Previous Recommendations

 

Previously Recommended Wines now no longer available at the LCBO

listed in order of most recently removed from Recommendations/GrapeSelections

 

The 2013 Bonterra Pinot Noir, aged in French Oak for 10 months; has intensely perfumed aromas (though atypical of Pinots) of red currant, prune, smoke, cigar box and wood on the nose and sour cherry, blueberry, dark chocolate, vanilla and wood on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, subtle to refined tannins and a long and inky finish. It is both food friendly and sipping wine; drink now and for the next 5 years (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended for its quality and value – recommended as a good wine, not due to its trueness to the varietal. Tasted at Bonterra tasting at iYellow Wine Cave Apr/15.
Added Apr23/15 – Score 89-90 pts. California $19.95 Vintages 317685
The 2012 Château Des Charmes Gamay Noir has attractive notes of red currant and black cherry on the nose and cranberry, sour cherry and just notable vanilla. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, subtle tannins and a medium finish. Though intended to be served with food, the wine rewards on its own; drink now and for the next 1-2 years (cork enclosure). My impression: quite NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted in May/14.
Added Jun11/14 – Score 88-89 pts. Ontario $12.95 LCBO 57349
The 2011 Finca Constancia Altos de la Finca, composed of 60% Petit Verdot and 40% Syrah that was aged for 18 months in new French Oak barrels, has expressive and seductive aromas of forest needles, toast, oak, vanilla, graphite and black cherry on the nose and inky black cherry, plum, cranberry, oak and light lees on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; still UNBALANCED with edgy/tart acidity, dusty tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long, silky finish. Currently, this wine should be enjoyed with food, but in couple of years it should evolve into a beautiful sipper once the acidity further integrates (Evolution potential +1 to 3 pts) – drink 2016/17-2025 (long cork enclosure). My impression: NICE now, but will be BEAUTIFUL down the road, 90 (+1-3 Ep) pts – recommended especially for its quality (if you can cellar it), but value as well. Tasted in Jan/15.
Added Jan20/15 – Score 90 (Ep +1 to 3) pts. Spain $21.95 Vintages 383984
The 2012 Norman Hardie Riesling, a 70/30% fruit blend from Twenty Mile Bench and PEC, has intense, seductive aromas of petrol, lemon, pineapple and pear. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with crisp/refreshing acidity and a long, oily finish. It is a food friendly wine, but sip on its own; drink now – 2025+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for quality and value. Tasted at ‘County in the City’ event in Apr/14.
Added Apr30/14 – Score 91 pts. Ontario $21.00 Vintages 131169
The 2010 Château Des Charmes Estate Bottled Old Vines Pinot Noir, sourced exclusively from the most mature vineyards, has classical aromas of rosehip, dried pomegranate, subtle fennel and wood on the nose and dried pomegranate on the palate. It is a light bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with crisp/forward acidity, subtle tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink 2014-2017+ (>4 cm cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 88 pts – well priced entry level Pinot – recommended for its value. Tasted in Jul/14.
Added Sep09/14 – Score 88 pts. Ontario $18.95 LCBO 256834
The 2013 Toasted Head Chardonnay (that comes in crooked bottle) contains a touch of Viognier and is aged in American, Eastern European and French Oak barrels for 9 months. It has inviting aromas of luscious vanilla, oak, coconut, butter and yellow apple on the nose as well as the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with surprisingly fresh acidity and an extra-long, wood imparted finish. This is a sipper if one is a big, oaky chard lover and will go well with cheeses; drink now to 2025 (composite cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended for quality and value, but note that this wine doesn’t have much notable fruit and is quite oak influenced. Tasted at LTO Chardonnay tasting Apr/15.
Added Apr15/15 – Score 89-90 pts. California $17.95 Vintages 594341
The 2010 Ontañón Crianza, a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha aged in American Oak for 12 months, has tempting aromas of sweet spice, coconut, vanilla, toasted oak and black cherry on the nose as well as palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and an extra-long and smooth finish. This is a quite oak influenced wine – just what is expected from fine Rioja, and compliments any strong flavoured dish or is very enjoyable as a standalone sipper, best 2017-2025 – evolution potential +1 (long cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 (EP+1) pts – recommended for both its quality and value – STOCK UP. Tasted in Jan/15.
Added Jan27/15 – Score 90 (Ep+1) pts. Spain $16.95 Vintages 976910
The 2012 Château des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon, aged on lees in French Oak for 10 months, has attractive, mineral aromas of toasted wood, vanilla, raspberry, blackberry and subtle lees and stems on the nose and dates, wood and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, dusty tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long finish. This is a food friendly wine; drink now to 2020+ (cork enclosure). My impression: quite NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended for its quality and value – excellent example of cool climate Cab. Sauv. Tasted in Apr/14.
Added Apr13/14 – Score 88-89 pts. Ontario $14.95 LCBO 370320
The 2011 Delicato Family Vineyards Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon, sourced from Napa Valley, has pleasing aromas of eucalyptus, wood, black cherry and vanilla on the nose and red currant and raspberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, grippy tannins and a long and silky finish. Enjoy this one as a sipping wine; drink now to 2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at California Wine FairApr/14.
Added Jan02/15 – Score 91 pts. California $29.95 Vintages 256768
The 2008 Boutari Naoussa Grande Reserve, aged in oak for two years followed by two years in bottle before release, has transcending notes of the old World’s volcanic earth embraced by dried red berries, namely pomegranate and rosehip; together with subtle anise, leather and dominating dusty old wood and tobacco leaf on the nose. The palate is again dominated by minerals and dirt, yet again eloquently balanced by afore-mentioned dried red berry/fruits that are interwoven with supple spice and dusty old wood. This wine is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, aged wine; with moderate-yet good acidity, drying tannins and a long finish. This is a food friendly wine and it is a definite sipper – depending on specific taste; was excellent at least few years back to at least 4-6 years from now, but careful the fruit is drying out (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – if you paid attention to the above descriptors rather than the score, than this is a wine for you – it however, will not be liked by everyone, my recommendation – excellent quality for excellent value – try it and stock up!!! Tasted in Mar/15.
Added Apr06/15 – Score 90-91 pts. Greece $17.95 Vintages 140111
The 2012 Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Chardonnay, aged in French and American oaks (90%/10%) for 9 months, has creamy aromas of sweet vanilla, toast, oak and ripe apple on the nose and yellow apple, toast, vanilla and oak on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with lively acidity and a long, creamy finish. This is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now and for the next 5 years (screw enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Nov/14.
Added Dec01/14 – Score 90 pts. British Columbia $33.95 Vintages 208694
The 2007 Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Shiraz, aged in French Oak for 12 months, has luscious aromas of black currant, cedar, thyme, stems and subtle vanilla and lees on the nose and black currant, black berry, toast and woodiness on the palate. It is a full bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity to integrated wine; with slightly sharp acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a long and smooth finish. This big boy is definitely a sipper; drink now and for the next 5-7 years (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted in Jan/15.
Added Jan27/15 – Score 91-92 pts. Australia $39.95 Vintages 971705
The 2011 Bachelder Niagara Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay has seductive aromas of subtle limestone minerality, pear, butter and vanilla on the nose and yellow apple, pear and gooseberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with crisp acidity and a creamy, oak influenced yet fruit-forward finish of long length. This is a sipper; drink now and for the next 5++ years (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92-93 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Barrels & Bonfires (i4C 2014) Jul/14.
Added Oct02/14 – Score 92-93 pts. Ontario $44.95 Vintages 345819
The 2012 Cave Spring Estate Riesling has mouthwatering aromas of sweet petrol, gooseberry and subtle lime on the nose and green + yellow apple on the palate. It is a BALANCED, medium bodied, perceivably dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a medium finish. It is both food friendly and a sipping wine that still has the potential to evolve (Ep+1) ; drink now to 2022 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 (Ep+1) pts – recommended for both quality and value regardless of being on sale for $2 OFF. Tasted in Jan/15.
Added Jan20/15 – Score 90 (Ep+1) pts. Ontario $17.95 Vintages 286377
The 2012 Sunnybrook Estate Blossom Series Pear Wine has fruity and floral aromas of pear and quince. It is a light bodied, medium-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity and a medium, clean finish. With 11% alcohol, have a glass or two early in the afternoon on a patio. My impression: quite NICE, 86-87 pts – fine example of this fruit wine style and hence recommended for its quality. Tasted in May/14.
Added May29/14 – Score 86-87 pts. Ontario $18.95 Vintages 372359
The 2012 Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay has intense aromas of gooseberry, lees and faint burnt match. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp, refreshing acidity and a medium finish. Enjoy with food, or sip on its own; drink now – 2020. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 88-89 pts. Australia $19.95 LCBO 269829
The 2008 Loacker Corte Pavone Brunello Di Montalcino, also aged in oak for 48 months, has appealing aromas of dried cherry, lees, wood and clove that are little light on the nose, but the palate full of cranberry, pomegranate, dried cherry notes make up for it. It is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity, refined tannins and a smooth and silky finish of great length. Drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92-93 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Jan02/15 – Score 92-93 pts. Italy $49.95 Vintages Online 373043
The 2011 Bachelder Oregon Chardonnay has rich aromas of gooseberry, stems, pear and subtle wood on the nose and pear, lemon, butter, vanilla and coconut on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; BALANCED with excellent acidity and a medium to long finish. This is a sipper but will pair very well with most dishes; drink for the rest of this decade at least (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Barrels & Bonfires (i4C 2014) Jul/14.
Added Oct02/14 – Score 92 pts. Ontario $29.95 Vintages 273334
The 2008 Montecillo Reserva, aged in oak for at least 3 years, has light notes of yeasty/earthy cherry, dark chocolate and oak. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium finish. It is a food friendly wine; drink now – 2016. My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL, 87-88 pts. Tasted Jan/14.
.
The 2007 Montecillo Reserva is a light to medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of sour cherry, creamy oak, coconut and vanilla. It has subtle to refined tannins (decant for 15 min), good acidity and a long and smooth finish. It is food friendly or can be sipped by itself; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – well priced when on sale; recommended buy. Tasted Jan/13.
.
The 2006 Montecillo Reserva from the general section is medium bodied, with nice aromas of integrated raspberry, coconut, oak and black pepper and vanilla spices. Tannins are refined (decant for 15 to 30 min) and the finish is long and smooth and silky. It is at its prime and should retain its complexity for another 5 years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – a well crafted wine that I would highly recommend. Tasted Jan/11 and again Dec/11.
Updated Jan26/14 Score 90 pts. Spain $18.95 LCBO 621003
The 2009 Beronia Reserva, composed of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo of undisclosed percentages and aged in French and American Oaks for 18 months, has impressive aromas of sweet coconut, vanilla, oak and subtle leather on the nose and oak, coconut, vanilla and black cherry and blackberry on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with fresh acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a long and smooth finish. This is a powerful wine that deserves to be enjoyed on its own despite being food friendly; drink now till 2025 (long cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 92-93 pts – recommended for its quality and value – STOCK UP before it sells out. Tasted in Dec/14.
Added Dec09/14 – Score 92-93 pts. Spain $19.95 Vintages 50203
The 2012 Castello Di Neive Montebertotto Arneis, aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness of fruit that was sourced from 30+ year old vines of a varietal originating from and still mainly residing in Piedmont; has fullish aromas of pear, quince and gooseberry on both the nose and palate together with notable minerality on the nose. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity and a medium, smooth finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink in the next two years standing up as it has a PLASTIC cork enclosure. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted in Oct/14.
Added Oct08/14 – Score 88 pts. Italy $18.95 Vintages 378018
The 2009 Monte Antico, composed of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon that matured in oak for 12 months, has pleasing aromas of black cherry, wood and smoke on the nose and blackberry, black cherry, oak, coconut and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long finish. This is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink 2014-2017+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted in Jul/14.
Added Jul28/14 – Score 89 pts. Italy $15.95 LCBO 69377
The 2011 Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo, composed of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in Slavonian Oak for 12 months, has fullish aromas of oak, dark chocolate and dates on the nose and blueberry, dates, figs, rosehip, pomegranate and light strawberry on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. This is a red fruit, acidity forward food friendly wine; drink now till 2020 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended for both its quality and value. Tasted in Jan/15.
Added Jan20/15 – Score 89-90 pts. Italy $17.00 Vintages 13755
The 2012 Strewn Barrel Aged Chardonnay has appealing aromas of lime, pear, gooseberry and subtle linden, butter and oak. It is medium bodied, dry, fruity to integrated wine, with checked acidity and a medium to long, pleasing oaky, creamy finish. It is food friendly and a sipper; drink now to 2018. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted twice, Jan/14.
Added Feb09/14 – Score 88-89 pts. Ontario $12.95 Vintages 522730
The 2012 Keint-He Portage Pinot Noir, sourced from three PEC vineyards (Closson, Benway and Foxtail) that was subsequently aged in French oak for 12 months before blending together, has alluring aromas of clove, spice and anise on the nose and strawberry and raspberry on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, subtle tannins and a long finish. Sip this one on-its-own; drink now 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at ‘County in the City’ event in Apr/14.
Added Sep09/14 – Score 90-91 pts. Ontario $25.00 Vintages 373415
The 2011 Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay, harvested from 15-year old vines that were farmed organically and biodynamically and then spent 14 months in French Oak barrels, has elegant aromas of limestone minerality, toast, lemon and gooseberry on the nose and yellow apple, gooseberry, butter and vanilla on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with crisp acidity and a medium to long, clean finish. Though food friendly, it is a sipping wine; drink now and for the next 4+ years (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 93 pts – recommended for its quality and perhaps value. Tasted at Barrels & Bonfires (i4C 2014) Jul/14.
Added Oct02/14 – Score 93 pts. Ontario $34.95 Vintages 111989
The 2008 Viewpointe Estates Winery Ideal Pointe Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, aged in French Oak for 18 months, has intense aromas of smoked meat, oak, vanilla and butter. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine with good acidity and a long smooth finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – though some might find the woody notes overpowering, this is a must buy. Tasted at ‘Taste Ontario’ in October/13.
Added Oct27/13 – Score 91 pts. Ontario $24.95 Vintages 274712
The Château Des Charmes Brut Methode Traditionelle (year is not displayed on the bottle) is composed of equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that was aged on lees for over 3 years using the traditional method. It has captivating aromas of lime, minerality and subtle lees on the nose and gooseberry and subtle raspberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, lightly sweet, fruity wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, fine effervescence and a medium to long finish. Enjoy this wine on-its-own; dink now-2018+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value – excellent choice for the upcoming festivities. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov09/13 – Score 90 pts. Ontario $22.95 LCBO 224766
The 2010 Quinta Do Valdoeiro Bairrada has intense aromas of stems, yeasty black sour cherry and cedar on the nose and cranberry and pomegranate on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, dusty tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long finish. Drink with food; drink now and for the next two years – cork is tapered towards the top and proned to leakage. My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Dec11/13 – Score 89 pts. Portugal $12.95 LCBO 320036
The 2010 Castello di Neive Barbaresco that was aged in oak for 12 months, has intense aromas of clove, fennel seed, wood on the nose and dried pomegranate, red currant and sweetish anise on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; is BALANCED with good acidity, grippy tannins (decant for 1+ hours) and has a long and smooth finish. This is a sipping wine; drink now – 2018. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality and especially value as it is comparable to other Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s, yet at half the cost. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov17/13 – Score 91 pts. Italy $21.05 LCBO 160143
The 2010 Daniel Lenko Old Vines Merlot that was sourced from one of the oldest Merlot plantings in Niagara dating back to 1974, were cropped to yield 2 tons/acre to increase its intensity; once fermented, the wine spend 18 months in French and American Oaks 70/30% before bottling. It has intense aromas of blackberry, black cherry, vanilla, oak, clove, toast, leather and eucalyptus on the palate and red currant, black cherry, graphite, oak and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with checked acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long, silky, oak influenced finish. This is a sipping wine; cellar for 1-2 years – best 2015 to 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Nov/13
Added Nov28/13 – Score 90 pts. Ontario $28.25 Vintages 75622
The 2011 Fuzion Alta Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva has compelling nose full of raspberry, black currant, oak, pine, vanilla and subtle lees aromas. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a medium to long, smooth finish with integrated oak. This is a food friendly wine; drink now to 2016+ (cork enclosure). My impression: NOTHING SPECIAL to NICE, 87-88 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted in Mar/14.
Added Apr13/14 – Score 87-88 pts. Argentina $9.95 LCBO 207357
The 2013 Trapiche Pure Malbec, sourced from foothill vineyards in Uco valley and crafted without any use of oak, has attractive aromas of earthy blackberry and black cherry on the nose and blackberry, red currant and subtle stems on the palate. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, refined/dusty tannins and a medium finish. This is a food friendly wine that goes well with hard cheese or steak; drink now and for the next few years (composite cork enclosure). My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value – excellent complexity rarely found in unoaked wines and should find its place to many cellars for short term cellaring. Tasted at iYellow’s Trapiche tasting with the winemaker Sergio Eduardo Casé and Carla CastorinaSep/14.
Added Sep29/14 – Score 89 pts. Argentina $15.95 LCBO 370924
The 2007 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino, aged in oak for 3 years, has captivating bouquet of toast, subtle leather, vanilla, oak, spice and cherry on the nose and cherry and pine on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and an extra-long, smooth finish. Enjoy this beauty on its own; drink now till 2022+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 93 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted in Nov/14.
Added Nov16/14 – Score 93 pts. Italy $45.95 Vintages 287284
The 2011 Konzelmann Estates Gewurztraminer (the 2012 vintage was featured at the Cuvee) has intense aromas of honeydew melon, green apple and pineapple. It is a medium bodied, off-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted at Tasted Mar/14 at Cuvée en Route in Mar/14.
Added Mar19/14 – Score 88 pts. $14.95 LCBO 392357
The 2012 Norman Hardie Unfiltered County Chardonnay that was aged on lees in oak barrels for 10 months has full, seductive notes of coffee bean and toast on the nose and green and yellow apple, oak and more roasted coffee bean on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity and long finish. Though food friendly, sip this wine by itself; drink now 2020+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at ‘County in the City’ event in Apr/14.
Added Apr30/14 – Score 91-92 pts. Ontario $39.00 Vintages 184432
The 2010 Yabby Lake Vineyard Pinot Noir, a blend of MV6 (80%) and Pommard, G5V15, and 115 clones making up the remainder – all sourced from the Mornington Peninsula; has captivating, intense aromas of almond, cigar box, black currant and raspberry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, refined, dusty tannins and a long and smooth finish. This is a sipping wine; drink now to 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 93 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 93 pts. Australia $42.75 Vintages 262402
The 2006 Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Kabinett made in a winery that has existed for over 650 years, has alluring aromas of gooseberry, tangerine, honeydew melon, subtle honey and petrol on the nose and lemon, tangerine, ripe pear and gooseberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry to off-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with refreshing acidity and a medium to long, lightly oily finish. Though it is a food friendly wine to pair with sweet fruits or desert, I would recommend enjoying it on-its-own; drink now – 2024 (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – highly recommended for its quality and value, stock up. Tasted in Sep/14.
Added Sep09/14 – Score 92 pts. Germany $19.95 Vintages 940809
The 2006 D’alfonso Del Sordo Guado San Leo Uva Di Troia, aged in barriques for 12 months, has pleasing aromas of black cherry, cherry, dates, wood and vanilla on the nose and cherry, dates, lees and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with good acidity, refined, yet subtly dusty, tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium to long finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now and for the next 3-5 years (5 cm cork). My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted in Jul/14.
Added Jul14/14 – Score 89 pts. Italy $17.95 Vintages 379248
The 2013 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc has intense aromas of pineapple, lychee, zest and gooseberry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity wine; with crisp, refreshing acidity and a clean finish of medium length. Though food friendly, this wine is quite enjoyable on its own; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted Jan/14 at dinner at Rosewater Supper Club tasting Villa Maria wines with winemaker Josh Hammond http://grapeselections.com/villa-maria-dinner/
Added Feb09/14 – Score 89 pts. New Zealand $16.95 LCBO 426601
The 2012 Château des Charmes ‘Old Vines’ Cabernet/Merlot, made with both Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon as well as Merlot and aged in French Oak for 9 months; has expressive aromas of toasted oak, smoke, prune, plum and light vanilla in the glass and toasted oak, vanilla and dates-red-currant-black-cherry trio in the mouth. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, dusty tannins and a long finish. It is made well to be compatible with food or simply enjoyed on its own; though it would benefit from further cellaring for a year or two (evolution potential +1), it is ready to drink now and will be to 2018/20 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 (+1 EP) pts – recommended for both, quality and value. Tasted in Nov/14.
Added Nov19/14 – Score 89 (+1 EP) pts. Ontario $16.26 Vintages 222372
The 2012 Dover Vineyards Frisky Beaver White has sweet, intense aromas of citrus and green apple as well as it has subtle mineral notes. It is a medium to full bodied, dry, fruity wine; with tart acidity and a medium finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2016+. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – great value wine, hence recommended. Tasted at ‘Taste Ontario’ in October/13.
Added Oct27/13 – Score 88 pts. Ontario $13.95 LCBO 345629
The 2012 Bosio Moscato D’asti has seductive notes of muscat and honeydew melon on the nose and lemon and apricot on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, sweet, fruity wine; with fine effervescence, good, refreshing acidity and a medium finish. With 5.5% alcohol, this is an outdoor sipper or desert wine; drink now and for the next few years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for both, value and quality. Tasted in May/14.
Added May29/14 – Score 89 pts. Italy $15.95 Vintages 371708
The 2012 Foreign Affair Conspiracy, an appassimento stile wine, is composed of late-in-the-fall harvested Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot that were subsequently aged in French, Hungarian and American oaks. It has intense notes of raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate and coconut and vanilla on both the nose and palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra dry, fruity to integrated wine; with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. It is food friendly, but enjoy on-its-own; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for both, quality and value. Tasted at Tasted Mar/14 at Cuvée en Route in Mar/14.
Added Mar19/14 – Score 91 pts. Ontario $19.95 Vintages 149237
The 2009 Torre Saracena Riserva Salice Salentino, composed of 80% Negroamaro and 20% Malvasia Nera which were aged in oak for 10 months, has intense aromas of dark chocolate, toasted/smoked wood and clove on the nose and cherry and wood on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with tart acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long finish. This is a food friendly wine though I would recommend sipping it (if you can handle the acidity); drink now to 2018 (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its value (bin end product – $2 off). Tasted in Sep/14.
Added Sep23/14 – Score 90 pts. Italy $13.75 was $15.95 Vintages 362442
The 2010 Château Des Charmes Rose is composed of equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that was aged on lees for over two years. It has intense aromas of light raspberry and lees as well as soapy minerality. It is light to medium bodied, medium sweet, fruity wine, with fine effervescence as a result of methode traditionnelle use, refreshing acidity, soft tannins and a medium to long, fruity finish. Though perfectly enjoyable as a sipping wine, it pairs perfectly with aged, dry cheeses; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Oct/13.
Added Oct30/13. – Score 90+ pts. CanadianFlag $28.95 Vintages 78055
The 2012 Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva has appealing aromas of eucalyptus and red currant on the nose and pomegranate, red currant, vanilla and oak on the palate. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with forward/notable acidity, grippy tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a medium to long, smooth finish. Drink with food or sip by itself; drink now – 2017 (screw cap). My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value (this $10 wine keeps on over-delivering vintage after vintage). Tasted Jan/14.
.
The 2011 Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec that was aged in oak for 10 months, has intense aromas of toasted oak, smoke, dates, prune, dark chocolate, black cherry and vanilla. It is an extra-dry, full-bodied, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, refined tannins and medium to long finish. This wine goes well with food (grilled meats) or can be enjoyed by itself; drink now – 2018+ (screw cap). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – for $10 this wine over-delivers; recommended for its quality and value. I have the 2008 vintage in my ‘cellar’ and it has been aging beautifully. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added Jan26/14 – Score 89 pts. Chile $9.95 LCBO 257329
The 2011 Château Des Charmes Chardonnay Barrel Fermented was first barrel fermented and then aged in French Oak for 9 months. It has intense aromas of citrus, candied fruit – papaya/pineapple, light vanilla and underbrush. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity to integrated wine, with checked acidity, soft tannin and a medium, woody finish. Drink with most foods, especially seafood in white wine/garlic/onion sauce, or sip on its own; drink now-2016+. Drank remainder after 3 days in the fridge and the wine became more aromatic with Tutti frutti (candied fruit mentioned above) notes showing through. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for quality and price (can’t go wrong for $13.95). Tasted September/13.
Added Oct01/13 – Score 89 pts. CanadianFlag $13.95 LCBO # 81653
The 2007 Chivite Gran Feudo Reserva, composed of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in new French Oak barrels for 18 months; has concentrated aromas of cherry, raspberry, vanilla and subtle cedar and pine. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with checked acidity, refined tannins and a finish of medium length. Enjoy with food; drink now and for the next 5+ years. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score89 pts. Spain $16.95 Essentials 479014
The 2010 Grand Cru Château Pipeau has intense notes of black cherry, pine, cigar box, clove, vanilla and faint leather. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity, grippy tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a long to extra-long finish. Enjoy this wine on-its-own; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 92+ pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov17/13 – Score 92 pts. France $36.95 Essentials 302018
The 2009 Stone Dwellers Cabernet Sauvignon has intense aromas of creamy cherry, vanilla and wood. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry fruity wine, with forward acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. This is a food friendly and a sipping wine; drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 89 pts. Australia $20.00 LCBO 212761
The 2010 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of undisclosed amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petit Syrah and Teroldego – all sourced from the Napa Valley. It has intense, lifted aromas of cherry, black currant, pine, oak and vanilla. It has a medium to full, integrated body, structure that still needs to come together with refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and somewhat lacking acidity, and a medium to long, silky finish. Enjoy as a sipper; drink now to 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended based on quality – on Limited Time Offer for $3 off until April 1st/13.
Added March 14/13 – Score 90-91 pts. California $34.95 Vintages# 255513
The 2008 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port has intense aromas of black cherry, prune, caramel and light walnut. It is a full bodied, sweet, integrated fortified wine; with balanced sweetness, forward acidity, subtle tannins (no need for decanting) and a medium to long, non-syrupy finish. Drink as an aperitif, drink now – 2018+. My impression: quite NICE, 89 points – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted in September 2013 at iYellow’s Taylor Fladgate Port Party
Added Dec01/13 – Score 89 pts. Portugal $18.45 LCBO 46946
The 2008 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino, composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in French Oak for 36 months, has intense aromas of cigar box, pine, faint leather, dried cherry and pomegranate on the nose and dried cherry and cigar box on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with good, mouthwatering acidity, drying tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long and silky finish. Enjoy on-its-own; drink now to 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at ‘Taste Italy 2013’ Nov/13.
Added Nov06/13 – Score 92 pts. Italy $49.95 Vintages 650432
The 2010 Norman Hardie Unfiltered Pinot Noir has intense aromas of anise, smoked meat, clove on the nose and pomegranate, red currant and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine, with checked acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Though food friendly, drink this wine on its own; drink now – 2018. My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 92-93 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Taste Ontario in October/13.
Added Oct27/13 – Score 93 pts. CanadianFlag $39.00 Vintages 208702
The 2010 Masi Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso, composed of Corvina and Sangiovese, has intense aromas of black cherry, black currant, oak and vanilla on the nose and dates, black cherry and vanilla on the palate. It is a full bodied, dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a smooth finish of medium to long length. It is food friendly or enjoy on its own; drink now-2018+. My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted July/13.
Added Aug20/13 – Score 89-90 pts. Italy $15.00 LCBO # 447326
The 2008 Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello Di Montalcino has intense aromas of dried cherry, wood, clove and faint lees on the nose and dried pomegranate on the palate. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity, dusty tannins and a medium to long finish. My impression: NICE, 90 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted at Tasted Mar/14 in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 90 pts. Italy $45.95 Vintages 363028
The 2009 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Pinot Noir, a blend from Wairau and Awatere Valleys that was aged over the winter on lees in French Barriques; has charming aromas of clove, faint smoked meat, cranberry and pomegranate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, soft to refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium to long finish. Sip this one in a presence of good company; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Jan/14 at dinner at Rosewater Supper Club tasting Villa Maria wines with winemaker Josh Hammond http://grapeselections.com/villa-maria-dinner/
Added Feb09/14 – Score 91 pts. New Zealand $32.95 Vintages 285361
The 2005 Château Plaisance Cuvée Alix, composed of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, has intense aromas of anise, wood, dried pomegranate and cherry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, aged wine; with forward acidity, dusty/drying tannins (decant for 1-2 hours) and a medium to long finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; as the fruit is drying out, drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – surprisingly tastes like Ontario’s Cabernet Franc dominated wines – recommended for its quality. Tasted Jan/14.
Added Jan26/14 – Score 89 pts. France $24.95 Vintages 348789
The 2012 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc has intense aromas of quince, lime, honey and subtle asparagus and lees. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a long, creamy finish. Enjoy on-its-own or drink with salads/seafood; drink now – 2018-2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Jan/14 at dinner at Rosewater Supper Club tasting Villa Maria wines with winemaker Josh Hammond http://grapeselections.com/villa-maria-dinner/
Added Feb09/14 – Score 90 pts. New Zealand $21.95 Vintages 974527
The 2011 Rotary Club 1951 Cabernet/Merlot, composed of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon as well as Merlot of undisclosed proportions, is a wine crafted by Château Des Charmes and $1 goes to Rotary Club’s foundation http://rotarylakeshore.org/. This wine has attractive aromas of blackberry and prune on the nose and milky strawberry, raspberry and blackberry on the palate. After 30+ minute decanting (a must), it is a medium to full bodied, dry, fruity wine; with refreshing acidity, dusty tannins and a medium and smooth finish. Drink with food or enjoy on its own – great in a party setting; drink 2015+ to 2018/9 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE, 87-88 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted in Sep/14.
Added Sep23/14 – Score 87-88 pts. Ontario $14.95 LCBO 393967
The 2012 Keint-He Voyageur Pinot Noir, sourced from three Niagara vineyards and aged in French oak for 10 months, has pleasing aromas of blackberry, plum and pomegranate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with good, refreshing acidity, drying tannins and a medium to long finish. Drink with food or on-its-own; drink now 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at ‘County in the City’ event in Apr/14.
Added Apr30/14 – Score 90 pts. CanadianFlag $17.95 Vintages 373407
The 2010 Couly Dutheil La Baronnie Madeleine Chinon, composed of 100% Cabernet Franc, has intense aromas of milky black berry, plum and fig on the nose and plum and blackberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, notable tannins and a medium to long, woody and smooth finish. It is food friendly or a sipper; drink 2014 – 2017+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – good valued Franc for under $25. Tasted at ‘Loire Valley Tasting‘ in Oct/13.
Added Nov24/13 – Score 90 pts. France $21.95 Vintages 57059
The 2012 Nugan Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz, where grapes sourced from Riverina and McLaren Vale were dried (as the name suggests) prior to fermentation and the wine was afterwards aged in French and American Oaks for 12 months. The wine has seductive notes of sour cherry, black cherry, blackberry, vanilla and wood on the nose and sour and black cherries, dates, coconut and light vanilla on the palate. It is a full bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15+ min) and a long finish. This is sipping wine; drink 2014-2017+ (screw cap enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – Amarone style wine for half the price – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted in Jul/14.
Added Jul28/14 – Score 90-91 pts. Australia $26.95 Vintages 376707
The 2012 Errázuriz Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc has intense aromas of subtle leechie, passion fruit, pineapple and light vegetal and floral notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward acidity and a medium finish. It is food friendly, drink now-2017. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Wines of Chile 2013 tasting in October/13.
Added Oct09/13 – Score 90 pts. Chile $21.95 Vintages # 143198
The 2010 Firestone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has deep aromas of strawberry, blackberry, toasted oak, vanilla and coconut. It is medium to full bodied, integrated, with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a smooth finish of long length. Drink now – 2020; enjoy as a sipper or with bold meals. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended based both on quality and value – widely available in the General Section of LCBO. Tasted March/13.
Added Apr02/13 – Score 90-91 pts. California $19.80 LCBO# 292128
The 2008 Umberto Fiore Barbaresco, composed in its entirety of Nebbiolo varietal, has subtle notes of anise, cedar, wood and dried sour cherry. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity, notable tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a medium to long finish. Drink with salty/acidic foods or just by itself; drink now – 2016+. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – it’s a quite enjoyable wine, especially for $16.90 – hence recommended for its value. Tasted Nov/13.
.
Previous Review: The 2006 Umberto Fiore Barbaresco that really is for $17 (unbelievable), is light bodied wine with nice aromas of integrated violets, cedar, liquorice on the nose and raspberry, red currant, coconut and vanilla on the palate. It is bit off balance with slightly higher acidity, with tannins that are refined to tannic (decant for 15 to 30 min) and finish that is long and smooth, but slightly alcoholic. Drink now or cellar for 5 or so years, I wouldn’t expect it to get much better. My impression: NICE, 88.5 pts and a recommended buy. A side note, it is crafted to be quite food friendly – especially beef. Tasted Oct/11.
Added Nov09/13 – Score 88 pts. Italy $16.90 LCBO 254870
The 2012 Montgras Carmenere Reserva has intense notes of lees, green stems, milky red currant, strawberry and raspberry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, grippy tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long, vanilla finish. This is a food friendly or sipping wine; drink now – 2016+. My impression: NICE 89-90 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted Dec/13
Added Dec11/13 – Score 89-90 pts. Chile $11.95 LCBO 178624
The 2012 Chilensis Reserva Carmenère has intense aromas of eucalyptus and black berry. It is a medium to full-bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with checked acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Drink with food or enjoy on its own; drink now-2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its quality; Chilensis has long been on my list of high quality value wines. Tasted at ‘Wines of Chile 2013‘ in October 2013.
Added Nov07/13 – Score 88 pts. Chile $13.95 LCBO 657981
The 181 Merlot 2010, sourced from the Lodi Valley and made in Bordeaux style, has intense aromas of toasted oak, black cherry liqueur, blackberry and faint pine needle notes. It is medium bodied, fruity, has good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium, silky finish. It can be drunk by itself or with food; good to drink now, but will be in its prime from 2015-2020. My opinion: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended due to its value.
Added March 14/13 – Score 89 pts. California $16.95
(repriced from $19.05) LCBO# 226530
The 2009 Te Awa Cabernet/Merlot, composed of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec that was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, has intense aromas of blueberry, pine, wood and vanilla that dissipate quickly and raspberry, blackberry and black cherry notes emerge. It is an extra-dry, medium bodied, integrated wine, with very good acidity, refined tannins (no need to decant – 15 min, however needs to be strained due to many tartrate crystals) and a medium to long, graphite silkiness finish. Sip by itself or enjoy with quite diverse foods; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – sold originally for $28.95 now for nearly $5 less – recommended due to its value and quality. Tasted June/13.
Added June 19/13 – Score 91 pts. New Zealand $24.05 was $28.95
Vintages# 95984
The 2013 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc has captivating aromas of longan fruit, pineapple, zest, green apple, light honey and soapy minerality. It is a medium bodied, dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity and a light, honey-coating, medium finish. It is a food friendly or sipping wine; drink now – 2015+. My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted Dec/13.
Added Dec18/13 – Score 89 pts. New Zealand $13.95 LCBO 620062
The 2011 Bersano Costalunga Barbera D’asti has appealing red currant, raspberry, stems and lifted woody/oaky and vanilla notes. It is a medium bodied, perceivably dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, subtle tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. It is food and sipping friendly; drink now to 2017. My impression: quite NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov17/13 – Score 88 pts. Italy $11.95 LCBO 348680
The 2012 Terraustral PKNT Carmenere, has intense aromas of eucalyptus, blackberry and stewed black fruits. It is a full bodied, dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, refined tannins and a medium, chalky finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted at Wines of Chile 2013 tasting in October/13.
Added Oct09/13 – Score 88 pts. Chile $10.95 LCBO # 191858
The 2010 Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak for 10 months, has intense aromas of prune, oak, light earthiness and vanilla. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward acidity, chalky mouthfeel, refined tannins and a long, smooth finish. Drink as a sipper; drink now to 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended mainly for quality though the value is great. Tasted at Wines of Chile 2013 tasting in October/13.
Added Oct09/13 – Score 90 pts. Chile $16.95 LCBO # 358309
The 2010 Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz, sourced from Strathbognie Ranges in Victoria, has intense nose of raspberry, blackberry, fennel seed and almond. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; balanced with forward, crisp acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. It is food friendly and will please as a sipper; drink now to 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 90 pts. Australia $35.95 Vintages 243592
The 2011 Le Serre Nuove Dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri is composed of 57% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 14% Petit Verdot that was aged for 16 months in new French Oak. This wine has intense aromas of black cherry, prune, wood and cedar. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long, wood dominated, smooth finish. This one is a sipper; drink 2014 – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at ‘Taste Italy 2013’ Nov/13.
Added Nov06/13 – Score 92 pts. Italy $59.95 Vintages 606194
The 2007 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello Di Montalcino has intense notes of violets, dried cherry, pomegranate, old wood and clove on the nose and more of pomegranate and dried cherry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity, dusty tannins and a long, smooth and silky finish. Drink now – 2025+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 91-92 pts. Italy $48.95 Vintages 113357
The 2011 Vina Maipo Vitral Chardonnay Reserva, aged in French Oak for undisclosed length of time, has appealing aromas of limestone minerality, lime, green apple, gooseberry and light coconutty creaminess. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, and a medium to long, creamy finish. This is a food friendly wine, but will please on its own; drink now – 2020. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. This product is discontinued for $2 off. BUY BUY BUY. in Mar/14.
Added Mar19/14 – Score 88-89 pts.
Chile BIN-END CLEARANCE now $11.95 | was $13.95
LCBO 270009
The 2011 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Zinfandel, from Dry Creek in Sonoma, has attractive aromas of blackberry, black cherry and vanilla on both the nose and palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, dusty tannins and a medium to long, smooth finish. This party favorite is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now – 2020. My impression: quite NICE, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at California Wine FairApr/14.
Added Apr29/14 – Score 90 pts. California $32.95 Vintages 203208
The 2010 Lighthall Reserve Chardonnay that spent 8 months in French Oak barrels, has intense buttery-pear and light oak notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine with refreshing acidity and a long, oaky and light vanilla finish. Pair this wine with salty/acidic foods of your choice or enjoy on its own; drink now-2018+. Rated at 90-91 pts, this wine is highly recommended due to its quality and value. Tasted at ‘County in the City’ event in April/13 and again at GFWE in Nov/13.
Added Dec11/13 – Score 90-91 pts. CanadianFlag $25.00 Vintages 278226
This 2004 Ontañón Reserva, composed of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano that was aged in American Oak for 24 months, has intense aromas of clove, fennel, cigar box, tobacco leaf cherry and sour cherry. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, aged wine; with refreshing acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long to extra-long, spicy finish. Though food friendly, enjoy this beauty on its own; drink now – 2017/18 (fruit is drying out). My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 92+ pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted Feb/14.
Added Feb09/14 – Score 92+ pts. Spain $25.95 Vintages 725895
The 2011 Paul Prieur & Fils Sancerre, composed of 100% Sauvignon Blanc aged for 7 months on lees, has intense aromas of yellow apple, citrus and limestone minerality that is even more so evident on the palate. It is a light to medium-bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity and a short to medium finish. Enjoy with food; drink now – 2016+. My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at ‘Loire Valley Tasting’ in Oct/13.
Added Nov24/13 – Score 89 pts. France $25.95 Vintages 350421
The 2009 Cave De Rasteau Ortas Prestige Rasteau, composed of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, has intense aromas of yogurty strawberry and raspberry on the nose and cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, oak and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, grippy and dusty tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium to long finish. This is a food friendly and a sipping wine; it will benefit from cellaring (+1 evolution potential) – drink now – 2022. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 (+1) pts – recommended for its quality and value. in Mar/14.
