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Thursday, June 13, 2024

REPORT ON THE BENVENUTO BRUNELLO TOUR 2023....

REPORT ON THE BENVENUTO BRUNELLO TOUR 2023....

The Date and Time: November 28, 2023  9:30A - 2:30P
The Event: a tasting of the 2019 Brunello di Montalcinos (plus a few other Brunello wines) from Tuscany, sponsored by the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino.
The Venue: Aria Ristorante, York Street
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: quite a few of the wines are available right now through the LCBO and local agents. Michael Godel provided a brisk commentary on the region, and this was followed by a "wine list" of the 70 or so wines we were to taste. The region produces three distinct types of wines: Brunello from the sangiovese grosso grape, a white moscadello, and a "Rosso di Montalcino" for current drinking.
The Quote/Background: There are 208 producing wineries in the region (we tasted wines from about 35 different wineries); 25% of them are organic or biodynamic. From a variety of sources -- "Brunello di Montalcino has an aroma of cherries, strawberries, florals, tar, truffles, violets and spices. They are supple, generous, elegant, refined, polished, succulent and rich in texture and depth. All are well-balanced with silky smooth mouthfeel, integrated tannins with a long aftertaste." Of course, all of these have to develop through long cellaring, about 3 - 10 years at least. The 2019 vintage has been rated 5/5, the 2018 is 4/5 and the 2016 is 5/5. The 130+ attendees tasted the wines in lots of four, which was a decent pace.
 
The Wines: I managed to taste most of the wines...about 55 of them were from the release of the 2019 vintage. The rest were 2018 (and at the Riserva level) and even 2016 (my fave). Older is better with Brunello.  

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Argiano Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 154609 $59.95
-Argiano Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Vigna Del Suolo 2019 $275.00
-Castello Di Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $59.95
-Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Poggio Alle Mura Vigna Marrucheto 2019
-Castello Di Banfi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Poggio Alle Mura 2019
-Tommasi Casisano Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 483800 $49.95
-Celestino Pecci Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Poggio Al Carro 2019
-Col D'orcia Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 306852 $54.95
-Col D'orcia Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva Docg 2016 Poggio al Vento  (my fave)
-Corte Dei Venti Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $44.95
-Cortonesi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg La Mannella 2019 $89.41
-Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Progetto Prime Donne 2019 $115.00
-Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $64.95
-Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva Docg 2018
-Fanti Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $67.00
-Fanti Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Vallocchio 2019 $89.95
-La Fiorita Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $65.00
-La Fiorita Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Fiore Di NO 2019
-La Fiorita Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Riserva 2018
-Le Gode Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Montosoli 2019 $150.00
-La Serena Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 14963 $94.00
-Ridolfi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 644963 $59.95
-Ruffino Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Greppone Mazzi 2019 $72.26
-Salicutti Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $199.95
-San Polo Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Vignvecchia 2019 $160.00
-Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Poggio Doria 2019
-Val Di Suga Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Vigna Del Lago 2019 $95.00
-Val Di Suga Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Poggio Al Granchio 2019 $95.00
-Val Di Suga Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Vigna Spuntali 2018
-Poggio Di Sotto Brunello Di Montalcino 2018, D.O.C.G. LCBO# 337774 $243.95
-San Polino Brunello Di Montalcino 2018, D.O.C.G. LCBO# 14813 $87.00






***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (87 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Armilla Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $69.95
-Carpineto Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 515486 $64.95
-Caprili Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $60.00
-Collemattoni Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $61.99
-Corte Pavone Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $57.95
-Corte Pavone Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Campo Di Marzo 2019
-Cortonesi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Poggiarelli 2019 $95.95
-Elia Palazzesi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019
-Franco Pacenti Brunello Di Montalcinio Docg 2019 $73.00
-Franco Pacenti Brunello Di Montalcinio Docg Rosildo 2019
-La Casaccia Di Franceschi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019
-Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino 2019
-La Fornace Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $65.00
-La Fortuna Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $49.95
-San Polo Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 650812 $79.00
-San Polo Brunello Di Montalcino Podernovi Docg 2019 $160.00
-San Polo Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Riserva 2018
-Talenti Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $76.00
-Talenti Brunello Di Montalcino Docg Piero 2019 $215.00
-Tenute Silvio Nardi Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 922054 $56.95
-Uccelliera Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $134.99
-Val Di Suga Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 LCBO# 713719 $59.95
-Voliero Brunello Di Montalcino Docg 2019 $119.99


The Food: there was bread followed by a box lunch of four paninos - pulled chicken, prosciutto, tomato caprese and grilled veggies.
The Downside: we needed bigger spit buckets (at least one had spilled all over a section of our table).
The Upside: a chance to taste some really incredible wines.
The Contact Person:  b.marassi@ice.it
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.




Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 8, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 8, 2024 release.

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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor since 1994. These notes for  better or best wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor No winery can buy their way into – or out of – my 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for my scores in the early 1980s. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced by overuse and "inflated numbers"; thus I have quit any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing the GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and the BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with GOOD being BRONZE.  This also fits into my scheme for trade tastings.

MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )


MAJOR THEME:  Everything's Coming Up Roses (see below)

Recommended Wines Under $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)]
=======================
W+33569 DEEP WOODS MARGARET RIVER CHARDONNAY 2023  $19.95
W+89029 TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING VQA 2022  $19.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+389726 BOYA SAUVIGNON BLANC CHILE 2023 $15.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+959361 PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE RIESLING ALSACE 2021 18.95
W+462457 PAUL MAS SINGLE VINEYARD RÉSERVE MARSANNE LANGUEDOC 2022  $14.95
W+37154 MAS PAILLET MONTS DU ROI CHARDONNAY/VIOGNIER LANGUEDOC 2021 $17.95
W+599274 DR. L RIESLING MOSEL-SAAR-RUWER 2022 $16.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+708073 ATTEMS SAUVIGNON BLANC FRUILI 2023 $19.95
W+734798 THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC NEW ZEALAND 2023 $18
W+408146 MARIA PAPOILA LOUREIRO/ALVARINHO PORTUGAL 2022 $17.95
R+494690 DEMAZET ARMOIRIES TRADITION CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2022 $14.95
R+17403 TORRE ZAMBRA MADIA MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2021 $18.95
R+37768 CASA SANTOS LIMA QUID PRO QUO RED PORTUGAL 2021 $11.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
R+10684 MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES EXCELLENS CUVÉE ESPECIAL COLECCIÓN PRIVADA CRIANZA 2018 SPAIN $18.95



