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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 19, 2020

 
 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 19, 2020
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight or so ---
 
1.Best's Great Western Riesling 2019 Victoria, +688259, $19.95 Vintages October 3, 2020: really good age-worthy (20 years or more) Riesling wines from plantings that began in the 1860s at Best's Nursery Block. According to the producer, here are some 41 and 75 year-old vines. Opens with fragrant blossoms on the nose, lemons and apples for entry (of course), some tropicality on the mid-palate, finishing with some austere-ness.  A keeper.  11% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016, +959627, $53.95 Vintages September 19, 2020: its price is up eight bucks since last year's 2015 vintage release, but it is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese added. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Henry of Pelham Chardonnay 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +291211 LCBO, $14.95: ripeness, pleasant balance of acid and fruit, integrated style in place, some freshness in the finish. Overall, terrific balance of fruit in the finish, with residual sugar at 6.1g/litre. 12.7% ABV, screw cap, gravity-driven, fermented in stainless with aging sur lie. Apple and citric tones, completely unwooded. Try with a light cream sauce (pasta, trout, veggies). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Henry of Pelham Estate Fume Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench, +444268 $19.95 winery only: Very aromatic with nuances of toastiness both in the nose and on the palate, somewhat in a fume style started by Robert Mondavi fifty years ago. Typical savvy zestiness is tamed by oaking and unctuous fruit tones. Medium finish accents lemon and vanillin character, melon, honeysuckle. Best as a classy sipper on its own, but also with a lightly aromatic first course. 50% BF in barriques, a half-year aging in oak barriques. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Campbell Kind Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Marlborough, $22.99 consignment through selectwines.ca: Steve Campbell, of www.campbellkindwines.com, has the world's first international range of sustainable, carbon zero wines. International wineries and winemakers craft environmentally-friendly wines for their retail partners. Campbell Kind Wine currently has several varieties of wines in play, which include Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Syrah and Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Tempranillo blend from Ribera del Duero, Montepulciano blend from Abruzzo, and IgT Rosso Veronese from Verona, and others. I sampled the savvy: made by Steve Smith, New Zealand's first MW, of Smith and Sheth among the Marlborough riverbeds. It's a dynamic wine made from some 30-year old vines, with a medium-body and lower levels of MVC (Modal Varietal Character), especially tropicality and orchard fruit, but with more minerality and citric lemon tones, leading to a higher crisp finish. It's ideal with fried foods. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Saintly The Good Sparkling Rose Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, +16767 LCBO, $18.95: an all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patios, terraces, decks, etc. with nuances of strawberries and melons. Grapes include 46% Chardonnay, 46% Cab Franc, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, and 4% Syrah (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Very light-pink in colour, persistent mousse from the cuve close Charmat method. Extended lees contact leads to a creaminess in the body. In three words: fresh, fruity, dry. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Saintly The Good Sparkling [white] Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, Wine Rack only $18.95: another all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patio, terrace, deck, etc. with nuances of orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches) and citric tones. Grapes include 82% Pinot Gris, 15% Muscat, and 3% Chardonnay (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Persistent mousse, Charmat method, extended lees contact – all contribute to a creamy style. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 10g g/L residual sugar makes it "dry to off- dry". 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+284588    WATERKLOOF CIRCLE OF LIFE    WO Stellenbosch 2016  $19.95     MVC/QPR:90
W+146423    SUTHERLAND CHARDONNAY    WO Elgin    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+523001    CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+496463    PASSO DEL CARDINALE PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    2017    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
 
Over $20
 
R+461699    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR    VQA Ontario        $24.95  MVC/QPR: 91
R+14149    MORANDE GRAN RESERVA SYRAH/CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Central Valley    2017    $21.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+959627    CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2016    $54.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+13676    MICHELLE PHILIPON SANTENAY    AC    2017    $42.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+466375    PODERE BRIZIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $72.95    MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+405035    HUFF CUVÉE JANINE SPARKLING ROSÉ    Traditional method, VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario    2016    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

