Coyote's Run Black Paw Vineyard 2007 Cabernet Franc - 88 pts

Coyote's Run Estate Vineyard Black Paw Vineyard 2007 Cabernet Franc (St. David's Bench) Ontario.

Decanted: 1 hr

Cost: $20.00 (Direct from winery)

Tasting Notes: Coyote's Run is a great winery with an awesome personality. The property has an interesting divide where on one side the soils are deep and black and on the other the soils are red (thus the black and red paw wines they are known for). The Black Paw Cab Franc is a bold and beautiful wine with cherry, licorice, and sandelwood on the nose. Cherry continues on the palate with plum and an extensive finish. The wine exhibits tight tannins and mellowed in the glass with time. This could sit for awhile and really shine down the road.
This offering paired perfectly with dark chocolate. These wines have incredible value and the wine club offers great perks for its members. I was lucky enough to try the 2007 members only Merlot and was blown away. If ever in the region check out this winerey as they are here for good! HC

Fielding Estate Winery 2007 Pinot Gris - 84 pts

Fielding Estate Winery 2007 Pinot Gris (Beamsville Bench) Ontario

Decanted: 0 hr

Cost: $18.95 (direct from winery)

Tasting Notes: Fielding makes some exceptional whites for reasonable prices. The Pinot Gris had peach and green apple on the nose. The palate was off-dry and peach fruit with a crisp finish.

Fielding has done an excellent job at marketing their products. As an Ontarian I love cottage country and Fielding seems to have this in mind with their Muskoka Chair label. I enjoyed many a good fielding wine while sitting in a Muskoka chair at my in-laws Ahmic Lake cottage. - HC

La Frenz Winery 2008 Semillon - 86 pts

La Frenz Winery 2008 Semillon (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - BC
Decanted: 0hr

Cost: $18 (Direct from winery)

Date: August 29th, 2009

Tasting Notes: Naramata's La Frenz Winery don't enter a lot of wine competitions, but they did enter this pale, watery-gold coloured Semillon into the All-Canadian Wine Championships and won best-in-class. High praise for a winery better known for its Viognier and Chardonnay.

At only 12.5% alcohol, this crisp, medium-acidity and medium-bodied wine will pair nicely with a hot, sunny deck. However, this wine truly comes into its own when paired with medium-spicy food (think Ginger-Beef and green beans over a hot red or green curry). The nose offers wet stones and citrus notes. On the palate you will taste grapefruit, gooseberries and the Sauvignon Blanc which has been added to round out the flavour profile. Another solid effort by one of BC's top boutique wineries. - LC

DD Leobard Winery NV Tansi - 80pts

DD Leobrad Winery Non-Vintage Tansi (Manitoba Prairies) Canada

Decanted: ohr

Cost: $14 (Private Wine Stores)

Date: August 9th, 2009

Tasting Notes: This is an oddity of a wine from Winnipeg's sole producer; DD Leobard Winery. This semi-sweet wine is made from fermenting the sap tapped from Manitoban Birch trees.

A nose of damp, freshly-cut wood and mild fruit notes precedes a palate of muted tropical fruits and short finish. Where this wine redeems itself is from its surprisingly advantageous pairing with food. The wine came alive when it was matched with spicy Indian samosas. The garam masala spice of the samosa unlocked the wine's chastity belt and made the drinking of it a worthwhile experience. This wine cannot handle the pressure of performing solo, it should only be served with food of a spicy nature. - LC

Jackson-Triggs 2007 SunRock Chardonnay - 88pts

Jackson-Triggs 2007 SunRock Vineyards Chardonnay (Okanagan Valley) Canada

Decanted: 0hr

Cost: $18-reduced (BC Liquor Stores)

Date: August 28th, 2009

Tasting Notes: The release price for this wine is $25.99. However, recently I was able to find it for $18.79 at a BC Liquor Store in downtown Vancouver. At this reduced price this translucent-gold sipper can compete as one of BC's best under-$20 Chardonnays. At the regular price it loses out to some of BC's great boutique Chards like La Frenz or Road 13.

The SunRock vineyard, located on mountain slopes above Osoyoos Lake in southern Okanagan Valley, produces Jackson-Triggs' most critically acclaimed wines. This Chardonnay is a mellow charmer. No big butter-bomb oak explosions in this wine, more subtle tastes of tropical fruits, wet slate and margarine (rather than butter). The nose has a soothing quality, inviting you to enjoy the many layers of pears, mangos and melons. The finish is long and fine. This is a well structured wine that adeptly represents the range of flavours a BC Chardonnay can deliver. - LC

Church & State Church Mouse 2006 Pinot Noir - 84pts

Church & State Wines - Church Mouse 2006 Pinot Noir (Okanagan Valley) - Canada

Decanted: 3 hrs
Cost: $15.90 (VQA Stores)
Date: August 22, 2009

Tasting Notes: This Pinot Noir from Church & States' budget brand needed an amazing 3+ hours of decanting to settle down before the bouquet could truly be appreciated. Aromas of black and red fruits. This wine has a lovely rusty-transparent-red colour, something that I always appreciate in a Pinot Noir. On the palate you can taste cassis and a bit of plum finished with soft tannins. A decent wine for the price, but not one of my favourite under $20 Pinots.
Pair this wine with baked, herb-encrusted poultry and serve slightly chilled after decanting for 3 hours. - LC

Yellow Tail 2007 Reserve Shiraz - 86pts

Yellow Tail 2007 "The Reserve" Shiraz - Australia

Decanted: 1/2 hr

Cost: $17.99 (BC Liquor Stores)

Date: August 19, 2009

Tasting Notes: This was the second wine poured at the Cookworks' Chef's Table event held at their flagship store in Vancouver (Granville & Broadway). Shiraz is a varietal that Yellow Tail do very well and the Reserve offering is no exception. However, at roughly $5 more than its standard-level cousin I would expect a bit more complexity in the glass.
Nevertheless, this easy-drinking and approachable Shiraz offers cracked black pepper and spices on the nose. A deep purple-ruby colour, this dry red is a full-bodied Shiraz with berries and more spice on the palate. Well structured tannins finish the experience that leaves you wanting more but does not offer any intrigue.
This wine paired very well with the lone meat course at the Chef's Table event; Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Enoki Mushrooms and Laughing Cow Cheese. - LC

Yellow Tail 2007 The Reserve Chardonnay - 85pts

Yellow Tail 2007 "The Reserve" Chardonnay - Australia

Decanted: 0 hr

Cost: $17.99 (BC Liquor Stores)
Date: August 19, 2009

Tasting Notes: I tasted this wine at Cookworks' kick-off Chef's Table event that was co-promoted by Yellow Tail, who supplied the wine. Vancouver icon Chef Karen Barnaby supplied the food and instruction throughout the 6 course meal. More on the event on our blog site:

This is a decent Chardonnay for those who love fully French-oaked, smoky, butter-bomb Chards. This wine has an eye-catching, melted-butter colour that complements the butter and creamy palate. Some melon and tropical fruits flavours help make this an easy-drinking, slightly off-dry wine that paired very nicely with two of the courses served at the event: Garlic & Chilies Edamame and Rare Tuna with Pear, Pine Nuts and Chili Oil.

I found the wine a little too balanced, even a bit bland. I think this Chardonnay could use a bit more acidity to help cut the buttery palate, but overall a good effort by Yellow Tail and a noticeably more complex Chard than their standard level offering. - LC

Fielding Estate 2006 Red Conception - 86pts

Fielding Estate Winery 2006 Red Conception (Beamsville Bench – Ontario)

Decanted: 0 hr

Cost: $19.00

Tasting notes: A very nice blended red. The nose is cherry, and caramel. The palate is smooth and tastes of cherry and vanilla with a full mouth feel. The finish was long and enjoyable.

Fielding is a great winery in the Beamsville Bench with exquisite views of vineyards, lake Ontario, and the Toronto skyline on the horizon. The whites were exceptional at this winery and reasonably priced. This red was one of their standouts and at $19 could be on the regular rotation. While there was not really an Icon Investment Grade wine in the flight, Fielding had a great list of quality wines and the staff at the winery were extremely nice. Definitely worth visiting. This wine was tasted twice at the Ahmic Lake cottage, both times with family and good friends. Once on the beach by itself while looking over the lake and the second time paired with apple pie and ice cream. Both pairings were great. - HC

Pilliterri Gewurztaminer - Riesling 2007 - 81pts

Pilliterri 2007 Gewurztraminer - Riesling (Niagara-On-The-Lake – Ontario).

Decanted: 0 hr

Cost: $13.00 (LCBO Liqour Store)

Tasting notes: A reasonable priced and decent white. The nose is leechee and pear. The palate is fruit forward and sweet. The finish is nectarine.

The winery was enjoyable and the tour was informative. Pillitterri has been an institution in the Niagara wine region and they are known for their ice wines. I enjoyed this wine with family at the cottage. We had just spent three days doing wine tours, family reunions, and other family functions. It was time for some relaxation. We paired this nicely with schnitzel while watching the sunset over the lake. The clouds in the sky were fluffy, the water calm and leaves russelling. The Great Lake Swimmers were playing in the background. What an awesome start to the vacation. 82 pts.

Thornhaven 2006 Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir - 87 pts

Thornhaven 2006 Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir (Okanagan Valley) Canada

Date: August 11th, 2009

Decanted: 1 hr

Cost: $17.90 (VQA Stores)

Tasting Notes: One of the best Pinot Noir bargains (under $20) that BC has to offer. Beautiful pinot colour: slightly rustic-red and transparent. Lovely aroma of white pepper and forest floor. On the palate this light-bodied pinot offers spices, more pepper and red fruit. The tannins are mild and the finish is elegant. A very nice wine for the price.

I paired this wine with an old favourite indie-rock band of mine; The Poster Children. An old-school pinot sipper with old-school alt-rockers. - LC

Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2007 Chardonnay - 87pts

Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2007 Chardonnay - (South Australia) Australia

Decanted: 0 hrs

Cost: $16.99 (BC Liquor Stores)

Tasting Notes: Enjoyed this wine on a trip to Winnipeg at a wine bar in the financial center of downtown. This oaked Chardonnay has a nice aroma or tropical fruits: melon and kiwi. On the palate you can taste mango and kiwi.

The dry wine has a nice long finish as you would hope to get from a chardonnay but in my humble opinion is slightly too acidic. A fine sipper nonetheless. - LC

Francis Ford Coppola 2007 Pinot Noir - 88 pts

Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Series 2007 Silver Label Pinot Noir (Montery County) USA

Decanted: 1/2 hrs

Cost: $27-30 (Private Liquor Stores)

Tasting Notes: Lovers of new world Pinot Noir should not rush out to purchase this wine as the ultimate representation of what can be accomplished with this hardest of grapes to produce. However, for the price it is a fine Pinot Noir that will pair nicely with light game, mild fruits and can be enjoyed on its own.

This light ruby/purple wine has a nose of sweet berries and plums. On the pallet this easy-drinking pinot offers fine white pepper, more berry flavours and subtle tannis. This is a very approachable pinot that could be used to introduce non-pinot drinkers to this wondrous grape; winemaker Corey Beck should be proud. - LC