KEW VINEYARDS OLD VINE CHARDONNAY 2016, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Canada
Region: Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Kew Vineyards
Alcohol:  14.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Ontario is consistently making great Chards at reasonable prices, & this one is a gem for $20. Full body, full of elegance, creaminess, tropical fruit, good acidity & balanced

Tasting Note: Yellow gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, clementine, green & golden apples, pear, peach, pineapple, lemon meringue pie, caramel, vanilla, oak spice & orange blossoms on the nose.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 3-4of years on its own or pair it with steamed snow crab legs.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: July 13, 2020

LCBO: 438374

LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D’IVOIRE BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT, NV, Méthode Traditionnelle, AOC Crémant de Bourgogne, France


Cost: $19.95 (Clearance Price: $16.00)
Grape: Predominantly Chardonnay with Aligoté
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Crémant de Bourgogne
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Louis Bouillot
Alcohol:  12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

LB consistently produces excellent quality Blanc de Blancs at a great price, and this bottle is no exception. “Full and rounded in the mouth, with a certain vivacity, and complex secondary aromas that evolve over time, delighting the taste buds” LB

Tasting Note: Straw in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features light toasted buttery brioche, lemon, green apples, Anjou pear, limestone and white roses on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Originally tasted Sept 25, 2016, and it has the same quality & notes as today.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 8-10 of years on its own or pair it with cranberry Pecan baked Brie.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: July 12, 2020 (Happy birthday to my mom turning 94)

LCBO: 48801

TENUTA DI TRECCIANO I CAMPACCI TOSCANA 2016, IGT Tuscany, Italy


Cost: $29.95 (Clearance Price: $24.00
Grape: Merlot
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Chianti Hill, Toscana
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Tenuta di Trecciano
Alcohol:  14.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A lighter style IGT that makes your mouth water for more

Tasting Note: Medium ruby in colour with high acidity, an intense nose, dry tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features sour cherry, red & black currants, blackberries, cocoa, coffee, oregano & balsamic.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: LCBO has the grapes as Sangiovese & Merlot, however, on Trecciano’s website it lists this as 100% Merlot.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 8-12 of years on its own or pair it with roasted wild boar.

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: July 9, 2020

LCBO: 14146

MAZZEI BELGAVARDO TIRRENICO 2016, DOC Maremma, Toscana, Italy


Cost: $29.95 (Clearance Price: $24.00
Grape: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Alicante, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Maremma, Toscana
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Mazzei
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A great price for a quality wine full of flavour, structure & balance

Tasting Note: Medium ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, balanced tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features sour cherry, blackcurrants, blackberries, plum, strawberries, turmeric, arugula, sage, cassis, leather & pencil shavings.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: “The Tyrrhenian Sea derived its name from the population of the “Tyrrhenoi”, better known as the Etruscans, who led by Prince Tyrrhenus landed on the coast of Southern Tuscany. This charismatic blend bears the name “Tirrenico” because its native vineyards overlook the sea and benefit from its breezes.” Mazzei

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 8-12 of years on its own or pair it with pasta with game sauce, white meat stews, baked vegetables.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: July 8, 2020

LCBO: 12093

CASTELLO DI GABBIANO CAVALIERE D’ORO 2016, IGT Toscana, Italy


Cost: $18.95 (Clearance Price: $15.20)
Grape: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Toscana
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Cavaliere D’oro
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Solid value & versatile IGT red wine for under $20

Tasting Note: Light ruby in colour with good acidity, an intense nose, mild tannin & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features blackberries, sour cherry, pomegranate, cassis, fig, Allspice and violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 3-4 of years on its own or pair it with veal parmigiano.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: July 2, 2020

LCBO: 13453

CHÂTEAU LÉOUBE ROSÉ DE LÉOUBE 2018, Côtes De Provence, France


Cost: $30.95
Grape: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah & Mourvèdre
Category: Rosé Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Côtes De Provence
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Château Léoube
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Sometimes is worth paying a higher price for a rosé this good

Tasting Note: Pale salmon in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, & a long length on the finish. Wine features Rainier cherries, strawberry, tangerine, Fuji apples with honeysuckle & orange blossoms on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: If you’re not familiar with Tartrates in wine (potassium & tartaric acids coming together to form crystals with are is not a negative in wines), this wine has them.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 3-4 of years on its own or pair it with BBQ Jerk seasoning back ribs.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: June 29, 2020

LCBO: 491100

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY’S DEAN LIST SYRAH 2018, VQA, Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $26.95
Grape: Syrah
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A classic style Syrah that’s full of berries & spice, all for under $30 and with only 13% alcohol, and it’s made in Ontario!

Tasting Note: Purple to ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose, & a long length on the finish. Wine features dark cherry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, white & black pepper, tobacco leaves, and a gorgeous spicy/smoked nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: How much to I like this wine? I tasted it at the Winery in a small plastic glass & I was wowed by it, so in my official tasting with the proper Syrah stemware, not surprisingly I’m stilled wowed.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 7-8 of years on its own or pair it with lamb saltimbocca with port wine & blackberries.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: June 26, 2020

HOYA DE CADENAS RESERVA TEMPRANILLO 2014, DOP Utiel-Requena, Spain


Cost: $13.00 (Sale price until June 21, 2020: $11.50)
Grape: Tempranillo
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Spain
Region: Utiel-Requena
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Vicente Gandia
Alcohol:  12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

I wish I could like this as it’s a great price for an aged Tempranillo. Unfortunately, the taste isn’t there. It’s just “blah”.

Not Recommended

Tasted: June 24, 2020

LCBO: 620989

13th STREET WINERY L. VISCEK VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2018, VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $34.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: 13th Street Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Pure elegance; balanced, smooth, complex & only 13% alcohol. Truly impressive Chard that can compete with the best in the world, and at this price for the quality that you get, I haven’t had a Chard anywhere in the world that is better.

Tasting Note: Light bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, peach, Gala apples, pineapples, Edward mangos, light oak spice, baby dill pickles, ginger & white flowers on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Every year JP keeps improving his Viscek Chard, and here I thought his last 2 were great, so does this make it great-great-great?

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 4-6 of years on its own or pair it with Gunn’s Hill Brigio’s Brie (sold at the winery’s bakery store).

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: June 5, 2020

FEATHERSTONE JOY PREMIUM CUVÉE ROSÉ 2017, Méthode Classique, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $29.95 (Clearance price: $21.00)
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Featherstone Winery
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

This almost dry sparkling wine presents a lot of red juicy sweet fruit

Tasting Note: Tawny in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium intense nose, & a long length on the finish. Wine features Maraschino cherry, strawberry, raspberry, red currant & Fuji apples.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Better when it’s chilled below 10C.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 3-5 of years on its own or pair it with pan seared pork chops with red currant glaze

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: June 7, 2020

LCBO: 450700