On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

A Quick Look at Spirits 2023

20 Nov 2023

I’ve stated before that spirits ain’t my thing – but I do like learning about them – and tasting them. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. I find flavoured things appeal to me more than the straight stuff … although I have a newfound love for Irish Whisky. Below is a list of other spirits I have tasted – and instead of stars, I rate them out of three shot glasses.


Bombay Bramble (Blackberry & Raspberry Gin)
$35.95 – England – #19388
This is a layered Gin with a juniper-raspberry start a little violet and sherry note on the mid-palate with some blackberry on the linger. Not sure what to use it for, but I'm sure somebody will come up with something.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)

Bombay Sapphire London Dry GinBombay
$34.95 / 750ml – England - #316844 (comes in a variety of sizes)
Look this is one soft and almost “chuggable”; lovely floral notes and really clean drinking. There's a reason why this Gin is in everybody's liquor cabinet.  2 ½ shots (out of 3)
Georgian Bay Gin
$35.95 – Canada – #448597
Total juniper nose with clove and cinnamon on the palate. “I like it,” said one of the Gin fanatics I tasted this with, warm and lingering with a lemon zest finish.  2 shots (out of 3)

Guy Lafleur Gin
$29.95 - Canada - #22887
Tons of cedar and juniper notes. This is a mixing Gin for the Montreal Canadien fan in your life; but this is more Pat "Burns" than the smoothness of Lafleur’s skating techniques - there's also quite a spicy linger.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)

Romeo's Gin
$41.95 – Canada – #635466
Lovely orange peel and subtle floral notes. Pleasant with hints of cucumber and spice. Yes, the juniper is there, but it's almost like it's playing a backing role to some of those other notes.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)

GlenlivetSCOTCH …

Aberfeldy 12-Year-Old
$74.95 – Scotland – #255281
Smooth entry, still with a little flair of peat and smoke, but there's also a little bit of peach pit on the finish and that helps prolong the linger and alleviate the “burn”.  2 shots (out of 3)

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve Single Malt Scotch
$74.95 – Scotland - #21309
Say what you want, but I still have not found “my scotch” until now … silky smooth, probably because of the rum barrel addition. Notes of vanilla, golden delicious apple, tropical fruit which included guava and mango skins, and passionfruit – these are just some of the baffling notes I found in this Scotch, and I like it; you should too.  2 ½ shots (out of 3)


Georgian Bay Vodka Georgian Bay
$34.95 – Canada – #446559
A spirits company established in 2013, for vodka this one comes across as almost creamy, easy and smooth. It’s straight drinking vodka – but you can also mix it in your favourite vodka-based drink – if that’s your thing.  2 shots (out of 3)

Grey Goose Vodka
$54.95 / 750ml – France – #95935
What I said about Bombay Gin you can say about Grey Goose:  It's clean. It's clear. It has no aftertaste. It has a great finish. Sure it's fairly non-descript, but that's the whole point of great vodka, it's not supposed get in the way, it’s there to enhance. There’s a reason it’s popular and has won so many awards.  2 shots (out of 3)


1792 Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon
$52.95 – USA - #496729
This hard to get your hands on Bourbnon is named after the date Kentucky joined the union we now call the United States: toffee, smoked vanilla, peach pit all make an appearance with a lasting finish and a smooth burn on the throat. It’s finish is peachy and floral.  2 shots (out of 3)

Angel’s Envy Bourbon - Whiskey
$79.95 – USA – #21465
This is a Kentucky straight bourbon finished in Port wine barrels. Vanilla and smoky, with cinnamon/clove and other spices. It has floral undertones, but it's “awesome” according to many, and I enjoyed it as well, and I’m not one who enjoys the bourbon “burn”, so that is saying something.  2 shots (out of 3)

Georgian Bay Canadian Whisky
$39.95 – Canada –#13909
There's a nice little butterscotch note here with some heat or “burn” as they say; but there's also a nice little spicy vanilla note that sits on the finish and makes it great for straight shootin’.  2 shots (out of 3)

High River Canadian Whisky
$32.95 – Ontario - #481366
On the bottle, there’s a notation about this being recipe no. 9108 and bottled in Kentucky – yet it is a Canadian whisky? That does not stop it from being smooth and silky with notes of vanilla, caramel, and spice with a lovely richness across the tongue. This one’s a “no mixin’ just sippin’” kind of whisky.  2 shots (out of 3)

Magnum Scotch Malt Whisky Cream Liqueur
$40.05 - Scotland – #561720
Coffee and chocolate with a hint of maple butterscotch, creamy and smooth. This is really tasty stuff; The packaging is really cute too; it looks like an old-time metal milk jug - this could give Bailey's a run for its money.  2 shots (out of 3)

