Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2017

Every now and then a Chenin comes through the LCBO from South Africa that catches my eye. Wines from the Vouvray region of France are primarily Chenins. At there best, they are lovely, crisp dry, food friendly wines. This one is pale in color with a nice crisp nose with a hint of sweetness to it. Looking at the sugar content, 4g/l this is a super dry chenin. On the mid palate the wine, as expected displays some lovely crisp dry minerality along with a hint of sweetness. It’s more noticable when cold. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely mouth grip as citrus and minerality live on, mostly noticeable without food. It is, as expected a very food friendly wine. I would give this an easy 88. Be sure and leave it on the table as you eat your meal and enjoy it, as it evolves, warming up. A perfect Chenin for my tastes. And for $13.95 it’s hard to go wrong. I would suggest this is more of a drink now style of wine, versus aging. The LCBO say Full-bodied and rich? Ok I don’t get that at all. Rich? Shrug …

From the LCBO web site:
Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2017 —VINTAGES#: 981167
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
The first vintage of this wine was in 1968, making it as old as the White Album by the Beatles. This 2017 vintage has nice acidity and structure and shows lovely citrus, apple, pear and peach fruit. Savour it with grilled chicken or barbecued pork sausages. (Vintages panel, June 2017) $13.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 12, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.8%Made in: Stellenbosch, South Africa By: Simonsig Wines Pty Ltd Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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2015 Inniskillin Niagara Reserve Pinot Noir

In some countries the word reserve is used to denote longer time in oak. In Canada, it’s meaning can be varied. So according the the Inniskillin website “Grapes are selected by our winemaker from specific lots of premium vineyards throughout the Niagara Peninsula to make exceptional, limited edition VQA wines. These selections reflect the finest assemblage of each grape variety from different vineyards.” Note, no mention of longer time in oak. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this in Niagara.

This particular wine is the big brother of the Cellar selection I previously reviewed.. Popping up to $25.95 from $13 for the non reserve. Garnet in color with a lovely soft red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays nice soft red berries, strawberries and the like. The fruit is quite vibrant and complex. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice tannins, acidity and complexity. Compared to the lower priced non reserve this wine is definitely more elegant and lively, quite noticeably better. I would give it an 88-89. A very nice, varietal Pinot. Not in the LCBO but available from Winerack.com

from the winerack.com’s web site:
Inniskillin Reserve Pinot Noir 750 mL Bottle $25.95
Flavours of Bing cherries and bittersweet chocolate. Perfect when paired with roasted meats.
Residual Sugar g/L 5.1
Calories / 5 oz glass 117

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2014 Estate Papaioannou Nemea Agiorgitiko Nemea (mini review)

My regular readers know I’ve been on a bit of a journey of exploration of wines from Greece. They have some unique grapes and old world methods that makes this a eye opening experience. Recently I attended the Wines of Greece event and had this one straight off … The grape is called Saint George – Agiorgitiko. The wine is inky dark in color with a rich red cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely red cherries to match the nose backed almost immediately by firm bold tannins and acidity. This is a shockingly BIG wine. A palate bruiser. The 2014 is a bit young (previous one in the market was a 2010) and it has lots of time left in the bottle. You may want to decant it. The complexity of the wine is quite impressive. I would give this wine an 88+, but only if you like your wines big. And be sure and pair it with something hearty, so it has a chance of standing up to this wine. Very impressive. Currently not in the LCBO but available from Kolonaki for $24.95 a bottle, by the case of 12. Wow …

From the winery’s web site for the 2010:
Type: Red dry, V.Q.P.R.D. Nemea
Production: 70.000 bottles
Producer: A. & G. Papaioannou – GR 20500 Ancient Nemea/Corinthia
Area of production: Nemea / Peloponnese
Grape varieties: Aghiorghitiko 100%
Vinification – Bottling: At the family winery in Ancient Nemea
Gastronomic aspects: It is characterized by complex and rich aroma of red fruits, butter and caramel. Its taste is balanced and rich in tannins. Perfect with rich red meat.
Serving temperature: 17 – 18 degrees
Type of vinification – maturing: Classical red fermentation. It is aged for one year in oak barrel and continues to mature in the bottle for six months. It can be aged for ten years.

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Lantides Goldvine Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (mini review)

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some lovely black cherries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins and acidity. This is a nice dry wine! This is a well made, smooth, food friendly cab. Quite impressive. The wine is made from 90% cab and 10% Aghiorghitiko (St George) and comes from vines that are more than 30 years old. I would give this wine an 88+. Currently none in stock at the LCBO. Hopefully more will come in. A great example of a cab from Greece! The LCBO say full bodied and smooth … I whole heartedly agree!

From the LCBO web site:
Lantides Goldvine Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 — VINTAGES#: 546234
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Silver Medal winner at the 2017 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is silky and balanced with ripe blackcurrant, red berry, vanilla and clove character. Pair it with mildly spiced beef or lamb burgers. (Vintages panel, Aug. 2017) $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 26, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.1% Made in: Peloponnese, Greece By: Lantides Panikos Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry

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Bachelder 2015 Wismer Chard (mini review)

Pale in color with a lovely rich bold varietal chard nose with lots of apple/pear coming through. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with bold rich apple and pear coming through along with some nice creamyness. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely vanilla and acidity that lives on nicely in the mouth. This is a nice crisp, dry, well made, elegant chard. Not at all over oaked. I would give it an 99+. The LCBO say full bodied and rich … Oh ya!

From the LCBO web site (for a different year):
Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 —VINTAGES#: 345819 | 750 mL bottle
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
Hailing from a warmer vintage, this is one large, rich and fleshy chardonnay. But despite the girth and depth it still pulls some fine acidity and minerality out of its hat as the wine wanes on the finish. Expect very lifted peat smoke from the barrels, with ripe almost custardy peach/pear fruit and almond on the nose. Some sense of herbality there as well. It rolls across the palate then battens down on the finish, hitting excellent to outstanding length. Score – 92. (David Lawrason, winealign.com, Jan. 25, 2015) $44.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 5, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.9% Made in: Ontario, Canada By:Les Bougognes Delaney-Bachelder Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Rich

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2016 Inniskillin Niagara Cellar Selection Pinot noir

I love Pinots, and Niagara make some great ones. Inniskillin is in the Niagara on the lake area. This particular wine was available at the wine store as I was walking out of Metro, and I couldn’t be bothered walking across the parking lot to the LCBO so I thought WTF (not Wed/Thur/Fri) let’s grab it and see. It was $2 off so the risk wasn’t huge. Garnet in color with nice varietal soft red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice smooth strawberries. The fruit is better than I expected at this price point and this is not just a fruit bomb. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely smooth tannins and acidity along with some earthy notes. This was shockingly good for the price. I would give it an 88+. How can you go wrong for $13.95! Not at the LCBO, so from the winery or winerack.com

From the WineRack web site:
inniskillin Cellar Select Pinot Noir
SAVE $2.00 WAS $15.95 NOW $13.95 Case of 12 – $167.40
Rich red fruit flavours, light bodied with a smooth finish. Enjoy with chicken, pork, or fish. VQA
Table Wine Wine Rack Exclusive
Residual Sugar g/L 5.1
Calories / 5 oz glass 113

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2016 Albert Bichot Bourgogne Pinot Noir

I’ve been on a bit of a run of good Pinots lately. I grabbed this one based only on the sugar content from the general list. Garnet in color with a nice soft red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with soft red berries, raspberries/strawberries and the like along with the usual rustic notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely smooth tannins and acidity. Its nice and dry just the way I like them. This is a lovely well made pinot and not a bad price at all. I would give it an 88 or so
From the LCBO website:
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. $20.20
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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2013 Domaine Queylus Merlot (mini review)

Dark in color with a nice plum nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with black plums coming through along with some cherries. This is a lovely bold merlot. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins, acidity and dryness. It’s got some nice complexity that lives on in the mouth. This to my tastes is one of the best, varietal, merlots coming out of Niagara in quite a while. Yummy. I would give it an 88-89. This wine is 86% merlot and 14% cab franc.

From the LCBO web site (for a different year):
Queylus Grand Reserve Merlot/Cabernet Franc 2012 — VINTAGES#: 536987
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
In 2012 the varietal relationship is magnified, pursued with prejudice and made blatantly obvious. The Cabernet Franc does the heavy lifting, bringing out the lovely dust, fine aggregate and mulled berry aspects of the Merlot. Richness is Merlot deep. Length, depth and a serious zest for blended life emits from energy. This vitality begins in the clay soil and the pioneering vision of Mr. Alain Sutre. Thomas and Kelly have transmitted his identification for the Queylus site to be one of the great essential locales in the development of harmony and power for the Bordeaux in Niagara varietal treatise. This is the starting point for the plan. It’s also a wine that is a product of Pinot Noir winemakers and doubting Thomases. Because it goes ripe. Drink 2017-2027. Score – 92. (Michael Godel, winealign.com, Dec. 24, 2015) $49.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:November 2, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in:Ontario, Canada By: Gestion Queylus Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Merlot/Cabernet Franc

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2013 Flat rock Gravity Pinot Noir

I’ve had this wine over a large number of years and they are always consistent. I consider this wine a benchmark. It has all the things you should expect from a pinot and none of the things you don’t want! Garnet in color with a lovely varietal soft red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with soft red berries, strawberry and the like along with some nice rustic notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays nice acidity and tannins along with some nice dryness. I would easily give this an 88+. If your looking for a wine to introduce people to what Niagara can do … this is, and has been for quite a while, a great choice. Don’t be fooled by the lower end (non-gravity) pinot from Flat rock. This one is the one to get!

From the LCBO web site for the 2014 Vintage (check stock):
Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2014 — VINTAGES#: 1560 | 750 mL bottle
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Aromas of fleshy cherry yet it’s balanced with racy acidity. The winery uses the gentlest methods to press the grapes and make the wine via a gravity flow system rather than pumping (thus the name gravity on the label). Then the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Medium ruby hue with cherry accents, polished tannins, silky smooth texture and medium bodied weight. Gorgeous cherry-berry aromas and flavours on the mid-palate. Then it finishes with wisps of black raspberry and vanilla toast. This red wine is so vibrant and so fantastically great year after year. Try it with roast chicken or turkey. Score – 92. (Natalie MacLean, nataliemaclean.com, Dec. 31, 2015) $34.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 28, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 12.9% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Flat Rock Cellars Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra DryStyle: Medium-bodied & Fruity

From the winery’s web site for the 2013 Vintage:
About This Wine:
The Gravity bottling of Pinot Noir is designed to showcase the ‘best of the best’ in our vineyard and cellar. With a very good crop of fruit in 2013, we were able to have an even greater selection of Pinot Noir fruit to choose from and more barrels of wine to select for our top Pinot Noir blend. The end result is a wine that is very subtle in its oak profile in order to showcase the sweet & savoury notes of Pinot Noir. The core of fruit is balanced with some use of stems or whole clusters in the fermentation vat. We are always looking to craft our iconic wines to showcase fruit purity with nuance and elegance. This is how we feel we can best express the terroir of our Twenty Mile Bench vineyard.
Acid: 6.5 g/L PH: 3.75 Residual Sugar: <2 g/L Alcohol %: 13%
Bottling Date: April 2015
$34.95
2013 Gravity retail sheet.

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2014 St Francis Sonoma Cab Sauv

Dark in color with a lovely red cherry nose, it jumps right up to greet you! On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely, bold, rich, vibrant red cherries to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely smooth tannins and acidity. The cherry notes live on nicely in the mouth. We paired it with a veal loin chop and it went perfectly. And with the chocolate brownies that were dessert it was Ratatouille (the character) at it’s finest. A delicous varietal expression of everything a great cab can be. I would give it an 88-89. The LCBO say full bodied and smooth … I say oh ya! This was a gift … Thanks Dale and Lori!

