Search This Blog

Tuesday, August 9, 2022


WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for AUGUST 13,  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 for 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 Little While  ---

The Date and Time: Monday June 6  Noon to 4PM
The Event: Northwest Wine Expedition Trade Show
The Venue: Steam Whistle Brewing, Locomotive Hall, Bremner Blvd
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, agents
The Availability/Catalogue: The BottleBooks catalogue of 192 products was online and accessible by mobile. Information was provided on the name of the product, AVA, types of grapes used, suggested pricing, and the like.
The Quote/Background: The potential usefulness of BottleBooks was shown by the host information on the event and making connections digitally.
The Wines: There were 192 wines (plus or minus, as there were last minute additions and subtractions). Many wineries were seeking representation in Ontario. Few had tech/sales  sheets. I only tasted Chardonnays and Sparkling wines. Among the latter, I certainly enjoyed:   Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blancs (Chardonnay) NV   Four Stars 91+
 Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noir (Pinot Noir) NV Four Stars 91+
 Treveri Cellars Brut Zero (Chardonnay) NV  Four Stars  91+
 Sokol Blosser Bluebird Cuvee Sparkling 2019 (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Müller-  Thurgau, Muscat) Three and a half Stars 88 – 90

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Revana Vineyards Alexana Chardonnay Terroir Series 2020 $46 retail Le Sommelier.
-A to Z Wineworks REX HILL Seven Soils Chardonnay 2019
-Adelsheim Vineyard Staking Claim Chardonnay 2018
-Chateau Ste Michelle Canoe Ridge Chardonnay 2018
-Milbrandt Estates Chardonnay 2018
-Milbrandt Family Chardonnay 2020
-Centerstone Willamette Valley Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2017
-Citation Oregon Chardonnay Cristom Vineyards 2015
-Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2020
-Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay 2018 $26.95
-Foris Vineyards and Winery Chardonnay 2019 $23.95  DB Wine and Spirits
-Phelps Creek Lynette Chardonnay 2018
-Sokol Blosser Estate Dundee Hills Chardonnay 2019
-Stoller Family Estate DUNDEE HILLS CHARDONNAY 2020
-The Eyrie Vineyards Chardonnay "The Eyrie" 2018
-Chateau Bianca Wetzel Estate Chardonnay 2019

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-A to Z Wineworks Oregon Chardonnay 2021
-Adelsheim Vineyard  2019  Willamette Valley
-Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay 2020
-J. Bookwalter Readers Chardonnay 2020 (Chardonnay, 24% Viognier)
-K Vintners Substance 'Ch' Chardonnay 2020
-Woodward Canyon Washington State Chardonnay 2020
-Division Chardonnay Un 2020
-Phelps Creek Chardonnay Columbia Gorge 2019
-Elk Cove Vineyards Pike Road Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019
-Westmount Wine Co Westmount Chardonnay 2020

The Food: The Food Dudes provided many samples of hors d'oeuvre, such as reuben sliders, halloumi flatbreads with pears, chimichurri shrimp, tomato toasts with ricotta,  prime steak tartare, seed crusted tuna, and avocados with veggies. Some food was provided by Pacific Northwest suppliers looking for agents. But no one seemed to have any bread or other platform to display the large number of sauces and dips and preserves. Overall, my favourite was Cardamon Hills Chutney which had a variety of chutneys that included apricot, apple-ginger, tomato, mango and quince. Laurel Brand had a great series of hazelnut spreads, macadamia butter, and hazel nut chocolates.
The Downside: BottleBooks was affectionately known as BottleNecks by the Luddites
The Upside: it was a large space and there was plenty of room for elbowing.
The Contact Person:  and
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92 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 I earn no money from the reviews listed below.
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:

--Konzelmann Estate Winery Gewurztraminer Late Harvest 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula.
Very aromatic with some tropical tones of melons and lychees, very much in the fruity Alsatian style of gewurztraminer. Yum. Cool fermentation in stainless steel, with typical concentrated gewurztraminer tones of spices, limes, some roses on the mid-palate. Best as an off-dry aperitif by the deck or porch or pool, or with fragrant cheeses, spicy and/or creamy foods, with a tad of bitter on the finish. Great with Asiatic foods. Twist-off closure. 11.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

--Strewn Premium Riesling Lively 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula.
Here is a basic, all purpose semi-dry Ontario riesling that is lightly acidic with a smooth sweet tone on the mid-palate, and with some zestiness coming off the tongue. It's got all the elements of stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines) plus the "lively" character of the lime-citrus mineral complex.
11.7% ABV. Residual sugar is 11.6 g/L. Probably best with all manner of light and white food such as white-fleshed fish, cooked pork roast, chicken. And, of course, extremely useful as a drink on the deck/patio/balcony/terrace/pool. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

--Icellars Estate Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula.
The current blend contains 9 different unspecified grape varieties from the Niagara Peninsula, which gives the producer much leeway in crafting a final blend. The label says strawberries and burnt sugar, and when I first opened the bottle I was immediately hit with the overpowering aromas of strawberries. Wow. Each of the grape varieties contributes distinctive fruit to the mix. So – depending on the vintage and the grapes available, the blend can change over the years. Very aromatic, emphasizing cherry-berry and orchard fruit layered under a tart bone dry cranberry-ish finish-length. A nice cheese wine from a very hot and dry vintage year. 13.1% ABV. Residual sugar is 5.9g/L. 100 cases made. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

--2027 Cellars Gamay Rose 2021 VQA Twenty Mile Bench. [$22]
This wine (all Gamay Noir) comes from the Foxcroft Block of the Wismer Vineyard on  the Twenty-Mile Bench. It has undergone a cold fermentation to complete dryness, and exhibits the typical red Gamay character of red berries on the palate, with some aromatics of  violets, black tea and some earthy rhubarb minerality. It is a light and balanced easy drinking wine for the patio/deck. Indeed, it can be an all-purpose free-standing social drink or aperitif or first-course wine.
394 cases. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

--Leaning Post Rose 2021 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake. [$22]
A first-time production for Leaning Post, and using all Pinot Noir: an immediately overwhelming sensation of strawberries and raspberries on the nose. Almost made me want to douse myself with this "perfume". Undertones of orange and lemons. Some sweetness on the mid-palate. Fermentation was begun in stainless steel before 43% of the wine was transferred to concrete for finishing and roundness (emulating the fired-clay vessels of early winemaking). The porous nature of the storage added to the length of the minerality, and also suggested some sour tart cherries on the finish.  An excellent wine for socializing. Personally, I loved it. Vegan-friendly. 5.5 g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

--Nomad at Hinterbrook Winery Garden Rose 2021 VQA Niagara Lakeshore. [$17.95]
Amazingly enough, this wine comes with a cork finish – very unusual in a sea of Ontario roses that use twisttops/screwcaps for what is basically a fresh quaffing wine. This suggests that aging is ok and might be a possibility, changing the aromatics to bouquets and promoting change to the wine's structure. I only had one bottle, so I might never know for sure. My first sense on tasting was the presence of some petillance, not enough to affect the nosing but enough to suggest that any light carbonation could actually enhance its ageability potential. The prickliness enhanced the cherry-berry basket of fruit flavours, and provided some refreshing melon tones to my palate. A very good wine for the patio/deck. 12.5% 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 August 14--
[red] Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon +226944, regularly $27.95, now $24.95, save $3
[red] Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Chile +408658, regularly $19.95, now $16.95, save $3
[white] Flat Rock Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula +286278, regularly $19.95, now $17.95, save $2
[rose]      JULIET PROSECCO ROSE DOC Italy +20979 regularly $14.95, NOW $12.95, SAVE $2
[splurge] La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay +962886, regularly $29.95, now $27.95, save $2
[splurge] Zenato Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico DOC Veneto +413179, regularly $52.95, now $49.95, save $3

AUGUST 13 MAJOR THEME:  White Wine Magic
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.

OCA July 30, 2022 Sparkling+514323 BERLUCCHI '61 BRUT FRANCIACORTA DOCG Lombardy Italy 49 cases  $39.95. MVC/QPR: 91.

Wines Under $20
W+20599    FEATHERSTONE PINOT GRIGIO    Vegan, VQA Niagara Peninsula 2021 $17.95
MVC/QPR:  90
W+25613    MARTIN CODAX MARA MARTIN GODELLO    Vegan, DO Monterrei     2020    $17.95        MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+333260    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES CUVÉE D'ANDRÉE ROSÉ     VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake        2021    $18.95  MVC/QPR: 91
R+15763    BON COURAGE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    WO Robertson 2017    $15.95      MVC/QPR: 89
R+134544    MONTE DEL FRÁ BARDOLINO    DOC     2020    $16.95     MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20
MVC/QPR:  89
R+973214    DI MAJO NORANTE RAMITELLO DOP Biferno Rosso    2016 $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    Varvaglione Vigne & Vini    2017    $21.95 MVC/QPR:  90

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus T'karonto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada

No comments: