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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 2, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 2, 2019
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at or at
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
R+639823    NAVAJAS TINTO CRIANZA DOCa Rioja    2015    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
20 under $20
W+251439    FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2017    $19.95     10.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+458687    NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 446 CHARDONNAY    San Bernabe, Monterey    2016    $18.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+629428    FAMILIA SCHROEDER ALPATACO CHARDONNAY    Patagonia    2017    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+536672    PIATTELLI RESERVE TORRONTÉS    Cafayate Valley, Salta    2017    $14.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+632331    LA JOYA GRAN RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC    DO Colchagua Valley    2018    $16.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+635698    CHÂTEAU LAMOTHE DE HAUX    AC Bordeaux    2017    $16.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.
W+290049    JEAN-MARC BROCARD KIMMERIDGIEN CHARDONNAY    AC Bourgogne    2017    $19.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
W+448563    CHARLES BOVE VOUVRAY    AC    2017    $19.95    11.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:
% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+632547    VILA NOVA LOUREIRO    DOC Vinho Verde    2016    $13.95    12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+625962    GORU EL BLANCO    DO Jumilla    2017    $13.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
W+707950    ATTEMS PINOT GRIGIO    DOC Friuli    2017    $19.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+514802    JOVINO PINOT NOIR    Willamette Valley    2015    $19.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+632083    PARINGA SHIRAZ    South Australia    2015    $15.95    14.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+631515    THE RACONTEUR SYRAH    WO Swartland    2017    $14.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+190694    EVEL TINTO    DOC Douro    2014    $13.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
R+488007    PERIQUITA RESERVA    Vinho Regional Península de Setúbal    2016    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+431742    QUINTA DA REDE RESERVA    DOC Douro    2013    $17.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+631010    PORTA DA RAVESSA RESERVA TINTO    Vinho Regional Alentejano    2015    $13.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+621482    GOLDSCHILD ÜRZIGER WÜRZGARTEN RIESLING SPÄTLESE    Prädikatswein    2015    $16.95    8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
20 over $20
W+511428    REDSTONE CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2013    $25.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+226936    RODNEY STRONG SONOMA COUNTY CHARDONNAY    Sonoma County    2016    $22.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+482158    URBINA SELECCIÓN CRIANZA    DOCa Rioja    1999    $31.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+172692    VINOSIA TAURASI SANTANDREA    DOCG    2013    $27.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+539213    CLINE CASHMERE BLACK MAGIC RED    California    2016    $22.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.
R+412320    JOSH CELLARS PASO ROBLES RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Paso Robles    2015    $24.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+959965    CATENA ALTA HISTORIC ROWS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Mendoza    2015    $48.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+55442    FAMILIA SCHROEDER SAURUS SELECT PINOT NOIR    Patagonia    2016    $23.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+632109    IRVINE SPRING HILL MERLOT    Australia    2016    $18.95    14.4% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+257741    CHÂTEAU BERNADOTTE    AC Haut-Médoc    2010    $44.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+455667    CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR POURRET    AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru    2010    $39.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+48884    COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC    2016    $29.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+631077    FONTANAFREDDA BARBARESCO    DOCG    2014    $29.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+943290    FONTANAFREDDA SERRALUNGA D'ALBA BAROLO    DOCG    2014    $49.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+672337    ABBADIA ARDENGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2013    $50.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+72439    TENUTA SAN GUIDO GUIDALBERTO    IGT Toscana    2016    $60.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+167700    ARDAL SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL RESERVA    DO Ribera del Duero    2006    $23.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+38059    RAYMOND RESERVE MERLOT    Napa Valley    2014    $38.95    15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Event: Restaurant Canada Show 2019 Media Preview Cocktail Reception for the February 24 – 26 show at the Enercare Centre.

The Date and Time:  Thursday January 24, 2019  6PM to 8PM
The Event: Restaurant Canada Show 2019 Media Preview Cocktail Reception for the February 24 – 26 show at the Enercare Centre.
The Venue: Restaurant Canada offices
The Target Audience: food media
The Quote/Background: I arrived at 6Pm but the place was jam packed already; it was hard to get engaged with any conversation.
The Wines: Three wines from Lifford Agency and Mill Street beers were for tasting and enjoying. Maker's Mark and Courvoisier VS Cognac were offered in cocktails. Seedlip and Flow alkaline spring water were on display as drinks for non-drinkers.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Classic Rouge Licensee only Program $10.74
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Passi Reali Organic Montepulciano Appassimento +523100 LCBO $13.14 Licensee
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ironstone Obsession Symphony +295931 LCBO $13.14 Licensee
The Food: samples were offered from a variety of kitchens, few of whom had business cards. Freshly cooked food samples came from Cafe Belong and Rosalinda Restaurant, among others. Pre-made products included Beyond Sausage Original Bratwurst (meatless), blueberry powerballs, cheeses and crackers.
The Downside: too many phones snapping at food with photographers taking up space and time, made for quite a crowd.
The Upside: a chance to try some new types of vegan foods.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 81.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK... one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best 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 at home, but how could that be? The books 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 photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases 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 –
3.I AM A FILIPINO (Artisan, 2018, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-767-3. $35 USD hardbound) is by Nicole Ponseca, founder of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants in NYC, and Miguel Trinidad, chef at both places. The amazing primer is the section Filipino Food 101 which defines the regional cuisines, the ingredients, the cooking techniques, and the spices of what makes Filipino food Filipino. These are both modern and classic preps, displaying Chinese influences (noodles and dumplings), Middle Eastern, Spanish, Mexican (tomatoes and tamales), and some American-styles (banana ketchup ribs, fried chicken and ube waffles). The range is from fatty and fried street foods through adobo, soups, salads, "burnt coconut", and sweets. Superbly photographed. Try the balbacoa (hock and oxtails), piaparan manok (chicken wing stew), or the lumpiang sariwa (fresh veggie crepes). Metric and avoirdupois measurements are both employed, a plus. Quality/price rating: 89
4.DETOX KITCHEN VEGETABLES (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-4088-8446-1, $36 USD hardbound) is by Lily Simpson, who launched Detox Kitchen in 2012 in the UK, a food business with natural ingredients. This is largely a plant-based cookbook devoid of dairy, wheat and refined sugar. But it does include eggs and honey. The primer includes a larder/pantry. It's all arranged by ingredient, beginning with broad beans and moving through peas, asparagus, fennel, rhubarb, kale, okra, beetroot, tomato, squash and 23 more. There's broccoli carpaccio with homemade hoisin sauce, green salad with tahini and ginger, and cucumber and avocado coconut smoothie. Good British sensibility here. The book could have been improved if it also used all metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Tbsp and tsp are used but no mL. Quality/price rating: 88.
5.COCKTAIL CODEX (Ten Speed Press, 2018, 310 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-920-7, $40 USD hardbound) is by the Death & Co. team of Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan. It's a book of fundamentals, formulas, and evolutions. They believe that there are only six categories of cocktails, all based on one of "the old fashioned", "the martini", "the daiquiri", "the sidecar", "the whisky highball", and "the flip". A chapter is created for each. In the appendix there are a variety of preps for syrups and cordials, infusions, mixes and sodas, salts and rims, tinctures and concentrates. Plus a resources list and bibliography for additional reading. The martini section has the classic recipe for a gin martini, followed by a "root" recipe and a template. This is followed by the variations, including vodka martinis. But what happened to the Gibson? The Gimlet is here (under daiquiri), but there is no Gibson. It's also a useful and technical book for descriptions, and should bolster the knowledge appeal and controversy for any cocktail specialist. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88. 
