Chanson Réserve du Bastion Pinot Noir 2014

This is another in the new wave of clearly labelled (albeit blandly labelled) French wines with the grape clearly lablled. It’s an AOC. Garnet in color with a nice rustic nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely rustic notes to match the nose along with some soft red berries, raspberries and strawberries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice lively acidity, and some lighter tannins. This is a spot on pinot and exactly what one should expect. I would give it a solid 88. And it should easily keep a year or so, so feel free to grab a few! We paired it with salmon (red fish red wine) and it went perfectly. A lovely compliment. I will probably go back and grab a few.

From the LCBO web site:
Chanson Réserve du Bastion Pinot Noir 2014 — VINTAGES#: 50575
Chanson Réserve du Bastion Pinot Noir 2014
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity $19.95 WAS $23.95 SAVE $4.00
Limited Time Offer Until January 28, 2018
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 14, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in:Burgundy, France By:Chanson Père & Fils Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra DryStyle:Medium-bodied & FruityVarietal:Pinot NoirDescriptionChanson is rooted in local history: the house was founded during the reign of Louis XV and its cellars are located in a 15th-century tower called Bastion de l’Oratoire. The wine is elegant, with sour cherry, mineral and spice. Unlike many wines at this price point, it’s composed entirely of fruit from the Côte d’Or. Food-friendly, it’s perfect with grilled eggplant with veal cutlets, rotisserie chicken or rack of lamb.

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Ca’ Momi Merlot 2015

Dark in color with a a mild cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some rich bold cherry notes. This wine’s fruit intensity is over the top. On the medium length finish the wine displays some mild pepper notes, smooth acidity and light tannins. I would give this an 88 or so. The LCBO refer to it as Full bodied and smooth, I think I’d agree! I would give it an -88.

From the LCBO web site:
Ca’ Momi Merlot 2015 — VINTAGES#: 470187
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Founded in 2006 by three Italian immigrants – Valentina Guolo-Migotto, Dario De Conti and Stefano Migotto – Ca’ Momi has gained a fine reputation for crafting Napa wines that deliver quality and value. This 2015 Merlot is loaded with rich, smoky black fruit, plum, cocoa and charred wood aromas and flavours. This has excellent structure, sweet tannins and a lingering smoky note on the finish. Perfect for lamb stew. (Vintages panel, May 2017) $24.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 6, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.9% Made in: California, USA By:Ca’Momi Sugar Content:7 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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Tussock Jumper Chenin Blanc 2017

Pale in color with a minerally nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with loads of crisp dry minerality coming through. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice lively acidity and maybe some citrus notes. I had a bit of a hard time coming up with the specific flavors of the wine. It is super food friendly and for the price a very good deal. I would give it an 88 or so, a perfect dry Chenin. The LCBO say full bodied and rich, I don’t get that at all.

From the LCBO web site:
Tussock Jumper Chenin Blanc 2017 — VINTAGES#: 480764
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
The classic South African white wine, Chenin Blanc (once known as Steen), is a native of the Loire Valley. Few places outside of France, South Africa principal among them, can produce premium-quality examples. This one suggests white blossom floral tones with ripe peach, tropical fruit and a spicy underpinning. If you’re looking for a crisp, mouthwatering, fun white wine to pair with shrimp, crab or pork chops, this wine is your one-stop shopping spree. (Vintages panel, June 2017) $12.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 6, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.6% Made in: Western Cape, South Africa By: Wineforces Sarl Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Rich

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2015 Kir Yianni Paranga Red Vdp Macedonia

This is another of the Greek wines, I chose this one again because of the grape. The wine is Merlot (50%), Xinomavro (25%), Syrah (25%). Inky dark in color with nice mild black berry and wood nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some bigger bold black berries, almost blueberry notes. It’s quite intense. Hit almost immediately by some strong pepper notes that are quite vibrant. The pepper notes linger in the mouth. On the medium length finish the wine displays some solid acidity, gentle dryness and some tannins. For the price this wine is surprisingly bold and complex. I paired it with a veal rib chop and it went well and held it’s own. I would give it an 88.

