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Monday, June 21, 2021

Inquiry AG

Dear Sir/Madam ,

 
My name is Casper and I am contacting you on behalf of AG Holland Trading B.V.
 
We are interested in purchasing some of your products.
Due to the increase in the prices of products all over the world. 
Please send your latest catalog.
Also, tell me about  bulk order discounts, warranty, delivery  and credit payment options.

Your early reply is highly appreciated.

NB: Our purchase order will be sent through DHL!
Please remember to attach your correct company address. 

Best Regards
Sales Manager


AG Holland Trading B.V.
Zevenbergen, NOORD-BRABANT, Netherlands.
Phone: +31 168 335 356

Friday, June 18, 2021

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! * (The Immunity Cookbook, Hardie Grant Quadrille)

2.THE IMMUNITY COOKBOOK; how to strengthen your immune system and boost long-term health, with 100 easy recipes (Hardie Grant Quadrille, 2020, 233 pages, ISBN 978-1-78713-679-3, $42.99 CAN hardbound) is by Kate Llewellyn-Waters, a certified nutritionist with an MSc and decades of experience throughout the UK. Here, for these pandemic times, she stresses the importance of immunity as a protection against illnesses and viral diseases. She logically begins with a description of how the immune system works, and then goes on to detail that all disease begins in the gut. She lays out the most effective and efficient strategies, such as eating knowledgeably to improve one's immunity. Intermittent fasting, exercise, managing stress, importance of sleep, and the power of light. That's the first 60 pages: then she goes on for the recipes through another 160 pages. It's all about creating your own healthier lifestyle choices and effective mindfulness. The most important item is making the connection between gut health and disease and immunity – and then doing something about it.
Audience and level of use: those looking for a change or trying to get their gut together.
Some interesting or unusual recipes: tuna, fennel and bean salad; halloumi kebabs with raita; spicy bulgur with roasted peppers; artichoke and mushroom spelt; spiced kedgeree.
The downside to this book: The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Also, the typeface is too much grey and is too small.
The upside to this book: excellent recipes, all workable
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! (The Negroni, Artisan Books)

 
1. THE NEGRONI; a love affair with a classic cocktail (Artisan, 2021, 160 pages, $22.95 hardbound) is by Matt Hranek, who has done major research in this area.  The Negroni is a great Euro-cocktail with its botanicals from the bitters, the vermouth, and the gin. The best ones have a balance of bitter and sweet. This current book comes well-endorsed by Chef Michael Ruhlman: "This is one of the best books devoted to a single cocktail I've read."  Hranek begins with the components of Italian bitters (I think Campari has a stranglehold here), moving on to Italian red vermouth (Antica Formula Carpano or Punt e mes) and then gin. Garnishes, ice, and equipment come next, followed by 31 recipes for the drink and 11 food snacks. Terrific illustrations, mostly posters. He's even got a list of the best places in Europe to enjoy the Negroni! Quality/Price Rating: 93
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Westcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $19.99 at winery and online: this is a Burgundian passtoutgrain-styled wine which is very popular in France, made from 50% Gamay Noir and 50% Pinot Noir grapes. There is a 30-day maceration, with a stainless steel all wild  ferment and malo-lactic fermentation. Very soft, fleshy, fruity, good for the patio/terrace/balcony/porch/deck. It would be excellent with all kinds of soups. 11.5% ABV. Screwcap Closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Westcott Vineyards Brilliant Traditional Sparkling 2017 VQA Vinemount Ridge $39.99 at winery and online: this is a still-fresh terrific sparkler done up in the traditional style of long lees contact (three years here), hand riddling, and disgorgement for a secondary fermentation in the bottle. 2250 bottles were produced of this pinot noir (66%) and chardonnay (33%) blend from their own estate in Vinemount Ridge. It's got a complex basket of flavours, ranging from orchard fruit through to citrus, with the lightness of the chardonnay being balanced off against the heavier tones of the pinot noir. It stays this way right from the entry through to the long finish, and the latter makes this a pretty good food wine too. You'll need to put some down for 2025-2027. 12.5% ABV. 8.4g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Westcott Vineyards Lillias Unoaked Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Escarpment $24.99 at winery and online: a bright and fresh Chardonnay (two clones used) reflective of the vintage. Stainless tank fermentation and storage with half MLF to soften, and six months lees contact. No oak. Slightly off-dry feel despite 3g/L residual sugar, but a rounded mid-palate. Very stylish with a light lingering finish, great as a non-appetite-provoking aperitif, which makes it a fab cocktail party white wine. Emphasis is on fresh orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches): it could change over the next two years, which would make it more versatile in being also a first course wine. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Westcott Vineyards Riesling Butler's Grant 2019 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery or online: a devilishly competent 11% ABV Mosel style and light, formerly offered just to their Wine Club members. Now 550 cases are available to all. Parts of the vineyard were planted in 1980. Perfectly attuned to summer -- this was delicious in that Germanic style, ready for consumption now. And certainly affordable for an "old vines" wine. 8.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rose 2020 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery and online: a refreshing blend of cabernet franc (53%) and pinot noir (47%), pressed for six hours skin maceration and then complete malolactic fermentation. Early picking gave it that zesty complexity of red fruit such as strawberries and raspberries and cranberries (aka sunshine in a glass). Screwcap closure. 12% ABV. 8.5g/L residual sugar. A very good wine as an aperitif on the balcony/deck/terrace, etc. And as a first course wine with a spread board (charcuterie, smoked fish, cheese, dried fruits, nuts, et al). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $23.99 at winery and online: two clones of pinot noir (667 and 777) ere used from the fabulous Vinemount Ridge vineyard. The fruit, while awesome, is tempered by the higher alcohol of 13.5% ABV and lowered grape sugar of 3g/L. Ontario cranberries are noted as well as raspberries on the nose, followed by a hefty taste sensation on the mid-palate, ending with a rush of balanced tannins on the finish – good for first, second, and third courses. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Chateau des Charmes Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine Methode Traditionnelle 2016 VQA Niagara on the Lake, $34.95 Vintages June 12 [also at winery and online]: one of Ontario's top-rated MT sparklers, nicely aged at almost five years. 100% chardonnay. Bottle aged on the lees for at least 2 years, with buttercream notes, citrus aromas, fresh bread, excellent mousse. 250 cases. 5g/L residual sugar. 12.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
8.Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir "Droit" 2018 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St. David's Bench, +346742 Vintages June 12, $19.95 [also at winery and online]: medium-full-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais grand cru wines such as Morgon or Moulin a Vent in the Droit's capacity for aging. Dark cherry-berry flavours dominate, but there is added spicing and even some nuances of earthiness and eucalyptus, although the wine is unoaked. Cork finish. Good with BBQ, cheese, or something substantial, but some tannic structure is present to carry through a whole meal. Chateau des Charmes is the only winery in the world using this particular gamay clone. 2Gm/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV, lower than previous years. Earlier vintages were gold medal winners in Canada. 1100 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
9.STEL+MAR Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Lodi, +20808 $17.95 LCBO: from sandy loam soils.
A great wallop of cherries begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style from Lodi. Long rich tones of cassis, toffee, mocha, and ending with toasty vanilla notes. Soft, juicy, almost like a Merlot and finishes with delicate tannins. Best enjoyed as a social sipper drink with good companions. Tasted over a few days with repeated flavours. 8g/L residual sugar. 13.7% ABV. Cork closure. Label artwork by Stephanie Cheng of Toronto! 10,000 cases. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures. 
 
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose and one white wine on the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good sales values...
 
[red wine[ Sella & Mosca Riserva Cannonau di Sardegna on sale to June 20, $15.95, down from $18.45. Buy a case.
[white] Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay East Coast New Zealand on sale to June 20, $15.70, down from $17.70. Buy a case.
[rose] Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rose on sale to June 20, $15.95, down from $17.95. Buy a case.
 
Under $20
=========
W+392092    HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULIÈRE PINOT GRIS    AC Alsace    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+328559    CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY    WO Western Cape    2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  93
W+1847    THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC    AP    2020    $16.95
MVC/QPR: 89
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+148429    PENCARROW SAUVIGNON BLANC    Martinborough, North Island    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+346742    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT    VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2018    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 91
R+983742    L.A. CETTO PETITE SIRAH    Guadalupe Valley, Baja California    2017    $13.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+403683    GÉRARD BERTRAND FITOU GRENACHE/CARIGNAN    AP    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+668780    BISCARDO ROSAPASSO    IGT Veneto    2019    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+19846    CONFIDENCIAL RESERVA ROSÉ    Vegan, Vinho Regional Lisboa    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR:  89
 
Over $20
=========
W+643361    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $27.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+18686    QUINTA VALE DE FORNOS RESERVA TOURIGA NACIONAL    DOC Tejo    2015    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19286    FINCA RÍO NEGRO COGOLLUDO GUADALAJARA    Vino de la Tierra de Castilla    2015    $20.95  MVC/QPR:89
Sparkling+15686    GRUET BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ    Traditional method, New Mexico        $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+423111    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario    2016    $34.95     MVC/QPR: 92
Sparkling+224766    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake        $25.95 MVC/QPR:  91                   

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --
 
1.Three of Hearts Pinot Grigio 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +20374 Vintages July 24, 2021 [currently at winery]: this is a highly competitive category, and Three of Hearts goes up very well against the other grigios in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. Typical nuances include off-dry orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic melon-ish overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with slightly bitter citric notes. That makes it both a sipper and a food wine, suitable for a pre-prandial in the summer. There is some Ontario cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, but also with some peach notes. Stainless steel all the way. Part of a team with Three of Hearts Rose (same bottle shape, same cork closure). 12.5% ABV. Is a sparkling pinot grigio coming? Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 currently at winery: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 2.2g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by black currant. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay 2018 Napa $29.95 Consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: a soft wine full of orchard fruit (baked apple, pear), creamy, bright, some vanilla but a little toasted French and American oak (and lees) with spices. Best with sauced seafood. 14.5% ABV. Very dry finish. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Cantina Valpantena Veneto Chardonnay Alfabeto IGP 2019 $14.95 Consignment Majestic Wine Cellars:  It's a definite antipasto or pre-prandial wine since it was light lemons with lively acidity, some tart apples, 12% ABV, and a longer finish than I was expecting. Quite pleasant. Under composition cork. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Cantina Armani Albino Armani 1607 Chardonnay Capitel 2019 Trentino DOC, $21.95 consignment Majestic Wine Cellars. From the Adige Valley region, it's a mellow, rounder wine with less acid but a long honeyed finish in the mouth. Composition cork, and it too had sweet apples, limes and citrus, and a bright freshness from the stainless steel. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Cantina Mabis Biscardo Oropasso Originale 2019 IGT Veneto $18.95 consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: made from about 60% early harvest garganega [also known as malvasia de manresa in Spain](basis of soave) and 40% late harvest chardonnay juice. No oak, just stainless steel for freshness. But a longer fermentation than usual, and five months on the lees. Results? An engaging floral, off-sweet bouquet leading to nuts and tropical fruits on the palate with citrus running in the background. A good seam of acidity through to the spicy finish. Best with food, but possible also as a sipper. A very nice riff on Soave. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose) and Neropasso (red), all trading off on the "oro-" gold usage. 13% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay 2018 California appellation $16.95 Majestic Wine Cellars Consignment:  cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the US palate. There were lemons and green apples, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 29, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 29,  2021
 
                      AKA                 THE BLUE MOON RELEASE!!!
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO and Grocery +53678 $15.95 [LTO $13.95 May 23-June 19]: this is a no brainer choice – a classic savvy that's been made since the winery opened, excellent quality  from the renowned A.J. Lepp vineyard (39.5%), Wismer vineyard (20.4%), balance from three others. No oak, of course, with cold fermentation in stainless tanks. Typical MVC aromas of gooseberry and some grass, lemons and long length. This has been a huge seller for Peninsula Ridge, and it goes very well with grilled white meats and grilled veggies. 12% ABV, <3g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rose 2020 VQA Beamsville Bench, Vintages +177840 $15.95 May 15 release: the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada has had eight annual tastings of Ontario rose wines, and this one from Peninsula Ridge has always been selected in the "Best" category (90+ points) except for one year. So it has a great track record with wine writers. It's all Cabernet Franc, with short skin contact and long fermentation at low temperatures – always in stainless steel tanks. Red fruit, of course, dominates in a juicy style (but with only 4g/L residual sugar). Typical MVC for Ontario strawberries, red cherries, and cranberries (for that crisp long finish). Best served with decks/terraces/balconies/patios/backyards and sunshine, or with grilled seafood. (Their 2013 vintage rose sold for $11.95). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay 2018 Napa $29.95 Consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: a soft wine full of orchard fruit (baked apple, pear), creamy, bright, some vanilla but a little toasted French and American oak (and lees) with spices. Best with sauced seafood. 14.5% ABV. Very dry finish. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Cantina Valpantena Veneto Chardonnay Alfabeto IGP 2019 $14.95 Consignment Majestic Wine Cellars:  It's a definite antipasto or pre-prandial wine since it was light lemons with lively acidity, some tart apples, 12% ABV, and a longer finish than I was expecting. Quite pleasant. Under composition cork. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Cantina Armani Albino Armani 1607 Chardonnay Capitel 2019 Trentino DOC, $21.95 consignment Majestic Wine Cellars. From the Adige Valley region, it's a mellow, rounder wine with less acid but a long honeyed finish in the mouth. Composition cork, and it too had sweet apples, limes and citrus, and a bright freshness from the stainless steel. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Cantina Mabis Biscardo Oropasso Originale 2019 IGT Veneto $18.95 consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: made from about 60% early harvest garganega [also known as malvasia de manresa in Spain](basis of soave) and 40% late harvest chardonnay juice. No oak, just stainless steel for freshness. But a longer fermentation than usual, and five months on the lees. Results? An engaging floral, off-sweet bouquet leading to nuts and tropical fruits on the palate with citrus running in the background. A good seam of acidity through to the spicy finish. Best with food, but possible also as a sipper. A very nice riff on Soave. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose) and Neropasso (red), all trading off on the "oro-" gold usage. 13% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay 2018 California appellation $16.95 Majestic Wine Cellars Consignment:  cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the US palate. There were lemons and green apples, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+17644    OMRAH CROSSINGS CHARDONNAY    Great Southern, Western Australia    2019    18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+256552    CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+262782    THATCHED HUT SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2020    19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+17455    LUI RESERVA MALBEC    Single Vineyard, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2018    19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+723452    ONDARRE RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2016    19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+548560    ALICE VIEIRA DE SOUSA RESERVE RED    DOC Douro    2018    16.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
=========
W+68106    DOMAINE DU CHARDONNAY MONTMAINS CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2017    43.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+181289    DOMAINE LE VERGER CHABLIS    AC    2018    27.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+417659    CUNE RESERVA    Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja    2015    21.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19675    CARIONE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    34.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+491027    CAVES D'ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL ROSÉ    AC Côtes de Provence    2019    49.95    MVC/QPR:  90
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --
 
1.Westcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $19.99 at winery and online: this is a Burgundian passtoutgrain-styled wine which is very popular in France, made from 50% Gamay Noir and 50% Pinot Noir grapes. There is a 30-day maceration, with a stainless steel all wild  ferment and malo-lactic fermentation. Very soft, fleshy, fruity, good for the patio/terrace/balcony/porch/deck. It would be excellent with all kinds of soups. 11.5% ABV. Screwcap Closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
2.Westcott Vineyards Brilliant Traditional Sparkling 2017 VQA Vinemount Ridge $39.99 at winery and online: this is a still-fresh terrific sparkler done up in the traditional style of long lees contact (three years here), hand riddling, and disgorgement for a secondary fermentation in the bottle. 2250 bottles were produced of this pinot noir (66%) and chardonnay (33%) blend from their own estate in Vinemount Ridge. It's got a complex basket of flavours, ranging from orchard fruit through to citrus, with the lightness of the chardonnay being balanced off against the heavier tones of the pinot noir. It stays this way right from the entry through to the long finish, and the latter makes this a pretty good food wine too. You'll need to put some down for 2025-2027. 12.5% ABV. 8.4g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
3.Westcott Vineyards Lillias Unoaked Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Escarpment $24.99 at winery and online: a bright and fresh Chardonnay (two clones used) reflective of the vintage. Stainless tank fermentation and storage with half MLF to soften, and six months lees contact. No oak. Slightly off-dry feel despite 3g/L residual sugar, but a rounded mid-palate. Very stylish with a light lingering finish, great as a non-appetite-provoking aperitif, which makes it a fab cocktail party white wine. Emphasis is on fresh orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches): it could change over the next two years, which would make it more versatile in being also a first course wine. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Westcott Vineyards Riesling Butler's Grant 2019 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery or online: a devilishly competent 11% ABV Mosel style and light, formerly offered just to their Wine Club members. Now 550 cases are available to all. Parts of the vineyard were planted in 1980. Perfectly attuned to summer -- this was delicious in that Germanic style, ready for consumption now. And certainly affordable for an "old vines" wine. 8.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rose 2020 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery and online: a refreshing blend of cabernet franc (53%) and pinot noir (47%), pressed for six hours skin maceration and then complete malolactic fermentation. Early picking gave it that zesty complexity of red fruit such as strawberries and raspberries and cranberries (aka sunshine in a glass). Screwcap closure. 12% ABV. 8.5g/L residual sugar. A very good wine as an aperitif on the balcony/deck/terrace, etc. And as a first course wine with a spread board (charcuterie, smoked fish, cheese, dried fruits, nuts, et al). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $23.99 at winery and online: two clones of pinot noir (667 and 777) were used from the fabulous Vinemount Ridge vineyard. The fruit, while awesome, is tempered by the higher alcohol of 13.5% ABV and lowered grape sugar of 3g/L. Ontario cranberries are noted as well as raspberries on the nose, followed by a hefty taste sensation on the mid-palate, ending with a rush of balanced tannins on the finish – good for first, second, and third courses. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO and Grocery +53678 $15.95 [LTO $13.95 May 23-June 19]: this is a no brainer choice – a classic savvy that's been made since the winery opened, excellent quality  from the renowned A.J. Lepp vineyard (39.5%), Wismer vineyard (20.4%), balance from three others. No oak, of course, with cold fermentation in stainless tanks. Typical MVC aromas of gooseberry and some grass, lemons and long length. This has been a huge seller for Peninsula Ridge, and it goes very well with grilled white meats and grilled veggies. 12% ABV, <3g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rose 2020 VQA Beamsville Bench, Vintages +177840 $15.95 May 15 release: the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada has had eight annual tastings of Ontario rose wines, and this one from Peninsula Ridge has always been selected in the "Best" category (90+ points) except for one year. So it has a great track record with some wine writers. It's all Cabernet Franc, with short skin contact and long fermentation at low temperatures – always in stainless steel tanks. Red fruit, of course, dominates in a juicy style (but with only 4g/L residual sugar). Typical MVC for Ontario strawberries, red cherries, and cranberries (for that crisp long finish). Best served with decks/terraces/balconies/patios/backyards and sunshine, or with grilled seafood. (Their 2013 vintage rose sold for $11.95). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 15, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 15, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages May 15: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 1.4 g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by black currant. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.4% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry .
Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 1429 cases made. 10.6% ABV. RS 22.4 g/L. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of berries, plums and cherries. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Should go well with BBQ or other fatty meats. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle daily for a week). 2408 cases. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages June 12 and October: 20% of this wine went into barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 293 cases. 5.5g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rose 2020 VQA Beamsville Bench, Vintages +177840 $15.95 May 15 release: the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada has had eight annual tastings of Ontario rose wines, and this one from Peninsula Ridge has always been selected in the "Best" category (90+ points) except for one year. So it has a great track record with wine writers. It's all Cabernet Franc, with short skin contact and long fermentation at low temperatures – always in stainless steel tanks. Red fruit, of course, dominates in a juicy style (but with only 4g/L residual sugar). Typical MVC for Ontario strawberries, red cherries, and cranberries (for that crisp long finish). Best served with decks/terraces/balconies/patios/backyards and sunshine, or with grilled seafood. (Their 2013 vintage rose sold for $11.95). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
8. Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, its tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L, ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.                   
 
Under $20
=========
W+519025    FEATHERSTONE PHOENIX    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $18.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+80234    FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING    2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula        $17.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+17575    IVORY & BURT CHARDONNAY    Lodi    2019    $19.95  MVC/QPR:  89
W+ 928580    SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, DO Itata Valley    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR:  89
W+17563    SACRED HILL HAWKE'S BAY CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, Hawke's Bay, North Island    2019    $18.95  MVC/QPR:  89
R+64618    FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2019 $19.95 MVC/QPR:  91
R+131540    FEATHERSTONE RED TAIL MERLOT    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 92
R+548867    CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2017    $15.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+348292    CHÂTEAU VRAI CAILLOU    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2016    $16.95    MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+177840    PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD CABERNET ROSÉ    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+20012    LE BIJOU DE SOPHIE VALROSE    IGP Coteaux de Béziers    2020    $16.95    PERUGINI   MVC/QPR:          
  
Over $20
=========
W+566026    CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    $29.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R +672923    CONTINO RESERVA Single vineyard, DOCa Rioja  2016  $29.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+60525    RUTHERFORD RANCH RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Napa Valley    2017    $49.95  MVC/QPR:  89
 
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --
 
1.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2016 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +430991, $24.95 Vintages May 1: one of their several chardonnays at different price points, from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2014 (which was $5 less). Barrel-fermented and barrel-aged in French oak for a year, with lees stirring. 27-year old vines. Expect full-bodied balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit and a buttery consistency with some slight smokey spices. Cork closure. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. Very age worthy, should see us through (and after) the pandemic period. 500 cases. 13.3% ABV. Residual sugar 3g/L. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot Old Vines 2017 VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, $24.95 +222372 at winery and online: a substantial wine made from plots planted beginning in 1983-1985 and then again in 1992-1996 (in all four of their vineyards) – about a third each of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, coming in at 12.6% ABV after 15 months time in French oak. Expect some intricacy with its medium mocha, cedar, vanilla and cassis, but double-decant the bottle before serving. The extra airing will help soften it and give it a longer length from the older vines. Tasted successfully over a number of days. 485 cases. Residual sugar 1g/L. It should outlast the pandemic. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L, ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry .
Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 1429 cases made. 10.6% ABV. RS 22.4 g/L. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of berries, plums and cherries. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Should go well with BBQ or other fatty meats. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle daily for a week). 2408 cases. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages May 15: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 1.4 g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by black currant. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.4% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
8.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages June 12 and October: 20% of this wine went into barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 293 cases. 5.5g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
9.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

 
...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around
 
for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best
 
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 and/or the
 
media personality. 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
 
shtick 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 at home, but how could that be? The books 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. The celebrity books,
 
with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-
 
involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots,
 
verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in
 
magnificent cases 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 –
 
 
12.VEGAN RECIPES FROM JAPAN (Grub Street, 2020, 208 pages,
 
$32.95 hardbound) is by Malte Hartig and Jule Felice Frommelt. He's a
 
trained chef with a PhD on Japanese food and culture and Zen Buddhism;
 
she's a freelance food photographer and recipe developer. Together they
 
write about what is essentially "shojin ryori": the traditional dining style of
 
Buddhist monks in Japan, made without any animal products. So it
 
becomes a perfect vegan diet. Foods are based on tofu, seaweed,
 
seasoned veggies and wild mountain plants. Balance and alignment are
 
brought to the body, mind and spirit. The preps are simple and humble,
 
seasonally done with Japanese ingredients such as miso, soy sauce,
 
sake, mirin, dashi, and mostly steamed or grilled or deep fried. The
 
arrangement is by season, beginning with spring, and there are many
 
cultural/social background notes, along with a glossary and other
 
references.
Quality/Price rating: 91
 
 
13.ARZAK + ARZAK (Grub Street, 2020, 256 pages, $49.95 hardbound)
 
is by Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena Arzak. The Restaurante
 
Arzak has been in San Sebastian since 1897, and it has had three
 
Michelin stars since 1989. It has also been included on the World's 50
 
Best Restaurant list since the ranking's early days. Elena has been there
 
since 1994 after working her way through the kitchens of Troisgros and El
 
Bulli, among others. This is a lavishly produced book celebrating the
 
research and the gastronomy of one of the finest restaurants in the world.
 
This is the beginning of the New Basque Cuisine. Copious photographs
 
and generous texts illuminate every phase of their daily work together and
 
with the 64-member team, and includes a separate chapter on their
 
research and research methods.  Finally, at page 113 we arrive at the
 
beginning of the 64 recipes which Jaun Mari and chef Elena worked out
 
together over the past 10 years, with great colour photographs of
 
ingredients and finished plates. It begins with hake and chickpea paint,
 
moves on to veal cheeks stew, nectarine and squid vines, and ends with
 
honeymead and fractal fluid. It would be pretty hard to find a better gift
 
book for the gastronome. Quality/Price rating: 93.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 1, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 1, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2016 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +430991, $24.95 Vintages May 1: one of their several chardonnays at different price points, from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2014 (which was $5 less). Barrel-fermented and barrel-aged in French oak for a year, with lees stirring. 27-year old vines. Expect full-bodied balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit and a buttery consistency with some slight smokey spices. Cork closure. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. Very age worthy, should see us through (and after) the pandemic period. 500 cases. 13.3% ABV. Residual sugar 3g/L. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot Old Vines 2017 VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, $24.95 +222372 at winery and online: a substantial wine made from plots planted beginning in 1983-1985 and then again in 1992-1996 (in all four of their vineyards) – about a third each of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, coming in at 12.6% ABV after 15 months time in French oak. Expect some intricacy with its medium mocha, cedar, vanilla and cassis, but double-decant the bottle before serving. The extra airing will help soften it and give it a longer length from the older vines. Tasted successfully over a number of days. 485 cases. Residual sugar 1g/L. It should outlast the pandemic. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L; ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench +616466, $29.95 [currently at winery] Vintages May 1: Grapes come from their oldest estate vineyards (beginning 1988), hand-picked. Barrel fermented in French oak with a portion in 3000L foudres, and then barrel aged for 8 – 10 months in a mix of new and older barrels. This continues the tradition of Burgundian elegance. Expect some ripeness, balance of oaking and fruit, integrated style in place. Wood integration produces some creaminess in the finish. 12.8% ABV, cork closure. Definitely needs another year – or more – in bottle in order to bring out the nuances. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones with some cranberry tartness in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Under $20

===========
White+18705    STRANDVELD FIRST SIGHTING SAUVIGNON BLANC    WO Cape South Coast    2020    $14.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+117861    FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2020 $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+719062    FAMILLE PERRIN RÉSERVE ROSÉ    AC Côtes du Rhône    2020    $15.95  MVC/QPR: 89
Red+999946    REMO FARINA RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018    $18.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+377481    HACIENDA LÓPEZ DE HARO CRIANZA    DOCa Rioja    2017    $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
 
Over $20
=========
Sparkling+19346    THE FOREIGN AFFAIR BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ    Charmat method, VQA Ontario    2019    $25.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+993113    TAITTINGER PRESTIGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE    AC $79.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+17553    TE AWANGA SAUVIGNON BLANC    Hawke's Bay, North Island    2019    $23.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+616466    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $29.95    MVC/QPR: 91
W+430991    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD CHARDONNAY    VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2016    $24.95     MVC/QPR: 92
W+541557    LAKE SONOMA CHARDONNAY    Russian River Valley, Sonoma County    2018    $26.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    2016    $23.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+165662    MONTE DEL FRÀ LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018    $24.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+130252    TAWSE SKETCHES CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $21.95     MVC/QPR:  89
Port+87551    FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT    Unfiltered, DOP, Portugal    2015    $23.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
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