Tuesday, April 15, 2014

in its time

As I type this, rain is pelting the windows and the temperature is plummeting from an oddly, balmy twenty plus degrees back to the minus something digits of recent past. Tell me though, this will be but a glitch in our journey from the end of winter to the beginning of summer, right? The sun will come back and do its work; those tulips stretching their tips up through the brown mess that is my garden will eventually bring some contrasting colour; laundry will hang on the line; the barbecue will have an unveiling.

In the meantime, as I wait, as I anticipate the beginning of rosè season, I'm indulging in some light whites to chill with, to pour alongside dinner, to sip whilst sitting next to the window.

First, this off-dry Riesling from Lacey Estates (a gift from our uber fantastic friends Nita and Jason) is a juicy, citrus-kissed drink with a mineral, petrol waft that blows away to fresh, tree fruit aromas. Lacey Estates Winery is one of my favourites in The County.

And then this inexpensive Grand Cru from Alsace is balanced sweetness in a bottle. A little like ginger-laced peach jam, it would be great with a cheese platter.

Both were well suited to a rabbit biryani that made it onto our plates last week.

Monday, March 24, 2014

how to eat pizza

With friends!

Step One: open a bottle of red wine.

Step Two: prep a slew of ingredients beforehand. For example: an array of cheese, pepperoni, sausage, pancetta, tomato sauce, pesto, roasted peppers, mushrooms, shrimp, roasted sweet potato (my little friend Stella insisted that sweet potato does not belong on pizza, but what does she know, she's only six), shrimp, fresh tomatoes, olives.

Step Three: give everyone a ball of dough.

Step Four: mix dough, ingredients and friends.

Step Five: share in each others' creations after baking.

Step Six: open another bottle of red wine.

We tried these two inexpensive bottles from South Africa thinking they would be good companions to the baked, doughy, cheesy pies.The Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon was quite plushy with a full, soft texture; hints of spice and leather rounded out the palate, and an acidic finish worked with the tomato sauce in the pizza. At under $10, it's a good deal for a Friday night. The Nederburg Shiraz was full and peppery with a tinge of sweet date on the finish, it had a juicy mouthful of fruit that made for easy sipping. This bottle can be had for $11.45 at the LCBO.

Friday, March 14, 2014

wine happenings

Yes, the snow might still be here. And yes, it might look like it's never going to go away, but that's all the more reason to keep drinking! There are good people out there working hard to bring it to you.

In Ottawa, on March 20th, Savvy Company is hosting a tasting of Peter Gamble and Ann Sperling wines.

The California Wine Fair is coming to a city near you, soon - April 2nd here in Ottawa.

County in the City is back on April 10th (April 3rd in Toronto). If you've never been this is a great event that brings winemakers from Prince Edward County, bottles in tow, for us city folk to try. Each year, as the vineyard population in the County grows, the event gets bigger. Yum.

And has anyone tried this bottle of Ontario Sauvignon Blanc? I opened it last night expecting to find the usual suspects in my glass: lightness, acid, grass, tree fruit, maybe something floral. Instead I found a peachy off-dry imposter that could have been a Riesling in disguise. Not bad, just very wierd.

Upon a little research I discovered that in warmer climates Sauvignon Blanc can indeed be ripe and full, but after a little reflection I think I prefer the cool climate (vintage) versions. After all, Sauvignon comes from the French 'sauvage' meaning wild; I'll take the grassy field and some puckering acidity in my glass.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

where it's at

Hello there dear blog. I've been winter dreaming, gathering in the low beams of sunlight from my nest on the sofa where I seem to spend most of my free time between the pages of a book. These are days of slow moving ways (unless you are outside in which case you are probably moving very quickly to be back inside again).

There's been some of the usual life in the rim of domestic comfort: a meal of coq au vin that was pretty good, a meal out that was very good, some red, red wine, and a revelation - I am a lover of Irish Whisky.

Sure Scotch is good with all that Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Islay variety, and Canadian Rye Whisky must be in my blood somewhere via my father, but lately I can't seem to get enough of the Irish stuff. There's a sweet, smooth quality that tickles my fancy.

Warming after a day's ski.

Oh, and there has been some Alsace-Dreaming.

Riesling from Alsace is typically a little fuller and riper than it's German counterpart. I'd also say there's more fruit and not so much petrol/slate. This makes the wine very versatile and, well, yummy. This bottle is from a Vintages Release, but there's still lots of it out there ($16.95).

Friday, January 17, 2014

a few ontario reds

I'm sitting in my kitchen sipping the dregs of a bottle of Sofia Blanc de Blancs, left-overs from a tasting of Ontario red wines. It's dark outside, although the days are becoming longer and at 5:37pm the sun has only just slipped past the horizon. Frothy bubbles dart hither and thither in my glass which, when inspected for aromas conjures images of apples, nutmeg, ripe pear, and melon with a flowery, sweet edge bordering on marzipan. It's refreshing and lively on the palate. A perfect accompaniment to writing this post.

These are the first pictures I've taken with my new cell phone. I've never owned a cell phone before, so I'm feeling pretty much like a modern, cultured woman except that I keep phoning people by accident; I showed up for a hair appointment a week early because I don't know how to use my calendar, and I still panic when it rings. That's okay, I'm sure it's going to make my life a richer, better place to be, eventually.

Before we tasted the reds we started the evening by digging into my case of Dog House White. Versatile, it was a good aperitif and paired nicely with the grilled salmon we supped on. You can read about it here, and here, and here too.

Oh, and I also haven't figured out how to change the white balance on my handy, modern cell phone, hence the lemon meringue photo. Never-the-less, I want to tell you that this bottle was the star of our tasting night. There's a waft of sulfur when it first lands in the glass, but it blows away quickly leaving some lovey red fruit on the nose. Combine that with gentle tannins and a sweet, juicy finish and at $14.95, I say this is an inviting bottle of wine.