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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wines of Chile Toronto '12 Trade tasting Oct 2/2012 at ROM

The Date and Time:  Tuesday, October 2, 2012   Noon to 5 PM

The Event: Wines of Chile Toronto '12 (trade tasting and seminar)

The Venue: ROM, Peter Bronfman room

The Target Audience: wine trade

The Availability/Catalogue: most wines are at the LCBO, some are in progress, others are private order.

The Quote/Background: The seminar (which was overflowing, although I spotted three "wasteful" vacancies) featured nine sustainable wines with at least one that was organic There was a speaker for each wine plus an introduction to the sustainability code which has been in effect since January 2012. Twenty wineries now subscribe to this code which is voluntary. My rankings have been folded into the listings below. Sales of all Chilean wines in Ontario grew by 11% (volume) and 12% (value) in 2011 over 2010.

The Wines: I did not try all the wines (see Vina Maipo above and Concha y Toro at last month)


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


-Aboleda Syrah 2010 Aconcagua, $19.95

-Aboleda Sena 2008 Aconcagua, $99.95 +520551

-Caliterra Cenit Colchagua 2008, $59.95 +143917

-Cousino Macul Finis Terrae White Maipo

-Emiliana Signos de Origen Chardonnay Viognier, Marsanne, Rousanne Casablanca 2011, $19.95 +63909

-Montgras Intriga Maipo 2009, $21.95

-Morande House of Morande 2007 Maipo, $54.95

-Vistamar Late Harvest Moscatel 2012 Limari, $10 375mL

-Santa Ema Amplus Carignan 2009 Cachapoal, $29.95

-Montes Purple Angel 2010 Colchagua, $54 +62364

-San Esteban In Situ Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Aconcagua, $16.95 +76281

-Maquis Lien Colchagua 2006, $19.95 +292250

-De Martino Single Vineyard Chardonnay Quebrada Seca 2010 Limari, $24.95

-De Martino Single Vineyard Syrah Alto Los Toros 2008 Elqui, $34.95


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


-Caliterra Tributo Limited Syrah/Cab Sauv/Viognier Colchagua 2010, $24.95

-Concha y Toro Winemaker' Lot 148 Carmenere Peumo, $17.95 +30957

-Concha y Toro Terrunyo Syrah Peumo, $29.95

-Cono Sur Reserva Chardonnay 2011 Casablanca, 12.95 +270066

-Cousino Macul Finis Terrae [Red] 2009 Maipo, $37.95 +901983

-Cousino Macul Antiguas Reserva Chardonnay Maipo, $14.95

-De Martino Legado Chardonnay Limari, $15.35

-De Martino Single Vineyard Old Bush Vines La Aguada Maule 2008, $34.95 [carignan]

-De Martino Single Vineyard Carmenere Alto de Piedras Maipo, $35.20

-Emiliana Adobe Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Casablanca, $12.95 +266049

-Emiliana Coyam 2010 Colchagua, $29.95, +63891

-Errazuriz Don Maximiano 2008 Aconcagua, $79.95

-Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Colchagua, $29.95 Vintages 2013

-Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Leyda, $14.95 +48025

-Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Maipo 2011, $15.5 +694208

-Perez Cruz Liguai [red] 2009 Maipo, $39.95 +228429

-Perez Cruz Quelen [red] 2008 Maipo, $49.95 +228437

-Requingua Potro de Piedra 2009 Curico, $24.95

-San Esteban In Situ Laguna del Inca 2009 Aconcagua, $24.95

-San Esteban In Situ Laguna del Inca 2010 Aconcagua, $25

-San Esteban In Situ Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Aconcagua, $13.95 [organic]

-San Esteban In Situ Reserva Syrah 2010 Aconcagua, $13.95

-San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Maipo, $19.95 +37911

-Santa Ema Amplus One Cachapoal, $23.95 +169987

-Santa Ema Reserve Chardonnay 2011 Casablanca, $16.95

-Siegel Crucero Reserve Chardonnay 2011 Maipo, $13.95

-Valdivieso Reserve Syrah 2010 Colchagua, $17.95

-Vertice Carmenere Syrah 2007 Apalta Colchagua, $29.95

-Cono Sur 20 Barrels Limited Edition Syrah Limari 2009, $26.95 +213561

-Cono Sur 20 Barrels Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2009, $26.95 +94128

-Dos Andes Porta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Aconcagua , $12.95

-San Pedro Castillo de Molina Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Elqui, $16.95

-Emiliana Novas Carmenere Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Colchagua, $14.95 +66746

-Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Aconcagua, $15.95

-Santa Rita Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Maipo, $19.95 +275594

-Siegel Gran Crucero Limited Edition 2009 Colchagua, $39.95

-Via Wines Chilcas Pais 2011 Maule, $19.95

-Santa Ema Catalina 2008 Cachapoal, $44.95


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


-Aboleda Chardonnay 2011 Aconcagua, $18.95 +606772

-Maquis Lien Colchagua 2008, $29.95

-Santa Alicia Reserva Carignan 2011 Maule, $12.95

-Santa Carolina Specialties Carignan 2009 Cauquenes, $15.95

-Via Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carmenere Maule 2011, $15.5 +302646

-Emiliana Signos de Origen Cab Sauvignon 2009 Maipo, $21.95

-Cono Sur Organic Chardonnay 2011 San Antonio, $11.95 +230565

-San Pedro 35 South Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Central, $12.95 +218859

-De Martino Nuevo Mundo Cabernet/Malbec Reserve 2010 Maipo, $15.95


The Food: Daniel et Daniel did the catering: we had cheeses, charcuterie, skewered pecan chicken, veggies and dips, breads, biscuits, pates, terrines, and three kinds of empanadas (seafood, chicken, beef).

The Downside: the seminar went on too long.

The Upside: the special tables for tasting wines (prize winners, sustainability, licensee selections, seminar wines).

The Contact Person:

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tasting Vina Maipo Chile wines, Oct 1/2012 at Select

 The Date and Time: Monday, October 1, 2012  10AM to Noon

The Event: Tasting Vina Maipo (Chile) wines with winemaker Max Weinlaub, in conjunction with the launch of the newest "Vitral Reserva" line (

The Venue: Select Wines & Spirits Toronto offices

The Target Audience: wine media

The Availability/Catalogue: Most of the wines tasted were not yet available in the Ontario market, but could be privately ordered. Wines are being submitted to the LCBO.

The Quote/Background: There are seven tiers to Vina Maipo (which was founded in 1948 and bought by Concha y Toro in 1968). It is currently being re-launched. The bottom tier is for bi-varietals, followed by a varietal tier, and then the Vitral Reserva line, the Gran Devocion line, the Limited Edition, the Protegido, and at the top, the Alto Tajamar.

The Wines: Gran Devocion is a tier specializing in syrah bi-blends, with viognier, carmenere, petite syrah, and cabernet sauvignon.


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

-Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Syrah Viognier 2009 Maule, est $16.95 (14% ABV)

-Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Syrah Petite Sirah 2008 Maule, est $16.95 (14.5% ABV)

-Vina Maipo Limited Edition Syrah 2009 Maipo, est $29.95 (14.5% ABV)


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

-Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carmenere Syrah 2009 Maule, $16.95 +274100 Vintages (75% carmenere)

-Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Carmenere Syrah 2010 Maule, about $16.95 (90% carmenere; 14.5% ABV).

-Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2010 Maule, est $16.95 (14% ABV)

-Vina Maipo Protegido Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Maipo, est $49.95

-Vina Maipo Alto Tajamar Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Quinta de Maipo, est $99.95 (82% syrah, 14.5% ABV)


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

-Vina Maipo Vitral Reserva Chardonnay 2011 Casablanca, $13.95, +270009 LCBO

-Vina Maipo Vitral Reserva Syrah 2011 Rapel, est $13.95.


The Food: cheese, fruit, breads, biscuits, empanadas.

The Contact Person:

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at My Internet compendium
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news
items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at since 1994. 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 normally available for a re-tasting.

Preiss-Zimmer Vieilles Vignes Riesling 2008 Alsace: excellent riesling
complexity, nicely dry with concentrated MVC flavours, long finish.
+292193, $18.85, QPR: 92.
Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 WO Stellenbosch, +283390, $28.95.
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
1. Mike Weir Sauvignon Blanc 2010 VQA Niagara: zesty, tasty, finishes
citric, best with food. 12.5% ABV. +686972, $14.95, QPR: 89.
2. Jean-Marc Brocard Kimmeridgian Chardonnay 2008 Bourgogne: at 12.5%
ABV and some aging, this is good value, good concentration. +290049,
$17.95, QPR: 89.
3. Mas des Bressades Cuvee Tradition 2011 Costieres de Nimes: a lovely
blend of Rhone varietals, slight tang of interest on the finish, 13.5%
ABV. +701094, $14.95, QPR: 89.
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
1. Angels Gate Mountainview Merlot 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench: complex
stuffing, 13.5%. Mocha, plums, the whole lot. +299172, $18.95, QPR: 89.
2. Peninsula Ridge A.J. Lepp Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2010 VQA Niagara
Lakeshore: another merlot, 13.4% BV, showing depth and some aging.
Smoke and red fruit. +299222, $19.95, QPR: 89.
3. Brazin (B)Old Vine Zinfandel 2009 Lodi: a dynamite wine with wood
smoke, 15% ABV, lots of flavour, the whole nine yards. +256750, $19.95,
QPR: 91.
4. Bonterra Zinfandel 2010 Mendocino: a little tamer zinfandel, 14.5%
ABV, but organic and three dollars less than No. 3. +530139, $17, QPR:
5. Canepa Finisimo Gran Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Colchagua:
delicious delivery, off-dry texture, 14.5% ABV. +211920, $17.95, QPR:
6. Oveja Negra Single Vineyard Carmenere 2011 Maule: intense herbaceous
overtones, 13.5% ABV, best with food. +302646, $15.95, QPR: 89.
7. Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Maipo:
chunky and dense. Needs a bit more time, best with food, 14.5% ABV.
Lingers. +684597, $17.95, QPR: 89.
8. Chateau Lalande Mausse 2009 Fronsac: early maturing, gold medalist,
dense and concentrated, best with food. +303859, $16.95, QPR: 89.
9. Delas Freres Saint-Esprit Cotes du Rhone 2010: consistent throughout
the years, now at 14% ABV, dense, chunky, needs some time but sweet
syrah leather/violets is there. +729962, $15.95, QPR: 89.
10. Solantico Riserva Salice Salentino 2009: pruney, dried fruit but
substantial. 13% ABV. +289694, $14.5, QPR: 89.
11. Lornano Chianti Classico 2007: all sangiovese and all MVC chianti
flavours at a great price. +211599, $15.95, QPR: 89.
12. Bodegas Pablo Menguante Vidadillo 2007 Carinena: indigenous grape
varieties always strike a sympathetic note. Good aging, good fruit and
density, 14% ABV. French oak treatment. +293407, $17.95, QPR: 89.
13. Palacios Remondo La Vendimia 2011 Rioja: ripe and fruity, can use
more cellaring, but 14.5% ABV and modest price. +674564, $14.95, QPR:
14. Senda 66 Tempranllo 2008 Spain: widely-sourced grapes, bright North
American fruit appeal, new French oak lingers on, 14% ABV, sip or food,
nice price for spice! +296475, $13.95, 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. Vine Cliff Los Carneros Chardonnay 2009 Napa Valley, +289132, $44.95
2. Seresin Chardonnay 2009 Marlborough, +19190, $24.95.
3. Tierhoek Chenin Blanc 2009 WO Piekenierskloof, +288175, $25.95.
4. PB Hein Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Napa Valley, $46.95.
5. Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 Willamette Valley, +949909,
6. Alpha Domus The Barnstormer Syrah 2010 Hawks Bay, +303396, $22.95.
7. Chateau Teyssier 2009 St-Emilion Grand Cru, +303784, $39.95.
8. Antinori Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2008, +512384,

Monday, October 22, 2012

THE LATEST RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOKS... one of the hottest trends in cookbooks.
Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such
proliferation. They are automatic sellers, since the book can be
flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a
celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up
on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans
of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of
the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the
restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books,
special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu.
Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But
because most of these books are American, they use only US volume
measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric
equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out.
The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks".
There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf
also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as
if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from
readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes
(not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work, but how could
that be? They all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many
books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with
tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life
in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding
about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem
to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a
lot of food shots, verging on gastroporn. The endorsements are from
other celebrities in a magnificent case of logrolling. If resources are
cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some
companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them
altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
12. CURING & SMOKING: made at home (Firefly Books, 2012, 176 pages,
ISBN 978-1-77085-077-4, $19.95 CAD soft covers) and
13. EGGS & POULTRY: made at home (Firefly Books, 2012, 176 pages, ISBN
978-1-77085-078-1, $19.95 CAD soft covers) and
14. PRESERVING: made at home (Firefly Books, 2012, 176 pages, ISBN 978-
1-77085-079-8, $19.95 CAD soft covers)…
…are by Dick and James Strawbridge, both featured in a BBC documentary
series detailing shifting from urban to rural life, from city to farm.
They have written books about how it is not easy being green. Dick had
also been in masterchef competitions. These three books have been co-
published with Octopus in the UK – they are part of a series detailing
putting food by and using the farm. Organic plants are juiced,
fermented and/or preserved. Pigs are smoked/cured for hams, sausages,
and bacon. Birds are also used for eggs, and bees are used for honey.
These books are account of the authors' lives and how thy cope. As
well, there are recipes and preps for enjoying the food. The Curing
book includes pantry and prep work, as well as details on bringing, dry
curing, and both hot and cold smoking. Good illustrations of
techniques, and the layouts are very clear. This appears to be a male-
directed series of books for stuff that men can do on their own.
There's roast monkfish with air dried ham, planked salmon, salamis,
and, to keep it British, even air dried mutton. Eggs and poultry
include chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys, with potted turkey,
curried fowl, duck confit and the like (27 recipes in all). The
preserving book (with 63 preps) covers plants: drying, storing, jars,
bottles, and freezing, with nice chapters on fruit curds and fruit
cheeses as well as candied peel. It is actually useful to acquire all
three books. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric
and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric
equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88 apiece.
15. HOME MADE WINTER (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2012, 256 pages, ISBN
978-1-61769-004-4, $35 US hard covers) is by Yvette Van Boven, a
freelance food stylist and recipe writer who runs a restaurant and
catering business in Amsterdam. It was originally published in 2011,
but this is its first North American release. Sometime back she had
published Home Made. This is the second volume, expressly put together
for the colder climate time of year. Next year (2013) she'll come out
with Home Made Summer. Meanwhile, here there are 150 colourful and
black-and-white illustrations, of food, techniques, finished plates,
and some touristy angles. It's arranged by course, with breakfast, tea
time, drinks, apps, mains, and desserts. All of it is geared to hearty
foods. There's quince jam with star anise and cardamom, farls with
smoked trout (part of her Irish roots), quinoa apple cake, sauerkraut
salad with hazelnuts, winter pudding, and more. The picture
accompanying the Dublin lawyer is terrific. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but
there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
16. SALTIE; a cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2012, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-
4521-0302-0, $25 US hard covers) is by Caroline Fidanza (chef), with
Anna Dunn, Rebecca Collerton (chef), and Elizabeth Schula (pastry
chef). Saltie is a sandwich shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Three women
run the place, and this is their book of 90 recipes. It's a bit of a
memoir too. Sandwiches are trendy these days, and this book caters to
that trend. Here you will find such items as "scuttlebutt" (hard-boiled
egg, aioli, feta, olives, capers, herbs and pickled beets on focaccia)
or "Spanish armada" (potato-onion tortilla, pimenton aioli, and
focaccia) or "clean slate" (hummus, quinoa, yogurt sauce, sauerkraut,
sesame seeds). There's also curried rabbit, "longshoreman" (Israeli
meatballs, yoghurt sauce, pickled veggies, herbs), and a variety of
other dishes (soups and salads, some sides, some mains). Worth looking
at for that individualistic expression. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of
metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.

17. ROB FEENIE'S CASUAL CLASSICS; everyday recipes for family and
friends (Douglas & McIntyre, 2012, 170 pages, ISBN 978-1-55365-873-3,
$29.95 CAD soft covers) is by the only Canadian chef who has ever won
the Food Network's Iron Chef competition. He's a powerhouse in the
west, now running 22 Cactus Club Cafes in BC and Alberta. Many of these
preps come from his chain's family dining experiences. He's got the
fundamentals and the add-ons, with many fusion dishes and modern-day
classics such as osso buco, quinoa jambalaya. Every recipe has been
prepared in his home and served to his family (3 kids, ages 3, 6, and
7) and friends. There's endorsements from Mario Batali and Mark McEwan.
There are even engaging chef notes for each dish, a sort of mini-
memoir. Arrangement is by course. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric
equivalents. There's BC food here, such as west coast seafood chowder
(indexed only as seafood chowder) and spot prawn and avocado BLT
sandwich. But nothing specifically from the east coast. There's
eggplant lasagna and fava bean farfalle, wild rice pilaf and a quail
egg recipe, poached halibut, seared salmon, and meat dishes.
Quality/price rating: 87.
18. BAKED ELEMENTS; our ten favorite ingredients (Stewart, Tabori &
Chang, 2012, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-58479-985-6, $32.50 US hard covers)
is by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, co-owners of the Brooklyn
bakery, Baked. There is also another one in Charleston SC and soon
there will be a Manhattan location. They appear quite regularly on TV
shows. This is their third book from the bakery, which also has
national US distribution. The idea here was to create ten separate
chapters with desserts built around 10 different ingredients, such as
peanut butter, lemon & lime, caramel, pumpkin, cinnamon, chocolate,
banana and others. There are six or seven preps for each, about 70
recipes in all in the book. Expect orange almond ricotta cheesecake,
lemon pecorino pepper icebox cookies, toast pumpkin seed brittle,
triple rum black pepper cake, candy bar tart, and banana in a blanket.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 87.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Concha y Toro wine tasting, Sept 24/12, with Marcelo Papa

The Date and Time: Monday, September 24, 2012  10:30AM to 4 PM
The Event: A presentation and structured tasting with Concha y Toro
winemaker Marcelo Papa (Select Wine Merchants)
The Venue: Fairmont Royal York Hotel
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: not every wine is available in Ontario,
yet, and not every vintage.
The Quote/Background: Papa is responsible for the Marques de Casa
Concha line, a premium single-vineyard varietal line from Chile. Two
wines new to Ontario (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir) were also
commented on, and there was a comparison between vintages of their
award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon (2001, 2009, and 2010).
The Wines: We tasted two lines: the Casillero del Diablo Reserva series
(on our own) and the Marques de Casa Concha (which Marcelo Papa
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Puente Alto, Maipo N/A
-Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Puente Alto, Maipo,
$19.95 +337238
-Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Puente Alto, Maipo, $79.95 +315176
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Casillero del Diablo Merlot 2011 Rapel Valley, $12.95 +427088
-Casillero del Diablo Shiraz 2011 Rapel Valley, $12.95 +568055
-Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2011 Rapel Valley, $12.95 +94060
-Marques de Casa Concha Pinot Noir 2011 Limari, $19.95 +301424 Dec 8
-Marques de Casa Concha Merlot 2010 Peumo, Rapel, $19.95, +939827
-Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere 2010 Peumo, Rapel, $17 +620666
-Marques de Casa Concha Syrah 2009 Buin, Maipo, $19.95 +278416
-Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Puente Alto, Maipo N/A
-Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Puente Alto, Maipo, $79.95 +315176
(November 24)
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Casablanca/Limari/Rapel,
$9.95 +578641 twist top
-Casillero del Diablo Malbec 2011 Rapel Valley, $12.95
-Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Central Valley, $12.95
-Marques de Casa Concha Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Leyda/Coastal, $18.95 N/A
-Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2011 Limari, $19.95 +342857
The Food: there was a terrific buffet lunch, traditional Italian with
tomato soup, Caesar salad, charcuterie, tortellini, chicken cacciatore,
fish and mushrooms, carrots and green beans, desserts, coffees.
The Downside: I arrived late.
The Upside: a good chance to talk with Marcelo Papa and his plans for
Concha y Toro.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Distilleria Bottega launches fundraising to support October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Ontario

Because 70% of Bottega's employees are female, women's causes are important. For years, the company has actively raised funds in the duty-free market and in Europe for research in the area of breast cancer.
So Bottega, officially launching Il Vino dei Poeti Rose at the LCBO (+277202, $12.45) this month, is donating a portion of that sparkler's October sales to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
The rose sparkler is made from Pinot Nero and Raboso hand-picked grapes. The soft pressing gives it a rose colour and preserves the aromas. Expect apple tones, raspberries and strawberries in its frothy character. It's a party wine, especially at this price point. Serve as an aperitif, with hors d'oeuvre, or with a first festive course.
More details on the launch and cancer campaign can be had from

Taste Ontario VQA wines, Sept 28/12

 The Date and Time: Friday, September 28, 2012   11AM to 4 PM
The Event: Taste Ontario from LCBO Vintages and,
media and trade portion.
The Venue: Ritz-Carlton Hotel
The Target Audience: media and trade
The Availability/Catalogue: some wines are at the LCBO, the rest are at
the winery, but all should be available since they are current
vintages. The catalogue was nicely arranged by sub-region within
Ontario, beginning with Lake Erie North Shore, Niagara Escarpment,
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelee Island, Prince Edward County, "Emerging
Regions" and one "Virtual" winery.
The Quote/Background: Attendance was steady all afternoon and trades
people really seemed engrossed with talking to winemakers and reps. Is
there now a buzz about Ontario wines?
The Wines: As always, I try to taste and rate comparable wines. There
were 185 or so wines in all. Prices are consumer retail; licensee will
be less.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-13th Street Winery Premier Cuvee Brut 2008 142679 $34.95
-13th Street Winery 13 Series Sauvignon Blanc 2011 $18.95
-Angels Gate Winery Pinot Noir 2008 $14.75  ** VALUE **
-Angels Gate Winery Merlot 2010 107722 $13.95  ** VALUE **
-Bachelder Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 271841 $29.95
-Bachelder Bachelder Saunders Vineyard Chardonnay $44.95
-Bachelder Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay $44.95
-Cattail Creek Estate Winery Creek Riesling 2009 $14.95
-Charles Baker Wines Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard 2010 $35.00
-Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay 2010 $39.75
-Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay $29.95
-Henry of Pelham Family Estate Cuvee Catharine Blanc de Blanc $49.75
-Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Estate Chardonnay 2010 308577 
-Huff Estates Winery Cuvee Peter F. Huff Sparkling 2008 198754 $39.75
-Inniskillin Wines Montague Chardonnay 2011 623744 $29.75
-Lailey Vineyard Syrah 2010 750mL $27.00
-Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay 2009 56929 $39.80
-Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 33902
-Malivoire Wine Company M2 Small Lot Chardonnay 2010 $19.95
-Rosehall Run Chardonnay JCR Rosehall Vineyard 2010 $33.80
-Rosewood Estates Winery Sussreserve Riesling 2010 $15.00
-Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy Cabernet Franc "101" 2010 $34.75
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price
Rating terms):
-Trius Red 2010 303800 $22.95
-Trius Sauvignon Blanc 2011 221804 $13.95
-Angels Gate Winery Archangel Chardonnay Sparkling 2010 227009 $19.75
-Cave Spring Cellars Chardonnay CSV 2008 529941 $29.75
-Cave Spring Cellars Cabernet Franc Estate2007 72751 $24.75
-Charles Baker Wines Charles Baker Riesling Ivan Vineyard 2011 $35.00
-Charles Baker Wines Charles Baker Riesling Picone Vineyard 2009 241182
-Chateau des Charmes Wines Chardonnay Musqué, Estate Bottled, 2010
322016 $16.75
-Chateau des Charmes Wines Cabernet Franc 2010, St. David's Bench
Vineyard 453415 $25.75
-Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Merlot 2008 315409 $19.80
-Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Meritage 2007 $19.95
-Colio Estate Wines CEV Sparkling Lily N/V $15
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2010 53090 $19.95
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 79228
-Fielding Estate Winery Pinot Gris Estate Bottled 2011 251108 $21.95
-Fielding Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2010 36194 $21.95
-Flat Rock Cellars Chardonnay 2009 286278 $16.95
-Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Estate Riesling 2010 183491 
-Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Estate Pinot Noir 2009 277292 
-Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Terroir Caché 2008 505610 
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Delaine Fume Blanc 2011 $24.75
-Kacaba Vineyards and Winery Pinot Noir 2009 $22.95
-Lailey Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 $20.00
-Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 33894 $29.80
-Malivoire Wine Company Pinot Noir 2009 $29.95
