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Monday, April 19, 2021

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

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for FEBRUARY 20, 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.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO & Grocery +326975, $15.95: fruit-driven aromatics come from the bouquet of orchard fruit which clearly shows on the mid-palate, finishing off with a slight citrus tang (thus making it perfectly adaptable to a first course food offering such as seafood or light salad). As a social drink for the patio/deck/terrace or party, the balanced fruit-acid of the wine is very nicely placed. Stainless steel cold aging [no oak]. Also available in 60 grocery stores. 13.5% ABV. Twist top. Good value price. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Cabernet 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO & Grocery +499384, $15.95: a blend of 51% cab sauvignon and 49% cab franc, although in taste and performance it seems as if there is more franc in the mix. There is a melange of both red and black fruit, such as cherries, raspberries, cranberries followed by cassis and blackberries. From the short wood aging comes some vanilla, coffee-toffee, and woody spices. Medium in mouthfeel and well-balanced all the way, just what you want from a party red wine that can also extend through to the cheese course. 12.8% ABV. Capable of aging for a few years. Tasted over several days after a double-decanting. Twist top. Also available in 60 grocery stores. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Vintages, +19899 April 3, $19.95 [only 30 cases available, sold out at the winery]: very light and pale in colour, but full of flavours such as an herbed-induced introduction to Ontario fruit (gooseberries, nectarines) and florals. A very nicely developed bone dry drink for late spring and Easter. Cold stainless steel fermentation accentuates the dried tropical fruit component. 12.1% ABV, 3 g/L residual sugar. A good little savvy that will take you all the way through from the table's first courses to the fresh cheeses. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
4.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Rebecca Rose 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Winery Only [320 cases], $19.95: I have really enjoyed previous vintages of this wine. The grape here is gamay, as in light and fruity Beaujolais. So it's a typical light, refreshing, and fruity drink with low alcohol and low tannins. Cold stainless fermentation helps it retain the strawb and rasp berry nature of the grape, as well as some of that typical Ontario cranberry taste. Best on its own as a patio/terrace/deck party drink or with a light platter of first course foods. 12.3% ABV. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
February 20 -- Under $20
=========
W+225557    ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2020    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 90
R+18173      DOMAINE DE LA PLAIGNE RÉGNIÉ    AP    2017  [BEAUJOLAIS]  $18.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+273672    STORIA ANTICA SUPERIORE VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO    DOC    2018    $18.95    MVC/QPR:  90
 
February 20 -- Over $20
=========
W+490326   SACRED HILL RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2018    $21.95     MVC/QPR:  90
W+149211   THE FOREIGN AFFAIR CHARDONNAY VQA NIAGARA PENINSULA  2018 $26.95   MCV/QPR: 91+
R+268391    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE PINOT NOIR    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $24.95    MVC/QPR:  91
R+157347    ENRICO SERAFINO SANAVENTO BARBARESCO    DOCG    2017    $30.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+438580    QUERCECCHIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $34.95 MVC/QPR:  89
 
 

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 17, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 17, 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.Gerard Bertrand Terroir An806 Corbieres 2018 $17.95 +394288 Vintages: In this Terroir Corbieres (from the Narbonne), Bertrand uses traditional fermentation for the grenache, syrah, and mourvedre. It is an appealing Rhonish G-S-M, with one-third of the blended wine aging in wood for nine months before bottling. Very firm with some very dark fruit leading on to the very full and ripe finish. Needs hearty food. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Parker Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Paso Robles $24.95 +17684 Vintages [wine of the month for April 17, 2021]: an affordable Cali-Cab, but only 5,000 cases made. Part of the Fess Parker winery unit, the US SRP is $17. Aged six months in all French oak resulting in typical cabby spicy mocha flavours, blackberry/plummy fruit (and with a leathery hint suggestive of syrah), vanilla finish. My wife said "yum", which is her description for a juicy palate. Changed for better complexity over time with stoppered exposure and a double decant. Smooth but dry with a long lingering finish: great with food. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release:
this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4..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.
 
Under $20
=========
W+286377    CAVE SPRING ESTATE RIESLING    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+17658    LA GIUSTINIANA TERRE ANTICHE GAVI DI GAVI    DOCG    2019    $17.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+341586    FEATHERSTONE FOUR FEATHERS    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $14.95
MVC/QPR: 90
W+458687    NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 446 CHARDONNAY    Monterey County    2018    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+19509    CAVES D'ESCLANS WHISPERING ANGEL ROSÉ    AC Côtes de Provence    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19903    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE GAMAY    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95  MVC/QPR:  90
R+39925    CUNE CRIANZA    Vegan, DOCa Rioja    2017    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+394288    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRENACHE/SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE    AP Corbières    2018    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 91
 
Over $20
========
Sparkling+213983    CAVE SPRING BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario        $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+184549    LE CLOS JORDANNE LE GRAND CLOS CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $44.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+368050    PLUME CHARDONNAY    Napa Valley    2018    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+17684    PARKER STATION CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Paso Robles    2017    $24.95  MVC/QPR: 91                   
 
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, April 10, 2021

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

CARPATHIA; food from the heart of Romania (Interlink Books, 2020, 224 pages, $49.95 hardbound) is by Irina Georgescu, a Romanian food writer with a blog (Small Bites). Romania is a well-travelled through country with many melting pot dishes. I was very impressed with a Romanian food documentary from some years back, about farmers who grew just two crops (potatoes and cabbages) and tried to work with a depressed market for those two items. So I used this book's index to find caraway sauerkraut clorba with potatoes, potato bread in cabbage leaves, and potato moussaka. There were more preps with cabbages, including sauerkraut. Her book concentrates on small plates (from her blog), breads, street food baked goods, and a broth soup augmented by "bors" (sour fermented wheat) or by "ciorba" (vinegar, pickled brine). The heart of Romanian cuisine is carefully explored with material on pork, coarse polenta, broth, garlic, cheese, yogurt, pickles, and wine. Desserts are based on the Austro-Hungarian empires. She concludes with some notes on the seasons and superstitions in Romanian cuisine, the culinary heritage, and the cultural food values.

 

.WHY WE COOK: Women on food, identity, and connection (Workman Publishing, 2021, 232 pages, $33.95 hardbound) has been pulled together and edited by Lindsay Gardner, who also illustrated the book with her watercolours. These are essays, interviews, recipes, and stories from 112 women in food. Sections deal with Memorable Meals, Kitchen Portraits, Home Cooks, Profiles, and advice from contributors. Included are such well-known names as Ruth Reichl, Deborah Madison, Dorie Greenspan, and Anita Lo. The 11 preps are eclectic but not indexed. There is a contributor idex with notes and credits. The main section delves into such matters as "what is your fave part of the cooking process?", "how do you overcome creative ruts?", and "what kitchen tools do you love most?". There are activists here, as well as food truckers, bakers who give back, women in wine, and even ice cream innovators. This is a terrific gift book for any occasion.

 

.FOODIE BREAKS: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales (Dog'n'Bone, 2020, 144 pages, $19.95 flatbound) is by Richard Mellor who had previously written Foodie Breaks: Europe. In this book he examines 25 cities and towns with 250 (10 each) essential eating experiences within his UK homeland. With pictures, it provides a snapshot of 25 culinary UK "hotspots" with recommendations to try establishments. He's got the best places for breakfasts and brunches, street food, gastropubs, inexpensive diners, and cool places to drink. This is a quick, easily digestible summary for your British traveller.

 

AEGEAN (Interlink Books, 2021, 224 pages, $50 hardbound) is by Marianna Leivaditaki, who was raised on Crete and now is a London UK chef at Morito. Her paean to the Aegean is centred largely on Crete as just one of the many islands that belong to Greece. Other major islands include Rhodes, Karpathos, and Kasos. As the largest and most populous island, Crete has an original cuisine that Leivaditaki delves into. She conveniently divides the book into three: the sea, the land, the mountains, with recipes and personal stories for each. And there are lots of great photos here of prawns with ouzo, orzo and zucchini, tomato and oregano fritters with feta, and the kakavia one-pot fish stew. This is the Mediterranean diet in all of its full-blown glory, with olive oils, fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish. A delight.

 

HOW WILD THINGS ARE; cooking, fishing and hunting at the bottom of the world (Hardie Grant Books, 2021, 241 pages $42.56 hardbound) is by Analiese Gregory, and partly biography by Hilary Burden, and recipes and memoir material from the chef- author herself. First rate photography is by Adam Gibson. Gregory grew up in coastal New Zealand (there are sections here on her youth and on New Zealand cooking) but on a whim she later moved to Tasmania in 2017 after forgoing France. This story is featured as the bulk of the book: living on a somewhat isolated island far from the mainstream. Her credits include working in some of the top notch restaurants of the world. But here she is doing a reno of an old 110-year old farmhouse while foraging and hunting and cooking. She's got 40 recipes, including ferments, all mixed in with narratives. Many of the preps are unique, such as sea urchin farinata, abalone fritters, chargrilled oyster mushrooms with wakame sabayon, and oca (yam) with spelt and roasted pears. Try also the confit lamb ribs with date syrup. Some of the book was written during the recent pandemic. An excellent book for Oz and Kiwi expats.

 

PARWANA (Interlink Books, 2021, 256 pages, $52 hardbound) is by Durkhanai Ayubi, with recipes by Farida Ayubi and Fatema Ayubi.. These are stories and preps from an Afghan kitchen – Parwana Restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, which opened in 2009. The 100+ recipes have been family-held for years, and embrace both day-to-day preps and celebrations: rice, curries, meats, kebabs, naan flatbread, halwah, dumplings, Afghan pasta, sweets, chutneys, pickles, soups and breads. Everything is complemented by food photography and family photos as the text convincingly shows the interrelationship between food, people and communities over time and place. There's morabayeh anjir (whole fig jam), torshi bemasalah (pickled veggies), shorwa thin soup with vegetables, aush thick soup with noodles, and banjaan borani (braised eggplant with yogurt dressing).

 

BITTER HONEY; recipes and stories from the Island of Sardinia (Hardie Grant Books, 2020, 256 pages,, $58 hardbound) is by Letitia Clark, a seasoned UK chef with a great resume that includes pastry and baking. She moved to Sardinia with her then-boyfriend (also a cook) to work a rural farm and produce Sardinian recipes. Although Italian, there is a strong French influence from this part of the Mediterranean (e.g., the onion soup prep is straight French Onion Soup). As she says, it's all about traditions, stories and memories, with insight into people's lives, habits and histories. Age-old methods and tools means that just about everything is cooked very slowly. So this is all home-food with great photography by Matt Russell. Topics are arranged by theme: apertivo, terra, merenda, mare, verdure, grano, and dolci e bevande. There 's a Sardinian pantry, which includes bay leaves, borage, capers, chestnuts, limoncello, myrtle, guanciale, and oranges. Lots of local food and colour here – a good book for your Mediterranean food lover who has everything (when was the last time you saw a Sardinian cookbook?)

 

PERSIANA; recipes from the Middle East and beyond (Interlink Books, 2014, 2021, $49.95 hardbound) is by Sabrina Ghayour. It's a needed reissue of a Middle East food and culture book, with 100 preps for dishes from the Mediterranean Sea's south and eastern shorelines. All of the dishes are modern and accessible, covering the range from mezze through breads, soups, tagines, roasts, salads, and desserts. Dishes include fava beans with garlic, dill and eggs (baghala ghatogh), smoked eggplants with garlic (mirza ghasemi) and lamb-butternut squash-prune-tamarind tagine. Many dishes are from the eastern end of Iran-Persia, and some of the variations come African shores. Food culture notes accompany all dishes.

 

PIE ACADEMY; master the perfect crust and 255 amazing fillings with fruits, nuts, creams, custards, ice cream and more: expert techniques for making fabulous pies from scratch (Storey Publishing, 2020, 470 pages, $48 hardbound) is by Ken Haedrich who runs the Pie Academy and has authored more than dozen cookbooks. He's also won a Julia Child Cookbook Award. Since the subtitle is fairly explanatory, I don't really need to add much more: there's a lot of primer material about pie making and doughs (the first 86 pages) followed by pies arranged by fruits such as berries, apples, pear, pumpkin, cranberry, et al. Then come the nuts, custards, hand pies of minis and turnovers, icebox pies, and cream pies. The ingredients are by volume but there is a metric conversion chart. There are even some savoury pies using cheese and eggs. A good-looking gift for the baker in the family!

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...

15.SOURDOUGH FROM SCRATCH; slow down, make bread (Hardy Grant Quadrille, 2020, 2021, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78713-695-3, $24.99 flexiboard covers) is by James Morton. It is based on (and has been extracted from) a larger book published in 2020, "Super Sourdough". This is a basic guidebook at a decent price for an easy procedure that just takes time sitting around and must be routinely fed in even less time than a household pet. And no walking either – the perfect pandemic time occupier. The hardest part is just setting up a schedule for the various procedures. Sourdoughs work on their own but you do need to know how to take care of your starter. This is your refrigerated pet: yeast. Morton has a glossary of key ingredients and key recipes, plus advice on how to take care, how to get a "perfect" crust and crumb, and a long chapter on troubleshooting. He's got nine core recipes, including pretzels, crispbread, Danish rye, brioche, Frisco style white bread, and (of course) the levain. Everything is scaled (in metric) with bakers' percentages. A great looking basic manual, welcomed because of its troubleshooting section. Quality/price rating: 93.

16.THE NOODLE BOWL; over 70 recipes for Asian-inspired noodle dishes (Ryland Peters and Small, 2015, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-235-6, $19.95 hardbound) is by Louise Pickford, a food writer now living in France with over 15 cookbooks to her credit (many for Ryland Peters & Small). It was originally published in 2015 as "Oodles of Noodles", and is back again in a revised format. Here she runs through the basic types of wheat noodles, buckwheat, rice sticks, sweet potato, flat rice, cellophanes, vermicelli, rice paper, buckwheat, and more. There are 70 recipes here for mostly Asian noodles. After the basics, she delves into separate chapters called for in soups, salads, apps, stir-fries and curries. Each prep has a full colour photo. A very good, well-prepared book. Some interesting preps include steamed rice noodle dumplings with scallops; vegetarian spring rolls; shio ramen with pork and eggs; num banh chok; seared salmon and green tea noodle salad. 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: 88

17.EGGS ALL DAY (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 2021, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-346-9 $27.99 hardbound) is a publisher's book with recipe contributions from 34 different cookbook writers. But mostly they are from Miranda Ballard, Tonia George, Shelagh Ryan, and Laura Washburn. It ws originally published in 2016 as "100 Ways with Eggs". These are 100 ways to do eggs (boiled, baked, fried, scrambled) from breakfasts to salads, hashes, desserts and cocktails. There is also included the usual food safety notice for when dealing with raw eggs. Pea, basil and feta fritters with roast tomatoes caught my eye, as did matambre (Argentine stuffed flank steak). 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: 87.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 3, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 3, 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.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Vintages, +19899 April 3, $19.95 [only 30 cases available, sold out at the winery]: very light and pale in colour, but full of flavours such as an herbed-induced introduction to Ontario fruit (gooseberries, nectarines) and florals. A very nicely developed bone dry drink for late spring and Easter. Cold stainless steel fermentation accentuates the dried tropical fruit component. 12.1% ABV, 3 g/L residual sugar. A good little savvy that will take you all the way through from the table's first courses to the fresh cheeses. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Rebecca Rose 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Winery Only [320 cases], $19.95: I have really enjoyed previous vintages of this wine. The grape here is gamay, as in light and fruity Beaujolais. So it's a typical light, refreshing, and fruity drink with low alcohol and low tannins. Cold stainless fermentation helps it retain the strawb and rasp berry nature of the grape, as well as some of that typical Ontario cranberry taste. Best on its own as a patio/terrace/deck party drink or with a light platter of first course foods. 12.3% ABV. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017, +959627, $53.95 Vintages April 3, 2021: the 2016 was here in September 2020; the 2017 is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in Burgundian 228-litre-barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be nicely well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese also used. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Sacred Hill Whitecliff Hawkes Bay Rose 2020 New Zealand, $14.95, +13297 April 1 LCBO Seasonal Rose Program: this Kiwi wine has been here before, with great sales and tasting success. The previous (2019) vintage was 91+ points in my scoring of roses from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Seventh Annual Rose tasting held last June, 2020.  Expect some intense cherry-berry fresh fruits as a summer patio/terrace/deck social party wine. Or an in-house aperitif before the main event. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91-93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release: this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of  prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+278333    BON COURAGE PRESTIGE CUVÉE CHARDONNAY    WO Robertson    2019    $15.95            MVC/QPR: 92
W+19899    KACABA SUMMER SERIES SUSAN'S SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 90
R+17529    PAOLOLEO AGRICOLO VINO BIOLOGICO PRIMITIVO    IGP Salento    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+748277    MARCHESI DI BAROLO MARAIA BARBERA DEL MONFERRATO    DOC    2017    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+18691    CHÂTEAU BOURDIEU NO.1    AC Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux    2016    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
=========
W+441089    ROMBAUER CARNEROS CHARDONNAY    Carneros  2019  $63.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+585760    QUAILS' GATE PINOT NOIR    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2019    $34.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+959627    CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2017    $53.95 MVC/QPR:  91
R+639658    QUAILS' GATE STEWART FAMILY RESERVE PINOT NOIR    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2018    $59.95 MVC/QPR:  89
               
Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

* 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.EAT BETTER FOREVER; 7 ways to transform your diet (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020, 416 pages, ISBN 978-1-5266-0280-0, $39.60 hardbound) is by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and author of the River Cottage books (as well as a TV presenter in the UK). These are his healthy habits for life, with over 100 recipes. So his primer details the value of whole foods, varies foods, go with your gut, reduce refined carbs, factor in fat, think about your drink, and eat mindfully. This way you will lose weight and also be more healthy. These are all displayed in the first 200 pages, followed by 200 pages of recipes arranged by course (breakfast, lunch boxes, salads, soups, et al). He advocates for pestomega (nuts and herbs) for a sauce, nutty citrus hummus, bean pate, et al. A very well-packed book which includes Waldorg yogurt, red cabbage with carrot and clementines in a salad, seedy and nutty date and lime bites, and artichoke with white beans and radicchio gratin. 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: 90.

 

 

13.THE FRENCH LAUNDRY, PER SE (Artisan, 2020, 400 pages, $100 hardbound) is by Thomas Keller, a major cookbook author with material from all of his reaturants, and the first US chef to have two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants. The French Laundry is in Yountville, California, and per se is in NYC. Both are connected by video, and both exchange ideas. The major secret to Keller's success has been acquiring the best top notch ingredients from their food connections: the farmers, fishermen, foragers. Here are the major 70 prep recipes plus photos and descriptions for home use and entertaining, plus 40 more recipes for the basic techniques of saucing, dehydrating, broths, compound butters, and more. Food stories and essays complete the package. Typical plates include smoked sturgeon rillettes and celery root pastrami. Not only is this a coffee table book, at 28.5 cm. square in size -- it IS a coffee table by itself.....For the foodie in your life. Quality/price rating: 90.

 

 

14.THE DOUBLE HAPPINESS COOKBOOK; 88 feel-good recipes and food stories (Figure.1, 2021, 312 pages, $37.99 hardbound) is by Trevor Lui, who has been cooking since he was seven, when he first manned the grill at Highbell, his father's North York Chinese restaurant. This memoir and cookbook has developed Toronto boites which include Kanpai Snack Bar, La Brea Food and Popa. Typical are ramen carbonara, udon-stuffed meatballs, the Last Samurai, and bulgogi beef tostadas. A lot of it falls into the category of street food trucks, but the range does include vegetarian, choicen and egg dishes, family style comfort foods, rice and noodles. Many preps are contributed by his fellow chefs, and there are food stories for just about every recipe. A good gift book too. Quality/price rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! -- Help Yourself, by Lindsay Maitland Hunt

HELP YOURSELF; a guide to gut health for people who love delicious food (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020, 369 pages, ISBN 978-0-358-00839-2 $40 hardbound) is by Lindsay Maitland Hunt, author, editor and recipe developer. The book comes well-endowed with eight log rollers, mostly award-winning writers and restaurant owners. She gives more than 125 gut-friendly recipes plus science-backed advice for wellness in body and mind. Some memoir material makes it also a journey back to health. Like all such books, you've got to want to do it without being scared. It's basically a flavour-forward approach to microbe-friendly eating, prioritizing plant-based whole foods (veggies, beans, nuts, eggs) as well as fish, some meat and dairy (both of which can be excluded). You could feel better if you could eliminate the bloat, the stress, and the exhaustion. If you have already been diagnosed, then this book can be used to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune disease, leaky gut, allergies, joint pain and inflammation. The recipes emphasize cutting down processed sugars and salts, while increasing flavours. The first 80 pages cover the basics of the preparations for the new life style. This is followed by the recipes, nutritional indexes and resources. Typical dishes include various roasted veggies such as roasted celery root, roasted romanesco, lemony roasted broccoli rabe, grilled romaine, and then moves on to breakfast, soups, stews, mains, sides, drinks, and desserts. Also, there are some snacks and dips, as well as seeds to assuage hunger. As with most North American Cookbooks, the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MARCH 20, 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.Gerard Bertrand Terroir An806 Corbieres 2018 $17.95 +394288 Vintages: In this Terroir Corbieres (from the Narbonne), Bertrand uses traditional fermentation for the grenache, syrah, and mourvedre. It is an appealing Rhonish G-S-M, with one-third of the blended wine aging in wood for nine months before bottling. Very firm with some very dark fruit leading on to the very full and ripe finish. Needs hearty food. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Parker Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Paso Robles $24.95 +17684 Vintages [wine of the month for April 17, 2021]: an affordable Cali-Cab, but only 5,000 cases made. Part of the Fess Parker winery unit, the US SRP is $17. Aged six months in all French oak resulting in typical cabby spicy mocha flavours, blackberry/plummy fruit (and with a leathery hint suggestive of syrah), vanilla finish. My wife said "yum", which is her description for a juicy palate. Changed for better complexity over time with stoppered exposure and a double decant. Smooth but dry with a long lingering finish: great with food. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release:
this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.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.
 
Under $20
 
Sherry+542746 SÁNCHEZ ROMATE FINO PERDIDO SHERRY  Spain $18.95 MVC/QPR: 91
Sparkler+485920    CHEVALIER MONOPOLE BRUT ROSÉ SPARKLING    Traditional method, Burgundy    $16.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+557165    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 91
W+206714    CHÂTEAU LA GRAVE D'ARZAC BLANC    AC Graves    2019    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+18252    GREEN LEAF ORGANIC RIESLING Qualitätswein 2019 $14.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+17264    LAPIS LUNA ZINFANDEL    Pauli Ranch, Mendocino, North Coast    2018    $19.95
MVC/QPR: 90
R+17534    FERROCINTO MAGLIOCCO TERRE DI COSENZA POLLINO    DOC    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89   
R+723742    DI MAJO NORANTE CABERNET    IGT Terra degli Osci    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
 
Sparkler+256289    BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 SPARKLING    Nova Scotia    2020    $24.95
MVC/QPR: 89
W+149302    FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $21.95    MVC/QPR: 91
W+733501    ALAIN GEOFFROY BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2018    $40.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+639641    QUAILS' GATE STEWART FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2017    $44.95 MVC/QPR: 89

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, March 15, 2021

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! : It's Wine Time, by Chris Losh

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

1.IT'S WINE TIME (Dog `n` Bone Books, 2005, 2020, 64 pages, $13.95 hardbound) is by Chris Losh. It was previously available as "Pick the Right Wine Every Time", and it is now back in print as a nifty little work that details everything you've always wanted to ask about red, white, rose and sparkling wine. The food section now also includes matching with vegetarian dishes, written by Fiona Beckett. Coverage extends to specific themes of drinking at home (lunch, BBQ, before and after dinner), splurging at dinner parties, eddings, holidays, and parties in general, drinking while out at bars and pubs, date nights, picnics, gifts, and restaurant wine lists. Good things do come in small packages.....Quality/price rating: 90.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Some wines recently tasted and sampled...

1.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017, +959627, $53.95 Vintages April 3, 2021: the 2016 was here in September 2020; the 2017 is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in Burgundian 228-litre-barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be nicely well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese also used. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Henry of Pelham Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +613471, $14.95 at the winery: it has been awhile since I've actually written a review about this nifty rose; the price at that time for the 2015 vintage was just a dollar less. The current blend is pinot noir, riesling, and gamay noir, with each variety contributing distinctive fruit to the mix. Other earlier vintages also contained merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and/or pinot gris. So – depending on the vintage and the grapes available, the blend can change. Very aromatic, emphasizing cherry-berry and orchard fruit layered under a tart cranberry finish-length. A nice cheese wine. 11.5 %ABV; 6.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Sacred Hill Whitecliff Hawkes Bay Rose  2020 New Zealand, $14.95, +13297 April 1 LCBO Seasonal Rose Program: this Kiwi wine has been here before, with great sales and tasting success. The previous (2019) vintage was 91+ points in my scoring of roses from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Seventh Annual Rose tasting held last June, 2020.  Expect some intense cherry-berry fresh fruits as a summer patio/terrace/deck social party wine. Or an in-house aperitif before the main event. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91-93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Gerard Bertrand Terroir An806 Corbieres 2018 $17.95 +394288 Vintages: In this Terroir Corbieres (from the Narbonne), Bertrand uses traditional fermentation for the grenache, syrah, and mourvedre. It is an appealing Rhonish G-S-M, with one-third of the blended wine aging in wood for nine months before bottling. Very firm with some very dark fruit leading on to the very full and ripe finish. Needs hearty food. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Parker Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Paso Robles $24.95 +17684 Vintages [wine of the month for April 17, 2021]: an affordable Cali-Cab, but only 5,000 cases made. Part of the Fess Parker winery unit, the US SRP is $17. Aged six months in all French oak resulting in typical cabby spicy mocha flavours, blackberry/plummy fruit (and with a leathery hint suggestive of syrah), vanilla finish. My wife said "yum", which is her description for a juicy palate. Changed for better complexity over time with stoppered exposure and a double decant. Smooth but dry with a long lingering finish: great with food. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
6.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release: this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.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.
 

 
 
 
Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, March 4, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MARCH 6, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MARCH 6, 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 interesting wine/cocktail books you might enjoy reading:
 
--NATURAL WINE; in introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally. 3rd ed. (Cico Books, 2014, 2020, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-78249-100-2, $27.99 US hard covers) is by Isabelle Legeron, the first French woman to become a Master of Wine. She runs the RAW Natural Wine Festival in London, and consults with restaurants and promotes "natural" wine. There is still a large argument raging in the wine world over what is a natural wine. Some believe that it should be applied only to organic and biodynamic farms; others think it should also mean "sustainable" or "green", etc. The key would simply be to get rid of the word "natural" and just have "organic or "biodynamic" and "sustainable". It is only the organic and biodynamic wines that appear to be legally certifiable. There are no controls over the rest of the "natural" wording on the label. Indeed, some organic wineries just press organic grapes and then use regular winemaking techniques. They can still call their wines organic. I know of many farms who use the term "natural" to reflect their organic practices, because they just do not have the money nor the wait time to apply for certification. Legeron offered one of the first books meant for the general reader to cover O & B wines. In general, wine is a process, but it is also an industry. Wineries try to be consistent from year to year because they have a product to sell. The weather determines many of the "corrections" the winemaker needs to take, such as more acid, earlier/later picking, more sugar, more irrigation, etc. A natural O & B winery rolls with the punches and produces wine "as is". The author takes us through the year and discusses wine faults, stability, health issues, taste, fermentation, sulphites, and a load of contentious issues. She's assisted from time to time by other writers such as Nicolas Joly, Tony Coturri, and 11 others. She gives notes on many wines, sorted by types (bubbly, red, white, orange [this is an addition from the previous editions], rose, sweet, and even co-ferments). Not surprisingly, France has the most listings, followed by Italy: these are the two leaders by production. Quebec in Canada has two mentions, one an orange wine made from seyval blanc and the other a chardonnay. Other additional sections cover a glossary, lists of associations and wine fairs, restaurants and stores for the US and UK, and a bibliography Some interesting or unusual facts: "soils harbor 80 percent of the world's biomass. Earthworms alone, for
example, amount to about the same weight as all other animals combined." Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
--WINTER DRINKS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2020, 144 pages, $19.95 hardbound) has been pulled together by Julia Charles. It's a publisher's package of previous preps by several food and drink writers, most notably Louise Pickford with 17 and Julia herself with 16. Eleven other writers also contributed. So here are 75 recipes to warm our hearts, with hot drinks, toddies, part cocktails, and mocktails. Included also are hot chocolates, warm milks, coffee drinks and teas, as well as restorative mulls, revivers and soothers. My fave is the sparkling cocktails. My wife likes the sparkling mocktails. Chacun a son gout.
 
--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.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017, +959627, $53.95 Vintages April 3, 2021: the 2016 was here in September 2020; the 2017 is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in Burgundian 228-litre-barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be nicely well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese also used. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Henry of Pelham Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +613471, $14.95 at the winery: it has been awhile since I've actually written a review about this nifty rose; the price at that time for the 2015 vintage was just a dollar less. The current blend is pinot noir, riesling, and gamay noir, with each variety contributing distinctive fruit to the mix. Other earlier vintages also contained merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, and/or pinot gris. So – depending on the vintage and the grapes available, the blend can change. Very aromatic, emphasizing cherry-berry and orchard fruit layered under a tart cranberry finish-length. A nice cheese wine. 11.5 %ABV; 6.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Sacred Hill Whitecliff Hawkes Bay Rose 2020 New Zealand, $14.95, +13297 April 1 LCBO Seasonal Rose Program: this Kiwi wine has been here before, with great sales and tasting success. The previous (2019) vintage was 91+ points in my scoring of roses from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Seventh Annual Rose tasting held last June, 2020. Expect some intense cherry-berry fresh fruits as a summer patio/terrace/deck social party wine. Or an in-house aperitif before the main event. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91-93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
Under $20
Sparkling+53215    BELCANTO DI BELLUSSI EXTRA DRY PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE    DOCG, Italy        $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+224964    DELAS SAINT-ESPRIT CÔTES DU RHÔNE ROSÉ    AC    2019    $16.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
W+18160    GUSTAVE LORENTZ RÉSERVE SYLVANER    AC Alsace    2019    $16.95        MVC/QPR:  91.
W+647388    TROUPIS FTERI MOSCHOFILERO    PGI Peloponnese    2019    $14.95
MVC/QPR:  92.
W+17552    OHAU WOVEN STONE SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC    Sustainable, Ohau, North Island    2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+18681    PERDEBERG THE VINEYARD COLLECTION CINSAULT    WO Coastal Region    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  91
 
Over $20
Sparkling+558825    SEGURA VIUDAS HEREDAD RESERVA BRUT CAVA    Traditional method, DO, Spain    $32.95     MVC/QPR: 89.
W+18364    ROPITEAU FRÈRES MÂCON-IGÉ SOUS LA ROCHE    AC    2019    $22.95        
MVC/QPR:  89.
R+995910    REMO FARINA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO    DOCG    2017    $42.95  MVC/QPR:  89.
R+539114    BUENA VISTA   THE SHERIFF    Sonoma County    2017    $49.95     MVC/QPR: 91.
R+392738    DOMAINE QUEYLUS TRADITION PINOT NOIR    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $31.95  MVC/QPR:  89.
R+72439    TENUTA SAN GUIDO GUIDALBERTO    IGT Toscana    2018    $67.95      MVC/QPR: 89.

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com