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Sunday, July 26, 2015

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! * === Art of American Whiskey (Ten Speed Press)

THE ART OF AMERICAN WHISKEY (Ten Speed Press, 2015, 186 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-718-5, $19.99 US hard covers) is by Noah Rothbaum, spirits article writer and author of The Business of Spirits (as well as former editor-in-chief of liquor.com). Lots of log rolling, which is now a permanent feature of book-selling; apparently, it is easier to trust someone you might have heard of rather than a publicist for a publisher. This is a visual history through 100 iconic labels plus archival photos and drawings. The frame is late 1800s through now, embracing prohibition, war years, swinging sixties, and so on. It is a very pleasant read, with a bibliography for further reading.
Audience and level of use: excellent beginner book for the budding brown spirit lover.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sales of American whiskey (bourbon, Tennessee, rye, corn) were up almost 40% between 2000 and 2014.
The downside to this book: a bit short in length.
The upside to this book: excellent illustrations.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR JULY 25, 2015

 
WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR JULY 24, 2015
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here.
 
NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting. It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Henri de Villamont Prestige Bourgogne Chardonnay 2007, +416123, $19.95: creaminess and caramel suggests both age and barrel-fermentation. 13% ABV. Drink up within an hour after opening, may collapse in the glass after that. Excellent value for that first hour. QPR: 92.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Henry of Pelham Estate Riesling 2012 VQA Short Hills Bench, +557165, $17.95: deliciously off-dry, perfect for summer patios or spicy dishes. Twist top. QPR: 89.
2.Pietro Marini Torrontes 2013 Salta, +408443, $12.95: christened "the wine of Toronto during PanAm games", arrives one release too late. 13.2% ABV, fruity florals but with a cork closure. QPR: 88.
3.Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Wairau Valley Marlborough, +919514, $19.95: top rated kiwi savvy, green pepper and lemon zestiness, still under $20 in Ontario. QPR:89.
4.Protheau Domaine Saint Paul Viognier 2013 IGP Pats d'Oc, +414490, $13.95: very good persistence of peach and orange tones, subtle acid, best as  sipper or first course wine. 13% ABV. Cork closure. QPR: 89.
5.Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus Riesling Kabinett 2013 Rheingau, +735241, $17.95: at 9.5% ABV, this medium 0ff-dry quaffer will reward you with plenty of orchard fruit riesling. Twist top. QPR: 88.
6.Tommasi Adorato Appassionato Bianco 2014 Veneto, +320721, $15.95: a "double love" wine showing good concentration of garganega flavours at a favourable price. Twist top, 13% ABV, Highly extractive and viscous. QPR: 90.
7.Beronia Fermentado en Barrica Viura 2014 Rioja, +422055, $18.95: a youngster in time, needs further development. BF gives it a slight creaminess but it all needs to be resolved. Maybe next year. 13% ABV. QPR: 88.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Coyote's Run Cabernet/Merlot 2012 VQA Niagara, +26757, $19.95: quality first rate job, twist top, 13% ABV. Bordeaux in style. QPR: 88.
2.Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec 2012 Barrancas Vineyards Mendoza, +183897, $19.95: quality Malbec at below $25. Long length, good wood tones, 14% ABV. QPR: 88.
3.Casa Silva Los Lingues Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Colchagua Valley, +640870, $15.95: value-priced at a GR level, mocha tones dominate. 14$ ABV. Cork closure. QPR: 89.
4.Delas Les Launes Crozes-Hermitage 2012, +701359, $24.95. QPR: 90.
5.Plaimont 1907 Madiran 2010, +417550, $18.95: deep, dark and delicious, but needs time. 14% ABV. QPR: 88.
6.Dom. Lafage Tessellae Vieilles Vignes Carignan 2013 IGP Cotes Catalanes, +343509, $17.95: from 70-year-old vines, expect dark fruit tones and some mocha. One to lay down or savour now. 14% ABV. Cork closure. QPR: 90.
7.F. Falcao Pegos Claros 2010 Palmela Portugal, +385252, $15.95: value priced with good aging, worth a shot for its older vines and concentration. 14% ABV. QPR: 88.
8.Bod. Altanza Lealtanza Reserva 2009 Rioja, +208223, $19.95: lots of new wood, mainly French, very toasty and warm. QPR: 89.
10.Lopez de Haro Crianza 2008 Rioja, +377481, $14.95: another value-driven Spanish beauty, now almost 7 years old. If it indeed has 18 months in oak (according to the review re-published in the Vintages catalogue), then it has more oaking than a Reserva has! Crianza USED to refer to six months in wood plus time in bottle. Now it has a minimum 12 months in oak. Nevertheless, price is the main consideration. And do drink up. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Chardonnay 2013 Sonoma Coast, +235945, $32.95 retail.
2.Dog Point Vineyard Chardonnay 2012 Marlborough, +238568, $42.95.
3.Roux Pere & Fils Les Chaumes Chassagne-Montrachet 23013, +208512, $64.95
4.Jean-Max Roger Cuvee Les Cailottes Sancerre 2013, +65573, $26.95.
5.Les Halos of Jupiter Adrastee Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011, $64,95.
6.Capezzana Carmignano 2010, +344762, $32.95.
7.Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 IGT Toscana, +996553, $27.95.
 
