Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tasting with Armand de Maigret, Jonata Wines, Nov 7/12

The Date and Time: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 11M to 1 PM
The Event: Press tasting with Armand de Maigret, Estate Manager of
Jonata wines in California (, represented by Woodman
Wines and Spirits.
The Venue: Royal Canadian Yacht Club, City Club House
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: everything we tasted is somewhere in the
LCBO distribution system.
The Quote/Background: The Santa Ynez winery is farmed organically plus
some aspects biodynamism (garden, livestock). Yields are minuscule, 82
acres (out of 600) planted north of Santa Barbara, two tons an acre,
high density of vines.
The Wines: We tasted 8 wines.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Jonata El Alma 2008 [mostly cab franc], +218925, $149
-Jonata Todos 2008 [mostly syrah], +218941, $59.95 Vintages online
-Jonata Sangre 2008 [mostly syrah], +220517, $150
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Jonata La Fuerza 2006 [mostly petit verdot], +221168, $89
-Jonata La Tierra 2008 [mostly sangiovese], +221159, $89
-Jonata El Desafio 2008 [mostly cab sauv], +218933, $145 Classics March
-Jonata El Desafio 2007 [mostly cab sauv], +218933, $145
-Jonata Fenix 2007 [mostly merlot], +253237, $95
The Food: salads, roast beef sandwiches, warm fish sandwiches,
The Downside: I had to leave early for another commitment.
The Upside: well, I did try the fishwich with red wine…
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Annual Tasting of Ports/Fortifieds and Sparklers by the WWCC Nov 23/12

The Date and Time: Friday, November 23, 2012 10:30AM to 1:30 PM
The Event: Annual Tasting of Ports/Fortifieds and Sparklers by the Wine
Writers' Circle of Canada
The Venue: LCBO Summerhill
The Target Audience: WWCC members
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are in the LCBO system as
Vintages or General list.
The Wines: I did not taste every wine. There were 90 submissions.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Tarlant Zero Brut Nature NV 12% alc #996264 Vintages $44.95
-Cattier Premier Cru NV 12.5% alc #291781 $39.95
-Pol Roger Brut Extra Cuvee de Reserve NV #217158 $60.85
-Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV 12% #268771 Vintages $68.95
-Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2005 12% LCBO #268755 Vintages $287.95
-Gonzalez Byass Nectar PX Sherry NV 15% alc #87577 $18.95 Vintages -
-Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny NV 20% #121749 Vintages $34.95
-Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Old Tawny Port 20% #149047 Vintages $67.45
-Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose NV 12.5% alc #291856 $66.95
-Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine 2007 Blanc de Blanc 'Carte Blanche'
VQA Short Hills Bench #315200 Vintages $44.95
-Taittinger Brut Reserve NV 12.5% alc #814723 Vintages $59.95
–Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut NV 12% alc #155341 $65.95
-Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV 13% alc #217273 $25.95
-Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV 12% alc #462432 $49.95
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava #216960
-Peller Estates Ice Cuvee Rose NV Methode Classique VQA 12% alc
#113035 $34.95 Niagara Peninsula
-Codorniu Brut Classico NV, +215814, $12.85
-Graham's 20 Year Tawny Port 20% alc #620641 $36.95 500ml bottle
-Lanson Black Label Brut NV 12.5% alc #215962 $51.95
-Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve NV 12% alc #537605 $44.80
-Colio Lily CEV NV 11% alc #509083 winery only $15.95 VQA
-Angels Gate Archangel 2010 Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula
#227009 $21.95 Ont.
-Jackson-Triggs Entourage Methode Classique Brut 2007 VQA Niagara
Peninsula 12.5% alc #80008739 $22.95
-Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Brut VQA Niagara 12% #217521 $29.95
-Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Rose Brut VQA Niagara #217505 $29.95
-Alvear Fino 15% Alc Spain
-Alvear Amontillado 17% alc Spain
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Warre's Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port 20% alc #566174 $21.95 500 ml
-Graham's 10 Year Tawny Port 20% alc #206508 $27.95
-Noval Tawny Port NV 19.4% alc #309765 $17.70
-La Rose No. 7 Domaine J Laurens NV Cremant de Limoux #297770 $19.95
-Cono Sur Sparkling NV 12% alc #215079 $13.95 Chile
-Flat Rock 2008 Riddled VQA Twenty Mile Bench 12% alc #187377 $24.95
-Flat Rock 2007 Brut VQA Twenty Mile Bench 12% alc $35.00
-Qunita de Ventozelo 2002 20% alc #286416 $42.95
-Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut NV Metodo Tradicional #216945 $13.95
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stocking Stuffer Books for the 2012 Holidays!!!

Stocking stuffers are at the top of everybody's gift list: something affordable (under $10,
up to $20) that can also double as a host gift, something small and lightweight. Most of
the books here are paperbacks. And of course, they can stuff an adult stocking. Typical
for food are:
--MAKE, BAKE AND CELEBRATE! (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 128 pages,
$23.95 CAN hard covers) is a slim book on how to create decorated cakes for every
occasion, including weddings birthdays, children's parties, Mother's Day, and Christmas.
There is good detail, good photography, and preps for about 50 cakes to decorate.
--GOURMET WEEKDAY (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 192 pages, $23.95 CAN
hardbound) contains some recipes from the former Gourmet magazine that are useful for
busy weeknights and easy entertaining. There are vegetarian mains, seafood dishes, quick
and easy dishes, and desserts, with cooking times and some included menus.
--GOURMET ITALIAN (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 192 pages, $23.95 CAN
hardbound) contains some recipes from the former Gourmet magazine that are useful for
our love affair with Italian food. There's a mix of classic and contemporary here, well
over 100 preps on vegetarian dishes, pastas, meats, cheeses, and desserts.
--MMM…MARSHMALLOWS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $19.95 CAN
hard cover) is a collection of some 30 preps, including the basic making of
marshmallows. You can, of course, use the commercial ones for her recipes on fudge,
cookies, candy bars, cakes and s'mores. Interesting single ingredient book.
--SUNDAY BRUNCH (Chronicle Books, 2012, 120 pages, $19.95 US paper back)
provides a year's worth of food through 80 preps for eggs, stratas, pancakes, waffles,
quickbreads, hash and beverages. There are also menus.
--PANINI (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $18.95 CAN hardbound) deals
with Italian toasted sandwiches, usually with melting cheese, veggies and some meat.
They can be cooked on a grill or stove or with a panini press. Coverage in the 39 recipes
includes breakfast, lunch, brunch, desserts, and a variety of condiment for pickles,
mayonnaise, pesto and roasted tomatoes.
--THE LITTLE BOOK OF COUNTRY BAKING (SkyHorse, 2012, 186 pages, $19.95
US paper covers) has classic recipes for cakes, cookies, breads and pies, as well as tips
and advice for sprucing up dishes. The 136 recipes also include gluten-free productions
using a GF flour mix, muffins, bars, scones, crumbles, crisps, and cupcakes. Everything
is easy enough to follow.
--OILS & VINEGARS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $18.95 CAN
hardbound) is a nifty little collection of some 23 recipes for infusing oils and using nut,
seed, and fruit oils such as walnut or hazelnut or pumpkin seed oil. And there is also
arrange of gourmet vinegars, beginning with balsamic.
--WAFFLES (Chronicle Books, 2012, 108 pages $19.95 CAN) is by Dawn Yanagihara,
and covers both sweet and savoury. She gives us 30 recipes plus toppings, and advice on
different kinds of waffle machines.
--TACOS, QUESADILLAS AND BURRITOS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64
pages, $16.95 CAN hard covers) has 30 preps for classic and contemporary Mexican
street food. Sides and salsas are also included here.
--101 THINGS TO DO WITH POPCORN (Gibbs Smith, 2012, spiral bound $9.99 US) is
concerned mostly with toppings. But there is also a good variety of trail mixes, balls,
bars, and savoury popcorn. There is more at
--SIMPLE SUSHI (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 128 pages, $23.95 CAN hardbound)
promotes bold flavours and fresh ingredients through such as miso asparagus rolls or
ginger duck salad. The book also includes miso soups and noodle bowls. 54 recipes,
including accompaniments.
--THE ICONCLAST'S GUIDE TO FOODIES (Dog 'n' Bone, 2012, 128 pages, $8.95
CAN hardcover) is by Alexandra Parsons. She has 50 article covering cooking, kitchens,
menus, restaurants, grocery shopping, wine and lifestyles. Her baby names for foodies
runs to over 7 pages: Aubergine, Galantine, Polenta, Epoisse, Apple (Mal!)…These are
fables for the food obsessed.
--200 APPETIZERS (Gibbs Smith, 2012, 208 pages, $12.99 US spiral bound) is by
Donna Kelly in the publisher's "200" series. These are typical hors d'oeuvre, canapé,
apps, finger food, mainly for entertaining. Lots of ideas here. The spiral binding is also
pages, $18.95 CN hardcover) deals with 50 bottled sauces, plus six you can make on your
own (with habaneros, chipotles, Scotch bonnets, cayennes). There are 11 recipes using a
variety of them in food. His burn ratings run to 7, which is Mad Dog 357 Silver or Blair's
Ultra Death. Other tame sauces include Psycho Juice 70% Ghost Pepper (only 5). A book
for the machos and machas in your life. Bottles are illustrated so you'll know what to
avoid. Not for the faint of heart…Try The Source at 7.1 million scovilles.
--CABIN COOKING (Gibbs Smith, 2012, spiral bound, $12.99 US) is full of rustic cast
iron and Dutch oven recipes, useful for the modern home and family life as well as
cabins. 150 preps detail breads, breakfast, sides, soups, stews, mains and desserts.
Other little books, for beverages, include:
--THE HOME DISTILLER'S HANDBOOK; make your own whiskey & bourbon
blends, infused spirits & cordials (Cider Mill Press, 2012, 144 pages, $14.95 US paper
covers) is by Matthew Teacher. The title is a bit of a misnomer – it doesn't tell you how
to distil your own booze, but it does tell you how to blend and re-use it, once you have
bought it from an alcohol store. And there is only one recipe for blending whiskies. The
rest of the book deals with infusions such as lavender liqueur, pineapple basil cordial, and
jalapeno & lime vodka.
--THE CLASSIC COCKTAIL BIBLE (Hachette, 2012, 176 pages, $10.99 CAN hard
covers) includes 200 recipes for all the tried and rue (daiquiri, dry martini, margarita,
mojito, manhattan, and comopolitan. Very good drink illustrations and techniques,
pleasant layout. Covers wines too.
--BEER COCKTAILS (Harvard Common Press, 2012, 104 pages, $15.95 CAN
hardcovers) is by Howard and Lesley Stelzer who want to liven up your ales and lagers.
There are 50 preps here, including a warm ale flip from the Colonial period and the Black
and Tan, snake bite, bee sting, and shandy gaff. They make up most of them, and the
book is arranged by style: pale and US beers, Belgian-style, brown ales, and
pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) has 27 sure-fire cures, such as Atholl Brose, Bull's Penis
Soup, Elvis Sandwich, The Sauna). There are recipes for a restorative cocktail, for non-
alcoholic remedies, and for comfort food. There are some drastic remedies too, so read
the book.
--THE BOOK OF BEER AWESOMENESS (Chronicle Books, 2012, 204 pages, $15.95
US paper covers) is a guide to party skills and 40 drinking games. There are some history
and trivia here, plus even some culture. Included are Beer Pong rules and Cornhole, and
the book is loaded with tons of illustrated detail in case you cannot read.
2012, 64 pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) emphasizes that the major problem with
drinking games is that you forget the rules by the end of them. Fear not, for here they are
written down. For those who can read. Included are Beer Pong, Edward Ciderhands,
Cereal Killer, Boatrace, and Monkeys. Just don't lose your derring-do.
--BREWERIANA (Shire Publications, 2012, 56 pages, $11.95 CAN paper covers) deals
with American beer collectibles. Authors Kevin Rious and Donald Roussin are beer
researchers. Here is the story of the evolution of the beer can, with paper advertising,
packaging, signs all nicely reproduced. Prohibition is detailed. There are colourful
reproductions of cans, posters and adverts. This is a good introduction, brief and
affordable as a stocking stuffer.
--MEAN MARGARITAS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $9.95 CAN hard
covers) gives us 40 different kinds of Margaritas using the base of tequila, orange liqueur
and lime juice.
--MR. BOSTON OFFICIAL BARTENDER`S GUIDE (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 322
pages, $11.99 CAN paper covers) is based on the 68th edition with about 150 new
recipes. Here then are 1000 cocktail recipes. Just about all that you would ever need to
know, without the flashy illustrations. A great database at a rock bottom price.
--GATSBY COCKTAILS (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $9.95 CAN
hardcovers) is a collection of some 24 recipes from the bygone Prohibition era. Cocktails
became the height of fashion in order to mask many homemade booze flavours. The
sweeter the cocktail the better the mask. Classics include Gatsby's Mint Julep, the
Manhattan, and more.
--LET`S BRING BACK: the cocktail edition (Chronicle Books, 2012, 208 pages, $21.95
CAN hard covers) is a compendium of older cocktails which have disappeared over the
course of time. And they should be brought back, according to author Lesley Blume.
Long forgotten drinks, from the Ancients to the 1960s, with clever illustrations, are
noted. Many are fizzy and sweet, and go by such illustrious names as Angel's Tit,
Monkey Gland, Runt's Ambition, and my fave, the Bee's Knees. 144 recipes in all.
--WILLIAM YEOWARD'S AMERICAN BAR (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 144
pages, $28.95 US hardcover) is by interior designer William Yeoward. He visits his
favourite American bars and selects some cocktails from each. Presentation is paramount
here, so the photography adapts well. There are over 60 recipes, with tips and advice for
And for no alcohol, consider –
--SIP & SAVOR (Gibbs Smith, 2012, 96 pages, $19.99 US hardcover) is meant as a non-
alcoholic book for parties or front porches or backyards. Here are some all-season teas,
lemonades, nectars, fizzes, cordials, punches, and milkshakes. There are some recipes for
breads and cakes, plus some cultural history about porch entertaining.
--SINFUL SMOOTHIES (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $9.95 CAN
hardcover) is a slim book of some 20 recipes for making mainly creamy smooth fruit
drinks, from yogurt and milk. Add cream and you have some desserts too.
--AFTERNOON TEA (Douglas & McIntyre, 2012, 72 pages, $14. CAN hardcover) is by
Muriel Moffat. It's a look at the tradition of the afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel in
Victoria, BC. It was self-published and sold 30,000 copies at the hotel itself in five years.
Here it has been redesigned for the book trade. Some recipes from the Tea Lobby at the
hotel are here, which has been serving teas since 1908. Here's a good book about tea
service, the Empress Hotel, and some memoir-type material from Moffat herself.
Annual calendars are always monster hits and are often appreciated, both the wall and the
desk type. The best of the desk are the two "page-a-day" (PAD) calendars from
Workman. A YEAR OF BEER 2013 (Workman, 2012, $15.99 CAD) has a combined
Saturday and Sunday page. Most of the beers appear as imports in Canada, but otherwise
there are few Canadian brews included. Lights, wheat, lagers, ales, porters, stouts,
seasonal beers, and lambrics – they're all here, 161 craft beers. Check out Brew Dog's
The End of History at 55% ABV. Other material in this PAD includes beer festivals, beer
facts, label lore, trivia, and vocabulary. There are also "must-try" beer recommendations.
If you buy any of the PAD calendars, then you can go online to the website and pick up
other stuff, usually free at
For wall calendars, there is COLLECTIBLE TEAPOT CALENDAR 2013 (Workman,
2012, $14.99 CAD) which has, for every month, a distinctive teapot and tea service set
(September has a Victorian Gaudy Welsh pot), plus an indication and preps for sweets
and nibbles for a tea party. Great fun, which encourages you to have a monthly tea party,
even if you don't own the appropriate tea pot. The calendars are worth saving if you are
a collector. 365 DAYS OF EXTREME CAKES 2013 (Workman, 2012, $15.99 CAD)
has been put together with cake designs from Cake Alchemy, City Cakes in New York,
Colette's Cakes, Lulu Cake Boutique, and Riviera Bakehouse. These edible masterpieces
are sculpted out of sugar and fondant: wedding cakes, replicas of cathedrals, holiday
cakes, "sushi platter" cake. Each month has a theme, and there is lots of baking here.
There are also some novelty items. There's THE WINE TASTING PARTY KIT
(Chronicle Books, 2012, $24.95 US), with "everything you need to host a fun and easy
wine tasting party at home" (says the blurb). There's a 64-page book, four tasting
notepads, 100 wine glass markers, four reusable cloth bottle covers, plus one cheat sheet
of tasting terms. Here are suggestions on what kinds of wine to buy (many can be found
in Ontario), how to compare wines, and how to write tasting notes. It is the Seven Esses
method – serve, see, swirl, sniff, sip, swallow (although the pros all "spit"), and scribble.
And there are some ideas here for food snack pairings. The similar BEER TASTING
TOOL KIT (Chronicle Books, 2012, $24.95 US) is by Jeff Alworth. He has a 48-page
booklet, four tasting notepads, one quick reference card, and 18 paper covers and twine
for concealing bottles for blind tastings. He covers international porters, ambers, lagers,
lambics, IPA, etc. Other material discusses how to organize a beer tasting party, with
food pairings. This can be complemented by 99 BOTTLES OF BEER (Chronicle Books,
2012, $15 CAN), a set of three small pocket-sized journals which provide an easy way to
record beer tasting notes in a small notebook format. Each has space for 33 beers, with
guide words for brewer, appearance, aroma and flavour. There is even a beer flavour
And so on to the wine annuals. The two leaders are HUGH JOHNSON'S POCKET
WINE BOOK 2013 (Mitchell Beazley, 2012, 336 pages, $17.99 CAD hard bound) and
OZ CLARKE'S POCKET WINE GUIDE 2013 (Pavilion, 2012, 368 pages, $17.95 CAD
hardbound). Both are guides to wines from all around the world, not just to the "best"
wines. Similarities: Johnson claims more than 6000 wines are listed, while Clarke says
more than 7000, but then recommends 4000 producers. News, vintage charts and data,
glossaries, best value wines, and what to drink now are in both books. The major
differences: Johnson has been at it longer – this is his 36th edition (Clarke is celebrating
his 22th anniversary) -- and has more respect from erudite readers for his exactitude and
scholarliness. His book is arranged by region; Clarke's book is in dictionary, A – Z form
(about 1600 main entries). It is really six of one, or half a dozen of another which one to
use. Apparently, Amazon.Com reports that many people buy both, for about $20 US
total. Both books have notes on the 2011 vintage and some details about 2012, along with
a closer look at the 2010. It is fun to look at the two books and find out where they
diverge. As a sidelight, Johnson and Oz are moving more into food: there is a 16 page
section on food and wine matching in the former, while Oz has 6 pages. Johnson also has
a listing of his personal 200 fave wines and a special chapter on Champagne and
sparkling wines. Both books could profit from online accessibility or a CD-ROM
production. What I don't like about both books is that they come out too early. Johnson
was available August 15, while Clarke was released on October 2. I guess that this gets
them off the hook about having to comment on the 2012 harvest and vintage in the
Northern hemisphere!!
Other wine annuals – mostly paperbacks -- deal with "recommended" wines, not all of
the wines in the world. They can afford the space for more in-depth tasting notes (TNs)
of what they actually do cover (usually just wines available in their local marketplace).
----THE 500 BEST-VALUE WINES IN THE LCBO 2013 (Whitecap, 2012, 250 pages,
$19.95 CAD paper back) takes a more determined run at the wines at the LCBO. This
fifth edition (now biennially issued?), by Rod Phillips (wine writer for the Ottawa
Citizen), has wines arranged by wine colour and then by region/country with price and
CSPC number. Each value wine gets a rating (the basic is three stars out of five), and
there is an indication of food pairings. A good guidebook, but I'm afraid most people will
just look through it for the 5 star selections and leave it at that. Turnover in Ontario is
enormous because this update claims over 150 new wines for a book that deals with just
500. Coverage is limited to LCBO General Purchase wines and LCBO Vintages
Essentials, the wines that are available (if only by special internal order) in every LCBO
--BILLY'S BEST BOTTLES; wines for 2013 (McArthur & Company, 2012, 240 pages,
$19.95 CAD soft covers) by Billy Munnelly is back for another round (23 ed), creating
more emphasis on wine and food pairing, party planning, and some social manners.
There's some info about country trends and frequently-asked questions about wine. Plus
data on Ontario winery tours. His whole concept of wine is organized by Mood, with
sections on wine colour and style/weight, and the wines are usually those available at the
LCBO. Most should be available across the country. He has over 400 best international
wine buys, with most under $20 and many under $12. And there is a wine index at the
back where wines are listed by region. Check out
--HAD A GLASS 2013; top 100 wines under $20 (Appetite by Random House, 2012,
170 pages, $19.95 CAD paper covers) is now by James Nevison alone, the co-author of
2003's "Have a Glass; a modern guide to wine". He reports regularly at Had a Glass (now in its sixth edition but with a new publisher)
showcases top inexpensive wines available with national distribution. He tries to pick
wines available to match any occasion, and along the way he provides tips on food and
wine pairing and stemware. The first forty pages present all the basics. I am not sure why
it is here since the book is really about the top 100 wines. Most readers/buyers will head
straight for the listings which follow, one per page, for whites, roses, reds, aperitifs,
dessert wines and sparklers. This year, in view of rising prices, he has enlarged his scope
to cover some "splurge" wines. For Ontario, this is just at the very time that the LCBO is
concentrating on the $15 to $19.95 spread. There are indexes by countries and by
wine/variety. Tasting notes are pretty bare bones, but each wine does have a label,
description of the product, a price, and some food matches.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Food and Wine-Related Books for the 2012 Holidays, Part two...

For the more literate person, there are the histories and "memoirs" of writers, chefs,
and wine people. Some have called these memoirs "creative non-fiction", many with
embellishments and gilding. And most of them suffer from a lack of indexing, which
makes it difficult to find what the writer said about another person or subject. But this
also avoids the potential for lawsuits and disjointed noses. Nevertheless, they are
rewarding to read. Who cares about poetic license? Here then are some that stood out
from last year's run, and any of them would make great gifts for the reader. Here we go,
in no particular order (and one of them is a novel)…
--MEMOIR OF THE SUNDAY BRUNCH (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013 [sic],
260 pages, $13.95 US paper covers) is an imprint from Workman Publishing. Here Julia
Pandl writes about how she and her eight siblings worked in their father's restaurant in
Milwaukee. It's a good coming of age book but with restaurants as the main background.
Good humour with sharp insights.
--THE 4-HOUR CHEF (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 674 pages, $39.95 CAN
hardcovers) is by Timothy Ferriss, who specializes in meta-learning principles. He feels
that anyone can do anything with a four-hour learning window, such as memorizing a
deck of cards is less than 60 seconds or speaking fluent Spanish in eight weeks. Here you
can learn to cook like a pro. He interviews and talks with chefs from around the world to
capture their best principles, so that you can compress six months of culinary school into
48 hours. You should also be able create "amazing" cocktails in minutes, cook an epic
clambake in a garbage can (presumably clean), and get VIP treatment in restaurants and
bars (on page 626). His book is loaded with tips and advice, recipes, and will get you
going until NEXT Christmas.

