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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Event: Wine Australia Winter Trade Tasting with Mark Davidson

The Date and Time:  Tuesday February 7, 2017   11AM to 4PM
The Event: Wine Australia Winter Trade Tasting with Mark Davidson
The Venue: Verity
The Target Audience: wine writers and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: there was a catalogue with prices indicating availability or N/A. There were 55 wines.
The Quote/Background: Tables were arranged by type – alternative varieties, aromatic whites, chardonnay, pinot noir and grenache, cabernet blends, and shiraz blends (largest). There was a seminar of 14 wines led by Mark Davidson and a team of six local sommeliers. Sixty people attended this seminar; the names of the wines have been folded in to the listing below.
The Wines: I did not taste all the wines, and some I could not get to because of the tables and crowds.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Tahbilk Goulburn Valley Marsanne 2010  **BEST WHITE TODAY** [not listed at LCBO]
-Domaine Naturaliste Rebus Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2015  $32.95
-Kalleske Pirathon Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013 $33.42
-Henschke Keyneton Euphonium Barossa Valley Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2012 N/A
-Vasse Felix Heytesbury Margaret River Chardonnay 2015 +111368 $69.95
-Cullen Diana Madeline Margaret river Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2010 N/A
-Luke Lambert Yarra Valley Syrah 2012  N/A   **BEST RED TODAY**
-Rockford Basket Press Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008 +195254 $94.95 [oldest wine today]
-Bindi Quartz Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2015  $121.23
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Tahbilk Goulburn Valley Marsanne 2016 +117945 $18.95
-Jansz Premium Tasmania Cuvee NV +566828 $26.95
-Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2014  +489906 $22.95
-Vasse Felix Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 +686543 $43.95
-Tahbilk Glulburn Valley Viognier 2016 $18.95
-Vasse Felix Filius Margaret River Chardonnay 2015 +106103 $24.95
-Bindi Dixon Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2012 $84.65
-Ringbolt Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 +606624 $21.95
-Ulupna Limited Edition Goulburn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 $36.95
-Ulupna Royal Phoenix Goulburn Valley Shiraz 2015 $45.95
-Jasper Hill Georgia's Paddock Heathcote Shiraz 2013 $102.11
-Kay Brothers Hillside McLaren Vale Shiraz 2012 $52.92
-Mitolo GAM McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014 $52.95
-Langmeil Valley Floor Barossa Valley Shiraz 2014 +140912 $27.95
-Glaetzer Bishop Barossa Valley Shiraz 2015 +627869 $39.95
-Ochota Barrels Sense of Compression Adelaide Hills Grenache 2015 $86,95
-Yalumba The Octavius Barossa/Eden Shiraz 2012 $129.95
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-O'Leary Walker Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2015 $27.55
-Domaine Naturaliste Sauvage Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015 $32.95
-Alpha Box & Dice Golden Mullet Fury McLaren Vale Semillon Viognier 2014 +237446 $20
-Tyrrell's Vat 1 Hunter Semillon 2012 +930495 $55.95
-By Farr Tarrside Geelong Pinot Noir 2014 $82.72
 
The Food: platters of international gourmet cheeses, crispbreads, preserves, and grapes.
The Downside: once the seminar was over, the tables were moved back. But there was still so little room that it was difficult to get to all the wines, pour and then spit and dump.
The Upside: most of the discussion came from the sommelier panel, and this was very refreshing.
The Contact Person:  anne.popoff@wineaustralia.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 18, 2017.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 18, 2017.
=======================================================================
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My Internet compendium "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.
 
So many people have asked me for wine recommendations, with numbers only. The readers' most common response is that while they like what I say, they only relate to the score. The score is a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, where e.g. a Southern Rhone tastes like a Southern Rhone and not like a Northern Rhone) and Quality/Price Ratio. Let's take it for granted that, e.g., a Riesling tastes like a Riesling, and the wine has some value in the marketplace either above or below its selling price. This way too I can also cover more wines.
 
This restructured wine newsletter for the Ontario market (with wines available through the LCBO and Vintages on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at    http://www.deantudor.com
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FINDS – (all under $20)
 
R+383018 RAMIREZ DE LA PISCINA CRIANZA Rioja 2012    $15.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+485243 16 Mile Cellar  REBEL CHARDONNAY VQA Niagara Peninsula 2012 $19.95, MVC/QPR: 91
R+481184 CASTELSINA CHIANTI RISERVA 2010 $14.95, 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
 
