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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 15, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 15, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
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).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages May 15: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 1.4 g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by black currant. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.4% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry .
Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 1429 cases made. 10.6% ABV. RS 22.4 g/L. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of berries, plums and cherries. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Should go well with BBQ or other fatty meats. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle daily for a week). 2408 cases. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages June 12 and October: 20% of this wine went into barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 293 cases. 5.5g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Beal Vineyard Cabernet Rose 2020 VQA Beamsville Bench, Vintages +177840 $15.95 May 15 release: the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada has had eight annual tastings of Ontario rose wines, and this one from Peninsula Ridge has always been selected in the "Best" category (90+ points) except for one year. So it has a great track record with wine writers. It's all Cabernet Franc, with short skin contact and long fermentation at low temperatures – always in stainless steel tanks. Red fruit, of course, dominates in a juicy style (but with only 4g/L residual sugar). Typical MVC for Ontario strawberries, red cherries, and cranberries (for that crisp long finish). Best served with decks/terraces/balconies/patios/backyards and sunshine, or with grilled seafood. (Their 2013 vintage rose sold for $11.95). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
8. Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, its tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L, ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.                   
 
Under $20
=========
W+519025    FEATHERSTONE PHOENIX    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $18.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+80234    FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING    2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula        $17.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+17575    IVORY & BURT CHARDONNAY    Lodi    2019    $19.95  MVC/QPR:  89
W+ 928580    SANTA CAROLINA GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, DO Itata Valley    2018    $18.95  MVC/QPR:  89
W+17563    SACRED HILL HAWKE'S BAY CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, Hawke's Bay, North Island    2019    $18.95  MVC/QPR:  89
R+64618    FEATHERSTONE CABERNET FRANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2019 $19.95 MVC/QPR:  91
R+131540    FEATHERSTONE RED TAIL MERLOT    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 92
R+548867    CASA SANTOS LIMA COLOSSAL RESERVA    Vinho Regional Lisboa    2017    $15.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+348292    CHÂTEAU VRAI CAILLOU    AC Bordeaux Supérieur    2016    $16.95    MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+177840    PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD CABERNET ROSÉ    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+20012    LE BIJOU DE SOPHIE VALROSE    IGP Coteaux de Béziers    2020    $16.95    PERUGINI   MVC/QPR:          
  
Over $20
=========
W+566026    CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    $29.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R +672923    CONTINO RESERVA Single vineyard, DOCa Rioja  2016  $29.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+60525    RUTHERFORD RANCH RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Napa Valley    2017    $49.95  MVC/QPR:  89
 
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --
 
1.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2016 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +430991, $24.95 Vintages May 1: one of their several chardonnays at different price points, from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2014 (which was $5 less). Barrel-fermented and barrel-aged in French oak for a year, with lees stirring. 27-year old vines. Expect full-bodied balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit and a buttery consistency with some slight smokey spices. Cork closure. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. Very age worthy, should see us through (and after) the pandemic period. 500 cases. 13.3% ABV. Residual sugar 3g/L. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot Old Vines 2017 VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, $24.95 +222372 at winery and online: a substantial wine made from plots planted beginning in 1983-1985 and then again in 1992-1996 (in all four of their vineyards) – about a third each of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, coming in at 12.6% ABV after 15 months time in French oak. Expect some intricacy with its medium mocha, cedar, vanilla and cassis, but double-decant the bottle before serving. The extra airing will help soften it and give it a longer length from the older vines. Tasted successfully over a number of days. 485 cases. Residual sugar 1g/L. It should outlast the pandemic. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L, ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Featherstone Estate Winery Black Sheep Riesling 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 +80234 Vintages Essential: more in the Mosel mode than Rhine wine, this delicious sipper is loaded with a nose of citrus highlights (lemon, lime, grapefruit) evolving to Ontario orchard fruit on the mid-palate with some minerality and a long lean-ish finish which also makes it nifty food wine for many Asiatic dishes. Medium body, off-dry .
Suitable for aging, to get that "petrol" character. 1429 cases made. 10.6% ABV. RS 22.4 g/L. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Featherstone Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +64618 Vintages Essential: a blend  of 95% cabernet franc and 5% merlot. All US oak was used – 25% new, balance into 1 to 4 year old barrels. Full malolactic fermentation. Medium-bodied with an assortment of tastes of berries, plums and cherries. Long, long finish showing tart-ish food-loving acid balances. Should go well with BBQ or other fatty meats. Keep for another few years (I tasted one bottle daily for a week). 2408 cases. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2018 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 Vintages May 15: Merlot is still recovering from its dissing by Pinot Noir in the movie "Sideways". But a lot of wineries are still making it. David Johnson the winemaker has here produced a delightfully fruity but dryish (RS 1.4 g/L) drop that is also affordable. Aged 10 months in French oak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Expect black fruit cherry-berry complexity, headed by black currant. Both a patio sipper and a food wine, and ready now for current drinking and accompanying any kind of comfort food. 12.4% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
8.Featherstone Estate Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 +89011 Vintages June 12 and October: 20% of this wine went into barrel fermentation, leaving 80% for stainless steel. That contributed to the softness and to the muted tones of grassiness. Tropical flowers are accented rather than tropical fruit, and this too adds to its dryness culminating with ending citrus notes for a long finish. It's a great wine for savvy lovers who go for complexity rather than just herbs. At the same time, this allows for more food choices. Only 293 cases. 5.5g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
9.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

