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WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for OCTOBER 31, 2020

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 31, 2020
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.WineryArt Bodega DeMuerte Blanca Sobre Lias 2019 Yecla Spain $23 www.Majesticwine.ca consignment: this is a bi-varietal wine, a blend of two grapes (here, 80% sauvignon blanc and 20% verdejo). Europe and Latin America have a vast number of bi-varietal wines. Each grape complements the other. Here,the sauvignon is aromatic with citric tones and herbs, while the verdelho is fruity with sweet ripe orchard fruit (peach, apricot). More complexity is given as both wines are aged on their lees ("sobre lias"). Both grape varieties come from vineyards that are over 10-years old. Poultry would be a  suggested food accompaniment. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Albino Armani 1607 Sequal Sauvignon DOC Fruili-Grave 2018 Friuli-Venezia-Giulia $20.95 www.Majesticwine.ca consignment: very intense aromas, fruity from green fruit and herby but with a medium-body and not like Kiwin Savvy. Citric finish, very useful as a first course white wine. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Biscardo Mabis Oropasso Originale Garganega Chardonnay Veneto IGT 2018 $18.95 www.Majesticwine.ca consignment: another bi-varietal, with 60% garganega and 40% chardonnay. Here the garganega appears to have undergone a partial passito (its unctuousness tastes peachy). Or, at the very least, it is Late Harvest in style. Garganega, of course, is the grape behind Soave, and in its passito form, it's also Recioto di Soave, a sweet dessert wine with apricot and bitter almond complexity. So any sweetness here has been muted by the chardonnay's green style. A good food accompaniment would be fish. 13% ABV. Really good quality wine. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Tavernello Pinot Bianco Famoso Rubicone IGT 2018 Emilia-Romagna LCBO +14060 $8.95 and
5.Tavernello Sangiovese Cabernet Rubicone IGT 2018 Emilia-Romagna LCBO +13602 $8.95: here we have entry level bi-varietals (the Argentine Fuzion Shiraz Malbec is a bi-varietal at this same price level). The sour cherry of the sangiovese has been tempered by the fruitiness of the cabernet, much like a SuperTuscan but minus the depth. Food: grilled vegetables or just patio parties. The white bi-varietal is interesting for its inclusion of the aromatic famoso grape, once a "lost" indigenous variety but since reclaimed. It deftly complements the blander pinot bianco. Good quaffing wines. 12% ABV Famoso; 13% ABV Sangiovese. Quality/Price rating is 88 points each by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Paradise Vineyards Joliesse Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 California, +16564, $17 Vintages October 31: another modest cabby from California (mostly Lodi). Good basic black fruit (cassis, black cherry, spices) – but with a medium body detailed by oak tones of vanilla. Long finish, warm tannins. Tasted over a few days. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
R+15763    BON COURAGE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    WO Robertson    2015    $14.95 MVC/QPR: 91
R+913855    SELLA & MOSCA TERRE RARE RISERVA    DOC Carignano del Sulcis    2015    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+16564    JOLIESSE CABERNET SAUVIGNON California 2018    $17.00     MVC/QPR: 90
R+574780    DEMUERTE    DO Yecla    2017    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 90
 
Over $20
=========
W+566026    CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $29.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+924555    KIM CRAWFORD SIGNATURE RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2018    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+326165    ROBERT MONDAVI TO KALON VINEYARD RESERVE FUMÉ BLANC    Napa Valley    2015    $79.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+346304    GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN CHARDONNAY    Napa Valley    2016    $69.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+395855    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2016    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 92
R+353201    RUFFINO RISERVA DUCALE ORO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2015    $49.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+155408    MARCHESI DI BAROLO BARBARESCO DOCG 2016    $39.95     MVC/QPR: 90
R+942508    MASTROJANNI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $82.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+489708    HUFF RESERVE PINOT NOIR    VQA Prince Edward County    2017    $34.95  MVC/QPR:  90

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, October 25, 2020

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS
 
 
3.THE BEST ROTISSERIE CHICKEN COOKBOOK; 100 tasty recipes using a store-bought bird (Robert Rose, 2020, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0658-5 $24.95 CAD paperbound) is by cookbook author Toby Amidor, who is also a dietitian and a recipe developer. Here she gives us nutritional sides for the pre-cooked bird (first developed in 1985). A lot of people buy a rotisserie chicken on their way home (Costco alone sells about 100 million a year); it is half the dinner already prepared. Within a 20-minute walk of my house I can walk into any one of a half-dozen stores and find rotisserie birds. There are preps here for all meals, appetizers, snacks, soups, sandwiches, mains, salads, sides, plus engaging useful sauces, dressings and other condiments. She uses icons for meals that are ready in 15 minutes or less, meals with five ingredients or less, one pot or pan meals, and freezer-friendly meals. There are only two disadvantages to such pre-cooked chicken: the salting on the skin and some fat remains after they are cooked, just under the skin – keeps the bird juicy, but if you are trying to cut back on fat...But if you take most of the skin off, then it works well. Many birds come from sustainable and free-ranging farms, but you have to ask the store. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: harried homemakers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chicken and mushroom baked risotto; garlic parmesan quinoa; ginger dressing; Israeli couscous and mushrooms; root veggie and chicken soup; easy pesto sauce; chicken caprese salad; Cajun chicken melt.
The downside to this book: I wish that there were better FDA descriptors for the providence of poultry, and that there was more emphasis on the salting and the fat.
The upside to this book: one pot preps lead the way.
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
 
 
4.SPICE APOTHECARY; blending and using common spices for everyday health (Storey Publishing, 2020, 169 pages, ISBN 978-1-63586-083-2 $18.95 USD paperbound) is by Bevin Clare, an academic at Maryland University of Integrative Health and a licensed nutritionist. The first 100 pages explores the spice culture of the spice and herb trade, the plant families, how medicinal herbs and spices work and whether it is to be fresh vs. dried, and creating your own spice apothecary (buying, storing, using for various health problems). She's listed 19 of the best, most commonly available herbs and spices: there are hundreds of spices and thousands of blends. Her choices cover barks (cinnamon), roots (ginger), leaves (sage), seeds (mustard), flowers (lavender), fruits (black pepper), and  bulbs (garlic), to name just seven of the nineteen. Everything (in turn) bolsters immunity, healthy joint connections, digestion, and kidney-heart-lung health. Her preps are mostly blends, such as the Everyday on Everything Blend, an all-purpose 9 spice concoction that is basically an anti-inflammatory in support of heart, kidney and respiratory functions. Each blend comes with a few recipes. The blends are prepared in advance by scaling in metric, while the food preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois. There are tables of metric and weight conversions.
Audience and level of use: those cooks interested not only in preparing tasty food but also interested in preparing healthy food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: there are ten blends, titles such as Reminds-Me-Of-Pie Blend (e.g., pumpkin pie spices), Green Goodness Blend, Mint and Chile Blend, Digestive Blend, Cognitive Blend.
The downside to this book: I anted more prep recipes.
The upside to this book: There is a relevant bibliography.
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
 
5.SMOKE, WOOD, FIRE; the advanced guide to smoking meat (Whitecap, 2020, 184 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-326-7 $29.95 CAD paperbound) is by Jeff Phillips, author of "Smoking Meat" and the creator of www.smoking-meat.com (the highest ranked smoking meat website in America). He lives in Tulsa OK, one of the major US BBQ regions. This book is actually "Smoking Meat #2 The Next Level" as it builds on the basics of the first book: as he says, it covers more tools, equipment, smoking supplies, types and brands of smokers, slicers, dehydrators, thermometers, injectors, mops, brushes, gloves and mitts, and types of wood and charcoal... plus more techniques that deal with brining, smoke production, cooking outdoors in cold climates, cooking at high altitudes, curing and temperature control. And with lots of pictures throughout. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: pitmasters
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: there are special tips for augmenting store-bought BBQ sauces, which include items from your exiting pantry such as hot sauces, coffee, coaca, molasses, soda pop, et al.
The downside to this book: it's a book of techniques, so do not expect side dishes or the like.
The upside to this book: there is a good glossary.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
 
6.THE ARTISAN KITCHEN: the science, practice & possibilities (DK 2020, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-9936-3 $30 US hardbound) is by James Strawbridge, a Cornish UK chef and TV host for diverse UK cooking programs. He is also the co-author, with his dad, of "Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century". His Sons of Thunder Agency develops recipes and art-directing for artisan brands. Here he brings into play the use of "mindfulness" in cooking to determine 25 different cooking and preserving processes to cover drinks, dairy, bread, curing, smoking, and outdoor experiences. It's a collaborative process
with notes from a dozen like-minded chefs, artisans, and friends. All are sourced and credited with short bio notes and websites. Typical are patting butter properly, fermentation, cheese making, sourdoughs, salting, bottle conditioning cider, bresaola slicing, charcuterie, and plant-based cooking. Recipes are eclectic – you never know what to expect. For example, the section on outdoor cooking starts with campfire cooking and continues through to making a clay oven, with stops along the way for dirty cooking, grilling, clambake, plank cooking, spit roasting, shawarma kebabs, wood-fired oven, and pizzas. It's also a wonderful book to just pick up and leaf through. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements for the most part, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90
 
 
7.DIABETES MEALS FOR GOOD HEALTH COOKBOOK: complete meal plans & 100 recipes. 3rd ed (Robert Rose, 2008, 2012, 2020, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0654-7, $29.95 CAN soft covers) is by Karen Graham, an RD and diabetes educator in British Columbia, who has been a nutrition counselor for the past 30 years, and by Dr. Mansur Shomali, researcher and educator specializing in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. Some of this book was published in 2010 and 2011. In 2008, Graham had written "Canada's Diabetes Meals for Good Health: Includes Meal Planning Ideas and 100 Recipes". Here, her book has been extensively peer reviewed as she develops a comprehensive guide to living the lifestyle. She covers the risks and complications, top 10 nutrition topics, food choices, blood sugar, exercises, and more. She has an "Eat This/Not That" chart section for food recommendations. She also writes on a seven day meal plan (good for six weeks) with recipes, incorporating fruit crepes, taco soup, luncheon wrap, steak and potato, and seafood chowder among the choices. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
8.DIABETES ESSENTIALS: everyday basics (Robert Rose, 2020, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0631-8 $27.95 CAD softbound) is an oversized paperback created by Karen Graham, RD of British Columbia, and Mansur Shomali, MD, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. It's a book in the series Health & Wellness, basically meant for "new" type 2 diabetics. Every topic has been reduced to lists of ten points for beginning learners: prediabetes, morning blood sugar, stress, lab tests, medical terms, mindful eating, and more. It all begins on pages 12 and 13 with "Diabetes First Ten Days" and leads to strategies of management through nutrition, exercise, and medication. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the recipe section has about ten preps for each of tasty soups, salads, dinners, desserts, snacks, and then meal planning. Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
 
 
9.ESSENTIAL HERBS: treat yourself naturally with herbs and homemade remedies (DK Publishing, 2011, 2020, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-9430-6, $25 USD hard covers) was originally published in 2011 as "Home Herbal". It has been recently updated as a book package produced by the publisher on the theme of making your own health-enhancing herbal remedies with preps developed by professional herbalists plus over 70 recipes for herbal teas, tinctures, smoothies, salads and soups. Most of the material has been assembled by Neal's Yard Remedies of the UK. It is in directory format, with 100 key medicinal herbs: what each herb can treat, how to grow it, how to harvest it, and how to apply it (with
detailed dosage advice). There are photographic demos for making creams, bath soaks, toners, balms, face masks, soaps, and other concoctions in a kitchen. There's a primer on herb basics, a glossary, and some useful websites for North America. This is a nice package, with good photos and indexing, and also with cross-references. Quality/price
rating: 88.

 

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
 
AT THE KITCHEN TABLE: simple low-waste recipes for family & friends (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-199-1 $19.95 USD) is by Megan Davies, a UK food stylist, recipe developer, and food illustrator, who has published widely in the UK. Her book is written for the ecologically- conscious home cook. There's advice on stretching food ingredients, using leftovers as a new meal, brunches, sharing suppers, and side dishes good anytime. All in the effort to reduce carbon footprints. It's the small stuff that adds up, and every kitchen in the world can contribute. The arrangement is by meal, with "dusk or dawn" being the first: here the idea is have food for late at night or for breakfast. Her seven day menu planner takes us through a whole week, and of course it is repeatable. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and mostly metric measurements, but the book could have been improved if it also used metric for teaspoons and tablespoons in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: mindful home cooks
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: baked rosemary and nutmeg nectarines; chilli and chocolate con carne; Asian chicken salad; pork chops with baked chillies and pears;
Indian scrambled eggs with naan or toast; lemon roasted fennel and dill pasta bake; apple and kale salad.
Quality/Price Rating: 91

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SOME NEW WINES TASTED THIS PAST QUARTER --

