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Matt Steeves, Certified Sommelier

  Ottawa, ON

  Wine Blogger

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Certified Sommelier

Memorable Wine

Too many wonderful experiences traveling the various wine regions in North America. Have enjoyed a...
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First Wine

Probably a German riesling or a Cali white blend, in a box, in the late 80s.
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Unusual Wine Experience

Every experience enjoying wine is special, whether it's having a white glove service meal or en...
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Matt's Holiday Wine Picks

  
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Versado Reserva Malbec 2010

Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

Reviewed: November 23, 2013

$59.95

    My Review: Tasted blind November 21, 2013. Nose: Sweet stewed fruit, clove, alcohol, black liquorice, cherry, damson plum, smoke and chocolate. Palate: sweet dark fruit, fruity but not jammy. A very ripe full bodied wine, beautifully balanced. Enjoy now or cellar for 5-7 years. 91 pts. - @Quercusvino Score: 91/100

    95/100
     

    Hinterland Vineyards Whitecap Method Charmat 2012

    VQA, Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada

    Reviewed: December 7, 2013

    $22.00

      My Review: What a gem from PEC! When I tasted this wine for the first time it was lukewarm-ish (unfortunately) however it was still fantastic! Never enjoyed a warm sparking wine like I did with the Whitecap. Mini bubbles, great fruit concentration, minerality, biscuit, and did I mention the tiny bubbles! Pairs great with a wide variety of foods - sea food, finger foods, fish, bbq...pretty much everything! 91 points. Try it soon. Score: 91/100

      90/100
       

      Tollgate Chardonnay 2011

      Niagara, Canada

      $19.95

        My Review: Esteemed Stratus Vineyard's 2nd wine label, Tollgate, over delivers on flavour and value. The 2011 Chardonnay is a great example of that. Golden yellow, creamy and rich, with pineapple, minerality, butter and lees, with a long creamy pineapple finish. Tasted December 2013. 88 points. Matt Steeves - @Quercusvino Score: 88/100

         

        Stratus Special Select Late Harvest Cabernet Franc 2012

        Niagara, Canada

        $29.00

          My Review: Beautiful sweet nose full of fresh baked apple pie, cinnamon, and cran-apple. Palate, medium sweet, mouth watering, would make a great pairing with full flavoured cheeses, or try with strawberry shortcake, apple pie and vanilla ice cream. This is a terrific alternative to Ice Wine given the lighter body, and attractive price. Score: 92/100

           

          Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Chardonnay 2010

          Niagara, Canada

          $28.00

            My Review: Barrel fermented and aged, this NOTL Chardonnay has a big nose full of ripe fruit, oak, butter scotch, with a super creamy texture making it a great match for any roasted or bbq'd chicken, or your favourite rich pasta dish. Score: 91/100

             

            Lailey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Fume 2012

            Niagara on the Lake, Ontario VQA, Canada

            $30.00

              My Review: Barrel sample - Tasted Lailey's small production oaked Sauvignon Blanc and instantly fell in love with it. Exotic fruit, everything you'd expect from a well executed Sauv Blanc, with loads of minerality, and a creamy yet very refreshing mouthfeel and finish. Limited production (91 cases) means this wine won't last long. It also happens to be a favourite wine style of winemaker Derek Barnett, so I'd recommend buying it before it disappears... Tasted November 2013 - 92 points. Score: 92/100

               

              ROSEWOOD SÜSSRESERVE RIESLING 2012

              Beamsville Bench, ON, Canada

              $14.95

                My Review: Rosewood's Sussreserve Riesling is a great example of the unique value priced wines being crafted at this award winning Beamsville ON based winery. Produced in a slightly off dry style, the winemaker sets ~11% of the unfermented Riesling juice aside and adds it to the dry (fully fermented) Riesling wine after a few months. The result is a crisp wine that exhibits beautiful fruit concentration with a slight sweetness making it especially versatile for pairing with a wide variety of dishes. My recommendation, spicy Asian dishes, or simply enjoy on its own. Tasted November 28, 2013. 89 pts. Matt Steeves - @Quercusvino Score: 89/100

                 

                Stratus Semillon Icewine 2008

                Niagara, Canada

                  My Review: Stratus Vineyards has been crafting unique Bordeaux styled white blends with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for quite some time and this is their inaugural bottling of Semillon Icewine and what a fantastic effort. Golden yellow, with impressive depth and integration of sweet tropical and exotic fruits, honey, and mouthwatering acidity. A delicious sweet finish with honey and pineapple flavours to savour for a minute and beyond. Imagine a Sauternes icewine...impressive is right! Pair with your favourite creamy dessert, or full flavoured cheese. Creme brulee would make a perfect match. Tasted December 10, 2013 (Matt Steeves - @Quercusvino) Score: 92/100

