Monday, May 31, 2010
The Sangiovese was my least favourite. It drinks more like a Beaujolais Nouveau, which isn't a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.
In the glass: it was very light and fruity with a nose of candied strawberry and cherry. There was very little tannin, and a slight acidic bite to hold the structure in this wine. It was a little flat on the palate and had a short, fruity finish. It might actually go really well with some spicy food, or would make a great sangria.
The Chardonnay was a little better. You could turn it into a spritzer - perfect for the up-coming weather.
In the glass: some promising aromas of lemon, fennel, tea, peach, and apricot lead to a light-bodied mouthfeel with a rather short, and slightly bitter finish.
So why bother posting them? Well, you might like them. The ladies who were drinking them in the middle of the day at my house liked them, and they are organic, and they are reasonably priced, and there are benefits to drinking wine from a tetra pack:
1. They're better for the environment, so you can feel smug about it.
2. They crush and take up very little room in the recycling box, so your neighbours won't see how much you drink.
3. You can take them to work and people will think it's juice.
4. They travel more easily than a bottle (see point number 3).
5. You don't have to make the trip of shame to the beer store to return the 900 of them that you drank this past month.
6. They are lighter, so you can carry more home (see point number 4).
7. You can drink them in the park without being noticed.
Since the full labels are not in the photo:
Ciao Organic Chardonnay Carton, Veneto, Italy
Ciao Organic Sangiovese Carton, Abruzzo, Italy
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Smelts. Merguez sausage.
And lamb chops.
In the glass: a light, aromatic wine with a floral nose backed up by some tropical fruit, honey and peach. I also detected a slight minerality, and a bit of an earthiness - pretty complex for a wine that is only $11.00. Round and smooth with just a little acid, this is easy to sip. It finishes off with lingering tropical fruit on the palate.
This wine is made from the Verdejo grape, thought to be originally from Africa but now grown extensively in the Rueda region of Spain, and the Viura grape, which is also called Macabeo and is one of the grapes used in making Cava, the sparkling wine of Spain. Although wine has been made in the Rueda region of Spain since the 11th century, the regions official wine status is fairly recent - since 1980. The area is known for its extreme weather, and the Verdejo grape is a good match; it's hardy and thick skinned.
The wine went well with Joe's meal, and there was a lovely vegetable couscous to go with all that mixed grill, but I'd had too much of the aforementioned wine to remember to take a photo.
Word: our modern word barbecue is thought to come from barbacoa which in the language of the Taino people of the Caribbean meant 'sacred fire pit'.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
In the glass: a faint hint of dill that quickly gives way to richer aromas of black cherry, black currant, vanilla, and dark chocolate. This medium to full-bodied wine is very smooth with a long finish reminiscent of all that dark fruit. I wrote 'lovely' on the sidebar of my notebook next to my tasting note for this wine, and that's what it is, a lovely, easy to drink example of what goodness can come from Ontario vineyards.
Peller Estates is a very grand looking winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake that began, like many wineries in the new world, by European immigrants: in this case a gentleman from Hungary named Andrew Peller. He started his Ontario grape growing venture in 1969, so the Pellers have been making wine for a very long time, as Canadian wine timelines go.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
In the glass: the aromas were dominated by earth, saddle, some tobacco and spice, but there was still a nice and lively fruitiness to the wine with some dark cherry and blueberry on the nose. I was detecting other complexities like fennel, and vanilla, and floral notes. A lovely food wine, it paired well with the array of dishes we were having: medium-bodied with a decent backbone of acidity. A spiced cherry flavour lingered for quite a while on the finish.
If you are in Toronto, or going to visit soon, I highly recomend you go and get some delish at Delux. It has a lovely wine list that is not too daunting to navigate, the servers are well-versed in things that are wine, and most importantly they were very intent on us having a great dining experience.
And on another service-related topic. A few months ago my Toshiba laptop died, suddenly, after barely a year of use. At the time I took it to PC Cyber, a computer repair shop here in Ottawa (Toshiba was completely unhelpful and I will not rant about that now). PC Cyber told me that my laptop was un-repairable, charged me a little fee for coming to this conclusion and sent me home. I decided to bring it to Joe in Toronto. Joe has not only fixed the thing, he has made it better and given me more gig-thingies, so now maybe I can edit video on it. Hooray. So, if you live in the Toronto area, and you need computer help, call Joe. He runs a little business called thinkjar and you can find him here. He's magic.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
They have fed us cheese.
In this glass: just a simple, easy to drink wine with some sour cherry and grapefruit on the nose and a slightly bitter finish ($12.95).
And homemade gravlax.
And more wine.
In that glass: delicate aromas of lavendar and violets, cherry, oregano and tobacco. This is a medium-bodied, low tannin, lovely glass of wine. It went really well with the cheese ($12.95).
And slow grilled pork... and more wine.... oh the laughs we're having.
Laurie's Homemade Gravlax - which is amazing
2 pieces of centre cut salmon (approximatly 1 lb each)
3 tbsps crushed peppercorn
3 tbsps crushed coriander seeds
2 tsps dry mustard
4 tbsps salt
4 tbsps sugar
1/2 - 1 cup of fresh dill
1-275ml bottle of gin (any will do - Laurie used Beefeater)
-mix all the dry spices (except the dill) in a blender, or food processor
-rub most of the spice mix (leave a few tbsps aside) over the flesh side of the salmon pieces
-then layer the salmon by placing the first piece skin side down in a loaf pan, and sprinkle half the gin over the fish, add the dill, and then place the second piece of fish skin side up, rub the last of the dried spices into the fish, and then sprinkle the rest of gin over the fish
-cover with plastic wrap and weigh it down (Laurie puts another tray on top of the fish and fills it with canned tomatoes)
-every 12 hours flip the salmon over
-leave it in the fridge for a minimum of 48 hours
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I first tried this wine during a tasting exercise with a classmate. We were trying Italian wines and pairing them with Italian menu items. We found that this wine went well with much of the food and surprisingly, with many of the cheeses: goat, parmesan, and a soft, washed rind style. It's actually quite difficult to pair cheese with wine; cheese comes in such a wild array of textures and tastes, and can be quite salty. Salt can accentuate the perception of alcohol in wine leaving a hot sensation in your mouth. I'm thinking a trip to that cheese shop in Kensington Market where we always go while we are in Toronto, and a lot of this wine, and it'll be a happy weekend. Meatballs in a tomato sauce are another great option for this wine, or burgers, or pizza, or grilled vegetables, or salami... okay, I'll stop.
In the glass: a deep ruby wine with notes of dark cherry and plum, violets and mineral, smoke, oregano, and fennel. For the price, this wine has a bit of complexity on the nose - probably a result of the blending of the two grapes: Nero d'Avola and Syrah. Medium-bodied, it's a fairly low acid wine with some mild, soft tannins on the finish.
The grapes for this bottle come from fields next to Marsala on the western tip of Sicily and are tended to by the Pellegrino family who have been operating their estate since 1880.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
This is what we tasted:
Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay, 2006, Okanagan ($19.95)
-pineapple, butter, caramel, banana... a luscious example of Chardonnay with that tropical fruit lingering on the finish.
Township 7 Chardonnay, 2007, Okanagan ($21.95)
-some butter and tropical fruit on the nose, but then a nice balance of citrus on the palate; lighter bodied than the Mission Hill and a little more acidic; this is a great sipping wine.
Quail's Gate Pinot Noir, 2007, Okanagan ($24.95)
-tea, earth, red fruit like raspberry, cherry and rhubarb, violets, tobacco, smoke; this is a fairly complex wine; silky tannins and a nice long, fruity finish.
Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Okanagan ($22.95)
-deep, and full-bodied with sweet spice, stewed fruit, cedar and vanilla on the nose; lovely ripe tannins and a long spicy finish.
And this was an extra treat, not available at the LCBO:
Red Rooster Cabernet/Merlot, 2007, Okanagan
-initially green aromas of asparagus and dill permeated, but they soon gave way to some dark fruit aromas of blackberry and cherry, rounded out by some earth, vanilla and cedar; this was nicely balanced with a long cherry and cedar finish.
I liked them all. Hmmm... anyone for a trip to BC?
Jane was an amazing hostess, very relaxed and I immediately felt comfortable seated on a deck full of strangers in her company. She fed us an amazing bacon and onion tart which went quite nicely with the Pinot Noir. Unfortunately, I forgot to stop and take a picture as I was stuffing it in my mouth; it was just too good. And then she fed us this rhubarb and custard flan. Doesn't it look lovely with all the hosta fronds? I'm going to make it tonight with some rhubarb from my garden.
Thank you Jane!
Monday, May 17, 2010
When Brian saw that I had tasted the Argento Cabernet Sauvignon he made a point of telling me that he prefers the Malbec. Well, actually he mistakenly bought the Cabernet Sauvignon, and the next day wondered aloud at my office door why I wasn't drinking the Malbec, because "It's so much better"... this from a beer drinker.
In response to Brian I went out and bought a bottle of each the Malbec and the Cabernet Sauvignon, to taste side-by-side in order to compare. I have to say I liked them both, but still prefer the Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a little more complex, has more structure (acid and tannin) and is a bit lighter on the palate which makes it more food friendly. Did I mention Brian's a beer drinker?
Argento Malbec in the glass: is a low acid, low tannin, rather smooth wine. It has aromas of smoke, blackberry and dark fruit, vanilla, and a notion of mineral. It finishes up with lingering fruit on the palate.
