I have selected seven excellent Canadian wines from this release, three of which I’ve assigned a score of 90 points. Those three highlights are the 2013 Thirty Bench Red (a Merlot-Cabernet blend), the always outstanding Cave Spring CSV Riesling, this one from the 2013 vintage, and the enticing 2014 JoieFarm Winery white “A Noble Blend” from Naramata BC.
These are followed by Fielding Estate’s 2014 Pinot Gris, the Flat Rock Cellars 2014 Unplugged Chardonnay, the Jackson-Triggs 2014 Okanagan Reserve Series Viognier and the 2015 Megalomaniac Pink Slip Rosé.
THIRTY BENCH RED 2013, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #320986 • $24.20 • 750ml. • 90/100The wine is 39% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc. The wine shows rather deep ruby-red, with a narrow rim that hints of garnet. The nose fills with aromas of sweet oak (vanilla and baking spice), wood smoke, ripe blackberry, black currant and plum fruit, and a light cedary green note. This is well structured, with brisk acidity, balanced alcohol and fine-grained tannins. The fruit is still joyfully fresh on the palate, and the fruit and savoury finish lingers. Very drinkable now, this will reward those who can cellar the wine for at least three to five years.
Tasted 17-May-2016 • ANDREW PELLER LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE SPRING CELLARS CSV RIESLING 2013, Estate bottled, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #566026 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is one of the iconic benchmarks for off-dry Ontario Riesling. The nose fills with pretty apple blossom, red apple, lime and pear aromas, while a hint of Riesling rubber-mineral lurks underneath. The wine is clearly off-dry, balanced by crisp acidity, with diminished alcohol. The palate is round and rich, the fruit is juicy and fresh, and a chalky minerality lingers on the finish.
Tasted 13-May-2016 • CAVE SPRING CELLARS LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JOIEFARM A NOBLE BLEND 2014, BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Vintages #454793 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This wine is a blend of six varieties, led by Gewürztraminer and Riesling, with smaller portions of Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Shoenberger. While the name "Noble" may refer to the winery's proprietor, it also plays on the Alsatian term "Edelzwicker", which translates as "noble blend" and would be composed of many of the same grapes. The wine has a bright and fresh nose, that shows rosewater and peach blossom, with peach, lemon, grapefruit and apple fruit. The wine is just off-dry, although the acidity keeps the wine crisp, while a contrasting honeyed richness and suggestion of spice add texture and complexity. This is very enticing indeed: full of life and interest, but remaining composed and elegant at the same time.
Tasted 13-May-2016 • JOIEFARM WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FIELDING PINOT GRIS 2014, Estate bottled, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #251108 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine has a slight coppery tinge that suggests some skin contact. Aromas of lemon, apple and melon fruit are complemented by a nuance of bitter herbs. The wine is technically off-dry, but the acidity nicely hides the residual sugar. Add notes of apricot fruit and bitter apricot pit to the pleasant fruit on the palate, and you have a very classy expression of Ontario Pinot Gris.
Tasted 13-May-2016 • FIELDING ESTATE WINERY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY 2014, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #68015 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The Flat Rock "unplugged" (unoaked) Chardonnay shows lots of fresh floral, lemon, apple and melon notes. It is nicely structured: dry, with brisk acidity, modest alcohol and a medium body with a light, creamy texture that complements the crisp flavours. Very good.
Tasted 13-May-2016 • FLAT ROCK CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
JACKSON-TRIGGS OKANAGAN RESERVE SERIES VIOGNIER 2014, BC VQA Okanagan Valley
Vintages #445700 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 87.5/100Bright aromas of peach blossom, peach, grapefruit, lemon and apple are edged with stony minerality. The wine is almost dry, with just a hint of residual sugar that is nicely balanced by acidity. The palate carries the fruit with some richness, and a light bitterness appears on the finish. This is a compact and pleasantly understated example of Viognier, well worth the price.
Tasted 24-May-2016 • CONSTELLATION BRANDS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MEGALOMANIAC PINK SLIP ROSÉ 2015, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #85126 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 87/100This is the first opportunity I've had to taste the work of Sébastien Jacquey, who took over as head winemaker at Megalomanic in 2015. The wine is a bright neon pink, with pretty cherry, berry, red apple and apple blossom notes, but a slightly disconcerting hint of Riesling rubber-petrol. Yes, when I checked the website it did suggest that the wine would be a blend of Riesling and Merlot, although the notes were not completely updated fro 2015. The wine is just off-dry, with brisk acidity, modest alcohol, and a medium body, that washes crisply over the palate. A clean and direct wine that shows nicely, this will prove to be very pleasing to most consumers.
Tasted 24-May-2016 • JOHN HOWARD CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation