Posts Tagged ‘Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay’

Chill out with cool Chardonnays

Posted by Julie

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Who does not love the dog days of summer?  Flowers are in full bloom, berries and vegetables crowd the market stalls, people are barbequing and in spite of the wet weather, those little grapes of ours are slowly making their way to fruition.

So it is not surprising that the LCBO Vintages release for July 20 focuses on BBQ and Cool Climate Chardonnay wines. I remember a time when Chardonnay wines used to be heavy and oaky which probably gave some weight to the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) era. Now, there is so much variety in winemaking techniques that Chardonnay has been given a makeover.

In 2011, approximately twenty nine Ontario wineries started the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Association that has done much to return the Chardonnay grape to dignity. While the grape origins may be in Burgundy, France, it has flourished in the cooler climate Ontario soil that offers minerality and difference to the grape. It is still the most popular varietal for people to drink and the only difficulty this release presents, is finding the Chardonnay style that is right for you.

This weekend in time with the Vintages release Chardonnay feature, Niagara is hosting the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (follow #i4C2013 on Twitter or @coolchardonnay for all of the buzz!) again this year and it is bigger than ever with a Grand Tasting event outdoors, lunches at wineries, intimate winemakers dinners in the vineyards, educational seminars – everything to showcase the best Chardonnays in the world as they come together in Niagara.  Worthy of a roadtrip!

I hope you will join me in picking up a few of my top Chardonnay picks at Vintages and don’t be afraid to pair it with a hamburger or grilled steak.  You will find out how very “cool” Chardonnay can be.

Cheers & Enjoy!



Angel’s Gate Mountainview Chardonnay 2010

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$18.95 (Vintages #116384) 13.5% alcohol

Some wines are just so good, I want to enjoy them on their own and not have to worry about pairing them with food. I’m sure most Europreans would disagree with me, however.  A pale golden coloured medium bodied Chard. with aromas and tastes of stone, pineapple, lemon zest and green apple. It’s fresh, medium bodied and makes for a lovely afternoon sipper. It’s lip-smacking delicious on its own or with salad for a light lunch or white fish at supper.


Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Musqué

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$16.95 (Vintages #640516) 13.5% alcohol

This fresh chardonnay has lots of citrusy expression with aromas of white blossoms and stone; a tad mininerally which is typical of the Chardonnay Musqué clone. This undermining of minerality gives it a fresh and light taste with apricot, grapefruit and green apple on the palate and aftertaste. Another great sipper for mid-afternoon and would match grilled chicken and lighter fare.


Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria 2010

DOP, Varvaglione Vigne & Vini, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages# 261784)  14% alcohol

This wine was a Gold Medal 2012 Mundus Vini winner. Made from the Prinitivo grape in the Puglia region of Italy, also known as Zinfandel in North America. It is no wonder that 115 bottles of the 2008 vintage of this wine was purchased by the Vatican following the election of Pope Francis in 2013. Rich ruby red in colour, almost opaque with aromas and tastes of dark berry pie and a little leather. Full bodied, chewy and smooth with a little sweet spice dancing around the palate; medium tannins leaving a velvety and persisting finish. A handsome and elegant wine to serve with any roasts or tenderloin.


The Show Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

California, U.S.A.
$17.95 (Vintages #140715) 13.9% alcohol

Deep dark ripe berries aromas combined with classic pencil shavings waft from the nose of the glass with this Cab. Sauv. An assortment of ripe fruit swirl on the tongue plus, chocolate and mocha flavours, combined with a pinch of sweet spice. It is heady and full bodied layered with flavour and lovely soft tannins. It’s a real “show-stopper” with a long cherry finish.  Would be just fabulous with any grilled meats or ribs in a heavy duty barbeque sauce. Full bodied and well concentrated; stands on its own.


Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label Merlot 2011

California, U.S.A.
$11.95  375 ml (Vintages #250001) 13.5% alcohol

A perfect size for an afternoon picnic!  A medium-bodied Merlot, brimming with aromas of blueberries, violets, dark currants and plums that follow through on the palate. Lovely and smooth, an easy sipper with paté or cheese for a delectable mid afternoon snack under the willow tree.


Rosewood Harvest Gold Mead 2011

Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages# 346767)  12% alcohol

This honey wine also known as InforMead is made from the fermention of honey and water. Honey is flower nectar collected by domesticated honeybees and contains a complex mixture of sugars, enzymes, proteins, organic compounds and trace minerals. These compounds give honey its distinctive flavor and aromas. The wine is light bodied, almost colourless and not at all sweet as one might expect from a honey wine. I detected aromas of beeswax, almost like candles and white blossoms, with tastes of mild yellow baked apple or pear with a delicate aftertaste of those fruits. It could easily be paired with something very spicey, or sushi or even with strawberries for an interesting desert. It is a real conversation piece at a great price point and well worth the pick up.

Grand Total: $100.70 – ooops…I was over by 70 pennies!




6 wine picks at Vintages under $100

Posted by Susan

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Premium wines from some of California’s historic producers are showcased in the May 12 LCBO Vintages release. While California is home to almost every known vitis vinifera the focus is on 3 classics: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Historical records suggest that the vine was introduced to California as early as the late 1700s by Franciscan missionaries. The climate was extremely favourable to viticulture and as the missions moved north, so did the vine. Phylloxera and mildew took their toll in the late 1800s, and the industry was almost completely obliterated by Prohibition through the 1920s and 30s.

