Posts Tagged ‘Wine Enthusiast’

Yeah! Make it a Chardonnay!

Posted by Julie

Monday, July 10th, 2017
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It’s that time of year again when the annual International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration (also known by those in the wine biz as ‘i4C’ or #i4C17) descends upon the Niagara region. Everyone gathers for this special i4C weekend to celebrate the most popular grape varietal in the world.

It is an incredible weekend – July 21 to 23 – where 30+ wineries from around the world PLUS 30 Ontario wineries gather to showcase their finest wines made with Chardonnay grapes – everything from sparkling, fresh Chardonnay, aged ones, Chablis style, fermented with wild yeast and those aged in barrels from around the world.  You get to sample everything. Even fine sweet wines made from Chardonnay grapes.  It is a heavenly weekend event!

At i4C, winemakers attend along with wine enthusiasts, Sommeliers, wine writers, restaurant owners and those who are simply visiting Niagara wanting to take in a top-notch event.  A number of us from the Savvy Team have attended and it is hands down an incredible learning and entertaining experience not to mention absolutely delicious & tasty. I highly recommend making i4C the reason for a weekend getaway to Niagara (if you need a reason!).

And for those of you who are ABCers (aka like Anything But Chardonnay), there is an incredible white wine from Spain that I discovered in the recent LCBO Vintages release from the feature or Spanish wines.  Spain often offers great value wines that taste like they should cost more, but my recommendations on those will have to wait for another time as I am filling my basket with 100% Chardonnay for this blog…and can’t wait to get sipping.

Long live i4C!
-Julie

i4C Social Media Information: Website  *   Twitter   *  Instagram 

 

 

If I only had $100, I would buy…
LBCO Vintages Release for Saturday July 8, 2017

 

Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2015 

VQA Niagara-on-the Lake
$24.95 (Vintages #172338) 12.5 % alcohol

In 2008, Southbrook was the first wine estate in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification for its vineyard and winery. This is one smooth Chardonnay from start to finish. There is some minerality in this white wine which is unusual for a Chardonnay, but this only enhances the soft tropical fruits.

Mid-weight and beautifully balanced with some baked pear on the finish, it’s one lovely drink. Would partner nicely with BBQed chicken or salmon.

 

 

Emiliana Natura Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

Casablanca Valley, Chile
$15.95 (Vintages #439398) 14 % alcohol

In the last release I featured Emiliana Winery for their sparkling wine. And here they are again on my top picks list!

This unoaked Chardonnay wine is anything but “typicity”.  In winespeak, this is the degree in which the grape varietal reflects or demonstrates its characteristics from the origin or region. I found just a hint of effervescence, light-bodied with lime tanginess which is unusual for a Chardonnay.  It’s fresh and clean with a green apple finish. I really liked it and this white wine is definitely going into my shopping basket & right into my fridge for a hot summer afternoon where I will uncork it for lunch or a light dinner with something like a Watermelon, Feta Cheese & Black Olive Salad.

 

 

Buena Vista Chardonnay 2015

Sonoma County, U.S.A.
$24.95 (Vintages #396440) 13 % alcohol

In a little corner bordering Sonoma and Napa’s southern boundaries is the celebrated vinicultural area called Carneros. While only about 90 square miles, the region is recognized for producing world class Chardonnays.

This white wine is a style that is heavier and creamier than what comes from other Chardonnay growing regions but for those who love a ‘Big Bold Chard’, this wine is for you!  I put extra stars beside my tasting notes, indicating that I love this wine. Aromas of buttered popcorn, rich and smooth on the palate as the tropical fruit simply takes over the senses and abounds.  It’s dry, crisp with a lingering finish. Elegant and refined, a class-act Chardonnay. Would easily stand up to a dinner of Steak & frites…yes white wine with steak!

 

 

Invivo Gisborne Chardonnay 2016

Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand
$15.95 (Vintages #499855) 13 % alcohol

Although this was not available at my tasting, Invivo Wines is going to be present at i4C represented by Winemaker and Co-founder, Rob Cameron. I never have any difficulty recommending a wine from New Zealand, especially the Gisborne region, since wines that are produced are always top notch. Tasting notes indicate an easy drinking style with citrus and ripe stone fruit on the palate.

At this incredible price point, (remember it travelled half way around the world to get onto the LCBO shelves), this white wine is definitely going in my basket. It is worth a try!

