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Thursday, February 15, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the FEBRUARY 17, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the FEBRUARY 17, 2024 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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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 https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for scores. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced, so I am quitting any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will probably relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with BRONZE being "GOOD".  Significantly, this also fits into my scheme for trade tastings (as noted below).

MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )

MAJOR THEME:  France

Recommended Wines Under $20
======================
Fizz+16604 CELENE CUVÉE ROYALE ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BORDEAUX $18.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+483891 ROCKWAY VINEYARDS UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2022  VQA  $20 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+224626 JOSEPH CATTIN GEWURZTRAMINER 2022 ALSACE $19.95 MVC/QPR: BEST(90+ )
W+25713 KOUROS ASSYRTIKO 2022 GREECE $14.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+36304 CANTINA SAN PAOLO FIANO 2022 CAMPANIA  $16.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+36846 TOMBACCO AGLIANICO DEL BENEVENTANO 2021 CAMPANIA $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+22130 TAGARO MANCINELLO NERO DI TROIA 2021 PUGLIA  $18.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+23259 TOMMASI RAFAÈL VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2021 $19.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+11152  COUTADA VELHA SIGNATURE RED 2022 PORTUGAL $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+632869 S. SEBASTIÃO TINTA RORIZ/SYRAH 2021 PORTUGAL $14.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)


Recommended Wines Over $20
======================
Fizz+224766  CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BRUT SPARKLING VQA $25.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
Fizz+439257  VEUVE AMBAL GRANDE CUVÉE BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE
$22.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+1552 FLAT ROCK THE RUSTY SHED CHARDONNAY 2020 $34.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+215525 LA CHABLISIENNE LES VÉNÉRABLES VIEILLES VIGNES CHABLIS  $32.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+10421 ASTROLABE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 NEW ZEALAND  $24.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+11581 DOMAINE QUEYLUS TRADITION CABERNET FRANC 2021 $33.70
R+130252 TAWSE SKETCHES CABERNET/MERLOT 2020 VQA $22.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+534339 VAUCHER PÈRE & FILS FLEURIE 2022  $22.80 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+40964 CHÂTEAU DE NAGES HERITAGE COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2021 $23.95  MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+13439 CHÂTEAU DE MONTFAUCON LA CÔTES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2019  $21.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+35942 FRANÇOIS VILLARD MAIRLANT SAINT-JOSEPH SYRAH 2020 $50.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+394650 LAVAU RASTEAU 2020 $23.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+344416 CASTELGREVE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2019  $24.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+14857 CARPINETO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2018 $69.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are "better"  value...on sale  through Sunday February 25
 
W+250696 Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi Piedmont, now $18.95, save $3
W+215525 LA CHABLISIENNE LES VÉNÉRABLES VIEILLES VIGNES CHABLIS now  $28.95, save $4
W+38117 Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling VQA, now $19.95, save $3
R+378257 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, now $54.95, save $5
R+650796 Chateau Teynac Saint-Julien, now $64.95, save $5
R+926626 Famille Perrin Les Sinards Chateauneuf-du-Pape, now $38.95, save $3
R+314575 Sterling Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, now $49.95, save $5
R+225086 Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon, $24.95, save $5


** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Season ---

REPORT FROM ALSACE ROCKS! IN TORONTO  SEPTEMBER 2023
The Event: Tasting Recent Vintages of Alsatian wines
The Venue: Second Floor Events, King Street West
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: a QR code at the site or a PDF later in the week, with info on the wines (but no prices)
The Quote/Background: Still wines are aromatic, unoaked, dry, complex, balanced, high quality and very food-friendly. 90% of the wines in Alsace are white. Seven main grape varieties (in order of vineyard plantings): Pinot Blanc (22%), Riesling (21%), Gewurztraminer (19%), Pinot Gris (16%), Pinot Noir (11%), Sylvaner (5%) and Muscat d'Alsace (2%). Crémant d'Alsace makes up 27% of total production and is made in the traditional method from Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir (all Crémant d'Alsace Rosés are 100% Pinot Noir) and Chardonnay, the latter only for Crémant production. The AOC Alsace appellation is 70% of total production, Crémant d'Alsace is 27% and AOC Grand Cru is 3% (predominately Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat d'Alsace). There were only 12 wineries attending here today which gave all of us a chance to concentrate on the few wines that were at the show. All the gewurztraminers were on one table, as were all the rieslings, the cremants, the pinot noirs, some blends and the older vintages. We had a great opportunity to compare and contrast producers. There were six tables in all.
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cave Jean Geiler Gewurztraminer Grand Cru 2020
-CAVE JEAN GEILER CRÉMANT D'ALSACE, RIESLING NV
-CAVE JEAN GEILER ALSACE, RIESLING, 2021 "INSPIRATION TERROIRS"
-CAVE JEAN GEILER ALSACE GRAND CRU FLORIMONT GEWURZTRAMINER, 2020
-DOMAINE WACH ALSACE, RIESLING, 2022 "ANDLAU"  not repped
-DOMAINE WACH ALSACE GRAND CRU KASTELBERG RIESLING, 2019   not repped
-DOMAINE SOHLER PHILIPPE ALSACE, RIESLING, 2022 "HEISSENBERG"  not repped
-DOMAINE KIRRENBOURG ALSACE GRAND CRU HENGST GEWURZTRAMINER, 2017
-CAVE DE RIBEAUVILLÉ CRÉMANT D'ALSACE "GIERSBERGER", NV
-CAVE DE RIBEAUVILLÉ ALSACE, RIESLING, 2021 BIO
-CAVE DE RIBEAUVILLÉ ALSACE, GEWURZTRAMINER, 2021 "COLLECTION"
-ETIENNE SIMONIS ALSACE, GEWURZTRAMINER, 2021   not repped
-ETIENNE SIMONIS ALSACE GRAND CRU MARCKRAIN GEWURZTRAMINER, 2021   not repped
-WUNSCH & MANN CRÉMANT D'ALSACE "TRADITION" BIO, NV  [my fave fizz]
-WUNSCH & MANN ALSACE, GEWURZTRAMINER, 2022 "N°3", BIO
-DOPFF AU MOULIN CRÉMANT D'ALSACE "CUVÉE JULIEN", NV
-DOPFF AU MOULIN ALSACE GRAND CRU BRAND GEWURZTRAMINER, 2019
-ARTHUR METZ CRÉMANT D'ALSACE LIEU-DIT "SCHIEFERBERG", NV
-ARTHUR METZ CRÉMANT D'ALSACE "PRESTIGE", NV
-CAVE DES VIGNERONS DE PFAFFENHEIM ALSACE, GEWURZTRAMINER, 2020

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-ETIENNE SIMONIS CRÉMANT D'ALSACE EXTRA BRUT, NV    not repped
-ARTHUR METZ ALSACE, RIESLING, 2021 "HORIZON"
-Cave Jean Geiler Pinot Gris 2021 Bio
-Domaine Charles Frey Riesling 2022 "Granite"  not repped in Ontario
-DOMAINE KIRRENBOURG ALSACE GRAND CRU SCHLOSSBERG RIESLING, 2020 BIO
-Domaine Gruss Riesling Vieilles Vignes 2022
-DOMAINE GRUSS ALSACE GRAND CRU VORBOURG GEWURZTRAMINER, 2019
-CAVE DES VIGNERONS DE PFAFFENHEIM CRÉMANT D'ALSACE EXTRA BRUT, NV
-CAVE DES VIGNERONS DE PFAFFENHEIM ALSACE, RIESLING, 2021 "JUPITER"

The Food: there was a tapas station with tomato bread, ricotta ndjua on crostini, manchego on bread, chorizo and goat cheese, mussels escabeche. There was also a more traditional cheese/charcuterie platter with duck prosciutto, calabrese, truffled mortadella, Beemster cheese, Celtic blue, truffled Gouda.
The Downside: I wanted more riesling and gewurztraminer wines. Price ranges were not listed.
The Upside: there were a fair number of off-dry wines.
The Contact Person: nperez@sopexa.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Virus-free.www.avg.com

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

REPORT ON THE CGU FINE WINES WINTER PORTFOLIO TRADE TASTING OCTOBER 2023

REPORT ON THE CGU FINE WINES WINTER PORTFOLIO TRADE TASTING OCTOBER 2023

The Date and Time: Tuesday October 24, 2023  12noon to 3P
The Event: CGU Portfolio Tasting
The Venue: Terrace Room, Park Hyatt
The Target Audience: licensees and wine media, with private collectors later.
The Availability/Catalogue: a one-page sheet listed the wines at five tables, with label names, regions, vintage dates, prices, case sizes, and order information.
The Wines: I had the opportunity to try most of the wines. Prices are licensee only.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Domaine Michel Voarick Pernard-Vergelesses 2021 Aloxe-Corton Rouge $65.76
-Domaine des Ardoissieres Silice Blanc 2022 [biodynamic] $34.12
-Niew Vineyards Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2021 Willamette $111.11 [my second fave]
-Chantereves Marsannay Rose 2021 Savigny-les-Beaune $59.35
-Domaine Derey Fixin Les Echalais Marsannay 2021 Rouge $60.86
-Domaine Patrice Rion Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Terre Blanches 2020 $101.76
-Domaine Pierrick Bouley Volnay 1er Champans 2020 Rouge $187.10
-Domaine Boyer-Martenot Boyer de Bar Chardonnay 2021 $30.70 [my fave of the day]
-Domaine Boyer-Martenot Puligny-Montrachet Les Reuchaux 2020 $140.89
-Domaine Garcia Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Grandes Vignes 2021 Rouge $160.14
-Thiriet Cote de Nuits Villages aux Montagnes 2021 $136.54
-Domaine Guillemot-Michel Vire-Clesse Quintaine 2021 [biodynamic] $65.87
-Domaine des Terres de Velle Savigny-Les-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Vergelesse [white] $64.71
-Domaine Francois Mikulski Cremant de Bourgogne NV Meursault $38.78
-Laurent Ponsot Meursault 1er Cru Blagny Cuvee du Myosc 2019 $226.84
-Le Chai Duchet Vire-Clesse 2021 $33.86

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Reinhard & Beate Knebel Rottgen GG 2021 Mosel [white] $88.75
-Weingut A. Christmann Aus den Lagen Riesling 2021 Pfalz $38.81
-Weingut A.J.Adam Hofberg GG 2022 Mosel $72.81
-Weingut Schloss Lieser Juffer Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2020 Mosel $42.10
-Domaine Michel Voarick Corton-Charlemagne 2021 Grand Cru Aloxe-Corton $328.68
-Clement Lavallee Bourgogne Cotes d'Auxerre Rouge 2020 Ma Pierre $56
-Clement Lavallee Saint-Bris Les Copains d'Abord 2021 $47.07
-Domaine Derey Bourgogne Montre Cul Marsannay 2021 Rouge $40.64
-Armand Heitz Pommard 1er Cru Pezerolles 2020 $150.03
-Domaine Garcia Marsannay Clos du Roy 2021 Rouge $96.09
-Thiriet Bourgogne Aligote au Jardin Comblanchien 2021 $82.61
-Domaine Francois Mikulski Bourgogne Aligote 2021 Meursault $47.91
-Domaine Georges Glantenay Volnay 2020 $77.81
-Laurent Ponsot Bourgogne Blanc Cuvee du Perce-Neige 2019 $61.67
-Le Chai Duchet Macon Blanc 2022 $24.96

The Downside: there was a Greek wine trade show immediately afterwards.
The Upside: there were only 35 wines to taste.
The Contact Person: info@cgufinewines.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 85




Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the FEBRUARY 3, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the FEBRUARY 3, 2024 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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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 https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for scores. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced, so I am quitting any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will probably relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with BRONZE being "GOOD".  Significantly, this also fits into my scheme for trade tastings (as noted below).

MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )

MAJOR THEME:  Chile and Argentina

Recommended Wines Under $20
======================
Fizz+10580 UNDURRAGA PINOT NOIR BRUT ROSÉ SPARKLING Valle del Leyda, Chile
(XD - 10 g/L)  $14.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
Fizz+36065 CASTELL DE SANT PAU CAVA BRUT ROSÉ SPARKLING Spain (XD - 11 g/L) $18.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+33412 COLIO BUDDING VINES RESERVE PINOT GRIS 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula (D - 5 g/L)  $19.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+489179 BODEGA EL PORVENIR DE CAFAYATE LABORUM FINCA EL RETIRO TORRONTÉS 2022 Valle de Cafayate, Salta (XD - 2 g/L) $18.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+36014 TRAPICHE TESORO CHARDONNAY 2022 Valle de Uco, Mendoza (XD - 6 g/L) $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+544213 INDOMITA GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Valle de Casablanca (XD - 2 g/L) $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+390203 MONTES ALPHA CHARDONNAY 2021 Aconcagua Cost (XD - 2 g/L) $19.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+38011 VALLÉE LOIRE TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 (XD - 0 g/L) $16.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+31739 COLIO RESERVE MERLOT 2020 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake (XD - 4 g/L)  $19.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+26508 SKYFALL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Washington State (XD - 3 g/L) $18.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+35672 EMILIANA NOVAS STELLAR SELECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON-SYRAH-CARIGNAN 2021 Vegan. DO Valle del Maule (XD-3 g/L) $17.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+)
R+35943 LA CROIX DE BEAULIAC CRÉATION CÔTES DU RHONE 2021 (XD - 4 g/L) $14.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+32685 COLOMBA BIANCA RESILIENCE PERRICONE 2021 DOC Sicilia (XD - 4 g/L)  $17.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+548867 CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA 2019 Vegan, Vinho Regional Lisboa
(D - 8 g/L) $14.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+431262 REDE RESERVA 2018 DOC Douro (XD - 5 g/L) $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

Recommended Wines Over $20
======================
Fizz+970970 BERNARD-MASSARD CUVÉE DE L'ÉCUSSON BRUT SPARKLING Traditional method, Luxembourg (XD - 13 g/L)  $21.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+24981 VILLA MARIA EARTH GARDEN SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Marlborough, South Island (XD - 4 g/L) $20.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+17568 ZEPHYR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Vegan, Marlborough, South Island (XD - 5 g/L) $23.95. MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+35193 TENUTA RAPITALÀ BERNARD DE LA GATINAIS CONTE HUGUES CHARDONNAY 2020 DOC Sicilia (XD - 3 g/L) $48.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+37411 STRATUS MERLOT 2020 Vegan, sustainable, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake (XD - 3 g/L) $45.20 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+28078 ZUCCARDI Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2021 Valle de Uco, Mendoza (XD - 3 g/L)  $20.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+550392 CHÂTEAU MAURAC 2008 AC Haut-Médoc (XD - 2 g/L) $32.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+635680 PHILIPPE & VINCENT JABOULET NOUVELÈRE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2019
(XD - 3 g/L)  $38.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+36770 CARUS ROBÈO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 IGT Toscana (XD - 2 g/L)  $33.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+928622 LAN GRAN RESERVA 2016 DOCa Rioja (XD - 2 g/L) $34.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+462788 MERAYO LAS TRES FILAS MENCIA 2020 DO Bierzo (XD - 2 g/L) $20.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are "better"  value...on sale  through Sunday February 25.
 
W+250696 Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi Piedmont, now $18.95, save $3
W+215525 LA CHABLISIENNE LES VÉNÉRABLES VIEILLES VIGNES CHABLIS now  $28.95, save $4
W+38117 Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling VQA, now $19.95, save $3
R+378257 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, now $54.95, save $5
R+650796 Chateau Teynac Saint-Julien, now $64.95, save $5
R+926626 Famille Perrin Les Sinards Chateauneuf-du-Pape, now $38.95, save $3
R+314575 Sterling Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, now $49.95, save $5
R+225086 Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon, $24.95, save $5

REPORT ON A RELAXING SUMMER SATURDAY AFTERNOON TASTING  2023

I was invited by Giovanni Silvestri of Rome's International Marketing Communications to a small group tasting at Restaurant Deco in Toronto's Junction (Keele and Dundas). Actually, it was a family-style lunch with wine and with kids. Deco was still springing back from the pandemic: they had opened just before covid-19 attacked. There were seven adults here, and we tasted the wines with multiple food courses. For food we had shareable platters of Italian chewy breads with porchetta and olive oils, followed by caprese with fresh local tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. There were two hot courses: one with short pasta and guancale in Roman style, and another with gnocchi bolognese. There were six wines, and the tasting was led by Giovanni who also represents Gambrero Rosso Worldtour. Full disclosure--he's also the brand ambassador for Casale del Giglio wines:

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casale del Griglio Bellone 2022 Lazio IGT 13.5% ABV. Bellone as a grape harkens back to Roman times but it has once again risen to its potential in sales with a "juicyfruit" tenderness and a long palate. It had been a major seller at our LCBO, and Giovanni points out that it may be coming back. Bellone is also often found in white wine blends in Lazio and Umbria.
-Castello di Gabiano Corte Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Piemonte DOC [organic] 10.50 Euros 13.5% comes from the southern part of Piedmont but still delivers the typical sauvignon blanc herbaceous character so necessary for food wines.
-Castello di Gabiano Adornes Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2015 Piedmont DOCG 14% ABV was my fave of the tasting, with its deep richness and satisfying aging. Aged 18 months, at least six in barriques, and more in the bottle before release. Barbera is the principal red grape of Piedmont, although, of course, it is lighter than barbaresco and barolo (both made from nebbiolo, a different but more tannic grape). Cherry-berry complexity makes the wine approachable, especially the older wines. Look also for what are known as "warm spices" or "pumpkin pie" spices with a shot of vanilla as it is aged in wood.

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casale del Griglio Satrico 2022 Lazio Bianco +569806 $18.95 6g/L residual sugar, 13% ABV: made up in stainless with a combo of grapes (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, trebbiano giallo) almost like a field blend. This results in a good grip based on the grapes, such as herbs and grass, orchard fruit, lemons, and an underlying minerality. A good wine to sip on the patio or deck.
-Anselmi San Vincenzo 2022 Veneto IGT +948158 $19.95 5g/L residual sugar, 12.5% ABV is much like Soave with its garganega grape blended with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, exhibiting flowers and plums, even aromas of red currants. It's off-dry and best with food as a first course.
-Castello di Gabiano La Bruja Barbera d'Asti 2020 Piedmont DOCG 14.5% ABV was fermented in concrete (60%) and then aged for a year. Expect a variety of red fruits such as sour cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Better years will have a shot of dark fruit such as black cherry or blackberry nuances. The higher acid makes the wine more food-friendly as the wine cuts through the rich creams and sauces.




Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Limited Time Offers from the LCBO, from Jan 29 through Feb 25...

LTOs of "better" quality...to Feb 25:

W+250696 Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi Piedmont, now $18.95, save $3

W+215525 LA CHABLISIENNE LES VÉNÉRABLES VIEILLES VIGNES CHABLIS now $28.95, save $4

W+38117 Vineland Estates Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling VQA, now $19.95, save $3

R+378257 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino, now $54.95, save $5

R+650796 Chateau Teynac Saint-Julien, now $64.95, save $5

R+926626 Famille Perrin Les Sinards Chateauneuf-du-Pape, now $38.95, save $3

R+314575 Sterling Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, now $49.95, save $5

R+225086 Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon, $24.95, save $5





Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Saturday, January 27, 2024

REPORT FROM ROGERS & COMPANY PORTFOLIO TRADE TASTING OCTOBER 2023

REPORT FROM ROGERS & COMPANY PORTFOLIO TRADE TASTING MONDAY OCTOBER 23, 2023

The Date and Time: Oct 23, 1:30 - 4:30P
The Event: Rogers & Company Portfolio Trade Tasting
The Venue: George, Queen Street
The Target Audience: wine trade, sommeliers, wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: a good paper catalogue with prices, regional descriptions, and space for notes.
The Quote/Background: many principals attended the tasting and did most of the pouring.
New this year was Arthur de Lencquesaing from Marques de Murrieta, this year's guest of honour.
The Wines: There were more than 135 wines to sample; I did not taste all of them. Prices are licensee only.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Blue Mountain Brut NV VQA Okanagan $32.99
-Tenuta Cocci Grifoni Tara Falerio Pecorino 2022 Le Marche $18.49
-Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Napa $105.99
-Marques de Murrieta Capellania 2018 [white, viura] $125.99
-Marques de Murrieta Dalmau Rioja 2019 $249.99
-Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial 2011 $299.99
-Lis Neris Jusosa Chardonnay 2019 Friuli  $52.99
-Lis Neris Confini 2018 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer Friuli $64.99
-Domaine "Luquet Le Pavillon" Macon-Villages 2021 $27.99
-Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec 2022 Loire $50.99
-Olivier Leflaive Freres Les Setilles 2020 Burgundy $47.99
-Chanson Pere et Fils Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches 2020 $139.99
-Champagne Bollinger PNC AY18 NV $141.99
-Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvee NV $85.99
-Champagne Bollinger RD Extra Brut 2008 $389.99
-Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay West Sonoma Coast 2021 $96.99
-Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2022 $80.99 [my fave of the day]
-Shafer "One Point Five" Stag's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 Napa $159.99
-Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Napa $489.99
-WINC Porter & Plot Chardonnay 2020 Central Coast California $22.99
-Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2020 Napa $98.99
-Faust "The Pact" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 $122.99
-Duckhorn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Napa $134.99
-Duckhorn "Three Palms" Vineyard Napa Valley Merlot 2020 $137.99


***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-The Organized Crime Winery Limestone Block Chardonnay 2021 Beamsville Bench $19.71
-Pazo Senorans Albarino Rias Baixas Spain $32.99
-Domaine Henry Pelle Sancere "La Croix au Garde" 2022 Loire $33.99
-Domaine La Meuliere Chablis 2022  $33.99
-Olivier Leflaive Freres Montagny 1er cru Bonneveaux 2019 $76.99
-Champagne Bollinger Rose Brut NV $119.99
-Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2020 $39.99
-Flowers Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2022 $54.99
-Vins Denuziere Cornas 2021 $63.99
-Share a Splash Wine Company Cannonball Chardonnay 2021 California $18.99
-Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre Saint-Julien 2018 $81.99


