May 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
I know that this is a little backwards, but you know what, that is just the way this is going to roll.
Heather from Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen was good enough to drop by with a very impressive cheese platter, designed with Mother’s Day in mind.
A word to the wise, if you are looking to order a cheese plate for Mother’s Day, do so Thursday or Friday this week at the latest (once you see the platter you will know why.) To order it is best to call at 250-598-4794.
There was lot’s to cover and lots of great cheese was enjoyed. Below you will find the name of each cheese, a brief description and the wine that I would suggest to go with each. At the bottom of the page I will make some suggestions that should work with the whole platter.
A creamy, ‘tender’ cow’s milk cheese from France. Savory herb and spice flavours.
Red – Lighter bodied wine liked Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. I’m thinking specifically the Cono Sur Bicicletta Pinot Noir (Chile, $11)
White – Sparkling or Pinot Gris. Zinck Cremant d’Alsace (France, $22), Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris (BC, $18)
Beer – A good Pale of Amber Ale.
Balsamic & Onion Cheddar
Wow, lots of great savoury flavours all rolled together. I could nibble this all day. Savoury Balsamic, sweet onion & cheddar. Awesome.
Red – Gabbiano Chianti Classico (Italy, $18) or Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza (Spain, $18)
White – Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio (Italy, $15), Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)
Beer – Belgian Dubbel or Tripel
This cheese has a really interesting story to go along with its generous sweet earthy aromas and flavours.
Made the same way for 4000 years this is a sheeps milk cheese made only from Red or Black faced Manech ewes that are native to the French Basque region. It takes 6 gallons of milk, just to make 1 wheel.
Red – Albas Infantes Gran Reserva 2007 (Spain, $14, private stores only), Masia F Tempranillo ($12, Spain, private stores only)
White – Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (BC, $19), Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australia, $13)
Beer – A nice lager like the Hoyne Pilsner.
This cheese comes from the US and is a Goat Cheese that has a little sliver of ash through the middle. The ash is tasteless and acts and as a natural ‘cleanser’. The cheese is definitely a goat cheese but also has citrus y element. I love goat cheeses and this was a dream, especially the slightly runny part just inside the rind.
Red – Red wine is not the perfect pairing for this cheese, but if you insist on red it should be something with bright acidity, fresh fruit and some earthy character like either a Gamay Noir or Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir – McPherson ‘The Butterfly’ Pinot Noir (Australia, $15)
Gamay Noir – Regnie Maison de Buillaits (France, $20)
White – There is only one type of wine I would recommend with this cheese and that is Sauvignon Blanc!
Lurton Fumees Blanches (France, $14), or Sileni Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand, $19)
Beer – Steamworks Jasmine IPA (BC, $6), it is the gentle floral quality of this brew that makes it special for the Humboldt Fog.
Manchego comes from the home of Don Quixote, the plains of La Mancha in central Spain. This sheep’s milk cheese can have grassy flavours if it is young, the one that Charelli’s brought is middle aged and has more of a combination nutty, fruity, grassy kind of flavour. Manchego is one of my go to cheeses when I am at home.
Red – I’m partial to Garnacha with this cheese although I could be talked into a good Tempranillo or Portuguese Castelao.
Garnacha – Borsao Garnacha (Spain, $14).
Tempranillo – Masia F Tempranillo (Spain, $12)
Castelao – Ermelinda Monte de Baia (Portugal, $13)
White – My best pick would be of a Chardonnay that has a little age to it. Something from 2012. Sadly these are little harder to find.
Chardonnay – DMZ Chardonnay (South Africa, $19)
Viognier – Le Paradou Viognier (France, $15)
Beer – A Kolsch (lagered ale) would be great – Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch (Victoria, $12, 6 Pack Cans).
St. Agur is a creamy blue cheese, but not as intensely blue as traditional blue cheese. For this reason it is very versatile. It can be pretty runny which makes it great for dipping.
Aged for 60 days, this cheese has a ton of flavour which makes it a great choice for a cheese plate as it balances the more subtle cheeses.
All I can think about is Port with this cheese, but here are some everyday pairings that will also work.
Red – This cheese would love a big rich, juicy full flavoured red like an Aussie Shiraz or California Zinfandel, and for those a little more adventurous I would go Nero D’Avola or Monastrell/Mouvedre.
Aussie Shiraz – Skulls Shiraz (Australia, $20)
California Zinfandel – Paso Creek Zinfandel (California, $16)
Nero D’Avola – Cusumano Ner D’Avola (Italy, $16)
Monastrell/Mouvedre – El Petite Bonhomme (Spain, $14)
White – Big juicy, unctuous Chardonnay is the ticket.
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay – (Australia, $15)
Road 13 Stemwinder Chardonnay Blend – (BC, $16)
Beer – nice malty brew seems to be the best bet here.
Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Ale – (UK, $3, 330ml)
Gulden Draak – (Belgium, $4, 330ml)
This dutch cheese is best known for being low in fat and sodium, and that could contribute to why it is so popular, but my guess is that it is more about the fact that it may be reduced in fat and sodium but it is huge in flavour.
Cantenaar is a medium gouda that offers delightful nutty , buttery flavour.
Red – this cheese is a crowd pleaser and deserves a crowd pleasing wine to go with it.
Grenache – Gayda ‘Flying Man’ Grenache (France, $15)
White – just like the above, I would go with a versatile wine that almost everyone will love.
Prosecco – Ogio (Italy, $17)
Pinot Gris – Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)
The pairings noted above are to go with each specific cheese, which would be great but you will be left with about 12 bottles of wine to purchase which may not be to feasible, so here are a few suggestions for Mother’s Day that will work with the entire cheese plate, and are versatile crowd pleasers.
Borsao Garnacha – (Spain, $14)
Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir – (Chile, $11)
Masia F Tempranillo – (Spain, $12)
Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)
Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)
Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australian, $13)
Ogio Prosecco – (Italy, $17)
Hoyne Pilsner – (Victoria, $6, 650ml bottle)
Spinnaker’s Tour de Victoria Kolsch – (Victoria, $12, 6 Cans)
Well I hope this is helpful and that you enjoy a wonderful Mother’s Day.
the Dork UnCorked
April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
This was not today’s show, but somehow I forgot to post it last week.
Today’s show was a bit of surprise. Carol had heard about a Mommy & Me tea at the Pendray (Gastby Mansion) and it triggered memories, so we thought we would invite Jayde Eastbrook to come in and tell us about it.
Link to podcast (when available)
Segment 1 ~ The Weather & The Farmer’s Almanac
In recent weeks we have been enjoying some fantastic weather and the question on everyone’s lips was “will this continue?” and for that answer I have turned to the Farmer’s Almanac. I have found it to be a great predictor of long range forecasting.
For years I would get the long range forecast to help predict inventory needs for liquor stores.
The Farmer’s Almanac has been around a long time and has consistently delivered long range forecasts. It reputation for accuracy came close to 100 years ago when it had predicted snow in July. Turns out that a major volcanic eruption in Asia spread high level ash over the globes atmosphere causing temperatures to drop in July, which lead to snow in July. From then on Farmer’s have been turning to the Almanac. I raise a glass to the Farmer’s Almanac.
Segment 2 ~ Mommy & Me Tea (Mother’s Day, May 8)
Jayde Eastbrook joins us to talk about a unique experience that I can only imagine happens in Victoria – Mommy & Me Tea. A chance for mom’s and their kids to get dressed up and go for afternoon tea.
People have taken it to a whole new level of dressing, including Fascinators (this was news to me: huge headdress type units that Kate Middleton often wears), and all of their finery.
Chef has prepared a number of classic and unique offerings that there is something for everyone including a huge variety of teas.
Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year when it comes to restaurants so the Pendray wanted to do something unique.
If you are interested in going it is best to get reservations now. Call the Gatsby Mansion 250-381-3456 and ask to be put through to the Pendray.
Segment 3 ~ Tea Sommelier
Did you know that the Pendray has their own tea? It is a line of teas that is specifically chosen by a Tea Sommelier (Reza Nasooti). Yeah a Tea Sommelier, chooses their teas and then and only for them.
This is something that I will have to do more research on for sure.
Segment 4 ~ Aromatic Whites
With this weather and the thought of floral teas I couldn’t help but daydream about a lovely glass of aromatic white wine.
I started thinking Moscato (like fresh peach juice), Gewurztraminer (lychee nut, pears, spice) or a Riesling (pear, orange blossom).
Here are few of my favourites that you can find in the market right now.
Peter Lehmann Moscato ~ $16, Australia, Private Stores (limited stock).
Innocent Bystander ~ $18, Australia, both private and public stores.
