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Recent Releases from the LCBO-Vintages

Recent Short Notes and Reviews

Alter Ego

A Chateau Palmer Retrospective

It was a rare treat to be able to taste some back vintages of Chateau Palmer this past November. Chateau Palmer is one of the most highly regarded Troisièmes Crus or Third Growths of the Bordeaux 1855 Classification, and within Margaux, it is often viewed as second only to the First Growth Chateau Margaux. (Continue)

Wayfarer Chardonnay

Highlights from a tasting of Pahlmeyer wines

I had my first opportunity to taste a variety of Pahlmeyer wines in November. Pahlmeyer is a Napa producer that fits squarely in the ultra-luxury California idiom: technically fine-tuned wines made from extremely ripe grapes, with the consequent high alcohol, and generally aged in a very high percentage of new French oak. (Continue)

Beth Novak Milliken

Spottswoode Dinner and Tasting

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Beth Novak Milliken, the owner and president of Spottswoode Family Estate Winery. The occasion was a small dinner at L'Avenue Bistro, hosted by Beth and her Canadian importer, Peter Hawrylyshyn of The Small Winemakers Collection. ... Over the ebb and flow of chat and good food, we tasted six wines. (Continue)

Highlights from the Chilean Tasting and Seminar

The annual Chilean tasting is always an event worth attending, but like all large events, it's difficult to taste accurately and thoughtfully. My goal is generally to find a few highlights, and get a general appreciation of trends and activity. .... Here are five of the wines ... that I particularly appreciated. (Continue)

Wines from Chile's Viña MontGras

Amaral wine

Wines from the Chilean winery MontGras have been imported to Ontario for a few years now, mostly reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Syrah. While I had the opportunity to sample several examples of these at a recent tasting in Toronto, the motivations for the tasting was to introduce cool climate Sauvignon Blanc from their relatively new winery Amaral. (Continue)

Sperling and Versado — wines from Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble

Sperling Brut Reserve

If you are familiar with the Ontario wine scene, you may recognize the names Ann Sperling and Peter Gamble: Ann as the current Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards, and Peter as the long-time consulting winemaker for Ravine Vineyards. But you may also know that Ann and Peter work at other projects outside of Ontario, and in recent years they have been more active in bringing their wines "from away" into the Ontario market. (Continue)

Osoyoos Larose Vertical: 2001—2010

Osoyoos Larose wines

Tasting a "vertical", a set of historical vintages, of a good quality wine can be revealing and thought-provoking, and the ten vintages of Osoyoos Larose (2001-2010) sampled with the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada were a great example of this. (Continue)

Fourteen Vintages of Kacaba Syrah


In late June, Michael Kacaba, the proprietor of Kacaba Vineyards & Winery, along with his winemaker John Tummon, presented a vertical tasting of his signature Syrah to members of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada. The tasting spanned fourteen vintages, beginning with 2000, and ending with barrel samples of three potential 2013 Syrah Cuvées. (Continue)

Inniskillin BA Viognier

"Hello" to some new releases from Inniskillin

It's always enjoyable and revealing to taste through new releases with winemakers. One benefit is to get information about some of the obvious vineyard and winemaking decisions that were made. But there is often more insight to be had when a winemaker reveals some of his personal likes and dislikes, interests, and the sense of fun and adventure that enter into the uncertainties of winemaking. (Continue)

Posted July, 2014


Ornellaia Vertical Tasting: 2011, 2006 and 2001

On June 12, I had the pleasure of tasting a mini-vertical of Ornellaia, one of Italy's iconic super Tuscan wines. The most recent release from 2011 was placed beside two exceptional past vintages from 2006 and 2001. (Continue)


June 12, 2014