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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Event: Wines of Chile, Toronto trade show

The Date and Time: Tuesday, October 28, 2014   11:30 AM to 5PM
The Event: Wines of Chile, Toronto trade show
The Venue: ROM
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: the catalogue was nicely laid out, with specific tables for cool climate wines, top wines for licensees, the 11th Annual Wines of Chile Awards winners (from January 2014), and a table for Vintages Licensee program.
The Quote/Background: There was a "cool climate" seminar with Chris Waters and Hector Vergara, MS and President of the Sommelier Association in Chile, plus winery reps. My interpretations are folded into the listings below.
The Wines: I did not – could not – taste every wine.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Calcu Winemaker's Selection Colchagua Valley, $45  Don Ackerman
-Carmen Gold Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alto Maipo, $65  Charton Hobbs
-Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, $69.95 +315176
-Errazuriz Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Aconcagua Costa 2011, $23.95 +203364
-Maquis Lien Colchagua Valley 2009, $27.95  Vintages Feb 19/15
-Maquis Viola Colchagua 2010, $52  Don Ackerman
-San Estaban In Situ Laguna del Inca Aconcagua Costa 2011, $28.95  +163865
-San Estaban In Situ Gran Reserva Carmenere Aconcagua Costa 2012, $18.95 +93542
-San Estaban In Situ QV (new oak) Aconcagua Costa 2012, $39.90 MCO
-Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2010, $70.95   Mark Anthony
-Siegel Unique Selection 2011 Colchagua, $38.95  J. Cipelli
-Echeverria Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Central Valley, $25.95 +389221
-San Pedro 1865 Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2011, $19.95
-Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2012, $21.95 +337238
-Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir 2012 Casablanca, $69.95 +83378
-Ventisquero Kalfu Sumpai Pinot Noir 2013 Leyda, $24.99
-Ventisquero Kalfu Sumpai Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Atacama, $24.99
-Emiliana Signos de Origen White Blend 2013 Casablanca, $19.95
-Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose NV Bio Bio, $13.95 +365205
 
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Montes Purple Angel Colchagua 2011, +62364  $62.95
-Concha y Toro Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2010, $34.95 +562918
-Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Maipo, $16  +212993
-Antiguas Reservas Syrah 2012 Maipo, $16.95 Wine World Importers
-Emiliana Coyam 2011 Colchagua, $29.95
-Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay Aconcagua 2012, $22.95 +738393
-Errazuriz Single Vineyard Syrah Aconcagua 2012, $24.95 +387910
-Errazuriz Don Maximiano Aconcagua 2011, $79.95 +501247
-Leyda Singler Vineyard Garuma Sauvignon Leyda 2014, $19.95   Dionysus
-Maquis Franco 2010 Colchagua, $85   Don Ackerman
-Montgras Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Maipo, $24.95 +57901
-Montgras Ninquen Colchagua 2011, $29.95 +59329
-Morande Gran Reserva Carmenere Maipo 2010, $20.95 +371112
-Morande Edicion Limitada Sangiovese Maule 2012, $30      Majestic
-San Estaban In Situ Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Aconcagua Costa 2012, $13.95 +37952
-San Estaban In Situ Signature Chardonnay 60/Viognier 40 Aconcagua Costa 2012, $14.95 +311746
-San Estaban In Situ Signature Carmenere 55/Malbec 45 Aconcagua Costa 2012, $14.95 MCO
-Santa Alicia Sparkling Tierra Sur Bio Bio NV, $14.95   Eurovintage
-Santa Alicia Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2013 Maipo, $16.95 Eurovintage
-Santa Alicia Millantu Maipo 2012, $24.95  Eurovintage
-Tarapaca Gran Reserva Etiqueta Negra Maipo 2011, $29.95 +348045
-Maycas de Limari Quebrada Seca Chardonnay 2011 Limari, +331520 $30
-Concha y Toro Terrunyo Carmenere Rapel 2010, $34.95 +562892
-Tarapaca Gran Reserva Carmenere Maipo 2012, $17.95 +57513
-Morande Edicion Limitada Syrah/Cabernet Central Valley 201o, $30      Majestic
-Morande Brut Nature NV Casablanca, $40      Majestic
-San Pedro 1865 Carmenere Cachapol Valley 2011
-Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Alto Maipo, $16.95 +78980
-Ventisquero Grey Carmenere Maipo 2011, $19.95 +325415
-Morande Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2012 Casablanca, $20  Majestic
-San Pedro 1865 Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Leyda, $19.95
-Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Leyda, $13.95 +367292
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cousino Macul Finis Terrae Maipo 2010, $44.95  Wine World
-Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay 2013, $15.95  Wine World
-Perez Cruz Pircas de Liguai Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Maipo Andes, $37.95  Charton Hobbs
-Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Aconcagua Costa 2012, $18.95 +335174
-Perez Cruz Cabernet Franc Limited Edition Maipo Andes 2012, $19.95  Charton Hobbs
-Requingua Potro de Piedra Family Reserve Curico 2011 United Stars Corp
-Via Chilcas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Colchagua Costa 2012, $14.95 John Gibson Agency
-Santa Rita Medalla Real Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Leyda, $17.95  Mark Anthony
-Via Chilcas Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Casablanca 2013, $18.95 John Gibson Agency
-Via Chilcas Single Vineyard Chardonnay Itata 2013, $18.95 John Gibson Agency
-Santa Rita Floresta Cabernet Franc Pumanque 2012, $24.99  Mark Anthony
-Calcu Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Colchagua, $13.95  Don Ackerman
 
 
The Food: Daniel et Daniel provided charcuterie and cheese platters, as well as terrines, pates and raw veggies. Passarounds included empanada turnovers.
The Downside: It was a long day with many wines, and some of the reps turned up late.
The Upside: a chance to taste award winning wines and some cool climate wines as well.
The Contact Person: lisa@androscom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Event: MontGras Chilean wine presentation, tasting and dinner

The Date and Time: Wednesday, October 8, 2014   6:30 PM to 9 PM
The Event: MontGras Chilean wine presentation, tasting and dinner
The Venue: Wildfire Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Cosmopolitan Hotel
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: we tasted the three wines that are available right now in the Ontario marketplace. More might be coming. The agency is The Kirkwood Group.
The Quote/Background: Jaime de la Cerda, Amaral winemaker, talked about the MontGras company (Hernan Gras once worked in Ontario as winemaker for Brights) which was founded in 1993 by the Gras brothers. He then presented the Amaral (Leyda) Sauvignon Blanc 2013 which is at the LCBO, and the 2014 which is coming soon. He also showed us two component wines, one from Lot 34 2014 (limestone), and one from Lot 7 2014 – these were part of the overall 2014 blend. He gave us some tasting overviews on the Syrah and Carmenere wines.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-MontGras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc Leyda 2013 – persistent flavours from vines planted in 2006, +367292 LCBO, $13.85.
-Amaral Lot 34 Limestone
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-MontGras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc Leyda 2014
-Amaral Lot 7
-MontGras ANTU Syrah 2012, +675371 Vintages, $17.95
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-MontGras Reserva Carmenere 2013, +178624, $11.90
 
The Food: Wildfire has been established at the Cosmopolitan Hotel for a few months (the mother restaurant is near Hoggs' Hollow on North Yonge). Our menu began with the showoff food for the Amaral Sauvignon Blanc – a seafood ceviche of fish, shrimp, red onion and cilantro. It was dense and complex, much like the wine that accompanied it.
This was followed by a choice, so I took the Australian lamb rack since I wanted to compare it to the ANTU Syrah and the Carmenere Reserva. Both were good choices, but the Syrah was better.
The Downside: initially, it was a little noisy from the boisterous crowd downstairs, but then they left for the hockey game.
The Upside: a chance to talk to the winemaker.
The Contact Person: rochelle@mgbmc.com; rsandham@thekirkwoodgroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, October 27, 2014

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
 
 
21.TAPAS AND OTHER SPANISH PLATES TO SHARE (Ryland Peters & Small, 2010, 2014, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-570-2, $19.95 US hard covers) is a publisher's collection of assorted recipes – 60 preps for sharing, all with a Spanish theme. Recipes come from six writers, including Juliz Beresford (who has the most) and Linda Tubby (second-most). It was originally published in 2010 and slightly revised for 2014. It is a full range of meat, poultry, seafood and fish, veggies, cheese and eggs. Typical are chicken with garlic, Catalan chickpea salad, chorizo in red wine, pork and veal turnovers, ham and chicken croquettes, migas, and others, ending with tortilla campestre. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois and some metric measurements, but there is no table equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.
 
 
 
22.EASY EVERYDAY SLOW COOKER RECIPES (Robert Rose, 2010, 2014, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0483-3, $27.95 CAN soft covers) is by Donna-Marie Pye, whose slow cooker books now have over a half million copies in print. The 200 preps here come from Slow Cooker Winners, a collection of 300 or so recipes, published in 2010. All courses are covered, from soups, stews, chilis, poultry, meats, big dinners, meals for two, and desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
23.FAMILY TABLE; recipes and strategies (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2008, 2014, 189 pages, ISBN 978-1-55455-037-1, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is by Marie Breton and Isabelle Emond, dieticians and mothers who have written other family cookbooks. This one was published first in French in 2006, then translated into English for publication in 2008, and it is now reissued as a soft covered book. It's a book about organizing a kitchen, menus and shopping lists in order to nutritionally feed a family. There are also some suggestions here for helping kids become good eaters and how to connect at dinner time. There are about 100 healthy, simple, fast and appetizing preps with nutritional values listed separately by dish and plenty of variations. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
24.JOHN SCHREINER'S OKANAGAN WINE TOUR GUIDE. Revised and updated fifth edition (Whitecap, 2014, 430 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-230-7, $19.95 Canadian paper covers) is by the renowned B.C. writer who has written many books about B.C. and Canadian wines, as well as snapping up major writing awards in this area. He's been busy in the past few
years, crafting works on Canadian wines (in general) and on BC wines. The publisher claims that Schreiner has added 60% new material to this fifth edition, yet the price has remained the same – and 60 more pages were added. This tour guide includes the Similkameen Valley as well, which is the most southerly wine region in BC but only 5% the size of the Okanagan. He describes the sub-regions, and this is followed by an
alphabetical order to the 196 (up from 178 in the last edition) wineries themselves including others not yet producing. For each, there is a description and commentary, followed by some specific but brief notes on a few of the wines. A black and white picture of the owner and/or winemaker appears, as well as the date opened, address, phone numbers, website, and times of day open. Maps appear on the back flaps. Schreiner concludes with a vineyard census, general production figures, and VQA sales. The most popular grape in BC is still Merlot, followed by Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer. The black and white photos are still on the dark side. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
25.PEPPER; a history of the world's most influential spice (St. Martin's Press, 2013, 302 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-04866-0, $16.99 US soft overs) is by Marjorie Shaffer, a business and science writer currently at New York University School of Medicine. This is the paperback reprint of the 2013 hardbound edition. She's crafted details about what is arguably the most important of the taste spices: black pepper. It's not a thorough history of European pepper trading in Asia, but it does examine why – and how – our forebears wanted a single product. As such, it is also the business history of the trading routes and regions. And there are also some pages on the US pepper fortunes. The colour section is loaded with visuals of plants, plantations, older woodcuts, and early drawings. She's got maps of the Indian Ocean, India, Malaysia and Indonesia so that readers can track the trade routes. There are copious end notes, a well-researched bibliography, and a workable index. Quality/Price Rating: 90.
----------------------------------------------------

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work at home, but how could that be? The books all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
 
 
11.THE SOUP SISTERS AND BROTH BROTHERS COOKBOOK (Appetite by Random House, 2014, 208 pages, ISBN 978-0-449-01642-8, $24.95 CAN paper covers) has been edited by Sharon Hapton, founder of Soup Sisters, a non-profit (with branches) that organizes multiple volunteer soup-making events across Canada – serving over 10,000 every month. This particular book of some 100 soups follows the seasons, and comes from both the volunteers and celebrity Canadian chefs such as Rob Feenie, Susur Lee, Michael Smith, Anna Olson and some international chefs. Included are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The Soup Sisters Cookbook was originally published in 2012; this second volume contributes different recipes. Preps have been sourced (eg. Mark McEwan's corn bisque, Daniel Hayes' gazpacho Andaluz) and most make 4 to 6 servings. There are savory rutabaga and red lentil soup, Mexican lime soup with chicken and feta, Parisian cream of green bean with white wine and herbs, and avgolemono soup. Sales from the book goes to support the programs. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Do visit www.soupsisters.org. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
12.THE GEFILTEFEST COOKBOOK (Grub Street, 2014, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-909166-25-7, $40 CAN hardback) is from Gefiltefest, a British Jewish food charity which explores the relationship between Judaism and food through education in heritage, ethics, culture and traditions. Over a three year period, 65 global chefs (including Deborah Madison, Fred Plotkin, Claudia Roden, Paula Wolfert, Yotam Ottolenghi) donated recipes to this project. The book is in regular format, beginning with starters, soups, salads, progressing to mains and desserts. There is also a history of Jewish cookbooks, contributed by Maureen Kendler. Preps are sourced (Madison's elixir of fresh peas, Tina Wasserman's Moroccan orange and olive salad, Florence Fabricant's leeks and fennel in anise vinaigrette) and each is labeled parve or dairy, etc., with variations. Each contributor is given a short bio. Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
 