Kir Yianni Paranga Red Vdp Macedonia — LCBO#: 392175
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Deep ruby; aromas of cherry, plum, mulberry, chocolate and light floral notes; extra-dry, medium-bodied, intense flavours of cherry, plum, spice, vanilla with refreshing acidity and soft tannins. $14.75
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Macedonia, Greece By: Kir-Yianni Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & FruityVarietal:Named Varietal Blends-Red

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2016 Lakeview Cellars Vidal Icewine

Oh Icewine, how you are amazing in your velvety structure and and sweetness. Shame I became a type-1 diabetic this past year and have tried to avoid all things sugary, but Icewine gets a special treatment. This special nectar is the product that oftentimes Ontario is most known for. Not surprising when over 75% of all Eiswein produced in the world comes from Ontario. I’ve met so many people over the years who have told me they do not like the hard to make wine, “too sweet” or “overpriced” are typical responses. Both of these arguments are easily refuted, or maybe better put: dismissed enough to have the person try icewine again. The too sweet comment is easy enough: it is a sweet dessert wine, it is not meant to be drank in 6 or 9oz North American pours. It is meant to be enjoyed in smaller batches, often times paired with something savour or sweet. The “too expensive” conundrum is straightforward: the risk vs reward of the vineyards, paired with the small yield, means it has to be priced more than a style of wine that has 10-40x more yield and no guarantee of the correct conditions. Icewine is expensive, and will always be so. You need near perfect conditions to grow tasty fruity grapes then have them freeze correctly, before they rot, in order to be ready to craft a palatable wine. Beyond the low yield, just think of the labour costs associated with caring for, and harvesting icewine…

Lakeview Cellars, one of the wineries owned by Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd, was purchased by its parent in 2001 and remains one of its signature marquees. There is a big split on how these larger “conglomerates” affect a small wine region like Niagara. Some think they ruin the small cellar door community, others (of which I am aligned) feel there is a place for wineries and companies of all size, as long as they produce good quality wines. Niagara is one of the better hidden gem wine regions in the world, its small production and limited appeal (which is sad) means a great many smaller producers would simply operate with a reduced consumer base if not for some of these bigger producers bringing buyers in. This relationship is a perfect example of symbiosis in the market economy.

What about this wine? Well it is a Vidal Icewine. It is clean and icewiney! To explain: Vidal, a long forgotten varietal, is near perfect for frozen wine (growing not serving conditions); however it is also extremely predictable. It is clean to look at, clean on the palate and clean on the finish. This wine fits all of that to a “T”. The honey nose is typical for Vidal, this wine is heavy on honey. On first taste, the velvet structure is there, but is not intrusive. As the wine opens up you get a bunch of citrus notes, almost marmalade like. The finish is long but pleasant, with the sugars at a near perfect level. As I drank this, I felt that a nice fatty dessert would pair beautifully, even something as bold as a tiramisu. Overall this was a pleasant surprise for what is a low priced product. Where many bottles can run you $30-$50, this one at $21 was well priced and gives you a good expected drink.

The CWG subjective rating is 86 out of 100.

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Perlage Pinot Grigio 2016

The LCBO release before Christmas is packed with expensive wines for gifts. Not a release to look for bargains. The release just after Christmas, this one in fact, is called a value release when you realize your credit cards are maxed and you need some wine to nurse the realization you spent way to much again at Christmas 🙂 Ok onto this wine. Pale in color with a nice crisp nose displaying lots of minerality. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice crisp dry notes and loads of minerality. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice tartness and acidity that lingers in the mouth. This is a super food friendly wine, and not bad pinot grigio for the price. I would give it an -88.

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
Perlage Pinot Grigio 2016 — VINTAGES#: 528661
STYLE – Light & Crisp
Crafted using organic practices, this is an easy-drinking, fresh Pinot Grigio with crisp, mouthwatering acidity. Delicate and refined, with subtle citrus fruit, pear and a pure mineral underpinning, this is an amazing value. Enjoy it on its own or with smoked salmon or lemon chicken. (Vintages panel, May 2017) $14.95
Release Date:January 6, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 12.0% Made in: Venezie, Italy By: Perlage Sr lSugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Light & Crisp

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Tsantali Reserve Rapsani 2013

I recognized the Xinomavro grape from a previous Greek red I loved. Dark in color with a mild black cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely black cherries coming through. On the medium length finish the wine has some nice smooth tannins and acidity along with some nice mild peppery notes that come out subtly in the mouth without food. The wine is nice and dry with some nice complexity. Quite a nice wine, especially given the price. This should easily easily keep a little while too. I would give it an 88+. If you have not had many Greek wines, this is a good one to give a whirl.

From the LCBO web site:
Tsantali Reserve Rapsani 2013 — VINTAGES#: 734855
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This blend of Xinomavro, Krassato and Stavroto was hand-picked from vines grown at altitudes between 250 and 500 metres on the slopes of Mount Olympus. It offers complex aromas of blueberry, date, fig, leather, incense and smoke. On the palate, tangy acidity brings redcurrant and pomegranate notes on the way to a chewy, lightly smoky finish. Enjoy the wine now through 2022 with strong cheeses, or a stew of browned ground beef or lamb with eggplant, tomato and roasted garlic. (Vintages panel, Nov. 2017) $20.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 6, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Thessalia, Greece By: Evangelos Tsantalis S.A.Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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2016 Trius Barrel fermented chard

Pale to golden in color with a nice apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice pear and apple to match the nose along with some slightly smokey and some mild flint coming. I have to say I had a hard time with this wine. Difficult to describe. It’s slightly oaked, but as someone who tries to be everything to everyone this wine doesn’t really hit the mark. If you like your chards oaked this is so lightly oaked as to wonder why they bothered. If you like your chard unoaked the smokey notes are off. I would give this an 87-88. I only bought one so none to return, cause I would. Especially at this price point. Meh … I’ve had better.

From the winery’s web site:
Winemaker Craig McDonald has crafted another gorgeous Chardonnay from our Niagara vineyards.

This Chardonnay has a smooth, round mouth-feel and the perfect balance of acidity to refresh on the finish. Flavours of baked apple, cream and toffee glide across the palate.

Pair with roasted lemon chicken; smoked salmon risotto; mushroom risotto; cedar planked salmon; creamy garlic pasta dishes; creamy scallop potatoes and chicken skewers; apple-wood smoked cheddar with crusty baguette; vodka cream sauce pasta; smoked paprika and yogurt marinated grilled chicken; barbecued pork chops with Dijon and tarragon; turkey pot pie; cream of mushroom soup.

Serve lightly chilled at 13 to 15°C. Enjoy now through 2021.

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2015 Indomita Zardoz cab (mini review)

Another one from the Chilean wine fest … Dark in color with a nice cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with bold, rich cherries coming through. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely smooth tannins and nice acidity. I would give this an 88+. One of the stars of the show. Sadly, not in the LCBO. @27.95 a bottle from Rare Earth wines.

From the winery’s web site:
Vineyard: ALTO MAIPO VALLEY. FLAT CLAYISH SOIL OF ALLUVIAL ORIGIN WITH GREAT PRESENCE OF ROUNDED PEBBLES AND ROCKS FROM RIVER EROSION. COOL CLIMATE DUE TO PROXIMITY TO THE MOUNTAIN RANGE.
Harvest: APRIL 25-28, 2012. 6-7 TON/HA.
Vinification: MANUAL DE-STEMMING; BERRIES ARE REMOVED FROM THE BUNCH ONE BY ONE. SEEDING OF SELECTED YEASTS AND DAILY PUNCHING DOWN, WITHOUT PUMPING OVER. ALCOHOLIC MACERATION FOR 1 TO 2 WEEKS.
RACKING BY GRAVITY ONLY IN NEW BARRELS FOR MLF. AGING FOR 18 TO 24 MONTHS.
Aging: 18 TO 24 MONTHS IN NEW 225-LITER FRENCH OAK BARRELS.
Fining: NONE.
Tasting notes
BEAUTIFUL, BRIGHT RED COLOR WITH BRICK-LIKE NUANCES. DELICATE VIOLET, RED FRUIT, PEPPERMINT, HAZELNUT AROMAS WITH A DELICATE HINT OF FINE WOOD. BLACKCURRANT AND DRIED FRUIT ON THE BACK. ALL THESE ELEMENTS COMBINE TO PRODUCE A WINE OF DEEP COMPLEXITY. GENTLE, CLEAN AND LAYERED MOUTH FEEL THAT GRADUALLY UNVEILS ITS ELEGANCE. A WINEMAKER’S PRIDE THAT BOASTS DELICIOUSLY ROUND AND SEDUCTIVE TANNINS.
Analysis: ALCOHOL: 14,8% ACIDITY: 5,09 G/L PH: 3,59 RESIDUAL SUGAR: 3,02 G/L

