PONDVIEW BELLA TERRA CHARDONNAY 2016, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $29.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Pondview Estates
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A nicely balanced, oak inspired Chard

Positives: Medium+ body wine featuring lemon rind, pineapple, golden apples, peach, pear, roasted almonds and oak spice.

Negatives: Has a touch of lemon white pith causing a slight bitterness, which caused my to downgrade this wine from highly recommended to recommended.

Interesting Point: I like the old style label

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 of years on its own or pair it with steamed lobster and drawn butter.

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: January 25, 2019

13th STREET WINERY MERITAGE 2016, VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada


Cost: $34.95
Grape: 53% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Creek Shores, Niagara Region, Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: 13th Street Winery
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A quality, complex & expressive Canadian Meritage that’s rare to see considering it’s less than 3 yrs old and under $35

Positives: Full body wine with dry tannin features dark cherry, plum, blackberry, black currants, turmeric, pencil shavings, leather, rosemary, sage, anise, tobacco leaves, arugula, cinnamon and cloves.

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 of years on its own or pair it with medium rare rib-eye steak.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Top Pick

Tasted: January 18, 2019

GLEN CARLOU CHARDONNAY 2014, Paarl, South Africa


Cost: $22.49
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: Tortuga Wines & Fine Spirits
Country: South Africa
Region: Paarl
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Glen Carlou
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

A smooth, balanced Chard with good acidity, tropical fruit & oak well integrated

Positives: Full body wine featuring lemon, green and red apples, pineapples, mango, peach, pear, oak spice and Easter lily on the nose.

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Winery is certified integrity & sustainability

Ageability: Drink now or over the next couple of years on its own or pair it with Chilean seabass with charred cherry tomato, aqua pazza, cannellini beans and green olive butter.

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 7, 2019

RAVENTOS i BLANC ROSÉ BRUT 2014, Conca Del Riu Anoia, Spain


Cost: $37.50 US
Grape: Xarel-lo, Macabeu, Parellada, Monastrell
Category: Sparkling Wine
Location: The Tasting Room & Wine Cellar
Country: Spain
Region: Conca Del Riu Anoia
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Raventós i Blanc
Alcohol: 12% Alcohol/Vol.

A very dry rosé Cava that is on the higher price range

Positives: Wine has a light salmon colour with a fine mousse and features raspberry, kiwi, white peach, pear, tangerine and rose petals on the nose.

Negatives: Price

Interesting Point: Winegrowers since 1497

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 of years on its own or pair it with spicy cheese omelette.

My Opinion: On the Fence

Tasted: January 12, 2019

CHAMPAGNE LE MESNIL BLANC DE BLANCS GRAND CRU BRUT NV, AOC Côtes des Blanc, Champagne, France


Cost: $75.00 US
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: Champagne Wine
Location: The Tasting Room & Wine Cellar
Country: France
Region: Côtes des Blanc, Champagne
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Le Mesnil
Alcohol: 12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Classic expression of Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Positives: Rich, crisp and yeasty Champagne featuring a fine mousse, buttered brioche, green and yellow apples, lemon rind, cucumber and limestone

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: – 90% 2014 harvest, 5% 2013 harvest, 5% 2010 harvest

-Bottled in April 2015, minimum 3 years aged in cellar

-Disgorged in 2018 as Brut with sugar dosage 9 g/l)

-100% of vineyards of Le Mesnil sur Oger are ranked as Grand Cru

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 10-15 of years on its own or pair it with crispy fried calamari.

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: January 12, 2019

SKYFALL MERLOT 2015, Columbia Valley, Washington State, United States


Cost: $24.97 US
Grape: 88% Merlot, 7% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Category: Red Wine
Location: Tortuga Fine Wine & Spirits
Country: United States of America
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Skyfall Vineyard
Alcohol: 13.9% Alcohol/Vol.

Verging on the sweeter commercial side

Positives: This wine features kirsch, plum, blueberry, vanilla and cocoa powder with light tannins.

Negatives: Slight sweet

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 2-5 of years on its own or pair it with dark chocolate

My Opinion: On the Fence

Tasted: January 11, 2019

MUD HOUSE PINOT NOIR 2015, Central Otago, New Zealand


14671

Cost: $27.49
Grape: Pinot Noir
Category: Red Wine
Location: Tortuga Fine Wines & Spirits, Cayman Islands
Country: New Zealand
Region: Central Otago
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Mud House Winery
Alcohol: 13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Beautiful nose, as expected from a Central Otago Pinot, but falls short on the taste, so sad!

Positives: Wine features cherry cola, cranberry, black olives, dark chocolate, cedar and vanilla

Negatives: None

Interesting Point: Chill to 15C

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

My Opinion: On the Fence

Tasted: January 9, 2019

QUINTA DA AVELEDA VINHO VERDE 2016, DOC Vinho Verde, Portugal


Cost: $12.45
Grape: 70% Loureiro, 30% Alvarinho
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO
Country: Portugal
Region: Vinho Verde
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Quinta Da Aveleda
Alcohol: 14.3% Alcohol/Vol.

A refreshing wine that’s crisp and light in body

Positives: Granny Smith apple, gooseberry, passion fruit, honeydew melon and limestone.

Negatives: None

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 3-4 of years on its own or pair it with red snapper ceviche

My Opinion: Recommended

Best Buy

Tasted: January 8, 2019

LCBO: 89995

STAGS’ LEAP WINERY CHARDONNAY 2016, Napa Valley, California, United States


Cost: $39.95
Grape: Chardonnay
Category: White Wine
Location: LCBO Vintages
Country: United States of America
Region: Napa Valley, California
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Stags’ Leap Winery
Alcohol: 14.3% Alcohol/Vol.

A rich Chard full of expression

Positives: Full body wine featuring lemon, guava, gooseberry, pineapple, crème brûlée, white peach, green & red apples, oak spice, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves.

Negatives: Slight heat from the 14.3% alcohol

Interesting Point: Don’t over chill this wine as it will mute its features.

Ageability: Drink now or over the next 5-7 of years on its own or pair it with slow cooked butter chicken.

My Opinion: Recommended

Tasted: January 7, 2019

LCBO: 655831

VIENI BRIGANTI RED 2013, VQA Ontario, Canada


Cost: $12.95
Grape: 50% Foch, 25% Baco Noir, 25% Chambourcin
Category: Red Wine
Location: Winery
Country: Canada
Region: Ontario
Format: 750 mL
Producer: Vieni
Alcohol: 12.5% Alcohol/Vol.

3 classic Canadian grapes blended very nicely

Description: Medium ruby in colour with a medium to medium+ intense nose. This wine features smoked pine, strawberry, cherry, blueberry, bramble fruit, cloves, cinnamon and Portobello mushrooms. Medium body with light tannin, good acidity and a good length.

Negatives: None

Interesting Note: Tried an open bottle that was 3 days old, and still very good with more of a musty – smoky notes

Use the balloon Pinot Noir style glassware & slightly chill the wine.

Brigantia was the goddess of the largest Celtic tribe in the north of England – the Brigantii. They constantly challenged Roman rule, and armed conflict frequently erupted when the confines of Pax Romana became unbearable. This defiance of convention echoes through the ages and the name “brigand” still describes one who plays outside the rules.

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

Tasted: 21 July 2017

Best Buy

Score: 9/10, Value: 9+/10 Total: 18+/20

Out of 5 stars, I rated this wine: 4+

My Opinion: Highly Recommended

LCBO: 435792