2015 Mulderbosch Chenin blanc

I last reviewed the 2014 vintage of this wine and enjoyed it. This one is pale in color with a nice crisp dry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some very nice crisp dry notes to match the nose, some nice citrus and lemon coming through. On the medium length finish the wine shows some lovely crisp acidity that liners nicely in the mouth. Very flexible and food friendly. I would give it an 88-89. The LCBO description aromatic and flavorful is accurate.

From the LCBO web site:
Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc 2015 — VINTAGES#: 675421
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Ripe tropical fruit aromas with pears, citrus and a beautifully delineated stony mineral component. Fresh, zesty and brilliantly mouthwatering. The palate offers up nice pear, pineapple, citrus and stone with a really appealing spicy complexity. Mouthfilling and textured, with good balance and character. (VINTAGES panel, Nov. 2015) $14.95

Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Western Cape, South Africa By: Mulderbosch Sugar Content: 6 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Aromatic & Flavourful
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2013 Cave Springs Sauv Blanc

I love Sauv blancs, they are so versatile and food friendly. There flavors are all over the map from mild to wild. Niagara has been making some good ones recently. This one is pale in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely mild grape fruit notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice crisp dry citrus notes along with some nice acidity. This is a well made smooth food friendly sauv blanc. I would give it an 88 or so. Very nice a great example of Niagara’s potential in this space!

From the winery’s web site:
Our Sauvignon Blanc originates from vineyards situated along gently sloping hillsides of the Niagara Escarpment overlooking Lake Ontario. In this area, the combination of limestone-clay soils, elevation and moderating on-shore breezes allow us to produce a wine that exhibits the crisp, herbal character typical of this noble, cool-climate variety. $16.95

From the LCBO web site:
Cave Spring Sauvignon Blanc — LCBO#: 529933
Style – Light & Crisp  ›

Pale straw; quite fragrant, with a floral, grapefruit, gooseberry and grassy/herbal nose with a hint of peach; dry, delicate, crisp with good fruit and moderate length. $16.95

Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Cave Spring Cellars Ltd Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Light & Crisp
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2012 Vineland estates Reserve cab franc

We travel down to Niagara frequently. The experience in the Niagara’s winery’s is awesome. The people, the wine, the food, the Inns are all an amazing way to spend time (oh and some money :)). Vineland estates has one of the most picturesque restaurants in Niagara. Lovely ambiance. They also have on display a beautiful collection of art all made from wine done by Melissa Proudlock. Very unique.

Bill Mochoruk spent some time with us telling us all about some of the innovative things Vineland is doing. It’s the dedication of Vineland and others in the region that is continuing to elevate the status of Niagara wines. Bill was telling me about one of the new gadgets Vineland is employing, an optical sorter. They use it to remove the under size grapes that can impart a green, bitter, vegetal flavor. Very cool. Thanks Bill for all your time.

If there is one thing Niagara is well known for it’s Cab Franc. This wine is 89% cab franc, 10% cab sauv and 1% Merlot. The wine was aged 16 months in oak. The wine has 13.5% alcohol and has 6.5 g/l sugar, so dry. Reserve in this case refers to the quality of the grapes used (Vs longer in oak). The optical sorter was not used on this wine because they didn’t have it yet.

Ok onto this wine. Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some classic varietal cab franc notes. But where this wine lives is in the finish. On a medium to long finish the wine displays some firm tannins, and some lively acidity. This is a classic, big, yet approachable, cab franc that will easily age and soften with time. We paired it with a striploin and it went really well … I would give it a solid 89. $40 at the winery.

From the winery’s web site.
It is the perfect sensory storm. This wine comes at you full on and envelopes you in a wave of flavours that leaves you drenched in luxury. The fine, firm structure of resolved tannins amply supports the lively dark berry notes while underpinning the broader tones of leather, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. The intriguing complexities of this wine are artistically interlace to give a wine of, shall we say it – epic depth, power and longevity.

