Pick of the Week & Election Issue Part 1

April 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

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DorkUncorked Podcast Election Issue Part 1

We could have chatted for sometime as we really didn’t get o deep into some of the issues, but one thing was clear is that Mr. Yap, BC Liberal MLA for Richmond-Steveston, an MLA for the supposed free enterprise party, staunchly supports continuing the current hybrid retail system and problematic distribution system.

For those that have listened to the show over the last year or so, you know that I strongly believe that fixing distribution is key to long term liquor reform and the creation of a truly level playing field.

The current system that supports the LDB’s monopoly on the distribution of imported wines, beers & spirits, is broken. By broken I mean costing the government $300M/year in lost taxes because of unfulfilled orders.

How to fix it is remarkably simple, but first let’s look at the biggest problem to solve – capacity.

The current distribution centres we built to handle $1B/annum of volume. 2017 will see $3B in volume go through. What this means is that some orders just can’t get filled because there is no space to accommodate the stock needed. So what was the LDB/BC Liberal solution. Spend $1B in building a larger facility in Delta.

The fact is that all the BC Liberals had to do was to pass an order in council that allowed suppliers to choose their distributor. There are a number of private & bonded distributors that are nowhere near capacity and would gladly take on the extra work. Not all suppliers would move, but a good number would because they value the 10% growth they automatically get.

Secondly this would speed up delivery times. No longer would a product ordered by a store in Richmond have to leave the bonded warehouse (ContainerWorld, Hillebrand) in Richmond, go to the LDB warehouse in Vancouver, only to be shipped to the store in Richmond.

Third, and this is the bonus, the government would not have to re-purpose any workers at the LDB Warehouse. The only thing that would change is that they have the capacity to fill the orders they get.

There are other things that such a change would involve and I would be happy to share those if you like. Drop me a line at dorkuncorked@gmail.com.

Pick Of The Week

Paul Mas Valmont Rouge 1L

In October I took a couple of bottles of the Paul Mas Valmont Blanc to Mom and Dad’s for Thanksgiving dinner and they were a big hit, so when I saw the Rouge version, I thought I would give it a whirl and I am very glad that I did.

This blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah shows classic Languedoc aromas and flavours of black cherry, plums, dried herbs and black pepper spice.

This is a medium bodied wine that is very well balanced. What that means is that the flavour, the body and finish all worked together. It wasn’t flabby, or light, or short or tannic and bitter. It showed fresh ripe fruit, savoury spices with a delightfully fruit filled finish.

I would, and will, pair this with roasted chicken, and beef stews. As for cheese, go with a Gruyere or Ementhal.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Carignan, Syrah

Country of Origin ~ France

Region ~ Languedoc

Price ~ $11.79 1L

Score ~ 8.5/10 – Over Delivers

Purchased At ~ BC Liquor Store Langford

Jas du Lauzon 2015 Luberon

April 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

One of the my favourite things to do when in the ‘wine store’ is to scour the shelves in the 279968_jas-du-lauzon-luberon-reddark corners. Every store has them and the typical retailer places slow-moving items there.

I find that this is also where you find some great deals, and that is how I came across this weeks wonderful find.

As most of you know I have a great love for Grenache and Grenache blends, so when I saw the Jas du Lauzon languishing in a dark corner of the Cascadia Uptown store, it was a match made in heaven. It was also only $14.99 so it seemed to me that it was must try.

It pours almost black in the glass and has aromas of ripe raspberries, stewed plums, blueberry and black pepper spice.

The palate showed richness, and supple depth with a fresh fruit and spice finish.

Given that most of the time any purchase I make has to stretch across 2-3 meals, a great wine, for me, needs to be food versatile, and this one fit the bill nicely. I had this with Paella one night, chicken the next and finally homemade pizza, and in all cases the wine worked really well, and hence I grade this one as a great buy and it over delivers for the price.

Price ~ $14.99

Blend ~ Grenache, Syrah

Country of Origin ~ France

Region ~ Luberon (Southern Rhone/Provence)

Score ~ 8.2/10

Label ~ Over Delivers!

Purchased at ~ Cascadia Uptown

If you have any questions or feedback, let me know – dorkuncorked@gmail.com

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Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé

June 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Domaine de PellehaudHave you ever watched the move My Summer In Provence? Every scene that involves a meal has a bottle of Rosé. It makes perfect sense because Rosé can be incredibly refreshing and wonderfully versatile. In fact Rosé goes with a broader spectrum of foods than does white (I know I know I am generalizing). So when the temperature rises to above 20C and the grass starts to bleach out, I get a craving for rosé.

As I strolled through my local wine shop I saw a signficant increase in the number of rosés from Provence, which is classic. Prices ranged from $15-$25 which is what I expected, but then I say a lonely wine from Gascogne. Not your typical rosé hotbed and you know how I love to find great values where they are unexpected, so I grabbed a bottle of the Domaine de Pellehaut 2015 Rosé.

Price ~ $18.99

Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers

If you follow me on Instagram (rod_phillips) you no doubt saw the photo I took of the wine. The colour is a deep rose, and the nose shows bright fruit of strawberry, raspberry. and currants, while the palate is fresh, alive and bursting with finesse and elegance. The finish shows all the fruit and is dry. It is not possible to not want more of this wine, as evidenced by my instagram photo. This is a highly shareable wine and my recommendation would be to have 6-10 bottles kicking around for when friends drop by as one will not be enough.

Grapes ~ I had to do some research for this one as the label doesn’t really tell you anything. Tannat, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Private Stores only

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva

June 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Albas de Los InfantesOne of the things about the wine business is that it is a business of passion. I can tell you there isn’t a lot of money in it, and if you were to ask anyone involved they are not in it for the money, they are in it because they love it. So it is sad when you hear that a talented, passionate importer has decided to pack up and move to a different industry because he can’t make ends meet. The silver lining however is that he has reduced the prices on a number of products in his portfolio. Including the Alba de los Infantes 2009 Gran Reserva.

For those that don’t know for a Spanish wine to be called Gran Reserva is must be aged 2 years in barrel and further 3 years in bottle. What this means is that the wine grower and the wine maker saw something in the quality of the grapes and resulting wine that was special. So special that they decided to assume the added cost of a min. 5 years of ageing.

Typically the price for a Gran Reserva wine from Spain starts at the $22 mark and goes up, way up from there. So when the importer told me what the ‘clearance’ price was I started to salivate. It took a while for me to find some bottles in stores, but when I did I was over the moon.

It is not too often that a wine gets a Best Buy rating from me, as it truly needs to punch well above its weight to do so, but this is one.

Price ~ $12.99

Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy

It may only be $13 but please let it breathe for at least 30 minutes. If you do you will be rewarded.

The colour is a dark red/purple and the nose shows bright red and blue berries, with some spice and leather.

The palate shows a ton of fresh fruit, while the texture is supple and richly textured. The finish shows generous berry and black tree fruits along with some sensuous savoury spices.

I know that I will be buying this by the case.

This weekend all the dad’s in the family will be enjoying a barbeque, and that is exactly what I would recommend for this wine. Slow roasted ribs, grilled meats, chicken. This would also be a delight with some medium aged cheeses right up to some top quality manchego.

Grapes ~ Tempranillo, Garancha

Store Location ~ Spain

Availability ~ Limited to private stores. I got mine from Spinnaker’s James Bay.

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Beer Of The Week: Gulden Draak

May 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gulden DraakI recall a time when I thought beer either can in a bottle with a blue label or a bottle with a red label. In fact there was a time that, like in politics, families were either Labatt Blue or Molson Canadian families. Those times have long since past and the diversity in beer choices rivals that of wine choices.

At the beginning of the craft beer renaissance there was a lot of talk about Belgian beers and Belgian brewing. It was at this time I was introduced to the multi-time World Beer Champion – Gulden Draak.

Price ~ $4.00 (330ml), $8-$10 (750ml)

Score ~ 9.1 Best Buy

Right away you can tell that you are not dealing with your run of the mill brew. At 10.8% alcohol it is a bit of a monster that pours dark brown in the glass. The nose shows caramel and Christmas cake, with generous malty greatness. The palate is big and broad. Caramel, toffee, candied fruit and nuts dominate the flavours, while the finish makes you think of the holidays and is dry.

As much as the above breaks things down, I think the beauty of this beer is in the whole package. There is a whole lot going on and it is all really enjoyable.

I went to the Van Steenberge website and found a very cool looking cocktail of all things – replace the Irish Whisky in an Irish Coffee with Gulden Draak. This is now on my list of things to do.

As for food pairings, this would be ideal with stews, hearty meat based pastas, smoked cheeses, and, yes chocolate.

 

Cheers

Dork UnCorked

Chateau Pesquie 2013 Terrases Rouge

May 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Chateau Pesquie TerrassesIt is amazing what the combination of proper merchandising and the feeling of optimism can do.

I was in one of my local shops the other day when I got a call from a potential client. This is a company I have been working on for the last 6 months. Finally the call came in that they we were coming on board. That added a little kick in my step and so almost automatically my budget went up. You know the feeling. That celebratory sense, even if it was only a small victory. Initially I was looking for something in the $12-$15 range, with this news I felt justified to go to $18.

I wandered through the BC, Californian, Chilean and Spanish section and nothing really grabbed my attention. I turned the corner and the Chateau Pesquie caught my eye. Not because of the packaging as that is a little dull, but because it comes from a region that just tastes like optimism and blue skies. It was also on sale making it almost irresistible.

Price ~ $19 ($18 on sale)

Score: 8.4 Over Delivers (7.8 at $19)

The wine pours the colour of blackberry and blueberry juice and nose shows savoury spices, black fruits, plums and red berries. The palate is at once elegant and full with big rich flavours, even a little bacon in the finish… just a little. There is a ton of complexity on the palate and as the wine lingers it seems to unfold, or blossom, to reveal more layers of flavour.

This wine comes from the sunny slopes of Mount Ventoux. If you were to spend some time in the region you would notice that the air is filled with the scent of peppery spices, but in the evening the peppery scent is joined by the lovely gentle whisps of BBQ, which is perfect because this wine is so incredibly suited to grilling.

Pair this wine with grilled meats of all stripes. Rubs of savoury spices are heavenly.

Grapes ~ Grenache, Syrah

Store Section ~ France

Availability ~ Both private and public stores.

Cheers

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.

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Beer of The Week May 7-13: Bridge Brewing Lemon Gin Saison

May 7, 2016 § 1 Comment

Bridge Lemon GinAlways looking to improve on the offerings here, I have enlisted some of the most respected palates in the Craft Beer world to provide a Beer of the Week Each Week.

This week features Jami Wood of Spinnaker’s Spirit Merchants in James Bay.

For Jami this beer was so good that it inspired her to bake a cake with the beer being a key ingredient.

Pick of the Week: Bridge Brewing Lemon Gin Saison

Format: 650ml

Price: $7-$8/650ml

Availability: Private Stores only; very limited stock available – get it now!

Tasting Notes/Technical Info: Brewed with the addition of juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, and pink peppercorns, and fermented with a French Saison Yeast, this beer is unique and super drinkable. Juniper, used in moderation, emphasizes the gin flavours, while coriander adds depth and complexity. The saison yeast used expresses peppery, spicy and citrusy notes, which play well with the lemon zest and pink peppercorn.

ABV 5.5% IBU 24

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Mommy & Me Tea: Show Notes Episode 25

April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

Pendray-Logo-Black-Gold-rgb-300x205This 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.

Moscato

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.

Gewurztraminer 

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.

Riesling

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

 

Grenache – 2016’s ‘Wow’ Wine: Show Notes Episode 21

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)

Cheers

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.

Wine Folly Image

Campogrande Orvieto

February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment

I was chattiSanta Cristina Campograndeng 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.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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