By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 for 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 biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past While ---
NEWLY RELEASED KACABA VQA NIAGARA WINES...
KACABA Vineyards & Winery Premium Series Cabernet/Syrah 2020 VQA Niagara Escarpment $24.95 518 cases now available at winery and online at kacaba.com: this is a blend of cabernet franc (60%) with syrah (40%), the latter being the oldest planting in Ontario. Sustainably grown. At one time it was a blend of cabernet/merlot/syrah, but this changes every year depending on the grapes available and the harvest conditions. Matured in French and American oak barrels for 13 months or so. You'll get a whiff of anise and red fruit, and with the franc it is a bit savoury. Definitely a red meat wine. What I usually do is make a double-decant, taste, and then leave it in a re-sealed bottle for a week or so, with daily tastings. The wine itself will be at its peak in a few more years. Expect dark fruit such as cassis and some red fruit like Ontario cherries. 3g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
KACABA Vineyards & Winery Premium Series Cabernet Franc 2019 VQA Niagara Escarpment $33.15 525 cases available at winery and online at kacaba.com in January 2023: this is one of Kacaba's new Premium Series, an upscale label line of wine. Very reminiscent of Right Bank (St Emilion) cabs but without the stuffing of, say, Cheval Blanc. It is just as durable at this young age. Currently it is mute until tasted later after aeration. What I usually do is a double-decant, taste, and then leave it in a sealed bottle for a week or so, with daily tastings. If you don't do this, then the wine will be ready in six to ten years. Complex aromas begin to ascend and descend as the week rolls on. First some cherries -- mostly red with Ontario cranberry, but later also black. Some vanilla smoke, savoury herby spiciness, even coffee and chocolate (that'll please the millennials). Again, strong (aged or gamey) red meat is called for food pairing. 3g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 - 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good value...on sale through Sunday February 26...
[red] +168716 Les Vignes De Bila-Haut (Chapoutier) $16.95, save $3.00, now $13.95
[red] +322586 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon $20.95, save $3.00, now $17.95
[white] +286278 Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay $19.95, save $2.00, now $17.95
[splurge] +314575 Sterling Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $49.95, save, $5.00 now $44.95
[sweetie] +388306 Vidal Icewine VQA (Inniskillin) 375ml. $49.95, save $5.00, now $44.95
MAJOR THEME: Southern Hemisphere
Wines Under $20
Fizz+16836 GRAN BARÓN BRUT RESERVA CAVA Vegan, traditional method, DO, Spain $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+14037 DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RESERVE VALRÉAS CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES BLANC 2021 AC $17.90 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+31651 PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD RIESLING 2019 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+119099 VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY 2021 Unfined and unfiltered, Mendoza $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+231282 KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC WO Stellenbosch $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+391847 THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2021 AP $16.95
R+516765 JEAN-PIERRE MOUEIX BORDEAUX 2018 AC $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+25237 VINELAND CABERNET FRANC/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+28079 LUI RESERVA CABERNET FRANC 2020 Singe vineyard, Mendoza $19.95
R+132365 VIÑA COBOS FELINO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Unfined, Mendoza $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+371112 MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2020 Sustainable, single vineyard, DO Valle del Maipo $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Wines Over $20
Fizz+113035 PELLER ESTATES SIGNATURE SERIES ICE CUVÉE SPARKLING ROSÉ Traditional method, Icewine dosage, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $36.95 MVC/QPR: 91.
Fizz+20945 HENRI CHAMPLIAU BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+31650 MARYNISSEN HERITAGE COLLECTION RIESLING 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $22.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Dean Tudor, Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism