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Thursday, October 31, 2013


THE GLORIOUS VEGETABLES OF ITALY (Chronicle Books, 2013; distr.
Raincoast, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-0886-5, $30 US hard covers) is by
Domenica Marchetti, author of three other Italian cookbooks. It comes
with log rolling by Frances Meyes and Tracey Ryder (co-founder of
Edible Communities), and with glorious photos from Sang An. There is an
opening chapter which describes and photographs the veggies and their
seasons: artichokes, arugula, asparagus, beans, cardoons, chicory,
eggplant, fennel and more – almost 50 if you include the herbs. Behind
all these are about 100 Italian recipes, including some preserves and
condiments. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric
and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: Italian food lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: crepe cannelloni with
mushroom and zucchini, penne rigate with blistered green peppers,
spring risotto, grilled lamb spiedino on caponata, pumpkin gelato.
The downside to this book: it is not a vegetarian book since there are
meat dishes, but these are mostly mains.
The upside to this book: good photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


++ Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc Brut South Africa, +216705 LCBO, $12.95:
a decently priced sparkler that is light and fruity for summer
imbibing. Some bell peppers and tropical fruits, follow through to a
clean and zesty citric finish. Patio or first course, brunch. 12% ABV.
Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

++ Nederburg Winemaster's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2012 South Africa,
+382713 LCBO, $11.45: green and herbaceous, great as a first course
wine, lightly tropical but good finish. 13.5% ABV, twist top. Overall,
light and crisp. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of
Gothic Epicures.

++ Zonnebloem Place in the Sun Shiraz 2012 South Africa, +286088 LCBO,
$12.95: you don't think of South Africa when you think of shiraz, but
that might change with this red wine. 13.5% ABV, solidly medium bodied
and fruity, twist top, and a Fair Trade wine. Plummy and spicy, at home
on the deck or as a first course. Quality/Price rating is 87 points by
Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

++ Domaines Paul Mas Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2011 Nicole Vineyard
Pays d'Oc IGP, +293134 LCBO, $13.95: I first had this wine at a
reception in the Spring. We tasted the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages.
The 2010, also at the LCBO at the time, was $14.95. The current new
vintage 2011 has a label change and now sports a twist top screw cap.
Otherwise, the vines are a year older. My bottle was number #512.
Cabernet here (about 56%) is from 25 year old vines, while the merlot
(44%) is from 30 year old vines. Exceptional value, since these are
Vieilles vignes on an 80 hectare estate in Nicole near Montagnac. 14%
ABV, vinified separately and the blend is aged in new and old 80% US
and 20% French oak for six months. Expect both red and black fruit
tones plus local garrigue and vanilla/cloves from wood treatment. The
long finish is great with food rather than patios. Quality/Price rating
is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

++ Primal Roots White Blend 2011 California, +321497, $12.95: the
parade of off-dry white blends continues…Many are at or under $13, such
as this one. 13% ABV, mostly viognier, followed by French Colmbard (for
acid spine), riesling and gewurztraminer. Expect floral peach,
apricots, and exotic fruit tones. Nicely done for that patio special!
All it really needs is a twist top screw cap, and not an insert finish.
Quality/Price rating is 87 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Eat to the Beat at Roy Thomson Hall, Oct 22/13

The Date and Time: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7PM to 10 PM

The Event: Eat to the Beat

The Venue: Roy Thomson Hall

The Target Audience: fundraiser

The Availability/Catalogue: There is a catalogue listing all the chefs and the beverages.

The Quote/Background: This is the annual fundraiser for Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada, and it raised about $200,000 this time. For 18 years, Eat to the Beat has celebrated 60 female chefs while raising funds and awareness. More than $3.3 million has been raised during that time. There were silent auctions, raffles, mystery bags, and sponsors that illuminated the affair.

The Wines: My wife and I tried to get everywhere, but missed one section, so we never tasted any Chateau des Charmes nor Churchill Cellars. But we got some stunning Riesling from Cattail Creek, some white and red from Cave Spring Cellars via The Vine, Portia Ebeia Roble Tempranillo Ribera del Duero (+307710, $14.95) and Ogier Heritages Cote du Rhone 2011 (+535849, $14.95), and a variety of Girls Night Out from Colio. To make up in the beverage category, we went after tasting samples of Hockley Valley Beers: Amber, Dark, 100, Classic, and Georgian Bay Beer – great refreshments on a hot, steamy night inside the RTH lobby.