20 under $20
=========
R+17111 FINCA FLICHMAN EXPRESIONES RESERVE SHIRAZ/CABERNET SAUVIGNON Mendoza 2014 $15.95, 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+60244 SANTA ALICIA GRAN RESERVA DE LOS ANDES CABERNET SAUVIGNON Maipo Valley 2013    $15.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+89029 TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING VQA Niagara Peninsula 2014 $18.95,
MVC/QPR:  91
W+162651 LANDER-JENKINS CHARDONNAY    California 2014 $18.95, 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+194753 Bodegas Franco-Españolas RIOJA BORDÓN RESERVA 2009 $19.95, 13.5% ABV,
MVC/QPR:  89
R+244699 ABAD DOM BUENO CRIANZA DO Bierzo    2006    $15.95, 14.1% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+246579 CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ Cave Spring vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment 2014    $16.95, 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+251439 FIELDING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING    VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment 2015 $19.95,  MVC/QPR:  89
R+265967 FOWLES STONE DWELLERS SHIRAZ Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria  2013 $19.95,  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+287961 Small Gully Wines OSCAR'S ESTATE VINEYARD SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER Barossa Valley, South Australia 2013    $18.95, 15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+295626 STADT KREMS GRÜNER VELTLINER Kremstal 2015 $16.95, 12.5% ABV,
MVC/QPR: 89
R+317008 VERSADO MALBEC Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza 2013 $19.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+350900 ROBERT OATLEY SIGNATURE SERIES CHARDONNAY    Margaret River, Western Australia 2015 $18.95, MVC/QPR: 89
R+397422 Quinta de Porrais PARCELAS DOC Douro  2013 $14.95,  14% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
R+413245 GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE/
GRENACHE Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres 2013    $18.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+474031 PENMARA THE WHITE RIBBON SÉMILLON Hunter Valley, New South Wales    2016 $14.95,  MVC/QPR: 88
R+476390 AIA VECCHIA LAGONE TOSCANA    IGT Toscana    2013    $19.95, 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+477752 VALLE REALE SENTIERI PECORINO DOC 2015    $15.95, 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+479659 Michel Gassier CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES
2014    $19.95, 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+480673 XENYSEL PIE FRANCO MONASTRELL DOP Jumilla 2015 $13.95, 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+482497 EMBOCADERO    DO Ribera del Duero    San Pedro Regalado    2012    $15.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+675223 KILIKANOON KILLERMAN'S RUN CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Clare Valley, South Australia 2014 $19.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+973214 DI MAJO NORANTE BIFERNO ROSSO RAMITELLO DOC 2012    $18.95, 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
20 over $20
=========
R+28837 CLARENCE DILLON CLARENDELLE RED    AC Bordeaux     2012    $23.95, 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91.
R+32508 PININO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010    $54.95,  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+90365 WATERBROOK CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Columbia Valley 2013 $24.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+204750 GIUSEPPE CAMPAGNOLA AMARONE DELLA CLASSICO 2012    $43.95, 15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+219469 TWO HANDS SEXY BEAST CABERNET SAUVIGNON    McLaren Vale, South Australia 2015 $29.95,  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.
R+225052 MAISON NICOLAS PERRIN SAINT-JOSEPH 2013    $39.95, 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+268391 HENRY OF PELHAM ESTATE PINOT NOIR    VQA Short Hills Bench, Niagara Escarpment 2012 $24.95, 13.6% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+293431 VIVANCO RESERVA Selección de Familia Rioja 2010 $24.95. 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+357475 DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ McLaren Vale, South Australia 2014    $21.95, 13.4% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+479709 CHÂTEAU ROMBEAU CUVÉE PIERRE DE LA FABRÈGUE Côtes de Roussillon 2012 $22.95,  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+484626 ROCKWAY WILD FERMENT CHARDONNAY VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment  2014    $22.95, 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+485102 PLANETA CHARDONNAY    DOC Sicilia    2014    $45.95, 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+684530 CONO SUR 20 BARRELS LIMITED EDITION PINOT NOIR Casablanca Valley    2014 $29.95, 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+695908 Jean Pabiot et Fils DOMAINE DES FINES CAILLOTTES POUILLY-FUMÉ  2015 $26.95
13% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
R+699454 ROCCA DELLE MACÌE RISERVA DI FIZZANO SINGLE VINEYARD GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013    $33.95,  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+740639 CHÂTEAU SIXTINE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2013 $47.95,  15.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
R+998476 JIM BARRY THE LODGE HILL SHIRAZ Clare Valley, South Australia 2013 $24.95,  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

 

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Event: lunch and wine tasting with Pieroangelo Tommasi

The Date and Time: Monday, February 6, 2017  Noon - 3PM
The Event: lunch with Pieroangelo Tommasi
The Venue: Modus Ristorante
The Target Audience: wine writers, lcbo
The Availability/Catalogue: the current releases are all available through Vintages, with one private order. The older vintages were N/A. The agency is Univins and Spirits.
The Quote/Background: Pieroangelo spoke about his family's company and their latter-day expansion before leading the tasting. Currently, they own 6 wineries through 5 regions (Veneto, Lombardy, Tuscany, Apulia, and Basilicata. We tasted 4 wineries today – 7 Amarones in two styles and 4 other wines. The major difference between the Amarones is that Ca'Florian comes in at 4 g/l sugar and 75% corvina while the basic Amarone has 8 g/l sugar and only about 50% corvina. I preferred the lower sugar levels, and of course they went better with the food. The 2009 Amarones are the company's 50th harvest.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Casisano Brunello di Montalcino 2011, +483800, $49.95 Vintages April 1/17
-Tommasi Amarone Classico 2007, 15.5% ABV, n/a
-Tommasi Amarone Classico 2009, 15.5% ABV, n/a
-Tommasi Ca' Florian Amarone Classico 2007, 15.5% ABV, n/a  *BEST RED TODAY*
-Tommasi Ca' Florian Amarone Classico 2008, 15.5% ABV, n/a
-Tommasi Ca' Florian Amarone Classico 2009, 15.5% ABV $99.95 private order 6-pack
-Paternoster Aglianico del Vulture 2012 Basilicata, $35.95 Vintages July 6 2017
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Poggio al Tufo Alicante 2013 Tuscany, +70797, $22.95 Vintages
-Tommasi Amarone Classico 2008, 15.5% ABV, n/a
-Tommasi Amarone Classico 2012, 15.48% ABV, +356220, $49.95 Vintages
-Paternoster Don Anselmo Aglianico del Vulture 2012 Basilicata, $67.95 Vintages Sept 7 2017
 
The Food: Before we began, there were some amuse bouche (meatballs in tomato sauce, shrimp, truffled wild mushroom crostini). We ordered with a range of choices: I did the grilled shrimp with beans and red peppers, and the prime strip loin – both with the Amarones in mind as good accompaniments.
The Downside: wow – my palate needed a cleanser after the heavy-heavy Amarones (15.5% ABV)
The Upside: a good chance to exchange views and opinions about Tommasi wines and the Italian wine industry.
The Contact Person: cbreuer@univins.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, February 11, 2017

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

 
...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. 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 –
 
 
15.COCONUT OIL (Quadrille, 2015, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-838-8, $22.95 USD hardbound) is by Lucy Bee, founder of the leading UK brand of coconut oil: it is raw, organic, extra virgin, cold pressed, and Fair Trade. As a celiac, Lucy found coconut to be extremely useful. The book was originally published in the UK last year, and this is its Canadian release. She's got over 100 recipes, mostly on ingesting but also on beauty ideas to feed one's skin. It's arranged by mealtime and by course, apps to desserts, with material on a pantry. There's a glossary and nutritional information; there are also icons for gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, vegetarian and vegan. Try lentil and vegetable moussaka, blackberry and lemon sauce pudding, or sweet potato nachos. One drawback: the index has a teeny tiny type font. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88. 
 
 
16.DEEP SOUTH: new Southern cooking (Quadrille Books, 2016, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-720-6, $35 USD hardbound) is by Brad McDonald, Mississippi-born career chef who now explores Southern foodways as a chef outside of North America. The book is loaded with pix of Southern life and plated dishes. It's arranged with a larder/pantry first, followed by  apps, fish, meat, veggies, sides and sweets. The range is thorough and comprehensive, from pickled watermelon rind through chess pie, collard greens, grits, shrimp, crawfish boil, and pork rinds. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
17.ALIMENTARI (Hardie Grant Books, 2016, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-74379129-5, $29.99 USD paperbound) is by Linda and Paul Jones, owner-operators of two Mediterranean eateries/delis in Victoria, Australia. These 100+ dishes are they ones that they serve (among many), scaled to home use. It is arranged by time of day (morning, midday, and later) with sweets. The first two emphasis a diner with takeouts; the later meal is the substantial dinner. Lots of pix and memoir-words describe the feel and history of the place, as well as how they do food. It is all very engaging, with smoked salmon, Persian feta, and cherry tomato tarts or saffron rice with chickpeas, lentils and baharat salad.  Larger dishes include sambusic, whole snapper, roast chicken with harissa or slow-cooked lamb shoulder.  Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
18.LOVELY LAYER CAKES (Quadrille Publishing, 2015,  160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-729-9, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Peggy Porschen, who has prepared cookies and cakes for many A-listers such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Many of her preps and commissions have been written up in a variety of UK celebrity watch magazines. Here she gives us thirty recipes for such as passion fruit and mascarpone cake, cheeky monkey cake, mad hatter's checkerboard cake, and pina colada cake. Instructions are detailed and go for pages, with pix of final product and slices and techniques. At the inside back cover there are two cake decorating stencils that can be useful for budding cakers. This is a well-thought through tome for home use. Needless to say, all the baking preps are scaled. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
19.PEACE & PARSNIPS (The Experiment, 2016, 328 pages, ISBN 978-1-61519-321-9, $25 USD hardbound) is by Lee Watson, an experienced chef who has also hosted and worked on the Fox TV show "Meat v Veg". He now works as a vegan chef in Snowdonia National Park in Wales. This current tome has 200 plant-based recipes in an adventuresome mode for both the committed and the newly arrived. Four years ago he went completely vegan, and has adapted many of his earlier influences into strong flavoured foods: Mexican street food, Turkish bazaars, French country food, Spain, and India. It's arranged by course, beginning with breakfast and moving through juices, soups, salads, sides, small plates, big plates, curries, burgers, stuffed, and sweets. Typical are turnip and spinach kashmiri curry with beet raiti, clay-baked potatoes and parsnips with roasted garlic and date masala, smoked tofu sausage sandwiches with red onion marmalade, and dark chocolate and beet brownies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 4, 2017.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for February 4, 2017.
=======================================================================
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My Internet compendium "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.
 
So many people have asked me for wine recommendations, with numbers only. The readers' most common response is that while they like what I say, they only relate to the score. The score is a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, where e.g. a Southern Rhone tastes like a Southern Rhone and not like a Northern Rhone) and Quality/Price Ratio. Let's take it for granted that, e.g., a Riesling tastes like a Riesling, and the wine has some value in the marketplace either above or below its selling price. This way too I can also cover more wines.
 
This restructured wine newsletter for the Ontario market (with wines available through the LCBO and Vintages on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at    http://www.deantudor.com
 
FIND OF THE MONTH --
 
R+89003 RIDGEPOINT PINOT NOIR VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment 2011 $14.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  93
 
20 under $20
=========
R+143206    TRAPICHE FINCA LAS PALMAS GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON Mendoza 2014 $16.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  91
R+190520    SIERRA CANTABRIA SELECCIÓN Rioja     2014    $15.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
R+268136 PODERI ANGELINI PRIMITIVO DI MANDURI 2012 $18.95 15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+278390    RUSTENBERG RM NICHOLSON    WO Stellenbosch 2014 $19.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+350066    SANTA EMA BARREL RESERVE 60/40 CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MERLOT Maipo Valley    2014    $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+391581 Bodega Del Abad  GOTIN DEL RISC MENCIA Bierzo 2010    $15.95 14.6% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
W+468215    SCHÖNLAUB PINOT BLANC Qualitätswein 2015 $12.95 12% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
W+471284    CURVOS LOUREIRO Vinho Verde 2015    $12.95 12% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+475988 DAINERO IGT Toscana Castiglion Del Bosco    2013 $19.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+479774    VALPIDIO Ribera del Duero    Calvo Casajús    2013 $18.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
W+80764 TUSSOCK JUMPER CHENIN BLANC WO Western Cape 2015 $12.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+480822 Bodega Volcanes TECTONIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Maipo Valley    2013    $19.95
14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+480905    Miguel Torres SANTA DIGNA RESERVA SYRAH Central Valley 2013    $14.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+745349 DOMAINE JACKY MARTEAU SAUVIGNON TOURAINE 2015 $14.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+195107 CHATEAU SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE Côtes de Roussillon 2014    $15.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+347740    MATETIC CORRALILLO SAUVIGNON BLANC San Antonio Valley 2015    $15.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
W+435479    BARONE MONTALTO COLLEZIONE DI FAMIGLIA VIOGNIER IGT Terre Siciliane 2015    $15.95     MVC/QPR:  88
W+439554 AVONDALE JONTY'S DUCKS PEKIN WHITE WO Paarl 2015 $15.95  MVC/QPR:  88
W+479667 SIMONNET-FEBVRE BOURGOGNE CHITRY    AC Bourgogne 2014    $19.95     12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
 
20 over $20
=========
R+276030    MURIEL RESERVA VENDIMIA SELECCIONADA Rioja 2011    $20.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
R+286492    CHÂTEAU D'ANGLÉS GRAND VIN LA CLAPE     AC 2012  $28.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+360016 PIER RIO SORDO BARBARESCO 2009 $30.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+366815    ELIAS MORA CRIANZA  Toro 2012 $21.95 15 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+392738    DOMAINE QUEYLUS TRADITION PINOT NOIR VQA Niagara Peninsula 2013 $29.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
W+395699 BERINGER LUMINUS CHARDONNAY Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley 2014 $39.95 14.3% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+418178 OCHOA RESERVA Single vineyard, DO Navarra  2009 $24.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+465864    TWO RIVERS TRIBUTARY PINOT NOIR Marlborough, South Island    2014    $28.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
W+469767    JEAN BIECHER & FILS SCHOENENBOURG RIESLING AC Alsace Grand Cru 2014 $23.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
R+484022    CASTELL DE RAIMAT TEMPRANILLO    Costers del Segre 2012 $14.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+489591    DOMAINE QUEYLUS TRADITION CHARDONNAY VQA Niagara Peninsula 2014 $24.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+512384    MARCHESE ANTINORI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2013    $42.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 92
W+685222    LA CHABLISIENNE GRANDE CUVÉE CHABLIS 1ER CRU    2014    $29.95
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+708842    MOUNT VEEDER WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON Napa 2013 $49.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+320507    PIPOLI AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE 2013 $15.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+70797    TOMMASI POGGIO AL TUFO ALICANTE IGT Toscana 2013    $22.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR:  88
R+324137    MASI COSTASERA RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2011    $69.95     15.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+403618    THE MENTORS SHIRAZ    WO Paarl KWV 2012  $29.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+468314    CHÂTEAU LES CHARMES GODARD    AC Côtes de Franc 2012 $22.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SOME NEW BEVERAGES TASTED THIS MONTH –

1.Miguel Torres Santa Digna Syrah Reserva 2013 Central Valley, +480905, $14.95 Vintages: 80% of this wine was aged in French oak for 9 months, and then bottled at 14% ABV. This is a Fair Trade wine (Fair for Life) in which all the workers get a decent wage. The vines grow in Linares in poorly-drained soil with low-yields. This gives it a very syrah-like character of vibrant black fruits and violets. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Quinta de Curvos Loureiro Vinho Verde 2015, +471284, $12.95 Vintages: 12% ABV, with lightly floral tones on the nose and on the palate, ending with aromatic softness. Loureiro is one of the vinho verde varieties used in blending. Best sipped or with appetizers. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Gerard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah Mourvedre Grenache 2013 Cotes du Roussillon, +413245, $18.95 Vintages Feb 18: 14% ABV, GSM style all the way. One third of the wine is matured in barrels for 9 months and then blended with vatted wines. Jammy, upfront black fruit coupled with both mocha and subtle spice cake tones. Sip or with food. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
4.Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses Rose 2015 Languedoc, +37895, $18.95 Vintages: out just in time for Valentine and then continuing through Easter. 12.5% ABV, but fresh and fruity with an excellent pale rose colour. The bottle has a bottom shaped like a rose in bloom (to view it, turn the bottle onto its side). It is a blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, emphasizing both red and black currants with some candy floss on the finish. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
5.Puklus Pinceszet Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos 2012, $20.95 (500 mL), +980805 Vintages: Hungarian nectar, full of apricot, dried peach and orange peel. 13% ABV. Try with blue cheese as an ending to the meal. No price increase over the 2010, last here at Vintages in 2015. There will not be many of these left as new Euro rules raise minimum sugar levels and increase the puttonyos to 5 or 6, eliminating all the 3 and 4 levels. Prices will rise too, through $50 a bottle. Quality/price rating 91 points by Dean Tudor.
 
 
 
6.Henry of Pelham Estate Pinot Noir 2012 VQA Short Hills Bench Niagara, +268391 Vintages Feb 18, $24.95: Here is a deft Burgundian character pinot noir wine, with cherry-berry tones, some toast, mildly opulent style, not totally cool climate at all. Fermented in stainless and aged in "European" oak (30% new). Ready now, very food friendly. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
7.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2014 Speck Family Reserve VQA Ontario, +461699, $24.95 Vintages Feb 18: Low yielding grapes come from Short Hills Bench area which was planted in 1984. As with their previous baco noirs, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy black currant spicy character and the low price – at under $25. Aged in premium American Oak for more than 18 months, it's still young, needing another two years or so for proper aging, but with multiple decanting it can be enjoyed now. 13.5% ABV. One of the top bacos at the LCBO. Works best with pronounced meats such as pork, lamb, farmed or wild game – all either braised or grilled. And spicy foods. Speck Family Reserves are the top tier by HOP. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
8.THE KRAKEN BLACK SPICED RUM, 750 mL +225698, $30.95, 47% ABV: I rarely review spirits beyond brandies, but this one caught my eye, and it is a delicious drink on its own "neat" (as I usually have my Cognacs and Malts). It's a base of dark rum from Trinidad and Tobago, aged one to two years, and with 11 added spices (cinnamon, ginger, and clove dominate). The taste is rather on the nutty side, with tones of vanilla and mocha
and the spices, with a long peppery finish. There is no doubt it has strong flavours but it is mild on the attack. Physically, the black liquid rum comes in an attractive bottle with hoop handles and an interesting label that celebrates the giant sea squid nicknamed "The Kraken" (legend has it that a dark rum shipment from the Caribbean was once lost to the beast in the ocean). I grew up with the Jabberwocky, so I can identify with such myths. The rum was actually put together in Indiana (says the label), and it is now a Hot Brand in the USA. You could try a Black Mojito or a Perfect Storm (The Kraken plus ginger beer and lime wedge), but do try it as a sippin' neat drink. Also available in different formats at the LCBO: +389304, 50 mL $4.95; +366534, 375 mL $17.95; +318683, 1140 mL $42.95; +454710, $1750 mL $62.95; and as a Limited Edition ceramic bottle suitable for gifting (+427286, 750 mL $44.95). Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
9.Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2015 Speck Family Reserve VQA Ontario, +461699, $24.95 at winery now: Low yielding grapes come from Short Hills Bench area which was planted in 1984. As with their previous baco noirs, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy black currant spicy character and the low price – under $25. Aged in premium American Oak for more than 18 months. It's still young, needing another two years or so for proper aging, but with multiple decanting it can be enjoyed now. 13.5% ABV. Works best with pronounced meats such as pork, lamb, farmed or wild game – all either braised or grilled. And spicy foods. Speck Family Reserves are the top tier by HOP. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
10.Chateau des Charmes Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2015 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, $14.95, +81653 LCBO: A consistent wine, year in and year out, my fave Ontario chardonnay at this price level. The labels have more info, stressing a lighter body and more fruity finish for 2015 (orchard fruit) with some buttery nuanced complexity from the barrel fermentation, and with a longer finish. Aged in oak for 9 months. The palate is richer than previous vintages, with more alcohol, buy it up. Cork closure, keep it around for awhile. 14.3% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures. [currently on sale at LCBO for $1 off until Feb 26]
 
 
11.Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Franc 2015 VQA NOTL, +162602 LCBO, $14.95: it has been two years since I tasted the entry level 2013 Cab Franc from Chateau des Charmes (I usually have access to their St David's Bench Vineyard Franc wines, costing twice as much), and they have a continual winner. It has some over-the-top full-bodied black spicy fruit while still retaining some cranberries and bell peppers, slightly augmented with some pine tones. Aged for 9 months in French oak with some toast. Sip or with first course food. Cork closure, keep it around for awhile. 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, January 30, 2017

* 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"...
 
 
22.THE ULTIMATE STUDENT COOKBOOK FROM CHICKEN TO CHILI (Firefly, 2010, 2016, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-55407-602-4, $14.95 CAD paperbound) is by Tiffany Goodall, a personality-celebrity chef in the UK (where the book was first published by Quadrille in 2009). This is a nifty book about basics and budget. The author had lived away from home on a limited budget while she was a culinary arts student, so she shows college students how to get by with fresh and healthy food every day. Of course, she had a leg up since she was actually studying cooking. There are 100 preps here, requiring only 20 kitchen items, fewer than 20 on-hand staples, plus regularly available ingredients from the grocery store. There's some health information, hygiene, storage, and use of leftovers.
Substitutions and adaptations are also included. What I really like about the book are the step-by-step photos with captions and balloons that show the prep and presentation of each dish. But on the other hand, some recipes need re-figuring: the saltiness of soy sauce will NOT disappear with evaporation, and baking 2 inch potatoes for 1.5 to 2 hours at 400 degrees will get you blackened (not crisp) potatoes. So: what do students like?How about mac and cheese, pizza, roast chicken, fajitas, stir fries, sandwiches? Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/Price rating: 87.
 
 
 
 
23.COCKTAILS MADE EASY (Firefly Books, 2010, 2016, 192 pages, ISBN  978-1-77085-775-9, $19.95 CAD paperbound) is by Simon Difford, an award-winning spirits writer in the UK. It was last out in 2010. It is exceedingly useful for its 500 recipes, with new ones since the last edition. Many recipes have been modified one way or another: different brands are used, different proportions adapt to modern times, recipes are simpler. There are four basic ways to mix a cocktail: stir, shake, blend, and build, and there is an order in which to mix the ingredients. His preps show those things, along with appropriate garnishes, a correct glass, and information on origins. He has a listing of 14 key alcoholic ingredients for 450 cocktails and essential staples. Most of the
book is, of course, an A – Z dictionary style arrangement of the cocktails, using the best known name of the drink. There is no real ingredient index, but there are highlights to some suppliers used as ingredients. He has no overall print index to, say, rye or rum. You can always search cocktail recipes by ingredients at Diffordsguide.com. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
24.THE NEW VEGETABLES, HERBS & FRUIT; an illustrated encyclopedia (Firefly, 2013, 2016, 704 pages, ISBN 978-1-77085-798-2, $45 CAN hardbound) is by Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar, and Bob Flowerdew. Separately, they had written books dealing with vegetables (Biggs, 1997), herbs (McVicar, 1994) and fruit (Flowerdew, 1995), and they had last been revised in 2002. Here they have been collated into three distinct sections, with glossary, bibliography, seed sources, yearly calendar, and practical gardening matters. Each botanical plant has been identified, illustrated, given a variety of names under which it is known ("species"), some cultivation notes, some culinary uses, some medicinal uses, and some warnings and other uses. So for example, parsley has three zone 5 species, it propagates by seed, pests are notes, gardening and harvesting are noted, two preps (fine herbes and fish bouquet garni) are given, diuretic use and poultices are mentioned, and other uses include killing head lice. The warning is to not use parsley for medicine during a pregnancy. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Caution: the book weighs more than 3 kilos. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
25.101 MEATBALLS (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2016, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-774-4, $19.95 USD hardbound) is a publisher's collation of recipes from RPS cookbook authors. "Meatballs" in this context also means fish and veggies, and almost anything spherical, including the great arancini. This is universally adored comfort food, and here are 101 versions plus variations. Most of the preps came from Cathy Seward, Ghillie Basan and Laura Washburn, and the many others contributed about three each on average. Just about all the balls are spicy and international. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
26.ARTISAN BREADS; practical recipes and detailed instructions for baking the world's finest loaves (Skyhorse Publishing, 2004, 2011, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-65107-1252-2, $19.99 USD paperbound) is by Jan Hedh, a Swedish bread maker. The book was originally published in 2004 in Swedish, and here it has been translated and released into North
America. This is the paperback edition. He's got 110 recipes that are internationally based, and are quite suitable for home cooking. There are lots of primer-type information and photos of techniques and finished breads. There's nothing gluten-free here, and most of the preps are European influenced. There are sandwich breads, sweet breads, dark breads, savoury bread, brioches, Christmas breads, and the like. Preparations have their ingredients listed in only avoirdupois volume measurements,
with no scaling, and there is no table of metric equivalents. A concession to the American market? Quality/price rating: 82.
 
