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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 29, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 29,  2021
                      AKA                 THE BLUE MOON RELEASE!!!
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.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO and Grocery +53678 $15.95 [LTO $13.95 May 23-June 19]: this is a no brainer choice – a classic savvy that's been made since the winery opened, excellent quality  from the renowned A.J. Lepp vineyard (39.5%), Wismer vineyard (20.4%), balance from three others. No oak, of course, with cold fermentation in stainless tanks. Typical MVC aromas of gooseberry and some grass, lemons and long length. This has been a huge seller for Peninsula Ridge, and it goes very well with grilled white meats and grilled veggies. 12% ABV, <3g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.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.
3.Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay 2018 Napa $29.95 Consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: a soft wine full of orchard fruit (baked apple, pear), creamy, bright, some vanilla but a little toasted French and American oak (and lees) with spices. Best with sauced seafood. 14.5% ABV. Very dry finish. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Cantina Valpantena Veneto Chardonnay Alfabeto IGP 2019 $14.95 Consignment Majestic Wine Cellars:  It's a definite antipasto or pre-prandial wine since it was light lemons with lively acidity, some tart apples, 12% ABV, and a longer finish than I was expecting. Quite pleasant. Under composition cork. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Cantina Armani Albino Armani 1607 Chardonnay Capitel 2019 Trentino DOC, $21.95 consignment Majestic Wine Cellars. From the Adige Valley region, it's a mellow, rounder wine with less acid but a long honeyed finish in the mouth. Composition cork, and it too had sweet apples, limes and citrus, and a bright freshness from the stainless steel. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Cantina Mabis Biscardo Oropasso Originale 2019 IGT Veneto $18.95 consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: made from about 60% early harvest garganega [also known as malvasia de manresa in Spain](basis of soave) and 40% late harvest chardonnay juice. No oak, just stainless steel for freshness. But a longer fermentation than usual, and five months on the lees. Results? An engaging floral, off-sweet bouquet leading to nuts and tropical fruits on the palate with citrus running in the background. A good seam of acidity through to the spicy finish. Best with food, but possible also as a sipper. A very nice riff on Soave. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose) and Neropasso (red), all trading off on the "oro-" gold usage. 13% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay 2018 California appellation $16.95 Majestic Wine Cellars Consignment:  cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the US palate. There were lemons and green apples, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
Under $20
W+17644    OMRAH CROSSINGS CHARDONNAY    Great Southern, Western Australia    2019    18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+256552    CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+262782    THATCHED HUT SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2020    19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+17455    LUI RESERVA MALBEC    Single Vineyard, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2018    19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+723452    ONDARRE RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2016    19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+548560    ALICE VIEIRA DE SOUSA RESERVE RED    DOC Douro    2018    16.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Over $20
W+181289    DOMAINE LE VERGER CHABLIS    AC    2018    27.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+417659    CUNE RESERVA    Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja    2015    21.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19675    CARIONE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    34.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+491027    CAVES D'ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL ROSÉ    AC Côtes de Provence    2019    49.95    MVC/QPR:  90

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