April 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
This was not today’s show, but somehow I forgot to post it last week.
Today’s show was a bit of surprise. Carol had heard about a Mommy & Me tea at the Pendray (Gastby Mansion) and it triggered memories, so we thought we would invite Jayde Eastbrook to come in and tell us about it.
Link to podcast (when available)
Segment 1 ~ The Weather & The Farmer’s Almanac
In recent weeks we have been enjoying some fantastic weather and the question on everyone’s lips was “will this continue?” and for that answer I have turned to the Farmer’s Almanac. I have found it to be a great predictor of long range forecasting.
For years I would get the long range forecast to help predict inventory needs for liquor stores.
The Farmer’s Almanac has been around a long time and has consistently delivered long range forecasts. It reputation for accuracy came close to 100 years ago when it had predicted snow in July. Turns out that a major volcanic eruption in Asia spread high level ash over the globes atmosphere causing temperatures to drop in July, which lead to snow in July. From then on Farmer’s have been turning to the Almanac. I raise a glass to the Farmer’s Almanac.
Segment 2 ~ Mommy & Me Tea (Mother’s Day, May 8)
Jayde Eastbrook joins us to talk about a unique experience that I can only imagine happens in Victoria – Mommy & Me Tea. A chance for mom’s and their kids to get dressed up and go for afternoon tea.
People have taken it to a whole new level of dressing, including Fascinators (this was news to me: huge headdress type units that Kate Middleton often wears), and all of their finery.
Chef has prepared a number of classic and unique offerings that there is something for everyone including a huge variety of teas.
Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year when it comes to restaurants so the Pendray wanted to do something unique.
If you are interested in going it is best to get reservations now. Call the Gatsby Mansion 250-381-3456 and ask to be put through to the Pendray.
Segment 3 ~ Tea Sommelier
Did you know that the Pendray has their own tea? It is a line of teas that is specifically chosen by a Tea Sommelier (Reza Nasooti). Yeah a Tea Sommelier, chooses their teas and then and only for them.
This is something that I will have to do more research on for sure.
Segment 4 ~ Aromatic Whites
With this weather and the thought of floral teas I couldn’t help but daydream about a lovely glass of aromatic white wine.
I started thinking Moscato (like fresh peach juice), Gewurztraminer (lychee nut, pears, spice) or a Riesling (pear, orange blossom).
Here are few of my favourites that you can find in the market right now.
Peter Lehmann Moscato ~ $16, Australia, Private Stores (limited stock).
Innocent Bystander ~ $18, Australia, both private and public stores.
Batasiolo Bosc Moscato ~ $21, Italy, both private and public stores.
Valckenberg Pflaz Gewurztraminer ~ $20, Germany, both public and private stores.
Gray Monk Gewurztraminer ~ $15, BC, both public and private stores.
Cono Sur Gewurztraminer ~ $10, Chile, both public and private stores.
Balthasar Ress Riesling ~ $17, Germany, both public and private stores.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling ~ $17, Washington State, both public and private stores.
Gehringer Private Reserve Riesling ~ $14, BC, both public and private stores.
Best Buy of the Week ~ Gehringer Private Reserve Riesling, $14 – truly delicious Riesling from some of BC’s oldest vines.
Tune in Sat. April 30, 2016 For the Mother’s Day Show – Beer, Wine & Cheese Selections for Mom
April 16, 2016 § Leave a comment
After 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
The 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.
the Dork UnCorked
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)
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.
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.
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)
- 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).
- 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.
Best Buy of The Week – Three 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.
the Dork UnCorked
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.
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.
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
February 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
There was a time when I craved Pinot Grigio. I loved it citrus, mineral flavouring and the freshness with which it greeted my palate. Then came along a tsunami of Pinot Grigio’s trying capitalize on the grapes global popularity and I quickly lost interest.
A couple of week’s ago I was tasting a number of wines to pair with the cheeses that we have in the fridge. I tasted the next glass and recognized it as a classic Pinot Grigio and wouldn’t you know it, it comes from Italy.
The Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio is a true delight that over delivers for the price.
Price ~ $14.99
Score ~ 7.2/10 Over Delivers
Aromas of citrus, melon and ripe pear that are matched on the palate with some lovely minerality near and through the finish.
Chill this wine, but if it comes out of the fridge with some condensation, let if warm up a bit for best results.
I had this with some Gouda, Swiss, Parmesan and Saint André (it was on sale), and the Santa Cristina worked beautifully with the Saint André as well as the Parmesan (I’m sure there is no surprise there). I also had it with some Mac N’ Cheese, and then some chicken wings and it over delivered on both occasions.
Grapes ~ Pinot Grigio
Store Section ~ Italy
Availability ~ Both public and private stores
the Dork UnCorked