notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice mild acidity and slight grapefruit notes. This is a lovely dry, food friendly wine. At 2g/l it’s about as dry as it gets, but still not overwhelming. I enjoyed it and would give it an 88 or so. Anywhere you would pair a sauv blanc this would also go well.

From the LCBO web site:
Flor de Vetus Verdejo 2015 — VINTAGES#: 320259
STYLE – Light & Crisp
For those who already like sauvignon blanc but want to explore beyond its limits, this verdejo from Rueda is very much worth a look. It has a lifted, fragrant and unusual nose of lemongrass, mustard flower, vague pineapple and fresh herbs. It’s mid-weight, quite delicate with medium acidity and some wamth. Yet intensely flavoured and focused, with excellent length. A real bargain that should tempt the reticent. Score – 89. (David Lawrason, winealign.com, Sept. 15, 2016)
$14.95WAS $15.95 SAVE $1.00 Limited Time Offer Until April 23, 2017
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:December 10, 2016 Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Rueda, Spain By:Bodegas Vetus Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Light & Crisp

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2015 Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

I’ve had this wine over the years. This one is mild on the nose with some apple/pear coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice apple and pear to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some mild vanilla notes. This is a subtly oaked chard. Pretty close to an unoaked. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dryness and some acidity. I would give it an -88. Not a great chard to my tastes. If I had others I would return them, I’m quite disappointed.

From the LCBO web site:
Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Sonoma Coast —LCBO#: 269738
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
Bright straw yellow colour, vanilla, apple, pear and toasty oak aromas; full bodied with ripe apple and fruit flavours and buttery notes; well balanced with a touch of oak spice to finish. $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 17, 2012
Alcohol/Vol 13.6% Made in: California, USA By: Chateau St. Jean Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Rich

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2013 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico

Dark in color with a mild lovely red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice mild red fruits, cherries and the like along with some nice dried fruit notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity firm tannins and dryness that builds nicely in the mouth. This is a varietal well made Chianti classico. I would give it a solid 88. It will pair well with any red sauce or red meat. Yumm.

From the LCBO web site:
Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico — VINTAGES#: 741769
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 1, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in:Tuscany, Italy By:Rocca Delle Macie S.P.A.Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity
Description Young by Italian standards, this winery was founded in 1973 – so it’s no wonder their take on Chianti Classico is modern. Food-friendly with cherry notes and hints of grilled herbs. It sings with fine fare like meat lasagna, antipasti or veal scaloppini.

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2013 Murphy Goode Cab sauv

Some wineries struggle with consistency year over year while others like Murphy Goode quietly go about their business making consistently Goode wines, pun intended 🙂 I last reviewed the 2012 Vintage of this wine and enjoyed it. It’s a by the glass wine at Earls. Dark in color with nice nice cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with a lovely fruit forward dark cherries. This is not a fruit bomb but it’s definitely to my mind a drink now style of wine. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tnnins nice dryness and some acidity. It’s a well made food friendly cab sauv that will go with lots of different foods. I paired it with lamb and it went well. I would give it an 88+. The LCBO say full bodied and smooth and I’d whole heartedly agree!

From the LCBO web site:
Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 — VINTAGES#: 427542
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
The year 2013 was brilliant for red varieties in California, as exhibited by this solid blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Deep and structured with impressive ripe black fruit that infuses an almost-sweet taste profile, this is long, fresh and balanced. A great value wine from a much-loved producer and a great vintage. (VINTAGES panel, May 2016) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 4, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: California, USA By:Jackson Wine Estates International Sugar Content:8 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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Carobbio 2013 Chianti Classico (mini review)

Dark in color with a nice red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice red berries to match the nose along with some slight dried berry notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins and acidity. This is a smooth elegant Chianti Classico. Perfect for pairing with red sauces and the like. I would give it an 88+. Not in the LCBO but available in cases of 6 for $34 a bottle from Apparition Wines.

From the winery’s web site:
CHIANTI CLASSICO
DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE CONTROLLATA E GARANTITA
A wine of great elegance and finesse, the Chianti Classico Carobbio was born from the union of two great varieties: Sangiovese and Merlot. Its colour is deep red ruby and enhanced by a complex aroma of red fruits and a final pleasant hint of liquorice. Full-bodied and rich on the palate, the Chianti Classico has an intense structure that maintains its balanced taste and a velvety texture, without losing any of its pleasant drinkability. CHIANTI CLASSICO: Controlled and guaranteed designation of origin.
Year: 2013
Grape varieties: Sangiovese 95% Merlot 5%
Harvest: by hand, I-II week of October
Aging: large barrels, 12-14 months
Alcohol content: 13% vol.