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Event: Tasting with Marco Martini of MGM Mondo del Vino June 29/15

The Date and Time: Monday, June 29, 2015    6 PM - 9PM
The Event: Tasting with Marco Martini of MGM Mondo del Vino
The Venue: JOY Bistro, Leslieville
The Target Audience: a small group of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are at the LCBO except for the Barbera which will come soon.
The Quote/Background: Marco Martini spoke about his consolidated company MGM and the partners. It's a holding company of four different wineries, operating in Puglia, Sicily, Veneto and Piedmont. 90% of their production of 5 million cases is exported to 50 countries. They have 4000 hectares of vineyards under contract, and 120 different labels. He sees the future as being more exported wines, and more wines being in appassimento style.
The Wines: The tasting was preceded by local draught beers to pick up our parched throats and be a rince-bouche.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Viticoltori Acquesi Brachetto d'Acqui [sparkling], +375667, $12.95
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Costa Mediana Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2012, 13.5% ABV +377648, $14.95 currently on sale
-Barone Montalto Pinot Grigio 2014 IGT Sicilia, 12% ABV, +73148, $8.95
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Barone Montalto Nero d'Avola Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 IGT Sicilia, 13.5% ABV, +621151, $8.95 [80% nero d'avola}
-Ricossa Barbera Appassimento 2014 Piemonte, $18.95.
 
The Food: We tasted and discussed all the wines and then began dinner, drinking the wines with the food. We ate off the menu, beginning with panko calamari and goat cheese balls for the table. Some had salads and burgers; I had mussels. No desserts.
The Downside: there was a large slowdown on the TTC, but that was after dinner.
The Upside: it was convivial with great conversation.
The Contact Person: caissie@selectwines.ca; marco.martini@mondodelvino.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Event: Cheap and Cheerful dinner function for Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.

The Date and Time:  Tuesday, June 23, 2015  6:30 PM
The Event: Cheap and Cheerful dinner function for Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.
The Venue: Allen's
The Target Audience: WWCC members
The Availability/Catalogue: eight members contributed rare wines for the dinner.
The Quote/Background: every year the WWCC puts on a "cheap and cheerful" dinner for its members – an exclusive gathering for talk and chatter, letting down our hair, etc.
The Wines:
 
WWCC Cheap and Cheerful dinner at Allen's, June 23, 2015
Wines served, brought by attendees, with my rating in parentheses:
-13th Street Gamay/Pinot Noir 2013 VQA (90)
-Irsai Oliver 2014 [muscat] Hungarian (89)
-Laurenz V. Friendly Gruner Veltliner 2012 Kampal (89)
-Plaimont Le Faite Cotes de Saint Mont 2001 Madiran (94)
-Kuhlmann Platz Cremant de Rose NV Alsace [pinot noir] (94)
-Argyros Santorini 2014 Assyrtiko Greece (90)
-Yalumba The Strapper Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2012 Australia (89)
-Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 (92)
-Daniel Lenko Old Vines Merlot 2003 VQA (95)
 
Veuve Clicquot RICH NV [Doux level, for cocktails] opened the proceedings at the bar. It is a new offering, +424341, $82.20, expressly for making cocktails.  The basic suggested cocktail was a large wine glass, with ice cubes, and one ingredient added (grapefruit, pineapple, tea, pepper, celery, cucumber – just one of them), finished with a pour of chilled RICH. It was a terrific start to the evening (I had the pineapple). Dee-licious, rated at 90.
 
 
The Food: Allen's prepared a special menu with lots of choices, but we all seemed to have had the calamari with fire sauce and then either the pan-seared wild halibut or the ginger-grilled striploin (although one member had the pollo tonnato). Our thanks to John Maxwell (owner of Allen's) and to WWCC member Sheila Swerling-Puritt who put together the evening!!!
The Contact Person: deantudor@deantudor.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Event: A tutored tasting of Masciarelli Wines (Abruzzo) with owner Marina Cvetic June 19/15

The Date and Time: Friday, June 19, 2015  10:30AM to 1PM
The Event: A tutored tasting of Masciarelli Wines (Abruzzo) with owner Marina Cvetic.
The Venue: Taverna Mercatto on Bremner.
The Target Audience: wine writers and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: The wines are available through the agency, Stem Wine Group
The Quote/Background: Marina spoke about the family's winery and then proceeded to talk about each wine, asking for comments. Food came out near the end as the tasting ran over.
The Wines: I was particularly interested because Marina has been coming many times to Toronto for the Stem portfolio tasting and so it was good to renew an acquaintance. Also, my maternal grandparents came from the hills of Abruzzi.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Masciarelli Castello di Semivicoli Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2010, $34.99
-Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2010, $31.99
-Masciarelli Villa Gemma Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2008, $74.99
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Masciarelli Castello di Semivicoli Pecorino 2014, $24.99
-Masciarelli Linea Classica Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2012, $14.99
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Masciarelli Linea Classica Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2013, $14.99
-Masciarelli Linea Classica Rosato 2014, $14.99
 
The Food: it was family style for salad, seviche, arancini (two kinds?), meatball, pizza (two kinds). Enough for an army although there were just nine of us.
The Downside: It was in the middle of my usual Vintages media tasting.
The Upside: Mercatto was just a 10 minute walk away from the LCBO tasting.
The Contact Person: robert@stemwinegroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Event: Paul Hobbs lunch and wine tasting June 11/15

The Date and Time:  Thursday, June 11, 2015  1Pm to 3PM
The Event: Paul Hobbs lunch and wine tasting
The Venue: Luma
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: Releases from Paul Hobbs are coming through the Ontario market this summer. In addition to his California winery, Hobbs also owns Vina Cobos in Argentina and has a new wine from Cahors called Crocus (unfortunately, not available for tasting this day).
The Quote/Background: Paul Hobbs asked us if we wanted background or a wine talk. We all chose background, so he talked about his career, mentors, other countries, and his sustainable vineyard practices. He was mainly attracted to winemaking via the chemistry side while at UCDavis. He began to concentrate on aging and extracts, making great strides in Argentina with Catena. He commented on his winemaking practices and the terroir-driven nature of the wineries. The wines we had more-or-less spoke for themselves.
The Wines: Other Vina Cobos wines to be released at vintages include Felino Malbec 2013, Felino Chardonnay 2014 (+119099, $19.95), Bramare Valle du Uco Malbec 2012 (+123729, $44.95) and Cobos Malbec (+119289, $215.95). His California winery will have a whole range of eight wines (cabs, chards, and pinots) by the end of 2015 at Vintages.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Paul Hobbs Russian River Chardonnay 2013 $54.95 +119073  Oct Vintages
-Paul Hobbs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 +119065  $99.95  Oct Vintages
-Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012  +118695  $54.95 Vintages
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Chardonnay 2013 $29.95 +235945 Vintages
-Vina Cobos Felino Malbec 2013 +118067  $19.95  Vintages soon
 
The Food: The special 3 course menu included soup or salad with the chardonnays (I had the cream of sweet onion soup), while the main featured a choice: I had the flatiron steak (blue) with the cabernets. Everything showed off just wonderfully.
The Contact Person: nzolis@awsm.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PanAm Food Festival Returns to Toronto, July 30 - August 3...

