December 1st: Participated in a webinar entitled “Lebanese Wine Heritage to Canada,” with Toronto sommelier Christina Brown. The purpose of the webinar was to enlighten wine producers in Lebanon about the LCBO and how to access it. We had both been sent wines from the Lebanese embassy and here was the tasting order. (I tasted the wines that have my notes.)
Chateau Ksara Blanc de Blanc 2018 – Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend.
Domaine Wardy Perle du Château 2016 (Bekaa Valley: Chardonnay, aged 6 months in new oak)
Old gold in colour; toasty, spicy, apple nose; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted toasty, spicy, apple flavours with balancing acidity and nicely integrated oak. (89)
Château St. Thomas Les Emir 2013 (Bekaa Valley: Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon) Gold Medal at Selections Mondiales in Montreal in 2018.
Mature ruby colour; cedar, spicy plum bouquet; medium-bodied, dry and savoury, plum and black cherry flavours with evident tannin. Fruit beginning to dry out. (87)
Château au Ksara Reserve du Couvent 2017 (Bekaa Valley: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc)
Deep ruby in colour; spicy, lightly floral, black fruits and dark chocolate on the nose; medium-bodied, full on the palate with plum and clove flavours ending on chalky tannins. Good length. Needs a couple of years cellar time. (88–90)
Massaya Le Colombier 2017 (Grenache Noir 35%, Cinsault 35%, Tempranillo 30%)
Château Fakra Collection Privée 2012 (Bekaa Valley: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah)
Dense ruby in colour; cedary, blackcurrant bouquet with oak spice; medium-bodied, savoury mulberry and licorice flavours with chocolatey tannins on the finish. Well-balanced with a sweetness at the core. (89)
Château St. Thomas 2010 (Bekaa Valley: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah) Gold Medal at Concours Mondial in Brussels in 2014.
Dense ruby colour; spicy, cedary, herbal, tobacco nose of black fruits; medium-bodied, dry and savoury, plum and blackcurrant flavours with evident but ripe tannins. The Syrah component sings through. Rich mouth-feel with a note of dark chocolate. Still youthful. (90).
The next day, I tasted six wines from Tender Hope, a boutique winery in BC’s West Kelowna.
Tender Hope Chardonnay 2018 (Okanagan Valley)
Golden straw colour; lightly toasty, apple bouquet with a note of underbrush, citrus and apple blossom; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted flavours of apple and peach; lovely mouth-feel with fresh citrus acidity to prolong the taste. Drink now or through 2021. (90)
Tender Hope Tender Summer 2019
A blend of 42% Riesling, 26% Viognier and 22% Kerner. Pale straw in colour; aromatic, lightly floral, musk melon and citrus nose; off-dry with a honeyed grapefruit flavour carried on lively acidity; beautifully balanced and lingering. Richly textured and mouth-filling. Great length. Drink now. (89)
Tender Hope Roussanne 2018
100% Roussanne, a Northern Rhône variety usually blended with Marsanne. Bright light golden in colour; waxy, green herb and grapefruit bouquet with a minerally, floral top note; medium to full-bodied, dry, creamy peach and lemon zest flavours. Good length. Drink now or hold a year or two. (89)
Tender Hope Pinot Noir 2019
Medium ruby in colour; lightly cedary nose of raspberries and cranberries with a suggestion of violets; medium-bodied, dry, round on the palate with raspberry and strawberry flavours, finishing firmly with ripe tannins. Lovely mouth-feel, Drink now or hold 1–2 years. (90)
Tender Hope Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Sangiovese. Deep ruby-purple in colour. Cedary, toasty, mulberry nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, creamy, vanilla and blackberry flavours; firmly structured with ripe tannins. Hold 1–2 years to let the oak meld with the fruit. (88–89)
Tender Hope Coral Syrah 2017 (Washington State fruit from the Walla Walla Valley)
Deep ruby-purple colour; cedary, blackberry with pencil shavings on the nose and a herbal tone: medium to full-bodied, dry, juicy, blackberry flavour carried on zesty acidity; well-integrated French oak (30% new). Lovely mouth-feel and great balance. Firm tannins on the finish. Drink now for its freshness or hold a couple of years to mellow the tannins. (90–92)
Other wines tasted:
Kacaba Vineyards Oak-Aged Chardonnay 2018 (Niagara Peninsula, $29.95)
Bright straw in colour; floral, lightly toasty, apple bouquet, with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, apple flavour with nicely integrated oak. (88.5)
Lacour Tourny Bodeaux Merlot 2018 (Bordeaux, $11.85 LCBO #17447)
Deep purple colour; cedary, spicy, mulberry and vanilla oak nose; medium-bodied, dry, easy drinking plum flavour; firmly structured with evident but ripe tannins. (87)
Lapis Luna Zinfandel 2018 (California North Coast# – $19.95, to be released in Vintages on February 20th)
80% Zinfandel/20% Sangiovese. Deep purple in colour; cedary, lightly floral nose; spicy, sweet and juicy blackberry and blueberry flavours. (88)