New Zealand/Australian Wines-----Totally Amazing!

New Zealand has become synonymous with splendid wines and the latest group that I tasted are very much in keeping with the high quality that has become recognized and expected throughout the Globe! From Hawkes Bay comes Sileni Cellar Selection Chardonnay (LCBO # 358994, The Kirkwood Group wine agency, $15.90), which is a very aromatic wine full of citrus,  peach/appricot, melon flavours with a nutty almost almond finish. This would be a fabulous wine with  sea food, chicken with cream sauce and it is especially fine with a pasta dish such as Linguini Alfredo. 

Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc (LCBO # 237255, PMA Agency, $15.95) from Marlborough, is a delicious wine with a herbal, cut grass, passion fruit, gooseberry and lemon/lime flavours. It would be great with seafood such as oysters and scallops, grilled vegetables, sliced ham cold cuts and antipasta dishes.

Nugan Estate located in New South Wales, Australia sources its Shiraz from its Mclaren Vale and Riverina. It's Nugan Estate Alfedo Second Pass Shiraz (LCBO # 368811, PMA Agency $15.95) is pressed onto the pommace and yeast lees of the premium Nugan Estate  Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz (Vintages # 376707, PMA Agency $26.95). The Alfredo Dried Grape Shiraz is made similar to Amarone but much less in cost. It has flavours of black fruit, earth, smoke, dark chocolate and vanilla along with some herbal qualities. The Second Pass Shiraz is in many ways similar to a Ripassa style and full of cherry, dark fruit, raspberry and dark chocolate. Both wines are so very smooth and made for ripe cheese, lamb, game, chocolate pariings. Amazing wines and quality for the price!.   

  Peter Mielzynski Wines Are A Hit!

I have tried several wines from the great cellars of PMA and they represent much value in both quality and taste!  Here is a synopsis on the wines recently tried!

Fleur du Cap Chardonnay 2012 is a fine white wine from the Distwell group. The Bergelder is a great wine cellar located in Papegaaiberg, Stellenbosh, South Africa that produces several great wines. The Chardonnay Selection is an example of a wine that is made with a minimum of handling. Light, with citrus and lime flavours, this is a fine example of a well made wine that can be superb with oily fish such as salmon yet go equally well with foods smothered in cream sauces or light meats such as pork loin and veal. The wine can also be used as that before dinner aperitif.  The representative that I tased from New Zealand, the Matua Sauvignon Blanc 2013  from Hawkes Bay, is an exceptional wine (LCBO 619452, $15.00) has the typical flavours of cut grass and gooseberry along with melon, tropical fruit such as pineapple as well as citrus. A very full flavoured and pleasing wine for foods such as great with salads, fish and seafood. A veritable bargain and true expression of a New Zealand Sauve Blanc. The white blend from California, Primal Roots White Blend (LCBO #321497) is a limited quantity bargain at $7.95. Made with Viognier, French Colombard, Riesling and Gewurstraminer, it has deep floral scents along with a fine melody of Lychee nuts, apricot, honey and peach with a lingering finish that make it a fantastic aperitif or summer sipping wine. It can also be used with light meat and cold cuts for those warm summer evenings.  The Vina Maipo Vitral Reserva Chardonnay (LCBO #270009, $11.95) from Chile has endless flavour with tropical (mango, peach, citrus, vanilla, pineapple) with a finish that goes on and on. Get as much as you can since at this price it is not just a bargain but a steal! Great with fish, cheese and light meat. It will not last long at that price! Two South Africans from Durbanville Hills are also showing very well. The Sauvingnon Blanc (LCBO #22251, $11.95) is another excellent expression of the Sauvingnon Blanc grape with cut grass, gooseberry, grapefruit citrus and herbs on the nose and palate. Great with dishes such as pasta with herbs, seafood, light meat and wine dosed salad. The Shiraz (LCBO #22269, $11.95)  with herbal nuances, smoke, ripe dark fruit and earth. The wine is a must with grilled meat, burgers and cheese. Both wines are of excellent quality and at the price listed, why pay more for great quality stuff! Mielzynski is a master at matching fine wines and public taste and the above wines are no exception. Enjoy them knowing that your pocket book is safe also!   

** Special Note! The Durbanville Hills Wine have some very interesting chocolate pairings produced for/by Durbanville Hills. The Sauvignon Blanc and The Durbanville Hills Morning Mist White Chocolate pair very well with lime, green apple, sea salt and ginger of the chocolate versus the lime, citrus grapefruit and green fig of the wine. The Shiraz and Durbanville Hills Spiced South Easter Chocolate with its cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves pairs great with the pepper spice, cloves and fruit of the wine.                  

  Ponte Wine and Sprits Shows Class Wine At The LCBO 

Ponte Wine and Spirits displayed some great wines this past month. Jordin Clark shared several wines with me ----some of which were old friends and others, new experiences. The Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio Valdadige DOC 2012 Vintages # 106450 $17.95 Vintages Essential  with white fruit and citrus nuances and a sure thing for grilled chicken or fish or oysters.  The Santa Margherita Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Brut  Vintages Essential #687582 $17.95 is a veritable "steal" with its charming sparkling bubbles and lemon/ pear/peach flavours. Another great wine for sipping on its own or to have with salmon, smoked salmon, mackerel, lobster etc.  The Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay Vintages # 933077 $17.95  General List is not only a great buy at $17.95. The touch of oak along with a background of citrus lime, mild butter and ripe apple make this a sure thing for chicken dishes and buttered lobster. The Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico 2010 LCBO #267260 $19.05 is a medium bodied very dry red that has  ripe cherry, herbal spice and freshly dug soil (earth) aromas and flavours. This is a wine that can easily be had with a great pizza but can also be elegant enough for that veal or osso bucco dine! From California comes the De Loach Pinot Noir 2010 LCBO #220434 $15.45 with raspberry, cherry, cedar wood, earth and pepper spice. The wine is an excellent treat with roast pork loin, chicken with mushroom sauce, salmon. Finally, The Chateau Moncontour Jovly Cabernet Franc Chinon 2010 LCBO #300665 is NOT YET RELEASED but will be released on November 10th. The wine valued at $13.35 is a softer and more forward Cab Franc and a very food friendly red which would go great with that burger over a barby.

Collio Goes To Town With Girls' Night Out!

Collio Wines have had a number of successes this year and what continues to be a brand phenomena is the "Girls' Night Out"  brand.  A rose comes in two sizes; the 750 ml  LCBO# 89862 $11.95 or a 1500 ml size LCBO # 346650 $19.95 The wine is certainly a summer wine with melon, strawberry, cherry flavours suitable for cold cuts, fish, mid spicy food and glazed ham. The Chardonnay also comes in two sizes: the 750 ml LCBO #89821  $12.95 and the 1500 ml bottle LCBO #346833 $19.95.  The Chardonnay has melon, apple, citrus lemon and floral notes. Great evening sipping and light bodied entertainment. Food matches would include finger foods, bacon-scallops on cracker, oysters, seafood linguini and cream dishes.   

 Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Labels and Wines are a hit

Jackson Triggs did it again with both the label and wines with their Grand Reserve Labels. Five top wines in their premium wine repetoire all prove their worth in quality/price ratios. The Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc  with a nose of citrus-lemon, herbs and tropical notes of Kiwi and even a hint of pineapple/banana. The palate is full of citrus and pleasant refreshing acidity. The Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Gewurztraminer is truly an aromatic wine with citrus, floral, lychee and peach on the nose with a similar patern of citrus, lychee, honey melon and mango on the palate. The finish is oh so smooth!!!   The Niagara Estate Grand Reserve White Meritage has a complex nose of melon, citrus, apple, pear with a background of wood spice. The palate comes across with peach, nectarine and citrus with a great mouthfeel that can only be described as luxurious. The red wines are not to be outdone either. The Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Pinot Noir has a nose of Black Cherry, currants, raspberry, plum integrated with an oak spice. The palate is full with cherry, plum and vanilla spice. The finish is long lasting with a touch of fruit sweetness. The Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Shiraz has a nose of earth, smoke, blackberry and pepper spice. The palate is rich with black cherry and blackberry flavours coupled with spice. The wines are available at the winery or Wine Rack stores and are from $19.95 to $24.95. The price is utterly amazing when you consider the quality of the wines. Go get them now or you will be disappointed.           

 

New Wine Royalty

G. Marquis is one of the recent brands that is making fast headway as to demand and quality per price point. It was an instant hit with this writer and seems to be a wine that is a "hit" with consumers. Why not? The "Silver Line" features a Pinot Noir (Vintages #258673 $19.95) , Chardonnay (Vintages #258681 $16.95) , Vidal Icewine (Vintages #262477 $27.95) and Ice Rose (Vintages #274761 $29.95) and can only be described as a Premium wine at a reasonable price.  This lineage follows a less expensive but fine quality G. Marquis "Red Line" with Merlot (LCBO #274662 $12.95), Pinot Grigio LCBO #276501 $11.95) and a Riesling (LCBO 274670 $11.95). The Ice Rose is unique in that it has a "dosage" of Cabernet Franc Icewine added to the Pinot Noir base. All the above wines are VQA and excellent food wines.

Beat The February Blahs

The Lifford-Schirelli Wine Agency imprts a large number of superb wines and some them are certainly able to help overcome the post holiday mid-winter blahs that hit around the late January to March period. One from "down under" Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa Merlot is a ripe fruit forward wine with dark fruit/berry, spice, anise and chocolate. The wine has great lenght and should be able to improve over several years. Available through the general list LCBO # 218926 $15.95. An interesting and very reasonably priced wine ($9.95 LCBO # 234864) is Barb Bera Q or BBQ from Piemonte, Italy. The wine is delightful with a raspberry/sour cherry/plum taste that has smoke background. Those willing to risk the elements by doing some winter barbecues will find this a great and thrifty way to wine away the blahs. A white wine from Veneto by Anselmi San Vincenzo  Vintages #948158, $15.95 has the complexity and spice that makes it an ideal wine for creamy sauce dishes from Macaroni and Cheese to Ravioli with Ricotta or Pork Tenderloin Cream Barocoli.  It is made from the same grape variety that makes Soave (Garganega).  For those who want the sweetness of a liqueur Luxardo Marachino (Vintages #57448, $25.95) or Luxardo Sambuca (LCBO #40196, $19.95) are excellent quality per price and will leave you with a warm feeling that will compliment that of a roaring fire on a cold winter's night.              

Colio Introduces Two New Wines

The CEV Series from  Colio Estates in Lake Erie North Shore boasts a Small Lot Syrah and a Sauvignon Blanc. The Syrah is medium bodied with cherry and raspberry flavours and peppar spice. The Sauvignon is herbacious with a grapefruit nose and tropical notes. Both wines are excellent and very worth a try.

Colio Winery's Lake and River "Moonlight White"

Colio's 2011 rendition of its white wine (LCBO #183095, $10.95) is a pleasant blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer with apple, pea, tropical fruit and spice flavours. The acidity is refreshing and quite suitable for those events that need an aperitif and/or hors d'oeuvres accompaniment (light finger food dishes such as cheese, crackers, light meats etc).  The price makes it an affordable wine that bodes equally well for summer entertaining or a Christmas Holiday server. Nice stuff! The red example (River Rock Red) still has to be tasted.

