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Lesley Saito

Lesley Saito Sommelier, ISG

2413 days ago

Lesley scored this wine: 89/100

The best wine you could drink to celebrate Earth Day is the Vina De Martino Nuevo Mundo Sauvignon Blanc 2013. With the objective to have the most environmentally friendly practices the winery, celebrating its 80th Anniversary, has reduced greenhouse gas emissions,increased water efficiency, and produced the first Carbon Neutral and Organic wine in South America. The 100% organically grown grapes are planted on a dried up river bed thanks to an earthquake in the early 20th Century in the DO of Isla de Maipo, Maipo Valley, Chile. Head Winemaker Marcel Retamal uses native yeasts and low sulphite levels with minimal intervention in the cellars. With the aim of producing wines for gastronomy De Martino (Chilean wine Producer of the year Wine & Spirits Competition- London 2005 and 2009) has created a Vegan wine that is fresh and balanced with a long tart finish. The nose offers aromas of citrus, white peach and a touch of grassiness. On the palate it is super crisp with green apple, gooseberry, and herbal notes that would be a perfect match for grilled white fish, prawns, roasted chicken, or goats cheese. If that is not convincing enough to pick up the Neuvo Mundo Sauvingon Blanc 2013 on Earth Day, you can drink with a clear conscience knowing that the light weight eco friendly bottles are made of 35% recycled glass, the labels are made of recycled chlorine free paper with a low ink content, and the boxes are made with recycled cardboad. Happy Earth Day!

Beaumont Gamay Noir 2008

Okanagan, Canada
2456 days ago

Lesley scored this wine: 89/100

The Beaumont Family Estate Winery has been in operation since 1995 on 36 acres of Vineyards near Quails’ Gate on Mt. Boucherie Road in Kelowna, BC. Alana, winemaker for 9 vintages now, uses oak to enhance the wine's complexity and depth working on the premise that "Music Inspires Wine" as is proudly stated on the label baring a musical staff. The Beaumont Gamay Noir 2010 is made with premium quality 100% SOOPA (Similkameen Okanagan Organic Producers Association) certified organic grapes is a medley of aromas and flavours that will make your palate sing. Staying true to the vineyard characteristics this Gamay Noir has elegant aromas of juicy red and black fruit with a hint of spice. A subtle backbone of black current and black pepper notes rounded out by the lush fruit flavours of rich blackberry and plum this Gamay offers a long lingering finish. Being a more medium bodied Gamay with bright acidity, I suggest a gentle decanting to separate out the sediment and a pairing of spicy steak, grilled lamb or even dark chocolate. "Make music and wine your Passion!" as recommended on the label and pick up a bottle at your nearest BC private liquor store for around $24 while limited quantities last or order online at www.legacyliquorstore.com and have it delivered!

San Michele ai Pianoni Pynos Pinot Nero

Oltrepo Pavese, Lombardy, Italy
2463 days ago

Lesley scored this wine: 92/100

I took part in the Italian Chamber of Commerce wine dinner at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver on February 18, 2014 featuring wines from the Oltrepo Pavese (beyond the Po River) in Lombardy, the third most important wine producing area in Italy, and the Italian capital of Pinot Nero. The Oscar winning Pinot Noir for me was the San Michele ai Pianoni Pynos Pinot Nero- 100% Pinot Noir aged 18 months in French oak. An elegant wine with intense flavours of Marasca cherry, blackcurrant, liquorice and spice, it was the perfect pairing with the 2nd course of Risotto Alla Bonarda created by Executive Chef, Darren Brown. San Michele ai Pianoni is a boutique winery that has had vineyards in the heart of the Oltrepo Pavese since 1718 at 45 degrees Latitude N. All the wines are produced from 100% estate grown organic grapes.

2469 days ago

Lesley scored this wine: 90/100

Recently I was very fortunate to receive a 2009 Balthasar Ress Schloss Reichartshausen Rheingau Riesling and to appreciate how good a bottle of wine this was for $24 you need to understand a bit about the German wine laws. Weingut (grower/producer) Balthasar Ress has been the sole owner or Monopole of a 33 ha parcel of land in the Schloss Reichartshausen Village since 1979. The winery is also a member of the VDP, Verband Deutscher Pradikats – und Qualitats Weinguter or the Association of German Quality Wine Estates. Under this classification this area is given the name Erste Lage – top vineyard site with distinctive characteristics where only Riesling is cultivated and known to produce racy wines with pronounced acidity – a quality required for long term aging. There is also another top tier German wine quality classification, Pradikatswein or previously QmP, of which the Rheingau is one of 13 quality wine regions recognized. This wine is a Kabinett meaning that the grapes had to be picked at between 67-82 Oechsle (must weight) and are usually made in a dry to medium dry style. Balthasar Ress, seit (since) 1870 once belonged to a Cistercian Monestery, Kloster Eberbach from the early 12thC to the early 19thC. Needless to say with 8 generations of experience behind them Balthasar Ress makes quality Rieslings. I enjoyed this bottle on Valentine’s Day with seared scallops on cilantro salsa verde accompanied by pan fried cauliflower and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction. This low alcohol Riesling was a great complement with its aromas of clover honey, ripe pear, acacia blossom, and a hint of wet slate. The palate offers sweet honey, ripe apple and yellow peach flavours with camomile notes and a spicy ginger and nutmeg finish. Drink now or hold on to this treasure of a Riesling for several more years.

2476 days ago

Lesley scored this wine: 92/100

Buy local! Buy BC! Cheer on Canada with Silkscarf’s 2010 Pinot Noir, a high quality wine of true varietal character. Grown on 10 acres of vines on excellent cool climate terroir, this Pinot Noir is crafted with minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery. Run by a lovely Middle Eastern Family and close friends, this boutique winery is well deserved of its Silver Medal win at the 2013 Wine Align Canadian National Wine Awards. Aged 18 months in 60% new French oak, Silkscarf 2010 Pinot Noir is ruby at its core, but garnet in colour at the rim of your glass. Delicate in body with gentle tannins and vivid acidity, the nose is savoury, sweet and floral with aromas of red berries, violets, garrigue, and spice. Dry on the palate, the flavours are ever changing and evolving from bright raspberry and Maraschino cherry to lush plum and clove spice with savoury notes of dried herbs. The velvety tannins will win your heart. Drink now with smoked salmon and chilled horseradish in the Canadian spirit and remember 2010! $38 at Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village, Vancouver, BC.

Lesley Saito

Wine BloggerVisit Lesley's Website

Memorable Wine



First Wine

Probably, Asti Spumanti


Unusual Wine Experience

Hot red wine in a can at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics


Current Fav Wine

Nero D'avola

Winner World's Best Drink Writer
WFour-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