February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
Craft Distilling is growing faster than blossoms are blooming on Victoria’s Cherry Trees so we thought we might bring in our Spirits Correspondent and all round Encyclopedia of all things distilled, Shawn Soole.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, you must put Ca Va Bistro Moderne on your list of places to dine in Victoria. Intimate, delicious, relaxed and all round fantastic. I raise a glass to Fauna Martin and the team at Ca Va Bistro Moderne.
I raise a second glass to Spring in Victoria. While the rest of the country continues to shovel out their driveways, we are blessed with watching the blossoms come out.
For the last shout out this week, I raise a pint to Ken Beattie, Executive Director of the BC Craft Brewers Guild. As we all know Craft Brewing has grown at an amazing pace and is now an integral part of the Liquor industry in BC. Managing to aggregate new, rapidly expanding and established breweries is no small feat, but Ken has done a masterful job and we are all better for it.
“What about the Legs of a Wine?”
For years taking careful attention to notice the ‘legs’ of a wine was a part of every sommelier’s training. The legs are the glycerine droplets that run down the side of the glass after swirling a wine. They are also known Church Windows.
The idea was that the legs would tell you about the texture, body and mouthfeel of the wine. The bigger and slower the legs the heavier the wine. I no longer include a review of the legs as it seems redundant and is dependent on the quality of the detergent used to clean the glasses. To get a sense of the body, texture and mouthfeel of a wine I rely on my palate and that seems to do the trick.
Thanks for the emails and questions, please keep them coming.
Segment 2 ~ Craft Distilled Whisky
The Craft Distilling industry is growing by leaps and bounds and that means locally made whisky’s.
The challenge is finding them as it takes time and patience to create a quality whisky, they need a minimum of 3 years ageing, and to that end there are very few that are available, and most can only be gotten through the distilleries mailing list.
Here is a list of a few of the island distilleries making whisky:
In order to get some of the Whisky’s mentioned on the show follow the links below to get on the mailing list or lottery.
Segment 3 ~ Brandy & Eau de Vie
There was a lot covered in this segment so I highly recommend downloading the podcast. Here are a couple of links to producers of brandy here in BC.
Segment 4 ~ Liqueur
Liqueur made here in BC is still hard to find, but there are some stunning examples that are harbingers of what the future will bring. Below are links to some of these products.
Best Buy of the Week – Santa Cristina Campogrande Orvieto ($17)
Classic Italian white wine that is fruit forward and delicious. Brilliant with shellfish, light pastas.
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Stay tuned as next week we get into what it means to be a Craft Distillery, Craft Vodka and the wonderful and exploding world of Craft Gin.
February 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
I was chatting with a colleague in Vancouver, and inevitably the conversation turns to the weather. We have enjoyed a beautiful week and as my colleague said “the sun comes
out and people are nice, happy and greet you on the street.” This conversation inspired me to go a pick up a bottle of one of my all time fave ‘happy and greet you on the street’ type of wines, the Campogrande Orvieto.
The Campogrande Orvieto is a white wine which comes out of the Orvieto region of Umbria in Central Italy. It is a blend of Grechetto (Gre – ketto) and Trebbiano. Strangely if we were to turn the clock back 5 -10 years not only would I be able to bound up the stairs, but 90% of all the Italian white wines on the shelf would have been either a Trebbiano or a Trebbiano blend, like Orvieto.
Orvieto, like Trebbiano and Gavi have mostly been pushed out of the market in favour of a plethora of lifeless Pinot Grigios. Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of great Pinot Grigio’s on the shelf, but there are just too many wines capitalizing on the popularity of PG and are pushing out truly awesome wines like those of the Orvieto.
Price ~ $16-$17
Score ~ 8.1 Over Delivers
The Campogrande, actually Santa Cristina Campogrande, should be served just chilled, not cold, to showcase the wonderful melon, bartlett pear, hints of citrus and minerality. The nose is a little shy at first and that is how you will know that the wine is too cold. If you don’t get the generous aromas, then it is too cold.
The palate is crisp and refreshing and just feels good in the mouth. So good that it might be difficult to only have one glass. The finish shows more of the minerality and just a kiss of melon.
Pair this wine with light pastas, caprese salad with Arugula, and simply grilled prawns or scallops, this is also an awesome choice with a classic Ceviche.
Grapes ~ Grechetto, Trebbiano
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ Private stores only.
If you do get the opportunity to try this wine, please let me know what you think.
the Dork UnCorked
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
In episode 17 we work to answer a number of questions as posted by you to either our blog, Facebook page, Twitter or email. Shout Outs, How To Taste Like A Pro, Best Apps, Carol’s Question and Best Buy of the Week. Enjoy and let us know what you think.
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Street Cleaners – I’m a cyclist and at this time of the year the streets are grimy and the bike lanes filled with debris from the passing traffic. I raise a glass to those who clean the streets as it is amazing how a clean street can be the difference between a great day and an awful one.
Super Bowl 50 – In the days following the big game Sopexa, the international Communication and Marketing Agency that handles the Wines of France, published some very interesting stats. Super Bowl 50 was the event that saw the most significant one day increase in wine consumption in the last number of years. I raise a glass to those who have contributed to making this event more than just a game, but an event that brings family and friends together.
