Friday, October 29, 2010

Vintages Release for October 30th 2010

No Tricks …just Treats!

Traditionally, some of the best Vintages releases are in late October to early December as wine lovers start stocking up for the holidays. This week's release is one of the best this year with many wonderful wines to choose from. It may be Halloween this weekend, but these are all treats and no tricks.

When I went through the release notes on Thursday evening, there were so many good choices that I actually selected a total of 21 wines. Some are high priced, but amazing wines. Try one of these treats and save for a special night, or they also make a perfect gift …to someone special …or even your favourite wine blogger!

I’ve also selected several wines that will be even better after a few years in your cellar and as always some great value wines for under $20. If you want to see all 21 picks click this link or scroll down below to see my baker’s dozen for the October 30th release.

Cellar Reds

Forman Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley
California, USA
143925; Rating – 95; $94.95

It’s not often that you see a wine rated this high, so while the price is high it will be an amazing wine that is drinkable now or can be cellared for up to 20 years.

Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Tinto Pesquera Reserva 2006, Do Ribera Del Duero
323345; Rating – 92; $41.95

This is a great wine that needs time in the cellar. Drink 2014 to 2016. Excellent to outstanding length.

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2006, VQA Okanagan Valley
British Columbia, Canada
626325; Rating – 90; $45.00

This is a wonderful Bordeaux style wine from the BC interior. Excellent length, full bodied and rich. This wine will do nicely in your cellar for 4 to 8 years.

Cellar Whites

Gerald Favre Vieilles Vignes Pouilly Fuissé 2009, Ac
Burgundy, France
187658; Rating – 91; $27.95

A fine white wine in the burgundy tradition. This is great bang for the buck for a medium-full bodied white. Match with poached salmon or a soft burgundy cheese.

Value Reds

Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Colchagua Valley
169847; Rating 90; $16.95

A great value for a “Gran Reserva” wine. The wine makers save these wines for their family gathering. Nice with grilled steaks, leg of lamb or game meats. Drink now to 2015.

Nieto Senetiner Don Nicanor Blend 2007, Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza
640938; Rating – 90; $17.95

A lovely new world blend of cabernet, malbec and merlot that still shows young tannins. Cellar for a year or two or try now with a rare steak.

Herencia Remondo La Montesa 2007, Doca Rioja
674572; Rating – 90; $18.95

A very nice Spanish red from one of the country’s new modern winemakers. Smooth, with very good length that will fare well from now to 2014.

La Madonnina Les Valats Cotes Du Rhone Villages Rasteau 2007
Rhone, France
185876; Rating – 89; $18.95

A good value full bodied Rhone at this price. Drink now or age for up to 10 years.

Felicité Pinot Noir 2009, Wo Eilandia, Walker Bay
South Africa
173005; Rating – 88; $14.95

The best value buy of this release. A medium bodied pinot with very good finish. Try with grilled salmon topped with fresh dill.

White Wines

Dr. Pauly Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett 2008, Qmp, Wehlener Sonnenuhr
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
189175; Rating -89; $16.95

Excellent length, with a light body. Serve with pork roasted with peaches and dried apricots.

Jean Geiler Gewurztraminer 2009, Ac Alsace
Alsace, France
106864; Rating – 89; $16.95

A gold medal winner from Alsace. Off dry and fruity I would match this wine with spicy Asian fare.

Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, South Island
New Zealand
9142; Rating – 89; $17.95

A nice value full bodied Sauvignon Blanc. Try matching with Thai food or save it for a warm summer night on the patio.

Domaine Du Chardonnay Chablis 2008, Ac
Burgundy, France
183574; Rating – 88; $18.95

A traditional unoaked Chablis that is tangy and crisp. A great sipper that will go nice with grilled trout or sole almandine. Good value at this price.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vintages Bordeaux and More Release - Oct. 16, 2010

Today’s Vintages release features both red and white Bordeaux wines. The best Bordeaux Reds, while truly amazing, are clearly out of the price range of most people and typically require several years of cellaring before they come of age. With the help of I’ve picked a dirty dozen today; a few red and white from Bordeaux that are afforadable and drinkable, but don’t be mistaken, there are no hidden Chateau Margaux here. I have also classified picks into over $20 and under $20. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Bordeaux Reds

The need for a classification of the best Bordeaux wines arose for the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris. The result was the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, a list of the top ranked wines, named the Grand Crus Classés (Great Classified Growths). With several thousand different Chateaux producing their own wines in Bordeaux, to be classified was to carry a mark of high prestige.

Within the Grand Cru Classé list wines were further ranked and placed in one of five divisions. The best of the best wines were assigned the highest rank of Premier Cru; only four wines, Château Latour, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion were deemed worthy. Of all the 61 great classified wines, all but one came from the Médoc region. The exception was the premier cru Château Haut-Brion, produced in Graves.

The 1855 list remained unchanged for over a hundred years until finally Mouton Rothschild was promoted to Premier Cru status in 1973, after decades of relentless lobbying by its powerful owner, Baron Philippe de Rothschild. Of lesser importance, in 1988 the premier cru Château Haut-Brion was changed in appellation from Graves to Pessac-Leognan to represent apparent changes in soil structure caused by the urbanization of areas surrounding Bordeaux.

Value Reds

Château Grand Maison Cuvée Spéciale 2006, Ac Côtes De Bourg
Bordeaux, France
#194217; $16.95 Rating – 86

Quinta Da Falorca Colheita Seleccionada 2005, Doc Dão
#131854; $12.95 Rating – 86

Ravoire & Fils Le Prieure Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2007, Ac
Rhone, France
#175687; $14.95 Rating – 88

Château Fongaban 2006, Ac Côtes De Castillon
Bordeaux, France
#192401; $16.95 Rating – 89

Cat Amongst The Pigeons Nine Lives Shiraz 2007, Barossa Valley, South Australia
#93138; $17.95 Rating – 91

Premium Reds

Domaine Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Du Château 2007, Ac, 1er Cru
Burgundy, France
#901199; $39.95 Rating – 91

Château Reverdi 2006, Ac Listrac Médoc
Bordeaux, France
#194209; $25.95 Rating – 90

Tokara Director's Reserve Red 2006, Wo Stellenbosch
South Africa
#183962; $26.95 Rating – 90

White Wines

La Crema Chardonnay 2008, Sonoma Coast
California, USA
#728352 $16.95 Rating – 89

Millton Riverpoint Vineyard Chardonnay 2008, Gisborne, North Island, Bio Dynamically Grown Grapes
New Zealand
#92486; $17.95 Rating – 90

Domaine Moillard Bourgogne Hautes Côtes De Nuits 2009, Ac
Burgundy, France
#642033; $ 17.95 Rating – 89

Louis Bouillot Perle Rare Brut Crémant De Bourgogne 2006, Ac
Burgundy, France
#178137; $19.95 Rating – 89

This looks like it will be a wonderful Sparkling wine (champagne style)

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 2nd Vintages/LCBO Wine Release

Autumn is a favourite time of year for me, for a number of reasons; the beautiful fall colours, amazing harvest foods, fall markets, late season golf, the start of hockey and football season, basball's World Series and most importantly for wine lovers ...the fall harvest and releases from previous years. From now to the Christmas season we will see some wonderful wines and this week is a good indicator. I've highlighted two wonderful cabs at $24.95 as well as 4 reds for under $20. There are also 3 nice whites and a delightful desert wine from Hungary.

Evans & Tate The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Margaret River
Australia #60186; $25.95 Rating – 90
This is an excellent wine for the price, that is drinkable now. I tried it with dinner tonight and it was excellent. Decant for 30 minutes; great with grilled steak or lamb.

Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007, Margaret River,
Australia #47639 $24.95 Rating 91
Great wine at this price. Medium to fill bodied. Drinkable now but could age for another 15 years or more.

Concha Y Toro Marques De casa Concha Merlot 2007, Peumo, Rapel Valley
Chile #939827; $19.95 Rating – 91
David Lawrason describes it as cabernet like in flavour but merlot like on the palate. Above average complexity and concentration for the price. Excellent length. Drinkable now through 2019.

