SOME NEW BEVERAGES TASTED THE MONTH OF JUNE --
1.Chateau des Charmes Rose Cuvee d'Andree 2015 Estate Grown VQA NOTL, $15.95 Vintages +333260: this fresh and vibrant rose continues to please year over year as I have said before. It is still 100% pinot noir, dry "old style" as in Europe, but loaded with Ontario cranberry, red fruit strawberry, and some discreet black cherry tones from the hot summer, coming in at 12.7% ABV. Stainless steel fermentation of course, and twist top. Refreshing, just bottled. Ontario Wine Awards Gold Winner for 2016. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2012 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +430991, $19.95 Vintages: one of several chardonnays at different price points from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2010. Barrel fermented and barrel aged in French oak for almost a year, with lees stirring. Expect soft balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit. Cork closure. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. 483 cases. 13.2% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Ciderie St-Nicolas Brut Crackling Strong Cider PQ, ~$16: This "brut" of a cider can put hair on your chest, coming in at 8.5% ABV. It has been a gold medal winner in the past. This strong cider is useful as an aperitif or as a first course wine. Certainly, it is dry enough to take on many grape sparkling wines. A good choice in the cider sweepstakes. Once available through Vintages, now a private order from email@example.com. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Ciderie St-Nicolas Rose Cider PQ, ~$20: 7% ABV. It is a gold medal winner. The apples are crushed cold pressed with raspberries and strawberries for added complexity and, of course, colour. A terrific social drink or with dessert, even brunch. Carries enough weight and follows through with apple cider tones. Once available through Vintages, now a private order from firstname.lastname@example.org. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Le Pere Jules Cidre Brut [2014 apples] Normandy, +456145, $13.60 LCBO General List: Lovely orange colour tones, but has that Norman/Breton funk of baked apples and barrels from the region. Bone dry, long finish, 5% ABV. Not only delightful but also affordable. Please remember that the LCBO only orders French cider once in a while, so load up for sure. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Alberto Quacquarini Vernaccia Di Serrapetrona Vino Spumante Secco NV, $31.02 licensee; $34.95 retail; cases of 6 from www.appellationwines.ca. Made from the
Vernaccia Nera grape (located only in the Serrapetrona area in the Marche by the Adriatic) although there can also be small amounts of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. 12.5% ABV. Dry style (secco) for a sparkling red wine -- the result of THREE fermentations: the first uses half of the grapes hand-picked in October; the rest are dried on straw mats and added to the wine in January for a second fermentation; the third occurs after the wine has rested for a few months, and is then put into autoclaves where the Charmat method is used. It's a very unexpectedly aromatic wine, with red fruits including a cranberry sharpness and a strawberry sweetness (almost like cab franc). Typically tannic at first but then broadens on the palate and in the mouthfeel. It is best with sausages and salamis, or anything made with fatty pork.
Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2014 Speck Family Reserve VQA Ontario, +461699, $24.95 Vintages Sept 17 but at winery now: Low yielding grapes come from Short Hills Bench area which was planted in 1984. As with their previous baco noirs, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy black currant spicy character and the low price – under $25. Aged in premium American Oak for more than 18 months. It's still young, needing another two years or so for proper aging, but with multiple decanting it can be enjoyed now. 13.5% ABV. One of the top bacos at the LCBO. Works best with pronounced meats such as pork, lamb, farmed or wild game – all either braised or grilled. And spicy foods. Speck Family Reserves are the top tier by HOP. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Henry of Pelham Chardonnay Speck Family Reserve 2013 VQA Short Hills Bench, +616466, $29.95 Vintages: from some of their oldest vines, starting in 1988, this chardonnay has been barrel fermented in French oak (40% new Allier, 60% in one year barrels) before barrel aging. It's smooth and clean, showing ripe oak expressions and some creaminess, long finish. Also, it is underpriced, if I may add....Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Miguel Torres La Mulas Merlot 2015 Reserva Central Valley Chile, +454868, $12.95 LCBO: a lined price series treat from Chile, now on the shelves with its siblings cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc, all at $12.95. Good value cheer from this soft, medium-bodied, velvety MVC merlot grown in organic vineyards. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
10.Waterkloof Circle of Life White 2012 WO Stellenbosch, +284588 $19.95 Vintages: a blended white (every region seems to have a few), this time it is South Africa with content of sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, and some semillon added later. Of value is the co-fermentation of the two "blancs", almost a field blend, as these wines are made together and not blended later. Aged a year before release for more complexity. It's a naturally made wine, with sustainability a cornerstone. Expect citrus, cream, and melons. Tasty. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.