Archive for May, 2020


May 11th, 2020

As this lock down due to the Covid-19 pandemic persistently continues more restaurants have ventured into this take out mode which have reached all-time records. In Vancouver lots of innovative approaches are being tried and even starting this Wednesday iconic John Bishop of his eponymous Bishop’s is entering the game. This after announcing on March 3rd his retirement effective August 1 of his popular 35 year old Kitsilano spot he seems to have had a change of heart. There has been a national celebration of #TakeoutDay on Wednesdays with on line live concerts organized by Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. In the USA tagged everywhere on social media are meals of #TheGreatAmericanTakeout. Everywhere in the world is the same. A favourite restaurant of ours in Paris is Akrame in the 16th arrondissement of Michelin starred chef Akrame Benallal. The teams of his 3 restaurants have united to bring you home cooking by delivery at As well as focusing on “optimal hygenic conditions” they promote use of “electric or bio-methane powered vehicles to minimize the carbon footprint” and “packaging of the dishes will be biodegradable.”

Certainly have viewed a lot of different take out dishes in person, on line, and from enthusiastic diners sending photos. Some are most impressive indeed. Your scribe is awarding his most intriguing presentation seen so far to Vespertine in Culver City LA California a 2 star Michelin with talented Chef Jordan Kahn known to be expensive but an “otherworldly” dining experience using unique quality ingredients. Some entertaining reviews on dining in including the NY Times, Eater, & by Jonathan Gold in the LA Times. However now a rather reasonably priced $59 for something special to take out. They have been pulling out some rolling theme menus to challenge themselves in the kitchen and to give interesting variety to their customers featuring Carolina Lowlands, New Orleans Cajun, and most recently Yucatan cuisine. Look at the attractive packaging and interesting dishes provided with exciting educational insights. Well done. Let’s see more of these innovative menu ideas from everybody in the Take Out World! Please support take out in your own community.

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Ask Sid: What is Saignee wine?

May 6th, 2020
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Question: Opened and liked a bottle of 2018 Saignee of Culmina Family Estate Winery from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. What is a Saignee?

Answer: Saignee comes from the French “to bleed” and is a popular method for making Rosé. Culmina bleeds off a portion of the juice from their best reds (including flagship Hypothesis) for Saignee while still in fermenters following 2 to 6 hours of skin contact for completion in small 100% stainless steel tanks and casks. The 2018 was a blend of all Golden Mile Bench fruit of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties as 53%/25/16/6. Just tasted their excellent 2019 Saignee $24 using the same respective grape varieties but in different proportions of 31/32/26/11 that is so charming with only 1.42 residual sugar.  

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10 GREAT WINE FAMILIES: A tour through Europe by Fiona Morrison MW

May 4th, 2020

Your scribe enjoyed an interview on Saturday May 2nd from Napa Valley Valley Academy on Facebook Live by Peter Marks MW of Fiona Morrison MW. My first connection to Fiona goes back decades to rather frequent wine meetings with her in London, Bordeaux, and America often in connection with my position as Chair of the IWFS Wines Committee. Always liked her outgoing personality plus respected her outstanding knowledge and reasoned analysis on all things vinous. Since then she has earned her Master of Wine in 1994, married in 1997 to Jacques Thienpoint of Chateau Le Pin in Pomerol, and gone on to become an award winning wine writer. It was a pleasure to connect with her again virtually. Pleased to learn she authored another interesting book titled 10 Great Wine Families A tour through Europe. Fiona had the remarkable experience of actually spending some days with each of these ten families and sets out her personal insights about them over four seasons listed in Contents as follows:


1. Familia TORRES – Penedes, Spain: Regeneration in Catalonia

2. Marchesi de’ FRESCOBALDI – Florence Italy: Wine saves a medieval dynasty

3. Weingut Emmerich KNOLL – Wachau, Austria: A phoenix rising next to the Danube


4. Famille THIENPOINT – Bordeaux, France: Belgium colonizes the Right Bank of Bordeaux

5. Descendientes de J PALACIOS – Bierzo, Rioja, Priorat, Spain: Pilgrims, pioneers and matadors

6. NIEPOORT Ports & Wines – Douro Valley, Portugal: A varietal uprising in the Douro


7. GAJA -Barbaresco, Italy: Maestros and earth goddesses

8. EGON MULLER – Scharzhof, Moselle, Germany


9. LIGER-BELAIR – Burgundy, France: Restoring a Grand Cru heritage

10. Famille PERRIN – Rhone, France: Family collaboration

The interview highlighted many insights into all the families including the enormous hours they all worked with their drive to succeed. All focused on long term but problems because of succession laws and dependence on nature. Difficult to plan with climate change and your crop could be wiped out by frost. Two vintages no Le Pin was produced. Sounded like there was a future possibility of a second one including wineries in the world outside Europe that would certainly include Catena in Argentina and Henschke in Australia among others. Even more likely might be an update 10 years on as as to how these ten iconic wine families are doing. Fiona made some quips about these present unique family principals which I am sure must make this book a most interesting read. She stressed the importance of having her photographer next to her to capture her behind the scenes visits. This is not a book review but was inspired to buy and look forward to learning more from reading it.

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