13.BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN (Chronicle Books, 2014, 225 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-2234-2, $29.95 US  hard covers) is by Tanya Holland, executive chef and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ in West Oakland, California. Jan Newberry is the focusing food writer. Log rollers include Alice Waters, Sara Moulton, and Bruce Aidells. This is a soul food place, and the book has 80 preps to reflect that, such as shrimp & chicken gumbo, summer squash succotash, North African spiced beef short ribs, blackened catfish, bourbon and chili-glazed salmon, or jerk baby black ribs. Arrangement is by course, from breakfast through snacks, salads, lunch, soups, sandwiches, big bowls, and sweets. There are a dozen beverages, not all alcoholic. And of course there is some memoir material about the restaurant. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and (mainly) avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
14.TACOLICIOUS (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 212 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-562-4, $22 US hard covers) is by Sara Deseran, co-owner of Tacolicious in San Francisco (4 locations in the area). It comes with log rolling from Mark Miller and three other chefs. She's had assistance from her husband (the other co-owner, her exec chef, and the beverage manager. It is a handsome book, with excellent photography and design, beginning with salsas, moving through snacks, sides, tacos, and then beverages (mainly cocktails) for 40 pages. There is a glossary, list of mail order sources, and even a listing of some her fave Latin restos in California and Mexico. She's got pork albondigas in chipotle sauce, carnitas taco, chile verde taco, potato and chorizo taco, and a Lone Star breakfast taco. There's also spicy pork ribs with jicama salad, halibut crudo with citrus and capers, and tuna tostadas. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR OCTOBER 25, 2014

 
WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR OCTOBER 25, 2014
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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.
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Ventisquero Queulat Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2012 Single Vineyard Casablanca Chile, +389213, $15.95: exceptionally well-developed in age (could be cork?), 13.5% ABV, nice funky tones which I like, good solid MVC for pinot, and the price is unbeatable. No second bottle to try. QPR for this bottle: 92.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Gunderloch Jean-Baptiste Riesling Kabinett 2013 Rheinhessen, +480517, $21.95. QPR: 89.
2.Montes Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Zapallar Vineyard Aconcagua Valley, +389643, $19.95: very zesty, very much like kiwi or Loire Valley with some higher class minerality. Long, long finish. QPR: 89.
3.Yalumba The Y Series Viognier 2013 South Australia, +624502, $16.95: spices and tree orchard fruit dominate, good notes on the mid-palate, medium finish, off-dry texture. Not as fruity as in previous years, but still viognier. 14.1% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
4.Glenelly Cellars Grand Vin Chardonnay 2012 WO Coastal Region, +382200, $19.95: light smoke, balanced fruit, strong on mid-palate through to finish, but there also seems to be a price creep here. 13% ABV. QPR: 88.
5.Trenel Bourgogne Blanc 2012, +391094, $16.95: in the cheap and cheerful category, memories of chardonnay, 12.5% ABV, juicy enough to develop some value. QPR: 88.
6.Domaine La Haute Fevre Sevre & Maine Sue Lie Muscadet 2013, +390625, $13.95: refreshing wine, crisp citric and green apple tones, seafood all the way, from old vines (LCBO says in excess of 35 years), 12% ABV. A bargain. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Mendoza Vineyards Gran Reserva Malbec 2010, +379123, $23.95. QPR: 89
2.Famille Perrin Les Christins Vacqueyras 2012, +973453, $24.95. QPR: 89.
3.Arrocal Passion 2010 Ribera del Duero, +383968, $23.95. QPR: 90.
4.Vega Escal 2008 Priorat Reserva de la Tierra, +210997, $21.95. QPR: 90.
5.False Bay Vineyards Peacock Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 WO Western Cape, +382226, $15.95: another bargain with good depth at 14.5% ABV, off-dry on mid-palate, but with a concentrated finish. QPR: 89.
6.Chateau La Fleur Grands Landes 2009 Montagne Saint-Emilion, +387522, $18.95: a value wine for Bordeaux under $20. Merlot based fruitiness, MVC Bordeaux of black currants, spices, cedar, and of course plums. 13.5% ABV from climate change. All components in place. QPR: 89.
7.Chateau de Ciffre Terroirs d'Altitude Saint-Chinian 2011: a Gold Medalist from the Midi, 14.5% ABV, dense texture but tastes soft and fruity, many syrah tones, plush finish. QPR: 89+.
8.Chateau Rigaud AP Faugeres, +393561, $17.95: anise does not dominate the emerging black fruit. A French GSM. 14% ABV. Needs decanting and/or breathing. QPR: 89.
9.Chateau Peyros Tannat/Cabernet 2009, +208249, $14.95: a big wine for this price level, nicely aged, needs one more year, tannic now but developing more fruit attributes. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
10.Roggiano Morellino di Scansano 2012, +946954, $16.95: brimming with ripe dark fruit and barrel complexity, 13.5% ABV. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
11.Alente Premium Trincadeira/Aragonez 2011 Alentejo, +21527, $16.95: another wine from a newly emerging region in Portugal – a dynamic red blend of indigenous grapes (three or more). 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
12.Raminez de la Piscina Crianza 2009 Rioja, +383018, $15.95: the supply of modestly priced older Rioja, even at Crianza level, never seems to run out. A hidden treasure at this price level. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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.Domaines Schlumberger Saering Riesling 2010 Alsace Grand Cru, +627950, $30.95 retail.
2.Domaine  Hamelin Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru, +391805, $29.95.
3.Emiliana Coyam 2011 Colchagua Valley, +63891, $29.95.
4.Chateau Magnol 2010 Haut-Medoc, +384271, $25.95.
5.Giacosa Bussia Barolo 2009, +344721, $39.95.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