Recommended Wines Over $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)]
======================
W+172338 SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC VQA  CHARDONNAY 2019 $26.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+366419 DOMAINE DU COLOMBIER CHABLIS 2022  $31.95
W+140525 DOMAINE BONNARD SANCERRE LOIRE 2022 $32.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+366948 FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI PIEDMONT 2022 $22.95
R+79798 SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE MALBEC ARGENTINA 2022 $22.95
R+35463 LOUIS AÎNÉ & FILS BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2022 $20.95
R+298612 CHÂTEAU DE LA GARDINE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2020 $53.95
R+36549 MADONNA DELLE GRAZIE LISCONE BASILICATA 2018 $24.95
R+17626 LA TORRE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO TUSCANY 2018 $64.95


***BEST OF THE JUNE 8 SPECIAL RELEASE OF 22 ROSE WINES***

+68833 HIDDEN BENCH LOCUST LANE ROSÉ VQA 2023 $24.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
+388702 THE FOREIGN AFFAIR AMAROSÉ VQA 2023 $19.95
+16454 MARYNISSEN ESTATES ROSÉ VQA 2022 $16.95
+650655 REDSTONE ROSÉ VQA 2023 $18.95
+668426 VILLA AIX EN PROVENCE ROSÉ 2023 $20.95
+37681 ROSELINE PRESTIGE ROSÉ PROVENCE 2023 $29.95
+37661 AMOUR DE TROPEZ PROVENCE ROSÉ 2022 $25.95
+37664 CELLIER DES DAUPHINS VAL SOLEU ORGANIC ROSÉ  PROVENCE 2023 $16.95
+707281 CHÂTEAU VAL-JOANIS ROSÉ RHONE 2023 $19.95
+680801 FAMILLE PERRIN TAVEL 2023 $23.95
+25860 DONNAFUGATA DOLCE & GABBANA ROSA ROSÉ SICILY 2023 $49.95
+19852 ALBINO ARMANI ROSÉ TRENTINO 2023 $15.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )


MAY-JUNE  2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better" value...on sale  May 27 through Sunday June 23:

Fortified+32503 Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino, now $30.50, save $3.00
Fizz+991562 Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de Bourgogne, now $21.95, save $3
W+373373 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer, now $17.95, save $2
W+32567 Cave de Buxy Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise 'Buissonnier' Chardonnay, now $20.15, save $3
W+215525  La Chablisienne Les Vénérables Vieilles Vignes Chablis, now $29.95, save $3
W+465146  Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanc Pays D'Oc, now $14.95, save $2
R+22199 Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Shiraz Australia, now $17, save $3
R+149237 The Conspiracy Ripasso Style (Foreign Affairs VQA), now 18.95, save $3
R+155051 Masi Campofiorin IGT Veneto, now $21.90, save $3
R+251876 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon Australia, now $14.95, save    $3
R+426718 Cesari Amarone Classico DOC Veneto, now $38.95, save $6
R+506519 Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC Veneto, now $16.95, save $4


** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Season ---

REPORT FROM RHONE VALLEY WINES..late 2023

The Event: The Rhone Valley Vineyards Winemaker Tour
The Venue: 2d Event
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, wine agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: an xlsx file with full details
The Quote/Background: The Rhone Valley (North and South) is a region and not an appellation. The "Vignobles de la Vallee du Rhone" wine tour had six principals speak to us: Michelle Bouffard from Chateau du Trignon (Gigondas), Denis Guthmuller who is President of the Syndicat Of Cotes du Rhone, Philippe Pellaton from Maison Sinnae, Celine Verdier Rieu from Chateau d'Orsan, and Samuel Montgermont. There are 31 appellations in the region, using 34 grape varieties for 17 crus, 22 Cotes du Rhone Villages, and 171 communes. Exporting to Canada: 9% of the total production (which is itself 76% red, 11% white, 13% rose). Of all the wines, 18% are organic.
The Wines: I tasted most of the wines. The tasting was divided into three parts: one was a seminar of 11 wines, another was a stand up walk around of about 10 wines, and another was a sitdown lunch with about a dozen wines. Only 7 or so agents rep these wineries, while half of the wineries here were looking for agents. No prices were offered on my spreadsheet. About half of the wines were organic...see below...The tasting featured 23 wines followed by an extensive meal with more wines. Each course was matched with an appropriate wine to underline their ability to enhance food.


**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau de Trignon Gigondas 2017
-Xavier Vins Red Cotes du Rhone 2020  (Noble)
-J. Denuziere Cotes du Rhone, 2020 (Rogers)
-Chateau d'Aqueria Tavel Rose, 2022 (Noble)
-Cave Heritiere Gabert Cave de Tain Hermitage, 2018  (Noble) [my fave red]
-Paul Jaboulet Cornas Les Grandes Terasses, 2020
-Les Vignes de l'Arque Cuvee Les Chemins de Rome White Duche d'Uzes 2022
-Cave de Bonnieux Luberon Cuvee Revelation 2020
-J. Denuziere Saint Joseph Cotes du Rhone 2020
-Cave de Cairanne Cuvee Insouciante Red 2021
-Cave Saint Desirat Condrieu 2020  [my fave white]
-Alain Jaune Grande Garrigue 2021
-Domaine de Vacqueyras Seguret L'Amandine Cotes du Rhone Villages 2021

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (87 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau Beaubois Cuvee Confidence Costieres de Nimes 2022 (white)
-LAVAU White Cotes du Rhone 2022 (Noble)
-Domain Rozel Cuvee Alayx, 2021, Grignon-LesAdhemar
-Halos de Jupiter Red Cotes du Rhone 2020
-Chateau des Coccinelles Cotes du Rhone 2022
-Domaine Gassier Nostre Pais 2020
-Les Petits Duc Cotes du Rhone 2021
-Domaine de la Citadelle Le Chataigner Rose Luberon 2022
-Domain Autrand Cotes du Rhone Village, 2022  (N Pearce)
-Villa Voltinia Maison Sinnae Cotes du Rhone Villages Chusclan, 2021
-Chateau d'Orsan Chusclan, 2020
-Mas Carlot Generations Costieres de Nimes 2020  (N Pearce)
-Gabriel Meffre Cotes du Rhone Saint Vincent 2022
-La Font Louisiane Cotes du Rhone 2020
-Collines de Bourdic Duche d'Uzes Les Figuieres 2022
-Chateau de Montfaucon Comtesse Madeleine 2021 (not sweet)  (N Pearce)

The Food: our sitdown lunch had a wide variety of protein to show off the wines. Service was on small plates, naturally. We began with dungeness crab old bay cakes with the Coccinelles. This was followed by the pork belly bao hoisin, cashews, chili mayo and the Chataigner rose (best combination of the afternoon: what a delight!). Next was a braised beef short rib with the Autrand and the Mas Carlot, followed by some slow cooked lamb with the Chateau D'Orsan Cotes du Rhone Villages Chausclan 2022. The parade ended with a small individual cheese course with the Montfaucon.
The Downside: apart from the seminar there was no overall listing of wines, they all had to be hand-selected in writing.
The Upside: the set-up was nicely done, with a seminar, walk around, and a lunch.
The Contact Person: diane.santerne@sopexa.com; agathe.arollinat@sopexa.com.
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 86.





Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

REPORT ON MEDITERRANEAN APERITIVO MASTERCLASS 2024 MAY 7 12-1:30P

REPORT ON  MEDITERRANEAN APERITIVO MASTERCLASS 2024 MAY 7 12-1:30P

It was my pleasure to attend the latest Italian seminar on its agrobusiness. This time, it was the "Mediterranean Apertivo" or MAP. There was an earlier seminar on the same topic about two years ago at Eataly with an attendance of about a dozen and a hook-up with New York city. The location now was the larger Chefs' House of George Brown College, where the audience had grown to a huge number of about 75+. Wine Media and students dominated the audience. Today we heard from Christian Perreault Hamel and James Grant. They led us through an explanation of PDO and PGI, using four examples: Pecorino Toscano PDO [in order for the cheese to be granted a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) seal, all of the phases of production, transformation and processing must occur within a specific geographic area and with strict production rules established by the production regulations]; Costa d'Amalfi Lemon PGI [PGI is a European mark of quality granted to agricultural and food products which have at least ONE phase of the production process that is permanently linked to the specific geographic area of reference -- Protected Geographical Indication]; Vermouth di Torino PGI with its many layers of ginger, flowers, organic citrus fruits, spritzers, Negroni, Martini, punches, bitters, spices, ABV levels of 17%, half of the wine used is from Piedmont, et al; and Olives from Greece, a part of the Agrifood Partnership of Western Greece Region. The Protected and Partnership systems are part of the DOP program for making sure that names of products are legitimate in terms of production values. For example, the Amalfi lemons must come from Amalfi and they are guaranteed as such -- or else the seller/distributor can be penalized. For more details on all of these, check with vermouth@vermouthditorino.org, or for lemons, info@costieragrumicoop.it, or info@pecorinotoscanodop.it, or for olives,  info@agrifoodwest.gr.




Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Thursday, May 23, 2024

MAY-JUNE 2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS at the LCBO from May 27 through June 23...

MAY-JUNE  2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better" value wines...on sale  May 27 through Sunday June 23:

Fortified+32503 Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino, now $30.50, save $3.00
Fizz+991562 Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de Bourgogne, now $21.95, save $3
W+373373 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer, now $17.95, save $2
W+32567 Cave de Buxy Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise 'Buissonnier' Chardonnay, now $20.15, save $3
W+215525  La Chablisienne Les Vénérables Vieilles Vignes Chablis, now $29.95, save $3
W+465146  Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanc Pays D'Oc, now $14.95, save $2
R+22199 Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Shiraz Australia, now $17, save $3
R+149237 The Conspiracy Ripasso Style (Foreign Affairs VQA), now 18.95, save $3
R+155051 Masi Campofiorin IGT Veneto, now $21.90, save $3
R+251876 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon Australia, now $14.95, save    $3
R+426718 Cesari Amarone Classico DOC Veneto, now $38.95, save $6
R+506519 Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC Veneto, now $16.95, save $4

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the MAY 25, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the MAY 25, 2024 release.

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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor since 1994. These notes for  better or best wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor No winery can buy their way into – or out of – my 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for my scores in the early 1980s. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced by overuse and "inflated numbers"; thus I have quit any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing the GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and the BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with GOOD being BRONZE.  This also fits into my scheme for trade tastings.

MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )


MAJOR THEME:  Online and Flagship Exclusives, available only on LCBO.com and in 16 Flagship stores. No print version, but see pages 25 - 30 in the May 11 Vintages release issue for total listings.

Recommended May 25 Wines Under $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)] for online and flagship exclusives:
======================
W+485334 Kew Vineyards Marsanne 2019 VQA Beamsville Bench   $19.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+37154 Mas Paillet Monts du Roi Chardonnay/Viognier 2021 IGP Coteaux d'Enserune Languedoc $17.95.

Recommended  May 25 Wines Over $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)] for online and flagship exclusives:
======================
Fizz+37269 Cave du Roi Dagobert Prestige Brut Cremant d'Alsace $28.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+241182 Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2021 VQA Vinemount Ridge $44.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+38056 Albert Bichot Pouilly-Fuisse 2020 Burgundy  $42.95
W+33295 Land of Hope Reserve Chenin Blanc 2022 $27.95
R+37741 Dagaz Granito Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Colchagua Chile $29.95
R+38362 Bachelder Bator 20% whole Cluster Vieille Vignes Gamay Noir Cru 2021 VQA Four Mile Creek $29.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
R+714501 Jardin The Long Fuse Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 Stellenbosch South Africa $27.95
R+38362 Taltarni Pyrenees Victoria Shiraz $32.95
R+12198 Chateau Fonreaud 2014 Listrac-Medoc $37.95
R+37914 Chateau Fonreaud 2019 Listrac-Medoc $32.95
R+36428 Marchesi di Barolo d'Alba Michet Nebbiolo 2020 Piedmont $31.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+


MAY 2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better" value...on sale  through Sunday May 26...Time is running out for this series: [but SEE BELOW for May-June period]

W+43281 Flat Rock Riesling VQA Niagara, now $16.95, save $3.
W+958975 Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Monterey County, now $26.95, save $3.
W+24133 Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend Riesling, now $19.95, save $3.
R+980482 Cambria Julia's Pinot Noir Santa Barbara, now $39.95 , save $5
R+59311 The Seven Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi, now $21.95, save $3
R+27516 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot Paso Robles, now $22.95, save $3.
R+590414 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir South Island New Zealand, now $21.95, save $3.
R+177295 Rivera Il Falcone Riserva Castel del Monte, now $23.95, save $3.