                   

                  Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery Select Sémillon 2012

                  Beamsville Bench, Ontario VQA, Canada

                  $18.00

                    My Review: Award winning Rosewood Estates Winery has been producing their single vineyard Beamsville Bench Sémillon for five years now, and perhaps this is the finest expression yet. Hailing from the incredible 2012 vintage, the grapes were picked at ripeness levels typically only seen in warmer wine making regions of the world. At 14.6% abv, this is a big and luscious wine. The nose displays ripe tropical fruit, peach, blood orange, and sweet spices. Medium-full bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel, the palate is packed with pineapple, asian pear, and white pepper, leading to a long tropical fruit finish. Well balanced for such a high alcohol white; the winemakers use of stainless steel certainly helped preserve the refreshing tropical fruit acidity making this wine an ideal pairing with pineapple glazed ham, or seared fish with a mango chutney. Tasted November 28, 2013. 90+ points. Score: 90/100

                     

                    La Frenz Winery Sonoran Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

                    Naramata Bench, BC, Canada

                    $22.00

                      My Review: "Peaches and Cream" is how La Frenz describes their delicious value priced Chardonnay. 50% barrel fermented in premium french oak, 50% in stainless steel, La Frenz has skillfully balanced the refreshing fruit with the toasty oak to create a great California style Chardonnay that displays the best of both worlds (fruit and oak). The nose is full of tropical and orchard fruit, butterscotch, and the palate is creamy and round, with pineapple, peach, leading to a long creamy finish. Tasted September 2013 and November 2013. 91 points. Score: 91/100

                       

                      Quinta Ferreira Obra Prima 2008

                      Okanagan Valley, Black Sage Bench, Oliver, Canada

                      $35.00

                        My Review: Quinta Ferreira 2008 Obra Prima – 13.4%ABV, 820 cases Less savory with more robust red fruits than the 2007 vintage, this is perhaps the best Obra Prima of the decade. Intense yet round nose of Tawny Port with the full gambit of black berries, plum, cherry, smoke, leather, mineral and sage. The wine is perfectly balanced with loads of unctuous flavour, polished tannins, and mouthwatering freshness. This is a big wine that demonstrates both elegance and finesse. Drink now to 2020. Tasted September 2013. 92pts @QuercusVino Score: 92/100

                         

                        St. Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout 2013

                        Canada

                        $5.95

                          My Review: The king of stouts, Russian Imperial Stout was made popular back in the 1800s and still today is appreciated by many. Black in colour, with huge malt sweetness, mild carbonation, and impressive bitterness (84 IBUs), this high alcohol (9.2%) Vintage specialty is packed full of rich roasted malt flavours including chocolate, coffee, and dried fruits. Recommend serving below room temperature but not too cold (10-14c). Pairs great with braised beef dishes, and my favourite during the Holiday season, Christmas fruit cake, or enjoy it with vanilla ice cream floats any season of the year. December 2013 - 93 pts. (Matt Steeves - @Quercusvino) Score: 93/100

                           

                          Rosewood Estates Winery Estate Riesling 2011

                          Beamsville Bench, ON, Canada

                          $16.00

                            My Review: An exceptional Beamsville Bench Riesling from the award winning Rosewood Estates Winery. Immediately upon pouring the nose is full of incredible flint minerality, artisanal beeswax, and attractive petrol notes, all of which one may expect in an expensive Grand Cru Riesling from more storied wine regions of the world. The palate is mouthwatering, with crisp citrus fruit, leading to a long refreshing mineral finish. Ideal with summer salads, fish, and seafood. At $16, you'll be hard pressed to find a better expression of Riesling anywhere. With only 275 cases produced, this wine won't last long, although will age beautifully for 5 years if you can get your hands on it. Tasted November 28, 2013. 91 points. Score: 91/100

                             

                            Chateau Pipeau Grand Cru Meritage 2010

                            St. Emilion, Bordeaux, A.O.C., France

                            Reviewed: March 7, 2013

                            $34.95

                              My Review: Amazing sweet spices with loads of yummy dark fruit in this young Bordeaux. Molasses cookies, ginger snaps, blueberries, mineral, quite simply a relatively complex crowd pleaser that will pair well with a wide range of food or drink beautifully on its own. Score: 92/100

                              92/100
                               

                              Ruffino Moscato D'asti

                              Tuscany, Italy

                              $13.00

                                My Review: A new adventure for a very storied winery, Ruffino recently began producing one of Italy's sweetest liquid treats, the infamous low alcohol, lightly bubbly Moscato D'Asti. This Moscato D'Asti has textbook peach and orange blossom notes leading to a long sweet and refreshing finish. Pairs exceptionally well with most desserts including one of my summer favourites - fresh fruit parfait with chocolate. Score: 90/100

                                 

                                Ruffino Modus 2010

                                Tuscany, Italy

                                Reviewed: September 28, 2013

                                $28.95

                                  My Review: My first time tasting the Modus (2010 vintage) and wow, what a fantastic wine. Deep dark ruby red, loads of dark fruit, plum, spice, pipe tobacco, and leather. A beautiful balance of old world and new world wine styles, it's no wonder why this wine is selling out so quickly. At under $30 this is very high quality wine for the price. Buy by the half (or full) case, if you can still find them in stores... Score: 92/100

                                  94/100
                                   

                                  Sandeman Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008

                                  Portugal

                                  $16.95

                                    My Review: The Sandeman LBV Port 2008 offers incredible value (under $20 across Canada), with the taste of a Port that's easily twice as expensive. On the nose and palate you'll find your favourite baking spices, dried fruits, cigar box, with a refreshing and long sweet finish reminiscent of your favourite Christmas fruit cake. Makes a great stocking stuffer too... Score: 91/100

                                     

                                    La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial Javier Amescua La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial Javier Amescua 2004

                                    D.O.C.A., Rioja, Spain

                                    $38.95

                                      My Review: The 2004 Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Granacha, that spent 36 months in 4 year old american oak before bottle ageing 5+ years. Medium garnet with a brick hue, this Rioja is in its prime. Beautiful dried fruit, leather, tobacco, fruit cake, sandalwood, and balsamic savoury notes on the nose. More balsamic, leather, raisins, currants on the palate leading to a long savoury finish. Very well integrated wine. Drinking beautifully now and will continue to for upwards of 3-5 years. Pair with lamb, pork tenderloin, with fresh herbs. Tasted November 21, 2013 at a pre release tasting. 93 pts. - @Quercusvino Score: 93/100

                                       

                                      Marques de Riscal Reserva 2008

                                      Rioja, Spain

                                      $22.10

                                        My Review: Remarkably complex and well structured wine that sells for half of what it could (don't tell anyone that though)! 90% Tempranillo, aged for 2 years in oak, then one year in bottle before release gives this full bodied wine an incredibly soft mouthfeel, with complex and well integrated flavours that pair perfectly with braised meats, especially lamb with rosemary, garlic, and thyme. Plums, herbs, spices, balsamic notes, sauteed mushrooms, cedar, and sandalwood on the nose with matching flavours leading to a long round savory finish. Widely available, but not well known, this has been my go-to wine for years, and has always impressed the friends I enjoy it with. For less than $23, this wine offers exceptional complexity and value. Score: 92/100

                                         

                                        Dreaming Tree Crush Red Blend 2011

                                        California, North Coast, United States

                                        $16.95

                                          My Review: A blend of several of California's best known varietals, including Merlot, Zinfandel, Petit Syrah, and Syrah (plus 7% other), this is a remarkable value priced red blend for immediate enjoyment. Vanilla, from 16 months oak ageing, raspberry, and a smokey field berry fill the nose and palate with a touch of graphite helping to keep this wine out of the fruit bomb category, which one may expect at such an affordable price. Pair with BBQ burgers, ribs, or simply enjoy in its own. Tasted November 2013. Score: 89/100

                                           

                                          Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red 2009

                                          Napa Valley, California, United States

                                          Reviewed: November 23, 2013

                                          $159.95

                                            My Review: Tasted blind, November 21, 2013. An iconic California red blend (82% Cab Sauv, 7% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec) that's deep ruby with a purple hue showing no signs of any aging yet. Nose is complex with dark berries, blueberry jam, leather, tobacco, spice, graphite, and a touch of damson plum. Palate is full of delicious dark berries, stewed fruit, baking spices, leading to a long baking spice and molasses finish. Very drinkable now and will continue to evolve in the bottle over the next five years. 93 points. Score: 93/100

                                            90/100
                                            Winner World's Best Drink Writer
                                            Four-Time Winner James Beard Foundation
                                            Five-Time Winner Association of Food Journalists
                                            Six-Time Winner Bert Greene Award
                                            Best Wine Literature Book Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
                                            Online Writer of the Year Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Award