Saturday, April 19, 2014

vistAlba Corte B and C, Argentina

World Malbec Day: 17 April

The ribeye steaks at my favorite butcher, Hopcott Premium Meats (http://www.hopcottmeats.ca/ ), looked fantastic! The kind of marbling and precise trimming that makes me immediately think of firing up the hibachi, pulling the dried hardwood *(applewood, mesquite, whatever is handy) out of the garage and opening a great bottle of Malbec.
And as this week celebrated World Malbec Day, what could be more fitting then the classic Argentinian pairing of Malbec and barbeque? Of course, the Argentinians aren’t the only ones growing it! Malbec, or Cot as it is known in France, has been cultivated for centuries. In fact, it is one of the original varietals for the much-coveted Bordeaux red blend that fetches princely sums of money around the world. These days little of the grape is grown in Bordeaux and one must search rather earnestly to find it there.
But vineyard managers around the globe are checking their own plots of land to ascertain if the dark purple grape can grow in their backyards: California, Australia, Chile and British Columbia are amongst the candidates toying with it at present, to varying levels of success. But to find great value for money, always a focus for me, I find I continually return to Argentina and, especially, the vineyards of vistAlba (http://www.carlospulentawines.com/ )
What can I say about Carlos Pulenta, owner of the winery? Now in his late 60’s, this is a man who has devoted his entire life to the crafting of world-class wines. He is achieving that goal with the passion behind vistAlba and their blends: Corte B and Corte C… both achieving international scores beyond their modest prices. I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing Gustavo Crespo, Managing Director Blends. I asked Gustavo about his relationship with Carlos and what drew him to vistAlba.
VistAlba corte B and C tallshotKRISTOF
   Gustavo, many thanks for making the time to speak with me today. I know you’re a busy man.
GUSTAVO
     A pleasure.
KRISTOF
   Firstly Gustavo, I know that you were working in London, had a great career… what drew you to leave England and move literally across the world to work with Carlos?
GUSTAVO
     Well I was already working with Carlos’ company but in a completely different division, so it was less of a transition for the company then if they had hired outside of the company. But for me, personally, it was the opportunity to work more closely with Carlos himself. Carlos has a huge personality: so driven, so focused, so passionate. I think that he and I connected on that level and there was a mutual respect.
KRISTOF
   Still: a big change for anyone! London to Argentina.
GUSTAVO
      Well yes, but it was the very nature of that change, that challenge, which was the excitement for me. If we don’t challenge ourselves…
KRISTOF
   -Understood. So, new topic: How do you then in this new role of Managing Director try to translate the finesse, concentration and identity of vistAlba wines to over 30 countries?
GUSTAVO
      That’s easy. I don’t! These are wines with such a connection to the land that they speak for themselves. I just make the introductions.
KRISTOF
   Ha – I like that way of explaining it.
GUSTAVO
     And you know, Carlos is really a legend in Argentina, in South America, and throughout the wine world. He comes from a family that is like nobility in wine and each of his brothers has crafted his own place in today’s market. Just having that name behind the label opens many doors.
KRISTOF
   And so what’s the next step for the winery? I know the winery is run in a very sustainable manner but are there plans to take that further now that organics and bio-dynamics are making an impact?
GUSTAVO
      -you took the words out of my mouth. We’re already quite advanced in our process for full organic certification throughout the vineyard. These are practices that we’ve been using since day one – now we need to get the documentation.
KRISTOF
    And this is to get in front of certain consumers or a demographic?
GUSTAVO
     Actually no; in Europe especially being organic when it comes to wine has very little impact on sales. We are doing this because, since the beginning, our goal has been to create “the best expression of the land”Organics are just a fundamental part of that process: don’t put into the soil what you don’t want in the wine, right?
KRISTOF
Right! All of this sounds like, as I like to put it, a return to a more ancestral type of viticulture.
GUSTAVO
     Absolutely. For Carlos, whose passion and vision are our driving force, organics are a return to how his grandfather and great-grandfather farmed the land. It’s about understanding our place in that ecosystem and respecting it. It’s about tradition, and in Argentina tradition runs deep.
KRISTOF
   Bravo my friend. Thanks so much for making a few minutes for me.
GUSTAVO
   Always a pleasure Kristof – come and visit soon!

