Tag Archives: Riesling

The Butcher told me to …

If you buy meat from your butcher – and why wouldn’t you – do you ask him how to prepare it?

I bought a rabbit Saturday.  “Domestique?” you may ask? “UN LAPIN” I would reply with a loud French accent – while making that kissing your fingers movement that somehow signifies delicious food.  It came cut into pieces which is nice since bunnys are cute and I was too hungry to have second thoughts about cooking my first rabbit.

I asked Andy (said butcher) how to cook it and he suggested braising it for 3 hours in white wine. I chose a Riesling from Alsace for my Rabbit  – it was delicious – thanks Andy.

Riesling for my Rabbit

Cool thing about the wines of Alsace – There is a legal requirement for bottling Alsace wine in tall bottles commonly called flûtes d’Alsace.  

Disclaimer – if you have a pet rabbit don’t let them drink Riesling.  It’s not good for them. Besides that, rabbits prefer beer – you know because of the hops.

VINTAGES 11452 |  Price: $ 15.95
12.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Made in: Alsace, France
By: A. Willm

Red Brick Café – Spring Menu

J’aime le printemps – and I love the Spring menu at the Red Brick Café.  The new food is fantastic – Jessica’s bruschetta is a creation of tomato and herbal magic (but not like the registered trademark herbal magic). Likewise her paprika hummus with veggies is mouth wateringly mouth watering (thanks to Peter Mayle for that one).

Try all three wines any night for $10 – then go buy them at the LCBO.

LCBO 145136 | Price: $ 13.95 Okanagan Valley, BC 12.5% Alcohol

This wine has aromas of lime and peaches and has a nice long finish – much longer than a typical Riesling.  It is best served cold, for maximum coldness.  The producer’s tasting notes mention hints of fennel and honeysuckle. You will taste the honeysuckle more as the wine warms up.

Larch Tree Hill stands well on its own and would make a great apéritif – it reminds me of the Olympics – probably because I drank it during the Olympics.  I’m just guessing.

NERO D’AVOLA Cusumano 2007
LCBO 143164 | Price: $ 9.95 Siciliy,  14.5% Alcohol

This is why trattoria’s were invented – or why Nero D’Avola was created – its hard to say.  Let’s just say that we considered renaming the Café to Red Brick Trattoria and Ristorante after this went on the menu.  “Never match wits with a Sicilian when death is on the line” (Princess Bride) but bet  your life that people will enjoy this at your next party. At this price you should buy a case. And don’t EVER call this an Italian wine – appearantly both the Italians and Sicilians object to being confused for each other.


Y Series SHIRAZ VIOGNIER Yalumba 2007
LCBO 624494 | Price: $ 14.95 South Australia,  13.5% Alcohol

Yalumba Y Series Shiraz Viognier. They have won several environmental awards including the Climate Protection award from the US Environmental Protection Agency. How cool is that – the freekin’ EPA!  A blend of Shiraz and a small percentage of white Viognier wine that turns a tough “John Wayne” manly Shiraz into a sensitive 21st century “I’m not afraid to cry at a romantic comedy” wine with softer tannins and interesting floral hints.

Larch Tree Hill Riesling – Olympic Pairing

The sounds of the Winter Olympics remind me that I love being Canadian. I love the sound of sharp metal crunching into the ice – pond hockey.  Similarly, the sounds of the sleds speeding down the ice tracks take me back to fearlessly going far too fast on my toboggan – no helmet, airborne crashes, good times.

These sounds remind me of a Riesling.  Larch Tree Hill Riesling is produced in the Okanagan Valley of BC. Riesling grows very well in cool climate wine regions such as Germany, Alsace, and Canada.  Come to think of it, cool climate regions produce the best winter Olympic athletes (outside of the Jamaican bobsledders).

This is a great Winter Olympics wine because Riesling is versatile, a little daring, and is best served cold (for maximum coldness).  It’s being served this month at the Red Brick Café in Guelph – and it is going fast.  That’s right, fast –  just like the skaters, bobsledders, luge, and skeleton events that I am pairing it with.  Skin tight suits are optional. Don’t tell us about it if you do wear one – nobody wants to know.

LCBO 145136 | Price: $ 13.95 Okanagan Valley, BC 12.5% Alcohol

This wine has aromas of lime and peaches and has a nice long finish – much longer than a typical Riesling.  The producer’s tasting notes mention hints of fennel and honeysuckle. You will taste the honeysuckle more as the wine warms up.

Larch Tree Hill stands well on its own and would make a great apéritif – serve it very cold while watching the madness that is short-track speed skating and the absolutely terrifyingly insane (or daring) skeleton and luge events – and for the record there is no evidence that “luge” refers to the greek sport of sliding “nude” down ice slides.  That was a complete fabrication on my part.

My sommelier challenge

The real art of being a sommelier is pairing wine with food.  This past weekend we bought two terrines from Ouderkirk & Taylor – one of Guelph’s best fine food stores.  One was pheasant with hazelnuts and the other venison with pistachio. 

So what to serve?  A dry Riesling seemed in order so I chilled a bottle of Jackson-Triggs 2007 Delaine Vineyard Riesling and found a great marriage with the venison and a good pairing with the pheasant. We overwhelmingly declared the venison terrine the winner. One of our guests casually commented that she wasn’t convinced that it was the Riesling which tipped the scales in favour of the pheasant.  The gauntlet had been thrown.

I quickly declared a dry sherry in order for this experiment of the senses (Brillat-Savarin would be proud) and opened an Alvear Amontillado ( see archives Surely that’s a Sherry  ).  Guess what?  Everyone declared the pheasant the winner with this wine. This pairing food with wine is easy!

So now I come to my real challenge.  Wine and sport. Over the next two weeks I plan to pair wines with the Winter Olympics.  I feel qualified – I have a degree in Physical Education from York ( nobody ever seems impressed by that combination – I should really stop saying it ) and I have taught PE for 20 years.  That’s a lot of experience.  In fact I dare you to find a sommelier with that kind of resume.

So check in over the next two weeks as I pull myself away from the 3 billion hours of  TV coverage (or is it 3 billion viewers?) to tell you what wines pair well with the events that I am watching.

Say it out loud!

The Red Brick Café Wines are Great this December and it’s not just how they taste. They are also fun to say out loud – not usually a selection criteria for me – it just happened.

White Wine

Strewn Riesling / Gewurztraminer from Niagara.

Riesling is my favorite white wine but really what is great about this wine is that I can’t help but smile when I say Gewürztraminer (you have to click here to hear it). Thank goodness for the internet.  Could anyone really pronounce it based on the dictionary help (ɡəˈvʏɐtstʁaˈmi:nɐ)?  Seriously, does anyone consider that helpful?  Personally I like to say it in a lower guttural German sound or yell it like Dana Carvey and Steven Carell in Germans Who Say Nice Things.  That just make the  funnier when you know that the translation of Gewürztraminer is “perfumed Traminer”. Cute huh? Also, I woüld like to üse the ümlaüt whenever I remember (ü).

Red Wines

Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages from France 2008

Georges DuBoeuf is the King of Beaujolais wines and his Beaujolais-Villages is a step up from Beaujolais vin ordinaire. This is a chance to practice your pretentious French accent.  DuBoeuf, as we all know, really just means “of Boeuf” (Kenn’s regular language joke)– the French have such a way with names.  This Beaujolais is smooth and very quaffable.  You could easily gulp this wine if you were in a hurry.

Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell from Spain 2007

This is also fun to say at a wine tasting– “Now try the Hécula is from Yecla”.  Yecla is a great value wine region in Southeastern Spain near the larger region of Jumilla.  It is a great wine with manly tannins but she’ll like it too! The Monastrell grape is the Spanish version of the French Mourvedre so it probably will remind you of a rustic wine from the Southern Rhône region.  Hécula from Yecla? – heck ya.