Search This Blog

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wine Tasting: Portugal in Toronto, June 3, 2008

The Time and Date: Tuesday, June 3, 2008   2PM to 6:30 PM

The Event: Wines of Portugal Annual Trade Tasting

The Venue: Fairmont Royal York

The Target Audience: wine trade.

The Availability/Catalogue: a fat booklet, business paper size, with spiral binding. Some 55 wineries attended, including about a half dozen looking for an importer. There were some 400 wines in the show. The catalogue listed all the names and numbers except for prices. In some cases, Euros were sparingly quoted, in other cases, the figures were in Canadian dollars. Vintage years were mostly exact. Grape varieties were listed, and regions and DOCs given. Good job.

The Quote: "These wineglasses [in the seminar] are shockingly filthy."

The Wines: There was a seminar tasting of some six wines, and some winemakers attended. David Lawrason gave the talk on the major Portuguese grape varieties (Arinto, Touriga Nacional, Aragones, etc.) and their distinguishing characteristics. I did not taste all of the wines in the show – I just concentrated on table reds. I also passed up most of the entry level generic table wines except for a few whites.


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

-Esporao Touriga Nacional 2004 Alentejo  $26

-Palacio da Balalhoa 2004 Terras do Sado  [Bordeaux blend]

-Bacalhoa So Touriga Nacional 2005 Terras do Sado

-Quinta Da Balcalhoa 2006 Terras do Sado

-CARM Grande Reserva 2005 Douro

-Esporao Private Selection Red 2004 Alentejo

-Dona Maria Reserva 2004 Alentejo

-Quinta Do Carmo Dom Martinho 2005 Alentejo Red - $14.61 Licensee, FWP

-Quinta Do Carmo Reserva 2005 Alentejo Red

-Casa de Cello Quinta Da Vegia Reserva 2005 Dao

-Herdade Da Malhadinha Marias Da Malhadinha 2004 Alentejo - $135 Licensee, FWP

-Quinta Dos Roques Garrafeira 2003 DAO  $50, RKW Importa

-Casa Agricola J Pombo Herdade Do Meio Garrafeira 2003 Alentejo  $50, 30/50 Imports


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

-Quinta Dos Roques Touriga Nacional 2005 DAO  $27

-Adega Cartuxa Pere Manca 2006 Alenejo Branco

-Quinta Do Coa Reserva 2006 Douro

-Quinta De Pancas Reserva 2005 Estremadura

-Esperao Red Reserve 2005 Alentejo

-J. Portugal Ramos Marques De Borba Reserva 2004 Alentejo

-Montez Champalimaud Cotto Grande Escolha 2001 Red

-Alves de Sousa Quinta Da Gaivosa 2003 Douro

-Quinta Do Portal Reserva 2003 Douro

-Quinta Do Portal Grande Reserva 2003 Douro

-Quinta Nova N.S. Carmo Reserva 2005 Douro

-Quinta Nova N.S. Carmo Grande Reserva 2005 Douro

-Messias Grande Escolha 2005 Douro

-Alianca Quinta Da Garrida Reserva TN 2004 Dao

-Casa Agric Alexandre Reivas Herdade Sao Miguel Reserva 2005 Alentejo

-Herdade Do Perdigao Reserva 2004 Alentejo

-Casa de Cello Quinta Da Vegia 2006 Dao

-Casal Branco Falcoaria Reserva 2005 Ribatejo

-Casa Santos Lima Tinta Barroca 2005 Estremadura

-Encostas De Estremoz DJ Reserva 2003 Alentejo

-Herdade Da Malhadinha Nova Tinto 2006 Alentejo

-Casa Agricola J Pombo Herdade Do Meio 2004 Alentejo

-Casa Agricola J Pombo Herdade Do Meio Homenagem 2004 Alentejo


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

-Quinta De Pancas 2005 Estremadura

-Quinta De Pancas Chardonnay&Arinto 2006 Estremadura

-J. Portugal Ramos Vila Santa Syrah 2007 Alentejo

-Dona Maria Amantis 2006 Alentejo White [Viognier]

-Dona Maria Amantis 2004 Alentejo Red [PV, CS, Syrah]

