Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A wine review for Sweet and Hypersensitive tasters. Konzelmann 2006 Pinot Noir Spaet Burgunder

A first attempt a review that is intended for Sweet and Hypersensitive tasters (which is based from the reasearch of Master of Wine Tim Hanni and Dr Virginia Utermohlen).  A quality red wine that is semi dry but is V.Q.A. and  very reasonably priced. Shot with a flip cam, it is far from a work of art but a base from which to build from.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

To Sauterne, Chateau D' Yqem and Beyond

Bordeaux Gold a mini-consortium of Sauterne producers are working to change the labelling of the sweet wines of the area, from the straight jacket "dessert wine" term used by the wine industry. They want the wines to reflect the reality of how they are matched with local food. In fact the Sauternais  have sweet wine with spicy foods, fish and roast meats as well as dessert.
In a formal French haute cuisine meal sweet wines are served along side traditional reds (ie first growth Bordeaux.)
Historically Champagne was sweet (6%) along with the great vintages of Montrachet as was Amarone (until the early 1960s).
Wines such as Barsac, Auslese and higher Qmp wines were also considered table wines with Sauternes until World War 2. This began to change when salesman and producers such as Alexis Lichine, Peter Alan Sichel, and Frederick Wildman began writing wine books stating that sugar hides off flavors that might make them tolerable in a sweet wine, but makes a dry version of the same wine undrinkable. This wound up becoming part of orthodox wine dogma.

I've been reading the fire storm of criticism of  Tim Hanni's most recent study with Dr Virginia Utermohlen, MD, Associate Professor at Cornell which indicates that people that are born with a genetic sensory sensitivity in their palate to bitterness  gravitate to sweet wines very easily. If people with this trait go on to "develop their palate" to more "complex" dryer wines then it is because of Psycho-social factors that train their minds to do it. The sensitivity to bitterness is still there when a "big" Cabernet or Barolo is sampled.

After taking the quiz at again it comes out a sweet taster. Earlier results have also  shown as  hyper sensitive depending on how  the questions were answered but the point is that I am on the other end of the spectrum from tolerant tasters.
All the criticism has been tinged with opinion and anger because they are taking the information and spinning it as some kind of scam which will result in some kind of "trailer park market place" being established with only plonk being available and the great wines of the world being a memory. What nonsense
I have these traits and do not want to restrict myself to only sweet wines because I want to experience the widest range of wines I can find and afford. At the same time I want to come back sometimes and drink an"alcho-pop"  and have it with dinner because I enjoy the taste. If my "maturing  palate "occurs and can find enjoyment in drinking a dryer quality wine because of some psycho-social process  in my mind, so what.
Others for what ever reason may not want or be able to. What is wrong with increasing quality sweet wines and have that as a stepping stone towards the higher end of the Pyramid (the sweet side of it). The answer to that is nothing because producers will not stop making quality tannic reds, there is a market and there always will be.

Addressing a neglected market segment can result in more quality wines of a sweet nature and additional potential profits for producers. Sauterne and Chateau D ' Yqem can be the sweet and Hyper Sensitive tasters "Holy Grail", just as First Growth Bordeaux reds are for Tolerant tasters. It would be really cool if an Ontario winery could see the opportunity to make value added niche market quality sweet wine. How about ice wine or late harvest as the main course wine for starters. Its okay for the Sauternais why not for Ontarians.
If you have doubts contact Tim Hanni and tell him you are from Missouri, he will show you.

To the firestorm

In this video Tim Hanni explains the psycholgical issues that can come into play when we choose a wine

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How sweet it is

I was in the mood to try something different so I decided to make a video of matching different wines with something a little more exotic. In this case some Kangaroo was purchased. It was spiced with peppercorns but no salt.
The results were a little but surprising. I didn't give a passing match to any of the wines tried, and found bitterness in every one. The Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling wine came the closest to a match. Using salt could have balanced the match but I just wanted to see how it would go straight up.
This has demonstrated to me that a sweet wine (white Zinfandel) could have worked since the Flat Rock Cellars was the sweetest of the ones used.
The video was shot with a flip cam and everthing was ad lib so don't expect a polished production. Remember that the failing marks are for the interaction of the wine with the food and not an indictment of the wines themselves.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Further confirmation of the obvious

Another study by Dr Virginia Utermohlen, MD, Associate Professor at Cornell University and Master of Wine Tim Hanni confirms that people like sweet wines only because of physiological factors they possess.
We have been echoing that here too at Wine Dining so this is not surprising.
Click the title of this entry to read the article but please note the comment Tim put on at the bottom of the article. The results infer a different but equal status to sweet wine drinkers not better.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lift Haus Winery Prince Edward County

A video is now up for Lift Haus Winery in Prince Edward County. You can view it on WineDining channel or the Wine Dining Vlog. The links are to the right of this entry. (you may have to scroll down a bit)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wine Videos on the Globe & Mail

I found some interesting videos hosted by Globe wine writer Beppi Crosariol. Check them out at the Globe & Mail site by clicking the title of this entry.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thirty Three Vines Winery Prnce Edward County

I am tardy in announcing this but here goes.
A video for Thirty Three Vines Winery in Prince Edward County is now available for viewing on either Wine Dining Channel or Wine Dining Vlog. The links are across from this entry. (you may have to scroll down a bit)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Canadian Red I say can beat a first growth Bordeaux

I've talked about the need for Canadian wineries to be innovative so that they can compete in niche markets with value added products. On a recent trip to Niagara we stopped by Creekside winery to do some tastings. I picked up 2 bottles of 2004 Lost Barrel Red.
In 2000 two winemakers, had an anomalous idea. What kind of wine could be made from saving the "tippings" ( left over solids from grapes and yeast) left in the best barrels of red wine. They got a barrel and made it happen. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the barrel got neglected for eight months. When they found it, the resulting wine proved to be rich and complex. The experiment was repeated the following year under tight control and the result was the same. Thus was born Lost Barrel Red.
I found a slight iodine like trace on the nose for a moment but then notes of dark fruit on damp earth come to bear.
The palate explodes with dark fruit and some oak. There is some fine tannin rising on the mid palate but it decends towards the back. The dark fruit stays right through right to the end with a silky smooth finish.
The intensity of the fruit gives a power to the wine. It reminded me of my Magnotta Millenium which has matured and you can taste the result of the abated tannins.
The wine is made from six different varietals Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec
I've never tasted a first growth Bordeaux red but I have tasted a red that beat it in a blind tasting (Magnotta Millenium).
It's this that came to mind after having a bottle of Lost Barrel. I would give this the edge over Millenium especially since I am a sensitive taster. This is the best Canadian Red I've ever had.
Click the title of this entry if you want to check it out
Rating 93

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Del-Gatto Estates Bella Vigne Prince Edward County

A new video for Del-Gatto Estates Bella Vigne in Prince Edward County is now available for viewing on either Wine Dining Channel or Wine Dining Vlog. The limks are across from this entry. (you may have to scroll down a bit)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creekside Estate Winery Niagara Peninsula

A new video for Creekside Estate winery is available for viewing on the Wine Dining Vlog or Wine Dining Channel. The links are available on the other side of this entry.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whats the problem

I have been reading about the controversy of the Shake off the City campaign by the Niagara Parks Commission. A lot of people in Toronto are offended by how the city is being portrayed. All I can say is so what. Toronto has had campaigns of its own extolling the virtues of the city and all the things that were portrayed in the Niagara commercials still existed. Any area of urban concentration has imperfections.
People still visit Toronto. The ads were engaged in a term called puffery. The wikipedia defines it "as a legal term to promotional statements and claims that express subjective rather than objective views, such that no reasonable person would take them literally.[1] Puffery serves to "puff up" an exaggerated image of what is being described."
The ads were portraying things that conjure up an image of wanting to get away and of where you can get away to. This is done all the time in advertising. They are trying to attract tourist to their region. People aren't going to boycott Toronto because of these ads. If anyone makes a judgment of Toronto strictly based on these ads you would not want them to visit any ways.
Having been to Niagara many times I could say that the ads are false, for example the two people sipping wine at a picnic table in the vineyard in the wine 101 ad. The reality is that you would have a very tough time finding a winery that would let you do that if you were just visiting off the street. I know however that this is just an exageration to emphasize a feeling romanticism that is associated with this kind of activity. It is shown to entice someone that is into that kind of thing to visit the wineries of the region. People aren't going to be disappointed when they find they can't do this in most vineyards. Reasonable people would know this.
Click the title of this entry to view the ads. Lighten up, enjoy them and if you are so inclined visit the Niagara wineries.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Terroir La Cachette Restaurant Strewn Winery Niagara on the Lake

Another video that focuses on the restaurant. We came back a second time and had the same great experience. A great place to have lunch.
Click the title of this entry for more info.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some thoughts on the County

On a recent trip to Prince Edward County I picked up a winery route map and found that there are now a little over 30 winerties open. The first thing that struck me was that, is there going to be enough demand for all this wine that is going to be produced? When I first read about the County in 1998 I wanted to visit to get a feel for the area. There were no wineries open at that time but after visiting thought that this would be a good area for maybe 10 to 15 wineries with a lot of vineyards growing grapes only to supply them.
In 2005 I thought this was coming to fruition. It seems like if you own a vineyard then you must also have a winery from which you can vinfy the terroir of your location. Looking around in the County I also get this impression (irrational as it is inspite of the facts to the opposite) that there doesn't appear to be enough vineyards planted to supply them. The winery route map indicates there could be around 37 wineries when the dust settles. In my opinion this will end the rapid growth phase of the County and a period of maturation will begin with time passing and grape crops from the area getting higher in quality from plants that have been in the ground for a while. Some wineries will entrench their position and become  staples of the area while others will  fall by the wayside for reason's varying from circumstances beyond their control like weather or as simple as because they didn't make a good enough product.
In any account, I can't have anything but respect for anyone who has the guts to open a winery because of the high risk involved.

