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//features 20// The name game by matthew sullivan
What goes into naming a winery?
by carolyn Evans-Hammond Australian Shiraz comes of age.
24// growing conscious by merle Rosenstein
Will Chile become the most sustainable wine region in the world?
26// Sustainability? by gurvinder bhatia
Just because a wine is organic doesn’t mean it’s going to taste better, or even good for that matter.
29// mowers by tim pawsey
Learn how New Zealand will beat them all in organic and sustainable practices.
32// field blend by michael pinkus
Portugals’ indigenous assemblages.
34// Maverick chefs
by Rosemary Mantini Our list of the most innovative chefs in Canada.
41// it’s not all bourbon
by Tod Stewart How American whiskey is making an impact.
by Duncan Holmes Eating healthy never tasted better.
50// forceful, incisive
by robert Hausner
Matching food with booze.
//Ă la carte 7// Contributors 8// from the editor 11// Conversations Letters to the editor.
13// Must Try
14// Umami Joanne Will
17// Anything but
18// Bon Vivant Peter Rockwell
55// Bouquet Garni Nancy Johnson
66// final word Tony Aspler
//notes 44// the mav notes
54// the food notes
An appetizing selection of food-friendly faves.
58// The Buying Guide
Top wines from around the world scored.
Argentina // p. 58 Australia // p. 58-59 brazil // p. 59 Canada // p. 59-61 chile // p. 61-62 France // p. 62-63
55 4 // October 2012
greece // p. 63 italy // p. 63 South Africa // p. 64 spain // p. 64 United States // p. 64-65 spirits // p. 65
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Follow us on twitter and tumblr Quenchbytidings.tumblr.com twitter.com/quenchbytidings Rosemary Mantini has enjoyed a lifelong love affair with travel. She’s sure that eating up any food or drink the locals create is the best way to experience a culture.
Thanksgiving Recipes Make Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, FrenchStyle Roast Turkey, Chorizo-Stuffed Cabbage and more.
Wine Tasting Club Explore Canada’s delicious fruit wine.
Cooking Challenge Try your hand at Coconut Crème Caramel.
Cooking School Learn how to cook with spirits.
Tim Pawsey (aka The Hired Belly) continues to document the dynamic evolution of the Vancouver and BC food scene both on line and in print, as he has for over 30 years, for respected outlets such as the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News and Where Vancouver magazine. His words and images are often picked up by others across Canada, such as the Calgary Herald and National Post. Follow him at hiredbelly.com and facebook.com/TheHiredBelly.
Features Scare up some Hallowe’en treats — Sloppy Joes, Baked Potato Soup and more.
blogs Get your food and wine fix, updated weekly. This month, Kitchen Mama lets you in on some great food buys.
Original recipes; a daily serving of food
and drink news and views; culinary tips, tricks and techniques.
In May Tony Aspler was the first Canadian wine writer to be elected to the New York Media Wine Writers Hall of Fame. He is currently working on the fourth Ezra Brant wine murder mystery, Nightmare in Napa. He jokes that “The bottler did it.” Just kidding.
Next Month In Tidings 6th annual Mav wine and spirits awards Hard Hitting bordeaux Hungry for Hungary Sean Wood is the weekly wine columnist for the Halifax Chronicle Herald. and a regular contributor to Tidings. He travels extensively to world wine regions and provides consulting and training services to the hospitality industry and to government. Sean was a founding member of the Association of Sommeliers of the Atlantic Provinces (now CAPS, Atlantic) and taught for several years in the Sommelier Certification program. He serves frequently as a Judge for various wine competitions. His book Nova Scotia Wineries and Wine Country was released in 2006.
20 wines not to wait for Sushi Mastering Beers to cellar and why Want to be an iron chef? ... And So Much More
//from the editor October 2012 Issue # 306
8 annual Maverick Chefs issue th
go now I spent 3 weeksthis summer building a backyard deck. It wasn’t that complicated in design. It wasn’t that big. But it seemed like a mountain of work. Now there were probably thousands of people, around the world, building a deck at the exact same time as me. I wasn’t doing anything special but I can say it hasn’t fallen down — yet . I’m not trying to brag but building something yourself is difficult. The excessive time it takes and the attention to the tiniest of details makes it an endeavour. It’s something to be proud of. And that is what happens every time someone thinks about opening a restaurant. The day you decide to do it, thousands are also making that choice. When you work your floor plan, so do they. As you work your menu, they are perfecting theirs. You are never alone. Isn’t that the problem? As one new restaurant opens, another is waiting around the corner to snag its customers. There is nothing they can do about it. It’s really tough. But there is something we can do. As you hear good things about a new restaurant, don’t hesitate to visit it. We always put it off, choosing a place we’ve been to before. Close to 60 per cent of all new restaurants will close within the first three years. It’s a disheartening statistic. So don’t wait. Make that reservation. It may be the best meal of your life.
Aldo Parise email@example.com Contributing Editors
Gurvinder Bhatia, Tod Stewart Contributing food Editor
Nancy Johnson Contributing Lifestyle Editor
Rosemary Mantini Columnists
Tony Aspler, Peter Rockwell, Michael Volpatt, Joanne Will, Sheila Swerling-Puritt, Jonathan Smithe Contributors
Sean Wood, Harry Hertscheg, Evan Saviolidis, Gilles Bois, Rick VanSickle, Matthew Sullivan, Carolyn Evans-Hammond, Merle Rosenstein, Tim Pawsey, Michael Pinkus, Duncan Holmes Tasters
Tony Aspler, Rick VanSickle, Evan Saviolidis, Gilles Bois, Harry Hertscheg, Sean Wood, Jonathan Smithe, Ron Liteplo and Gurvinder Bhatia COPY DESK
Grace Yaginuma, Kathy Sinclair web editor
Rosemary Mantini Creative by Paris Associates Art Direction
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ww+Labs, cmyk design, studio karibü Illustrations & Photography
Matt Daley, Francesco Gallé, Push/Stop Studio, august photography, Westen Photo Studio Cover Design
studio karibü Cover Photo
8 // October 2012
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JACK DANIEL’S TENNESSEE HONEY is a registered trademark. © 2012 All Rights Reserved.
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Senior Account Executive Jacquie Rankin: email@example.com 9 05-886-6640 ext 304 Sales Associate Amanda Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org 905-886-6640 ext. 308 www.tidingsmag.com www.tidingseats.com Now in our 39 th year Kylix Media, 5165 Sherbrooke St. West, Suite 414, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 1T6, Tel: 514.481.6606, Fax: 514.481.9699. Subscription Rates: Canada: $36 per year, $58 per 2 years, USA: $55 per year, Other: $75 per year. Single Copies: $5.95. Tidings, Canada’s Food & Wine Magazine, a registered trademark of Kylix Media, is published 8 times a year: (February/March, April, May/June, July/August, September, October, November, December/January). Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. © 2012 Kylix Media Inc. Printed in Canada. ISSN-0228-6157. Publications Mail Registration No. 40063855. Member of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
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Re: “Muy Pequeña” by Gilles Bois, I had no idea that Uruguay produced such a copious amount of wine. I can always count on Tidings to point me toward new and interesting tastes! Tom Hudson, Toronto
... I’d love to purchase a Ridley Bronze for Thanksgiving. Any idea where they’re sold? ...
Nancy Johnson’s account of her struggles with Boston ivy made me laugh out loud. I can truly relate. Her recipe for Chicken, Fig and Pancetta Bruschetta was a hit, too. Eve Wright, Vancouver
Joanne Will’s story on the rare Ridley Bronze turkey made me wonder if they and the wild turkeys that can be seen roaming in Caledon, Ontario are related. I’d love to purchase a Ridley Bronze for Thanksgiving. Any idea where they’re sold? Len Mackie, email [Ed. Contact Rare Breeds Canada at www.rarebreedscanada.ca/turkeybreeders.htm to find out where heritage breeds are sold in your area.] Re: “All Together Now” — I’ve heard many people refer to it as “fusion confusion”. But, I must say that I’m quite fond of it — if it’s done right, that is. Trying to mesh two or more styles of cuisine together without considering whether the elements actually work is a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, people have been naturally fusing cuisines forever based on new plant and animal species being introduced to the area in which they live, through immigration or travel. John Fox, Edmonton
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concho y toro to come
a greek thanksgiving\\
The Norway Maple tree in front of my houseis fast dropping its thick blanket of leaves all over the lawn, and the chill in the air has me rooting around for my woolly sweater. Wouldn’t it be nice if those sultry summer days could last till December? I can dream, I suppose. With two food-centred holidays in it, October is actually a fabulous month. Oh sure, Hallowe’en has its charms. But, Thanksgiving truly warms my heart. Roast turkey, fruit and nut studded stuffing, herb scented veggies — I’m craving those flavours as I write! Last year, I let the turkey soak overnight in a brine of salt and herbs before roasting it in the oven the next morning. No more bland meat for me. The brine works its way all through the bird flavouring every bit of it. I will most certainly go that route again this year. One word of caution: the juices that the turkey releases will be considerably more seasoned than usual. Here’s how I set that problem right. First, I added a few thinly sliced potatoes, and simmered it until they had absorbed enough of the extra salt. Then, I made a roux (equal parts unsalted butter or olive oil and white flour), and stirred it until the mixture was thick and brown. Then I poured the turkey juices into it and stirred it again until it all came together. Totally mouthwatering. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to add a few soon-to-be favourites to the menu, don’t you think? This year, I’m going Greek. Sandy beaches, palm trees, the clear, blue waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas … this is the way to forget about the impending cold. I won’t be hopping on a trans-Atlantic flight, though. I’ll be peeling and slicing at my own kitchen counter the morning of the big day preparing a dish that many of us who can’t claim Greek heritage probably have little opportunity to savour. Skordalia is a classic Greek delicacy, and like so many culinary treasures, each family has its own interpretation. Effy Ligris, owner of Kalikori Olive Oil in Montreal, declares this recipe to be a family favourite, especially when paired with Retsina. Effy insists that the natural earthy flavour of Retsina enhances the already awesome taste of the food. Don’t be afraid of the amount of garlic going into it; the finished dish will be silky smooth, and full of wonderful rounded flavour. The vinegar gives it just the right hit of tang.
by rosemary mantini
Thanksgiving comes with lots of opportunities to eat. This year, add this gem to your menu.
Yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and quartered (use as many as you’d like) 6 garlic cloves 1/4-1/2 cup white vinegar Salt Olive oil
1. Boil potatoes until soft; mash them and set aside. 2. Crush the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt over the garlic. Continue to mash the salt and garlic together until it resembles a paste. 3. Work the garlic mixture into the potatoes. 4. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar. The amount you end up using depends entirely on how much bite you want. Start with less, then increase according to taste. 5. Begin pouring oil into the potato mixture while mashing and stirring. Continue adding the oil until the mashed potatoes have reached a smooth and creamy consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste. …… The Skordalia should have a sharp bite with an ultra smooth mouthfeel.
we’re number 1\\
The culinary significance of mustardin many countries is hard to overlook; Germany is known for a sweet Bavarian variety, England for an especially hot concoction, and Dijon, France is dubbed the mustard capital of the world due to the long tradition of mustard-making there. You may not know that much of the mustard seed used in places like Dijon is imported, mainly from Canada. Along with India, we’re the world’s largest producers of this oilseed crop. India’s mustard is consumed within that country, while 90 per cent of Canada’s production is shipped outside our borders. “We’re the world’s largest exporter, and 75 per cent of Canada’s mustard crop is grown in Saskatchewan,” says Adele Buettner, general manager of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission (SMDC). “We have an average of 2700 producers and about 370,000 acres. All three types of mustard are grown here: yellow, brown — which is sometimes also called black — and oriental.” The SMDC represents the growers, and creates partnerships to help spread the word about mustard with organizations such as the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, where mustard grows wild between the vineyards. “We’re encouraging people to think differently about mustard, and some of the unconventional ways to use it,” says Buettner. “When I talk to groups, so many people are accustomed to using mustard as a condiment, but don’t often give a thought to using the whole seed, or even buying prepared mustard and incorporating that into other recipes. But once you get talking to them about the kinds of dishes and sauces
14 // October 2012
by joanne will
they like, you can see the wheels turning,” she says, going on to describe a mouth-watering mustard-and-maple-syrup marinade for salmon. “Oriental mustard is a deeper gold colour when you compare the three, and is mainly used in the Orient where it’s turned into oil. Yellow mustard is the most common and mildest mustard, and brown has a more aggressive, stronger flavour. All three types are the various shades you see when you look in a seedy mustard jar,” says Buettner. In addition to three types of mustard, there are three forms for culinary use: powder made from ground seeds, whole seed, and prepared mustards. “More people are reaching for mustard to prepare rubs for barbecuing, and to use in stews, sauces and salad dressings. Sausages are another thing they’re using the whole seed for. Mustard is an emulsifying agent, so it helps absorb any excess moisture when combined with other ingredients, and using the whole seed adds that wee little bit of crunch,” says Buettner. If the flavour, versatility, and deep Canadian connection aren’t enough to make you race to the cupboard or nearest shop, the nutrition profile of mustard may move you. “In today’s world, where people are trying to eat healthier and reduce sodium yet enhance flavour, we remind them that there are only five calories in one teaspoon of mustard powder, it’s 25 per cent protein, [and it’s] an excellent source of soluble fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, and selenium,” says Buettner.
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anything but martinis
let’s stay home\\
One of the most wonderful perksof being a drinks writer is travelling around the world and being invited to look, taste and hear all about spirits, wine and food. But I have to admit travelling isn’t as much fun as it used to be. Planes that don’t keep to their schedule and missed connections have become routine. I’ve spent too much time stuck in an airport for hours and lost my luggage entirely too often. Then there’s security. Without them I’d never have known that my toiletries might be dangerous. I’m not complaining — much — and I won’t be refusing work-related travel any time soon, but the time has come when I’m clicking my heels together three times like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz while repeating “There’s no place like home.” In October I’m even less inclined than usual to leave home. It has to be one of my very favourite months, a month when I’m surrounded by beautiful foliage changing colour, bright sun, cooler days and time to visit with family and friends. So how do I bridge the gap between the allure of foreign food-and-drink destinations with an October-related preference to keep my feet planted firmly in Southern Ontario? One answer is to just pretend I’m travelling by sharing cocktails named for locations around the world. Think of the savings in airfare and hotels, not to mention the savings in time avoiding the new normal in air travel.
my bucket travel list warsaw cocktail 1 1/2 oz Wyborowa vodka 1/2 oz blackberry liqueur 1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 tsp fresh lemon juice Place contents into an ice-filled shaker. Shake well. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. A twist of lemon would make a good garnish.
+ Visit tidingsmag.com/drinks/ for more drink recipes
by sheila swerling-puritt
singapore sling 2
oz Plymouth Gin oz cherry brandy oz Cointreau oz Bénédictine oz lime juice (fresh) 2 oz pineapple juice 1 drop bitters (optional) Place ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice; shake well. Pour over ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a slice of pineapple or orange.
1/2 1/4 1/4 1/4
monte carlo imperial cocktail 1 1
oz Plymouth Gin oz lemon juice (fresh) 1/2 oz crème de menthe (white or green, your choice) Chilled Veuve Clicquot Champagne (or you can substitute a dry Prosecco or Cava) Shake gin, lemon juice and crème de menthe over ice in a shaker. Strain into a flute; top up with Champagne.
oz rum oz Pernod 1 oz fresh lemon juice 2 dashes grenadine Pour into an ice-filled shaker. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.
sushi lovin and bloody sips\\
I love sushi but can’t seem to find a wine that doesn’t overpower its subtleties. Any suggestions? So not a big sake fan, I’m betting? If so, I know from where you come. It took even me some time to get into the rice-makes-nice vibe of Japan’s national liquid obsession. I mean, cheaper versions taste like sucking on your finger. All fleshy and forgettable. The good stuff, though, is quite a mind-bending alternative to grape-based hedonism whether you like the stuff hot or cold. (I prefer the cheaper versions warm and their premium cousins ever-so-slightly chilled.) If the last paragraph sounded, well, like Japanese to your sake-unsure ears, grab a beer. The subtle flavours of a sushi menu (and especially one that incorporates elements of sashimi) are extremely beer-friendly. Japan has its big brew brands (Asahi, Kirin and of course, Sapporo), but any crisp, refreshing, subtly sweeter lager is an ideal match with sushi. Yet you need wine. You have to love the average sushi joint and its wine list. I don’t think they have a clue when it comes to choosing their selection. It’s like their sommelier philosophy is “let’s just pick a few popular wines and keep our chopsticks crossed.” Just ask the server at your favourite sushi resto about which wine matches best with your food choices. They won’t be able to get away from your table fast enough. To be fair, they’re offering a menu that combines a wide variety of flavours: everything from nori seaweed wraps to wasabi on the side. That makes a wine choice about as easy as one for Christmas dinner. No matter your usual preference, I would go white. An off-dry Riesling, or crisp, lean Pinot Grigio are pretty much ideal. You can step into the experimental zone with an Austrian Grüner Veltliner: a hip mix of dryness and green fruit.
18 // October 2012
by peter rockwell
Wasabi fans may appreciate the grassy-meets-gooseberry of your average Sauvignon Blanc. Good for them; it’s not my thing. When it comes to sushi, red wine is either for sipping while the chef does his business or after you’ve stuck that last tasty morsel in your mouth. If you have to go red, keep things simple. Reach for a Pinot Noir with a low price tag. The last thing you want to do is steamroll the freshness of sushi with an overload of tannins and thick fruit. Any thoughts on a beverage to sip on this Halloween? Halloween just ain’t fair. You get maybe ten good years of trick-or-treating pleasure as a kid, and then you’ve got to spend the rest of your days answering the door and giving away more than you ever got. I’ve always tried to make up for the timeline deficit by enjoying a relaxing tipple or two during the carnage while Mrs Bon Vivant attends to front-door duty. (She still finds the magic in handing out candy.) Is there a perfect seasonal beverage? Well, you can mix it up if you’re so inclined. You don’t have to be a bartender to put together a Bloody Mary or Bloody Caesar ( just Google them if you need the recipes.) They’re both simple to resurrect. You can ghoul up your Bloody with a seasonal-oriented spirit from the vodka family. Crystal Head — the brainchild of Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd — comes wrapped in a glass skull and is filtered through diamonds in Newfoundland. If that’s not scary enough for you, Blavod vodka is black. Things always drink better when they’re black. If being your own bartender is too macabre, try some brew. England’s Wychwood Brewery has a nasty (in name only) array of beers, led by Hobgoblin — its flagship ale.
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by matthew sullivan
game Imagine that you own a few hundred acres of vineyards in Napa Valley. There’s a hill on your property, and on top of the hill is a grand château that was built in the 1880s. Your wines are pretty well regarded. For example, Wine Spectator has called them the “rarest and most-esteemed wines ever produced in California.” James Laube, the California wine expert, dubbed your land “one of wine’s crown jewels.” And to pitch in as winemaker, you’ve just nabbed the estate director from Château Margaux. So far, so good, you say. I like what I hear, you say. And you would be correct. However, you have just one problem: the name on the bottle. There’s only one name that you want for your winery. And that name is the one name you can’t have. It’s a peculiar dilemma — what some of my friends call a First World problem. Who is the poor soul facing this awful predicament? As it happens, it is someone you know. It’s the situation that the film director Francis Ford Coppola has faced for the last 30 years. The naming of wineries is a complex business. “The winery’s name should capture the imagination and connect with the customers it wants to reach,” wrote design expert Leif Miltenberger in his analysis of winery names in British Columbia recently. The name of the winery is the first opportunity that a bottle has to seize the consumer’s attention. However, it is more than just a branding tool — it is also the soul of the winery and the key to understanding its aspirations. Some old-timers may say that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I say that if one winery is named Jackass Ranch and another is named Opus One, meaningful conclusions may be drawn about the contents of the bottle. There are many different types of names for a winery. In his analysis, Miltenberger identified 17 categories of wine names, including “musical references,” “astronomy” and “obscura.” However, to convenience the readers of Tidings, I have created a simpler classification system that I believe will stand the test of time and result in my name being remembered with that of Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy. In the Sullivan System, there are only three types of winery names: 1) family names, 2) names taken from the land and 3) dumb names.
20 // October 2012
Using a family name is the classic way to name a winery. From the widow Clicquot to the brothers Gallo, many of the most iconic wineries take their name from a powerful family or a visionary owner. It emphasizes a winemaking tradition and the winemaker himself, rather than a particular place. It also creates a lasting legacy, a point of family pride that seems a powerful motivator for wine entrepreneurs. When I asked Moray Tawse, the founder of Tawse Winery in Ontario, why he chose to use his family name, he replied simply that it was because he was “putting his soul into this project.” Was it a difficult decision? “No.” Were there any other names in contention? “No.” On the other hand, naming a winery for its location also has a long pedigree. Château Latour was named for an ancient tower built on the estate. And Lafite is the Gascon word for a small hill, presumably the place where that château stands today. Using geography to name a winery suggests that the estate has placed more emphasis on terroir. When I asked Harald Thiel, the founder of Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery, how it got its name, he replied, “The name ‘Hidden Bench’ derives its origin and raison d’être from the location of the winery, which is the Beamsville Bench sub-appellation. The ‘Hidden’ component of the name comes from the fact that our location is somewhat off the beaten path ... We believe that the focus of any ultra premium winery should be its vineyards and the grapes they produce.”
For some winemakers,getting the right name is more like finding a totem that binds them to the land. Flat Rock Cellars in Jordan, Ontario, got its name straight out of the earth. The founder, Ed Madronich, was replanting his vineyard soon after purchase and dug up “massive pieces of flat limestone.” “The name naturally evolved from there,” Jillian Nero at Flat Rock told me. “The natural limestone bed beneath the vineyard plays a very significant role in our winemaking, and the limestone’s characteristics are evident in all our wines.” illustration: FRancesco Gallé, www.francescogalle.com
My favourite story about names taken from the land is from Burrowing Owl Estate Winery in British Columbia. When founder Jim Wyse was looking to name his vineyard, his eye happened to fall upon a commemorative sign across the street. One side detailed the plight of the burrowing owl, which had vanished from the region, and the other side described the threatened western rattlesnake. “With the sign as inspiration and without any regard whatsoever for future marketing implications, we picked the burrowing owl name for the vineyard. The poor western rattlesnake really did not stand a chance,” Wyse says. “Midge and I joined the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC on the spot and have been members and active supporters since November of 1993. All of the funds collected for our wine tastings are turned over to this society without deduction.” The third category in my taxonomy is Dumb Names. I use the word dumb not in the sense of stupid (although Chile’s “Sassy Bitch Wines” is not exactly T. S. Eliot), but in the sense of unspeaking. While Organized Crime Winery (Beamsville, Ontario) and Megalomaniac Wines (Vineland, Ontario) have snappy names, great design and lovely product, their names tell you less about the contents of the bottle than they do about their owner’s sense of whimsy. And I can’t drink a sense of whimsy.
Of course, many of the more eccentric names for wineries have nothing to do with whimsy and everything to do with money. In an age of extensive market research, the name of the winery is an exercise in branding. “Naming is also something that you want to get right the first time rather than have to go through a costly renaming process down the road,” Miltenberger writes. And while clearing his throat and pointing at himself, “It’s a decision that should be researched, tested and, ultimately, guided by a professional who can employ a creative, disciplined and strategic approach.” Thus, a few years ago, the somewhat awkwardly named Scherzinger Vineyards in BC was having trouble with sales, but after renaming themselves “Dirty Laundry Vineyards,” their wine started selling briskly. Changing your name is risky business, but sometimes it can pay off. Which brings us back to the man with the unfortunate dilemma, Francis Ford Coppola. In 1975, using the profits from The Godfathers I and II, he purchased a part of the famed Inglenook estate. Founded in the 1880s by Finnish multi-millionaire Gustave Niebaum, Inglenook was a piece of history. For 85 years, it was a family winery producing perhaps the greatest wines in California — bottles of outstanding longevity and power that garnered gold medals and ratings of 100 points. However, the winery was sold to a corporation in 1964, and over the next decade, the property was balkanized, and the Inglenook brand was run into the ground by using it to market low-quality jug wine. Originally, it was just the mansion on the property that Coppola was interested in. “I never tried to get into the wine business. I just bought a house and there were vineyards on it,” he told me when I met him for lunch. However, when he realized that he had purchased a world-class vineyard, he began production. Over the next decades, he struggled to obtain the rest of the original Inglenook property, using the proceeds from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to buy one choice parcel. However, one thing eluded him: the Inglenook name. It was owned by the corporation the Wine Group. So Coppola first called the winery Niebaum-Coppola (a nod to the Bordeaux tradition of merging the name of the historical and current owner, like Lafite Rothschild). In 2006, he rechristened the winery Rubicon Estate, naming the winery after its fabulous flagship wine, Rubicon. However, what he really wanted was Inglenook. He wanted the history. In 2011, Coppola finally came to terms with the Wine Group and purchased the Inglenook name. Coppola couldn’t disclose the amount involved, but it was clear from the way he spoke that it was not cheap. “It’s so unreal to me to have Inglenook — the end of a 30-year process,” he said in a low voice to no one in particular. “I’m so proud of Inglenook.” I sat watching him point the bottles on the table so that he could see the labels, like a parent positioning himself to gaze on all his children. And I thought to myself, “How much money would I pay for a name?” •
exploded It’s an exciting time for Australian Shiraz. No longer is it simply the muscular, richly fruited bomb we’ve come to know, love and slowly tire of. It’s coming of age. by carolyn evans-hammond It’s becoming complex,diverse and articulate — ready to express its regionality with clarity. And those in the know are taking notice. It’s almost certainly a style to watch and rediscover. Today, an ocean of Australian Shiraz is being produced. Think in the tune of almost a half a million tons of fruit crushed each year and more than 42,000 hectares under vine. But those Shiraz vines don’t cluster in one particular area; they’re spread throughout 22 designated growing areas. And each area has been working hard to develop its own unique expression of Shiraz in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Australia now offers more than just one style — from the ubiquitous big Barossa blockbusters to lighter, more elegant, Syrah-like bottles from the Great Southern region. The country is responding to the growing demand for wines that not just thrill but also refresh. And the onus sits squarely on wine drinkers to understand the stylistic differences between the regions. To set you off in the right direction, I’ve sketched a top-line road map highlighting several of the most noteworthy spots.
This small region only accounts for about 1.5 per cent of Shiraz plantings but produces stunning Shiraz that is delicate and very judiciously oaked. Great Southern is a relatively cooler climate that tends to ripen the berries slower, preserving the aromatics. The result is a Shiraz that’s more appropriately called Syrah. In fact, some Australian producers choosing to make lighter, spicier styles are calling the wines Syrah (rather than Shiraz) to suggest this difference. Great Southern Shiraz typically shows red and black plum flavours laced with liquorice, spice and cherry, but with an elegant perfume, silky mouthfeel and lighter body.
There is still, and always will be, Barossa blockbusters teeming with ripe, choco-berry fruit. This region accounts for about 12 per cent of the Shiraz produced in Australia and was the go-to region for many enthusiasts for the past few decades. But the style is falling out of fashion as people turn to more drinkable styles. Barossa’s wines are indeed a plush crush of velvety richness, but they’re also high in alcohol — blame it on the terroir — making them tough to enjoy beyond a glass or two. That said, if this style of wine is your thing, Barossa Shiraz will always be there to turn to, even if it’s starting to bore the critics. Hallmark flavours include mocha, cocoa, black plum and oak.
This region is the one to watch. Much like Barossa Shiraz, these wines are richly fruited and almost black in colour. And a decade ago, they struggled with balance. But now, the wines express power and finesse in a single glass, with the texture and complexity to attract a more discriminating drinker. Hallmark flavours include plum, liquorice, and a lifted note of violet.
22 // October 2012
two hands’ matthew wenk
This region’s Shiraz is recognized for its purity of fruit. Although the wines certainly offer power and tannic structure, there’s freshness and elegance too due largely to the elevation of the region (400 to 500 metres). Higher elevation preserves acidity, prevents cooked flavours and in many ways simply makes it easier to produce more interesting Shiraz. The chocolate, dark berry and spice notes are typically there, but so is the delightful thrill of fresh red berries. And considerable complexity can develop with time in bottle — not all Shiraz is capable of long-term aging.
Like Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills’ elevation lifts the fruit of Shiraz grown here. So the wines from this region are fresh and lively with bright fruit and medium body — supremely drinkable and affable. This regional variation offsets the naturally dark, rich character of the grape variety itself.
Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley ($18) Nicely toned little number with a ripe, tight core of blackberry and plum, underpinned by notes of anise, white pepper and warm vanilla. Medium- to full-bodied with 13.5 per cent alcohol.
Wakefield Estate Shiraz 2009, Clare Valley ($18)
Juicy. Black Forest fruit and spice are here but so is a firm seam of acidity running through this Shiraz, lifting the fruit and refreshing the palate. Topcoat of vanilla.
Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Shiraz 2008, Strathbogie Ranges ($20)
Aromatic and concentrated yet far from a single-note fruit bomb. Lots going on here, from classic liquorice and pepper flavours to savoury smoked meat and herbaceousness. Mint and minerals on the finish.
Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2009, McLaren Vale ($22)
For the money, this classic Shiraz is tough to beat. You’ve got all the generosity you’ve come to expect from the variety balanced by the elegance and finesse that’s got critics talking. Intense blackcurrant, plum, Black Forest cake, and a crank of pepper. The 15% alcohol is well hidden beneath tons of fleshy, beguiling fruit.
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2010, Barossa Valley ($30) Matt Fowles from plunkett fowles
As Australia’s oldest wine-producing region with vines there since the 1820s, the Hunter Valley has a well-established reputation for producing decent Shiraz but also Shiraz that often shows that telltale sweaty saddle note of Brettanomyces. “Brett” is a form of contamination that tends to flow from poor sanitation in the winery, and can, at high levels, make wine taste terrible. Well, dear reader, seems the region has cleaned up its act. Pretty notes of sour cherry complement the dark berry and spice of these medium-bodied Shirazes. And the wines are intense and charming. There are of course other regions and sub-regions to delve into, but the places noted above are good jumping-off points. Enough theory; let’s get on with the fun stuff. Below are eight undervalued bottles to get you reacquainted with Australian Shiraz. They all demonstrate the sheer hedonistic appeal Australia is now offering at the $18 to $99 levels. If you haven’t reached for Aussie Shiraz lately, I would encourage you to do so. I think you’ll be surprised. •
If you like Barossa Shiraz, you’ll love this wine. From an excellent vintage, this wine showcases everything this area is about, classically speaking. Think blockbuster red brimming with puréed plum, chocolate-covered black cherries, milky coffee, liquorice and pepper. Full bodied with 14.5% alcohol.
Mitolo G.A.M. Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale ($44)
Made from 25-year-old vines that yield complex, concentrated berries, this medium-to-full-bodied wine offers an initial attack of macerated Black Forest fruits, then unfurls flavours of coffee bean, violet, dark chocolate, black liquorice and black earth. The tannins are firm but ripe and the length resonant.
Mitchell McNicol Shiraz 2003, Clare Valley ($46)
Quite Syrah-like in its elegance and complexity and showing its age beautifully with significant depth of character. Powerful, almost savoury, fruit underpinned by aromas and flavours of cigar box, leather, liquorice and thyme. This wine drinks beautifully now but will continue to develop in proper cellaring for another five years or so.
by merle rosenstein
How do pest control programs,energy and fuel optimization, and canopy density relate to the twang that lingers luxuriously on your tongue after a pop of Pinot Noir? Are environmental impacts for future generations top of mind while sipping a glass of Syrah? Isn’t it all about the ping on the palate, sugar content and amount of time aged in oak barrels? Not according to sustainability codes around the world. California and New Zealand have had sustainability codes in place for some time. Following a decision in 2008 to hold suppliers accountable to social, environmental and ethical principles, the Nordic Alcohol Monopolies (NAMs), which includes Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, adopted the code of conduct of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). Beginning in January 2012, suppliers were required to include the code of conduct in agreements. With this code, NAMs aim to influence suppliers to adopt responsible practices at every stage of the development and distribution chain. And it did. NAMs’ new code of conduct infiltrated the Chilean wine industry. Claudia Carbonell is an agronomist and manager at Technological Wine Consortiums and at Wines of Chile, an organization that promotes Chilean wine internationally. She says, “While NAMs’ new requirements for suppliers were not the only drivers for Wines of Chile to pursue sustainability, it is correct to say that the NAMs decision was influential.” Carbonell went on to say, “This is a very demanding market and the Wines of Chile would like to maintain this market.” The Technological Wine Consortiums developed a National Sustainability Code for the Chilean wine industry, three chapters of protocols covering different areas of the wine-production process. The green chapter includes all viticulture practices such as cover crops, pruning, canopy management, soil and irrigation management, diseases and pest management, and job safety. The red chapter covers all winery and office operations including wine
24 // October 2012
composition, energy-efficiency practices, water use and conservation and waste-management strategies. The orange chapter considers social issues and includes relationships with other companies, with neighbours and with the local community. According to Carbonell, “Chile’s National Sustainability Code requires an integrated pest-control program minimizing the use of agrochemicals, but does not forbid chemicals. The intention is to encourage a shift toward non-chemical methods of pest control, through regular monitoring, careful study of pest infestations, preventative practices, localized treatments, incubation of pest predators, prioritization of bio-pesticides and a comprehensive pest-management plan — all of which can earn a vineyard points toward certification.” Carbonell said that the most distinguishing feature of the Chile’s National Sustainability Code compared to other codes is “its commitment to all three branches of sustainability, especially in terms of corporate social responsibility. Our code investigates business operations at all phases and in all locations of the company — vineyards, wineries, bottling plants and corporate offices.”
errazuriz wine group
In 1870, Don Maximiano Errázuriz founded Errazuriz Winery in Chile’s Aconcagua Valley, 100 kilometres north of Santiago. Today the company has four brands, Errazuriz, Caliterra, Arboleda and Sena and a total surface area of around 1,250 acres in valleys throughout central Chile. A total of 71 per cent of the total surface area of the Errazuriz wine group is certified under Chile’s Sustainability Code. The company was already moving toward sustainability before certification by reducing chemical products to control diseases and introducing a plant and soil nutrition system. Gerardo Leal, chief oenologist for research, development and sustainability, described how the company is meeting the requirements for certification.
In order to maintain soil conditions, a spray program relies on less toxic and more environmentally friendly products. Cover crops planted between rows of vines reduce soil erosion and nutrition loss and maintain moisture. Specialized technology pinpoints the optimal date and duration for spraying by analyzing minimum and maximum temperatures during a season and the number of growing days. Natural enemies such as insects and plants are also used to control red mites. These natural enemies offer alternative food sources for pests. And on it goes. Leal said that the outcome of the sustainability measures is “grapes with less residual chemicals. We have got specific data from the soil. Because we are not using herbicide, for example, we have soil with higher CO2 production — with more bacteria and fungus, your soil is completely alive.” Leal went on to say, “When you use less chemical products or more friendly products ... this affects grape quality.”
use — no pesticides and no herbicides. But I would say that on the use of resources, the sustainability code of Chile goes quite deep in relation to the waste of water and energy. I would say that on that particular point it has a very high level.” Torres also stated that “the sustainability code has raised the consciousness of many companies in Chile and has started a certain trend.”
Domingo Fernández Concha founded Santa Rita Winery in 1880 in the Alto Jahuel area near Santiago. Santa Rita plantings cover more than 7,413 acres in the valleys of Limarí, Casablanca, Leyda, Maipo, Colchagua, Apalta and Curicó. For the past 10 years, Santa Rita’s viticulturists have used sustainable practices. A total of 60 per cent of all vineyard properties have been certified through Chile’s Sustainability Code. According to Francisco Aldunate, the chief business officer, these practices have led to better integration between different areas of the company. Implementation of Chile’s Sustainability Code requires good communication between staff in charge of technology, vineyard workers and staff who produce the wine to ensure appropriate pest- and weed-control practices and adequate water input. Santa Rita also tests different rootstocks to find ones that need less water for a particular terroir, uses a system for transferring the right amount of water to each plant and uses a geographic information system that collects data on all parts of the growing cycle and determines when sprays need to be applied.
Miguel Torres expanded to Chile about 30 years ago from Spain and now has around 865 acres and six vineyards in Chile. All vineyards in Chile are certified under the Sustainability Code and in organic viticulture and fair trade as well. According to Miguel Torres Maczassek, the executive president, “The sustainable code for Chile is beneficial in that it forces you to register your data and have this updated and in order.” He talked about the commonalities between Chile’s Sustainability Code and certification in organic viticulture. “With organic viticulture you are more restrictive about the products that you can
the torres family
The company’s focus on fair trade began in 2010 with the massive earthquake that hit Concepción, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area displacing more than 1.5 million people. Miguel Torres obtained international fair trade certification for its main range of wines — Santa Digna. The company will set aside a “Fair Trade Bonus” from the proceeds of every bottle of Santa Digna sold. Workers will form small committees to decide how best to apply these funds toward social projects. Miguel Torres also motivates local suppliers to achieve fair trade or organic viticulture certification. Torres had this to say about the code: “I believe that today it is not only important to produce quality wines, but also important to make clear how are we producing the wine? And on that side, the sustainable code is very helpful, because it provides information to the final consumer.” But what exactly is the question? Is it too much work? Will a sustainability code produce better quality wines? Well, it all depends on your definition of sustainable. •
Let’s get one thing straight. Just because a wine is organic doesn’t mean it’s going to taste better, or even good for that matter.
Sustainby Gurvinder bhatia
ability? 26 // October 2012
Those people who are influenced by organic certification laOrganic, sustainable and biodynamicare buzzwords that are used, overused and misused all too frequently when discussing bels and marketing tactics when they buy wine should also be the quality of a wine. (And don’t even get me started on “natural” aware that a vineyard does not exist in a vacuum. One producer wines!) No one is denying the environmental benefits and social may farm organically, but if a neighbouring vineyard is not orresponsibility of farming and producing wines sustainably. But ganic, there is always a chance of contamination via wind curwhen people start to believe that a wine tastes better solely be- rents or shared groundwater. Burgundy is a perfect example. As a result of inheritance cause it’s produced sustainably, that’s when the problems begin. The objective of any producer should be to produce a great laws, vineyards have been divided into smaller and smaller plots, quality wine. If that can be done in a manner that’s also beneficial and now many vineyards are owned by multiple individual growto the environment, all the better. In fact, producers should strive ers. (The 50-hectare Clos de Vougeot vineyard, for example, has to achieve both. The problem is when producers use organic, over 80 owners.) In many instances a producer may only farm a biodynamic, natural and sustainable as marketing tools regard- couple of rows of vines. Obviously one producer’s practices will less of the quality of the final bottle. And a few well-meaning, affect the vines belonging to another. socially conscious consumers have been led to believe that unless they are drinking wines that are certified organic, they are harming the environment, are drinking unhealthy or inferior wine or may even be shunned by their “green” friends. Producing a wine sustainably will not in and of itself make a wine taste better. I’ve tasted numerous poorly made wines that are certified organic or biodynamic. According to Mario Zanusso of Italy’s i Clivi winery, “Organic/biodynamic can’t be a sign of better wine. [It] can only be a sign of healthier grapes, which do not necessarily lead to a good/better wine.” Zanusso goes on to say, “Wine is a matter of terroir and technique. Technique doesn’t mean heavy use of technology or chemicals ... it means knowledge of the processes that lead from grapes to wine. An ignorant [person] can’t produce a good wine” — even if they use organic grapes. Tom Meadowcroft, of Meadowcroft Tom Meadowcroft Wines in California, farms his Mount Veeder vineyard sustainably, but it is not certified organic. Meadowcroft explored certification but disAn overemphasis on “organic” also detracts from the fact covered there were several organizations in California that pro- that many grape growers do have an interest in conducting vided certification (each with slightly different standards), and their vineyards sustainably and environmentally. They’ve opultimately all he’d have to show for it in the end was a piece of pa- erated this way for years. Will certification give greater validper and a hit to his bank account. Producing great quality wines ity to their practices? is enough for him; he is comfortable just knowing that he’s enviAnd the term “organic wine” is a bit of a misnomer. Zanusso ronmentally responsible. However, he does find himself having points out that, according to European regulations, organic is a to clarify certain myths. Just because he isn’t certified doesn’t certification that applies to agriculture (in this case, the grapes), mean that he produces lesser wine or is an irresponsible steward not winemaking. “There is no organic wine, just wine made out of the land. It’s a whole process of educating he’s had to take on of organic grapes.” That is, there is nothing “organic” about the — “one consumer at a time.” process of making the wine.
One Italian producer(who asked not to be identified) indicated that most landowners and grape growers he knows are producing sustainably because it results in better quality grapes and “ensures productivity for them and their sons.” While he has a lot of respect for organic and biodynamic viticulture, “Biodynamic farmers do not have the monopoly on being environmentally sensitive.” He believes that most independent farmers are environmentally sensitive. “Their future generations will live on and off that land. I think that there is a lot of talking around those words [organic, biodynamic, etc.] without giving the public real explanations with scientific basis. This is producing a sort of barrier between farmers.” With the hyper-focus on organic wines, perhaps there is not enough importance placed on whether wines are produced with estate-grown grapes or with purchased grapes. In a world where supply currently exceeds demand, it is much more cost effective to bottle wines from purchased grapes or juice as opposed to growing your own grapes. (Witness all the virtual wineries à la Cameron Hughes and Charles Shaw — how else can you explain Two Buck Chuck?) From a consumer standpoint, it is much easier to trace the origins of and the vineyard practices used for estate-grown grapes. Wines purchased on the bulk market lack not only a true expression of place, but also accountability with respect to farming practices.
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A discussion of sustainability is not complete without a mention of “natural” wines. Does the wine contain sulphites? Are yeasts added? Is the wine filtered? According to Zanusso, there’s a perception that these three vinification practices are “industrial, hence immoral and in some way delinquent, and the abolition of the three gives the result of a better wine. So what were considered unacceptable defects 10 years ago [e.g., volatile acidity, malolactic fermentations in the bottle] are now being marketed as natural.” Zanusso says that recently authorities in Rome stopped the sale of wines listed as natural because of what can happen to the wine during shipment. “There is no regulation for production, and ... the absence of filtration and any preservatives [sulphites] ... makes these wines potentially dangerous due to the bacteria that exists in the wine.” In the words of my colleague Donatella Dicca, “One thing is for certain, those that follow the [sustainable] philosophy are at least doing their best to take care of our planet. How many generic, poorly made wines crowd our shelves from producers that neither make decent wine nor take care of our
environment? What place do they have and what benefit do they provide? ... Neither taste, nor quality, nor veracity, nor the preservation of nature.” We should give greater consideration to how producers are treating the planet. But we should also be wary of those that use sustainability, organic, biodynamic or natural as a marketing ploy. It seems to be an overwhelming trend. •
mowers by tim pawsey
Even in an industrywith more than its share of characters, you won’t meet too many people of Peter Yealands’s ilk. He’s the man who built a winery in a place where many said it couldn’t be done. Not only that, he turned it into one of the world’s most sustainable wineries. Yealands comes from a background in mussels and deer farming, as well as in running a successful heavy-equipment business, landscaping for others in the wine industry. Harnessing his “can-do” Kiwi attitude, the creative entrepreneur set about transforming the steep slopes overlooking Clifford Bay, at the mouth of the Awatere River — an area that many in the industry had previously dismissed as being unsuitable for vineyard development. Once he had shaped the land to include 22 wetland areas, and planted flax to attract swans and towhees to balance the monoculture of vines, he turned his attention to building the country’s first LEED-certified winery. “Right from the start, our philosophy was to be as sustainable as possible,” says Yealands. The winery saved almost a million kilowatt hours in its first year of operation, thanks to every conceivable bell and whistle of energy efficiency and conservation, from waste-water treatment, rainwater catchment, solar panels and vertical-access wind turbines (which Yealands builds himself ) and more. Even a portion of vine prunings are now baled and burned to heat glycol, saving around 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Yealands has also been a leader in pioneering the use of PET bottles, which the owner says are 89 per cent lighter, generate 54 per cent less emissions and use 19 per cent less energy to produce than traditional 750-millilitre glass bottles. Yealands’s most celebrated claim to fame could well be introducing miniature sheep to the vineyard. When the initial full-sized animals didn’t pan out (“They developed a taste for grapes”), Yealands imported some “Babydoll” miniatures, short enough to keep them focused on their work, not the grapes. In time he’ll crossbreed enough to do away with tractor mowing — currently about 3,500 square kilometres a year.
Looking to drink more sustainably? Here’s a handful of worthy Kiwi wineries (among many) to consider when buying your next socially responsible drop ...
With e r H i ll s
Wither Hills is SWNZ accredited and was part of the original pilot program. The company follows a wide range of sustainable vineyard and winery practices and is currently transitioning three vineyards to organic, with one already certified, for a total of 40 hectares. Other initiatives include a proactive conservation program for the Rarangi wetlands.
Wither Hills Pinot Noir 2008, Marlborough ($20) Forward plum and berry aromas with some earthy and cedar undertones. Fine tannins on a sleek palate with vibrant fruit, mocha and vanilla, with integrated oak and a sleek mouthfeel.
V i ll a M a r ia E state
One of the country’s largest and longest established but still family-owned wineries, Auckland-based Villa Maria has been a member of SWNZ since its inception in 1995. The company employs sustainable practices in all areas, ranging from the use of hybrid vehicles for its sales team to the maximizing of natural light in its wineries and employing of night air for cooling at its Auckland warehouse and winery. One vineyard (Joseph Soler in Hawkes Bay) is certified organic and another is transitioning.
Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2011, Marlborough ($17) Well-balanced, value-priced Riesling from Marlborough and Awatere yields floral and citrus notes on top with juicy acidity and a lemon-lime end.
Ata R a n g i
Nestled in rural Martinborough, in the south of North Island, Ata Rangi is one of New Zealand’s leaders, among the earliest of sustainable winemaking proponents, and among the very few ISO 14001–certified wineries in the world. It’s a founding member of the SWNZ initiative. Now transitioning to full organic status, the winery has never used insecticides in its 30-year history and employs almost all remaining organic matter from the winemaking process for vineyard composting. The winery, led by founder Clive Paton, is also heavily involved in the support of Project Crimson, which helps restore threatened tree species in native forests.
Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2010, Marlborough ($28) Medium bodied. Sports floral and cherry aromas, with cherry and anise notes wrapped in easy tannins. Proceeds support the work of Project Crimson.
S py Va lle y Wi n e
This Marlborough winery (named for a nearby satellite-tracking station) is no slouch when it comes to pursuing a full array of environmental initiatives, ranging from waste reduction to sustainable vineyard practices and moving toward ISO 14001 accreditation. All waste glass is crushed in a specially imported machine to mix with mulch and then distributed beneath the vines to enhance light reflection — the only initiative of its kind in New Zealand. All waste water is treated and reused, as is waste plastic and cardboard. Even lunchtime food scraps are collected and fed to the winery’s resident Kune pig, Ted.
Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2010, Marlborough ($23) Hints of barnyard on top followed by layers of strawberry and licorice with juicy acidity, good structure and a hint of savory. People’s choice in a recent blind Pinot challenge at Taste Victoria.
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Yealands is by no means alone in his messianic push for ultimate sustainability. But he very much personifies an approach that has placed New Zealand at the fore of sustainable wine growing around the world, in a relatively short time. Even though Kiwis are a pretty environmentally responsible lot, the country’s ascent to sustainable prominence didn’t happen purely by chance.
New Zealanders have been sustainable advocatessince the early 1990s, and first out the gate when they established Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) in 1995. Subsequent winery standards and a broader program that was introduced in 2007 aimed for 100 per cent sustainability by 2012. That in itself might have appeared to be a lofty goal, but Philip Manson, the science and innovations manager at New Zealand Winegrowers, says, remarkably, that 97 per cent of winery production is now sustainable in some form or other. This is ironic given that New Zealand’s approach has been to leave the specifics more to the wineries themselves rather than laying down stringent regulatory controls and requirements, which is typical of other countries. “We don’t mind [this approach to sustainability], whether it’s through our own program, certified organics, biodynamic or whatever,” says Manson. “We just think it’s important to manage your vineyards and wineries in a sustainable way, through some form of certified program that involves a third party giving credibility to the claim. “Overall, we’re pretty proud that such a large proportion of wine growers are now involved in the program,” says Manson, who also points to the rise in organic viticulture. “Here the numbers are a little less robust, but we believe that between five and seven per cent of the production area is
either in conversion or transition to ‘certified organic’ — which compares well internationally.” In some areas the land ratio is as high as 20 per cent, as in Central Otago, which has committed to attaining 100 per cent organic production.
you mean intuitively but they don’t really understand the specifics,” says Winegrowers’ sustainability point man. By following a comprehensive sustainable program at every level it really says, Hey, we really do care for the land and
Q uality and
Tradition, from one generation to the next
While the move to such levels of sustainability may have been all voluntary, there are certainly some formidable carrots being dangled in front of them to make it worthwhile. Since 2010, all wines that are entered into New Zealand’s closely followed wine competitions, or selected to take part in tastings held around the world under the auspices of New Zealand Winegrowers, must in every instance meet sustainable standards. One of the challenges is how to communicate to the consumer the very concept of sustainability, says Manson, who feels that the idea is less clearly defined than, say, organics, of which people have an easy grasp. “When you mention ‘organic,’ people will say they know what you mean, although the reality is that they know what
the environment and all that’s responsible for producing our fantastic wines, notes Manson. “And when we talk about terroir we’re really addressing the broader notion that includes not just the land but the people around it. And that means we produce wine with integrity of place and also integrity of practice.” As to why the response from Kiwi wineries has been so positive across the board? Manson has an answer that could — should — ring true for Canadians: “There’s a genuine understanding in New Zealand that the broader issues around sustainability are pretty important, both nationally and internationally. There’s a sincere appreciation that we need to do the right thing by the land we’re producing from.” • 1106024_Cesari_tidings_Ad.indd 1
30/11/11 11:02 AM
field by michael pinkus
Two things happened over the past yearthat made me realize that Portugal is making some of the most fantastic table wines around — and that here we seem to be ignoring them. The first was a Douro Valley tasting in Toronto. The Douro is best known for Port, and there was plenty of that at the tasting ... But each producer also had at least one blend, and I don’t mean your typical Cabernet/Merlot or Shiraz/Cabernet. I’m talking field blends. (I’ll explain in a minute.) The second thing that happened was I went directly to the source. I toured around the Douro and the Dão regions — I saw the amazing vineyards, the soils, the slopes. The stony ground, the winding river. And I heard the stories of how these vineyards were planted and how the “field blend” came to be. Back in the early 1900s, when the reason and remedy for phylloxera was found, the Portuguese had to get new vines in the ground. So they replanted whatever they could put their hands on, not caring about the variety; they just needed grapes to continue making wine. Many years later, during DNA testing, it was discovered that in some vineyards they had up to 60 different varieties growing — maybe more. Some have started to separate them out, but others realize they have a historical gold mine in their midst. These vines, in some cases, are now over 80 years old, and it would be a shame to see them ripped out. So they decided to put certain plots of grapes in a bottle. Said many a winemaker, “It’s just like cooking. Each grape adds a little seasoning to the blend, no matter how minute the amount.” These blends are the backbone of regional wines, and each has a character all its own. And in many cases, the more grapes the better. If you can put your hands on any of these bottles, I highly recommend it.
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Quinta da Pellada Primus 2009, Dão ($35)
A field blend that is made up of 80% Encruzado, which is double fermented, first in stainless steel then in wood. Buttery with exotic fruit and a great mouthfeel, and an acidity that keeps it so fresh, with a great long finish.
Quinta da Pellada 2007, Dão ($30)
I named this “the devil’s blend” not only ’cause it’s devilishly delicious but because it is made from 60-plus grape varieties that are over 60 years old, and they make a maximum 6,000 bottles annually. This wine shows great finesse and complexity: dark fruit, cocoa, vanilla, smoky, with hints of spice. Absolutely stunning.
Duorum Reserva Old Vines 2009, Douro ($35)
A wine made up of four major grapes, but also 10% of it is 30 other varieties (that’s the “seasoning”), all from 70- to 80-yearold vines. Then it’s all aged in oak, 70% of which is new oak. Chocolate, vanilla, black cherry and plum all congregate on the nose and palate. Big fruit and big tannins.
Quinta do Vale Meão 2009, Douro ($65)
This 84-hectare property was first planted in 1887, and the average age of the vines are about 42 years old. The blend starts with the usual suspects, Touriga Nacional (57%) and Touriga Franca (35%), but the rest is anybody’s guess. Silky smooth and complex with chocolate, plum, black cherry, cassis and vanilla, and plenty of toastiness.
Lemos and Van Zeller Curriculum Vitae 2009, Douro ($70)
A plot-specific wine taken from only four hectares of land; vine age is between 75 to 85 years old, and there are some 20-plus varieties that go into the blend. Intense raspberry, chocolate, plum, cocoa powder with a sweet fruit finish, probably from the 15.5% alcohol — though extremely well balanced.
Quinta do Crasto Vinha Maria Teresa 2009, Douro ($90)
A vineyard planted in 1903 with just over 50 grape varieties already identified in the 5.5-hectare plot. The wine is made biodynamically and organically; it is also foot trodden for five hours, and spends 20 to 30 months in French oak. The root depth of vines has been measured at between 25 to 30 metres. This wine is outstanding, the minerality incredible. Vanilla, caramel, lush red-fruit core with intense acidity and well-integrated tannins.
Quinta do Vale Meão winemaker Francisco Olazabal
Palacios Mateus Três Bagos 2008, Grande Escolha, Douro ($50)
Not to be confused with pink Mateus, though the “castle” that houses this winery is the one on the label of the famed rosé. Over-60-year-old vines and six different varieties make up this blend with its nice fruit and intense oak from 18 months of age in wood.
Maria Castro and Alvaro Castro at Quinta da pellada
Quinta do Vallado Reserva Field Blend 2009, Douro ($65)
A wine that counts over 42 varieties in its mix from 80- to 100-year-old vines; 60% to 80% of the wine is aged in new oak. Lovely red fruit, mainly raspberry, with nice tannins.
Quinta da Manoella VV (Vinhas Velhas) 2009, Douro ($80)
Made from a seven-hectare post-phylloxera vineyard that has been dated at over 100 years old. The blend of grapes is unknown but numerous. Dark fruit, spice, herbs with nice minerality and acidity; the finish is spiced brambly fruit that lingers long on the tongue.
Jose Maria da Fonseca Hexagon 2007, Setubal ($45)
This wine will admit to six varieties in the blend with only the Syrah recognizable to most North Americans. A complex wine of spices and herbal notes with great black fruit. Smooth and elegant.
J. Portugal Ramos Vila Santa Reserva 2010, Alentejo ($20)
Five varieties, which include Cabernet Sauvignon somewhere in the mix. Sweet black cherry that’s bold yet elegant at the same time.
Jorge Manuel Nobre Moreira Poeira 2008, Douro ($50)
A blend made up of 23 varieties, though the winemaker admits to losing count, with some vines being over 80 years old. Nice fruit yet with earthy notes that keep it well grounded. •
by Rosemary mantini
Chances are that you’ve noticed a shift in menu fare lately — more like a sea change, really. Filet mignon is no longer king. Instead, you’re likely to nosh on sweetbreads, heart and brain. Better yet, the chef will have proudly made all the charcuterie, maybe even the bread, himself. This year’s Maverick Chefs are leading that cross-Canada change. Ségué Lepage, Brandon Olsen, Brayden Kozak and Dale MacKay have, in one way or another, revolutionized the way Canadians think about and enjoy food. They have embraced the beauty and simplicity of old, artisanal methods, making as much by hand as possible despite the small, cramped kitchens in which they work their magic. They haven’t accomplished such a feat alone, of course. All four are quick to highlight the contributions of family and fellow chefs in directing them to a path of exploration and discovery. Now, they’re paying it forward — to us. When was the last time you ate a meal that revealed the chef’s heart and soul? Try an order of tongue on brioche or reimagined poutine, and you can relish an animated conversation with the chef in the process. It’s that dedication to handcrafted products that sets these chefs apart. They are fearless in their pursuit of quality, ethics and taste. Eating at their restaurants, where the ambiance is at once lively and intimate, is like unwrapping a present containing something crafted just for you. Ségué, Brandon, Brayden and Dale have mastered the art of making people feel warm and happy. Drop by and have a taste of food that’s made with love.
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Head Chef/Owner Le Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins Montreal, QC
At Le Comptoir, the restaurant tables take Ségué is nothing if not passionate about cooking. I asked why he would on symbolic significance. They’re not go to such lengths to produce his own charcuterie when he could surely find tables so much as chefs’ block–style coun- high-quality artisanal products at his fingertips. He exclaims, “It’s no trouble tertops. You feel like you might be sitting at — I take pride in my work! I only bring raw products into the restaurant, and Ségué’s own kitchen counter at home and we transform everything. If I had more space and the right oven, I would listening to the sounds of sizzling coming produce my own bread too. Cooking is fun!” Le Comptoir’s customers aren’t from the pans on the stovetop in front of the only ones who have taken notice of Ségué’s considerable talent. Last you. The idea of home, and thereby family, year, he earned an invitation to cook at the Gold Medal Plates competition, a is fundamental to what chef and co-owner culinary fundraiser in support of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Ségué Lepage is about. He was cooking “Unfortunately I did not win,” he admits, “but I’m proud of my team and what in his parent’s kitchen by the age of five. we served.” With Le Comptoir designated project number one, what does “In my youth, my parents grew fruit and Ségué hope to accomplish next, I wonder. “Open project number two and vegetables, raised chickens, ducks and a number three, and create new ones,” he says. “Make cheese, produce apple cow for milk. I helped my father to make cider and eau-de-vie, export my charcuterie to France! Sail the oceans for a bread, and he also produced honey and year. And more ... I’m only 33 years old.” maple syrup.” That early introduction to Although projects two and three have yet to be clearly defined, Ségué quality products was something Ségué understands exactly what is most important to him. “The three projects never forgot. Neither was his father’s deep are going to be different but have the same guideline: the maximum use respect for the whole animal. Ségué has of exceptional, natural, organic and local products. So the name and logo become known for opening his customers’ become a guarantee of quality.” eyes and palates to tasty creations like porchetta di testa (pork roast made with the head of a pig). “People are very impressed with the cotechino (an Italian sausage) that we serve hot and crispy on the charcuterie platter,” he tells me. Ségué’s family not only has been fundamental in developing his culinary imagination, but has become a daily part of Le Comptoir. He co-owns the restaurant with his brother Noé, while his other brother Jasson helps Ségué make the charcuterie. “We work together most of the week,” he says, “which is great!”
photo: Cindy Boyce
When Brandon Olsen sets his sights on something, there’s no way that it’s not going to happen. Take his experience at the French Laundry in Yountville, California. With only one year of culinary school under his belt, Brandon decided that he wanted to stage (work for free) in that very upscale and famous restaurant. Competition was stiff. Give up the dream, his friends told him. Instead, Brandon began writing letters to French Laundry chef Thomas Keller, and kept it going The Black Hoof until Keller could no longer ignore Brandon’s deterToronto, ON mination. “For me, culinary school is a waste of time,” Brandon explains. “I learn more, and more quickly, if it’s hands A true chef, he suggests, is one who constanton.” Call it his driving force, that ly re-evaluates himself and learns new things. He insatiable thirst for knowledge clearly fits that description. But, charcuterie is just and limitless persistence are part the start. Brandon’s goal is for the restaurant to beof the reason he’s living his dream come completely self-sufficient, making as much of today. “I hit a point in my career the restaurant’s food as possible right down to the where I realized I didn’t want to do bread. With that kind of single-minded dedication the same things over and over like there’s no doubt he’ll succeed. a machine,” he says. That’s when he fell in love with charcuterie. Brandon took the methods and prac- Where did you get your culinary training? George tices of this ancient art to heart. The Black Hoof has become known Brown for a year, then just working at restaurants. What’s your for favourites like roasted bone marrow, blood custard and smoked favourite type of charcuterie? Terrines, just because I don’t sweetbreads, which Brandon creates, cures, tests and perfects in the have to wait as long to see if it worked out. Who has influenced restaurant’s very own curing room. “Watching people eat charcuterie your cooking the most? Dave Cruz and Grant van Gameren that we’ve made is very satisfying. There’s a certain level of pride, and [chef at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc and former co-owner of the it makes me happy when I can serve my own charcuterie.” Black Hoof, respectively]. What made you decide to be a chef? I got into cooking because I needed a way out of my house at the time. It was a way to release my stress and tension, and I fell in love with it. What’s your favourite country or region to eat in? I love eating in Napa. What music do you like to play in the kitchen? We play a lot of Motown, late 60s and early 70s soul. Do you have a guilty secret ingredient? No. What’s your favourite wine? Dessert wines like Sauternes, Tokaji, Icewine — something super-sweet. Name an overrated ingredient. Truffles. How about an underrated ingredient? Iceberg lettuce. Do you have any rituals you have to follow before you start cooking? Not really. I just need a coffee before service. What skill does someone most need to work in your kitchen? Common sense. What’s the most embarrassing thing that you’ve done while cooking? I was at Ad Hoc. Our kitchen was about 100 degrees. I was trying to pipe buttercream, and it was just not working. Dave was not happy with me. I was already pushing a 10-hour day. I basically stayed all night piping cupcakes to order because it was so hot. Do you have anything surprising in your home fridge? There’s nothing in my fridge but a half-finished box of Chapman’s ice cream. What do you eat for breakfast? Coffee, muffin and some yogurt. What’s your favourite meal to cook at home? Grilled cheese sandwich using Wonder bread and Kraft singles. Where do you shop for ingredients? Kensington Market or bodegas by my house, Sanagan’s Meat Locker, any independent grocer that has nice produce. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? Ski instructor, maybe.
Chef de Cuisine
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Photos: Chuck Ortiz
duck liver mousse 2 1 1 1 6 1 1
cups heavy cream (35% M.F.) cup butter, softened cup duck fat lb duck livers egg yolks tbsp kosher or sea salt tsp ground black pepper cup brandy
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. 2. Heat the cream slightly, no warmer
than body temperature. Set aside. 3. In a blender, combine the butter and duck fat; add raw livers and blend till smooth. Add the egg yolks, and season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl then add the brandy and cream. Whisk till the mixture is well incorporated. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. 4. Line a terrine mould with 2 layers of heavy plastic wrap. Pour in the liver mixture. Cover with foil. Place in a water bath in the oven, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 150°F in the centre. Let cool overnight in the refrigerator.
roasted cipollini onions 1 lb cipollini onions (peeled but with the root intact; it holds the onion together during cooking) ¼ cup butter ¼ cup honey ½ cup chicken stock or water Olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Drizzle a splash of olive
oil in a medium ovenproof pan over medium-low heat. Begin “roasting” the onions and cook until dark golden brown on both sides. Season with salt. 3. Add the stock, butter and honey. Place the pan in the oven and cook until tender. 4. Transfer the onions onto a plate and set aside. Reduce the liquid until it becomes a medium to heavy syrup. Add the onions back in, turn off the heat, and let stand. Let cool.
bread crumbs Olive oil Brown bread to make 1 cup of bread crumbs Salt
1. In a pan drizzled with olive oil over
low heat, crisp up the bread crumbs until golden brown. Season with salt and drain on a paper towel.
finished plate Mushrooms Salt and pepper
2. In a pan set over medium-high heat,
drizzle a splash of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté. Season with salt and pepper. Add the roasted cipollini onions and their roasting liquid. 3. Place the liver mousse on the serving plate, and pour the onion-mushroom mixture around it nicely. Garnish with the bread crumbs and a piece of chervil.
Head Chef/ Co - owner Three Boars Edmonton, AB
You can call Brayden Kozak crazy, but thorough would be a better description for this consummate professional. That’s the only explanation for doing what would no doubt make other chefs squirm. One very busy night, Brayden changed the menu midservice. “We’d sold out of a third of the menu. It’s embarrassing when the server has to tell customers that we don’t have certain things,” he says. So, he took advantage of a lull to alter the dishes. “I knew what I was doing,” he assures me. In fact, changing the menu frequently to feature fresh, local ingredients has become a point of pride for Brayden and the other co-owners Brian Welch and Chuck Elves, and something that continually entices customers to return to see what delicious food they have created.
Innovative is another word that describes Brayden. Three Boars opened with a vision to provide an alternative to the typical offerings in Edmonton. Inspiration came from a video called The Kill Floor by Kevin Kossowan, which details the story of meat being wasted because many restaurants buy only expensive cuts like filet mignon and sirloin steak. Believing that this practice is unethical, Brayden and his team prefer to source the off-cuts that are typically left behind from local suppliers. Building those strong relationships has meant that Three Boars is able to consistently feature the freshest and most flavourful offal. “[From the start] I wanted to exit the gate with something that would let people know what we were about. The pig’s head banh mi was kind of like the winner,” he explains. “I couldn’t think of a pretty name for it. It feels wrong and disrespectful to cover up what it really is.” Introducing diners to a menu featuring off-cuts isn’t even Brayden’s most significant achievement. Three Boars also brought tapas-style dining to Edmonton. “Having a huge entrée that you eat by yourself seems a little ridiculous to me,” he explains. “Make it fun and approachable. I think that comes across with our customers.” Three Boars is packed every night, and patrons look forward to all the tasty fare Brayden and his team cook up.
38 // October 2012
photos: Shaun Hicks
Where did you grow up? Wainwright, Alberta. Which cookbook changed everything for you? French Laundry Cookbook. What was your first job in a professional kitchen? Pan guy at the River City Chop House. What’s your favourite kitchen tool? My knife. What are you fanatical about? Sandwiches. What’s your favourite drink? Beer, especially ESB [extra special bitter]. Is there something you refuse to have in your kitchen? A microwave. Is there a food that you really don’t like? No. What rule of conduct matters more than any other in your kitchen? Keeping your cool. Where do you shop for your ingredients? Italian Centre Shop, Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, smaller suppliers. What’s the most embarrassing thing that you’ve done while cooking? Coming to work super hungover. I couldn’t keep it down. I really disappointed my chef. I’d get to the line, then I’d have to curl up. It was pretty horrible. I haven’t repeated it since. What are your plans for the future? Open up other dining experiences. I also want to provide help for new and upcoming talented chefs in the city. Maybe even open up a food truck. What do you eat for breakfast? Toast or grilled cheese and lots of coffee. You’ve got 24 hours to live. What’s your last meal? Whole roast suckling pig. What was your favourite meal as a child? Nalesniki. They’re savoury crêpes filled with cottage cheese, covered in cream and baked. What do you like to do in your spare time? Spend time with my daughter.
3 4 3 1 1 1 1½ ½ 2 2 2
tbsp light miso paste (shiro miso) cups hot chicken or vegetable broth tbsp extra virgin olive oil shallot, finely diced garlic clove, minced cup mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced cups arborio rice cup Shaoxing wine tbsp malt vinegar duck breasts, cleaned and skin scored tbsp butter
1. Dissolve the miso paste in the hot broth and set aside. 2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet, and sweat the
shallot and garlic until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened. Add the rice and toast until white and opaque. Add the wine and vinegar, cooking until absorbed. 3. Add enough broth-miso mixture to just cover the rice (about 2 ladlefuls), and stir until absorbed. Repeat until the rice is cooked through and creamy. Reserve a small amount of broth to finish the plate. 4. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron pan in an oven you are preheating to 450°F. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the oven and place the duck breasts skin side down into the pan. Roast until the fat has rendered, the duck becomes crispy, and the meat is medium rare. Set aside to rest. 5. Finish the risotto with the butter and adjust the seasoning. Plate the risotto in a shallow bowl and top with thin slices of duck breast. Pour a small amount of broth around the risotto and garnish with leaves of baby basil and Maldon sea salt.
Head Chef/Owner ensemble Vancouver, BC
If it weren’t for his awesome way with The cooking bug bit Dale at a young age while working as a food, I might be inclined to suggest that dishwasher. It didn’t take him long to go from flipping burgers Dale MacKay’s work ethic is the one reason to camping out behind Gordon Ramsay’s Chelsea-based restaufor his success. He is a chef who aspires to rant. Dale’s is a story of ultimate belief in oneself. Having seen do what he loves in a way that is positive Ramsay’s Boiling Point on television, Dale recounts, “I spent and authentic, and maintain a high level every cent I had on a one-way ticket to England.” At only 19 of diligence and honesty. Oh, and change years of age, he was granted a “one-day stage [a non-paying Canada’s culinary landscape while he’s at gig] to see if Ramsay liked what I was made of.” That one day it. “Canada’s major markets are saturated, was all it took for Ramsay to see Dale’s potential. Years later, almost spoiled by the choice of restaurants he put Dale in charge of opening six of his new restaurants in and culinary talent available to them. Can- England, Japan and New York. ada has an enormous wealth of fantastic Dale opened ensemble restaurant in May of 2011 and folchefs and extraordinary ingredients, but lowed up with ensemble Tap (eTap) in December of the same that wealth isn’t necessarily shared coast year. I asked him how he came up with that name. “I knew for to coast. I’d like to see that change,” he a very long time that if I ever opened my own place it would be explains. Dale has proven that he’s more called ‘ensemble.’ I am a team player, and the English translathan capable of accomplishing such a task. tion of the French ensemble more or less means that a group of artists is participating together in a creative endeavour, and that no single one of them is more important to the end result than the others.” As much as he loves to cook, the people in Dale’s life are what ultimately matter to him the most. He cites that support network as his primary reason for entering and ultimately winning the inaugural season of Top Chef Canada. “My son, Ayden,” Dale says, “taught me so much about what is important … about working extremely hard for something or someone you love. You can apply all of that to every aspect of life — cooking or whatever it could be.” •
40 // October 2012
photo: Judy Chee
It’s not all bourbon “I’ve known several men who drank too much — and they were all extremely interesting.” Katharine Hepburn in a 1991 interview with Phil Donahue
by tod stewart
Scotch whisky may havegarnereda reputation as the thinking man’s drink, but American whiskey is surely the drinking man’s drink. The Kentucky Derby and frilly mint juleps aside, American whiskey is big, bold and heady. One envisions the early pioneers — Daniel Boone–era types — firing up rickety stills charged with a mash of whatever grains were handy at the time (likely rye in most cases, perhaps with some corn) and bleeding from them a potent “white lightning” to take the edge off after a long day in the bush. At some point in time this image may have been replaced with that of a stringtie-wearing southern gentleman, relaxing on the porch of his colonial estate with a glass of sippin’ whiskey mellowed by a dollop of branch water. Both the gentleman and the whiskey may have a sophistication and finesse that is just an outward veneer, but both still need to be shown respect. The American spirit isn’t something you fool with.
it’s all bourbon to me
It’s probably helpful to clarify what we mean when we talk about “American whiskey.” In many circles, bourbon is synonymous. But is this really the case? “Not really,” Harlen Wheatley, master distiller at the Buffalo Trace distillery, clarifies. “Bourbon has its own rules that each producer must abide by.” The “rules” Wheatley alludes to stipulate that bourbon be the product of a mashbill — the term used for the mix of crushed grains and hot water that is subsequently fermented into a low-alcohol “beer” prior to distillation — of at least 51 per cent corn (rye and barley typically make up the remainder) distilled to less than 160 proof (80 per cent alcohol by volume) and aged a minimum of two years in charred new oak barrels. (And if you’re wondering where used bourbon barrels end up?… Scotland.) So, if not all American whiskey is really “bourbon,” what are the rest of them? A quick breakdown looks like this:
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“Bourbon has its own rules that each producer must abide by.” Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, Buffalo Trace
First, there’s bourbon. “Straight” (unblended) bourbon must fulfill the rules described above. It cannot be coloured in any way and must be at least 80 proof when bottled. “There are rules that state that you must put the age on the bottle if it is less than four years old,” Wheatley informs me. Some bourbons swap wheat for rye as the second grain. The Maker’s Mark brand is perhaps the most famous in this category. However, as of 2000, “wheat whiskey” itself became a distinct style with the introduction of the Heaven Hill Distilleries’ Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey. Tennessee whiskey is essentially bourbon that’s (obviously) made in the state of Tennessee and is, after distillation, slowly filtered through about 10 feet of sugarmaple charcoal. This method is referred to as the Lincoln County Process. (Tidings featured a story on Tennessee whiskey back in May of 2010 — go to tidingsmag.com and search for “Tennessee whiskey.”) Rye whiskey is more or less bourbon with rye swapping in for corn. Same rules apply (51 per cent rye mash, etc.). Popularized by German immigrants who were used to using the grain to make schnapps and vodka back home, rye whiskey gained wide appeal in Pennsylvania and Maryland but all but vanished by the 1980s. It is, however, making a strong comeback, as keen but patient readers will discover.
Corn whiskey must be distilled from a mash of no less than 80 per cent corn and distilled at less than 160 proof. Aging requirements stipulate at least two years in new or used un-charred barrels. Blended American whiskey contains at least 20 per cent “straight” whiskey blended with neutral grain spirit or, in some cases, other whiskies. Declining in popularity, they may be headed the way of the dodo. There are also a couple of newer styles out there that we’ll get to.
catching up with the rye
Rye contributes to the character of some bourbons, Wild Turkey being one. “We have one mashbill for all our bourbons,” reveals Eddie Russell, the associate distiller for Wild Turkey. And the mashbill in question favours rye as the second grain to corn. “Rye gives the whiskey the bold, spicy flavour. We do add more rye than most bourbons because we want that assertive character.” Rye is also capturing more of the spotlight as the lead grain in the growing straight-rye category. Wild Turkey has released an 81 proof rye to complement its Wild Turkey 81 bourbon, and brands such as Rittenhouse, Rathskeller and Sazerac have pushed the quality and popularity of American rye whiskey to new heights. Russell reveals that the market for rye has grown by over 20 per cent in the past couple years, leaving some distillers — including Russell — in short supply.
The flavour profile of a rye-based whiskey is dramatically different that that of their corn-based counterparts. While traditional bourbons typically sport a smooth, creamy and even slightly sweet flavour, rye whiskies are spicy, sharp and very dry. The word “brittle” is often used to describe their assertive/aggressive character. “We treat our rye whiskey just like our bourbon,” Russell replied in answer to whether different techniques are used for each style of whiskey. “We distill and bottle at low proofs to keep the flavour. The only difference is the mixture of grains.”
On the topic of flavour, one relatively new category is taking the American whiskey category into a whole new realm, this being flavoured whiskies. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Wild Turkey American Honey, Jim Beam Red Stag and Phillips Distilling’s Revel Stoke (produced in Minnesota using Canadian whisky) are a few of the brands that are currently flying off the shelves, with flavours that range from honey and spice to black cherry and cinnamon. The popularity of these products have surprised even some of their creators. When coming up with Wild Turkey American Honey, Russell says, “We were looking to bring a different consumer into our market. We were focusing on women and a younger crowd that does shooters. What I’m surprised by is the number of men who are drinking it.” However, the success of flavoured whiskies has not come without controversy. True whiskey enthusiasts scoff at them, and some critics like Jim Murray refuse to even rate them. Murray has stated that these products “are simply not bourbon whiskey.” And, of course, they aren’t. Comparing flavoured Tennessee whiskies or bourbons is kind of like comparing the new “confection” vodkas with flavours of bubble gum, icing sugar and root beer to pure SKYY or Stoli. “To be a bourbon whiskey you cannot change anything about it,” Russell points out. He’s aware of the controversy. “Our American Honey is a liqueur
that is blended from pure honey and bourbon whiskey. The bourbon is the base, but not the [end] product.”
the dog has its day
There’s another growing class of American spirit that, though most definitely a whiskey, is creating no less controversy. “White dog” — aka white whiskey aka moonshine — is essentially non-aged bourbon. As with the flavoured stuff, it can’t be called bourbon simply because it hasn’t fulfilled the legal aging requirements. We haven’t heard much about it in Canada, but the segment started taking off in the US a couple years ago. And it’s been a boon to newer micro-distillers like Wisconsin’s Death’s Door, Portland’s House Spirits and Copper Fox Distillery in Virginia, giving them something to pay the rent with while the wood-aged spirits mature. Not a bad business plan, but is the stuff worth drinking? The reviewers from the Drink Spirits website (drinkspirits. com) are less than enthusiastic. “While white dog might look good on paper, it simply doesn’t deliver as a category … [The] trend is ultimately a crutch for American micro-distillers who really should be spending the time and money on producing fully aged whiskey. It’s difficult and expensive to sit and wait for your whiskey to age in barrels but the end result is far superior to the alternative.” The writers were a bit more congenial in a later story … but not a whole lot more. Russell, too, is rather to the point. “The craft of making a good whiskey is aging it right.” It goes without saying that there was nary a dog to be found in this market at the time of writing, so I can’t give you my own impressions. However, a few years ago I had the opportunity to sample some “new make” Macallan single malt Scotch. A bit different from white dog, to be sure, in that it was non-aged malted barley rather than corn, but I can say that it reminded me much more of grappa than Scotch. In any case, whether you see yourself a rugged Wild West type or more of a southern gentleman (or belle), there’s an American whiskey style for you. •
the mav notes\\ 87 Durbanville Hills Shiraz 2009, South Africa ($12) 93 Alex Gambal Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru 2010, Burgundy ($200)
I can’t remember tasting a more elegant Chambertin ever. Such a gorgeous nose of mature red berries, clove, burnt brown sugar, hinting at cinnamon, and underlying toasted oak spices. The red fruits on the palate are complex and layered and balanced beautifully with elegant oak and generous spice notes. The flavours build on the palate and through the long finish. A wine to seek out.
90 Longplay Lia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009, Oregon, USA ($27)
Tawny ruby colour; spicy, minerally, plum and vanilla oak on the nose; medium-bodied, dry cherry and plum flavours. Drinking well now. (TA)
90 Rock Wall Wine Company Jessie’s Vineyard Zinfandel 2009, Contra Costa, USA ($30.95)
This wine is named after the 93-year-old farmer who tends vines that are 123 years old. Full-bodied, this lush Zin exudes a beguiling profile of raisins, black tea, tobacco, vanilla and a cornucopia of jam flavours: raspberry, cherry, and plum. The palate is rich and low in acid. The finish is super long and the 16.3% does make an appearance on the tail end. No doubt, this is one of those hedonistic wines. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)
88 Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay 2010, Mendoza, Argentina ($13.95)
Medium straw colour with a buttered popcorn nose; medium-bodied, spicy oak and pineapple flavours with lively acidity; deftly oaked with a mouth-freshening finish. (TA)
93 Château Magdelaine 2009, St-Émilion 1er Grand Cru classé, France ($85, futures price)
Full ruby. Abundant bright fruit; luxurious oak is very present at this stage. Full of yummy fruity flavour, velvety mouthfeel, great balance and very long finish. Overall splendid and promised to a great future. (GBQc)
89 Antonopoulos Malagouzia 2011, Achaia, Greece ($21)
Malagouzia is Greece’s answer to Gewürz (some say Muscat.) It is medium-bodied with a perfume of peach, flowers, white pepper and honey. The length is excellent, with fresh acid acting as a backstop. Pair with grilled mahi mahi topped with a jalapeño/fruit salsa. (ES)
44 // October 2012
An inviting nose of plums, prunes, blackberry, mocha, vanilla and smoky-peppery notes. The black fruits are generous on the palate and bolstered by baking spices and pepper. It’s a nicely aged Shiraz with a smooth delivery. (RV)
88 Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon ‘815’ 2009, California, USA ($25) Approachable, supple and harmonious, with a nice integration of ripe cherry, plum and wild berry fruit, plush and elegant tannins and a fine drinkability. A great value with good balance and integration. Enough structure to stand up to flavourful red meats, but elegant enough to pair with grilled chicken and pork or just to have something fullflavoured on its own. (GB)
y m m yu mes an Hol nc u D y b
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but those of us who eat have been joined in recent times by a polyester-, plastic-, nylon- and other-non-animal-clothed coterie of specialized eaters called vegans. Long of hair and strong of opinion, they look, with some notable exceptions, like cloned 60s hippies without much of the 60s paraphernalia.
Until a year or so ago, I couldn’t even pronounce who they were, and had no understanding of what it meant to be one. Were they vay-gns or vee-gns? Hmm? It was only after Bill Clinton came out as embracing this lifestyle that vee-gn seemed to deserve the nod. I know it’s inappropriate in a fine food-andwine magazine like this to even mention a word like vegan, but when the eating habits of a segment of our society are recognized by shelf space in our supermarkets, it must surely be time to write a few words about these friendly types ... and perhaps sit and join them occasionally for a red or a white, or at the very least, a tall tumbler of something soy. This is not actually a piece about veganism — feel free to Google for additional insight — and I’m not about to explain why, in one exceptional bit of dedication to the cause, a vegan friend unloaded his Lexus because it had leather seats! All I will say is that the vegan thing likely began not as a health issue but because someone somewhere took the view that eating animals, robbing bees of their honey, shearing sheep for their wool and milking cows for their milk simply weren’t nice things to do. For those of us who are yet to cross to the other side, and can momentarily excuse the vul-
garities of factory farming, our interest in food is mostly in selecting it and assembling the right stuff to stay healthy. Sourcing good food, even if your hunt is serious, can be difficult. While the supermarkets may sometimes use enticing signage to suggest that certain of their foods came from the right places — the farmer down the road who knows every animal by name, the fisherman who strictly plays by the sustenance rules — it simply doesn’t happen that way too often. Factory farming is a way of economic life, and one thing we can do to counter it is to stay tuned to our local farmers’ markets, and relish the joy, and the tastes, of the close-to-home changing seasons. Food that we think will help keep us healthy, along with what are the right amounts of exercise and sleep, is a personal, important choice. Our supermarket checkouts are loaded with magazines featuring seasonal recipes designed to keep us healthy. And our shelves at home are stuffed with recipe books, inserts and written notes that bring us back to reunite with foods that, as far as we know, taste good and are good for us. Down deep, we know what’s right to eat. It’s simply a matter of disciplining ourselves to stay on track with recipes that can help in a sometimes-difficult process. Vegan or not.
caeSar salad Serves 4
Several restaurants that are close to the CaliforniaMexican border claim to have been the locale for the birth of the Caesar salad. I got my recipe at a restaurant in Hollywood that also made the claim in the long-ago 50s. It seemed to be authenticated by a now-deceased movie star who was at our table for lunch. This is the place, he said, and this is the recipe. Because I love the snap of romaine lettuce, I’ve kept the recipe and make this Caesar often. Vegans, of course, would find reasons to skip the egg, the anchovies and maybe other things that are theirs to know and for me to someday understand. Or not.
1 egg 1–2 tsp finely chopped garlic 1 anchovy fillet, mashed Pinch of coarse salt 2 tbsp lemon juice 3 drops Worcestershire sauce 6 tbsp olive oil 4 tbsp grated Parmesan ¾ cup croutons 1 head romaine lettuce Freshly ground pepper
1. Warm the egg to room temperature. To coddle
the egg, in a small bowl pour boiling water around the egg, and let stand for 1 minute. Run cold water until the egg can be handled. 2. Whisk together the garlic, anchovy and salt until blended. Whisk in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the egg until the mixture is thick. Drizzle in the olive oil as you whisk the mixture. When well combined, whisk in 2 tbsp of the Parmesan cheese. 3. Place the croutons in a large wooden bowl. Add one-third of the dressing and toss until the croutons are well coated. Add the romaine and remaining dressing and toss. 4. Sprinkle each serving with more Parmesan and coarsely ground pepper.
46 // October 2012
les graines à vio Makes 8 to 9 cups
I thank Daughter Tracy for this healthy recipe. She got it from a lady called Violet in Quebec. I have made many batches over the years. Great stuff, and a much better deal than buying granola in a box. It’s a forgiving recipe — it doesn’t particularly matter if you forget something as you load up at the bulk food department, make a bigger recipe, or go heavy on an item you particular enjoy. Use the grains, seeds and nuts that are listed or whatever selection you wish. Choose unsalted and raw, since you will be roasting them. Don’t forget the oil, though. And add the dried fruit after the rest of the ingredients have been roasted or it will burn.
4 cups flakes of oats, wheat, barley and/or rye 1 cup sunflower seeds 1 cup wheat germ 1 cup almonds 1 cup pumpkin seeds 1 cup dried unsweetened coconut
½ ½ ½ ½ ½
cup sesame seeds cup flax seeds, ground cup millet cup maple syrup cup canola oil Raisins, dried cranberries, and/or other dried fruit Crystallized ginger
1. Mix together all the dry ingredients (except for the dried fruit),
then add a blend of the maple syrup and oil. This amount of syrup and oil should work for 8 to 9 cups of dry mix. 2. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 250°F for at least an hour. Jumble everything around after 30 minutes. Add the dried fruit and crystallized ginger after the baking time. 3. Enjoy with milk, yogurt or fresh fruit. Or simply as a snack.
warm blueberry bisque Serves 8
I live in a corner of BC, the Lower Mainland, where hundreds, perhaps thousands of hectares of blueberries tone the landscape in July and August, and day after day they beautifully complement morning pancakes and sit round in bowls for healthy snacking. The BC Blueberry Council says that the “blues” may reduce the buildup of so called “bad” cholesterol, and who are we to argue. Want something different? Try this bisque.
½ 4 1
½ ½ 1½ 1 2
tsp oil cup finely chopped shallots cups fresh or frozen blueberries cup vegetable or chicken stock tsp freshly ground nutmeg tsp ground allspice cups half-and-half cream (12% M.F.) cup crème fraîche or sour cream tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1. In 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over
medium-low heat. Add the shallots, and cook until translucent. 2. Add the blueberries, stock, nutmeg and allspice; cook over medium heat until blueberries soften and begin to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. 3. Cool slightly, then blend until smooth. Press through a fine sieve; discard solids. Return the blueberry mixture to the saucepan and whisk in the half-and-half. 4. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed. In a small bowl, mix the crème fraîche and chives. 5. Spoon bisque into 8 soup bowls, and top each with 2 tbsp of the chive crème fraîche.
sweet lime chicken Serves 2 to 4
I don’t think there’s a recipe in the world with the word lime in the title that doesn’t make you at least take a little look at it. In terms of taste and healthiness, lime is one of the cleverest little numbers in the whole flavour family, and as versatile as any in the colourful group of citrus fruit. Lime ended up in this recipe because I had a half-lime left, and like all lonely ingredients, it motivated for me a meal of baked chicken, juicy and full of sweet-tastin’ flavour. Serve in a sandwich or with rice and a green and a red vegetable.
Butter 2 chicken breasts, skinless or skin-on ½ cup dry white wine 1 tbsp orange juice 1 tbsp pineapple juice 1 tsp chopped fresh basil 1 tbsp brown sugar Freshly ground pepper Slices of pineapple 1 fresh lime
48 // October 2012
1. Coat the bottom of a shallow baking dish with butter.
Skin the breasts if necessary and place them smooth side up in the dish. 2. Pour on the wine and the orange and pineapple juices, then top with the basil, the brown sugar and a liberal sprinkling of freshly ground pepper. Place slices of pineapple on top of the chicken, then squeeze on all the lime juice you can from the freshly halved lime. 3. Leave the lime halves on the chicken to add more flavour during cooking. Cover loosely with foil, and bake in a 350°F oven for 2 hours. Remove the foil, then bake for an additional 20 or so minutes until golden brown. 4. If you wish, you may add pineapple juice to the gravy, then thicken it a bit more with a teaspoon or so of cornstarch mixed with cold water. 5. Serve with a parsley garnish.
braised pork chops with mushrooms and onions Serves 4
In addition to the magazines and info brochures you find in the waiting area of your doctor’s office, you will have encountered on any number of occasions a Reader’s Digest of indeterminate age. “Life’s Like That” and “Humour in Uniform” will keep you momentarily amused, but to come across practical health info is a good thing, especially considering your environment. In my library of cookbooks, I have the Reader’s Digest Live Longer Cookbook, which presents “500 delicious recipes for healthy living” and a lot more info about what healthy living is all about. Here’s one of the main courses that turns ordinary pork chops “into a French country dinner.”
2 tsp olive oil 2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 3 cups) 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (about ½ cup) 2 cloves garlic, minced 6 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced (1¾ cups) ⅓ cup chicken stock (low-sodium or regular) ½ tsp salt 1 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled ¼ tsp ground sage 4 pork loin chops
1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes or until very soft. 2. Add the carrot and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the mushrooms, stir to combine, and cook another 5 minutes. 3. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the stock, salt, rosemary and sage. 4. Place the pork chops on top, cover and cook for 4 minutes. 5. Turn the chops over and cover, and cook for 4 more minutes or until the chops are no longer pink on the inside. Serve with one-quarter of the onion mixture on top of each chop. A couple of colourful steamed vegetables will complete the picture. •
incisive by robert Hausner
For those of us who frequent cocktail bars,we have noticed that not only has the once-declining interest in cocktails been reversed, but also the bartenders have become mixologists. At the same time, while the traditional relationship between the kitchen and the sommelier continues unabated, there is an important new relationship that has edged its way into a position of prominence, namely the pairing of cocktails with food. Yes, the mixologist and the chef share a similar relationship to the sommelier and the head of the kitchen. The objective, not unlike wine being paired with food, is to present cocktails in a way that does not compromise the taste of either the drink or the dish. Simply speaking, and to state the obvious, cocktails work best with intensely flavoured food. And of course this depends on the style of restaurant, but small-sized cocktails work particularly well with bite-sized presentations of food. Here is where flavours tend to be forceful and incisive. The idea is to stay away from the ineffectual combinations — dishes that are bland or particularly subtle simply don’t work well. It is not a big leap of faith to deduce that piquant foods such as Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese and other Asian favourites will pair with citrus-forward cocktails such as margaritas and caipirinhas. These present the best balance because the tartness is a particularly good contrast to the spices in the dish.
50 // October 2012
There are of course some natural combinations, and the one that likely springs to mind is a minty, citrus cocktail with lamb. But it is even more interesting to add a touch of fruit in a drink when you’re, say, pairing with fish or pork. One popular New York restaurant blends rum and bananas and serves the drink on the rocks and with pork dishes. If there’s anything to avoid, it’s cocktails that contain a carbonated ingredient. They may taste good for a few minutes, but the carbination fades and becomes rather negative. Desserts can be either easy or quite finicky to pair with. The most natural choice is a sweet, creamy cocktail, like one that contains Bailey’s Irish Cream. Or have ice cream as your dessert and serve it with a splash of Drambuie, Cointreau or even cognac — or all three. Whether the cheese course precedes the final course or, as is becoming popular again, is the final course, cocktails based on whiskey, Scotch or single malts are ideal because their smoky notes infiltrate the cheese and pierce through its saltiness and fattiness.
But the cocktails-and-food challengeis not limited to the restaurant; there are lots of ways you can experiment at home. Particularly when you’re using herbs and spices like garlic and black pepper. You can make intensely flavoured food that just calls out for a specific kind of cocktail.
There is a flexibility to pairing food with cocktails that just isn’t possible with wine. Once the wine is chosen and opened, you’re pretty much stuck with that taste. But with cocktails, you can tweak and adjust the recipe so that it nicely matches or contrasts with the dish being served. So here are some basic tips for tweaking your drinks. The first is clearly logic. You don’t have to be an experienced mixologist to pair flavours. Think about just one of the flavours and what you associate with it. If, for example, you’re working with a butter sauce, then perhaps have a vanilla flavour in your drink. A dish using olive oil, like a fish dish, calls for something with lemon. If it’s food on the barbecue, why not use bourbon, which enhances the smokiness of the meat? Or let’s say you’re using something that’s really hot and spicy like a tuna roll. Then choose a drink with cooling agents. Adding herbs is a particularly good way to bond cocktails with food. The best example is mint, such as any form of mint julep; the mint adds an extra layer of complexity to the food. Rose-
AGENCE DE VOYAGES W. H. HENRY INC.
mary works well in this way too, and for many, sage is wonderful blended with tequila. It’s important, however, not to be heavyhanded with herbs. Often just a dash or a sprig will give the extra aromatic touch you’re searching for. One thing not to do is have a cocktail that will overpower the dish. Taste beforehand. It’ll be easy to tell if the drink is going to wash out what is being served, particularly if it is a simple dish. Remember that when mixed with juice and other ingredients, the spirit is diluted and loses some of its flavour and potency. These kinds of cocktails obviously have less alcohol than the liquor served straight up. Nonetheless, a cocktail is more powerful than wine, so small quantities are the order of the day. And keep an open mind when it comes to dessert. There is no rule that calls for sweet cocktails with chocolate desserts. The lighter, more acidic tang from cognac or a single malt whisky would also work very well. Often we use sweeter cocktails to temper tartness. But all things considered, really there are no hard-and-fast rules. Without doubt, some experimentation will be necessary (and loads of fun). •
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3/20/12 9:36:25 PM
Several years ago, I wrote a column in this space combining two of my favourite things ... wine and music. I paired independent artists with independent wine producers, matching their respective styles and attributes. It seemed natural to draw parallels between the passion and creativity of both winemakers and artists. The response to the column was fantastic and widespread, reaching beyond wine and food circles, earning mentions by several music industry resources. I was approached this past summer to put the pairings into practice by matching wines with artists for a summer music festival. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity. Not only were the wine and artist pairings listed in the event program, but the wines were actually served at the festival and highlighted with the introduction of each of their respective artist mates. Most music festivals (Outside Lands in San Francisco being a notable exception) don’t put the same emphasis on the wine and food being served as they do on the quality of the music. I never understood this. Why couldn’t and shouldn’t the same thought and care be put into all aspects of a festival? Don’t festival-goers deserve as much? And contrary to the prevailing argument of most festival organizers, you don’t need to spend a lot for a great bottle of wine; all the pairings were with wines that retailed for under $25. Seek out independent wine producers from around the world that are passionate about what they do and whose wines are great-quality, distinctive, original and great-value ... because you don’t often find value in commercial labels. Life is too short to listen to shitty music. Life is also too short to drink bad wine. I loved being able to bring the best of both together, and not just in print. Here are some of my favourite pairings from the festival.
52 // October 2012
by gurvinder Bhatia
De Angelis Rosso Piceno 2010, Marche, Italy ($16.99)
If you haven’t heard of Alejandro Escovedo, then you need to grab yourself a glass of Rosso Piceno and listen and discover why this underground punk-and-roots-rock sensation has built such a mainstream following. Similarly, one taste and there’s no denying the appeal of this smoky, meaty, juicy wine from Italy’s rural Marche region. Both Escovedo and De Angelis’ Quinto Fausti are comfortable avoiding the spotlight, but their respective talents and reputations keep threatening to drag them out from the underground.
Carolina Chocolate Drops
Tenuta S. Anna il Rosa Pétillant, Veneto, Italy ($18.99)
I wanted to pair this old-time string band with moonshine, but of course, that would be illegal. So instead I picked a wine that is so good for its modest price, it should be illegal. A good rosé combines the freshness of a white wine and the structure of a red. This Italian rosato made from Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes is energetic, fresh and fun, combining a lot of tradition with an invigorating modern flair and a complete lack of pretense. The perfect match for the foot-tapping, jump-up, soulful and joyous sounds of this southern roots band. Bring on the “Cornbread & Butterbeans.”
A penny for your thoughts? How about an urban poet who will really make you think? Non-traditional, thought-provoking and progressive, Rollie Pemberton’s — aka Cadence Weapon’s — unique hybrid style melds old-school rap with mind-altering soul and intellectual beats. The Passo Doble steps outside the box with this non-traditional blend of Argentinian Malbec and Corvina grapes from Italy’s Veneto region. The best of old-school soul and new-generation style.
Their album Rumble, Shake and Tumble so accurately characterizes the black-hat, country-gospel-like musical antics of these Aussie outlaws (think of them as the raunchier cousins of the Oakridge Boys), whose marginally restrained, racing-toward-chaotic live shows are achieving legendary status. A perfect match with the legend of Murray Tyrrell, another Aussie outlaw who is said to have acquired, without permission, vine cuttings from Penfold’s experimental vineyard and produced Australia’s first Chardonnay. Live on the edge.
Masi Tupungato Passo Doble 2009, Tupungato, Argentina ($19.99)
Tyrrell’s Moore’s Creek Chardonnay 2011, Southeastern Australia ($16)
Spiritually uplifting without preaching, the Sojourners are healing the masses with their swingin’, R&B, bluesy gospel sound. And spiritual healing you will need after indulging in the zinfulness of this spicy, hedonistic juice replete with ripeness from the heat of the fiery sun ... can I get an Amen! Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wine, but Zin will lead you into temptation and make you question the fortitude of your faith ... let us pray. It must be a sin for a wine to make you feel so good. Spend some time with the Sojourners and save your soul.
Straightforward, hard-working and honest with a rebellious attitude, the Beauties and Nicola Fabiano should go on the road together. As a youth, Nicola ran away from home to become a rally car race driver. Spinning out and nearly going over a cliff convinced him to join the family business. Progressive and driven, you won’t find Nicola or the Beauties resting on their past achievements. There’s no fancy packaging or glitz and glamour here, just honesty and quality. They both rock the house with their lack of pretense.
Renwood Zinfandel 2008, California ($23.99)
S. Maria la Palma Cannonau ‘Le Bombarde’ 2010, Sardinia, Italy ($17.99)
Spicy, sassy and cool without trying, Shakura exudes blues with attitude, channelling the soulful spirit of the blues and R&B icons that came before her. But make no mistake, she’s not living in the past. Shakura’s powerful pipes and soulful sounds are contemporary and relevant, connecting instantly with her ever-growing global audience. The Cannonau is also too cool for skool with its multi-dimensional character, penetrating flavours and spicy attitude. Not for those who embrace mediocrity and homogenization. Feed your soul.
Fabiano Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010, Veneto, Italy ($17)
Joel Gott Cabernet Sauvignon ‘815’ 2009, California ($25)
Down to earth, comfortable and real, both Blue Rodeo and Joel Gott have the ability to appeal to a wide range of audiences without compromising their quality and standards for excellence. Such would explain the longevity, critical acclaim and respect of their peers that each has achieved over their respective careers. Like throwing on a comfortable old sweater and hanging with friends, there’s a sense of nostalgia as well as a youthful energy in both the music and the wine, but there’s also a sense that you can let your guard down and be yourself because you’re among friends. Comforting but not subdued, both Joel and the band can still teach the young’uns how to rock the house. •
//the food notes 89 Haywire Canyonview Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Okanagan ($23) Their first-release Chard from this Summerland bench vineyard received no oak treatment or malolactic fermentation. Clean citrus and apple aromas. Tangy peach and melon flavours burst on the weighty, lees-driven midpalate. The long chalky and briny finish fascinates. Made me crave sashimi. (HH)
89 Alpha Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Amyndeon, Greece ($38) Alpha Estate’s owner and winemaker, Angelos Iatridis, learned his trade in Bordeaux. Thus, it is no coincidence that he produces some of Greece’s most polished wines. This SB is cleanly made with good weight, mouthfeel and acidity. The profile of lemon balm, citrus and herbs lingers long. Pair with kalamari or grilled vegetables, topped with shaved Parmesan and drizzled with lemon and olive oil. (ES)
88 Torres Coronas 2009, Catalunya, Spain ($14)
Full ruby. Spicy nose with black cherry and dark chocolate. Medium body, the powerful middle palate feels slightly warm. There is enough fruit and oak extracts but the finish lets the dry tannins take over. Drink over the next couple of years with red meat. (GBQc)
94 Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico ‘TB’ DOC 2006, Veneto, Italy ($150)
Big, rich, concentrated and seductive with incredible depth. Loads of crushed berry, black liquorice, a touch of dried herbs that linger on the sides of the tongue; dense and structured with masses of penetrating flavours and unbelievable length. Amazingly, as decadent as this wine is, it still maintains a wonderful freshness. A great match with strong cheese and rich meat dishes. (GB)
88 Raats Chenin Blanc ‘Original’ 2009, Coastal Region, South Africa ($26)
Super fresh, with bright plum, green apple, white peach and chamomile notes, a refreshing minerality and acidity, and mouth-watering finish. Perfect with oysters, shellfish and spicy cuisine. (GB)
95 Cave Vinicole de Hunawihr Pinot Gris Grand Cru Rosacker 2005, Alsace, France ($20.33)
I’m not a huge PG fan, but this one blew me away. It is clear, the colour of yellow Chartreuse. The nose has hints of watermelon and candy floss, but it mainlines warm baked apple. Very full-bodied, sweetish but still mouthwatering flavours of tropical fruits, peaches, and a bit of rhubarb. Serve with simple vegetarian fare and let the wine be the star. (RL)*
91 Hillebrand Showcase Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Ontario ($36)
Winemaker Craig McDonald has pushed this oak-aged white to the limit with some interesting results. This is not your momma’s Sauvignon Blanc! Wild fermentation brings in an entirely new dimension of flavour while the oak adds a whack of spice. The nose shows poached pear, exotic tropical fruits and enticing herbs. It is lavish on the palate, yet still vibrant and racy, with pear, grass, stewed herbs and Mandarin orange integrating with exotic spice notes. Try with asparagus quiche or grilled pork chops. (RV)
54 // October 2012
the four seasons\\
I am never happy. At least not with the weather. On sultry summer days, I long for the cool breezes of fall. When the leaves start to change, I can’t wait for the pond to freeze over so I can skate. When winter blows in, I decide it’s too cold to skate and I crawl under a blanket with a stack of books to wait for spring. When spring rains come along, I am convinced the ground is way too squishy for my Wellingtons. This fall things are going to be different. I’m going to embrace whatever Mother Nature throws my way. As long as it’s room temperature and my hair doesn’t get frizzy. In the meantime, I’ll do what always makes me happy whatever the season — cooking, cooking and more cooking.
spinach artichoke dip I like this dip because it’s fast and easy, hot and homey and tastes like it comes from a restaurant. You could, if you’d like, steam fresh artichokes and spinach for this dish.
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry in paper towels 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce Cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese Tortilla chips or pita bread
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. 2. In a large bowl, mix the artichoke hearts, spinach, sour
cream, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt and cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Spread in a small casserole. 3. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips or pita bread wedges. …… Start dinner with this appetizer and a buttery Chardonnay.
by nancy Johnson
fresh kielbasa with cabbage and noodles serves 4
I seem to be cooking a lot of Polish food lately, probably because my boyfriend is Polish. If you can’t find fresh kielbasa, use any fresh sausage. You can chop up a small head of cabbage or just buy a bag of coleslaw mix, which is even easier.
6 slices bacon 1 large onion, sliced 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 small head cabbage, chopped 1 can chicken broth 2 tbsp cider vinegar 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika 1 1/2 lb fresh kielbasa Broad egg noodles, cooked, buttered and dusted with paprika
1. In large skillet, sauté bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels. Chop.
2. In same skillet, over medium-high heat, sauté onion and
garlic until softened. Add cabbage; sauté until softened. Add chicken broth, vinegar, sugar and paprika. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over low heat. 3. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, sauté kielbasa until browned on all sides and nearly cooked through. Add to cabbage mixture. 4. Cover and cook over low heat until kielbasa is cooked through. Remove lid, turn up heat and reduce juices slightly, cooking for about 5 minutes more. Garnish with bacon, and serve with noodles. …… Very good with a Riesling from Alsace.
+ Search through a wide range of wine-friendly recipes on tidingsmag.com
you can use fresh chilis instead of the canned ones but be careful. The seeds increase the heat, so add them only if you like it fiery. use the chilis sparingly at first and adjust as you go along.
big sky tex-mex chili
toasted coconut tea bread
I made this for a Hawaiian luau party and it went fast, really fast. It calls for quite a bit of vanilla, but the amount works with the coconut flavours.
We’re moving into slow-cooker weather, and this hearty bean-less chili is sure to please at a Hockey Night in Canada dinner. Serve with cornbread.
2 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, in 2-inch cubes 1 tbsp brown sugar Sea salt to taste 2 tbsp canola oil 1 onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 can chopped green chilies, drained 1 tsp cumin 1/4 cup good-quality chili powder 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies Sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese for garnish
1. In a large bowl, toss the beef with the brown
sugar and sea salt. 2. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook beef in batches in the canola oil until browned on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker. 3. In the same skillet, sauté onion until softened. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in chilies, cumin and chili powder. Cook 2 minutes longer. 4. Add 1 1/2 cups water and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Pour over beef in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. 5. Serve in bowls, topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese. …… Chili is always best when served with cold Canadian beer.
56 // October 2012
Cooking spray 1 1/4 cups shredded unsweetened coconut 2 cups flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 tbsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup milk 1/4 cup canola oil 2 eggs 2 tsp coconut extract 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups icing sugar 1–2 tbsp water
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. 2. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray. 3. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast 3 minutes. Cool. Set aside 2 tbsp coconut for topping.
4. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, oil, eggs, and coconut and vanilla
extracts. Stir into flour mixture until blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy.
6. Scrape batter into loaf pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted into centre of loaf comes out clean. 7. Let rest in pan 10 minutes. Turn onto rack and cool completely. 8. Mix icing sugar with water. Drizzle over loaf. Top with reserved coconut. …… Serve for dessert with fresh pineapple and a Vidal ice wine from Niagaraon-the-Lake.
curried shrimp and noodles serves 4
Canned coconut milk always needs a shake or a stir to blend the creamy solids back into the milk.
500 1 1 1 250 1 1 2 1 2 250 1 2
g linguine or Chinese egg noodles, cooked tbsp canola oil sweet red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced red onion, sliced g mushrooms, sliced cup sugar snap peas can baby corn cobs, drained tbsp curry paste, any kind can coconut milk, shaken to blend tbsp soy sauce g large shrimp tbsp canola oil tbsp cilantro, chopped
1. Heat the oil in a wok. Stir-fry the red pepper, onion and mushrooms
until softened. Add sugar snap peas. Stir-fry about 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add baby corn. Stir-fry 1 minute longer. Stir in the curry paste and cook 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and soy sauce. Heat through. 2. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, stir-fry the shrimp in oil until pink and cooked through. Divide the linguine or noodles among 4 shallow bowls. Pour curried vegetable mixture over noodles. Top with shrimp. Garnish with cilantro. …… A Gewürztraminer or Thai beer would be excellent.
spinach fettuccine with peas and pancetta in saffron cream sauce
broccoli salad serves 4 to 6
serves 2 as a main dish; 4 as an appetizer or side dish
A tearoom near my home serves this salad, and I am absolutely addicted to it. The broccoli salad accompanies a chicken-salad croissant sandwich.
This recipe uses peas in the winter but will easily segue to a spring dish with asparagus. I love making this quick dish on a cold winter night and eating it while watching old reruns on the telly.
250 g fresh spinach fettuccine, cooked 3 tbsp butter 1 tbsp olive oil 8–10 slices pancetta 4 shallots, peeled and chopped 1/2 tsp saffron 1 cup frozen peas, thawed 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 cup heavy cream 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives Grated Romano cheese
1. In a large skillet, heat butter and olive together. Then sauté pancetta until cooked through and crisp. Drain on paper towels. 2. To same skillet, add shallots and saffron. Cook until shallots are softened. Add peas. Cook until heated through. Add wine. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cream. Heat through. 3. Pour sauce over fettuccine. Gently stir in pancetta. Garnish with chives. Serve with Romano cheese.
slices bacon cups broccoli florets 1/3 cup dried cranberries, cherries or raisins 1/2 cup sunflower seeds 1/4 cup minced red onion 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup sugar 2 tbsp cider vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet, sauté the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Chop.
