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
January 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
In this episode we talk about the age old, and I mean age old, combination of wine and cheese. We are talking to the first peoples to domestic animals and cultivate crops- that old.
Specifically we are going to talk about what to pair with the cheeses that are most commonly found in the Canadian refrigerator. This week we tackle Cheddar, Parmesan and, some strongly flavoured cheeses.
The list of cheeses is long so we will be doing multiple shows on this subject.
By the way if you would like a wine or beer pairing for Kraft Singles, Cheez Wiz, or any Cheese click here and let me know what you would like the pairing for and I will get back to you straight away.
Segment 1 – Shout Outs
Big shout out to the Guild Freehouse and Shawn Soole for presenting Exploring Independent Bottlers – a whisky tasting and seminar. Click here for details .
Full kudos to the merchants of Fort Street who have created one of the best ‘Slow Food’ areas in the city. Within 2-3 city blocks you can find some of the best coffee, baked goods, tacos, Ramen, Chorizo, Cheeses, Salami, Seafood, tapas in the city. You could spend a whole day of cruising the shops and periodically drop in for fresh, flavourful, real food. Brilliant!
Finally, and this leads into the rest of the show, a big shout out to the organizers of the Cheese & Meat Festival. What a great idea, so good that I know tickets are very limited so you might want to act very quickly – click here for tickets and details.
Segment 2 – Wines For Cheddar
Each cheese has its own fats, acids, and sugars which means there is a wine for each cheese and not every wine goes with every cheese. What follows are some wine recommendations for that big block of cheddar you have in your fridge.
Cheddar cheese has a special love for Chilean Cabernets. Here are some reco’s for the most commonly purchased cheddar.
Root 1 Cabernet Sauvignon – $14 – this wine of all seemed to have the right balance of structure, fruit and overall texture to work with Cheddar.
For white wine lovers I would go with the Alamos Chardonnay ($14) from Argentina. This is shows lots of bright fruit, some spice, and with a round texture.
Another best pairing for cheddar is strong ale. This means an ale with a little more alcohol than normal. I particularity like the La Trappe Triple ($8), which might be a little hard to find, so there is La Fin du Monde by Unibroue ($6). A very special Golden Ale that I would highly recommend is the Duvel ($4).
Segment 3 – Parmesan
I don’t know about you but I have Parmesan with just about everything. On eggs in the morning, obviously pasta, on it’s own, on burgers, even steak and grilled chicken. To that end we always have a wedge of Parmesan in the fridge.
Wine that goes best with this type of cheese (hard, sharp) is a wine with bright acidity and medium tannins. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the best pairing do in fact come from Italy, specifically Sangiovese based wines.
The best pairing for your standard grocery store wedge of Parmesan is Chianti. Specifically the best I can suggest that is available locally and under $20 is the Gabbiano 2012 Chianti Classico ($18).
Another great option, and easier on the pocket book, the Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot ($13 1.5L). This a very simple, straight forward wine that shows good acidity bright cherry and plum flavours and good structure.
For those that prefer white wine, I would suggest classic Italian Pinot Grigio.
Both the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio ($14) and the Masi Modello Bianco ($13.50) are excellent choices. Both feature citrus and melon flavours and, yes, minerality.
Segment 4 – Strongly Flavoured Cheeses
One the cheeses Carol always has in the fridge is Jalapeno flavoured soft cheese. Obviously very spicy in the hot sense. For this cheese I would go with either an ice cold lager like Corona, or a sweeter, light bodied white wine such as a Moscato or off-dry Riesling. Trick of the Trade: Sweeter wines have lower alcohol levels. Typically between 11 & 9% for off dry wines and under 9% for sweet wines.
For Boursin cheese which is a herb infused soft cheese I would go with something that matches the creaminess of the cheese and herb flavours. In this case I would go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as Seven Terraces ($18) or Sileni ($16).
Best Buy of the Week – Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2014 ($9)
Dark & juicy this wine is a real crowd pleaser and very easy to have more than 1 glass.
Let us know what you think of the show and if you have any feedback on the blog.
December 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
Episode 9 – Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Grannies Shortbread.
Chef Travis from the Pendray Restaurant at the Gatsby Mansion talks about what is new including his Grannies shortbread recipe, Christmas afternoon tea, and the grounds surrounding the Gatsby Mansion.
Segment 2 ~ Christmas Morning
Recommended Cream Liqueur for 2015 Christmas is the Forty Creek Cream. Made in Grimsby, Ont. with real Canadian Whisky & real Canadian Cream.
Recommended Brandy for Brandy & Egg Nogg is the Torres 5 Year. In my opinion it is the best brandy of the entry level brandies.
Recommended Rum for Rum & Egg Nogg is the Kraken Black Spiced Rum.
Segment 3 ~ Christmas Breakfast
Here are a few choice Prosecco for your Christmas morning Mimosa.
Terre Prosecco ~ $18 (private stores only)
La Marca Prosecco ~ $16
Some Budget sparklers for Mimosa.
Henkell Troken ~$12
Segura Viudas ~ $13-$15
Jean Louis ~ $11-$13
Segment 4 ~ Christmas Dinner Wine Pairings
Gehringer Brother’s Ehrenfelser (BC)~ $13-$14
Prospect Winery Riesling (BC) ~ $12-$13
Selbach Oster Riesling (Germany) ~ $16
Blue Grouse Gamay Rosé (Vancouver Island) ~ $15
Hester Creek Pinot Gris 3L (BC) ~ $45 (bottle equivalent $12)
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (BC) ~ $19-$20
Casa Viva Pinot Noir (Chile) ~ $14-$16 (private stores only)
Simple Life Pinot Noir (Italy) ~ $13
Gabbiano Chianti Classico (Italy) ~ $17-$20
Seven Deadly Zins (California) ~ $20
Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (California) ~ $18
Ca’ Montebello Barbera (Italy) ~ $18 (private stores only)
Buy of the Week
Thanks for listening. Tune in next week when it is all about Sparkling Wines and the best known hangover cure.
the Dork UnCorked
December 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
Episode 7 – Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ In the News
Strange bedfellows kissed and made up this week in the form the BCGEU & the BCPLSA (BC Public Liquor Stores Association). The two organizations announced that they believe that recreational marijuana retailing should be restricted to liquor stores, if and when it becomes legal to do so.
Segment 2 ~ Brown Baggin’ It
A fun Christmas Party idea is to do a Brown Bag event.
The host supplies brown lunch bags. As guests bring their entries they put their bottle in a bag and number it. Throughout the evening guests taste the wines and rate which is their favourites. At a specific time the wines are revealed and prices stated. Invariably there are many surprises.
I suggest that you limit the price to something like under $20. If you will have both red & white entries it is best to have two competitions, one for red and one for white.
Segment 3 ~ Recommended Wines for Brown Baggin’ It
Terre Prosecco ~ $18 and a brilliant palate cleanser and crowd pleaser. Only available in private stores. Top pick by Dork UnCorked’s Sparkling Wine Correspondent Stacey Brennan of the Hillside Liquor Store (across from Hillside Mall on North Dairy).
Surprises make this event fun so I often enter wines that very few people are aware off, but offer incredible value. Here are a few suggestions for both red and white.
Masia F Vino Tinto Tempranillo (Spain) ~ $10 private stores only
Periquita (Portugal) ~ $10 both private and public stores
The Den Pinotage (South Africa) ~ $15 private stores only
Hester Creek Pinot Gris (BC) ~ $16 750ml $44 3L (750ml equivalent – $11)
Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) ~ $17 private stores only
Aveleda Vinho Verde (Portugal) ~ $15 private stores only
Segment 4 – Best Buy of the Week
This weeks Best Buy is the Francois Lurton Les Fumees Blanches. On sale at government stores in Dec. for $11.99 this is a killer white wine. Look for it in the French section.
Next Week – Grannies Shortbread
May 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
Price: $14.79 (not including taxes)
There is lot’s to love in a nice chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Clearly because it is one of the most sought after white wine in the world and it fetch’s some of the highest average prices. The challenge in finding real value is finding the differences that add instead of taking away. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be ‘in your face’ Sauvignon Blanc which has a tendency to overshadow and positive nuances. That is what I like about the Sileni 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, it is a well balanced wine that shows its New Zealand pedigree well, but allows for some beautiful highlights to shine through. I would have rated this much higher if it were a couple of bucks less.
Tasting Notes: Bright zesty citrus, mineral and cut grass on the nose that is matched on the palate. The palate is fresh and clean and shows subtle floral highlights like jasmine and violet. The finish is clean and vibrant making your mouth water in anticipation of the next sip.
Value: Amongst other similarly priced New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs this wine over delivers, however there are a few entrants from France and Chile that deliver similar quality but at a lower price.
Added Value: Having a seafood BBQ that includes some oysters and maybe halibut, this wine has added value for you. This wine has special value for Girls Night Out and a summer Date Night.
Food Pairings: Like I said above this is a great wine for oysters (grilled and half shell), grilled halibut and grilled chicken. It is also a wonderful pairing for some aged Gruyere cheese.
Service: Chill down and serve.
Store Section: New Zealand
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
Purchased From: BC Liquor Stores
The Dork UnCorked
PS – if you do try this wine, please let me know what you think by submitting a comment.
January 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 7.5 – Over Delivers
About the Wine: This wine is the child of the new generation of winemaking and viticulture in New Zealand and it shows through. Bright youthful aromas of citrus, gooseberry and melon greet your nose. What you notice on the palate is the freshness of the wine without it having biting acidity. The palate shows flavours of citrus, melon and gooseberry as mentioned above, however there is the addition of fresh-cut grass and peas. Think of these last two flavours like little kids playing hide and seek; giggling but a little shy as well. In balance these all work together beautifully. The finish is crisp and refreshing.
Value: This is a tough wine to put into perspective of the market. There has been a lot of price activity from the big boys of Oyster Bay and Kim Crawford where their wines are $17.99. This is most often matched (or exceeded; I have seen it at $14.99 and at that price it is a Best Buy) by Fat Bird. In relation to Oyster Bay at $17.99 Fat Bird is in good stead. A little more youthful and intriguing than Oyster Bay. Oyster Bay is classically New Zealand. In relation to Kim Crawford at $20.99, I would go with Fat Bird.
Would I trade up to Fat Bird from some of the Leyda, Limari or Casablanca Valley Sauvignon Blancs from Chile? I feel they at two (or four) different experiences. The Chilean versions are not only a few bucks cheaper, but they are also far more tropical and less vibrant than Fat Bird. When I’m in the mood to brighten my day I would go Fat Bird, if real money is issue I might go Chilean.
Added Value: For those having a Date Night, Movie Night, Girls Night Out, a Seafood BBQ, or are having the ‘Foodies’ over, there is added value in this wine for you.
Service: Chilled but not cold. Take it out of the fridge and if there is condensation on the bottle, then give a few minutes to warm up to enjoy. When it is too cold the wine shuts down its personality; the lovely vibrant citrus aromas and flavours, become muted which allows flavours and aromas of fresh-cut grass and peas to dominate. True enjoyment of this wine is in its balance of aromas, flavours and texture.
As for food (my mouth is watering as I say this), I absolutely adore this wine with fresh, local halibut when it is in season.
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
Store Section: New Zealand
Available: Everything Wine, Hillside Liquor Store, Vintage Spirits (Victoria)
Buy Online/Delivered To Your Door: Everything Wine