680 NEWS Wine Reviews – December 15–17, 2017

La Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône 2015
The Cotes du Rhône region produces red wines that are ideal for cold winter evenings. They can be blends of up to 14 local varieties but the one I have in mind is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. It’s La Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône 2015. Dense purple in colour – as you’d expect from a warm sunny vintage that far south – it’s got a nose of blackberries and vanilla oak; full-bodied and dry, it has a distinct flavour of freshly picked blackberries with fresh acidity. It costs $19.95 at Vintages outlets. Ideal for winter casseroles. That’s La Ferme du Mont Le Ponnant Côtes du Rhône 2015 from France. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($20.95, Vintages #171371)

Domaine de la Chaise Touraine Sauvignon 2016
Here’s a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire’s Touraine region that comes on like a white Bordeaux. Domaine de la Chaise Touraine Sauvignon 2016. Medium straw in colour, it has a spicy, lanolin and lemon balm nose with a note of cut grass. Medium-bodied and crisply dry, it has flavours of elderberries and gooseberries – very fresh and lively on the palate. A fish and seafood wine if ever there was one. It costs $16.95 at Vintages outlets. That’s Domaine de la Chaise Touraine Sauvignon 2016 from France. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($16.95, Vintages #452540)

 

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Wines of the Week for December 14, 2017

Fowles Wine Farm To Table Cabernet Merlot 2015 (Victoria, Australia)
$15.95 (LCBO #436964)
Deep ruby in colour with a spicy, blackcurrant, blackberry and cedary nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury black fruit and peppery flavours with fresh acidity; well-balanced, fruity but firmly structured. Good value. (88.5)
Food match: roast beef; lamb chops

Cloudline Pinot Noir 2015 (Oregon)
$26.95 (Vintages #159970)
Ruby colour; a high-toned nose of cherries with earthy, floral notes; medium-bodied, dry, well-balanced cherry and raspberry flavours with lively acidity. (89)
Food match: duck breast; veal escalope

D’Ont Poke The Bear Red 2016 (Ontario)
$14.95 (LCBO #518746)
Billed as “a cheeky blend of Cabernet and Ontario’s newest favourite, Baco Noir.” Dense purple colour; spicy, cedary-herbal nose of black fruits; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, clove, slightly sweet, blackberry flavour; fruity but firm and commercial. (88)
Food match: hamburger; pizza

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, Part 677: Karl Kaiser

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Monday, December 4th: Wrote up my 680 NEWS wine reviews and raked leaves in the back garden. For dinner, a bottle of Cloudline Pinot Noir 2015 (Oregon, $28.95 – ruby colour; a high-toned nose of cherries with earthy, floral notes; medium-bodied, dry, well-balanced cherry and raspberry flavours with lively acidity (89)).

Tuesday, December 5th: Deborah is in Toronto today so I gave Pinot two long walks. She has two favourite destinations in opposite directions – to Henley Island, where there is a huge open space for dogs, and the waterfront trail along the shore of Lake Ontario. At Henley we met a bulldog named Joe Friday who carries a metal food dish with him wherever he goes and won’t surrender it. Continue reading

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680 NEWS Wine Reviews — December 8–10, 2017

Dominio del Plata Susana Balbo Crios Malbec 2015 
One of the best value Malbecs from Argentina is Dominio del Plata Susana Balbo Crios Malbec 2015. For $14.95 you get a dense purple wine with a spicy plum nose lifted with vanilla oak. It’s medium-bodied, dry and fruity but firmly structured and easy-drinking. Serve it with red meat dishes or old cheddar. That’s Dominio del Plata Susana Balbo Crios Malbec 2015 at Vintages outlets. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($14.95, Vintages #162529) (88)

Ilok Cellars Grasevina 2016 
We don’t see many wines from Croatia coming through the LCBO but currently on the shelves is Ilok Cellars Classic Grasevina 2016. Grasevina is what the Croatians call Welschriesling, which – just to confuse you – has nothing to do with Wales; it’s also known as Riesling Italico. Anyway, the wine is bright straw in colour with a greenish tint. It has a grassy, minerally nose of grapefruit – and come on rather like a well-balanced, cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc. It costs $13.95 a bottle at Vintages outlets and works well with fish dishes. That’s Ilok Cellars Grasevina 2016 from Croatia. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($13.95, Vintages #517474) (89)

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Wines of the Week for December 7, 2017

Torres Altos Ibericos 2014 (Rioja)
$12.95 until December 31 (LCBO #527291)
100% Tempranillo wine from Spain’s Rioja region. Deep ruby in colour it shows a cedary, cherry nose with sandalwood and floral notes; it’s medium-bodied and dry; expect elegant, savoury, strawberry and blackcurrant flavours with lively acidity and a lovely mouth-feel. (89)
Food match: red meat dishes; Manchego

Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Maipo Valley, Chile)
$17.95 (Vintages #18721)
Argentina may have stolen some of Chile’s thunder these days, but I was mightily impressed by this Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile’s Maipo Valley. Dense purple in colour, it has a cedary bouquet of blackcurrants with vanilla oak notes; it’s medium to full-bodied, and dry with cassis and black plum flavours and an engaging sweetness of fruit in mid-palate, finishing firmly with zesty acidity.
Food match: lamb dishes; beef stroganoff

Negrar Corvina Verona 2015 (Veneto)
$9.85 (LCBO #519199)
Valpolicella and Amarone are usually blends of three grapes varieties, with Corvina being the dominant player. But more and more winemakers in the Veneto region are producing wines made from 100% Corvina. I’m here to tell you that this is one of the best bargains on the general list at the moment. Deep ruby in colour, it offers a floral nose of cherry and blackcurrant, flavours that are replicated on the medium-weight palate. It’s fruity and fresh and remarkably elegant for its $9.85 price tag. (89)
Food match: meat pasta dishes; pizza with salami

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 676: Kitchen Finished!

Monday, November 27th: A quiet day, racking up the paces as I walk Pinot. She has two favourite routes. One is along a path by the Martindale Pond that leads ultimately to Henley Island. There is a large open area for dogs there and Pinot enjoys socializing. The other is the Waterfront Trail that runs long Lake Ontario.

Opened a bottle of Guillaume Aurèle Viognier 2015 ($13.65 – Pays d’Oc: bright straw in colour with a spicy melon nose; medium-bodied, dry, slightly acetic (87.5)). Continue reading

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680 NEWS Wine Reviews – December 1–3, 2017

Château de Pierreux Brouilly 2015
Beaujolais Nouveau is one thing but for a more complex wine try this village-named Beaujolais from a warm vintage – Château de Pierreux Brouilly 2015. Deep purple-ruby in colour, it offers a nose of black cherries and chestnut skins; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured and elegant with well-extracted cherry and plum flavours, it costs $19.95 at Vintages outlets. Chill it for grilled tuna, or serve it at room temperature for roast chicken. That’s Château de Pierreux Brouilly 2015 from the Beaujolais region at Vintages outlets. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($19.95, Vintages #5496) (89)

Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2015
Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling has always been one of my favourite Rieslings. The 2015, currently at Vintages outlets, is a good example of why Ontario succeeds with this variety. Pale straw in colour, the nose is spicy, honeyed grapefruit with a thread of minerality. Medium-bodied, and dry, it offers flavours of honey, grapefruit and lemon, crisply dry with good length. Serve it with seafood or as an appetite-stimulant before dinner. It costs $18.95 at Vintages outlets. That’s Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2015 from Ontario. For Post City Magazines, I’m Tony Aspler, 680 NEWS. ($18.95, Vintages #89029) (89)

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