Showing posts with label white wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label white 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!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Tour & Tasting at Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan



Deep in the heart of the Pfalz wine country, located just off the famous “Weinstrasse” (wine street), a 300 year-old estate watches over the nearby vineyards in anticipation of the upcoming harvest. The Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan has created a legacy of internationally acclaimed Rieslings within a small town called Deidesheim. I was fortunate to receive a tour and tasting at the estate with Sebastian Wandt, Sales Manager, in late August.


Our tour started with a drive into the vineyards where Bassermann-Jordan grows their grapes. The estate owns plots of vines within 10 "Erste Lage" (the equivalent to Premier Cru) and 10 "Grosse Lage" (Grand Cru equivalent) vineyards. This year was very hot, with little precipitation – very similar to the 2003 growing season. Harvest will be starting extra early this season; the week after my visit, in fact, to ensure the grapes are at optimum ripeness and to maximize concentration in the resulting wines. 

From there, we returned to the estate for a tasting. I was surprised to learn that Sauvignon Blanc is gaining momentum within the Pfalz region.


Bassermann Jordann’s Sauv Blanc is abundant with tropical fruits like underripe pineapple and passion fruit, alongside nuances of the traditional grassy notes towards the finish. Refreshing acidity and a clean finish make this wine perfect for those who prefer a more fruit-forward style of Sauvignon Blanc.

A drier style of Riesling is generally preferred within the community of the Pfalz, and this 2017 Deidesheimer Kieselberg Riesling represents this style well with racy acidity, and stony minerality mid-palate. Combined with a complex flavour profile of white peach, melon and a hint of tropical fruit, this is a must-try for anyone who loves dry Riesling!


My personal favourite of the tasting was the 2017 Deidesheimer Leinhole Riesling Spatlese. Incredibly fresh and clean, with ample stone fruit aromas, bright acidity and honeyed stone fruit leading into a long, lush finish. The wine is on the sweeter side as Spatlese means "Late Harvest", but not cloyingly sweet at all. This Riesling will pair extremely well with desserts like strudels and fruit pies, and is equally as delectable on its own!


From there, we journeyed into the cellar. Built in 1822, the cellar has expanded as the estate grew in both side and wine production. A full library containing wines of each vintage from 1880 onward is contained here, and is also fully functional with stainless steel tanks and aging racks for the winemaking process. 

Bassermann-Jordan's wines are widely available internationally and through North America and offer a wide range of Rieslings that will fit your palate, as well as other varietals including Sauvignon Blanc, Spatburgunder, even Sekt! Special thanks to Sebastian for the tour and tasting. I wish Bassermann-Jordann a successful harvest, and a successful vintage in their wines!

Cheers!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Unorthodox Without Oak? A Glimpse at (Mostly) Unoaked Okanagan Chardonnay

I used to think that wine snobs turned their noses up towards unoaked Chardonnays, that the general demand was for rich, buttery Californians that carried a lot of body and flavour intensity.

But then I googled unoaked Chardonnay, and I was wrong.

Wine writers are taking note of the unoaked, Chablis-style Chardonnays. In fact, a trend in California is now to age their chards in stainless steel vats, toning down the richness and allowing the varietal to show more of its primary flavours.

The Okanagan region is embracing the unoaked style of Chardonnay as well, and my mother-in-law and I spent some time sampling some of these wines to see how BC does it. We tasted three different unoaked Chardonnays from different areas of the Okanagan wine region.

Nk'Mip's 2011 Winemaker's Chardonnay is partially aged in French oak but the natural flavours of Chardonnay stand out with notes of grapefruit, lemon, green apple and zesty acidity. Hints of straw on the finish give the wine body and finesse. 

Blasted Church's 2013 Unorthodox Chardonnay opens with a lovely bouquet of orchard fresh peaches and honeycrisp apples due to small amounts of the aromatic varietals Ehrenfelser and Gewurztraminer blended in. The palate reflects flavours of honeydew melon and a steely minerality that leads into a citrus finish. Pairs well with scallops and lean white fish.

Gray Monk's 2014 Unwooded Chardonnay has a flavour profile that is consistent with the other two wines above, with notes of green apple, underripe peach and a hint of green banana on the palate. Fresh acidity with a zesty finish, this wine is ideal as an aperitif or on its own in pleasant warm weather!

It was interesting to note that none of these wines underwent malolactic fermentation during the winemaking process. The trend here is to showcase the natural fruit flavours that come with the varietal. 

Now that Spring is here, light white wines will surely be returning to the forefront of winelovers' minds when the sun is shining. Why not celebrate Spring with one of these fresh and lively wines? Your tastebuds will thank you. 

Cheers!





Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Tale of Two Chenins

My blog post inspirations are coming to me as flukes so far this year. I wasn't expecting to focus on Italian reds last month, and I wasn't planning a post on Chenin Blancs in February either. But they say the best things happen by fluke!

A friend of mine journeyed to Perth, Australia during the first few weeks of the year. While he was "down under", he toured the Swan River wine region of Western Australia. He found a gem of a Chenin Blanc and brought a bottle back to share over dinner one night. 

Since I also had a bottle of Loire Valley Chenin Blanc in my cellar, I decided to see how both wines compare and contrast eachother from a new world vs old world perspective, and new release vs older vintage to see how the varietal progresses.


The 2014 Windy Creek Estate Chenin Blanc opens with a pronounced floral bouquet of white and orange blossom and hints of stone fruit. Intense flavours of apricot, yellow apples and lime envelope the palate, with fresh acidity and a lush mouthfeel. A youthful, wonderful warm weather sipper!


Chenin Blanc's homeland is in the Loire Valley and the Chateau de Targe 2008 "Les Frenettes" reflects a well-developed, well structured wine in its varietal's birthplace. Deep gold in colour, with notes of baked bananas, pineapple and gala apples on both the nose and the palate. Rich in body with a slight tang in the soft acidity.A hint of melon liqueur rounded out the finish.

I was surprised to detect more exotic fruits on the older Chenin Blanc as that can be a character trait of the young wines or wines from a more tropical climate. But since Chenin Blanc can express a wide variety of flavours this may come down to the ripeness of the grapes when they were picked.

You really can't go wrong with Chenin Blanc as it can be made into wines from dry and ripe in style to sweet and honeyed. The grape is also being cultivated in South Africa and California but it's great to see it can grow well in a region like Western Australia. I haven't yet had a Chenin Blanc that I didn't agree with, and I look forward to drinking more that will please my palate!

My next blog post will explore unoaked Chardonnays from the Okanagan. Is the crisp, clean style really as off-putting as wine snobs think it is? Stay tuned!  



Monday, December 28, 2015

My Favourite Wines Tasted in 2015

This year is now coming to a close and although 2015 was relatively quiet in my world of wine, it brought much joy and surprise in other facets of life for me. On April 30, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child and in August, I was delighted to learn my baby is a girl! She will make her big arrival on December 30. She had me craving beer most of the pregnancy, future beer lover?

January 1-April 30 still had me busily exploring the world of wine. Some highlights included starting up a tasting group with fellow wine lovers in the late winter/early spring, visiting Jamaica's Appleton Estate Rum Distillery in February and attending a few local tasting events that focused on great value wines. I also made it back to the Okanagan in August and did some wine touring - thank goodness for spit buckets! 

Even with only 4 months of official tasting, I was able to put together a list of wines and pairings that stood out to me during the year. Here are my top wine picks of 2015!

Top Red Wines

Because my drinkable months occurred during the winter, my top picks favour red wines this year.  In fact, there were very few red wines I didn't enjoy in the first 3 months of 2015! The top two wines are priced in the premium category, while the other 3 are priced between $20 and $35 CDN.

1. Burrowing Owl Meritage 2011 - Oliver, British Columbia, Canada 

2. Joseph Phelps Insignia 1996 - Napa, California


4. Silkscarf Malbec Cabernet 2009 - Summerland, British Columbia, Canada


Top White Wines

Spain took the top 1 and 3 spots and French whites, including a Premier Cru, took 2nd and 4th place. All wines are priced under $40 CDN with the exception of the Burgundy, which is premium priced.

1. Bodegas Muga Blanco 2011 - Rioja, Spain



4. Domaine Fouassier Les Romains 2012 - Sancerre, Loire Valley, France 

Because of my shortened "tasting season" this year, I wasn't able to spend as much time with sweet wines, sparkling wines or rose wines and will therefore not be adding these categories to my list this year. However, I did get to experiment with wine and food a fair bit, and here are my top picks for pairings.

Top Wine and Food Pairings

1. Pfaffenheim Gewurztraminer 2013 with Seafood Salad "Louis Style", served in Lettuce Boats

2. Domino Pinot Grigio 2012 with Honey-Lime Marinated Shrimp (v)

3. Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2011 with Slow-Cooked BBQ Ribs (v)

Honourable Mention; Cameron Hughes Della Robbia semi-sweet Italian Rosso with Wagon Wheels (v)
*Don't knock this pairing until you try it! This pairing is great for camping!

Three of my top wines in the food pairing category happen to be value wines at under $20 per bottle, so my Top Values list is shortened to include the wines mentioned above. Australian Shirazes dominate the list, with a semi-sweet Tokaji clinching 3rd spot and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc rounding out the category. 

Top Values




4. Seven Terraces Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - Marlborough, New Zealand

This year I'm going to introduce 2 new categories: Top Spirits and Top Beers. You might be surprised at the number of Canadian spirits & beers on each list, but in my opinion Canada is really starting to make their mark on the world of spirits, especially in the world of Whisky. The top beers are courtesy of my husband, who tasted approximately 100 beers in 2015!

Top Spirits

1. Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year Old Rum - St Elizabeth Parrish, Jamaica

2. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye - Gimli, Manitoba, Canada

3. Eau Claire Distillery Three Point Vodka - Turner Valley, Alberta, Calgary

Top Beers

1. Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter - Victoria, BC, Canada


3. Delerium Tremens - Belgium 

4. Granville Island Lions Winter Ale - Vancouver, BC, Canada

5. Erdinger Dunkel - Germany


So what's next for 2016? 

I plan to return to wine school through Fine Vintage Ltd and take their Canadian Wine Scholar Certification course in late 2016/early 2017. Therefore, my main focus will be on Canadian wines. Our major trip this year will be back to the Okanagan, where I will sample my way through the region and soak up as much knowledge as I can to study and prepare for the course. I am also hoping to spend some time in the Niagara region, should we make it back to my parents' place in Ontario.

Other regions I plan to focus on include Champagne, California, Italian food and wine pairings and Rioja, Spain. 

Huge thanks to all those who still follow me despite my long absence from the blog and twitter! May you have a 2016 filled with good food, good friends and great wine. Cheers!















Monday, January 12, 2015

My Favourite Wines Tasted in 2014

Happy New Years!

My 2014 was a roller coaster ride of joy and sadness. Many life lessons were learned, and with that came much personal growth. My love and passion for the wine world was a great source of comfort and perseverance through the tough times. The major highlight was branding myself as the Wine Concubine. I also attended a Joseph Drouhin tasting as well as a vintage port tasting earlier this year. And I continued to expand my knowledge of the wine world through a lot of self study. Can't let those text books go to waste!

Let's face it: I can't drink every bottle of wine out there in one year. But I did find some beautifully expressive wines of the ones I did taste. Below is the list of the wines I felt were the best in quality, which became my personal preferences of the year.

Top Red Wines
I was spoiled with bottles of red this year, and my top 3 picks are all in the high-priced category, ranging from $45-$90 CDN. These wines are excellent splurges when celebrating a momentous occasion or want to impress! The Rodney Strong Pinot Noir retails at under $25 CDN.
1. Chateau de Clinet: Fleur de Clinet 2011 - Bordeaux, France
2. Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2010  - Valpolicella, Italy
3. Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches Beaune 1er Cru 2011 - Burgundy, France
HM:  Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir 2009 - California, USA

Top White Wines
It was a French sweep in the world of whites this year, with the exception of a California Chardonnay receiving my honourable mention of the year. Prices range from $25 to $45 CDN.
1. Jean-Michel Gerin "La Loye" Viognier 2007  - Northern Rhone, France
2. Pfaffenheim Gewurztraminer Steinert Grand Cru 2009 - Alsace, France
3. Joseph Drouhin Vaudon de Chablis 2012 - Burgundy, France
HM: Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2012 - California, USA

Top Sparkling Wines
The Jura is a lesser-known wine region in Eastern France, and their wines can be hard to find here in Alberta. Once I discovered that some local stores and restaurants carry Cremant du Jura, I spent all my "bubbly" energy tasting as many bottles as I could! The Jurancon wines are priced here between $20 and $25 CDN.
1. Domaine Rolet Pere et Fils Brut Cremant du Jura Rose N/V - Jura, France
2. Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne N/V - Reims, France
3. Domaine Baud Cremant du Jura Brut Blanc de Blancs N/V - Jura, France

Top Sweet Wines
It was the year of vintage port! Not only is the 2011 vintage considered to be one of the best ever, but I attended a vintage port tasting in May and fell in love! Although the prices of my top 2 picks are very high, the bottle of Cave Springs retails here at under $30 CDN. It is interesting to note that Hetszolo made my 2013 list with their 6 puttonyos Tokaji.
1. Warre's Vintage Port 1983 - Portugal
2. Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 1977 - Portugal
3. Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2001 - Hungary
HM: Cave Springs Indian Summer Select Late Harvest Riesling 2010 - Niagara, Canada

Top Values
Since my top reds are ideal splurges, this is where I focused my value picks this year. Spain offers a lot of complex, robust wines at the $20 price point, and Chile makes the list with both a red and white offering.
1. Tommasi Maremma Toscana Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2011 - Tuscany, Italy
2. Bodegas Los800 Priorat 2010 - Priorat, Spain
3. Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008 - Rioja, Spain
4. Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto 2012 - Puente Alto, Chile
5. Quintay Clava Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - Casablanca, Chile

Top Food and Wine Pairings
Two of my top wines this year also shone with food. I focused the rest of year on pairing richer dishes with the zesty acidity of Sauvignon Blanc. The Montes Classic listed below, from Chile, retails at under $20 CDN!
1. Domaine Rolet Pere et Fils Brut Cremant du Jura Rose with Charcuterie
2. Pfaffenheim Gewurztraminer Steinert Grand Cru 2009 with Spicy Smoked Chicken
3. Chateau Guiraud Le G de Guiraud 2008 with Grilled Salmon on Pesto
HM: Montes Classic Sauvignon Blanc 2013 with Clam and Bacon Linguine

Hopefully you'll find this list useful-maybe there's a wine here that you've been wanting to try, or one that piques your interest. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!

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