Added Mar19/14 – Score 91 pts. France $19.95 Vintages 985929
This 2011 Calamus Riesling has classic Riesling aromas with oily, lemon, lime and yellow apple notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry perceivably dry, fruity wine; with good, refreshing acidity, and a medium, oily finish. It is food friendly or can be enjoyed on its own; drink now – 2017. My impression: quite NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value – especially that it is now on Bin-end Clearance. Tasted Feb/14.
Added Feb09/14 – Score 89 pts. CanadianFlag
BIN-END CLEARANCE now $13.75 | was $16.95
Vintages 158642
The 2010 Gemma Ruja Nebbiolo (100%) has attractive notes of raspberry, red currant, strawberry and subtle fennel aromas on the nose and raspberry, black cherry and dates on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good, refreshing acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a medium to long finish. It is a food friendly and sipping wine; drink now to 2018+ (cork enclosure). My impression: quite NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its quality and value. This wine was reduced from original price of $17.95. Tasted in Apr/14.
Added Apr13/14 – Score 88 pts. Italy $15.25 was $17.95 Vintages 344473
The 2012 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc has intense bouquet of leechie and passion fruit on the nose as well as on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with good acidity and long, leechie dominated finish. It is a food friendly wine – pair with Asian cuisine; drink young now – 2015/16 (screw cap). My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended buy especially when on sale for $15.95 ($1.50 OFF) till May 26/13. Tasted at WineAlign’s event “Tutored Tasting with Stoneleigh Winemaker Jamie Marfell” and again at Wines of New Zealand May/13.
Added May 23/13 – Score 89-90 pts. New Zealand $17.45 LCBO# 293043
The 2012 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay that spent 17 months in French Oak barrels has elegant gooseberry, linden and subtle lees, struck match, stems and wood aromas on the nose and gooseberry, lemon, and faint vanilla on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry/dry, integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity and a medium to long, oily finish. Despite being a food friendly wine (excellent with cheeses), sip this one on its own; drink now to 2020 (cork enclosure). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted in Apr/14.
Added Apr13/14 – Score 90-91 pts. Ontario $29.95 Vintages 148866
The 2010 Château Des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué, made with highly perfumed Chardonnay clone #809, has intense aromas of citrus, light floral/honey notes and subtle slate minerality. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine, with forward acidity and a medium to long, slightly woody/stemy finish. It is food friendly or can be enjoyed on its own; drink now – 2015. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – I recommend drinking it around 10-16°C as the aromatics come more forth. Won a Gold Medal winner at the 2012 Ontario Wine Awards. Tasted June/13.
Added Aug15/13 – Score 88 pts. CanadianFlag $16.95 Vintages# 640516
The 2010 Le Ferme Du Mont Gigondas Côte Jugunda, composed of 80% Grenache that is 60 year old, and 20% Syrah, has intense aromas of black cherry liquor, raspberry, vanilla and pine. It is a medium bodied, extra dry, fruity wine; it is nicely balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long, smooth and silky finish. It is food friendly, but rather drink it on its own; drink now – 2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 93-94 pts – recommended buy based on both, quality and value. Tasted twice, once at La Ferme Du Mont luncheon hosted by Stéphane Vedeau in July/13 and again in Dec/13.
Added Dec11/13 – Score 93 pts. France $29.95 Vintages 354118
The 2011 Thirty Bench WineMaker’s Riesling, sourced from younger vines throughout the property, is medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing aromas of green apple and subtle floral notes. It is off-dry, has a nice minerality, refreshing acidity and a clean/refreshing medium/long finish. Food friendly or a sipper; drink now – 2018.” My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – >1000 cases produced. Tasted Dec/12.
Added May07/13 – Score 90 pts. CanadianFlag $18.95 Vintages# 24133
The 2011 Le Ferme Du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes Du Rhône Villages, composed of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, has appealing aromas of pine, blackberry, black cherry, raspberry and faint vanilla. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium, silky finish. It is food/sipper friendly; it will benefit from cellaring drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended buy, especially for the price. Interesting fact, LCBO bought 2,700 cases – one of the largest Vintage purchases. Tasted at La Ferme Du Mont luncheon hosted by Stéphane Vedeau July/13.
Added July 20/13 – Score 90-91 pts. France $17.00 Vintages# 171371
This 2009 Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red Cabernet/Merlot – 70% /30% proportions, has intense aromas of yeasty black cherry, lees, oak, charcoal, coconut, vanilla and subtle spice. It is a full bodied, dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long, oaky and coconuty finish. This big wine is food friendly, party favorite; though drinks well now, further aging will enhance it further – +1or 2 evolution potential; drink 2016-2024. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 +2 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted Feb/14.
Added Feb09/14 – Score 89-90 (+2) pts. USA $16.95 Vintages 930321
The 2010 Château Genot Boulanger Clos Du Cromin Meursault has intense aromas of lees and light citrus. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward, crisp acidity and a slightly oaky finish of medium length. It is food friendly or can be sipped by itself; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for quality. Tasted at International Cool Climate Chardonnay – i4C event July/13.
Added July22/13 – Score 90 pts. France
Reduced to $42.25 from $49.75
Vintages# 330043
The 2010 Château des Charmes Equuleus, composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot that was aged in French Oak for one year, is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense notes of raspberry, cherry, dates and vanilla. It has a good structure, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a fruit forward, long finish. Enjoy by itself; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended based on quality. Tasted Oct/12.
.
Re-review of 2010 Equuleus: The 2010 Equuleus has intense aromas of cherry, raspberry, red currant, some Earthy notes, pepper and dark chocolate. It is light to medium bodied, integrated, with balanced acidity and refined tannins, a long and smooth finish. Again, my impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended based on quality. Tasted Mar/13.

Awards: NWAC13 Bronze Medal Winner
Updated Jan26/14 – Score 91 pts.
CanadianFlag
BIN-END CLEARANCE now $32.25 | was $40.00 Vintages 319525
The Bodegas Balbás Ardal Crianza 2005 was now released for the 4th time (de-ja-vu) (June26/10, June09/12, Feb16/13 and now March 4th/14), I purchased it back in 2010 and kept a case in my cellar. From 17 bottles, I am now down to 5 and most likely will topp off my inventory by 6 or so. Though my previous assesement: “I’ve been watching its evolution and would say that it is drying up and currently fairs 89-90 pts – none the less, still a recommended buy. Tasted July/10 to Jan/13.” This wine surprises me, now I know that it is inconsistent from bottle to bottle and score can range from 89 to 91 – still well worth a try. There may not be 5th re-release.
Here are my previous ratings:
.
I organized a Spanish wine tasting and since most of the wines were unknown to me, I needed one that I knew I could count on – and the one being Ardal Crianza 2005. I have rated it previously, so I will only mention that this time, the dark berries were blackberry and blueberry, my impression was BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE and it received one more point, totaling 92. Also, I decided to purchase several bottles and add it to my collection. Tasted in Sept/10 during Spanish wine tasting. This was the second most liked wine out of the lineup.
.
This medium bodied 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon blend has intense aromas of integrated to aged dark berries, cedar, leather, vanilla and coconut. The tannins are refined to tannic (decant for at least 30 min) and the finish is long and silky. It can still be kept for the next two or so years, but is best to drink now. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – a recommended buy. Tasted July/10.
Added Feb14/13 – Score 89-90 pts. Spain $17.95 Vintages#167601
The 2012 Rosewood Select Series Süssreserve Riesling is made such that some fresh, unfermented juice is added before bottling in order to increase the overall freshness. The wine has intense aromas of lemon and lemon zest, green apple and wet stone minerality. It is a light to medium bodied, medium sweet (perceivably ‘off-dry’ due to acidity), fruity wine; balanced with crisp acidity and a medium to long, refreshing – zest filled finish. It is food friendly and quite enjoyable to be sipped on-its-own; drink now to 2016+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended based on both, quality and value. Tasted Nov/13.
Awards:NWAC13 Bronze Medal Winner
Added Nov17/13 – Score 89 pts. CanadianFlag $14.95 Vintages 258806
The 2011 Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay, aged in French Oak for 8 months, has intense aromas of honey, linden, light oak and vanilla. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with forward acidity, soft tannins and a medium to long finish. It is quite food friendly, yet can be enjoyed on its own; drink now-2018. My impression: quite NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended wine. Tasted at International Cool Climate Chardonnay – i4C event July/13.
Added July22/13 – Score 89-90 pts. CanadianFlag $18.95 Vintages# 116384
The 2010 Tawse Grower’s Blend Pinot Noir has intense, lifted aromas of prune, pomegranate and vanilla. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly, but enjoy it on its own; drink now – 2018+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended buy for its quality and value. Tasted at Taste Ontario in October/13.
Added Oct27/13 – Score 91 pts. CanadianFlag $26.95 Vintages 130989
The 2011 San Polo Toscana Poggio Al Tesoro Mediterra that is composed of 40% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot was aged in French Oak for 12 months. This wine has pronounced notes of forest floor, eucalyptus and cherry on the nose and red currant stems, cherry/black cherry and figs on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined/chalky tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long finish. It is food friendly, yet should be enjoyed on-its-own; cellaring will enhance its complexity (evolution potential +1-2 pts) drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91+ (+2 EP) – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at ‘Taste Italy 2013’ Nov/13.
Added Nov06/13 – Score 91 pts. Italy $23.95
currently 2010 vintage is available Vintages 333567
The 2010 Ghost Pine Chardonnay, sourced from Sonoma, Monterey and Napa Counties and aged in both French and American oak after fermentation, has intense aromas of ripe pear, citrus, butter and subtle oak. It is medium bodied with good fruit intensity, has a good structure and a long and smooth finish. Pair with salty meat dishes, but rather enjoy sipping it by itself; drink now to 2017. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – it is recommended especially because currently it is on Limited Time Offer for $2 off until April 1st/13.
Added March 14/13 – Score 90 pts California $19.95 LCBO# 308122
The 2011 Fattoria Dei Barbi Rosso Di Montalcino has intense scents of cranberry, pomegranate, toast, wood, and faint vanilla and lees. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with crisp acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. Drink now – 2018+. My impression: NICE, 90 – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Tasted Mar/14 in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 90 pts. Italy $22.00 Vintages Online 17103
The 2011 Loacker Corte Pavone Rosso Di Montalcino, composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in oak for 24 months, has appealing aromas of forest berries, raspberry, blackberry, dates, vanilla, coconut and oak. It is medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with mouthwatering/refreshing acidity, dusty tannins and a medium, chalky finish. Drink now – 2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 90 pts. Italy $27.00 Vintages Online 373050
The 2009 Argiano Brunello Di Montalcino, aged in oak for two years and then another in cement, has intense bouquet of anise, cigar box, wood, lees, and red currant on the nose and red currant, coconut and oak on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with good acidity, grippy tannins and a silky, long to extra-long finish. Drink now – 2025+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 92 pts. Italy $53.00 Vintages Online 154609
The 2008 Loacker Corte Pavone Brunello Di Montalcino, also aged in oak for 48 months, has appealing aromas of dried cherry, lees, wood and clove that are little light on the nose, but the palate full of cranberry, pomegranate, dried cherry notes make up for it. It is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; BALANCED with good acidity, refined tannins and a smooth and silky finish of great length. Drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92-93 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 92-93 pts. Italy $55.00 Vintages Online 373043
The 2009 La Fortuna Brunello Di Montalcino has intense, lifted aromas of pomegranate, cigar box, oak, clove and anise on the nose and pomegranate, red currant, coconut, and vanilla on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; BALANCED with crisp, refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long, smooth finish. Drink now – 2025+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 93+ pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 93+ pts. Italy $59.00 Vintages Online 378935
The 2008 Caprili Riserva Brunello Di Montalcino has intense aromas of lees, cherry and faint barnyard on the nose and pomegranate, red currant, cherry, oak and faint vanilla on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity, grippy tannins and a long finish (decant as this wine has quite a bit of sediment). Drink now – 2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 91 pts. Italy $59.95 Vintages Online 372755
The 2008 Gianni Brunelli Le Chiuse Di Sotto Brunello Di Montalcino has captivating aromas of dried cherry, cranberry, fennel seed and old wood on the nose and pomegranate, dried cherry and more wood + spice on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with crisp, refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Drink now – 2025+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92+ pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 92+ pts. Italy $75.00 Vintages Online 30478
The 2004 Col D’Orcia Poggio Al Vento Riserva Brunello Di Montalcino, aged in oak for 48 months before bottling, has intense bouquet of violets, cherry, clove, fennel and light lees on the nose and cherry and cranberry on the palate. The wine is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged; with good/refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92-93 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 92-93 pts. Italy $129.00 Vintages Online 965525
The 1997 Col D’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino, aged in oak for 36 months, has powerful bouquet of violets, aged wood and pine on the nose and pomegranate, sour cherry and clove on the palate. The wine is light to medium bodied, extra-dry, aged; BALANCED with good acidity, refined tannins and a long, smooth and silky finish. Drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 93 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Benvenuto Brunello in Mar/14.
Added Apr04/14 – Score 93 pts. Italy $145.00 Vintages Online 961714
The 2007 Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino, composed of 100% Sangiovese that was aged in French Oak for 12-14 months, has appealing bouquet of dried pomegranate, red currant, cherry, oak and leather. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine; balanced with forward acidity, drying tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a smooth, wood dominated finish of long length. Enjoy on-its-own; drink now – 2017+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at ‘Taste Italy 2013’ Nov/13.
