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Wednesday, September 16, 2020


By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing 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 since 1994.
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at  or at 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).
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight or so ---
1.Best's Great Western Riesling 2019 Victoria, +688259, $19.95 Vintages October 3, 2020: really good age-worthy (20 years or more) Riesling wines from plantings that began in the 1860s at Best's Nursery Block. According to the producer, here are some 41 and 75 year-old vines. Opens with fragrant blossoms on the nose, lemons and apples for entry (of course), some tropicality on the mid-palate, finishing with some austere-ness.  A keeper.  11% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016, +959627, $53.95 Vintages September 19, 2020: its price is up eight bucks since last year's 2015 vintage release, but it is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese added. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Henry of Pelham Chardonnay 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +291211 LCBO, $14.95: ripeness, pleasant balance of acid and fruit, integrated style in place, some freshness in the finish. Overall, terrific balance of fruit in the finish, with residual sugar at 6.1g/litre. 12.7% ABV, screw cap, gravity-driven, fermented in stainless with aging sur lie. Apple and citric tones, completely unwooded. Try with a light cream sauce (pasta, trout, veggies). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Henry of Pelham Estate Fume Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench, +444268 $19.95 winery only: Very aromatic with nuances of toastiness both in the nose and on the palate, somewhat in a fume style started by Robert Mondavi fifty years ago. Typical savvy zestiness is tamed by oaking and unctuous fruit tones. Medium finish accents lemon and vanillin character, melon, honeysuckle. Best as a classy sipper on its own, but also with a lightly aromatic first course. 50% BF in barriques, a half-year aging in oak barriques. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Campbell Kind Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Marlborough, $22.99 consignment through Steve Campbell, of, has the world's first international range of sustainable, carbon zero wines. International wineries and winemakers craft environmentally-friendly wines for their retail partners. Campbell Kind Wine currently has several varieties of wines in play, which include Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Syrah and Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Tempranillo blend from Ribera del Duero, Montepulciano blend from Abruzzo, and IgT Rosso Veronese from Verona, and others. I sampled the savvy: made by Steve Smith, New Zealand's first MW, of Smith and Sheth among the Marlborough riverbeds. It's a dynamic wine made from some 30-year old vines, with a medium-body and lower levels of MVC (Modal Varietal Character), especially tropicality and orchard fruit, but with more minerality and citric lemon tones, leading to a higher crisp finish. It's ideal with fried foods. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Saintly The Good Sparkling Rose Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, +16767 LCBO, $18.95: an all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patios, terraces, decks, etc. with nuances of strawberries and melons. Grapes include 46% Chardonnay, 46% Cab Franc, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, and 4% Syrah (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Very light-pink in colour, persistent mousse from the cuve close Charmat method. Extended lees contact leads to a creaminess in the body. In three words: fresh, fruity, dry. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Saintly The Good Sparkling [white] Gold 2019 VQA Ontario, Wine Rack only $18.95: another all-purpose medium-body off-dry styled wine for patio, terrace, deck, etc. with nuances of orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches) and citric tones. Grapes include 82% Pinot Gris, 15% Muscat, and 3% Chardonnay (the grapes and percentages could change from harvest to harvest). Persistent mousse, Charmat method, extended lees contact – all contribute to a creamy style. What more could you ask for in a very pleasant and consistent all-occasion celebratory drink? 10g g/L residual sugar makes it "dry to off- dry". 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
Under $20
W+284588    WATERKLOOF CIRCLE OF LIFE    WO Stellenbosch 2016  $19.95     MVC/QPR:90
W+146423    SUTHERLAND CHARDONNAY    WO Elgin    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+523001    CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Over $20
R+461699    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR    VQA Ontario        $24.95  MVC/QPR: 91
R+14149    MORANDE GRAN RESERVA SYRAH/CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Central Valley    2017    $21.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+959627    CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2016    $54.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+13676    MICHELLE PHILIPON SANTENAY    AC    2017    $42.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+466375    PODERE BRIZIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $72.95    MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+405035    HUFF CUVÉE JANINE SPARKLING ROSÉ    Traditional method, VQA Prince Edward County, Ontario    2016    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89


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