GREENLANE ESTATE WINERY SUR LIE CHARDONNAY 2012, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $24.95 (Sale price $19.95)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Greenlane Estate Winery
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

If you like buttered popcorn, you’ll love this. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Yellow to old gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon meringue pie, pineapple, peach, pear, yellow apples, yellow plum, buttered popcorn, & oak spice.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: The winery is getting low on how many bottles they have.

Pairings: Drink this now or in couple of years on its own or pair it with rotisserie chicken .

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: September 24, 2020

SPECK BROTHERS, FAMILY TREE “THE GOAT LADY” CHARDONNAY 2019, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $16.95 (Sale price until Oct 1, 2020: $14.95)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Henry of Pelham
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Although there is a lot going on with this wine it doesn’t know if it wants to be a commercial California style Chard or a cool climate Chard. Score: 84/100

Tasting Note: Yellow gold in colour with average acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, marzipan, peach, pear, green & yellow apples, ripe pineapple, orange, and passion fruit.

Negatives: There’s a touch of sweetness that has a lingering finish, plus I’m not a fan of marzipan.

Interesting Point: In a glass, I blended this Chard with Niagara Teaching Winery unoaked Chard, & it wasn’t bad, way better than drinking this Chard on its own.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next couple of years on its own or pair it with slow cooked chicken with filled figs.

My Opinion: Not Recommended

Tasted: September 22, 2020

LCBO: 16792

MY WINNER FOR BEST FOOD & WINE PAIRING AT THE NIAGARA GRAPE & WINE FESTIVAL


My judging was based on 3 taste factors: 1) The wine being offered, 2) The food being offered, and 3) How the wine & food paired together.

My winner for best food & wine pairing at the Niagara Grape & Wine Festival is Niagara Teaching Winery with their Gastronomy Pinot Noir paired with Chef Tarun’s homemade olive & sautéed mushroom tapenade crostini with red peppers, chives & Prosciutto topping.

Ankur, Chef Tarun & Myself

CHÂTEAU LE CLOS DU NOTAIRE 2015, AOC Côtes De Bourg, Bordeaux, France


Cost: $20.95
Grape: 84% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc.
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Côtes De Bourg, Bordeaux
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Château Le Clos Du Notaire
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Nicely aged left bank Bordeaux at a great price. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Medium ruby to garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, round tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features blackcurrants, blackberry, blueberry, dark cherry, anise, pencil shavings, leather with violet notes on the nose.  

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3-5 yrs. on its own or pair it with Mongolian beef.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: September 16, 2020

LCBO: 14718

PAUL MAS RÉSERVE MARSANNE 2018, 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: Paul Mas Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), well look no further as this Marsanne is undervalued, under appreciated and underpriced, which for the consumer to find is truly a treasure. Score: 91/100

Tasting Note: Light gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, pineapple, yellow plum, yellow apples and apple blossoms on the nose.  

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Love the bottle: elegant & classic.

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3-5 yrs. on its own or pair it with pan seared Chilean Sea Bass – glitter and graze.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Amazing Buy & Best Buy

Tasted: September 15, 2020

LCBO: 462457

BAR DOG CHARDONNAY 2018, California, United States of America


Cost: $17.95 (Clearance Price: $14.35
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Our Cellars
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Nice to see a California Chard under $18 that is not: A) above 14% alcohol, B) sweet, C) overtly oaky. This balanced Chard offers a lot for the buck. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon meringue pie, green & yellow apples, pear, peach, kumquat, yellow plum, vanilla & oak spice.  

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: From the winery: “My Best Friend… Bar Dog Companion, partner, bone-vivant. Always by my side. In my kitchen or at my dog-friendly bar until it is time to go. Like Bar Dog, we love this wine unconditionally. So will you.”

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3-5 yrs. on its own or pair it with Devilled stuffed crab.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: September 14, 2020

LCBO: 10886

CHÂTEAU MAISON NOBILE SAINT MARTIN 2018, AC Bordeaux, France


Cost: $14.95
Grape: 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: St. Martin, Bordeaux
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Château Maison Noble
Alcohol:  14% Alcohol/Vol.

For a young red Bordeaux wine, it’s drinking well now, but will improve with some aging. It’s a great bargain at this price point, as others with this quality would cost more than double. Score: 95/100

Tasting Note: Medium ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, firm tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features plum, tamarind, blueberry, blackberry, pomegranate, blackcurrants, pencil shavings, anise, leather, anise, pipe tobacco, Allspice & violets.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in 5-7 yrs. on its own or pair it with ribeye steak.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: September 12, 2020

LCBO: 14785

CLARENDELLE ROUGE 2015, AC Bordeaux, France


Cost: $24.95
Grape: 83% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Bordeaux
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Clarence Dillion Wines
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Impressive: If you want a $50 Bordeaux wine, but pay half the price, then this wine is it. Score: 95/100

Tasting Note: Medium ruby to garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, round tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features plum, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, pomegranate, blackcurrants, anise, licorice, leather, anise, pipe tobacco, Allspice & sandalwood.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Love the bottle: elegant & classic.

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3-5 yrs. on its own or pair it with Beef bourguignon.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: September 10, 2020

LCBO: 28837

RIVERA IL FALCONE CASTEL DEL MONTE ROSSO RISERVA 2014, DOCG Castel del Monte, Apulia, Italy


Cost: $24.95 (Clearance Price: $20.00)
Grape: 70% Nero di Troia – 30% Other local varieties
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Castel del Monte, Apulia
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Rivera
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A mix of berries, spice & leather. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Medium ruby to garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, firm tannin & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, pomegranate, redcurrants, leather, anise, tobacco leaves & Allspice.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Aged in French oak for at least 14 months and for a further year in bottle.

Pairings: Drink this now or in 7- 10 yrs. on its own or pair it with marinated venison steak.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: September 5, 2020

LCBO: 177295

LEEUWENKUIL RESERVE WHITE 2017, Swartland, South Africa


Cost: $19.95
Grape: 80% Chenin Blanc, 20% blend of: Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Verdelho, Clairette, Chardonnay, Colombard, Viognier
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: South Africa
Region: Swartland
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Leeuwenkuil Family Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

An interesting wine with good complexity & full of array of taste. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon pith, pineapple, peach, green apples, mandarin, white pepper, limestone, white blossoms on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Nice classic style of the Southern France rosé bottles.

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3 – 4 yrs. on its own or pair it with Cayman style conch ceviche.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: August 27, 2020 LCBO: 14937