TASTING OF SANDBANKS WINERY IN AUGUST 2020 --

1.Sandbanks Sleeping Giant Foch – Baco Noir 2018 VQA Ontario +164087 LCBO, $19.95 (but as a Limited Time Offer from August 17 to September 13 it is priced at $17.95): based on marechal foch and baco noir grapes, this wine comes loaded with the intensity of rustic red fruit and mocha tones, tempered by deftly placed wood notes. Try with roasts. A previous vintage was OWA Gold Medal 2018 and All Canadian Wine Championships Gold Medal 2018. 14g/L residual sugar and 12.5% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Sandbanks Baco Noir Reserve 2019 VQA Ontario +225920 LCBO, $19.95 (but as a Limited Time Offer from October 12 to November 5 it is priced at $17.95): plenty of full-bodied black fruit here, displaying also some mocha in its development. Some light barrel aging as well. Best with grilled meats. A previous vintage was OWA Bronze Medal 2018 and All Canadian Wine Championship Double Gold 2018. 13 g/L residual sugar and 12.5% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Sandbanks Route 33 Red (Merlot-Petit Verdot) NV VQA Ontario +17370 LCBO, $19.95: another full-bodied wine, loaded with charm and character reminiscent of typical Bordeaux. The bi-varietal blend is merlot and petit verdot (both commonly used in Bordeaux), all showing red cherry-berry aromatics and textures coupled with some oak tones from extended barrel aging. Plummy too. Best with strong cheeses or sauced meats. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Sandbanks Route 33 White (Riesling-Pinot Grigio) NV VQA Ontario +17369 LCBO, $14.95: another bi-varietal with dry tropical fruit notes and crispness, slightly herbal complexity, with a lemon-lime finish. Very useful in a reliable sense. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
5.Sandbanks Pinot Grigio 2018 VQA Ontario +372219 LCBO, $15.95: this is a competitive category, but Sandbanks goes up very well against other grigios in Ontario. Typical nuances include orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic tropical overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with citric notes. 8 g/L residual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
6.Sandbanks Beach Riesling NV VQA Ontario +139022 LCBO, $14.95: a very decent seafood-ready consistent wine in the riesling tradition of petrol and minerals augmented by the range of orchard fruit found in nectarines, plums, apricots, and peaches, ending with a lemony citric crispness. 16G/L resideual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
7.Sandbanks Smugglers White NV VQA Ontario +648642 LCBO, $13.95: a nifty blend of vidal and pinot grigio, with a very light colour but lifted aromatics of pineapple and orchard fruit, following through on the mid-weight palate and ending with a citric finish appropriate for food. 7g/L residual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
8.Sandbanks Summer Rose NV VQA Ontario +14867 LCBO, $14.95: this is vidal with skin contact, so the appearance is almost like an orange wine – which makes it sort of trendy. It's also a seasonal release, so when it is gone, it is gone. And it is also lightly sparkling but kept under a twist top. The suggestion on the label is to chill it, not only for the flavour as a white wine but also to stop any bubbles from gushing. Dominating flavours include nectarines and oranges with other tropical notes, right through to the finish. 31 g/L residual sugar, 11.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
9.Sandbanks Rose 2019 VQA Ontario +244616 LCBO, $13.95 (but as a Limited Time Offer from September 14 to October 11 it is priced at $11.95 – just in time for Thanksgiving): this is mostly vidal with some gamay, pinot noir, and muscat blanc. It is lightly tasty with an emphasis on floral bouquet. It has a great balance between sweet and tart flavours, within the peachy-citric range. Lovely finish. A previous vintage was All Canadian Wine Championships Silver Medal 2018. 12g/L residual sugar and 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 5, 2020

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 5, 2020
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
SOME RECENT SPARKLING ROSE WINES TASTED --
 
Wines are either at the LCBO (CSPC given) or the winery. Wines are arranged randomly.
 
**DEAN'S CHOICE "best sparkling wine" was Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Brut Rose Champagne NV $99.95 +158550 (personal rating of 93-94).
 
**DEAN'S CHOICE "best sparkling wine value" was Colio Estate Wines Lily Sparkling Rosé NV $17.95 +536565 VQA Ontario (92)
 
I did not rate Leitz Eins-Zwei-Zero    NV Rheingau    Pinot Noir Sparkling $12.95 LCBO  +12549 as it has no alcohol, but it certainly tastes magnificent for 0% ABV, and of course it is in a category by itself.
 
Producer    Product Name    Vintage    Price    LCBO #     Country    Region    Grape Varieties    Alc. %
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Laurent-Perrier    Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Brut Rose    NV    $99.95 +158550    Champagne    Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier    12%    LCBO Vintage Essentials
-Huff Estates Winery    Cuvee Janine Rose    2017    $30    +405035    Canada    PEC (VQA PEC)    Pinot Noir     12.5%    Winery/Online   
-Chateau des Charmes    Rose Sparkling    2014    $34.95        Canada    Niagara    Pinot Noir & Chardonnay    12%    Online, Winery
-Colio Estate Wines    Lily Sparkling Rosé    N/A    $17.95     +536565    Canada    VQA Ontario    90% Riesling 10% Cabernet Franc    12%    LCBO    Year Round   
-Gruet Sparkling Brut Rose NV Method Champenoise New Mexico $26.95 +15686 pinot noir 12%  Vintages
-Flat Rock Cellars    Crowned Sparkling Brut    2015    $45.00    Niagara Peninsula    Pinot Noir    12%    Winery Only    New Release   
-Bottega Spa    Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Brut Rose    NV    $14.95     +277202    Italy    Veneto    Pinot Nero    11.5%    LCBO
 
 
Under $20
======
 
W+68015    FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY    Certified sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+557165    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING    Certified sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 90
W+225557    ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+15614    REMY PANNIER VOUVRAY    AC    2018    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+168708    FERRATON PÈRE & FILS SAMORËNS CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC    2018    $16.95     MVC/QPR:  92
R+323741    ROBERT OATLEY SIGNATURE SERIES CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Margaret River, Western Australia    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+117861    FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ Sur lie, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019 $15.95  MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
======
 
W+258186    ROBERT MONDAVI RESERVE CHARDONNAY    Carneros, Napa Valley    2017    $61.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+520403    BACHELDER WISMER WINGFIELD OUEST VINEYARD  CHARDONNAY    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $47.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+157347    ENRICO SERAFINO BARBARESCO    DOCG    2016    $29.95     MVC/QPR: 90
R+15084    SARTORI RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE    120th anniversary bottling, DOC    2015    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 91
R+719211    CLINE ANCIENT VINES ZINFANDEL    Contra Costa County    2017    $26.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+127712    FERRATON PÈRE & FILS LA MATINIÈRE CROZES-HERMITAGE    AC    2017    $26.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+460865    CAVE DE LUGNY BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE    Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France     $22.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Port+216424    POÇAS COLHEITA PORT    DOP Douro, Portugal    2003    $45.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com