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Wine Picks March 6, 2020

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Note: This batch of wine reviews is not part of the bi-weekly Vintages Releases. Instead, it's a collection of wines outside the Vintages section in store (general list) or wines sent to me directly from wineries that may not yet be available in liquor stores. Click on the Winery or Wine Agency link to get more info.

Red Wine

Stratus Tollgate Red 2016, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A juicy, full-bodied Niagara red wine blend of Cabernet and Merlot grapes, along with some Petit Verdot and Syrah. Aromas of dark cherry and toasty oak. Juicy and tasty. Pair with roast beef. Drink: 2020 - 2022 13% XD 750 mL $22.20 Score: 89/100. March 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vineland Estates Winery Cabernet Franc 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Rich and deep Niagara Cabernet Franc with dark fruit and smoke aromas. The 2017 vintage was a cool year though with some warmth in the fall. Full-bodied and smooth. Pair with grilled pork chops. Drink: 2020 - 2023 594127 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. March 2020. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Westcott Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2016, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This lovely Niagara Pinot Noir spent 23 months in French oak barrels. The result is a rich and full-bodied Pinot that's not oaky. Aromas of dark cherry and spice. Pair with veal. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast leg of lamb, sautéed pork chops with wild mushrooms, butternut squash and onion risotto. Drink: 2020 - 2025 427500 12.5% XD 750 mL $30.00 Score: 92/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calamus Estate Winery Meritage 2016, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A juicy, savoury Niagara red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aromas of dark ripe fruit and toasty oak. Nice balance. Pair with a rare steak. Drink: 2020 - 2026 10530 13% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir 2016, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Truly benchmark Niagara Pinot Noir! I've long been a fan of Flat Rock's Pinot Noirs, especially the Gravity. Aromas of ripe cherry. Vibrant racy acidity. The winery uses the gentlest methods to press the grapes and make the wine via a gravity flow system rather than pumping (thus the name gravity on the label). Then the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Medium ruby hue with cherry accents, polished tannins, silky smooth texture and medium bodied weight. Gorgeous cherry-berry aromas and flavours on the mid-palate. Then it finishes with wisps of black raspberry and vanilla toast. This red wine is so vivacious and so fantastically great year after year. Pair with roast or grilled chicken. Pinot Noir food pairings: duck risotto, planked salmon, roast chicken. Drink: 2020 - 2025 1560 13.5% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 93/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hidden Bench Winery Terroir Caché 2016, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied and unfiltered Bordeaux red wine blend with blackberry, dark plum, smoky vanilla and savoury herb flavours on the palate. Food pairings: braised meats, herbed steaks, venison. Drink: 2019 - 2026 505610 13.9% D 750 mL $44.95 Score: 93/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Megalomaniac Wines Frank Cabernet Franc 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A youthful, and elegant Old Vines Cabernet Franc, full-bodied with red and blackberry, red plum, violet and sweet and pepper spice flavours on the palate. Great balance of fruit to acidity, well-structured with slightly chewy tannins. Cabernet Franc food pairings: grilled veal Porterhouse, duck confit, beef sliders. Drink: 2019 - 2023 205021 13.5% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red wine

The Foreign Affair Winery The Conspiracy 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied, meaty red blend, Cabernet Sauvignon dominant with Cabernet Franc and a splash of Merlot. Dark cherry, blackberry, black currant and ripe plum aromas on the nose with rich, concentrated dark berry and cherry fruit, mocha and smoky spice flavours finishing long on the palate. Pair with grilled red meats. Food pairings: hearty meat dishes, hard cheese, pasta, mushroom risotto. Drink: 2020 - 2024 149237 12.8% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 87/100. March 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

PondView Estate Winery Bella Terra Meritage 2016, Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula V.Q.A., Canada: A superbly structured and balanced Niagara red wine blend of Cabernet and Merlot. Aromas of dark plums, cassis and smoke. Full-bodied with a long finish. Pair with grilled steak. Drink: 2020 - 2025 14.5% D 750 mL $49.95 Score: 92/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Estate Cabernet Merlot 2014, Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: From the south-facing slopes of Henry Of Pelham Estate, a medium-plus-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot red wine blend lush with layers of blueberry, plum, black currant, dark chocolate, vanilla, cloves and cinnamon spice. Nice spicy lingering finish on this topnotch wine for one of Ontario's best-known producers. Aged 10 months in French and American oak. Cabernet Merlot food pairings: beef, pork, lamb roast with grilled vegetables. Drink: 2020 - 2025 395855 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. March 2020. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

PondView Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé 2019, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Such a pretty Niagara rosé made from 100% Cabernet Franc grapes. Aromas of field strawberries. Perfect for seafood. Cabernet Franc Rosé food pairings: lox and capers, grilled salmon steak, shellfish, fresh fruit, veggies, pasta primavera. Drink: 2020 - 2021 241802 12.5% MD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. March 2020. Best Value Rosé Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

PondView Estate Winery Bella Terra Sparkling Brut 2018, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A terrific, zesty Niagara-on-the-Lake sparkling wine with aromas of white peach and freshly baked bread. Pair with seafood and shellfish. Sparkling Brut food pairings: smoked fish, creamy cheeses, grilled chicken. Drink: 2020 - 2023 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. March 2020. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Two Sisters Vineyards Lush Sparkling Rosé, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A robust rose sparkling wine from Niagara with attractive notes of field raspberries and strawberries. Toasty and well-structured with a refreshing finish. Sparkling Rosé food pairings: grilled octopus, shaved fennel, radish, celery, lemon, and parsley. Drink: 2020 - 2024 13% D 750 mL $54.00 Score: 89/100. March 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A, Canada: This sparkling gets better every year, even though it's not vintage-dated. Lovely finesse and mousse with green apple vibrancy. The grapes were hand-picked in 50 pound lugs so they weren't bruised. The winery does press fractioning meaning the first bit of the juice (the head) and the last bit (the tail) aren't used in the wine just the juiciest, tastiest part of the juice. They also use the traditional Champagne method to make the wine. The wine spends 30 months on the lees which gives it a creamy texture. Serve as an aperitif on its own or add 1 oz. of Riesling Icewine or 1 oz of Cabernet Franc Icewine to 3 oz of Cuvee Catharine to make a Kir Catharine. Sparkling food pairings: salmon caviar with sour cream; malpeque oysters with a hint of lemon. Drink: 2020 - 2025 217521 12% XD 750 mL $32.95 Score: 92/100. March 2020. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Colio Estate Wines Lily Sparkling, Ontario, V.Q.A, Canada: This lovely southwestern Ontario sparkling wine uses the cuvee closed method to develop the bubbles in the bottle. Aromas of toast, yeast, green apple and white peach. Pair with shellfish or drink as an aperitif. Drink: 2020 - 2023 418657 12% M 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. March 2020. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vieni Estates Momenti Sparkling, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, spritely Niagara sparkling wine made from Vidal and Pinot Grigio grapes. The Vieni Momenti was fermented using the charmant or open tank method. Clean and fresh with notes of white peach. Pair with seafood. Food pairings: seafood dishes, pasta Primavera, creamy cheeses. Drink: 2019 - 2021 435784 11% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. March 2020. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Queenston Mile Vineyard Mile High Sparkling 2017, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Toasty and crisp Niagara sparkling wine with green apple notes. Enjoy as an aperitif or companion to seafood. Drink: 2020 - 2022 12006 12.5% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 89/100. March 2020. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Charles Baker Ivan Vineyard Riesling 2017, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Charles Baker's Ivan Vineyard Riesling 2017 is produced from grapes sourced from this single vineyard in the Niagara Escarpment wine region. Charles Baker Ivan Vineyard is a classic Niagara Riesling from a master winemaker. From Charles Baker's Ivan Vineyard with low-yields and rich fruit is this brilliant lemon-green Riesling with bright and zesty acidity, tangerine citrus, herbal notes and a flinty minerality. Chill and enjoy with grilled pork chops. Riesling food pairings: pad Thai, shrimp tempura, grilled salmon with lemon sauce, eggs benedict. Drink: 2019 - 2025 395921 11% D 750 mL $27.00 Score: 93/100. March 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calamus Estate Winery Ball's Falls White 2017, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, aromatic blend of 50% Pinot Gris, 25% Chardonnay and 25% Riesling. Savoury and off-dry with aromas of fresh peach. Great value. Pair with seafood. Food pairings: pork tenderloin, roast turkey , pasta with cream sauce, cheeses, salads. Drink: 2020 - 2023 12% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. March 2020. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2016, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A classic, mouth-watering Riesling from the Vinemount Ridge's wine region. Lime-lemon zest and tropical fruit with a whiff of petrol aromas on the nose with bright apple, lime zest and white pepper spice on the palate with a lingering clean mineral finish. Crips and clean. Pair with smoked whitefish, pan-fried perch or Doré. Riesling food pairings: roast chicken, spicy pasta dishes, shrimp tempura, grilled salmon with lemon sauce, duck liver pate. Drink: 2020 - 2025 241182 10.5% M 750 mL $36.95 Score: 96/100. March 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Redstone Winery Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2017, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A stunning, gorgeous, off-dry Niagara white wine from the classic Riesling grape. Aroma of petrol, flint, and ripe apricot. Pair with roast turkey. Riesling food pairings: scallop ceviche, white fish with mango salsa, salt and pepper shrimp skewers. Drink: 2020 - 2024 381251 10.5% M 750 mL $19.15 Score: 93/100. March 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Colio Estate Wines Bricklayer's Reward Riesling 2017, Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, floral off-dry Riesling from southwestern Ontario. Savoury and juicy with aromas of pear and peach. Match with roast chicken. Riesling food pairings: roast chicken, sautéed pork tenderloin, mildly spiced dishes. Drink: 2020 - 2023 644765 10.5% M 750 mL $18.95 Score: 91/100. March 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hidden Bench Winery Fumé Blanc 2017, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Crisp, fresh and vibrant Niagara Sauvignon Blanc that was one third new barrel aged, one third old barrel and one third concrete tank. Savoury with dried herbs and lemon citrus. Fumé Blanc food pairings: chicken and sage skewers, fresh tomato and basil salad, Thai green curry fish, smoked oyster Poor Boy sandwiches. Drink: 2020 - 2022 68825 13% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 91/100. March 2020. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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