SOME NEW BEVERAGE SAMPLES SENT TO ME FOR TASTING REVIEWS THIS MONTH –
1.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Saint Chinian 2015 +370247 May 12 Vintages $17.95: the last vintage here was 2011 at $1 less. Bertrand has a Terroir series embracing the range of Sud de France wines. Here it is older vines in a schist area of Languedoc, specifically syrah and mourvedre. Expect black fruit all over the place (even black olives, mocha and garrigue). The "f" word comes to mind: full, fat, fleshy, fabulous at this price. One third of the wine is aged for nine months in barrel, the rest matured in vats and then blended before bottling. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Languedoc Red 2015 +413237 May 12 Vintages, $16.95: the last vintage here was 2013. It's 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 225-litre oak barrels where it is aged for roughly 10 months. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.J.B. POLI VACA MORA AMARO VENETO, $39.95 for 700 ml, +662726 Vintages: a grappa-based bitter from the Veneto that is on the dryish side of balanced. You don't find these too often in Ontario (I've had people tell me that even Campari is too sweet): this is a digestif, like Fernet, that is perfect for settling a tummy with its off-menthol tones coupled with fall lashings of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. At the risk of mixing my languages, it is a true "trou Normand". Vaca Mora refers to a "black cow" train that served amaros to the passengers in 1885. 32% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Cantina Valpantena Veneto Chardonnay IGP 2016 $14.95 Consignment Majestic Wine Cellars: It's a definite antipasto or pre-prandial wine since it was light lemons with lively acidity, some tart apples, 12% ABV, and a longer finish than I was expecting. Quite pleasant. Under composition cork. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay 2016 California appellation $17.95 Majestic Wine Cellars Consignment: cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the US palate. There were lemons and green apples, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay 2015 Napa $27.95 Private order from Majestic Wine Cellars: a soft wine full of orchard fruit (apple, pear), creamy, bright, some vanilla but a little oak with spices. Aperitif or with seafood. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.J.B. Poli Camomilla Elisir Veneto +547927 Vintages $44.95 700 mL: hard to believe that there are actually three different producers of Italian camomilla at the LCBO, all based on the chamomile flower. But they also sell well in Germany. The Poli is a grappa infusion of chamomile, followed by a sweetening to contain and extend the typical chamomile flavours. 30% ABV, best as a digestif if you do not like bitters. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.PUKLUS PINCÉSZET TOKAJI SEMI-SWEET YELLOW MUSCAT 2016 Hungary, +46508 Vintages, $16.95: This Yellow Muscat is related to Muscat Blanc. Made from older vines, done up in Late Harvest style, with that peachy complexity, medium-bodied, but with lemons and pineapple acidity on the longer finish. Floral aromatics. 13.5% ABV, a volcanic wine. Serve with later courses (fruity mains, salads, curries, cheeses, off-dry desserts). No price change over the 2015!. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.