Winemaker: Brian Schmidt

2012CabernetFrancReserve

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2012 Chateau des Charmes Cab Franc

Niagara make some great Cab Francs. The ones from Niagara on the lake (which this is) tend to be softer than those from the Escarpment. This one has lovely dark cherry on the nose. On the mid palate this displays some varietal cab franc notes, dark cherries and some nice mocha notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some soft tannins and some nice dryness that build in the mouth along with some nice acidity and a hint of pepper. This is a smooth soft cab franc with some nice complexity in the finish. I would give it an 88-89. $24.95 a bottle at the winery.

From the Winemakers web site:
Paul Bosc and Amélie Boury’s Winemaker’s Notes
Cabernet Franc is one of Niagara’s signature grape varieties and this is an excellent example of how it can be made into a complex wine with aging potential. The grapes are hand picked and then undergo temperature-controlled fermentation so the wine does not come across as “over extracted”. It’s then aged for one year in 1-2 year old French oak barrels to add an extra layer of flavour but not mask the essence of the wine. It’s ruby coloured, with flavours of raspberry and pipe tobacco. Although this wine is ready to drink, it will continue to develop in the bottle for at least 5-10 years.

Miguel Fontalvo’s vineyard manager’s Notes
We are fortunate to be able to work with the St. David’s Bench Vineyard. It is an incredible site. Because it is so far from the lake and nestled against the Escarpment, we are able to achieve full maturity and ripeness in our reds. We do a lot of hand-work in the rows to help the vines concentrate their flavours. This site also features underground sreams that carry limestone off the Escarpment. The vine roots access this water and we believe it is what gives wines grown here their signature minerality.

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2015 Kim Crawford Sauv Blanc

Pale color with a mild grassy nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice smooth grassy notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth crisp acidity. This is a nice smooth, well made, food friendly sauv blanc. Not as boisterous as some. I would give it an 88 or so. We paired it with seared ahi tuna and it went very well.

From the LCBO web site:
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc — VINTAGES#: 35386
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful $19.95
Release Date:April 1, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Marlborough, New Zealand By: Constellation Brands Inc. (New Zeal Sugar Content:8 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Aromatic & Flavourful
Description: This sets the benchmark for New Zealand’s intensely flavourful style of Sauvignon Blanc: think gooseberry, pea pods and passion fruit. Vivid and refreshing, it pairs well with steamed clams or mussels with asparagus risotto, or grilled chicken.

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2014 Wakefield Chardonnay

I last wrote up the 2013 Vintage of this wine and loved it. This one is slightly golden in color with a mild varietal nose with nice apple/pear coming through. We originally sampled it out of the fridge and it was too cold. This is one of those wines that is very sensitive to the cold, be sure and leave it out of the fridge before you taste it. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely apple and pear coming through. The fruit on this wine is rich and vibrant. On the medium length finish the wine displays nice vanilla, and caramel. The wine has a nice creamy texture to it. Alcohol, acidity and oak are all well under control. This is a well made chard. If you prefer unoaked chards you will positively hate this wine. If your like me and enjoy them … yumm. I would give it a solid 89. It should keep for quite while so buy lots. We paired it with BBQ lobster in butter and it went really well.

From the LCBO web site:
Wakefield Estate Chardonnay 2014 — VINTAGES#: 711556
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich $14.95
Release Date: January 9, 2016
Alcohol/Vol14.0% Made in: South Australia, Australia By: Wakefield Wines Pty Ltd. Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Full-bodied & Rich Varietal: Chardonnay Description: The Taylor family has been making wine in Australia for three generations, and are vocal proponents for sustainability. Fruit for this Chardonnay is grown in the cooler climates of Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills, which contributes a complex interplay of sunny tropical fruit, peach and citrus characters accented by French oak. Pair it with baked scallops, roast turkey with apple stuffing, or a salad with warm chicken and avocados.

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Aydie l’Origine Madiran 2012

Inky dark in color with a nice mild nose of black berries. On the mid palate the wine displays nice black berries to match the nose. There’s a hint of alcohol noticeable even on the mid palate. On the medium length finish the wine displays some dusty tannins and some nice dryness. For the price this is a surprisingly complex wine. I would give it an 88 or so. I paired it with smoked trout and it was a little piece of heaven in the mouth. Yumm

From the LCBO web site:
Aydie l’Origine Madiran 2012 Tannat/Cabernet Franc — VINTAGES#: 343566
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
A rich wine in which the firm Tannat character dominates, giving great character, black plum flavors, a dense structure and generous tannins. All these join in a wine that’s as much about elegance as power. Drink from 2017. Best Buy. Score – 92. (Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, Nov. 2014) $14.95

Release Date:January 9, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Southwest, France By: Famille Laplace at Château d’Aydie Sugar Content: 9 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Full-bodied & Firm Varietal:Tannat/Cabernet Franc
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Castello Monterinaldi Chianti Classico 2010

Light red in color with a nice soft red berry nose and a hint of dried fruits on the nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely soft red berries and a hint of dried fruits. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice oak notes along with some bright acidity, some smooth tannins and a hint of pepper. I would give it an 88-89. We paired it with a bacon quiche and it went well. It would be perfect for any red sauce based pasta.

From the LCBO web site:
Castello Monterinaldi Chianti Classico 2010 — VINTAGES#: 383604
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This is still somewhat closed on the nose but reveals hints of plum and espresso. The palate is much more expressive, showing ripe red cherry notes layered with white pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and espresso. A classy and polished wine. Score – 90. (Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, Oct. 2013) $19.95

Release Date: January 9, 2016
Alcohol/Vo l13.5% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By: Soc. Agricola Monterinaldi Srl Sugar Content:7 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity
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2012 Serbal Assemblage

This is a blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Cab Sauv and Malbec according to the back of the bottle. Exact blend is not mentioned. Nice and dark in color with a nice varietal cab franc nose. I wonder if the blend is listed as highest first? On the mid palate this is a lovely well made cab franc with lots of the usual notes coming through. Lots of dark cherries, some nice earthy notes and the like. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity, a hint of greenness and some nice dryness that builds in the mouth. There’s a teenie tiny bit of sweetness present (noticeable only without food). Likely the malbec coming through. There’s also a hint of cab sauv coming through (again only noticeable without food). The tannins are nice and smooth. This is a smooth well made (maybe a bit young) cab franc. I would give it an 88-89. Quite nice. This has enough body and acidity to hold it’s own with nice hearty meats. I have to admit I was surprised how good it was! It made me wonder how yummy big and bold the cab franc would have been on it’s own! This was a gift from Sean … Thanks!

From the LCBO web site:
Bodega Atamisque Serbal Assemblage 2012 — VINTAGES#: 415331
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
Another bright and super pungent Cabernet Franc, this is electric and refreshing from the very beginning. Its flavours of red fruit and herbal notes are combined with a tense acidity. Drink: 2018-2024. Score – 95. (Patricio Tapia, decanter.com, Oct. 2, 2014) $19.95
Release Date:October 31, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: Tupungato, Argentina By:Bodega Atamisque S.A. Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm Varietal:Cabernet Franc Blend
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Fred Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner 2013

Pale in color with a slightly earthy nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some dry crisp notes along with some nice minerality. There’s a hint of earthy notes to match the nose. It bears some slight resemblance to a riesling. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice citrus notes. I would give it an 88 or so, not a bad Gruner but not an outstanding one either.

From the LCBO web site:
Fred Loimer Lois Grüner Veltliner 2013 — VINTAGES#: 422717
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
A wonderful mix of white pepper, fresh lemon zest, herbal pungency and green pear flavors makes Grüner Veltliner such a success. Here it all comes in one focused, friendly and easy package, with peppery length. Score – 90. (Anne Krebiehl, MW, Wine Enthusiast, Aug. 2014) $17.95
Release Date: January 9, 2016 Alcohol/Vol 12.0% Made in: Kamptal, Austria By: Weingut Fred Loimer Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Aromatic & Flavourful

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Sister’s Run Bethlehem Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Dark color with a nice red cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays lovely soft red cherries to match the nose along with some cassis. On the medium length finish he wine displays some nice tannins and acidity. A very nice well made cab, especialy given the price. I would give it an 88-89.

From the LCBO web site:
Sister’s Run Bethlehem Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 — VINTAGES#: 360636
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth $15.95
Release Date:January 9, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: South Australia, Australia By: Dandelion Vineyards Pty Ltd. Sugar Content:7 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Full-bodied & Smooth
Description: The 2012 vintage in Australia was welcomed by winemakers as the country’s greatest in 20 years. The Bethlehem Block Cabernet Sauvignon will be a fine example of how successful 2012 was in the Barossa and will display rich, complex notions of dark fruit, dried herbs and cassis in a juicy, long, balanced package.
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Victor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Dark in color with a lovely red cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the finish with some lovely red cherry fruits, but hang on this wine lives in it’s finish. On the medium to long finish the wine displays some firm tannins, bright acidity, some nice dryness and a hint of pepper. There’s a good amount of complexity in this wine. It’s a bit young and there is even a hint of greenness to the wine. I could give it an 89-90. Very nice indeed and I would suggest it will age nicely too. Yumm. For now be sure and serve it with hearty meals or you won’t be tasting them. The LCBO say the style is full bodied and firm and I would heartily agree!

From the LCBO web sie:
Victor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 — VINTAGES#: 438515
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
From the Victor (to you) go the spoils. This is a big, chunky, fruit-forward Cabernet showing cassis, blueberry, cedar and vanilla with a suggestion of spun sugar. The tannins are ripe yet substantial and supportive, and lend a chewy, savoury quality to the palate. (VINTAGES panel, May 2015) $21.95

Release Date: December 12, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 14.7% Made in: California, USA By: R. Lawson Enterprises, Llc Dba Vict Sugar Content:12 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: D – Dry Style: Full-bodied & Firm Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

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Teusner The Riebke Shiraz 2013

Inky dark in color with a nice black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with some nice jammy black berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins along with some acidity. This is a straight on middle of the road Aussie Shiraz. It’s not as fruit as some, and lacks pepper/spice on the finish, but is a smooth well made food friendly wine. The LCBO description of Full bodied and smooth is spot on. I would give it an 88 or so. Like most fruit driven wine this is made IMHO in more of a drink now style. I would expect after 5 years for little fruit to remain …

From the LCBO web site:
Teusner The Riebke Shiraz 2013 — VINTAGES#: 48470
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Six generations of the Riebke family have grown grapes in the Ebenezer district. Deeply coloured; resplendently mouthfilling, plum, blackberry and licorice tumble around each other on the medium to full-bodied palate; all this is good, but the quality of the tannins and acidity on the savoury finish is even better. Great value. Drink by: 2033. Score – 95. (James Halliday, winecompanion.com.au, July 27, 2015) $23.95
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2009 Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Reserve Chard

Pale to golden in color. With nice nose although out of the bottle there are some unusual notes. On the mid palate there are some nice mild pear notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice firm vanilla notes along with some nice spicy notes (pepper) along with some acidity. This is a very nice chard. I would give it an 88+. We paired it with yellow perch. It paired well in that the complexity of the wine complemented the mild fish. Yum. Not available at the LCBO but $18.95 at the winery.

From the Winery’s web site:
The nose is rich and inviting with notes of honey comb, citrus and crème brulée. The palate is rich and powerful with the same flavours perfectly balanced with mouthwatering acidity and minerality. Aged in French and American oak for 12 months.

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2012 Rennie Paradox (Pinot Noir)

Rennie is a virtual winery in Beamsville. The wines are made by Malivoire for Rennie. Garnet in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some firm rustic notes backed immediately by some firm tannins and acidity. This is definitely a bigger pinot. I would give it an 88 or so … We paired it with roast pheasant and it went well although a bit firm for the pheasant. The bottle says “Contains suplphites”. Not in the LCBO, $40 at the winery.

From the winery’s web site:\Winemaker’s Notes:
Aromas infer cranberry, dark chocolate, Turkish Delight, maple cream, nutmeg and cigar box.

Sturdy tannins make this an assertively-textured wine. Flavours bring to mind cranberry, black cherry and cocoa with a lingering trace of caramel.

On cresting sugar ripeness of 23.1° Brix, pinot noir clusters were selected by hand from Graham and Christine Rennie’s Heron Pond Vineyard.

After crush, the fermenting must’s fruit intensity was augmented by twice-daily pigeage and periodic addition of uncrushed whole clusters. Malolactic fermentation and eighteen months’ ageing were completed in French oak barrels before the wine was bottled unfiltered.

Alcohol measured 13.5%, pH 3.7, titratable acidity 5.5 grams / litre and residual sugar 0.6 grams / litre.

Production was limited to a rare 75 cases of wine.
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2012 Small Gully Little Black Book Shiraz

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice blue berry notes along with a hint of oak and some licorice. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and some nice acidity. The alcohol is well under control. This is a nice balance between some nice fruit along with some complexity on the finish. I would give it an 88-89.

From the LCBO web site:
Small Gully Mr. Black’s Little Book Shiraz 2012 — VINTAGES#: 287979
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Ripe and rich, velvety in texture, focusing the blackberry and cherry fruit into a long and expressive finish. Hints of pepper and licorice line the edges. Drink now through 2017. Score – 89. (Harvey Steiman, winespectator.com, Aug. 31, 2015) $18.95
Release Date:December 12, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 15.2% Made in: South Australia, Australia By:Small Gully Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth
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Coopers Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2014

On behalf of CWG and I, we want to wish all of our readers a safe, happy and healthy New Year! May the imbibing be forever in your favor :)

Pale color with a smooth grassy nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice grassy notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth acidity and lemon zest. This is a smooth well made softer sauv blanc. Very food friendly. I would give it an 88 or so …

From the LCBO web site:
Coopers Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2014 — VINTAGES#: 957407
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
It’s beautifully lifted on the nose displaying stone fruit, feijoa and lime zest characters, followed by a succulent palate that’s intense and lively. The wine shows plenty of attractive flavours, leading to a refreshing finish. At its best: now to 2017. Score – 91. (Sam Kim, wineorbit.co.nz, Aug. 2014) $19.95
Release Date: December 12, 2015 Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Marlborough, New Zealand By: Cooper’S Creek Vineyard Ltd.Sugar Content: 5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful

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Irony Small Lot Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Dark color with a dark cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice dark cherries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins along with some nice acidity. This is a nice cab, not as fruit forward as some, not as long in the finish as others. I would give it an 88 or so.

From the LCBO web site:
Irony Small Lot Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 —VINTAGES#: 25106
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
This trusted producer of good-value, balanced, flavour-filled wine doesn’t disappoint here. Aromas of dark berry fruit, spice, notions of anise and mint spill from this medium-bodied, heavenly textured gem. There’s a salad bowl of palate-bathing flavours – black bramble berry, ripe mulberry and spice-infused dark, juicy Bing cherry – interlaced with sweet vanilla and toasty bits from seven months in French and American oak persisting through the balanced, complex, lingering aftertaste. Great value, great wine. Score – 4 1/2 Stars (out of 5). (Vic Harradine, winecurrent.com, May 23, 2014) $21.95

Release Date:December 12, 2015 Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: California, USA By: Delicato Family Vineyards Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Full-bodied & Smooth Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon Blend Description It’s hard to beat the Irony Small Lot Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for value in Napa Cab. This perennially delivers a truckload of dark fruit flavour with excellent acidity in a balanced and beautifully structured package. A real winner, and a perfect addition to your next barbecue.
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2013 Ara Pathway Pinot Noir

I am coming to appreciate Pinot noirs more and more. They are very food friendly. And is a go to for me when it comes to turkey and the like. This one is in the general list at the LCBO so very easy to put your hands on. Garnet in color with a nice rustic nose. On the mid palate the wine displays nice rustic notes to match the nose. Lots of varietal soft red berry notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice soft tannins and acidity. It is a varietal yummy pinot. I would give it an 88 or so. Very nice for the price.

