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Wines of Argentina – Wine Tasting and BBQ

Toronto, July 29th – The Consulate General of Argentina and Wines of Argentina invite you to:

An Argentine Wine Jam & BBQ!

Wines of Argentina

Located in the Southern Cone of the American Continent, with a population of 42 million inhabitants and a territory that is four times larger than France, Argentina is one of the world’s nature reserves. Privileged with outstanding natural richness and extraordinarily diverse landscapes, Argentina boasts high mountains and plains, lush vegetation and extreme deserts, forests and steppes, glaciers and waterfalls.

This wealth of natural ecosystems includes vast grapegrowing regions stretching at the foot of the Andean strip, to the West of the country, from latitude 22° south to latitude 42° south. The cultivated area covers more than 538,071 acres. Argentina’s vineyards are at varying altitudes with some as high as 3000 meters.

It is in this context, and in the course of five centuries, that Argentina has developed such an extraordinary wine industry. The altitude, the wide range of temperatures, the local know-how, the new technologies and a deeply-rooted popular wine culture lend their wines their unique identity and quality.

 

Purchase Tickets here

Wines of Argentina

 

Experience this unique environment for the creation of great wines

Join us to taste exciting wines from 20+ wineries from Argentina. Enjoy succulent bites and an ‘asado’ style BBQ. All set to the great tunes from BELLOSOUND

Date: Wednesday, July 29, 2105

Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Place: Snell Hall, St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Price: $65 (plus applicable fees) – Save $5.00 with Promo code: WINEALIGN

 

Purchase Tickets here

“Think Argentina is all about malbec? Here’s your chance to discover the diversity of this vast country not only within the varied, new sub-regions that produce malbec but also the unique expression of both indigenous and international varieties. With some of the world’s most elevated vineyards and arid climates, it is no wonder that Argentina is home to some of the most unique and appealing wines in the world. Although only recently declared, wine has been long been the national beverage of Argentina – a country which has an impressively long history of wine consumption. Learn about some of the world’s most iconic wine personalities who have pushed boundaries, built communities and risked it all to forge new ground.” – Sara d’Amato, WineAlign

Las_compuertas-Mendoza


Afternoon Trade Sessions

The Evolution of Argentina – A Trade tasting for professionals

A tasting of wines from the ‘new’ Argentina showcasing wines from 20+ wineries, some new to market.

Wednesday, July 29 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Snell Hall, St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Open to Media and Trade Professionals – by invitation only – please register here prior to attending.

Wines of Argentina Masterclass:  The Evolution of Argentina

Innovation in the vineyard and the winery. Moderated by Sara d’Amato, Sommelier and WineAlign Critic, and Marcelo Pelleriti, winemaker at Monteviejo.

Rock Talks: Terroir developments
Altitude: It Never Mattered More!
Varietal & style trends: What’s next?

Wednesday, July 29 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Lecture Room, St. James Cathedral Centre, 65 Church St., Toronto, ON M5C 2E9

Limited seating – Open to Media and Trade Professionals – by invitation only – please register here prior to attending.

 

Spread the word.

Web:              www.winesofargentine.org
Facebook:   Wines of Argentina
Twitter:        @winesofarg

Please Drink Responsibly


An Argentine Wine Jam and BBQ

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Les bons achats de Marc – juillet

Chronique d’un gars ordinaire
par Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

J’ai eu une bonne dose d’empathie pour vous, cette semaine.

J’étais chez moi, accoudé au comptoir de cuisine, et j’ouvrais des bouteilles que je venais de me procurer à la SAQ. J’en avais acheté pour une centaine de dollars, quatre vins de couleurs et d’origines diverses. Une sélection faite au petit bonheur la chance, je connaissais bien sûr les appellations, les régions, après tout je patauge là-dedans à longueur d’année, mais je n’avais encore jamais goûté aucun de ces choix. On verra bien, m’étais-je dit en rempochant ma carte de crédit.

Rendu à la maison, je ne fais ni une ni deux : par ici le tire-bouchon, voyons voir si j’ai gagné le gros lot ou non. Résultat de la course : trois sur quatre me laissent sur ma soif. Pas mauvais, mais pas terribles non plus.

J’ai trouvé ça frustrant ! L’impression d’avoir gaspillé mon argent. Et encore, le vin est pour moi un outil de travail, une fourniture de bureau en quelque sorte, qui me permet de gagner ma vie. Cela compense, au moins un peu.

Mais pour le monde ordinaire…

Pas étonnant, alors, que bien des gens rachètent à répétition le même vin. Le même rouge, le même blanc. Une fois que t’en as trouvé un qui fait l’affaire, qui goûte bon et qui est ok niveau prix, pourquoi prendre des risques ?

LA MAIN TENDUE

C’est bien entendu pour ça que les guides et les chroniques sur le vin existent. Et je ne pense pas qu’à nous, à Chacun son Vin. Au Québec, quand on ne sait pas trop sur quelle bouteille arrêter son choix, on peut aller se renseigner à gauche et à droite. Cela dit, la recommandation d’un expert ne garantit rien : possible que vous aimiez le vin encensé, possible que non.

L’idée, on en a déjà abondamment parlé, est de trouver celui ou celle avec qui, d’ordinaire, on a des atomes crochus. Celui ou celle, autrement dit, qui a en gros les mêmes goûts que nous. (Et notez bien qu’on peut retourner l’équation à l’envers, et cibler spécifiquement les vins que tel ou tel chroniqueur n’aime pas, justement parce qu’on sait d’expérience que ce sera alors tout à fait dans nos cordes.)

Tordu, non ? Nous entretenons en effet, vous les consommateurs et nous, les « connaisseurs », une relation parfois compliquée, parfois même de type amour-haine.

On nous bénit, j’en suis sûr, quand on fait par exemple découvrir un bon vin pas cher qui, effectivement, à la maison, dans le verre, s’avère plus que correct. Et on nous honnit – ça me fait de la peine de le dire – lorsqu’on vous dirige vers une bouteille soi-disant d’exception, disons un rouge du Jura, de Savoie ou une autre « obscure » région du genre, devant lequel nous tombons en pâmoison mais qui vous laisse de marbre tant c’est mince, peu coloré, acidulé et, pour tout dire, insipide…

Courage ! La bonne nouvelle, on le disait tantôt, c’est qu’on peut vous échauder de la sorte une fois, deux fois peut-être, mais certainement pas trois.

Rendu là, vous serez passé à une autre conseiller, un autre chroniqueur, et fair enough, c’est bien tant mieux car c’est là la règle du jeu.

À boire, aubergiste !

Ijalba Maturana Blanca 2013 Ijalba Genoli Viura 2014Bien entendu, je ne vais pas vous laisser filer sans suggérer ici même une couple de bonnes bouteilles. Qui m’aime me suive, si vous voyez ce que je veux dire ;-)

Genoli 2014 Rioja : Très bon blanc, vif et goûteux, et à la finale épicée. Du corps par ailleurs, ainsi que de la profondeur. Une autre belle réussite pour la maison espagnole Ijalba.

Ijalba Maturana Blanca 2013 : Très bon blanc de la Rioja, sorte de croisement, pardonnez-moi à l’avance pour cette errance, entre un chenin blanc et un chablis. C’est miellé et nerveux, même minéral oserais-je dire. Assez corsé, par ailleurs, et à réserver pour la table – avec le homard, les pétoncles, le saumon à l’oseille.

Francis Coppola Chardonnay Diamond Collection 2013 : Dans le style chardonnay à l’ancienne, vanillé, boisé et gourmand, très bien fait. Le fruit est là, l’acidité également, idem pour l’équilibre.

La Chablisienne Chablis Premier cru Côte de Léchet 2012  : Une autre belle réussite pour l’une des, sinon la meilleure, cave coopérative de France. Un côte-de-léchet minéral et fumé, citronné également, avec une excellente acidité.

Sancerre La Moussière 2014 : Un blanc de la Loire nerveux et finement marqué par son cépage, le sauvignon. Mais on est ici à Sancerre, où la notion de terroir a droit de cité et souvent même préséance. Belle texture à la fois suave et tissée serrée. Très bonne persistance, pour finir en beauté.

Domaine de Saint-Just Coulée de St-Cyr 2012 : Très bon vin blanc de la Loire, légèrement miellé et marqué par le chenin, et aux saveurs élégantes, à la fois nerveuses et retenues. Persistance notable, par-dessus le marché, et prix (25 $) bien mérité.

Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Gold Label Chardonnay 2013 La Chablisienne Chablis Premier Cru Côte De Léchet 2012 La Moussière Sancerre 2014 Domaine De Saint Just Coulée De St Cyr 2012

Domaine Rolet Arbois Poulsard Vieilles Vignes 2012  : Rouge du Jura

à la couleur orangée très pâle, on dirait presque un rosé ; peu de nez, pas bavard sur le plan aromatique ; plus convaincant en bouche : léger, pas très goûteux. À boire frais mais pas trop, disons une petite heure au frigo.

Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne 2012 : Le graphite au nez, sans que ce soit très boisé, puis des notes fruitées évoquant le pinot noir. En bouche, le vin a du corps, plus que bien des bourgognes génériques similaires, c’est poivré et bien dessiné. Belle réussite !

Domaine Rolet Père Et Fils Arbois Poulsard Vieilles Vignes 2012 Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne 2012 Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino 2010 Casa Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2010  : Odeur de vinyle, de l’acidité volatile un peu, pas encore très ouvert au nez. En bouche, on goûte le fruit bien mûr, les tannins sont à la fois marqués et serrés, et la persistance notable. À carafer une bonne heure à l’avance.

Casa Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 : Impossible (ou à peu près) de se tromper, c’est un typique cabernet-sauvignon chilien, aux notes végétales et chocolatées (le bois) à la fois marquées et relativement engageantes, pas déplaisantes. Fruit par ailleurs bien mûr, presque sucré. Finale un brin capiteuse, sans que cela n’engendre de déséquilibre.

Voilà, santé !

Marc

Note de la rédaction: vous pouvez lire les commentaires de dégustation complets en cliquant sur les noms de vins, les photos de bouteilles ou les liens mis en surbrillance. Les abonnés payants à Chacun son Vin ont accès à toutes les critiques dès leur mise en ligne. Les utilisateurs inscrits doivent attendre 60 jours après leur parution pour les lire. L’adhésion a ses privilèges ; parmi ceux-ci, un accès direct à de bons vins !


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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES July 11th – Part One

Spain’s Diversity Uncorked (Sort of)
By David Lawrason, with notes from John Szabo MS

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

Spanish wine continues to surprise, challenge and often delight both the palate and the pocket book. In May I spent a week in the Catalonia region, first in Priorat then in Penedès and Barcelona with its umpteen thousand restaurants. I had expected to be wowed by Priorat (about which I will write in depth soon) but I had not expected to be so impressed by the range, diversity and quality of the sparklers, whites (in particular) and reds emerging from other Catalan DOs (appellations) like Conca de Barbera, Costers del Segre and Terra Alta. And to think that such diversity, and such greatly improved winemaking, is being replicated in regions large and small from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, and south into the centre of the country as well.

This VINTAGES release aims to showcase Spain’s regional and varietal diversity, and provides some decent value wines en route, if no stunning “must buy values”. But I would love to see more specialized regional releases from Spain. When was the last time VINTAGES mounted a feature solely on “France”, or “Italy”? Never! Spain’s regions need to be embraced the same way as Tuscany or Bordeaux or the Southern Rhône. And it certainly has enough regional diversity to provide several features over several months.

I have heard from two reputable sources that VINTAGES put out “a call” for Spanish wine submissions and received about 1,400 applications (on paper). Less than 50 were actually sampled, and only 15 were purchased (that’s just over 1%). The first shocker is that so many Spanish wineries want access to the LCBO/Ontario market; the second is just how ridiculously limited VINTAGES offerings are, with no other available retail venues for the wines. (See last month’s rant about Canadian wine for the reason why).

So yes, Spain is a brave new world for wine exploration and if you are curious you should seriously consider travelling there to grasp its vinous depth. Never mind that it is one of the most historically rich countries in the world. And that the food is fantastic as well, reaching far beyond stereotypes of paella, jamon and tapas.

WineAlign Bus to I4CThis week John and I offer our recommendations from the Spanish release, while Sara vacations and tastes in the south of France. We also offer other white wine finds. Next week John leads off with chardonnays coming to VINTAGES and the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration July 17-19. We have a handful of seats remaining on the WineAlign bus to the Grand Tasting & Dinner on July 18. John Szabo will be joining the group for dinner, so you can compare tasting notes at the al fresco feast.

Spanish Cavas and Whites

Juvé & Camps 2011 Cinta Purpura Reserva Brut Cava, Penedès, Spain ($18.95)

David Lawrason – Fine character and complexity here from one of the most highly regarded producers of Penedès. It is aged 24 months on its lees before release. It shows a generous, complex nose of baked peach, hazelnut and dried flowers with a touch of lees. Nicely fresh but has some substance as well.
John Szabo – Another terrific Cava, on the more mature, richer side of the spectrum, for use at the table rather than aperitif hour.

Gramona 2006 Iii Lustros Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava, Penedès, Spain ($49.95)

John Szabo – This was a brave listing by the LCBO, a $50 wine in a category that rarely exceeds $20. The wine, however, is absolutely superb. This has all of the class and complexity of great traditional method sparkling wine, crafted in artisanal fashion by Jaume and Xavier Gramona, the fifth generation of a family business established in 1881. If you thought Cava was trapped in the cheap and cheerful bubbly category, this will change your mind.

Juvé & Camps Cinta Purpura Reserva Brut Cava 2011 Gramona Iii Lustros Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2006 Finca Las Caraballas Verdejo 2013 Pansa Blanca 2014

Finca Las Caraballas 2013 Verdejo,Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon, Spain ($16.95)

David Lawrason – This is an organically produced, fairly deeply coloured young Verdejo. Not from Rueda but is made in the proximity. It is almost overripe with yellow plum jam/raisiny fruit, fennel, nut shell and waxiness. Quite full bodied, very smooth, with great flavour depth.
John Szabo – This will be a polarizing wine, already golden amber and clearly made in a highly oxidative style. But forget the standard paradigms. Is the wine good? On that score, the wine succeeds. This is like a juicy, overripe mango that has fallen from the tree, sprinkled with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon and tangerine. For the price, it’s worth the punt to expand your horizons.

Alta Alella 2014 Pansa Blanca, Catalunya, Spain ($14.95)

David Lawrason – Pansa Blanca is a local name for the xarel-lo grape, one of three used in Cava. This still wine version is produced by Alta Allela, a leading organic producer. It is very brightly made – no organic funk here. Expect fairly reserved, almost overripe yellow plum, mild fresh mint and spice.

Spanish Reds & Fortified

Cune 2010 Reserva, Rioja ($23.95)

Bodegas Ochoa Reserva 2007 Cune Reserva 2010John Szabo – Traditional Rioja is one of the great wines of the world, and CVNE (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España), a grand old Bodega in the heart of Haro in the Rioja Alta, is one of the protagonists. Since 1879 they’ve been crafting wines like this Reserva, finely balanced, mid-weight, firm, nicely chiseled. Although drinkable now, this will be much better in 2-4 years, or hold until the mid ’20s without issue.
David Lawrason – This is quite refined, well balanced young Rioja from a classic, traditional producer. The nose shows fairly generous, soft aromas of cherry, vanillin, cedar and burlap/earthiness. It’s mid-weight, fairly tender yet generous.

Bodegas Ochoa 2007 Reserva, Navarra  ($24.95)

David Lawrason – This single vineyard tempranillo-cabernet-merlot blend has an engaging, very lifted nose of rosemary/mint, blackcurrant with meaty notes and some soya character. It’s mid-weight, elegant, dense and lifted with vibrant acidity.

Peña 2010 Roble Crianza, Ribera del Duero, Spain ($21.95)

John Szabo – A mid-weight, balanced, lively, saliva-inducing tempranillo, with light, dusty tannins and firm acids. This works nicely on a gastronomic level.

Maetierra Dominum 2007 Quatro Pagos, Rioja ($19.95)

David Lawrason – This is a ‘vino do pago’ or estate wine, assembled from four separately vinified sites (quarto pagos) belonging to a winery called Maetierra Dominum. It’s based on tempranillo; a mature Rioja showing lifted meaty, smoky, spicy and dark cherry notes. It’s medium-full bodied and quite dense, with some liveliness and further ageing potential.

Tomàs Cusiné 2013 Llebre, Costers del Segre ($15.95)

David Lawrason – This is a fresh young tempranillo (called llebre in Catalan) from an inland region of Catalonia. It has a lifted, spicy, peppery almost Rhonish nose with violets and generous wood spice. It’s quite soft, a touch sweet with some warmth (14% alc) and generosity.

Peña Roble Crianza 2010 Maetierra Dominum QP 2007 Tomàs Cusiné Llebre 2013 Chapillon Siendra 2011 Gonzalez Byass Del Duque Amontillado Viejo

Chapillon Siendra 2011, Calatayud ($14.95)

David Lawrason – This is from Bodegas Langa, the oldest and largest family winery in the interior, high altitude region of Calatayud. It is 80% old vine garnacha spiced with cabernet, merlot and syrah. The nose is almost sweet with violet/pansy florality, chocolate and ripe plummy/blackberry fruit. It’s open-knit, dense, soft and a bit sweet.

Gonzalez Byass Del Duque Vors Amontillado, Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum, Jerez, ($38.95)

Antonio Flores, Gonzalez-Byass

Antonio Flores, Gonzalez-Byass

John Szabo – Terrific to see this back on our shelves, an outstanding old Amontillado, one of my favourites from the excellent Gonzalez-Byass range. VORS means a minimum of 30 years of age, and the first whiff is “like opening the door of an antique shop” according to capataz Antonio Flores, in a fireworks display of complexity. The palate is explosive, powerful, yet still suave and smooth, with tremendous length. Needless to say, value is off the charts.

Other International Whites

Salomon-Undhof 2013 Kremser Tor Grüner Veltliner, Alte Reben, Kremstal, Austria ($21.95)

David Lawrason – From a classic Kremstal-based producer dating back over 200 years, this is a bright, rich and quite fruity young grüner – a bit softer than some, but it has polish and freshness. Expect gentle aromas of yellow pear/plum fruit. It is great to find this quality at the $20 mark.
John Szabo – If you like wines with a sense of place, you can’t go wrong with this genuine old vine beauty. I love the substance without excessive ripeness, and at 13.5% declared, this hits a fine balance. Give it another year in the bottle to really come together.

Domaine Des Baumard 2011 Clos de Saint Yves Savennières, Loire, France ($34.95)

John Szabo – For some inexplicable reason, the top wines of Savennières have never achieved the prices of other great whites from around the world, but they surely should be counted among them. This is ultra-classic chenin blanc with its honest, wet hay, barley, wheat cracker, and honey flavours, very generous texturally but shapely and firm, but more importantly, chock-full of sapid, salty mineral character. It’s the sort of timeless wine you can enjoy now or in a decade, or more. Best 2015-2026.

Tawse Sketches Of Niagara 2013 Riesling, Niagara Peninsula ($17.95)

David Lawrason – For several years now Tawse Sketches Riesling has been punching above its weight. Not in terms of complexity and structure, but in delivering effortless, super bright, balanced, sippable riesling with textbook fruit, florals and just enough minerality. The excellent 2013 white vintage in Niagara adds to its cachet. A great buy under $20.

Salomon Undhof Alte Reben Grüner Veltliner 2013 Domaine Des Baumard Clos Saint Yves Savennières 2011Tawse Sketches Riesling 2013Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia Vieilles Vignes 2014 Reinhold Haart To Heart Piesport Riesling 2013

Gerovassiliou 2014 Malagousia Vieilles Vignes, IGP Epanomi, Macedonia, Greece ($23.95)

John Szabo – I reckon you might as well have your introduction to this variety from the man who literally rescued it from near oblivion in the 1970s. Gerovassiliou is still the reference for Malagousia in Greece (and thus the world), and his 2014, a full, rich, fleshy, abundantly fruity wine, drinks like top end viognier.

Reinhold Haart 2013 Haart To Heart Piesport Riesling, Mosel ($19.95)

John Szabo – A terrific Mosel riesling to buy by the case, from one of the great producers in Piesport. I’d swear there is some declassified “GG” (Grosses Gewächs, or grand cru) blended in here.

And that’s a wrap for this edition. WineAlign has set new readership records in recent weeks, during a traditionally slower season. We thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm. We hope you are enjoying some down time during our not-yet-too-hot summer.

Cheers!

From VINTAGES July 11th, 2015

Lawrason’s Take
Szabo’s Smart Buys
All Reviews

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Castello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2011


International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration

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Experience the i4c World Tour Grand Tasting and Dinner – Sat. July 18 – And we’ll do the Driving!

On Saturday, July 18th, please join us on a luxury bus trip to the signature event of the i4c weekend.

The Cool Chardonnay World Tour and Dinner showcases the world’s best Chardonnay and Ontario’s best cuisine. The fourth ‘C’ in i4C stands for Celebration and this is definitely a Celebration of amazing Cool Climate Chardonnays. This is the fifth anniversary of i4c – it’s an incredible event with over 60 wineries attending from around the world.

Your evening begins with the Grand Tasting – the only public tasting event that showcases all of the wines of the i4c. Taste your way through the realm of Cool Climate Chardonnays – from lively unoaked wines to smooth and rich barrel-aged vintages. The popular ‘What Kind of Cool Are You?’ station will return for the 5th anniversary event – an interactive palate profiling tasting of four exemplar Cool Climate Chardonnays.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

14c strolling

Stroll through a pre-dinner reception, exploring the incredible marriage of Canadian oysters and Champagne or Sparkling wine presented by Oyster aficionados Tide & Vine Oyster Co. Then join Chef Paul Harber (Ravine Vineyard Restaurant) and Chef Craig Youdale (Canadian Food & Wine Institute) and their dream team of region’s top Vineyard Chefs who will present a family-style feast highlighting the bounty of Ontario.

14c dinner

After dinner, enjoy the “Après Chardonnay” bar featuring the Ontario winemakers’ favourite RED varietals, the popular Craft Brewery bar, and dance under the stars.

We feel we’ve put together a fantastic evening. The cost of the i4c tasting and dinner alone is $150 + taxes. Add on the expense of driving from Toronto to Niagara and you’re already well north of $200. By joining WineAlign you’ll not only get round trip luxury transportation, grand tasting & dinner; but you’ll also get reserved seating, a souvenier T-shirt and a Summer of Chardonnay Passport. The price of our trip is $225.00 which includes all wine, food, taxes, fees and gratuities. On top of all that you’ll have the peace of mind of not having to drive.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

All-in Price: $225

Grand Tasting Schedule – Ridley College, St. Catharines Ontario
5:00pm – 7:00pm – Grand Tasting
7:15pm – 8:15pm – Oyster & Sparkling Reception
8:15pm – 9:45pm – Al Fresco Feast served Family Style with a “world tour of Chardonnay” and special library Chardonnays
9:30pm – 10:30pm – Après Chardonnay Bar, live entertainment

Besides the grand tasting & dinner we’ve managed to secure:

  • Reserved seating at i4c
  • i4c t-shirts ($25 value)
  • Summer of Chardonnay Passport*

* To celebrate their 5th Anniversary, the wineries of the i4c have launched The Summer of Chardonnay. This passport entitles guests to special tastings and experiences at 23 Ontario wineries from Chardonnay Day (May 21) to Labour Day (September 7).

world

Bus Itinerary:
Depart Kipling Subway Station: 3:15pm
Pickup at Burlington Go Station (Fairview & Brant): 3:50pm
Arrive at i4c, Ridley College, St. Catharines: 4:45pm
Depart i4c: 10:30pm
Arrive at Kipling: 11:45pm

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

i4c John and David

We want to make our bus trips a great experience for everyone. So while there will be lots of wine to drink, we encourage our members to spit a lot in order to keep their palates sharp and enjoy the amazing cool climate chardonnays.

WineAlign promotes the responsible, legal and enjoyable consumption of wine to adults over 19 years of age. Please drink responsibly. Please arrange a designated driver to and from Kipling, or take public transit. We will be emailing a RELEASE, WAIVER OF LIABILITY, AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT out to all participants that will have to be signed and collected when boarding in Toronto and Burlington.
If you are interested in attending, please purchase your ticket quickly to avoid disappointment.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

i4c chefs

 


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Canada, d’un océan à l’autre

Soif d’ici avec Nadia
par Nadia Fournier

Nadia Fournier - New - Cropped

Nadia Fournier

Cette année encore, plutôt que de vous amener ailleurs avec cette dernière chronique du mois de juin, j’ai plutôt envie de vus servir du local. D’abord à l’occasion de la St-Jean et de la fête du Canada, mais aussi parce que je rentre tout juste de Niagara, où les équipes de Chacun son vin et de Wine Align étaient réunies pour déguster plus de 1400 vins canadiens dans le cadre du National Wine Awards of Canada. 

Le constat de ces cinq jours de compétition ? Que de progrès!

Depuis la vallée d’Annapolis jusqu’à l’île de Vancouver, des vins rouges et blancs plus fins, souvent moins boisés, et la plupart empreints de cette fraîcheur qui caractérise les vins de régions septentrionales. Parmi les coups de cœur de la semaine, je retiens une poigne de savoureux gamays clairement inspirés des crus du nord du Beaujolais, d’excellents pinots noirs et cabernets francs; des syrahs et des malbecs charnus, parfumés et charpentés, de très bons vins rouges d’assemblage bordelais et plusieurs chardonnays de classe internationale.

Notons aussi d’immenses progrès quant aux rieslings, dont le style se précise un peu plus chaque année. Malheureusement, au moment d’écrire ces lignes, les rieslings canadiens brillaient par leur absence sur SAQ.com. Et les consommateurs devront faire preuve de patience puisqu’aucune commande (hormis celui de Mission Hill) n’était attendue avant l’automne. Je m’explique mal ce manque d’intérêt de la part des acheteurs de la SAQ pour ces très bons vins de gastronomie, la plupart vendus à des prix abordables. L’écho en succursales est pourtant très positif et les quelques conseillers en vins interrogés à ce sujet déploraient de ne pouvoir avoir accès à ces rieslings de plus en plus populaires auprès de la clientèle québécoise.

Mais tout n’est pas sombre. L’offre de vins canadiens à la SAQ mériterait certes d’être bonifiée et mise aux goûts du jour, mais on peut au moins se consoler avec les quelques classiques commentés ci-dessous, ainsi que quelques nouveautés arrivées sur les tablettes au cours des derniers mois.

À la vôtre!

Okanagan, du sud au nord 

Burrowing Owl Chardonnay 2011 Osoyoos Larose Petales D' Osoyoos 2011

Bien qu’encore officiellement abordée d’un seul bloc – au sens géographique du terme –, la vaste vallée de l’Okanagan, en Colombie-Britannique, comporte une foule de climats et microclimats. Rien d’étonnant puisque la région s’étend sur plus de 250 kilomètres du nord au sud et couvre plus de 4 000 hectares (deux fois la taille du Jura!).

Tout au sud de la vallée, juste au nord de la frontière avec l’État américain de Washington, le pourtour du lac Osoyoos est l’un des secteurs les plus chauds au pays. Quasi désertique par endroit, bénéficiant d’à peine 318 mm de pluie par année mais de plus de 2000 heures d’ensoleillement, la végétation s’y fait plutôt rare et ses vallons sablonneux sont peuplés des serpents à sonnettes et de scorpions.

Osoyoos-Larose est né d’un partenariat entre la canadienne Vincor et le Groupe Taillan (Gruaud-Larose, dans le Médoc). Le vignoble a depuis été racheté en totalité par le groupe Taillan, qui reste fidèle au style initial. Le Pétales d’Osoyoos 2011 offre, comme toujours, un bon rapport qualité-prix. À savourer au cours des cinq prochaines années, en attendant que le Grand vin 2010 du même domaine n’arrive à son apogée.

À peine plus au nord, dans la petite ville d’Oliver, Burrowing Owl a été nommée d’après un hibou local, menacé d’extinction. Sans rien révolutionner, leur Chardonnay 2011, disponible à la SAQ est un bon exemple du genre : assez gras et agréable à boire.

Quelques kilomètres plus haut sur la Black Sage Road, Black Hills Estate Winery élabore cette Syrah 2012, vendue en exclusivité dans les succursales Signature. L’un des meilleurs vins rouges de l’Okanagan goûtés lors du Vancouver International Wine Festival, en mars dernier. À boire sans se presser jusqu’en 2019.

Black Hills Estate Winery Syrah 2012Orofino Red BridgeQuails' Gate Pinot Noir 2013 Tantalus Riesling 2012

Dans la même veine que le Pétales d’Osoyoos, mais un peu plus charnu, le Merlot Red Bridge 2012 confirme le sérieux d’Orofino, un domaine situé dans la vallée de Similkameen, à l’ouest de l’Okanagan. On apprécie déjà la suavité de ce très bon vin rouge, mis en valeur par un usage judicieux du chêne, mais il a suffisamment de chair pour évoluer en beauté jusqu’en 2017.

Les vins de pinot noir produits en Colombie-Britannique ont généralement une allure un peu plus nourrie et moderne que ceux de l’est du pays et tendent à ressembler aux pinots de Monterey ou de Sonoma, en Californie. Les cuvées produites par la famille Stewart, dans le secteur de West Kelowna, au nord de la vallée de l’Okanagan, offrent en général une interprétation moderne et généreuse du cépage. Le Pinot noir Quails’ Gate 2013 (27,30 $) – commenté ICI par mes collègues – est disponible en bonne quantité dans l’ensemble du réseau.

La partie septentrionale de l’Okanagan est aussi la source de très bons vins de riesling, cépage qui donne ici d’excellents résultats. Celui de Tantalus (dont le retour est prévu à l’automne) mérite une mention spéciale!

Ontario, le leader canadien 

Même si l’écart se resserre peu à peu avec la Colombie-Britannique, le vignoble d’Ontario conserve son titre de meneur à l’échelle nationale, avec 6 900 hectares. Le secteur de Niagara génère toujours l’essentiel de la production provinciale, mais le comté de Prince Edward (PEC) poursuit son développement. Je ne peux encore vous révéler le nom des gagnants au Canadian Wine Award, mais je peux vous dire que parmi mes vins favoris de la semaine, se trouvaient quelques cuvées de pinot noir, chardonnay et cabernet franc du « County »…

Le climat de Niagara donne généralement des pinots noirs plus nourris et charnus qu’à PEC, sans égaler leur précision et leur délicatesse. L’exemple qui confirme la règle : Pinot Noir 2012 Lowrey Vineyard produit par Thomas Bachelder dans les secteur de St. David’s Bench. Une gorgée L’une des fiertés – avec raison – de Bachelder

Bachelder Lowrey Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 Tawse Chardonnay 2012Tawse Gamay Noir 2013

En revanche, le cabernet franc et le chardonnay semblent avoir trouvé un terrain de jeu rêvé dans la péninsule. Parmi les bons exemples offerts à la SAQ, retenons les vins de Tawse, situé à Vineland, sur les rives du lac Ontario. Le talent de vinificateur Paul Pender (ainsi que celui du Québécois Pascal Marchand) se manifeste davantage dans les cuvées parcellaires du domaine – pinot noir et cabernet franc entre autres –, mais aussi dans le Chardonnay 2012 courant du domaine. Modeste, mais assez typé et tout à fait recommandable à 22,95 $. Autre belle addition au répertoire de la SAQ, le Gamay 2013 a toutes les qualités requises pour séduire les amateurs de vins du Beaujolais. Gourmand, charnu, plein de fruit et de vitalité.

Un peu plus nourri que celui de Tawse, le Chardonnay 2012 de Flat Rock Cellar me semble avoir gagné en vigueur et en tension depuis quelques années. Un bel exemple des bons chardonnays produits dans le secteur de Twenty Mile Bench. Également une bonne note pour le Pinot noir 2012; mûr, charnu, bien enrobé et prêt à boire dès maintenant.

Flat Rock Chardonnay 2012Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2012Hidden Bench Chardonnay 2011Hidden Bench Terroir Cache

Il faudra aussi surveiller de près l’arrivée en succursales du Tête de Cuvée 2011 de Hidden Bench, décorée d’une médaille d’or l’an dernier au NAWC 2014. Un chardonnay à prendre au sérieux, gras et vineux, mais surtout très racé et d’une longueur en bouche à faire pâlir certains vins blancs de la Côte de Beaune. Dans un tout autre registre, on voudra aussi goûter au Terroir Caché Meritage 2011. Droit, juste assez corsé et d’une facture quasi bordelaise. À boire sans se presser jusqu’en 2019.  

La belle province se raffine et se réinvente

Je sais que certains d’entre vous avez encore en tête de mauvaises expériences passées, mais sachez que toutes les régions viticoles connaissent des débuts hésitants. Cela dit, la qualité des vins québécois est beaucoup plus homogène depuis cinq ans. Pour vous réconcilier avec les vins d’ici, voici quelques suggestions pour vous inciter à mettre le Québec dans votre verre avec autant de plaisir et de fierté que dans votre assiette !

En 2006, la famille Robert a acquis un immense verger situé à Rougemont, à une cinquantaine de kilomètres à l’Est de Montréal. Développé dès 2007 sur les coteaux voisins du verger, le vignoble de Coteau Rougemont compte aujourd’hui près de 50 000 plants! Tous deux disponibles dans l’ensemble du réseau de la SAQ, les cuvées Versant blanc et Versant rosé feront votre bonheur à l’apéro. Un peu plus structuré et nourri par un élevage en fûts de chêne, le Saint-Pépin 2013 est à la fois gras, savoureux et empreint de fraîcheur.

Versant Blanc Coteau Rougemont 2013 Coteau Rougemont Le Versant Rosé 2014 Coteau Rougemont Saint Pépin 2013Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 2012

De l’autre côté de la vallée du St-Laurent, à Saint-Eustache, Isabelle Gonthier et Daniel Lalande veillent sur le Vignoble de la Rivière du Chêne depuis maintenant 15 ans. L’œnologue Laetitia Huet y élabore, entre autres, Le Rosé Gabrielle 2014. Coloré et riche en saveurs fruitées, mais sans cette sucrésité et ce caractère « bonbon » qui sévit depuis quelques années au rayon des vins rosés. Pour accompagner vos apéros en terrasses, vous voudrez aussi redécouvrir le William blanc 2014, composé de vandal-cliche, de vidal, de seyval et de frontenac blanc; original, très sec et agréable à boire.

La Nouvelle-Écosse, l’effervescence, toujours l’effervescence

Le climat hivernal doux et les étés frais de la Nouvelle-Écosse sont de très bonnes conditions pour la culture de raisins à forte teneur en acidité, nécessaires à l’élaboration de vins effervescents. Depuis 2008, le Québécois Jean-Benoît Deslauriers agit à titre d’oenologue chez Benjamin Bridge, vignoble agrobiologique développé en 2001 dans la vallée de la Gaspereau, non loin de la baie de Fundy.

Premier vin offert à la SAQ, le Nova 7, un effervescent, est issu d’acadie blanc 22 %, de muscat de new york, d’ortega et de vidal. Un vin doux certes, mais qui n’accuse aucune lourdeur malgré ses 60 grammes de sucre. Une vin doux original et fort sympathique à boire sur la terrasse par un bel après-midi d’été ou encore à la fin d’un repas, pour terminer la soirée en légèreté ! 

Santé et bonne Fête du Canada !

Nadia Fournier

Note de la rédaction: vous pouvez lire les commentaires de dégustation complets en cliquant sur les noms de vins, les photos de bouteilles ou les liens mis en surbrillance. Les abonnés payants à Chacun son vin ont accès à toutes les critiques dès leur mise en ligne. Les utilisateurs inscrits doivent attendre 60 jours après leur parution pour les lire. L’adhésion a ses privilèges ; parmi ceux-ci, un accès direct à de bons vins !


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Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

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Season 5, Table 10 of “So, You Think you Know Wine?”

A Proper Pinot Noir (aka Blind Taster’s Treat)

The oh-so serious sport of wine tasting is receiving a major reality check in Season 5 of WineAlign’s “So, You Think You Know Wine?”. Without any clues, host Seán Cullen takes each table through the swirling, sniffing, and gurgling ritual of wine tasting – asking them to correctly identify the grape, country, region, vintage, and price of the wine.

Table 10 brings together Sara d’Amato, Véronique Rivest, Brad Royale and chef Chris McDonald. Véronique has her heart set on pinot noir from the very first sniff and leads off with that strong suggestion. Then, for the others, it comes down to a contest of vintage, country and region. The one thing they all agree on is that this is a lovely wine.

Click here to watch Table 10 or read on to learn more about the contestants and the scoring method.

Score Card:

Tensions are mounting as the scores have now been released. ONLY the top six will advance to the playoffs. Here’s a look at how the contestants are doing so far, not including today’s episode.

Score up to Table 9

Table 10

As always, the video series brings together Canada’s top wine experts, but this time a few well-known food personalities have taken on the daunting task of competing against wine critics, sommeliers, and wine educators.

Sara d’Amato

Sara is a Toronto-based wine consultant, sommelier, wine critic and principal partner with WineAlign. She has worked in cellars both in Niagara and in France, as Sommelier at the Four Seasons Hotel and at the Platinum Club of the Air Canada Centre. She is also a contributor to Chatelaine magazine. Sara is the first and only woman to have won the Grand Award at the prestigious Wine Tasting Challenge.

Sara d'Amato

Brad Royale

Brad has been involved in retail and restaurant management for fifteen years and he is now the Wine Director for Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts. He has won multiple awards for his wine programs. In 2012 Brad launched his own wine label, Kitten Swish…it’s delicious.

Brad Royale

Véronique Rivest

Véronique won second place at the prestigious Sommelier du Monde Competition in 2013, in fact, she is the first woman ever to have made it to the podium. She is a wine columnist for Ottawa’s Le Droit newspaper and Radio-Canada and she has just opened her own wine bar in Gatineau, Quebec called Soif.

 

Véronique Rivest

Chris McDonald

Chris has worked in Toronto restaurants for 40 years. He started out as a busboy and quickly traveled up the ranks eventually becoming chef and owner of two of Toronto’s most loved restaurants – Avalon and Cava.  He’s now taking a well-deserved break before he starts his next adventure.

Chris McDonald

The Scoring

The scoring on each wine remains similar to past seasons with points for Variety, Country, Region, Appellation, Vintage and Price.

Variety:  3 points
Country, Region, Appellation:  up to 4 points
Vintage:  up to 2 points
Price (within 10% on either side): 1 point

Let the games begin! Pour yourself a glass of wine and watch table 8.

For those of you new to our video series, “So, You Think You Know Wine?”, we have saved all previous episodes under the Videos tab.

Previously on Season 5 of “So, You Think You Know Wine?”:

Table 1 – Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2013
Table 2 – Creekside Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Table 3 – Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Table 4 – The Grinder Pinotage 2013
Table 5 – Faustino VII Tempranillo 2012
Table 6 – Gnarly Head Pinot Noir 2012
Table 7 – Laroche Chablis St. Martin 2012
Table 8 – Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2010
Table 9 – Root: 1 Carmenère 2012

We hope that you find this new series entertaining and that you have as much fun watching as we did filming. As usual, please send your comments to feedback@winealign.com and feel free to share this video with your friends and family.

Special thanks to our glassware sponsor, Schott Zwiesel, for their beautiful glasses and carafes used during filming.


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Balderson Cheese

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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES June 27 – Part Two

Canada is Bigger than Canada Day
By David Lawrason, with notes from John Szabo and Sara d’Amato

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

As VINTAGES releases its token selection of new Canadian wines this week ahead of Canada Day – all ten of them among 120 new releases – John, Sara, Michael and I plus other WineAlign critics are in Niagara judging over 1400 Canadian wines at the National Wine Awards of Canada. I have never been one to overplay patriotism as a reason to drink Canadian wine, firmly believing that quality must be the driver of its success. These annual awards are a significant tool to that end, helping winemakers benchmark themselves, and providing consumers with the names of those wines that stand out. We will certainly be displaying the winners in the weeks ahead. Your inbox will be buzzing with the news.

But I am disappointed that VINTAGES, during Canada’s national week, has not greatly bumped up its Canadian representation. Why not devote an entire release to Canadian wine? There are certainly enough very good wines out there from B.C., Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Well here’s why it’s not happening. The LCBO has a template that prescribes how many wines, from which countries/regions, get released every two weeks. And it’s really all about store/shelf management – keeping the same number of SKUs in the same locations within the same stores week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Arguably it is for the shopping ease and familiarity of consumers, but it’s more for the convenience of unionized staff. Heaven forbid they would have to create a new, enticing display of 100 great new Canadian wines on Canada Day. Much easier to plaster big very expensive posters in the window and call that a promotion.

I am not blaming any individual within the LCBO, except perhaps its leadership. The LCBO’s intrinsic and historic inflexibility is one reason that the Canadian wine industry – and those of all other countries in fact – are crying for some form of privatization. A model that will allow at least a tripling of SKUs sold within a network of stores that includes supermarkets, cold beer and wine stores, fine wine stores and regionally dedicated shops (these all exist elsewhere in Canada). A network that will allow the elasticity required to manage the ebb and flow of a product so wonderfully diverse as wine.

This summer I am more hopeful than ever. We are on the eve of major change in Ontario. By September ex-TD Bank chairman Ed Clark, mandated by Kathleen Wynn’s Liberals, is supposed to propose how wine in supermarkets might work. Which of course will be a welcome start when it finally does come about. But as listed above, supermarkets are only one piece of a much more diverse template that is required.

The Ontario wine industry itself is strongly in favour of independent wine shops selling both Ontario and imported wine. This a bold and crucial stance, because as I said, patriotism should not be the only reason that we buy Canadian wine. It must compete head to head in a fair retail environment, and at least some of Ontario’s winemakers have figured that out – often those that do best in the National Wine Awards.

My greatest hope is that Ed Clark also believes this. That he beats back the howls of the vested interests who seek advantage for themselves over what makes sense for the industry at large and the consumers it serves. Wine in supermarkets is a huge first step, but independent stores must soon follow.

As an interim step the existing private retail licenses granted to the large Ontario wineries before 1988 must be re-distributed among the many interests selling Canadian and imported wines. Ontario’s international trade partners cannot, and will not, disagree. When it is proven to work – which it will – many more licenses need to be made available. As many as the market demands. And Ontario will finally join the rest of the globe in terms of natural wine retailing. We are still, as we speak, an anomaly on this planet. And we are widely ridiculed.

We ask you to celebrate Canada Day with a bottle of Canadian wine, but in the true spirit of Canadian globalism, if you decide that a wine from France, Chile or New Zealand is what you want in the moment then do so without guilt. Canada welcomes all. Canada is bigger than Canada Day. Every person contributing to wine production somewhere in the world matters too.

Here are our picks from the June 27th release, plus a couple of recently tasted Canadian selections from VINTAGES Essentials

Canadian Wines

Vieni Estates 2012 Foch Vintage Reserve Ontario Canada ($19.95)

David Lawrason – Canada’s wine industry began with hybrids like marechal foch, and a few remaining old vine versions garner an almost cult-like following (eight were entered in this year’s wine awards). This deep, gnarly, rustic red explains their curious durability.
John Szabo – This is one of the best hybrid wines I’ve come across in long-term memory, great for the back yard or cottage with is smoky, forest floor, resinous herbs and dried plum flavours.

Calamus 2013 Steely Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula ($14.95)

David Lawrason – Unoaked chardonnay is often boring, giving us no reason not to drink pinot grigio instead (which can also be boring). This is a nicely fresh, quite fulsome unoaked chardonnay with ripe pear, florals and honey. Calamus has re-designed its labels and found some new energy  in its wines of late.

Vieni Foch Vintage Reserve 2012 Calamus Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 Sperling Vineyards Gewurztraminer 2013 Malivoire Musqué Spritz 201413th Street Cabernet Merlot 2012

Sperling 2013 Gewurztraminer, Okanagan Valley ($28.95)

David Lawrason – Born and raised on the family’s vineyard in East Kelowna, Anne Sperling is better known in Ontario as the veteran winemaker at Southbrook and formerly Malivoire. She also commutes home to BC to tend Sperling Vineyards. This is a quite delicate, off-dryish gewurz  from estate vines well positioned on a south-facing hill overlooking west Kelowna and the lake.

Malivoire 2014 Musqué Spritz Beamsville Bench, ($19.95)

John Szabo – Lively, fresh, off-dry, and yes, spritzy, Malivoire’s 2014 Musqué Spritz is an infinitely drinkable, aperitif-friendly white that goes down with alarming ease. A great wine to have around the house for the summer, for those impromptu afternoon occasions.

13th Street 2012 Cabernet Merlot, Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula ($19.95)

David Lawrason – The 2012 vintage is perhaps the best all ‘round vintage Niagara has seen to date. Having been dealt nicely ripened fruit, JP Colas has delivered a quite lifted complex cab/merlot blend with notes of slightly stewed raspberry currant, herbs, leather, grilled red pepper and fresh herbs.

Culmina 2012 Hypothesis, Okanagan Valley ($39.95)

David Lawason – Since departing Jackson-Triggs when the label was sold to US-based Constellation Brands, Donald Triggs and his family have been carving out an ambitious new vineyard project on the benches of the south Okanagan’s Golden Mile. This is a very serious, sculpted, deep merlot-based red.
Sara d’Amato – From the recently delimited, sub-appellation of Golden Mile Bench, this BC Bordeaux blend has the complexity of left bank Bordeaux but the appealing, generous nature of a new world. Youthful and spicy but with excellent structure for mid to long term cellaring.

Culmina Hypothesis 2012 Malivoire Chardonnay 2012 Cave Spring Estate Riesling 2013 Queylus Reserve Du Domaine Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010

Malivoire 2012 Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula ($19.95)

John Szabo – Made from essentially all Beamsville Bench fruit, Malivoire’s 2012 is a typically ripe and flowery, gently oaked, lively and well-balanced chardonnay. Acids are crisp and lively, and fruit is in the ripe orchard spectrum. Lovely wine, well priced.

Cave Spring 2013 Estate Riesling, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula ($17.95)

John Szabo – Cave Spring’s 2013 riesling is just off-dry but balanced, lively and vibrant, with arch-typical riesling profile – as reliable as they come.

Queylus 2010 Reserve du Domaine Merlot Cabernet Franc, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada ($39.95)

Sara d’Amato – A head turning Bordeaux blend from the hands of one of Canada’s most celebrated consultant winemakers, Thomas Bachelder. From rose and violets to blackcurrants and plums, this fleshy but structured palate is swoon-worthy.

International Reds

Finca Sophenia 2013 Reserve Malbec, Tupungato, Mendoza ($17.95)

David Lawrason – This is a very pretty, floral and lifted malbec that doesn’t succumb to oak from the high country at the north end of Mendoza’a Uco Valley.

Château Pey De Pont 2010, Médoc, Bordeaux $21.95

David Lawrason – The 2010 vintage continues to deliver great value among the petits chateaux. With well layered currants, spice, herbs, vanilla and a hint of maturing leather, this is ready to roll and should hold over the next three to five years.

Finca Sophenia Reserve Malbec 2013 Château Pey De Pont 2010 Gran Passione Rosso 2013 Domaine Le Clos Des Cazaux La Tour Sarrasine Gigondas 2012

Gran Passione 2013 Rosso, Veneto, Italy ($15.95)

David Lawrason – Lots here for $16! This is a very smooth, ripe and easy going ripasso with very good density. It has a nicely lifted nose of plum/cherry fruit, chocolate, some underlying meatiness and herbs.

Domaine Le Clos Des Cazaux 2012 La Tour Sarrasine Gigondas, Rhône France ($28.95)

John Szabo – A complete southern Rhône package here, classy and compelling, drinking well now, but should also hold a decade in the cellar quite comfortably. Best 2015-2025.

Il Molino Di Grace 2007 Il Margone Riserva Chianti Classico, Tuscany. Italy ($34.95)

John Szabo – There’s a lot of wine here for the money; this drinks up there with Brunello costing twice as much. I love the fully mature, earthy, mushroom and wet clay/wood- oxidative feel. There’s a touch of funk here to be sure, but it melds seamlessly with the rest of the ensemble. Best 2015-2022.

Domaine Le Clos Des Cazaux La Tour Sarrasine Gigondas 2012 Il Molino Di Grace Il Margone Riserva Chianti Classico 2007 Michel Gassier Les Piliers Syrah 2012 Sileni The Triangle Merlot 2013

2012 Michel Gassier Les Piliers Syrah AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhône, France ($18.95)

John Szabo – Here’s a fine value, lively and authentic syrah, floral and very pretty, with elegant tannins and vibrant acids. Very classy, and really well priced.  Best 2015-2020.
Sara d’Amato – Costieres de Nimes’ milder climate sandwiched between the southern Rhone and the Languedoc provides a haven for finicky syrah, allowing it to express itself in all its peppery and floral glory. An excellent value that has crowd-pleasing appeal.

Sileni 2013 The Triangle Merlot, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand ($19.95)

Sara d’Amato – Since the late 90s, Sileni has been producing a wide range of wines in the milder climate of Hawke’s Bay. This standout merlot shows terrific concentration and fruit but with a nervy acidic backbone that makes it versatile with food.

Ermete Medici & Figli Concerto 2013And for Something Special on the Patio This Summer…..

Medici Ermete & Figli 2013 Arte E Concerto Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna  Italy ($19.95)

John Szabo – A long-time standard-bearer for Lambrusco, Medici Ermete’s Concerto, made from the Salamino member of the vast lambrusco family of grapes, is a deeply-coloured, very fruity and engaging wine, essentially dry (10 grams of residual sugar) and light-mid weight on the palate (11.5% alcohol). I like the dark berry flavours, the floral and peppery notes reminiscent of syrah done in carbonic maceration. Decent length. Perfect for the charcuterie board (is it a coincidence that the grape is named salamino, after the salami-like shape of its bunches?).

From VINTAGES June 27th, 2015

Lawrason’s Take
Szabo’s Smart Buys
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
All Reviews

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Castello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2011

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20 bons vins à moins de 20$ pour juin

Les choix de notre équipe du Québec

C’est bien beau, les bouteilles dispendieuses qui font vibrer d’émotion, mais au jour le jour, avec tous les autres comptes à payer par ailleurs, on a la plupart du temps envie de se faire plaisir avec de bons vins pas trop chers. Ça tombe bien ! À chaque fin de mois, nos chroniqueurs vous suggèrent 20 bonnes affaires à moins de 20 $ parmi les bouteilles qu’ils ont goûtées récemment. Santé !

Notre équipe du Québec : Bill, Marc, Nadia et Rémy

Les choix de Marc Chapleau

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2014  : Tellement typé sauvignon de Nouvelle-Zélande, et tellement ok ! Ça sent tout plein l’asperge, le litchi, le pamplemousse, le buis, nommez-en, mais c’est convaincant parce que l’acidité est là et le sucre n’est pas trop marqué (4 g). Vraiment rien à redire.

Artazuri Garnacha 2013 : Quel bon achat ! Violacé, fruité et épicé, boisé aussi, mais l’ensemble est nerveux, bien tendu, pas si corsé et la finale est sur la fraîcheur. À 15 $ et des poussières, cet espagnol est un bon candidat pour les grillades estivales à base de viande.

Cistus Douro Reserva 2013 : Un assemblage de cépages indigènes portugais (base de tinta roriz, autre nom du tempranillo) sur le fruit, souple et coulant, mi-corsé seulement, et qui sera d’une belle polyvalence à table. À moins de 13 $, un très bon achat.

Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Sauvignon Blanc 2014Artazuri Garnacha 2013Cistus Reserva 2013Château Camarsac Vieilles Vignes 2010Mas Collet Montsant 2012

Château Camarsac Bordeaux supérieur 2010 : Nez de bordeaux relativement évolué, bien que le vin n’ait pas encore cinq ans. Ce dernier demeure bien vivant, cependant, l’acidité est marquée et tonifiante, les saveurs sont à peine corsées. Prometteur, malgré le début d’évolution ; revoir à l’horizon 2017-2018.

Mas Collet Montsant Celler de Capçanes 2012 : Rouge catalan robuste, solidement constitué. N’est pas sans évoquer certains rouges du Rhône sud, type gigondas ou châteauneuf-du-pape, en plus tannique, en moins charnu et en plus minéral. À 17,55 $, un bon rapport qualité-prix.

Les choix de Rémy Charest

Ce mois-ci, ma liste de vins va avec une trois questions estivales.

Premièrement, si un vin s’appelle le Lac des Roches, est-ce que ça veut dire qu’il est bon pour les parties de pêche et les filets de truite? Dans le cas de ce blanc accessible (moins de 13$), une cuvée qui existe depuis une bonne trentaine d’années, le nom réfère à un lac particulièrement rocheux situé non loin des vignobles de la maison Boutari. Quoi qu’il en soit, le vin est joliment parfumé et montre une fois de plus les vraies aubaines qu’offrent les vins grecs. (Et oui, je le verrais bien avec la truite.)

Boutari Lac Des Roches 2014Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2011Don Pascual Tannat Merlot 2013Chartier Créateur D'harmonies Le Rosé 2014Pétale De Rose 2014

Deuxième question, quel genre de rouge, pour le BBQ? Avec les sauces relevées ou les condiments des burgers et hot-dogs, mieux vaut rester dans le beau, bon, pas cher. Mais ça ne veut pas dire qu’on doive se limiter à un seul profil. On peut y aller avec du fruité généreux et de l’épice, comme on en trouve dans le Tautavel de Gérard Bertrand, ex-champion de rugby. Si on se tourne vers le tannat-merlot Don Pascual, de l’Uruguay, on sera plutôt sur des notes de fumée et de pied de tomate : une personnalité bien différente du précédent.

