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Thursday, July 27, 2017

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! : ON THE ROAD WITH THE COOKING LADIES: LET'S GET GRILLING (Hinz & Mackay, Whitecap Books, 2017)

ON THE ROAD WITH THE COOKING LADIES: LET'S GET GRILLING (Whitecap Books, 2017, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-297-0 $29.95 CAD softbound) is by Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay, both former caterers, restaurateurs, consultants, and food writers. Now they are two RV-travel companions going through North America and gathering great grilling recipes – there are over 100 of them here, ranging from Philly cheesecakes to smoked Memphis-style dry ribs (see more below). It's part travel book too, with travel stories and photos (but not as many as some books have). It's not arranged by region but by food ingredient or plate: snacks, starters, sandwiches and burgers, pizza, pork, beef, poultry, seafood, lamb & game, veggies, and fruit and dessert. Plus a chapter on condiments. Still, I am not sure I'd like smoked bologna; I had enough of it while still a child. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: travelers, grill cooks, home cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: bacon-infused Malpeque oysters, paprika catfish, sesame-crusted scallops, teriyaki salmon tails, reverse-seared New York strip, smoked pork steaks, smokey squash bisque, mini-parsnip pancakes, smoked venison roast.
The downside to this book: physically, the book is very tall and heavy, and I find this awkward in the kitchen – and this is why I usually make photocopies of the recipes to try.
The upside to this book: great, fresh travel book as well as a source of North American grills.
Quality/Price Rating: 91
 
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Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! : The Dirty Guide to Wine (Alice Feiring, The Countryman Press)

1.THE DIRTY GUIDE TO WINE; following flavors from ground to glass (The Countryman Press, 2017, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-58157-384-8 $24.95 USD paperbound) is by Alice Feiring, a major force in the wine writing world with award-winning articles, books, and a blog (alicefeiring.com, since 2004). She's assisted by Pascaline Lepeltier Master Sommelier (MS) who strongly believes in terroir. For years there have been nothing really new in wine books except biographies, regional analyses, and tasting notes. What keeps it all fresh is that there are new vintages every six months (above and below the Equator) that require updating. However, this book is both new and DIFFERENT. It is all about TERRAIN: the wines discussed here are organized by bedrock, and include vines grown over igneus bedrock (basalt, granite), sedimentary (limestone, shale, mudstone, clay, gravel) and metamorphic (slate, schist, gneiss). There are select tasting notes that illustrate differences, and cheat sheets for the three major forms of bedrock. Bravo, well done!
Audience and level of use: jaded wine lovers looking for new snob points.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Alsace stands alone with a variety of bedrocks.
The downside to this book: not all the world is covered, but all of the largest producing regions are.
The upside to this book: something unique, although there have been a few books about "volcanic" wines.
Quality/Price Rating: 92+.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! The Perfect Omelet (Countryman Press)

1.THE PERFECT OMELET (The Countryman Press, 2017, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-58157-366-4 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by John E. Finn, professional chef and a professor emeritus of government. Much of his writing has appeared in academic pubs. Here he seeks the "perfect" omelet (he was raised by an omelet-obsessed mother). He describes what "perfect" is in this context, with chapters on cultural history and techniques. The he moves on to breakfast and brunch, luncheon and dinner, international (frittata, tortilla, but no okonomiyaki [Japanese omelet-pancake]), and sweets. All of this is followed by a good detailed bibliography and end notes. It is a good reference book. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: singles, beginning cooks, homemakers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: tamagoyaki with scallions; omelet with lobster, shrimp, truffles and tomatoes; Persian eggplant omelet; creamed shrimp and crab omelet; fiddlehead frittata; stuffed Thai omelet with veal; chocolate souffle omelet.
The downside to this book: metric conversion tables would be useful
The upside to this book: he has a series of master techniques: Folded, Souffle, Flat, Rolled.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, July 23, 2017

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

 
...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
 
 
24.CHEESECAKE; 60 classic and original recipes for heavenly desserts (Ryland Peters & Small, 2013, 2017, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-831-4, $19.95 US hardbound) is by Hannah Miles, an early winner in UK's MasterChef – in 2007 she was one of three finalists. She continues to make TV appearances for the BBC and has written other cookbooks on popcorn, whoopie pies, and doughnuts. Here, in this reprint of the 2013 edition, she tackles 60 cheesecakes, very easy to make. She begins with a primer. The classics here include chocolate chip and baked vanilla. Then there are the fruity (champagne rhubarb), the candy bar (peanut brittle), the gourmet (salty honey), the party (trifle cheesecake, baked Alaska), and the global (cardamom bun, Japanese cherry blossom). Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no separate table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
25.GRAINS; the definitive guide to cooking seeds & legumes (Hardie Grant Books, 2013, 2016, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-74379216-2 $24.99 USD paperbound) is by Molly Brown. It was originally published in French by Marabout Hachette in 2013, and then in hardbound by Hardie Grant in 2013. This is the paperback reprint with the same material. Brown is a chef and food writer. But it is still pretty hard to cover all this material in just 150 recipes. It is all arranged by course: breakfast, soups, stews, salads, pilaffs, risottos, paellas, dinners, sides, sweets and breads/crackers. Into those 12 divisions there are eight seeds (sesame, chia, hemp, pumpkin, et al), twenty legumes (lentils, beans, peas at al), and twenty grains (oats, rices, wheat, barley, corn, quinoa, millet, er al). So that's 48 types, possibly times 12 courses. Of course, the book must be manageable and there are close dupes in all categories, plus variations. Nevertheless, it is fairly comprehensive, with prep and cooking times, metric and avoirdupois measurements (but no conversion tables). But at the very end of the book, just ahead of the index, there are two statements: eggs are large unless stated otherwise; If not specified, butter should be salted. Both need to come earlier in the book, in a larger typeface. Quality/price rating: 85
 
 
26.A WORLD OF DUMPLINGS (Countryman Press, 2007, 2017, 292 pages, ISBN 978-1-68268-017-9, $24.95 USD paperbound) is by Brian Yarvin, who is a teacher of food and commercial photography as well as the author of five cookbooks. His book was originally published in 2007; the 2017 version has been revised and updated, principally with newer access to "exotic" ingredients. These are filled dumplings, pockets, and global little pies, all arranged by region of the world (Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia, Western Europe, and the Americas. It starts with Japan (gyoza fried dumplings) and ends with Quebec (apple dumplings with mincemeat and cheddar). In between there are more than 100 preps embracing ravioli, pot stickers, samosas, empanadas, Cornish pasties, pierogies, etc. He's got a GF dough for wrapper, but also says in many recipes that you can just leave off the wrapper and cook the inside as a meatball for GF friends, in a separate pot of water. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
 
27.BARBECUE SAUCES RUBS AND MARINADES (Workman, 2000, 2017, 346 pages, ISBN 978-1-5235-0081-9, $17.95 USD paperbound) is by Steven Raichlen, who has been BBQing over at barbecuebible.com for years. He's published a multitude of award-winning IACP and Beard cookbooks over the years. Portions of this current book were originally published in 2000 as "Barbecue Bible Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades, Bastes, Butters & Glazes". It's been revised and updated and added to in line with the third season of his PBS show "Steve Raichlen's Project Smoke". It's a good book because he's got over 200 preps for chile-fired ribs, lemony marinades, buttery bastes, flavourful sauces, brines/cures/glazes/salsas/relishes/chutneys. New techniques include cider sprays and dry brining, with many more exotic international flavours such as char siu chicken, smoked venison jerky, Persian saffron lamb, and smoky whipped cream. You'll have fun with this one. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
 
28.POSH RICE (Quadrille Publishing, 2017, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-902-6 $19.99 USD hardcovers) is by Emily Kydd, who's a recipe writer and a food stylist for Quadrille (verso of the title page). The copyright is in Quadrille's name, and they have published two similar books, one on Nourish Bowls and one on Posh Toast. Here are over 70 recipes for all things rice, from pilaff to pies, puddings to snack bars, arranged by topic of salads, bowls, soups, snacks, supper dishes, sides, and desserts. There's a lamb biryani, a Gruyere zucchini gratin, jeweled rice, and mango with coconut sticky rice. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 86
 
 
 
29.VEGAN ON THE GO (DK, 2016, 2017, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-6183-4, $17/95 USD papercovers) is by Jerome Eckmeier and Daniela Lais, both vegans for over a decade and actively involved in veganism in Germany. The book was originally published by DK Verlag in Germany; this is the English translation for North America. The stress is on fast, easy, affordable, anytime, anywhere. So there are 100 preps here, arranged by soups, snacks, salads, mains and sweets. The opening chapters give an overview of the vegan life with strategies for planning ahead, packing and storing food, finding quick options and tactics for eating out. Most of the dishes are very appetizing, and I liked the fact that there were only seven tofu recipes. Try juicy mandarin and chia seed muffins or semolina slice with apple and pear puree, or even a range of spaghetti frittatas. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
30.RISOTTO! RISOTTO! (Absolute Press, 1998, 2017, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-4729-3320-1 $30 USD hardbound) is by Valentina Harris, well-known food author with more than 30 cookbooks to her name (since 1984, and principally Italian cuisine). This current book was originally published in 1998 by Cassell in the UK. It has been revised and extended, now 20 years later. Risotto has been around in Italy since about the eighth century, and is one of its more famous dishes. She's got pages on making risotto and eating risotto, followed by an illustrated history of risotto and a discussion on the types of rice. Ten varieties are used (arborio, carnaroli, vialone, et al) and their differences are noted. Chapters include making stock, the use of wine, and more. Typical classics are here, such as risi e bisi, Gorgonzola, Parmigiana, Siciliana, orzotto alla primavera (made with barley), and pesto. Milanese is also here, but for some reason, it is not indexed.
Leftovers, of course, become arancini, but she also provides a few more uses. Some of the preps call for adding wine measured as a "wineglass", and she specifies that this volume is about 200 – 250 mL, which to me is too wide a range of some two ounces from the low to the high: another example of having to use a calibrated eyeball in the kitchen. Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for July 22, 2017.

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for  July 22, 2017.
=======================================================================
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My Internet compendium "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
So many people have asked me for wine recommendations, with numbers only. The readers' most common response is that while they like what I say, they only relate to the score. The score is a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, where e.g. a Southern Rhone tastes like a Southern Rhone and not like a Northern Rhone) and Quality/Price Ratio. Let's take it for granted that, e.g., a Riesling tastes like a Riesling, and the wine has some value in the marketplace either above or below its selling price. This way too I can also cover more wines.
 
This restructured wine newsletter for the Ontario market (with wines available through the LCBO and Vintages on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at    http://www.deantudor.com
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FINDS --
 
Sparkling+296426    CATHEDRAL CELLAR BRUT SPARKLING 2010 Methode Cap Classique WO Western Cape $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92 
W+328559    CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY    WO Western Cape    2015    $16.95
14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+496422    CHÂTEAU HAUT ROZIER CUVÉE SAINT VINCENT    AC Côtes de Bordeaux        2010    $16.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91+
 
20 under $20
=========
W+82461    PIERRE-LUC BOUCHAUD MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE    Sur lie, AC        2015    $14.95      12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+190546    ANSELMO MENDES PASSAROS VINHO VERDE DOC 2015    $13.95 12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+267146    OAK BAY PINOT NOIR    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    Gebert Family, St. Hubertus    2013    $19.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+330241    STERLING MERLOT Napa Valley        2012    $19.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+387647    JANARE FALANGHINA DEL SANNIO    DOP    La Guardiense    2015    $16.95
MVC/QPR:  89
R+483404    LAS CEPAS COSTALARBROL DOCa Rioja  2013 $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+485656    LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC    AC    M. Chapoutier    2015    $15.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+492546    SARTORI REFOSCO DAL PEDUNCOLO ROSSO IGT Delle Venezie 2015    $16.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+494112    ALTA VISTA CLASSIC MALBEC    Mendoza 2015 $15.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+498915    MADAME CLAUDE PARMENTIER FITOU 2015 $15.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+510339    ARBOLEDA SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC    Aconcagua Costa        2015    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+515270    KEW BARREL AGED GAMAY NOIR    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2014    $17.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+595306    THORN-CLARKE TERRA BAROSSA SHIRAZ    Barossa, South Australia    2015    $16.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+928390    WILLY GISSELBRECHT TRADITION GEWURZTRAMINER    AC Alsace    2015    $19.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Escarpment        2016    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 88
R+134585    UMANI RONCHI MONTIPAGANO MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO DOC    2015    $13.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+166579    MONASTERIO DE LAS VIÑAS SAN JOSÉ DE AGUARÓN RESERVA    DO Cariñena    2012    $14.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+447292    NORTH 43° CABERNET FRANC    VQA Four Mile Creek, Niagara-on-the-Lake 2013    $12.95     12.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+295709    RABL GRÜNER VELTLINER DAC Kamptal 2015 $14.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
20 over $20
=========
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP        2014    $22.95        14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+377770    QUAILS' GATE CHARDONNAY    BC VQA Okanagan Valley        2014    $23.95
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+455667    CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR POURRET    AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru        2009    $38.95
13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+86603    DOMAINE VOARICK CLOS PARADIS MERCUREY 1ER CRU AP 2014    $36.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+167312    LUCA MALBEC Uco Valley, Mendoza    2014    $35.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+241182    CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING    VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment        2013    $35.20     MVC/QPR: 90
R244814    XAVIER CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE AC     2012    $44.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+295808    CHÂTEAU LA GRAVETTE LACOMBE    AC Médoc    2012    $23.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+357475    DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ    Single vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia        2015    $21.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+410761    BREMERTON COULTHARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Langhorne Creek, South Australia        2014    $24.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+420711    SEVEN FALLS MERLOT    Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley        2012    $20.95
14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+447433    KIM CRAWFORD SMALL PARCELS CORNER 50 VINEYARD MERLOT/CABERNET    Hawkes Bay, North Island        2013    $29.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+487462    THEULOT JUILLOT VIEILLES VIGNES MERCUREY    AC    Natalie Juillot et Jean-Claude Theulot    2015    $31.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+488817 SYLVAIN MOSNIER BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2014 $34.95  MVC/QPR: 88
R+489450    YANNICK ALLÉNO & MICHEL CHAPOUTIER GUER-VAN CROZES-HERMITAGE    AC        2014    $29.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+489468    BERNARD FOUQUET LE PETIT CLOS DRY VOUVRAY    Domaine des Aubuisières, AC        2015    $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+496414    CASTELFORTE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA    DOCG        2013    $29.95
15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+708826    PRODUTTORI DEL BARBARESCO BARBARESCO    DOCG        2012    $46.95
14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Event: Descorchados (Latin America) 2017 Trade and media Tasting in Toronto June 8/17

The Date and Time: Thursday June 8 2017  1:30PM to 4:30PM
The Event: Descorchados (Latin America) 2017 Trade and media Tasting in Toronto
The Venue: 2nd Floor Events, King and Spadina
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: The tasting notes booklet was arranged in table order; unfortunately, the table placards had no number on them. The best approach, then, was going from table 1 to table 48 with no jumping around. However, the tables were only in order by row, which meant that if you wanted order you must go down the row on the right to the end and then bounce back to the beginning to go down the left-hand row, etc. This could have been obviated by putting table numbers on the placards. Anyway, I got great exercise – in the heat.
The Quote/Background: Four countries were here: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
The Wines: There were 46 wineries with 22 varietals and over 200 wines in all. I just tasted the table wines. Listings are based on the book-catalogue. Agents listed where known.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bodega Aleanna El Enemigo Chardonnay 2015 Argentina  $25.95
-Trapiche Gran Medalla Chardonnay 2015 Argentina
-Laura Catena Luca Chardonnay 2015 Argentina
-Navarro Correas Alegoria Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2015 Argentina $22.95 PO Kirkwood Diamond
-Zuccardi Finca Piedra Infinita Malbec 2014 Argentina +433862 $119
-Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Chile +18721 Vintages $17.95
-Baron Philippe de Rothschild Maipo Mas Andes Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
-Luis Felipe Edwards Marea Chardonnay 2015 Leyda $19.99
-Perez Cruz Pircas de Liguai Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Maipo Andes  $40
-San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Maipo  $19.95
-Ventisquero Tara White Wine 1 Chardonnay 2014 Atacama  $50 – 52
-William Cole Mirador Selection Chardonnay 2016 Casablanca  $15.95  Abcon
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Finca La Moras Gran Syrah 2014 Argentina $25
-Mascota Vineyards Opi Chardonnay 2016 Argentina $10.95
-Garzon Single Vineyard Albarino 2016 Uruguay  $23
-Vinedo de Los Vientos Estival Gewurzt/Chardonnay/Moscato 2016 Uruguay $17 TBD 
-Zuccardi Aluvional Gualtallary Malbec 2014 Argentina $80  Dionysus
-Zuccardi Poligonos del Valle de Uco 2015 Argentina $29.95 Dionysus
-Tarapaca Gran reserva Pinot Noir Chile +404210 Vintages $17.95
-Aquitania Sol de Sol Chardonnay 2012 Chile  $35 US
-Baron Philippe de Rothschild Casablanca Escudo Rojo Sauvignon Blanc 2016
-Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Limari Chardonnay 2016
-Cono Sur Single Vineyard Block No 18 El Recurso Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Maipo
-Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Colchagua Costa  $22
-Laberinto Wines Cenizas de Laberinto Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Maule-Colbun
-Maquis Gran Reserva Carmenere 2013 Colchagua   $15.95  Halpern
-Maquis Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Colchagua  $15.96  Halpern
-Miguel Torres Cordillera Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Elqui  Family Wine Merchants
-Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2016  $16.95
-Santa Carolina Luis Pereira Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Chile  $200 Charton Hobbs
-Santa Ema Amplus Chardonnay 2015 Leyda $17.95
-Santa Ema Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Leyda  $15.95 Vintages
-Tabali Talinay Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Limari
-William Cole Mirador Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Casablanca  $15.95  Abcon
 
