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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 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.Westcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $19.99 at winery and online: this is a Burgundian passtoutgrain-styled wine which is very popular in France, made from 50% Gamay Noir and 50% Pinot Noir grapes. There is a 30-day maceration, with a stainless steel all wild  ferment and malo-lactic fermentation. Very soft, fleshy, fruity, good for the patio/terrace/balcony/porch/deck. It would be excellent with all kinds of soups. 11.5% ABV. Screwcap Closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Westcott Vineyards Brilliant Traditional Sparkling 2017 VQA Vinemount Ridge $39.99 at winery and online: this is a still-fresh terrific sparkler done up in the traditional style of long lees contact (three years here), hand riddling, and disgorgement for a secondary fermentation in the bottle. 2250 bottles were produced of this pinot noir (66%) and chardonnay (33%) blend from their own estate in Vinemount Ridge. It's got a complex basket of flavours, ranging from orchard fruit through to citrus, with the lightness of the chardonnay being balanced off against the heavier tones of the pinot noir. It stays this way right from the entry through to the long finish, and the latter makes this a pretty good food wine too. You'll need to put some down for 2025-2027. 12.5% ABV. 8.4g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Westcott Vineyards Lillias Unoaked Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Escarpment $24.99 at winery and online: a bright and fresh Chardonnay (two clones used) reflective of the vintage. Stainless tank fermentation and storage with half MLF to soften, and six months lees contact. No oak. Slightly off-dry feel despite 3g/L residual sugar, but a rounded mid-palate. Very stylish with a light lingering finish, great as a non-appetite-provoking aperitif, which makes it a fab cocktail party white wine. Emphasis is on fresh orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches): it could change over the next two years, which would make it more versatile in being also a first course wine. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Westcott Vineyards Riesling Butler's Grant 2019 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery or online: a devilishly competent 11% ABV Mosel style and light, formerly offered just to their Wine Club members. Now 550 cases are available to all. Parts of the vineyard were planted in 1980. Perfectly attuned to summer -- this was delicious in that Germanic style, ready for consumption now. And certainly affordable for an "old vines" wine. 8.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rose 2020 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery and online: a refreshing blend of cabernet franc (53%) and pinot noir (47%), pressed for six hours skin maceration and then complete malolactic fermentation. Early picking gave it that zesty complexity of red fruit such as strawberries and raspberries and cranberries (aka sunshine in a glass). Screwcap closure. 12% ABV. 8.5g/L residual sugar. A very good wine as an aperitif on the balcony/deck/terrace, etc. And as a first course wine with a spread board (charcuterie, smoked fish, cheese, dried fruits, nuts, et al). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $23.99 at winery and online: two clones of pinot noir (667 and 777) ere used from the fabulous Vinemount Ridge vineyard. The fruit, while awesome, is tempered by the higher alcohol of 13.5% ABV and lowered grape sugar of 3g/L. Ontario cranberries are noted as well as raspberries on the nose, followed by a hefty taste sensation on the mid-palate, ending with a rush of balanced tannins on the finish – good for first, second, and third courses. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Chateau des Charmes Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine Methode Traditionnelle 2016 VQA Niagara on the Lake, $34.95 Vintages June 12 [also at winery and online]: one of Ontario's top-rated MT sparklers, nicely aged at almost five years. 100% chardonnay. Bottle aged on the lees for at least 2 years, with buttercream notes, citrus aromas, fresh bread, excellent mousse. 250 cases. 5g/L residual sugar. 12.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir "Droit" 2018 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St. David's Bench, +346742 Vintages June 12, $19.95 [also at winery and online]: medium-full-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais grand cru wines such as Morgon or Moulin a Vent in the Droit's capacity for aging. Dark cherry-berry flavours dominate, but there is added spicing and even some nuances of earthiness and eucalyptus, although the wine is unoaked. Cork finish. Good with BBQ, cheese, or something substantial, but some tannic structure is present to carry through a whole meal. Chateau des Charmes is the only winery in the world using this particular gamay clone. 2Gm/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV, lower than previous years. Earlier vintages were gold medal winners in Canada. 1100 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.STEL+MAR Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Lodi, +20808 $17.95 LCBO: from sandy loam soils.
A great wallop of cherries begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style from Lodi. Long rich tones of cassis, toffee, mocha, and ending with toasty vanilla notes. Soft, juicy, almost like a Merlot and finishes with delicate tannins. Best enjoyed as a social sipper drink with good companions. Tasted over a few days with repeated flavours. 8g/L residual sugar. 13.7% ABV. Cork closure. Label artwork by Stephanie Cheng of Toronto! 10,000 cases. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures. 
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose and one white wine on the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good sales values...
[red wine[ Sella & Mosca Riserva Cannonau di Sardegna on sale to June 20, $15.95, down from $18.45. Buy a case.
[white] Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay East Coast New Zealand on sale to June 20, $15.70, down from $17.70. Buy a case.
[rose] Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rose on sale to June 20, $15.95, down from $17.95. Buy a case.
Under $20
W+392092    HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULIÈRE PINOT GRIS    AC Alsace    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+328559    CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY    WO Western Cape    2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  93
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+148429    PENCARROW SAUVIGNON BLANC    Martinborough, North Island    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+346742    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT    VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2018    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 91
R+983742    L.A. CETTO PETITE SIRAH    Guadalupe Valley, Baja California    2017    $13.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+403683    GÉRARD BERTRAND FITOU GRENACHE/CARIGNAN    AP    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+668780    BISCARDO ROSAPASSO    IGT Veneto    2019    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+19846    CONFIDENCIAL RESERVA ROSÉ    Vegan, Vinho Regional Lisboa    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Over $20
W+643361    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $27.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+19286    FINCA RÍO NEGRO COGOLLUDO GUADALAJARA    Vino de la Tierra de Castilla    2015    $20.95  MVC/QPR:89
Sparkling+15686    GRUET BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ    Traditional method, New Mexico        $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+423111    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario    2016    $34.95     MVC/QPR: 92
Sparkling+224766    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake        $25.95 MVC/QPR:  91                   

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus

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