Author Archives: Travis Oke

About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant

Swirling, swirling, swirling

We visited Norman Hardie’s winery in PEC last week.  It was lovely … but what attracted my attention was a young woman swirling her wine at the table next to me. She swirled it non-stop, or “constantly”, as we wine writers like to say [we actually don’t].

So I pondered the reasons for swirling. I know there are reasons – real “wine person” reasons.  It aerates the wine in the glass and makes it taste better. Heck, it’s been locked inside a bottle for quite a while and needs to catch a fresh breath air.  But i think this woman at the table beside me taught me something important.  Swirling your wine is fun.

Watch here

The only thing more fun? Convincing your wife to swirl her wine too.

Weeeeeeeeee

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Photo of us NOT swirling.  Doesn’t look as much fun does it.

Also, the pizza was really good.  We swirled and drank the Riesling and the Cab Franc. I’m going to swirl and drink them again soon.


Canada Day in photos 

Instead of writing about Canada Day i’ve turning this wine blog into a photo blog. It really is easier to write than using my words.

Lunch at Artisinale – French rosé and Tawse Riesling with our first course.

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Crêpe and Calvados for dessert.

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Dinner BBQ at home with Muskoka 20th Anniversary Cream Ale aged in Oak.

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Happy Canada Day


Good save on Father’s Day

Even though i get treated like royalty and pampered on Father’s Day it is still my responsibility to provide sweet Bacchus’ beverages to go with the food and the overall experience.

So when i pulled out a bottle of bubbly cava my daughter M asked if i was sabering.  Sabrage seemed like a good idea – because it’s fun, it’s cool, and what could possibly go wrong combining alcohol and a large chef’s knife?  So despite the bottle shape not being ideal for sabering i made up my mind faster than my wife could ask “do you need me to bring you the large knife?”

While it didn’t quite go as planned [photo evidence below] – almost no cava was spilled and the glass did stay primarily in 3 large chunks [yes, it should be two].

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My favourite all-time party trick to impress my favourite daughter who is of drinking age. I know – it looks dangerous. This time i wish i could say that it only looks dangerous.

So while things didn’t quite go as planned i did save face by offering an evening red wine that prompted “ooohs” and “aaahs” from everyone.

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My favourite American wine for my favourite American wife. It’s dangerous too – dangerously tasty!

 


Euro 2016 – a guide for the unsportsing

Just in case you’re not a sportsing person, here’s both your sportsing and french lesson for the day.

France is hosting the 2016 European Championships of football [or soccer as we call it on this side of the pond]. The event is commonly referred to as Euro 2016, and since France is hosting it i thought it appropriate to nab a couple of “bière française” – 1664 and 1664 blanc.  Or as i like to call them, les “seize, soixante-quatre”.  The French national is team is referred to as “Les Bleus”, and the “coq gaulois” is their symbol.  “Alles les bleus” i say, and “merci pour la bière”.

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Yeah, i don’t know how i got a red jersey of les bleus either. It’s as confusing as anything the French say.


Cider, The Final Frontier

Gene Roddenberry – you were a clever man.   “Space.  The final frontier” indeed.  Matt Sulker – you’re an equally clever man.

In a wine blog that covers everything from home-made gin, to craft beer, to even occasionally writing about wine, i think i may have found my final frontier. It’s either Sours or Cider – but for today it’s cider.  Craft cider has taken a meteoric rise [see what i did there trekkies?] in popularity.  The Only, one of my favourite pubs on the Danforth, recently devoted about one-fifth of their taps to ciders. Cider flavoured with cherries, dry ciders, and even a sour cider [cleverly combining my two final frontiers].

Here’s where my man Matt comes into the picture.  A clever home brewer who spends his commuting time coming up with combinations such as a coconut, lemongrass Kölsch, has devoted a significant portion of his spare time creating ciders. Sulker Ciders will almost certainly have a tap in a bar near you soon if my ability to predict the future is as good as i think it is.

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This Super-Dry cider that i sampled was made with 100 % Ontario apples [mathematically the most possible] and London Ale yeast. Unlike the big commercial ciders there is no sugar added post-fermentation.  It was dry and crisp with nice subtle yeast flavours.  He served them to me in his “made for cider” glasses, which are made for drinking at warp speed.  Not really, they’re made to enhance the bouquet and stuff … and junk. Delicious.

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Social Lite

I love the format dictionaries use for pronunciation. Like “Skeptical [skep-ti-kuh l]- inclined to scepticism; having an attitude of doubt.”  skep-ti-kuh l.  Amusing.

This past week i was contacted by a small company that makes premium vodka soda. SoCIAL LITE.  I admit that my first thought was “I don’t want to drink Fresca and vodka”.  However, i am willing to be wrong about stuff.  Also, their story is a good one. The drink was developed while entertaining friends in their kitchen.   While i like soda and i like vodka, what I don’t like is sweet “made for frosh events” drinks.  I was skep-ti-kuh l.

There are two flavours of SoCIAL LITE vodka, Lime-Ginger and  Lemon-Cucumber-Mint.  I was a little ascared, as it poured like Fresca [i don’t know why i keep saying that because i actually like Fresca], but it was delicious, refreshing, not sweet at all, and subtle in it’s flavours. It is a perfect drink for an afternoon on the patio. The Lime-Ginger is available at the LCBO at $10 for four 355 mL cans [kans].

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Water Research

Each year i feel it’s my responsibility to ask the difficult questions about water. Mostly questions that lead me to my preformed conclusion that we should be drinking rosé instead.

This is what i found this year about water – and it’s alarming.

  1. The rule of drinking 8 glasses of water a day is based on the fact that people already drink that much water. So it’s an urban myth that we should be doing it. I don’t know about you but I feel strongly that “urban” myths are the scariest of all myths  – including creation and trickster myths.
  2. If you’re not already scared then google the words “renal excretory capacity”.  That’s something i do not want to either increase or exceed. Tell me brother-in-Spain that’s not as scary as an urban myth!
  3. I read this quote on the internet about people who drink lots of water, “However, the group of patients with the highest urine output also had the lowest serum sodium, suggesting that, in fact, they were driving the high urine output with a high fluid intake.” You okay with that? Too soon? Too scary?

So here are my reckless suggestions. Drink rosé this summer. Chill it well, pick nice stemware, and substitute a crisp white wine if you don’t have emergency bottles of rosé on hand [for those who care, i just learned about the Oxford comma this week and used it correctly].

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Muga Rosé – Spain $13.95

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Marques de Riscal – Spain $12.70

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