ALBINO ARMANI 1607 CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE, NV, DOCG Valdobbiadene, Prosecco Superiore, Veneto, Italy


Cost: $18.95 (Clearance Price: $15.20)
Grape: Glera
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO
Country: Italy
Region: Valdobbiadene, Prosecco Superiore, Veneto
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Albino Armani
Alcohol: 11.0% Alcohol/Vol.

An elegant, delicious extra-dry Prosecco at a great price. Score: 91/100.

Tasting Note: Straw in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium intense nose & a good length on the finish. This wine features: Lemon zest, pear, Granny apples, pink grapefruit, apricot & roses on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point:

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3-4 years, on its own or pair it with Parmigiano Reggiano.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: February 5, 2023

LCBO: 16602

FREIXENET ITALIAN ROSÉ EXTRA DRY SPARKLING WINE, NV, Charmat Method, Italy


Cost: $21.95 (Clearance Price: $15.40)
Grape: Pinot Noir & Glera
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO
Country: Italy
Region:
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Freixenet
Alcohol: 11.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Simple but very pleasant, easy drinking sparkling wine with fresh fruit. Score: 89/100.

Tasting Note: Pink/salmon in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium intense nose & a good length on the finish. This wine features: Strawberry, raspberry, MacIntosh apples, lemon zest & roses on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Beautiful bottle

Pairings: Drink this now or in 3-4 years, on its own or pair it with Roasted Salmon and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 29, 2023

LCBO: 11222

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE PET NAT CHARDONNAY 2017, VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $28.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol: 12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

This isn’t half bad, but I wouldn’t pay the price for it. A simple Brut frizzante. Score: 87/100.

Tasting Note: Cloudy yellow gold in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a light intense nose & a good length on the finish. This wine features: Lemon zest, grapefruit, sour bread, yeast, kumquat, Jonagold apples & limestone.

Negatives: The price

Interesting Point: “This was made in the “Petillant Natural” or “Pet Nat” style. Fermented only using indigenous yeast, it was bottled down near the end of fermentation to capture natural CO2 gas bubbles. No additions have been made to this wine and it remains sur lie (with lees) to protect its integrity, structure and ageability.”

Pairings: Drink this now on its own or pair it with rippled potato chips with dill/onion dip.

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: January 24, 2023

NIAGARA COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY GASTRONOMY UNFILTERED CHARDONNAY 2020, VQA St. David’s Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $24.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: St. David’s Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Nicely balanced showing citric fruit & spiciness. Score: 91/100

Tasting Note: Light yellow gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose, light tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Lemon zest, pineapple, peach, apples, pear, caramel, vanilla, oak spice

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: 2020 was a great vintage year for Ontario wines.

Pairings: Drink this now or in 4-6 years on its own or pair it with snow crab lobster with drawn butter.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: July 16 & August 21, 2022

LUNDY MANOR WINE CELLARS PROPRIETOR’S RED 2016, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $21.95
Grape: 51.4% Cab Franc, 27.7% Merlot, 14.5% Syrah, 6.3% Petit Verdot
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Lundy Manor Wine Cellars
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Tied for best Canadian red wine with Lundy Manor’s 2016 Red. Drinking like a nicely aged Bordeaux. Score: 96/100.

Tasting Note: Light to medium garnet in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Dark cherry, dried cranberries, raspberry, blueberry, plum, baby spinach, white & black pepper & shale.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: 18 months in French oak.

Pairings: Drink this now on its own or pair it with Slow Cooker Beef Cheeks in Red Wine.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Tasted: January 9, 2023

LCBO: 20188

MON FRÈRE PINOT NOIR 2018, California, United States of America


Cost: $ 21.99 KYD
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Jacques Scott, Cayman Islands
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Mon Frère
Alcohol: 13.9% Alcohol/Vol.

I love it when I get impressed by a California Pinot that’s not high in alcohol, not made in the commercial & it’s under $25. This Pinot is made more like in the Willamette Valley style, & it is elegant, bright & well made. Score: 93/100.

Tasting Note: Light garnet to ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, mild tannin & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Cherry, raspberry, some plum, rhubarb, clove & violets on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: ‘A blend of Sonoma Coast vineyards, Santa Rita Hills Vineyards in Santa Barbara and Santa Lucia Highlands and Vineyards in Monterey. A full spectrum of Pinot Noir clones are represented in this wine.” (Winery)

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 4-6 years on its own or pair it with roasted duck.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick & Best Buy

Tasted: January 5, 2023

CHÂTEAU FUISSÉ 2017: LES BRÛLÉS 1er Cru vs TÊTE DE CUVÉE, France


A special 2022, New Year’s tastings comparing Château-Fuissé 2017 vintages of “Les Brûlés” Château-Fuissé and Château-Fuissé Tête de Cuvée.

On a blind tasting these were my observations:

  • Visually – I was correct in selecting Les Brulés based on the deeper gold colour.
  • Aroma – I was correct in selecting Les Brulés as it was more intense.
  • Alcohol Level – I was correct in choosing Les Brulés as the higher content.
  • Taste – I went against my instinct and went to what I preferred, and I was wrong. I had chosen the Cuvée as being the more expensive wine as it had more finesse, and the Les Brulés was very much oak driven. On the winery’s website, Les Brulés’ vinification is in new oak barrels vs the Cuvée is 60% oak barrels & 40% is in vats.
  • Lesson – Go on your instincts.

Les Brûlés: Score 90/100

$63 KYD, Bought at Jacques Scott, Cayman Islands

Deep gold in colour, medium+ intense nose, soft tannin and long length. Taste: Lemon drops, pineapple, Jonagold apples, ginger, oak spice & crushed stone.

Tête de Cuvée: Score 92/100

$45 KYD Bought at Jacques Scott, Cayman Islands

Gold in colour, medium intense nose and long length. Taste: Lemon, Jonagold apples, honeydew melon, pineapple, ginger, dill, oak spice & limestone.

CAPE LANDING ROSÉ, 2021, Margaret River, Australia


Cost: $ 24.99 KYD
Grape: Syrah
Category: Rosé Wine
Location: Jacques Scott, Cayman Islands
Country: Australia
Region: Margaret River
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Cape Landing
Alcohol: 12.1% Alcohol/Vol.

A unique 100% Syrah rosé made in Australia. Not complex but it’s light, bright & very pleasant to drink on its own or with food. Score: 90/100.

Tasting Note: Salmon in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Pink grapefruit, Rainier Cherries, hint of cranberry, thyme & wet stone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: First Australian winery that I have come across that describe the grape used as Syrah vs Shiraz.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 2-3 years on its own or pair it with summer fresh gazpacho.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: December 31, 2022

DECOY BRUT CUVÉE SPARKLING WINE, NV, Méthode Champenoise, United States of America


Cost: $28.99 KYD
Grape: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: Jacques Scott, Cayman Islands
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Decoy
Alcohol: 12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Traditional Champagne grapes & traditionally made. Great taste, that’s easy to drink, especially when it’s almost ice cold & at half the price of the lowest priced Champagne wines. Score: 94/100.

Tasting Note: Straw to light gold in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Light yeast, brioche, pear, white peach, lemon zest, green apples & limestone stone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Dosage with French oak barrel fermented Napa Valley Chardonnay.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3 – 5 years on its own or pair it with tuna tartare.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: December 26, 2022

BILLECART SALMON BRUT RÉSERVE NV, AOC Champagne, France


Cost: $71.0 KYD (December 2022 sale: $50.99 KYD)
Grape: 40% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir
Category: Champagne
Location: Jacques Scott, Cayman Islands
Country: France
Region: Montagne de Reims & Grande Vallée de la Marne
Format: 750 ml
Producer: Bellecart-Salmon
Alcohol: 12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A Christmas treat. Score: 94/100.

Tasting Note: Rich gold in colour with fine mousse, good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. This wine features: Yeast, brioche, Anjou pear, peach, lemon, green apples, salted almonds, thyme & wet stone.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Vinification in stainless steel tanks, 50% to 60% reserve wines, ageing on lees: 30 months.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3 – 5 years on its own or pair it with crab spiced with ginger and a creamy courgette sauce which is topped with Daurenki caviar.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: December 25, 2022