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 Wednesdays: 2011 Budget Bordeaux Worth Buying

Every year in September, Jason and I pick up our copy of the Bordeaux release booklet. We tag the pages and circle ones that we are interested in… The BC liquor store system allows us to get at excess to some decent variety of some of the best wines in the world. You may have even better selections where you live!

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Before I go any further, let me explain why Bordeaux is so special. Critics would say that there are a lot of mediocre winds and high prices. But what they may not tell you is that the most earth shattering, are inspiring were winds in the world come from this amazing place.

On our honeymoon, Jason and I had a chance to visit many first, second and third growth wineries. We will never be able to afford these wines… But let me tell you, there is a reason that Château d’Yquem is the top winery in the world. Many of the first growth and second growth produce winds of infinite character and incredible finish. I credit those tastings as the foundation of developing my own wine palette. I think it forever changed my perception of what truly is “great wine. ”

Back to the October release. Some years, we afford ourselves a few investment bottles. Some years, we can’t afford anything. Unfortunately, last year was one of those years, and it was one of the best Bordeaux vintages on record. Domage!

This year, we are particularly not in the position to buy wine. But that doesn’t stop us coming through the release catalog and picking our favorites.

As a public service to all of those in British Columbia, let me highlight my favourite picks from your local liquor stores. Of course, you may be less price driven and want to invest in some more expensive bottles to stowaway. But I love finding value in Bordeaux.

The quotes are from the BC Liquor store website.

First is the budget version of d’Yquem. Chateau Doisy-Vedrines.

95 pts, Wine Spectator $60
Pure, with piercing persimmon, pineapple, white peach and quince flavors. Gorgeous floral notes of honeysuckle and orange blossom form the backdrop, while a heather accent caresses the finish. Overwhelmingly pure in the end, with a finish that sails on and on. Best from 2016 through 2035.

This beautiful little lot of land is one of the ones that we drove through when we were in Sauternes. There is a reason there is a bottle limit… Anyway you slice it, this is spectacular value for wine. If you don’t no when we would drink sweet dessert wine, don’t worry about the occasion. This will last forever, and you can easily have it with a piece of blue cheese, some pate, or just savoring on it’s own in an evening.

Next is Clos Floridene, from Graves.

90 pts, Wine Spectator $35
Very solid, with an energetic tarry edge around a core of steeped plum, blood orange and raspberry fruit. Bright floral and iron hints fill the finish, showing sleek acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2015 through 2019.

Graves is a lesser known region of Bordeaux, but it includes some of the most value-laden budget wines from the region. Just like Sauternes, it is west of the Graonne River, and was named for the gravelly soils the vines grow in. I personally love the overgrown, medieval look of the farms and old castles in this area. Wines from this area typically are Cabernet based, and age well.

Across two rivers and north of the Dordogne River, you will find Chateau Fonteil, from Fronsac

89 pts, Wine Advocate $39
From the husband and wife oenologist team of Michel and Dany Rolland, this blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits dark black raspberry and graphite notes intermixed with hints of licorice and blueberries, medium to full-bodied flavors, excellent depth and texture, sweet tannin and adequate acidity. As always, Fontenil is one of the stars of Fronsac in 2011 with the winemaking skills of its owners well-presented. This beautifully crafted, high-class effort needs another year or so to resolve its tannins, and it can be drunk over the next 10+ years.

I haven’t been to Fronsac, because it was just emerging as a wine region ten years ago, when we were there on our honeymoon. Quite a few of the big wine houses are investing in this region, which is producing better and better wine. I love right bank wines, which are more feminine (it’s all the merlot and cab franc) and this bottle promises a lovely glass.

I hope these few suggestions temp you to check out Bordeaux, maybe for the first time!

Santé!

Wine Wednesday: Pasión de Bobal

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Last night was family night, and we sat down to a delicious supper of pan-seared marmalade duck leg, cold beet salad, and potatoes roasted with tarragon. It was the perfect accompaniment… Pasión de Bobal.

Bobal is an indigenous great variety from the community of Valencia in Spain. The Pasión vines are actually 60 years old.. And you can taste the maturity and complexity in the glass. If you’ve never heard of this one before, you should look it up. With an intense dark ruby color, it’s stunning in the glass.

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On the nose, it has deep aromas of sleep, a bright red fruits, dried cranberries, a slight game Aroma, licorice, and roasted wood with a liberal sprinkling of dried herbs. It’s amazingly intense and complex.

In the mouth, it has a medium plus body with pronounce soft tenants, and medium plus acid. It has delicious flavors of more red fruits, smoke, licorice, vanilla, and that Steely undertone. It has wonderful structure and is absolutely enjoyable. What a wonderful accompaniment it made two…!

This wine is a 9/10! And you should really check it out.

Plus, it makes the most delicious present for your true love… Look at the label!

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Wine Wednesday: Borsao Granacha

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Robert Parker declared that this wine is one of the best values in the world. I have to agree that it’s a great deal for approximately fifteen dollars! I brought a bottle to the mom’s retreat I attended in Silver Star last weekend.

Borsao’s Granache wine is a juicy, robust wine made from Granache, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It’s made in the gorgeous region of Borja, Spain. It’s a very old region… There are vineyards that have held estate for over 900 years. Almost half of the vines planted today are over thirty years old.

Pour yourself a glass of this bright purple, totally opaque wine. You’ll sniff aromas of blackberry, kirsch, squid ink, charcoal, violets, allspice, grape coolaid, white pepper.

Then taste: dried berries, old wood barrels with medium toast, black tea, fresh ground pepper.

This wine has high acid, medium+ smooth tannins, warm alcohol. This is a hot climate wine with cool nights… Fresh acidity from the cool nights but warmth of alcohol and juicy berries from the daytime heat. The region is between the Iberian mountain ranges and the Embro valley. The soils are dark, with lime, and a mix of rockiness and organic matter. It’s a balanced wine form the soil up.

Enjoy with a ripe soft cheese, and chickpea based veggie dishes or roasted pork. Yum!

Winery site: http://bodegasborsao.com/borsao-tinto-seleccion-3/

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Wine Wednesday: Domaine Lafond Tavel Rosé

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This is my first Wine Wednesday!

Ok – I admit upfront that I love wine. I always got lots of comments and questions (on the old blog, I mean,) about the wines that we serve with dinner parties, etc. I also I have been expanding my own wine knowledge, and recently completed my Advanced level of the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) courses.

So what better way (other than in person, over a glass of wine) to share my love of with you, than to have a series dedicated to favourite wines?

Introducing Wine Wednesday! A random collection of wine recommendations. Let’s start with…

Tavel!

Now, there is a lot of snobbery around rosés, mainly because there are so many pitifully over-sweet bad ones. But does white wine get a bad rap on behalf of all whites? Do people think all reds are raw and raspy after they have a poor one? No! Only rosé gets this colour-ism!

So let me introduce you to Tavel – an amazing region in France that ONLY produces rosé. In other words, they take their rosés seriously! Tavel is in the Southern Rhône Valley, near to the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s hot, hot, and hot! The climate is mediterranean, and the earth is covered in most places by these big grey rocks, that give a minerality to the wine.

This is our favourite Tavel available in our city – Domaine Lafond’s Roc-Epiné. This 2011 is fresh, acidic, fragrant and has a definite minerality. It smells like strawberries, complete with leaves, a little red licorice, some allspice and anise, along with a graphite undertone, that really comes out in the finish when you taste it. It’s food wine! So don’t expect a fruity-pituity imposter.. this is a dry, medium alcohol 13.5% wine, and you will feel the warmth.

Enjoy! We’re having leek parmesan fritta tonight. I do love a dry rosé with eggs!

I would love to hear if you try it… if you like it, what you serve it with… and also, any other rosé recommendations!

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