Archive for June, 2019

Ask Sid: Choosing the correct wine glass?

June 26th, 2019
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what wine glass should I use?

Question: I have some difficulty choosing the correct wine glass for my wine. Your thoughts?

Answer: Nice dilemma to have – you must have a good  wine glass collection. Yes too many shapes and sizes out there. Credit to Riedel and the other glass manufacturers for all these fun choices. I prefer high quality thinner rim glass to enhance the appreciation of the wine being served. Bigger size is often better though those Sommelier Burgundy Grand Cru at 37 ounces are almost too large, thin & fragile. Very old wines can actually be served to their disadvantage in a very large format wine glass. Generally don’t like narrow flutes for sparkling (though show the bubbles best) or too small a glass normally used for fortified wines like Madeira & Port. Always like to choose those wider bowl glasses for both pinot noir & nebbiolo grape variety wines. A smaller glass for whites than reds is not always required. Otherwise my thoughts are that generally any glass including even a tumbler could work. Actually IMHO there is some benefit to using the same all-purpose glass you like and are familiar with so you concentrate all your attention only on the contents rather than the glass itself. Experiment. Don’t follow any strict rules. Be flexible. Discover what glass you prefer using for the wine you are serving!

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Pecorino Toscano

June 24th, 2019

Pecorino Toscano

Followers of this Blog will know that your scribe adores the quality and versatility of aged Parmigiano Reggiano from cow’s milk. After attending an insightful seminar this past week you can add Pecorino Toscano from sheep’s milk to that cheese list. This Masterclass took place in Vancouver on June 17 at Les Amis de Fromage delivered by Stefano Sarti of Cooperativa Agricola Il Forteto and their distributor Jan K. Overweel Limited. There are 4 Pecorino (Sheep in Italian is “pecora”) cheeses with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) the most well known one being Romano (named for Rome but main production area is in Sardinia), Sardo (Sardinia), Siciliano (Sicily), and Toscano (Tuscany since 1996). Sampled Fresh (young semi-soft) tasty with truffle, Fresco, and Stagionato (aged minimum 120 days,semi-hard). Impressed by the QPR (quality-to-price-ratio) and especially the lower salt content of Toscano compared to Romano. Also has a variety of interesting uses as shown on their Power Point presentation attached with various foods (fresh fava beans, fresh & preserved fruits like pear, walnuts & almonds, olives), wines (Chianti & Vernaccia di San Gimignano) and recipes (arugula salad, prosciutto & salami, grated on pizza – even suggest cannabis!). Recommend you check out these Pecorino Toscano cheeses.


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Ask Sid: Recommend a Cremant?

June 19th, 2019
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cremant sparkling wine recommendations

Question: Would you recommend a Cremant for me to try?

Answer: Cremant is very much in vogue as a sparkling wine using the Champagne secondary fermentation methods. Some well-made reasonably priced ones are currently on the market from some 8 regions of France (Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, and Savoie). Cremant d’Alsace is the largest producer. Recommend trying several regions to check the styles but include the delicious Cremant d’Alsace Rose (always 100% pinot noir grapes) from the Paul Zinck winery in the lovely village of Eguisheim. They also produce a white cremant using chardonnay, pinot blanc, and pinot noir.

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Grower Champagnes

June 17th, 2019

Seeing many more unique Grower Champagnes in the marketplace these days. We are celebrating this June “Grower Champagne Month” in Vancouver with such a diverse selection. Congrats to Van Doren Chan and her team with all the cooperation of the wine agents for spotlighting these independent grower bubbles. As Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart aptly states: “Each bottle of champagne is highlighted by a family and a face behind the label and their stories.” Recent visits to Paris by this scribe brought home the increasing use of these for by the glass wine programs in restaurants as a popular aperitif. Look for initials on the label of especially RM for Recoltant Manipulant (95% estate fruit) and CM Cooperative Manipulant (or less seen MA, ND, RC, and SR) as opposed to most common NM for Negociant Manipulant of the bigger houses. Many producers now make wider use of the softer Pinot Meunier grape variety (some even 100%) and are so reasonably priced that almost everyone in those restaurants is ordering a glass. Look for it. Some are grown in the more southerly warmer region of Cote des Bar (Aube) resulting in a more forwardly style perfect for earlier drinking. Impressive how many are now sustainable, organic and even biodynamic while using lower dosage even down to Extra Brut.

The attached list is worth exploring. Enjoyed tasting them all but these five were so well balanced and showing so delicious:

1. Le Mesnil “Blanc De Blancs” Grand Cru from Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger. A go to standard in the BC market for best quality value (QPR) of $60. Grand cru rated Cooperative chardonnay grapes with a sweeter dosage close to 10 but balanced by lovely acidity presenting a classic rich full smooth toasty attractive style.

2. Larmandier-Bernier “Latitude” Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut. Used to be called Tradition but now Latitude to showcase the charming round riper terroir of the southern portion of Vertus. Sees wood and uses some 40% of reserve wines in the blend plus 4g/l dosage. Excellent intensity by this top producer selling at $80.

3. Rene Geoffroy “Cuvee Empreinte” 1er Cru Brut 2009. Winery in Ay using earlier ripening plots of 1er cru village Cumieres with 75/20/5 PN/PM/C first juice pressing only with 6 grams dosage but no malo in this hotter vintage results in a classy fresh strawberries value at $83.

4. Eric Rodez “Cuvee Crayeres” Grand Cru. From Ambonnay a well known pinot noir region using 60% for structure but adds 40% chardonnay for elegance & finesse. Uses small oak barrels vinificiation for 20-25% adding several previous years of reserves to deliver a floral fruity minerally style at $90.

5. Jacquesson “Cuvee 741” Extra Brut. Based on 2013 vintage with 57% chardonnay, 22% pinot meunier, and 21% chardonnay with lots of vin de reserve disgorged November 2017 with 2.5 dosage. Admire this producer a lot whose sustainable vineyards are among the best maintained. Always delivers from the first one 728 (base year 2000) with wonderful fresh deep expressive complexity for $100. Recently enjoyed their 1996 Avize one of the very top bubbles of all time!

A short PS toast to one of my fav Champagne producers Vilmart an RM from 1890 in Rilly-La-Montagne now at the top of their game with the 5th generation of Laurent Champs. Both of their organic low yielding 1er cru Brut elegant bubbles were outstanding as usual: “Grande Reserve” $90 & older vines “Rubis” most expensive of all the samples at $120 but both well worth it. Perfect food wines too that age so well. Ferment all their juice in oak from barrique size up to large foudres with no malo. More reasonably priced “Krug” wannabe and a real winner itself!
Do you have a Grower Champagne you like and recommend?


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Ask Sid: Another name for Durif grape variety?

June 12th, 2019
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Question: Tasted a South African red wine Cape blend The Flatrock from Rhebokskloof that featured the Durif grape variety (mixed with Shiraz & Pinotage). Is there another name for that grape?

Answer: Yes indeed. Synonym for the same grape is Petite Sirah, You see this name used more often in America (California). This grape variety always contributes a lot of deep colour to the wine.

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