3rd annual Pan American Food Festival 2015 Program: Top Chefs and Food Competitions
www.panamfoodfest.com / Facebook: PanamericanFoodFestival
 
The third annual Pan American Food Festival – the only festival in the world that celebrates the best food and culture of the Western Hemisphere – returns to Toronto from July 30 to August 3, 2015 at Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas Street East Toronto ON M5A 2B7
 
This year's festival features another roster of impressive chefs and fun food competitions.
 
"We are excited to present the best flavours and cultures of the Pan American region at the height of Pan Am fever in Toronto," says Daniel Garcia-Herreros, Festival Director and Founder.
 
"We are returning to Daniels Spectrum this year with our biggest festival to date—filled with more delicious food experiences than ever before."
 
The festival launches on Thursday, July 30 with the opening of 10×10 Pan American Faces, a new exhibition of photography by ten local photographers to celebrate the contribution of Pan Americans to Toronto's vibrant quality of life. The exhibition will be on view in the South Lobby of Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East, Toronto) through the Festival. On Friday July 31, a private VIP Opening Reception will celebrate the Festival's third year, and the 2015 Featured Country, Mexico.
 
Over the August long weekend, the Festival will be entirely free to the public on Saturday August 1-3, 2015. Once again, the public can participate in mouth-watering food demonstrations by international chefs, kids' activities, Latin dance workshops, and a Pan American vendors market. Events will be held inside Daniels Spectrum, a vibrant cultural hub in downtown Toronto, and on the neighboring streets Regent Park Boulevard and St. David's Walk), creating a large outdoor street fair called the Pan American Market for visitors to discover the delicious and diverse cuisine and cultures of the Americas. below).
 
Many top Pan American food vendors and food trucks will sell specialties from their respective countries all weekend, bringing the best of Pan American flavour to Toronto. In addition, the Festival's Culinary Curator, Mary Luz Mejía, has put together a unique line-up of culinary talent to present food demonstrations and participate in international food competitions judged by the public. This year's feature International Chef is Colombia's Master Chef winner, Federico Martinez, who will prepare a traditional Colombian favourite on August 1st at 4 pm.
 
A total of twenty-five Pan American chefs will live demo dishes, including:
 
Chef Federico Martinez, first-ever winner of Master Chef Colombia
Chef Ryan Wilson-Lall, chef de cuisine at the AGO's FRANK restaurant
Chef Paola Solorzano, representing this year's host country, Mexico
Chef Elias Salazar, competing in Heladisimo with his Peruvian cacao and quinoa paleta
Chef Cristian Heise, winner of 2014 Best Tamale, represents Chile in Empanada Battle
Chef Pedro Quintanilla, from Bloom Restaurant in Bloor West Village, representing Cuba, who will demo his Picadillo Cubano live
 
Building on the success of last year's sold-out Totalmente Tamales competition, three new international Food Competitions will be held this year. The festival's first-ever Empanada Battle will pit some of the city's best empanada makers in a friendly competition to determine whose empanada will be crowned la reina! Six chef competitors from the Pan American region will battle it out on Saturday August 1, 6:30-8:30pm. A $10 ticket entitles guests to sample all six empanadas and a voting ballot to pick their top contenders.
 
This year's Host Country, Mexico, will sponsor Masa Mas Lucha Libre, where six chefs participate in a competition of masa-based dishes from different regions of the country. The event will take place on Sunday, August. 2, 2015 from 6-7:30pm, and visitors can taste all the contenders and vote with their $10 ticket.
 
On Monday, August 3 at 3 pm, the final food competition takes a sweeter and cooler turn as four chefs offer ices and ice creams with a Pan American twist in Heladisimo, with tickets priced at just $6.00. This is a great way for the whole family to cool down after a fun summer afternoon at the Festival.
 
DAILY FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS:
 
Thursday July 30 – Opening of 10×10 Pan American Faces photography exhibition, 7 pm
 
Friday July 31 – VIP Opening Reception (by invitation)
 
Saturday August 1 – International Chef Food Demonstrations: free, noon to 5 pm
– Pan American Market: free noon to 10 pm
– International Food Competition: Empanadas Battle: $10, 6:30 pm
 
Sunday August 2 – International Chef Food Demonstrations: free, noon to 5 pm
– Pan American Market: free noon to 10 pm
– International Food Competition: Masa Mas Lucha Libre: $10, 6:30 pm
 
Monday August 3 – International Chef Food Demonstrations: free, noon to 3 pm
– Pan American Market: free noon to 10 pm
– International Food Competition: Heladisimo (Ice Creams): $6, 3 pm
 
For more information, visit www.panamfoodfest.com / Facebook: PanamericanFoodFestival

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Event: Meeting with Maria Alvear of Bodegas Alvear, hosting a tasting of her Montilla wines with tapas. June 10/15

The Date and Time:  Wednesday, June 10, 2015   2Pm to 5 PM
The Event: Meeting with Maria Alvear of Bodegas Alvear, hosting a tasting of her Montilla wines with tapas.
The Venue: Bar Raval
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: there are three Montillas on the General List: Fino, Medium Dry, and Solera 1927 Pedro Ximenez (solera began in 1927).
The Quote/Background: She noted that the company has about 24 different types. Everything is made in Montilla, next door to Jerez, but cannot, of course, be called Sherry. The company was founded in 1729; it is the second oldest Bodega in Spain. 90% of the vineyards is planted with Pedro Ximenez, not Palomino as would be in Jerez.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Alvear Fino 15% ABV unfortified, $12.45 LCBO
-Alvear Solera 1927 Pedro Ximenez 16% ABV, half-bottles, $19.95 LCBO
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Alvear Medium Dry 17% ABV, $12.45   LCBO
 
 
The Food: Bar Raval created some sherry cocktails for the group, to go with tapas. One cocktail included gin and orange bitters and was named Maria from Montilla, with Alvear PX de Anada 2013, a vintaged Montilla, 17%. There was also an Alvear Negroni made with Campari and Alvear Pale Cream Fino En Rama 2008. Both were exceedingly delicious; we could have stayed for hours. Tapas included a selection of 4 or 5 olives, cheeses, hot fatty chorizo, green chilies roasted, meats, breads, calamari, fried ham on brioche, dry sausages, and croquettes.
The Contact Person: rsandham@kirkwooddiamond.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Event: the annual Soul of Portugal tasting: uniqueness in a bottle June 9/15

The Date and Time: Tuesday, June 9, 2015    11:30 AM to 5PM
The Event: the annual Soul of Portugal tasting: uniqueness in a bottle
The Venue: Burroughes Building, 6th floor
The Target Audience: wine media and trade
The Availability/Catalogue: as always, there was a variation in what wines are available at what price. I cobbled together what I could.
The Quote/Background: John Szabo led an exemplary seminar-tasting of some 10 wines, ranging from a vinho verde to a 20 year-old port. 40 people attended the presentation, which was preceded by a catered lunch of grilled chicken breast salad and red velvet chocolate chip cookies.
The Wines: I did not try all the wines. The seminar wines have been folded into the listing below. There were 34 companies at 29 tables with about  what looked to be a dozen wines each – far more than were listed in the catalogue. Somebody mentioned there were 160 wines in all.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Alianca Bairrada Reserve Tinto 2012 
-Bacalhoa Quinta da Bacalhoa 2012
-Companhia das Quintas Quinta de Pancas Grande Escolha 2011 $54
-Companhia das Quintas Quinta da Fronteira Grande Escolha 2011
-Cortes de Cima Reserva 2011 $89.95    Tandem
-Cortes de Cima Syrah 2012  Tandem
-Esporao Private Selection Branco 2013  $32.45  FWP
-Esporao Reserva Tinto 2012    FWP
-Niepoort Redoma Branco 2013 Old Vines   $30   FWP
-Quinta da Fronteira Selecção do Enológo 2011
-Quinta Vale D. Maria 2012  $100  FWP
-Crasto Superior 2012  FWP
-Quinta do Crasto Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2012  $37.30   FWP
-Herdade Fonte Paredes Grande Reserva 2009    $50
-Jose Maria da Fonseca Vinhos Alambre 20 anos Moscatel    P Dandurand
-Jose Maria da Fonseca Vinhos Albis 2014  $9.95    P Dandurand
-Jose Maria da Fonseca Vinhos Domingos Soares Franco Coleccao Privade Moscatel Roxo 2005    P Dandurand
-Quinta do Mondego Munda 2013  Terroir
-Quinta da Foz Grande Reserva 2011
-Ramos Pinto Porto 20 Years Quinta do Bom Retiro  $52.2573
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casa Agric. A Relvas Herdade Sao Miguel Escolha does Enologos Tinto 2011
-Casa Santos Lima Parcelas Tinto 2010  Majestic
-Casa Santos Lima Quinta de Bons-Ventos 2013 Majestic
-Casa Santos Lima Pluma Vinho Verde 2014  $8.95
-Companhia das Quintas Quinta do Cardo Grande Escolha 2011 $46
-Cortes de Cima Chamine Branco 2013 $15.95    Tandem
-Quinta dos Roques White 2014  $12.95  Tandem
-DFJ Vinhos Casa do Lago Branco 2014  $16.80    FWP
-DFJ Vinhos Consensus Red 2008   FWP
-DFJ Vinhos Consensus White 2012   $21.40  FWP
-DFJ Vinhos Portada Winemakers Selection Red 2013   FWP
-DFJ Vinhos Portada Winemakers Selection White 2014  $15.20 FWP
-Esporao Quinta does Murcas Porto Tawny 10 anos  FWP
-Herdade dos Grous Branco 2014  $26.25   FWP
-Herdade dos Grous Branco Reserva 2013  $34.25   FWP
-Niepoort 10 Years Old Tawny Porto Old Vines  FWP
-João Portual Ramos Loios 2014 $9.30   FWP
-João Portual Ramos Quinta de Foz de Arouce 2012  $22.95   FWP
-João Portual Ramos Duorum Colheita 2013    FWP
-Quinta do Filoco Reserva 2011
-Filoco Reserva 2013
-Herdade do Perdigao Terras de Monforte Escholha 2009
-Herdade Fonte Paredes Monte Fuscaz 2014  $15
-Herdade Fonte Paredes Santa Ana Reserva 2014   $50
-Quinta do Mondego 2010  $19.95  Terroir
-Quevedo 10 Years Tawny Port
-Quinta da Pacheca Porto 10 anos Old Vines    Majestic
-Rocim Olho de Mocho Tinto 2011
-Terra D'Alter Branco 2014   $9.95   Select
-Terra D'Alter Reserva Branco 2013   $20   Select
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Aveleda Quinta da Aveleda 2014
-Casa Agric. A Relvas Ciconia Branco 2014 $12
-Monte da Ravasqueira 2014 Branco  $16.90
-Monte da Ravasqueira 2013 Reserva Branco  $28.90
-Quinta da Pacheca Colheita Branco 2014   $13.95    Majestic
 
The Food: cheese platters, charcuterie, breads.
The Downside: it got hot really fast after the crowds arrived; the aisles were jammed. I drank a lot of water.
The Upside: a chance to re-connect with Portuguese wines. The biggest source here was FWP Trading with many tables.
The Contact Person: johanna.raynaud@sopexa.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 86.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR JULY 11, 2015

 
WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR JULY 11, 2015
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By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here.

NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting. It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.


====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20

Maetierra Dominum Quatro Pagos Reserva 2007 Rioja, +246660, $19.95: an upstart of a wine, from older vines sourced in four vineyards, 16 months in French oak (no US), 14% ABV. Excellent price for an older Rioja. QPR: 91.

TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
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1.Flat Rock The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2012 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, +1552, $24.95.QPR:90.
2.Norman Hardie Riesling 2013 VQA Ontario, +131169, $21. QPR: 90.
3.Strewn Terroir Sauvignon Blanc 2013 VQA NOTL, +343897, $19.95: from a single vineyard, weighing in at 12.9% ABV, twist top, good zesty character and balanced for an Ontario savvy. QPR: 88.
4.Williy Gisselbrecht Tradition Gewurztraminer 2012 Alsace, +928390, $17.95: while it lacks the typical bitter finish, this gewurz is loaded with spices in the length. 13% ABV, does not taste at (M) level. QPR: 88.
5.Pierre-Luc Bouchaud Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2013,+82461, $14.95: a dignified crisp and lemony value, good with oysters or first course seafood apps. Cork enclosure. 12% ABV. QPR: 88.
6.Alpha Extate Axia Malagouzia 2014 Florina Greece, +371666, $16.95: youthful aromas with some citric tones, another seafood/fish first course white wine. 12.5% ABV, cork closure. QPR: 88.
7.Pansa Blanca 2014 Catalunya Privat, +417949, $14.95: good value engaging white, good for either patio or apps with its supple apple-citric orchard fruit tones. 12% ABV. QPR: 88.

TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
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1.Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2012 VQA Ontario, +461699, $24.95. QPR: 90.
2.Bremerton Coulthard Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Langhorne Creek, +410761, $21.95. QPR: 89.
3.Nugan Estate McLaren Parish Vineyard Shiraz 2013 McLaren Vale, +72602, $24.95. QPR: 89.
4.Bodegas Ochoa Reserva 2007 Navarra, +418178, $24.95. QPR: 91.
5.Tarapaca Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2013 Leyda Valley, +404210, $17.95: amazing value for a pinot noir, 14.5% ABV, excellent packaging and cork closure. Balance of red-black-spice fruit plus an old world feel. QPR: 89.
6.Barbi Brusco dei Barbi 2013 Toscana, +673160, $15.95: another reasonable price for an entry level to the tasting spectrum of "Brunello", same sangiovese grape. 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
7.Falesco Vitiano 2013 Umbria, +950204, $15.95: delicious blend, almost superUmbrian, or superTuscan, 13%. QPR: 88
8.Finca Nueva Crianza 2009 Rioja, +292763, $16.95: impressive for its age, 13.5% ABV, MVC Rioja all the way. QPR: 88.
9.Heretat Mont-Rubi Durona Tinto 2004 Vino de Mesa, +143255, $19.95: for something that's really old, richly aged, at 13.5% ABV, with lots of French oak, try this number. QPR: 88.

VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25 RETAIL
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Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.

1.Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Russian River Valley, +283705, $59 retail.
2.Champy Vieilles Vignes Gevrey-Chambertin 2011, +264507, $59.95.
3.Chaston Domaine de Saint Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012, +169771, $44.95.
4.La Velona Brunello di Montalcino 2009, +181321, $39.95.

 
Dean Tudor, Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, www.deantudor.com

 

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Event: Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Walk-Around Tasting (Vintages Event) June 4/15

The Date and Time: Thursday, June 4, 2015 6Pm to 9PM
The Event: Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Walk-Around Tasting (Vintages Event)
The Venue: ROM, Currelly Gallery
The Target Audience: ticket holders
The Availability/Catalogue: most everything was available for ordering that night, but some wines were (or will be) at the LCBO via Vintages, Classics, etc. Some items are in consignment or already on the shelves, some were only available for tasting tonight. I strived to taste the latter.
The Quote/Background: For the 2015 edition of Gambero Rosso Guide to Italian Wine, 45,000 wines were tasted. 423 received a Tre Bicchhieri rating (equal to 95 in Wine Spectator, I was told). These were some of the best wines in Italy. This particular show had not been in Toronto for exactly two years, so it was great to welcome them back.
The Wines: I did not try all the wines, concentrating on red wines and sparklers. There were over 80 wines in all. I would like to say, in joking, that I tasted no "good" wines here – they were all "better" or "best" !!
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-PRIMOSIC GMAJNE CHARDONNAY 2011 Friuli DOC Collio, $29  [bargain]
-LO SPARVIERE MILLESIMATO EXTRA BRUT FRANCIACORTA 2008 Lombardy     DOCG, $43
-BARONE PIZZINI NATURE BRUT FRANCIACORTA 2010 Lombardy, $39.95 Vintages
-FERGHETTINA RISERVA 33 FRANCIACORTA 2007  Lombardy Pas Dosè, $79 
-GUIDO BERLUCCHI PALAZZO LANA RISERVA FRANCIACORTA SATÈN 2006 Lombardy     DOCG, $67
-PER LUI RISERVA SALICE SANTENTINO 2012 Puglia     DOC, $55
-BEL COLLE MONVIGLIERO BAROLO 2009 Piedmont DOCG, $72
-VIETTI VILLERO RISERVA BAROLO 2007 Piedmont DOCG, $459 (!!)
-BRANCAIA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 Tuscany DOCG, $37
-CASTELLO DI VICCHIOMAGGIO VIGNA LA PRIMA GRAN SELEZZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010 Tuscany  $60 Vintages
-SAPAIO 2011 Tuscany DOC Bolgheri Superiore, $59
-SALCHETO SALCO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2010 Tuscany DOCG, $69
-ARGENTIERA BOLGHERI SUPERIORE 2011 Tuscany DOC, $79
-TOLAINI TENUTA MONTEBELLO PICCONERO 2010    IGT Toscana, $95  Vintages
-Ferrari Lunelli Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004 Trento-Alto Adige, $115
-Negrar Domini Veneti Espressioni San Rocco Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2008 Veneto, $74.95 Vintages   
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Jermann Were.. DREAMS 2012 Friuli     IGT Venezia Giulia, $74
-Jermann VINTAGE TUNINA 2012 Friuli     IGT Venezia Giulia, $75
-Ca' Dei Mandorli    NICOLUCCI VIGNA DEL GENERALE RISERVA PREDAPPIO DI PREDAPPIO 2011 Emilia-Romagna $55
-LUNAE ETICHETTA NERA VERMENTINO 2013 Liguria     DOC Colli di Luni, $29
-CASTELLO DI CIGOGNOLA 'MORE BRUT 2010 Lombardy    Metodo Classico Oltrepò Pavese, $43
-MONSUPELLO BRUT NATURE Lombardy     Metodo Classico, DOCG Oltrepò Pavese, $51
-CASTELLO DI RADDA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 Tuscany     DOCG, $49
-COGNO BRICCO PERNICE BAROLO 2009 Piedmont DOCG, $99
-G. D. VAJRA BRICCO DELLE VIOLE BAROLO 2010 Piedmont     DOCG, $89
-TORRACCIA DEL PIANTAVIGNA GHEMME 2010 Piedmont DOCG, $39
-VIETTI CASTIGLIONE BAROLO 2011 Piedmont     DOCG, $75
-TENUTA VIGLIONE MARPIONE RISERVA PRIMITIVO 2010 Puglia DOC Gioia del Colle, $39
-Torrevento Bolonero 2012 Castel del Monte Puglia, $14  [bargain!]
-PALA RISERVA CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA 2012 Sardinia DOC, $24.95 Vintages
-BADIA A COLTIBUONO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 Tuscany DOCG, $23.95 Vintages
-SURRAU SCIALA VERMENTINO DI GALLURA SUPERIORE 2013 Sardinia DOCG, $27.95 Vintages
-Cusumano Moscato dello Zucco 2010 Sicilia, $45 500 mL.
-NITTARDI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 Tuscany DOCG, $69
-ORMA 2011 Tuscany, $75 Vintages
-TENUTA SETTE PONTI ORENO 2011 Tuscany, $76.95 Vintages
-ROTARI FLAVIO RISERVA 2007 Trentino Metodo Classico, DOC Trento, $48
-POGGIO AL TESORO SONDRAIA 2011 Tuscany DOC Bolgheri Superiore, $50 Vintages
-ALLEGRINI AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2010 Veneto, $90 Vintages
-BRIGALDARA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2010 Veneto, $54.95 Vintages
-CORTE SANT'ALDA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2010 Veneto, $125
-VILLA SANDI VIGNA LA RIVETTA VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE DI CARTIZZE Veneto, $37
 
The Food: Four stations were used by Daniel et Daniel: a spring risotto with asparagus, fiddleheads, baby snow pea sprouts, and DOP Parmigiano; grilled chicken roulade, with arugula, sweet pepper, asiago, white bean puree; tomato tart with mozzarella fonduta sauce, herb salad, basil oil, puff pastry; poured polenta (with added cream), DOP Grana padano, wild and tame mushrooms, braise beef short rib confit. There was also bread and water at each table, and coffee afterwards.
The Downside: there were two wines here that were only two glasses in the scoring; I do not know why.
The Upside: one of the best Italian wine tastings in Toronto, at least since the last Tre Bicchiri walk-around in 2013.
The Contact Person: silvestri@sogood.it
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):94.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com