Sunday, December 28, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We got together to sample some great flavours and enjoy each other's company. Everyone brought a bottle and we sampled our way through sparkling to fortified wines.
A great afternoon!
The following tasting notes were synthesized from everyone who left their comment sheets behind - Judi takes the prize for most scrupulous note-taker!
Cave Spring, 2007, Ontario Canada, Estate Riesling $18 - Judi's pick
Tasting notes: “Light-hearted.” Almost clear in appearance with an aroma of apples. Tastes like apples and peaches with a touch of green pepper and grapefruit, spiced lightly with anise. Mild citrus finish is clean and crisp.
Other: Goes nicely with almonds; a nice sipper in hot weather; serve with roast poultry or lobster.
Santa Margherita 2007, Italy, Pinot Grigio $16.95 - Nicki's pick
Tasting notes: Clear, white gold in appearance; aroma a bit like gasoline; taste is mineral and oily with a fast finish. Would go nicely with chicken served along with a white cream sauce.
Pelee Island Winery 2007, Ontario Canada, Pinot Grigio $11.95 - Nicki's pick
Pelee Island is the same latitude as Rome so is the site of some of Canada’s best wines. Tasting notes: Pale yellow colour; slightly chemical aroma; hits the palette hard but has a nice peachy taste; mildly acidic finish.
Try this one with white fish; it also goes nicely with fruit.
Argento 2008, Argentinia, Pinot Grigio $9.85 - Liz P's pick
Tasting notes: Brash personality. Appearance of pale straw with yellowish-green hues; aroma of grapefruit with the taste being somewhat acidic, fruity, reminiscent of grappa. The finish is a bit rough.
Other: Would probably work nicely with Thai food or veal.
Forrester 2004, South Africa, Petit Chenin - not available in Canada - from Bev's South African wine tour
Tasting notes: “Bold personality.” Warm, golden yellow colour in the glass; aroma of honey with slight petroleum note; taste is very nicely balanced, a bit buttery, with hints of peach and pineapple accompanied by a somewhat woody and sweet taste. Finish is very pleasant.
Other: This wine would make a nice accompaniment to foccaccio or go well generally with rich foods. Vintner Forrester rescued this French grape from extinction and is also known for getting Blacks to work in his wineries, somewhat of a rarity (for more info)
Ravenswood 2006 California, Zinfandel $17.95 - Liz C's pick
Tasting notes: Garnet colour; heady fruit aroma; taste is spicy, peppery, berries/dark cherries and a dry finish.
Other: Someone didn’t like the smell but liked the taste; it was suggested this young, wine would benefit from ageing to mellow the taste; light for a zinfandel; would go with pizza, burgers, thick red sauces. suggest it be decanted.
Kim Crawford 2004, Hawkes Bay, Merlot $19.95 - Liz P's pick
Tasting notes: Deep garnet or ruby red in the glass; spicy and fruity aromas; taste a nice blend of black currant, pepper, and cherry, with a touch of pickle juice. Jammy finish.
Other – would go nicely with lamb.
Solaz 2006, Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon $10.95 - Virginia's pick
Tasting notes: Deep red in the glass; earthy aroma with a hint of caramel; taste of sweet black currants, a bit jammy; moderate tannin on the finish.
Other: This blend of 80% tempranillo and 20% cabernet sauvignon is a great buy!
Kilkanoon 2006, South Australia, Shiraz $? - Christina's pick
Tasting notes: Opaque red in the glass; smoky aroma but with a hint of freshwater; hardy full taste with a strong blackberry note; sharp finish.
Other: Generally Australian wines are very fruit forward and the sweeter they are, the younger they are. This shiraz would go well with grilled red meat.
Tomassi 2006 Italy, Ripasso Valpolicelli $19.99 - Therese's pick
Tasting notes: Ruby red appearance; aroma of plums and leather; nicely balanced with a faster finish than you might expect from a big red.
Other: Ripasso is an Italian red wine from Valpolicella made by fermenting young wine with the unpressed but drained skins and lees left over from making Amarone.
Ripasso normally has a lighter taste than Amarone wines, which makes it easier to combine with food, and is often less expensive.
Cantina Di Negrar 2005, Italy, Amarone Della Vlpolicella $35.05 - Diane's pick
Tasting notes: Deep red appearance; aroma of ripe red fruits; tastes full, nicely balanced, complex with a silky finish.
Other: Grapes are harvested perfectly ripe in the first two weeks of October, by carefully choosing bunches having fruits not too close to each other, to let the air flow. Grapes are allowed to dry and shrivel (rasinate). This concentrates the remaining sugars and flavors and is similar to the production of French Sauternes. The pomace left over from pressing off the Amarone is used in the production of ripasso Valpolicellas.
Taylor Fladgate 2000, Portugal, Port, $36 - Debra's pick
Tasting notes: Deep ruby red colour; dried fruit and spice aromas; sweet, rich, dried fruit flavours; full- bodied vintage character port with a long finish. Try with sharp cheese to balance the intensely sweet taste.
Colio Estate Vineyards 2005 Ontario Canada, Late Harvest Vidal $12.85
Tasting notes: Bright golden colour; ripe apricot and honey aromas; rich, mouth filling fruit with balanced acidity and a long finish. Try with blue cheese and pear, or drizzle over ice cream.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Bon Appetit magazine recommended 20 favourite wines for $10 or less.
Great - I love a good wine, cheap. So I checked the LCBO shelves and was surprised by two things: price and availability. First off, only five of the twenty recommendations could even be purchased in this province.
Here is a great white wine available at the under $10 price:
- Fish Eye 2007 Pinot Grigio (California) US price $8, LCBO price $8.95
Then came the sticker shock:
- Goats Do Roam Red (South Africa): Rhone style blend US price $10, LCBO price $12.95
- Brancott 2008 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) US price $10, LCBO price $14.95
- Banrock Station (Australia) Shiraz: US price $5, LCBO price $11.95
- Archeo Nero D'Avola (Italy) Italian Red: US price $4, LCBO price $12.95
I thought one of the advantages of being the largest purchaser of wines IN THE WORLD was to pass savings on to customers? Or maybe Italy and Australia just have a "special price" for Ontarians.
I read somewhere that most of the wine selected at the LCBO was about $13-$15. Maybe it's just because they price most of the wine in that category because they know the price point sells.
Well, I'm going to send a note off to InfoLine at the LCBO, we'll see how long it takes to get a response and if and when it comes, I'll share it.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
In addition to being a book, there is also a website: http://www.postsecret.blogspot.com/ Just a click away, check it out.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Okay, admit it, you are at the wine store and you want something that is just a little bit tastier than everyday fare, something you haven't tried before - so you decide to spend an extra three bucks on a label you don't know, thinking it will all work out in the end.
That's what I did with this Cannonau di Sardegna 2005, using a few cues that I thought would bring rewards: just a little bit pricier than every day + '2005' + 13.5% alcohol for that full bodied taste + Italy + 'uncork one hour before serving at room temperature.' Well, those special instructions must mean it is just a bit more sophisticated than the stuff I drink right after opening. So what if there was no official DOC blessing? I’ve had plenty of great Italian reds that didn’t bear that distinction.
Maybe this would have tasted better with food or laid down for a bit. Or maybe it just needed to be poured from a great height...
All I can say is, close your eyes and pucker up! Lots and lots of tanins.
It’s not entirely horrible, I’m not going to stick it in the fridge to use it in a vinigrette or marinade. Overall quite okay, but not worth the few extra dollars. Not to me, anyway.
Even though I lost this bet, I know I’m still a sucker for the extra price point. I have a feeling the marketers know it too. But I’m starting to taste the difference of true quality, and won’t be taken in by a jacked-up price alone. At least, not the second time.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
These were the labels the sommelier chose for the tasting:
- Wilm Riesling Reserve LCBO 11452 $15.95
- Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages LCBO 365924 $17.95
- E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone LCBO 259721 $18.00
- Chateau de Gourgazaud LCBO 22384 $13.00 ** really like this one but maybe that was the tasting order (lol) Granache in this one
- Francois Pelissie Croix du Mayne LCBO 28548 $17.45 *** favourite (see comments above) This was 85% malbec, 15% merlot; grown in Southwest France or Southeast of Bordeaux. Very full bodied.
She also said you can't really get a good Bordeaux for under $20, so she didn't pour any, but said Chateau des Laurets was a good buy at $20.45
However, the next day I went to a Bordeaux tasting and found a few for a good price, actually Mouton Cadet ($14) surprised me, I think it would be a good every day choice, although in the past I have avoided that label.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
In addition to giving each of the planets a distinct musical astrological personality the opus was also introduced as representing the "arc of a life," with Saturn the Bringer of Old Age being Holst's favourite movement. It was quite war-like, actually, to my ears, like a sudden assault, instead of being something that sneaks up insidiously, which is how I think I would depict it. (Holst was 44 when he composed this, so maybe for him he saw Old Age's approach as something rude that was charging towards him, that should be fought off....). Anyway, my personal favourite was Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, which actually sounded like laughter in parts. You can listen to a portion of the symphony here.
The Planets is Holst's most popular composition, one of the most played of any English composer, but it wasn't one of his personal favourites. Funny how that seems to work.
The TSO was recording the concert so asked people not to clap between the movements, and to please try to avoid coughing at all during the performance. So instead of clapping between pieces, the audience ended up politely coughing during the intervals. Alex and I would just look at each other and laugh.
A great way to spend an evening, enjoying the music with my son.