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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Event: Taste Canada Book Awards and Gala Fundraiser

The Date and Time: Monday, October 20, 2014   6:30 PM to 10PM
The Event: Taste Canada Book Awards and Gala Fundraiser
The Venue: Arcadian Court
The Target Audience: publishers and authors, food writers
The Availability/Catalogue: There are four categories for both English and French language books, with 58 submissions this year. The English language winners were:
 
-Culinary Narratives Award went to "The Stop: how the fight for good food transformed a community and inspired a movement" (Random House Canada), by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis.
 
-General Cookbooks Award went to "The Flavour Principle: enticing your senses with food and drink" (HarperCollins), by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol.
 
-Regional/Cultural Cookbooks Award went to "Toronto Star Cookbook: more than 150 diverse and delicious recipes celebrating Ontario" (Appetite by Random House), by Jennifer Bain.
 
-Single-Subject Cookbooks Award went to "Gastro Grilling: fired up recipes to grill everyday meals" (Penguin Canada Books), by Ted Reader.
 
The Quote/Background: Ricardo announced which of the shortlisted cookbooks authors captured gold. In addition to honouring cookbooks both past and present, Taste Canada also awarded the winners of their student cooking competition, Taste Canada Cooks the Books, and honoured The Cookbook Store. After the ceremony, we sampled delicious dishes at a reception hosted by Gusto TV and Toronto chefs and restaurants. This was a unique opportunity to meet authors, mingle with industry leaders, and with fellow food writers.
 
The Wines (Chardonnay and Merlot) were donated by Niagara College Teaching Winery, the beer by Samuel Adams Boston Lager.  At the reception, breads were donated by Fred's Bread and cheese by Cheese Boutique.
 
The Gala Reception had great food prepared by the following chefs –
 
-Chef Joshua Dyer (EPIC, Fairmont Royal York Hotel) did a house-cured duck prosciutto with foie gras and blue cheese; this was my FAVE of the evening.
-Chef Matt Dean Pettit (Rock Lobster) did a lobster chowder and an oyster "lobsterfeller";
-Chef Brad Lomanto (Cambridge Mill Restaurant, Landmark Group) did a soiled reputation beet, micro kale, goat cheese, and amaretti crumb salad;
-Chef Michael Robertson & Chef Jamie Meireles (Oliver & Bonacini) did maple espelette smoked Ontario pork shoulder on grilled bannock;
-Chef Vanessa Yeung (Aphrodite Cooks) did a beef brisket slider on Chinese baked buns with Nappa claw and chili aoili;
-Chef Tawfik Shehata (Toronto International Centre) did a barley tagliatelle with a fennel sausage ragu;
-Chef Dufflet Rosenberg (Dufflet Pastries) did cranberry shortbread cookies and chocolate raspberry buttercream squares.
The Contact Person: saskia@cravepr.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Event: biennial STEM Wine Group portfolio tasting – tenth annual gala tasting. Oct 20/14

The Date and Time: Monday, October 20, 2014  2PM to 8 PM
The Event: biennial STEM Wine Group portfolio tasting – tenth annual gala tasting.
The Venue: 99 Sudbury
The Target Audience: wine media from 2PM to 3PM, trade and clients afterwards,
The Availability/Catalogue: everything is available
The Quote/Background: The catalogue was outstanding, with label reproductions, vintage years, grape varieties, prices and spaces for tasting notes. It was also fat and heavy.
The Wines: There were 46 wineries, with at least 150 wines for sampling. I did not try all the wines, nor did I try the beers or spirits.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Matto Barolo $29.99 [good value]
-Zyme Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007, $144.99
-Zyme Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva La Mattonara 2003, $379.99
-Zyme Harlequin 2007 [15 grape varieties], $379.99
-460 Casina Bric Barolo delle Viole 2010, $84
-Boroli Barolo 2006, $52.99
-Gaja Magari Toscana IGT 2012, $69.99
-Gaja Brunello di Montalcino 2009, $66.99
-Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino 2009, $110
-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2004, $130
-Valdicava Madonna del Piano Riserva Brunello di Montalcino 2006, $179.99
-Valdicava Madonna del Piano Riserva Brunello di Montalcino 2007, $219.99
-Collemattoni Brunello di Montalcino 2007, $56.99
-Tenuta Monteti Monteti IGT Toscano 2008, $40
-Fatt. Di Magliano Poggio Bestiale IGT Tuscany 2010, $49.99
-Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 25th Anniversary 2008 $89.99
-Masciarelli Villa Gemma Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006, $74.99
-Masciarelli Castello di Semivicoli Trebbiano 2010, $34.99
-Argiolas Is Solinas IGT 2010, $29 [carignan and bovale]
-Henri Abele Champagne Brut NV, $51.99
-Henri Abele Champagne Brut Rose NV, $64.99
-Henri Abele Champagne Blanc de Blancs NV, $79
-Henri Abele Champagne Le Sourire de Rheims 2007, $164
-Butternut Chardonnay 2012, $22.99
-Butternut Volunteer Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa, $39.99
-Husic Husic Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Napa, $114.99
-Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2012, $47.99
-Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Meredith Estate RRV 2011, $110
-Andeluna Pasionado Cuatro Cepas 2007 Mendoza, $49.99
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Inama Vin Soave Vlassico 2013, $22.99
-Tombacco 47 Anno Domini Moscato Frizzante IGT NV, $15.99
-Delibori Villbella Fracastoro Amarone 2005, $56.99
-Ronco del Gelso Sot Lis Rivis Pinot Grigio 2013, $26.99
-460 Casina Bric Barolo 2010, $68
-Ca' del Baio Pianrosa Barbaresco, $32.99
-Braida di Giacomo Bologna Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone 2010, $74.99
-Braida di Giacomo Bologna Barbera d'Asti Montebruna 2011, $29.99
-Gaja Prmis Toscana IGT 2011, $47.99
-Gaja Sito Moresco Langhe 2012, $59.99
-Gaja Dagromis Barolo 2009, $84.99
-Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino 2012, $45
-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2009, $130
-Villa a Sesta Chianti Classico Riserva 2009, $82.99
-Belisario Verdicchio di Matelica Vigneti Belisario 2011, $20.99
-Arnaldo Caprai Collepiano Sagrantino di Montefalco Vintages +373498, $70
-Az.Ag. Di Berardino Pecorino IGT 2013, $21.99
-Az.Ag. Di Berardino Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, $39.99
-Masciarelli Rosato Colline Teatine 2013, $15.99
-Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2009, $31.99
-Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi 2009, $42
-Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino 2013, $22.99
-Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna 2013, $17.99
-Butternut The Rule Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2012, $28.99
-Michael Sullberg Chardonnay California 2012, $16.99
-Husic Palm Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Napa, $66.99
-Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2012, $74.99
-Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2012, $64.99
-Andeluna Malbec Altitud 2011 Reserve Mendoza, $22.99
-Marisco Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand 2013, $18.99
-RockBare McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012, $22.99
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Serenissima Prosecco NV, $15.49 (200 ml piccolos at $5.99)
-Fatt. Di Magliano Sinarra IGT Tuscany 2011, $23.99
 
The Food: porchetta sliders, charcuterie, veggie skewers, tomatoes and bocconcini, coffees – from a variety of sources including Rufino Espresso and Classic Gourmet Coffee, Nodo in the Junction, Bestellen, Dolce Lucano Salumeria.
The Downside: there were a lot of wines to absorb, so I did not taste everything. And it is too bad this portfolio tasting is only every two years.
The Upside: a chance at some really expensive wines, one of the best portfolio tastings all year, with a high level of consistency.
The Contact Person: robert@stemwinegroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Event: a tasting of “The Wines of Navarra: WOW”, held in conjunction with several dinners around town

 
The Date and Time: Wednesday, October 15, 2014     10:15AM to 1PM
The Event: a tasting of "The Wines of Navarra: WOW", held in conjunction with several dinners around town at Patria and other places.
The Venue: Patria
The Target Audience: wine media and sommeliers, agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are generally not available yet in Ontario, although the companies here had agents who could do private orders and even consignments.
The Quote/Background: Jordi Vidal of the Consejo Regulador Denominacion de Origen Navarra was in town to lead a seminar, along with Barry Brown, President of the Spanish Wine Society. In general, Navarra exports 27% to the UK, 25% to Germany, and 0.2% to Canada. Local grapes (Iberian grapes) comprise 63% of the wines by volume. It was only in the 1980s that continental varieties were introduced (chardonnay, merlot, cabernets). Vineyard hectare totals are at 11,500. 30% of Navarra wines are rose, always saignee. The rest are reds (60%), dry whites (9%), and sweet (1%).
The Wines: I did not try all the wines. Prices are also vague.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodegas de Monjardin Reserva Seleccion 2008 [Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Tempranillo]MCO
-Bodega Principe de Viana Garnacha Viñas Viejas 2013  $12  John Hanna
-Bodega Principe de Viana Edicion Limitada 2013  $18  John Hanna
-Bodega Otazu Senorio de Otazu Chardonnay Oak Fermented 2009 Chalk Slate Gravel
-Bodega de Monjardin Chardonnay Barrique BF 2012   MCO
-Bodega Ochoa Reserva 2007  $25  HHD Imports
-Bodega Ochoa 8A Origens Stunning Stones Reserva 2007  HHD Imports
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodegas de Monjardin Tempranillo Clasico  MCO
-Bodegas Inuerrieta Norte 2011 [50%Cabernet Sauvignon, 50%Merlot] Tandem
-Bodegas Inuerrieta Cuatrocientos 2011  Tandem
-Bodegas Inuerrieta Altos de Inurrieta 2009 $24.95 Tandem
-Bodegas Tandem Macula Reserva 2006 [Merlot-Cabernet] $30 Hobbs & Co
-Bodegas Tandem Ars Nova 2010 $22 Hobbs & Co
-Bodegas Tandem Ars Invitro 2011 Hobbs & Co
-Bodega Otazu Senorio de Otazu Cabernet 2008   Chalk Slate Gravel
-Bodegas Albret Chardonnay 2013 Azureau
-Bodega Albret Vina de mi Madre 2009  Azureau
-Bodega Irache Reserva 2007 $22.95  USC Group
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Inurrieta Orchidea Sauvignon Blanc 2013
 
The Food: breakfast croissants and danish, coffee.
The Downside: it was early, and later the microphone went off and on.
The Upside: a chance to taste some new wines from Navarra.
The Contact Person: spuritt@sympatico.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Event: Louis Roederer Champagne tasting and discussion with Jean Baptiste Lecaillon, Chef de Caves/Winemaker and Executive VP of Production.

The Date and Time: Tuesday, October 14, 2014  7PM to 10 PM
The Event: Louis Roederer Champagne tasting and discussion with Jean Baptiste Lecaillon, Chef de Caves/Winemaker and Executive VP of Production.
The Venue: Sassafraz Restaurant.
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue:
The Quote/Background: The House was founded in 1776, although Louis Roederer inherited it in 1833 and gave it his own name. It is still a family owned business, with several Grand Cru vineyards. Only 30% or so of the grapes used are bought in. There is also a biodynamic-farmed component of 65 hectares. The House style is known for its freshness and bright fruit, no matter how old the vintage. M. Lecaillon was brought on board and soon began working with Roederer California and a similar venture in Tasmania.
The Wines: We began with the Roederer Brut Premier (+VINTAGES 268771 $ 69.95) at the reception area. It had recently been tasted by the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, garnering praise for its bready freshness of 40% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir, and 20% pinot meunier. Then we tasted two Cristals (2002 and 1995) while we ate. M. Lecaillon emphasized that because of the nature of the company's champagnes, they were perfect for matching with food, and he wanted to prove his point. Some of us had butternut squash soup while others had a tomato salad with crispy prosciutto. Roederer Cristal 2002 is 62% pinot noir and 38% chardonnay, with an intense honeyed-toasted hazel nut complexity. The 2006 (latest in the market) is at the LCBO ($287.95) Vintages, and a few hundred bottles of the 1995 will be here in next year's LCBO Classics catalogue. The 1995 again showed more pronounced hazelnuts and some aging, yet was still elegant and fresh. It had spent 10 years on the lees, disgorged, and then 10 more years in bottle by 2015. For my main dish, I had the organic BC Chinook salmon with a roasted mascarpone orzo, pine nuts and broccolini. Here we had the Roederer Rose 2009 (62% pinot noir saignee) followed by the Brut 2008 (70% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay, 37% total done in oak barrel fermentation). The Rose 2009 showed tons of red fruit and some peaches, with candied notes. The Brut 2008 showed a composite of orachard and stone fruit, with some back notes of dried orchard fruit and toasty notes.
 
We had a short discussion before returning to the food with a cheese platter of local artisan delights (blue, cream, hard, cheddar) served with dried fruit and flatbreads. M. Lecaillon chose to accompany the platter with Roederer Nature 2006. This is the first new addition to Roederer in 40 years. It is a medium-dry terroir based Champagne using optimally ripe fruit that would require minimal corrective measures. And of course there was no dosage. It was launched in London just this September after eight years of storage. It was mostly pinot noir (no malolactic fermentation) with a small amount of chardonnay and an even smaller amount of pinot meunier. It was a glorious Champagne, one of my faves since it was bone dry but with fresh fruitiness maintaining its integrity. Actually, it was hard to imagine dessert after this, but we had milk chocolate mousse (olive oil ganache and roasted candied almonds) – and the Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2008, with about a fifth of it vinified in oak with no malolactic fermentation. It is normally aged about 5.5 years. The style is on the slightly sweet side, but more with hints and tones of honeyed candied fruit peel and dried fruitiness. It went well with the augmented chocolate.
 
 
The Contact Person: pdelpeschio@awsm.ca; bfoisy@awsm.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 94.
 


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR NOVEMBER 22, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR  NOVEMBER 22, 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
 
WHITE -McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2007 Hunter Valley NSW, +724492, $19.95: a bargain at this price level, 11% ABV, aged nicely for 7.5 years, twist top, gold medalist. It is that Hunter Valley Semillon with bone dryness. Snap it up, the company's Lovedale 2007 was in Classics at $59 a bottle.
 
RED -Darling Cellars Kroon Premium Shiraz 2008 WO Darling South Africa, +704486, $16.95: lots of Rhone syrah flavours, not shiraz at all, with an emphasis on brett components of leather and game. Dense with a finish for food here. 7 years old, 14.5% ABV. Cork closure. QPR: 91.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *OVER* $20
 
Brezza Sarmassa Barolo 2009, +999730, $49.95.
 
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Pondview Bella Terra Chardonnay 2011 Barrel Fermented VQA Four Mile Creek Niagara, +347922, $24.95. QPR: 90.
2.Casa del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Casablanca Valley, +974717, $13.95: there are a bunch of Chilean savvies at this pricepoint. Here, though, there is good passion in the grip. Twist top. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Lagoon Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Martinborough NZ, +388389, $18.95: a kiwi savvy worthy of consideration, concentrated in California style, 13.5% ABV. Twist top. QPR: 88.
4.Gerald Talmard Cuvee Joseph Talmard Macon Chardonnay 2012, +392712, $16.95: pretty basic MVC chardonnay at a great price. Cork closure, some evidence of aging. 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
5.Saint-Roch Vieille Vignes Cotes du Roussillon Blanc 2013, +175232, $15.95: another concentrated floral and pretty wine, good balance on palate, 13% ABV, twist top, modest character but longer length. Hand picked and low yield. QPR: 88.
6.Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino Bianco 2013 Tuscany, +65086, $19.95: makes its annual appearance as a blend of chardonnay and pinot bianco. Orchard fruit all the way, and offered with zest. QPR: 89.
7.Paco & Lola Albarino 2013 DO Rias Baixas, +350041, $18.95: light but fragrant, unoaked floral character, refreshing acidity on finish for food. 12.5%ABV. Twist top. QPR: 88.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Chateau Rahoul 2010 Graves, +226043, $31.95. QPR: 90.
2.Nostre Pais Costieres de Nimes 2012, +295410, $21.95. QPR: 90.
3.M.Chapoutier Petite Ruche Crozes-Hermitage 2012, +264655, $24.95. QPR: 90.
4.Cusumano Noa 2011 IGT Sicilia, +109512, $22.95, QPR: 90.
5.Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2010, +930966, $21.95. QPR: 90.
6.Villa Mora Montefalco Sagrantino 2008, +342394, $21.95. QPR: 90.
7.Tilenus Crianza Mencia 2006 Bierzo, +383992, $23.95.
8.Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Wahluke Slope Washington State, +360222, $19.95: juicy enough to be Cali style, lots of black fruit, 14% ABV, with a tart enough finish for food. Cork closure. QPR: 89.
9.Bodega Volcanes de Chile Tectonia Red 2011 Central Valley, +389668, $17.95: very succulent, mocha vanilla tones, made from grenache (45%), petite sirah (38%) and mourvedre (17%). 14.5% ABV power. QPR: 89.
10.Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, +275594, $17.95: very much in the bordeaux-style of lean flesh with leaves, cedar, black fruit showing. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
11.Chateau de Segure Fitou 2012 Eleve en Futs de Chene, +370254, $16.95: very decent little blended number, full bore heavy duty red, 14% ABV done up in oak with lashings of fruits. QPR: 89.
12.Domaine de la Croisette Cotes du Rhone 2011, +155465, $15.95: a blend of grenache, syrah and carignan, reflecting a papery grenache Rhone taste. Good price value. Twist top, 13.5% ABV. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
13.Santa Duc Les Vieilles Vignes Cotes du Rhone 2009, +101543, $14.95: good value for a vieilles vignes wine from the Rhone, now 5 years old in the bottle. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
14.Tenuta Stefano Farina Le Brume Langhe 2009, +360073, $16.95: priced okay for tasty nebbiolo, reflecting some sour cherries and age-worthy tar components. Food wine despite 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
15.Tenuta Sant'Antonio Monti Garbi Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2011, +29850, $17.95:
apparently this is the LCBO Ripasso of the Month (I say). QPR: 89.
16.Barahonda Sin Madera Monastrell 2011 Yecla, +366823, $15.95: ripe and fruity, no oaking, dense and intense, long finish. Whopping 15% ABV. QPR: 89.
17.Finca el Encinal Crianza 2010 Ribera del Duero, +355081, $17.95: voluptuous fruit, oak, and 14% ABV. Complex black fruit tones. 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.Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +33936, $30 retail.
2.Tawse Lenko Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench Niagara, +344796, $44.95.
3.Pahlmeyer Chardonnay 2012 Napa, +147454, $96.95.
4.Domaine de Fussiacus Vieilles Vignes Pouilly-Fuisse 2012, +276444, $27.95.
5.Versado Reserva Old Vine Malbec 2010 Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza, +316984, $60.95.
6.Chateau Fombrauge 2010 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, +258020, $45.85.
7.La Vite Lucente 2012 IGT Toscana, +747030, $34.95
8.Marques de Murrieta Finca Ygay Reserva 2008 Rioja, +209148, $27.95.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

The Event: Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Tasting, 2011-2010-2009-2007-2006-2004, with Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta.

The Date and Time: Tuesday, October 14, 2014  11:30 AM to 2:30 PM
The Event: Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Tasting, 2011-2010-2009-2007-2006-2004, with Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta.
The Venue: Crush Wine Bar
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: sadly, only the most recent vintages are available for sale, some from the LCBO and the rest from the agent, Sylvestre Wines  & Spirits.
The Quote/Background: The wines are always cabernet sauvignon 85% and cabernet franc 15%. Sassicaia was first released in 1968, a unique Tuscan blend of international varietals – it was the first SuperTuscan.
The Wines:
 
-Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia 2011: violet, cedar, anise, cassis. Tight. 3.5 stars 90
-Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia 2010: spicy, cassis, vanillin. Still tight. 3.5 stars 90
-Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia 2009: cedar, cassis, underbrush of age. 4 stars 93. A fave.
-Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia 2007: cedar, forest floor, red fruit. 4 stars 91
-Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia 2006: Bordeaux-like but also fruity. 4 stars 92
-Tenuta San Guida Sassicaia 2004: cedar, cassis, vanillins, some red fruit in balance. Began to fade near end  of tasting. 4 stars. 93 points. My best fave of the morning.
The Food: lunch was simple, to show off two other wines and the balance of the Sassicaia. With porcini spatzle, parmesan, and escarole bolognese we had Le Difese 2012 ($31.95 November 8 Vintages, with 70% cab sauv and 30% sangiovese). With short ribs and parsnips, jus of caramelized shallots, we had Guidalberto 2012 ($53.95 Vintages, with 60% cabernet sauvignon and 40% merlot). Both wines were aged in French oak for 15 months, and were excellent in flavours for food but needed a few more years cellaring.
The Contact Person: sandy@forefrontcom.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

The Event: the annual Sonoma in the City wine trade tasting Oct 9/14

 
The Date and Time: Thursday, October 9, 2014  2Pm to 5PM
The Event: the annual Sonoma in the City wine trade tasting. In the evening, there was a different set of wines for the consumers who could place orders.
The Venue: ROM
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: some of the wines are available at the LCBO (or will be soon), all of the other wines were available by exclusive order that night.
The Quote/Background: I did not think that the Cabernet Sauvignon wines showed very well.
The Wines: I did not taste every wine. Prices in most cases are retail.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, $28.95
-Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay 2011, $24.95
-Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2012, $58.95
-Dutton-Goldfield Chardonnay-Rued Vineyard 2012, $68 licensee
-Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2012, $64.95
-Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2012, $54
-La Follette Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay 2012, $50
-Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Alexander Valley, $89.95
-Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
-Ramey Chardonnay 2012, $45.95
-Ramey Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard 2011, $90
-Gundlach Bundschu Estate Pinot Noir 2012, $49
-Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay RRV 2011, $44.95
-Stonestreet Chardonnay 2011, $49.95
-Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Alexander Valley, $59.95
-Deloach Estate Pinot Noir 2012, $69
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir 2012, $60
-MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir RRV 2012, $24.95
-Macrostie Pinot Noir Carneros 2012, $34.95
-Flowers Pinot Noir 2012, $69
-Decoy Pinot Noir 2013, $35.95
-Folie à Deux Pinot Noir 2012, $23.95
-La Crema Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2012, $39.95
-Quivira Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2013, $28
-Kunde Zinfandel 2012, $23.95
-Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel 2011, $49.95
-Deloach Chardonnay 2012, $26 licensee
-Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2011, $44
-Gundlach Bundschu Estate Chardonnay 2012, $34.95 (March 2015 Vintages)
-Macrostie Winery Chardonnay 2012, $29.95
-Sbragia Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $79.95
-St.Francis Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $29.95
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Cannonball Chardonnay 2012, $20.95
-Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $34.95
-Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $33.95
-Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $27.95
-Folie a Deux Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $24.95
-Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut Sparkling Wine, $27.95
-Kunde Chardonnay 2012, $21.95
-Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2012, $24.95
-Schug Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $38
-Schug Merlot 2010, $38
 
The Food: Daniel et Daniel were the caterers, and they produced their now-standard charcuterie platter (but why the hot spiced meats?), international cheese platter, fresh veggies and dips, and assorted breads.
The Downside: I missed the cut-off date for the seminar
The Upside: most of the seminar wines were in the show.
The Contact Person: paula@praxispr.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Event: dinner with Beth Novak Milliken, one of the owners of Spottswoode Estate winery (St. Helena, Napa).

The Date and Time: Wednesday, October 15, 2014   7PM - 10PM
The Event: dinner with Beth Novak Milliken, one of the owners of Spottswoode Estate winery (St. Helena, Napa).
The Venue: L'Avenue on Bayview
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: sporadic availability through EPNA.
The Quote/Background: Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode, one of the owners, handles all the international business. The family just recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its renowned Cabernet Sauvignon. The land has been organic since 1985. She was in town to show off the latest vintage of her wines, plus some others for comparative purposes. We ate dinner with the wines, Beth spoke to the wines, and we all had a Q and A along the way about the wines and California, the winery, and so forth.
 
The Wines and Food: The menu came unannounced, beginning with escargots in cream sauce served with Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc 2011 followed by the 2013. 2011 was still fresh, but much leaner than 2013 which had 15% sauvignon musque added for fruity complexity. 2013 was 100% small barrels (stainless, French oak, concrete), 72% from Sonoma ($40 – 45 in Ontario) – creamy floral notes, fully developed and balanced already although it will keep [3.5 stars, 88  - 90]. Next up was braised lamb shoulder en papillote and beet puree and beet greens, with Spottswoode Field Book Griffin's Lair Syrah 2010 (with 4% Viognier added). This is a wine currently only available to its regular customers at $45US, a bruiser at 14.8% ABV. Very North Rhonish with its blackberry, iodine, black colour, and some smoked meat with leather (or should that be smoked leather?). [4 stars, 91+]. We also had Spottswoode Lyndenhurst Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, a sort of affordable second label wine that was exceedingly dense but also approachable with dark fruit and off-dryish finish ($70 US) [3.5 stars, 88 – 90].
 
With the beef stew (aka bourguignon but with added carrots) came a mildly corked Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, which was sad – judging by the long faces at the table. I had a couple of sips after we finished everything else, and it seemed to me to have come around a bit so that I could detect cassis and, of course, some muted mustiness (but not as much as before). We were then skedded to have the Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, before seguing to a cheese course to finish off the wines. It was lush and plush with MVC notes for Bordeaux-like feel of cedar, cassis, vanilla, cream, good body and excellent food finish ($150 US) [4 stars, 91+].
The Contact Person: beth@spottswoode.com; epna@rogers.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 96.
 


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

The Event: Annual tasting of Fortified Wines by the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada

The Date and Time: Monday, October 6, 2014 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
The Event: Annual tasting of Fortified Wines by the Wine Writers'
Circle of Canada
The Venue: WWCC World Headquarters
The Target Audience: WWCC members
The Availability/Catalogue: most items are at the LCBO or Vintages,
some are at the winery, others are special orders or samples.
The Quote/Background: There were only 15 ports plus 24 other fortified
wines. The tasting was done by 10 wine writers.
The Wines: I did not taste every wine. The following scores are mine
alone and NOT a total of the writers at the tasting.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Warre's Otima 10 yrs $22.95 +566174 500 mL LCBO
-Fonseca 2012 Vintage Guimaraens 375mL Family Wine Merchants
-Alvear Fino Montilla $12.45 +112771
-Graham's 10yr Old Tawny Port- LCBO Wines- $28.45- 206508    
-Graham's 20yr Old Tawny Port- LCBO Wines- $37.45- 620641                
-Bodega Osborne    n/v    Osborne Bailen Oloroso Sherry    $16.95 +746453 Vintages
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown Rare Old Sherry    $13.45    43746   
-Graham' Late Bottle Vintage 2008- LCBO Wines- $16.95-191239                
-Bodega Osborne    n/v    Osborne Pedro Ximenez 1827 Sweet Sherry    $17.95    479440
-Duca Di Salaparuta 2010 Florio Vecchioflorio Marsala Superiore     $14.95    371321
-UNION 2007 FORTE $16.95 +361758 500 mL Vintages Nov
-Quinta do Noval Fine Tawny Port $17.70 +309765
-Quinta do Noval 10yr Old Tawny Port +954503  Nov Vintages
-Taylor Fladgate 2009 Late Bottled Vintage Porto $18.45 +46946
-GONZALEZ BYASS TIO PEPE $16.90 +231829
-Alvear Amontillado Med Dry $12.45 +112789
-Alvear PX Solera 1927 $19.95 +112771  375ml  Nov LCBO
-Sandeman 1997 VAU Vintage $11.80 +297614 375mL
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodega Osborne    n/v    Osborne Santa Maria Cream Sherry     $12.45    31120   
-Taylor Fladgate    nv    First Estate Reserve    $16.55    309401           
-De Sousa Wine Cellars    NA    Seasons Tawny Port    $39.95     347302   
-KWV SA    n/a    Paarl Cape Ruby    $9.95     28951    South Africa    Western Cape
-Williams & Humbert    Dry Sack Sherry    $13.30    13565       
-Southbrook Whimsy! The Anniversary [fortified chardonnay from 2001/2], $19.95
-Fonseca Bin 27 $15.95 +325506
-Fonseca White Port $15.95 +276816
-Sandeman 2000 VAU Vintage $19.95 +25109
-Sandeman Ruby $15.45 +23366
-Sandeman 2009 LBV $16.95 +195974
-GONZALEZ BYASS CROFT Fine Pale Cream Sherry $16.95 +73452
-Osborne Santa Maria Cream Sherry $12.05 +31120
 
The Downside: we were disappointed in the low turnout of sherries and
other fortified wines.
The Upside: some great ports and even a few sherries.
The Contact Person: deantudor@deantudor.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wine Writers' Circle of Canada tasting of the new releases from Daniel Lenko, VQA Niagara

The Date and Time: Monday, October 6, 2014  10:30AM to 11:30AM
The Event: a tasting of the new releases from Daniel Lenko, VQA Niagara
The Venue: WWCC meeting headquarters
The Target Audience: monthly WWCC tasting for members only
The Availability/Catalogue: winery only
The Quote/Background: President Michael Pinkus was offered a mixed case of 10 wines for the WWCC to sample, and we tucked them into our Fortified Wines tasting, at the beginning.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Lenko 2012    Unoaked Chardonnay     $19.95        Niagara           
-Lenko    2010    Old Vines Merlot    $39.95        Niagara                       
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Lenko    2012    Merlot Cabernet    $39.95        Niagara       
-Lenko    2009    Syrah    $59.95        Niagara                       
-Lenko    2012    Viognier    $49.95        Niagara           
-Lenko    2012    White Cabernet    $22.95        Niagara               
-Lenko    2010    Meritage    $59.95        Niagara                   
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Lenko    2012    Reserve Riesling    $19.95        Niagara       
-Lenko    2012    Gewurztraminer    $24.95        Niagara       
-Lenko    2010    Unoaked Merlot    $24.95        Niagara               
 
The Food: bread, water
The Contact Person: oldvines@daniellenko.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.
 


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Five Minute Wine Book, by Tony Aspler

Tony Aspler has a new wine book: an ebook, filled with distilled wine information about what you should/could/would want to know on vinous matters. The title does not refer to wine consumption, but rather that each chapter takes about 5 minutes to read. Perfect while mulling a glass of wine.
 
It would make a great modestly priced Christmas gift, cheaper than a cheap bottle of wine (ICBs excepted).
 
Purchase order details and descriptions are at:
 
 
 
 
Smashwords


Chimo! www.deantudor.com