Troisième question : est-ce que le rosé, grosso modo, c’est toujours pareil? Pour m’amuser, j’ai goûté côte-à-côte celui de François Chartier et le célèbre Pétale de Rose. Un bon exercice pour voir les différences, plus que les ressemblances. Autant le premier est coloré, autant le deuxième est pâle. Le fruité du premier se présente de façon plus exubérante que celui du second, un peu plus aérien, et les textures sont également assez différentes. La bonne chose? Les deux sont bien secs, ce qui les rend d’autant plus rafraîchissants.

Les choix de Nadia Fournier

Envie de dépaysement en attendant les vacances? Il vous faut goûter le Pipeño 2014 de Louis-Antoine Luyt. 100 % país (vieux cépage amené au chili par les premiers missionnaires espagnols), élaboré dans la plus pure tradition chilienne, foulé et égrappé à la main et vinifié en cuve ouverte. Tout léger (12,5 % d’alcool), fringant, du fruit et des notes animales qui lui donnent un air un peu rustique, mais pas trop. Bon vin de soif à servir frais.

Sur un mode plus charnu et solide, le Tradition 2012 de Denis Ferrer et Bruno Ribière (Ferrer-Ribière) fera votre bonheur quotidien avec des grillades. Belle expression roussillonnaise des cépages syrah, carignan, mourvèdre et grenache. Gorgé de soleil, suave et gourmand, avec juste ce qu’il faut de tanins. À moins de 20 $, on achète les yeux fermés.

Louis Antoine Luyt Pipeno 2014 Domaine Ferrer Ribière Tradition 2012Argyros Atlantis White 2014Le Pive Gris Vin Rosé 2014Ijalba Genoli Viura 2013

Tout juste rentrée de Santorin, où j’ai redécouvert avec palsiir la cuvée Atlantis 2014 de la famille Argyros, qui a choisi d’assouplir la vivacité caractéristique de l’assyrtiko, avec une petite proportion d’athiri et d’aidani. L’exemple même du vin blanc sec et minéral qui évoque le bord de mer. Vite, sortez les fruits de mer!

Depuis son arrivée sur le marché québécois, le Pive Gris de la famille Jeanjean est l’une des valeurs sûres en matière de vins rosés. Toujours à la hauteur des attentes, avec des saveurs fruitées délicates, juste assez de gras, de vitalité et de salinité.

Autre valeur sûre, le Genoli 2014 de Ijalba charme toujours par sa fraîcheur et par l’originalité aromatique du cépage viura. À table comme à l’apéro, on appréciera sa présence en bouche à la fois friande et désaltérante. À ce prix, un must estival !

Les choix de Bill Zacharkiw

Frais et dispos !

Avec la température qui se réchauffe, il faut porter encore plus attention à la température de service, surtout pour les rouges. Siroter une bonne bouteille à l’extérieur par une soirée chaude, dépassant les 20 degrés, c’est formidable ; ce le sera cependant moins si le vin est lui-même à ces températures. Ayez donc un seau à glace sous la main, et plongez-y la bouteille si le vino réchauffe trop — pas plus de 18 degrés.

Les blancs sont souvent servis trop froids, mais pour certains c’est mieux ainsi. Exemple, le fabuleux 2013 Riesling de Selbach-Oster. Le vin est parfaitement équilibré en termes de sucre et d’acidité ; servez-le à 8 C et il conservera tout son charme.

Un bon chardonnay, c’est affaire d’acidité et de texture. Trop froid, et il n’y a que l’acidité qui ressort. Alors un vin comme le 2014 Chardonnay d’Argentine Salentein Portillo sera servi à environ 8 C, mais ne craignez rien s’il monte à 12 C : il n’en sera que plus aromatique et plus riche.

Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Halbtrocken Riesling Kabinett 2013Salentein Portillo Chardonnay 2014Clos Bellane Côtes Du Rhône Altitude 2014Domaine Sauger Cheverny 2012Pierre Henri Morel Signargues Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2013

Le service du rosé est plus délicat. Servez bien froids ceux qui sont sucrés, mais les meilleurs, plus secs, comme le 2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Altitude du Clos Bellane, tolèreront jusqu’à 14 degrés. N’oubliez pas que ces vins sont faits à partir de raisins rouges et donc que pour révéler tous leurs arômes, il ne faut pas les traiter comme si c’était de la bière.

À 14 C, justement, les rosés et les rouges se rencontrent. Pour les rouges fruités et rafraîchissants, comme le 2012 Cheverny du Domaine Sauger, c’est le point de départ idéal. Mais ne dépassez pas la barre des 16 C, au risque de perdre le fruit et l’acidité croquante.

Les rouges plus puissants, tels le 2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Signargues de Pierre Henri Morel, devraient être servis à 16 C et ils gagneront en texture et en profil aromatique s’ils se réchauffent de quelques degrés.

Souvenez-vous : la meilleure façon de détruire un grand vin, c’est de le servir trop chaud !

La liste complète : 20 bons vins à moins de 20$

Note de la rédaction: vous pouvez lire les commentaires de dégustation complets en cliquant sur les noms de vins, les photos de bouteilles ou les liens mis en surbrillance. Les abonnés payants à Chacun son vin ont accès à toutes les critiques dès leur mise en ligne. Les utilisateurs inscrits doivent attendre 60 jours après leur parution pour les lire. L’adhésion a ses privilèges ; parmi ceux-ci, un accès direct à de grands vins!


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Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

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20 under $20 for June

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

Ah yes, the end of the month. It’s the time when we pay for our excesses over the previous weeks. Well, fear not, this doesn’t mean that you still can’t drink well. Our four critics have chosen for you their favourite five under $20 wines that they have recently tasted. No cash? Still thirsty? No problem! Here is the June version of the 20 under $20.

Chacun son Vin Critic Team

Chillin’ it with Bill Zacharkiw

As the temperature starts to climb towards more reasonable numbers, it’s important to pay extra attention to service temperature, especially for your reds. Drinking wine outside on a plus 20C night is amazing, unless your wine of course is the same temperature. So keep an ice bucket handy to give your wines a dunk if they start to creep too high. 18C is the maximum.

Whites are often served too cold, but some should be served on the cooler side. The fabulous 2013 Riesling from Selbach-Oster is one such example. The wine is perfectly balanced between its acidity and residual sugar, so keep it at 8C to maintain that equilibrium.

Good chardonnay is about acid and texture. Too cold and you just get the acid. So a wine like the 2014 Chardonnay from Argentina’s Salentein should be started at 8c, but don’t fear if it goes up to 12C. It will get more aromatic and rich.

Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Halbtrocken Riesling Kabinett 2013Salentein Portillo Chardonnay 2014Clos Bellane Côtes Du Rhône Altitude 2014Domaine Sauger Cheverny 2012Pierre Henri Morel Signargues Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2013

Rosé service can be perplexing. If they are sweet keep them cold. But for top flight and very dry pink wines like the 2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Altitude from Clos Bellane, ideal service temperature is between 10-14C. Remember, these are made with red grapes and if you want to appreciate the aromatics, they can’t be served like a beer.

14C is where rosé and reds meet. For fruity and fresh reds, like the 2012 Cheverny from Domaine Sauger, it is the ideal starting point. Don’t let it go much over 16C or you will lose the crispy acidity and fresh fruit.

More powerful wines, like the 2013 Signargues Côtes-du-Rhône Villages from Pierre Henri Morel, should be started at 16C, but can warm up nicely a few degrees to highlight the texture and more subtle aromatic notes in this rich and complex wine.

Remember, the best way to turn a great wine into a bad wine is to serve it at the wrong temperature!

Marc Chapleau’s picks

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2014 : Very stereotypical sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, and very good! Nice aromatic complexity with notes of asparagus, litchi, grapefruit and boxwood, amongst others, but its success lies in its balance between acidity and residual sugar. At 4 grams/l, it does the job. No complaints.

Artazuri Garnacha 2013 : What a great buy! Purple toned, fruit and spice with notes of oak as well, but the ensemble has a beautiful twitchiness, so it is not overly powerful and there is a refreshing acidity on the finish. At around $15, this Spanish bargain is a great accompaniment for any meat you might want to throw on the grill.

Saint Clair Marlborough Premium Sauvignon Blanc 2014Artazuri Garnacha 2013Cistus Reserva 2013Château Camarsac Vieilles Vignes 2010Mas Collet Montsant 2012

Cistus Douro Reserva 2013 : a blend of indigenous Portuguese varieties dominated by tinta roriz, otherwise known as tempranillo. This is all about the fruit, textured and supple, and not so powerful that it looses its adaptability at the table. At under $13, a very good buy.

Château Camarsac Bordeaux supérieur 2010 : Typical Bordeaux nose that shows a slight evolution towards more tertiary aromas, even if the wine is barely 5 years old. But the wine still has lots of life as the acidity is still vibrant, the flavours still powerful. A promising wine for a short stint in the cellar and to be revisited in 2017-2018.

Mas Collet Montsant Celler de Capçanes 2012 : Robust Catalan red that is built for power. Harkens images of  southern Rhône wines from Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-pape, though more tannic, less rich and more mineral. At $17.55, an excellent value.

Remy Charest’s Selection

This month’s affordable wines come with three summer questions…

First, if a wine is called Lac des Roches it should go well with a fishing trip, right? Well, this aromatic, low-priced Greek white (under 13$) would go well with a freshly caught trout, that’s for sure. Its name refers to a particularly rocky lake located not too far from the vineyards used by producer Boutari to produce this easy drinking, aromatic blend that shows, once again, the great deals you can get from Greek wines, especially the whites.

Boutari Lac Des Roches 2014Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2011Don Pascual Tannat Merlot 2013Chartier Créateur D'harmonies Le Rosé 2014Pétale De Rose 2014

Second question : what type of red goes well with a BBQ? When dealing with lots of sauces and spices, or the condiments used with burgers and hot-dogs, I say keep it simple and affordable. But that doesn’t mean there is only one profile available. For instance, you could go with generous fruit and spice, as exemplified by the Tautavel by ex-rugby champ Gérard Bertrand. Or choose a wine like the Don Pascual Tannat-Merlot, which is more on the smoky, tomato paste profile. Both do their thing very well.

Finally : do all rosés taste the same? Just for fun, I tasted the 2014 rosé by François Chartier side by side with the well-known Pétale de Rose. A good way to taste both the differences, as well as the similarities. While the former is rather colorful, the latter is extremely pale. The fruit character on the Chartier is a bit more exuberant, but the Pétale expresses itself in a more open, ethereal way. The best part? Both are quite dry, which makes them all the more refreshing.

Nadia Fournier’s selections

Need a change of scenery as you await your vacation? You have to taste the Pipeño 2014 from Louis-Antoine Luyt. 100% país (an ancient Chilean grape brought over by Spanish missionaries), made in the traditional Chilean way – sorted and crushed by hand and vinified in open cuves. Light (12.5 % abv), refreshing with lots of fruit and a subtle animal note that brings a certain rusticity, but well within reason. Good wine that should be served on the cool side.

On the richer and more powerful spectrum, the Tradition 2012 from Denis Ferrer et Bruno Ribière (Ferrer-Ribière) will more than adequately satisfy even around the BBQ. Beautiful expression of the Roussillon’s great grapes – syrah, carignan, mourvèdre and grenache. A wine that’s full of sunshine, suave and gourmand, with just enough tannin. At under $20, an easy purchase.

Louis Antoine Luyt Pipeno 2014 Domaine Ferrer Ribière Tradition 2012Argyros Atlantis White 2014Le Pive Gris Vin Rosé 2014Ijalba Genoli Viura 2013

I just returned from Santorini, where I re-discovered with pleasure the Atlantis 2014 from the Argyros family who have chosen the soften up the characteristic vivacity of the assyrtiko grape with a small proportion of indigenous grapes athiri and aidani. A wonderful example of a white wine, dry and mineral, that transports you the beach. Bring on the seafood.

Since its arrival on the Quebec marketplace, the Pive Gris from the Jeanjean family has been consistently one of the better rosés available. The latest vintage is just as good, with its delicate fruit notes, just enough richness, and full of vitality and a touch of salinity.

Another sure value is the Genoli from Ijalba. It always charms with its freshness as well as the aromatic originality brought by the viura grape. Whether drunk as an aperitif or at the table, it’s easy to appreciate it refreshing and thirst quenching nature. A Summer must!

Cheers !

The complete list: 20 under $20

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to Chacun son vin see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

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Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (June)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Many summer whites and BBQ reds joined the Top list this month. With this many new selections there is surely a value shopping choice for everyone.

There are eleven new wines on the list for you to try with two coming from the recently delisted section. For the next four weeks another four wines already on the list are on promotion i.e.  have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or have a Limited Time Offer (LTO), making these wines even more attractive; all this will surely make your June drinking more affordable.

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1,600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials collection. This month I selected thirteen wines from Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through LTOs.

To make up the Top 20 under $20 I added another five wines, all with BAMs, that make them good choices and though none of them quite made it on to the Top50, they were all close.

The discount period runs until July 19th. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I was able to ensure that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!

Reds

Villa Ponciago Beaujolais Villages 2012, Burgundy, France ($6.80 was $12.20 Discontinued. Limited quantities) – A charming fruity light red. Try lightly chilled with poultry. About 1000 bottles remain.

Eclipse Montepulciano D’ Abruzzo 2013 Abruzzo Italy ($7.55) New to Top 50 – The 2013 is the latest vintage of this well priced Italian red. Try with pizza and meaty or tomato pasta sauces.

Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2013, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75 + 4 BAMs) – A midweight dry vibrant red that is great with tomato sauces.

Villa Ponciago Beaujolais Villages 2012 Eclipse Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013 Citra Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2013 Jean Philippe Janoueix l'Evidence 2011 Vila Regia 2013

Jean Philippe Janoueix L’Evidence 2011 Bordeaux, France ($7.95 was $14.00 Discontinued. Limited quantities) – A supple easy drinking Bordeaux red with charm and structure for enjoying with food. Try with roast beef. About 1700 bottles remain.

Vila Regia 2013, Douro Valley, Portugal ($7.95) New to Top 50 – A dependable versatile table red for a wide variety of dishes at a great price.

Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2012, Calabria. Italy ($8.15 + 3 BAMs) Top 50 June – A juicy well balanced southern Italian red for burgers or grilled sausages.

Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2013 Mendoza, Argentina ($8.95 was $9.95) New to Top 50 – A soft fruity malbec that’s well balanced. Chill a little and try with pizza.

Fonseca Periquita 2012, Peninsula De Setubal, Portugal ($8.95 + 5BAMs) Top 50 June – A perennial favourite that keeps on delivering. It’s a midweight dry red that works well with lamb cutlets.

Spadafora Terrano Rosso 2012 Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2013 Fonseca Periquita 2012 Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2013

Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2013, Salento, Puglia, Italy ($8.95) New to Top 50 – The 2013 now comes with a convenient screwtop. Same great value for a balanced fruity dry red for many food choices.

Bodegas Volcanes de Chile Summit Reserva Cabernet Syrah 2013 Rapel Valley, Chile ($9.95 + 7BAMs) – A midweight to full bodied juicy red at a great price. Grown on volcanic soils which adds to great its purity of flavour.

Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Mendoza, Argentina ($10.95 was $12.95) New to Top 50 – A structured ripe fragrant cabernet that is cellar worthy, but you can also enjoy now with a steak after an hour in a decanter.

Guardian Reserva Red 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($11.60 was $13.60) New to Top 50 – A complex red cabernet blend finely balanced with a fruity long lingering finish with some fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Bodegas Volcanes de Chile Summit Reserva Cabernet Syrah 2013 Santa Julia Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Guardian Reserva Red 2013The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2013 Quinta Do Valdoeiro Baga Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2011

The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvedre Viognier 2013, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.95 was 13.95) Top 50 June – A red blend from the Cape that captures the essence of a Rhone red. Try with BBQ meats.

Quinta Do Valdoeiro Baga, Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah 2011 Bairrada Portugal ($12.95) New to Top 50 – A fresh lively blend of the indigenous grape baga with two other grapes. Try with roast meats.

Whites

Citra Trebbiano D’Abruzzo 2013, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75 + 4BAMs) – A ripe fruity white with a good depth of flavour and good palate length for such an inexpensive white.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014, Colchagua Valley Chile ($9.95 + 5BAMs) Top 50 June – An inexpensive fragrant white. Enjoy as an aperitif or with mildly flavoured seafood or white meat dishes.

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014 Casablanca Valley, Chile ($9.95 + 4BAMs) – A well priced fresh sauvignon with a fragrant nose. Try with grilled chicken or sautéed seafood.

Citra Trebbiano D'abruzzo 2013Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2014 Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014 Folonari Soave 2013 Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marqués De Riscal 2014, Rueda

Folonari Soave 2013, Veneto, Italy ($9.95 + 5BAMs) – A classic Italian white with delicate aromas and a juicy midweight palate. Try as an alternative to pinot grigio.

Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($10.95 was $12.95) New to Top 50 – A cool coastal sauvignon with good varietal character. Try with sautéed scallops with a lemongrass dressing or creamy goats cheese salad.

Marqués De Riscal 2014, Rueda, Spain ($11.60 + 4BAMs) New to Top 50 – A delicious bright crisp fresh white with a very inviting fruity nose. Try with seafood.

How does a wine get selected for the Top 20 under $20.

Top 20 Under 20There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either in the LCBO Wines section or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines. I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection (Top 50,) that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 37 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

To be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I use a mathematical model to make the Top 50 selections from the wines in our database. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please us. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

The Top 50 changes all the time, so remember to check before shopping. I will be back next month with more news on value arrivals to Essentials and the LCBO.

Cheers!

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

Editors Note: You can find our complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great value wines!


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Catena Malbec High Mountain Vines 2013

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Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008