The Food: the 60 chefs included 2013 GE People's Choice Award winner Lindsay Haddock (Scaramouche, valrhona araguani chocolate tart whipped dulcey ganache sesame snap and caramelized banana), Nuit Regular (Sabai Sabai, Thai noodle salad with chicken), Andrea Nicholson (Killer Condiments, wild BC sockeye baby potato smoked tomato chutney), Nicole Rumball (All The Best Fine Foods (truffle and blue cheese arancinis with spinach walnut pesto), Vanessa Yeung (Aphrodite Cooks, sun-dried tomato risotto cakes stuffed with beef brisket), Trista Sheen (Crush, duck confit agnolotti), Netty Cronish (Fair Trade, red quinoa salad with toasted pumpkin seeds), Lynn Jones-Adams, (Inn On the Twenty, ice wine cheesecake balls), and Donna Dooher (Mildred's Temple Kitchen, breast of duck with a polenta cream). Yummy all…These were my faves.

The Downside: I bid on five dinners and a KitchenAid – never got any of them at my bid level…

The Upside: the 20 cheeky corset models and the live jazz.

The Contact Person: Shana Coppen

The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Taste Ontario trade show (Wine Country Ontario) Oct 10/13 report

The Date and Time: Thursday, October 10, 2013  11AM to 5PM

The Event: Taste Ontario, from Wine Country Ontario and Vintages

The Venue: ROM

The Target Audience: wine trade

The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available, either through the LCBO or through the winery.

The Quote/Background: This is the annual major promotion for Ontario wines, especially to the trade. The media were fortunate enough to have about 3 hours off on their own to taste most of the wines in the show.

The Wines: I did not taste every wine, preferring to try only most of the red and white still table wines. Most of the wines were from Niagara, so for clarity, I added PEC or LENS after other wines. Prices listed are retail consumer unless otherwise specified.


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

-Cattail Creek Estate Winery  Creek Riesling    2012  +2415 $13.75     

-Charles Baker Wines Charles Baker Picone Vineyard 2011 $35.00

-Chateau des Charmes 'Old Vines' Cabernet Merlot Estate Bottled 2010 +222372     $19.95

-Closson Chase    South Clos  Chardonnay  2011  PEC   $39.75

-Henry of Pelham  Baco Noir Reserve 2010  +461699     $24.75

-Colio Estate Wines     CEV Sauvignon Blanc LENS 2012 779373 $15.75

-Cooper's Hawk Vineyards Cabernet Merlot Reserve 2008 LENS +328013 $19.95

-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 +79228 $22.75

-Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Single Vineyard Syrah      2010  $39.95

-Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve     2010 $44.95

-Norman Hardie Winery County Chardonnay   2011 PEC $35.00

-Norman Hardie Winery Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2010 PEC $39.00

-Stratus Vineyards      Stratus White     2009        $44.00

-Thirty Bench Wine Makers Small Lot Wood Post Riesling 2006 $30.00

-Thomas Bachelder Saunders Vineyard Chardonnay  2011  $44.95     

-Thomas Bachelder Wismer Vineyard Chardonnay    2011  2011  $44.95

-Viewpointe Estate Winery Ideal Pointe Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2008

LENS +274712      $24.75


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

-Viewpointe Estate Winery Cabernet Franc Essex Region 2008 LENS $18.75

-Thirty Bench Wine Makers Winemaker's Riesling  2012  $18.75

-Thirty Bench Wine Makers Winemaker's Red 2011  +320986     $24.20

-Tawse Winery     Quarry Road Chardonnay  2011  +111989     $35.95     

-Tawse Winery     Grower's Blend Pinot Noir     2010  $26.95

-Stratus Vineyards      Tollgate Chardonnay     2011  $19.95     

-Stratus Vineyards      Tollgate Red      2009  $19.95

-Stratus Vineyards      Stratus Red 2008  Red   $44.00

-Reif Estate Winery Gewurztraminer Reserve      2012 $18.95

-Reif Estate Winery     Cabernet Franc Reserve  2012  $21.95

-Reif Estate Winery     1st Growth Merlot 2007  $44

-Jackson-Triggs Winery  Grand Reserve Shiraz    2011 $24.75

-Jackson-Triggs Winery Grand Reserve White Meritage   2012 $24.75

-Konzelmann Estate Winery Chardonnay Barrel Aged      2008  $14.00

-Konzelmann Estate Winery Riesling Traminer     2011        $25.00     

-Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyards Reserve Inox Chardonnay 2010 $16 licensee

-Peninsula Ridge AJ Lepp Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2011 $16.63 licensee

-Peninsula Ridge Arcanum 2010 [syrah/merlot/cabsauv] $25.21 licensee

-13th Street Winery     Pinot Noir Essence      2010        $44.75

-Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay    2010  $29.80

-Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir  2010 $44.80

-2027 Cellars     'Wismer Vineyard' Riesling   2012  $25.00     



-Thomas Bachelder Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2011   $29.95           

-Thomas Bachelder Lowrey Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 $44.95

-Malivoire Wine Company M2 Small Lot Pinot Noir 2009  $19.95

-Cattail Creek Estate Winery  Small Lot Series Barrel Fermented Chardonnay      2010  +348987     $24.75

-Cattail Creek Estate Winery  Estate Series Pinot Noir 2010 +257303    


-Cattail Creek Estate Winery Creek Series Cabernet Merlot 2011 +344135 $13.75

-Vineland Estates Winery Cabernet Franc   2011  +594127     $13.75     

-Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Chardonnay 2010 $27.95

-Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance Pinot Noir   2011  $18.95

-Niagara College Teaching Winery Dean's List Cabernet Franc 2010 $27.95

-Mike Weir Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2012 +686972 $14.75

-Mike Weir Winery Meritage    2010  Red   $24.75

-Generations Wine Company Union Squared White   2012 $17.95

-Generations Wine Company Union Noir      2012 $15.95

-Generations Wine Company Union Gold 2011 +351049 $14.95   

-Cave Spring Cellars Riesling CSV Estate Bottled 2010 +566026 $29.75

-Cave Spring Cellars Chardonnay CSV Estate Bottled 2010 +529941 $29.75

-Cave Spring Cellars Pinot Noir Estate Bottled  2011  +246561 $34.75

-Charles Baker Wines Charles Baker Ivan Vineyard 2012 $27.00

-Closson Chase Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay PEC 2011   $29.75

-Cooper's Hawk Vineyards Merlot Cabernet  2011 LENS +358074 $16.95     

-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Black Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011 +116442 $29.75

-Diamond Estates EastDell Estates Black Label Shiraz  2011  $16.67

-Diamond Estates Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010 $24.95

-Inniskillin Wines      Single  Vineyard Series Montague Vineyard Pinot Noir  2011 $29.75

-Inniskillin Wines      Single Vineyard Series Montague Vineyard Chardonnay  2012  $24.75

-Fielding Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2011 +36194    $21.95

-Flat Rock Cellars      Gravity Pinot Noir      2011  $29.95

-Foreign Affair Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $34.95

-Lailey Vineyard Wines  Cabernet Franc    2011  $25.00     

-Rosewood Estates Winery Semillon   2012  $18.00


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

-Vineland Estates Winery Chardonnay Unoaked 2012 +669374    $12.75

-Thirty Bench Wine Makers Small Lot Chardonnay  2011 +203703 $30

-Viewpointe Estate Winery Auxerrois 2011 +327239 LENS $14.75

-Pelee Island Winery Chardonnay Vinedressers LENS 2012 +700400 $17.75

-Tawse Winery     Grower's Blend Cabernet Franc 2011 +284570 $26.95

-Tawse Winery     "Spark" Riesling  2011 $19.95

-Rosewood Estates Winery Sussreserve Riesling   2012  $15

-Rosewood Estates Winery Pinot Noir 2011  $22.00

-Rosewood Estates Winery Merlot     2011  $22.00

-Pillitteri Estates Winery Exclamation Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010 $38

-Reif Estate Winery     White Meritage    2010  $18.95     

-Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 $29.80

-Malivoire Wine Company Pinot Gris  2012  $19.75

-Malivoire Wine Company M2 Small Lot Chardonnay 2011 $19.75

-Lailey Vineyard Wines  Chardonnay 2011   $20.00

-Lailey Vineyard Wines  Cabernet Merlot   2011 $15.00

-Lailey Vineyard Wines  Cabernet Sauvignon      2011  $25.00

-Niagara College Teaching Winery Gewurztraminer 2010  $13.95

-Mike Weir Winery Riesling    2010  +229286     $14.75

-Mike Weir Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay   2012  $24.75

-Jackson-Triggs Winery  Delaine By Jackson-Triggs Cabernet Merlot 2011 


-Organized Crime Winery Break-in Pinot Noir     2012  $20.03 lic

-Organized Crime Winery Chardonnay  2010  $26.42 lic

-Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Unoaked Chardonnay   2012  +326975 $14.95

-Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Single Vineyard Merlot 2010 $18.95

-Inniskillin Wines Discovery Series P3 2012     Red $19.75 

-Peninsula Ridge Reserve Meritage 2011 $19.38 licensee

-Palatine Hills Estate Winery Neufeld Vineyard Meritage 2010 $29.95

-13th Street Winery     Gamay  Sandstone Reserve      2011  $29.75     

-13th Street Winery Chardonnay Sandstone Reserve 2011 +23086 $29.75

-2027 Cellars 'Queenston Road Vineyard' Pinot Noir 2011 $35.00

-2027 Cellars     'Falls  Vineyard' Riesling   2012  $18.95     

-2027 Cellars 'FoxCroft Vineyard' Chardonnay 2011 $30.00

-Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery  Bistro Red  2012  $19.95

-Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery  Bistro Chardonnay 2011 $17.95

-Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery  Estate Pinot Noir 2010  $38.00


-ANGELS GATE WINERY     MERLOT      2011  +107722     $13.75

-Casa Dea Estates Winery Chardonnay 2010  PEC $15.95 

-Casa Dea Estates Winery Cabernet Franc Reserve 2009  PEC $24.95

-Casa Dea Estates Winery Pinot Gris 2010  PEC $18.95

-Casa Dea Estates Winery      Pinot Noir  2010  PEC   $19.95

-Cave Spring Cellars Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled 2011 +72751 $24.75

-Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay, St. Davids Bench Vineyard  2010 +430991 $19.95

-Closson Chase    Watson Pinot Noir 2010 PEC    $39.75

-Closson Chase    Brock Chardonnay  2011 PEC    $23.75     

-Colio Estate Wines CEV Pinot Grigio 2012 LENS +779373      $15.75

-Coyote's Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012 +116582

-Konzelmann Estate Winery Merlot Barrel Aged    2012        $19.75     


-Diamond Estates EastDell Estates Black Label Chardonnay Sur Lie 2012


-Norman Hardie Winery County Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2012 PEC $35.00

-Norman Hardie Winery Pinot Gris    2012  PEC $25.00

-Dover Vineyards Smoke & Gamble Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2011 South Shores $18.95

-Dover Vineyards Smoke & Gamble Chardonnay Reserve 2012 +345637 $17.95 South Shores

-Dover Vineyards Frisky Beaver Red 2011 South Shores +345611      $14.95     

-Dover Vineyards Frisky Beaver White 2012 +345629 South Shores    $13.95     

-Fielding Estate Winery Gamay 2012  $17.95

-Fielding Estate Winery Estate Bottled Chardonnay 2012 +355842 $21.95

-Fielding Estate Winery Estate Bottled Riesling 2011 +251439 $18.95

-Henry of Pelham  Pinot Grigio 2012 +250217     $14.75

-Henry of Pelham  Family Tree Red   2010  +247882     $18.75

-Flat Rock Cellars      Pinot Noir  2011  $19.95

-Flat Rock Cellars      The Rusty  Shed   2011  $24.95

-Foreign Affair Winery Riesling     2010  $24.95     

-Foreign Affair Winery  Conspiracy  2011 $19.95

-Foreign Affair Winery Sauvignon Blanc    2010 $27.95

-Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery GPE SELECT Pinot Noir      2009 $15.83 licensee


The Food: virtually a repeat of the Chilean adventure, with charcuterie, pate, cheeses, baked ham, and the like, from Daniel et Daniel. The media also got fed salads and sandwiches.

The Downside: there was a major sherry tasting right afterwards across the street at the Gardiner Museum, I needed to clean my palate.

The Upside: there was a media room, with peace and quiet, to allow for concentration. Also, we could sit down.

The Contact Person:

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