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