Category Archives: Wine writing

El Niño

What did you do during the hailstorm this weekend?

I paired the apocalyptic storm with a vibrant Cava – Juvé Y Camps Cinta Púrpura Reserva 2011.  It’s citrusy, light, and full of bubbles [which a good cava is].  I put some hailstones in it to bring it down a degree in temperature – actually just because it was freakin’ cool to do.

This is my second attempt to get the Weather Network to pay attention to pairing wine and weather. I first tried with Tornado Watch in 2011.  I guess they’re only interested in Storm Chasers, Global Warming, and Force of Nature highlights.  I think they’re missing out on the next ” blue ocean” – and i’m here to help.

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JUVÉ & CAMPS CINTA PURPURA RESERVA BRUT CAVA 2011
VINTAGES 352864 $18.95


Aboriginal Wine

Recently I spent 1 week on Vancouver Island with my daughter.  Beautiful.  Honestly considered not coming back and sending for the rest of the family to pack up and join us there instead.  Did you know they can grow fig trees on the island?  For some reason that excited me.

Also, what excited me was when M found us a bottle of Nk’Mip wines – Canada’s first Aboriginal owned and operated cellar.  We drank the Dreamcatcher – a blend of Riesling and Chenin Blanc. It was dry, crisp, with lemon and melon notes, and just a touch of sweetness at the end from the ripe fruits. I’ve never had an Aboriginal wine before – and if you think of it, who knows how to work the land this country better? The Okanagan people have been growing crops here for centuries.  The wine was beautiful – like the Island. Seriously, look a this photo and for the love of sweet baby bacchus somebody tell me why i didn’t send for the rest of the family and just stay there.

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Nk’Mip Dreamcatcher

Home base on Van Isle

Home base on Van Isle

 

Fig trees! Told yaIMG_1392

 


Decision Time

This summer I plan to make no decisions – and to renew that vow daily.  So I’ll let others make them for me – lessening the weight of responsibility that i might otherwise feel when it’s summertime and the living’s supposed to be easy.

Decisions like which wine to open.

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Fortunately I prepare for such life altering occasions by keeping a light red, and full-bodied rosé [or rosado in this case] and a crisp white in the fridge. So that when the wife gets home [don’t worry “Mad Max fans”  I asked her permission to call her “the wife” this one time so don’t go all Furiosa on me] she has an easy choice. Because really it’s a win-win-win decision [and no M I don’t mean open all three].

She chose.

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And she wins.

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The Red … Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais $11 on sale—LCBO#: 212480   |   Light, berries, cherry, easy drinking … please serve chilled.

The Pink … Muga Rose $14 —VINTAGES#: 603795   |   Seriously, i get zero kickback from the people at Muga … i just love this wine so much and it’s a better choice than those suckers who are drinking water.

The White …Marques de Riscal White, Rueda  $12 —LCBO#: 36822   |   Crisp, acidic, medium body, I say it tastes like rhubard, my wife says Lychee – I admit lychee sounds far cooler.


At the car wash 

I bet myself that I could write an entire blog post using my phone while sitting at the car wash.

Yes, I’m sitting for 30mins in line because it’s finally warm out and I want a clean car.  It’s actually a stupid privileged world problem – who needs a clean car? I’m even driving a Jeep, which I think is supposed to be dirty. I still don’t understand the Jeep thing.

Another thing I don’t understand is this.

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My daughter, M, thinks that instant coffee will be the next big hipster thing. Like Pabst Blue Ribbon beer [previous post here] – everyone knows it isn’t good but we drink it anyways because it’s cool and ironic.  So I made myself a cup.

How was it? If you’re thinking of trying this at home … don’t.

Hey there you go – I entertained myself and maybe brother-in -Spain, wrote about something to drink, and was inspired by my muse M to write.  I call it the blogging natural hat trick.

Seriously, don’t drink this stuff.

Still waiting for a clean Jeep


Bob’s Book

Wednesday I went to a book launch by local author, and Guelph celebrity in his own right, Bob Desautels – who most of us know as the owner of The Wooly [or the Woolwich Arrow as nobody calls it], or as I call it, “The Home Court”, as it is the closest pub to my house.  As usual I’m already not talking about what meant to talk about – Bob’s book.  I went to the launch, got a copy of Bob’s book, got it signed,  then sold it on eBay two hours later for a profit.  First edition? Author’s signature? eBay gold!

WineSense is the name of Bob’s first book. Subtitled “the three keys to understanding wine” it reads like a series of lecture notes on the topic of wine. Lecture notes interspersed with witty anecdotes and clever quotes.  I appreciated it both as an educator and somebody who knows just enough about wine to consider myself interesting in a wine conversation [I can hear brother-in-Spain shouting, “interesting to who?”].

Three weeks ago my daughter, wife, and I were sampling ales at the Wooly when Bob came over very excited to have had the first books delivered to him that very day. He brought one over like a new grandchild and gave us an introduction.  I have been anticipating getting a copy ever since.