Vintage Ink Produces One Very Nice Merlot-Cabernet

Vintage Ink's "Mark of Passion" Cabernet/Merlot (Vintages #250209, $17.95) is truly a passionate wine!  Fruit forward with black cherry, plum and currant flavours, the wine has an excellent mouthfeel and lasting supple finish. The price is right to enable one to purchase more and more of this delicious and accessible wine. The wine i shared with a group of friends was an immediate hit. The wine proved to be excellent with the sippers and even better with the hors d'oeuvres of lamb, burger bits, escargot in shell and old cheese. Vintage Ink is a Constellation company that also umbrellas such famous wineries as Inniskillin, Jackson Triggs, Osoyoos Larose, Le Clos Jordanne and many other wineries around the globe. A must try and an excellent gift for either novice or the seasoned wine lover!  

 

Sandro Bottega Takes Up The Gauntlet For Breast Cancer

Sandro Bottega's distillery and winery has come up with an innovative wine made from Pinot Nero and Raboso grapes. The Il Vino dei Poeti Rose  is an innovative wine blend that is made from Roboso and Pinot Nero grapes. The grapes are picked by hand, placed in small baskets and pressed within three hours of their harvesting.  The harvesting is very soft to limit the amount of must and enance the aroma and flavour of the grapes. The wine is fresh and vivacious, with fragrances of apples, raspberries  and blackcurrants. It has a light spicy aroma that grows into a marked character.   Try it as an aperitif, with light meat and fish dishes. A portion of the sales of this wine will go to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. LCBO #277202  $12.45

"Girls Night Out" Gets An Extreme Makeover!

Flashy new labels with low cut dresses seem to be the main feature on the label of the new series of "Girls' Night Out Wines".  Three labels featuring three different and very attractive dresses certainly catch the eye of any consumer. That plus a "stand out" brand name and consumer friendly back label complement the excellent V.Q.A wine in each bottle. Three varieties of wine: Chardonnay that is fruit driven and full of apple/citrus favours with a touch of pineapple and mangoe, Riesling with floral citrus and mineral/petrol flavours and a Rose with floral and cherry/berry flavours. The wines are worth the price Chardonnay LCBO #89821 $12.95, Riesling LCBO #134197 $12.95,  Chardonnay/Merlot Rose LCBO #89862 $12.95.

Naughty Wines 

I'm not sure if it is the name or the excellent wine taste that made me enjoy these wines so much but no one can doubt that the name "Menage a Trois" certainly packs a "head turner". We all know what a "Menage a Trois" signifies but in this case the wine is so good that it really does not need a catchy brand name. However, the name helps to the "break the ice" so to speak.  It appeals to the adventurous in all of us and the wine is an adventure. The Red is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet and is full in body with floral, fruity filled aromas. It is loaded with ripe red fruit and pleasant tannins. LCBO # 308007 $17.95.  The White is a blend of Muscat, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc and is a cornicopia of various aromas and flavours of citrus, melon, vanilla, fig and mangoe. It is slightly sweet and very fruit driven. I loved every bit of this wine and would share it in any Menage a Trois I was involved in! LCBO #30815 $17.95. This is certainly another winner from the fine house of Phillippe Dandurand.   

 

Jackson Triggs Rebrands Old Favourites

The "Proprietor's Reserve" label has been rebranded as the "Black Series" a group of varietal "Reserve" wines that reflect the terroir of the Niagara Peninsula. It has the same great value for price wine which includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Gewurztraminer/Riesling for the Whites and Merlot, Meritage, Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz/Cabernet for the Reds. The wines are all on the LCBO General List and prices range from $11.45 to $!3.95. All are VQA Niagara Peninsula wines

Non-Profit Wine Now At LCBO

One hundred percent of the purchase price of each bottle of The Little Grape That Could Cabernet Sauvignon (LCBO #277020) and Torrontes (LCBO #274739) both $11.95, goes to a non profit organization chosen via the website and a password provided on each bottle. The wine story began in 2010 when, rather than just support one charity, a group of volunteers decided to make a phenomenal wine at a reasonable price and allow each buyer to choose the charity. By simply going on the website  www.thelittlegroupthatcould.com  one can get the complete story as well as some rave reviews by some of Canada's great wine writers. The wines are splendid and exceptionally well made. They come from the Mendoza Valley in Argentina. The Cabernet has excellent integrity and taste with some exceptionally forward fruit of plum and black cherry. The body is full and the mouth feel just great. The  Torrontes has a citrus/lime nose with some floral in the background. The palate is refreshing with citrus lime and grapefruit flavours. Both wines have an pleasant finish. Well worth the price and of course the cause makes it all wothwhile!  

Lakeview Cellars Has Some Great Summer Wines

We are in the "Dog Days" of Summer and still have some superb days of fun and left. Lakeview Cellars has three sure fire winners for summer entertining. Their 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve (Vintages # 226027) $18.95 will be be available on August 19. It has a nose of grass, citrus, gooseberry and pineapple/mango with a medium,palate of pineapple, mango, banana and wild berry.  Lovely wine! You will have to wait for the 2011 Riesling Reserve until September 15  (Vintages #294074) $16.95. Those lucky enough to taste it now will find a nose Granny Smith, citrus lemon with hints of peach and appricot. Nice minerality add to the flavours. The palate is similar to the nose with a medium body. The finish is so refreshing with just the right amount of acidity. The 2010 Cabernet/Merlot  (Vintages # 285791) $18.95 (Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc, and Merlot) has a nose of dark fruit, wood cedar and chocolate spice. It is rich on the palate with medium to full body and dark fruit/berry flavours. It has a great finish that keeps evolving in the mouth ending with a ripe fig flavour (those fresh from the tree not the dried ones we are accustmed to in the grocery stores).   www.diamondestates.ca.        
 

