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Thursday, July 29, 2021

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

3.STRANGER GINS; 50 things to drink while you watch TV (Dog 'n' Bone, 2021, 64 pages, $13.99 hardbound) has been compiled by Carol Hilker, a Chicago-based food writer. All of the shows are "series" and include old and new. Thus, there's Twin Peaks (recommended drink: Jacoby's Coconut). Fleabag (Hot Priest), Mad Men (Dirty Don Martini), and Seinfeld (Festivus)...But no Sopranos. She's got recipes and reasons for each show. PS: I'm not ashamed to admit having seen all of these shows but drinking just wine. Quality/Price Rating:87
 
 
4.THE EVERYTHING GUIDE TO THE INSULIN RESISTANCE DIET; lose weight, reverse insulin resistance, and stop pre-diabetes. (Adams Media, 2021, 270 pages, ISBN 978-1-5072-1420-6, $25.99 softbound) is by Marie Feldman and Jodi Dalyai, both of whom are registered dietitians and diabetes educators. Both use nutrition in their daily work to help patients in the areas of weight loss and diabetes. Much has already been written in the media about both diabetes and pre-diabetes, but this book begins a bit earlier with "insulin resistance".  The key here is weight loss and, of course, lifestyle pattern changes. These alone would go a long way to end the path to diabetes. They've got 150 recipes and a 10-week plan for healthy eating and increased activity. Based on their researches and patients they have worked with, you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. The book could have been improved if it had also used metric in the recipes, but at least it had metric conversion charts. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
5.ROOT & NOURISH; an herbal cookbook for women's wellness (Tiller Press, 2021, 240 pages, $39.99 hardbound) is by holistic nutritionist and recipe developer Abbey Rodriguez and Ayurvedic health counselor Jennifer Kurdyla. Together they have collaborated on  a presentation centering around  kitchen herbs and spices to promote good health, longevity and beauty. Plant medicine has a rich history in everyday life, and through food and self-care – can be beneficial.  After a discussion about the basics and the herbal pantry, the book has three main divisions: digestion,  mental health, and hormonal health.  Each is further divided by recipes for breakfasts, mains, sweets and teas and drinks. There's a concluding list of suppliers, a bibliography for further reading, and a listing for daily rituals that embrace rest and sleep, movement, connection and spirituality.  Preps include matcha bites; dark chocolate fig oatmeal bites; herbal lullaby tea; cauliflower pizza with cashew cream, fennel, arugula and honey; spaghetti squash boats with basil and oregano; vanilla bean sweet potato banana pancakes.
Preparations have their ingredients listed only in US avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents (needed for the rest of the world).
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 24, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JULY 24, 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.Speck Brothers Three of Hearts Pinot Grigio 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +20374 Vintages July 24, 2021: 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.
 
2.Speck Brothers Three of Hearts Rose 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula +552562 now at winery, $19.95: the original of this "Heart" series, and a major competitor in the annual Wine Writers' Circle of Canada Rose tasting – with high scores. The composition changes from vintage to vintage (e.g. 2017 and 2018 were both 88% pinot noir, balance pinot gris; the 2019 was 60% pinot noir and 40% pinot gris). The 2020 is apparently mostly pinot noir with pinot gris and gamay noir. No skin contact, cold fermentation in stainless. Loaded with apricot/almond tones and that Ontario cran-raspberry complexity. With its minerality and citrus finish, it is better as a food wine than as a sipper. 12% ABV; residual sugar of 7.1 g/L.  Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Gerard Bertrand Hampton Water 2020 Languedoc AOP +667337, Vintages $29.95: a joint effort with rocker Jon Bon Jovi, his son Jesse, and footballer Bertrand. It's a terrific marketing device to ask you to dive into Hampton Water rose. Some French oak aging for roundness but otherwise it is cool temperature all the way from the pressing through fermentation. The principal grape is grenache, followed by cinsault and mourvedre. Early bottling ensures freshness and fruitiness. Expect the scrubby herbs of the dry Mediterranean, some lavender, minerality from the low sugars and high acid. Definitely a refreshing wine, more of a food wine with its red fruit spiciness and and citrus tones on the finish. 13.5% ABV; 2 g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Cusumano Merlot 2019 Terre Siciliane IGT +9779 LCBO General List $12.95: one of Cusumano's international single varietal series, coming in at 13% ABV. It is an interesting addition to the LCBO general list program. The average age of the vines here is 17 years. Cold maceration and cool fermentation in stainless steel, followed by malolactic fermentation in stainless. It sits on its lees for a minimum of 5 months and then is lightly filtered for bottle aging. No oak, but plenty of red and black berries. Value-driven. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Domaine Martin Cotes du Rhone 2018, +18642 Vintages, $17.95: 80% grenache and 20% syrah. Typical density of southern Rhone with a preponderance of grenache tones followed by syrah flavours: spices, anise, some burnt caramel, ripe, but a long penetrating finish, some tannic tightness in the structure. Mouthfilling. Ripe, fresh and fruity with black berry and cherry plumminess. Not filtered. 13.5% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. A top-scoring wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose and one white wine from the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...some are good values (see below)...now on sale  through Sunday August 15 ...
 
[red]  BERONIA RESERVA Rioja +50203 on sale to August 15, now $19.95, down from $21.95.
[white] Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay WO Western Cape South Africa  +367698  on sale to August 15, now $14.95, down from $16.95. Buy a case.
[rose] GERARD BERTRAND GRIS BLANC ROSE +14673 on sale to August 15, now $13.75, down from $15.75. Buy a  case.
[fizz] LILY SPARKLING ROSÉ VQA +536565 on sale to August 15, now $16.95, down from $17.95.
 
Under $20
=========
W+20373    CHARLES BAKER RIESLING    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+20374    SPECK BROTHERS THREE OF HEARTS TROIS COEURS PINOT GRIGIO    Sustainable, VQA Niagara Peninsula     2020    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+230599    SU PUDDU VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA DOC 2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+582882    BISCARDO NEROPASSO    IGT Rosso del Veronese 2018 $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+638338    MARZIANO ABBONA I DUE RICU    DOCG Langhe Rosso    2017    $19.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
R+74229    FERRATON PÈRE & FILS PLAN DE DIEU CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES    AC    2019    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Vermouth+18529    BIOMIO ORGANIC RED VERMOUTH    Aragón, Spain     $16.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
 
Over $20
=========
W+20899    CLOSSON CHASE THE BROCK CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2018    $24.95     MVC/QPR: 90.
Rose+562595    THE PALM BY WHISPERING ANGEL    AC Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence    2020    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 90.
Rose+278861    BERNE INSPIRATION ROSÉ    AP Côtes de Provence    2020    $23.95
MVC/QPR: 89.
R+17704    CANTINA DI MONTALCINO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    $39.95 MVC/QPR:  89.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

* 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"...
 
 
14.MARGARET COSTA'S FOUR SEASONS COOKERY BOOK (Grub
 
Street, 1970,2020, 361 pages, ISBN 978-1-911667-00-1 $29.95 CAN
 
softbound) is now back in print. It was originally published in 1970 as one
 
of the first books to emphasize seasonal eating. It's divided into the four
 
seasons, beginning of course with Spring when all is new or has been
 
renewed, and then subdivided by mini-essays on some ingredients and
 
methods, such as sorrel, lamb, casseroles, and puddings. Costa was a
 
food and travel writer for Gourmet and the Sunday Times magazine, as
 
well as a food consultant for Marks & Spencer. Delia Smith writes a
 
foreword in an appreciation of this reissue which celebrates the book's
 
50th anniversary.
Found are the special preps such as liver with Dubonnet and orange, and
 
scallop and artichoke soup. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
 
both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of
 
equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90
 
 
15.THE CURIOUS BARTENDER: Cocktails at Home (Ryland Peters &
 
Small, 2021, 208 pages, $42.99 hardcovers) is by Tristan Stephenson,
 
not only a drinks writer and author but also a brand ambassador and
 
consultant in the UK world of cocktails. This work covers malt, bourbon
 
and rye types of whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, brandy, sherry, wine and
 
amari with histories, an exploration of the barrel-aging process, and a trip
 
to major distilleries throughout the world (but principally the UK and the
 
US). All the 75 recipes have been previously published in prior Curious
 
Bartender books, but have been collated for this new volume. So there is
 
the primer which deals with equipment, glassware and kitchen ingredients,
 
followed by a collection of 7 distilled alcohol bottles and 6 alcohol add-
 
ons (triple sec, maraschino, amari, vermouth, amontillado sherry, and
 
absinthe). Under "Making a Drink" there are good notes on shaking,
 
stirring, building, and blending. If you have his other books, then you might
 
not need this one.
He's got some classic and iconic preps for cocktails, such as the
 
Boilermaker. His notes follow the rising tide of brown spirits that has
 
returned after many years of clear spirits. There are lots of colour photos
 
and a description of each business (along with tasting notes) including
 
what to watch out for. Typical are sherry cobblers, champagne cocktail,
 
Americano, sidecar, pisco sour, margarita, et al. At the end there is a
 
bibliography (including his previous 11 books) for further reading. 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: 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Report on Loire Valley Wines...

Loire Valley Wine [www.loirevalleywine.com] was one of the few regional wine marketing teams that took the initiative by presenting actual real wines to the local Ontario wine media during the pandemic. It was done via SOPEXA, the French food and wine marketing bureau...and the upshot was that I was the recipient of both a six pack of wine and a loaded picnic basket crammed with relevant food pairings for an outdoor gathering.
 
While there was a suggested pairing menu, we could taste the wines and foods in any order, as in a mix and match mode. There were tinned sardines in olive oil, suggested to be paired with the Parlez-Vous IGP Sauvignon Blanc 2019. It was a delightful workable combination without the Parlez-Vous being overwhelmed. Other wines, which actually went better with the sardines, included the zesty Chateau de la Grange Muscadet Vieilles Vignes 2018 and the Thierry Delaunay Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2020.
 
Next up was a pork rillette, meant to go with the B & G Vouvray 2019, and this was spot on. A great match with the off-dry Vouvray, and surprisingly, the Parlez-Vous IGP Sauvignon Blanc also went well since the rillette was principally pork with fat. The Thierry Delaunay savvy was a tad heavier than expected with the rillette. The lighter bodied IGP savvy was greater on the palate and managed to cleanse away the fatty falavours more efficiently.
 
The next course was the East Coast lobster roll (brioche bun), to be paired with the Touraine and the Jean-Max Roger Sancerre 2019. There were two buns, one for each of us, so my wife toasted one of the buns and we split the two lobster rolls in half, each of us getting a toasted portion. Toasting the roll stiffened the bun and gave it a smoky allure. The Sancerre overtook the Touraine, but the Sancerre itself was overtaken by the Patrice Moreux Pouilly-Fume 2017. The basic soft brioche roll was a melt-in-your-mouth experience, and paired naturally with the Thierry Delaunay Sauvignon Blanc 2020 and the Jean-Max Roger Sancerre 2019. Ultimately, the Patrice Moreux Pouilly-Fume 2017 was declared the winning wine so far as lobster was concerned. Complexity meets complexity.
 
The last course was, of course, the cheese course: three sprightly representatives – paillot de chevre, a grand crème (triple creme), and a petit Cantal (a smaller version of the 88-pound wheel). We tried all six wines, and the overall winner was the complex Patrice Moreux Pouilly-Fume 2017. The understated wines were very light for the heavy cream based cheeses. The B & G Vouvray 2019 also stood out as it was off-dry, while the Muscadet Vieilles Vignes was also an inspired choice.
 
Here are the six wines that we had, with my tasting notes and LCBO details:
 
1.Lacheteau Parlez-Vous Sauvignon Blanc 2019 IGP Val de Loire +647099 LCBO General List $11.75: a good value savvy, with nods to tropical fruit and grass, but very easy going and very tasty, almost a savvy for beginners. A good way to get into the grape. 12.5% ABV, 4g/L residual sugar. Pairs very well with goat cheese e.g. paillot de chevre.
Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Chateau de la Grange Muscadet Cotes de Grand Lieu Vieilles Vignes 2018 +637868 Vintages $13.95: minerally driven from 40 year old vines, and reflecting melon, orchard fruit, and ending with a long citrus clean finish. 11.7% ABV, 2gL residual sugar. Do not serve too chilled. Good with a variety of seafood and poultry. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Thierry Delaunay La Salamandre Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Touraine +391847 Vintages $16.95:
Touraine is my fave go to region for sauvignon blanc, principally because it is so value-driven. You get a lot of bang for your buck: freshness, ripe peaches and melons, some cut grass (but not too zesty as in Kiwi land). Good finishing citrus acidity. This was the freshest wine of the tasting pack of six. 12% ABV, 4g/L residual sugar. Great with a cheese platter and/or sushi. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Barton & Guestier Les Petites Parcelles Chenin Blanc 2019 Vouvray +232264 Vintages $16.95: tons of fruit aromas, both orchard and tropical. Good aperitif social wine, could be best with Asiatic spicy food, or a creamy cheese platter. It was useful with the pork rillette and the grand crème cheese. 12% ABV, 23g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Jean-Max Roger Cuvee Genese 2019 Sancerre +189126 Vintages $33.95: an organic wine with cold fermentation, natural yeasts, some aging on heavy lees. Ripe fruit flavours and some zest from the sauvignon blanc, but not as nervy as the Antipodean style. Freshness has been retained by its minerality. 12.5% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. Can be aged for a few years to show more complexity. Goes very well with all kinds of seafoods. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
6.Patrice Moreux Corty Artisan La Loge Aux Moines 2017 Pouilly-Fume +18493 Vintages $48: some organic principles are followed, but mainly for fertilizing and limited intervention and then, only when necessary (the producer also follows the lunar cycle during the vinification process). Taste: a juicy palate throughout with citrus tones evidenced on the mid-palate before resolving to more fruitiness and finishing with a minerality that makes it all food-worthy. It's very complementary to richly grilled fish, saucy scallops, creamy poultry, and fresh cheese platters. 13.5% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. Can be aged another 5 years or so. Don't serve too cold. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada http://winewriterscircle.ca
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JULY 10, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JULY 10, 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 Unoaked Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO & Grocery +326975, $15.95: fruit-driven aromatics come from the bouquet of orchard fruit which clearly shows on the mid-palate, finishing off with a slight citrus tang, thus making it perfectly adaptable to a first course food offering such as seafood or light salad. It can also be used as a social drink for the patio/deck/terrace/balcony or party. The balanced fruit-acid here is very nicely placed. Stainless steel cold aging [no oak]. Also available in 60 grocery stores. 13.5% ABV. 7 g/L residual sugar. Twist top. Good value price. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Cabernet 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO & Grocery +499384, $15.95: a blend of 71% cabernet franc and 29% cabernet sauvignon. The ratio of the cabernets can change from vintage year to vintage year. There is a melange of both red and black fruit, such as cherries, raspberries, cranberries followed by cassis and blackberries. From the short wood aging comes some vanilla, coffee-toffee, and woody spices. Medium in mouthfeel and well-balanced all the way, just what you want from a party red wine that can also extend through to the cheese course. 13.5% ABV. 14 g/L residual sugar. Capable of aging for a few years. Tasted over several days after a double-decanting. Twist top. Also available in 60 grocery stores. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Jennifer's Pinot Gris 2020 VQA Niagara Peninsula winery and online only, $19.95: one of the "summer series" and also more Alsatian in its complexity with orchard fruit (pear, peach, apple) and no oaking. Some melon notes too. Medium weight and finishes dry, but can be used either as a social drink or with first-course food such as chicken or seafood. Grapes come from a vineyard located on the Lincoln Lakeshore. 12.9% ABV. 5.4 g/L residual sugar. Made in stainless steel. Twist top. 400 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $32.95 at winery & online: and here we enter the realm of upscale Ontario pinot noir. Kacaba has been making it for decades – Winemaker Jim Warren worked with pinot noir for Kacaba as early as 1999. This time, 300 cases were produced after aging 14 months in new and old French oak (88%) and acacia barrels (12%). A savoury wine (aromas of forest floor) loaded with red fruit such as tart red currants, Ontario cranberries, strawberries, and woodsy complexity from the oak and acacia suggestive of cedar spices and even some tobacco leafiness. Double-decanted and tasted over several days to simulate aging. The producer suggests white meats such as chicken, veal or pork, or sip on its own. Cork closure. 13% ABV. 3 g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose, one white wine and one sparkler on the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good wine values...on sale through Sunday July 18...
 
[red wine]  CONCHA TORO CASILLERO DEL DIABLO RESERVA PRIVADA CABERNET SAUVIGNON  Chile LCBO 570754 WAS: $ 18.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 3.00. Buy a case of 12.
[white]  ANGELS GATE SUSSRESERVE RIESLING VQA LCBO 620104 WAS: $ 13.95 | NOW: $ 11.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[rose]  HENRY OF PELHAM ROSÉ VQA LCBO 613471 WAS: $ 14.95 | NOW: $ 12.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[sparkling] COLIO LILY SPARKLING WINE VQA LCBO 418657 WAS: $ 17.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[SPLURGEWORTHY] PIPER HEIDSIECK BRUT CHAMPAGNE LCBO 462432 WAS: $ 59.80 | NOW: $ 54.80 | SAVE: $ 5.00
 
 
Under $20
=========
W+286278    FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment        $19.95     MVC/QPR:  90
W+203877    SUTHERLAND SAUVIGNON BLANC    WO Elgin 2019 $14.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+370262    GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LA CLAPE SYRAH/CARIGNAN/MOURVÈDRE    AP    2017    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 90
Rose+85126    MEGALOMANIAC PINK SLIP ROSÉ    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $19.95
MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+668426    VILLA AIX EN PROVENCE ROSÉ    AP Coteaux d'Aix en Provence    2020    $19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
 
Over $20
=========
W+417774    QUEYLUS TRADITION CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2018    $29.95   
MVC/QPR: 89
W+20455    LE CLOS JORDANNE JORDAN VILLAGE CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2019    $24.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+377770    QUAILS' GATE CHARDONNAY    BC VQA Okanagan Valley $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+667337    HAMPTON WATER ROSÉ    AP Languedoc 2020    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+395855    HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE CABERNET/MERLOT    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2016    $24.95  MVC/QPR:  91
R+73817    RUTHERFORD RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley    2018    $42.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Port+18459    VIEIRA DE SOUSA VINTAGE PORT DOP, Portugal 2016 $59.95    MVC/QPR: 89
 
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, July 5, 2021

* MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

 
3.PEAS LOVE & CARROTS: the cookbook (Artscroll/Shaar Press, 2020,
432 pages, ISBN 978-1-4226-2578-1 $50 hardbound) is by Danielle
 
Renov. It grew out of her social media and website work at
 
www.peaslovencarrots.com. From her kitchen in Israel she transforms
 
classic Jewish cooking to new approachable recipes. Her own
 
background includes Moroccan ancestry, so she is able to draw on the
 
entire Middle Eastern experience. Her site is full of tips and advice,
 
cooking tutorials, and good food knowledge; her book is a permanent
 
extension of the better elements of that digital site. Here are 254+ recipes
 
with 180 full-colour photos. She opens with a whole pile of tips, especially
 
on how to read a recipe, and closes with the conversion tables. In
 
between there are lots of vignettes that relate to each prep. Good reading.
 
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
 
but there are tables of metric equivalents at the end.
Audience and level of use: those looking for a comprehensive modern
 
Jewish cookbook.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: roasted sweet potato, apple
 
and leek soup; slow roasted deckle; bourbon braised short ribs; Korean
 
flanken roast; shakshuka for a crowd; sfinge (Moroccan donuts); orange
 
blossom syrup.
The downside to this book: only two lamb recipes
The upside to this book: generous selection of relevant and contemporary
 
recipes.
Quality/Price Rating: 88
 
 
 
 
4.A TABLE: recipes for cooking + eating the French way (Chronicle
 
Books, 2021, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-7972-0223-5 $43 hardbound) is by
 
Rebekah Peppler, a Paris-based food writer and stylist who contributes to
 
the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Bon Appetit, and others. She specializes
 
in simple but sophisticated French food and French living. So we've got
 
two books here: one on the food and one on the style or manners. Pre-
 
pandemic she usually hosted impromptu gatherings on a weekly basis,
 
and this goes to the preparation of this book as the blurb notes: "a go-to
 
repertoire of new French dishes that reflect a modern French table." The
 
125 recipes embrace the classic dishes, the regional dishes, and the
 
merging dishes of new cultures from previous colonies of Algeria to
 
Indochina. It is also a travel book with materials about the different
 
elements of food as found in Paris. All of her feasts at home are in three
 
parts: before (85 pages) with aperitifs and snacks, during (130 pages)
 
with mains and sides, and after (60 pages) with deserts and digestifs.
 
There's a bit about wine, but not much. The main wines of Paris appear to
 
be Muscadet and Beaujolais, both compellingly fresh and aromatic.
 
Expensive wines are usually Champagnes.` The book could have been
 
improved if it had also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a
 
metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: those who enjoy a Parisian environment as a
 
backdrop to their food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Basque chicken, Alsatian
 
cheesecake, salade nicoise for a crowd; lamb tagine; green shakshuka;
 
bigger banh mi.
The downside to this book: I wanted more on wine
The upside to this book: good arrangement
Quality/Price Rating: 89
 
 
5.CULINARY HERBS; Grow. Preserve. Cook! (Whitecap, 2021, 278
 
pages, ISBN 978-1-770-50335-9 $34.95 softbound) is by Yvonne
 
Tremblay, a recipe developer for major food companies and food
 
marketing boards. She specializes in herbs, and has also written other
 
cookbooks on preserves. And chutneys. This current book focuses on
 
growing, harvesting, and using herbs. The primer includes a discussion on
 
fresh vs. dried herbs, the various herb mixtures (bouquet garni, herbes de
 
provence, fines herbes), and how to cook various herbs. Her glossary of
 
19 herbs includes a basic 17 and two categories of lemon and mint family
 
herbs. Recipes are arranged by course, from appetizers through soups,
 
salads, mains, sides, desserts – with an excursion through crackers,
 
biscuits and breads – ending with herbal beverages and preserves. The
 
book could have been improved if it had also used metric in the recipes,
 
or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
 
but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: gardeners and home cooks
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: veal saltimbocca alla Romana;
 
braised lamb shanks with rosemary; Thai mango salad; mint julep; herbed
 
wine; rosemary apple cider jelly; strawberry lavender jam.
The downside to this book: needs more metric 
The upside to this book: a good reference collection, very
 
comprehensive.
Quality/Price Rating: 88
 
 
6.THE EVERYTHING GUIDE TO THE INSULIN RESISTANCE DIET;
 
lose weight, reverse insulin resistance, and stop pre-diabetes. (Adams
 
Media, 2021, 270 pages, ISBN 978-1-5072-1420-6, $25.99 softbound) is
 
by Marie Feldman and Jodi Dalyai, both of whom are registered dietitians
 
and diabetes educators. Both use nutrition in their daily work to help
 
patients in the areas of weight loss and diabetes. Much has already been
 
written in the media about both diabetes and pre-diabetes, but this book
 
begins a bit earlier with "insulin resistance".  The key here is weight loss
 
and, of course, lifestyle pattern changes. These alone would go a long
 
way to end the path to diabetes. They've got 150 recipes and a 10-week
 
plan for healthy eating and increased activity. Based on their researches
 
and patients they have worked with, you can lower your risk for type 2
 
diabetes. The book could have been improved if it had also used metric in
 
the recipes, but at least it had metric conversion charts. Quality/price
 
rating: 88.
 
 
7.THE ITALIAN DELI COOKBOOK (Hardie Grant Quadrille, 2021, 256
 
pages, ISBN 978-1-78713-596-3 $50 hardbound) is by Theo Randall,
 
who had worked at River Cafe (UK) and Chez Panisse (USA) before
 
opening his own UK restaurant in 2006. He has also been a guest on
 
many UK TV shows. This is his third book on Italian cooking, and it deals
 
with the Italian pantry. Keep well-stocked shelves and you'll never go
 
hungry – you can make a meal out of anything found in the kitchen. A
 
perfect pandemic selection. Everything can be purchased ahead of time
 
from Eataly or similar delis (no matter how small), and the arrangement of
 
the book follows the shelves. First up are eggs, which are sort of an
 
anomaly since they are "fresh". Nevertheless, this section is followed by
 
cheese (good storage for dairy!), salumi, tinned fish, smoked fish, jarred
 
veggies and pulses, dried pasta, olives, herbs, rice, Italian sausages,
 
olive oil and other oils, vinegars, flour, wine, and coffee. From all of these
 
you can make dishes of pasta, pizza, and panini for a start. The only
 
reservation I have of this steady diet is a concern about the amount of salt
 
and other preservatives. It's best to look at labels. Never buy pesto: you
 
can make your own and preserve it. The same with ragu and other sauces.
 
The index has a double whammy for the older folks: tiny tiny typeface and
 
grey ink. Not every reader is a millennial. Anyway, self-confession time:
 
we've got all these ingredients at our house and we have been using the
 
Italian pantry for over 40 years. The book could have been improved if it
 
had also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric
 
conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
8.BOARDS, PLATTERS, PLATES: recipes for entertaining, sharing, and
 
snacking (Artisan, 2021, 160 pages, $24.95 hardbound) is by Maria Zizka,
 
co-author of  the excellent "Tartine All Day" cookbook. Here she gives us
 
30 boards/platters/plates for all manner of events, ranging from the basic
 
charcuterie board and cheese board through appetizer board, Parisienne
 
party size board, cauliflower pakora, beachside, Lebanese lunch, vegan
 
rainbow, bagna cauda party size, and even six boards for dessert. Very
 
well-presented with illustrated examples of layouts of boards and
 
identification of all the components. Fish and seafood are also added, as
 
for the beach or for the grand aioli. Well-worth a look. Quality/price rating:
 
89
 
 
9.ONE-BOWL MEALS: simple, nourishing, delicious (Artisan, 2021, 160
 
pages, $24.95 hardbound) is by Maria Zizka, co-author of  the excellent
 
"Tartine All Day" cookbook. Here she has given us 30 combinations
 
organized by base (oatmeal, chia, yogurt, grains, noodles, greens. The
 
basic formula is start with a base, build with a protein, and add a sauce,
 
and then a couple of toppings, and some crunchy garnishes. Thes one-
 
meal bowls can be protein-enhanced, or made vegan, or made gluten-
 
free. She's got the ideas all laid out for us. Yummy photos too.
 
Quality/price rating: 89
 
 
 
10.TABLES & SPREADS (Chronicle Books, 2021, 288 pages, $27.95
 
USD hardbound) is by Shelly Westerhausen Worcel with Wyatt Worcel.
 
She's a vegetarian food blogger; he's an aquaculture graduate. Together
 
they have compiled a go-to guide for snacks, small gatherings, and
 
inviting feasts. They present 21 inspired design ideas, with timelines,
 
shopping lists, and diagrams. Plus of course the recipes. The duo's got
 
some tips for choosing a theme and styling the food in a creative manner.
 
Linens, flowers, and music complete the picture. Platters can be as small
 
as a burrata bar or a creamy polenta spread, or just a selection of
 
delicious dips. Some typical themes embrace a savoury focaccia party, a
 
mezze spread, pierogi dumplings, breakfast nacho buffet, Dutch baby
 
party, and the like.  Taking their notes and ideas you can create many
 
more tables and spreads.  There's one spread for bought sliced meat and
 
sausages, but the recipes themselves are all vegetarian. Quality/Price
 
rating: 90.
 
 
 
11.NEGRONI (Ryland Peters & Small, 2021, 64 pages, $13.85
 
hardbound) is by David T. Smith and Keli Rivers. Here are more than 30
 
classic and modern recipes for Italy's iconic cocktail.  Variations make use
 
of dry and aged vermouths, along with ports and sherries and white
 
bitters. One for the cocktail friends. Quality/Price rating: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, July 1, 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 –
 
 
6.HOW TO GRILL VEGETABLES; the new bible for barbecuing vegetables over live fire (Workman Publishing, 2021, 326 pages, $33  paperbound) is by Steven Raichlen, author of a renowned BBQ cookbook series (they've won five Beards and three IACP awards). He's also done five TV food series. His book purports "to bring live fire or wood smoke to every imaginable vegetable": fire-blistering tomatoes, cedar-planking eggplant, hay-smoking lettuce, spit-roasting Brussels sprouts on the stalk, grilling corn a seemingly endless number of ways, cooking onions in the embers. 115 recipes in all, which  also includes chapters on grilling breads, pizza, eggs, cheese, and desserts. More than comprehensive. Small note: this is not strictly a vegan book – there is some bacon and a few other items. If you are kosher, then these are smaller than an olive.  A lot of these dishes can also be done indoors as pan-frying or sauteeing, such as the sandwiches. The important thing is to get the ladies on board to BBQ and the guys as well, to get some healthy food into the body. After the intro to grilling and the pantry, the arrangement is by food format:  starters, dips, chips, salads, slaws, soups, breads, veggie small plates, sides, eggs and cheese, desserts – plus the inevitable appendices of sauces, seasoning, condimenti, and the like. A spiffy looking glossary and conversion tables complete the book.
The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes (come on, join the world!), but at least it had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 94.
 
 
7.CYPRUS CUISINE (Whitecap, 2021, 274 pages, $34.95 papercovers) is by Christina Loucas, a Victoria BC-based creator of Afrodite's Kitchen, a website devoted to Cypriot food. It was originally published in 2016 in Italian, and here it is translated into English. It is a very good well-researched summary of Cypriot food: she's got 80 detailed recipes that range from classic to contemporary. Food in Cyprus has been heavily influenced by the spice trade and its location in the Mediterranean near the Middle East. It's part memoir, part travel guide, and part cookbook like so many other regional cookbooks. She has the basic history of food in Cyprus, the larder/pantry needed to maintain a kitchen, some drinks (tea, lemonades, coffee), and then moves on to breads and pastries such as halloumi mint scones, tsoureki (Easter orange bread), kattimeri (crepes), and koulouria (sesame bread rings). Next up in the meal are soups, salads, small bites, mains, condimenti, cakes and sweets. Her book also concludes with some suggested dinner menus for 2, 4 or 6 persons, followed by a listing and description of local markets in Limassol and Nicosia. It is a bright book, loaded with exceptional closeups of finished plates. Typical dishes include octopus wine stew, lamb orzo stew, and pickled caper shoots, coriander smashed olives, and of course purslane salad. Quality/price rating:  91
 
 
8.SKEWERED; recipes for fire food on sticks from around the world (Dog 'n' Bone, 2021, 160 pages, $24 hardbound) is by Marcus Bawdon, UK website owner of CountryWoodSmoke and appearing on other social media channels along with demos at BBQ festivals and a magazine editorship. His first book was "Food and Fire".  Here are 60-plus preps for the grill; all of them skewered on a variety of metal, bamboo, and wooden sticks. Their sizes range from Argentine churrasco blades to bite-size Japanese teriyaki skewers. Of course, any kinds of foods can be skewered and cooked in this manner – especially marshmallows. Preps are global, from all over the world, and thus they reflect local spicing levels....Bawdon's got the primer down pat, along with troubleshooting tips. Recipe arrangement  is by region: South America, North America, Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, India, Far East,  Africa and Oceania. Check out baharat lamb skewers from the middle east, tandoor-style paneer skewers from India, and miso & sesame king oyster from the far east. Each prep includes a recommended heat level for the embers and a choice of skewers to use. With modifications, you can use the skewers indoors on a grill oven-top...No problem as they say.....The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart....thus more international cookbooks can be sold this way throughout the world.  Quality/price rating: 89
 
 
9.THE SECRET INGREDIENT COOKBOOK; 125 family-friendly recipes with surprisingly tasty twists (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021, 296 pages, $43 hardbound) is by Kelly Senyei, creator of "Just a Taste" internet food site. She appears regularly on the Food Network and had previously worked for Gourmet and Epicurious. Some heavy-duty logrolling is also involved. She's got a big pantry with essential ingredients (different flours, salts, vinegars, sugars, pastas) and some fridge items. To Kelly's mind, secret ingredients punch-up dishes. Thus, if you make shake 'n' bacon bites, then you could/should add Dijon mustard as a"secret ingredient", berry breakfast pastries require the addition of cardamom, skillet sweet potato hash is enhanced by beet greens, weekday snack mix calls for tahini, and the spicy goddess flatbread needs jalapenos.
Good concept for a family cookbook. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart – time to join the rest of the world. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 26, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 26, 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 Aligote 2019 Cuvee Michele VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $15.95, +296848 LCBO: made from the rare French vinifera grape (seldom seen outside Burgundy) that Paul Bosc has cultivated since 1978, loaded with lean orchard fruit (green apples and unripe pears) and ending with a finishing crisp acidity suggesting food more than sipping. It was often used in Burgundy as the white wine base for Kir; in North America now almost any dry white is used for a Kir. Aligote is refreshing for summer, and has no oak. Named for the late Michele Bosc. 3g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay 2017 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard VQA St David's Bench, +287268, $24.95 at winery and online: one of several chardonnays at different price points from Chateau des Charmes. My last vintage tasted was the 2016. Barrel fermented and barrel aged in French oak for a year, with lees stirring. Almost 30-year old vines. Expect soft balance with nuances of minerality and some muted tropicality, served up with orchard fruit. Cork closure. Long citric finish in Euro mode. One of my fave chards, but do not serve overchilled. 513 cases. No residual sugar. 13.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Chateau des Charmes Rose Sparkling Traditional Method 2016 NOTL VQA, +78055 Vintages TBD, available at winery and online now for $34.95: [I last sampled the 2014 vintage at that same price] here 50.9% chardonnay and 49.1% pinot noir (blanc des noirs) from vines planted as early as 1991, very pretty colour from the pinot dosage, reminiscent of strawberry blush, almost 2 years lees contact and fermented in the bottle. Full, rich, ripe yeasty biscuit complexity. Citric finish, best with food such as appetizers. Strawb fruit dominates. Recently disgorged. 7.9 g/L residual sugar. 11.5% ABV. Stunning. 330 cases available. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Huff Estates Getaway Rose 2020 VQA Ontario +63982 $20 [online and at winery]: made totally from cabernet franc with 12 hours of skin contact during fermentation. Lovely pale colour, aromatics and first palate of strawberries and then the typical cranberry textures and finish for an Ontario wine. Light herbaceous suggests food (including salads) on the patio or some first course app. Seems to be a perfect all-purpose beach wine. 3.2g/L 12.8% ABV. 1500 cases. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Huff Estates Buried Vine Pinot Gris 2020 VQA Prince Edward County $22 at winery and online: a good little aperitif (or first course) wine made in Alsatian style with more body texture and colour. Pears are evident, perhaps more ripe than the wine's green apple tones. 3g/L residual sugar for a bit of roundness. 850 cases, 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
6.Huff Estates Four Acre Merlot 2019 South Bay Vineyard VQA Prince Edward County, $30 at winery or online: very fruity, maybe fruit gone wild, but tempered with 15 months in French oak (30% new). Typically bright red and black fruit style, cassis, cherry-berry even. Some herbaceousness on the nose. Slightly tannic finish at this point, expected to smooth out over the next year or so. One of the better merlot wines in Ontario. I suggest a double decant before drinking. 225 cases produced. Charcuterie and/or cheese platters. 2.6g/L residual sugar. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Huff Estates Catharine's Chardonnay South Bay Vineyards 2019 VQA Prince Edward County, $35 at winery and online: 14 months in French oak (30% new; 40% older) plus 30% in stainless steel tank. Slightly smokey, citric tones and some minerality, good balance and nuances between the elements. Barrel flavours, baked fruit, orchard fruit and nuts. Long toasty finish, needs buttery food. Not really a sipper, and don't overchill. In the past, this wine has been a multiple award winner. 1.3g/L residual sugar. 365 cases produced. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
8.Huff Estates Old Vines Cabernet Franc 2019 South Bay Vineyard VQA Prince Edward County $35 winery and online: herby red fruit dominates, but also plums and cherries with a dash of cassis. 16 months French oak, 30% new. Some tannins need to resolve on the finish, so double decant or leave open for a long time. Good with almost anything that needs a bracing red, such as spicy sausages or lamb or boar dishes. Tasted over a few days. 400 cases produced. 3 g/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
9.Huff Estates County Roads Pinot Noir Rose 2020 VQA Prince Edward County $25 online/winery: on the nose, crisp and clear red fruit with a tang of orange and some cranberry. Redolent with that PEC minerality, 1.3g/L residual sugar. 100% pinot noir done up in stainless steel, with 18 hours on the skins. Good as aperitif, but also with snacks such as pates, cheeses, or (as the winery suggests) grilled veggie skewers. Long long length to the finish. Incredibly fresh food wine. 400 cases. 12% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose, one white wine and one sparkler on the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good values...on sale through Sunday July 18...
 
[red wine]  CONCHA TORO CASILLERO DEL DIABLO RESERVA PRIVADA CABERNET SAUVIGNON  Chile LCBO 570754 WAS: $ 18.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 3.00. Buy a case.
[white]  ANGELS GATE SUSSRESERVE RIESLING VQA LCBO 620104 WAS: $ 13.95 | NOW: $ 11.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[rose]  HENRY OF PELHAM ROSÉ VQA LCBO 613471 WAS: $ 14.95 | NOW: $ 12.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[sparkling] COLIO LILY SPARKLING WINE VQA LCBO 418657 WAS: $ 17.95 | NOW: $ 15.95 | SAVE: $ 2.00
[SPLURGEWORTHY] PIPER HEIDSIECK BRUT CHAMPAGNE LCBO 462432 WAS: $ 59.80 | NOW: $ 54.80 | SAVE: $ 5.00
 
Under $20
========
Sparkling+515254    VILARNAU BARCELONA RESERVA BRUT CAVA    Traditional method, DO, Spain  $15.95    MVC/QPR: 89.
W+231282    KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
W+734798    THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2020    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+19852    ALBINO ARMANI ROSÉ    IGT Vallagarina    2020    $14.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
Rose+15277    CASAS DEL BOSQUE PINOT NOIR ROSÉ    Sustainable, Casablanca Valley    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
 
Over $20
=========
Champagne+384529    BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT CHAMPAGNE    AC, France        $92.95 MVC/QPR: 91.
Sparkling+234161    JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario    2016    $29.95 MVC/QPR: 91.
Sparkling+256289    BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 SPARKLING    Nova Scotia    2020    $24.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
W+155382    MARCHESI DI BAROLO GAVI DEL COMUNE DI GAVI    DOCG    2019    $22.95  MVC/QPR: 89.
W+28845    CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE BLANC    Inspired by Haut-Brion, AC Bordeaux    2019    $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
R+28837    CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE RED    Inspired by Haut-Brion, AC Bordeaux    2015    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, June 18, 2021

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! * (The Immunity Cookbook, Hardie Grant Quadrille)

2.THE IMMUNITY COOKBOOK; how to strengthen your immune system and boost long-term health, with 100 easy recipes (Hardie Grant Quadrille, 2020, 233 pages, ISBN 978-1-78713-679-3, $42.99 CAN hardbound) is by Kate Llewellyn-Waters, a certified nutritionist with an MSc and decades of experience throughout the UK. Here, for these pandemic times, she stresses the importance of immunity as a protection against illnesses and viral diseases. She logically begins with a description of how the immune system works, and then goes on to detail that all disease begins in the gut. She lays out the most effective and efficient strategies, such as eating knowledgeably to improve one's immunity. Intermittent fasting, exercise, managing stress, importance of sleep, and the power of light. That's the first 60 pages: then she goes on for the recipes through another 160 pages. It's all about creating your own healthier lifestyle choices and effective mindfulness. The most important item is making the connection between gut health and disease and immunity – and then doing something about it.
Audience and level of use: those looking for a change or trying to get their gut together.
Some interesting or unusual recipes: tuna, fennel and bean salad; halloumi kebabs with raita; spicy bulgur with roasted peppers; artichoke and mushroom spelt; spiced kedgeree.
The downside to this book: The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Also, the typeface is too much grey and is too small.
The upside to this book: excellent recipes, all workable
Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! (The Negroni, Artisan Books)

