Some wines recently tasted and sampled --
1.Three of Hearts Pinot Grigio 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +20374 Vintages July 24, 2021 [currently at winery]: this is a highly competitive category, and Three of Hearts goes up very well against the other grigios in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. Typical nuances include off-dry orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic melon-ish overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with slightly bitter citric notes. That makes it both a sipper and a food wine, suitable for a pre-prandial in the summer. There is some Ontario cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, but also with some peach notes. Stainless steel all the way. Part of a team with Three of Hearts Rose (same bottle shape, same cork closure). 12.5% ABV. Is a sparkling pinot grigio coming? Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 currently at winery: 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 2.2g/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. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 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.