The Event: Toronto launch of Vignamaggio Monna Lisa Chianti Classico in Ontario

The Date and Time: Wednesday, September 17, 2014   5PM to 7PM
The Event: Toronto launch of Vignamaggio Monna Lisa Chianti Classico in Ontario, repped by H.H.D. Imports, and hosted by Carla Bani, the Vignamaggio Estate Diector.
The Venue: Grano
The Target Audience: wine media and opinion makers.
The Availability/Catalogue: Vignamaggio Monna Lisa Chianti Classico 2011 is General List +3781323, $19.85.
The Quote/Background: Vignamaggio (Greve) was once the estate of Monna Lisa Gherardini's family (she was born in 1479). The estate was sold in 1500, but the young Monna Lisa was painted by Da Vinci at the estate, with a background of vineyards and castles. Previously, in Ontario, the Reserve level was available as Castello di Monna Lisa, but it was felt that proper marketing would be best with a regular (and affordable) Monna Lisa Chianti Classico. It's under $20 and 100% sangiovese. The 2011 showed depth in its dark red sourish cherries, anise, some leather and spices in the background. Balanced tannins suggest early rather than later drinking. Medium fruit on the palate, but some kick in the finish for tomato based foods. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures. Other wines made by the company, but not available at the tasting, include the renowned IGT Toscana wine, Obsession.
The Food: prosciutto and bread sticks; potatoes and ground beef; pizza strips; crostini with liver; eggplant pouches; croquettes; grapes with goat cheese and pistachios; prunes with walnuts and gorgonzola (best accompaniment of these apps, in my opinion).
The Downside: it was just the one wine.
The Upside: we had time to focus with Carla Bani.
The Contact Person: info@hhdimports.com  carla@vignamaggio.com carla@vignamaggio.com;
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, October 19, 2014

SOME MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

3.THE COMPLETE COCONUT COOKBOOK (Robert Rose, 2014, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0488-8, $24.95 US paper covers) is by Camilla V. Saulsbury, a freelance food writer and recipe developer (see her www.powerhungry.com blog). I've always been partial to single ingredient cookbooks that are also comprehensive; they tend to give you everything there is to know about a food, such as coconut. Even hard core health food people have embraced high energy coconut dishes. Her book as 200 gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free vegan recipes using coconut flour, oil, sugar, and other non-meat non-dairy vegan ingredients. It is also a typical Robert Rose book with that particular layout and design (large print, both forms of measurement, tips). She has about four dozen pages of notes emphasizing health and food partners for coconut, plus some bibliographic references at the end. She's got a bunch of coconut flour recipes (tortillas, flax bread, flatbread, focaccia, and pie crust), but most of the preps use coconut oil or coconut milk in place of dairy and fats. All courses are covered, from breakfast through desserts, with beverages, breads, and cakes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: vegans, healthy lifestyle adherents.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: coconut pancakes; Moroccan sweet potato, butter bean and coconut tagine; coconut-braised baby bok choy; raspberry crumble bars.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
4.WILL IT WAFFLE? (Workman Publishing, 2014, 210 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-7646-6, $14.95 US paper covers) is by writer Dan Sumski, currently living in Montreal. It is an attempt to impose waffle structure on a variety of food items. He promotes waffled bacon and eggs (waffle the bacon, waffle the eggs for lacy whites, and a waffle for a platform). Some may say it is too much of a good thing, but if you like the look and appearance of waffles, then you use a waffle appliance for anything that needs to be cooked. And I am all for using these small gadgets since they have a built-in cost of infrequent use and kitchen space. Here are 53 recipes to make in a waffle iron. He likes the Belgian machine best, for its deeper ridges. There's a short section on waffle history and culture, plus equipment use and safety. This is followed by chapters on breakfasts and brunches, mains, snacks and sides, and desserts. There is also a section on pitfalls, such as too little or too much liquid, how to waffle ice cubes and mixed drinks, and other silly stuff. Over all it is worth a look, but I'm sure that if you have a panini machine, it would work just as well – but with different grill marks. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who own a waffle maker.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: spaghetti and waffled meatballs; waffled raviolis; waffled calamari salad; bibimbap; s'mores (of course).
Quality/Price Rating: 84.
 
 
5.THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAKING MEAD (Voyageur Press, 2014, 160 pages, ISBN 978-0-7603-4564-1, $24.99 US paper covers) is by Steve Piatz, an award-winning beer and mead-maker. He's a Grand Master for the beer judge certification program, and an exam director the the BJCP exam program. It has been awhile since the last mead making book, but here you can find the latest up-to-date techniques. Mead seems to appeal to beer makers since many of the same processes are involved and bottling just involves beer bottles and crown caps. He offers us a brief description of what mead is all about in culture and history; this is followed by materials on mead's character and the varieties involved. He goes on to produce dozens of recipes for the basic meads (only honey), melomel (honey and fruit), metheglins (honey and spices), and braggots (honey and malt), the latter a definite connection to beer making. Chapters cover the basics of ingredients, yeasts, the process, finishing the mead, and bottling. He's got some advanced techniques (clarifying, blending, aging) and recipe development as well. There is a troubleshooting section covering faults (but not for beer malt) and controls, and a concluding glossary of terms. He introduces a log page which can be photocopied for each batch, and a source list. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of  equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home brewers, mead lovers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: he stresses the no-boil process and the staggered addition of yeast nutrients.
The downside to this book: more recipes, please
The upside to this book: excellent photography for the equipment and use.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
6.PROOF; the science of booze (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 264 pages, ISBN 978-0-547-89796-7, $26 US hard covers) is by Adam Rogers, a science and technology award-winning writer. It comes with some heavy duty log rolling from at last 8 other writers, including a student dropout I once taught in journalism school! He begins with yeast, sugar, fermentation, and CO2 bubbles, and then the distillation process. After that, it is merely a matter of aging, smelling and tasting, reaction of the body, the brain, and then the hangover. At each point he goes into exhaustive detail. It is a scientific history, recapping all the advances that come together in the modern bottle. There is nothing social here such as religion and its impact, nor any mention of the Arabic world's contribution – at least not in the index. He has a discussion about craft brewers and artisanal distillers such as St. George, but little on wine.
Audience and level of use: spirit lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the major part of the book deals with distillation as it applies to whiskey.
The downside to this book: he doesn't look at the complete decomposition cycle where alcohol will turn to vinegar, and then vinegar to water.
The upside to this book: very well written.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
7.THE ULTIMATE BEER LOVER'S HAPPY HOUR (Cumberland House, 2014, 307 pages, ISBN 978-1-4022-9632-1, $14.99 US paper covers) is by John Schlimm who also wrote The Ultimate Beer Lover's Cookbook. He's also a member of the brewing family Straub. Here he's got bar bites, beer cocktails, chasers, punches, etc. with nearly 1000 related pairing suggestions using the modern seasonal beer style. It is all for your own happy hour at home. He's got a short discourse on beer styles and a seasonal beer chart (winter is the time for doppelbock, dunkelweizen, stout and scotch ale). Then he presents different preps for nuts (including the hot spot nut bar with toasted pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cashews) and pretzels, chickpeas, kale chips, popcorn, etc.), corn fritters and dills, game day sauces/salsas/dips, tapas, pizzas, and burgers. All of it is easy to make. There is a resource guide and a glossary. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beer hounds.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: see above
The downside to this book: so many preps.
The upside to this book: a good idea for a home Happy Hour. Saves money.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
8.YUMMY SUPPER (Rodale, 2014, 278 pages, ISBN 978-1-60961-544-4, $24.99 US paper covers) is by Erin Scott, creator of the blog www.yummysupper.com. It comes with log rolling by Deborah Madison, Alice Waters, and three others. Scott gives us 100 fresh and luscious recipes, mostly drawn from her blog. But gluten is not everywhere. Many of the preps were gluten-free to begin with: that is, the classic preps had (and hers continue to have) no wheat/barley/rye. Her divisions are slurp, egg, veg, sea, butcher shop, grain + seed, nut, fruit, and kid faves. Just carefully read any labels to avoid gluten. So you really won't find any gluten replacements here by way of bread or flour. There are a few substitutes such as pasta, but no preps for loaves of breads or cakes using GF materials. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who must avoid gluten.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: apple galettes; figs with prosciutto; pears poached in Lillet; preserved lemons; brown sugar caramel corn; baked eggs on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes; frittata packed with greens.
The downside to this book: the use of faint green ink lessens the appeal when searching for items – it is hard to read, too faint.
The upside to this book: good looking index.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
 
