KOREAN AIRLINES ON CD
//features 20// IT NEVER WAS BY MICHAEL PINKUS
Stop bad mouthing Merlot.
22// GENERATIONALS BY MERLE ROSENSTEIN
Tidings looks at Germany’s Generation Riesling.
BY EVAN SAVIOLIDIS Making Nebbiolo first.
28// RAMBLING BY RICK VANSICKLE
Talking about Canada’s aromatic whites.
32// MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS
Writers and editors of Tidings pick the best assemblages, beers and spirits.
36// TRIP OF A LIFETIME
BY TIM PAWSEY On a whirlwind tour of Burgundy.
39// PARTICULARLY HOT
BY TOD STEWART
Getting a snifter of Spanish brandy.
42// STREET EATS BY DUNCAN HOLMES
Recipes from Canada’s top street food trucks.
46// BITTERING AGENTS BY ADAM MCDOWELL
What goes into a cocktail bitter?
//à la carte 7// CONTRIBUTORS 8// FROM THE EDITOR 11// CONVERSATIONS Letters to the editor.
14// UMAMI JOANNE WILL
17// LAZY MIXOLOGIST CHRISTINE SISMONDO
18// BON VIVANT PETER ROCKWELL
51// MATTER OF TASTE SHEILA SWERLING-PURITT
55// BOUQUET GARNI NANCY JOHNSON
66// FINAL WORD TONY ASPLER
66 //notes 50// 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 CANADA // P. 59-62 CHILE // P. 62 FRANCE // P. 62-63 GERMANY // P. 63
14 4 // November 2013
ITALY // P. 64-65 NEW ZEALAND // P. 65 PORTUGAL // P. 65 SOUTH AFRICA // P. 65 SPAIN // P. 65 UNITED STATES // P. 65
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FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AND TUMBLR LIVING.QUENCH.ME TWITTER.COM/QUENCHBYTIDINGS Rick VanSickle is a freelance wine journalist and publisher of WinesInNiagara.com. He loves to travel the world in search of good wine but lives with his family in the heart of Niagara where a good bottle of Riesling is never far away. He spends far too much time tweeting (@rickwine, if you’re interested), instagramming and FBing. He has no idea what twerking is, however.
THIRST Check out Tasted for recommendations on the best wines to pair with November’s comfort foods.
HUNGER Add these new recipes to your holiday entertaining repertoire: Potatoes and Chicken Dijon, Crusted Salmon with Grapefruit, Pumpkin Mousse, and more.
TRAVEL Fine-tune your winter travel plans with the best advice on how to pack, handle different currencies, customs and languages, and have an awesome vacation.
FEATURE From the farmer’s field to the dining table, Joanne Will writes about the people and issues connected to the journey of food. In addition to Tidings, she writes a weekly column for The Globe and Mail.
Tod Stewart brings the cocktail party season to life with three proven drink recipes.
LIVING Get weekly budget-friendly tips on how to make your home party ready.
NEW VIDEOS Visit videos.quench.me to see contributing editor, Gurvinder Bhatia on the Grapeful Palate.
MORE ORIGINAL RECIPES; A DAILY SERVING OF
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS AND VIEWS; CULINARY TIPS, TRICKS AND TECHNIQUES.
Adam McDowell is a freelance journalist, the drinks columnist for the National Post and editor of Gastropost.com. His ebook Drink Different: A Refreshing Guide to Home Mixology was published in 2012. He lives in Toronto.
NEXT MONTH IN TIDINGS FINDING THE RIGHT PORT WARMING UP WITH A DRINK IN HAND THE CHARM OF CALVADOS A WINE WRITER’S YEAR IN REVIEW Halifax-based Peter Rockwell has written about wine, spirits and beer since graduating from the School of Journalism at the University of King’s College in the mid-80s. He has been a weekly on-air wine feature columnist for both CBC-TV and Global Television. When not drinking at home and at work Peter travels the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.
CELEBRATING PROSECCO A SPECIAL CHARDONNAY TASTING NO AGE SCOTCH ... AND SO MUCH MORE
//from the editor
NOVEMBER 2013 ISSUE # 315
7 ANNUAL MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS TH
what’s going on? I REMEMBER THIS DISTINCTIVELY. I was actually quite surprised when I heard it. Don’t shoot the messenger, but it seems you can’t easily find prosciutto in Saskatoon. Let me explain myself. I was touring around Canada some years ago, meeting with readers all over western Canada. I had hit the great cities of Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver. But it was in Saskatoon that I was assaulted by this statement. A reader approached me and mentioned how much he loved Tidings. He enjoyed rambling through the wine articles and tasting notes. He was inspired by the spirits mentioned and looked forward to seeking them out. Then he got to the recipes. He paused, looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “You need to give us more alternatives for the recipes. You can’t easily find prosciutto around here.” I was floored. I know that supermarkets stock shelves universally and have small ethnic sections for those who seek a bit more adventure in the kitchen, but prosciutto should be as ubiquitous as peanut butter. Now grantedthis was almost 8 years ago and supermarkets have come a long way, but that sentence has stuck with me all those years. And then I walked into a newly renovated Provigo Le Marché. My jaw dropped. It wasn’t the fancy signs and large aisles that got me. Nor was it the expanded beer section or the smell of freshly baked olive fougasse wafting through the air. It was something much simpler than that. It was the enormous cheese fridge. I travel a lot and every once in awhile a particular food from one of those stops sticks in my mind — in this instance a cheese from the Magdalen Islands called Pied-De-Vent. Most of the time this item is really hard to find. I’d have to drive to the Jean Talon market about one hour from my house to get my fix. Not anymore. As I was perusing the selection of specialty cheeses in this massive fridge — at a supermarket just minutes from my house — I spotted it and tears came to my eyes. Although probably not that dramatic, I was quite surprised to see this artisanal cheese I’ve coveted for so long find it’s way to a local grocery store. And I asked myself this, “Is it still hard to find prosciutto in Saskatoon?” Can somebody let me know?
8 // November 2013
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Thank you to Michael Pinkus’ “Re-Write” for highlighting one of my favourite varietals — Sauvignon Blanc. I have always found it to be a great match for a wide variety of foods. Carol Norris, email
I found Tod Stewart’s examination of whether or not olive oil breaks down to unhealthy levels while cooking to be timely and informative given that I’m embarking on a new health regime. I’m very glad to read that my favourite type of oil remains healthy despite high heat. Carly Mitchell, email
So nice to see a new non-sweet, pumpkin-inspired cocktail recipe, “Pumpkin Flip”. It was a hit at my Hallowe’en party.
Marc Parish, Toronto
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. © 2013 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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... I haven’t yet been to Chile, but her descriptive imagery made me feel like I was there tasting the great wines along with her ...
I loved Merle Rosenstein’s article, “The Hills”. I haven’t yet been to Chile, but her descriptive imagery made me feel like I was there tasting the great wines along with her. Izzy Princeton, New York
Re: “Sake For A Change”: Sake with Thanksgiving dinner, who would have thunk it? Not being a sake drinker, myself, I had my doubts. However, being open to new experiences, I decided to give Ms. Swerling-Puritt’s suggestion a try. While wine is still my go-to accompaniment, this sake experience livened up our traditional meal. Chris Dannon, email
Material chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and fit. Please e-mail your comments and questions to email@example.com.
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FOR MOST OF US AS THE SEASONS CHANGE,we inevitably spend more time indoors than perhaps we would like to. This is not a bad thing by any means, but it can lead to some cooking boredom. After a summer full of backyard get-togethers and BBQs, I find I get into a cooking rut as the seasons change, making the same things in the same manner in a repetitive cycle. Being indoors doesn’t have to be boring though, and there are a multitude of cooking techniques and methods that can significantly change the flavour, texture and overall impression of similar dishes. Just to name a few, there is frying, pan-frying, searing, braising, slow-cooking, baking and many more. I want to focus on two that are often overlooked, but are great to use when some variety is required. Searing requires a nice hot pan, small amounts of oil, and quick browning of the meat (i.e. steak) or vegetables on all sides, followed by baking time in the oven. Braising starts off the same way, but after browning, liquid is added to pan in order to create a gentler heat. The added benefit of a braise is the liquid. It can be anything from water to broth or wine (i.e. Ossobuco). The basic technique for both methods is the same, and works just as well with vegetables (I love to braise Brussels sprouts) as it does with meats. Both methods start off very similarly. First, season meat with salt and pepper. Second, heat a bit of oil in an ovenproof pan on high heat, and sear meat on all sides for 30 to 60 seconds until browned. For braising, you need a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Don’t overcrowd the pan as this will bring down the heat and hinder browning. The third step is where the two methods differ. With searing, you will put the pan with the meat and any other desired flavours into a 350°F oven until it is cooked through to desired doneness. With braising, you will add liquid so that it comes up about 3/4 of the way up the meat. Braising can happen in either a 350°F oven or on a medium-low heat on the stovetop. Just 20 to 30 minutes will be enough for most meats (chicken or pork chops) but if you are using a tough cut, you can let it go for as long as necessary, adding more liquid from time to time as necessary.
BY TOM DE LARZAC
These methods create much different dishes without changing the basic flavours that are used. They have the added advantage of not requiring you to stand over them and tend them the whole time. Once the sear is done, the process is very much hands-off. Mixing some of these into the repertoire will help keep your taste buds interested and mundane flavours at bay.
LAMB CHOPS WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS 3 1 1 2 2 1
tbsp olive oil lbs Brussels sprouts, de-stemmed and cut in half clove of garlic, minced tbsp balsamic vinegar tbsp honey lb lamb chops
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 2. Heat an ovenproof pan on high heat with 1 tbsp oil. Toss
in Brussels spouts and garlic and sear for 3 to 4 min so all sides are browned. 3. Add vinegar, honey and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Mix well and place in oven uncovered. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes. 4. Preheat a second pan on high heat with remainder of the oil. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. 5. Sear on all sides, and place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until desired doneness. …… Serve with a light red like a Gamay or a Pinot Noir.
vegan secret suppers\\
THE EXCESSES OF THANKSGIVING HAVE BARELY CONCLUDED,and holiday consumption will soon begin again. With the pressure to eat healthier while entertaining and impressing guests, hosting can be a challenging job. Self-taught cook Mérida Anderson leads by example; she started the Vegan Secret Supper (VSS) dining club five years ago and has just released her first cookbook. Anderson is not promoting tofu or packaged, processed faux-meat substitutes; this is authentic vegan fine dining. The 150 recipes include Split Pea Bisque with minted coconut cream and cumin croutons, Hazelnut Rye Crisps, and Butternut Squash and Almond Gnocchi sautéed with sage-garlic butter. “It is more work to make a vegan meal,” says Anderson. “You use more spices, it’s more of a complex cooking idea. You can’t just say ‘there’s my meat and I added a vegetable,’ but I think that’s a good thing. And as a vegan you definitely eat more. It processes in your body faster. It’s cleaner food, and goes through you like it should.” Influenced by her peers at the time, Anderson has been vegan since age 16. So where did the desire to create meals for others begin? “It all started when I was travelling on a bike tour in Eastern Canada about five years ago and was in Halifax, when I went to my friend Rob’s vegan supper club,” Anderson relates. “He had a large house where all the rooms in the main floor were set up with tables. It was such an amazing experience, and I thought, ‘I wish we had this in Vancouver!’ So I came home and told my roommate that I wanted to have a vegan supper club in our tiny attic apartment, and there it began.
14 // November 2013
BY JOANNE WILL
“I’m always creating things,” she continues. “I like to start from scratch, and this was just one more thing. I had taken a break from fashion designing and was running an art gallery. Seeing the supper club, I thought ‘I could totally do this!’ I’d been working on a cookbook since I was 16, and thought ‘I can test out all my recipes and it will be really fun!’ Opening a restaurant seemed unattainable, but a supper club seemed totally possible.” The VSS proved to be immensely popular and has expanded. Now based in Montreal, Anderson also regularly hosts suppers in New York and Vancouver. In the new year, she’ll cast the net even wider. “I’m planning a supper tour next spring, all over North America. It’s a very community-oriented thing. I’ll be posting it and reaching out to people who want to host me. It will be a really interesting project, because it relies on a community of people, in whatever town is interested. I’m really excited.” What is Anderson’s advice for others who have a passion or interest to pursue? “Not being scared to just start, whatever level you’re at. For example, people who want to learn to draw: if you drew every day, in a year you’re going to be doubly as good as when you started. I think everybody has the potential to do so much, they just have to try. Whether it’s singing, drawing, playing music, or cooking; even if they say they can’t draw or cook, they can. You just have to work on it. And be okay with starting out with drawing a stick figure, or just learning how to cook rice.”
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ARTICHOKE, RHUBARB AND TRUFFLEaren’t exactly the first ingredients that come to mind when we think about building our next cocktail. And yet, these unlikely vegetables are the bases for a number of amari, bitter Italian digestivos that are starting to appear, not only as after-dinner options, but also on the country’s best cocktail lists. How did we get here? Well, we have to give some credit to the Negroni, which opened North American palates to the possibility of bitter, even though many don’t include Campari, the cocktail’s most distinctive ingredient, in the amaro family. Still, given the creative spirit prevailing in the cocktail world, it didn’t take long for bartenders to put their own spin on that classic concoction. At Vancouver’s L’Abattoir, for example, head bartender Shaun Layton started playing around with a Negroni variant made with Campari, Aperol and Fernet Branca — that last ingredient being one of the sharpest amaros around and, incidentally, an industry favourite. “The movement is definitely being fuelled by the bartenders drinking it and suggesting it to the patrons,” says Layton. “People ask for it in a cocktail and, increasingly, instead of having a sweet dessert coffee, they’ll have an amaro after dinner, too.” As such, the category has exploded, even here in Canada, despite our access to only a fraction of the hundreds of varietals available in Italy. There, amaros are divided into styles — carciofo (artichoke-based), tartufo (truffle), rabarbaro (rhubarb) and alpino (herbal) to name a few — and are commonly drunk after dinner, to aid with digestion. Some styles of digestivo are more popular in some regions than others. My own personal favourite, a sweet and light rabarbaro called Zucca, is big in Milan.
+ Visit quench.me/search-mixed/ for more drink recipes
BY CHRISTINE SISMONDO
Although I have to max out my duty-free allowance to get my fix of Zucca, many great digestivos have actually been on Canadian shelves for some time, especially in areas with large Italian-Canadian populations. Cynar (an artichoke-based carciofo) has been in Southern Ontario seemingly forever — albeit in small quantities — something that Dave Mitton of Toronto’s The Harbord Room counts on, since he almost always has one or two cocktails on his menu that rely heavily on Cynar. Mitton loves the rich, full flavour balanced out with the herbal notes, and he uses it to add layers to heavy spirit-forward drinks. In addition, Mitton recommends using it at home in a simple, light Cynar Sour, pointing out that, at 16 per cent ABV, this carciofo is practically a temperance drink. Says Mitton: “You can go ahead and have a couple of these and not wind up on the floor.”
CYNAR SOUR 2
oz Cynar 1/2 oz agave syrup 1 oz fresh lemon Egg white Shake all ingredients without ice for 20 seconds; then add ice and shake for 20 more seconds. Fine strain into chilled glass and finely grate orange zest on top.
aling and glass differences\\
18 // November 2013
You’ll be surprised at what’s revealed (especially from old standby wines) from a good, all-purpose glass, even if it’s not created specifically for the wine you’re imbibing. What gives beer its flavour? Let’s get one thing out of the way: ales and lagers are made differently, and each process will have a fundamental influence on a brew’s personality. ‘Nuff said. Also, if a brewmaster adds blueberries, raspberries or any other fruits or spices to their baby, that’s what it’s going to taste like. ‘Nuff said again. Those something-added (and usually seasonal-oriented) beers are not the norm, which means the majority, past the production phase, get their flavour profiles from a combination of four standard ingredients: water, grain, yeast and hops. Yes, folks, that’s exactly how your favourite sud is pieced together. Water and yeast are the least influential. All you beer geeks living in your parents’ basements about to email, tweet or Facebook me your outrage can just chill. You know as well as I do that I’m right. The grain used is a different matter. Generally barley is the base, but not always. So, what gets malted has a major part to play in how a beer’s final flavour plays out. Then there are the hops. For me, they drive the flavour profile bus and massage all the other elements into a cohesive expression of personality. Just look at the shelves at your local liquor store. Hop-themed beers are the darling of the industry. Everyone from big-time breweries to tiny craft-brew creators are jumping on the bandwagon. All are identifying the specific hops they are using and bragging about the elements each injects into their liquid. The good-news story is that as individual hop varieties become more well-known, they are moving the beer industry in a direction very similar to wine: a place where consumers can look past the producer and deeper into their glass.
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Does the glass you use really make a difference to a wine’s taste? While I’d never suggest you trash your collection of the weird and wonderful, when it comes to releasing all the personality a wine has to offer, nothing beats the right glass. To start with, stemware, no matter the design, is the ideal drinking utensil for one important reason: it keeps your mitts away from the liquid. Warm hands wrapped around a glass will transfer that heat into the wine, encouraging whites to lose their chill and reds to take on a flabby disposition. So, does one goblet work better than another? If you believe Riedel, Austria’s lord of the receptacles, there’s a design for every wine. They’ve been able to reintroduce winemakers the world over to their own juice, thanks to a few centuries of tinkering with the shape of their hand-crafted crystal bowls and recording the aromatic nuances revealed as a wine is swirled around inside. And it really is all about the aroma. You can drink wine out of just about anything. Drinking wine from a glass designed to show off its coveted bouquet and funnel the flavours across your palate is a totally different experience. Trouble is, like fine wine, a Riedel glass doesn’t come cheap. The good thing is that store shelves are packed with less expensive, and generally decent, alternatives that employ much of the same science in their architecture. While it would be cool to own an individual glass crafted for every single style of wine and grape variety, you’d be sipping from them in the poorhouse. You can, however, enhance your tasting experience dramatically with just two. A deeper, round-bottomed red wine glass designed for Cabernet Sauvignon will show off a Malbec, Merlot and Shiraz just fine. Riesling and Chardonnay will get a boost from a tapered white wine glass meant for Sauvignon Blanc.
BY PETER ROCKWELL
ROAD 13 ON CD
IT’S NO LONGER “COOL” TO BASH MERLOT
IT NEVER WAS BY MICHAEL PINKUS
THERE’S A MOVIEthat I’m not allowed to mention when talking about Merlot … nor am I to refer to the supposed decline of the grape’s popularity due to said forbidden pop culture reference. Truth is, the decline of Merlot as a popular grape variety is pure myth. It is amongst the top five most popular grapes in the world, one we all know, and one we all drink in some form or another, be it a blend or all by its lonesome. Merlot is a lover, not a fighter so it put up no opposition to what people were supposedly saying; it just went about its business. It grows well pretty much anywhere, and has a tendency to be a go-to wine for wine lovers and novices alike. But don’t take my word for it, head to your local liquor store and see how much of it is on the shelves. Spend the day and witness how many wine buyers pick up a bottle to take home. Merlot is the red version of Chardonnay, meaning when all else seems confusing, people gravitate back to the familiarity of Merlot. The grape isn’t going through some kind of renaissance, it’s not picking itself up off the mat and contrary to popular belief, Merlot hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s still the go-to grape. But again, don’t just take my word for it, let’s let the professionals say a few things about it. “What’s not to like about Merlot?” asks Jamie Evans, winemaker at Peninsula Ridge. “It is robust and fulsome on the palate with dark, brooding plum and black raspberry flavours. It has a sensual structure, balancing acidity with body and a rather underrated ability to express terroir.”
20 // November 2013
“Merlot itself can be an oxymoron,” says Krystina Roman of Rosewood Estates. “It’s big and bold, yet smooth and elegant.” Winemakers like it because “it is the first of the ‘Bordeaux runners’ across the growing line, so it always has a ripening advantage,” explains Craig McDonald, senior winemaker at Trius, and an obvious fan of marathons. “I love punching it down,” gushes Derek Barnett, wistfully thinking of his 2012 (and any other vintage of Merlot). “Aromas are so floral in the beginning, changing to sweet, dark fruit as fermentation continues — it keeps you coming back every day.” “The supple tannins and bold red fruit notes [make] for a great red wine year after year,” echoes Natalie Spytkowshy, consulting winemaker. And on the marketing side you have Matt Loney of Creekside: “It’s the versatility of the grape. It can exist in a variety of forms, from the lighter, softer and elegant side to the massive and brawny; and it doesn’t need the big, dry, hot vintages, some of our most awarded and unique Merlots come from vintages we regarded as less-than-ideal.” So you see, Merlot has suffered no ill effects, no lasting damage, it’s a great grape to make and continues to be loved the world over. So it’s time to close the book on the movie-that-can’t-benamed effect … and if you’re still one of those that looks sideways at anyone who offers you a glass, it’s time to come back into the fold. You know you want to.
PENINSULA RIDGE MERLOT VINTNER’S PRIVATE RESERVE 2010, ONTARIO ($29.95)
KACABA MERLOT RESERVE 2010, ONTARIO ($44.95)
THIRTY BENCH SMALL LOT MERLOT 2010, ONTARIO ($40)
GHOST PINES WINEMAKER’S BLEND MERLOT 2010, UNITED STATES ($19.95)
It starts off soft and juicy, adds blueberry and blackberry then finishes up with great spice, delivering it all with a raspberry seam that runs right down the middle.
Plenty of blueberry and raspberry on the nose, the palate is incredibly soft and approachable for such a big, ripe vintage as 2010. Smooth with smoky dark fruit that rolls over the tongue effortlessly and ends with some vanilla/smoky notes.
Smooth right from the get-go with vanilla, blueberry, blackberry and chocolate — the palate is supple and the tannins, while there, are unobtrusive.
Another year and another California version — they do great year in year out. Best word to describe it would be juicy.
ROSEWOOD ESTATES NATURAL FERMENTATION MERLOT RESERVE 2010, ONTARIO ($36) Supple palate of blackberry and blueberry skin wrapped in white pepper and cinnamon spice with a long replay of tannins on the finish.
MARC BRADSHAW AND JOE WILL AT STREWN
WAKEFIELD MERLOT 2012, AUSTRALIA ($18) An Aussie palate pleaser. Soft, supple blackberry and blueberry with hits of mocha, drink or hold for up to 5 years.
CASSINI CELLARS MERLOT 2011, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($21.95) COLUMBIA CREST’S JUAN MUÑOZ-OCA
STREWN TERROIR MERLOT 2010, ONTARIO ($26)
Nose of blueberry skin, blackberry, black raspberry and cocoa, followed on the palate with black cherry and raspberry, along with those blueberry skins and cocoa. Tannins are complementary instead of something to weigh down and overpower the tongue.
HILLEBRAND SHOWCASE RHS MERLOT 2010, ONTARIO ($40)
A nose of deep, rich, dark fruit, cinnamon and smoke; the palate is dark fruited with blueberry skin, robust tannins, cinnamon, smoke and spice … all big and all needing time to be tamed … speaking of big, so is the alcohol, at 14.5%.
STRATUS MERLOT 2010, ONTARIO ($32)
The nose is chocolate and blueberry with mocha/coffee notes ... palate is really juicy with red fruit: cherry jam sweetness without the cloying stickiness, leading to white peppered cherries and strawberries on the finish. Also look for a mineral/ stony quality that adds depth.
Here’s a well balanced Merlot from Western Canada, a pretty lavender note with dark berries, herbal tones and spiced vanilla.
J. LOHR LOS OSOS MERLOT 2010, UNITED STATES ($19.95)
I know this will come as a shock, being it’s from California and all, but think juicy cherry, and blueberry here with hints of chocolate.
BURROWING OWL MERLOT 2009, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($41.95) Lots of smoky edges with strawberry, plum, blackberry and blueberry on the interior.
BISQUERTT LA JOYA RESERVE MERLOT 2010, CHILE ($13.95)
Lots of nice minty aromas with sweet blackberry, blueberry, mocha and spice.
COLUMBIA CREST H3 MERLOT 2009, UNITED STATES ($19.95) Washington continues to impress with Merlot, this one is soft, supple and easy drinking — love the H3 line of wines. •
GENERATIONALS 22 // November 2013
IN ANOTHER LIFE, I’M THE DAUGHTER OF A VINTNER FROM AN ESTABLISHED WINE FAMILY. I spend my days running among vigorous blossoming vines, chasing gruff goats that munch on tall grasses. My siblings and I tumble down steep slopes and pick baskets full of berries. Family gatherings with beloved cousins celebrate the harvest. With my luck however, I’ll end up a black vine weevil, feeding on healthy foliage, engendering extreme fear and loathing in farming communities. Growing up in a vineyard has its advantages but isn’t always easy, especially when you want to enter the wine profession. Breaking new ground can be tough. Can you keep your passion for purple alive while going against the grain? How do you break with tradition and forge your own path, while preserving family relationships? That’s the question Tidings put to three young winemakers in Germany about their forays into the family business. We learned about Generation Riesling, a new movement in Germany to refresh the sweet Riesling style and challenge past practices.
HOW SWEET IT IS
Germany produces over 60 per cent of the world’s Riesling. This grape reflects the soil in which it’s grown and is made in many different styles. Steffen Schindler, Marketing Director at the German Wine Institute, describes the dated image of German wines in the United Kingdom, a large target market. “German wines were considered to be old fashioned with little innovation,” he explains. According to Schindler, this perception was based on the huge success of traditional, sweet white wines from the 1970s and 1980s. The status of German wines abroad created a crisis at home. “In the 1990s many winemakers didn’t see a big future for winemaking in Germany. The younger generation didn’t want to take over from their fathers,” says Schindler. In the 1980s Weingut (Winery) Keller and Weingut Wittmann in Rheinhessen decided to do things differently by using higher quality varietals and creating a dry wine style.
BY MERLE ROSENSTEIN
Producers in Germany reimagined Riesling, motivated by a growing interest in fine French and Italian cuisine, the trend towards food and wine pairings and the tendency to “cocoon” or enjoy stayat-home dinners with family and friends. The style of Riesling was deemed to be too sweet by the young generation of chefs. Aspiring winemakers attended one of Germany’s wine universities and took on internships abroad. Armed with new knowledge and skill, they crafted wines that were fruitier, lighter, more aromatic, with less alcohol and oak. According to Schindler, “After the first wave of wanting to be like the rest of the world, they’ve actually come back to the wine styles we’ve always made in Germany. Viticulture has become a really trendy profession.” Today, aspiring winemakers stay connected through groups like ‘Message in a Bottle’, social networking and wine events, and create and market wines together.
Generation Riesling is a group of over 430 vintners and aspiring vintners under age 35. A homepage with personal profiles of group members includes links to each winery. Members of Generation Riesling have travelled to Stockholm, London and other international cities to promote their wines. Up-and-coming vintners use new ways to reach consumers, create wines in the dry style, focus on quality instead of quantity and have changed labelling and pricing structures. A revamped marketing process is tailored to the lifestyles of the under-35 crowd. Wine vibes with 600 urban dwellers aged 25 to 35 in Munich, Cologne and Hamburg serve wine from Generation Riesling producers. “After two to three hours of wine tasting, all of this turns into a party with music. After 11 pm, this turns into a real party lasting until early morning hours,” explains Schindler. In the summer, young German winemakers sell Riesling and other German wines to windsurfers and beach volleyball players on the North Sea shore. Lisa Bunn and Matthias Runkel from Rheinhessen and Anette Closheim from Nahe are members of Generation Riesling. I met Matthias in Toronto at a wine tasting at the Independent Wine Education Guild. Reigning German Wine Queen Julia Bertram was also on hand to promote Riesling and Pinot Noir.
WINERY KLAUS AND MATTHIAS RUNKEL: RHEINHESSEN REGION
For 25-year-old Matthias Runkel, growing up in a winery had its advantages and disadvantages. While he valued the contact with his parents and grandparents and learned a great deal, he acknowledges that it was also a lot of work. “When my friends were going to play soccer, I had to say ‘sorry, I have to work in our winery,’” he recalls. Runkel explains that his father and grandfather treated all vines the same and decided after fermentation which wines were the best. “Today we know which vineyard is for which quality and so we can give special attention to grapes destined for higher quality wines. For example, for lower quality wines, we pull more leaves out and they lose more acidity, but we harvest them earlier than the single site Riesling,” he says. Runkel and his father produce eight different Rieslings in three levels. The estate Rieslings are the least expensive, the local Riesling is made from grapes grown around Runkel’s village. The three high quality single site Rieslings are hand harvested from the Heilig-Kreuz, Hasensprung and Geyersberg vineyards. The Hasensprung vineyard has clay soil, producing wine with good aging potential. Grapes from the Heilig-Kreuz vineyard create aromatic wines with ripe notes of apricot. Geyersberg, one of best vineyards in Rheinhessen, is limestone, lending a mineral taste to the wines. The noble sweet Riesling or Trockenbeerenauslese is made from dried Riesling grapes from the best locations in Geyersberg.
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WINERY LISA BUNN: RHEINHESSEN REGION
Lisa Bunn is a young winemaker who took over her parents’ winery, producing the 2011 vintage. For Bunn, being born in October at harvest time meant no birthday parties. “When I was small it was not my plan to become a winemaker. I always thought that I wanted to become something where I had weekends off and had a lot of free time,” she admits. After working in a law firm, a kindergarten and in the food business, she turned to winemaking. Bunn’s approach is different from her father’s. She says, “He loves every wine the same and they are like his kids so he puts in the same work and the same passion in every one and they all cost the same.” Bunn created three ranges of wines, treating the grapes from each range differently depending on value. The basic wines are very fruity with slight sweetness and exotic flavours of banana and pineapple. Wines in this range are grown in loess soil, are meant to be “fun and easygoing” and are perfect as an “aperitif with your guests on the terrace or to start a nice evening.” The more structured wines are dry and very fruity, an expression of the red sandstone soil and iron content. These wines work well with fish dishes. Wines in the single site range rely on spontaneous fermentation and have a bit more minerality from the clay soil. Grapes are hand harvested from steep slopes and pair well with spicy food.
ANETTE CLOSHEIM: NAHE REGION
Anette Closheim’s father was surprised when she said she wanted to work in the wine business. She admits that at first it was difficult. She had her own ideas about winemaking and her father had his. Closheim wanted to focus on quality and experiment with spontaneous fermentation and the use of old oak barrels. Her father gave her a few of his vineyards and is glad that he did. With her first vintage, Closheim won Riesling Discovery of the Year, from Weinwelt Magazine, a German wine journal. “Every year I am sold out before Christmas,” she says. Her father is happy and proud. According to Closheim, “The Nahe Region, with only 4000 hectares in total, has 180 different soil types. That’s what makes Nahe special, the wines growing here are quite individual,” she says. Closheim has two types of single vineyard Rieslings in her line made from grapes grown in red sandstone and clay soils. The first Riesling has more power and minerality and would pair well with steak, while the second Riesling is fruitier and more elegant, and would complement fish, asparagus or cold soup. Generation Riesling has brought new energy to the German wine scene with a range of new wines differentiated by quality, made for imbibing with modern cuisine. These new vintners build on tradition and take pride in their own accomplishments bringing German wines back to a place of prominence. •
DRINKING GREAT, YOUNG NEBBIOLO IS AKIN TO AN IRON FIST IN A VELVET GLOVE. DRINKING POOR, YOUNG NEBBIOLO IS AKIN TO A BARE FIST IN A RAZOR BLADE STUDDED GLOVE.
BY EVAN SAVIOLIDIS THIS PAST SUMMERI was invited to the Nebbiolo Prima event in Alba, Italy. The annual event, which brings together journalists from all over the world, celebrates the newest release of Piedmont’s three famous Nebbiolo-based wines: Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. From Barolo, there were the 2009 regular bottlings and 2007 Riservas. Barbaresco featured the basic 2010s and 2008 Riservas and Roero served up the regular 2010s and 2009 Riservas. All told, 400 wines were tasted over five days. Needless to say, by the end of each session, my mouth felt like I had sucked on a bag of flour, and no amount of toothpaste could eliminate the dark tint on my teeth. Such diversity allowed me to see the full range of styles being produced. It also afforded me the opportunity to experience the varying degrees of winemaking skill. Truly, there were many lovely wines to be had. The best were complex, with good fruit and assertive tannins giving longevity. The lesser versions were tutelage in wine faults 101, ranging from volatile acidity to oxidized to maderized. Without hyperbole, 15 per cent of the wines suffered some form of malady. Thankfully, there was much quality to be had.
Historically, the original Nebbiolo wine, Barolo, was a sweet offering. Due to late ripening, the fermentations, which would be ongoing into early winter, would abruptly slow down, or halt altogether, due to cold temperatures. It took the arrival of a French oenologist, Louis Oudart, to change the state of affairs. Hired by the Marchesa di Barolo (read nobility) in the middle of the 19th century, he was able to ferment the wines dry by
improving hygiene-removing bad fungus and bacteria (which were inhibiting fermentations) and installing heaters to moderate the temperature. This new kind of powerful, dry wine became a favourite of the nobility, and thus the moniker, “The King of Wines and Wine of Kings,” was soon bestowed. Oudart’s recipe for making fine Barolo was to pick (usually slightly underripe) grapes, crush and ferment with stems, macerate for 45 days, and then leave the wines to age in large old Slavonian casks, known as botte, for many years, in an attempt to smooth out the wines. Still, a good amount of bottle aging was required, usually 20 to 30 years, so as to temper the hard edges. Of course, many of the wines lost their fruit and fortitude long before the tannins melted. This traditional style produced wines that were deficient in colour, extremely high in tannins and acidity, with classic haunting aromas of tar, roses, truffles and dried cherries. This was the de-rigueur method until the 1980s, when a new generation of winemakers, influenced by global changes, began to create a modern, fruitier and more approachable version. Fully ripe grapes, de-stemmed clusters, shorter maceration times via gentler methods (roto-fermenters or pump overs usually lasting 8 to 10 days), new French oak and shorter aging periods defined this new style of Barolo. Needless to say, many of the traditionalists balked at this concoction, and the Barolo wars began. Eventually, each side saw some merit in the other’s position, and today, there is really no old school or new school, only a middle ground of sorts. Grapes are now harvested riper, macerations are managed better, and if new oak is used, it is done so judiciously.
93 VIETTI BAROLO BRUNATE 2009 ($192) I must confess a certain fondness for this producer, especially for its Barolos and Barberas. This wine shows terrific colour extraction as well as a bouquet of cherry, vanilla, liquorice, violets and mint. In the mouth, it starts off elegantly and then builds into a full-bodied/ tannic finale with added nuances of cassis, spice and mineral. Hold until 2018 and drink until 2035.
92 MARCARINI BAROLO BRUNATE 2009 ($30) The 2009 Marcarini Brunate is a powerful offering with lots of cherry, tar, earth, leather, liquorice roses and plums. It is full bodied with terrific length and 20 years ahead of it.
92 VIETTI BAROLO LAZZARITO 2009 ($192) The Lazzarito is a single vineyard in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba. Cherry, roses, vanilla, raspberry, tar, earth, violets and spice are all in play in this powerful yet refined offering. Drink from 2018 to 2030.
92 PAOLO SCAVINO BAROLO RISERVA ROCCHE DELL’ANNUNZIATA 2007 ($130) Scavino’s top Barolo saw 10 months of French oak aging. There are loads of plum, prunes, vanilla, cherry, earth, floral, spice and cocoa flavours on the nose and palate. Full bodied with superb length, drink this beauty over the next 20 years.
90 PAOLO MANZONE BAROLO MERIAME 2009 ($50) Plum, cherry, vanilla, spice, cocoa, hazelnut, raisins, roses and earth are all in play in this modern-style Barolo. There is excellent length, and tannins to take it another 15 years.
90 MARCHESI DI BAROLO 2009 ($25) This is a surreal value Barolo and one that necessitates a multi-bottle purchase. Here you will find a medium bodied, elegant and fruit forward offering. Cherry, raspberry, violet, rose, cassis, pomegranate and spice are all in play. It will also age gracefully. As a side note, while visiting the winery this past summer, I had the chance to do a mini-vertical, heading back to 1961. All were still vibrant and incredibly youthful — a testament to the quality being produced here!
90 MICHELE CHIARLO BARBARESCO ASILI 2010 ($40) Michele Chiarlo is a true Piedmontese gentleman and this wine emulates his personality: elegant and refined. The garnet colour leads into plum, cherry, earth, cola, liquorice, spice and a slight note of V.A., which adds complexity. Based on the structure, I would drink it over the next 6 years.
89 CERETTO BARBARESCO ASIJ 2010 ($35) Frederico Ceretto is one of the most hospitable and all-around great guys of Piedmont. His 2010 Asij serves up a mélange of smoky tobacco, sweet cherry, plum, tar and earth. There is very good length and a firm finish. Drink over the next decade.
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Barbaresco produces approximately 35 per cent of the volume of Barolo and there are only 3 communes that come together to make the production area. Nieve is known for its power and tannins, Treiso for lightness and finesse, and Barbaresco itself for its perfume and structure. Aging rules for the basic wines is 26 months, and 50 months for Riserva, with at least nine in wood. Until the 1970s, Barbaresco played second fiddle to Barolo, but then, the man arrived: Angelo Gaja. Many consider him the catalyst that brought/dragged the region into the modern age. His use of green harvesting, new barriques, declassification in lesser vintages and the release of his three single-vineyard bottlings — Sorí San Lorenzo, Sorí Tildin and Costa Russi — brought worldwide notoriety to his beloved region.
ROBERTA-CERETTO LUCA CURRADO AT VIETTI
Of course, no piece about Barolo would be complete without mention of the famous villages that come together to make up the appellation. Of the 11, five are world-renowned: Barolo, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba and Castiglione Falleto. The first two tend to produce lighter styles (in Barolo terms) while the latter are recognized for their power. Also, location is everything. Vineyards are parcelled out based on their relative exposures to the sun — wines are often labelled with the name of a sorì (vineyard with southern exposure) or a bricco/bric (hilltop). Let these terms assist you when purchasing. Basic Barolo must age a minimum 38 months, 18 of which must be in wood. The Riserva specification mandates 62 months of aging and is largely produced in the strongest vintages, where the wines have the strength to withstand the long aging.
Even though it is only 10 km away from Barolo, Barbaresco tends to be softer (in Nebbiolo terms) and more approachable. It is the feminine style that stands in contrast to Barolo’s masculinity. This is achieved via a combination of lower altitude and a subtle maritime influence from the Tanaro River, which helps to ripen the grapes earlier, in turn producing tannins that melt quicker.
The least known of the trio is Roero. It is also the only wine that allows the inclusion of white grapes. Up to five per cent of Arneis, the local specialty, is optional. Located north of the Tanaro River and with the lowest altitude, the wines here are richer, darker and much more accessible at a younger age. Basic Roero ages a minimum of 20 months (32 months for Riserva) before bottling, of which six must be in barrel. Unfortunately, the government monopoly in Ontario hasn’t woken up to the quality being made here, and we, the consumers, are being left high and dry on the palate.
ASSESSING THE WINES
My overall favourites were the 2007 Barolo Riservas. The depth, complexity and longevity of these wines are certain. Second place went to the 2009 Roero Riservas; they showed lots of dark colour, sweet fruit and superb length, followed by the 2009 regular bottlings of Barolo. On the other end of the spectrum, the 2008 Barbaresco Riservas were a sorry lot. As for the 2010s, due to precocious weather during the growing season, there is a lot of variability, so choose carefully. •
AS AN IMPRESSIONABLE NEOPHYTE WEANED ON THE FLOWERY YET ODDLY EXPLICIT RAMBLINGS OF ONE ROBERT M. PARKER, THE WORDS ALWAYS LEAPED OUT AT ME: ACACIA BLOSSOMS, CANDIED ORANGES, BOTRYTIS, LYCHEE, ROSEWATER, VERBENA, QUININE, BERGAMOT, HERBAL TEA, METALLIC SHAVINGS, CARDAMOM, LOUISIANA STEAMED CRAWDADS (I’M NOT KIDDING, IT WAS A 1999 ZIND HUMBRECHT CLOS WINDSBUL GEWÜRZTRAMINER), SPICY ROSEWATER, SMOKY FENNEL, JELLIED APRICOT, ALMOND COOKIE DOUGH, CREAMED RASPBERRIES AND GRAVEL. YES, GRAVEL! AS THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WINE CRITIC,Parker has his way with words, those often seemingly bizarre descriptors that were exhaustively printed in his newsletter, The Wine Advocate, six times a year and collected and reprinted in his frequently updated Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide (the sixth edition alone fills up 1,635 pages of tiny-print reviews). I collected the newsletters, packed them neatly into three-ringed binders and spent great chunks of my young adult years chasing down his most prized wines either at Vintages stores in Ontario or during quick wine runs to Quebec’s SAQ stores in Montreal. At first, those crazy olfactory descriptors meant nothing to me. Quinine? Lychee? Verbena? Are you kidding me? Citrus and raspberries I understood, but bergamot? And steamed crawdads? I didn’t even want to go there. But I made it my business to smell what he smelled in the wines he gushed over and the perfect place to begin was in the bizarro world of the highly aromatic Gewürztraminer. Robert Parker had a deep love for this grape, especially when made in what seemed like to me the enig-
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matic region of Alsace in northeast France where all the wines were sold in tall Riesling-style bottles that few in the ‘80s or ‘90s would touch with a 10-foot pole. My routine was simple, but time-consuming: get my Wine Advocate, read the reviews and hunt down the wine. In Ontario that often meant waiting a year or two for the wines to even appear on LCBO shelves (some things never change). Once located I would deconstruct the wine from an aromatic point of view, write down my observations and later compare them to the Parker review. I was so far off the mark that I knew I had to educate myself with some practical experience. So, I bought lychees, I crushed rose petals, I squeezed grapefruit and brewed myriad aromatic teas that I had no idea existed (and I do not like tea). I raided the spice rack and nosed through the bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg and anything else Parker identified on a regular basis. And, when that wasn’t enough, I hunted down, or tried to hunt down, fennel pollen, truffle salt, urfa biber and sumac (and the like) just in case it wound up in someone’s weird wine review.
I forced myself to be an aromatic white wine sniffer man, and I prided myself on the fact that I could comfortably pick out the nuances in most of the Gewürz I dragged home. Once you nail down the complex world of Gewürz, the rest comes easy. Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier, Chardonnay Musqué, Muscat and, of course, Gewürztraminer are my go-to aromatic whites, the perfect year-round sippers that appeal to the broadest cross-section of wine lovers. Aromatic whites offer up the promise of excitement on the nose and more often than not deliver exactly what you smell on the palate. These pure fruit bombs are at their best, generally speaking, when made without oak influence, stirring of the lees, malolactic fermentation or any other trickery in the winery. The majority of aromatic whites are pure, fruit-driven and refreshing. And cool-climate wine making regions such as Canada, from coast to coast, just happen to be the perfect breeding ground for these nifty and fragrant white wines.
RAMBLING BY RICK VANSICKLE
SITTING UNDERan apple tree in what was once an orchard on the high end of the severely sloped Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley, JoieFarm’s Heidi Nobel speaks with passion and downright conviction about her aromatic portfolio of white wines. Nobel and her husband Michael Dinn, both professionally trained sommeliers, bought their five-acre Naramata property in 2002 and, in 2007, set about replanting the apple and pear orchards to the varieties they felt would grow best in Naramata (Gewürztraminer and Yellow Muscat).
JoieFarm is the epitome of aromatic white wines, a leader in the Okanagan and one of the best in Canada in achieving personable wines that stand head and shoulders above many of its peers. “We make what we like to drink,” says Nobel, and that means a style that mirrors, with an Okanagan twist, the great aromatic white wines of Alsace, Burgundy and Germany. Nobel is adamant that the wines are made in the vineyard with the goal of always trying to find that delicate balance between natural acidity and residual sugars as well as moderate alcohol levels.
RICHIE ROBERTS FROM FIELDING
The couple both spent time in Vancouver working for wine importation firms (Heidi is also a trained chef ) and were well-versed in what Vancouver restaurants wanted on their wine lists to pair with the prevailing West Coast cuisine, which included a boatload of seafood. Aromatic whites fit the bill perfectly and they endeavoured to build a portfolio that focused on filling what they determined was a hole in the marketplace. The couple works with 12 other grower families who farm 40 acres on their behalf to round out their interesting production including the proprietary white aromatic wine called A Nobel Blend, which consists of Gewürz, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois, Schoenberger and Muscat, as well as single variety bottlings of Riesling, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, and two Gewrüztraminers on the aromatic white side. (The winery also has an interesting, lighter style, red portfolio).
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harvesting based on a balanced approach to ripeness and pH levels are crucial). “It’s all about timing in the vineyard and making the right decisions,” says Nobel. Further south, in the hotter region of Oliver, Tinhorn Creek viticulturist/ vineyard manager Andrew Moon says the Okanagan Valley offers the perfect climate for aromatic white wines. Tinhorn, perhaps more famous for its Merlots and Cabernet Francs, also prides itself on its distinctive Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris program. “It’s an amazing place to grow grapes,” says Moon, who moved to British Columbia from Australia in 2009. It’s a dry climate with little or no devastating Downy mildew or other vineyard diseases that come with heat and humidity. It also has desirable heating and cooling, ranging from a high of 35˚C during the day to a low of 10˚C at night, during the summer that concentrates the sugars but doesn’t burn away the acids. Moon likes to pick his aromatic whites earlier than most wineries and chooses to harvest based on acidity (pH levels) rather than sugar levels, much like they do at JoieFarm. “We don’t care about sugar levels in our Gewürz,” Moon says. “We don’t want that goopiness, we want uplift, low alcohol and freshness.”
TINHORN’S ANDREW MOON
“Everyone likes juicy fruit,” she says, “but you need acidity.” Nobel, who is in charge of the winemaking team at JoieFarm, takes deliberate steps in the vineyard to make sure her wines arrive at the crush pad in pristine condition. The work is done in the vineyard to ensure fresh acidity is achieved (timing of the canopy — knowing when to the let the sun get at the grapes — and
Tinhorn’s Gewürz is particularly unique in that it maintains wonderful aromatics without being too flowery and musky and still has a fresh approach on the palate. The temptation with Gewürz is to let it hang in the vineyard to bring out the exaggerated aromatics of exotic spices, perfume and rose petals. But the price for that is often a flabby wine on the palate with little acid lift and nothing that leaves you wanting more.
ROBERTS PHOTO: RICK VANSICKLE
What better way to go local? HEIDI NOBEL AND MICHAEL DINN AT JOIEFARMS
For the Gris, Moon lets it hang in the vineyard “until the apple flavours disappear. We want tropical and melon flavours in our Gris, not apple.”
IN ONTARIO,where Chardonnay often gets top billing, Fielding Estate winemaker Richie Roberts has turned his portfolio into a white aromatic machine. The Beamsville Bench winery in the Niagara region has become one of Ontario’s top producers of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Viognier in several tiers. The main motivator for Roberts and proprietor Curtis Fielding was finding the right varieties to plant in their vineyards. That came by trial and error (and a lot of replanting) but they feel they have the right grapes in the right places, especially in the home vineyard that surrounds its lofty perch on the Beamsville Bench. It took a mission to Alsace, France, for Roberts to realize he was heading in the right direction with his aromatic whitewine dominant portfolio. Roberts has always had a lot of respect for the way the Alsatians go about their business creating aromatic white wines with substance and personality, and setting them apart from the rest of the world with the varieties they choose to champion (primarily Gewürz, Riesling and Pinot Gris). A trip there earlier this year showed him “that we are doing a lot of things right” in Niagara. While Roberts went to Alsace to learn more about Riesling, it was Pinot Gris, and
a long four-hour tasting and heartfelt chat with Alsace stalwart Pierre Trimbach, which left a lasting impression. Roberts makes what I consider to be the top Pinot Gris in Niagara, the single-vineyard Rock Pile, and it continues to evolve in the Alsace style with robust aromatics, wonderful texture, purity of fruit and is built to improve over time. Some of the tweaks Trimbach suggested were pushing the harvest further along for better extraction, and sulphur additions to help the wine age (or prevent oxidation) and develop in the bottle for longer periods of time to fully integrate the fruit and bring out those lovely tertiary aromas and flavours that can lift Pinot Gris to another plateau. Looking to up your aromatic game? Maybe you can find inspiration from Miles Raymond, the lead character in the 2004 movie Sideways. Miles: “Now, stick your nose in it. Don’t be shy, really get your nose in there. Mmm ... a little citrus ... maybe some strawberry ... [smacks lips] Miles: ... passion fruit... [puts hand up to ear] Miles: ... and, oh, there’s just like the faintest soupçon of like, asparagus and just a flutter of a, like, a nutty Edam cheese... Jack: Wow. Strawberries, yeah! Strawberries. Not the cheese ... Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jack! •
‘THE FOOL’ GAMAY NOUVEAU Perfect for Holiday Entertaining! For a short time at your local L.C.B.O.
15608 Niagara Parkway Niagara-on-the-Lake 905-468-WINE (9463) @reifwinery facebook.com/ReifEstateWinery
Collated and tasted by Tony Aspler, Gurvinder Bhatia, Tod Stewart, Harry Hertscheg, Rick VanSickle, Evan Saviolidis, Michael Pinkus, Sean Wood, Ron Liteplo, Gilles Bois and Jonathan Smithe.
maVS Robert Mondavi To Kalon 2009, OAKVILLE, NAPA VALLEY, UNITED STATES ($250)
This is the epitome of the To Kalon vineyard, the benchmark, and a pure expression of single-vineyard Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from two To Kalon blocks planted in the 1970s. It is complex and just about as elegant as a Napa Cab can be with aromas of wild berries, crĂ¨me de cassis, blackcurrants, bay leaves, black liquorice, garden herbs, loam and cocoa. It is full and broad on the palate as the fruit builds in intensity and the elegant oak stylings and array of yummy spices chime in. It is a stunning wine with assertive tannins and verve through the finish. Nicely integrated now but will develop further for years to come. (RV)
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The HRB (Heritage Reserve Bin) premium series from Hardys represents the art of blending different terroirs, in this case Chard from Pemberton and Adelaide Hills. It is a remarkable wine with a nose that shows citrus and summer peach with subtle toasted vanilla, brioche and light spice notes. It is purely elegant on the palate with lemoncitrus-peach flavours, a racy vein of acidity, deft oak spice, and length through the finish. Serve with lobster or chicken with tarragon and sweet potato. (RV)
JoieFarm “En Famille” Reserve Gewürztraminer 2011, Okanagan ($28)
Look out for their second-vintage Naramata Bench estate Gewürz. Intriguing lychee and orchard fruit skin scents snag your attention. Exotic flavours command it: orange blossom, rosewater and Turkish delight. The moderate-yet-lively acidity and medium-dry sweetness balances the Alsatian Grand Cru–like rich, unctuous texture. Long, intense rose-petal finish. Pairs brilliantly with rich pâtés and cheeses. (HH)
STELTZNER CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE 2005, STAG’S LEAP ($71) Opaque plum-red. Nose of blackcurrant, lanolin, liquorice and tea. Medium-bodied, tastes of cassis and strawberry jam with a few drops of bright acidity. In the glass, opens up to chocolate and coffee scents and raisin pie flavours. Tannins are still harsh; this needs more time but will be great. (RL)*
Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, South Australia ($27)
What an exciting nose of blackberry, cassis, raspberry jam, earth and nutmeg-cinnamon spice. It’s broad and flavourful in the mouth with plum, vanilla, jammy red fruits and currants, and all built on a sturdy frame of ripe tannins and good acidity. Lots of stuffing in this beauty red to age and improve for 5 to 7 years. (RV)
MAVS with GASPEREAU VALLEY, NOVA SCOTIA, CERTIFIED ORGANIC ($20)
Nose reveals subtle influence of lees contact, with floral and green-apple notes. Refined green-apple flavours show amplitude and depth, deftly balanced with clean, crisp acidity and attractive creamy texture. (SW)
JACKSON-TRIGGS NIAGARA ESTATE GRAND RESERVE WHITE MERITAGE 2012, NIAGARA ($25)
This combination of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon has seen a light oak treatment. This has conjured up a complex mix of grapefruit, white peach, tomato vine, pineapple, passion fruit, vanilla and smoke on the nose. The palate adds nuances of pear, apple and spice. It is fullbodied, with bright acid and excellent length rounding out the experience. (ES)
Creemore Springs Brewery Traditional Pilsener, Ontario ($3.29/473 ml)
This Ontario brew offers a malty, slightly sour aroma with a whiff of hops and a flavourful combination of lightly sweet fruity malt, contrasting zesty dry hoppy bitterness and smooth texture in the mouth. Shows authentic hoppy bitter Pilsener character missing from many popular Euro-Lagers. (SW)
CANADA ($4.99/500 ML) Though described on the label as a Red Ale, it is more gold/amber in the glass, showing lively floral, fruity and fresh malty aromas. Robust full-bodied dry malt kicks in on the palate with a bitter hoppy finish. Hearty, characterful brew. Calls for a poutine. (SW)
ired An impressive Bordeaux blend with power and complexity from aging 18 months in French oak barriques. Complex, generously developed dark fruit is skillfully interlaced with notes of spice and fine oak. The entirety is encased in solid, but not forbidding, tannic structure displaying firm grip and intensity with a pleasing sensation of wine-soaked wood on the finish. (SW)
DEANGELIS ANGHELOS ROSSO 2008, MARCHE IGT ($37)
This Sangiovese/Merlot/Cab-Sauv blend bridges irresistible old-world character with impressive modern polish. Arresting aromas of cedar, dark fruit and lifted balsamic notes. The velvety palate reveals layers of rich cassis, gamey meat and earthy spice, with lingering leather and mineral. Excellent with lamb stew. (HH)
GLENMORANGIE THE NECTAR D’OR HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT, Delicate and easy-drinking, with honey, ginger, citrus and almonds; lovely texture, finishing long with vanilla, spice and citrus. Enough character for the seasoned scotch drinker, but approachable enough for the novice. (GB)
Torres 10 Gran Reserva Imperial Brandy, Penedès ($30)
Light brown to amber. Expressive, nutty nose of dried fruits (raisins, fig), light tobacco and a buttery note. Very smooth, intense and dry, the dark caramel taste lingers on the lengthy finish. A fine brandy made from indigenous grapes Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel.lo, usually found in sparkling cavas. (GBQc)
CÙL NA CREAGAN 8 YEAR OLD SCOTCH WHISKY ($38.17)
Pale brownish brass colour. Interesting nose of smoky peat with pineapple, apple and citrus notes. Luscious in the mouth, full-bodied, sweet with flavours of ripe apples and slightly hot alcohol. (RL)*
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NIAGARA ($99) The Icon 2010 red is a bold blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon that saw 22 months in new oak. This is one heck of a wine. It’s dark and thick in the glass with highly extracted black cherry, blackcurrants, roasted espresso bean, vanilla toast, mocha and an array of thrilling spices swirling around on the nose. It’s big, bold and brash, but not clunky, on the palate and built for the cellar with black fruits, lifted spices, cocoa, vanilla, black liquorice, campfire smoke, persistence through the finish and grippy tannins. Needs time for the moving parts to all come together. (RV)
WOrld VIGNOBLES JEANJEAN RHÔNE ($24) DEVOIS DES AGNEAUX This blend of Grenache and D’AUMELAS 2010, COTEAUX-DU-LANGUEDOC, Syrah is attractive for its
blueberry and plum nose that brings in Christmas cake, mocha, cinnamon and Pale yellow with a light grey liquorice. It’s bright and fresh tint. Complex nose of citrus, on the palate with currants, hints of tropical fruits and roasted coffee bean, black honey; discreet oak. Soft attack, ripe flavour; oak brings liquorice, anise and bits of extra fattiness without tasting earth, fennel seed, roasted herbs and cedar notes that as oak. Nice round finish. are persistent through the Ready to drink. (GBQc) finish. Yum! (RV) LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON ($21.25)
VEGA SICILIA VALBUENA 2006, RIBERA DEL DUERO DO ($147.99)
Many prefer little-brother Valbuena to Vega Sicilia’s flagship, Unico, which needs ages to mature. This one can be excellent after a mere decade; it needs another 3 to 5 years to start peaking. It already shows an amazingly complex, distinctive bouquet, fine dark fruit, a panoply of fine spices and background oak. With more time the stern tannic grip will relent enough to release the underlying generosity of this impressive wine. (SW)
CASTILLO DE MONTBLANC BRUT CAVA RESERVA NV ($14.33)
Medium lemon yellow with tiny bubbles. The nose is of yeast, lemon, almond custard and even a hint of mango. Slightly sweet, it tastes of almonds and apple strudel with refreshing acidity and lots of fizz. (RL)*
What a delightful little Italian sparkler made from Pinot Nero and Raboso. Some of the proceeds from this wine went to help fight breast cancer. The nose shows fresh apple, raspberry and cherry notes with a touch of citrus zest. It has a persistent froth on the palate with fruits of raspberry and currants and a nice sweet and spicy note on the finish. Serve as an apéritif or with light fish dishes. (RV)
Henry of Pelham Cuvée Catherine Rosé NV, Henry has taken this wine to a new level. The new label colour scheme really pops, and for my taste, this is the best rendition of this bubbly to date. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay spent 30 months on the lees, creating a bouquet of biscuits, yeast, raspberry, cherry and green apple. The finish is long and crisp. Sashimi was made for this wine. (ES)
THE MACALLAN 1824 SERIES "SIENNA" 40% ABV ($100) CHÂTEAU VIRAMON One of four new Macallan 2006, ST-ÉMILION expressions that make up the GRAND CRU ($24)
1824 Series (the others being, Gold, Amber, and Ruby) named after the colour (derived through aging in specific casks) rather than the age of the spirit. Complex sultana, marmalade, malt, toffee, pear and caramel aromas lead to flavours of candied orange, hard toffee, fruitcake and chocolate. Try with a piece of vanilla-infused white chocolate. (TS)
Classic right-bank Merlot/Cab Franc blend. Opaque garnet. Medium-strength aromas of stewed fruits, cedar and vanilla. In the mouth the flavours are black cherry accented with herbal notes. Still-rough tannins will soften a bit given another year or two. (RL)*
Boekenhoutskloof The Wolftrap Syrah/ Mourvèdre/Viognier 2011, The blend of these Rhône grapes produces a deep ruby-coloured wine with a nose of blackberries and black olives. The full-bodied savoury taste of blackberries with an iodine note fills the mouth. (TA)
CHAMPAGNE ($48) Vintage bubbly from a good year. Medium-deep gold with plenty of bubbles. The nose is powerful even when this is served in a flute, exhibiting pears and light molasses, even a hint of tomato. On the palate it presents rich stewed apple flavours, with grapefruit overtones and a cloak of yeast. Ready to drink now, even if you are English. (RL)*
BLOMIDON ESTATE CRÉMANT METHODE TRADITIONELLE 2011, NOVA SCOTIA ($24.99)
This Estate-grown, bottlefermented sparkler offers classic Nova Scotia aromatic fresh fruit, lively acidity and firm minerality. Ripe apple, pear and apricot flavours are accented with a touch of residual sweetness. (SW)
Quadruple copper pot distilled at a London distillery with over 250 years of tradition, this gin is not only infused with the usual botanical suspects (we’re lookin’ at you, juniper), but others much more rarely seen (Dragon Eye, anyone? Lotus leaves?). Balanced, clean, and zesty with hints of spice and citrus, it is nevertheless relatively light in body and seems to show best when used as a cocktail base rather than the main player in a classic martini. (TS)
SILENI THE TRIANGLE MERLOT 2010, Nice structure with some good complexity, not your juicy American style, would be a great food wine, especially with meat. (MP) • quench.me
TRIP ON A RECENT WHIRLWINDtour of Burgundy it occurred to me that there are few people elsewhere in the world who like to drink, eat and talk wine quite as much as the Burgundians. Wine, food and culture are so inextricably intertwined there that it took weeks to fully digest my trip. Beyond the wines, what stayed with me was the remarkable array of experiences I enjoyed, from the moment I stepped off the train. (Yes, you can take the TGV right to Macon.) Just as there’s never any shortage of good wines to taste, hospitality in Burgundy takes many forms. Whether you want to hang out with the winemaker in a 17th century cellar or match glasses plate by plate in a Michelin one star, the celebrated region has it all — and occasionally it pays to head off the beaten track. A few minutes from Macon, the village of Fuissé is best known for its association with Pouilly Fuissé. In the heart of this sleepy little hamlet, La Source des Fées is a carefully restored, 16th century manor, now serving as a welcoming, laid-back auberge. The name means “the fairies’ spring” — a nod to the lilystrewn brook that runs right through the village, next door to the home.
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La Source des Fées is run by winemaker Philippe Greffet and Thierry Nouvel. Well situated for the Maconnais yet also within spitting distance of Beaujolais to the south and La Côte Chalonnaise to the north, it makes for a relaxing and refreshingly rural base, with added pampering from a qualified masseuse and beauty therapist. The spacious rooms and suites retain a sense of polished rusticity but the bathrooms are modern and the informal service amicably attentive. You can also book a tasting with Philippe to work through the family’s well made St. Véran, Pouilly Fuissé and Macon Rouge, grown on four-and-a-half hectares. All too often overshadowed by its more glamorous regions to the north, the region still has plenty to offer. Among the more interesting domaines close by, La Soufrandiere, in Vinzelles, is the revitalized family estate of the Bret brothers, Jean-Guillaume, Jean-Philippe and Marc-Antoine. In 1998, the elder brothers purchased their grandparents’ estate (founded 1947) and withdrew from the local cooperative. In recent years the estate has grown to encompass a total of one-point-six hectares and the range includes the flagship, layered and complex Clos de Grand-Père. The southeast-facing
FETIME PHOTOS AND TEXT BY TIM PAWSEY vineyards on clay and limestone are worked by hand to avoid compressing the soil. The wines show excellent balance, with a distinct mineral streak and powerful fruit expressions. The best way to discover wineries off the more trodden path is to engage a professional guide. Youri Lebault, who runs Bourgogne Gold Tour, chauffeurs guests on custom itineraries in his S Class Mercedes.
AS WE DRIVEthrough the maze of climats, crus and villages, Youri stops occasionally and beckons me out of the car as he grabs detailed maps from the trunk. He spreads them on the hood and explains exactly where we are, pointing out the more celebrated domaines. Much more than a driver, Youri used to work for Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) and returned to university to complete his wine studies. Today he’s a Chevalier du Tastevin, a recognised ambassador for the region. As a fully-fledged “Chevalier,” he’s well acquainted with Château du Clos de Vougeot. An impressive testament to the breadth and depth of Burgundian food and wine culture, it’s also the worldwide headquarters of Le Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. While no longer a producing château, the 16th century structure built onto a 12th century estate founded by monks dominates the surrounding landscape. Below its distinctive steep roofs, off a cloistered courtyard, enormous oak presses from the original vat house date from the 12th century or earlier, while a well-equipped kitchen caters special dinners for hundreds of members from around the world in an ornate, quite baronial dining room. Before an impromptu vertical of Château Pommard Grand Vin, when I mention to Lebault I’m interested in seeing some smaller producers, and maybe tasting some crémant, he immediately gets busy on his phone. Soon, we pull into a quaint court-
yard in the heart of Rully to taste the well made (and in Canada underappreciated) sparkling wines of Louis Picamelot. In 1926, founder Louis Picamelot was visionary in his quest to forge a path beyond traditional Burgundian “mousseux” and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for putting today’s modern styled sparkling wines on the map. Rully enjoys ideal limestone and clay soils and Picamelot produces a full lineup of impressive méthode traditionelle crémants. New world style wine touring is a relatively new idea in Burgundy but few have embraced it with more fervour (and success) than Olivier Laflaive, who with his brother Patrick owns the highly regarded Domaine LeFlaive and also runs a bustling restaurant and luxury boutique hotel, right on the tree-lined square in picturesque Puligny-Montrachet. Olivier and Patrick greet everyone in the square and each brother takes a group according to French or English preference. After a short walk through the village and some background, when we tour the winery it soon becomes apparent that Olivier is a born entertainer. His explanation of what happens at each stage of production is laced with wicked humour and good-natured bantering with his guests. Later, over lunch, in between greeting visitors from around the world, he guides me in an informal tasting through one of three flights on offer every day.
LA SOURCES DES FEÉS WINEMAKER PHILIPPE GREFFET
Each is tailored to suit a different level of interest or experience (“Initiation,” “Découverte” and “Prestige”) and paired with a superb menu. The ten-taste Prestige (45 €) spans a range that yields four Domaine Olivier Leflaive premiers crus, including the floral, intensely mineral Puligny Montrachet Champ Grain 2008 and the complex, stone fruit, citrus and mineral streaked Corton Charlemagne 2009. Not all touring experiences are as worldly. However, equally appealing, close to Nuits St Georges, at Chambres d’Hotes and Caveau Saint Nicholas, Françoise and Richard Beaumont-Simon offer spotless, self-catering suites for rent. The “Clos Saint Denis,” located right beside the vineyard, boasts a private terrace, as well as its own kitchen, dining area and more. It’s also just a few steps from the cellar, tucked away below the house, where Françoise is happy to conduct informal tastings and talk about generations of winemaking in the family. Of note: the full fruited, easy tannin, well balanced, cassis toned Morey-St-Denis Premier Cru 2008; and the structured, mineral toned Clos St-Denis Grand Cru 2008. Here’s a slice of Old Burgundy, literally. Françoise likes to show her collection of “vintage” tools of the trade: a pair of wooden clogs (she still wears some) and a handy, very sharp pruning knife (critical) are among the many artifacts that hang on the walls of the ancient, 17th century stone cellar.
ALMOST IN THE CENTREof the region, Beaune is at the very heart of Burgundy. Walk down its narrow streets and it’s impossible not to be charmed by this 14th century walled town that’s not only well preserved but full of life. It pays to go early in the day to the historic (and substantial) Hospices de Beaune, the city’s most visited attraction and moving testament to Middle Ages philanthropy on a grand scale. In addition to its more celebrated “Salle des Pôvres” (Hall of the Poor) lined with almost festive looking red beds, you can check out an intriguing array of herbal infusions deemed medicinally beneficial, and produced in the in-house 17th century still.
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Ultimately, however, as elsewhere in Burgundy, Beaune equates to food. For lunch, I wander downstairs off Rue Ziem to discover below Le Conty, La Cave du Paradoxe, a 16th century cellar filled with appreciative diners — and lined with racks of bottles. The setting is laid-back but the kitchen serious, with traditional Burgundian fare taken to the next level by a measured serving of creativity. Paired with a flight of wines, extraordinarily good marbe is a seductive combination of asparagus, foie gras and Bresse chicken. Not to mention scallops with rich truffle cream risotto. The week’s highlight, Dominique Loiseau’s Loiseau des Vignes is a comfortable, contemporary room just inside the ramparts, wrapped in tall timbers and the warm, chalky stone of the historic surroundings. As I embark on a superlative tasting menu, the mood at the Michelin one star is upbeat and elegant. As well, I can’t help but note a reassuring, complete absence of cell phones.
One of the region’s most extensive by the glass, Enomatic dispensed wine program excels, with over 60 wines on rotation, changing every 48 hours. The superbly executed plates are classically grounded but smartly modern, in the hands of chef Mourad Haddouche. Langoustines on crisp beignets, and perfectly seared pigeon breast with fresh spring pea purée are among the highlights. However, it’s the dégustation de fromage that almost steals the show: a mind-blowing, trolley born seduction of some 30 cheeses, from ash wrapped Aisy Cendré to extra old Mimolette. Not to mention six perfectly creamy and gently runny Époisses, as well as a Chablis-washed rind. I succumb to at least a quartet. Anything less seems impolite. Of that I am certain. After all, this is Burgundy ... •
IT HAD BEEN A LONG — IF NOT PARTICULARLY HOT — FALL EVENING AMONG THE RESTAURANTS AND BARS OF SAN SEBASTIÁN, POUNDING BACK PINTXOS AND CHUGGING TXAKOLI. NOW, BACK AT THE BAR SWING OF THE LUXURIOUS HOTEL DE LONDRES Y DE INGLATERRA, I INSTRUCTED THE BARKEEP TO HIT ME WITH A BLAST OF “THE DUKE.”
BY TOD STEWART
ACTUALLY, THATshould be“the Duque,” as in Gran Duque d’Alba, the exceptional brandy produced by the sherry house of Williams and Humbert. A large, warmed crystal snifter was proffered; a generous measure dispensed. I accepted the vessel, grateful that in Spain, a “shot” always turns out to be much more than the stingy glass coating squirt we are used to in Canada. The bouquet, much like Spain itself, was sensual, inviting, relaxing. Warm leather, sultana, sweet pipe tobacco, marmalade and spice scents danced from the glass before the warm, barely sweet, caramel and raisin flavours slinked across the palate and warmed me to the core. It was the imbibing equivalent of sinking back into a plush, oversized, worn leather armchair beside a crackling fire. And it took the edge off everything. Truth be told, the snort from the snifter became a much-anticipated nightly ritual during my brief sojourn through northern Spain. And I had experienced plenty of other brandies before settling on “the Duque” as the one for me. Lepanto, Carlos 1, Cardenal Mendoza and Torres 20 “Hors d’Age” had all been sipped and savoured. But all good things, as we all know, must end. And so did my stay in Spain, and, sadly, my nightly ritual. “The Duque” was not to be found back home. An email sent to the agency representing it went unanswered (perhaps not received, just to be fair). There were a few lonely flasks of Lepanto here and there, but outside of that, only two brands were readily available. When it came to Spain’s majestic spirit, no one, frankly, seemed to give a damn. In the opera of fine brandies, the usual principals — Cognac and Armagnac — occupy centre stage. Calvados may make an appearance, as might higher-end grappas. More exotic players like Metaxa and marc could be in the wings. But banished to the role of understudy, Spanish brandy is rarely part of the act. Which is a real shame in that she can sing every bit as well as the rest of the company. In fact, the flavour profile of most Spanish brandies should cover practically everyone’s taste. It’s complex enough to hold the attention of the connoisseur, yet its soft, round, mildly sweet character ought to be immediately accessible to the neophyte. So why isn’t it getting the attention (and distribution) it deserves? “Within the spirit categories there are very large-volume products such as whisky and vodka. These are usually produced by equally large companies with substantial marketing and advertising budgets that, in turn, make these categories and brands top of mind among consumers,” reports Matías Llobet, the distilling wizard responsible for the Torres range of brandies. He concludes, not surprisingly, that more investment is needed in promotion and education to increase consumer awareness. (Note to Llobet: Doing what I can!) The famous Bodegas Torres, located in the Penedes region of Spain, near Barcelona, is the country’s largest winery, with interests not only throughout Spain, but also in Chile and the United States. Due to its geographic location, Torres produces brandy that’s a bit different than the bulk of that produced in Spain. This Brandy de Cataluña is not only distilled (in the case of Torres topend products) from a wine made from grapes of French origin (namely the Cognac region’s Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche; na-
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tive grapes such as Parellada and Macabeo are used for the base wine destined for younger expressions), it is also aged in French Limousin oak barrels in a method similar to the more often seen brandies distilled in the southwest. Due to the grapes used, the climate of the region, and the wood used for aging, brandies from Cataluña tend to have a drier overall flavour profile than their counterparts distilled in the sherry region. Legally classified under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of Brandy de Jerez, brandies from sherry country account for some 95 per cent of all those crafted in Spain. Not only is the production of this brandy confined to a specific region, it must also follow a stringent production and aging regime. And it’s the aging of Brandy de Jerez, in particular, that is largely responsible for its unique character. Having been first distilled from wine made from (typically) the Airen grape, the wine spirit is then aged in American oak barrels that had previously stored any type of sherry (e.g., oloroso, amontillado, etc.) for at least three years (the sherry, not the brandy). Since these barrels (or butts, as they are called) have been impregnated with wines of varying character and sweetness, the flavour impact they will have on the spirit will vary. Spirit soaking in a butt that once held syrupy Pedro Ximenez will come off tasting noticeably sweeter and richer than the same spirit aged in a butt used for maturing bone-dry Manzanilla. “The barrel aging is longer than most brandies therefore the sweet tannins from the barrels are more evident in those from Jerez,” adds Marian Stillo, Senior Brand Manager for PMA Cana-
da, the agency representing Duff Gordon, a Brandy de Jerez that has been in the Ontario market for a good 25 years (I used to drink the stuff in university). Further, these brandies are then “dynamically” aged in a criadera/solera system. This is where things get interesting … and maybe a bit confusing. Fans of sherry will know all about criadera/solera aging. The condensed version is that young wine is blended with older wine, which is blended with even older wine, which, in turn, is bottled. This obviously speeds maturation and maintains a certain consistency in the final product. The same system is employed in the aging of Brandy de Jerez. So far, so understandable. Where it got a bit weird (at least for me) is when I saw “Brandy de Jerez Solera Gran Reserva 10 Year Old.” Um, really? If you were blending 10-year-old spirit with 20-year-old and calling it 15-year-old (as just an average), I’d get it, even with my rudimentary grasp of math. But when you are constantly blending a variety of ages together, how do you determine an average?
TORRES 5 SOLERA RESERVA (40% ABV, $25.95)
A nose of fruitcake, toasted nuts, molasses, and baking spices leads to a warm, mildly spicy palate featuring toffee, candied orange, and some earthy/leathery notes. Warm and lingering on the finish.
DUFF GORDON SOLERA RESERVA (40% ABV, $24.45)
A classic Brandy de Jerez. Gently smoky aroma with hints of orange rind, sultana, polished wood, and nutmeg. Smooth and round, with hints of carmel, raisin pie, stewed citrus fruit, and a dash of vanilla. Silky with just a hint of sweetness on the palate from sherry cask ageing.
I decided it was necessary to seek expert clarification, and to pour myself a suitably large amount of Duff. A dispatch from the Office of the Consejo Regulador del Brandy de Jerez read thusly: “The minimum aging established for each category — solera, six months, solera reserve, one year, and solera gran reserva, three years, with the usual age for commercial brands being one, two, and eight years — refer to average aging times. In other words, the blending coming from the solera system ensures this average minimum aging. The calculation we do in the Consejo has to do with the rotation of stocks. I’ll give an example: if a brandy solera system has 100 casks distributed in different criaderas with varying degrees of age, and we annually remove/ bottle from the solera (the last stage of the system) a quantity of brandy for bottling equivalent to 20 casks, this means that the bottled brandy has an average age of five years (100/20).” Everybody get that? Good. Moving on. In any case, one can at least take heart in the fact that the rather strict requirements placed on the production and maturation of Brandy de Jerez ensures a level of quality that can be missing from other brandies. “Many brandies have no rules and regulations as to what they can put on the labels,” Stillo points out, “so many brandies carry the terms VS, VSOP, or even XO, all of which stand for nothing but dupe the consumer into believing they are a better products. Brandies from Jerez have strict rules to abide by and this is why the quality is much higher for the price.” In any case, no point in letting the complexity of the aging system or the regulations stop you from enjoying the complexity of the end product. Be it the rich, plush, seductive Brandy de Jerez, or the slightly more austere but equally complex Brandy de Cataluña, the brandies of Spain offer exceptional quality and incredible value. And while they may not currently be as popular in Canada as they deserve to be, those looking for perhaps something new to warm their bones as the fall sets in might consider getting some of this Spanish heat into their blood. •
BY DUNCAN HOLMES
I’M SERIOUSLY DATING MYSELF, BUT I FIGURE THAT STREET FOOD FIRST HAPPENED WHEN WILMA FLINTSTONE WAS LONG ON A FLOCK OF PLUMP, BEAUTIFULLY PREPPED PTERODACTYLS. Sensing opportunity, she turned to husband Fred and said, “Honey, why don’t we load up the foot-mobile, ask the Rubbles to join us, and we’ll roll out onto the high street and make ourselves a few pebbles from the sale of our excess birds? We’ll cook them onboard, and sell them in portions to the hungry hordes?” Fred smiled, said, “Yabba dabba doo!” and away they went. We now know that Wilma’s venture worked like a hot damn. She fired up the onboard grill, complete strangers caught an enticing whiff of her cooking, bellied up smiling to the counter, paid their pebbles, accepted their portions, found a spot to eat, and said, “Man, this street dining is sooo cool!” Fast forward to today, when in cities across this land and around the world, Wilma’s idea is evolv-
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ing at high speed into a giant, street-food picnic. In brightly decorated, creatively designed food trucks, emblazoned with delightfully creative names, enthusiastic proprietors are pumping out tastes that have turned city-core lunch breaks into adventures of satisfying gastronomic and social delight. Downtown office workers are asking why they need to get locked into brown bags, eating at name brand food courts or waiting to be served at restaurants when they can grab and go from a food truck? Why not go for a Kurobuta Terimayo Japadog; for Fresh Local Wild West Coast Chowder Poutine; a red perch and albacore tuna taco; a pan-fried noodle bowl from Korean Mama; Asian food of all kinds from the Roaming Dragon; Indian vitals from Vij’s Railway Express, and a slug of watermelon lemonade from Feastro? It’s just too good! Other Canadian cities have favourite food trucks as this cultural explosion bubbles along. Good on them. But my own research, being a West Coaster, has been restricted to Vancouver—third in the street food ‘like’ game after Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas. Out here on the coast, since 2010, upwards of a hundred food trucks have earned the juried right to alternate in downtown corners, at the edges of plazas, or up against sidewalks to ply their tempting, midday trade.
Potential customers for these mobile feeding machines are guided by up-to-the-minute web info, food truck apps like streetfoodapp.com and all of the other social media that keeps info flowing these days. In a fresh-and-local-is-best city, the food truck thing has bred all kinds of ancillary activity. Restaurants have begat trucks, and trucks restaurants. Restaurants juxtaposed with these nodules of nosh don’t seem to mind that trucks are pumping out lunches right in their neighbourhoods. It all seems to depend on what food mood hits. One day it’s sit inside and be served. Another, it’s lean against a wall, or sit on a skyscraper’s step, to eat from a Styrofoam container and watch the passing parade. Food and fun are the catalysts that bring on tasting tours for tourists, attract the movie celebs who may be in town for a shoot, finicky lawyers who ask for extra napkins — and the rest of us who simply want some great, fast food in a whole new way. Having guest-cheffed on the Rocky Mountaineer as we growled on the rails across Canada’s snow-covered spine, I know a bit about the challenges of conjuring up food magic in a very small, rail-rocked kitchen. But even if they don’t rock and roll, small is also what the food truck kitchens are about. But that doesn’t stop the clever operators. While some rely on more generous commissaries to supply the day’s favourites, most truck operators scratch-cook, putting it all together on and in propane-fired stoves, steamers and fryers — serving it up through their big “store” windows. Seating for customers is either very limited — a deuce is a luxury — or non-existent. Orders come up fast, even if line-ups sometimes mean there will be a wait. But the mood is jolly, and the way things work is easily understood by a hooked-on-food-trucks public. The success secret with food truck fare is to be different, be generous, price it right, invent some kind of edge — “a quirky left hook” — to make you stand out in the crowded city and food environment. Who would ever think that a hot dog could be crafted into a Japanese-style main meal? And how about a deep-fried, sugared, ice-cream-filled hot dog bun for dessert? Japadog did, and it’s a hit. Or that West Coast chowder poutine? Freshcut fries, topped with a thick béchamel-type sauce loaded with mussels, clams, steelhead, cod and bacon; or a chicken-fried oyster sandwich with julienned romaine and a slathering of truck-made tartar sauce? Fresh Local Wild did, and the critics and common folk sucked it up. In Vancouver, the program is in its fourth year, and the trucks are now as much a part of the cityscape as the rain. So what does happen when it rains? As clever Tina Fineza, the menu designer at Roaming Dragon, says, “Wear a raincoat. This is Vancouver.”
This is another favourite at Josh Wolfe’s Fresh Local Wild truck in Vancouver, and has been featured on the Food Network. If you like your oysters cooked, have yourself a sandwich! Cook’s Note: You can shuck your own oysters or ask your fishmonger for preshucked oyster meat. The bigger the better!!
1 cup real mayonnaise 2 heaping tbsp finely diced salty gherkins 1 tightly packed tablespoon
finely chopped capers Zest of 1 lemon Juice of ½ lemon
fried oyster sandwich:
1 cup buttermilk 1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce (more if you’re feeling feisty!) 12 jumbo oysters, shucked (8 if they are huge beach oysters) Vegetable oil, for frying
2 cups all-purpose flour, for dredging 4 sesame seed hamburger buns Pinch kosher salt 6 heaping tbsp tartar sauce 2 cups finely sliced (chiffonade) romaine lettuce
For the tartar sauce:
1. Combine the mayonnaise, gherkins, capers, lemon zest and lemon
juice and mix well. Refrigerate until needed. The sauce is best when made the day before use.
For the fried oyster sandwich:
gently press them down to make sure they are completely coated. chili sauce and mix well. Soak 5. Remove from the flour, shaking off the excess, and place them in the the shucked oysters in the fryer. Cook until nicely browned, mixture and refrigerate, just past golden (think of your overnight if you can. favourite fried chicken). 2. Preheat the vegetable oil to 350˚F. 6. While the oysters are cooking, toast the insides of the buns and set 3. Pour the flour onto a plate. aside. Transfer the oysters to a paper Gently remove the oysters one by towel lined plate to drain, and one from the buttermilk, being season with the salt. careful not to tear them, and lay them quickly in the flour. The excess 7. Spread the tartar sauce on both buttermilk will help for the delicious sides of the buns. Place the oysters crunchy bits so don’t worry about on the bottom half then top with the making a mess. shredded romaine. Close them up, roll up your sleeves, crack your 4. Cover the oysters completely favourite brew and dig in! with flour, using clean hands, and
1. Combine the buttermilk and
Poutine, with or without its Quebec-originated cheese curds, is showing up all over the place these days, including Chef Josh Wolfe’s Fresh Local Wild food truck in Vancouver. I shared his poutine with a friend as we sat this summer, each with a fork, on the steps of a Vancouver office building to eat lunch. His truck-made fries were smothered in a thick sauce loaded with mussels, clams, steelhead, cod and bacon. Working flat-out in his small kitchen, and in the middle of opening a second restaurant, it was impossible to pin Chef Josh down for a home recipe, so I purloined this large-quantity recipe that he had supplied to the Food Network. The Food Network Kitchen chefs say they have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated, and couldn’t make any representation as to the results. Nor can I — even if I know that made in smaller quantities, the recipe will be forgiving. Or make this one and have yourself a holiday poutine party!
Stock: 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 tsp white peppercorns 4 cloves garlic, sliced 4 shallots or 1 small onion, sliced 1 tbsp butter 2 lb fresh clams 1 ½ cups dry white wine (chef uses Sauvignon Blanc) 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more if desired 3 bay leaves 2 lb fresh mussels
1 lb smoked bacon, cut into ½-inch lardons 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 shallots, finely diced ½ cup white wine ½ cup all-purpose flour 4 cups cold whole milk 1 cup carrots, diced into ⅓-inch pieces 1 cup celery, diced into ⅓-inch pieces 1 cup fennel, diced into ⅓-inch pieces 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley Finely sliced chives or green onions, for garnish
44 // November 2013
For the stock:
1. Sweat the coriander, fennel seeds, peppercorns, garlic and
shallots in the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot (this will help control the heat so you don’t burn the ingredients). When the shallots are translucent, add the clams, white wine, thyme and bay leaves. Cover the pot to steam the clams, and as they begin to open, add the mussels. Simmer gently, covered, to open the mussels and remaining clams, about 3 minutes. 2. When all the shells are open, strain off the liquid and reserve, setting aside the shellfish to cool slightly until you can handle them. Shuck the meat out of all the shells, refrigerate and reserve for the sauce. Discard the vegetables and herbs.
For the sauce:
1. Cook the bacon in the same pot over medium heat to
render the fat. This will help to make the roux later. When the bacon begins to brown, add 3 tbsp of the butter, the garlic and shallots. Continue to sweat over medium heat until the shallots are translucent. Add the white wine and reduce until it’s almost dry (au sec). Add the reserved shellfish stock and reduce by half. Remove from the heat and set aside on the stove. 2. Melt the remaining 1 stick butter in a separate small pot or deep sauté pan to its bubbling point and stir in the flour very well with a wooden spoon, incorporating it while removing clumps. Cook 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat while stirring regularly. Add the roux to the bacon pan, and replace over medium heat. Add the cold milk to the hot roux while stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. You will have to monitor it carefully and stir frequently so the flour doesn’t stick to the bottom (if it does, don’t panic! You can remove the sauce, clean the bottom of the pot and put it back in ... phew!) Simmer 10 minutes, then add the carrots, celery and fennel, and continue cooking until the raw flour taste has been cooked out and the vegetables are tender (they will add texture to the finished chowder), 10 minutes longer. 3. Add the reserved mussels and clams. Chef uses trim from the other fish he cooks every day. Simmer 1 minute to heat through and add the parsley. Season with salt and serve immediately. (The chowder can be cooled and stored for several days before use; add in the reserved mussels and clams right before using.)
One of the first food trucks on the Vancouver scene was the Roaming Dragon (roamingdragon.com), which “brings authentically unauthentic pan-Asian deliciousness to Vancouver.” Chef Tina Fineza, a partner with Service Excellence Consultants (hospitalityconsultant.ca) was in at the beginning of the Dragon’s roaming, and these personal recipes were used in one way or another by the Dragon truck. Tina points out that they vary from the original recipes that were provided for the Dragon, but isn’t that what recipes are all about anyway? You may need to consult with your local Asian food store. Have fun!
Serve with jasmine rice or top your favourite taco and coleslaw with this chicken curry. Garnish with chopped pineapple or chopped lychees.
200 g red curry paste, 4 cans coconut milk (400 ml) 25 g kaffir lime leaves 50 g palm sugar 2 stalks lemongrass, cut in half Fish sauce, to taste 1. Sauté the red curry with the coconut cream on top of the coconut milk can. Sauté for 5 minutes until the oils start to float to the surface and add the coconut milk. 2. Add the palm sugar and lemon grass and chicken thighs and simmer for 25 minutes or until the thighs are tender. 3. Add the kaffir and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off and season with fish sauce. 4. After 20 minutes take out all of the kaffir lime leaves and season with fresh Thai bird chilies (Careful. One is plenty spicy) and lime juice.
10 g shallots 3 ripe mangoes 5 g garlic ½ bunch cilantro 1 cup of fresh with stems squeezed lime ¼ cup olive oil juice ¼ cup canola oil
1. In a blender, start with ¼ cup of oil,
then add shallots and garlic. 2. Once well blended add the lime juice and diced mangoes and cilantro. 3. Blend very well for 3 minutes until smooth and slowly add the rest of the oil, for a smooth, emulsified consistency. Season with salt to taste.
10 5 10 5 10 10 5 8 8 2 2 2 6
g mizuna (or any favourite green in season) g purple cabbage, finely sliced g suichoy, finely sliced g carrots, shredded g blanched gailan, cut into bite-sized pieces g pineapple diced g shredded dried coconut g cucumber cut in circles g edamame tbsp goji berries tbsp peanuts (crushed) tbsp puff rice g each mint, cilantro, thai basil
1. Mix all of these ingredients together and dress lightly with mango and lime vinaigrette.
2. Finish this salad with crispy peanuts and puffed rice (readily available at East Indian grocery stores) •
G N I R E T T I B
S T N AGE BY ADAM MCDOWELL
46 // November 2013
JEFF CARROLL SQUEEZES A COUPLE OF DROPS ONTO THE BACK OF HIS HAND, SNIFFS THEM, AND THEN SLURPS DOWN THE LITTLE DARK YELLOW PUDDLE NEXT TO HIS PINKIE KNUCKLE. This is the peculiar communion that cocktail lovers have adopted for
trying new flavours since bartenders started rediscovering cocktail bitters around a half-decade ago. Often described as the seasoning of cocktails — elixirs made from herbs, barks, fruits and roots that serve as the bartender’s indispensable salt and pepper — well-crafted bitters go well beyond that duty. They could be seen as the secret ingredient of the craft cocktail revival. “In the glass, they highlight, and integrate, and propel flavours forward on the palate,” says Jonathan Chovancek, co-owner of Vancouver’s Bittered Sling Extracts. I encounter the truth of this when I take the bottle from Carroll and try the back-of-hand slurp myself. His lemon ginger gin bitters explode on the tongue, a shot of lemony sparkle and ginger flame that has me scanning the bourbon-and-rum-heavy backbar of Toronto’s The County General in search of a suitable partner for it. Until now, Carroll has made his small, one-litre batches of bitters in-house and uses them in cocktails at this hip, Southern-accented restaurant and bar in the west end of Toronto. This fall he hopes to release them commercially as Carroll and Co. He won’t be the first Canadian-based producer of cocktail bitters and he probably won’t be the last. 21st century mixology is a pursuit that eventually makes everything old new again, with the result that we live in a new golden age of bitters. The backbars of better bartenders brim with a colourful array of dropper-top bottles, sporting enough exotic tinctures to make an apothecary blanch with envy. Carroll and Co will join a handful of Canadian-based producers, stretching from Victoria to Prince Edward County, Ontario. These same enthusiasts can all recite the history lesson that says bitters have been with cocktails since the beginning. The first printed mention of a cocktail by name, published in an upstate New York newspaper 1806, defined it as a “bittered sling,” with a sling being an already well-known concoction of spirits, sugar and water. Originally intended as patent medicine for the digestive system, bitters softened the sharp recoil of the era’s poorly crafted liquors — distillation was still very much an evolving craft 200 years ago. As the 19th century progressed, cocktails took on new forms, often dumping bitters to make way for fruit juices, vermouth and other ingredients that cushioned the blow. Bitters were still required to make an old fashioned or Manhattan, but otherwise were slowly forgotten. A requisite dash of orange bitters even vanished from the martini. By the end of Prohibition in the United States, only the Angostura brand was left standing tall. The herbaceous concoction from Trinidad can still be found easily, often at ordinary grocery stores. (Most bitters contain a high proportion of alcohol — typically between 40 and 50 per cent — but because they’re meant to be consumed by the parsimonious dash and not large quaffs, the Canadian government considers bitters food and not drink.) Many will recognize Angostura’s oversized white label. But as Chovancek observes, “People have seen Angostura for years on the shelf. Not a lot know what it is.” A legion of small-scale producers, mostly located in the United States, started to spring up in the mid-2000s to reverse the decline and recreate the bitter diversity that had been lost. As of this year, a handful of Canadian producers have joined them, riding the wave of the cocktail’s rediscovered popularity (no one is really pretending anymore that bitters are medicine, although a dash or two is said to calm the stomach). Victoria Spirits, known for its excellent gin, was first out of the gate in 2010 with its Twisted and Bitter orange bitters, a sweetly aromatic take on
the genre. Late last year the distiller added two new flavours to its Twisted and Bitter line: grapefruit and rosemary, and black pepper. Vancouver is home to Bittered Sling, which launched its fluctuating lineup in early 2012 and is thriving. Both of BC’s bitter brands are available from specialty food shops in major cities nationwide, and online from the Ontario-based thecraftybartender.com. Meanwhile, in Ontario, the microdistilleries Dillon’s and 66 Gilead sell their wares from their onsite gift shops and have plans to sell their tinctures through other retailers in the future. One challenge for these producers: very few Canadians are even familiar with the concept of bitters. They may be confused by the name. Bitters are not especially bitter when added to cocktails; they’re better thought of as flavouring extracts. “I’d say 95 per cent of people don’t know what bitters are,” says Geoff Dillon, distiller at the startup Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers in Ontario’s Niagara Region. Can such a specialized product find a big enough audience in a medium-sized country where most drinkers don’t make cocktails at home? Canadian bitters producers say they’re actually managing quite well. “It’s a great business to be in,” says Peter Hunt, distiller at Victoria Spirits. At the Dillon’s distillery, people show up expecting to buy just the spirits but end up leaving with a little add-on as well. “Most people go home with a bottle of gin and a bottle of bitters,” Dillon says.
When I reach Jonathan Chovancek and partner Lauren Mote of Bittered Sling over the phone, it’s 8:30 in the morning the day after a long weekend and they’ve already been working since seven trying to get an order filled. The Bittered Sling line launched early last year and Chovancek and Mote worked hard on outreach events, such as cocktail contests, to drop their products onto the hands of bartenders across Canada and the United States. They started their enterprise as Kale & Nori Culinary Arts and focused on catering, but now operate under the name Bittered Sling. The moniker acknowledges the success of their line of extracts — and it was originally a wink, of course, at that first mention of a cocktail back in 1806. While Bittered Sling’s customers are mostly bartenders now, a six-flavour sample pack launched at the beginning of the year is helping to get the product into the homes of amateur mixologists. “We want Bittered Sling to be that indispensable product in your cupboard that you reach for just as you would reach for spices or salt and pepper,” Mote says, noting that bitters have long played a role in food recipes as well as drinks.
FIRM HANDSHAKE Recipe by Jeff Carroll, of Carroll & Co. and The County General, Toronto.
oz Wild Turkey Bourbon oz honey syrup 2 droppers Carroll and Co. Root Beer Rum Bitters Add liquid ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with orange zest and serve.
BLOOD ORANGE FRENCH 75 Recipe courtesy Bread Bar, Hamilton, Ontario.
oz Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 oz blood orange purée 1/4 oz simple syrup Sparkling wine to top To a tall (highball) glass, add gin, orange purée and simple syrup. Top with sparkling wine and serve.
BIJOU À LA VICTORIA A flavourful classic cocktail, adapted by Adam McDowell to show off a pair of Victoria Spirits products
1 oz Victoria Gin 1 oz sweet vermouth 1 oz Green Chartreuse 2 dashes Twisted and Bitter orange bitters Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Optional garnish: lemon peel, squeezed to release oils, and/or a cherry.
48 // November 2013
Bittered Sling uses two commercial kitchens in the Vancouver area. One of its biggest challenges is sourcing ingredients that originate in the tropics, such as allspice and nutmeg. Quality and availability can fluctuate. Beyond that, the partners are cagey about production methods. “We’re not going to tell you how we make them. It’s the secret sauce,” Chovancek says. Other bitters-makers are more forthcoming. For the distilleries that make their own bitters — Victoria Spirits, Dillon’s, and 66 Gilead — it only makes sense to use one’s own spirit. Dillon describes a process that begins with a spirit distilled from a 100 per cent Niagara grape base, the same one used in its gin and vodka. At Victoria Spirits, Hunt explains that the bitters are an offshoot of gin production. The high-quality “hearts” of the first distillation run are turned into the company’s famous gin. Part of what remains are the oily “tails,” a portion of liquid that doesn’t make the grade. The tails are put back into the pot still for a second distillation, and the hearts of that run become the base for Twisted and Bitter products.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH BITTERED SLING DENMAN BARBECUE SAUCE MAKES DINNER FOR 4 TO 6
This recipe from Jonathan Chovancek is so easy and simple, yet so delicious. It celebrates autumn and its warming flavours, and keeps us cooking outdoors as long as possible.
Next comes maceration, which can be likened to steeping the botanicals in the spirit much as you’d let a teabag sit in boiled water. The higher the alcohol percentage at this stage, the better — dilution can bring the ABV down to the desired level later. Ingredients vary in terms of how quickly they surrender their flavour to the hooch, but two weeks is typical. Then the botanicals are filtered out. Hunt says Victoria Spirits infuses each ingredient separately, so that experiments can be undertaken in the name of flavour development. Separate batches allow the company to mix, say, a certain amount of angelica root tincture with a portion of the grapefruit batch. Peter’s sister, Victoria-based chef Anna Hunt, plays a key part at this stage. (Likewise, Geoff Dillon credits his father, Peter, for handling the flavour creation side of things.) Flavour inspiration can be organic, as it were. “My mom has a huge rosemary bush in our front yard,” Hunt says. “We were using that in our grapefruit and rosemary [bitters].” As for the pithy grapefruit flavour matched with it, the combination simply worked. “It’s fascinating to put these things together and put them out there.” All of this experimentation could be seen as a pursuit of a magic formula, a potion that bartenders will adore and consider a must-have behind the bar. One of the stronger candidates is Bittered Sling’s Denman flavour, which the company says contains “Asian and sub-Gobi” botanicals and was developed in part using Ayurvedic principles. A supercharged aromatic bitter, it’s bright and puckering. Mote hawks them as a cure for what ails a sagging cocktail. And they can stand in for Angostura. It’s clever marketing: Denman bitters are something new but can be explained in terms of the old. “When you’re developing bitters now, the whole idea is to bring an innovative flavour and an innovative story behind it, which inspires a different level of creativity,” Mote explains. In Jeff Carroll’s eyes, all this tinkering with tinctures to create new flavours is daunting because perfection stares at us from behind the bar all along. “Angostura’s amazing,” he says. “No one could even come close to what Angostura is.” •
2 1 1 3 2-4
whole organically raised chickens, around 2 kg each tbsp cold pressed sunflower oil tbsp sea salt tbsp Bittered Sling Denman bitters tbsp Denman barbecue sauce
1. Cut each chicken into 10 parts. Season with sunflower oil,
sea salt and Bittered Sling Extracts Denman bitters. Rub the seasonings into the chicken and allow to marinate for an hour and up to 12 hours refrigerated. 2. Grill the chicken on your BBQ until the chicken is cooked to 165ºF for the legs and wings and 155ºF for the breasts. Remove the chicken from the grill and place into a large bowl with 2 to 4 tbsp of the Denman BBQ Sauce. Toss so that the sauce coats the chicken nicely. 3. Place the chicken back on the grill over indirect heat and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes. 4. Remove from the grill when the legs and wings hit 165ºF and 155ºF for the breasts. Remove the chicken from the grill and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
bittered sling denman barbecue sauce
2 3 250 1 1 3 3 3 2 1 6
tbsp cold pressed sunflower oil yellow onions, sliced thin ml Canadian rye whisky sprig fresh rosemary cup tomato paste clove raw garlic minced cloves roasted garlic tbsp apple cider vinegar tsp buckwheat flower honey tbsp red chili flakes tbsp Bittered Sling Denman bitters
1. In a medium size pan sweat the onions and garlic in the
sunflower oil. Add the whisky and reduce by half. Add the tomato paste and rosemary and 3 tbsp Bittered Sling Denman bitters and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring periodically. 2. Add the roasted garlic, apple vinegar, sugar and chillies and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, for another 15 minutes. 3. Add the remaining Bittered Sling Denman extract and remove from the heat. Purée and pass through a fine tamis.
the mav notes\\ 90 TINHORN CREEK PINOT GRIS 2012, OKANAGAN ($19) Winemaker Sandra Oldfield nailed it with this Okanagan Gris — it is the best she’s made. A gorgeous nose of pear, melon, subtle apple and juicy tropical fruits that have fresh appeal in the glass. It’s made with partial malo to give the Gris a little textural excitement on the palate, but the Bosc pear and peach fruit still have verve on through the finish. Very pure and delicious. Great job here. (RV)
94 CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR-PÉTRUS 2010, POMEROL, BORDEAUX, FRANCE ($310) Black fruits; elegant and full of finesse, with intense oak bringing toasted and smoky notes. Silky and concentrated, lots of fruity extract and very present oak that is not yet integrated with the fruit. The long finish is seductive. This one needs time to come to its full potential and will last 15 to 20 years. (GBQc)
88 Château Moncontour Jovly Chinon Cabernet Franc 2010, Loire, France ($13.95)
This Cabernet Franc over-delivers for its pay grade. The deep ruby colour leads the way into a cornucopia of raspberry, cassis, cherry, violets and cocoa. The palate is ripe and concentrated, with none of that overt herbaceousness found in some Francs. The finish is long, and the soft tannins make for a wine that is ready to drink now or over the next 2 years. At this price, a case purchase is mandatory. (ES)
91 Emiliana Coyam 2004, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($28)
Quite powerful on the nose with aromas of dark berries, pepper, dried herbs and mocha. Lots of concentration of flavours; muscular, yet still elegant with a firm structure, nice complexity and texture and a long, lifted finish. Could easily last another half-decade in the cellar. (GB)
90 Tawse Lenko Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Beamsville Bench, Ontario ($44.95)
This is a one-shot release from the good folks at Tawse. Made from the oldest Chardonnay planting in all of Ontario (1959), this wine exudes pineapple, peach, Golden Delicious apple and honey. There is a small kiss of oak which also complements, rather than overwhelms. The lengthy finish is supported by crisp acidity. Get it while you can, as there are only 4200 bottles in existence. (ES)
90 Karlo Estates Lake on the Mountain Riesling 2010, Prince Edward County ($22)
One of the most expressive Prince Edward County Rieslings I have tasted. It’s barrel-fermented in spent (neutral oak) to give it texture in the mouth. It has big, aromatic notes of citrus, peach, apple and underlying spice. There is lots of punch on the palate with citrus pulp, peach, apples and subtle minerality running through the core. (RV)
50 // November 2013
90 BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 2012, NOVA SCOTIA ($26) Very pale pink in colour, this blend of mostly Muscat varieties has a delightfully fresh nose of lime, peach, mango, apricot and marmalade. It’s lightly effervescent and subtly sweet on the palate with peaches, citrus zest, tropical fruits and lime juice balanced out by racy and vibrant acidity. Only 6.5% alcohol. (RV)
worth its weight in ...\\
I HAVE OFTEN WONDERED WHY THE WINESof Priorat, Spain tend to be some of the most expensive wines in Canada. Names such as René Barbier (Clos Mogador) and Alvaro Palacio (L’Ermita) are acknowledged as letting the world know Priorat does produce quality wines. Located in Catalonia in north-eastern Spain around 130 kilometres from Barcelona, this landscape of the vineyards is tucked under the Montsant Mountains (which reminded me of the southwest of the United States). Their steep hilly terraces climb up to 800m above sea level, winding through nearby forests, giving one a feeling that you are still in an unspoiled region. Forget about machine harvesting, just back-breaking picking. This year I was fortunate enough to visit. Tiny, that was my first impression; less than 20,000 hectares and then they dropped 98 wineries into that space. But what was interesting was its distinct terroir. The soil, covered in reddish and blueblack slate with small particles of mica (llicorella in Catalan) forces the roots to dig deep down through this region, looking for water and minerals, as well as firmly anchoring the vines to the earth during the storms which occur quite often. The traditional grape varieties grown are Garnacha (red) and Cariñena. Of course there is also Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, and around five white grape varieties. So here was part of my answer to why their wines tend to be expensive. Old vines, low yields, intense manual labour, for the most part small quantities of highly concentrated wine showing excellent minerality and are less oaky than their neighbours in Rioja. Tasting Garnacha in situ has certainly changed my mind about this grape. I always thought of this varietal as playing second fiddle to Tempranillo, but not so. Garnacha from Priorat offers sweet ripeness and well-structured tannins. Albeit in a pretty expensive bottle.
