Posted in Wine

Domaines Rouvinez Fendant Côteaux de Sierre 2017

Domaines Rouvinez Fendant Côteaux de Sierre 2017

Today’s selection is the second of two Swiss wines I sampled over the past Christmas vacation. The first was the Pinot Noir blend called Cave St-Pierre Dôle du Valais 2016, that I have already told you about, and which, like today’s wine, is produced in Switzerland’s Valais AOC. I didn’t rate this white quite as highly as the Pinot Noir blend, but it is still worth a mention as it employs a grape, most commonly known as Chassalas, that is not widely known in North America (as yet, at least), and which I had never had before. In Switzerland, Chasselas is known as Fendant, it is, apparently, the most planted variety in that country. It is raised as a table grape in some places, and is used to make wine in France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, New Zealand and Chile. In France, it is best known for being blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the Loire wine, ‘Pouilly-sur-Loire’.

This wine cost me $21.00 at Quebec prices, and contains 12.5% alcohol and has less than 1.2 g/L of residual sugar. It is a pale yellow and my bottle had just a touch of effervescence, although this was likely not intentional.

The nose is quite muted comprising golden apple, peach and lychee, along with some honey, half-dried grass, and just a touch of fennel. It is light-bodied, very dry, and quite crisply, even sharply, acidic. On the palate, there is both gold and green apple, a little tropical fruit in the background, the same touch of honey as on the nose, as well as an additional, and very pleasant note of hazelnut.

For my own personal taste, I would preferred just a little more residual sweetness to round out the acidity but, that being said, this is a very pleasant sipping wine that should appeal to a broad range of white wine fans.

Posted in Wine

Cave St-Pierre Dôle du Valais 2016

Cave St-Pierre Dôle du Valais 2016

Over this past Christmas vacation, I sampled a number of wines from some of the less celebrated wine producing regions, including a couple of interesting ones from Switzerland. This one I am featuring today is a red, Pinot Noir blend from the Valais AOC. The blend includes Gamay (which is blended with Pinot Noir in other regions, including Burgundy), but it also contains a varietal I have not had before called Diolinoir. I had to look this one up, but it turns out to of Swiss origin and is a cross between a Pinot Noir and a grape called Rouge de Diolly. I have been unable to find out much about it as yet and I do not know if there are any single varietal wines made with it.

In any event, this blend has resulted in a medium full-bodied wine that has a pleasant, almost satiny texture. It is off-dry, with low-medium acidity, and has very smooth tannins, making it an easy sipping wine.

On the nose, there are muted red berries, with a touch of raspberry jam, along with notes of cedar, some spice, and a rather curious hint of buttered toast. Plum comes through on the palate, along with sour cherry, just ripened raspberries, and a hint of pepper. There is also an earthy quality, with background notes of herbaceous undergrowth and dried leaves.

Overall, this is very interesting, quite complex and decently rounded. I paid about $21.00 CDN for this (Quebec prices) and found it very good value for the money.

Posted in Wine

Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny Le Clou 2015

Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny Le Clou 2015

The Chardonnay featured today is a Burgundy from the Cote Côte Chalonnaise sub-region, and, more specifically, the Montagny AOC. Personally, I am much more of a red wine drinker, and when I do go for whites, Chardonnay is not generally my first choice. I like trying new wines of all sorts, though, and this particular one turned out to be decidedly good…

  • Winery: EARL Clos Salomon
  • Price: $27.70 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: < 1.2 g/L

This Chardonnay has a very pale straw color with a slight greenish tint. It has green and golden apples on the nose with faint floral notes, some peach and a touch of honey. It is medium full bodied with a rich, almost buttery texture. The acidity is refreshing and the initial impact is robust with the sharp savor of green apple followed by a more mellow fruitiness. It has some floral tones, and a woody note along with a very faint hint of fennel. The overall effect is well-rounded and very nice indeed.

Posted in Wine

Guilty Men (Merlot Blend) 2015

Guilty Men 2015

I was rather intrigued by the name of this wine but, after having a look on-line for an explanation, I am still in the dark as to the inspiration. The bottle simply declares it to be a blend without specifying any varietals, but the vintners website lists the composition as being Merlot 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon 41%, Pinot Noir 2%, Cabernet Franc 1%. The sugar content is quite high but, ultimately, the actual effect is not that sweet…

  • Winery: The Malivoire Wine Company
  • Price: $15.95 at LCBO
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Sugar: 13 g/L

The color is a fairly dark cherry red with a faint purple tint. An aromatic nose is dominated by red fruit and ripe dark berries and there is a pleasant sawdust quality with light floral notes and just an ephemeral hint of vanilla. It is medium bodied with a fairly smooth texture and the moderate sweetness is nicely offset by a medium acidity that rises just after the beginning before the nicely smooth and moderate tannins develop. The fruitiness is more sour than is suggested on the nose, having an almost citrusy character, but there is a nice blackcurrant note right at the start. There is a bit of oakiness, and just a hint of spice coming through near the end, but the finish a little short. Still, it is not a bad sipping wine and should appeal to a broad range of tastes and do well as an aperitif.

Posted in General

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal Chorey-Lès-Beaune 2013

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal Chorey-Lès-Beaune 2013

Burgundy, of all the wine-producing regions  France, is the most complicated. There is a dizzying number of AOC’s (more than any other region on France), and the general supposition is that there is an in increase in quality from the basic Bourgougne AOC up to the Grand Crus. In wine after wine,however, the lie is given to this general notion, and today’s selection, from the  Chorey-Lès-Beaune AOC,  is indicative of that …

  • Winery: Catherine et Claude Maréchal
  • Price: $40.75 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: 1.7 g/L

This wine is medium ruby in color and has a muted nose of red, slightly cooked fruit, and a faint floral background. It has a medium full body with a silky texture, and is off-dry with moderate acidity and smooth tannins that get bolder at the end. The floral notes dominate over subtle, slightly sour red fruit, and there is a hint of spice as well as a touch of leather. I had some of this with a mild beef stew and it didn’t stand up well, leaving a slightly acrid taste. Interestingly, I later drank one glass with peanuts,which resulted, as a combination, in a taste of turkey. Overall, the wine was not all that bad bad but not worth the relatively high  price.

Posted in Wine

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2014

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2014

The Shiraz varietal is the most widely used in the Australian wine industry, for reds at least… Shiraz is generally regarded as being the same as Syrah (by which name it is known in France) while some say that the grape, especially in Australia, has evolved it’s own characteristics such as to merit it being treated as a new varietal. However you look at it, Australia has done wonders with this particular grape type and the wine featured today is a very decent representative of the class…

  • Winery: Wyndham Estate Winery
  • Price: $16.65 CDN
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • Sugar: 6 g/L

The color is a very pretty dark cherry red with a very slight purplish tint. The nose is quite aromatic with red fruit, particularly cherry dominating, and there are some very faint notes of dusty, dried grass and flowers in the background. It is moderately full bodied with a smooth texture and surprisingly both dry and tart for the sugar quotient. The acidity is moderate to high and the tannins very robust but smooth. It is nicely fruity with dark plum and cherry, and there is a just a hint of peach, banana, and even tangerine. A vegetal quality surfaces ever so slightly in the middle and then is rounded out with a bit of pepper and spice in the decently long  finish. This particular Shiraz is very reasonably priced and worth buying to have on hand.

Posted in Wine

Niagara Estate Iniskillin 2014

Niagara Estate Iniskillin 2014

My database of wine tasting notes includes almost no entries with a 1 star rating… that particular score is pretty much reserved for wines that are undrinkable. Two stars, in contrast, means that a wine is capable of being imbibed without too much agony, but which is not generally worth the money. I don’t give that rating very often either, as it happens, but, unfortunately, that is how I felt about today’s selection. Your mileage may vary…

  • Winery: Iniskillin Wines Inc.
  • Price: $16.60 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Sugar: 3.7 g/L

The color is a medium light ruby and the nose is a muted, but still aromatic, red berry with a little oak and a faint vegetal quality underneath. It is quite light bodied, with moderate to low acidity and little in the way of tannins. The aromatic berries on the nose really don’t come through much in the mouth and there is a forest-floor effect along with a distant hint of dried flowers. The overall effect is a bit flat, except for a tease of spice at the very end, and there is a vague ‘over-cooked’ quality here and there. This would be fine for cooking but I wouldn’t buy it for drinking again.

Posted in General

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?”

Posted in Foodstuffs

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”

Posted in Foodstuffs

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”