9.I LOVE RAMEN (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3807-0, $16.99 US hard covers) is by Toni Patrick, who doesn't seem to have a life arc. In the Introduction, she appears to be a student somewhere living with five other students, all doing ramen. Of course, I should have realized it: ramen is the student's new Kraft Dinner – it is more affordable. Anyway, you'll need to be young if you want to survive the salt, which is quite a change from the sugar of teen years. Nothing in moderation, apparently. The arrangement is by course, from soup to sweets. Typical are puns such as beef ramenoff, or implement-driven such as slow cooker beef and noodles. Chicken fajita ramen salad sounded interesting. But then it hit me: the preps are basically stews that could also be made with vermicelli or rice. Why bother with ramen? It's a peer thing.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: college undergraduates, penurious millennials.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: see above
The downside to this book: ramen can be added anything if you avoid the packet.
The upside to this book: moderately=priced food.
Quality/Price Rating: 80.
 
 
 
10.FRENCH COMFORT FOOD (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3698-4, $30 US hard covers) is by Hillary Davis, a longtime food journalist who has been living in France for the past 13 or so years. She's written a few books on French food, and here tackles what is largely classic bistro and home food. Despite the price, it is a posh looking book with many large photos, giving the book an appearance of being a travel title. Comfort food involves good digestion, which in many cases means fat/salt/sugar in some form. She's got a short discourse on the regional flavours of France, and the preps come from all of these regions. She opens with iconic cheese souffles, but served in a mug – thereby capturing an old dish but in a new presentation. Very clever. She ends with brie melted in its box with brown sugar for two. Again, very clever. You can use a cheaper US brie knockoff in a melt dish (melted cheese is extremely popular) with all the sugar you can handle. Topics include apps, brunch French style, soups, sandwiches, family-style recipes, supper with friends, and sweets. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois with some metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents  printed.
Audience and level of use: comfort food lovers, travel lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Other iconic dishes include duck breasts with black cherry sauce, flank steak with port sauce, lobster thermidor, chicken marengo, and pan bagnat.
The downside to this book: too many non-food larger photos.
The upside to this book: nicely presented.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, October 18, 2014

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

WORD OF MOUTH; what we talk about when we talk about food (University of California Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-520-27392-4, $29.95 US hard covers) is by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, a sociology professor at Columbia University specializing in French cultural and cuisine studies. Here, in the social aspects of cross-cultural studies on food she delves into conversation about food, which she notes can often trump consumption. She explains the language behind culinary practices: how we talk about food says a great deal about the world and our place in it. I am reminded of a very recent New Yorker cartoon in which the man asks his wife, "Now that it's summer, should we talk incessantly about tomatoes or corn?" To master food talk in all its forms and applications she draws on documents, interviews, cookbooks, novels, comics, essays and films. The focal point is of course North America, but there is also a strong linkage with the mother cuisine of France since that is what most of the intelligentsia has been exposed to. There are end notes, a huge bibliographic section, and an index.
Audience and level of use: sociologists, food lovers, knowledgeable foodies.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: In the culture of haute food, culinary individualism trumps established authority, innovation takes precedence over tradition, and experimentation has priority over formality. The ordered world of haute cuisine has rules, regulations, and reverence for the whole over the part.
The downside to this book: it is a compelling book but a scholarly read.
The upside to this book: great topic.
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Event: A vertical tasting of Osoyoos Larose VQA Okanagan, 2001 – 2010 plus their second wine Petales d'Osoyoos 2011.

The Date and Time: Monday, September 8, 2014   10:30AM to 1:30PM
The Event: A vertical tasting of Osoyoos Larose VQA Okanagan, 2001 – 2010 plus their second wine Petales d'Osoyoos 2011.
The Venue: private home
The Target Audience: a dozen Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.
The Availability/Catalogue: current vintages are available, but the older ones are hard to procure. Two of our members produced wines from their own cellars; the rest came from the BC estate.
The Quote/Background: Michael Pinkus, President of the WWCC, worked long and hard to organize this tasting. We lined up the bottles in vintage order, pulled the corks, and tasted – and re-tasted. Most of us were at it for two hours. Michael later wrote to the Estate: "On behalf of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, I would like to extend a sincere thank you for providing us the almost complete vertical of Osoyoos Larose wines. The tasting was well-attended by members who unanimously felt the wines showed beautifully and demonstrated the pinnacle of red winemaking in Canada. In short, the familiarizing of the Osoyoos Larose wines was almost certainly a valuable exercise for our membership of wine opinion leaders. Please thank Mathieu and all those at Osoyoos Larose for us."
The Wines: These following notes are a mix of my notes and some data provided by Osoyoos Larose in view of the time frame of the wine, both "as is" and re-tried. The scores are mine alone. Collectively, the writers seemed to enjoy 2001, 2008 and 2005 in that order.
 
2001: Fully developed on the nose with medium intensity aromas of spicy dried black fruit, chocolate, green olive and oak. Lovely long length, 13.9% ABV. Very much an aged complexity, but ultimately faded an hour and a half later. The blend is 66/25/9 merlot/cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2002: Black fruit aromas with spicy smoke undertones and a touch of forest floor. Tannic, still needs time to develop, but opened up after 90 minutes. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 57% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2003: Aging very well, some initial VA blew off. Much better 90 minutes later. Leather, plum. Medium coarse tannins. The finish is warm dry. 13.4$ ABV. The blend is 75% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2004: Developing, but great nose of black fruit, smoke, and herbs. A full-bodied wine with balanced acidity and ripe tannins. Some anise, tobacco leafiness. Very complete wine. 13.5% ABV. My fave of the tasting. The blend is 68% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2005: Persistent merlot tones throughout the tasting, even 90 minutes later. Pepper, spices, mocha, vanilla, licorice, cassis, black cherry, tobacco leaf, black olive flavours. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 67% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2006: Tannic with lots of spices and smoke. 13.5%. Slightly off-dry finish. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 69% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2007: Quite similar to the 2006 with a typical nose (mocha, black fruit, olive). A tight compact wine, needs more time to evolve, even after 90 minutes of movement. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 70% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2008: This rich full-bodied wine with red fruit and caramel represents a shift in winemaking philosophy? Spices with a well-rounded tannin structure and fruit driven finish.13.5% ABV. The blend is 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot, reminiscent of the 2002 blend. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2009: Exceedingly bright and ripe, rich persistence of red fruits and caramel/vanilla. One would swear it was California in style, with its ripe tannins. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2010: Made as a traditional Bordeaux-styled wine, with smoke and cedar and tobacco plus red and black fruit. But quite a ways to go. 13.8% ABV. The blend is merlot 67%, cabernet sauvignon 20%, petit verdot at 6%, cabernet franc at 4% and malbec at 3%. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2011: Petales d'Osoyoos 2011, a second wine, with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec, 13.6% ABV. First made in 2004. It seemed to be a very nice version of a light Haut-Medoc. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
The Food: none, just water.
The Contact Person: emily@emacommunications.com; kate@katecolley.com; michael@michaelpinkuswinereview.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR OCTOBER 11, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR OCTOBER 11, 2014
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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.
 
 
====>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Pella the Vanilla Chenin Blanc 2012 WO Stellenbosch, +389619, $14.95: remarkable price for oak inflected chenin blanc (previously, steen) with some viognier. Rancio tones start to dominate because of the oaky component. 12.5% ABV, cork closure, very well balanced. QPR: 90+
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Vincent Mothe Chablis 2012, +390468, $22.95. QPR: 89.
2.Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer 2012 CSV VQA Beamsville, +302059, $17.95: good MVC, close to Alsatian spiciness but with medium body. Nicely attained bitterish aftertaste. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, +686675, $18.95: tasty savvy minerality with greens, MVC leans more to salads as accompaniment. Twist top. 13% ABV. QPR: 88.
4.Argyros Assyrtiko 2013 PDO Santorini Greece, +387365, $19.95: very good citric acidity, volcanic soil and chalky. Pushing Chablis for dominance in the seafood market. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2012 VQA Ontario, +461699, $24.95. QPR: 91.
2.Rustenberg John X Merriman 2011 WO Stellenbosch, +707323, $24.95. QPR: 92.
3.Christian Moueix Saint-Emilion 2010, +979955, $23.95. QPR: 89.
4.Torrevento Vigna Redale Castel del Monte Riserva 2009 Puglia, +208256, $22.95. QPR: 91.
5.Giuseppe Campagnola Ripasso della Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012, +313486, $16.95: this month's candidate for the LCBO Ripasso of the Month value. QPR: 89.
6.Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2012 DO Campo de Borja, +273748, $19.95: old vines  are used here, along with an ABV of 15% to plump up the juice. Red and black fruit, some chalk. QPR: 89.
7.Langa Tradicion Centenaria Garnacha 2011 DO Catalayud, +194795, $14.95: this month's candidate for the LCBO Garnacha of the Month. QPR: 90.
8.Lealtanza Reserva 2009 Rioja, +208223, $20.95. QPR: 90.
9.Muriel Gran Reserva 2004 Rioja, +984187, $24.95. QPR: 89.
10.Kaiken Terroir Series Corte Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Mendoza, +384305, $15.95: off-dry, expansive but soft cabby flavours, 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
11.Elderton Friends Shiraz 2011 Vineyard Series Barossa, +660480, $17.95: good body and depth, lots of Barossa power at 13.5% ABV. Some saddle leather and black fruit. Twist top. QPR: 89.
12.Chateau Peynaud 2009 Bordeaux Superieure, +391979, $16.95: bargain price for a Gold Medalist, now five years old and at its peak. Tannins are balanced and resolved. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
13.Chateau Croze de Pys Prestige Malbec Cahors 2010, +681668, $17.95: off-dry finish of caramel and vanilla suitable for North American market in the newer style of Cahors. 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
14.Terrulenta Schola Sarmenti Roccamora Nardo Negroamaro 2006 Puglia, +379768, $17.95: another fine bargain in an older Italian wine. 13.5% ABV. Keeping well but do drink up this year. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25
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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.Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 LCJ Vineyard VQA Twenty Mile Bench, +33910, $40 retail. QPR: 92.
2.Jean-Max Roger Cuvee Les Caillottes Sancere 2012, +65573, $25.95. QPR: 89.
3.Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Alexander Valley Sonoma, +382325, $59.95. QPR: 91.
4.Bodega Noemia a Lisa 2012 Patagonia, +385765, $25.95. QPR: 90.
5.Chateau Barde-Haut 2010 AC Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Class, +262154, $56.95. QPR: 89.
6.Chateau Clarke 2009 AC Listrac-Medoc, +503904, $37.95. QPR: 92.
7.A e G Fantino Cascina Dardi Bussia Barolo 2007, +268516, $35.95. QPR: 89.
8.Gaja Sito Moresco 2012 Langhe, +976043, $61.95. QPR: 90.
9.Negro Cascinotta Barbaresco 2010, +268953, $26.95. QPR: 89.
10.Travaglini Gattinara 2008, +713354, $29.95. QPR: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Some New Cookbooks this Month

3.DAILY TORTILLA; authentic Mexican recipes (Front Table Books Cedar Fort, 2014, 181 pages, ISBN 978-1-4621-1411-5, $18.99 US soft covers) is by Ricardo James (originally "Richard M. James") who was once a missionary in Mexico. This is fine home cooking, starting with basic tortillas, beans, rice, and salsas. Most of the items can be found in Mexican restaurants, such as bunuelos, torta de jamon y queso, tacos de pollo adobado a la parrilla, picadillo, and quesadillas. Nice illustrations with techniques carefully explained, and good bold print. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner
The downside to this book: pretty basic, and I am not sure about lasana con habanero
The upside to this book: good little book for college students.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
4.MEATLESS ALL DAY; recipes for inspired vegetarian meals (Taunton Press, 2014; distr. T. Allen, 202 pages, ISBN 978-1-62113-776-4, $19.95 paper covers) is by Dina Cheney, a cookbook author, a free lance food writer, and a recipe developer. Here she gives us 80 preps for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. She's got a list of some 46 "power ingredients" which are supposed to be meat substitutes in that they are "meaty": eggs, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, seaweed, tomatoes, soybeans, avocados, pumpernickel, cauliflower, etc. This is an excellent array, and certainly useful to get the chewy meat eaters to convert at least some of the time. Just increase the umami!! Or, if you absolutely have to, just add some grilled meats/shrimp/poultry. Also, she's got useful tips on how to make the dishes vegan. It is all arranged by course, with many illustrations and a list of vegetarian resources.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: flexitarians and meat eaters
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: grilled cheese with apples, mustard and cheddar; potato and cheddar latkes; rigatoni with asparagus, leeks and goat cheese; bean loaf with maple cranberry sauce; Cuban black bean stew with sweet plantains; strata with cremini mushrooms, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
The downside to this book: needs more recipes for variety
The upside to this book: a good beginning
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
 
