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Wine Picks April 18, 2016

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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

Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery Pinot Noir 2013, V.Q.A., Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Tart cherry-berry aromas and flavours, with lots of mouth-watering acidity. This Niagara Pinto Noir features dark cherry and cedar brush notes. Tart and tannic. Medium-bodied. Give it some cellar time. The grapes for this wine are grown in three Niagara Escarpment vineyards. Pinot Noir food pairings: turkey dinner, lamb shanks, autumn stews. Drink: 2014 - 2016 112177 12.5% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir 2013, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A smooth, luscious medium-bodied Pinot Noir with attractive aromas of dark cherry and spice. This winery practices sustaiable winemaking such as geo-thermal heating and cooling, underground barrel cellars and a gravity flow winery. Pair this wine with planked salmon. Pinot Noir food pairings: BBQ smoked pulled pork. Drink: 2013 - 2018 1545 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Hypothesis 2011, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Very aromatic with notes of wild violets and dark red berries. This is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Franc. Hypothesis means a proposal from the land. This wine spent 16 months in 60% French oak barrels. Pair with demi-glazed veal chops or angus beef. Drink: 2013 - 2019 414243 13.5% D 750 mL $44.00 Score: 92/100. April 2016. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Hypothesis 2012, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: An elegant, balanced, complex BC red wine blend that has Bordeaux leanings. This wine could use some more cellar time, then decant for 1-2 hours when you open it. The grapes are sourced from vines planted in micro-blocks of the Triggs family estate on the Golden Mile. Dark chocolate and cigar box on the finish. Huge structure here. There were 2300 cases produced. Drink: 2016 - 2020 414243 14% XD 750 mL $44.00 Score: 93/100. April 2016. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Winery Laura's Red 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Juicy black fruit and toasty oak on the nose of this robust Niagara red wine. Lots of acidity and tart blackberry on the palate for dishes with a tangy tomato sauce. Good balance. Full-bodied. This full-weighted wine is intense and balanced with aromas of blackcurrant, pepper and mocha. Try it with gourmet hamburgers. Food pairings: hamburger. Drink: 2013 - 2016 117960 12.7% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. April 2016. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

The Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery Northfield Cabernet Franc 2010, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied PEC red wine made from cool-climate Cabernet Franc grapes. Juicy with lots of acidity and satin smooth texture with red cherry notes. No bell pepper. Pair with grilled pork chops. Cabernet Franc food pairings: steak au poivre. Drink: 2015 - 2018 149245 14% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 87/100. April 2016. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Winery Syrah 2013, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Remarkable value and taste for the price point, with brooding fleshy black fruit and black pepper on the nose and palate of this Niagara red wine made from Syrah grapes. Pair this black beauty with grilled steak. Drink: 2014 - 2017 66654 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Winery Cabernet Merlot 2013, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Savoury with dried herbs and cedar underbrush. Wild blackberry notes with forest floor. Very dense and attractive. Pair with a juicy steak. Drink: 2014 - 2017 431106 13.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sandbanks Estate Winery Mouton Noir 2014, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A pleasant and full-bodied Ontario red wine blend of Foch and Baco Noir grapes. Luscious black and purple plums on the palate with blueberry jam on the finish. Pair with grilled meats. Food pairings: BBQ, red meats. Drink: 2014 - 2017 164087 12.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. April 2016. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pelee Island Winery Vinedressers Meritage 2012, Pelee Island, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A savoury, juicy, dark-fruited southwestern Ontario red wine blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Pair with prime rib. Drink: 2013 - 2018 450981 13% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Merlot 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Lots of seductive mocha and black fruit on the nose of this full-bodied BC Merlot. This wine was aged 50/50 in new and old oak barrels. Only 200 cases were produced of the 2013 vintage. It's still tightly coiled so give it some cellar time and decant 2 hours when you open it. Pair with pork tenderloin. Drink: 2017 - 2025 13.5% D 750 mL $33.00 Score: 91/100. April 2016. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: This complex and seductive BC Cabernet brings up the rear, so to speak. There's a superbly long finish and excellent structure that the best of Cabernet delivers. This wine was aged in 65% new oak barrels for smoky, toasty richness wrapping itself around back fruit. Finishes with clove and sage and a strong desire to have more. Pair with rare meats. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: romano carbonara with fresh bucatini; baked eggplant parmigiana; flat iron steak with arugula, radicchio, and grana padano. Drink: 2016 - 2022 14% XD 750 mL $38.00 Score: 93/100. April 2016. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery R&D Meritage 2013, Okanagan Valley, Golden Mile Bench, British Columbia B.C. V.Q.A., Canada: This is a full-bodied blend of 80% Merlot along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Aged for 6 months in two to four-year-old oak barrels. Aromas of campfire smoke and black fruit. R&D stands for research and development, a nod to the winery's dedication to experimentation in the vineyard and winery. Pictured on the label are owner Don Triggs and his brother. Meritage food pairings: roast chicken paprika with onion and herb stuffing, onion pie, roast bresse chicken. Drink: 2015 - 2019 445494 14% XD 750 mL $25.95 Score: 90/100. April 2016. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Creekside Estate Winery Cabernet Rosé 2014, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Fresh field berries on the nose: very enticing. Bold and refreshing with layers of small berry flavours. Dry and mouth-watering. This vivacious rose is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Cabernet Franc grapes, which lends more depth and concentrated flavour of dark field berries and a refreshing finish. Pair with planked salmon. Cabernet Rosé food pairings: grilled bell peppers, salmon steaks, sausages, lightly savoury cheeses like white cheddar or smoked provolone. Drink: 2014 - 2016 48819 13.3% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. April 2016. Best Value Rosé Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

The Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery Brut 2010, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Crisp and toasty, with terrific vibrancy and zest. Aromas of green apple and freshly baked bread. Good acidity. Enjoy as aperitif or companion to shellfish. This wine was aged 4 months on its lees. It's a blend of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. Food pairings: oysters on the half shell, fried calamari, a variety of canapés. Drink: 2015 - 2017 12.2% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château des Charmes Rosé 2012, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Strawberry bubblegum on the nose and palate with a cider reduction finish. Pair with cider marinated chicken. Rosé food pairings: crab legs, chili, pulled pork sammies, grilled meats in a black bean sauce. Drink: 2014 - 2017 78055 12% M 750 mL $29.95 Score: 86/100. April 2016. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Creekside Estate Winery Marianne Hill Riesling 2014, Beamsville Bench, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A pleasant and refreshing Niagara white wine made from the classic Riesling grape. Aromas of white peach and apricot. Pair with fresh seafood. Riesling food pairings: planked salmon, feta cheese, Thai seafood noodle salad, turkey breast. Drink: 2014 - 2019 443572 10.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. April 2016. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stratus White 2012, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: The 2012 vintage was a strong one in Niagara and it shows in the flagship white wine blend from Stratus. Full-bodied, rich and layered with aromas of orchard fruit and toasty oak. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2014 - 2019 660704 13.5% XD 750 mL $44.20 Score: 90/100. April 2016. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Crisp and refreshing Niagara Sauvignon Blanc that leans more to the lime-citrus style than grassy-herbal. Mouth-watering and fresh. Perfect for seafood or shellfish. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: cedar plank grilled salmon, goat cheese and beet salad, mussels steamed in white wine sauce. Drink: 2014 - 2016 620724 12.7% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. April 2016. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2014, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Lovely lime and grapefruit freshness here. Mouth-watering with racy acidity for shellfish, or enjoy on it's own as an aperitif. Great value. Drink: 2014 - 2016 83196 12.2% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. April 2016. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Decora Riesling 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Only 1000 cases of this gorgeous BC Riesling were produced for the 2014 vintage, and it's almost sold out. Translation: get yourself on the mailing list for the next vintage. Very fresh with lifted lime citrus notes and pleasant petrol (wet sone) and minerality, like the minerals your almost taste of feel in clean well water versus the soft rain that hasn't touched stone. Pair with chive braised tomatoes and wishing there were more of this wine. Drink: 2014 - 2021 444836 13% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 93/100. April 2016. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tawse Winery Inc. Quarry Road Chardonnay 2012, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous, luscious Niagara Chardonnay from one of the region's top producers. Voluptuous yet balanced and perfectly calibrated. Aromas of freshly buttered warm bread, white peach and pear. Match with roasted chicken or turkey. Chardonnay food pairings: crab cakes, grilled salmon, seafood and shellfish platter. Drink: 2014 - 2019 111989 13% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 92/100. April 2016. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Flat Rock Cellars The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2012, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Love this Niagara Chardonnay: voluptuous but balanced. Like you in your jeans. Chardonnay that is the liquid version of worn-in jeans. Comfy, familiar, just right. Almost full-bodied, this tongue-loving, caressing white wine will be perfect tonight when you kick back with some buttered popcorn and an old movie. Chardonnay food pairings: pan fired scallops, spinach and pepper jack stuffed chicken, beef bourguignon, pork tenderloin, toasted ravioli served with Alfredo sauce. Drink: 2013 - 2017 1552 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. April 2016. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Dilemma Chardonnay 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: There's a nervy tension in this BC Chardonnay, with this being the third leaf crop from the Margaret's Bench Vineyard, which sits high up on a bench and enjoys a cool climate and slow ripening. The vine roots need time to establish themselves and show their true character, so expect more excitement in the bottle from this block in the future. Why Dilemma? Owner Don Triggs discovered a small block of 18-year-old vines in the heart of this vineyard and he refused to pull them thinking old vines produce great wines. However, several experiments proved him wrong, so he relented and the vines were replanted. Only 180 cases were produced for the 2013 vintage. There's medium toast on the barrels. Racking is done by gravity for gentle handling, and only 60% of the wine underwent a malolactic fermentation to maintain freshness and balancing acidity. Therefore, this wine is a beautiful companion to a broader set of dishes and occasions. Chardonnay food pairings: west coast oysters rockefeller; truffle-salted and buttered Dutch over popcorn. Drink: 2014 - 2019 14% D 750 mL $36.00 Score: 93/100. April 2016. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Culmina Family Estate Winery Unicus Gruner Veltliner 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeous and innovative BC Gruner Veltliner with grapes sourced from the winery's Margaret's Bench Vineyard. Unicus is Latin for one or unique. Only 500 cases were produced. Aromas of fresh and crisp green citrus (gruner means green). This BC winery practises the second pass for ripeness in picking just as they do in Austria, the home of Gruner. Grapes that aren't ripe on the first pass are left to hang and ripen further before they're picked. There's a singing and spriteliness at the back of the mouth and on the finish along with white pepper. Amazingly, the winemaker Pascal had 20 years of red winemaking exclusively between Bordeaux and BC winery Osoyoos before tackling this iconic white wine grape. This is his second year making white wines ... fast learner. Gruner Veltliner food pairings: cucumber gazpacho with shrimp and melon; asparagus flan with watercress; mahi-mahi with soy shiso ginger butter sauce; grilled chicken with dill tzatzki; grilled pork. Drink: 2014 - 2018 14% XD 750 mL $29.00 Score: 90/100. April 2016. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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