Finca del Marquesado Crianza 2015

Dark in color with a bold black berry nose that leaps out at you. On the mid palate the wine has some bold dark berries that are immediately overwhelmed by firm, green notes, big tannins and acidity. There’s lot of mocha/coffee going on. On the medium length finish the wine displays some firm acidity along with some noticeable alcohol. I would have said this is way too young but being a 2015 it’s still youthful. Some decanting/aging/aerating would soften it. I think this could become a nice wine but for now it’s a little green to my tastes. Right now I would give it an 87-88. It’s not awful, and it definitely softened in the glass, a statement that age will help. We paired it with striploin and it more than held it’s own. Be sure and drink with something flavorful or your not tasting anything but the wine. The LCBO description said “rafted in an easy-drinking style”, umm I think we were drinking VERY different wines.

Update: I left the wine sitting for two days with the cork on and the difference in the wine was pronounced. Much smoother, and the vibrant fruit came through. I would definitely recommend decanting or aging. Your patience will be rewarded.

from the LCBO web site Check stock:
Finca del Marquesado Crianza 2015 VINTAGES#: 638759 $17.95
Image for Finca del Marquesado Crianza 2015
This wine is simply lovely, from the beautiful aromatics through to the long, lifted finish. It’s crafted in an easy-drinking style that favours bold fruit but has so much more: leather, earth, mineral, et al. Structured, with integrated acidity that provides an elegance to the mouthfeel. Really fine. Try this with grilled chicken or a rice-and- smoked-sausage casserole. (Vintages panel, July 2018)
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 2, 2019
Bottle Size: 750 mL bottle
Alcohol/Vol: 14%
Made In: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Valdemar
Sugar Content: 4 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry
Style:Full-bodied & Smooth
Varietal: Tempranillo

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2017 Underwood Pinot Noir

We stopped by Joey’s Eatons center for their half price bottles special on Thursdays and tried this one. The wine is regularly $65 so for $32.50 not a bad deal. Lovely garnet color with a vibrant, inviting strawberry nose ummmmm. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice strawberries and red fruits to match the nose. There’s some nice rustic and earthy notes along for the ride. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely smooth tannins and nice acidity. A very nice, typical pinot which displays Oregon’s earth terroir! I would give it an 88+. It’s not in the LCBO, but if you like it enough you can get it for $24.95 a bottle, by the case of 12, from Rogers and Company. Not a bad markup at all.

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2012 Alvento Aria Nebbiolo (mini review)

Way back in 2014 I tasted the 2007 Aria and was impressed. Nebbiolo as you may know is the grape in the sought after Italian Barolos and Barbarescos. The story becomes a bit of a winding road after that. Closed since 2012 the winery/vineyard has gone through some wild swings in ownership and direction to where I found them, reopened and at Taste Ontario with new owners. Sadly the Nebbiolo vines were decimated in one of our harsh winters, but this wine was saved in the barrel and later bottled as a wonderful piece of Niagara history. I do believe this leaves Ridgepoint as the remaining grower of Nebbiolo in Niagara. Interestingly, Alvento has some of the 2007 still in the bottle available for the collector …

This wine is dark in color with some nice classic Nebbiolo flavors, lots of dark berries, smooth silky long tanins, and some nice acidity. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice palate coating tannins along with some tartness. There’s some nice rustic notes and wood present as well. This wine is ready to drink now as long as you like a bit of a bite to your wine. I would give it an 88+. Available for $45 a bottle at the Winery. They’ve also got a bed and breakfast on site!

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Domaine du Pré Baron Sauvignon Touraine 2017

Pale in color with a distinct grassy nose. On the mid palate this is bold zesty wine with lots of grassy notes to match the nose along with some citrus. The description on the back of the bottle says grapefruit, I’m not sure I’d go that far but this is big wine. On the medium length finish the wine displays some vibrant acidity. It has some good mouth grip and it builds nicely coating the palate. We served it with some pan fried pickerel which is a mild fish and honestly this wine kinda overwhelmed it so be careful. The LCBO describe it as Aromatic & Flavorful … ummm ya! I’d give it an 88 or so.

From the LCBO web site: Check LCBO stock
Domaine du Pré Baron Sauvignon Touraine 2017 VINTAGES#: 107128 $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 2, 2019
Bottle Size: 750 mL bottle
Alcohol/Vol: 12.5%
Made In: Loire, France
By: Jean-Luc Mardon, vigneron
Sugar Content: 4 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry
Style:Aromatic & Flavourful
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

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Château Blaignan 2014

Dark in color with a nice mild black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice rich black berries along with some nice mocha and chocolate. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins, acidity, dryness and complexity. This is a lovely approachable drink now style as long as you like bigger wines. I would give it an 88+ it ought to keep a while too.

from LCBO web site Check LCBO stock
Château Blaignan 2014
Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc VINTAGES#: 633032 $23.95
Image for Château Blaignan 2014 from LCBO
Very attractive fresh cassis nose, then a nice balance between ripeness and moderately dry tannins makes this a classic Medoc on a subtle scale. Drink in 2018. Score – 90. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, Feb. 13, 2017)
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 16, 2019
Alcohol/Vol: 12.5% Made In: Bordeaux, France By: Cordier Sugar Content: 3 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry
Style:Full-bodied & Smooth
Varietal: Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc

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Cecchi Storia di Famiglia Chianti Classico 2015

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice edgy red berries backed almost immediately by some nice dryness, tannins and acidity. If there’s anywhere this wine is a little light on it’s the mid palate. We paired it with rabbit stew and it went fine, holding it’s own. A good Chianti Classico, but not awesome. I would give it an 87-88.

From the LCBO web site:
Cecchi Storia di Famiglia Chianti Classico 2015 — VINTAGES#: 540922
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
A mix of iron, cherry, almond, leather and sanguine flavors makes this a textbook Sangiovese. Though dense, this is balanced and lingers on the finish. Best from 2020 through 2027. Smart Buys. Score – 92. (Bruce Sanderson, winespectator.com, Oct. 15, 2018) $17.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 5, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in:Tuscany, Italy By: Casa Vinicola Luigi Cecchi + Figli Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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Liboreau Charentes Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Pale in color with nice mild citrus/mineral nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice citrus notes, no where near lemon zest along with some nice minerality. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice well balanced acidity and dryness. The citrus notes and minerality build nicely in the mouth. This is a smoother, more elegant sauv blanc. Food friendly but don’t pair it with anything too boisterous … We paired it with par fried Chicken Schnitzel and it went well leaving lots of room for the food and the wine to play nice together. I would give it an -88 which for the price is a great deal. I bought a number of them, but be aware I would consider this (and most sauv blancs) drink now style of wine. Yumm!

From the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Liboreau Charentes Sauvignon Blanc 2017 — VINTAGES#: 632364
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Cave du Liboreau has been making wine for 50 years in the South of France. This is a ripe, intensely flavourful Savvy showing juicy guava, passion fruit, green veggies and citrus wrapped in a ribbon of bright acidity. Pair with roast chicken or seared scallops. (Vintages panel, Feb. 2018) $13.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 16, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 11.8% Made in: South of France, France By: Vinisource Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful

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2015 Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico DOC

Dark in color with a mild cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine is quite fruit forward with cherries and some raspberries coming through. It actually took me a few sips to place the raspberries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and acidity. There’s some sweetness to the wine but not a lot. The LCBO describe it as Medium bodied and fruity, I agree with the fruity part. We paired it with a rack of lamb (which actually was in the LCBOs listing as a suggested pairing) and honestly it really didn’t hold it’s own, wasn’t a match made in heaven. I would give it an 87-88. Better served with lighter meals where the fruityness would compliment

From the LCBO web site (http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/sku/285585.html#.XFhm5lU3laQ:
Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico DOC — LCBO#: 285585
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
A description of Valpolicella attributed to Ernest Hemingway calls it ‘a light dry red wine, as friendly as the home of a favorite brother.’ Friendly notes of cherry, cedar and violets pull you in; flavours of ripe cherry, raspberry and spice embrace you and end in a silky finish. Serve with risotto, lamb or venison. $16.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Alcohol/Vol 12.0% Made in: Veneto, Italy By: Masi Agricola S.P.A.Sugar Content: 7 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Valpolicella

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2016 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some bold cherries and some nice mocha. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice velvety tannins and some nice acidity. It’s nice and dry, with some complexity with and some nice mouth grip, it builds nicely. Not a bad wine at all. I would give it an 88 or so.

From the LCBO web sie:
2016 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni —VINTAGES#: 145920
Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
$18.95 WAS $21.95 SAVE $3.00
Limited Time Offer Until March 3, 2019
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 3, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Tuscany, Italy By: Marchesi De Frescobaldi Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm Varietal:Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese Description: Frescobaldi has been crafting wines for over 700 years. This silky, modern-styled blend of Cab, Merlot and Sangiovese is filled with red fruit, sweet spice and vanilla notes. A perfect choice for lamb.
Check LCBO stock

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Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2016

I love Cab Franc, and Niagara make some awesome ones … Recently I encountered the Alta Vista Cab Franc which was a new one for me, an Argentinian Cab Franc single varietal. So I grabbed this one … Dark in color with a mild cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some fruit forward cherry notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some soft tannins and acidity. I would give it an -88, not the greatest cab franc and Niagara does better. If you prefer a softer gentler cab franc, this might be just the wine for you … if your like me and you enjoy the hearty, bolder ones … skip this one. If I had more honestly I’d return it. Not awful but not great either.

from the LCBO web site (Check stock)
Catena Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc 2016 — VINTAGES#: 450106
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
The Appellation range keeps growing, and the new name this time is the 2016 Appellation San Carlos Cabernet Franc, produced with grapes from the most fashionable red variety at the moment. It is from 20-year-old vines in El Cepillo, one of the cooler places of San Carlos in Valle de Uco. Furthermore, 2016 was a particularly cool year, so the wine is really a ‘cool climate’ example. It matured in French oak barrels for one year before bottling. It has tons of black pepper aromas and flavors, balsamic and with perfect ripeness. 2016 has produced outstanding wines in this Appellation range. Drink Date: 2018-2023. Score – 92. (Luis Gutiérrez, robertparker.com, June 29, 2018) $17.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 2, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Mendoza, Argentina By: Bodegas Esmeralda Sugar Content: 3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Cabernet Franc

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Navigating the LCBO biweekly vintage release

I thought I would take a bit of time and go through the biweekly LCBO vintage release … Every two weeks the LCBO release a catalog of wines that are featured. These wines may or may not come back to the LCBO anytime soon. The catalog is available in three forms, printed (which can be mailed to your home by signing up on the Vintages site), a digital flipboard (that is very poorly done and clumsy, it doesn’t even link to the LCBO site for the products) or a PDF (which also does not link the LCBO site for the products). To say this process is clumsy is an understatement. Hard to imagine in today’s digital age but the printed copy is probably the easiest to use. Get out your pen and circle what interests you. If you choose the PDF I found a tool called Liquidtext to be a great way to cut out and manage excerpts (albeit an expensive tool).

If your lucky, and I am, you have an LCBO that has a tasting bar, complete with an Enomatic wine dispenser. For a small fee you can taste before you buy! They limit you to 4 samples (or mine does), and the tasting bar is only available at certain times of the day. I found no good way on the LCBO web site to get a list of all of the stores with tasting bar. Cornwall in Oakville, Summerhill in Toronto are examples.

So what do you look for in the catalog? Well it takes a bit of time to get efficient at it, but I look for tasting notes, wines I’ve had in the past (so your tasting notes is VERY helpful. I take all my notes digitally using Microsoft One Note on an iPad 9.7 with an Apple Pencil), wine ratings (but beware you need to find a reviewer who’s taste matches yours) and price. One of the criteria I tend to focus on is the residual sugar in the wines, quoted in g/l. I tend to prefer wines that are in the category the LCBO call Extra Dry or XD, which in LCBO terms is less than 6 g/l.

So you’ve found the ones you like how do you know where to find them? The LCBO web site, and the LCBO app can tell you what stores near you have stock of a particular wine. This is HUGELY helpful in that your not searching for a product that isn’t there, but be aware, the stock numbers can be as much as 24 hours out of date, stock levels show before the release is actually out, and stock levels include product that may be on hold for customer orders. So to say this is imperfect is a statement of the obvious. And once you find the store that has what you want, your in for a quest to find it. Or ask your handy product specialist, assuming they know 🙂

The current release can always be found on the Vinatges web site under the category of new arrivals.

Hope you’ve found something of value in this article …

So this Saturday Feb 16th is the next release. I thought I’d highlight a few of the wines that caught my attention, be aware though, I have NOT tasted these.

I love Pinot noirs and this price/description seemed interesting

Alcohol/Vol 13.0%
Made in: Tasmania, Australia By: Brown Brothers
Sugar Content: 4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity
Check LCBO stock

I love Sauv blancs and have been exploring the offerings from the Loire region lately. My local product specialist raved about this wine. The product specialist pre taste wines before their release. As you can see, it’s nice and dry …

Alcohol/Vol13.0%
Made in:Loire, France By:Domaine Chavet Et Fils
Sugar Content: 4 g/LSweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry
Style:Aromatic & Flavourful
Description: Made from Sauvignon Blanc and presented in an eco-friendly lightweight bottle, this wine is consistently vivacious and mineral with delicate citrus character. Pour it with green salads or seafood.
Check LCBO stock

Another super dry, Sauv blanc at a price that sounds REALLY good, I figured I’d give it a try.

Alcohol/Vol 11.8%
Made in: South of France, France By: Vinisource
Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Aromatic & Flavourful
Check LCBO stock

I’ve recently been exploring Muscadets and saw this one, nice and dry, super attractive price.

Alcohol/Vol 11.7%
Made in: Loire, France By: Earl B. De Goulaine
Sugar Content: 2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Aromatic & Flavourful
Check LCBO stock

Reasonably priced Bordeaux’s that are good are hard to find, so this description caught my eye at a price I’m willing to pay.

Alcohol/Vol 12.5%
Made in: Bordeaux, France By: Cordier
Sugar Content: 3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry
Style: Full-bodied & Smooth
Varietal: Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc
Description
This Cru Bourgeois is drinking beautifully now and will continue to delight for another 3+ years
Check LCBO stock

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Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2016

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate there’s some mild cherry and plum notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and acidity, nice and dry. This is a fruit forward, varietal merlot. Pair it with some softer food, like salmon. I would give it an -88.

By the way, for a limited time The Wine Shops (which for me is the wine store on the way out of Longos) has a promotion that if spend $35 on wine, they give you a gift certificate for $10! I buy some of the Thirty Bench as well as Trius wines there which I have reviewed on the blog.

From the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2016 — VINTAGES#: 257311
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Aged for 16 months in French oak, this single-vineyard Merlot serves up juicy cherry, blackberry, cedar and spice with wisps of chocolate and vanilla. Lovely intensity, texture and length. A great choice for beef tenderloin in a rosemary-and-red-wine reduction. (Vintages panel, Sept. 2018) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:February 2, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in:Ontario, Canada By: Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Merlot This is a VQA wine.

