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Wednesday, February 3, 2021


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 New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
1.Troupis Fteri Moschofilero 2019 Greece, +647388 $14.95 Vintages March 20: flower aromatics and some grape tones (much like muscat) and with a deceptive citric finish. So: starts out floral, rises to fat perfume, and then descends to crispness for the food as a first course wine, paired with white meats. 12% ABV. Price dropped $2 since the 2017 vintage was in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Estate 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench Niagara, +268391 Vintages, February 20, $24.95: Here is a deft Burgundian-character pinot noir wine, with cherry-berry tones, some toast, mildly opulent style, not totally cool climate at all. Fermented in stainless and aged in oak. Ready in a year or two. Dependable. And also available in Denmark, Hungary, Japan, USA and Czech Republic. Needs time; try a double decant. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench +616466, $29.95 [currently at winery] Vintages May 1: Grapes come from their oldest estate vineyards (beginning 1988), hand-picked. Barrel fermented in French oak with a portion in 3000L foudres, and then barrel aged for 8 – 10 months in a mix of new and older barrels. This continues the tradition of Burgundian elegance. Expect some ripeness, balance of oaking and fruit, integrated style in place.  Wood integration produces some creaminess in the finish. 12.8% ABV, cork closure. Definitely needs another year – or more – in bottle in order to bring out the nuances. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench, +557165, $19.95 Vintages March 20: intense riesling in a Rhine style of cool fermentation, with very off-dry palate but dry finish (good acid levels on the finish) – broad grapefruit and lemons on the mid-palate, sip (mainly) or food. 9.8% ABV, 19.5 g/L RS, twist top, from HOP's oldest Estate riesling vineyards (planted 1984). Should also age well. Try with fish that live in water but die in wine. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Buena Vista The Sheriff Sonoma County 2017 +539114, $49.95 Vintages March 6: well, here was a surprise – a really good wine from 10 different red grape varieties, a sort-of California Chateauneuf-du-Pape. For the record, this 2017 vintage has petite sirah (28%), petit verdot (21%), cabernet sauvignon (16%), carignan (9%), grenache (9%), syrah (7%), malbec (4%), cabernet franc (2%), merlot (2%), and mission (2%). The proportions can vary from vintage to vintage. All grapes were grown on different parcels in Sonoma. One of California's first sheriffs, Agoston Haraszthy was elected Sheriff of San Diego County in 1850. He built the first jail. This is a full and firm field blend type of wine, with aromas/palates of every good thing you could find in the "kitchen sink": black fruit cassis, cherries, blackberries, plums, red raspberries – and then drifting off to mocha, followed by savouries such as black pepper and tobacco leaf. Oak aging was 10 months, with 15% new oak. The rich tannins need time, so put it away for a few years. If necessary, do a double decant and taste over several days. 15% ABV. Serve with rich game stews or tomahawk steaks. Quality/Price rating is 91-92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Perdeberg The Vineyard Collection Cinsault 2018 Paarl South Africa +18618, $17.95 Vintages March 6: this is a broad basic, entry-level wine from a grape imported to South Africa via Languedoc and South Rhone. Indeed, cinsault is one of the parents of "pinotage" (the other is pinot noir). Until recently, it had the largest acreage planted in South Africa (cabernet sauvignon now has the largest number of plantings). This particular vineyard in 2018 had 30 year old cinsault vineyards. Expect some heady fruity ripeness aromas, a slight sweetness despite 3.8 g/L residual sugar, with a pronounced peppery backspin, much like grenache. Needs tomato sauce dishes, with veal-beef-pork meats. Cork closure. Ready now. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Gustave Lorentz Sylvaner Reserve 2019 +18160, $16.95, Vintages March 6: sylvaner is the workhorse wine of Alsace. It turns up everywhere by itself or as a zwicker wine. It is light and delicate, somewhat reminiscent of the pinot grigio style and mood. Indeed, it could have been marketed the same way. It's an uncomplicated fresh wine stressing lemons and citric attack with a dry finish. Aperitif wine or first course (seafood/fish). A good entry level wine with lots more body than the pinot grigio style. [a wine colleague of mine had accidentally left a car-trunk full of Alsatian white wines to freeze in the cold – only the sylvaner survived] 13.5% ABV, 1.8 g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
February 6 -- Under $20
W+18222    TRITTENHEIMER ALTÄRCHEN RIESLING KABINETT TROCKEN    Prädikatswein    2018    $16.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+17443    STELLENBOSCH MANOR BARREL FERMENTED CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2018    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+610303    POÇAS JUNIOR VALE DE CAVALOS RED    DOC Douro    2018    $19.95
R+523001    CAVE SPRING CABERNET FRANC    VQA Niagara Escarpment    2018    $17.95
February 6 -- Over $20
W+10338    ROPITEAU CHABLIS    AC    2018    $25.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+18161    TRÉSORS DE LOIRE POUILLY-FUMÉ    IGP Val de Loire    2019    $23.95
MVC/QPR:  89
R+16565    DURANT & BOOTH CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley    2018    $34.95       MVC/QPR: 91
R+12736    ENRICO SERAFINO PICOTENER NEBBIOLO    DOC Langhe    2018    $39.95
MVC/QPR:  89
R+25221    SIMI CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Alexander Valley, Sonoma County    2017    $29.95
MVC/QPR:  89               

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