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Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Event: The Wine Writers' Circle of Canada's SEVENTH annual Rose tasting of imported and domestic rose wines for sale in Ontario – the only tasting of its kind in Ontario!

The Date and Time:  Monday June 21, 2020   2PM to 7PM
The Event: The Wine Writers' Circle of Canada's SEVENTH annual Rose tasting of imported and domestic rose wines for sale in Ontario – the only tasting of its kind in Ontario!
The Venue: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada's Toronto Head Offices.
The Target Audience: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are (or will be) available either year round or for the seasonal offering Spring/Summer 2020.
The Quote/Background: All wines sent to us were tasted. What follows below are my OWN tasting scores from my OWN notes. My BEST wines scored 91 or more; my BETTER wines were in that narrow 88 – 90 range. My individual scores are given; those from other writers will vary in their writings. In fact, write-ups by other writers will also vary, as well as photos. This was NOT a competition since all wines were tasted with exposed labels and prices, plus tech/sales sheets and an overall spreadsheet. This was all dictated by Ontario's response to COVID-19 and social distancing with crowd limits at 5 persons. The tasting was originally scheduled for April 13, but actually happened two months later when the lockdown eased up a bit. In fairness to the trade, the wines had to be tasted and described before the season ended.
The Wines: It is important to realize that Ontario roses are surely world-class, holding their own against those of France, Portugal and Spain. Prices here are generally RETAIL unless otherwise specified. The Wine Writers' Circle of Canada would very much like to thank both Drinks Ontario and Wine Marketing Association of Ontario for encouraging their members to participate. There were some 62 submissions, both still and sparkling.  Thanks guys! Wines are either at the LCBO (CSPC given) or the winery or consignment/private order. The roses are listed randomly within their score categories. Here are my personal faves; wines that I will buy:
**DEAN'S CHOICE BEST VALUE - Bodega Argento    Argento Rose 2019    $10.95 +13245  Mendoza    85% syrah/malbec/cabernet franc, 14% pinot grigio 12.5% LCBO Seasonal Rose (92+)
**DEAN'S CHOICE BEST DOMESTIC – a tie! WITH The Foreign Affair Winery Amarosé 2019    $19.95 Vintages +388702  Niagara Peninsula inot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir    12.2%  July 25 (91)
      and Flat Rock Cellars Pink Twisted     2019    $17.95 +39974 Niagara Peninsula    Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer    11%    LCBO (91)
**DEAN'S CHOICE BEST IMPORT - Caves d'Esclans Whispering Angel Rose     2019    $62.95 +491019     AOC COTES DE PROVENCE  13% LCBO Vintages 11-Jul-20  (93)
Again, wines are arranged RANDOMLY within each GOOD, BETTER, and BEST grade category.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
Producer    Product Name    Vintage    Price    LCBO #     Country    Region    Grape Varieties    Alc. %
-Chateau d'Aqueria Tavel Rose    2019    $24.95     +319368    France    Rhone Valley    Grenache    13.5%    LCBO Vintages
-Caves d'Esclans    Whispering Angel Rose     2019    $62.95     +491019    France     AOC COTES DE PROVENCE     13%    LCBO Vintages    11-Jul-20
-Caves d'Esclans    ROCK ANGEL     2019    $49.95    +491027    France     AOC COTES DE PROVENCE    14%    LCBO Vintages
-When Pigs Fly    Rose    2018    $19.95 Ontario VQA Vinemount Ridge    pinot noir Vieni Vineyard    13%
-Caves d'Esclans    THE PALM BY WHISPERING ANGEL    2019    $24.95    +562595    France     AOC COTEAUX D'AIX EN PROVENCE    13%    LCBO Vintages
-AIX Rosé    2019     $24.95     +451906    France    Provence    Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault    13%    LCBO Vintages
-Bieler Pere & Fils     Sabine Rose    2018    $18.95    +867358    France    Provence    Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Cab Sauv, Rolle    13%    Consignment, always available    P. Dandurand
-Faulkner Wines  Jules Rose    2018    $19.99     NA    France    Provence    Cinsault, Carignan, Cabernet Sauv, 12.5% Consignment Always available     Noble Estates Wines & Spirits
-Vignerons de Chusclan    MAESTRAL ROSE    2019     $16.45     +15135    France    IGP GARD    Grenache,Syrah,Merlot    13.50%    LCBO Vintages
-Frescobaldi    Alie     2018    $22.95    +865147 Tuscany    Syrah with a touch of Vermentino    12.5%    Consignment, Always available     Dandurand
-Sacred Hill     Whitecliff Hawkes Bay Rose    2019     $14.95  +13297    New Zealand    Hawkes Bay     12.5%    LCBO
-Kim Crawford    Rose    2019    $18.95    +650325    New Zealand    Hawke's Bay    67% Merlot, 29.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 1.3% Pinot Gris, 1.2% Malbec, 0.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 0.3% Cabernet Franc    13%    LCBO
-Bodega Argento    Argento Rose    2019    $10.95    +13245     Mendoza    85% syrah/malbec/cabernet franc, 14% pinot grigio    12.5%    LCBO    Seasonal Rose
-Charles Smith Wines    Band of Roses    2018    $11 USD        Washington State            12.5%           
-Saintly    The Good Rose    2019    $17.95        Niagara    12.5%    Wine Rack        
-Huff Estates Winery    County Roads Rose    2019    $25    PEC (VQA PEC)    Pinot Noir     12%    Winery/Online
-The Foreign Affair Winery    Amarosé    2019    $18.95    Vintages +388702     Niagara Peninsula    Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir    12.2%  LCBO by July 25
-Flat Rock Cellars    Pink Twisted    2019    $17.95    +39974     Niagara Peninsula    Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer    11%    LCBO
-Gerard Bertrand    Hampton Water    2019    $29.95    +667337    Languedoc    syrah, cinsault, mourvedre,grenache    14%    LCBO Vintages     2020-07-11       
-UP Ultimate Provence    Rose    2019    $27.95    +14833    Provence    grenache, cinsault, syrah, rolle    12.5%    Vintages            
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
Producer    Product Name    Vintage    Price    LCBO #     Country    Region    Grape Varieties    Alc. %
-Domaine Bassac    MARGALH ROSE    2019     $14.95     +155515    France    LOIRE VDF    Cinsault, Grenache,Syrah    12%    Vintages    22-Aug
-Boutinot    Les Oliviers Rose    2017    $13.99     NA    France    Languedoc    Grenache, Cinsault    12%    Consignment, Always available
-Gérard Bertrand    Côte des Roses Rosé    2019     $18.95     +373985    France    AOP Languedoc    Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah    13%    LCBO
-Francis Ford Coppola    Sofia Rosé    2018    $24.95     +284943 California    Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir    12.5%    LCBO Vintage Essentials   
+Stel + Mar Rose     2019    $8.95 500 mL California     12.5%    Private Import        Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits   
-Torres    Sangre de Toro Rose    2018    $13.95    +848119    Spain    Catalunya    Garnacha, Carinena    12.5%    Consignment, Always available     P. Dandurand
-Cupio    Pinot Noir Rose    2018    South Australia    Pinot Noir     12.5*%    Currently, BC only Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits       
-Trapiche    Astica Rose    2019 $8.95    +445833    Argentina Cuyo    Malbec, Cab Sauv    12.5% LCBO
-Henry of Pelham    Classic Rosé    2019     $14.95     +613471 VQA Niagara Peninsula    54.1% Pinot Noir 31.7% Gamay Noir 5.1% Riesling 9.1% Pinot Gris      11% LCBO
-Westcott Vineyards    Pinot Noir Rose    2019    $23.99     VQA Vinemount Ridge     13.00%    Winery, Online           
-Westcott Vineyards    Delphine Rose    2019    $18.99    +498527     VQA Twenty Mile Bench     12.9%    LCBO Vintages           
-Pillitteri Estates Winery    Racina Pinot Squared    2018    $23     NA    Canada    Niagara-on-the-Lake    85% Pinot Grigio, 15% Pinot Noir    13%    Winery and Online
-Huff Estates Winery    Getaway Rose    2019    $19    +63982 PEC (VQA ONT)    Cabernet Franc     12.8%    LCBO
-Featherstone Estate Winery    Rose    2019    $15.95    +117861 Niagara    Cab Sauvignon 42%/Franc39%    13.6%  LCBO Vintages    May and Sep 2020
-Chateau des Charmes    Rose Cuvee d'Andree    2018    $16.95    +333260    Niagara    Pinot Noir    12.5%    Online, winery       
-Troupis Fteri    Agiorgitiko-Moschfilero Rose     2018    $15.95    +15139    Greece        12.5% LCBO    Vintages     2020-07-11       
-Quails' Gate    Rose    2019    $19.95    +275842    Okanagan Valley    gamay noir, pinot noir, pinot gris    12%    LCBO Vintages
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
Producer    Product Name    Vintage    Price    LCBO #     Country    Region    Grape Varieties    Alc. %
-Gérard Bertrand    Gris Blanc    2019     $15.95 +14673 France  IGP Pays D'Oc Grenache Gris, Grenache        LCBO
-M. Chapoutier    Belleruche Rose    2018    $16.95    +219840    Rhone    Grenache, Cinsault & Syrah    13.5%    Consignment, Always available    P.Dandurand
-Folonari    Pinot Grigio Pink    2018    $11.95    +43588    Italy    Valle Versa in Oltrepo' Pavese    Pinot Grigio    11.5%    LCBO
-St Hallett    Rose    2019    $19.95    +15273 Barossa    Grenache    12% July LCBO       
-Woodbridge    Rose        $11.95    California    Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Muscat, Grenache, Zinfandel, Syrah    12%    LCBO
-Woodbridge    White Zinfandel        $11.45    +249656    California    White Zinfandel, French Colombard, Muscat Alexandria, Mixed Reds (Saignee)    9.5%    LCBO
-Speck Bros.     House Wine Co. Rose Can    2019     $4.95 250mL +15499 VQA Niagara Peninsula 68% Vidal Blanc 25% Riesling 5% Zweigelt 2% Muscat 2% Gewürztraminer 11%    LCBO
-Speck Bros.    Three of Hearts Rosé    2019     $19.95     +552562 VQA Niagara Peninsula    60% Pinot Noir 40% Pinot Gris     11.5%    LCBO
-Pillitteri Estates Winery    Market Collection Lucia's Rose    2018    $16     VQA Niagara Peninsula      Cabernet Franc    12.5% Winery and Online
-Jackson-Triggs Proprietors Selection    Light Rose    NV    $10.95    Ontario    75% Dry White, 12% White Hybrid, 10% Gewerztraminer, 3% Baco Noir    8%    Wine Rack
-Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits    EastDell Summer Rose    2018    $14.95    +560243    VQA Niagara Peninsula    Riesling & Gamay Noir    12.5%    LCBO + Grocery
-Open    Rose    2018    $12.95 +175349    Ontario 100% Gamay Noir    11.7%    Wine Rack and LCBO
-Huff Estates Winery    All Day Rose    2019    $5  250mL can    PEC (VQA ONT)    Cabernet Franc     12.5%    Winery/Online
The Food: baguettes, biscuits, waters, California oven-roasted almonds, salted peanuts, arbequina and nicoise olives.
The Downside: it was a lot of wines with many monochromatic notes in a similar price range, but we took breaks for food, water, etc. Rince bouche with soda water helped.
The Upside: a chance to taste a lot of wines, many of which were top notch. And there were many 2019s – really, really fresh.
The Contact Person: organizer –
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95

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