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Monday, June 28, 2010

May 26/10: Tasting of the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Board of Trade

 The Time and Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010  5Pm to 9PM

The Event: A tasting of the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake, a group representing all the 22 wineries in that micro-region. Sherri Lockwood is this year's head of the group. It was put on by the iYellow wine club.

The Venue: Board of Trade

The Target Audience: consumers

The Availability/Catalogue: There were 22 wineries, with two wines each. Products were available for ordering that night. The catalogue had prices and vintage dates. And many winemakers were actually in attendance.

The Quote/Background: It was a good space for the 200 attendees, willing to cool off with many white wines and sparklers. Angela Aiello, the main organizer for iYellow, had arranged for a variety of seminars for those who wished to learn more.

The Wines: I did not try all the wines, leaving out those I had just recently sampled elsewhere.


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

-Chateau des Charmes Rose Sparkling Wine MC 2006, $28.95

-Hillebrand Trius Brut Rose, $29.95

-Lailey Vineyard Chardonnay Brickyard Vineyard, $30

-Niagara College Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2008, $18.95

-Peller Estates Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, $38

-Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, $29.95


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

-Cattail Creek Chardonnay Musque 2009, $17

-Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Franc St. David's Bench 2005, $25.95

-Jackson Triggs Methode Classique 2005, $22.95

-Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Syrah 2007, $32.95

-Lailey Vineyard Pinot Noir Brickyard Vineyard, $35

-Niagara College Unoaked Chardonnay 2007, $14.95

-Palatine Hills Proprietor's Reserve Merlot 2007, $34.95

-Palatine Hills Proprietor's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, $34.95

-Ravine Merlot 2008, $32

-Stratus Cabernet Franc 2007, $38

-Strewn Chardonnay B.F. Amalgam Terroir, $24.95


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

-Maleta Old Vine Dry Sparkling Riesling 2007, $27.95

-Pillitteri Gewurztraminer 2007, $18

-Ravine Riesling 2008, $28

-Strewn Cabernet Franc 2007, $18.95


The Food: Oliver and Bonacini catered, with appetizers such as brioche grilled sandwiches, popovers, spoons, etc. There was a big display of dips and breads and veggies. Quite nicely done.

The Downside: It was very hot outside, so I arrived by TTC in shorts. There was just one other guy in shorts.

The Upside: a good selection of wines.

The Contact Person: or

The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 90.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 26, 2010 LCBO Vintages Release Notes

By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at My
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net Compendium" is a guide to
thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers
and spirits, at since 1995. My tastings are based on
MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price
Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here. NOTE:
The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine
writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not available for re-
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
1. Ciderie St-Nicolas Pom'Or Tradition Crackling Cider Quebec: a
pleasant change of pace from either beer or sparkling wine. The 7 % ABV
gives it a basic kick; it is, of course, full of apple tones, Crisp
throughout. +179473, $12.95, QPR: 90.
2. McManis Family Vineyards Viognier 2008 California: delicious,
exaggerated viognier style with peaches. +658112, 19.95, QPR: 90.
3. Te Kairanga Chardonnay 2007 Martinborough: heavily oaked, remains on
the lips afterwards, body fruity but high acid. 13.5% ABV. +727024,
$16.95, QPR: 90.
4. Jean Geiler Letzenberg Lieu-Dit Pinot Gris 2008 Alsace: intense,
good body, off-dry finish. +169003, $16.95, QPR: 90.
5. Chateau Rauzan Despagne Blanc 2008 Bordeaux: good long
Semillon/savvy blanc finish. +173955, $14.95, QPR: 90.
6. Domaine des Echardieres Sauvignon Blanc 2009 Touraine: sauvignon
blanc with body, sip or with food. +168930, $13.95, QPR: 90.
7. Puklus Tokaji Yellow Muscat 2008 Hungary: good muscat complexity for
Asiatic summer dishes, off-dry finish. +46508, $14.95, QPR: 90.
8. Colli a Lago San Vigilio Lugana 2008: terrific body and development,
good floral and fruit aromas, complex on mid-palate, citric finish.
+174128, $14.95.
9. Bodegas Agnusdei Terra Firme Albarino 2008: quality stone fruit
tones at an affordable price level, 12.5% ABV. +166751, $13.95, QPR: 90
10. Miguel Torres Vina Esmeralda 2009 Catalunya: a perennial fave in my
house for about 30 years. The first time I bought it, it was $3.50.
Off-dry value, 11.5% ABV, twist top, summery aromas of muscat and
Gewurz. +113696, $12.95, QPR: 90.

TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
1. Las Lomas Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Maule Valley: good varietal
character of cabernet at this price level – plus it's organic! +917922,
$12.95, QPR: 90.
2. Tyrone Estate Home Block Merlot 2007: juicy lucy jammy fruit capsule
bomb. +165969, $16.95, QPR: 90
3. Chateau Lanbersac 2005 Puisseguin Saint-Emilion: value, but needs
more time. Good merlot complexity. Try again in 2 – 3 years. +177006,
$19.95, QPR: 90.
4. M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon-Villages
2008: deep dark fruit, very aromatic and heady, long finish and body.
+168716, $15, QPR: 90.
5. Clos La Coutale Cahors 2007: dark fruit, ready soon, North American
style and appeal. +171579, $13.95, QPR: 90.
6. Caruso & Minini Cutaja Nero d'Avola 2007 Sicilia: smooth, black
fruit, some mushroom underbrush component, best with food. +174763,
$14.95, QPR: 90.
7. Scopetani Chianti Riserva 2006: value wine with modal varietal
character. +164814, $13.95, QPR: 90.
8. Bod. Alitus Ardal Crianza 2005 Ribero del Duero: dynamite value with
lashings of oak, mushrooms, underbrush, and ripe red fruit. +167601,
$17.95, QPR: 91.

Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10
markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers
should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
1. Flat Rock Cellars Seriously Twisted 2007 Niagara, +87783, $22.95
2. Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Chardonnay Alexander Valley, +990499,
3. De Loach Chardonnay 2007 Russian River, +702985, $23.95.
4. Quails' Gate Merlot 2006 Okanagan, +169961, $24.95.
5. Chapellet Merlot 2006 Napa, +171686, $31.95.
6. E. Guigal Saint-Joseph 2006, +30031, $29.95.
7. Montiverdi Vigneto Cipressone Chianti Classico 1998, +954370,
8. Farina Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2005, +995910, $34.95.

Monday, June 21, 2010

May 13/10: Taste to Terroir -- Ontario wines at George Brown College

The Time and Date: Thursday, May 13, 2010  7Pm to 10PM

The Event: Taste to Terroir; celebrate Ontario

The Venue: George Brown College Chef School, Adelaide

The Target Audience: consumers, invited media.

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, some through normal distribution channels, others through the winery alone.

The Quote/Background: Salut is back, although this is yet again another name change. The basic formula should work – consumer shows are what is needed, not trade shows nor seminars. Just my opinion.

The Wines: I did not taste all the wines.


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

-Rosewood Chardonnay Reserve 2007, $25

-The Grange of PEC Trompour's Mill Victoria Block Chardonnay 2007


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

-Organized Crime Gewurztraminer 2008, $22

-Organized Crime Riesling Reserve 2008, $28

-Organized Crime Syrah 2008, $34

-Kacaba Chardonnay 2006 Horizon Ridge, $19.95

-Kacaba Riesling Reserve 2009, $17.95

-Lailey Counterpoint White 2005 [Gewurz,,chardonnay,sem.,riesling]  $25

-Lailey Pinot Noir 2008, $25

-Rosewood Natalie's Sussreserve Riesling 2008, $18

-Rosewood Semillon 2008, $18

-Creekside Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2007, $26.95

-Hillebrand Trius White 2008

-Sue-Ann Staff Estate Riesling 2008

-Sue-Ann Staff Estate Baco Noir 2008

-Nyarai Cellars Chardonnay 2007

-Nyarai Cellars Trois 2009 [pinot grigio,viognier,] $19.50

-Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc Wismer Vineyard 2009

-Peninsula Ridge Fume Blanc 2007

-Peninsula Ridge Meritage 2007

-Daniel Lenko Estate Riesling Reserve 2007, $19.95


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

-Organized Crime Pinot Gris 2009, $19

-Organized Crime Pinot Noir 2008, $34

-Organized Crime Cabernet Franc 2008, $34

-Lailey Chardonnay 2007, $20

-Pelee Island Gewurztraminer Reserve 2006

-Wayne Gretzky Estate Riesling 2008

-Wayne Gretzky Estate Chardonnay 2008

-Hernder Gewurztraminer 2007 Wild Ferment

-Legends Diva 2008 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

-Legends Gewurztraminer 2007

-Foreign Affair Winery Riesling 2008, $24.95

-Mountain Road Winery Chardonnay 2007


The Food: a variety (Beretta pork bellies from GBC Restaurant, Norfolk county apple foods, Stratford's Bijou Bistro charcuterie, Dairy Farmers' cheeses such as bocconcini, havarti, maple cheddar, and chocolate cheese fudge, et al).

