Ask Sid: South African Chardonnay

December 7th, 2016
Ask your question here

South African Chardonnay

Question: Just moved to Cape Town and I drink chardonnay. What to do?

Answer: Experiment by trying all the different styles of chardonnay wines available there. Should be an enjoyable learning masterclass for you in finding the chardonnay wines you like best. My favourite is the Hamilton Russell from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in South Africa. I enjoyed last month a well-balanced delicious bottle of their 2012 so well matched with a lobster dinner. The brand new 2016 Wine Spectator Top 100 has their current release 2015 scored 94 points and ranked #11. Please let us know what chardonnay you discover.


You might also like:

 alt=

Do you enjoy Chardonnay from South Africa?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Vosne-Romanne Malconsorts 1er Cru – Moillard Vertical

December 5th, 2016

Vosne-Romanne Malconsorts 1er Cru - Moillard Vertical

Vosne-Romanee is competing for the most expensive wine real estate in the world. Difficult to get bad red Burgundy wine from anyone in this distinguished terroir. In fact it has arguably the two best vineyards on the whole globe in La Romanee-Conti & La Tache both a monopoly of the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti – often referred to as DRC. Therefore it was with great anticipation (like Carly Simon “I was thinkin’ about how right tonight might be” but in a different context) that your scribe attended a dinner at Cinara in Vancouver on November 29, 2016 celebrating 10 vintages of Vosne-Romanee Malconsorts 1er Cru from Moillard. That house has been a major player in the region under a variety of confusing names: starting in 1848 as first Moillard-Grivot, Thomas+Moillard family since 1850, followed by Maison Moillard & Domaine Moillard, Domaine Thomas-Moillard, and Domaine Charles-Thomas (major contributor to the Moillard brand for 70 years). Key large parcel of vines next to La Tache was bought from Ligier-Belair in 1933 and later sold off in 2005 to Dujac & de Montille (their first vintages 2009). My anticipation was rewarded with some outstanding bottles from particularly the top vintages of 1999 and 1985 but of course as expected there was quite a bit of bottle variation.

Vertical of Vosne-Romanne Malconsorts 1er Cru:

2003: Two different labels tasted – Domaine Moillard & Domaine Charles-Thomas. Hot year with some raisin-like grapes though old vines fared better but sometimes have drier tannins. Moillard negociant label showed darker, bigger, coarser and more rustic while Charles-Thomas preferred with much lighter colour of more delicacy yet with luscious complex elegance. Well done for the hotter vintage conditions.

2002: Domaine Charles-Thomas. Not that hot but dry summer resulted in early charm. Remember it was generally a terrible European vintage with Fall rains except for the surprising rain avoidance in Burgundy. Solid drinking well and sweet with duck confit tortellini, ragu & reggiano.

2001: Domaine Charles-Thomas. Wet summer with heat spikes resulted in variable difficult conditions in which to make delicate wines but helped by selection and lower yields. Here surprisingly Vosne-Romanee classy on a lovely plateau with some drier finishing tannins.

1999: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Exceptional Burgundy year combining power + charm with ripe grapes yet superb balance. Brilliant showing by best bottles and no rush to consume them. Two bottles seemed overly herbal and dirty earth and not at the same level.

1998: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Good colour from the thick skins but tougher style could still develop.

1997: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Earlier drinking style that is smooth charming and ready to enjoy now. At a vertical tasting/dinner 15 years earlier on November 30, 2001 Comte Olivier de Mesnil du Boisson Export Director of Moillard stated that their wines show “finesse” especially with food and that even then this same 1997 showed so much “smoother” than their 1998.

1996: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Opposite of 1997 with slow maturing high acidity fruit. Still rather tart but vintage often shows improvement each time I try it.

1995: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Reduced crop that was backwardly austere early on but have gained substance and body in bottle. Some tannins left but drinking deliciously right now – especially paired with beef shortrib, wild mushrooms. potato pave & carrot.

1993: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Healthy crop of grapes with lovely fruit showing some charm. Under-rated year with a lot of style and expressive Malconsorts quality.

1985: Domaine Thomas-Moillard. Luckily I  had the opportunity to collect and enjoy drinking more of this vintage of Burgundy than any other. Never disappoints from initial charming release to presently. More maturity with 30+ years results in supreme delight here from this top terroir. So fragrant and smooth silky textures. Sublime. Unfortunately one bottle was corked. Textbook endorsement for the appellation and the Moillard house. Hopefully the 1999 will develop to this level and beyond.

Have you tried a wine from Vosne-Romanee? Impressed?


You might also like:

Have you tried a wine from Vosne-Romanee?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ask Sid: Best way to get insurance for my wine cellar?

November 30th, 2016
Ask your question here

Ask Sid: Best way to get insurance for my wine cellar?

Question: Best way to get insurance for my wine cellar.  My carrier says they do not insure wine cellars.

Answer: I would check first again with your carrier as to how much (if any) is covered by the personal property coverage of your home insurance policy. Probably bad wine or breakage would be excluded from your home policy in any event. Depending on the value of your wine cellar and for broader protection you may want to get a specific wine coverage endorsement. Chubb Insurance has an “all risk” Masterpiece Valuable Articles coverage providing broad protection on either a blanket or itemized basis for wine cellars. Also check out for further information Iron Gate Cellarage website (www.irongatewine.com) who have a Partners link that include Chubb Insurance and others.


You might also like:

 alt=

Do you have a wine cellar that's insured?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Sustainable Seafood – Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Events

November 28th, 2016

Seafood Chowder Chowdown
Image courtesy: aquablog.ca

The movement to support sustainable seafood continues strongly. Competitive chef events have just been held in Halifax, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver for #ChowderChowdown. Proceeds from these fundraisers featuring original chowders matched with craft beers directly support Ocean Wise (www.oceanwise.ca), a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Seafood has to meet four criteria: 1.Well-Managed operations based on the latest research; 2. Abundant & Resilient Species from healthy populations that are resilient to fishing pressures; 3. Limited Habitat Damage – caught or harvested in ways that do not negatively impact natural habitats and ecosystems; 4. Limited By-Catch avoiding the over 30% presently accidentally caught and discarded. Globally we are eating more seafood with average seafood consumption per person annually in 1960 at 9.9 kg and increasing in 2014 to 20 kg. However, be aware that overfishing is a great threat to our oceans and rivers.

The popular Vancouver event on November 16 featured 14 finalists each paired with a different craft beer. Your scribe as a judge enjoyed the clever use by the chefs of the ingredients in the chowders. Impressed by expensive sliced fresh geoduck slices with lemon balm, paprika, nutmeg and ginger by Chef Chris Andraza of Fanny Bay Oyster Bar matched to a winter vanilla spiced ale by Big Rock Brewery. Great diversity (not just clams!) among the 14 including a classic Black Gold Mussel Chowder by new Vancouver Aquarium Chef Ned Bell (ex Four Seasons); Giant Octopus; Ham Hock, Pea meal Bacon & Side Striped Prawn with a Honey Smoked Beer at 10.9 alcohol; Salmon & Tamarind; Gluten Free Poutine; Sablefish & Humpback Shrimp; Spicy Chorizo, Corn & Smoked Halibut Bisque; and Sturgeon Coconut Shower. The worthy winner was voted by us to be Chef Aaron Rail of the White Whale in Courtenay BC with big taste from lots of Dungeness Crab to go with clams, bacon, shrimp, smoked salmon and peppers paired with an English Style Bitter Ale.

Do you have a killer chowder recipe you would share with us?


You might also like:

Do you have a killer recipe for chowder?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ask Sid: Wine with Coq Au Vin?

November 23rd, 2016
Ask your question here

what Wine to pair with Coq Au Vin?
By stevendepolo [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Question: For our US Thanksgiving tomorrow I have decided to change from the traditional turkey with all the trimmings and just serve Coq au Vin. What about the best wine to serve with it?

Answer: Interesting. André Simon always liked Clos de Tart red Burgundy from Morey St. Denis with Coq au Vin. An excellent choice indeed and a real favourite property of mine but a rather expensive one to serve these days. A good value red Burgundy should do the trick nearly as well – particularly from the delicious forwardly drinking rich 2009 vintage. Other fuller pinot noirs from anywhere around the world could also match well. Consider also any one of the 10 cru Beaujolais which are so popular these days and they will pair nicely if served slightly cool. Maybe for fun try using the identical wine both in your chicken dish and for drinking with it – if not too expensive an option. Enjoy the special day!


You might also like:

 alt=

Thinking of having something other than a turkey on Thanksgiving?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Skip to toolbar