Archive for December, 2020

Top Ten Ask Sid Questions of 2020!

December 30th, 2020
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You continue to be a marvellous audience with your widely varied questions posed each week on our #WineWednesday feature. There are similar wine information requests elsewhere on the web that your scribe comes across but am surprised by the differences among them. Most are quite basic elementary simpler bare facts ones that you could look up in good reference material. Therefore must congratulate our followers for a more learned sophisticated level of inquiry. Maybe it is just older demographics already having greater wine knowledge that are able to ask about more difficult issues. Number #1 is a surprise with “most important wine trend in the last decade.” Very subjective issue with lots of possible right answers. Need more dialogue posted on the site by members with you weighing in with your opinion on the best answer. Similarly coming in at #6 “worst wine trend” – subjectively answered as “wine score creep”. What do you think? Even last year #1 was just one person’s bold opinion on “Best & Worst Years This Decade for Burgundy.” Disagree? Impressed by your thirst for continuing wine detailed information and interest in my personal opinions. Always delighted by the challenge to consider the questions raised and pondering over my answers. Please keep up your good work with those interesting questions in 2021.

1. What wine was the most important in the last decade?
2. What is the difference between pinot noirs from Russian River & Sonoma Coast?
3. What about US Tariffs on European Wines?
4. Is it necessary to examine the cork extracted from a wine bottle?
5. What is an “ouvree”?
6. What Is Your Worst Wine Trend of the Last Decade?
7. What is your favourite wine glass?
8. What is this buzz on cheaper US wine on the way?
9. What is the best simple tasting description for a Sangiovese wine?
10. How to stock a wine cellar?
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Top 10 Posts of 2020!

December 28th, 2020

Pleased to see that your Top Ten Blog postings for 2020 were so diversified in topic. Everything from Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, Italy, masterclasses, to verticals & horizontals. Surprised insight into unique terroirs and detailed vintage assessments at a Chablis masterclass conducted by your scribe for Boston didn’t make the cut. More interest was shown in the 2019 Top Ten for wine & food destinations which have been put on hold because of the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Encouraging even during this most difficult year to learn that so many of you continue to follow our Blog. Your ability to overcome life’s challenges and continue your interest in wine & food with support for IWFS is inspiring. These times have resulted in all of us making lifestyle changes and thinking about wine & food somewhat differently. We approach 2021 with hope for more real interaction at events plus enjoyment of memorable wine & food experiences for everyone!

1. Does Montrachet Still Merit The Top Rung on the Hierarchy of White Burgundy?
2. BACK FOR A REAL DINNER-TASTING OF TOP 1990 BORDEAUX
4. Château MONTROSE VERTICAL CONFIRMS TOP QUALITY FOR LONG AGING
5. IMPRESSIVE “BEHIND THE WINES” MASTERCLASSES ON CALIFORNIA WINE
6. WINE & FOOD MASTERCLASSES EVERYWHERE ON LINE!
7. LOOKING BACK 50 YEARS TO 1970 BORDEAUX
8. BURGUNDY PAULEE IN SAFE-MODE
9. OPUS ONE MYSTERY RED SERVED BLIND AT PAUILLAC TASTING DINNER
10. Most Memorable Wine & Food Treasures of 2019 Spotlight Older Classics From Barolo

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Ask Sid: Another name for Chardonnay in Chablis?

December 23rd, 2020
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Question: Is the chardonnay grape called by another name in Chablis?

Answer: Yes the same wine grapes often go by different names. For example tempranillo often is called tinto del pais or tinto fino locally in the Ribera Del Duero region. Similarly chardonnay in Chablis sometimes goes by the local name BEAUNOIS. Also highly recommended as a reference is Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and Jose Vouillamoz for extensive coverage of 1368 vine varieties used to make wine from around the world.

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YOUR OWN SPECIAL HOLIDAY COOKIE FOR A FUN CHRISTMAS TRADITION!

December 21st, 2020

The holiday season has finally arrived in this unique crazy uncertain 2020 year. Lots of us have found new discoveries including of course sourdough bread making. However we are finding some solace in baking “goodies” and rediscovering our favourite Christmas cookies. We have tried many different ones over the decades but always find pure delight in repeating our long time treasures. So many deserve a mention.

Cappuccino shortbread dipped in dark chocolate is always a delicious treat. Fruit stollen is a traditional festive German bread worth trying. Those tasty rugelach are so addictive. For breakfast we like our cranberry coffee cake recipe. Classic linzer cookies really hit the comfort spot using that popular raspberry flavour plus almond flour with our two favs in that style shown are pistachio linzer rounds & linzer trees. Among so many excellent choices trying to pick the cookies we like the best is most difficult. Near the very top of our list has to be wonderful not too sweet florentine biscuits your scribe looks forward to enjoying every December and old style Christmas stars. This last one is a tradition around our house ever since fortunately obtaining in 1974 this recipe going far back from an IWFS member. It always brings back good cheer and nostalgic memories for us every Christmas since then. We encourage you to find or share with us here a similar precious gem for you.These stars could be the IWFS cookie of choice and your scribe encourages you to try making them. Here is the recipe:

CHRISTMAS STARS:
 
1 cup unsalted butter softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Filling: 1/2 cup red currant jelly
2 tablespoons sugar

In a large bowl cream butter & add sugar gradually beat at medium speed until light & fluffy. Beat in egg & vanilla and continue beating until well mixed. Add flour, salt, & lemon rind until well blended. Wrap & chill 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll half the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. With a star shaped cutter cut dough & bake 8-10 minutes. The remaining dough is cut in star shape but with a 1 inch circle cut out of the centre. Gather up & re-roll scraps; cut in the same manner & bake. For the filling use a small saucepan combining jelly & sugar; heat to boiling. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes until mixture thickens. To assemble, place about 1/2 a teaspoon of jelly on each star without a hole. Top with the star with a hole off centre to form a star formation sandwich. Enjoy – by itself or with a sweet dessert wine like a Riesling Auslese. 


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Ask Sid: Popular red grape on the Iberian Peninsula?

December 16th, 2020
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Question: What is the name of a popular red grape they grow on the Iberian Peninsula?

Answer: Believe you must be thinking of MENCIA. You will find it grown in north-west Spain and also Portugal (often labelled as Jaen). Usually produces a good value red wine that can take some aging to soften those inherent tannins of the variety. Recently enjoyed an aged “Tinto” Baltos 2005 by Dominio de Tares 13.5 from the Bierzo region aptly paired with a spicy Pasta Napolitana that worked well. IMHO this grape often seems to give something similar to pinot noir weight without the elegance but with floral bitter cherry fruit plus a spicy almost peppery Syrah note. Worth discovering. 

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