2. In a large bowl, mix together broccoli florets,
cranberries, cherries or raisins, sunflower seeds and red onion. 3. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise with sugar, cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over broccoli mixture, stirring to coat. Garnish with bacon. …… Because I always have this at my favourite tearoom, I am going to recommend a chicken salad with mayo, grapes, celery and almonds on a buttery croissant and a pot of Darjeeling tea. •
Tidings uses the 100-point scale 95-100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90-94. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85-89 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80-84. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75-79. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 & under. . . . . . . . . . .
exceptional excellent very good good acceptable below average
* . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . available through wine clubs green. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . white & rosé wines red. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . red wines
the commentaries in order to get an idea of whether the wine might appeal to your taste. The prices listed are suggested retail prices and may vary from province to province. Since a large number of these wines can be purchased across Canada, check with your local liquor board, or its website, for availability. Our tasters are Tony Aspler (ON), Sean Wood (NS, NB), Gilles Bois (QC), Evan Saviolidis (ON), Harry Hertscheg (BC), Gurvinder Bhatia (AB), Rick VanSickle (ON), Ron Liteplo (AB), Tod Stewart (ON) and Jonathan Smithe (MB). Argentina // p. 58; Australia // p. 58-59; brazil // p. 59;
Each wine is judged on its own merits, in its respective category. Readers should open their palates to compare the relationship between quality and price. We’d also ask you to carefully study
Canada // p. 59-61; Chile // p. 61-62; France // p. 62-63; greece // p. 63; italy // p. 63; South Africa // p. 64;
the notes\\ /ARGENTINA /
89 Catena Alamos Chardonnay 2011, Mendoza ($13.95)
Great value for the price. Catena could well be called the Mondavi of Argentina. Their Chardonnay has a toasty, nutty nose tinged with oak spice; it’s full-bodied with mouth-filling, sweet tropical fruit flavours carried on lively acidity. A light fish dish is on the menu. (TA)
88 Trapiche Reserve Merlot 2010, Mendoza ($13.99)
Complex ripe plum and fine spice on the nose. Plush, rounded dark fruit in the
58 // October 2012
mouth comes in a well-structured package with light earthy character, very dry tannins and a splash of dark chocolate. Speaking of chocolate, why not try with a black forest cake. (SW)
88 Don Rodolfo Tannat 2008, Cafayate Valley ($16.99)
Brooding, dark and brawny, with grippy tannins framing the blackberry and dark cherry-fruit, an intriguing edginess and hints of fresh briary herbs. The fruit comes through again on the focused finish with a touch of bright minerality. A very good value. (GB)
Spain // p. 64; United States // p. 64-65; spirits // p. 65
88 Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2010, Mendoza ($35)
Great aromas and flavours. Lush layers of raspberry, blackberry and fig compote finely integrated with notes of plum, mocha, graphite and liquorice. Velvety texture, bright freshness and a rich exotic finish. (GB)
85 Bodega Privada Merlot 2011, Mendoza ($9.99)
Mellow plum scents lead the way for black fruit with a touch of liquorice on the richly rounded palate. Finishes on a tannic note with bitter dark chocolate and liquorice. (SW)
86 Rosemount Diamond Label Pinot Grigio 2010 ($14)
The Pinot Grigio has a refreshing nose of melon, pear, grapefruit, citrus and green apple. On the palate look for apple and citrus notes that are refreshing and crisp. For something completely different, try this wine with salt and vinegar potato chips. It’s unusually good. (RV)
91 Punt Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Yarra Valley ($27.95) Dense purple colour with a nose of cedar, blackcurrant, smoke and spice; medium-
bodied, dry and elegant with well-focused flavours of blackcurrant and blackberry, finishing firmly. (TA)
88 Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz 2010 ($16)
A spicy and expressive nose of plump plums, warm summer cherries, currants and black pepper. The fruit is ripe and juicy on the palate and lifted by peppery spices. It’s smooth and soft through the finish. Classic pairing with grilled steaks. (RV)
86 Rosemount Shiraz/ Cabernet 2010 ($12)
A blend nearly evenly split between Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose shows blackberries, currants, raspberry and minty spices. It’s smooth on the palate, with an array of dark fruits and balanced spice to go with a touch of eucalyptus. Try with prime rib. (RV)
/BRAZIL / 85 Miolo Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009, Fronteira–Camphana ($12.99)
Savoury and spicy on the nose, with scents of red berries that play through on the palate. Milk chocolate and spice are tamed somewhat by balanced acidity and a clean, dry finish. Atypical Pinot but good value. Steak is an obvious match but a cheesy veal parmesan will also work. (SW)
/CANADA / 92 Malivoire Mottiar Chardonnay 2010, Niagara ($30)
The 3.2-hectare Mottiar vineyard is situated just above the town of Beamsville on the upper slope of the Niagara Escarpment on Quarry Road. Only 100 cases of this exquisite wine was made. The nose shows restrained poached pear, apple, apricot, vanilla, spice and a defining core of minerality. It displays beautiful elegance and layers of subtle fruit that swirl and change with each sip. This wine offers wonderful balance, racy and refreshing acidity and a pure expression of Bench minerality. (RV)
92 Thirty Bench Small Lot Steel Post Vineyard Riesling 2011, Beamsville Bench ($30)
pure flavours of apple and melon on the palate, beautifully balanced and seamless with great length. (TA)
91 Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2010, Niagara ($35)
The grapes for this Riesling were picked late despite the heat of the vintage, but it is finished with less residual sugar. It shows ripe grapefruit, green apple, floral and mineral notes on the nose. I love the texture in Charles Baker’s Rieslings and even though it’s from a warmer vintage, it still shows classic tension and acidity through the finish. I sense the 2009s and 2008s will outlast the 2010 vintage in the cellar, but this is a beauty for drinking now or two or three years down the road. A must for that CB vertical. (RV)
Emma Garner, Thirty Bench’s winemaker, continues her hot streak with Riesling. This is a truly impressive rendition, with huge grapefruit, lime, peach, apple and minerals. The crisp personality combines power with persistency, which will allow this wine to improve over the next decade. (ES)
91 Cave Spring CSV Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004, Niagara ($40)
92 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, Prince Edward County ($39.95)
90 Coyote’s Run Black Paw Chardonnay 2010, Niagara ($21.95)
This is one of the best Chardonnays Deborah Paskus has made in years. Deep straw in colour, it offers a very Burgundian nose of undergrowth and spicy oak with apple nuances. Spicy and
If you mistake this bubbly for a first-rate Champagne you wouldn’t be far off the mark. It has that characteristic bread-crust nose with a lemony, green apple flavour. Just a joy to drink. (TA)
Light golden colour; the bouquet is a rich amalgam of peaches, honey, baking spices, vanilla oak and minerals. It’s full and creamy on the palate with a mouthfreshening finish. (TA)
89 Avondale Sky 2011, Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia ($19.99)
Delicately perfumed blossom, mineral and stone-fruit scents with both peach and apricot flavours in the mouth. Vibrant acidity and delightful apricot notes on the very long finish. (SW)
89 Sainte Famille Wines 2011, Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia ($19.99)
Fragrant fruit blossom perfume together with ripe yellow fruit, green apple and mineral in the background. Zesty crisp sensations on the palate with peach, tropical fruit, attractive creaminess, good mineral character, lively acidity and a long fruity finish. 10.9% (SW)
89 Luckett Vineyards Ortega 2011, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia ($22) Boasts spectacularly aromatic floral, orange citrus and apricot scents with background green herbal notes. Lusciously ripe stone-fruit flavours take over in the mouth with delicately balanced acidity, a touch of mineral and a lingering ripe, fruity finish. (SW)
89 Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011, Okanagan ($23) Fragrant orchard blossoms please the nose, while ripe pear and tangy apricot flavours pervade the roundyet-lively palate. The eggshaped concrete fermenter and extended lees stirring fleshes out the weight and
//the notes complexity. Bring on that clone 52-generated flintiness on the finish. Delicious with Mexican fare. (HH)
88 Cellar Hand Free Run White 2011, Okanagan ($16)
Black Hills’ second-label ode to winemaker Graham Pierce’s assistants uses culled-out free-run juice wine. This inaugural blend of Pinot Blanc/Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc and Sémillon unleashes fresh aromas and juicy flavours: floral, orchard fruit, citrus and honey. Patio party! (HH)
88 Annapolis Highlands 2011, Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia ($19.99)
Attractive floral-and-yellowfruit profile is revealed on the nose with ripe yellowfruit flavours showing some tropical character. Clean, fresh acidity and mineral notes show exemplary appellation style. Finishes quite dry. (SW)
88 Luckett Vineyards 2011, Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia ($19.99)
Subtle, understated bouquet reveals shy blossom with green fruit, lime and hints of tropical fruit. In the mouth, lemon, lime, crisp peach, bracing acidity and firm mineral grip leave an appetizingly dry sensation on the finish. (SW)
88 Summerhill Pyramid Winery Riesling 2009, Okanagan ($20) Expressive aromas highlight
60 // October 2012
citrus, orchard fruit and a hint of petrol. Food-friendly balance accompanies this medium-dry style, while pitching rich peach and a minerally finish. This available 3-year-old wine ensures esteemed aged character upon purchase. Delicious with a carawayspiced cabbage dish. (HH)
88 Benjamin Bridge 2011, Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia ($21.99)
Highly aromatic floral and fresh green fruit character with green herbal background notes. Lively grapefruit and stone fruit on the palate with gritty mineral, contrasting creamy texture and lingering peach and floral sensations on the finish. (SW)
87 Blomidon Estate Winery 2011, Tidal Bay, Nova Scotia ($19.99)
Floral scents, subtle stone fruit, green apple and mineral, with green apple more dominant on the palate. Shows typically brisk acidity and a clean, dry finish. (SW)
87 Summerhill Pyramid Winery Riesling 2010, Okanagan ($20)
Exuberant fruit permeates from nose to finish: pear, peach, quince and passion fruit. Moderate 8.5% alcohol balances well with its medium sweetness. Reinforces southeast Kelowna’s reputation as a go-to spot for Riesling. Chill well; poised for snacks in good company. (HH)
86 Pondview Cabernet Franc Rosé 2011, Niagara River ($15)
A pleasant bouquet of candied strawberry, vanilla, herbs, cocoa and flowers make this an ideal partner for sashimi and sushi. Medium length combined with fresh acidity to round everything out. (ES)
92 Creekside Estate Broken Press Syrah 2008, Niagara ($40)
Creekside’s top wine has always the Broken Press Syrah (previously called “Shiraz”). Winemaker Rob Power makes this wine by co-fermenting about 5% Viognier with the Syrah. The nose is gorgeous with violets, roasted meats, currants, blackberries, plums and a hint of apricot and spice. The earthy, dark fruits are persistent in the mouth and lifted by a vein of acidity and spicy pepper notes. It’s a pure and racy Syrah, driven by fruit and not smothered in oak. (RV)
92 Black Hills Nota Bene 2010, Okanagan ($53)
Cab Sauv (57%) — backed up by Merlot and Cab Franc — continues to charge forth in this iconic Canadian red blend. Complexity and panache permeates from start to finish: fragrant raspberry and cedar aromas to blackcurrant and mocha flavours to a savoury sage-and-cigar-box finish. Glad to see that their new sit-down tasting room offers samples of multiple back vintages. Embrace this classic steak wine. (HH)
91 Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Collection Pinot Noir 2008, Okanagan ($30)
This is the first vintage for Pinot Noir in winemaker Sandra Oldfield’s top-tier collection. The wine spent one year in French oak barrels, followed by three years in bottle. What a gorgeous Pinot. The nose shows bramble, cherry-vanilla, raspberry bush, lavender, rosehips and pomegranate. It’s textured and layered on the palate with cherry-kirsch and anise flavours bolstered by oak and warm spices. It has length through the finish and is balanced nicely by racy acidity. (RV)
91 Pondview Bella Terra Meritage 2010, Four Mile Creek ($35)
The Pondview 2010 Meritage is a wine which is still extremely youthful and somewhat shy. That being said, there is great extraction and flavour: plum, cassis, mint, cocoa, dark cherry, spice and earth. The length is impressive, but the tannins are domineering at this time, so hold off until 2014 and drink until 2022. (ES)
91 Black Hills Carménère 2010, Okanagan ($50)
Although originally intended for Nota Bene, this singlevarietal release continues to delight and amaze. Smoky tobacco, chipotle and mint aromas waft from the glass. The well-structured palate
embraces plush tannins and flavours of peppery raspberry, chocolate-covered cherry, toasty coconut and lingering nutmeg. While tastes and preferences differ ... I loved sipping this with chocolate. (HH)
90 Reif Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2010, Niagara River ($25.95) There is a slight overripe quality to the dark fruits: cherries, blackberries and plums. Violets, vanilla, cocoa, raisins and wasabi add complexity. There is good depth, with a sweet mid-palate and excellent length. The tannins will ensure another 5 to 7 years of longevity. (ES)
90 Reif Estate Merlot Reserve 2010, Niagara River ($25.95)
Reif continues to impress with their reds from the great 2010 vintage. Medium- to full-bodied, this Merlot reveals a bouquet of roasted plums, dark cherries, raspberries, coffee, cinnamon and spice. The palate is very suave with a core of ripe fruit. The long finish and plummy tannins will allow it to age for 5 years. (ES)
90 Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010, Four Mile Creek ($28)
High-quality oak reveals itself in the form of cocoa, coffee and spice. This combines with cassis, raspberries, violets and roasted herbs. There is good weight and concentration, as
well as great finish. Hold until 2012 and then drink over the subsequent 7 years. (ES)
90 McWatters Collection Meritage 2009, Okanagan ($30)
Harry McWatters continues to impress with his latest Meritage made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc sourced from the Sundial Vineyard on the famed Black Sage Bench in the southern Okanagan Valley. The nose shows ripe notes of currants, cassis, blueberry, mocha, raspberry jam, and toasted spices. Itâ€™s more elegant than overpowering in the mouth, with red berries, some currants, roasted Espresso bean, vanilla and a touch of herbs and liquorice through the finish. It shows good balance and verve from a racy vein of acidity. (RV)
90 Pondview Bella Terra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Four Mile Creek ($32)
The dark cherry colour flows into a mĂŠlange of plum, mint, cherries, spice, cocoa and vanilla. Complex and fullbodied, the finale is long and quite tannic at this point. My suggestion is to cellar for a couple of years and then pair with a braised brisket or roasted lamb marinated in herbs. Drink until 2022. (ES)
88 Bartier-Scholefield BS Red 2008, Okanagan ($20)
Blends a full complement of five Bordeaux grapes, but with
no spicy new oak influence. The 30-month aging in neutral barrels ensures red, black and blue fruit character remains centre-stage. Despite its restrained nose and finish, this impeccably balanced red delivers a remarkable food-friendly quaff. (HH)
88 Haywire Pinot Noir 2010, Okanagan ($27)
A savoury beet aroma with floral scents shifts to a juicy palate of tart cherry, ripe strawberry and lingering rhubarb. Sourced from the Secrest Mountain Vineyard high above Oliver, its relatively cooler evenings ensure bright acidity. Bring on an authentic slice of Neapolitan pizza. (HH)
87 McWatters Collection Meritage 2009, Okanagan ($30)
This Black Sage Bench blend of Cab Sauv (44%), Merlot (32%) and Cab Franc (24%) delivers characteristic red and black wild-berry fruit accompanied by flecks of dried herb. Blackcurrant and cedar flavours propel dry tannins to a peppery finish. Match with beef ragout. (HH)
86 Cellar Hand Punch Down Red 2010, Okanagan ($25)
Tributes the arduous task of punching down the re-emerging cap in a fermenting tank. This accelerates skin contact, which extracts pigment and character. Hence, the deep ruby colour, wild-berry notes and peppery finish of this
Syrah/Cab Sauv/Merlot blend. Its rusticity befits a mushroom burger. (HH)
/CHILE / 89 Concha Y Toro Trio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Casablanca ($13.95)
Pale, almost water-white, the wine offers a nose of elderberries and green leaves. It fairly dances on the palate with a tart gooseberry flavour. A very refreshing cool-climate Sauvignon. (TA)
89 Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc Don Max Reserva 2011, Aconcagua Valley ($15.95)
Lots of flavour here, more in New Zealand style than Loire. Straw colour with a lime tint; a nose of passion fruit and mango; richly extracted with herbaceous and mineral notes adding complexity to the sweet almost-creamy fruit. Finishes refreshingly dry. (TA)
91 Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Aconcagua Valley ($20)
Fresh-yet-complex aromas of blackcurrant, cassis, cedar and spicy vanilla. The concentrated palate is rich with supple tannins and mocha, cassis and blackberry flavours. The addition of Cabernet Franc (12%) adds complexity and lengthens the oak-derived spicy finish. Totally suited for hearty meat dishes. (HH)
//the notes 90 Montes Alpha Syrah 2008, Colchagua ($25)
Viognier (3%) co-fermentation plus French oak aging enhances complexity and expressiveness. Seductive violets, gamey meat and ripe red and black fruits throughout. The well-structured palate balances ample acidity, firm tannins and a rich mid-palate. Lingers with white pepper notes. Pairs well with duck. (HH)
88 Quintay Clava Coastal Reserve Pinot Noir 2010, Casablanca ($17) Sourced from four separate Casablanca vineyards to enhance its characteristics. Fresh, fragrant strawberry and cherry aromas. Lively, juicy red- and black-cherry flavours are balanced by light tannins and an elegant texture. Straightforward but refreshing finish. A pleasant partner for poultry. (HH)
87 Luis Felipe Edwards Pupilla Merlot 2011, Central Valley ($9.99)
Varietal aromas of plum and earthy forest floor are here in spades. Succulent ripe plum flavour comes through nicely on the well-balanced palate. A well-made, foodfriendly wine. (SW)
French bread and lemon peel, with a hint of apricot. Refreshing lemony acidity in the mouth, this is light, fruity and invigorating: a wine for all foods. (RL)*
95 Château La FleurPétrus 2009, Pomerol ($159, futures price)
Full ruby. Cocktail of ripe red-berry fruit, complex and so intense it is exuberant; oak is already melting in. Supple and full on the palate, chubby with baby-fat texture and velvety tannic backbone. More bright fruit in the finish. Impressive. (GBQc)
94 Château Trotanoy 2009, Pomerol ($249, futures price)
Dark ruby. Deep nose of pure fruit, lots of finesse from the well-dosed oak. Very elegant, tight and concentrated while remaining very supple. Deserves to wait 10 years at least. (GBQc)
92 Château de Sours Le Coin Perdu 2005 Bordeaux ($19.50)
Very deep plum-red. Aromas of dates, raisins and dried figs, with a judicious dollop of oak. Fresh-tasting strawberry and raspberry flavours are nicely balanced with tannins and acidity. This will peak soon. It was fantastic with a grilled pheasant quarter. (RL)*
90 Gardet Brut Premier Cru NV Champagne ($33.50)
92 Château Prieuré Lichine 2008, Margaux, Bordeaux ($49.50)
Medium-deep gold with lots of fine bubbles. Nose of fresh
62 // October 2012
Purplish. The black-fruitsdominated nose has purity,
richness and depth. Oak is already integrated. Noticeable acidity, but there is plenty of fruity extract and supple tannins to keep the wine perfectly balanced. Will improve further. (GBQc)
91 Château Grand Moulin Terres Rouges 2008, Corbières, Languedoc ($22.60)
Dark ruby, rich nose of black berries, spices and garrigue. Full-bodied, ripe flavour, silky texture and nice amplitude on the palate. The long finish is slightly warm. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years. (GBQc)
91 Château Latour à Pomerol 2009, Pomerol ($95, futures price)
Ruby-purplish. Reserved nose at this stage, but there is beautiful red fruit and a touch of caramel from the oak. Lots of finesse and elegance, the ripe tannins have thickness on the tongue. Drying finish; it needs more time. (GBQc)
90 Le Cirque Carignan/ Mourvèdre/Syrah 2010, Les Côtes Catalanes ($14.95)
Amazing value here. Deep purple-ruby colour; meaty, black-cherry nose with notes of violets and black olive. Full-bodied, rich and spicy. Grab it if you can find it. (TA)
90 Château Grand Village 2009, Bordeaux Supérieur ($22.50)
Ruby-purplish. The smoky nose of black fruits has depth and finesse. Seductive palate;
beautiful, sweet, fruity taste, well-integrated oak in the tight finish. (GBQc)
90 Domaine Billard Auxey-Duresses Les Joncheres 2007, Burgundy ($22.83)
Clear, pale brick-red. Moderate bouquet of liquorice and violets, earth and coffee. Light-bodied, with bright red-berry acidity and a very long finish. Ready now. Excellent with dark-meat turkey and game birds. (RL)*
90 Domaine Belle Cuvée Louis Belle 2009, Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley ($26.85)
Deep purple colour. Black fruits, black olives and dried herbs fill the glass. Thick and chewy, quite tannic but finely grained. Tight with very good concentration and balanced acidity. Best over the next 6 to 8 years. (GBQc)
90 Domaine de Viaud 2001, Bordeaux ($26.95)
Dense purple-black in colour and still holding it for the age. Smoky, cedar-y, cassis nose; medium-bodied, mature and elegant with a tannic lift on the finish. Drink now. (TA)
90 Château Cambon la Pelouse 2009, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux ($28)
Nice purity in the ripe cherry notes complemented by judicious oak. Supple, its mouthfeel is intense and balanced with very good concentration. Tannins are finely grained; the finish is full
and intense. A fine Bordeaux from a great vintage at a reasonable price. (GBQc)
89 Château Chantalouette 2006, Pomerol, Bordeaux ($33.75) Medium ruby. Oak hits you first, followed by ripe red and black fruits that have a good deal of finesse. Supple and quite elegant with very smooth tannins. Excellent length and very enjoyable now and beyond. (GBQc)
89 Domaine Billard Pommard Les Tavannes 2009, Burgundy ($34.50)
Clear medium-deep plum red. Subdued nose of cranberries, violets and spice. Flavours of butterscotch, fig and tart prunes, with a lovely smooth texture. May improve with more age. (RL)*
88 Christian Moueix Merlot 2008, Bordeaux ($16)
Full ruby. Recognizable Bordeaux origin in the fruity/ oaky nose. On the firm side on the palate; clean, fruity taste. Enjoy now. (GBQc)
88 Frédéric Mabileau Les Rouillères 2009, St Nicholas de Bourgeuil AC ($27)
Aromatic plum, cherry, earthy mushroom and a whiff of green herb lead the way for lusciously spicy bitter cherry flavour supported by moderately dry tannins and lively acidity. Vigorous and appetizing. (SW)
91 Domaine Sigalas Santorini 2011, Santorini ($21.95)
88 Fabiano Pinot Grigio IGT 2011, Veneto ($15.99)
Sigalas’ 2011 Santorini shows classic salty minerals, citrus and apples. But in this vintage, there is a peach-skin element thrown in for good measure. Full-bodied and concentrated, it should age well for a decade. Pair with crab cakes topped with a curry aioli or braised pork shoulder with a mushroom sauce. (ES)
89 Antonopoulos Moschofilero 2010, Mantinia ($18.95)
Antonopoulos produces one of Greece’s most profound Moschofileros. The pale water colour features a slight peach hue. The flowers, peach, honey and minerals on the nose are also echoed long on the aftertaste. Try with veal sweetbreads in a Dijon cream sauce or white pizza topped with smoked salmon and crème fraîche. (ES)
90 Kir Yianni Diaporos 2008, Imathia ($50)
Diaporos is a blend of Xinomavro and Syrah. Even though it is a concentrated offering, Xinomavro’s tannins present themselves with full force, necessitating some form of braised meat or medium-rare steak, so as to tame this bruiser. The bouquet is that of game, leather, cherries, tomato paste and olive tapanade. Drink over the next decade. (ES)
Fresh and floral, with lemons and flowers on the nose. Bright and elegant, with lots of character and bright acidity and a long and lively finish. A great match with shellfish, white meat and slightly spicy dishes. Great quality for its modest price. (GB)
92 Bussola Valpolicella Classico ‘TB’ DOC 2006, Veneto ($55)
Rich and beautiful aromas of ripe plum, dried fig and red berries. Full-bodied, with rich, silky tannins and plenty of fruit that turns to liquorice and black cherry with a complex, flavourful finish. Richer than most producers’ Amarones. (GB)
92 Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2006, Veneto ($85)
Hugely rich on the nose with kirsch and dried figs, blackberry and fresh earth; so much depth with supple tannins and ripe acidity. Big and powerful, but it comes wrapped in a rich, silky texture that results in an overall vibrant, stylish wine. Still needs a little time in the bottle to fully integrate, but will be a stunner. (GB)
91 Fattoria La Massa La Massa 2010, IGT Tuscany ($25.75)
Intriguing nose reminiscent
of fruitcake (ripe dark fruits and spices). Nice round mouthfeel, velvety texture, tight and exquisite finish. Ready to drink. (GBQc)
90 Remo Farina Montecorna Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2009, Veneto ($19.95)
Valpolicella is one of those red wines you can chill or serve at room temperature. Deeply coloured with a spicy red-berry nose and an intriguing note of ginger. It’s dry and elegant, unlike any Valpolicella I’ve tasted; beautifully balanced . (TA)
89 Terre di Rubinoro 2008, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOC ($29)
Already shows plenty of developed vinosity and complexity on the nose, though not quite as forward on the palate. Offers characteristic Appellation finesse with fine cherry fruit and spice, but needs more time to soften. (SW)
87 Terre di Rubinoro 2009, Rosso di Montepulciano DOC ($17.50)
Red fruits with warming overtones of cinnamon and a suggestion of ground clove on the nose, with red cherry flavour showing an agreeable touch of bitterness. Smooth through the mid-palate backed by appetizingly dry tannic backbone and a food-friendly dry finish. (SW)
//the notes /SOUTH / AFRICA 87 Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2011, ($12)
South Africa continues to be a source of solid and affordable everyday wines, especially with varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. This has fresh gooseberries, grapefruit, lime and subtle herbaceous notes on the nose. It’s fresh and vibrant on the palate with lively citrus, lime and racy acidity. (RV)
87 Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio 2011, ($11) The nose shows peach, citrus and white flowers. It’s broad on the palate with summer peach and sweet apricot flavours. Serve with light salads and cold meats. (RV)
86 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2011, ($12) Refreshing nose of grapefruit, zesty citrus, lime and some pear fruit. It has delicious tropical fruits, citrus and herbaceous notes on the palate in a fresh, clean style. Pair with seafood pasta. (RV)
86 Flat Roof Manor Merlot 2010, ($11)
Notes of cherry-kirsch, blueberry and sweet vanilla spice on the nose. It’s an easy-drinking red on the palate with a core of sweet cherry and cassis fruit and light oak spice. (RV)
/SPAIN / 89 Abanico Tempestad Godello 2010, Galicia ($18)
Godello is an aromatic grape grown in Northwest Spain. This full-bodied wine has an intense nose of spicy melon and wildflowers; it’s full on the palate with dry musk-melon and lemon flavours. (TA)
86 Abanico Tempestad 2010, Valdeorras, Galicia ($17.95)
Pale yellow colour. This 100% Godello, a Spanish native variety, has a pear/apple nose with hints of minerality and ginger. Tender acidity in a soft mouthfeel; extra zest in the finish from mild bitterness. Drink now. (GBQc)
91 Descendientes de J Palacios Petalos 2010, Bierzo, Galicia ($21)
Purple colour. Slightly perfumed, with intense raspberry, light spices and oak notes. Delicious fruity taste, impressive volume and intensity in the middle palate. Supple tannins, velvety texture and a tight finish. Ready to drink. (GBQc)
/UNITED / STATES 90 DeLoach OFS Chardonnay 2009, Sonoma ($37.95)
Straw-coloured, with an intriguing nose of apple and pear and a note of underbrush. Richly extracted, toasty and spicy tropical-fruit flavours. Mouth-filling, with a final note of caramel. (TA)
91 Rock Wall Wine Company Monte Rosso Vineyard 2009, Sonoma ($46.95)
Made from 100+-year-old vines, this wine serves up huge jam: cherry, raspberry, blackberry and plum. Cocoa
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64 // October 2012
and spice add depth. The palate is viscous, even port-like, with a long finale and substantial amount of tannins. Now to 2020. (ES)
90 Sonoma-Cutrer Grower Vintner Pinot Noir 2008, Sonoma ($29.95)
Deep ruby colour with a minerally, red cherry nose and a touch of oak; very elegant, well balanced and firmly structured with mellow tannins and velvety mouthfeel. (TA)
90 Rock Wall Wine Company Jessie’s Vineyard Zinfandel 2009, Contra Costa ($31)
Named after the 93-year-old farmer who tends vines that are 123 years old. Full-bodied, this lush Zin exudes a beguiling profile of raisins, black tea, tobacco, vanilla and a cornucopia of jam flavours: raspberry, cherry, and plum. The palate is rich and low in acid. The finish is super long and the 16.3% does make an appearance on the tail end. No doubt, this is one of those hedonistic wines. Drink over the next 5 to 7 years. (ES)
88 Joel Gott Zinfandel 2009, California ($25)
Fruit-driven and fresh with lots of spicy ripe cherry and wild berry flavours. Soft tannins; well-balanced with more fruit and spice lingering on the juicy finish. Ribs or a cheeseburger off the grill would be ideal. (GB)
87 Painter Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, California ($12.99)
Enticingly ripe berry and blackcurrant scents with a faint green herbal note and ripe dark berry and wild berry flavours in the mouth. Well-balanced, finishing with attractive fruit and a splash of chocolate. (SW)
87 Sea Glass Pinot Noir 2010, Santa Barbara County ($14.99)
Plenty of red berry and red cherry fruit with good structure; a touch of mineral but with more ripe sweetness, chocolate and spice. (SW)
/Spirits / The First Editions Clynelish 14 Year Old ($137.95/700 ml)
Aged entirely in sherry cask which accounts for some of the sultana/fruitcake aromas that intermingle with tar, smoke, dark chocolate and a kiss of vanilla bean. Viscous and fruity with traces of mineral and perfect balance. Very rich — like the malt version of a plush leather armchair. (TS)
Wild Turkey 81 ($28.95)
A new offering from Wild Turkey containing the same high-rye content mash bill as others in the Wild Turkey lineup. Aged six to eight year in barrels sporting #4 “alligator char” (the heaviest char you can get), this is a fairly mellow bourbon with a fragrant nose of vanilla, toasted grain, mild smoke, caramel and a slight nuttiness. The rye is evident in the brisk, slightly peppery attack that segues into an assertive, fairly dry palate that shows spice, vanilla and toasted grain. (TS)
Jim Beam Red Stag Black Cherry Flavoured Bourbon ($27.95)
This flavoured bourbon shows ripe black cherry aromas with a hint of vanilla, subtle spice and just a whiff of sweet corn. Viscous and moderately sweet, it nonetheless carries enough whiskey bite to stop it from being cloying. Flavours of cherry, vanilla and spice predominate. (TS)
Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky ($27.95)
Made in Minnesota using a Canadian Whisky base. Aromas tend towards clove, nutmeg and, as seems to be the case with many flavoured spirits, vanilla. Some grain notes poke through the sweet vanilla up front, but there’s a serious edge that delivers almost a cayenne pepper zing. It’s at once sweet and serious with a decidedly hot finish. (TS)
Scallops are truly one of life’s great pleasures. Starting from their beautiful shells (from which the description “scalloped edge” comes) to their pretty coral and white colouring. Of course, they taste sweet and delicate, too. They make perfect little appetizers, satisfying mains and even interesting sides. Dare I suggest scallops for dessert, too? Anyway, there’s one thing in particular you should know about scallops. As much as possible, make sure you’re buying “dry” scallops. Injecting phosphates (a preservative) into scallops is common in the fishing industry. The process adds water and, as a result, extra weight to the scallops. If they weigh more, they will cost you more. As important is the fact that they won’t sear as quickly or as nicely. Have you ever noticed how much liquid they release in the pan? That’s the phosphates and water. “Dry” scallops should cost you less because they will end up weighing less. No preservatives (and thereby no extra water) are added. They may release a little liquid during the cooking process, but nothing close to “wet” scallops. They will caramelize quickly and beautifully without overcooking in the centre. I’ve often found that I have to ask specifically whether or not the scallops on display are “dry” because they’re not always identified as such. Use your favourite sherry for this appetizer. Because sherries vary in flavour, you might try making this appetizer individually, using a different sherry for each one. That approach works really well in a kitchen party, when guests are hanging around you as you cook. This recipe cooks up two appetizers, but it’s easily doubled or tripled for larger quantities. It can be made ahead and served at room temperature, too. If you can get a hold of fresh scallops still in their shell, definitely do so. Then, you can serve the finished appetizer in the cleaned shells.
Sherried Scallops 2 1
1/2 1 1 1 1
scallops slice butternut squash, diced potato, diced cherry tomatoes, diced clove garlic sprig rosemary sprig sage tbsp sherry tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1. Heat garlic half in olive oil along with sprigs of
rosemary and sage. Add diced potato and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes. Add squash, and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add tomatoes. Toss, and season with salt and pepper according to taste. 2. Sear scallops until golden and caramelized. Add sherry, salt and pepper; heat through. Spoon vegetable mixture into serving shells, plates or glasses.
voted “most talented”\\
by tony aspler
Cristina Geminiani graduated with a degree in agronomy from the University of Milan and subsequently went on to train at the University of Bordeaux. In 1987 she took over the family estate and soon her wines were regularly featured in Gambero Rosso’s annual wine guide with tre bicchieri (three glasses — the ultimate accolade for Italian winemakers). One American wine publication called her “the most talented woman in Italian wine” and, having tasted her wines, I wouldn’t argue with that. Cristina was gracious enough to come to the hotel in Bologna where our group of Canadian wine-laovers was staying to introduce us to her portfolio. We bracketed the tasting with two white wines — one dry, one sweet — made from the local Albano di Romagna, the first Italian white wine to receive the DOCG appellation in 1987.
Italy is one of my favourite wine destinations,but in all of my many trips to this amazing country I had never thought of visiting Emilia–Romagna for its wines. For its food, now that’s something else; but I have never been a fan of the local Lambrusco — that fizzy, fruity red that used to be a huge seller south of the border but never really caught on here. Remember those Riunite ads? There is an infallible rule that wine always tastes better in the presence of the winemaker — or at least when you taste it in its region of origin; and as a guest it is churlish to turn up your nose when offered a glass of Lambrusco to accompany a plate of culatello di zibello (the prosciutto made from the black Parmesan pigs). To my embarrassment and shame I had never considered Emilia–Romagna a region where I would find fine wine. Fine cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati, all of which have their factories here, and fine food like Parma ham, Parmigiano– Reggiano and Modena’s balsamic vinegar, but wine to stack up against the best of Piemonte, Toscana and Veneto? Not a chance. So I had my prejudices roundly put in their place when I tasted wines made by Cristina Geminiani, proprietor of Fattoria Zerbina. This winery is named after the warm southerly wind that blows through the valley of Marzeno. Its vineyards, 29 hectares in all, are planted mainly to Sangiovese. They sit on slopes that rise to the Apennines, the mountain range that runs like a spine along the length of Italy and separates Romagna from neighbouring Tuscany.
66 // October 2012
Zerbina Albana di Romagna 2010: minerally, white peach flavour with citrus acidity; very fresh with great energy and lemony finish. Zerbina Torre di Ceparano 2008: (Sangiovese with 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Ancellotta, a local grape also used in Lambrusco): richly concentrated, black cherry flavour; full-bodied and firm on the palate with a savoury finish and powdery tannins. Zerbina Marzieno 2007: (75% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah): tobacco and black-cherry nose with an earthy note; full in the mouth with concentrated black fruit flavours. Perfumed and porty with a lovely mouthfeel. Zerbina Arrocco Albana di Romagna Passito 2008: honeyed, botrytis nose with notes of tropical fruits; candiedorange-peel flavour balanced by lively acidity. Sauternes-like.
The hotel’s sommelier was so impressed by the wines that he took from his cellar a bottle of Zerbina Pietramora Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva 2006 and opened it for us (dry, austere and majestic; still tight but with great extract and a chocolate finish). And Cristina Geminiani’s presence at dinner had a similar effect on the owner: he opened up for our party a magnum of Zerbina Pietramora Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva 2004. At this point I put away my notebook and just enjoyed the wine. •
illustration: FRancesco Gallé, www.francescogalle.com
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