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Wednesday, February 10, 2016


1.Gerard Bertrand Reserve Speciale Viognier 2014 IGP Pays d'Oc, +147975, $14.95 Vintages Feb 6/16: aromatic but on the dry side, perfect as a social wine or for first course. Expect peachy and orange character, but of course no oak. Youthful and useful with nuances of orchard fruit and spicy nuts. Could go either way with or without food. Versatile. 13% ABV, cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Jean Leon 3055 Merlot/Petit Verdot 2014 Penedes, +437699, $18.95 Vintages: I have always been a fan of Jean Leon wines when they turn up at Vintages, and this one is no exception. "3055" refers to his taxi license number, acquired when he first arrived in NYC. The merlot vines used here are about a decade older than the petit verdot, and the wine is partially aged for 3 months in French oak. It's a heavy deep wine (still young) redolent of red fruit (red currants, cranberries) with merlot softness and verdot tannins. At this stage, best with  dense meats, sausages, and grills. 14% ABV, cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Reserve Estate 2013 VQA Ontario, +461699 Vintages Feb 20/16, $24.95: low yielding grapes come from original 1984 plantings in Short Hills Bench. As with their previous baco noirs, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy character and the price (it has been $24.95 for years). Both new and older US barrels are used for a year and a half aging. It is still too young for today, needs another five years. 14% ABV. One of the top bacos in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut "Cuvee Thomas Jefferson" 2013 AOP Limoux, +438838, $19.95 Vintages Feb 6/16: sparkling wine from Limoux was the only bubbly to be found in TJ's personal cellar. So there is a connection, apart from American marketing. It's a basic and useful sparkler, done up in the French Cremant style (Champagne method of secondary fermentation in the bottle) with chardonnay, chenin blanc, mauzac and pinot noir grapes. Golden yellow colour, aromas of honey, flowers, green apple and some toastiness. Fine bubbles, 12.5% ABV. All from one year: 2013. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Champagne Taittinger Brut Millesime 2008, +989905 Vintages, $97.95: the chardonnay, (50%) along with pinot noir (50%), really shines through with toasty-lemony complexity anchored by the body of the pinot noir. Somewhat racy, at times floral with some structured honeyed tones and citrus notes. Good aging potential certainly, needs more time, minimum three years more at least, and it will easily last a decade or more at this level. Taittinger is one of my fave champagnes. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catherine Rose Brut VQA Niagara Peninsula, +217505, $29.95: a well-made traditional in style champagne method bubbly, with rose accents from pinot noir. Great for Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, and all the points afterwards through the summer. Aging is anywhere from 24 to 30 months on the lees, and the blend is 70-80% poinot noir aith 20–30% chardonnay depending on the vintages used. Goes well with any pink food such as salmon. Expect upfront juiciness tempered by an apple-lemon finish for briskness. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Henry of Pelham Rose 2015 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +613471, $13.95: blend of pinot noir, merlot, gamay, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, with each variety contributing fruit to the mix. Very aromatic, emphasizing cherry-berry fruit layered under cranberry length tastes. A nice cheese wine. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Gerard Bertrand Cote de Roses Rose 2014 Languedoc, +37895, $18.95 Vintages: out just in time for Valentine and then continuing through Easter. A hefty 13% ABV, but fresh and fruity with an excellent pale rose colour. The bottle has a bottom shaped like a rose in bloom (to view it, turn it around). It is a blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, emphasizing both red and black currants with some candy floss on the finish.
Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Torres San Valentin Garnacha 2014 Catalunya, +673541, $13.95 Vintages: an approachable aperitif red from fresh grapes, out in time for Valentine's Day (related to the name?). No oaking, just stainless steel. 14% ABV makes it a powerhouse, but the red fruit and anise dominate, ending up with a smooth finish. Screwcap under plastic.
Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
10.Tenute Balbia S.X.E. Bianco 2014 Calabria IGT, +386995, $10.95: a re-packaging and a new formula for the greco-malvasia bianco blend has reduced its price from $13.55. It is a sortof southern Italian version of popular pinot grigio, emphasizing orchard fruit, citrus and some some floral notes. Light and crisp: good value at this price for an appetizer wine. Twist top under plastic wrapping. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 87 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.



Unknown said...

I wonder...have you ever tasted Librandi brand's Ciro Greco Bianco.
Been trying to find this in Canada and wondered if this particular wine has any similarities?


Dean Tudor said...

I have not had the Librandi Ciro white, but it has to be similar to the Balbia SXE since it is from the same grape and the same region. Give it a try, it may be equal to what you are looking for. Thanks for writing.