BORD ELEGANCE LAUDUN CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2018, AC Côtes du Rhône, France


Cost: $17.95
Grape: Mainly Grenache
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: France
Region: Côtes du Rhône
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Brotte
Alcohol:  14% Alcohol/Vol.

It starts with roundness & elegance in the mouth & finishes with a nice clean crispness. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Light gold in colour with good acidity, a Low to medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features yellow plum, pear, white peach, apricot, green apple, wet stone & honeysuckle on the nose.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3 – 4 yrs. on its own or pair it with Crawfish Gumbo.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: August 13, 2020

LCBO: 644385

YALUMBA ORGANIC SHIRAZ 2018, South Australia, Australia


Cost: $17.95
Grape: Shiraz
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: Australia
Region: South Australia
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Yalumba
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Even though there’s a lot of spice, which is to be expected from Shiraz, this wine is very smooth & nice to see that it’s under 14% alcohol. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Medium to dark ruby with some purple in colour with good acidity, a Low to medium intense nose, mild tannins & a good length on the finish. Wine features plum, blackberry, mulberry, blueberry, peppercorn, Allspice & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Shiraz & Syrah are the same grape, but generally Australia’s Shiraz is different from the Rhône style Syrah. This is very noticeable if you compare these grape styles with their appreciate glassware. I tried this wine in both style stemware & found that when I had it in the Syrah style, it should more roughness, so I chose the Shiraz style. Other interesting point is that the wine is Vegan friendly and organic.

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3 – 4 yrs. on its own or pair it with Roasted Duck Breasts with spiced blackberry Au Jus.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: August 12, 2020

LCBO: 280883

COLUMBIA CREST GRAND ESTATES CHARDONNAY 2016, Columbia Valley, Washington State, United States of America


Cost: $17.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO General List
Country: United States of America
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Columbia Crest
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Years ago, this wine was one of my favourite Chards under $20. Today, with still being 2106 vintage, it’s past its prime, in fact it needs to be put out to pasture. Score: 75/100

Tasting Note: Yellow gold in colour with average acidity, a medium+ intense nose & an average length on the finish. Wine features lemon curd, butterscotch, cooked apples, banana, cantaloupe & lots of oak.

Negatives: Over ripe fruit with oak being at the forefront

Pairings: I wouldn’t drink this now.

My Opinion: Not Recommended

Tasted: August 10, 2020

LCBO: 462846

CAMPILLO BLANCO FERMENTADO EN BARRICA 2018, DOC Rioja, Spain


Cost: $18.95
Grape: 75% Viura (Macabeo), 25% Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Spain
Region: Rioja
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Bodegas Campillo
Alcohol:  12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

This reminds me of sitting outside at a restaurant on the waterfront in the Cayman Islands feeling the Caribbean saltwater breeze on my face & having some calamari with some Scotch Bonnet sauce. Score: 92/100

Tasting Note: Straw with a green ting in colour with good acidity, a low intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon-lime, green apples, pear, mango, white peach, vanilla, eucalyptus & limestone.

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 4-6 of years on its own or pair it with calamari.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: August 9, 2020

LCBO: 657478

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCED BRUT RIESLING, NV, Traditional Method, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $26.95
Grape: Riesling
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Could this be the best traditional made Riesling sparkling wine in Canada? Well, I don’t know as I’ve never tasted every one of them, but in the ones that I have & lets include Blanc de Blancs sparkling wines in general & further add that’s it’s under $27, this is definitely one of the best. Score: 93/100

Tasting Note: Straw with a green ting in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features lime, green apples, pear & limestone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: I just love the colour coding labels the Teaching Winery is using for their sparkling wines.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 7-9 of years on its own or pair it with cucumber gazpacho, especially the one from the Teaching Winery food truck’s chef; Tarun makes.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: August 9, 2020

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY DEAN’S LIST PINOT NOIR 2018, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $28.95
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Styled in classic Ontario Pinot style (Old Word meets New World) it’s taut, complexed & full of Pinot flavour. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Light ruby to garnet in colour with high acidity, a medium to low intense nose, firm tannin & a very long length on the finish. Wine features Rainier cherries, pomegranate, cranberries, strawberries, red beets, sweet tobacco, a touch of vanilla, underbrush & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Chill to 15 C degrees & use a balloon style glassware.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 4-5 of years on its own or pair it with roasted duck & pickled red beets.

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: August 7, 2020

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY WINE 101 RED, 2019 VQA Ontario, Canada


Cost: $13.95
Grape: 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 9% Baco Noir, 9% Gamay Noir, 7% Pinot Noir, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Syrah
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A mishmash of red wines makes this on the sweeter side but has some nice spice to add some complexity. Score: 85/100

Tasting Note: Light ruby in colour with average acidity, a medium+ intense nose, light tannin & a length on the finish. Wine features plum, Kirsch, blueberry pie, Bing cherries, raspberry, ripe tamarinds, black tea, raspberries & Allspice.

Negatives: Comes across a little like a commercial California red wine.

Interesting Point: This is where the quality of the stemware is important as if you use high quality glassware it will accentuate the negatives in this wine, therefore use the traditional Italian table wine glassware, just a glass will do.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next couple of years on its own or pair it with Moroccan spiced lamb chops with allspice and thyme.

My Opinion: On the Fence

Tasted: August 7, 2020

MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS GRAND RESERVA 2013, DOP Ariñena, Spain


Cost: $18.95
Grape: Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Spain
Region: Ariñena
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Grandes Vinos
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A nicely aged wine full of  flavour & elegance while all under $19. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Medium ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features Bing cherries, red currants, bramble fruits, plum, ripe tamarind, tobacco, cedar, eucalyptus & aged balsamic.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Aged 2 years in oak barrels with a further 3 years in bottle before being released.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 8-10 years on its own or pair it with Brazilian skirt steak with golden garlic butter.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: August 5, 2020

LCBO: 82024

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY TRADITIONAL METHOD ROSÉ, NV, VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $28.95
Grape: Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara-On-The-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Niagara College Teaching Winery winemaker; Gavin Robertson, has outdid himself with his new traditional method Rosé sparkling wine, & I am putting it as one of Canada’s top Rosé sparkling wines that I have the pleasure of tasting.

Tasting Note: Pale salmon in colour with a fine mouse, good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features light yeast, strawberry, red apples, pear, kiwi & hazelnut.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: The Teaching Winery now has 4 sparkling wines (Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Rosé & Riesling. The Riesling sparkling I will be reviewing next Sunday), & I love the colour labeling of all 4 wines.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with Cajun spiced fries, especially made by the Teaching Winery chef; Tarun, from his food truck now on the premise serving excellent food.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Score: 95/100

Tasted: August 2, 2020

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE CABERNET FRANC 2018, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $18.95
Grape: Cabernet Franc
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

It infrequently happens when I give a wine under $19 with a Top Pick, (Price Not Withstanding), & this Cab Franc gets into that category as the wine exudes elegance with mouth-watering fruits, spice & beautiful fragrant violets on the nose.

Tasting Note: Light to medium ruby in colour with good acidity, an intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features bramble fruit, red currants, plum, white pepper, arugula & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Have it slightly chilled to 17-18 C in order to bring out even more of the freshness of the fruit.

Pairings: Drink now or over the next 5-7 years on its own or pair it with arugula & prosciutto wood oven pizza.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick & Best Buy

Tasted: July 29, 2020