Meiser 2016 Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) mini review

At the most recent Wines of Germany event in Toronto I had the opportunity to taste, and expand my experience with German wines. Most people know German Rieslings and gewurztraminer, but more and more I’ve had the joy of tasting German Spätburgunders which is the German name for Pinot Noir. And Germany are making some very good ones! Great news, for fans of this grape, of which I am one. Soft red berry nose … on the mid palate the wine displays some lovely soft juicy, vibrant red fruits, strawberries and the like. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity, nice tannins and a hint of black pepper. The wine is quite complex living on nicely in the mouth. Definitely a bigger pinot. I would give the wine an 88+. Probably one of my favorite wines of the tasting. Yumm. And now for the bad news … sadly not in the LCBO, but available by the case from Wine lover’s agency.

From the winery:
2016 Pinot Noir
Germany > Rheinhessen > – No subregion
The Spätburgunder Weinheimer Hölle tastes full-bodied and velvety and havs a fruity aroma and hints of almond. This typical Pinot Noir has a slightly sweet scent of red fruits, from cherry to blackberry and blackcurrant.
Quality: Qualitätswein
Alcohol: 14.00 %
Sugar: 2.60 g/l
Acidity: 5.80 g/l

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LCBO wines of the world program

The LCBO a little while ago introduced wines of the world program! Select stores will prominently feature wines from a particular country. These wines may only be available at that particular destination store. They have opened a number of them, and chosen the theme based on the community. Here’s a list of the stores …

Italy 8260 Highway #27 in Woodbridge
France 275 Rideau Street in Ottawa
Spain 2946 Bloor St. W. in Toronto
Kosher wines 675 Wilson Ave. in Toronto; 502 Lawrence Ave. W in Toronto and 180 Promenade Circle in Thornhill.
New Zealand 1838 Avenue Road, in Toronto
Argentina 15830 Bayview Ave. in Aurora
Eastern Asia 3075 Highway #7 East in Markham or 5979 Steeles Ave. East in Toronto
Chile 5100 Erin Mills Parkway, Suite 5035 in Mississauga
Australia 65 Wicksteed Ave in Toronto
South Africa 1899 Brock Rd in Pickering
Germany 115 King St. South in Kitchener
Greece 200 Danforth Ave in Toronto
Portugal 2151 St. Clair Ave. W. in Toronto
California 2625 Weston Road in Toronto

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Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016

I like my Sauv Blancs, crisp, dry and sharp. But then some folks choose to oak a sauv black which tends to soften the wine and impart flavors more in keeping with a Chard. This particular wine on the back of it says a “portion” of the wine was was oaked. No mention of how long or what portion. What your left with is a pale wine, with a mild nose. On the mid palate there are some mild citrus notes along with some chard like flavors. There’s some nice dry minerality on the finish. Honestly, if I had noticed it was oaked I would have not bought it. They typically are not to my taste. This is a soft gentle wine. Nice and dry. I would give it an 87-88. Meh, I’ve had better … or more to the point not to my tastes. The oak dumbs it down 🙁

From the LCBO web site:
Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – VINTAGES#: 686675
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful
Moderately concentrated sauvignon blanc, with sweet lemon grass, green capsicum and some lifted tree fruit and tropical fruit characters. A distinctive and appealing wine with good weight and length. Offers good value at this price. Drink 2016-2021. Score – 92. (Bob Campbell, MW, bobcampbell.nz, Oct. 31, 2016) $21.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 12, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.5%Made in:Marlborough, New Zealand By:Spy Valley Wines Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry

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2015 Frey Assemblage

I had the pleasure of continuing to expand my tastings of German wines at the recent Riesling and Co Trade Tasting! Whites were definitely more the star, but I chose to start with and largely focus on the reds. This wine was the best wine of the day. Dark in color with a lovely dark cherry nose coming up to greet you … On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely rich dark cherries coming through, along with some mocha. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely velvety tannins and nice acidity. The wine builds nicely in the mouth leaving a nice thick coating for you to appreciate the complexity of the wine. This truely was an awesome wine. I would give it an 89-90. Shockingly good. As a compliment, you could close your eyes and imagine this being a California cab, which are some of my favs. It’s 40% cab, 60% Merlot aged in oak for 15 months. I went back a number of times to take folks to try this wine, and to get more for me! Sadly, pout, not in the LCBO and right now they don’t even have an Ontario rep to buy it by the case. Let’s hope that changes. It’s apparently 7.50 EUR.

Winery’s web site doesn’t have a lot about it.

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Odfjell Vineyards Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Inky dark in color with a smokey and mild black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine displays vibrant black cherries to match the nose, along with a hint of smokey notes, along with some herbal/eucalyptus undertones. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and acidity. I would give this an 88 or so. At this price, to be honest I expect more and I’m not a fan of that herbal/eucalyptus undertones.

From the LCBO web site Check stock
Odfjell Vineyards Orzada Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 — VINTAGES#: 542407
STYLE – Full-bodied & Smooth
Lots of chocolate and berry character. Round and silky tannins with plenty of fruit. Fresh finish. Drink now. Score – 91. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, May 29, 2017) $24.95

Release Date:March 17, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.5%Made in: Maipo Valley, Chile By: Odfjell Vineyards Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra DryStyle:Full-bodied & Smooth

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2017 Big Bill Sauv Blanc

This is from the general list. Billy’s best bottles has made a career out of climbing through the extensive general list and finding those gems. This one came on my radar as part of Natalie Macleans wine of the week. Pale in color, with a mild varietal citrus nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice citrus notes to match the nose. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice acidity, this is a food friendly wine. It’s a good sauv blanc, and not bad for the price. I would give it an -88. Not overly complex, but a good summer sipper.

From the LCBO web site Check stock:
Big Bill Sauvignon Blanc — LCBO#: 524330
STYLE – Aromatic & Flavourful $12.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in: Western Cape, South Africa By: Kwv Sa (Pty) Ltd. Sugar Content:4 g/L Sweetness Descriptor:XD – Extra Dry

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot 2015

Dark in color with a mild black cherry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with black cherries coming through. On the medium length finish the wine displays some firm tannins and acidity. If your looking for a soft merlot, ehhhh look elsewhere. This is more of a cab than a merlot. I would give it an -88. Not a bad wine, but not a merlot IMHO.

From the LCBO web site:
Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot 2015 — VINTAGES#: 486936
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Raspberry, cocoa, coffee and vanilla aromas lead to plump, focused fruit flavors. It’s both appealing and quite varietally correct. For those looking for a quality value Merlot, look no further. Score – 89. (Sean P. Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast, Dec. 1, 2017) $21.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 12, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.8% Made in: Washington, USA By: Chat Ste Michelle Sugar Content:5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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The Winery of Good Hope Reserve Pinot Noir 2016

Darker in color than a normal pinot noir, with a mild nose of soft red berries. On the mid palate the wine displays some unusual smokey notes, some soft red berries, nothing close to strawberries along with some woody/earthy notes. There’s even a hint of cherry notes. On the medium length finish the wine displays some smooth tannins and acidity. There’s some nice mouth grip and rustic notes. There’s some lovely dryness … It’s an unusual but good pinot. I would give it an 88 or so …

From the LCBO web site (check stock):
The Winery of Good Hope Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 — VINTAGES#: 146415
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
100% whole-berry fermented from Elgin quite similar to Freedom (except only 6 months in older oak). Fresh and bright, with tangy black berry fruit. Great value. Step above last-tasted 2012. Score – 4 Stars (out of 5). (Platter’s South African Wine Guide, 2018) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 12, 2018
Alcohol/Vol14.5% Made in:Elgin, South Africa by Winery Of Good Hope Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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2015 Ménage à Trois Gold Chardonnay

Let’s not waste any time discussing the silly name … I tried this wine IN SPITE of the name 🙂 Slightly golden in color with a nice varietal nose with pear and apple coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice apple/pear to match the nose. Spot on varietal, with some nice vibrant fruit. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice vanilla notes along with a some slight creamyness. This is obviously an oaked chard, but not over oaked. Just right for my palate. I quite enjoyed it. I didn’t notice the 9 g/l sugar at all. I would give this an 88 or so. Quite nice!

from the LCBO web site:
Ménage à Trois Gold Chardonnay — LCBO#: 485417
STYLE – Full-bodied & Rich
This decadent chardonnay is layered with opulent tropical fruit and vanilla. The palate is full and round with endless replays of caramelized peaches and butter seasoned with hints of exotic spices followed by an enduring/creamy finish. $17.90
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:July 12, 2017
Alcohol/Vol 14.2%Made in: California, USA By: Trinchero Family Estates Sugar Content:9 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: D – Dry

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2015 Henry of Pelham Family tree red

I’ve had this one over a number of years and it has been consistently very good. Dark in color with a nice dark cherry nose, along with some oak coming through. On the mid palate the wine displays lovely black cherries and some subtle blueberry notes. The fruit is quite vibrant without being fruity. On the medium length finish the wine displays lovely smooth tannins and the black cherry notes live on nicely. It’s lovely and dry … This is a well made red … I would give it an 88+. We had it with steaks and it went perfectly! This is a belnd of 40% Merlot, 35% syrah, 15% cab franc, 5% cab sauv and 5% baco noir.

From the LCBO web site:
Henry of Pelham Family Tree Red 2015 — VINTAGES#: 247882
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
This is a ripe, savoury, complex blend of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and one of Pelham’s great specialties, Baco Noir. It was aged for 17 months in 65% French oak and 35% American oak. The resulting wine offers blackberry, plum, strawberry, smoke, leather and spice, with a hint of black pepper. Pour this with grilled pork ribs or a hearty lamb stew. (Vintages panel, Aug. 2017) $18.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:April 28, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.5%Made in:Ontario, Canada By:Henry Of Pelham Family Est. Winery Sugar Content: 5 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry

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Château La Brande 2015

Dark in color with a nice plum/black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with nice soft black plums coming through backed almost immediately by firm, acidity tannins and even a metallic flavor. There’s some green pepper notes as well. On the medium length finish the wine displays firm tannins, and nice dryness. The finish coats the inside of mouth leaving some nice super dry notes. If this was all I had to say about this wine it would be … pass on it. I tasted some that was left over the next day and the green pepper notes, and metallic flavors were 100% gone. The wine without this bitterness has some nice smooth, velvety tannins and shocking complexity for this price point. If you buy this wine, and have some patience, either decant or let this age and your patience maybe rewarded. I can’t say 100% for sure.

From the LCBO web site:
Château La Brande 2015
Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc — VINTAGES#: 550418
STYLE – Full-bodied & Firm
Quite floral and brambly with spiced cherry fruits. Very pure. The palate has tangy, bright and slightly crunchy tannins. Red-berry flavors hold fresh. Drink or hold. Score – 91. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, Feb. 2, 2018) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 12, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 14.2% Made in: Bordeaux, France By:Diva S.A.S.Sugar Content:3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Full-bodied & Firm

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Château Le Grand Verdus Réserve 2015

Every now and then an inexpensive Bordeaux shows up that is well worth the price. It encourages me to keep looking for that bargoon. This wine (spoiler alert) is one of those … Dark in color with a nice black berry nose. On the mid palate the wine matches the nose with lovely black berries coming through. The fruit is quite vibrant. On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice tannins, acidity as well as some oak. This is a very approachable wine now and should last another 1-2 years. I would give it an 88+ which for the price is a good deal. It will hold up well to red meats! The LCBO say full bodied and fruity, I completely agree!!

From the LCBO web site:
Château Le Grand Verdus Réserve 2015 — VINTAGES#: 388330
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatic blueberry and violet nose. Earthy, leafy and spicy palate, green bell pepper hints and vanilla oak spice on finish. Score – 92. (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2017) $19.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:May 12, 2018
Alcohol/Vol 13.5% Made in: Bordeaux, France By: Scea Ph Et A Le Grix De La Salle Sugar Content:2 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity

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2016 Rocca Delle Macie Chianti

Dark in color with a mild nose. On the mid palate the wine displays some nice cherry flavors, not cab like … On the medium length finish the wine displays some nice smooth tannins and acidity. I would give this wine an 88 or so. I paired it with a tomato sauce based pasta and it held up well.

From the LCBO web site:
Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo DOCG — LCBO#: 269589
STYLE – Medium-bodied & Fruity
Deep ruby colour; floral, cherry and sweet spice aromas; dry, medium-bodied with tart cherry and spice flavours,well balanced and a dry finish $14.95
PRODUCT DETAILS
Release Date:October 12, 2010
Alcohol/Vol 13.0% Made in:Tuscany, Italy By: Rocca Delle Macie S.P.A.Sugar Content: 3 g/L Sweetness Descriptor: XD – Extra Dry Style:Medium-bodied & Fruity

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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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