Ask Sid: Champagne Recommendations?

January 17th, 2018

 

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What champagne would you recommend?

Question: I live in Victoria BC and enjoy drinking Champagne. Recognize that you visit and know this region well so would appreciate please a couple of your current buying tips.

Answer: Thanks for your kind words and yes I also enjoy fine Champagne. Lucky you are in British Columbia as the Champagne selection is quite diverse with a couple hundred products and is fairly world priced.

Presently suggest among many choices these 3 listed top bubbles in the BC LDB inventory:

1. LE MESNIL BLANC DE BLANCS GRAND CRU BRUT $50.99 (plus 15% taxes) This Champagne shows consistently well (including in blind tastings) with that special quality Chardonnay fruit from Le Mesnil region and is truly a best buy.

2. POL ROGER VINTAGE BRUT 2008  $94.99 Always dependable and so balanced that it ages really well. Still enjoying youthful 1996 & 1990 that are rare treasures. Their NV Cuvee de Reserve Brut for $65.99 and 2006 Vintage at $94.99 ( also mags for $199.99) are also excellent but much more forwardly drinking than the classic year of  2008 which with more needed bottle age will ultimately turn into a superstar. Outstanding.

3. PIERRE PAILLARD LES PARCELLES BOUZY GRAND CRU $120.99/MAGNUM (also in 750 for $56.99) Champagne in magnum size is always the smartest choice for aging. This one from vignerons in Bouzy since 1799 uses a base wine from 2013 of 60% pinot noir & 40% chardonnay disgorged August 2017 with a low 3.5 g/l dosage. Highly recommend putting a couple of these big bottles away for a future special occasion!


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Wish More Wineries Would Follow Brilliant Lead of Valuable iD Inside Information Used by Krug Champagne!

January 15th, 2018

Krug Champagne

Fortunate to attend a dinner party last week that started out with a delicious aperitif of Champagne Krug 2003 vintage. I confess to being a longtime “Kruggie” Krug lover and know a thing or two about their family history and their outstanding wines. However was really delighted to note on the back of this bottle a Krug iD number 214043. Maggie Henriquez CEO cleverly decided that beginning with 2011 each bottle would carry a bottle specific 6 digit number on the back label called the Krug iD making more information available to those that desired this. The first number is the quarter and next two the year of disgorgement and last three the lot. During the reception your scribe accessed on his mobile phone at krug.com a treasure trove of information about this treat we were enjoying and enthusiastically read it out to a captive audience. Up popped “Vivacious Radiance” (Vivacite Solaire) perfectly describing this “hot year that surprised Krug with fruit, freshness, balance, expressiveness, vivacity and finesse, all at the same time.” What follows are some very helpful notes from Eric Lebel Chef de Caves of Krug advising that the bottle left the cellars to receive its cork in the Spring of 2014 (11 years of aging) as noted by the first 3 numbers with a blend of 46% pinot noir “lovely structure and body”, 29% chardonnay “plenty of aromatic richness” and 25% pinot meunier “expression and vivacity”. These most exquisite bubbles started with 2003 grapes subject to August record breaking average temperatures of 28.5 C (10 degrees above seasonal averages) with first harvest on August 23 (earliest since 1822) but picking continued in waves until early October. Detailed tasting notes provided of “citrus, plum, liquid honey and brioche on the nose & fresh Summer fruits, surprising red grapefruit along with candied peel, roast chestnut and caramelized apple tart on the palate” really showcased this beautiful bottle for our group enjoyment of it. Much more valuable info is presented on line including suggested food pairings, other ratings, storing & service, and even a musical experience suggestion – in this case Good Times by Aretha Franklin. Congratulations Krug for this outstanding innovative move. Many thanks! Sure wish more wineries would follow your brilliant lead of iD access for supplying this wealth of available inside information on your remarkable Champagnes.


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7 healthy foods for the healthy you!

January 13th, 2018

health food

By Joseph Temple

New years resolutions and winter getaways to the the beach are the perfect time to look at some healthy foods.  These are some simple, but effective ways to improve mealtime.


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1. Steamed shrimp is packed with Omegas and low in calories making it a great protein addition for any lunch salad.
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2. Roasting chicken and veggies in one pan is an easy way to feed the whole family on a busy weekday.
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3. Sushi is a tasty way to add nutrient packed fish and superfood-like seaweed to your diet.
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4. Eggs are versatile and cook quickly enough for anytime.
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5. Switching to whole grain baked goods like sandwich bread is a small, but important way to add fiber to many snacks and meals.
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6. Try nutritious and protein rich quinoa for breakfast – hot or cold; fresh fruit is a natural pairing.
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7. Dessert can still be an indulgence, even as part of a healthy diet.  Greek yogurt + honey + whole wheat graham crackers + fresh fruit = yummy cheesecake
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Ask Sid: When is the word Pyrazine appropriate to be used for describing wine?

January 10th, 2018
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pyrazine wine

Question: What is Pyrazine?

Answer: Usually it is the technical word to describe those aromatic compounds showing green pepper vegetal notes you find in certain wines. New Zealand sauvignon blanc usually has lots of Pyrazine and you can also find it even in different red varieties such as unripe cabernet sauvignon often grown in cooler regions. More recently it also has been used to describe a ladybug taint in a wine that results from infestations of those insects during the grape crushing procedure of wine making. Useful word.


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Searching for Wine Bargains in Maui & Finding World’s Best Value White

January 8th, 2018

Hawaii wine

Started off 2018 on a lovely Hawaiian break but was still looking for wine bargains. Many moons ago your scribe first became a Costco member in Maui to take advantage of the good wine buys then available. Everything now has changed with the proliferation of brand names and price explosion for special terroirs but the usually futile search nonetheless continues.

On Maui first checked out Long Drugs that has competitive retail prices and which was long ago a treasure trove for Champagnes & Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne but they sure have downgraded their wine selections. However went heavy on the Mauna Loa All Natural Dry Roasted Macadamias with Sea Salt 11 ounce bags on sale for only $8.99 (usually $12.99).

Next stop was Tamura’s Fine Wine in both Kihei & Kaanapali. Impressive wide selection of particularly California but not giving anything away. Some bubbles on sale but my choice of Gosset Brut Excellence was sold out so settled instead for a bottle of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut for $39.99.

On to Foodland to buy some groceries. Delightfully surprised to see they have lots of wine stocked and much of it on special sale if you buy 3 bottles. Grab 3 of Taittinger Le Francaise (balanced 45 chard/35 pinot/25 meunier) $39.98 and a trio of dependable 2015 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast at only $18.98 (cheaper than Costco).

End up at Costco and their wine section as usual is very busy with anxious customers. Carefully check out their many wines and vintages. Usually the high mark vintage score posted for most wines is for an earlier year than the one presently in stock. Frustrating. Get out your IWFS vintage card! Notice an old favourite still reasonably priced Barbera d’Asti Le Orme from Michele Chiarlo that pairs well with local Kalua pork dishes. Buy a gently floral co-op Nicolas Feuillatte Limited Edition Champagne for $26.99 and their 2015 Kirkland Chablis Premier Cru for $14.99. Know their Kirkland brand wines enjoyed with mixed success including their Champagne at only $19.99 but hadn’t tried this new Chablis. Opened it that first night with fresh Opah fish and amazed at the true expression delivered. Smart by Costco to blend fruit from 2 rather obscure Premier Cru of Vau Ligneau (most westerly from Vau de Vey) & Vaugiraut (left bank north of Vosgros) using 12 months in stainless to show off the floral citrus well balanced mineral acidity of the appellation. An excellent wine pairing with fresh fish and a remarkable bargain found at last for this outstanding value. Well done!

Have you recently found a wine bargain?


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