The August 18 Vintages release takes you from east to west or vice versa depending where you live. We are tasting wines from the Rhone in France to Sake, that originated in Asia to the western coast of North America: Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Sounds like a travel plan to me.
Just in time for the August 11th Ottawa’s largest South Asian Festival is a splendid assortment of sake. I did some reading on sake and learned that it is basically a wine made from pearl or short grain rice with other ingredients such as lemon or lime juice and yeast and the finer sakes are consumed cold. Like wine, it can be made at home without difficulty and the longer the sake ferments, the smoother the taste. I’m not certain sake will become the new wine, and I believe it’s an acquired taste, but it’s worth picking up a bottle for something totally different. While sushi seems to be the food of choice to serve with sake, I learned it is also is a great accompaniment with melon, seafood and soft cheeses.
In this release, there are two sakes both under $10.00 a bottle so I could not help but include one in my $100.00 shopping list. Don’t want to cook on a hot night? Pick up some sushi and have a bottle of chilled sake - talk about a refreshing surprise. The real splurge is a Japanese sake called “Kontei Pearls of Simplicity Junmai Daiginjo” at $39.95, but I thought the Canadian sake called “Izumi of the North Genshu Junmai” sake at $14.95 had lovely citrusy aromas and flavour that will awaken the taste buds.
As the winter season approaches, oh, oh I said the “w” word, there is nothing like the rich Rhone valley wines to accompany a pot roast or meaty stew. Much as I love summer food, easy grilling, juicy field tomatoes, there is something infinitely satisfying about the smell of a roast simmering in the oven. And the wines to match- dark fruity heady aromas, dense in colour, flavours reminiscent of ripe berries with a mouth-coating velvety texture. Sheer yum. In this release there are an abundance of Rhone valley beauties. For those of you that feel like the red wine splurge for a special occasion or gift, I would recommend the Domaine De Saint Siffrein Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2010 at $39.95. This full bodied wine just explodes on the tastebuds of deep plums, cassis, a touch herbaceousness with sure tannins and a long delicious finish.
Cheers and Enjoy,
VQA Niagara Peninsula
$21.95 (Vintages # 251108) 12% alcohol
A slightly pinkish pale golden colour layered with aromas of Niagara fruit: peaches, pears and apricots with crisp minerality. Definitely complex for a pinot gris with a delicious mouthfeel of soft fruit flavours that carry to the finish. I sometimes think there is not much in Pinot Gris but this one proves me wrong. A medium bodied fresh wine that would carry through as an appertif to desert, not to mention a great sipper on its own.
La Cave Les Coteaux du Rhone, France
$18.95 (Vintages #287532) 14% alcohol
This won a Gold Medal at the Concours des Vins Orange 2011 and you’ll taste why. A dense deep purple that bursts with dark berries, a little pepper with noticeable tannins and a long fruity finish. Robust notes of blackberries and blueberries with a little hint of spice, it’s just perfect for a grilled steak. There is so much in this body that it could be put down for a few years or this winner can be enjoyed now.
Rhone Valley, France
$29.95 (Vintages #906073) 14.5% alcohol
A brilliant deep ruby red colour, big cherry chocholately flavours, this is wine candy! Bone dry with succulent velvety tanins and a pinch of sweet spice, with almost some floral notes. The wine has mouthcoating delicious flavours of rich fruity preserves and is mature right through to the end of its lengthy finish. I’d be delighted to sip this on its own but it would be fabulous with beef stew and some rustic French bread.
WO Western Cape, South Africa
$18.95 (Vintages #282764) 14 % alcohol
I did not recognize the name and wondered what made this wine taste so good. With a blend of Chenin Blanc (60%), Chardonnay (20%), Pinot Gris (10%), Viognier (6%) and Semillon (4%) the aromas just waft from the class and no wonder it tastes so good. All I can think of is peaches and cream in a bottle with a beautiful floral aroma of white flowers and good acidity. It is bone dry elegant, a great sipper on its own and you could pair it with any chicken or fish dish.
$9.70 (Vintages#225516) 14% alcohol
Pale golden in colour, with citrusy aromas. According to Winefox, in 2006 this was named Korean’s number one sake and was served at the G20 and APEC meetings in Seoul in 2008. Tastes slightly off-dry and you can almost get a little rice on the palate. It has nutty and fruity flavours and definately “not your regular white wine”. Medum bodied with good acidity and I plan to try this with some hot and spicey sushi. Don’t forget the wasabi.
Grand Total: $99.50
And if you happen to find a twenty dollar bill in the bottom of your purse or pocket, there is a Gold-Medal winning bubbly (2011 Concours des Burgundia) that I tasted called Cave de Lugny Cuvée Millésime Brut Crémant De Bourgogne 2009. A delicious refreshing sparkling wine at $18.95 with a lovely mousse (tiny bubbles) of toast and nuts. Everyone should have a sparkler for a rainy day.
Tags: Accredited Sommelier Debbie Trenholm, Bosman Adama White 2010, Cave de Lugny Cuvée Millésime Brut Crémant De Bourgogne 2009, Domaine De Saint Siffrein Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2010, Domaine Grandy Vacqueyras 2010, Famille Perrin La Gille Gigondas 2010, Fielding Pinot Gris VQA 2011, Hwa Rang Junmai Daiginjo Sake, Izumi of the North Genshu Junmai, Julie Stock Accredited Sommelier Savvy Company, Kontei Pearls of Simplicity Junmai Daiginjo, Savvy Company, South Asian Festival 2012 Ottawa