Wine Wednesdays: Sauvignon Blanc from Chablis

Wine Wednesday's: Sauvignon Blanc from Chablis

When I traveled through Chablis 10 years ago, I tasted delectable Chardonnay after delectable Chardonnay. But nowhere was I treated to any other white grape variety.

When I chanced across this wine at the local government liquor store, I had to try it. What would Sauvignon Blanc taste like, from my favourite white wine region in the world?

It’s a pale yellow, with colour right to the rim. A sniff… Lime leaves, vanilla blossoms and a pale fragrance of white lilies in a steel vase.

The taste… Ah, there it is. The lime of Sauvignon Blanc, but the bracing steel of Chabis. That limestone mineral character is so characteristic of Chablis, I would recognize it anywhere. And the limestone gives the wine, somehow, a generous mouth feel, so that it fills the mouth more than any white wine I know, without being coy or too bodacious. So so so good.

I enjoyed this delicious wine with some risotto prima vera… A simple Italian rice with suresh peas and carrots from my garden.

Ok, you can tell from my tone that I fell in love with Chablis ten years ago, and never fell back out… But now I have to add to my list of adoration Sauvignon Blanc à la Chablissaine.

Wine Wednesday's: Sauvignon Blanc from Chablis

Wine Wednesday: Sargamuskotaly Tokaji Late Harvest

One of my personal wine fetishes is a passion for sweet dessert wine. The sweeter does not mean the better… Dessert winds are all about the perfect balance between aroma, acid, sugar, and mouth feel.

Wine Wednesday: Sargamuskotaly Tokaji Late Harvest

Probably the best value wine that I know of in this category is Tokaji from Hungary. Hungary and wine, once upon a time, was very popular in Europe. But the methods have fallen out of favor, and The region’s exquisite quality is ours for a bargain these days.

The most famous kind of wine from this area is Aszu. The grapes are affected with Noble rot, picked individually, and then fermented in their own best of wine.

This is not a bottle of Aszu, however. This is a late harvest wine.

You can taste in wine that some of the Yellow Muscat grapes have been affected by botrytis, Noble rot. But the sweetness comes mainly from harvesting the grapes as the colder temperatures set in on the late harvest. It’s a fresh, modern style with the backbone of botrytis, found only a few places in the world. Awesome. And the best part of all, is that this little bottle is on $12 in my province!

If I haven’t already convinced you with the price in the pedigree, let me lure you in with a description. The wind is a medium yellow color, clear around the room as it is only two years old. The aroma is full of honeysuckle, orange blossoms, white lilies, beeswax, and buttermilk. When you take a sip, take a big sip….And feel that luscious full wine swirl around in your mouth. Note the high acidity, the balances the sweetness. It has a delicious pineapple taste, with tropical lilies, strawberry blossoms and a mouthful of honey. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Of course you can drink this with dessert, but I love a glass appoint self. Some of my other favorite pairings are with popcorn, pad Thai, salty nuts and pate on crackers.

Enjoy!

Wine Wednesday: Tarima Organic Monastrell

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Can you imagine a wine growing region that is so hot and dry, the vines can’t be grown in rows? Instead, the 30 year old vines are grown in a funnel shape, to capture the maximum moisture, and sent it directly to the root of the plant.

Yesterday I picked up a 2012 bottle of Tarima Organic wine, from  Bodegas Volver. The grapes for this juicy, hot-blooded wine are grown in a harshly warm climate off the coast of Spain, on the west side of the Mediterranean. The region is DO Alicante, which is close to one of my favourite Spanish wine areas, DO Jumilla.

I poured the inky purple wine into short Riedel glasses for supper. “I can’t tell what colour it is!” one of my daughters said, and she went to the office to get a piece of white paper to hold underneath it. (Yes, this is Sugar, the Little Chef.)

Tarima Organic

The wine was opaquely purple. Everything about it showed the climate it was grown in.

It had intense aromas of red bricks, cherry, steel, cinnamon, coal brickets. It’s incredibly intense – I can’t imagine enjoying it without food, but then again, I can’t imagine not enjoying it with food! We served it with mashed sunchokes and potatoes, bison steak and shitake mushrooms. It needed all those big flavours to cope with the intensity of the wine.

More cherries to taste, and this dusty, tumbleweed, herbaceous flavour. Hot with alcohol, but balanced with high acidity and dusty, soft tannins in full force.

Absolutely intense, and delicious, and for under $20 – great deal! Maybe a new grilling favourite?

Wine Wednesday: Covert Farms Amicitia

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There ain’t no thing like a chicken wing! But whatever shall I serve with them?

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Roasted chicken = merlot. And even if your roasted chicken is as humble as a chicken wing, it’s a great match.

Now, if you have spices buffalo sauce, or honey garlic, that’s another matter. But for a good old salt and pepper wing, let me recommend some lovely Amicitia from Covert Farms.

This gorgeous organic farm is near Oliver, BC, and it looks as picturesque in person as on the bottle. A few of my friends buy organic field tomatoes for canning from this farm, and I’ve heard rave reviews about the berries. But my favourite organic find is the wine… It’s fabulous.

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My friends first brought Covert Farms to my attention when two of them brought bottles to a wine tasting night at my house. Both were awesome.

Amicitia (no idea how to say this, but luckily, I just have to spell it,) is a blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc, Syrah, Malbec and a wee but of Zinfandel. All Bordeaux varieties, except the Zin, and in Right Bank ratios. Jason admired this wine, as it’s quality was obvious, but it’s a bit too feminine for him.

Very lusciously purple fruit, with aromas of chocolate, coffee, damson plums, dark black cherries, vanilla, and baking spices. YUMMers. Full body, nice high acidity and soft but evident tannins, and a lovely blueberry blush at the end of the taste. It’s got a reasonably long finish, and really distinct complexity. Again, yum. Serious yum.

If you are in the Okanagan, put this on your list of places to visit… Especially if you have kids. It’s an awesome place to play and lose your children, while you sip and savour your tastes of wine. Just don’t forget to bring your picnic basket with a roasted chicken!

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Wine Wednesday: OMG, I Love Chablis

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There are few wines in the world that I enjoy more than Chablis. I think it’s no coincidence that it’s also one of my favourite wine villages.

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Let you take you back almost ten years… Jason and I were on our honeymoon. I had organized our wedding (the most smashing 1920s themed event!) and tasked Jason with our honeymoon plans. He plotted and planned, but three months before the wedding, let the cat out of the bag. For our three weeks together, we were going to visit the famous wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. But because we wanted to visit some of the world’s most famous châteaux, he needed help writing in French. You may or may not know this, but the majority of Burgundy, and all of Bordeaux, are private estates. That means that you can’t just walk up to the gates and ask for a tasting. We had to apply three months in advance, in writing, to see some of the chateaux.

Jason had picked the places that he wanted to see… He had researched the most innovative and respected château. No where on our list was Chablis… After all, it’s a bit of a cult following. But when we arrived in Paris to follow my dear old friend D out to her husband’s family château in Burgundy, life happened and she wasn’t able to host us after all.

We scrambled, using our wine guide and tourist guidebooks in a shadowy phone booth on the streets of Paris, until we found a little hotel in the very far north of Burgundy. It said in the guidebook “just five minutes north of the famous village of Chablis.”

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Little did we know that would be one of our favorite parts of the trip, and Chablis would forever hold a place in my heart. It’s a lovely little village, with the typical French market in the middle of town, stone houses with shutters closed against the summer heat, and a gorgeous little river running through the middle. I remember they were flowers on the streets, and wherever you went, whether it be the boulangerie or the patisserie, everyone was friendly and welcoming. It was my first experience of the French countryside, and I will never forget it.

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Our second day at the little hotel, we wondered into the village to buy some picnic lunch. I have an amazing memory for food, so I can tell you that we ate some baguette, tabouli, olives, and a local cheese.

After this quiet lunch, we wandered into town further and walked into a tiny storefront called William Fevre.

Of course at the time, we didn’t know that this was the most famous exporter from Chablis. We chatted with the man, who explained about the area’s steep little hills, and jagged limestone rocks that characterize the villages wine. He pointed out on a map the various cru, and we joyously tasted 9 different wines, each from one of the vineyards. It was amazing… Chablis all shares an overt mineralogy, caused by the limestone rocks in the vineyards. But there are nuances of different fruits, different flowers, and intensity. Meanwhile, we heard a man stomping around on the stairs and our guide mentioned that it was William himself. I was too nervous to ask to meet him… Today, I certainly would have been more bold!

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After buying two half bottles of this most delicious nectar, and stopping at one more winery storefront, we drove our rented VW Golf up the hillsides and into the vineyards. I remember walking about in the rocks, marveling at how anything could be grown here, much less the grapes that made this delicious wine.

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I hope you will enjoy an amazing bottle of Chablis. It is Chardonnay, but has none of that tropical bombastic nose that Chardonnay is known for in warmer climates. Here, it is restrained, and fresh. Dry, complex, and restrained. Serve it slightly chilled, with delicate white foods. I think of food in color… and Chablis is certainly amazing with the light gray of fresh oysters, or, with the paleness of eggs, as I had here for my lunch.

If you would like to enjoy your Chablis with the same delicious recipe, here is my egg salad recipe. Bon appétit!

Tarragon Egg Salad

Hard boil six eggs. Make sure that you don’t overcook them… I always heat the eggs up in cold water to boiling. Then I let them gently boil for five minutes, take them off the stove, and bathe in cold water.

Chill the eggs and peel them, then chop them up. In a little bowl, combine a third cup mayonnaise, with a teaspoon of seedy French mustard, a good pinch of sea salt, and a tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon. Then gently mix the mayonnaise into the eggs.

Voila! Try this delicious simple lunch on a bed of spinach, crackers, or toast. It’s even better the second day, after a night in the fridge. Bon appétit!

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