Search This Blog

Friday, July 1, 2022

REPORT FROM The Event: 2022 Chianti Classico Esperienze May 30, 2022

The Date and Time: Monday May 30, 2022  Noon - 4PM
The Event: 2022 Chianti Classico Esperienze
The Venue: The Globe and Mail Centre, King Street
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine writers, sommeliers.
The Availability/Catalogue: as with all the current wine shows in Toronto, there was no print catalogue – it was all virtual for specific data about terroir, history, DOC coverage, production, etc. (facts and figures). Prices were available but from the sgents in attendance.
The Quote/Background: There were 35 wineries promoting Chianti Classico at three or so levels (regular, reserve, and gran selezione. Also, there were dedicated tables for Vin Santo DOC (12 of them) plus Olive Oil DOP (14 of them). The tables were arranged by the 11 appellations.
The Wines: I did not try every wine, although I did try at least one wine per winery.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Bellezza Cavaliere d'Oro San Casciano 2015
-Colli Fiorentini Chianti Classico San Casciano3 Riserva La Verita 2014
-Villa Mangiacane Chianti Classico San Casciano Riserva 2017
-Villa Mangiacane Chianti Classico San Casciano Gran Selezione 2016
-Carpineto Chianti Classico Greve Gran Selezione 2016
-Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Picchio Greve 2018
-Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Gtan Selezione La Prima Greve 2018
-Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Sassello Montefioralle 2016
-Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo Panzano 2018
-Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva Panzano 2018  $29 Le Sommelier Licensee
-Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Margone Panzano 2016  $49 Le Sommelier Licensee
-Tenuta Carobbio Chianti Classico Riserva Panzano 2015
-Arillo in Terrabianca Chianti Classico Riserva Poggio Croce Radda 2019
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Gaiole 2019
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva Gaiole 2017
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva Cultus Gaiole 2017
-Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Millennio Gaiole 2015
-Fèlsina Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Colonia Rancia Castelnuovo Berardenga 2018
-Lecci e Brocchi Chianti Classico Riserva Il Chiorba Castelnuovo Berardenga 2018
-Lecci e Brocchi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Celerarium Castelnuovo Berardenga 2015
-San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio Castelnuovo Berardenga 2018
-San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Grigio Castelnuovo Berardenga 2017
-Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vagliagli 2016
-Dievole Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna di Sessina Vagliagli 2016
-Casale dello Sparviero Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castellina 2018
-Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Riserva Ser Lapo Castellina 2019
-Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Ser Lapo Castellina 2018
-Cecchi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Valore di Famiglia Castellina 2016
-Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Sergio Zingarelli Sergioveto Castellina 2016
-Tenuta Villa Trasqua Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Nerento Castellina 2016
-Isole e Olena Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Donato in Poggio 2015
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Isole e Olena Chianti Classico San Donato in Poggio 2019
-Tenuta Villa Trasqua Chianti Classico Riserva Fanatico Castellina 2017
-Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva Sergioveto Castellina 2018
-Lornano Chianti Classico Riserva Le Bandite Castellina 2017
-Lornano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castellina 2015
-Casale dello Sparviero Chianti Classico Riserva Castellina 2018
-Cecchi Chianti Classico Villa Cerna Primocolle Castellina 2017
-Fattoria della Aiola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Cancello Rosso 2017
-Dievole Chianti Classico Riserva Novecento Vagliagli 2018
-Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico Riserva Vigna Misciano Vagliagli 2018
-Tolaini Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna Montebello Sette Castelnuovo Berardenga
2018
-Tenuta Casenuove Chianti Classico Riserva Panzano 2017
-Capannelle Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Gaiole 2016
-Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Panzano 2019  $22 Le Sommelier Licensee
-Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico Riserva Lamole 2017
-Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico Riserva Gaiole 2018
-Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia Castelnuovo Berardenga 2018
-Conti Capponi - Villa Calcinaia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna Bastignano Montefioralle 2016
-Fontodi Chianti Classico Filetta di Lamole Panzano 2019
-Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico Riserva Montefioralle 2017
-Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Panzano 2017
-Querciabella Chianti Classico Riserva Greve 2017
-Castelli del Grevepesa Chianti Classico Riserva San Casciano Clemente VII 2018
-Castelli del Grevepesa Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Casciano Clemente VII 2016
-Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva d'Oro San Casciano 2016
-Carpineto Chianti Classico Greve Riserva 2017
-Lanciola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Le Masse di Greve 2016
-Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Greve Riserva 2018
-Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva Agostino Petri Greve 2018
-Lanciola Chianti Classico Riserva Le Masse di Greve 2016
 
 
The Food: Catering was by the always excellent Ascari –
-Crostini neri (chicken liver and fried sage on toast)
-Farinata – rosemary and chickpea pancake, whipped ricotta, sundried olives
-Funghi pizza slices – cremini mushroom, gorgonzola DOP, garlic, chives
-Ribolita – kale and white bean stew on sourdough toast
-Coccoli prosciutto & stracchino – cheese-filled fried dough ball covered with cured ham.
Plus coffee...
The Downside: I had no time to try the vin santo DOCs on offer, nor the olio DOP
The Upside: there was a media room with all the bottles, and there were chairs. So it was relatively easy to taste and appraise.
The Contact Person: kelly@predhomme.ca or amanda@predhomme.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Virus-free. www.avg.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Re: Report on tasting wines vis Case-Wine.com

This is great, thank you! 

Claire

On Tue, Jun 28, 2022 at 12:44 PM Dean Tudor <dtudor@pathcom.com> wrote:
Case-Wine.com
 
Case-Wine.com is a new online platform connecting Ontario VQA boutique wineries to new customers.
They've asked me to review some of the VQA wine bottle products they have listed on their website,
and to let people know about the availability of these wines through Case-Wine.com. I earn no money on these reviews.
 
They are not resellers but a platform that provides a service to both the local VQA craft wineries and the customers as an intermediary. This should have great appeal to Ontario residents, especially for those who have ever wanted to buy VQA boutique wines (about 17 wineries are currently listed for Niagara, 2 for Prince Edward County, and Lake Erie North Shore will be listed soon), but cannot or don't feel like travelling to the individual wineries (such as myself, with no car).
 
Here is their URL:  https://www.case-wine.com/index
 
They raise the queries: Have you ever thought about placing an online order at a VQA winery, but not gone through with it because you don't meet the minimum order requirement? Do you ever wish you could order VQA wine online and enjoy an affordable shipping rate? On www.case-wine.com, you can select any kind of wine from any participating VQA boutique winery, enjoying a favourable shipping rate and quality customer service. To ensure wine lovers across Ontario are exposed to a balanced local wine experience, Case-Wine.com offers a transformative platform that breaks the barrier between different brands. You can create your own 12-bottle case with VQA wines from various wineries and, at the same time, support the local Ontario VQA wine industry. You can even mix the case so that you get 12 VQA wines from 12 different wineries. The final price is the retail price of the wines and a favourable shipping rate for the case. And you do not need to order a full case of wine.
 
