Archive for November, 2016

Ask Sid: Badacsony?

November 16th, 2016
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Badacsony wine region hungary
By János Korom Dr. from Wien, Austria (Badacsony 111) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Question: Visited Hungary this summer and was drinking a light white wine called Badacsony. Would appreciate your thoughts on it.

Answer: Not much information given to go on. However Badacsony is a wine growing region near Lake Balaton in Hungary. There are quite a few different grape varieties grown there including almond softer focused Rizling (Riesling), open Muscat Ottonel, the unique spicy aromatic Keknyelu, and my favourite one Szurkebarat (Pinot Gris). Interesting to compare their easy rounder style pinot gris with other examples of this popular grape from around the world.


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Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Vertical Dundee Hills Oregon

November 14th, 2016

Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir Vertical Dundee Hills Oregon
Image courtesy: sokolblosser.com

Last week at Whistler your scribe was participating in both the first Wine Summit followed by the 20th Cornucopia (www.whistlercornucopia.com). Many interesting events celebrating food & drink reported on Twitter @CornucopiaWine including a posting by @jamiegoodeWhat’s the future for BC wine? Specialism or diversity? Thought provoking Debate: “What should British Columbia’s identity be as a wine region?” is reported at www.wineanorak.com.

Another special treat there was chairing a vertical of SokolBlosser.com Dundee Hills pinot noirs with current winemaker (since 2012 – 4th one since 1977 first vintage) Alex Sokol Blosser and VP Consumer Sales Michael Kelly Brown. From an initial 5 acre prune orchard in 1971 converted to vines it has grown to 85 acres as the 6th largest wine producer in Oregon. The vineyard now has 15 distinct blocks of which 10 are pinot noir (Watershed, Old Vineyard, Big Tree, Goosepen, Blackberry, 12-Row, Orchard, Peach Tree, Walnut, and Concert) with different clone combinations (from 115, 667, 777, Pommard UCD4, Wadenswil, 12- Row, and Gamay Beaujolais type). The soils are rich red volcanic Jory soil with good drainage in the rain shadow of the Coast Range mountains and certified organic in 2005. Alex passed around the audience his “pet rock” sample of a volcanic rock from the vineyard. The wines have 100% French oak (“a fine sandpaper for finishing the wine”) for 16 months every vintage and were naturally made unfiltered up until 2012 when changed to a very light filtration. Alex used the light on his mobile phone under the wine glass to show the difference in the clarity of colour from 2012 onwards.

The wines showed a consistent terroir with bright expressive earthy rustic subtle aromas ranging from riper warm vintages of black cherry and raspberry to cooler years of blueberry and cranberries with more acidity. Not as sweet fruit forwardly as other regions say like California or Central Otago but showing admirable balance, finesse more subdued food friendly styling. Like the vintage differences they show. Some of my brief comments on the wines:

2007: 14.5 alcohol. Cooler year. Lighter maturing colour. Surprisingly good for an unheralded vintage showing fragility of drying fruit but with acidity and complex structured pretty flavours on a current drinking plateau – especially with food.

2008: 14 alcohol. Warm year picked 2nd week of October with minimal rain. Shows darker tones with rich vivid fully flavoured attractive styling. Easy to like as the riper dark fruits are so prominent.

2009: 14 alcohol. Warm year. Supple and easier drinking both on release and now showing bolder baking spices. Ready.

2010: 13.5 alcohol. Cooler Year but has depth and a remarkable balance of fruit with wonderful structure. Excellent wine and no rush to drink this up. Really like it.

2011: 12.5 alcohol. Cool year results in light colour and low alcohol. Some delicacy but has enough fruit to be tantalizingly seductive. Acid is working to the best advantage. This would show perfectly matched with a salmon dish.

2012: 14.5 alcohol. Warm perfect ideal growing conditions and harvest without rain has resulted in a deep generous almost dried raisin darker fruits pinot noir that impresses. Everyone in Oregon should have made good wine in 2012 from perfect grapes. Well done.

2013: 13.5 alcohol. Warm summer with very ripe grapes but heavy rains at harvest resulted in an all hands on need for picking and much sorting. The wine is much better than I had expected from this vintage and though lighter than 12 is a lovely example of the Dundee Hills style.

2014: Wine samples got lost in shipment but it was a large production yield requiring crop drop and has resulted in better balanced wine with depth than initially was predicted. 2015 is similar with the higher yields but 2016 which was just picked has lower yields of less than 2 1/2 tons per acre.

Alex is a big supporter of IWFS and has been doing an outstanding job as our Oregon wine consultant helping us with valuable input for the annual Vintage Card. Many thanks.


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Inspiration for the Thanksgiving table

November 11th, 2016

pumpkin and squash recipes for thanksgiving

By Joseph Temple

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, here are 21 pumpkin and squash recipe ideas to compliment your turkey during the holiday season!


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1. Baked Squash Appetizer

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2. Sriracha Pumpkin & Squash Soup

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3. Roasted Garlic Baby Pumpkin

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4. Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto

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5. Grandma’s Best Pumpkin Pie

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6. Pumpkin & Candied Almond Cake

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7. Spicy pumpkin and shrimp with noodles

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8. Squash and spinach salad with blue cheese

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9. Wholesome Pumpkin Muffins

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10. Squash and plum tofu

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11. Pumpkin and orange cake
with cream cheese icing

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12. Pumpkin bread

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13. Sage roasted pumpkin

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14. Pumpkin donut cake

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15. Pumpkin and mushroom risotto

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16. Pumpkin Cheesecake

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17. Pumpkin carpaccio

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18. Strawberry breakfast bowl with pumpkin seeds

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19. Zucchini and squash veggie pizza

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20. Stuffed zucchini blossoms

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21. Butternut squash and pomegranate quinoa salad

 


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Ask Sid: What is lanolin?

November 10th, 2016
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Ask Sid: What is lanolin?

Question: What wines are likely to have a smell of lanolin?

Answer: That wine term brings back old memories. The Oxford Dictionary defines lanolin as “a fat found naturally on sheep’s wool”. You don’t hear or read about it being used much lately. It was a favourite wine expression of Michael Broadbent in his early Wine Tasting books by Christie Wine Publications back in the late sixties. He often used it to describe this as the aroma of the Semillon grape in Bordeaux and the Chenin Blanc of Coteaux du Layon in the Anjou of the Loire. Interesting that both grapes deepen with a rich honeyed texture with some bottle age.


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Penfolds Re-corking Clinics

November 7th, 2016

recorking wine bottles
Image courtesy: www.penfolds.com

Penfolds re-corking clinics are celebrating 25 years since being established back in 1991. At the time it was inspired by the old Chateau Lafite-Rothschild service (no longer done) where they sent their cellarmaster around the world checking old bottles and re-corking Lafite where thought it necessary. It is an excellent free program that allows wine collectors to have the condition of their bottles (15 years of age and older) assessed by the Penfolds winemaking team in personal face-to-face interaction. This year it included Chief Winemaker Peter Gago, Senior Red Winemaker Steve Lienert and others who have just visited the North American cities of New York (October 21), Miami (October 25), Vancouver (October 28) and Los Angeles (November 2). It was their second visit to Vancouver following the first one on October 19, 2007 at the Four Seasons Hotel. At that time I brought along several bottles including the rich and powerful 1990 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon. I was impressed that Peter advised me that all my bottles were in fine shape and he didn’t recommend any re-corking. In fact he gave me a bottle of reconditioned 1980 Bin 707 to enjoy that proved later on drinking to be mature and deliciously savoury. He based his decision on my wine using the following criteria:

1. Re-Corking Not Required: No reduced ullage (space between the top fill of the wine and the cork), well cellared, no requirement for re-corking.
2. Re-Corking Optional: Slightly reduced ullage, may require re-corking.
3. Re-Corking Recommended: Very reduced ullage, high risk, requires re-corking, will assess the wine and where appropriate give authentication and back label signed off by them assuring known provenance. New corks are stamped with “Penfolds Red Wine Clinic” except for Grange which are re-corked with stamped “Grange” corks.
4. Wine No Longer Certifiable: Serious issues, unlikely to even open and check.

This visit I checked all my remaining bottles beforehand and they seemed fine to me so I didn’t present any for inspection at the Shangri-La Hotel. There were certainly a lot of other collectors there getting sage advice on their bottles. A lot of re-corking was actually happening. It is important to note that they will only re-cork your bottle one time so it best not to have it done too early – or too late! Also a chance for all of us to taste the impressive balanced more elegant 2012 Grange and the other current releases in their Portfolio. Ben Shackleford Director of WTFN Entertainment in Australia and his film crew were there doing a National Geographic documentary feature and interviewed your scribe about my passion for quality wine and my thoughts on the world wine industry with a specific reference of Penfolds contribution to it. That was an easy interview to do as this amazing hands-on re-corking clinic was just one good example of their ongoing quest for wine quality. Their valuable handbook “The Rewards Of Patience” now in the 7th edition is another one. Penfolds is also so clever with these unique programs using them for marketing purposes in an admirable way: See Anthony Gismondi Vancouver Sun newspaper column November 5, 2016 “The Penfolds Health Checks are Pure Marketing Genius” at www.vancouversun.com.

Have you tried a Penfolds wine?


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