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Monday, October 11, 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 I Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---

Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir Estate Bottled Old Vines 2017 VQA NOTL, +256834, $24.95 (at winery and online): I think that this is the first de Charmes' "Old Vines" Pinot in some time (maybe 2012?). Quite a powerful wine (the 2007 was a Cuvee winner), lots of forest floor (mushrooms, earth) to complement the dynamic red berry fruit. Grapes come from their St David's Bench block, the oldest vineyard they have. It could still use some time(I tasted at home over a few days). High acidity but low tannins. 1.7 g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Jackson-Triggs White Meritage Grand Reserve 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +360297, $25.95 Vintages, online, Wine Rack, winery: this is the classic Bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc (80%) and semillon (20%). It is almost never made in Ontario, but it has been made occasionally at Jackson-Triggs, when the circumstances were right. Previous vintages I have enjoyed included the 2017 and the 2012. But in 2012, the blend was 70% sauvignon blanc (with 10% of the savvy being barrel fermented in French oak) and 30% semillon, and the price was a dollar less. This time (2020) all of the semillon went into older French oak after extended skin contact. Herbs and honey dominate the flavour profiles, with stone fruit and grapefruit accents augmenting some tropicality. It will also reveal longer depth after more bottle aging of a year or so. Best with seafood – indeed, I had it with a Hooked stuffed sea bream and fishcuterie plate of a half dozen denizens. Long finish. Residual sugar is a low 3g/L. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** A Recent Wine Book I Reviewed ---

WINE FROM ANOTHER GALAXY (Quadrille, 2020, 354 pages, $65 hardbound) is by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, MW, co-founders of Noble Rot magazine and restaurants in Bloomsbury and Soho. They also own a wine importer, Keeling Andrew & Co. It's an unusual wine book, based on  their writings in Noble Rot magazine. Part one is the "Shrine to the Vine" with primer-like detail on how wine is made, noble grapes, how wine ages,  wine cellars, desert island wine lists. How to serve wine, how to order wine in a restaurant, even a hilarious  alternative wine aroma wheel. Part two is the road trip travel through Europe – the people and places behind their fave wines: France, Hibernia, Italy, Germany, Greece, ending with English sparklers. And it ends with a listing of their top wines, about 99% of which are from France (who knew?). An interesting book for the millennial wine lover. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** Some recommended  wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good value (see below)...on sale  through Sunday November 7...
[red] +59311 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel was $24.95, now $21.95, save $4 to Nov 7.
[red splurge]  CHÂTEAU PIPEAU SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU VINTAGES +302018  WAS: $43.95 | NOW: $ 39.95 | SAVE: $ 4.00  to Nov 7.
[white]  FLAT ROCK RIESLING Niagara VQA VINTAGES +43281 WAS: $ 17.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00  to Nov 7.
[Christmas port] TAYLOR FLADGATE 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT Portugal VINTAGES +149047 | WAS: $ 69.95 | NOW: $ 62.95 | SAVE: $ 7.00 to Nov 7

Wines Under $20
W+22275    MIGUEL TORRES VIÑA SOL ORIGINAL DO Catalunya 2019 $11.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Fizz+48801    LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D'IVOIRE BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE    Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France        $19.95    MVC/QPR:  93.
Rose+11234    GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ    AP Languedoc, France    2020    $10.95 half-bottle  MVC/QPR: 90.
W+68015    FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED UNOAKED CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $17.95      MVC/QPR: 89.
R+371112    MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE    Single vineyard, Valle del Maipo    2019    $16.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
R+272575    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR TAUTAVEL    AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages    2018    $19.95      MVC/QPR:  90.
R+574780    DEMUERTE    DO Yecla    2018    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 91.

Wines Over $20
Fizz+924654    GARDET CUVÉE TRADITION SAINT FLAVY BRUT CHAMPAGNE    Chigny-les-Roses, AC, France        $46.95  MVC/QPR:  90.
Fizz+15687    GRUET SAUVAGE BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING    Zero dosage, traditional method, USA        $28.95     MVC/QPR:  89,
W+264945    PASCAL JOLIVET SANCERRE    AC    2020    $39.95  MVC/QPR: 91.
R+187369    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO    In wooden gift box, DOC, Veneto, Italy    2018    $92.95      MVC/QPR: 89.
R+384578    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA & VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO    Two bottles in wooden gift box, Veneto, Italy    2018    $74.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
R+390872    WOLF BLASS GREY LABEL SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2018    $34.95   MVC/QPR:  89.
R+616433    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $39.95      MVC/QPR:  90.
R+570267    FAUSTINO I GRAN RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2009    $39.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
R+707323    RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN    WO Stellenbosch    2019    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+21861    MARCHESI DI BAROLO TRADIZIONE BAROLO DUO    Two bottles in wooden gift box, DOCG, Veneto, Italy    2016    $109.95  MVC/QPR: 90

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada

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