SpiceboxSpicebox Canadian Spiced Whisky
$31.95 – Canada – #258954
This multi-layered offering has vanilla and cinnamon, but it's the vanilla that really takes center stage. There's a subtle “burn” on the finish, but this is really simple stuff ... And on the second sip the burn is gone replaced by caramel and vanilla - yum.  2 ½ shots (out of 3)

Wolfhead Cinnamon Whisky
$36.95 – Canada - #29193
This one's got a bit of a weird mid-palate, but there is definitely cinnamon here and it makes it rather interesting, but I’m still confused whether the “burn” comes from the whisky or from the cinnamon.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)


Cabot Trail Maple Cream Cabot Trail
$34.95 – Quebec - #462424
This is one of those cream liqueurs that’ll have you wanting more because it’s totally sweet but … look, imagine if Wether’s candy, maple sugar and butter tarts had a liquid baby. It’s delectable, tasty and maybe a nice addition to your morning coffee, or a bed time hit of something sweet.  2 shots (out of 3)

Niagara College Chocolate Porter Liqueur – (Spirits 101)
$28.50 – Canada – at Niagara College and online
Delicate chocolate flavour mainly on the finish. This would be perfect in a chocolate martini.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)

$35.45 – Canada – #250134
Pure maple sugar taste, with a very subtle lingering “burn”, but it's the maple candy that sticks around well after you've swallowed - silky and smooth.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)

Sortilege Maple Cream
$22.85 – Canada – #352021 … clearance
Maple seems to be all the rage this year and putting it in cream never hurts either. This is smooth and silky. Nice whisky base, but it has maple to spare, which hides the whisky well.  1 ½ shots (out of 3)


Montefalco Rosso - Anteprima Sagrantino

08 Nov 2023


Montefalco the RoomRosso is an exciting category. It is the most approachable wine of the area. The wines are dominated by Sangiovese, Merlot and Sagrantino blends - with the lesser grape being Sangrantino; and no longer mentioned on the label, to elevate Sagrantino and protect it.

Sometimes winemakers stray from the norm and insert such grapes as Montepulciano, Barbera, Refosco or Tannat. The first three on that list are for those purists who want to keep the blend more indigenous, which also makes for a more interesting wine.

Rosso are the wines ready to drink now, while you wait for the Sagrantino to mellow – although a well-made Rosso can still be a ten year lie down. 36 wines were tried, 27 made my list - a 75% success rate, one of the highest ratios of any of the Montefalco tastings, even more impressive, better than a third were rated "better". This is truly a very exciting time for Montefalco Rosso.

Bocale 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Cocco Ilaria 2018 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Camorata ... (Better)
Colpetrone 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Dionigi 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Fattoria Colsanto 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Le Cimate 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Luca di Tomaso 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Moretti Omero 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Tenute Lunelli - Tenuta Castelbuono 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Ziggurat ... (Better)
Terre de' Trinci 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Better)
Valdangius 2018 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Pippinello ... (Better)

Arnaldo Caprai 2021 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Good)
Arnaldo Caprai 2021 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Vigna Flaminia Maremmana ... (Good)
Colle Ciocco 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Good)
Di Filippo 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Good)
Goretti - Fattoria le Mura Saracene 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Good)
La Fonte 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Collefreddo ... (Good)
Montioni 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (Good)
Tenuta Bellafonte 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Pomontino ... (Good)
Tenuta di Saragano 2017 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Saragano ... (Good)
Tenute Baldo 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Volo del Falco ... (Good)

Adanti 2018 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (OK)
Antonelli 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (OK)
Benedetti & Grigi 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Attunis ... (OK)
Romanelli 2019 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Capo de Casa ... (OK)
Scacciadiavoli 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC ... (OK)
Tudernum 2020 Montefalco Rosso DOC - Fidenzio ... (OK)

Rosso Riserva Montefalco

I wish I could say the name for the reserve a category. For the most part, this is an underachieving category full of over-oaked and uninspiring wines. These are wines pulled out of Rosso or Sagrantino production ... They might want to think about losing this category, or creating something more exciting with it ... "Cru" (or single vineyard / field blends) grade wines might be an option.

Tasted 17 of these wines, one received a best of category, the rest. Good-to-okay. There are only seven wines on this list. The lowest ratio of tasted to scored.

Tenuta di Saragano 2017 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC
-- There's some real complexity here that is not all wood derived - the spice and fruit play nicely on the long finish and there is age-ability of 5-10 years ... (Best)

Adanti 2016 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC   ... (Good)
Moretti Omero 2018 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC - Faccia Tosta  ... (Good)
Perticaia 2018 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC   ... (Good)
Tenute Lunelli - Tenuta Castelbuono 2019 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC - Lampante  ... (Good)

Romanelli 2018 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC - Molinetta  ... (OK)
Valdangius 2018 Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC   ... (OK)


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