Archive for the ‘Recommended’ Category

One of the most consistently delicious and pedigreed wines I’ve been keeping very detailed notes on is an affordable junior-level vino from one of the most recognizable vintners in the world: Louis Jadot. Its trademark frieze of Bacchus and uniquely colored label stands out on any shelf in any vino purveyor’s shoppe.

Though my tastings have only dated from the 2004 vintage, this historic vino travels back in time to the early 1800’s.  The winery has been passed down through the last 200 years to various parties whose best interests ensure the sustainability or the vineyards and most importantly the consistency of the final product.

(V) 2004 – the beginning of my tasting was almost the end.  A prominent barnyard aroma, slight cherry flavor yet thin on the palate and no finish at all.

(V) 2005 – dark and ominous in the glass, the faint layer of earthiness is rather pleasing with a strawberry essence on top.  Berry-forward palate with the earth on moderate finish.

(V) 2006 – We went through two bottles of this amazing vino at an out-of-the-way bistro during a trip to Paris. Took another back to the hotel for the evening.  Smooth palate, flavors of raspberry and cherry with a silky finish. Great for breakfast sopped up with day-old baguette. Best bottle yet!

(V) 2007 – Predominantly peppery on the nose, tangy strawberry flavor, bright acidity –  deliciously gulpable!  Almost Nouveau in style.

(V) 2008 – Spicy cherry on the nose with hint of peppercorn.  Rather light-bodied and finishes with a hint of anise.  Strange flavor profile for this type of vino but still drinkable.

(V) 2009 – Crushed strawberry and barnyard on the nose, lively acidity on the mid-weight palate, distinctive peppercorn finish.

Prices range from ~$8/btl to as high as ~$17/btl as your local vino merchant

Six years, six bottles of the same vino produced from vines as old as 200 years. Consistent and enjoyable and ready for the release of 2010’s offering.   I have several other vinos with years of detailed notes like this; look for another retrospective sometime soon.

A Santé!!



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This is my very first vino from a vintner whose vines, but for a small body of water; practically straddle appellations.  Examining the viticulture map of California, I can see Sonoma Valley begins just across San Pablo Bay from San Francisco.

Sterling has labeled this vino as Central Coast so the grapes used to produce this Chardonnay are from the vineyards south of San Fran.  So there we have it – chilling in the fridge to ~14°C, grilled chicken seasoned with fresh sage & oregano, roasted smashed potatoes with Mediterranean sea salt, and sauteed haricots vert.

The deep golden color in the glass is a prelude to light scents of butter-cream, pineapple and orange.  The palate is full and mouth-filling, the tropical flavors carrying through to a decent finish, though the pale haze of muddled oak creates a complexity better suited to a mid-palate rather than an aftertaste.    LCBO ~$15/blt.

Humbly, your vinoboy places a “Recommended” check mark on it.  I am not exactly a lover of Chardonnay in-and-of-itself and tend to be extraordinarily picky. The benchmark set by V Sattui’s Caneros Chardonnay makes for quite a challenge for most other Chard’s.




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In my studies with the Vintners Quality Alliance, there lies within Ontario several “sub-appellations”: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelee Island, Prince Edward County just to name a few.  Grapes from the vines cultivated in the unique soils/terroirs of these sub-appellations carry with them the essence of everything in this wondrous dirt.

The sub-appellation of Costères de Nimes within the major region of Rhône is one such example in that most southern part of France.

Your vinoboy suggests slightly chilling this wine before tasting, but PLEASE not too much.  Intensely colored, floral and herbaceous nose, powerful mouth feel and an open, refreshing airy gasp of dried lavender on the finish.

The structure and balance of this vino makes it a perfect pair for exotically-spiced grilled chicken and veggies.  We’re actually crusting our chicken breasts with the famous Saffron restaurant’s Chef Sameh Wadi Spice Trail Exotic Blend Middle-Eastern blend.

LCBO/Vintages ~$14/btl   Cheers to Summer!!!



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Oh my, where to begin!

I drank the whole bottle myself once this vino was uncorked and decanted.  Already aged 6 years, the tannin and pop has mellowed all on its own to be sure, but having read somewhere that this particular Niagara Escarpment Winery’s VQA-certified wines were bold prepared me to take such a step prior to drinking.

Even after an hour in my favorite decanter, the aroma was still smooth and appealing with wafts of black pepper, cedar and hints of cocoa.  The palate was lip-smackingly dry; the full-bodied flavors of chocolate, cherries and a creamy smoothness brings to mind a dense, not-too-sweet cake.

The finish was dry to be sure with a racy edge that had me polishing off the bottle and licking the last drops from my class.

~$15/blt at the LCBO, supplies are dwindling so if you find it, get it and either drink now or cellar for just a few more years.




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I’m not a huge lover of Sauvginon Blanc but was so astonished by the Spy Valley 2009 that I reviewed a little while ago, trying a vintage from a neighboring winery seemed like a good idea.  I love New Zealand wine and will choose one over most other countries’ vinos. We all know that meso-climate varies greatly by even a few hundred feet; so 16miles inland from Hawkesbury along the floor of the Wairau Valley lies Wither Hills.

The nose of this Wairau Valley Pinot Gris is lusciously floral, honey and nectarines.  The body seems very full with its 12% alc/vol producing thick and long legging within the glass.  The palate is feels very rich and sweet-tasting with the nectarine foremost on the tongue.  Not quite sure I am all that appreciative of the density; the almost oily quality leaves a semi-dry smackiness on the roof of the mouth.

I sampled this vino all by itself on June 18th 2011, sitting on my balcony in the afternoon sun watching cars and motorcycles whizzing by.  Refreshing in this context, I’m not sure what foods other than spicy Asian would do it justice.  Very much like a Gewurztraminer in this aspect.

I’m sort of on the fence about its recommendation which surprises me – given my love of NZ…   Try it for yourself at the LCBO/Vintages ~$20/btl




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FINALLY!  I have finally found an Australian vino that doesn’t have an extroverted sensation of dirt!  More clearly, the expressive quality of the Australian terroir [imho] reflected in the palate of the wine is very often a detraction from an otherwise delicious bit of vino.

As with my last entry on Australian wine, the Barossa Blonde, the Barossa Valley in South Australia is a rather prolific and fiercely protected viticultural area becoming more and more known for its rarer varieties of cultivated v. vinifera. Specifically Viognier.

Viognier was almost totally wiped out in France due to a combination of The Blight and WWI.  A terribly difficult grape to grow, conditions must be completely ideal for it to flourish.  And flourish it has.

I don’t normally go for Viognier as a wine of choice, it can be very often heavily floral and thick to the point of being waxy.  When blended, these qualities are muted and complimentary to its mated pair.

Yalumba’s Shiraz Viognier 2009 is a tasty blend. Complex and exotic, the peppery characteristic of the shiraz is balanced out by the floral notes of the viognier; cinnamon and black tea from the shiraz is softened  to violets with the viognier.

I sipped this vino all by itself to best appreciate the juiciness on the palate.  I’d suggest cedar-plank salmon, or pork tenderloins; steaks might be a little too heavy.

LCBO listed at ~$13/btl.  I like this a lot!




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Chablis.  Sometimes referred to as the “outcast of Burgundy”, Chablis is a small region in north-central France most well-known for its mineral-rich terroir; the soil full of limestone and calcium.  The area was once covered by a vast sea, so the fossils and shells add to the calcium content in the soil. I could go on and on about just the soil in various parts of France but will leave that to one of my on-line mentors: The Wine Doctor.  Visit and explore his extensive writings on the subject and check out his sponsors.

Chablis, therefore, isn’t so much about the Chardonnay grape from which it is made, but about the earth that nurtures the vines.

Carefully chilled to 14°C whilst dinner was prepared to hit the grill.

I’ve recently acquired a taste for whole shrimp; the jus in the carapace is succulent and tastes of the sea – reminding me of growing up in the rural Maritimes. Got some live 8-10 tiger prawns from a local Asian market, dunked them in ice-cold brine to slow them down and make them clear their guts. Drained them, sprinkled with S&P and put in the fridge. (yes, they’re still alive, but very sluggish.  Got the grill really hot and laid shrimp carefully on holding them there in case any complained about their imminent consumption.

Took only three minutes each side to perfectly cook. Split off the head and suck out the jus!  Mmmm!  Creamy soft, slight tinny taste, and lightly salty.  A sip of Chablis to compliment the custardy shrimp jus.  Nice. Peeled away the shell on the tail and savored the delicate flesh clean and simple.

The crisp and light acidity of the Chablis is a great balance to the mid-weight silky mouth-feel.  Flavors of citrus, coriander and slate carry through to a dry lingering finish.  I think I’ll be adding more Chablis to my cellar for a couple year’s rest – the time will mellow the tang of the minerals and increase the undertone of spice.

LCBO/Vintages ~$22/btl  A bit pricey for every-day consumption, but with the expensive shrimp, it was worth it.  Magnifique!



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Ok, so I must confess before I go any further that the only reason I chose this wine (the last of the wines I chose when last out with my good friend ‘S’…) was the shape of the bottle.  Hour-glass sculpted and sinuously tall, I was hoping the vino within would be voluptuous and yummy…

That’s not entirely true, I must confess. Côtes de Provence is one of the southern-most regions of France, in the foothills of les Montagnes Pyrénées -the range that divides the country from Spain. And since I’ve had delicious experiences with French rosés of late, a tasting was in order.

The faint nose was lightly rosy with a hint of lavender. On the palate, flavors of red peppers and stone berries fill both the front and back of the mouth.  The structure is slightly heavy, but otherwise, a rather pleasing vino.

Stock is low at the LCBO so if you find it at ~$14/btl, drink it right away or even try to cellar it for a year or two.




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In the countryside northeast of Adelaide South Australia lies the Barossa Valley and the Peter Lehmann winery. This Barossa Blonde is part of the Art Series whose labels are created by local artists to represent the character of the wine within.

This Australian regional blend is a mix of Riesling, Chemin Blanc, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc – most of which are grown in the Barossa Valley; the Sauv Blanc is from the Adelaide Hills.

Floral on the nose, this pale gold wine seems a little too zippy at first glance. The palate is juicy and tart with lime and granny smith apple. The refreshing finish is pleasing and clean, the initial zippiness actually helps the vino along.

I chose this vino to accompany a dinner of olive oil&sun-dried tomato marinated chicken breast pan-roasted with aromatics served with scented Basmati rice. YUM!

May still be in the new release section of the LCBO ~$13-14/btl.




**images credit – The Winery. makes no claim to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

Spain is the third largest wine producing nation in the world. Most notable to this vinoboy’s pallet are the glossy dark reds of Priorat, savory reds from Rioja, and  sparking whites from Cava. My friend “S” pointed this Barrica out to me on our recent trip to the Vintages section of our favorite LCBO.

This vino turned out to be a lot more of a complex challenge that I would’ve thought.  My tasting happened in what turned out to be three stages: immediate uncorked impression, one hour decanted, and next day.

Immediately after uncorking, I sloshed a generous portion of this Garnacha, Carineña, Cab. Sauv blend into a glass.  The deep deep deep red color would be the color of my next car if i had that option.  On the nose, the vino felt simple with basic scents of sour cherry and black pepper. Tannic on the palate with a subtle pine note on the short finish.  Not too bad.

About an hour later after cleansing my mouth with plain melba toast and water, the decanted portion was tasted.  The peppery nose had softened somewhat letting more hints of cocoa and currant come up.  Palate still feels a little grating and there’s a curious minerality on the moderate finish.

Next afternoon, the third-of-a-bottle I let rest in the recorked bottle was examined.  The aroma has definitely unwound to reveal a rather structured nose of raspberry jam and light tobacco.  This tobacco essence, reminding me of a relaxing Latakia-blended pipe smoke, carried through to a lengthy finish where the minerally/metallicy edge was very evident.

What have I learned from this vino?  Not sure yet.  I’m still digesting the notes I’ve taken and will probably add a bottle to my ever-increasing cellar to let rest for a while; maybe 5 years. My vino-peers seem to be mixed on this though – some are saying gulp it now, others are advising to lay down considerably.

Not a bad bit of vino for the LCBO/Vintages ~$17/blt on sale (regular price is ~$22).

Cheers from your just-back-from-vacation…



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