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2014 Thirty Bench Small lot Pinot noir

I was wandering out of Longos and went into the Wine shop … this wine was there, and was mislabelled as $24.20 a bottle instead of the usual $36 so I pounced. Garnet in color with mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely rich varietal soft red berries, strawberries and raspberries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth acidity and tannins. This is a smooth well made pinot. The wine builds nicely in the mouth. I would give it an 88+. Very nice, especially given the bargain price I paid!!

From the winery’s web site:
$36.95 per bottle

Ruby red colour with a bouquet of cherry, raspberry, red plum and smoke. Medium-bodied, elegant and fruit-forward. Juicy, fruit flavours of red berry and cherry fill the mouth. Red berry tea, pomegranate and red currant notes linger on the finish.

Pinot Noir grapes were hand-picked and hand-sorted from our own Thirty Bench vineyard and fermented in open top wood fermenters. Barrel aged in French oak for 12 months.

Serve at a cool room temperature of 15 to 17˚C. Pair with venison and a red wine cherry reduction; veal steaks; beef tenderloin; mushroom based dishes; pheasant; quail; duck breast. Enjoy with a selection of cheeses which may include Peau Rouge, La Sauvagine and Reblochon.
This wine will age gracefully through 2020.

Limited production of 402 cases.

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2015 Albert Bichot Bourgogne Pinot Noir AOC

I was walking through the general list and was looking for a pinot I could pair with salmon and this one jumped up at me. I took a flyer without research and grabbed it. Garnet in color with a mild light red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice red berries like strawberries. On the medium length finish the wine has some nice vibrant acidity, nice tannins and dryness. There’s some lovely rustic notes that build in the mouth. This is a smack on varietal pinot. And this one is an example of the new labelling laws allowing the Frnech to label the grape and still keep AOC. I would give it an 88 or. The LCBO call it light bodied and fruity, I think that’s not on point …

From the LCBO web site (Check stock(:
Albert Bichot Bourgogne Pinot Noir AOC — LCBO#: 166959
STYLE – Light-bodied & Fruity
Albert Bichot Bourgogne Pinot Noir is bursting with aromas and flavours of raspberries with hints of spice.
$19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 6, 2010
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Burgundy, France By: Maison Albert Bichot Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Light-bodied & Fruity

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2015 Peppoli Chianti Classico

I last reviewed the 2014 vintage of this wine and enjoyed it. Not all wineries can make consistent wine, so I like to follow up reviews when the next vintage is release. This particular wine has been a Vintage essential for a while now. Dark in color with a nice soft red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays lovely soft red berries, cherries, and the like to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins, nice dryness and smooth acidity. This is a well made smooth varietal Chianti classico. I would give it an 88 or so. Super food friendly. The LCBO describe this wine as medium bodied and fruity and I would agree!

From the LCBO web site:
Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico— VINTAGES#: 606541
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 3, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in:Tuscany, Italy By: Marchesi Antinori S.P.A.Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal: Sangiovese Description: A food-friendly Chianti Classico made on the historic Pèppoli estate, whose vineyards date back to the middle ages. Features cherry, currant, leather and herbal notes. Pair with homemade pizza, cured meats or pasta with Bolognese sauce.

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Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2015 mini review

Dark in color with a smokey/oakey nose along with some dark berries. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice dark berries to match the nose, black cherries and some dried fruits. On the medium length finish, where this wine shines IMHO, the wine displays beautiful dryness, firm tannins and lovely complexity. I would give this wine an 88+. It’s 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot.

From the LCBO web site (Check stock):
Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2015 — VINTAGES#: 727636
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
A firm and chewy young wine with chestnut, chocolate and oyster shell character. A blackberry undertone. Full body, polished and fresh. Drink now or hold in your cellar. Score – 94. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, Aug. 28, 2017) $32.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 14, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By: Tenuta Sette Ponti Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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2011 13th St Essence Pinot Noir (mini review)

I love Pinots, so food friendly. A perfect compliment to poultry like turkey we so often end up eating at holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving! And Ontario make some excellent ones! This wine is garnet in color with a lovely varietal nose of soft red berries. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely soft red berries, strawberry and raspberries. There a hint of oak/smokiness as well. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice vibrant acidity, nice dryness and smooth tannins. This is an elegant well made pinot. I would give it an 88+. Very nice indeed!!!

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
13th Street Essence Pinot Noir 2011 — VINTAGES#: 237222
Essence wines, this is where you find the personality of Colas, this is his playground, a place where he can make the wines that best express the best of the vintage, his take on the vintage. The Pinot shows black cherry, meaty-loamy notes, truffles and swirling spices on the nose. It is built with structure, designed to age, with ripe, assertive tannins, savoury cherry flavours, currants, earthy and spicy but doesn’t seem over the top on the palate. My temptation would be to lay this down for a while to bring it all into harmony. Score – 92. (Rick VanSickle, winesinniagara.com, Nov. 27, 2014) $44.95

PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 5, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in:Ontario, Canada By:Thirteenth Street Wine Corp. Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

From the winery’s web site:
TECHNICAL NOTES
APPELLATION: VQA Niagara Peninsula
VINEYARD(S): Various
GRAPE VARIETY(IES): 100% Pinot Noir
BRIX AT HARVEST: 23.5 average
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13%
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 3 grams – dry

TASTING NOTES
Attractive medium ruby core. Medium plus intensity with dried cherry, cranberry, currant, plum and warm baking spice. Tea leaves, damp earth and cherry pit round out this complex nose. Dry with medium body and medium plus acidity. High toned red fruits are surrounded by youthful fruit tannin and the medium finish brings flavours of cacao powder and stone fruit.
This wine will certainly benefit from 12 to 18 months ageing before it has mellowed enough to show its best. When ready, serve cool at 18oC in fine Pinot Noir designed stemware alongside all manner of poultry, semi-soft alpine cheeses and flavourful beef or veal dishes.

WINEMAKING NOTES
The fruit for this wine was sourced primarily from our own old estate vines as well as the best barrels from our younger vines and purchased fruit from select growers. All fruit was hand-picked between mid-October and mid-November and each batch was handled separately. After early morning picking into small bins the grapes were transported to the winery where further manual sorting took place. After de-stemming and crushing, the grapes and must were moved into open-top stainless steel tanks where fermentation took place at an average of 24oC. Punching down was utilized during primary fermentation and post fermentation maceration on the skins lasted for 20 days. 80% of the wine, along with the fine lees, was moved to 10% new and 90% seasoned French oak barrels where malo ensued. The remaining 20% remained in tank. The wines were aged for 12 months in wood and after final blending were fined and lightly filtered before bottling in August 2013.

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Beau’s New Lang Sang – Holiday Drinks to Try

Wait, what? Beer?

With the 2017 holidays upon us, we will try and get 5-6 posts up of interesting things to look for when you go to the liquor store this festive season. Often times we get emails asking for suggestions or advice, and it is very easy to spout off a style or varietal, it is challenging however to find something that goes outside the norms; and this Belgian inspired beer will give you just that, something outside of normal.

Beau’s has been one of the more remarkable and successful craft brewers in Ontario over the past few years as the boom occurred. Most know their cult-followed Lug Tread, a beer that is worth always having in your fridge. This winter special is without a doubt not for lovers of bland pilsners or ales; but as well, those fans of Beau’s other brews might find this out of their wheelhouse. This Tripel style is a tad unusual if you are a trappist fan. It is a bold, sparkling strong beer. It has the body and bottle that initially indicates Champagne, but in the bottle you will find just a competitor to the bubbles, nothing else is even close. It is a strong beer made to be enjoyed on a cold winters night, with bold food (and people). Be warned, do not use Champagne glasses, but ensure a good long neck for your own enjoyment (and safety).

Overall the taste was fruity, tangy and solid. The long finish yields a spicy, heavy on the palate taste, and overall I found one was enough. But at 9% APV, that may not be a bad thing if you are trying to do more than lie around on the couch. Like life, you should try everything, and this is no different.

Cheers!

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2016 Yalumba Coonawarra Cab (mini review)

Dark in color with a nice dark berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with some subtle back cherries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dryness and complexity. I would give it an 88 or so. Not a bad cab …

From the LCBO web site (Check stock):
Yalumba Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon — LCBO#: 460667
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Deep and dark with intense, rich berry flavours, this popular pick reflects the unique characteristics of this Australian region in the best possible way. $19.90
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:November 18, 2016
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: South Australia, Australia By: Negociants International Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Inky dark in color with a lovely dark cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine spot on matches the nose with lovely dark berries and cassis coming through. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely velvety tannins, nice complexity and lingering dryness. The complexity of the wine is best appreciated without food, but it pairs really well with red meats. We had it at the Keg with of course a steak and it went really well. I would give this wine a solid 89. Yumm.

From the LCBO web site:
Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon — VINTAGES#: 352583
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm $44.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 3, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in:California, USA By: Beringer Vineyards Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon Description: In 1868, Jacob Beringer left Germany and settled in California, where he built the now-historic Beringer Winery. A vibrant Cab with ripe cassis, vanilla and smoke aromas. Cellar 3-5 years, or decant and pair with roast beef, grilled quail or Beemster cheese.

From the winery’s web site:
The 2015 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of ripe black fruit, mocha, dried herbs and licorice. Opulent but structured, this versatile wine has supple blue and black fruit notes accented by dark chocolate, roasted coffee and a silky, lingering finish.

Beringer Vineyards has owned and farmed its Knights Valley vineyards since the mid-1960’s, when the Beringer family recognized that the cobbled alluvial soils were a great place to grow high quality wine grapes. The Knights Valley designation was first used on a Beringer label in 1974. Beringer was instrumental in garnering official recognition for the area in 1983 as a premier wine growing region in the form of its own American Viticulture Area (AVA) designation.

WINEMAKING
To maintain the unique characteristics of the different lots from varying areas of the vineyard, each is monitored carefully through the vinification process. Extended maceration created larger tannins to enhance the lush mouthfeel of the blend and extracted a maximum of color, aromas and flavors. The wines were then aged in French oak barrels (25 percent new) for 16 months and underwent malolactic fermentation for further development of texture and mouthfeel.

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Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (mini review)

Pale in color with a nice grassy/grape fruit nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some mild grassy notes to match the nose. This is definitely a softer sauv blanc, one could even say more elegant. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice citrus notes along with lovely acidity that grows nicely in the mouth. I would give this an 88 or so. Should be super food friendly, but nothing too powerful from a food point of view or you could easily over power the wine.

from the LCBO web site (check stock):
Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2016 — VINTAGES#: 225557
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Excellent pale straw colour. Nose showing a lot of complexity with aromas of cut grass and minerals and hints of tropical fruit. Palate showing a wonderful savoury complexity that pairs well with food. Score – Gold Medal. (Dr. Ken Dobler, Sydney International Wine Competition, 2017) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:December 9, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in:Marlborough, New Zealand By: Eradus Wines Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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Argiano Non Confunditur 2014 (mini review)

Dark in color with a smokey/oaky nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely rich black fruits. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely dryness and mild acidity. This is a very good wine, and given the price of $23.95 is a great deal. I would give it an 88-89. Sadly not in the LCBO, but available from Noble Estates.

From the winery’s web site:
‘Non Confunditur’ is a Latin term that means unique, unmistakable. We christened this wine Non Confunditur as a tribute to Argiano’s prestigious and glorious past. Non Confunditur is the product of the unique combination of Tuscan and French grapes. Since 2002, NC has earned its place alongside the finest Tuscan blends.

