Answer: French word for Riddling of Sparkling wine – especially Champagne. A skillful process (falling into disuse because of mechanization) whereby a “remueur” worker by hand gradually over a couple of months rotates the bottles in racks called “pupitres” back and forth by a “shake & turn” tilting downward to eventually collect all the yeast lees sediment “sur pointe” into the neck (for later disgorgement removal). Pol Roger in Epernay is now one of the few Champagne houses (and perhaps the only one) still using 100% hand riddling on all their bottles. Remuage is a fun process to watch and be amazed at the speed and skill involved.
Pleased in Vancouver to be back enjoying high-quality restaurant meals again. A Bordeaux black-tie affair held on March 19th at the outstanding Boulevard kitchen reinforced that idea to the max. The culinary fare and top-class service there is running superbly orchestrated by talented Chef Roger Ma and his amazing brigade. The food courses look enticing and are delicious from bite-size varied hors d’oeuvre to most interesting tasty mains. The rhubarb dessert was a wonderful splendid work of art! Check out their innovative menu and enticing photos of the courses.
The libations started with a value Champagne Brut Selection NV of family house Marc Chauvet at Rilly-la-Montagne (between Epernay & Reims) of 60% pinot noir & 40% chardonnay with no malolactic fermentation but long lees aging. Finding these days more and more everywhere with climate changed vineyard conditions the use of no malo (or only partial) to help preserve that fresher acidity lively wine style.
A fav of mine is Domaine de Chevalier white 2008 (planted 70% sauvignon & 30% semillon) was classy, zesty honey fruit, with intense leesy length yet bottles served varied from vibrantly young to touch of oxidation mature. Olivier Bernard was so correct when he found frustrating inconsistency while drinking his aged whites with cork stoppers that he decided to bottle all of them starting in 2015 with a Diam closure (and all the reds as well from 2016).
Your scribe was at Table 3 for the five reds here. Again bottle variation raised its head as the 1995 Smith Haut Lafitte was badly corked and a replacement bottle though better and drinkable still showed a touch of musty TCA. Your scribe will sometimes unfairly dismiss those older wine write-ups by critics as maybe not reliable for the bottle you presently are tasting. It is helpful to know the wine originally showed “lush ripe cassis fruit” but that was long ago before storage conditions, individual unique corks, plus maturity in the bottle had an effect on it. Always be open minded to the actual bottle you are tasting! The hot year 2003 Haut-Marbuzet was on a lovely current drinking plateau of oaky riper fruit. The three big reds were fun to compare:
1989 Grand Puy Lacoste – a property fav but this vintage is an easy elegant simple lighter less Pauillac-like one than the still powerful 1986 or classic winners produced in 1990 & 1982.
1989 Ducru Beaucaillou – always a big risk for vintages 1987-1990 from this property due to their contaminated cellar of old wood & insulation (all replaced) resulting in some off bottles. This was an example of it.
1996 Duhart Milon – property to watch and collect currently. 1996 one of the better ones from the decades of the eighties & nineties but not singing here. More dried herbs prominent this time and not a touch on the great intense riper fruit of 2003 and subsequent vintages.
1990 Gruaud Larose – Replacement for DB was excellent indeed and clearly the wine of the night. Classic cedar open bouquet complex with rich textures. Reminded me of those choice bottles of GL from the early sixties. Beautifully paired with the beef dish.
2007 Suduiraut – Prominent Semillon (90%) here with very low yields showing intense pineapple mandarin orange with big botrytis. No bottle variation here. A real beauty!
Question: What is all the hype about the new 2019 Chateau d’Yquem?
Answer: There is always good publicity every year for this leading sweet wine from Sauternes. Probably more hype right now because of three main factors:
The 2019 vintage is being released right now this week.
LVMH marketing is encouraging consumers to try Chateau d’Yquem younger and on more occasions (not just with dessert) when it is fresher and more vibrant with a “Lighthouse” project of by-the-glass service at 35 top restaurants around the world.
The 2019 vintage suits this purpose and is a very unique blend using a very high 45% Sauvignon Blanc with the usual dominant Semillon.
Finding the best wine pairings to go with food has been a long time pursuit of The International Wine & Food Society. It all started with our Founder Andre L. Simon and his key publication of “Partners – A Guide to the Game of Wine & Food Match-Making”. This booklet is still a most highly sought after reference work for valuable classic suggestions always worth exploring. Over the years since then there have been many new wine regions discovered and many more exciting ideas developed for interesting food & wine matchings. Your scribe tried nearly 10 years ago in Vancouver on September 13, 2012 by presenting the Andre L. Simon Lecture referenced here to revisit and update some of the more current thinking around the world on this fascinating topic. One of our goals (not fully yet realized) was to get more of your input on your cherished wine and food pairings to share with all of us. Still hopeful we can make more progress in this regard.
The good news is that there is an IWFS APP for members with lots of very valuable information including our updated Vintage Card, Monographs, and other educational Publications & Videos. The newest addition to the member APP (and a good reason for joining our Society to get access) is a detailed Wine & Food Pairing Guide as a result of dedicated research by Stephen Hipple (Council Bluffs, Okoboji, & Omaha, Nebraska) and his team. It is a formidable first effort to be revised and updated in the future with your input but already is fairly extensive. You can search to pair by wine or pair by food. There are some 33 grape varieties listed (including sake) from Barbera to Zinfandel (red!). There also are general choices to search by food including Cheese, Fish & Seafood, Meat, Poultry, Game, Asian/Indian, Vegetarian, Dessert and Other (burritos, pizza, nachos, smoked foods, etc – even cigars!). The Cheeses section is so admirably extensive with a plethora of around 60 types listed from Asiago to Zamarano (Spanish sheep milk). Very thought-provoking work with all the amazing detail of ideas. As an example under Fish & Seafood there is a listing of Lobster prepared 4 different ways (Plain, Grilled, Roasted, With Butter) each with a different wine grape selection. Highly recommended. Members check it out asap. Non-members consider joining IWFS to have the use of this most valuable culinary tool. Congrats Stephen and very well done indeed! Andre Simon would be proud.
Answer: It is a native grape variety throughout Portugal especially successful in the southeastern Alentejo region with Indicacao Geografica Alentejano. Versatile one used for quite exotic white wines from early picked fresh and lively to riper later harvest in a rich rounder style. A really excellent blend your scribe has enjoyed is by winemaker Antonio Macanita using 12 months in French oak for Arrepiado Collection Reserva 2016 (13 abv) of 70% of Antao Vaz plus 15% each of Chardonnay & Riesling. A lovely fresh, rich, creamy wine with a touch of spice. Check out underrated Antoa Vaz!