MATTER OF TASTE
BY SHEILA SWERLING-PURITT
PALACIOS CAMINS DEL PRIORAT 2011 DOC ($23.95)
Full-bodied, with good black fruit, a long finish and notes of minerality.
GRATAVINUM 2 PIR 2008 DOCA ($30)
Medium- to full-bodied and powerful, with sweet tannins and good acidity. Can be drunk young or cellared for 10 years. 60% Garnacha, 25% Cariñena with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 14 months in French and Hungarian oak.
TERRES DE VIDALBA TOCS 2007 ($54)
Rich mouthfeel with flavours of cherries and blackberries. This single-vineyard wine is comprised of Garnacha 30%, Syrah 35%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30% and Merlot 5%. Aged in French oak.
RENÉ BARBIER CLOS MOGADOR 2009 DO ($105)
Flavours of fruit, pepper, chocolate, coffee; well-balanced with velvety tannins. Unfiltered. From 80-year-old vines. •
go gamay, go\\
BY GURVINDER BHATIA
BEAUJOLAIS IS COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS A LIGHTER-STYLE WINE THAT WAS POPULAR IN THE 1970S AND 1980S. Beaujolais Nouveau is released 6 to 8 weeks after the harvest to celebrate the new vintage. It is important to distinguish between Beaujolais and Beaujolais Nouveau. And while Nouveau helped to increase the interest in the region, it was also partially responsible for the wine falling out of favour. As late as the early 2000s, Beaujolais Nouveau parties were commonly being held each year on the third Thursday of November. The wine was meant to be fresh and fruity and for immediate consumption — to celebrate the harvest — and it generally wouldn’t have the ability to age for more than 6 months. Originally, it was a great marketing tool to get people interested in Beaujolais (restaurants and stores would also host Nouveau parties), but it became more of an insipid wine (often referred to as vin de merde), and the price rose to the point where it was disproportionately high relative to its quality (air freighting around the world in order to be released on the third Thursday in November became very costly). Beaujolais Nouveau fell out of favour, but so did all of Beaujolais. But the region and Gamay, its primary grape, are making a comeback. This is in large part due to a group of producers, such as Jean-Paul Brun and Marcel Lapierre, who have seriously increased the quality of the wines in France as well as a number of Canadian producers that are making beautiful wines using this maligned grape. In general, Gamay is fresh and fruit-driven — refreshing with wonderful acidity, sometimes peppery, and possessing silky tannins — a great food wine and beautiful on its own. It is flavourful without being heavy and, of course, will take on different styles depending on where it’s grown. In France, in addition to the Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages appellations, there are 10 crus ranging from the lighter and early-drinking Régnié to the fuller-bodied and age-worthy Moulin-à-Vent. In between lie the eight other crus: Chiroubles, Chénas, St-Amour, Fleurie, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas and Morgon. These are sexy wines, and it’s time for more of us to take up the cheer, “Go, Gamay, Go!!!”
52 // November 2013
JEAN-PAUL- BRUN BEAUJOLAIS ‘L’ANCIEN’ 2011, BEAUJOLAIS ($25)
Elegant, juicy and stylish with aromas and flavours of black cherry, black pepper and spice; a silky mouth-feel and bright acidity on the finish.
JEAN-PAUL BRUN CÔTE DE BROUILLY TERRES DORÉES 2011, BEAUJOLAIS ($29.99)
Beautiful ripe aromas and flavours of cherry, red currants and raspberry, with hints of fresh earth, soft, juicy tannins and bright, ripe fruit on the lingering finish. Beautiful with grilled salmon.
MARCEL LAPIERRE MORGON 2012, BEAUJOLAIS ($36)
Juicy, elegant, rich and silky with loads of ripe cherry, plum, raspberry, savoury herbs and mineral with multi-layers; great balance and a beautiful lifted finish. Hard to stop drinking.
JEAN-PAUL BRUN MOULINÀ-VENT TERRES DORÉES 2011, BEAUJOLAIS ($32) Well-balanced and easy to drink, but has layers of flavours and a misleading underlying structure that should allow it to age for at least 5 years. Silky yet firm, with dark cherry, currant and plum, black pepper, a touch of forest floor and fresh acidity. Will stand up to grilled pork chops, but elegant enough for seared tuna.
CAVE SPRING GAMAY 2011, NIAGARA ESCARPMENT, ONTARIO ($21.99) Cherry, floral and spice; nice body and full flavours while still maintaining freshness and elegance; mineral and juicy. Will pair well with duck or pork.
CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES GAMAY NOIR ‘DROIT’ 2010, ST DAVID’S BENCH, NIAGARA, ONTARIO ($21.99)
Fresh black cherry, liquorice, pepper and a touch of earth; light tannins with a nice dryness on the finish, but still maintaining fruit character of the variety. Great match with chicken-heart risotto.
HILLSIDE ESTATES OLD VINES GAMAY NOIR 2009, OKANAGAN, BC ($34)
Lovely and ripe with refined mouthfeel of cherry, plum and floral aromas and flavours, a lovely savoury quality and a nice firmness. Very easy to drink and an impressive uplifted, lengthy finish.
MALIVOIRE GAMAY 2012, NIAGARA ESCARPMENT, ONTARIO ($26.99)
Delicious and juicy; full of minerality with floral, spice and ripe, bright red fruit, elegant, silky mouthfeel and a lovely fresh finish. Grilled chicken, salmon or vegetables would be a great match. •
//the food notes 86 HARPER’S TRAIL SILVER MANE BLOCK RIESLING 2012, THADD SPRINGS VINEYARD, KAMLOOPS, BC ($20) Very floral on the nose, with honeysuckle leading the charge. Juicy acidity, with lean flavours of tart apple, white peach and sweet orange. The 8.5% alcohol and well-balanced 25g of residual sugar harkens a “Mosel style.” Tasty with mango quinoa salad, harissa-spiced couscous or Asian noodles. (HH)
88 SAN SAVINO PICUS ROSSO PICENO SUPERIORE 2010, MARCHE, ITALY ($15.95) This midweight blend of 60% Montepulciano and 40% Sangiovese from the Marche region delivers up cherry, plum, potpourri, roasted herbs and hints of vanilla. The aftertaste is long with some warmth. Drink over the next 3 years with eggplant parmesan or a sausage-laden pizza. (ES)
89 JOIEFARM PINOT NOIR 2011, OKANAGAN ($24)
Captivating floral, herbal and blueberry aromas. Satisfying juicy acidity, rich texture and supple tannins on a medium-weight frame. Pleasing flavours of black and red berries with sage notes. Complex and well-balanced, finishing with hints of forest floor. Pairs with all manner of flesh: pork, fowl, salmon. (HH)
90 Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley, United States ($58)
Rich, layered and elegant with ripe, dark and concentrated blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, firm yet supple tannins and a beautiful, graceful mouthfeel; well-balanced from start to the lengthy, bright, uplifted finish. All the character of great Napa Cabernet without the $100 price tag. Nice with grilled lamb or a grilled rib-eye topped with a little Gorgonzola. (GB)
90 Corsi Orvieto Classico 2011, Italy ($12.50)
Silvery-yellow. Subdued nose of ripe apple and green banana. Surprisingly full-bodied, good typicity, well-balanced with lots of apple and lemon fruit and a long, slightly bitter apricot-pit finish. Ready to drink. A food wine, match it with veal scallopini with herbs and lemon, or contrast it with pasta in a creamy vongole sauce. (RL)*
88 Moulis Montarels Syrah Rosé 2012, Pays des Côtes de Thongue IGP, France ($13.50) Leads off with seductive scents of fresh strawberry and red cherry. Red berry-fruit is quite forward on the smoothly rounded but refreshingly clean palate. The way rosé should be. Excellent as an aperitif or to match with lighter fare. (SW)
90 Barren Jack Sémillon/Chardonnay 2011, Southeast Australia ($13.50)
Rich, deep brass. Abundant aromas of fruit salad with a bit of butter from the Chard. Medium-bodied, green-apple, mouth-watering acidity; also pineapple and some honey from the Sémillon. The unusual blend really works. Stands up to chicken souvlaki and a rustic green salad. (RL)*
54 // November 2013
BY NANCY JOHNSON
TARRAGON AND MUSTARD CHICKEN THIGHS SERVES 4
There is nothing easier than chicken thighs braised to juicy perfection in the oven. I prefer skinless chicken, but you may leave the skin on for an even juicier dish. The beurre manié is a chef’s trick for turning out a glossy, thickened sauce.
HERE’S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT NOVEMBER: JUST ABOUT NOTHING. The ground is hard. The trees are bare. The sun is a rainy memory. As I wander the city streets in my drab winter coat, breathing raggedly through last year’s trendy scarf, I can’t help but wonder if I will be mistaken for a plump Darth Vader. To make matters worse, the stores are jammed with jingly holiday stuff, and I’m not fond of jingly stuff. I know I should get on the treadmill in preparation for December’s holiday banquets, but I already worked out once this year. However, there are some bright lights in the big grey city. First, my beau Ron’s birthday is in November. I’ve decided to buy myself a new scarf to celebrate his special day. And second, there is Beaujolais Nouveau. This soft and fruity wine, released on the third Thursday of November, may not be the fanciest pour, but it is infinitely food-friendly. At my table, food-friendly trumps tannic tantrum, unless I’m the one having the tantrum. Clearly, I am in need of an attitude nouvelle. Thus I’ll make a few of the following this month, all of which are absolutely lovely with young Beaujolais, and all of which will turn my frown upside down.
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1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp dried tarragon, divided 4 shallots, peeled and chopped 2 tbsp brandy or cognac 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 2 tbsp grainy mustard Fresh snipped tarragon, for garnish Beurre manié: 1 tbsp softened butter kneaded with 1 tbsp flour
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. 2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the butter and oil. Season chicken with salt and 1/2 tsp tarragon. Sauté until golden brown,
about 10 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. 3. Add shallots and cook until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. 4. Add remaining tarragon, brandy and chicken broth, scraping up browned bits. Whisk in mustard. Bring to a boil. Return chicken to skillet. 5. Transfer skillet to oven and cook, uncovered, occasionally basting with pan juices, until chicken is cooked through about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. 6. Bring pan juices to a boil over medium high heat. Whisk in beurre manié and cook until sauce is thickened. Pour over chicken. Garnish with fresh tarragon.
PORK MEDALLIONS WITH PEARS AND CRANBERRIES SERVES 4
Pork tenderloin is so versatile, and cutting it into medallions is an excellent method to quick-cook this tender meat. Medallions can also be pounded into cutlets, dipped separately in flour, egg and bread crumbs (in that order) and browned in a skillet for a soul-satisfying stick-to-the-ribs pork schnitzel.
2. Add garlic and mushrooms, stirring to coat with butter
mixture. Cook, uncovered, 2 minutes. Stir in rice and salt. 3. Cook, uncovered, 2 minutes. Stir in broth and thyme. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. 4. Stir in spinach and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until rice is tender. Sprinkle with walnuts and cheese.
1 2 2 2 2
No dinner is complete without a delicious sweet, and baklava is my dessert of choice. Baklava is not difficult to make but it is time-consuming, so be patient while layering the phyllo sheets one by one. For best results, keep phyllo covered unless you are working with it. To clarify butter, let cool slightly after melting. Skim butter solids from top and discard.
1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. 2. Season pork with salt. In a large skillet, sauté meat in
30 sheets phyllo (14’’ x 9’’) from a package of phyllo dough, defrosted 1 lb chopped walnuts 2 tbsp sugar 2 tsp cinnamon 1 cup butter, melted and clarified
pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices tbsp olive oil tbsp butter Bosc pears, cored and cut into wedges tbsp dried cranberries 1/4 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup heavy cream Pinch cinnamon (optional) Freshly ground pepper
hot olive oil over medium heat until browned on both sides and cooked through. Transfer to baking sheet and keep warm in oven. 3. Pour fat from skillet; add butter and sauté pear wedges until browned and tender. Add dried cranberries and heat through. Transfer to baking sheet and keep warm. 4. Meanwhile, add chicken broth, cream and cinnamon (if using) to skillet. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. 5. Drizzle sauce on each of four plates. Arrange pork, pears and cranberries on each plate. Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper.
MUSHROOM, SPINACH AND WALNUT RICE PILAF WITH GORGONZOLA SERVES 4 TO 6
An easy and delicious one-dish meal, this pilaf is made in the microwave. Use any vegetables, nuts and cheese you have on hand. Start the meal with Sweet Potato and Pumpkin soup, below.
3 3 2 2
tbsp butter tbsp olive oil cloves garlic, minced cups mixed mushrooms, chopped 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup Arborio rice 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves 2 cups baby spinach 3 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1. In a microwave-safe casserole dish, cook butter and oil in microwave, uncovered, 2 minutes.
56 // November 2013
cup white sugar cup water cup honey cinnamon stick tsp vanilla extract
3/4 1 1 1
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. 2. In a food processor, process walnuts until finely minced.
Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. 3. Unroll phyllo dough. Cover loosely with wrap from packaging. Place a dampened towel over wrap. 4. Place 1 sheet of phyllo in pan. Brush with a very small amount of butter, covering sheet completely. Repeat, covering each sheet with small amount of butter, until you have 8 layered sheets. 5. Sprinkle with 1 cup nut mixture. Repeat with 6 sheets and butter. Sprinkle with 1 cup nut mixture. Repeat with 6 more sheets and butter. Sprinkle with 1 cup nut mixture. 6. Layer 10 additional sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter except the top sheet. Using a spatula, press down on the layers to compress slightly. Spread butter on top sheet. 7. Using a sharp knife, cut into diamond shapes. Bake 50 minutes or until golden. 8. Meanwhile, make Honey Sauce: In a large saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil. Cook until sugar melts. Add honey, cinnamon stick and vanilla. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. 9. As soon as baklava comes out of oven, pour sauce over the top, making sure sauce drips down through cut lines. Let cool before serving. Makes about 30 pieces. …… No Beaujolais for this one — try a Niagara Icewine instead.
MOO GOO GAI PAN
The ready availability of canned crab at the market is one reason to serve this cold salad on a dreary November day. Containers of cooked lump crabmeat can be found in the refrigerated section of your supermarketâ€™s seafood counter. For another take on a fast seafood dinner, mix cooked chopped lobster meat with mayonnaise, minced celery and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice. Pile into buttered and toasted hot dog buns.
Chicken with mushrooms is a delicious pairing that is easy to make at home. Cleaning the old oil from the wok before adding the mushrooms is an important step as it will prevent the mushrooms from burning. However, there is no need to scrub the wok spic and span. Simply wipe out the old oil with a paper towel, leaving the browned bits behind to scrape up for flavour.
1/2 2 4
1 4 2 1 1
cup oyster sauce, divided tsp cornstarch, divided chicken breast fillets, sliced cup chicken stock tsp sugar tbsp peanut oil, divided cups mushrooms, sliced clove garlic, minced can bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
1. Mix 2 tbsp oyster sauce and 1 tsp cornstarch. Marinate chicken slices in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. In a small bowl, mix remaining oyster sauce and cornstarch, chicken stock and sugar. Set aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or skillet. Add chicken with
marinade and stir-fry until golden. Add garlic and stir-fry until chicken is cooked through and garlic is softened. Set aside. 4. Wipe wok with paper towel. Add remaining 2 tbsp oil. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms are cooked through and tender, scraping up browned bits. Add bamboo shoots and heat through. Remove and set aside. 5. Whisk oyster sauce mixture into wok and cook until thickened. Add chicken and mushrooms and heat through. Serve with jasmine rice.