Ara Pathway Pinot Noir — LCBO#: 416230
STYLE – Light-bodied & Fruity
Clear medium ruby in colour; forward cherry and berry aromas, with notes of spice and toasted oak; dry, with light/medium body, youthful, slightly grippy tannins and lively acidity; flavours of tart cherry and redcurrant, with spicy oak lingering on a long finish; drink now, or cellar for up to five years. $16.95

Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Marlborough, New Zealand By: Winegrowers Of Ara Ltd. Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Light-bodied & Fruity

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2013 Flat rock Gravity Pinot Noir

Whenever someone asks for a recommendation for a Niagara Pinot this one has been on my list for years, a consistent varietal pinot. Garnet in color with a lovely varietal rustic nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely rustic notes, and some soft red berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some soft tannins and some nice smooth acidity. I would give it a solid 89.

From the LCBO web site:
Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2013 — VINTAGES#: 1560
Style – Medium-bodied & Fruity  ›
Steely mineral brings added dimension to this silky Pinot that offers aromas and flavours of sour cherry and spices wrapped in velvety tannins. A refreshing ribbon of acidity defines the finish. (VINTAGES panel, April 2015) $29.95

Release Date:
October 31, 2015 Alcohol/Vol 12.9% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Flat Rock Cellars Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity

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2014 Peninsula Ridge sauv blanc

I bought this one at the winery based on past years experience, without tasting it. In Niagara I better than most know that wines can vary year to year. Wine makers are learning, new wine makers are coming on the scene, vineyards are trying new grapes, and growing seasons change, all leading to significant variances in year to year experiences. VQA is at best a loose series of guidelines guiding all this. What all this means I you ought not to assume just because you liked a previous vintage you may not like the next one. I find this particularly true of this lesson.

Pale in color with a unusual almost Riesling nose. On the mid palate the wine is an odd cross in flavors between a Riesling and a sauv blanc. There are some nice crisp dry notes, some grapefruit acidity along with a hint of Riesling like flavors and a hint of woodyness. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice minerality. It’s not sweet by any means. But it is an odd collection of flavors. I would give it an 87ish. Not terrible but not what I am looking for in a sauv blanc either. Fortunately I only bought two.

From the LCBO web site:
Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc VQA – LCBO#: 53678 | 750 mL bottle
Style – Light & Crisp  › pale straw; gooseberry, citrus and grass aromas with tropical fruit notes; dry medium bodied; orange, lime and grapefruit flavours with a mineral note to finish $14.95

Alcohol/Vol 13.3% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Sugar Content: 3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Light & Crisp This is a VQA wine.

From the winery’s web site:
Product Description

Classic Ontario Sauvignon Blanc aromas and flavours of lime, lemon custard and gooseberry are carried beautifully on a crisp seam of acid through to a long lasting finish. 50% McNally Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Wismer Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Lepp Sauvignon Blanc.

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2011 Kacaba Barrel fermented Chard

Back in March 2013 we visited the winery and tasted this wine. Like a breeder not quite ready to let the puppies be removed from their mommy the assistant winemaker pleaded with us to let this age a bit before we tasted it. Patience has been rewarded. Pale in color with a lovely rich varietal California chard nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely rich apple/pear, vanilla and butter maybe even baked apple. The wine is medium in length on the finish with lovely vanilla notes lingering along with some nice acidity. This wine has indeed mellowed nicely from the humble beginnings when we first tasted it. I would give it a solid 89. Yumm … Not in the LCBO and likely no longer available at the winery $22.95 a bottle when we bought it.

From the Winery’s web site:
BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY 2011
AROMAS OF PINEAPPLE, GUAVA AND PEAR MINGLE WITH HINTS OF VANILLA. THE PALATE IS FULL BODIED AND RICH WITH THE PERFECT BALANCE BETWEEN FRUIT, OAK AND ACIDITY. THIS WINE IS A JOY TO DRINK WHEN YOUNG BUT WILL ALSO AGE AND DEVELOP BEAUTIFULLY FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.

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2012 Irony Merlot

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays dark cherry notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice firm dry tannins with the dark cherries living on. This to my tastes is more cab than Merlot but a nice wine none the less. I would give it an 88 or so. We paired it with meat ravioli in red sauce and it went well and held it’s own.

From the LCBO web site:
Irony Merlot — VINTAGES#: 183186
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
WAS $19.95 $17.95 SAVE $2.00 until January 3rd 2016

Release Date:April 1, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 14.5%Made in: California, USA By: Delicato Vineyards Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth Description Classic Napa Merlot, intensely aromatic and packed with flavour, full of black fruits, mocha, raspberry and vanilla. An honest, straightforward and approachable wine that will be a hit with baked ham, burgers or grilled beef.

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2011 Kacaba Pinot Noir

Niagara does Pinot Noir well … And Kacaba are doing some great stuff. This is just one example of just that. Garnet in color with a lovely nose of soft red berries and rustic notes. On the mid palate the wine totally matches the nose with lovely soft red berries, strawberries and the like. Lovely rich rustic notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins and the rustic notes linger nicely in the mouth. There some nice acidity. This is a beautiful well made, varietal pinot. A classic example of how Niagara does Pinot well. I would give it an 89. If you like Pinots this is an excellent one. We paired it with BBQ duck breast and I even used it as marinade for it and it went well.

From the winery’s web site:
Light-bodied and easy drinking. Expect aromas and flavours of ripe red cherry, coupled with a soft texture.

A light to medium bodied Pinot Noir with full bodied flavour. Aromas of ripe cherry, anise and rich baking spices entice the senses. Plush favours of cherry, plum and pomegranate meld with hints of delicate tea leaf.

As all Kacaba wines the 2011 Pinot Noir was crafted using 100% handpicked grapes. The grapes were hand sorted, gently destemmed, and left as whole berries for two days of cold soaking to extracting colour, favours and tannins from the skins.

During fermentation the tanks were hand plunged three to four times per day to further the extraction of colour and favour. After fermentation subsided the Pinot Noir was pressed of skins and transferred to 100% French oak barrels, 50% new, 50% second fill.

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Gilmour Corazón Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2012

Inky dark in color with a mild nose. But this is about the only thing mild about this wine. On the mid palate the wine displays some jammyness, along with some big bold fruits. Dark cherries, chocolate and the like. There’s a hint of sweetness to the wine. On the long finish the wine has some strong peppery notes, some firm tannins, big acidity and some nice dryness. This is a young wine that could age well. If your going to drink it now be sure you are having it with something that can keep up to the wine or decant it. I would give it an 88-89. The LCBO description says Medium bodied and fruity I personally would say it’s more in the big and bold category.

This wine is made by Karlo estates which is in Prince Edward county. It is not uncommon for Prince Edward county wineries to bring grapes in from Niagara, VQA allows it. I emailed Karlo estates and they informed me that some of the grapes from this blend are from Niagara and some from the county, but declined to elaborate on which are from which. The bottle also has a warning saying it contains sulphites and this is not uncommon when trucking wine from Niagara to the county to avoid browning. If your ever in the county be sure and ask where the grapes for a particular bottle are from. Sometimes they are even 100% Niagara grapes just vinified in the county.

The wine itself is referred to as vegan. Ok I had to look that up. It means they used no animal products (like egg whites or gelatin and the like) in the fining of the wine.

From the LCBO web site:
Gilmour Corazón Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2012
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc — VINTAGES#: 440594
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This wine is from Hockey Hall of Fame member Doug Gilmour. ‘Corazón’ translates to ‘heart,’ a term often used to describe Gilmour’s determination and drive. An engaging and complex nose that suggests ripe fruit, fresh herbs, chocolate, cedar, leather and cigar notes. The palate is intense, layered and complex and follows the nose beautifully. There is a fine elegance and vibrancy throughout that carries through the very long finish. This wine is Certified Vegan. (VINTAGES panel, April 2015) $22.95

Release Date:November 28, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in:Ontario, Canada By: Karlo Estates Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity. This is a VQA wine.

From the winery:
Sophisticated with a captivating garnet hue and flavours of bold, ripe fruit combined with spicy notes imparted from oak. Corazón features tastes of cassis and red cherry fruit intertwined with tobacco, earth and a hint of dark chocolate. It’s full in the mouth, yet balanced, finishing with smooth, chewy tannins. While structured for longevity, the wine drinks well now, especially if opened an hour or two in advance and served with a perfectly grilled entree.

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