Newsletter #279 - Have You Been Watching This

17 May 2017

 Newsletter #279 

May 18, 2017


  • WineReview: Have You Been Watching This

  • 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

WineReview:  Have You Been Watching This

I told you to watch this case – maybe you did and maybe you didn’t, but now you’re gonna have to pay attention because it is going to the Supreme Court of the land, and if it goes the way the other parts of this case have gone, things will be forever changed in this great (soon to be greater) land of ours.

Hopefully you remember the story of Gerard Comeau of Tracadie, New Brunswick, a man who went shopping for beer and booze and Quebec and wound up being the poster boy for the ‘Free Our Alcohol’ movement in Canada.  As the story goes Comeau was caught in a sting operation crossing back from Quebec into New Brunswick with his 14 cases of beer and 3 bottles of liquor – let’s remove any insinuation that Gerard may have a drinking problem and look at the big picture: This is the first case to challenge our antiquated cross-border liquor laws (Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act) that stops regular Canadians from purchasing wine within their own country from different provinces.

Years ago I spoke with Ian Blue, who acted as part of Comeau defense team, and the only thing stopping him at that time from taking his argument to court was “standing” – he had none himself, so required someone in the wine industry or with an actual “beef” to step forward; at that time he attempted to talk wineries into joining the fight, but sadly most were too afraid to go against their respective liquor boards on the off chance they lose and get blacklisted from selling in one of their only major distribution channels.

Now Ian’s research is finally seeing the light of day, all thanks to Comeau and the stupidity of the New Brunswick police, who should be simultaneously commended, by every citizen of Canada, and reprimanded, by every liquor board in the land.

So please, keep your eye on this case – it will substantially change the way you buy booze in this country, and if you think that is just hyperbole I invite you to read, once more (or for the first time) my interview with Ian Blue:

And check out the CBC report from May 4:

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

Creekside 2014 Syrah, Iconoclast - $24.95 (W, L)
This is a real teat for you Ontario Syrah fans because this 2014 edition is exactly where you would expect a cool climate Syrah to be. Made using declassified “Broken Press” fruit it delivers hints of smokiness along with raspberry, black cherry and floral- and it all results in a pretty concentrated wine once it hits the mid-palate and settles in on the finish.  Price: $24.95 – Rating: ****

Featherstone 2015 Cuvee Joy Rose Sparkling - $29.95 (W, L)
Featherstone farms 1 acre of Pinot Noir on their property and it all goes into this sparkling – the 2015 is their second version of this pink bubble and while the 2014 was good (and at times controversial – it did not drink well for its first few months), the ’15 is better … still just 12 months on lees, made in the traditional method (in the very bottle you by it in) and with a limited production of just 119 cases. The aromas are strawberry, cherry and rhubarb, while the palate has got a lovely acidity that hints at lemon and green apple with essence of strawberry on te delicate and long finish.  Price: $29.95 – Rating: ****

iCellars 2014 Arinna - $39.00 (W)
iCellars is a 60 acre property (17 planted) in Niagara-on-the-Lake planted mainly to red varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Malbec and some Chardonnay (just for a little colour change) – vines went into the ground in 2010.  Arinna is there big red (for now) made up of 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and only 1% Cabernet Franc with one-third new oak backing it up (80% French / 20% American) for 12 months. For a 2014 wein Adnan (owner and winemaker) has done a bang up job coaxing raspberry, black cherry and smoky tobacco out of the fruit with full ripe tannins to match the wine he had created.  Price: $39.00 – Rating: ****

Trius 2014 Cabernet Franc, Red Shale Showcase - $45.00 (W)
This is a perennial favourite amongst Cabernet Franc fans, it is part of Trius’ showcase line and it really does just that: showcasing the vintage through the lens of the bottle and the wine that has been created.  This year seems to be a bit silkier on the palate than previous outings, thus making the wine more approachable sooner. Earthy, smoky and savoury elements seem to be what guides the aromas plus blackberry and cassis with a tobacco-like seam that runs right down the middle.  Price: $45.00 – Rating: ****

Trius 2014 Pinot Noir, Clark Farm - $36.00 (W)
Trius is trying to change your opinion of Pinot Noir, their Pinot Noir to be exact – and if you’re like most, that opinion is practically non-existent … so they have a bit of a climb on their hands.  This single vineyard offering is a good start on the road away from Pinot-obscurity: 60% wild ferment, 12 months in French oak (25% new) and three weeks on its skins has triggered a fruit forward wine of strawberry, black cherry, earth and smoke with nice spice, good acidity and firm tannins structure.  Now let’s see how it will age, I say 5+ years will do nicely.  Price: $36.00 – Rating: ****+

Two Sisters 2013 Cabernet Franc - $48.00 (W)
A lot has been said (not sure about written) about the pricing of the wines at Two Sisters … they are getting the reputation of being a very pricy producer, but they are also getting noted for making some pretty damn good wines – thanks greatly to their talented winemaker, Adam Pearce … this 2013 started off beautifully on the nose with lots of tobacco leaf and cigar box which follows onto the palate and adds black raspberry and cassis fruit into the mix. There’s also some woodsy notes within, which is not surprising when you consider the wine spent 24 months in oak (15% new) – I’m impressed that in such a cool vintage the winemaker was able to coax great flavours and practically ridding the wine of so much of the savoury elements that can affect a cooler vintage wine; and what’s more there’s some real elegance here and textbook character without showing too much of the “greenness” that can also be a problem in these types of vintages.  Price: $48.00 – Rating: ****+

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

Wine Meme of the Month ...

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 #223 - Creekside 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Niagara)
Video #222 - Honsberger 2014 Cabernet Franc (Niagara)
Video #221 - Creekside 2014 Pinot Noir, Queenston Road Vineyard (Niagara)
Video #220 - Cave Spring 2013 Cabernet Franc, Estate (Niagara)


National & International Wines Series ... 

Emmolo 2013 Napa Valley Merlot (California)
Kendall-Jackson 2014 Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay (California)
Moon Curser 2013 Malbec, Contraband Series (British Columbia)
La Crema 2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (California)
Messias 2005 Colheita Port (Portugal)

Subscribe to the YouTube channel by clicking here

Ontario Wine Updates Re-Tastes and Other Interesting Finds


Taste it Again / Lost & Found: ACWC Night 2 (Ontario / Argentina)


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 ... NOW WEEKLY
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 40: Talkin' to Allan Jackson (Ontario Legacy #5)
Episode 39: Talkin' Wrong Wine for the Icon
Episode 38: Talkin' Italy
Episode 37: Talkin' About Sickness


Vintages Release (blog)
May 13, 2017 - See it Here

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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