SOME NEW BEVERAGES RECEIVED FOR A REVIEWED TASTING NOVEMBER 2017 –
1.Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir 2016 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $15.95, +57349 LCBO: medium-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais [same grape variety]. Easy drinking of (sour) cherry-berry flavours with occasional nuances of spices. Carbonic maceration used for 1/3 of the wine; rest is fermented in normal classic style. Aged 8 months in older neutral oak. Best for patios or mulled wine, parties, BBQ. Ready now, but with some tannic structure to carry through a whole meal. 13.4% ABV, higher than before, cork closure. A very popular wine, with 3010 cases made. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Chateau des Charmes Vidal Icewine 2016 Estate VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, +413732 Vintages, $46.95 for 375 mL; +565861 Vintages, $26.95 for 200 mL: an aromatic unoaked Icewine with apricot as the defining aroma and flavour, followed by honeyed tones. Ready now, but could be aged – but then it will taste different but, in my opinion, taste better with some marmalade tones. 9.5% ABV. Perfect for gifting (the 200 mL comes in a handsome box) at that sweet point for under $30 or $50. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.WineryON Bodegas Demuerte 2014 Yecla Spain $23.95 Consignment Majestic Wines & Spirits: a compelling blend of monastrell and syrah old vines, put up in some French oak for a period of time, showing value in the red fruit exposed and the oak overtones. 14.5%ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.WineryON Bodegas Demuerte Gold 2015 Yecla Spain $26.95 Consignment Majestic Wines & Spirits: a step up from the regular Demuerte, with old vines from monastrell and syrah grapes plus some garnacha tintorera. Put up in French oak for 14 months, and with the addition of the garnacha, has a more cherry-berry taste profile. Well worth the extra dollars. 14.5%ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Cantina Valpantena Valpolicella Ripasso Torre del Falasco 2015 Veneto +642421 $17.95: the LCBO continues to release one Valpolicella Ripasso wine ever other week, just about all at the same price point of $17.95. A comparative tasting could be in order if some one were to organize it. Here one would expect fresh ripe fruit with body and structure from the ripasso technique. 13.5%ABV. Food or sip. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Le Ville Di Antane Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Storia Antica 2015 Veneto $17.95 +373672: another equally good ripasso, at the same price point, but with more stuffing from the increase in alcohol (Superiore range) to 14%ABV. Body and structure dominate, perhaps the better choice with food. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Amastuola Primitivo Organic 2014 Puglia +300004 $16.95: this is a preferred choice from among the basic primitivos at the LCBO simply because it is made with organic grapes. Expect that dense, over-the-top zinfandel-type flavour at an affordable price. 14%ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Torres Altos Ibericos 2014 Rioja Crianza, +527291, $14.95 Vintages: Typical "wild berries and spices" of tempranillo grapes. Fermented over 16 days and then aged a year in French and US oak, some new. 13.5% ABV. Some jamminess should integrate well with the spices and tannins to eventually produce a well-developed bottle of food wine. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Miguel Torres Cordillera de Los Andes Special Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Maipo Valley, +541169 Vintages January 20 $19.95: a warmer climate wine, with 14% ABV reflected in the cherry-berry flavours with spices (including leatherish aromas). Longer finish. Aged a year in French oak (30% new). Still needs time. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
10.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Fitou 2014 $16.95 +403683 Vintages January 6: Bertrand continues to advance the Terroir series (and the Grand Terroir series) with more localized vineyards. Here it is Fitou, with its grenache and carignan grapes, vinified separately. The carignan has carbonic maceration for two weeks; the grenache is done in traditional style. Some of the wine is barrel aged for a year. Everything here seems to be concentrated in aromas and flavours, red fruit and undergrowth dominating. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
11.Gerard Bertrand Terroir Corbieres 2014 $18.95 +394288 Vintages: In this Terroir Corbieres, Bertrand uses carbonic maceration for the syrah and traditional fermentation for the grenache and mourvedre. It is an appealing Rhonish G-S-M, with the blended wine aging in wood for eight months before bottling. Very firm with some fruit on the full finish. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
12.Ferraton Pere et Fils Calendes Crozes-Hermitage 2015 $29.95 Vintages January 6: with grapes from all three of Mercurol, Beaumont-Monteux, and Larnage, this wine is very typical of modern day Crozes-Hermitage with its dark fruit blackberry-plum tones and body, opaque, some garrigue and long tannic finish. Needs time or a double decant. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
13.SonVida Malbec 2013 Mendoza $29.95 Vintages +458240: 5% cabernet sauvignon added in, plus aging in 15% new French oak for 14 months (with some US oak). Mocha tones with mild but upfront black fruit riffing off the full-body. Produced by Sonia and David, former journalists making malbec wine since 2007. Double decanting is needed to bring out the proper fruit expression. But of course the wine can be aged a decade. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
14.Eastdell Wines Cuvee Brut 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +485615 Vintages: a difficult growing season but just right for making acidic grapes comprising the blend for sparkling wines. Here, it was 55% pinot noir, 45% chardonnay, done up in traditional method style of secondary fermentation in the bottle. 11% ABV. Expect orchard fruit on the nose and palate (peach, pear, apple) and effervescent flavours emphasizing typical "Ontario" grapefruit, with some lemon and melons. Good on its own, but best with food such as aged cheese or terrines. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
15.Lakeview Cellars Vidal Icewine 2016 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +522672 $19.95 for 200 mL to Dec 31, 2017 ($2 off): 2016 was an early harvest when temps dropped to -10 and -13 Celsius. The results here are typically classic, with tonalities of orchard fruit, apricots, honeyed citrus peel, and some acidic structure for a spine. 11.5% ABV, 152 g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
16.Frazzitta Vigna Alta Grillo 2016 IGP Terre Siciliane, +361146 $18.95 LCBO online or Store 624 in Woodbridge: grillo was once exclusively used in Marsala but recently its production as a white table wine has expanded, with the aid of cryomaceration (crushed grapes held at low temps for several days before fermentation to allow flavours to develop). With stainless steel and 12.5% ABV, the rich wine shows herby complexity with citric notes and tanginess. Because of its spine and body structure, it is a good food wine, primarily seafood. Not really for just sipping. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.