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2015 Tawse Growers blend Cab Franc

This is the second time I’ve had this wine and been impressed. The first time we were out for dinner at the Ancaster old mill and I chose it, this time around we were having guests over and I love showcasing Niagara wines to my guests … Nice and dark in color with a varietal cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice traditional cab franc notes, cherries, some mocha and some wood notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice firm but smooth tannins and acidity. It’s nice and dry and has some lovely flavors that build in the mouth. The is a very typical cab franc, done well the way Niagara can do. Tawse achieved a very nice wine … it is a bit on the heartier side so careful what you pair it with. It’s approachable now as long as you want a bigger wine, otherwise it should easily age for a year or two which would soften the tannins some. I chose it as the wine to go with cheese before dinner, and the wine to go with chocolate brownies, it went well. I would give it an 88+. Quite nice!

From the LCBO web site (Check stock)
Tawse Grower’s Blend Cabernet Franc — LCBO#: 284570
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
The 2015 vintage is a meaty and smoky one for the Grower’s Blend, rife with currants, berries, liquorice and a whiff of BBQ smoker smoulder. Though the texture is a bit syrupy at present it’s really just a matter of youth as the wine will gain elasticity and lengthen over time. The ubiquitary cabernet franc blend from a handful of Niagara Peninsula vineyards is one of winemaker Paul Pender’s great specialties of the house, like a restaurant’s top notch hamburger on a menu with much more complex and higher priced items. This is the ticket that all who order will enjoy and feel satiated by. It will please lovers of the variety and convert those who think only the other cabernet can fulfil wishes and dreams. A tannic finish tells us a quality burger would elevate the game. Drink: 2018-2022. Score – 90. (Michael Godel, winealign.com, Nov. 15, 2017) $28.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:March 31, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Ontario, Canada By: Tawse WinerySugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & FruityVarietal: Cabernet Franc This is a VQA wine

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2015 Chateau Breillan mini review

This wine was one of my favorites of a recent Sichel tasting held by Vinexx. Inky dark in color with a mild black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine delivers beautiful dark fruit to match the nose. ON the medium length finish the wine displays some nice firm velvety tannins, some peppery notes, and is beautifully dry. This wine has some nice complexity, and beautiful mouth grip, building nicely in the mouth. For the price this is a lovely bold, complex wine. I would give it an 88-89. Sadly not in the LCBO but available by the case of 12 for $23.95 from Vinexx

From the winery’s web site:
BACKGROUND
Situated to the east of the village, the chateau is surrounded by woodland and vines. Its history dates back to the Middle Ages. Last century, the Breillan estate produced a very correct, carefully crafted, rather robust and deeply coloured wine called “Clos Montaigne”, and a white wine called “Clos du Cardinal”; its tiled-floor winery and its vats, all in varnished oak with their black-painted hoops, were the pride of its owners. The vines which surrounded Breillan at that time represented just one tiny part of the huge estate attached to the chateau.
From fortified residence to simple dwelling, from wine estate to specialised teaching establishment, Chateau Breillan has never ceased to adapt to the times and has succeeded in surviving down the centuries.

Blanquefort viticultural college now farms the vineyard, 42 hectares of which are contiguous to Château de Dillon.

SURFACE 5 ha
GRAPE VARIETIES Merlot – Cabernet Franc
TERROIR
Gravel and calcareous clay
WINEMAKING/MATURING
Throughout the seasons, from pruning to leaf-culling and green harvesting, every effort is made to obtain quality grapes. To ensure the highest possible quality and also to protect the environment, the vineyard is farmed using integrated farming methods: the soil is worked with the aid of efficient farm machinery to restrict the use of chemicals. Managed grass cover is also used. Machine harvesting. The wine is fermented using the traditional Médoc methods in combination with modern techniques for improved quality and greater environmental protection. Maceration prior to, during and after fermentation, 3-5 weeks. Controlled temperatures, 26°C-28°C. The wine is run off after 18-20 days. Malolactic fermentation at 20°C. Aged in stainless steel vats for 18 months.

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2017 Emiliana Adobe Organic Merlot

Ok I know this isn’t a popular sentiment, but I like a good fruit forward merlot … Movies like Sideways where the lead character screams I’m not drinking Merlot, along with changing consumer tastes have left Merlot, nowhere near as popular as it once was. Niagara do some great Merlots, but often they are more hearty rich flavorful wines. I do digress. I first tasted this wine at the Chilean wine fest this year and decided to give it a deeper dive … In spite of being in the general list, it’s not in a lot of the LCBOs. Dark in color with a nice plum nose … On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice plum notes. This is definitely a nice fruit forward merlot the way I like them. Not as bold as some I’ve had but good none the less. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity and tanins. It’s a well balanced wine with the finish not overwhelming the fruit. It is a perfect companion for softer foods like poultry or pork … we paired it with BBQ salmon and it went well and even held up to chocolate brownies for dessert. I would give it an 88 or so …

From the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Adobe Reserva Merlot Organic — LCBO#: 322024
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Ruby coloured; moderate aromas of ripe blackberry, cedar and spice; dry and medium bodied; flavours of rich blackberry and a spicy, cedar finish. $13.15
PRODUCT DETAILS
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: San Antonio Valley, Chile By: Vinedos Emiliana S.A.Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Merlot

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Château Clos Mansio 2015

Dark in color with a nice back plum nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some bold rich black plum notes, the merlot is quite dominant. On the medium length finish the wine is nice and dry with some nice tannins and mild acidity. This is an approachable food friendly wine. We paired it with a meat spaghetti and it worked well. I would give it an 88 which for the price is a good deal. It’s not as complex as some, quite good! The LCBO say full bodied and smooth, I agree!

from the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Château Clos Mansio 2015 — VINTAGES#: 630095
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
This is a blend of primarily Merlot with approximately 30% Malbec. The two are fermented and aged separately before blending. The Merlot is aged in vats, while the Malbec is aged in French oak barrels. The resulting wine has an engaging nose of toast and coffee and a rich, dense palate with more coffee and smoke tones, as well as ripe dark fruit and chocolate notes. The oak is nicely integrated and controlled. Try this with lamb chops or burgers. (Vintages panel, May 2018) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 5, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 14.3% Made in: Bordeaux, France By: Sas Gonnet Gilson Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Full-bodied & Smooth

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Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2017

I’ve had this wine in past vintages and been impressed, so I looked forward to this one with expectations. And you know what happens when you have expectations … Inky dark in color with a nice black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine has some lovely rich black berries to match the nose, quite fruity. On the medium length finish the wine displays some mild tannins and some lively acidity. Frankly the bottle was better on day two than day one where I found it too fruity, maybe too young? Overall I would give it an -88. I bought a second bottle and will hold off and let it age a bit in the bottle to see if it lives up to past vintages status …

From the LCBO web site (check stock):
Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2017 — VINTAGES#: 247882
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
The Speck brothers at Henry of Pelham sourced this blend of 30% Syrah, 25% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Baco Noir from their own vineyards and those belonging to friends and family – hence the name Family Tree. It shows beautiful ripe blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and currants, with a touch of peppery spice, all wrapped in a silky texture. Pair with meat pie or wild game. (Vintages panel, Dec. 2018) $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 19, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in:Ontario, Canada By: Henry Of Pelham Family Est. Winery Sugar Content:6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Shiraz Blend This is a VQA wine

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Domaine du Bois-Malinge Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2016

I had only seen Sur lie as a process on Chard/champagne. Seems this can also be done on some Muscadets, as is this one. Pale to golden in color with a nice mild nose of minerality. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely rich minerality. There’s no citrus notes to my tastes. On the medium length finish the wine displays nice crisp, dry minerality. The wine has some lovely mouth grip that grows in the mouth. The minerality nicely coats the palate. The wine is super food friendly. While the wine is not watery, I would not consider it overly creamy either. I have no idea how long it was in contact with the lees. I quite enjoyed this wine, muscadet grape is a little new to me, recommend by a colleague, thanks Greg. I bought this particular wine on a flyer with no research. I would give it an 88+. The LCBO say light and crisp which to my tastes is a little under describing the amount of flavor in this wine.

From the LCBO web site (Check stock):
Domaine du Bois-Malinge Sur Lie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2016 — VINTAGES#: 224246
STYLE – Light & Crisp
Muscadet can sometimes be somewhat neutral, but this 2016 from Domaine du Bois-Malinge is no shrinking violet. It’s quite aromatic, with floral notes, pear fruit and a refreshing herbaceousness. The pairing of Muscadet Sèvre et Maine and oysters is a classic one for a reason. Consider this the excuse you’ve been waiting for to try fresh-shucked oysters for the first (or fiftieth) time. (Vintages panel, May 2017) $14.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:December 22, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 12.3% Made in: Loire, France By: Gilbert Chon & Fils Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Light & Crisp Varietal:Muscadet

From the back of the bottle:
The has created by the Chon Family at the beginning of the XXth century. It is mainly defined by the sand the silt composing the ground. The presence of the blue schist in the ground is really suitable to elegant wines. This Muscadet which matured on the lees has a pale golden color and is rich in almond and white citrus aromas. The smell is lasting and gives a great vivacity which is sustained by iodine notes. It finally ends in the mouth on a spicy note, which conforms a rich and balanced fruit along with a nice perlant. This Muscadet sur lie is perfect for seafood and fishes.

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13th Street Red Palette 2017

Wandering though the LCBO I saw this one at a price I couldn’t resist. Dark in color with a nice plummy nose, the merlot is definitely present. On the mid palate there’s some nice plum notes to match the nose. No the medium length finish the cab franc kicks in with some nice firm acidity, some tannins and some nice dryness. It’s not a bad wine for the price. I paired it with lamb chops and it held it’s own. I would give it an 87-88. Not a bad wine for the price.

From the LCBO web site Check stock
13th Street Red Palette 2017 — VINTAGES#: 249458
13th Street Red Palette 2017
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Just about two-thirds Merlot and one-third Cabernet Franc, the 2017 vintage of this perennially popular bistro-style red offers ripe berry fruit, violets, black pepper and a touch of cedar. Not overly hefty, it’ll make a nice warm-weather sipping red and will suit herbed meaty pizza or barbecued chicken. (Vintages panel, March 2018)
$13.25
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:August 4, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.1% Made in:Ontario, Canada By: Thirteenth Street Wine Corp.Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity Varietal:Red Blend This is a VQA wine

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Johnny Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Inky dark in color with a dark berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with black cherries, a hint of blueberry, and some oaky notes, it’s definitely a fruit forward wine.. On the mid length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and acidity. I would give it an 88 or so.

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
Johnny Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 — VINTAGES#: 530121
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
[The 2017 New Zealand International Wine Show did not include a tasting note.] Score – Gold. (New Zealand International Wine Show, 2017) $16.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 19, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 14.5% Made in: South Australia, Australia By: Quarisa Sugar Content: 6 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm Description: TASTING NOTE: The aromatic properties of this still-youthful wine come to life with some air. It’s densely structured with superb intensity, juicy ripe black fruit, cassis, smoke and spice in abundance. A big, burly wine with great balance and integration that punches well above its price point. Enjoy this with steak. (Vintages panel, May 2018)

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Domaine Jacky Marteau Sauvignon Touraine 2017

Very pale in color with a mild citrus nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with some nice citrus notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice crispness, minerality acidity. It’s vivid and bright with some nice complexity that is best appreciated without food. It is very food friendly, we paired it with chicken schnitzel and it went well. The wine builds in the mouth … I would give this an 88+, which for the price is a good deal. Touraine is a region in the more well known Loire valley where Sancerre. My LCBO product specialist said, it you like Sancerres you will like Touraine’s and they tend to be cheaper! Deal! I’ll have to keep an eye open for more Touraines!

From the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Domaine Jacky Marteau Sauvignon Touraine 2017 — VINTAGES#: 745349
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Attractive and concentrated with grassy aromas and ripe fruit. Pear and minerals on the palate. Plush. Score – 88. (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2018)
$15.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:January 5, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Loire, France By: Domaine Jacky Marteau Sugar Content: 4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Aromatic & Flavourful Varietal:Sauvignon Blanc Description: Silver Medal winner at the 2018 Concours Général Agricole in Paris.

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2017 Thirty Bench winemakers blend Chard

I’ve been buying this for a couple of years now, and sadly it’s trending opposite to my tastes, becoming more fruit forward, less complex, less oaky. 2015 was the best of the years to date (to my tastes). Vinification notes say it’s changed only in going from 10 months of french oak to 9. Pale in color with a nice apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice apple and pear to match the nose. The fruit is definitely the star. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice firm acidity and some pepper notes. Its slightly creamy, but very little vanilla or butterscotch. Trending more towards an unoaked chard. I would give it an -88 or so.

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Rock Point Pinot Noir 2015

The release before Christmas from the LCBO is always filled with lots of over priced wines they think you will buy to give as presents. The release just after Christmas (when everyone is broke) is always the bargain lists. Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some mild cherry notes (reminded me at first of more like a cab) along with rustic notes that start to build. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice tannins, dryness and acidity. The rustic notes linger nicely. It’s definitely not your typical pinot noir, but then Oregon always brings something unique to the table I would give it an 88 or so.

From the LCBO web site check LCBO stock:
Rock Point Pinot Noir 2015 —VINTAGES#: 463018
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
$17.95
Release Date:January 5, 2019
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Oregon, USA By: Del Rio Vineyards, Llc Sugar Content: 3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra DryStyle:Medium-bodied & FruityVarietal:Pinot NoirDescriptionRock Point makes their Pinot partly in oak and partly in stainless steel to emphasize the fruit character. Expect ripe strawberry, red cherry and raspberry and pair with duck, roast beef or tourtière.

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Trius Brut

I was walking out of Longos just before New Years eve and they were sampling this bubbly. And one must have a bubbly to bring in the new year. Pale in color with a nice apple/pear nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice crisp apple/pear to match the nose along with some nice fine bubbles. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice dry crisp minerality. It went very nicely on it’s own for the start of what’s shaping up to be an awesome wine. I would give it an 88 or so …

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
Trius Brut VQA Sparkling — LCBO#: 284539
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Flavourful
Pale yellow gold colour; floral, brioche, citrus and green apple fruit aromas and some light toasty notes; dry, light-medium bodied, crisp balanced acidity, with tart apple, honey, lemon/citrus flavours and a long refreshing finish. $29.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Alcohol/Vol 12.5% Made in: Ontario, Canada By:Andrew Peller Limited Sugar Content:10 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Flavourful Varietal:Sparkling This is a VQA wine

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Monte del Frà Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2015

Dark in color with a nice red berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice juicy red berries. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice firm tannins and acidity. Quite a nice, varietal ripasso, I would give it an 88-89. We paired it with a steak and it went really well and held it’s own well! Sorry to be a little slow on posts, busy holiday period!

From the LCBO web site Check LCBO stock:
Monte del Frà Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2015
Corvina/Rondinella
—VINTAGES#: 165662 | 750 mL bottle
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Monte del Frà Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2015
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
A very pretty nose of dried lavender, rose petals and sweet morello cherries. Medium to full body, lots of tension, fine acidity and a minerally, driven finish. Drink now. Score – 92. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, Oct. 20, 2017) $22.95

PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:December 8, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.0% Made in: Veneto, Italy By: Monte Del Fra Sugar Content:7 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:D – Dry Style: Full-bodied & Smooth

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