February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
Craft Distilling is growing faster than blossoms are blooming on Victoria’s Cherry Trees so we thought we might bring in our Spirits Correspondent and all round Encyclopedia of all things distilled, Shawn Soole.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, you must put Ca Va Bistro Moderne on your list of places to dine in Victoria. Intimate, delicious, relaxed and all round fantastic. I raise a glass to Fauna Martin and the team at Ca Va Bistro Moderne.
I raise a second glass to Spring in Victoria. While the rest of the country continues to shovel out their driveways, we are blessed with watching the blossoms come out.
For the last shout out this week, I raise a pint to Ken Beattie, Executive Director of the BC Craft Brewers Guild. As we all know Craft Brewing has grown at an amazing pace and is now an integral part of the Liquor industry in BC. Managing to aggregate new, rapidly expanding and established breweries is no small feat, but Ken has done a masterful job and we are all better for it.
“What about the Legs of a Wine?”
For years taking careful attention to notice the ‘legs’ of a wine was a part of every sommelier’s training. The legs are the glycerine droplets that run down the side of the glass after swirling a wine. They are also known Church Windows.
The idea was that the legs would tell you about the texture, body and mouthfeel of the wine. The bigger and slower the legs the heavier the wine. I no longer include a review of the legs as it seems redundant and is dependent on the quality of the detergent used to clean the glasses. To get a sense of the body, texture and mouthfeel of a wine I rely on my palate and that seems to do the trick.
Thanks for the emails and questions, please keep them coming.
Segment 2 ~ Craft Distilled Whisky
The Craft Distilling industry is growing by leaps and bounds and that means locally made whisky’s.
The challenge is finding them as it takes time and patience to create a quality whisky, they need a minimum of 3 years ageing, and to that end there are very few that are available, and most can only be gotten through the distilleries mailing list.
Here is a list of a few of the island distilleries making whisky:
In order to get some of the Whisky’s mentioned on the show follow the links below to get on the mailing list or lottery.
Segment 3 ~ Brandy & Eau de Vie
There was a lot covered in this segment so I highly recommend downloading the podcast. Here are a couple of links to producers of brandy here in BC.
Segment 4 ~ Liqueur
Liqueur made here in BC is still hard to find, but there are some stunning examples that are harbingers of what the future will bring. Below are links to some of these products.
Best Buy of the Week – Santa Cristina Campogrande Orvieto ($17)
Classic Italian white wine that is fruit forward and delicious. Brilliant with shellfish, light pastas.
the Dork UnCorked
Stay tuned as next week we get into what it means to be a Craft Distillery, Craft Vodka and the wonderful and exploding world of Craft Gin.
February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
I was chatting with a colleague in Vancouver, and inevitably the conversation turns to the weather. We have enjoyed a beautiful week and as my colleague said “the sun comes
out and people are nice, happy and greet you on the street.” This conversation inspired me to go a pick up a bottle of one of my all time fave ‘happy and greet you on the street’ type of wines, the Campogrande Orvieto.
The Campogrande Orvieto is a white wine which comes out of the Orvieto region of Umbria in Central Italy. It is a blend of Grechetto (Gre – ketto) and Trebbiano. Strangely if we were to turn the clock back 5 -10 years not only would I be able to bound up the stairs, but 90% of all the Italian white wines on the shelf would have been either a Trebbiano or a Trebbiano blend, like Orvieto.
Orvieto, like Trebbiano and Gavi have mostly been pushed out of the market in favour of a plethora of lifeless Pinot Grigios. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of great Pinot Grigio’s on the shelf, but there are just too many wines capitalizing on the popularity of PG and are pushing out truly awesome wines like those of the Orvieto.
Price ~ $16-$17
Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers
The Campogrande, actually Santa Cristina Campogrande, should be served just chilled, not cold, to showcase the wonderful melon, bartlett pear, hints of citrus and minerality. The nose is a little shy at first and that is how you will know that the wine is too cold. If you don’t get the generous aromas, then it is too cold.
The palate is crisp and refreshing and just feels good in the mouth. So good that it might be difficult to only have one glass. The finish shows more of the minerality and just a kiss of melon.
Pair this wine with light pastas, caprese salad with Arugula, and simply grilled prawns or scallops, this is also an awesome choice with a classic Ceviche.
Grapes ~ Grechetto, Trebbiano
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ Private stores only.
If you do get the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know what you think.
the Dork UnCorked
February 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
One of my favourite events each summer is the Tour de France. Every couple of years the race features one of the most difficult cycling climbs on the planet – Mount Ventoux. It is a heart crushing, leg grinding climb that is not for the faint of heart.
I really enjoy road cycling and would someday like to attempt the climb up Mount Ventoux. I was strolling through the wine shop the other day and found a key part of my training regimen; the wines of the Ventoux. I understand that the grapes grown on Mount Ventoux have magical powers when it comes to strengthening one’s legs.
The Perrin family has vineyards throughout the Rhone Valley and is best known for Chateau Beaucastel which is the iconic wine of Chateauneuf du Pape. The grapes for the Ventoux are grown on the hillsides of Mount Ventoux.
Price ~ $16
Score ~ 7.9/10 Over Delivers
The aromas a brooding and somewhat moody. By all means give this wine time to breathe as there is a great story to be told if only you wait for it. Dark ripe and stewed fruits like plums. berries and blackberries open on the palate and are then enhanced by earthy, spicy flavours along with hints of smoked meat.
This is not a big heavy wine, rather it is bright but with a moody side. I loved this with anything with smoked paprika or bacon. I really loved this with a simple cheese and charcuterie plate. Fantastic!
Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
Store Section ~ France
Availability ~ private stores only
the Dork UnCorked
February 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
One of the best things for a marriage is regular date nights. I must admit that we haven’t had date nights as frequently as we used to but we make a point of it when it comes to significant moments.
Recently it was the 20th anniversary or our first date and we wanted to dine at a place that was intimate, romantic but new to us. We asked around and Ca Va Bistro Moderne in Fernwood seemed to fit the bill.
We arrived for our reservations and I immediately knew we made the right choice. Directly across the piazza from the Belfry Theatre a simple door in a simple brick and stone building, greets hungry wanderers.
The room is about 25ft across and 100 ft deep, just enough for about 30-40 seats. If we didn’t know we were in Fernwood, we could easily have been in a bistro in Avignon, Greenwich Village, Notting Hill or Gastown.
Our seats were at the front window and the lighting was soft, warm and somewhat low but enough to see the menu and the food in front of us.
The cuisine is french inspired and the wine list is a blend of BC and international selections with a decent helping of French options.
My bride had the duck liver paté to start and the lamb sirloin for her main. I started with the Gruyere Soufflé and then the Duck Confit as the main (a total no brainer as I love love love Duck Confit).
The food was absolutely fantastic and we loved every morsel of it. Chef Fauna Martin makes her own duck confit and it was unbelievably good (I’m salivating as I write this). She also makes her own duck liver paté that was as smooth as like butter.
For wine, as I know you want to know, I selected the Romaine Duvernay 2010 Crozes-Hermitage and man was it fantastic. Dark in the glass, earthy and savoury spices, dark fruit and hints of cured meats. Classic Crozes Hermitage as it has such a fresh face (bright acidity) with a brooding soul.
After a well timed meal we sank into some dessert. It is impossible for me to resist Creme Brulée so I ordered the Pedro Ximenez Creme Brulée while Ange had the Twice Baked Rhubarb Soufflé. Heavenly!!
The ambience was perfect, food was outstanding, the wine brilliant, and the company, of course routinely enriches my soul, but I know what you are asking, what about the pricing? Very reasonable. Certainly a might higher than concept restaurants but truly over delivered for the price. I would definitely go back.
the Dork UnCorked.
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
In episode 17 we work to answer a number of questions as posted by you to either our blog, Facebook page, Twitter or email. Shout Outs, How To Taste Like A Pro, Best Apps, Carol’s Question and Best Buy of the Week. Enjoy and let us know what you think.
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Street Cleaners – I’m a cyclist and at this time of the year the streets are grimy and the bike lanes filled with debris from the passing traffic. I raise a glass to those who clean the streets as it is amazing how a clean street can be the difference between a great day and an awful one.
Super Bowl 50 – In the days following the big game Sopexa, the international Communication and Marketing Agency that handles the Wines of France, published some very interesting stats. Super Bowl 50 was the event that saw the most significant one day increase in wine consumption in the last number of years. I raise a glass to those who have contributed to making this event more than just a game, but an event that brings family and friends together.
Karyn Stewart – Call any liquor store or restaurant around town, call her peers and you will all hear the same thing. Karyn is one of the best reps of all time and Mark Anthony Brands is very lucky to have her. The difference is that she is a great listener and very smart. All too often reps believe its their job to deliver a diatribe about how great their product is. Karyn, by contrast listens to the buyer and pinpoints their needs and advocates on their behalf. I raise a glass to Karyn Stewart for her incredible ability to build relationships and let them blossom.
John, Greg, Amelia, Tamarra & Paul – I raise a glass to each of you for your questions, please keep them coming. In fact it is your questions that forms the body of today’s show.
Segment 2 ~ How To Taste Like A Pro
I get lots of questions about how to taste a wine like a pro. For the most part the nature of the question is ‘how do you taste all those things in wine?’ There is a technique that will bring out more of the character and flavour of any wine. To really see the difference you will need to have 2 glasses.
First the Swirl.
Pour a couple of ounces of your wine into each of two glasses.
Take one of the glasses, remember which glass, and swirl the wine around in the glass. Now pick up the non-swirl glass and take a big whiff. Now take the swirl glass and take a big whiff. See that? There is more in the swirl glass right? You are going to do the same thing with tasting.
Take the non-swirl glass and take a sip as you usually would. Now take the swirl glass and take a sip but hold it in your mouth, swirl it around and now take a breathe in through your mouth (purse your lips and breathe in), then swallow or spit. What did you notice? You likely got more of the flavour, texture and finish of the wine. If you do that with every sip you will notice how the wine changes with time and air.
Segment 3 – Best Apps for Wine & Beer
Thanks to Greg and Amelia for asking ‘what are the best apps for wine and beer?’
For me there are too many apps that do the same thing so for recording what I taste there are two that I use. One of which, I’m sure many of you already use – Evernote. I use this the most as it allows me to take a picture of the label and make some simple notes about the wine. Then I tag the post with where I tasted it, the region the wine is from, it’s colour and grape(s). This allows me to go back and search by any of the tags if I have forgotten the name of the wine.
The specifically wine app that is also great for recording what you have tasted, rating it and seeing what your friends have tried is Vivino. For me this app allows me to see what some of the best Sommeliers in the world are tasting. Most of that would be way out of my price range, but I do get to see some of the trends happening within the trade and some better vintage information.
For craft beer there is no better app than Untappd. It is widely used by enthusiasts all over the world and the reviews are believable as they are written by consumers and not trade or suppliers.
The last app I will mention is a game and a wine and spirits education all at the same time. It was created by the Society of Wine Educators and is a regular diversion for yours truly. It’s called Wine Quiz and anyone will get something out of it.
Segment 4 ~ Carol’s Questions
For this you will have to either click on the link to the podcast or listen to the show.
Buy of the Week ~ Tormaresca Castel del Monte Trentangeli – $18
Wow, big, mouthfilling juicy fruit, blackberries, blueberries, currants all in bowl with some black pepper, earthy, soul enriching goodness and some butter pastry on the side.
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
I was feeling like I was on top of the world. The sun was out, the kids were happy, business was positive and I wanted something that had some depth, substance and a strong sense of destiny. As I was strolling the Italian section I saw the Tormaresca Trentangeli. I have had and enjoyed the Tormaresca Neprica ($14-$16 private stores only) on a number of occasions and loved it, so I thought I would put on my wings of exploration and take on the Trentangeli.
Price ~ $18
Score ~ 8.2/10 Way Over Delivers
The Neprica is a blend of Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo, whereas the Trentangeli is a blend of Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and the difference is striking.
Trentangeli and Neprica share a well balanced nature with a vibrant heart, but this is where any similarities end. Trentangeli is dark, deep, substantive with a well defined body. As I was filled confidence and feeling bold this was the perfect wine for me.
Black in the glass with aromas of blackberry, ripe plum, black currant/cassis, savoury spices, hints of smoked meat. The palate shows depth, structure and some muscle, the kind of muscle that suggests that any challenge is welcome.
My mood called for a meal that would stick to my ribs. Something like steak, a hearty pasta, cheesy dishes, roast Pork or pork chops. In my case we had a grilled steak and it was fantastico!
Oh and here is a bonus – the grapes for this wine are organically grown.
Grapes ~ Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ both private and government stores.
When you head out looking for this wine, please let the store know who sent you.
the Dork UnCorked.
February 17, 2016 § 2 Comments
This is a first. I haven’t really written about beer as there are lot of people out there that seem to cover the category well, however this one tickled me quite a bit. Really unique brew with serious artisan bent and tons of local flavour (pun intended).
One of the toughest things to do when you have a brilliant idea that you clearly see as your future is to convince your spouse (I know of this all too well).
Michael Kuzyk, proprietor of Category 12 Brewing, got his doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry from UVic and had a very distinguished career working and leading some of the world’s most highly regarded labs. His true calling was brewing and after honing his craft as a homebrewer he had ideas of becoming a craft brewer, but he had to convince his wife Karen.
The best way convince anyone that you have what it takes to be a successful brewer is to brew something they love- walk your talk – and this is exactly what Michael did.
Karen wasn’t as much of a fan of beer as Michael until she tried the Transmutation although it wasn’t called that at the time. Transmutation is a Belgian Specialty Ale and what makes it really special is the handmade, yes handmade candy that is added to the brew. What you get is a strong Belgian Ale of the Trappist Tripel tradition with lovely sweetness while maintaining its refreshing body.
Only 200 cases of bombers are produced and they are starting to hit stores today (Feb. 17, 2016). Below is a list of stores that you will find it at today. I would act fast given how quickly it sold out last year.
Estimated price $8-$10/650ml
You can also get growler fills at the brewery (link to brewery) 1L $8.00 1.9L $16
the Dork UnCorked
PS – do me a favour and let the store or the brewery know who sent you.