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
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 31, 2015 § 1 Comment
The last in the Picks of the Pros Sparkling Wine series comes from Jami Wood. Jami runs the James Bay Spinnaker’s Store and has her finger on the pulse of the industry. She always has some magic in her store and these are items that she would pick for herself for New Year’s 2016.
Joie Plien de Vie Brut $24.34 +tax
A Rosé bubble from BC. What could be more fitting for issuing in 2016. Made in the classic method using Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, this bubble is all about fresh strawberries, citrus and living life like there is no tomorrow.
Adami Credazzo Prosecco $36.39 +tax
The top of the line when it comes to Prosecco.
Fresh melon and peach are displayed with vibrant abandon and finish refreshing and clean. Ideal for prawns, lobster or fresh salads.
Deus Brut des Flandres $32.47 +tax and includes 2 Champagne Glasses
Guess what this is a beer! Yup a very unique and wonderful beer. It is first crafted in Flanders Belgium then shipped to the winery that makes Dom Perignon to be finished.
The bubbles are very much like champagne; tiny, vibrant and almost creamy. The flavour shows citrus, brioche and some hops. A great description is Duvel meets Dom Perignon.
December 30, 2015 § 1 Comment
Pamela is not only an accredited Sommelier, but was the Sommelier at the Empress prior to becoming the General Manager of Cascadia Liquor Stores. She is indeed an influencer and has a keen palate for value.
Montelivini Prosecco ~ $14.99 +tax
I Love this Prosecco for both quality and value, doesn’t hurt that it comes in a nice package.
Nicely balanced, fresh with a hint of tree fruit character make this a staff favourite at Cascadia.
Unsworth Charme De L’lle ~ $21.99 +tax
From the Cowichan Valley, delicious Charmat Method sparkling from Unsworth Vineyard.
Our local look alike to a good Prosecco….
Cave de Lugny Cremant de Bourgogne Rose ~ $25.35 +tax
Traditional method from Bourgogne, France. Made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay.
Perfect balance of soft fruit flavours and fresh acidity, total crowd pleaser.
Thanks again to Pamela Anderson of Cascadia.
the Dork UnCorked
Tune in each Saturday between 2 & 3pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour.
December 29, 2015 § 1 Comment
Stacey has been the General Manager of the Hillside Liquor Store since it opened and has justifiably earned the reputation as being on the best buyers and palates in BC. What follows are her picks for New Year’s 2016.
Tsarine Cuvée Premium Brut Champagne ~ $64.99 +tax
Tsarine Cuvée Premium Brut Champagne (beautiful bottle!) champagnes second oldest house,
It was made in honour of the Russian Empire in 1730, the swirl bottle represents the St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Decanter World Wine Awards Gold Medal Winner 2010. “Fine and delicate bubbles with notes of lime flowers and lemon balm, bitter orange and quince- fresh and crisp!”
Summerhill Winery Cipes Brut ~ $23.49 +tax
Summerhill Winery Cipes Brut- Gold BC Wine Awards 2015 & sparkling wine of the year All Canadian Wine Awards 2014. “Aromas of Apple, lime, pear, almonds, and grapefruit. Crisp acidity, a soft creamy mousse and long finish.”
Dom Perignon David Lynch Limited Edition 2003 Champagne ~ 199.99 +tax
Dom Perignon David Lynch Limited Edition 2003- “aromas start sweet, bright, mineral and floral- followed by candied fruit, plants, camphor leaf and dark hints of spices and licorice root. The palate is at first mild and delicate, then confidently mineral and persistent with a refined bitterness and saline tang” $199.99 + tax
December 28, 2015 § 1 Comment
What the pros would pick for themselves for New Year’s 2016. Today’s installment comes from Ernest Sargent the Vintage Room Consultant at Everything Wine in Langford.
Here’s my picks – not a Champagne among them…
Muga Conde de Haro Brut Cava ~ $28
For me, as I was only allowed to pick one (close runner up is the Henriot Rosé Champagne ($80)), it would be the Muga Conde de Haro Brut Cava. This is the best Cava I’ve tasted in a long time. Beautiful balance between the apple, apple skin and citrus flavours with a touch of honey thrown in. What puts this one over the top for me is the long and complex finish. An absolute winner!!
Road 13 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc ~ $40
For my family (because they deserve the best), my favourite of the many quality sparkling wines that are now coming out of BC, the 2011 Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc. I love the fresh fruit on this wine that pairs so nicely with the acidity and the slight touch of yeast. A top quality wine from one of BC’s best wineries and if I give it my family, chances are I’ll get some too.
Blu Giovello Prosecco ~ $21
For my friends – the Blu Giovello Prosecco from Piera Martellozzo. This Extra-Dry Prosecco, beautifully presented in its unforgettable blue bottle, has just a touch of fruity sweetness but carries enough acid to give it balance. It showcases the classic peach and citrus flavours you get from the Glera grape. A fun wine to share with fabulous friends.
Ernest is an ISG accredited Sommelier and all round brilliant guy. For me Ernest has proven his eye for real value on a number of occasions.
December 26, 2015 § 1 Comment
Episode 10 is all about Sparkling Wine as New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. The show was broken into 4 segments. In each segment we speak to a category of sparkling wine starting with Champagne and ending with Budget or Value options.
What would a New Year’s show be without touching on famous hangover cures. I have added some bonus content here given that we were a little pressed for time on the show.
Episode 10 ~ Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Champagne
Sparkling wines are made all over the world often using the same methods as they do in Champagne, however unless the wine is made in the appellation (AOC) of Champagne the wine can not bear the most famous of sparkling names. Below is a list of recommended champagnes that can be found in most stores.
Veuve Clicquot ~ $62-$65
One of the first global businesses run by a woman, Madame Clicquot’s champagne is bright and crisp, filled with apple and citrus flavour along with the taste sensation of lightly buttered toast.
DYK – the orange/yellow colour of the label reflects the colour of yolks of the eggs laid by the wineries chickens. Each morning Madame Clicquot would have two eggs and found that the colour of the yolks were unique to her farm, thus the colour would clearly distinguish her champagne.
Bollinger ~ $70
Bollinger is made famous by being the champagne choice of James Bond.
Flavours leaning more to fresh pear, melon and citrus, this is a very clean and lively wine with a texture of velvet. The finish show hints of walnuts and baking spice.
Taittinger ~ $57 (currently on sale)
Delicious scents white peach, pear and acacia flowers greet the nose, while the palate is treating to refreshing, almost creamy, wash of fruit and brioche.
Moet and Chandon ~ $62-$65
Makers of the world famous Dom Perignon, the Moet and Chandon Champagne features apple, pear, white peach with floral tones and some delicious brioche on the finish.
Segment 2 ~ BC Sparkling Wine
Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay ~ $21-$22 (Private Stores Only)
Fresh, alive and an incredible value. Bright apple and citrus greet the nose while the palate is velvety and fresh with hints of honey and white flowers. I really loved this wine.
Cipes Brut ~ $23-24
A classic BC Sparkling wine that is aged with energy of a pyramid (if you haven’t visited the Summerhill Winery you really should). Baked apples and pears, hints of caramel and honey, with a wonderfully vibrant yet creamy mousse (bubble).
Stellar’s Jay Brut ~ $27-$29
Crafted originally by one of the true pioneers of the BC Wine industry, Harry McWatters, this wine is bright, lively and shows pear and white peach with just a hint of brioche.
Blue Mountain Brut ~ $30 (Private Stores Only)
Citrusy aromas and palate with a wonderfully elegant mousse. The finish is bright and citrusy with just a kiss of honey toast.
Segment 3 ~ Prosecco
Lamarca ~ $17 (currently on sale, Dec. 2015)
Sweet apples, grassy, pear are the hallmarks of this very approachable, straightforward Prosecco. In many ways this embodies the reason why Prosecco is so popular – it is simply about enjoyment and simple carefree lifestyle.
Nua Prosecco ~ $16-$18 (Private Stores Only)
Harder to find but a deliciously crafted Prosecco that should be on more shelves than it is.
Apple, pear, orange blossom with a whimsical, refreshing bubble that delights every time.
Terre Prosecco ~ $17-$19 (Private Stores Only)
Pear, citrus and acacia flower with a wonderful kiss of honey on the finish. The palate is lively and vibrant. This is a classic Prosecco that makes a great Aperol Spritz as well as a crowd pleasing pop for New Year’s Eve.
Segment 3a ~ Global Sparklers
Here are some brilliant Sparkling wines from all over the world.
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sparkling Wine (Australia)~ $13 (On Sale Dec. 2015)
This is sunshine in the glass. Primarily Chardonnay this is bright and feels like a summer morning. Baked apple, bright pear and melon, with a honeyed finish. Perfect for a New Year’s Eve BBQ.
Zinck Cremant D’Alsace (France) ~ $21-$24
Made primarily with Pinot Blanc, then some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this wine shows biscuits, apricots and white flowers. The palate shows an elegant mousse and a honey toast finish. Delish!
Mumm Napa Prestige Brut (California) ~ $21-$24
This wine is at the top of my list and I have to thank Roger Kershaw for that. If there is a man on the island that loves ‘champers’ and sparkling wines more, I don’t know who that is.
The wine shows baked apple, fresh pear and white peach with hints of acacia flowers. The palate is fresh and alive and the finish has toasty hints with a touch of baking spice.
Toso Brut (Argentina) ~ $16-$18
Did you know that Argentina is one of the world’s largest producers of sparkling wine? Well it is and only a few have the production necessary to be able to export. Toso is one.
Bright fresh apples, pear and melon, with a crisp palate of refreshing finish. This wine is all about vibrant expression.
Segment 4 ~ Value Bubbles
New Year’s is often associated with sparkling wine, but if all you need is a bottle pop for the sake of popping here are some great wines all under $15 that are delicious and great buys.
Henkell Trocken ~ $13 (On Sale December, 2015)
As much as people like to downgrade well known brands in terms of quality, Henkell Trocken has stood the test of time and is still one of the most enjoyable, affordable, bubbles on the market.
Bright pear and baked apple, a well balanced palate that finishes clean and alive.
Jean Louis ~ $12-$13 (Private Stores Only)
This little french bubble is ideal for mimosa’s and any time you need a toasting wine. I have literally recommended this wine to hundreds of wedding clients.
Baked apple and pear, delightful refreshing palate, with the kiss of honey on the finish.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva ~ $13 (On Sale December, 2015)
A classic Cava from Spain. Baked pear, with melon and a hint of orange blossoms. Crisp, lively and very refreshing, this wine is be used to toast the New Year in more countries around the world than almost all others on this list.
Segment 4a ~ Hangover Cures
The fact is that there is not perfect hangover cure although one has been sought for thousands upon thousands of years.
What we do know is that hangovers are caused by 1) your body coming off of alcohol, 2) dehydration, 3) a significant reduction of Vitamin B in your system.
Some people swear by a greasy breakfast the next morning or what is called the hair of the dog (a Caesar like cocktail). Neither really do much more than make the symptoms a little less painful.
It used to be said that if you have a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil prior to drinking that you would slow the absorption of alcohol into the system. Partially true but the alcohol is still going to get in.
The best practices are preventative. First drink in moderation and make sure you eat and hydrate throughout the session. Second is to limit sugary drinks and foods as sugar causes inflammation and just makes a hangover a truly nasty experience. Third, and this is a tip from the pros, take a multivitamin prior to the session. Make sure it contains Vitamin B. Then take one the morning after. Doing all three of these things limits the pain and suffering of ringing in the New Year and anytime a session gets out of hand.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay
I trust you have a safe and wonderful New Year and please send us any comments or feedback you have.
Happy New Year
the Dork UnCorked