Cupcake Black Forest

LCBO#: 470088
Price: $14.95
Made in: Livermore, California, US
By: Cupcake Vineyards
Year: 2014

This blended red wine from California starts off with a nice rich aroma of cherries, blackberries among other darker fruits. The label has some class, but a little too busy, and too many different fonts. We keep on going down from there, but not so low. Some good sweetness from the fruits, but the finish is quick and not like written on back label – “long and complex”. Decent dryness but wish the finish was more. Too bad, as was looking good at first.

Rating: 3.4/5

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Apothic Inferno

LCBO#: 485623
Price: $17.95
Made in: California, US
By: E. & J. Gallo Winery

The latest twist in the Apothic wines is being aged in whiskey barrels for 60 days. The aromas are quite sweet because of this. Full red grapes, some leather, syrups and a little burnt wood. The taste is pretty watery with grapes and cherries. The middle is quite mild, with some light maple notes in the finish. Some dryness, bitterness gets stronger in the mouthfeel helping a bit. Still, not as good as the Apothic Dark. Looks like this one was quite limited, as cannot find on LCBO site a few months after reviewing.

Rating: 3.3/5

Smoky Bay 

found at IGA and Metro stores
Price: $11.89 (1L)
Made in: Australia
By: Smoky Bay

This Australian red wine has a sweet nose from the cherries, plums, with hints of leather, and some alcohol dryness. The taste is sweet as well with all the dark fruits, but watered-down. Decent light dryness in the mouthfeel. Slightly tarty in the finish. For a real cheap wine, that seems to be a blend, it is not too bad. Not a great one though.

Rating: 2.9/5

Château Belgrave Haut-Médoc Grand Cru Classé 2012

SAQ#: 12940294
Price: $53.50
Made in: Gironde, France
By: Château Belgrave
Year: 2012

Not sure how we got this, as we do not do wines this expensive. We do reviews of wines easier on the wallet, for “monsieur, madame tout le monde”. Nonetheless, nice classy-looking label and cork. Sweet aromas of dark fruits, mostly plums. Hints of pipe tobacco and light spices. The mouthfeel is kind of weak with very mild tannins. The taste is pretty mild as well with some watery cherry juices and earth notes. Not sure if the purchaser got a good deal or what, as this does not seem a wine of this price. Much better out there for a fraction of the price.

Rating: 3.2/5

Trapiche Pure Malbec 

LCBO#: 370924
Price: $15.95
Made in: Argentina
By: Penaflor/Trapiche
Year: 2016

A 100% Malbec Argentinian wine that seems pretty light at first, but shows balls after breathing. Sour cherry aromas with the grapes and hints of leather. The mouthfeel is pretty thin, but a nice soft dryness in the finish helps. Light vanilla, caramel does come out in the nose, which makes the smell quite beautiful with time. The weak spot is the taste, not in a bad way, but just mild. Great with food.

Rating: 3.4/5

Beringer Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

LCBO#: 534263
Price: $18.05
Made in: California, USA
By: Beringer Vineyards
Year: 2015

A Californian Cabernet Sauvignon with sweet aromas of blackberries, plum, sugars and hints of vanilla. The flavours are on the sweet side as well, but not syrupy. More on the wet side with not much of a finish. With food though, the dryness comes out. Even some tannins. Nice cherries as well. Not bad for those who prefer the sweeter red wines that are easy to drink. Missing some punchiness for a Cabernet Sauvignon. And the tobacco and leather.

Rating: 3.2/5

Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Châteauneuf-du-Pape

LCBO#: 957266
Price: $67.75
Made in: Rhône, France
By: Vignobles Jerome Quiot
Year: 2007

This French wine came in a nice wooden box with some safety packaging hay inside. Pours a purple red colour and the aromas are a beautiful bouquet of fruits (plums, cherries, and other berries). Also notes of leather, caramel and tobacco. The taste has some nice sharp bite of bitterness with all of the fruits and the smokey leaf. Decent tannins and dryness in the finish. Some yeasty tart lingers leaving a mild nutty flavour. Quite a nice red wine that has loads of fruity notes and tobacco.

Rating: 4.3/5