Ruffino Chianti DOCG 2012

April 10th, 2014 Chuck Posted in Chianti, Italy | No Comments »

I was pleasantly surprised by this entry level chianti from the large producer Ruffino.
Overall this is a good value chianti for the price and availability. 13.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste raspberry,vanilla,cherry
Smell strawberry,black cherry,sweet oak
Food italian, cheese
Sweetness extra dry
Price $14.95
LCBO# 1743
Score 3.5




PKNT Carmenere 2010

February 14th, 2014 Chuck Posted in Carmenere, Chile | No Comments »

Wow there is a stock photo of a chili pepper on the bottle, I better by this for someone I know who likes spicy foods!
Editor’s note: that is a horrible idea
Could someone explain to me why the label says “contains eggs”?
At a Glance
Taste spicy, dark fruit, vanilla
Smell blueberry, vanilla, oak
Food tex-mex
Sweetness dry
Price $10.95
LCBO# 191858
Score 2




Sandbanks Estate Riesling 2010

January 3rd, 2014 Chuck Posted in Canada, Riesling | 2 Comments »

Simply a very drinkable crowd pleasing riesling
11.8% Alcohol/Vol
Tip: Chill Well
At a Glance
Taste floral, citrus, mineral
Smell mineral, lemon zest, floral
Food fish
Sweetness off dry
Price $14.95
LCBO# 139022
Score 4




Mill Street Barley Wine 2013

December 12th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Barley, Canada | No Comments »

Well is this beer or wine or something else altogether? My Answer: something else. My final thought: Glad I tried it but not worth the price of admission for the non-adventurous.
It’s made from barley and not grapes so really it’s more beer than wine. It’s very lightly carbonated and has few traces of hops besides early bittering hops (guessing noble hops). However this beer weighs in at 11.5% so you better sip it like a wine…or else you’re gonna lose the night.
Tip: Be a gentleman (gentlewoman?) and serve it in a chilled wine glass. You’ll get about two 8oz pours.
At a Glance
Taste tobacco, earth, oak
Smell leather, caramel, sweet orange
Food aperitif or digestif
Sweetness medium sweet
Price $13.95
LCBO# 70359
Score 2




Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2012

November 8th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Italy, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo | No Comments »

A swing and a miss by the winery of my house wine. With no depth in the nose or on the palate, this wine is very mundane.
It’s one of the cheapest reds in the LCBO, so there is that. 12.5%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste red berry,vanilla,plum
Smell pomegranate,vanilla,oak
Food italian, pizza
Sweetness off dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 621912
Score 2




Ravine Vineyard Redcoat 2007

September 25th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Canada, Red Blend | No Comments »

With a medium body this 2007 red blend is very bright and has some nice acidity lighten it even further.
Alcohol Content: 12.4%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste red fruit, earth, oak
Smell licorice, red fruit, vanilla
Food pepper steak
Sweetness dry
Price $17.95
LCBO# 260406
Score 4




Pillitteri Cabernet Merlot 2010

September 2nd, 2013 Chuck Posted in Canada, Red Blend | No Comments »

45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dark plum, vanilla, cassis
Smell dark plum, black cherry, vanilla
Food pizza, pasta, beef
Sweetness dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 349191
Score 4
pil_cab_merlot.jpg




J.J. McWilliams Cabernet Merlot 2011

July 12th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Australia, Red Blend | No Comments »

Pickup a few bottles of this well rounded value red wine. It was easy drinking and turned out to be a crowd pleaser.
Alcohol Content: 13%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste pomegranate, oak. blueberry
Smell blackberry, cherry, spice
Food pizza
Sweetness dry
Price $10.45
LCBO# 621599
Score 4




McWilliams Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

May 16th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon | No Comments »

Overall a decent weekday wine. Not a lot of structure or depth but worth picking up a bottle if you’re looking for a different general list cabernet sauvignon priced around 15 bucks.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste strawberry, raspberry, spice
Smell blueberry, oak, dark cherry
Food sandwiches
Sweetness dry
Price $15.00
LCBO# 214577
Score 3




Barefoot Merlot

April 11th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Merlot, USA | No Comments »

I’ve had better bottles from Barefoot. This one is a pretty simple medium bodied off dry weekday merlot. Give their Shiraz a go.
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste cherry, vanilla, chocolate
Smell dark berry, cherry, raspberry
Food bbq lunch
Sweetness off dry
Price $9.95
LCBO# 53991
Score 2.5




Inniskillin Unoaked Chardonnay 2009

March 19th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Canada, Chardonnay | No Comments »

I found this wine to not be as vibrant as the label claims. Felt it was heavy and flat.
Chill very well
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste apple, pear, floral
Smell peach, apple, mineral
Food seafood
Sweetness dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 66266
Score 2




J.J. McWilliams Cabernet Merlot 2010

February 26th, 2013 Chuck Posted in Red Blend, USA | No Comments »

For the value, I could see this making the weekday night rotation here and there.
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste vanilla, plum, oak
Smell plum, vanilla, cherry
Food sandwiches
Sweetness dry
Price $10.95
LCBO# 621599
Score 3




Howling Moon Zinfandel 2009

January 8th, 2013 Chuck Posted in USA, Zinfandel | No Comments »

Vintages Release Date: Nov 24, 2012
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dark cherry, oak, vanilla
Smell blackberry, cherry, spice
Food beef, asiago
Sweetness dry
Price $18.95
LCBO# 57356
Score 4.5




Red Rock Malbec Reserve 2010

December 16th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Malbec, USA | No Comments »

While typically not a fan of malbecs, this one is quite good. I liked the fruit forward characteristics of it - which aren’t seen in malbecs from places like South America, making this bottle…very…Californian.
I disagree with the LCBO’s sweetness descriptor of Extra Dry. Dry it is, Extra it is not.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste mulberry, oak, cherry
Smell mulberry, currant, oak
Food beef, asiago
Sweetness dry
Price $16.95
LCBO# 284315
Score 4




Barefoot Shiraz

December 8th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Shiraz, USA | 3 Comments »

Barefoot could very well be leading the way on value wines nowadays (Yellow Tail fans…take note)
Having a value shiraz on hand that’s also a crowd pleaser is always handy.
Pickup a few bottles since they are currently under $10 in Ontario.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dark berry jam, spice, vanilla oak
Smell blackberry, jammy, spice
Food french onion soup
Sweetness off dry
Price $9.95
LCBO# 54015
Score 4




Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2010

October 6th, 2012 Chuck Posted in USA, Zinfandel | No Comments »

This wine has a great profile however while drinking it I found it lacks mouthfeel and depth. Both key aspects this California Zinfandel lover craves.
I will say Dancing Bull is a good value if you are just getting into zins. (Expect to pay an extra 5 to 6 dollars to get the depth).
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste spice, raspberry, oak
Smell blueberry, cherry, oak
Food anything grilled, asiago
Sweetness dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 669499
Score 2.5




Poderi Angelini Primitivo Di Manduria 2008

September 20th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Italy, Primitivo | 1 Comment »

Easily the best Primitivo we’ve reviewed on this site. Extra dry, firm tannins and plenty of depth makes this a great match for fans of Italian reds and Italian food.
Special thanks to Nurse Nancy for the bottle! It was enjoyed with family and Sunday lunch.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste ripe strawberry, oak, light vanilla
Smell mulberry, dark cherry, light oak
Food italian
Sweetness extra dry
Price $17.95
LCBO# 268136
Score 4




Fontana Di Papa Castelli Romani 2010

September 14th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Italy, Red Blend | No Comments »

Well, this wine isn’t giving me much to work with, but that’s because it’s your very basic Italian D.O.C. table wine. One of the least expensive reds I’ve seen at the LCBO, not because all their wines are great, it’s because the prices are beyond terrible in Ontario and not much better country wide.
Made From: Cesanese, Sangiovese, Merlot, Montepulciano (unsure of the percentages). 12.0% Alcohol/Vol
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste medium berry, dried fruit, vanilla
Smell cherry, light fruit
Food grilled meat, mild cheddar
Sweetness extra dry
Price $7.45
LCBO# 219634
Score 2.5




Bear Flag Red Blend

September 3rd, 2012 Chuck Posted in Red Blend, USA | No Comments »

As stated on the label it’s a very smooth and fruit forward red blend with soft tannins. A blend comprised of: Tempranillo, Touriga, Zinfandel, and Alicante.
Liked it more after decanting. The artwork is interesting but personally I don’t like having to hunt for information on the bottle. Even once found it was hard to read against the background.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dried cherries, blackberry, vanilla
Smell dried cherries, blackberry, vanilla
Food bbq
Sweetness off dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 226514
Score 3




McWilliam’s Chardonnay 2009

August 25th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Australia, Chardonnay | No Comments »

If you’re a chardonnay fan and like them on the dry side, this bottle will suit your style.
Finish on day of opening
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste citrus, oak
Smell lemon, floral
Food fish
Sweetness extra dry
Price $13.95
LCBO# 557934
Score 2.5




Apothic Red 2010

August 18th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Red Blend, USA | No Comments »

The label says “Winemaker’s Blend” and they weren’t joking! This wine is made using Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Overall I believe the amount of blending in this bottle muted much of the contributor’s individuality.
In a blind tasting I would guess it’s just a Syrah/Merlot blend.
Tip: tasted better the next day, so try decanting after opening
At a Glance
Taste vanilla, dark fruit, mocha
Smell plum, vanilla
Food cheddar cheese
Sweetness off dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 234369
Score 3




Make Your Own Hard Cider

August 18th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Special Features | No Comments »

In a nutshell: making decent homemade hard cider is very possible!!!

Here’s the story:

When going to restaurants and pubs, I occasionally find myself ordering hard cider. BlackThorn and Strongbow are personal favourites as I find Perrys too mild for my tastes.

It doesn’t take a wine connoisseur’s palette to quickly realize that Hard Cider is 99.9999% apple juice (or fresh pressed sweet apple cider)

Me being the guy who can’t leave well enough alone, I decide to make some and share the experience with everyone here … good or bad result.

First begin by sanitizing everything that will come into contact with the juice. I used boiling water but you can also use a home brewing sanitizer.

Begin with 1 gallon of Preservative Free sweet apple cider or juice. The only additive allowed here is ascorbic acid (vitamin c). I used 70% cider and topped off with canned apple juice.

cider-cans.jpg

Read the rest of this entry »





Barefoot Moscato

August 8th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Moscato, USA | No Comments »

Thankfully this wine is only 8.5% because after my first sip on this hot summer day I accidentally downed the 10oz glass. Of course I poured myself another so I could help our readers with their weekend wine shopping. In a nutshell: buy a few bottles, open them when it’s hot out and enjoy a sweet wine for a change!
2010 gold medal at the ultimate wine challenge - usa
Tip: think of this as a baby ice wine, but a fraction of the price and 2x the volume
At a Glance
Taste honeydew, tangerine, citrus
Smell lemon, pineapple, floral
Food flan, dessert, fruit
Sweetness extra sweet
Price $9.95
LCBO# 234351
Score 4.5




35 South Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2009

July 15th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile | No Comments »

A big, fruit forward, juicy cabernet sauvignon from Chile isn’t something I’ve had in years. They had a good run in 2007-2008 but it’s been an uphill battle ever since. Was pleasantly surprised with this bottle.
A strong red weighing in at 14.0 %
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste rasin, cassis, oak
Smell rasin, dark berry, oak
Food cheese, red meat
Sweetness dry
Price $12.95
LCBO# 170019
Score 4




Sandbanks Selection Baco Noir 2010

June 8th, 2012 Chuck Posted in Baco Noir, Canada | No Comments »

Deep, rich, flavourful and fruit forward. VQA from Prince Edward County.
LCBO number below reflects the 2009 vintage, review is for 2010
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, leather, vanilla
Smell blackberry, chocolate, vanilla
Food pizza, bbq
Sweetness dry
Price $19.95
LCBO# 211318
Score 4