Spring Wines: Episode 22 Show Notes

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.

Link To Podcast

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.

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

 

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Ermelinda 2014 Monte da Baia

April 1, 2016 § 2 Comments

Monte da Baia RedCastelao, Castelao, Castelao! If you say that 3 times fast wine miracles happen I promise.

I was in the liquor store the other day and ran into a friend of mine who is on the floor as a product consultant. It was great to catch up to her and I was reminded that we are all looking for a great glass of wine.

I told her I was looking for a killer wine but it had to be under $20. She looked both ways, looked back at me and said, “come over here.” We silently strolled past a few other people in the store and went to the Portuguese section. She silently reached down and picked the bottle up. After staring at it with a smile for a few seconds she handed it to me and said “this one.”

Price ~ $11.29-$12.99

Score ~ 7.4/10

This one is called Monte da Baia from the Ermelinda winery in Portugal. It is a blend of Castelao, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. The nose shows blackberry, plum and black cherry. The spice offers some dark cocao, but what is truly amazing is this sense that I’m tasting the soul of mother nature. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m telling you there is an earthy sense, that slows the heartbeat to slow down, makes you feel connected to something more than a collection of grapes, tanks, a label and some words.

For food I would suggest simply grilled steak, or chicken with BBQ sauce. A roast ham would do well to. Perhaps a Ham and Pepperoni pizza.

Grapes ~ Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Syrah

Store Section ~ Portugal

Availability ~ both public and private stores.

Cheers

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

 

Valentines Day 2016: Episode 15 Show Notes

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.

Link To Podcast

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.

Classic Pairing

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.

Milk Chocolate

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.

 

 

Show Notes: Episode 13 Taking A Side Step

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 13Link 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.

Negroamaro (Italy)

Luccarelli – $13 mostly available in government stores.

Mezzomondo – $9 widely available

Segment 3 – A Side Step From Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot

Rioja (Spain)

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

Portuguese Blends

Periquita – $9 widely available

Grao Vasco Dao – $9 widely available

Segment 4 – A Side Step From Chardonnay

Viognier

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.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Tune in Saturday afternoons at 2pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork UnCorked Radio hour.

 

 

Grao Vasco Dao 2012

January 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

I don’t know about you but I have two realitiesGrao Vascoes in my life. One, a glass of wine with dinner is a simple enjoyment that not only makes the food taste better, but slows the day down and brings a harmony to it that just isn’t there otherwise. Second is that this is the time of year that I lament going to the mailbox. Which bill is arriving today? It is the time of the year where I come to grips with the real cost of the holiday season. To that end I revel in
the beauty of oft forgotten wines that some may call cheap,
but I call inexpensive.

The price of a wine isn’t always a good indication as to its value. Consider the impact of the plummeting Canadian dollar on the price of produce. The price of tomatoes has skyrocketed in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the tomato has increased.

One of the great shelters of world wine value is Portugal. Often over shadowed by Spain, France and Italy, this little country on the Western side of the Iberian peninsula offers some killer wines for under $10. Grao Vasco Dao 2012 is just one of those wines.

Price ~ $8.79

Score ~ 7.6/10 Over Delivers

A blend of classic Portuguese grapes (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Jaen, Alfrochiero), this wine is easy going and is simple, but simple in the best way, like how clarity of mind makes things simple. It has good fruit, is well balance and offers decent structure making it ideal for chicken, pasta, even steak or a roast of beef.

My favourite part is the velvety texture combined with dried and fresh fruit flavours while having just a kiss of rustic reality. I know this sounds odd, but it is like leaving the city for the cabin on the lake and how the cabin on the lake has its own rustic beauty.

Store Section: Portugal

Availability: Market Wide

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Tune into the Dork UnCorked Radio hour every Saturday afternoon at 2pm on CFAX 1070 in Victoria or streaming worldwide.

Episode 7: In The News & Brown Baggin’s It

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.

Red

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

White

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

Best Wine Gifts For The Unknown Palate Under $20

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s the end of the school year and time to get gifts for our kids very deserving teaWine Gift Bagchers. I happily take on this challenge but was faced with an interesting challenge. What wine do you get for someone whose wine tastes you are not sure of?

My answers are below and they all share a similar trait; they are fruit driven, silky with soft tannins and are complex. I know the last one is usually lost on most people, but what complexity does is never lost. Complexity simplifies the taste experience. That’s right simplifies it. In a moment a fruit driven, soft tannin, complex wine provides all that the drinker will want. They don’t have to dive into the details to know they enjoy it.

Red Wines

Ca’ Montebello BarberaItaly (click on the name to go to the original review)

Score: 7.9 Over Delivers and I Love It!

Price: ~$13.99 to $15.99

Barbera by nature is very juicy with big grapey and plum flavours. The Ca’ Montebello has a wonderful silky finish and has delightful complexity as a result of the bright acidity and flavour nuances of dried herbs and pepper. Letting it breathe is advised but not necessary.

Penfolds Koonunga Hills Shiraz- Cabernet Sauvignon – Australia

Score: 7.4 Good Drop – I Like It

Price: ~ $16.29-$17.99

The Australians are famous for making hedonistic crowd pleasing wines and the Penfolds winery has lead the way for years. The Shiraz-Cab is big richly flavoured, juicy with flavours of black fruits, red berries, and plums. There is a spicy back end that features baking spices. The finish is juicy and soft making it an ideal gift for those whose palate you are not familiar with.

Fascino Passo Negramaro-Primitivo– Italy

Score: 9.3/10 Best Buy & WOW!!

Price: $17.99 (only available at Everything Wine)

This may seem like an odd choice given that the grapes are not household names, however the Italians have long known the pleasures of hedonistic food and wine and I think these two grapes embody their centuries of practice. Dark fruit of crushed  ripe plums, blackberries, cherries with nuances of savoury spices and the delicate scent of freshly wrapped cigars.

White Wines

Aveleda Vinho Verde – Portugal

Score: 8.9 Over Delivers & I Love It!!

Price: $14.99 – $15.99

This wine is vibrant and alive and I guarantee that every sip brings on a smile no matter the experience of the palate. From northern Portugal this wine has a little bubble (frizzante) with white peach and pear flavours. Chill this down and this will please anyone.

Painted Wolf Chenin Blanc – South Africa

Score: 848/10 Over Delivers & I Love It!

Part of the reason why I love this wine as a gift is because that is how I discovered it. The wine is fresh and alive with great complexity just like the Cape that it hails from. Pear, apple, honeydew melon and brisk freshness. Your gift goes a little further as every bottle means a donation to save the wild Painted Dogs of southern Africa.

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