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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 2, 2022 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 2, 2022 release.

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, from the agency Majestic Wine Cellars, and all available via consignment   ---

1.Sensi 1890 Collezione Pinot Grigio dell Venezie 2020 AOC High Volume Consignment - $ 15.95: relatively full-bodied for an Italian style pinot grigio, with the emphasis on "yellow": yellow colour, yellow fruit, yellow honey. Full of citric zest, good with food beyond the first course – think peaches and lemons and apples, with some serious tones on the mid-palate. Commingling is back, with citric undertones. Flavours of stone fruit but with some yellow pear drops, rich, mid-palate crispness. Clean citric finish with minerality. Food or appetizer. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay California 2019 High Volume Consignment - $17.95: cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the American taste palate. There were lemons and pear, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel augmented by a Meyer lemon off-sweet mandarin quality. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

 3.Morgan Bay Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon California 2019 High Volume Consignment - $ 17.95: a great wallop of black fruit (black cherries, blackberries) begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style. The emphasis is on darkness, with plenty of black fruit and butterscotch tones, with some black pepper spices, and a softish finish to a medium body. Very useful as an everyday cab at a great price point. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Albino Armani 1607 Tenuta di Sequals Sauvignon Friuli-Grave 2020 DOC Consignment - $20.95: very intense aromas, fruity from green fruit and herby but with a medium-body and not like Kiwi Savvy. Citric finish, very useful as a first course white wine. Good with asparagus or smoked fish. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

5.Javier Sanz Vmalcorta Verdejo Rueda 2019 Consignment - $33.95: top-rated at a pre-pandemic Rueda wine trade show in Toronto at 91+ points: higher acid food wine, floral and citric, emphasizing the brighter side of aromatic Spanish verdejo. Very well made with an exceptional, lingering finish. Perhaps best with shellfish such as oysters or mussels, clams. White flesh fish would also be appropriate. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91+ points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

6.Amastuola Primitivo Organic Puglia IGP 2019 Consignment - $20.95: this is a preferred choice from among the basic primitivos in Ontario simply because it is made with organic grapes. Expect that dense, over-the-top zinfandel-type flavour  of jamminess from plums, cherry-berry fruit, with a cinnamon spicy kick. 14%ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

7.Sensi 1890 Collezione Merlot Terre Siciliane IGT 2019 Consignment - $ 15.95: This shows aromatic herbs on the nose,  red fruit (raspberries) and spice, great North American appeal in that merlot is recognizable, modest tannins, balanced on the mid-palate, okay by itself or with food as a first course red.  Velvet smooth finish. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

8.Biscardo Neropasso Rosso Veneto IGT 2019 Consignment - $ 19.95: bright red fruit dominate both its texture and its palate, evoking some minerality that cuts through the balanced fruity cherry tones. Some forest floor; some mocha tones. Intense jammy concentration of dark fruit including plums. Grape pressings are added just before spring, to give it the second fermentation oompf. Great as a sipper or with food or both, ready now at almost three years after the vintage. It was done up in stainless steel fermentation to which malolactic fermentation was employed. And then the second fermentation of ripasso began on the unpressed skins of the leftovers. Food or sip. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose apassimento) and Oropasso (white), all trading off on the "-passo" usage. Good price. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

9.And, from another agent,  +22850    SUNDAY SAIL SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2021    $19.95 is  being released April 2 at Vintages....this is an exceptionally fresh savvy just loaded with citrus peel zest character (think lime, grapefruit, lemon) and that distinctive Kiwi herbal taste. 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.

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday April 24...
[red] +274753     Hidden Bench Estate Organic Pinot Noir $34.95, now $31.95, save $3        
[rose] +14882 Arterra Saintly Rose VQA $18, now $15, save $3
[white] +84988 Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay    $26.95,  now $23.95, save $3            
[fizz] +20979 Juliet Prosecco Rose DOC $14.95, now $12.95, save $2
[splurge] +650432 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino     $53.95, now $48.95, save $5        

Wines Under $20
W+395228    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECIAL SELECT LATE HARVEST VIDAL    Sustainable, VQA Ontario    2019    $19.95     MVC/QPR:  89
Fizz+646968    PONGRÁCZ CAP CLASSIQUE ROSÉ    Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+22850    SUNDAY SAIL SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2021    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  91
Rose+559088    MALIVOIRE LADYBUG ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89
MVC/QPR:  89
W+469593    THIERRY DELAUNAY LE GRAND BALLON SAUVIGNON BLANC    IGP Val de Loire    2020    $13.95 MVC/QPR:  89.

Wines Over $20
W+25647    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC RIESLING Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $22.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+82255    ROGER & DIDIER RAIMBAULT SANCERRE    AC 2019 $31.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+424507     WESTCOTT ESTATE CHARDONNAY VQA Niagara Escarpment    2020 $29.95 MVC/QPR: 91
W+28845    CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE BLANC    Inspired by Haut-Brion, AC Bordeaux    2020    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+140525    DOMAINE BONNARD SANCERRE AC    2020    $26.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+427500    WESTCOTT ESTATE PINOT NOIR VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula    2017    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 90
MVC/QPR:  89.
Fizz+227009    ANGELS GATE ARCHANGEL BRUT SPARKLING CHARDONNAY    Traditional method, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario    2014    $29.95     MVC/QPR:  89
Port+642058    POÇAS JR. LBV PORT DOP, Portugal    2015    $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89

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

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