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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at My Internet compendium
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news
items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at since 1994. My 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.

Chateau de Poce Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2011: MVC but a softer finish,
more herbal than most. +313569, $13.95, QPR : 92
Quintarelli Primofiore 2008 IGT Veneto, +20867, $56.95.
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
1. Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2010 VQA Niagara: succulent, off-
dry character, 10% ABV, enjoyable, twist top. +89029, $17.95, QPR: 89.
2. Familia Zuccardi Organica Torrontes 2011 Mendoza: 13% ABV for this
organic wine that exhibits some spritz, twist top, good long citric
finish, needs food. +232694, $13.95, QPR: 89.
3. Coopers Creek Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough: MVC grass and herbs,
or, as one wine writer notes for just about all the MVC savvies
reviewed, "rev your lawnmowers; this is pure grassy goodness" NM
+957407, $17.95, QPR: 89.
4. Man Vintners Chardonnay 2011 WO Coastal Region South Africa: useful,
balanced but with some marmalade and butterscotch moments, fruit and
oak, 13.5% ABV. +295329, $13.95, QPR: 89.
5. Chateau de Carolle Blanc 2010 Graves: uses all three grapes
(sauvignon, semillon, muscadelle) for a balanced blend without the
savvy hit. 12.5% ABV. +307256, $16.95, QPR: 89.
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
1. Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carmenere/Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Colchagua Valley: soft, fruit, engaging, a mouthful of flavour,
organic, 14% ABV. +66746, $14.95, QPR: 89.
2. Remhoogte Estate Wine 2006 WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch: plush and
lush, micro-oxygenated fruit, merlot 40%, cab sauv at 23, shiraz at 22,
pinotage at 15. 15% ABV. Gold Medalist. +694539, $18.95, QPR: 89.
3. Domaine Roumagnac Rencontres 2010 Fronton: nicely aged, 12.5% ABV,
spices and fed fruit. Gold Medalist. +311472, $14.95, QPR: 89.
4. Poderi Angelini Primitivo di Manduria 2008 Puglia: older style, some
raisins showing, 15% ABV. +268136, $17.95, QPR: 89.
5. Sampietrana 1952 Riserva Brindisi 2008 Puglia: combo of Negroamaro
and montepulciano grapes. 13.5% ABV. Gold Medalist. +310086, $15.95,
QPR: 89.
6. Beronia Reserva 2008 Rioja: fleshy, woody, palate filling, 18 months
in French and US oak. 14% ABV. +50203, $18.95, QPR: 90.
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. R. Pouillon & Fils 1er Cru Brut Rose Champagne, +314518, $44.95
2. Peller Estates Ice Cuvee Rose VQA Niagara MC, +113035, $34.95
3. La Crema Chardonnay 2010 Russian River Valley, +67231, $37.95
4. Arlewood Marsanne/Roussanne 2010 Margaret River, +313247, $22.95
5. Rodney Strong Merlot 2008 Sonoma County, +497933, $21.95.
6. Treana Red 2009 Paso Robles, +11221, $39.95.
7. Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Shiraz 2007, +971705, $40.95.
6. Best's Great Western Bin No. 1 Shiraz 2010, +222323, $24.95.
7. Cirrus Syrah 2007 WO Stellenbosch, +54338, $33.95.
8. Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, +930966, $21.95.
9. Villa Girardi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2008, +159913,

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wines of BC tasting at Arcadian Lofts, Jan 15/13

 The Date and Time: Tuesday, January 15, 2013  11AM to 2 PM

The Event: Wines of British Columbia, Winter Wine Tasting.

The Venue: Arcadian Lofts

The Target Audience: sommeliers and wine press

The Availability/Catalogue: all of the wines are available through the LCBO or through Ontario agents.

The Quote/Background: There were 22 wines, including eight repeats with the lunch. Chef Jamie Meireles of Oliver & Bonacini was responsible for the menu, while Chef Michael Robertson of Arcadian and his sous chefs executed the production. Chris Waters of Vines Magazine was MC of the lunch, and introduced the food and wines.

The Wines:


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

-Eau Vivre Pinot Noir 2008 [organic] LCBO Vintages +308353, $24.95

-Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir Okanagan 2011, $33.95 Terroir Wine

-Meyer Family Vineyards Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir Okanagan 2010 LCBO Vintages Online, +312645 $49.95

-Sandhill Chardonnay 2010, $17.95 Small Winemakers

-Sandhill Small Lots One 2010, $35 Small Winemakers

-Quails Gate Chardonnay 2011, +377770, $21.95

-Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2010, $34  Trialto

-Sperling Vineyards Sparkling Pinot Blanc Brut 2008, $40  Trialto


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

-Eau Vivre Chardonnay 2010 Similkameen Valley, $23.95 Terroir Wine

-Eau Vivre Buddhafull 2010 Similkameen Valley, $36.95 Terroir Wine

-Meyer Family Vineyards Chardonnay Okanagan 2011, $29.95 Terroir Wine

-Mission Hill Quatrain 2008, +218636, $44.95

-Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2010, +545004, $19.95

-Sandhill Cabernet Merlot 2010, $19.95 Small Winemakers

-Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin

-Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2011, +134486, $34


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

-Eau Vivre Malbec 2010 Similkameen Valley, $33.95 Terroir Wine

-Meyer Family Vineyards Gewurztraminer McLean Creek Vineyard Okanagan 2011, $27.50 Terroir Wine

-Gray Monk Estate Gewurztraminer 2011, +321588, $19.95

-Gray Monk Estate Chardonnay Unwooded 2011, +303745, $19.95

-Sandhill Small Lots Sangiovese 2009, $30 Small Winemakers

-Quails Gate Pinot Noir 2010, +585760, $24.95


The Food: here's the Wines of BC Wine Pairing Menu


FIRST COURSE – Amuse (too large for an amuse but great food anyway)

Sperling Vineyards Old Vines Riesling 2011

Gray Monk Gewurztraminer 2011

* Citrus Cured Salmon

Cantaloupe & Sweet Onion Pickle, Daikon Salad

Chamomile Scented Crème Fraîche, Lemon Balm


SECOND COURSE – Appetizer (terrific soup)

Sandhill Chardonnay 2010

Meyer Family Vineyard Okanagan Valley Chardonnay 2011

* Parsnip Crème

Spice Roasted Pear & Lemon Biscotti

Chestnut Espuma


THIRD COURSE – Main (but not with the pinot, better with the blends below which were slated with the cheese)

Eau Vivre Pinot Noir 2008

Quails Gate Pinot Noir 2010

* Port Cured Boneless Braised Beef Short Rib

Roasted Beet, Mascarpone Polenta, Walnut & Brussels Sprout


FOURTH COURSE – Dessert (cheese course: call it that)

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2008

Mission Hill Quatrain 2008

* Thunder Oak Gouda, Grand Chevre des Alpes

Fig & Filbert Press, Cranberry Chocolate Sour Dough, Walnut Pickle


The Downside: Constellation Brands was in short supply -- only one wine was at the event (Osoyoos Larose) yet they have many properties!

The Upside: our first event of 2013!!!

The Contact Person: or

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Australia Day Dinner, Jan 24/13

The Date and Time: Thursday, January 24, 2013   6:30 PM to 10:00 PM

The Event: Australia Day Dinner; media preview

The Venue: St. James Cathedral Centre, Toronto

The Target Audience: media

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines were available at the LCBO.

The Quote/Background: This is the second annual Australia Day Dinner, but this time the effort was amortized over three days (one for the press and two for the public, about 150 covers total). It was $150 a head for a ten course meal, with copious wines (six different types) and including tax and tips. This was a unique Australian culinary experience, with chefs Luke Hayes-Alexander (Luke's Gastronomy, Kingston, ON) and John Placko (Humber College) preparing a special tasting menu using molecular gastronomy.

The Wines: Overall, the red wines went better with the food than did the white wines.


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

-Jacob's Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV, $14.45 MC

-Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River 2011, $19.95


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

-Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale 2010, $17.95

-Yalumba Shiraz Viognier Y Series 2009 South Australia, $15.05


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

-Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2011, $19.95

-Shingleback Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon McLaren Vale 2011, $15.95


The Food: The dishes were named after regions in Australia, and emphasize the food of that area.


Pre-prandial food included "Dukkah & Damper" with a liquid roasted garlic interior and on roasted sesame seed, both on a spoon. To be eaten in one bite, with the garlic liquid surging into your mouth.


and "Salmon" cured with lemon myrtle and wrapped around a pepperberry sponge, topped with olive oil and dehydrated olives. Both of these amazing amuses were passarounds, and went very well with the Jacob's Creek sparkler.


First plated course – "Beet It", with textured beet powder for a beet meringue, goat cheese, hazelnut powder (hazelnut oil and maltodextrin, tapioca starch) and beet pearls made through spherification.


Second plated course – "Coffee & Biscuits", warm coffee with biscuit broth and garnishes (coconut, roasted garlic, arugula, pepperberry).


Third plated course – "Queensland Revisited", with barramundi, cauliflower purée with dill and white chocolate, Granny Smith horseradish jelly, and frozen pickled cucumber cubes (liquid nitrogen).


The Riesling was best with the fish.


Fourth plated course – "Blinman", shredded lamb breaded balls, two kinds of beets, lemon myrtle, brown butter, wattle seed. Fabulous with the Cabernet Sauvignon.


Fifth plated course – "Red Centre", kangaroo sous-vide and then blowtorched, pepperberry, vegemite, akudjura, Buderim ginger, potato with macadamia, wild hibiscus gel, onion fluid gel. Shiraz was heavy enough for it, at 14.5% ABV.


Sixth plated course – "Sydney", two beef cheek meat pies, a traditional with pastry shell, and a modern deconstruction with the same elements but plated differently (and with butterballs and onions).


Seventh plated course – "Deconstructed Pavlova", Mudgee honey meringue and wafers, passion fruit liquid gel, mango curd and ice cream pearls, freeze-dried banana, carbonated strawberries, and berry powder. Great textures and mouth-feel. Both Australia and New Zealand claim the Pavlova.


Eighth plated course – "The Blue Mountains", orange, Granny Smith apple, eucalyptus olida (aka strawberry gum), chocolate, jasmine, musk (musk stick candy in Australia).


Ninth plated course – "The Tim Tam Slam" (sucking coffee or tea through a Tim Tam biscuit before it disintegrates).


Unfortunately, there were no sweet wines with the desserts, although the excellent Jacob's Creek could go well with the last three courses.


The Downside: nobody was here from Wine Australia to explain the wines. In fact, nobody at all explained the wines.

The Upside: judging by the roar of the press crowd, it was a great success. It was also a lot of fun on a cold winter's night.

The Contact Person: or

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.



Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Useful Food and wine books

POWER ENTERTAINING (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 220 pages, ISBN 978-1-
26902-2, $21.95 US hard covers) is by Eddie Osterland, MS, America's
first Master Sommelier (1973). He has worked at top places in France,
and for the past 25 years, he has been conducting workshops on "power
entertaining" for corporate global businesses. The subtitle to this
book says it all: "secrets to building lasting relationships, hosting
unforgettable events, and closing big deals from America's 1st Master
Sommelier".  With log rolling from a few wine experts, corporate
biggies, and authors of other "success" books, Osterland presents some
breezy and chatty but informative information on how to succeed in
business with wine knowledge. Chapter 3 is the kernel: top twenty
secrets of successful power entertaining. I'm not going to divulge them
all, but I'll relate two: top tip is to think of entertaining as a
business development strategy; another is to open the event with
champagne. Most of the book is about finding choosing and serving wines
in a variety of strategies, with expert pairing of food with wine.
There is also some good material on tasting wine like a sommelier.
There's a concluding chapter on power entertaining at home, to impress
family and friends and even close business associates ("you live like
this all the time?"). There are a few appendices, such as one on the
major grape varieties commonly found on restaurant wine lists, with
pronunciation (but no viognier is listed). He also has some blank
tasting note sheets which can be downloaded from his website.
Apparently, there is also a collaborator, communications consultant
Richard Koonce, who is acknowledged at the very end of the
acknowledgements and has a separate page at the back of the book. It is
an interesting book, but it might also have been better suited for the
Dummies series, which Wiley also publishes and which also has business
oriented materials.
Audience and level of use: businessmen wishing to make an impression
with their social wine and food skills.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Caesar salad is too common to serve
with power entertaining; avoid boilerplate menus; offer a smashing,
unforgettable first course or appetizer.
The downside to this book: many wine and food matches, and most of the
tasting notes can be found in other wine books.
The upside to this book: a good assemblage for the busy executive who
wants a no-nonsense approach.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.

4. THE GLUTEN-FREE TABLE; the Lagasse girls share their favorite meals
(Grand Central Life & Style, 2012, 230 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-1688-
9,$25.99 US hard covers) is by Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse
Swanson, siblings and daughters of Emeril Lagasse. In 2004 Jilly was
diagnosed with celiac disease. Jessie, at some point, needed to follow
a gluten-free diet. Both of course have been food-inspired by their
upbringing, so it seemed to be a no-brainer that a gluten-free cookbook
was in the shaping. They have taken their fave preps from childhood and
family and redeveloped them into tasty, celiac-friendly alternatives.
There's about 100 recipes, of family favourites, Southern classics, and
ten original preps from Emeril himself. It's all arranged by course,
from apps to sweets.  Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
There's a concluding list of resources and website.
Audience and level of use: those seeking gluten-free recipes.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cornbread and Andouille
stuffed pork chops; baked halibut with creole tomato and Vidalia onion
vinaigrette; cheesy shrimp and crab grits; mini goat cheese and fig
The downside to this book:  it could use a few more recipes
The upside to this book:  some great Southern foods redefined.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-097-6, $29.95 US,  soft covers) is from the
Ontario Home Economics Association, and has been edited by Marilyn
Smith, a professional home economist who has appeared on TV and has
authored many other cookbooks. Here, she's got the definitive quinoa
book for vegetarians (most of the preps are vegan friendly as well). It
comes with some heavy duty log rolling from Cronish, Lindsay, and
DeMontis, all cookbook authors and speakers on food. Quinoa is a
complete food product, with all the essential amino acids and proteins
needed for a diet. It is now the most popular superfood around, with
about a dozen cookbooks published or announced. Here are 120 vegetarian
recipes, all less that 500 calories. There are details on what makes
quinoa so good and easy to prepare. Recipes have icons to indicate
which recipes are completely gluten-free, or use a microwave, slow
cooker or bread machine. There are sections from apps to desserts, plus
baked goodies, breads, and breakfasts. The mains cover stir-fries,
stews, Mediterranean tones, and egg dishes. Each prep has nutritional
information listed. About 58 identified members of the OHEA contributed
preps. At the end there is a list of online resources. Preparations
have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no separate table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who enjoy quinoa or would like to
start eating it.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: power granola; gluten-free
ancient grains bread; quinoa and edamame salad with Asian flavours;
Moroccan vegetable stew; savoury and sweet pilaf; orange-scented quinoa
with blueberries.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

6. BEER, FOOD, AND FLAVOR; a guide to tasting, pairing, and the culture
of craft beer (Skyhorse Publishing,2012, 290 pages, ISBN 978-1-61608-
679-4, $19.95 US hard covers) is by Schuyler Schulz, a chef and
sommelier who also specializes in craft beers. He has a strong chapter
on tasting beer, followed by another on pairing beer with fine food and
creating menus. There's a 20 page chapter on matching beer with cheese.
This is followed by his choices for the best craft brewers in America
(all US) and details about the beer "community", such as RateBeer and
BeerAdvocate. There's also a nice bibliography and glossary.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: American beer lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: English toffee pudding cake
made with beer; braised Niman Ranch pork shoulder; spiced cashews; and
a recipe for Russian Imperial Stout homebrew.
The downside to this book: it is American in its coverage of brewers.
The upside to this book: great reproductions of labels.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
7. THE EVERYDAY WOK COOK BOOK; simple and satisfying recipes for the
most versatile pan in your kitchen (Sasquatch Books, 2012; distr.
Random House, 145 pages, $21.95 US paper covers) is by Lorna Yee, a
food writer and presenter in the Pacific Northwest, and co-author of
The Newlywed Kitchen. Here she advises that the wok is the only pan
you'll really need in the kitchen. To most Orientals, that is a given,
standard basic fact. One can braise, steam, stew, deep-fry, and smoke
with woks. And a good wok gets better with usage and seasoning. There
are about 55 preps here, devoted to American comfort food and some
classic Asian dishes as well. The arrangement is by course, with
breakfast and brunch upfront, followed by mains, sides and desserts.
The list of ingredients is in bold faced caps, which I like.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: non-Asiatic wok owners
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: chicken-fried steak with pan
gravy; red sauce spaghetti with bison meatballs; tailgate chili;
chorizo, harissa, and potato hash; chicken sausage and goat cheese
scramble; Asian-style BBQ pork scramble with coriander.
The downside to this book: only55 preps – I'd like a few more.
The upside to this book: a single purpose kitchen equipment book to
show the versatility of the wok.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.

8. THE DIABETES-FRIENDLY KITCHEN; 125 recipes for creating healthy
meals (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 226 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-58778-2,
$29.99 US hard covers) is by Jennifer Stack, a chef that is a certified
Diabetes Educator and RD. She's a professor at the Culinary Institute
of America, teaching nutrition and food safety. She also writes for
magazines and appears on TV. It's a CIA book, with a primer on a
diabetic kitchen, glossary, bibliography, and nutritional
information/data for each recipe. Arrangement of the food is by course:
apps, soups, mains, sides and salads, desserts. She says: "This is not
another diabetic cookbook. It is a book with recipes and cooking tips
to improve your blood glucose control and reduce your risk for heart
disease while still honoring your love for food".
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: mostly pre-diabetic eaters.
Some interesting or unusual facts: diabetes-friendly meals provide a
consistent and controlled amount of calories and carbohydrates. Flavour
enhancement by searing, reducing, infusing and marinating provides the
maximum amount of flavour from the food.
The downside to this book: I think the preps really need metric
measurements or at least tables of conversion – for use in the rest of
the world.
The upside to this book: it is good that the CIA has weighed in on this
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

9. PIES, GLORIOUS PIES; brilliant recipes for mouth-wateringly tasty
pies (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012; distr. T. Allen, 143 pages, ISBN
978-1-84975-261-9, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Maxine Clark, prolific
cookbook author for this publisher. The British love their pies, and
Clark, who lives in Scotland, details a useful primer on how to
construct different pie dough and roll them out. She gives us separate
chapters based on purpose: there are everyday pies, posh pies, portable
pies, and sweet pies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no separate
table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: pie lovers and novice cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: steak and kidney pie; lamb
shank shepherd's pie; ham and apple pie; simple sausage lattice slice;
ricotta and green herb torta; pasta, parmesan, and cherry tomato pies;
golden fish pie.
The downside to this book: I suppose for balance there could have been
a few more sweet pies.
The upside to this book: there are more savoury pies than sweet pies
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

10. SKIRT STEAK; women chefs on standing the heat and staying in the
kitchen (Chronicle books, 2012, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-0709-7,
$24.95 US hard covers) is by Charlotte Bruckman, a food writer who has
appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Bon
Appetit. Here she interviews and talks with 73 American women chefs
about life in the restaurant's kitchen. It is arranged in 12 chapters,
by theme, with many glosses and quotes from the chefs. Her first topic
is "what is a chef?", and from there moves on to what it takes,
education, the "man cave", owning a resto, awards, competition,
discrimination, glass ceiling, media, salary, sexual harassment, and
more. But nothing on wine knowledge (or sommeliers/food and beverage
managers), drugs or alcoholism – that I could find. No recipes, except
for how to succeed.
Audience and level of use: those who want to know about women chefs and
how hard it is to survive.
Some interesting or unusual facts: "The career opportunities available
to those interested in food-related exploits have opened up. This
translates to a wider client base for schools to tap."
The downside to this book: I'd like more space on food and beverage
managers, or sommeliers.
The upside to this book: a good issue to tackle.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


A VINEYARD IN NAPA (University of California Press, 2012, 264 pages,
ISBN 978-0-520-27236-1, $29.95 US hardcovers) is by Doug Shafer, head
of Shafer Vineyards who, along with his father, John, were winners of
the 2010 James beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Wine and Spirit
Professional". It's a memoir, aided by writer Andy Demsky, about John
Schafer's midlife career change in 1973. He moved from Chicago's
publishing arena to Napa, with no knowledge of winemaking. Thirty years
later, Robert M. Parker, Jr. called Shafer Vineyards, "one of the
world's greatest wineries". Doug narrates the story of ups and downs,
from a rural Napa to the tech wonder it is today. We learn about bugs,
cellar disasters, local politics, natural causes, and changing consumer
values. There is also material on sustainability, AVA creation, custom
crushing, and hobbyist investors. There are some 50 different topics in
shorter chapters, as well as an index to ties it all together.
Audience and level of use: wine lovers, wine historians
Some interesting or unusual facts: The 1980 Chardonnay was the first
Shafer wine served at the White House while Reagan hosted PM Indira
Ghandi from India.
The downside to this book: it is episodic, although that has its
moments in trying to read a few elements here and there.
The upside to this book: a good memoir about Napa life in the 1970-2010
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

VinExpo Presser on IWSR report: consumption of wine in Canada 2011-2016

The Date and Time: Tuesday, January 22, 2012  9AM to 11AM

The Event: Release of the study "Current Trends in the International Wine and Spirits Market and Outlook to 2016", a report from Vinexpo but conducted by the British firm IWSR.

The Venue: Arcadian Lofts

The Target Audience: Ontario wine trade and writers

The Availability/Catalogue: the report is available through M. Eizaguirre spoke about Vinexpo 2013 (coming up in Bordeaux on June 16 – 20), possibly trying to drum up some business. He then presented materials on the global impact of wines and spirits, both export and import, plus domestic consumptions. At one stage in the early research, the report considered beer, but now it is just wine and spirits. The study was conducted in 28 wine-producing countries and on 114 wine and spirit consumer markets. The IWSR has been at this data collection since 1971. The global wine market continues to expand, with new patterns of drinking in Russia and China. Germany continues to be the top importer of wines (mostly reds), followed by Netherlands (4th), Belgium (8th) and Sweden (9th) – none of these three latter countries makes commercial wines. I was most interested in Canada, where the report again fails to distinguish between VQA and ICB brands (ICB are almost totally imported wines) – I had brought this up four years ago but nothing seemed to have been done about it. Canadian wine consumption is expected to go up 34.59% between 2007 and 2016, and 17.44% between 2011 and 2016. Bottom lines: growth in Canadian wine consumption is three times faster than at world level (2007 – 2011); sales of rose wine and wine sold for more than US$10 in Canada are booming; Italy takes over from France as the leading supplier of imported wines. Now, if only the IWSR and Vinexpo can get a handle on VQA and ICB sales.

The Quote/Background: This is the 11th year of the research, and while I have been at most of the press conferences in the past, this is the earliest-in-the-day one that I have attended: next time, pre-breakfast? Xavier de Eizaguirre, Chairman of Vinexpo, presented the results and spoke on the matters raised through an active Q & A afterwards.

The Wines: unlike previous presentations of this report, no wines were served because of the unlicensed hour, although orange juice and cranberry cocktail did arrive in large wineglasses.

The Food: breakfast goodies from Oliver & Bonacini included almond croissants, chocolate croissants, muffins, Danish, yogurt, fruit cocktail, juices, teas and coffees.

The Downside: it was early in sub-zero weather; consequently, travel was very bad, and arrival times varied.

The Upside: a chance to hear first hand about the study.

The Contact Person: or

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.



Monday, January 21, 2013


  ...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. Here are
some recent "re-editions"...
19. WINE FOR DUMMIES. 5th edition (Wiley Publishing, 2012,
410 pages, ISBN 978-1-118-28872-6, $22.99 US paper covers)
is by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, wine educators
in New York City. The first edition was published almost
two decades ago, and this book gets revised about every
five years (it has already sold almost a million copies).
It has been widely endorsed by the industry, and has served
as a popular textbook for many beginning wine courses. It
even won a Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year award.
This edition presents a general updating, with mention and
notes about new appellations and new rules, plus of course,
new wines that have come onto the market. There is more
material on newer emerging regions such as Argentina,
Greece and Chile, but it seems like Canada has been dropped
(it used to have two pages): no Ontario, no BC, no Niagara,
no Okanagan, and, significantly, no icewine. What a shame,
points off! Vintage charts have been updated. The thorough
text contains basic information on storing, tasting and
serving wine, along with material on grape varietals and
how to buy wine (in the store, in the restaurant). But the
bulk of the book is a region-by-region account of
winegrowing areas. An index and glossary completes the
package. Quality/Price rating: 85.

Publishing, 2012; distr. T. Allen, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-
61608-604-6, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Jan Hedh, a
Swedish pastry chef specializing in ice creams. His book
was originally published in Sweden in 2008, and here it has
been translated and made available to the North American
market. This is an amazing upscale collection of over 300
gelatos, sorbets, ice cream cakes, and other fancies. He
has material on wine pairing, using sorbets as appetizers,
and using veggies. There's a primer on history and making
ice creams, followed by preps in categories (ice cream,
sorbets, parfaits, semifreddo, bombs, stuff for kids,
sides, meringues, and both sugar and chocolate techniques.
How about lobster ice cream with herbs? Or white asparagus
ice cream? Cauliflower ice cream? Melon granite with
Serrano chips? There's a lot more, all with skillfully
crafted presentation food styling photos by Klas Andersson.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric
and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of
Quality/price rating: 88.

21. CLEAN FOOD; a seasonal guide to eating close to the
source (Sterling
Epicure, 2012, 355 pages, ISBN 978-1-4549-0010-8 $30 US
hard covers) is by Terry Walters. It was originally
published in 2007 ad then re-done in 2010 as "Clean Start".
Log rolling comes from Charlie Trotter, Mario Batali, and
Alice Waters. It's another book dealing with SLOFE
principles (seasonal, local, organic, fast, and easy).
There are now more than 250 recipes here for making healthy
choices. There are the usual tips and advice plus ideas for
leftovers and how to protect nutrient-rich foods. Recipes
are vegan and gluten-free, and arranged by season beginning
with spring. So that means whole grains, vegetables,
fruits, legumes, sea vegetables, nuts and seeds. The photos
looked especially enticing. A good solid typeface is large
enough for most to read, and the layout is useful. The
index is by major ingredient only, not by name or title of
the recipe. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no metric table of
equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes include
roasted cauliflower and garlic soup, cinnamon whole oats
with toasted almonds, festive quinoa with apricots and
orange zest, and polenta pizzas. Quality/Price Rating: 87.
22. COOKING WITH WHOLEFOODS; healthy and wholesome recipes
for grains, pulses, legumes and beans (Ryland, Peters, and
Small, 2012, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-334-0, $24.95US
hard covers) is by Ross Dobson, an Australian chef,
caterer, and food writer with several cookbooks to his
credit from Ryland Peters & Small. It was originally
released in 2010 as "Wholesome Kitchen" but has here been
reissued with newer material but kept to the same
pagination. These are mainly preps for pulses and grains,
sorted by course (apps, soups, salads, sides, mains, and
baking). The thrust is ethnic, the excitement is spicy. All
the recipes are useful, especially for vegetarians.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric
and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no separate
metric table of equivalence. Some interesting or unusual
recipes include ful medames; Moroccan bean and cumin dip;
Mexican taco salad with pinto beans and avocado; chickpea
and fresh spinach curry; chocolate and aduki bean paste
fingers; and semolina crumpets. Some recipes include meat
and fish, but Dobson does give vegetarian variations.
There's some slight shading on the pages with the recipes,
and thus some of them are hard to read without contrast.
Quality/Price Rating: 83.
23. GLUTEN-FREE GIRL AND THE CHEF (John Wiley & Sons, 2010,
2012, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-118-38357, $19.99 US soft
covers) is by Shauna James Ahern, blogger at and author of the memoir Gluten-
Free Girl, and Daniel Ahern, a chef in Washington state.
Notable log-rollers Molly Wizenberg. The book was
originally published in 2010 as a hard cover edition, and
this is the 2012 soft cover reprint. There's 100 recipes
here, strewn amongst a memoir of a love story between the
"GF girl" and the "chef". The book also follows a day in
the life of the working chef. So there is material about
life at home and life at the restaurant. Lots of teff and
millet and quinoa are used. There's an index to the
recipes, as well as a resources list (all U.S., mostly west
coast). Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no metric table of
Some interesting recipes: millet tabouleh; gluten-free
fresh pasta; gluten-free crackers; gluten-free polenta with
goat cheese; and chocolate-peanut butter brownies. There is
also a separate list of recipes that is easy to scan over.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.

24. BETTY CROCKER'S QUICK & EASY; 30 minutes or less to
dinner (John Wiley & Sons, 2009, 2012, 336 pages, ISBN 978-
1-118-23069-5, $19.99 US soft covers) is now in at least
its third edition. The second was published in 2009, at 276
pages and with only 120 recipes. The book now has 150
preps, including their version of Mexican pasta skillet or
chicken and smoked provolone pizza or orange and dill pan-
seared tuna. There's a colour photo of each dish, many
dinner ideas using eight or fewer popular ingredients,
icons indicating "20 minutes or less" for extra-quick
dishes, plus some menu ideas for side dishes. Preparations
have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there are tables of metric equivalents. As a useful
book for beginners, it is arranged by main ingredient.
Quality/price rating: 86.

25. FIRESIDE FEASTS & SNOW DAY TREATS; indulgent comfort
food for winter eating and entertaining (Ryland, Peters &
Small, 2012, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-260-2, $29.95 US
hard covers) is a project from the publisher. More than 150
recipes and ideas for eating during the colder months have
been assembled from a dozen or so cookbook authors who
regular write books for Ryland. The largest collection of
recipes comes from Laura Washburn with 41. It is all
arranged by snacks, comfort homey food, feasts, some
indulgences, and cheery drinks for a cold night. It's a
good book to take to your ski chalet. Typical preps include
chicken liver parfait, cheese and basil soufflés, spicy
pork satay, salt cod, meat balls, Vietnamese beef pho,
seafood and yellow split pea curry. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements with some
metric, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 85

26. HORS D'OEUVRES [sic]. New edition (DK Books, 2007,
2012, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-7566-9836-2, $24 CAN hard
covers) is by caterer Victoria Blashford-Snell and cooking
school owner Eric Treuille. It was originally published in
2007 at 168 pages, in paperback format. It has been
rearranged and resorted with new recipes. There are now
more than 200 preps, with a series of step-by-step
sequences. Included are the major groups of crostini,
tartlets, skewers, and wraps. Also puffs, meringues, and
other finger-foods that can be assembled at home. Over 100
colour photos help with the techniques. Much of the food
here seems to be derived from Spanish tapas and Middle East
mezze. Each chapter has a special section on a "6 ways"
option. Under Little Nibbles, there are "6 ways with
oatcakes" and "6 ways with spoons". These all present
variations on the theme, a great idea. Sweets are rarely
thought of as hors d'oeuvres, but can be useful for a
dessert selection where people can make choices or birthday
celebrations or even a sweet wine and food party. The
authors have a primer, useful for doing this kind of work,
plus a menu planner. Look for 6 skewers: medjool dates,
shrimp, lamb loin, bocconcini and cherry tomatoes, Thai
chicken, and bresaola with figs. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in partial metric and avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 88.

27. HUNT, GATHER, COOK; finding the forgotten feats
(Rodale, 2011, 2012, 324 pages, ISBN 978-1-60961-890-2.
$14.99 US soft covers) is by Hank Shaw, a free-lance food
writer and winner of two IACP Awards for best blog. It was
originally published in 2011, and this is the paperback
reprint. It has been well-received with reviews in the New
York Times and San Francisco Chronicle. It is an essential
foraging book (and includes hunting and fishing). It's a
good how-to book, with a bibliography for further reading,
a resources list, and, of course, an index. But there is no
separate index to the 50 recipes here. Typical are shad or
herring roe with bacon, boneless tempura shad, Sardinian
hare stew, mazzafegati (Umbrian fresh sausage), and seared
duck or goose breast (best recipe here: well-expressed and
written). Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric
equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.