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Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Event: Ogier Winemaker Tasting and Lunch April 16, 2018

The Date and Time:  Monday April 16, 2018  Noon - 3PM
The Event: Ogier Winemaker Tasting and Lunch
The Venue: Wine Academy
The Target Audience: wine writers and influencers
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are available through the LCBO or the agency, Select Wines.
The Quote/Background: Ogier was founded in 1859 in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and purchased in 1995 by JeanJean. Raphael Pommier, an associate winemaker at Ogier, gave us a seminar on his terroir-driven wines for Ogier. They have a focus on grenache (70% of their vines, cultivated for a fruity late harvest style) which is co-fermented with syrah and/or mourvedre, cinsault, and other varieties when needed. Pommier works with 44 other "associate" winemakers, each with their own levels of responsibility. He makes his wines in the north Ardeche. He's in Toronto as a promoter this time, with presentations to the LCBO and other customers. Pommier took us through the various plots of land with different strata. The Safres has compressed sand, the Gres Rouge has everything (sand, gravel, rocks, and red clay). The Vinolithic is here in its second vintage – only 15 300-litre barrels were made (6000 bottles). Each year will be slightly different while they experiment to find an upscale Cotes du Rhone. This year – 2015 – had 15% ABV.
The Wines: We had eight wines plus the new vintage of Ventoux Rose 2017.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape White 2016 [five grapes] $54.95
-Gres Rouge Chateauneuf-du-Pape Red 2015 $57.95
-Safres Chateauneuf-du-Pape Red 2015 $57.95
-Domaine Notre Dame de Cousignac Vinolithic Cotes-du-Rhone Villages Red 2015 $26.95
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Red 2015 $49.95
-Ogier Heritages Cotes du Rhone 2016 $14.95
-Ogier Ventoux Rose 2017 $13.95 [coming soon]
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ogier Ventoux Red 2016 $11.95
-Ogier Ventoux Rose 2016 $13.95
The Food: we ordered from a special menu. I had ham croquettes and a pork chop. Others had Cornish hen, salads, and veggies.
The Downside: bad weather made it a struggle to get downtown.
The Upside: the postponement of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada annual rose tasting due to the bad weather gave me the opportunity to attend this terrific luncheon.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90


Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Event: The First Kolonaki Group Portfolio Tasting – trade show component April 11, 2018

The Date and Time: Wednesday, April 11 2018  11:30 AM – 3:30PM
The Event: The First Kolonaki Group Portfolio Tasting – trade show component
The Venue: The Addison's Residence, Wellington St West
The Target Audience: sommeliers and media, food and beverage managers
The Availability/Catalogue: Ontario Licensee Price List for April 2018 had all the products in convenient bottle shots, region, price, and availability (consignment, et al).
The Quote/Background: There were stations scattered through some small rooms, which gave us a sense of both coziness and convenience.
The Wines: There were over 50 different products (wines, beers, spirits). I only tried some of the wines. 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Luc Belaire Rose Brut Provence $38 +395384 June 9 Vintages
-Luc Belaire Gold Brut Burgundy $38 Consignment
-Argyros Estate Atlantis White Assyrtiko-Athiri-Aidani 2017 Santorini $20.95 Consignment
-Boutari 1879 Legacy 2007 $60 Consignment
-Domaine Karanika Brut Amydeon $32.95 Consignment
-Domaine Karanika Rose Brut Amydeon $32.95 Consignment
-Kir Yianni Akakies Rose Brut 2017 Amydeon $19.95 Consignment
-Kir Yianni Two Olives Xinomavro-Syrah-Merlot 2015 Imathia $32.95 Consignment
-Kir Yianni Diaporo Xinomavro 90% Syrah 10% 2013 Imathia $46.95 consignment
-Santo Santorini Grand Reserve Assyrtiko $44.95 consignment
-Thalia Syrah-Kotsifali Rose 2016 Crete $9.75 consignment
-Wine Art Estate Pink Bang 2017 [touriga nacional] $22.95 Consignment
-Eradus Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Awatere $18.95 Vintages
-Ego Bodegas Goru Blend Chardonnay Muscat 2017 Jumilla $13.95 Vintages Fall 2018
-Ego Bodegas Goru Blend Monastrell-Syrah-Petit Verdot 2015 Jumilla $13.95 Vintages
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Eradus Ana Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Awatere 2017 $17.95 consignment
-Wine Art Estate Techni Alipias Assyrtiko Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Drama $19.95 Consign
-Wine Art Estate Plano Malagousia 2016 Drama $20.95 Consignment
-Santo Nykteri Santorini 2017 $29.95  Private Order
-Skouras St. Georges Nemea Agiorgitiko 2014 $18.95 consignment
-Skouras Armyra Chardonnay 2016 Peloponesse $21.95 consignment
-Skouras Megas Oenos Cabernet St.Georges 2014 Peloponesse $48.95 consignment
-Boutari Grand Reserve Naoussa-Xinomavro 2012 $24.95 Late spring 2018
-Argyros Estate Atlantis Assyrtiko 2016 Santorini $29.95 Consignment
-Argyros Estate Santorini 2016 $31.95 Consignment
-Domaine Mega Spileo Red Blend 2012 Acahaia $28.95 Consignment
-Domaine Mega Spileo Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Acahaia $27.95 Vintages
The Food: charcuterie and cheeseboards, breads and biscuits, dried fruit, shrimp spoons, platter passarounds.
The Downside: unfortunately, Papaioannou wines (some of my faves) were not available for tasting.
The Upside: one of the last wines I had was based on a Portuguese grape variety, thus providing a fortuitous segue to my next tasting 20 minutes later...
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Event: Taste Oregon; a journey of discovery April 10, 2018

The Date and Time: Tuesday April 10, 2018   12PM  - 3:30 PM
The Event: Taste Oregon; a journey of discovery
The Venue: Berkeley Church, Queen Street East
The Target Audience: wine trade and media
The Availability/Catalogue: it was a great looking catalogue, loaded with details about the wineries and their wines, arranged alphabetically by winery or company. Only price ranges were given, which is a great idea for these vague times of currency fluctuations and markups and transportation, etc. So – the recommended retail price in the US would be as $$ = 10 – 15 USD, or $$$$$ = more than $50, Five price ranges were suggested. Importers were listed by company name only, and only a few had walkaway price lists.
The Quote/Background: More than 35 wineries were on board today, with about 200 wines. Eight food purveyors showed off their skills.
The Wines: I did not taste every wine. Prices are mostly licensee, or at least within as USD retail dollar price range.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Elk Cove Goodrich Chardonnay 2015 Yamhill-Carlton $65 licensee Breakthru Beverage
-Elk Cove Fibe Mountain Pinto Noir 2015 Chehalem Mountain $73 licensee Breakthru Bev
-Alexana Winery Terroir Series Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2015 Willamette $25 – 50 USD Le Sommelier
-Archery Summit Arcus Pinot Noir 2015 Dundee Hills $125 CAD Andrew Peller Imports
-Archery Summit Eola Amit Hills Chardonnay 2016 $45 USD Andrew Peller
-Archery Summit Dundees Hills Pinot Noir 2016 $60 USD Andrew Peller
-Argyle Vintage Brut PN/C/PM 2016 Willamette $40 Andrew Peller
-Argyle Brut Rose 2013 PN/C/PM Dundee Hills $50 Andrew Peller
-Bachelder Oregon Mineralite of Oregon Chardonnay 2014 Willamette $?? Lifford
-Bachelder Oregon Parfum de Oregon Pinot Noir 2014 Willamette $?? Lifford
-Division Winemaking Pinot Noir Trois 2015 Eola Amity Hills more than $50 USD Lifford
-Hyland Estates Winery Old Vine Chardonnay 2016 McMinnville $39.95 CAD N Pearce
-Hyland Estates Winery Old Vine Riesling 2016 McMinnville $34.95 CAD N Pearce
-Phelps Creek Vineyards Columbia Gorge Chardonnay 2015 $34 US  Wines Online Canada
-R.Stuart Rose d'Or Brut NV PN/C Willamette $25 – 50  Epic
-Trisaetum Coast Range Estate Riesling 2015 Yamhill-Carlton $45 CAD N Pearce
-Trisaetum Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2016 $45 CAD N Pearce
-Walter Scott Wines X Novo Chardonnay 2016 Eola Amity Hills $45 USD Kinsale Oregon
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Winderlea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Dundee Hills more than $50 USD Katy Moore
-Winderlea Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 Barrel Fermented Willamette Valley more than $50 USD Katy Moore
-Valley View Winery Viognier 2015 Applegate Valley $18 USD  Eurovintage
-Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Chardonnay 2016 $25 CAD The Vine Agency
-Solena Estate Chardonnay Willamette 2015 $39.95 CAD  N Pearce
-R.Stuart Big Fire Pinot Gris 2015 Willamette $10USD  Epic
--Phelps Creek Vineyards Lynette Chardonnay 2014 Columbia Gorge $38 US  Wines Online Canada
-Rex Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 $25 – 50USD  N Pearce
-Rex Hill Seven Soils Chardonnay 2015 Willamette $39.95 CAD N Pearce
-Adelsheim Vineyard Caitlin's Reserve Chardonnay 2015 Willamette more than $50USD Mark Anthony
-Adelsheim Vineyard Staking Claim Chardonnay 2015 Chehalem more than $50USD Mark Anthony
-Adelsheim Vineyard Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir 2013 Willamette $80  Mark Anthony
-Chehalem Winery Ian's Reserve Chardonnay 2015 Dundee Hills $25 – 50 USD Living Vine
-Chehalem Winery Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 Ribbon Ridge $85 CAD Living Vine
-Citation Oregon Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2014  $25 – 50  Intervino
-Division Winemaking Chardonnay Trois 2016 Willamette $25 - $50 USD Lifford
-Domaine Drouhin Oregon Arthur Chardonnay 2015 Dundee Hills Dandurand
-Domaine Drouhin Oregon Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2015 $50 CAD Dandurand
-Domaine Oregon Roserock Pinot Noir 2015 Eola Amity Hills $41CAD Dandurand
-Domaine Roy et Fils Chardonnay 2016 Willamette $25 – 50 USD  Univins
The Food: Food was inventive. Small bites came from Richmond Station (roasted carrots), LBS (pickled mussels on potato), Mad Crush (lamb tartare on crostini), Barque (pulled pork tortilla), and Sweet Jesus (six types of ice cream, none of which went with any wine, but it was a good afterthought: I enjoyed my serving of the chocolate, peanut butter, peanuts, and caramel ice cream). In a separate serving area The Cheese Boutique produced a range of cheeses (soft through hard, some blues, sausages, Pingue prosciutto, biscuits, dried fruit and nuts. Best food for me was the lamb tartare from Mad Crush.
The Downside: when will the trade shows ever learn the importance of walkaway price lists for landed wines? How much does a piece of paper cost?
The Upside: good wines, good food.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! Appalachian Cooking by John Tullock, The Countryman Press

APPALACHIAN COOKING (The Countryman Press, 2018, 196 pages, ISBN 978-1-68268-100-8 $22.95 USD paperbound) is by John Tullock, who teaches food gardening courses for the University of Tennessee. These are both new and traditional recipes for a specific USA region: mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina (also known as Southern Appalachia. Here the greens are cooked with ham hocks, but they may be turnip greens rather than collards. More local black walnuts are used than Georgian pecans. Pintos are more common than black-eyed peas. BBQ is different. It's a cuisine reflective of local ramps, berries, greens, nuts and game as used by both the Indigenous and the Scotch-Irish traditions. Tullock has 100 or so classics with new variations. Arranged by  food groups – preserved foods (such as jams and pickles), beans-squash-corn (Three Sisters), potatoes and other veggies, meat from sticks and cricks, and desserts. And of course, biscuits. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: collectors of regional cuisine cookbooks
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: summer vegetable casserole; bread-and-butter sweet pepper relish; blackberry crumble; sweet whiskey butter; Knoxville full house beef; ultimate meatloaf sandwich; cracklin corn bread; hog-jowl and black-eyed peas; peppercorn pork roast with mornay sauce.
The downside to this book: I really wanted more
The upside to this book: a good assortment of foods, coupled with excellent illustrations. No photos.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for April 14, 2018

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for  April 14, 2018
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at or at
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone tastes like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
R+270645    LEGÓN PREMIUM    DO Ribera del Duero    2014    $32.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
R+443945    EL GORÚ MONASTRELL/SYRAH/PETIT VERDOT    DOP Jumilla    2015    $13.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
W+616466    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CHARDONNAY    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment    2016    $29.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
20 under $20
W+80234    FEATHERSTONE BLACK SHEEP RIESLING    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2017    $16.95 10 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+483875    THE TRAGICALLY HIP AHEAD BY A CENTURY CHARDONNAY    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $19.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+376814    WILDASS SAUVIGNON BLANC    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $18.95 12.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+128421    CLINE VIOGNIER    North Coast    2016    $18.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+231282    KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC    WO Stellenbosch    2016    $17.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+722413    DOMDECHANT WERNER HOCHHEIMER RIESLING KABINETT    Prädikatswein    2015    $19.95    12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+707158    ZENATO SAN BENEDETTO LUGANA    DOC    2016    $18.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+673236    LAURENT MIQUEL NORD SUD VIOGNIER    IGP Pays d'Oc    2015    $14.95 13.5%
% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+546432    VINA CONO SUR RESERVA ESPECIAL PINOT NOIR    San Antonio Valley    2015    $18.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+15495    3 RINGS SHIRAZ    Barossa Valley, South Australia    2015    $19.95    14.6% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+540286    ENCHANTED TREE SHIRAZ    South Australia    2014    $17.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+548495    FLEUR DU CAP UNFILTERED CABERNET SAUVIGNON    WO Stellenbosch    2014    $19.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+299917    VILLA PONCIAGO LA RÉSERVE FLEURIE    AC    2015    $19.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+528000    BERTRAND AMBROISE LETTRE D'ÉLOÏSE    AC Coteaux Bourguignons    2015    $19.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+537993    FRANÇOIS LURTON MJ MAS JANEIL LE PETIT PAS    AP Côtes du Roussillon    2015    $17.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+538017    MAISON VENTENAC LES HAUTS DE VENTENAC CUVÉE JULES    AP Cabardès    2014    $16.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+678086    MICHEL GASSIER LES PILIERS SYRAH    AC Costières de Nîmes    2015    $17.95    13.4% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+539916    ROC DES TEMPLIERS PLAN DE DIEU CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES    AC    2016    $14.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+541524    BARTALI RISERVA CHIANTI    DOCG    2013    $19.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+536250    ANTICA VIGNA APPASSIONATO    IGP Veneto Rosso    2011    $16.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+532283    FONTE DA LOBA VINHO TINTO    DOC Douro    2015    $14.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+488007    PERIQUITA RESERVA    Vinho Regional Península de Setúbal    2015    $15.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
20 over $20
13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+511568    URBINA RESERVA ESPECIAL    DOCa Rioja    2001    $39.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+962886    LA CREMA SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY    Sonoma Coast    2016    $29.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+661322    DOMAINE BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS LES CLOUS MEURSAULT    AC    2015    $62.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+548529    KWV THE MENTORS ORCHESTRA    WO Western Cape    2014    $24.95 14.5%ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+527994    ROUX PÈRE & FILS BEAUREPAIRE SANTENAY 1ER CRU    AC Côte de Beaune    2015    $54.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+743385    CHÂTEAU BOUSCASSÉ    AP Madiran    2013    $21.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+539387    VITE COLTE SPEZIE RISERVA BARBARESCO    DOCG    2008    $42.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+306852    COL D'ORCIA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2012    $49.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+445122    SÃO MIGUEL ESCOLHA DOS ENOLOGOS    Vinho Regional Alentejano    2015    $22.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+642496    BARÓN DE LEY GRAN RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2010    $29.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+424390    CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA    DOCa Rioja    2012    $39.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89


Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Event: Down the Rabbit Hole/Reverie at the Park first anniversary dinner party.

The Date and Time: Thursday April 5, 2018  6PM - 9PM
The Event: Down the Rabbit Hole/Reverie at the Park first anniversary dinner party.
The Venue: Reverie at the Park, College Street
The Target Audience: food media (I was one of the older folk, but I did note Dick Snyder and Sara Waxman as attending).
The Quote/Background: David Mulock provided us with inspired cocktails such as Sweet Lou's wet Negroni or A Forager's Find with bourbon, shiso, lemon, sugar, and High Park wild ginger. Beer and wine were also available. Most media had a cocktail followed by wine at dinner. While others were nursing their cocktails, I talked with Executive Chef Jef Edwards who has been here about a year. This was Reverie's first anniversary dinner, followed by a music party upstairs at 9PM (I had to go home: busy day on Friday at the LCBO tasting lab and at the Green Living Show). Chef Jef comes from Winnipeg and spent some time in creating the sharing menu at Reverie.  He also spoke before each dish, giving its history and creation notes. Previously, he had told me about his fab "chef's selection", a menu of some 11 courses for four persons ($204 total), which included sea scallops, salmon croquette, pork belly, Alaskan trout, duxelle chicken, muscovy dick, rack of lamb, venison, and dessert. He had a printed menu for it so that he could compromise on any allergies or dislikes by patrons. So there is a lot to play around with – even with a comparable seafood menu of "chef's selection". Currently, though, they have no corkage license rider so you would be limited to the short house wine list.
The Wines: I tried tasting samples of five wines. I did not see the labels --
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Charles & Charles Chardonnay Washington
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Pfaff Riesling Pfaffenheim Cuvee Jupiter Alsace
-Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore
-George Deboeuf Hob Nob Pinot Noir Languedoc
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Santa Margherita Valdadige Pinot Grigio
The Food: It was a five course dinner for about 36 – 40 attendees, with excellent table service and significant plates. We began with house made focaccia and breads with pesto and then moved on to s lovely smoked beef tartare and enoki with crisps and hot mustard (served in a beef bone where the marrow would have been). This was followed by a scallop surf and turf with pea and piccata and oyster mushrooms. There was more: cured mackerel and artichoke with kohlrabi and pickled blueberry, and a light gnocchi and ricotta with spinach and palm hearts, like a gnudi. The ending was a veal and porcini aligot (potatoes, cheese, white wine) with peaches. Kudos all round, as well as the applause...
The Downside: typical for the area was the excessive music level, not very enjoyable when eating, and especially when it goes on and on for three hours and more. But then, that's just me...
The Upside: a chance to talk to Chef Jef Edwards.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89


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

Friday, April 6, 2018


1.La Bise Wines The Thief Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro 2015 Barossa Valley, +534768 April 28 Vintages $24.95: a nifty wine from Oz that's been marketed as pairing with beef and pizza. That makes it a "guy" wine ready now. Mataro is also the name given for Mourvedre and Monastrell – expect jump-out flavours of berries (on the nose) resolving to mushrooms and forest floor with a long length. I suspect the evolving nature of this wine (good for a few more years) will lean towards more aged characteristics. Some 25-year old Shiraz is used; all three grape have been vinified separately in a spicy oak program.  Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Luigi Bosca Gala 2 2014 Mendoza, +542647 Vintages, $36.95: a Bordeaux-styled blend of cab sauvignon (85%), and equal amounts of cab franc and merlot [but not always; there is wiggle room for different annual proportions of these last two]. While each variety is vinified separately, only the cab sauvignon is aged 14 months in oak with malolactic. The other two are stainless. It's definitely a New World take on Bordeaux, but with upfront jammy and partially baked black fruit (berries, plums) and spicy wood. The producer says it should cellar well for 15 years; try it after two more. A good competitor to similar California wines but better adaptable to food with is long length. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Dievole Novecento Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2014, +213926 Vintages, $37.95: a very sound, firmly based Chianti Classico Riserva for the cellar, could be aged 10 or more years. Fifteen year old vines, 13.5% ABV. Stored in untoasted French oak for about 17 months. Typical Chianti complexity but with more minerals and a longer length. Red fruit such as dark cherries dominates the richly concentrated flavours. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Pelee Island Vinedressers Meritage VQA South Islands 2016, +317933 Winery, $24.95:
typical MVC for a Bordeaux-styled blend (50% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 20% cabernet franc), with black fruit and toastiness. Some mocha tones and forest floor. But it needs more time, certainly, to fully enjoy. One to lay down, or do a double-decant and taste over several days: then try it with a roast or mushrooms. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Pelee Island LOLA Cabernet Franc Rose 2017 VQA South Islands, +552497 $15.95 April 30 LCBO: as a major new player in the Ontario domestic rose category, this rose is derived from Pelee Island vineyards on the island itself at 42 degrees North latitude, similar to appellations in Spain, France, Italy and California. Stainless steel, all cabernet franc, residual sugar of 9g/l for that mid-weight feel. A good touch of strawberries with a off-pink colour. Tastes fresh all the way to the long finish. 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Chateau des Charmes Pinot Noir 2016 Estate Grown &  Bottled VQA NOTL, +454967, $16.95 LCBO: A nifty young wine, with some forest floor and mushrooms to complement the red fruit of strawberries. Estate grown and bottled. Good written notes on the back label are spot on. Just under some subtle oaking, with a moderate intensity of medium flavours. It could use more time in the bottle.  Cork closure, 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Event: 6th edition of FOOD SENSATIONS at Sub-Zero March 21

The Date and Time:  Wednesday March 21 2018  4PM to 7PM
The Event: 6th edition of FOOD SENSATIONS
The Venue: SUB-ZERO Showroom, King St East
The Target Audience: food writers and bloggers, lifestyle opinion shapers.
The Availability/Catalogue: There were good notes on the food, with descriptive details. Most would be available through Whole Foods, Organic Garage, The Big Carrot, Sobeys, and others.
The Quote/Background: Not unlike the movies SENSATION HUNTERS (1933) and SENSATIONS OF 1945, both of which dealt with cabaret, it was a mini-trade show of select foods new to the Toronto-Ontario markets. The collective presentation gave us some insight into what is new for spring here in Hogtown. The wines were not part of the show presentations, but all three were Italian (white, two reds).
The Food: AGROPUR was there showing off its "world's best Camembert", the L'Extra 170gr, fresh from its camembert tasting at the World Championship Cheese Contest (Madison, Wisconsin) March 6 – 8. Delicious with apricots and figs, biscuits, walnuts. Terrific paste. Les Viandes DU BRETON (with its ethical and responsible agriculture) showed off its "rustic" boneless pork loin filet" (pigs from family farms. No antibiotics, grain-fed, Certified Humane for pigs in Canada) a category available in three flavours of chipotle & lime, Mexican BBQ, and curry ($16.39 per kg). They also have a "rustic Black Forest smoked bacon" ($6.99 250g) and an "organic bacon" ($8.99 250g). Mounds of flavour in the bacon. For dessert, we had LACREM vegan ice cream, made from soy milk. You really could not tell the difference between dairy-egg ice cream and vegan ice cream. Real flavours are derived from Chai Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Lemon Meringue Pie, Vanilla and Maple. I loved the Maple but my ultimate fave was the Lemon and Poppy Seed ice cream. Available in 473 mL cup portions. At the end there was CAMELLIA SINENSIS tea, with teapots. They offered a number of Bristol Chais, based on either black tea or green tea. And also  herbs (rooibos, cardamom, cinnamon, etc.). Good palate cleansers. We also tried the CAFFITALY System of coffee. They have their own machines but the capsules are also compatible with Nespresso. We had the Robusto coffee blend, presumably named after the robusto varietal of coffee bean – full intense espresso flavours with bitter cocoa and dark chocolate. Plus whipped milk. And on the way out, we had the amazing AMARELLI liquirizia, created in 1731 in Calbria. It's a licorice candy, good for the digestion. There's a mint-flavoured version as well as a dark chocolate, all coming in a 20g or 40g metal box.
The Downside: I think we were the oldest people there, and we did not have any cameras.
The Upside: a great experience to taste what's upcoming in this region.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88

Thursday, March 29, 2018

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for March 31, 2018 -- YES, IT IS THE BLUE MOON RELEASE!!!!