 
...is 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 –
 
 
12.VEGAN RECIPES FROM JAPAN (Grub Street, 2020, 208 pages,
 
$32.95 hardbound) is by Malte Hartig and Jule Felice Frommelt. He's a
 
trained chef with a PhD on Japanese food and culture and Zen Buddhism;
 
she's a freelance food photographer and recipe developer. Together they
 
write about what is essentially "shojin ryori": the traditional dining style of
 
Buddhist monks in Japan, made without any animal products. So it
 
becomes a perfect vegan diet. Foods are based on tofu, seaweed,
 
seasoned veggies and wild mountain plants. Balance and alignment are
 
brought to the body, mind and spirit. The preps are simple and humble,
 
seasonally done with Japanese ingredients such as miso, soy sauce,
 
sake, mirin, dashi, and mostly steamed or grilled or deep fried. The
 
arrangement is by season, beginning with spring, and there are many
 
cultural/social background notes, along with a glossary and other
 
references.
Quality/Price rating: 91
 
 
13.ARZAK + ARZAK (Grub Street, 2020, 256 pages, $49.95 hardbound)
 
is by Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena Arzak. The Restaurante
 
Arzak has been in San Sebastian since 1897, and it has had three
 
Michelin stars since 1989. It has also been included on the World's 50
 
Best Restaurant list since the ranking's early days. Elena has been there
 
since 1994 after working her way through the kitchens of Troisgros and El
 
Bulli, among others. This is a lavishly produced book celebrating the
 
research and the gastronomy of one of the finest restaurants in the world.
 
This is the beginning of the New Basque Cuisine. Copious photographs
 
and generous texts illuminate every phase of their daily work together and
 
with the 64-member team, and includes a separate chapter on their
 
research and research methods.  Finally, at page 113 we arrive at the
 
beginning of the 64 recipes which Jaun Mari and chef Elena worked out
 
together over the past 10 years, with great colour photographs of
 
ingredients and finished plates. It begins with hake and chickpea paint,
 
moves on to veal cheeks stew, nectarine and squid vines, and ends with
 
honeymead and fractal fluid. It would be pretty hard to find a better gift
 
book for the gastronome. Quality/Price rating: 93.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 1, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 1, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
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).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2016 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +430991, $24.95 Vintages May 1: one of their several chardonnays at different price points, from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2014 (which was $5 less). Barrel-fermented and barrel-aged in French oak for a year, with lees stirring. 27-year old vines. Expect full-bodied balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit and a buttery consistency with some slight smokey spices. Cork closure. Long finish. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. Very age worthy, should see us through (and after) the pandemic period. 500 cases. 13.3% ABV. Residual sugar 3g/L. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot Old Vines 2017 VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, $24.95 +222372 at winery and online: a substantial wine made from plots planted beginning in 1983-1985 and then again in 1992-1996 (in all four of their vineyards) – about a third each of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, coming in at 12.6% ABV after 15 months time in French oak. Expect some intricacy with its medium mocha, cedar, vanilla and cassis, but double-decant the bottle before serving. The extra airing will help soften it and give it a longer length from the older vines. Tasted successfully over a number of days. 485 cases. Residual sugar 1g/L. It should outlast the pandemic. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Le Bijou de Sophie Valrose Rose 2020 IGP Coteaux de Beziers (Languedoc) +20012 $16.95 Vintages May 15: this is a super-value rose from the Deep South of France, comprised of all red grapes: cinsault (45%), grenache (40%), syrah (5%) and caladoc (10%). The latter is an interesting cross between grenache and malbec, useful for its high resistance to disease, tannins and aromatic quality. The mostly bush vines are 25 – 50 years old. Each variety separately undergoes a long and cool fermentation before blending together. In colour, the wine is extremely pale. The aromatics exhibit plentiful floral and berry notes, continuing on through the mid-palate before resolution with the finishing acids – great with foods such as appetizers or first courses, even salads. Sophie Larose was a late 19th century vine handpicker who fought for women's rights in the vineyards. See the back label. This wine is suitable for vegans. RS is 4g/L; ABV is 12.5%. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Featherstone Estate Winery Four Feathers 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 +341586 April 17 and August: a summer social sipper or quaffer, combining 62% riesling and 3% chardonnay with 20% sauvignon blanc and 15% gewurztraminer – all highly aromatic grapes. The percentages change from vintage to vintage depending on vineyard conditions. Stainless steel fermentation. Typical fruit flavours to be found include pineapple, melon, lemon, some mango, and some sweet parts of citric tones near the finish. A popular seller with 1999 cases. Incredibly fresh and fruity tones for summer. 12g/L residual sugar. 12.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Chardonnay 2019 VQA Short Hills Bench +616466, $29.95 [currently at winery] Vintages May 1: Grapes come from their oldest estate vineyards (beginning 1988), hand-picked. Barrel fermented in French oak with a portion in 3000L foudres, and then barrel aged for 8 – 10 months in a mix of new and older barrels. This continues the tradition of Burgundian elegance. Expect some ripeness, balance of oaking and fruit, integrated style in place. Wood integration produces some creaminess in the finish. 12.8% ABV, cork closure. Definitely needs another year – or more – in bottle in order to bring out the nuances. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

