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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for OCTOBER 30, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 30, 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 I Tasted Over the Past Fortnight or so ---

The Date and Time:  Wednesday September 21, 2021  11AM – 12:30PM
The Event: 2021 Northwest Wine Expedition
The Venue: The Globe and Mail Centre
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, wine agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: most wines were available or will be. The event was also a feature for acquiring new agents. The catalogue contained the basics of estate name, website, and Twitter address. There was no agency name, even if the winery had an Ontario agent. Name of the wine was followed by the vintage date and a space for notes. Opening text was confined to photos, maps, climate bar graphs, vineyards, and quality. 75% of Oregon wineries produce fewer than 5,000 cases per year. Similar information appeared for Washington, except that here 90% of all Washington wineries produced under 5,000 cases per year.
The Quote/Background: October 2 was the release date for a highly touted Washington-Oregon spotlight in the Vintages catalogue. Unfortunately, of the seven wineries with wines in the release, only two wineries were in this trade show: Del Rio Vineyards and Chateau Ste. Michelle. So I had no chance at this show to taste any Northwest wines being released on October 2. The show was originally to be held in the spring of 2020 but it was shut down on March 17 along with everything else, to reduce the spread of covid-19. The wines were already in Toronto, so what we tasted this morning were wines principally from 2016-2018, with a few from 2019 and 2020, and some from 2015 as well. I went to the show to taste on1y chardonnays. There were 23 of them from Oregon, and I managed to taste 16 (one wine did not turn up). There six from Washington but I was only allowed to taste one of them. In the organization of the event, we were all seated six feet apart with no masks, while our masked servers and winery principals asked us what we wanted and then delivered it. Halfway through the tasting the show administration decided that we could not taste by varietal but by winery. At that point I had tasted most of the chardonnays, and I did not want anything else.
The Wines: All the chardonnays were remarkably good; we were not given many prices (I guess we had to ask but I had no time to wait for a winery rep). So my ratings are based on taste alone, without consideration for prices and value. Wines in each tier are listed alphabetically by winery name.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality Rating terms):
-A to Z Wineworks Oregon Chardonnay 2018 [$22.95CAD price volunteered]
-Angela Estate Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2017
-Foris Vineyards and Winery Chardonnay 2018 [$23CAD volunteered]
-Sokol Blosser Winery Estate Dundee Hills Chardonnay 2018 [Nov. Vintages $28]
-Trisaetum Coast Range Estate Chardonnay 2017 [$52CAD price volunteered]
-Trisaetum Coast Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019 [$39CAD price volunteered]
-Barnard Griffin Washington State Chardonnay 2018
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality Rating terms):
-A to Z Wineworks Rex Hill Seven Soils Chardonnay 2017 [$44.95CAD volunteered]
-Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019
-Adelsheim Vineyard Staking Claim Chardonnay 2018
-Angela Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
-Chateau Bianca Wetzel Estate Chardonnay 2017
-Citation Centerstone Willamette Valley Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2017
-Cristom Vineyards Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2019
-Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay 2018
-Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019 [Nov. Vintages]
-Winderlea Winery Chardonnay 2017
 
The Food: we each got a bento box from Salon by Alo Yorkville. I shared it with my wife when I got home. Coffee came from Hot Black, Queen Street west. The bento box had torched Norwegian salmon, heirloom cherry tomato with burrata, beef tartare and charred eggplant, and a cheesecake dessert. A Northwest cheese course would have been preferable.
The Downside: we were not supposed to taste by grape variety but rather by winery, which limited my interest. I cannot leap from pinot noir to pinot gris to syrah to riesling to chardonnay – and back – within four to eight bottles at a time.
The Upside: this was my first trade show in 19 months; I may have been a little rusty.
The Contact Person: Nicholas Pearce Wines – www.npwines.com or np@npwines.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): very good – 92.
 

** Some recommended  wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good value (see below)...on sale  through Sunday November 7...
 
[red] +59311 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel was $24.95, now $21.95, save $3 to Nov 7.
[red splurge]  CHÂTEAU PIPEAU SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU VINTAGES +302018  WAS: $43.95 | NOW: $ 39.95 | SAVE: $ 4.00  to Nov 7.
[white]  FLAT ROCK RIESLING Niagara VQA VINTAGES +43281 WAS: $ 17.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00  to Nov 7.
[Christmas port] TAYLOR FLADGATE 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT Portugal VINTAGES +149047 | WAS: $ 69.95 | NOW: $ 62.95 | SAVE: $ 7.00 to Nov 7

This is the October Blue Moon Release for Best Wines Under $20
===========================================
W+256552    CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 90
W+599274    LOOSEN BROS. DR. L RIESLING    Qualitätswein    2020    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
W+391847    THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC    AP    2020    $16.95
MVC/QPR: 89.
W+19399    NIETO SENETINER SEMILLON    Valle de Uco, Mendoza    2019    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+928580    SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, DO Valle del Itata    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR:  91
R+81588    CRASTO    DOC Douro    2019    $18.95    MVC/QPR: 89.

This is the October Blue Moon Release for Best Wines Over $20
============================================
W+431593    TAWSE LIMESTONE RIDGE-NORTH ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    $21.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
W+346304    GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN CHARDONNAY    Napa Valley    2017    $67.95 MVC/QPR:  90.
R+22977    DOMAINE QUEYLUS RÉSERVE DU DOMAINE PINOT NOIR VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula    2016    $45.00     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+959627    CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2017 $53.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
R+427500    WESTCOTT ESTATE PINOT NOIR    VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula    2017    $29.95     MVC/QPR: 91.
Dessert+94110    HENRY OF PELHAM RED, VIDAL & RIESLING ICEWINE    Three-bottle gift set, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario        $99.95      MVC/QPR: 89
Fizz Splurge+490482    BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT CHAMPAGNE    AC, France        $204.95 MVC/QPR: 93.

 
 
Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism

Saturday, October 23, 2021

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH: Amber & Rye by Zuza Zak, Interlink Books, 2021

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
  ++++++++++++++++++++++
 
AMBER & RYE; a Baltic food journey (Interlink Books, 2021, 256 pages, $45 hard covers) is by Zuza Zak, an award-winning Polish "storyteller cook" who has published books and articles dealing with Eastern Europe as her beat. She has also appeared on the Food Network. Her PhD studies are focused on exploring Eastern European food from a socio-cultural perspective, as a cultural anthropologist would. The Baltics are between Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, with many culinary influences. There is also a confluence with Poland bordering Lithuania (she's got some Baltic DNA in her). So here she's got guidance around the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with local stories from the chefs, the cooks, the greengrocers, the farmers. In addition to the stories on food and travel, she's also incorporated poetry, literature, song, and proverbs. The arrangement is loosely by course, from apps through snacks, soup, mains, salads, sides, fermented foods,  desserts and beverages. There are extensive notes on ingredients and a bibliography for further reading. Typical preps are rhubarb and rose meringue tart, potato-fennel-fish bake, charred pork chop with apple and sea buckthorn sauce, fermented beet slaw, crayfish salad, creamy barley groats with asparagus, fermented wild garlic and buckwheat soup, and nettle leaf salad. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH: Beer & Veg by Mark Dredge (Dog 'n' Bone 2021)

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
  ++++++++++++++++++++++
 
1.BEER & VEG; combining great craft beer with vegetarian and vegan food (Dog 'n' Bone, 2021, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-912983-40-7 $34.99 hardbound) is by Mark Dredge, who has authored other beer books such as "Craft Beer World", "Beer and Food" and "Cooking with Beer". He recently switched to a veggie diet, so it was the perfect time to start up a book dealing with beer and veggies. Some of the contents deal with what craft beer is all about, notably through the styles of beer you are likely to encounter, and these are together with food pairing notes. He then turns it around with notes on beer pairing for various courses and cuisines (e.g. blueberry pancakes with Imperial stout, avocado on toast with Pacific pale ale or Belgian blonde, southwestern tofu scramble and breakfast potatoes with Session IPA or Witbier). He also includes desserts of cherry pie, peach cobbler, apple strudel, sticky toffee pudding, crème brulee, and lemon and olive oil cake. The balance of the book is the recipe section: breads, brunch, mains, sides, snacks, baking, desserts. Most of the preps are vegetarian; all have a vegan option, and the rest can be easily converted from vegetarian to vegan. So it is meatless but with some egg/dairy/honey. It's a needed book, well-worth a look into. Preparations have their ingredients listed mostly in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Try the beer naan bread, beer marinara sauce, Dubbel drunken noodles, chickfu burger and sambar ketchup. Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, October 11, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for OCTOBER 16, 2021


WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 16, 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 I Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---

Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir Estate Bottled Old Vines 2017 VQA NOTL, +256834, $24.95 (at winery and online): I think that this is the first de Charmes' "Old Vines" Pinot in some time (maybe 2012?). Quite a powerful wine (the 2007 was a Cuvee winner), lots of forest floor (mushrooms, earth) to complement the dynamic red berry fruit. Grapes come from their St David's Bench block, the oldest vineyard they have. It could still use some time(I tasted at home over a few days). High acidity but low tannins. 1.7 g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Jackson-Triggs White Meritage Grand Reserve 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +360297, $25.95 Vintages, online, Wine Rack, winery: this is the classic Bordeaux blend of sauvignon blanc (80%) and semillon (20%). It is almost never made in Ontario, but it has been made occasionally at Jackson-Triggs, when the circumstances were right. Previous vintages I have enjoyed included the 2017 and the 2012. But in 2012, the blend was 70% sauvignon blanc (with 10% of the savvy being barrel fermented in French oak) and 30% semillon, and the price was a dollar less. This time (2020) all of the semillon went into older French oak after extended skin contact. Herbs and honey dominate the flavour profiles, with stone fruit and grapefruit accents augmenting some tropicality. It will also reveal longer depth after more bottle aging of a year or so. Best with seafood – indeed, I had it with a Hooked stuffed sea bream and fishcuterie plate of a half dozen denizens. Long finish. Residual sugar is a low 3g/L. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** A Recent Wine Book I Reviewed ---

WINE FROM ANOTHER GALAXY (Quadrille, 2020, 354 pages, $65 hardbound) is by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, MW, co-founders of Noble Rot magazine and restaurants in Bloomsbury and Soho. They also own a wine importer, Keeling Andrew & Co. It's an unusual wine book, based on  their writings in Noble Rot magazine. Part one is the "Shrine to the Vine" with primer-like detail on how wine is made, noble grapes, how wine ages,  wine cellars, desert island wine lists. How to serve wine, how to order wine in a restaurant, even a hilarious  alternative wine aroma wheel. Part two is the road trip travel through Europe – the people and places behind their fave wines: France, Hibernia, Italy, Germany, Greece, ending with English sparklers. And it ends with a listing of their top wines, about 99% of which are from France (who knew?). An interesting book for the millennial wine lover. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

** Some recommended  wines from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good value (see below)...on sale  through Sunday November 7...
 
[red] +59311 7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel was $24.95, now $21.95, save $4 to Nov 7.
[red splurge]  CHÂTEAU PIPEAU SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU VINTAGES +302018  WAS: $43.95 | NOW: $ 39.95 | SAVE: $ 4.00  to Nov 7.
[white]  FLAT ROCK RIESLING Niagara VQA VINTAGES +43281 WAS: $ 17.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00  to Nov 7.
[Christmas port] TAYLOR FLADGATE 20-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT Portugal VINTAGES +149047 | WAS: $ 69.95 | NOW: $ 62.95 | SAVE: $ 7.00 to Nov 7

Wines Under $20
=========
W+22275    MIGUEL TORRES VIÑA SOL ORIGINAL DO Catalunya 2019 $11.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Fizz+48801    LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE D'IVOIRE BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE    Traditional method, AC, Burgundy, France        $19.95    MVC/QPR:  93.
Rose+11234    GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES ROSÉ    AP Languedoc, France    2020    $10.95 half-bottle  MVC/QPR: 90.
W+68015    FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED UNOAKED CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $17.95      MVC/QPR: 89.
R+371112    MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CARMENÈRE    Single vineyard, Valle del Maipo    2019    $16.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
R+272575    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR TAUTAVEL    AP Côtes du Roussillon-Villages    2018    $19.95      MVC/QPR:  90.
R+574780    DEMUERTE    DO Yecla    2018    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 91.

Wines Over $20
=========
Fizz+924654    GARDET CUVÉE TRADITION SAINT FLAVY BRUT CHAMPAGNE    Chigny-les-Roses, AC, France        $46.95  MVC/QPR:  90.
Fizz+15687    GRUET SAUVAGE BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING    Zero dosage, traditional method, USA        $28.95     MVC/QPR:  89,
W+264945    PASCAL JOLIVET SANCERRE    AC    2020    $39.95  MVC/QPR: 91.
R+187369    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO    In wooden gift box, DOC, Veneto, Italy    2018    $92.95      MVC/QPR: 89.
R+384578    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA & VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO    Two bottles in wooden gift box, Veneto, Italy    2018    $74.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
R+390872    WOLF BLASS GREY LABEL SHIRAZ    McLaren Vale, South Australia    2018    $34.95   MVC/QPR:  89.
R+616433    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $39.95      MVC/QPR:  90.
R+570267    FAUSTINO I GRAN RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2009    $39.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
R+707323    RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN    WO Stellenbosch    2019    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+21861    MARCHESI DI BAROLO TRADIZIONE BAROLO DUO    Two bottles in wooden gift box, DOCG, Veneto, Italy    2016    $109.95  MVC/QPR: 90



Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Report on the 2021 Northwest (Washington and Oregon) Wine Expedition Sept 21, 2021

The Date and Time:  Wednesday September 21, 2021  11AM – 12:30PM
The Event: 2021 Northwest Wine Expedition
The Venue: The Globe and Mail Centre
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, wine agents.
The Availability/Catalogue: most wines were available or will be. The event was also a feature for acquiring new agents. The catalogue contained the basics of estate name, website, and Twitter address. There was no agency name, even if the winery had an Ontario agent. Name of the wine was followed by the vintage date and a space for notes. Opening text was confined to photos, maps, climate bar graphs, vineyards, and quality. 75% of Oregon wineries produce fewer than 5,000 cases per year. Similar information appeared for Washington, except that here 90% of all Washington wineries produced under 5,000 cases per year.
The Quote/Background: October 2 was the release date for a highly touted Washington- Oregon spotlight in the Vintages catalogue. Unfortunately, of the seven wineries with wines in the release, only two wineries were in this trade show: Del Rio Vineyards and Chateau Ste. Michelle. So I had no chance at this show to taste any Northwest wines being released on October 2. The show was originally to be held in the spring of 2020 but it was shut down on March 17 along with everything else, to reduce the spread of covid-19. The wines were already in Toronto, so what we tasted this morning were wines principally from 2016-2018, with a few from 2019 and 2020, and some from 2015 as well. I went to the show to taste on1y chardonnays. There were 23 of them from Oregon, and I managed to taste 16 (one wine did not turn up). There six from Washington but I was only allowed to taste one of them. In the organization of the event, we were all seated six feet apart with no masks, while our masked servers and winery principals asked us what we wanted and then delivered it. Halfway through the tasting the show administration decided that we could not taste by varietal but by winery. At that point I had tasted most of the chardonnays, and I did not want anything else.
The Wines: All the chardonnays were remarkably good; we were not given many prices (I guess we had to ask but I had no time to wait for a winery rep). So my ratings are based on taste alone, without consideration for prices and value. Wines in each tier are listed alphabetically by winery name.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality Rating terms):
-A to Z Wineworks Oregon Chardonnay 2018 [$22.95CAD price volunteered]
-Angela Estate Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2017
-Foris Vineyards and Winery Chardonnay 2018 [$23CAD volunteered]
-Sokol Blosser Winery Estate Dundee Hills Chardonnay 2018 [Nov. Vintages $28]
-Trisaetum Coast Range Estate Chardonnay 2017 [$52CAD price volunteered]
-Trisaetum Coast Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019 [$39CAD price volunteered]
-Barnard Griffin Washington State Chardonnay 2018
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality Rating terms):
-A to Z Wineworks Rex Hill Seven Soils Chardonnay 2017 [$44.95CAD volunteered]
-Adelsheim Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019
-Adelsheim Vineyard Staking Claim Chardonnay 2018
-Angela Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
-Chateau Bianca Wetzel Estate Chardonnay 2017
-Citation Centerstone Willamette Valley Un-Oaked Chardonnay 2017
-Cristom Vineyards Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2019
-Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Chardonnay 2018
-Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2019 [Nov. Vintages]
-Winderlea Winery Chardonnay 2017
 
The Food: we each got a bento box from Salon by Alo Yorkville. I shared it with my wife when I got home. Coffee came from Hot Black, Queen Street west. The bento box had torched Norwegian salmon, heirloom cherry tomato with burrata, beef tartare and charred eggplant, and a cheesecake dessert. A Northwest cheese course would have been preferable.
The Downside: we were not supposed to taste by grape variety but rather by winery, which limited my interest. I cannot leap from pinot noir to pinot gris to syrah to riesling to chardonnay – and back – within four to eight bottles at a time.
The Upside: this was my first trade show in 19 months; I may have been a little rusty.
The Contact Person: Nicholas Pearce Wines – www.npwines.com or np@npwines.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): very good – 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, September 26, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for OCTOBER 2, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for OCTOBER 2, 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 ---

The Date and Time: Friday September 10, 2021  Noon – 2:30 PM
The Event: A tasting of Vignobles de Larose wines along with a discussion on the new Classification of Crus Bourgeois.
The Venue: Boehmer, Ossington Avenue.
The Availability/Catalogue: Marchands des Ameriques is the agency (see below). Differing vintages are currently available; others will come in periodically.
The Quote/Background: Franck Bijon, the General Manager and Chief Winemaker of Vignobles de la Rose made the presentation, commenting on the company's history. It's got three major Chateaux in the Haut-Medoc: Chateau LaRose Trintaudon (huge seller in the USA), Chateau LaRose Perganson, and Chateau Arnauld, plus Chateau Tour de Pez in St. Estephe, which they bought in 2019. Area is 255 hectares of vines, production is 1.3 million bottles a year, and exports are 30% of the company totals. The company began its first rehabilitation in 1963, followed by another in 2000 to get numerous environmental certifications (and again in 2020). Franck also discussed the details on applying for classification. Crus Bourgeois were classified in 2003 and then again in 2020. Re-validation is every five years (e.g., 2025, 2030, etc.). Eligibility is mostly by blind tasting. There are 247 chateaux with three levels. The first is a basic entry, followed by "superior" and then "exceptional". He then went on to describe his own company's wines. LaRose's barrel program includes 3600 barrels (of which 900 are new) for the Trintaudon, 400 barrels (of which 140 are new) for the Perganson (superior), and 35 all-new barrels for the Arnauld (exceptional). M.Bijon then went on to taste and describe the wines he brought with him. Wines are mostly equal merlot and cabernet sauvignon, with some petit verdot. The St Estephe does have some cabernet franc, as most St Estephe wines do have.
The Wines: Kenneth Gunn of the Marchands des Vins agency has the Haut-Medoc wines for sale...but, on September 18 at Vintages, Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon  Sustainable, Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc 2014    $28.95 +297945 went on sale in Ontario (only 400 cases available).

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau LaRose Trintaudon 2014 [juicy and racy]
-Chateau LaRose Perganson 2008 [my fave of the day, nicely aged, longer finish]
-Chateau Arnauld 2012 [another fave, still young, very juicy] close to Margaux

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau LaRose Trintaudon 2018 [intense nose, very fresh]
-Chateau Arnauld 2018 [soft on the mid-palate]

A new wine of 6700 bottles has been introduced: L'Experience Sans Sulfites Ajoutes 2019, from sustainable old vines (70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot).

Other availability:  Château Arnauld Cru Bourgeois Haut Médoc 2015 – LCBO Vintages Classics #21928 $68.00 release date : December 02 2021   - 80 cases
Consignment (currently out of stock but available soon):
Château Larose Trintaudon 2011 - $30.00 (before tax and deposit)
Château Larose Perganson 2008 - $37.00 (before tax and deposit)

The Food at the tasting: Bordeaux friendly food, such as a selection of meats (beef and lamb) atop lentils de puy, and wild mushrooms on richly buttered crostini. The main dish was classic tournedos with a wine sauce, potato puree, and grilled asparagus.
The Contact Person: kenneth@marchandsdesameriques.com

I can recommend one red, one rose, one white and one fizz wine from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...some are good values (see below)...on sale  through Sunday  October 10:
 
[red] Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, +322586, on sale to October 10, now $16.95, down from $19.95. Buy a case.
[rose]  Cave Spring Dry Rose VQA Niagara, +295006,  on sale to October 10,  now $13.95, down from $15.95. Buy a case.
[white] Flat Rock Cellars Twisted White VQA Niagara Peninsula, +1578,  on sale to October 10 , now $14.95, down from $17.95. Buy a case.
[fizz] Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose Chile, +365205, on sale to October 10,  now $12.95, down from $14.95. Buy two cases.

Wines Under $20
=========
W+542746    SÁNCHEZ ROMATE FINO PERDIDO SHERRY    DO, Spain       
$18.95     MVC/QPR: 90
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara
Peninsula    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
W+83287    MORANDÉ GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY    DO Valle
de Casablanca    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  92.
R+642421    VALPANTENA TORRE DEL FALASCO VALPOLICELLA
RIPASSO    DOC    2019 $18.95  MVC/QPR: 89.

Wines Over $20
=========
W+360297    JACKSON-TRIGGS NIAGARA GRAND RESERVE WHITE
MERITAGE    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $25.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
W+415901    CAVE SPRING INDIAN SUMMER SELECT LATE HARVEST RIESLING    Estate grown, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara  Peninsula, Ontario    2017    $24.95     MVC/QPR:  89.
R+268391    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE PINOT NOIR Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $24.95    MVC/QPR:  89.
R+356337    R. LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2009    $63.95   
MVC/QPR:  89.
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA DOP 2016    $22.95    MVC/QPR:  89.
R+353201    RUFFINO RISERVA DUCALE ORO GRAN SELEZIONE
CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG    2016    $49.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+157347    ENRICO SERAFINO SANAVENTO BARBARESCO   
DOCG    2017    $29.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
R+18593    POÇAS JUNIOR VINTAGE PORT    DOP, Portugal   
2017    $36.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
                                   
WASHINGTON + OREGON SPOTLIGHT [not tasted, not rated, just listed]               
   
White Wine                   
17031    ERATH PINOT GRIS    Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley   
2019    $23.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
16996    WINES OF SUBSTANCE CHARDONNAY    Columbia
Valley    2019    $23.95    AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS


Red Wine                   
546366    DEL RIO VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR    Rogue Valley   
2019    $24.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC
17686    CARDWELL HILL ESTATE BOTTLED PINOT NOIR   
Sustainable, Willamette Valley    2016    $22.95    VINOLUNA
408864    CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE INDIAN WELLS MERLOT   
Columbia Valley    2017    $26.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND
WINES LTD.
551473    DRUMHELLER CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia
Valley    2018    $18.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.
20491    HEDGES CMS    Columbia Valley    2018    $29.95   
NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.
                   
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Report on Bordeaux and Chateau LaRose Trintaudon....

The Date and Time: Friday September 10, 2021  Noon – 2:30 PM
The Event: A tasting of Vignobles de Larose wines along with a discussion on the new Classification of Crus Bourgeois.
The Venue: Boehmer, Ossington
The Target Audience: wine writers and other media
The Availability/Catalogue: Marchands des Ameriques is the agency (see below). Differing vintages are currently available; others will come in periodically.
The Quote/Background: Franck Bijon, the General Manager and Chief Winemaker of Vignobles de la Rose made the presentation, commenting on the company's history. It's got three major Chateaux in the Haut-Medoc: Chateau LaRose Trintaudon (huge seller in the USA), Chateau LaRose Perganson, and Chateau Arnauld, plus Chateau Tour de Pez in St. Estephe, which they bought in 2019. Area is 255 hectares of vines, production is 1.3 million bottles a year, and exports are 30% of the company totals. The company began its first rehabilitation in 1963, followed by another in 2000 to get numerous environmental certifications (and again in 2020). Franck also discussed the details on applying for classification. Crus Bourgeois were classified in 2003 and then again in 2020. Re-validation is every five years (e.g., 2025, 2030, etc.). Eligibility is mostly by blind tasting. There are 247 chateaux with three levels. The first is a basic entry, followed by "superior" and then "exceptional". He then went on to describe his own company's wines. LaRose's barrel program includes 3600 barrels (of which 900 are new) for the Trintaudon, 400 barrels (of which 140 are new) for the Perganson (superior), and 35 all-new barrels for the Arnauld (exceptional). M.Bijon then went on to taste and describe the wines he brought with him. Wines are mostly equal merlot and cabernet sauvignon, with some petit verdot. The St Estephe does have some cabernet franc, as most St Estephe wines do have.
The Wines: Kenneth Gunn of the Marchands des Vins agency has the Haut-Medoc wines for sale...but, on September 18 at Vintages, Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon  Sustainable, Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc 2014    $28.95 +297945 went on sale in Ontario.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau LaRose Trintaudon 2014 [juicy and racy]
-Chateau LaRose Perganson 2008 [my fave of the day, nicely aged, longer finish]
-Chateau Arnauld 2012 [another fave, still young, very juicy] close to Margaux

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Chateau LaRose Trintaudon 2018 [intense nose, very fresh]
-Chateau Arnauld 2018 [soft on the mid-palate]

A new wine of 6700 bottles has been introduced: L'Experience Sans Sulfites Ajoutes 2019, from sustainable old vines (70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot).

Other availability:  Château Arnauld Cru Bourgeois Haut Médoc 2015 – LCBO Vintages Classics #21928 $68.00 release date : December 02 2021   - 80 cases
 
Consignment (currently out of stock but available soon):
Château Larose Trintaudon 2011 - $30.00 (before tax and deposit)
Château Larose Perganson 2008 - $37.00 (before tax and deposit)
The Food: Bordeaux friendly food, such as a selection of meats (beef and lamb) atop lentils de puy, and wild mushrooms on richly buttered crostini. The main dish was classic tournedos with a wine sauce, potato puree, and grilled asparagus.
The Downside: I was nervous, mainly because this was my first trade event in over 18 months! In fact, the last trade event I was at (March 2, 2020) was an earlier version of this seminar with earlier vintages.
The Upside:  Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon  Sustainable, Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc 2014 $28.95 +297945 is now available in Ontario via LCBO Vintages (only 400 cases).
The Contact Person: isabelle.eon@vignoblesdelarose.com and kenneth@marchandsdesameriques.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92

Dean Tudor,  Prof Emeritus Ryerson School of Journalism
Treasurer of Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://www.deantudor.com
http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 18, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 18, 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 recent wines and spirits books I have reviewed ---

1.THE SCIENCE OF WINE; from vine to glass. 3rd ed.(University of California Press, 2005, 2012, 2021, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-520-37950-3, $48.38 CAD hard covers) is by Jamie Goode, UK wine writer and columnist. The first edition in 2005 was the Glenfiddich Drink Book of the Year. It's a great introduction to the scientific and technical innovations applied to grape-growing and winemaking. He explains how the practical applications of science affects the quality, flavour and perception of wine. In addition, there is also some material on Mother Nature such as the newly re-written climate change and global warming chapter, and how this is affecting wine production and styles. As the book is about the "science" of wine, he also covers biodynamics, health benefits, and screw cap closures. About half the book is totally new or extensively re-written and updated to this third edition (published nine years after the second edition): a discussion of "when things go wrong", vine immunity and breeding for resistance, yeasts and bacteria, non-saccharomyces, phenolics, extraction and maceration, whole cluster and carbonic maceration, wine faults, evolution of élevage, flotation, and sweet wine. This is an immensely accessible book, written for the lay person, and with a glossary and bibliography at the end. Quality/price rating: 92.

2.WINE TIME; 70+ recipes for simple bites that pair perfectly with wine (Chronicle Books, 2021, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-8186-8 $32.95 hardbound) is by Barbara Scott-Goodman, a food book author. The book's title is a bit of a misnomer since wine is not discussed. As she says, "Almost all food goes well with wine...what matters most is that you enjoy the wine you buy and drink." With that in mind, she goes ahead and makes recommendations for wine types based on grape varieties. With black bean, mushroom and cheese quesadillas, she suggests Zinfandel. With roasted cauliflower, try a Vernaccia. With zucchini fritters, perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc. She does have a whole section on wine cocktails, including: Champagne pom fizz, Kir Royale, Autumn Bellini, Prosecco and ginger spritz, and a half dozen other fizzy drinks (including a white wine, orange and mint sangria). Arrangement is by food categories: snacks and bites (such as orange-scented olives & feta cheese), dips and spreads (such as tuna tapenade), cheese and cheese boards, veggies, bruschetta and toasts (such as chicken livers with red onion sauce), seafood (crudo, ceviche), meat (charcuterie, sliders, deviled ham), sauces and condiments. The book could have been improved if it had also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90

3,STRANGER GINS; 50 things to drink while you watch TV (Dog 'n' Bone, 2021, 64 pages, $13.99 hardbound) has been compiled by Carol Hilker, a Chicago-based food writer. All of the shows are "series" and include old and new. Thus, there's Twin Peaks (recommended drink: Jacoby's Coconut). Fleabag (Hot Priest), Mad Men (Dirty Don Martini), and Seinfeld (Festivus)...But no Sopranos. She's got recipes and reasons for each show. PS: I'm not ashamed to admit having seen all of these shows but drinking just wine. Quality/price rating: 87

4.THE CURIOUS BARTENDER: Cocktails at Home (Ryland Peters & Small, 2021, 208 pages, $42.99 hardcovers) is by Tristan Stephenson, not only a drinks writer and author but also a brand ambassador and consultant in the UK world of cocktails. This work covers malt, bourbon and rye types of whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, brandy, sherry, wine and amari with histories, an exploration of the barrel-aging process, and a trip to major distilleries throughout the world (but principally the UK and the US). All the 75 recipes have been previously published in prior Curious Bartender books, but have been collated for this new volume. So there is the primer which deals with equipment, glassware and kitchen ingredients, followed by a collection of 7 distilled alcohol bottles and 6 alcohol add-ons (triple sec, maraschino, amari, vermouth, amontillado sherry, and absinthe). Under "Making a Drink" there are good notes on shaking, stirring, building, and blending. If you have his other books, then you might not need this one. He's got some classic and iconic preps for cocktails, such as the Boilermaker. His notes follow the rising tide of brown spirits that has returned after many years of clear spirits. There are lots of colour photos and a description of each business (along with tasting notes) including what to watch out for. Typical are sherry cobblers, champagne cocktail,  Americano, sidecar, pisco sour, margarita, et al. At the end there is a bibliography (including his previous 11 books) for further reading. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89.

New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---

1.Paso Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 Paso Robles AVA, +161141 LCBO General List, $18.95: from the Monterey Wine Company, this wine of 100% cabernet sauvignon shows rich dark berry components (currants, plums, blackberries) exhibiting a fruity audacious palate. It's a bit blowsy at the aroma stage but softens into ripe black fruit on the mid-palate, ending with California vanilla tones from oaking. Some finishing tannins and enough acid to accompany meaty foods. Opened and then tasted over several days. Well-enjoyed. Residual sugar is 5g/L, 13.5% ABV. MVC/QPR: 90.

2.Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon  Sustainable, Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc 2014    $28.95     +297945 Sept 18 Vintages:  dark colour dominated by deep black fruit (cassis, blackberry, plum) tones. Very filling on the mid-palate with the beginning of tannins near the end, leading to a long length with finishing acid. Best with food, of course, particularly meat such as beef and lamb. The blend always ranges around 45% cabernet sauvignon and 55% merlot and some added petit verdot to flesh it out. Peppery finish. This is a perennial favourite in North America, a brand that many are familiar (and comfortable) with. MVC/QPR: 92

I can recommend one red, one rose, one white and one fizz wine from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...some are good values (see below)...on sale  through Sunday October 10...

[red] Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon Chile, +322586, on sale to October 10, now $16.95, down from $19.95. Buy a case.
[rose]  Cave Spring Dry Rose VQA Niagara, +295006,  on sale to October 10,  now $13.95, down from $15.95. Buy a case.
[white] Flat Rock Cellars Twisted White VQA Niagara Peninsula, +1578,  on sale to October 10 , now $14.95, down from $17.95. Buy a case.
[fizz] Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose Chile, +365205, on sale to October 10,  now $12.95, down from $14.95. Buy a case.

Wines Under $20
=========
W+246579    CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment        $17.95   MVC/QPR: 89
W+17742    PETER ZEMMER CHARDONNAY DOC Alto Adige 2018 $17.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+573683    FERZO ABRUZZO PECORINO SUPERIORE DOP 2020  $17.95   MVC/QPR:  89
R+13434    ESCUDO ROJO RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sustainable, Valle del Maipo    2019    $17.95   MVC/QPR:  89
R+18667    SPECK BROS. FAMILY TREE THE PADRÉ CABERNET/MERLOT    Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $19.95  MVC/QPR:  89
R+952804    GÉRARD BERTRAND MINERVOIS SYRAH/CARIGNAN    AC Minervois    2017    $17.95      MVC/QPR:  89

Wines Over $20
=========
W+241182    CHARLES BAKER PICONE VINEYARD RIESLING    VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula    2017    $38.95     MVC/QPR:  90
W+593996    JACKSON-TRIGGS NIAGARA ESTATE GRAND RESERVE CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $20.95  MVC/QPR:  89
Fizz+175588    GRAHAM BECK MÉTHODE CAP CLASSIQUE BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ PINOT NOIR/CHARDONNAY Traditional method, WO Western Cape, South Africa   $22.95MVC/QPR:  89
R+297945    CHÂTEAU LAROSE-TRINTAUDON    Sustainable, Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc    2014    $28.95     MVC/QPR: 92

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, September 9, 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 –
 
 
9.BASQUE; Spanish recipes from San Sebastian & beyond (Hardie Grant Books, 2016, 2021, 256 pages, $32.99 hard covers) is by Jose Pizarro (a Basque chef  who owns three restaurants in London. It's a well-illustrated and photographed travelogue-cookbook – and a great introduction to the Basque cuisine and country. It's all arranged by ingredient: meat, fish, veggies, desserts, concluding with a collection of Basque menus: two for pintxos, others for a simple three course menu and for a feasting menu for friends. Typical are roasted chicken wings with oregano and garlic, cured duck ham with pomegranate salad, griddled marinated quail with pickled shallots, piquillo peppers stuffed with oxtail, sukalki (beef stew), sardines a la plancha, pan-fried hake with wild chanterelles, and pan-fried porcini with egg yolk. It's a major contribution to the arena of Spanish cookbooks. Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
 
 
 
10.THE MAGIC OF TINNED FISH; elevate your cooking with canned anchovies, sardines, mackerel, crab and other amazing seafood (Artisan Books, 2021, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-937-0, $33.55 hardbound) is by Chris McDade, owner-chef of Brooklyn's Popina, a western Mediterranean-styled restaurant with some US influences. He's got a short intro for preserved fish, principally tinned but also in glass jars. This is followed by a discussion on what to look for and a list of his 12 fave tinned products. Of necessity, his book is arranged by type of fish. Anchovies is first up, followed by sardines, mackerel, shellfish (sea urchin, oysters, clams, mussels, crab), squid, octopus, trout and cod – all with appropriate recipes fir cooking use. The photos also show the colourful labels of the tinned goods. At the end there is a US resources list for online ordering, if needed. Most of what he calls for is from sustainable fishing. One of my fave tinned fish is mussels, and through the index you can find preps such as mussel salad and potato chips on a brioche bun, or a mussel salad with fennel, chickpeas, and dill vinaigrette. Not everything here is seafood: there is roasted lamb with anchovies, rosemary and potatoes, and for pork, there is roasted pork loin with tonnato sauce. Cheese is also prominent (e.g. fusilli with sardines, 'nduja and pecorino). The 75 recipes include elevating mac and cheese with crab, and snacks such as anchovies, bread and butter. Comfort food includes smoked trout chowder. The book is a bit restrictive in that there is no tinned salmon, and no tuna, herring, shrimp, sprat, or caviar (or any other roe). But there is enough here to get you started. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric and fewer US volume measurements in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 4, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for SEPTEMBER 4, 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 recent spirits I have tasted --

1.Dun Bheagan Single Malt Islay +576397 $54.90 750mL.: extremely intense, bottled straight from the cask. Small batch.  Eight years old. Some herbal complexity with strong floral notes makes this a real treat. Smokey peaty all the way...could be challenging for some. 43% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2..Bas-Armagnac de Montal Les Hauts de Montrouge X.O. 700 mL. +21564 Vintages October 2021 $112: comes in a wooden gift box (it's that time of year again). From the producers of the finest Armagnac in the region. Armagnac has only 10% of the production of Cognac; it has a single distillation only. Uses all four grape varieties allowed. Comprised of about 12 years-old distillates, deep nose of roasted nuts, full fruity flavours with a soft peachy off-dry finish. Some mocha is evident. 40% ABV. A steal at this price. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Bas-Armagnac de Montal Les Hauts de Montrouge 2002  700 mL. +11426 Vintages October 23 2021 $99.95: comes in a red gift box for the Christmas holidays. There are about 181 producers, and many make single vintage bottlings (unlike in Cognac). Hence, there are many bottles of older Armagnac brandies (10, 15, 20, 30 year olds) that sell everywhere in the world -- but in small lots. Montal's 2002 was aged a minimum of 19.5 years in oak. Armagnac sells well in Quebec – they recognize a bargain. Extremely aromatic with overtones of caramel, vanilla, dried fruits, and oak character. 40% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Antica Valle Francescana Limoncino 500 mL. +17161 October 23, 2021, $45. 30% ABV, with a 2% infusion of lemon peels: decanter comes with two glasses and a gift box. Exceedingly fresh flavours with that citrus tang of sharpness from the essential oils. Largely hand-peeled in Umbria. Terrific as an ice cream topping (which is how I had my 40 mL sample). Sales of lemoncello or limoncino in total make it the number two liqueur in Italy, after Campari. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

I will also try to recommend one red, one rose, one white and one fizz wine from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...some are good values (see below)...on sale  through Sunday September 12...
 
[red] Gran Feudo Reserva DO Navarra Spain +479014, on sale to September 12 , now $16.95, down from $18.95 [save $2]
[white] Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes Argentina Dominio del Plata +1834, on sale to September 12, now $12.95, down from $14.95 [save $2}
[rose]  Muga Rose DOCa Rioja Spain +603795, on sale to September 12, now $13.95, down from $15.95. Buy a case [save $24].
[fizz] Louis Bouillot Perle D'Aurore Brut Rose Cremant de Bourgogne Traditional Method Burgundy +48793, on sale to September 12, now $20.95, down from $22.95 [save $2]

Wines Under $20
=========
Fizz+746479    CRISTINA ASCHERI MOSCATO D'ASTI    DOCG, Piedmont, Italy 2019     $19.95       
MVC/QPR:  90
Rose+117861    FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2020 $15.95 MVC/QPR:   90
W+557165    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+616466    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $29.95     MVC/QPR:  90
W+18566    LACHETEAU HAUT-POITOU SAUVIGNON BLANC    AC    2020    $16.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+95802    PETER ZEMMER PINOT GRIGIO    DOC Alto Adige    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+21538    POCAS RESERVA WHITE    DOP    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR:  90
R+12281    CHÂTEAU DE RIBEBON    AC Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux, France    2017    $15.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+14391    DOMAINE LA DÉCELLE RÉSERVE VALRÉAS    AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages, Rhône, France    2017    $16.95    MVC/QPR:  89
R+78725    CHÂTEAU PINERAIE CAHORS    AC    2017    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 90
R+56267    REMO FARINA MONTECORNA RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR:   90


Wines Over $20
=========
W+68817    HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment        $29.95     MVC/QPR:   90
W+469023    CUDDY BY TAWSE CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $25.95 MVC/QPR:  90
R+213132    LA PIEVE BAROLO    DOCG    2017    $39.95  MVC/QPR: 90
R+113357    DONATELLA CINELLI COLOMBINI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $65.95     MVC/QPR: 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, August 27, 2021

Some recent spirits I have tasted --


1.Dun Bheagan Single Malt Islay +576397 $54.90 750mL.: extremely intense, bottled straight from the cask. Small batch.  Eight years old. Some herbal complexity with strong floral notes makes this a real treat. Smokey peaty all the way...could be challenging for some. 43% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

2..Bas-Armagnac de Montal Les Hauts de Montrouge X.O. 700 mL. +21564 Vintages October 2021 $112: comes in a wooden gift box (it's that time of year again). From the producers of the finest Armagnac in the region. Armagnac has only 10% of the production of Cognac; it has a single distillation only. Uses all four grape varieties allowed. Comprised of about 12 years-old distillates, deep nose of roasted nuts, full fruity flavours with a soft peachy off-dry finish. Some mocha is evident. 40% ABV. A steal at this price. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

3.Bas-Armagnac de Montal Les Hauts de Montrouge 2002  700 mL. +11426 Vintages October 23 2021 $99.95: comes in a red gift box for the Christmas holidays. There are about 181 producers, and many make single vintage bottlings (unlike in Cognac). Hence, there are many bottles of older Armagnac brandies (10, 15, 20, 30 year olds) that sell everywhere in the world -- but in small lots. Montal's 2002 was aged a minimum of 19.5 years in oak. Armagnac sells well in Quebec – they recognize a bargain. Extremely aromatic with overtones of caramel, vanilla, dried fruits, and oak character. 40% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

4.Antica Valle Francescana Limoncino 500 mL. +17161 October 23, 2021, $45. 30% ABV, with a 2% infusion of lemon peels: decanter comes with two glasses and a gift box. Exceedingly fresh flavours with that citrus tang of sharpness from the essential oils. Largely hand-peeled in Umbria. Terrific as an ice cream topping (which is how I had my 40 mL sample). Sales of lemoncello or limoncino in total make it the number two liqueur in Italy, after Campari. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com