THE WINE

  1. VistaAlba corte B and C wideshotvistAlba Corte B

  2. 51% Malbec, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Bonarda

  3. $29.99 CAD *(BC)

  4. 90+ points, EXCELLENT VALUE

  5. 91 points Wine Enthusiast

  6. *Benefits from 1-hour decant or 1-run through the aerator

  7. … no wonder these über-professionals are winning awards around the world! Plush aromas of ripe red berries *(cherries, red currants, young raspberries) are accentuated by deep earth tones, graphite-minerality and a hint of wild herbs growing on the hillside. Energetic acid in the wine craves the touch of fat from fresh grilled carne Asada or just about any premium cut of beef/lamb… fine/chalky tannin will cosy up to that barbeque goodness in the best possible way. A delight with food, you cigar-smokers in the audience will also find it a brilliant pairing with full-bodied Dominican or Cuban tobacco.

  1. vistAlba Corte C

  2. 76% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Bonarda

  3. $19.99 CAD *(BC)

  4. 90+ points, Great Value

  5. 90 points Wine Spectator

  6. *No decanting/aeration necessary

  7. … by reducing the percentage of Cab-Sauv, the winemaker at vistAlba has created a wine much more plush, velvety in the mouth. Here is a wine that drinks more like a Merlot… the rich red berry flavors of the Malbec are accentuated by a well-focused line of Cab and made generous by the Bonarda. What does this mean for you? For me, this is the wine while I’m cooking… nibble a bite of food, chat with friends, tend the barbeque, drink more wine. Repeat. Excellent balance and structure this wine is a joy to drink on its own. Of course it pairs well with grilled meats, but did you know that wines like this love dark chocolate? Yum~!

THE FOOD
The real genesis behind this article was my craving for terrific grilled food. So let’s not get bogged down with tedious recipes because, at its heart, barbeque (to me) is more about passion then it is about formulas. Find a premium butcher, like Hopcotts, who are using locally sourced, steroid-free, naturally-raised meats. Clean your barbeque before you start using it this spring! There’s nothing worse than a grease fire destroying $100 worth of steaks! Then invite some good friends over, open a few bottles of vistAlba and enjoy the process. Because, really, isn’t that worth celebrating?
So enjoy your meal with great wine and family or friends. Treat yourself, spoil someone else, and above all: savour the moment~! Many thanks to Patagonia Imports *( www.PatagoniaImports.com ) for the brilliant samples!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
on Twitter @AStudentofWine

