WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 15, 2021
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing email@example.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
These notes for good wines available through LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis) can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca or at http://www.deantudor.com 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.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages May 15: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 1.4 g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by black currant. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.4% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry .
Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 1429 cases made. 10.6% ABV. RS 22.4 g/L. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of berries, plums and cherries. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Should go well with BBQ or other fatty meats. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle daily for a week). 2408 cases. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages June 12 and October: 20% of this wine went into barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 293 cases. 5.5g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rose 2020 VQA Beamsville Bench, Vintages +177840 $15.95 May 15 release: the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada has had eight annual tastings of Ontario rose wines, and this one from Peninsula Ridge has always been selected in the "Best" category (90+ points) except for one year. So it has a great track record with wine writers. It's all Cabernet Franc, with short skin contact and long fermentation at low temperatures – always in stainless steel tanks. Red fruit, of course, dominates in a juicy style (but with only 4g/L residual sugar). Typical MVC for Ontario strawberries, red cherries, and cranberries (for that crisp long finish). Best served with decks/terraces/balconies/patios/backyards and sunshine, or with grilled seafood. (Their 2013 vintage rose sold for $11.95). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8. Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, its tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L, ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
W+519025 FEATHERSTONE PHOENIX VQA Niagara Peninsula 2020 $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+80234 FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 MVC/QPR: 90
W+17575 IVORY & BURT CHARDONNAY Lodi 2019 $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+ 928580 SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY Sustainable, DO Itata Valley 2018 $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+17563 SACRED HILL HAWKE'S BAY CHARDONNAY Sustainable, Hawke's Bay, North Island 2019 $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+64618 FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC VQA Niagara Peninsula 2019 $19.95 MVC/QPR: 91
R+131540 FEATHERSTONE RED TAIL MERLOT VQA Niagara Peninsula 2018 $19.95 MVC/QPR: 92
R+548867 CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA Vinho Regional Lisboa 2017 $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+348292 CHÂTEAU VRAI CAILLOU AC Bordeaux Supérieur 2016 $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+177840 PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD CABERNET ROSÉ VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment 2020 $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+20012 LE BIJOU DE SOPHIE VALROSE IGP Coteaux de Béziers 2020 $16.95 PERUGINI MVC/QPR:
W+566026 CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment 2018 $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R +672923 CONTINO RESERVA Single vineyard, DOCa Rioja 2016 $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+60525 RUTHERFORD RANCH RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Napa Valley 2017 $49.95 MVC/QPR: 89