1.Best's Great Western Riesling 2019 Victoria, +688259, $19.95 Vintages October 3: 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 austereness. 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.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.
6.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.
7.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.
8.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.
9.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.
10.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.
May we all have 2020 vision.