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Thursday, October 20, 2022


WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 22,  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 Drinks I Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---

The Date and Time:  August 16, 2022  3:30PM - 8PM
The Event: Travel South USA Media Event
The Venue: Malaparte TIFF
The Target Audience: travel writers and spirits writers
The Availability/Catalogue: we had three bourbons set before us as a tasting (see below), led by a very capable Mike McLean of MixxIT Canada By Beam Suntory. This was the major presentation from Kentucky, and, of course, the main reason for my attending.
The Quote/Background: The Travel South USA states represented in Canada included Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. There was also a rep from New Orleans and one from Atlanta. It was a trade fam tour to entice travel writers to explore the American south. There were many regional foods to be sampled (see below) and many cocktails to be tasted. The best appeared to be the Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail of Jim Beam Bourbon 1.5 oz, lime juice [no sugar] 1 oz., and topped up over ice with Gosling's no-al ginger beer. Dynamite. Hors d'oeuvre were passed while the reps were available for short talks with the travel writers. And then it was on to the bourbon tasting and thence to the BBQ buffet dinner.

The Bourbons:

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Maker's Mark Kentucky Bourbon $45.45 LCBO +103747, 45ABV – very smooth, 70% corn and 30% red winter wheat. One of my personal faves.

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Basil Hayden Kentucky Bourbon $55.95 (on sale at LCBO at $50.95 until Sept 12) LCBO +326025, 40% ABV – 63% corn and 37% rye, and thereby introduces savoury herby rye notes finishing with some grassiness.
-Jim Beam White Label Bourbon $30.95 (on sale at LCBO at $29.20 until Sept 12) LCBO +21378, 40% ABV – 77% corn

The Food: Oliver and Bonacini did the catering, beginning with the multiple hors d'oeuvre platters: tuna salad on a lettuce leaf; BBQ short rib on polenta; shrimp and hot sausage; lightly battered fried okra; fried chicken drumettes; and cheddar cheese tarts with carmelized onions and piped goat cheese cream. Each came on a bed of a different sauce: these 5 BBQ sauces are available online (Carolina Gold Classic   - South Carolina, Rendezvous Mild Barbecue Sauce  - Memphis, Alabama White BBQ Sauce – Alabama, Sam Jones Vinegar Sauce – North Carolina, Fiorella's Jack Stack BBQ Original – Kansas City). These sauces were also put out for the buffet, and were easily available for mixing and matching and savouring. So the major food of the evening was a small buffet of fried chicken and corn bread waffle with scallions, short ribs and grits with collard greens, and smoked brisket and potato bun slider with macaroni. To top it off, there was a variety at the dessert table: southern pies (key lime, coconut cream, blueberry) and peach cobbler.
The Downside: music was too loud, and interfered with Mike's bourbon tasting seminar.
The Upside: A chance to do wide tasting and nibbling around a variety of southern cuisine dishes.
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 November 6:

[red] Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills Columbia Valley Washington State Vintages +210047 normally $19.95, now $17.95, save $2.
[red] Trius Red VQA Niagara Peninsula Vintages +303800, normally $24.95, now $21.95, save $3
[red] Porcupine Ridge Syrah WO Swartland South Africa Vintages +595280 normally $16.95, now $13.95, save $3.
[white] La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay California Vintages +963886, normally $30, now $28, save $2.
[splurge] Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County California Vintages +352583, normally $46.95, now $41.95, save $5

MAJOR THEME:  California Icons – plus  GIFT Wines in time for Christmas, etc.

Wines Under $20
W+20373    CHARLES BAKER RIESLING 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
W+398966    REDSTONE CHARDONNAY 2020    VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
W+928580    SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY    2019    Sustainable, carbon neutral, DO Valle de Itata $19.95  MVC/QPR: 91.
W+95802    PETER ZEMMER PINOT GRIGIO    2020    DOC Alto Adige $17.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+83295    ODFJELL ARMADOR ORGANIC CARMENÈRE    2019    Central Valley        $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
R+300004    AMASTUOLA PRIMITIVO    2019    IGP Puglia $15.95     MVC/QPR: 90.
R+25638    GARCÉS SILVA CATALINO PAÍS    2019    Coronel de Maule, DO Secano Interior, Valle del Maule  $19.95  MVC/QPR: 89.

Wines Over $20

Sparkling+21858    BOTTEGA PINK GOLD ROSÉ PROSECCO    Charmat method, DOC, Italy        $29.95      MVC/QPR: 89.
R+645218    SELVAPIANA BUCERCHIALE RISERVA CHIANTI RÙFINA    2018    DOCG        $39.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+60525    RUTHERFORD RANCH RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2018    Sustainable, Napa Valley        $79.95     MVC/QPR: 90.
R+155408    MARCHESI DI BAROLO BARBARESCO 2018    DOCG     $39.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

RECOMMENDED GIFT BOTTLES (not tasted this week)

+27485    NIEPOORT VINTAGE PORT    2019    DOP, Portugal        $135.95 [in-store discovery, online exclusive]
+21861    MARCHESI DI BAROLO TRADIZIONE BAROLO & BARBARESCO     2017    Two bottles in wooden gift box, DOCG, Piedmont, Italy        $109.95
+384578    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA & VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO        Two bottles in wooden gift box, Veneto, Italy     $79.95    

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

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