Showing posts with label rose wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rose wine. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Top Wines of 2018

Happy New Year's everyone!

2018 was another year of struggling in my "day job" career at our local airport. Internal company restructuring forced me to move positions in the early Autumn. Although I have now settled into my new position, and have integrated myself well into my new department, there will always be a place in my heart for the position I came from.

With all that said, the true highlight was spending my last few weeks of summer in Europe! We travelled through the Pfalz, Alsace, and the Ahr wine regions, soaking in the view of sun-kissed vineyards, tasting everything we could get our hands on, and indulging in the local dishes that pair so spectacularly with those wines. You can read about my European adventures here and here. Other highlights include attending my first media event, a lunch with winemaker Gerard Bertrand of the Veuve Clicquot champagne house, and my first ever collaboration, a blog post on bcwinetrends.com about one of my favourite wineries in Okanagan region, Moon Curser Vineyards.

Every year since 2013, I've dedicated my first post of the new year to sharing my favourite wines from the previous year. The categories haven't changed as I've decided to keep both the "Social Media Wineries of the Year" and "Wine Bloggers to Follow" lists. There are so many excellent resources out there to learn from!

Top Red Wines of 2018

Sadly, the majority of my top red wines this year came from aging in my cellar, so the actual vintages themselves may not be widely available. However, I do encourage you to try any of these reds should you find any on your local store shelves. Price points range from $30 - $50 CDN, and worth every penny!

1. Domaine Barville "Brotte" 2009: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France

2. Campo al Mare Bolgheri 2007: Tuscany, Italy

3. Stargroves Petite Sirah 2008: Paso Robles, California

4. Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc 2014: Okanagan, BC, Canada

Top White Wines of 2018

Riesling dominated my white wine consumption for the year, what with travelling to the heart of Riesling country and all! Three of the top 4 wines are of this versatile varietal, with a sleeper hit from Australia mixing it up. Most of these wines are priced between $20 and $35 CDN, with the St. Urbans-Hof priced around $60 CDN, and so worth it!

1. St. Urbans-Hof Bockstein Spatlese Riesling 2011 - Mosel, Germany

2. Tawse Sketches Riesling 2015 - Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

3. Three Sisters Bench White 2016 - Okanagan, BC, Canada

4. Tahbilk Marsanne 2016 - Australia

Top Rose Wines of 2018

I spent a lot more time quaffing on rose this past summer than I have in the past. Rose all day, am I right?! The unofficial king of Rose wines, Cotes du Provence, made an impact on my list; however, the top spots went to the New World for their lush and concentrated offerings. Price points range between $18 and $32 CDN, making these gems affordable any time of year! 

1. Belle Glos Pinot Noir/Blanc Rose 2016 - Sonoma, California

2. Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose 2016 - Okanagan, BC, Canada

3. M. Chapoutier Belleruche Rose 2016 - AOP Cotes du Rhone, France

4. S de la Sablette Rose 2016 - AOP Cotes du Provence, France

Top Sparkling Wines of 2018

It was a French sweep this year thanks to my #cremanttourdefrance journey in the late spring/early summer. Although the JL Schwartz cremant is not widely available, the rest are priced between $25 and $65 CDN.

1. Champagne Taittinger - Reims, France

2. Domaine JL Schwartz Cremant d'Alsace Chardonnay - Alsace, France

3. Champagne Pommery Extra Brut - Reims, France

4. Chateau Langlois Cremant de Loire Brut - Loire Valley, France

Top Value Wines of 2018

I fell in love with my top value wine as soon as I tasted it; in fact, it's become one of my go-to white wines when I need a weeknight bottle or a patio sipper in summer! All 4 of these picks are worth tasting if you haven't already done so, and will only cost you $25 CDN or less!

1. Willm Pinot Blanc 2016 - AOP Alsace, France

2. Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon - Barossa Valley, Australia

3. Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling 2016 - Columbia Valley, Washington

4. Bodegas Corihuela 1884 Malbec 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina

Top Food and Wine Pairings of 2018

The Pinot Noir varietal shows up in 3 of the 4 top wines in this category as it is such a food-friendly wine! This year's top pairings isn't very vegetarian-friendly, but the JJ Adenauer and Burrowing Owl wines would work just as well with vegetarian alternatives like a "beyond meat" burger or veggie flatbread. The JJ Adenauer isn't widely available in Canada (just yet, anyways...I've heard rumours...), but the others are worth the splurge at prices between $30 and $60. Your taste buds will not be disappointed!

1. JJ Adenauer Spatburgunder 2017, paired with Pancetta & Onion "Flammkuchen" (flatbread)
Ahr Valley, Germany

2. Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old, paired with Pork Hock over Apricot Press
AOP Champagne, France

3. Burrowing Owl Pinot Noir 2015, paired with Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Burgers
VQA Okanagan, BC, Canada

4. Famille Perrin "Les Christins" 2015, paired with Sirloin Beef Roast
AOP Vacqueyras, France

Wineries of the Year

This category is dedicated to wineries that not only produce quality wines, but also regularly interact with their social media followers. Make sure to like and follow these wineries, and if you happen to see their wines in your local store, why not pick up a bottle for your next quaff?

1. Dr von Bassermann-Jordan: Pfalz, Germany

2. Champagne Taittinger: Reims, France (link above in Top Sparkling Wines List)

3. Hess Winery: Napa Valley, California

Wine Bloggers to Follow
This is my list of must-read (or watch) bloggers that I've started to follow in the past year. Each blogger on this year's list represents a specific wine region, with a youtube vlogger that focuses on value wines rounding out the list.

1. Grapevine Adventures - Katarina, a native from Sweden, moved to Italy and travels the country, exploring all the food and wine that makes Italy the gastronomic powerhouse that it is today. She also gravitates towards some of the wines and regions "off the beaten path", and I have learned so much more about Italy from her than what I have learned in books and other blogs so far!

2. VinoSocial - Nancy Croisier, a native Washingtonian, shares her passion for Washington wine in all of her blog posts. She also creates recipes that she pairs with the wines she reviews, and they are must-tries in your kitchen! Pair this with a friendly & knowledgeable writer, and you have a recipe for success!

3. Jordan Estate Winery - This is by far the most all-encompassing blog I have ever seen created and run by a winery! Jordan Estate covers it all with categories including "Out and About", "Behind the Scenes", "Photo Essays", and more! Posts are uploaded regularly, with notifications sent out on their social media pages to keep you well-informed.

4. Wine on the Dime - Do you prefer to watch vlogs over reading blogs? Wine on the Dime is by far my favourite vlogger to follow. Stuart shares his passion for finding excellent value wines ($15 USD or less), with a quirky twist here and there. Most of the videos are 5 minutes or less for those who prefer shorter wine tasting videos (like me), and there are many great recommendations with a ton of videos found on his channel!

Let me know what you think if you try out any of these wines, and feel free to share any you loved most in 2018 in the comments. I'm always open to new suggestions!

Cheers!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Passion Behind Tsillan Cellars

Passion can be found all over the wine world. Those who are willing to put their blood, sweat and tears in tending to the vines, as well as spending countless hours in their production facilities crafting well-structured wines, will tell you it's a labour of love. But the passion that Devon Griffith, Assistant Winemaker at Tsillan Cellars, has for wine is by far the greatest I have ever encountered!

Photo Courtesy of Tsillan Cellars
Born and raised in the nearby town of Manson, Washington, his family has grown world class tree fruit in the valley for the last 100 years. It has been a dream of Devon's from the very beginning to follow in their footsteps, with a history of hard work and passion. The opportunity to work at Tsillan Cellars fulfilled this desire to the utmost degree. After graduating from Washington State University with a degree in Viticulture and Enology, he came back home to the roots of his passion. One day he hopes to own his own winery in the area. He will no doubt succeed with the passion and knowledge he possesses!

Not technically the entrance, but this is some of the beautiful architecture found throughout the winery!

Walking through the well-architectured entrance and into the gorgeous tasting room of Tsillan Cellars, one would think that this is a more upscale, almost intimidating winery. However, this is not the case. The staff warmly welcomes everyone who walks in, and are happy to show all guests the beauty in Tsillan's wines. Here are some of the standouts I was fortunate enough to taste:

1. Nudo Chardonnay 2016

This unoaked Chardonnay opens with aromas of white peach and a stony mineral edge. The lively body contains a refreshing mouthfeel intertwined with notes of gala apples, lime zest and more of that beautiful white peach flavor! Refreshing acidity and a long, zesty finish make this beauty perfect for summer sips on a patio!

A serene moment of reflection with the Bocciolo di Rosa on the dock of the lake!
2. Bocciolo di Rosa 2016 

Meaning "Rose Bud" in Italian, this rose is composed of 100% Syrah and carries a breathtaking flavor profile of strawberries, mandarins, white peach, and a hint of wild roses. A steely mineral backbone adds complexity and body, leading into a pure, clean finish.


3. Tsillan Cellers 2014 Winemaker's Select Malbec

Malbec grows and produces fabulous wines in Lake Chelan, and dare I say - it was better than any Argentinian Malbec I have ever tasted! Deep ruby in color, notes of ripe blueberries, cocoa, black pepper and a hint of flint. The full-bodied, lush mouthfeel contains racy acidity and smooth tannins, and the long, sultry finish will leave you wanting more!

We then toured around the vineyard and production facility. The soils here are granite-based, which is why Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache grow so well in Lake Chelan. The sun's aspect into the North Shore of the lake is key for achieving ideal Brix levels. We sampled a few of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes on the vine and Devon estimated harvest to be the 2nd week of September. Here are some photos of the production facility and barrel room:




It is clearly evident from the way Devon spoke about both viticulture and the winemaking process how much he loves what he does, which is really refreshing in this day and age. His dedication to his craft and his love for wine is contagious and inspiring! I can't wait to see how far his vine-laced path will take him in the future- in fact, I'm sure he will bring Tsillan Cellars and the Lake Chelan AVA to new heights!


Click here for more information on Tsillan Cellars Winery, including their tasting room offerings, the exquisite Sorrento's Ristorante and much more!

A huge thanks to both Devon and Ashtyn for coordinating my tour and tasting at Tsillan Cellars, I will cherish the memories of that day for the rest of my life. Cheers!

Update from Devon: Harvest began on September 9th, with Syrah grapes destined for our future sparkling rose! It is currently speeding its way through primary fermentation, and will go into terrage for three years before it is released in the traditional Methode Champenoise style. We then commenced picking our Pinot Grigio, which we finished on September 20th. We just picked our first ever Dolcetto! It came from third leaf vines, which although still young yielded amazing fruit!  I just pitched the yeast to it a few hours ago, and as of now it may be included in a blend with another Piedmont native varietal, Barbera, which is set for release in 2019.  If it comes through as a beautiful stand alone wine, we may end up crafting a single varietal wine from it. Up next we plan on picking all of our Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Pink Jewel Among the Bordeaux Wines

The same day that my husband and I toured Chateau Cantenac Brown we also stopped in at Chateau Lafon-Rochet. It was there that I found something I never expected to find in Bordeaux: one of the best rose wines I've ever tasted. The pink jewel I refer to in the title of this entry is "Le Rose de Lafon-Rochet" 2009.

That year was the first year the Chateau produced a rose, and they got it right the first time! Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are harvested by hand in the morning to retain freshness. Once the grapes are sorted, they are pressed directly with their stems and are fermented at temperatures just over 15 degrees. The resulting wine is a light salmon in color and the bouquet is very fruity-a wonderful aroma of citrus fruit, mostly grapefruit, seduced my senses on first nose! Very crisp in taste, and not really sweet at all, the wine has a fresh, clean finish that does linger. Although my preference would be to drink this on it's own, you could pair it with seafood or a grilled chicken salad (not caesar or anything with a creamy dressing, however).

The funny thing about discovering this rose is that we were never meant to sample this wine at the Chateau. There happened to be a magnum sitting on the counter behind the tasting table that I kept noticing. Fortunately, I found the courage to ask about it, and thankfully, our tour guide agreed to give us a sample! In exchange she made 32 euro off that tasting-2 bottles sold on our tour of 3 people! Another interesting fact that our tour guide shared with us is that this rose has become so popular, Lafon-Rochet no longer sells it in the regular 750mL bottles-they only sell the rose in magnums now! I think this is a great business decision in the long run.

If you are able to find it, I recommend trying it, even if you are not a regular rose drinker. There is a reason this wine took off in France! Unfortunately, it is not available here in Alberta. The magnum we purchased at the winery is currently resting from a bumpy ride across the Atlantic and will be drinkable again in 2 months. Until then, I have the memory of the first taste of this rose lingering on my tastebuds when I look at the bottle and this photo of me with my own pink jewel. Score!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Great Vegetarian Soup for Hangovers!

"Hangovers. Because no good time goes unpunished."-A demotivational poster I have up on my wall at work. I spent most of today in pajamas with bangs wild & askew recovering from a great night with really good friends yesterday. It's just too bad that 3 pitchers of beer, too many to count amaretto & cokes and porn star shots will likely cause an internal revolution, because it is fun to do at the time!

I found the idea for this soup from a cookbook by a fabulous Canadian food personality, Lucy Waverman-the book was a gift from my mother-in-law last Christmas. I love this book because she shows her readers how to use unique items like fiddleheads in awesome ways. I'm hoping to try her recipe for cherry preserves in the future. The recipe I tried was her Spiced Cauliflower Soup with Spinach but her version calls for chicken broth, and I only had vegetable on hand. Also, I didn't season with salt or pepper-it didn't need it according to my tastebuds! The soup comes out a vibrant green color, a smooth, rich texture and full of spicy flavor. Here's my version:

1 head cauliflower, broken up into small florets
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1L vegetable broth
1 bunch spinach
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450F
2. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, cumin, curry powder, coriander and fennel seeds in a bowl. Pour into shallow roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, turning once.
3. Bring veggie broth to a boil in a pot and add roasted cauliflower. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add wilted spinach and simmer for 1 minute max, until spinach is wilted and a dark emerald green colour.
5. Puree soup and return to heat on low simmer. Add lemon juice and season to taste.

Serve with crusty bread. Serves 4.

I calculated the nutritional information on this recipe through an iPhone app that I have. It's only 82 calories as made, and I love that you can make some changes so it's even healthier-by using canola oil instead of olive oil, and water instead of the broth! It's also be very high in iron from the spinach.

My husband took a photo of it when it was finished. Here's what it looked like:




















Originally we were going to pair a bottle of rose wine with this, Robert Renzoni's 2008 La Rosa, but I want my friends to try this in a couple of weeks as I believe it cured a hangover in the past, so no go for tonight. Here's the side story for that belief:

Last May my husband and I took a side trip to Temecula, as part of a trip to California for his cousin's wedding. There is a small wine region nearby. The night before our wine tour we went out for sushi and wound up staying there until the wee hours of the morning drinking sake bombs as made by the sushi chefs. And boy did we ever get sake-bombed that night! I woke up the next morning while "praying to the porcelain Gods" and we had to leave the hotel at 10am for an all-day wine tour on the Grapeline. I wasn't sure I'd even make it through the first winery, I felt so sick during the first tasting! But I found a sweet surprise in the 2nd winery we visited, Robert Renzoni. Very plain looking on the exterior, but once we got to the tasting it was apparent that their main focus is on their wines, and they sell a fantastic Marinara Sauce too! The Rose was the highlight of the tasting, as I took one sip and I felt a million times better. In fact, I was easily able to stomach all the wines we tried from that point onwards! I ended up buying 2 bottles and the one pictured was signed by one of the owners, Fred Renzoni. He was so friendly and passionate about what he does. Lucky man.

After eating the soup I now feel so much better, just mostly lazy and tired, he he. If you're still reading, I'll end this entry with a video my husband took of us about to do a sake bomb on his phone. The girl knocking the sake into the beers with the samurai sword is me! If you're still reading this, check it out!


;