-Quinta Da Lagoalva Talhao 1 2007 Ribatejano White

-Messias Quinta Do Valdoeiro Reserva 2005 Bairrada

-Quinta De Ventozelo Tinta Roriz 2004 Douro

-Aveleda Follies Chardonnay/Maria Gomes 2006 Bairrada

-Aveleda Follies Cabernet Sauvignon/Touriga Nacional 2004 Bairrada

-Casa Agricola Alexandre Reivas Herdade Sao Miguel 2006 Alentejo

-Vinho Do Almo Escholha 2005 Alentejo

-Terras De Monforte Eschola 2005 Alentejo

-Casal Branco Capucho Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Ribatejo

-Casa Santos Lima Touriga Nacional 2005 Estremadura

-Encostas De Estremoz DJ Alicante Bouschet 2004 Alentejo

-Quinta Da Alorna Reserva 2005 Ribatejo

-Periquita Reserva 2004 Terras Do Sado

-Fonseca Domini 2004 Douro

-Quinta Dos Roques Reserva 2003 Dao


The Food: for the fourth consecutive year, we had an assortment of cold cuts, cheeses, fresh fruit, and ham sandwiches.

The Downside: the seminar was slow in starting, overcrowded, late in finishing (I left at 3:15), the winemakers spoke too long, and the glasses were exceptionally dirty.

The Upside: this event was kept open to 6:30Pm, a sufficient time for many of us to try a lot of the wines. Of course, there was no consumer component in the evening, so it was easier to keep the show going.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 87.



Thursday, June 26, 2008


...are one of the hottest trends in cookbooks.
Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such
proliferation. They are automatic sellers, since the book can be
flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a
celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up
on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans
of the chef and/or the restaurant. Many of the recipes in these books
actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally,
there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for
items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to
the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American,
they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes
there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not.
I'll try to point this out. The usual schtick is "favourite recipes
made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying
ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic
phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell
such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers
that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't
seem to work, but how could that be? They all claim to be kitchen
tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by
name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well
as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos
abound, usually of the chef bounding about. But of course there are a
lot of food shots, verging on gastroporn. The endorsements are from
other celebrities in a magnificent case of logrolling. If resources are
cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some
companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them
altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –

classics (Bloomsbury, 2007; distr. Raincoast, 319 pages, ISBN 978-0-
7475-9405-5, $45 Canadian hard covers) is by Heston Blumental, chef-
owner of the Fat Duck in the UK, getting three Michelin stars in 2004.
It was voted best restaurant in the world in 2005. The following year
he was awarded an OBE; his motto is "Perfection Takes Time". This book
is based on the BBC cooking series of the same name. His search for the
perfect versions of (among others) roast chicken and pizza are
complemented in this sequel by a search for the most perfect versions
of hamburger, risotto, Peking duck, chili con carne, trifle, baked
Alaska. Eight in all. He goes to India for chicken tikka masala and to
Italy for risotto. This is the quest for the best, as he says, and is
quite engaging in style. He has lots of photos and descriptive pix.
Everything, of course, is complicated, but then the end products are
superb. The Peking duck goes on and on for three courses. There's a
supply list that is all country-of-origin (e.g., the risotto stuff is
sourced in Italy, the Peking duck is sourced from Beijing) and a
bibliography for background reading. Quality/Price Rating: 89.

15. BBQ JOINT; stories and secret recipes from the barbecue belt (Gibbs
Smith, 2008; distr. Raincoast, 168 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-0218-7,
$15.95US paper covers) is by David Gelin. He has been endorsed by BBQ
and folklore specialists. These are stories from the proverbial "hole-
in-the-wall" restaurants that are off the beaten track and serve locals
only. These are the places to find great barbecues. He also has
anecdotes and histories of the joints covered – and, of course,
recipes. States covered include from Alabama to Texas, all of the
South. Sixty establishments are noted, such as five in Tennessee (Hog
Heaven, Sportsman's BBQ, Scotts BBQ, Payne's BBQ, and Three Little Pigs
BBQ). Not every place has a recipe listed. Try a North Alabama White
Sauce (mostly for chicken), Arkansas BBQ rice, a Florida cassava with
garlic sauce, or a South Carolina hash. There's a chapter on building
your own BBQ pit, and a location map for travelers. Quality/Price
rating: 85.

16. CAPE BRETON TASTES; recipes from Cape Breton's best restaurants
(Nimbus Publishing, 2008, 80 pages, ISBN 978-1-55109-657-5, $22.95
paper covers) has been assembled by Gary Walsh. He has 28 recipes from
28 restaurants on Cape Breton. There are also plenty of photos of
scenery and plated dishes. The preps cover all courses, from starters
to desserts, and especially with seafood. While there is a listing of
all the restos at the end of the book, there are no street addresses,
phone numbers or web sites. Avoirdupois weights and measures are used,
but there is no table of metric conversions. And no index to the
recipes…Arichat on Cape Breton has L'Auberge Acadienne with its chicken
fricot with bannock; Cheticamp's Restaurant Acadien has pate a la
viande (meat pie); Louisbourg's Cranberry Cove Inn has seafood chowder;
and Malagawatch's Cape Breton Smokehouse has a smoked salmon quiche. A
nice production despite my caveats. Quality/Price rating: 86.

17. COOKING WITH JOHNNY VEE; international cuisine with a modern flair
(Gibbs Smith, 2008,; distr. Raincoast, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-0155-5, $24.95 US paper
covers) is by Vee, who has cooked all over, finally settling in as a
food writer and cooking school owner in Santa Fe, New Mexico
( Vee is Chef John Vollertsen who was once a
sous at the Coyote Café. This is a book for entertaining, with material
drawn from his classes. The cuisine is mainly global fusion (Moroccan,
Thai, Australian), but it also draws quite heavily on local New Mexican
chili lore and recipes. There are sidebars on tips and techniques.
You'll also need a pantry (fully described here) with spices, oils,
vinegars, rices, flours, and sauces. The book has been arranged by
class topic: green chile festival, red chile festival, New Year brunch,
and others. The publisher has added metric conversion charts. But there
are too many. Try any of: chocolate pine nut tacos, red chile pork
tamale, beer battered artichoke fritters, Indonesian chicken laksa, or
pecan- and herb-crusted salmon. Quality/Price Rating: 87.

18. CAKE LOVE; how to bake cakes from scratch (Stewart, Tabori & Chang,
2008, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-58479-662-6, $27.50US hard covers) is by
Warren Brown, who opened his CakeLove bakery in 2002 (a year later he
opened LoveCafe). He has hosted the Food Network's US show "Sugar
Rush". The more than 75 recipes concentrate on cakes, and there are
about 150 colour photos, many detailing step-by-step approaches.
Chapter headings include pound cakes, butter cakes, and foam cakes.
Other sections deal with frostings and glazes, fillings, meringues, and
"assembly". The book has conversion charts, but these are all
avoirdupois with the conversion being from weight to volume or vice
versa, and not metric. About fifty cakes are covered, such as chocolate
pound cake, citron bundt, yellow butter cake, and Mr. Banana legs.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
19. ITALY, THE ROMAGNOLI WAY; a culinary journey (Lyons Press, 2008;
distr. Canadian Manda, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-59921-244-9, $24.95US hard
covers) is by Franco and Gwen Romagnoli. Franco, with his first wife,
created the PBS TV cooking series in the 1960s: "The Romagnolis'
Table". It was the first Italian cooking show, and they wrote nine
cookbooks and opened many restaurants in the Boston area. With his
second wife (a food and travel writer), he here explores the little
known places of Italy, complete with carefully chosen recipes. They
visit 18 regions, from North to South. They talk to local farmers and
producers. From Lago d'Orta comes trota affogata (trout), from
Trentino-Alto Adige comes canederli in brodo (pasta soup), from Emilia-
Romagna there is a timballo, Tuscany contributes a coniglio in salmi,
and Sicilia has cucusu co' a ghiotta 'e pisci. No general index, but
there are two indexes for the 40 recipes, by region and by course.
Preps use avoirdupois weights and measures, but there are no metric
tables of equivalents. Overall, a nifty travel book (with colour
photos) but there is hardly anything on wines and cheeses.
Quality/Price rating: 87.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

REVIEW: THIS FOOD THAT WINE; wine food and pairing made easy

THIS FOOD THAT WINE; wine food and pairing made easy (McArthur &
Company, 2007, 377 pages, ISBN 978-1-55278-684-0, $29.95 paper covers)
is by Angie MacRae and Stacey Metulynsky, co-hosts of the Food Network
show of the same name as the book's title. This is a companion book to
the TV series. Here are 150 recipes emphasizing simple, fresh and big
flavours. Each recipe is accompanied by wine pairing suggestions and
explanations, such as why some wines work and others do not. Usually,
there is a main wine match and a secondary wine for each recipe.
Canadian content abounds with baco noir, vidal, and icewine being
covered. All recipe ingredients are expressed in both metric and
imperial measurements, a bonus in production. The index includes
varietal names, but it needs fine tuning. For instance, under the
heading of "merlot" there are beef matches and pork matches generically
indicated. But looking under "beef", I found only 8 recipes and no
wines were cited for matching. You can check out more wine matches at
Stacey's website .
Audience and level of use: whoever wants to know more about food and
wine pairing.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: lemon chicken lollipops
(match with gewurztraminer or prosecco); pan fried trout (riesling);
roquefort and green apple tart (off-dry riesling); poached halibut
provencal (white Rhone or Italian soave); roast chicken (oaked
chardonnay or pinot noir); vegetable phyllo roll (cabernet franc).
The downside to this book: too much space wasted on the introductory
wine stuff, which is common and found everywhere. I could scream...
The upside to this book: breezy style sells: the book appeals to a
younger crowd, not to old fogeys.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Event: 10th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting of the Barrel Select agency, May 20, 2008

The Time and Date: Tuesday, May 20, 2008  2PM to 5PM
The Event: 10th Anniversary Portfolio Tasting of the Barrel Select
The Venue: Rosewater Dinner Club
The Target Audience: resto-clients in afternoon, consumer-clients in
the evening.
The Availability/Catalogue: everything is available for ordering,
through or The
catalogue was full and complete, with profiles of the wineries and
wines, case production, percentages of grapes used, vineyard names.
There was a separate price list for licensee and consumers.
The Quote: "We spent about $11,000 on LCBO lab fees for this tasting".
The Wines: Barrel Select began 10 years ago by repping higher end
California wines. Tom Eddy has been with them from the start. They do
not submit samples for purchase by Vintages/Classics. 80 wines were
available for tasting, but I did not taste all of them. The range
includes California wines, some from Oregon via Siduri of California,
some from Argentina via Paul Hobbs of California, and some from the
portfolio of Kermit Lynch Imports (110 winemakers in France alone,
about 10 from Italy). Indeed, Barrel Select has access to ALL of Kermit
Lynch Imports EXCEPT for what is available via other agents. Here are
my rankings (licensee prices):
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Andrew Will 2004 Sorella Red [Bordeaux blend] $92.24
-Brewer Clifton 2005 Pinot Noir Ashley Vineyard  $73.79
-Hanzell 2005 Sonoma Chardonnay Estate  $89.78
-Kunin Wines 2004 Syrah Alios Vyd $49.39
-Mantra 2005 Old Vine Reserve Zinfandel $43.95
-Neyers 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Neyer Ranch Conn Valley [organic]
-Ramey Wine Cellars 2005 Chardonnay Ritchie Vyd  $98.37
-Ramey Wine Cellars 2005 Cabernet Pedregal Vyd  $180.04
-Tom Eddy 2002 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon  $118.99
-Vina Cobas Bramare Appellation 2005 Malbec Lujan de Coyo [Argentina]
-Vina Cobos Cobos 2004 Malbec [70 year old vines, Argentina] $218.62
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arietta 2006 On the White Keys White [Bordeaux blend] $79.26
-Arietta 2005 Variation One Red [syrah/merlot] $129.52
-Brewer Clifton 2005 Chardonnay Sweeney Canyon  16.4$ ABV   $83.29
-Castle Rock 2006 Central Coast Chardonnay $16.95
-Aldin Red 2005 [Meritage blend] $81.96
-Saint Martin de la Garrigue Rose 2007 (France)  $14.81
-Regis Minet 2006 Pouilly Fume Vieilles Vignes $26.55
-Kunin Wines 2005 Santa Barbara County Syrah $39.96
-Neyers 2006 Napa Chardonnay  $42.11
-Paul Hobbs Wines 2005 Russian River Chardonnay $70.09
-Paul Hobbs Wines 2004 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon  $114.20
-Ramey Wine Cellars 2006 Syrah Rodgers Creek Vyd  $89.93
-Siduri Wines 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir [Oregon] $27.97
-Vina Cobas Bramare Appellation 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Lujan de Coyo
{Argentina] $46.45
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Arietta 2005 H Block Cabernet Franc Hudson Vineyard Red  $177.36
-Castle Rock 2006 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc  $16.95
-Copain Wine Cellars 2006 Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard Anderson  $55.89
-Two Wives 2007 Napa Sauvignon Blanc $24.89
-Mantra 2004 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon $36.20
The Food: excellent cheeses and breads, fruit. I noted Thunder Oak
Gouda (aged, ON), Le Cru du Clocher (raw cheddar from PQ), Le
Explorateur (PQ), Benedictine Bleu (PQ), Manchego, Provolone Picante,
and Coulommiers Au Lait Cru.
The Downside: water was in short supply, and there was never a spit
bucket around when I needed one. I'm high maintenance…
The Upside: great opportunity to taste fine California wines.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 93.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Event: California Winemakers on Tour (wineries owned by Foster's), May 28, 2008

The Time and Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2008  Noon to 6PM
The Event: California Winemakers on Tour (wineries owned by Foster's)
The Venue: Fermentations Cellar, Distillery District
The Target Audience: wine trade in the afternoon, consumers in the
The Availability/Catalogue: just about all wines are available, through
the LCBO or Consignment or as Private orders. Some of the vintage dates
were off, either because the wines were not available for tasting or
because a newer shipment was "on the water".
The Quote:
The Wines: There was a seminar beforehand, with six of seven winemakers
talking to their wines: California Cabernet Sauvignon of 2004. I did
not taste all the wines in the show:
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, $39.75 +352583
-Beringer Stanly Ranch Chardonnay 2005, $39.95 Private order – honeyed
-Beringer Alluvium Blanc 2006, $29.95 Private Order – oaky
-Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1998, $550 for 3 Litres,
Private Order
-St. Clement Oroppas Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, $65 Private
-St. Clement Oroppas Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, $140 magnum
Private order (slightly better than the 2001)
-Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $110 magnum,
Private Order.
-Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, $99 Private
-Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, $70 Private
-Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Syrah 1998, $49.95 Private order
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Beringer Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $29.95, +552851 Private
-St. Clement Napa Valley Merlot 2003, $85 for magnum, Private Order
-St. Clement Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2002, $110 for magnum,
Private Order.
-Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Chardonnay 2006 Sonoma County, $19.95 Private
-Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre Chardonnay 2006, $24.95 Private order.
-Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Merlot 2004, $35.95 +67926 Vintages
-Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, $98.20 +710913
-Souverain Alexander Valley Syrah 2004, $19.95 +590323 Vintages – great
-Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Syrah 2004, $49.95 +590356
-Greg Norman Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2005, $21.95 Private order
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Beringer Third Century Chardonnay, $23.75 +47696 Vintages
-Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay 2005, $27.90 +348342 General List
-Greg Norman Lake County Zinfandel 2005, $23.95 Private order
The Food: catered by Daniel et Daniel: dips, wraps, salsas.
The Downside: it seemed to be lightly attended once you factored in the
50 consumer guests of the Globe and Mail. Also, some wines were not
shown because they were held up at the airport; they will be covered
The Upside: a chance at a vertical tasting of Cinq Cepages.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 90.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Zealand Wine Fair Trade Show, Toronto, May 15, 2008

The Time and Date: Thursday, May 15, 2008  1:30 – 5:30PM

The Event: New Zealand Wine Fair Trade Show

The Venue: Design Exchange - DX

The Target Audience: sommeliers, restaurants, LCBO product consultants, media.

The Availability/Catalogue: as usual, a terrific catalogue: spiral bound, fits in the hands okay, logos, background, contact details, agents, wines and vintage dates, prices where known, and terms of availability (Vintages, Vintages Pending, General, Consignment, Private order). The catalogue also had varietal guides to index what wineries were pouring which varietals.

The Quote: "Hey, the overhead lights work this year! Next year, maybe the clocks?"

The Wines: I did not taste every wine. There were just under 50 wineries.


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

-Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2006 $36

-Cable Bay Five Hills Merlot/Cabernet/Malbec Waiheke Island 2005 $25.95

-Newton Forrest Cornerstone Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec Hawkes Bay 2005 $39.50

-Babich Patriarch Cab Franc/Cab Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Malbec Hawkes Bay 2004 $49.95

-Coopers Creek Viognier Gisborne 2007 $16.95

-Martinborough Vineyard Chardonnay Wairarapa 2006 $44.95

-Mt Rosa Pinot Gris Central Otago 2006 $29.99

-Cuvee Number Eight Methode Traditionelle Sparkling Marlborough NV $32.95

-Palliser Estate Pinto Noir Martinborough 2006 $35.95

-Staete Landt Pinot Noir Marlborough 2006 $43.50


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

-Villa Maria Reserve Merlot Hawkes Bay 2004 $50

-Craggy Range Te Kahu Hawkes Bay 2005 $34.95

-Akarua Chardonnay Central Otago 2006 $24.95

-Coopers Creek Select Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2006 $24.95

-Gibbston Highgate Estate Heartbreaker Chardonnay Central Otago 2006 $32

-Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir Marlborough 2006 $39.99

-Kawarau Estate Sauvignon Blanc Central Otago 2007 $27.95

-Millton Opou Chardonnay Gisborne 2005 $26.95

-Millton Clos de St. Ange Pinot Noir Gisborne 2006 $55.60

-Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir Wairarapa 2006 $65.95

-Mount Riley Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2007 $24.95

-Mud House Swan Chardonnay Marlborough 2007 $22.99

-Ngatarawa Alwyn Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2006 $24.95

-Cuvee Number 1 Methode Traditionelle Sparkling Marlborough NV $36.95

-Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2006 $24.95

-Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2006 $24.95

-Carrick Pinot Noir Central Otago 2006 $57.95

-Te Awa Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2007 $19.95

-Waitiri Creek Chardonnay Central Otago 2006 $??

-Waitiri Creek Pinot Noir Central Otago 2006 $39.95

-Resolute Pinot Noir Marlborough 2005 $39.95

-Resolute Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2007 $24.95


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

-Babich Winemakers' Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2006 $18.99

-Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Syrah 2005 $30

-Coopers Creek SV Huapai "The Clays" Malbec 2006 Auckland $24.95

-Matakana Estate Pinot Gris Matakana 2007 $27.85

-Matua Valley Matheson Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Hawkes Bay 2005 $23.95

-Saint Clair Pioneer Block 12 Lone Gum Gewurztraminer Marlborough 2007 $23.60

-Te Awa Left Field Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2007

-Tohu Chardonnay Marlborough 2006 $19


The Food: the press had sandwiches and coffee, in addition to the spread on the floor (cheeses, pavlovas, crackers and breads, veggies).

The Downside: time was too short for me, even at 4 hours. There were a lot of people after 4 PM, producing crowds.

The Upside: great space for exhibiting.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 94.



Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sante Down Under - Australian wine tasting, May 9, 2008

The Time and Date: Friday, May 9, 2008   7PM to 10PM

The Event: Sante Down Under – a tasting of Australian wines.

The Venue: Hart House

The Target Audience: consumers.

The Availability/Catalogue: the normal Sante catalogue was presented, with all the relevant data about the wines and the grapes. It only lacked for levels of availability and prices. Most of the wines being shown were somewhere in the LCBO distribution system.

The Quote: "This is a really fun time. I'm learning a lot about wines" (from Celeste)

The Wines: 18 wineries poured just under 100 wines. I did not try them all. Prices were problematic. See my notes above for DogRidge.


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

-Ardent Antiquarian McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

-Ardent Estates McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

-Wyndham Estate George Wyndham Shiraz 2004 $23


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

-Ardent Antiquarian McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001

-Ardent Estates McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004

-Grant Burge Barossa Vines Shiraz 2005 $18

-Barossa Valley Estates E Minor Shiraz 2005

-Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz 2004

-Hope Estate Ripper Shiraz 2005 $16.50

-Hope Estate Chardonnay 2006 $19.95

-Katnook Founder's Block Shiraz 2005

-Nugan Estate Manuka Grove Durif 2006 $30

-St. Hallett Cabernet Sauvignon 2006


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

-Gemtree Tadpole Chardonnay 2007

-Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz 2006

-Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2006 $22

-Jacob's Creek Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV $14.95

-Jacob's Creek Reserve Riesling 2007 $18

-Katnook Founders Block Merlot 2005

-Nugan Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006

-Salena Estate Organic Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

-Tiers Clarence Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $18

-Tiers Clarence Hill Chardonnay 2005 $17

-Tidswell Jennifer Cabernet Sauvignon 2002


The Food: BBQ lamb with Chef Anthony Sedlak. Other foods included a spicy noodle dish with octopus, some hot pastry finger foods, veggies and dips, breads, chips and salsa.

The Downside: for me, it was a long week of wine tasting.

The Upside: there was plenty of room to roam, despite the over 500 tickets sold.

The Contact Person:

The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 88.