680 NEWS wine reviews, July 20–22, 2018

Ortas Prestige Rasteau 2013
Ever on the look-out for great BBQ wines, recently I came across a wine from the southern Rhône called Ortas Prestige Rasteau 2013. Traditionally a blend of 50% Grenache Noir, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre, this well-priced, easy-drinking wine is all about flavour. Dense purple in colour it shows vanilla oak and spicy plum on the nose; medium to full-bodied on the palate, its fruit-driven black plum flavour is well balanced with acidity, firmly structured and finishes on a smoky note. It costs $20.95 at Vintages outlets. Ideal for pepper steak. That’s Ortas Prestige Rasteau 2013 from France. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS ($20.95, Vintages #985929) (89)

Catena Zapata D.V. Catena Historic Vines Red Blend 2015
Catena is one of my favourite Argentinian wineries. Their historic vines were planted in 1902, a field blend of Malbec and Petit Verdot at elevations of 950 metres and 1120 metres. From these venerable vines they produce a wine called Catena Zapata D.V. Catena Historic Vines Red Blend. The 2015 vintage, just released at Vintages outlets, is dense purple in colour, offering a cedary nose of spicy black plum. Medium-bodied and dry, its well-extracted ripe black fruit flavours and rich and full on the palate and beautifully balanced. It costs $19.95 at Vintages and works well with BBQ meats. That’s Catena Zapata D.V. Catena Historic Vines Red Blend 2015 from Argentina. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($19.95, Vintages #555466) (89)

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 702: Versado

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Ann Sperling

Wines tasted this week:

  • Black Hills Carmenère 2016 (Southern Okanagan): deep purple colour; savoury, herbal nose of blackcurrants; medium-bodied, dry, blackcurrant flavour carried on lively acidity. (89)
  • Franciscan Estate Chardonnay 2015 (Napa Valley, $25.95): Bright straw in colour; buttery, toasty nose of apples with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, apple and pear flavours with well-integrated oak. A well-balanced wine. (90)
  • Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc Oldfield Reserve 2015 (Okanagan, $31.99): deep ruby colour; blueberry and blackcurrant nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, well-structured and firm with ripe blackcurrant and blueberry flavours. (90)

Sunday, July 15th: Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble came to the house to let me taste Ann’s wines from the family vineyard in Kelowna, BC, and the wines they make together from their Versado vineyard in Mendoza. Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Dairy, part 701: Great Tasting Week

Monday, July 9th: Tasted CedarCreek Meritage 2015 from the Okanagan: dense purple in colour with a cedary, blackcurrant and blueberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, blueberry flavour with a light floral note; beautifully balanced and long on finish.

Tuesday, July 10th: John Maxwell and Billy Munnelly’s annual Men in Pink event – a celebration of Ontario rosé at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

Continue reading

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680 NEWS wine reviews, July 13–15, 2018

Château des Charmes Aligoté 2017
Aligoté is a grape grown in Burgundy but it’s overshadowed by its more glamourous sister – the ubiquitous Chardonnay. To my knowledge the only winery in Canada that grows Aligoté is Château des Charmes in Niagara. And what a great job they do with it year after year! Their 2017 vintage is pale straw in colour with minerally, lemon and apple flavours. Light-bodied and dry, it’s fresh and lively on the palate reminiscent of a Chablis with a green pear finish. It costs $15.95 at the LCBO and is perfect for seafood or smoked fish. That’s Château des Charmes Aligoté 2017 from Ontario. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($15.95, LCBO #296848) (89)

Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 from Chile is one of those wines that surprises you. You don’t expect the concentration of flavour and elegance of structure in a wine that costs $19.95. Dense purple in colour, this Cabernet from the Colchagua Valley, has an intense nose of cedar, cigar box and blackcurrant topped with a floral grace note. Medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted, ripe blackberry and blackcurrant flavours fill the palate ending on ripe, mellow tannins. You’ll find it at Vintages outlets. Match it with grilled meats. That’s Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 from Chile. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS ($19.95, Vintages #322586)

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680 NEWS wine reviews, July 6–8, 2018

Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay 2016
Ontario makes some crackerjack Chardonnays. Just released at Vintages is Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay 2016. Made in Burgundian style, but unmistakably Niagara, this flavourful Chardonnay is straw-coloured with a green tint. The nose is apple with oak spice and touch of the forest floor. Medium-bodied and dry, you experience flavours of apple and pineapple with well-integrated oak and balancing acidity. It costs $18.95 at Vintages outlets. Serve it with grilled seafood or pork chops. That’s Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay 2016 from Ontario. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($18.95, Vintages #256552)

Montemisio Offida Pecorino 2016
The trending white wine in Italy these days is Pecorino (which is also the name of a cheese) and there’s a delicious example of Pecorino wine just released in Vintages outlets – Montemisio Offida Pecorino 2016 from the Marche region. Pale straw in colour, it has a spicy bouquet of peach with oak notes; medium-bodied with a smoky, floral, peach flavour, it finishes on a delightful note of lilacs. It costs $17.95 and works well as an aperitif wine or with grilled fish. That’s Montemisio Offida Pecorino 2016 in Vintages’ Italian section. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($17.95, Vintages #542811)

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 700

Oculus bottle close up, showing name and pelican logo etched into glass

Tuesday, June 26th: Deborah and I drove into Toronto, she for a hair appointment and I to attend a retrospective tasting of Mission Hill’s flagship wine, Oculus – ten vintages from 2006 to 2015. The tasting was conducted by Darryl Brooker. The wine started in 1997. Exclusive use of French oak in 2001. 2004, Michel Rolland assisted in the blending till 2010. Now Pascal Madevon consults. First decade it was Oliver-based fruit, the second, Osoyoos vineyard down by the Washington State border which is much warmer. Picking at night to bring in cool fruit. Darryl prefers fermenting in concrete (all-natural fermentation). All of Oculus is basket-pressed. Usually bottle 21–22 months after it’s picked. Continue reading

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680 NEWS wine reviews, June 29–July 1, 2018

Angels Gate Archangel Sparkling Chardonnay
Toast Canada’s 151st birthday with a glass of Ontario sparkling wine. Angels Gate Archangel Sparkling Chardonnay won a silver medal at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. Straw-coloured with an active mousse of tiny bubbles, wafts of citrus, apple and green melon rise from the glass; medium-bodied on the palate, flavours of green apple and lemon fill the mouth. This attractive bubbly costs $29.30 on the LCBO’s general list. Spoil yourself, after all, it’s the Canada Day weekend. That’s Angels Gate Archangel Sparkling Chardonnay from Niagara. ($29.30, LCBO #227009)

Bouchard Père & Fils Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2015
Red Burgundy is never inexpensive but a good introduction to what might make you a life-long fan is Bouchard Père & Fils Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2015. Ruby in colour, it offers a raspberry bouquet with light notes of violets and oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, red plum and raspberry flavours excite the palate ending with a firm tannic finish. It costs 20 dollars and 5 cents on the LCBO’s general list. Delicious with red meat dishes or lightly chilled and paired with grilled salmon. That’s Bouchard Père & Fils Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2015 from Burgundy. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($20.05, LCBO #605667)

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