June was a banner month for wine discoveries! (Okay…it seems every month is a banner month…) I would love to hear what you think of my picks. If you decide to try them leave a comment below and tell me what you think!
Our group of 12 avid wine-tasters enjoyed a warm summer patio dinner with 5 flights of wine pairings.
We started with a number of appetizers including Spicy Pumpkin Seeds and Shrimp on potato chips served with a ‘Champagne’ flight. The preferred sparkling was Graham Beck’s Brut Rose 2010. LCBO #4080 $21.95
“Lively, exciting bead. Ripe raspberries mingle with toasty characters on the nose. Rich, full, creamy mousse. Some bakery notes and more berry fruit. Good acidity. Long finish. Score – Silver Outstanding. (International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2015)”
The winner accompanying the seafood soup course and one of the stand outs of the entire evening was White Haven Pinot Gris 2014. LCBO 447516 $19.95 ( Based on this tasting experience I will be exploring Pinot Gris wines this summer!)
‘This is a pinot gris in what’s sometimes called an ‘Alsatian style.’ It’s full of ripe-sweet flavour, perceptibly sweet but essentially dry, and it has a gorgeous round texture with some viscosity. At the same time, the acid comes through clearly, moderating the intensity of the fruit and contributing some juiciness to the wine. It’s really quite delicious and drinking beautifully now. I suggest drinking within the next year or so. Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars. (Rod Phillips, rodphillipsonwine.com, May 24, 2016)’
The sausage appetizer course was paired with 2 Pinot Noirs. The preferred wine was Elephant Hill Pinot Noir 2013 from New Zealand. LCBO 309583 $24.95
‘Elephant Hill is based in Hawkes Bay on the North Island but has gone to the warmer Tarras (Bendigo) and Alexandra sub-regions of Central Otago for this bright, fruit-driven young 2013 pinot. Expect lifted juicy, floral cherry/blackberry fruit aromas, with gentle oak and thyme. It’s mid-weight, firm and fresh with some minerality on the finish. Quite tight and tannic as are many 2013s at the moment. Not as beefy as some Otago pinots from this area. Score – 90. (David Lawrason, ‘winealign.com, April 28, 2015)’
The other Pinot Noir deserves an honorable mention for it’s overall value. Familia Garces Silva BoYa Pinot Noir LCBO 444711at $14.95 packs a clean, lively, cherry punch. It was actually preferred by a couple of people in the group (okay me…and 1 other!) This may be my house wine for the summer!
The beef tenderloin course (which included the Vegetable Strudel as a side dish) was accompanied by 2 flights of 3 wines. The preferred wine of the first flight was Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2013. LCBO 50849 @ $19.95.
‘Bright, fresh and fruity malbec with hints of chocolate and walnuts. Medium to full body, crisp acidity and a clean finish. Super silky with polished tannins. Delicious, drinkable style. Score – 93. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, June 2, 2015)’
The preferred wine of the second flight was also another stand out of the evening. Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 LCBO 135202 @ $19.95 is another one worth stocking up on.
‘Blueberry, mineral and lavender aromas follow through to a full body with fine and polished tannins and a long, beautiful finish. Extremely well-crafted cabernet from here, showing finesse and structure. Better than 2012. Drink or hold. Score – 95. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, June 2, 2015)’
And – another take away from this tasting is… Kaiken Ultra products seem to be amazing value. I will be exploring other Kaiken products for sure!
There are still plenty of these wines available in Ontario at the time of this posting. You can check availability using the LCBO product search. Just enter the product name of the LCBO # from above along with your postal code and it will tell you what stores have how many in stock and how far away they are from you.