The Downside: there was room for about 50 more people; 150 were in attendance.

The Upside: a chance to enjoy a relaxed show where NOBODY in the audience knew me. I do get harried when people try to talk to me and want an answer when my mouth is full of wine. They risk danger…

The Contact Person:

The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 92.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

May 17/10: Winemakers and Terroir, Gigliola Trambusti Fine Italian Wines at Hart House

 The Time and Date: Monday, May 17, 2010  11AM to 6PM

The Event: Winemakers and Terroir; in collaboration with Gigliola Trambusti Fine Italian Wines.

The Venue: Hart House, Univ of Toronto

The Target Audience: wine trade, agents.

The Availability/Catalogue: about half of the wines were already available from agents. But in essence, this was to be a show of Italian wineries looking for agents in Ontario.

The Quote/Background: presumably some of the wines are available through the normal distribution systems, but most will be private orders. Prices were difficult to come by, so I just gave up.

The Wines: I did not try all the wines.


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

-Riofava di Sergio Gomba Nebbiolo d'Alba 2007  Ron Carpentier

-Podere La Vigna Rosso Toscana IGT Maritato 2005   Churchill Cellars

-Frat. De Luca Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Conte Genoino 2004


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

-Riofava di Sergio Gomba Barolo Suri 2005  Ron Carpentier

-Riofava di Sergio Gomba Barolo 2006  Ron Carpentier

-Podere Saulino Brachetto di Piemonte NV [sparkling]  Ron Carpentier

-Villa Erbice Amarone Della Valpolicella Tremenel 2005

-Dal Din Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Vidor Millesimato 2009

-Provenza Lugana Brut Metodo Classico Ca Maiol  Lorac

-Branko Collio Pinot Grigio 2009

-Tenuta de Sticciano Rosso Toscana Cantastorie IGT 2005    Ron Carpentier

-Podere La Vigna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004   Churchill Cellars

-Poderi Angelini Chardonnay de Salento IGT 2009

-Villa di Quartu Cannonau di Sardegna Parillias 2007    Vinum Novum


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

-La Cipriana Bolgheri Vermentino Paguro 2009 Tuscany


The Food: cold cuts of salami and prosciutto and other antipasti dishes (marinated roasted veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses, breads, etc.)

The Downside: I was expecting more trade people, and also more unrepresented wineries.

The Upside: I got to experience some new and different wineries.

The Contact Person:

The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 87.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Canada Post and HST

The HST is being applied to a new range of services, all of which are itemized on the BC and Ontario government websites. Newspapers copy these lists and present them to the public (e.g., here's what's going up in price, here's other changes, etc.).
BUT -- neither BC nor Ontario sites, nor the Canada Post site, nor the papers and magazines mention at all the fact that Canada Post rates will now be HST and going up 8% (the old PST) in Ontario.
To me, this is a huge chunk of change for Ontarians. We're already at 54 cents plus GST. Another 8% (a nickel? six cents?) will just drive more people away from the post office.
But it is NOT the money gained by Canada Post that makes me to write this note; it is the lack of information that this particular change is coming.
Not a single media outlet has commented on the post office and HST -- except the one in Medicine Hat last month (May 13) , and even that was just obliquely.
Is there a coverup of HST data that the public should know about?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


WATCHING WHAT WE EAT; the evolution of television cooking shows
(Continuum Books, 2009, 278 pages, ISBN 978-0-8264-2930-8, $24.95 US
hard covers) is by Kathleen Collins, a professional librarian at John
Jay College in New York, with a master's degree in journalism. She's
written a lot of stuff about popular culture and television. She
begins, quite rightly, with radio's government home economists such as
Aunt Sammy in 1926. The USDA used this method to communicate with
farmers all over the country; they employed scores of women reading the
same script but with different regional accents. From these shows,
radio evolved a way for housewives to share recipes. Next was James
Beard in 1946, on TV, followed by Dione Lucas. These two TV chefs made
New York the centre of American gastronomy. Eventually, Julia Child
turned up, followed by Graham Kerr. PBS ruled the cooking shows with
top notch cookbook authors. Local cooks appeared on local TV. Then the
Food Network experience happened, and the rest is, well, history.
Collins' account is exceptionally readable (she is a journalist, of
course). There are small but clearly reproduced archival photos. There
are sources for follow-up plus a bibliography.
Audience and level of use: culinary historians, popular culturists,
television lovers who also read.
Some interesting or unusual facts: The Frugal Chef (Jeff Smith) was
ahead of his time – he discussed food as a topic beyond nutrition,
cooking methods, and restaurants. This was before the Food Network.
The downside to this book: I would have liked more coverage about
radio, even though it is outside the scope of the book.
The upside to this book: quality writing and her ability to communicate
facts and ideas.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

