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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spain: Old Vines -- New Wines, Toronto, June 17, 2008

The Time and Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008   Noon – 5 PM
The Event: Spain: Old Vines – New Wines
The Venue: Hart House, Great Hall
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: 81 wineries participated. Most wines were
available on the GL, Vintages or by Consignment. The catalogue was
impeccable, with full ordering information, regions, CSPC numbers, and
The Quote: "Many wine writers never got a VIP invitation to attend the
noon to 2 PM showing; this invite would have been particularly useful
since there was an Ontario wine show from 2PM to 4PM".
The Wines: My wife and I were having lunch at the Gallery Grill, just
above the Great Hall. It was my 30th wedding anniversary, and I had
plans to go to neither the Spanish nor the Ontario tasting (sorry,
guys, I have a life too). I dropped in for about 15 minutes only
because the show was just steps away. I ended up tasting some quality
wines, and stayed for 40 minutes. My wife – the Beautiful American –
had to come in and drag me away…Consequently, I only tasted a few
wines. There were a whole slew of wines at Iberowine Canada and at
Kylix, but I had absolutely no time left. Here are the best of the
wines I did taste:
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hermanos Pecina Tinto Gran Reserva 1998 Rioja +915909 $49.95 Le
-Miguel Torres Vina Esmeralda 2007 $12.95 Pacific Wine and Spirits
-Adrada Ecologica Kirios de Adrada 2006 Ribero del Duero $19.95 Living
-Antonino Izquierdo 2005 Ribera del Duero $78.90 Classics
-Antonino Izquierdo 2006 Ribera del Duero $78.90 Classics
-Terroir al Limit L'Arbossar 2005 Priorat $98.95 Living Vine
-Bod. Tobias Rioja Reserva 2003 +107168 $35 TWC Imports
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Julian Chivite Coleccion 125 Reserve 2001 Navarra +702431, $45.95
Churchill Cellars
-Hermanos Pecina Tinto Crianza 2000 Rioja +132158 $24.75 Le Sommelier
-Mas Estela Quindals 2005 Ampurdan-Costa Brava $27.95 MCO
-Mas Estela Selva del Mar 2004 Ampurdan-Costa Brava $40 MCO
-Miguel Torres Celeste 2004 Ribera del Duero +672691 $19.95 Pacific
Wine and Spirits
-Miguel Torres Salmos 2005 Priorat $32 Vintages Aug 30
-Adrada Ecologica Kirios de Adrada 2005 Ribero del Duero $34.95 Living
-Terroir al Limit Dits del Terra 2005 Priorat $108.95 Living Vine
-Torroja de Terroir al Limit 2005 Priorat $66.20 Classics Nov.
-Bod. Joan d'Angeura Bugader 2004 Montsant +941657 $56 TWC Imports
-Bod. Tobias Rioja Crianza 2004 +980168 $24 TWC Imports
-Gonzalez Byass Beronia Crianza 2005 Rioja $15.80 Woodman Wines &
-Gonzalez Byass Beronia Mazuelo 2004 Rioja $20 Woodman Wines & Spirits
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hermanos Pecina Tinto Reserva 1999 Rioja +915891 $33.65 Le Sommelier
-Navarrsotillo Magister Bibendi Crianza 2004 $17.95 Living Vine
-Bod. Joan d'Angeura Finca L'Argata 2005 Montsant +100031 $30 TWC
-Bod. Joan d'Angeura La Planella 2006 Montsant +100056 $21.50 TWC
-Vizar Roble 2006 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon +179175 $23 TWC
The Food: cheese, breads, fruit, marinated mushrooms, chicken cooked in
sherry, salads.
The Downside: at 1 PM, the VIP session was very lightly attended. The
only other wine writer I saw was Sheila Swerling-Puritt. There were no
pre-printed badges for either of us.
The Upside: there was plenty of room, and I had everybody's undivided
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 83.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Discover Australia wine and food tasting, Toronto, June 11/08

The Time and Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2008   2 PM to 6 PM
The Event: Discover Australia, part of a cross-Canada tour by wineries
and non-wine people seeking agents in Canadian provinces.
The Venue: Royal York Fairmont Hotel, Imperial Room
The Target Audience: wine agents and others, food brokers, trade
The Availability/Catalogue: it turns out that quite a few wines are
already repped in Ontario, but not in other provinces. 15 wineries
showed in Ontario, but some had agents: Blackjack (agent: Dionysus),
Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander (Portfolio), Olsen (Lamprecht), Donnelly
River (Cipelli), plus another from Diamond Estates. That left 10
wineries looking.
The Quote: "Uh, kangaroo meat? Oh no thanks."
The Wines: prices are per case of 12, FOB, Australian dollars.
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Downing Estate Victoria Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 A$198
-Gentle Annie Victoria Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 A$126
-Giant Steps Yarra Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 A$70 six-pack
-Innocent Bystander Yarra Shiraz Viognier 2006 A$46 six-pack
-Olsen Wines Victoria Reserve Yarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 A$250
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Beelgara Estate Wines NSW Winemakers Black Shiraz A$75
-Linfield Road Wines Barossa The Stubborn Patriach Shiraz 2004 A$156
-Linfield Road Wines Barossa The Slab Hut Merlot/Shiraz/Cabernet 2005
-Psyche Wines Reserve Victoria Viognier 2007 A$110
-Psyche Wines Smuggler Victoria Petit Verdot 2005  A$82.50
-Psyche Wines Smuggler Victoria Chardonnay 2006 A$82.50
-Downing Estate Victoria Shiraz 2004 A$198
-Galli Estate Victoria Sunbury Pinot Grigio 2008 A$92
-Galli Estate Victoria Sunbury Chardonnay 2007 A$97.75
-Galli Estate Victoria Heathcote Shiraz Viognier 2007 A$92
-Galli Estate Victoria Heathcote Block Two Shiraz A$125.
-Gentle Annie Victoria Verdelho 2005 (14.5%) A$90
-Giant Steps Yarra Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 A$70 six-pack
-Goona Warra Vineyard Victoria Chardonnay 2005 A$155
-Olsen Wines Victoria Yarra Preservative Free Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
-Olsen Wines Victoria Yarra Verdelho 2006 A$120
-Olsen Wines Victoria Yarra Muscat Blanc Autumn Harvest 2006 A$120
-Sir Paz Estate Yarra Merlot 2005 A$134.40
-Train Trak Yarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 A$132
-Clown Fish Wines Margaret River Shiraz 2006 A$165
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Beelgara Estate Wines NSW Reserve Regional Collection Chardonnay A$95
-Condo Wines River Murray Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 A$60
-Blackjack Vineyards Victoria Shiraz 2005 A$185
-Blackjack Vineyards Victoria Block 6 Shiraz A$185
-Goona Warra Vineyard Victoria Merlot Cabernet Franc 2004 A$155
-Donnelly River Wines West Australia Mist 2006 (white blend) A$100
The Food: there were samples of Kanagroo Paw extra virgin olive oil,
Simply Tomatoes green tomatoes spread, and Kangaroo meat (which some
people turned down). There was a nice cheese platter and crackers.
The Downside: it was lightly attended, and there was a major TTC subway
outage around 6 PM which forced some of us to walk far distances.
The Upside: a chance to try some newer wines. I suspect the hit was
Gentle Annie Wines: the booth had agents crawling all over it…
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 85.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



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

Wiley & Sons, 2008, 539 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-78276-6 soft covers) is
by Clayton Barrows (professor at University of New Hampshire) and Tom
Powers (professor emeritus at University of Guelph). This introductory
volume covers all the basics of the hospitality business: food service
plus beverages, lodgings, and travel/tourism. It is meant for those
contemplating a career in the sector, or for those taking an
introductory course. There is an instructor's manual and a study guide
available. New materials include the changes in tourism and travel
since 9/11, more examples of new technology, more focus on gaming and
casino destinations, an expansion of information on franchising, more
up-to-date profiles and case histories, sections on spas, and Internet
exercises for the students. This is a foundation book with excellent
layout and design and use of colour and photos. Quality/Price rating:

12. THE JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY: cha-no-yu (Tuttle Publishing, 2008, 283
pages, ISBN 978-4-8053-0914-8, $21.95US soft covers) is by A.L. Sadler.
He wrote the book in 1930 when he was a professor at the University of
Sydney; it was published in 1933. This time out it has a new forward by
Shaun McCabe and Iwasaki Satoko, translators of "Chado: the way of
tea". This is a highly technical and cultural work, with many
illustrations and drawings and photographs for every single aspect of
the "cha-no-yu". Included are informations about furniture, utensils,
architecture and gardens. Sadler places the ceremony in context of the
Japanese culture over the centuries. There's a bibliography, but it has
not been updated since the book's original publication date.
Quality/Price rating: 89.
13 HOW BAKING WORKS; exploring the fundamentals of baking science.
Second edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 399 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-
74723-9 soft covers) is by food scientist Paul Figoni (Johnson & Wales
University, Rhode Island). Before teaching she worked in product
development for baking concerns. This is a more theoretical book,
covering the "whys" behind the basic techniques. She explains
rationales for each major ingredient. There are separate chapters for
wheat flour, "variety grains", gluten, sugar and sweeteners, gelling
agents, fats, egg products, milk products, leavening agents,
flavourings, fruit products, nuts and seeds, and chocolate products.
Each section has an introduction, review questions, discussion
questions, exercises and even experiments. Here are lots of tables,
charts and graphs, and even some math. New material includes reworked
exercises and an expanded coverage of sweeteners (including stevia),
variety grains, enzymes, starch structure, and gluten structure. There
is new material on nutrition, dietary fibre, trans fats, and US federal
food legislation. Quality/Price rating: 90.

14. DELIA'S HOW TO CHEAT AT COOKING (Ebury Press, 2008, 264 pages, ISBN
978-0-091-92229-0, $39.95 CAD hard covers) is by Delia Smith. This book
was first published over 35 years ago, in 1971. It was written for
people who didn't have time to cook, or did not want to. Smith is
Britain's bestselling cooking author with sales of over 18 million
copies. Here she presents 150 recipes, all newly recast for our uber
modern lifestyles. She invests many classics dishes with tricks and
tips and shortcuts, which makes everything either easy or quick (and
sometimes both). Topics include soups, starters/sides, meat, chicken,
seafood and fish, vegetarian, and desserts. Most of the dishes use some
mind of convenience food from the supermarket; these labels are not
carried in this country, so you'll have to figure out what's available.
Illustrated with colour photographs. Quality/Price rating: 80.
15. FUNDAMENTALS OF MENU PLANNING, third edition (John Wiley & Sons,
2008, 258 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-07267-7 soft covers) is by Paul McVety,
Bradley Ware, and Claudette Ware – all at Johnson & Wales University in
Rhode Island. This book has offered a complete review of the principles
of planning a menu, including concept development, design mechanics,
and menu pricing. New to this edition are appendices such as a glossary
and the Food Guide Pyramid. There is also new material on dietary
guidelines, labeling and descriptors, and nutrition. Updated menus
reflect the changing variety and composition of items, especially as we
all seem to be marching to a world global fusion cuisine. There is a
new section on restaurant design guidelines, and the review questions
have been recast. There are also numerous forms, tables and worksheets.
For American restaurants, I do find disturbing the huge increase in
wine list prices. The publisher could also have reduced the number of
pages in the book: the typeface size is enormous. I do appreciate the
8.5 x 11 size of the page, to accommodate reproductions of menus.
Quality/Price rating: 89.
16. AU PIED DE COCHON; the album (Douglas McIntyre, 2006, 2008, 192
pages, ISBN 978-1-55365-391-2, $40 CAD paper covers) is by the team at
the famous Montreal restaurant, but principally Martin Picard who once
opened Toque. In 2001 the resto opened to acclaim, promoting hearty and
rustic Quebecois food with a delicate flair. This book was originally
published in 2006, and this is the paperback reprint. Here are 55
recipes direct from his kitchen. Just about everything is over-the-top
and larded with, well, lard and other fats. There are more than 650
illustrations here (mostly photos) that recount Picard and his staff's
story of the resto's beginnings and philosophy of food. Unfortunately,
the publisher has made it hard to actually use the book since it is
oversized (9 x 12 inches) and there is no index. You must consult the
two paged table of contents to find a recipe. But then, why would a
normal person want to cook from this book? It can be a challenge,
especially if you don't have all the ingredients handy. There is much
text on suppliers, which is important information in these times of
eating seasonally and locally. Both metric and avoirdupois measurements
are listed for all ingredients; the publisher notes "for the best
results, we recommend using the metric weights and measures". Try
boudin maison, foie gras hamburger or foie gras poutine (or both,
together), oreilles de crises, maple pigs' feet, cotechino, pot-au-feu.
Quality/Price rating: 85.
17. CUISINE AND CULTURE; a history of food and people (John Wiley &
Sons, 2008, 410 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-74172-5, $39.95 US paper covers)
is by Linda Civitello, M.A (History) who teaches food history. This is
the second edition; the first won a 2003 Gourmand World Cookbook Award.
The basic theme is how history shapes our current diet. The scope is
universal, from pre-history to modern times, the grand sweep being a
good overview. For the most part, each chapter is an anecdotal survey
of a time period and/or region. Later, closer to our new millennium,
the focus becomes Western, and then in the 20th century, it is mostly
North American. This is a useful textbook for culinary arts courses, to
give some sense of history to the preparation of food. Accompanying the
narration are some historical drawings and reproductions. There are
plenty of sidebars for historical tidbits, as well as pronunciation
guides to French and Italian words. The appendix has a cookbook
chronology, from Apicius (1st century AD) through La Varenne, Beeton,
Escoffier, Davidson), plus notes on why these books
are important. There are sample menus and historical recipes, and the
writing style is lively. The book concludes with an extensive
bibliography, footnotes, and index. New to this edition (50 more pages)
are materials on foods and customs moving between cultures, more
holiday histories, better coverage of the Byzantine-Ottoman-Austro-
Hungarian empires, and greater coverage on genetic modification (GM) of
food. Quality/Price rating: 90.
18. NEW GOOD FOOD; shopper's pocket guide to organic, sustainable, and
seasonal whole foods. (Ten Speed Press, 2008, 172 pages, ISBN 978-1-
58008-893-0, $10.95 CAD) is by Margaret M. Wittenberg. She had guided
the quality standards of Whole Foods Market for more than 25 years. Her
book was originally published in 1997; certainly, there have been
tremendous changes and upheavals in the industry since that time. This
is actually a manual and glossary to the whole world of whole foods,
emphasizing buying, storing and preparing. There are many charts and
tables that do a good job of summarizing ingredients and seasons for
the purchase and prep work. Foods include grains, fruits, vegetables,
legumes and beans, nuts and seeds, oils, eggs, dairy products, seafood,
meats, poultry, and seasonings and sugars. "Teff" is covered, but
"stevia" isn't. Still, its comprehensiveness makes it good value for
the inexpensive price. Quality/Price rating: 90.
19. HOSPITALITY LAW; managing legal issues in the hospitality industry.
Third edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2009, 462 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-
08376-5 hard covers) is by Stephen Barth, a professor of hospitality
law at the University of Houston. He also began
New to this edition is the reorganization to provide for summaries and
beginning information upfront in each chapter. There are also
"International Snapshots" offering sidebars from practicing lawyers
regarding the differences between US and international laws. This is
also useful to us in Canada. There are more samples of contracts; there
is more new technology discussed. Through this book, the reader – or
student – has online access to an annual case summary of over 100
significant hospitality case decisions. The table of contents includes
topics such as: business contracts, business structures, managing
property, selecting employees, responsibilities of ownership, guests'
property, and service of food and drink. There is an instructor's
manual. Could be useful in Canada, but it does need "Canadianizing".
Quality/Price rating: 87.
20. EVERYDAY DRINKING; the distilled Kingsley Amis (Bloomsbury, 2008;
distr. Raincoast, 302 pages, ISBN 978-1-59691-528-2, $19.99 US hard
covers) is a reprint of three books by Amis, on a theme of "drinking":
"Kingsley Amis on Drink", "Every Day Drinking", and "How's Your Glass?"
There is a lot here on spirits, booze, hangovers, and wine, including
"The Boozing Man's Diet", "How Not to Get Drunk", and "What to Drink
with What". There are some very easy quizzes (with answers) suitable
for anybody at a party or a game. As for the Martini, it is stirred,
not shaken. Christopher Hitchens provides an introduction. This book
comes with a combined index to Amis' three shorter efforts from 1971-
1984. Quality/Price rating: 88.
21. TECHNIQUES OF HEALTHY COOKING. 3rd edition. (John Wiley & Sons,
2008, 578 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-05232-7, $65 US hard covers) is from
the Culinary Institute of America. It was first issued as a manual in
1990, and it has evolved somewhat into something bigger. It presents
the dietary guidelines (restrictions, nutrients, labeling), with
details for healthier choices on menus. The CIA discuses ingredient
options and serving sizes. The book develops recipes for menus; there
are 400 preps here, many showing how to cook with less of everything
(less fat, salt, sugar, alcohol, and – dare I say it – less food). The
150 colour photos illustrate techniques and plated final dishes, as
well as ingredients and equipment. Servings are for 10 people, and the
ingredients are in both avoirdupois and metric weights and measures.
The appendix covers recipe analyses. The resources guide details
readings, tables and a glossary. There are two separate indexes for
subject matter and for recipes. Quality/Price rating: 90.
22. ASIAN COOKING MADE EASY (Periplus Editions, 2007, 96 pages, ISBN
978-0-7946-0507-0, $11.95 US spiral bound) was previously published as
"LTC Fabulous Asian Homestyle Recipes". These are all home kitchen
meals from China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam,
with different flavours and textures. Many preps here involve making
spice pastes. All courses are covered, and weights and measures are
expressed in both metric and avoirdupois. The 40 recipes are all
photographed in their final plating. No index, but there is a complete
listing of the recipe by course. Quality/Price rating: 88.
23. SO YOU WANT TO BE A CHEF? Your guide to culinary careers. Second
edition. (John Wiley & Sons, 2009, i.e. 2008, 266 pages, ISBN 978-0-
470-08856-3, 64691-1, paper covers) is by Lisa Brefere, Karen Drummond
and Brad Barnes, all US authors and teachers in the cooking arena. It
was first published in 2005 in a larger form that also covered career
changing. That part has become its own separate book which I reviewed
last month: SO YOU ARE A CHEF; managing your culinary career (John
Wiley & Sons, 2009 [sic], 149 pages with a CD-ROM, ISBN 978-0-470-
25127-0, paper covers and CD). The current book contains templates and
worksheets, sample resumes and portfolios, forms and slides. Working in
the hospitality area (some may say "arena") is appealing to young
people, and this book certainly shows options available for the cook.
It has discussions on employment as chefs in restaurants, hotels,
cruise liners, clubs, catering, and supermarkets. As well, there are
chances in mass feeding (universities, schools, health centres, armed
forces) plus related areas of research development, private and
personal chefs, food writers, food stylists, food photographers, and
public relations work. There is one paragraph on "celebrity chefs" (did
you know that there actually is an employment category here?). For each
type of chef or cook or employment, there are sub-sections on a day in
the life, reality, pay, organizations, and job descriptions. The
appendix details some culinary professional organizations; 42 are
listed, described, given addresses, websites and phone numbers.
Quality/Price Ratio: 90.

24. MARITIME FLAVOURS; guidebook and cookbook. 7th ed. (Formac
Publishing, 2008, 176 pages, ISBN 978-0-88780-768-8, $24.95 CDN paper
covers) is
By two sisters who are both food writers, Elaine Elliot and Virginia
Lee. The first edition was in 1993; this book comes out quite regularly
every two years or so. This newest edition has new recommendations to
inns and restaurants. They have left the original recipes intact,
though many chefs have moved on and restaurants like Chez La Vigne have
long closed. All recipes were tested for home use, of course. The
profiles cover 91 inns and restaurants, such as those in Wolfville
(including Tempest, my daughter's restaurant: I have a minor conflict
of interest here), with a description of the menu and accommodations.
Lots of colour photos. But some of the descriptions read like
advertorials. The recipes are not particularly Maritime. Do we need
another eggplant parmigiana or steak tartare, especially from the
Maritimes? What I do like about this book: the recipes work, the
plating photos are good, and the book is updated every two years.
QPR Rating: 86.

25. PACIFIC FLAVOURS; recipes from the best chefs on Canada's west
coast. 3rd ed. (Formac Publishing, 2008, 160 pages, ISBN 978-0-88780-
756-5, $24.95 CDN paper covers) is by Virginia Lee, a co-author with
her sister of other books in the "Flavours" series from Formac. Recipes
come from chefs working in Whistler, Vancouver, Victoria, Vancouver
Island, and the Okanagan Valley. Over 40 were chosen. The recipes for
all courses  here are complemented by sommelier Brent Hayman's BC wine
choices. The establishments are profiled at the back, with the usual
names and numbers, and some text on what to look for. This revised and
updated list includes spas, wineries, and resorts. Just about all preps
are local and seasonal, although "Cayman Island Chowder" is a bit of a
stretch: even the chef says he substitutes local fish. So why not call
it "Caribbean Chowder"? That's what it is. Quality/Price rating: 88.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tour of Niagara Ontario Wineries, June 25, 2008

The Time and Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2008   all day
The Event: annual fam tour of Niagara wineries by Wine Council of
Ontario for WWCC members. There were 11 of us.
The Venue: five wineries: Southbrook, Cattail Creek, Coyote's Run,
Ravine Vineyard (not yet open), and Niagara College Teaching Winery.
The Target Audience: WWCC wine writers.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, or will be, from
the winery.
The Quote: "We need cool water – it was a scorcher of a day!"
The Wines: At Southbrook (10K capacity) we learned that the winery not
only has a LEED gold status in its construction, but also that there is
biodynamic winemaking (since 2006). They have a periwinkle blue wall
(205 metres) that is spectacular. Shades of Pink Floyd…After lunch we
moved on to Cattail Creek (100% of their wines are estate grown), one
of Niagara's newest wineries. Some of their vines are the oldest
Rieslings in Ontario. Coyote's Run Estate Winery (8K capacity) was
next, and here we tasted the difference between terroirs which they
called Black Paw and Red Paw (black earth and red earth), especially
with Cab Franc and Pinot Noir. A side trip to Michael Olsen's new co-
venture: Ravine Vineyard, a combo food store and winery. Everything was
dusty, but we had a chance to see the ravine that was saved from
developers. NCT Winery was unusual in that the instructors assigned to
look after us had to disappear to attend their scions' graduations (one
from college, one from high school), both on the same day at the same
time! We were left in the capable hands of a student who gave us the
real lowdown on what happens at school...took me back to my days, forty
years ago!!
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2006, $21.95 – good depth of oak,
vanilla, toast
-Southbrook Whimsy Chardonnay Canadian Oak 2003, $29.75 – lumber,
-Niagara College Teaching Winery BF Chardonnay 2006, $18.95 – Gold
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Chardonnay 2006, $27.95
-Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery Off Dry Riesling 2007, $15 – from
Alsatian Riesling clones.
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Pinot Blanc 2007, $18 – slight anise finish
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Southbrook Triomphe Sauvignon Blanc 2007, $18.95 – zesty, higher acid
-Southbrook Whimsy Lot 19 Syrah, $32.75 – dynamic oak
-Southbrook Triomphe Pinot Gris 2006, $18.95
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Sauvignon Blanc 2007,
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Sauvignon Blanc Fume 2007, $13.95
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, $18.95
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Meritage 2005, $37.95
-Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery Chardonnay Musque 2007, $17 –
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery BF Chardonnay Reserve 2006, $21
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Black Paw 2006, $20
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Pinot Noir Red Paw 2006, $24
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Meritage 2005, $24
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Southbrook Triomphe Syrah 2006, $24.95 – youthful, rich, 10 year old
-Southbrook Whimsy Lot 20 Syrah, $32.75 – olives, peppery
-Southbrook Cabernet Merlot Shiraz 2006, $14.85 LCBO –
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Riesling 2007, $11.95
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Cabernet Franc 2005, $16.95
-Cattail Creek Family Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2007, $18
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Pinot Gris Red Paw 2007, $18
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Red Paw 2006, $20
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Pinot Noir Black Paw 2006, $36
The Food: brown bag lunch at Southbrook from "The Good Earth Catering",
formal dinner at Niagara College. At the latter, we ordered off the
menu. I'm still not quite sure why the soup of the day was "roasted
parsnip" (out of season, hot). Nevertheless, I had gnocchi with
parmesan shards, followed by bunderfleisch with parmesan "chards"
(Swiss?), pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin, and a large cheese
selection of primarily Quebec cheeses. Wines off the menu were just
about all whites, for it was exceedingly hot that night.
The Downside: the heat, especially on the bus.
The Upside: a chance to catch up with many Niagara wines.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 91.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Merenco Aldo Dolcetto tasting at Bloom, Toronto, June 24, 2008

 The Time and Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008   7PM to 11PM
The Event: winemaker's dinner (Marenco Aldo) repped in Ontario by
Nokhrin Wines
The Venue: Bloom Restaurant, Bloor West Village
The Target Audience: customers who enjoy fine wines and a bargain
The Availability/Catalogue: all the wines are in the $20 range, and are
available through the agent.
The Quote: Aldo Marenco from the Piedmont was present. He had a limited
knowledge of English, but there were translation services. He spoke to
the two dozen or so diners, and broke bread with me. This is an organic
winery in the Langhe, concentrating on food-friendly Dolcetto and
Barbera. Production is 80K bottles a year. We talked about infestations
and sulphur. He does not want to be biodynamic because that is, to him,
way too much work.
The Wines:
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Marenco Aldo Sognatore Langhe Rosso 2005 - $23.50, 14% ABV, very soft
and fruity, made for international tastes, in French small oak for 10
months. Some chocolate tones despite a tight opening on entry. Made
from Dolcetto, Barbera, and Merlot.
-Marenco Aldo Dulcis in Fundo Passito 2007 (made in 2008) - $22 for 375
mL, $13.5 ABV, from Dolcetto grapes sun-dried on reed mats for two
months. Intensely fruity, mocha, and like all his wines, organic.
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Marenco Aldo Dolcetto di Dogliani "Parlapa" 2005 - $23.25, 14% ABV, a
big wine, slightly bitter flavours near the finish, ideal for pasta.
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Marenco Aldo Dolcetto di Dogliani "Suri" 2006 - $20, 13.5% ABV,
upfront fruitiness, appetizer friendly, organic of course.
The Food: Franca, one of the owners, served us well. We began with a
crostini of beef tartar, white truffle oil, and a quail egg. There was
also a Grana Padana crusted polenta with sausage-mushroom. With it we
had the Suri. The tagliatelle with duck ragu was my kind of al dente.
The Parlapa accompanied it. The main was an off the bone tender
ossobuco with gremolata, risotto Milanese, and fennel. The Sognatore
nicely matched it. With a dessert of chocolate tart and ice cream,
there was the stunning Dulcis in Fundo.
The Downside: for me, I had to rush from a bus returning from
The Upside: a great chance to talk to the owner-winemaker.
The Contact Person:
The Effectiveness (numerical grade): 92.

Saturday, July 5, 2008



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

12. GORDON RAMSAY'S SUNDAY LUNCH; and other recipes from the f word
(Quadrille Publishing, 2006, 256 pages, DVD, ISBN 978-1-84400-280-1,
$39.95US hard covers) is by the eponymous restaurant owner-chef and TV
personality. It comes with a 30 minute DVD with footage (digitage?) of
Ramsay cooking a Sunday lunch menu. The spirit of this book, now being
released in North America, is to get families and friends eating
together. Obviously, Ramsay does not know that most major fights
amongst family members come from such occasions (think birthdays,
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the like). Nevertheless, here are 25 menus
for quick entertaining. It is all based on a TV series he did. Ramsay
has sold almost a million books over the course of his writing career.
One emphasis here is on ethnic cuisine: Italian, Indian, Moroccan and
Malaysian. There are special menus for summer cooking and Christmas
dinner, and other times when you need a pig roast or paella for a
crowd. Ramsay leaps in at the shopping stage, and tries to help us co-
ordinate everything through to the desserts. One problem he tackles is
how to get several dishes to arrive on the table simultaneously. Bold
print is used for the ingredients, which are listed in either
avoirdupois for volume or metric for weights. Try ginger and port
marinated lamb skewers, honey mustard pork chops, fig and frangipane
tart, or cardamom and rosewater fragrant rice. Quality/Price rating:
13. GARDE MANGER; the art and craft of the cold kitchen, third edition
(John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 666 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-05590-8, $70US hard
covers) is by the Culinary Institute of America. Garde Manger is the
art and technique of preparing a full range of cold dishes for buffet,
banquet, and catering events. This includes hors d'oeuvre, appetizers,
terrines and pates, and charcuterie. The 540 recipes included in this
book are revisions and updating, which take into account the global
cuisine of today. There are 40 more preps than in the second edition.
New to this edition is material on microgreens, international
sandwiches, bringing ratios, fermented sausages, artisanal US cheeses,
tapas tasting menus, savoury sorbets, and the raw bar. The book is
meant for both students and practitioners. The opening sections deal
with history of banquets, the needed skills, safe food handling
techniques, the flavours, colours and textures of food for the table.
Cost controls and price establishment are also important here. Recipe
sections include cold sauces, soups, salads (flavour balances),
sandwiches, curing and preserving meats and fish, cheeses (including
presentations). There are also chapters with chaud-froid, aspics,
gelees, marinades, condiments, and garnishes. Decorating and plating
are also included, especially platter layouts and design. The book is
well-stitched, so it will put up with much wear and tear. Quality/Price
rating: 88.

14. BARTENDER'S GUIDE; a A to Z companion to all your favorite drinks
(Adams Media, 2008; distr. Canadian Manda, 528 pages, ISBN 978-1-59869-
764-3, $14.95 US spiral bound) is by John K. Waters. It was originally
published in 2006 by F + W; this is a new paper edition without
changes. Waters is a journalist who once worked the bar for more than a
decade. He has 2,000 drinks here, with step-by-step mixing directions,
proper glassware and garnishes, how to stock a home bar, and product
and drink index. Good typeface, elegant layout, and simple to use.
Quality/Price rating: 90.

Wiley & Sons, 2008, 343 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-69963-7 hard covers) is
by John C. Birchfield, a foodservice consultant and designer. This
well-known book gets a makeover which includes an expanded focus on the
front of house and dining room areas, new equipment with new photos,
new blueprints highlighting design trends, and new review questions for
students. The long appendices feature lists of associations with
industry web links, typical facility designs, sample documents and
forms, a glossary ("boil-in bag" is here, but not "sous vide"), and an
updated bibliography. There is also an instructor's manual.
Quality/Price rating: 87.
16. THE ART OF MEXICAN COOKING; traditional Mexican cooking for
aficionados (Clarkson Potter, 1989, 2008, 496 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-
38325-9, $30US hard covers) has now returned to print. It was the first
real Mexican cookbook in the US; Diana Kennedy shares her 200 recipes
here in this classic reissue. The major staples are covered (tortillas,
tamales, masa, pork, beef, seafood, sauces, chiles, desserts). Kennedy
has also written four or more other Mexican cookbooks with little
duplication – just the basics are repeated. Some corrections,
clarifications, and metrification have been made (but there are still
no tables of equivalencies). Some of the back material and colour
illustrations are gone. Her "Preface" is a gem: she laments the decline
of Mexican food due to commercialization, and encourages slow food
principles. Her bibliography has not been updated except to note that
one book had been revised in 1998 – and what is Paula Wolfert's
southwest France book doing there? Quality/Price rating: 92.
17. THE RESTAURANT; from concept to operation. Fifth edition.(John
Wiley & Sons, 2008, 493 pages, ISBN 978-0-471-74057-5 hard covers) is
by John R. Walker, a hospitality professor at the University of South
Florida. This book has always been a one-stop guide to the resto biz,
and is well-read in hospitality schools. It comes with an instructor's
manual and a study guide. New to this edition is greater emphasis on
business plans and the independent operator, a new chapter on food
production and sanitation, new profiles on recently opened restaurants,
newer material on use of technology in restaurants, and expanded
sections on back of house and controls. Although heavily pitched to the
US scene, there is enough of value here to us in Canada. Quality/price
rating: 89.

18. GRAND LIVRE DE CUISINE; Alain Ducasse's Culinary Encyclopedia
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004, 2008; distr. Canada Manda Group, 1080
pages, ISBN 978-2-84844-038-5, $80US) was originally published in
French by Les editions Culinaires. De Gustibus collaborated to produce
a 2004 edition for the US, with the English translation. All metric
measurements were put in parentheses, and avoirdupois was stressed for
each ingredient; there is also a page for weights and measure
conversions. It was all compiled by Jean-Francois Piege, with Didier
Elena, Franck Cerutti, Patrick Ogheard, and Benoit Witz, all chefs who
worked with Ducasse. Chloe Chauveau and Isabelle Cappelli did the re-
write of the original version. The book summarizes Ducasse's quarter
century leadership in French cuisine. There are more than 700 recipes
here, using about 100 basic ingredients (not all at once, of course)
spread around 10 main cooking styles. There are about two pages for all
of the major recipes, with the ingredients, techniques, instructions,
photo of the finished plate, and suggested tips and advice for
processing and/or finishing the dish. Basic recipes include making
stocks and sauces and soups. Typical classic dishes (listed and titled
in both English and French) include kid goat and sorrel ragout,
porchetta, country garlic croquettes, frog leg vol au vents, spiced
semi-wild duckling, slow-cooked young Bresse hen (as if we can get that
here in North America)...Still, 5.5 pounds of book makes it awkward to
use in the kitchen, and there are some typos (such as "arctic char").
Try also the website Quality/Price rating: 85
(higher if it didn't cost so much).

19. GELATO! Italian ice creams, sorbetti & granite (Ten Speed Press,
2000, 2008, 112 pages, ISBN 978-1-58008-923-4, $14.95US paper covers)
is by Pamela Sheldon Johns. It was originally published in 2000; this
is the paperback release. The publisher claims 30,000 hard copies were
sold. Johns gives a fairly interesting history of ices in Italy, noting
that Sicily grows 90 percent of the citrus for the Italian market.
There are 50 recipes for gelato and dishes which use ices. Accompanying
biscuits, wafers, and sauces are also included. Try orange sorbetto,
chocolate soufflé semifreddo, peach gelato, mascarpone gelato, sorbetto
bellini, and duomo (dome). A nifty affordable book. Quality/Price
rating: 88.
20. MANAGEMENT BY MENU. Fourth edition. (John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 411
pages, ISBN 978-0-471-47577-4 soft covers) is by Lendal H. Kotschevar,
who was professor emeritus at Florida International University until
his death in 2007, and Diane Withrow, a hospitality teacher at Cape
Fear Community College in North Carolina. The book has been extensively
revised, but it has not lost sight of its tying a menu to management
principles. Material includes, of course, how to create and manage a
menu. It has updated chapters on the uses of new technology in menu
development, accuracy in menus, and using the menu as a marketing tool.
Also added is a chapter on ethical leadership in resto management. This
is a good book to have for anyone participating in Gordon Ramsay's
"Kitchen Nightmares". There's a whole chapter con wine and other
beverage service, highlighting the latest thinking on the construction
of a wine list and wine pricing. Also available is an instructor's
manual and a study guide. Quality/Price rating: 89.

21. ARTHUR SCHWARTZ'S NEW YORK CITY FOOD; an opinionated history and
more than 100 legendary recipes (Stewart, Chang & Tabori, 2004, 2008,
400 pages, ISBN 978-1-58479-677-0, $27.50 US paper covers) won the IACP
Award for Cookbook of the Year in 2005. Schwartz was food editor of the
New York Daily News. His book was released four years ago, and is now
reissued. There are 160 "classic" New York City recipes here, as well
as vintage menus, postcards, and culinary histories starting with the
Dutch invasion. Revisit Delmonico's, the Colony, the Automats, the
Jewish restaurants, and why New York is the home of chocolate mavens.
And speaking of which, check out his website for
more details. Try Omelet Surprise, Eggs Benedict, Lindy's cheesecake,
Manhattan clam chowder, macaroni and cheese from the Automat.
Quality/Price rating: 89.
22. CANADIAN HOSPITALITY LAW; liabilities and risk. 3rd ed. (Thomson
Nelson, 2007, 401 pages, ISBN 978-0-17-640721-6, $106.95 Canadian, soft
covers) is by Donald Longchamps, an instructor at Algonquin CAAT in
Ottawa, and Bradley Wright, an Ottawa business lawyer. It was first
published in 1999; the second edition was in 2002. Lanchamps developed
the first edition. They begin with the basics of the law (The Legal
Framework), moving on to Human Rights in the hospitality industry,
general contract law (with specifics on reservations, overbooking,
conventions, catering, banquets, et al). Negligence is covered, as well
as liability and risk in the hospitality industry. There's a lot about
private areas and public areas (plus rights of guests) in the
accommodation sector. Restaurants and food, bars and beverages, and
human resources complete the package. Travel agents have their own
chapter. "Discussion questions" for a hospitality school program in law
are preceded by good sharp summaries. Cases are cited as examples,
statute tables are listed and indexed, there are sample forms and
contracts, and a glossary. But all of the books cited in the
bibliography are from the last century (one is a revision in 2005 from
the same publisher as Longchamps). With the book comes free InfoTrac
database searching for four months. The great thing about this book is
that it is all Canadian, which puts it at the head of the line.
Quality/Price rating: 87.

2008, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-84480-789-5, $49.99 US paper covers) is by
Brian K. Julyan, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality Management at the
University of Plymouth. As well, he is Chief Executive and Chief
Examiner of the Court of Master Sommeliers. This book is a one-stop
resource for all involved with alcoholic beverages in the hospitality
industry. It is a useful instruction manual for colleges and sommelier
programs in that there is a considerable amount of material dealing
with self-assessment. Newer materials cover wine regions that are
becoming acceptable, and a certain internationalization of the material
as the book arrives in North America (it was first published in 1999).
For the professional, although those who seek alcohol knowledge may
also find it useful. There is a short chapter on spirits and beers, as
well as serving beverages and tobacco. Health and safety are important
here. So are creating sales. Quality Price rating: 89.

24. THE RIVER COTTAGE COOKBOOK (Ten Speed Press, 2001, 2008, 447 pages,
ISBN 8=978-1-58008-909-8, $35US hard covers) is by Hugh Fearnley-
Whittingstall, a British food personality (broadcaster, writer, farmer,
educator, campaigner for real food). His River Cottage farm is in
Devon. The original of this book sold 300,000 copies in Europe. Here,
it has been (according to the PR) "thoroughly Americanized" – Good Gawd
NO...for a North American audience. Other bumpf says "tailored for
American cooks". That means that recipes and cooking instructions have
been modified, with familiar ingredients, terminology and measurements.
Major changes are in labeling requirements, the use of the words
"organic", "free range" and the like. There are four pages of endnotes.
The bibliography remains British. There's no real need to buy this book
if you have the original; all the changes relate to the American
market. The contents remain: food from the garden, butchering local
animals, foraging, opinions on the local environment, and resourceful
use of plants and animals. Quality/Price rating: 90.
25. ALTON BROWN'S GEAR FOR YOUR KITCHEN (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2003,
2008, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-58479-696-1, $17.95 US paper covers) is by
the well-known host and commentator for shows on the Food Network. It
was originally published in 2003 as a hard cover. Here there has been
some updating, especially with the retail listings and websites.
Melitta in Toronto appears to be the only Canadian outfit. His book
concerns advice on what to have and what to have not in the kitchen.
For example, you only need three knives and you don't need a countertop
grill. He writes in a humourous guy-talk kidding style, which is how
macho men try to learn things. Thus, there are categories such as Small
Things with Plugs, Kitchen Tools Unplugged, Sharp Things, allusions to
hardware and tool kits, even some handwritten notes. Great stuff for
the guy chef. Quality/Price rating: 89.

26. PROFESSIONAL BAKING; fifth edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2008, 800
pages, ISBN 978-0-470-31652-8, $99.99 hard covers) is by Wayne Gisslen,
and features recipes from Le Cordon Bleu (Paris). It comes with a CD-
ROM with about 900 recipes (all the preps from the book, with options
to modify and resize – and you can also add your own), and a Student
Workbook, an Instructor's Guide and Manual and CD-ROM (available
separately). There are also method cards with step-by-step directions
for common methods of yeast doughs, cakes, muffins. What's new this
time out is more material on artisan breads (natural fermentation, hand
crafting); a new chapter on baking for special diets, including low-
fat, low-sugar, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets; new photographs; and
a new redesign to enhance the layout.  There is a recipe contents page
which explores yeast doughs, quick breads, doughnuts and crepes,
syrups, pies, tarts, cakes, decorating, cookies, custards, frozen
desserts, fruits, chocolate and marzipan. Everything here in this book
is clear, precise, no-nonsense, practical and methodical. Both US
volume and metric measurements are given in side-by-side columns.
Cooking schools, restaurants, hotels, and large hospitality
establishments will appreciate the book since it is a major textbook.
Quality/Price Ratio: 90.

27. SLURP; drinks and light fare, all day, all night (Andrews McMeel
Publishing, 2008; distr. Canadian Manda, 170 pages, ISBN 978-0-7407-
6990-0, $16.99 US soft covers) is by Nina Dreyer Hensley, Jim Hensley,
and Paul Lowe. It was first published in Norway in 2005. Here are more
than 100 recipes for both drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic,
including smoothies) and food for tasty pairings. Plus a few hangover
remedies. The book also has entertaining and party ideas; the
arrangement is by time of day (morning, daytime, evening). Lots of
advice strewn about, and there is a useful index. Quality/Price rating:

28. RICK STEIN'S COMPLETE SEAFOOD (Ten Speed Press, 2004, 2008, 264
ISBN 978-1-58008-914-2, $31.95 Canadian soft covers) is by the owner of
the Seafood Restaurant (England), and an impressive authority on
seafood in general. He has authored other seafood books, and has hosted
some television cooking shows. This book grew out of his Cornwall
cooking school, and attempts to be definitive. It was originally issued
in 2004, and subsequently won a James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award.
Although there is a copyright date of 2008, there seems to be some
minimal updating. Here are 150 recipes with 550 instructional
photographs and illustrations, along with extensive charts and colour
IDs for the seafood. Part one covers techniques (with demos) such as a
step-by-step guide to scaling, to gutting, to skinning, to pan frying,
to filleting, to baking a fish in a salt or pastry casing (plus foil
and en papillote), to hot smoking, to steaming, to stuffing. Part two
details the recipes, which are mainly classics, distributed according
to type of seafood (large fish, small fish, crustaceans, mollusks), and
part three is the reference section with information about the fish,
the equipment needed, and the pantry ingredients required.
Quality/Price Ratio: 90.

29. SIMPLY BISHOP'S; easy seasonal recipes (Douglas & McIntyre, 2002,
2008, 170 pages, ISBN 978-1-55363-388-2, $24.95 Canadian softy covers)
is a straight reissue of the 2002 hard cover book. John Bishop of
Bishop's Restaurant in Vancouver (opened in 1985) had crafted a book
based on menus of food served at his resto. The dishes are
straightforward, with an emphasis on local and seasonal food. 100 plus
recipes are organized by course and then by season within. There are
entertaining ideas, menus (such as Thanksgiving, BBQ, spring brunch),
suggested accompanying dishes, and wine recommendations where
appropriate. Weights and measures are in both avoirdupois and metric
forms. Preps include bet salad with raspberry vinaigrette, slow-cooked
pork shoulder with pan-roasted vegetables, and gooseberry and almond
crumble. Quality/Price rating: 88.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

June Reviews of "Bring Your Own Wines" to Restaurants in Ontario.

1. Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2005 Napa (+26682, $44.95
retail, suggested $59 on wine card) more acid and a longer finish than
the Sbragia Chardonnay ($54.95).
2. Artesa Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 mostly Napa (+909101, $24.95 retail,
suggested $39 on wine card) has balance and is food-driven.
3. Domaine Marc Roy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2005 (+70185,
$54.95 retail, suggested $69 on wine card), ready now.
4. Famiglia Anselma Barolo 2000 (+65524, $55.95 retail, suggested $69
on wine card) is restaurant-ready now, succulent.
5. Travaglini Gattinara 2003 (+713354, $29.95 retail, suggested $44
wine card) is a definite food wine, and a bargain for its readiness.
1. Mission Hill Select Lot Collection Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2005
Okanagan (+68361, $29.95 retail, suggested $44 on wine card) is
excellent food wine, slight oak aging, and best in restaurants.
2. Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2006 Santa Lucia Highlands
(+66159 $41.95 retail, suggested $55 on wine card) is rich and vibrant,
great value in unoaked chardonnay.
3. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Marlborough (+304469 $34.95 retail,
suggested $49 on wine card) is the iconic sauvignon blanc.
4. Antonin Rodet Meursault 2005 (+963470 $42.95 retail, suggested $57
on wine card) is notable for its toasty-nutty complexity.
5. Zenato Lugana "Sergio Zenato" 2005 Veneto (+928218 $29.95 retail,
suggested $44 on wine card) is a reserve-level LH style with barrel
6. Henri de Villamont Pommard 2005 (+69302 $42.95 retail, suggested $57
on wine card) is awesome, with a great finish.
7. Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2004 (+993964 $37.95
retail, suggested $52 on wine card)has aged well and is ready now.
8. Mate Mantus Merlot Sant'Antimo 2004 (+73502 $29.95 retail, suggested
$44 on wine card) is not your usual merlot. Expect full, rich, heavy.
9. Michele Castellani Amarone delle Valpolicella Cinque Stelle 2003
(+75127 $64.95 retail, suggested $79 on wine card) is full, and is now
*** HALF-BOTTLE ALERTS: Ironstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 California
(+73726, $8.95 for 375 mL) and Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet
Sauvignon 2003 Penedes (+626721, $9.95 for 375 mL). ***