Search This Blog

Friday, December 11, 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 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
Some Interesting New Wine Etc. Books for the Holidays!! --
--A YEAR OF GOOD BEER 2021 PAGE-A-DAY CALENDAR (Workman, 2020, 320 pages, $20.99 CAD) quenches the beer lover's thirst: microbrewery recommendations, beer lore, trivia, history, labels, vocabulary, tasting notes, beer festivals, and more daily fun. Discover Bell's Porter whose smoky coffee notes lend an intriguing aroma profile; a hoppy Noble Prize Imperial Pilsner; and a perfect summer aperitif in the burgundy-hued Brombeere Blackberry Gose. Includes beer drinking games (like Buffalo Club, in which you must never be caught drinking with your right hand), recipes for refreshing beer cocktails, and "Hop Lookout" notes (like the smoothly bitter Cashmere, developed by Washington State University in 2013).  Some of the beers appear as imports in Canada, but otherwise there are few Canadian brews included. Lights, wheat, lagers, ales, porters, stouts, seasonal beers, and lambrics – they're all here, 165 or so craft beers. If you buy any of the PAD calendars, then you can go online to the website and pick up other, free stuff, at 
Quality/Price Rating: 91
--WINES YOU SHOULD TRY; a guide for Canadians (Whitecap, 2019, 204 pages, $22.95 paperbound)  largely supersedes the ninth annual edition (2016) of   "The 500 Best-Value Wines In the LCBO 2017".  This new work by wine scribe Rod Phillips is now national, and has both international and domestic wines arranged by wine colour and then by region/country with an indication of a price range (under $12  to  over $49). He tasted about 1000 wines, and chose about 500 wines that are available in at least two provinces.  Each of the wines has some value, or else they would not be in this tool: they can be considered at least "better" if not "best" of what's around in Canada. Each  has an indication of food pairings. A good guidebook which features only those wines available in Canada -- that you should try. Quality/Price Rating: 91
--THE GOODE GUIDE TO WINE; a manifesto of sorts (University of California Press, 2020, 233 pages, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by the renowned UK wine writer Jamie Goode, who visits a lot of wine regions. It's a collection of observations and opinions about wine absurdities, excitements, interests, and how things could be better in wine culture. Of late he has been doing and saying nice things about Ontario wines, but there 's nothing here about that. There is, however, an illuminating article on how to succeed at wine writing by writing boring articles. It's a great book for the knowledgeable wine lover who has almost everything. Quality/Price Rating: 91
--PINK GIN (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020, 64 pages, $14.95 USD hardbound) is a collection of some 30 or so pink-hued cocktails. Most of the preps come from Julia Charles, with some more from Laura Gladwin. It's an open-and-shut slender work, with the recipes scattered among three categories: cocktails, sparklers, and coolers. Most call for "pink gin" but you can use regular gin and add your own colouring, if need be (grenadine, cranberry juice, rose/red wine).Quality/Price Rating: 89
--GROWING YOUR OWN COCKTAILS, MOCKTAILS, TEAS & INFUSIONS (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2020, 152 pages, $18.99 USD soft covers) is by Jodi Helmer gardening author, who gives us gardening tips and how-to techniques for making artisanal beverages at home. Jeannette Hurt, author "Drink Like a Woman" works out the recipes. There are 64 plant profiles here for the best homegrown drink ingredients (rhubarb, lemon balm, kale, chamomile, ginger, etc.). The recipes range from a lavender mojito to a garden gin-and-tonic, to mint iced tea, and veggie juice. It is all arranged by plant part: leaves, flowers, fruits and vegetables, and roots, with other material about syrups, shrubs, and alcohol-free drinks. There are plant hardiness zone maps for Canada and the USA, plus a resources list for ordering through the internet. A perfect stay-at-home project. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes: anise hyssop; fruit smoothie; citrus lift tea; French hibiscus 75; rhubarb gimlet; red sangria; garden margarita with strawberries and basil. Quality/Price Rating: 91
+499152    ALVEAR PEDRO XIMENEZ DE AÑADA    DOP Montilla-Moriles, Spain    2015    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89
+234161    JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario    2016    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
+560367    INNISKILLIN SPARKLING VIDAL ICEWINE    Charmat method, VQA Ontario    2018    $79.95    MVC/QPR: 89
Under $20
W+734798    THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2019    $18.95      
W+341586    FEATHERSTONE FOUR FEATHERS    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $14.95 MVC/QPR: 90
W+277228    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES RIESLING    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake    2015    $18.95    MVC/QPR: 91
R+14667    CHÂTEAU HYOT RÉSERVE    AC Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux    2015    $17.95   
R+18667    SPECK BROTHERS FAMILY TREE THE PADRÉ CABERNET/MERLOT    Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 91
Over $20
W+410712    MEIOMI CHARDONNAY    Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara Counties    2017    $21.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+140525    DOMAINE BONNARD SANCERRE    AC    2019    $29.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+287367    PLUME CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Alexander Valley, Sonoma County    2016    $39.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+15667    NK'MIP CELLARS QWAM QWMT PINOT NOIR    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2018    $34.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    2016    $23.95 MVC/QPR:  89

No comments: