Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ask Sid: 2018 Bordeaux Vintage Outlook?

April 17th, 2019
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Question: What is the general outlook for the 2018 vintage from Bordeaux?

Answer: Comments generally have been mixed. Wet start during Winter and early Spring followed by a consistently sunny dry July, August & September. In fact the stats show those months with warmer than average temperatures and much lower rainfall. Some are saying close to 2016 in quality and perhaps better than 2015. Very encouraging indeed. There was some damage by hail and mildew plus higher alcohol issues. Some properties had exceptionally low yields for amazing concentration with smaller total production. Still early days but certainly worth monitoring their progress and the overall balance of the vintage. Excellent comprehensive review on 2018 by Gavin Quinney posted October 31, 2018 on Free For All at jancisrobinson.com is highly recommended and the team updates since. Reports on the Primeurs tastings are just coming out. Check them all out.


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Three Dining Recommendations for Las Vegas

April 15th, 2019

Always exciting to dine in Las Vegas. So many choices and always something new opening up. The latest hot NoMad Restaurant just debuted. From a trip earlier this month your scribe recommends these 3:

1. BURGER BAR: An old favourite of mine that I try to return to on every trip. Not really a burger fan but an admirer of what classic Chef Hubert Keller delivers. Followed him from his old days in San Francisco at two pioneering restaurants of Sutter 500 and later Fleur de Lys. The Burger Bar is so successful in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay just up the escalator off the Sports Book in the Shoppes and opens at 11am. Perfect snack or lunch for me. Big enough to share. You can build your own burger with outstanding ingredients. However opt for the delicious American Classic at $18.50 with hand chopped quality Black Angus beef, American cheese, crispy bacon, tomato & onion, on a sesame bun. Enjoy.


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2. MILOS at the Cosmopolitan: Owner/Chef Costas Spiliadas who started out in Montreal is on a roll with a big food feature on him in the New York Times last month and his second Manhattan restaurant Estiatoria Milos on the 6th floor of the newly opened Hudson Yards. He really highlights the very best of fresh high quality ingredients from fish to vegetables & fruits. Though it definitely is not locavore in Las Vegas it is amazing with so many items being flown in fresh every day because of the demand. Where prices can often be high in Las Vegas Milos has the biggest steal ever with his continuing 3 course spectacular lunch menu for $29. Choice of an appetizer, main and dessert. Starter of three Greek spreads included taramosalata, htipiti, and tzatziki served with toasted pita and raw veg. They kindly substituted hummus for tzatziki. Alternatively the Greek Salad was an item using barrel aged feta plus loads of vine ripened tomatoes showing well even in early Spring with EVOO. The main is incredible with a whole Dorade Royale (grilled Mediterranean sea bream) deboned with head and tail intact. A WOW dish! Fresh fruits of the season chosen for dessert among others. Worth a detour!


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3. FACTORY KITCHEN in the Venetian Resort: Newly opened LA roots Italian restaurant impressed. See Menu. Good starters from Kale salad to Mozz with good value $14 oven baked beets casserole to share. Tried over 2 nights all the pastas showing good flavours from Mandilli Di Seta handkerchief style, ravioli, & pappardelle. Duck confit with cherries and Branzino using top quality Castelvetrano olives all shone. Worth checking out.

Click here for the menu.


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Ask Sid: Variety with most planted acreage for BC wines?

April 10th, 2019
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Question: Which variety has the most planted acreage for producing British Columbia wines?

Answer: It is the red variety of merlot with over 1500 acres. It produces a wine often quite structured with more tannins than some other regions. The top white variety is the many styles of pinot gris at just over 1000 acres followed by chardonnay at just under that number though Riesling is becoming more popular. The fastest growing variety is pinot noir presently second in reds at just over 1000 that really suits the conditions found especially in north and central Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island. Exciting developments and growth to follow.


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Diversity of Napa Valley’s 16 AVAs

April 8th, 2019

One of the many highlights of the 41st International Wine Festival in Vancouver earlier this year @VanWineFest #VIWF was learning a lot about the diversity of the different wine regions (AVA – American Viticultural Area) of the Napa Valley. AVA is a legally designated grape growing area possessing distinguishable characteristics for climate, soils, terrain, and other historic significance. In the Napa Valley there are 16 of these. Wineries and tastings focused on these AVA as being very important whether the wine was from a single vineyard AVA or a blend of several to take advantage of different styles from the grapes.

Napa Vintners.com has put out a most useful map showing where these 16 AVA are with a helpful breakdown of the climate, elevation and principal varieties grown in each. You will see they range from cool to warm to hot reaching 792 metres elevation in the mountainous districts. These are important background facts to get to know so you have a better understanding of why Napa Valley wines can smell and taste different depending on their AVA. Some are more well known than others but all are finding their distinctive mark and hopefully showing a unique terroir. Investigate.


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Ask Sid: When I order a glass of house wine what size serving should I expect to receive?

April 3rd, 2019
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wine restaurant size glass

Question: When I order a glass of House Wine at a restaurant what size serving should I expect to receive?

Answer: Excellent question because there is no clearly recognized standard size. Perhaps there should be. Some places note their service size right on the Wine List. If not shown ask them. Most serve either a 5 ounce or 6 ounce size. A full standard bottle is 750 ml. so often they try to get 5 pours per bottle of around 150 ml each (or 5 ounces). Others provide a more generous pour using a 4 per bottle serving  guide for about 180 ml. (or 6+ ounces).  Check the price differences too. I ordered a glass of quality wine at a one star Michelin restaurant in Paris that stated on the menu that it would be 150 ml but must have been close to only 100. I complained. The best idea I have seen is the one used at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles by Nancy Silverton & Joe Bastianich. They take a wine bottle and pour it into 3 small carafes of 250 ml. each which you can then pour all for yourself to have with your delicious pizza or share with others. The good deal is that that you pay only 1/3 of the Wine List bottle price for your 1/3 carafe serving. Encourage more places to follow this type of fair wine service.


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