A drive through the country. Crisp autumn air. Leaves turning color. Apple picking. Pumpkin carving. There’s no better way to warm up this harvest season than trying some delicious new recipes. Whether it’s a wonderful addition to your next dinner, celebration table or a simple picnic in the orchard, use theses flavor combinations as your inspiration for a warming chutney, jam, jelly or preserve. They make great holiday gifts too!
Question: Sid I would like to know if you favor wine made by wild ferment or with the use of cultured yeast?
Answer: Interesting topical question. Yeasts are an important factor in winemaking. Think of how sourdough or levain influences your bread. I like wines that use the wild yeasts which are in the vineyard and the winery. These usually bring a slower more risky less efficient fermentation – but sometimes results in less alcohol with better terroir. Cultured yeasts nearly always work fast and efficiently. However, recent research reveals that the yeasts you use for the first time in the winery tend to remain and dominate regardless of your later choice. If you want to go with wild yeast it might be a good idea to paint the inside walls of your brand new winery with yeasts from your vineyard to get them well established!
Shorter crops with price increases seem to be the yearly trend for both Chablis and White Burgundy. Looking back though 2010 is the vintage that continues to impress this scribe most with their intensity and balanced acidity. Not overly heralded on their release because of difficult flowering and some rot issues caused by September rains they are developing well in bottle. Hope you had the foresight to put a few top crus away for a special occasion. Some 2010 wines are starting to show their worth but no rush with most of the best properties. Better to drink up your 2009 and 2011 before approaching those better aging 2010s.
Enjoyed recently trying quite a few whites from the 2010 vintage. All have been enjoyable with no pre-mox issues yet while generally highlighting the structure and complexity of this year. A mini vertical of Bouchard Pere Meursault Perrieres showed 2010 admired the most for the fruit purity and balance over a surprisingly rich full excellent 2009 & quicker evolving 2008. Really like the Chablis 2010 from Christian Moreau – especially their Vaillons old vines Guy Moreau Cuvee and Grand Cru Les Clos.
A dinner on September 25 at Ancora Restaurant in Vancouver spotlighted nine worthy 2010s matched with an intriguing menu influenced by Peruvian & Japanese touches that worked surprisingly well:
The 3 Grand Cru Chablis were a delight. Grenouilles softer less concentrated but lovely forwardly drinking already while the 2 Fevre showed extra depth & density. The Marl/Clay mix with limestone for Valmur contributes a full rich palate while the Les Clos really shines best with more style amazing structure and complexity from hillside limestone. Both will continue to develop well with more bottle age. Classy wines.
Morgeot quite soft and drink now plateau. Both Genevrieres impress with a clean fresh delicate lots of finesse underrated Bouchard Pere & a fuller richer more nutty Henri Boillot.
A clean fresh young still tight pure Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne, riper Premier Cru Puligny Francois Carillon and the exciting Batard from legendary Sauzet in magnum shows dramatic Grand Cru quality. All are impressive and at 6 years just approaching their best plateau of drinkability. No rush. Enthusiastic endorsement for both Chablis & White Burgundy from the 2010 vintage!
If you’re a rare wine collector, then 2016 is shaping up to be your year! First came billionaire tycoon Bill Koch who, in the spring, auctioned off 20,000 bottles from his massive collection, which ended up garnering an astounding $21.9 million dollars. And just last week, a treasure trove of fine Bordeaux belonging to the late Aubrey McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City was also placed under the gavel. Projected to sell between $5.1 and $7.6 million dollars, this collection ended up defying expectations by earning $8.44 million with approximately 80% of the lots going above the high estimate.
McClendon, a pioneer in hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) and former co-owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder was also known for being one of America’s biggest wine collectors. Never shy about showing off his spoils, reporter Chris Helman wrote that during an interview at a restaurant owned by the billionaire, McClendon poured him a 1989 Petrus, a 1989 Haut Brion, and a 1982 Lafite Rothschild. Not a bad five figure pairing to go along with some steak and fries, but as he told Helman rhetorically, “We can drink cheap wine, or we can drink good wine.”
So when Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., based in Chicago announced that the collection comprising of 1057 lots would be auctioned off, wealthy oenophiles from around the world were ready to bid, both in person and online. According to the company’s press release, nearly 1,000 bidders from 42 states, 17 countries and 4 continents generated $57 million dollars in bids. Unsurprisingly, given McClendon’s philanthropic endeavors along with his public role in moving the Seattle Supersonics to his home state, many native Oklahomans showed up to bid. “We had more than ten times the usual number of Oklahoma bidders on this record breaking day,” said the president of Hart Davis.
Question: Why do some Syrah wines have a mix of Viognier?
Answer: Many Syrah are 100% for pure definition of that variety. Some others add less than 10% Viognier to the mix. Recent Master of Wine and a native of Australia Marcus Ansems MW is the proprietor of Daydreamer Wines in the Okanagan Valley producing an excellent Syrah. At a wine seminar on global Syrah this month Marcus gave 3 reasons for the use of Viognier with Syrah:
I asked Marcus if in addition to the floral pepper aromas and rounder mouthfeel whether co-fermenting with Viognier might also improve colour density. His reply was that Syrah usually has plenty of intense colour already.