February 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Second in the series that pairs wines under $20 with cheese that you likely have in your fridge. In Part Un we covered Cheddar, Parmesan and Flavoured Goat Cheese (in case you missed it, here is a link to Part Un). In Part Deux we get into Gouda, Brie and Swiss Cheese.
Segment 1 ~ Shout Outs
Royal Bay Bakery – Royal Bay Bakery can be found at the corner of Lagoon Road and Metchosin Rd in lovely Colwood. From the outside it looks like any other bakery but it is truly the people that make and have made the difference.
David & Gwen opened the Barkery 19 years ago and have made a commitment to local, organic ingredients (they grow all their own herbs) and have been at the forefront of solar power in Victoria. Oh, and the goods they craft are extremely good. Stay away from the jelly donuts and there never seems to be enough to satisfy my craving.
Royal Bay Bakery is also where I buy my coffee beans and that leads me to the second shout out – 2% Jazz Coffee.
Sam Jones is the vibrant and gregarious proprietor and has been operating 2% Jass since 1996 and now has two locations (click the link above for details). His roasts are balanced and wonderfully aromatic. A simple shot of his espresso and a jelly donut and everything is right with the world.
Segment 2 ~ Wine For That Hunk of Gouda
Gouda, like most cheeses, has a wide range of flavours, however for our purposes I have focussed on the mild Gouda which, when I talk to the Cheesemongers, is the most popular of the Gouda family.
Mild Gouda is softer than parmesan meaning there is more moisture left in the cheese and it has a mild, nutty flavour that makes it very versatile.
The best red wine options for Mild Gouda are juicy wines with dark and red fruit flavours. Tannins should be mild and the finish should be juicy with a kiss of black pepper spice. To that end seek out either Aussie Shiraz or Languedoc Grenache. Here are two that I think offer the best bang for the buck when it comes to working with Gouda.
Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz (Australia) – $18
Three Winds 2009 Grenache (France) – $14
Over the years I have found that one varietal consistently works the best with mild Gouda and that is Riesling. In particular I recently found two BC Rieslings that were spectacular with Mild Gouda.
Ganton & Larsen Prospect Riesling (BC VQA) – $12
Gehringer Brother’s Private Reserve Riesling (BC VQA) – $14
Segment 3 ~ Brie
Brie is perhaps the cheese most associated with wine. It seems to be in every photo of wine and cheese and is easily the most common ‘special’ cheese. Creamy, sometimes nutty, but often buttery, Brie loves wines that have ripe fruit flavours and silky finishes. Here are a couple of recommendations from what is currently on the market.
Sibaris Pinot Noir (Chile) – $13
Paul Mas Grenache Noir (France) – $12
In terms of white wines, Brie has a special affinity for Chardonnay. Have you ever had a wedge of Granny Smith Apple with some Brie. Truly outstanding! Granny Smith Apple is a classic flavour in cool climate Chardonnay (BC, Ontario, Central Coast California, Chablis France, New Zealand & Coastal Chile).
On of my favourite Sunday morning breakfasts is fresh, flaky butter croissant and room temperature Brie with maybe some apple wedge or fresh strawberries if they are in season. Fresh pastry like Brioche, or Buttered Toast coupled with flavours of apple or pear (strawberry if you like Rosé Sparkling), are classic Champagne and Sparkling Wine made with Chardonnay, flavours.
I guess this is a long way to say that Chardonnay and Sparkling wines made with Chardonnay are fantastic with Brie. Let the Brie warm up so that it is creamy and you will be well rewarded.
Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay (BC) – $21, available in private stores only.
Grove Ridge Chardonnay (California) – $14, available in private stores only.
Segment 4 ~ Swiss Cheese/Emmental
Swiss Cheese is a little harder than Gouda and has a more distinct flavour. I particularly love wines with ripe, sweet fruit, a round silky texture and a little spice on the finish.
Simple Life Pinot Noir (California) – $14, available exclusively at government stores.
Mark West Pinot Noir (California) – $18, available in both private and government stores.
Cono Sur Viognier (Chile) – $13, available in both private and government stores.
Best Buy of The Week ~ Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio (Italy) – $15 available in private and government stores.
If there is anything that you would like us to cover on the show please let us know by dropping us a line either in the comments here, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at DorkUncorked or on Twitter @dorkuncorked.
the Dork UnCorked
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 13 – Link 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.
Luccarelli – $13 mostly available in government stores.
Mezzomondo – $9 widely available
Segment 3 – A Side Step From Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
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
Periquita – $9 widely available
Grao Vasco Dao – $9 widely available
Segment 4 – A Side Step From Chardonnay
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.
the Dork UnCorked
Tune in Saturday afternoons at 2pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork UnCorked Radio hour.
December 24, 2015 § 3 Comments
Truth be told I am a bubble head (as if you didn’t know that already), and I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if everyone enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine a day.
I was in a bit of a funk the other day and my spirits needed lifting so I endeavoured to find a sparkling wine that would put a smile on and in my mouth and a skip in my step. Enter Perseus Sparkling Chardonnay.
Price ~ $21-$22
Score ~ 8.6/10 Over Delivers
The packaging isn’t all fancy and it comes with a classic beer cap instead of a big cork with a cage around it. Simply pop the cap off and immediately your spirits will lift.
The aromas (scent) is brimming with fresh apples, bartlett pears and hints of citrus. Isn’t this the combination aromatherapy uses to bring one’s energy up… I see a trend here, alas I digress.
The mousse (the head if you are a beer drinker) is made up of thousands of tiny bubbles that dance upon the palate while also making the texture a little softer and creamier. The juicy, citrus flavours come alive and heighten the senses.
As you can tell I truly loved this wine and will be making a regular around the house.
Grapes ~ 100% Chardonnay
Store Section ~ Sparkling Wine
Availability ~ Limited, Private Stores including Everything Wine, Metro Liquor, Spinnakers, Cork & Barrel and Caddy Bay Liquor.
the Dork UnCorked
Tune in Saturday’s from 2-3pm on CFAX 1070 for the Dork UnCorked Radio Hour.
December 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Dropped by to see Bruce Williams on Cafe Victoria today and we talked about gift ideas and some wine recommendations for Christmas Dinner. I have also thrown in a few bonuses that I should have mentioned on the show.
Wine Gifts By Personality
You know the feeling. Your standing in front of the wine shelf in your local liquor store, and there is too much choice. How do you decide which wine is right. Well it may sound cheesy but the label often gives you an insight as to the personality of the wine. Here are some wines that work capture certain personalities.
Lake Breeze Ehrenfelser – $18-$20 Private Stores only.
Ideal for the whimsical, optimistic ray of sunshine on the list.
Honourable Mentions: Cedar Creek Ehrenfelser – $16.99, Gehringer Brothers Ehrenfelser – $12
Wolf Blass Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz – $30
Ideal for tall dark and somewhat pensive and thoughtful.
Borsao Garnacha – $11.99
You the outgoing always engaging person, this is their wine.
Catena Malbec – $22
Perfect for the pensive yet authoritative person on your list.
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay – $18-$20
This is for the classic beauty with gentle side.
I will be doing a complete post on this in the coming days.
If you are looking for a huge bang for the buck then look to single batch rum or brandy. Both are often overlooked but deliver huge value.
Flor de Cana 18 Year Old – $60
Comparably aged Whisky runs about $120. Obviously Rum and Whisky don’t share the same flavours, but the reason aged spirits are more valuable is that more of the spirit is given to the Angel Share the older it is. The Angel Share is the amount of the spirit that is evaporated each year. The evaporation leads to a slow maturing of the spirit, meaning and intensification of the flavour as well as the subtleties. In Scotland the Angel Share is 2-3%/year where as in rum producing nations the Angels Share is 6-8%. Imagine the refinement of an 18 year old rum.
Torres Reserva Familia Jaime – $120
Torres brandies are aged using a Solera system. A solera aging system is an ancient aging system used primarily in Spain and Portugal for Port & Sherry. Typically 5 rows of barrels are used to aged the brandy with oldest being on the bottom. When this year’s batch is to be bottled, the barrels from the bottom row are emptied and put into bottles. Then the brandies in row two barrels are used to refill row one barrels and so on until the row 5 barrels are filled with this year’s product. As you can well imagine this system of ageing produces remarkable brandies.
The Jaime is named after the founder of the Torres winery and is composed of the oldest Soleras meaning the brandy is at least 30 years old. A similarly aged Cognac, although uniquely flavoured, runs about $180/bottle.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye – $30
Should be hitting the shelves of your local liquor store this week. But get it quickly as there is only 1500 cases for BC and demand for 5000.
The Dork UnCorked airs each Saturday between 2 and 3pm.
April 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
There are about 800 white wines available in BC between the price of $7 & $20. There exist no other category of white wines that is as populated as this one and yet it is the most popular range in the province. That puts a lot of pressure on the purchase to deliver. Here are my picks for Top 5 White Wines For Easter under $20.
It’s a big brand name and for a number of years it tasted like it, however there is a new sheriff in Lindeman’s town and he has been making a true, qualitative difference. I guess the good news about the ‘in between’ years is that it has forced Lindemans to keep their pricing almost the same as it was in 1994 when Bin 65 exploded onto the BC market. In 1994 this wine was $9.99 and now it is $10.10 (taxes included) and now it is polished, balanced, sunshine driven with wonderful spice and pastry notes. It is the whole package and if your friends think you uncool for having it, put it in a brown bag and watch their faces when you show them what they have been drinking.
Score – 9.1/10 Best Buy
Available in most stores.
Link to the original review: Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay
Can we all agree that there is no excuse for not enjoying a sunny Spring day! Aveleda Vinho Verde is Spring in a bottle and is a great addition to any table with a selection of cheeses, fruit, cold cuts and even tapenade. Serve chilled and prepare for a fresh, lively, vivacious muse to grace your Easter weekend.
Score – 8.9/10 Over Delivers
Available in private stores only.
Link to original review: Aveleda 2013 Vinho Verde
The French truly have it going on when it comes to finesse in their wines. Here is a wine that when you look at it you could easily walk right past. I know I did on a number of occasions, that is, until a friend of mine who has devoted thousands of hours to the exploration of French wine, told me that this is, for him, the best white wine under $20 on the market.
It shows bright tree fruit freshness and savoury herbs. It has some weight, making it a good choice with ham, but also has a crisp finish making it great with easy to find cheeses, or just a simple salad.
Score: 8.8/10 Over Delivers
Available in private stores only
Link to original review: Domaine de Grachies 2013
Pinot Gris for many years brought shivers to my spine. I have tasted literally thousands of Pinot Gris’s over the last number of years and I would have to say that I had come to the conclusion that the only value in Pinot Gris/Grigio lied in those showing true terroir which meant they were most often priced at $20+.
However this story is the exact reason why I love wine. There are no absolutes. The moment you think you have it nailed, that you can pronounce a fact about a wine or region, something comes about to radically change your mind and give you hope and desire.
That is what the Lurton Pinot Gris did for me. Here you will find a truly authentic Pinot Gris and seems bereft of the desire to pander to the marketing divisions focus group results. As far as Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio goes, I can honestly say there are not many under $20 that show the finesse, class and authenticity as this wine does.
Score: 8.7/10 Over Delivers
Available in most stores.
Link to the original review: Lurton 2013 Pinot Gris
I struggle with the inclusion of a second Lurton in this list, but my purpose here is to let the quality of the wine for the price, speak for itself, and I would be remiss if I did not include this wine in this Top 5 list.
There is so much pleasure packed into this one bottle of wine. One the one hand it is what you expect from a Sauvignon Blanc -fresh, herbal tree fruit, crisp, and yet there is another level that is floral, bright and brimming with highlights. Then just as you are about to put the glass down there is a parting kiss of tropical fruit. Man o’ man there is a lot going on here and all of it provides a wonderful wine experience.
Score: 8.6/10 Over Delivers
Available in most stores
Link to the original review: Lurton fumess blanches 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
I hope that you have enjoyed this list and from me and my family have a wonderful Easter weekend!
March 27, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 6.7 – Good Drop
I love Chardonnay! There I said it. It’s not cool to like Chardonnay, but I do. I love the curvy, sultry, seductive nature of a well balanced oaked Chardonnay. It is almost as if such a Chardonnay is one of temptations that those on a pulpit may warn you of. This wine was once one of those, however retains a good amount of its previous allure. I really liked this wine but it has seen better days.
Tasting Notes: The colour is a bright amber yellow. The nose shows caramel, ripe ripe delicious apple, and just a touch of hazelnuts (the hallmark of an older wine). The palate has a welcome creamy texture with a delightful caramel apple flavour. On the finish there is a touch of hazelnut to go with the apple flavour.
Value: This wine is for one looking to taste how older whites develop without spending $25/bottle. It also provides a great opportunity to taste the region that popularized Chardonnay.
Added Value: This wine has added value for those looking to explore the flavours of older Chardonnays; Exploration Wine. This is also a damn fine wine for movie night with lots of hot buttered popcorn.
Food Pairings: This wine is a great pairing for a Spinnach salad with nuts and feta, otherwise it is a great wine for hot buttered popcorn.
Service: Serve this wine chilled but not cold. If it comes out of the fridge with condensation, let it warm up a bit before serving.
Store Section: France
Appellation: Macon-Villages – Macon-Villages is in the South of the region of France called Burgundy… you may have heard of it. You may have also heard of French oak as being the oak of choice for many winemakers and, certainly, Chardonnay. The combination of Macon-Villages with its relatively affordable pricing (in comparison to Mersault or Pouilly Fuse), aged in French oak is the style that inspired the pioneers of California winemaking and lead to the Judgement of Paris that truly launched the California wine industry.
Available: Liquor Depot ‘Preferred Vintages’ (wines exclusive to Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn stores)
January 18, 2015 § Leave a comment
Score: 6.2 – Good Drop
About the Wine: This is sunshine in a glass. Bright floral and tropical fruit aromas and flavours bounce out of the glass. The palate is brightly flavoured and shows some well crafted creaminess. The finish is juicy and offers some baking spices.
Value: This is definitely a no brainer trade up from Cupcake and I would certainly choose it over Apothic White at $16.99 or Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay at $19.99.
Added Value: This wine is at it’s best on a Movie Night with a big bowl of hot buttered popcorn. It also shines for Girls Night Out and Date Night.
More To The Story: Do you remember your longitude and latitude from social studies class? If you draw a straight line on a map from Central California going East you will cut across a number of Mediterranean wine growing regions, including that of Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily in Italy. Each of these regions has a wealth of bright, vibrant, fruit driven white wines that are truly wonderful, but who thinks of Italian whites other than Pinot Grigio?
What makes this wine unique in a world of billions of Chardonnays is that it blends a little Malavsia Bianca in with the Chardonnay. Malvasia Bianca is found in the regions I noted above, is commonly used for blending and shows voluptuous fruit and is wonderfully aromatic.
Service: Chill down, but don’t let it get too cold. You will be able to tell it is too cold if the bright, sunshine like flavours are muted. Pair this wine with Prawns, Lobster, Fruit Salad, and Soft Creamy Cheeses.
Grapes: Chardonnay, Malvasia Bianca
Store Section: California
Available: BC Liquor Stores
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