But wine has staged a comeback since the 1980s, with certain California wines commanding over $100, such as the Far Niente ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon in this release. Zinfandel, related to Primitivo and thought to be descended from an obscure Croatian varietal, was introduced to California some time during the Gold Rush and became one of the leading grapes in the state, as it adapted well to the soils and climates. There are many long-established vineyards in the states, thus it is quite common to find outstanding old-vine wines from producers such as Ravenswood.

The 1976 Judgement of Paris established California’s pedigree for Cabernet Sauvignon, when a Stag’s Leap Cab beat out the classified Bordeaux estates. Generally known for producing rich, fruity full-bodied wines, California’s mountain vineyards also produce more intense Bordeaux-style wines. Chardonnay is California’s most planted varietal and was made famous by Château Montelena, which won the 1973 Judgement of Paris with its Alexander Valley Chardonnay. The journey of the family and this wine to the competition in Paris is immortalized in the film ‘Bottleshock’ – if you haven’t seen it, give it a whirl, while you sip a glass of the opulent and well-priced Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Chardonnay.

The secondary release highlights rosés from around the world. The most common method of producing rosé is called saignée, where red grapes are crushed and left in contact with the skin for a short period, usually less than 24 hours, to impart color and flavour. That first juice is then fermented separately to produce rosé. For a benchmark dry rosé, consider Château d`Aquèria Tavel Rosé. Should you prefer an organic wine, try the Natura Rosé from Chile, or stay close to home with the just off-dry rosé from Featherstone, or the dry yet fruity Fielding Estate Rosé.

The Israeli wine feature offers a cross-section of white and red wines, from Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon. Argentina strikes again in this release, with some great values, such as the Finca Flichman Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend and the Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon included in this selection. One of my favorite sparkling wines is available in the release, Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne. In addition to the two Canadian rosés, both the Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay and the Fielding Estate Sauvignon Blanc shine among the Local Talent.

Cheers and Enjoy,


If only I had $100, I would buy . . .

St-Nicolas Rosé Crackling Cider

Québec, Canada

$19.95 (Vintages #275362) 7.0% alcohol

Here’s a lovely combination of local summer and autumn fruit in a lightly alcoholic lipsmackingly tasty sparkler. The subtle aromas of strawberries and raspberries macerated with the apple cider tantalize the nose. A mouth-filling, palate-cleansing mousse explodes on the palate. Dry yet fruity, this beverage has a vibrant texture and would be a fine match for a rustic paté or fine Ontario cheddar.

Featherstone Rosé VQA 2011
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$14.95 (Vintages #117861) 12.0% alcohol
The vibrant candy-apple pink tone appeals, as do the sweet floral, red fruit and candy apple aromas of this fruity, mid-weight rosé. There’s a tantalizing whiff of herbs and grilled peppers, tasty red berry flavours, a tangy fresh texture, and a nice clean, juicy finish. Sip on the patio or the porch, pair with almost any appetizer, pizza or light grilled meat!

Finca Flichman ‘Expresiones Reserve’ Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Mendoza, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #507707) 14.5% alcohol
Inky purple, aged 8 months in French and American oak, this dry full-bodied red blend is loaded with luscious ripe black fruit. The aromas include hints of mint and smoke twining around the fruit, the flavours offering hints of dried fruit, spice, chocolate and vanilla. There’s good structure and complexity in this wine, concentrated fruit framed by ripe tannins and fresh acidity, and a finish that dry, warm and fruity. Great value and a good choice for barbequed red meats.

Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #261891) 14.5% alcohol
Here’s another great value, a classic Cabernet displaying aromas and flavours of cedar, black berries, vanilla and charry toast. Dry, full bodied, the palate offers concentrated fruit, a subtle structure and a fresh yet fruity texture. Deftly crafted, nicely balanced, it finishes with a warm fruity flare. A natural match for grilled meats. 

Domaine Boisson Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne 2009
AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France
$19.95 (Vintages #264630) 15.0% alcohol
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvèdre and Carignan, this wine offers alluring aromas—spicy floral perfume, dried herbs, sweet ripe berries and dried cherries. Dry, medium-full bodied, spicy peppery notes garnish a dense core of rich ripe fruit. The underlying structure is clean and firm, the finish dry yet fruity. Savour it now or cellar medium term.

Juan Gil ‘White Label de Cepas Viejas’ Monastrell 2010
DO Jumilla, Spain
$12.95 (Vintages #13656) 14.5% alcohol
The grapes from this hot windy region often grow sparingly on gnarly bush vines that are often decades old, thus providing dense concentrated flavours. This wine offers aromas of black cherries, berries, vanilla and sweet spice. Dry, medium-full bodied, there’s a firm structure underlying the dark berry fruit, the light oak aging bringing subtle hints of tobacco, cedar and toast. This is a great value—load up the wagon!

Grand Total: $98.70

Worth the Splurge . . .

Gallo Family ‘Frei Ranch Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Dry Creek Valley, California
$34.95 (Vintages #555607) 15.0% alcohol
Opaque, ruby purple, the aromas of this big powerful wine roll from the glass—ripe dark fruit, warm baking spice, vanilla, cedar and sweet herbs. Dry, full bodied, offering great depth and concentration, there’s subtle structure and beautiful balance. The texture is velvety, the fruit generous and the lasting finish palate coating, almost viscous. Drinking well now, it’s designed for long-term cellaring.