Now available through Case-Wine.com.....
 
1.Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay Organic 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula [$25]:  fruit is from two contracted growers, all barrel fermented in oak (2d and 3rd year barrels). Wild fermentation, wild malolactic fermentation, lees aging one year, all vegan friendly. Very soft and engaging, much like the 2016 in its youth, some toast but a longish length. Showing some orchard fruit (such as pears) on the mid-palate. Burgundian in style with citric zest in the mid-palate, long finish. Best tasted in contemplation, underpriced. Do not overchill. Twist top. Try with creamy cow's milk (Brie, Camembert) or Alpine Gruyere; also, simple roasted chicken. 12.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.King's Court Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2017 VQA Niagara Peninsula [$20.95]: there are many different fruit profiles for savvies in the world, ranging from the kiwi herbal zestiness to blowsy fruit-forward flavours. This one is a bit more open and approachable, showing some green orchard fruit, some stone fruits, citric tones on the finish, and a crispness that needs food. It is well-within the range of North American sauvignon blanc wines. But do not overchill when you serve it on the patio/deck/terrace. Try with BBQ, creamy pasta, or grilled sandwiches. 12.5% ABV. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Waupoos Estate Winery Riesling 2021 VQA Prince Edward County {$19.95]: with grapes planted in 2015, still young and fresh, somewhat crisp and dry at this point. Light bodied, with a stainless steel ferment. Various aromatics abound from a young riesling on the green side: fresh apples, lime, nuances of lemongrass. Crisp food finish, but also good for those hot summery days as an aperitif for the deck/patio/balcony. Very food-worthy with assorted seafood (shrimp on the barbee?), light but not spicy pork, chicken in different styles. 5 g/L residual sugar, very dry. 11.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Nomad at Hinterbrook Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Lakeshore [$17.95]:  bone-dry, light aromas of tropicality such as pineapple, some gooseberry, even grassy or herbaceous. Stainless steel fermentation. Grapefruit and other citric tones on the mid-palate. Apples, finishing with lemons. Great with all manner of veggies, especially green ones. 300 cases made. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures
Dean Tudor, Professor Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://winewriterscircle.ca
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

Virus-free. www.avg.com


--

info@case-wine.com


Ontario's #1 Stop for Boutique Wines

Follow us on Social Media!

   

 


Report on tasting wines vis Case-Wine.com

Case-Wine.com
 
Case-Wine.com is a new online platform connecting Ontario VQA boutique wineries to new customers.
They've asked me to review some of the VQA wine bottle products they have listed on their website,
and to let people know about the availability of these wines through Case-Wine.com. I earn no money on these reviews.
 
They are not resellers but a platform that provides a service to both the local VQA craft wineries and the customers as an intermediary. This should have great appeal to Ontario residents, especially for those who have ever wanted to buy VQA boutique wines (about 17 wineries are currently listed for Niagara, 2 for Prince Edward County, and Lake Erie North Shore will be listed soon), but cannot or don't feel like travelling to the individual wineries (such as myself, with no car).
 
Here is their URL:  https://www.case-wine.com/index
 
They raise the queries: Have you ever thought about placing an online order at a VQA winery, but not gone through with it because you don't meet the minimum order requirement? Do you ever wish you could order VQA wine online and enjoy an affordable shipping rate? On www.case-wine.com, you can select any kind of wine from any participating VQA boutique winery, enjoying a favourable shipping rate and quality customer service. To ensure wine lovers across Ontario are exposed to a balanced local wine experience, Case-Wine.com offers a transformative platform that breaks the barrier between different brands. You can create your own 12-bottle case with VQA wines from various wineries and, at the same time, support the local Ontario VQA wine industry. You can even mix the case so that you get 12 VQA wines from 12 different wineries. The final price is the retail price of the wines and a favourable shipping rate for the case. And you do not need to order a full case of wine.
 
Now available through Case-Wine.com.....
 
1.Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay Organic 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula [$25]:  fruit is from two contracted growers, all barrel fermented in oak (2d and 3rd year barrels). Wild fermentation, wild malolactic fermentation, lees aging one year, all vegan friendly. Very soft and engaging, much like the 2016 in its youth, some toast but a longish length. Showing some orchard fruit (such as pears) on the mid-palate. Burgundian in style with citric zest in the mid-palate, long finish. Best tasted in contemplation, underpriced. Do not overchill. Twist top. Try with creamy cow's milk (Brie, Camembert) or Alpine Gruyere; also, simple roasted chicken. 12.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.King's Court Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2017 VQA Niagara Peninsula [$20.95]: there are many different fruit profiles for savvies in the world, ranging from the kiwi herbal zestiness to blowsy fruit-forward flavours. This one is a bit more open and approachable, showing some green orchard fruit, some stone fruits, citric tones on the finish, and a crispness that needs food. It is well-within the range of North American sauvignon blanc wines. But do not overchill when you serve it on the patio/deck/terrace. Try with BBQ, creamy pasta, or grilled sandwiches. 12.5% ABV. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Waupoos Estate Winery Riesling 2021 VQA Prince Edward County {$19.95]: with grapes planted in 2015, still young and fresh, somewhat crisp and dry at this point. Light bodied, with a stainless steel ferment. Various aromatics abound from a young riesling on the green side: fresh apples, lime, nuances of lemongrass. Crisp food finish, but also good for those hot summery days as an aperitif for the deck/patio/balcony. Very food-worthy with assorted seafood (shrimp on the barbee?), light but not spicy pork, chicken in different styles. 5 g/L residual sugar, very dry. 11.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Nomad at Hinterbrook Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Lakeshore [$17.95]:  bone-dry, light aromas of tropicality such as pineapple, some gooseberry, even grassy or herbaceous. Stainless steel fermentation. Grapefruit and other citric tones on the mid-palate. Apples, finishing with lemons. Great with all manner of veggies, especially green ones. 300 cases made. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures
Dean Tudor, Professor Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://winewriterscircle.ca
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

Virus-free. www.avg.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

REPORT FROM The Event: New York State of Wine Trade Event May 25, 2022

 
The Date and Time:  May 25, 2022  12:30P – 3:30P
The Event: New York State of Wine Trade Event
The Venue: The Livmore, Gerrard Street West
The Target Audience: wine writers, sommeliers, agents
The Availability/Catalogue: another online catalogue which I had to print out (I don't mind doing this, but it would make sense for all the trade shows to get together and make a common format so we can template it. Each single download or other accessibility point was different, much like restaurant charge card machines)...In general, the New York data included varieties used and a possible Canadian retail price.
The Quote/Background: there was a structured tasting before the walk around tasting, with Jennifer Huether MS, Sara D'amato, and Christopher Bates MS. Bates discussed the evolving wine scene in New York State. We tasted some 12 seminar wines from Long Island and the Finger Lakes.
The Wines: I did not try every one of the 40+ wines in the self-pour walk around portion.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Wölffer Estate Vineyard Summer In A Bottle Rosé 2021 Lake Ontario (Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Blanc) CA$37.05
-Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Riesling Dry 2019 Finger Lakes West Seneca CA$24.53
-Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars T23 Cabernet Franc 2019 Finger Lakes East Seneca CA$25
-Boundary Breaks #239 Dry Riesling 2019 Finger Lakes CA$28.89
-Boundary Breaks Cabernet Franc 2020 Finger Lakes CA$25.21
-Forge Cellars Dry Riesling Classique 2019 Finger Lakes CA$44.95
-Mazza Chautauqua Cellars Riesling, Nutt Road 2017 Finger Lakes CA$20
-Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling Argetsinger Vineyard 2019 Finger Lakes CA$41.21
-Heron Hill Winery Ingle Vineyard Riesling 2020 Finger Lakes   price not available
-Living Roots Wine & Co. Finger Lakes Riesling Pétillant Naturel 2020 CA$29.95
-Element Winery Cabernet Franc 2020 Finger Lakes  price not available
-Element Winery Riesling 2010 Finger Lakes  price not available
-Element Winery Riesling 2009 Finger Lakes  price not available
-Heron Hill Winery Classic Blaufrankisch 2019 Finger Lakes price not available
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Lieb Cellars Estate Sparkling Pinot Blanc 2019 North Fork of Long Island CA$39.95
-Channing Daughters Ramato 2020 Long Island (98% Pinot Grigio, 2% Muscat) CA$44.95
-Hound's Tree Wines Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Long Island North Fork price not available
-Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery Grüner Veltliner 2019 Finger Lakes CA$31.95
-Fox Run Vineyards Lemberger 2019 Finger Lakes price not available
-Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars Round Rock Vineyard Riesling 2019 Finger Lakes CA$33
-Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery Caywood East Dry Riesling 2020 Finger Lakes CA$24.99
-RGNY-North Fork Scielo Rose 2020 Long Island (Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) CA$12
-RGNY - North Fork Scielo NY Tinto 2018 Long Island (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot) CA$14.98
-Mazza Chautauqua Cellars Chambourcin The Perfect Rose 2020 Lake Erie CA$15.00
-Lieb Cellars Estate Cabernet Franc 2020 North Fork of Long Island (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Teroldego) CA$39.95
-Red Newt Cellars The Knoll Riesling, Lahoma Vineyards 2017 Finger Lakes CA$50.00
-Red Newt Cellars Cabernet Franc 2019 Finger Lakes CA$25.00
-Brotherhood Winery Pinot Noir 2017 Finger Lakes CA$27.95
-Channing Daughters Tocai Friulano 2020 Long Island (Friulano,Sauvignon Blanc)CA$37.95
 
 
The Food: Fresh City Farms provided us with both a box of cheese, charcuterie, pickles, olives, bread, and biscuits, AND a hot dog BBQ with substantial cut green salads with sesame, chick peas, et al. On the terrace, with glorious sunshine.
The Downside: I got lost getting to the Livmore – I was unfamiliar with the area after all these years of house sitting. Also, there were no bottles of Chardonnay, just Riesling and a variety of reds. (see above)
The Upside: a chance to re-connect with New York wines – it has been some time for me, about five years.
The Contact Person: Melissa Stunden  melissa@amcc-inc.com
\The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com



AVG logo

This email has been checked for viruses by AVG antivirus software.
www.avg.com


Thursday, June 16, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 18, 2022 release.


WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 18,  2022 release.
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
Note: This is what I call the New Moon release...A once a month release of physical wines to the LCBO shelves, unlike April's Blue Moon releases (three !!).
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com 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 Month  ---
 
1.Cantina Goccia 3Q Rosso 2018 Umbria IGT $16.95 LCBO +22878: a basic entry level "SuperUmbrian" wine made with unoaked sangiovese, cabernet and merlot grapes. So there is some red and black fruit and some dark chocolate, augmented at 2 g/L residual sugar. It is available only in a recycled paperboard bottle; there are instructions on the Frugalpac bottle on how to recycle if you are not bringing it back to The Beer Store for a deposit return. It's a great idea, first launched in Italy in June 2020. And it's a more sustainable form of packaging [packaging and transportation is more than half of the wine carbon footprint]. Frugalpac bottles are 94% recycled paper, and are used (with a separate liner) for wines, spirits and olive oils. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.SUNDAY SAIL SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2021  +22850  $19.95 Vintages: this is an exceptionally fresh savvy just loaded with citrus peel zest character (think lime, grapefruit, lemon) and that distinctive Kiwi herbal taste base. Just released at Vintages, and perfect for summer patio/deck/bbq/outdoors imbibing. Make sure you get some before they run out! Try as a refreshing sipper or (because of its long finish)  with first course foods. I had mine with an herbal salad of microgreens and piquant leaves, chopped hard boiled eggs, and some squash soup with house made croutons. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Chateau des Charmes Rose Cuvee d'Andree 2021 Estate Grown VQA NOTL, $18.95 +333260 at winery, online, and LCBO: this fresh and vibrant rose (named after Madame Andree Bosc) continues to please year over year as I have said before. It is still 100% pinot noir, dry "old style" as in Europe, but loaded with Ontario cranberry, red fruit strawberry, and some discreet black cherry tones from the hot summer, coming in at 12.2% ABV. Stainless steel fermentation of course, and twist top. Refreshing. A previous Ontario Wine Awards Gold Winner in 2016. 4.2g/L residual sugar. Vegan friendly: no animal products used in filtering. 675 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir 2017 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St.David's Bench,
+332858, $44.95 at winery and online: Quite a powerful wine, lots of stylish Burgundian forest floor (mushrooms, earth) to complement the red berry fruit. It was last produced in 2016. Needs some time, maybe three more years. 13.5% ABV. It will also show better with food such as Asian salmon preps or veal or lamb. Cork closure. Residual sugar is 1.2g/L. 1200 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2020 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +287268, $34.95 (online and winery): 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 almost a year, with lees stirring. 30-year old vines. Expect soft balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit and melons. Cork closure. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. 474 cases. 0.4g/L residual sugar. 12.2% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.KACABA IRRESISTIBLE SPARKLING 2019, $30.15 winery and online: [also known as Joanne's Blend, formulated for Joanne Kacaba herself] an amazingly "irresistible" sparkling rose with fresh aromas of strawberries and summer peaches. The blend is 66% chardonnay, 20% pinot noir, and 14% pinot meunier, fermented separately and blended in stainless steel for 22 months. Then it was transferred to a Charmat tank for two months, aging on its lees. A great aperitif for the patio/deck/balcony/terrace/boat, or paired with light cheeses (especially a baked brie). Off-dry complexity. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.KACABA Rebecca Rose VQA Niagara Peninsula 2021+227025 July 16 Vintages, $20.15: a nicely pale-coloured gamay wine (formerly a blend of  cabernets), coming in at 11.7% ABV. Dry (3g/L residual sugar) style red fruits: strawbs, red currant, sweet cherries, cranberry (hey, it's Ontario) with a touch of pink watermelon for added complexity. Stainless steel used for storage. Goes with just about everything. A nicely balanced rose which reminded me of Provence. And it gets high scores at the Wine Writer's Circle of Canada rose tastings. 60 cases at the LCBO, more at the winery. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
8.KACABA Susan's Sauvignon Blanc VQA Niagara Peninsula 2021 winery and online at kacaba.com, $20.15: another summer series wine, quaffable in its tropicality and lowered zesty herbaceousness. Good mouthfeel, nice dry finish for appetizers on the patio/deck/balcony/porch. Stainless steel storage. No malolactic fermentation, thus the crispness and freshness has been preserved. It has Good Memories of Sauvignon Blanc, making it another social wine for the patio or with first-course food. 3g/L residual sugar. 10.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday  June 19 (just a day away!)
 