5.VEGAN AL FRESCO; happy & healthy recipes for picnics, barbecues & outdoor dining (Arsenal Press, 2014, 267 pages, ISBN 978-1-55152-532-7, $26.95 CAN soft covers) is by Carla Kelly, who has authored two previous vegan cookbooks. This is a book slanted to the outdoor life, including BBQ, picnics, and even hiking/walking. It comes complete with 11 log rollers busy promoting the book. Everything here is portable, and allergies are carefully marked. It's arranged by ingredient type such as finger food, sandwiches, salads, grill food, baking, dessert, cookies, drinks, plus the needed dips, sauces, condiments, salad dressings, and more. She's also got a listing of uncommon ingredients that will perk up any meal, an allergen list and index, and 12 menu/themes for picnics or beach parties. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegans
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: buckwheat and onion mini-loaves; pickle and asparagus potato salad; fennel and wild rice salad; cilantro lime coleslaw; peanut butter adobo BBQ sauce; caper and edamame dip.
The downside to this book: while there are recipes for hiking trips, I'd like some preps for overnight camping stays.
The upside to this book: a great idea for the outdoors.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
 
 
7.THE SIMPLE ART OF VEGETARIAN COOKING (Rodale, 2014, 270 pages, ISBN 978-1-62336-129-7, $32.50 US hard covers) is by the remarkable Martha Rose Shulman, the New York Times health food columnist and author of over two dozen cookbooks. Here she tries to offer a simple and easy method for creating plant-based meals every day, regardless of season or availability of the veggie. She has a vast array of templated master recipes with simple guidelines for creating essential dishes such as a stir-fry, rice dish, pasta, soup, and frittata. Then there are notes for adding or subtracting ingredients based on seasonality. The arrangement is by templates; in addition to the above, there are gratins, polenta, whole grains, risotto, beans and lentils, tacos, couscous, stews, and savoury pies. Many dishes can be cooked ahead, with some finishing off when you return from the market. She's got a vegetarian pantry and a chapter on basics such as wilted greens, peppers, onions, mushrooms, roasted veggies, tomato sauces, pesto, and eggs.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, families
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: for minestrone, she has the template with dried beans. Variations would be with canned beans, with cabbage and winter squash, with spring and summer veggies, with lentils, with leeks and kale. Here are a number of variations here, such as using rice, shell beans, vegan versions, and advanced prep.
The downside to this book: some of the decision-trees needed to get to the prep will need attention to detail.
The upside to this book: lots and lots of variations
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
8.VIBRANT FOOD; celebrating the ingredients, recipes, and colors of each season (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-541-9, $25 US hard covers) is by Kimberley Hasselbrink, a food photographer and blogger, so she would know all about the colour of food. Of course, she did her own photography. There's some log rolling, especially from Alice Waters. Some of the preps here have come from her food blog. It all begins with spring's soft colours, moving to the bold of summer, the rich of autumn, and the deep colours of winter. Within, it is arranged by ingredient, to include (for example, under spring) spring greens, alliums, spring roots, rhubarb, and flowers. Nicely laid out, great typeface, wonderful photos of each and every dish. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: armchair cooks (for the photos), vegetarians.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sweet corn and squash fritters with avocado crema; summer squash pasta with green goddess dressing; scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and harissa; wild rice salad with rainbow chard and grapes; almond honey cake with poached quince.
The downside to this book: there's about 16 preps per season, I would have liked more.
The upside to this book: customized photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
9.COMPLETE FAMILY NUTRITION (DK Books, 2014, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-1949-1, $25 US hard covers) is by Jane Clark, a chef-nutritionist, top Harley Street consultant, and writer on health issues. It's a one-stop basic reference to balanced diets for families. She covers essential nutrients, wise food choices, ideal serving sizes, and how nutrition helps: optimal memory, development, digestion, and balanced moods. There are details on key nutrients for each of the fifty recipes which are at the back in a section called "classic recipes made healthy". Each has service details, prep times, cooking times, and nutrition data. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and some metric measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: families, beginners.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: poached fall fruit compote; nut butters; cinnamon and maple granola; herb-topped fish pie; oat-crusted salmon nuggets; roasted chicken and root vegetables; falafel burgers with arugula and tzatziki; Thai rice noodle salad.
The downside to this book: I wish that there were more recipes.
The upside to this book: there are over 200 photographs and illustrations.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
 