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Margaret River
Australia #59956; $19.95 Rating 90
Great value, but needs some time to mellow out, best from 2012 to 2018

D’angelo Aglianico Del Vulture 2006, Doc; Basilicata
Italy # 971689; $18.95 Rating – 89
This is a deep rich full bodied wine with good to very good length. Drink now, but will be better in 2 to 3 years

Banfi Centine 2007, lgt Toscan, Tuscany 375ml (half bottle)
Italy #980649 $8.95 Rating – 88
A wonderful Tuscan red for a Tuesday night meal of pasta in red sauce or a beef roast.

Peter Lehmann Riesling 2008, Eden Valley
Australia #186361; $14.95 Rating – 89
This is a full flavoured Aussie Riesling with a dry finish and very good length. Drink now to 2016

Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Gold Label Chardonnay 2008, Monterey County
USA #708305; $19.95 Rating – 89
A wonderful California Chardonnay at this price. Try with grilled salmon or roast chicken. Very good length.

Roux Pere & Fils Macon Villages Blanc 2009, Ac
Burgundy, France #183350; $13.95 Rating – 87
Nice length and finish. A great value that will go perfect with roast pork.

Puklus Cellar Szamorodni Tokaji 2002; Late Harvest
Hungary #179374; $ 18.95 Rating - 89
A wonderful sweet desert wine, with great value. If you like late harvest Riesling or ice wine give this a try.

Fall Cooking Classes at The Chef Upstairs

Oct. 5th & Nov. 23rd; Price - $75 plus HST; 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Book Now: 416-544-9221

Chef Greg Heller will introduce you to some delightful fall dishes and recipes:

Classic Roast Chicken - this is a very simple recipe that goes from counter to table in about 60 minutes. Why buy a sodium induced grocery store product?

Turkey roasting tricks and hints; You will never make a tasteless dry turkey again.

Polish Beet Borsch Soup from my mother's cook book. This is one of my favourite soups that is so good on a cool fall day.

Brussel sprouts that make you come back for seconds and thirds. I have two great recipes that will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Oct. 12th & Nov. 3rd; Price - $75 plus HST; 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Book Now: 416-544-9221

In this cooking class you will learn to make that perfect pie crust that you’ve always dreamed about. We will teach you how to make both a butter crust and a traditional shortening crust and we will make three different pies with these crusts.

Butter Crust …Apple Streusel Pie

Shortening Crust …Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Pie with brandied ginger cream; Sweet potato pie

Oct. 19th; Nov. 10th; Nov. 30th; Price - $75 plus HST; 6:30 - 9:00 pm;
Book Now:

Calling on over 25 years of experience Chef Greg will teach you the tips and tricks you need to make 3 tasty, healthy and quick dinners. Why buy take-out or prepared foods when you can make better meals yourself?

Meal 1: Fresh greens with a simple vinaigrette; Acorn squash with rosemary and brown sugar and grilled chicken breasts with a mustard pan sauce.

Meal 2: Quick and healthy Caesar salad; angel hair pasta with fresh tomatoes and grilled chicken or sweet Italian sausage. Garlic toast.

Meal 3: Pear, spinach and arugula salad with mango poppy seed dressing; warm citrus couscous; grilled salmon with citrus and dill

Oct. 25th & Nov. 16th; Price $75 plus HST; 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Book Now: 416-544-9221

Now you can woo your friends and family with amazing appetizers that they will love and then beg you for the recipes.

Prosciutto wrapped shrimp stuffed with herbed goat cheese and a maple rum glaze. I made this 4 times this summer and it was a home run each time.

Torched and sautéed shrimp. You live in an apartment and don't have a bbq or it's winter and your bbq is buried under snow. With this recipe your guests will swear that you've got a hidden bbq. A crowd favourite at The Chef Upstairs.

Simple Grilled Quail. You will learn how to debone these beautiful little birds, season and sautee them. Your guests will fight over the last one left on the plate!

Spiced Olive and Feta Spread on a Fresh Baguette. This is a simple dish, but easy to prepare ahead of time and delicious to boot! A great baguette is very improtant and we will talk about bread as well.

Goat Cheese in Grape Leaves. Another simple and tasty treat that will get your evening party off on the right foot.