 

Lifford Wines On The General LCBO List

Craig De Blois of Lifford-Schiralli Agencies always has some interesting and excellent wines for Summer embibing. This latest batch is in keeping with what has become an endless array of superb products. An old favourite is the Austrian white Grooner Gruner Veltliner (LCBO #168625) $13.55. The Gruner Veltliner grape is one that matches many foods from salads to light meat. It is also great to sip on a warm, humid summer's night. Dry and crisp with citrus and apple this is one for those who like Sauvignon Bland and Pinot Gris but want something just a bit different. A new release is the white Italian Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi Classico Superiore (LCBO #277293) $12.90. Citrus lime with a great minerality, this wine is a shoe in for scallops, mussels and shrimp. From France comes a great Chardonnay and one of my favourites: Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay (LCBO #933077) priced at $16.95 until June 24th, 2012 (later it will be back to the $18.95 price). This wine is what Chardonnay is all about. Rich, flavourful and full-bodied. It accompanies many styles of food such as fried chicken or chicken with cream sauce but really, one should see what it does to trout or tilapia with herbal butter!  The Australian Sangiovese (Australian??!!) Rose,  Mitolo Jester Sangiovese Rose (LCBO #278101)$18.95 is another new release (May 12). The wine is a great example of a dry, crisp rose with raspberry/cherry bouquet and palate. Try it with smoked turkey, chicken and salmon. It will suit most light dishes . The red Italian Chianti Classico is always a wine that pleases easy going meals and this one from Castellare (LCBO #267260) $18.55, is no different. Very dry on the palate it has medium body and offers cherry flavours. This is definitely a wine for Pizza or light meat such as Pork Roast or Veal. One of the nicest red wines that I have tasted in awhile is the Mclaren Vale Red Knot Shiraz  (LCBO #619395) fully worth the $17.95 price from Australian. A lovely smooth wine with oodles of fruit, red and black fruit, vanilla and pepper spice, this wine would go well with the evening barbecue and the likes of big steak, lamb and ribs.                                                                                           Inniskillin New Releases                                                                                                                                                                                              Inniskillin is an icon of Canadian wine with both its quality and diversness. Three summer sippers are proving once again that Inniskillin a major crowd pleaser. The Inniskillin Pinot Noir Rose (Wine Rack) is a fruit driven dry wine that has refreshing crispness as well as full flavour of citrus, strawberry and cranberry. The Inniskillin Riesling-Pinot Grigio (LCBO #145458)  $12.95 is has a citrus based flavour with some evolution into pear and nut overtones. The Inniskillin Two Vineyards Riesling (Vintages #105387) $17.95 has Lime/lemon/citrus based flavours with floral, pear, honey and a remarkable minerality. I seldom like a Cabernet wine for warm summer drinking but one wine that blew me away with its freshness and lightness of style was the Inniskillin Cabernet Franc  (Wine Rack) which, like the other three wines has a Stelvin Cap. The wine is full of berry flavours and would be great for a nice summer evening with or without food. If you have it with food, I suggest light meat to burgers.  

Peter Mielzynski Agencies Show Their International Versatility                                                                                                                                  PMA has long been a standard by which most private agencies judged themselves and is still regarded as one of the largest Wine and Spirits Agencies in Canada. Now once again it has has shown its versatility by offering some excellent wines from parts around the world. We start with North America with Meditrina from Oregon (LCBO #206888) $16.95, which is a red blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. With red fruit both on the nose and palate, the wine continues to velvety mouthfeel and a lasting finish. For food all one has to do is to look at the grape types. This is a wine for all foods and all seasons. Another Oregon wine is a white called Evolution (LCBO #206870) $16.95.  This wine has a plethora of wines blended together with Pinot Gris, Muller-Thurgau, White Riesling, Semillon, Muscat-Canelli, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Sylvaner. This is a great summer sipper but can be consumed over all four seasons with Mexican, Caribbean or Asian fare. The spicier; the better. From              New Zealand comes the old stand-bye Villa Maria Pinot Noir (LCBO #146548) $19.95. The wine displays forward ripe fruit of cherry and strawberry on both nose and palate. Mouthfeel is medium to full. While the wine can easily be enjoyed immediately. it can develop over a few years period. Grilled meats seem ideal. The Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc (LCBO #426601) $15.95 is a myriad of flavours of melon, citrus, passion fruit and gooseberry. On the palate it has a concentrated flavour of the above with a crisp and clean acid finish. Grilled Veggies all the way or by itself. South Africa produces two wines that have been around a few years but still have a certain newness to them. From the wine region of Stellenbosch, Flat Roof Manor Merlot (LCBO #129874) $11.95 has a coffee, rasberry nose accompanied by a fruity taste. Great with roast meat or by itself. The white Pinot Grigio from Flat Roof is full of the flavours of white fruit such as apple, pear and peach. If you want a great salad wine this is it. Finally, from Portugal  comes one of the most popular white imported wines. Alianca  made with traditional Vinho Verde grapes Azal, Pederna, Trajadura and Loureiro has a spritz to the taste and fruit filled aroma/palate. Like the Flat Roof, it will be great with seafood, salad or chicken. I would like it with Portuguese sausage (The real tiny ones) or better yet, the traditional Portuguese fish meal featuring cod----Bacalhau. 

What's Old New Again
 I remember many years ago I fell in love with a sure thing. The sure thing was Remy Pannier's Anjou. The wine had everything going for it. it was "off dry", golden in colour and full of tropical/floral/citrus flavours. The mere thought of it brought out romantic feelings of lovely chateaux along the winding river and the tales of the three muskateers, King Richard the Lion Heart and more. I would recommend this wine to couples who wanted a perfect romantic evening and it always worked. At $12.95 it is still the best buy at the LCBO. Check it out at any store LCBO #5967. Its sibling Rose d'Anjou is a refreshing strawberry/citrus and cherry in flavour. Slightly "off dry" in flavour and great on the palate a nice wine for appetizers and on its own. LCBO #12641. Eurovintage has been serving this community for a long time and seems to be keeping up with what is important! Great stuff Tom Noitsis!!     

Yellow Tail Celebrates A Birthday With New Exciting Wines!

"Yellow Tail" is celebrating its tenth birthday and in order to mark the anniversary John Casella has created a special limited edition premium quality bottle of Shiraz from the exceptional 2006 vintage. Finely selected, top quality fruit from the very best vineyards of Australia's Barossa Valley was used. This particular bottle is not available for retail purposes but there is a premium range, Limited Release Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon at $35 to $45 available parts of Canada. If you want in on this amazing wine contact The Kirkwood Group at 905-849-4346. Newer popular products from Yellow Tail include the re-sealable "Bubbles"    (LCBO #229039 $13.95) and "Bubbles Rose"  (LCBO #229047 $13.95) as well as the "Reserve Chardonnay"  (LCBO #234591 $14.95) and the "Reserve Shiraz"(LCBO #234609 $15.95). The wines are consistently well made and great on both nose and palate.

Some New Signature Wines!

Louis Banyard's "Signature Wines" recently introduced me to two new white wines----one, called "Mythique" from France's Languedoc region and the other "Ridgepoint Monticello Bianco VQA" the Niagara Peninsula. The Granache/Marsanne blend of Mythique is a pleasant dry wine with peach apricot on the nose and a medium bodied very fresh taste on the palate. Great with grilled fish, white meat and as an aperitif! At $10.95 a nice bargain (LCBO #259655)! The Monticello Bianco  $13.95 ( LCBO #218651)is a unique blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer and Riesling---all grown in the Niagara Peninusla. It IS a white blend! Remember it is the skin of the grape that determines the colour of the wine and if removed, the juice comes out as white. The wine is a refreshing blend of aromas and flavours of citrus, lychee, melon and apple. Nice acidity on the finish make it a worthwhile accompaniment to light meat, seafood and even on its own. Both wines are worth a try. The Mythique really impressed those who tried it at a recent tasting. The Monticello is well worth the try even for its unique red/white grape blend.  

The G. Marquis Brand Makes An Amazing Debut!

I recently tasted the G.Marquis series of wine from the Niagara Peninsula and found it quite excellent an excellent group. While I enjoyed the wines in the group, the wine that impressed me the most was the G.Marquis VQA Silver Line Single Vineyard "Niagara Stone Road"!   The wine had smoke, black fruit and voilets on the nose with a so smooth mouthfeel with a finish that remained for quite awhile. Friends that I shared the wine with guess the bottle at $28. to $35 and where surprised at the $19.95 price tag. The wine is available via  Vintages #258673. I would purchase more than one and cellar them from five to ten years. However, the wine is so delicious, I would probably drink it right away. Just no control!!!!.

The recently released "G. Marquis VQA Chardonnay Single Vineyard Niagara Stone Road" offers excellent Chardonnay value with lots of melon, apple and pear notes along with butter and vanilla spice. A nice wine for seafood, light meat and pasta with cream sauce. Vintages #258681 $16.95. Keep your eye out for other products in both Silver and Red Line Series

Two Wines From Inniskillin Still Going Strong

Bruce Nicolson keeps on doing great things at Inniskillin, he is not only an amazing innovator but he makes good stuff! Take for example the Inniskillin Winemaker's series "Select Vineyards P3"---the P3 being Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. The wine is excellently crafted with special selection and separate fermentation of each vineyard. Like its sister wine the "Winemaker's Series Select Vineyards Cabernet/Shiraz" the wine has an excellent price point of $19.95 and is available at the winery or Vintages. By the way, i had a chance to have one of Bruce's Legacy Cab Franc 2007 the other night and while it could have done with a bit more aging, it was super wine with the roast!!!!!!!   

The other wine that impressed me recently is the Chadonnay 2010 from the "East/West Series" which matches/blends the best from both worlds---meaning Ontario Niagara/British Columbia Okanagan. This Chardonnay has luscious white fruit on the nose with a citrus/apple/pear/vanila on the palate. Nice Finish.  I would ask for this wine at the local Wine Rack outlet.    

Great New Wine From Portugal!

Yesterday I met with Alexandre Relvas Junior who is the son of Alexandre Relvas, the owner of Herade de Sao Miquel in Alentejo Province, an area so well adapted to the making of wine. Alexandre is spearheading the winery and has introduced a new product from another family owned company called "Logowines" and is named "AYA" Charming.  I was so busy talking to Alexandre, Louis Banyard of Signature Wine, AYA's agent in Ontario and Sales Marketing Director of Logowines, Don Hynes that I instinctively reached for the glass and took a sip. "Charming!!!!" was a misnomer----the wine should have been called "The Greatest!" I was stopped in  my tracks and did not flinch when Don said it was a $19.95 wine. In actual fact it was $11.95.  The wine, which is made from a blend of Casteloa, Trincadeira, Aragones and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine is fresh, lively with berry (Cherry, Raspberry, Cranberry and Red Currant) yet with a fine complexity. Well integrated it is a must to try with a wide variety of foods (I/Alex had it with steak) and Louis/Don had it with Roast Beef.) The wine is available at the LCBO via LCBO # 254359. The bottle is very attractively designed but one thing, look for the work AYA at the top of the bottle since the Charming is sometimes difficult to see---especially if you wear contacts. A definite must for the Christmas Turkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

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Inniskillin's New Brand Entry!!!!

Always the innovator, Bruce Nicholson has come out with several wines that are excellent price/quality ratio plus have that edge in producing brand loyalty. What do I mean? Well, the name is easy to remember and easy to talk about and it is-----well-------tenacious.  Tenacity White VQA (LCBO #265264) is a nice blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, Muscato and Gwurztraminer. It's floral nose is immediately evident and on the palate the harmony of flavours of citrus, apple and apricot. The Tenacity Red (LCBO #264788) is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The wine is very fruit forward on the nose with a wide range or red fruit, coffee, vanilla wood on the palate. The Inniskillin P3 (winery/Wine Rack $17.95)  is a blend  of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.  The wine has a wide range of flavours and is rich and concentrated with tropical fruit, citrus, vanilla and wood. A truly nice wine and wel worth the money. The above wines (especially P3) were selected strictly by quality and health of vine. Nicholson has another group of winners!!!!!!!