 
1. THE NEGRONI; a love affair with a classic cocktail (Artisan, 2021, 160 pages, $22.95 hardbound) is by Matt Hranek, who has done major research in this area.  The Negroni is a great Euro-cocktail with its botanicals from the bitters, the vermouth, and the gin. The best ones have a balance of bitter and sweet. This current book comes well-endorsed by Chef Michael Ruhlman: "This is one of the best books devoted to a single cocktail I've read."  Hranek begins with the components of Italian bitters (I think Campari has a stranglehold here), moving on to Italian red vermouth (Antica Formula Carpano or Punt e mes) and then gin. Garnishes, ice, and equipment come next, followed by 31 recipes for the drink and 11 food snacks. Terrific illustrations, mostly posters. He's even got a list of the best places in Europe to enjoy the Negroni! Quality/Price Rating: 93
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 2021

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 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.Westcott Vineyards Temperance Red 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $19.99 at winery and online: this is a Burgundian passtoutgrain-styled wine which is very popular in France, made from 50% Gamay Noir and 50% Pinot Noir grapes. There is a 30-day maceration, with a stainless steel all wild  ferment and malo-lactic fermentation. Very soft, fleshy, fruity, good for the patio/terrace/balcony/porch/deck. It would be excellent with all kinds of soups. 11.5% ABV. Screwcap Closure. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.Westcott Vineyards Brilliant Traditional Sparkling 2017 VQA Vinemount Ridge $39.99 at winery and online: this is a still-fresh terrific sparkler done up in the traditional style of long lees contact (three years here), hand riddling, and disgorgement for a secondary fermentation in the bottle. 2250 bottles were produced of this pinot noir (66%) and chardonnay (33%) blend from their own estate in Vinemount Ridge. It's got a complex basket of flavours, ranging from orchard fruit through to citrus, with the lightness of the chardonnay being balanced off against the heavier tones of the pinot noir. It stays this way right from the entry through to the long finish, and the latter makes this a pretty good food wine too. You'll need to put some down for 2025-2027. 12.5% ABV. 8.4g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Westcott Vineyards Lillias Unoaked Chardonnay 2020 VQA Niagara Escarpment $24.99 at winery and online: a bright and fresh Chardonnay (two clones used) reflective of the vintage. Stainless tank fermentation and storage with half MLF to soften, and six months lees contact. No oak. Slightly off-dry feel despite 3g/L residual sugar, but a rounded mid-palate. Very stylish with a light lingering finish, great as a non-appetite-provoking aperitif, which makes it a fab cocktail party white wine. Emphasis is on fresh orchard fruit (apples, pears, peaches): it could change over the next two years, which would make it more versatile in being also a first course wine. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Westcott Vineyards Riesling Butler's Grant 2019 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery or online: a devilishly competent 11% ABV Mosel style and light, formerly offered just to their Wine Club members. Now 550 cases are available to all. Parts of the vineyard were planted in 1980. Perfectly attuned to summer -- this was delicious in that Germanic style, ready for consumption now. And certainly affordable for an "old vines" wine. 8.2g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Westcott Vineyards Delphine Rose 2020 VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.99 at winery and online: a refreshing blend of cabernet franc (53%) and pinot noir (47%), pressed for six hours skin maceration and then complete malolactic fermentation. Early picking gave it that zesty complexity of red fruit such as strawberries and raspberries and cranberries (aka sunshine in a glass). Screwcap closure. 12% ABV. 8.5g/L residual sugar. A very good wine as an aperitif on the balcony/deck/terrace, etc. And as a first course wine with a spread board (charcuterie, smoked fish, cheese, dried fruits, nuts, et al). Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Westcott Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose 2020 VQA Vinemount Ridge $23.99 at winery and online: two clones of pinot noir (667 and 777) ere used from the fabulous Vinemount Ridge vineyard. The fruit, while awesome, is tempered by the higher alcohol of 13.5% ABV and lowered grape sugar of 3g/L. Ontario cranberries are noted as well as raspberries on the nose, followed by a hefty taste sensation on the mid-palate, ending with a rush of balanced tannins on the finish – good for first, second, and third courses. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Chateau des Charmes Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine Methode Traditionnelle 2016 VQA Niagara on the Lake, $34.95 Vintages June 12 [also at winery and online]: one of Ontario's top-rated MT sparklers, nicely aged at almost five years. 100% chardonnay. Bottle aged on the lees for at least 2 years, with buttercream notes, citrus aromas, fresh bread, excellent mousse. 250 cases. 5g/L residual sugar. 12.7% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
8.Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir "Droit" 2018 St. David's Bench Vineyard VQA St. David's Bench, +346742 Vintages June 12, $19.95 [also at winery and online]: medium-full-bodied, suggestive of Beaujolais grand cru wines such as Morgon or Moulin a Vent in the Droit's capacity for aging. Dark cherry-berry flavours dominate, but there is added spicing and even some nuances of earthiness and eucalyptus, although the wine is unoaked. Cork finish. Good with BBQ, cheese, or something substantial, but some tannic structure is present to carry through a whole meal. Chateau des Charmes is the only winery in the world using this particular gamay clone. 2Gm/L residual sugar. 12.5% ABV, lower than previous years. Earlier vintages were gold medal winners in Canada. 1100 cases produced. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
9.STEL+MAR Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Lodi, +20808 $17.95 LCBO: from sandy loam soils.
A great wallop of cherries begins the aromatics and dominates right through to the finish in typical Cali-style from Lodi. Long rich tones of cassis, toffee, mocha, and ending with toasty vanilla notes. Soft, juicy, almost like a Merlot and finishes with delicate tannins. Best enjoyed as a social sipper drink with good companions. Tasted over a few days with repeated flavours. 8g/L residual sugar. 13.7% ABV. Cork closure. Label artwork by Stephanie Cheng of Toronto! 10,000 cases. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures. 
 
I will also try to recommend one red, one rose and one white wine on the LCBO's Limited Time Offers selections...these are good sales values...
 
[red wine[ Sella & Mosca Riserva Cannonau di Sardegna on sale to June 20, $15.95, down from $18.45. Buy a case.
[white] Villa Maria Private Bin Chardonnay East Coast New Zealand on sale to June 20, $15.70, down from $17.70. Buy a case.
[rose] Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rose on sale to June 20, $15.95, down from $17.95. Buy a case.
 
Under $20
=========
W+392092    HENRI EHRHART RÉSERVE PARTICULIÈRE PINOT GRIS    AC Alsace    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+328559    CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY    WO Western Cape    2019    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  93
W+1847    THIERRY DELAUNAY TOURAINE SAUVIGNON BLANC    AP    2020    $16.95
MVC/QPR: 89
W+89011    FEATHERSTONE SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2020    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  90
W+148429    PENCARROW SAUVIGNON BLANC    Martinborough, North Island    2019    $18.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+346742    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT    VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake    2018    $19.95     MVC/QPR: 91
R+983742    L.A. CETTO PETITE SIRAH    Guadalupe Valley, Baja California    2017    $13.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+403683    GÉRARD BERTRAND FITOU GRENACHE/CARIGNAN    AP    2018    $17.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+668780    BISCARDO ROSAPASSO    IGT Veneto    2019    $15.95     MVC/QPR: 89
Rose+19846    CONFIDENCIAL RESERVA ROSÉ    Vegan, Vinho Regional Lisboa    2020    $15.95 MVC/QPR:  89
 
Over $20
=========
W+643361    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE RIESLING    Sustainable, VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2019    $27.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+18686    QUINTA VALE DE FORNOS RESERVA TOURIGA NACIONAL    DOC Tejo    2015    $24.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19286    FINCA RÍO NEGRO COGOLLUDO GUADALAJARA    Vino de la Tierra de Castilla    2015    $20.95  MVC/QPR:89
Sparkling+15686    GRUET BRUT SPARKLING ROSÉ    Traditional method, New Mexico        $25.95 MVC/QPR: 89
Sparkling+423111    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario    2016    $34.95     MVC/QPR: 92
Sparkling+224766    CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES BRUT SPARKLING    Traditional method, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake        $25.95 MVC/QPR:  91                   

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --

Some wines recently tasted and sampled --
 
1.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.
 
 
2.Featherstone Estate Winery Red Tail Merlot 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 +131540 currently at winery: 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 2.2g/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. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
3.Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay 2018 Napa $29.95 Consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: a soft wine full of orchard fruit (baked apple, pear), creamy, bright, some vanilla but a little toasted French and American oak (and lees) with spices. Best with sauced seafood. 14.5% ABV. Very dry finish. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Cantina Valpantena Veneto Chardonnay Alfabeto IGP 2019 $14.95 Consignment Majestic Wine Cellars:  It's a definite antipasto or pre-prandial wine since it was light lemons with lively acidity, some tart apples, 12% ABV, and a longer finish than I was expecting. Quite pleasant. Under composition cork. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Cantina Armani Albino Armani 1607 Chardonnay Capitel 2019 Trentino DOC, $21.95 consignment Majestic Wine Cellars. From the Adige Valley region, it's a mellow, rounder wine with less acid but a long honeyed finish in the mouth. Composition cork, and it too had sweet apples, limes and citrus, and a bright freshness from the stainless steel. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Cantina Mabis Biscardo Oropasso Originale 2019 IGT Veneto $18.95 consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: made from about 60% early harvest garganega [also known as malvasia de manresa in Spain](basis of soave) and 40% late harvest chardonnay juice. No oak, just stainless steel for freshness. But a longer fermentation than usual, and five months on the lees. Results? An engaging floral, off-sweet bouquet leading to nuts and tropical fruits on the palate with citrus running in the background. A good seam of acidity through to the spicy finish. Best with food, but possible also as a sipper. A very nice riff on Soave. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose) and Neropasso (red), all trading off on the "oro-" gold usage. 13% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
7.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay 2018 California appellation $16.95 Majestic Wine Cellars Consignment:  cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the US palate. There were lemons and green apples, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for MAY 29, 2021

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for MAY 29,  2021
 
                      AKA                 THE BLUE MOON RELEASE!!!
 
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.Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2019 VQA Niagara Peninsula, LCBO and Grocery +53678 $15.95 [LTO $13.95 May 23-June 19]: this is a no brainer choice – a classic savvy that's been made since the winery opened, excellent quality  from the renowned A.J. Lepp vineyard (39.5%), Wismer vineyard (20.4%), balance from three others. No oak, of course, with cold fermentation in stainless tanks. Typical MVC aromas of gooseberry and some grass, lemons and long length. This has been a huge seller for Peninsula Ridge, and it goes very well with grilled white meats and grilled veggies. 12% ABV, <3g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2.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.
 
3.Rutherford Ranch Chardonnay 2018 Napa $29.95 Consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: a soft wine full of orchard fruit (baked apple, pear), creamy, bright, some vanilla but a little toasted French and American oak (and lees) with spices. Best with sauced seafood. 14.5% ABV. Very dry finish. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
4.Cantina Valpantena Veneto Chardonnay Alfabeto IGP 2019 $14.95 Consignment Majestic Wine Cellars:  It's a definite antipasto or pre-prandial wine since it was light lemons with lively acidity, some tart apples, 12% ABV, and a longer finish than I was expecting. Quite pleasant. Under composition cork. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
5.Cantina Armani Albino Armani 1607 Chardonnay Capitel 2019 Trentino DOC, $21.95 consignment Majestic Wine Cellars. From the Adige Valley region, it's a mellow, rounder wine with less acid but a long honeyed finish in the mouth. Composition cork, and it too had sweet apples, limes and citrus, and a bright freshness from the stainless steel. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
6.Cantina Mabis Biscardo Oropasso Originale 2019 IGT Veneto $18.95 consignment from Majestic Wine Cellars: made from about 60% early harvest garganega [also known as malvasia de manresa in Spain](basis of soave) and 40% late harvest chardonnay juice. No oak, just stainless steel for freshness. But a longer fermentation than usual, and five months on the lees. Results? An engaging floral, off-sweet bouquet leading to nuts and tropical fruits on the palate with citrus running in the background. A good seam of acidity through to the spicy finish. Best with food, but possible also as a sipper. A very nice riff on Soave. The company's series includes Rosapasso (pinot noir rose) and Neropasso (red), all trading off on the "oro-" gold usage. 13% ABV. Good value. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
7.Rutherford Ranch Morgan Bay Cellars Chardonnay 2018 California appellation $16.95 Majestic Wine Cellars Consignment:  cork disc closure, well-rounded texture meant to appeal to the US palate. There were lemons and green apples, but also the softness and taste of a creamy caramel. But there is also enough finishing acid for a first course. Otherwise, sip away. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Under $20
=========
W+17644    OMRAH CROSSINGS CHARDONNAY    Great Southern, Western Australia    2019    18.95  MVC/QPR: 89
W+256552    CAVE SPRING ESTATE CHARDONNAY    Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2018    19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
W+262782    THATCHED HUT SAUVIGNON BLANC    Marlborough, South Island    2020    19.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+17455    LUI RESERVA MALBEC    Single Vineyard, Uco Valley, Mendoza    2018    19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+723452    ONDARRE RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2016    19.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+548560    ALICE VIEIRA DE SOUSA RESERVE RED    DOC Douro    2018    16.95 MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
=========
W+68106    DOMAINE DU CHARDONNAY MONTMAINS CHABLIS 1ER CRU    AC    2017    43.95    MVC/QPR: 89
W+181289    DOMAINE LE VERGER CHABLIS    AC    2018    27.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+417659    CUNE RESERVA    Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja    2015    21.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+19675    CARIONE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2015    34.95 MVC/QPR:  89
Rose+491027    CAVES D'ESCLANS ROCK ANGEL ROSÉ    AC Côtes de Provence    2019    49.95    MVC/QPR:  90
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com