6.JOE BEEF: SURVIVING THE APOCALYPSE (Appetite by Random House, 2018, 335 pages, ISBN  978-0-14-753079-0, $50 CAD hardbound) is by Frederic Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson, the authors of the well-received earlier cookbook,"The Art of Living According to Joe Beef". Morin and McMillan are co-owners of a variety of Montreal restaurants, including Joe Beef. Morin was the first Joe Beef chef; McMillan is the current chef. Erickson is the collaborating food author. Their first book was personal (living life the Joe Beef way), and this one is an extension with 150 new recipes sourced from all of their restaurants plus summertime in the Laurentians and Sunday dinners at home. There is even a Christmas in July, should you wish to embrace it, with recipes. It's light and breezy, with marrow pilaf, pot-au-feu (both d'hiver and d'ete), Dutch babies, pickled tongues, greens cheesecake, and a variety of off-the-wall but workable dishes. This is a good fun book with lots of memoir family material and personal thoughts plus the obligatory photographs of the team at work. The opening section is called The Cellar, and this is what foods you put aside in case there really is an apocalypse. While it still uses teaspoons and tablespoons as sole measurements for that quantity, all the other measurements are in both metric and avoirdupois. A great book for the fans of Joe Beef. Quality/price rating: 90.
7.THE DEAD RABBIT MIXOLOGY & MAYHEM; the story of John Morrissey and the world's best cocktail menu (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-45187-3, $28 USD hardbound) is by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and Jillian Vose. The first two are the co-owners of The Dead Rabbit, and Jillian is the bar manager/beverage director (coming over from Death & Co.). The Dead Rabbit has twice been named the World's Best Bar, and now introduces a six-part graphic novel. "The story is centered around The Rabbit, a mysterious character channeling the reborn spirit of John Morrissey, leader of the notorious 1850s Irish street gang that gave the bar its name." (publisher blurb). Along the way there are 90 Dead Rabbit cocktail recipes. Great, great fun for the millennials and fans of graphic novels. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88.
8.AVOCADERIA (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-49793-2, $19.99 USD, hardbound) is by Alessandro Biggi, Francesco Brachetti, and Alberto Gramigni who founded Avocaderia, and all-avocado cafe in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The first two men are owners, and Alberto is the chef. It's a straight forward book, emphasizing the healthy nature of avocados. Of course, there si descriptive material about handling avocados. And the five top varieties are discussed: Hass (95% of the market), Pinkerton,  Fuerte, Reed, and Zutano. A range of courses are presented: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, bowls, mains, apps, sides, sweets, spreads, smoothies, dressings, and menu ideas. There's a listing of vegan dishes, vegetarian (ovo-lacto) dishes, and gluten-free dishes. Impressive single ingredient cookbook. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88
9.FESTIVE HOLIDAY RECIPES (St. Martin's Griffin, 2018, 226 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-14636-6 $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Addie Gundry, a Food Network regular and executive producer for RecipeLion which creates culinary content for multiple web platforms. She's been involved with 10 other books in this "103" series (e.g. Retro Recipes from the '50s and '60s). More are at These are all the more popular preps for the holiday season that begins with US Thanksgiving at the end of November and ends with New Year's Eve. But I think that we in Canada, who look at the larger picture, would think of this period as being from mid-October (Canadian Thanksgiving) through to Valentine's Day in mid-February. That's four months of sheer cooking bliss as opposed to just 6 weeks in the USA. And enough time to use every recipe in the book. It's all arranged by course, from brunch through apps, mains, sides, desserts and drinks. Pretty straightforward with no surprises but a lot of stress-free ease in cooking relatively simple food, e.g., easy garlic-parmesan knots, overnight cinnamon bread, easy cheese dip, pretty part pinwheels, loaded devil eggs, easy pecan pie bars, no-bake holiday fruitcake – even slow cooker peppermint hot chocolate. Terrific for young people getting to know about foods. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 85
10.HERITAGE BAKING (Chronicle Books, 2018, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-6787-9 $29.95 USD hardbound) is by Ellen King who runs Hewn Bakery, with Amelia Levin as the collaborating food writer. She believes in baking rustic breads and pastries using artisanal flour made from named wheat varieties, such as Red Fife. So she's got more than 45 preps described as having a toothy texture (my kind of bread!) and an excellent crumb. She believes in using freshly stone-milled flours from heritage varieties (Glenn, Warthog, Marquis, et al) and a natural sourdough-style starter. The primer covers all this plus the master starter recipe and the master heritage bread formula, followed by 16 other breads. Next up are 15 enriched heritage breads which include brioche, dinner rolls, and cornbread. Muffins and scones have their own chapter, as do cakes-cookies-brownies. And each prep has been scaled so quantities are exact. Kudos on a major accomplishment.
Quality/price rating: 90.
11.COMPLETE WELLNESS (DK Books, 2018, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-6392-0, $30 USD hardbound)
is from the team at Neal's Yard Remedies in London. They've been in business since 1981, selling a wide range of herbal remedies and essential oils. They now sell certified organic health and beauty products in 20 countries. In the US they sell through a network of independent consultants. The range here begins with the holistic approach, rotating through the mind and emotions that have impact on skin, hair, nails, eyes, ears, mouth, and throat, moving on to the larger digestive system/urinary system/cardio system/brain and nervous system/respiratory system, and skeletal system. Other topics deal with systemic disorders, immunity, women's health, men's health, children's health, first aid, and more. There are recipes for wellness (overnight oats, smoothies, spreads, soups, dips, energy bites) as well as a supplement chart.  Practical advice is given in how to make things such as a balm, a cream or a syrup or herbal infusion. Quite encyclopedic, but with a UK orientation. There are both metric and avoirdupois for listed ingredients, but the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes with regard to teaspoons and tablespoons. Quality/price rating: 90.
12.FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE (Appetite by Random House, 2018, 214 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-753046-2, $24.95 CAD paperbound) is from Toronto's Cheese Boutique, written by owner Afrim Pristine. It's a four-generation fifty-year old cheese store with about 500 different kinds of cheeses. Plus upscale breads and biscuits, butters, charcuterie and other forms of ready-to-eat meats. Here Afrim delves into the basics of some 55 popular cheeses. He also presents 60 basic and easy recipes, with an additional 20 contributions from Daniel Boulud, Claudio Aprile, Anna and Michael Olson among others. There is also some family reminiscence, almost a memoir, and detail about the Cheese Boutique itself, with compelling photography by Steve Elphick. His primer tells us what cheese is all about and how to care for it. His top 16 cheeses are carefully explained, and this is followed by the 55 popular cheeses, a great starter selection before moving on. He's also got a recipe for each and some "fun facts". The preps are arranged by course, from breakfast through to desserts. Do try cacio e pepe popcorn with pecorino Romano, drunken goat in a pot, slam-dunk sandwich, or the "I am not afraid of blue cheese anymore" caramelized cookies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 90.
13.THE CURIOUS BARTENDER VOLUME II: The New testament of Cocktails (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-893-2 $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Tristan Stevenson, co-founder of Fluid Movement, a drinks consultancy; it is his sixth book. His first book was volume 1: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail. He's got 32 of the classic cocktails here, followed by 32 "game-changing reinventions". His book is loaded with tools and techniques, for cocktails have become more diverse and accessible lately. His are based on brandy, vodka, gin, rum, whisky and tequila. His re-invention of the Champagne cocktail is the Liar's Champagne, with Chablis, amontillado, Genever, green chartreuse and then carbonated. Wow. His take on the Americano includes cold coffee. He turns a sherry cobbler into a slushy. There's a buying guide and a list of suppliers plus a glossary. Quality/price rating: 89

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for January 19, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for January 19, 2019
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at or at
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
20 under $20
W+644609    BRICKLAYER'S REWARD 20 BARRELS CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake    2017    $18.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+147975    GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER    IGP Pays d'Oc     2016    $14.95     MVC/QPR: 90
W+225557    ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2017    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 90
W+443473    JARDIN INSPECTOR PÉRINGUEY CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2016    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+568543    ESTERHÁZY ESTORAS GRÜNER VELTLINER    Burgenland    2016    $17.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+392712    CUVÉE JOSEPH TALMARD MÂCON CHARDONNAY    AC    2017    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+159012    JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAU DE VAY CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2015    $39.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+247882    HENRY OF PELHAM FAMILY TREE RED    VQA Ontario    2017    $18.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+575266    LENTO DRAGONE ROSSO    IGT Calabria    2015    $16.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+632869    S. SEBASTIÃO TINTA RORIZ/SYRAH    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2015    $12.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91.5
R+609958    ALVIDES CRIANZA    DO Ribera del Duero    2012    $19.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+629519    SINERGIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    DO Valencia    2014    $14.95    14.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+629139    GABARDA SELECCIÓN    DO Cariñena    2015    $19.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+653535    SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN ESTATE RIESLING    Qualitätswein    2012    $18.95    11% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.5
R+640854    SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC    Uco Valley, Mendoza    2016    $17.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+673897    JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ    Padthaway, South Australia    2017    $16.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+327767    MOJO SHIRAZ    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2017    $19.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+R+276030    MURIEL FINCAS DE LA VILLA RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2013    $19.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+574145    RENDOLA ROSSO MAREMMA    DOC    2016    $14.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+195107    SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE    AP Côtes du Roussillon    2015    $16.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+530121    JOHNNY Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Coonawarra, South Australia    2014    $16.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
20 over $20
W+268342    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CHARDONNAY    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment        $21.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+64329    MEERLUST RUBICON    WO Stellenbosch    2015    $46.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
R+461699    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR    VQA Ontario        $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+657585    ARTESA LOS CARNEROS CHARDONNAY    Carneros    2015    $29.95 14.3% MVC/QPR: 88
W+141499    BLIND RIVER SAUVIGNON BLANC    Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island    2017    $21.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+403675    DE WETSHOF BON VALLON UNWOODED CHARDONNAY    WO Robertson    2017    $22.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+556597    MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE    WO Swartland    2017    $37.95 MVC/QPR: 88
W+289371    DOMAINE SÉGUINOT-BORDET CHABLIS    AC    2017    $25.95     12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+223966    DOMAINE D'ORFEUILLES VOUVRAY    AC    2015    $22.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+633628    MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE RESERVE MERITAGE    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2016    $29.95     14.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+694356    KLINKER BRICK MARISA VINEYARD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL    Lodi    2015    $49.95    15.8% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+633537    OUTLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Alexander Valley, Sonoma County    2014    $29.95    14.1% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+539163    SEAGLASS PINOT NOIR    Santa Barbara County    2016    $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+55764    CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE INDIAN WELLS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley    2015    $24.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+155713    CICCHITTI GRAN RESERVA MALBEC    Mendoza    2012    $27.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+632976    CHÂTEAU L'ARGENTEYRE    Cru Bourgeois, AC Médoc    2015    $22.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+575027    LA LOGGIA UVARIO ROSSO TOSCANO    IGT    2016    $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91.5
R+630020    CHÂTEAU CORBIN     AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé    2015    $26.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+568493    DOMAINE LERYS PUR SCHISTES FITOU    AP    2015    $20.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89


Monday, January 14, 2019


...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
14.THE SELF-SUFFICIENT LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE IT. New edition. (DK Books, 1976-2009, 2018, 408 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-7735-4 $35 USD hardbound) is by John Seymour, who first wrote this now bestselling classic guide to living a more sustainable way of life in 1976. He died in 2004 at age 90. His book has been re-published many times with updated changes, and in this edition, it has been overhauled with a mixture of his words from the 1976 book, his 1978 book "The New Self-Sufficiency Gardener", a 2018 foreword by Alice Waters, and some more changes since 2009 with regard to chemicals and pesticides, and the like, principally by disciple Will Sutherland who runs the School for Self-Sufficiency. There are also some words from Seymour's daughter Anne Sears about what it was like growing up "self-sufficient". It is really good to have this fully updated and revised book back in print. As the publisher notes, "for more than 40 years, John Seymour has inspired thousands to make more responsible, eco-friendly life choices." This current book tells you everything you need to know to go off the grid – basics such as gardening, milling, brewing, foraging, cheese making, raising and butchering livestock, preserving and freezing, chopping wood, et al. There are many sections here that apply to modern life in the big city. It's a timeless guide to green living, complete with colour drawings. Quality/price rating: 91.
