Friday, May 20, 2011

Factoid Friday: The Aging Power of Penfolds KH

Did you know...The 2008 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cab Shiraz ages well? Food and Wine magazine mentioned this in their "100 Bottles to Drink Right Now" article back in 2010. Not only are Penfolds bottles found in stores throughout Canada at very reasonable prices, but the article also mentions that a bottle of the 1976 blend is still drinking well at time of writing!

Click here
to see the full article. I think I'm going to head to the store and add it to the cellar - a theory well worth testing!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Vintage...

In a previous entry I mentioned Robert Renzoni's 2008 La Rosa rose of Sangiovese, my favorite rose. I wanted to pair it with soup one night, to see if it really cured a hangover. I also had a master plan to break out the bottle of wine the day before our best friends moved back to Ontario to test the hangover theory with them after a last night of heavy "celebrating". Unfortunately, I couldn't pull the trigger in either case, for 2 reasons:
1) I can't get this bottle of rose up here in Canada, and
2) The bottle was signed by the winemaker when we visited the Renzoni winery last May.

I suppose a third reason should be listed and that's because La Rosa happens to be my favorite rose...or so I thought. Until Saturday night, when I finally had the courage to open the bottle.

Ah, the anticipation...remembering how I felt when I first tasted it at the winery, and how it made me feel when I first tasted it. To me, it was the perfect rose! So why didn't it taste as good on Saturday night? Don't get me wrong, it wasn't corked or anything, just not the same as I remember it-and a little less vibrant of a palate. The possible reason hit me at work today: it could be past it's prime.

I did a little research; checking the internet, some of the books I've collected, and asked friends how long a rose wine should be aged for, if at all. The answers I found range anywhere from drink as soon as possible, to aging up to 2 years. Since the bottle of Renzoni that I have is a 2008, that makes it a year older than the 2 years advice-no wonder it tasted off!

I didn't want to waste the bottle so to try and balance out the rest of the wine, I looked up suitable pairings for rose. What I discovered was something I never would have dreamed would pair well with rose: lamb burgers with homemade tzatziki. The recipe and pairing is from the "This Food, That Wine" book. Here's what they looked like:

The end result: the fruity flavors of the rose helped tone down the bitter flavors of the lamb while bringing out the fresh flavors in the tzatziki-many different flavors blending in the mouth! Easily one of the best pairings I've ever had and perfect for summer!

Lesson learned: Rose wines are best drank as soon as possible. Isn't that the fun part anyways?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Slow Cooker Sundays: A Taste of Asia!

If cooking was a disease, I am now fully infected! I love to do it, even if I don't consider myself a great chef by any means. I do it all the time. I do it to kill the "Sunday Night Blues". I do it when I'm feeling romantic. I do it to celebrate the turning of seasons. I do it because I love cooking. I do it to try something new. The something new that I feel like trying for May's Slow Cooker Sundays is Asian cuisine, a fare I don't cook often.

I was going through my old cookbooks last Sunday and I found a recipe for Thai Beef Curry that I've always wanted to make. It turns out that I already have most of the ingredients, and after leafing through the rest of the cookbook I found a few more recipes to try under the same food umbrella, and the idea officially took off!

The last 2 Slow Cooker Sundays have been dedicated to my lovely mother and grandmother in honor of Mother's Day, cooking up some of their recipes that have inspired me. Floating Chicken, Roasted Curried Cauliflower & Spinach Soup, and don't forget the wine pairing: Hernder Vidal, the official white wine of the Holowatys! Starting this week and throughout the month, I will try my hand at concocting edible meals featuring the flavors of China, India and Thailand. Here they are:

Shanghai Potato Cakes
Slow Cooked Oriental Chicken with veggie-fried rice
Garlic Stir-fried Broccoli
Almond Crescents
Pork Satays
Carrot Sambal
Beef Curry
Kluai Buat Chi
Chicken Curry
Beef Madras
Tandoori Chicken
Onion Salad
Indian-style Basmati Rice Pudding

I might even try my hand at paneer, an Indian cheese. I'm also hoping to find a really spicy side to go along with the Tandoori Chicken.

Wine pairings are definitely in the cards. A German Riesling is a definite must, as the sweetness will cool down the heat of some of the dishes. Other recommendations I found via the internet and some of my cookbooks are Gewurztraminer (I would likely pair one of my fave whites, Summerhill's Ehrenfelser), Rose, Bubbly (we have a great Prosecco that's slightly sweet that could work well) and there's also the option of taking a night off wine and enjoying a good beer with the spicy flavors!

Any advice, definitely send it my way! And stay tuned for photos...