Added Nov06/13 – Score 90 pts. Italy $59.95 Vintages 378257
The 2009 Kooyong Ferrous Pinot Noir, sourced from the cool Mornington Peninsula, has appealing aromas of yogurt, lees, cranberry and wood on the nose and cranberry, pomegranate, strawberry, raspberry, wood and vanilla on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry fruity to integrated wine; balanced with good, crisp acidity, drying tannins and a medium finish. This is a food friendly, sipping wine; put away for couple of years – drink 2016-2020+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 90 pts. Australia $59.75 Vintages 287805
The 2007 Journey’s End Shiraz Single Vineyard, aged in French Oak barrels for 18 months, has intense aromas of yogurty raspberry, blackberry and vanilla. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly yet quite enjoyable by itself; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE, 90 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Jan/14.
Added Jan26/14 – Score 90 pts. South Africa $19.95 Vintages 337642
The 2010 Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon has intense aromas of stems, pomegranate, cranberry, red currant, vanilla and oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; BALANCED with refreshing acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long, silky finish. Enjoy on its own; drink now – 2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 91 pts. Australia $19.90 Vintages 677476
The 2010 Zonin Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of dried prune, dates, black cherry and oak on the nose and blueberry and vanilla on the palate. It has a nice acidity, subtle to refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and the finish is medium to long and smooth. It is food friendly and is enjoyable by itself, drink now-2018. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended buy – nice treat from the General section. Tasted Nov/12.
Added Jan9/13 – Score 90 pts. Italy $16.95 LCBO# 170142
The 2009 Bisquertt Ecos De Rulo Carmenère, aged in French Oak for 10-12 months, has intense aromas of eucalyptus/stems (green qualities that Carmenere is revered for), blackberry, black currant and vanilla. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity drying tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long, smooth and silky finish. This wine will go well with most foods, but enjoy it on its own; cellaring will further enhance it (evolution potential +1 to 2 pts); drink now -2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92+ pts – recommended for both quality and value. It is now on clearance sale, so get them while they are still available. Tasted Jan/14.
Added Jan26/14 – Score 92+ pts. Chile
BIN-END CLEARANCE now $14.25 | was $17.95 Vintages 325365
The 2010 Ringbolt 21 Barriques Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French and American Oak (30/70%) for 12 months; has intense aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate, lees, oak, vanilla and pomegranate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity, dusty tannins and a medium to long finish. Drink with food or on its own; drink now-2020+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 91 pts. Australia $44.95 Vintages 367870
The 2008 Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz, harvested from 100 year old vines grown in the Eden Valley, has awe-inspiring aromas of blackcurrant extract, black cherry, cigar box and bilberry. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with forward, refreshing acidity, refined tannins and extra-long, smooth finish. This is a sipping wine to be enjoyed with someone special; drink now – 2025+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 93+ pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Australia Today 2014 Trade show in Feb/14.
Added Feb26/14 – Score 93+ pts. Australia $119.00 Vintages 718601
The 2008 Beronia Reserva, composed of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo of undisclosed proportions that were aged in French and American Oak barrels for more than 18 months, has intense aromas of oak, coconut, vanilla, faint leather and earth, cherry on the nose and oak, coconut, vanilla and blackberry on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; with forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a long finish. Enjoy with food or on its own; drink now – 2017. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended for its quality and value (especially that it is on LTO). December 7th was its 2nd re-release – prior releases August 17th and February 2/12. Tasted Jan/14.
.
Previous review: The 2008 Beronia Reserva has intense aromas of cherry, dark chocolate, toasted oak, coconut and vanilla. It has light to medium body, integrated, has refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and the finish is long. It is overpowered by toasted vanilla/oak without the support of the fruit – hence a sipper, or can be drunk with dominating foods; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended buy for lovers of oak. Tasted Jan/13 – Re-released August 17th, first release February 2/12.
Added Aug15/13 – Score 89 pts. Spain $18.95 Vintages # 50203
The 2005 Coto De Imaz Reserva, made of 100% Tempranillo and aged for 12 months in American oak; is a light to medium bodied wine, with intense aromas of integrated sandalwood, vanilla, faint leather and cherry. It needs about an hour to decant, but once it does, the acidity mellows out and becomes nicely balanced with refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. It is at its peak now as the fruit is starting to diminish, but still should last for another 5+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – a recommended buy as this is one of tastier Riojas under $30. Tasted Apr/12.
.
This is a re-release from April 14/2012 for $1 more than previously, yet well worth it. Having it in my cellar for over a year and a half shows how ageable this wine is – will most likely reward until the end of this decade if not more. Tasted again Nov/13.
Added Nov10/13 – Score 91+ pts. Spain $20.95 Vintages 23762
The 2010 William Cole Winemaker’s Special Reserve, composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Carmenere and 25% Merlot that was aged in French Oak for 12 months has intense aromas of green pepper (Carmenere’s signature note), blackberry, black currant, smoke and subtle vanilla and wood. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a smooth finish of a good length. It is a food friendly wine or can be sipped by itself; best to age (evolution potential +1 pt) – drink 2015-2020. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended for its quality/value and for expressive Carmenere notes. Shared by Krista Lamb http://kristalamb.blogspot.ca/ tasted August/13.
Added Aug15/13 – Score 90 pts. Chile $17.95 Vintages # 325431
The 2005 Montecillo Gran Reserva has captivating bouquet full of dried cherry, wood, light vanilla, allspice and subtle dried mushroom notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 1+ hours – more than 2 hr is even better) and a long, clean, vanilla/woody finish. Drink with food or sip on its own; drink now – 2020? My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – a classic, well made Rioja that is slightly too $$, but recommended for its quality. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Dec11/13 – Score 91 pts. Spain $30.95 Vintages 239277
The 2011 Vineland Estates Unoaked Chardonnay has captivating notes of citrus, green and yellow apple and faint tropical notes. It is a light to medium bodied, dry, fruity wine, with refreshing acidity and a medium, smooth finish. Drink with food or enjoy by itself; drink now- 2016. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended both on quality and value. Tasted at International Cool Climate Chardonnay – i4C event July/13.
Added July22/13 – Score 89-90 pts. CanadianFlag $12.95 LCBO# 669374
This 2009 Château Agnel Cuvée Philippe Minervois, composed of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan of undisclosed proportions and aged in French Oak barrels, has intense aromas of blackberry and wood with subtle dark chocolate, raspberry and yeasty notes. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with good, refreshing acidity, dusty/grippy tannins (decant for 1-2 hours) and a medium to long finish. Enjoy by itself or with food; drinks well now, but would benefit from further aging – drink 2015-2020. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value – especially that it is now on Bin-end Clearance. Tasted Feb/14.
Added Feb09/14 – Score 89 pts. France BIN-END CLEARANCE now $12.75 | was $15.95 Vintages 309195
The 2010 – 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel, blended with undisclosed amounts of Petite Sirah, has intense aromas of stewed dates, prune, blackberry, smoked meat, vanilla and toasted wood. It is a full bodied, off-dry, fruity to integrated wine, with good acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. Drink with red meats or sip on its own; drink now and for the next 5+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score 90 pts. California $24.95 Vintages# 59311
The 2008 Muga Reserva has intense aromas of dusty cherry, pomegranate and cigar box. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with balanced structure of good acidity and refined tannins (decant for 30 min), and a long finish that is not oak dominated. This wine is food friendly as well as a sipper. It is ready to drink now and shall be for the next 10+ years. My impression: NICE, 90 pts – recommended buy based on both quality and value. Tasted January/13.
Added May07/13 – Score 90 pts. Spain $23.95 Vintages# 177345
The 2010 Chapel Hill Shiraz has intense aromas of blackberry, dates, prune and vanilla. It is an extra-dry, full bodied, fruity wine; with good structure of balanced acidity, refined tannins and a long and silky finish. Though food friendly, sip this one alone; drink now – 2018 (screw cap). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91-92 pts – recommended due to its quality. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score 91-92 pts. Australia $26.95 Vintages# 743989
The 2004 Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva, aged in American Oak for 30 months was originally released on December 10th, 2011, then on December 8th 2012 and again September 28th 2013. It is medium bodied, integrated, with intense aromas of cherry, chocolate, leather, oak, coconut and vanilla. It has a nice structure with good acidity, tannins that are refined to tannic (decant for 30 or more min) and a long finish. It is ready to drink now and will be for the next 5 or more years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts and a recommended buy. Tasted Dec/11.
Added Sept27/13 – Score 91 pts. Spain $27.95 Vintages# 244715
The 2011 Mocine, composed of Sangiovese, Colorino, Foglia Tonda and Barsaglina grapes of undisclosed proportions, has intense aromas of forest berries – strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, light vanilla and toasted oak. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with checked acidity, tannins that are bit sharp (decant for 30 min) and a long, smooth finish. This serious wine is food friendly or can be enjoyed by itself; though approachable now, it will benefit from cellaring (+2 evolution potential) – drink now – 2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended buy – excellent quality & price. Tasted July/13.
Added July 20/13 – Score 91 pts. Italy $19.95 Vintages# 332940
The 2010 Mendel Malbec has intense aromas of charred wood, cigar box, clove and black cherry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with forward acidity, tight tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a medium to long finish. This is a sipping wine; drink 2014 – 2018 (cellaring potential +1 pt). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90(+1) pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov17/13 – Score 91 pts. Argentina $24.95 Vintages 108225
The 2008 Hoya De Cadenas Reserva, composed mainly of Tempranillo that was aged in American oak for 12 months, has intense aromas of black cherry, blueberry, oak and cedar on the nose and strawberry and black cherry on the palate. It is an extra-dry, medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine; has good acidity, refined tannins and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly and can be enjoyed as a sipper; drink now and for the next 5 years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 88 pts – recommended buy, especially now that it is on LCBO’s ‘limited time offer’ until April 28/13. Tasted April/13 at WineAlign Cru tasting.
Added April 20/13 – Score 89 pts. Spain $12.15 LCBO# 620989
The 2011 Domaine De La Gitonniere Touraine , composed of 100% Sauvignon Blanc, has intense aromas of leechie, pineapple, faint lees and linden flowers that are more intense on the nose than on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with forward acidity and medium finish. It is food friendly as well as a sipper; drink now – 2017+. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value. Tasted at ‘Loire Valley Tasting’ in Oct/13.

Awards: Gold Medal winner at Concours des Vins du Val de Loire, 2012.
Added Nov24/13 – Score 89 pts. France $13.95 Vintages 168914
The 2004 Château Bréhat is composed of 65% Merlot and undisclosed amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in French Oak for 12 months. It has intense aromas of vanilla, oak, pine, clove, subtle leather and dark chocolate on the nose, yet the palate is quite dried out with notes of dried cherry and cranberry. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, aged wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min and watch out for sediment) and a medium to long, smooth finish. Food and sipping friendly; drink now – 2016. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended for its quality and value – not often do we get such treats at such low cost. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov09/13 – Score 89 pts. France $16.95 Vintages 348672
The 2007 Joffré E Hijas Grand Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested from old vines and then aged for 10 months in oak before bottling, has fullish nose of blackberry, figs, blackcurrant, graphite and faint eucalyptus. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; with checked acidity, refined tannins and a long, smooth, tongue-coating finish. It is both food and sipping friendly; drink now – 2020+, evolution potential +1. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 (+1) pts – recommended for both its quality and value. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov09/13 – Score 91 pts. Argentina $18.95 Vintages 243212
The 2010 Château Des Charmes ‘Old Vines’ Riesling, harvested from 20-30 year-old vines, is a light bodied, fruity wine, with appealing aromas of green/yellow apple and wet-pebble minerality. It is dry, has a refreshing acidity and a medium finish. Drink slightly warmer – around 10°C with food or simply by itself. My impression: quite NICE, 88 pts – well priced. Tasted Jan/13.
Added Aug15/13 – Score 88 pts. CanadianFlag $13.75 Vintages # 277228
The 2009 Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in used oak barrels for 10 months, has appealing aromas of eucalyptus, stems, black cherry and subtle wood/pine influence. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine; with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a medium to long, smooth and chalky finish. This wine is food friendly as well as a sipper; it will benefit from cellaring – drink now/2014 to 2018+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted Nov/13.
Added Nov17/13 – Score 90 pts. Chile
BIN-END CLEARANCE now $15.75 | was $19.95 Vintages 311720
The 2011 Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay, of which 50% was aged in French, American, and Eastern European oak for 7 months, was imparted with intense and captivating aromas of sweet vanilla, creamy butter, pear, gooseberry and subtle oak. It is an off-dry, medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with good acidity, subtle tannins and a long and smooth finish. Due to its intense fruit and good acidity, this wine is food friendly, yet can be enjoyed by itself; drink while young before the fruit integrates or age for the next 10+ years (cork enclosure). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its quality and excellent value. STOCK UP!! Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score 90-91 pts. California $16.95 LCBO# 175430
The 2011 Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec that was aged in oak for 10 months, has intense aromas of toasted oak, smoke, dates, prune, dark chocolate, black cherry and vanilla. It is an extra-dry, full-bodied, fruity to integrated wine; with good acidity, refined tannins and medium to long finish. This wine goes well with food (grilled meats) or can be enjoyed by itself; drink now – 2018+ (screw cap). My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – for $10 this wine over-delivers; recommended for its quality and value. I have the 2008 vintage in my ‘cellar’ and it has been aging beautifully. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score 89 pts. Chile $9.95 LCBO# 257329
The 2010 Marchesi De’ Frescobaldi Mormoreto, composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot that was aged in French Oak for 24 months, has captivating bouquet of cigar box, vanilla, clove and faint leather on the nose and blackberry, black cherry, vanilla and oak on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a long to extra long, smooth and silky finish. Enjoy with the special someone on-its-own; drink now to 2020-25. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended for its quality. Tasted at ‘Taste Italy 2013’ Nov/13.
Added Nov06/13 – Score 92 pts. Italy $62.95 Vintages 951210
The 2010 Perez Cruz Quelen Petit Verdot Carmenere has intense aromas of green pepper, red currant, blackberry and black cherry. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with forward acidity, refined tannins and a long and silky finish. This is a sipper; drink now-2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended mainly for its quality as it is rather on the expensive side. Tasted at Wines of Chile 2013 tasting in October/13.
Added Oct09/13 – Score 92 pts. Chile $49.00 Vintages # 228437
listed is the 2006 vintage.
The 2001 Coto De Imaz Gran Reserva, composed of 100% Tempranillo and aged in French and American oak for 24 months, is a medium bodied, integrated to aged wine, with intense aromas of red berries, cherry, vanilla, coconut, toasted oak and faint leather. It has a nice structure with refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and an extra long finish, making it an ideal sipping wine (don’t waste it with food, cherish it). It is ready to drink now and will last for at least another 5+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE, 92+ points – this is the best traditional Rioja that LCBO has released in at least a year. Tasted June, July and Aug/12 – Re-released on August 17th 2013, first released May26th, 2012. Just to add to the above review: DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS ONE with this second release chance!!
Added Aug15/13 – Score 92+ pts. Spain $29.95 Vintages# 976811
The 2008 Rutherglen Petit Sirah, aged in French oak for 12 months, is medium bodied and with intense aromas of fruity to integrated raspberry, red currant, bilberry and pine/oak. It has a good balance, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long finish. Drink now or age till 2020 standing up (screw cap). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts and a recommended buy – this wine is great for sipping. Tasted July/12.
Added July20/13 – Score 90 pts. Australia $21.95 Vintages # 179127
The 2005 Beni Di Batasiolo Riserva Barolo has intense aromas of dried red currant and dried pomegranate, thyme and anise on the nose and dried red currant and pomegranate on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with good acidity, slight alcohol heat, refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long and silky finish. Drink with light, salty foods, but better yet – sip by itself; drink now – 2018. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted August/13.
Added Aug19/13 – Score 90 pts. Italy $34.95 Vintages # 330704
The 2007 Vollenweider Krover Steffensberg Riesling Spatlese has intense aromas of green and yellow apples + citrus. it is a medium bodied, sweeter, fruity wine, with palate cleansing acidity and a medium, clean finish. Drink with food or sip on its own; drink now – 2017. My impression, BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended based on quality. Tasted during Riesling & Co. World Tour May/13.
Added June 18/13 – Score 90 pts. Germany $28.95 Vintages# 324327
The 2011 Ventisquero Grey Single Block Carmenère, aged in French Oak for 18 months, has intense aromas of toasted oak, blackberry, black cherry, vanilla and light eucalyptus. It is a full bodied, dry, fruity to integrated wine; balanced with good acidity, forward tannins (decant for 30 min), chalky mouthfeel and a long finish. Drink with food or enjoy on its own; drink now – 2018+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for its quality and value; currently LCBO sells the 2010 vintage. Tasted at Wines of Chile 2013 tasting in October/13.
Added Oct09/13 – Score 91 pts. Chile $19.95 Vintages # 325415
The 2011 Quails’ Gate Chardonnay is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of buttery oak, bacon, nutmeg and yellow pear. It has a checked acidity and a long, oak-heavy finish. This wine is a sipper, but if served with salty/acidic foods, it will fare well; drink now or cellar for 2-5 years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – recommended buy for lovers of oaked Chardonnays. Tasted Jan/13.
Added Jan17/13 – Score 90 pts. CanadianFlag $20.95 Vintages# 377770
The 1999 Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese has intense notes of yellow apple and lifted notes of estery petrol; also light, buttery champione notes emerge on the finish of excellent length. It has a medium, integrated body and a good balance between residual sugar (medium sweetness), acidity and fruit. Enjoy on its own for the next 3-5 years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – 14 year old Riesling for $20 translates into BUY BUY BUY before it’s sold out! Tasted Feb/13.
Added March2/13 – Score 90 pts. Germany $19.95 Vintages# 313502
The Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro, a fortified Moscatel, has intense aromas of honey, apricots, floral/linden notes, tea – Earl Gray perfume, citrus – all on the nose, and orange, honey and soapy minerality on the palate. It is a syrupy/thick bodied, sweet/fortified, integrated wine, with somewhat lacking acidity and a medium to long and sticky finish. Sip this one glass at a time; drink now or hold for 5-10 years and watch it evolve. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89/93+ pts – mouth feel of 89 pt wine (could be less syrupy and have higher acidity) whereas the nose is 93+ and unlike anything I have tried before – this wine is nicely priced and a must try – definitely recommended. NOTE: Though made to be consistent, this is a fortified wine that is not marked by date and hence may vary from release to release, none-the-less TRY, TRY, TRY. Tasted May/13.
Added June 19/13 – Score 89/93+ pts. Spain $16.95 Vintages# 642173
The 2010 Allegrini Corte Giara Ripasso has an intense bouquet composed of blackberry, figs and dark chocolate. It is full bodied, fruity, has balanced acidity and tannins and a medium to long, silky finish. Drink as a sipper or with protein rich foods; drink now and for the next 5+ years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended buy based on price and quality. Tasted April/13 at WineAlign Cru tasting.
Added April 20/13 – Score 89 pts. Italy $16.95 LCBO# 266692
The 2009 Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell, aged in oak for 6 months, is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of fresh dates, cranberry and oak. It has a nice food friendly acidity, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium to long finish. It is good to drink now or can be cellared for the next 5 years – it has an evolution potential of +1 pt; as aforementioned, this is a food friendly wine. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – used to cost $15, for this price buy-by-a-case before they are all gone. Tasted Dec/12.
Added Dec 05/12 – Score 89 pts. Spain $11.80 LCBO# 300673
The 2007 Château Tour Boisée À Marie Claude Minervois, composed of equal amounts of Grenache, Carignan noir and Syrah, has deep aromas of black cherry, raspberry, smoke and cedar on the nose and pomegranate, black cherry, and subtle coconut and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, integrated wine with good, forward acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long, smooth finish. It is food friendly or can be sipped by itself; drink now to 2018/20. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended buy for its quality and price. Tasted April/13 at WineAlign Cru tasting.
Added April 20/13 – Score 90-91 pts. France $21.95 Vintages# 309179
The 2010 Secco Bertani Valpolicella Valpantena Ripasso has subdued berry aromas on the nose and blackberry, blueberry and clove on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with forward acidity, subtle tannins (decanting for 30 min should increase the intensity of aromas) and a medium to long and smooth finish. Drink with food or sip by itself; drink now and for the next 5 years. My impression: NICE, 88-89 pts – recommended based on its quality. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score 88 pts. Italy $16.00 LCBO# 12443
2011 Buena Vista Pinot Noir has tempting aromas of raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate and vanilla on the nose and smoke and toasted oak on the finish. It has a medium, fruity body, is balanced with good acidity and refined tannins, and has a long finish. It is food friendly; drink now – 2018. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended buy. Tasted Apr/13.
Added April 20/13 – Score 89 pts. California $24.95 LCBO# 304105
The 2011 Wente Cabernet Sauvignon Southern Hills, aged in American, French and Eastern European Oaks for 14 months, has intense aromas of blackberry, black cherry, black currant and vanilla on the nose and figs, oak and vanilla on the palate. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity to integrated wine, with checked acidity, refined tannins and a long and smooth finish. It is food friendly or enjoy it as a sipper; drink now to 2020+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended buy based on quality to price ratio. Tasted at Churchill Cellars Portfolio tasting May/13.
Added May13/13 – Score 89-90 pts. California $16.95 LCBO# 301507
The 2006 Joffré E Hijas Premium Merlot has intense aromas of black currant, prune, oak and vanilla. It is a full bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with good acidity balanced with refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and has a long, silky finish. Though food friendly with steak or lamb, enjoy this wine by itself; drink now – 2020+, though cellaring will still improve it (evolution potential of +2 pts). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended for the cellar, especially now when it is discounted; RECOMMENDED based on quality and value. INTERESTINGLY: The LCBO’s release date is correct (Nov 3/11) and though sold out, this vintage started appearing again, first at two central stores Queen’s Quay and Summerhill (the product consultant couldn’t find where it came from) and now they are discounted from $24.95 to $20.80 and are flourishing. Tasted April/13.
Added Sept12/13 – Score 91 pts. Argentina $20.80 was $24.95 Vintages # 14084
The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Series Chardonnay is a medium bodied wine with appealing notes of pear, subtle mint and green pepper, oak and faint vanilla (on the finish). It is well balanced; it needs to be opened for 30 min+ after which it has a perfectly oaky finish of medium to long length. This wine would go great with any crustaceans of your choice as well as being sipped by itself. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 88-89 pts – would highly recommend this wine and for $10.95 is a steal. Tasted Oct/12.
Added Oct14/12. Score 89 pts. Ontario $10.95 LCBO #526251
The 2011 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing aromas of green apple, citrus and subtle hawthorn. It has a nice acidity, is sweeter and has a medium finish. It is food friendly and will also work as a sipper as the body has more intensity than nose. My impression: very NICE, 89 pts – would highly recommend this wine, especially at $11.45. Tasted Oct/12.
Added Oct14/12. Score 89 pts. Ontario $11.45 LCBO #526277
The 2010 Zinfatuation Zinfandel has intense aromas of sweet strawberry, raspberry and rhubarb. It is an off-dry, medium to full bodied, fruity wine; has a good acidity, subtle to refined tannins and a medium finish. It is food friendly with most dishes; drink now and for the next 3-5 years. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – good example of the Zinfandel variety with restrained sugar level; recommended for its quality to off-dry, red wine lovers. Tasted April/13 at WineAlign Cru tasting.
Added April 20/13 – Score 88 pts. California $16.95 LCBO# 274746
The 2012 Chilensis Reserva Carmenère has intense aromas of eucalyptus and black berry. It is a medium to full bodied, extra-dry, fruity wine, with checked acidity, refined tannins and a medium finish. Drink with food or enjoy on its own; drink now-2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – recommended for its quality; Chilensis has long been on my list of high quality value wines. Tasted at Wines of Chile 2013 tasting in October/13.
Added Oct09/13 – Score 88 pts. Chile $13.95 LCBO # 657981
The 2009 Rosewood Estates Pinot Noir Reserve, aged in seasoned French Oak barrels for 10 months, is a medium bodied, integrated wine, with bold aromas of raspberry, pomegranate, dark chocolate, oak, clove and smoked meat notes. It has refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and a medium finish. Enjoy this wine by itself; drink now or for the next 5+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended buy though at $40. Tasted Oct/12.
Added Jan25/13 Score 91 pts. Ontario $39.95 Vintages# 318345
The 2011 Nautilus Chardonnay, barrel fermented and aged for 11 months, has intense aromas of ground coffee, pear and quince. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine; it is balanced with crisp acidity, soft tannins and a long, vanilla/oak finish. Sip this wine; drink now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended based on quality and value. Tasted at International Cool Climate Chardonnay – i4C event July/13.
Added July22/13 – Score 91 pts. New Zealand $24.95 Vintages# 657569
The 2011 Open Riesling Gewürztraminer is a medium bodied wine, with pleasant aromas of soft green apple and faint leechie on the nose and more of a green apple on the palate. It has a refreshing acidity, soft tannins and a medium to long, slightly sweet finish. Enjoy with light food or by itself on the beach. Excellent value for $12 at a rating of 88 pts. Tasted July/12.
Score 88 pts. Ontario $11.95 LCBO availability
The 2006 Umberto Fiore Barbaresco that really is for $17 (unbelievable), is light bodied wine with nice aromas of integrated violets, cedar, liquorice on the nose and raspberry, red currant, coconut and vanilla on the palate. It is bit off balance with slightly higher acidity, with tannins that are refined to tannic (decant for 15 to 30 min) and finish that is long and smooth, but slightly alcoholic. Drink now or cellar for 5 or so years, I wouldn’t expect it to get much better. My impression: NICE, 88.5 pts and a recommended buy. A side note, it is crafted to be quite food friendly – especially beef. Tasted Oct/11.
Score 89 pts. Italy $16.30 LCBO availability
The 2010 Cono Sur Syrah Reserva is a medium to full bodied, fruity wine, with appealing strawberry notes. It has refined, dusty tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium finish. It will get better in the next couple of years or so and should be able to cellar for 5-10 years. My impression: NICE, 87.5 pts – good value from the general section and hence a recommended buy. Tasted Feb/12.
Score 88 pts. Chile $13.95 LCBO availability
The 2008 Viña Zaco Tempranillo, aged in oak, is a pleasant entry level Rioja. It is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing aromas of oak, raspberry, cherry and coconut and vanilla on the finish. It has a good structure, refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a medium to long finish. It has a great cellaring potential, as it will increase its complexity in time, drink now to 2018. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – good value at $14 and a recommended buy. Try before $1 sale ends. Tasted Apr/12.