May 14/10: Salut Grand Tasting of International Wines at Hart House

 The Time and Date: Friday, May 14, 2010  7 PM to 10 PM

The Event: Salut Grand Tasting; international and French

The Venue: Hart House, Gallery

The Target Audience: wine consumers and invited media.

The Availability/Catalogue: wines are either available through the normal distribution channels or by private order.

The Quote/Background: Hart House is a great setting, but you had to be there early to get the good wine (no crowds, no lineups, and no darkness).

The Wines: I did not taste every wine.


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

-Chateau David Queynac 2005, $20   Amethyst

-Francis Ford Coppola Shiraz California 2008 +57034  $14.10

-Donato Angiuli Primitivo Rosso Maccone 2007 Puglia $31.50 Argentum


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

-Strategeme 2007 Cot. De Languedoc, $25  Amethyst

-Summerhouse Sauvignon Blanc New Zealand 2008   Amethyst

-Cattier Champagne Brut Carlin NV   $37.95   Fettah Wine Services

-Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007  $21.95 +659607 Vintages Essential

-Clos St. Georges Chevalier 2005 $14.95  Violet Hill

-Clos St. Georges Cuvee de Pierre "Les Aspres" 2002  $19.95 Violet Hill

-Adega Coop Almeirim Planicie Tejo 2007 Portugal $13.50 Argentum

-Bod. Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza Navarra 2006 $23.50 Argentum

-Ugglano Tuscan IGT Merlot Canto I 1999  $33.50 Argentum

-Bod. Fam. Barberia Blasson del Valle Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Argentina $14.95 Argentum

-Bod. Mi Terruno Uvas Tempranillo 2008 Argentina $13.95 Argentum

-Bod. Mi Terruno Uvas Torrontes 2009 Argentina $13.95 Argentum

-Bod. Terras Altas Malbec 2007 Argentina $16.95 Argentum


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

-Rigoloccio Tuscany IGT 2006 [cab.,alicante]  Amethyst

-Gibbston Highgate Incognito Pinot Grigio 2009 New Zealand Amethyst

-Agnus Dei Albarino 2008 Spain

-Lupe-Cholet Chablis Chateau de Viviers 2008  $22.95 Fettah

-Lupe-Cholet Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2007  $19.95  Fettah

-Red Knot Shingleback McLaren Vale Shiraz 2007 +619395 LCBP $17.95

-Laurent Miquel Chardonnay 2008 Pay D'Oc  +157909 LCBO $11.95

-Chateau Laurets 2007 Bordeaux, $18.80 LCBO

-Kaiken Malbec 2008

-Claude Nouveau Hautes Cotes de Beaune 2008  Violet Hill

-Bod. Pierola Crianza Rioja 2006   Violet Hill

-A. Luigi Angela e Nicola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Le Bignete 2001 $61.50 Argentum

-Bod. Ochoa Garnacha & Tempranillo Navarra 2007 $18.95 Argentum

-Bod. Ochoa Graciano & Garnacha Navarra 2006 $20.95 Argentum

-Brezza Barolo Sarmassa 2000 $74.95  Argentum

-Opera Delle Muse Sant'Agata Dei Goti Aglianco Campania 2005 $29.95 Argentum

-Samuele Guerrini Toscana IGT Rosso It Terraccio 2004, $18.95 Argentum


The Food: cheeses from Dairy Farmers (apetina feta, 6-year old cheddar, caramelized onion cheddar cheese), BBQ fried fish, open-faced chicken sandwiches, sliders, farro salad, spring green soup, mushroom crepes.

The Downside: it was crowded, probably because it was a Friday night, and the lights were doused quite early. Nobody could see what they were drinking, and note taking was impossible. The joys of comsumer shows…

The Upside: nobody knew who I was, so I could cruise easily. However, nobody but me seemed to be spitting, and getting to a bucket was a chore.

The Contact Person:

The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 86