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Monday, July 31, 2023


The Date and Time: Tuesday May 30, 2023, from 11:30A to 3:30 PM
The Event: Cru Wine Merchants Portfolio Tasting 2023
The Venue: Constantine Toronto
The Target Audience: sommeliers, wine media, wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: a good looking catalogue laid out by country and then producer, with details on pricing for licensees.
The Quote/Background: there were 64 wine producers showing anywhere from one wine to a dozen wines each.
The Wines: I could not taste every wine, most notably many of the reds. Prices are licensee net in most cases.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Versado Reserva Malbec 2010 Mendoza (+316984 Vintages, $78 retail)
-Charles Baker Wines Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, $25.49
-Charles Baker Wines Riesling Picone Vineyard 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, $39.03
-Charles Baker Wines Riesling Blanc de Blanc Cuvee du Boulanger 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, $31.67 [my fave fizz of the day]
-Stratus White 2021 VQA NOTL $25.49
-Stratus Skin Contact Viognier 2021 VQA NOTL $27.88
-Stratus Red 2017 VQA NOTL $39.03
-Wiston Estate Sparkling Rose Brut NV Sussex $69.95
-Champagne Monmarthe Secret de Famille Brut NV $49.95
-Jeaunaux-Robin Fil de Brume Brut NV $69.95
-Domaine Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2020 Alsace $38.95
-Domaine Albert Mann Cremant Extra Brut 2018  $47.95
-Domaine Oudin Vaugirault 1er cru Chablis 2021 $59.95
-Domaine Francois Gay et Fils Beaune 1er cru Les Teurons Blanc 2018 $89.95
-Barth Charta Riesling 2019 Rheingau $30.95
-Sorelle Bronca Difetto Perfetto Sur Lie Prosecco 2021 Conegliano Valdobbiadene $28.95
-Agricola Molino Moscato d'Asti Mistral 2022 Trersio $24.95
-Vina Costeira Lua Jazz Brut Treixadura Sparkling NV Rias Baixas [not yet priced]
-Raventos Blanc de Blanc Brut 2020 $27 Penedes
-Can Sumoi Ancestral Sparkling 2018 $31.95 Penedes
-Bethel Heights Estate Chardonnay 2019 Oregon $54.95
-Kongsgaard Chardonnay 2019 Napa $230
-San Felo Tuscany Le Stoppie Vermentino [not yet priced]

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Versado Malbec 2018 Mendoza (+317008 Vintages, $21.25 retail)
-Stratus Chardonnay 2020 VQA NOTL $39.03
-Stratus Field Blend Ancestral 2022 $27.88
-Jeaunaux-Robin Le Dessous de la Cabane Rose NV $74.95
-Domaine Oudin Chablis 2021 $37.95
-Domaine Oudin Les Serres Chablis 2021 $47.95
-Sorelle Bronca Modi Brut Prosecco NV $21.95
-Vini Bossanova Pet Nat Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2021 $41.95
-Rippon Sauvignon Blanc Lake Wanaka 2021 $39.95
-Kleinood Tamboerskloof Viognier Stellenbosch 2022 $33.95
-Favia-Erickson Carbone Chardonnay 2020 Combsville $79.95
-Hudson Chardonnay 2021 Napa $124.95
-Precision Wine Co. Introvert White 2020 California AVA $21.95
-Brokenwood Hunter Valley Australia Semillon 2022 [not yet priced]

The Food: from Constantine's menu – a variety of flatbreads, including a pomodoro pizza and a mushroom pizza, along with bites of cheese and pate mousse on breads. The charcuterie platter included more cheese, pate, sausages, and salami as well as sundried tomatoes.
The Downside: many wines were physically collated together but split apart by the catalogue listing; this meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing through the booklet.
The Upside: a great opportunity to taste great wines.
The Contact Person:; Charles Baker<>
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92

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

Thursday, July 27, 2023

REPORT ON THE VINI VALPOLICELLA RETURNS trade tasting, June 15, 2023...

The Date and Time:  Thursday  June 15, 2023  1PM to 4PM
The Event: Vini Valpolicella Returns
The Venue: Chelsea Hotel
The Target Audience: wine trade and wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: as a small show, it was economical to produce a paper catalogue for 14 wineries and 70 wines.
The Quote/Background: Just about every producer here had three levels: superiore and/or classico; ripasso; and amarone and/or recioto. In the region there are 2251 grape growers, six co-ops, and 344 bottlers. 73.6 million bottles happened in 2021 (61% exported), with a quarter of them being Amarone and another half being Ripasso.
The Wines: I did not try every wine. I concentrated on Amarone and some Ripassos. I was feeling palate fatigue towards the end because many of these wines were very similar in their approaches.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cantine di Verona Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2015 Brolo dei Giusti 14.5%ABV Majestic
-Cantine di Verona Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Valpantena 2019 Ritocco 13.5%ABV Majestic
-Casalforte Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2020 13.5%ABV Azureau
-Corte Figaretto Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Valpantena 2018 Brolo del Figaretto 16.5%ABV Colio Estate
-Corte Forte Amarone della Valpolicella DOPCG Classico 2016 Terre de San Zeno 15.5%ABV
-Costa Arente Amarone della Valpolicella DICG Valpantena 2017 17%ABV $107 consignment Independent Wine Company Wines
-Ilatium Morini Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2017 Prognai 15%ABV
-Ilatium Morini Amarone della Valpolicella 2018 DOCG Leon 16.5%ABV
-Massimago Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2018 Conte Gastone 16%ABV  The Living Vine
-Rocca Sveva Cadis 1898 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Riserva 2016 Rocca Sveva 15%ABV
-Sartori di Verona Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2019 15%ABV Univins
-Sartori di Verona Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Riserva 2015 15.5%ABV $69.95 LCBO

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cantine di Verona Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2018 Torre del Falasco 14%ABV
-Casalforte Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2019 15%ABV  $39.95 Azureau
-Monte Zovo Famiglia Cottini Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2020 Villa Annaberta 15%ABV  $40  Dionysus
-Rocca Sveva Cadis 1898 Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2017 Rocca Sveva 14%ABV
-Rocca Sveva Cadis 1898 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2019 Cantina di Illasi 14.5%ABV
-Tinazzi Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2018 La Bastia Ca' de' Rocchi 15%ABV Vinoluna
-Valentina Cubi Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Classico Superiore 2018 Arusnatico 14%ABV
-Valentina Cubi Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2013 Morar 16%ABV

The Food: cheese and biscuits, strawberries.
The Downside: it was a small room, and got crowded really fast.
The Upside: a chance to taste a range of Valpolicella in its different formats.
The Contact Person:;
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89

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

Monday, July 24, 2023

VR230722 -- Vintages Releases of July 22, 2023 -- some recomendations.


Wines Under $20
Fizz+29948  Faustino Brut Reserva Cava [trad method] Spain, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+20599  Featherstone Pinot Grigio 2022  VQA, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 90
W+ 224642  Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc 2021 Alsace, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+599274  Dr. L Riesling 2021 Mosel, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+573683  Ferzo Abruzzo Pecorino Superiore 2021, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+711556  Wakefield Estate Label Chardonnay 2021 South Australia, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+21151  Alvi's Drift Signature Chardonnay 2021 Western Cape SA, $14.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+19635  Albino Armani Corvara Pinot Grigio 2022 Veneto, $19.95, MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+20359  13th Street Expression Series Cabernet Franc Rose 2022 VQA, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+71712  Wildass Rose 2022 VQA, $19.95, MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+24747  La Posta Malbec Rose 2022 Mendoza, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+24746  Boschendal Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Rose 2022 South Africa, $18.95, MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+30445 Cabriz Rose 2022 Dao, $14.95, MVC/QPR: 88
R+Monasterio de las Vinas Reserva Garnacha/Tempranillo/Carinena 2018 Sp., $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+30525  Skyfall Red Blend 2020 Washington State, $18.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+Ponte Pellegrino Aglianico 2018 Campania, $15.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+270306  Masserie Pisari Primitivo 2021 Puglia, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20
W+70631  Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling 2021 Finger Lakes, $29.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+284570  Tawse Growers Blend Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA, $29.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+269357  Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Washington State, $21.95, MVC/QPR: 90
R+28574  E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2019, $41, MVC/QPR: 89
R+331900  E. Guigal Gigondas 2019, $47.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+508655  Planeta Frappato 2021 Sicily, $24.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+483412  Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2020, $41.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+31408  Heredis Nebbiolo 2021 Langhe Italy, $27.95,MVC/QPR: 89

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

Thursday, July 20, 2023

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 22, 2023 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JULY 22, 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).


Wines Under $20
Fizz+29948  Faustino Brut Reserva Cava [trad method] Spain, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+20599  Featherstone Pinot Grigio 2022  VQA, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 90
W+ 224642  Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc 2021 Alsace, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+599274  Dr. L Riesling 2021 Mosel, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+573683  Ferzo Abruzzo Pecorino Superiore 2021, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+711556  Wakefield Estate Label Chardonnay 2021 South Australia, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+21151  Alvi's Drift Signature Chardonnay 2021 Western Cape SA, $14.95, MVC/QPR: 89
W+19635  Albino Armani Corvara Pinot Grigio 2022 Veneto, $19.95, MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+20359  13th Street Expression Series Cabernet Franc Rose 2022 VQA, $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+71712  Wildass Rose 2022 VQA, $19.95, MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+24747  La Posta Malbec Rose 2022 Mendoza, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+24746  Boschendal Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Rose 2022 South Africa, $18.95, MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+30445 Cabriz Rose 2022 Dao, $14.95, MVC/QPR: 88
R+Monasterio de las Vinas Reserva Garnacha/Tempranillo/Carinena 2018 Sp., $17.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+30525  Skyfall Red Blend 2020 Washington State, $18.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+Ponte Pellegrino Aglianico 2018 Campania, $15.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+270306  Masserie Pisari Primitivo 2021 Puglia, $16.95, MVC/QPR: 89

Wines Over $20
W+70631  Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling 2021 Finger Lakes, $29.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+284570  Tawse Growers Blend Cabernet Franc 2020 VQA, $29.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+269357  Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Washington State, $21.95, MVC/QPR: 90
R+28574  E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2019, $41, MVC/QPR: 89
R+331900  E. Guigal Gigondas 2019, $47.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+508655  Planeta Frappato 2021 Sicily, $24.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+483412  Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso 2020, $41.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+31408  Heredis Nebbiolo 2021 Langhe Italy, $27.95,MVC/QPR: 89

***LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday August 13...

Rose+552562 Speck Bros. Three Hearts Rose VQA, $17.95, save $2
Fizz+256289 Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 Sparkling Nova Scotia, now $23.95, save $2
W+350041 Paco & Lola Albarino Rias Baixas Spain, now $22.95, save $2
W+316570  Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, now $18.95, save $3
W+392597  Chloe Chardonnay Monterey California, now $16.95, save $3
W+13293  Villa Maria Chardonnay East Coast NZ, now $16, save $2
R+408658 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Chile, now $20.95, save $3
[splurge]R+ 300012 Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, now $74.95, save $4

** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past While (about 20 of them) ---

1.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2022 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 (their first general list wine at the LCBO, to be released in June): a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 41.6% riesling and 40.7% chardonnay with 15.9% sauvignon blanc and balance pinot grigio – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 2501 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. Vegan friendly. 15g/L residual sugar. 12.9% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious all Riesling sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, plentiful lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry. Suitable for aging (to get that "petrol" character). 1429 cases made. 9.5% ABV. Consistent vintage RS 21 g/L. Vegan friendly. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2022 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages October 7: 20% of this wine went into neutral Canadian oak barrel for fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 408 cases. Vegan friendly. 5 g/L residual sugar, 12.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Featherstone Estate Winery Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $24.95 +149302 Vintages September 23: one of my faves. Over the years it has simply gotten better as the grapevines matured. Wild indigenous yeast is used. Good mid-tone oaky component (it is very easy to say it is mid-way between French and US oak) from the use of nearby Canadian oak trees. 10% new oak, 90% 1 to 5 year old. Terrific ripe orchard fruit aromas and palate. Plus vanillin and cream after the mid-palate leading to citric food-friendly finish. Needs more time for balancing, but then at that moment it will be awesome. Vegan friendly. 328 cases. 12.5% ABV. 1.2 g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

5.Featherstone Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2022 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +20599 Vintages July 22: this is a highly competitive category, but Featherstone goes up very well against the other PGs in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. Its colour and even its taste can slot it into the rose category, or even the "orange" wine area. Typical nuances include off-dry orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic melon-ish overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with slightly bitter citric notes. That makes it both a sipper and a food wine, suitable as a pre-prandial in the summer. There is some Ontario cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, but also with some peach notes. Stainless steel all the way, with half being pressed immediately and half left to soak on skins before pressing. Vegan friendly. 10g/L residual sugar. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

6.Featherstone Estate Winery Phoenix 2022 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +519025 Vintages August 19: Gewurztraminer done up in stainless steel, very Alsatian in style, with concentrated fruit, off-dry on the mid-palate, spicy with a tad of bitter on the finish, great with Asiatic foods or any spicy foods. Or wonderful as an aperitif by the deck/patio/pool/terrace/balcony. Capable of improvement over the next few years.
Vegan friendly. Strictly limited at 75 cases total production. 10 g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

7.Featherstone Estate Winery Frostbite Select Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2022 VQA Niagara Peninsula [half-bottle] $29.95 at winery retail store: On the nose, very aromatic with major tropical tones of melons and lychees, very much in the fruity Alsatian style of "tardif" gewurztraminer. Yum. Cool fermentation in stainless steel, with typical concentrated gewurztraminer modes of lychees, spices, limes, some roses on the mid-palate. Best as a desert wine by the deck or porch or pool, or with fragrant cheeses, spicy and/or creamy dessert foods, with a tad of bitter on the finish. Great with Asiatic foods. Vegan friendly. 112 cases. 14% ABV. Residual sugar is 66g/L.  Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

8.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2022 VQA Niagara Peninsula $16.95 +117861 Vintages May 27: over the years, this rose has had varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, chardonnay, and cabernet franc. This latest vintage (2022) has cabernet sauvignon 49%, cabernet franc 18.7%, gamay noir 18.7%, and pinot noir 13.7%. It's an extremely useful wine for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/backyard/porch/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace (as I did just this week when the temperature dropped). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. Vegan friendly. 1148 cases. 11.8g/L residual sugar, 12.8% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

9.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $21.95 +64618
Vintages Essential: a consistent blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new barrels for 10 months. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of cherry-berries and plums, some leafy qualities. Black pepper. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Should go well with BBQ veggies. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle over a week). Vegan friendly. 2067 cases. 1.7 g/L residual sugar. 12.2% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

10.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 Vintages +131540: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries still enjoy making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak (25% new), 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by cassis. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. Vegan friendly. 499 cases made. RS 2.3 g/L 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

11.Featherstone Estate Winery Gamay Noir 2021 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 winery retail store: medium-full-bodied, suggestive of lighter Beaujolais wines such as Fleurie. Dark cherry-berry flavours dominate, but there is added spicing and even some nuances of earthiness and eucalyptus (the wine is oaked for ten months in US barrels). Good with BBQ, cheese, or something substantial, but a tannic/tart structure of refreshing cranberies is present to carry through a whole meal. 348 cases produced. Vegan friendly. 11.5% ABV, Residual sugar 1.3g/L. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

12.Springs Road Kangaroo Island Shiraz 2017 Estate Grown, Vintages +30753, $32.95: a very nicely aged shiraz, bottled in August 2018 after 12 months in French oak, 30% new. Aromatics include plenty of riper black fruit tones (blackberry, black cherry) plus some mint and anise. A full-bodied wine but with soft tannins and some jamminess. Some saline notes detected (from the sea?) matched by black pepper and leather tones. The mid-palate has developed mocha notes, while the finish picks up some oaking. While the weather was wet in both winter and spring and the harvest was four weeks late, the resulting yield was very much reduced but with concentrated fruit. It shows well. Tasted over a few days with no real loss of flavours. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

13.At the LCBO, you can currently find 332 coolers. Of course, no store carries them all. But the LCBO's website ( does list them all. The largest sub-category is "coolers and cocktails" with 180 products, followed by "seltzers and sodas" with 105. "Teas and Caesars" take up the rest. Typical size is about a 355 mL can or a 473 mL can (size will vary) with 5.5% ABV and priced under $3. Sugar content varies wildly. I thought that I would drop a line or two about one of the newest, from the Aloette restaurant group. They've already launched "Espresso Martini Fizz" ($2.45, 473 mL can) and now they are back for a second launch: Southside Fizz ($2.95, 355 mL can, 5.5%ABV). It's a pre-made or pre-fab version of the basic Cucumber Mint Gimlet aka Eastside (or Southside) Cocktail aka Cucumber Gin and (if fizzy) Tonic. So it's got London Dry Gin, mint, cucumber juice, lime juice, sugar, and seltzer water. I'm a wine guy so I passed it over to my wife who's a gin aficionado. This cooler is light and citrusy on the palate, and would be more enjoyable if you deeply chill it and serve it on the rocks: it is the start of the patio season.

And now, quite a quartet set of wines,  released by Chateau des Charmes (at winery and online) --

14.CHATEAU DE CHARMES EQUULEUS 2020 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench. +319525, $60 at winery and online: made from a traditional blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Cabernet Franc (25%) and Merlot (25%), but only made in good years (earlier vintages had all three grapes at varying levels such as, at one time, 53% cab sauv/34% cab franc/13% merlot and other blends; all was dependent on the harvest). The last vintage I tasted was 2010. The 2020 spent 16 months in small French oak, with each variety aged separately. After blending it is aged further in French oak casks for several months. Tons of concentrated Bordeaux flavours, all the dark black berries and mocha, but some years away from mellowing well. It's a Meritage wine in that Bordeaux-style blend, with plenty of black fruit and some smoke. Cellar this wine another 5 years, or else do a double decant (maybe even more) to accelerate the aging process. Tasted over a number of days – and it kept getting better. A good meaty wine for strong-flavoured grilled meats. Residual sugar 0.4 g/L. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

15.CHATEAU DES CHARMES CABERNET FRANC 2020 St. David's Bench Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, +453415 $44.95 at winery and online: it has been some years since I last tasted their St. David's Bench Cabernet Franc; they have a continual winner of a brooding wine that could have been diverted to Equuleus. It has some over-the-top full-bodied black spicy fruit while still retaining some cranberries and bell peppers, slightly augmented with a herby edge of pine/cedar/tobacco leaf tones. Aged for a year in 1 – 2 year-old toasted French oak. Sip as a meditative drink or with red meat/cheese (the winery suggests any herb-encrusted meats). Cork closure. I opened my bottle and did a double-decant followed by several days of open bottle sampling. Residual sugar at 0.5 g/L. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

16.CHATEAU DES CHARMES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020 St. David's Bench Vineyard, VQA St. David's Bench, +935957 $44.95 at winery and online: this is the only single variety Cabernet Sauvignon that Chateau des Charmes makes, and not every year. Aged in small 1 – 2 year old French oak for 12 months. Loaded with dark choco-berry and mocha tones, and smooth all over, good balance between fruit-acid-wood. Ready now but will benefit from a cellaring of up to five years. This is Bordeaux quality as a food wine – upfront cassis, tobacco leaf, mocha. Should be great with shanks (lamb, veal, pork, drumsticks) or oxtail, even necks or cheeks. Residual sugar at 0.3 g/L. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

17.CHATEAU DES CHARMES MERLOT 2020 St David's Bench Vineyard, VQA St David's Bench, +453431, $44.95 at winery and online: made only in the best years, 2012 was the last vintage I had tasted. Rich and ripe cassis, cherry, cedar tones from one year barrel aging in French oak. As is typical with Merlot, you'll get a velvet soft finish with enjoyable finishing tannins. Give it two or more years, or do double-decanting. Residual sugar at 0.5 g/L. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

18.Lacey Estates Paradise Sparkling Rose [formerly Paradise Petit Petillant Rose] 2021 Prince Edward County $24. A delightful drink made from pinot noir grapes, very fruity and off-dry in a cream soda mode (raspberries, strawberries, creamy texture) with some watermelon and a lemon-lime-grassiness complexity at the finish. A good aperitif, or with a late course such as a cheese board with dried fruit or a fresh fruit dessert.  Crown cap makes it easy to open. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

19.Wending Home Estate Vineyards & Winery Pinot Gris VQA Creek Shores 2020 $27.95.
I'm not a fan of pinot grigio, but I adore pinot gris. It's the same grape, but it is produced differently, like syrah and shiraz are produced differently. In both cases it's a question of terroir and winemaking skills. Here the pinot gris has more colour and more body: some of Wending Home is late picked and has that nose of melons and orchard fruit, not to mention unctuousnes on the palate. Cool fementation in stainless steel gives this a rich and ripe sensibility, with minerality and some pear drops on the length which seems to have a higher acid finish very suitable for a wide range of food. Very well done in that Alsatian pinot gris style. 13% ABV. 2g/L residual sugar. 223 cases made. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

20.Konzelmann Estate Winery Chardonnay Barrel Aged 2020 Reserve Series VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95. Konzelmann has been making this style of barrel-aged chardonnay (in French oak barrels) since the last century. It has some plush fruit with some modest oak tones of vanilla and cream. Expect a combination of caramel, green apple, under-ripe peaches – smooth all the way through the finish. A basic crowd pleaser as an aperitif or as a first-course wine. Do not overchill. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

BEST Limited Time Offers at the LCBO; sale ends August 13

***LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are all good value...on sale  through Sunday August 13...

Rose+552562 Speck Bros. Three Hearts Rose VQA, $17.95, save $2
Fizz+256289 Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 Sparkling Nova Scotia, now $23.95, save $2
W+350041 Paco & Lola Albarino Rias Baixas Spain, now $22.95, save $2
W+316570  Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, now $18.95, save $3
W+392597  Chloe Chardonnay Monterey California, now $16.95, save $3
W+13293  Villa Maria Chardonnay East Coast NZ, now $16, save $2
R+408658 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Chile, now $20.95, save $3
[splurge]R+ 300012 Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, now $74.95, save $4

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

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Ontario Wine Industry to boost economy by $8 billion? See

Local Journalism Initiative Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report
Wine industry could boost economy by $8B, report says
Thu, July 13, 2023

Niagara's wine sector is the key to bringing billions of dollars of economic benefits to the region, a new report says.

The report, published last week and available online at, says the wine industry could bring an additional $8 billion in gross domestic product to the region over the next 25 years.

Excessive taxes, restrictions on distribution and lack of government support for the industry are among the major concerns and roadblocks to that happening, the report says.

John Peller, CEO of Peller Estates Winery and a member of Wine Growers Ontario, believes there are no ifs, ands or buts about it — Niagara's wine sector is the key, and if properly supported, could open the door to a world of economic growth.

"I didn't want this to be rhetorical or speculative — the reality is, it's very factual," said Peller.

The report by Deloitte Canada was commissioned by Ontario Craft Wineries, Tourism Partnership of Niagara and Wine Growers Ontario. It looks at a collection of key industries in Niagara and the role the wine sector plays in benefiting surrounding industries.

It also examines how the wine industry has fuelled economic growth in other parts of the world.

To do that, Deloitte researched leading wine regions around the world, like Kelowna, B.C., Italy and France, to better grasp best practices used and the role wine plays in each area's economy and the economic benefits the sector provides.

"The essential premise of that report is to understand the role a truly quality premium wine region can play as a catalyst in growing the related economies that it supports," said Peller.

Not only does Niagara supply 80 per cent of Canada's wine and grape production, Niagara is one of the only regions in the world where premium wine grapes grow, thanks to its microclimate conditions.

The report argues that a supported wine sector would, in turn, benefit a group of industries the report calls the "Niagara Cluster," nestled within the region — such as hospitality, tourism, arts and culture, and the entertainment industry.

Given that Niagara-on-the-Lake has more than 50 wineries and draws millions of tourists each year, supporting the wine industry would have a positive impact on the little town, those in the industry argue.

"We have this incredible opportunity to build a preeminent destination for wine, food and culture," said Peller. "Let's go, let's do it."

Aaron Dobbin, president of Wine Growers Ontario, said while people come here to visit the wineries, they often head into Old Town for a show at the Shaw Festival or to visit some shops, maybe eat dinner at a restaurant and then end up at one of NOTL's hotels or bed and breakfasts.

"That's the beauty of the Niagara Cluster: it is really economy-wide," he said.

Niagara's wine industry is the spark, but "the effects will be felt across the entire economy," he added.

Among others, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum, the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre and the Niagara Jazz Festival could see the benefits of a well-supported wine industry, said NOTL Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa.

"It's time we leverage the assets that we have in Niagara," he said in an interview.

Zalepa noted that the construction industry also could indirectly benefit.

"There would be infrastructure required for this, there would be investments in capital building property, and that kind of stuff would drive jobs in construction," he said.

He added that it could bring more homes and people to the area as well as jobs.

There's also a business opportunity in Niagara that isn't found in many other jurisdictions, said Anthony Annunziata, president of Tourism Partnership Niagara — they can hold meetings in vineyards, cellars and estates rather than at hotels and conference centres.

Kelowna, B.C., and Napa Valley in California are examples cited in the report of cluster regions that used the wine sector to successfully boost economic growth.

If Niagara had the same growth as Kelowna, "it is estimated that investment in the Niagara regional economy would have been $4 billion more between 2009 and 2019," the report says.

Countries such as France, Italy and Spain that have among the most successful tourism and hospitality economies in the world, according to the World Tourism Organization, are premium wine regions, said Peller.

Those nations have used their wine industry to grow world-class tourism destinations, he said.

"They know why they have the number one, two and three tourism regions in the world because of wine, food and culture," said Peller.

Niagara has it all here and Peller wants people to recognize that.

"We want to be as good as the best in the world because our wines are as good as the best in the world," he said.

However, Ontario falls short in a few areas where other places shine, Peller and Dobbin argued.

Other regions are "aggressively supporting their agricultural and wine industries as a catalyst to drawing world destination travellers," Peller said.

In Ontario, there are challenges preventing Niagara's unique wine region from flourishing — taxation and distribution being top of the list, Dobbin said.

"(In) our industry, we pay about $970 million in taxes and markups to various levels of government and the LCBO," he said.

Ontario wine producers, said Peller, pay some of the highest taxes in the world.

"I can tell you the reason is because, instead of our policy leadership coming from agriculture or tourism, it came from the lottery and gaming commission: people who are in charge of sin taxes," said Peller.

"Sin taxes" are charged on goods seen as undesirable or harmful, and alcohol is on the list along with gambling and tobacco.

The federal government puts the wine industry under the same umbrella as gambling, cannabis and tobacco, rather than considering it agricultural, said Annunziata.

"So let's start there, federally, let's recognize it as an agricultural industry," he said.

Peller said places such as Spain, Italy, France and Australia, "not only do they not tax them, they also provide subsidies to them to ensure that they'll invest capital and grow their region."

He said Ontario should have changed its policies around taxing the wine industry many years ago. "I've told people, half tears in my eyes, like, why has it taken us this long to get there?"

Zalepa said reducing the taxes doesn't mean cutting overall revenue.

"The opportunity is to grow the business such that the taxes generated from the growth are going to far outweigh any of the small taxes generated in the short term," he said.

Distribution of Ontario wine is also a huge roadblock for the province's wine producers, since it has to be done through the LCBO and faces strict rules on inter-provincial trade.

Wineries in other parts of Canada, like British Columbia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia can directly deliver wine to customers and retailers across the country — a luxury Ontario doesn't have.

Peller said Ontario has the same market shares as it did 30 years ago and the LCBO is more focused on promoting imported wine than domestic vintages.

Imported wines represent about 75 per cent of total LCBO wine sales, according to the province.

Regions like British Columbia, Australia and the United States have domestic market shares by volume of 47, 82 and 60 per cent, respectively.

The report notes that if Ontario's market share by sales matched B.C.'s, the provincial economy would receive upward of $800 million in additional GDP over a 10-year span.

Focusing on dominating Ontario's domestic market share is one of the steps forward in supporting the wine sector, Deloitte said.

Annunziata said the next step is allowing the government to absorb this information so it can hopefully start making the changes called for.

Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report

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


The Date and Time: Tuesday May 30, 2023, from 11:30A to 3:30 PM
The Event: Cru Wine Merchants Portfolio Tasting 2023
The Venue: Constantine Toronto
The Target Audience: sommeliers, wine media, wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: a good looking catalogue laid out by country and then producer, with details on pricing for licensees.
The Quote/Background: there were 64 wine producers showing anywhere from one wine to a dozen wines each.
The Wines: I could not taste every wine, most notably many of the reds. Prices are licensee net in most cases.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Versado Reserva Malbec 2010 Mendoza (+316984 Vintages, $78 retail)
-Charles Baker Wines Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, $25.49
-Charles Baker Wines Riesling Picone Vineyard 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, $39.03
-Charles Baker Wines Riesling Blanc de Blanc Cuvee du Boulanger 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, $31.67 [my fave fizz of the day]
-Stratus White 2021 VQA NOTL $25.49
-Stratus Skin Contact Viognier 2021 VQA NOTL $27.88
-Stratus Red 2017 VQA NOTL $39.03
-Wiston Estate Sparkling Rose Brut NV Sussex $69.95
-Champagne Monmarthe Secret de Famille Brut NV $49.95
-Jeaunaux-Robin Fil de Brume Brut NV $69.95
-Domaine Albert Mann Gewurztraminer 2020 Alsace $38.95
-Domaine Albert Mann Cremant Extra Brut 2018 $47.95
-Domaine Oudin Vaugirault 1er cru Chablis 2021 $59.95
-Domaine Francois Gay et Fils Beaune 1er cru Les Teurons Blanc 2018 $89.95
-Barth Charta Riesling 2019 Rheingau $30.95
-Sorelle Bronca Difetto Perfetto Sur Lie Prosecco 2021 Conegliano Valdobbiadene $28.95
-Agricola Molino Moscato d'Asti Mistral 2022 Trersio $24.95
-Vina Costeira Lua Jazz Brut Treixadura Sparkling NV Rias Baixas [not yet priced]
-Raventos Blanc de Blanc Brut 2020 $27 Penedes
-Can Sumoi Ancestral Sparkling 2018 $31.95 Penedes
-Bethel Heights Estate Chardonnay 2019 Oregon $54.95
-Kongsgaard Chardonnay 2019 Napa $230
-San Felo Tuscany Le Stoppie Vermentino [not yet priced]

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Versado Malbec 2018 Mendoza (+317008 Vintages, $21.25 retail)
-Stratus Chardonnay 2020 VQA NOTL $39.03
-Stratus Field Blend Ancestral 2022 $27.88
-Jeaunaux-Robin Le Dessous de la Cabane Rose NV $74.95
-Domaine Oudin Chablis 2021 $37.95
-Domaine Oudin Les Serres Chablis 2021 $47.95
-Sorelle Bronca Modi Brut Prosecco NV $21.95
-Vini Bossanova Pet Nat Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2021 $41.95
-Rippon Sauvignon Blanc Lake Wanaka 2021 $39.95
-Kleinood Tamboerskloof Viognier Stellenbosch 2022 $33.95
-Favia-Erickson Carbone Chardonnay 2020 Combsville $79.95
-Hudson Chardonnay 2021 Napa $124.95
-Precision Wine Co. Introvert White 2020 California AVA $21.95
-Brokenwood Hunter Valley Australia Semillon 2022 [not yet priced]

The Food: from Constantine's menu – a variety of flatbreads, including a pomodoro pizza and a mushroom pizza, along with bites of cheese and pate mousse on breads. The charcuterie platter included more cheese, pate, sausages, and salami as well as sundried tomatoes.
The Downside: many wines were physically collated together but split apart by the catalogue listing; this meant a lot of to-ing and fro-ing through the booklet.
The Upside: a great opportunity to taste great wines.
The Contact Person:; Charles Baker<>
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92

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

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Report on The Event: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Walkaround Tasting May 15, 2023 at Aria

The Date and Time:  Monday, May 15, 2023, 11:30AM – 3:30PM
The Event: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Walkaround Tasting
The Venue: Aria
The Target Audience: wine trade, agents, media, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: The proprietors of the eight Vino Nobile di Montepulciano featured wineries were in attendance; two were looking for agents (Manvi, Podere Casanova).
The Quote/Background: This appellation of Tuscany is between Siena and Rome, just south of Chianti, and was famous for its light red wines based on sangiovese. The walkaround featured pressure-less pourings from Cantina Crociani (Cavinona Wine Agency), Carpineto (Univins and Spirits), Fattoria del Cerro (Cavinona Wine Agency), Fattoria Svetoni (Tre Amici), Il Molinaccio (United Stars), Manvi (looking for agent), Podere Casanova (looking for agent) and Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano (Tre Amici).
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines. I skipped a white wine and a vinsanto, and a few Rossos di Montepulciano....

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Crociani Vino Noble di Montepulciano Riserva Toscana
-Podere Casanova Vino Noble di Montepulciano Settecento
-Manvi Ojas Vino Noble di Montepulciano Riserva 2019
-Fattoria Svetoni Vino Noble di Montepulciano 2019 $25
-Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Noble di Montepulciano 2017
-Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Noble di Montepulciano Riserva 2016
-Fattoria del Cerro Vino Noble di Montepulciano 2019
-Fattoria del Cerro Vino Noble di Montepulciano Riserva 2017
-Il Molinaccio di Montepulciano Vino Noble di Montepulciano Riserva La Poiana 2019 [organic] $86.95
-Carpineto Vino Noble di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG 2019
-Carpineto Appodiato di Montepulciano Poggio Sant'Enrico 2012 Vino Noble di Montepulciano DOCG

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Podere Casanova Vino Noble di Montepulciano DOCG
-Podere Casanova Corte Vino Rosso di Montepulciano DOC
-Podere Casanova Irripetibile IGT Toscana
-Manvi Myra Rosso di Montepulciano DOC
-Manvi Arya Vino Noble di Montepulciano
-Crociani Vino Noble di Montepulciano
-Fattoria Svetoni Rosso Noble di Montepulciano 2021
-Fattoria Svetoni Vino Noble di Montepulciano 2020 $25
-Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Corbaio Rosso Toscana 2018
-Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Campaltino Toscana Rosso IGT
-Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Rosso di Montepulciano 2021
-Fattoria del Cerro Antica Chilesi
-Il Molinaccio di Montepulciano Vino Noble di Montepulciano La Spinosa 2019 [organic] $63.95
-Carpineto Rosso di Montepulciano DOC 2020
-Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon IGT 2020

The Food: Aria provided an enormous Italian buffet selection which included multiple cold cut platters of first rate salumi (nothing hot), caprese salad, pizza, roast potatoes, roast chicken, roast porchetta, asparagus risotto, gnocchi, a wheel of parmigiano reggiano, biscotti.
The Downside: nothing really – the weather co-operated for those of us who wanted to be outdoors.
The Upside: good listing of Vino Nobile wines, which I have not seen in the same room in Ontario for quite some time.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 96

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

Friday, July 7, 2023

Michael Pinkus' Fifth Rose Wine Report is now available...

Just check out this URL link -- 411 currently available roses reviewed!! There is something for everyone...

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

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 8, 2023 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 8, 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).

MAJOR THEME: ONLINE AND FLAGSHIP STORE AVAILABILITY ONLY [no printed magazine catalogue] ~50 wines in total

Wines Under $20
W+415604 Kew Vineyards Fume Blanc 2020 VQA, $20.95 [my artistic license] MVC/QPR: 90.
W+471300 Nortico Alvarinho 2021 Portugal, $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

Wines Over $20
W+33161 Lantides Abyss Assyrtiko 2020 Greece, $36.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+241182 Charels Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2020 VQA, $44.95 MVC/QPR: 92.
W+22776 Domaine Yvon&Laurent Vocoret Fourchaume Chablis 1erCru 2021, $52.95 MVC/QPR:89.
W+485102 Planeta Chardonnay 2021 Sicily, $54.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
W+458158 Rex Hill Seven Soils Chardonnay 2019 Oregon, $39.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
R+275735 Rex Hill Pinot Noir 2019 Oregon, $45.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+541136 Montes Outer Limits CGM 2021 Chile, $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+31184 Quinta do Pinto Reserva Touriga Nacional 2017 Portugal, $28.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good value...on sale through Sunday July 16

W+35386 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand, now $19.95, save $3.
W+326728 Oyster Bay Chardonnay New Zealand, now $18.95, save $3.
W+24133 Thirty Bench Winemaker's Blend VQA, now $19.95, save $3.
R+597237 Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 2019, now $24.45, save $3.50.
R+50203 Beronia Reserva Rioja, now $19.95, save $3.
R+322586 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, now $18.95, save $3.
Splurge+95910 Remo Farina Amarone della Valpolicella, now $39.95, save $3.
Fizz+147504 13th Street Cuvee Brut Sparkling Rose Trad Method VQA, now $28.95, save $3.

** Some New Wines I Tasted Over the Past While ---

The Date and Time: Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 12PM – 3:30 PM
The Event: Santorini Volcanic Terroir PDO tasting
The Venue: George
The Target Audience: wine trade, wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: Four wineries presented their wines that were available in Ontario – Estate Argyros, Domaine Sigalas, Gaia Wines and Santo Wines.
The Quote/Background: This was a walk around tasting concerned with the wines of PDO Santorini Greece. It was a great chance to explore the wine labels of a small slice of Greece. Both the still wines of assyrtiko grapes and vinsanto were poured.
The Wines: There were 14 wines in all (including four vinsanto)

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Estate Agryos Monsignori 2020, 14.5%
-Gaia Thalassitis 2021, 13.8% $42
-Assyrtiko by Gaia Wild Ferment 2021, 14%, $50
-Gaia Nykteri 2020, 14%
-Santo Nykteri 2021, 14.1%, $43
-Domaine Sigalas Santorini Barrel 2021, 14.5%, $67.98

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Estate Agryos Santorini Assyrtiko 2021, 14.4%
-Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2022, 13.2%
-Domaine Sigalas Santorini AA 2022, 13.4%, $34.95
-Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2022, 14.5%, $53.95

-Estate Agryos Santorini Vansanto First Release 2015, 13.1%, $79.95 Rated: 92 pts.
-Estate Agryos Santorini Vansanto First Release 2002, 13.28%, $150 Rated: 93 pts.
-Gaia Vinsanto 2012, 10.9% Rated: 90 pts.
-Santo Vinsanto 2016, 11.2% $37 Rated: 89 pts.

The Food: George produced some delicious bites from PDO Santorini food products, including PDO Santorini fava bean, PDO Santorini tomato fondant with goat cheese, potato wrapped tuna, shrimp tempura, lemon thyme pettole, chicken satay, heirloom carrot and potato, oysters and lemons, chocolate beignets, tartlet of nuts and dried fruit.
The Downside: I had just come from a huge Australian wine marketing trade show.
The Upside: a chance to focus on the Santorini wines
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93

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

Saturday, July 1, 2023

REPORT: New to Market Tasting Toronto, wines from Australia

DATE: Wednesday, May 3, 2023, from noon – 2 PM
The Event: New to Market Tasting Toronto, wines from Australia
The Venue: Peter Pan Bistro, Queen Street
The Target Audience: wine agents and media
The Availability/Catalogue: there was a nice booklet listing the various wine regions of Australia, with maps, and sorting the producers alphabetically, with contact names, email addresses, websites and a listing of two or more wines from each of the 13 wineries which had participated.
The Quote/Background: Brown Brothers are back!
The Wines: I did not taste every wine. Prices are AUD.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bremerton Wines Special Release No Added Preservatives Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2022, 14.5%, $57.50 FOB six pack
-Brown Brothers Origins Series Dry Rose Victoria Shiraz Dolcetto 2022, 12.5%, $48.90 FOB six pack
-Hart of the Barossa Vine Vale Barossa Valley Mataro 2021, 13.7%, organic, $78 FOB six pack
-Hart of the Barossa Ye Brave Barossa Valley Shiraz 2021, 14.8%, organic, $78 FOB six pack
-Jo Irvine Levrier Wines Brut Rose Adelaide Hills Petit Meslier NV, 11.5%, $159.60 FOB for six pack
-Jo Irvine Mosaic Collection Barossa Valley Merlot 2028, 14.5%, $134 FOB for six pack
-Organic Hill Founders Release McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, 13.8%, biodynamic, $90 FOB for case of 12.
-Organic Hill Founders Release McLaren Vale Shiraz 2021, 13.8%, biodynamic, $90 FOB for case of 12.
-Teusner Weines Gentleman Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, 14.5%, $65 FOB for six pack

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bremerton Wines Tamblyn Langhorne Creek Cabernet Shiraz Malbec 2020, 14%, $90 FOB for case of 12
-Brown Family Innocent Bystander King Valley Pinot Gris 2022, 13.5% ABV, $54.90 FOB for six pack
-Burge Family Wine Estates Corryton Burge Barossa Shiraz 2020, 14.5%, $60 FOB for six pack.
-Burge Family Wine Estates Corryton Burge Barossa Grenache 2022, 14%, $60 FOB for six pack.
-Eight at the Gate Wines Single Vineyard Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2019, 14.5%, $52 FOB for six pack
-Eight at the Gate Wines Single Vineyard Wrattonbully Chardonnay 2021, 12.9%, $48 FOB for six pack
-Lou Miranda Estate Fierce III Barossa Valley Sagrantino 2019, 14.5%, $90 FOB for six pack
-Lou Miranda Estate Fierce III Barossa Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2019, 14.5%, $90 FOB for six pack
-Pindarie Rosedale Road Barossa Sangiovese 2022, 12%, $96 FOB for six pack
-Pindarie TSS Mediterranean Blend Barossa Tempranillo Sangiovese Shiraz 2021, $13.5%, $120 FOB for case of 12
-Project Wine Angas & Bremer The Creek Langhorne Creek Grenache Graciano Malbec, Shiraz, Touriga 2021, 14.5%, $65 FOB case of 12
-Project Wine Angas & Bremer Langhorne Creek Shiraz 2021, 14.8%, $85 FOB case of 12
-Sevenhills Cellars Inigo Clare Valley Grenache 2021, 14%, $45 FOB for six pack
-Sevenhills Cellars Quarry Road Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2019, 13.5%, $76 FOB for six pack
-Teusner Wines Bilmore Barossa Valley Shiraz 2021, 14.5%, $65 FOB for six pack
-The Pawn Langhorne Creek Fiano 2022, 13%, $125 for case of 12
-The Pawn Adelaide Hills Tempranillo 2021, 14%, $125 FOB for case of 12

The Food: a good collection for a relaxed stand-up lunch and wine tasting – sliders (beef, chicken), grilled cheese small sandwiches, cheese twist pastries, a charcuterie platter, a cheese platter, and a veggie platter, all with assorted breads and crackers and root crisps.
The Downside: it got crowded really fast.
The Upside: a good chance to taste wines new to the Ontario market.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91

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