1.Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir 2019 VQA Ontario, +459966, $19.95 LCBO General List: Same price as the last vintage. Low yielding grapes come from 1984 and later plantings in the Short Hills Bench area. As with their previous baco noirs, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy black currant spicy character and the low price – under $20. Both new and older (one/two year old) US barrels are used for initial aging before transfer to 5000L oak foudres. Total aging: 1 year. It is still needs another two years for proper aging, but with decanting it can be enjoyed now. 13.5% ABV. One of the top baco noirs at the LCBO for under $20. Works best with pronounced meats such as pork/boar, lamb, wild game – all either braised or grilled. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Sartori Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC 120th 2015, +15084, Vintages September  $29.95: this is a limited release, to celebrate the company's 120th anniversary. The mix includes corvina veronese (55%), corvinone (25%), plus croatina and rondinells. It was done up in stainless steel fermentation to which malolactic fermentation was employed. And then the second fermentation of ripasso began on the unpressed skins of the Amarone leftover. It was all aged in medium and large oak casks for 24 months, and then blended with a cuvee selection. Red fruit dominates, especially ripe cherries and a twist of savouriness near the deep, deep finish. Great with red meats and older cheese. 14% ABV. If you're going to spend $39 on a better ripasso valpolicella, then this is the one to get. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Henry of Pelham Riesling Estate 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench, +557165 Vintages, $19.95 Vintages September: intense riesling in a Rhine style of cool fermentation, with very off-dry palate but dry finish (good acid levels on the finish) – broad grapefruit and lemons on the mid-palate, sip (mainly) or food. 9.8% ABV, 19.5 g/L RS, twist top, from HOP's oldest Estate riesling vineyards (planted 1984). Should also age well. Try with fish that live in water but die in wine. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Ferraton Pere & Fils Samorens Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge 2018 AOC +168708, $16.95 Vintages September: a very good bargain wine (it costs a lot more in the USA), especially for its depth and intensity. Very meaty on the approach and full of saturated flavours on the mid-palate. Grenache is the main grape (85%), with syrah (10%) and cinsault (5%). Yet it does not have that papery taste of most French grenache .. it is more like Cannonau di Sardegna. Red fruit dominates. 14.5% ABV. There is also a very aromatic Blanc wine, not yet available in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
5.Toro Centenario Malbec 2019 Mendoza, +12452, $9.60 LCBO: newly arrived with its twist top access. There is only one word needed to describe this wine: plump. It comes from FeCoVitA, one of the largest co-ops in the Argentine (over 5000 winegrowers and producers). In producing a low-cost entry level wine, the co-op got it right with plum, blackberry and black cherry flavours. Nothing fancy, just pure plumpness at 12.5% ABV and a modest sugar level of 7 g/L finishing dry on the palate. Great for today's summery patios. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6..Saintly The Good Sparkling Rose Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, +16767 LCBO, $18.95: an all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patios, terraces, decks, etc. with nuances of strawberries and melons. Grapes include 46% Chardonnay, 46% Cab Franc, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, and 4% Syrah (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest).
Very light-pink in colour, persistent mousse from the cuve close Charmat method. Extended lees contact leads to a creaminess in the body. In three words: fresh, fruity, dry. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
7.Saintly The Good Sparkling [white] Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, Wine Rack only $18.95: another all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patio, terrace, deck, etc. with nuances of orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches) and citric tones. Grapes include 82% Pinot Gris, 15% Muscat, and 3% Chardonnay (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Persistent mousse, Charmat method, extended lees contact – all contribute to a creamy style. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 10g g/L residual sugar makes it "dry to off- dry". 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
8..Campbell Kind Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Marlborough, $22.99 consignment through selectwines.ca: Steve Campbell, of www.campbellkindwines.com, has the world's first international range of sustainable, carbon zero wines. International wineries and winemakers craft environmentally-friendly wines for their retail partners. Campbell Kind Wine currently has several varieties of wines in play, which include Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Syrah and Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Tempranillo blend from Ribera del Duero, Montepulciano blend from Abruzzo, and IgT Rosso Veronese from Verona, and others. I sampled the savvy: made by Steve Smith, New Zealand's first MW, of Smith and Sheth among the Marlborough riverbeds. It's a dynamic wine made from some 30-year old vines, with a medium-body and lower levels of MVC (Modal Varietal Character), especially tropicality and orchard fruit, but with more minerality and citric lemon tones, leading to a higher crisp finish. It's ideal with fried foods. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, October 9, 2020