Friday, April 18, 2014

Underground Cellar $10,000 getaway giveaway

UC Sonoma getaway
Yes, that’s right, a $10,000 USD trip for four to Sonoma wine country and they’re giving it away THIS MONTH *(April) to some lucky s.o.b in the States~! You have to get your name in this contest right now because if your neighbor ends up winning – if your boss… if your EX wins this… My friend, you will be supremely disappointed if that happens.
Want to grow your knowledge of wine? See the immense education credentials at Underground Cellar:
Because it’s not just about the $10,000 value of the trip! In fact, the money is barely relevant because some of this couldn’t be bought for any amount of money. Imagine sleeping in a Mediterranean-inspired First-Class villa, having a private tour of Iron Horse vineyards and then being personal guests of the critically acclaimed “Girl and the Fig” restaurant. Even money can’t always buy access and my well-heeled friends at Underground Cellar have truly out-done themselves with this stunning “getaway giveaway”.
UC great captionIron Horse vineyards ( http://www.ironhorsevineyards.com ), for those who aren’t familiar, has been served in the White House for decades; it has been poured for multiple American presidents, Asian presidents, European royalty, movie stars… truly one of the iconic sparkling wines of the New World. Wine Spectator constantly rates their wines over 90 points and Wine Enthusiast even gave the 2004 Brut vintage 96 points – virtually unheard of for a North American producer. It’s easy to understand why “those-in-the-know” are always putting a half-case or more per vintage of this in their cellars. Who wouldn’t want to walk through this vineyard with the winemaker and then go on a little tasting spree in “le Cav du Vin” *(the wine cellar)??
And what of where you’ll be resting your head at night? The township of Sonoma is the very first recognized Slow City in the United States, and the Terra Nova Sonoma fits perfectly with the sustainability drive behind the slow-food, slow-city movement ( http://terranovasonoma.com ). This inspiring and incredibly private villa was build by local artisans using local quarried rock and local wood. The attention to detail leaves one breathless and the majesty of the Great Room shines making anyone who stays feel like a movie star… speaking of which, Underground Cellar has produced a rather amusing video entertaining this very concept:
Which leaves the food to talk about. Let me “wax poetic” as only an Irishman can:UC great caption2
         Green tomato and bacon tartine…
          Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with fresh goats feta
         Slow braised pork belly sandwich with soft fried local egg
          Grass-fed beef tartare *(traditional) with pickled caperberries and fresh crostini
Ok. Truth be told I just sounded a lot more French then I did Irish, but who cares? As a chef with 20 years formal experience; having worked in ultra-traditional Marseille *(French) kitchens: This. Is. French. The Girl and The Fig www.thegirlandthefig.com ). 
Billed as “Country food with French passion” I am wholeheartedly impressed with not only their devotion to producing beautiful food, but also their uncompromising approach to sustainability. We all understand by now that the Earth is an ecosystem with limits; it is therefor inherent that those within the system respects its limits! Great restaurateurs are perhaps more driven by this then most: for it is the chefs who shape the fruits of the earth, the sommeliers who help us understand the nuances of soil and the restaurateur who must then craft this into a legacy that, in some cases, lasts generations. “The Girl and The Fig”, I have no doubt, will be standing for many years to come with its passion for culinary excellence and its respect for the work in local farms.
UC Sonoma getaway2
And all of this – is free. To one lucky American. Not me – I suffer the misery of being Canadian and will watch with envy as one of you
 walks away flies away with this prize… a round of applause for Underground Cellar for putting this together. I find myself admiring their spirit even more then the fantastic assortment of gems they discover on what seems a daily basis for their esteemed clientele.
So pour another glass of bubbly, follow the link *(https://www.undergroundcellar.com/landing/6/0/ExclusiveWinecation)
and please don’t forget to tell me in intricate detail about it when you come back either here, or:
on Twitter @AStudentofWine

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Roast Gold Beet and Turkey-Breast Salad

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but in Vancouver that could all change in a heartbeat. Welcome to the WestCoast WetCoast~! If you’ve ever been here you understand how and why we always cherish the *(brief) moments of sunshine when they arrive… and what could be more in keeping with the current conditions than a hearty salad for dinner.
salad compose of roast gold beet, sugar peas,cucumber,tomato,cucumber in lemon basil mayo - chevre almond dried cranberry scone2The trouble is, it’s only the first week of April and we really don’t have salad crops coming in: hence the need for what a chef-colleague of mine refers to as “The Crunchy Salad”. Not for the faint-of-heart, this salad includes celery, cauliflower, carrot – just about any winter crop that you can think of. And when it comes to those wintery vegetables, don’t think that they can’t fit into a salad – they just need a little extra love!
So for this salad I’ve roasted some beautiful Gold Beets, then sliced them against the grain to showcase the gorgeous colors. I also roast a sweet potato and parsnip for my next salad at the next time. Trust me, with the right dressing even my finicky 2-year old gives it a try… “What is it Daddy?” she ask. “Oh,” I respond with fingers crossed, “it’s just carrots. You love carrots!
And there’s nothing that says summer to me more than sparkling wine; in any of its guises. CavaProseccoChampagne… bubbles are the Sirens call for weddings, baby showers, Mother’s Day mimosas and so much of what we celebrate in the “School-Free” season. I’ve paired this salad with two unique wines that not only provide excellent balance for the dish but are from producers who I have the highest respect for; as winemakers and as people.
THE WINE
  1. Summerhill Cipes-Rose1.    Summerhill Cipes Rosé
Gold Medal, Top 10 Sparkling Wines of competition - 2013 Effervescents du Monde
100% Pinot Noir
$27 at the winery
91+ points, EXCELLENT VALUE
… Springtime in a glass~! An enthusiastic mousse rushes to the surface carrying with it aromas of cranberries, young strawberries, clean flinty-mineral tones and a light savory herb tint. The palate is brisk with tight/lean/focused cranberry acids driving that mineral backbone. Dry enough to be almost austere, the generosity of the concentrated red berry flavors (currant, young raspberries) delivers excellent balance and superlative structure for the price. This is a natural pairing for most any poultry dish but is so refreshing that I love to serve it at home just before dinner to wake-up the taste-buds and get everyone thinking about food~! It is worthy of note that Summerhill is not only an organic winery, but also bio-dynamic, which means that while you’re getting your great value – you’re also supporting a company that works with their eco-system. Bravo!

  1. lamarca prosecco label2.    LaMarca Prosecco D.O.C
100% Glera varietal grapes
from $10 USD in some American markets to $20 in some Canadian *(BC)
90 points Wine Spectator
89 points, Great Value
… as the Summerhill rose is the essence of bright red berries, the LaMarca Prosecco is the essence of white fruit: young peaches, Golden Delicious apples, Anjou pear, melon and light honey tones. Another example of dry sparkling wine *(brut), once again the concentration of fruit flavors more than adequately compensate. Very good balance and structure, only the (relative) coarseness of the bubbles made me score this less than 90 points. If you’re in the mood to serve this with breakfast, try it with chorizo and onion scrambled eggs, tomato-cilantro relish…. Sparkling wines, of course, being one of the best bevvies to pair with egg dishes, the flavors in this particular Prosecco get a little giddy when around cilantro and/or fresh basil~! I love the wine, love the price, but especially love that consulting winemaker Fabrizio Gatto started off on the family’s modest vineyard, in a small town. He sets his sights, worked his tail off, and grew a career bringing the grapes of his native hillsides to international respect.

THE FOOD
The (sometimes) dullness of winter vegetables can easily be uplifted by the ultra-fresh flavors of sugar-peas. The addition of a handful of peas from Mexico/California bring an entire dish to life and become, to me, an incredibly effective seasoning. My daughter also likes snacking on them raw and I can’t say that I blame her!

RECIPE (4 portions)salad compose of roast gold beet, sugar peas,cucumber,tomato,cucumber in lemon basil mayo - chevre almond dried cranberry scone
3         tomatoes, seeds removed, julienne
½        cucumber, seeds removed, julienne
4 stalks celery, julienne
3 oz    sugar peas, julienne
2 oz    cauliflower, julienne
2 oz    carrots, thin julienne
1 oz    purple onion, julienne

(THE DRESSING)
3 Tbsp mayo
1 fl oz fresh lemon juice
1 fl oz rice wine vinegar
10 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade *(fine julienne)
           Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

1 lb     gold beets, roast until just tender
1 lb     roast turkey breast, cooled
4         savory scones: I made sun-dried tomato, dried cranberry and BC goat cheese

While it’s true that food is sustenance; we need it in order to live, it is also true that great food nourishes the soul or the spirit as much as it does the body. Living with the seasons celebrates what is surrounding us and helps us keep our focus on what really matters. To me, that becomes abundantly apparent when we sit down as a family and share what other families have worked so diligently to offer us.
 IMG_4940
So enjoy your meal with great wine and family or friends. Treat yourself, spoil someone else, and above all: savour the moment~! Many thanks to E & J Gallo Winery Canada for letting me try the LaMarca Prosecco!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
on Twitter @AStudentofWine

Friday, March 28, 2014

Vista D'Oro "D'Oro" with roast pineapple

http://www.vistadoro.com/


Everyone deserves a little something sweet…
As a chef with a conscience, I endeavor to cook as seasonally as possible: a lot of rutabaga and parsnip in the winter – a lot of strawberries and fresh tomatoes in the summer. That being said, every once in a while, we all deserve something special~!
broiled pineapple, greek yoghurt, berries, toasted coconut
And so when I found out that we had family coming to dinner a few days ago, off I went to the local stores to see what was bright, fresh and exciting. Huge pineapple on sale? Brilliant! I knew right away that a curry-fest was in order and, because I hail from Irish lineage, I also knew that I could get away with deviating from the normal “butter chicken”.
Well the meal was a success (*curry recipe to follow in another article) but dessert was the thing that really stopped conversation and got the table down to some serious eating! And looking at the photo now, I can remember how it even tasted better than it looks. Seriously.
But you know me, I simply can’t conceive of creating a beautiful meal without a beautiful beverage to compliment. And instinctively I wanted something sublime to finish the meal: a dessert wine that was going to have as much impact on the palate as this dessert has on the eyes. There was one wine that sprang to mind immediately: the Vista D’oro (eponymous) “D’oro”: a fortified walnut wine from Patrick and Lee Murphy.
Patrick amongst the vines
Patrick amongst the vines
When I was out to visit Patrick last summer we had the better part of a lazy afternoon to walk the fields, chew the fat, and reminisce. We’ve known each other for several years and so it is with a certain pride that I listened as he explained the growth in sales... Patrick and Lee are bastions of quality in a wine-region (Langley) that even within BC is “snubbed” a little. Outside of BC? Outside of Canada? Unknown and certainly unrecognized.
But the first time I tried the wines of Vista D’Oro I knew that there was something special here: contemporary Pinot Noir, lush dessert wine, and now even branching into Sherry! It was the “D’Oro” though that I remembered for years after that first tasting. I remembered because it was the first time my wife went to a tasting with me and told me *(husbands: you know what I mean) that “we were buying it”.
It was a bit over $50 at the time. More money than I think my wife had ever spent on a half-bottle of wine. We kept that bottle far longer than I wanted to; always putting it back on the shelf for “a special occasion”. And there I was just a few months ago, walking with Patrick as he told me that all of his customers were doing exactly the same thing: saving the bottles rather than drinking them. This meant slow sales and the Murphys needed a solution.
Solution? Drop the price: from $50+ to under $40; and listed in the BC government stores as well, which meant that anyone anywhere in BC could find it or get it. And whilst $35 still isn’t an inexpensive treat after dinner, it is reasonable enough that clients started drinking the wine rather than just shelve it for when the relatives come calling. More people drinking the wine meant more people wanted to drink the wine! Result? Vista D’Oro is finally starting to bask in the glow of well-earned admiration from paying customers.
IMG_3723Still not convinced? When you stop by for a visit, make sure you ask about Patrick’s tomatoes (there is a waiting list of A-list Vancouver chefs) or the stunning preserves which you can enjoy on the deck of the tasting room.

THE WINE

Vista D’Oro “D’Oro”

91+ points, Excellent Value

Marechal FochMerlot and Cabernet Franc infused with estate walnuts, fortified with 100% pure, gluten-free, BC grape spirit
. In the glass this appears to be another quality example of fortified wine from Portugal. Then I remind myself that it is, in fact, from Langley, BC. The aromas offer stewed plum, cherry compote, dried savory herbs and warm/dusty earth… the only give-away is the trademark Vista D’Oro musky perfume in the background; like walking through an Arabic coffee shop and smelling the hookah-spice from the night before. The sweet palate is classic port-styled as well, with many of the aromas being mimicked perfectly (always a sign of professional quality) as well as a distinct note of fresh currant bread and finishing with a dab of spicy pepper. Absolutely excellent balance, structure and concentration; I enjoy the fact that, though a dessert wine, this is medium bodied and doesn’t weigh too heavily on the palate. Tastes like more!

broiled coconut, greek yoghurt, berries, toasted coconut2


THE FOOD

Grilling pineapple is nothing new, but the addition of a hint of vinegar brings the entire dish into balance. I love sweets, but sweet upon sweet just dulls the taste buds. Try this new approach, this healthy approach, and discover a quick and (relatively) easy dessert that wows!


RECIPE (4 portions)
1 medium to large pineapple, skin-off
2 fl oz apple cider vinegar
4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp  rough chopped almonds or pecans (optional)
2 cups   Greek yoghurt
1 cup     fresh berry sauce
2 Tbsp   toasted coconut
STEPS
. cut large circle slabs out of the pineapple, about 1” thick
. remove the inner core; I use a shot-glass with a cloth over-top and it works perfectly
. warm the vinegar and brown sugar together just until the sugar dissolves
. put the pineapple slabs on a baking sheet, brush the tops with the sugar solution until all four pieces are thoroughly coated *(optional: top with rough chopped nuts)
. turn the oven broiler to high. Broil minimum 5 minutes or until the sugar is brown and caramelized
. being very careful because nothing burns worse than caramelized sugar: remove the pineapple from the oven and plate
. fill centre core with Greek yoghurt. Top with berry sauce and toasted coconut
Bon Appetit~!
So enjoy your meal with great wine and family or friends. Treat yourself, spoil someone else, and above all: savour the moment~! Many thanks to Patrick and Lee Murphy at Vista D’Oro for being so generous with their timehttp://www.vistadoro.com/
As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
on Twitter @AStudentofWine

Friday, March 14, 2014

BC Riesling and Springtime Pasta

Sunshine.
Two days. In a row... my family is so stunned that they didn't know what to do! My son Adam was born less then three weeks ago and it snowed that day in Maple Ridge. Today it was 16C but felt like 25. Brilliant right? I mean, what could possibly be wrong with a sudden spell of great weather?
Well asides from the melt-off that threatens to wash away my Editor in the Kootenays... try to stay dry Ian~! Asides from that, the more practical, chef-side of me has the kitchen and the fridge organized for pot roast, roast beef, pasta bolognese... you get the idea. But the change in weather demands a change in food and so off I went in search of appropriate victuals. The trouble is, just because the sun comes out, that doesn't mean the grocery store has any different fruits/vegetables then it did a few days ago when it was 2C and pouring cats-and-dogs.
for my 2-year old, no mushrooms!
for my 2-year old, no mushrooms!

Lucky us, here in BC, we have a fantastic resource of local hothouses/greenhouses; one of my favorite being Windset Farms ( https://www.windsetfarms.com/ ). Because of sustainably-focused farmers like this, I get to enjoy local bell peppers, tomato, cucumbers, eggplant and more long before my own garden is ready to produce even the smallest sprouts. Walking into the grocery store with my daughter and seeing all of this beautiful produce inspired me to make a perennial favorite of Italian Springtime: Pasta Primavera which literally means "the first green". Of course, you know I can't think about food without considering what wine to pair and Windset Farms artisanal approach to fruit and vegetables reminded me of another BC producer who is just as adamant about quality.
Wild Goose Vineyards ( http://wildgoosewinery.com/ ). It would be enough to appreciate that the Kruger family are amongst the true pioneers not only of viticulture in BC, having purchased their property in 1983 when there were less then 25 wineries in the entire province, but of truly World-Class winemaking here. Why do I say World-Class?

Gold Medal: Okanagan Spring Wine Festival
Gold Medal: Canadian Wine Championship
Gold Medal: Northwest Wine Summit
Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence
... and the list goes on. But to me, as much as I appreciate the opinions of learned wine-judges, I was more impressed by two things: my own palate and the fact that the Krugers have taken such pains to divide their (relatively) small production of Riesling into three lots: the basic "House Label" which is anything but basic, the "Stoney Slope" label which drinks much like Chablis; absolutely pure in its expression of the mineral-laden soil and the third, "God's Mountain Vineyard" which is full of ripe aromas and has (almost) rich Viognier nuances.
A small vineyard, divided into three separate labels? This my friends is top-tier precision in the vineyard found only in true craftspeople, leaders in the industry. When one speaks of Riesling, leaders like this are found in the Alsace area of France and in Germany for the most part. Wine from these regions, treated with such care, is an minimum of $35-$40 in the BC market. The Wild Goose wines run about $19-$20 at the winery, or about $22 in the savvy BC private stores. With prices like this, these are easily amongst the best values in white wine on the market today. And with Spring peeking its head around the corner? Time to stock up on the white wines!

THE WINE

2012 RieslingWild Goose 2012 Riesling

90 points, EXCELLENT VALUE

$19 at the winery
. a soft yet concentrated bouquet of yellow and white Summer flowers, ripening peaches and apricots, with a keen minerality throughout. Acid is brisk yet beautifully approachable, with a lean palate that is an excellent representation of the aromas and of BC terroir. Great balance, structure and concentration - I'm hard pressed to think of any other Riesling on the market that performs as well. This is my choice for the pasta primavera I did with roast turkey, but is a natural fit for most any pork/turkey dish... what a treat with chicken pot pie made from scratch or tortierre!


Wild Goose 2012 Stoney Slope Riesling2012 "Stoney Slope" Riesling

91++ points, EXCELLENT VALUE

$20 at the winery
. an absolute purists expression of what Riesling is on rocky soil: intense aromas of crushed rocks/warm hay/Golden Delicious apples. The palate is mean and lean, almost aggressive with it's tightly wound acid and strikingly intense mineral/slightly spicy flavors... until I started to think of it as Chablis: that ultra-mineral driven, ever-so-lean Chardonnay grown in Burgundy. By allowing myself to be a bit more open-minded, I found I absolutely loved this wine! But the food pairings for this are very different to me: oysters being a natural, I would also use it with fondue/raclette/any cheese driven event. It's a racy little wine!


2012 "God's Mountain Vineyard" Riesling

92 points, STUNNINGWild Goose 2012 Gods Mtn Riesling

$22 at the winery
. a bit of the first wine, a bit of the second, but all it's own creature. A Riesling with ripening stonefruit (apricot/peach) aromas, lush tones of wild flowers and grassy hillsides... hints of German-Riesling waxiness are in the background. The palate is as fresh as Spring, with inviting apple acids (like biting into a green apple), with all of the aromas coming through as well concentrated/well integrated flavors. Harmonious. As soon as I tasted this wine I thought of seafood: BC spot prawns, cracked crab, lobster... whether it's in a pasta, salad or otherwise the rich fattiness of great seafood will cosy up to the perky acids and create an even more perfect balance.

THE FOOD

Want a really great Primavera?! To me, it's all about treating the different vegetables individually: to bring out more pronounced individual flavors. Roasting, grilling, steaming, raw... all enhance different flavors. Try using more of these techniques as a natural way to enhance what is already there in the food!
RECIPE (for 4)
1              white onion, finely diced
1 fl oz     canola oil
2 fl oz     white wine
2 cups    2% milk
2 cups   36% cream
salt and pepper to taste
cornstarch to thicken
1.5 lbs   cooked turkey meat, cubed
1 lb          pasta
1 fl oz      extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb     each: snow-pea, bell pepper-julienne
1/4 lb      Crimini mushrooms
1 fl oz        canola oil
1/2 fl oz   white truffle oil *(available at Bosa Foods and other specialty stores)
1/4 wheel Boursin cheese (about 4 Tbsp)
    • start by sautéing the onions in the canola oil on medium heat: the onions should sweat, or go translucent, not go brown
    • deglaze the pot with the white wine, then allow the wine to cook until the pan is just dry - then add the milk and cream, bring up to just simmering. Season
    • while the sauce is coming to temperature, cook the (optional) mushrooms... optional in my house as my 2-year old doesn't like them. Sauté in the pan with canola oil for 3-4 minutes, then toss with truffle oil and season - into the oven @ 350F for 5 minutes
    • when the mushrooms go into the oven, toss the turkey into the sauce and thicken with cornstarch. Now you can focus on the pasta. When the pasta is cooked and drained, toss it in the EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
    • only when the pasta is cooked do you steam the veggies! These only take 60-90 seconds and so merit your full attention.
    • Plate, then top with a tablespoon wedge of Boursin... just because life is good
turkey primavera but also with white truffle roast crimini mushrooms



So enjoy your pasta with great wine and family or friends. Treat yourself, spoil someone else, and above all: savor the moment~! Many thanks to the Kruger family and Wild Goose Wines for the sample bottles. http://wildgoosewinery.com/


As always, I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions. Here, or:
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