Friday, June 18, 2021
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
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JUNE 12, 2021
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing email@example.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.
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
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
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 --
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.