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for March 31,  2018
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at since 1994.
These notes for wines available through the LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at or at
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone tastes like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
W+129700    WILDASS RIESLING    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016    $17.95     11% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+161398    LANDER-JENKINS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    California    2015    $19.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
R+286393    CHÂTEAU PAUL MAS CLOS DES MÛRES    AC Côteaux du Languedoc    2015   
$19.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
20 under $20
W+552570    ROSEWOOD LOCKED & LOADED WHITE    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2016   
$16.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
W+119099    VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY    Mendoza    2016    $19.95    14.6% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
Australia    2016    $15.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+435412    ILOCKI PODRUMI TRAMINAC    Danube    2016    $16.95    12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+906016    PIERRE SPARR ALTENBOURG RIESLING    AC Alsace    2015    $18.95   
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+523928    SELBACH INCLINE RIESLING    Qualitätswein    2016    $17.95    11.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+477877 FEUDO MACCARI GRILLO IGP Terre Siciliane 2016 $14.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+523621    CASAL DE VENTOZELA ALVARINHO    DOC Vinho Verde    2016    $19.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+261941    DON CRISTÓBAL 1492 BONARDA Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza    2016    $13.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
Colchagua Valley    2015    $15.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+542118    TERRA NOBLE GRAN RESERVA CARIGNAN    Maule Valley    2015    $18.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+546069    CHÂTEAU HAUT LALANDE    AC Côtes de Bordeaux - Blaye    2015    $19.95   
14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+245787    CAVINO NEMEA RESERVE PDO Nemea    2011    $15.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
$16.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+538132    MESSER DEL FAUNO NERO D'AVOLA    IGT Terre Siciliane    2016    $13.95   
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+282996    SAN FELICE CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG     2015    $19.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+471565    BORSAO BOLE    DO Campo de Borja    2014    $16.95 15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+546085    CASTAÑO ECOLÓGICO BARRICA MONASTRELL    DO Yecla    2016    $13.95   
14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+546556    ROCKWAY BLOCK BLEND RED    VQA Niagara Peninsula    2015    $19.95   
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
20 over $20
W+541557    LAKE SONOMA CHARDONNAY    Russian River Valley, Sonoma County    2014   
$26.95            14.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+995746    ST. URBANS-HOF OLD VINES RIESLING    Qualitätswein    2016    $22.95    10% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+280578    QUINTA DO PORTAL RESERVA    DOC Douro    2014    $25.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+542191    GORETTI SAGRANTINO DI MONTEFALCO    DOCG    2009    $49.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+378885    OLARRA ERUDITO RESERVA ESPECIAL    DOCa Rioja    2009    $44.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+460642    DECOY MERLOT    Sonoma County    2015    $35.95    13.9% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+719435    LA CREMA SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR    Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County   
2015    $34.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+209874    COLUMBIA CREST H3 MERLOT    Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley    2015   
$21.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+534388    DOMAINE NINOT VIEILLES VIGNES MERCUREY    AC    2015    $38.95    13% R+549659    MADONNA DELL'UVA COLLINE NOVARESI NEBBIOLO    DOC  2010    $21.95    13%ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+261784    PAPALE LINEA ORO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA    DOP    2014    $23.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
DOCG    2013    $23.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+192476    ALEJANDRO FERNÁNDEZ DEHESA LA GRANJA    Vino de la Tierra de
Castilla y León    2008    $20.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+85183    BALBÁS RESERVA    DO Ribera del Duero    2005    $22.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+656363    WEINERT CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Mendoza    2006    $25.95    14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+960310    CHÂTEAU ST. GEORGES    AC Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion    2014    $43.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+527101    CHÂTEAU VERDIGNAN    AC Haut-Médoc    2005    $49.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+681262    BANFI ROSSO DI MONTALCINO    DOC    2015    $23.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Event: Tasting Menu at Globe Bistro March 14

The Date and Time: Wednesday March 14, 2018 5PM to 9:30PM
The Event: Tasting Menu at Globe Bistro
The Venue: Globe Bistro, Broadview and Danforth
The Target Audience: the four of us
The Quote/Background: We undertook to check out Chef Dan Sanders' tasting menu. WE ACTUALLY PAID OUR OWN WAY, but we did take advantage of two things. First, it was Happy Hour at 4 - 6PM, so we started at 5PM with 18 half-priced oysters (French Kiss aka Beau Soleil from Miramichi NB region) and half-priced draught beer. One of us tried a half-priced wine, the Melon from Malivoire figuring it was like Muscadet from the Loire, but to my taste it was too fragrant/aromatic with peach tones. Not with raw oysters, but better with cooked and sauced oysters (stew?). From Canada, I would prefer the Melon from Norman Hardie PEC with the raw oysters. Actually, I would have just preferred a Muscadet. Nevertheless, some of us had Hopping Mad for a bitter hop taste that went well with oysters. Second, Wednesdays are "corkage free" nights, so we brought a bottle of Alsatian Reserve Gewurztraminer 2015 and a Barbaresco 2006. Also, we decided to swap out the "dessert" part of the tasting menu for a cheese-based savoury dish at the end. You could of course skip the oysters and beers, and go on another night with its corkage of $20 a bottle, one per couple. We were just maximizing the value of the meal. We tried the five course tasting menu at $70 a head. Chef Dan offers three tasting menus daily (Tuesday – Sunday) – 4 courses for $60, 5 for $70, and 6 for $80, with matching wines for $30, $40, and $50. Quite a good deal, but you would be wise to email him at Globe a few days in advance to set it up. Especially if you have strong dislikes or allergies. Also – everyone at the table who orders the tasting menu must have this same menu.
The Wines: Our Alsatian Reserve Gewurztraminer was astoundingly brilliant with the "white wine match" part of the meal. The Barbaresco was also terrific; I use it as an all-purpose red since I find that nebbiolo goes with just about anything needing a red wine. Not too big, just enough fruit, loaded with structure that changes with age, etc.
The Food: Our menu tonight was also accompanied by lots of house-made Red Fife bread with housemade butter.
1)Amuse bouche of baby kale, caribou moss foam, and elk tartare [fabulous]
2)Roasted mushroom salad, tempura battered veggies, sun choke root veggies, celery, and a pouring of chasseur sauce (French hunter)
3)Duck foie gras with toasted brioche, spruce tip foam, cloudberry compote. [fabulous]
4)Pan seared large scallops, roasted butternut-hazelnut crumb, house honey from their local hives
5)Intermezzo palate refresher – Blueberry sorbet with lemon
6)Lamb loin, kale adobo sauce, wheat berries, red wine jus [fabulous]
7)Chevre from Quebec, bread chips, wild plums, walnuts [fabulous]
The whole menu was inspirational and to our liking. We were enthusiastic eaters. And the price was reasonable. Once you factor in the oysters, beers, and the LCBO cost of the good wine you brought in (plus tax and tip), it comes to around $250 a couple.
The Downside: we did not take any photos (should we have? That's a lot of light flashing with all those plates)
The Upside: good, controlled service, no rushing, no feel of waiting for the next course.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 94.

The Event: Media Preview of Dig Our Roots, from Niagara-on-the-Lake “where it all began” March 5/18

The Date and Time: Monday March 5 2018 2PM to 4PM, and 5PM to 7PM
The Event: Media Preview of Dig Our Roots, from Niagara-on-the-Lake "where it all began"
The Venue: Thoroughbred Food & Drink, 304 Richmond St. W,
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: wines were available at the winery in most cases, others at the LCBO.
The Quote/Background: This was an intimate, invite-only Dig Our Roots Media Launch with
limited capacity of about 8, moderated by Master Sommelier Bruce Wallner who emphasized the nature of cool climate wines. Flights of Niagara-on-the-Lake Appellation wines were presented by the winemakers or wineries. It was in two sessions, afternoon and early evening. But I was at the Brunello tasting and missed the first session of different wines and speakers. This was an Inaugural Celebration of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Appellation, held over April 6-8, 2018 weekend. An opportunity for wine lovers to explore the NOTL appellation through a terroir showcase, history and culture, while immersing themselves in unique winery experiences, unearthing what makes this place and wines special. The 22 wineries will be leading seminars, planting seedlings, sampling wines blind, and eating four course meals. Ticket prices and guest capacity for each experience will vary. The best place to go for details is Sub-appellations to be covered include Four Mile Creek, Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara River, and St. David's Bench.
The Wines: I tried most of the wines, but some of them did not jibe with the list I was given, especially the ones from the 2PM session. Participating wineries in my session included (with presenter): Between the Lines (Greg Wertsch), Hare Wine Co. (Andrea Kaiser), Lakeview Wine Co (Thomas Green), Reif Estate (Roberto DiDomenico), Riverview Cellars (Alyssa Bator), and Stratus. Each commented on the particular wine, with Bruce's take augmenting the panel's. Earlier, there were Chateau des Charmes, Coyote's Run, Niagara College Teaching Winery, Pillitteri, Pondview, Strewn and Trius.  I tasted a few of their wines too, later at the buffet.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Trius Wild Fermented Chardonnay 2015
-Chateau des Charmes Equuleus 2014
-Hare Noble Cabernet Franc Appassimento 2013
-Reif Estate First Growth Cabernet Sauvignon 2001  [my fave]
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Between the Lines Lemberger Reserve 2015
-Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2016
-Riverview Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Unoaked 2016
-Stratus Tannat 2013
The Food: a huge buffet spread of food which included various pizzas and flatbreads with (individually) smoked salmon, hen of woods mushroom bechamel pizza, rapini and sausage pizza, sausage platter, quinoa and beets salad, cheese platter, and more – I had to leave before they stopped putting out the food!
The Downside: I had been nicely satiated at the Brunello tasting, so this was an add-on that I could enjoy.
The Upside: great food accompaniment to a wide range of wines, including a rare 2001.
The Contact Person:
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.