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.

Two Guys Talking Wine : Two Thumbs Up - October 2020 (the write up)

15 Oct 2020


This was to be a bi-monthly feature on Two Guys Talking Wine, but CoVid seems to have buggered up our plans ... but it's back: "Two Thumbs Up", an homage to film reviewers Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, where we simplify the wine reviewing process to a couple of thumbs, or in some cases just one single thumb up, as a way of scoring wines ... you can listen to the accompanying podcast here - or read the notes below (trust me they are different):

The Old Tun 2019 Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc - $12.00/ 375ml ... on-line
André - 👍 ...  unfiltered and with lees - I wouldn’t call this conventional in any way shape or form - but sauvignon blanc with bubbles just isn’t something you normally see in the province. This delivered nice tropical notes and a slight bitterness on the finish - a perfect fish and chips wine.
Michael - 👎 … Andre I think you are making excuses for a funky wine here, I don’t want things floating in my Savvy B, I want crisp, clean and refreshing - this one does not deliver - and that “bitterness on the finish” of which you speak, you’re just being kind.

Kacaba 2019 Reserve Riesling - $20.15 ... at the winery and on-line
M - 👍 … this one has some of what I want and a shockingly subtle acidity: some pear sweetness, apple, tropical notes and peach and the long finish is based on that sweetness not the acidity.
A - 👎 ... there isn’t anything wrong with this wine - but from the cool 2019 vintage I was expecting to be clobbered with more acid on the finish. I’m on the line, but have to shift down because it just falls short of what I was hoping for.

The Old Tun Cider - $7.00 / 375ml ... on-line
A - 👍 ... this is a bone dry cider with honeyed notes - a little bit of honey was added to the cider adding a floral complexity. The apple notes are bruised and the finish is clean. Definitely sessionable.
M - 👍 … love this style of cider, dry to the bone. It’s a hard one to really get behind until you’ve had a few sips, and get the apple notes on the finish,but once you do you’re sold. Beauty.

Studio Gamay 2019 Chere Ella - $22.75 ... at Palatine Hills
A - 👍 ... Full disclosure: I helped new virtual winery owner Vladimir Skok design the labels on his inaugural wines called Studio Gamay. Another welcome addition to the Ontario landscape of high quality gamay. If you love the lighter side of this grape this easily stands shoulder to shoulder with village quality Beaujolais.
M - 👍 … not sure it’s the label that really sold me, sure it’s colourful but did nothing for me, the wine inside on the other hand was right up my alley. Delicate, cherry, sweet cranberry, white pepper and very satisfying. If this is the inaugural vintage I am looking forward to more.

Flat Rock 2017 Gravity Pinot Noir - $34.95 ... sold out at winery, coming to LCBO
M - 👍 … Holy Moly Ollie, or should I say Andre, this one kicks ass, pure Pinot Noir from nose to palate and it over delivers; this is the best Gravity Pinot I have tasted in a long time.
A - 👍 ... A very enthusiastic thumbs up. The aromas climb out of the glass with unbridled intensity and it hits all the right notes for pinot from Ontario - OH and if that’s not enough coming in under forty dollars we’re looking at great value too.

Fogolar 2018 Cabernet Franc - $22.20 ... on-line
M - 👍 … this is not what I want in my Franc anymore, but it certainly shows the vintage it is taken from, 2018 being cooler and it shows the savoury side of the grape with its bell pepper, raspberry and tobacco. It brings me back to Ontario old school Franc.
A - 👎 - I know that 2018 was a cooler vintage but I was expecting a bit more. There are nice red pepper jelly notes mingled with cranberry and raspberry on the nose but the texture was a little thinner than I was hoping.

Henry of Pelham 2019 Baco Noir, Bin 106 ‘Lost Boys Limited Edition’ - $29.95 ... at the winery
A - 👍 ... I don’t expect to see off-dry red wines in my cellar often but the masters of Baco Henry of Pelham have delivered something balanced, juicy, and tasty. Red fruit pops thanks to a hint of R/S (10 g/l) mated with heavy vanilla notes and nice acidity.
M - 👎 … I get the plum, vanilla, and black cherry and yes it is juicy, and I even get the comparison that Baco gets to Zinfandel from California … but ... but ... but ... this one is not the good kind of Zin from California, it’s the overly sweet kind and those I do not like.


Ontario Wine Reviews: 44 more Wines from 20 Wineries - Fall 2020 (Part 2)

02 Oct 2020

Not all reviews make the newsletter, there's just so many good wines and not enough space ... so every three to six months (or so) I clear out the backlog of wines ... here are the reviews that were written but until now have never seen the light of day. 

This time there were 80+ wines to review so I broke them down into two sections - this is PART 2

(click on the wine name to link to the full review)


Lake Erie North Shore

No wines in this part


Niagara Escarpment

Kacaba 2019 Riesling Reserve Kacaba
Kacaba 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Susan’s - Summer Series
Leaning Post 2018 Chardonnay, Senchuk Vineyard
Magnotta 2018 Cabernet Franc Icewine, Limited Edition
Magnotta 2019 Pinot Noir Venture series
Malivoire NV Che Bello
Malivoire 2018 Chardonnay Estate Grown

Organized Crime 2018 Pipe Down
Organized Crime Organized Crime 2019 Mischief
 Organized Crime 2019 Pinot Gris
Organized Crime 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Ridgepoint NV Bellissima
Ridgepoint 2019 White Cab



Niagara College NV Sparkling Brut Riesling
Niagara College 2017 Viognier, Balance NCT Winery
Niagara College 2018 Syrah, Dean’s List
Niagara College 2018 Tom Thomson White Canoe
Niagara College 2019 Muscat, Balance

Pondview Pondview 2016 Cabernet Franc Bella Terra
Pondview 2017 Fume Blanc Bella Terra
Queenston Mile 2016 Blanc de Noirs


  Prince Edward County

Lighthall Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay, Ramirez Vineyard Lighthall
Lighthall Vineyards 2018 Pinot Noir
Lighthall Vineyards 2019 Pinot Gris
Redtail Vineyard 2018 Fume Gris
Redtail Vineyard 2019 Pinot Noir – Fieldhand

Sandbanks NV Merlot / Petit Verdot – Route 33
Sandbanks NV Pinot Grigio
Terra Estate Sandbanks NV Riesling, Beach
Sandbanks NV Riesling / Pinot Grigio – Route 33
Terra Estate 2019 Frontenac Novello
Terra Estate 2019 Refosco
Traynor NV Pet Nat


Other Regions & Virtual Wineries

Meldville 2018 Chardonnay, Barrel Select Meldville
Meldville 2019 Riesling, 1st Edition
Meldville 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, 5th Edition
Nyarai Cellars 2019 Folklore
Saintly 2019 Gold, The Good Sparkling

Speck Brothers NV Lazzara, Bianco Secco
Speck Brothers 2017 Family Tree White
Therianthropy Speck Brothers 2018 Cabernet Merlot, Family Tree – The Padre
Speck Brothers 2019 Baco Noir, Family Tree – The Bootlegger
Therianthropy 2019 Chardonnay, Bonnie Vivant
Windrush 2017 Pinot Grigio Vintner’s Reserve



(See Part 1 - click here)


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