From the LCBO web site for a different year:
St. Francis Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 — VINTAGES#: 671164
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Savoury notes take precedence over fruit at this stage, with a hint of compost and cured meat. It’s full-throttle and layer by layer it gets more interesting; but it’s still a baby showing great potential. Drinking Window: 2020-2028. Score – 91. (decanter.com, Oct. 10, 2017) $34.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 28, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.6% Made in:California, USA By: Kobrand Corporation Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Smooth

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2012 13th Street Premier Cuvee (mini review)

Pale in color with a nice crisp dry minerally nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely crispness, and some noticeable chard notes, some apple/pear. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely acidity and citrus notes. In spite of being on the lees for 48 month it’s not all that creamy. All in all a lovely bubbly. I would give it an 88+. Super food friendly and a great add to any table. Unlike some bubblies that are non-vintage this one is noted as a 2012. Not in the LCBO but available at the winery for $34.95. I’ve had this over a number of years and they have been consistently good …

From the winery’s web site:
PREMIER CUVEE 2012 $34.95
Fresh and pure with classic aromas of toasty brioche and light fruity notes of apple and lemon

The nose is fresh and pure with classic aromas of toasty brioche and light fruity notes of apple and lemon. The mousse is fine with bracing acidity refreshing the palate on the long toasty finish. Certainly perfect to drink now but will further develop complexities through short to medium term aging.

This wine will pair nicely with fresh shucked oysters, white fleshed fish or lobster. Also a perfect pairing with bloomy-rind, double or triple cream cheeses. Or serve on its own as the perfect aperitif. Serve chilled at 5-8° C.

WINEMAKING NOTES
A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the 2012 vintage. Both varieties are primarily sourced from our estate vineyards in the Creek Shores sub-appellation, with some fruit coming from some of our favourite growers in both Creek Shores and Niagara-on-the-Lake. After harvest both varieties The Pinot Noir provides notes of berry fruit, power and richness while Chardonnay the acidic structure and backbone. This dry sparkling wine underwent second fermentation in the final bottle and aged sur lattes (en tirage) for a minimum of 48 months during which the bubbles became smaller and more compact. A slight autolytic, or toast and bread character also developed during this time. After the lees was removed, winemaker Jean-Pierre Colas felt the wine was in perfect balance so decided to not add any sugar to the dosage resulting in a classically dry sparkling wine in the zero dosage style. This wine was not exposed to oak and did not undergo malolactic fermentation.

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Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2015

Garnet in color with a nice soft red berry fruit nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely strawberry notes along with some nice varietal rustic notes coming through. On the medium length finish the wine displays nice dryness, smooth tannins and acidity. This is quite a good pinot, and one of the better ones I’ve tasted from Chile. Definitely made in more of a fruit forward, drink now juicy style. The LCBO refer to it as medium bodied and fruity and I would agree. I would give it an 88+.

From the LCBO web site:
Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2015 — VINTAGES#: 143214
Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2015
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
A tangy and fresh wine with dried strawberry and hints of smoke. Medium to full body, round tannins and a fresh finish. A pretty pinot with plenty of texture and flavor. Drink now. Score – 91. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, May 29, 2017)
$19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 3, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: Aconcagua Valley, Chile By: Montes S.A.Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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The Velvet Devil Merlot

Inky dark in color with a nice black plum nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely black plums coming through along with some black cherries, and hint of wood. On the medium length finish the wine is nice and dry with some smooth tannins. The fruit on this merlot is intense. Sipped on it’s own it’s over the top, with food it a little more subdued, but none the less a bold fruit forward merlot. I would give it an 88 or so. IMHO this is a drink now wine, get it while it’s on sale at the LCBO!

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
The Velvet Devil Merlot — LCBO#: 394742ct
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Deep ruby; aromas of dark cherry, plum, pepper, pipe tobacco and cherry blossom; the palate is dry, medium bodied with soft tannins and flavours of black plum, cherry, spice and vanilla. $16.00 WAS $19.00 SAVE $3.00 Limited Time Offer Until April 29, 2018
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 11, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Washington, USA By: Constellation Brands Inc. (Us) Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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2013 Strewn American Oak Chardonnay mini review

Slightly golden in color with a nice apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with spot on apple/pear notes. On the medium length finish the wine is nice and dry and shows some nice vanilla notes. This is quite a good chard 88+.

From the winery’s web site (for a different year).

2015 Terroir Chardonnay American Oak $32.00 / Bottle

Presenting beautifully! A rich, complex palate with generous aromas of pineapple, green apple and pear that combine with caramel, toasty vanilla and creme brulee. Long, warm and well-balanced finish.

Wine Specs
Appellation: VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake
Brix at Harvest 23.3 Residual Sweetness 3.0
Cases Made 129 cases Alcohol %14.5
Tasting Notes
A complex wine with aromas and flavours of apple (yellow and green), pear, papaya, melon, cantaloupe, lime, vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, coconut, spice and toasty oak. All harmonize with the acidity producing a long, lingering finish. Best serving temperature 10-13C

Food Pairing Notes
The toasty oak notes complement grilled seafood dishes such as salmon, scallops and shrimp, and grilled chicken.

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2016 ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO

Pale in color with nice crisp nose along with some floral notes coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays lots of crisp minerality to match the nose along with some unique smokey notes and some citrus too. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely dryness and nice food friendly acidity. I really enjoyed this wine, it was one of my favs from the Kolonaki Group’s portfolio tasting. Sadly not in the LCBO but available for $29.95 a bottle in cases of 12.

From Kolonaki Group’s web site:
Description
Following the family tradition that lasts since 1903, Estate Argyros produces the ASSYRTIKO ARGYROS. It is a dry white wine made by the variety of Assyrtiko 100%, cultivated in the private vineyard located in Episkopi Gonia. The sedulous selection of grapes from a 50-60 years old vineyard and the vinification, result to a fine dry white wine with a strong personality. Crystal-clear yellow colour, distinctively flavoured with citrus overtones. The relatively high acidity of Assyrtiko gives it a crisp freshness, while the vineyard’s extremely low performance offers body, structure and substance.

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Ardal Crianza 2013

Inky dark in color with a mild black berry nose, which is about the only thing mild about this wine. On the mid palate the wine spot on matches the nose with nice black berries, black cherries and the like coming through. On the long finish the wine displays some lovely palate coating dryness, nice tannins and acidity. This is definitely a bigger wine. The complexity and dryness are really noticeable without food, but not too overpowering. We chose this to go with dessert, chocolate brownies of course! And it went amazingly well I would give this an 89+ which for the price is a bargain. Given the tannins this wine will keep well. Don’t hesitiate to buy some for the cellar! The LCBO say full-bodied and firm … I say hell ya! Wimps need not apply!

From the LCBO web site:
Ardal Crianza 2013 Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon — VINTAGES#: 167601
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
This modern-style red delivers cherry, currant and licorice flavors, accented by espresso and mineral notes, supported by firm tannins and fresh acidity. Drink now through 2025. Score – 90. (Thomas Matthews, winespectator.com, Aug. 31, 2016) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 17, 2018
Alcohol/Vol14.0% Made in: Ribera del Duero, Spain By: Bodegas Balbas Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm

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Raymond Reserve Selection Chardonnay 2015

Golden in color with a rich apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with bold apple and pear to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays bold spicy, peppery notes that quickly overwhelm the fruit. The texture is more on the creamy side. There some nice vibrant acidity on the finish, and some big mouth grip. This is definitely a big chard. Be careful what you serve it with, too mild and not a chance your tasting the food. We tried it with scallops and it really overwhelmed them. Unlike some chards, temperature didn’t affect it much at all. This wine might improve with a little bit of aging when the bold fruit might stand a better chance of shining through. I would give it an -88 right now.

From the LCBO web site:
Raymond Reserve Selection Chardonnay 2015 — VINTAGES#: 716928
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
Tropical bouquet of exotic flowers, pineapple and papaya, dance with a toasty cream pastry on the nose. Full-bodied and creamy on the palate this is underlined by a refreshing acidity which bring[s] a ripe citrus note to the profile. Excellent. Highly Recommended. Score – 91. (International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2017) $24.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 3, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.3% Made in:California, USA By: Raymond Vineyard & Cellar Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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Rabl Kittmansberg Grüner Veltliner 2016

I love Grüners. For those that don’t know them, they are lovely crisp dry wines from Austria, although other countries are awakening to the grape including the Finger lakes in New York! This one is slightly golden in color with a nice crisp, dry, mild mineral nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely crisp dry minerality coming through and a hint of lime. This is a super food friendly wine. It would pair well with anything from alfredo to spicy foos. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dryness along with some nice acidity. The wine has some beautiful mouth grip that builds. I would give ti an 88+

from the LCBO web site Check stock:
Rabl Kittmansberg Grüner Veltliner 2016 – VINTAGES#: 346007
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful $16.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 3, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Kamptal, Austria By: Weingut Rudolph Rabl Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Aromatic & Flavourful Varietal: Grüner Veltliner

Description: The terraced Kittmansberg vineyard is comprised of accumulated loess (wind-blown soil) that provides excellent drainage. These are wines that are typically floral with citrus, apple and melon notes, and an impressive underlying minerality. Enjoy with cioppino.

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2015 Thirty Bench Winemaker’s blend Chardonnay

I previously rated the 2013 Small Lot chardonnay and was impressed. This one is much less expensive. Pale to golden in color with a mild apple/pear nose, spot on varietal. This is one of those chards that’s sensitive to temperature. Serve it too cold and your will miss some of the complexity. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely pear/apple. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely vanilla and some creamyness. The wine has some nice mouth grip. This is a lovely and food friendly chard, not over baked. I would give it an 88+, which at $19.95 a bottle is not a bad deal. I bought it at the wine store as I was exiting Longos. It doesn’t seem to be on the winery’s web site so I am assuming there is limited left. It should easily keep a year or two so don’t hesitate to buy a few!

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Santa Margherita Chianti Classico 2014

Inky dark in color with a with a mild nose. And the nose is about all that is mild a about this wine. On the mid palate the wine displays some bold black fruits. On the medium length finish the wine displays some firm tannins, firm pepper/spicy notes and some lively acidity. I would give it an 88+. I lovely bigger Chianti Classico!

from the LCBO web site Check stock:
Santa Margherita Chianti Classico 2014 Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot — VINTAGES#: 91694
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity $22.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 17, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By:S. Margherita S.P.A.Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal: Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
Description: The Santa Margherita name is well-known around these parts, largely because of their super-popular, versatile Pinot Grigio, which is the top-selling white wine in the Vintages Essentials collection. You can expect this Chianti Classico to be crafted in a bright, fruity style with underlying earth and spice tones. Try this with a meaty pasta or roast lamb with rosemary and thyme.

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2015 Thalia Red

Dark in color with a mild red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some soft red fruits to match the nose, I’m getting some strawberry like notes. The wine has some sweetness to it. The wine is on the lighter side for finish with some soft tannins and acidity along with some red berry notes lingering. I would give it an 87+. At $131.40 CAD per case of 12 ($10.95 CAD a bottle), from Kolonaki group. This wine is from Crete in Greece!

From the winery’s web site:
Made with Syrah and Kotsifali grapes this wine has with a ruby colour and a fresh nose that opens up to reveal red fruit, spices and earthy aromas. The taste is round, with soft tannins and good acidity, great presence in the mouth and cherry fruit flavour leading to a clean finish. Enjoy it with roasted, grilled or casseroled red meat, pizza, pasta or simply soft yellow cheese by the fireplace. Best served at a temperature of 18˚C and available in 187mL, 750mL bottles & 3L bag in box sizes.

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Château Sénéjac 2015

I last tasted the 2014 vintage of this wine that I bought through the Bordeaux futures program for $22. This time around I bought it through normal vintages and paid $29. Not sure if the difference is merely the futures program or not.

