Search This Blog

Thursday, August 15, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for AUGUST 17, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for AUGUST 17, 2019
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
NOTE: The first portion  is based on my sampling of the table wines chosen by the LCBO from this release for tasting. That presentation is about 50+  different labels out of about 125 released every two weeks. These wines are basically those that fit the categories of  any of the Featured Themes, Wines of the Month, Local Talent, and "new" -- wines that the LCBO has ordered in sufficient quantities for the Ontario marketplace. Not put out for us are the re-orders (even though they may be of a different vintage) , ISDs, or the expensive wines.  Thus, my report comes from a restricted database. I did not taste every one of these 50+ category wines, nor did I rate several of the wines I did sample because they did not seem to be of particularly good value in terms of their price.
 
NOTE: The second part (at the end) is a simple listing of  those wines that were NOT presented to the media, and are given here simply as a record of  what sampling I could not do. I have left in the name of the agency, in fairness to all.
 
PART ONE:  The "best" wines of a reduced tasting --
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FIND --
 
Fizz+644773    COOPER'S HAWK NORTH BLOCK SPARKLING    Charmat method, VQA Ontario    2016    $23.95.  12%ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
 
Under $20
=========
W+277228    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES RIESLING    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake    2015    $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+483958    LAKEVIEW CELLARS SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $18.95  12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+115329    CINCO SENTIDOS RESERVA TORRONTÉS    Mendoza    2017    $16.95     12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+ 10411    MOUNTADAM EDEN VALLEY CHARDONNAY    Eden Valley, South Australia    2017    $19.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+647735    WINZER KREMS GRÜNER VELTLINER    DAC Kremstal    2017    $15.95     12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+667766    MARQUIS DE GOULAINE VOUVRAY    AP    2017    $19.95     12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+665992    DR. SIEMENS HERRENBERG RIESLING SPÄTLESE FEINHERB    Prädikatswein    2009    $19.95 10% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+562454    INDOMITO FALANGHINA DEL BENEVENTANO    IGT    2018    $14.95     12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+105908    EDETÀRIA VIA TERRA GARNATXA BLANCA    DO Terra Alta    2017    $16.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+10704    WESTMOUNT PINOT NOIR    Willamette Valley    2015    $19.95     13.8% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88.5
R+107102    SAGELANDS MERLOT    Columbia Valley    2016    $19.95     13.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+272575    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR TAUTAVEL    AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages    2016    $19.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+591974    DI MAJO NORANTE SANGIOVESE    IGT Terre degli Osci    2017    $17.95
13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
R+232637    BENMARCO CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Los Árboles, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2016    $18.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+492736    FABRE MONTMAYOU RESERVA CABERNET FRANC    Mendoza    2016    $18.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+114983    H J. FABRE BARREL SELECTION MALBEC    Patagonia    2016    $18.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+271205    MANOS NEGRAS MALBEC    Uco Valley, Mendoza    2017    $17.95    14 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+10435   EMILIANA SIGNOS DE ORIGEN LA CANTERA GARNACHA/MOURVÈDRE/SYRAH    DO Colchagua Valley    2015    $19.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+638791    JUAN CARRAU TANNAT    Las Violetas, Canelones    2017    $15.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+121731    LUCIANO ARDUINI FONTANA DEL FONGO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO    DOC    2017    $15.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+122002    PROVOLO TENUTA CA'NOVE VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO SUPERIORE    DOC    2014    $17.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+646083    CARMIM TERRA LENTA PREMIUM REGUENGOS    DOC Alentejo    2016    $13.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+10638    BARAHONDA ORGANIC MONASTRELL/MERLOT    DO Yecla    2017    $14.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+10635    MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS SPECIAL SELECTION OLD VINE GARNACHA    DOP Cariñena    2016    $16.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
 
Over $20
=========
W+644740    LEANING POST WISMER-FOXCROFT VINEYARD RIESLING    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2016    $24.95 12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+644732    LUNDY MANOR CHARDONNAY    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2016    $25.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+688077    SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE BARREL FERMENTED CHARDONNAY    Finca Dominio Gualta, Gualtallary, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2016    $20.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+649855    JEAN BOUCHARD PETIT-CHABLIS    AC Petit Chablis    2017    $23.95     12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+113191    EL ESTECO MALBEC Calchaquí Valley    2015    $21.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+10042    VALLEY OF THE MOON CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sonoma County    2015    $29.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+ 668749    TRAPICHE COSTA & PAMPA PINOT NOIR    Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires    2017    $23.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+477315    COLOMÉ ESTATE MALBEC    Calchaquí Valley, Salta    2016    $24.95     14.9%ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+647974    CHÂTEAU PONTET-FUMET    AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru    2015    $34.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+645200    DOMAINE BELLE CUVÉE LOUIS BELLE CROZES-HERMITAGE    AC    2015    $43.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+646901    DESTINO FIFTH EMPIRE RED BLEND    DOC Douro    2015    $22.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+648204    HAZAÑA VIÑAS VIEJAS    DOCa Rioja    2014    $21.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
 
 
PART TWO: The "rest" of the release [not offered for sampling by media] with agents --
 
    317842    FORREST THE DOCTOR'S SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018  Marlborough South Island $19.95  ABCON INTERNATIONAL WINE MERCHANTS
     485656    LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC    AC    2017    $15.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
    366948    FONTANAFREDDA GAVI DI GAVI    DOCG    2017    $19.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
    316968    QUINTA DA LIXA POUCO COMUM ALVARINHO    Vinho Regional Minho    2017    $14.95    GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS
    645119    PACO & LOLA PRIME ALBARIÑO    DO Rías Baixas    2016    $27.95    AZUREAU WINE AGENCY
    117960    CREEKSIDE LAURA'S RED    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $24.95    HOBBS & COMPANY
    86363    WILDASS RED    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake    2016    $19.95    STRATUS VINEYARDS
    613059    EASTDELL PINOT NOIR    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $15.95    TRAJECTORY BEVERAGE PARTNERS
    942599    RAVENSWOOD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL    Lodi    2016    $21.95    ARTERRA WINES CANADA INC.
    186171    DECOY CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sonoma County    2016    $37.95    ROGERS & COMPANY
    10098    CHOP SHOP CABERNET SAUVIGNON    California    2017    $19.95    ROGERS & COMPANY
    380188    LAKE SONOMA WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sonoma County    2016    $34.95    HOBBS & COMPANY
    486043    PRIMUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Maipo Valley    2015    $19.95    ROGERS & COMPANY
    89599    MAXWELL SILVER HAMMER SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $19.95    ALTO VINO
    295873    YALUMBA THE STRAPPER GSM    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2016    $19.95    BREAKTHRU BEVERAGE CANADA INC.
    327106    MOLLYDOOKER TWO LEFT FEET    South Australia    2016    $31.95    B AND W WINES
    142398    WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Coonawarra & Clare Valley, South Australia    2016    $24.95    VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC.
    522342    ZONTE'S FOOTSTEP HILLS ARE ALIVE SHIRAZ    Adelaide Hills, South Australia    2017    $23.95    CRU WINE MERCHANTS
    743989    CHAPEL HILL SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $28.95    THE CASE FOR WINE
    590414    OYSTER BAY PINOT NOIR    Marlborough, South Island    2017    $20.95    DELEGAT CANADA LIMITED
    349308    CHÂTEAU PEY LA TOUR RÉSERVE DU CHÂTEAU    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2016    $21.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
    647933    CHÂTEAU BEAU-SITE    AC Saint-Estèphe    2015    $51.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    404285    CHÂTEAU PLAISANCE    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2006    $19.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
    123489    CHÂTEAU HAUCHAT    AC Fronsac    2016    $17.95    CONNEXION OENOPHILIA
    368134    STÉPHANE AVIRON VIEILLES VIGNES MOULIN-À-VENT    AC    2016    $23.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
    65995    DOMAINE BONNARD SANCERRE RED    AC    2016    $26.95    M.C.O.
    370254    CHÂTEAU DE SÉGURE VIEILLES VIGNES FITOU    AP    2017    $17.95    AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS
    276956    HALOS DE JUPITER CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC    2017    $17.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES
    224915    DOMAINES ANDRÉ AUBERT VISAN    AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages    2016    $15.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
    493403    DOMAINE COMTE DE LAUZE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2016    $41.95    LAMPRECHT INTERNATIONAL
    102954    CHÂTEAU LA CAMINADE MALBEC/MERLOT    AC Cahors    2017    $19.95    THE CASE FOR WINE
    142109    TBILVINO ALAZANI VALLEY RED    Kakheti    2018    $15.95    BANQPAY INTERNATIONAL
    908079    BENI DI BATASIOLO NEBBIOLO    DOC Langhe    2017    $17.95    CHARTON HOBBS INC
    181396    PECCHENINO SAN GIUSEPPE BAROLO    DOCG    2014    $66.95    THE CASE FOR WINE
    569954    ROMIO PRIMITIVO    IGT Puglia    2017    $13.95    DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS
    730804    LAMOLE GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2012    $34.95    VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC.
    644997    BANFI POGGIO ALLE MURA ROSSO DI MONTALCINO    DOC    2016    $28.95    AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS
    713719    VAL DI SUGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2013    $54.95    CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD.
    735597    ORENO    IGT Toscana    2016    $86.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.
    121160    VILLA TRASQUA CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2015    $18.95    FRONTIER WINE MERCHANTS
    517029    IL PALAGIO MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE    IGT Toscana    2016    $24.95    LE SOMMELIER INC.
    487074    TENUTA DI GRACCIANO DELLA SETA VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO    DOCG    2015    $29.95    NEWGENWINES
    356089    CONDE VALDEMAR CRIANZA TEMPRANILLO    DOCa Rioja    2015    $16.95    WINE GURU SELECTION INC
    368720    SUE-ANN STAFF VIDAL ICEWINE    VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario    2016    $24.95    SUE-ANN STAFF ESTATE WINERY
    498758    GAME CHANGER THE MEMORY ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $14.95    VINELAND ESTATE WINES LTD.,
    409771    DOMAINE DE TRIENNES ROSÉ    IGP Méditerranée    2018    $19.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES
    450908    XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ    AP    2018    $16.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    496919    CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES ROSÉ    AC Costières de Nîmes    2018    $19.95    DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS
    451146    DUCA CATEMARIO COLLEZIONE PRIVATA PINOT GRIGIO ROSÉ    IGT delle Venezie    2018    $14.95    GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS
    747386    LOUIS ROEDERER PREMIER BRUT CHAMPAGNE    AC        $485.00    AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS
    994939    GREYWACKE MARLBOROUGH PINOT GRIS    Marlborough, South Island    2016    $28.95    CONNEXION OENOPHILIA
    636753    CHÂTEAU D'ARCHE    2e cru, AC Sauternes    2010    $40.95    CONNEXION OENOPHILIA
    665950    SELBACH OSTER RIESLING KABINETT    Qualitätswein    2017    $29.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.
    336644    LUNAE VERMENTINO    DOC Colli di Luni    2017    $36.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    252304    MATETIC VINEYARDS EQ SYRAH    DO Casablanca    2014    $34.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, August 12, 2019

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Nimble Cook, by Ronna Walsh

THE NIMBLE COOK (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-93550-1 $30 USD hardbound) is by Ronna Welsh, owner of a NYC cooking school The Purple Kale Kitchenworks. She specializes in teaching cooks to strategize efficiently while cooking simply and creatively. Notable log rollers include Jacques Pepin, Amanda Hesser, and Dorie Greenspan. Here she has a book of great meals that make the most of your ingredients. She rides the crest of books that use the whole food item in cooking, with no waste. She tries to get you to learn new techniques for releasing flavour so you eventually cook without recipes, putting the ingredients first. She cleverly uses end papers of the book to layout graphs of cooking chicken, herbs, pork, and citrus, showing relationships created by herb-infusions, roasted whole lemons, sausage, and chicken stock – for example. It is all arranged by type of ingredient, from aromatics through leaves, stalks, shoots, heads, bulbs, summer veggies, winter roots, mushrooms, apples, lemons, fish, poultry, meat, pasta and polenta, and grains. She concludes with a pantry: eggs, bread, wine, vinegar, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, rubs, butters, condiments, and cheese. The chapters of ingredients are sub-arranged by seasons. She then gives us some fave preps for each (called "starting points"), followed by ways to use these preps with other dishes (which she calls "explorations"). The starting points should see you through more than one dish, thus allowing you to get the ingredients ready for another use. She says, "Your kitchen starts to sustain itself". Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but the book could have been so improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: cooks, innovators.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: seared sausage with julienned celeriac; pulled pork and pickled squash sandwich; cabbage and green lentils with orange vinaigrette; sauteed unravelled Brussels sprouts with caraway, lemon and dill; braised chicken legs with rhubarb compote and sun-dried tomatoes; spiced lamb meatballs with chickpeas, pickled parsley and yogurt.
The downside to this book: publishers should please think about ROW (rest of the world) when dealing with measurements. Of the developed countries, the USA stands alone with avoirdupois measurements. At least quality US bakers use metric in scaling their recipes.
The upside to this book: good material on how to use food that used to be thrown away.
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, August 5, 2019

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH: That's the Spirit, by Jonathan Ray

 
THAT'S THE SPIRIT (Hardie Grant, 2019, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-78713-264-1 $22.99 USD hardbound) is by Jonathan Ray, who has been drinks/wine editor of the Spectator (UK), GQ,  and the Daily Telegraph in his lifetime. Plus, he's the author of several wine books. He's selected 100 of the best spirits, liqueurs and digestifs to drink with style. His coverage is alphabetical, from Absolut Elyx Single Estate Handcrafted Vodka through Pimm's No. 6 Cup to Wynand Fockink Citroen Likeur. Each is described on a page, with a bottle shot. There are features throughout, such as material about cocktails through the ages, how spirits are made, cognac, essentials for a home cocktail, mixers, top international cocktail bars (including one from Toronto, BarChef, with its 5000 bitters), and, of course, recipes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. His book comes complete with comic quotes from great drinkers, old advertisements, an alphabetical index, and a listing of the 100 spirits by type (Scotch, Cognac, Calvados, Grappa, Rum, et al.
Audience and level of use: bartenders, drinkers, millennials, reference libraries.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Classics – The Old Fashioned, The Dry Martini, The Manhattan, The Sidecar, Margarita, The Daiquiri/Mohito, The Negroni, et al.
The downside to this book: what, Fernet Branca did not make the cut? WOW
The upside to this book: a good collection of 100 bottles for your bar, if you have the room or if you are a restaurant/hotel bar.
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, August 1, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for AUGUST 3, 2019

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for AUGUST 3, 2019
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
NOTE: The first portion  is based on my sampling of the table wines chosen by the LCBO from this release for tasting. That presentation is about 50+  different labels out of about 125 released every two weeks. These wines are basically those that fit the categories of  any of the Featured Themes, Wines of the Month, Local Talent, and "new" -- wines that the LCBO has ordered in sufficient quantities for the Ontario marketplace. Not put out for us are the re-orders (even though they may be of a different vintage) , ISDs, or the expensive wines.  Thus, my report comes from a restricted database. I did not taste every one of these 50+ category wines, nor did I rate several of the wines I did sample because they did not seem to be of particularly good value in terms of their price.
 
NOTE: The second part (at the end) is a simple listing of  those wines that were NOT presented to the media, and are given here simply as a record of  what sampling I could not do. I have left in the name of the agency, in fairness to all.
 
PART ONE:  The "best" of a reduced tasting based on --
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FINDS --
 
Sherry+645267    HIDALGO FINO SECO SHERRY    DO Jerez $21.95 15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
 
Under $20
=========
W+645770    VITESE GRILLO    DOC Sicilia    2017    $14.95     12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+149542    DELTA ESTATE CHARDONNAY    Marlborough, South Island    2017    $19.95      13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+536276    HUNTAWAY RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2017    $19.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+651711    CEDERBERG CHENIN BLANC    WO Cederberg    2018    $18.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
W+355438    DE WETSHOF LESCA ESTATE CHARDONNAY    WO Robertson    2018    $24.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+668848    CHÂTEAU VERMONT PRESTIGE BLANC    AC Entre-Deux-Mers    2017    $14.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+648451    BLASON DE BOURGOGNE    AC Mâcon-Villages    2016    $17.95     12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+644831    CANTI ESTATE MOSCATO D'ASTI    DOCG    2018    $14.95    5.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+668335    ARGENTO RESERVA CABERNET FRANC    Mendoza    2015    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+ 652693    STRANDVELD FIRST SIGHTING SHIRAZ    WO Cape South Coast    2016    $14.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+667238    CHÂTEAU NODEAU    AC Côtes de Bourg    2016    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+168716    M. CHAPOUTIER LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES    AC    2017    $15.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+277079    LE CIRQUE GRENACHE NOIR/CARIGNAN/SYRAH    IGP Côtes Catalanes    2015    $16.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+300004    AMASTUOLA PRIMITIVO    IGP Puglia    2015    $15.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+464412    ESPINO RESERVA ESPECIAL CARMENÈRE    DO Central Valley    2017    $15.95   MVC/QPR:  89
R+646919    ALMEIDA GARRETT ENTRE SERRAS    DOC Beira Interior    2015    $12.95     13.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+70730                    HERDADE SÃO MIGUEL COLHEITA SELECCIONADA TINTO    Vinho Regional Alentejano    2017    $17.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+391896    SEIN    DO Alicante    2011    $16.95      15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92.5
 
Over $20
=========
W+441089    ROMBAUER CARNEROS CHARDONNAY  Carneros    2017    $64.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91.5
W+220343    MER SOLEIL SILVER UNOAKED CHARDONNAY    Monterey County $24.95  14.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+665919    BOEDECKER CELLARS FINNIGAN HILL VINEYARD CHARDONNAY    Chehalem Mountain, Willamette Valley    2015    $29.95     13.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+10044                    MARTIN RAY NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley    2016    $44.95 14.6% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+651810    SPIER 21 GABLES CABERNET SAUVIGNON    WO Stellenbosch    2014    $39.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+644708    CHÂTEAU BEAUSÉJOUR    AC Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion    2015    $37.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+666602    CHÂTEAU LA PICHERIE    AC Montagne-Saint-Émilion    2016    $26.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+922054    SILVIO NARDI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2013    $50.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+377986    SAN SILVESTRO PATRES BAROLO    DOCG    2014    $35.95    15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+964221    LE VOLTE DELL'ORNELLAIA    IGT Toscana    2017    $29.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+630947    INSURGENTE VINHO TINTO    DOC Dão    2015    $17.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
 
