-ENRICO SERAFINO BARBARESCO DOCG 2010, +341156, $20.85 LCBO: a good example of competition, with a lower priced Barbaresco produced by Campari. It's been aged for three years already, and exhibits spices in a rich but austere format – best with food (anything Italian, roasts, cheeses). It is a heavy nebbiolo wine, and could still use some aging. The lower price may mean that you need to so some work yourself, such as letting it cellar for a few more years. Well worth the effort for this old style wine. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
-TENUTE DI TOSCANA CARIONE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2008 DOCG, +266668, $30.05 LCBO: wow, this is a general listed wine that has already seen five years plus of aging. It replaces the 2006 vintage, which had six years on it when first released at the LCBO. The rich texture lends to complexity in a new style Brunello, more acceptable to the North American market: ripe and fruity but with that Sangiovese depth of cherry fruit. 14%. Hard to find any kind of Brunello at this price point. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
-SENSI VIGNE VINI BORGO BELLO BOLGHERI 2010 DOC TUSCANY, +341123, $18.80 LCBO: Bolgheri wines are very popular now that they show very well against supertuscan wines. They have DOC legally allowable cabernet sauvignon and merlot in the blend, along with sangiovese – the mix we find in expensive supertuscans costing upwards of $100 or more. Bolgheris might not do it better than supertuscans, but they approach them as "baby" supertuscans. This one shows fruit and spice, great North American appeal in that merlot is recognizable, modest tannins, balanced on the mid-palate, okay by itself or with food. Bolgheri is my fave supertuscan styled wine, and this one is no exception, especially for its low price under $20. Nicely aged for three years, 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
-Chateau des Charmes Rose Cuvee d'Andree 2013 VQA NOTL, $14.95
Vintages +333260: this fresh and vibrant rose continues to please year
over year. Here it is 100% pinot noir, dry "old style", loaded with Ontario
cranberry and red fruit strawberry tones, coming in at 13% ABV. Stainless steel
of course, and twist top. Refreshing, just bottled. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
-Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 VQA NOTL, $14.95 +370320: from a nice ripe year, loaded with choco-berry and mocha tones. 10 months in French oak, but still done in a Euro style as a food wine. This may be their first vintage of an entire cab sauvignon; previous bottlings were either Cab-Merlot or St. David's Bench vineyards at almost twice the price. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
From Union Wine VQA Niagara –
1.Union White 2012 VQA Niagara, +197145 LCBO, $13.95: a virtual Ontario winery targeting the under-35 demo. It's strength seems to be in blended wines, hence "union". This one definitely says "summer", as a blend of riesling, unoaked chardonnay, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc, and viognier all contribute to the North American-styled blend. 12.5% ABV, twist top, off-dry in what we used to call a (1), and intensely aromatic. Grape ratios may change from year to year, but these are the usual suspects. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Union Gold 2011 VQA Niagara, +351049 LCBO, $14.95: The partnership of Allan Jackson (formerly of Jackson-Triggs) and Andrew von Teichman (of Von Terra wine agency) continues: twist top, 13% ABV, and a serious food wine here. Both the pinot gris (note the use of "gris" which is increasingly being applied to a higher style of pinot grigio) and the chardonnay have been barrel aged, while the aromatic sauvignon blanc and gewurztraminer are made in the tank. The result is a golden colour that is dry and crisp for food, with the edge of oak for complexity. The amount of gewurztraminer is very small, and I would like to taste the wine without its addition, just so I can check on its contribution. Maybe it adds character. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Union Red 2010 VQA Niagara, +197152 LCBO, $13.95: from the noble vintage of 2010, blended from merlot, cabernet (no indication if this is cab franc or cab sauv, so presumably it is both), gamay noir, and pinot noir. 13.5% ABV, twist top. A full-bodied Bordeaux-styled wine, suitable for later courses at the table. Shows some herbs (from the franc?) and black fruit. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Union Noir 2012 VQA Niagara, +277632 LCBO, $15.95: 13.5% ABV, twist top, and packed with upfront red fruit in a light style, better as a patio wine in summer or as a first course wine. Blend of pinot noir and gamay noir, very dry. Best served slightly chilled. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
1.Wildass Riesling 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +129700 Vintages, $16.95: a compelling, fresh riesling that is basically a food wine with its lemony-apple citric finish. Best with food. Unoaked, of course. Twist top. 12% ABV. If you keep it a few years, it might get better as an aged riesling would. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Wildass Red 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +86363 Vintages, $19.95: a
delightful wine but not as strong as previous years, comprising syrah
(11%), merlot (28%), cabernet Franc (31%), cabernet sauvignon (18%),
tannat (5%), Tempranillo (3%), sangiovese (1%), and petit verdot (3%). Gamay is also listed on the back label, but it isn't here. The eight red grapes (a real Euro blend) were 100% barrel aged in 11% new oak for 246 days. An exceptionally ripe wine, medium body emphasizing black fruit, coming in at 14.8% ABV. Twist top. Originally introduced for restaurants but now extremely popular as an Ontario red blend. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Wildass White 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +85100 Vintages, $19.95: a blend of some
81% sauvignon blanc, 7% semillon, 6% riesling and 6% gewurztraminer. All barrel aged in second fill French oak for 593 days. Tropical fruitiness is the order of the day,
with the impact of semillon, and gewurztraminer. In addition to the mouth-filling savvy, there are fresh peaches and other orchard fruit (apples, apricots) on display, and a touch of smoothness from the wood. Finishes with good acidity for food too. Twist top. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.