Inky dark in color with a lovely dark berry Nose on the mid palate the wine displays beautiful dark berries to match the nose, and some nice mocha to go along for the ride. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely velvety tannins, nice acidity and pepper. This is definitely approachable now and is a beautifully dry and complex Bordeaux with not a flavor out of place. Yummm. I would give it a solid 90. Should be quite ageable too. LCBO says full bodied and firm and I would agree!

From the LCBO web site:
Château Sénéjac 2015 — VINTAGES#: 962977uct
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
This shows density and structure for a 2015 with ripe tannins and bright fruit character. Full body. Chewy texture. Extremely well done for Médoc. Score – 92-93. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, April 29, 2016)
$29.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 17, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Bordeaux, France By: Nath. Johnston & Fils Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra DryS

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2016 Thalia Sauv Blanc Vilana

This wine is a blend of 50% sauv blanc and 50%Vilana. Pale in color with a nice floral nose along with some citrus notes. On the mid palate the wine when cold is a mild subtle sauv blanc that builds nicely in the mouth with nice citrus overtones. As the wine warms up the character of the wine becomes far more pronounced and the vibrant acidity and tartness come through. For the price this is a shockingly good one. But be careful with the temperature you serve it at or you will completely miss it’s complexity. I would give it an -88 or so. The LCBO say light and crisp, it ought to say light and crisp when cold out of the fridge. This wine would be a perfect summer sipper for the patio!

From the LCBO web site:
Thalia Sauvignon Blanc Vilana — LCBO#: 273490
STYLE – Light & Crisp
Clear, pale lemon; aromas of citrus, lemon, lime, green pepper, gooseberry and a touch of mushroom; extra-dry, light body, refreshing acidity and flavours of citrus and savoury dried herbs on the finish. $9.85
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 8, 2015
Alcohol/Vol 12.0% Made in: Greece By: Kolonaki Group Inc. Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry

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Ernie Els Big Easy 2016

Dark in color with a red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice soft red cherry notes. For a wine that’s 60% Syrah, the Syrah oddly isn’t coming through. On the medium length finish the wine displays some soft tannins and acidity. This is a smooth, easy drinking, fruit forward wine. The LCBO call it Full bodied and smooth? I’d agree with the smooth part. I would give it an 87-88. It’s a fine wine for just sipping at home on the couch.

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
Ernie Els Big Easy 2016 — VINTAGES#: 220038
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
The blend here – 60% Shiraz, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cinsaut, 5% Grenache, 5% Viognier and 3% Mourvèdre – may sound complicated, but hey, it’s Big Easy. The 2016 vintage of this perennial customer favourite tees up tangy raspberry and sour cherry fruit in an approachable style. Sip with burgers or clubhouse sandwiches. (Vintages panel, June 2017) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 17, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in:Western Cape, South Africa By:Ernie Els Wines (Pty) LtdSugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry

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Coopers Hawk 2016 Reserve Cab Franc Merlot mini review

Cooper’s Hawk is located near Lake Erie. I first encountered them at a taste Ontario event and was impressed, the same place I ran into them this time too! Dark in color with a nice nose of dark berries. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with loads of black berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins, acidity and some nice dryness. A simple easy drinking wine. I would give it an 88 or so! The LCBO refer to it as Medium-bodied & Fruity and I would agree. This by the way is a general list product when you go looking for it.

From the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Cooper’s Hawk Reserve Cabernet/Merlot VQA — LCBO#: 328013
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This is an intriguingly perfumed, savoury, Italianate style cabernet merlot from Lake Erie that hits lots of dusty red and black fruit, resinous herb and spice notes – inviting, zesty and food friendly. Tannins are light and dusty and the finish is above average. This is drinking well now. Tasted April 2013. Score – 88. (John Szabo, MS, winealign.com, May 1, 2013) $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 2, 2014
Alcohol/Vol 13.7% Made in: Ontario, Canada By:Cooper’s Hawk VineyardsSugar Content: 5 g/LSweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity

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