Archive for November, 2017

Ask Sid: What is a flabby wine?

November 15th, 2017
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flabby wine

Question: What is a flabby wine?

Answer: Flabby usually means limp or relating to a person with some flesh sort of hanging down. In wine terms however we usually use it to mean a wine without enough balancing vibrant acidity. In other words the exact opposite of high acidity to describe a wine with soft low acidity. Sometimes also used for a sparkling wine that has lost most of the bubbles.


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LURE: Sustainable Seafood Recipes From The West Coast

November 13th, 2017

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I wanted to alert you all to a brand new outstanding unique cookbook LURE by talented sustainable-seafood driven chef Ned Bell with Valerie Howes. It is published by www.figure1publishing.com and distributed in the U.S. by Publishers Group West but of course is available on Amazon and other book outlets as well ($38.95 Canadian & $32.95 US). Ned Bell founder of Chefs for Oceans was Executive Chef Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver (including Yew seafood + bar) until 2016 when he became totally committed as Ocean Wise Executive Chef for the Vancouver Aquarium. His exciting first book contains wonderful recipes captured well by Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin: “When it comes to preparing delicious fish and seafood dishes, Ned has a gift for combining flavors that speaks to our minds and our bellies.”  Yes it is a remarkable cookbook with recipes easily listed by Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, Snacks, and Mains – and even (Sea)Weed Brownies for dessert. However it is much more than that as a mission statement that helps you understand the compelling need to support ocean preservation with sustainable-seafood and how best to use it in your home. It provides an encyclopaedic breakdown on recommended products (each one with a comprehensive profile) into categories of White Fish (Char, Cod, Halibut, Lingcod, Rockfish, Skate, and Sturgeon), Fatty Fish (Sablefish, Salmon, Sardines, and Tuna), Shellfish (Clams, Crab, Geoduck, Mussels, Octopus, Oysters, Scallops, Sea Urchin, Shrimp, and Squid) and Sea Greens (Dulse, Winged Kelp, and Bull Kelp). Outstanding photography throughout shows the 6 varieties of whole salmon so clearly captured in detail. Full of so many tips from a monthly seasonal guide to how to cook from pan-frying, baking, grilling, poaching, steaming, ceviche to his “naked fish” approach to building a recipe. What a useful valuable reference work! Highly recommended.


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Ask Sid: Confused by the producer name Moreau in Chablis

November 8th, 2017
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how many Moreaus in chablis?

Question: Ordered at dinner in a restaurant a 2015 Chablis from the producer J. Moreau. The sommelier told me there are several different Moreau producers. Would you kindly clarify this for me. Thanks.

Answer: Yes Moreau is an old very common producer name in Chablis. J. MOREAU had many choice historic vineyards plus a wine negociant company that they sold in the mid-eighties to Hiram Walker. CHRISTIAN MOREAU (now an outstanding top producer) bought back those vineyards resulting in their first vintage from them in 2002. There is another part of the family dating back to 1814 producing LOUIS MOREAU now in their 6th generation producing excellent Chablis over all 4 levels of the appellation. You can also find the newer MOREAU NAUDET (no relation to the above mentioned 3 Moreau producers) run by the late Stephane Moreau-Naudet producing Chablis in a low yielding riper richer style. Try them all and appreciate their differences.


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Comparing Château Pichon Baron vs. Château Latour

November 6th, 2017

Château Pichon Baron vs. Château Latour which is better

Pauillac is an outstanding long aging Left Bank appellation in the northern Medoc region of Bordeaux. Almost every wine produced from this unique terroir is impressive and of course quite expensive. However it is the home to 3 First Growths of Lafite, Latour, and Mouton which are really high priced especially compared to some of their top neighbours such as Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Lynch-Bages, Pichon-Baron, Pichon-Lalande, and Pontet-Canet. Super second growth Pichon-Baron (P-B) is owned by AXA insurance since the late eighties with vineyards on south facing gravelly soil next to Château Latour. Actually the encepagement grape variety mix is quite similar both using a majority of cabernet sauvignon (more in Latour 75% to 60+% in P-B) plus merlot (Latour less at 20% to P-B maximum 35%), and equal 4% cab franc & 1% petit verdot. We wondered how the wines of these two properties would match-up in four top vintages of 1996, 1995, 1990 and 1970 and so our Group of 8 arranged this tasting dinner on October 17, 2017 at CinCin Ristorante in Vancouver to find out. Here are your scribe’s brief impressions:

1996: Super vintage for Pauillac favouring the late ripening cabernet sauvignon. P-B took the opportunity to increase the cabernet sauvignon component in their Grand Vin this vintage to near 80% resulting in an excellent dense layered impressive wine. Latour also is so concentrated showing such classic outstanding potential. Both are clearly successes. P-B is still excellent value! Your scribe feels 1996 Latour may ultimately prove to be the greatest of all these wines in this tasting.

1995: Ripe merlot but less consistent cabernet year. P-B quite a few shades lighter on the rim than both 96s & the 95 Latour. This is forwardly drinking in a greener more herbal elegant style. Latour is much darker deeper riper with some medicinal notes but still somewhat disjointed. Both 96s preferred for cellaring over the 95s.

1990: Hot sunny year requiring grape selection and favouring heavier soils like St. Estephe. P-B shows much better colour than their 95 & 96. Young still but has real depth loaded with ripe cedar fruit. Like the structure despite the lower acidity. The silky textures now just developing were superb with the squab dish. Latour also excellent with some roasted earthy plum notes and though both are 25+ years of age they are just approaching a plateau maturity (from cold slow aging cellars) and will drink well for years in the future. Most felt 1990 Latour perhaps wine of the night but P-B still a value buy at auction.

1975: Slow developing very hard tannic vintage doing well presently in Graves & Pomerol. Only Latour here in a drier currant-like style but dropping some of those early harder tannins and is perfectly matched with the beef course. Has interest with fruit underneath and is much better than expected. Will always be one of the more austere steely Latours but may delightfully surprise you with some more bottle age. Be patient.

1970: Probably the most consistent healthy crop between 1982 and back to 1961. Most wines now mature approaching 50. P-B is ready as expected but has that exquisite open explosive complex coffee-mocha bouquet that was the best of the evening. Shows you that even though rated only 73 by Parker these old bottles of Pauillac can turn from leaner astringent problem bottles into quite delicious interesting old treasures. Don’t drink your Pauillacs too early. Latour slightly disappoints tonight as this bottle is a bit funky of unclean mushrooms. Enjoyed a wonderful clean concentrated one 4 months ago but still no rush. Always expect bottle variation from these elder aged wines.

cincin

Summary: Latour consistently delivers an outstanding deservedly praised and worthy First Growth quality. Also highly recommend the 2000 and their historic 1961. P-B perhaps is more vintage variable but showed very well indeed in vintages 1996 & 1990 and gives Latour a real run for the money with great terroir in the best vintages. Buy immediately some bottles of their amazing 2010. P-B 2000 is also excellent as is the underrated drinking well presently 1982.

Have you tried an aged Pauillac wine?


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Ask Sid: Preferred vintage between 2015 & 2014 for White Burgundy

November 1st, 2017
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Question: Buying some top white Burgundy to put down for short term aging. Do you prefer collecting the 2015 or 2014 year?

Answer: Smart move. Our new Vintage Card rates 2015 at only 5 out of 7 for both Chablis & Cote d’Or whites compared to a perfect mark 7/7 for 2014 Chablis & 6 for further south. I agree that 2014 is the preferred choice because of cooler July & August weather followed by a glorious September resulting in fresh very well balanced whites. 2015 had intense heat in Spring & Summer (especially July) resulting in some great wines too but generally the vintage leans towards a rich ripe powerful lower acidity more forwardly style. Know your producer!


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