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.
December 26, 2015 § 1 Comment
Episode 10 is all about Sparkling Wine as New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. The show was broken into 4 segments. In each segment we speak to a category of sparkling wine starting with Champagne and ending with Budget or Value options.
What would a New Year’s show be without touching on famous hangover cures. I have added some bonus content here given that we were a little pressed for time on the show.
Episode 10 ~ Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Champagne
Sparkling wines are made all over the world often using the same methods as they do in Champagne, however unless the wine is made in the appellation (AOC) of Champagne the wine can not bear the most famous of sparkling names. Below is a list of recommended champagnes that can be found in most stores.
Veuve Clicquot ~ $62-$65
One of the first global businesses run by a woman, Madame Clicquot’s champagne is bright and crisp, filled with apple and citrus flavour along with the taste sensation of lightly buttered toast.
DYK – the orange/yellow colour of the label reflects the colour of yolks of the eggs laid by the wineries chickens. Each morning Madame Clicquot would have two eggs and found that the colour of the yolks were unique to her farm, thus the colour would clearly distinguish her champagne.
Bollinger ~ $70
Bollinger is made famous by being the champagne choice of James Bond.
Flavours leaning more to fresh pear, melon and citrus, this is a very clean and lively wine with a texture of velvet. The finish show hints of walnuts and baking spice.
Taittinger ~ $57 (currently on sale)
Delicious scents white peach, pear and acacia flowers greet the nose, while the palate is treating to refreshing, almost creamy, wash of fruit and brioche.
Moet and Chandon ~ $62-$65
Makers of the world famous Dom Perignon, the Moet and Chandon Champagne features apple, pear, white peach with floral tones and some delicious brioche on the finish.
Segment 2 ~ BC Sparkling Wine
Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay ~ $21-$22 (Private Stores Only)
Fresh, alive and an incredible value. Bright apple and citrus greet the nose while the palate is velvety and fresh with hints of honey and white flowers. I really loved this wine.
Cipes Brut ~ $23-24
A classic BC Sparkling wine that is aged with energy of a pyramid (if you haven’t visited the Summerhill Winery you really should). Baked apples and pears, hints of caramel and honey, with a wonderfully vibrant yet creamy mousse (bubble).
Stellar’s Jay Brut ~ $27-$29
Crafted originally by one of the true pioneers of the BC Wine industry, Harry McWatters, this wine is bright, lively and shows pear and white peach with just a hint of brioche.
Blue Mountain Brut ~ $30 (Private Stores Only)
Citrusy aromas and palate with a wonderfully elegant mousse. The finish is bright and citrusy with just a kiss of honey toast.
Segment 3 ~ Prosecco
Lamarca ~ $17 (currently on sale, Dec. 2015)
Sweet apples, grassy, pear are the hallmarks of this very approachable, straightforward Prosecco. In many ways this embodies the reason why Prosecco is so popular – it is simply about enjoyment and simple carefree lifestyle.
Nua Prosecco ~ $16-$18 (Private Stores Only)
Harder to find but a deliciously crafted Prosecco that should be on more shelves than it is.
Apple, pear, orange blossom with a whimsical, refreshing bubble that delights every time.
Terre Prosecco ~ $17-$19 (Private Stores Only)
Pear, citrus and acacia flower with a wonderful kiss of honey on the finish. The palate is lively and vibrant. This is a classic Prosecco that makes a great Aperol Spritz as well as a crowd pleasing pop for New Year’s Eve.
Segment 3a ~ Global Sparklers
Here are some brilliant Sparkling wines from all over the world.
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Wine (Australia)~ $13 (On Sale Dec. 2015)
This is sunshine in the glass. Primarily Chardonnay this is bright and feels like a summer morning. Baked apple, bright pear and melon, with a honeyed finish. Perfect for a New Year’s Eve BBQ.
Zinck Cremant D’Alsace (France) ~ $21-$24
Made primarily with Pinot Blanc, then some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this wine shows biscuits, apricots and white flowers. The palate shows an elegant mousse and a honey toast finish. Delish!
Mumm Napa Prestige Brut (California) ~ $21-$24
This wine is at the top of my list and I have to thank Roger Kershaw for that. If there is a man on the island that loves ‘champers’ and sparkling wines more, I don’t know who that is.
The wine shows baked apple, fresh pear and white peach with hints of acacia flowers. The palate is fresh and alive and the finish has toasty hints with a touch of baking spice.
Toso Brut (Argentina) ~ $16-$18
Did you know that Argentina is one of the world’s largest producers of sparkling wine? Well it is and only a few have the production necessary to be able to export. Toso is one.
Bright fresh apples, pear and melon, with a crisp palate of refreshing finish. This wine is all about vibrant expression.
Segment 4 ~ Value Bubbles
New Year’s is often associated with sparkling wine, but if all you need is a bottle pop for the sake of popping here are some great wines all under $15 that are delicious and great buys.
Henkell Trocken ~ $13 (On Sale December, 2015)
As much as people like to downgrade well known brands in terms of quality, Henkell Trocken has stood the test of time and is still one of the most enjoyable, affordable, bubbles on the market.
Bright pear and baked apple, a well balanced palate that finishes clean and alive.
Jean Louis ~ $12-$13 (Private Stores Only)
This little french bubble is ideal for mimosa’s and any time you need a toasting wine. I have literally recommended this wine to hundreds of wedding clients.
Baked apple and pear, delightful refreshing palate, with the kiss of honey on the finish.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva ~ $13 (On Sale December, 2015)
A classic Cava from Spain. Baked pear, with melon and a hint of orange blossoms. Crisp, lively and very refreshing, this wine is be used to toast the New Year in more countries around the world than almost all others on this list.
Segment 4a ~ Hangover Cures
The fact is that there is not perfect hangover cure although one has been sought for thousands upon thousands of years.
What we do know is that hangovers are caused by 1) your body coming off of alcohol, 2) dehydration, 3) a significant reduction of Vitamin B in your system.
Some people swear by a greasy breakfast the next morning or what is called the hair of the dog (a Caesar like cocktail). Neither really do much more than make the symptoms a little less painful.
It used to be said that if you have a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil prior to drinking that you would slow the absorption of alcohol into the system. Partially true but the alcohol is still going to get in.
The best practices are preventative. First drink in moderation and make sure you eat and hydrate throughout the session. Second is to limit sugary drinks and foods as sugar causes inflammation and just makes a hangover a truly nasty experience. Third, and this is a tip from the pros, take a multivitamin prior to the session. Make sure it contains Vitamin B. Then take one the morning after. Doing all three of these things limits the pain and suffering of ringing in the New Year and anytime a session gets out of hand.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay
I trust you have a safe and wonderful New Year and please send us any comments or feedback you have.
Happy New Year
the Dork UnCorked
December 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
There are loads of wine choices on the shelf, the hard part is actually deciding which one is the right one.
What are some ‘pairings’ based on the personality you are buying for. I hope this helps and Merry Christmas.
Gentle, quiet, pensive
Must be soft, but not to soft. Quiet in its unfolding of it personality and much more to it if you let it wash over you.
R Wolf Blass Grey Label 2012 McLaren Vale Shiraz ~$30 (Australia)
W Cameron Hughes Arroyo Secco Chardonnay ~$25 (California)
Doesn’t hold back in terms of fashion, or desire for flavour. Seeks out and loves to stroll down the path less travelled.
R Seven Deadly Zins ~$23 (California)
W Tahbilk Marsanne ~$19 (Australia)
Always a smile and loves to dance.
R Ca’Montebello Barbera ~$17 (Italy – private stores only)
W Aveleda Vinho Verde ~$15 (Portugal – private stores only)
Brooding and Reserved
A little stormy, angst, a classic brooding artist struggling to find their voice.
R Apollonio Squinzano ~ $22 (Italy- private stores only)
W Lurton Les Fumees Blanches ~$13 (France)
Strong Silent Type
Person of few words but those few words, and resulting actions convey calm strength in the face of adversity.
R Fabre Montmayou Malbec Reserve ~$24 (Argentina – private stores only)
W Guigal Crozes Hermitage Blanc ~$28 (France)
Witty, funny great with one liners and can be counted on to add comedic levity to any situation.
R Borsao Garnacha ~$12-$13 (Spain)
W Sileni Sauvignon Blanc ~16 (New Zealand)
Methodical, Reserved, Sophisticated
Stylish, quiet, worldly and never, ever quits.
R Chateau Pey La Tour ~$17-$19 (France)
W Chateau La Gravelle Muscadet ~$16 (France)
An Old Soul
Seems to have wisdom beyond their years.
R Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza ~$20 (Spain – private stores only)
W Charton Et Trebuchet Bourgogne Chardonnay ~$22 (France)
Inspiring Through Action
Doesn’t really need to say too much, leads by example.
R Tinhorn Creek Cabernet Franc ~$23 (BC, VQA)
W Blue Grouse Gamay 2014 Rosé ~ $15-$17 (Vancouver Island)
Doesn’t really walk, kind of glides. Confident and has a gentle, silky voice.
R Bodega Atamisque Pinot Noir ~$30 (Argentina- private stores only)
W Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay ~ $18-$20 (BC, VQA)
If there is someone that I haven’t really covered please let me know either through the comments or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tune in every Saturday between 2 & 3pm for the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour.
November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Wine is not a commodity. I know this isn’t a revelation but there seems to be a lot of people who assume that every 90+ point wine is going to blow their hair back or that a 90+ point wine priced at $15 is better than a 90+ point wine priced at $25. The reality is that your mood and the scenario within which you will be tasting the wine play a huge role in your value judgement of the wine. With that in mind I have decided to another nuance to my reviews, that being motivations.
Motivations: It’s been a hard week and its a dreary wet, chilling Friday. I could either go with something that is moody, a little stormy, heavy and brooding, or exactly the opposite; something bright, vibrant and juicy.
Dinner is a Turkey casserole the recipe of which came from a neighbour as a great way to enjoy Turkey leftovers. So the wine will have to work well with Turkey, gravy, stuffing, peas, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
Decision: Moody & Stormy – Tinto Negro 2012 Uco Valley Malbec
Store Section: Argentina
The Wine: The Uco Valley is one of my favourite regions in the world. It isn’t that far away from other wine growing areas surrounding Mendoza in Argentina. The wines offer amazing complexity and layers while being priced as well as others, and the Tinto Negro is no different.
The nose shows dark fruit with violets, hints of smoke, spice and cured meats, while the palate is full, multi-layered and round. The finish shows off the richness of the fruit along with subtle spice and floral tones. Overall this wine is a great wine for a slow moving, dreary evening and brooding, heavy mood.
Value: 8.7 – Over Delivers
Added Value: This has added value when paired with Movie Night, Comfort Foods, and dark misty nights.
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
September 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
There are many food pairings for this wine, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this wine is best paired with a specific mood. I recently found myself in a place where I was at once excited about the possibilities of the future but at the same feeling a little apprehensive, pensive and perhaps dark. This wine has a ton of things going on in it and it expresses a number of emotions as a result.
I first gravitated to it because I met the people responsible for this wine in Argentina and we had a lengthy conversation about Corvina and how it could do in Argentina, and what wonderful things could come of a blend with Malbec.
Once you pull the cork you get the sense of a brooding dark wine, but once it washes over your palate you a brightened and refreshed. I think everyone has gone through, or is going through some dark times, and it is a testament to human creativity that most of the time we emerge in a happier place. This is what this wine tastes like.
Fruit flavours of dark plum, leather, red cherry and hints of blueberry. A dark almost dusty mid palate finishes bright and refreshing.
Granted this wine will not be for everyone and that is why I didn’t give it the highest of rankings, however if you are in the mood to see a brighter future, or at least taste it, this might just become your favourite wine.
Purchased At: BC Liquor Stores
Foods: Roasted chicken and lean red meats. Cheeses, hearty breads, also excellent with a simple grilled cheese.
Grapes: Malbec, Corvina
June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment
Can you believe the weather we have had? Two years ago we were talking ‘June’-uary and now this. Wow!
It is no surprise that the number of grills being fired up each evening have increased significantly and I would imagine that the number will increase 10 fold on Father’s Day (forecast for the Victoria area 21C with a few clouds). With this in mind here are my Top Wines for the Barbie that are Under $20 and currently available in the market. Enjoy and please wear an apron, no need in showing up at work on Monday with 3rd degree burns in unmentionable places.
Best BBQ Wine for Steak
Tinto Negro Malbec – Over Delivers & I Love It! Score ~ 7.8/10
$13.79 – $14.99
Sorry Alberta but I have to say that the best steak I have ever had in my wine driven travels has been in Argentina. Juicy, thick and so amazingly flavourful that it made be jump up and do the Tango, not that anyone else in the restaurant recognized it as the tango- just some gangly gringo gyrating away.
Part of the reason Argentine steak is so good is because it’s paired with Argentine Malbec. Big, robust, juicy, layered with savoury herbs, black pepper and lavender. Grab a bottle or 10 of the Tinto Negro and I promise you will Love It!
Original Review: TintoNegro Malbec
Best BBQ Wine for Salmon
This category was tough so I took the easy way out and chose two wines that are equally awesome and a great pairing but deliver a totally different flavour experience.
Casa Viva Pinot Noir – Best Buy & WOW!! ~ 9.1
Silky, cherry explosion with hints of cola and pepper. This wine has it all and is such a great value that I’m surprised that more stores, and by extension, people haven’t found its beauty. When paired with Salmon there is a flavour marriage that is greater than the sum of its parts with the added bonus of a silky seductive finish that relaxes the mind and body.
Original Review: Casa Viva Pinot Noir
Bright, vibrant strawberry freshly picked. Add a hint of black pepper and a fresh crisp texture and you have a refreshing glass of luxury. This wine enlivens the palate and when paired with fresh west coast salmon right off the barbie… sky rockets in flight! (If you are over the age of 40 you are now singing the song in your head).
Original Review: Domaine Houchart Cotes de Provence Rosé
Best BBQ Wine For White Line Fish (Halibut, Cod)
$13.29 – $14.99
Tis the season for fresh, right off the line Halibut and it is sooo good. Our local cod has to be some of the best in the world as well and both are readily available at your local grocer or, if you’re in the Victoria area, head down to Fisherman’s Wharf and get some right from the boat.
For me this wine had so much going on. It is fresh, it is vibrant, it won’t rip your tongue out with ripping acidity, it has bright stone and tropical fruits along with hints of cut grass and asparagus. Chill it down, not to cold otherwise you cover up the fruit and complexity. My rule of thumb is that if there is condensation on the bottle when it comes out of the fridge, it’s too cold. Wait 8 minutes and then enjoy.
Original Review: Lurton fumees blanches Sauvignon Blanc
Best BBQ Wine For Chicken
$10.99 – $11.99
I don’t care if you are doing Beer Butt chicken or simply grilling some chicken thighs, legs and/or breasts, there is not a better value on the market than this wine. Many un-oaked wines are one dimensional and lacking in character. To produce a world class wine un-oaked wine it’s all about the vineyard. This wine is unoaked and shows incredible depth, layers of flavours, juicy fruit, spice. When all put together in the glass that sits besides a plated graced with chicken right from the barbie, it is heaven. I guess this is what the Sommelier at the world’s only 7 star hotel (Bariq Al Arab, Dubai) saw to, as the Masia F is their house wine.
Original Review: Masia F Vino Tinto
Best BBQ Wine for Burgers (Beef)
$10.99 – $11.99
I picture a big thick burger made of ground Angus beef, slathered with your grandmother’s secret BBQ sauce, a generous amount of melted cheese (Cheddar, Gruyere, Cambazolla are my faves), thick cut fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions and maybe some mushrooms, mustard, ketchup all within a fresh Pretzel bun… salivation nation! The only thing that makes this better is when it is paired with the right, juicy, bold wine that features dark fruits, red berries, black and white pepper and a supple finish… and that wine is the Terra Andina Carmenere – Syrah.
Original Review: Terra Andina Carmenere Syrah
Best BBQ Wine For Shellfish (Crab, Prawns, Lobster)
$14.99 – $15.99
Walk through any grocery store this weekend and you will find that they all have fresh Spot Prawns. It is a great time of year for those that love great flavour experiences. Spot Prawns on the barbie with a glass of chilled BC Pinot Blanc is a reward usually reserved for solving cancer or the federal debt, but is available to you just for grocery shopping or working with gravity to put your but in a chair.
Original Review: Mission Hill ‘5 Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc
Best BBQ Wine for Baby Back Ribs
Making Baby Back Ribs on the BBQ is an art. An art that brings people to their knees in joy and has humbled many a chef. Timing, temperature and patience are all necessary. A wine, seemingly, specifically crafted for this dish, is the Fascino Passo. This wine is a blend of Negramaro and Primitivo which juicy, richly textured flavours of black and blue berry’s, savoury spices and, yes, cigar box. The grapes are first air dried to intensify their character, then the wine is barrel aged for at least 2 years, followed by 1 year bottle age before release. When opening this wine you want to give it some time to breathe or better yet, run it through your Vinturi. Timing & Patience.
Original Review: Fascino Passo
PS- Hey- You’ll likely notice that in each of the red wine posts suggest letting the wine breathe to get the most out of it. There is an alternative that you will see that I mention. It is for a product that I use myself and absolutely standby its value – the Vinturi Wine Aeratorworks and if you buy it via the link I get a little back that helps pay for the costs associated with the blog. It’s not much, but every little bit helps. The ‘Essential Red’ is all you really need.
The Dork UnCorked.
March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 7.8 – Over Delivers
As I strolled the aisles of the liquor store on a Saturday afternoon I came across this wine. What I was looking for was a Bonarda but in this store the Argentine red wine selection was limited to 30 Malbecs, 5 Cabs and 1 Syrah. Given that I was out of luck on the Bonarda, and dinner was fast approaching, I went looking for the wine that presented the best value for the money.What I mean by this is to find the wine with the best packaging, the highest accolades at the lowest price.
Ta Da! TintoNegro 2013 Malbec. At $13.99 and 90 Points from the Wine Advocate, the TintoNegro was the clear choice.
Tasting Notes Sipping: Deep dark purple, almost black in colour. The nose if brimming with a complex combination of dark berry and tree fruits, dark earth, leather and savoury herbs, that are at once bright and muscular. The palate big and boozy and full of power. The tongue is struck by the bold dark fruits wrapped in spicy leather… think of a spicy fruit leather.. without the big sugar. The finish is long, a bit boozy and brooding.
Tasting Notes with Food: This is a wine for a big thick steak. I particularly liked how this wine worked with a steak smothered in Montreal Steak spice. While sipping the fruit is somewhat muted, but with the steak and the spice the fruit shines through.
Value: For $13.99 you should buy this wine… perhaps by the case… assuming you like big boozy wines. If power and weight are key to your enjoyment, this offers both in spades and more so than most in this price point.
Added Value: This wine offers huge added value to BBQ’s and Comfort Foods. It also a nice choice for Date Nights.
Service: Twist off the cap and let breathe for about 30 minutes or run it through your Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
a couple of times. It is not common to aerate or breathe a wine at this price, but this is a testament to the quality of this wine.
Store Section: Argentina
Appellation: Mendoza – The Mendoza appellation encompasses all the sub-appellations in the Mendoza area including the highly touted areas of Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.
Available: BC Liquor Stores