 

A dynamite wine from Spain you have to try …

Barón De ley Blanco 2016

DOCa Rioja
$13.95 (Vintages #145995) 12 % alcohol

A blend of Viura (90%) and Malvasia (10%) grapes, this fresh aromatic white wine is easy to drink. While not common grape varietals, these are quite at home in Navarra in the DOC Rioja region.

The winemaking process is carried out in stainless steel tanks which lends to its super fresh lemon lime flavours with a citrusy finish. Fresh and a light-bodied whine, makes for a terrific wine on a hot summer’s day.

 

 

Grand Total = $95.75

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If I had $100…I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintage

Posted by Julie

Friday, May 15th, 2015
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The merry month of May, didn’t someone write a song about that? Regardless, the features this month are bound to make anyone merry…talk about something to look forward to! Australia, fresh whites and sake line this release and I can hardly wait. Not to mention, we’re finally getting some patio weather to enjoy these mouth-watering wines outdoors.

LCBO Vintages Magazine May 16If you have a wedding or anniversary or very special occasion there is an Armand De Brigand Brut Gold Champagne out that comes in a lacquered box right from France. According to LCBO Vintages it was the #1 holiday gift last year and sometimes referred to as the Ace of Spades. (Vintages # 220244, $299.95 a bottle)

Whatever is on the rest of your May’s agenda, I hope you pickup a bottle or two of the release to watch the flowers grow.

Cheers
Julie

 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…
Saturday May 16, 2015

 

Howard Park Flint Rock ChardonnayHoward Park Flint Rock Chardonnay 2012

Great Southern, Australia
$22.95 (LCBO Vintage #410027) 13% alcohol

Aromas of tropical fruit in this white wine that carry forth on the palate. A little butter coating the mouthfeel but does not take away from the banana,and apricot flavours that waltz on the palate when you savour this white wine. Very smooth with a clean seam of acidity and a long flinty finish. A first class choice to accompany some garlic mussels in a wine sauce.

 

Eradus Sauvignon BlancEradus Sauavignon Blanc

Aware Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
$18.95 (Vintage #225557) 13% alcohol

Marlborough is located in the north east corner of the south island in New Zealand and is considered by many wine critics to produce the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc. Remember that commercial about the car with “zoom, zoom”? This is how I would describe this Sauv. Medium bodied, fresh lemon lime flavours, tangy and crisp, smooth and elegant. It won the gold at the International Wine Competition this year, need I say more? A white wine that’s delicious on its own or with a wide variety of summer fare; there’s lots of backbone and flavour.

 

Finca El Origen Reserva TorrontesFinca El Origen Reserva Torrontés 2014

Salta, Argentina
$15.95 (Vintages #262089) 13.5 % alcohol

The Torrontés Riojano varietal always produces wines that are crisp and interesting and this is no exception. Pale golden in colour with a slight greenish hue, aromas of tangerines and pineapple, slightly floral. There’s citrus on the palate of this white wine combined with a melange of other fruit flavours. Balanced acidity and light bodied, it makes a fabulous not just summer wine. I’d pair this with spicy tacos or seafood or just on its own. There’s lots of pizzazz here.

 

Howard Park Miamup Cabernet SauvignonHoward Park Miamup Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Margaret River, Australia
$19.95 (Vintages #410019) 14% alcohol

Deep brickish ruby red in colour, the wine spent 18 months in French oak barriques. Lots of blackberries and plums with savoury notes of rosemary and thyme on the palate. The tannins are soft and the finish is fruity on this red wine. A very approachable Cab. for roasted meats and grilled veggies.

 

 

Megalomaniac Pink Slip RoseMegalomaniac Pink Slip Pinot Noir Rosé 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages #85126) 14% alcohol

I would love a dress in this bright cranberry colour, not to mention how beautiful this rose wine looks in a tall stemmed glass. Aromas of summer, ripe red berries, strawberry and rhubarb on the palate, one medium bodied delicious mouthfeel, it’s a classy rosé with a crisp aftertaste that sends you back for more.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 95.75

 

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If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, November 21st, 2014
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While earlier this month, the LCBO Vintages release was on Star Quality, now for the November 22 Vintages release the focus is on  “Our Finest” and “Premium Spirits”. How to keep up? Hopefully I will make it a little easier with our budget of $100.

LCBO Vintages magazine November 22An advantage of Premium spirits is that they last a long time. Premium spirits you purchased last Christmas are still wonderfully aged for sipping a year later. One could start a “bar of spirits” collection. For example, the Camus Elegance XO Cognac, listed in the top 50 Spirits by The Wine Enthusiast will still be great next year and the $199.95 price tag only stings once.  You can also admire the beautiful bottle on your buffet; it looks like a decanter!

At this time of year, there is a variety of sparkling wine at popular price points that you do not see at other times during the year. You can stock up for December festivities or if planning ahead, even a spring party. Sparkling wine just never goes out of style.

Finally, although the 3rd week of November has passed, there is still lots of Nouveau Beaujolais on the shelves. It’s a great pizza and casual sipping wine, with a great price tag.

I hope you find something to brighten up the 11th month and I’d love to hear of any memorable purchases.

Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

November 22, 2014

 

Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de BourgogneBailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne

France, AC
$19.95 (Vintages # 991562) 12% alcohol

A beautiful crisp sparkling white wine with fine little bubbles bursting with flavours of toast and citrus.  It has more weight to it than other sparklers which gives it more clout when serving hors-d’oeuvres.  Although it’s hard to go wrong with a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligoté. Not surprising there’s lots going on with these fruity cherry flavours, and it has a nice crisp finish.

It would pair well with salty phyllo pastry appetizers like spankopitas. The saltiness would be perfect with the bubbles,. There ’s yummy frozen delicacies in the grocery store, so don’t fret about cooking; sit back and enjoy your guests, Sparkling wine is always a great starter to an evening.

 

Mission Hill SLC ChardonnayMission Hill SLC Chardonnay 2011

BC VQA Okanagan Valley
$24.95 (Vintages #144170)  13.5% alcohol

A few years ago, my husband and I lunched at the Mission Hills winery overlooking the beautiful vineyards in the Okanagan Valley. The Mission Hill Winery reminded me of a French Chateau; a first class act, very impressive and the wines contained therein just never disappoint. It is a beautifully made Chardonnay, crisp and layered with flavours of apricots, almonds, the usual tropical fruit culprits but integrated into such smooth full body, no doubt as a result of some time spent in American oak barrels. This white wine has a little citrus on the finish and worth every penny; elegant and refined.

 

Lena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpollicella SuperioreLena di Mezzo Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010

DOC, Monte Del  Frá, Italy
$19.95 (Vintages #165662) 14% alcohol

Heavenly aromas of currants, cherries and ripe plums, begging to be sipped. Ripasso means a second fermentation where the grapes obtain their fullest expression being dried on mats. They turn into little raisins which intensifies the flavours of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes (the Valpolicella trio).Robust notes of dark berries that spark the tastebuds and leave a hint of sweet spice and smooth tannin in the aftertaste of this red wine. I always serve Ripasso with my signature Osso Buco dinner party dish. When you labour over preparation, it demands a great wine so I’m glad mine is chosen.

 

Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet SauvignonThe Winery of Good Hope Vinum Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

WO Stellenbosch,  South Africa
$17.95 (Vintages #172973) 14% alcohol

I sometimes forget about South Africa when looking for a new wine, but having recently picked up a great Chenin Blanc, it reminds me how good they can be. This red wine is no exception. Good Hope is a spirit of optimism and that the early pioneers had good faith when planting vineyards several hundred years ago. This red wine is an easy sipper brimming with flavours of cassis and raspberry, some earthy overtones and a little leather on the finish, full bodied with easy tannins. For those of you who can still barbecue, its a great match for a hearty burger or grilled meat.

 

Quady Essensia Orange MuscatQuady Essensia Orange Muscat 2012   (dessert wine)

California, U.S.A.
$13.95 (Vintages #299552)   15.6% alcohol

Orange may be the new black in some spots but there’s nothing dark about this Muscat.  Golden orange in appearance, it shimmers prettily in the glass. I was so excited to find a new desert wine especially one at this price point. If you could imagine an ice wine that tastes of fresh tangerines, and makes your saliva buds just sparkle, this would be it. With great acidity it balances the orangey sweetness in this luscious nectar. It would be divine on ice or with some soda water. If you like oranges, citrus and something deliciously sweet, this one is for you.  A couple will be in my basket, for sure, a great ending to a dinner party.

 

 

Grand Total: $ 96.75

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