Mav Wine and Spirit Awards – 2010

By / Magazine / February 2nd, 2011 / 1

For the 4th consecutive year, Tidings’ tasting team has been hard at work sampling as many wines and spirits from around the world as possible in an effort to bring you a list of the best of the best. Each year, Tidings hands out the Mav Wine and Spirit Awards to those that best demonstrate each winemaker’s goals and visions. The wines and spirits below exemplify what each winery is all about. Now it’s your turn. Sit back and enjoy this year’s selection. The tasters were Gurvinder Bhatia, Tony Aspler, Sean Wood, Gilles Bois, Evan Saviolidis, Jonathan Smithe and Harry Hertscheg.


92 Closson Chase Chardonnay 2006, Beamsville Bench, Niagara ($44.95)
A fascinatingly complex wine. Straw colour with a high toned, floral, spicy tangerine nose; clean and crisp, more Burgundian in style than Deborah Paskus’ 2005 or 2007; elegant, full on the palate with great length. A triumph. (TA)

88 Cuvée Peter Huff Blanc de Blanc Sparkling 2006, Prince Edward County ($39.95)
This is Prince Edward County’s best sparkler. It spent 3 years on the lees, and the bubbles summon forth apples, citrus, yeast and some nuttiness. The acid is bright and the finish is lengthy. Pair this will PEC pickerel (walleye) in a beurre blanc sauce — it is a match made in heaven! (ES)

88 Road 13 Honest John’s Rosé 2009, Okanagan ($26.99)
Bright and lively with aromas and flavours of strawberries, cranberries, and more strawberries. The palate is refreshingly juicy with a pleasant savoury quality and fresh acidity. Chill it and quaff it. A great patio wine. Think grilled shrimp or chicken or just a big pile of steamed peel-and-eat shrimp. (GB)

90 Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean’s List Meritage Canadian Oak Project 2007, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($39)
The Canadian oak presents lots of torrefaction aromas. Roasted coffee bean and smoke come together with the dark fruits, tobacco, spice and vanilla to create a very pretty wine. It is full-bodied with an extended finish and good tannins. Enjoy it now to 2015. (ES)

89 Sula Vineyards Shiraz 2008, Nashik, India ($14)
It’s happening. India and China are finally getting into the wine game. This easy-drinking, medium-bodied has light punches of black cherry and white pepper on the palate. A not-so-quick finish leaves you wanting more. This wine will wash down your favourite curry very well. (JS)

88 Ktima Pavlidis Thema Red 2007, Drama, Greece ($27.45)
This mid weight combination of Syrah and Agiorgitiko greets the taster with a black cherry colour. Then the aromas of plums, cassis, cocoa, spice and flowers meet up with flavours of vanilla on the palate. Tannins are supple, so drink over the next three years. Serve with beef tartare or duck confit. (ES)

89 Black Hills Nota Bene 2008, Okanagan ($60)
The complex, savoury nose presents cigar box, cedar, red berries and dried herbs. The earth-toned, angular palate brings out red cherry, tobacco and coffee. Finishes with lingering nuances of cassis and liquorice. This 3-Bordeaux-varietal blend will gain complexity with 2 to 5 years cellaring. (HH)

89 Quails’ Gate Totally Botrytis Affected Optima 2008, Okanagan ($30/375ml)
Surprisingly gentle palate after the initial blast on the nose. Complex, riveting aromas of peach, pineapple, tangerine, ginger, honey and sultana raisin give way to flavours of stewed peach and caramelized pineapple, with lingering dried apricot and marzipan. A post-dinner palate cleanser. (HH)

De Angelis Rosso Piceno DOC, 2008, Marche, Italy ($16.99)
This crazy good value of Montepulciano and Sangiovese comes from one of the world’s best-value wine producers in one of the best-value wine producing regions. Fruit driven, fresh and full of character with an intriguing smokiness, plenty of cherry flavours, a savoury meatiness and a refreshing finish. Easy to drink, but far from simple. The Italian press called this a “consumer’s dream” because of its great price-to-quality ratio. They’re right. (GB)


Victoria Gin, Victoria, BC ($50)
Perhaps Canada’s first small-batch premium gin, Victoria Gin has been making waves since its release a couple of years ago at the Fairmont Empress in, where else, Victoria. The gin was only available in BC until its recent introduction to Ontario, and now the distillery has plans to release the spirit across the country. And it’s about time, as “bootlegged” bottles have shown up in Victoria Gin-dry provinces to tempt spirit lovers for the past year. The beauty of this spirit is its complex, yet delicate flavours of juniper, coriander, citrus, liquorice, and other nuances that will appeal to the hard-core gin lover, yet it’s approachable enough for the martini novice. Unique, great quality, and Canadian … this maverick will give Hendrick’s a run for its money as the most unique gin on the market. (GB)

Jost Muscat Grappa 2008, Nova Scotia ($24.95/200 ml)
Made in classic grappa fashion from fresh Muscat grape pomace, this well made spirit showcases the fine aromatic qualities of the Muscat grape. Lovely floral fragrance and fruity intensity opens the way for very purely rendered fruit and pleasant fiery character on the palate. Long, satisfying finish. (SW)

L’Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut Traditional Method 2007, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia ($39.99)
This meticulously crafted sparkler is aged for 30 months on the lees and hand riddled and disgorged in the traditional Champagne manner. Elegant aromatics reveal fine citrus and enticing yeasty warm brioche. Bright citrus fruit on the palate is supported by vibrant acidity, mineral, fine mousse and a delightful creamy texture. Provides compelling evidence for Winemaker Bruce Ewart’s faith in the l’Acadie grape and Nova Scotia terroir. (SW)

Citadelle “Reserve” Gin, France ($40)
The French have done some revolutionary things — especially with gin. First, they made it French. Then they made a version that is aged in aged oak barrels for 7 months. The result is a gin that sports a fairly complex fruity, citrus-laced, juniper/floral bouquet combined with a very smooth, slightly oily texture, herbaceous palate and peppery finish. The wood isn’t so much evident as a flavour component as an element that adds roundness and silkiness to the overall package. (TS)

Albert de Montaubert & Fils 50-Year-Old XO “Gold” Grande Champagne Cognac, France ($315)
Unlike Scotch, Cognac rarely carries a specific age statement. But like Scotch, the “50” in this Cognac refers to the youngest in the blend, some of which date back to 1922. The nose is quite complex with hints of dried apricot and tangerine skin, with vanilla, Asian spices and mild earthy notes. Complex, long and spicy, it displays nuances of caramel, cocoa, fruitcake, cloves and marmalade. Warm and lingering. (TS)

De Montal Bas Armagnac 1971, France ($165/200 ml)
Cognac’s more rustic cousin is often seen in vintage-dated formats. The vintage indicates the year the spirit was distilled, but it doesn’t mean it has soaked in oak barrels up until the time of bottling, as it is generally transferred to glass demi-johns after the appropriate amount of aging has occurred. In any case, this is an exceedingly aromatic brandy with telltale earthiness as well as notes of sweet prune and candied clementine. Dry and intense in the mouth with woody notes, herbal nuances and some bitter orange peel on its long, memorable ending note. (TS)

Prince Edward Potato Vodka, Canada ($44.75)
From Prince Edward Distillery, PEI, comes Canada’s first (and only) potato vodka. What’s really amazing about this is why (considering the abundance of potatoes on the island) it hadn’t been done sooner. Potato vodkas tend to be fuller and more viscous than their grain-based counterparts. Though vodka is supposed to be neutral, this one sports a distinctive hint — odd but not unpleasant — of cedar, sandalwood and pine, reminiscent of a pine forest after a rain. Almost chewy in texture, it is extremely clean, pure and soft with only a mild alcohol bite on the tail end. (TS)

90 Viña Doña Paula Series Alluvia Cabernet Franc 2007, Finca Alluvia Gualtallary, Mendoza ($29.99)
Almost black in the glass and displaying very dark plum, black cherry and a whiff of mineral on the nose. Plum and cherry flavours persist in the mouth with solid tannic grip, a splash of dark chocolate and a spicy rum butter finish. An emphatic, individualistic wine.


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