6.Featherstone Estate Winery Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 +117861 Vintages (and again on September 4): over the years, this rose has had different and varying amounts of grape varieties – all dependent on what wily winemaker David Johnson sees as the best possible blend. In the past it has had pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon, as well as gamay noir, merlot, and cabernet franc: the latter three are in the 2019. This latest vintage (2020) has cabernet sauvignon 50%, gamay noir 30%, merlot 7%, and chardonnay 13%. It's extremely useful for any event, any occasion, with any food, or just alone as a sipper on the beach/patio/deck/terrace/balcony – even in front of a roaring fireplace in winter (as I did just this week when the sub-zero snow dropped in High Park North the day before Earth Day). Expect plenty of red fruit tones with some cranberry tartness in its deliciousness. Great price. 1359 cases. 6.59g/L residual sugar, 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.

Under $20

===========
White+18705    STRANDVELD FIRST SIGHTING SAUVIGNON BLANC    WO Cape South Coast    2020    $14.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+117861    FEATHERSTONE ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula 2020 $15.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+719062    FAMILLE PERRIN RÉSERVE ROSÉ    AC Côtes du Rhône    2020    $15.95  MVC/QPR: 89
Red+999946    REMO FARINA RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018    $18.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+377481    HACIENDA LÓPEZ DE HARO CRIANZA    DOCa Rioja    2017    $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
 
Over $20
=========
Sparkling+19346    THE FOREIGN AFFAIR BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ    Charmat method, VQA Ontario    2019    $25.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+993113    TAITTINGER PRESTIGE BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE    AC $79.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+17553    TE AWANGA SAUVIGNON BLANC    Hawke's Bay, North Island    2019    $23.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+616466    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $29.95    MVC/QPR: 91
W+430991    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD CHARDONNAY    VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2016    $24.95     MVC/QPR: 92
W+541557    LAKE SONOMA CHARDONNAY    Russian River Valley, Sonoma County    2018    $26.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    2016    $23.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+165662    MONTE DEL FRÀ LENA DI MEZZO VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC    2018    $24.95     MVC/QPR:  89
R+130252    TAWSE SKETCHES CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $21.95     MVC/QPR:  89
Port+87551    FONSECA LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORT    Unfiltered, DOP, Portugal    2015    $23.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, April 26, 2021

DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH -- Zero Proof Cocktails by Elva Ramirez (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 256 pages, $32 hardbound).

ZERO PROOF COCKTAILS; 90 non-alcoholic recipes for mindful drinking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021, 256 pages, $32 hardbound) is by Elva Ramirez, a freelance lifestyle journalist and consultant, formerly with the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and others. The book notes, "as consumers become more mindful and re-examine their relationship with alcohol, the no-proof movement is gaining more and more prominence". Here is a collection curated by Ramirez, with preps and notes of cocktails and mocktails from an international assortment of bartenders and bars. It's all arranged by taste, from bright and refreshing through fruity and floral, tangy and tropical, rich and decadent, and even vegetal and savoury. Forty contributors and their deets are noted. Recipes for a huge selection of syrups are given, and the author also presents a short history of temperance movements. A great book gift for any time of the year, with such as Seedlip spice and all things nice, morning grove fizz, almost famous, and the red passion.

Quality/price rating: 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Re: COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH -- Rose Reisman's Meal Revolution (Friesen Press, 275 pages, $34.95)

Hi Dean — Thanks so much! will share this with Rose

Sincerely, 
Saskia Brussaard, President
Crave Consulting + Communications

Food, Agriculture, Ag-Tech, Food-Tech, Cannabis (Edibles), Health, Nutrition/Food Literacy, Sustainability, Cookbooks+
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On Apr 24, 2021, at 4:32 PM, Dean Tudor <dtudor@pathcom.com> wrote:

ROSE REISMAN'S MEAL REVOLUTION; recipes inspired by Canada's new food guide (Friesen Press, 2020, 275 pages, ISBN 978-152556662-2 $34.95 softbound) is by Rose Reisman: and award-winning entrepreneur, caterer, cookbook author of 20 books, with a nutrition degree and an MBA in marketing. She does a "Personal Gourmet" food delivery service (extremely useful in pandemic times) and a "Kids Lunches" for elementary schools. The full intent of her latest book is to use the 2019 Health Canada CFG as the basis for changing up your home cooking with new recipes for the weekly rotation and new ideas for healthier living. The Guide reduces one's dependency on meat and dairy for protein, substituting plant protein. Her 165 preps emphasize more plant-based meals for healthier nutrition and immunity. As she says, "The toll of the pandemic is being felt by many and being mindful about food is especially important now. It means making healthier choices more often, making positive changes to daily eating habits such as taking the time to eat together, and tuning into the emotional reasons for why you're eating." The food preps are easy to make, with chapters arranged by bowls, instant pots, and sheet pans, as well as the traditional breakdowns by ingredient (meat, poultry, seafood, veggies) or course (breakfast, soup, salad, desserts, snacks). Typical are the bowl of arugula-quinoa-black bean-charred tomato pilaf or salmon poke bowl or gluten-free carrot loaf with dried dates and apples. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 93.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com


Saturday, April 24, 2021

COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH -- Rose Reisman's Meal Revolution (Friesen Press, 275 pages, $34.95)

ROSE REISMAN'S MEAL REVOLUTION; recipes inspired by Canada's new food guide (Friesen Press, 2020, 275 pages, ISBN 978-152556662-2 $34.95 softbound) is by Rose Reisman: and award-winning entrepreneur, caterer, cookbook author of 20 books, with a nutrition degree and an MBA in marketing. She does a "Personal Gourmet" food delivery service (extremely useful in pandemic times) and a "Kids Lunches" for elementary schools. The full intent of her latest book is to use the 2019 Health Canada CFG as the basis for changing up your home cooking with new recipes for the weekly rotation and new ideas for healthier living. The Guide reduces one's dependency on meat and dairy for protein, substituting plant protein. Her 165 preps emphasize more plant-based meals for healthier nutrition and immunity. As she says, "The toll of the pandemic is being felt by many and being mindful about food is especially important now. It means making healthier choices more often, making positive changes to daily eating habits such as taking the time to eat together, and tuning into the emotional reasons for why you're eating." The food preps are easy to make, with chapters arranged by bowls, instant pots, and sheet pans, as well as the traditional breakdowns by ingredient (meat, poultry, seafood, veggies) or course (breakfast, soup, salad, desserts, snacks). Typical are the bowl of arugula-quinoa-black bean-charred tomato pilaf or salmon poke bowl or gluten-free carrot loaf with dried dates and apples. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 93.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 17, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 17, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
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).
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Gerard Bertrand Terroir An806 Corbieres 2018 $17.95 +394288 Vintages: In this Terroir Corbieres (from the Narbonne), Bertrand uses traditional fermentation for the grenache, syrah, and mourvedre. It is an appealing Rhonish G-S-M, with one-third of the blended wine aging in wood for nine months before bottling. Very firm with some very dark fruit leading on to the very full and ripe finish. Needs hearty food. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Parker Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Paso Robles $24.95 +17684 Vintages [wine of the month for April 17, 2021]: an affordable Cali-Cab, but only 5,000 cases made. Part of the Fess Parker winery unit, the US SRP is $17. Aged six months in all French oak resulting in typical cabby spicy mocha flavours, blackberry/plummy fruit (and with a leathery hint suggestive of syrah), vanilla finish. My wife said "yum", which is her description for a juicy palate. Changed for better complexity over time with stoppered exposure and a double decant. Smooth but dry with a long lingering finish: great with food. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release:
this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4..Chateau des Charmes Cabernet-Merlot Old Vines 2017 VQA Niagara-On-The-Lake, $24.95 +222372 at winery and online: a substantial wine made from plots planted beginning in 1983-1985 and then again in 1992-1996 (in all four of their vineyards) – about a third each of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot, coming in at 12.6% ABV after 15 months time in French oak. Expect some intricacy with its medium mocha, cedar, vanilla and cassis, but double-decant the bottle before serving. The extra airing will help soften it and give it a longer length from the older vines. Tasted successfully over a number of days. 485 cases. Residual sugar 1g/L. It should outlast the pandemic. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+286377    CAVE SPRING ESTATE RIESLING    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+17658    LA GIUSTINIANA TERRE ANTICHE GAVI DI GAVI    DOCG    2019    $17.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+341586    FEATHERSTONE FOUR FEATHERS    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $14.95
MVC/QPR: 90
W+458687    NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 446 CHARDONNAY    Monterey County    2018    $18.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+19509    CAVES D'ESCLANS WHISPERING ANGEL ROSÉ    AC Côtes de Provence    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19903    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE GAMAY    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95  MVC/QPR:  90
R+39925    CUNE CRIANZA    Vegan, DOCa Rioja    2017    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89
R+394288    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRENACHE/SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE    AP Corbières    2018    $17.95     MVC/QPR: 91
 
Over $20
========
Sparkling+213983    CAVE SPRING BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario        $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+184549    LE CLOS JORDANNE LE GRAND CLOS CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $44.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+368050    PLUME CHARDONNAY    Napa Valley    2018    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+17684    PARKER STATION CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Paso Robles    2017    $24.95  MVC/QPR: 91                   
 
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, April 10, 2021

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

CARPATHIA; food from the heart of Romania (Interlink Books, 2020, 224 pages, $49.95 hardbound) is by Irina Georgescu, a Romanian food writer with a blog (Small Bites). Romania is a well-travelled through country with many melting pot dishes. I was very impressed with a Romanian food documentary from some years back, about farmers who grew just two crops (potatoes and cabbages) and tried to work with a depressed market for those two items. So I used this book's index to find caraway sauerkraut clorba with potatoes, potato bread in cabbage leaves, and potato moussaka. There were more preps with cabbages, including sauerkraut. Her book concentrates on small plates (from her blog), breads, street food baked goods, and a broth soup augmented by "bors" (sour fermented wheat) or by "ciorba" (vinegar, pickled brine). The heart of Romanian cuisine is carefully explored with material on pork, coarse polenta, broth, garlic, cheese, yogurt, pickles, and wine. Desserts are based on the Austro-Hungarian empires. She concludes with some notes on the seasons and superstitions in Romanian cuisine, the culinary heritage, and the cultural food values.

 

.WHY WE COOK: Women on food, identity, and connection (Workman Publishing, 2021, 232 pages, $33.95 hardbound) has been pulled together and edited by Lindsay Gardner, who also illustrated the book with her watercolours. These are essays, interviews, recipes, and stories from 112 women in food. Sections deal with Memorable Meals, Kitchen Portraits, Home Cooks, Profiles, and advice from contributors. Included are such well-known names as Ruth Reichl, Deborah Madison, Dorie Greenspan, and Anita Lo. The 11 preps are eclectic but not indexed. There is a contributor idex with notes and credits. The main section delves into such matters as "what is your fave part of the cooking process?", "how do you overcome creative ruts?", and "what kitchen tools do you love most?". There are activists here, as well as food truckers, bakers who give back, women in wine, and even ice cream innovators. This is a terrific gift book for any occasion.

 

.FOODIE BREAKS: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales (Dog'n'Bone, 2020, 144 pages, $19.95 flatbound) is by Richard Mellor who had previously written Foodie Breaks: Europe. In this book he examines 25 cities and towns with 250 (10 each) essential eating experiences within his UK homeland. With pictures, it provides a snapshot of 25 culinary UK "hotspots" with recommendations to try establishments. He's got the best places for breakfasts and brunches, street food, gastropubs, inexpensive diners, and cool places to drink. This is a quick, easily digestible summary for your British traveller.

 

AEGEAN (Interlink Books, 2021, 224 pages, $50 hardbound) is by Marianna Leivaditaki, who was raised on Crete and now is a London UK chef at Morito. Her paean to the Aegean is centred largely on Crete as just one of the many islands that belong to Greece. Other major islands include Rhodes, Karpathos, and Kasos. As the largest and most populous island, Crete has an original cuisine that Leivaditaki delves into. She conveniently divides the book into three: the sea, the land, the mountains, with recipes and personal stories for each. And there are lots of great photos here of prawns with ouzo, orzo and zucchini, tomato and oregano fritters with feta, and the kakavia one-pot fish stew. This is the Mediterranean diet in all of its full-blown glory, with olive oils, fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish. A delight.

 

HOW WILD THINGS ARE; cooking, fishing and hunting at the bottom of the world (Hardie Grant Books, 2021, 241 pages $42.56 hardbound) is by Analiese Gregory, and partly biography by Hilary Burden, and recipes and memoir material from the chef- author herself. First rate photography is by Adam Gibson. Gregory grew up in coastal New Zealand (there are sections here on her youth and on New Zealand cooking) but on a whim she later moved to Tasmania in 2017 after forgoing France. This story is featured as the bulk of the book: living on a somewhat isolated island far from the mainstream. Her credits include working in some of the top notch restaurants of the world. But here she is doing a reno of an old 110-year old farmhouse while foraging and hunting and cooking. She's got 40 recipes, including ferments, all mixed in with narratives. Many of the preps are unique, such as sea urchin farinata, abalone fritters, chargrilled oyster mushrooms with wakame sabayon, and oca (yam) with spelt and roasted pears. Try also the confit lamb ribs with date syrup. Some of the book was written during the recent pandemic. An excellent book for Oz and Kiwi expats.

 

PARWANA (Interlink Books, 2021, 256 pages, $52 hardbound) is by Durkhanai Ayubi, with recipes by Farida Ayubi and Fatema Ayubi.. These are stories and preps from an Afghan kitchen – Parwana Restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, which opened in 2009. The 100+ recipes have been family-held for years, and embrace both day-to-day preps and celebrations: rice, curries, meats, kebabs, naan flatbread, halwah, dumplings, Afghan pasta, sweets, chutneys, pickles, soups and breads. Everything is complemented by food photography and family photos as the text convincingly shows the interrelationship between food, people and communities over time and place. There's morabayeh anjir (whole fig jam), torshi bemasalah (pickled veggies), shorwa thin soup with vegetables, aush thick soup with noodles, and banjaan borani (braised eggplant with yogurt dressing).

 

BITTER HONEY; recipes and stories from the Island of Sardinia (Hardie Grant Books, 2020, 256 pages,, $58 hardbound) is by Letitia Clark, a seasoned UK chef with a great resume that includes pastry and baking. She moved to Sardinia with her then-boyfriend (also a cook) to work a rural farm and produce Sardinian recipes. Although Italian, there is a strong French influence from this part of the Mediterranean (e.g., the onion soup prep is straight French Onion Soup). As she says, it's all about traditions, stories and memories, with insight into people's lives, habits and histories. Age-old methods and tools means that just about everything is cooked very slowly. So this is all home-food with great photography by Matt Russell. Topics are arranged by theme: apertivo, terra, merenda, mare, verdure, grano, and dolci e bevande. There 's a Sardinian pantry, which includes bay leaves, borage, capers, chestnuts, limoncello, myrtle, guanciale, and oranges. Lots of local food and colour here – a good book for your Mediterranean food lover who has everything (when was the last time you saw a Sardinian cookbook?)

 

PERSIANA; recipes from the Middle East and beyond (Interlink Books, 2014, 2021, $49.95 hardbound) is by Sabrina Ghayour. It's a needed reissue of a Middle East food and culture book, with 100 preps for dishes from the Mediterranean Sea's south and eastern shorelines. All of the dishes are modern and accessible, covering the range from mezze through breads, soups, tagines, roasts, salads, and desserts. Dishes include fava beans with garlic, dill and eggs (baghala ghatogh), smoked eggplants with garlic (mirza ghasemi) and lamb-butternut squash-prune-tamarind tagine. Many dishes are from the eastern end of Iran-Persia, and some of the variations come African shores. Food culture notes accompany all dishes.

 

PIE ACADEMY; master the perfect crust and 255 amazing fillings with fruits, nuts, creams, custards, ice cream and more: expert techniques for making fabulous pies from scratch (Storey Publishing, 2020, 470 pages, $48 hardbound) is by Ken Haedrich who runs the Pie Academy and has authored more than dozen cookbooks. He's also won a Julia Child Cookbook Award. Since the subtitle is fairly explanatory, I don't really need to add much more: there's a lot of primer material about pie making and doughs (the first 86 pages) followed by pies arranged by fruits such as berries, apples, pear, pumpkin, cranberry, et al. Then come the nuts, custards, hand pies of minis and turnovers, icebox pies, and cream pies. The ingredients are by volume but there is a metric conversion chart. There are even some savoury pies using cheese and eggs. A good-looking gift for the baker in the family!

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

...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"...

15.SOURDOUGH FROM SCRATCH; slow down, make bread (Hardy Grant Quadrille, 2020, 2021, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78713-695-3, $24.99 flexiboard covers) is by James Morton. It is based on (and has been extracted from) a larger book published in 2020, "Super Sourdough". This is a basic guidebook at a decent price for an easy procedure that just takes time sitting around and must be routinely fed in even less time than a household pet. And no walking either – the perfect pandemic time occupier. The hardest part is just setting up a schedule for the various procedures. Sourdoughs work on their own but you do need to know how to take care of your starter. This is your refrigerated pet: yeast. Morton has a glossary of key ingredients and key recipes, plus advice on how to take care, how to get a "perfect" crust and crumb, and a long chapter on troubleshooting. He's got nine core recipes, including pretzels, crispbread, Danish rye, brioche, Frisco style white bread, and (of course) the levain. Everything is scaled (in metric) with bakers' percentages. A great looking basic manual, welcomed because of its troubleshooting section. Quality/price rating: 93.

16.THE NOODLE BOWL; over 70 recipes for Asian-inspired noodle dishes (Ryland Peters and Small, 2015, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-235-6, $19.95 hardbound) is by Louise Pickford, a food writer now living in France with over 15 cookbooks to her credit (many for Ryland Peters & Small). It was originally published in 2015 as "Oodles of Noodles", and is back again in a revised format. Here she runs through the basic types of wheat noodles, buckwheat, rice sticks, sweet potato, flat rice, cellophanes, vermicelli, rice paper, buckwheat, and more. There are 70 recipes here for mostly Asian noodles. After the basics, she delves into separate chapters called for in soups, salads, apps, stir-fries and curries. Each prep has a full colour photo. A very good, well-prepared book. Some interesting preps include steamed rice noodle dumplings with scallops; vegetarian spring rolls; shio ramen with pork and eggs; num banh chok; seared salmon and green tea noodle salad. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88

