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Greg Hughes

Greg Hughes

Maija

Tantalus Maija Pinot Noir 2017

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada
15 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 89/100

Tantalus are a great winery in B.C. if you are interested in sparkling, Riesling, or Pinot. They have not been very widely available in Ontario, but this is a signal that hopefully this will change. Their Maija cuvee is named for Eric Savic s daughter (Eric is the proprietor). It is an elegant and versatile red. Bright enough to go with trout on the barbecue, but right at home with more conventional red fare. B.C. Pinot can be placed on a spectrum. Some are more of the juicy, luscious new world type. Others, like this one, have a more classic vibe - more of a balance of spice and fruit. Quite floral and herbal on the aromas. There are fruit, but they take a back seat to a lot of earth, rosehip tea, and a touch of baking spice. The fruit come off in the red berry spectrum. Good acidity and concentration too. This would be a nice mid-term cellar candidate too (3-5ish years?). This wine came from Dijon clones grown in South Eastern Kelowna underwent wild ferment and an eleven month stint in French oak (twenty percent new barrels).

15 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 90/100

Awesome, puissant, and well priced Primitivo. This one is from Puglia (the heel of the Italy boot), in Manduria. It is a marvelous paradox that Zinfandel can tip the scales in alcohol and still remain so well balanced. This one clocks in at 14 (might be higher than the label claims), but it is still balanced. Lots of plum, olive, raisin, vanilla, and smoke. Pretty incredible tannin too, but ripe tannins that actually compliment the flavours well. On the palate, it is full and inviting. It would be a stupendous wine for barbecue, but only if you like your wines as hefty as this. It is at such a nice pricepoint it would be worth tucking a few away. It will age pretty well for at least five to seven years. Manduria is found in Teranto, which is likely a combination of Terra dOtranto (you will know if you really like olives). This was the area Horace Walpole chose for his seminal Gothic Horror, The Castle of Otranto.

Clochers Saint-Amour

Bel-Air Clochers Saint-Amour 2017

Beaujolais A.P., France
15 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 89/100

Saint Amour is a rare Beaujolais cru that you do not see often, so it is always worth a try. It is one of the most northerly, sitting in the Saone sur Loire department. Saint Amour can be all over the map; a testament to its dramatic name. Some can have lots of depth and some are more of a short fling, with lots of flavour and no long-term comitment in cellar. This is the more short-lived fling type. It is fruity and fresh and vibrant. Possible partial carbonic makes it low tannin and juicy, as well. It has lots of rosehip and cherry fragrance, and a bit more raspberry and cherry on the palate. This particular cru of Beaujolais has a very distinct name, does it not? It gets its name from Roman origins, as with most of the Beauj crus. A Roman soldier who set up a monastery in the region was canonized as St. Amateur. This would not be a great cellar candidate, but it would make an excellent choice for a red with versatility. Imagine this alongside some soy-glazed salmon!

Speck Family

Henry Of Pelham Speck Family Riesling 2018

Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
66 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 91/100

It's great to start the encounter more 2018 vintage - a season full of exciting promise. The weather was quite good and the season was long and hot. This is excellent Niagara Riesling from a well established producer. This Riesling is pretty approachable already. It's quite pale and dry (less than 12g/l would be a decent guess). Very evocative lime, white peach, and green pear. Less obvious florality that comes out when it has a chance to breathe. Lots of minerality and acid here keep it very fresh. Henry of Pelham's top tier wines often come from their vast quantity of older vines. These wines usually make it into their 'Reserve' and 'Speck Family Reserve' lines. They're also the only producer to use the VQA Short Hills Bench appellation.

Massoni Lugana

S. Cristina Massoni Lugana 2017

Veneto D.O.C., Italy
95 days ago

Greg scored this wine: 89/100

Lugana is having a bit of a moment right now. This is a trendy and delicious wine sure to impress your host or hostess. It has a fantastic tension you usually encounter in Chablis; good acidity, generous and inviting body, and a snap of herbaceousness often described as fresh mint or chlorophyll. This one represents typical Lugana well. Pale yellow, the wine is beautiful and fresh aromatic profile dominated by lemon, orchard fruit, and that fresh herbaceousness. It has a pleasant balance between acid and fruitiness. This example is slightly fruitier than other examples; a more willing to please example. It is native to the southern coastal region of Lake Garda (adding to the list of other cool wjnes from around Garda; Valpolicella and Soave among them). The grape of significance is Turbiana, which is also used in the Soave region under the moniker Trebbiano di Soave. There, it has only a supporting role next to Garganega. In Lugana, you get to see this grape in all its resplendent glory. This is one of those wines that provides tremendous value for quality and wine nerds are snatching them up. As popularity and frequency increase, prices will rise. We might as well ride the wave of popularity that has brought this unique wine to the fore. It stands up to rich fare, like escargot, quite well. Too racy? Don't worry. It goes with chicken too.

Greg Hughes

Memorable Wine

Love it or hate it you never forget your first Gewürz, but in Strasbourg I had the opportunity to try Klevener de Heilligenstein. I was pure bliss.

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First Wine

Jackson Triggs Gewürztraminer 2004

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Unusual Wine Experience

Digging through a wine cellar with Debbie Pratt trying to find the elusive Canadian Dornfelder.

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Current Fav Wine

I am dissecting the Beaujolais crus one at a time.

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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