January 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
In this episode we talk about the age old, and I mean age old, combination of wine and cheese. We are talking to the first peoples to domestic animals and cultivate crops- that old.
Specifically we are going to talk about what to pair with the cheeses that are most commonly found in the Canadian refrigerator. This week we tackle Cheddar, Parmesan and, some strongly flavoured cheeses.
The list of cheeses is long so we will be doing multiple shows on this subject.
By the way if you would like a wine or beer pairing for Kraft Singles, Cheez Wiz, or any Cheese click here and let me know what you would like the pairing for and I will get back to you straight away.
Segment 1 – Shout Outs
Big shout out to the Guild Freehouse and Shawn Soole for presenting Exploring Independent Bottlers – a whisky tasting and seminar. Click here for details .
Full kudos to the merchants of Fort Street who have created one of the best ‘Slow Food’ areas in the city. Within 2-3 city blocks you can find some of the best coffee, baked goods, tacos, Ramen, Chorizo, Cheeses, Salami, Seafood, tapas in the city. You could spend a whole day of cruising the shops and periodically drop in for fresh, flavourful, real food. Brilliant!
Finally, and this leads into the rest of the show, a big shout out to the organizers of the Cheese & Meat Festival. What a great idea, so good that I know tickets are very limited so you might want to act very quickly – click here for tickets and details.
Segment 2 – Wines For Cheddar
Each cheese has its own fats, acids, and sugars which means there is a wine for each cheese and not every wine goes with every cheese. What follows are some wine recommendations for that big block of cheddar you have in your fridge.
Cheddar cheese has a special love for Chilean Cabernets. Here are some reco’s for the most commonly purchased cheddar.
Root 1 Cabernet Sauvignon – $14 – this wine of all seemed to have the right balance of structure, fruit and overall texture to work with Cheddar.
For white wine lovers I would go with the Alamos Chardonnay ($14) from Argentina. This is shows lots of bright fruit, some spice, and with a round texture.
Another best pairing for cheddar is strong ale. This means an ale with a little more alcohol than normal. I particularity like the La Trappe Triple ($8), which might be a little hard to find, so there is La Fin du Monde by Unibroue ($6). A very special Golden Ale that I would highly recommend is the Duvel ($4).
Segment 3 – Parmesan
I don’t know about you but I have Parmesan with just about everything. On eggs in the morning, obviously pasta, on it’s own, on burgers, even steak and grilled chicken. To that end we always have a wedge of Parmesan in the fridge.
Wine that goes best with this type of cheese (hard, sharp) is a wine with bright acidity and medium tannins. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the best pairing do in fact come from Italy, specifically Sangiovese based wines.
The best pairing for your standard grocery store wedge of Parmesan is Chianti. Specifically the best I can suggest that is available locally and under $20 is the Gabbiano 2012 Chianti Classico ($18).
Another great option, and easier on the pocket book, the Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot ($13 1.5L). This a very simple, straight forward wine that shows good acidity bright cherry and plum flavours and good structure.
For those that prefer white wine, I would suggest classic Italian Pinot Grigio.
Both the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio ($14) and the Masi Modello Bianco ($13.50) are excellent choices. Both feature citrus and melon flavours and, yes, minerality.
Segment 4 – Strongly Flavoured Cheeses
One the cheeses Carol always has in the fridge is Jalapeno flavoured soft cheese. Obviously very spicy in the hot sense. For this cheese I would go with either an ice cold lager like Corona, or a sweeter, light bodied white wine such as a Moscato or off-dry Riesling. Trick of the Trade: Sweeter wines have lower alcohol levels. Typically between 11 & 9% for off dry wines and under 9% for sweet wines.
For Boursin cheese which is a herb infused soft cheese I would go with something that matches the creaminess of the cheese and herb flavours. In this case I would go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as Seven Terraces ($18) or Sileni ($16).
Best Buy of the Week – Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2014 ($9)
Dark & juicy this wine is a real crowd pleaser and very easy to have more than 1 glass.
Let us know what you think of the show and if you have any feedback on the blog.
January 30, 2016 § 1 Comment
This is the most recent vintage of this wine, and as much as there is not a huge vintage change when it comes to the wines of Puglia, this wine shows a lot more juicy punch than did the previous vintage. For $9 you really can’t go wrong.
Price ~ $8.99
Score ~ 7.2/10 Over Delivers
I first discovered this wine after a trip to Argentina where I tasted 200+ Malbecs over a 10 day buying trip. Needless to say I was looking for something a little different but I still had the zest for the rich fruit, structure and leathery elements of Malbec. Negroamaro perfectly fit the bill. Rich and juicy like Malbec, but just different enough to be very enticing. The difference is in the spice. This wine shows black pepper and hints of rosemary instead of the leather and smoky nature of Malbec.
Grapes: 100% Negroamaro
Store Section: Italy
Availability: Both Government and Private Stores
Foods Pairing – Pasta, Burgers, Pizza, Steak
If you have had the opportunity to have tasted this wine please let me know what you thought of it.
the Dork Uncorked
Tune in Saturday afternoons from 2 to 3pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork Uncorked Radio Hour.
January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
Today’s show is all about exploration without the risk. The world of wine is immense and encompasses far more than those that are top of mind like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz or Chardonnay. Today we feature a number of wines that represent great value, are likely not wines you have heard of before and are different enough from your favourites to be interesting, but similar to make you feel at home.
Episode 13 – Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Shout out to the teams at Lifecycles and Spinnaker’s for coming together to create Backyard Blend Cider. This is a cider made from apples collected from backyards throughout Victoria. It truly is a cider of the community and the taste of Victoria – well done!
Shout out to Chef Sam Harris at Agrius and his mussels. I had the wonderful experience of lunching there with a dear friend and I am a sucker for mussels. Done in a classic white wine sauce and served with Fol Epi’s world famous (certainly famous in my world) Boule. Heaven!
Shout outs to Keith, Deborah, Jason, Karin, Pam, Ernest & Jami for their continued engagement and lively discussion.
Segment 2 ~ A Side Step From Malbec/Shiraz
Here are some wines that are different enough from Malbec and Shiraz to be interesting but share their fruity depth and luscious body.
Nero D’Avola (Italy)
Cusumano – $16-$17 widely available at both private and government liquor stores.
Monte Nobile – $14 distributed mostly in government stores on Vancouver Island.
Montalto Nero-Cabernet – $11 widely available in both private and government liquor stores.
Luccarelli – $13 mostly available in government stores.
Mezzomondo – $9 widely available
Segment 3 – A Side Step From Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Lopez de Haro Crianza – $17-$18 available only in private stores and by the glass at Bodega by Trounce Alley in Victoria (great Charcuterie board for lunch if you are in the neighbourhood).
Campo Viejo – $15 widely available
Periquita – $9 widely available
Grao Vasco Dao – $9 widely available
Segment 4 – A Side Step From Chardonnay
Yalumba Y Series Viognier (Australia) – $18 widely available
Cono Sur Bicicleta (Chile) – $10 mostly available in government stores.
Best Buy of the Week
Grao Vasco Dao 2012 – $9 a true delight for a wine under $10. A wonderful glass that pairs well with grilled or roasted poultry, pasta, pizza even steak or a roast of beef.
the Dork UnCorked
Tune in Saturday afternoons at 2pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork UnCorked Radio hour.
January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
I don’t know about you but I have two realitieses in my life. One, a glass of wine with dinner is a simple enjoyment that not only makes the food taste better, but slows the day down and brings a harmony to it that just isn’t there otherwise. Second is that this is the time of year that I lament going to the mailbox. Which bill is arriving today? It is the time of the year where I come to grips with the real cost of the holiday season. To that end I revel in
the beauty of oft forgotten wines that some may call cheap,
but I call inexpensive.
The price of a wine isn’t always a good indication as to its value. Consider the impact of the plummeting Canadian dollar on the price of produce. The price of tomatoes has skyrocketed in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the tomato has increased.
One of the great shelters of world wine value is Portugal. Often over shadowed by Spain, France and Italy, this little country on the Western side of the Iberian peninsula offers some killer wines for under $10. Grao Vasco Dao 2012 is just one of those wines.
Price ~ $8.79
Score ~ 7.6/10 Over Delivers
A blend of classic Portuguese grapes (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrochiero), this wine is easy going and is simple, but simple in the best way, like how clarity of mind makes things simple. It has good fruit, is well balance and offers decent structure making it ideal for chicken, pasta, even steak or a roast of beef.
My favourite part is the velvety texture combined with dried and fresh fruit flavours while having just a kiss of rustic reality. I know this sounds odd, but it is like leaving the city for the cabin on the lake and how the cabin on the lake has its own rustic beauty.
Store Section: Portugal
Availability: Market Wide
the Dork UnCorked
Tune into the Dork UnCorked Radio hour every Saturday afternoon at 2pm on CFAX 1070 in Victoria or streaming worldwide.
January 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
There is a ton of jargon in the wine game. Some of it has meaning and some of it seems to simply be there to create an air of exclusivity. This episode of the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour touches on some of the most misunderstood ‘jargon’ that actually has meaning.
Segment 1 ~ In The News
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye seems to have made it’s way back onto a number of BC Liquor Store shelves. As of Thursday Jan. 7, 2015 the only island store to have any was Fort & Foul Bay and at the time the had 5 cases. As of this writing (9am Sat. Jan. 9) Fort St. has sold out but Nanaimo Terminal Park shows 22 bottles.
The word on the street is that more may be arriving in the last week of January or the beginning of February.
Jargon – Glut and Plonk. Carol asks “in previous episodes you used the terms Glut & Plonk. I had an idea of what these mean but I thought I would ask.”
Glut – means more wine is available than there is demand. In the 90’s there was a glut of Australian wine on the market that was eventually sucked up by the Chinese market.
Plonk – a derogatory term suggesting the quality of the wine is far below the price being charged. Typically wines under $10 are often written off as plonk and that is ashame.
Segment 2 ~ Flavour Based Jargon
Terms like minerality, jammy, red fruits are all there to describe what flavours the taster may find in the wine, but often they serve to confuse instead of define.
Minerality – this is a fairly delicate flavour that most found in wines made with Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chenin Blanc and others. The flavour is similar to that which you find in a glass of water that you scooped out of a mountain stream (Petrol is a flavour you would find in the Gorge Waterway).
Red Fruits – typically found in Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc etc, this refers to flavours like raspberry, red cherry, red currants.
Tree Fruits – For white wines like Chardonnay, Viognier and South American Sauvignon Blanc, this refers to fruits like Apples and Pears.
Stone Fruits – This refers to flavours like Peaches, plums and apricots. For white wines you can find these flavours in Moscato, Riesling, Australian Chardonnay. In reds flavours of plums are often found in Merlot, Malbec, Negromaro & Zinfandel.
Black & Blue – this is all about black and blue fruits like blackberries, blueberries and black cherry. Typically found in Malbec, Zinfandel, Primitivo and Syrah/Shiraz.
Segment Three ~ Texture
Texture is all about how the wine feels in the mouth, or on the palate. Wine has sugars, acids and tannins and each contribute to the texture of a wine.
Round/Angular – Deborah had emailed asking if these two terms were contrastive. Deborah, yes they are! In fact most terms regarding texture are. Round means that the acids in the wine have been tamed through winemaking or ageing. One way to look at the difference is the difference between milk and apples. Milk has a creamier, rounder texture, whereas an apple can be more crisp and angular or with edges. Neither is bad in the right context. If you want a round wine like to richer bodied, and often older wines like Merlot, Grenache or oak aged Chardonnay. For angular wines look to younger and generally white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Vinho Verde.
Crisp/Zippy/Vibrant – These are wines which showcase their acidity. This is a good thing. Sparkling wines, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.
Unctuous – This is related to Round, but is a higher level of round. This is a wine that is seems of explode in the mouth and is full flavoured.
Flabby – This is a derogatory term that means the wine doesn’t have enough acid and is more or less grape juice.
Sweet Tannin – Tannin is a component of every wine but it is more prominent in bigger reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Zinfandel. In fact tannin is the reason these are considered bigger reds. Tannin is what gives the wine, and tea for that matter, it’s pucker. You know, that feeling when your mouth wants to pucker up. Tannin reduces over time and is counter acted when paired with ficher, fattier, foods. Tannin is why Cabernet Sauvignon goes so well with a big thick steak. Sweet tannin means that the tannins don’t over shadow and dominate the fruit. They add structure and yet are in balance with the rest of the wine.
Segment 4 ~ Finish/Overall
The finish of a wine is the flavour and texture impressions it leaves you with and for how long.
White wines mostly have a short to medium long finish, and there are not many that are considered to have a long finish. On the other hand there aren’t many wines that offer a short finish. The vast majority have medium or long finishes.
Throughout the show we talked about what is better and the answer is the combination of flavour, texture and finish that makes you go wow. This changes over time, season and the mood you are in. Sometimes a fresh, crisp short finish sparkling is ideal, whereas other occasions require a big, full flavoured, jammy, put you on your ass red. You are the judge of quality and value and no one else.
Best Buy Of The Week ~ Farnese Primitivo $11.49
Thanks for listening and feel free to drop us a line here in the comments or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
January 9, 2016 § 1 Comment
Primitivo is one of those wines on the market that I think over delivers for the price simply because most people aren’t familiar with what Primitivo is.
Certainly not a household name Primitivo is the European cousin to Zinfandel and offers many of the same juicy, jammy, rich flavours found in California Zinfandel.
Primitivo comes to us from Puglia in Italy (the heel of Italian boot) and gets its name because it is an early ripening grape. The story goes that the first clippings to be planted in Italy were part of the dowry of a Croatian Princess that married a Puglian Prince.