--UNQUENCHABLE; a tipsy quest for the world's best bargain wines (Anchor Canada,
2011, 2012, 267 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is back this year, but in paperback
form and with new material such as wine and book pairing. Natalie MacLean writes with
charm, and her book is definitely in the "chick lit" arena, even more so now with the
book notes.
--WHOLE LARDER LOVE (PowerHouse Books, 2012, 240 pages, $42 CAN hard
covers) is by Rohan Anderson, an Australian who lives in an historical town and forages
for his food. It's a hand lettered book, heavy with photos, and is an extremely good read
covering how to grow food, gather, forage, and how to cook. There's hot zucchini relish,
boysenberry raspberry jam, kale fusilli, eel cake with white beans, and camp-cooked
lamb shoulder.
MUNCHIES (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 64 pages, $14.95 CAN hardcover) must
be a serious book since there is NO index: real stoners never need or use indexes. Written
by Dr. Hash, it goes back to basics: getting to know your weed. Then there are cannabis
canapés, hash brownies, cupcakes and fudge, pizza and tacos. But nothing for a bake sale.
Here is also hash coffee and cocktails. 30 recipes in all to get you high.

--JOIE DE VIVRE (St. Martin's Press, 2012, 304 pages, $28.99 CAN hard covers) is by
Harriet Welty Rochefort, and American living in France. She lets us in on the secrets of
wining, dining and romancing like the French. It's a humourous memoir of her
experiences with her French husband. Her top tips on how to do it like the French: revel
in the moment, spend time creating feasts, pay attention to details (although her own
book lacks an index), work hard, and enjoy discords. She's got my vote!
--PERFECT PAIRINGS (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012, 160 pages, $24.95 US) is a book
package with multiple authors from the Ryland stable. There are themed menus (cheese,
summer, winter, wine with friends, special occasions such as Chinese New Year, farmers
markets, tapas), plus a pretty good 32-page primer on wine. A good entry level gift for
the food person who wants to know more about wine.

--TOP 100 STEP-BY-STEP NAPKIN FOLDS (Robert Rose, 2012, 224 pages, $29.95
CAN paper covers) has more than 1000 photographs illustrating the various techniques.
Denise Vivaldo has divided them up into easy, intermediate and advanced levels for all
occasions, from kids' birthdays to formal sit-downs. My favourite is the tuxedo. What a
great way to impress the hell out of you dinner guests: it'll make them forget any
mismatched wines!
…and the novel: WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD BUTTER (St. Martin's Press, 2012, 337
pages, $29.99 CAN hard covers) is by Beth Harbison. It's her sixth book, and she has an
engaging writing style. The chick lit plot here is a caterer/personal chef with six steady
clients is searching for true love. A soft read for the holidays.

C. Family values Christmas gift cook books would have to include:
--SMALL PLATES & SWEET TREATS; my family's journey to gluten-free cooking
(Little, Brown and Co., 2012, 296 pages, $32.99 CAN hard covers) is by Aran Goyoaga,
a full-time food writer and blogger who became gluten-intolerant. This collection of 120
recipes is arranged by season. Since she is also a food stylist, there are her photos as well.
The range includes tarts, salads, soups and stews, plus some of her signature desserts.
Everything is SLOFE (seasonal, local, organic, fast and easy, and suited for family meals.
Try her eggplant stuffed with millet and Serrano ham. Her blog gets almost 4 million hits a year, and was named the #2 blog in
the world by the Times (UK).

--THE PICKY PALATE COOKBOOK (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 208 spiral bound
pages, $29.99 CAN) is by Jenny Flake, a food blogger running It's
meant for on-the-go moms/dads who need to appeal to a wide-range of likes and dislikes
at home. There are 133 recipes here for picky eaters, almost 100 exclusive to the book
and not found on the website. There are breakfasts, mains "slow and low" preps, and
home entertaining. For picky eaters, the trick is to make the food attractive, and the
photos do work in that respect.

Common Press, 2012, 372 pages, $18.95 CAN soft covers) is by Jessica Fisher, a free-
lance writer and blogger. It's the latest one of the "Not Your Mother's Cookbooks"
series, a great idea for families. She has over 200 freezer-friendly recipes. No gastroporn
photos in this non-illustrated tome – just the preps for such as breakfast sliders, scones,
chipotle taco, sesame chicken, and southwest seasoned pork chops. It's loaded with tips
and advice (best freezer bags, how to safely thaw). She recommends making and
preserving two weeks of meals at one time. You can get more from her blog Cook out of the freezer whenever you want to…

--1,000 LOW CALORIE RECIPES (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 600 pages, $41.99 CAN)
just screams "FAMILY". It's by Jackie Newgent, RD, nutrition cookbook author. There
are no illustrations, and the pages have two columns each, but it gives you all the basic
preps plus nutritional data for each recipe. Lots of web and print resources are listed.
Every dish has fewer than 500 calories per serving, and many have fewer than 300. All
courses, snacks, drinks, cocktails, breakfasts, and brunches are covered.

--ENTERTAINING (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 34 pages, $38.99 CAN hardcovers) is by
Abigail Kirsch, a cooking school owner and caterer. It comes under the auspices the
Culinary Institute of America, and it promises recipes and inspirations for gathering with
family and friends. So this is about planning and pulling off get-togethers, with 200
recipes. Here is the usual primer on how to organize, followed by apps, other courses,
desserts and beverages. Quite useful.

(Hearst books, 2012, 444 pages, $35.95 CAN ring binder) promises gooey, chewy,
flakey, crispy, crunchy, sweet and luscious treats – about 250 of them, in a shrink-
wrapped package. There are chapters on working with kids for the easy-to-shape cookies,
brownies and bars, how-to-photos and smartphone tags to 20 how-to video links,
emergency baking substitutions, and many charts.
--BELLY FAT DIET FOR DUMMIES (John Wiley & Sons, 2013 [already?], 338 pages,
$23.99 CAN soft covers) is by Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, and it promotes the good
life while shedding excess belly fat and keeping it off. It takes your apple and turns it into
a pear: how about that for magic? She's got more than 40 recipes to reduce bloat and fat,
some workout routines, and some guidance on keeping weight off. Her to-ten belly
bloaters include bagels, cabbage, carbonated drinks, sausage, sugar alcohols, and white
rice. Her top ten nutrients that shrink bellies include caraway seeds, cinnamon, omega-3
fatty acids, resveratrol, and vitamin C.
--ROSE REISMAN'S CHOOSE IT AND LOSE IT (Whitecap Books, 2012, 165 pages,
$24.95 CAN soft covers) is an odd book – how to lose weight by eating and trading-off at
restaurants. She tells you how to make better informed judgements when ordering food at
over 60 national fast-food restaurants. In other words, these are her selections for the best
nutritional food values at the fast food places. Some people will say, "hey, I go for the
hamburger, not the salad". But you can use it as a book to guide you when someone
suggests that you go to a place you don't really want to go to, but eating out is the best
option for talking or companionship. If you hate burgers, take the salad option. In that
context, the book might be useful, although some people insist that there is NO healthy
food at takeouts/fast food joints. No recipes here, but lots of material on reducing
calories, fat and sodium.
352 pages, $27.95 CAN soft covers) is by Alexandra Anca, RD. It covers the top ten food
allergies: peanuts, seafood, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, sesame seeds, tree nuts, and others.
It's a comprehensive book, dealing with food allergies vs. food intolerance, elimination
diet vs. exclusion diet, and (importantly) how to manage food allergies when eating out
or at work. Did you know that fish and seafood are the most common triggers for adult-
onset allergies? There are 150 preps here, with 30-day meal plans and nutritional

16th Annual Survey of Food and Wine-Related Books for the Holidays!! Part One

By Dean Tudor, Ryerson Journalism Professor Emeritus and Gothic
Epicures Writing, (World Wine Watch Newsletter).

There are so many new food and wine books out there for people who have picky tastes!!
What to choose? I have cast about for material and have come up with a decent selection
to satisfy any pocketbook, any host, and any friend. All books and book-like materials
that are listed here are RECOMMENDED, and probably can be purchased at a discount
via Amazon.Ca, Chapters.Ca (with free delivery on a total purchase of over $25), or even
The Book Depository in Guernsey.
Price Alert: because of US dollar fluctuations with Canada, all prices may vary. I have
used CAN wherever I know it.
A. Art/travel/history books might be some of the best books to give a loved one
(or to yourself, since you are your own best loved one), because most may cost you an
arm and a leg. Books for the coffee table have their place in the gift scheme: just about
every such book is only bought as a gift! And don't let the prices daunt you. Such books
are available at a discount from online vendors. Because of the "economy", not too many
pricey food and wine books were released last year and this year, and book reviewers
were cut off from many foreign imports and expensive books.
--BOUCHON BAKERY (Artisan, 2012; distr. T. Allen, 400 pages, $50US hard covers)
is by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. These are preps for the goods from the bakery
of the same name (there are five of them in the US). The French classics are here:
baguettes, macarons, mille-feuilles, and tartes aux fruits. As well, Keller promotes his at-
home versions of poplar American cookies and sweet snacks, providing some uplift to
banal Oreos and such. Co-author Rouxel is the pastry chef for the Thomas Keller
Restaurant Group (French Laundry, Per Se, Ad Hoc, Bouchon) and he shares his advice
for a professional finish for home cooks. Lots of photos by Deborah Jones to look at. It's
a heavy book at almost six pounds, but online sites usually offer free shipping should you
want to send a copy to someone across the continent.

--MASTERING THE ART OF SOUTHERN COOKING (Gibbs Smith, 2012, 720 pages, $49.99 CAN hard covers) is by Southern food expert Nathalie Dupree and her TV producer Cynthia Stevens Graubart. Purists may resent the use of the words "Mastering the Art of …Cooking", but it has been 61 years since Julia Child's epic was published. Here are 750 or so recipes with 650 variations, all laid out with great research and photos. Early chapters cover the evolution of Southern food, which Dupree has called "the Mother Cuisine of America". The classics are all here, including two Chess Pie preps (but without any history behind them). Modern updates are made for many veggies, such as grilled asparagus, creamy grits, and okra chips. A large typeface is a boon, and this continues through the index and the bibliography. It's a great gift if you can carry it (the weight is well-over six pounds).

--CANADA'S FAVOURITE RECIPES (Whitecap Books, 2012, 336 pages, $40
hardcovers) is by Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird, who together have put out or edited
over 40 cookbooks. Their previous collaboration was "A Taste of Canada", and this
current work follows up on that book with 160 more recipes representative of Canada. As
the publisher says, "This evocative hardcover volume will be an essential gift for ever
Canadian foodie this holiday season!"…and who am I to quarrel with that? The book
argues how distinctive our food is, and ho people, climate, and land influence that food.
So here we have tourtiere, cod and potato fritters, braised lamb stew, and a maple-carrot

--TARTINE: the boxed set (Chronicle Books, 2012, $75 US hard covers) is a two book
set by Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, a husband and wife baker-pastry chef
owners of the eponymous San Francisco bakery. Both books were CIA and Beard
nominees. One is mostly pastry and desserts, with preps measured in volume, weight, and
metric; the other book is the bread book. Very sturdy production for such fat books.

--THE WAY WE COOK (Saveur/Weldon Owen, 2012, 272 pages, $39.95 CAN
hardcovers) is from Saveur magazine. It is a collection of photographs from 15
photographers (including Naomi Duguid from Toronto) celebrating cooks and chefs all
over the world. There are personal stories and 50 regional recipes, and details about
individual kitchens and cultures. Covered are restaurants, homes, markets, street food,
and rural life. A great affordable gift for the armchair traveler.

Tabori & Chang, 2012, 512 pages, $92 CAN hard covers) is from the International
Culinary Center's School of Italian Studies (NYC). It's by Cesare Casella and Stephanie
Lyness. The ICC is also home to the French Culinary Center. The book has all the
important preps from the ICC's Italian curriculum, along with technical instruction and
over 650 photos. Part One is 200 classic recipes, from antipasti to desserts. Part Two has
chapters on cheese-making, rustic soups, all the primo and secondo courses, plus
specialities of dried legumes, rabbit and egg foams. Some classics: salsiccia (fresh pork
sausage), cinghiale in agrodolce (sweet and sour wild boar), and stracotto (braised beef).

GASTRONOMIC HISTORY (Cape Breton University Press, 2012, 254 pages, $29.99
CAN hard covers) is a bi-lingual historical cookbook, with updated recipes, from the
cooks at Louisbourg on Cape Breton. In 2013, Parks Canada will celebrate 300 years of
Louisbourg with food, music, dance, markets, muskets, and fifes and drums. This book is
but one part of the action, for there will be food at the fortress too. There are coupons at
the back of the book for entrance to Louisbourg, worth more than the book's purchase
price. So if you are planning on going (or know someone who is), then this is the ideal
book for the holidays. Everyone can have time to read it and enjoy cooking from it before
visiting. The main author is Anne Marie Lane-Jonah, staff historian for Parks Canada at
the Fortress. Chanal Vechambre is a chef certified in cuisine and pastry. The book is
richly illustrated, and covers food, gardening beverages, menus, glossary, and a resources
list. Typical preps include eel pie, carrot and parsnip fricassee, oyster casserole, and
mussels ragout. The Acadian meals here reflect the cultures of the time, but all the
recipes have been modernized.

--ELEMENTS OF DESSERT (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 536 pages, $78 CAN had
covers) is by Francisco Migoya, now teaching at the CIA. He's a former executive pastry
chef at many of New York's top restaurants. This is another book in the CIA series,
reaching out to both the trade and consumers. It's a compilation of dessert knowledge,
and at this level, appears to be definitive. The first 100 pages cover the fundamentals and
philosophy behind mousses, doughs, ganaches, flavours, compositions, combinations,
and preparations needed. Then it is on to semi-sweet desserts, plated desserts, small items
for a buffet, and even smaller items for "passed around desserts" nibbles. There's lots of
advice on plating and a concluding bibliography. With over 200 recipes in a five pound
package you might want to get free postage by ordering it through Amazon etc.

2012, 240 pages, $60 US hard covers) is a 25th anniversary celebration of the Foundation.
James Beard set the standard, and since then it has been met and exceeded by chefs such
as Charlie Trotter, Alice Waters, Larry Forgione, Daniel Boulud, Rick Bayless, Jeremiah
Tower – 20 in all, who contribute here to their oversized and weighty tome. There's a
profile for each of these Outstanding Chef Award winners, plus some of their recipes, and

-- FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO THE WORLD (Lonely Planet, 2012, 320 pages, $39.99
US) is an invitation to travel the world for a lifetime of eating experiences. It includes
celebrity food-lover contributions, best places to find local dishes in cities great and
small, cultural tips and how-to-eat etiquette, introductions by Mark Bittman and James
Oseland, and more than 50 recipes.

–COOKING SEASON BY SEASON (DK Books, 2012, 496 pages, $39 CAN hard
covers) has about 1,000 recipes organized by season and includes features highlighting
the best produce and how to make the most of it. It is fairly comprehensive in that well-
known DK style – with a produce guide and a kitchen companion to turn to for every day
of the year. Plus 750 full-colour photos. There's also a Recipe Chooser for each chapter
listing all the dishes that can be cooked for each seasonal ingredient.

--LAROUSSE ON COOKING (John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 592 pages, $54 CAN hard
covers) is the English translation of the 2010 French edition, which was published to
great acclaim. Here are 300 recipes (each with a photo) for "everyone, from beginner to
expert". It has coverage from hors d'oeuvre to apps to mains, with some international
non-French dishes from Mediterranean or Asiatic countries in a separate chapter. There
are 28 "cooking classes" (illustrated techniques) for such toughies as removing an
artichoke heart or cleaning scallops. Here is also an excellent cooking glossary plus two
recipe indexes by ingredient and by name. The book will get you through about 95% of
all your cooking needs. A great gift idea.

--THE COUNTRY COOKING OF GREECE (Chronicle Books, 2012, 384 pages, $55
CAN hard covers) is by Diane Kochilas, who has written 18 Greek cookbooks. It's a
regional book, with 200 preps ranging from hand-shaped pastries through seafood, local
cheeses, wines and liquors. It is also a cultural guide to tavernas, holiday meals, drinking
rituals, meze, and regional specialities. There's a whole chapter on artichokes, and
another on flatbreads. Important meats are lamb, goat, and rabbit. The photos are good
for armchair travellers. One could say that this is a posh book.

--THE GREAT MEAT COOKBOOK (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, 632 pages,
$46.95 CAN hard covers) is by Bruce Aidells. It's a guide to all of the major cuts of meat
(steaks, shops, roasts, ribs), with handy recipe tags for company meals, quick and easy,
and leftovers. He also has preps for charcuterie (he owns a sausage company), some rare
meats such as bison, goat, heirloom pork), and some offal (tongues, sweetbreads, liver
but no heart or kidneys).

--CLASSIC DINING; discovering America's finest mid-century restaurants (Gibbs
Smith, 2012, 176 pages, $30 US hard covers) is by Peter Moruzzi, with additional photos
and text by Sven A. Kirsten and Nathan Marsak. Mid-century here refers to mid-1900s,
so the survey includes such palaces as the Grand Central Oyster Bar, the Del-Bar in
Wisconsin, Antoine's in New Orleans, the Mai-Kai in Florida, Lawry's The Prime Rib in
LA, the Golden Steer in Las Vegas, and Town and Country in Dallas. He's got notes on
over 200 places in all 50 states, along with reproductions of adverts and menus, posters
and postcards, and similar memorabilia – but no recipes. These places all had some
variation of softly lit wood panelling, starched tablecloths, curved booths, tuxedoed staff,
and white glove service. They also had – with exceptions – basically meat and potatoes
for the men, shrimp cocktails and lobsters for the ladies. A trip down nostalgia lane for
middle America.

--CANAL HOUSE COOKS EVERY DAY (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012, 360
pages, $52.99 CAN) is by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, co-founders
who once ran Saveur magazine and its test kitchen. Today they own and operate Canal
House in Lambertville, New Jersey, one of the top restaurants in the USA. It's a seasonal
cookbook, beginning with spring, highlighting the produce that comes through the year.
There are even 11 menus of celebration for the typical holidays such as Valentine,
Christmas, Easter, and Birthdays. And they have 12 essays, one for each month,
highlighting some food aspect for that month. About 250 recipes with some essentials for
the pantry, mostly illustrated with gorgeous photography. Top notch production,
weighing in at about 4.5 pounds.

--JAMIE OLIVER'S GREAT BRITAIN (Hyperion Books, 2012, 402 pages, $39.95
CAN hard covers) has 130 of this well-known celebrity TV chef's fave British recipes,
ranging from comfort food to new classics. This is mainly home cooking, based on his
parents' gastropub where he grew up. The publisher says that it's supposed to be his first
cookbook which focuses on the home. It is well-illustrated with over 1000 photos, and
covers breakfasts through soup, salad, "pub grub", afternoon tea, pies, puddings, Sunday
lunch, and wild food such as seared venison loin with Scottish risotto and golden
pheasant hash. Vegetarian recipes are marked with a "V".

--THE ESSENTIAL JAMES BEARD COOKBOOK (St. Martin's Press, 2012, 380
pages, $40 CAN hard bound) is a collection of some 450 recipes that shaped the tradition
of North American cooking. Know as the Dean of American Cooking, Beard was a
presence on the culinary landscape for 50 years. This fat volume, with double columns
and mercifully no pictures, gives us some of his best recipes, sorted into categories such
as soups, salads, game, fish, eggs, pasta, veggies, grains, yeast and quick breads, and
desserts. There's introductory material about the man, but just a little to connect him to
most of these recipes through a few recipe head-notes. This is an engaging book that can
serve as a primer for how we cooked over the years.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Zenato Ripassa's 20th Anniversary celebration at Biagio's Nov 25/12

The Date and Time: Thursday, November 15, 2012 1PM to 4PM
The Event: Zenato Ripassa 20th anniversary vertical tasting, with
Alberto Zenato, owner and winemaker, and with his agency J. Cipelli.
The Venue: Biago's
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: very few of these wines are now available
except at the winery and upon request. The current Ontario LCBO
offering is 2009 vintage, at $24.95 +479766.
The Quote/Background: Ripassa is a copyrighted/trademarked term by
Zenato. It is their expression for "Ripasso"; it is done the same way.
The first vintage was in 1992, we started with the next one from 1993.
We had nine ripassas.
The Wines: We began with the Lugana Brut NV sparkler, MC production,
made with a trebbiano clone. It was excellent, between $30 – 35, my
rated at ***1/2 or 89 points.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 2001 – aged beautifully, difficult
to separate from Amarone.
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 1995 – dramatically aged, like an
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Lugana Brut MC NV, $30 – 35.
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 1993 – chocolate and spices,
showing age well
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 1997 – rounder, but dried shorter
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 2004 – juicy Italianate
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 2006 – chocolate, NA style
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 2009, $24.95, +479766 – good
Italianate consistency, big wine in style, opens beautifully.
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Zenato Rosso del Veneto IGT, +208579, $11.40
-Zenato Soave Classico DOC, +268417, $12.75
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 1998 – huge nose but tastes old,
some acetone which blew off.
-Zenato Valpoliella Classico Ripassa 2008 – flat but chewy cherries.
The Food: charcuterie, breads, tomatoes and mozzarella.
The Downside: nothing really, although not every RSVP person turned
The Upside: a chance to talk with Alberto Zenato
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

17th Annual Italian Wine Tasting, Toronto Nov 5/12

1. The Date and Time: Monday, November 5, 2012 11AM to 5 PM
The Event: The 17th annual Italian wine tasting.
The Venue: Roy Thomson Hall
The Target Audience: wine trade and some other people with scents.
The Availability/Catalogue: eclectic – most wines were here in the
normal LCBO distribution channels, others were private order only.
The Quote/Background: It gets larger every year, or seems to be. This
year there were 79 companies, most with agents, and about 640 wines.
They ranged from Amastuola (Puglia) to Zonin (Veneto).
The Wines: I did not try every wine. This year, I applied the principle
of "serendipity" and went where my nose led me. This meant I avoided
the "perfumed" quadrants but attended the food areas. Plus, I asked
people where I should taste next. Prices were usually vague, if at all.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT 2008, +912956, $28.95.
-Ruffino Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, +353201, $43.95
-Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche 2005, Profile Wine Group
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, Halpern
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Cultus Boni 2009, $34.95 Halpern
-Castello Banfi Alta Langa Cuvee Aurora Rose 2009, $24.95 Authentic
Wines and Spirits
-Clavesana Barolo Olo 2008, $29.95 J. Cipelli
-G. Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Bosan 2004, $90 Profile Wine
-Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino Bianco 2011, Lifford
-Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Campolongo de Torbe 2006,
-Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Vaio Armaron Serego
Alighieri, 2006, Authentic
-San Felice Toscana IGT Vigorello 2008, John Hanna & Sons
-San Felice Toscana IGT Pugnitello 2007, John Hanna & Sons
-Luce della Vite Brunello di Montalcino 2007, Authentic
-Zonin Amarone della Valpolicella 2008, $36.30 Imprese
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Ruffino Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino 2006, +926402, $49.95
-Ruffino Ducale Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, +45195, $24.95
-Bisol Desiderio & Figli Jeio Cuvee Rose Spumante Brut NV, $12.95
-Bisol Desiderio & Figli Jeio Colmei Prosecco Superiore di
Valdobbiadene NV Extra Dry, $15.05 Halpern
-Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche Riserva 2004, Profile Wine Group
-Aurelio Settimo Barolo 2007, Profile Wine Group
-Aurelio Settimo Barolo Rocche dell Annunziata 2007, Profile Wine Group
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Cetamura 2011, $13.95 Halpern
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico CS 2010, $22.95 Halpern
-Bersano Barolo Riserva 2006, $69.95 Profile Wine Group
-De Angelis Rosso Piceno Superiore Marche 2009, $13.95 Ruby
-De Angelis Marche IGT Anghelos 2009, Ruby
-G. Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Il Bosco 2006, $70
Profile Wine Group
-Malvira Roero Arneis Renesio 2010, Ex-Cellars
-Cantine Miali Salento IGT Mater 2008 Puglia, Golden Valley
-Monte del Fra Bianco di Custoza Ca' del Magro 2010, Signatures
-Planeta Sicilia IGT Chardonnay 2010, Halpern
-Silvano Piacentini Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2009, $16.95 Ruby
-Rocca Delle Macie Maremma Toscana IGT Occhio a Vento 2011, Noble
-San Fabiano Calcinaia Toscana IGT Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Groupe
-San Fabiano Calcinaia Toscana IGT Cerviolo Bianco 2009, $32 Groupe
-San Felice Chianti Classico Poggio Rosso 2008, John Hanna & Sons
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2009, $22.95 Halpern
-Casetta Flli Nebbiolo d'Alba Rivere 2006, $16.95 Signatures
-Malvira Roero Arneis 2011, Ex-Cellars
-Manfredi Barolo Patrizi 2008, $23.95 HHD Imports
-S. Michele Pinot Grigio Trentino 2011, $17.95 Ruby
The Food: catered by Paganelli's, with lasagna, cold cuts, cheeses, and
cold porchetta sandwiches (somewhat stringy from the sliced rinds).
The Downside: There were many "non-trade" ladies (and at least two men)
loaded with scents/perfume. They totally destroyed that part of the
room for me.
The Upside: I particularly liked the oppressive security – I was
searched BOTH on arrival and on departure. Some friends and I were
ushered out of a lounge area that had for many years been a place to
eat some food, with wine and talk. Apparently, that had now changed: it
is an unlicensed area. Really?
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ontario Holiday Press Tasting of Chilean Wines at Spoke Club, Dec 4/12

The Date and Time: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 11AM to 2 PM
The Event: Ontario Holiday Press Tasting of Chilean Wines
The Venue: Spoke Club
The Target Audience: wine press
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available for the holidays,
except for a few late entries. The catalogue had a lot of useful data.
The Quote/Background: The Chileans thought it would be useful if wine
writers were exposed to most of the wines from Chile that were
currently available through the LCBO, in time for the seasonal
The Wines:
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Maquis Lien 2006 Colchagua, $19.95 +292250 Vintages
-Vina Siegel Gran Crucero Limited Edition 2010 Colchagua, $39.95
-Chilcas Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Colchagua, $17.50
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Antiguas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, $15.96 +212993 GL
-Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, $19.95 +337238
-Concha y Toro Terrunyo Carmenere 2009 Rapel, $29.95 +562892 Vintages
-Emiliana Adobe Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Casblanca, $12.95 +266049 GL
-Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Aconcagua Costa, $18.95,
+335174 GL
-Lapostolle Casa Carmenere 2011 Rapel, $15.95 +168740 GL
-Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Leyda, $16.95
-Vina Maipo Vitral Reserva Chardonnay 2011 Casablanca, $13.95, +270009
-Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carmenere Syrah 2009 Maule, $16.95 +274100
-San Pedro 35 South Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Organic 2011, $12.95
-San Esteban In Situ Carmenere Gran Reserva 2011 Acocagua, $16.80
-San Esteban In Situ Signature Wines White 2011 Acocagua, $15.50
-Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, $18.75
-Valdivieso Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Leyda, $18.75
-Valdivieso Reserva Carmenere 2011 Colchagua, $19.99 PO Wine Lovers
-Valdivieso Reserva Syrah 2009 Central Valley, $17.99 Con Wine Lovers
-San Rafael Via Chilensis Lazuli 2010 Maule, $24.95
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Marques de Casa Concha Pinot Noir 2011 Limari, $19.95
-Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Aconcagua Costa, $15.95
+273342 GL
-Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2010 Aconcagua Costa, $18.95, +614750 GL
-San Pedro Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
-San Pedro 35 South Sauvignon Blanc 2011, $12.95 +170001
-San Pedro 35 South Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $12.95 +170019
-San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, $19.95
+37911 Vintages
-San Esteban In Situ Carmenere Reserva 2011 Acocagua, $12.80
-Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2010 Maipo, $16.70
-Valdivieso Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Central Valley, $11.99 Con Wine Lovers
-Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carignan 2010 Maule, $15.95
The Food: lots of lamb lollipops, hot chorizo, pate, cheeses, crackers,
salmon tartare, grilled cheese sandwiches, sliders of braised beef,
with accompaniments.
The Downside: it seemed to be a smaller crowd than usual.
The Upside: a chance to talk with some agents in a low key situation,
with colleagues.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Major tasting of Ontario Sparkling Wines, Dec 11/12.