Karyn Stewart – Call any liquor store or restaurant around town, call her peers and you will all hear the same thing. Karyn is one of the best reps of all time and Mark Anthony Brands is very lucky to have her. The difference is that she is a great listener and very smart. All too often reps believe its their job to deliver a diatribe about how great their product is. Karyn, by contrast listens to the buyer and pinpoints their needs and advocates on their behalf. I raise a glass to Karyn Stewart for her incredible ability to build relationships and let them blossom.
John, Greg, Amelia, Tamarra & Paul – I raise a glass to each of you for your questions, please keep them coming. In fact it is your questions that forms the body of today’s show.
Segment 2 ~ How To Taste Like A Pro
I get lots of questions about how to taste a wine like a pro. For the most part the nature of the question is ‘how do you taste all those things in wine?’ There is a technique that will bring out more of the character and flavour of any wine. To really see the difference you will need to have 2 glasses.
First the Swirl.
Pour a couple of ounces of your wine into each of two glasses.
Take one of the glasses, remember which glass, and swirl the wine around in the glass. Now pick up the non-swirl glass and take a big whiff. Now take the swirl glass and take a big whiff. See that? There is more in the swirl glass right? You are going to do the same thing with tasting.
Take the non-swirl glass and take a sip as you usually would. Now take the swirl glass and take a sip but hold it in your mouth, swirl it around and now take a breathe in through your mouth (purse your lips and breathe in), then swallow or spit. What did you notice? You likely got more of the flavour, texture and finish of the wine. If you do that with every sip you will notice how the wine changes with time and air.
Segment 3 – Best Apps for Wine & Beer
Thanks to Greg and Amelia for asking ‘what are the best apps for wine and beer?’
For me there are too many apps that do the same thing so for recording what I taste there are two that I use. One of which, I’m sure many of you already use – Evernote. I use this the most as it allows me to take a picture of the label and make some simple notes about the wine. Then I tag the post with where I tasted it, the region the wine is from, it’s colour and grape(s). This allows me to go back and search by any of the tags if I have forgotten the name of the wine.
The specifically wine app that is also great for recording what you have tasted, rating it and seeing what your friends have tried is Vivino. For me this app allows me to see what some of the best Sommeliers in the world are tasting. Most of that would be way out of my price range, but I do get to see some of the trends happening within the trade and some better vintage information.
For craft beer there is no better app than Untappd. It is widely used by enthusiasts all over the world and the reviews are believable as they are written by consumers and not trade or suppliers.
The last app I will mention is a game and a wine and spirits education all at the same time. It was created by the Society of Wine Educators and is a regular diversion for yours truly. It’s called Wine Quiz and anyone will get something out of it.
Segment 4 ~ Carol’s Questions
For this you will have to either click on the link to the podcast or listen to the show.
Buy of the Week ~ Tormaresca Castel del Monte Trentangeli – $18
Wow, big, mouthfilling juicy fruit, blackberries, blueberries, currants all in bowl with some black pepper, earthy, soul enriching goodness and some butter pastry on the side.
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
I was feeling like I was on top of the world. The sun was out, the kids were happy, business was positive and I wanted something that had some depth, substance and a strong sense of destiny. As I was strolling the Italian section I saw the Tormaresca Trentangeli. I have had and enjoyed the Tormaresca Neprica ($14-$16 private stores only) on a number of occasions and loved it, so I thought I would put on my wings of exploration and take on the Trentangeli.
Price ~ $18
Score ~ 8.2/10 Way Over Delivers
The Neprica is a blend of Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo, whereas the Trentangeli is a blend of Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and the difference is striking.
Trentangeli and Neprica share a well balanced nature with a vibrant heart, but this is where any similarities end. Trentangeli is dark, deep, substantive with a well defined body. As I was filled confidence and feeling bold this was the perfect wine for me.
Black in the glass with aromas of blackberry, ripe plum, black currant/cassis, savoury spices, hints of smoked meat. The palate shows depth, structure and some muscle, the kind of muscle that suggests that any challenge is welcome.
My mood called for a meal that would stick to my ribs. Something like steak, a hearty pasta, cheesy dishes, roast Pork or pork chops. In my case we had a grilled steak and it was fantastico!
Oh and here is a bonus – the grapes for this wine are organically grown.
Grapes ~ Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ both private and government stores.
When you head out looking for this wine, please let the store know who sent you.
the Dork UnCorked.
February 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 email@example.com, on Facebook at DorkUncorked or on Twitter @dorkuncorked.
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February 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
There was a time when I craved Pinot Grigio. I loved it citrus, mineral flavouring and the freshness with which it greeted my palate. Then came along a tsunami of Pinot Grigio’s trying capitalize on the grapes global popularity and I quickly lost interest.
A couple of week’s ago I was tasting a number of wines to pair with the cheeses that we have in the fridge. I tasted the next glass and recognized it as a classic Pinot Grigio and wouldn’t you know it, it comes from Italy.
The Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio is a true delight that over delivers for the price.
Price ~ $14.99
Score ~ 7.2/10 Over Delivers
Aromas of citrus, melon and ripe pear that are matched on the palate with some lovely minerality near and through the finish.
Chill this wine, but if it comes out of the fridge with some condensation, let if warm up a bit for best results.
I had this with some Gouda, Swiss, Parmesan and Saint André (it was on sale), and the Santa Cristina worked beautifully with the Saint André as well as the Parmesan (I’m sure there is no surprise there). I also had it with some Mac N’ Cheese, and then some chicken wings and it over delivered on both occasions.
Grapes ~ Pinot Grigio
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ Both public and private stores
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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.