Score 89 pts. Spain $13.95 LCBO availability
The 2004 Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva is composed of 80% Tempranillo and 20% combination of Mazuelo and Graciano and aged in French and American oak for 24 months before bottling. It has intense aromas of thyme, leather, truffle, clove, toasted oak, vanilla and coconut on the nose and dried cherry and black cherry together with vanilla and coconut on the palate. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long and silky finish. Though can be enjoyed with food, drink on its own especially towards the end of the evening; drink now – 2020 (>5 cm cork). My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92-93 pts – HIGHLY recommended on both, quality and value – if that wasn’t enough, this wine scored # 27 in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2011. Tasted August/13.
Added Aug20/13 – Score 92-93 pts. Spain $24.95 Vintages # 329102
The 2009 Polkura Syrah is a medium to full bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of smoke, blackberry, black cherry, strawberry, pepper and green pepper. It is on the acidic side, has refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and has a long and smooth finish. Cellar it for several years as it has an evolution potential of at least 2 pts, drink 2015-2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended buy. Tasted Jan/13.
Added Jan26/13 – Score 91 pts. Chile $19.40 was $23.95 Vintages# 283978
The 2010 Open Cab2-Merlot is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of raspberry, cedar, black pepper, coconut and vanilla. It is off dry, has refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and has a long finish. This is an easy drinking wine and can be served with food or by itself. It has the potential to cellar for the next couple of years. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – for $11.95 is a great buy and hence recommended as a party wine. Tasted Oct/12.
Added Oct14/12. Score 88 pts. Ontario $10.95 LCBO #134957
The 2006 Marqués De Murrieta Finca Ygay Reserva has intense aromas of dried cherry/black cherry, dark chocolate, oak, leather and faint vanilla. It is a medium to full-bodied, extra-dry, integrated to aged wine, with good acidity, refined tannins and a smooth and silky finish of long length. Drink as a sipper; now – 2020. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended due to both quality and value. Tasted July/13.
Added July 20/13 – Score 92 pts. Spain $24.95 Vintages# 209148
The 2007 Sebastiani Merlot has intense aromas of black currant, figs, smoked meat, toasted oak and vanilla. It is medium bodied, integrated, with balanced acidity and grippy tannins (decant for 30 min) and with a medium to long, smooth finish. It is a sipper and will go well with food; drink now – 2018. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended based on both value and quality. Tasted March/13.
Added Apr02/13 – Score 90-91 pts. California $17.00 Vintages # 219162
The 2009 Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, a single varietal aged in French Oak for 12 months, has intense aromas of cranberry, dates, vanilla and cedar. It is a medium bodied, extra-dry, integrated wine, with forward acidity, refined tannins and a long finish. Drink with food; drink now – 2017. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – recommended for its value. Tasted August/13.
Added Aug19/13 – Score 90 pts. Chile $14.75 was $19.95
Vintages # 312769
The 2011 Ricossa Antica Casa Moscato D’asti has intense aromas of apricots, tangerine, honey as well as some floral notes that linger on the finish of good length. It is fruity, has medium body, fine bubbles and good acidity that offsets its sweetness. A definite sipper, but excellent with food – especially spicy Asian foods (low alcohol 5.5% and the acidity and effervescence clean the palate); drink now to 2016. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended buy. Tasted Feb/13.
Added March2/13 – Score 89 pts. Italy $15.95 Vintages# 72272
The 2009 Mission Hill Quatrain, composed of 35% Merlot, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc that was aged for 15 months in French Oak, is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of strawberry/raspberry, black cherry, cedar, thyme, coconut and vanilla. It has a good structure, is fruit forward, has refined tannins (decant for 30-60 min) and a long finish. This wine is meant to be enjoyed by itself; though ready to drink now, it will benefit from cellaring as it has an evolution potential – drink 2014/15-2020+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended buy. Tasted Jan/13.
Added Jan17/13 – Score 92 pts. BC $44.95 Vintages# 218636
The 2010 Bonterra Pinot Noir has attractive aromas of black cherry and toasted oak on the nose, and red currant and dates on the palate. It is a light to medium bodied, on the acidic side, fruity wine; with refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a medium finish. It is food friendly; drink now to 2017. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – recommended based on both, value and quality. Tasted March/13.
Added Apr02/13 – Score 89 pts. California $19.95 Vintages # 317685
The 2010 Finca El Origen Chardonnay Reserva, 25% of which was oak aged for 21 days, is medium bodied with appealing notes of green apple, lees and very faint oak. It has a distinct minerality, nice acidity, subtle tannins and a medium, slightly sweeter finish. Drink now and for the next 2-4 years. Drink-how: serve with food or as a standalone sipper. My impression: NICE, 89 pts – the price tag of $10.95 makes it an excellent buy – highly recommended. Tasted Aug/12.
Score 89 pts. Argentina $10.95 LCBO availability
The 2010 Rosewood Estates Merlot, aged in French Oak for 13 months, is a medium bodied, fruity wine, with intense aromas of raspberry jam, prune, oak, coconut and vanilla. It has refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long, sweet-vanillin finish. This wine can be enjoyed as a standalone sipper and will compliment food as well; drink now or cellar for 5+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – well priced for $22.00 and hence a recommended buy. Tasted Oct/12.
Added Feb14/13 – Score 90 pts. Ontario $22.00 Vintages# 211896
The 2008 Cantine De Falco Salore Salice Salentino Rosso is composed of 80% Negroamaro and 20% Malvasia Nera and was aged 8 months in oak barrels. It is a light to medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of raspberry, red currant, cedar, liquorice and oak. It has a nice structure with good acidity, refined/yet forward tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long finish. Drink now or cellar for the next 10 years and as it evolves it should gain in complexity, earning one or two more points. This wine is food friendly with Italian or other non spicy foods, or can be simply enjoyed by itself if you cherish good tannic structure. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 89-90 pts – recommended buy. Aug/12 and again Sept/12.
Score 89-90 pts. Italy $13.90 was $16.95 Vintages# 277475
The 2009 Masi Serego Alighieri Possessioni Rosso, a blend of Corvina and Sangiovese varieties aged in oak, is medium bodied, FRUITY to integrated, with intense aromas of black berries, prune, dark chocolate and some greenage coming from the Corvina grape. Tannins are subtle (decant for 30 min) and the finish is medium to long. This wine will benefit from aging 2013-2018, but if what is desired is fruit, then drink now. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – a nice example of Corvina grape for a good price, hence a recommended buy. Tasted Nov/11.
Score 89 pts. Italy $14.95 LCBO availability
The 2007 Tedeschi Amarone Della Valpolicella is composed of 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 10% of combined Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara, Dindarella; picked from 20+ year old vines and aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 2-3 years before being bottled. It is a full bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of black currant, blackberry, mushrooms and faint oak and vanilla at opening, while longer opening reveals notes of red currant, cranberry and slight greenness. It has an intense fruit, good structure with refined tannins (decant for 30+ min) and checked acidity; the finish is long and silky. Very food friendly, but I recommend sipping by itself for full appreciation; tuck few bottles away and drink them now-2020 as this wine has evolution potential. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91+ pts – recommended buy well worth the price, nice treat from the LCBO Essentials. Tasted Jan/13.
Added Jan26/13 – Score 91+ pts. Italy $40.95 Vintages# 433417
The 2009 Montes Classic Series Cabernet Sauvignon is medium bodied wine, with FRUITY to integrated notes of red currant, blackberry and cedar. It has a nice structure with balanced acidity, refined tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a long and smooth finish. Drink now and for the next 5 years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – great buy for $13 and a recommended buy. Tasted Oct/11.
Score 89 pts. Chile $12.95 LCBO availability
The 2011 Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva is clear, clean and crisp, with refreshing acidity and nice aromas of lychee, citrus and subtle apricot. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – a recommended buy for $12. Tasted Sept/11.
Score 88 pts. Chile $11.95 LCBO availability
The Bodegas Balbás Ardal Crianza 2005 was now released for the 3rd time (June26/10, June09/12 and now Feb16/13), I purchased it back in 2010 and kept a case in my cellar. I’ve been watching its evolution and would say that it is drying up and currently fairs 89-90 pts – none the less, still a recommended buy. Tasted July/10 to Jan/13.
Here are my previous ratings:
.
I organized a Spanish wine tasting and since most of the wines were unknown to me, I needed one that I knew I could count on – and the one being Ardal Crianza 2005. I have rated it previously, so I will only mention that this time, the dark berries were blackberry and blueberry, my impression was BEAUTIFUL to DIVINE and it received one more point, totaling 92. Also, I decided to purchase several bottles and add it to my collection. Tasted in Sept/10 during Spanish wine tasting. This was the second most liked wine out of the lineup.
.
This medium bodied 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon blend has intense aromas of integrated to aged dark berries, cedar, leather, vanilla and coconut. The tannins are refined to tannic (decant for at least 30 min) and the finish is long and silky. It can still be kept for the next two or so years, but is best to drink now. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – a recommended buy. Tasted July/10.
Added Feb14/13 – Score 89-90 pts. Spain $16.95 Vintages#167601
The 2008 Planets De Prior Pons is composed of 40% Cariñena, 40% Garnacha, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Syrah and was aged for 12 months in French and American oak. It is a medium bodied, integrated wine with intense aromas of black currant, blackberry, figs, prune, dark chocolate, leather, oak and vanilla. It has a good fruit/tannin/acidity balance, grippy tannins (decant for 1 hour) and a long, smooth and silky finish. Food friendly, but sipper in my view; drink now-2023+. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended buy/amazing value/grab by the case. Tasted Jan/13.
Added Jan26/13 Score 92 pts. Spain $22.95 Vintages# 314559
The 2006 Terre Nere Brunello Di Montalcino is a medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of red currant, cherry, toasted oak and leather. The structure is a little off balance, tannins are refined (decant for 1 hr) and the finish is long and slightly alcoholic. It is still young, so tuck away for at least 2-3 years to allow the structure to harmonize, drink 2015-2020+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – an excellent price for Brunello’s, especially ones that are not much better – recommended for the cellar. Tasted Apr/12.
Added Feb14/13 – Score 90 pts. Italy $34.95 Vintages# 208462
The 2006 Vitalonga Terra Di Confine is a medium bodied wine with nice aromas of integrated black cherry, pine, oak and vanilla. It is tannic (decant for longer than 1 hour) and with a nice long finish. For tannin lovers – drink now, other people should cellar it for 2-3 years at least and it will age nicely for 10+ years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – a recommended buy. Tasted Aug/11.
Score 90 pts. Italy $22.95 Vintages# 143685
The 2009 Sequillo Cellars Red is composed of Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault of unspecified proportions and was aged in French oak casks for a total of 24 months before bottling. It is a light bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of dark berries, rosehip, sweet cinnamon and faint liquorice. It lacks balance as it is on the acidic side and is somewhat alcoholic, without being supported by fruit. It has subtle to refined tannins (decant for 1+ hours) and has earthy/mineral finish of medium length. Drink now and for the next 2 years, as this wine was not meant to be aged (light body; composite, short cork). Though food friendly, the nice complexity would be completely masked, so I suggest to drink it as a sipper. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – though bit costly at $30, give this one a try regardless – for lovers of light bodied wines. Aug/12.
Score 90-91 pts. South Africa. $23.90 (was $29.95) Vintages# 277996
The 2005 Velletri Terre Dei Volsci Riserva is a medium bodied, sweet, aged wine, with appealing aromas of strawberry, raspberry and leather. Tannins are refined to tannic (decant for 30 min) and the finish is medium. Drink this food friendly wine now and for the next couple of years. My impression: NICE, 88 pts. Aug/12. The 2004 Velletri Terre Dei Volsci Riserva, available in the general section, is medium to full bodied, sweet wine that has appealing notes of prune, bilberry, black cherry, caramel, oak and cut hay. It’s still pretty fruit forward, yet on the integrated side, has refined tannins and a medium finish. It can easily age for another 5 years and will most likely evolve nicely. My impression: NICE. Tasted Feb/10 and again in Nov/10 during Italian wine tasting where it was generally well received.
Score 88 pts. Italy $12.95 LCBO availability
The 2009 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon from the general section is a medium to full bodied, fruity/over-oaked/over-extracted wine, with intense aromas of cherry/black cherry, oak, coconut and vanilla. It has refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a long finish. Can be enjoyed now, but should get better with age: from 2015-2019. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts – will have a wide appeal and is a great buy for $12 ($2 off). Tasted Apr/12.
Score 89 pts. USA $13.95 LCBO availability
The 2008 Pasqua Villa Borghetti Passimento Rosso, which won a Bronze Medal in Wine Decanter 2010 competition, is composed of Corvina, Croatina and Merlot. It is a light to medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing notes of red currant, pomegranate and some oak. It has refined tannins (decant for 30 min), has acidity that is still in check, yet borderline with being too acidic and a medium to long finish. Can be drunk now, but will be better 2014-2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – food friendly and excellent value for $12 – recommended buy. Tasted Mar/12.
Score 88 pts. Italy $11.95 LCBO availability
The 2004 Don Jacobo Reserva, composed of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha that was aged in oak for 14 months, has intense aromas of black currant, leather, mushroom, oak and vanilla. It is a medium bodied, integrated to aged wine; is bit acidic, has refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long finish. Food friendly, but better to sip this one; thought the fruit is drying out it should still be good until 2016-18. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – recommended wine for aged wine lovers, excellent price!!!!!! Tasted Jan/13.
Added March 14/13 – Score 90-91 pts. Spain $17.95 Vintages# 313270
The 2009 Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, in ratios 60%:40% respectively, was aged in American and French Oaks for 8 months. It is medium bodied, fruity to integrated, with intense aromas of black currant, blackberries, oak, faint leather, coconut and vanilla. It has a solid structure, with good acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min), and a long finish. Drink now or cellar for the next 10 years – it has an aging potential of 1-2 pts (the Shiraz contribution will evolve extremely well); it is food friendly (protein rich foods), but will be better enjoyed as a sipper. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – buy by the case. Tasted Dec/12.
This is a consistently good wines – here are my previous reviews:
.
Review for the 2008 vintage – I am a real fan of the 2007 Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon (which I rated at 91 pts). Even though this wine (2008 vintage) is not as complex, it still offers a good value. It is medium bodied with FRUITY to integrated aromas of black currant, blackberry, leather and coconut. The tannins are refined to tannic (decant for 30 min) and the finish is medium and smooth and silky. It definitely has the potential to evolve in the cellar (2014/15?) and am keeping an eye on the stocks, so that I can reassess if I should stock up on it. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 89 pts. Tasted May/10.
.
Review for the 2007 vintage – This full bodied wine is nicely aromatic with sweet notes of blackberry, black cherry, rose, oak and smoke. It is smooth, fruit is integrated and the tannins are refined (needs 30 min to 1 hr to open). It is ready to drink now and surely will benefit from further aging for up to 10 years. The finish is medium and my impression is: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts. I am glad I was able to get my hands on a case. Tasted few times, reviewed Dec/09.
Dec08/12 Release – Score 90 pts. Argentina $15.95 Vintages# 17111
The 2008 K W V Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon is medium bodied, nicely aromatic wine with integrated notes of cherry, blackberry, roasted chocolate and cedar/oak. It has a nice structure, with refined tannins (decant for 30 min), refreshing acidity and a long, mineral finish. Drink now till 2016 as KWV wines age well in short term. My impression: NICE, 89 pts and a recommended buy. I am a fan of KWV wines – especially the Merlots, so I decided jump on the reviewing wagon and add to the 10 already existing user reviews whom I just echo. LCBO’s decision to add this wine to the essential collection and for $15 was the right one. Tasted Oct/11.
Score 89 pts. South Africa $14.95 Essentials# 328567
The 2009 Sandhill Cabernet/Merlot is a medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of black cherry, blackberry, sweet vanilla, cedar and very faint green note. Acidity is on the acidic side, tannins are refined (decant for 1+ hours) and the finish is long. Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years. This wine can be enjoyed with food or sipped by itself. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – great wine from Canadian producer, hence a recommended buy. Tasted Aug/12.
Score 90-91 pts. Canada-BC $20.05 LCBO availability
The 2006 La Gerla Brunello Di Montalcino is a medium bodied, integrated to aged wine, with intense aromas of cherry, rosehip, liquorice, clove, oak and vanilla – a front to back complexity. It has refined tannins (decant for 1+ hour) and a long, chalky finish. This one is a sipper, drink now or cellar for the next 10+ years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended buy. Tasted Nov/12.
Added Jan9/13 – Score 91 pts. Italy $ 47.95 Vintages# 642561
The 2008 Rosewood Estates Mead Royale, aged for 6 months in French Oak, is medium bodied with intense notes of honey and pineapple. It has a nice acidity, is not too sweet and has a clean finish of medium length. It is food friendly as well as a sipper and can be served as an aperitif or a desert drink. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90+ pts – though not wine, highly recommended aperitif/desert drink. Tasted Oct/12. Awards: Bronze Medals at the 2012 Canadian Wine Awards and at the 2012 Intervin Wine Awards.
Added Oct30/12. Score 90 pts. Ontario $14.95/500ml Vintages# 296178
The 2009 Carla Chiaro Reserve Malbec is a Silver Medal winner at the 2011 Argentina Wine Show. It is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of cherry, almond, green underbrush, honey, oak, coconut and vanilla. It is on the acidic side, has chalky tannins that are refined to tannic (decant for 15-30 min) and a medium, silky finish. This food friendly wine can be drunk now or cellared for 5-10 years, with the potential to improve. My impression: NICE, 90 pts – recommended buy with cellaring potential, especially at this price. Aug/12.
Score 90 pts. Argentina $14.95 LCBO availability
The 2008 Pasqua Villa Borghetti Passimento Rosso, which won a Bronze Medal in Wine Decanter 2010 competition, is composed of Corvina, Croatina and Merlot. It is a light to medium bodied, fruity wine, with appealing notes of red currant, pomegranate and some oak. It has refined tannins (decant for 30 min), has acidity that is still in check, yet borderline with being too acidic and a medium to long finish. Can be drunk now, but will be better 2014-2016. My impression: NICE, 88 pts – food friendly and excellent value for $12 – recommended buy. Tasted Mar/12.
Score 88 pts. Italy $11.95 LCBO availability
The 2007 Beronia Reserva, composed of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo and aged in French and American oak for 18 months, is a medium to full bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of cherry, black currant, leather, cedar and abundant coconut and vanilla. It has refined tannins (decant for 15 to 30 min), nice acidity and a long finish. This wine is meant to be enjoyed by itself, but is also food friendly – especially with red meats; it is ready to drink now and as it has a cellaring potential of +1-2 pts, it can be cellared for another 5-8 years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – This traditional Rioja is on my recommendations list – buy by the case as similar wines sell for $5-10 more. Tasted Sept & Nov/12.
November 10/12 release – Score 90 pts. Spain $18.95 Vintages# 50203
The 2001 Señorío De P. Peciña Reserva 2001, was originally released by the LCBO on November 12th, 2011 and then again on November 24th 2012. It is composed of 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano and 2% Garnacha and was aged in oak barrels for 3 years and then in bottle for another 8 years. It is a medium bodied, aged wine, with intense aromas of dried red fruit, forest mushrooms, leather, oak and dried vanilla bean. It has a nice acidity, refined tannins (decant for 1-2 hours for the wine to display its bouquet) and a long to extra long finish. As the fruit is diminishing, I suggest savouring it by itself, but if need be, roasted beef will pair nicely; it is to be drunk now or held for few more years to 2015 with no added aging benefit. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended buy for that special night or to give as a present. Tasted Dec/12.
Nov24/12 Release – Score 92 pts. Spain $29.95 LCBO# 82156
The 2008 Vila Regia Reserva, composed of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz (otherwise known as Tempranillo) and Tinta Barroca, is light to medium bodied, FRUITY to integrated wine, with notes of cherry, faint coffee, coconut and cedar. It has a nice acidity, subtle to refined tannins (decant for 15 to 30 min) and a slightly chalky and short to medium finish. It is ready to drink now and can be cellared for the next 5 years as it will slightly improve with aging. My impression: quite NICE, 88 pts – great day to day wine for price that says just that – again Vila Regia has not failed to satisfy. Tasted Sept/11.
Score 88 pts. Portugal $12.95 LCBO availability
The 2007 Giacosa Basarin Vigna Gianmaté Barbaresco is a light to medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of cherry, pine, vanilla and liquorice. It is tannic (decant for 1+ hours) and has a long finish. Sip by itself or drink with salty yet non-dominant foods; drink now-2023. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – reasonably priced and a recommended buy. Tasted Jan/13.
NEW Added Jan19/13 – Score 91 pts. Italy $38.95 LCBO# 291401
The 2008 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – the 53rd Vintage, aged in French and American Oak for 17 months was originally released on May 26th 2012. It is medium bodied, fruity to integrated, with intense aromas of black currant, oak, coconut, vanilla and smoke on the nose and black currant and vanilla on the palate. It has a sharp acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a long overoaked finish. Ready to drink now or can be cellared standing up (screw cap) for another 5-10 years. Drink-how: it is quite overpowering for most foods, good as a sipper – especially at parties as it has a mass appeal. My impression: NICE, 90-91 pts – though overoaked, for this level of complexity it’s reasonably priced. Tasted Aug/12.
Dec08/12 Release – Score 90-91 pts. Australia $24.95 LCBO# 84996
The 2009 La Velona Rosso Di Montalcino is a medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense notes of pine, oak, liquorice and vanilla on the nose and raspberry, cherry and vanilla on the palate. It has tannins that are refined to tannic (decant for 30+ minutes) and a long and slightly sweet (though extra dry) finish. Drink now or cellar for another 5+ years. Drink-how: this wine goes well with food as well as a standalone sipper. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – a recommended buy – don’t miss out on this one. Tasted Aug/12.
Added Oct05/12.Score 90-91 pts. Italy $17.95 LCBO# 285429
The 2008 Oveja Negra The Lost Barrel is composed of 40% Syrah, 40% Carignan, 18% Carmenere and 2% Petit Verdot and aged in French oak for 12 months. It is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of blackberry, blueberry, bit of greenness, pine, oak and vanilla. It has a nice acidity, refined tannins (decant for 30 to 60 min) and a long finish. This sipper is good to drink now or can be aged for another 5+ years, with the potential to evolve into more complex wine. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90-91 pts – though $24.95 give this one a try. Aug/12.
Score 90 pts. Chile $24.95 LCBO availability
The 2009 Spice Route Shiraz, aged in French oak for 18 months, is a full bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of prune, strawberry, smoke, coconut and vanilla. It has a nice structure with refined tannins (decant for 15-30 min) and a long to extra long, chalky finish. Though ready to drink now, it should age gracefully for the next 10 years. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – I recommend giving this one a try just to gage how many to stock up on (scheduled to come out sometime in March/12). Tasted at “An Intimate Wine Tasting with Charles Back” Jan/12.
Score 91 pts. South Africa $24.95 LCBO availability
The 2001 Baron De Ley Gran Reserva came out originally on December 11th 2010 and then again on March 17th 2012 and now again on November 10th 2012. It won the Gold Medal winner at the 2010 International Wine & Spirit Competition (according to LCBO, but where?). It is composed of 90% Tempranillo and 10% other varieties and aged in French and American oak for 24 months. This aged wine is medium bodied, with intense aromas of red fruit – remnants of cherries and red currants, dominating leather, soft pine and fading vanilla. After 11 years, the structure is still solid yet soft; with nice, food friendly acidity, subtle to refined tannins and a long finish. Decant in a glass and watch it evolve. It was ready to drink some time ago and still has at least 5 years of life left, before even more of the complexity begins to diminish. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 91 pts – recommended buy. Tasted March/12.
November 10/12 release – Score 91 pts. Spain $29.95 LCBO# 642496
The 2008 La Sauvageonne Pica Broca, composed of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache was aged in oak for unspecified length. It is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of dried dates, dark chocolate, smoke and leather. The structure is a bit disconnected as it is slightly acidic, has chalky, refined tannins (decant for 30 min) and a medium to long finish. It is food friendly or can be sipped by itself; drink now – 2016+. My impression: NICE, 89-90 pts – recommended buy (if you like dates). Priced as a house wine, this wine is more than a nice substitute – ORIGINALLY RELEASED ON JUNE11/11 FOR $18.95, IS NOW ON CLEARANCE SALE FOR $12.90. BUY BUY BUY – I got 18 bottles. Tasted Oct/12.
Added Oct30/12. Score 89-90 pts. France $12.90 LCBO# 223669
The 2005 Corte Pavone Brunello Di Montalcino is an unfiltered, medium bodied, integrated wine. It has an appealing aromas of leather, smoky bacon, oak and cedar on the nose and raspberry and cherry on the palate. It has a nice structure, grippy tannins (decant for 1+ hours) and a long and smooth finish. Drink now or cellar for another decade. It is excellent with Italian cuisine – cured meats and risotto as well as it performs great as a standalone sipper. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92 pts – recommended buy. Aug/12.
Score 92 pts. Italy $41.45 LCBO availability
The 2006 Terre Nere Brunello Di Montalcino is a medium bodied, integrated wine, with intense aromas of red currant, cherry, toasted oak and leather. The structure is a little off balance, tannins are refined (decant for 1 hr) and the finish is long and slightly alcoholic. It is still young, so tuck away for at least 2-3 years to allow the structure to harmonize, drink 2015-2020+. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – an excellent price for Brunello’s, especially ones that are not much better – recommended for the cellar. Tasted Apr/12.
Score 90 pts. Italy $35.95 LCBO availability
The 2009 Mendel Malbec is a medium bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of toasted oak, dark chocolate and violets on the nose and black currant and vanilla on the palate. It has a good structure, tannins that are still quite firm (decant for 1+ hour), nice food friendly acidity and a long, mineral finish. Even though it’s enjoyable now, it will greatly benefit from being tucked away for at least 2 years, drink 2014/15-2020. My impression (after decanting): Very NICE, 91 pts – an excellent example showing the essence of Malbec as a single varietal. Buy 4 bottles, tuck them away for 3 years and compare them to others twice the price. Tasted Apr/12.
Score 91 pts. Argentina $24.95 LCBO availability
The 2008 Kir Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro is a light bodied, integrated wine, with nice aromas of red currant, cherry, pine and liquorice. The tannins are refined to tannic (really needs to be decanted for 1 hour) and the silky finish is of medium length. Drink now or cellar for 5+ years. My impression: NICE to BEAUTIFUL, 90 pts – a recommended buy for lovers of light bodied wines. Tasted Feb/12.
Score 90 pts. Greece $16.40 LCBO availability
The 2008 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz is a medium to full bodied, fruity to integrated wine, with intense aromas of overripe blackberry, blueberry, subtle black currant, caramel, pine, vanilla and coconut. It has a nice structure with refined tannins (decant for 15 min) and a long and smooth finish. Put this one away for >3 years to mature and as this wine has a great potential to cellar, drink 2015-2025. My impression: BEAUTIFUL, 92+ pts – a recommended buy as a gift or for people with deep pockets. Tasted June/12.
Score 92.5 pts. Australia $37.95 LCBO availability

Here, enter comments you wish to be seen only on this page