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Saturday, April 5, 2014

REPORT from the Good Food and Drink Festival, Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, April 3/14

The Date and Time: Thursday, April 3, 2014  6PM to 10PM
The Event: The Good Food and Drink Festival VIP Preview Party
The Venue: Direct Energy Centre, CNE grounds
The Target Audience: VIPs and media
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines and foods are available, not only for sampling, but for purchase later from the winery, LCBO, or provisioner. The only things sold tonight were sampling tickets.
The Quote/Background: After 22 years, the the Festival opened up a VIP night. It gave me a chance to taste some wines. The regular show features music, a Taste Culinary Stage, and eight Food Trucks along Food Truck Alley. I started with the wines, moved over to the delightful Pommies Dry Cider (real Ontario apples from juice, $12.95 a four-pack, and then took the opportunity to sample some draught beers. From Kensington Brewing Company, I enjoyed the bold IPA Baldwin FishEYE-PA (strong US hops) and Augusta Ale (British style). Granville Island Brewing was serving Lions Winter Ale, English Bay Pale Ale, and Robson Street Hefeweizen – all references were to Vancouver, of course. From St. Thomas, there was the delightful Dead Elephant IPA, named after the death of Jumbo in St. Thomas, by the aptly named It is a big beer of course, with lots of character and finish. Craft Brew United also had Witty Traveller and Bell City brews. There were more beers, but by this time my red tie was showing.

The Wines: I tried a variety, but not from every stand, and mostly whites.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Strewn Barrel Aged Chardonnay VQA NOTL, +522730, $12.95 [on sale to April 26, $11.95]
-Rockway White Assemblage 2012 Small Lot, $15.95 [75% chardonnay]
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Red Paw Chardonnay 2012, +336115, $21.95

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Strewn Two Vines White 60% Riesling 40% Gewurztraminer, +467662, $11.95
-Strewn Terroir 2007 $24.95 [Bordeaux blend]
-Rockway Red Assemblage 2012 Small Lot, $16.95 [Bordeaux blend]
-Tenuta S. Anna Cabernet Franc Lison Pramaggiore Veneto 2011, +338368 $14.25
-Fabiano Bianco di Custoza Veneto 2012, +339341, $10.95
-Fabiano Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, +338350, $17.95 [$1 off to April 26]
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Rare Vintage Meritage 2010, $39.95 winery
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Sparkling Chardonnay 2011, $24.95 winery
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Five Mile White 2012, +195669, $14.95
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Red Paw Pinot Gris, +116582, $16.95
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Pinot Noir 2012, +53090, $19.95

*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rockway Fergie Jenkins Series Baco Cabernet 2012, $14.95 [60% baco noir]
-Pelee Island Secco Sparkling, $14.45 [to April 27]  +225946
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Five Mile Red 2010, +283416, $16.95

The Food: it was mainly samples, so I kept to the food trucks because I almost never come to one on the streets. The best was Busters Sea Cove (fish tacos).
The Downside: it was a long day, coming after the PEC tasting. I skipped the Dairy Farmers and the Wine Country Ontario trailer.
The Upside: a chance to taste some wines new to me.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.
Dean Tudor, Wine Writer,

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