17.EGGS ALL DAY (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 2021, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-346-9 $27.99 hardbound) is a publisher's book with recipe contributions from 34 different cookbook writers. But mostly they are from Miranda Ballard, Tonia George, Shelagh Ryan, and Laura Washburn. It ws originally published in 2016 as "100 Ways with Eggs". These are 100 ways to do eggs (boiled, baked, fried, scrambled) from breakfasts to salads, hashes, desserts and cocktails. There is also included the usual food safety notice for when dealing with raw eggs. Pea, basil and feta fritters with roast tomatoes caught my eye, as did matambre (Argentine stuffed flank steak). The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 87.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for APRIL 3, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for APRIL 3, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
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).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Vintages, +19899 April 3, $19.95 [only 30 cases available, sold out at the winery]: very light and pale in colour, but full of flavours such as an herbed-induced introduction to Ontario fruit (gooseberries, nectarines) and florals. A very nicely developed bone dry drink for late spring and Easter. Cold stainless steel fermentation accentuates the dried tropical fruit component. 12.1% ABV, 3 g/L residual sugar. A good little savvy that will take you all the way through from the table's first courses to the fresh cheeses. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Rebecca Rose 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Winery Only [320 cases], $19.95: I have really enjoyed previous vintages of this wine. The grape here is gamay, as in light and fruity Beaujolais. So it's a typical light, refreshing, and fruity drink with low alcohol and low tannins. Cold stainless fermentation helps it retain the strawb and rasp berry nature of the grape, as well as some of that typical Ontario cranberry taste. Best on its own as a patio/terrace/deck party drink or with a light platter of first course foods. 12.3% ABV. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Abeille-Fabre Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017, +959627, $53.95 Vintages April 3, 2021: the 2016 was here in September 2020; the 2017 is still too young to consume unless you double-decant and drink it over a few days. Half of the wine was made in Burgundian 228-litre-barrels, the other half in vats. A selection of the better barrels is made with the vatted wine into a single blend, and after 18 months together they are bottled. It will be nicely well-aged after another 10 years. Of the 13 permitted varieties, grenache, syrah, and mourvedre are dominant, with cinsault, counoise, muscardin, and vaccarese also used. Still tight but plenty of black fruits and spices. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Sacred Hill Whitecliff Hawkes Bay Rose 2020 New Zealand, $14.95, +13297 April 1 LCBO Seasonal Rose Program: this Kiwi wine has been here before, with great sales and tasting success. The previous (2019) vintage was 91+ points in my scoring of roses from the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Seventh Annual Rose tasting held last June, 2020.  Expect some intense cherry-berry fresh fruits as a summer patio/terrace/deck social party wine. Or an in-house aperitif before the main event. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91-93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release: this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of  prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+278333    BON COURAGE PRESTIGE CUVÉE CHARDONNAY    WO Robertson    2019    $15.95            MVC/QPR: 92
W+19899    KACABA SUMMER SERIES SUSAN'S SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 90
R+17529    PAOLOLEO AGRICOLO VINO BIOLOGICO PRIMITIVO    IGP Salento    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+748277    MARCHESI DI BAROLO MARAIA BARBERA DEL MONFERRATO    DOC    2017    $19.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+18691    CHÂTEAU BOURDIEU NO.1    AC Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux    2016    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
=========
W+441089    ROMBAUER CARNEROS CHARDONNAY    Carneros  2019  $63.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+585760    QUAILS' GATE PINOT NOIR    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2019    $34.95    MVC/QPR: 89
R+959627    CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE    AC    2017    $53.95 MVC/QPR:  91
R+639658    QUAILS' GATE STEWART FAMILY RESERVE PINOT NOIR    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2018    $59.95 MVC/QPR:  89
               
Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

...is 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 –

 

 

12.EAT BETTER FOREVER; 7 ways to transform your diet (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020, 416 pages, ISBN 978-1-5266-0280-0, $39.60 hardbound) is by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, chef and author of the River Cottage books (as well as a TV presenter in the UK). These are his healthy habits for life, with over 100 recipes. So his primer details the value of whole foods, varies foods, go with your gut, reduce refined carbs, factor in fat, think about your drink, and eat mindfully. This way you will lose weight and also be more healthy. These are all displayed in the first 200 pages, followed by 200 pages of recipes arranged by course (breakfast, lunch boxes, salads, soups, et al). He advocates for pestomega (nuts and herbs) for a sauce, nutty citrus hummus, bean pate, et al. A very well-packed book which includes Waldorg yogurt, red cabbage with carrot and clementines in a salad, seedy and nutty date and lime bites, and artichoke with white beans and radicchio gratin. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90.

 

 

13.THE FRENCH LAUNDRY, PER SE (Artisan, 2020, 400 pages, $100 hardbound) is by Thomas Keller, a major cookbook author with material from all of his reaturants, and the first US chef to have two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants. The French Laundry is in Yountville, California, and per se is in NYC. Both are connected by video, and both exchange ideas. The major secret to Keller's success has been acquiring the best top notch ingredients from their food connections: the farmers, fishermen, foragers. Here are the major 70 prep recipes plus photos and descriptions for home use and entertaining, plus 40 more recipes for the basic techniques of saucing, dehydrating, broths, compound butters, and more. Food stories and essays complete the package. Typical plates include smoked sturgeon rillettes and celery root pastrami. Not only is this a coffee table book, at 28.5 cm. square in size -- it IS a coffee table by itself.....For the foodie in your life. Quality/price rating: 90.

 

 

14.THE DOUBLE HAPPINESS COOKBOOK; 88 feel-good recipes and food stories (Figure.1, 2021, 312 pages, $37.99 hardbound) is by Trevor Lui, who has been cooking since he was seven, when he first manned the grill at Highbell, his father's North York Chinese restaurant. This memoir and cookbook has developed Toronto boites which include Kanpai Snack Bar, La Brea Food and Popa. Typical are ramen carbonara, udon-stuffed meatballs, the Last Samurai, and bulgogi beef tostadas. A lot of it falls into the category of street food trucks, but the range does include vegetarian, choicen and egg dishes, family style comfort foods, rice and noodles. Many preps are contributed by his fellow chefs, and there are food stories for just about every recipe. A good gift book too. Quality/price rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! -- Help Yourself, by Lindsay Maitland Hunt

HELP YOURSELF; a guide to gut health for people who love delicious food (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020, 369 pages, ISBN 978-0-358-00839-2 $40 hardbound) is by Lindsay Maitland Hunt, author, editor and recipe developer. The book comes well-endowed with eight log rollers, mostly award-winning writers and restaurant owners. She gives more than 125 gut-friendly recipes plus science-backed advice for wellness in body and mind. Some memoir material makes it also a journey back to health. Like all such books, you've got to want to do it without being scared. It's basically a flavour-forward approach to microbe-friendly eating, prioritizing plant-based whole foods (veggies, beans, nuts, eggs) as well as fish, some meat and dairy (both of which can be excluded). You could feel better if you could eliminate the bloat, the stress, and the exhaustion. If you have already been diagnosed, then this book can be used to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune disease, leaky gut, allergies, joint pain and inflammation. The recipes emphasize cutting down processed sugars and salts, while increasing flavours. The first 80 pages cover the basics of the preparations for the new life style. This is followed by the recipes, nutritional indexes and resources. Typical dishes include various roasted veggies such as roasted celery root, roasted romanesco, lemony roasted broccoli rabe, grilled romaine, and then moves on to breakfast, soups, stews, mains, sides, drinks, and desserts. Also, there are some snacks and dips, as well as seeds to assuage hunger. As with most North American Cookbooks, 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: 90.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MARCH 20, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MARCH 20, 2021
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. 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 http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
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).
 
Currently, the wine media have no access to the tasting samples usually provided to us in the LCBO lab on a fortnightly basis. This will go on or some time. HOWEVER,  the wine media will still have access to the advance spreadsheet of the wines to be released. So I know what is to be released and when. SOME (but not many) of these 100 or so biweekly released wines I have recently tasted since January 2020 or so, and I can comfortably recommend them based on this prior sampling.
 
Some New Wines Tasted Over the Past Fortnight ---
 
1.Gerard Bertrand Terroir An806 Corbieres 2018 $17.95 +394288 Vintages: In this Terroir Corbieres (from the Narbonne), Bertrand uses traditional fermentation for the grenache, syrah, and mourvedre. It is an appealing Rhonish G-S-M, with one-third of the blended wine aging in wood for nine months before bottling. Very firm with some very dark fruit leading on to the very full and ripe finish. Needs hearty food. 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Parker Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 Paso Robles $24.95 +17684 Vintages [wine of the month for April 17, 2021]: an affordable Cali-Cab, but only 5,000 cases made. Part of the Fess Parker winery unit, the US SRP is $17. Aged six months in all French oak resulting in typical cabby spicy mocha flavours, blackberry/plummy fruit (and with a leathery hint suggestive of syrah), vanilla finish. My wife said "yum", which is her description for a juicy palate. Changed for better complexity over time with stoppered exposure and a double decant. Smooth but dry with a long lingering finish: great with food. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Lazzara Rosato Secco NV VQA Ontario $17.95 +18248 LCBO Seasonal Rose April 1 release:
this is the Speck Brothers' rose version of the Lazzara Bianco Secco, which was made in the style of prosecco. It has the palest of pale "rose" colour and is incredibly fresh at this point. Off-dry but barely, with enough stuffing to wow my wife who loved it. Typical melange of cherry-berry flavours. Very well-priced. Stainless steel, Charmat process (but with very tiny mousse bubbles). 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90-91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Three of Hearts Pinot Grigio 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +20374 Vintages July 24, 2021 [currently at winery]: this is a highly competitive category, and Three of Hearts goes up very well against the other grigios in Ontario, especially with its slight yellow colour. Typical nuances include off-dry orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic melon-ish overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with slightly bitter citric notes. That makes it both a sipper and a food wine, suitable for a pre-prandial in the summer. There is some Ontario cranberry tartness and some melon sweetness, but also with some peach notes. Stainless steel all the way. Part of a team with Three of Hearts Rose (same bottle shape, same cork closure). 12.5% ABV. Is a sparkling pinot grigio coming? Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
 
Sherry+542746 SÁNCHEZ ROMATE FINO PERDIDO SHERRY  Spain $18.95 MVC/QPR: 91
Sparkler+485920    CHEVALIER MONOPOLE BRUT ROSÉ SPARKLING    Traditional method, Burgundy    $16.95     MVC/QPR: 89
W+557165    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE RIESLING    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 91
W+206714    CHÂTEAU LA GRAVE D'ARZAC BLANC    AC Graves    2019    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89
W+18252    GREEN LEAF ORGANIC RIESLING Qualitätswein 2019 $14.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+17264    LAPIS LUNA ZINFANDEL    Pauli Ranch, Mendocino, North Coast    2018    $19.95
MVC/QPR: 90
R+17534    FERROCINTO MAGLIOCCO TERRE DI COSENZA POLLINO    DOC    2018    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89   
R+723742    DI MAJO NORANTE CABERNET    IGT Terra degli Osci    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
 
Sparkler+256289    BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 SPARKLING    Nova Scotia    2020    $24.95
MVC/QPR: 89
W+149302    FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $21.95    MVC/QPR: 91
W+733501    ALAIN GEOFFROY BEAUROY CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2018    $40.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+639641    QUAILS' GATE STEWART FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    2017    $44.95 MVC/QPR: 89

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com