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2014 Cathedral cellars Cab sauv

I was over at Prohibition the other day and they had this wine on for $5 a glass as part of their hooch hour. So WTF … why not. Dark in color with a nice fruity cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some fruit forward dark cherry notes to match the nose along with some mocha. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and nice dryness. This is a surprisingly not bad wine. I would give it an 88 or so. Quite food friendly. I paired it with lamb at Prohibition and it went well! Full bodied and firm is how the LCBO describe it, for me that would be embellishing a bit.

From the LCBO web site:
Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon — VINTAGES#: 328567
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm $15.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 1, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Western Cape, South Africa By: KWV Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm
Description: Offering super value, this Cabernet comes from South Africa’s cool Cape. It displays blackcurrant, dark cherry, spice and savoury herbs supported by bright acidity. Pair with gourmet burgers or steak-and-kidney pie.

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Peacock Sky 2010 Cab Sauv (mini review)

Dark in color with a nice black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays deep rich black berries to match the nose along with some mocha. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely smooth tannins and dryness. This is a beautiful rich cab sauv. I would consider this one of the best New Zealand red wines I’ve tasted in a bit. I would give it a solid 90. Not in the LCBO but available in a case of 12 for $45 a bottle from Apparition Wines.

From the winery’s web site (for a different year)
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon STOCK UPDATE 20-4-2016: Only about 100 bottles remaining.

Chocolate notes mingle with cherries, brambles and ripe plums, supported by well developed oak. Delicate texture with a round, full initial mouthfeel, and a rich satisfying finish. Made from 100% estate grown fruit.

Our final blend: Cabernet Sauvignon (90%) Merlot (10%)
Alcohol by volume: 13.3%

Detailed Tasting Notes
A refined, elegant wine from a cooler growing season. Chocolate notes mingle with cherries, brambles and ripe plums, enveloped with well balanced oak. Delicate texture with a round, full initial mouthfeel, and a pleasant, long finish.

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Loire region tasting

I recently got invited to a Loire based tasting and lunch at Cafe Nicole in the Novotel. There were a number of interesting wines and great food at the event. But what I found particularly interesting was that the winemaker for Ackerman/Remy Pannier Pierre Charon is doing some interesting things one would not expect from the French. He is intentionally stepping outside the rigidity of the Appellation system and innovating. This includes Blanc du Noir, a white wine made from a Cab Franc (usually a red wine).

Bubblies made outside the Champagne region of France can not legally be called Champagne. In the Loire region (as well as others) they are called Cremant and are made from Chennin blanc, chardonnay and cab franc, local grapes to the Loire Valley appellation. Two of the Cremants were lovely. The first an Ackerman Cremant du Loire priced around $18 was crisp, dry and very food friendly with some nice acidity on the finish. The second Cuvee Ambrose was also nice and crisp and dry but had a higher amount of chardonnay, saw some oak and was longer on the lees so for me was much more reminiscent of a Champagne style bubbly. They expect this one to come in around $22.95. Sadly at this time neither are available in Ontario (not even by the case). Like champagne the Cremants are non-vintage meaning they blend grapes from different years to make a consistent product.

They also brought an oak aged (aged for a year) Chennin blanc they called Samur blanc 2015. With an expected price of $19.95 that had some almost chard like flavors. Some apple/pear notes along with some vanilla. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely food friendly acidity. It was nice and dry and would pair perfectly with scallops. I would give it an 88 or so. Sadly, again, at this time it is not available in Ontario (not even by the case). This was my favorite white of the event.

There was a nice Cab Franc 2014 Secret des Vignes Chino 2014. A lovely red berry varietal cab franc nose, smooth mid palate to match along with some nice tannins, acidity and dryness. There was a hint of peppery/spicy notes on the medium length finish. I would give the wine an 88+. A very approachable cab franc that would be food friendly and pair well with red meats. Sadly, again, at this time it is not available in Ontario (not even by the case). This was my favorite white of the event.

I can only hope that in the near future Eurovintage are able to bring some of these lovely wines into Ontario!

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