The Food: there was a cheese platter with appropriate fromages ranging from runny through to hard, plus some blue cheese. I was there only for the first hour and a half, and sampled some of the four hot platters. There was a platter of George burger with a brioche bun slider, a shrimp tempura with white sauce, a mozzarella orancini/arancini, and a chicken satay skewer.
The Downside: as always, it got crowded really fast.
The Upside: a major opportunity to taste some really fine expensive wines.
The Contact Person: s.stoddart@rogcowines.com or j.clarke@rogcowines.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Virus-free.www.avg.com

Sunday, January 14, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the JANUARY 20, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the JANUARY 20, 2024 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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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 https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for scores. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced, so I am quitting any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will probably relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with BRONZE being "GOOD".  Significantly, this also fits into my scheme for trade tastings (as noted below).

MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
Sugar Content is indicated in grams per litre

MAJOR THEME:  CALIFORNIA'S CENTRAL COAST

Recommended Wines Under $20
======================
W+907683 MARYNISSEN CHARDONNAY 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula (XD - 4 g/L) $16.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+686675 SPY VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2022 Marlborough NZ (XD - 3 g/L) $19.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+259788 JOSEPH CATTIN RIESLING 2022 AC Alsace (XD - 5 g/L) $16.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+11851 CREEKSIDE RED TRACTOR CABERNET/MERLOT 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula (XD - 6 g/L)  $17.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+367318 KEW SOLDIER'S GRANT 2019 [appassimento] VQA Niagara Peninsula (XD - 2 g/L) $19.95  MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+569988 MASSERIA BORGO DEI TRULLI PRIMITIVO 2022 IGP Salento Italy
(D - 12 g/L) $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+68510 ROCCA DELLE MACÌE SASYR SANGIOVESE/SYRAH 2020 IGT Toscana (XD - 8 g/L) $16.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

Recommended Wines Over $20
======================
W+986778 HESS SELECT MONTEREY COUNTY CHARDONNAY 2021 Monterey County (D - 7 g/L)  $24.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+17687 WILLAMETTE VALLEY VINEYARDS WHOLE CLUSTER PINOT NOIR 2022 Willamette Valley Oregon (D - 11 g/L) $31.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+36760 CHARLES & CHARLES BOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 Columbia Valley Washington State (XD - 4 g/L) $25.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+17014 Chateau Ste. Michelle INTRINSIC RED BLEND 2020 Columbia Valley (XD - 5 g/L) $28.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+734681 SPY VALLEY PINOT NOIR 2020 Southern Valleys, Marlborough NZ (XD - 2 g/L) $26.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+318352 LAZZERETTI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2018 DOCG (XD - 2 g/L) $52.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+32696 TOMMASI I PIANETI RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2019 DOC (XD - 6 g/L)  $22.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)


LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday January 28, 2024
 
[fizz] +32209 Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superior NV now $16.95, save $2
[rose]+25746 LVE French Rose Languedoc, now $27.95, save $2
R+328567 Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon WO Western Cape South Africa now $16.95, save $3
R+258673 G.Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir VQA NOTL now $17.95, save $2
R+595280 Porcupine Ridhe Syrah WO Swartland South Africa now $14.95, save $3
R+360222 Seven Falls Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Washington State now $20.95, save $3


French Cremant sparkling wines...

"Cremant" is a sparkling wine made in eight regions of France (in addition to the six regions below, Cremants are also made in Die and in Savoie). It is produced by the "Traditional Method" or "Methode Champenoise". It is different from Champagne only in that it uses local specified grape varieties, but not necessarily chardonnay/pinot noir/pinot meunier as specified in Champagne. The closest a Cremant can be to Champagne is Cremant de Bourgogne, which uses the same varieties as for Champagne. Cremants represent great value, and here are the latest 27 (some of which are sparkling roses) at the LCBO as of the New Year's 2024 [more different ones may be at the Consignment warehouse or available by private order]:

Chateau de Montgueret Cremant de Loire Brut $24.05
Montgueret Cremant De Loire Rose $21.00
Grande Cuvee 1531 De Aimery Cremant De Limoux $23.95
Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne $24.95
Sieur Gaillard Cremant de Bordeaux $23.65
De Chanceny Cremant De Loire Rose Brut $25.80
Veuve Ambal Cremant De Bourgogne Grande Cuvee Brut $25.30
Vitteaut-Alberti Cremant De Bourgogne Blanc Des Blancs $29.25
Domaine Schaeffer Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose Terroirs 2018 $27.95
Cremant de Loire Brut Nature Leon & Jean $33.70
Cleebourg Clérotstein Auxerrois Crémant d'Alsace $19.95
Domaine Schaeffer Cremant d'Alsace Brut Tradition 2018 $26.05
Viteaut-Alberti Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noirs Brut $28.25
Edition Abtei Himmerod Cremant Riesling Brut  $25.95
Montgermont Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noirs Brut Sparkling $28.95
Koenig Brut Crémant d'Alsace KPM $27.95
Henkell Brut Crémant de Loire 2016 $21.95
Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut Perle d'Aurore Louis Bouillot $35.95
Domaine Baud Brut Sauvage Crémant du Jura Brut Sparkling $36.00
Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $19.95
Celene Cuvée Royale Rosé Crémant de Bordeaux $19.95
De Chanceny Brut Crémant de Loire $24.95
Louis Bouillot Perle Rare Brut Crémant de Bourgogne 2018 $22.95
Cave de Lugny Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant de Bourgogne $22.95
Cave de Ribeauvillé Giersberger Brut Crémant d'Alsace $22.95
Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $27.95
Emile Beyer Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant d'Alsace $23.95