So, if you're more like Brian: a deep thinker, a little abstract, and somewhat of a rebel, you might like the Malbec, and if you're more like me: structured, analytical, and uptight (hence the need for all the wine), you might like the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
In the glass: I found aromas of earth, violets, cherry, leather, bitter chocolate, and a hint of strawberry. It leaves a lingering taste of sour cherry (and I was tasting a little anise as well) on the palate. The light body, and low tannins make this a juicy mouthful ($14.80).
Gamay (Noir) is the same grape used in making Beaujolais Nouveau (which is made in a very particular way) and is thought to be indigenous to the village of Gamay in Beaune. It's also grown in the Loire, Niagara (where we have our very own clone, Gamay Droit, the result of a mutation in the Chateau des Charmes vineyard), and plantings in Oregon are increasing.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
When we arrived Jack informed us that he had changed the agenda and we were having salmon with a tomato and onion relish instead. What, no tender little bivalves? Had I known, I may have chosen to get a Pinot Noir, or a Gamay even. And what about my risotto? Well, I was so distraught I had to down pretty much the whole bottle of Chardonnay before dinner. Okay, I shared some of it with the risotto. But then that meant we were drinking Jack's homemade wine with dinner (which isn't actually all that bad; it's sort of a peachy Pinot Grigio).
In the glass: this Chardonnay has a simple nose of red apple, lemon, and a hint of tropical fruit. It's an unoaked Chardonnay, so there is none of the buttery, caramel aromas that go in-hand with oak. For me, that's a good thing. This is a medium-bodied wine with a little acidity; it has a fairly short citrus finish. For $10.95 this is a good table wine, and would have made a decent companion to the scallops which were to be done in a creamy, herb sauce. I'm a fan of the wines from Colio Estate and would have to say this isn't my favourite of their wines. I didn't however, seem to have a problem throwing it back before dinner.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
This is an interesting blend of Riesling, Traminer and Pinot Noir. It's a great price for a sparkling wine and it's local which makes it even better.
In the glass: fresh and frothy with grapefruit, lime, mineral, and something akin to pea shoot, or cucumber on the nose; this is a simple, but nicely balanced sparkling wine with a long citrus finish ($14.65).
UPDATE: I just cheked the LCBO website and apparently they are not carrying this product anymore. Pity. There are a few left at Bank/Walkley, Richmond/Kirkwood, and Bank/Riverside.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Hallelujah, the first of the bounty from my garden has arrived. It's just a snippet of what's to come, but picking herbs at the beginning of May... well, I'm rushing out to the liquor store right now to buy a bottle of bubbly in celebration.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
In the glass: this Reisling has aromas of grapefruit, lemon, and mineral with hints of hay, and unripe peach in the background. It's light and crisp with a tart, lemony finish ($14.75).
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tempranillo is grown all over Spain. There is speculation as to whether it is an autochthon of the Rioja region, or a relative of Pinot Noir, transplanted at some point in history by the French. Either way, it is in Spain where the grape has taken hold and its long history in that country is reflected in the numerous names attached to the grape in the various regions where it grows: Aragonez; Tinto de Santiago; Cencibel; Tinto Fino... the list goes on. Tempranillo is also a major grape contributing to Port production in Portugal where they call it Tinta Roriz.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The tasting was most helpful. Kent gave us a quick story on the specifics of the grape and then reviewed each area we were tasting from as we sipped our way through Prince Edward County, Oregon, Champagne, California, and a few other places on the wine globe. It was an hour long tasting, long enough to drink six wines, but not so long that it was onerous. Considering we tried a $100 Champagne and a $50 bottle of wine (things that would never cross my palate on my budget), I'd do another of these tastings again. The tasting was reasonably priced at $35.
This is what we tasted:Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Brut, Champagne $99.95
-grapefruit, raspberry, mineral and yeast on the nose with a dry, pithy finish.
Rosehall Run, Prince Edward County, 2007 $18.95
-a light wine with violets, cherry, and hint of beetroot on the nose with a crisp, fruity finish.
Cave de Jolimant Edelweiss, Switzerland, 2008 $18.95
-drinks almost like a Beaujolais Nouveau with candied aromas of strawberries and violets leading to a light peppery aroma. Juicy on the palate.
Amity Vineyards, Oregon, 2007 $23.95
-earth, tobacco, cherry and cinnamon on the nose with a mellow, cherry finish.
Cloudy Bay, New Zealand, 2007 $46.95
-earthy and floral with slight sour cherry and spice aromas. This had a long, smooth, anise tinged finish.
Abyacacia, California, 2008 $19.95
-a slightly darker wine with cherry and black current aromas; some vanilla, spice and smoke as well with a hint of tannin and spice on the finish.
I liked the Pinot from Oregon; Nita liked the one from New Zealand.