Friday, August 01, 2014

August 2014 Wines - 18 Tasted of 24

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Rosés, Sparkling)
The White Table event from the 15th floor, July 11th
    • Vizcarra Senda del Oro Roble 2011, 93-3  --  V,  Ribera Del Duero, Spain,  #331249 $19.95 
    • Tamaral Roble Tempranillo 2011, 91a-2  --  V,  Ribera Del Duero, Spain,  #375766   $16.95
    • Domaine de la Valériane Vieilles Vignes Côtes du Rhône 2012,  91-2  --  V, Rhône, France, 14.5%  XD  6g/L,  #374280  $17.95
    • Maria Alvarez Serrano Abadia de Gomariz 2010,  90-1  --  V, Leiro, Spain, #344077  $20.95
    • Casas Patronales Reserva Privada Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, 88c  --  V,  Maule Valley, Chile, #274134 $18.95
    • Sol de Andes Reserva Especial Syrah 2008, 87-1  --  V, Colchagua Valley, #274159  $16.95
    • L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah 2012, 86-1  --  V, Quadalupe Valley, Mexico, #983742  $11.95
    • Raimat Castell de Raimat Tempranillo 2011, 86a  --  G,  Costers del Segre, Spain, #372177   $14.95 
    • Small Gully Mr. Black's Little Book Shiraz 2011, 84a  --  V, Barossa Valley, Australia, #287979  $17.95               
    • Miguel Torres Gran Vina sol Chardonnay 2012, 93-3  --  V, Penedès, Spain, #171660  $15.95 
    • Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2013, 92-2  --  V,  Marlborough, NZ, #677450 $23.95
    • Spinyback Sauvignon Blanc 2013, 91-2  --  V, Nelson, New Zealand, #694737  $19.95 
    • Rabl Lengenlois Gruner Veltliner 2012, 90-2  --  V,  Kamptal, Austria, #377457  $16.95
    • Clos St. Thomas Les Gourmets Blanc 2012,  87-1  --  V, Békaa Valley, Lebanon, #363523  $15.95 
    • Code Inspiration Viognier 2013,  86-1  --  V, Pays d'Oc, France, #380758 $14.95 
    • Nyarai Cellars Viognier 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 86  --  V,  Annan, Ontario, #378414  $21.95  
    • Henri Bourgeois les Baronnes Sancerre 2012, 83  --  V, Chavignol, France,  #542548  $22.95*
    • Steve Bird Sauvignon Blanc 2013,  r-v  --  V, Marlborough, NZ, #178319  $18.95
    • Château Ksara Blanc de Blancs 2012,  r-v  --  V, Békaa Valley, Lebanon, #744805  $16.95
    • Pighin Pinot Grigio 2013,  r-v  --  V, Fruili, Italy, #987545  $16.95     

    • Tommasi Masseria Surani Helios Negroamaro Rosato 2013,  84  --  V, Puglia, Italy, #374876  $14.95  
    • Château de Lancyre Pic Saint-Loup Rosé 2013, r-v  --  V,  Languedoc, France, #374900  $17.95 

    • Langlois- Château Brut Crémant de Loire NV,  r-v  --  V, Loire, France, #996272  $21.95
    • Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 2013,  r-v  --  V, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, #256289  $24.95  

    (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


    MARIA ALVAREZ SERRANO ABADÍA DE GOMARIZ 2010,    Leiro, Spain, 13.5%  XD  xg/L,  #344077  $20.95  (Tasted August 2, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on September 28, 2013.  My notes: A blend of four indigenous Spanish grapes: Sousón, Ferrol, Brancellao and Mencia - the last two widely grown in northwest Spain. The colour is a deep black cherry. Quite unique from the first sniff, very smooth with the first sip and, for taste, a combination of red currant and flat blackberry softened by smoke and a bit of liquorice in a extra dry finish. The film sticks then slowly drains through a few long legs to the meniscus. Have with lamb chops, osso bucco, Italian sausage including chorizo in a spicy pasta or meat lovers pizza, anchovies and olives included. Cellaring four more years would likely retain the brightness while keeping most of the fruit.  90

    DOG POINT SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5%  D  4g/L, #677450 $23.95  (Tasted August 2, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014 and rated 93 by Jamie Goode  (October 11, 2013).  My notes: The 2011 vintage priced at $21.95 was tasted in October 2012 and rated 92. Price of the 2013 at the winery is $289.00NZ for a case of 12. Serve well chilled this has the full spicy fragrance of a NZ sauvignon blanc. The colour is an off white showing a light blond and the first sip is one to be continued 'til the next bottle arrives. Gooseberry with a hint of beeswax for aroma and a smooth texture is an entertaining sipper as well as seafood complement. Finishing dry with a lingering spice that is uniquely Dog Point, one that could cellar a few more years. Considerably improved over the 2005 vintage tasted in 2006 and having the same rating as the 2011 tasted in 2012.  92

    HENRI BOURGEOIS LES BARONNES SANCERRE 2012, Chavignol, France, 13.0% XD 4g/L,  #542548 $22.95*  (Tasted August 20, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on April 18, 2014 and *reduced $2 until July 20, 2014.  My notes: Previous vintages were priced in this range, $23.95 for the 2003 vintage tasted in April 2005 and $24.95 for the 2007 vintage tasted in October 2008 and rated 92. The 2012 has a subtle blending of floral, grapefruit and faint gooseberry to greet the nose and the colour, a pale blond. A thin film recedes from a jagged rim quickly leaving an empty pattern. Slight cream and a cleansing, penetrating acid leaves a vapour trail of its former self, warm and distinctly different than kiwi with an extra dry mineral finish. Pair with celery/carrot sticks and a creamy dip, crab cakes or a list of seafood dishes. This vintage is a drink now - a steal at $22 (LCBO does the stealing). 83

    DOMAINE DE LA VALÉRIANE VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012, Rhône, France, 14.5%  XD  6g/L,  #374280  $17.95  (Tasted August 11, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on May 24, 2014 and winner of a Gold Medal in 2013.  My notes: A dark ruby colour with a delicate spicy tar aroma when first poured and throughout tasting. The film strings a full rim shedding several slow flowing tears. This layers a suede texture from start to long finish and adds an extra dry rasp/blackberry flavour to warm the throat. Pair with Beef Wellington, osso bucco and other savoury stews. Great with Sassy Spareribs. Cellaring for several years could mellow the blend (50% grenache and 50% syrah)  and merge the winemaker's fermentation by-products. 91

    VIZCARRA SENDA DEL ORO ROBLE 2011,  Ribera Del Duero, Spain,  14.5% XD 6g/L, #331249 $19.95  (Tasted August 5, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 5, 2014. 100% Tempranillo and rated 93 by Robert Parker Jr. (August 2012).  My notes: A black cherry skin colour and shows a viscous film on the bowl with a full rim running slow tears. The fragrance is full with a blackberry and Australian liquorice scent on first pouring. Full-bodied, nicely round and luscious while being suede dry. A long warm finish lets the fruit and liquorice fight it out for the palate's attention. Pair with a T-bone or anything beefy - savory gravy with a touch of hot could complement well. Could keep several more years but drinking nicely now. 93