1 3 1 1 2
cup mayonnaise tbsp ketchup tbsp Worcestershire sauce tbsp red wine vinegar scallions, minced
1 container lump crabmeat (about 1 1/2 cups), picked over and mixed with a spoonful or two of storebought Italian dressing Romaine lettuce hearts 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved 1 English cucumber, sliced 1 tomato, cut into wedges Minced parsley, for garnish Lemon wedges
1. To make Louis dressing: In a medium bowl, combine mayon-
naise, ketchup, Worcestershire, vinegar and scallions. Set aside. 2. Place four romaine leaves in a pinwheel pattern on each of 4 plates. Mound a scoop of crabmeat in centre of each plate; surround with eggs, cucumber and tomato. 3. Garnish with minced parsley. Serve with dressing and lemon wedges. â€˘
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; CANADA // p. 59-62;
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
CHILE // p. 62; FRANCE // p. 62-63; GERMANY // p. 63; ITALY // p. 64-65; NEW ZEALAND // p. 65; PORTUGAL // p. 65;
the notes\\ /ARGENTINA /
89 Vina Cobos Felino Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Mendoza ($25)
Approachable and fresh, with bright blackcurrant, plum and mocha flavours, plush tannins and a round, elegant, concentrated finish. The grapes are all from Luján de Cuyo. Perfect for grilled wild boar chops or a NY striploin. (GB)
88 Kaiken Malbec Reserva 2011, Mendoza ($14.95)
Kaiken is the name of a goose that migrates between Chile and Argentina — which is exactly what winemaker Aurelio Montes does, as he
58 // November 2013
has wineries in both countries. Dense purple-black in colour, it has a nose of sweet blackberries, a chunky mouthfeel and full-bodied flavours of dark chocolate and black fruits. (TA)
88 Vina Cobos Felino Malbec 2012, Mendoza ($25)
Dark and vibrant with layers of blackberry, cherry, plum and raspberry, hints of spice, supple tannins and a bright, lingering finish. A blend of Malbec grapes from the higher-elevation Uco Valley, which provides some nice floral notes, and the warmer Luján de Cuyo. A nice match with lamb and bison. (GB)
SOUTH AFRICA // p. 65; SPAIN // p. 65; UNITED STATES // p. 65
88 Fat’n Skinny Winemakers’ Blend 2011, McLaren Vale ($16.17)
An interesting Viognier/ Chardonnay blend from a difficult vintage. Medium-deep silver-yellow colour. Piña colada nose with flowers and a bit of spice. Full-bodied, soft and fruity (peaches, apricots) on the palate, with sweetness balanced by acidity. Enjoyable with crisp-fried smoked trout served with gnocchi and a nut-oil-and-arugula dressing. Drink soon. (RL)*
92 GMH Meritage 2009, South Australia ($14.75)
Murky plum-red. Mature and
complex aromas of raisins, figs and milk chocolate. Murmurs rather than shouts its Australian provenance. Medium-bodied with ripe cherry fruit, firm tannins and good acidity. Long finish. Ready to drink. (RL)*
92 Fat’n Skinny Pickers’ Choice 2010, McLaren Vale ($16.17)
This blend shouts “Australia!”. Opaque plum-red, with a prominent nose of plums, cherries and spice. In the mouth we have cherry jam accented with a suggestion of amaretto. Long finish. Lots of tannins, but don’t delay drinking; this is at its best now. (RL)*
+ Find a collection of wine, beer and spirit tasting notes at quench.me/notes/
91 Michel Chapoutier Tournon “Mathilda” Victorian Shiraz 2010, Victoria ($24.99)
This fine Shiraz comes from the Australian offshoot of the Rhône’s celebrated Chapoutier family. It presents seductive, fleshy red fruit on the nose with succulently ripe and superbly balanced red and dark fruit on the palate. Tannins are velvety with subtle spice and dark chocolate on the finish. Has plenty of finesse and provides pure enjoyment. (SW)
89 Milyaroo Merlot 2011, New South Wales ($12)
Medium-deep plum red just turning to amber on the edge. Mature and interesting bouquet of elderflower, sour cherry, vanilla and spice. Soft tannins and flavours of blueberries, plums and raspberries make this light and fruity wine an easy-drinking summer crowd-pleaser. Drink up. (RL)*
89 Fowles Wines Are You Game? Shiraz 2009, Victoria ($16.95)
The little sister to Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz. Deep ruby-purple colour; savoury nose of black fruits, herbs and pepper; dry, full-bodied, spicy liquorice, blackberry and toasty oak flavours. Good value. (TA)
89 Robert Oatley Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Western Australia ($17.95)
Deep ruby-purple; smoky, cedar, blackcurrant nose; sweet blackcurrant fruit, medium- to full-bodied, well-balanced and textured with a tannic lift on the finish. (TA)
/CANADA / 92 Fielding Estate Rock Pile Pinot Gris 2012, Niagara ($26) Fielding winemaker Richie Roberts is making a career out of aromatic whites, and his Rock Pile Gris is at the top of the class. The nose shows creamy pear, apple crisp, melon and an array of expressive spices that all jump from the glass. It has viscosity on the palate and broad, ripe fruit flavours that are fortified by delicious spices. (RV)
92 Fielding Estate Lot 17 Riesling 2012, Niagara ($26)
You would never know that this wine is made with 30 g/l of residual sugar because of the balancing acid. The nose is expressive, with fresh-cut apple, lime, grapefruit and a subtext of minerality beginning to emerge. It’s very ripe and rich on the palate, with a full-fruit attack mingling with stony minerality, wild honey and racy acidity. Gorgeous. (RV)
92 Joie Farm “En Famille” Reserve Gewürztraminer 2011, Okanagan ($28)
A highly aromatic Gewürz reminiscent of Grand Cru Alsatian examples. The nose is exotic and exciting with concentrated, honey-drizzled grapefruit, lychee, rose petals and nutmegmusk notes. It is unctuous on the palate with ripe fruit, lavish spice and notable ginger, and enough acidity to nudge this showy beauty into balance. (RV)
92 Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Prince Edward County ($29.95)
Old gold colour: more restrained on the nose than C.C.’s South Clos Vineyard — in fact, Burgundian in style, minerally apple and pear with a vanilla oak note. Soft on the palate, nicely balanced with sweet red apple and tropical fruit flavours; full-bodied with good length. (TA)
91 Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2011, Ontario ($23.95)
A stunning Riesling from winemaker Marlize Beyers. Pale straw colour with a floral, minerally nose developing petrol notes; medium-bodied, crisp lime and grapefruit flavours with racy acidity. (TA)
91 Tawse Quarry Road Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2012, Vinemount Ridge ($24.95)
The peachy yellow colour heralds the cold cream, mango, apricot, rose, grapefruit and spice. The palate is ripe, round and intense and shows pleasant acidity, which provides relief from any heaviness. The finish is long with a light sweetness. Pick your choice of Asian cuisine to enjoy with this beauty. (ES)
91 The Old Third Pinot Noir Blanc 2011, Prince Edward County ($35)
This (mainly) Pinot Noir– producer believes that white Pinot can be as good as Chardonnay in Prince Edward County. This small lot is barrel-fermented and barrel-aged in 65% new oak,
and the result is a gorgeously aromatic white with ripe apricot, pear, butterscotch and toasty vanilla on the nose. It is finely textured with ripe tropical fruits and lovely finesse through the finish. (RV)
90 Inniskillin Reserve Series Pinot Gris 2012, Niagara ($20)
This is a ripe and bold Gris that sees 30% of the fruit barrel-fermented and aged for 3 months. The nose shows peach cobbler, apple, spice and citrus notes. In the mouth, this is a full, fleshy offering with ripe apple, tropical fruits and creamy vanilla and nutmeg spices. On the soft side, but oh, so delicious. (RV)
90 Joie Farm Muscat 2012, Okanagan ($23)
An exciting Muscat with a nose of peach, lime, herbs and fresh citrus fruits. It’s a touch off-dry and shows good concentration on the palate with wonderful flavours of lime-citrus, tangerine and peach to go with mouth-watering acidity that perfectly balances this wine. (RV)
89 Trius Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Ontario ($14) Pale straw colour; grassy, green-fig nose; medium-bodied, crisp lemon, grapefruit and passion fruit flavours. Great value for a classic Sauvignon Blanc. (TA)
89 Château des Charmes Estate Chardonnay/Musqué 2010, Niagara ($17)
Such a lovely, pure white wine with lemon, citrus, honey-
//the notes suckle, peach and white flower notes on the nose. It’s clean and delicious on the palate and still fresh with ripe fruit flavours of apple, peach, citrus and a tiny kiss on honey on the finish. Nicely aged and ready to drink. (RV)
89 Flatrock Cellars Twisted 2011, Niagara ($17) Flatrock has perfected this aromatic blend of Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay. There is plenty going on here with lime, lemon, orchard fruits and a pinch of spice on the nose. It’s slightly off-dry and the grapefruit and ginger spice shine on the palate with pear and apple notes chiming in. Lovely sipping wine. (RV)
89 Red Rooster Pinot Gris 2012, Okanagan ($17) The nose shows bright apple, melon, white peach and tropical fruit in a fresh style. Apple crisp, honey and tangerine are the highlights in the mouth to go with pretty decent acidity. (RV)
89 Calliope Sauvignon Blanc 2011, British Columbia ($19.95)
Burrowing Owl’s second label: very pale colour; floral, herbaceous, grapefruit nose with a vanilla note; full-bodied, green plum and citrus flavours with lively acidity. (TA)
89 Harper’s Trail Late Harvest Riesling 2012, Thadd Springs Vineyard, Kamloops ($20/375 ml)
Reminiscent of a Mosel Auslese, the 55g of residual sugar is impeccably balanced by laser-focused acidity, spurting juiciness and an ethereal
60 // November 2013
mouthfeel. Floral-spicy aromas lead to a fruit fest of ripe peach, applesauce and caramelized pear. Clean, refreshing, captivating finish. Can’t stop sipping! (HH)
the nose. On the taste buds, there is much the same, as well as spice, excellent length, creaminess and refreshing acidity. Drink now or over the next 3 years. (ES)
89 Coyote’s Run Red Paw Chardonnay 2012, Four Mile Creek ($24.95)
88 Tawse Sketches Riesling 2012, Niagara ($18)
All the pieces are here: fruit, oak, concentration and acid, but the wine is disjointed and requires another year to integrate. Flavour-wise there is peach, pear, flint, honey, anise and caramel. The palate is creamy with a lengthy aftertaste. Hold until 2014, and then drink until 2018. (ES)
89 Norman Hardie Pinot Gris 2012, Prince Edward County ($25)
This oozes that great County minerality to go with crisp apple, lemon-lime and a splash of melon. Such purity of fruit on the palate with a gorgeous vein of crushed stones through the long, crisp finish. (RV)
89 JoieFarm “En Famille” Reserve Chardonnay 2011, Okanagan ($30) Vinified with barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation and lees stirring. The result is intense honey, lemon and vanilla aromas and a lush texture brimming with quince and pineapple flavour. The long finish is flecked with apple, citrus, pear and almond. This Chard loves bacon-graced dishes. (HH)
89 Southbrook Vineyards Whimsy! “Sirugue” Chardonnay 2011, Niagara ($34.95) Intense pear, apple, cream, spice, floral and vanilla hits
Features lime, green apple, powdered candies, honey, peach and minerals. The perception is that of a dry wine due to the tightrope balance between acidity and residual sugar. There is very good length, and it is ready to drink. (ES)
88 Coffin Ridge Into the Light 2012, Grey County ($20)
A nose of grapefruit, peach, orange peel, kiwi and lime. Lots going on in this interesting off-dry white fruit-bomb blend of Geisenheim, Riesling, L’Acadie Blanc, Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent and Prairie Star, including peach, cold tea, minty herbs, lemon-lime and a refreshing zip through the finish. (RV)
88 Hinterland Whitecap 2012, Prince Edward County ($22)
Hinterland is a sparkling specialist and makes this blend of Vidal, Riesling and Muscat in the Charmat method. A simple and pleasurable sparkler with white peach, apricot, tropical fruits and a squirt of citrus on the nose. It’s fresh and easy-drinking on the palate with cleansing acidity. (RV)
88 Bartier Scholefield Chardonnay 2012, Okanagan ($23)
The warmth of the vintage
and Black Sage Road locale permeates. Peaches ‘n’ cream aromas are sprinkled with tropical scents. Bursting fruit-salad flavours, ranging from pineapple to orange to ripe pear. Lively acidity keeps the palate fresh. Zesty citrus and spice notes linger. Classic choice with salmon. (HH)
88 Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011, Okanagan ($23)
A nose of creamy stone fruit that’s pure and fresh with just a squirt of lemon and grapefruit. You get a sense of texture on the palate with creamy peach, melon and citrus lifted by firm acidity. (RV)
88 Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, Niagara ($24.95)
This soft Chard is drinking beautifully right now, what with all of its peach, cream, spice, yeast, floral and pineapple qualities on the nose. The palate adds some caramel qualities as well as refreshing acidity, making for a perfect partner with lobster in butter or grilled salmon. (ES)
88 Lacy Estates Gewürztraminer Reserve 2011, Prince Edward County ($25)
Oddly, this did not get the VQA stamp of approval, which is a travesty because this is a lovely Gewürz with a nose of rose petals, grapefruit, musk oil and lemon peel. It’s made with a healthy dose of acidity to balance out all those grapefruit, pear and delicious spice notes. Nice to see a Gewürz made in a perfectly dry style. (RV)
87 Redstone Vineyards Brickyard Riesling 2012, Niagara ($13.95)
Redstone is Maury Tawse’s new winery venture, just down the street from his namesake winery. There is a pale straw colour and a bouquet of mineral, lime, bergamot, peach, candied orange peel and white flowers. The palate is slim with lots of mineral, peach, lime and honey lingering on the finish. I should also mention that there is 18g/l of residual sugar, but because of the elevated acidity, the presence is that of a dry wine. (ES)
87 Harper’s Trail Pinot Gris 2012, Silver Mane Block, Thadd Springs Vineyard, Kamloops ($18)
The clear bottle shows off the attractive, copper-tinged “vin gris” hue, due to extended grape skin contact. Fragrant pear and fig aromas accompany apricot and quince flavours. Juicy acidity, medium-plus weight and richly textured. Spice-laden pear-skin finish. Well suited to vegetable dishes. (HH)
87 Harper’s Trail Chardonnay 2012, Thadd Springs Vineyard, Kamloops ($22)
A caramel apple comes to mind upon the first sniff. Bright, crisp flavours of apple and lemon register on the austere, medium-weight palate. Finishes very dry with a squirt of lime. Kamloops’ first winery is developing a characteristic lean, clean cool-climate style. Palate-cleansing with fish ‘n’ chips. (HH)
87 Bartier Scholefield Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Okanagan ($23)
Unmistakable Sauv Blanc nose: fresh-cut lawn, asparagus, nettle, passion fruit and a whiff of smoke. Assertive acidity on the dry, medium-bodied palate, with mouth-puckering flavours of sour lemon drops, tangy grapefruit and mandarin orange. Minerally lemonzest finish. Poised for asparagus dishes. (HH)
86 Jost Coastal Vineyards White, Nova Scotia ($15.99)
A polished light blend of l’Acadie Blanc and Ortega grapes showing aromatic, fresh green fruit with light floral scents carrying the theme forward on the palate. Citrus and green apple flavours are supported by refreshing acidity and appetizing mineral. (SW)
86 Harper’s Trail Dry Riesling 2012, Pioneer Block, Thadd Springs Vineyard, Kamloops ($20)
Riesling shows promise in this pioneering vineyard along the South Thompson River banks. Fresh apple scents waft out of the glass. Juicy apple and zesty citrus flavours, balanced by austere wet slate. Finishes very dry, with flinty, briny notes. Serve up oysters with mignonette. (HH)
85 Harper’s Trail Field Blend White 2012, Thadd Springs Vineyard, Kamloops ($17) This second vintage features Riesling and Chardonnay. Delicate orchard-blossom
scents. Spicy, off-dry fruit upfront, then a juicy mid-palate offers Granny Smith apple, Asian pear and clean lemon. Dry, crisp finish, with a lick of wet slate. Its modest 10.4% alcohol complements green salads well. (HH)
92 Trius Grand Red 2010, Ontario ($55) The dense ruby colour peaks to the concentration of this wine. Ripe black fruits and vanilla oak bouquet; sweet blackcurrant and tobacco flavours; full in the mouth and well balanced with a firm finish. Pomerol style. A wine to lay down. (TA)
91 JoieFarm Gamay 2011, Okanagan ($24)
A compelling case for Gamay’s promise in the central Okanagan. Impressive aromas highlight ripe red berries, jammy black fruit, fragrant floral and toasted spice. Reminiscent of a Cru Beaujolais with its juicy acidity, soft tannins, black cherry and cardamom spice flavours and satisfying savoury finish. Astonishing food-friendly versatility. (HH)
90 Joie Farm PTG 2011, Okanagan ($23.90)
PTG stands for “Passe-ToutGrains,” after the lesser-known Pinot Noir/Gamay blend of Burgundy. Like its forerunner, this one is an appetizingly lively wine with peppery raspberry and red-cherry scents and succulent red fruit flavours supported by approachable tannins, lively acidity and food-friendly sour-cherry bite. To be gulped down with sheer pleasure. (SW)
90 JoieFarm “En Famille” Reserve Pinot Noir 2011, Okanagan ($30)
Complex aromas feature smoky scents, fragrant floral, woodsy forest and earthy spice. Impeccable balance, enhanced by complex black fruit, red berries and savouriness. Finishes with ripe sweet fruit flecked by liquorice and mineral notes. Age-worthy, so will evolve gracefully up to the end of this decade. (HH)
89 OWEN Cabernet Franc 2011, Okanagan ($26)
Okanagan Wine Campus’s second release offers Vancouver’s sommelier of the year, Owen Knowlton, to make 100 cases in support of a wine scholarship fund. Varietally true tobacco, raspberry and cedar descriptors. Well-balanced acidity and smooth tannins. Liquorice and black pepper linger long. Impressive. (HH)
88 Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2011, Ontario ($19.95)
Light ruby in colour; on the nose, cherry and beetroot with a hint of oak spice. Dry, light on the palate; sinewy with a firm tannic finish. (TA)
88 JoieFarm PTG 2011, Okanagan ($24)
This Burgundian-inspired “Passe-Tout-Grains” includes equal parts Pinot Noir and Gamay. Wild berries and dried herbs on the nose. Black cherry and cola on the palate. Finishes with savoury meat, liquorice and a peppery finish. Pairs well with grilled sausages and roasted vegetables. (HH)
//the notes 88 Tollgate Merlot 2010, Niagara ($24.95)
Tollgate is a mid-range label from Stratus. This 14.9% Merlot is dolled up in lots of new oak and will appeal to those who like woodier attributes. Full-bodied, there is considerable concentration and lots of mocha, smoke, plum, cherry, spice and hints of herbs. There is decent length, but the tannins are assertive, so my suggestion is to drink over the next 5 years with a juicy cut of prime meat. (ES)
87 Edible Canada Market Red 2010, Okanagan ($26)
Okanagan Crush Pad helped craft this South Okanagan– sourced Gamay/Syrah (80%/20%) proprietary blend for Edible Canada’s bistro on Vancouver’s Granville Island. Savoury, sage, berry and peppery aromas. Food-friendly red berry flavours brightened by juicy acidity/tannins. Straightforward yet refreshing. (HH)
84 Jost Coastal Vineyards Red, Nova Scotia ($15.99)
A blend of 3 hybrid varieties with exposure to a combination of French and American oak, offering thick, dark fruit and a pinch of green herb on the nose, with both dark and red fruit in the mouth. Milk chocolate and a hint of mocha are also evident. (SW)
/CHILE / 88 Emiliana Adobe Sauvignon Blanc Reser-
62 // November 2013
va 2012, Casablanca Valley ($12.95)
Pale straw in colour with a lime tint; a bouquet of crushed elderberries with a grassy note; medium-bodied, crisply dry gooseberry flavour with a lemony finish. (TA)
86 Aresti Estate Selection Gewürztraminer 2012, DO Central Valley ($11.99)
Shows true varietal rose petal and lightly honeyed scents but in a less perfumed style. The crisp acidity and relatively dry finish, though, make for adaptable pairing with a variety of lighter dishes. (SW)
92 Emiliana Coyam 2007, Colchagua Valley ($28)
Very floral on the nose with a savoury quality among the black fruit, fresh herbaceousness and spice. Still quite tight in the mid-palate, but showing excellent complexity, elegant-but-firm tannins and a nice freshness on the lasting finish. Drinking well, but will get better and develop more complexity with some additional years in the cellar. (GB)
92 De Martino Las Cruces Old Bush Vines 2007, Cachapoal Valley ($48)
Immensely flavourful, showing ripe cherry, plum and raspberry layered with notes of spice, liquorice, fresh herbs and tobacco. Great elegance and complexity. A field blend composed primarily of Malbec and Carménère. (GB)
91 Emiliana Coyam 2010, Colchagua Valley ($28) Bright and dark aromas and
flavours of blackcurrant, cherry, raspberry, savoury herbs, and black pepper with firm but silky tannins, a good underlying structure and a long, complex finish. 8 to 10 years in the cellar should not be an issue. Syrah/Carménère/Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon. (GB)
90 Emiliana Coyam 2001, Colchagua Valley ($28)
Elegant and layered with complex notes of earth, balsamic, black fruits, and pepper; soft and silky tannins, but has aged remarkably well and will be drinking well for a few years yet. A great example of a relatively inexpensive Chilean wine that has the ability to age well. Merlot/ Carménère/Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah. (GB)
90 De Martino Carménère ‘Alto de Piedras’ 2010, Isla de Maipo ($48)
Dark, dense and bold, yet possessing a refined elegance and great texture, bright flavours of plum, raspberry, tea and fresh herbs, silky tannins and a long, long finish. A great example of how good Carménère can be. (GB)
85 Aresti Pinot Noir 2012, DO Central Valley ($11.99)
Red cherry, strawberry floral and dried herb scents evolve towards rich cherry with chocolate, lightly firm tannins and zesty acidity on the palate. Finishes with well-integrated fruit, oak and a splash of milk chocolate. (SW)
/FRANCE / 91 Prieuré de St-Jean de Bébian La Chapelle 2011, Languedoc ($24)
Straw-yellow. Slightly buttery nose with flower and white fruit notes over a dry minerality. Ripe taste; smooth texture, almost creamy. Balanced oak and acidity, nice long finish. Ready to drink. (GBQc)
90 Château HautBergerons 2010, AOC Sauternes ($24/375 ml)
From grapes grown contiguous to Château d’Yquem. Medium gold colour. Typical Sauternes nose of floral and citrus overlaid with noble rot and some vanilla from 18 months’ oak aging. Full-bodied on the palate with flavours of pears and white flowers. Will last a long time. (RL)*
89 La Ferme du Mont La Truffière 2011, Côtes du Rhône ($15.95) A blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Clairette: deep straw colour; spicy, tropical fruit nose with a floral note; richly extracted peach and melon flavours. Full-bodied, with a star anise note. Good mouthfeel. Good value. (TA)
95 Château Trotanoy 2005, Pomerol, Bordeaux ($372)
Deep, complex fruity nose with floral notes; a hint of tar, a touch of caramel. Layers of flavours on the palate in a rich and velvety texture. Tannins are felt on the palate but they are soft and in perfect balance, as is everything else. A truly great wine, to drink now or over the next decade. (GBQc)
94 Château Daugay 2008, AOC St-Émilion Grand Cru ($31.67)
potential. Wait a few years before trying it. (GBQc)
Made from grapes from a vineyard that was once part of Château Angelus. Medium-dark garnet. From an early-drinking vintage; slightly green bouquet with Merlot spice, vanilla and earth. Tastes of raspberries with a bit of smoke from oak aging. Soft tannins, ready to drink. Punches above its weight. (RL)*
92 Château Magdelaine 2010, St-Émilion 1er Grand Cru classé, Bordeaux ($95)
93 Château Providence 2010, Pomerol, Bordeaux ($129)
91 Domaine Desmures 2011, AOC Chiroubles ($17.17)
Classy nose; difficult to describe with words, but it has an elegant floral scent with sophisticated oak. Very supple on the palate; refined taste with lots of finesse. It finishes beautifully and very smoothly. (GBQc)
93 Château Trotanoy 2010, Pomerol, Bordeaux ($249)
Full ruby. Black fruits, smoke and a good deal of oak scents, normal at this early stage. Very tight fruity flavour, a little bit “square” at the moment, yet elegant and refined. Better wait 5 years or more before opening it; to be enjoyed over a long time. (GBQc)
92 Château Lafleur-Gazin 2010, Pomerol, Bordeaux ($49)
Nose is a bit reserved, but it shows nice, pure fruity notes with luxurious oak. Tight and firm on the palate, the tannins are nonetheless well-wrapped in fruity extract. It finishes in a climax, intense and impressive, signs of truly great
Full ruby. Red fruits, fine herbs and discrete oak leave an impression of youth. Nice freshness in the mouth, velvety; it gains in firmness and finishes with increasing amplitude and great length. Impressive. (GBQc)
Medium-deep violet red. Pretty and complex aromas of raspberries, peony, and candy apple. From the highest-altitude Beaujolais Cru, this is light-bodied but interesting, tasting of fresh red berries. Best drunk young; perfect for summer afternoons on the deck. But don’t wait for it to warm up. Drink now. (RL)*
91 Château St-Georges Côte Pavie 2010, St-Émilion Grand Cru classé, Bordeaux ($51.25) Ruby colour with a purple rim. Intense blackcurrant hits you first along with other black fruits and well-dosed oak. Quite firm at this early stage of its life, its compact body will need time to express its full potential. Very well made, it has a great future. (GBQc)
90 Château de Fontenelles Cuvée Notre Dame 2009, Languedoc-Roussillon ($17)
A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Mourvèdre, this is one hot wine for the price.
It’s a dark ruby colour with rich cassis, currants, raspberry, pencil shavings, eucalypt, spice and smoky aromas on the nose. The fruits are rich and savoury in the mouth with lovely integrated spices, cedar and a subtle minty note on the finish. Serve with grilled meats. (RV)
89 Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Païs 2012, Marcillac, Southwest ($15.35)
Ruby-purplish. Mixed small red fruits, a touch of spice. A slight vegetal edge brings freshness. Very soft on the palate; velvety tannins; medium to full body with a nice roundness. It finishes barely firm with good length. Ready to drink, it will go nicely with charcuteries. (GBQc)
89 Château de Ventenac Grande Réserve Cabardès 2009, Languedoc-Roussillon ($18)
An inviting nose of blackberry, cherry-kirsch, campfire smoke and vanilla spice. The fruit is quite intense on the palate with soft tannins and gorgeous spice to balance it out. For drinking now with rack of lamb or any beef dish. A comfort wine made from Cab Sauv, Merlot, Syrah and Grenache. (RV)
89 Château Pierre de Montignac 2009, Cru Bourgeois Médoc AOC ($28)
Merlot seems quite dominant on the nose with typical earthy plum and green herbal notes. Rich dark fruit with good depth of flavour reflects the ripeness of the vintage. Tannins are solid though
approachable, and finish is already harmoniously integrated. Drinking well now but can age gracefully. (SW)
88 Château Argadens 2009, Bordeaux AC Superieur ($22.50)
On the nose, blackberry and blackcurrant with elusive floral scents — together with notes of cinnamon and clove — shift to dominant black cherry and dark plum flavours in the mouth. Chewy tannins with a touch of baker’s chocolate give plenty of weight. Well-integrated fruit and oak on the finish. (SW)
87 Château de Manissy 2010, Tavel ($17.33)
Medium-deep reddish copper colour. Nose of raspberries, ripe mango, toast and spice. Left in the sun — an occupational hazard of rosé in the summer — the aromas turn to milk chocolate–dipped strawberries, but this is better drunk well-chilled. On the palate are mixed ripe red berries with offsetting acidity and a hint of tannic backbone for structure. From a good vintage, but drink soon anyway. (RL)*
/GERMANY / 86 Blue Fish Pinot Grigio 2012, Qualitätswein, Pfalz ($13.99)
Offers characteristic varietal green apple and aromatic floral notes with refreshingly crisp acidity balancing the lightly off-dry finish. An agreeable sipper that will pair with light appetizers and lightly spiced whitemeat dishes. (SW)
//the notes /ITALY / 88 Salviano Orvieto Classico Superiore 2012, Umbria ($15)
A traditional white blend that shows lemon-lime, fresh apple, pear and honeydew notes on the nose. The fresh citrus and apple flavours are tempered by a creamy feel on the palate yet balanced by racy acidity. Try with herbed grilled chicken or seafood. (RV)
87 Frescobaldi Albizzia Chardonnay 2011, Tuscany ($12.95)
Medium straw colour; minerally, apple nose; light on the palate with apple and pear flavours. A well-priced, versatile food wine. (TA)
92 Ruffino Modus 2010, Toscana IGT ($29)
Such an elegant and enthralling Super-Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made in a modern style. The nose starts with earth and wild berries and moves into tobacco, cherries, plums and savoury spices. It is so young, yet irresistible with its complex blend of earth, fruit and spice. The palate reveals
dark fruits, minty herbs, black tar, loam and plums to go with smooth tannins through a long finish. Great followup to the amazing 2009. (RV)
92 Paolo Scavino Monvigliero Barolo 2008, Piedmont ($75)
This is a “softer” style of Barolo with a mix of cherry, tar, plum, roses, spice and mint layered on a medium-bodied frame. The flavours linger long on the finish, and with the firm tannins, I would suggest you hold for a couple of more years, and then drink until 2027. (ES)
92 Vietti Barbera d’Alba Scarrone Vigna Veccia 2010, Piedmont ($80)
Sourced from 90-year-old vines, this 2.5-acre tract of land produces some of the most intense Barbera you will ever come across. Aged for 10 months in new oak, it greets the taster with a saturated purple colour and alluring bouquet of cassis, cherry jam, raspberry jam, earth, cocoa and spice. In the mouth, there are added nuances of blueberry. There is fantastic length and concentration, but no sense of heaviness due to
Barbera’s naturally high acidity. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES)
91 Renieri Invetro Toscana IGT 2010, Tuscany ($21)
A fabulous wine with a nose of currants, black cherry, plums, leather, cinnamon and cigar leaf. It’s sleek and polished on the palate with lovely cassis, currants and plums, supple tannins and bright acidity. You can age this blend of Sangiovese, Cab Sauv and Merlot for a few years. (RV)
90 Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2010, Tuscany ($19.95)
One of the best Chiantis around for price and value. Its dense ruby colour predicts a concentration of fruit on the nose and the palate. And that’s what you get — rich bouquet of cherries and leather with a floral top note. The wine is full on the palate, dry and savoury. (TA)
89 Illuminati Riparosso 2011, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC ($14.29) Elegantly perfumed dark cherry and spice on the nose lead the way for lusciously ripe rounded flavours of
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64 // November 2013
cherry, plum and hints of blackberry, finishing with harmoniously integrated fruit, spice and a splash of dark chocolate. Tastes like a much more expensive wine. (SW)
89 Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2010, Maremma Toscana IGT ($19.99)
Warmly ripe fleshy red fruit on the nose, with subtle-background cinnamon and minty herb. Succulently ripe red cherry flavours with an appetizing touch of sour cherry, well-structured tannic grip, food-friendly acidity and dryness on the finish. Wellmade, polished wine to drink with grilled red meats and firm, ripened cheeses. (SW)
89 Santa Tresa Feudo di Santa Tresa 2009, Nivuro, Sicilia ($20.20)
Ruby-purplish. Nero d’Avola is a grape found in South Italy that often produces very nice wines. Blended with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, this expression shows a nice fruity nose with an animal touch that retains a good freshness. Tannins are finely grained; it is full-bodied but has a nice finesse to it. Drink now. (GBQc)
89 Feudo Maccari Noto Saia 2009, Sicilia ($27)
Ruby-purplish. Interesting nose of raspberry, tobacco and kirsch. Only medium-bodied, but the intense flavour opens the middle palate in a nice way. Supple and easily approachable. (GBQc)
88 Albola 2011, Chianti DOCG ($16.99)
Sangiovese with a small amount of Canaiolo in the blend. It avoids over-ripeness with good weight, structure and food-friendly acidity. (SW)
87 Caparzo Doga delle Clavule 2011, Morellino di Scansano DOCG ($18)
A fairly weighty wine with black cherry, subtle floral and savoury herb scents, rounded dark and red fruit in the mouth with a splash of dark chocolate, firm dry tannins and slightly aggressive acidity. (SW)
/NEW / ZEALAND 89 Oyster Bay Pinot Grigio 2012, Hawkes Bay ($21.99)
This elegantly simple wine embodies Pinot Grigio varietal character but with incisive Kiwi cool-climate crispness, aromatic green-apple intensity and freshness. Very well-balanced, it finishes with clean fruit and zesty mineral grip. Pair it with lighter seafoods, salads and whitemeat dishes. (SW)
90 Carrick Pinot Noir 2009, Central Otago ($38) Light ruby. Slightly perfumed nose of small red fruits, fruit stones and cinnamon. The
vibrant acidity and residual CO2 tickle the tongue while the alcohol keeps it warm. There is a nice fruity flavour in the middle palate and throughout the long finish. Ready to drink on grilled salmon or poultry. (GBQc)
/PORTUGAL / 89 Sogrape Vinhos Duque de Viseu 2009, Dão ($15)
Purplish. Red and black fruits with well-dosed oak. Nice fruity taste; oak is not too present for a well-balanced mouthfeel. Nice roundness, chewy tannins and a clean finish. A charming wine. (GBQc)
/SOUTH / AFRICA 91 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2011, Hemel-en-Aarde WO ($32.95)
Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven on Earth) is a cool-climate enclave in the Western Cape region. The combination of cool influence and 9 months of oak aging has helped to produce an elegant Chard with a deep yellow colour and a bouquet of pineapple, spice, buttered popcorn, spice and peach compote. Full malolactic was done, so the palate is creamy, with added nuances of apple and citrus. Drink over the next 3 years. As a side note, while rating this wine, I received news that Tim Hamilton Russell, the man who pioneered the first plantings and winery (namesake) in Hemel-en-Aarde, had
passed away. He was a true visionary and a staunch advocate of South Africa’s transformation from a quantity-based industry to quality. RIP. (ES)
92 De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Stellenbosch ($45)
A beautifully made Cabernet. Dense purple-ruby in colour; on the nose, cedar, blackcurrant, vanilla oak with a leafy note; very elegant, claret-style; richly extracted, dark chocolate notes. Well-balanced and firmly structured. (TA)
/SPAIN / 88 Viña Verderol Verdejo Viura 2012, Rueda DO ($13)
A charming, easy-to-drink white showing attractively aromatic peach, apricot and grapefruit with crisp acidity and gravelly mineral bite. Refreshingly light but characterful. Excellent value! (SW)
89 Torres Ibéricos 2010, Rioja ($18)
Ruby-purplish. Pleasant nose of red fruits and tobacco supported by toasted oak notes. Balanced, its intense flavour fills the mouth. Medium-bodied and full of juicy fruity extract. Enjoy now. (GBQc)
/UNITED / STATES 93 Kistler Vine Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 2010, Russian River Valley ($89.95)
Deep minerals, pear, candied
apple, fig, tropical fruits and vanilla exude from the glass. In the mouth, it is rich with a combination of cream and acidity working behind the fruit flavours. The full body and awesome aftertaste make for an absolute joy to drink. (ES)
90 J Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay 2011, Monterey ($18.95)
If your taste runs to big and buxom New-World Chardonnays, look no further than this wine. Ripe tropical fruit assails the nose riding on vanilla and oak spice. It’s full-bodied and packed with spicy pear and toasty oak flavours that linger long on the palate. (TA)
87 Bonterra Chardonnay 2011, Mendocino County, California ($19) Pale yellow. Oak-dominated nose but only because the citrus and mineral components are shy in comparison. Nice acidity, velvety mouthfeel, intense Chardonnay flavour and full finish. Ready to drink. (GBQc)
91 Meadowcroft Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Sonoma ($32)
Bold yet elegant and balanced, combining rich flavours of black cherry, currant and blackberry with a touch of forest floor, full and polished tannins. Nicely firm on the long finish, showing a fresh mineral quality. Should easily age well for a decade or more (up to 15 years, according to owner Tom Meadowcroft). A bargain for the cellar. (GB)
a little mature\\
BY TONY ASPLER Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet Folatière 2010 Bachelder Saunders Vineyard Beamsville Bench 2011 Bachelder Puligny Montrachet ‘En Corvée de Vigne’ 2011 Marimar Estate La Masia Chardonnay Don Miguel Vineyard 2010 Pearl Morissette Occidental Chardonnay Sonoma 2009
IF THE MATURITY OF A PARTICULAR WINE REGIONis measured by the respect paid to it by other long-established regions, then Ontario has come of age. I’m not talking about the world reaching out to buy Icewine, but the impact of a threeday event held in Niagara in July called i4C. i4C is a nice wordplay that stands for the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration. Now in its third year, the 2013 gathering of Chardonnay producers attracted top winemakers from Burgundy, Champagne, Hungary, Sicily, Spain, Oregon, Sonoma, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. The event is modelled on the highly successful IPNC — International Pinot Noir Celebration — held in McMinnville, Oregon, which attracts Pinot producers and lovers from all over the world. When the idea of holding a similar festival was first mooted by a group of Ontario producers, the grape of choice was Riesling; but there was already a conference spotlighting Riesling hosted by Chateau Ste Michelle in Seattle. So Ontario chose its other strong suit, Chardonnay. Under the chairmanship of Harald Thiel, proprietor of Hidden Bench, i4C has established itself in three short years as the white wine complement to IPNC, now in its 28th year. The keynote speaker for this year’s i4C was Steven Spurrier, who chaired the opening panel discussion, called “Global Perspectives on Chardonnay” — a grape he acknowledged as “completely terroir-sensitive.” Participants tasted the following wines: Jean Leon 3055 Chardonnay 2012 Pearl Morissette Estate Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011
66 // November 2013
After lunch (at which people horse-traded Chardonnays) we were shuttled to Trius for a walk-around tasting. Of the 60 wines set out on barrels in the winery’s courtyard, I was able to taste 18 before the heavens opened with a downpour worthy of Noah’s flood. The tasting resumed indoors as chefs heroically manned the grills under patio umbrellas. The next day I attended a lunch at Hidden Bench for 105, prepared by Splendido’s chef, Victor Barry. We all enjoyed a glass of Cave Spring NV Blanc de Blanc with oysters, poached Nova Scotia lobster and peas, truffled beef tartar, foie gras and strawberry before the meal. The lunch began with a panel discussion led by Jamie Goode with five winemakers whose wines we would be having with the lunch — Marlize Beyers (Hidden Bench), Norman Hardie, Clive Jones (Nautilus), Matt Chidack (Roche de Bellene) and Elizabeth Douglas (La Crema). Each course was accompanied by three Chardonnays introduced by their winemaker. Roasted Sea Scallop, Yukon Gold Potato, Chive & Smoke, with Maison Roche Bellene Chassagne-Montrachet Chevottes 2011, Norman Hardie County Chardonnay 2011, Nautilus Estate Chardonnay 2010 (best match with the dish). Perfect Hidden Bench Egg, Saskatchewan Chanterelles, Spinach & Garlic, with Lailey Vineyard Old Vines Chardonnay 2011, Flat Rock Cellars Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2011, La Crema Winery 2011 (best match). Roasted Yorkshire Pork, Crème Fraîche, Oxtails, Nasturtium and Vanilla Jus Roti, with Château Génot-Boulanger Puligny-Montrachet Les Nosroyes 2010, Hidden Bench Vineyards Chardonnay Tête de Cuvée, Kistler Vineyards Vine Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 (best match). Splendido Upper Canada Cheese Plate, with Vina Ventisquero Queulat Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 (best match), Trius Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay 2011, Cave Spring Cellars Chardonnay Estate 2011. We then made our way to the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre for an outdoor seminar on matching Indian curries with Chardonnay. Sommelier Peter Bodnar Rod chose wines to match Vikram Vij’s cuisine: Coconut Masala Prawns in Coconut Milk and Green Chili with Niagara College Teaching Winery Chardonnay Unoaked 2011 and Poplar Grove Chardonnay Reserve 2011 (better match). Chicken Curry in Sour Cream, Black Cardamom and Cloves with 13th Street Stonestone Reserve 2011 and Adelsheim Caitlin’s Chardonnay Reserve 2011 (better match). Lamb Curry in Cream and Garam Marsala with Malivoire Moira Chardonnay 2010 and Domaine de la Vourgeraie Clos du Prieuré 2007 (better match). All in all, a great experience. Can’t wait for next year. •
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Ad Yarai Mixing Pitcher & Strainer This age-old bartending tool is perfect for mixing up classic cocktails like martinis, manhattans & other cocktails! The method of stirring vs. shaking is a more gentle technique for mixing perfectly clear cocktails while adding just the right amount of dilution. The Japanese Yarai weave-pattern gives this pitcher a classic look. Final Touch includes a Hawthorne stainless steel strainer for one-handed use.
PRODUCT SPECIALTIES ON CD On The Rock Glass
Final Touch’s Kool Twister features a dripless pour-through spout; this allows the opportunity to pour straight from the bottle without removing. When frozen it will cool your reds and keep your pre-chilled whites at that perfect temperature. Simply remove from the freezer, insert your Kool Twister into the bottle and you are ready-to-serve.
Traditionally scent, temperature, and taste were the keys to drinking scotch or whiskey. This glass brings two new elements, chilling & motion, to the tasting experience. The Final Touch set includes one On The Rock Glass and one silicone ice mould. The elegant design of the glass allows you to roll the ice ball around the ROCK peak with a simple & easy motion. The rolling motion of the ice ball will chill your drink while stimulating the senses. The large 2” ice ball will outlast regular ice cubes. See how motion & ice take your drinking experience to the next level.
Conundrum Aerator Decanter This Final Touch aerating decanter elegantly holds a half bottle of wine, making it the perfect size for personal use, or in pairs for splitting up reds from whites in style. While pouring in or out, the wine is gently dispersed over the curves, providing superior aeration & oxygenation.
13pc Beer Tasting Set Final Touch’s complete beer tasting set is everything you need. Each of the 6 tasting glasses hold half a beer which is the ideal for tasting. Each shape is unique with characteristics to help to sustain carbonation, maintain lively heads, capture aroma & highlight the rich colour of certain beers. The included beer tasting guide helps you choose the perfect glass, meal, cheese and dessert. This set even includes 6 aluminum coasters with a non-slip corked bottom.
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The 7th annual Mav Wine and Spirits Awards.