Organoleptic characteristics
NC is a wine with a decisive, full-bodied character, smooth tannins and a persistent finish. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese reveals an exciting potency, with the innate gentleness of Merlot creating a bridge between the evident earthiness of Sangiovese, the aromatic blackcurrant flavour of Cabernet and the warm red berries of Syrah. The result is a generous, rounded red wine, destined for short to medium ageing, with delicious aromas of currants and generous fruit flavours, versatile enough to develop in greater depth during long months in the bottle.

Climatic conditions
The vineyards of Argiano benefit from a favourable microclimate and an enviable position which contribute to the development of the vines. The extended vegetative cycle and ripening period are due to the altitude of the plateau, 300 m above sea level, which determines cool nights in the summer months. The generally moderate rainfall in Montalcino favours better, healthier ripening of the grapes, conveying greater concentration and aromas to the wine. This, together with the hot and constant winds that blow from the Maremma, cooling the bunches of grapes during the hottest summer days, allows slower ripening of the grapes, determining favourable general conditions. Lastly, Argiano is close to Mount Amiata, one of Tuscany’s highest peaks, which protects the entire area from bad weather. The combination of all these factors enables Argiano to make high profile wines and constantly good vintages, year after year.

Vinification
The grape harvest usually begins in the middle of September, when the Syrah and Merlot are picked, and is completed at the beginning of October, with the Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each of the four different grape-varieties used in the blend – Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – is fermented separately in order to preserve their individual characteristics. Before blending, the wine is aged for a short period of time in French oak barriques which have already been used once before, in the traditional large Slavonian oak barrels and in stainless steel tanks, to soften the tannins and harmonise the different flavours of each grape-variet

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2016 Ruffino Chianti

I enjoy Chiantis, they are perfect for things like red sauce based pastas, and I use them both to marinate as well as to serve with the rabbit stew I make. Dark in color with a nice soft red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice soft red berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice tannins and dryness. For the money this is a lovely wine. I would give it an 88 or so. It’s in the general list so readily available at the LCBO.

From the LCBO web site:
Ruffino Chianti — LCBO#: 1743
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Purple/red colour; aromas and flavours of red berry and cherry fruit, spicy notes & a touch of pepper; dry, medium body, with balanced tannin on a gently firm finish.
$13.05 WAS $15.05 SAVE $2.00 Limited Time Offer Until December 31, 2017
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 14, 2011
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By: Ruffino S.R.L. Sugar Content: 5 g/L Sweetness

from the winery’s web site:
ASTING NOTES

Ruffino Chianti DOCG is an approachable, easy-drinking wine that has predominantly fruity and floral aromatics, with hints of spice and hazelnut. On the palate, Chianti DOCG is soft with a medium body and nice balance, displaying pleasantly fruity characteristics.

Chianti DOCG occupies a special place in the heart– and history– of Ruffino. When Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino founded the winery in 1877, the first wine they produced was a Chianti. And it was the reputation of this wine that launched Ruffino’s early success. In fact, before World War I Ruffino was the only Chianti exported from Italy to the United States, making it an ambassador to wine lovers around the world. In keeping with tradition, Chianti DOCG features a distinct Florentine bottle reminiscent of the fiasco, the straw-dressed flask in which Chianti was originally bottled. Today, Ruffino Chianti DOCG serves as a benchmark for quality and consistency. For many wine lovers worldwide, Ruffino Chianti is Chianti.

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2016 G. Marquis Silver line Chard

I last reviewed the 2014 vintage of this wine and was impressed. I was curious to see if they could consistently continue at this quality level. Pale to slightly golden in color with a lovely mild nose of apple and pear. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely apple and pear coming through. This is another chard that is sensitive to temperature, don’t serve it too cold or you will miss it’s complexity. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely butterscotch nose, and some acidity. This is a lightly oaked chard. We paired it with pan seared scallops and cod and it went perfectly. They have done a good job on this one again. I would give it an 88 or so. Very nice.

