Search This Blog

Thursday, March 4, 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 interesting wine/cocktail books you might enjoy reading:
--NATURAL WINE; in introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally. 3rd ed. (Cico Books, 2014, 2020, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-78249-100-2, $27.99 US hard covers) is by Isabelle Legeron, the first French woman to become a Master of Wine. She runs the RAW Natural Wine Festival in London, and consults with restaurants and promotes "natural" wine. There is still a large argument raging in the wine world over what is a natural wine. Some believe that it should be applied only to organic and biodynamic farms; others think it should also mean "sustainable" or "green", etc. The key would simply be to get rid of the word "natural" and just have "organic or "biodynamic" and "sustainable". It is only the organic and biodynamic wines that appear to be legally certifiable. There are no controls over the rest of the "natural" wording on the label. Indeed, some organic wineries just press organic grapes and then use regular winemaking techniques. They can still call their wines organic. I know of many farms who use the term "natural" to reflect their organic practices, because they just do not have the money nor the wait time to apply for certification. Legeron offered one of the first books meant for the general reader to cover O & B wines. In general, wine is a process, but it is also an industry. Wineries try to be consistent from year to year because they have a product to sell. The weather determines many of the "corrections" the winemaker needs to take, such as more acid, earlier/later picking, more sugar, more irrigation, etc. A natural O & B winery rolls with the punches and produces wine "as is". The author takes us through the year and discusses wine faults, stability, health issues, taste, fermentation, sulphites, and a load of contentious issues. She's assisted from time to time by other writers such as Nicolas Joly, Tony Coturri, and 11 others. She gives notes on many wines, sorted by types (bubbly, red, white, orange [this is an addition from the previous editions], rose, sweet, and even co-ferments). Not surprisingly, France has the most listings, followed by Italy: these are the two leaders by production. Quebec in Canada has two mentions, one an orange wine made from seyval blanc and the other a chardonnay. Other additional sections cover a glossary, lists of associations and wine fairs, restaurants and stores for the US and UK, and a bibliography Some interesting or unusual facts: "soils harbor 80 percent of the world's biomass. Earthworms alone, for
example, amount to about the same weight as all other animals combined." Quality/Price Rating: 90.
--WINTER DRINKS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound) has been pulled together by Julia Charles. It's a publisher's package of previous preps by several food and drink writers, most notably Louise Pickford with 17 and Julia herself with 16. Eleven other writers also contributed. So here are 75 recipes to warm our hearts, with hot drinks, toddies, part cocktails, and mocktails. Included also are hot chocolates, warm milks, coffee drinks and teas, as well as restorative mulls, revivers and soothers. My fave is the sparkling cocktails. My wife likes the sparkling mocktails. Chacun a son gout.
--WINE FROM ANOTHER GALAXY (Quadrille, 2020, 354 pages, $65 hardbound) is by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, MW, co-founders of Noble Rot magazine and restaurants in Bloomsbury and Soho. They also own a wine importer, Keeling Andrew & Co. It's an unusual wine book, based on  their writings in Noble Rot magazine. Part one is the "Shrine to the Vine" with primer-like detail on how wine is made, noble grapes, how wine ages,  wine cellars, desert island wine lists. How to serve wine, how to order wine in a restaurant, even a hilarious  alternative wine aroma wheel. Part two is the road trip travel through Europe – the people and places behind their fave wines: France, Hibernia, Italy, Germany, Greece, ending with English sparklers. And it ends with a listing of their top wines, about 99% of which are from France (who knew?). An interesting book for the millennial wine lover.
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
1.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017, +959627, $53.95 Vintages April 3, 2021: the 2016 was here in September 2020; the 2017 is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in Burgundian 228-litre-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 nicely well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese also used. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Henry of Pelham Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +613471, $14.95 at the winery: it has been awhile since I've actually written a review about this nifty rose; the price at that time for the 2015 vintage was just a dollar less. The current blend is pinot noir, riesling, and gamay noir, with each variety contributing distinctive fruit to the mix. Other earlier vintages also contained merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and/or pinot gris. So – depending on the vintage and the grapes available, the blend can change. Very aromatic, emphasizing cherry-berry and orchard fruit layered under a tart cranberry finish-length. A nice cheese wine. 11.5 %ABV; 6.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Sacred Hill Whitecliff Hawkes Bay Rose 2020 New Zealand, $14.95, +13297 April 1 LCBO Seasonal Rose Program: this Kiwi wine has been here before, with great sales and tasting success. The previous (2019) vintage was 91+ points in my scoring of roses from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Seventh Annual Rose tasting held last June, 2020. Expect some intense cherry-berry fresh fruits as a summer patio/terrace/deck social party wine. Or an in-house aperitif before the main event. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91-93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
Under $20
Rose+224964    DELAS SAINT-ESPRIT CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ    AC    2019    $16.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
W+18160    GUSTAVE LORENTZ RÉSERVE SYLVANER    AC Alsace    2019    $16.95        MVC/QPR:  91.
W+647388    TROUPIS FTERI MOSCHOFILERO    PGI Peloponnese    2019    $14.95
MVC/QPR:  92.
W+17552    OHAU WOVEN STONE SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC    Sustainable, Ohau, North Island    2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+18681    PERDEBERG THE VINEYARD COLLECTION CINSAULT    WO Coastal Region    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  91
Over $20
Sparkling+558825    SEGURA VIUDAS HEREDAD RESERVA BRUT CAVA    Traditional method, DO, Spain    $32.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
W+18364    ROPITEAU FRÈRES MÂCON-IGÉ SOUS LA ROCHE    AC    2019    $22.95        
MVC/QPR:  89.
R+539114    BUENA VISTA   THE SHERIFF    Sonoma County    2017    $49.95     MVC/QPR: 91.
R+392738    DOMAINE QUEYLUS TRADITION PINOT NOIR    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $31.95  MVC/QPR:  89.
R+72439    TENUTA SAN GUIDO GUIDALBERTO    IGT Toscana    2018    $67.95      MVC/QPR: 89.

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.

No comments: