August 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
In the late 90’s I worked for a wine importer the owner of which had a penchant for European wines. We had a great portfolio and it featured some brilliant Alsatian (France) white wines. I fell in love with Pinot Gris from Alsace. To me it seemed that the Alsatian expression of Pinot Gris was incredibly pure, refined and elegant.
At about the same time Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio was starting its incredible rise in popularity. Today the shelves are filled with hundreds of Pinot Gris/Grigio’s, the most of which I consider tosser wines.
Tosser wines are wines conceived of not in the vineyard or cellar, but around the marketing table in the presence of PowerPoint presentations and demographic studies. I found so many expressions of PG to be tossers that I stopped buying it altogether. So when a bottle of the Blue Grouse 2015 Pinot Gris showed up on my desk, I cracked it open expecting the worst.
Price ~ $18-$22
Score ~ 8.4/10 (Over Delivers
The nose showed focused and vibrant pear and melon. The palate is incredibly refined and elegant with piercing and pure pear flavours. Bright acidity on the finish makes this wine refreshing and incredibly well balanced. I liken it to a perfect set of pearls. Refined, elegant, pure and empirically pleasing.
As for food, this will be a great pairing with roasted/grilled pork, white fish, and fresh salads with a light vinaigrette or quality olive oil.
Grapes ~ 100% Pinot Gris
Store Section ~ BC/VQA
Availability ~ Private stores only (take a look at the Blue Grouse website for a complete list here).
May 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
I had a long chat with a fellow veteran of the liquor industry and put me in a nostalgic mood.
Back in the late 90’s VQA and BC Wines were still on fringe of wine culture, and most of the brands that we take for granted today were start-ups.
This was the case for Tinhorn Creek. In 1998 the agency I was running became the sales agent for Tinhorn Creek. Previous to that Kenn and Sandy were selling their wine out of the back of their car. The labels were a sea foam green 3/4 wrap that feature a metallic burgundy creek running down the middle. The whites showed biting acidity and it wasn’t unusual to find ‘wine diamonds’ at the bottom of the bottles. With all that said, it wasn’t hard to see the quality and potential of the winery.
Another reality of the time was that every BC winery had a Gewurztraminer and most of them were off-dry to sweet, but Tinhorn’s was drier and the wine brought out loads of flavours.
Price ~ $16 (almost exactly what it was in 1998)
Score ~ 8.2 Over Delivers
The nose is brimming with spices, melon, pear and generous lychee nut. The palate is alive refreshing with a finish that gives a spicy, lychee, pear kiss to the taster.
The get the most out of this wine just chill it down a few degrees so that the bottle is cool to touch (should take about 1 hour in a normal fridge), then serve with either seafood including prawns, anything curried, salads (especially those with fruits in them), and grilled chicken.
Grapes ~ Gewurztraminer
Store Section ~ BC/VQA
Availability ~ In both private and public stores
the Dork UnCorked
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 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 email@example.com, 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
January 30, 2016 § Leave a comment
In this episode we talk about the age old, and I mean age old, combination of wine and cheese. We are talking to the first peoples to domestic animals and cultivate crops- that old.
Specifically we are going to talk about what to pair with the cheeses that are most commonly found in the Canadian refrigerator. This week we tackle Cheddar, Parmesan and, some strongly flavoured cheeses.
The list of cheeses is long so we will be doing multiple shows on this subject.
By the way if you would like a wine or beer pairing for Kraft Singles, Cheez Wiz, or any Cheese click here and let me know what you would like the pairing for and I will get back to you straight away.
Segment 1 – Shout Outs
Big shout out to the Guild Freehouse and Shawn Soole for presenting Exploring Independent Bottlers – a whisky tasting and seminar. Click here for details .
Full kudos to the merchants of Fort Street who have created one of the best ‘Slow Food’ areas in the city. Within 2-3 city blocks you can find some of the best coffee, baked goods, tacos, Ramen, Chorizo, Cheeses, Salami, Seafood, tapas in the city. You could spend a whole day of cruising the shops and periodically drop in for fresh, flavourful, real food. Brilliant!
Finally, and this leads into the rest of the show, a big shout out to the organizers of the Cheese & Meat Festival. What a great idea, so good that I know tickets are very limited so you might want to act very quickly – click here for tickets and details.
Segment 2 – Wines For Cheddar
Each cheese has its own fats, acids, and sugars which means there is a wine for each cheese and not every wine goes with every cheese. What follows are some wine recommendations for that big block of cheddar you have in your fridge.
Cheddar cheese has a special love for Chilean Cabernets. Here are some reco’s for the most commonly purchased cheddar.
Root 1 Cabernet Sauvignon – $14 – this wine of all seemed to have the right balance of structure, fruit and overall texture to work with Cheddar.
For white wine lovers I would go with the Alamos Chardonnay ($14) from Argentina. This is shows lots of bright fruit, some spice, and with a round texture.
Another best pairing for cheddar is strong ale. This means an ale with a little more alcohol than normal. I particularity like the La Trappe Triple ($8), which might be a little hard to find, so there is La Fin du Monde by Unibroue ($6). A very special Golden Ale that I would highly recommend is the Duvel ($4).
Segment 3 – Parmesan
I don’t know about you but I have Parmesan with just about everything. On eggs in the morning, obviously pasta, on it’s own, on burgers, even steak and grilled chicken. To that end we always have a wedge of Parmesan in the fridge.
Wine that goes best with this type of cheese (hard, sharp) is a wine with bright acidity and medium tannins. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the best pairing do in fact come from Italy, specifically Sangiovese based wines.
The best pairing for your standard grocery store wedge of Parmesan is Chianti. Specifically the best I can suggest that is available locally and under $20 is the Gabbiano 2012 Chianti Classico ($18).
Another great option, and easier on the pocket book, the Giacondi Sangiovese Merlot ($13 1.5L). This a very simple, straight forward wine that shows good acidity bright cherry and plum flavours and good structure.
For those that prefer white wine, I would suggest classic Italian Pinot Grigio.
Both the Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio ($14) and the Masi Modello Bianco ($13.50) are excellent choices. Both feature citrus and melon flavours and, yes, minerality.
Segment 4 – Strongly Flavoured Cheeses
One the cheeses Carol always has in the fridge is Jalapeno flavoured soft cheese. Obviously very spicy in the hot sense. For this cheese I would go with either an ice cold lager like Corona, or a sweeter, light bodied white wine such as a Moscato or off-dry Riesling. Trick of the Trade: Sweeter wines have lower alcohol levels. Typically between 11 & 9% for off dry wines and under 9% for sweet wines.
For Boursin cheese which is a herb infused soft cheese I would go with something that matches the creaminess of the cheese and herb flavours. In this case I would go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as Seven Terraces ($18) or Sileni ($16).
Best Buy of the Week – Mezzomondo Negroamaro 2014 ($9)
Dark & juicy this wine is a real crowd pleaser and very easy to have more than 1 glass.
Let us know what you think of the show and if you have any feedback on the blog.
December 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
Episode 9 – Link to Podcast
Segment 1 ~ Grannies Shortbread.
Chef Travis from the Pendray Restaurant at the Gatsby Mansion talks about what is new including his Grannies shortbread recipe, Christmas afternoon tea, and the grounds surrounding the Gatsby Mansion.
Segment 2 ~ Christmas Morning
Recommended Cream Liqueur for 2015 Christmas is the Forty Creek Cream. Made in Grimsby, Ont. with real Canadian Whisky & real Canadian Cream.
Recommended Brandy for Brandy & Egg Nogg is the Torres 5 Year. In my opinion it is the best brandy of the entry level brandies.
Recommended Rum for Rum & Egg Nogg is the Kraken Black Spiced Rum.
Segment 3 ~ Christmas Breakfast
Here are a few choice Prosecco for your Christmas morning Mimosa.
Terre Prosecco ~ $18 (private stores only)
La Marca Prosecco ~ $16
Some Budget sparklers for Mimosa.
Henkell Troken ~$12
Segura Viudas ~ $13-$15
Jean Louis ~ $11-$13
Segment 4 ~ Christmas Dinner Wine Pairings
Gehringer Brother’s Ehrenfelser (BC)~ $13-$14
Prospect Winery Riesling (BC) ~ $12-$13
Selbach Oster Riesling (Germany) ~ $16
Blue Grouse Gamay Rosé (Vancouver Island) ~ $15
Hester Creek Pinot Gris 3L (BC) ~ $45 (bottle equivalent $12)
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay (BC) ~ $19-$20
Casa Viva Pinot Noir (Chile) ~ $14-$16 (private stores only)
Simple Life Pinot Noir (Italy) ~ $13
Gabbiano Chianti Classico (Italy) ~ $17-$20
Seven Deadly Zins (California) ~ $20
Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (California) ~ $18
Ca’ Montebello Barbera (Italy) ~ $18 (private stores only)
Buy of the Week
Thanks for listening. Tune in next week when it is all about Sparkling Wines and the best known hangover cure.
the Dork UnCorked