MAY-JUNE  2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better" value...on sale  May 26 through Sunday June 23:

W+373373 Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer, now $17.95, save $2
Fizz+991562 Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de Bourgogne, now $21.95, save $3
W+32567 Cave de Buxy Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise 'Buissonnier' Chardonnay, now $20.15, save $3
W+215525  La Chablisienne Les Vénérables Vieilles Vignes Chablis, now $29.95, save $3
W+465146   Les Jamelles Sauvignon Blanc Pays D'Oc, now $14.95, save $2

 
 



** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past While ---


REPORT ON DRINK CHILE,  LATE 2023
The Date and Time: Monday November 20, 2023  1PM - 4:30PM
The Event: a trade walk around tasting of Wines of Chile and Prochile wines.
The Venue: Windsor Arms Hotel
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: the booklet gave a good series of highlights. There were 120 wines from 17 wineries to taste, plus audio tours and tastings every 15 minutes for an overview of Chilean wine styles. There was material on the various wine regions and 18 wine valleys.
The Quote/Background: Chile has come a long way towards more diversity and higher quality over the years. Sustainability and innovation have led the way
The Wines: I did not taste every wine.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arboleda Brisa Aconcagua, 2021 $49.95 [5 grape varieties]
-Las Ninas Traditional Method Brut Chardonnay, 2022 $19.95 (April 2024)
-Las Ninas Traditional Method Rose Pinot Noir, 2022 $19.95 (April 2024)
-Luis Felipe Edwards LFE900 Red Blend, 2018 [5 varieties]
-Santa Rita Floresta Chardonnay, 2021 $27.95
-Sutil Acrux Red 2020 [6 varieties] $48
-Casa del Toqui Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, 2021 $24.95
-Errazuriz Don Maximiniano, 2018
-Vina Santa Carolina El Pacto Agreement No.2, Carmenere, 2021
-Emiliana Organic Vineyards Novas Stellar Selection, 2021 Red Blend $19.95
-Emiliana Organic Vineyards Coyam, 2020 $34.95
-Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvingon, 2021 $22.95
-Santa Ema Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay,  $80.95
-Santa Ema Catalina Red, 2019 $111.95

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arboleda Chardonnay, 2022 $18.95
-Marea Grand Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, 2023 $ 17.95
-Santa Ema Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserve, 2023 $17.95
-Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Carmenere, 2022 $45
-Undurraga Sauvignon Terroir Hunter, 2021 $30
-Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Piedra Secca, 2021
-Santa Rita Pewen Carmenere, 2021 $60
-Montes Alpha Chardonnay, 2021 $22.95
-Santa Carolina Reserva Chardonnay, 2022 $14.45
-Terraustral Gold Grand Reserve Chardonnay, 2021 $18
-VSPT Wine Group Leyda Reserva 2022, $16.95
-Concha y Toro Diablo Crystal Sauvignon Blanc, $17.95
-Cono Sur Organic Chardonnay, 2021 $14.95
The Food: for the trade, there were food platters of meats, cheeses, breads, biscuits.
The Downside: it got really crowded really fast.
The Upside: a chance to catch up with the latest from Chile.
The Contact Person: lisa@androscom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 80



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Report on Rhone Valley wines, from late 2023...

REPORT FROM RHONE VALLEY WINES..
The Event: The Rhone Valley Vineyards Winemaker Tour
The Venue: 2d Event
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, wine agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: an xlsx file with full details
The Quote/Background: The Rhone Valley (North and South) is a region and not an appellation. The "Vignobles de la Vallee du Rhone" wine tour had six principals speak to us: Michelle Bouffard from Chateau du Trignon (Gigondas), Denis Guthmuller who is President of the Syndicat Of Cotes du Rhone, Philippe Pellaton from Maison Sinnae, Celine Verdier Rieu from Chateau d'Orsan, and Samuel Montgermont. There are 31 appellations in the region, using 34 grape varieties for 17 crus, 22 Cotes du Rhone Villages, and 171 communes. Exporting to Canada: 9% of the total production (which is itself 76% red, 11% white, 13% rose). Of all the wines, 18% are organic.
The Wines: I tasted most of the wines. The tasting was divided into three parts: one was a seminar of 11 wines, another was a stand up walk around of about 10 wines, and another was a sitdown lunch with about a dozen wines. Only 7 or so agents rep these wineries, while half of the wineries here were looking for agents. No prices were offered on my spreadsheet. About half of the wines were organic...see below...The tasting featured 23 wines followed by an extensive meal with more wines. Each course was matched with an appropriate wine to underline their ability to enhance food.


**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau de Trignon Gigondas 2017
-Xavier Vins Red Cotes du Rhone 2020  (Noble)
-J. Denuziere Cotes du Rhone, 2020 (Rogers)
-Chateau d'Aqueria Tavel Rose, 2022 (Noble)
-Cave Heritiere Gabert Cave de Tain Hermitage, 2018  (Noble) [my fave red]
-Paul Jaboulet Cornas Les Grandes Terasses, 2020
-Les Vignes de l'Arque Cuvee Les Chemins de Rome White Duche d'Uzes 2022
-Cave de Bonnieux Luberon Cuvee Revelation 2020
-J. Denuziere Saint Joseph Cotes du Rhone 2020
-Cave de Cairanne Cuvee Insouciante Red 2021
-Cave Saint Desirat Condrieu 2020  [my fave white]
-Alain Jaune Grande Garrigue 2021
-Domaine de Vacqueyras Seguret L'Amandine Cotes du Rhone Villages 2021

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (87 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau Beaubois Cuvee Confidence Costieres de Nimes 2022 (white)
-LAVAU White Cotes du Rhone 2022 (Noble)
-Domain Rozel Cuvee Alayx, 2021, Grignon-LesAdhemar
-Halos de Jupiter Red Cotes du Rhone 2020
-Chateau des Coccinelles Cotes du Rhone 2022
-Domaine Gassier Nostre Pais 2020
-Les Petits Duc Cotes du Rhone 2021
-Domaine de la Citadelle Le Chataigner Rose Luberon 2022
-Domain Autrand Cotes du Rhone Village, 2022  (N Pearce)
-Villa Voltinia Maison Sinnae Cotes du Rhone Villages Chusclan, 2021
-Chateau d'Orsan Chusclan, 2020
-Mas Carlot Generations Costieres de Nimes 2020  (N Pearce)
-Gabriel Meffre Cotes du Rhone Saint Vincent 2022
-La Font Louisiane Cotes du Rhone 2020
-Collines de Bourdic Duche d'Uzes Les Figuieres 2022
-Chateau de Montfaucon Comtesse Madeleine 2021 (not sweet)  (N Pearce)

The Food: our sitdown lunch had a wide variety of protein to show off the wines. Service was on small plates, naturally. We began with dungeness crab old bay cakes with the Coccinelles. This was followed by the pork belly bao hoisin, cashews, chili mayo and the Chataigner rose (best combination of the afternoon: what a delight!). Next was a braised beef short rib with the Autrand and the Mas Carlot, followed by some slow cooked lamb with the Chateau D'Orsan Cotes du Rhone Villages Chausclan 2022. The parade ended with a small individual cheese course with the Montfaucon.
The Downside: apart from the seminar there was no overall listing of wines, they all had to be hand-selected in writing.
The Upside: the set-up was nicely done, with a seminar, walk around, and a lunch.
The Contact Person: diane.santerne@sopexa.com; agathe.arollinat@sopexa.com.
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 86.

Brand     Appellation    Color    Cuvée name     Vintage    Organic label     Workshop    Agent
Xavier Vins    AOC Côtes du Rhône    Red        2020        Panel    Noble Estates
Château Beaubois    AOC Costières de Nîmes    White    Confidence    2022    Organic, Biodynamic Demeter, HVE     Panel    n.a
Château d'Aqueria    AOC Tavel    Rosé    Château d'Aqueria    2022    HVE    Panel    Noble Estates
Cave de Cairanne    AOC Côtes du Rhône     Red    Insouciante    2021    Organic, Biodynamic Demeter, HVE     Panel    Louis Charles Agency
Château du Trignon     AOC Gigondas     Red        2017    Organic     Panel    n.a
Domaine Rozel    AOC Grignan-les-Adhémar    Red    Alayx    2021    HVE     Panel    n.a
Halos de Jupiter    AOC Côtes du Rhône    Red    Côtes du Rhône    2020        Panel    Halpern Enterprise
Lavau    AOC Côtes du Rhône    White        2022        Panel    Noble Estates
Les Vignes de l'Arque    AOC Duche d'Uzes    White    Les Chemins de Rome    2022    Organic    Panel    n.a
J Denuzière     AOC Côtes du Rhône    Red        2020        Panel    Rogers Company
Cave de Bonnieux    AOC Luberon    Red    Révélation    2020        Panel    n.a
                            
Paul Jaboulet Ainé    AOC Cornas    Red    Les Grandes terrasses    2020        Discovery    Halpern Enterprise
Alain Jaume    AOC Vacqueyras    Red    Grande Garrigue    2021    Organic    Discovery    Vinoluna / Groupe Soleil
Château Boucarut    AOC Côtes du Rhône    Red    Les Petits Ducs    2021    Organic    Discovery    n.a
Domaine de l'Amandine    AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret    Red        2021    Organic, HVE    Discovery    n.a
Domaine Gassier    AOC Costières de Nîmes    Red    Nostre Païs    2020    Organic    Discovery    Halpern Enterprise
CECILE MESTRALLET - Les Collines du Bourdic    AOC Duche d'Uzes    White    Duché d'Uzès blanc    2021    HVE    Discovery    n.a
Gigondas Lacave    AOC Côtes du Rhône    White    La Font Louisiane    2020        Discovery    n.a
Maison Gabriel Meffre    AOC Côtes du Rhône    White    Gabriel Meffre "Saint Vincent"    2022        Discovery    Trajectory Beverage
                            
Caves Carod    AOC Clairette de Die    Sparkling    Jasmée Muscat    2023        Lunch    Hektars Agenc
Château de Montfaucon    AOC Lirac    White    Comtesse Madeleine    2021    Organic    Lunch    Nicholas Pearce Wines
Chateau des Coccinelles    AOC Côtes du Rhône    White    Château des Coccinelles     2022    Organic    Lunch    n.a
Château d'Orsan     AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages CHUSCLAN     Red    Château d'Orsan     2022        Lunch    n.a
Domaine Autrand    AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages    Red        2020        Lunch    Nicholas Pearce Wines
Domaine de La Citadelle    AOC Luberon    Red    Le Châtaignier    2021    Organic, HVE    Lunch    n.a
Domaine des Garances     AOC Beaumes de Venise    Red    Alazard     2022    Organic    Lunch    n.a
Héritiers Gambert Cave de Tain    AOC Hermitage    Red        2018        Lunch    Noble Estates
Mas Carlot    AOC Costières de Nîmes    Red    Générations    2020        Lunch    Nicholas Pearce Wines
Maison Sinnae     AOC Côtes du Rhône Villages  Chusclan    Red    Villa Voltinia    2021    HVE    Lunch    n.a


Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the MAY 11, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the MAY 11, 2024 release.

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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor since 1994. These notes for  better or best wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor No winery can buy their way into – or out of – my 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for my scores in the early 1980s. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced by overuse and "inflated numbers"; thus I have quit any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing the GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and the BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with GOOD being BRONZE.  This also fits into my scheme for trade tastings.

MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )


MAJOR THEME:  The Wine Pantheon -- Classic European Regions

Recommended Wines Under $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)]
=======================
Rose+117861 FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ 2023 $16.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+89011 FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2023 VQA NIAGARA $17.95
W+80234 FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING VQA NIAGARA $19.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+389262 ZUCCARDI SERIE A TORRONTÉS 2023 ARGENTINA $17.95
W+36034 BROCHET RÉSERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 LOIRE $18.95
W+573683 FERZO ABRUZZO PECORINO SUPERIORE 2022  $17.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+488015 QUINTA DO ESPÍRITO SANTO 2020 PORTUGAL $14.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+37725 CASTELLO D'ALBA WHITE 2022  PORTUGAL $14.95
R+261891 FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2021 ARGENTINA $18.95
R+396481 ZONTE'S FOOTSTEP CHOCOLATE FACTORY SHIRAZ 2020  $19.95
R+994616 TERRA D'ALIGI TATONE MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2021 $17.95
R+37767 MAGUS 6 MESES CRIANZA TEMPRANILLO 2020 $13.95

Recommended Wines Over $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)]
======================
W+57430 MISSION HILL RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 OKANAGAN $24.95
W+424507 WESTCOTT ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2021 VQA NIAGARA $29.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+466144 J. MOREAU & FILS GLORIE DE CHABLIS 2022 $31.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+455147 LA CHABLISIENNE EMOTIONS MINERALES BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY $22.95
R+38301 FEATHERSTONE RESERVE CABERNET FRANC 2021 $29.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
R+86363 STRATUS WILDASS RED 2019 $21.95
R+35374 CHÂTEAU GRAND HAUT-MÉDOC 2018 $21.95
R+359810 SÉGLA 2015 $77.95
Rose+319368 CHÂTEAU D'AQUÉRIA TAVEL ROSÉ 2023 $24.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )


MAY 2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better" value...on sale  April 29 through Sunday May 26...

W+43281 Flat Rock Riesling VQA Niagara, now $16.95, save $3.
W+958975 Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Monterey County, now $26.95, save $3.
W+24133 Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend Riesling, now $19.95, save $3.
R+980482 Cambria Julia's Pinot Noir Santa Barbara, now $39.95 , save $5
R+59311 The Seven Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi, now $21.95, save $3
R+27516 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot Paso Robles, now $22.95, save $3.
R+590414 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir South Island New Zealand, now $21.95, save $3.
R+177295 Rivera Il Falcone Riserva Castel del Monte, now $23.95, save $3.
 

** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Season ---

REPORT ON A TASTING OF WINES FROM ITALY LATE 2023

The Date and Time: Monday, October 30, 2023  10:30A - 5PM
The Event: Annual ICE Italian Wine Tasting [its 28th year]
The Venue: Roy Thomson Hall
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, wine agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: online QR code needed
The Quote/Background: 86 estates were showing three wines wines or more. John Szabo MS gave a Masterclass in the new-ish geographic precisions of appellations. There is the Menzioni Geographiche Aggiuntive (MGA for Barolo, Barbaresco, Prosecco, Verdicchio, et al)), the Unita Geographiche Aggiuntive (UGA for Chianti Classico, Soave, Nobile di Montepulciano, Etna, et al). There are also CONTRADAS and PIEVES [parishes]. These are all sub-units of no classification or hierarchy. But also: under UGA/MGA, etc., no grapes can be purchased. For example, Soave has 33 UGAs, Etna has 142 Contradas covering 11 communes, Barolo has 181 MGAs covering 11 communes, while Barbaresco haS 66 MGAs covering just 4 communes. Very difficult to memorize it all....Many wineries are looking to "premiumizing" their production via name branding and protecting. Stay tuned...
The Wines: I did not taste all the table wines or all the fizzes, and I did not taste any dessert wines nor grappas or amari or even olive oils!

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Pinot Grigio, Maculan
-Etna Bianco, 2021, Cusumano
-Chardonnay, Castello Gabbiano
-Oro, 2021, Il Drago e La Fornace
-Rosso Piceno Superiore, 2018 Sella e Mosca
-Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 2020 Rocca delle Macie
-Fiordiligi Grillo Sicilia 2022, Mazara Del Vallo, $22
-Barolo, 2018, Rocche dell Annunziata
-Rosso Piceno Superiore, 2020, Velenosi
-Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo, 2020, Graci
-Mane Vino Rosso IGT Toscana, Podere Casanova $14.50
-Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, 2019, Boscarelli
-Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOC, Podere Casanova $24
-Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG, Podere Casanova $42
-Settecento Vino Nobile de Montepulciano DOCG, Podere Casanova $75
-Baciami Vino Spumante Rose Da Uve Mammolo, Piandaccoli
-Chianti Classico Vigna del Sorbo, 2020, Fontodi
-Barolo Cannubi, 2018 Borgogno
-Barolo Sarmassa, 2017, Marchese di Barolo $81.25 licensee
-Barolo Cannubi, 2017, Marchese di Barolo $81.5 licensee
-Corte Vino Rosso de Montepulciano DOC Podere Casanova, $15.50
-La Cantina del Colli Ripani Fasserina IGT Marche 2022, $20
-Gavi di Gavi, 2021, Marchese di Barolo $25.15 licensee
-Donna Angelica Lucido 2021, Assul $29
-Carinda Insolia, Mazara del Vallo 2022, $22
-Barbaresco Gallina, 2019, Oddero
-Chardonnay DOC Friuli, Modeana
-Chardonnay 2021, Albino Armani $17.95 licensee
-Primitivo Since 1913, 2019, $32.35 licensee
-Fiano E'Arte, 2022, $14.35 licensee
-Primitivo Organic IGP, Agricola Amastuola, 2021, $18.85 licensee
-Primitivo Centosassi Organic, Agricola Amastuola, 2018, $28.75 licensee

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Pecorino, 2022, Cantina Tollo
-Pecorino Falerio 2022, La Cantina $21
-Anima Lavica Janare Campania Spumante
-Ca del Magro, 2021, Bianco Monte del Fra
-Podere Casanova Vini Montepulciano Bianco Toscano Canto 2022
-Falanghina, 2021, la Guardinense
-Soave Classico Calvarino, 2021, Pieropan
-Ribolitto, 2021, Il Drago e La Fornace
-Rubesco Vigna Monticchio, Lungarotti
-Syrah Ruggiero, Assuli $22
-Ribolla Gialla Venezia Giulia, Modeano
-Pinot Grigio, 2022, Albino Armani, $19.30 licensee
-Primitivo Rosato Infintinum 2022, Torrevento SRI, $15.75 licensee
-Primitivo E'Arte 2022, Torrevento SRI $14.35 licensee

The Food: This year it was catered by Stelvio, a Northern Italian Eatery on Dundas Street. They gave us a Buffet Rustico: polenta Bolognese Sauce, polenta with vegetable sauce caponata, Mortadella sausage, sopresatta prosciutto, chickpea salad, pasta salad, quiche di zucchini, pinzimonio con hummus, pickled green and black olives, a range of cheeses, grisini, flatbread cipolle, giardiniera, four kinds of salumi and five kinds of formaggi, and espresso coffee to finish.

The Downside: I had no smartphone, so I could not access all the details of each wine.
The Upside: over the afternoon about 1600 people attended.
The Contact Person: toronto@ice.it  or  b.marassi@ice.it or info@stelviotoronto.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90







Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Sunday, May 5, 2024

CHATEAU DES CHARMES NEW VQA WINE REVIEWS http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com/

Chateau des Charmes Aligote 2021 Cuvee Michele VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $15.95, +296848 LCBO: made from the rarely grown French vinifera grape seldom seen outside Burgundy -- one that Paul Bosc had cultivated since 1978, loaded with lean orchard fruit (green apples and unripe pears) and ending with a finishing crisp acidity suggesting food rather more than sips. It was often used in Burgundy as the white wine base for Kir; in North America now almost any dry white is used for a Kir. Aligote is refreshing for summer, and has no oak. Named for the late Michele Bosc. I last reviewed this wine  (2019 vintage) in 2020. 2g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Twist top.  A nifty and neat bone-dry white wine, fairly priced, and quite useful as a mixer. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures Writing.

Chateau des Charmes Sauvignon Blanc 2022 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, +391300 $15.95 LCBO: last tasted by me with the 2017 vintage. Here, good balanced fruit, herbaceousness, citric tones (mainly lime), zest, MVC typicity for sauvignon blanc. Light to medium bodied, from grapes harvested a month later than usual. Fresh but so far maybe a bit too fresh at this point. Try later in the summer. 12.5% ABV. Well-priced. 4g/L residual sugar. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures Writing.

Chateau des Charmes Fume Blanc 2022 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +739133 $34.95 Winery: vines planted in 1983, very aromatic with nuances of toastiness both in the nose and on the palate, somewhat in the fume style as started by Robert Mondavi over fifty years ago. Typical savvy citric and unripe pear zestiness is tamed by oaking and unctuous tropical fruit tones developed through small batch lots. 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. Barrel fermentation in barriques, aged in French oak on lees for a year or so which adds some heft with smoke and toast. 12.5% ABV. Can be cellared  through six years (but watch out for changing wine tastes).  Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures Writing.

Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir 2021 Cuvee Michele Estate Grown &  Bottled VQA NOTL, +454967, $16.95 LCBO: A lovely young wine, with some forest floor (mushrooms, earth) to complement the red fruit (strawberries are hinted at by the winemaker). I hadn't tasted this wine since the 2018 vintage. Just under subtle oaking, with a moderate intensity of medium flavours of spices mid-palate. Ready to drink now. Cork closure, 12.5% ABV, 3g/L residual sugar. Ready now. Try with slider burgers. Dedicated to the late Michele Bosc. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures Writing.

Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir 2021 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $15.95, +57349 LCBO: medium-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais [same grape variety]. Easy drinking of (sour) cherry-berry flavours with occasional nuances of spices. Fermented in normal classic unoaked style. I had not tasted this wine since the 2016 vintage. Best for patios or mulled wine, parties, BBQ. Could be served slightly chilled. Ready now, but with some tannic structure to carry through a whole meal. 12.5% ABV, cork closure. A very popular wine at this consistent price level. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures Writing.





Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Friday, May 3, 2024

REPORT ON DRINK CHILE WINES, LATE 2023

REPORT ON DRINK CHILE, LATE  2023
The Date and Time: Monday November 20, 2023  1PM - 4:30PM
The Event: a trade walk around tasting of Wines of Chile and Prochile wines.
The Venue: Windsor Arms Hotel
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: the booklet gave a good series of highlights. There were 120 wines from 17 wineries to taste, plus audio tours and tastings every 15 minutes for an overview of Chilean wine styles. There was material on the various wine regions and 18 wine valleys.
The Quote/Background: Chile has come a long way towards more diversity and higher quality over the years. Sustainability and innovation have led the way
The Wines: I did not taste every wine.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arboleda Brisa Aconcagua, 2021 $49.95 [5 grape varieties]
-Las Ninas Traditional Method Brut Chardonnay, 2022 $19.95 (April 2024)
-Las Ninas Traditional Method Rose Pinot Noir, 2022 $19.95 (April 2024)
-Luis Felipe Edwards LFE900 Red Blend, 2018 [5 varieties]
-Santa Rita Floresta Chardonnay, 2021 $27.95
-Sutil Acrux Red 2020 [6 varieties] $48
-Casa del Toqui Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, 2021 $24.95
-Errazuriz Don Maximiniano, 2018
-Vina Santa Carolina El Pacto Agreement No.2, Carmenere, 2021
-Emiliana Organic Vineyards Novas Stellar Selection, 2021 Red Blend $19.95
-Emiliana Organic Vineyards Coyam, 2020 $34.95
-Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvingon, 2021 $22.95
-Santa Ema Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay,  $80.95
-Santa Ema Catalina Red, 2019 $111.95

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arboleda Chardonnay, 2022 $18.95
-Marea Grand Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, 2023 $ 17.95
-Santa Ema Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserve, 2023 $17.95
-Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva Carmenere, 2022 $45
-Undurraga Sauvignon Terroir Hunter, 2021 $30
-Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Piedra Secca, 2021
-Santa Rita Pewen Carmenere, 2021 $60
-Montes Alpha Chardonnay, 2021 $22.95
-Santa Carolina Reserva Chardonnay, 2022 $14.45
-Terraustral Gold Grand Reserve Chardonnay, 2021 $18
-VSPT Wine Group Leyda Reserva 2022, $16.95
-Concha y Toro Diablo Crystal Sauvignon Blanc, $17.95
-Cono Sur Organic Chardonnay, 2021 $14.95

The Food: for the trade, there were food platters of meats, cheeses, breads, biscuits.
The Downside: it got really crowded really fast.
The Upside: a chance to catch up with the latest wines from Chile.
The Contact Person: lisa@androscom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 80



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

BEST MAY 2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS at the LCBO...

MAY 2024 LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better" value...on sale  April 29 through Sunday May 26...

W+43281 Flat Rock Riesling VQA Niagara, now $16.95, save $3.
W+958975 Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Monterey County, now $26.95, save $3.
W+24133 Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend Riesling, now $19.95, save $3.
R+980482 Cambria Julia's Pinot Noir Santa Barbara, now $39.95 , save $5
R+59311 The Seven Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi, now $21.95, save $3
R+27516 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot Paso Robles, now $22.95, save $3.
R+590414 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir South Island New Zealand, now $21.95, save $3.
R+177295 Rivera Il Falcone Riserva Castel del Monte, now $23.95, save $3.
 



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the APRIL 27, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the APRIL 27, 2024 release.

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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor since 1994. These notes for  better or best wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor No winery can buy their way into – or out of – my 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for my scores in the early 1980s. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced by overuse and "inflated numbers"; thus I have quit any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing the GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and the BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with GOOD being BRONZE.  This also fits into my scheme for trade tastings.

MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )


MAJOR THEME:  CALIFORNIA WATCHLIST: Paso Robles

Recommended Wines UNDER $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)]
=========================
FIZZ+19031 CELENE AMÉTHYSTE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BORDEAUX $17.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+34245 WALDSCHÜTZ RIED HASEL GRÜNER VELTLINER AUSTRIA 2021 $18.95
CHILE
W+303628 SANTA RITA MEDALLA REAL GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY CHILE 2021 $17.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+747600 PIERRE SPARR GRANDE RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER ALSACE 2021 $19.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+35860 CHÂTEAU ROQUEFORT LES ROCHES BLANCHES SAUVIGNON BLANC BORDEAUX 2022 $15.95
W+557207 FLEURON DE LA REBOURGÈRE SUR LIE MUSCADET-SÈVRE ET MAINE LOIRE $16.95
W+37520 LANDLUST ORGANIC RIESLING MOSEL-SAAR-RUWER 2022 $15.95
W+36000 MEZZACORONA RISERVA CHARDONNAY ITALY 2020 $18.95
W+35951 UMBERTO CESARI LIANO PINOT GRIGIO ABRUZZO 2022 $17.95
W+919514 WITHER HILLS SAUVIGNON BLANC NEW ZEALAND 2023 $19.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
R+452029 PIATTELLI LUJÁN DE CUYO RESERVE MALBEC ARGENTINA 2021 $17.95
R+494039 DOMAINE LAFAGE CAYROL VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2021 $19.95
R+35375 CHÂTEAU LE CONTE MARQUEY BORDEAUX 2018 $18.95
R+224592 CHÂTEAU LE GRAND RETOUR PLAN DE DIEU CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES $16.95
R+642421 VALPANTENA TORRE DEL FALASCO VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO VENETO 2022 $17.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
ROSE+177840 PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD CABERNET ROSÉ VQA 2023 $16.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
ROSE+498535 MALIVOIRE VIVANT ROSÉ VQA 2023 $19.95

Recommended Wines OVER $20 [my basic standard is MVC/QPR=BETTER (86-89)]
========================
W+566026 CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2022 VQA $34.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+16059 BACHELDER LES VILLAGES-BENCH CHARDONNAY 2021 VQA $34.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
W+11108 UMANI RONCHI CENTOVIE PECORINO ABBRUZO 2020 $26.95
W+232439 CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE CHARDONNAY 2022 WASH STATE $21.95
R+33894 LE CLOS JORDANNE JORDAN VILLAGE PINOT NOIR 2021 VQA $29.95 MVC/QPR=BEST (90+ )
R+36927 CHÂTEAU CAROLINE MOULIS-EN-MÉDOC 2019 $30.95
R+35973 PENTACLE LES TROIS ROUTES CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2019  $63.95
R+713354 TRAVAGLINI GATTINARA PIEDMONT 2019 $37.95
R+747030 LA VITE LUCENTE 2021 $33.95
R+10704 WESTMOUNT PINOT NOIR OREGON 2021 $33.95


APRIL LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offer selections...these  are "better"  value...on sale Monday April 1 through Sunday April 28...only a few more days to go until the sale ends.

W+84988 Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay, now $29.95, save $3
W+68817 Hidden Bench Estate Organic Chardonnay VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara, now $29.95, save $2
W+13311 Lone Birch Chardonnay Yakima Washington, now $19.95, save $3
W+89037 Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay VQA, now $19.95, save $2
W+18631 Sebastiani California Chardonnay, now $16.90, save $2
W+350900 Robert Oatley Chardonnay Margaret River, now $19.95, save $2
W+268342 Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay VQA, now $17.95, save $2
R+30957 Concha Y Toro Winemaker's Lot 148 Carmenere La Pataguas Vineyard Rapel Chile, now $16.95, save $3
R+274753 Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir VQA Beamsville Bench, now $34.94, save $3
R+626390 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir New Zealand, now $19.95, save $3
R+727636 Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo 2020 IGT Toscana, now $31.95, save $3

MAY LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some recommendations on sale April 29 through May 26, 2024....

W+43281 Flat Rock Riesling VQA Niagara, now $16.95, save $3
W+958975 Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Monterey, now $26.95, save $3
W+24133 Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend Riesling VQA Beamsville Niagara, now $19.95, save $3
R+980482 Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Barbara, now $39.95, save $5
R+590414 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir South Island New Zealand, now $18.95, save $3
R+177295 Rivera Il Falcone Riserva Castel del Monte Puglia, now $23.95, save $3
R+59311 The Seven Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi, now $21.95, save $3
 

** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Season ---


REPORT ON THE WINES OF GREECE TRADE TASTING  TORONTO 2023

The Event: a tasting of the wines of Greece.
The Venue: Arcadian Loft
The Target Audience: licensees, sommeliers and wine media, wine agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: a spiral bound catalogue with many maps and wine/grape descriptions. There were 29 tables with 116 wines, and the wineries were placed mostly by agent to cover a few tables each. There were about four wines per winery, and there were full details about winery contacts (email addrersses) plus agents, the latter with phone numbers. A good resource guide.
The Quote/Background: Most of the wineries were repped by a small handful of agents, such as Kolonaki (11 wineries at 11 tables), Dionysus (3 tables), Selections Le Maitre de Chai (3), Asteria Imports (3), and then the others with one or two tables each.
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Malamatina Winery Filioma Dry Rose 2022 [merlot]
-Malamatima Filioma Agiorgitiko 2022 PGI Peloponnese
-Alpha Estate Xinomavro Red Single Vineyard Hedgehog 2020 PDO Amyndeon
-Alpha Estates Assyrtiko 2021
-Cavino Atelier Mavro Kalavritino-Cabernet Sauvignon 2022 PGI Achaia
-Domaine Costa Lazaridi Amethystos Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Drama
-Domaine Hatzimichalis Alfega White 2022 [sauvignon blanc, malagousia, robola]
-Domaine Hatzimichalis Assyrtiko Alepotrype Vineyard 2022 PGI Atalanti Valley
-Ktima Biblia Areti White 2020 PGI Pangeon [assyrtiko]
-Ktima Biblia Ovilos White 2022 PGI Pangeon
-Ktima Tselepos Amalia Brut NV [moschofilero]
-Zoinos Winery Sparkling White Extra Brut 2021 PDO Zitsa  [debina]
-Kitma Pavlidis Emphasis Assyrtiko 2022 PGI Drama
-Kitma Spiropoulos Ode Panos Rose 2020 Brut
-Oenops Wines Apla Dry White 2022
-Papagiannakos Winery Salvatiano Old Vines 2022 PGI Markopoulo
-Papagiannakos Winery Salvatiano "Vientzi" 2020 PGI Markopoulo
-Papagiannakos Winery Kalogeri Malagousia 2022 PGI Attiki  
-Santo Wines Grand Reserve Santorini Assyrtiko 2020 PDO Santorini [oaked]  [fave today]
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Malamatima Four Angels Red 2022 PGI Peloponnese [syrah/merlot]
-Malamatima Four Angels White PGI Peloponnese [chardonnay/malagousia]
-Malamatina Winery Filioma Moschofilero 2022  PGI Peloponnese
-Boutari Moschofilero 2022 PDO Mantinia
-Domaine Skouras Cuvee Prestige White 2022 PGI Peloponnese
-Domaine Skouras Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2022 PGI Peloponnese
-Cavino Mega Spileo Cuvee III White 2022 PGI Achaia
-Domaine Costa Lazaridi Malagousia 2022 PGI Drama
-Domaine Costa Lazaridi Chateau Julia Assyrtiko 2022 PGI Drama
-Domaine Hatzimichalis Kapnias Red 2020 [cabernet sauvignon] PGI Atalanti Valley
-Ktima Biblia Chora White 2022 PGI Pangeon
-Papagiannakos Winery Assyrtiko 2022 PGI Attiki
-Santo Wines Santorini Assyrtiko 2022 PDO Santorini
-Santo Wines Santorini Nykteri 2022 PDO Santorini

The Food: cheese platters with biscuits and breads and fresh fruit; grilled baby octopus with chili crisp; hot apps on platters of chicken, fish, lamb meatballs, fried veggie balls. The highlight for me was the oregano and lemon lamb kleftiko and charred eggplant.
The Downside: I had just come from an earlier wine portfolio tasting.
The Upside: good exposure to wines that dance in the catalogue.
The Contact Person: lisa@androscom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.









Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures