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Tag Archives: red

@CupcakeVineyards ’ Cabernet Sauvignon (2010) $14.95 LCBO

*** A Saturday Night Wine Girl’s FAVORITE ***

As a wine aficionado I enjoy visiting the LCBO. The LCBO is the equivalent of my candy store. As a resident of the Province of Quebec, beer is extremely inexpensive; however wine on the other hand is pretty pricey.

When I walk into my local alcohol commission, due to budget restraints, I can’t really go wild when it comes to tasting wines on the pricier end of the tag.

This is why I go wild at the LCBO – what with Ontario Discovery Series and the opportunity to finally taste different (quality) wines that are adequately priced.

The first bottle I picked up was a Cabernet Sauvignon by Cupcake – a winery based out of California. Californian wines are quite expensive in Quebec. I really don’t have to opportunity to truly appreciate them, because I’ll opt for something from Europe in the same price range before I buy anything from the States.

Cupcake Vineyards' Cabernet Sauvignon - Simply a delight!

Cupcake Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon – Simply a delight!

Cupcake didn’t let me down. Its bottle design in the first thing that caught my eye – its decorative blue tag was a fun detail. The bottle wasn’t the only interesting point to this well bodied red – as soon as I poured the wine into my glass I knew I was in for a treat. It had such a pleasant red colour – a bright ruby red. It released its secrets almost immediately, its subtle scent of berries – I just couldn’t resist and took my first taste. It was such a smooth, unaggressive red – the first taste revealed cherry and blackberries. I find some Cabernets pretty oaky, but not Cupcake – the oak was there, but not overwhelming. Its flavours and smells blended so well together.

I was so sad to have only purchased one bottle of what is now one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons. This wine truly needs to be savoured. There are so many different aspects to be discovered with each sip. I highly recommend Cupcake’s Cab to everyone.

Just writing this has made me want to go out splurge on a bottle tonight!!



Les Jamelles Pinot Noir (SAQ $14.35)

I was introduced to Les Jamelles’ Pinot Noir a few years back by one of my good friends. During a night out for supper at a local bring-your-own-wine (BYOW) joint we stopped by the local alcohol commission to pick up some wine. I’m pretty much up for anything (except Chardonnay) so I let her pick. She mentioned she had a lot of trouble finding this particular wine. After talking to a store associate we managed to get our hands on two bottles – to my friend’s great delight.

I have to say the wine paired very well with our meal at the Italian restaurant we had chosen.

Les Jamelles, as I discovered writing this review, has been bottling wines from the South of France (Languedoc-Roussillon) since 1991. I’ve sampled their Sauvignon Blanc regularly and enjoy it a lot. I find their collection brings together quality French wines at an affordable price. It’s no different with their Pinot Noir.

Les Jamelles' Charming Pinot Noir

Les Jamelles’ Charming Pinot Noir

There’s nothing more seductive to me than a sexy tinted red wine. It’s the perfect ruby colour, a balance between a deep, dark red – bordering a bright red. I really don’t enjoy reds that reds bordering transparent. Having this delightfully coloured liquid swish around it my glass makes me want to taste it immediately, but I don’t. I let the aromas make their way to my nose, slowly discovering what this wine has in store for me. It has a subtle fruity aroma mixed alongside a slightly floral scent. I can finally take a sip of this ruby gem. There is no mistaking this wine is charming. A mix of berries and oak gives this wine the total package. I don’t like my wines aggressive, but there seems to be a balance with Les Jamelles Pinot Noir, it packs a punch but doesn’t knock you out.

It’s definitely a wine that should be savoured to be properly enjoyed. Take your time to get acquainted with what I’m certain will surely become one of your new favourite reds.


Wallaroo Trail (Red) yellow label 1l $11.72 (IGA)

I’m a firm believer that you have to try something first before knocking it.

In the province of Quebec you can purchase wine not only at your local alcohol commission, but also at the supermaket and convenience store. Most of the wines you’ll find there are blends of a bunch of barel bottoms. Technically if you like the wine once, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like it the next time you have it.  Due to this, a lot of people scoff at the idea of purchasing wine at the supermarket or convenience store.

I, on the other hand, am always on the lookout for that hidden rare gem. Plus who doesn,t want to find a great wine at a great price?!

This brings me to my first post about a supermarket wine. Available at most major supermarkets in the province of Quebec, Wallaroo Trail Red (1 litre format) is another go-to wine for my family and I. Plus, it’s not only great in sangrias, but also on its own.

Wallaroo Trail

Wallaroo Trail (Red)

I enjoy Wallaroo Trail red because it’s consistent in taste and colour compared to most other ‘house wines’ you’ll find at the supermarket. I can only recall once when instead of having its dark red colour and bold flavouring – it was a diluted red and had a watery taste – but then, that can happen with expensive wines with ‘corking’.

I know, I know – you’re having trouble believing me. However, it is worth a try.

If Wallaroo Trail’s deep, dark, luscious red colour doesn’t get you – it’s taste most certainly will. Definitely swirl the wine, its aromas will certainly seduce you. Delicate and not overly aggressive its spicy/berry blend will get you immediately. Take another sip and truly let the flavours overtake your palate. It pairs well with a great steak or pasta.

So… are you converted?


Saturday Wine Night – Let’s Get Technical

Getting down to the nitty-gritty – time to start tasting these bad boys.

Tasting Flight is probably what you are going to partake in – normally a tasting of three to eight wines, but the hardcore Sommelier types it can go up to 50 different types of wine!

A Vertical Tasting will reference sampling of a variety of vintages of the same wine distributed by the same winery –> this let’s you discover the differences between these vintages.  

Whereas a Horizontal Tasting will be wines from the same vintage but disributed by different wineries –> this will help you distinguish the differences between winery styles.

Serving temperatures will affect the wine. Lower temps will bring out acidity and tannings while keeping the aroma low-key. Whreas a higher temp will deminish acidity and tannings and increase aroma. Helpful table from Wikipedia

Wine type Examples Temperature (Celsius) Temperature (Fahrenheit)
Light bodied sweet dessert wines Trockenbeerenauslese, Sauternes 6–10°C 43–50°F
White sparkling wines Champagne 6–10°C 43–50°F
Aromatic, light bodied white Riesling, Sauvignon blanc 8–12°C 46–54°F
Red sparkling wines Sparkling Shiraz, some frizzante Lambrusco 10–12°C 50–54°F
Medium bodied whites Chablis, Semillon 10–12°C 50–54°F
Full bodied dessert wines Oloroso Sherry, Madeira 8–12°C 46–54°F
Light bodied red wines Beaujolais, Provence rosé 10–12°C 50–54°F
Full bodied white wines Oaked Chardonnay, Rhone whites 12–16°C 54–61°F
Medium bodied red wines Grand Cru Burgundy, Sangiovese 14–17°C 57–63°F
Full bodied red wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo based wines 15–18°C 59–64°F

The right glassware will help you maximize what the wine your tasting has to tell you. Normally it’s recommended to have a glass with a wider bottom and narrow top –> think of the shape of a tulip or a egg.

Wines should be blind tasted (as mentioned in the Saturday Wine Prep page)

The Five Ss

See: First observing the wine in its glass. Angle the glass over a white surface – is the colour dark or light? Are there different hues to it?

Swirl: In a circular motion swirl the wine in your glass. Are there tannins? Is the wine thick? Does it drip down the inside of the glass?

Sniff: Close your eyes… stick your nose in the glass, inhale deeply. What do you smell? Oak? Sweetness? Vanilla? Fruits? Citrus?

Sip: (the good part) Close your eyes, take a sip, swirl in your mouth – what do you taste? The oak, the grapes? Is it smooth? Does it burn?

Savour: Take a another sip – are the same aromas and flavours prelevant? Are there more?

At which point each of your guests will be able to determine their owns views on the complexity or character; the potential (is better to age or to drink); and its possible anomalies. Or for the rest of us…. your preception of the flavours, of the wine’s aromas and its different characteristics.

Here are some helpful tables & graphs from Wikipedia:

Red grape variety Common sensory descriptors
Cabernet Franc tobacco, green bell pepper, raspberry, freshly mown grass
Cabernet Sauvignon blackcurrants, eucalyptus, chocolate, tobacco
Gamay pomegranate, strawberry,
Grenache smoky, pepper, raspberry
Malbec violet, plums, tart red fruit, earthy minerality
Merlot black cherry, plums, tomato
Mourvèdre thyme, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, violet, blackberry
Nebbiolo leather, tar, stewed prunes, chocolate, liquorice, roses
Norton red fruit, elderberries
Petite Sirah (Durif) earthy, black pepper, dark fruits
Petit Verdot violets (later), pencil shavings
Pinot Noir raspberry, cherry, violets, “farmyard” (with age), truffles
Pinotage bramble fruits
Sangiovese herbs, black cherry, leathery, earthy
Syrah (Shiraz) tobacco, black/white pepper, blackberry, smoke
Tempranillo vanilla, strawberry, tobacco
Teroldego spices, chocolate, red fruits
Zinfandel black cherry, pepper, mixed spices, mint
White grape variety Common sensory descriptors
Albariño lemon, minerals
Breidecker apple, pear
Chardonnay butter, melon, apple, pineapple, vanilla (if oaked, e.g. vinified or aged in new oak aging barrels)
Chenin Blanc wet wool, beeswax, honey, apple, almond
Gewürztraminer rose petals, lychee, spice
Grüner Veltliner green apple, citrus
Marsanne almond, honeysuckle, marzipan
Melon de Bourgogne lime, salt, green apple
Muscato honey, grapes, lime
Palomino honeydew, citrus, raw nuts
Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio) white peach, pear, apricot
Prosecco apple, honey, musk, citrus
Riesling citrus fruits, peach, honey, petrol
Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry, lime, asparagus, cut grass, bell pepper (capsicum), grapefruit, passionfruit, cat pee (tasters’ term for guava)
Sémillon honey, orange, lime
Trebbiano (Ugni Blanc) lime, herbs
Verdicchio apple, minerals, citrus
Vermentino pear, cream, green fruits
Viognier peach, pear, nutmeg, apricot

The Aroma Wheel

A section of the Aroma Wheel invented by Ann C. Noble detailing the fruity aromas that are most commonly encountered in table wines. Used with permission from Ann Noble.

The Aroma Wheel provides a visual graphic of the different categories and aroma components that one can encounter in wine. The terminology used is standardized for use by both professionals and amateur wine tasters. The aroma wheel does not contain terms to describe texture or mouthfeel, however these are listed in the Australian “Mouthfeel Wheel”. A separate Aroma Wheel has also been created for sparkling wine. The wheel breaks down wine aromas into 12 basic categories and then further sub-divided into different aromas that can fall into those main categories.[1]