-Mike Weir Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2010 686972 $14.75
-Mike Weir Wine Riesling 2010 229286 $14.75
-Mike Weir Wine Meritage 2010 $24.75
-Norman Hardie Winery Niagara Chardonnay Unfiltered 2010 184432 $35
-Pelee Island Winery Vinedresser Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 530576  LCBO
-Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Reserve Viognier 2011 $16.95
-Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Inox Chardonnay 2010 "Beal Vineyard"
Reserve $18.95
-Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Vintner's Private Reserve Merlot 2010
-Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Reserve Meritage 2010 $22.95
-Pondview Estate Winery Bella Terra Chardonnay 2010 $24.00
-Rosehall Run Pinot Noir JCR Rosehall Vineyard 2010 $38.80
-Rosewood Estates Winery Pinot Noir 2010 $20.00
-Rosewood Estates Winery Semillon 2010 $18.00
-Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2010 621605  $21.75
-Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy Syrah "Tall, Dark & Spicy" 2010 621605
-Stoney Ridge Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2010 $15.95
-Stoney Ridge Estate Winery Cabernet Merlot 2009 $14.99
-Stratus Vineyards Stratus Red 2008 131037 $44.00
-Union Union Squared 2010 292359 $17.95
-Union Union White 2010 197145 $13.95
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-2027 Cellars Queenston Road Vineyard' Pinot Noir 2010 $35.00
-2027 Cellars Falls Vineyard' Riesling 2011 $18.95
-Angels Gate Winery Riesling Kew Vineyard 2008 $14
-Cattail Creek Estate Winery Estate Gewurztraminer 2009 $15.95
-Cave Spring Cellars Pinot Noir Dolomite 2010 $21.75
-Colchester Ridge Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2008 $22
-Colio Estate Wines CEV Sauvignon Blanc 2011 $15
-Colio Estate Wines CEV Chardonnay 2011 $15.95  
-Colio Estate Wines CEV Small Lot Syrah 2010 $19
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Five Mile White 2011 195669 $14.95
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Gris 2010 116582
-Fielding Estate Winery Riesling 2011 Estate Bottled 251439 $18.95
-Fielding Estate Winery Cabernet Syrah 2010  $24.95
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Grand Reserve Shiraz 2010 $19.75
-Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011 618413
-Kacaba Vineyards and Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $24.95
-Kacaba Vineyards and Winery Syrah Reserve 2010 $69.95
-Kacaba Vineyards and Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010 $44.95
-Palatine Hills Estate 1812 Chardonnay 2010 LCBO 260430 $12.00
-Palatine Hills Estate 1812 Merlot Cabernet LCBO 260448 $13.00
-Lakeview Cellars Lakeview Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2011 226027
-Lakeview Cellars Lakeview Cellars Riesling Reserve 2011 294074 $16.95
-Malivoire Wine Company Pinot Gris 2011 $19.95
-Palatine Hills Estate Cabernet Merlot 2010 $13.75
-Palatine Hills Estate Quattro 2010 305383 $14.95
-Pelee Island Winery Vinedresser White 2011 $17.95
-Pelee Island Winery Vinedresser Red 2010 299198  LCBO $19.95
-Pillitteri Estates Winery Bad Company Red 2011 $10
-Pillitteri Estates Winery Bad Company White 2011 $10
-Pillitteri Estates Winery Cabernet Franc 2010 $18.00
-Pillitteri Estates Winery Pinot Grigio 2011 146787 $15.00
-Ravine Vineyards Sand & Gravel Sauvignon Blanc 2009
-Reif Estate Winery Chenin Blanc 2011 $18.95
-Reif Estate Winery Chardonnay Reserve 2010 $21.95
-Rosewood Estates Winery Merlot 2010 $22.00
-Southbrook Vineyards Triomphe Chardonnay 2010 621605 $21.75
-Stoney Ridge Estate Winery Pinot Grigio 2010 $15 
-Stoney Ridge Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
The Food: for the media, there was a light sandwich buffet with pesto
pasta salad, potato salad, roast beef ciabattas, salmon croissants,
cheeses, desserts, and more. For the trade show there were nuts and
fruits plus breads.
The Downside: I did not have enough time to taste all the wines I
wanted to taste, despite being there from 11 AM onwards.
The Upside: there was a media room, well lit, with chairs and tables
and water.
The Contact Person: Magdalena Kaiser-Smit
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade):

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stem Annual Family of Wines Gala, Oct 1/12 -- report

 The Date and Time: Monday, October 1, 2012  3Pm to 8PM

The Event: 7th Annual Family of Wines Gala Tasting of the STEM Wine Group

The Venue: Shangri-La Hotel

The Target Audience: wine media, wine trade, private clients.

The Availability/Catalogue: everything is here or will be via consignment and private orders. The catalogue was a model of efficiency, with a quick section on how to use the guide. All prices were given, as well as the terms. The wines were listed by region and producer, in table order. Helpful cards were placed at each table, with more details about each wine. This really saved me a lot of time, and I am sure the patrons appreciated it.

The Quote/Background: Partners Robert Tome and Tony Macchione have assembled a good portfolio of wines, specializing in sought after wines from Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, and other regions of Italy. There are also a select few wines from other European countries plus the New World. Twenty-three owners or export directors came from abroad for this event. Stem will be launching its new website this Fall:

The Wines: I did not try all the wines, there were over 135 of them.

Prices are retail, but due to a strong Canadian currency, they are also lower than last year, in general.


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


-Boroli Barolo 2004 Cerequio, $87.99.

-Gaja Sito Moresco 2010, $53.99

-Zyme Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2004, $135.99

-Villabella Passito del Fiordilej 2008, $24.99 (375 mL)

-Tenuta Il Palagio Sister Moon IGT 2009 Tuscany, $54.99

-Villa a Sesta Chianti Classico Riserva Sorleone 2008, $48.99

-La Fattoria de Magliano Poggio Bestiale IGT 2008, $45.99

-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano 2005,


-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Madonna del Piano 2006,


-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2007, $139.99

-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2005, $104.99

-Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso 2009 Umbria, $19.99

-Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005 Villa Gemma, $74.99

-Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico Aglianico 2007, $79.99

-Andeluna Chardonnay Reserve 2009 Mendoza, $23

-Bod. Darien Seleccion Rioja 2003, $34.99

-Henri Abele Brut Champagne Traditionnel NV, $49.99

-Henri Abele Rose Champagne Traditionnel NV, $54.99

-Rockbare Shiraz McLaren Vale 2010, $22.99

-Merry Edwards Pinot Noir 2009 Klopp Ranch Russian River, $89.99

-Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010, $47.99

-Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005, $89


***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):


-Gaja Barbaresco 2008, $218.95

-Gaja Ca'Marcanda Bolgheri Tuscany 2009 Promis IGT, $45.99

-Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino 2007, $62.95

-Villabella Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Fracastoro 2004, $52.99

-Zyme Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2008, $36.99

-Zyme Kairos 2005, $78.99 (15 different varieties!)

-Tenuta Il Palagio Casino delle Vie IGT 2009 Tuscany, $36.99

-Villa a Sesta Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, $29.99

-Tenuta Monteti IGT Tuscany 2007, $39.99

-La Fattoria de Magliano Perenzo Syrah IGT 2009, $51.99

-La Fattoria de Magliano Sinarra IGT 2010, $21.99

-La Fattoria de Magliano Heba Morellino di Scansano 2009, $21.99

-Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino 2007, $89.99

-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2004, $119.99

-Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 2006, $104.99

-Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino di Montefalco 2007 Collepiano Umbria,


-Masciarelli Castello di Semivicoli Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2008, $29.99

-Masciarelli Marina Cvetic Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, $28.99

-Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi 2006, $39.99

-Argiolas Is Solinas Cannonau 2009 Sardegna, $24.95

-Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2011 Sardegna, $16.99

-Andeluna Cellars Grand Reserve Pasionado 2005 Mendoza, $44.99

-Chateau du Val d'Or St. Emilion Grand Cru 2009, $29.99

-Jean Gauteau L'Autre de Sociando-Mallet 2009 Haut-Medoc, $37.99.

-Dom. Chotard Sancerre 2011, $21.99

-Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2009, $64.95

-Hart & McGarry Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008, $23.99

-Husic Vineyards Palm Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2008, $67.00

-Boroli Barolo 2006, $49.99

-Boroli Langhe Anna Rosso, $15.99

-Ca' del Baio Langhe Nebbiolo Bric del Baio 2010, $21.99


*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):


-Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Pianrosa 2008, $32.99

-Vinicola Tombacco Terre Nuove Piantaferro Syrah Sicily IGT, $11.99

-Delibori Vignetti Cantine Amarone della Valpolicella 2009, $32.99

-Tombacco Ca'Del Doge Piantaferro Primitivo IGT 2010 Puglia, $11.99

-Zyme Cabernet 60/20/20 IGT 2007 Veneto, $49.00

-Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Alianico 2009 IGT Campania, $19.99

-Tenuta Monteti Caburnio IGT 2009 Tuscany, $20.99

-David Franz Lehmann Barossa Benjamin's Promise Shiraz 2006, $59.99

-David Franz Lehmann Barossa Georgie's Walk Cabernet Sauvignon 2006,


-Michael Sullberg Merlot 2010 Central Coast, $16.99


The Food: platters came from the kitchen, with all foods in Asiatic style (pork belly squares, chicken, green chiles, white pizza, crab cakes, and more)

The Downside: it was my second big tasting of the day (and I had already passed on a third tasting).

The Upside: a chance to taste a Brunello vertical and the Gaja wines (remarkably, these separated tables were staffed by a husband and wife team!), and the progressive jazz.

The Contact Person:

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