Batasiolo Bosc Moscato ~ $21, Italy, both private and public stores.
Valckenberg Pflaz Gewurztraminer ~ $20, Germany, both public and private stores.
Gray Monk Gewurztraminer ~ $15, BC, both public and private stores.
Cono Sur Gewurztraminer ~ $10, Chile, both public and private stores.
Balthasar Ress Riesling ~ $17, Germany, both public and private stores.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling ~ $17, Washington State, both public and private stores.
Gehringer Private Reserve Riesling ~ $14, BC, both public and private stores.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Gehringer Private Reserve Riesling, $14 – truly delicious Riesling from some of BC’s oldest vines.
Tune in Sat. April 30, 2016 For the Mother’s Day Show – Beer, Wine & Cheese Selections for Mom
April 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
Spring is here. We have enjoyed a phenomenal week of sunshine and temperatures around 20C. As the season changes so do our behaviours. Our behaviours when it comes to consumption and what our day to day looks like.
Typically when sun is out we stay up later, get up earlier and start to eat fresher foods and do more grilling. Today’s show is all about wines for a ‘Spring’ lifestyle.
Segment 1 ~ Is Wine A Part of A Healthy Lifestyle?
I maybe a little biased but I believe that it is. There are reams of studies suggesting moderate consumption is actually healthier than abstinence and certainly healthier than heavy consumption. But what does moderate consumption mean? The answer to this question is the sticking point.
In North America 1 glass of wine a day for the average person (height & weight), whereas in Denmark moderate consumption is considered 4-5 glasses a day. My belief is that this points to the fact that science hasn’t been able to separate wine consumption from other elements of a culture’s lifestyle.
I do love the stories about the 110 year old Greek man or Italian woman who swears up and down that drinking 4-5 bottles of wine a day is the secret to a long life. I suspect that the truth is not just in the quantity but in the process.
Consider that in Greece and Italy most of the food is without preservatives. Also consider that lunch and dinner are integral to the culture, communal and done slowly over hours. In contrast, North America is famous for a ‘quick’ bite at the desk or shoving some food in prior to taking the kids to ballet/soccer/hockey class.
I believe that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a smile, exercise, clean food and a pace that allows one to consider the beauty of the people, surroundings and food they are enjoying at the moment.
Quick Note on Vintages
This is an exciting time of year for us dorks as the new vintages of whites and rosés from the Northern Hemisphere, and all from the Southern Hemisphere are starting to appear. What makes this spring so exciting is because it sees the arrival of the 2015 vintage. The world over this vintage is said to be one of the best. Some of the wines below may have transitioned already.
Segment 2 ~ Red Wines For Spring
In spring we tend to get out of the kitchen and on the BBQ and that typically means more grilled meats, salads and fruits. To that end here are some red wines that pair well with Spring because they are a little light in body, are a little brighter on the palate and offer fresh fruit flavours instead of stewed or cooked fruit flavours.
Borsao 2014 Garnacha – $15, Grenache, Spanish Section of the Store and available in both public and private stores (2014 review to follow, click here to see 2013 review).
Ermelinda Monte da Baia 2014 – $12, Castelao-Touriga Nacional-Syrah, Portuguese section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).
Cono Sur Bicicleta 2014 Pinot Noir – $14, Pinot Noir, Chilean section of the store and available in both public and private stores (click here to see review).
Segment 3 ~ White Wines For Spring
Halibut season is upon us and just around the corner is Spot Prawn season. Anyway you look at Spring means more fish in our diets along with more fruits and vegetables. Here are some white wines under $20 that are brilliant with Spring fare.
Campogrande 2014 Orvieto – $17 Trebbiano, Italian section of the store, and only available in private stores (click here to see review).
Lindemans Bin 65 2015 Chardonnay – $13 Chardonnay, Australian section of the store, available in both public and private stores (click here for review).
Aveleda 2014 Vinho Verde – $17, Loureiro-Trajadura-Arinto, Portuguese section of the store and only available in private stores (2014 review to follow; click here for 2013 review).
Segment 4 ~ Rosé Wines for Spring
Did you know that Rosé is the fastest growing category between red, white and pink wines. It is a category that is finally coming into its own and truly provides the flavour essence of Spring.
Mocojo Long Stem 2014 Rosé – $18, Pinot Meunier-Pinot Noir, BC section of the store and available only in private stores (click here to see review).
