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Tuesday, July 16, 2019


1.Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2016 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, +272575, $18.95 Vintages August: a blend typical of the south Rhone – with grenache, syrah, and carignan -  and coming in at 14.5% ABV. Grand Terroir is Bertrand's range of specific vineyards in the Roussillon region. A third of the wine is aged in French oak barrels for nine months; the rest goes into vats.  Red fruit and black fruit dominate with nuances of aging and wood. Some garrigue too. Best with food. Quality/Price rating is 89.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Henry of Pelham Pinot Grigio Classic 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +250217 LCBO, $14.95: a wine made in the pinot gris style (Oregon, Alsace) but labeled pinot GRIGIO should sell well for those looking at a pinot grigio with some kick. Grigio has a reputation of being the vodka of wine, but here it is done up as a fairly complicated off-dry wine with layers being revealed as the wine chills down or warms up. One time it has tropicality then it becomes more citrus with more chilling. That makes it a sipper and a food wine, suitable for pre-prandial in the winter or spring. Of note is its slight tinge of orange colour (aha, another "orange" wine!!) from the grape – it is "gris" after all. Some part of the juice was from warmer regions in Niagara, other parts came from a cooler regions. There is some cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, with some pear notes. Stainless steel all the way. 12% ABV, twist top. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Classic 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +13904 LCBO, $16.95: Here is a deft entry-level character pinot noir wine, with some cherry-berry tones, some nuances of wood, mildly opulent style, not totally cool climate at all. Four different clones are fermented in stainless and aged in "European" oak. Expect also light cloves, fresh fruit tones, and oak vanillin which will mute over time. Ready now but will get better, very food friendly and drinkable. Maybe decant first. 13% ABV, twist top. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses White 2018 AOP Languedoc, +10621 Vintages August, $18.95: a companion wine to the Cote des Roses rose wine, this time in the blanc mode. Same shape bottle with the roses on the bottom (punt) and the glass closure. Yellow tints suggest a higher level of sweetness than it has. But tropical fruits do dominate through the mix of grenache, viognier, and vermentino grape varieties. Intriguing, and very useful as an aperitif. But don't serve too cold. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands, +958975 Vintages, $34.95: the chardonnay is based on vines planted in 1988 near Monterey Bay, and its main claim-to-fame is the resolute oakiness that simulates barrel fermentation in style. The wine shows more restraint than most California chardonnay, in that the vanilla sweet oak is not as treacly as some. It shows the three basic elements of lemons, tropical fruit, and buttery toast – enough to satisfy anybody who wants a heavy white wine. Yum yum. The 2017 will be on sale June 24 – July 21 as an LTO ($5 off) and as a Labour Day special, Aug 29 – Sept 4 ($5 off)...which brings the Ontario price down to $29.95 CAD, the same (in numbers only) as the US retail price (saving 37% over the USD price). 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Waterkloof Circle of Life Red 2015 Stellenbosch South Africa, +698175 Vintages August, $19.95: this is a red blend companion to the Circle of Life White blend, released in the Spring at Vintages. Maybe later a rose? Here are syrah (73%), merlot (16%), and petit verdot (11%). Hand sorted grapes and a gravity system were used; syrah was whole bunch fermented while the others were destemmed. The syrah was aged in 600 litre French oak, the others in 225 litre barrels. Only 20% were new wood. 18 months in barrel was followed by a blending and another year in wood. The syrah was definitely Rhonish with blackberry components, complemented by the juicy Bordeaux varieties. The finish is herbaceous and definitely food-related. RS is only 1.1, 13.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.William Fevre Espino Carmenere 2017 DO Central Valley Chile, +464412 Vintages August, $15.95: the Burgundian company of William Fevre has a Chile operation, and this wine was last in Vintages with the 2015 year (April 2018). I liked it then, but it is better now, maybe with a slight blend change. It is 85% carmenere, 12.5% malbec, and 2.5% syrah. Black fruit dominates, with cherries and oak tones. The medium body is complemented by the medium acidity – goes well with food pairing and with patio sipping. The finish is intense and lush in the new World style. Easy-going BBQ wine. 13.6% ABV. Gold Medal winner in Chile. No change in price since 2015 vintage. Quality/Price rating is 88.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


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