Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Event: How Italy Does Italian; Italy at the table, 2015 tour in Toronto

The Date and Time: Monday, March 23, 2015  10AM to 5:30 PM
The Event: How Italy Does Italian; Italy at the table, 2015 tour in Toronto
The Venue: Liberty Grand
The Target Audience: importers, wine and food media, sommeliers.
The Availability/Catalogue: there were 18 wineries, about half of them already repped in Ontario and/or Quebec. The catalogue was first rate in its production, with explanations and correct listings for the most part.
The Quote/Background: The annual show visited Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, promoting Italian foods and wines.
The Wines: I did not try all of the wines, just the older vintages.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Baglio dei Fenicotteri Eloro Pachino Riserva Respensa 2007 [organic]
-Baglio dei Fenicotteri Noto Passito Prim'amore 2008 [organic]
-Paradisone Colle degli Angeli Brunello di Montalcino 2008
-Paradisone Colle degli Angeli Toscana IGT Incanto 2009
-Pascale Francesca Colli Luni Pilastri 2013 Vermentino
-Tonino Lamborghini Barolo 2008
-Tonino Lamborghini Brunello di Montalcino 2009
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Agriverde Piane di Maggio Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013, +394999, $15.95
-Adanti Az. Agr. Sagrantino di Montefalco 2007
-Adanti Az. Agr. Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2009
-Baglio dei Fenicotteri Eloro Pachino Cala'mpisi 2008 [organic]
-Ferrarini Vara Colli di Scandiano e di Canossa 2013 Italianissmo Fine Wine & Spirits
-Guidi Chianti Riserva 2010
-La Caseta Az. Agr. Mio Vino Spumante Chardonnay Pinot Nero Trebbiano IGP
-La Caseta Az. Agr. Mio Vino Spumante Rose Chardonnay Sangiovese IGP 2013
-Molinetto Gavi Re.Lys 2013
-Paradisone Colle degli Angeli Rosso di Montalcino 2009
-Fratelli Ponte Vini Moscato d'Asti 2014
-Severino Garofano Salento IGP Le Braci 2007
-Severino Garofano Salento IGP Simpotica 2007
-Viano Michele Moscato d'Asti 2014
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Adanti Az. Agr. Montefalco Rosso 2010
-Agriverde Solarea Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010 AMV-WHIZ
-Molinetto Gavi 2013
 
The Food: the delegation itself sponsored a polenta and meat stew hot plate with salads, and a range of desserts. After that, it was going from table to table and sampling a variety of cold cuts, cheese, olives and oils, pastas, and coffees. There was even a stand for bottled water (fizzy and flat varieties).
The Downside: there was too much food and wine.
The Upside: a good chance to taste some older wines, although pricing was vague.
The Contact Person: p.titone@ice.it
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Event: Tasting and Lunch with Bill Hardy and the William Hardy series of wines.

The Date and Time: Tuesday, March 3, 2015  Noon – 3 PM 
The Event: Tasting and Lunch with Bill Hardy and the William Hardy series of wines.
The Venue: Canoe
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: only 2 of the wines are in Ontario (see below): most of the others are in BC and PQ.
The Quote/Background: Bill Hardy spoke about 160 years of Hardy history and the thoughts behind each of the wines, his voice sailing over the noisy neighbouring tables. The wines spoke for themselves, although Bill contributed his points as Brand Ambassador and as the name behind the launch of the William Hardy series of wines. The winemaking seemed to emphasize a combination of new world and old world textures and structures.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hardy's Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2013, $60 SAQ, $65 BC – fruit from Tasmania and Yarra Valley, richly oaked but lemony on finish (combo of new world and old world). 13% ABV.
-Hardy's Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2010, $85 PQ, $95.50 BC – deep, dark and delicious, ready soon. Lots of black fruit and smoke. 14% ABV. Twist top. Both Eileens scored with me.
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hardy's Chronicles Butcher's Gold Shiraz Sangiovese 2012, +219139, $14.95 – tight and acidic on finish (great with food) with sangiovese cherries, balanced by mid palate mocha and blackberries. 80% shiraz. Better after it was open awhile. Twist top. 14% ABV.
-Hardy's Winemakers Rare Release Handpicked Shiraz 2008, $269.95 FOB, not available in Canada – very mute at first, took a long time to open up. Fruit from very old vines in McLaren, Clare and Frankland River. Six different Burgundian coopers' oak barrels were used. Power and potential are there but it needed a lot more time, despite being 7 years old. Twist top. 14.5% ABV.
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hardy's William Hardy Sauvignon Blanc 2013, $23.25 BC only – new world middle palate (off-dry) with an old world finish (higher acid). Twist top, 12.5% ABV.
-Hardy's Stamp Of Australia Cabernet Merlot 2014, +582395, $9.90 – good new world quality for under $10 in Ontario. Juicy. 13% ABV. Twist top.
 
 
The Food: we ate a main course off the menu, with a charcuterie platter and a cheese platter for all. I had the cheeky main: halibut cheeks and pork cheeks. What I ate went with all the wines.
The Downside: the ambience was noisy from a packed crowd of diners, but Bill Hardy had a firm speaking voice.
The Upside: a chance to taste some really good expensive wines.
The Contact Person: marika.synnett@mondiaalliance.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Event: Media food and wine preview for the 2015 Green Living Show (March 27 – 29, Metro Toronto Convention Centre)

The Date and Time: Wednesday, March 18, 2015  4:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The Event: Media food and wine preview for the 2015 Green Living Show (March 27 – 29, Metro Toronto Convention Centre)
The Venue: Hawthorne Food and Drink Restaurant, Richmond Street
The Target Audience: food writers and bloggers, some wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: these dishes will be at the show, as will the wines, and together they just represent a few of the food and wine treats at the Green Living Show.
The Quote/Background: The foods and wines at the show represent sustainable green living. In fact, the Green Living Show is North America's largest show dedicated to healthy and sustainable living. This year's show kicks off Earth Month, with experts, celebrities and 400 exhibitors. This is the sixth annual show (I still use a paper wallet from the first show!). Free admission IF you bring some e-waste OR show a TTC monthly pass.
 
The Beers and Wines: The preview offered 7 wines and 4 beers...retail prices were not listed.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-GreenLane Estate Chardonnay 2013 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 13.5% ABV (2010 was $21.95)
-Black Oak Pale Ale, $5.95
-Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, $5.95
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-GreenLane Estate Old Vines Riesling 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 9.7% ABV
-GreenLane Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, ($24.95 for 2011)
-Southbrook Connect Red 2013 VQA Ontario, 11.8%, $16.95
-Southbrook Connect White 2013 VQA Ontario, 9.9%, $16.95
-Stone City Ale Belgium Wheat
 
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-GreenLane Estate Cabernet 2013 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 12.3% ABV [CF/CS] twist top
-Stanners Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 13% ABV.
-Steanwhistle Lager Pilsner
 
The Food: According to a Guelph Food Waste Research Project in 2014, households produce 4.5 Kg of food waste a week, 60% of which was fresh fruits and veggies. One of the aims of the food area at the Green Living Show is to serve food that has been "underused" or "overlooked" in the kitchen. To this end, five food services provided engaging samples of their foods that are rarely found in supermarkets or end up in the bin -
 
-Hawthorne's Ricky Casipe did a complicated chicken chichurron crisp with carrot kimchi. It was delicious and so totally unexpected. My fave of the evening.
-Pegasus Hospitality Steffan Howard did an Ontario mushroom and kale stem hand pie that was delightful and made me want more (he also furnished the recipe, which uses mushroom and kale stems).
-Scout Canning's Charlotte Langley provided a Provencal soupe de poisson with rouille and croutons, another excellent entry that used leftover fish. It has been awhile since I've had freshly made soupe de poisson (I used to make it but gave it up because of the fish eyes).
-Urban Acorn's Marie Fitrion did a cured beef tongue slider with Haitian pikliz, using six-day pickled tongue that had been braised for six hours, and with brioche inspired buns. They also did a vegan bread pudding (not gluten-free) with ugly fruit compote.
-VegHed Fresh Bar did a root veggie pakora on millet cake, a wild organic berry oat smoothie, and a red beet coco brownie.
 
The Downside: I had just seen a play about a homeless guy, so it took some time to unwind amidst all the food and wines here.
The Upside: what a great way to celebrate Hump Day, after shopping at St. Lawrence Market.
The Contact Person: michelle@punchcanada.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR MARCH 21, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR MARCH 21, 2015
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium "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 www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here.
 
NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting. It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Chateau Haut du Puy 2010 Haut-Medoc, +404988, $15.95: this month's bargoon red at Vintages, already well-aged for 4 years with MVC Bordeaux tones. Hard to beat. QPR: 91.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musque 2013 VQA Beamsville Bench, +246579, $15.95: delightful peachy tones in that orange-muscat mode, good off-dry character but finishes dry. Best with food, such as a first course, but could be a pre-prandial sipper. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
2.Fielding Estate Riesling 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, +251439, $18.85: off-dry 10.5% ABV but finishes with higher acid. Good for sipping, loaded with riesling character. QPR: 89.
3.Flat Rock Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2013 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, +578625, $19.95: a dramatic uptick with one dollar more than the Fielding, but still 10.5% ABV. Twist top, less acidic taste but still refreshing with riesling MVC. QPR: 89.
4.Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2013 WO Cape Point, +285221, $15.95: classy presentation in bottle and on label, 13.5% ABV, good savvy value at this price (especially with the 5% added semillon). QPR: 89.
5.Trimbach Riesling 2012 Alsace, +734517, $21.95. QPR: 89.
6.Domaine Le Verger Chablis 2013, +181289, $22.95. QPR: 90.
7.Le Fils des Gras Moutons Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2013, +363150, $14.95: the LCBO's Muscadet of the month. QPR: 89.
8.Marques de Caceres Antea 2013 Barrel Fermented Rioja, +518985, $15.95: lightly elegant with nuances of French wood seasoning plus a tang on the finish. 12.5%  ABV, from viura and malvasia grapes. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Schild Estate Shiraz 2012 Barossa, +66555, $24.95. QPR: 90.
2.Yalumba The Guardian Shiraz/Viognier 2010 Eden Valley, +396499, $21.95. QPR: 90.
3.Chateau Lanbersac 2010 Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, +177006, $22.95. QPR: 90.
4.Chateau Bellevue La Foret 2011 Fronton, +354134, $13.95: once on the LCBO General List about five agents back, this wine has been a fave for the past 40 years in Ontario. The main grape is the Negrette, with cab franc and cab sauv and some syrah in the blend. This unusual blend works, great price, and 14.5% ABV of kick. QPR: 90.
5.Chateau Peyros Vieilles Vignes Madiran 2009, +234997, $18.95: nicely aged, now over 5 years old. 80% tannat/20% cab franc. 13.5% ABV. Here is some value in an older tasting wine. QPR: 89.
6.Chateau Vincens Origine Cahors 2011, +343400, $17.95: voluptuous in a North American palate sense, gold medal winner. 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
7.Domaine Sergent Oak Aged Madiran 2011, +251561, $21.95. QPR: 90.
8.Boutari Grand Reserve 2008 Naoussa Greece, +140111, $17.95: always a well-aged wine with those ripe mature tones, from the xinomavro grape. QPR: 89.
9.Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Monastrell 2011 Old Vines Alicante, +310169, $19.95: aged almost two years in French oak, augmenting the black fruit with nuances of floral sweetness. Whopping 15% ABV. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red 2012 Napa Valley, +329375, $162.95 retail.
2.Chateau Pineraie L'Authentique Cahors 2011, +408294, $39.95.
3.Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino 2009, +651141, $59.95.
4.Villa Cerna Riserva Chianti Classico 2010, +349407, $28.95.
5.Remo Farina Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2011, $36.95.
6.Tinto Pesquera Reserva 2010 Ribera del Duero, +323345, $44.95.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Event: Launch of Zapiain Spanish Basque cider.

The Date and Time: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 5PM to 6PM
The Event: Launch of Zapiain Spanish Basque cider.
The Venue: Barque
The Target Audience: wine writers, sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: A new company Ekialdeko Imports was formed to import this impressive cider from the Basque region of Spain.
The Quote/Background: The Zapiain family started the current business in 1950 as artisanal apple cider (called sagardoa, in the region) using cider-type apples, chosen from more than 30 types of Basque apples. It can be a dry apple wine, at about 6% ABV, but it does contain a small amount naturally carbonized gas for a 750mL bottle with a cork closure. It should be shaken to awake the gas and the natural sediment, and then poured from a height (like a sherry) into a glass, a few ounces at a time. Perhaps the "pommelier" might be best at this since the cider is only available from the agent at $10 a bottle, and there are limited quantities reserved mainly for restaurants such as Barque (which had the launch).
 
Zapiain Astigarragako Sagardoa, 750 mL $10: under cork, refreshing, slightly sour with a good cider feel of apples, sediment cloudiness. Light yeast taste, certainly rustic and artisanal. Best with food.
 
The Food: .. and you thought we were going to have BBQ? Barque offered a variety of Basque styled tapas!! Including cheese, white anchovies on toasts, smoked fish and roe on toasts, cold cuts, mussels, and other platters I could not reach across the expansive table (good thing, too). Excellent accompaniment.
The Downside: it was just one product to taste (which I have not done since 1986), but too tempting to resist. How many non-Canadian ciders do we get in Ontario?
The Upside: chance to taste something non-vinous and the tapas.
The Contact Person: sales@ekialdeko.com; dean@rootenbergcc.com
 
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Event: Legras et Haas Champagne tasting, with Mellecey Wine Group and Jerome Legras

 
The Date and Time: Wednesday February 25, 2015  3:30 - 5PM
The Event: Legras et Haas Champagne tasting, with Mellecey Wine Group and Jerome Legras
The Venue: Fine Wine Reserve
The Target Audience: FWR members and media
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available through the agent Mellecey
The Quote/Background: Jerome Legras, head of sales, assists his family's ventures by speaking about his champagnes, based in Chouilly. The family has been producing wines for seven generations; they own vineyards in the Cote des Blancs and in the Aube, working with chardonnay (principally) and pinot noir. Everything is done by hand, and blended by only the family members. Aging is a minimum of three years. They bottle about 10,000 cases total a year.
The Wines: We tasted six wines today in a sitdown fashion.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Legras & Haas Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Extra Brut, $80 [100% chardonnay] My fave.
-Legras & Haas Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru, $75 [100% chardonnay]
-Legras & Haas Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Millesime 2008, $92 [100% chardonnay]
-Legras & Haas Cuvee Exigence, $110 [50% chardonnay; 50% pinot noir from Ay] made from 50% reserve 2009 wine (all chardonnay) and balance from 1995/96/99/02/04/05/06 and 08.
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Legras & Haas Tradition NV, $65 [50% chardonnay, 25 meunier, 25 pinot noir]
-Legras & Haas Rose Saignee NV, $71 [50% chardonnay, 25 meunier, 25 pinot noir]
 
The Food: there was a cheese platter, a veggie platter, and a charcuterie platter, with breads and biscuits.
The Contact Person: cyndi@melleceywinegroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Event: Carnevale 2016 Toronto Media Launch

The Date and Time: Tuesday, February 24, 2015  5Pm to 8PM
The Event: Carnivale 2016 Toronto Media Launch
The Venue: Berkeley Church
The Target Audience: media and sponsors
The Availability/Catalogue: wines and foods were made available by sponsors.
The Quote/Background: The winter Carnivale from Italy is coming to Toronto in February 2016. This was the sponsorship media launch, co-ordinated by the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario and L'Altra Italia (arts and culture). This was to be the Grand Masquerade Ball. Unfortunately, I had to leave early so I missed the Costume Parade and soprano Alessandra Paonessa.
The Wines: There were seven wines on offer, to sample (one was lost in transport)...
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Inama Vina Soave Classico 2013, $23 from Stem
-Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico 2012. $19 Stem
-Taif Zibibbo Terre Siciliane 2013, Appellation Wines
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cantine Delibori Valpolicella Ripasso 2012, $19 Stem
-Argiolas, 'Costera', Cannonau di Sardegna 2012, $20 Stem
-Monte del Fra Valpolicella Ripasso 2010, Signature Wines
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Feudi di San Gregorio, Falanghina, Sannio Falanghina 2013, $19 Stem
 
 
The Food: food sponsors include Pizza Nova (great greens and chicken pizzas), Boccaccio Columbua Centre (prosciutto sandwiches), Quality Cheese, and some pastries and espressos.
The Downside: there was a low turnout of media people before 6:15 when I had to leave, before the actual dressed up affair. But I had time to sample the food and the wine.
The Upside: Malabar provided many costumes for dressers assembled on the first floor.
The Contact Person: leone@italchambers.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 86.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Event: Australia Today: history – evolution – revolution (trade and media tasting)

The Date and Time: Monday, February 23, 2015  1PM to 4PM
The Event: Australia Today: history – evolution – revolution (trade and media tasting)
The Venue: Vintage Conservatory Lombard Street
The Target Audience: wine media and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: according to the catalogue, wines were available at the LCBO and by Private Order (PO). The catalogue was nicely put together by winery with a separate index to the wines.
The Quote/Background: Mark Davidson discussed Australia's 200 years of winemaking, highlighting regional differences and traditions and what the future holds. Then we had a self-pour tasting to examine other bottles of wines from Australia.
The Wines: There were 55 wines; I did not taste all of them.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casella 1919 Shiraz 2006, $100 Con
-Josef Chromy Pinot Noir 2013, $30 Consignment
-Josef Chromy Sparkling 2008, $30 Vintages
-Vasse Felix Chardonnay Filius 2013, $28 Cons
-Penley Estate Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $25 HVC
-Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $27.95 Vintages Essential
-Yabby Lake Chardonnay 2012, $79 PO
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Barossa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $21.95 PO
-Casella 1919 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, $100 Con
-Jacob's Creek Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, $16.95 LCBO
-Fowles Wines Are You Game? Chardonnay 2013, $15.95 LCBO
-Langmeil Valley Floor 2012, $30 HVC
-Heggies Eden Valley Vineyard Chardonnay 2012, $31.95 PO
-John Duval Plexus 2009, $35.88 Vintages
-Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $19.95 Vintages
-Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $45 Cons
-Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014, $15.80 LCBO
-Wakefield Estate Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, $14.95 LCBO
-Teusner Independent Shiraz Mataro 2012, $19.95 Vintages
-Wirra Wirra The Dead Ringer Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $59.95 PO
-Yabby Lake Block I Pinot Noir 2012, $85 PO
-Yabby Lake Red claw Chardonnay 2014, $34.95 PO
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Alpha Crucis Titan Shiraz 2012, $24.95 Vintages
-Barossa Valley Estate GSM 2012, $21.95 PO
-Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz 2012, $21.95 Vintages
-Fowles Wines Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012, $35.95 LCBO
-Fowles Wines Stone Dwellers Cabernet 2012, $19.95 LCBO
-Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $29.95 Vintages
-Langmeil Orphan Bank Shiraz 2012, $64.95 Cons
-Lime Coast Winery Hidden Sea Shiraz 2013, $16.95 LCBO
-Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz 2012, $30+ Consignment
-Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache 2013, $25 Cons
-Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier 2012, $19.95 Cons
-Tahbilk The Tower Shiraz 2012, $20 Vintages
-Tahbilk The Tower MVR [marsanne-viognier-rousanne] 2012, $20 Vintages
-Wakefield Estate Chardonnay 2013, $14.95 Vintages
-Teusner Joshua Barossa Valley Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2012, $29.95 Cons
-Wirra Wirra The Church Block [cab sauv,syrah, merlot) 2012, $19.95 Vintages
 
The Food: shrimp, international cheeses, lamb sausages, cold cuts, and more!
The Downside: it came right after the Zenato tasting, and the room (and tables) was soon crowded.
The Upside: a chance to catch-up with some really stunning wines.
The Contact Person: popoffanne@gmail.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Event: a tasting of Ontario fruit wines