Quill 2014 Rosé – $18, Gamay Noir, Vancouver Island section of the store and available only in private stores. (click here to see review).
Cazes de L’Ostal 2015 Rosé – $15, Grenache, French section of the store and available mostly in public stores right now (click here to see review).
Best Buy of the Week – Ermelinda Monte da Baia – see above for detail and click here to see the review.
the Dork UnCorked
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.
March 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
Grenache is the ‘International Man of Mystery’ of the wine world. Dashing, attractive, can handle himself in every situation, known by many names, is global, and is a part of some of the biggest stories of the year.
Today’s show is all about Grenache and includes some recommendations from France, Spain and Australia as well as some key food pairings.
Link to Podcast (when available).
Raise A Glass – Grenache.
The BC Hospitality Foundation (www.bchospitalityfoundation.com) dedicates themselves to support members of the hospitality industry whether it is help to meet financial obligations when illness strikes, or in the form of scholarships to assist in the on going study of the industry from service, culinary and beverage. I know the the founders and they have been industry leaders for decades. Their intentions are pure and the effects have been life changing – Cheers
BC Hydro Emergency Crews – this week saw the strongest winds that I can remember. Numerous power outages hit the South Island and magically within hours the power was back. The skill it must take to get into a bucket, be pushed into the teeth of the wind, remove branches or repair live wires, is truly amazing. Cheers.
Segment 1 ~ The Story of Grenache
I firmly believe that Grenache will be the ‘it’ wine of 2016/17. First it is planted all over the world and there is an ocean of awesome wine produced each year, meaning great wine can be gotten for low prices.
Second it a grape that is often overlooked but forms the backbone of some of the world’s most sought after wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape and Priorat.
Third its taste profile. Ripe juicy fruit flavours that range from black and blueberry, through raspberry and currant depending on where it is from. Spice and savoury herb flavours and a delightfully soft texture owing to the fact that Grenache has naturally low tannin levels (low pucker).
Combine these three facts and you have the makings of a Grenache Tsunami.
Grenache is known by multiple names depending on the country it is grown in. Grenache is most common, but in Spain it is Garnacha, Portugal it is Alicante Bouschet, and Cannonau in Italy.
Although the true origin of Grenache is not known, it is said that it originated on Sardinia and replanted throughout the Kingdom of Aragon which stretches from the Spanish Pyrenees down to Valencia. What’s interesting is that Sardinia, around the same time that Grenache was transplanted to the Spanish mainland, was under the control of the Kingdom of Aragon.
Segment 2 ~ Grenache in Gaul, The Kingdom of Charlemagne, Home of the Franks, otherwise known as France.
Grenache is widely planted throughout Southern France and centered in Languedoc Roussillon, Provence, and all through the Southern Rhone valley including being the backbone of Chateauneuf du Pape.
Each unique region shows its own flavours of Grenache but for the most, Grenache from France features more of the juicy blackberry and blueberry fruit flavours and tends to show more black and white pepper than do Spanish or Australian versions.
Here are a couple of wines that truly over deliver for their prices.
Mas Janeil – $19.99, blend of mostly Grenache, but also has some Carignan and Syrah (full review to follow).
Gayda ‘Flying Man’ 2014 Grenache – $14-$15, 100% Grenache and super juicy! (click here to see full review).
Paul Mas Grenache Noir – $13, 100% Grenache (click here to see review).
Cote Mas – $13, Mostly Grenache, with some Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre as well (click here to see full review).
La Bastide – $11, Mostly Grenache with some Syrah. (click here to see review).
Segment 3 ~ Garnacha in Iberia, Hispania, Espana, also known as Spain.
The Kingdom of Aragon was at the height of it’s power in the 14th and 15th centuries and included most of Spain, much of the southern coast of France and the island Corsica and Sardinia. I mention this as it is said that Garnacha originated in Sardinia (known as Connanau in Sardinia), and was transplanted by Aragon royalty in Spain.
Garnacha is used in Rioja, Ribero de Deuro, Navarra, La Mancha, Somantano, but it is the main grape in areas of Calatayud, Carinena and Campo de Borja.
Again, depending on the region you will find differences in the taste profile, however Spanish Garnacha shows ripe raspberry, cherry and currant fruit flavours along with savoury herbs like Thyme, Sage and Rosemary.
Here are some recommendations of Spanish Garnacha that over deliver for their price.