From the LCBO web site:
G. Marquis The Silver Line Chardonnay 2016 — VINTAGES#: 258681
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
Aromas of buttered toast, applesauce, fresh pineapple and white peach. Quite mouthfilling, with lots of toast and oak, plus grilled fruit tones. This will drink well through 2020 and will pair nicely with grilled pork or chicken. (Vintages panel, August 2017) $17.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date: September 16, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 12.3% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Magnotta Winery Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Rich Varietal: Chardonnay

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Clos de los Siete 2013

I’ve had a number of bottles of this wine over a number of years and always been impressed. And it ages VERY well. Inky dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays lovely rich black berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely smooth tannins along with some nice pepper notes. This is a lovely elegant wine that is well above it’s price point. I would give it an 89+. Yummm …

from the winery’s web site:
Grapes: 56% Malbec – 21% Merlot – 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot
Alcohol 14.5 %

From the LCBO web site:
Clos de los Siete 2013 — VINTAGES#: 622571
Clos de los Siete 2013
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
A more refined red from here than in the past showing blackberry, blueberry and hints of walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Why wait on this? Delicious wine. Drink now. Score – 92. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, May 20, 2016) $22.95

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KIR YIANNI DIAPOROS 2013 (mini review)

I stopped by Group Kolonaki’s booth at the Gourmet Food and wine Expo recently to learn about Greek wines. And this particular wine ended up being one of my favorites of the evening. I have to admit to not knowing a lot about Greek wines, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn. The team at the booth were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the wine industry in Greece! The grape is an indigenous Greek one called Xinomavro mixed with 13% Syrah. Of course having never heard of this grape I had no preconceptions of what to expect. Dark in color with a dark berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely bold dark berry fruits and maybe some mocha. On the medium length finish the wine displays some silky smooth tannins, lovely dryness and complexity. This is a delicious wine. I would give it an 89-90 or so. I was thoroughly impressed! The wine is not in the LCBO, but available from Group Kolonakis for $50 a bottle in cases of 6.

From Group Kolonaki’s web site:
Description
If a New World Xinomavro ever existed this would be it. Kir Yianni has managed to hold on to what intrigues us about Xinomavro and at the same time craft a wine that is nothing like what we have seen before. Diaporos has a deep red colour, almost blue, very different from the traditional Xinomavro. In the nose, the bouquet consists of ripe black fruit, plums, cigar box, black chocolate, golden tobacco, pepper. In the mouth one gets the well constructed, sculpted tannins rooted in a dense layer of ripe fruit. This is a full bodied wine, rich in ripe tannins with good acidity balanced by the quite high alcohol level. A new version of the Xinomavro grape, expressing the vineyard where it is coming from. Under proper storage conditions this wine can be aged and enjoyed for up to 10-12 years and more.

From the winery’s web site:
Analytical Data
Alcohol: 14.6 %vol pH: 3.35 Volatile acidity: 0.60 g/lt Residual sugar: 3.2 g/lt

Cellaring:
22 months in 225-lit oak casks and 6 months further ageing in bottles
Origin: Block #5 of the Yianakohori vineyard in Naous

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2013 J J Hahn Cab/shiraz

Inky dark in color with nice black berry nose. On the mid palate there’s some nice soft black berries to match the nose, almost blueberries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice soft tannins, acidity and pepper. This is a softer gentler more food friendly shiraz, likely made so by the cab. I don’t get a lot of cab off it. I would give it an 88 or so. Not in the LCBO but available by the case for $24.50 a bottle.

from the winery’s web site:
A classic Australian wine style championed in Australia in the late 1800s. Today it is the great Australian red, to the point that leading international wine writers and commentators, Tyson Stelzer and Matthew Jukes, have labelled Shiraz Cabernet blends as “The Blend that defines Australia: Mouth filling wine style; soft, fleshy but firm with an explosion of fruit and flavour by blending Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon”.

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2015 Ringbolt cab (mini review)

Dark in color with a nice dark cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice dark cherries coming through along with a hint of herbacious/green notes. The wine might be a bit young. On the medium length finish the wine displays smooth tannins and acidity. Not a bad wine at all. I would give it an 88 or so:

From the LCBO web site:
Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon — VINTAGES#: 606624
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm $21.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 3, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Western Australia, Australia By:Negociants International Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon DescriptionThe Ringbolt was a ship that sank during the 1800s off the rugged Australian coast near Margaret River, now a premium wine region. This elegant Cabernet goes down beautifully! Serve with oven-roasted top sirloin, grilled sausages or hearty lamb stew.

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