Archive for June, 2013


June 27th, 2013

We are eating more seafood than ever before with global consumption per person growing from 22 pounds in 1960 to 41 pounds in 2011. Our Chefs’ Table Society of BC launched a Spot Prawn Festival which now in the 7th successful year is very enthisiastically supported. Wonderful sustainable seafood available fresh for about 2 months (May & June) showing those distinctive sweet delicate flavours with a firm texture. Spot prawns are caught fresh daily and sold off the boats to the public at the docks every afternoon during this season.

We work closely with the Vancouver Aquarium and their Ocean Wise Program. Interesting to check out their extensive listing of seafood that is recommended, not recommended or under review on the website

Ocean Wise makes recommendations based on 4 main criteria:

a.  Abundant & Resilient

b.  Well-Managed

c.  Limited By-Catch

d. Limited Habitat Damage

You will note that so many prawns and shrimps are not recommended as well as Atlantic Cod, Atlantic farmed salmon, Blue Crab, and lots of tuna including Yellowfin Ahi. In the Vancouver marketplace Wild Pacific Salmon, Halibut, Farmed Oysters and Sablefish (black cod or butterfish) – no more Chilean sea bass – are all very popular and well supported. Ocean Wise now has more than 450 Canada-wide partners. Quite a few restaurants in Vancouver have gone to using only 100% Ocean Wise recommended products. To find sustainable seafood near where you live, download the Ocean Wise app. This is certainly something important to be aware of when making your own seafood choices. A top 12 in random order of presently recommended sustainable seafood by Ocean Wise:

1. ARCTIC CHAR : Closed-system farmed

2. HADDOCK: North West Atlantic – Handline caught

3. HALIBUT: Pacific – Bottom longline or handline caught

4. SHELLFISH: Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Scallops – Beach or Suspension Farmed

5. SPOT PRAWNS: BC – Trap caught

6. ALBACORE TUNA: BC – Pole or Troll caught

7. COD: Pacific – Bottom longline or trap caught

8. SABLEFISH: Alaska & BC – Bottom longline or trap caught

9. MACKEREL: Atlantic, Pacific, King, & Spanish – Purse seine caught

10. LAKE WHITEFISH: Lake Huron, Superior, & Michigan – Gill net or trap net caught

11. RAINBOW TROUT: Closed-system farmed

12. SALMON: Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, & Sockeye – BC & Alaska – Seine net, gill or troll caught

Please let us know your thoughts on seafood sustainablility and more specifically what seafoods are the most popular in your region.


June 21st, 2013

Enjoyed on Sunday December 30, 2012 a birthday celebration by a widowed neighbour held at her home. It was her 70th milestone and really was a lovely party starting at 2 pm and going on past 7 pm including family, relatives, friends and the like. There was a short break for singing Happy Birthday every hour or so but generally the format was socializing and cowering over a very large table with 70 different wines all numbered with stickers chronologically from 1 to 70 inclusive. What a brilliant idea! What a birthday party!
Started with the lower numbers sampling some boutique B.C. white wines of the unique 2011 Figaro (rousanne & marsanne), 2011 Fandango (albarino), and Black Hills vertical of Nota Bene (Bordeaux-style red from the Okanagan) and progressed on a world wine tour with stops including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Austria, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Loire, Chablis, Spain (lovely 2008 Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet) and ending with a couple of older bottles from her favourite region Chateauneuf-du-Pape (delicious 2001 Le Vieux Donjon & 2000 Domaine Grand Venour). Never done that before! Sure generously put a nice dent in her wine cellar!
Got me thinking of different memorable wine ways to celebrate birthdays (and other memorable anniversarys and occasions). I know many people have tried to drink the wine of their vintage birth year – but this becomes more difficult to follow particularly as you grow older. Also, fine if you were lucky enough to be born in outstanding years 1990, 1982, 1970, 1961, 1945 and others. I know for old off years I am still being asked by friends to consider supplying the odd bottle for their celebration so this tradition obviously continues to be a popular one for some.
Born in a terrible year myself I often hear the suggestion of others to consider using the year earlier when you were in fact conceived – though it could be the same year too or another terrible year in my case.
Thinking back we have often just chosen to try and open a super bottle or two or more depending on the numbers. Certainly Champagne has been the wine most consumed on birthdays in our family. The most memorable one for me with only my wife in a romantic tete-de-tete was a fantastic perfect bottle of complex 1961 Krug Collection Champagne.  However at a milestone birthday for my wife with out of town guests we served many bottles including 8 for a pre dinner blind tasting of the four vineyards (Blagny, Poruzot, Genevrieres, and Charmes) of Francois Jobard in Meursault from 1986 & 1985. Yummy and educational at the same time!

Has anyone else ever opened for a party the same number of wine bottles as their numerical birthday?
Please post your most memorable birthday celebration with wine and what would be your dream birthday wine of choice?


June 18th, 2013

I have been so fortunate to enjoy many verticals of the Pauillac property 2nd growth Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande while it was under the leadership of the now departed Madame May-Elaine de Lencquesaing – even out of Imperials! Since 1978 it has been very consistent with the merlot, cab franc and petit verdot all providing real elegance to go along with the main solid cabernet sauvignon variety. The wine always shows so well the vintage characteristics of the year and she really only missed the mark once in 1990 by leaving out the press wine. The 2006 acquisition by Champagne Louis Roederer is still the early days of evolution but there seems to be a decision made for more cab sauv in the Grand Vin with a bigger style being preferred.

Earlier this month treated to another vertical of Pichon Lalande back to 1961 – which showed the superb class of that vintage and much better than I had expected. Otherwise the wines showed pretty much as anticipated though the bottle of 1986 was earthy & slightly corked with those still backward big concentrated old style tannins – and the hard 1975 was starting to dry out. 85 had the usual lighter elegant charming herbal notes but this bottle was a bit too weedy. 78 & 79 were a lovely pair now on their best drinking plateau. The stars on the table were the 1982 & 1983! 1982 soft seductively sweet luscious and very delicious. The 1983 more classic and still needing more time to show at the highest level. It is one of the few stars of this 83 vintage because of May being on site in August and having the workers spray the vines in humid conditions to avoid the rot and mildew that showed up at some other properties.

Interesting to compare this tasting with their neighbour Chateau Pichon Baron which I wrote up on this blog February 18. Certainly the 70s and 80s were better decades for Pichon Lalande but the 1989 and 1990 Baron are both outstanding and they are making excellent wines currently.

Prior to this tasting we tried blind Glenelly’s flagship wine 2009 Lady May (90 CS, and 10 PV) from Stellenbosch in South Africa. Only 2160 cases of this low yield (31 hl/ha) fresh young dark crimson purple balanced quality wine were made.  Very cab sauv showing potential in a Bordeaux style with South African terroir! Already given 94 points by Robert Parker and 5 stars in the Platter Wine Guide. Congrats to May on her exciting new venture!

What is your favourite vintage of Pichon Lalande?

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