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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 21, 2022 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 21,  2022 release.

The New Moon LCBO release of wines --

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 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---

1.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 Vintages on May 21 and again on November 19: a summer social sipper or quaffer (and for Thanksgiving too), combining 54% riesling and 18% chardonnay with 15% pinot grigio and 13% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1282 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 14g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages May 21 and again on September 10: over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc. This latest vintage (2021) has cabernet sauvignon 33.3%, gamay noir 60%, and pinot noir 6.7%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/backyard/porch/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace (as I did just this week when the snow dropped in High Park North a few days before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1662 cases. 7g/L residual sugar, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.KACABA CABERNET/SYRAH 2017 +26424 Vintages May 21, $30.15 also at winery and online: this is a blend of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon (27% each) with syrah (46%), the latter being the oldest planting in Ontario. At one time it was a blend of cabernet/merlot/syrah, but this changes every year depending on the grapes available and the harvest conditions. Matured in French and American oak barrels for 13 months or so. You'll get a whiff of anise and red fruit, and with the franc it is a bit savoury. Definitely a red meat wine. What I usually do is make a double-decant, taste, and then leave it in a re-sealed bottle for a week or so, with daily tastings. The wine itself will be at its peak in a few more years. 5.4 g/L residual sugar. 12.8% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday May 22...better get them now!
 
[red]CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES GAMAY NOIR VQA LCBO +57349 WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $14.45  SAVE: $ 1.50.
[rose]CAVE SPRING DRY ROSÉ VQA LCBO +295006 WAS: $ 15.95 | NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[white]    PENINSULA RIDGE INOX CHARDONNAY VQA LCBO +594200 | WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00

MAJOR THEME:   ROSE

Note: This is what I call the "New Moon" release...A once a month release of physical wines to the LCBO shelves, unlike April's Blue Moon releases (three last month!!)...I'll cover mostly the in-store wines since the "Online Curated Assortment" has only small quantities...If I do mention an online order wine, then it will have OCA initials and date in front of it.

Wines Under $20
=========
W+341586    FEATHERSTONE FOUR FEATHERS    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $14.95           MVC/QPR:  90.
W+389726    BOYA SAUVIGNON BLANC    Sustainable, Coast Zone, DO Valle de Leyda    Garcés Silva    2021    $14.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
Rose+177840    PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD CABERNET ROSÉ    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment        2021    $15.95    MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+16250    THE TRAGICALLY HIP FLAMENCO ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    Stoney Ridge Estate Winery    2021    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+117861    FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2021 $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+19846    CONFIDENCIAL RESERVA ROSÉ    Vinho Regional Lisboa 2021    $15.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+ 542183    RAVANAL GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Valle de Colchagua        2019    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+395053    12 E MEZZO PRIMITIVO DEL SALENTO    IGP    Varvaglione    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20

OCA May 14 - +19618    MUDDY WATER CHARDONNAY    Waipara, South Island     2018    $39.95    
OCA May 14 - +19622    MUDDY WATER PINOT NOIR    Waipara, South Island     2018    $39.95    
OCA May 14 - +24613    CHÂTEAU THÉBAUD SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE    AC, Loire, France    Domaine Pierre-Luc et Valérie Bouchaud    2014    $25.95
W+181289    DOMAINE LE VERGER CHABLIS    AC    Alain Geoffroy, prop.-vitic.    2019    $26.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+26503    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE GAMAY    Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula        2019    $27.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+213132    LA PIEVE BAROLO    DOCG        2018    $39.95    MVC/QPR: 89.