Yes Primitivo wines offer great value and are deserving of your exploration, and you could start with $20 – $30 wines but like every great exploration you don’t reach the summit until you walk the approaches. In other words start with relatively inexpensive wines to see if you like what you taste. The Farnese is one that I would recommend for this task and isn’t a wallet waster.
Price ~ $11.49
Score ~ 8.1/10 Over Delivers
The aromas of this wine betray it’s juicy palate. Brimming with blueberry, blackberry and hints of pastry. The palate is all about flavour and has a soft, easygoing finish. You could call this wine hedonistic and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Food Pairings – Burgers, Turkey, BBQ
Store Section – Italy
Availability – Available in both government and private sector stores.
Let me know what you think.
the Dork UnCorked
Tune into CFAX 1070 Saturday afternoons starting at 2pm for the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour.
January 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
Well another holiday season has come and gone and all that remains are the memories and the bills that will arrive shortly. To that end this show is all about bill buster wines. Each wine featured is under $10 because after all why give up one of life’s great pleasures when all you have to do is reduce expense?
Episode 11 – Link to Podcast
Segment 2 ~ Red Wines Under $10
Masia F Vino Tinto Tempranillo (Spain) – $9.99 (Private Stores Only)
I have mentioned this one before and ounce for ounce it is the best bill buster value on the market. The wine shows balance, ripe fruit, spice and a long finish.
McGuigan Black Label (Australia) – $9.99
This wine has been available forever in BC and as such it often gets overlooked. This is a blend that includes Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and offers ripe juicy flavours with a round texture on the palate.
Bleasdale Langhorne Crossing Red (Australia) – $9.99
A wine that has been delighting palates across BC for a couple of decades now. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Malbec is medium bodied and offer plenty of juicy fruit and lovely spices.
Segment 3 – White Wines
White wines are typically less expensive than reds. This is a simple function of supply and demand. The demand for white wine is not as great as it is for Red, and there is more supply than demand. The other function here is that white wines have a perception of not being as complex as reds and thus shouldn’t drive as great a price.
Hardy’s Riesling-Gewurztraminer (Australia) – $8.99
One of the most popular white blends and certainly the most popular Australian wine on the market today, and it is no wonder. Ripe, juicy fruit, vibrant, clean with just a hint of spicy character. This wine puts a smile on any ones face.
Millstream Chenin Blanc (South Africa) – $9.99 (BC Liquor Stores Only)
I know I said Millstone on the show and for this I beg your forgiveness and please don’t take my mistake out on this wine as this wine deserves your attention, especially as a bill buster.
Vibrant, ripe fruit seems to explode onto the palate. Well, balanced, dry and an awesome introduction to Chenin Blanc if you have not tried it before.
Cono Sur Bicicleta Gewurztraminer (Chile) – $9.49
Very aromatic and expressive. Ripe generous fruit flavours that feature lychee nut and melon. Floral elements come alive. The wine is off-dry, meaning that it is a little sweeter than bone dry, which is really better shows the true nature of this wine.
Count Karolyi Gruner Veltliner (Hungary) – $9.99
Gruner is primarily found in Austria, however Hungary produces some incredible wines that if they were from Germany, France or Italy, the price would be at least $3-$4 more per bottle.
A vibrant wine that shows orange blossom, white peach, delicious apple and floral elements. A very easy wine to love and a great bill buster.
Segment 4 ~ Box Wines
Although the wines above will only set you back $10 or less (not including tax), some of the best value comes from boxed wines. Boxed wines have a reputation for being plonk. This is patently untrue. Boxed wines last longer not only because there is more wine in them but because the design of the bag in the box prevents oxygen from damaging the wine over time. Although they require a greater upfront cost, they actually save you money when you divide out the cost by regular bottles.
Hardy’s Riesling-Gewurztraminer 3L (Boxed Wine Section) – $31.99 (BC Liquor Stores Only)
I have described this wine above so I will keep these comments to the value. As noted above the regular bottle cost is $8.99, however if you purchase this by the box the cost per regular bottle is $8.00.
Vina Borgia Garnacha 3L (Spain) – $34.99 (Private Stores Only)
Garnacha or Grenache is a great easy to love wine. Ripe raspberry and black cherry, very soft, almost no pucker (tannin), with just a touch of black pepper spice.
If you divide this out the cost per regular bottle is $8.74.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Masia F Vino Tinto Tempranillo
The house wine and the world’s only 7 star hotel is still the best bill buster wine available in BC.
Have a Great Week
the Dork UnCorked