    TAMARAL ROBLE TEMPRANILLO 2011,  Ribera Del Duero, Spain,  14.5% XD 7g/L, #375766   $16.95  (Tasted August 13, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 24, 2014. Rated 92 by (June 2013).   My notes:  An ebony toned dense ruby swirling a film that sticks then slowly forms a beaded rim dropping a curtain of tears. The nose is a muted combination of spice, liquorice and smoky berries. The first sip lays tannin with spikes of acid coating the mouth for a warm extra dry blend. For Scotch drinkers or those preferring sting with their sips. Aerating is recommended achieving the strength and subtlety I prefer in a full-bodied red, sipping or pairing. An alternative is to decant a day ahead. Have with grilled steaks. Cellaring a dozen years may give a smoother velvet. 91a 

    RAIMAT CASTELL DE RAIMAT TEMPRANILLO 2011,  Costers del Segre, Spain, 14.0%  XD  8g/L,  #372177   $14.95  (Tasted August 10, 2014)

    A General listing.  My notes: Recommended in a tweet from Beppi Crosariol.  A cherry edged ruby in colour and a spice edged cherry scent for a nose sets a savoury tone as a sipper.  The film is thin coating then immediately fragmenting to leave a fine lacework on the bowl. Acidic from the first sip with a red cherry warmth the main theme start to long extra dry finish. Aerating lessens a raw bite and is recommended. On the light side of medium-bodied - an accompaniment to a winter buffet, hard cheeses or complement to red meats grilled or stewed. Drink now or cellar for several years to soften its youthful character.  86a

    RABL LENGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2012, Kamptal, Austria, 12.5%  XD 4g/L,  #377457  $16.95  (Tasted August 10, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 19, 2014 and rated 92 by Beppi Crosariol (G&M, July 26, 2014).  My notes:  A crystal bright grapefruit juice yellow with an aroma of pear peel softened by a floral scent. The film lays evenly receding and picking up speed until the bowl is clear.  The first sip has a polite tang and roundness providing an interesting lusciousness provided a short time to develop on the palate. Match with grilled fresh water fish or, as we did, with Swiss Chalet chicken breast and chips, hold the gravy. This exudes charm as a solo sipper starting with uninhibited flavour and shifting to a long dry finish with a touch of spice.  A drink now. 90

    MIGUEL TORRES GRAN VIÑA SOL CHARDONNAY 2012, Penedès, Spain,  13.5%  XD  5g/L,  #171660  $15.95  (Tasted August 5, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 19, 2014.  My notes:  A crystal clear mid yellow frosting the glass at 8oC. The film is light enough to leave a fragmented rim draining slowly to fine lacework. An apple, pear nose with a pleasing vanilla edge slows sipping while a smooth texture, a tangy nip and more apple and pear with a long dry finish would extend the pleasure pairing with delicate seafood. We had with tortillas stuffed with marinated chicken strips, guacamole, sour cream, seared red pepper and onion letting the tangy fruit coordinate the mix. This should cellar well... five years. 93

    CODE INSPIRATION VIOGNIER 2013, Pays d'Oc, France, 13.5%  D  5g/L,  #380758 $14.95  (Tasted August 6, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 19, 2014. My notes: A mid yellow with a film that sets a ragged rim receding immediately to leave a nodule covered surface. Fresh apple and a noticeable wild vine floral both tangy and sweet balanced for both to have full presence then slowly shift into a grassy, nippy finish. A match for seafood and carried its share when paired with grilled salmon and potato fries, sweet and regular, with a touch of ketchup. A sip and savour table white. 86

    STEVE BIRD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% D 5g/L, #178319  $18.95  (Tasted tbd)

    Released by Vintages on July 24, 2014 and rated 4 stars of 5 by (December 11, 2013) . 

    My notes: The 2012 vintage was tasted in August 2013 and rated 90. 

    CHÂTEAU DE LANCYRE PIC SAINT-LOUP ROSÉ 2013,  Languedoc, France, 13.5%  XD  2g/L, #374900  $17.95  (Tasted tbd)

    Released by Vintages on July 5, 2014. A blending of 50% Syrah with 40% Grenache and 10% Cinsault.  My notes: 

    TOMMASI MASSERIA SURANI HELIOS NEGROAMARO ROSATO 2013, Puglia, Italy, 12.5%  D  11g/L, #374876  $14.95  (Tasted August 16, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 5, 2014. My notes: Pours with a fine spritz and a bright coral colour. A thin film sticks then slowly recedes from a jagged rim leaving the glass bare. At 14oC the nose is a faintly floral cherry and has a partly ripe strawberry flavour unusual for a carrot edge, noticeably sharp and finishing with a touch of sweet and mineral dryness. Served at 16oC each sip grows in flavour and has a softer texture. Sip beside a buffet table of choices: pieces of sweet fruit, proscuitto wrapped asparagus, bacon stuffed mushroom caps, soft cheeses or smoked salmon. Cellaring could be unpredictable with fruit fading leaving a vegetable focus - try a year or two to see where its going. 84

    LANGLOIS-CHÂTEAU BRUT CRÉMANT DE LOIRE NV, Loire, France, 12.5% D  14g/L, #996272  $21.95  (Tasted tbd)

    Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014 and rated 92 by Natalie MacLean. My notes:  Sixty percent chenin blanc with the remaining of equal parts chardonnay and cabernet franc. 

    SOL DE ANDES RESERVA ESPECIAL SYRAH 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 13.9%  XD  5g/L,  #274159  $16.95  (Tasted August 19, 2014)  

    Released by Vintages on November 23, 2013 and rated 90 by Jay Miller, (December 2010).  My notes: A deep black cherry red lays a thin film with a lacy rim full of fluid legs that run quickly. With a slosh of the glass the nose is smoky crushed blueberries with a hint of papaya. A penetrating acid turning to dry chalk disguises a light-bodied cherry-berry fruit and leaves a warm extra dry finish. A sipper if you like dryyyyyy and a red whose flavour turns to bramble and tang. Have with spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna , beef lovers pizza or burgers. A drink now. 87a

    SMALL GULLY MR. BLACK'S LITTLE BOOK SHIRAZ 2011, Barossa Valley, Australia, 13.5%  XD  5g/L, #287979  $17.95  (Tasted August 8, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on July 24, 2014 and rated 91 by Natalie MacLean (March 17, 2014).  My notes:  On the charcoal side of black cherry and with black liquorice added to the blackberry nose this shiraz needs airing/decanting to bring forward muted aromas. The film stays whole as it forms a well rounded rim then sheds long legs. Berry flavours have a metallic edge. The texture soft and mellow, dry as chalk leaning to acidic and leads to a long tannic finish. Pair with anything beefy - a meal red. Try four or more years in the cellar - it could soften revealing some fruit.  84

    L.A. CETTO PETITE SIRAH 2012, Quadalupe Valley, Mexico, 13.5%  XD  4g/L, #983742  $11.95  (Tasted August 17, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on April 18, 2014.  My notes:  A purple hue types this grape along with the mellow aroma of ripe black fruit. Some liquorice, not Australian this time but more restrained and a bit smoky. The film lays evenly then fragments quickly showing only fine residuals on the glass. Some initial barnyard dissipates quickly, fine tannins and crushed semi-tart berries start a sip then finish pleasingly dry. Pair with T-bone rubbed with a savoury, not hot, spice. A soft red to share with guests as a sipper or with anything grilled, stewed and beefy and a drink now or put on the shelf for unexpected drop-ins. Less dramatic than previous vintages. 86 

    CASAS PATRONALES RESERVA PRIVADA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 ,  Maule Valley, Chile, 14.5%  XD  7g/L, #274134 $18.95  (Tasted August 6, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on June 21, 2014.  A Gold Medal winner at the 2013 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.  My notes: A slight purple fringes this plum colour. The film sticks then slowly releases long legs before fragmenting. There's a rawness to the first sip until acid edged blackberries dig in to coat the palate with an extra dry berry-currant fruit. I suggest cellaring four more years for a fuller blending of flavour and depth - one dimensional as a drink now. Spice rubbed steaks, ground beef and black bean chili or burgers just off the grill could be a match. 88

    CLOS ST. THOMAS LES GOURMETS BLANC 2012, Békaa Valley, Lebanon, 14.0%  XD  3g/L, #363523  $15.95  (Tasted August 14, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014.  A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier, and was a Gold Medal winner at the Les Citadelles du Vin in France 2013. My notes:  A light lemon colour and a floral citrus scent with a penetrating tang are the first attractions. The film is thin sticking to the glass and rapidly receding until a scant residual is left. Each grape is noticeable in this unique meal white. Paired well with Cuban cod on rice with snap peas and cherry tomatoes and would do well with grilled shellfish: crab cakes, lobster pieces, octopus or clams. The finish peaks on a swallow, smooth then fading into a soft chalk landing. 87

    SPINYBACK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Nelson, New Zealand, 12.5%  XD  5g/L, #694737   $19.95  (Tasted August 11, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014 and rated 4 1/2 of 5 by (December 11, 2013) and 93+ by Wine Orbit.  My notes:  A mid yellow swirling a thin film that recedes and fragments quickly. There's a touch of floral and a noticeable sharpness to the nose. A quaff brings forward all aspects in a luscious wave fading slowly to a dusty tang, a memorable first sip and this kiwi's forte.  Pair with pork chops in a cherry sauce and many seafood dishes and Thai. Cellaring several years could show more, if not fruit then a rounded texture. Try cellaring a few bottles for a few years. 91

    CHÂTEAU KSARA BLANC DE BLANCS 2012, Békaa Valley, Lebanon, 13.0%  XD  2g/L,  #744805  $16.95  (Tasted tbd)

    Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014. A blend of 55% sauvignon blanc, 25% semillon and 20% chardonnay.  My notes:

    NYARAI CELLARS VIOGNIER 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Annan, Ontario, 13.0% D 5g/L, #378414  $21.95  (Tasted August 7, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014 and rated 4+ of 5 by Michael Pinkus, (January 20, 2014).  My notes:  A wine from Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery located near Georgian Bay and made from Niagara Peninsula grapes . Served at 14oC there's an indistinct but appealing nose during sipping. A mid yellow colour, crystal clear, leaves a thin film that fragments quickly to lacework then to a few beads. The initial sip has a dry tang without prominent nor recognizable fruit/herb although its subtlety as well as clean texture and balance has definite appeal. The finish is long, soft and extra dry. Equally subtle entrées: seared scallops or shrimp, halibut or cod on basmati rice or potato risotto, perhaps with a ginger sauce, could pair well. Cellaring a few years could work but not improve overall.  86

    PIGHIN PINOT GRIGIO 2013, Fruili, Italy, 12.5%  D  3g/L,  #987545  $16.95  (Tasted tbd)

    Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014.  My notes:

    BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 2013, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia, 7.0%  M  68g/L, #256289  $24.95  (Tasted tbd) 

    Released by Vintages on July 19, 2014.  My notes:  The Nova 7 receives high ratings by Canadian wine critics . Now a dollar cheaper than the 2011 tasted and rated 92 on August 15th, 2012 I'll see where the 2013 settles. 


    Tuesday, July 01, 2014

    July 2014 Wines - 20 Tasted of 20

    The LCBO has changed their search routine for finding wines and where they are in the Province. See side panel for more detail... I'm returning to use the Vintages and LCBO to avoid a LCBO Online Search graphic. 
    ...btw, a search for test label 'Big Head' on any of the search sites produces meaningless results. (What Big Head has to do with L.A. Cetto is beyond me.)

    Cheers, Ww

    THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Rosés)

    Children's Festival
      • the Foreign Affair Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 92-1  --   O, Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $34.95
      • Bonterra Pinot Noir 2012 Organic, 88-2  --  V,  Mendocino County, California, #317685 $16.95 
      • the Foreign Affair Winery Pinot Noir 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 87  --  O, Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $43.95   
      • Bodegas de Familia Burgo Viejo Licenciado Reserva 2006, 84  --  V,  Rioja, Spain, #370023 $29.95
    • Irony Small Lot Reserve Pinot Noir 2012, 83  --  V,  Manteca, California, #353227 $19.95
    • Maison Belleroche Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de France NV, 81  --   O, France, #British Airways, $x 
    • Balance Pinot Noir Trek Vineyard 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 79  --  V,  NOTL, Ontario,  #367623 $18.95
      • the Foreign Affair Winery Chardonnay 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 93-2  --  O,  Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $26.95
    • Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentino 2013, 92-3  --  V,  Trentino, Italy, #951319 $16.95
    • Cave Spring ‘Dolomite’ Riesling 2007 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 92-3  --  O, Jordan, Ontario, #Winery  $17.15
    • Vineland Estates Chardonnay Musqué 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 90-2  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #996793  $17.95 
    • Pierre Lieubeau La Grille Single Estate Muscadet 2012, 88-1  --  V, Loire, France, #377501 $15.95  
    • Calamus Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 87-1  --  V,  Jordan, Ontario,  #349456  $16.95
    • The Ned Pinot Gris 2013, 88-1  --  V,  Marlborough, New Zealand, #267138 $16.95 
    • 5 Vineyards by Mission Hill Chardonnay 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC, 85  --  G, Okanagan, BC,  #281212  $15.95 
    • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2012, 84  --  V,  Santa Rosa, California, #703710  $11.95 
    • 5 Vineyards by Mission Hill Pinot Blanc 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC, 83  --  G, #145094   $15.95
    • Esser Sauvignon Blanc 2010, 78  --  V, American Canyon, California, #363648 $17.95  
    Big Smile
    • the Foreign Affair Winery Amarosé 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-2  --  O,  Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $18.95
    • Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé Vintages 2013, 82  --  V, Tavel, France, #739474 $18.95  
    (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  -  Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


    THE NED PINOT GRIS 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0%  XD  7g/L, #267138 $16.95  (Tasted July 10, 2014) 

    Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014.  My notes: There's a slight onion skin hue in this Pinot Gris, a coloration once exiled by the LCBO. Flavours and nose come together as a combination of equal parts Bosc pear and an austere mineral. On the light side of medium-bodied with a film that leaves a dozen fast tears draining from a fragmenting rim. A sip starts with spiced fruit continuing through a long dry mineral finish. Quaffing accentuates the flavours as they change. A meal white to have with seared shrimp or scallops in a light garlic sauce... or try with mild liver and onions in a mushroom sauce. Cellaring a few years may dilute nose and taste - drink now. 88
    BODEGAS DE FAMILIA BURGO VIEJO LICENCIADO RESERVA 2006,  Rioja, Spain, 13.5%  XD  4g/L, #370023 $29.95  (Tasted July 5, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. Awarded the Best Spanish Varietal over £10 at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards. Rated 5 of 5. My notes:  A see through bright cherry colour quickly laying a fragmenting pattern on the glass. The nose has a brightness to match a tangy cherry aroma with earth notes inferring some warmth to follow. The softness of the first sip quickly changes to a metallic/mineral and a flavour similar to Australian Black liquorice for a long dry finish. Overall a pleasing extra dry sipper with crackers and hard cheeses - thin as a meal red.  Pair with a savoury ragout or bacon wrapped ribs brushed with a Maple syrup sauce. Held its own with a Quiznos Classic Italian on Rosemary bun with a few jalapenos. Past peak, a drink now.  84

    KENDALL-JACKSON VINTNER'S RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2012, Santa Rosa, California, 13.5%  D  9g/L,  #703710  $11.95  (Tasted July 26, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014. My notes:  Leaves a thin film with rapidly forming legs and is a mid yellow gemstone for colour and clarity. Served at 9oC the nose is a pronounced pineapple with the same tangy edge and part smoothness. The first sip is bright and tight laying down a chalk layer, extra dry with a long tart finish. Sip at 15oC for a broader expression. Match with grilled seafood or chicken breast simmered in a dill and butter sauce. A buffet sipper or meal white. 84

    DOMAINE DES CARTERESSES TAVEL ROSÉ 2013, Tavel, France, 13.5%  XD  3g/L, #739474  $18.95  (Tasted July 8, 2014)

    Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. Rated 92 by Natalie MacLean  (February 17, 2014).  My notes:  No salmon pink for this rosé but a deep crushed clear raspberry in the glass. A faint fruit aroma when poured at 10oC and a swirl leaves a thin film that disintegrates quickly falling as a lacy veil. A balance of sweet and tang with a raspberry/cherry/pomegranate flavour taking on a mineral finish and an unctuous aftertaste. Serve as a party sipper with cheery banners and vanilla icing on a candle decorated cake. Could be limited to personal taste as a meal match - have with pineapple cubes and pork chops or a Chinese buffet - for appetizer pairings see Snooth.  A commercial drink-now with a cheery cherry style. 82

    CALAMUS ESTATE WINERY PINOT GRIS 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge,  Jordan, Ontario,  12.0%  D  13g/L,  #349456  $16.95  (Tasted July 11, 2014)  

    Released by Vintages on March 15, 2014.  My notes: A thin film lays a jagged layer to immediately fragment dropping a few tears on the way to a frail lacework. A mild honey, apricot, orange peel and citrus flavour, the nose and the first sip. Serve chilled the texture is smooth with a touch of sweet and a mineral dryness for a long finish. The colour is a clear mid blond eschewing any trace of onion skin. Tart but not stinging and a level of varietal and terroir distinction offers appeal as a sipper. Pair with seared scallops or shrimp, bacon wrapped as an appetizer or in a cream sauce for an entrée. A drink now - a few on the shelf for unsuspected guests should keep. 88

    BALANCE PINOT NOIR TREK VINEYARD 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, NOTL, Ontario,  13.0% XD  6g/L,  #367623  $18.95  (Tasted July 3, 2014)  

      Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. A wine produced by the Niagara College Teaching Winery.  My notes: A glowing black cherry when held up to a candle's glow and there's an aroma of milk chocolate and ripe berries. For textures there's silk as an intro followed quickly by a chalk dry coating and enough acid to catch in the throat. For flavours, a light cranberry adds brightness to unripe berries. Too raw for a sipper and minimal flavour to pair with a meal - try with beef burgers or sausage patties. We paired with roasted pork tenderloin without success and aerating did not improve. Leftovers were discarded. 79

    PIERRE LIEUBEAU LA GRILLE SINGLE ESTATE MUSCADET 2012 Loire, France, 12.0%  XD  7g/L, #377051  $15.95  (Tasted July 21, 2014)  

    Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. My notes:  The initial pouring brought some micro bubbles in/on the glass bowl. Served chilled (12oC) the nose is slight with a freshness of mown hay. A sip brings a round texture with a lasting chalky dryness and flavour of grassy melon, a cream edge adds breadth to the taste. A quaff strengthens flavours and adds more dimension. Medium-bodied, a sipper for some and a meal white for all. Match with shellfish, cod or halibut - was great with Clarkson's battered fish and chips. Keep below 15oC. Cellaring four to five years is a possibility. 88

    BONTERRA PINOT NOIR 2012 ORGANIC, Mendocino County, California, 13.5%  XD  2g/L,  #317685  $16.95  (Tasted July 17, 2014)  

    A General listing. My notes: Rated 90 by Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, (December 31, 2013).  The 2012 vintage wasn't listed on the Vintages website as of this blog entry. The 2011, also organic and priced at $19.95, was released by Vintages on March 1, 2014. A velvet toned deep ruby and, given time to develop, a mild aroma of beets and raspberries. The film lays smoothly on the glass flowing quick long legs and ending with a chain of tears. A vodka tang in the throat and crushed berries on the palate makes this an enjoyable sipper. The light liquorice along with a long silk texture lengthens interest. Have with veal scallopini or other light meat dish, lamb or pork ribs.  88

    ESSER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, American Canyon, California, 13.5%  D  7g/L,  #363648  $17.95  (Tasted July 25, 2014)  

    Released by Vintages on April 26, 2014.  My notes:  A blond colour, crystal clear with a whiff of paint thinner to a tart grapefruit nose raises one's curiosity. A swirl leaves a light film with a jagged rim that drops quickly and evenly. An initial thought of fruit quickly fades as a drying tang, delicate cream and perfumed gooseberry stays on the palate. For me, not a sipper. Was satisfactorily masked with grilled Pacific salmon and asparagus - could also pair with crab legs, lobster tails or a chowder. Adding a few maraschino cherries and, as the Vintages Panel suggests, a cocktail umbrella, could also add interest. 78

    the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY CHARDONNAY 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 14.5%  xx  xg/L, #Winery  $26.95  (Tasted July 15, 2014)

    Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014.  My notes:  The flesh of a ripe pineapple in colour and swirling leaves a smooth film sticking and accumulating a broad rim that drops long, slow tears. A sniff reveals a soft almond and mango aroma brightened by a chilled 10oC serving and encouraged as the temperature rises to 15oC.  Fruit shifts to crème brulée then adds an almond, mineral note, extra dry and full bodied. Chardonnay lovers will sip this in conversation near a mixed buffet. ABCers could enjoy this with seared shrimps and/or scallops in a cream sauce with pasta. Drinking well now or cellar up to four more years.  93

    the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 14.7%  XD  xg/L, #Winery  $34.95  (Tasted July 8, 2014)

    Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014.  My notes: A charcoal hued ruby, dense to view and having a film that sticks slowly forming a rounded rim then falling in a ring of slow tears. Aromas of figs, dried coffee and Australian liquorice. The first sip has a smoothness that introduces itself to the palate as dark chocolate. Fruit that is a dimensional blend of ripe berries packaged in a dry envelope not to a chalk level but leaving a long finish remembered for its warmth and flavours. Sip solo or with a broad selection of beef or lamb: osso bucco, savoury short ribs or a filet mignon. Cellar several years or drink now. A memorable rendition and a value.  92

    the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY AMAROSÉ  2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 12.4%  D  xg/L, #Winery  $18.95  (Tasted July 5, 2014)

    Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014.  A blend of 67% Pinot Noir, 11% Riesling, 11% Sauvignon Blanc and 11% Chardonnay. Unfortunately Tasting Notes weren't found for this rosé.  My notes:  A deep salmon pink glistens and as the temperature shifts to off chill a soft aroma of strawberry and orange entices a sipper to look for more - but it doesn't happen. A thin film lays a fragmenting rim that drops fast legs leaving only jagged islands on the glass. A berry and orange flavour blend, medium-bodied with a touch of sweet followed by a dry berry finish is an interesting reward for slow the sippers. The winemaker's style could easily identify this in a rosés tasting, not quite luscious but close. Match with seared scallops on basmati, Cuban cod or halibut, even a fish chowder. Cellar several years - say four, not longer. 90        

    the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY PINOT NOIR  2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 13.1%  XD  xg/L, #Winery  $43.95  (Tasted July 10, 2014)

    Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014. Winner of a Gold Medal at Intervin 2011 and a Bronze Medal, Canadian Wine Awards 2011.  My notes:A suspicion of barnyard in the first sniff prompted me to aerate before going further - after thought, I'd live with the minor barnyard. The film leaves a thin layer topped by a finely laced rim that immediately fragments running a few slow tears. Now the nose has a strawberry touched cranberry, chalk dry and finishing with a muted vanilla edge. Flavours dust the palate and combine with a surge of tang. Medium bodied for sipping or pairing with hard cheeses, party sausage, prosciutto wrapped appetizers or a  mixed charcuterie. Past cellaring and could be past peak. PS. Tasted leftovers a few days later - no barnyard, integrated and complex coming together nicely  add +2 to rating.  87

    CAVE SPRING ‘DOLOMITE’ RIESLING 2007 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 11.0% D, #Winery  $17.15  (Tasted July 29, 2014)

    My notes:  Purchased from the Winery on June 17th this year. The 2007 vintage was previously tasted on July 18, 2011 and rated 89. The 2010 vintage was tasted on March 30, 2012 and the 2012 vintage on June 8, 2014 with ratings of 83 and 86 respectively. Tasted at a cool 10oC this 2007 has a petrol aspect to aromas of lime zest and pear. The film is lightly viscous lining the glass then receding evenly. A lime peel and polite diesel forms an interesting sipper and sipping slowly allows subtle changes to develop until a chalk dry finish. Pairing with lemon-rosemary roasted chicken didn't work - I blame the chicken. Seafood would have been a better choice - or just sip. Now seven years and could go another seven. 92

    IRONY SMALL LOT RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2012, Manteca, California, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #353227  $19.95  (Tasted July 1, 2014)  

    Released by Vintages on June 21, 2014.  My notes:  A Delicato Family Vineyards wine the same producer of Fog Head Reserve Chardonnay and Loredona Pinot Grigio both rated highly in this blog.  The colour is a charcoal stained deep ruby in the glass and leaves a thin film to fragment quickly. The nose is a tangy edged black cherry with earthy tones seemingly tangier as it breathes. A thin first sip has a muted blackberry cherry flavour and a surprising warmth as fruit declines and an earthy roughness takes over - acid wins over fruit. Quaff with meat lovers pizza, beefburgers, grilled steaks or rubbed ribs. An indelicate Pinot Noir and a drink now. PS: Much better if decanted 3 days ahead of serving.  83

    BOLLINI PINOT GRIGIO TRENTINO 2013,  Trentino, Italy, 13.5%  XD  xg/L,  #951319  $16.95  (Tasted July 2, 2014)  

    Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014. Anthony Gismondi rated recent vintages 87-88.  My notes: The LCBO lists this as a 2012 vintage with Gismondi tasting notes published for that vintage. An interesting nose with scents of pear and Granny Smith apple. The film is on the moderate side leaving a finely laced rim slowly receding as a veil. A pale yellow colour, crystal clear and the first sip having a silky honey quince flavour balanced with bright acid. Easily sipped for its light mineral touch and a buttery texture. Easily quaffed for a fuller brightness and luscious lasting finish. Pair with sliced chicken, smoke salmon pizza or mild cheeses.  Cellaring up to four years is likely. 92  

    MAISON BELLEROCHE MERLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON VIN DE FRANCE NV, France, 13.0%  XD  xg/L,  #British Airways  $?  (Tasted July 17, 2014) 

    Rated 2.1 of 5 by reviewers on vivino .  My notes: Received from the wine selection on a British Airways flight from the UK to Toronto on June 16th. The colour is a dense ruby and there's a tangy but faint black cherry vanilla aroma. The film drains quickly down long legs while setting up a lacy veil to quickly disappear. Flavours have a thin red currant profile that fades to a bland dryness. Not much to enjoy in this commercial offering. 81

    5 VINEYARDS BY MISSION HILL PINOT BLANC 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC, Okanagan, BC,  13.0%  XD  5g/L,  #145094   $15.95  (Tasted July 6, 2014)

    A General listing.  My notes: Grapes were selected from: Oliver 63%, Kelowna 18%, Naramata 11% and  Osoyoos 8%.  Serve well chilled. The colour is a mid yellow, crystal clear and with a soft pineapple apple fragrance that builds a perfumed accent. Smooth with a polite bite and flavours that follow the nose until slowly receding into a dry finish. There's a textural element that leaves an impression of artificiality while slow solo sipping brings out an unusual nutty, perhaps macadamia, note. A drink now. Pair with seared scallops, penne a la vodka or freshwater fish. 83  

    5 VINEYARDS BY MISSION HILL CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC,  Okanagan, BC, 13.5%  XD 5g/L,  #281212  $15.95  (Tasted July 10, 2014)

    A General listing.  My notes: Grapes were selected from: Oliver 65%, Osoyoos 22% and Naramata 13% .  There's a green blush to a well polished mid golden blond showing in the glass. A sticky film leaves a finely jagged rim to slowly accumulate and fall as snail paced tears. The nose is fresh as new mown hay but with a spicy apple pear aroma. A grassy edge to an almond tainted apple flavour offsets a silky texture. There's no sweetness to balance an extra dry mineral finish. A commercial drink-now to be served with an ice bucket either to sip or to pair with seafood or sliced turkey breast, cold ham or a sushi boat (no wasabi). 85

    VINELAND ESTATES CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Vineland, Ontario,  12.5%  D  7g/L,  #996793  $17.95  (Tasted July 17, 2014)

    This is a VQA wine - no release date given.  My notes: A Winery with everything, from O'Leary Fine wines to fine dining and special events all priced to fulfill any temptation. Take the virtual tour for a complete visual of this beautiful property . A polished bright gold in the glass with a sparse number of tiny bubbles sticking to the bowl. A thin film perforates quickly leaving minimal trace - shrinking islands without tears. A light spice hints at some fruit and terroir - honey dew melon and a lengthy wax and dry mineral finish. Its flavouring, body and texture makes this an interesting sipper or pairing with Thai, Japanese or Chinese - perhaps a ginger sauce, tempura vegetables or shrimp. Cellaring for four more years could work. 90


    Monday, June 30, 2014

    2014 1st Half Summary - Reds

    Jesse, still a Pup at 18 mos.
    The 69 Reds tasted from January 1st through June 30 this year are listed below sequenced by rating.  Shown in brackets is the month of tasting where the original notes can be found.  There are 24 wines rated 90 and above. These are considered not lacking in any aspect and are excellent to sip and to complement a meal. Another twenty-seven in the 85 to 89 range are enjoyable but lack in minor degrees of fullness, varietal character or some other element. Eighteen are 84 and below - these may be consumable but not necessarily enjoyable in some way. See the side panel for more background.

    The value that is hyphenated to the rating indicates whether a wine is 'worth the price', one that I'd buy in 'multiples', or one I'd buy in 'quantity'. 
    See the side panel for more background. Click here for the 1st half WHITES+.
    Consider this one person's view and perhaps a starting point if it helps. 

    The LCBO has changed their search routine for finding wines and where they are in the Province. See side panel for more detail... I'm returning to use the Vintages and LCBO to avoid a LCBO Online Search graphic. 
    ...btw, a search for test labels 'Big Head' and '5 Vineyards' on any of the search sites produces meaningless results.

    Cheers, Ww


    • Shiloh Shor Cabernet Sauvignon KP 2007,  95-2  --  V, Judean Hills, Israel, #282947 $32.95  (Mar)
    • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz Grenache 2011, 94-3 --  V, Penwortham, South Australia, #009225 $19.95  (Mar)    
    • Domaine des Fées Côtes du Rhône 2012, 93-3  --  V, Rhône, France, #272450 $15.95  (Mar)
    • Chilensis Lazuli 2010, 93-3  -- V, Maule Valley, Chile, #348128  $17.95  (Jan)
    • The Foreign Affair 'The Conspiracy' 2012 VQA  Niagara Peninsula, 93-3  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #149237  $19.95  (Mar)
    • Zorzal Terroir Unico Malbec 2011, 92a/c-3  --  V, Tupungato, Argentina, #339788 $17.95  (Jan)
    • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2011, 92-2  --  V, Penwortham, Australia, #925453 $19.95  (May)
    • Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2010, 92-2  --  V, Sonoma, California, #330241 $27.95  (Jan)
    • Bodegas Castano Hecula Monastrell 2011, 91a-3  --  G, Yecla, Spain, #300673 $11.80  (Feb)
    •  Alta Vista Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 91-2  --   V, Mendoza, Argentina,  #129957 $14.95  (Jun)
    • Romain Duvernay Cairanne 2010, 91-2  --  V,  Rhône, France, #320465 $16.75  (Jan)
    • Valdemar Inspiraciòn Selecciòn 2010, 91-2  --  V,  Rioja, Spain, #166512 $17.00  (Jun)
    • Feudi San Pio Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Superiore 2012,  91-2  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #181446 $17.95  (Jun)
    • Handcraft Petite Sirah Artisan Collection 2011, 91-2  V,  Manteca, California, #361907 $17.95  (Apr)  
    • Haselgrove First Cut Vintage 2010 Shiraz, 91a-2  --  V, McLaren Vale, Australia,  #367425 $18.95  (Jun)
    •  Bertani Villa Novare Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010, 91-2  --  V,  Veneto, Italy, #095810 $19.95 (May)
    • Heartland Stickleback Red 2010, 90-2  --  V,  South Australia, Australia, #116574 $13.95  (Feb)
    • Syrousse Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2011, 90-2  --  V, Tautavel, France,  #357343 $16.95  (Feb)
    • JIP JIP Rocks Shiraz 2011, 90-2  --  V, Padthaway, Australia, #673897 $16.95  (Feb)
    • Château Argadens Bordeaux Supérieur Grand Vin 2009, 90-2  --  V,  Gironde, France, #681643 $16.95  (Jan) 
    • Tempus Two Cabernet Merlot Limestone Coast 2011, 90-2  --  G, Pokolbin, NSW, Australia,  #308197 $16.95 (May)
    • 13th Street Winery Merlot 2012 VQA Creek Shores, 90a-2  --  V,  St. Catharines, Ontario,  #270504 $17.95  (May)
    •  Aquinas Pinot Noir Napa Valley 2012, 90-2  -  G, Napa Valley, California, #277657 $17.95*  (Apr)
    • Rolf Binder Hales Shiraz 2010, 90-2  --  V,  Barossa Valley, Australia, #054239 $18.95  (Jun)
    • Domaine de Grangeneuve Esprit de Grenache Côtes du Rhône Villages 2011, 90-1  --  V, Rhône, France, #364794 $20.95  (Mar)
    • Terredora Aglianico Campania 2010, 89-1  --  V, Montefusco, Italy,  #602284 $16.95  (May)
    • Cesari Mara Vino de Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2011, 89-2  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #506519 $17.95  (Feb)
    • Leone de Castris Riserva Salice Salentino 2010, 89-1  --  V,  Apulia, Italy, #597534 $19.95  (Jun)
    • Tommasi Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010, 89-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #910430  $22.95* (GS#132852  $33.20)  (Apr)
    • Kaiken Malbec Reserva 2011, 88-1 --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #058339 $14.95  (May)
    • Emiliana Natura Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 88-1  --  V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #061069 $14.95  (Feb)
    • Pasqua Villa Borghetti Passimento Rosso 2011, 88a-1  --  G, Verona, Italy,  #141952 $15.45  (May)
    • Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbec 2011, 88-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #162610 $15.95  (Jan)
    • TintoNegro Uco Valley Reserve Malbec 2011, 88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina,  #364075 $15.95  (Mar)
    • Bocchino Giuseppe Arduine Barbera d'Asti 2011, 88a-1  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #343277 $16.95  (Jan)
    • Menguante Seleccion Garnacha 2007, 88a-1  --  V,  Aragon, Spain, #313833 $16.95  (Apr)
    • Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 87-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #614669 $11.95  (Jan)
    • Caparzo Sangiovese Toscana 2011, 87-1  --  G, Montalcino, Italy, #361022 $12.95  (Mar)
    • Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranilla Garnacha 2010, 87-1  --  G, Navarro, Spain, #054007  $12.95  (Apr)
    • Château Haut Méthée 2009, 87-1  --  V,  Bordeaux, France, #356592 $15.95  (Feb)
    • Beringer Founders' Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 87-1  --  V, Napa, California, #534263 $15.95*  (Apr)
    • Les Vignerons du Castelas Signargues Côtes du Rhône-Villages Vieilles Vignes 2010, 87  --  V, Rhône, France, #034116 $16.95  (Feb)
    • Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2012, 88-1  --  V, Acampo, California, #359257 $17.95  (Feb) 
    • Robert Oatley Signature Series Pinot Noir 2012, 88-1  --  V,  New South Wales, Australia, #357491 $18.95  (Feb)
    • Robert Oatley Signature Series Pinot Noir 2012, 87  --  V,  Yarra Valley, Australia, #357491 $18.95  (Jun)
    • Cave de Roquebrun la Grange des Combes Saint-Chinian-Roquebrun 2011, 86 --  V, Midi, France, #155804 $15.95  (Feb)
    • Fifth Leg Old Dog New Tricks Shiraz 2011, 86  --  G, Margaret River, Australia, #281345  $15.95  (Apr)
    • Domaine Lambrusgues Esprit Sauvage Pic Saint-Loup 2011, 86a  --  V,  Languedoc, France,  #354142 $17.95  (Apr)
    • Cave Spring Dolomite Pinot Noir 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86  --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $19.45   (May)
    • San Cassiano Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2010, 85  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #354431 $17.95  (Jan)
    • Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carmenère 2012, 85  --  V, Maipo Alto, Chile, #670539 $19.95  (May)
    • Paul Mas Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012,  84  --  G, South France,  #293134 $11.95*  (Mar)
    • Poderi Colla Nebbiolo d'Alba 2010,  84  --  V, Piedmont, Italy,  #748566 $20.75*  (Jan)
    • Tenuta de Angelis Rosso Piceno Superiore 2009, 83a  --  V, Marche, Italy, #324756 $11.25*   (Feb)
    • Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 83  --  G, Napa, California, #055517 $14.95  (Jun)
    • 13th Street Detour Gamay/Pinot Noir 2012, 83  --  G, St. Catharines, Ontario, #367565   $14.95*  (May)
    • Coyote's Run Five Mile Red 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 83a  --  G, St. David's, Ontario, #283416  $16.95  (Mar)
    • Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2012, 83  --  G, South Australia, #285544 $16.95   (May)
    • Inniskillin Discovery Series East-West Cabernet Shiraz 2011, 83 --  O, NotL ON & Oliver BC, Canada, #998346 (Wine Rack)  $17.95  (Jan)
    • Geyser Peak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009,  83a  --  V,  Geyserville, California,  #343467 $19.95  (Jun)
    • Bodega Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Syrah 2012, 82  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #223651 $12.95  (Jan)
    • Gariottin Malbec Cahors 2010, 82  --  G, Cahors, France, #340927 $13.15  (Mar)
    • Terre Dei Volsci Velletri 2008, 82  --  G,  Aprilia, Italy, #175141 $14.90  (May)
    • O Pinot Noir by Gilles Louvet Organic 2012, 82  --  G, Narbonne, France, #292995 $14.95  (May)
    • Rosso Piceno Cantina Sant'Isidoro Pinto Macerato Italy2011,  82 -- V,  Marche, Italy, #364885 $15.95  (Mar)
    • Pirramimma Stock's Hill Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2011, 80a  --  G,  McLaren Vale, Australia,  #352252 $16.90 (May)
    • J.P. Chenet Limited Release Pinot Noir 2012, 78  --  G, Midi, France, #142406 $12.95 (Apr)
    • Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 77  --  G, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, #310300 $14.45*  (Jan)
    • Bodega Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Merlot 2012, NR  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #229849 $12.95  (Jan)

    2014 1st Half Summary - Whites+

    Jesse on Bench
    There were 71 Whites+ consisting of 56 whites, 6 rosés and 9 sparklings tasted from January 1st through June 30 this year. These are listed below sequenced by rating.  Shown in brackets is the month of tasting where the original notes can be found.  Of the whites there are thirteen wines rated 90 and above. These are considered not lacking in any aspect and are excellent to sip and to complement a meal. Another nineteen in the 85 to 89 range are increasingly enjoyable although to varying degrees lack fullness, varietal character or some other element. Twenty-four in the range 84 and below may be consumable but lack noticeably in more than one essential aspect. Click here for the 1st half REDS .

    The value that is hyphenated to the rating indicates whether a wine is 'worth the price', one that I'd buy in 'multiples', or one I'd buy in 'quantity'.  See the side panel for more background.

    Hope you'll find something useful. 

    The LCBO has changed their search routine for finding wines and where they are in the Province. See side panel for more detail... I'm returning to use the Vintages and LCBO to avoid a LCBO Online Search graphic. 
    ...btw, a search for test labels 'Big Head' and '5 Vineyards' on any of the search sites produces meaningless results.

    Cheers, Ww

    • Robert Oatley Signature Series Riesling 2012, 93-3  --  V, Western Australia, #357426 $17.95  (Feb)
    • Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+Viognier 2012, 92-2  --  V, Oakville, California, #673756 $21.95  (Jan)
    • Monchhof Robert Eymael Riesling 2011, 92-2  --  V,  Mosel, Germany, #349431 $16.95  (Feb)
    • Konrad Sauvignon Blanc 2012, 91-2  --  V, Renwick, New Zealand, #616243  $19.95  (Jun)
    • Elephant Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 91-2  --  V,  Hawkes Bay, New Zealand,  #361238 $23.95  (Apr)
    • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Riesling 2012, 91-2  --  V, Clare Valley, South Australia,  #365635 $17.95  (Mar)
    • Daniel Lenko Gewurztraminer 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-1  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #356832 $20.25  (Mar)
    • The Foreign Affair Ex-Pat Riesling 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-2  --  V, Vineland Station, Ontario, #372326 $16.95  (Apr)
    • Rolf Binder Highness Riesling Eden Valley 2012, 90-3  --  V, Tanunda, South Australia, #368266  $18.95  (May)
    • Volcanes de Chile Pomerape Limited Edition Sauvignon Blanc 2011,  90-2  --  V,  Leyda Valley, Chile, #371138  $14.95  (Jun)
    • Donatien Bahaud Les Grands Mortiers Vouvray 2012, 90-2  --  V, St. Florent, France, #140889 $15.95  (Feb)
    • Flat Rock Twisted 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-2  --  V, Jordan, Ontario, #001578  $16.95  (Feb)
    • Cave Spring Estate Bottled The Adam Steps Riesling 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench, 90-1 --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $22.10  (May)
    • Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio 2013, 89-1  --  V,  Alto Adige, Italy, #954024 $18.95  (Jun)
    • Greenlane Estate Winery Old Vines Riesling 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 89 --  V,  Beamsville, Ontario,  #351486 $22.95  (Jan)
    • O Chardonnay by Gilles Louvet Organic 2012, 89-2 --  G,  Languedoc, France, #320432 $14.40  (May)
    • Casa Do Valle Grande Escolha 2012, 89-2  --  V, Vinho Verde, Portugal, #276220 $15.95  (Mar)
    • Maison Adrien Vacher les Adrets Altesse 'Roussette de Savoie' 2012, 89-2  --  V,  Savoie, France,  #365163 $16.95  (Mar)
    • Willm Réserve Riesling 2012, 88-1  --  V,  Alsace, France, #011452 $15.95  (May)
    • Firesteed Oregon Pinot Gris 2012, 88-1  --  G, Rickreall, Oregon, #323808 $17.80  (Apr)
    • Hinterbrook Riesling 2012 VQA Niagara Lakeshore, 88-1  --  V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #270512 $17.95  (Apr)
    • Cave du Haut-Poitou Vallee Loire Sauvignon Blanc 2012,  87-1  --  V, Loire, France,  #357293 $16.95  (Apr)
    • Joffré Pasion 4 Torrontés 2013, 87-1 -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #361063  $14.95  (May)
    • Jip Jip Rocks Unoaked Chardonnay 2012, 87-1  --  V, Padthaway, Australia, #175752  $15.95  (May)
    • Maison Adrien Vacher les Adrets Altesse Roussette de Savoie 2012, 87-1  --  V, Savoie, France, #365163 $16.95  (May)
    • Zenato Lugana San Benedetto 2012, 87-1  --  V,  Veneto, Italy, #707158 $14.95  (Mar)
    • Balestri Valda Soave Classico 2012, 87-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy,  #362939 $15.95  (Mar)
    • Greenlane Estate Winery Old Vines Riesling 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 86  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #283432 $22.75*   (Jan)
    • Cave Spring Dolomite Riesling 2012 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86 --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $15.02  (May)
    • Cave Spring Sauvignon Blanc 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86  --  G, Jordan, Ontario, #529933 $15.95  (Apr)
    • Tommasi Viticoltori le Volpare Soave 2011, 85  --  V,  Veneto, Italy, #n/a  $10.25* (GS#132852  $33.20)  (Apr)
    • Tollgate Fumé Blanc Stratus Vineyards 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 85  --  V,  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #335711 $15.20*  (May)
    • 13th Street Detour Riesling/Chardonnay 2012,  84  --  G, St. Catharines, Ontario, #367573  $14.95*  (May)
    • 13th Street White Palette 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 84  --  V, St. Catharines, Ontario, #207340 $15.95  (May)
    • San Silvestro Fossili Gavi di Gavi 2012, 84  --  V,  Piedmont, Italy, #368753 $16.95  (Jun)
    • Moulin Camus Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2012, 84  --  V, Loire, France, #358630 $16.95 (Apr)
    • Tiberio Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2012, 84  --  V, Abruzzo, Italy,  #365478  $15.95  (Mar)
    • William Fèvre Espino Chardonnay 2011, 84a  --  V, Maipo Valley, Chile, #350058 $13.95   (Feb)
    • Greenlane Estate Winery Pinot Gris/Riesling 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore,  84  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #283721 $12.75*   (Jan)
    • Greenlane Estate Winery Riesling 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 84  --  V,  Beamsville, Ontario, #327247 $15.95  (Jan)
    • Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2011, 84 --  V, Pokolbin NSW, Australia, #662627 $18.95  (Jan)
    • Bastianich Friulano Adriatico 2011, 84  --  V, Friuli, Italy, #277467 $19.95  (Jan)
    • Rockway Small Lot (365 Cases) White Assemblage 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 83  --  V,  St. Catharines, Ontario, #359315 $16.95  (Apr)
    • Hess Select Chardonnay Monterey County 2011,  83  --   G, Napa, California,  #270074  $15.95  (Jun)
    • Finca Nueva Blanco 2012, 83  --  V,  Rioja, Spain, #280560  $16.95  (May)
    • Hess Select Chardonnay Monterey County 2012, 82  --  G, Salinas Valley, California, #270074  $15.95  (Apr)
    • Calamus Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 82  --  V, Jordan, Ontario, #349456 $13.95  (Jan)
    • Masi Masianco Pinot Grigio & Verduzzo IGT 2012, 82  --  G, Italy, #620773 $15.00   (Feb)
    • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, 81  --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $14.14  (May)
    • Yamhill Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris 2011, 81  --  V,  McMinnville, Oregon, #366294  $17.95
    • J&F Lurton les Fumées Blanches Sauvignon Blanc 2012,  81 -- G, France, #472555  $11.95*  (Mar)
    • Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012 VQA Niagara Lakeshore,  80  --  V, NotL, Ontario, #352344 $14.25*  (Mar)
    • Mas des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2012, 80  --  V, Rhône, France, #701094  $15.95  (Feb)
    • Montevina Pinot Grigio NV,  78  --  G, Napa, California, #237750 $14.95  (Mar)
    • Pillitteri Estate Winery Viognier 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, NR  --  V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #330894 $14.95  (May)
    • Patio 9 White Vidal Spritz VQA Ontario, NR  --   V, St. Catharines, Ontario, #341693 $12.95  (Apr)
    • Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Rosé 2013, 91-2  --  V, Loire, France, #119693 $16.95  (Jun)
    • See Ya Later Ranch Nelly Rosé VQA Okanagan Valley 2011,  87-1 --  V,  Okanagan Falls, BC, #325936 $13.25  (Feb)
    • Remy Pannier Rosé d'Anjou 2012, 83  --  G, Loire, France, #012641  $12.95  (May)
    • Zenato Bardolino Chiaretto Rosé 2013, 83  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #045203 $14.95  (May)
    • Milbrandt Traditions Columbia Valley Rosé 2011, 83  --  V, Washington, USA, #278309  $14.65  (Feb)
    • Domaine LaFond Roc-Épine Tavel Rosé 2012, 78  --  V, Rhône, France, #950709 $17.95  (Jan)
    • Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling Sparkling Wine 2012 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 93-3  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #370361 $19.95  (May)
    • De Chanceny Excellence Brut Vouvray 2010, 90-2  --  V, Loire, France, #352237 $20.95  (Jan)
    • Azahara Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, 88-1  --  V, Victoria, Australia, #357483 $17.95  (Feb)
    • Perlage Canah Brut Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene 2012, 88-1 --  V, Veneto, Italy, #358390  $19.95  (May)
    • Trapiche Extra Brut Sparkling Wine 2013, 86-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #262261 $10.95*  (May)
    • Muga Conde de Haro Brut Cava 2010, 86  --  V,   Rioja, Spain, #168559  $19.95  (May)
    • Domaine de Vaugondy Brut Vouvray, 86  --  V,  Loire, France, #154567 $15.95  (Apr)
    • Rotari Brut Trentodoc NV, 84 --  V,  Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, #708495 $17.95  (Apr)
    • Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso, 83 --  G, Veneto, Italy, V, #266023 $17.95  (Mar)