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Sunday, May 15, 2022

REPORT ON THE "BRINGING NEW ZEALAND TO YOU" WINE SHOW (MAY 5,2022) --

The Date and Time: Thursday, May 5, 2022  11AM to 2PM
The Event: Bringing New Zealand to You wine trade show
The Venue: Globe and Mail Centre
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: paperless – it was all online but downloadable. There were no prices, just price ranges, and no tech sheet links. I downloaded all the chardonnay names, and that formed the basis of my tasting that morning.
The Quote/Background: This was a maskless, agent-less, pour-your-own session, so we could go at our own speed and also not have to talk to anybody. A tech sheet was provided for each wine. And every now and then there was an agency tent card with specifics on those wines available at the LCBO, including SKU number.
The Wines: I did not taste every wine (there were 105 samples available).
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Kumeu River Wines Estate Chardonnay 2020 Auckland
-Kupe Escarpment Wines Chardonnay 2015 Martinborough
-Soljans Estate Barrique Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2019
-Clearview Wines Estate Chardonnay 2018 Hawke's Bay
-No.1 Family Estate Cuvee No.1 Methode Traditionale Sparkling Wine NV Wairu Valley [chardonnay]
-Johanneshof Cellars Marlborough EMMI Method Traditionale 2009 Wairu Valley [pinot noir, chardonnay]
-Greywacke Vineyards Chardonnay 2017 Wairu Valley
-Giesen Group Chardonnay "The Fuder Clayvin" 2015 Southern Valleys
-Neudorf Vineyards Neudork Rosie's Block Chardonnay 2018 Nelson
-Bell Hill Chardonnay North Canterbury 2016
-Quartz Reef Methode Traditionale Brut NV Central Otago
-Felton Road Chardonnay Bannockburn 2018 Central Otago
-The Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Hawke's Bay
-Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Marlborough
-Paddy Borthwick Vineyards Pinot Gris 2019 Wairarapa
-Hans Herzog Family Estate - Pinot Noir 2016 Wairau Valley  $57
-Auntsfeld Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough
-Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2019 Awatere Valley
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-The Landing Chardonnay 2020 Northland
-Matawhero Wines 2020 Single Vineyard Chardonnay
-Oyster Bay Rose 2021 Marlborough [pinot noir, chardonnay] at LCBO
-Fromm Winery Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay 2019 Marlborough
-Oyster Bay Chardonnay 2020 Marlborough at LCBO
-Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Marlborough
-URLAR Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Wairarapa
-The Hunting Lodge Seasonal Marlborough Albarino 2019 Marlborough
-Dry River Riesling 'Craighall' 2019 Martinborough
-Hans Herzog Family Estate - Mistral 2016 Marlborough [Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne]
-Nautilus Estate of Marlborough Opawa Pinot Noir 2018 Wairau Valley
-Folium Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 Marlborough
-Mahi Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019 Wairau Valley
 
 
The Food: we had bamboo boats of cheeses (yummy truffle cheese), veggies, fruits, and breads/crackers, and cold cuts. They were worth lugging about.
The Downside: some of us had a small discussion on the pour-your-own feature – should we not be wearing gloves to lessen any contact with covid-19? Plastic gloves could have easily been provided or we could have been told to bring our own. Gloves are in the same category as masks: protection.
The Upside: a chance to taste in silence
The contact person:  melissa.stunden@nzwine.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

TASTING GEORGIA; a food and wine journey in the Caucasus (Interlink Books, 2017, 2021, 464 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-8427-8 $28.95 USD softbound)

TASTING GEORGIA; a food and wine journey in the Caucasus (Interlink Books, 2017, 2021, 464 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-8427-8 $28.95 USD softbound) is by Carla Capalbo,  born in NYC, and now working as a freelance food journalist and photographer. This is an updated revised edition making its paperbound debut. She's written 14 books on the culture of producing food and wine, winning awards such as the Andre Simon for "Collio" as best wine book. Her photos of Georgia have won an IACP award. Here she gives us, by the numbers: 70 recipes, 60 restaurants and wine bars, 40 family wineries, 10 regional maps, and 390 original photographs, many of which detail farmers markets and family cooks. She's got top log rolling from Redzepi (noma), Ottolenghi, and Petrini (founder of Slow Food). Georgia lies between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. It is one of the world's oldest winemaking areas, with wines made traditionally in clay qvevri buried in the ground, and searched for by lovers of natural wine. After the section on wine comes the food, beginning with the "supra" buffet-banquet-sharing feast and the elements of Georgian cuisine. Ingredients include ajika (capsicum paste), lobio beans, guda (sheep's cheese), tenili cheese, freshwater fish, gozinaki (honey and walnuts at New Year), jonjoli, khinkali dumplings, matsoni fermented milk, and lots more. There are only a few holiday recipes for sweets. Most dinners end with fresh fruit, nuts, or fruit leather. Preps have English and Georgian titles as well as scrips. Recipes have been edited for home cooks or otherwise simplified with substitutions. Metric and avoirdupois weights and measures co-exist in the preps. There is an impressive listing of sources and travel information, along with websites. The almost 40 page index includes a recipe planner for creating meals, a listing of the various foods by product, a listing of the restaurants and wine bars cited, an index to the wine, plus an index to the 12 regions of Georgia. And of course, there are are recipes by English title. A good book for armchair  travellers, cooks, and culinary historians. Try the eggplant rolls; lobio beans stewed with herbs; beef and chickpea stew; beets with spiced walnut paste; chicken with nut sauce; corn meal with cheese; fermented cabbage and beets; mulberry and goat cheese salad; noodle and yogurt soup; and stewed nettles.
Quality/Price rating: 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Event: Taste Ontario! Toronto Trade and Media Tasting 2022

The Date and Time: Monday April 25, 2022  11AM – 1PM session
The Event: Taste Ontario! Toronto Trade and Media Tasting 2022
The Venue: Park Hyatt Toronto
The Target Audience: wine media, agents, sommeliers, opinion makers.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are at the winery, some are at the LCBO. Full details were included in the catalogue.
The Quote/Background: There was a Media Tasting Room up on the 17th floor where writers could relax and sample wines at their leisure.
The Wines: all prices are retail. I tasted only these wines out of the 300 or so available. LCBO numbers where available.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (90+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-13th Street Winery    Cuvée Rosé    Niagara Peninsula    NV    12.5%    147504     $29.95    
-180 Estate Winery    Gamay Rosé Sparkling    Creek Shores    2021    11%     $30.20
-180 Estate Winery    Gamay Noir Reserve    Creek Shores    2019    13%    $46.20 -Bachelder    Les Villages Chardonnay 'Bench'    Niagara Escarpment    2020    $34.95    
-Closson Chase Vineyards Churchside Pinot Noir    Prince Edward County    2019 12%    +265074     $42.00    
-Lighthall Vineyards    Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019    12.5%  $36
-Norman Hardie Winery & Vineyard County Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019    12.5%    +381715     $49.20
-Rosehall Run Vineyards     JCR Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019    12%       $36
-Rosehall Run Ceremony    Prince Edward County    2017    12%  $36
-Rosehall Run Hungry Point Sauvignon Blanc    Prince Edward County    2020 12.5%      $28
-13th Street Winery    Blanc de Blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2019    12.5%     $29.95    
-2027 Cellars  Fox Croft Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2020 13% $25
-Cave Spring Vineyard    Blanc de Blancs CSV    Beamsville Bench    2015    12%  $49.95    
-Cave Spring Vineyard    Pinot Gris Estate    Beamsville Bench    2020    14%     $27.95    
-Cave Spring Vineyard Chardonnay CSV Beamsville Bench    2019    14%    +529941     $29.95    
-Cloudsley Cellars    Wingfield Vineyard Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13%     $50
-Cloudsley Cellars    Foxcroft Vineyard Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13%     $50
-Cloudsley Cellars Chardonnay, Twenty Mile Bench Beamsville Bench VQA 2018 13%  $35
-Hidden Bench Estate Winery Bistro Chardonnay    Beamsville Bench    2017 13%    $16.93 Lic
-Meldville Wines    Sauvignon Blanc     Lincoln Lakeshore    2019 12.5% $20
-Westcott Vineyards Estate Chardonnay Niagara Escarpment 2020 13.5% +424507     $29.99
-Fogolar Hanck Vineyard Riesling 2019 VQA Twenty Mile Bench 12.5% $19.95
-Southbrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 VQA Four Mile Creek 13% $45
-Chateau des Charmes Wines    Barrel Fermented Chardonnay    Niagara-on-the-Lake    2019 13% +81653     $14.95
-Chateau des Charmes Wines    Rosé, Cuvée d'Andrée    Niagara-on-the-Lake    2021    12% +333260     $18.95    
-Chateau des Charmes Wines    Brut Sparkling    Niagara-on-the-Lake    NV    12.5%    +224766     $25.95    
-Drea's Wine Co.    Sauvignon Blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2019  12.5%   $26.50        
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve White Meritage     Niagara Peninsula 2020    13%    +360297 $25.95
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula 2019 13.5% +593996 $20.95    
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Entourage Brut     Niagara Peninsula  2017  13%    +234161     $29.95
-Southbrook Winery Estate Skin Fermented White (Orange)    Ontario    2020    10.7% +628065  $29.95    
-Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula    2018 12.7%    +172338 $24.95 -Cooper's Hawk Vineyards Barrel Fermented Chardonnay    Lake Erie North Shore 2020 13%     $20.15    
-Featherstone Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula 2019 12.5% +149302     $22.95    
-Featherstone Winery    Sauvignon blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2021    12%    +89011 $17.95 -Icellars Estate Winery    Pinot Noir    Niagara-on-the-Lake    2019    13.5%  $30
-Kacaba Vineyards & Winery    Meritage    Niagara Escarpment    2017    13.6% $33.15    
-Lailey Winery    Stonebridge Chardonnay    Four Mile Creek    2019    13.8% $48
-Southbrook Winery    Poetica Red    Four Mile Creek    2019    14% $70   
-Tawse Winery    Robyn's Block Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13%  $46.95    
-Two Sisters Vineyards    Eleventh Post    Niagara River    2017    14.5% +20935 $45
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Icellars Estate Winery    Sauvignon Blanc    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13.5% $35
-Cooper's Hawk Vineyards    North Block Sparkling    Ontario    2016    12.5% $25.15    
-Broken Stone Winery    Chenin Blanc    Prince Edward County    2020    12% $29.95    
-Broken Stone Winery County Grown Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2020 12.7%    +668269 $26.95
-Broken Stone Winery Gewürztraminer "Applehouse Vineyard"    Prince Edward County    2019 11.6%     $21.95    
-Closson Chase Vineyards    Ridge South Clos Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019        12.5%      $42
-Closson Chase Loyalist Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2020    12%  $26    
-Trail Estate Winery Chardonnay (Cold Creek Vineyard)    Prince Edward County 2020 14%     $45
-Trail Estate Oh Julius     Ontario    2021    10.5%    $35
-Traynor Family Vineyard    Sauvignon Blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2020    13.9% $20
-Colio Estate Wines    Lily Sparkling     Ontario    NV 12% +418657 $17.95
-North 42 Degrees Estate Winery    Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Extra Dry     Ontario    2020    12.5%     $24.95
-Calamus Estate Winery Barrel Kissed Chardonnay    Niagara Peninsula    2021 13.5% $21.95
-Cloudsley Cellars    Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula    Niagara Peninsula    2019    13% $25
-Malivoire     Melon    Beamsville Bench    2021    12%  $21.95
-Megalomaniac Wines "Outspoken" Unoaked Chardonnay Twenty Mile Bench 2020 13.5% $18.95
-Rennie Estate Winery Christine Chardonnay    Beamsville Bench    2017 13%       $40
-Westcott Vineyards Violette Sparkling Brut Niagara Escarpment 2021    12.5%     $25.99
-Drea's Wine Co.    Rose    Niagara Peninsula    2020  12.5%   $26.50
-Inniskillin Niagara Estate Winery Montague Vineyard Chardonnay     Four Mile Creek    2019    13%  $25.95       
-Lailey Winery Orange Skin Fermented White Niagara River    2021    11.7%  $33       
-Lakeview Wine Co. Lakeview Barrel Aged Chardonnay    Niagara Peninsula    2017    13%    +17633      $22.95
-Two Sisters Vineyards    Unoaked Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula    2019    13%     $39
                                       
 
The Food: boards of cheeses, charcuterie, dried and fresh fruits, nuts, breads, et al at convenient locations outside the noisy trade hall.
The Downside: I had to leave in order to get to my next winetasting, a Portuguese event.
The Upside: the Media Room was a relaxing delight where I could evade the noise and contemplate a wine at my own speed.
The Contact Person: andrea.peters@wmao.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.
                                                                                                               
 
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://winewriterscircle.ca
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

REPORT ON NEW VINTAGES OF KACABA VQA WINES ---

KACABA IRRESISTIBLE SPARKLING 2019 VQA, $30.15 winery and online: [also known as Joanne's Blend, formulated for Joanne Kacaba herself] an amazingly "irresistible" sparkling rose with fresh aromas of strawberries and summer peaches. The blend is 66% chardonnay, 20% pinot noir, and 14% pinot meunier, fermented separately and blended in stainless steel for 22 months. Then it was transferred to a Charmat tank for two months, aging on its lees. A great aperitif for the patio/deck/balcony/terrace/boat, or paired with light cheeses (especially a baked brie). Off-dry complexity. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

KACABA CABERNET/SYRAH 2017 VQA +26424 Vintages May 21, $30.15 also at winery and online: this is a blend of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon (27% each) with syrah (46%), the latter being the oldest planting in Ontario. At one time it was a blend of cabernet/merlot/syrah, but this changes every year depending on the grapes available and the harvest conditions. Matured in French and American oak barrels for 13 months or so. You'll get a whiff of anise and red fruit, and with the franc it is a bit savoury. Definitely a red meat wine. What I usually do is make a double-decant, taste, and then leave it in a re-sealed bottle for a week or so, with daily tastings. The wine itself will be at its peak in a few more years. 5.4 g/L residual sugar. 12.8% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the APRIL 30, 2022 BLUE MOON release.


Hey, it's the BLUE MOON release at the LCBO....!!!!

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 30,  2022 release.

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 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
**Some recently reviewed wine bottles, from Featherstone (all available NOW at LCBO and winery) --

1.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, plentiful lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry. Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 2573 cases made. 10.5% ABV. RS 20.7g/L. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618
Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of cherry-berries and plums, leafy qualities. Black pepper. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Vegan. Should go well with BBQ veggies. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle over a week). 2106 cases. 2.59g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

5.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages April 30 and again on Nov 5: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 2g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by cassis. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday May 22 --
 
[red]CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES GAMAY NOIR VQA LCBO +57349 WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $14.45  SAVE: $ 1.50.
[rose]CAVE SPRING DRY ROSÉ VQA LCBO +295006 WAS: $ 15.95 | NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[white]    PENINSULA RIDGE INOX CHARDONNAY VQA LCBO +594200 | WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
From the Vintages Catalogue --                     
Rose+559088    Malivoire Ladybug Rose $15.95, normally $17.95, save $2.
Fizz+213983    Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling $29.95, normally $32.95, save $3.
FizzyRose+48793 Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $20.95, normally $22.95, save $2.

MAJOR THEME: CLASSIC EUROPEAN REGIONS

Wines Under $20
=========
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 92.
R+131540    FEATHERSTONE RED TAIL MERLOT    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $19.95
MVC/QPR: 92.
R+64618    FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC    Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula 2020    $19.95      MVC/QPR: 92.
R+14667    CHÂTEAU HYOT RÉSERVE    AC Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux    2018    $17.95
MVC/QPR: 89.
R+24210    PELLEGRINO CASALLAIA    IGT Toscana    2018    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+548867    CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2018    $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

Wines Over $20
=========
W+49302    FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $24.95  MVC/QPR: 92.
W+184549    LE CLOS JORDANNE LE GRAND CLOS CHARDONNAY    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $44.95  MVC/QPR: 90.
R+573451    CAPRAIA EFFE 55 GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2016    $43.95
MVC/QPR: 89.
R+165662    MONTE DEL FRÀ LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018  Veneto  $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Fizz+460832    WOLFBERGER BRUT CRÉMANT D'ALSACE    Traditional method, AC, Alsace, $20.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Toronto Metropolitan University School of Journalism
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 23, 2022

REPORT ON NEW WINES FROM FEATHERSTONE ESTATE WINERY – April 22 2022 Earth Day

 
REPORT ON NEW WINES FROM FEATHERSTONE ESTATE WINERY – April 22 2022 Earth Day
 
1.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 Vintages on May 21 and again on November 19: a summer social sipper or quaffer (and for Thanksgiving too), combining 54% riesling and 18% chardonnay with 15% pinot grigio and 13% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1282 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 14g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, plentiful lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry. Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 2573 cases made. 10.5% ABV. RS 20.7g/L. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
3.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $24.95 +149302 Vintages October 8: one of my faves. Over the years it has simply gotten better as the grapevines matured. Wild indigenous yeast is used. Good mid-tone oaky component (it is very easy to say it is mid-way between French and US oak) from the use of nearby Canadian oak trees. 10% new oak, 90% 1 to 5 year old. Terrific ripe orchard fruit aromas and palate. Plus vanillin and cream after the mid-palate leading to citric food- friendly finish. Needs more time for balancing, but then at that moment it will be awesome. 14% ABV. 1.69g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +20599 Vintages August 13: this is a highly competitive category, but Featherstone goes up very well against the other PGs in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. It's colour and even its taste can slot it into the rose category, or even the "orange" wine area. Typical nuances include off-dry orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic melon-ish overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with slightly bitter citric notes. That makes it both a sipper and a food wine, suitable as a  pre-prandial in the summer. There is some Ontario cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, but also with some peach notes. Stainless steel all the way, with half being pressed immediately and half left to soak on skins before pressing. 10g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages May 21 and again on September 10: over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc. This latest vintage (2021) has cabernet sauvignon 33.3%, gamay noir 60%, and pinot noir 6.7%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/backyard/porch/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace (as I did just this week when the snow dropped in High Park North a few days before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1662 cases. 7g/L residual sugar, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
7.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of cherry-berries and plums, leafy qualities. Black pepper. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Vegan. Should go well with BBQ veggies. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle over a week). 2106 cases. 2.59g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
8.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages April 30 and again on Nov 5: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 2g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by cassis. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 16, 2022 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 16, 2022 release.

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 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.

** Some Recent Drink Books I Reviewed ---

1.THE CURIOUS BARTENDER'S GUIDE TO RUM (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2017, 2020, 160 pages, $19.95 hardbound) is by Tristan Stephenson. It was originally part of a much larger work in 2017, and now it has been abridged with an expanded Directory of Distilleries. So: there is material on the history of rum, how rum is made, and some recipes for rum cocktails – plus a glossary. Thumbnail sketches all the way and a bargain for under $20. Quality/price rating:  88.

2.WINTER DRINKS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound) has been pulled together by Julia Charles. It's a publisher's package of previous preps by several food and drink writers, most notably Louise Pickford with 17 and Julia herself with 16. Eleven other writers also contributed. So here are 75 recipes to warm our hearts, with hot drinks, toddies, part cocktails, and mocktails. Included also are hot chocolates, warm milks, coffee drinks and teas, as well as restorative mulls, revivers and soothers. My fave is the sparkling cocktails. My wife likes the sparkling mocktails. Chacun a son gout. Quality/price rating:  89

3.SUMMER DRINKS; over 100 refreshing recipes to enjoy in the sunshine (Ryland Peters & Small, 2021, 144 pages, $20 hardbound) is an other publisher's project for Ryland Peters & Small. Here 15 UK chefs and food writers give us all the preps (with proper attribution found at the back of the book). The most prolific are Ben Reed (24, a quarter of the total) and Laura Gladwin (20). Julia Charles was the editorial director on this one, and she contributes 13 preps. Arrangement is by style: aperitifs, cocktails, spritzes, coolers, slushies, floats, punches, pitchers, mocktails and juices. More than enough preps for three months of summer!  Quality/price rating:  89

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday April 24...
 
[red] +274753     Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir $34.95, now $31.95, save $3        
[rose] +14882  Arterra Saintly Rose VQA $18, now $15, save $3
[white] +84988  Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay    $26.95,  now $23.95, save $3            
[fizz] +20979 Juliet Prosecco Rose DOC $14.95, now $12.95, save $2
[splurge] +650432  Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino $53.95, now $48.95, save $5        

Wines Under $20
=========
W+928580    SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, carbon neutral, DO Valle del Itata    2019    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 92
W+22498    MARIETA ALBARIÑO    DO Rías Baixas    2020    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+516765    JEAN-PIERRE MOUEIX BORDEAUX    AC    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+354134    CHÂTEAU BELLEVUE LA FORÊT    AP Fronton    2019 $14.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+573519    VILLA PUCCINI RISERVA CHIANTI    DOCG    2016    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20
=========
W+466144    J. MOREAU & FILS CHABLIS    AC    2020    $24.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+23728    DOMAINE JOEL DELAUNAY CASCA VIN ORANGE SAUVIGNON BLANC    France    2020    $23.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Fizz+183764    CAVE DE LUGNY CUVÉE MILLÉSIMÉE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE    Sustainable, traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France    2016    $24.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+209148    MARQUÉS DE MURRIETA FINCA YGAY RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2016    $32.95
MVC/QPR: 89
R+33894    LE CLOS JORDANNE VILLAGE PINOT NOIR    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+395855    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89       

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Thursday, April 7, 2022

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
 
TREASURES OF THE MEXICAN TABLE; classic recipes, local secrets (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021, 406 pages, ISBN 978-0-358-08676-5, $50 hardbound) is by Pati Jinich (born and raised in Mexico City), host of Pati's Mexican Table on PBS, now in its tenth season. She's won three James Beard Awards, and is the resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute. It's an enormous tome loaded with all of the classic recipes and local specialties found in the 32 Mexican states. Her arrangement is by food ingredient or course, beginning with soups and then moving on to tacos, quesadillas, burritos, tamales, salsas, guacamole, beans, rice, eggs, seafood, poultry, red meats (including goat), salads and veggies, and concluding with desserts. Throughout there are many cook's tips and notes, and awesome photographs of the plated food. Recipe titles and the index are in both Spanish and English. The over 200 recipes are complete and very easy to follow. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart (hey, there are sale potentials for the rest of the world).
Audience and level of use: those wanting a definitive Mexican cookbook.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: baila con tu mujer, carne asada, sopes con papas y rajas, goat braised with guajillo chiles, tongue tacos, aceigas con chorizo y papas, arroz con elote y poblano, venorio con chuletas de cerdo, turkey chipotle meat loaf, zucchini and corn in poblano sauce, "wedding" stew, scallops in chile water.
The downside to this book: to its detriment, there are no metric conversion charts.
The upside to this book: larger print is a definite plus.
Quality/Price Rating: 94.
 
 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 2, 2022 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 2, 2022 release.

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 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Fortnight, from the agency Majestic Wine Cellars, and all available via consignment   ---

1.Sensi 1890 Collezione Pinot Grigio dell Venezie 2020 AOC High Volume Consignment - $ 15.95: relatively full-bodied for an Italian style pinot grigio, with the emphasis on "yellow": yellow colour, yellow fruit, yellow honey. Full of citric zest, good with food beyond the first course – think peaches and lemons and apples, with some serious tones on the mid-palate. Commingling is back, with citric undertones. Flavours of stone fruit but with some yellow pear drops, rich, mid-palate crispness. Clean citric finish with minerality. Food or appetizer. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay California 2019 High Volume Consignment - $17.95: cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the American taste palate. There were lemons and pear, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel augmented by a Meyer lemon off-sweet mandarin quality. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

 3.Morgan Bay Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon California 2019 High Volume Consignment - $ 17.95: a great wallop of black fruit (black cherries, blackberries) begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style. The emphasis is on darkness, with plenty of black fruit and butterscotch tones, with some black pepper spices, and a softish finish to a medium body. Very useful as an everyday cab at a great price point. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Albino Armani 1607 Tenuta di Sequals Sauvignon Friuli-Grave 2020 DOC Consignment - $20.95: very intense aromas, fruity from green fruit and herby but with a medium-body and not like Kiwi Savvy. Citric finish, very useful as a first course white wine. Good with asparagus or smoked fish. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

5.Javier Sanz Vmalcorta Verdejo Rueda 2019 Consignment - $33.95: top-rated at a pre-pandemic Rueda wine trade show in Toronto at 91+ points: higher acid food wine, floral and citric, emphasizing the brighter side of aromatic Spanish verdejo. Very well made with an exceptional, lingering finish. Perhaps best with shellfish such as oysters or mussels, clams. White flesh fish would also be appropriate. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91+ points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

6.Amastuola Primitivo Organic Puglia IGP 2019 Consignment - $20.95: this is a preferred choice from among the basic primitivos in Ontario simply because it is made with organic grapes. Expect that dense, over-the-top zinfandel-type flavour  of jamminess from plums, cherry-berry fruit, with a cinnamon spicy kick. 14%ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

7.Sensi 1890 Collezione Merlot Terre Siciliane IGT 2019 Consignment - $ 15.95: This shows aromatic herbs on the nose,  red fruit (raspberries) and spice, great North American appeal in that merlot is recognizable, modest tannins, balanced on the mid-palate, okay by itself or with food as a first course red.  Velvet smooth finish. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

8.Biscardo Neropasso Rosso Veneto IGT 2019 Consignment - $ 19.95: bright red fruit dominate both its texture and its palate, evoking some minerality that cuts through the balanced fruity cherry tones. Some forest floor; some mocha tones. Intense jammy concentration of dark fruit including plums. Grape pressings are added just before spring, to give it the second fermentation oompf. Great as a sipper or with food or both, ready now at almost three years after the vintage. It was done up in stainless steel fermentation to which malolactic fermentation was employed. And then the second fermentation of ripasso began on the unpressed skins of the leftovers. Food or sip. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose apassimento) and Oropasso (white), all trading off on the "-passo" usage. Good price. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

9.And, from another agent,  +22850    SUNDAY SAIL SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2021    $19.95 is  being released April 2 at Vintages....this is an exceptionally fresh savvy just loaded with citrus peel zest character (think lime, grapefruit, lemon) and that distinctive Kiwi herbal taste. Just released at Vintages, and perfect for summer patio/deck/bbq/outdoors imbibing. Make sure you get some before they run out! Try as a refreshing sipper or (because of its long finish)  with first course foods. I had mine with an herbal salad of microgreens and piquant leaves, chopped hard boiled eggs, and some squash soup with house made croutons. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday April 24...
 
[red] +274753     Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir $34.95, now $31.95, save $3        
[rose] +14882 Arterra Saintly Rose VQA $18, now $15, save $3
[white] +84988 Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay    $26.95,  now $23.95, save $3            
[fizz] +20979 Juliet Prosecco Rose DOC $14.95, now $12.95, save $2
[splurge] +650432 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino     $53.95, now $48.95, save $5        

Wines Under $20
=========
W+395228    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECIAL SELECT LATE HARVEST VIDAL    Sustainable, VQA Ontario    2019    $19.95     MVC/QPR:  89
Fizz+646968    PONGRÁCZ CAP CLASSIQUE ROSÉ    Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+22850    SUNDAY SAIL SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2021    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  91
Rose+559088    MALIVOIRE LADYBUG ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+391847    THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC    AP    2020    $16.95
MVC/QPR:  89
W+469593    THIERRY DELAUNAY LE GRAND BALLON SAUVIGNON BLANC    IGP Val de Loire    2020    $13.95 MVC/QPR:  89.

Wines Over $20
=========
W+25647    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC RIESLING Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $22.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+82255    ROGER & DIDIER RAIMBAULT SANCERRE    AC 2019 $31.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+424507     WESTCOTT ESTATE CHARDONNAY VQA Niagara Escarpment    2020 $29.95 MVC/QPR: 91
W+28845    CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE BLANC    Inspired by Haut-Brion, AC Bordeaux    2020    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+140525    DOMAINE BONNARD SANCERRE AC    2020    $26.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+427500    WESTCOTT ESTATE PINOT NOIR VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula    2017    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+157347    ENRICO SERAFINO SANAVENTO BARBARESCO    DOCG    2018    $29.95
MVC/QPR:  89.
Fizz+227009    ANGELS GATE ARCHANGEL BRUT SPARKLING CHARDONNAY    Traditional method, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario    2014    $29.95     MVC/QPR:  89
Port+642058    POÇAS JR. LBV PORT DOP, Portugal    2015    $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89


Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Saturday, March 26, 2022

DRINK BOOKS OF THE MONTH!

DRINK BOOKS OF THE MONTH!
 
1a.WHEN CONCORD WAS KING! (Tellwell Talent, 2018, 163 pages, $31.87 CAD Amazon.Ca papercovers) is by Jim Warren, an acclaimed amateur winemaker who later started Stoney Ridge Winery, and who in 2000 joined the faculty of Niagara College and assisted with the development of the Vineyard and Winery Management Program, acting as both instructor and winemaker. In 1997 Jim was selected as Ontario winemaker of the year (Ontario Wine Awards) and 10 years later received the Cuvee Award of Excellence for his contribution to the wine industry. As a consultant Jim has assisted with the creation of numerous new wineries and wines in Ontario. "When Concord was King!" is a book exploring the early beginnings of the wine industry in Eastern North America, focusing on Ontario. It's more than just Concord grapes of course – it looks at all the "foxy" tasting grape wines not made from V. vinifera (European varietals). V.labrusca is the most prominent; indeed, it is called the fox grape. Cultivars and hybrids here include Concord, Catawba, Delaware, Dutchess, Niagara, and Isabella. He begins with the "southern fox" – North America's first wine – from Muscadine. He moves through the centuries and arrives in Upper Canada in 1790. A big chunk of the book deals with Ontario developments 1880 – 1980. He walks us through Prohibition, the start of the LCBO, the Depression, the Second World War – and Harry Hatch with Brights. It took until 1951 before vinifera was planted, when chardonnay was grafted onto phylloxera-resistant root-stock. It was later marketed as Pinot Chardonnay. This is a compelling read, made more vivid by Warren's writing style. He's got his reference material cited, a series of glosses in each chapter, and some critical notes and histories of many early Eastern North American grape hybrids. There is no index, which is unfortunate, but if you can get hold of the PDF or ebook version, then word searching should be no problem for all the names and places. Quality/Price Rating: 91.
 
 
1b.FROM CONCORD TO CABERNET! stepping stones and milestones in Ontario's wine making odyssey (soon to appear on Amazon.ca,  like the above book at 1a). It's a sequel from Jim Warren, relating the rest of the story from 1980 through 2020. And it has been forty years of dramatic action. Part one deals with a short history of the immediate period before 1980, with French-American hybrids and indications of the first cottage wineries in Ontario (Inniskillin in 1975, Chateau des Charmes in 1978, and Newark (now Trius) in 1979. Part two covers 1980 through 2000, with the expansion of the cottage wineries building a wine business that was quality-driven with limited production and family-run ownership. By 1980 there were several sources of "wines", such as the labrusca-based port-like and sherry-like wines sand others, the French hybrids, vinifera, and "blend" with Ontario and imported wines. Still, in 1981 vinifera had only a share of 5.6% of all vines. Jim has many stories about the 21 new wineries that existed between 1975 and 1990. He covers the explosion of winemaking in the Lake Erie North Shore region, Ontario icewine, the ethyl carbamate scandal, the blending with imported wine, the threat of NAFTA and government subsidies and competition – all leading up to the beginning of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) after 1990. He comments on the designated viticultural areas and sub-appellations, the 2001 Asian ladybug infestation, and tax reform. This is all intriguing, insightful commentary by an insider who has been in the business for decades. The 1990s saw fruit wines, VQA expansions, consolidation within the industry, the beginnings of agri-tourism and weddings at destination wineries. The decade also saw Brock University and Niagara CAAT take on wine business courses leading to degrees and diplomas, along with the start of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture institute at Brock and an actual producing winery at Niagara. Throughout it all we read about Jim's personal take on sales, marketing taxes, and LCBO listings, as well as life reminiscences and his own winery, Stoney Ridge. Chapter 9 opens part three – the new millennium post-2000. The names and numbers grow – to over 200 wineries across Ontario. But through it all we still must not forget that the five largest wineries in Ontario were responsible for 90% of that province's wine production. And that 20% of industry winemakers in Ontario are owner-operators of their own winery. Ontario winemakers and wineries are an inclusive community with new approaches such as the issue of climate change and global warming, green sustainability and organic/biodynamic principles, equality in hiring practices, making appassimento wines, making orange wines – and sharing all of this with others. To this end, Jim gives a fine appreciation of Larry Paterson, the LCBO employee who took on tasting challenges to show that Ontario wines were just as good as European wines, if not better in some cases. As Jim says, "The story of Ontario wine is not a myth about becoming the "best" or the "greatest" in the wine world but a saga of dinging success and soaring to new heights after a long and determined odyssey to achieve greatness". There are a variety of appendices. Appendix A looks at the current taxes, sales, and distribution of alcohol in Ontario with some great insight in its clear explanation of a complex, complicated subject [not for the faint of heart]. Appendix B lists the Ontario Wine Awards' Winemaker of the Year in chronological order. Appendix C covers the demise of various "ghost" wineries over the past few decades, going back to 1980. And appendix D looks at two decades of progress by VQA Ontario. This is a compelling read, made more vivid by Warren's writing style. He's got his reference material cited, a series of glosses for each chapter, and some critical notes and histories. There is no index, which is unfortunate, but if you find  the PDF or ebook version, then word searching should be no problem for all the names and places. Quality/Price Rating: 95.