Archive for September, 2020

Ask Sid: How to stock a wine cellar?

September 16th, 2020
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Question: Regarding stocking a wine cellar for an IWFS Chapter can you recommend a resource? We have a cellar but I would like to see it stocked in a strategic manner. For example- what percentages should be:

Sparkling

White
Sauv Blanc (or Bordeaux)
Chardonnay (or Burgundy)
Albarino (Spanish whites)
Italians

Reds
Pinot Noir (Burgundy)
Cabernet (Bordeaux blend)
Syrah/Grenache/Mourvèdre (Rhone)
Tempranillo (Spanish reds)
Italians

Dessert

Answer: Always an important but difficult question with no standard correct answer. Lots of informative useful articles out there on a web search for “strategy in stocking a wine cellar”. I don’t think you can arbitrarily assign percentages to any particular wine or category of sparkling, white, red or dessert. I think the best first question is how do you expect to use the wines acquired in the future. You need to examine closely the type of events you have held for your IWFS Branch plus project forward as to the wine and food events you have in mind for the next while. Some Branches focus mainly on just wine tastings while many incorporate a dinner as well. How many people normally attend? Number of bottles that will be needed per event becomes crucial. We have found for one group that usually has around 40 attending that collecting 3 bottle lots works well for instructive tastings. Another group has decided to go for more expensive wines in the cellar because they are now so costly to buy and you can try the more reasonably priced ones on your own dollar. This of course brings into debate higher wine assessment fees. Some wines such as Sparkling are always useful as being the perfect reception wine. However these bubbles and other white wines (and dessert) are generally widely available for functions on immediate purchase as fresh enjoyable ones without needing to cellar them. Of course if you want your members to experience aged vintage Champagne or older Riesling & Chardonnay among many ageable whites you would need to buy earlier. Often specific lots needed can be obtained at auction or retail. My main recommendation for you would be to start with buying good ageable diverse reds which will improve with cellaring for future events and will be increasing in value too. There are so many excellent reds from around the world that could be cellared for improvement and provide the basis for a “theme” region event in the future. This stocking of wine is a fun adventure for sure. Good luck in your research.

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MARTIN’S LANE WINERY & THEIR WINES IMPRESS

September 14th, 2020
Image courtesy: martinslanewinery.com

With fewer wine tastings being held for media & trade these days it was encouraging to see Martin’s Lane Winery do a most successful one outdoors at Ancora Restaurant in Vancouver on September 11. Since the release of their first wines from the 2104 vintage this architectural marvel as a six levels winery in East Kelowna BC has really shone with brilliant world-class Riesling and Pinot Noir varieties. The emphasis is on only quality single vineyard vines and the results produced by detail obsessed winemaker Shane Munn and his team are already sensational with a very bright future indeed. The current releases are 3 Riesling from cooler 2016 & 4 Pinot Noir from warmer 2015. Check out their website for more details including availability for purchase in the USA.

RIESLING:

SIMES VINEYARD $45: Named after the long time Mission Hill winemaker this vineyard shows a more delicate side to the fresh mineral varietal.

NARAMATA RANCH VINEYARD $55: Usually in a fuller style with more acidity and residual sugar well balanced

FRITZI’S VINEYARD $65: Named after Anthony von Mandl’s centenarian mother using the famous 21B clone uses a large German oak 1250 litre cask to advantage showing structured intense flavours.

PINOT NOIR (wild yeast, all 17 months in French oak extra tight grain, unfiltered)

NARAMATA RANCH VINEYARD $100: Three parcels of Clones from Pommard (whole cluster 35%) 943, and 667 shows lovely cherry elegance.

SIMES VINEYARD $100: Six blocks north facing extended picking of Clones 943, 667, 777, 114, and 115 with 22% whole cluster results in a cooler style with admirable textures.

DEHART VINEYARD $100: Higher elevation with west facing earlier picking using co-fermented Clones 777 & 667 has real fresh energy.

FRITZI’S VINEYARD $150: Using the 115 Clone with darker fruit notes in an intense balanced more powerful statement for aging.


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Ask Sid: What is the newest designated wine grape-growing region in Washington State?

September 9th, 2020
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Question: What is the newest designated wine grape-growing region in Washington State?

Answer: Royal Slope AVA (American Viticultural Area) inside the Columbia Valley AVA. It comprises over 150,000 acres of which nearly 2000 are planted with some 20+ grape varieties. Royal Slope is situated just north of the well-known Wahluke Slope AVA.

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REMINISCING ON ADVENTURES ON THE WINE ROUTE BY KERMIT LYNCH & MEURSAULT-CHARMES

September 7th, 2020

One of the few beneficial upsides of this continuing less social Covid-19 pandemic is allowing us to enjoy more meals at home and to reminiscence about earlier wine & food experiences. Crafting home-made sourdough bread has become a popular new sport plus distance enforced shopping at the local food markets for the unique varieties of those seasonal heirloom tomatoes is still a delightful adventure. Your scribe has been excited with delectable meals at home including fresh Dungeness crab & Wild King Chinook salmon paired with older white Burgundy that have been a continuing lifestyle that provides a wonderful present diversion from these current affairs. What a joy also to read again the words of wisdom by Kermit Lynch in his Adventures On The Wine Route (A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France) First Edition 1988. This nostalgia all came rushing back to me due to two recent old treasures revisited both from Meursault-Charmes 1985. Lots of talk these days about the terroir of a “place” and specific vineyards but less so on the producer style which is also important. Every white Burgundy aficionado seems to have thoughts on the merits of the so- called big three of Meursault: Perrieres, Genevrieres & Charmes but less on the several producers of them. In these days of sometimes disturbing pre-mox it was re-assuring to see 35 year old whites in such an amazing mature condition. The bottles were from Michelot & Francois Jobard and Kermit Lynch really nailed them with his earlier astute style descriptions!

First started collecting the wine of these producers back in the eighties influenced by their smart importation through Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berkeley California. Domaine Bernard Michelot was an icon Estate that later was split into 3 parts of Michelot-Buisson & Mestre-Michelot (now Domaine Michelot) and Michelot Mere et Fille (now Domaine Bernard-Bonin). Francois Jobard another Burgundy icon became Antoine & Francois Jobard when his son joined in 2002 and is now Antoine Jobard.

Remember some 30 years ago in August 1990 comparing this rather young elegant balanced 1985 Charmes from Michelot-Buisson with their full blown nutty rich 1982. Monitored this 1985 vintage along the way including service as my birthday celebration dinner wine in 1993 where it had put on more weight and had such a smooth intense texture but continued to show how well made it was. Celebrated my wife Joan’s birthday dinner in 1999 with a mini horizontal-vertical of all four Meursault vineyards (Charmes, Genevrieres, Poruzot, and Blagny) of Francois Jobard from both 1985 and 1986. What stood out was the more sweet ripe character of 1986 compared to 1985 (especially the prominent botrytis of 1986 Poruzot wanting a foie gras pairing) but the 1985s showed their trademark Jobard fresh acidity. In July 2003 recall serving a perfect pairing recipe idea of Salade Pere Maurice from Gerard Boyer in Reims while comparing 1985 Charmes style of Michelot-Buisson & Francois Jobard. At 18 years the full rich nutty mature Michelot contrasted with the fresher more minerally balanced Jobard. In 2020 now twice that age at 35 both Charmes continue on a remarkable plateau of enjoyment with the same relative stylings as earlier. Michelot is ripe, nutty, buttery, toasty, depth of lees and so rich. Jobard is minerally, precise, refined, steel backbone, almost still restrained but obviously mature. Wow – What a memorable difference from the very same vineyard!

Here are two pages (246 & 248) from that amazing book I recommend you read. Kermit back in 1988 so cleverly captured the essence of these two outstanding producers of Meursault that still most aptly give you admirable insight into the complexity of both wines. Hope you are recalling some inspiring memories too.


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Ask Sid: What is the highest altitude vineyard in the Okanagan British Columbia?

September 2nd, 2020
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Question: Which vineyard has the highest altitude in the Okanagan BC?

Answer: Believe the prize should go to Garnet Valley Vineyards of the Okanagan Crush Pad. Their remote site is certified organic sitting mostly around 600 metres (1968 feet) but goes up to 680 metres (2230 feet) at the very top vineyard. Some interesting young pinot noir fruit going into a very dry 2017 Free Form Blanc de Noir (150 cases from low pH 2.98, high acidity 8.8 with 18-20 months on the lees – going to about 400 cases for 2018) and their Haywire brands. Probably is the highest elevation vineyard in Canada. Couple others are close: Culmina on Margaret’s Bench is about 595 metres (check out their Unicus from Gruner Veltliner) and See Ya Later atop Hawthorne Mountain at around 2000 feet with a large planting of some 65 acres of Gewurztraminer.  

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