The Date and Time:  Thursday, February 26, 2015  10:30AM to 4:30PM
The Event: a tasting of Ontario fruit wines
The Venue: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada exclusive tasting facilities.
The Target Audience: WWCC members
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available at the wineries involved, but a few were also at the LCBO as noted below.
The Quote/Background: It had been 7.5 years since the last fruit wine tasting in Ontario. IT IS WORTH REPEATING my notes from that time for Monday, July 23, 2007 – "The Outer Limits of Ontario Wine; a tasting of 100% Ontario wine that is not currently VQA eligible from one of Ontario's recognized areas", as organized by the late Larry Paterson. All 212 wines from 40 different wineries were available at their respective winery, but only a handful of wines were distributed by the LCBO. The catalogue was a spreadsheet listing the names and prices, websites, email addresses, and so forth, as well as sugar levels. My strategy, to reduce palate fatigue, was to try just those fruit wines under SC 5 in sugar content. I missed a lot of good wines, but many sweet wines sell themselves. I began tasting alphabetically, and right away ran into some of the best fruit wines I have ever had – from Applewood Farm Winery in the Stouffville area. I started with their Crazy Eight Cider, a 100%
raspberry at 8.8%. The last time I had quality like this was when Lenz Moser sent us an Austrian Sparkling Raspberry wine in the previous century, under 10% alcohol. The intense raspberry flavours were phenomenal, and the mousse was certainly effervescent. I was blown away, enough to order five two-fours from www.applewoodfarmwinery.com.
A 341 mL bottle costs a mere $2.50 (includes deposit). It'll be my summer drink for the rest of the year. Later I went back to try the Pear Port 2002 (fortified to 18%, sugar code of 5, $12.95 for half a litre), another phenomenal wine of intense pear flavours; it was better than my usual all-time favourite pear sweetie, the St.Jorg Cellars Poire Royale from California. I also enjoyed an experimental Caramel Apple, the Strawberry Cider (10%, fresh strawberry nose and palate – not the usual cooked jam I experienced in many other strawb concoctions; $9.95 for 750 mL), and the Mac-Meade (sparkling wine from Macintosh apples and honey, same price). At Archibald Orchards Estate Winery, I tried the Hard Cider NV, 6.2%, sugar 3, $8.95 750 mL, off-dry in the finish, the nifty
Ida Red Oak Aged NV (12.1%, bone dry, $9.95, good oak consistency, almost like a chardonnay; I've still got some of their 1999 Ida red Oak Aged, which is still showing very well). The Birtch Farms and Estate Winery Oak Aged Macintosh 2004(11.5%, sugar 1, $13.95) had less oakiness but a more pronounced apple finish. Their Peach wine ($11.5%,
sugar 3, $12.95) was just peachy and slightly off-dry in the finish. Their Rhubarb 2005 (one of the more difficult wines to make) was 12%, sugar 3, $13.95, and reminiscent of a fine rhubarb jam. Coffin Ridge makes A Winey Pear 2006 ($14) which was made from wild pears. I also tried Cornerstone Estate Winery's Cherry Festival 2005 (13% ABV, sugar
3, $9.50 for half-litre), with its off-dry cherry intensity. And their Estate Apricot Wine 2004 (10.5% ABV, sugar 4, $9.50 for 500 mL) not unsurprisingly like a fine off-dry vidal. Their Strawberry Festival (12.5%, sugar 4, $9.50 for half-litre) was a bit light in taste, but it certainly was not jammy. Cox Creek Cellars Black Currant Back Home NV
($13% ABV, bone dry, $11.70) was oak aged, good price, and highly recommended – but it does need time to resolve the wood. Nevertheless, another underpriced wine value. Downey's Estate Winery Premium Gooseberry NV (14% ABV, bone-dry, $13.95) certainly tasted like gooseberry without the jamminess, but it was also reminiscent of sauvignon blanc. My fave gooseberry wine is from Hoodsport in Washington State. Kawartha Country Wines Black Currant 2006 (14.1% ABV, sugar 1, $14.80) showed its intense cassis nature. The Meadow Lane Winery Black Currant NV (sugar 3, $10.95) gave it a run for its money.
Their Blueberry (sugar 3, $11.95) was fetching, but then I've never been a fan of blueberries in any form. Their Plum NV (sugar 4, $10.95) was more to my liking, with a great plum nose. Ocala Winery Heritage Apple 2006 ($9.95 litre) had fresh apples on the nose and the palate, and was good value for the price. Their Plum NV ($9.95 for 750 mL) had plums in the nose and palate, long length, a finishing acid, not very sweet, perfect as an aperitif. Pine Farms Hard Cider NV (7% ABV, dry, $5.60 for half-litre) was a good cider in a manageable format for one person. Their Macintosh Apple Wine 2006 (10.3% ABV, dry, $13.95) was also a winner, loaded with fresh flavours. Puddicombe Estates Farms Cranberry NV (10.4%, sugar 9, $15.20) was still refreshingly tart and full. The winery makes 32 different wines, including a Peach NV of good intensity and a Pear-a-dise (12% ABV, sugar 7, $18.10 for 750 mL) made from bosc, bartlett, and sugar pears. Rush Creek Orchards Pearfection NV (12.5%, dry, $10.25) showed remarkably good pear tones at this level. My fave pear wines come from Bartlett Winery (the owner's name, not the pear) in Maine; they make a variety of different styles of pear wines, from bone dry to fortified levels. Scotch Block Elderberry NV (11.5% ABV, sugar 1, $12.95) was a useful fruit wine, stressing the elder fruit. Their Raspberry Rouge NV (11.5% ABV, sugar 1, $14.95) was very good, off-dry in tone, lots of body. Scotch Block also makes a series of currant wines, specifically Regal Red Currant NV (11.5%,
sugar 1, $12.95), Regal White Currant (11.5% ABV, sugar 1, $12.95), and Regal Black Currant (11.8 ABV, sugar 1, $12.95). They would be terrific to have at any kind of blind tasting. Scotch Block Strawberry Fields NV (11.5% ABV, sugar 1, $11.95) showed ripe flavours, sweet aftertaste, but finishes in a dry mode. As I said, I'm not a fan of blueberry but I was blown away by the finish on their True Blue NV (11.5%ABV, sugar 1, $14.95). Sunnybrook Farm Estate Ironwood Hard Cider (6% ABV, off-dry, $13.15 for a six pack of 341 mL) was very fresh. County Cider Company makes a County 2000 Champenoise NV, a cider made on the traditional champagne method, from ida red, northern spy, and macintosh apples (8% ABV, sugar 1, $19.95 bottle) is certainly something many fruit wineries can aspire to. The mousse was superb, the nose all bready. My fave raspberry wines come from Hoodsport and Paul Thomas in Washington State
(both for the bone dry wines) and Barghetto's Chaucer in California for the off-dry raspberry. But after tasting today's fruit wines from Ontario, I can safely say that I'll be pulling my Yankee dollars and spending my fruit wine budget money at home..."
 
The Wines: Today's tasting was of some 45 wines, about a third of the number I tasted eight years ago. But from fewer wineries as sadly some no longer exist. Wines are normally bottled and sold in 750mL unless otherwise stated. My notes are from my experiences alone, and do NOT reflect the WWCC, and are NOT an average score of the tasting. We had three separate flights: one flight for the ciders, one flight for the 750 mL bottles which were mainly around SC 2 in sugars, and one flight for the dramatically sweet or iced styles, SC over 5. This way we could pace our palates...
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2012    Spiced Apple    $19.95
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2012    Bosc Pear    $18.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Framboise     $14.95  375mL
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Red Raspberry Sensation     $14.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Regal Black Currant     $14.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Cassis     $14.95 375mL
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Raspberry    $23.95
-Muskoka Lakes Winery    2013    Cranberry Wine $15.95    +609701 LCBO
-Wooden Bear L Winery    Applicious NV    $14.95 500 ml  2014/15 Intervin Honours
-Wooden Bear L Winery    Bear Claw Hard Cider NV    $3.00    N/A 341 ml    [variety of apples]
-Southbrook Vineyards    NV    Canadian Framboise    $15.95 375mL +341024 LCBO
-Applewood winery    2013    Iced Cider    $29.95  375mL
-Applewood winery    2014    Hopped Amber Cider    $3 525mL
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Strawberry Fields     $14.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Strawberry Sensation     $14.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Strawberry Sunsation     $14.95 375mL
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Cranberry    $23.95 Cranberry 85%; Apple 15%
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Blueberry Truffle     $15.95  375mL
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Chocolate Embrace    $22.95/34.95 375/750 Blueberry 100%
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Black Raspberry Sensation     $14.95
-Villa Nova Estate    2013    Nectar    $9.95    +252962 375m Nectarine
-Wooden Bear L Winery    2012    Gala     $14.95 2014/15 Intervin Honours
-Wooden Bear L Winery    2011    Cherry 2011    $14.95    2013 ACWC Gold Winner
-Revel Cider Co.    2014    Hop X    $5.05    500mL    Apple  6.9% ABV   
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Blueberry    $22.95
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Redhaven Peach    $21.95
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Burgundy Plum    $22.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Framboise Truffle     $15.95  375mL
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Blueberry Bouquet     $14.95 375mL
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Strawberry Truffle     $15.95 375mL
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Blueberry Sensation     $14.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Cassis Truffle     $15.95 375mL
-Villa Nova Estate    2013    Cerise    $12.95    +277325
-Villa Nova Estate    2014    Saucy Apple Cider    $9.95    +267922  750mL
-Villa Nova Estate    2014    Saucy Fizzy Peach Cider    $9.95 750mL
-Muskoka Lakes Winery    2012    Red Maple Dessert Wine    $23.95 +50039 LCBO 375mL [maple, cranberry]
-Muskoka Lakes Winery    2013    Cranberry Blueberry Wine $16.95 +609719 LCBO
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Apple Cider    $2.95    +405241 LCBO 473 ml
-Wooden Bear L Winery    2013    GalaCrisp    $14.95   
-Wooden Bear L Winery    Apple Cherry NV    $14.95
-Scotch Block Winery    2014    Kinky Keltic     $14.95  Black Currant, Red Currant, Red Raspberry, Gooseberry [varies from year to year]
-Applewood winery    2010    Apple Jack    $40  21% ABV
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery    2013    Iced Apple    $19.95 375 ml
-Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery 2013    Tres Robles (oaked) Apple Cider $15.95 1.9 L or keg 7% ABV
 
The Food: bread and water
The Contact Person: deantudor@yahoo.com or kim@ludwigtransport.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR MARCH 7, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR  MARCH 7, 2015
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here. NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting.
 
NOTE: It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
 
FIND OF THE MONTH!!
 
Le Pere Jules Pommeau de Normandie AOC, +402131, $39.95 for 700mL: Formerly known as Pommeau Ste. Anne, this AOC has apple cider syrup blended with Calvados. Le Pere Jules is aged in oak barrels for more than 5 years. There is a strong "cider apple" aroma that follows through on the palate, a sort of intensified cider taste. The finish is smooth, suggesting that the one-year old Calvados has been aged smoothly. Aperitif or with dessert or post-dinner. QPR: 93.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Tinhorn Creek Gewurztraminer 2013 BC VQA Okanagan, +904185: this hits all the right gewurz buttons, especially for those seeking an older style Alsatian style (dryish, bitterish finish). Very good expression from before global warming. 13.3% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
2.M.Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda 2013 Victoria, +401398, $19.95: very aromatic, almost all viognier, twist top, but a very dry finish makes it better with food than as social wine. QPR: 89.
3. 3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough, +207159, $16.95: zesty tasty kiwi savvy. Twist top but only 12.5% ABV, making it less dry and more social wine too. QPR: 89.
4.Cave des Grands Crus Blancs Macon-Vinzelles 2013, +405795, $17.95: the latest in a continuing LCBO stream of good value burgundy Chardonnays, in the Chablis mould, 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
5.Tokaji Yellow Muscat 2013 Puklus Cellars Hungary, $15.95, +46508: Yellow Muscat is related to Muscat Blanc. Made from older vines, done up in Late Harvest style, with that peachy complexity, medium-bodied, but with lemons and pineapple acidity on the longer finish. Floral aromatics. 13.5% ABV. Serve with later courses (fruity mains, salads, cheeses, off-dry desserts). QPR: 89
6.Featherstone Four Feathers 2012 VQA Niagara, +341586, $14.95: off-dry blend of savvy, riesling, gewurz, and chardonnay, very good social wine coming in at 11% ABV and twist top. Still fresh. QPR: 88.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Jules Taylor Pinot Noir 2013 Marlborough, +329805, $24.95. QPR: 91.
2.Chateau Tour Salvet 2009 Haut-Medoc, +403766, $23.95. QPR: 90.
3.Castelli dei Grevepesa Panzano Chianti Classico 2008, +972695, $23.95. QPR: 90.
4.Churchill's Estates Vinho Tinto 2011 Douro, +166561, $21.95. QPR: 90.
5.Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Syrah/Mourvedre 2012 Colchagua Valley, +399360, $15.95: good value in an organic wine. Lots of black fruit, 14.5% ABV. Cork closure. Nicely aged food wine. QPR: 89.
6.Zonte's Footstep Lake Doctor Shiraz Viognier 2012, +72975, $17: done up in traditional North Rhone style with added viognier. Twist top, 14.5% ABV, dense and somewhat clunky at this stage. Try again in six months. QPR: 89.
7.Notte Rossa Primitivo di Manduria 2012, +395095, $17.95: delicious off-dry zin knockoff with complexity of black fruit, 14% ABV. Winner of two Gold Medals. QPR: 89.
8.Castellani Chianti Riserva 2010, +970707, $14.95: now over four years old but rustic and vibrant in life with typical MVC of sangiovese from approved Chianti regions. Deftly done and affordable. 12.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
9.Tenuta di Trecciano Chianti Colli Senesi 2013, +86314, $15.95: packed with sangiovese flavours but needs more time if you are willing to wait. 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
10.Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell 2012 Jumilla, +163154, $13.95: full-bore toastiness, dark fruit, six months in French oak, mocha tones. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench Niagara, +345819, $44.95 retail.
2.Chateau de Cruzeau Blanc 2009 Pessac-Leognan, +966010, $31.95.
3.Ropiteau Meursault 2013, +405159, $59.95.
4.Burrowing Owl Athene 2011 BC VQA Okanagan, +371336, $44.95.
5.Nk'Mip Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 BC VQA Okanagan, +303719, $27.95
6.Il Grigio da San Felice Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2010, +403477, $46.95.
7.Frescobaldi Nipozzano Vecchie Viti Riserva Chianti Rufina 2011, +395186, $29.95.
8.Beronia Gran Reserva 2007 Rioja, +940965, $39.95.
9.Finca La Emperatriz Reserva 2008 Rioja, +359927, $32.95.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Event: Zenato Wine Tasting, Proprietor's Selection

The Date and Time: Monday, February 23, 2015  10:30 - noon
The Event: Zenato Wine Tasting, Proprietor's Selection
The Venue: George Brown College Wine Lab
The Target Audience: about 20 students and some wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are or will be at the LCBO
The Quote/Background: Alberto Zenato spoke about his wines from the Veneto, along with the characteristics of appassimento.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Zenato Lugana San Benedetto 2013, +707158, $16.95 April Vintages
-Zenato Veneto Rosso IGT Parziale Appassimento 2012, +208579, $13.95 LCBO [with merlot and cabernet sauvignon juice and appassimento]
-Zenato Amarone della Valp;olicella Classico 2010, +413179, $49.95 Vintages
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Zenato Veneto Rosso IGT 2011, +208579, $12.15 LCBO
-Zenato Valpolicella Superiore 2012, +995704, $17.95 Vintages April
-Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore 2011, +479766, $25.95 Vintages
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Zenato Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT 2013, +37648, $15.95 Vintages
 
The Food: the chefs at George Brown prepared for us some typical Venetian food with samples of lentils, risotto, bread, and ground pork sausage.
The Downside: it was very cold outside and my TTC passage had been down.
The Upside: a chance to speak with Alberto Zenato.
The Contact Person: Sheila SwPuritt <spuritt@sympatico.ca> and     <mjordan.cipelli@bellnet.ca>.
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com