Tag: Wine

Luis Felipe Edwards Shiraz 2015

Luis Felipe Edwards Shiraz

A while ago, I sampled the 2014 vintage of this particular wine and I was sufficiently impressed to order some more. I didn’t notice, however, that I was actually purchasing the 2015 vintage but, as it happened, this year turned out to be every bit as good as the 2014…

The pertinent details for this selection are as follows:

  • Winery: Vina Luis Felipe Edwards
  • Region: Valle Central,  (Colchagua Subregion)
  • Price: $12.90 CDN
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Sugar: 2.4 g/L

The color of the wine is a very dark, cherry red, and it is fairly full bodied with an almost crisp mouthfeel. It is quite dry, somewhat north of moderately acidic and it has robust, yet smooth tannins that last well into the nice long finish. The nose is very aromatic with vibrant red berries and there is a faint grassy note lurking in the background. Dark plum and blackcurrant dominates in the mouth, and there is a peppery spiciness with woody notes and a definite empyreumatic quality.

Sadly, I am now on my last bottle and I will have to decide whether I will order more. I am tempted, as this is a terrific wine to have on hand, given the price, but doing so will mean I have to forego the opportunity to try other wines. I do very much like this one, though, it is a ‘big’ wine, of the sort I favor, and is not only great for sipping, but stands up well to rich, hearty dishes. It well deserves the five stars I gave it.

Anita Kuhnel Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2015

Anita Kuhnel Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2015

Today’s selection is a Beaujolais. As you can see, it was good enough to rate three stars but, given the price, and my expectations, it was actually a bit disappointing…

By way of a brief primer, the Beaujolais wine region of south-eastern France is sometimes lumped in with the much larger Burgundy region. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, however, as the reds of Burgundy are almost exclusively Pinot Noirs, while the Beaujolais reds are produced using the varietal known as Gamay, or Gamay Noir. Under the French name-control regime (AOC), the basic level grouping for this region is the plain Beaujolais AOC. Above this, both in terms of price and (usually) quality, are the wines produced in certain villages, and which are entitled to carry the ‘Beaujolais-Villages AOC’ designation on their labels (there are 39 such villages at last count). Beyond these, again in terms of price and quality, are the wines from 10 specific communes, all of which rate their own individual AOC, and which are collectively referred to as the ‘Crus de Beaujolais’.  Moulin-à-Vent is one of these…

This particular Moulin-à-Vent cost me $26.40 Canadian from the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ). It has an alcohol content of 13% and the sugar quotient rates in at 1.8 g/L. Thus far, the best Beaujolais I have tasted was from the Moulin-à-Vent AOC but, sadly, this one did not measure up.

The color of this particular Beaujolais is a very dark, slightly purplish red. The nose was quite muted and the aroma of dark, ripe berries is overshadowed by an earthy, somewhat vegetal quality that is reminiscent of dried mushroom. I also got a slight hint of jam but this was ephemeral and fleeting.

It is medium to light bodied and fairly dry, with low moderate acidity and tannins to match except for a slight astringency at the end. As with the nose, the fruitiness is very understated and there is the same earthiness, but with a few herbaceous highlights and a touch or pepper. On my second glass, I also detected a note of cherry that was a bit medicinal and not very pleasant.The finish was very short and, on the whole, the effect was not well-rounded. For one of the Crus de Beaujolais, it wasn’t especially good and I won’t purchase this particular vintage again.

Gato Negro Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Gato Negro

Well folks, this is the very first wine review I have attempted here at Sybaritica. I am going to be tweaking the format a little as I go, so I would appreciate any suggestions you might have to offer.

Anyway, today’s selection is a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, and the pertinent details are as follows:

  • Winery: Vina San Pedro Tarapaca SA
  • Region: Valle Central,  (Valle del Maule Subregion)
  • Price: $9.45 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: 5.0 g/L

As you can see, I have given this wine a 5 star rating. I don’t expect this to be a common rating in my reviews and, as we shall see anon, this particular rating is somewhat qualified… Now, on to the review:

The color of the wine is a very dark, purple red, and it is fairly full bodied with a smooth, but not quite velvety texture. The nose immediately strikes you with a generic red berry fruitiness that quickly develops a deep blackcurrant quality, and there are some floral highlights and a background  vegetal quality that expresses itself most with a slightly sharp hint of stinging nettles.

