THE AUDACITY OF THOMAS G. BRIGHT SUSSRESERVE CHARDONNAY 2018, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $16.95 (Sale price until March 1, 2020: $14.95)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Arterra Wines
Alcohol:  14% Alcohol/Vol.

An Ontario Chard that will please those that like oaked Chards that are full body, powerful yet balanced and has complexity. Oh yes, so far haven’t tried a Canadian Chard with all that & at this price!

Positives: Deep gold (you can tell it’s oaked age just by the colour), this wine features lemon tart, Golden apples, pineapple, peach, clementine, vanilla, oak spice, ginger, dill and limestone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: TORONTO, Sept. 16, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, Arterra Wines Canada announced a very special homage to one of its original founders, with the launch of the company’s newest VQA wine The Audacity of Thomas G. Bright. In 1874, a young man named Thomas G. Bright had a bold idea: grow European grapes in Niagara, Ontario. In the face of countless challenges, from the soil conditions to the unique Canadian climate and an army of naysayers, T.G. Bright & Co. – his company – persevered, eventually importing hundreds of types of vines to Canada. His innovation and leadership were fundamental to the development of the Niagara wine industry, and his company eventually became part of the modern-day Arterra Wines Canada. “Anyone who has ever enjoyed a glass of Canadian wine owes a debt to Thomas G. Bright,” explains Andrea Hunt, senior vice president marketing, Arterra Wines Canada.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 3-5 of years on its own or pair it with lobster bisque.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: February 22, 2020

LCBO: 11565

FLAT ROCK CELLARS CHARDONNAY 2018, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $19.95 (Sale price until March 1, 2020: $17.95)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Flat Rock
Alcohol:  13% Alcohol/Vol.

Middle of the road Ontario Chard that should please those that enjoy the heavier oak style and those that like the crisp unoaked style

Positives: Bright gold in colour this wine features light butter, lemon, green apples, pear, honeydew melon, ginger, some oak spice and limestone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Not as good as their 2015 vintage, which I reviewed back in 2017

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 3-5 of years on its own or pair it with grilled chicken.

My Opinion: On the Fence

Tasted: February 25, 2020

LCBO: 286278

MONMARTHE SECRET DE FAMILLE BRUT CHAMPAGNE NV, Premier Cru, Ac Ludes, Montagne de Reims, France


Cost: $47.95
Grape: 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay
Category: Champagne
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Ludes, Montagne de Reims
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Monmarthe
Alcohol:  12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Classic Champagne but from an Independent Winegrower that is priced well under top Champagne houses with the same quality.

Positives: Deep gold in colour with a copper tinge. This wine has a fine mousse and features yeast, brioche, finely oxidative, green apples, Anjou pear, lemons, peach, ginger, nutmeg and crushed limestone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: This Champagne was bought as a birthday present from my daughter, but today we drink in her honour in getting into her Masters program.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 10-15 of years on its own or pair it with New York style Parmesan, garlic & herb pits chips.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: February 22, 2020

LCBO: 624775

LA MOSCOTA EXTRA BRUT ROSÉ SPARKLING WINE, NV, Champenoise Method, San Carlos, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Argentina
Region: San Carlos, Uco Valley, Mendoza
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Moscota Vineyards
Alcohol:  11.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Not complex easy drinking dry sparkling with elegance

Positives: Light gold with a rose coloured tinged & fine mousse, this wine features light brioche & yeast, strawberry, cherry, pear and blood orange.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Tasted well in several different Champagne/sparkling wine glassware, which is unique.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 5-7 of years on its own or pair it with strawberry.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: February 16, 2020

LCBO: 11806

SOUTHBROOK ESTATE ORGANIC WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY 2017, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario Canada


Cost: $35.00 (Clearance Price: $24.55)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Canada
Region: Ontario, Niagara Escarpment
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Southbrook
Alcohol:  13% Alcohol/Vol.

One of the top Canadian Chards, elegant, full body, rich & complex, all this and they did it with only 13% alcohol vs California Chards at 14% plus to gain what Southbrook has done

Positives: Rich golf in colour this wine features lemon, peach, green & yellow apples, pear, tangerine, honeydew melon, sweet potato skin, ginger, dill, oak spice and toasted marshmallows

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Organic and Vegan friendly. Also, reviewed the 2016 vintage which was $5 more than this vintage and this vintage is better and correctly priced, which makes the clearance price a steal.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 5-7 of years on its own or pair it with Lobster Thermidor.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: February 14, 2020

LCBO: 644625

MAGNOTTA 1925 ROSÉ SPARKLING WINE NV, VQA Ontario, Canada


Cost: $13.70
Grape: Pinot Gris & Pinot Noir
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Magnotta Winery
Alcohol:  12% Alcohol/Vol.

Simple, yet elegant & at a price that’s worth drinking more

Positives: Bright rose colour with fine mousse this wine features cherry, strawberry and Spy apple

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now or in the next couple of years on its own or pair it with sweet pepper rose jelly on prosciutto and a Ritz cracker.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: February 12, 2020

MAGNOTTA INTERNATIONAL SELECT SERIES SYARH GRENACHE NV, France


Cost: $14.15 (Sale price Feb 2020: $13.15)
Grape: Syrah-Grenache
Category: Red Wine
Location: Magnotta Winery
Country: France & Canada
Region:
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Magnotta
Alcohol:  13% Alcohol/Vol.

Simple and not half bad

Positives: Dark ruby in colour this wine features plum, cherry, red apples, white pepper with light tannins.

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now on its own or pair it with stewed meats.

My Opinion: On the fence

Tasted: February 11, 2020

RCABERNET CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017, California


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: V Vines
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

For a generic California Cab, there’s lots of positives, such as the alcohol is under 14% & it isn’t flabby or sweet, but it doesn’t encourage me to buy it again at this price.

Positives: Ruby to purple in colour, this wine features dark cherry chocolate, mocha, blackberry, plum, baking spice, turmeric and graphite.

Negatives: None

Interesting Note: The wine didn’t hold up with steak as it made it flabby. It can’t take the protein in red meats.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 3 years on its own or pair it with Country Style Potato Salad drizzled with Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

My Opinion: On the fence

Tasted: February 10, 2020

LCBO: 13181

PANTOCRATOR 2005, DOC Rioja Alta, Spain


Cost: $37.95 (Clearance price: $30.40)
Grape: 90% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Spain
Region: Rioja Alta
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Bodegas Tarón
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A rich, complex & powerful aged Tempranillo

Positives: Ruby to garnet in colour, this wine features cherry, raisin, Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, liquorice, black pepper, peppermint, leather and smoked wood.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Traditional winemaking that entails ageing the two varieties separately in American oak barrels for twelve months. The wines are then blended and returned to the barrels, where they spend another six months. After ageing, the wine is left for 12 months in steel tanks, where it is further refined, and then it is ready for bottling.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 10 years on its own or pair it with rack of lamb, medium rare.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: February 3, 2020

LCBO: 12181

COLOMBA BIANCA INSOLIA RESILIENCE 2018, DOC Sicilia, Italy


Cost: $16.95
Grape: Insolia
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Sicilia
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Colomba Bianca
Alcohol:  13% Alcohol/Vol.

Spring in a bottle

Positives: Straw yellow in colour, this wine features lemon rind, guava, honeydew melon, limestone and orange blossom with honeysuckle on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: The grapes are harvested by hand in small baskets and processed quickly to respect the unique characteristics of these grapes, respecting the territorial origins.

Ageability: Drink now or in the next 3-5 years on its own or pair it with Brussels sprouts roasted in lemon and Agave.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: January 24, 2020

LCBO: 10952