 
 
27.THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FRYING; how to fry just about anything (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010, 2016, 264 pages, ISBN 978-1-63450-709-7, $14.99 USD paperbound) is by Rick Browne, a food writer specializing in BBQ. It's an all-purpose fry book, with a healthy dose of macho attitude. It seems like a safe purchase for that male in your life. It's a new edition with a new chapter on game day fried snacks. There's sections, anecdotes and stories for such as lobster and pork. Chapters cover appetizers, beef, fish, shellfish, pork, poultry, side dishes, sauces, marinades, veggies, game, desserts and batters. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Try fried salmon egg rolls, alligator marinade, oysters 'n' bacon, chicken-fried steak, or shark with fresh mango salsa. Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
 
28.100 WAYS WITH EGGS (Ryland Peters and Small, 2016, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-773-7, $19.95 USD hardbound) is a publisher's book with recipes contributions from 32 different cookbook writers. But mostly they are from Miranda Ballard, Tonia George, Shelagh Ryan, and Laura Washburn. These are eggs 100 ways (boiled, baked, fried, scrambled)from breakfasts to salads, hashes, desserts and cocktails. There is also included the usual food safety notice for when dealing with raw eggs. Pea, basil and feta fritters with roast tomatoes caught my eye, as did matambre (Argentine stuffed flank steak). Preparations have their ingredients listed in mainly metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
29.TINA NORDSTROM'S SCANDINAVIAN COOKING (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013, 2014, 2016, 384 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-0614-9, $22.99 USD paperbound) was first published in Swedish in 2013 as "Tina". The next year it was translated and published in English in hardbound in the US. This is the jumbo paperback version. She's got 234 recipes that are mainly Swedish in taste but applicable to the whole region. Typical passions are for au gratin potatoes, salmon with warm grapes and capers, grilled watermelon and peanut sauce. She's hosted 14 seasons of cooking shows on TV, after qualifying as a finalist for Swedish Chef of the Year in 2001. Of note is the spiced bread with butternut squash puree, or marinated artichoke hearts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements for the most part, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.
 
 
 
30.AUSTRIAN DESSERTS (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010, 2013, 2016, 447 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-0646-0, $29.99 USD paperbound) is by Toni Morwald (pastry chef) and Christoph Wagner (food writer). It was originally published in German in 2010, and then in English in 2013 by Skyhorse. This is the 2016 paperbound edition. Here are more than 400 recipes for cakes, pastries, strudels, and candies. The range, all in separate sections, also includes puff pastes, tarts, schnitten, compotes and sauces, creams and mousses, souffles and puddings, dumplings, noodles, gnocchi, pancakes, doughnuts, ice creams, cookies, and parfaits. As such it is fairly  comprehensive. Preparations have their ingredients scaled and listed in metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
----------------------------------------------------

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Event: annual dinner of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada at Tutti Matti

The Date and Time: Monday January 16, 2017  6Pm to 10PM
The Event: annual dinner of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
The Venue: Tutti Matti, King and Spadina
The Target Audience: members of the WWCC and their guests, almost two dozen in all.
The Availability/Catalogue: the wines were drawn from WWCC member cellars.
The Quote/Background: the annual dinner is really a fun time to which everybody brings their A game.
The Wines: I tasted most of these wines, and they were largely terrific.
 
Bubbly service at beginning:  -JEIO Rose Brut NV Italy
                              -Grange of PEC Lot 4 Brut NV VQA PEC
                              -Blu Giovello Prosecco NV
 
-LAN Crianza 2012 Rioja magnum
-Laztana Tempranillo Reserva Rioja 2010
-Fielding Riesling Reserve 2006 VQA
-Between the Lines Merlot 2009 VQA
-Rosewood Merlot 2011 VQA
-J. de Telmont Blanc de Blanc Brut NV
-J. de Telmont Cuvee Grand Rose Brut
-Franciacorta 2010 Monzio Compagnoni
-2007 Union Forté
-2012 Two Sisters Cabernet Franc VQA
-Mountain Road Winery Vidal Icewine 2000
-1990 Moulin Touchais
-2009 Roux Pere & Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Les Chaumes
-Frescobaldi Nippozano Chianti Rufina Reserva 2012
-2005 Osoyoos Larose BC VQA
-Chateau Les Charmes-Godard 2012 Francs-Cote de Bordeaux
-Exultet Estates Chardonnay The Blessed  2010 VQA PEC
-Muscedere Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2008 VQA LENS
-Pisano Merlot and Tannat 2012 Uruguay
-Azores Sao Miguel Quinta Da Jardinette Merlot and Tempranillo 2014
-Sardinia Terre Bianche Torbato 2014 
 
The Food:  Antipasto Choice – Porchetta (slow roasted pig, tuna sauce, arugula, deep fried shallots, toasted country bread; Aqua Cotta (carrot, celery, onion, black cabbage, bread, duck egg served in a large soup bowl); Verdure (cauliflower, carrots, leeks, squash, black cabbage, pistachio bagna cauda).
 
Main Choice -  Crespella (crepes, fontina bechamel, wild mushrooms); Eliche Pasta (lamb, fennel, chick pea, rosemary); Costole Di Manzo (short ribs, beer, oranges, Rosemary, beets and beet greens).
 
Formaggio
 
Dolce  Tiramisu, Sorbetto
 
It was a meat crowd, so the porchetta and the short ribs won the raves, especially in combo with the wines.
The Contact Person: deantudor@deantudor.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Event: Globe Bistro's 10th Birthday celebration

The Date and Time: Thursday, January 19, 2017   6PM to 10PM
The Event: Globe Bistro's 10th Birthday celebration
The Venue: Globe Bistro, Danforth
The Target Audience: friends, media, etc.
The Quote/Background: About 300 were expected for this "posh nosh" gathering of celebration, including owner-operator Ed Ho himself (who was on the guest list under "H").
The Wines: Globe served four wines: Cave Spring Chardonnay 2015 VQA (rated: 89), Hidden Bench Bistro Pinot Noir 2013 VQA (rated: 88), McManis Petite Sirah 2014 California (rated: 89), and Malivoire Pinot Gris 2015 VQA (rated: 88). I stuck with the Chardonnay, augmented by Flying Monkeys Hopping Mad IPA beer. There were other draught beers and bottled beers available, but essentially it was a wine crowd.
 
The Food: food was excellent, of course. Globe had wisely ordered a large cheese platter (about a dozen different cheeses, but no blues) and a large charcuterie platter (mainly gourmet sausages from around the world) from the Cheese Boutique. At this buffet table there was also a veggie platter of crudites and crisp breads. Two other platters by the kitchen comprised oysters and a roasted suckling pig. One-bite sized canapes were served by the staff: pig heart boudin blanc (wonderfully spiced), foie torchon, trout rillette, smoked cod croquette (my fave of the night: gotta love that smoke!), beef tartare, and Asian veggie rolls (also a fave). There was also black pudding terrine, squash pakoras, and northern woods mushroom crepes, but we did not see any. It was amazing how the staff were able to roll everything out in waves. Good team.
The Downside: we left early, just before 7:30 PM after seeing all the staff and picking our way through the crowds.
The Upside: a chance to see a few people I had not seen in a while.
The Contact Person: ed@globebistro.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for January 21, 2017.

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP 20/20 WINES: 20 under $20 and 20 over $20 for  January 21, 2017.
=======================================================================
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My Internet compendium "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.
 
So many people have asked me for wine recommendations, with numbers only. The readers' most common response is that while they like what I say, they only relate to the score. The score is a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, where e.g. a Southern Rhone tastes like a Southern Rhone and not like a Northern Rhone) and Quality/Price Ratio. Let's take it for granted that, e.g., a Riesling tastes like a Riesling, and the wine has some value in the marketplace either above or below its selling price. This way too I can also cover more wines.
 
This restructured wine newsletter for the Ontario market (with wines available through the LCBO and Vintages on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca/ or at    http://www.deantudor.com
 
20 under $20
=========
W+119099 VIÑA COBOS FELINO CHARDONNAY Mendoza 2015 $19.95 MVC/QPR: 90
R+31005 ROCCA DI MONTEMASSI LE FOCAIE Maremma Toscana 2014 $15.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+66738 THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER McLaren Vale/Padthaway, South Australia 2015    $18.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
R+68163 BASCIANO CHIANTI RUFINA    DOCG    2013 $15.95 13/5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+168708 FERRATON PÈRE & FILS SAMORËNS CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2014  $15.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+167684 HONORO VERA MONASTRELL Jumilla 2015 $13.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
+205807 CAVE VINICOLE DU VIEIL ARMAND RIESLING Alsace 2015 $19.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+228528 MICHELE CHIARLO LE MARNE GAVI 2015 $16.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89+
R+260919 SUSANA BALBO SIGNATURE CABERNET SAUVIGNON Uco Valley, Mendoza 2014 $19.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+357913 COLOMÉ TORRONTÉS Calchaquí Valley, Salta Arg. 2015 $15.95  MVC/QPR: 89
R+383539 MOJO CABERNET SAUVIGNON Coonawarra 2013    $17.95    13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+404194 RUSTENBERG MERLOT WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 2014 $19.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+410704 GRAN PASSIONE ROSSO IGT Veneto     2015 $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89+
R+477711 ALBUM RESERVA RED VR Alentejano 2013    $14.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+599274 LOOSEN BROS DR. L RIESLING Qualitätswein 2015 $13.95 8.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+208249 CHÂTEAU PEYROS TANNAT/CABERNET FRANC Madiran 2011    $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+470377  CASA DE CAMBRES RESERVA RED Douro 2009 $13.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90+
R+346742 CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake 2015 $17.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+408120 BEYRA VINHOS DE ALTITUDE RED Beira Interior    Portugal 2014    $12.95    13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+172726 GUICCIARDINI STROZZI VILLA CUSONA VERNACCIA DI SAN GIMIGNANO 2015 $14.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
 
20 over $20
=========
W+57737 SPY VALLEY CHARDONNAY    Marlborough, South Island 2014 $22.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+414557 MARCHAND-TAWSE BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2014 $28.95 12.5%ABV,  MVC/QPR: 90
R+90191 THE HEDONIST SHIRAZ McLaren Vale South Australia 2013 $21.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+168286 BIBBIANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 $23.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88.
R+263517 BENMARCO EXPRESIVO UcoValley, Mendoza 2014 $39.95 14.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR:88
R+651141 ANTINORI PIAN DELLE VIGNE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    2011 $62.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+424390 CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA Rioja 2010 $38.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+465963 BABICH BLACK LABEL PINOT NOIR Marlborough 2014    $24.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+469288 SANTA ALICIA MILLANTU Maipo Valley 2012 $24.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+477968 VIGNETI ZABU IMPARI NERO D'AVOLA IGT Sicilia 2011  $36.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+681262 BANFI ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2014 $22.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+297945 CHÂTEAU LAROSE-TRINTAUDON Haut-Médoc 2012 $24.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+320168 DOMAINE DURIEU CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2014 $41.95 15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+73817 RUTHERFORD RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Napa Valley 2014 $26.95 MVC/QPR: 89
R+313270 DON JACOBO RESERVA Rioja 2009 $22.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+480152 FORESTER CABERNET/MERLOT Margaret River, Western Australia 2013 $27.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+959965 CATENA ALTA CABERNET SAUVIGNON Mendoza 2013 $47.95    14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 87
R+104927 LAVAU VACQUEYRAS    AC 2014 $25.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 87
W+196667 JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE C.M. SANCERRE BLANC 2014 $27.95 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+468249 CHÂTEAU PITRAY Côtes de Castillon     2012 $21.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

* 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 –
 
 
11.STORM THE KETTLE (Whitecap, 2016, 200 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-299-4, $29.95 CAD paperbound) is by Elaine Feore, who did catering and ran a restaurant in Windsor ON. Now she's in Newfoundland with Joanne Goudie, running The Blue Fish Bistro and Cafe. They've got some classic dishes and local foods, and some contemporary international offerings as well as Newfoundland stews and seafood dishes (salt cod soup, cod tacos, poached cod with mixed veggies). There are additional sidebars on Newfoundland's heritage and culinary evolution. It is all arranged from apps to sweets, with courses also in sections (lunch, dinner). There is a pantry, of course, with lots of food and local colour photos. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
12.GOOD TASTE (New American Library, 2016, 180 pages, ISBN 978-0-399-58337-7, $30 USD hardbound) is by Jane Green, bestselling author of The Beach House and Falling. It is her collection of simple and delicious recipes for her family and friends. The arrangement is by beginnings, middles and endings (starters/soups, mains, desserts). Along the way there is some good photography and memoir-like materials. It's pretty basic, such as French Onion soup (not sure why she needed to add sugar) or sweet corn and chili soup, mild green fish curry, warm chocolate and banana cake. Many preps come from her mother. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. A nice book for her fans. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
 
 
13.RAO'S CLASSICS (St. Martin's Press, 2016, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-00628-8, $35 USD hardbound) is by Frank Pellegrino Sr and Jr, with Joseph Riccobene. Senior had written two previous Rao's books; Junior had written Rao's Grill book, is the fourth generation owner, and runs the Western operations (Hollywood and Las Vegas). Log rolling comes from Bobby Flay and Drew Nieporent. Their book has more than 140 Italian faves from the New York restaurant in East Harlem since 1896 – with ten red-checkered tables for service. The range here is from antipasto through dolci, highlighted with pasta, seafood and meats. And there is a good history of the restaurants and of the people (lots of portraits at the back). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. This is definitely one for the fans who need their fix. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
14.FIREHOUSE CHEF (Whitecap, 2016, 196 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-306-9, $34.95 CAD paperbound) is by Patrick Mathieu, a firefighter and a cook, owning a catering company while also teaching culinary management, writing about food for a firefighting magazine, and appearing on TV's Chopped Canada. This book is part memoir as Mathieu describes his 15 years as a firefighter-cook. He's got some preps of his own as well as contributions from firehalls across Canada (but no calendar). The range is basic, from apps through sweets, with lots of photos of food and firetrucks, etc. It is a little bit on the guy side as firefighters want extra protein, so there is pulled pork, wings, elk chili, goulash and other stews. Hearty food for the winter. Anecdotes abound, woven in with the memoir material. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
15.BREAKING BREADS; a new world of Israel baking (Artisan, 2016, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-682-9, $35 USD hardbound) is by Uri Scheft, owner of Tel Aviv's Lehamim Bakery (2001) and NYC's Breads Bakery (2014). He deals with classics such as babka and pain de mie. He has recipes for Yemenite kubaneh. His focaccia is topped with shakshuka (eggs poached in tomatoes). His poppy seed hamantaschen turns savoury with beets and potatoes. There are also 130 colour photos as well, to complement the 100 preps for flatbreads, stuffed breads, challahs, and cookies. Preparations have their ingredients scaled and listed in both metric weights and avoirdupois volumes, but there are also tables of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
 
16.THE ENCHILADA QUEEN COOKBOOK (St. Martin's Griffin, 2016, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-08291-6, $27.99 USD hardbound) is by Sylvia Casares, owner of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen in Houston. It was recently chosen by USA Today as in "The Top 10 Great Mexican Restaurants" in the USA. A lot of the food, of course, is Tex-Mex in style, with enchiladas, fajitas, tamales, tacos and other classics. Strangely, tortas are missing, and there is no pozole or lamb dishes. There's a quail recipe for the grill, chili gravy, slow-fried pork, stewed chicken breasts, and stacked enchiladas. Great looking food, filling for the colder seasons ahead. This is typical food from the restaurant, along with some of their fave drink and cocktail recipes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
17.SCRATCH (Rodale, 2016, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-62336-643-8, $35 USD hardbound) is by Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale. She's the granddaughter of the founder. She's authored many books on organic food and gardening, but this is her first recipe book. These are 215 recipes developed from "scratch" (I have a whole roomful of scratch beside our freezer). Farm-to-table is the main theme of "home cooking for everyone made simple, fun and totally delicious" (subtitle). Melanie Hansche is the editor, recipe tester, and food stylist. The arrangement is typical: breakfast, salads, noodles, soups and sandwiches, snacks, mains (56 pages), sides, and baked desserts. And she endorses Michael Pollan: "East food, Mostly plants. Not too much". Try roast pork with sauerkraut, three-bean salad, panisse, escarole-farro-chicken soup, or celery with brown butter and toasted almonds. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
18.ANNA MAE'S MAC N CHEESE (Square Peg, 2015, 144 pages, ISBN  978-0-22410121-9, $27.99 CAN hardbound) is by Anna Clark and Tony Solomon; they run a food truck in London UK with that theme. They've been nominated for several BBC Good Food awards. It is an open and shut book: there are 50 preps for exotic mac 'n' cheese, sides, desserts and beverages. Mac 'n' cheese fries starts with leftover mac 'n' cheese and adds panko crumbs. Leftover mac 'n' cheese? Not in my house...Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric with few avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
19.LAYERED DESSERTS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-763-8, $21.95 USD hardbound) is by Hannah Miles, who competed on the BBC MasterChef series. She's published other niche cookbooks for RP & S, including ones on popcorn, cheesecake, and milkshakes. Here she zeroes in on 65 "layered cakes" which are retro but enjoying a revival: trifles, tiramisus, ice cream cakes, black forest, strawberry shortcake mousse and other similar goodies. It is arranged by themes: classic (mille-feuilles), fruity layers, frozen layers, and international. Preparations are scaled and have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
20.PERFECTLY PALEO (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-770-6, $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Rosa Rigby, a UK chef who now regularly hosts Paleo pop-up dining events. These are some 60 recipes for clean eating on a paleo diet. There is a wide-range of ingredients here, designed to provide sustainability and vitality. No processed foods, dairy or grains. Instead, nuts, seeds, eggs, quality meat and fish lead the way. It is not a diet so much as it is an approach. Typical arrangement includes breakfast, snacks, salads, soups, sandwiches, sides, mains and "tasty treats" (sweets). Preparations have their ingredients listed in mainly avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
 
21.SCANDIKITCHEN FIKA & HYGGE (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-759-1, $21.95 USD hardbound) is by Bronte Aurell, a Swede who runs the ScandiKitchen Cafe and shop in London UK. Her food has also been featured on BBC and Danish TV. FIKA is a Swedish tradition for meeting for coffee. HYGGE is Danish for "coziness", as in comfort food. Together, these are the themes of the ScandiKitchen, and this is the resulting cookbook: comforting cakes and bakes. Arrangement is by form: biscuits and cookies; traybakes and no bakes; little fancy cakes; celebration cakes; breads and batters. Spices used include caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, saffron, orange peel. Grains are mostly oats and rye, with spelt and potato flour. Try custard tarts, blueberry stud muffins, honey cake, or hazelnut and mocha square.
 
 
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