PART TWO: The "rest" of the release [not offered for sampling by media] --
 
    414896    SEYRINGER HIMBEER RASPBERRY LIQUEUR    Austria        $23.95    B. COJOCARU AGENCIES INC.
    148866    CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY    VQA Prince Edward County    2017    $29.95    CLOSSON CHASE VINEYARDS INC.
    341792    CREEKSIDE BACKYARD BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula    2017    $24.95    HOBBS & COMPANY
    302083    BACHELDER NIAGARA CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake    2017    $24.95    S. SCHIRALLI AGENCIES LTD.,
    213173    ORGANIZED CRIME RIESLING    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $19.95    JAN TARASEWICZ
    265983    MCMANIS CHARDONNAY    River Junction    2018    $19.95    THE VINE AGENCY
    418228    J. LOHR FLUME CROSSING SAUVIGNON BLANC    Arroyo Seco, Monterey County    2018    $23.95    BARRIQUE WINE IMPORTS LTD.
    119099    VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY    Mendoza    2017    $19.95    ROGERS & COMPANY
    375212    SAN PEDRO 1865 SELECTED VINEYARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC    DO Leyda Valley    2018    $18.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
    406967    TABALÍ PEDREGOSO GRAN RESERVA VIOGNIER    DO Limarí Valley    2018    $13.95    ALEGRIA FOOD AND DRINK INC.
    483495    OLD COACH ROAD SAUVIGNON BLANC    Nelson, South Island    2018    $21.95    AZUREAU WINE AGENCY
    435073    HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULIÈRE RIESLING    AC Alsace    2017    $19.95    RUBY WINES & SPIRITS
    356956    JOSEPH DROUHIN MÂCON-VILLAGES    AC    2017    $22.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
    733501    ALAIN GEOFFROY BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2017    $39.95    EX-CELLARS WINE SERVICES
    264945    PASCAL JOLIVET SANCERRE    AC    2018    $31.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES
    484139    DOMAINE DU TARIQUET SAUVIGNON BLANC    IGP Côtes de Gascogne    2017    $13.95    EPIC WINES AND SPIRITS INC.
    74203    BROTTE LES HAUTS DE BARVILLE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANC    AP    2017    $36.95    MARK ANTHONY WINE & SPIRITS
    437004    TENUTA ROVEGLIA VIGNE DI CATULLO RISERVA LUGANA    VQPRD, DOC    2014    $26.95    CARPE VINUM INTERNATIONAL
    461327    BERONIA RUEDA VERDEJO    DO Rueda    2017    $15.95    WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS
    320986    THIRTY BENCH WINEMAKER'S BLEND RED    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $24.95    ANDREW PELLER LIMITED
    626325    OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2015    $53.95    CHARTON HOBBS INC
    330241    STERLING MERLOT    Napa Valley    2016    $36.95    MARK ANTHONY WINE & SPIRITS
    537597    IRONSTONE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Lodi    2017    $17.95    LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS
    25106    IRONY CABERNET SAUVIGNON    North Coast    2016    $24.95    SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC.
    269357    CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley    2016    $21.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
    144352    ALTA VISTA ATEMPORAL    Albaneve Vineyard, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2015    $22.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
    66837    SOPHENIA ESTATE MALBEC    Tupungato, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2017    $19.95    SYLVESTRE WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    569699    TABALÍ PEDREGOSO GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    DO Maipo Valley    2016    $15.95    ALEGRIA FOOD AND DRINK INC.
    143214    MONTES ALPHA PINOT NOIR    DO Aconcagua Coast    2016    $19.95    VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC.
    15495    3 RINGS SHIRAZ    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2016    $17.95    VINOLUNA
    627844    GEMTREE UNCUT SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $24.95    GARAGE WINE COMPANY
    360636    SISTER'S RUN BETHLEHEM BLOCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Barossa, South Australia    2017    $19.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
    66555    SCHILD ESTATE SHIRAZ    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2016    $19.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
    493163    GRASSHOPPER ROCK EARNSCLEUGH VINEYARD PINOT NOIR    Central Otago, South Island    2016    $44.95    PARADIGM FINE WINE AGENCY
    388330    CHÂTEAU LE GRAND VERDUS RÉSERVE    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2016    $19.95    M.C.O.
    487165    LAURENT PERRACHON ROCHE BLEUE JULIÉNAS    AC    2016    $20.95    HERITAGE CELLARS
    526640    COURTOIS LA SOURCE CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC    2017    $14.95    VINOLUNA
    78790    LE GRAVILLAS SABLET CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES    AC    2016    $15.95    TERRA FIRMA WINES
    736876    CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES    AP    2015    $26.95    DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS
    460410    KÖNIGSCHAFFHAUSER STEINGRÜBLE TROCKEN PINOT NOIR    Qualitätswein    2016    $18.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
    225086    UMBERTO CESARI LIANO SANGIOVESE/CABERNET SAUVIGNON    IGT Rubicone    2015    $27.95    UNIVINS AND SPIRITS CANADA INC.
    260802    BRANCAIA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2013    $38.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.
    275867    CANONICA A CERRETO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2013    $24.95    FRONTIER WINE MERCHANTS
    631614    MONTE ZOVO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE    DOC    2017    $17.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
    23390    VILLA SANDI MERLOT    DOC Venezia    2016    $16.95    BARRIQUE WINE IMPORTS LTD.
    161844    VILLA GIRARDI BURE ALTO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2016    $19.95    LIBERTY WINES INC.
    338939    TOMMASI GRATICCIO APPASSIONATO    Italy    2017    $15.95    UNIVINS AND SPIRITS CANADA INC.
    976662    FAUSTINO I GRAN RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2006    $35.95    SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC.
    547208    MURIEL FINCAS DE LA VILLA CRIANZA    DOCa Rioja    2015    $15.95    WINEWORLD IMPORTERS & EXPORTERS LTD
    132597    ESCONDIDO TEMPRANILLO    DO Ribera del Duero    2016    $16.95    THE CASE FOR WINE
    388702    THE FOREIGN AFFAIR AMAROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $18.95    CORBY SPIRIT AND WINE LIMITED
    707281    CHÂTEAU VAL-JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ    AP Luberon    2018    $16.95    THE VINE AGENCY
    556266    RICASOLI ALBIA ROSÉ    IGT Toscana    2018    $16.95    CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD.
    667279    CHARLES SPARR GRAND CRU SCHOENENBOURG RIESLING    AC Alsace Grand Cru    2012    $24.95    WINEWORLD IMPORTERS & EXPORTERS LTD
    285866    MARCHAND-TAWSE MEURSAULT    AC    2016    $76.95    BURGUNDY DIRECT LTD.
    903237    GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN ZINFANDEL    Napa Valley    2014    $49.95    ROGERS & COMPANY
    541128    VALDIVIESO ÉCLAT VIGNADORES DE CARIGNAN    Dry farmed, old vines, DO Maule Valley    2011    $32.95    WINE LOVERS AGENCY INC.
    10142    CHÂTEAU FONTESTEAU    Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc    2015    $32.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES
    490888    DOMAINES OTT CHÂTEAU DE SELLE ROSÉ    Cru classé, AP Côtes de Provence    2018    $112.95    AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS
    10481    OTT BY OTT ROSÉ    AC Côtes de Provence    2018    $64.95    AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, July 29, 2019

FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! The Prairie Table by Karylynn Johnston

 
THE PRAIRIE TABLE (Appetite by Random House, 2019, 264 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-753110 $32 hardbound) is by Karylynn Johnston, a food blogger (The Kitchen Magpie) and author of "Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky". These are new and nostalgic preps of Canadian Prairie Life, with family faves that can double for weekend entertainment dinners and potluck parties – gatherings of any kind, the "socials". The 100+ recipes cover the gamut and arrangement by  topic, such as breads and baked goods, small bites for apps, salads and veggie sides, mains, cookies and dainties, portable desserts (for potlucks and picnics), and end with libations, which have been curated by her husband. There is even a chapter on Ukrainian dishes, reflecting that heritage of the Canadian prairies.
But the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: family food lovers, Prairie dwellers, comfort foodies.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: perogy; nalysnyky; nachynka; periske; pumpkin morning glory muffins; bacon-wrapped cabbage wedges; minty feta, cherry and watermelon salad; cold picnic BBQ fried chicken; red curry pumpkin, chickpea, and sweet potato soup.
The downside to this book: it's a Canadian book with no metric measurements and no conversion tables.
The upside to this book: a well-put together package of inviting food,
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! The Big Book of Gin by Dan Jones

1.THE BIG BOOK OF GIN (Hardie Grant, 2018, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-78488-193-1 $29.99 USD hardbound) is an over-the-top colourful package of witty text, excellent photographs, and great drawings. It's by Dan Jones (a British editor with many drink books) who covers everything with 100 recipes, from classic cocktails, batch drinks, homemade syrups and tonics. There's the section on history and production, coverage of the world's best producers and mixers, glasses, infusions, and even a list of the best places to drink gin around the world.  Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: gin lovers, other spirits drinkers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cherry thyme sour; marmajito; green dragon; green snapper.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

* 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 –
 
 
 
7.EAST/WEST (Interlink Books, 2017, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-56656-006-1 $35 USD hardbound) is by Shane Delia, who has a cooking TV show in Australia and owns two places in Melbourne (Maha Restaurant and Biggie Smalls Kebab Shop). His book is a culinary journey through Malta (he is Maltese), Lebanon (his wife is Lebanese), Iran, Turkey, Morocco, and Andalusia. Typical foods include orange blossom, rose petals, slow-cooked meats, fermented yogurts, dates, olives – all of them available outside the Middle East. He presents 80 recipes drawn from his restaurant repertoire and redesigned for the home kitchen. He's also written a brief glossary for the Middle East pantry. The opening chapter on Malta is particularly attractive since the cuisine is rarely found outside of the region. He begins, of course, with the great pork and pea pastizzi, followed by the rabbit stew with raisin gremolata. Lebanon features grilled haloumi with pomegranate and sumac dressing, Iran has slow-roasted lamb shoulder with yogurt and nigella seed bread, Turkey has scallop-filled zucchini flowers with smoked eel dressing and orange and coriander crumb, Morocco has rfissa, and Andalusia features tuna tartare with harissa aioli. Each country opens with a photo essay. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
 
8.UNICORN FOOD (Workman Publishing, 2018, 184 pages, ISBN 978-1-5235-0213-4 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Kat Odell who owns the plant-based food and drink brand Unicorn Food. She's also a food writer and editor. Here she brings us (as the subtitle says) "beautiful plant-based recipes to nurture your inner magical beast". It's arranged by course, but first there is a unicorn pantry, filled with algae, bee pollen, cacao, chia seeds, chlorophyll, coconut, gluten-free nuts and seeds (and their milks), goji berries, maca root, plus a dozen more. The book is vegan, but she does use raw honey which can be substituted for. Other chapters cover milks and drinks, brunch, snacks, sweets, spreads, and a range of plants. Brunch, for example, includes probiotic morning custards, breakfast tabbouleh bowls with avocado, and avo-chia brekkies pudding. It's a very attractive book making effective use for colour. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, but at least it had conversion tables. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
9.PASSIONE (Interlink Books, 2017, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-56656-027-6 $30 USD hardbound) is by Gennaro Contaldo, He has appeared on many cooking shows, most notably his own "Two Greedy Italians" on PBS. He has long owned Passione the London UK restaurant, and the name for his book. He is reputed to have taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking (Oliver says: "His talent for cooking and storytelling changed my life and food forever"). His previous book for Interlink was Panetteria, about Italian baking. This current one is basic book plus recollections of his experiences, ranging from the Italian pantry through zuppe, pasta, polenta, risotto, pesce, carne, verdure, plus bread, snacks, and dessert. He's got over 100 recipes, and includes a mixed root vegetable soup, pennette with zucchini flowers, farfalle with peas and pancetta and ricotta, duck breasts in limoncello, and puffball cutlets. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89
 
 
 
 
10.EAT FEEL FRESH (Alpha Books, 2018, 257 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-7562-6 $25 USD hardbound) is by Sahara Rose, podcaster, blogger and best-selling author of Ayurveda books. She teaches that food is divine medicine with the power to heal BUT the best food for one person may not be beneficial to another. Here she promotes guidelines for modern tastes and lifestyles in context of how to eat according to one's specific needs. Every meal should be healing with a plant-based nutrient-dense diet. The influential Deepak Chopra has written a foreword. Topic chapters include breakfast (chai pancakes, smoothies, sweet pottao cereal, savoury oatmeal, and chickpea flour frittatas). There are dinners, desserts, snacks, sides, and healthy "potions" (dosha tea, chai latte, alkaline green juice). She's also got a separate chapter for "six-taste bowls": sweet hearty base and healthy fats, colourful bitter veggies and pungent aromatics, and astringent plant protein with salty/sour/stringent garnishes. Thirteen bowls are presented, along with customized variations based on the six tastes. It's a very colourful book with great food stylings. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
11.ASMA'S INDIAN KITCHEN (Interlink Books, 2019, 184 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-912-8 $30 USD hardbound) is by Asma Khan, owner of London's Darjeeling Express (from supper club to pop-up to restaurant) which re-creates the food of Calcutta via its all-woman kitchen. She's also part of Chef's Table (Netflix). Partially a memoir, with her immigrant's story, the book was first published in the US by Pavilion. This is Indian home cooking at its best in four chapters, starting with feasts for two, feasts for family, feasts for friends, and celebratory feasts. She concludes with 13 menu suggestions covering the bases of vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, and meat feasts. She's even got a no-expense-spared celebratory feast of six dishes (raan, macher, pulao, korma, kachumber, and rajma). The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
12.A WOMAN'S DRINK (Chronicle Books, 2018, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-7329-0 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Natalka Burian and Scott Schneider, who together are business partners in bars in Brooklyn: Elsa and Ramona. Burian was appalled at how masculine bars were in 2007, but she decided that she wanted to own one and redecorate it with a feminine interior and the emphasis on the perfect drink. Schneider is now in charge of the cocktail program at both places. This book of 50 cocktail recipes shows every temperament and taste, from powerful concoctions down through light and frothy. And it has been customized for the home bar. Still, a proper bar needs lots of equipment for all the shaking, stirring, straining, and serving, PLUS a lot of garnishes for the various drinks. Hosting a mixed party is a lot of work, but if you just want a few items that you – and you alone – may enjoy, then equipment and ingredients can be cut back. Name brands are classified by price points. The 50 recipes cover solo drinking, drinking for two, drinking with a crowd, drinking with family, drinking with people who don't drink, drinking in a hurry, and leisurely drinking. Try the Salted Watermelon Rose Popsicles or Negroni for a Group. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and  avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 88
 
 
 
13.GENNARO'S FAST COOK ITALIAN (Interlink Books, 2018, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-980-7 $30 USD hardbound) is by Gennaro Contaldo, He has appeared on many cooking shows, most notably his own "Two Greedy Italians" on PBS. He has long owned Passione the London UK restaurant. He is reputed to have taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking (Oliver says: "His talent for cooking and storytelling changed my life and food forever"). His previous book for Interlink was Panetteria, about Italian baking. This one has 90 preps to create an Italian feast in 40 minutes or less. It will call for a larger Italian pantry (extended to the refrigerator, to the freezer, and to fresh produce that keeps for a bit, such as salad greens, herbs, bell peppers) to make sure that all ingredients are on hand. It is arranged by course: salads, soups, pasta, et al through to desserts. There are primer chapters on Italian fast cooking and simple sauces. As he says, "gone are the days when women stayed at home" and made their own pasta or soaked their own beans. Try prosciutto with roasted apples and pears or cavatelli with sausage, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes – or even hake with mixed potatoes and red onion agrodolce. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 89
----------------------------------------------------

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 20, 2019

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JULY 20, 2019
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
NOTE: The first portion  is based on my sampling of the table wines chosen by the LCBO from this release for tasting. That presentation is about 50+  different labels out of about 125 released every two weeks. These wines are basically those that fit the categories of  any of the Featured Themes, Wines of the Month, Local Talent, and "new" -- wines that the LCBO has ordered in sufficient quantities for the Ontario marketplace. Not put out for us are the re-orders (even though they may be of a different vintage) , ISDs, or the expensive wines.  Thus, my report comes from a restricted database. I did not taste every one of these 50+ category wines, nor did I rate several of the wines I did sample because they did not seem to be of particularly good value in terms of their price.
 
NOTE: The second part (at the end) is a simple listing of  those wines that were NOT presented to the media, and are given here simply as a record of  what sampling I could not do. I have left in the name of the agency, in fairness to all.
 
PART ONE:  The "best" of a reduced tasting based on --
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FINDS --
 
Fizz+647883    FAMÍLIA OLIVEDA JOVE BRUT CAVA    Traditional method, DO, Spain $15.95. MVC/QPR: 90
Fortified+96834    ALVEAR 3 MIRADAS SIERRA DE MONTILLA VINO DE PUEBLO    DOP 
                    Montilla-Moriles 2017    $22.95. MVC/QPR: 91
Rose+450775    HACIENDA LOPEZ DE HARO ROSADO    DOCa Rioja    2018    $13.95. MVC/QPR:90
 
Under $20
=========
W+644765    COLIO BRICKLAYER'S REWARD RIESLING    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $18.95            10.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+ 734798    THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2017    $18.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+698274    RUSTENBERG STELLENBOSCH CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2018    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+391847    THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC    AP    2018    $16.95  MVC/QPR:  89
W+573683    CITRA FERZO ABRUZZO PECORINO SUPERIORE    DOP    2017    $18.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+528786    JANARE FIANO    DOP Sannio    2017    $16.95    MVC/QPR: 91
W+631739    LAVA GRECO DI TUFO    DOCG    2017    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+646067    QUINTA DA AVELEDA COLHEITA SELECIONADA LOUREIRO    DOC Vinho Verde    2017    $13.95    11.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+666057    FOR A SONG CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley    2015    $19.95     14.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+468280    CHÂTEAU ROC DE LEVRAUT    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2017    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+413245    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE/GRENACHE    AP Côtes du Roussillon    2016    $19.95      14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+952804    GÉRARD BERTRAND MINERVOIS SYRAH/CARIGNAN    AC Minervois    2016    $17.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R548867          CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2016    $15.95     14%ABV/MVC/QPR: 91
R+349274      CHÂTEAU LA VERRIÈRE    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2016    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+116574    HEARTLAND STICKLEBACK RED    South Australia    2015    $14.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+927723    THOMAS GOSS SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $16.95      14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+413211    XAVIER VIGNON VENTOUX    AP    2017    $16.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+994616    TERRA D'ALIGI TATONE MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO    DOC    2014    $15.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+540930    VILLA PUCCINI TOSCANA    IGT Toscana    2014    $14.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+ 543710    BALBÁS BARRICA 5 MESES OLD VINES TEMPRANILLO    DO Ribera del Duero    2015    $15.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+646836    CIMAL GARNACHA    DO La Mancha    2015    $15.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+648196    FINCA BACARA TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE MONASTRELL    DOP Jumilla    2017    $18.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
=========
W+646182    RUTHERFORD RANCH SAUVIGNON BLANC    Napa Valley    2017    $26.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+665943    FORIS CHARDONNAY    Rogue Valley, Oregon    2017    $23.95   MVC/QPR: 90
W+928218    SERGIO ZENATO RISERVA LUGANA    DOC    2016    $39.95     MVC/QPR: 91
R+597237    BENZIGER CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sonoma County    2016    $27.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+10204                     FLAVS AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA    DOCG    2015    $39.95    15.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
PART TWO: The "rest" of the release [not offered for sampling by media] --
 
    261586    LA POSTA ESTELA ARMANDO BONARDA    Mendoza    2017    $15.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.
    63891    EMILIANA COYAM    Los Robles Estate, Colchagua Valley    2015    $29.95    PMA CANADA LTD.
    943456    D'ARENBERG THE HIGH TRELLIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $19.95    CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD.
    558692    SONS OF EDEN KENNEDY GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVÈDRE    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2016    $24.95    VINOLUNA
    534750    ANGOVE FAMILY CREST GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVÈDRE    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2017    $21.95    CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD.
    5199    THE LACKEY SHIRAZ    Australia    2017    $17.95    CHARTON HOBBS INC
    444455    SHINGLEBACK DAVEY ESTATE SINGLE VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $22.95    LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS
    738120    CHÂTEAU HAUT SELVE    AC Graves    2015    $24.95    VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC.
    7112    CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR DES ROUZES    AC Pomerol    2015    $41.95    LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS
    463273    CHÂTEAU LANGLAIS    AC Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion    2015    $36.95    VINETER
    299859    ROCHE DE BELLENE CUVÉE RÉSERVE BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR    AC    2017    $22.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
    297317    XAVIER VIGNON CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AP    2017    $17.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    998716    ORTAS TRADITION RASTEAU    AC    2017    $17.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    295410    MICHEL GASSIER NOSTRE PAÏS    AC Costières-de-Nîmes    2016    $22.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES
    445742    KONCHO SEMI-SWEET RED    Alazanis Valley, Kakheti    2016    $15.95    GLOBAL CELLARS
    4523    CASETTA BAROLO    DOCG    2013    $34.95    SIGNATURE WINES & SPIRITS
    356048    CARPINETO CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2016    $19.95    UNIVINS AND SPIRITS CANADA INC.
    991984    LE RAGOSE RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2014    $21.95    CARPE VINUM INTERNATIONAL
    293431    VIVANCO RESERVA    Selección de Familia, DOCa Rioja    2012    $29.95    MARK ANTHONY WINE & SPIRITS
    552711    G. MARQUIS THE SILVER LINE PINK PINOT ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $17.95    MAGNOTTA WINERY
    119453    LA CADIÉRENNE CUVÉE GRANDE TRADITION BANDOL ROSÉ    AC    2018    $22.95    CONNEXION OENOPHILIA
    719062    FAMILLE PERRIN RÉSERVE ROSÉ    AC Côtes du Rhône    2018    $15.95    CHARTON HOBBS INC
    168237    KÖNIGSCHAFFHAUSER VULKANFELSEN TROCKEN PINOT NOIR ROSÉ    Qualitätswein    2018    $14.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
    111856    PLANETA ROSÉ    DOC Sicilia    2018    $17.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
    422584    DOM PÉRIGNON LUMINOUS BRUT CHAMPAGNE    AC    2008    $286.00    CHARTON HOBBS INC
    215210    FLOWERS CHARDONNAY    Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County    2017    $59.95    ROGERS & COMPANY
    696518    GLEN CARLOU CURATOR'S COLLECTION CHENIN BLANC    WO Swartland    2018    $29.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
    232967    ATARAXIA CHARDONNAY    WO Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge    2016    $39.95    M.C.O.
    485854    MICHEL GASSIER CHÂTEAU DE NAGES JT WHITE    AC Costières de Nîmes    2015    $26.95    DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS
    645762    PORMENOR RESERVA BRANCO    DOC Douro    2016    $37.95    BRAND NEW DAY WINES & SPIRITS
    283986    BOEDECKER CELLARS ATHENA PINOT NOIR    Willamette Valley    2014    $49.95    BRAND NEW DAY WINES & SPIRITS
    911974    YANGARRA SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2016    $34.95    BREAKTHRU BEVERAGE CANADA INC.
    329672    DOG POINT PINOT NOIR    Marlborough, South Island    2016    $49.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.
    480426    GLENELLY LADY MAY    WO Stellenbosch    2012    $34.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS
    527986    DOMAINE ROUX PÈRE & FILS SAINT-AUBIN LES FRIONNES 1ER CRU    AC    2016    $48.95    VINEXX
    116079    DOMAINE MONTIRIUS TERRE DES AÎNÉS GIGONDAS    AC    2016    $51.95    THE LIVING VINE INC.
    10167    CONTUCCI MULINVECCHIO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO    DOCG    2014    $44.95    KYLIX WINES
    544726    LAS QUEBRADAS MONASTRELL    DO Alicante    2015    $45.95    AZUREAU WINE AGENCY
    378919    VALDESPINO INOCENTE SINGLE VINEYARD FINO DRY SHERRY    DO        $29.95    AZUREAU WINE AGENCY
                       
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

SOME NEW BEVERAGE SAMPLES SENT TO ME FOR TASTING THIS MONTH OF JUNE 2019 –

SOME NEW BEVERAGE SAMPLES SENT TO ME FOR TASTING THIS MONTH OF JUNE 2019 –
 
 
1.Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Tautavel 2016 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, +272575, $18.95 Vintages August: a blend typical of the south Rhone – with grenache, syrah, and carignan -  and coming in at 14.5% ABV. Grand Terroir is Bertrand's range of specific vineyards in the Roussillon region. A third of the wine is aged in French oak barrels for nine months; the rest goes into vats.  Red fruit and black fruit dominate with nuances of aging and wood. Some garrigue too. Best with food. Quality/Price rating is 89.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Henry of Pelham Pinot Grigio Classic 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +250217 LCBO, $14.95: a wine made in the pinot gris style (Oregon, Alsace) but labeled pinot GRIGIO should sell well for those looking at a pinot grigio with some kick. Grigio has a reputation of being the vodka of wine, but here it is done up as a fairly complicated off-dry wine with layers being revealed as the wine chills down or warms up. One time it has tropicality then it becomes more citrus with more chilling. That makes it a sipper and a food wine, suitable for pre-prandial in the winter or spring. Of note is its slight tinge of orange colour (aha, another "orange" wine!!) from the grape – it is "gris" after all. Some part of the juice was from warmer regions in Niagara, other parts came from a cooler regions. There is some cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, with some pear notes. Stainless steel all the way. 12% ABV, twist top. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir Classic 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +13904 LCBO, $16.95: Here is a deft entry-level character pinot noir wine, with some cherry-berry tones, some nuances of wood, mildly opulent style, not totally cool climate at all. Four different clones are fermented in stainless and aged in "European" oak. Expect also light cloves, fresh fruit tones, and oak vanillin which will mute over time. Ready now but will get better, very food friendly and drinkable. Maybe decant first. 13% ABV, twist top. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
4.Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses White 2018 AOP Languedoc, +10621 Vintages August, $18.95: a companion wine to the Cote des Roses rose wine, this time in the blanc mode. Same shape bottle with the roses on the bottom (punt) and the glass closure. Yellow tints suggest a higher level of sweetness than it has. But tropical fruits do dominate through the mix of grenache, viognier, and vermentino grape varieties. Intriguing, and very useful as an aperitif. But don't serve too cold. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2016 Santa Lucia Highlands, +958975 Vintages, $34.95: the chardonnay is based on vines planted in 1988 near Monterey Bay, and its main claim-to-fame is the resolute oakiness that simulates barrel fermentation in style. The wine shows more restraint than most California chardonnay, in that the vanilla sweet oak is not as treacly as some. It shows the three basic elements of lemons, tropical fruit, and buttery toast – enough to satisfy anybody who wants a heavy white wine. Yum yum. The 2017 will be on sale June 24 – July 21 as an LTO ($5 off) and as a Labour Day special, Aug 29 – Sept 4 ($5 off)...which brings the Ontario price down to $29.95 CAD, the same (in numbers only) as the US retail price (saving 37% over the USD price). 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Waterkloof Circle of Life Red 2015 Stellenbosch South Africa, +698175 Vintages August, $19.95: this is a red blend companion to the Circle of Life White blend, released in the Spring at Vintages. Maybe later a rose? Here are syrah (73%), merlot (16%), and petit verdot (11%). Hand sorted grapes and a gravity system were used; syrah was whole bunch fermented while the others were destemmed. The syrah was aged in 600 litre French oak, the others in 225 litre barrels. Only 20% were new wood. 18 months in barrel was followed by a blending and another year in wood. The syrah was definitely Rhonish with blackberry components, complemented by the juicy Bordeaux varieties. The finish is herbaceous and definitely food-related. RS is only 1.1, 13.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.William Fevre Espino Carmenere 2017 DO Central Valley Chile, +464412 Vintages August, $15.95: the Burgundian company of William Fevre has a Chile operation, and this wine was last in Vintages with the 2015 year (April 2018). I liked it then, but it is better now, maybe with a slight blend change. It is 85% carmenere, 12.5% malbec, and 2.5% syrah. Black fruit dominates, with cherries and oak tones. The medium body is complemented by the medium acidity – goes well with food pairing and with patio sipping. The finish is intense and lush in the new World style. Easy-going BBQ wine. 13.6% ABV. Gold Medal winner in Chile. No change in price since 2015 vintage. Quality/Price rating is 88.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The June 26 2019 Event: Winemakers’ Tasting of Dig Our Roots: Special varietals from a specialty crop area.

The Date and Time: Wednesday June 26, 2019  6PM to 9PM
The Event: Winemakers' Tasting of Dig Our Roots: Special varietals from a specialty crop area.
The Venue: George Brown College Third Floor Wine Lab King St
The Target Audience: wine media, licensees, and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, mostly at the winery but also some at the LCBO.
The Quote/Background: Bruce Wallner, the genial MS, provided context on the small batch offerings of grapes that fly under the radar in Ontario ("cool climate is emphasized"). Three winemakers and a sales director discussed their own wines and interacted with each other. Pertinent questions were asked of the panel. We managed to cover Kerner, Trollinger, Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Semillon, Malbec, Zweigelt, and Petit Verdot.
The Wines: The were four reception wines that were not really discussed, just enjoyed. So we had a total of 16 wines to note. The lab wines begin with the vintage year:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Konzelmann Riesling Cuve Close Sparkling VQA Ontario
-Stratus Cabernet Franc Rose 2018 VQA NOTL en magnum (1500 mL)
-2017 Konzelmann Riesling Small Batch VQA (Johannisberg clone, aged in acacia barrels)
-2017 Stratus Sémillon VQA NOTL
-2016 Reif Sémillon VQA Niagara River
-2016 Stratus Botrytis Sémillon VQA NOTL  [my FAVE white]
-2014 Stratus Petit Verdot [my FAVE red]
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-EastDell Summer Rose 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula
-Reif Kerner Reserve 2017 VQA Niagara River
-2017 Lakeview Cellars Kerner VQA
-2017 Konzelmann Pinot Blanc VQA
-2017 Reif Chenin Blanc VQA Niagara River
-2017 Lakeview Cellars Viognier VQA
-2016 Lakeview Cellars Malbec VQA
-2017 Konzelmann Canada Red VQA (Zwiegelt60%/Cabernet Sauvignon40%)
-2017 Reif Magician 'Shiraz Pinot' VQA Niagara River
 
The Food: charcuterie, cheeses, dried fruit, pickles, bread, all possibly from the Cheese Boutique.
The Downside: we had a bit too much wine offered before the main event.
The Upside: excellent panel discussions.
The Contact Person: laura@wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS -- IN REVIEW !!

 
3.COASTLINE (Interlink Books, 2017, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-56656-026-9 $35 USD hardbound) is by Lucio Galletto and David Dale. Galletto runs an Italian restaurant in Sydney, Australia; Dale has written cookbooks on Italian and Turkish cuisine. Here they explore the Mediterranean influences on Spain, France and Italy, emphasizing the east part of Spain and the west part of Italy. Most of the material is centred around Liguria, Provence, and Catalunya with their similar cuisine and sources. Historical influences for the region include the Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings, and the Arabs. The authors have a collection of photo essays and stories plus 100 or so relevant recipes. The typical arrangement begins with sauces and dips, snacks and apps, salads, grains, soups, stews, and ends with desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois with some metric measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home-cooks, and the armchair traveller and cook?
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: black noodles with seafood; mussels Catalan style; navettes; petits farcis; Genoa calf liver; artichokes with ham and pine nuts; onions with romesco; pistou; romescada.
The downside to this book: too many non-food pix, but that might be its appeal
The upside to this book: it is a good concept for a cookbook
Quality/Price Rating: 89
 
 
 
4.THE BUFFALO NEW YORK COOKBOOK (The Countryman Press, 2018, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-68268-323-1, $19.95 USD paperbound) is by Arthur Bovino, a local Buffalo food and travel writer. He had previously written "Buffalo Everything" which was a guide to eating out in the "nickel city". Here he gives 70 preps from the restaurants he has covered. He's got the classic chicken wings aka Buffalo wings plus chicken finger subs, fried bologna sandwiches, stinger tacos, and sponge candy. And there is a section on how to Buffalo-ize your comfort food such as chicken pot pie, nachos, deviled eggs, cauliflower wings, and grilled cheese. His arrangement is specific: wings, beef on weck, iconic Buffalo dishes, Buffalo basics, and party food. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: City of Buffalo lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Old School Buffalo wings; Buffalo chicken parm pizza; stuffed banana peppers; Buffalo 7-layer dip; pizza logs; Buffalo panko.
The downside to this book: There is room for more recipes.
The upside to this book: upper New York state is covered nicely by beef on weck and Utica greens and Cornell-styled barbecue chicken.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
 
5.SCRAPS PEELS AND STEMS (Skipstone, 2018, 255 pages, ISBN 978-1-68051-148-2 $22.95 USD paperbound) is by food journalist Jill Lightner who has most recently done work for Taste magazine. This is a nifty collection of 73 recipes plus tips for rethinking food waste at home. It's in two parts: one deals with food waste at home, and is divided into sections covering meal planning, shopping, storing, cooking and eating, plus the matter of leftovers and gardening. The other part deals with outside the home – food service such as AYCE, grocer stores and food banks, farms, ranches, and fisheries, plus
material on waste management helping households to save money. There is some advice on how to live the less disposable life and a resource list guide (which also includes some aquafaba (vegan meringue) interest groups). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: green users of food, millennials. 
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: typical preps to reduce waste and use leftovers (stews from scraps) include cassoulet, gumbo, cholent, mujaddara, shakshuka, and chili. For veggies, there are crispy roasted potato peels, roasted cauliflower leaves, and quick-pickled stems.
The downside to this book: it can be depressing if we don't all pull together. Only 5% of wasted food is composted. The rest goes to landfill where the food creates methane, a sort of double whammy (not only wasted food, but also methane creation).
The upside to this book: it is good to be reminded of a lot of things here.
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
 
6.COOKING WITH SCRAPS (Workman Publishing, 2018, 189 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-9303-6 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Lindsay-Jean Hard, a food editor and writer at Food52 ("Cooking with Scraps"). This book grew out of that project. She encourages all of us to turn our peels, cores, rinds, stems and other odds and ends into delicious meals. She deals with how to select, store, and use these elements. She's got 85 recipes, plus tips and techniques. It is all arranged alphabetically by main ingredient. So "apples" are up first, followed by "aquafaba" (chickpea foam), through bread, coffee, fennel, leeks, wine and zucchini. 
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are  tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: conscientious eaters; sustainable food lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: radish top ohitashi; dill pickle brine bloody mary; watermelon rind-lime granita; cantaloupe pulp overnight oats; mushroom stem compound butter; tomato seed dressing; coconut-milk braised turnip greens stew; wine vinegar.
The downside to this book: the book is more about cooking the scraps with the "waste and environment" elements toned down, less of a message than the book above.
The upside to this book: there is a recipe index by course (apps to desserts plus drinks).
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com