[red]WOLF BLASS YELLOW LABEL CABERNET SAUVIGNON LCBO 251876
WAS: $ 17.05 | NOW: $ 14.05 | SAVE: $ 3.00
[white]VILLA MARIA PRIVATE BIN CHARDONNAY EAST COAST New Zealand LCBO 13293 WAS: $ 18.05 | NOW: $ 16.05 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[domestic white]ROSEHALL RUN CHARDONNAY VQA Rosehall Run Vineyards LCBO 303776
WAS: $ 15.95 | NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[rose]SAINTLY ROSÉ VQA LCBO 14882  WAS: $ 19.00 | NOW: $ 17.00 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[fizz]TRIUS BRUT VQA LCBO 284539  Was: $ 29.95 Now: $ 26.95 Save: $ 3.00
Until June 19, 2022
 
MAJOR THEME:  Southern Hemisphere
 
Wines Under $20
=========
W+734798    THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2021    $18.95
MVC/QPR: 89
W+328559    CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY    WO Western Cape    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  91
W+23098    FILAREE ITALIA RIBOLLA GIALLA    IGT Venezia Giulia    2020    $14.95 MVC/QPR:  92
Rose+650655    REDSTONE ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $17.95     MVC/QPR:  89
 
Wines Over $20
=========
W+20455    LE CLOS JORDANNE JORDAN VILLAGE CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+172338    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC CHARDONNAY  Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 92
R+155408    MARCHESI DI BAROLO BARBARESCO DOCG 2018    $38.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+216309    CASTELLO DI GABBIANO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2016    $24.95
MVC/QPR: 89
R+438580    QUERCECCHIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2017    $32.95     MVC/QPR:89
               
                                       
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, June 6, 2022

REPORT FROM THE Event: Taste the Essence – Cotes du Rhone, May 16 2022

 
The Date and Time: Monday May 16, 2022  11:30AM to 2:30PM
The Event: Taste the Essence – Cotes du Rhone
The Venue: 1 Kitchen (inside 1 Hotel)
The Target Audience: wine sommeliers, wine press.
The Availability/Catalogue: there were 8 wines, and we had full notes and some prices, plus other material about the Cotes du Rhone wines. 25 of us attended the seminar on one long table plus some booths.
The Quote/Background: Sara d'Amato, via Powerpoint preentation, led us in the seminar, discussing microclimates and types of grapes (23 varieties!). It's a winemaker's paradise with multiple chances to blend varieties together to produce multiple spectra of aromas. 75% of its AOC wines is "Cotes du Rhone" (88% of these are reds, 5% are white and 6% are rose), and more and more of them are moving to SNOB – sustainable, natural, organic and/or biodynamic.
The Wines: Some of us tasted the Southern Rhone wines separately, but ultimately it was a food and wine pairing lunch, with pours of 8 wines to try against the foods. See below for the menu.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Lavau La Decelle AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Blanc 2020, $18.95 SAQ through Connexion Oenophilia. [firm, good finish, apricots, vanilla, honey, even garrigue. 50% viognier, 50% marsanne, 13.5% ABV]
-Brotte Bord Elegance AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Laudun Blanc 2021, agent in Ontario is Mark Anthony [higher acid levels for dryness apricots, orchard fruit, citric fruits, almonds, 80% grenache blanc, 13.5% ABV]
-Maison Gabriel Meffre Laurus AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2017, $21.10 SAQ through Trajectory [low yields, tight tannins, fruity garrigue of rosemary and blueberry, one to lay down more. 60% grenache, 35% syrah, 14% ABV]
-Cave de Cairanne Le Chene Noir AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2019, agent is Signature Wines & Spirits.[grenache 50%, carignan 30%, syrah 20%, dark in colour with red fruits in aromas (raspberries, strawberries, red currants), peppery finish. Good character. 14.5% ABV]
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Vignerons de l'Enclave Chasses Nurges AOC Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2019, $16.20 at SAQ, repped by Divin Paradis in Quebec. [delicious, aromatic freshness of apricots and vanilla, light finish, 14% ABV]
-Cellier des Dauphins Les Dauphins AOC Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2020, $14.05, agent is Churchill Cellars.[convenient twist top, bright and smooth with some caramelization, anise, vanilla. 13.5% ABV]
-Chateau Le Grand Retour AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu Rouge 2019, $17.95 at Nicholas Pearce Wines.[grenache 70%, syrah $20, mourvedre 10%, typical GSM with red stone fruits, dark fruits, anise, spices. 14.5% ABV]
-Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe AOC Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge 2019, agent Woodman WS [syrah 50%, grenache 30%, mourvedre 15%, violet and pepper notes, soft tannins, but a hot finish. 15% ABV]
 
The Food: The menu was very important, to show off the wines, and that it did admirably. We began with the Chasses Nurges as aperitif, moving on to the La Decelle which accompanied charcuterie boards of meats (one smokey, one spicy, one air cured, along with baba ghanoush bites on crisp breads and with tomatoes). The second course had individual fiore pasta from Queen's Pasta with nut free basil pesto. The Bord Elegance was the wine, and it met the flavours of the pasta. We had three wines with our bison striploin (Les Dauphins, Laurus, and the Chateau Le Grand Retour) so it was a better comparison with the wines and accompaniment of truffled rutabaga puree, crispy kale, and broccolini. The fourth course was a platter of cheeses, including the awesome Black truffle Mountainoak Gouda [cow], the Ash Goat, and a smokey Blue Haze. Wines were: Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe and Le Chene Noir.
The Downside: I had to do a massive food shopping just before the tasting, but I did get there just as activities began.
The Upside: a chance to taste some new-to-me Cotes du Rhone wines, especially the whites.
The Contact Person: elina.lam@sopexa.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Recent Wine Reviews

--Cantina Goccia 3Q Rosso 2018 Umbria IGT $16.95 LCBO +22878: a basic entry level "SuperUmbrian" wine made with unoaked sangiovese, cabernet and merlot grapes. So there is some red and black fruit and some dark chocolate, augmented at 2 g/L residual sugar. It is available only in a recycled paperboard bottle; there are instructions on the Frugalpac bottle on how to recycle if you are not bringing it back to The Beer Store for a deposit return. It's a great idea, first launched in Italy in June 2020. And it's a more sustainable form of packaging [packaging and transportation is more than half of the wine carbon footprint]. Frugalpac bottles are 94% recycled paper, and are used (with a separate liner) for wines, spirits and olive oils. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
--Windrush Estate Hockley Valley Jim Warren Classic Chardonnay 2018 Foxcroft Vineyard VQA Beamsville Bench $65 at winery, only 80 cases made [2019 is $49.95]: these are indeed the latest Jim Warren Classic Chardonnays available for sale. His chardonnays embrace both an opening aromatic nose and a terrific mid-palate taste of what he is known for: rich stone fruit, some tropicality and orchard fruit, a judicious use of oak, ending with a citric minerality for a strong food wine. Bearing in mind what you get from California and Europe that costs much more, this is a great price for value. 3g/L residual sugar. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
--Filare Italia Ribolla Gialla IGT Friuli Venezia Giulia 2020, +23098 $14.95, June 18 Vintages release. Very aromatic (fresh and fruity) on the nose with some almonds and walnuts on the palate,and a long citric and  mineral finish to accompany food. Very good value. 12.5% ABV, low residual sugar. Rated 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, May 26, 2022

REPORT FROM FILARE ITALIA WINE TASTING DINNER, MAY 9, 2022 --

The Date and Time: Monday, May 9, 2022   7Pm to 10PM
The Event: Wine Dinner and Tasting of Filare Italia
The Venue: Posticino, Etobicoke
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: only one wine is currently available (Ribolla Giallo IGT) but the others may be imported soon.
The Quote/Background: The writers had a talk with Marco Tam and Vincenzo Castana who described the "green" technical aspect of wine production in the far NorthEast section of Italy, upper Friuli Venezia Giulia (bordering the Adriatic, Slovenia, Austria and Venice). They own 100 hectares of vineyard plus other properties. They integrate sustainability with bioeconomy and produce digestate, an organic fertilizer resulting from the processing of biogas. This is then distributed in the fields of the vineyards.
The Wines: We tasted five wines with dinner (see menu below).
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Filare Italia Ribolla Gialla IGT Friuli Venezia Giulia 2020, +23098 $14.95, June 18 Vintages release. {very aromatic on the nose with some almonds and walnuts on the palate,and a long finish to accompany food; 12.5% ABV, low residual sugar}.
-Filare Italia Ribolla Gialla Brut NV $15.50  n/a {impressive with a phenomenal mid-palate at a decent price: apples, citric minerality, white flowers, fresh and creamy. Best as an aperitif or first course seafood wine. 12% ABV, low residual sugar}
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Filare Italia Pinot Grigio DOC Friuli Venezia Giulia 2019 $16 n/a  {hot nose but a lush mid-palate moving on to elegance and refreshment. 12% ABV, low residual sugar}
-Filare Italia Merlot Rive DOC Friuli Venezia Giulia 2020 $16.75  n/a {intense, firm and full with aromatics of berries and a soft finish. 12.5% ABV, low residual sugar}
-Filare Italia Cabernet Sauvignon DOC Friuli Venezia Giulia 2020 $16.75  n/a {concentrated garnet colour and a nose suggestive of forest floor and herbs, light but with a good tight structure that will improve and unwind with age. 12% ABV, low residual sugar}
 
The Food: Chef Antonio of Posticino prepared dinner with the appropriate wines.
First up was a tomato bruschetta with the Pinot Grigio 2019, a good marriage.
This was followed by a salumi selection plate of two slices each of three kinds of salami, four different cheeses including mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, two lightly fried tempura shrimp, and olives. All with the impressive "wine of the night" – Filare Italia Ribolla Gialla IGT Friuli Venezia Giulia 2020, +23098, $14.95 in June.
Next up was the pasta course: paccheri pork ragu, delightful with the aromatic Merlot Rive 2020.
The fourth course had the three ribs of a rack of lamb, swiftly grilled and then plated on a bed of polenta, accompanied by the Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.
The Downside: not everybody arrived on time.
The Upside: kudos to Chef Antonio for his patience and food matching excellence!!
The Contact Person: Sandy Garofalo at spg@caliberwines.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 21, 2022 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 21,  2022 release.

The New Moon LCBO release of wines --

By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.

These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com 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 ---

1.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 Vintages on May 21 and again on November 19: a summer social sipper or quaffer (and for Thanksgiving too), combining 54% riesling and 18% chardonnay with 15% pinot grigio and 13% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1282 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 14g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages May 21 and again on September 10: over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc. This latest vintage (2021) has cabernet sauvignon 33.3%, gamay noir 60%, and pinot noir 6.7%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/backyard/porch/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace (as I did just this week when the snow dropped in High Park North a few days before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1662 cases. 7g/L residual sugar, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.KACABA CABERNET/SYRAH 2017 +26424 Vintages May 21, $30.15 also at winery and online: this is a blend of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon (27% each) with syrah (46%), the latter being the oldest planting in Ontario. At one time it was a blend of cabernet/merlot/syrah, but this changes every year depending on the grapes available and the harvest conditions. Matured in French and American oak barrels for 13 months or so. You'll get a whiff of anise and red fruit, and with the franc it is a bit savoury. Definitely a red meat wine. What I usually do is make a double-decant, taste, and then leave it in a re-sealed bottle for a week or so, with daily tastings. The wine itself will be at its peak in a few more years. 5.4 g/L residual sugar. 12.8% ABV. 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...on sale  through Sunday May 22...better get them now!
 
[red]CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES GAMAY NOIR VQA LCBO +57349 WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $14.45  SAVE: $ 1.50.
[rose]CAVE SPRING DRY ROSÉ VQA LCBO +295006 WAS: $ 15.95 | NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[white]    PENINSULA RIDGE INOX CHARDONNAY VQA LCBO +594200 | WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00

MAJOR THEME:   ROSE

Note: This is what I call the "New Moon" release...A once a month release of physical wines to the LCBO shelves, unlike April's Blue Moon releases (three last month!!)...I'll cover mostly the in-store wines since the "Online Curated Assortment" has only small quantities...If I do mention an online order wine, then it will have OCA initials and date in front of it.

Wines Under $20
=========
W+341586    FEATHERSTONE FOUR FEATHERS    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $14.95           MVC/QPR:  90.
W+389726    BOYA SAUVIGNON BLANC    Sustainable, Coast Zone, DO Valle de Leyda    Garcés Silva    2021    $14.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
Rose+177840    PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD CABERNET ROSÉ    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment        2021    $15.95    MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+16250    THE TRAGICALLY HIP FLAMENCO ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    Stoney Ridge Estate Winery    2021    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+117861    FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2021 $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+19846    CONFIDENCIAL RESERVA ROSÉ    Vinho Regional Lisboa 2021    $15.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+ 542183    RAVANAL GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Valle de Colchagua        2019    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+395053    12 E MEZZO PRIMITIVO DEL SALENTO    IGP    Varvaglione    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20

OCA May 14 - +19618    MUDDY WATER CHARDONNAY    Waipara, South Island     2018    $39.95    
OCA May 14 - +19622    MUDDY WATER PINOT NOIR    Waipara, South Island     2018    $39.95    
OCA May 14 - +24613    CHÂTEAU THÉBAUD SUR LIE MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE    AC, Loire, France    Domaine Pierre-Luc et Valérie Bouchaud    2014    $25.95
W+181289    DOMAINE LE VERGER CHABLIS    AC    Alain Geoffroy, prop.-vitic.    2019    $26.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+26503    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE GAMAY    Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula        2019    $27.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+213132    LA PIEVE BAROLO    DOCG        2018    $39.95    MVC/QPR: 89.



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Sunday, May 15, 2022

REPORT ON THE "BRINGING NEW ZEALAND TO YOU" WINE SHOW (MAY 5,2022) --

The Date and Time: Thursday, May 5, 2022  11AM to 2PM
The Event: Bringing New Zealand to You wine trade show
The Venue: Globe and Mail Centre
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: paperless – it was all online but downloadable. There were no prices, just price ranges, and no tech sheet links. I downloaded all the chardonnay names, and that formed the basis of my tasting that morning.
The Quote/Background: This was a maskless, agent-less, pour-your-own session, so we could go at our own speed and also not have to talk to anybody. A tech sheet was provided for each wine. And every now and then there was an agency tent card with specifics on those wines available at the LCBO, including SKU number.
The Wines: I did not taste every wine (there were 105 samples available).
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Kumeu River Wines Estate Chardonnay 2020 Auckland
-Kupe Escarpment Wines Chardonnay 2015 Martinborough
-Soljans Estate Barrique Reserve Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2019
-Clearview Wines Estate Chardonnay 2018 Hawke's Bay
-No.1 Family Estate Cuvee No.1 Methode Traditionale Sparkling Wine NV Wairu Valley [chardonnay]
-Johanneshof Cellars Marlborough EMMI Method Traditionale 2009 Wairu Valley [pinot noir, chardonnay]
-Greywacke Vineyards Chardonnay 2017 Wairu Valley
-Giesen Group Chardonnay "The Fuder Clayvin" 2015 Southern Valleys
-Neudorf Vineyards Neudork Rosie's Block Chardonnay 2018 Nelson
-Bell Hill Chardonnay North Canterbury 2016
-Quartz Reef Methode Traditionale Brut NV Central Otago
-Felton Road Chardonnay Bannockburn 2018 Central Otago
-The Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Hawke's Bay
-Rapaura Springs Bull Paddock Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Marlborough
-Paddy Borthwick Vineyards Pinot Gris 2019 Wairarapa
-Hans Herzog Family Estate - Pinot Noir 2016 Wairau Valley  $57
-Auntsfeld Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough
-Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2019 Awatere Valley
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-The Landing Chardonnay 2020 Northland
-Matawhero Wines 2020 Single Vineyard Chardonnay
-Oyster Bay Rose 2021 Marlborough [pinot noir, chardonnay] at LCBO
-Fromm Winery Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay 2019 Marlborough
-Oyster Bay Chardonnay 2020 Marlborough at LCBO
-Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Marlborough
-URLAR Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2019 Wairarapa
-The Hunting Lodge Seasonal Marlborough Albarino 2019 Marlborough
-Dry River Riesling 'Craighall' 2019 Martinborough
-Hans Herzog Family Estate - Mistral 2016 Marlborough [Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne]
-Nautilus Estate of Marlborough Opawa Pinot Noir 2018 Wairau Valley
-Folium Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 Marlborough
-Mahi Marlborough Pinot Noir 2019 Wairau Valley
 
 
The Food: we had bamboo boats of cheeses (yummy truffle cheese), veggies, fruits, and breads/crackers, and cold cuts. They were worth lugging about.
The Downside: some of us had a small discussion on the pour-your-own feature – should we not be wearing gloves to lessen any contact with covid-19? Plastic gloves could have easily been provided or we could have been told to bring our own. Gloves are in the same category as masks: protection.
The Upside: a chance to taste in silence
The contact person:  melissa.stunden@nzwine.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

TASTING GEORGIA; a food and wine journey in the Caucasus (Interlink Books, 2017, 2021, 464 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-8427-8 $28.95 USD softbound)

TASTING GEORGIA; a food and wine journey in the Caucasus (Interlink Books, 2017, 2021, 464 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-8427-8 $28.95 USD softbound) is by Carla Capalbo,  born in NYC, and now working as a freelance food journalist and photographer. This is an updated revised edition making its paperbound debut. She's written 14 books on the culture of producing food and wine, winning awards such as the Andre Simon for "Collio" as best wine book. Her photos of Georgia have won an IACP award. Here she gives us, by the numbers: 70 recipes, 60 restaurants and wine bars, 40 family wineries, 10 regional maps, and 390 original photographs, many of which detail farmers markets and family cooks. She's got top log rolling from Redzepi (noma), Ottolenghi, and Petrini (founder of Slow Food). Georgia lies between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. It is one of the world's oldest winemaking areas, with wines made traditionally in clay qvevri buried in the ground, and searched for by lovers of natural wine. After the section on wine comes the food, beginning with the "supra" buffet-banquet-sharing feast and the elements of Georgian cuisine. Ingredients include ajika (capsicum paste), lobio beans, guda (sheep's cheese), tenili cheese, freshwater fish, gozinaki (honey and walnuts at New Year), jonjoli, khinkali dumplings, matsoni fermented milk, and lots more. There are only a few holiday recipes for sweets. Most dinners end with fresh fruit, nuts, or fruit leather. Preps have English and Georgian titles as well as scrips. Recipes have been edited for home cooks or otherwise simplified with substitutions. Metric and avoirdupois weights and measures co-exist in the preps. There is an impressive listing of sources and travel information, along with websites. The almost 40 page index includes a recipe planner for creating meals, a listing of the various foods by product, a listing of the restaurants and wine bars cited, an index to the wine, plus an index to the 12 regions of Georgia. And of course, there are are recipes by English title. A good book for armchair  travellers, cooks, and culinary historians. Try the eggplant rolls; lobio beans stewed with herbs; beef and chickpea stew; beets with spiced walnut paste; chicken with nut sauce; corn meal with cheese; fermented cabbage and beets; mulberry and goat cheese salad; noodle and yogurt soup; and stewed nettles.
Quality/Price rating: 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, May 6, 2022

The Event: Taste Ontario! Toronto Trade and Media Tasting 2022

The Date and Time: Monday April 25, 2022  11AM – 1PM session
The Event: Taste Ontario! Toronto Trade and Media Tasting 2022
The Venue: Park Hyatt Toronto
The Target Audience: wine media, agents, sommeliers, opinion makers.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are at the winery, some are at the LCBO. Full details were included in the catalogue.
The Quote/Background: There was a Media Tasting Room up on the 17th floor where writers could relax and sample wines at their leisure.
The Wines: all prices are retail. I tasted only these wines out of the 300 or so available. LCBO numbers where available.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (90+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-13th Street Winery    Cuvée Rosé    Niagara Peninsula    NV    12.5%    147504     $29.95    
-180 Estate Winery    Gamay Rosé Sparkling    Creek Shores    2021    11%     $30.20
-180 Estate Winery    Gamay Noir Reserve    Creek Shores    2019    13%    $46.20 -Bachelder    Les Villages Chardonnay 'Bench'    Niagara Escarpment    2020    $34.95    
-Closson Chase Vineyards Churchside Pinot Noir    Prince Edward County    2019 12%    +265074     $42.00    
-Lighthall Vineyards    Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019    12.5%  $36
-Norman Hardie Winery & Vineyard County Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019    12.5%    +381715     $49.20
-Rosehall Run Vineyards     JCR Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019    12%       $36
-Rosehall Run Ceremony    Prince Edward County    2017    12%  $36
-Rosehall Run Hungry Point Sauvignon Blanc    Prince Edward County    2020 12.5%      $28
-13th Street Winery    Blanc de Blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2019    12.5%     $29.95    
-2027 Cellars  Fox Croft Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2020 13% $25
-Cave Spring Vineyard    Blanc de Blancs CSV    Beamsville Bench    2015    12%  $49.95    
-Cave Spring Vineyard    Pinot Gris Estate    Beamsville Bench    2020    14%     $27.95    
-Cave Spring Vineyard Chardonnay CSV Beamsville Bench    2019    14%    +529941     $29.95    
-Cloudsley Cellars    Wingfield Vineyard Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13%     $50
-Cloudsley Cellars    Foxcroft Vineyard Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13%     $50
-Cloudsley Cellars Chardonnay, Twenty Mile Bench Beamsville Bench VQA 2018 13%  $35
-Hidden Bench Estate Winery Bistro Chardonnay    Beamsville Bench    2017 13%    $16.93 Lic
-Meldville Wines    Sauvignon Blanc     Lincoln Lakeshore    2019 12.5% $20
-Westcott Vineyards Estate Chardonnay Niagara Escarpment 2020 13.5% +424507     $29.99
-Fogolar Hanck Vineyard Riesling 2019 VQA Twenty Mile Bench 12.5% $19.95
-Southbrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 VQA Four Mile Creek 13% $45
-Chateau des Charmes Wines    Barrel Fermented Chardonnay    Niagara-on-the-Lake    2019 13% +81653     $14.95
-Chateau des Charmes Wines    Rosé, Cuvée d'Andrée    Niagara-on-the-Lake    2021    12% +333260     $18.95    
-Chateau des Charmes Wines    Brut Sparkling    Niagara-on-the-Lake    NV    12.5%    +224766     $25.95    
-Drea's Wine Co.    Sauvignon Blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2019  12.5%   $26.50        
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve White Meritage     Niagara Peninsula 2020    13%    +360297 $25.95
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula 2019 13.5% +593996 $20.95    
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Entourage Brut     Niagara Peninsula  2017  13%    +234161     $29.95
-Southbrook Winery Estate Skin Fermented White (Orange)    Ontario    2020    10.7% +628065  $29.95    
-Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula    2018 12.7%    +172338 $24.95 -Cooper's Hawk Vineyards Barrel Fermented Chardonnay    Lake Erie North Shore 2020 13%     $20.15    
-Featherstone Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula 2019 12.5% +149302     $22.95    
-Featherstone Winery    Sauvignon blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2021    12%    +89011 $17.95 -Icellars Estate Winery    Pinot Noir    Niagara-on-the-Lake    2019    13.5%  $30
-Kacaba Vineyards & Winery    Meritage    Niagara Escarpment    2017    13.6% $33.15    
-Lailey Winery    Stonebridge Chardonnay    Four Mile Creek    2019    13.8% $48
-Southbrook Winery    Poetica Red    Four Mile Creek    2019    14% $70   
-Tawse Winery    Robyn's Block Chardonnay    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13%  $46.95    
-Two Sisters Vineyards    Eleventh Post    Niagara River    2017    14.5% +20935 $45
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Icellars Estate Winery    Sauvignon Blanc    Twenty Mile Bench    2019    13.5% $35
-Cooper's Hawk Vineyards    North Block Sparkling    Ontario    2016    12.5% $25.15    
-Broken Stone Winery    Chenin Blanc    Prince Edward County    2020    12% $29.95    
-Broken Stone Winery County Grown Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2020 12.7%    +668269 $26.95
-Broken Stone Winery Gewürztraminer "Applehouse Vineyard"    Prince Edward County    2019 11.6%     $21.95    
-Closson Chase Vineyards    Ridge South Clos Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2019        12.5%      $42
-Closson Chase Loyalist Chardonnay    Prince Edward County    2020    12%  $26    
-Trail Estate Winery Chardonnay (Cold Creek Vineyard)    Prince Edward County 2020 14%     $45
-Trail Estate Oh Julius     Ontario    2021    10.5%    $35
-Traynor Family Vineyard    Sauvignon Blanc    Niagara Peninsula    2020    13.9% $20
-Colio Estate Wines    Lily Sparkling     Ontario    NV 12% +418657 $17.95
-North 42 Degrees Estate Winery    Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Extra Dry     Ontario    2020    12.5%     $24.95
-Calamus Estate Winery Barrel Kissed Chardonnay    Niagara Peninsula    2021 13.5% $21.95
-Cloudsley Cellars    Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula    Niagara Peninsula    2019    13% $25
-Malivoire     Melon    Beamsville Bench    2021    12%  $21.95
-Megalomaniac Wines "Outspoken" Unoaked Chardonnay Twenty Mile Bench 2020 13.5% $18.95
-Rennie Estate Winery Christine Chardonnay    Beamsville Bench    2017 13%       $40
-Westcott Vineyards Violette Sparkling Brut Niagara Escarpment 2021    12.5%     $25.99
-Drea's Wine Co.    Rose    Niagara Peninsula    2020  12.5%   $26.50
-Inniskillin Niagara Estate Winery Montague Vineyard Chardonnay     Four Mile Creek    2019    13%  $25.95       
-Lailey Winery Orange Skin Fermented White Niagara River    2021    11.7%  $33       
-Lakeview Wine Co. Lakeview Barrel Aged Chardonnay    Niagara Peninsula    2017    13%    +17633      $22.95
-Two Sisters Vineyards    Unoaked Chardonnay Niagara Peninsula    2019    13%     $39
                                       
 
The Food: boards of cheeses, charcuterie, dried and fresh fruits, nuts, breads, et al at convenient locations outside the noisy trade hall.
The Downside: I had to leave in order to get to my next winetasting, a Portuguese event.
The Upside: the Media Room was a relaxing delight where I could evade the noise and contemplate a wine at my own speed.
The Contact Person: andrea.peters@wmao.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.
                                                                                                               
 
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://winewriterscircle.ca
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

REPORT ON NEW VINTAGES OF KACABA VQA WINES ---

KACABA IRRESISTIBLE SPARKLING 2019 VQA, $30.15 winery and online: [also known as Joanne's Blend, formulated for Joanne Kacaba herself] an amazingly "irresistible" sparkling rose with fresh aromas of strawberries and summer peaches. The blend is 66% chardonnay, 20% pinot noir, and 14% pinot meunier, fermented separately and blended in stainless steel for 22 months. Then it was transferred to a Charmat tank for two months, aging on its lees. A great aperitif for the patio/deck/balcony/terrace/boat, or paired with light cheeses (especially a baked brie). Off-dry complexity. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

KACABA CABERNET/SYRAH 2017 VQA +26424 Vintages May 21, $30.15 also at winery and online: this is a blend of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon (27% each) with syrah (46%), the latter being the oldest planting in Ontario. At one time it was a blend of cabernet/merlot/syrah, but this changes every year depending on the grapes available and the harvest conditions. Matured in French and American oak barrels for 13 months or so. You'll get a whiff of anise and red fruit, and with the franc it is a bit savoury. Definitely a red meat wine. What I usually do is make a double-decant, taste, and then leave it in a re-sealed bottle for a week or so, with daily tastings. The wine itself will be at its peak in a few more years. 5.4 g/L residual sugar. 12.8% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for the APRIL 30, 2022 BLUE MOON release.


Hey, it's the BLUE MOON release at the LCBO....!!!!

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 30,  2022 release.

By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.

These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com 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 recently reviewed wine bottles, from Featherstone (all available NOW at LCBO and winery) --

1.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, plentiful lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry. Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 2573 cases made. 10.5% ABV. RS 20.7g/L. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618
Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of cherry-berries and plums, leafy qualities. Black pepper. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Vegan. Should go well with BBQ veggies. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle over a week). 2106 cases. 2.59g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

5.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages April 30 and again on Nov 5: 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 2g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by cassis. 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.

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday May 22 --
 
[red]CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES GAMAY NOIR VQA LCBO +57349 WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $14.45  SAVE: $ 1.50.
[rose]CAVE SPRING DRY ROSÉ VQA LCBO +295006 WAS: $ 15.95 | NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[white]    PENINSULA RIDGE INOX CHARDONNAY VQA LCBO +594200 | WAS: $ 15.95 |
NOW: $ 13.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
From the Vintages Catalogue --                     
Rose+559088    Malivoire Ladybug Rose $15.95, normally $17.95, save $2.
Fizz+213983    Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling $29.95, normally $32.95, save $3.
FizzyRose+48793 Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $20.95, normally $22.95, save $2.

MAJOR THEME: CLASSIC EUROPEAN REGIONS

Wines Under $20
=========
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 92.
R+131540    FEATHERSTONE RED TAIL MERLOT    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $19.95
MVC/QPR: 92.
R+64618    FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC    Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula 2020    $19.95      MVC/QPR: 92.
R+14667    CHÂTEAU HYOT RÉSERVE    AC Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux    2018    $17.95
MVC/QPR: 89.
R+24210    PELLEGRINO CASALLAIA    IGT Toscana    2018    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+548867    CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2018    $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

Wines Over $20
=========
W+49302    FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $24.95  MVC/QPR: 92.
W+184549    LE CLOS JORDANNE LE GRAND CLOS CHARDONNAY    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $44.95  MVC/QPR: 90.
R+573451    CAPRAIA EFFE 55 GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2016    $43.95
MVC/QPR: 89.
R+165662    MONTE DEL FRÀ LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018  Veneto  $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Fizz+460832    WOLFBERGER BRUT CRÉMANT D'ALSACE    Traditional method, AC, Alsace, $20.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Toronto Metropolitan University School of Journalism
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 23, 2022

REPORT ON NEW WINES FROM FEATHERSTONE ESTATE WINERY – April 22 2022 Earth Day

 
REPORT ON NEW WINES FROM FEATHERSTONE ESTATE WINERY – April 22 2022 Earth Day
 
1.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 Vintages on May 21 and again on November 19: a summer social sipper or quaffer (and for Thanksgiving too), combining 54% riesling and 18% chardonnay with 15% pinot grigio and 13% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1282 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 14g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, plentiful lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry. Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 2573 cases made. 10.5% ABV. RS 20.7g/L. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
3.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages April 30 and and again on October 8: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 542 cases. 4g/L residual sugar, 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $24.95 +149302 Vintages October 8: one of my faves. Over the years it has simply gotten better as the grapevines matured. Wild indigenous yeast is used. Good mid-tone oaky component (it is very easy to say it is mid-way between French and US oak) from the use of nearby Canadian oak trees. 10% new oak, 90% 1 to 5 year old. Terrific ripe orchard fruit aromas and palate. Plus vanillin and cream after the mid-palate leading to citric food- friendly finish. Needs more time for balancing, but then at that moment it will be awesome. 14% ABV. 1.69g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +20599 Vintages August 13: this is a highly competitive category, but Featherstone goes up very well against the other PGs in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. It's colour and even its taste can slot it into the rose category, or even the "orange" wine area. 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 as 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, with half being pressed immediately and half left to soak on skins before pressing. 10g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages May 21 and again on September 10: over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc. This latest vintage (2021) has cabernet sauvignon 33.3%, gamay noir 60%, and pinot noir 6.7%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/backyard/porch/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace (as I did just this week when the snow dropped in High Park North a few days before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1662 cases. 7g/L residual sugar, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
7.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of cherry-berries and plums, leafy qualities. Black pepper. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Vegan. Should go well with BBQ veggies. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle over a week). 2106 cases. 2.59g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
8.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages April 30 and again on Nov 5: 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 2g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by cassis. 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.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com