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Monday, January 2, 2023

Fw: WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JAN 7, 2023 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JAN 7,  2023 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  Season  ---


1.Gerard Bertrand Perles de Grenache Rose 2021 Pays D'Oc IGP Vintages 556209 $18.95: fresh, very fragrant with fruity elegance. The pale salmon colour was phenomenal, and very typical of South of France roses. All grenache grapes. Scored highly by the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada (over 90 points). Very dry, with residual sugar at 2 g/L. On the palate, strawberries dominate. A very good quaffer for parties, or for a wine pairing with fish and broiled foods. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Domaine de La Baume Elisabeth Viognier 2021 Pays D'Oc IGP Vintages 438796 $18.95:
fresh stone fruit tones abound with peaches and apricots leading to a citric long finish. Cold fermentation done up in steel, with peachy aromas. We had it with squash soup and a roast (both poultry and pork). Dee-licious. But also good as an aperitif.
2g/L residual sugar. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Gabriel Meffre Le Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2021 Pays D'Oc IGP LCBO 563130 $15: a very satisfying and easy-breezy quaff on the LCBO's general wine list. Nutty butters on palate, some pear decadence, nuances of vanilla bean from a partial oak aging. No malolactic fermentation. Elegant balanced finish with good food depth. 2g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Fortant Terroir d'Altitude Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Pays D'Oc IGP LCBO 17535 $15.45: made from hillside grapevines (250 – 600 metres). Complex cassis and pumpkin spices, along with forest floor mushrooms and some garrigue. Black fruit and long finish dominates. Aged four months in French oak. Perhaps best with grilled or broiled foods.
2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

5.Sarl Le Loup Blanc Soif du Loup Rouge 2019 Pays D'Oc IGP Vintages 20955 $19.95: a combo of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, but extra-dry (unlike the Oz combo of cabernet and shiraz). "Soif du Loup" in English means "thirst of the wolf". Here there are 35-year old vines, and red fruit with spices and minerality dominates. This is an organic wine, great as an all-purpose food red. 2 g/L residual sugar. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


1.Chateau de Montgueret Cremant de Loire NV AOC Brut. LCBO +217760 $20.95: this has long been one of my fave French Cremants, done up in the same traditional method as Champagne. Not only has it been a gold medalist in Europe, but it has also been rated just as highly at the annual Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Christmas tastings. It uses
chenin blanc, chardonnay and some cabernet grapes. Hand-picked, as a condition of its Cremant status. Very fine, persistent bubbles, with 1g/L residual sugar, aged 15-18 months, smooth and well-balanced. Expect to find a generous mix of green herbs, honey, citrus, with some orchard fruit on the back end before a lime finish. 12.5% ABV.
Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Domaine Bouchaud Pont Caffino Chateau Thebaud Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sure Lie 2014
+24613  $25.95 Internet Order Online: a rare find – an over-the-top higher acid Muscadet that pairs with ANY style of seafood. Despite its age, it is still in that light and crisp and fresh category. Made from 80-year-old vines which emphasize citrus tones on the mid-palate. Most fruit is citric but there are also some crisp melons lurking there. Ripe, dry, clean finish. 12% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. Top flight luxury packaging plus a cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Famille Bougrier Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2020 LCBO +253229 $15.55: Vouvrays can be dry or off-sweet; this one is in the latter category and serves nicely as an aperitif with food or as a first course wine with some appropriate creamy dish. Pale in colour, unoaked. It's a nicely done affordable typical Vouvray, with an off-dry complexity in the honeyed finish. The fruit bowl contains quince aromas, pear and orchard/stone fruit such as apricots and peaches. My sample went very well with salted nuts (cashews and pistachios) and smoked gorgonzola cheese. 12% ABV, 36g/L residual sugar. Screwcap twist-off closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


1.Domaine Alliman-Laugner Cremant d'Alsace Brut NV +30593 Vintages $23.95: this is an elegant aperitif wine beginning with aromatic florals on the nose and continuing with apples and lemons on the mid-palate, and with a refreshingly tart length to the finish. For what it is worth, it costs more in the USA (nationally at retail). The grape blend is pinot blanc, pinot gris, and riesling. The lemon zest at the finish also makes it very useful as a first course wine. Under the new Alsatian rules, it is labelled "sec", or dry. 6g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Wilm Riesling 2020 Reserve Alsace  +11452  Vintages Essential $19.95 [on sale until Jan 1 @ $18.45]: This is a "welcome back" wine as Alsatian wine makes a comeback from being over-the-top sweet whites due to climate change. At 5g/L residual sugar it is virtually dry, noted "sec" on the back label. Its big body is citric and floral with some juniper, even some nuances of anise. Compelling with sushi, shellfish, fish, and poultry. 12.5% ABV. Twist-off closure. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Pierre Sparr Gewurztraminer 2020 Grand Reserve Alsace +747600 Vintages $20.95: this wine gives a big bang for the buck: rose petals, tropicality, pear unctuousness, with "sweetness and spice on finish". Remarkable with sushi, spicy dishes, foie gras and/or terrines. With such a great body, it should be more intense and flavourful after five more years. "Grande Reserve" indeed. With 16g/L residual sugar, this wine is at the low end of "moelleux" (12 – 45 g/L). 14% ABV. Tasted chilled over several days. 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 now through Sunday January 29...

W+258681    G. Marquis Chardonnay VQA The Silver Line $18.95 now $17.20 – save $1.75
W+462846    Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay Wash. State $18.95 now $16.95 -- save $2
R+30957    Concha Y Toro Winemaker's Lot 148 Carmenere Chile $19.95 now $16.95 -- save $3
R+360222    Ste Michelle Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon Wash. State    $23.95     now $20.95-- save $3
R+258673    G. Marquis Pinot Noir VQA The Silver Line  $19.95 now    $17.95 – save $2
R+328567    Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon South Africa    $18.95    now $16.95 -- save $2
MAJOR THEME:  Smart Buys

W+645770    VITESE GRILLO    2020    Sicily    DOC Sicilia    $14.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+25639    VIÑA SIEGEL GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE    2019    Valle de Colchagua    $15.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+471854    RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA    2019    Vegan, DOCa Rioja    $15.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+492470    VINEDRESSERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON/PETIT VERDOT    2016    Ontario    Vegan, sustainable, VQA South Islands, Lake Erie North Shore    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+27207    CONO SUR ORGANIC GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2019    Vegan, carbon neutral, DO Valle de Colchagua $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20
R+496414    CASALFORTE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA    2018 Veneto DOCG $39.95         

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

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