10.THE BAR BOOK; elements of cocktail technique (Chronicle Books, 2014, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1384-5, $30 US hard covers) is by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, an award-winning bartender in Portland OR, with Martha Holmberg, an award-winning food writer in Portland OR. It is a self-help book, almost like a textbook, focusing on techniques in order to enable the reader's skill set. His book is of value to both amateur and professional bartenders. It is a very detailed book, divided into chapters dealing with ingredients (citrus juices, other juices, sodas, mixers, simple syrups, compound syrups, infusions, bitters, tinctures, dairy, eggs, ice) and techniques (measuring, stirring, shaking, swizzling, blending, muddling, garnishing). For each, such as for cream, he notes that you are adding a layer of texture through foam and fat. You'll need to choose the best cream and apply it to the drink. He uses Alexander cocktail and Irish coffee as examples, using cream shaken by the Mason jar method. It is quite explicit.
Audience and level of use: budding bartenders, other bartenders wanting to improve themselves.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: there are about 60 cocktail preps, used to illustrate each technique or ingredient.
The downside to this book: it's a little too specific (Swissmar spoons?)
The upside to this book: good detail to help you.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
11.SIMPLE THAI FOOD; classic recipes from the Thai home kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 228 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-523-5, $24.99 US hard covers) is by Leela Punyaratabandhu, who writes for blogs including her own She Simmers. She's got a WOW list of log rollers,  with the likes of David Tanis, Mollie Katzen, David Lebovitz, and Andy Ricker. These are family-style simple Thai dishes; they are accessible. The arrangement is by course, from nibbles through stir fries, salads, soups, curries, noodle dishes, rices, and sweets. At the end are basic dishes: homemade tamarind pulp, curry paste, toasted rice powder, chile jam, satay sauce, cucumber relish, and more. There is also a glossary and some mail-order sources listed. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, those new to Thai cuisine.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sweet potato fritters with peanut-sweet chile sauce; chicken and fried garlic on rice; bananas in sweet coconut cream; mango and sweet coconut sticky rice; shrimp paste rice; sweet dry curry of pork and long beans; rice noodles with chicken and Chinese broccoli.
The downside to this book: the presentation is more upscale than the book's contents.
The upside to this book: she does a really good job of explaining Thai cuisine to North Americans.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
12.THE BANH MI HANDBOOK (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 126 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-533-4, $17.99 US hard covers) is by Andrea Nguyen, cookbook writer and blogger-owner of www.vietworldkitchen.com. She also writes for the LA Times and Wall Street Journal. Here she creates a nifty book for making your own banh mi sandwiches, created by Vietnamese street vendors in the 19th century as a local equivalent to the French snack of pate and bread. You will need three things: a crusty-chewy bun (French stick preferred but ciabatta buns also seem to be popular), toppings such as daikon and carrot pickles, chile slices, cucumber strips, cilantro sprigs, etc., and a filling (grilled pork, roast chicken, pork liver pate, Vietnamese cold-cuts). Then it is just up to you to create a classic or a modern innovation. Arrangement is by ingredient: bread, toppings, cold cuts, chicken, seafood, pork, beef, vegetarian. There are even two slider recipes, although just about everything can be reduced in size for two-biter dishes. For when you get tired of sandwiches, she's also got banh mi lettuce wraps and a banh mi salad (you can use gluten-free croutons here). All of these are so tasty...Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements; there is no table equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner, the curious snacker.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: grilled lemongrass pork; peppery portobello; egg and tofu pancakes; shrimp in caramel sauce; chicken liver pate; Hanoi grilled chicken; chicken satay.
The downside to this book: I wanted more!
The upside to this book: you can have fun with this book.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
13.UN-JUNK YOUR DIET (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014, 300 pages, ISBN 978-1-62873-771-4, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Desiree Nielsen, RD, who has a private practice in Vancouver BC. There are fifty recipes here, and a lot of material on how to shop, cook and eat right – in order to fight inflammation and thus feel better. Of course, she's a whole food advocate. The book has an evangelical tone, since it is addressed to food sinners who eat too much junk food. But then she is a motivational speaker on a mission to improve life's qualities. The important element here is how to shop. The preps are at the back, and indexed. She's also got resources lists and bibliographic references to her positions. Well-written with verve. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: junk food addicts, others seeking nutritional information.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: liquid gold smoothie; real muffin; breakfast bars; salad for breakfast; turmeric chicken; crunchy nut candy bars; greens and beans casserole; baked apple oat pudding.
The downside to this book: I wished that there were more recipes.
The upside to this book: I appreciate her take on muffins, and how today they are basically white sugar and white flour.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
14.THE 12 BOTTLE BAR; a dozen bottles, hundreds of cocktails, a new way to drink (Workman, 2014; distr. T. Allen, 412 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-7494-3, $14.95 US soft covers) is by David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, owners of the blog 12bottlebar.com. She's also a spirits and wine food writer, authoring a few books on gin and liqueurs. It's a good idea to have a restricted bar, limited to a few bottles with appropriate garnishes. It could be for a small bar in a tavern, or it could be for home. Either way it is useful for mixed drinks. The 12 bottles include 7 spirits, such as gin, rum, brandy, rye and vodka, plus 5 mixers involving liqueurs, vermouths and bitters. No bourbon, scotch, or tequila since these have limited cocktail applications. So it is a system to limit yourself to 200 classic drinks: sours, slings, toddies, highballs, martinis, etc. All of the beverages are "old school" as part of classic cocktails with some new innovations. New stuff such as tequila/mezcal are limited to two or three popular concoctions: they do include ONE prep for a margarita. Bourbons and scotches are neat or with soda or water. So you can still have them: just don't make cocktails with them. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home bartenders or small bars.
Some interesting or unusual facts: there's a drink index by theme (poker night, brunch, pool party, bbq, Christmas/New Year's, girls night.
The upside to this book: good idea, and I'm glad they don't have the other liquors.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
15.MOONSHINE; the cultural history of America's infamous liquor (Zenith Press, 2014, 208 pages, ISBN 978-0-7603-4584-9, $25 US hard covers) is by Jaime Joyce, currently an editor at Time Inc. It is a straight forward book with notes and sources and indexes. I wish I could say that three armed border agents swarmed my house as this US book was delivered to my door, but it only seemed like it in these Canadian days of repressed alcohol beverages. I usually get goosebumps just walking into a Uvint, even though I don't use them. Nevertheless, this is a book review on a US book about US white lightning or mountain dew – but I am sure that the Internet police will know that I've written it. Moonshine is untaxed liquor made in an unlicensed still. It is clear and unaged – sort of like raw vodka. But cheap. Her history sets the cultural background beginning with Irish and Scottish immigrants used to making their own whiskey. There are two elements here: government denial of a liquor license, and excessive alcohol taxation. Without a license, you cannot legally make the stuff. But once made, you can sell it or give it away – and the government wants its cut. Does that seem fair? Shouldn't the still be licensed first if the state wants the tax? Unregulated stills can create health issues (e.g., blindness, death) but also folklore issues related to movies and television, folk and country music ("She was only the bootlegger's daughter but I loved her still"), and some white trash trailer park material.
Audience and level of use: beverage historians and those interested in moonshine
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: moonshine led to military involvement, NSCAR and the Prohibition.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
16.FLOURLESS; recipes for naturally gluten-free desserts (Chronicle Books, 2014, 191 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1955-7, $27.95 US hard covers) is by Nicole Spiridakis, a recipe developer and wedding cake baker. She is also a free lance food writer, with a blog at cucinanicolina.com. Here she uses ground nuts, fluffy egg whites, ripe fruit, dark chocolate – such as plums, pistachios, apples and cornmeal, hazelnuts, coconut, lemons. These can create batters and doughs. Her book is in four parts: cakes and cupcakes, cookies, puddings and tarts, and candies/confections. The 80 or so preparations have their ingredients listed in metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents given.
Audience and level of use: those who need gluten-free food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: almond cake with balsamic-roasted strawberries; vanilla cupcakes with lemon butter-cream; sesame-tahini cookies; Indian pudding; roasted stone fruit with honey mascarpone and mint.
The downside to this book: there is a fair bit of white space taking up room away from more recipes.
The upside to this book: a good contribution to the gluten-free bibliography.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com