TASTING OF WINES REPRESENTED BY THE AGENCY WWW. MAJESTICWINE.CA

1.WineryArt Bodega DeMuerte Blanca Sobre Lias 2019 Yecla Spain $23 Majesticwine.ca consignment: this is a bi-varietal wine, a blend of two grapes (here, 80% sauvignon blanc and 20% verdejo). Europe and Latin America have a vast number of bi-varietal wines. Each grape complements the other. Here,the sauvignon is aromatic with citric tones and herbs, while the verdelho is fruity with sweet ripe orchard fruit (peach, apricot). More complexity is given as both wines are aged on their lees ("sobre lias"). Both grape varieties come from vineyards that are over 10-years old. Poultry would be a  suggested food accompaniment. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Albino Armani 1607 Sequal Sauvignon DOC Fruili-Grave 2018 Friuli-Venezia-Giulia $20.95 Majesticwine.ca consignment: very intense aromas, fruity from green fruit and herby but with a medium-body and not like Kiwin Savvy. Citric finish, very useful as a first course white wine. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Biscardo Mabis Oropasso Originale Garganega Chardonnay Veneto IGT 2018 $18.95 Majesticwine.ca consignment: another bi-varietal, with 60% garganega and 40% chardonnay. Here the garganega appears to have undergone a partial passito (its unctuousness tastes peachy). Or, at the very least, it is Late Harvest in style. Garganega, of course, is the grape behind Soave, and in its passito form, it's also Recioto di Soave, a sweet dessert wine with apricot and bitter almond complexity. So any sweetness has been muted by the chardonnay's green style. A good food accompaniment would be fish. 13% ABV. Really good quality wine. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Tavernello Pinot Bianco Famoso Rubicone IGT 2018 Emilia-Romagna LCBO +14060 $8.95 and
5.Tavernello Sangiovese Cabernet Rubicone IGT 2018 Emilia-Romagna LCBO +13602 $8.95: here we have entry level bi-varietals (the Argentine Fuzion Shiraz Malbec is a bi-varietal at this same price level). The sour cherry of the sangiovese has been tempered by the fruitiness of the cabernet, much like a SuperTuscan but minus the depth. Food: grilled vegetables or just patio parties. The white bi-varietal is interesting for its inclusion of the aromatic famoso grape, once a "lost" indigenous variety but since reclaimed. It deftly complements the blander pinot bianco. Good quaffing wines. 12% ABV Famoso; 13% ABV Sangiovese. Quality/Price rating is 88 points each by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

SOME NEW WINES FROM HENRY OF PELHAM AND FWM WINE AGENCY TASTED DURING THE SUMMER --

1.Best's Great Western Riesling 2019 Victoria, +688259, $19.95 Vintages October 3: really good age-worthy (20 years or more) Riesling wines from plantings that began in the 1860s at Best's Nursery Block. According to the producer, here are some 41 and 75 year-old vines. Opens with fragrant blossoms on the nose, lemons and apples for entry (of course), some tropicality on the mid-palate, finishing with some austereness. A keeper.
11% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016, +959627, $53.95 Vintages September 19, 2020: its price is up eight bucks since last year's 2015 vintage release, but it is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese added. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
3.Henry of Pelham Chardonnay 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +291211 LCBO, $14.95: ripeness, pleasant balance of acid and fruit, integrated style in place, some freshness in the finish. Overall, terrific balance of fruit in the finish, with residual sugar at 6.1g/litre. 12.7% ABV, screw cap, gravity-driven, fermented in stainless with aging sur lie. Apple and citric tones, completely unwooded. Try with a light cream sauce (pasta, trout,veggies). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
4.Henry of Pelham Estate Fume Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench, +444268 $19.95 winery only: Very aromatic with nuances of toastiness both in the nose and on the palate, somewhat in a fume style started by Robert Mondavi fifty years ago. Typical savvy zestiness is tamed by oaking and unctuous fruit tones. Medium finish accents lemon and vanillin character, melon, honeysuckle. Best as a classy sipper on its own, but also with a lightly aromatic first course. 50% BF in barriques, a half-year aging in oak barriques. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Henry of Pelham Classic Cabernet-Merlot 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula +504241 LCBO $15.95: this entry level wine is dependable and consistent from year to year. This time it has cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. The Bordeaux-themed blend comes across as a mid-Atlantic version of Cali/Bordeaux. It is still a young wine and could profit from a double-decant. Extended maceration in stainless, followed by barrel aging. It has been modestly aged in used oak. Great with foods cooked in the Mediterranean basin style. 12.8% ABV on label. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Classic 2019 VQA Ontario, +270926 LCBO $15.95: As with their previous baco noirs at all levels, HOP has maintained the rich jammy character. This entry level baco has also been re-titled "Baco Noir Classic" and I suspect other HOP entry level varietal wines will also be labeled "Classic", probably with a price rise of a dollar or so. US barrels are used for more than six months aging. It is still too young for today [only seven months old], needs another year or two. 13% ABV. One of the top General List bacos in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 88.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Just Merlot 2019 Pays d'Oc, +17528 LCBO October $11.95: an easy drinking entry-level merlot from the warmer south of France (Languedoc, Rhone). Ripe, oak free, good mix of red and black berries, smooth. 13.5% ABV. Good unpretentious value for the price. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
8.LangeTwins Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Lodi, +572305 Vintages $24.95: "Certified Green" sustainable. A great wallop of cherries begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style. 18 months aging in mostly French oak barrels, long rich ending with toasty notes. But only 2.4 g/L residual sugar. 14% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
9.Sacred Hill Pinot Noir 2018 Marlborough, +277665 Vintages Halloween $19.95: typical Kiwi pinot noir from the heart of New Zealand, one of their better values for under $20. While the colour is a bit light, the dynamics of the palate are red cherry-berry all the way, with underbrush notes. Soft tannins dominate the finish. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
10.J. Bookwalter Readers Chardonnay 2018 Columbia Valley Washington, +634162 Vintages Halloween $19.95: I enjoyed the Cab from Readers awhile back, and I am happy to say that I enjoyed the Chard from Readers as well. It's a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier (20%) which puts it on maybe the same level as a Chardonnay Musque. Certainly, you would want no oak here, and that is a given. It is all stainless and the wine blend is co-fermented. The Viognier contributes honeysuckle and peaches, of course. The Chardonnay dominates with other orchard fruits and compelling citric notes. The blend is aged (with stirring) four months on its lees, and then bottled after a further two months. 13.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for OCTOBER 3, 2020

