WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR MAY 2, 2015
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing firstname.lastname@example.org. Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium "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 www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here.
NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting. It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
Famiglia Bianchi Chardonnay 2014 IP Mendoza, +1461, $16.95: up a buck (what else is new?) over the 2013 release of last year, but more wood expression from the barrel fermentation. 14% ABV. I'm buying two cases, so save me some...QPR: 91.
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
1.Mahi Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, +63941, $19.95: good citric character, particularly lime, with herbs. Balanced savvy, concentrated tones. Best with mahi mahi? Just sayin' 13.5% ABV. QPR:89.
2.Kaimira Estate Brightwater Chardonnay 2012 Nelson, +408641, $19.95: well-priced aged chardonnay with whiff of wood cream due to barrel fermentation and barrel aging for 12 months and integration for another two years. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2012 Mosel, +411249, $22.95. QPR: 90.
4.Ruppertsberger Linsenbusch Gewurztraminer Spatlese 2014 Pfalz, +320473, $17.95: dense gewurztraminer character, a reasonable alternative to Alsatian gewurztraminer (many of which are over-the-top in density and sugars). MVC all the way for concentrated flavours. 11% ABV. QPR: 89.
5.Calamus Riesling 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, +158642, $16.95: not as sweet in the mouth as (M) indicates in the catalogue, but bearing in at 11.6% ABV. Good minerality. QPR: 89.
6.Gustave Lorentz Reserve Gewurztraminer 2013 Alsace, +408195, $21.95. QPR: 90.
7.Beringer Chardonnay 2012 Napa, +84988, $22.95. QPR: 90.
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
1.Colio Bricklayer's Reward Old Farm Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA Lake Erie North Shore, +395277, $19.95: a concentrated delight from older vines, fruity, peppery, some savoury herbs. 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
2.Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2012 Columbia Valley, +263418, $17.95: consistently underpriced and consistently delicious for MVC merlot, with nuances of all of the rich stuff (e.g. cherries, mocha). 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Brick Kiln Shiraz 2011 McLaren Vale, +329979, $24.95. QPR: 90.
4.Chateau de Serame Reserve du Chateau Corbieres 2010, +175216, $16.95: juicy dark fruits, some game. Best for North American appeal. Gold Medalist. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
5.Xavier Cotes du Rhone 2011, +297317, $16.95: off-dry or lower acid finish, 14.5% ABV, 65% grenache. Old vines. MVC of south Rhone. QPR: 89.
6.Baron de Magana 2009 Navarra, +280552, $19.95: quite detailed with 35% merlot and 35% cabernet sauvignon. Quite Bordeaux in style but not in price. QPR: 89.
7.Hacienda Lopez de Haro Reserva 2005 Rioja, +357335, $18.95: now almost 10 years old and still inexpensive, this has the MVC of a Rioja Reserva with that sandalwood complexity. QPR: 89.
8.Castano Solanera Vinas Viejas 2012 Yecla, +276162, $16.95: hard to pass up an inexpensive Spanish wine that garnered a "94" from the man himself, Robert Parker. 70% mourvedre, black fruit all the way, oak treatment. 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
1.Pahlmeyer Chardonnay 2013 Napa Valley, +147454, $116.95 retail. Surprise your clients by listing this at $125 - $130.
2.Bachelder Pinot Noir 2012 Willamette Valley, +333278, $34.95.
3.Tapiz Seleccion de Barricas 2008 Mendoza, +403253, $29.95.
4.Chateau Plaisance Cuvee Alix 2005 Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, +348789, $26.95.
5.Bosquet des Papes Cuvee Tradition Chateauneuf du Pape 2012, +726687, $49.95.
6.E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2011, +704908, $28.95.
7.La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino 2009, +642561, $49.95.
8.Rocca Delle Macie Vino Nobile di Montalcino 2011, +232488, $25.95.
9.Igino Accordini Le Bessole Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007, +651570, $49.95.