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Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Event: Portfolio tasting of Signature Wines & Spirits

The Date and Time:  Thursday, May 28, 2015   2PM to 5PM
The Event: Portfolio tasting of Signature Wines & Spirits
The Venue: La Maquette
The Target Audience: clients and wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: most everything is available through LCBO or Vintages now or later.
The Quote/Background: It had been awhile since I was at Brian Banyard's last porfolio tasting, so I welcomed it back.
The Wines: PNR = Price Not Reported
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casetta Barbaresco 2009, $22.95 +412247
-Dutton Estate Chardonnay Sonoma County 2012  PNR
-Chateau de la Riviere Fronsac 2005, $34.95
-Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2010, $75
-Chateau Haut-Logat 2010 Haut Medoc   PNR
-Coto de Imaz Rioja Reserva 2010  PNR
-Clos des Brusquieres 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape PNR   [fave of the day]
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Monte del Fra Amarone della Valpolicella 2009 $49.95 +47506
-Monte del Fra Ripasso della Valpolicella 2011 $19.95 +165662
-Querceto di Castellina L'Aura Chianti Classico 2012, $24.95 +405019
-Olivier LaFlaive Bourgogne Chardonnay 2012, $14.95 +942482
-El Coto de Rioja Rosado, $12.95 +404442
-El Coto de Rioja Crianza 2011  PNR
-Agostino Petrida Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Reserva 2010  PNR
-La Cuvee Mythique 2013 Pays d'Oc  PNR
-Bod. Mas Alta Artigas Priorat 2008   PNR
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-La Cave du Coudray Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2013, $13.95 +413757
-Cheval-Quancard Reserve Blanc Bordeaux, $13.95 +401604
-Val d'Orbieu Route de Sud Viognier France, $12.95 +405936
-Quinta do Valdoeiro Red Portugal, $12.95 +320036
-Senhora do Convento Tawny Port, $16.95 +398248
 
The Food: platters of mushrooms in pastry, bruschetta, grilled chicken breast slices, prosciutto, cheeses, grilled shrimp, deep fried brie, and more.
The Contact Person: postmaster@signaturews.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 85.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Event: Australia's First Families of Wine: speed dating fast-paced through Australia's wine history.

The Date and Time:  Tuesday, May 26, 2015   1:45 PM – 4 PM
The Event: Australia's First Families of Wine: speed dating fast-paced through Australia's wine history.
The Venue: AGO
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: everything was available through the LCBO distribution channels, although prices varied.
The Quote/Background: 11 multi-generational wine familes of Australia showed off the power of their wines through a variety of price ranges. The nighttime function, put on by Vintages, showed off four wines from each family, many available for ordering. We only had two wines to taste, at 3 minutes a wine (while listening to the winemaker/owner whose name was on the label).
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon New South Wales 2011, $29.95 (half) Vintages
-Tahbilk Museum Release Marsanne Victoria 2008, $24.95   Kylix
-Chareau Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 Victoria  N/A
-Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz Victoria 2009, $164   Kylix
-Wakefield The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Clare Valley, $175   Profile
-Yalumba FDR1A Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2005 Barossa/Eden Valleys, $65  Classics July
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Brown Brothers Patricia Chardonnay 2010 Victoria $59.95    Vintage Trade
-Brown Brothers Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Victoria $79.95    Vintage Trade
-De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2014, $30  Dionysus
-Henschke Mount Edelstone 60th Anniversary Vintage 2012 Eden Valley, $188 B & W
-Henschke Hill of Grace 2005 Eden Valley, $850 B & W   Wines
-Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River 2012, $80  Churchill
-Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 2006 Clare Valley, $270  Charton Hobbs
-McWilliam's Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 New South Wales, $29.95 Gallo
-Tahbilk Marsanne Victoria 2013, $17.95   Kylix
-Tyrrell's Wines Vat 47 Chardonnay Hunter Valley 2011   Mark Anthony
-Wakefield St Andrews Shiraz 2012 Clare Valley, $55   Profile
-Yalumba Viognier 2014 Eden Valley, $24.95  B & W Wines
-Henschke Keyneton Euphonium 2012 Barossa, $69  B & W
 
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-d'Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2013 McLaren Vale, $25    Churchill Cellars
-d'Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings 2016 McLaren Vale, $39    Churchill Cellars
-Howard Park Porongurup Riesling 2014  Churchill Cellars
-Jim Barry The Florita Riesling Clare Valley 2013, $50   Charton Hobbs
-McWilliam's Appellation Tumbarumba Chardonnay New South Wales 2013, $29.95 Vintages
-Tyrrell's Wines Vat 1 Semillon Hunter Valley 2010   Mark Anthony
-Yalumba Y Series Vermentino 2014, $14.95  B & W Wines
 
The Food: Italian salumi platter, cheeses, breads.
The Downside: it was my birthday, so I had to "work"
The Upside: a chance to taste some rare Oz wines with just a small crowd.
The Contact Person: popoffanne@gmail.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Event: a walk-around tasting of Rustenberg Winery, South Africa, with Murray Barlow, winemaker.

The Date and Time:  Monday, May 25, 2015  5:30 PM to 8PM
The Event: a walk-around tasting of Rustenberg Winery, South Africa, with Murray Barlow, winemaker.
The Venue: Fine Wine Reserve
The Target Audience: clients of Woodman Wines and Spirits, sommeliers, wine writers.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available through Vintages or private order.
The Quote/Background:
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rustenberg Chardonnay 2013, +598631, $19.95
-Rustenberg Merlot 2010, +404194, $19.95
-Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah, +414151 (Nov Vintages), $24.95
-Rustenberg John X. Merriman 2012, $24.95 PO  [Bordeaux blend]
-Rustenberg Peter Barlow 2008, +55574, $43  [cabernet sauvignon]
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2014, $17.95 PO
-Rustenberg Roussanne 2014, $22.95 PO
-Rustenberg Shiraz 2011, +399246, $19.95
-Rustenberg RM Nicolson 2013, $19.95  PO  [syrah/merlot/cabsauv]
 
The Food: International cheeses from the Cheese Boutique, including Ontario and PQ, about 10 in all.
The Contact Person: jason@woodmanws.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Event: Dinner/tasting with Grant Edmonds, chief winemaker of Sileni Estates.

The Date and Time: Thursday, May 21, 2015   6PM to 9PM
The Event: Dinner/tasting with Grant Edmonds, chief winemaker of Sileni Estates.
The Venue: Woods Restaurant
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available through the agent (Kirkwood Diamond) and/or through LCBO distribution.
The Quote/Background: Grant explored with us the different levels of wines at Sileni. There are 31 scattered over three levels. We had some of the Cellar Selections (entry levels) and some of the single vineyard series. But we did not have any of the EV: Exceptional Vintage line, which are only produced in exceptional years (chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, semillon LH).
Notes: The wine dinner began with artisanal charcuterie, mustards, crostini, pickles, along with Sauvignon Blanc Cellar Selection Marlborough 2014 [with 15% added semillon]($18.95, +662822), Chardonnay Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay 2014 ($15.95, +358994), and Pinot Noir Cellar Selection Hawke's Bay 2014 (about $19, not yet available at LCB0). Here, we all chatted with Grant about his wines (in general), with the three wines being acidic enough to pair well with fatty meats and pickles. The we sat and got down to tasting business. With wild Digby scallops and crispy confit augmented by bacon we had The Straits Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 ($19.95 consignment), an estate single vineyard wine that exuded typical New Zealand savvy tones. With cauliflower ravioli and roasted leeks plus wild mushroom, we had The Lodge Chardonnay Hawke's Bay 2014 ($19.95 consignment), one of my top picks from the recent New Zealand wine trade fair earlier this month. The Plateau Pinot Noir Hawke's Bay 2013 ($19.95, +132142) accompanied the yellowfin tuna with roasted red pepper tapenade, potato, and olives. But I thought the Lodge Chardonnay did a better job of pairing. The Triangle Merlot Hawke's Bay 2013, at 14% ABV, stood up to the Alberta Bison short rib on the bone, with its root veggies and maple whiskey glaze. Since there was no sweetie, I did not stay for dessert.
The Downside: I had just been at the German Wine Show although I did manage to refresh my body and palate.
The Upside: a chance to meet and talk with Grant Edmonds.
The Contact Person: lwandler@kirkwooddiamond.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

SOME NEW PRODUCTS TASTED THIS MONTH --

 
1.Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 California, $14.95 +68924: basic chunky and dense California cab; brooding  young wine, a bit jammy and spicy at this point yet showing some dried cassis and other dark fruit plus pepper. This is a winemaker's wine that should appeal to most, with some oak treatment. Twist top, 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Gnarly Head Pinot Noir 2013 California, $14.95, +358911: very much a California pinot full of creamy spiciness, lush and plush on the palate, mocha tones, black fruit. Sort of in your face Cali style. Best as a social wine rather than with food. Twist top. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 87 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Gusto Apple Palinka 41% (Johanna Kft, Hungary), +402602, $32.95 500 mL: a nifty dry 100% apple eaux-de-vie. You don't see these too often at the LCBO --what you usually see are apple-pear combos for such orchard fruit eaux-de-vie. So drier than Calvados and stronger than Applejack – perfect for Appletinis or straight-up, allowing you to savour the green apple aromas and sweet apple tones. No baked apples here! It is a bartender's dream to add proper apple flavours to mixed drinks. Made from apples grown in Kecskemet, Hungary, and put through a highly regulated and certified distillation system. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Chateau Tour Carmail 2011 Haut-Medoc, +419002, $19.95: from the Antoine Moeix negociant, this petit chateau-like wine is a new listing. 70% merlot/30% cabernet sauvignon, from vineyards near St. Estephe. Just about all H-M Bordeaux are good values, and this one is no exception. It is a typical red and black fruit Bordeaux with  the MVC and wood tones of something more pricey. It's about four years old now and many tannins have been resolved. The high merlot component ensures this. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Event: Next Generation Germany wine trade tasting

The Date and Time:  Thursday, May 21, 2015  11:30 AM to 4:30 PM
The Event: Next Generation Germany wine trade tasting
The Venue: Arcadian Lofts
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: wine availability is mainly private order with some wines at the LCBO or consignment.
The Quote/Background: Many producers came over for this event. There was a seminar for 60 people at 11:30, led by David Lawrason and Janina Huhnand.
 
