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Wednesday, September 30, 2020


NOTE: There is NO Vintages release on October 17, so the next World Wine Watch will be October 31.
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing 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 since 1994.
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at  or at 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 ---
1.Henry of Pelham Classic Cabernet-Merlot 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula +504241 LCBO $15.95: this entry level wine is dependable and consistent from year to year. This time it has cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. The Bordeaux-themed blend comes across as a mid-Atlantic version of Cali/Bordeaux. It is still a young wine and could profit from a double-decant. Extended maceration in stainless, followed by barrel aging. It has been modestly aged in used oak. Great with foods cooked in the Mediterranean basin style. 12.8% ABV on label. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Classic 2019 VQA Ontario, +270926 LCBO $15.95: As with their previous baco noirs at all levels, HOP has maintained the rich jammy character. This entry level baco has also been re-titled "Baco Noir Classic" and I suspect other HOP entry level varietal wines will also be labeled "Classic", probably with a price rise of a dollar or so. US barrels are used for more than six months aging. It is still too young for today [only seven months old], needs another year or two. 13% ABV. One of the top General List bacos in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 88.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Just Merlot 2019 Pays d'Oc, +17528 LCBO October $11.95: an easy drinking entry-level merlot from the warmer south of France (Languedoc, Rhone). Ripe, oak free, good mix of red and black berries, smooth. 13.5% ABV. Good unpretentious value for the price. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.LangeTwins Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Lodi, +572305 Vintages $24.95: "Certified Green" sustainable. A great wallop of cherries begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style. 18 months aging in mostly French oak barrels, long rich ending with toasty notes. But only 2.4 g/L residual sugar. 14% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Sacred Hill Pinot Noir 2018 Marlborough, +277665 Vintages Halloween $19.95: typical Kiwi pinot noir from the heart of New Zealand, one of their better values for under $20. While the colour is a bit light, the dynamics of the palate are red cherry-berry all the way, with underbrush notes. Soft tannins dominate the finish. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.J. Bookwalter Readers Chardonnay 2018 Columbia Valley Washington, +634162 Vintages Halloween $19.95: I enjoyed the Cab from Readers awhile back, and I am happy to say that I enjoyed the Chard from Readers as well. It's a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier (20%) which puts it on maybe the same level as a Chardonnay Musque. Certainly, you would want no oak here, and that is a given. It is all stainless and the wine blend is co-fermented. The Viognier contributes honeysuckle and peaches, of course. The Chardonnay dominates with other orchard fruits and compelling citric notes. The blend is aged (with stirring) four months on its lees, and then bottled after a further two months. 13.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Languedoc Red 2017 +413237 Vintages Essential, $16.95: the last vintage here was 2015. 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. Good price, especially if you buy before Oct 10 (LTO $2 off). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
Under $20 at Vintages Oct 3
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $17.95       
W+469593    THIERRY DELAUNAY LE GRAND BALLON SAUVIGNON BLANC    IGP Val de Loire    2019    $14.95  MVC/QPR: 90
W+26146    CASETTA ROERO ARNEIS     DOCG    2018    $18.95      MVC/QPR: 89
W+688259    BEST'S GREAT WESTERN RIESLING    Great Western, Victoria    2019    $19.95
R+444703    MONTGRAS ANTU CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sustainable, DO Maipo Valley    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+15095    CONDEMINAL PONCHO PAMPA PINOT NOIR    Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+677476    JIM BARRY COVER DRIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Coonawarra, South Australia    2017    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 90
Over $20 at Vintages Oct 3
W+149302    FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $21.95      MVC/QPR: 92
W+441089    ROMBAUER CARNEROS CHARDONNAY    Carneros    2018    $63.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+127324    THE FOREIGN AFFAIR CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Partial appassimento, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $39.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+73817    RUTHERFORD RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley    2017    $39.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+638551    LE PARVIS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2017    $56.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+16909    PLANTAGENET SHIRAZ    Great Southern, Western Australia    2013    $39.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+451906    SAINT AIX ROSÉ    AP Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence 2019    $25.95     MVC/QPR:91
Sparkling+15691    MEIOMI SPARKLING    Traditional method, North Coast, California        $35.95  MVC/QPR: 89
Sweet+47209    PUKLUS PINCÉSZET TOKAJI ASZÚ 5 PUTTONYOS    Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary    2013    $35.95  MVC/QPR: 89

May we all have 2020 vision.

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