The Food: charcuterie, sausages, cheese, breads.
The Downside: event organizers continue to amaze me by finding new ways to make it difficult to get to a table you want to visit. Here, it was the sequence of rows.
The Upside: we got a free copy of the Descorchados book!!
The Contact Person: events@winealign.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 86.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Event: Inaugural tasting of premium wines and spirits from the Independent Consignment Wine Agents group.

The Date and Time: Wednesday June 28, 2017  1PM to 4PM
The Event: Inaugural tasting of premium wines and spirits from the Independent Consignment Wine Agents group.
The Venue: George, Queen Street
The Target Audience: wine writers, sommeliers, consumer clients.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, some at the LCBO the balance from the agent.
The Quote/Background: There are 20 members of the ICWA who have banded together mainly as a co-operative marketing tool for the Consignment and Private Ordering warehouse. Five of the members put on a great mini-show today.
The Wines: Agents were: Amethyst, Context, Mondo Vino, Violet Hill, and Wharton Fine Wines.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau Gilbert Gaillard St. Chinian $18  Wharton
-Balbi Soprani Brachetto d'Acqui Spunmante Dolci NV $18  Wharton
-S.Ilarione Rosso 2013 Calabria $17   Wharton
-Boucabeille Cotes du Roussillon Rouge 2015 $21 Context
-Chateau Laulerie Bergerac 2014  $18  Violet Hill
-Sogevinus Veedha Douro Red $15 +255851
-Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Rosado 2016 [Tempranillo] $17 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Barrica 2015 $19 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Reserva 2010 $37 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero MB 2011 $52 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Cantina Nals Margreid Lyra Gewurztraminer Cru 2014  $31  Mondo Vino
-Az. Ag. Perticaia Montefalco Rosso Riserva 2010 Umbria  $30  Mondo Vino
-Weingut Hauck Quarzit Riesling QBA Trocken 2014 Nahe $23 Violet Hill
-Domaine Viranel Aromas Sauvages St Chinian 2015  $23  Violet Hill
-Monte dei Roari Palustrel IGT Veneto 2012  $22 Violet Hill
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Poggio Bonelli Chianti Classico 2012 $24 Wharton
-Me Gustas Tu Tempranillo 2013Catalunya $17  Wharton
-Winbirri Vineyards Bacchus 2015 Norfolk England [white] $55 Wharton
-Pfeffingen Weissburgunder Pinot Blanc 2015  $22  Context
-Pfeffingen Spatburgunder Pinot Noir 2015  $29 Context
-Aculei Barolo 2013 La Bioca $55 Context
-Chateau Massereau 2014 Bordeaux Superior $26  Context
-Martin Berdugo Rueda Verdejo 2016 $22 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Joven 2015 $15 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Martin Berdugo Ribera del Duero Crianza 2013 $27 LCBO Online/Products of the World Store
-Az. Ag. Perticaia Montefalco Umbria Rosso IGT 2015  $18  Mondo Vino
-Az. Ag. Le Salette I Progni Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2014 Veneto $30 Mondo Vino
-Az. Votino Cocceius Sannio Taburno Falaghina Campania $20 Mondo Vino
-Domaine de Torraccia Christian Imbert et Fils Rouge AOP Corse 2013 $27 Mondo Vino
-Monte dei Roari Bardolino Le Reboi 2015 $18 Violet Hill
-Domaine Desire Petit Arbois Trousseau 2014 Jura  $35  Violet Hill
-Weinrieder Gruner Veltliner Klassik 2015  $22  Violet Hill
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-La Staffa Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2015 $21  Context
-Boucabeille Les Terrasses Cotes du Roussillon Blanc 2015 $21 Context
-Cantina Nals Margreid Muller Thurgau Alto Adige 2015 $20  Mondo Vino
-Livio Pavese Mantarucco Monferrato Piedmont 2006  $25  Violet Hill
 
The Food: excellent assortment of PRE-CUT cheeses, breads, focaccia, dips (avocado, tapenade, creamy cheese).
The Downside: My pupils were still dilated from the optometrist visit, but at least I could see in the semi-darkness.
The Upside: a chance to taste some wines from agents who almost never pour at shows.
The Contact Person: laura@amethystwine.ca; philipdwharton@hotmail.com; dee@violethillwine.com; Mondo Vino = dcastricone@sympatico.ca; Context = markjohnjacoby@gmail.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Event: British Beverage Showcase June 22/17

The Date and Time: Thursday, June 22, 2017   3:00 Pm to 6 PM
The Event: British Beverage Showcase
The Venue: Wychwood Barns
The Target Audience: alcohol beverage trade (wines, beers, spirits)
The Availability/Catalogue: all products are in play in Ontario, with certain exceptions – they will come in later.
The Quote/Background: I was only interested in beer and ciders
The Beers: I sampled 7 beers plus a cider (Caple Rd Cider Blend No. 3 500 mL $2.95 +498014, rated BETTER 3.5 stars). For starters I had some Hush Heath 1503 Balfour Classic Cuvee, TBD for Classics Catalogue, about $45, made in traditional method (rated BETTER 3.5 stars). For dessert I had a small snort of Thunder Toffee and Vodka Spirit Drink (29.9%, 375 mL, $23.95 +496067 rated BETTER 3.5 stars).
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Innis & Gunn Bourbon Cask Dark Ale 330mL 7.4%  $2.95  +478297
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Innis & Gunn IPA 6 x 330 mL 5.6% $14.50 +493627
-Elvis Juice Grapefruit Infused IPA 330 mL 6.5%  40 IBU $3.25 +489385
-Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin Gold 500 mL 4.5% 35 IBU $2.75 +488445
-Hall & Woodhouse Badger Fursty Ferret  McClelland Premium Imports
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Charlie Wells Dry Hopped Lager 500 mL 4.7%  27 IBU $2.65 +476887 
-Harviestoun Brewery Raspy Engine Raspberry Porter $3.20 Kinetic Brands/Imprese
 
The Food: traditional, but with new spins: pig in a blanket, roast beef in yorkshire pudding tarts, toad-in-the-hole with avocado and quail egg, "fish and chips" (upscale seafood in tacos), Stilton and cheddar cheeses, clotted cream and strawberry preserves, biscuits and scones.
The Downside: not enough beer or cider for me to sample.
The Upside: it has been a couple of years since we had a UK beer show – the last was in October 2014 at The Caledonian, and it was all Scottish beer and ciders.
The Contact Person: isabell.french@mobile.trade.gov.uk
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Event: The Art of Blending Olive Oils Master Class by Giovanni Zucchi.

The Date and Time: Tuesday June 20, 2017   2:30 PM to 5:30 PM
The Event: The Art of Blending Olive Oils Master Class by Giovanni Zucchi.
The Venue: Aria Ristorante, York Street
The Target Audience: food bloggers
The Availability/Catalogue: "Olive Oil Doesn't Grow on Trees" is the name of his book on the art of blending, which is what his family Oleificio Zucchi has done since 1810. The website www.zucchi.com lists a wide variety of blends, including Italian EVOO and EVOO from other EU countries. There is also a range of two organic EVOO and four PDO and PGI. There are also nine different flavoured EVOO and four vinegars.
The Quote/Background: Giovanni Zucchi led a seminar on the kinds and complexities of different olive oil cultivars. We were to blend our own extra virgin olive oil which came from four different regions. New combination of flavours are important, through synthesis, like the blends of coffee beans and wines, and even cheeses.
The Oils: we were not told the regions until afterwards. My own notes follow –
 
Bottle A: slightly bitter and pungent, a bit vegetal (Andalusian Spain)
Bottle B: thick, fruity, soft finish (Spain)
Bottle C: peppery, bright, long length (Tuscany)
Bottle D: thick, soft, slight pepper finish (Crete) – my fave
 
I blended C and D, and topped up with some A. we were allowed to take home our "finished" bottle.
 
The Food: we had a tasting menu which followed – with green apples, lobster taco, breads, several apps for food (shrimp, veggies, cheeses) plus sparkling Fiol Prosecco.
The Downside: it started late.
The Upside: a chance to connect with food bloggers.
The Contact Person: mdeangelo@colangelopr.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Event: Exclusive seminar/tasting of La Tordera's Proseccos June 13/17

The Date and Time: Tuesday June 13, 2017  3:30PM to 5:30 PM
The Event: Exclusive seminar/tasting of La Tordera's Proseccos
The Venue: GBC Chef's House Tasting Lab
The Target Audience: wine writers and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are available through Katy Moore of K Cellars.
The Quote/Background: Matteo Burani from La Tordera spoke on the origins of the company. They started vineyards in 1918 in the steep hills of Valdobbiadene and then moved to wine production only in 2003. The non-grafted root stock grapes are all hand-harvested and estate-grown and bottled. They have a green certificate from CasaClima. Three of the wines have been submitted to Vintages, but most are just private orders through K Cellars.
The Wines: We tasted five wines (they make at least eight), all of them vintage dated.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-La Tordera Gabry Rose Brut 178.32 per case of 12
-La Tordera Superiore di Cartizze DOCG $35 bottle retail [their top wine]
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-La Tordera Saomi Brut (90% glera, 10% chardonnay) – lightest of all the wines $183.48 per case of 12 Licensee
-La Tordera Brunei Brut  $212.88 per case of 12
-La Tordera Serrai Extra Dry  $212.88 per case of 12
 
The Food: appetizers and bites of sausages, mushroom quiche, chocolate squares.
The Downside: I had just come from a very heavy Australian wine trade show, so I was a bit rushed.
The Upside: this was my first Prosecco seminar from just one producer.
The Contact Person: katymoore60@gmail.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, July 10, 2017

SOME NEW BEVERAGES TASTED THIS JUNE 2017 –

 
 
1.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2016 VQA Ontario, +270926 LCBO $14.95: As with their previous baco noirs at all levels, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy character and the price (it has been $14.95 for awhile). Both new and older US barrels are used for more than six months aging (24% new oak). It is still too young for today [only seven months old], needs another year or two. 13% ABV. One of the top General List bacos in Ontario. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
2.Gerard Bertrand Reserve Speciale Viognier 2015 IGP Pays d'Oc, +147975, $14.95 Vintages: aromatic but on the dry side, perfect as a social wine or for first course. Expect peachy and orange character, but of course no oak. Youthful and useful with nuances of orchard fruit and spicy nuts. Could go either way with or without food. Versatile. 12.5% ABV, cork closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
3.Torres Salmos 2014 Priorat, +450734 $35.95 Vintages: a delicious red fruit concoction like Chateauneuf-du-Pape with its carinena, garnacha and syrah blend. 14.5% ABV. Expect meatiness and berries, and extremely long finish. Aged in French oak for 14 – 16 months. Of course, much better in a few years (will hold a decade). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Concilio Pinot Grigio Trentino DOC 2016 +637595 LCBO: loaded as much as a PG can be with orchard fruit finishing dry on the palate. But uncomplicated. Fresh, fresh, fresh and plenty good for the patio/deck of the hot days ahead. Sip or with food – your choice (maybe both ways?). Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Chevalier Monopole Rose Dry Methode Traditionelle NV +485920 Vintages $16.95: a veritable bargain since it is a sparkler at a still wine price. Champagne-method of secondary fermentation, aged nine months, 12% ABV, just perfect for the summer patio/deck campaign. If you like affordable bubbles, then this is it from southern France, with gamay, cinsault, cabernet and bobal grapes in the field blend. Nothing like red fruit in summer (black fruit in winter)....Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Buena Vista Winery Chardonnay 2015 North Coast +396440 Vintages $24.95: it's hard to distinguish among California chardonnays at this price level, so go for the cool climate ones. The 2015 harvest here was early in August, so the wine has aged well with nine months in stainless and French oak (10% new). Expect the typical baked apple and fresh apple, vanilla, orchard fruit, and some citrus tones on the finish. Nuances abound, such as in smoke. A contemplative wine, don't waste it on the patio – there's enough finishing acid to pair with a first course. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Southbrook Vineyards Seriously Cool Red 2013 VQA Ontario, $15.95 +453639 LCBO: an interesting blend of pinot noir (65%), gamay (25%), zweigelt (8%) and syrah (2%) from sustainable vineyards. The wine is also suitable for vegans. It is all stainless steel, with twist top, at 12.5% ABV. Expect classic Ontario red fruit (cherry-berry) plus some tart cranberry for refreshment and finish. Can be either a sipper or foodwine or both. The back label has little description; it would have been nice to know the grape names and proportions. Other Ontario wineries do this. I actually like this wine a lot better than I did a year ago, so it is capable of aging, and I think next year it will be even better. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
8.Southbrook Vineyards Serious Cool Chardonnay 2016 VQA Ontario, $14.95 +457481 LCBO: a blend of chardonnay and chardonnay musque, 50% of each (last year's vintage had a dollop of added riesling). The residual sugar is 5 g/l, less than the comparable Seriously Cool Red. The winery notes that half of the grapes were harvested from vineyards transitioning to organic, so the source vineyards are at least "sustainable plus". A good quaffer or social wine or even a first course white wine, displaying Ontario orchard fruit (apple, peach, et al) in a light mode, and some citric tones. Best with cheeses served on the patio. 11.8% ABV. The back label has little description; it would have been nice to know the proportions of the two chardonnay varieties used. Other Ontario wineries do this. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
9.Southbrook Vineyards Serious Cool Rose 2016 VQA Ontario, $14.95 Winery Direct: a blend of pinot noir and vidal [the latter transitioning to organic], with upfront strawberry and perfumed aromatics, finishing with a savoury bite suitable for sipping on its own as an aperitif or as a first course foodwine. Best in summer, of course. 11.5% ABV. The back label has little description; it would have been nice to know the proportions of the grapes used. Other Ontario wineries do this. Quality/Price rating is 89-90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
10.Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2016 VQA Ontario, $22 at winery: from vineyards in PEC (80%) and Tawse Winery (20%). Stress is on the old Alsatian style and uses the "gris" descriptor rather than the more-common "grigio". "Gris" usually indicates more white floral and white fruit aromatics, and floral consistency right through to an enticing finish. Body is firmer and colouring is more straw or yellowish. Useful as an aperitif or first course wine, but it is more demanding than a regular sipper. 12.5% ABV. 900 cases. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
 
11,Huff Estates Riesling Off Dry 2016 VQA Ontario, $20 at winery: I did not find this "off-dry" (RS 17g/l), but rather a typical Ontario Riesling with fruity body and finishing acidity. More a first course or aperitif than a sipper as the label may imply. Good balance of tropical fruit sweetness and citric acidity. 11.5% ABV. 1600 cases. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
12.Huff Estates Merlot 2016 VQA Ontario, $20 at winery: very fruity, maybe fruit gone wild, no oak or other aging – just stainless steel. Typically bright red and black fruit style, cherry-berry even. Slightly tannic finish at this point, expected to smooth out over the next year or so. One of the better merlot wines in Ontario. First course or cheese. 13% ABV. 700 cases. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
13.Huff Estates Rose 2016 VQA Ontario, $19 at winery: made totally from cabernet franc with 12 hours of skin contact during fermentation. Lovely pale colour, aromatics and first palate of strawberries and then the typical cranberry textures and finish for an Ontario wine. Light herbaceous suggests food on the patio or some first course app.
12.5% ABV. 900 cases. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
14.Cardone Archita Gioia del Colle Primitivo 2014 Puglia, $24.95 +488383 Vintages: there is a lot going on here that should also appeal to zinfandel lovers. Behind a sheen of chocolate and coffee (North American appeal), there is a range of stewed and jammy dark fruit, somewhat raisinated but tempered with a sweet toasted smoke feel in the long finish. Good bang for the buck. Others have noted that the 2014 vintage is the best ever for Archita. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
15.Giuseppe B. CARPANO ANTICA FORMULA VERMOUTH, +360248 Vintages,  $16.95 for 375 mL: a revelation in the vermouth world, created in 1786. This is red vermouth,  emphasizing vanilla, dried fruit, dates and orange zest. Bitter-sweet, with some gentian root notes. 16.5% ABV, long persistent finish, best on the rocks as an aperitif or after a meal straight up. Many Toronto bars use it in their cocktails, such as the Negroni or Manhattan. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
16.CARPANO BIANCO DRY, $22.95 litre, Private Order from Majestic Wine Cellars: a nifty vermouth to savour or to use in blends with cocktails. Expect peppery-like citrus, oily and fruity (nectarine) textures, and dry enough to show off herbs and botanicals. It has more vanilla tones than expected, but the sweetness has been mitigated (about RS 30 gr/L). It's even got Cretan dittany (hop marjoram) as an herb. Not for really dry martinis, but great as an aperitif on the rocks, on its own for a comfort drink, or as a cocktail. 18% ABV, long fnish like wine. It may be coming to the LCBO, so watch for it. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
17.Fratelli Branca Fernet-Branca Amer/Bitters, +220145 Vintages, $23.10 for 500 mL: this is one of the top dry bitters of the world. Here are 27 herbs and spices aged in oak for a year. It can be enjoyed with beer, mixed drinks, on the rocks, or with soda/pop drinks. But it is best straight. 40% ABV, with that characteristic gentian and vanilla/oak matured flavour. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com