We took the Glenora ferry and then the Loyalist Parkway to Kingston. The first half of the drive was rather scenic but once you come up to the power plant the scenic description ends. There is a maximum security prison enroute (Millhaven) which did not make it conducive to a leisurly drive for me. I am not saying don't drive this route, just be aware whats on it.

We had another good lunch at the County Cider Company open air patio and I made a flip cam video of the surroundings. The menu is limited to stone oven pizza and other similar items but they make it well and goes with the great cider they produce along with the best view in the County.  Click the title of this entry for more info

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Winery videos

New videos are up for Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery and Jackson-Triggs Winery in the Niagara Peninsula. Thney can be found on Wine Dining Channel or the Wine Dining Vlog. The links are on the other side of this entry. Just scroll down slightly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A testimony from a Pro.

Here is an article from Tony Aspler (done a while back) about him finding out that sweet foods can make a wine taste stronger and sour foods can make a wine taste milder.
It didn't work for him in everything he tried ( and I don't say it will be 100%, every time) but it worked well enough for him to admit that this flavour balancing technique is viable.
This hasn't put him out of business, read the article to find out out what I mean.  You can get it by clicking the title of this entry.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Its Salt not Protein

In the last little while I've been thinking about a little part of a phone conversation I had with Tim Hanni some years back. I had watched JL Groux head winemaker at Hillebrand Estates at the time, state that the protein in steak will nullify the tannins in a red wine during an episode of the Rogers community cable program Wine Dining. I had mentioned this "fact" to Tim in our conversation and he quickly corrected me by saying that was
BS.  He went in to clarify why that was the case. The blunt truth is that it is the exact opposite, if you have a tannic wine with a steak by itself it will increase the astringency of the tannins. When you use salt then they are pulled back.
In my own experience I purchased apple wines from Ocala Winery in Port Perry which were off dry and tried them with steak straight up. I found that they worked (worked for my Hyper sensitive taste leanings, see the Budometer entry if you need clarification) to my knowledge it is the Umami that is in the steak especially when it is aged that increase the sweetness of the wines tried.
Go to the November 24 2009 entry in Tims blog to get the full story. Click the title of this entry to get there

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I defer to the Master

I found a blog that is recently started by Master of Wine Tim Hanni. It is now part of this blogs links. Some of it is related to the flavour balancing seasoning Vignon. I can't comment on it because it isn't available in Canada to my knowledge. The over whelming amount of info is of straight educational value as far as I'm concerned and urge anyone interested to head over there and read it.
Sweet foods and Umami make a wine taste stronger sour food and salt make a wine taste milder. The recent updating and the related building on this foundation is readily available now from the source.
Click the title to acccess his blog or goto the links section on the side

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gabe Magnotta a Maverick?

I never met Gabe Magnotta but I did hear of his actions in the Ontario wine industry. I was saddened to hear of his of his death Dec 20 2009.
He has been characterized as a maverick in the Ontario wine industry because of his confrontations with the LCBO and about how he went to market his wines. I went to to get a clarification on the word Maverick and find myself not liking the connotation it infers.
Everything I see and read does not show a Gabe Magnotta who was out to subvert the system in place. I see someone who saw certain aspects of the system that were unfair to him and wineries in general and took advantage of certain practices in the system to right the wrongs that he saw.
The fact that he had the courage to take actions that were contrary to "the normal practices of the industry" for me is a point of respect and shows an ability to think outside the box. He had principles and "walked the walk" to stick to them.
Gabe was very open about blending wines from outside Canada with Canadian product and really does not share any of the fall out from the Cellared in Canada debacle. He made wines of varying qualities which range from Monday to Thursday quaffers to world class reds that beat first growth Bordeaux in blind tastings (Millennium comes to mind, which was made from Chilean grapes). Ice wine was made that was less expensive and allowed more people to sample the first wine product Canada became renowned for.
There were also innovative products like  his Sparking Vidal,  and Sparkling Cabernet Franc ice wines  as well as Ice Grappa.
Gabe Magnotta was a man of principle who did what he thought was necessary to make his winery successful even if it meant he had do things that were perceived as unpopular. I own a small amount of stock
in his winery and it was these qualities that enticed me to participate in a small way and I'm glad I did.
Peace be with you Gabe. You did it your way.
There is an article that goes into specifics about Gabe Magnotta's life. Just click the title of this entry

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Video Updates

The first part of 2010 will see me very busy so I have put through a number of new videos. You can now view Oraganized Crime Winery. Birchwood Estate Wines, Stratus Vineyards, Strewn Winery, Inniskillin Winery and Flat Rock Cellars. All can be viewed on either the Wine Dining Vlog or Wine Dining Channel.
The links are the side of this entry.