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.

Report from : Banfi Tasting 2019 in Toronto

29 May 2019

(May 2019) ... Banfi is a family owned Italian winery that own 850 hectares (within the next three years those holding will rise to above 900, but still below 1000, for now). I have been to a number of Banfi tastings over the years and I Banfi Gavihave learned something new each and every time … this time it was about their bottling: If you see the coat of arms (or crest) on the bottle itself it means that  wine is made from all estate fruit, but that only applies to wines that has the name “Castello Banfi” on the label as well.

But today was all about the wines, as we tasted through eight: 1 white and 7 reds – of which 7 wines were scored with General Manager, Enrico Viglierchio, to guide us through.

(you can see the full reviews by clicking on the links below)

The line-up of wines scored are:

Banfi Best 32018 Principessa Gavia … (*** ½)
2017 Centine … (****)
2015 Cum Laude … (****)
2016 Poggioe alle Mura Rosso … (****+)
2013 Brunello di Montalcino … (***+)
2012 Brunello Riserva, Poggio alle Mura … (**** ½)
2012 Brunello Riserva, Poggio all’Oro … (****+)





Pure Discovery : New Zealand Wine Fair 2019

28 May 2019

(May 2019) … The annual New Zealand Wine Fair came to Toronto in what seemed like a much smaller affair than usual.  23 wineries in attendance, 135 wines on offer … nice to see a number of spotlight tables focusing in on some of the lesser known things New Zealand does so well, like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and aromatic whites.

Below are the wines that scored three stars or above during my tasting … only one wine actually falls into the 3 star camp (average), but the price makes it something that might end up being a gateway for people looking to experiment with New Zealand wines.    

Three PLUS Stars (***+)

Babich 2018 Te Henga Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough ($12.95 – arriving LCBO soon)

Three-and-a-Half Stars (*** ½)

Aronui 2016 Chardonnay, Nelson New Zealand Fair 2019
Churton 2016 Viognier, Marlborough
Imigrant Vineyard 2018 Ruru Pinot Gris, Central Otago
Loveblock 2018 Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough
Luna Estate 2016 Eclipse Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Nobilo 2018 Icon Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Rosé, Hawke’s Bay
Sacred Hill 2018 Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Villa Maria 2018 Reserve Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Villa Maria 2017 Cellar Selection Chardonnay, Marlborough
Whitehaven 2018 Greg Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Whitehaven 2017 Pinot Gris, Marlborough
Whitehaven 2018 Pinot Noir Rosé, Marlborough
Yealands 2017 Gruner Veltline Awatere Valley, Marlborough

Three-and-a-Half PLUS Stars (*** ½+)

Babich 2018 Albarino, Marlborough
Babich 2018 Rosé, Marlborough
Babich 2017 Black Label Pinot Gris, Marlborough
Babich 2017 Black Label Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
Felton Road 2010 Bannockburn Pinot Noir, Central Otago
Immigrant Vineyard 2016 Ruru Pinot Noir Alexandra, Central Otago
Loveblock 2018 Pinot Noir Bendigo, Central Otago
Luna Estate 2017 Eclipse Chardonnay, Martinborough
Luna Estate 2016 Blue Rock Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinborough
Nautilus Estate 2015 Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Nobilo 2017 Icon Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Sacred Hill 2018 Reserve Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
Te Awanga Estate 2017 Syrah, Hawke’s Bay
Vidal 2017 Reserve Pinot Gris, Marlborough
Whitehaven 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

Four Stars (****)

Auntsfield 2016 Single Vineyard Chardonnay, Marlborough
Babich 2016 Winemaker’s Reserve Merlot, Hawke’s Bay
Craggy Range 2017 Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
Esk Valley 2014 Winemakers Reserve Syrah, Hawke’s Bay (see write up)
Felton Road 2010 Chardonnay Bannockburn, Central Otago
Nautilus Estate 2015 Cuvee Brut, Marlborough
Whitehaven 2015 Pinot Noir, Marlborough


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