Question: What is the latest on ingredient labeling on wine bottles?
Answer: A most timely question because December 8, 2023 is the date the European Union has set requiring all “wine” produced by them and sold within the EU to provide a full list of ingredients either on the label or QR code. As a result there are compliance issues for wine producers around the world to consider. A good detailed review on the matter by Global Data here.
Another wonderful Burgundy dinner this month at the rather new Italian themed using fresh local produce restaurant The Farmhouse in Vancouver. Some delightful dishes prepared and served including many delicious flavours of porcini, prosciutto, parmigiano reggiano, gorgonzola, roast chicken, and spicy Spaghetti. Interesting and the courses were well paired with the wines we brought along from our Tastevin cellar. Check out the menu.
A less well known Jean Lallement Grand Cru bubbles blend from the heart of the Montagne de Reims in Verzenay (80 pinot noir & 20 chard) disgorged November 15, 2021 provided a solid aperitif beginning. Four Meursaults from 3 different Premier Cru vineyards and 4 vintages was an educational challenge. Prefer 2010 for classic intense balanced white Burgundy over the other three (2011, 2008, and 2006) but Poruzots does not finish as complex as rich yet delicate Charmes. 2011 early picked Charmes by Olivier Leflaive was fragrant elegance while 2006 from Remi Jobard-Chabloz was showing pre-mox. 2008 Bouchard Pere Gouttes d’Or had depth and length and was the delightful surprise. Less problems in serving whites correctly but an excellent job was done all at the right temperatures that impressed.
The four red Burgundies were well chosen to allow comparison between two 2007 & two 2008 vintages from two regions of Nuits St. Georges rocky Les Vaucrains 1er Cru (Dominique Laurent) and Mazy-Chambertin Grand Cru (Frederic Esmonin). Both were challenging years with 2007 late picking, variable, and approachable wines while 2008 had vineyard issues as well but better intense sometimes “sappy” wines resulted. Laurent has that 200% new oak uniqueness using 100% whole stems in 07 but 50% in 08. The Mazy-Chambertins were more stylish than the NSG with 2007 ready while 2008 was much darker, deeper sweet fruit with rich full structure – clearly best red and perhaps wine of the night. At 15 years of age you don’t necessarily think that there will be a lot of sediment deposit in a wine but there certainly can be. For some reason the 2008 Mazy which needed decanting wasn’t. The result was an amazingly thick sediment (the heavier particles of which settled to the bottom of my glass) but with the finer ones still remaining throughout the wine – that would take some time to fall out. Instead of enjoying the nirvana from patiently aged top red Burgundy with those velvety silky round textures that only develop with time your scribe was left with an edgy disappointing impression. It may still be controversial – especially whether to decant red Burgundy or not – but for me please decant the standing up bottle at the last minute to develop in my glass yet showing that anticipated clear pristine complex smooth liquid texture. Maybe I am too fussy in old age but it seems a shame to not be able to appreciate one of the most important benefits of wine cellaring. Your thoughts?
Question: What are the early predictions for the 2023 vintage of California wines?
Answer: California is too wide an area of many different regions to provide you with a perfect answer. However the early harvest report here from the Wine Institute has the vintners generally very bullish on their exceptional quality “as one of the finest in years”. Cooler temperatures in Spring & Summer resulted in a late compressed harvest for better acidity and balanced wines. Continue to monitor 2023.
Followers of this Blog know my healthy delicious “apple a day” advice. Since grade school my daily routine usually includes a mid-day apple which in the early days with only limited varieties available was either a Delicious (Red or Golden) or Macintosh. Many different more interesting ones are now available including the popular complex Honeycrisp and recommended crunchy Cosmic Crisp (a hybrid of Honeycrisp & Enterprise). Also like thin skinned Gala, sweeter Fuji, and fresh juicy Ambrosia before they lose their crispness. Reckon to have enjoyed roughly a total of 25,000 apples in my life so far. Mind boggling number but it is one of my favourite fruits that I have learned to know quite well. Some previous apple links on this Blog include November 18, 2013 here and October 19, 2015 here. Last week we attended a private home tasting of some 18 varieties obtained from the 2023 Salt Spring Island Apple Festival. Fun to study so many new ones though several were just too softly textured for my palate preference. The Airlie Red Flesh brought back identical “raspberry” memories of what I believe to be the same variety as a previous fav in 2015 named Hidden Rose (also called Mountain Rose). The Melrose is better for cooking as it keeps its shape well. Among my highest rated this time were Florina (Querina in France), Pig’s Nose Pippin (small shaped like a pig’s snout from England), and Sundance (crisp lemon-spice notes).
We all brought a drink to match best with apples that included several international “appley” ciders and even a 2002 Iced cider from Quebec, a fresh BC Rose 2022 from Noble Ridge, and a surprisingly good pairing of 2017 Blue Mountain Pinot Noir Block 9 Wild Terrain. The most popular choices were “fruity crisp” Riesling (2021 Dr. L from Loosen in Germany) and “hint of vanilla” Chenin Blanc (2022 Old Vine Reserve from Ken Forrester in South Africa). Explore some new apple varieties!
Answer: Anosmia (an-OHZ-me-uh) is the partial or complete loss of your sense of smell. Very important for your wine enjoyment and tasting. Gifted pioneer wine expert Harry Waugh lost his sense of smell because of a head bang in a car accident. Becoming more common these days as also associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Covid-19.