Wine Of The Month
In the mid-eighties, few people outside Ribera Del Duero had ever heard of the viña Pesquera wines of Alejandro Fernandez. Enter an American merchant and some influential American wine writers, one of whom compared viña Pesquera to a fine Bordeaux, ‘…and the rest, as they say, is history.’ Today, it has become one of the most prestigious bodegas in Spain, and is appreciated worldwide. Tinto Pesquera crianza is made of Tempranillo grapes. It is a dark ruby-coloured that exhibits fragrant plummy-tobaccoey, violet, cherry, and spice on the nose and palate with excellent concentration and length.
Spain’s best native red grape is grown widely over the northern and central parts of the country. Tempranillo (also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinta del Pais and several other synonyms) is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines. Tempranillo is an official variety of the DO of Ribera del Duero. Tempranillo grapes are very low in the enzymes that help to cause oxidation (browning and spoiling of juice) so the grapes are easy to handle at harvest time. The wines also keep well, and are very suitable for ageing in oak barrel.
Price: $32.99 + tax.
Find this wine at BC govt liquor stores, and selected private stores
Drinking Wine While Reading
Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy. Over the years, a number of versions were produced both in the U.S. and the U.K. Now Gaiman’s preferred edition of his classic novel reconciles these works and reinstates a number of scenes cut from the original published books.
Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.
Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in the Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. The Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Door, a noblewoman whose family has been murdered, is on a quest to find the agent that slaughtered her family and thwart the destruction of this underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life, he must join the journey to save Door’s world—and find a way to survive.
Neverwhere is one of my favourite books, and on my top 100. It is an easy read, page turning with unique characters. This engaging story is a blend of Edward Scissorhand, Beetlejuice, and Princess Bride.
Herdade Do Rocim
Herdade do Rocim is an estate located between Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo region of Portugal. Rocim sits on the Vidigueira fault, a natural landmark which marks the border between the Upper and Lower Alentejo. The East-West facing escarpment of around 50 kilometers in length defines the climate of Vidigueira, and despite its deep-lying southern location, makes it one of the most temperate sub-regions in the Alentejo. This facitlitates the domaine’s goal of showcasing the region´s terroir while producing fresh, elegant, and mineral driven wines.
Click here for the story of the wine’s namesake; 17th century Franciscan nun Mariana Alcoforado.
Medium-bodied and lightly aromatic. This lovely white offers hints of flowery notes, citrus, pear, melon whith a smooth mouthfeel finish. Overall easy drinking, uncomplicated style. Perfect for drinking without thinking.
As a wine-producing country, one of Portugal’s great strengths is its diversity. The Algarve may be Portugal’s top holiday destination, but for wine lovers, the Alentejo is Portugal’s go-to southerly region. Today, Alentejo is renowned for red blends, which are as warm, generous and easy-drinking. Between 1995 and 2010 the number of producers exploded from 45 to 260. Traditional Portuguese grape varieties dominate the region, but newcomers such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are beginning to make inroads, often blended with the local varieties. Some white wines are made in the Alentejo, but it’s the reds that are forging the region’s reputation. Demand for Alentejo wines, with their ripe fruit and full-bodied character, has been such that vineyard land here is among the most expensive in the whole country. Because many of the estates are fairly large and the climate is so reliable, economies of scale mean that Alentejo wines can combine quality with affordability, which is more of a challenge in Portugal’s more northerly regions.
SKU #388165 – Shelf Price $19.49 + tax
Available at BC Liquor Stores.
Wine Of The Month
1000 Stories Zinfandel Mendocino, California
1000 Stories is made – like craft spirits and beer – in small lots, each unique and expressive of Winemaker Bob Blue’s interpretation of the fruit, vineyards and barrels whose singular qualities came together to create something new. Each batch offers an opportunity for discovery. Maturing 1000 Stories in new and used bourbon barrels from some of America’s finest bourbon distilleries lends nuance and enhances Zinfandel’s signature red fruit and spice notes. Zinfandel ultimately is a hearty red grape whose structure and flavors successfully stand up to – and riff on – the intensity of bourbon barrels. For 1000 Stories, fruit from heritage Mendocino Zinfandel vines dating to the 1880s is enhanced in the blend by Zinfandel from some of California’s most exciting emerging AVAs for the variety.
A harmonious balance of aromatic red fruit scents, and complex dark fruit flavours. A touch of Petite Syrah adds bold black and white pepper spice. Rounded out with a pleasing layer of smokiness derived from the bourbon barrel aging. Pair with pork sausage or grilled meat. It is a ‘Love At First Sip‘ kind of wine.
SKU#149636 – Shelf price $29.99 + tax ( $2 off until March 3 )
Available at BC Liquor stores, EverythingWine stores, and selected private stores.
Wine Of The Month
Painted Wolf ‘Guillermo’ Pinotage, Swartland, South Africa
Painted Wolf Guillermo is very much a handmade wine. Guillermo is the most exciting Pinotage that I have tasted in a few years! It has a deep garnet colour, and it is full-bodied. The wine is rich, and intense with good ripe blueberry, dried fruit, exotic spice, and soft vanilla notes. It has ripe but manageable tannins and a long lingering finish. Enjoy with or without food, you decide. Suitable for cellaring for 2 to 3 years. Pair with roasted venison.
The first grape developed in South Africa, a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It was created by professor Abraham Perold in 1925, and the first commercial plantings were made in 1943, but became widely accepted only in the 60s. The name Pinotage is a combination of its two parents, as Cinsaut was then known in South Africa as Hermitage.
Listing Price: $28.99 + tax
Availabe at EverythingWine stores in BC and Britannia Wine Merchants store in Calgary .
LITERARY WINE LOVERS
I would like to share my reading list on the subject of wine.
1. The Accidental Connoisseur by Laurence Osborne
What is taste? Is it individual or imposed on us from the outside? Why are so many of us so intimidated when presented with the wine list at a restaurant? In The Accidental Connoisseur, journalist Lawrence Osborne takes off on a personal voyage through a little-known world in pursuit of some answers. Weaving together a fantastic cast of eccentrics and obsessives, industry magnates and small farmers, the author explores the way technological change, opinionated critics, consumer trends, wheelers and dealers, trade wars, and mass market tastes have made the elixir we drink today entirely different from the wine drunk by our grandparents.
2. The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace
If you’re getting your morning jollies reading about the amazing collapsing Ponzi schemes of investment wizard Bernie Madoff, you’ll love The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Story of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine. It’s all there: fraud on a grand scale; apparently smart people who should have known better committing serial stupidities; rich people doing pratfalls in public. It’s like a bottle full of schadenfreude; what more could you ask from a wine book? It makes you wonder about those wine experts!
3. Judgement of Paris by George M. Taber
The only reporter present at the mythic Paris Tasting of 1976—a blind tasting where a panel of esteemed French judges chose upstart California wines over France’s best—for the first time introduces the eccentric American winemakers and records the tremendous aftershocks of this historic event that changed forever the world of wine. The Paris Tasting of 1976 will forever be remembered as the landmark event that transformed the wine industry. At this legendary contest—a blind tasting—a panel of top French wine experts shocked the industry by choosing unknown California wines over France’s best. You might also want to read ‘To Cork Or Not To Cork’ by the same author.
4. The Wine Savant by Michael Steinberger
A savvy and opinionated tour of the contemporary world of wine. Today’s dynamic wine culture calls for a different kind of wine book. The Wine Savant is just that: punchy, polemical, and brimming with insights to educate and entertain beginning wine drinkers and seasoned oenophiles alike.
5. Bacchus & Me by jay McInerney
Jay McInerney on wine? The best-selling novelist has turned his command of language and flair for metaphor on the world of wine, providing this sublime collection of nontraditional musings on wine and wine culture that is as fit for someone looking for “a nice Chardonnay” as it is for the oenophile.
Wine is defined by the European Commission as the ‘fermented juice of grapes’. This definition excludes many types of wine such as ancient Chinese rice wine. A recent addition to the multitude of world wine is Chinese fish wine. The wine, for which the official Chinese news agency Xinhua claims orders have already been received from a number of neighbouring countries, is said to be nutritious and contain low alcohol.
In 2001, the Orkney Wine Company was established in Scotland after getting grants from the local council and the Highland Fund. The plan was to make wine with fruit and vegetables; a whisky and carrot blend was the first planned for commercial consumption. All their wines and liqueurs are made in the traditional way using fruit, flowers and vegetables, which are fermented whole resulting in high levels of anti-oxidants and maximum flavours. Only the finest natural ingredients are used, with as much as possible grown in Orkney. Turnip wine anyone?
Wine Cocktail – White Porto Mojito
Tis’ the season…to add some pizzazz to your holiday party! If you’re already feeling eggnog’d out just thinking about the holidays, and want to celebrate with something other than regular wine, try this delicious White Porto Mojito. This wine cocktail is easy to make and budget friendly. Use soda water or Perrier for a less sweet cocktail.
Recipe for about 13 people.
- Fill a large pitcher halfway with ice.
- Pour in a bottle of Taylor Fladgate White Porto.
- Slice a lemon and put the pieces in the pitcher.
- Tear up 1 or 2 sprig of mint and put in the pitcher.
- Add a 1 L bottle of tonic water.
- Stir for about 10 seconds.
- Garnish with a slice of lemon and mint. (pomegranate seeds would look very festive)
FaLaLa… Tis’ the season of festive parties. Wine will be served, and what to do with the left over?
HOW TO KEEP AN OPEN BOTTLE OF WINE?
I am asked the question, frequently. Left over wine has never been an issue in my house. A Bacchus commandment “Thou shall finish an open bottle of wine”. In the event that you have some wine left at the end of your party, here are some tips on how to seal your open bottle and where to store it to get an extra day out of your left over.
White wines will last 1 or 2 days depending of the style.
Red wines will last about 3 days depending of the style.
Full-bodied wines will retain flavour and freshness better than lighter wines.
Younger wines will retain flavour better than older wines.
Refrigerate, left over wine, will help to preserve its lifespan. You should refrigerate white and red. Don’t forget to pull out red wine about 30-40 minutes before serving.
Reduce the amount of oxygen in the bottle by putting left over into a smaller bottle. Use an air tight closure, it helps slow down oxidation.
Try a wine saver gadget. The 2 most popular ones are:
1 – VACUVIN ( a vacuum sealer ) from $18.00 to $22.00
2 – PRIVATE PRESERVATIVE ( gas) from $16.00 to $20.00
FREEZING LEFT OVER WINE
How about freezing left over wine? The experiment had good results according to the ‘Shopping Bag’ and a few other web sites. The wine tasted as good as the one day left over wine. They said that the wine tasted fine. Unfortunately, they don’t talk about the type of container used for the experiment. Have fun doing your own experiment, and let me know the result.
COOKING WITH LEFT OVER WINE
Using a bit of wine in sauces and stews enhance flavours. In restaurants, we use cheap wine for simmering dishes such as lamb shanks, and we use quality wine for sauces. I always have a bit of left over white and red in my fridge. The left over will last about 2 months. You can freeze wine in an ice tray. It is really practical, you take only as many cubes as you need. You can keep chicken and beef broth the same way.