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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 26, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 26, 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.Chateau des Charmes Aligote 2019 Cuvee Michele VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $15.95, +296848 LCBO: made from the rare French vinifera grape (seldom seen outside Burgundy) that Paul Bosc has cultivated since 1978, loaded with lean orchard fruit (green apples and unripe pears) and ending with a finishing crisp acidity suggesting food more than sipping. It was often used in Burgundy as the white wine base for Kir; in North America now almost any dry white is used for a Kir. Aligote is refreshing for summer, and has no oak. Named for the late Michele Bosc. 3g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2017 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +287268, $24.95 at winery and online: one of several chardonnays at different price points from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2016. Barrel fermented and barrel aged in French oak for a year, with lees stirring. Almost 30-year old vines. Expect soft balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit. Cork closure. Long citric finish in Euro mode. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. 513 cases. No residual sugar. 13.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Chateau des Charmes Rose Sparkling Traditional Method 2016 NOTL VQA, +78055 Vintages TBD, available at winery and online now for $34.95: [I last sampled the 2014 vintage at that same price] here 50.9% chardonnay and 49.1% pinot noir (blanc des noirs) from vines planted as early as 1991, very pretty colour from the pinot dosage, reminiscent of strawberry blush, almost 2 years lees contact and fermented in the bottle. Full, rich, ripe yeasty biscuit complexity. Citric finish, best with food such as appetizers. Strawb fruit dominates. Recently disgorged. 7.9 g/L residual sugar. 11.5% ABV. Stunning. 330 cases available. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Huff Estates Getaway Rose 2020 VQA Ontario +63982 $20 [online and at winery]: made totally from cabernet franc with 12 hours of skin contact during fermentation. Lovely pale colour, aromatics and first palate of strawberries and then the typical cranberry textures and finish for an Ontario wine. Light herbaceous suggests food (including salads) on the patio or some first course app. Seems to be a perfect all-purpose beach wine. 3.2g/L 12.8% ABV. 1500 cases. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Huff Estates Buried Vine Pinot Gris 2020 VQA Prince Edward County $22 at winery and online: a good little aperitif (or first course) wine made in Alsatian style with more body texture and colour. Pears are evident, perhaps more ripe than the wine's green apple tones. 3g/L residual sugar for a bit of roundness. 850 cases, 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Huff Estates Four Acre Merlot 2019 South Bay Vineyard VQA Prince Edward County, $30 at winery or online: very fruity, maybe fruit gone wild, but tempered with 15 months in French oak (30% new). Typically bright red and black fruit style, cassis, cherry-berry even. Some herbaceousness on the nose. Slightly tannic finish at this point, expected to smooth out over the next year or so. One of the better merlot wines in Ontario. I suggest a double decant before drinking. 225 cases produced. Charcuterie and/or cheese platters. 2.6g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
7.Huff Estates Catharine's Chardonnay South Bay Vineyards 2019 VQA Prince Edward County, $35 at winery and online: 14 months in French oak (30% new; 40% older) plus 30% in stainless steel tank. Slightly smokey, citric tones and some minerality, good balance and nuances between the elements. Barrel flavours, baked fruit, orchard fruit and nuts. Long toasty finish, needs buttery food. Not really a sipper, and don't overchill. In the past, this wine has been a multiple award winner. 1.3g/L residual sugar. 365 cases produced. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
8.Huff Estates Old Vines Cabernet Franc 2019 South Bay Vineyard VQA Prince Edward County $35 winery and online: herby red fruit dominates, but also plums and cherries with a dash of cassis. 16 months French oak, 30% new. Some tannins need to resolve on the finish, so double decant or leave open for a long time. Good with almost anything that needs a bracing red, such as spicy sausages or lamb or boar dishes. Tasted over a few days. 400 cases produced. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
9.Huff Estates County Roads Pinot Noir Rose 2020 VQA Prince Edward County $25 online/winery: on the nose, crisp and clear red fruit with a tang of orange and some cranberry. Redolent with that PEC minerality, 1.3g/L residual sugar. 100% pinot noir done up in stainless steel, with 18 hours on the skins. Good as aperitif, but also with snacks such as pates, cheeses, or (as the winery suggests) grilled veggie skewers. Long long length to the finish. Incredibly fresh food wine. 400 cases. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose, one white wine and one sparkler on the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good values...on sale through Sunday July 18...
[red wine]  CONCHA TORO CASILLERO DEL DIABLO RESERVA PRIVADA CABERNET SAUVIGNON  Chile LCBO 570754 WAS: $ 18.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 3.00. Buy a case.
[white]  ANGELS GATE SUSSRESERVE RIESLING VQA LCBO 620104 WAS: $ 13.95 | NOW: $ 11.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[rose]  HENRY OF PELHAM ROSÉ VQA LCBO 613471 WAS: $ 14.95 | NOW: $ 12.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[sparkling] COLIO LILY SPARKLING WINE VQA LCBO 418657 WAS: $ 17.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
Under $20
Sparkling+515254    VILARNAU BARCELONA RESERVA BRUT CAVA    Traditional method, DO, Spain  $15.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
W+231282    KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+734798    THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2020    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+19852    ALBINO ARMANI ROSÉ    IGT Vallagarina    2020    $14.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+15277    CASAS DEL BOSQUE PINOT NOIR ROSÉ    Sustainable, Casablanca Valley    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Over $20
Champagne+384529    BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT CHAMPAGNE    AC, France        $92.95 MVC/QPR: 91.
Sparkling+234161    JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario    2016    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 91.
Sparkling+256289    BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 SPARKLING    Nova Scotia    2020    $24.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
W+155382    MARCHESI DI BAROLO GAVI DEL COMUNE DI GAVI    DOCG    2019    $22.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
W+28845    CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE BLANC    Inspired by Haut-Brion, AC Bordeaux    2019    $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+28837    CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE RED    Inspired by Haut-Brion, AC Bordeaux    2015    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

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