The Wines: I did not try every wine, preferring to stay with riesling. I had some pinot noirs in the seminar, and they have been folded into here. There were about 40 wineries and over 170 wines.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Weingut Dr. Hermann Mosel Riesling Kabinett 2010  Andrews Group
-Ruppertsberger Weinkeller Hoheburg Riuesling Spatlese 2012 halbtrocken  Carto
-Markus Molitor 2007 Riesling Auslese Brauneberger Mandelgraben   Trialto
-St Urbans Hof 2013 Riesling Spatlese Piesporter Goldtropfchen
-Haart 2013 Riesling Kabinett Piesporter Goldtropfchen  HHD Imports
-Schloss Schonborn 2012 Riesling Hattenheim Alte Reben  HHD Imports
-Schloss Schonborn 2013 Riesling Estate HHD Imports
-Schloss Schonborn 2013 Riesling Kabinett Hattenheim Pfaffenberg  HHD Imports
-Schloss Schonborn 2013 Riesling Kabinett Erbach Marcobrunn  HHD Imports
-Schloss Reinhartshausen Riesling Brut Sekt   PMA
-Schloss Reinhartshausen 2013 Riesling Kabinett Hattenheim Wisselbrunnen  PMA
-Schloss Reinhartshausen 2006 Riesling Auslese Erbach Marcobrunn   PMA
-Wegeler Riesling Sekt Brut     Signature
-Salwey 2004 Pinot Noir GG Oberrotweiler Henkenberg    Tandem
-Balthasar Ress 2012 Riesling Auslese Urziger Wurzgarten   Churchill
-Kruger-Rumpf 2007 Riesling GG Pittersberg   Churchill
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss Altenahr Riesling 2014   Le Sommelier
-Weingut Bolling-Lehnert Mosel Piesporter Riesling Kabinett   BND Wines
-Weingut Bolling-Lehnert Mosel Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spatlese  BND Wines
-Gebruder Anselmann Riesling Auslese 2012 Edesheimer Rosengarten    Cojocaru
-Markus Molitor Deutscher Sekt Trocken Haus Klosterberg Mosel 2013  Trialto
-St Urbans Hof 2012 Riesling Auslese Ockfener Bockstein  The Vine
-Max Ferd Richter 2007 Riesling Spatlese Mulheim Sonnenlay    HHD Imports
-Max Ferd Richter 2013 Riesling Spatlese Brauneberg Juffer Sonnenuhr    HHD Imports
-Haart 2013 Riesling Spatlese Piesporter Goldtropfchen  HHD Imports
-Wegeler Riesling Spatlese 2012 Bernkasteler Doctor     Signature
-Thorle 2012 Pinot Noir Saulheimer Holle  Tandem
-Klumpp 2013 Riesling Baden Sekt    Living Vine
-Klumpp 2013 Riesling Baden    Living Vine
-Rappenhof 2012 Riesling Rheinhessen   Churchill Cellars
-Kunstler 2013 Riesling Kabinett Hochheimer Holle   Noble Estates
 
 
The Food: first, we had a tasting menu to accompany the 11:30 seminar wines, but of course it was very difficult to cross-taste and compare since the glasses and plates were in constant shuffle of placing and replacing. Pickled herring was least successful as it was tasted against three bone dry rieslings, and actually put me off my palate. It took awhile to recover. There were a dozen wines in the seminar, and many were paired against smoked pork belly (two older rieslings), short rib sauerbraten (three young pinot noirs), rare lamb (older pinots), and limburger (two off-dry rieslings). At the show, we had platters of food (sushi, spring rolls, fried treats, quail eggs, smoked warm sausage) plus cheese trays with fruit and veggies. Enough of just about anything that could be paired with German wines.
The Downside: parts of the seminar were difficult to hear and see.
The Upside: a great opportunity to catch up with new and fresh (2014) German wines.
The Contact Person: lisa@androscom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR JUNE 27, 2015

 
WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR JUNE 27, 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
 
Michel Gassier Les Piliers Syrah 2012 Costiere de Nimes, +678086, $18.95: a traditionally-made wine, with cork closure and 13.5% ABV. Great hit of syrah black and blue berries, plus a hint of brett and a nuance of leather. Buy lots. QPR: 90.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Sperling Gewurztraminer 2013 BC VQA Okanagan Valley, +242958, $21.95. QPR: 89.
2.Colome Torrontes 2013 Calchaqui Valley Argentina, +357913, $13.95: another version of the "wine of Toronto" comes here in time for the Pan-Am games. This one is exceedingly aromatic, a beauty for summer, 13.5% ABV, twist top. Long finish. QPR: 89.
3.Casa del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014, +974717, $13.95: for savvy lovers with added zest components. 13.5% ABV, twist top, typical character. QPR: 89.
4.Swings & Roundabouts Chardonnay 2013 Margaret River, +408732, $21.95. QPR: 90.
5.Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014 WO Stellenbosch, +231282, $17.95: this is a very good price for an "old vines" offering (some 37 years old) for chenin blanc. BF and BA as well, nicely structured. QPR: 89.
6.Bestheim Classic Gewurztraminer 2013 Alsace, +656801, $18.95: MVC but not off-dry as recent gewurzs have been. Also not as bitter a finish. Gold Medalist, and a candidate for "label of the year" (large black/blue print on white label). QPR: 89.
7.Monte del Fra Ca' del Magro 2012 Veneto, +165670, $17.95:a lovely entrance to summer, with Garganega floral aromas and orchard fruit tastes. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2013 VQA Niagara, +275958, $21.95. QPR: 90.
2.Zonte's Footstep Baron von Nemesis Single Site Shiraz 2012 Barossa Valley, +212936, $17.95: rich, ripe tones, double Gold winner, should be aged more. Buy a case. 14.5% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
3.Sileni The Triangle Merlot 2013 Hawke's Bay, +586081, $19.95: very good New World merlot, MVC, off-dry in the finish taste, 14% ABV, twist top. QPR: 88.
4.Chateau La Verriere 2012 Bordeaux Superieur, +349274, $15.95: MVC all the way for Bordeaux, good price for a Gold Medal. Youthful tones. QPR: 89.
5.Brumont Tour Bouscasse 2009 Madiran, +414615, $17.95: good aging for about 6 years. Dense smoke and dried fruit. Real character. QPR: 89.
6.Bricco Rosso Suagna 2009 Langhe Piedmont, +417022, $14.95: nifty price for a baby barolo, mostly nebbiolo with some dolcetto to freshen it up (it is almost 6 years old). Good for a modest priced BBQ wine. QPR: 89.
7.Varvaglione Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria 2012 Puglia, +261784, $20.95. QPR: 89.
8.Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2012, +295964, $23.95. QPR: 90.
9.Bod. Balbas Ardal Crianza 2005 Ribera del Duero, +167601, $16.95: a real find and a bargain to boot, ready now, 14% ABV. QPR: 90.
10.Borsao Berola 2011 Campo de Borja, +371518, $17: it has been awhile since the last Spanish garnacha went through the system. This one, at 15% ABV, is a powerhouse of North American appeal through its zinfandel-like fleshiness and flashiness. 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.Culmina Hypothesis 2012 BC VQA Okanagan Valley, +414243, $39.95 retail.
2.Domaine Le Clos des Cazaux La Tour Sarrasine Gigondas 2012, +279562, $28.95.
3.Il Molino di Grace Il Margone Riserva Chianti Classico 2007, +122895, $34.95.
4.Bodegas Vizcarra JC Vizcarra 2011, +214650, $29.95.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

The Event: Lunch with Johnathan Grieve of South Africa's top “biodynamic” producer Avondale and the Eurovintage agency.

The Date and Time: Wednesday, May 13, 2015  noon- 2PM
The Event: Lunch with Johnathan Grieve of South Africa's top "biodynamic" producer Avondale and the Eurovintage agency.
The Venue: Novotel Esplanade
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: one of the wines is here, another is coming, two others are under consideration, and the rest ?
The Quote/Background: Grieve talked about BioLOGIC, which combines organic and biodynamic principles. "Avondale is certified organic and we practice bio-dynamic agriculture". They also use conscientious technology such as gravity-flow. There was much discussion about organic wines and wine pricing. The Grieve family bought the estate in 1997.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Avondale Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009, $28  [first made in 2003] PO
-Avondale La Luna 2009, PO  [Bordeaux blend]
-Avondale Anima Chenin Blanc 2013, $22.95  PO
-Avondale Cyclus 2012, $26.95 [viognier & chardonnay & 3 more] [presented to Vintages]
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Avondale Samsara  Syrah 2009, $32.95  [presented to Vintages]
-Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin Red 2011, $14.95 +383547 Vintages
-Avondale Jonty's Ducks Pekin White 2013, $14.95 Vintages this fall
 
The Food: bread, spinach salad, strip loin with green beans, dessert.
The Downside: I had to leave early for a play.
The Upside: a chance to talk with Johnathan before the proceedings began.
The Contact Person: thomasn@rareearthwines.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Event: The 13th Annual Churchill Cellars Portfolio Tasting

 
The Date and Time: Monday, May 11, 2015  3Pm to 7PM
The Event: The 13th Annual Churchill Cellars Portfolio Tasting
The Venue: Ed Mirvish Theatre, back lobby on Victoria
The Target Audience: clients, subscribers to the Imbibers' Report, wine writers.
The Availability/Catalogue: just about everything is at the LCBO via the general list or Vintages. There is direct delivery for Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery.
The Quote/Background: It was a mildly garish location, but then that's the wine business – very elegant and stylish, very old style too.
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines, nor the mixed drinks.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-C.H. Berres Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2012 Mosel, $24.95
-Willm Gewurztraminer Reserve 2013 Alsace, $15.95
-Fresita Sparkling Wine NV Chile, $13.95 [my fave sparkler]
-Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2013 Livermore Valley, $17.95  [my fave white]
-Michael David Winery Earthquake Zinfandel 2012 Lodi, $39.95  [my fave red]
-Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider 2012 Quebec 375 mL, $25.25
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hermanos Lurton Tempranillo 2012 Toro, $16.90
-Willm Riesling Reserve 2013 Alsace, $15.95
-Chateau Tour Saint-Vincent 2010 Medoc Cru Bourgeois, $23.95
-d'Arenberg The Football Shiraz 2011 McLaren Vale, $21.95
-Sue-Ann Staff Estate Sassy and Sparkling Riesling 2011, $27.95
-Marques de Riscal Reserva 2010 Rioja, $24.30
-Chivite Gran Feudo Reserva 2008 Navarra, $16.95
-San Leonino Governo all'Uso Toscano 2013 Sangiovese Toscana IGT, $19.95
-La Merika Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Central Coast California, $19.95
-Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red 2012 Wahluke Slope Washington, $27.95
-Michael David Winery 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel 2012 Lodi, $24.95
-Michael David Winery Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Lodi, $24.95
-Marques de Riscal White 2014 Rueda, $12.20
-Chivite Gran Feudo Rosado 2014 Navarra, $11.95
-Gran Lurton Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Uco Mendoza Argentina, $24.95
-Francois Lurton Pinot Grigio 2014 Uco Argentina, $12.95
-Segura Viudas Cava NV Brut Reserva, $14.45
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Deakin Estate Artisan's Blend Cabernet Tempranillo 2013 Victoria, $12.80
-Alpine Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Marlborough, $15.45
-Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Livermore Valley, $17.95
-Guy Saget Sancerre 2013, $23.95
-Cellier des Dauphins Prestige White Cotes du Rhone 250 mL, $4.75
-Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Casablanca Valley Chile, $12.95
-Sue-Ann Staff Estate Merlot 2012, $19.95
-Sue-Ann Staff Estate Fancy Farm Girl Flamboyant Red 2012, $14.95
-Sue-Ann Staff Estate Cabernet Franc 2011, $19.95
-Waimea Pinot Gris 2014 Nelson New Zealand, $18.95
-Waimea Classic Riesling 2014 Nelson New Zealand, $18.95
-Bertani Valpolicella Ripasso 2011 Veneto, $17
-House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Western Cape South Africa, $12.85
 
The Food: there was a cheese platter with biscuits, and six slider platters of mini- pretzel buns with roast beef, smoked turkey, mortadella, roasted eggplant, chicken salad, and ham & cheese.
The Downside: I had just come off a heavy tasting weekend, so I was selective in my wine tasting here.
The Upside: a good chance to taste the Ontario wines of Sue-Ann Staff.
The Contact Person: mark@churchillcellars.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Event: Discover New Zealand in a Glass; the annual NZ trade show in Toronto

The Date and Time: Thursday May 7, 2015  1:30 – 5:30PM
The Event: Discover New Zealand in a Glass; the annual NZ trade show in Toronto
The Venue: ROM
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: just about all wines are available through the LCBO or Consignment or Private Order.
The Quote/Background: I pretty well stuck to the special pinot gris table, the special pinot noir table, and avoided sauvignon blanc. We had just tasted a variety of savvies on Sauvignon Blanc Day (see my notes from last month, now posted to my blog at       ).
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Auntsfield Estate Heritage Pinot Noir 2010, $74.95  DB Wine
-Auntsfield Estate Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2010, $39.95  DB Wine
-Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Syrah Hawke's Bay 2011, $58.99  Lifford
-Craggy Range Sophia Merlot Cabernet Blend Hawke's Bay 2011, $89.99  Lifford
-Marisco The King's Legacy Chardonnay Marlborough 2013, $19.99 +393694
-McArthur Ridge Pinot Noir Central Otago 2010, $32.65    Connectionz
-Mt.Difficulty Pinot Gris Bannockburn Central Otago 2013, $28  Small Winemakers
-Rocky Point Pinot Noir Bendigo Central Otago 2013, $39.95 +411777
-Rockburn Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012, $47.95  Epic
-Akarua Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago 2012, $38.95   Vonterra
-Loveblock Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012, $39.95  Trialto
-Whitehaven Pinot Noir Marlborough 2012, $24 +245696
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Auntsfield Estate Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2012, $29.95  DB Wine
-Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir Martinborough 2011, $61  Lifford
-Craggy Range Te Kahu Merlot Hawke's Bay 2011, $33.99  Lifford
-Elephant Hill Syrah Hawke's Bay 2013, $22.95 +408633
-Hunter's MiruMiru Sparkling Wairau Valley Marlborough NV, $25.95  Rogers
-Kim Crawford Small Parcels Fizz Sparkling Marlborough 2009, $29.95 +381236
-Kim Crawford Small Parcels Favourite Homestead Pinot Gris Marlborough 2013, $24.95 +378604
-Pasquale Chardonnay Waitaki Valley Central Otago 2012, $12.95  Trilogy
-Loveblock Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014, $24.95    Trialto
-Marisco The Ned Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014, $18.99   Stem
-Marisco The King's Thorn Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014, $19.99  Glencairn
-Roaring Meg Pinot Noir Central Otago 2013, $35   Small Winemakers
-Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Rose Hawke's Bay NV, $21.95 +280172
-Stoneleigh Latitude Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013, $25.95  +325654
-Saint Clair Premium Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013, $24.95 +413591
-Schubert Pinot Noir Wairarapa 2013, $37  Hobbs
-Sileni Estates The Lodge Chardonnay Hawke's Bay 2013, $19.95  Kirkwood Diamond
-Trinity Hill Chardonnay Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay 2013, $35  +415125
-Waimea Chardonnay Waimea Plains Nelson 2013, $21.95  +650242
-Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013, $27.95   Trialto
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Craggy Range Kidnappers Chardonnay Hawke's Bay 2012, $29.99  Lifford
-te Pa Pinot Gris Marlborough 2013, $17.99  Family Wine Merchants
-Babich Black Label Pinot Noir Marlborough 2014, $29.95   Dionysus
-Marisco The King's Wrath Pinot Noir Marlborough 2012, $29.95  Glencairn
-Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir Marlborough 2012, $34.95   Dandurand
 
The Food: there were some cheeses from the Dairy Farmers of Canada (Albert's Leap Bel Haven, Tipsy, and Miranda), as well as the usual selection from Daniel et Daniel (cheeses, dips, breads, pates, charcuterie, veggies
The Downside: because of a conflict with a music recital, I missed the seminar for the first time in years – and it was my fave grape, chardonnay, and bubblies!!!!
The Upside: a good mix of crowd, although fewer people from the Ontario wine industry.
The Contact Person: nzwine@ketchin.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

SOME NEW WINES TASTED THIS MONTH --

 
 
1.Remy Pannier Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2013 Loire, +13821, $15: one of the good values at the LCBO, constantly the top-seller for Muscadet in Ontario. Clean, clear, crisp, refreshing flavours of green apples and lemon-lime, some minerality. Best with crustaceans and bivalves such as oysters rather than with lake fish, pairs well with salads and veggies. 12% ABV. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Remy Pannier Rose d'Anjou 2014 AOC Loire, +12641, $14: the top-selling LCBO rose, now firmly entrenched and fresher than ever with the recent release of the 2014 vintage. Grapes include cabernet franc (60%), grolleau (30%), and gamay (10%). Only 10.5%, so perfect for sitting around on the deck/pool/balcony/patio. The producer recommends serving with salads or spicy foods, but I would also serve it with any first course that could play off vinous red fruit tones. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Santa Alicia Carmenere Reserva Maipo 2013, +309302, $12.90: carmenere could be the national grape of Chile, just as nebbiolo is of Piedmont and sangiovese is of Tuscany. Its brisk style has been muted a bit here with a North American appeal of plums, mocha, and black cherries, reminiscent of hotter California. Oak nuances and a smooth finish complete the scenario. An all-purpose red for sipping on decks or drinking with food. 13.5% ABV, twist top. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.G. Marquis Vineyards Chardonnay The Silver Line 2013 Single Vineyard Niagara Stone Road VQA NOTL, +258681, $17.95 Vintages October 2015: a nifty all-purpose chardonnay with enough fruit (apples, pears, melons) and oak tones (muted vanilla), probably best as a first course or entry level wine for fish. 13.4% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.G. Marquis Vineyards Pinot Noir The Silver Line 2013 Single Vineyard Niagara Stone Road VQA NOTL, +258673, $19.95 Vintages Essential: a "burgundian" companion to G. Marquis Chardonnay, hand-harvested, and vinified as cool climate style with a medium-body. More fruity than some, but with a diminished Ontario cranberry feel. 13.2% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Le Cirque Classique Sauvignon Blanc-Muscat 2012 Vin De France, +377093, $11.95 LCBO: an appealing and affordable wine for the summer sippers on the patio/balcony/deck/boat. It's what we used to call a zipcode wine (the only regional info was a French zipcode: here, it is F84049). Expect oranges with an overtone of light herbs, sort of like an orange salad, which I love. Best with creamy cheeses on the deck. 12% ABV, twist top.
Quality/Price rating is 87 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Puklus Pinceszet Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos 2010, $20.95 (500 mL), +980805): Hungarian nectar, full of apricot, dried peach and orange peel. 13% ABV. Try with blue cheese as an ending to the meal. No price increase over the 2008, last here at Vintages in 2014. There will not be many of these left as new Euro rules raise minimum sugar levels and increase the puttonyos to 5 or 6, eliminating all the 3 and 4 levels. Prices will rise too, through $50 a bottle. Quality/price rating 91 points by Dean Tudor.
 
 
8.Faustino VII Blanco Rioja 2013, $12.65 +399568 LCBO: an extra-dry white, with many tones of apples and lemons, finishing crisp. Better as a first course white rather than a casual social sipper. 11.5% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/price rating 87 points by Dean Tudor.
 
9.Faustino VII Tempranillo Rioja 2012, $12.95 +315234 LCBO: some oak showing but definite tempranillo MVC Rioja complexity, even at this price level. Expect some vanilla and mocha tones with a whiff of forest floor. 13% ABV. Cork closure. Quality/price rating 88 points by Dean Tudor.
 
 
10.Portia Ebeia Roble Ribera del Duero Tempranillo 2013, $15 +307710 LCBO: a nifty Ribera at an astounding price level. A good entry into the deep and delicious world of Spanish Duero wins. Oak spices, some cloves, raspberries, rustic but the lingering finish means it might be better with food than as a social sipper. Aged in oak 4 months. 13.5% ABV, cork closure. Quality/price rating 89 points by Dean Tudor.
 
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com