** Some New Spirits and Beers I Tasted Over the Past Season ---

SPIRITUALITY BITTERS NOTES

Armagnac--

Bas-Armagnac de Montal Les Hauts de Montrouge 2004 700 mL. +11426 Vintages October 21,  2023 $118: comes in a red wood gift box for the Christmas holidays. There are about 181 producers of Armagnac in Gascony, and many make single vintage bottlings unlike in Cognac. Hence, there are many bottles of older Armagnac brandies (10, 15, 20, 30 year olds) that sell everywhere in the world -- but in small lots. Montal's 2004 was aged a minimum of 19 years in oak. Armagnac sells well in Quebec – they recognize a bargain.  2004 is a blend of colombard, folle blanche, baco, and ugni blanc in a continuous distillation. Extremely aromatic with overtones of roasted nuts, caramel, vanilla, dried fruits (such as apricots), and oak character. Exceptionally smooth on the mid-palate and great soft length on the finish. 40% ABV. There should still be some left at the LCBO. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


Originally, I was going to call this review "Better Notes", but then I thought that was too coy. Bitters are better than they've ever been since they do a nice job of breaking down fried and breaded fats, oil and grease in the old tum-tum. Too many people today eat fried foods (I shudder to think what their digestive system will look like in 50 years), and that includes even some Japanese sushi. More sushi joints are adding tempura for extra crunch and filler, and as a way to keep costs down.

Zwack Unicum Bitters (500mL, +364851, $34) has come from Hungary (mostly) since 1790, with some production in other European countries. In 1992 it became a company limited by shares, and now has some involvement with other spirits such as Smirnoff vodka, Cinzano, Baileys, and Schlumberger TM sparkling wine.  At 40% ABV it has not changed over the years. It's full of great herb extracts, water, alcohol, and some sugar to ameliorate the finish. Over 40 different herbs and spices are infused and distilled, and then aged for 6 months in oak. It's widely used as a hot toddy. This digestive liqueur allows for indulgence and spicy conditions. It can even be used as an amaro for aperitifs or as a mixer.

Underberg Bitters (3 x 20mL in a box, +214809, $8.25) calls itself a "Natural Herbal Digestive"; it's been made in Germany since 1846. In 1949 the company began producing only the small 20mL bottles as a single-shot pacifist for digestive ails. Unlike other bitters and amari, Underberg has no added sugar, but finishes with the texture of palate sweetness from natural fructose. We know that it is gluten-free, and that licorice is one of the principal extracted herbs, and that the herbs come from 43 different countries. 44% ABV but easy to swallow.


BEER NOTES

Originally I was going to call THIS review "Beer Nuts", but then I thought that was too coy and punny. I was given four beers from Innis & Gunn (repped by PMA) to write up as the company makes some changes in Ontario at the LCBO. Innis & Gunn was founded in 2003 in Scotland; this is now its 20th anniversary. The company specializes in Scottish ale, also called Scottish red beer, a sort-of milder stout with lower carbonation. My wife likes them for their character and lower carbonation. I usually drink just draught beer but it is pretty hard to tell the difference between draught Innis & Gunn and bottled Innis & Gun – principally because of the carbonation.

1.The Innis & Gunn Lager Beer (473mL cans, +33528, $2.95) now at the LCBO, is made in Ontario, brewed with barley and oats and aromatic hops. It replaces the 500mL can that was imported from Scotland, and the price has been reduced from $3.50 since it is now made locally. The taste remains the same with citrus tones and nuances of the basics of lager beer. 4.6% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.The Innis & Gunn Caribbean Rum Cask Beer (473mL cans, +33526, $3.75 normally, but $3.25 on sale through September 10 as an LTO, saving 50 cents) replaces the bottles and is brewed under license in Toronto. It's a standardized can size, and still 6.8% ABV. Using only barley and low bittering, it's matured in hand-selected rum casks, and this gives it a toffeed dried fruit and off-dry character with some vanilla tones. Matured 51 days in cask. My wife's fave. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.The Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask (500mL cans, +13618, $3.35) usually appears in Ontario in January and February, just ahead of St. Patrick's day. It's a Scottish oatmeal stout, with barley and oats, and it matures for 51 days in Irish whiskey casks coming in at 6.1% ABV. It's actually a "Product of Scotland" made in used Irish whiskey casks, exhibiting vanilla tones with nuances of coffee and chocolate (mocha elements) as do stouts. So it is a Limited Edition, and if you wanted more, then you had better buy more when it first comes out...watch for it next winter!! Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.The Innis & Gunn Islay Whisky Cask Beer Limited Edition (2 x 330mL bottles in a box, +25082, $12.95) is also a Laphroaig Edition in a double cardboard box. It's another in the Scottish red beer category. It's been double matured in Laphroaig first fill malt cask (10-year old single-malt Laphroaig) AND then in port casks. It's a malty amber ale, coming in at 7.4% ABV, full of peat smoke toffee and tobacco. Well-worth your consideration. Quantities are limited. Quality/Price rating is 94+ points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.






Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Friday, January 12, 2024

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO’s Limited Time Offers

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good value...on sale through Sunday January 28, 2024

[fizz] +32209 Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superior NV now $16.95, save $2

[rose]+25746 LVE French Rose Languedoc, now $27.95, save $2

R+328567 Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon WO Western Cape South Africa now $16.95, save $3

R+258673 G.Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir VQA NOTL now $17.95, save $2

R+595280 Porcupine Ridhe Syrah WO Swartland South Africa now $14.95, save $3

R+360222 Seven Falls Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Washington State now $20.95, save $3




Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Report on the Event: Profile Wine Group Portfolio Trade Tasting 2023

REPORT ON PROFILE WINE GROUP PORTFOLIO TASTING.. 2023

The Event: Profile Wine Group Portfolio Trade Tasting 2023
The Venue: Liberty Grand  (Exhibition Place)
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers.
The Availability/Catalogue: Everything was available via QR code
The Quote/Background: Having the samples from Don Alfonso was a nice touch.
The Wines: All prices are retail.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Miner Chardonnay Napa $63
-Corezza Spumante Method Traditionale $35.99
-Argyle Vintage Brut Oregon 2018 $43
-Textbook Sonoma Chardonnay 2022 $41
-J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay 2021 $43
-Pierre Sparr Cremant Brut Reserva NV $27
-Pierre Sparr Cremant Brut Rose Reserva NV $28
-Deux Roches Pouilly Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 2021 $60
-Deux Roches Pouilly Fuisse Les Crays 2021 $70
-Deux Roches St Veran Rives de Longsault 2021 $45
-Palmaz Chardonnay Amalia 2019 $139
-Palmaz Cedar Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 $123
-Palmaz NAPA 2018 $277
-Chateau Mailliard Gregory NV $62
-Chateau Mailliard Prestige Blanc de Blanc 2016 $85


***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Phermento Lambrusco di Sorbana 2021 $34.99
-Borgo Conventi Ribolla Gialla 2022 $30.99
-Borgo Conventi Isonzo Pinto Grigio 2021 $26.99
-Villa Sandi La Rivetta 120 Valdobbiadonme Prosecco NV $35
-Cristom Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2020 $69
-Solid Ground Chardonnay California 2022 $20
-Dough Chardonnay California 2020 $25
-Markham Chardonnay 2021 $40
-Casale del Giglio Bianco Lazio $24
-Madame Veuve Point Chablis 2022 $44
-Madame Veuve Point Beaune 1er Cru Pimants 2020 $94
-Madame Veuve Point Gevrey Chambertin Rouge 2019 $113
-Chateau Mailliard Alexia Rose NV $75
-Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2021 $25
-Wakefield Jaraman Chardonnay 2021 $25
-Morambo Creek Chardonnay 2021 Australia $35
-Satrco Bianco Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc 2022 $26

The Food: platters of sundried tomatoes, a mix of artichoke hearts, pepperettes, capicola, mortadella, ham, parmesan chunks, pickled beets, eggplant, grilled zucchini, marinated mushrooms, mixed olives, whipped gorgonzola, fig syrup, foccacia. As a special treat, Don Alfonso restaurant provided both La Rissiola (cured amberjack, chives, yogurt, fava bean) and Il Raviolo (pheasant, oyster mushrooms, parmesan cheese, black truffle).
The Downside: it got crowded really fast.
The Upside: a chance to experience some really great wines.
The Contact Person: aprodhon@profilewinegroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87


Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Virus-free.www.avg.com

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the January 6, 2024 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for the January 6, 2024 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  https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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 https://pages.pathcom.com/~dtudor 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).
I was one of the first to jump on the Robert Parker bandwagon, using numerical indications for scores. Why? Because with a database I could rate, rank and order wines in any fashion. It was just so convenient using databases. Unfortunately, the numerical system has been shown to be disgraced, so I am quitting any ranking by number. From now on, it will just be GOOD, BETTER and BEST, which will give me some wiggle room (e.g. is this wine an 87, 88, 89, or 90? Or all of them...depends on my mood and time of day). With the rigorous standards and lab testing by the LCBO, I can safely say that every single wine at the LCBO is at least GOOD, which I would numerically rank at 75-85 points. For reasons of time and space, I will NOT be listing GOOD wines. Just the BETTER (86-89) and BEST (90+ ) wines. This spread of points will probably relate to SILVER and GOLD medals, with BRONZE being "GOOD".  Significantly, this also fits into my scheme for trade tastings (as noted below).

MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

MAJOR THEME:  SMART BUYS 2024


Recommended Wines Under $20
======================

Fizz+648170 La Fleur de Francois Brut Cremant de Bordeaux, $16.95  MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+328559 Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2021 Western Cape South Africa, $18.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+599274 Dr. L Riesling 2022 Qualitatswein Mosel, $16.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+637868 Chateau de la Grange Vieilles Vignes Cotes de Grand Lieu Muscadet 2021 Sur Lie, $13.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+354134 Chateau Bellevue La Foret Original 2020 Fronton France, $13.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )

W+34815 Piedra Negra Alta Coleccion Torrontes 2023 Mendoza, $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+35965 Sutil Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2023 Central Valley Chile, $15.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+17586 Mission Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022 New Zealand, $17.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+22984 Mountadam Five-Fifty Chardonnay 2020 Eden Valley South Australia, $17.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+32555 Yalumba The Y Series Riesling 2021 South Australia, $14.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
W+577734 De Angelis Campo di Marte Offida Pecorino 2022 Marche Italy, $16.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+744235 Wakefield Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 Clare Valley South Australia, $19.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+35970 Tarapaca Gran Reserva Red Blend 2021 Maipo Chile, $16.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+446245 Chateau de Marsan 2019 Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, $16.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+18141 Chateau Grand Escalion 2020 Costieres de Nimes, $13.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+981399 Terra d'Aligi Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2022, $16.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

Recommended Wines Over $20
======================

Sherry+35204 Gonzalez Byass Nutty Solera Medium Oloroso, $20.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
W+34135 Tawse Grower's Blend SauvignonBlanc 2020 VQA Niagara, $26.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )
R+568741 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena 2020, $57.95 MVC/QPR: BEST (90+ )