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 3, 2020
 
NOTE: There is NO Vintages release on October 17, so the next World Wine Watch will be October 31.
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Henry of Pelham Classic Cabernet-Merlot 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula +504241 LCBO $15.95: this entry level wine is dependable and consistent from year to year. This time it has cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. The Bordeaux-themed blend comes across as a mid-Atlantic version of Cali/Bordeaux. It is still a young wine and could profit from a double-decant. Extended maceration in stainless, followed by barrel aging. It has been modestly aged in used oak. Great with foods cooked in the Mediterranean basin style. 12.8% ABV on label. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Classic 2019 VQA Ontario, +270926 LCBO $15.95: As with their previous baco noirs at all levels, HOP has maintained the rich jammy character. This entry level baco has also been re-titled "Baco Noir Classic" and I suspect other HOP entry level varietal wines will also be labeled "Classic", probably with a price rise of a dollar or so. US barrels are used for more than six months aging. It is still too young for today [only seven months old], needs another year or two. 13% ABV. One of the top General List bacos in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 88.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Just Merlot 2019 Pays d'Oc, +17528 LCBO October $11.95: an easy drinking entry-level merlot from the warmer south of France (Languedoc, Rhone). Ripe, oak free, good mix of red and black berries, smooth. 13.5% ABV. Good unpretentious value for the price. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.LangeTwins Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Lodi, +572305 Vintages $24.95: "Certified Green" sustainable. A great wallop of cherries begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style. 18 months aging in mostly French oak barrels, long rich ending with toasty notes. But only 2.4 g/L residual sugar. 14% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Sacred Hill Pinot Noir 2018 Marlborough, +277665 Vintages Halloween $19.95: typical Kiwi pinot noir from the heart of New Zealand, one of their better values for under $20. While the colour is a bit light, the dynamics of the palate are red cherry-berry all the way, with underbrush notes. Soft tannins dominate the finish. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.J. Bookwalter Readers Chardonnay 2018 Columbia Valley Washington, +634162 Vintages Halloween $19.95: I enjoyed the Cab from Readers awhile back, and I am happy to say that I enjoyed the Chard from Readers as well. It's a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier (20%) which puts it on maybe the same level as a Chardonnay Musque. Certainly, you would want no oak here, and that is a given. It is all stainless and the wine blend is co-fermented. The Viognier contributes honeysuckle and peaches, of course. The Chardonnay dominates with other orchard fruits and compelling citric notes. The blend is aged (with stirring) four months on its lees, and then bottled after a further two months. 13.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Languedoc Red 2017 +413237 Vintages Essential, $16.95: the last vintage here was 2015. It's a blend of syrah and grenache, promising both black fruit and red fruit tones at an affordable price. Local garrigue is apparent, complemented by some fennel. Part of the wine is transferred over to 225-litre oak barrels where it is aged for roughly 10 months. 14% ABV. Good price, especially if you buy before Oct 10 (LTO $2 off). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20 at Vintages Oct 3
=========
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $17.95       
MVC/QPR: 91
W+469593    THIERRY DELAUNAY LE GRAND BALLON SAUVIGNON BLANC    IGP Val de Loire    2019    $14.95  MVC/QPR: 90
W+26146    CASETTA ROERO ARNEIS     DOCG    2018    $18.95      MVC/QPR: 89
W+688259    BEST'S GREAT WESTERN RIESLING    Great Western, Victoria    2019    $19.95
MVC/QPR: 90
R+444703    MONTGRAS ANTU CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sustainable, DO Maipo Valley    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+15095    CONDEMINAL PONCHO PAMPA PINOT NOIR    Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+677476    JIM BARRY COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Coonawarra, South Australia    2017    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 90
 
Over $20 at Vintages Oct 3
=========
W+149302    FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $21.95      MVC/QPR: 92
W+441089    ROMBAUER CARNEROS CHARDONNAY    Carneros    2018    $63.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+127324    THE FOREIGN AFFAIR CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Partial appassimento, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $39.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+73817    RUTHERFORD RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley    2017    $39.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+638551    LE PARVIS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2017    $56.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+16909    PLANTAGENET SHIRAZ    Great Southern, Western Australia    2013    $39.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+451906    SAINT AIX ROSÉ    AP Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence 2019    $25.95     MVC/QPR:91
Sparkling+15691    MEIOMI SPARKLING    Traditional method, North Coast, California        $35.95  MVC/QPR: 89
Sweet+47209    PUKLUS PINCÉSZET TOKAJI ASZÚ 5 PUTTONYOS    Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary    2013    $35.95  MVC/QPR: 89

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, September 21, 2020

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
 
 
1.THE PIKES COCKTAIL BOOK: rock 'n' roll recipes from the iconic Ibizan hotel (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-212-7 $24.95 USD) is a collaborative effort from the hotel, with text by Dawn Hindle, its creative director. Ibiza is Spanish, just off the Mediterranean coast; it's about 10 times the size of Manhattan. It's usually very warm and humid year round, which makes it a perfect party place. Pikes has a very colourful book on its hands, with gorgeous photography and recipes, usually one per page. The arrangement is by  time of day, beginning with what to drink at "poolside". There are usually about 10 preps per time, with the bulk being at "sunset" and "dinner" and  "night time". Concluding, of course, with "the morning after". You go there to drink, to hear music, and to dance. If music be the drink of love...
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: fans of Ibiza or Pikes Hotel, or collectors of cocktail books. It's a great gift book.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: vodka seems to lead the way for the base alcohol, and the names of the drinks (e.g. "slippery when wet") are localisms. Rest assured, all the classics are here (sangria, punches, margarita, mojito, martini, et al) with their variations.
Quality/Price Rating: 90

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

 
 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 19, 2020
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight or so ---
 
1.Best's Great Western Riesling 2019 Victoria, +688259, $19.95 Vintages October 3, 2020: really good age-worthy (20 years or more) Riesling wines from plantings that began in the 1860s at Best's Nursery Block. According to the producer, here are some 41 and 75 year-old vines. Opens with fragrant blossoms on the nose, lemons and apples for entry (of course), some tropicality on the mid-palate, finishing with some austere-ness.  A keeper.  11% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016, +959627, $53.95 Vintages September 19, 2020: its price is up eight bucks since last year's 2015 vintage release, but it is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese added. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Henry of Pelham Chardonnay 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +291211 LCBO, $14.95: ripeness, pleasant balance of acid and fruit, integrated style in place, some freshness in the finish. Overall, terrific balance of fruit in the finish, with residual sugar at 6.1g/litre. 12.7% ABV, screw cap, gravity-driven, fermented in stainless with aging sur lie. Apple and citric tones, completely unwooded. Try with a light cream sauce (pasta, trout, veggies). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Henry of Pelham Estate Fume Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench, +444268 $19.95 winery only: Very aromatic with nuances of toastiness both in the nose and on the palate, somewhat in a fume style started by Robert Mondavi fifty years ago. Typical savvy zestiness is tamed by oaking and unctuous fruit tones. Medium finish accents lemon and vanillin character, melon, honeysuckle. Best as a classy sipper on its own, but also with a lightly aromatic first course. 50% BF in barriques, a half-year aging in oak barriques. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Campbell Kind Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Marlborough, $22.99 consignment through selectwines.ca: Steve Campbell, of www.campbellkindwines.com, has the world's first international range of sustainable, carbon zero wines. International wineries and winemakers craft environmentally-friendly wines for their retail partners. Campbell Kind Wine currently has several varieties of wines in play, which include Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Syrah and Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Tempranillo blend from Ribera del Duero, Montepulciano blend from Abruzzo, and IgT Rosso Veronese from Verona, and others. I sampled the savvy: made by Steve Smith, New Zealand's first MW, of Smith and Sheth among the Marlborough riverbeds. It's a dynamic wine made from some 30-year old vines, with a medium-body and lower levels of MVC (Modal Varietal Character), especially tropicality and orchard fruit, but with more minerality and citric lemon tones, leading to a higher crisp finish. It's ideal with fried foods. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Saintly The Good Sparkling Rose Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, +16767 LCBO, $18.95: an all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patios, terraces, decks, etc. with nuances of strawberries and melons. Grapes include 46% Chardonnay, 46% Cab Franc, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, and 4% Syrah (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Very light-pink in colour, persistent mousse from the cuve close Charmat method. Extended lees contact leads to a creaminess in the body. In three words: fresh, fruity, dry. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Saintly The Good Sparkling [white] Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, Wine Rack only $18.95: another all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patio, terrace, deck, etc. with nuances of orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches) and citric tones. Grapes include 82% Pinot Gris, 15% Muscat, and 3% Chardonnay (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Persistent mousse, Charmat method, extended lees contact – all contribute to a creamy style. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 10g g/L residual sugar makes it "dry to off- dry". 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+284588    WATERKLOOF CIRCLE OF LIFE    WO Stellenbosch 2016  $19.95     MVC/QPR:90
W+146423    SUTHERLAND CHARDONNAY    WO Elgin    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+523001    CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+496463    PASSO DEL CARDINALE PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    2017    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
 
Over $20
 
R+461699    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR    VQA Ontario        $24.95  MVC/QPR: 91
R+14149    MORANDE GRAN RESERVA SYRAH/CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Central Valley    2017    $21.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+959627    CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2016    $54.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+13676    MICHELLE PHILIPON SANTENAY    AC    2017    $42.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+466375    PODERE BRIZIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $72.95    MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+405035    HUFF CUVÉE JANINE SPARKLING ROSÉ    Traditional method, VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario    2016    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

TASTING OF SANDBANKS WINERY IN AUGUST 2020 --

1.Sandbanks Sleeping Giant Foch – Baco Noir 2018 VQA Ontario +164087 LCBO, $19.95 (but as a Limited Time Offer from August 17 to September 13 it is priced at $17.95): based on marechal foch and baco noir grapes, this wine comes loaded with the intensity of rustic red fruit and mocha tones, tempered by deftly placed wood notes. Try with roasts. A previous vintage was OWA Gold Medal 2018 and All Canadian Wine Championships Gold Medal 2018. 14g/L residual sugar and 12.5% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Sandbanks Baco Noir Reserve 2019 VQA Ontario +225920 LCBO, $19.95 (but as a Limited Time Offer from October 12 to November 5 it is priced at $17.95): plenty of full-bodied black fruit here, displaying also some mocha in its development. Some light barrel aging as well. Best with grilled meats. A previous vintage was OWA Bronze Medal 2018 and All Canadian Wine Championship Double Gold 2018. 13 g/L residual sugar and 12.5% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Sandbanks Route 33 Red (Merlot-Petit Verdot) NV VQA Ontario +17370 LCBO, $19.95: another full-bodied wine, loaded with charm and character reminiscent of typical Bordeaux. The bi-varietal blend is merlot and petit verdot (both commonly used in Bordeaux), all showing red cherry-berry aromatics and textures coupled with some oak tones from extended barrel aging. Plummy too. Best with strong cheeses or sauced meats. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Sandbanks Route 33 White (Riesling-Pinot Grigio) NV VQA Ontario +17369 LCBO, $14.95: another bi-varietal with dry tropical fruit notes and crispness, slightly herbal complexity, with a lemon-lime finish. Very useful in a reliable sense. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
5.Sandbanks Pinot Grigio 2018 VQA Ontario +372219 LCBO, $15.95: this is a competitive category, but Sandbanks goes up very well against other grigios in Ontario. Typical nuances include orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic tropical overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with citric notes. 8 g/L residual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
6.Sandbanks Beach Riesling NV VQA Ontario +139022 LCBO, $14.95: a very decent seafood-ready consistent wine in the riesling tradition of petrol and minerals augmented by the range of orchard fruit found in nectarines, plums, apricots, and peaches, ending with a lemony citric crispness. 16G/L resideual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
7.Sandbanks Smugglers White NV VQA Ontario +648642 LCBO, $13.95: a nifty blend of vidal and pinot grigio, with a very light colour but lifted aromatics of pineapple and orchard fruit, following through on the mid-weight palate and ending with a citric finish appropriate for food. 7g/L residual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
8.Sandbanks Summer Rose NV VQA Ontario +14867 LCBO, $14.95: this is vidal with skin contact, so the appearance is almost like an orange wine – which makes it sort of trendy. It's also a seasonal release, so when it is gone, it is gone. And it is also lightly sparkling but kept under a twist top. The suggestion on the label is to chill it, not only for the flavour as a white wine but also to stop any bubbles from gushing. Dominating flavours include nectarines and oranges with other tropical notes, right through to the finish. 31 g/L residual sugar, 11.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
9.Sandbanks Rose 2019 VQA Ontario +244616 LCBO, $13.95 (but as a Limited Time Offer from September 14 to October 11 it is priced at $11.95 – just in time for Thanksgiving): this is mostly vidal with some gamay, pinot noir, and muscat blanc. It is lightly tasty with an emphasis on floral bouquet. It has a great balance between sweet and tart flavours, within the peachy-citric range. Lovely finish. A previous vintage was All Canadian Wine Championships Silver Medal 2018. 12g/L residual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com