INVIVO PINOT NOIR 2018, Central Otago, New Zealand


Cost: $24.95
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: New Zealand
Region: Central Otago
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Invivo
Alcohol:  14.0% Alcohol/Vol.

On tasting this Pinot, my mouth just expressed so much delight as the flavours just jumped out & stayed with my taste buds. This is a true Pinot delight at a great price for a Central Otago Pinot found at the LCBO, as well, I just love the writings on the front & back labels. It truly does have “Traces of Bloody Good Wine”. Score: 94/100

Tasting Note: Light garnet in colour with good acidity, an intense nose, smooth tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features dark cherry, strawberry, raspberry, grilled portobello mushrooms, peat moss, autumn leaves & barnyard notes.   

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Chill to 15C & use the balloon style glassware

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years & pair it with grilled duck breast.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: November 23, 2020

LCBO: 466029

JULES TAYLOR CHARDONNAY 2018, Marlborough, New Zealand


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: New Zealand
Region: Marlborough
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Jules Taylor Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

A delightful complex & spicy Chard at a great price. Score: 90/100

Tasting Note: Light gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, green & yellow apples, pear, peach, clementine, cloves, ginger, dill, oak spice & limestone.   

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years & pair it with creamy risotto with roasted chicken thighs topped with fresh spring onion.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: November 21, 2020

LCBO: 14566

BOSCHENDAL 1685 CHARDONNAY 2019, South Africa


Cost: $16.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: South Africa
Region:
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Boschendal
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A well priced Chard that’s pleasant to drink, which has balance between the oak, the fruit & acidity. Score: 89/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a fairly long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, pineapple, green apples, pear, ginger & oak spice.   

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with grilled peppercorn & salt scallops on a bed of spaghettini in olive oil & basil.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: November 19, 2020

LCBO: 367698

LE GRAVILLAS SABLET CÔTES DU RHÔNES-VILLAGE 2017, AOC Sablet, Côtes du Rhône, France


Cost: $18.95
Grape: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan
Category: Red Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Sablet, Côtes du Rhône
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Cave Le Gravillas
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Very expressive with lots of spice. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Dark purple to ruby in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose, round tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features dark cherry, blackcurrants, redcurrants, plum, blackberry, tobacco, arugula, black & white pepper.  

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with seared venison backstrap with blackberry sauce.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: November 18, 2020

LCBO: 78790

ROMBAUER CHARDONNAY 2018, Carneros, California, United States of America


Cost: $63.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: United States of America
Region: Carneros, California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Rombauer Vineyards
Alcohol:  14.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Is this an expensive Chard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Has Rombauer Chard been my favourite Chard bar none for the past 2 decades? Yes. Why? Rombauer makes what I love in a Chard, which it needs to be balanced between the oak, the fruit, the spiciness, the acidity & the mouth feel, as well as being complex. Score: 96/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium+ intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, Fuji apple, peach, Edward mango, pineapple, papaya, ginger, dill, light oak spice, salted butter, vanilla, limestone & Easter Lily on the nose.  

Negatives: None

Interesting Note: So why not give this vintage a 99 or 100/100? Although I really love this vintages, I have tasted vintages from Rombauer that were even better.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 7-10 years & pair it with lobster & drawn butter.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: November 17, 2020

LCBO: 441089

KENDALL-JACKSON VINTNER’S RESERVE CHARDONNAY, 2018 California, United States of America


Cost: $21.95 (Sale price until: Nov 29, 2020)
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: United States of America
Region: California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Jackson Estate
Alcohol:  13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A balanced barrel fermented Chard with good acidity, tropical fruit & some creaminess all without having the high alcohol that Chards from California seem to be the norm. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Bright gold in colour with good acidity, a medium intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features lemon, green & golden apples, peach, toasted pineapple, papaya, ginger, dill, oak spice & vanilla.  

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with crab Alfredo.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: November 16, 2020

LCBO: 369686

NIAGAR COLLEGE TEACHING WINERY BALANCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Region, Ontario


Cost: $16.95
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Niagara College Teaching Winery
Alcohol:  13.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Better than the standard New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc as this has more complexity to it. Score: 88/100

Tasting Note: Bright straw in colour with high acidity, an intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features gooseberry, passion fruit, kiwi, tangerine & fresh cut grass.  

Negatives: None

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 5-7 years & pair it with Mahi Mahi ceviche marinated in lemon/orange juice & served with red onions, basil & orange slices.

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: November 15, 2020

ROTARI BRUT ROSÉ SPARKLING WINE 2014, DOC Trento, Italy


Cost: $19.95
Grape: Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: Italy
Region: Trento
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Rotari
Alcohol:  12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A fine and elegant vintage rosé sparkling wine at a great price. Score: 92/100

Tasting Note: Light copper in colour with good acidity, fine perlage (mousse in Italian), a medium intense nose, & a long length on the finish. Wine features light yeast & toast, strawberry, raspberry, pear, peach, cherry & limestone.  

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: “All the grapes are hand selected and picked from our wine growers and then brought into the cellar quickly to be processed and made into wine. To respect the rich aroma of red fruit of the Pinot noir and Chardonnay the wine is vinified only in steel with selected yeasts and without any aging in oak wood. The wines are aged in steel until February, then processed according to the champagne method with a maturation on the lees in bottle for at least 24 months. Only the Chardonnay basic wines are subjected to malolactic fermentation in order to smooth down the acidity of the Pinot noir and increase the roundness.” (Rotari Winery notes)

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with pasta with olive oil paté, tomatoes & pecorino cheese.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy & Top Pick

Tasted: November 15, 2020

LCBO: 16601

THE GOOD WINE PINOT 2017, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $32.95
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Beamsville Bench, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: The Good Earth Winery
Alcohol:  13.1% Alcohol/Vol.

A simple, tart Pinot that nice to drink with food, just don’t think it’s price right. Score: 86/100

Tasting Note: Light ruby to garnet in colour with high acidity, a low intense nose, soft tannin & a long length on the finish. Wine features Bing & sour cherry, rhubarb, pomegranate, mushrooms & peat moss.  

Negatives: The price

Interesting Point: The Good Earth Winery has a great restaurant, and I’ve never had a bad experience.

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 3-5 years & pair it with the Winery’s Bistro’s Duck Confit: Jerusalem Artichoke & Celeriac Mash, Fried Brussels Sprouts, Chilies, Pickled Butternut Squash, White Wine Jus.

My Opinion: On the Fence

Tasted: November 14, 2020

TARLANT BRUT RESERVE CHAMPAGNE NV, France


Cost: $47.70
Grape: 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Meunier
Category: Champagne
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: France
Region: Oeuilly, Champagne
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Tarlant
Alcohol:  12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

In honour of Joe Biden’s victory & the next President of the United States of America, I present to you this very dry, crisp & elegant Champagne. Score: 92/100

Tasting Note: Gold in colour with good acidity, a low intense nose & a long length on the finish. Wine features toasted bread, brioche, sourdough, lemon, tangerine, baked apple, Anjou pear, hazelnut, ginger & Champagne mushrooms.     

Negatives: None

Interesting Point:

Pairings: Drink this now or in the next 10+ years on its own or pair it with Shiny Sea oysters.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: November 8, 2020

LCBO: 325167