MAGNOTTA CABERNET SAUVIGNON CALIFORNIA, California, United States


Cost: $10.50 (sale price: $9.50 until April 30, 2019)
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon & red blends
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: United States
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Magnotta Winery
Alcohol: 13% Alcohol/Vol.

Probably one of the best generic inexpensive California Cab Sauv on the market, as it’s smooth but not sweet, not high in alcohol, fruit forward yet has some complexity to it, and it’s pleasant to drink

Positives: Medium to full body with light tannin featuring black currants, cherry, raspberry, sage, tomato leaves, vanilla and a touch of leather.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: 1) I usually abhor these generic reds especially ones that Magnotta has from outside Canada, but I like this one for BBQs, or opening a 2nd, 3rd wine? 2) There is no vintage on the label, 3) 75% of this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon from California with the rest are red grapes from Niagara, 4) New label, which is a lot nicer than the old one.

Ageability: Drink now or over the next couple of years on its own or pair it with anything from the BBQ.

My Opinion: Recommended

Amazing Buy

Tasted: April 11, 2019

SEGURA VIUDA BRUT RESERVA CAVA, NV, DO Cava, Spain


Cost: $15.95
Grape: Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Spain
Region: Cava
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Segura Viudas
Alcohol: 12% Alcohol/Vol.

Fruit, freshness & complexity

Positives: Bright gold in colour with a fine mousse and a long creamy finish. The wine features toasty yeasty notes with lemon, green & yellow apples, pineapple, kiwi, pear, peach and macadamia nuts.

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with clams casino.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: April 7, 2019

LCBO: 216960

WESTCOTT PINOT NOIR ESTATE 2015, VQA


Cost: $30.00
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Region, Ontario
Region: Champagne
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Westcott Vineyards
Alcohol: 12.9% Alcohol/Vol.

A sweeter style Pinot, but without the high alcohol

Positives: Garnet in colour featuring cherry cola, blackberry, tarragon, vanilla, caramel and violets on the nose.

Negatives: A little too sweet for my taste

Ageability: Drink now or over couple of years on its own or pair it with Peking duck.

My Opinion: Not Recommended

Tasted: March 30, 2019

FOUNDERS SELECT CABERNET FRANC 2016, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada


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Cost: $44.95
Grape: Cabernet Franc
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Kacaba
Alcohol: 13.9% Alcohol/Vol.

On the pricier side of Canadian reds, but this Cab won’t disappoint in taste & smoothness

Positives: This wine features blackcurrants, black cherry, raspberry, anise, cassis, cigar box, leather, tarragon and roasted green peppers.

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with slow cooked BBQ beef ribs.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: April 6, 2019

QUAILS’ GATE CHARDONNAY 2016, VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada


Cost: $24.95 (Clearance Price: $20.00)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Canada
Region: Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Quails’ Gate
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Classic oaked Chard that delivers balance, complexity with tropical fruit, spice & oh yes, it’s delicious

Positives: Bright gold in colour with a long finish that features toasted oak, lemon, peach, pineapple, coconut pie, clove, cinnamon, oak spice, dill, ginger, and on the nose smoked amber and Easter Lily.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: I first tried Quails’ Gate Chardonnay in 2006 when a co-worker brought it for me from BC. At the time the LCBO had only a pittance of BC wines. This wine was amazing, so when it hit the LCBO stores some years later I was excited only to be disappointed. The wine was thin and not impressive. Quails’ Gate Chard is now a regular at Vintages, but I was sceptical to try it again. However, it was on clearance so I decided to try it. Glad I did. Restored my faith in this wineries Chard.

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with rotisserie chicken.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy and Top Pick

Tasted: April 4, 2019

LCBO: 377770

BELCANTO DI BELLUSSI EXTRA DRY PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE, NV, DOCG Valdobbiadene, Treviso, Veneto, Italy


Cost: $21.95 (Clearance Price: $17.60)
Grape: Glera
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Valdobbiadene, Treviso, Veneto
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Bellusi
Alcohol: 11.5% Alcohol/Vol.

This easy drinking Prosecco delivers with full flavour and some added complexity

Positives: Bright straw in colour with a fine mousse and a long finish. Wine features peach, pear, orange, green apples, lemon, yellow plum and clay on the finish.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: The Valdobbiadene area is widely considered to be the home of the finest quality Prosecco.

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 2-4 years on its own or pair it with Grana Padano cheese.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy and Top Pick

Tasted: April 2, 2019

LCBO: 53215

FLAT ROCK CELLARS 2011 RIDDLED, Traditional Champenoise method, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $34.95 (Clearance Price: $24.50)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Canada
Region: Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Flat Rock Cellars
Alcohol: 12% Alcohol/Vol.

A vintage Blanc de Blanc that is complex, elegant, creamy & delicious

Positives: Bright gold in colour with a fine mousse and a long finish. Wine features brioche, light yeastiness, toasted bread, green apple, pear, lemon, peaches, almonds and Easter lily on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Screw top used in order to maintain the freshness and eliminate the wine being corked.

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 10 years on its own or pair it with strawberries.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick and Best Buy at the clearance price

Tasted: March 31, 2019

LCBO: 383315

WESTCOTT RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2015, VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $46.00
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Westcott Vineyards
Alcohol: 12.9% Alcohol/Vol.

An easy drinking Pinot full of flavour but over priced

Positives: Garnet in colour featuring cherry, mulberry, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and red roses on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Chill the wine to 15C

Ageability: Drink now or over couple of years on its own or pair it with roasted duck.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy and Top Pick

Tasted: March 30, 2019

WESTCOTT ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2015, VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $30.00
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Westcott Vineyards
Alcohol: 12.9% Alcohol/Vol.

A sweeter style Pinot, but without the high alcohol

Positives: Garnet in colour featuring cherry cola, blackberry, tarragon, vanilla, caramel and violets on the nose.

Negatives: A little too sweet for my taste

Ageability: Drink now or over couple of years on its own or pair it with Peking duck.

My Opinion: Not Recommended

Tasted: March 30, 2019

STREWN TERROIR CHARDONNAY AMERICAN OAK 2016, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $32.20
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Strewn Winery
Alcohol: 14.8% Alcohol/Vol.

Full body, oak driven, complex and not for the faint at heart, but oh so good

Positives: Old gold in colour featuring lemon custard, Fuji Apple, Golden Delicious apples, orange peel, mango, pineapple, dill, coconut, vanilla, oak spice, cloves, butterscotch, caramel and smoked fall leaves on the nose.

Negatives: 14.8% alcohol

Interesting Point: Surprisingly the high alcohol is well integrated

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

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: March 22, 2019