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Thursday, October 19, 2023

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for OCTOBER 21, 2023 release.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 21, 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

W+232694    SANTA JULIA ORGANIC TORRONTÉS    2022    Mendoza, Argentina    $14.95     MVC/QPR: 90.
W+30556    JUNIPER CROSSING ORIGINAL WHITE     2021    Margaret River, Western Australia        $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+11679    FOGOLAR CHARDONNAY 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+434472    ORGANIZED CRIME THE MISCHIEF    2021    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
W+485334    KEW VINEYARDS MARSANNE    2020 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment        $19.95    MVC/QPR: 93
W+289553    UMANI RONCHI VELLODORO PECORINO 2022 Abruzzo    IGT Terre di Chieti        $17.95    MVC/QPR: 91.
W+31189    FIUZA VERDELHO    2019    Portugal  Tejo    Estate bottled    $11.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
W+646067    AVELEDA LOUREIRO    2021    Douro    Vegan, DOC Vinho Verde    $14.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
W+232439    CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE CHARDONNAY    2021Washington    Columbia Valley        $19.95    MVC/QPR: 90.
W+13338    RADFORD DALE VINUM CHENIN BLANC    2022    South Africa    Vegan, WO Stellenbosch    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+31976    LAS INVERNADAS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2021    Argentina    DO San Juan        $15.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+618348    NORTON D.O.C. MALBEC    2020    Argentina    Mendoza    Luján de Cuyo, $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+31965    LUIS CORREAS GRAN RESERVA MALBEC    2017    Estate bottled, Mendoza    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+34070    SZÁSZI BIRTOK BALATON-FELVIDÉKI CABERNET FRANC 2019    Hungary        $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+551473    DRUMHELLER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2018 Washington    Columbia Valley        $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+388645    ORESTIADI LUDOVICO RISERVA    2017    Sicily    IGT Rosso Terre Siciliane        $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+32534    PIETRAME EDIZIONE LIMITATA MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO    2020     Abruzzo    DOP    Cantina Tollo    $17.95    MVC/QPR: 90.
R+25257    GUARDA RIOS RED    2020    Portugal     Alentejo    Vinho Regional Alentejano    Monte da Ravasqueira $12.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+574780    DEMUERTE    2020    Spain     Yecla    Vegan, DO $19.95 MVC/QPR: 91.
R+26329    CIMAL TEMPRANILLO    2019 DO La Mancha    Bodegas Bastida    $14.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+13633    OGV OLD GARNACHA VINES    2019    Spain     Calatayud    DO Calatayud    Virgen de la Sierra    $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.

Wines Over $20

R+427500    WESTCOTT ESTATE PINOT NOIR  2019    VQA Niagara Escarpment  $31.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
R+118695    CROSSBARN NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON  2019  Napa Valley    Paul Hobbs Winery     $84.95    MVC/QPR: 92.
R+21861    MARCHESI DI BAROLO TRADIZIONE BAROLO AND BARBARESCO    2018    Two bottles in wooden gift box, DOCG, Piedmont    1500ml  $124.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+187369    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO    2020    In wooden gift box, DOC, Veneto    1500ml $99.95 MVC/QPR: 89.    
R+384578    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA AND VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO    2020    Two bottles in wooden gift box, Veneto  1500ml    $84.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+668707    MORANDE GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2020        Sustainable, single vineyard, DO Valle del Maipo    $21.95    MVC/QPR: 90.
R+155408    MARCHESI DI BAROLO BARBARESCO 2019    Piedmont DOCG $39.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+213132    LA PIEVE BAROLO    2019    Piedmont DOCG  $39.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+216309    CAVALIERE D'ORO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO    2018 Tuscany    DOCG    Castello di Gabbiano    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+14999    TENUTE FALEZZA VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO SUPERIORE    2019    Veneto    DOC        $22.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
R+903237    GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN ZINFANDEL    2018    Napa Valley $58.95    MVC/QPR: 91.
R+71407    GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2018 Napa Valley        $109.95
R+119081    PAUL HOBBS RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR 2020    Sonoma County        $95.95    MVC/QPR: 91.

LIMITED TIME OFFERS: Some Recommended Wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these  are good value...on sale  through Sunday November 5:

Fizz+213983  Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling VQA Trad Method, now $29.95, save $3
Fizz+395384  Luc Belaire Rare Rose Sparkling France, now $37.95, save $3
W+31667  Alta-Yari Gran Torrontes Mendoza Arg, now $24.95, save $3
W+962886  La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, now $32.95, save $3
R+352583  Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma, now $49.95, save $5
R+177295  Rivera Il Falcone Riserva Castel del Monte Puglia, now $23.95, save $3
R+652883  Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir Santa Barbara, now $54.95, save $5
R+954834  Rodney Strong Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, now $26.95, save $3
R+353201  Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Chianti Classico, now $49.95, save $3
R+303800  Trius Red VQA Niagara, now $24.95, save $3
R+225086  Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cab Sauvignon Emilia-Romagna, now $24.95, save $5
Fizz Splureg+25903 Gosset Grande Reserve Brut Champagne, now $76.80, save $9

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

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

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