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Checkout These New Wines!!!!!

Doing a television show does have its merits since one is introduced to new wines. Today (October 7th) I went down to pick up several wines for an appearance that I was making on Rogers Community Television Channel 10. The theme was of course Thanksgiving and the wines I picked up were wines conducive to the mark. My choices: Sattlerhof Sterische Klassik Morillon  Vintages 241992  $22.95 which is actually a Chardonnay from the southern part of Austria called Styria. An amazing wine that is a great match with turkey and cream sauce. Malivoire Old Vines Foch  Vintages 551036 $16.45 an ideal fruity dry wine for plain roast turkey, Compagnia De Volpaia Citto Vintages 134817 $11.70 one terrific turkey or pasta wine especially roast turkey with a butter crust, Fess Parker "Big Easy" Syrah Vintages 83212 $34.95 though more expensive, worth every bit of it and rated 91 by Robert Parker. Muscular, powerful, great with turkey and can withstand the challenge of cranberry sauce or gravey. i love Fess Parker producrts and this one is only eclipsed by the great FParker Rodney's Vineyard Syrah which is very hard to get. The choice for opening up was a sparkling Mumm Napa Rose Vintages 205641 $29.05 The wine was extra dry but had so much fruit to it that it tasted like a 2 on the sugar scale. We had this wine last since it went well with the dessert as well as the whole meal served by Chef Vito from Liason College.

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I attended a wine tasting held by the Essential Wine Group at Fazio's Restaurant on October 6th and found some great new reds that showed some excellent promise. Here are the wines and in the order that I enjoyed them.  1) Without question the Cornerstone Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from St. Helena, Napa Valley came out on top. This wine is a muscular bodybuilder but not the bulky kind with just muscle. It is "cut", crafted, and elegant------a Mr. Universe as compared to the a gym club contender. IThe 2003 has the ability to go on for some time but delicious now.   After a bit of deliberation, I awarded second place to Farmers Leap 2004 Shiraz from South Australia. Ripe black fruit with mouth filling pleasure, this wine with its plum, cherry and chocolate was utterly amazing in a class of amazing wines.  It edged out the Azienda Agricola Paitin Barbera 2008 it had an intense nose of blackberries, cherries and a touch of vanilla spice. I loved the bouquet. Number four on the list was the Salvano Barolo 2006 was an amazine delight of violets on the nose and velvet on the palate. This is a big wine from a big year and will develop further as time marches on. Close to it was the Le Presi Brunello di Montalcino, Brunello is regarded by many as the Premier Cru of Italian Wines though in recent years has been suplanted by Amarone and to an extent by Barolo depending on what the "palate of the day" is. This wine was quite herbacious in addition to the wild cherries, tobacco, smoke that were on nose and palate. Of the wines tasted I felt that this wine would definitely develop well into the 15th if not 20th year. There was great integrity in the wine and it definitely one to watch. A Cotes du Rhone, Domaine Alain Jaume Cotes du Rhone 2009 had great fruit (raspberry, blackberry, currant) with pepper and anise spice. it was number 6 on the list.  The seventh wine on my list of favourites was no slouch the Robert Reynolds Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi California is an excellent value per price ratio with ripe black and red fruit and pepper spice. Fruit forward it was immediately pleasing. Also very pleasing was the Podere San Cristoforo Petit Verdot  with its nose and palate of ripe red fruit and anise/liquorice finish. The remaining two red wines, Podere Carandella and Podere Amaronte  were nice examples of young Tuscan wines that are great for sipping and having with food. Both were nicely made and well balanced. Nice wines. You can contact The Essential Wine Group by calling 905-767-5200.  

       

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New wines from a new wine agency, Essential Wine Group is importing some very exciting wines from various parts of the new as well as old world. It's latest additions are the famous wines of Podere San Cristoforo of Tuscany Italy.  Podere San Cristoforo follows a strict biodynamic approach to winemaking which takes in to account not only organic agriculture and moving life into the soil. Included in this approach is the inclusion of the lunar calendar in conjunction with all vineyard and cellar operations with the belief that all life on earth is affected by the lunar movements. The wines are excellent and very reasonably priced.  The Podere San Cristoforo Luminoso $26.95 is a fine wine made with the Vermentino/Trebbiano grapes. With a floral nose, mineral spice on the palate and a round integrated finish this wine lends itself to a super wine/food match of game fowl, pork tenderloin dishes and white meat. The Podere San Cristoforo Carandelle 2009 $28.95 is made from 100% Sangiovese with a nose of dark fruit, spice and a palate that is integrated, round and with a great length. Super wine with a variety of foods as well as game and beef dishes. The Podere San Christoforo Amaranto $24.95 not as powerful as the previous wine but a wine that is made from the same Sagiovese grape albeit a different vineyard. On the nose it is light and fruit filled with a delicious spice. On the palate is red fruit with almonds and vanilla spice. Nice finish. A nice easy drinking wine with a great sense of food. The Podere San Cristoforo San Cristoforo 2009 $43.95 is a blockbuster wine with loads of fruit layers on the nose and one that develops as the wine "airs" in the glass. The palate is a rich expression of the Petit Verdot grape and a red wine for game, dark meat, beef.  The Podere San Christoforo Luminoso Dolce very rare and very sweet wine made from the Vermentino and Trebbiano grapes. It is very limited and made from air dried grapes.  Dessert wine for sure!!!!  Robert Parker has given these wine very high ratings of between 89 and 95 points  and the Wine Spectator a 93. The prices reflect a bargain.  Give them a call at the  Essential Wine Group 905-767-5200.

