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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 16, 2022 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JULY 16,  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 ---

Varvaglione 12E MEZZO Primitivo del Salento 2020 IGT Puglia, $14.95 +395053: This full-bodied red has a dried herbal character, and also shows its warm ripe fruit (plums, cherries) and spicy mocha vanilla tones from three months in US oak barriques. It is very smooth in that over-the-top California zinfandel manner, very BBQ friendly. Sip or drink with red-based food such as pasta and pizza, or anything BBQ. Very affordable price. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

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.

KACABA Susan's Sauvignon Blanc VQA Niagara Peninsula 2021 winery and online at, $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.

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.


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
-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: or
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93

** Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday July 17...
[red] Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley Chile +322586, regularly $19.95, now $16.95, save $3.
[rose] 13th Street Cuvee Brut Sparkling Rose  Trad Method VQA Niagara Peninsula +147504, regularly $29.95, now $26.95, save $3.
[white] Quail's Gate Chardonnay VQA Okanagan Valley British Columbia +377770, regularly $26.95, now $23.95, save $3.
[fizz] Chateau des Charmes Brut Sparkling Trad Method VQA NOTL +224766, regularly $25.95, now $21.95, save $4.
[splurge] Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma +352583, regularly $46.95, now $41.95, save $5.

MAJOR THEME:  Sunny Mediterranean Wines

Note: This is what I call a New Moon release...A once-a-month release of physical wines to the LCBO shelves, unlike the Blue Moon releases of three-a-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 a date in front of it.

Wines Under $20
W+225557    ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2021    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+391987    MIDDLE-EARTH SAUVIGNON BLANC    Vegan, sustainable, Nelson, South Island    2021    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+315119    JEAN GEILER PINOT GRIS    AC Alsace    2019    $17.95    MVC/QPR: 90
W+25703    ORSOGNA ZEROPURO CLOROFILLAE MALVASIA ORANGE    Vegan, IGP Terre di Chieti    2020    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+515288    RIVAROSE BRUT PRESTIGE SPARKLING ROSÉ    Salon de Provence, IGP Mediterranean, Provence, France        $19.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+450155    TAPIZ ALTA COLLECTION MALBEC    Mendoza    2019 $19.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
MVC/QPR:  90.
R+668780    BISCARDO ROSAPASSO    IGT Veneto    2021    $15.95    MVC/QPR:  90

Wines Over $20
W+20899    CLOSSON CHASE THE BROCK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2019    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
W+238642    INNISKILLIN MONTAGUE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY    Single vineyard, VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2020    $25.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+668426    VILLA AIX EN PROVENCE ROSÉ    AP Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence    2021    $20.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+279117    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC CABERNET FRANC ROSÉ    Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $20.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+227025    KACABA SUMMER SERIES REBECCA ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2021    $20.15     MVC/QPR: 90
R+73817    RUTHERFORD RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley, California    2018    $42.95  MVC/QPR: 90.
OCA June 30 R+25678  TUA RITA ROSSO DEI NOTRI    IGT Toscana 2019 $29.95 MVC/QPR: 90                                        

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism

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