The Date and Time: Tuesday, December 11, 2012   11:30 AM to 2:30 PM

The Event: Media Tasting of Ontario Sparklers

The Venue: Stock Restaurant, Trump Tower

The Target Audience: wine and food writers, about two dozen of us.

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, some at the LCBO.

The Quote/Background: Wine Country Ontario wanted us to experience the versatility of sparkling wines, to pair them with food at meals. It was their intent to have us encourage our readers to consume sparkling wine with meals or have service beyond just special occasions. Winemaker Angelo Pavan of Cave Spring Cellars talked about Ontario's cool climate as being suitable for sparkling wines. About 2/3 (by volume) of the sparklers in Ontario are being made by the traditional method of riddling and lees contact – that's now about 70,000 cases over two years. Cool climate chardonnays and pinot noirs are the principal grapes, although global climate changes have encouraged the use of riesling and some gamay noir in the production. Currently, 26 (our of 132) wineries in Ontario produce sparkling wine.

The Wines: We had 18 wines, nine tasted as a flight and nine with food but allowing for cross-matching opportunities.


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

-Huff Estates Cuvee Peter F. Huff 2008, $39.95

-13th Street Winery Premier Cuvee 2008, $34.95

-Cave Spring Cellars Blanc de Noirs Brut 2006, $34.95

-Cave Spring Cellars Blanc de Blancs Brut NV, $29.95

-Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Estate Blanc de Blancs "Carte Blanche" 2007, $44.95.


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

-The Grange of Prince Edward Sparkling Riesling 2010, $24.95

-Tawse Winery David's Block Chardonnay "Spark" 2009, $39.95

-Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Rose NV, $29.95

-Chateau des Charmes Rose Sparkling Wine Estate Bottled 2009, $28.95

-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2008, $22.95

-Flat Rock Cellars Riddled 2008, $24.95

-Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine NV, $29.95


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

-Trius Winery Brut NV, $24.95

-Hinterland Ancestral [gamay noir] 2012, $25

-Casa-Dea Estates Winery Dea's Rose 2011, $19.95

-Angel's Gate Archangel Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs 2010, $21.95

-Mike Weir Wine Sparkling Brut 2009, $24.95


The Food: We were treated by Exec Chef Todd Clarmo of Stock. He had prepared 9 terrific dishes, almost a tasting menu, to accompany 9 diverse sparklers. We were asked to cross-match with the wines, even using all 18 wines. Here was the menu with the wines in the order that Chef Todd proposed as best matches (I'd say he was right):


Apps – Baby kale & heirloom carrot salad with

        Tawse Winery David's Block Chardonnay "Spark" 2009, $39.95

     - Cold poached lobster salad with

        Trius Winery Brut NV, $24.95

     - Hamachi, fennel and citrus crudo with

        The Grange of Prince Edward Sparkling Riesling 2010, $24.95


Mains – Maple broiled black cod with

         Huff Estates Cuvee Peter F. Huff 2008, $39.95

      - Braised veal shank with

         Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery Cuvee Catharine Rose NV, $29.95

      - Roasted magret of duck a l'orange with

         13th Street Winery Premier Cuvee 2008, $34.95


Desserts – Pain Perdu tangerine sorbet with

            Cave Spring Cellars Blanc de Noirs Brut 2006, $34.95

         - White chocolate ganache with

            Inniskillin Wines Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2011, $79.95 half bottle

         -Coffee Crusted Pecorino Romano

            Hinterland Ancestral [gamay noir] 2012, $25


The Downside: The question was raised by someone as to why, if the emphasis was on serving sparklers at non-special occasions, we were being exposed to sparkling wines just before Christmas. To bloggers, it was easy enough to write and comment on these wines, but to others, time was needed for print versions. Those with monthly columns were at a handicap for Christmas and New Year, but nicely placed for Valentine's Day and, of course, for general all round consumption without a reference point to an "occasion".

The Upside: 18 wines were the subject of a closely focused horizontal, and this give us time for concentration, the idiosyncratic sparkling icewine notwithstanding.

The Contact Person:

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tasting of Abbotts & Delaunay Wines, represented by Azureau, Wine Bar Nov 6/12

The Date and Time: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 Noon to 2:30 PM
The Event: Tasting of Abbotts & Delaunay Wines, represented by Azureau
Wine Agency.
The Venue: Wine Bar, Church Street
The Target Audience: wine press
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available in six-packs,
either by consignment(C) or by private order (PO)
The Quote/Background: Abbotts & Delaunay is a boutique winery
specializing in AOC Languedoc wines. The Australian Nerida Abbott
created the winery, but Laurent Delaunay from Badet Clement acquired it
in 2005. M. Delaunay led the tasting which was complemented by a paired
tasting menu.
The Wines: We tasted the Reserve range and the Nuages et Vents range
(old vines in high altitudes), as well as two entry levels.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Abbotts & Delaunay Minervois 2010 [syrah, grenache, carignan],$18.95 C
-Abbotts & Delaunay Minervois Cumulo Nimbus 2010 [syrah,carignan],
$27.95 C
-Abbotts & Delaunay Alto Stratus Pays d'Oc 2010 [carignan], $27.95 C
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Abbotts & Delaunay Chardonnay Pays d'Oc 2010, $18.95 C
-Abbotts & Delaunay Corbieres 2010 [syrah,grenache,mourvedre],$18.95 PO
-Abbotts & Delaunay Cotes de Roussillon 2010 [syrah, grenache,
carignan], $18.95 C
-Abbotts & Delaunay Zephyr Chardonnay Limoux 2011, $30.95 PO
-Abbotts & Delaunay Boreas 2010 [syrah, grenache, mourvedre], $30.95 PO
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Abbotts & Delaunay Merlot Pays d'Oc 2010, $15.95 C
The Food: We began with an amuse bouche of white truffle and wild
mushroom croquette before moving on to a cheddar and apple salad. Of
course, the wines (all food wines) went well. I saved all of mine for
cross-comparisons. Then we had a plate of duck confit and smoked duck
breast, and this was followed by a wild sustainable fish ragout
(salmon, sea scallops, shrimp). I'm not sure why we had dessert
(apricot and almond cream tart) since there was no wine to match. I
thought maybe a cheese platter? I adjusted my ratings of the wines
after I matched them with the food. Thus, the Minervois and carignan
ones rose higher.
The Downside: we started late as writers kept arriving.
The Upside: good show, interesting commentary on the wines.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):