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Wednesday, March 8, 2017


1.Luigi Bosca Malbec 2013 Single Vineyard Lujan de Cuyo +74922 Vintages, $21.95: aged in new French oak for 14 months with ML fermentation. Highly structured but with red fruit and mocha tones, not light (14% ABV. Oak aging adds some toastiness.
Better with food such as heavy meats. Quality/Price rating is 99 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Henry of Pelham Cabernet-Merlot Estate 2012 VQA Short Hills Bench, +395855 Vintages, $24.95: both cabernet franc and sauvignon are used in this Bordeaux-styled blend which comes across as a mid-Atlantic version of Cali/Bordeaux New World and Old World. It is still in its youth at 4 years of age, and it would be a shame to consume it this young. You could do what I did: open it and drink it over a couple of weeks, exposing it to air gently or speeding up the process by double-triple decanting. You will get several different wines out of one bottle over the course of time. Extended maceration in stainless, followed by French and US oak (40% new) for 18 months. Currently, you could match it with heavy meats. 14% ABV on label. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Gerard Bertrand Gris Blanc 2015 IGP Pays d'Oc +409870 March 18 Vintages, $16.95: from between the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, and from two different grenache varieties (noir and gris). Red fruit all the way, with very pale pink and grey colours. It looks different when viewed from different angles. Aromas of melons are fresh, just almost perfect for lazy summer drinking, so you might want to load up. Twist top. 13% ABV.
Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Languedoc Red 2013 +413237 March 18 Vintages, $16.95: a blend of syrah and grenache, promising both black fruit and red fruit tones at an affordable price. Local garrigue is apparent, complemented by some fennel. Part of the wine is transferred over to oak barrels where it is aged for roughly 10 months. 13.5% ABV.
Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Fess Parker Pinot Noir 2013 Sta. Rita Hills +382333 March 18 Vintages, $33.95: lots of bright red fruit such as raspberries, with spicy-toast woodsy points and some vanilla and pepper. From three different vineyards in the region, finishing off at 12 months in 1/3 new French oak. A whopping 14.2% ABV may still need to be tamed despite its quaffability. Juicy-jammy California wine all the way. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Southbrook Triomphe Pinot Noir 2015 VQA Niagara Peninsula [Organic], +621605, $29.95 Winery only: natural fermentation with 40% whole clusters, aged 9 months in large French oak (12% new oak), 12.5% ABV. It's what a natural pinot noir should be: red fruit dominated by cherries, some forest floor, and a seam of acidity in the finish for food. At a recent cool climate pinot noir tasting with a group that had been tasting wine together for 30 years, I made it a Mystery Wine (the other 10 wines had already been determined for months), and it went up against Burgundy (half the wines), Oregon, New Zealand, and Ontario. In the final vote, seven of the tasters – including me – ranked it in their top three wines; it was exceeded only by a pair of $100 Burgundies. I thought it needed more time, but obviously others were ready to drink it now. Vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.La Crema Pinot Noir Monterey 2014, $26.95 Vintages June 24 or TBD: this wine is cool climate from the coast coolness in the evening and the early morning, and with fruit crafted by an experienced Canadian winemaker who knows cool climate. Expect a combo of black cherry-berry, underbrush and earth, balanced but low oaking, some mocha, fennel spices. Very savoury -- I had it with haggis; it went very well. 100% French oak, 17% being new. Not a heavy pinot noir (only eight months in barrel), unlike many others from California. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.La Crema Chardonnay Monterey 2015, +158683 Vintages June 24 or TBD $26.95: this is a Vintages re-order of the Monterey appellation Chardonnay from La Crema, but for the later 2015 harvest. Last time the release in Ontario was at the same price, when the CAD was better. So it becomes more of a bargain now. It is pretty much a cool climate chardonnay and fills a niche in the California Chardonnay landscape. It's angularity stresses brightness in the orchard fruit, with a nice lemony finish and refreshing pineapple acidity. Most of it was aged for 5 months in primarily French oak (20% new), the balance in stainless; the 13.5% ABV is down a bit from the 2013. Nuances of light oaking show with a reduced vanilla feel but still with a full body. A food wine, not a sipper (fish, first course, chicken), Good price. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2015 California, +369686 Vintages Essentials $19.95: a killer wine winner since 1982, the KJC is at Vintages Essentials, although given that the brand is sixth in US sales by dollar values (sells for $12.10USD on average) and should be selling equally well here, it ought to be a General List wine. It's always been barrel-fermented in part and exploits a creamy palate and finish. All chardonnay from Monterey (56%), Santa Barbara (27%), Mendocino (15%) and Sonoma (2%) done up sur lie and aged seven months in 44% French and 53% US oak. Good integration of off-dry tropical flavours on the mid-palate with vanilla and cream, followed by slight oak nuances in the finish. A key example of a winemaker's wine blend: consistent from year to year. With a plastic cork there is no need to store – drink as you buy. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


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