15.GLAMOROUS COCKTAILS (CICO Books, 2012, 2018, 160 pages, $14.95 USD hardbound) is by interior designer William Yeoward. It was originally published in 2012 as WILLIAM YEOWARD'S AMERICAN BAR, an hommage to his favourite American-style bars in London. He  selects some cocktails from each. Presentation is paramount here, so the photography adapts well. There are about 70 recipes, with tips and advice for each drink. These are fashionable mixes from iconic London bars, such as The Connaught Bar, Annabel's (members only club in Mayfair), The Berkeley Blue Bar, The Beaufort Bar at the Savoy, and The American Bar at the Savoy. Replete with good descriptions from various bartenders and lots of photography. Both metric and avoirdupois are used in the recipes. Quality/price rating: 87.
16.THE SWEDISH CHRISTMAS TABLE (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012,2014,2018, 199 pages, ISBN 978-1-51073820-1 $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Jens Linder, a Swedish chef, and Johanna Westman, a Swedish TV host. It was originally published in 2012 as DECEMBER in Sweden, and re-published in English in 2014 and 2018. The original title is more exact for Sweden as they celebrate Christmas all month long, beginning with Advent calendars for December 1. Here, then, are traditional holiday meals, side dishes, candies and drinks, in over 100 easy-to-prepare recipes. As Sweden is part of "Scandinavia", many of the preps can be substituted back and forth for and from the other countries. The Christmas celebrations end up, of course, with New Year's Eve. So there is a whole month's worth of frolicking here. There's a glogg party with roasted and spiced nuts, bacon-wrapped dates, gingerbread nut cookies, fig and port wine marmalade, warmed wheel of Brie, plus – of all things – pissaladiere from southern France (which harkens back to the salt cod and spice exchange trade from centuries earlier). Several glogg recipes are also given. The book is great fun, but could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 86
17.WINE FOLLY: MAGNUM EDITION (Avery, 2018, 318 pages, ISBN 978-0-525-53389-6 $35 USD hardbound) is by Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack. It was originally published in 2015 and was based on the website (itself founded by Puckette and Hammack in 2011). She is a sommelier and visual designer; he is a web designer. The main principles and rationales for the book have not changed: the material has just been updated and extended to move with the times of expanding wine information. The winefolly website is free, and is probably the #1 ranking wine education site on the Internet. The book is meant to improve one's knowledge of wine and refute intimidation and uncertainty. The book would help novices to assess wine quality, handle-serve-store-age wine, find new wines to taste, and make relevant food and wine pairings. And overall they should gain confidence. As the authors say, "your homework assignment each time you try a new wine is" -- to focus on tasting the wine, find the wine's grape variety, to learn about the region where the wine is from, and to match with food. Puckette has a wealth of infographics for the millennials, various graphic wheel charts for tasting and aromas, plus examples of wines to explore. Did you know that pinot grigio actually has a taste? Expect green apple, unripe peach, thyme, lime zest, and quince – okay, now who has actually tasted "green" apple (NOT Granny Smiths), "unripe" peach, or knows what a quince is? Get to it.... A terrific book for beginners! Quality/price rating: 89.
18.THE VENISON COOKBOOK (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, 2018, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-3725-9, $15.99 USD paperbound) is by Kate Fiduccia, who hosts the Woods N' Waters TV series along with her husband. She is also an expert hunter. This book is the paperback reprint of the 2011 hardbound edition. Here are more than 125 recipes for hunters and non-hunters. Venison is relatively healthy, with only 3.6 grams of fat per four-ounce serving. The range here is from modest comfort home food to gourmet, with recipes for every meal and snack during the day. So at breakfast, try the venison veggie frittata or the venison asparagus delight. Lunch has venison tamale pie, dinner includes venison moussaka, baked pasta with venison, venison Wellington. Indeed, anything done with beef can be done with venison. Just don't let it dry out. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 86
19.THE GOURMANDS' WAY (Farrar, Straus AND Giroux, 2018, 435 pages, ISBN 978-0-374-53801-9 $30 USD hardbound) is by Justin Spring, who specializes in writing biographies. Here, in this paperback reprint of the 2017 hardbound book, he delves into six Americans in Paris (Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher, Alexis Lichine, A.J. Liebling, Richard Olney, Alice B. Toklas) and the "Birth of a New Gastronomy" – the 1950s and 1960s is the timeline. And of course, Paris itself is prominent. Spring has tied together many different Parisian fragments of these Americans' writings: they crossed paths frequently as they knew each other, they ate at the same cafes and bistros, they wrote similar materials about the Parisian life and food and wine. "Bons viveurs" indeed. It all really wound down when Olney left for the Var in 1967. And the stage was set for a new confluence of Fisher, Child and Olney with James Beard, Simone Beck, Judith Jones, and others in Luke Barr's 2014 telling book "Provence, 1970". So Spring's book is a vital precursor. Illustrated with many black and white photos. Quality/price rating: 90
20.DIABETIC LIVING DIABETES DAILY (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-49770-3, $19.99 USD paperbound) is from the magazine Diabetic Living (Meredith). They've got 130 recipes here to keep you on track with mindful ways to eat and live well. These include building a support team, reducing stress, fitness and lifestyle changes, overcoming emotional eating, and right-size portions. There are also two weeks of balanced menu plans. All courses are covered, from breakfast through lunch and dinner, and include snacks, desserts, "classics", salad meals, bowls, and seafood. There's a lot of effective hand-holding here that works. The book could have been improved if it also used metric directly in the recipes, but at least it had metric conversion charts at the back. Quality/price rating: 89
21.EATING WELL SOUPS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-91103-2, $22 USD paperbound) is from the magazine Eating Well (Meredith), which has been around since 1990. I was once a Charter subscriber. Soups, of course, are the ultimate bowl foods. Here are 100 healthy recipes for the ultimate comfort food, all from numerous contributors and with full nutritional data, timings, and cook notes. For the most part, these are all hot soups. There were only five chilled soups – mostly gazpacho variations – and no chilled fruit soups (although fruits such as apples are used as a component of hot soups). There is even a chapter labeled "better-the-next-day soups" which allows for
quantity cooking without being shy about it. The concluding section is soups by the formula: chicken soup, chowder, and pureed veggie soup. Each formula allows for quite a few variations, and there are also garnishes which can change the texture and taste.
The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89
22.SKILLET (Hardie Grant Books, 2017, 2018, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78488-156-6 $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Ann Helm Baxter. It was originally published by Hachette Livre (Marabout) in 2017. This is the English language edition. Her collection of 70 quick and tasty one-pan recipes are easily achievable for dinner after a hard pressed day at work. She envisions a beetroot tarte tatin or chicken & mushroom pot pie. But basically it concerns the tastiness of loving care towards burgers, curries, risotto, pizza, pasta, desserts, with specific chapters on vegetarian and fish & seafood. There is both metric and avoirdupois for listed ingredients, but the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes with regard to teaspoons and tablespoons. Quality/price rating: 86


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for JANUARY 5, 2019

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for  JANUARY 5,  2019
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at or at
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone should taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
20 under $20
W+402172    HOGUE CHARDONNAY Columbia Valley 2016  $14.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+32060    MONTES LIMITED SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC    DO Leyda Valley        2017     $14.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+630202    MATAHIWI PINOT GRIS    Wairarapa, North Island    2018     $17.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+694737    SPINYBACK SAUVIGNON BLANC    Nelson, South Island        2017     $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+377457    RABL LANGENLOIS GRÜNER VELTLINER    DAC Kamptal        2017     $16.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+621581    BLASON DE BOURGOGNE SAINT-VÉRAN  2016 $19.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+745349    DOMAINE JACKY MARTEAU SAUVIGNON TOURAINE    AC    2017     $15.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+577734    DE ANGELIS OFFIDA PECORINO DOCG 2016     $15.95 13.7% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
W+471284    CURVOS LOUREIRO DOC Vinho Verde    2017     $12.95  12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+629832    HEREDAD DE URUEÑA SANTO TERROIR TEMPRANILLO    Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León    2012     $16.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  91
R+310151    TARIMA MONASTRELL    DO Alicante    Bodegas Volver    2016     $14.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+636258    SOLÀ FRED    DO Montsant    Celler Masroig 2017     $17.00  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+551473    DRUMHELLER CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley        2015     $18.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+497354    ARANWA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON  Mendoza        2013     $17.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+205567    CALITERRA TRIBUTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Single vineyard, DO Colchagua Valley      2016     $13.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+632059    JIM BARRY THE BARRY BROS SHIRAZ/CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Clare Valley, South Australia    Tom & Sam Barry    2016     $19.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+632117    NORFOLK RISE VINEYARD SHIRAZ    Mount Benson, Limestone Coast, South Australia        2017     $14.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+630103    CHÂTEAU LES PETITS ARNAUDS TRADITION    AC Côtes de Bordeaux - Blaye        2015     $16.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+380675    DOMAINE AUTRAND CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC        2016     $14.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+574137    CORTE MEDICEA CLETUS    IGT Toscana    Bollina    2016     $17.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  91
R+452797    BARCO NEGRO    DOC Douro        2015     $13.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+631002    ODISSEIA TINTO    DOC Douro        2015     $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+477075    I BALZI ROSSO    IGT Veneto    Verga    2016     $15.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+577726    CECCHI LA CAMPANA MONTEFALCO ROSSO    DOC        2014     $14.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+540922    CECCHI STORIA DI FAMIGLIA CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG        2015     $17.95
13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+395053    12 E MEZZO PRIMITIVO DEL SALENTO    IGP    Varvaglione    2016     $14.95
12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
20 over $20
W+431783    JOST TIDAL BAY    Nova Scotia    2017     $20.95       11 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+481523    TREANA CHARDONNAY    Central Coast     2015     $24.95       14.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+447193    DOMAINE MILLET CHABLIS    AC    2017     $27.95  12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+54080    CLOS DU BOIS SONOMA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Alexander Valley, Sonoma County        2014     $24.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+629972    ZAHA EL CORTE    Toko Vineyard, Paraje Altamira, Mendoza        2014     $24.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+633081    CHÂTEAU DU BREUIL    Cru Bourgeois, AC Haut-Médoc        2014     $24.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+368175    CHÂTEAU BOUTISSE    AC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru        2015     $41.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+62711    DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AP    Earl Michel Maret & Filles    2015     $48.95  15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+213132    LA PIEVE BAROLO    DOCG        2014     $39.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+33498    FATTOI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG        2013     $46.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+574269    PAOLO CONTERNO ANFORTI    IGT Toscana        2015     $24.95  15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+618330    MELIPAL ESTATE BOTTLED BLEND    Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza    2014     $27.95  15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+942599    RAVENSWOOD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL  Lodi        2016     $21.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89