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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trade Tasting: Bouchard Pere et Fils and William Fevre Chablis, April 17, 2008.

The Time and Date: Thursday, April 17, 2008  10AM to 3 PM

The Event: the annual tasting of Bouchard Pere et Fils and William Fevre Chablis, this time the 2006 vintage, with Luc Bouchard attending nto provide insight into the wines, appellations and vintage.

The Venue: Royal Canadian Yacht Club, City Club House St. George Street.

The Target Audience: sommeliers, wine media, beverage managers.

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available by private order, usually in six bottle cartons. Many wines were not shown, but are available for ordering. We tasted almost four dozen wines, representing the crus, the wines already at the LCBO (General and Vintages), and some previous vintages.

The Quote: "Bouchard has 185 acres of Premier Cru and 30 acres of Grand Cru. Fevre has 29 acres of Premier Cru and 34 acres of Grand Cru."

The Wines:


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursault Les Clous 2006 ($61)

- " Beaune du Château 2006 Blanc ($50)

- " Meursault Genevrières 2006 ($114)

- " Perrières 2006 ($117)

- " Pommard 2006 ($75) – my fave on a QPR basis, value

- " Chambolle Musigny 2006 ($68)

- " Le Corton 2006 ($128)

- William Fevre Chablis 2006 Les Preuses ($99)



***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

- Bouchard Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne 2006 ($200)

- " Chevalier-Montrachet ($394)

- " Beaune-Teurons 2006 ($64)

- " Volnay Caillerets Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 2006 ($96)

- " Clos Vougeot 2006 ($210)

- " Nuits St Georges Les Cailles 2006 ($126)

- " Meursault Gouttes d'Or 2006 ($114)

- William Fevre Chablis Fourchaume 2006 ($51)

- " Les Clos Grand Cru 2006 ($112)


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

- " Gevrey Chambertin 2006 ($62)


The Food: a good assortment of cheeses at room temperature, along with breads and crackers and fruit.

The Downside: oh those prices…

The Upside: there were great values amongst the lower price generic brands, at the LCBO. Check out the Chablis Champs Royaux 2006, well-rounded at $22, or the Bouchard Pere et Fils Pouilly-Fuisse at $27.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 93.




Sunday, April 27, 2008


101 FOODS THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE (Bantam, 2008, 437 pages, ISBN
978-0-553-38432-1, $14US paper covers) is by David Grotto, RD, LDN, a
nutritionist consultant. It comes endorsed by the Nutrition Director of
Prevention magazine and author Dr. Brian Wansink (Mindless Eating).
Last year, there was a book published which covered 150 foods.
Actually, an in depth survey examined some 360 different foods, and
ranked them all on a naturally nutrient-rich score. We don't know what
these other 259 are because Grotto does not list them. But he does some
rejigging to include phytochemicals and the like, plus ease of
availability. So he attempts to clarify and classify some 101 foods
(more details are at This is an
alphabetically arranged reference book, from "acai berries" (an anti-
oxidant from Brazil) to "yogurt". Each entry describes the food's
origins and users, home remedies. Therapeutic benefits are also
described, along with the relevant research to support those claims in
the appropriate end notes. Cancer inhibition is covered, use and prep
of the food, plus a recipe. Thus "acai" increases sexual performance
and beauty, inhibits cancer, and is useful served with breakfast or
dessert. If you use it served over yogurt, then you'll also get the
benefits attributed to yogurt: inhibiting both arthritis and colon
cancer, improving cholesterol ratios and gut health. The appendices
include some 2,000 calorie meal plans, a list of benefits of
phytochemicals and nutrients, recipe credits, end notes, and references
to websites.
Audience and level of use: people concerned about what they eat.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Teff is a grain from Ethiopia. The
word means "lost" (if you drop it you won't find it). It is the
smallest grain the world, being 1/32 of an inch (0.8 mm) in diameter.
The downside to this book: no illustrations, but then that keeps the
price down.
The upside to this book: extensive index by food and health condition
(e.g., IBS, hypertension, larynx cancer).
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trade Tasting Event: Austrian Annual Wine Trade Fair, April 15, 2008

The Time and Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2008   12 PM to 4 PM

The Event: Austrian Annual Wine Trade Fair

The Venue: Rosehill Venue Lounge

The Target Audience: wine trade

The Availability/Catalogue: the Austrian wine catalogue has always been a model of perfection. Everything you could possibly want is in it, with listings of wineries, importers, contacts, page and table numbers, grape varietals, ABVs, vintages, etc. with few errors. The only missing are the prices and the correct availability of the wine (Vintages, consignment, private orders). Given the nature of the Austrian wine business, most wines in Ontario are here on consignment or by private order, and prices thus fluctuate.

The Quote: "Hey the catalogue says that this tasting runs from 12AM to 4 PM – that's a long tasting…It's actually a sleepover!"

The Wines: I was unable to get around to all the tables, and I cherry picked my way through the red and sweet wines.


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner Alte Reben 2006 (13.5% ABV)

-Brundlmayer Riesling Alte Reben 2001 (14% ABV)

-Kamptaler Terrassen Gruner Veltliner 2007

-Schloss Gobelsberg Grüner Veltliner Tradition 2005

-Kurt Angerer Grüner Veltliner Spies Reserve 2007

-Nigl Gruner Veltliner Senftenberger 2007


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Salomon Gruner Veltliner Lindberg Reserve 2006 (13.9% ABV)

-Walter Skoff Sauvignon Blanc Hochsultz 2006

-Walter Skoff Sauvignon Blanc Obegg Reserve 2006

-Walter Skoff Royal Sauvignon Blanc 2006

-Weingut Stadlmann Rotgipfler Tagelsteiner 2006 Thermenregion

-Leth Zweigelt Gigama Reserve 2006 Wagram.

-Kurt Angerer Riesling Donatus Reserve 2007 (13.5% ABV)

-Nigl Riesling Senftenberger 2007 (13% ABV)

-Aichinger Riesling Von den Terrassen 2006 (13% ABV)

-Petra Unger Gruner Veltliner Alte Reben Oberfeld Reserve 2007 (13.5% ABV)

-Allram Riesling Zobinger Reserve 2006 (14% ABV)

-Zahel Cuvee Weiss Gemischter Satz Reserve 2006 (13.8%)


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Weingut Loimer Riesling Terrassen 2006 (13.5% ABV)

-Sattlerhof Chardonnay (Morillon) Barrique 2003 (14% ABV, wood aged)

-Moorhof Unger Muskat Ottonel 2006 (12% ABV)

-Stift Klosterneuberg Gewurztraminer Klassik 2006 (13% ABV)

-Allram Gruner Veltliner Strasser Gaisberg 2006 (14%)

-Leth Riesling Wagram Terrassen Reserve 2007 (13.5% ABV)

-Felsner Riesling Rohrendorfer Gebling 2006 (13% ABV)


The Food: basic blue, cheddar, Grana Padano, brie-clone, often served too cold, with crackers and breads.

The Downside: a large room, but it was still not too crowded.

The Upside: plenty of time to talk with principals.

The Contact Person: Birgitta Samavarchian

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 87.



Monday, April 21, 2008

The Event: Select Client Tasting of Vinexx Portfolio.

The Time and Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2008  3PM to 8PM

The Event: Select Client Tasting of Vinexx Portfolio.

The Venue: Metropolitan Hotel, Chestnut Street

The Target Audience: clients, wine media.

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are at the LCBO, but a few were on Consignment. Some private orders were shown, such as the Calera Chardonnay 2006 Mount Harlan ($29.50), the Arcadian Gary's Pinot Noir Monterey 2001 ($71), and the Calera Pinot Noir Petite Cuvee 2006 ($36).

The Quote: "We have joined forces with the Torion Trading Company whose portfolio enhances and complements ours."

The Wines:


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Jean Paul Paquet Chateau de Chaintre 2005 Burgundy ($15.95)

-Canyon Oaks Chardonnay 2006 Central Valley California ($13.39 Consignment)

-Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Musque 2006 VQA NOTL ($16.95)

-Voyager Estates Cabernet-Merlot 2003 Margaret River ($32.95)

-Mas de Bressades Cabernet Syrah 2006 Costieres de Nimes ($18.95, June Vintages)

-Mount Eden Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Santa Cruz Mountains ($48.75) – my fave of the show


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Chateau des Charmes Brut NV VQA NOTL ($22.95)

-Les Domaines La Chablisienne Chablis 2004 Vieilles Vignes ($21.80)

-Tinhorn Creek Merlot 2004 Okanagan ($19.95)

-Graham Beck Dual Varietal (Shiraz/CabSauv) 2005 South Africa ($15.85)

-White Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Napa ($32.95)

-Chateau des Charmes Eqquleus 2005 VQA NOTL ($40)

-Chateau Bournac 2003 Bordeaux ($25.90)

-Bodegas Muga Reserva 2004 Riojaq ($23.95)


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Graham Beck Brut Rose 2005 South Africa ($21.95)

-Hugh Hamilton Unoaked Chardonnay 2007 McLaren Vale ($13.95)

-Errazuriz Ovalle Panul Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Lontue Chile (oak aged; $14.45 consignment)

-Sherwood Estates Riesling 2007 New Zealand ($17.95)

-Cline Cellars Syrah 2006 Sonoma ($12.85)

-E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone 2004 ($16.20)

-Errazuriz Ovalle Panul Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Reserve Colchagua ($14.45)

-Hugh Hamilton Ratbag Merlot 2005 McLaren Vale ($17.95)

-Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot 2004 VQA NOTL ($19.95) – declassified Eqquleus.


The Food: great buffet of baked brie; blue cheese and mandarins; crudités and dips; sushi rolls; Mediterranean tarts; lamb lollipops.

The Downside: there was plenty of room, but attendance was on the low side.

The Upside: the food was excellent, and went well with the wine.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 92.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Churchill Cellars Portfolio Tasting, April 7, 2008

The Time and Date: Monday, April 7, 2008    3 PM to 7 PM

The Event: the sixth annual Churchill Cellars Portfolio Tasting.

The Venue: National Ballet School, Jarvis Street.

The Target Audience: trade, wine media, private clients.

The Availability/Catalogue: everything is landed and available, through the General List or Vintages. There were half a dozen private orders, and nothing from Consignment. A total of some 85 wines.

The Quote: "Most of the wines here are from the General List. I felt that while there was value here, there was a lost of uniqueness and character. Where were the wines of yesteryear? Quail's Gate? Leasingham? Ports?"

The Wines: there were some unannounced surprises that had to be requested, or were only available at certain times. I think that there were two bottles of each. Of course, these were super premium wines, full of richness and character. They are NOT included below, but they were outstanding: Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad ($30 ISD), a Robert Mondavi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2001 ($160?), Pol Roger Brut Champagne Reserve ($82 ISD), Bay of Fires Tasmania Pinot Noir 2006 ($30), and Pol Roger Extra Rich in 375mL bottle. I was also unable to locate a vintage year in most cases, but presumably they are the latest vintage available.


**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Pol Roger Brut Champagne NV GL $54.40 (or fight!)

-Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2005  GL $19.80

-Robert Mondavi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005  Vintages  $37.45 (15%ABV)

-D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz  Vintages $55.30

-Hardy's Stamp of Australia Riesling Gewurztraminer GL  $9.60 (nominated as this summer's quaffer)


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (8890 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Segura Viudas Brut Reserva GL $14.65

-Woodbridge by Mondavi Merlot GL $13.85 – very juicy

-Casa Silva Quinta Generacion Red Vintages $21.95

-Chivite Gran Feudo Reserva Red  Vintages $15.65

-D'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier Vintages $27.75

-Dr.Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett Vintages $21.60

-D'Arenberg Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne Vintages $16.75

-D'Arenberg The Football Shiraz Vintages $21.75

-Bankside Shiraz Vintages $16.65

-Robertson Winery Prospect Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Vintages $18.75


*** Three Stars (8587 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2006 GL $15.85

-Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel Vintages $17.60

-Wilm Riesling Alsace Vintages $15.65

-Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc General $15.75


The Food: yummies everywhere, with cheese from the Cheese Boutique (asiago, paillot de chevre, mamirolle, benedictine blue), savoury cookies from M + G Kitchens (, and smoked turkey and ham sandwiches, plus sauces, from White House Meats.

The Downside: there was an accident that closed off part of Jarvis Street, and this made driving and parking particularly onerous.

The Upside: great food, some ambitious wines, good bunch of trade and private clients.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 88.



Friday, April 11, 2008

More Bring Your Own Wine reviews

RESTAURANT READY WINES: to markup about $15, or for consumers to BYOW!
1. La Crema Chardonay 2006 Sonoma (+962886, $29.95 retail, on your wine
card for $45?) well-rounded and balanced, restaurant-ready, needs food,
13.9% ABV.
2. Mer Soleil Chardonnay 2005 Central Coast California (+958875, $40.95
retail, on your wine card for $55?) emphasizes the BF creaminess.
3. Cockfighter’s Ghost Premium Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 Tasmania
(+60947, $29.95, on your wine card for $45?) is in cool climate style,
with dense fruit, vanilla tones, 14% ABV.
4. Sandalford Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Margaret River (+22293, $24.95
retail, on your wine card for $39?) is a gold medalist, 14.5% ABV, long
Euro length.
5. Chateau Saransot-Dupre 2003 Listrac-Medoc (+65870, $27.95 retail, on
your wine card for $39?) is resto ready at an affordable price.
6. Antonin Rodet Chambolle-Musigny 2002 (+963504, $51.95 retail, on
your wine card for $65?) fruit and balance with food now.
7. Post Scriptum de Chryseia 2005 Douro (+67538, $27.95 retail, on your
wine card for $39?) is very dense and portly, beginning to come around,
needs food.

RESTAURANT READY WINES: to markup about $15, or for consumers to BYOW!
1. Roux Pere & Fils Saint-Aubin La Pucelle 2006 (+69153, $29.95 retail,
on your wine card for $44?) is great for current drinking.
2. Jean-Max Roger Sancerre Cuvee Les Caillottes 2005 (+65573, $23.95
retail, on your wine card for $38?) is a great aperitif, ready to roll.
3. Schild Estate Shiraz 2005 Barossa (+66555, $24.95 retail, on your
wine card for $39?) has a great presentation bottle, on the heavy side,
twist-top, 14.5%ABV.
4. Shingleback Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 McLaren Vale (+662957, $23.95
retail, on your wine card for $38?) is loaded with ready juice,
beginning with 14.5% ABV.
5. Voyager Estate Girt by Sea Cabernet/Merlot 2005 Margaret River
(+59931, $23.95 retail, on your wine card for $38?) is soft and fruity,
affordable, and ready now.
6. Château Cossieu-Coutelin 2003 St.Estephe (+61697, $32.95 retail, on
your card for $48?) won a gold medal. Definitely needs food, but it is
ready now for the restaurant trade.
7. Quintarelli Primofiore 2004 (+20867, $56.95 retail, on your wine
card for $69?) is a good Veneto blend, with some amarone added for
complexity. Pricey, but useful for a BYOW by a client.
RESTAURANT READY WINES: to markup about $15, or for consumers to BYOW!
1. Ashbrook Chardonnay 2005 Margaret River (+684076, $24.95 retail, on
your wine card for $39?) is a good balanced chardonnay for dinner.
2. Chateau de Beaucastel Coudoulet de Beaucastel Blanc 2006 (+48892,
$32.95 retail, and on your wine card for $46?) is an outstandingly ripe
food wine.
3. 7 Deadly Zins 2005 Lodi Old Vine (+59311, $24.95 retail, on your
wine card for $39?) shows a wine brimming with fruit and elegance, and
age from the oak. Great with anything after the fish course.
4. Chateau Griviere 2000 Medoc (+65632, $25.95 retail, and on your wine
card for $40?) is a steal at the price. Ready now for consumption.
5. Michele Satta Piastraia 2002 Bolgheri (+709980, $39.95 retail, and
on your wine card for $55?) is 13.5% ABV and ready now, a SuperTuscan
6. Esporao Reserve 2005 Alentejo Portugal (+606590, $25.95 retail, and
on your wine list for $40?) is almost ready to serve, must be tried
with food.
RESTAURANT READY WINES: to markup about $15, or for consumers to BYOW!
1. Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2005 (+33936, $25
retail, on your wine card for $40?) is probably the best Ontario
chardonnay available at this price level. Very rich and ready now.
2. Domaine de Chardonnay Chablis Montmains 2006 (+68106, $28.95 retail,
on your wine card for $43?) is a quality Premier Cru at an affordable
3. Duvergey-Taboureau Meursault 2005 (+67124, $39.95 retail, on your
wine card for $50?) can be compared and contrasted with Closure Dan
4. Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (+33894, $25
retail, and on your wine card for $40?) is about a year away from being
ready, but can be enjoyed now. Mid-weight Burgundian style. Twist top.
5. Meerlust Pinot Noir 2003 Stellenbosch (+663401, $23.95 retail, and
on your wine card for $39?) is rustic in style, and ready now.

Friday, April 4, 2008


THE APPLE; a history of Canada's perfect fruit (McArthur and Company, 2007,
161 pages, ISBN 978-1-55278-679-6, $24.95 paper covers) is by Carol Martin,
a former publisher and editor, once with the Canada Council, and now a
full-time gardener. She had previously authored books about rural Ontario,
including "A History of Canadian Gardening". This is a straight ahead
account of the history of apples in Canada, beginning with Champlain and his
saplings in Quebec City up through Sir George Simpson (HBC) and apple seeds
out west. And then into the 20th century. Cultivated apples, she says, were
a success in Canada because of their sweet and healthy addition to a boring
diet. They were better than the native crabapples. They can be dried for
year-long eating; they can be used for cider (both hard and soft) as a
liquid refreshment. Any wastage could be composted. Canadian apples have
long been exported to both the United States and Europe. Martin has provided
great photos from the past, focusing on orchards, people, and named
varieties. She has a dozen recipes from diverse named sources, but only a
handful of apples are best for cooking (cortland, spy, mutsu, gravenstein,
ida red). It is just too bad that the apple "industry" is tanking,
especially so in the drink area (Chinese imports). There is a bibliography
and some end notes.

Audience and level of use: apple lovers everywhere, libraries.

Some interesting or unusual facts: there are 2,000 named cultivars growing
in Canada, but fewer than two dozen of these names are recognizable.

The downside to this book: for a Canadian book, it needs a metric table of

The upside to this book: the illustrations are very good.

Quality/Price Rating: 89.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


CLWS - Press Release for April 1, 2008


GOTHIC EPICURES has announced a new annual wine competition for Ontario
- the Great Expectations of Grand Expectorations Challenge (GEGEC). It
will be held in conjunction with each fall's wine harvest.
There will be sixteen participants: four teams of four members,
representing the various wine trade constituencies in Ontario: wine
writers from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, winemakers from
Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario, agents from the Ontario Imported
Wine-Spirit-Beer Association, and product consultants from the Liquor
Control Board of Ontario. All of the wine industry partners are on
board with this one. Because of their native advantage, gap-toothed
personnel are to be excluded from the teams but may serve as back-up
Competition rules specify four categories of expectoration:

1) distance
2) accuracy
3) volume
4) spillage control

and there will be a contest for each one. Contestants will wear white
shirts or blouses, but advertising space on their backs is available
for rent. Final judging will have aggregate totals for all team
Base material will come from "Product of Canada" red wines. The
colour is needed for determining the winners, particularly in checking
for minimal dribble down their fronts. Special guest Chris Bosch will
adjudicate. In case of a tie, there will be a grand spit-out based on
the accuracy of hitting a Champagne bucket from increasingly farther
Sawdust has been contributed by the Canadian oak barrel industry.
Bibs come from Vincor, A Constellation Company. The winning team
receives an award trophy: the Golden Spittoon, which is custom-designed
in the shape of a TetraPak. Winners' names will be inscribed on this
prize, whether they like it or not.
Location: Bocce/boules courts at the patio of Allen's. Tickets are
available from major liquor outlets at a modest cost (just over $10),
subject to the usual LCBO mark-ups and delivery fees. Sadie Darby is
the chief organizer. Note: special guest Paul Giamatti will reprise his
role from "Sideways", and Tony Aspler from the Ontario Wine Awards will
present the Golden Spittoon after he cleans and polishes it. Final
judging is by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures, Larry Paterson of the
Amateur Winemakers of Ontario, and free-lance investigative journalist
David Menzies. It is hoped that the event will pay for itself by
renting protective space suits to observers in the audience.
Refreshments will be served.