NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE MUSCAT 2019, VQA Ontario, Canada


Cost: $16.95
Grape: Muscat
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  10.0% Alcohol/Vol.

An easy drinking, delicious off dry white wine to have on a beautiful sunny day on the patio or while enjoying a hot tub. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Straw in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Honeydew melon, kiwi, green apples, lemon meringue, clementine, peach & Ylang-ylang on the nose.     

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Thanks to Chetan from the Teaching Winery Store for suggesting this wine.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-4 years on its own or pair it with Thai green curry coconut shrimp.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: April 9, 2021

MATAHIWI ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2019, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: New Zealand
Region: Hawke’s Bay
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Matahiwi Estates
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Another winner from New Zealand. Great quality, complexity, taste, balance & all at under $20. Score: 92/100

Tasting Note: Gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: lemon, green, orange & red apples, clementine, pink grapefruit, roasted almonds, oak spice, ginger, dill & Easter Lily on the nose.  

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: For me, New Zealand Chards are delicious & better priced for the value than any other country, with Canada coming in 2nd.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Pan Fried Mahi in Lemon Butter Sauce

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buys & Top Pick

Tasted: April 1, 2021

LCBO: 17547

STREWN TERROIR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $24.00
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Stewn Winery
Alcohol:  13.8% Alcohol/Vol.

A complex Sauv with nice fruits & some spiciness. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: gooseberry, fresh cut grass, honeydew melon, pear, mandarin & white pepper.

Negatives: None

Interesting Note: My thanks to the winery’s sommelier; Juan Nunez-Sanchez, for his recommendation of this wine for my pairing with the ceviche that I made.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-4 years on its own or pair it with Pico de Gallo

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: March 26, 2021

STREWN TERROIR, STREWN THREE 2016, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $46.00
Grape: 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Cabernet Franc and 22% Merlot
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Stewn Winery
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Don’t think Ontario winemakers make great Bordeaux style wines like their counterparts across the pond, well this one certainly does. The wine just explodes in your mouth with beautiful fruits & spice. Well worth the price. Score: 95/100

Tasting Note: Light to medium ruby to garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, round tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: black cherry, plum, tamarind, mulberry, blackberry, blueberry, dark chocolate, black peppers, Crème de cassis, cloves, cinnamon, anise, tobacco leaves, leather, vanilla & a mix of Evergreens & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: “Strewn Three, their flagship red wine, is a three varietal blend that is unique each time it is made. In the past decade there have been only four vintages – 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016 – where the grapes were of the outstanding quality required to make our top-tier Terroir reds.” Strewn

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Lamb Chops with Blackberry Pan sauce and Arugula 

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: March 24, 2021

MARQUÉS DE TORO FINCA LA MOURA MENCÍA 2015, CEO Castilla y León, Spain


Cost: $13.95
Grape: Mencía & other Spanish Reds
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Spain
Region: Castilla y León
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Bodegas Alvares de Toro
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Undervalued wine that’s well-made, complex & featuring juicy fruit notes & spiciness. Score: 91/100

Tasting Note: Opaque purple to ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose, soft tannin & an average length on the finish. This wine features: black cherry, plum, ripe tamarind, mulberry, blackberry, blueberry, dark chocolate, black peppers, cassis, anise, tomato leaves, leather & vanilla.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: I believe you could bring this bottle to a dinner party & people will think it’s a $30+ bottle of wine.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Seafood Paella

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Amazing & Best Buys

Tasted: March 22, 2021

LCBO: 545939

PELEE ISLAND VINEDRESSERS RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2017, VQA South Islands, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Ontario
Region: South Islands, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Pelee Island
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

This Pinot is an excellent styling to Central Otago Pinots, but under $20, which you will never find that at the LCBO for former. Score: 92/100

Tasting Note: Light garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose, soft tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: black cherry, strawberry, raspberry, beetroot, mulberry, cinnamon & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: I love the expensive looking front label. Remember to chill to 15C, and use balloon (Burgundy) glassware.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Escargots à la Bourguignonne.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: March 21, 2021

LCBO: 325282

DOMAINE CLAVEL SYRIUS SAINT GERVAIS 2017, AOP Saint Gervais, Côtes du Rhônes, France


Cost: $19.95
Grape: 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Saint Gervais, Côtes du Rhônes
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Domaine Clavel
Alcohol:  14.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A powerful, full body wine with lots of sweet fruit notes & spices. Score: 86/100

Tasting Note: Medium ruby to garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Plum, raisins, cherry pie, cloves, cinnamon, Allspice, white pepper & tomato leaves.   

Negatives: Lots of heat from the 14.5% alcohol

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Wild Boar.

My Opinion: On-the-Fence

Tasted: March 20, 2021

LCBO: 18144

KA TAHI “THE ONE” CHARDONNAY 2017, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand


Cost: $21.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: New Zealand
Region: Hawke’s Bay
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Ka Tahi
Alcohol:  12.8% Alcohol/Vol.

A clean, balanced, well-made Kiwi Chard that gives you a nice rounded palate. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: lemon peel, nectarine, white peach, fig, green apples, pear, ginger, light oak spice & vanilla.   

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: “Three friends. One vision. One wine – “the one”…Ka Tahi”

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Coconut-Curry Braised Chicken Thighs.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: March 19, 2021

LCBO: 14557

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE SEMI-DRY RIESLING 2017, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $16.95
Grape: Riesling
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  11.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Well-made classic off dry, but not sweet, Riesling. Probably the best Canadian Riesling for under $17. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Straw in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: lemon, pink grapefruit, honeydew melon, pear, green apple, limestone & petrol on the nose.   

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 10 years on its own or pair it with Jerk Chicken Wings.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: March 18, 2021

13th STEET WINERY MERITAGE 2018, VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Picture is of 2016, but same label for 2018

Cost: $39.95
Grape: 41.5% Merlot, 41.5% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Creek Shores, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: 13th Street Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

This maybe the best Canadian red wine I’ve had & my best rated Canadian wine score, therefore well worth the price. This wine is balanced, complex with juicy fruit notes & spice. Absolutely delicious. Well done JP. Score: 98/100

Tasting Note: Deep ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features dark cherry, plums, ripe tamarind, bramble fruit, pomegranate, dark chocolate, cloves, Allspice, cinnamon, sage, spinach leaves, leather, pencil shavings, turmeric with cedar & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: My favourite wine of JP’s to date was his Viscek 2018 Chardonnay, & this is now my favourite of his wines (not including his sparkling wines, but it just maybe equal).

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 10 years & pair it with Rosemary Crusted Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Shallot Sauce. 

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: January 5, 2021

Re tested March 8, 2021