SOME NEW WINES TASTED THIS MONTH –
1.Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay 2014 VQA Short Hills Bench Niagara, +268342 Vintages, $19.95: re-released in Vintages September 3, 2016...a really fresh tasting chardonnay, tempered by balanced oak notes from barrel fermentation (90% French oak, one-quarter new) and some short aging in barrels for about 8 months. It typifies deftness at 13.5% ABV: ripeness, balance of oaking and fruit, integrated style in place, while wood integration produces creaminess in the finish. Cork closure. No price increase in over a year. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Henry of Pelham Riesling 2013 VQA Niagara, +268375 LCBO $14.95: absolutely delicious Euro MVC riesling in a Rhine style, with an off-dry palate but a dry finish (good acid levels on the finish). Citrus and flowers on the mid-palate, sip or food. 11% ABV.
Cool fermentation is stressed. Try with goat cheeses, hams, grilled veggies. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Henry of Pelham Cabernet-Merlot 2010 Peck Family Reserve Tier VQA Short Hills Bench, +616433 Vintages, $39.95: made from Pelham's oldest Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot vineyards, from specially selected barrels for this top level. Aged in French oak for 20 months, 60% new and 40% 1 year old barrels. I did enjoy this wine over a week after opening with daily tasting and decanting. Needs more aging to appreciate some nuances, otherwise the wine is useful now. Best with wine-braised meats such as lamb, venison or other game. 13.5% ABV, vinified by cropping and selection.
Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Marimar Estate Acero Chardonnay 2014 Don Miguel Vineyard Russian River Valley, +331884 Vintages, $34.95: a surprise "unoaked" Chardonnay from California ("acero" is Spanish for steel), showing some voluptuous fruit that had developed during its six months or so in stainless tanks. This includes full malo-ferm. It's an organic vineyard with Euro dense planting, here using the See clone. On the palate, expect white fleshed orchard fruit (apple, pears) with some tropicality expressed by a certain overripe quality. Long, long finish, but as a sipper it can also deal with first course food. Twist-top, 13.8% ABV. Nicely aged for consumption now. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Best's Great Western Shiraz 2013 Bin 1 Victoria, +222323 Vintages, $19.95: very ripe and juicy with a longer than expected finish. 14% ABV is not hot at all. Typical black fruit of shiraz but also with some mint. Ir is a keeper for the next few years. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Torres Cos Perpetual 2013 Priorat Catalunya, +265710 Vintages, $49.95: both Garnacha and Carinena grapes are used here, and they are about 80 – 100 years old. It shows, with much body and texture ("cos" is Catalan for "body"). With 18 months in new French close-grain oak, it is very Rhonish and toasty with nuances of coffee and chocolate and lots of black fruit. 15% ABV! Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Quinta de Curvos Prova Cega Tinto 2013 Douro, +446054, $13.95: a very drinkable red made from the famous Port varieties such as Touriga Nacional (30%), Touriga Franca (20%), Tinta Roriz (20%), Tinta Barroca (10%) and Sousao (20%); the latter is widely used in other countries in the production of port-like wines. It is a basic Portuguese wine with both red and black fruits, some spice on the length, but here with some soft finsihing tannins. Well-priced for heartier dishes. 14.5% ABV.Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Escudo Rojo Blend 2013 Maipo, +464354 Vintages, $18.95: nifty red blend of carmenere, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and cabernet franc. It changes every year, but it is mostly one-third of each of the first three, with some franc finishing off the complexity. It has plenty of black fruit (black cherries, cassis, blackberry), plus mocha and toasted tones. It's dense, not yet ready, but will repay time spent in the cellar. Half of 2013 wine was aged in one year old oak barrels for a year. 14% ABV. Good price. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2013 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St David's Bench,
+287268, $22.95 at winery, online, boutiques: one of several chardonnays at different price points from Chateau des Charmes. It is classic Burgundian: barrel fermented and barrel aged in French barrique oak for a year, with lees stirring. Burnt cream and buttery complexity, baked pie, vanilla-caramel arcing tones on the palate. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. Definitely underpriced. 13.7% ABV. Cork closure. Could use more time in the bottle. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
10.Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir 2014 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St.David's Bench,
+332858, $35 at winery, online, boutiques: Quite a powerful wine, lots of stylish Burgundian forest floor (mushrooms, earth) to complement the red berry fruit. It was last produced in 2010 (the 2011, 2012, and 2013 years were declassified). Needs some time, maybe two more years. 13% ABV. It will also show better with food such as an Asian salmon preps or veal. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
11.Cape Bay Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc 2015 WO Western Cape, +439885, $10.95 LCBO: here is another value white wine from South Africa, a blend of the better taste components of chardonnay and chenin blanc. At this price level, some of the best wines are bi-varietal, as in Chile and Argentina. Expect some creamy chardonnay tones coupled with some citric and off-dry fruity chenin blanc tones. A good blend for quaffing or aperitifs. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
12.Cape Bay Cabernet-Shiraz 2014 WO Western Cape, +396648, $10.80 LCBO: here is another value red wine from South Africa, a blend of the better taste components of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. At this price level, some of the best wines are bi-varietal, as in Chile and Argentina. Expect some black fruit cassis cabernet tones coupled with some gutsy shiraz mouth brimming fruit tones. A good blend for quaffing or red wine aperitifs. 12.5% ABV, twist top. Quality/Price rating is 87 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
13.Mount Riley Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough, +447425 Vintages, $18.95: half from Wairau Valley fruit and half from Awatere Valley fruit. This is a very fruity wine, especially on the mid-palate, with the long herbaceous finish of a Kiwi wine. Aperitif or seafood is the best pairing. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
14.Thornbury Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Marlborough, +734798, $18.95 Vintages: a very lively savvy, zesty with lots of citric and green tones (herbs, grass, gooseberry, beans, typical low ripeness). Some tropical fruit peeps out. Very much a Kiwi Savvy, best at lunch. 13.5% ABV, twist top. Available at LCBO in the past at same price for 2014, 2013, and 2011 vintages. Tried with Georgian Bay trout: great match. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
15.Sue-Ann Staff Estate Fancy Farm Girl Foxy Pink 2014 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +469338 LCBO $14.95: while I (as a long time wine writer in Ontario) have a problem with the word "foxy" applied to any wine label, I have no problem with this particular wine, which scores well with the MOR crowd who want lower alcohol (11%) but higher sugar (14 g/L residual sugar). It's an engaging blend of 92% riesling and 8% cab franc – which gives it a combo peachy-strawb fruit palate. Best as a patio/deck/pool quaffer, or social drink, or first course app with non-white fatty meats (salmon, tuna, pork).Quality/Price rating is 87 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
16.My wine bargain of the month: Cathedral Cellar Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine 2010 WO Western Cape South Africa, +462762, $16.95 Vintages: this probably the closest non-Champagne I have ever had, one that tastes like Champagne – creamy, small bubbles, great mousse and nose, yeasty biscuit character, and some aging with hazelnuts. It is Traditional Method (MC) of secondary fermentation in the bottle, and it is now 6.5 years old. Made mainly from chardonnay with some pinot noir and two years ageing on the lees. 12% ABV. Please bring it back !! Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
17.Thelema Mountain Vineyards Sutherland Chardonnay 2012 WO Elgin South Africa, +146423, $15.95 Vintages: another fine chardonnay from South Africa, with both fresh fruit and toasty butterscotch plus some great bottle aging, a very over-the-top wine but not heavily oaked. Extremely long length, with a tang. 13.5% ABV. Very affordable and worth while. Buy it all up! And LCBO, please bring it back!! Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
18.Hahn GSM 2014 Central Coast, +441568, $18.70 LCBO: a popular GSM blend of grenache (65%), syrah (31%), and mourvedre (4%), from different locations in the Central Coast AVA. The first gives the red cherry-berry fruit character, the syrah gives it black fruit plumminess and some herbs, while the mourvedre adds anise and polish. This rich, ripe Cali style wine for casual social drinking or white meat (pork, poultry) has 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
19.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 12.6% ABV. Stainless steel fermentation of course, and twist top. Refreshing. Ontario Wine Awards Gold Winner for 2016. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
20.Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir "Droit" 2014 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St. David's Bench, +582263 Vintages, $16.95: medium-full-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais grand cru wines such as Morgon or Moulin a Vent in its capacity for ageing. Dark cherry-berry flavours dominate, but there is added spicing and even some nuances of smokey earth and eucalyptus, although the wine is unoaked. Cork finish. Good with BBQ, cheese, or something substantial, but some tannic structure is present to carry through a whole meal. Des Charmes is the only winery using this particular gamay clone. 13% ABV. National Wine Award Gold 2016 and Ontario Wine Award Gold 2016. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.