On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Top Sparkling Wines of 2018 Tasting

02 Oct 2018

 

On September 25, 2018 I attended the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada annual Sparkling Wine Tasting ... below are my findings from the 55 wines tasted / 22 were scored - plus my top sparkling wine from both Canada and Internationally

Top International Sparkling Wine …

Sieur D'Arques Sas NV Grande Cuvee 1531 De Aimery Cremant De Limoux ($18.95 - #428086) – France … ****Aimery


Top Canadian Sparkling Wine …

Featherstone Winery 2013 Cuvee Joy ($34.95 - #310334) – Canada … **** ½


The Other Sparkling Wines that Made the Grade (International) …

Araex NV Villa Conchi ($17.95 - #577148) – Spain … *** ½
Bottega 2017 Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco ($15.00 - #897702) – Italy … *** ½
Freixenet S.A. NV Cordon Negro ($15.00 - #261945) – Spain … *** ½
Sartori NV Prosecco Brut ($14.95 - N/A) – Italy … *** ½
Segura Viudas NV Brut Reserva Cava ($15.95 - #216960) – Spain … *** ½
Trapiche NV Trapiche Extra Brut Sparkling ($13.90 - #262261) – Argentina … *** ½
Villa Sandi NV Prosecco Il Fresco ($15.95 - #394387) – Italy … *** ½
Vina Casal S.A. NV Fresita ($14.95 - #216887) – Chile … *** ½

Pierre Sparr NV Cremant D'Alsace Brut Reserve ($19.95 - #388603) – France … *** ½+
Pierre Sparr NV Cremant D'Alsace Brut Rose ($19.95 - #39016) – France … *** ½+

La Gioiosa NV DOC Treviso Brut ($14.95 - N/A) – Italy … ***+
Wagner Family of Wines 2016 Conundrum Blanc de Blanc ($24.95 - #497735) – USA … ***+


The Other Sparkling Wines that Made the Grade (Ontario) …

click on the wine name for full review

Trius Winery NV Brut ($29.75 - #284539) – Canada … ****+

Château des Charmes 2014 Rosé ($34.95 - #78055 – Canada … ****
Henry of Pelham NV Cuvée Catharine Brut ($29.95 - #217521) – Canada … ****
Trius Winery NV Brut Rosé ($32.75 - #184309) – Canada … ****

Château des Charmes NV Brut Sparkling ($25.95 - #224766) – Canada … *** ½+
Henry of Pelham NV Cuvée Catharine Rosé Brut ($29.95 - #217505) – Canada … *** ½+

Featherstone Winery 2016 Cuvee Joy Rosé ($29.95 - #450700) – Canada … *** ½+
PondView Estate Winery 2017 Lot 74 Sparkling ($24.95 – Winery Only) – Canada … *** ½

 

Tasting at the All Canadians 2018

21 Sep 2018

 

So in June the All Canadian Wine Championships takes place in Prince Edward County; 20+ judges join in to taste some 1200+ wines from across Canada to pass judgement and dole out some awards … During that tasting, which is done blind, I take an excessive amount of notes, especially when I taste a wine I’m enthralled with … below is a list of this year’s winners (in my opinion) from the panels I tasted on and of the wines I tasted … you will notice all are from British Columbia – because the Ontario wines will appear on my website in another format (Newsletter / e-blast / etc.)

Rosé …

What an outstanding category this year, I have not seen and tasted this much delicious Rosé being produced since … probably ever – the Ontario output I have previously made mention of, including Three of Hearts and Pondview (my early 'best of' can be found in this newsletter), but here are some of those British Columbia rosés that really hit the mark:

Arrowleaf Cellars 2017 Rosé ... (*** ½+)
Bottega Wine Studio 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé, Seven Directions ... (*** ½+)
CedarCreek 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé, Platinum Block 1 ... (****)
Corcelettes Estate 2017 Oracle ... (****)
Nk’Mip Cellars 2017 Rosé, Winemakers Series ... (*** ½+)
Whispering Horse 2017 Pinot Gris Rosé ... (****)


Merlot …

Once a mainstay of British Columbia wines it now seems to be taking a backseat to sexier varieties like Syrah – but hold the phone, BC still makes some beautiful Merlot and here are a few I can use to back that statement up:

Black Sage Vineyard 2015 Merlot ... (****)
Blasted Church 2015 Merlot ... (****+)
Cassini Cellars 2014 Merlot, Nobilus ... (*** ½+)
CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Merlot, Small Lot ... (*** ½+)
CedarCreek 2015 Merlot Estate ... (****)
Corcelettes Estate 2015 Merlot ... (****)
Deep Roots 2016 Merlot ... (*** ½+)
Dirty Laundry 2015 Merlot ... (*** ½+)
Jackson-Triggs Okanagan 2015 Merlot, Grand Reserve ... (****)
Kraze Legs 2014 Merlot, Skaha Vineyard ... (*** ½+)
Mission Hill 2015 Merlot Reserve ... (****)
River Stone 2015 Merlot ... (****)
Wild Goose 2016 Merlot ... (****+)


Viognier …

Is it still polite to call Viognier an up-and-coming grape variety even though both Ontario and British Columbia have been playing around with the grape from some time now? The good news is it seems to have made a splash here in Canada and while not widely planted and used, both provinces have been making interesting wines from it … here’s hoping more jump on the bandwagon:

Back Door Winery 2016 Viognier ... (*** ½)
BC Wine Studio 2016 Viognier, Siren’s Call ... (*** ½+)
Blasted Church 2017 Viognier ... (****)
Desert Hills 2017 Viognier ... (*** ½)
Indigenous World Winery 2016 Viognier ... (*** ½)
Kismet Estate 2017 Viognier ... (*** ½)
Lang Vineyards 2017 Viognier ... (*** ½+)
Moraine Estate 2017 Viognier ... (***+)
Time Winery 2017 Viognier ... (****)
Volcanic Hills 2016 Viognier ... (*** ½+)


Syrah …

From what I’ve tasted Syrah has a very bright future in British Columbia, something that no one was thinking a decade ago, but with so many good versions being made in the province it can now be said quite firmly and with conviction – I tasted a grand total of 20 and most could have made this list, I pared it down to a top 6:

Black Sage Vineyard 2015 Shiraz ... (****)
Deep Roots 2016 Syrah ... (****)
Kismet Estate 2016 Syrah ... (****)
Moon Curser 2016 Syrah ... (**** ½)
Orofino Winery 2016 Syrah, Scout Vineyard ... (****)
See Ya Later Ranch 2015 Rover ... (****)


Bordeaux Blends …

Long a staple of any emerging wine region – the art of the blend is both a necessity in the bad-years and a blessing in the good ones … it’s a way to hide the unripe grapes, and make a good wine better and a better wine great. Getting it right can be difficult but when it’s done right the wines can be magical, bordering on sublime.

Blasted Church 2015 Nothing Sacred ... (*** ½+)
Corcelettes Estate 2015 Meritage ... (****)
Jackson-Triggs 2015 Meritage, Sunrock Vineyard ... (*** ½+)
Nk’mip Cellars 2015 Meritage, Merriym Red ... (*** ½+)
Orofino Winery 2015 Beleza ... (****+)
Ruby Blues 2015 Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon ... (*** ½)
Single Tree Winery 2014 Harness ... (*** ½)
Stag’s Hollow 2015 Meritage, Renaissance ... (*** ½+)
Township 7 Vineyards 2015 Reserve 7 ... (****+)


A Smattering of Other Wines …

Whispering Horse 2017 L’Acadie ... (*** ½+)
Gehringer Bros Estate 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Rock ... (*** ½+)
Privato Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir Grande Reserve ... (*** ½+)

 

And to find out more about the All Canadian Wine Championships click here

 

 

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