W+32955 Chartron et Trebuchet Chablis 2022, $30.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+421198 Union Wine Company Underwood Pinot Noir 2021 Oregon, $23.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+494674 La Nerthe Les Cassagnes Cotes du Rhone-Villages 2020, $25.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)
R+455600 Ferruccio Deiana Sileno Riserva Cannonau de Sardegna 2018 Sardinia, $22.95 MVC/QPR: BETTER (86-89)

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday January 28, 2024
 
[fizz] +32209 Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Prosecco Superior NV now $16.95, save $2
[rose]+25746 LVE French Rose Languedoc, now $27.95, save $2
R+328567 Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon WO Western Cape South Africa now $16.95, save $3
R+258673 G.Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir VQA NOTL now $17.95, save $2
R+595280 Porcupine Ridhe Syrah WO Swartland South Africa now $14.95, save $3
R+360222 Seven Falls Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Washington State now $20.95, save $3

** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past Season ---

REPORT FROM THE NATURAL WINES FROM CHILE TRADE TASTING SEPTEMBER

The Venue: SIPS Toronto, Maud Street
The Target Audience: sommeliers, wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: at least two of these wines will be in the Ontario market, perhaps this year.
The Quote/Background: ProChile gave us (seminar of 20) local sommelier Heather MacDougall as moderator, and Chilean sommelier Mariana Martinez as principal speaker and discussant. She was on a hookup via the Internet. Natural wines is a large category that mainly includes no human or chemical interference with grapes. Categories include: transparency, sustainable, organic, biodynamic, and the like. Perhaps "orange wine" is where all the principles may intersect. Mariana talked about all of these and the various certification seals used in Chile. She also talked about Pais grapes and their usefulness in natural wine production. Much of the activity of natural wines occur in the Itata and Colchagua valleys. She spoke on details of all five wineries, plus of course she talked on tasting all the five wines with a palate. Discussions ensued on marketing, agents and prices.

The Wines:

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Probulk Wine Buena Vida de Chile Sauvignon Blanc 2023 Leyda and Colchagua, with bought natural grapes.
-Vina Antiyal Kuyen 2019 Maipo, berries blue and black (syrah, cab sauv, carmenere, petit verdot), about $50 CDN.

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Co-op Marga Marga La Zaranda Sauvignon Blanc 2021 ~$40 CDN
-Villalobos Silvestre Carignan Colchagua 2019  $28 CDN
-Wildmakers Sabatico Maule 2018 Garnacha - Cariñena $20 USD


The Food: we had a board with charcuterie (salumi. mortadella), cheese (pecorino, gruyere), empanadas (chicken, beef, veggie), Taralli Pugliese, and some really good bread.
The Downside: we only had five wines. I think we needed more, say 8 in all, in order to make comparisons and evaluate different vintages of the same wine to indicate aging possibilities or changes in palate, different winemakers, and stages in "naturalness" viniculture.
The Upside: well, despite the above, it was a good exercise in learning about the character of Chilean natural wines.
The Contact Person: lisa@androscom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.









Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

French Cremant sparkling wines...

"Cremant" is a sparkling wine made in eight regions of France (in addition to the six regions below, Cremants are also made in Die and in Savoie). It is produced by the "Traditional Method" or "Methode Champenoise". It is different from Champagne only in that it uses local specified grape varieties, but not necessarily chardonnay/pinot noir/pinot meunier as specified in Champagne. The closest a Cremant can be to Champagne is Cremant de Bourgogne, which uses the same varieties as for Champagne. Cremants represent great value, and here are the latest 27 (some of which are sparkling roses) at the LCBO as of the New Year's 2024 [more different ones may be at the Consignment warehouse or available by private order]:

Chateau de Montgueret Cremant de Loire Brut $24.05
Montgueret Cremant De Loire Rose $21.00
Grande Cuvee 1531 De Aimery Cremant De Limoux $23.95
Bailly Lapierre Réserve Brut Crémant de Bourgogne $24.95
Sieur Gaillard Cremant de Bordeaux $23.65
De Chanceny Cremant De Loire Rose Brut $25.80
Veuve Ambal Cremant De Bourgogne Grande Cuvee Brut $25.30
Vitteaut-Alberti Cremant De Bourgogne Blanc Des Blancs $29.25
Domaine Schaeffer Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose Terroirs 2018 $27.95
Cremant de Loire Brut Nature Leon & Jean $33.70
Cleebourg Clérotstein Auxerrois Crémant d'Alsace $19.95
Domaine Schaeffer Cremant d'Alsace Brut Tradition 2018 $26.05
Viteaut-Alberti Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noirs Brut $28.25
Edition Abtei Himmerod Cremant Riesling Brut  $25.95
Montgermont Crémant de Bourgogne Blanc de Noirs Brut Sparkling $28.95
Koenig Brut Crémant d'Alsace KPM $27.95
Henkell Brut Crémant de Loire 2016 $21.95
Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé Brut Perle d'Aurore Louis Bouillot $35.95
Domaine Baud Brut Sauvage Crémant du Jura Brut Sparkling $36.00
Veuve Ambal Grande Cuvée Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $19.95
Celene Cuvée Royale Rosé Crémant de Bordeaux $19.95
De Chanceny Brut Crémant de Loire $24.95
Louis Bouillot Perle Rare Brut Crémant de Bourgogne 2018 $22.95
Cave de Lugny Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant de Bourgogne $22.95
Cave de Ribeauvillé Giersberger Brut Crémant d'Alsace $22.95
Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $27.95
Emile Beyer Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Crémant d'Alsace $23.95


Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures