NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY CIDER 101 CAMPUS BUZZ, SEAN & TOMMY’S MEAD ADVENTURE, Canada


Cost: $15.15
Grape: Honey
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region:
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

And now for something completely different. This mead is recommended for those who like white wine that is dry, crisp, clean with sweet & sour notes; this is a great alternative. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Straw to gold in colour with good acidity, an intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features grapefruit, pear, kumquat, lychee, orange zest, honey & Acacia flowers on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: “Made using honey produced at the Niagara College’s Daniel J Patterson (NOTL) campus. This honey farm (apiary) is managed by the Commercial Beekeeping Program staff and students. The mead is produced by students of the Winery and Viticulture Technician Program under supervision of our Head Winemaker at Niagara College Teaching Winery.” NC

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with sweet & sour pork.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 24, 2021

GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER 2018, IGP Pays D’Oc, France


Cost: $14.95
Grape: Viognier
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Pays D’Oc
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Gérard Bertrand
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Consistent vintage to vintage & under $15, this Viognier has complexity with lots of stone fruits. Just delicious to drink; just what you need when you’re staying at home due to COVID. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon-lime, orange, apricot, peach, ripe pear, ginger, honey & orange blossom on the nose.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years & pair it with Red Snapper Poached in Coconut Milk with Tomatoes, Ginger and Scotch Bonnet.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 22, 2021

LCBO: 147975

13th STREET ESSENCE GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2017, VQA


Cost: $34.95
Grape: Gewürztraminer
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Creek Shores
Format: 750 mL
Producer: 13th Street Winery
Alcohol:  12 % Alcohol/Vol.

I can’t think of a better Canadian Gewürz that I have tried; absolutely beautifully delicious. Score: 95/100

Positives: Gold in colour this wine features a beautiful highly aromatic wine with saffron, lavender, honeysuckle and lemon peel on the nose. On the taste there’s lychee, Honeycrsip apple, lemon pie, nectarine, yellow plum, apricot, loquat and honey.

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 7-10 years on its own or pair it with Korean food.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: August 29, 2019

CYCLES GLADIATOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017, California, United States of America


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Petit Verdot
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Cycles Gladiator
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

This is a simple but an intense, in your face Cab blend. However, the wine doesn’t know what it wants to be & therefore not worth the price point. Score: 84/100

Tasting Note: Dark ruby in colour with good acidity, an intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features blackcurrants, raspberry, plum, black candy licorice & dates.  

Negatives: A little too intense for me in a negative way as its emphasis the black licorice & sweetness that I don’t like

Interesting Point: “Inspired by the women’s suffrage movement, we drew our name from the 19th century French bicycle manufacturer, the Gladiator Company, and honor their iconic art on our wine label. The red-haired maiden soaring through the sky on her bicycle symbolized the new liberation of women from their homes after centuries of repression. Bicycles, as Susan B. Anthony praised, literally emancipated women from domesticity, allowing them to travel outside their households to work and vote.” Cycles Gladiator

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with Blackstrap Molasses BBQ Beef Ribs

My Opinion: Not Recommended

Tasted: January 19, 2021

LCBO: 16481

THREE THIEVES CHARDONNAY 2018, California, United States of America


Cost: $15.95 (Sale price until Jan 31, 2021: $13.95)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Three Thieves Winery
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

If you can get past the slight bitter aftertaste, this Chard isn’t that bad. Score: 86/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, orange pith, peach, pear, green apples, figs, vanilla & ginger.

Negatives: A touch too bitter on the aftertaste

Interesting Point: 2017 vintage that I reviewed last year was a lot better.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 2-4 years & pair it with Chicken Thighs with Orange-Ginger Glaze.

My Opinion: On-the-Fence

Tasted: January 15, 2021

LCBO: 633560

MARQUÉS DE RISCAL VERDEJO 2019, DO Rueda, Spain


Cost: $14.14 (Clearance price: $11.35)
Grape: Verdejo
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Spain
Region: Rueda
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Marqués de Riscal
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A nice crisp white with lots of citric notes & a little tartness on the finish, which is known for the Verdejo grape. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Light gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon-lime, clementine, dragon fruit, grapefruit, fennel, dry sage & honeysuckle on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: 2019 label in the store is different than what the LCBO has on their site. The change is from having Rueda to Verdejo.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with Fish tacos with blackened mahi-mahi, escabeche, and mojo aioli.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 14, 2021

LCBO: 36822

LAS MULAS RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2018, Chile


Cost: $13.95 (Sale price until Jan 31, 2021: $11.95)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Chile
Region:
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Miguel Torres
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

An easy drinking Chard with some complexity. I would recommend this wine at the sale price of $11.95, but on the fence at its current price of $14.95. Score: 86/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, green & yellow apples, melon, pear, peach, marzipan, light oak spice & vanilla.

Negatives: Slight sour note at the back of the throat

Interesting Point: Certified organic

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with a Rueben sandwich on Rye with Sour Pickles.

My Opinion: On-The-Fence

Tasted: January 11, 2021

LCBO: 572362

CONO SUR CHARDONNAY ORGANIC 2019, Chile


Cost: $13.95 (Sale price until Jan 31, 2021: $11.20)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Chile
Region:
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Cono Sur
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A nice Chard full of citric fruit with good complexity at a great value for under $15. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Bright yellow gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, pink grapefruit, green apple, pear, peach, light oak spice & vanilla.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Certified organic & Vegan

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with Pan Seared Red Snapper with Citrus Mango Salsa.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 10, 2021

LCBO: 230565

MONTECILLO RIOJA RESERVA 2013, DOC Rioja, Spain


Cost: $17.95 (Sale price until Jan 31, 2021: $14.95)
Grape: 90% Tempranillo, 7% Mazuelo, 4% Garnacha
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Spain
Region: Rioja
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Bodegas Montecillo
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A really good wine consistently vintages to vintage, add to it that it’s an aged wine for under $18, but then add when it’s on sale, which is a couple times a year at the LCBO, & you just need to buy a case, it’s that good for the price. Score: 92/100

Tasting Note: Opaque ruby to garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features dark cherry, strawberry, blackcurrants, plum, dates, licorice, dark chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, leather & sandalwood on the nose.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 10 – 15 years & pair it with Flank Steak with Rib Lamb Chop.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: January 9, 2021

LCBO: 621003

L.A. CETTO PETITE SYRAH 2007, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico


Cost: $13.95
Grape: Petite Syrah, Zinfandel
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Mexico
Region: Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: L.A. Cetto
Alcohol:  14.0% Alcohol/Vol.

I always like to find the positive in everything, no matter how bad it is, so this wine is better than turpentine. Score: Not worth scoring. Not Recommended

Tasted: January 7, 2021

LCBO: 983742