Picks of The Pros: Linda Holford, Rocky Creek Wines

May 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

I asked Linda what are the two wines that best showcase where Vancouver Island wines have been, where they are going and give reason to believe that the future is bright… oh and are must tries for anyone exploring Vancouver Island wines.

White ~ Rocky Creek Pinot GrisRocky Creek PG

Price: $20

Tasting Notes: “This is one of our best sellers due to its uniqueness in colour. A short skin contact has enhanced the mouth feel and results in a beautiful hint of salmon colour, which is getting to be very on trend. It balances well with so many foods. Full and smooth on the palate with loads of fruit flavours that continue through a long tangy finish.This wine really showcases our regional characteristics.”

 

Averill Creek Pinot NoirRed ~ Averill Creek Pinot Noir

Price: $22

Tasting Notes: “Delicate but intense. Elegant yet earthy. Our Pinot Noir opens with an alluring bouquet of dark berries & violets, leather & butterscotch. The silky, medium-bodied palate features rich black cherry & ripe plum flavours, finished with a touch of spice & soft, supple tannins. Delightful alongside grilled salmon, beef bourguignon, roasted fowl or sautéed mushrooms.”

 

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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Mom-mosa: Show Notes Part 2 Episode 26

May 6, 2016 § Leave a comment

d1For the first half of the Mother’s Day show we spoke to Shawn Soole our Cocktails and Spirits Correspondent, about special recipes for Mother’s Day.

We talked about a ton of things so it likely best to listen to the podcast (click here to listen to the podcast).

Here is Shawn’s recommended Mom-mosa recipe.

Momosa
1/2 oz Legend’s Manitou
3/4 oz grapefruit juice
You could also use a nice Prosecco
Shawn also spoke to the cocktail he makes for his wife, the mother of his child, which also her way of testing the quality of the bar when they go out.
Aviation
1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz maraschino
1/3oz violette
3/4 oz lemon juice
Shake and strain into a large Coupette, cherry garnish
Like most episodes where Shawn joins us, we learn a ton and find out things that I have never heard of. A good example of that is a Shrub, which is basically a way to acidify sugar. Here is how you make a Shrub for your home bar.
Spiced Mandarin Tea Shrub
500g orange juice
250g merridale’s scrumpys apple cider vinegar
1000g Turbinado sugar
8g silk road spicy manadarin tea
Bring orange juice, vinegar and sugar to a low-med temp til sugar dissolves. Bring liquid to 85C and take off heat, add tea and let steep for 5-8 mins. Strain out and bottle, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Thanks again Shawn and to you all for listening to the show. If you have comments about what you would like to hear about, by all means post them here in the comments.
Cheers
the Dork UnCorked

The Cheese Platter ~ Show Notes Part 1 Episode 26

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.

Charelli's LogoHeather 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 2016-04-26 13.58.17for 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.

Le Dauphin

A creamy, ‘tender’ cow’s milk cheese from France. Savory herb and spice flavours.

Pairings

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.

Pairings

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

Etorki 

Fromage_EtorkiThis 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.

Pairings

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.

Humboldt Fog

Humboldt_Fog__1This 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.

Pairings

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

ManchegoManchego 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.

Pairings

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).

Saint Agur

SaintAgurCheeseSt. 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.

Pairings

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)

Cantenaar

cantenaarThis 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.

Pairings

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.

Red 

Borsao Garnacha – (Spain, $14)

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir – (Chile, $11)

Masia F Tempranillo – (Spain, $12)

White

Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Grigio (BC, $16)

Campogrande Orvieto (Italy, $18)

Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay (Australian, $13)

Sparkling Wine

Ogio Prosecco – (Italy, $17)

Beer

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.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bailey Williamson: Show Notes Episode 24

April 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

Bailey WilliamsonAfter meeting the Queen, what do you do? Well for Bailey Williamson, winemaker at Blue Grouse Wines, you become a chef, then get your start in the wine business working vintage in the Barossa Valley of Australia.

What you will notice when you listen to the show (click here for link to podcast version) is how curious and learned Bailey is on all things that come together to impact the quality of the wine he grows and makes.

Prior to doing the show we had a great long chat that brought up so many fascinating topics that we could easily do 2 or 3 episodes. What follows is a summary of our on air discussion. Feel free to let us know what you think of the show and if you have any questions of Bailey or the Dork UnCorked by leaving them in the comments.

Segment 1 ~ Climate Change

Did you know that the Blue Grouse Winery has received 1 meter of rain since November 2015. That is in stark contrast to the Saanich Peninsula who has only received a fraction of that amount.

Climate change isn’t about year long averages, it is about extremes within the year. For instance the hallmarks of the 2015 vintage are extremely wet over the winter and extremely dry over the summer. A long dry summer is preferred to a wet one but the vines need some water at certain times in their annual cycle. For instance water is critical during verasion (time of ripening in the grape where the sugars start to develop; also the time when the grapes change colour. If a red wine grape, verasion is when the grape changes from green to red.). Not enough water and you don’t get sugar development, too much and you get a ton of foliage and the grapes develop too much sugar.

Segment 2 ~ 2015 Wines

I have said it before and I will say it again that I am very excited to taste the wines of the 2015 vintage no matter where they come from. 2015 is unique in that it is universally seen as one of the best vintages in recent memory. The truth to that is only found in tasting.

Recently Bailey bottled the 2015 Quill Rosé and the 2015 Estate Pinot Gris, both of which will be available for release in about 4-6 weeks. He also bottled the 2014 Pinot Noirs but that will be for another show that I’m thinking about… Island Pinots – what do you think?

The 2015’s are looking solid and full of flavour, but just out of interest the 2014 Quill Rosé is tasting at it’s best right now, yet there are only a few cases still floating around. That is the cruel reality of wine. Often when a wine is at its best is when it is hardest to find.

Segment 3 ~ Unique Wines

Tasting Room Blue GrouseThe new tasting room and winery at Blue Grouse opened last year and by all accounts is well worth a visit. What is interesting is that what sells most out of the tasting room is not what sells most out of a retail outlet or off a wine list.

Ortega, Siegerrebe (or as Bailey calls it a the winery Sieg), Bacchus and Muller Thurgau are not household names and, unless a person is already familiar with them, sit on the shelves in a retail store in deference to items like Pinot Gris. But in the tasting room these are big sellers.

Ortega and Siegerrebe are hybrids created for climates like ours here on the island. They don’t require the same amount of heat or length of growing season to get ripe as do grapes like Chardonnay, Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc. When you taste wines from grapes that are best suited to an area you can tell. They are vibrant, lively and delicious.

Segment 4 ~ Terroir

Recently Bailey and his colleagues enjoyed tasting Dr. Elizabeth Tomasino from Oregon State University (on the air we mention the Ducks but this was wrong, its the Oregon State Beavers). What became interesting was the discussion surrounding what is actually terroir (the concept that the combination of a particular region’s climate, geography, culture, and foods, create a unique flavour in a wine) and what is microbiology, or part of the winemaking process. The result was that we too often default to ‘terroir’ where the difference is actually made by the winemaker in the winery.

I put Bailey on spot by asking him what two wines that he has made, should everyone try? To get the answers you will have to listen to the show (click here for podcast).

Best Buys of the Week 

This week we have two. First is the Quill 2014 Rosé, which although in short supply, is tasting at it’s peak.

Second is the L’Ostal Caze 2015 Rosé, absolutely stunning for its delicacy and finesse. Beautiful on a spring day.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Craft Cider: Episode 23- Show Notes

April 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but for many years my understanding of cider was limited to my experiences with Grower, Okanagan, etc. That was until I was in the UK, sitting in a pub, asking for a cider and what I got was nothing like what I had before.

‘Craft Cider’ is right now growing at a faster rate than Craft Beer. In fact both domestic and import producers are scrambling to meet demand.

We were very pleased when Janet Docherty of Merridale Cider to explain all things Cider.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best shows that we have done and there are a number of great stories and tangents. I encourage you to download the podcast and give it a listen as there is a ton more that what can be outlined here in the show notes.

Link To Podcast: (when available).

Segment 1 ~ Cider Apples and What The Heck is Scrumpy?

First off great cider is not made from eating apples. Cider apples have more tannin and would be more bitter and puckering than regular apples.

Back in the day, a couple of centuries ago, cider was the beverage of the peasantry in western England and Northwestern France. In fact it was even used as currency.

Scrumpy in fact is also known as a Farmhouse as it was made at each farm. Often quite murky and thick it was a great source or sustenance in lean years.

The name scrumpy shows the peasant and colourful history of the beverage. To scrump is to steal, and it seems that the English peasantry was inclined to steal the apples rather than do without cider.

Segment 2 ~ The making of Cider

Neither pesticides nor herbicides come anywhere near Merridale and all the farming is organic, although nowhere does it say that on the bottle. They have been doing it this way since the beginning, it’s the right thing to do, so they never felt the need to add it to the label.

Each cider is a blend of the various apples. A cider is made from each of the apple types then blended together.Multiple blends are usually tasted prior to settling on the ‘right one’.

Segment 3 ~ Distilling

Merridale also does distillation. They make a Vodka, a Gin with 40 different, locally foraged botanicals, and a whisky that is in very short supply.

They also make line of fortified products that take which is a blend of wine made from fruit and spirit made from the same fruit. Winter Apple is like Apple Pie in a bottle.

Segment 4 ~ The Business

Merridale is a family business and has been in Janet’s family for 17 years.

Strangely, they operate under what is called a modified winery license which was created for the original owners 25 years ago, when the government didn’t think it was necessary to create a Cidery license.

In addition to making classic ciders like Scrumpy, Cyser, House, Traditional and Merri Berri (only available during Spring and Summer), spirits, Merridale has a wonderful bistro and does a multitude of events such as for the Love of Gin which is coming up on April 30th 2016 at 6pm (reservations are required).

For More Information About Merridale: Merridale Cider

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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.

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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.

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Craft Distilling Part 2: Episode 19 Vodka & Gin

March 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Here are the show notes for Part 2 on our series on Craft Distilling in BC and here on the island. There is a lot to cover so let’s dive right in and listen to what our Spirits/Cocktail expert Shawn Soole has to say.

Link To Podcast

Segment 1 ~ What Makes a Craft Distillery a Craft Distillery

There continues to be a lot of debate as to what can be referred to as Craft. The same level of debate happens within the brewing business.

The key thing is to separate the marketing function of the word craft from the the legal definition.

In B.C. to be considered a craft distillery the distillery must produce less than 50,000 litres of spirit and they can not use what is called Neutral Grain Spirit (NSG). They must distill their own NSG.

Segment 2 ~ Craft Vodka

Vodka is usually the first thing that a distillery will make because it is the easiest. There are no ageing requirements.

For years what was most desirable about Vodka was neutrality, which lead to Vodka becoming more of commodity where the only differentiator was the brand and price. Craft Vodka in BC is changing that and provides a sense of terroir.

Shawn’s Recommended Craft Vodkas (coming soon)

  1. Sheringham Vodka ~ $45-$50

 

2. Unruly Vodka ~ $45-$50

 

3. Liberty Truth Vodka ~ $54-$60

 

Segment 3 ~ Craft Gin

So what makes a Gin a Gin. The only single element that is required is Juniper berry. After that the list of botanicals can include anything.

Gin is becoming the hot spirit because of the diversity. We are blessed, here on the coast, to have such a phenomenal array for Gins produced right here on the island.

Shawn’s Recommended Craft Gins (coming soon).

  1. Stump Gin ~ $50

2. Arbutus Empiric Gin ~ $43

3. Juniperus Lupulus ~ $45-$50

4. Ampersand Gin ~ $44-$47

Segment 4 ~ What is the Future and Where Can I Find Local Craft Cocktails

It may be a cliché but the future is indeed bright. There is a great deal of interest in locally produced spirits and that is only set to grow. Look for more and more space on the retail space and back bar given to locally made spirits.

If you want to find some great cocktail lists featuring locally made Craft Spirits head to Olo Restaurant, Clive’s Classic Lounge, Veneto, The Guild and Sooke Harbour House.

Best Buy of The WeekThree Winds 2009 Grenache

Rare is putting it mildly. Wines at this price point are made for consumption within a few years of release so to find a 2009 that was still fresh, alive and delicious is very special.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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Craft Distilling Part 1: Whisky & Brandy Show Notes Episode 18

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.

Link to Podcast 

Segment 1 

Shout Outs

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.

Mailbag

“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:

Merridale

Phillips Fermentorium

Victoria Spirits

Shelter Point Distillery

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.

Okanagan Spirits

Pemberton Distilleries

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.

Okanagan Crush Pad Narrative Grape Spirit

Merridale Eau de Vie

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.

Sons of Vancouver Amaretto

Legend’s Blasted Brew 

Wayward’s Depth Charge

Okanagan Spirits Fruit Liqueurs

De Vine Fruit Spirits

Best Buy of the WeekSanta Cristina Campogrande Orvieto ($17)

Classic Italian white wine that is fruit forward and delicious. Brilliant with shellfish, light pastas.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

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.

Q and A: Show Notes Episode 17

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.

Link to Podcast

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.

 

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