Campo de Borja 5G – $16 (full review to follow).
Borsao – $13 (click here for full review).
Castillo de Monseran Old Vines Garnacha – $12 (click here to see review).
Segment 4 ~ Grenache in the World
Grenache loves long, hot, dry summers so it has flourished in places like California, parts of Chile and Argentina, but perhaps where it is most comfortable is in Australia.
In the 1800’s there was mass emigration from Europe. A number of these emigres took with them their food and wine culture in hopes of transplanting them in their new home. Numerous Italians and Spanish emigrated to the area now known as South Australia and immediately planted Grenache. In fact some of the oldest Grenache in the world can be found in the Barossa and Riverland areas of Australia.
You have all heard of Penfold’s and its iconic wine Grange. Grange now fetches close to $1000/bottle, but it wouldn’t have been if it were not for Grenache.
Rawson Penfold first planted Grenache upon his arrival and built a business based on port like wines (the naturally high alcohols that come from Grenache made it ideal for this purpose). If it wasn’t for the success of his Grenache based ports, the world would be without the Penfold’s brand and Grange.
Here are just a couple of Grenache and Grenache dominated wines for Australia that won’t break the bank and show fantastic quality.
McPherson ‘the Dish’ Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre – $15 (full review to follow).
Rosemount Grenache-Shiraz – $13 (full review to follow).
Segment 5 ~ Food Pairings for Grenache
Grenache is a wedding planners dream. It is one of the most food versatile wines on the market. It goes with spicy foods (higher alcohols work as a solvent for hot spice), it loves roasted poultry, lamb, anything encrusted with savoury herbs, paté…. and the list goes on.
I highly recommend having any of the wines above with Roast Lamb with Moroccan spices, Korean Ginger Beer, Indian Butter Chicken and roasted Turkey.
Best Buy of the Week – La Bastide 2014 (click here for full review)
the Dork UnCorked
PS- below is a link to the Wine Folly book on Amazon. Yes this is an affiliate program and it helps us keep the blog going, having said that I highly recommend this book and use it myself. It is colourful easy to read book that you can have a resource. Enjoy.
February 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Second in the series that pairs wines under $20 with cheese that you likely have in your fridge. In Part Un we covered Cheddar, Parmesan and Flavoured Goat Cheese (in case you missed it, here is a link to Part Un). In Part Deux we get into Gouda, Brie and Swiss Cheese.
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Royal Bay Bakery – Royal Bay Bakery can be found at the corner of Lagoon Road and Metchosin Rd in lovely Colwood. From the outside it looks like any other bakery but it is truly the people that make and have made the difference.
David & Gwen opened the Barkery 19 years ago and have made a commitment to local, organic ingredients (they grow all their own herbs) and have been at the forefront of solar power in Victoria. Oh, and the goods they craft are extremely good. Stay away from the jelly donuts and there never seems to be enough to satisfy my craving.
Royal Bay Bakery is also where I buy my coffee beans and that leads me to the second shout out – 2% Jazz Coffee.
Sam Jones is the vibrant and gregarious proprietor and has been operating 2% Jass since 1996 and now has two locations (click the link above for details). His roasts are balanced and wonderfully aromatic. A simple shot of his espresso and a jelly donut and everything is right with the world.
Segment 2 ~ Wine For That Hunk of Gouda
Gouda, like most cheeses, has a wide range of flavours, however for our purposes I have focussed on the mild Gouda which, when I talk to the Cheesemongers, is the most popular of the Gouda family.
Mild Gouda is softer than parmesan meaning there is more moisture left in the cheese and it has a mild, nutty flavour that makes it very versatile.
The best red wine options for Mild Gouda are juicy wines with dark and red fruit flavours. Tannins should be mild and the finish should be juicy with a kiss of black pepper spice. To that end seek out either Aussie Shiraz or Languedoc Grenache. Here are two that I think offer the best bang for the buck when it comes to working with Gouda.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz (Australia) – $18
Three Winds 2009 Grenache (France) – $14
Over the years I have found that one varietal consistently works the best with mild Gouda and that is Riesling. In particular I recently found two BC Rieslings that were spectacular with Mild Gouda.
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Riesling (BC VQA) – $12
Gehringer Brother’s Private Reserve Riesling (BC VQA) – $14
Segment 3 ~ Brie
Brie is perhaps the cheese most associated with wine. It seems to be in every photo of wine and cheese and is easily the most common ‘special’ cheese. Creamy, sometimes nutty, but often buttery, Brie loves wines that have ripe fruit flavours and silky finishes. Here are a couple of recommendations from what is currently on the market.
Sibaris Pinot Noir (Chile) – $13
Paul Mas Grenache Noir (France) – $12
In terms of white wines, Brie has a special affinity for Chardonnay. Have you ever had a wedge of Granny Smith Apple with some Brie. Truly outstanding! Granny Smith Apple is a classic flavour in cool climate Chardonnay (BC, Ontario, Central Coast California, Chablis France, New Zealand & Coastal Chile).
On of my favourite Sunday morning breakfasts is fresh, flaky butter croissant and room temperature Brie with maybe some apple wedge or fresh strawberries if they are in season. Fresh pastry like Brioche, or Buttered Toast coupled with flavours of apple or pear (strawberry if you like Rosé Sparkling), are classic Champagne and Sparkling Wine made with Chardonnay, flavours.
I guess this is a long way to say that Chardonnay and Sparkling wines made with Chardonnay are fantastic with Brie. Let the Brie warm up so that it is creamy and you will be well rewarded.
Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay (BC) – $21, available in private stores only.
Grove Ridge Chardonnay (California) – $14, available in private stores only.
Segment 4 ~ Swiss Cheese/Emmental
Swiss Cheese is a little harder than Gouda and has a more distinct flavour. I particularly love wines with ripe, sweet fruit, a round silky texture and a little spice on the finish.
Simple Life Pinot Noir (California) – $14, available exclusively at government stores.
Mark West Pinot Noir (California) – $18, available in both private and government stores.
Cono Sur Viognier (Chile) – $13, available in both private and government stores.
Best Buy of The Week ~ Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio (Italy) – $15 available in private and government stores.
If there is anything that you would like us to cover on the show please let us know by dropping us a line either in the comments here, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at DorkUncorked or on Twitter @dorkuncorked.
the Dork UnCorked
February 6, 2016 § 1 Comment
What are you going to do for Valentine’s Day this year? Share a romantic morsel or two at home after the kids go to bed. Perhaps enjoy an evening with some chocolate and a glass of wine? Maybe you are planning on going out for dinner. Episode 15 is all about Valentine’s Day, the best wine values for the occasions above.
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Vancouver International Wine Festival – Feb. 20-28, 2016
The Vancouver International Wine Festival is the largest and best attended this side of the Missippi. Harry Hertsheg and his team put on a phenomenal week that includes tasting seminars, winemaker’s dinners and, of course, massive tastings for both consumers and trade.
There will be close to 200 wineries participating which give you a chance to taste over 800 wines.
Click on the link above for details.
Wine Folly – The Essential Guide to Wine by Madelaine Puckette and Justin Hammack
This book is a colourful and easy to follow guide to wine that is used by the trade and those looking to get a greater understanding on the world of wine. I highly recommend it.
Segment 2 ~ Wine & Chocolate
It may seem counter intuitive to pair chocolate with wine, but the right pairing can make the sirens sing.
A classic wine pairing for chocolate is a Port of Tawny Port.
For a Tawny Port look for the Penfolds Club 24 from Australia. About $22/bottle and only found in private stores it is a great value. If you like Fruit & Nut, Almond or Hazelnut infused chocolate, this combination is a winner. Another fantastic option is the Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Old Tawny ($37)
Chocolate seems to have been made for port. A couple of Port’s that over deliver for the price are the Quinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage ($27/bottle) and the Graham’s 6 Grapes ($24/bottle).
Port and Tawny Port are fortified wines which mean they higher alcohol levels than table wines, so if you are looking for some pairing for some table wines lets start with those that go best with Dark Chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Pairing
Dark Chocolate loves Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinotage (hybrid grape of Pinot Noir and Cinsault).
Here are some of my faves for Dark Chocolate that are currently available:
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) – $18 available in most government and private stores.
Pey La Tour Bordeaux (France) – $18 available in most government and private stores.
The Den Pinotage (South Africa) – $14 available in private stores only.
For milk chocolate I tend towards juicier wines with soft tannin and a sweeter finish. Although the best pairing for Milk Chocolate is a Port. Here are a couple of table wines for your pleasure.
Apothic Red (California) – $16 available in both private and public stores.
Dream Wines Red Blend (California) – $17 available in both private and public stores.
Segment 3 ~ Special Wines Just for the Two Of You
I know the purpose of the blog is to find the best values under $20, but sometimes you just want to share a special bottle of wine, and Valentine’s Day seems to be the perfect occasion to share something special with someone special. Here are a few choices.
The Colour of Valentines- Rosé
Blue Grouse 2014 Rosé ($18) is made right here on Vancouver Island and is truly a great find.
Celebrate with Bubble
One of the most romantic wines on the market is the Veuve Cliquot (just have your partner say the name and you will know what I mean) – $75 Sparkling Wine or Champagne Section in both public and private stores.
If $75 is out of your price range try the Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay ($22), made in the Okanagan and one of the best Sparkling wines on the market. Available in private stores only.
The King of Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon is perhaps the most noble of the noble grapes and here are a couple that are sure to please when the light do down low.
Beringer Knight Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $35 – California section in both public and private stores.
Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $25-$30 – BC VQA section found in only select government and private stores.
Segment 4 ~ What To Expect When You Are Dining Out On Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest of the year so if you are thinking of a quiet, slow paced meal, I’m afraid that likely isn’t going to happen. Restaurants will be crowded and to that end many restaurants use a seating system for Valentine’s Day.
Usually the seatings are at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. The most romantic and leisurely paced is the 9pm.
If you are planning on going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, then you should call now.
Here are some classic venues here in Victoria that have fantastic food, a romantic ambience and great wine lists.
Il Terrazzo (click the link for details) – Italian inspired. Incredible Wine List, for the best choice let Rob or your server help you make a choice.
Brasserie L’Ecole (click link for details) – French, Belgian inspired. Outstanding Wine List, for the best choice ask Mark.
Cafe Brio (click link for details) – Mediterranean inspired. Fantastic wine lists, for the best choice check with Greg.
Camilles (Click link for details) – West Coast inspired with a huge BC wine list.
Zambris (Click link for details) – Italian inspired with a brilliant wine list. Each server is well trained on the best wine for each dish, but if you can, ask for Frances.
In addition to the above here are a few other great options that you may not have thought of.
Spinnaker’s Gastro Pub – one of the best settings in the city and it is home to the Spinnaker’s Brewery.
Bodega – one my favourite places to steal away for a romantic morsel or two. Spanish tapas with a totally Spanish wine list.
Bubby’s Kitchen – this wonderful neighbourhood bistro in Cook Street Village has a great wine list (Ca Montebello Barbera is a true jewel) and awesome food.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Paul Mas Grenache Noir
This wine is truly a steal at $11. Generous fruit, well balanced and well made, but best suited to have a nibbly with a glass or have it with dinner.
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 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
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 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I say the word Shiraz what do you think of? Probably Yellow Tail right? I have a very clear recollection of the Aussie wave that hit our shores in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Every Shiraz coming into the market seemed to fit a very thin taste spectrum. I remember thinking that could be a big mistake. As it turned out, like most things, people tired of the same flavour and body and started to migrate to Malbec thus insuring the rapid decline of Australian wine fortunes in BC.
The fact is that only those Shiraz’s manufactured to taste the same year after year do. 99% of Shiraz made in Australia is not manufactured and actually reflects the region and winery it comes from.
I know that the Grey Label is outside of the $20 but holy crap does it represent a great value. Close your eyes here comes some dorky terms – very well balanced, bright acidity, dense flavours and aromas from start to finish. This is the whole package and thoroughly enjoyable.
Price ~ $29-$33
Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy
Unscrew the cap and let this wine breathe for a few minutes (10-15) and you will be well rewarded. Stick your nose right in the glass and take a deep breathe. What you will notice is the scent of blueberry, blackberry, ripe plum, black cherry, black pepper, violets, lavender, and just a hint of cured meat. I know, I know it seems like there couldn’t be all that, but there is.
The palate is bright yet full and ripe and the finish is juicy with just a kiss of spice and sultry smoke.
Grapes ~ 100% Shiraz
Store Section ~ Australia
Availability ~ Both government and private stores.
Food ~ Roasted or grilled lamb, Duck, even Turkey, Aged Cheddar.
Acknowledgements: Stacey Brennan, Pam Sanderson, Ernest Sargent, Brianna Kirby, Jami Wood, Karin Kallio, Angela Phillips, Patti Raffle.
the Dork UnCorked