The overall effect is off-dry, with moderate acidity, and tannins that are largely smooth throughout, but which produce a mild astringent effect near the end. On the palate, blackcurrant definitely dominates, but what I liked best about this wine was a fruity tang near the end that was very reminiscent of the wine-gum candies I used to love as a kid. There is a little spice component, that complements the candied wine-gum quality, and also, lurking in the mix, a very faint touch of licorice.

It is not a classically ‘great’ wine, by any means… the finish is a bit short and a rustic roughness makes it difficult to qualify it as well-rounded, but it is eminently drinkable, and, when you factor in the very low price, I would raise it from a four to a (qualified) five star rating. as being something I would buy to have on hand.

 

Wine, Wine, Wine … Whine’s about Wine?

Wines 1

About 8 or 9 years ago, I started keeping notes about meals I ate in restaurants and this, back in 2012, morphed into a blog that began with restaurant reviews and expended into the ‘Sybaritica’ of today…

At the same time as I began keeping notes on meals, however, I also started recording my experiences with various wines I tasted. At that time,  I didn’t feel I had enough knowledge about wine to start doing reviews, nor was I all that accomplished at suggesting pairings, and so, thus far, I have largely ignored wine as a subject for my posts. I am wondering, though, whether that should change, and, if possible, I would like to get some feedback, both on the subject of whether I should start doing wine reviews here on my blog, and, also,  with respect to a computer application I have written for those who would like to keep notes of their own wine adventures… Continue reading “Wine, Wine, Wine … Whine’s about Wine?”

Foodstuff: Mirin

Mirin 1

I think I can safely say that rarely a week goes by that I don’t use Mirin in the preparation of at least one meal. It is invaluable as a marinade component and a glaze, as well as being a great addition to steaming mediums, broths, and stir-fry and dipping sauces. Indeed, I have listed it as an ingredient in so many recipes published on my blog that is high time that I gave this useful foodstuff a proper introduction…

Essentially, a true Mirin is a brewed rice ‘wine’, similar to the Japanese beverage Sake, wherein the starch rice is converted into a sugar by a Koji mold (Aspergillus oryzae) and, during this same process, fermented to produce alcohol. In Sake, the fermentation will consume all, or most, of the sugars but in Mirin, a good deal remains and thus it may be described as a ‘naturally sweet rice wine’.

Products sold as Mirin that destined for the kitchen (as opposed to being purely potable) may be ‘true’ Mirins, but they may also be artificially sweetened Sake, or else non-brewed concoctions that have the taste, and usually not the alcohol content, of proper Mirin. The three products we will look at here are chosen because they provide a pretty good illustration of the range of purchasing possibilities…  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Mirin”

Foodstuff: Shaoxing Cooking Wine

Shaoxing Wine 1

I have posted a very large number of Chinese dishes here on my blog and I daresay that in about 50 percent of them, I have called for the use of Rice Wine somewhere in the recipe. Simply calling for ‘rice wine’ is a bit like calling for ‘grape wine’ as the range of possible varieties is extensive and the use of one will yield results somewhat different than an other. Sometimes I use one of the Japanese varieties collectively known as ‘Sake’, but, more frequently, I use a specific Chinese sort known as ‘Shaoxing’.

Anybody who has spent much time browsing recipes for Chinese dishes will have come across the name ‘Shaoxing’ at one time or another, either in that form or else in one of the alternate spellings such as ‘Shaoshing’, ‘Shaosing’ or ‘Shao Hsing’. It is frequently listed as an ingredient but, almost as commonly, at least in recipes intended for western readers, Japanese rice wine or even common Sherry are suggested as alternatives. In truth, you can get by very nicely and produce perfectly acceptable results using one these, or other, substitutes where Shaoxing wine is specified, but the genuine article is not expensive, nor particularly hard to find, and it is well worth investigating… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Shaoxing Cooking Wine”

Review: Must Wine Bar

41 William St  Ottawa – (613) 680-3107 – Website

Must 1

Date of Visit: March 12, 2013

Must Wine Bar is a tiny little establishment that is just a few doors down from Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro which I generally visit when in the capital. I have passed by the place many times, and even perused their posted many a few times, but it was only on my last trip south that I gave it a try. On the whole, I was very happy that I did… Continue reading “Review: Must Wine Bar”