Newsletter #275 - All I Want for Christmas

08 Dec 2016


Newsletter #275 

December 8, 2016


  • WineReview: All I Want for Christmas

  • Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch: New & Noteworthy Wines

  • Weekly Wine Video Series:  A Recap of The Latest Videos

  • Ontario Wine UpdatesRe-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

  • Grape Guy Events:  Make The Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

WineReview:  All I Want for Christmas

I got to see more stuff this year and while much of it is still gadgets that are pure kitsch that will sit in your kitchen cupboard or drawer and take up space, there are a few things I can recommend that will be useful to the wine lover on your list; granted it is a short list, because I feel I’ve seen it all and discounted many of the gizmos that people ‘ooo’ and ‘ahh’ over, because I know they are just time wasters and wine enjoyment killers … so if you’re still looking for the great gifts to give or get here’s my take:

Maynard’s Port Encyclopedia ($54.95 - #464917) … Port can be some of the best wine in the world, perfect with a cigar, stinky cheese or just as an after dinner drink, but it is also one of the most confusing and misunderstood wine in the world; well now Maynard’s is making it easy on you. Packaged to look like a book but with a surprise inside, once you open the front cover: 6 test tubes for you to sample from.  This gorgeous gift set is for the Port-lover in all of us (and yes it is there, you just have to find it) but also for those that want to help give the bug to others who may not be as fortunate to have bitten by it yet. This is one way to teach others why Port is so revered and so captivating to so many.  With the 6 tasting samples inside (60ml each, with screwcap closure) and a description about each, Maynard’s Port Encyclopedia makes it easy, fun and tasty to find your Port and help you fall in love with one of the world’s great wines.

Lucaris Crystal Stemware … So I paired up with Cuisivin this year, they now sponsor my Ontario wine review video series, and I got a tour of their showroom which contains some of the newest lines of crystal stemware – over the past few years I have been a Schott Zwiesel man exclusively, mainly because of its durability, but then I got a look at the Lucaris Tokyo Temptation line out of Thailand and started recommending these to butter-fingered friends and family (these glasses are perfect for my Toronto-based brother and Michigan-based niece) … I swear you could hammer nails in with this stuff, but it also looks great in the process and helps the wine taste like it should, and they come in a variety of different sizes and shapes.  My understanding is they have titanium in their crystal blend too (probably a little more than the Schott Zwiesel stem) – you can see a brief (:19) demo video here – and I’ve actually seen them do this in person – incredible.

Zalto Stemware … Look, it’s not always about durability, sometimes it’s about delicacy and looks and impressing those around you – I don’t throw those kinds of dinner parties, but if you do then the go to “wow” glass is Zalto – yes they too sponsor a video (International Wines) but I am very careful and selective about who I partner with and recommend. These glasses are light as a feather and feel like they’ll snap in your hand if you were to put them between two fingers – but they look amazing, feel great in the hand and it’s hard to argue with the way they make a table sing when it’s set with them; if you are look for the visual ooo and ahh factor these glasses definitely give you that.

SaVino and Vino-Pour … so I think I’ve made one of these names up (the second), but once again touring through the Cuisivin showroom two things stood out to me that would be useful to the wine-lover. As you may have heard on the podcast (found here) Andre and I spoke about gadgets and gizmos to make your life easier and better when dealing with wines. My podcast partner hates doo-dads, but I like them when they add to the wine experience and don’t take up room in drawers. SaVino is a decanter of sorts, and while it may not be as pretty as some it does help to preserve wine better than any other decanter I have seen. It looks like a thermos, but works with a floating top that sits on top of the wine and seals when stood upright keeping air out … and what’s really more important, saving great, unfinished leftover wine for the next day or looking good trying to do it? (I trust that is a rhetorical question to all of you).  

Finally you’ll want to look into a “Vino-Pour” – I know there are plenty of ways to decant your wine: glass decanter, hand-held devises etc, but the one I like, and actually use, attaches to the top of the bottle and looks like a little tube with a small aeration devise built in, thus freeing up your other hand to stabilize the glass, plus you can try the wine from bottle and “decanted” to see which way you like the wine best without pouring the whole bottle into a glass decanter and dirtying up another vessel … it really is all about your convenience.

May you all drink great wine this holiday season.


Grape Guy’s Picks of the Bunch:  New & Noteworthy Wines

Arterra (by Jackson-Triggs) 2015 Chardonnay - $29.95 (W)
In contrast to the Pinot Noir, which uses the appassimento method, the Chardonnay is all fresh, and it shows. Fruit comes from the old Le Clos Jordanne’s Claystone vineyard (though I am assured this is not a replacement for the now defunct Le Clos brand), is reduced in sulfites during its making and dials back new oak usage to a minimum. The result is a fruit forward Chardonnay on both the nose:  apple, pear and butter aromas; and palate, which follows up the smells with white fruit and buttery notes on the creamy palate before acidity swings in to refresh.  Price: $29.95 – Rating: ****

Domaine Queylus 2013 Pinot Noir, Le Grande Reserve - $60.00 (W)
Queylus, a predominantly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay house, whose winemaking is looked after by Thomas Bachelder and Kelly Mason, has crafted a premium Pinot Noir here with layers of rich fruit and spice on the palate: raspberry, cherry and cranberry meld well with floral and spice, plus floral aromas and delicate smoked-meat nuances on the finish.  Price: $60.00 – Rating: ****

Malivoire 2015 Rosé, Vivant - $21.95 (W)
I’m a little late to this third incarnation of Malivoire Rosé, this is 100% Pinot Noir (clone 115) done in a fruit forward style with lemon and lime that showcases acidity and dry over anything else, think Provence with an Ontario-twist.  Had I tried this one earlier in the summer it surely would have made my top 5 of this year – as it is I have had to re-jigger my list in my own mind.  Price: $21.95 – Rating: ****

Marynissen 2014 Cabernet Franc - $18.00 (W)
There’s no reason why Marynissen shouldn’t be making delicious Cabernet Franc every single year, especially with the fruit they have growing in their vineyard – this 2014 version came as a real surprise to me though – it has a fruit forward nature that accosts the olfactories and palate: raspberry, cherry, strawberry backed by tobacco and graphite; it’s a smooth and silky Franc that’s elegant, tasty and worth some drink now time you might have over the holidays.  Price: $18.00 – Rating: ****

Rosehall Run 2012 Pinot Noir, JCR Rosehall Vineyard - $39.00 (W)
Dan Sullivan seems to get better with his grapes every year – symbiotic comes to mind, as he gets the best out of them and they from him … Here we get intense floral (violets) on the nose with cherry and a mineral-stoniness; the palate seems to follow right along and adds cranberry and white pepper into the mix for added complexity. Another winner from Dan, his grapes and Rosehall Run.  Price: $39.00 – Rating: ****

Stratus 2013 Gamay - $29.00 (W)
It’s another ballsy Gamay from Stratus, coming in at 13.9% alcohol – but it’s surprisingly light in the mouth with lots of cherry and a touch of spicy/peppery nuances that spread their way from mid-to-back palate and onto the finish.  This is a really fruity number without being over the top - it’s got a juicy core but with some real bite to the finish, keeping everything in check. Not sure how JL Groux (winemaker) does it, but I for one am glad he does.  Price: $29.00 – Rating: ****

Availability legend:  W (Winery) – L (LCBO/Vintages) –  OL (On-Line)

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 Get FREE the Grape Guy Events App - Plus there are plenty of prizes to be won

The Weekly Wine Video Series: A Recap of the Latest Videos

The Weekly Wine Videos
Every week I'll introduce you to another fabulous wine that you've just gotta try – Check out the YouTube Channel Now

Weekly Ontario Wine Videos

Video #196 - Foreign Affair 2013 Apologetic Red (Niagara)
Video #197 - Malivoire 2015 Viognier (Niagara)
Video #198 - Pillitteri 2012 Commendatore (Niagara)
Video #199 - Cave Spring 2012 Cabernet Franc, Estate (Lake Erie North Shore)


International Wines Series ... 

Esser 2013 Merlot (California)
Havens Winery 2014 Chardonnay (California)
Sandhill 2014 Gamay Noir, Estate (British Columbia)

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Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds

Taste it Again / Lost & Found (blog):  the two blogs have merged
(Find out what happened to some favourites and to those that never were tasted) 
Taste it Again:  Couple of Chards Plus
Taste it Again:  Pondview 2010 Cabernet Franc
Lost & Found:   Mainly Lost and Found Ontario Whites

From the Cellar (blog)
When it’s not an Ontario wine, here’s what I’m pulling out of the cellar
New Posts Added


PODCAST:  Two Guys Talking Wine
Join me and my co-host Andre Proulx as we discuss all things wine, and sometimes we're not afraid to go off topic
Episode 24 - Talkin' with Cyril Brun of Charles Heidsieck
Episode 25 - Talkin' Gadgets and Gizmos A-Plenty


Vintages Release (blog)
December 10, 2016 - Available Now
November 26, 2016 - Available Now

 GRAPE GUY EVENTS Spotlight:  Make the Most of Your Trip to Wine Country

Grape Guy Events, highlights from the APP - points to be had:

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OntarioWineReview’s bi-weekly newsletter is devoted to the love, enjoyment and promotion of the wines of Ontario and the wineries that make them.

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