Ask Sid: Safe alcohol drinking limited to two drinks a week?

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Question: What is this latest buzz that the safe alcohol drinking is limited to two drinks a week?

Answer:  Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction just released this month a controversial 84-page Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health: Final Report ( The main overall emphasis of the Report seems to be placed on encouraging consumers to drink less for their “physical health”. Reference is made to mortality risk thresholds which “in Canada, the limit associated with a 1 in 1000 chance of premature death related to alcohol condition is two standard drinks per week, while the 1 in 100 risk limit is six standard drinks per week.”  It also states a second reason for this recommendation is “consuming more than two standard drinks per drinking occasion is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence.” No details about the so-called health benefits of consuming wine with food in moderation. They do say “in contrast to common perceptions, current evidence shows that drinking a little alcohol neither decreases nor increases the risk of ischemic heart disease.” But the project confirms “less consumption means less risk of harm from alcohol and from this fact, it is necessary to promote the message that it is okay not to drink alcohol.” They also recommend a policy change for “mandatory labelling of all alcoholic beverages with health warnings.”  You must decide for yourself what health risks you are willing to take and what level of wine consumption best fits your lifestyle.

Check out an article here in the Toronto Sun: New alcohol guidelines based on faulty science, misleading claims.

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@DineOutVanFest 21st Edition in 2023 January 20 to February 5

Season 21 of Dine Out Vancouver Festival @DineOutVanFest is underway running from January 20 to February 5. This is the biggest ever participation of restaurants with 350+ presented by Destination Vancouver (previously Tourism Vancouver) @MyVancouver with Charitable Partner BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF @BCHospitality). Check out the special visiting chefs Three course menus priced in 3 ranges of $20-35, $35-50, and $50-65 are well organized for booking on the site by Restaurant, Cuisine, Neighbourhood and Menu Price. Much more open for business than the restrictions which were in place because of Covid last year reported on January 17, 2022 here. Classy preview reception on January 12 by the talented team @Wedgewoodhotel who are featuring Chef Lau’s duck rillettes on their 3 course $59 menu at Bacchus Restaurant. Your scribe tested out two impressive spots of Chambar Restaurant @chambar $49 menu choices (excellent wine list by the glass) & Carlino Restaurant in Shangri-La Hotel $69 Italian menu.

Some highlights included at Chambar a remarkable Kabocha squash “Les Courges” &  Moules (mussels) signature dish and at Carlino fresh in-house daily pasta and delicious Branzino (seabass) course. Great opportunity for diners to get back to the restaurant scene by enjoying top cuisine at fair value while supporting the still struggling hospitality industry. Please book yourself a memorable

How are Dine Out Programs doing in your hometown?

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Ask Sid: Cabernet Franc name in France & Spain?

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Question: I like Cabernet Franc wines from Ontario and BC. Planning a trip this year to France and Spain and wonder under what grape variety name it will be there?

Answer: Probably Cabernet Franc which now has become a pretty universally recognized grape variety. However, as for many grapes there often is a local synonym. Check out the tome Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson et al for a well-researched guide to 1368 varieties. CABERNET FRANC is a prominent grape on the Right Bank of Bordeaux (including St. Emilion & Pomerol) known as BOUCHET, in the Loire Valley as BRETON, and Basque Country in Spain as ACHERIA. Safe travels. Hope this helps.

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Your scribe admits to a long time respect for the venerable Burgundy firm of Faiveley established in 1825. In my IWFS Monograph “An Appreciation Of The Age Of Wine” (published 2012) there is a reference made during the 1980s of “Tasting 1929 Latricieres-Chambertin with the astute Francois Faiveley in his office after hours. He has such a finely-tuned nose that he could detect the smell of the floor cleaners working way down the hall from behind closed office door saying that it interfered with the still young (even though 50+ years old) exotic perfumes of marvellous truffles, forest floor and tobacco of this beauty.” Also several previous references in this Blog to Faiveley including January 3, 2018 here on my Ask Sid Wednesday feature about fermentation temperatures and on May 27, 2014 here “on three plots of Chambertin Clos de Beze kept separately before blending” and other wine details.

Erwan Faiveley (now 7th generation) experienced the harvest in 2004 then became in 2005 GM/Chair from his father Francois at the early age of 25 (the same age that Francois joined his dad Guy in the firm back in 1976). Erwan’s sister Eve joined in 2014. Reputation for Domaine Faiveley has continued to be very high but style change has been noted from the bigger acidic, more tannic, long aging older one to a lighter, accessible, finesse, silky, and subtleness of a new modern one.

Our Group of Eight in Vancouver started 2023 off right with a smashing culinary event at Blue Water Cafe on January 10 with all wines generously donated by top fine wine collector member Ian Mottershead. What a rare special treat indeed! The aperitif of classy tight 2008 Krug Vintage Champagne brought forth lots of discussion about this “classic beauty” with higher Meunier at 25% providing citric tension to the structured 53% Pinot Noir & classy fruit aromatics of 22% Chardonnay. Opened up so nicely when matched to an exquisite nouvelle Lobster “Thermidor” starter with Spaetzle & Dijon mustard Mornay. We thought Krug 2008 perfectly previewed the elegant theme of the 8 red Burgundies that followed. Chambertin Clos de Beze is 15.4 hectares (about 38 acres) with Faiveley the 4th largest holdings at 1.29 ha/3.2 acres (behind Damoy, Rousseau, and Drouhin-Laroze) usually is more delicate & open aromatics when young than sturdy Chambertin to the south but both develop so well with lots of time in the cellar. Here are the 8 Clos de Beze tasted in this vertical with some brilliant current insights on the vintages provided to me by Erwan Faiveley (EF) plus a few brief impressions by your scribe (SC):


EF: “Maybe the greatest vintage of the 2010s at Domaine Faiveley with everything I love about Burgundy – big, fruity, delicate, long, sappy, very terroir specific”.

SC: Bright red + explosive aromas followed by a wonderful palate full of clean perfect approachable fruit. Alluring delicacy already with a touch of Oriental spice. Even this lover of older wines is blown away with the complex lovely delivery of this youth. Delightful elegant surprise of the night. Congrats!


EF: “Sad it was after 2005. Great vintage getting tertiary. Unfortunately some touch of earthy geosmin character on some terroir specific – especially in Cotes de Beaune – though don’t recall taint in Beze so should be awesome.”

SC: Lighter browner rim. Nose developed with some interesting tertiary tar notes. Open forwardly, stylish, rather delicate but drier fruit and competing in tough company.


EF: “Had this vintage 2 months ago showing stellar with so many years in front of her, Greatest vintage of the 2000s in my opinion.”

SC: Very dark – what depth of colour. More reluctant deep nose than the first two wines. Admire the classy balanced fruit classic statement. Still requires patience for the tannins and to develop all that fantastic potential. Ultimately it will be the best one in this vertical.


EF: “Would love to hear your thoughts as I still wonder whether it’s a great vintage or not. I would say yes?”

SC: Darkest of first flight that carries on right to the edge. Deep ripe intense hot year is slightly stewed but smooth softer full powerful richer delicious style with a touch of chocolate notes. Controversial year but likeable here. An atypical vintage perhaps not great like the 2005 but really easy to enjoy now – especially with superbly prepared “ris de veau” rich sweetbreads.


EF: “Great vintage that we missed. I don’t believe we made wines up to the level of that vintage unfortunately.”

SC: Deep with a paling edge. Some of that lovely 2002 finesse comes through but does have less understated subdued fruit with a fair amount of acidity. Picked too early? EF is very frank & hard on his
Domaine wines this year but he is pretty much on the spot correct here. However, it showed better refreshment with an outstanding fresh Quebec boneless quail dish stuffed with chicken and foie gras.


EF: “Strange Faiveley vintage – a little dry and rather tannic. I am not a big fan of 1996 vintage though when I last tasted this Beze in 2013 my note reads: Really nice colour, fresh & vibrant nose, mocha, and cranberries. Really good 16/20”

SC: Deep maturing rim. Sweet entry initially but dries out in mid-palate with more tannins than fruit on the leaner finish. A bit too austere. OK.


EF: “OMG – my favourite vintage of the 1990s. Exceptional in Gevrey-Chambertin. I am sure this will be WOTN – Lucky you! 1993 Latricieres was the wine that convinced me to take over my father Francois one day. I had it first time in July 1997 and that wine has been my favourite ever since – so great!”

SC: Deeper look than 2002 & 1996. Stylish somewhat reluctant bouquet at first but opened up to be the best nose of the second flight. Admire the fruit, acid and tannins all in integrated balance here resulting in amazing delicacy and elegance. Beautiful bottle. Great but less depth here than in 2005.


EF: “Question Mark? Is it that great of a vintage? Will it be ready one day? Won’t it dry out before being ready?”

SC: Insightful questions raised by EF. SC generally continues to enjoy the charm of the underrated 1989 vintage against the bold slow developing tannic 1990s. Here Beze looks dark, deep, and youthful. Presents itself as a stern hard pupil with way more structure & tannins showing than the subdued fruit when served from a well preserved cellar. EF hit the nail squarely on the head with his issue raised! Seems big and full of potential but development continues to need careful monitoring. Jury is out.

Based on that spectacular 2019 showing your scribe is looking forward to trying more of the recent vintages from the many appellations that EF and his team are producing. Boy are they ever on the right high quality wine track! Well done. Recommend you try some.

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Ask Sid: Which wine to use in cooking a chicken breast? 

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Question: For an American Southern Style band boneless skinless chicken breast recipe I had to grab another wine and chose a California shiraz. Do you think the recipe will turn out satisfactorily? I could add a bit of a dry red, such as Paisano.

Answer: Thanks for your intriguing cooking with wine question. Good choice to use a spicy red shiraz (syrah) or even a slightly sweeter Paisano (“friend”) in your chicken breast recipe. It should turn out satisfactorily to be very tasty indeed but more in a “Coq Au Vin” style that will change the colour appearance of the bird. You must be adding the standard ingredients of Paprika, Brown Sugar, and Garlic with your red wine. More common perhaps but certainly less Southern would be to use any white wine to keep that boneless skinless pure white breast appearance intact. Should work well but of course differently with any quality wine you pick – red or white.

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