Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Buy again? Repeatedly.

leave a comment »

Santorini 2015, Assyrtiko, Domaine Hatzidakis ($27.25, 11901171)
100% Assyrtiko. No maceration. After clarification, the must is fermented at 18ºC with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the lees for 40 days. Aged in stainless steal tanks. Lightly filtered and dosed with sulphur dioxide before bottling.1.9 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Sandy beach, preserved lemon and a note that trills between petrol and resinous herbs. A mouthful of minerals, dusted with dried lemon zest and salt, infused with tincture of dried peach peel. Acidity would be glaring were it not for the mellowing extract, chalk and quartz. A thread of dried honey twines through the long finish. This has paired deliciously with dishes as varied as grilled chicken (recipe after the jump), veal scalloppini finished with lemon juice and parsley and, of course, oysters on the half shell. It also makes a deluxe aperitif. The price hikes are unfortunate (the 2011 retailed for $21.95) but inevitable: the world has discovered Santorini wines and grape prices on the island are skyrocketing. That doesn’t make this overpriced – far from it – just less of an incredible bargain than it used to be. (Buy again? Repeatedly.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by carswell

December 22, 2016 at 13:32

Mönch on this!

leave a comment »

Mosel 2015, Ürzig Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mönchhof ($25.90, 11034804)
100% Riesling from ungrafted, dry-farmed vines between 60 and 100 years old in the original part of the Würzgarten vineyard (red slate) in the municipality of Ürzig. Manually harvested. Fermentation with selected yeasts in stainless steel and neutral German oak vats lasts four weeks. Matured four to six months in stainless steel tanks and neutral German oak barrels. Filtered before bottling. Screwcapped. Reducing sugar: > 60 g/l. 8.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Valmonti.
Green apple, lime/grapefruit, mown meadow, slate, lemon yogurt, hints of yellow stone fruit. Sweet on the attack, then the acidity kicks in. Chockablock with pure, ripe fruit. Endowed with a mineral backbone. Shows fair depth and some spice at the back of the palate. Finish is subdued but quite long. Well balanced despite the hot vintage. Ageable at least a decade, maybe two, during which time it will deepen, gain complexity and lose sweetness. For now, while almost too sweet to drink as an aperitif, it comes into its own alongside food, in my case a fairly faithful replica of Nigel Slater’s apples, potatoes and bacon recipe finished with crème fraîche, mustard and tarragon, a dish I’ll be making – and pairing with German Riesling – again. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

October 5, 2016 at 12:50

Blancs de Provence

with 2 comments

IGP Méditerranée 2013, Viognier Sainte-Fleur, Triennes ($22.30, 12625681)
Triennes in the project of two well-known Burgundians (Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée Conti) and a Paris-based friend. The estate is located in the Var, east of Aix-en-Provence, was founded in 1997 and began converting to organic farming in 2008 (the 2011 vintage of the Sainte-Fleur was the estate’s first certified organic wine). This 100% Viognier is fermented in temperature-controlled tanks and matured in tanks. Reducing sugar: 1.8 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Séguin & Robillard.
Quartz dust and faint peach filigreed with honeysuckle, smoked salt and garrigue. Bordering on unctuous in the mouth, where it proves more of a fruit cocktail, albeit a dry and alcoholic one that’s freshened by smooth acidity and backdropped by sun-baked stones. A faint bitterness threads through the long finish. Not bad for an inexpensive Viognier – no one’s going to mistake it for a Condrieu – and pleasant enough to drink but not really memorable and not the bargain that the red is. Might well show better at the dining table than it does at the tasting table. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Bandol 2014, Domaine du Gros’Noré ($30.75, 12206989)
Despite what you’ll read on SAQ.com and on the Quebec agent’s website, this is a 70-30 blend of Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano) and Clairette from sustainably farmed vines averaging 30 years old. The must is macerated on the skins for 24 hours, then fermented at low temperatures with indigenous yeasts. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Unfiltered and unfined. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Shy nose of quartz, wet ash, earth and white flowers. The rich texture is balanced by a steady stream of underlying acidity. Somewhat neutral in flavour yet somehow savoury and mouth-filling. Stones and lemon pith haunt the long finish. While this will never be an exuberant wine, it is a baby at this point and, as a second bottle showed, it doesn’t stop evolving for hours after opening. Definitely a food wine: I thought sea bass with pesto might make a good match but that second bottle was transporting with the winemaker’s recommended pairing of grilled mussels with rosemary, my recipe for which you’ll find after the jump. (Buy again? Done!)

MWG October 8th tasting: flight 2 of 7

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by carswell

October 17, 2015 at 13:43

A fascinating Soave

with 2 comments

Soave Classico 2012, La Froscà, Gini ($26.80, 12132107)
Organically farmed Garganega from 57-year-old vines. The manually harvested grapes are soft-pressed and the must is cold-macerated on the skins. Temperature-controlled alcoholic fermentation is in a mix of stainless steel and neutral French oak casks. Does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured on the lees for at least eight months, partly in stainless steel tanks, partly in 228-litre “seasoned” oak barrels. Sulphur is added only at bottling. Reducing sugar: 3.4 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Beautiful, fragrant nose: pear and a little peach, loads of chalky minerals, hints of spring honey, white flowers and almonds. In the mouth, the wine is as much about minerals as fruit – in fact, there’s a real tension between them. Intertwining threads of honey and bitterness add intrigue, while a fine acidity animates a density that might otherwise border on lethargic. The long kaleidoscopic finish is marked by saline notes and a faint Szechuan pepper-like numbingness. Fascinating. The most savoury Soave I’ve ever tasted. Unless you’re a wine geek, probably best thought of as a food wine (recipe after the jump), which role it will play stupendously. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by carswell

August 30, 2015 at 16:33

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

leave a comment »

…to bring you the following public service announcement.

Normally I’d wait until all the notes from the MWG’s February tasting were up before posting this one. Why the rush? Because Domaine des Huard’s owner-winemaker, Michel Gendrier, is in town and will be pouring this and other wines at the excellent Le Comptoir charcuteries et vins tomorrow evening (Monday, March 9). And if that weren’t inducement enough, he’ll be joined by fellow Loire winemakers Étienne Courtois and Nicolas Grosbois. For details about this Romo love-in, see here.

Cour-Cheverny 2008, François 1er, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine des Huards ($24.45, 12476452)
Huard’s top-of-the-line dry Cour-Cheverny. 100% Romorantin from organically and biodynamically farmed vines averaging 75 years old. Manually harvested. Two-thirds of the grapes are immediately pressed, one-third are macerated on the skins for 15 hours before pressing. Fermented with indigenous yeasts at between 18 and 20°C. Matured on the lees for five months. Cold-stabilized before bottling in the September following the harvest. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Honey, straw, chalk, dried lemon, browning apple, faint white spices and an even fainter whiff of kerosene. Medium-bodied but with a dense, bordering-on-unctuous texture. Ripe-sweet on entry, the fruit is nicely soured by a surging undercurrent of acidity before slow-fading into the long finish, revealing the mineral substrate and leaving behind a very dry, light astringency and a hint of nuttiness and coriander seed. A lovely, layered, elegant wine deserving of a dry goat cheese or a fine piece of fish (you’ll find a couple of recipe ideas after the jump). Available as a private import, the 2007 was a Loire lover’s must-buy at $32. At under $25, this 2008 is a certifiable bargain. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by carswell

March 8, 2015 at 14:14

MWG January 8th tasting: A marriage made in heaven

with 2 comments

The tasting ended with a dessert wine, a Tokaji Aszú from Béres, the producer of the dry whites that so impressed us in the third flight.

As the aszú designation indicates, some of the grapes had been shrivelled and concentrated by Botrytis cinerea (aka noble rot). Assuming the Béres is made according to standard practice, the botrytized grapes are destemmed, stored for about a week and “then kneaded to a pulp which is added to a base Tokaji wine, or to must, by the puttony (a hod of twenty to twenty-five kilos). The eventual sweetness depends on the number of puttonyos added to the 136-140-litre barrels (called gönchi) of one-year-old base wine – usually 3, 4 and 5 puttonyos; 6 is exceptional,” quoting Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion.

Tokaji Aszú 2007, 5 puttonyos, Béres ($53.45/500 ml, 12387791)
A blend of Hárslevelü and Furmint from vines between six and 32 years old. Manually harvested. Fermented with selected yeasts in Hungarian oak barrels for four weeks. Did not undergo malolactic fermentation. Matured off the lees in 220-litre Hungarian oak barrels for 24 months. Lightly filtered, then bottled and aged another 12 months before release. 9.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Valmonti.
Rich nose of apricot, honeycomb, orange marmalade and acacia blossom. On the texture spectrum, somewhere between satin and cream. It’s also very sweet. In fact, were it not for the racy acidity, the wine would be unctuous and cloying. Layered and complex but also clean and pure. Yellow apple and pear compote, peach and toffee are the dominant flavours; minerals are there if you dig for them. The finish lasts for minutes. Delicious now but still a baby (the producer claims this can age up to 50 years). (Buy again? Gladly.)

Like many Tokaji Aszús, this would make an exquisite pairing for foie gras. At the tasting, it was served with the clementine and almond syrup cake (sans chocolate icing) from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s excellent Jerusalem cookbook. While I’d figured the pairing would work, it proved to do far more than that: not only did the wine and the cake make each other taste better, the effect was quite different depending on which you tasted first.

(Flight: 8/8)

Written by carswell

February 10, 2015 at 17:19

Bordel de Noël workshop (4/6)

with one comment

IGT Terre Siciliane 2013, SP68, Arianna Occhipinti ($55.75/1.5 L, 12429470)
A 50-50 blend of organically farmed Nero d’Avola and Frappato from vines averaging 11 years old. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and macerated 30 days on the skins with daily pump-overs and punch-downs. Matured six months on the lees in tanks and two months in the bottle. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Bottled unfiltered, unfined and with minimal sulphur dioxide. 12.5% ABV. Also available in 750 ml bottles ($28.45, 11811765). Quebec agent: oenopole.
Delightful nose: candied rose petal, plum, cherry and basalt dust. A supple middleweight in the mouth. The ripe and juicy fruit – so not heavy or sweet – is framed by lacy tannins and tanged with a mineral sourness. The long finish shows some tannic astringency and exits on a white pepper and anise note. A shade lighter than the 2012 perhaps but, as ever, one of the most drinkable reds on the planet. One of the most food-friendly too, as demonstrated by its compatibility with all the foods on the plate. Along with the Canarelli rosé, my turkey dinner pick of the evening. (Buy again? Automatically.)

Côtes du Rhône 2012, Lieu-dit Clavin, Domaine de la Vieille Julienne ($28.75, 10919133)
Organically farmed Grenache (80%), Syrah (10%), Mourvèdre (5%) and Cinsault (5%). Manually harvested and partially destemmed. Temperature-controlled maceration and fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasted 20 days. Matured 12 months in 50-hectolitre foudres. Unfiltered and unfined. Sulphur was added – and then minimally – only just before bottling. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
A nose both exuberant and savoury: dusty plum, spice, turned earth, slate, dried herbs. Rich and dense with satiny, ripe, remarkably pure fruit. Tannic but not harshly so. Any sweetness is checked by the vibrant acidity. Bitter, earth and fired mineral flavours mark the long, full finish. Fundamentally dry and – that word again – savoury. Too intense for unadorned turkey and in no way synergistic with the Brussels sprouts, this really needs food that’s darker and more substantial: grilled lamb, say, or a beef daube. (Buy again? Absolutely, just not for Thanksgiving dinner.)

And that roasted turkey that even us turkey haters loved? Cooked using what some refer to as the blast-furnace method, which is nicely explained by chef Marek’s co-blogger here.

Written by carswell

January 14, 2015 at 15:12