Three favourite quotes for from the introduction of WineSense …

  • The one indisputable thing about wine is that it will cheer you up [agreed Bob, unless it’s mulled wine – i’ve got nothing good to say about mulled wine]
  • Wine just helps to bring people closer together [true, i pack 50 people in a space designed to seat 8 at my Beaujolais Nouveau party]
  • Champagne is known to be the only drink or food that a person who is seasick can digest without vomiting [after my bout with the flu I wish I’d know that 5 days ago]

I think you can learn a lot about the authors intentions from the introduction. Bob is unpretentious, knowledgeable, and his  good guy-ness comes through.  It’s an easy read and a great course in wine education.  Well done Bob.  You can order the book from Friesen Press, but don’t – buying at the Wooly seems only proper.

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From the Friesen website …

Wine is a muse for poets and ordinary folks alike, a great seducer and lifelong friend to many. It’s integral to some of the finest cultures on earth. But as simple and lovely as wine may be, the wine world can be intimidating. Many so-called experts perpetuate an elitist approach to wine, with their explanations so jargon-filled that the wine gets lost in the analysis.

WineSense cuts through the jargon and complexities wine can present. In this common-sense guide, Bob Desautels offers straightforward information on types of wine, tasting, wine history, grape varieties, approaches to winemaking, and more. His Three Keys to Understanding Wine allow the everyday wine enthusiast and the beginner to truly grasp the subject while increasing their appreciation of wine.

The ultimate purpose of this book is to teach you how to find good and consistent styles of wine that suit your palate. You’ll be able to look beyond the safe choices and search for local wines that have the best qualities of your international favourites. With a deeper understanding of wine, you’ll gain true WineSense, offering you a newfound confidence in choosing the right wine for the right time.

 


Bubbly

History is written by the victors. I’ve never stopped to think about the layered meanings of this generally agreed upon truth. Of course Columbus got to write about discovering America [even though we all know it was Bugs Bunny] and Hernán Cortés about discovering Mexico when we all really know that there were people living there doing quite well before we brought them smallpox and Walmart.

I don’t know if anyone invented bubbly before French Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon broke silence in the local abbey by shouting, “Come quickly, I have tasted the stars” [I wonder if he got shushed].  Many historians will say that the bubbles were being bottled long before Dom got all the headlines.  But whether “first in space” or not, Dom was a master winemaker. By enhancing his white wine’s ability to retain their natural sugars after the harvest,  inducing a secondary fermentation in the spring, and then bottling these wines at just the right time to capture the bubbles he did master the art of  méthode champenoise.  Which begs the question, when did he ever have time for prayer and reading – and how on earth did he ever practice humility after capturing the stars?

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While true Champagne remains an almost unaffordable luxury at $50 or more per bottle there are several other excellent sparkling wine alternatives in the $20 range including Cava – the Spanish version and my personal favourite – Prosecco – for the Italophile in the room- and Crémant – the name for French sparkling wine made outside the region of Champagne and an excellent source of tasty bubbles.

My advice to you this year is to try many of them and don’t just wait for “special occasions”.  Believe me, there is not a better special occasion than hugging your wife in the kitchen on a Tuesday night with a flute of bubbly.  It really is the only way to live your life. Ironic that a monk devoted to a life of celibacy did something in order to help solidify my marriage … don’t you think? Now who’s rewriting history?


Rene Descartes – Won’t Get Fooled Again

Did you know that Rene Descartes’ book “Meditations” is really titled Meditationes de prima philosophia, in qua Dei existentia et animæ immortalitas demonstratur. Translation: Meditations on the First Philosophy: In Which the Existence of God and the Distinction Between Mind and Body are Demonstrated.  That’s the way they rolled back in 1641.

If this blog post was a Medieval book I would probably entitle it :  The Who, Beaujolais Nouveau, and the Relevance of the Song Won’t Get Fooled Again on the Third Thursday of November: How the French Continue to Both Fool Me and Make My Life Better.

Who’s Next.  One of the greatest rock albums of all time – period. People who like this sort of thing are passionate about it aren’t they?  I have a friend [admittedly a bit of a curmudgeon] who has freaked out on people who refer to the song “Teenage Wasteland” on this album.  “The song is called Baba O’Riley! Get it right people”.

My favourite song may be “Won’t Get Fooled Again” – because the premise is of course that we all get fooled again. “Meet the old boss” anyone? “Same as the old boss”.

So I guess I’m willing to get fooled again – we all are.  At least when it comes to Beaujolais Nouveau.  The French have been scamming us [just like Vince Shlomi and the shamwow] and I don’t mind at all.  Selling fresh new wine that has only aged in the time it took them to put the juice in a bottle! Come on. In fact the French have fooled us several times over when it comes to food. Have you ever opened up a Camembert in a car in the summer?  They’re laughing at me while I gag on the gaggiest smell possible.

Next Thursday the Beaujolais Nouveau will be sold at the LCBO.  The “cookie dough” of wine is good enough to get me whipped into a frenzy year after year.  Don’t miss it.

Georges Dubœuf – with your clever little œ in your name – you are the new boss!

The Old Boss

The Old Boss

 


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