I am not an expert, just a discerning wine lover or amateur de vin (as the French say), but everyone has a different palate, likes and dislikes so it must be understood that any of my recommendations are personal. I just hope that you find them useful or at the very least - interesting. I also hope you enjoy my photos. It is more fun sharing then keeping them backed up on a hard drive.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bubbles on the brain...

Perhaps it is the fast approaching New Years Eve, or tonight's #winechat on Twitter, or the long bubbly-soak I took post-gym, but I cannot seem to stray from the subject of sparkling wine, so I gave in and popped the cork on a Cremant de Bourgogne and I'll tell you about a few other values to help you celebrate this festive season.



Paul Delane - Cremant De Bourgogne - Burgundy, France - $17.60
Honeydew melon, lime blossom, brioche and apple nose. Pleasing, fresh lemon-lime citrus palate.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=214981

Tawse Winery - Spark Rose - Laundry Vineyard - 2009 - Niagara, Ontario - $39.95
Very delicate, persistent bubbles. Nose of green apple and citrus. Long, elegant finish.
tp://www.tawsewinery.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=89


Previously reviewed sparklers to help make your selection easier:

Charles Baur Cremant D'Alsace , Alsace, France - $ 18.95 Green apple and slight biscuit nose translates on palate. Creamy mouthfeel with lovely lemon finish.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=185678
http://www.vinscharlesbaur.fr/gb/boutique/cremant-alsace/cremant-alsace-brut-medaille-or-au-concours-effervescents-du-monde-en-2010-750ml.html


Delmas Cuvee - Tradition Brut - Blanquette de Limoux, France - $ 18.95
Nose of green apple and brioche with a creamy palate of apple with a lime finish. Elegant.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=179978
http://www.blanquette-delmas-bio.com/la-gamme-delmas


Roederer Estate - Brut - Sparkling, Anderson Valley, CA $28.95

Mineral, biscuit, apple and lemon aromas. Refreshingly crisp citrus finish. Incredible value.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=294181
http://www.roedererestate.com/TechSheet.php?Wine=113


Henry of Pelham - Cuvee Catharine Rose Brut - Niagara, Ontario - $29.95
This is a Fav and a staple for me - crisp wine with biscuity, floral and gentle cherry notes on the nose.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=4051
http://www.henryofpelham.com/wines.php?sub_id=23


The Grange of Prince Edward - Sparkling Brut 2007 - PEC, Ontario - $29.75Fresh notes of lemon and grapefruit with tinge of biscuit. tangy, long finish.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=183228
http://grangeofprinceedward.com/grange-wines/


Fielding Estate- Sparkling Riesling, Niagara, Ontario - $28.15
A nice twist to use Riesling grapes, fresh apples and lemon freshness - beautifully balanced and a great value.
http://www.fieldingwines.com/page/whites

13th Street Winery- Premier Cuvee Brut- Niagara, Ontario - $29.95
Nose of mineral, lemon zest and orchard fruit with lengthy finish.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=142679

Featherstone - Joy - Blanc de Blancs - Niagara, ON - $34.95
The name is right, what a Joy! Citrus and green apple notes. Delicate mousse and lovely minerality on the palate. Long finish. Very limited production.
http://www.featherstonewinery.ca/wines.html

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Time to start thinking Turkey Wines...

...or in my case Tofurky...regardless, the holidays are fast approaching and I have three beautiful wine suggestions to go with your Christmas meal.

Featherstone Winery - Canadian Oak - Chardonnay - 2009, Niagara, ON - $21.95
I love this wine - it is special because it is fermented with wild yeast & in local oak barrels. It has a rich mouth feel, slight spice & caramel with long citrus fruit finish. Well balanced & complex.

St. Urbans-Hof - Riesling Kabinett - 2009 - Mosel, Germany- $21.95
Such a beautiful wine. Enticing aromatic nose.Complex and rich with but very bright fruit. Long, clean finish!

Akarua - Bannockburn - Pinot Noir - 2009- Central Otago, NZ - $36.95
Delicate red cherry, earth & a touch of spice on the nose. Red fruit palate with wonderful acidity. Very elegant wine.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Something that Sparkles for the Holidays!

Challenged by "Blogger's Block" after a month away studying, I wondered how to dip my toe back in. Then it hit me, something as light and sparkly as Christmas twinkle lights. Bubbly! Best of all, great value for money bubbly, and in the big scheme of celebrational, traditional method, sparklers - hardly much money at all.

Roederer Estate - Brut - Sparkling, Anderson Valley, CA $28.95
Mineral, biscuit, apple and lemon aromas. Refreshingly crisp citrus finish. Incredible value.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=294181
http://www.roedererestate.com/TechSheet.php?Wine=113



Featherstone - Joy - Blanc de Blancs - Niagara, ON $34.95
The name is right, what a Joy! Citrus and green apple notes. Delicate mousse and lovely minerality on the palate. Long finish. Very limited production.

http://www.featherstonewinery.ca/wines.html

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hidden Gem - Chateau des Karantes - La Clape

Chateau des Karantes (AOP Languedoc, La Clape) is tucked away in park setting, very close to the sea and not far from Narbonne. The topography is interesting as it is set along a rugged escarpment. They have gites to rent if anyone wants to stay in the vineyard. Stunning views of the vineyards and the sea. Equally lovely wines.

Below are my suggestions of for Karantes QPR wines. Watch for them across the US (as they have a great agent) and at SAQ, none have been purchased by the LCBO yet - more's the pity.

Bergerie Rosé - Mouvedre, Grenache, Syrah 7.80 E
This Rosé is a beaut! Red currant, citrus, herbal and slightly savoury.
http://www.karantes.com/nos_vins/bergerie_rose.html

2010 Chateau des Karantes Blanc - Blend of Bourboulenc, Grenanche Blanc, Roussanne, Vermentino -13E
Very fresh, white peach with delicate sage.
http://www.karantes.com/nos_vins/chateau_des_karantes_blanc.html

2005 Chateau des Karantes Rouge - Syrah Grenache, Mourvedre - 15E
Ripe black fruit. Dusty garrigue to add savouriness. Lovely!

2009 Chateau des Karantes Rouge - Syrah Grenache, Mourvedre - 15E
Cherries, black fruit, pepper - tannins youthful but will age beautifully.
http://www.karantes.com/nos_vins/chateau_des_karantes_rouge_2009.html

2008 at SAQ (Quebec)


Vin de Liqueur - Granache Noir - 17.00 E
Beautiful sweet wine with excellent acid balance to give a long finish. Aromas of cocoa, cassis and prune. http://www.karantes.com/nos_vins/vin_de_liqueur.html


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Yes, you can get a decent bottle of wine for under $10.00

October marked a year of my blog. For years I have been tasting and making notes but sharing it was a big step for me. It seemed odd to think anyone, beyond friends and colleagues, would want to hear what I had to say about wine, but I loved the idea of sharing. Anyway, I have had a great time and made connections with incredible people so I am very pleased I made the leap.

In the spirit of this I will go back to the root of the blog, serious QPR wine. Great to bring to or put out at upcoming Holiday parties.

FARNESE MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO - 2009, ITALY - $9.85
Spice & blackberry aromas. Plum, spice and fruity flavours on the palate with firm tannin backbone. Great value for the price

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=612788

http://www.farnesevini.it/eng/prodotti.asp?id=vini


Monday, October 24, 2011

Southern France Beauties...

Provence is touted for many things but I find the wines to be under appreciated and there are certainly some fabulous value for quality. The Triennes Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah blend is great illustration of that.
This 9 Euro blend was a prize find for me when I was in Cannes.

Domaine de Triennes Les Auréliens - 2008, Vin de Pays du Var, Provence $13.00 - 17.60

This red is robust. Black fruit, gamey, spicy, herbaceous. Complex and balanced.


http://www.saq.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&productId=75705&parent_category_rn=&shouldCachePage=

http://www.wine-searcher.com/wine-82390-2008-domaine-de-triennes-coteaux-varois-les-aureliens-rouge-provence-france
Next up Cazouls-les-Beziers (Languedoc) and Domaine Castan where I visited a wonderful family winery and tasted the whole range. One wine really stood out as populist and approachable and even though this Syrah and Grenache blend is quite different in 2007 & 2009, they were both pleasing. I enjoyed tasting them side-by-side so much that I bought two and compared them again when I got home!

Domaine Castan - Terrior du Lias- 2007, Coteaux du Languedoc - 8.00 Euro
Pronounced nose with dark fruit, clove, pepper and spice. Licorice on nose which follows through on palate. Lively on palate.

Domaine Castan - Terrior du Lias- 2009, Coteaux du Languedoc - 8.00 Euro
Fresh black and red fruit with hints of spice and pepper.

http://domandrecastan.free.fr/carte.html

http://www.prlog.org/11641212-smithfield-wine-introduces-domaine-castan-wines-to-the-uk-market.html

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Elegant, Easy-Drinking New World Value

I admit that I have so much to write about after my recent trip to France that I can barely organise my thoughts. Between work, school and my blog, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Social media is a pleasure and a pain, life can be so busy that it is hard to be consistent... so I decided to cut myself a break and just write this week about a wonderful Chilean find. Yes, still finding time to taste wine and oh yeah, conveniently there is a French connection, just to make me feel better. Run don't walk...

BARON PHILLIPPE DE ROTHSCHILD - ESCUDO ROJO, 2008 - MAIPO, CHILE $14.55
Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah & Cabernet Franc blend. Nose of spicy blackberry with hints of tobacco and slight mint. Integrated and elegant on the palate. Extra yummy with aged, hard cheese.


http://www.bpdr.com/xgb/default.asp

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=590331

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zinful Pleasures

This may be my last post for a couple of weeks, but it will be Zinfully Delicious and I will be back with even more great wine to talk about.

One of my graduation wines was Zinfandel (no not white). I was very early twenties and had really started moving away from anything sweet and cheap post 21 (19 is Ontario's drinking age before you get any troubling ideas). So it was not literally a wine for my graduation but a wine that helped me move into grown up wines.

I drank very good Zinz from Ridge: Howell Mountain. Storybook Mountain, Rosenblum etc. They broke the bank but it was a luxury and less expensive versions just weren't around then (Ontario, some unmentionable number of years ago). The wines were fruit forward but also had fabulous structure and complexity.

The market is pretty flooded now so you don't always see this, sometimes they are just jammy, but not the ones below, they are lovely and excellent value and my 23 year-old self would have been very jealous of the options at these price-points.



Kunde Family Estate - Sonoma Valley - 2007 Zinfandel $16.95
Classic Zin & one of the few wines I have had that matched the description on the back: Boysenberry, cloves, anise, black pepper - good acid blance. Great price!

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=965921
http://www.kunde.com/2007-zinfandel

Alexander Valley Vineyards - Redemption 2007 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma $21.00
Dark berry & clove. Beautiful full mouth with a long pepper finish.
http://www.avvwine.com/scripts/display_product.php?product_id=103

V. Sattui Winery - Crow Ridge Old Vine - 2008 Zinfandel, Napa Valley $35.00
Cherry jam and pepper on the nose, lovely dry briarberry palate with a hint of pepper. A beaut!
http://www.vsattui.com/Shop/Red-Wines

Jessup Cellars - 2006 Zinfandel, Napa Valley - $39.00
Mature nose, bumbleberry, dried plum - spicy, juicy red fruit - rich mouthfeel. Beautifully complex, long finish.
http://jessupcellars.com/

White Oak Winery - 2008 Alexander Valley Zinfandel, Sonoma $40.00
Cherry, cranberry and a toastiness on the nose. Fresh red fruit palate with a hint of nutmeg. Nice balance.

http://www.whiteoakwinery.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=64&Itemid=111

Sausel Winery - 2008 Century Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma - $40.00
Very elegant, fresh cherry and spice with a hint a vanilla. Lovely wine.

http://www.sausalwinery.com/Wines/

Michel-Schlumberger - Le Bon Cochon - 2009 Zinfandel/Syrah blend, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma $40.00
I love Syrah, I love Zin - I could not be happier with the blend - Very ripe black and red fruit with all-spice, complex, rich & velvety - drinking beautifully. Makes me want to go open a bottle...

http://www.michelschlumberger.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showDrilldown&productid=e21d1805-f5b2-e37e-c8f5-e0edf9b731a2&ProductCategoryID=3302ec9c-95ad-0090-618a-bc6cc7a12a28&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder%20Asc,%20P.ProductName%20ASC



Sunday, September 25, 2011

QPR wines from France

Sometimes life overwhelms, between work and school I was finding time to taste but not to write, so much of what I write about over the next few months will be what I judge to be the QPR wines of what I taste in school. That means it will be broken down by territory. This time France! Happily, for those in Ontario, available at the LBCO.

Domaine du Bois-Malinge - Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2009, Loire - $13.95
White blossom, pear, lemon & apricot. Long lemon-lime finish. Slightly briny & minerally. Fresh.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=224246

Henry Fessy - Moulin-A-Vent - Gamay 2009, Beaujolais - $21.95
Candied cassis, red flower, toastiness on nose, raspberry, cherry & clove on the palate

http://www.henryfessy.com/en/#/Accueil
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=233924


Pierre Gaillard - Syrah 2007, St. Joseph, Rhone  - $22.00
I loved this wine but it hits one of my style sweet-spots. Wonderfully made, incredible for the price! Smoky, blackberry, spiciness with savoury elements.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=194928
http://www.domainespierregaillard.com/en/index_en.php

Monday, September 19, 2011

LCBO Go Local: Ontario QPR Wines

If you live in Ontario you have seen the ads encouraging people to drink local wine. This is a good step forward on the LCBO's part since Ontario is one of the few regions of the world where the local wines do not dominate the market. We, instead are importers and that is marvellous because we get incredible exposure to so many of the world's wonderful wines, but it also means that many Ontarians don't focus on trying the great wines in our own backyard. I have heard lots of excuses as to why (which I won't drone on about here) but one of the common themes is that we do not make affordable, quality wines, but if that was ever true, it certainly has changed, as proven below...



Lailey Unoaked Chardonnay - 2010, Niagara Peninsula - $16.00
Vibrant nose of elderflower, green apple and pear that come through on palate. Pleasing clean, mineral finish.

http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=2540898398667154954
http://www.laileyvineyard.com/wines.php

Sandbanks Estate Winery - Riesling - 2009, Prince Edward County - $14.95
Honeysuckle, peach and mineral on the nose. Beautiful lemon - lime, honeyed finish. Off dry.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=139022

Sandbanks Estate Winery - Shoreline White - 2010, Prince Edward County - $13.95
Enticing perfumed nose with lemon zest apple and pear, white flower. Pleasing, palate with slightly spicy finish

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=177477

http://www.sandbankswinery.com/?page_id=32

Vintage Ink - Mark of Passion - Merlot/Cabernet - 2009, Niagara-On-The Lake - $17.95
Spicy, black cherry, blackberry. Palate follows through but with hint of mocha and chocolate.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=250209

Pelee Island Winery -  Vinedresser Cabernet Sauvignon - 2008, Pelee Island - $16.35
Plum, black fruit, cherry and wood smoke on the nose. Spicy fruit on palate. Youthful tannins.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=530576

http://www.peleeisland.com/winestore/winestore.php?type=red
 

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Cabernet A Day...

#CabernetDay on Twitter inspired me to write about some of the wonderful Cabs or Cab blends I had in California. Here are a few ready to drink or that make great special occasion & cellar wines:

White Oak Winery - Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 -$30.00
Cherry & Vanilla on nose, cherry and currant on palate. Lovely wine, great value!

http://www.whiteoakwinery.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63&Itemid=109

Cornerstone - Howell Mountain - Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley - $79.00
Tasted in a vertical, all were lovely but '06 stood out - nose of licorice, eucalyptus, earthy, dark fruit. Followed through in lovely balance of dark berry with minty herbal notes.

http://www.cornerstonecellars.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showList&startrow=11&ProductCategoryID=833c9146-cc6d-96f2-2efd-239639427f87&WineryID=5E800F22-1CC4-FBB6-23EF-492F62A42EA8&WineTypeID=&ProductType=&wineVarietalID=&wineRegionID=&vintage=&lowprice=&highPrice=&WineBrandID=&WineAppellationID=&lowletter=&highletter=&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder Asc, P.ProductName ASC&ShippingState=CA

Benziger Family Winery- Tribute - Cabernet Sauvignon blend 2007, Sonoma Mountain - $80.00
Cherry, blueberry, cocoa & spice. Beautifully integrated blend, silky and smooth

 http://www.benziger.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showDrilldown&productid=a79eb9f2-ac43-e136-cf82-7d2a3d09a233&ProductCategoryID=918e4b24-a05d-b628-d199-aa1488f6e42c&WineryID=D2ECB7C6-B5F3-9136-183A-E48D70E26589&WineTypeID=&ProductType=&wineVarietalID=&wineRegionID=&vintage=&lowprice=&highPrice=&WineBrandID=&WineAppellationID=&lowletter=&highletter=&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder Asc, P.ProductName ASC&ShippingState=CA



Pine Ridge Winery - Stag's Leap - Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley - $80.00
Cigar box, extracted cassis - beautifully integrated - complex.

https://store.pineridgevineyards.com/SHOP.AMS?LEVEL=BOT&PART=CSS07B


Flora Springs - Rennie Reserve - Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley - $100.00
Super-extracted fruit - cherry, raspberry - hint of mocha. Velvety Cab with long fresh, finish.

https://www.florasprings.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=productdetail&product_id=375





Saturday, August 27, 2011

Niagara's Bounty Red & White

As harvest approaches, I can't help but think of the gift of local wine. These both are at different end of the spectrum but speak of their respective terrior.

Chateau des Charmes - Equuleus - Paul Bosc Vineyard - 2007, Niagara, ON $24.95
Spicy blackberry, red flowers, sweet tobacco, slight licorice. Velvety and lush in the mouth.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=319525
http://www.chateaudescharmes.com/the_wines/paul_bosc.html




Peninsula Ridge - Wismer Vineyards - Sauvignon Blanc - 2010, Niagara, ON $18.95
Grassy, gooseberry, citrus. Follows through, very crisp on palate. Good length.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=116475
http://www.peninsularidge.com/our_wines.htm

Friday, August 19, 2011

California Whites for Summer Sipping

While to us Northerners it may seem like summer much of the time in California, it is certainly not everlasting here. Fall and cooler days are not so far away. So while it remains Hot, Hot, Hot, I would do an overview on some of the fabulous whites I had on my visit to Napa & Sonoma.

Cline Cellars - Sonoma Coast Viognier - 2010, Sonoma - $16.00
Nose of peach, pear, green apple, orange blossom follows through on the palate. Elegant, fresh, long finish.
http://www.clinecellars.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showDrilldown&productid=e129eada-cbb8-c54a-2427-833cc2ac044d&ProductCategoryID=751222a2-bf71-d0bd-21d4-1b455e1536c4&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder+Asc,+P.Price1

Cornerstone - Stepping Stone - Sauvignon Blanc-Musque - 2010, Napa Valley - $18.00
White flowers and honeysuckle on the nose. Crisp, dry, citrus with clean delicate finish.

http://www.cornerstonecellars.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showDrilldown&productid=5135c3ce-f59e-303b-3eec-84fc0f0e8fa0&ProductCategoryID=833c63dd-9b97-6886-8f30-8b45284c7f33&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder%20Asc,%20P.ProductName%20ASC


Scott Harvey Wines - Jana Old Vine Riesling - 2007, Napa Valley - $22.00
Slate, slight petrol, white flowers, bruleed honey. Rich and creamy in mouth with long citrus finish.

http://winestore.scottharveywines.com/2008-napa-valley-old-vine-riesling-p16.aspx

Michel Schlumberger - La Bise - Pinot Blanc - 2010, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma - $24.00
Delicate white blossom and citrus nose. Clean citrus fruit and mineral on the palate. Enchanting.

http://www.michelschlumberger.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showDrilldown&productid=6566c225-a2ee-f39e-bb27-1beb15dfec6f

Jessup Cellars - Sauvignon Blanc - 2010, Napa Valley - $28.00
Pretty nose of honeysuckle & white flowers. Very fresh, bright fruit with long citric finish.

http://jessupcellars.com/

Friday, August 12, 2011

What's on the grill? Likely goes with this wine...

Busy, busy work week. No time to review more of my California tastings... But, there was time to enjoy a fabulously-priced rench wine, full of character! Last year I fell in love with the Corbieres region, the wines spoke to me so much more once I had been there. Drinking them was like breathing the garrigue-soaked-air.

I picked this up in Montreal at SAQ and drove it across provincial lines before everyone decided it was okay to do so. Not sneaky or daring, just thinking the whole thing was stupid and wanting to get wine the LCBO didn't offer. This one was a gem because it is only $12.00 - in the US under $10.


Pellerin Domaines Et Châteaux -  La Réserve De Bubas -2008, Corbières, France - $11.95
Intense nose of black fruit, smoke, garrigue - follows through, savoury on the palate.




Thursday, August 4, 2011

Seriously Cool Chardonnays

Attending the Cool Climate Chardonnay World Tour at Tawse Winery - I found myself overwhelmed by so much choice - over 100 Chards! How could I write about them all?! I have made a Favs list below but of course there were many more and some I didn't even get to try. I hope you enjoy these...


13th Street - June's Vineyard Chardonnay - 2009, Niagara, ON - $19.95
(Vintages 236745)
Nose of green apple, citrus and flint. Vibrant, clean, crisp wine on the palate.
http://www.13thstreetwinery.com/index.php?/wine/detail/2009_chardonnay_junes_vineyard/

Mission Hill - Reserve Chardonnay - 2009, Okanagan Valley, BC - $19.95
Tropical fruit and butterscotch on the nose. Richness balanced beautifully by citric finish.
http://www.missionhillwinery.com/to_purchase/wine_list.asp#reserve
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=545004

Cooper Mountain - Reserve Chardonnay - 2009, Willamette Valley, WA - $22.95
(Vintages- 232827)
Varied geology makes this wine very complex, good winemaking gives it wonderful balance - biodynamic
http://www.coopermountainwine.com/html/char_reserve.html

Mt. Difficulty - Chardonnay - 2008, Central Otago, NZ - $26.95
(Vintages - 238592)
Mineral and tropical fruit on the nose. Creamy mouth-feel with lots of lemon to balance.
http://www.mtdifficulty.co.nz/catalog/P1488_Mt-Difficulty-Chardonnay-2008.html


Domaine des Deux Roches - Vieilles Vignes St. Veran - 2009, Macon, France - $27.95
(Vintages -365023)
Delicate lemon and toasty notes. Creamy mouthfeel with a long mineral finish.
http://www.collovrayterrier.com/docs/TECHNICAL-SHEET-COLLOVRAY-TERRIER-DOMAINE-DEUX-ROCHES-BURGUNDY-SAINT-VERAN-VIEILLES-VIGNES-GB.pdf

Tawse - Robyn's Block Chardonnay - 2008, Niagara, ON - $41.95
(Vintages -204982)
Always one of my very favourite chardonnay's - elegant, complex and fabulously balanced!
http://www.tawsewinery.ca/index.cfm?fuseaction=Product.display&product_id=91

Vie Di Romans- Chardonnay- 2009, Friuli, Italy - $49.95
(Vintages - 103143)
Rich, exotic, some tropical fruit. Subtle use of oak, full finish.
http://www.viediromans.it/wines.htm

Domaine de la Vougeraie - Clos du Prieure Vougeot - 2007, Burgundy, France - $79.95
(Vintages - 232835)
Shy nose but floral and mineral elements shine through. Voluptuous wine with extended finish.
http://www.boissetfamilyestates.com/products/ProductDetails.aspx?PrdId=379

Chateau de Meursault - 1re Cru Meursault - 2008, Burgundy, France - $79.95
(Vintages - 232892)
Gentle white flowers and buttered toast. Creamy, full in the mouth but yet still elegant with lasting finish.
http://www.meursault.com/meursault/uk/vins/vins.htm#

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't say A.B.C.; embrace these Cali Chardonnays

Inspired by my recent trip to Napa & Sonoma, as well as the wonderful events of Cool Chardonnay here in Ontario. So many great wines to talk about, it is in 2 parts - this is part 1 Northern California.

Pine Ridge - Dijon Clones Chardonnay - 2009, Napa $34.00
Toasty vanilla and gentle lemon zest on the nose, pineapple & mineral on the palate. Crisp, clean, elegant
http://www.pineridgewinery.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category_detail&category_id_int=17973

Benziger - Appellation Series Chardonnay - 2009, Carneros, Sonoma - $29.00
Brioche, stone and citrus nose. Creamy palate with long, clean pear & citrus finish. incredible balance.
http://www.benziger.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showList&productcategoryid=9192f626-b292-9baa-db5d-b1a4b8124a3a&maxrows=20

White Oak - Russian River Valley Chardonnay - 2009, Sonoma - $29.00
Baked bread & lemon curd. Gentle oak gives creaminess. Bright & beautifully integrated. 
http://www.whiteoakwinery.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=81

Flora Springs - Napa Valley Chardonnay - 2008, Napa - $20.00
Slate and tropical fruit on the nose that follows through. Crisp wine with bright acid.
https://www.florasprings.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=productdetail&product_id=387


Michel Schlumberger - La Brume Chardonnay- 2008, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma - $32.00
Buttered toast, citrus blossom, gentle honeysuckle, stone fruit. Creamy mouthfeel. Long lemon/lime finish!
http://www.michelschlumberger.com/shop

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Super-Value QPRs from California

Just off a trip to Napa and Sonoma, I feel overwhelmed. There is so much to write about as I had many excellent wines, many that were perfect value for their price-point.

I am still tying to decide how I will report that back all the great wines I experience. Not wanting to delay, I have picked the low-hanging-fruit (pun intended) by starting with the wines I thought had seriously accessible price points for the quality, making the value quite obvious.

I am sorry Canadian friends & followers, if you have trouble finding these or any others I encountered on my visit. I promised myself I would not go to all the usual suspects, but that may mean these wines are harder to find.

CLINE CELLARS - Carneros/Sonoma, CA
2010 Mourvedre Rose - $12.00 - Cherry & pomegranate on the nose with lovely sour cherry and a long lime blossom finish.
2009 Ancient Vines Carignane - $16.00 - Red fruit, spice and a slight pepper finish. This medium-bodied wine is a gem.
2008 Heritage Zinfandel - $20.40 - this is an end of vintage sale but I marvelled at this beautiful blend of single vineyards with its blackberry spice and a tempting hint of eucalyptus on the nose.

http://www.clinecellars.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showList&productcategoryid=e14acfc0-954e-b954-14f9-2354d3d7e436

FLORA SPRINGS- Napa, CA
2008 Sangiovese $20.00 - This is a beautiful wine, and still very memorable for me. It surprised me coming out of the heart of Cab Country! Cherry, balsamic, and a hint of tea on the nose. Fresh well-integrated wine.

https://www.florasprings.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=productdetail&product_id=365



SAUSAL VINEYARD & WINERY- Alexander Valley, CA
2007 Private Reserve Zinfandel - $24.00 - No wonder this got 92 Points in the Wine Enthusiast. I loved, loved, loved this!  Juicy cherry and slight vanilla with a hint of chocolate. Nicely structured & balanced.

http://www.sausalwinery.com/Wines/

V. SATTUI WINERY - Napa, CA
2009 Muscat - $22.00 - Apricot, peach and white blossom on the nose. Follows through on the palate. This sweet desert wine has a nice clean acid to balance it.

http://www.vsattui.com/Shop/Dessert-Wines

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sparkling Summer Treat

I think bubbly should not only be for celebrations, or perhaps just more should be celebrated in life?... In previous postings I have listed many Ontario and International alternatives to Champagne. Not that the supreme bubbly itself should be avoided, it is just that not every moment you feel like bubbles does your pocketbook agree with you. I have long been a fan of Cremant de Bourgogne and am now a convert of Cremant D'Alsace. I know you will enjoy this Gold Medal wine...

CHARLES BAUR CRÉMANT D'ALSACE , FRANCE - $ 18.95
Green apple and slight biscuit nose translates on palate. Creamy mouthfeel with lovely lemon finish.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=185678

http://www.vinscharlesbaur.fr/gb/boutique/cremant-alsace/cremant-alsace-brut-medaille-or-au-concours-effervescents-du-monde-en-2010-750ml.html

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Celebrate with a glass of Rosé

It's the Pink we like to Drink, Pink is the new Red... I'm sure you've heard it all - but have you tasted? Well with a long weekend and celebrations on each side of the 49th parallel, here are some Rosés I recommend:

DOMAINE DOULOUFAKIS ENOTRIA ROSÉ, GREECE - $11.95
http://www.allaboutgreekwine.com/wineries/douloufakis/index.html

FEATHERSTONE ESTATE ROSÉ 2010, ONTARIO - $14.95
http://www.featherstonewinery.ca/wines.html

MALIVOIRE LADYBUG ROSÉ 2010, ONTARIO - $15.95
http://www.malivoire.com/index.php?page=main-five

CHÂTEAU DE TRINQUEVEDEL TAVEL ROSÉ 2010, FRANCE $17.95
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=729947

http://www.chateau-trinquevedel.fr/en/our-wines


CHÂTEAU D'AQUÉRIA TAVEL ROSÉ 2010, FRANCE - $18.95
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=319368

http://www.aqueria.com/en/wines.htm


Friday, June 24, 2011

Great value for the money... CdR & White Cali blend

And isn't that what my blog is all about?.. Well, in saying that I backed myself into a corner because sometimes I have trouble finding those wines and fear becoming predictable in my tastes, but however you slice it, these two wines are very appealing and fit the QPR description perfectly...




E. GUIGAL CÔTES DU RHÔNE, FRANCE - $15.95
Cherry, plum and spice on the nose. Supple tannin, blackberry, mineral and slight pepper palate.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=259721

http://www.guigal.com/vins_detail.php?langue=fr&rub=4&id=23



PINE RIDGE - CHENIN BLANC/VIOGNIER  -  NAPA VALLEY, CA - $14.00
Aromatic and complex. Delicate aromas and flavours of peach, pear and white blossom. refreshing/well-balanced acid.

https://store.pineridgevineyards.com/SHOP.AMS?LEVEL=BOT&PART=CAT.OTHERWHITE

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BBQ Season: Red Beauties Under $15

CITRA MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO – ITALY - $ 7.45

Black & red  fruit, slight pepper on the nose and palate, hint of leather & chocolate

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=446633

http://www.citrawines.com/montepulciano_dabruzzo.php


LA VIEILLE FERME COTE DE VENTOUX – FRANCE - $ 11.95

Cherry, blackberry and floral notes with a touch spice;  light tannins.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=263640

http://www.lavieilleferme.com/rouge.php?langue=en


WAYNE GRETZKY MERLOT VQA -ONTARIO-$ 14.95 (LCBO sale)

Medium-bodied - red cherry, hints of vanilla. slightly tart.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=63966

http://www.gretzkyestateswines.com/catalog

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Affordable, Easy to Access Burgundy & Ontario Pinot Noir

Inspired by a list I was doing for friend's article about an Ontario Wine Society Pinot Noir tasting we attended, I thought I would pull out a couple of everyday priced gems from the list and share with you...

ALBERT BICHOT BOURGOGNE - VIELLES VIGNES PINOT NOIR - 2009, FRANCE $14.95
Simple but appealing, red currant, mineral, ever-so-slight earthiness.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=166959
http://www.bourgogne-bichot.com/fiches_techniques/5-discover-burgundy-wine-withthe-classical-wines?en=1


ROSEHALL RUN - CUVEE COUNTY PINOT NOIR - 2008, P.E.C., ON - $19.95 
Lots of red fruit, nicely balanced. Delicate.

http://www.rosehallrun.com/buyonline/index.php?cat=1

Friday, May 27, 2011

Big Red, Not So Big Price...

This truly is a Wine Gem. Lots of cherry, leather and hint of licorice spice. On the full side of medium bodied with a solid tannic grip and very good balance.

TERREDORA - AGLIANICO - 2008 CAMPANIA, ITALY - $ 14.95

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fresh in the Valley - 20 Valley Favourites

Some QPR Highlights from my "Get Fresh in the Valley" tour:

Rosewood Estates Winery Semillion 2009 - $18.00
Intense and vibrant wine with essence of lemon grass and pear. - paired with a goat's cheese crostini
http://www.rosewoodwine.com/category/wines

Staff Winery - Pinot Grigio 2009 - $21.00
Crisp, complex and beautiful matched with the pairing a pastry creation with papaya, ginger mint, vegetable, soya poached salmon ...
http://www.staffwines.com/

Angel's Gate Sussreserve Riesling 2009 - $13.95
Crisp lemon and white grapefruit but off dry. - Southwestern beans & rice with shrimp
http://www.angelsgatewinery.com/our_wines.html

Peninsula Ridge Wismer Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - $19.95
Tropical fruit and flint, complex long racy lemon finish - paired with goat's cheese, cucumber & mint
http://www.peninsularidge.com/our_wines.htm

Good Earth Chardonnay 2008 - $19.00
Citrus and mineral on the nose, lime and white grapefruit with mineral finish. - paired with pea soup.
http://www.goodearthfoodandwine.com/goodwine

13th Street White Palette 2010
Blend includes Chardonnay-Musque, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris - white flowers and tropical fruit, beautiful balance. - Paired with a spring roll
http://www.13thstreetwinery.com/index.php?/wine/

Not "on the menu" but also liked:
Megalomaniac Bigmouth Merlot 2008 - $24.95
Black fruit, herbal - full and round in mouth.
http://www.megalomaniacwine.com/main.php

13th Street Red Palette 2010 - $14.95
Blend includes Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay - Dusty, soft lots of bright red fruit, good structure

There were so many beautiful wines that weekend, all quite lovely, unfortunately the note taking blurred...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ahhh, Rhone, my fall-back position for Wednesday's dinner...

I love these Southern Rhone GSM blends because they can be such good value for money. This one definitely is!

CAVE DE RASTEAU LA DOMELIÈRE -CÔTES DU RHÔNE -VILLAGES - 2009 - FRANCE
- $ 15.00

All spice, plum, anise and tobacco on the nose. Smoky, spicy black cherry palate with juicy acid structure.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=222927

http://rasteau.com/produits.asp?idproduit=25&sX_Menu_selectedID=left_E3E05605

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Scrumptious Ontario Pinot Gris'

Many like the stark minerality and acid of a Pinot Grigio but for me I tend to be attracted to the lusher expression of the grape. That does not mean none of the elements that make Pinot Grigio attractive are not there, just a slightly different feel. In Ontario, I have yet to find the full mouthfeel of an Alsatian Pinot Gris but there is a different and equally beautiful expression through the terriors of Niagara. The QPR for these wines is quite notable.

I was lucky enough to tank -taste this in its infancy and even then it was interesting and complex...

COYOTE'S RUN - PINOT GRIS - ST. DAVID'S - 2009 - $17.95
Nose of green apple, honeydew melon, nutmeg & flint. Palate: mineral, white grapefruit with a lemon acidity.

http://www.winerytohome.com/files/viewwine.html?sku=3035&referral=WineAlign



I like both the 2009 & 2010 from Malivoire, although quite different, they are both beautiful in their own way...

MALIVOIRE - PINOT GRIS - BEAMSVILLE - 2009 - $19.95
Stone fruit with beautiful and minerality

http://www.malivoire.com/index.php?page=wine-detail&productID=58

MALIVOIRE - PINOT GRIS - BEAMSVILLE - 2010 - $19.95
Citrus & tropical fruit on the nose, citrus and pear and hint of flint on the palate

http://www.malivoire.com/index.php?page=wine-detail&productID=81

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Sparkler to Toast the Season

I didn't know about these wonderful wines until I found myself in Limoux, France and found out that this sparkler - Blanquette de Limoux - (arguably) predates Champagne. The Delmas is not only tasty, it is organic and affordable... so really quite guilt free. As I have said in previous posts, there are really some wonderful sparkling wines done in the Traditional Method that are much more appealing than Champagne simply because of the price...


DELMAS CUVÉE - TRADITION BRUT - BLANQUETTE DE LIMOUX, FRANCE - $ 18.95
Nose of green apple and brioche with a creamy palate of apple with a lime finish. Elegant.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=179978

http://www.blanquette-delmas-bio.com/la-gamme-delmas

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big Full-Bodied Reds to Keep a Body Warm This Cool Spring

This weather had me back to reds this week. Luckily they were pleasing and good value as it allows me something to write about in compensation for the unseasonable cold. I had the LAN at a friend's birthday party last year so I picked it up and was happily not disappointed on my second try. The Gretzky Estates is one I have had numersous times since '09 and it is developing beautifully. I just went on the LCBO product search to make sure I could get more from the spectacular 2007 Niagara Cabernet Vintage.


WAYNE GRETZKY NO. 99 ESTATE SERIES - CABERNET/MERLOT - 2007 - $ 18.95

Chocolate, cassis, tobacco, slightly savoury. Rich and silky, nicely balanced. Developed deliciously as it decanted and opened up.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=128652

http://www.gretzkyestateswines.com/


LAN RESERVA - RIOJA 2004 - SPAIN- $ 19.95

Strawberry, red plum toasty and slight vanilla and spiciness on the nose. Follows through...

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=42929

http://www.bodegaslan.com/en/los_vinos_LAN.htm

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Accessibly priced, quality Pinot Noirs from Ontario

3 Ontario Pinot Noirs, affordably priced for the weekday budget:

EASTDELL ESTATES - PINOT NOIR - 2008 - $ 12.95

The nose shows aromas of red currant with a slight mushroom; light-bodied, juicy red-fruit, spices with a medium finish.
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=613059

https://www.diamondestates.ca/shop/search?brand=8

STONEY RIDGE ESTATE WINERY -  PINOT NOIR - 2009  - $ 16.00
A real favourite, for the price. The 2009 is different in style from the previously reviewed 2007. It has less of the earthiness and is more fruit forward and medium-bodied, but is also a lovely expression of the grape.

http://www.stoneyridge.com/

http://www.wineonline.ca/shop/products/?pid=2714&shop_province=9


CAVE SPRING CELLARS - PINOT NOIR - 2007  - $ 17.95

I have had both the 2007 & the 2008 and they are both lovely, delicate, complex wines.

 http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=246561

http://www.cavespringcellars.com/wines

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quality Full-bodied Reds at Slim Prices

COLUMBIA CREST GRAND ESTATES - MERLOT 2006 - WASHINGTON  
- $ 15.95
Deep & luxurious wine with lots of pure cassis and chocolate notes.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=263418

http://store.columbiacrest.com/storefront.aspx

SANTA CAROLINA RESERVA DE FAMILIA - CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 - MAIPO VALLEY, CHILE  
- $ 15.00
Complex nose of dark chocolate, pepper, black fruit with a slight herbeacousness. Palate has juicy black plum with a nice, balancing, tannic grip.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=684597

http://www.santacarolina.cl/eng/index.php?option=com_productbook&func=viewcategory&Itemid=68&catid=9005

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chardonnay Musque all-the-way!

Spring is in air! Some days at least... and my palate craves lighter fare. Here is a wine that manages to be both refreshing and full in the mouth.

FIELDING ESTATE CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ - JACK RABBIT FLATS - 2010  - $ 16.95
Exotic nose of flowers, citrus, star fruit and subtly-spiced green apple. In tasting, it follows through on the nose. It is the dry side of off-dry and has a nice long lemon curd finish.

http://www.fieldingwines.com/store/prod/36

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bold & Complex Rhone

I admit I am a Red Rhone fan. North or South. Whether it be Syrah alone or the famous blends of the South, I just feel happy with the range. Although full-bodied, this wine is beautifully nuanced.

MONTIRIUS GARRIGUES - VACQUEYRAS ,  FRANCE - 2009 - $ 23.95
Sagey-wild-herb on the nose with red plums and a smoked meat, smokiness. The palate is dry, black-cherry- raspberry and a slight savouriness. Velvety and full in the mouth with well-integrated acid and tannins.
30% Syrah, 70% Grenanche

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=108779

Great, detailed notes about the wines:

http://www.montirius.com/

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sensational Spanish Deals

Tasty, great value Garnacha (Grenache) reds for everyday. Refreshing on their own or great with a meal.

CASTILLO DE MONSERAN - GARNACHA - CARINENA, SPAIN (12.5%) - $ 8.95
Cassis & black cherry on the nose, bright, juicy,  red & black fruit on palate with medium tannin

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=73395



LAS ROCAS - GARNACHA 2009 - SAN ALEJANDRO, SPAIN  (15%) - $ 14.95

Black cherry, raspberry, licorice and spice - very fresh fruit on the palate

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/lcbo/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=95190

http://www.san-alejandro.com/en/