Archive for April, 2020

Ask Sid: Most into wine person from the social media Silicon Valley?

April 29th, 2020
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Question: Who do you think from the social media/Silicon Valley world is most into wine?

Answer: Would have to go with Kevin Systrom the co-founder of Instagram in 2010 that was acquired in 2012 by Facebook. Kevin’s 2015 wedding in Napa included stops at Beaulieu Vineyards and the wine caves of Clos Pegase Winery. His recent interview with Antonio Galloni on Vinous Live on April 22 demonstrated his continuing passion for varied quality wines from around the world while he is working presently on possible solutions to the Covid-19 virus. He loves learning and going deep as an essential to his enjoyment so the study of wine is right up his alley. He sees the future of wine producers using more computer analysis to advantage in both the vineyards and in the winery. Who would you nominate?

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April 27th, 2020

Hard to believe this unusual 2020 year is nearly one third over already. Started out by attending many wine and food Masterclasses in person but the past 6+ weeks has seen a plethora of them on line. This last week your scribe monitored over 25 of them. Get a life! Perhaps too many are disguised seminars as simply marketing tools to stimulate sales for a specific product or brand. Still there are some fantastic insightful educational ones out there you need to watch. For everyone in lockdown stay at home mode it is an unbelievable opportunity to learn more about our favourite subject of wine and food. Referenced this happening of Virtual Tastings in last week’s Blog but it has exploded more so in just one week. So many highlights including BC wines 2019 Vintage Preview Part 1 (Part 2 on April 29), 67 Pall Mall in depth wine features, California Wine Institute Episode 3 with Rory Williams on Frog’s Leap Winery (Episode 4 with Jason Haas of Tablas Creek on April 28), Benchmark with Sommelier Eric Segalbaum, Justerini & Brooks interview of Katharine Prum on Mosel, Chefs’ Table Society of BC on Comfort Foods, Blackbird with winemaker Aaron Pott, Churchill’s Port, Red Mountain Washington among others. Two that are standing out as especially informative for can’t miss appointment viewing are Acker Wines with Sommelier Arvid Rosengren, Northern Rhone focus, and Jean-Marc Roulot (upcoming Riesling with Paul Grieco April 27 & Carlton McCoy of Heitz Cellars April 29) + Vinous Live with Antonio Galloni (and sometimes Neal Martin) Monday to Friday one hour in depth with Roberto Conterno, Andy Beckstoffer, Kevin Systrom, Saskia de Rothschild, and Whitney & Rob Fisher (with 5 more scheduled this week).

For IWFS branches not presently able to hold meetings suggest members catch a 90 minute substitute now posted on You Tube by Halpern Wines of Crew Classe At Home with Chef Daniel Boulud & Frederic Engerer Volume 7 from April 24. Tour de Force event organized by Adam Halpern with winemakers from 5 properties of Artemis Domaines paired with appropriate food courses as follows:

1. Domaine D’Eugenie with Michel Mallard: 2014 Batard Montrachet showing young, fresh, stone expressive, with a long palate paired with Daniel Boulud delicate lightly smoked Danish smoked salmon with caviar and buttered brioche. Raj Vaidya his head sommelier chimed in with the wine needing rich food for the taut firm character of acid tension in 2014 white Burgundy.

2. Chateau Grillet with Jaeok Chu Cramette: 2017 Chateau Grillet just released from tiny 3.5 hectare monopole from a hot year is golden yellow intense and powerful with some spice & alcohol. Daniel from nearby Lyon suggests Sole Polonaise (or mushrooms) with a bit of black pepper. Raj finds the wine earthy with stone fruit pairing well with the cauliflower, capers, and bitter almonds in the dish.

3. Michel back with 2016 Vosne-Romanee Clos de Eugenie red (neighbour of La Tache) with energy, aromatics of spice & mint from this elegant vintage. Paired with Tuna wrapped in Panchetta an original recipe from 27 years ago when Daniel restaurant was first opened in NY. Not smoked and crisp outside from cooking plus chanterelles, sweet & earthy young garlic with pork jus in the sauce. What a pairing.

4. Clos de Tart with Alessandro Noli with 2017 from this legendary winery now undergoing major renovations having cellars now finished with 15 new tanks (replacing 8 stainless steel ones) for different sectors of the vineyard all to be completed by next year. 100% whole bunch complex aromas with red & black fruits plus roses & violets with structured silky tannins matched with whole roasted duck with rhubarb & braised turnips. Raj impressed with charming 2017s so forwardly aromatic so young and approachable.

5. Chateau Latour with Helene Genin (since 2002 & winemaker since 2007) showing 2012 to be released soon. Wet & cool Spring with long slow ripening extracted very gently to keep tannins easier. Tight but elegant and though less concentrated is balanced, delicate and spicy. Course to match is perfectly grilled juicy lamb seasoned with herbs of mint, sage, and thyme plus dried black olives for earthy tones but soaked in water first to get out the salt and then add in EVOO.

6. Eisele Vineyard with Helene Mingot showing 2016 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon (also have a citrusy flowery Sauvignon Blanc from heavier clay soils at the back of the canyon) paired from Daniel’s kitchen with quintessentail American Burger with spinach, avocado, homemade tomato sauce, smoked Hawaiian salt and garlic grilled bread.

Time to check out some of these Masterclasses. Do you have any recommendations for us of your own picks? Wonderful substitute for the old real in person connections and likely will be seeing a lot more of these in our future. Stay safe!

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Ask Sid: What is the best simple tasting description for a Sangiovese wine?

April 22nd, 2020
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Question: How would you describe the main characteristic of a wine made from the Sangiovese grape?

Answer: If only it was that simple. Generally they have good fresh acidity zest with some tannins and are excellent paired with food that includes tomatoes. Can be quite a range of different flavours though from very fruity to savoury to almost rustic in character. Depends too if it is 100% Sangiovese or mixed with other grape varieties. If I might over-simplify it for you I would say Sangiovese mainly should smell and taste of RED CHERRIES. However, in these days of climate change and concentrated wines it often seems to have more dark plums in there.

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April 20th, 2020

Busy past week spent at home including many video-audio webinar virtual tastings. A superb new way to pick up more current wine knowledge. Lots of them out there now on the web anxious to get your following. Enjoyed many including on Vinous most ably hosted by Antonio Galloni (Alex & Graeme Macdonald in Napa, Gaia Gaja, Cathy Corison, Morgan Twain-Peterson MW on Zin), Wine Institute hosted by knowledgeable Elaine Chukan Brown (Jasmine Hirsch Sonoma Coast & Cathy Corison Napa,), Benchmark (Erik Segelbaum on Bordeaux Unlocked,), Blackbird in Napa with Winemaker Aaron Pott, and Adam Halpern interviewing Sangiovese innovator Paolo De Marchi of Isole E Olena Chianti Classico & son Luca De Marchi of Propieta Sperino in northern Piedmont. Also some good showcases by dynamic John Kapon of Acker Wines both on Zoom & Instagram with legendary importer Martine Saunier and new Burgundy producer Mark O’Connell of Domaine de la Chapelle.

This last one your scribe found especially fascinating. Here you have a wine lover attending France regularly and buying wines at Hospices de Beaune auction through Christie’s 2006-2009. Mark expands his interest in 2010 working a harvest for the first time and in 2011 buying (with Philippe Remoissent and Pierre Meurgey) a monopole vineyard in Volnay Domaine Clos de la Chapelle founded by Victor Boillot in 1865. He quickly moves to owning 11 different appellation wines (all 1er Cru & Grand Cru with 3 whites and 8 reds) and obtaining an oenolgy degree at UDavis. They are introducing changes in vinification and following organic and biodynamic farming practices. Mark claims now to be the only American owner-winemaker in Burgundy. 2011 was the first year he actually made wine and this year 2020 already will be their 11th vintage. WOW!

Mark’s vintage opinions on his wines are briefly summarized as follows:

2010 loves structured wines of this vintage even though he didn’t make them;

2011 rather good Cotes de Beaune results hot early harvest end of August but 100% destemmed grapes – quite a contrast to 2016 in style;

2012: Lost 80% of the crop resulting in very concentrated wines expressive now but better complexity with 5-9 years more aging;

2013 & 2014: Quite tiny crops for them;

2015: Classic breeding reds with 20-25 years still to go;

2016: Cooler year later harvest end of September with much lower yields (frost & mildew) with 50% whole cluster (50% destemmed) with more fruit plus elegance;

2017: Really likes it with no disease and compares 1999 & 2002. Good young like 2000 (but still good today too) with less breeding than his 2015 & 2016;

2018: Believes these are his best reds ever made from Clos de la Chapelle;

2019: Warm and very ripe with concentration even more than 2015 & 2016.

Like his emphasis on expressing vineyard terroir. Describes so well the differences in his Volnays:

EN CARELLE at slope bottom with 50% clay & 50% limestone is simpliest with straight forward very Volnay style intro for drinking first;

CLOS DE LA CHAPELLE has more refined mid-palate in a “Lafite” style;

TAILLEPIEDS can “cut your feet” on the 2/3 limestone & 1/3 clay higher up on the hill. Lower pH with darker colour. Serious wine brooding more powerful textures in a “Latour” style.

Amazing story already and he hasn’t raised his wine prices since inception. Mark is a wine collector appreciating to try in establishing first a reputation for fine wines and building a producer following. Well done values.

Lots more wine webinars scheduled for this week. Worth checking some of them out!

SKUQTYWine Price Score
1336466Clos de la Chapelle Beaune Champs Pimont 2015 750ml $              79.0090pts, JG
14215536Clos de la Chapelle Beaune Champs Pimont 2016 750ml $              79.0091+pts, JG
14877013Clos de la Chapelle Beaune Teurons 2017 750ml                                                        $              70.9992+pts, JG
14323010Clos de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes 2013 750ml $           119.0093+pts, JG
14215612Clos de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes 2016 750ml $           119.0095pts, JG
14877614Clos de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes 2017 750ml                                                     $           109.0095+pts, JG
1455786Clos de la Chapelle Corton Le Rognet 2014 750ml $           109.0094pts, JG
1451629Clos de la Chapelle Corton Rognet 2011 750ml $              79.0092pts, WS
887824Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2014 750ml $              69.0094pts, JG
13364712Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2015 750ml $              79.0094pts, JG
14215336Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2016 750ml $              79.0094pts, JG
14215310Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Chanlins VV 2016 750ml                                                   $              69.9994pts, JG
14216012Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2016 1.5L $           209.0094+pts, JG
14215436Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2016 750ml $              99.0094+pts, JG
1487772Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2017 3L                                                   $           594.9994+pts, JG
14877210Clos de la Chapelle Pommard Grands Epenots 2017 750ml                                                $           109.0094+pts, JG
14217410Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Carelle 2006 750ml $              59.00
14215136Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Carelle 2016 750ml $              64.9991+pts, JG
1458759Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 1er Cru 2017 750ml                                    $              89.0094+pts, JG
1114892Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2010 750ml                                            $              99.9994pts, JG
87495Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2014 750ml $              79.0092+pts, JG
1458742Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2015 750ml                                            $           109.0094pts, JG
14215812Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2016 1.5L $           179.0094+pts, JG
14214836Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2016 750ml $              82.9994+pts, JG
1487804Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Clos de la Chapelle 2017 3L                                               $           615.9994+pts, JG
1451635Clos de la Chapelle Volnay En Carelle 2011 750ml                                                     $              49.9991pts, BH
1451642Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Les Taillepieds 2011 750ml $              79.0090pts, WS
14323212Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2013 750ml $              99.0093pts, JG
881210Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2014 750ml $              99.0093pts, JG
14215236Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2016 750ml $              79.9994pts, JG
1487812Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2017 3L                                                       $           551.9994+pts, JG
1487736Clos de la Chapelle Volnay Taillepieds 2017 750ml                                                     $              99.9994+pts, JG
14215712Clos de la Chapelle Corton Charlemagne 2016 750ml $           159.0095pts, JG
14337324Clos de la Chapelle Corton Charlemagne 2017 375ml $              85.0095pts, JG
14337236Clos de la Chapelle Corton Charlemagne 2017 750ml $           159.0095pts, JG
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Ask Sid: Best song to accompany at home wine drinking?

April 15th, 2020
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Question: What currently is the best music (song) to accompany your wine drinking at-home?

Answer: Everyone must have their own nostalgic favourite! For me the Top 3 would be –

1.      Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police

2.      It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M.

3.      All By Myself by Eric Carmen

What is yours?

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