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The new Greenlane Estate Winery  in the 20 Valley wine region of Niagara is off to a rapid start with three phenomenal wines at reasonable prices. The Greenlane Estate 2010 Pinot Gris/Riesling $16.95 has a lovely floral/citrus nose with a honeymelon, citrus and pear palate and nice pleasant finish. Perfect summer sipping wine. The Greenlane Estate Riesling $21.95 has a fresh nose, citrus and notes of white fruit with a palate that was very fresh, mineral with citrus/melon. A crisp refreshing finish caps it all off. Greenlane Estate Riesling Old Vines $29.95 from 22 year old vines shows citrus, pineapple, peach notes on the nose with citrus and tropical flavours on the palate. Long and lovely finish. This is the first time I tried these wines and must admit-----I'm going back for more!!!!! Wines available at the winery and on line. Watch for Vintages Releases in September. Podere San Christoforo Luminoso 2010 $26.95 cellent

Jackson Triggs' Entourage is the new sparkler at the LCBO and it is a winner with roasty toasty aromas and a palate of vanilla, spice, cirtus and apple/pear, this method classique or traditionally made wine has fine, tiny bubbles and a refreshing finish. Great with sea food, spicy foods and on its own. A great summer drink or celebration wine.  Vintages #234161       $22.95

Inniskillin's Riesling/Pinot Gris is another Vincor wine that pleases as a food wine and/or refreshing summer drink. The wine has a nice floral nose with accomanying citrus, apple and pear notes. On the palate it is light to medium bodied with citrus,  mineral apple and a nice crisp acidic finish. Refreshing for those Summer nights. LCBO # 145458         $13.95

The House of Philippe Dandurand has upgraded some of its French Selection Series with two new varietals. The Selection Chardonnay LCBO 243352 is a well made white wine with a fresh citrus lemmon and apple nose and a pleasant medium palate. The Selection Merlot LCBO 243378 exhibits a red cherries and raspberries with a pleasantly full palate. Nice tannins lead to a smooth, fresh finish.  Both wines are $8.45.

Another wine from Philippe Dandurand is Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2008 from Argentina. This is an amazing wine with good price/quality ratio with lovely nose of anise, tobacco, smoke and chocolate. The palate has a mixture of black fruit such as blackberry, plum and currant with vanilla spice and cedar. The finish is long and pleasant.  LCBO # 222281    $11.95

Mike Weir Riesling is what makes fun all about. This wine with its peach, pear, melon and sweet apple nose leads to a medium dry palate with a sweet citrus/lychee, peach flavour. The integration between acid and sugar is excellent. Very nice finish. Seafood for sure with Pork roast as a second choice.  Vintages # 229286           

Craig de Blois of the Lifford Wine Agency dropped in and introduced me to several new wines that are now available via the LCBO. These Aussie wines had typical Aussie names and they were quite good. Very approachable now and super with food. In addition to that the price is just right---definitely not one that will break the bank.

The Shingleback "Haycutters /SauvignonSemillon" is the perfect combination of fresh acidity and lovely tropical fruit. Not mouth puckering dry but with an ever so small amount of sweetness, this is a great drink on its own or with fish or other seafood. I loved every last drop. LCBO 207365 $17.95

"Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignonby Shingleback is a great accompaniment to lamb, beef and even game. It is high in alcohol (14%) and chock full of black fruit, firm tannins with a super long finsh. Another Aussie win!!! LCBO 91702 $17.95 

"Junior" from Mitolo is another "down under" wine that impresses both in the alcohol (14.5%) and the colour (deep purple). The flavour is dark fruit and eucalyptus with coffee and anise spice. Another lamb and beef wine but more on the lamb side. Sugar 1 LCBO 183947 $14.90----if you go now you may get it at $1. off the price!!!!

Shingleback Haycutters Shiraz/Viognier   is a unique combination of a white (viognier) and red (shiraz) grape. The result is a very supple wine for now drinking and trust me! It is very tasty-----made for summer fun at the barby. Like the rest it is high in alcohol (14.5%) Vintages l66132 $18.95

Vincor International introduced me to the following two wines which are a "steal" for summer entertainment  

"Flourish Merlot/Pinot Noir" is a new entry from Vincor that is made for pleasant drinking and sipping either at a picnic or quaffing dinner. The wine is dark in colour with cherry/plum flavours and a touch of vanilla/pepper spice. Serve cool and have with cold cuts and/or roast beef. LCBO 192500 $10.95

"Flourish Vidal Icewine"     finally an Icewine that one can drink without feeling guilty of having spent an arm and a leg. This wine comes in a 250 ml bottle and is decadent in its honey, mangoe and peach/apricot flavours. The vanilla/nutmeg spice is evident in a subtle way. A delicious start to summer. Vintages 222356 $18.95

     

           

 

 

Two New Must Read Books!

Totally Scallops: Judy Eberspaecher with Introduction By Alex Eberspaecher

Any who do not know about or read the food, wine and travel writings of Alex Eberspaecher must have been stashed away in a cubby some distant place in the universe. Alex is one of the most respected and formost writers on these subjects anywhere. His wife, Judy, is also a well known photographer/writer and has just come out with one of the best books of its type that I have enjoyed.  Totally Scallops is a superbly photographed, highly informative and exceptionally well written work about ways to enjoy scallops. It is the culmination of a "26 year" journey that takes you from Alaska to Australia.  Easy recipes with supportive photos allow one to see what the dish will look like once the instructions are followed. Background shots of locales where these dishes occur wet the appetite for more and produce an atmosphere of "being there!" An introduction to the legends and history surrounding this tasty shellfish and, of course, a lesson in what wines to match with the dishes by the master himself make the journey complete.

This is not only excellent book to use as an entertainment tool but also one to flip through while spending a quiet moment either with a glass of wine or some tea. The book is a marvel and a great value at under $40. Published by KiMagic. Check www.totallyscallops.com where it is available and constantly changing.  

Good Better Best Wines--- A No-Nonsense Guide to Popular Wines: Carolyn Evans Hammond

Have you ever wanted to entertain and been in a quandry as to what to serve with that special meal? Now add to that: "---and didn't want to spend an "arm and a leg doing it!?" Wine writer/Sommelier, Carol Evans has just produced the answer. It is called Good, Better, Best Wines  and  it is a no-nonsense guide to some of the most popular brands in the United States (many of which are available in Canada).  The book comes complete with such items as storing wine, food and wine matches, wine cellars etc. but the crux of the book is about good, better and the best wines that can be purchased at reasonable prices up to about $15 dollars. The work is done in an easy to read and understandable (none of this wine jargon that can confuse)  manner which plainly states the wines and why they are chosen. Many favourites are included as are some suprises but what is life without qualified surprises. I have already worn my copy out with my flipping and flapping through its 238 pages. Well worth the price which I believe should be around the $20 mark.  An Alpha Book published by Penguin.            

        

Strut is "Strutting Her Stuff"!

When I heard  the name "Strut" and then saw the label, a set of shapley female leggs in "Strut", I said to myself, "No way this will make it!" Maybe that's why some writers such as I should stick to writing and stay out of marketing! I made several trips to the local Wine Rack (Vincor Outlets) and watched from afar as visitors looked at the "Strut" display. In the time it took me to walk up to the display to pick up the bottles for a closer look, about six people came, looked, picked up and bought! Also, according to the Wine Rack staff, the bottles are selling very well.  So the label, which is a cross between "Sex and the City" meets the "O.C.", did its work and I'm busy eating my hat!

Taste Test: I have tasted four Strut wines. Well-Heeled White (Riesling/Gewurztraminer), Chardonista (Chardonnay), Cab Couture Cab-Merlot), Red Over Heels (Merlot). The wines are well suited to their target group of young to "middlin" female drinkers but men seem to like it too! The Chardonnista is very presentable with a touch of grapefruit, a bit of oak and apple. The Well Heeled White was a wife pleaser who loved the tropical flavours which incidentally improved over night in an unfinished bottle. The reds with their ripe red fruit flavours (they're 2007s need I say more) should please men with their foreward power but women should find the same wines elegant and "sip worthy". As I eat my hat, enjoy the wines and---er---pass the salt please! (all wines available at Wine Rack and LCBO for $11.95)                   

Wines Of Nova Scotia Are Amazing!

While you are at it, check out my blog regarding the Wines Of Nova Scotia. How about a white Eagle Tree Muscat from Jost Vineyards or a white L'Acadie Reserve from Domaine de Grand Pre? Why not try a picture perfect Petite Riviere Cotes de Lahaye Terres Rocheux, a Taurus from Benjamin Bridge or a Baco Noir from Blomidon Ridge (all red). Then there is the Castel from Gaspereau Vineyards or a Black Fly Pinot Noir from Bear River (reds) and yet, even more come our way such as the Method Champenoise or Traditional Method sparkling wine from L'Acadie Vineyards. Then there are the phenomenal Icewines and a new wine that is sweeping the Maritimes called Nova 7! These are food wines as well as sipping wines and if you get a chance to taste, do so! Contact me for more information or do a search for Wines of Nova Scotia in your computer!    

New Wine/Food Match Service!

Are you having that special meal? Not sure about what to serve? Are you having a special group over and want to impress them with your wine/food matching prowess? For $10 you will get a wine to match the food or a food to match the wine, party suggestions and even where you can get that special wine. Email Chuck Byers and get details!

New Innovation To Hit LCBO Shelves This June!

Hardy's will be introducing a Bottle and Glass Unit in a Single Serve Shuttle! The "shuttle" features a single-serve 250 ml acrylic wine bottle securely sealed by its own acrylic wine glass. A gentle twist of the glass opens up the wine for serving. The famous "Stamp of Australia" blends of Chardonnay/Semillon and ShirazCabernet Sauvignon will be available via Chuchill Cellars the wines will be priced at $4.25 each in Ontario. In Western Canada they are represented by Vincor Canada. Great for the upcoming picnic season!

Daniel Lenko Estate Winery Displays Its New White Wines

The winery which features the oldest vinifera vines in Canada has introduced its 2007 white wines. The word to describe them is "Impressive" and "Concentrated"! Now mind you, I would be hard pressed to find a well made 2007 wine lacking in concentration but Lenko's wines are quite that and more. The Reserve Riesling from 25 year old vines has that touch of sweetness and is full of the honey, citrus and spice notes ($19.95).

The Gewurztraminer comes with floral, apple, lychee and spice on the nose and palate it is a soft and welcoming wine with an excellent balance ($29.95).

At $39.95, The Viognier, made from 15 year old vines, may seem a bit expensive but the compex levels of tropical fruit and exceedingly long finish make this wine a must to try!

An interesting addition is the White Cabernet made with 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon! Strawberry, blackberry and apple/pear intermingle making this a very special Rose! ($19.95)!

A new unoked Chardonnay (Charconnaygay) comes from a very young block of vines and is full of tropical fruit and citrus and a clean pebble/mineral finsh! In some ways it reminded me of a very good Grand Cru Chablis ($19.95)!  

All wines available via the winery! 

Inniskillin Introduces New Brae Blanc

Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Riesling comprise the three grapes of this new addition to the Reserve Series. The wine (LCBO 109975 $14.95) has peach, apricot and honey flavours with a tinge of sweetness to make it very approachable. Definitely a picnic wine. 

Colio Releases "Girls' Night Out!" 

"Girls' Night Out" is the latest brand effort made by Colio Estates Winery. The red Cabernet/Shiraz and white Riesling both carry the V.Q.A. banner. The Cab/Shiraz went well with piza (both veggie and meat) though I had a distinct preference for the Riesling. The newest pair should be at the LCBO soon retailing about $12

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