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Thursday, July 22, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 24, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JULY 24, 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.Speck Brothers Three of Hearts Pinot Grigio 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +20374 Vintages July 24, 2021: 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.Speck Brothers Three of Hearts Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula +552562 now at winery, $19.95: the original of this "Heart" series, and a major competitor in the annual Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Rose tasting – with high scores. The composition changes from vintage to vintage (e.g. 2017 and 2018 were both 88% pinot noir, balance pinot gris; the 2019 was 60% pinot noir and 40% pinot gris). The 2020 is apparently mostly pinot noir with pinot gris and gamay noir. No skin contact, cold fermentation in stainless. Loaded with apricot/almond tones and that Ontario cran-raspberry complexity. With its minerality and citrus finish, it is better as a food wine than as a sipper. 12% ABV; residual sugar of 7.1 g/L.  Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Gerard Bertrand Hampton Water 2020 Languedoc AOP +667337, Vintages $29.95: a joint effort with rocker Jon Bon Jovi, his son Jesse, and footballer Bertrand. It's a terrific marketing device to ask you to dive into Hampton Water rose. Some French oak aging for roundness but otherwise it is cool temperature all the way from the pressing through fermentation. The principal grape is grenache, followed by cinsault and mourvedre. Early bottling ensures freshness and fruitiness. Expect the scrubby herbs of the dry Mediterranean, some lavender, minerality from the low sugars and high acid. Definitely a refreshing wine, more of a food wine with its red fruit spiciness and and citrus tones on the finish. 13.5% ABV; 2 g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Cusumano Merlot 2019 Terre Siciliane IGT +9779 LCBO General List $12.95: one of Cusumano's international single varietal series, coming in at 13% ABV. It is an interesting addition to the LCBO general list program. The average age of the vines here is 17 years. Cold maceration and cool fermentation in stainless steel, followed by malolactic fermentation in stainless. It sits on its lees for a minimum of 5 months and then is lightly filtered for bottle aging. No oak, but plenty of red and black berries. Value-driven. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Domaine Martin Cotes du Rhone 2018, +18642 Vintages, $17.95: 80% grenache and 20% syrah. Typical density of southern Rhone with a preponderance of grenache tones followed by syrah flavours: spices, anise, some burnt caramel, ripe, but a long penetrating finish, some tannic tightness in the structure. Mouthfilling. Ripe, fresh and fruity with black berry and cherry plumminess. Not filtered. 13.5% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. A top-scoring wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose and one white wine from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...some are good values (see below) on sale  through Sunday August 15 ...
[red]  BERONIA RESERVA Rioja +50203 on sale to August 15, now $19.95, down from $21.95.
[white] Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay WO Western Cape South Africa  +367698  on sale to August 15, now $14.95, down from $16.95. Buy a case.
[rose] GERARD BERTRAND GRIS BLANC ROSE +14673 on sale to August 15, now $13.75, down from $15.75. Buy a  case.
[fizz] LILY SPARKLING ROSÉ VQA +536565 on sale to August 15, now $16.95, down from $17.95.
Under $20
W+20373    CHARLES BAKER RIESLING    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+20374    SPECK BROTHERS THREE OF HEARTS TROIS COEURS PINOT GRIGIO    Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula     2020    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+230599    SU PUDDU VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA DOC 2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+582882    BISCARDO NEROPASSO    IGT Rosso del Veronese 2018 $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+638338    MARZIANO ABBONA I DUE RICU    DOCG Langhe Rosso    2017    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
Vermouth+18529    BIOMIO ORGANIC RED VERMOUTH    Aragón, Spain     $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Over $20
W+20899    CLOSSON CHASE THE BROCK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2018    $24.95     MVC/QPR: 90.
Rose+562595    THE PALM BY WHISPERING ANGEL    AC Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence    2020    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
Rose+278861    BERNE INSPIRATION ROSÉ    AP Côtes de Provence    2020    $23.95
MVC/QPR: 89.


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