NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE PETIT VERDOT 2020, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $21.95
Grape: Petit Verdot
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

And now for something completely different for Ontario wines, a Petit Verdot & winemaker Gavin’s first foray at NC with this grape is a success. Score: 91/100

Tasting Note: Medium to dark ruby in colour with good acidity, an intense nose, green tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Blackberry, plum, dark cherry, sage, lavender, Champagne mushrooms, vanilla, light smoke & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: As Petit Verdot is bold & tannic, it needs a large style Bordeaux glass & decant to soften the tanin.

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 5-6 years on its own or pair it with Biryani.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: Dec 1, 2021

PAUL MAS SINGLE VINEYARD RÉSERVE MARSANNE 2019, Pays D’Oc, France


Cost: $13.95
Grape: Marsanne
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Pays D’Oc
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Château Paul Mas
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

If you are an ABC person (Anything But Chardonnay), try this wine, you won’t be disappointed. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold with a green tinge in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Lemon-lime, peach, ripe pear, apricot, honeycomb, Golden Delicious apples, nutmeg, butterscotch, vanilla & honeysuckle on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: I tried several different styles of wine glasses from Montrachet to Chablis & the wine was tasted good in all of them.

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 3-4 years on its own or pair it with Pork Chops with Pears and Green Peppercorns

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: Nov 22, 2021

LCBO: 462457

BON COURAGE PRESTIGE CUVÉE CHARDONNAY 2019, Robertson, South Africa


Cost: $13.75
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: South Africa
Region: Robertson
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Bon Courage Estate
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Such a beautiful wine for under $14, can’t ask for more. Score: 91/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Lemon, green apples, peach, pear, kiwi, pineapple, ginger, oak spice, vanilla & white flowers on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Use the Montrachet style wine glassware & don’t over chill it. Serve 13°C to 15°C

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 3-5 years on its own or pair it with Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Dill Sauce.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Amazing Buy & Best Buy

Tasted: Nov 20, 2021

LCBO: 278333

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE MALBEC 2020, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $21.95
Grape: Malbec
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Winemaker Gavin Robertson foray into Malbec, which is a rarity for any winery in Ontario to make generally succeeds. Score: 87/100.

Tasting Note: Medium purple to ruby in colour with good acidity, an intense nose, light tannin & an average length on the finish. This wine features: Blackberries, mulberries, eucalyptus & a touch of vanilla.

Negatives: A little too medicinal

Interesting Point: First couple of tastes, I wasn’t liking it, but the wine grew on me.

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 5-6 years on its own or pair it with Lamb Shank.

My Opinion: On-the-Fence

Tasted: Nov 10, 2021

HILARIO CORBIÈRES 2019, AOP Corbières, Languedoc, France


Cost: $16.95
Grape: 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Corbières, Languedoc
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Confrerie Des Domaines
Alcohol:  14.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A delicious spicy, mouth-watering wine. Score: 94/100.

Tasting Note: Deep dark ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, round tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Black cherry, plum, bramble fruit, black peppercorn, cocoa, arugula, sage & fresh cut carnations.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point:

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 5-6 years on its own or pair it with Lamb Shank.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Amazing Buy, Top Pick & Best Buy

Tasted: Nov 12, 2021

LCBO: 15170

CHÂTEAU HYOT 2018, AC Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, France


Cost: $16.95
Grape: 60% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Alain Aubert Proprietors
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A delicious classic Bordeaux wine at a great price. Score: 93/100.

Tasting Note: Dark ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, round tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Black cherry, blackberry, plum, red pepper, cocoa, tamarind, anise, pencil shavings & leather.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: If this was made in Ontario, the wine would be going for $30 to $40.

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 5-6 years on its own or pair it with Prime Rib Steak

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick & Best Buy

Tasted: Nov 11, 2021

LCBO: 63537

VEUVE AMBAL CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE GRAND CUVÉE BRUT NV, Methode Traditionnelle, AC Burgundy


Cost: $19.50 (Sale Price until Nov 28, 2021: $17.50)
Grape: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Aligoté, Gamay
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Burgunday
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Veuve Ambal
Alcohol:  12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A solid delicious, elegant Crémant de Bourgogne Brut. Score: 90/100.

Tasting Note: Deep straw in colour with good acidity, fine mousse, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Yeast, brioche, pear, green apples, lemon drops, honeydew melon, ginger, toasted almonds & Easter Lily on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Family run winery since 1898, is now the largest producer of Crémant de Bourgogne.

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 5-6 years on its own or pair it with.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: Nov 14, 2021

LCBO: 429688

TOM GORE CHARDONNAY 2018, California, United States of America


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Tom Gore Vineyards
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

This wine is overpriced as it tries to be a good Cali Chard but falls short. Score: 86/100.

Tasting Note: Bright light gold in colour with good acidity, medium intense nose & an average length on the finish. This wine features: Lemon drops, Golden Delicious apples, peach, pear, cooked pineapple, marzipan, ginger, oak spice & vanilla.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: This wine taste better in the Chablis style wine glass vs the traditional Montrachet style.

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 3-4 years on its own or pair it with Creamy Herb Chicken

My Opinion: On-the-Fence

Tasted: Nov 5, 2021

LCBO: 458810

MELINI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2017, DOCG Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy


Cost: $19.95 (Sale Price until Nov 7, 2021: $16.95)
Grape: Sangiovese
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Italy
Region: Chianti Classico, Tuscany
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Melini
Alcohol:  14.0% Alcohol/Vol.

An expressive DOCG Chianti Classico Riserva at a great price. Score: 91/100.

Tasting Note: Dark ruby in colour with good acidity, medium intense nose, firm tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Sour cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, balsamic, arugula, licorice, dry sage & oregano.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Melini was founded in 1705

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 10 years on its own or pair it with Stone Pizza with Speck, Arugula, Harissa & Tomatoes.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick & Best Buy

Tasted: Nov 3, 2021

LCBO: 487819

ANTHONIJ RUPERT L’ORMARINS CAP CLASSIQUE BLANC DE BLANCS 2013, W.O Western Cape, South Africa


Cost: $24.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: South Africa
Region: W.O Western Cape
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Rupert Wines
Alcohol:  12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A true expression of a vintage Blanc de Blancs at great price. Score: 95/100.

Tasting Note: Straw in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Brioche, light yeast & toast, kiwi, green apples, lime, pear & oyster shells.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: “The L’Ormarins range was initially established as a Cap Classique range, named after French Huguenot, Jean Roi’s hometown Lourmarins in Provence.” Rupert Wines

Pairings: Drink this now or in next 10 years on its own or pair it with Blue Point Oysters.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick & Best Buy

Tasted: Oct 31, 2021

LCBO: 15681